Captain N: The Game Master
Saturday, September 9, 1995, 11:05 AM
The blue vortex opened in the darkness, spitting a weary young man into the rain-filled crater on the cold gray world. He cursed, forcing a good deal of mud from his mouth. Normally, he wouldn't have executed a blind warp to anywhere, and it appeared that the decision would cost him.
He stood in the rain, his boots sinking into the watered soil which bore a resemblance to heavily moistened clay. "Hoo, boy." he sighed, examining his monochromatic surroundings. "This looks like a rather enjoyable place."
He pulled the cuff of his now-torn leather jacket up and raised the Power Glove to his mouth.
"Computer," he requested, "pinpoint current location." He could barely hear the Glove's response over the raging storm.
"Unknown." the glove responded. "Game world is not said to exist."
"Well, it has to exist." he argued. "It can't be here if it doesn't exist."
"Official and independent maps do not register this location."
"This world is artificial?" He asked.
The glove hummed. "Negative. Game world is natural, but lifeless."
"Stupid question time." he warned. "Are there any colonies on this world?"
"Scanning." The glove paused. "No colonies detected. Unknown structure located twenty miles south of this location."
"Teleport to location of structure." Pak commanded.
"Unable to teleport. Circuitry damaged in recent involuntary downgrading of equipment. Excess power being routed to self-repair sequence."
"Excess power?" Pak smiled thinly. "This situation may prove interesting yet." he said as he began to march off toward the structure.
Trudging through the rain seemed like an endless journey for the bounty hunter. There wasn't much for scenery on the asteroid-like world. The most frustrating segments of his trip were when seemingly harmless puddles turned out to be several-feet-deep pits of water.
After twelve hours of walking and slipping through the mud, Pak reached the only structure specified by his trusted computer. Much like the world itself, the large dome was almost void of decoration.
"Computer, is this structure inhabited?"
The glove hummed in the rain. "No registered lifeforms detected."
"Great." he said, stepping closer to the dome. "Now how the hell am I supposed to find out where I am?"
Once he came into contact with the structure, Pak ran his hand along the exterior. After scanning the perimeter by touch for several minutes, he finally found the small cracks that signaled an entrance.
"Load." he ordered his glove. "Strength."
The rusted iron door screamed as it was pushed into the wall. As Pak stuck his head through the portal, he found the inside of the dome barely more featured than the outer structure. On the far side sat a dormant monitor - and beside it a lifeless 'droid with multiple appendages and features.
"Yo!" Pak called, his voice painfully echoing back at him. In the dim light, he nearly collided with the control panel that was only a few feet before the door he had opened. "Anyone home?"
He ran his hand along the control panel, and when his hands discovered what appeared to be a master switch, the only option in his mind was to examine the unknown purpose of the dome's existence.
Pak pushed the switch forward, and the room came alive. A powerful light from the dome's peak burst to life, its illumination trickling down into small glass jars that lined most of the upper ceiling. The 'droid across the room began to weakly flail its devices about, and the monitor flickered.
The screen was consumed by a purple hue, which pulled back to reveal itself as an aquiline face. If he had to associate it with anything, Pak would have guessed its design inspired by the infamous comedy and drama masks so often referenced to theater on Earth.
The face smiled innocently, but Pak sensed nothing but vicious intentions from the electronic being. The usually fearless bounty hunter shivered as he heard the device speak its first words since an activation in however how long it was shut down.
Kevin stepped out of the kitchen. He had fixed himself a snack at his stomach's demand and had managed to create an extraordinary sandwich with the greatest of stealth, not waking his teammates in the late evening.
Not that the noise would matter. The sudden storm that had consumed Megaland only an hour ago would have covered up any clattering the young man made. If anything, most of his friends were struggling with sleep, as Megaland was frequently unknown for ill weather.
He caught a form out of the corner of his eye. Standing before the sliding glass door that lead to the back porch, in a pink robe, was the Princess of Videoland, Lana Deschain. Kevin wasn't exactly sure if he should have disturbed the deeply-immersed young woman.
Mindlessly, Kevin joined her at the door. The Princess was watching the storm with serious interest, which didn't sit too well with the Game Master. Remembering that the sandwich had been cut into halves, he offered her a piece by lifting the plate before her.
"No," she said, barely taking her eyes off the storm, "but thanks."
"It's pretty bad," Kevin graded the weather, "isn't it?"
"Blackouts in over forty percent of the city." Lana reported. "Satellite transmissions are down, power regulations are fluctuating - " She shook her head. "We'd be in the same boat if we didn't have a private generator. This house and Doctor Right's estate must be the only two places in the city right now with stable electricity."
"I hope the doc doesn't make Rush sleep outside."
Lana laughed at Kevin's quip.
"What's the problem anyway? I know it's not normal, but you're taking a pretty weird interest in the weather all of a sudden."
"There's something about it." Lana said as she pulled the glass door open.
With the winds blowing away from the door, the pair was able to experience the storm minus the downpour.
"I can't put my finger on it. It's something in the air. Can you smell it?"
Kevin nodded, now concerned as well. "Yeah, I can smell it. But what is it?"
"I don't know," Lana answered, "but it's definitely nothing good."
The monitor flew across the room, attached secretly to a track that could cross over the entire dome if necessary. Its sudden motion sent Pak to the floor, and it pressed closer as he crawled backward on the freezing metal floors.
"Alive!" it restated.
"Well, duh!" Pak rebutted. "Would you please back up, whatever the hell you are?"
The machine did as requested, allowing the bounty hunter to slowly climb to his feet.
"So, what's your deal? What are you?"
"Brain Child." the image returned. Its eyes tipped upward, taking Pak's with them. There, in one of the ceiling's glass cylinders, was an old, withered, decaying brain. From the looks of the organ, it had been out of use for an extended period.
"You're an artificial lifeform. Interesting." Pak stood upright. "Well, it was nice meeting you. If you'll excuse me, I believe I've had enough shlock horror for one day." He promptly headed for the door, which slammed shut, nearly taking his nose along with it.
"Fix." Brain Child demanded.
"Fix?" Pak turned, angry. "Fix? Listen, you freaky excuse for an IBM, I'm not a repair man! I hunt - that's what I do. You need someone to fix your binary ass, you call Doctor Wily."
"Wily?" the computer repeated the name.
"Yeah, Doctor Wily. He's a nutball of a robotics expert that lives in Megaland." Pak's eyes lit up. "Say, why don't you let me out of here, and I'll go find him for you. Then I'll send him back here, and you can have all the repairs you want done."
"Fix." Brain Child insisted. "Then hunt."
"Hey, I told you - " Pak stepped forward, but the 'droid quickly zipped before him, extending an arm that closely resembled a stun gun. Not wanting to guess from the crackling sparks if it was a long range weapon, Pak submitted. "Where do I start?" he asked, forcing a smile.
Mike walked downstairs and into the kitchen. He got a Pepsi from the fridge, then went into the band room and joined Kevin and Lana. "Hey, guys."
Kevin and Lana looked at him. "Hey, Mike."
"You can't sleep either, huh?" Kevin asked.
"None of us can." Mike replied. "How long is this storm gonna last?"
"Who knows?" Kevin replied.
"Care for some extra company?"
Kevin, Mike, and Lana turned around and saw Stacey standing there.
Kevin smiled. "Sure!"
Stacey walked over to them, her footsteps muffled by her white bunny slippers. "Thunder totally sucks."
"Yep." Mike agreed.
"I can't get to sleep." Stacey complained.
"Have you tried masturbating?" Lana asked. "That always helps tire me out."
"I've tried." Stacey replied. "I can't concentrate on it. The lightning scares me."
"Hey, guys, since we're all up, let's play a concert." Kevin suggested. "I'm sure everyone else in Capital City is awake. Music will take our minds off of the storm."
"Great idea, Kevy!" Stacey complimented.
"But how do we get the word out?" Lana asked. "Power blackouts have risen to eighty percent."
"We'll send out a message all over Capital City." Mike said. "Whoever gets it can tell their friends about the concert."
"Let's do it!" Stacey said.
Li Shiroshi stood at a metal work table in her laboratory. She couldn't sleep, so she had decided to work. It wasn't easy to get any work done, because the power kept fading to half and returning to full. This made Li wish she had gotten a private generator, rather than receiving power from the Megaland Power Plant. She was just finishing up her robotic bat.
"Done!" Li exclaimed to herself.
Jazz walked into the lab. "Li,...are you feeling all right?"
Li smiled at her "daughter" in appreciation. "I'm fine, Jazz. I just can't sleep because of this storm." She grinned. "But I finished an invention!"
"Neat." Jazz replied with a smile.
Suddenly, a beeping sound came from the computer console.
Li walked over to it and pressed a button. Lana's face appeared on the viewscreen.
Li smiled. "Hi, Lana!"
The image and sound weren't very clear, due to the unstable power.
Lana smiled back. "Hi, Li. Listen, the band is going to perform a concert to try and make people happy. Wanna come?"
"Did you say concert?" Li asked. "Count me in!"
Attendance of the concert was a lot greater than expected. The Megaland concert hall, one of the few remaining places in Capital City with power, was packed with people. They had come from all over Megaland at their friends' announcements of the concert. The N Team and their friends had front row seats as usual.
Security was heightened due to the unusually large number of people. Police robots were at the doors and going up and down the aisles.
Backstage, the band members gathered together, ready to go on. They were dressed in their usual band attire - all in black.
Kevin looked at Lana and smiled nervously. "You ready?"
Lana returned the smile. "We'll see."
Kevin looked at the others. "Mike, Stacey, you got the music down, right?"
"Yeah, man. Don't worry about it." Mike said.
Stacey smiled. "Good luck, guys. Break some legs."
Lana smiled at her. "Thanks! I think."
Mega Man walked up onto the stage and turned on the microphone. The audience fell silent.
"Ladies and gentlemen, may I present...Captain N & The Video Game Masters."
The audience went wild as the band walked out onto the stage. Mega Man went and took his seat.
Mike sat behind his drum set. Stacey stood behind her keyboard and turned it on. Kevin and Lana plugged their guitars into the amplifier and turned it on.
Then they all turned on their microphones.
Lana waited for the audience to fall silent, then spoke: "Six years ago, I was sitting on my throne in the Palace of Power. It was a dark day in Videoland. Mother Brain's forces were advancing on my home. I had lost all hope. Looking to each of my friends, I thanked them for their help." She smiled. "But the day didn't end quite the way I had expected. A prophetic voice spoke to me and gave me hope. The Ultimate Warp Zone opened up, and the legendary hero, Captain N: The Game Master, was brought to Videoland to lead us to freedom. This concert tonight is in celebration of the six-year anniversary of Kevin Keene's arrival in Videoland!" She looked to Kevin.
Kevin looked at the audience. "I, uh, I admit, six years ago, I didn't clean my room when I was told to. Sorry, mom."
Cheryl Keene, sitting in the front row, laughed.
"Never did I think I'd be here, in Videoland, sharing adventures with characters I had seen only on my TV screen. When I arrived, everyone was skeptical - even me. I didn't wanna help these guys." Kevin smiled. "But we learned to work together, and we've grown close, becoming a family. Eventually, the team grew from the original six of us to thirteen. Lana cut her hair. Mega Man got a cool new body. We've learned some hard lessons. But we've stuck together, and we're closer than ever." Kevin faced Lana. "I will now sing a song with Lana that kind of fits this occasion. 1, 2, 3, 4."
The band began playing the song. Kevin and Lana sang the vocals:
Somewhere out there someone needs me.
I don't know how or where, but believe me
I'll walk the universe to find her,
For better or for worse beside her.
For the honor of love,
By the power above,
I have the power,
I have the power.
A stranger walked into my world,
And when he talked, I really heard.
He spoke of things like love and peace.
The joy it brings will never cease.
For the honor of love,
By the power above,
I have the power,
I have the power.
The truth of love will always guide us.
His strength above will be inside us.
Forevermore we'll be together.
Our hearts will soar one to the other.
For the honor of love,
By the power above,
We have the power,
We have the power; so can you.
The audience went wild. Cheering and applause sounded throughout the room. Kevin's parents were especially proud. Lana disliked singing some of the lyrics, which she didn't agree with, but she enjoyed the attention. The band members took bows.
Then they realized that something was wrong. Three of the police robots were firing their weapons at people!
The audience began wondering what was going on. The band stopped and watched in horror as six people were fired down by laser guns. They gasped.
Kevin, Lana, and Mike drew their Zappers and fired at the 'droids, destroying them. Kevin and Lana took off their guitars, and the four band members jumped down off of the stage.
Five more police 'droids began firing. The band members destroyed them all.
Kevin ran over to the other N Teamsters. "Simon, Kid Icarus, Rick, Romeo, Julius, get these people out of here!"
Lana ran over to him. "Kevin, those people are dead!"
Dr. Thomas Xavier Right, Dr. Li Shiroshi, and their robots ran over to Kevin.
"The robots have gone haywire!" Dr. Right yelled over the screams of the crowd.
"Michael, Jazz, Tempo, go with the guys!" Li ordered.
"Yes, Li!" Michael replied.
The two androids and the robo-wolf left went to help get the people out of the concert hall.
Ned and Cheryl Keene ran over to Kevin.
"Kevin, what's going on?!" Cheryl yelled.
"I don't know, mom!"
"Everybody to my lab quickly!" Dr. Right yelled. He took a warp zone opener out of one of his lab coat pockets and opened up a warp zone.
They all ran into the warp.
They appeared on a lift in Dr. Right's laboratory. It lowered them down to the floor.
Dr. Right immediately ran over to a viewscreen and clicked on VNN.
"This is Cathy Bennett, live outside the Megaland concert hall in downtown Capital City, where just minutes ago robots began attacking the concertgoers for no apparent reason." the news reporter announced. "We have yet to hear from Dr. Thomas Right about the cause of this attack, but people are already suspecting Dr. Albert William Wily."
Dr. Right contacted VNN. Cathy Bennett's face appeared on his monitor.
"Dr. Right, are you watching this?" Cathy asked.
"Yes, and I share popular opinion. Believe me, I'm going to call up Dr. Wily right now and get - "
"Wily, what the fuck did you do?!" Lana demanded. She had already taken the liberty of contacting Dr. Wily herself.
"What are you talking about, Your Highness?" Dr. Wily asked.
"You know what I'm talking about. You reprogrammed the robot security force at the Megaland concert hall and caused them to fire on people!"
"Princess, I assure you I had nothing to do with it." Wily smiled. "Although it's a nice idea. Thank you." He cut off the transmission.
Lana hit the computer console in anger.
Dr. Wily chuckled to himself. "Yes, I think I'll do that sometime."
Suddenly, the glass of the sky window in the ceiling shattered to pieces, and a figure dropped down to the floor.
"Wily!" Pak yelled.
"Piedmont!" Wily returned. "What do you want?"
"You." Pak fired at him.
The evil scientist fell to the floor, unconscious.
Pak grabbed hold of Dr. Wily and teleported out of the lab.
Rick appeared in a glow of yellow light on the lift. It lowered him down to the floor.
"Rick, how is it?" Mike asked.
Rick was panting. "We managed to get most everybody else out, but four more people were killed by the 'droids before we destroyed them. It's a hell of a mess. People are freaked!"
"Ten people...dead." Lana said in disbelief. "Just like that."
Pak dragged Dr. Wily into the dome and threw him on the floor.
"Where am I?!" Dr. Wily demanded. He looked up at the android. "Who are you?!"
"I am Brain Child," the android replied, "and you are in my lair. You are Dr. Wily."
"Why was I brought here?!" Dr. Wily demanded.
"You were brought here to fix and upgrade me." Brain Child said. "I had sent out a video virus to infect your robots, so they might bring you to me, but that attempt failed, so I had no choice but to send Pak to obtain you."
"Hey, I resent that." Pak said.
"Silence." Brain Child ordered. "You two now work for me. Dr. Wily, you will upgrade me. Pak, you will destroy for me. If I find that you are not performing to your full capability, you will be terminated."
Dr. Wily gulped. "Very well."
"Robot uprisings are occurring all throughout Megaland." Cathy Bennett announced. "Chaos and panic are everywhere as robots turn on their masters. Seven-hundred people have been declared dead so far, and there are more than three-thousand injuries."
"Dear God." Cheryl said. "What's happening?"
"I don't know." Dr. Right said truthfully. "Somehow these robots are being reprogrammed."
"Dr. Right, we gotta go out and fight these robots." Mega Man said. "We can't let any more people die."
Dr. Right nodded. "You're right, of course. Go,...but be careful."
Rock, Roll, and Blues nodded and teleported out of the lab.
"Like, what are you waiting for, Riff?" Stacey asked. "Go!"
"No can do." Riff replied.
"Say what?" Kevin asked.
"When Pak was detransformed by Unicron, the modifications Riff had done to his Power Glove were undone. Riff can no longer channel its excess energy to power himself." Dr. Right explained. "In short, Riff is not drawing as much power as he once was, and tires out easily. He has to rest; otherwise he'll literally burn himself out. I'm afraid he can fight only on an as-needed basis."
"Well, that's just prime." Mike said.
Mega Man, Roll, and Proto Man arrived at an electronics store.
"I'll search the perimeter." Proto Man volunteered. "You two can go inside."
Mega Man frowned. "How generous of you, bro."
Mega Man and Roll entered the store. Everything was silent for the moment, but this place had been evacuated earlier. There were no humans in the store.
"We'll split up." Mega Man said.
They walked off in opposite directions.
Dr. Right sat down at a computer console and began typing. "I've got to figure out how these robots are being reprogrammed. Li, Rick, Mike, Kristen, get on the other computers. Maybe you can help me."
Just then, a short red robot walked out of a storage closet. "Hi, guys!"
Everybody looked at the robot. "Hi, Eddie!"
"What's shakin'?" Mike asked.
Suddenly, Eddie twitched. "Shakin'? Shake, shake, shake. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your booty!"
"Eddie?" Rick asked.
"Not Eddie!" Eddie said. "I am E-Man, defender of the galaxy!" He did a trumpet call with his voice. "Robots of the world march!"
Lana laughed. "He's so cute!" Then she turned her attention back to Dr. Right's monitor.
"Eddie - er, E-Man," Dr. Right said, concern in his voice, "come here."
E-Man complied, whistling along the way.
Roll came across a sales 'droid that was throwing computers and smashing them on the floor.
"Quit formatting the hard drives, buster!" Roll yelled.
She pointed her arms, raised her arm cannons, and blasted the sales 'droid to pieces. Roll smiled, smug.
Roll spun around and fired.
Mega Man dodged the blasts. "Whoa! Cool it, sis!"
"Shit!" Roll frowned. "Mega, have you fried your circuits?!"
"Sorry." Mega Man said, offended. "I'll remember to approach you from the front from now on."
They were silent for a moment as they looked at the pieces of the sales 'droid lying on the floor.
Mega Man looked at Roll. "'Quit formatting the hard drives'?"
"Well, yeah." Roll replied. "They were in one format - working, and now they're in another format - broken."
Mega Man smiled and shook his head. "C'mon. Let's see how Blues is doing."
"I don't get it, Dr. Right." Kristen said. "What are you doing?"
"I'm accessing Eddie's datatracks." Dr. Right explained, holding the cute red robot still as he examined its circuitry. "It appears that Eddie has been reprogrammed." He checked the monitor he had linked Eddie to. "Apparently, some of his programming has been overwritten. But how?"
"He'll be okay, won't he, Dr. Right?" Stacey asked.
Dr. Right shook his head. "I don't know. And I don't understand why Eddie isn't behaving like the other robots. He doesn't seem to be behaving violently."
Eddie's eyes opened. "Watch me, scum!"
Eddie kicked Dr. Right in the stomach, then jumped down to the floor and ran off.
"Man, that little dude can kick!" Heather said in amazement.
Dr. Right looked at the monitor and gasped.
"What is it, Dr. Right?" Rick asked.
"A virus!" Dr. Right exclaimed. "That's how the robots are being reprogrammed! And if Eddie got it that easily..."
Mega Man, Roll, and Proto Man were currently fighting three security 'droids in the middle of a street.
Then they heard Dr. Right's voice: "Rock, Roll, Blues, get back to the lab right now! Hurry!"
Mega Man and Proto Man defeated their respective 'droids.
"Let's go, Roll!" Mega Man yelled.
Roll grunted as she tried to keep the security 'droid in place. It stopped moving for a moment, and Roll used the opportunity to fire plasma into its mouth. She leapt back one second before it exploded.
"Nice going, sis!" Proto Man complimented.
The three androids activated their teleporters.
Mega Man, Proto Man, and Roll teleported into the lab.
"Why'd you bring us back, Doc?" Rock asked.
Dr. Right walked over to them. "I've found the cause of the massive reprogramming - a computer virus that spreads from one robot to another, infecting it. Eddie's got it, and I'm afraid you three might get it as well."
"I think it's safe to say we don't have it, Doc." Blues said with a grin.
"Yes, but - " Dr. Right was cut off by a plasma blast. He narrowly dodged it. He looked up from the floor. "What in - Roll!"
Everybody looked at the blonde-haired robot. Roll had shot a burst of plasma at her creator!
"Roll, what are you - " Lana began.
Quickly, Roll leapt into the air and began firing at Lana. The Princess did a backflip and managed to avoid getting hit.
"She's infected!" Rick yelled. He took his Super Scope off of his back and fired at her.
Roll landed on the floor and dodged the blast.
"What the hell are you doing?" Kevin asked Rick. "We don't want a crispy Roll!"
"Rock, Blues, I have to make sure you don't get infected!" Dr. Right said. "Everyone else keep Roll from destroying anything!"
"Easy for you to say!" Stacey said, dodging one of Roll's blasts.
Lana drew her Zapper and fired repeatedly at Roll, who dodged by doing a series of backflips. Roll then jumped into the air and fired at Lana, who pressed the Left button on her Power Pad to dodge.
Kevin pressed the Jump button on his Power Pad and soared into the air. He drew his Zapper and fired at Roll, missing.
"Eat plasma, fuckwad!" Roll yelled, then fired at Kevin.
Kevin did a Power Dive and landed on the floor.