Captain N: The Game Master

Season 7


Saturday, September 23, 1995, 8:50 AM

Lana was sitting at her desk, reading a datapad.
The door chimed.
"Come in." Lana said without looking up.
The door slid open, and Rick walked into the office.
"Am I disturbing you?" Rick asked.
"I'm going over the latest casualty report." Lana said. "Three-hundred of our ships were destroyed inside Brain Child's territory. Over three-thousand people dead. So much for our offensive."
Rick just stood silently and listened.
Lana sighed and threw down the datapad, finally looking at him. "I'm sorry, Rick. What do you need?"
"A few minutes ago, we started picking up a transmission from one of our allied worlds." Rick told her. "It's not coming in well, but we're clearing it up. I thought you'd like to be there when we hear it."
Lana nodded and stood up.
The two of them left the office.

Lana and Rick walked into the Monitoring room. Roll and Proto Man were sitting at the control panel. Kevin, Mike, Stacey, Heather, and Kristen were standing around them, waiting in anticipation.
"Have you got it cleared up yet?" Lana asked.
"Not yet." Roll replied. "Something's fucking up the reception."
"Hey, I think I got it." Proto Man said.
A voice, filled with static, was heard on the speakers: "We require immediate military support. Something fraggin' evil is coming out of the Gateways! Computer systems have gone berserk!" The rest was incoherent.
"Can you re-establish contact?" Lana asked.
"No." Proto Man replied.
"There's something familiar about that call." Mike snapped his fingers. "Hey, that call is from Doom!"
Kevin grinned. "Yeah! It's part of the storyline!"
Lana raised an eyebrow. "Doom has a storyline? I must've missed it."
"Let's just say this isn't good." Rick told her. "We gotta go there now!"
Lana nodded. "Okay. Mike, Kevin, you guys are the Doom experts, so you're with me. Rick, I want you to come along as well. Heather, Kristen,...you think you're ready for this?"
"I'm in." Heather said.
"Me, too." Kristen said.
"Okay, let's go." Lana told them.
"Like, can I come, too?" Stacey asked. "It's kinda boring around here."

The group exited the warp and found themselves on a planet.
"What's the name of this planet?" Lana asked.
"It was Mars in the game." Mike told her.
"I know full well it was Mars in the game." Lana said.
Mike grinned. "I thought you didn't know it had a storyline."
"Phobos and Deimos." Lana replied. "I know my astronomy. What's the name of the planet here?"
"I believe it's...Romero." Rick said.
Kevin, Mike, and Kristen grinned.
"Oh, I get it." Stacey said after a moment, a smile forming on her lips. "Neat."
"C'mon, let's get to the base." Kevin said.

They walked into the control room in the base. The room was full of activity. Soldiers were working at control panels and speaking at the same time.
"Fox Hounder to Phobos base. Come in!" a soldier said into a microphone. He flipped a switch. "Deimos base, come in!"
"Hello?" Lana asked. "Excuse me!"
A man walked over to her. "Who are you?"
"I'm Lana Deschain, President of the Republic of Videoland. Are you in charge here?"
"Lt. Weems, Fox Company." the man replied. "What do you want?"
"We picked up your distress call and have come to help. What's going on?"
"The call you picked up came from Phobos, one of our two moons. Soon afterwards, Deimos simply vanished from the sky. Since then, attempts to establish contact with either moon have been unsuccessful." Weems turned and faced his soldiers. "We're going to Phobos! Let's move out!"
The soldiers picked up their weapons and headed out the door.
"What are the 'Gateways'?" Lana asked Weems.
"Look, lady, I don't have time to answer your questions." Weems said. "Come along if you want, but stay out of our way." Lt. Weems walked out the door.
The N Teamsters looked at each other, shrugged, and followed him.

The shuttle landed on Phobos. Everybody exited it and walked over to a building.
"Taggart, Sanders." Lt. Weems called.
A well-built, red-haired man, who looked to be in his early thirties, walked over to Weems. He was accompanied by a well-built, red-haired woman who also looked to be in her early thirties. She bore a striking resemblance to Scarlet on "G.I. Joe".
"Yes, sir?" the man asked.
"Stay out here and patrol the perimeter." Weems ordered. "The rest of us are going inside."
"Sir, I work best in the field!" the man protested.
"Yeah, I know how you work, Taggart." Weems replied. "All right, let's move in!"
The rest of the soldiers followed Lt. Weems into the building labeled "HANGAR".
The N Teamsters walked over to Taggart and Sanders.
"Tough break, dudes." Kevin told them.
"Yeah, tell us about it." Taggart said.
"I'm Kevin Keene." Kevin said. "These are Mike Vincent, Lana Deschain, Rick Walker, Stacey Anderson, and Heather and Kristen Shallowayne. Who are you guys?"
"Corporal Flynn Taggart, Fox Company, Light Drop Infantry, serial number 888-23-9912." Taggart said. "Folks call me Fly, except when they're pissed."
The others laughed.
"Private First-Class Arlene Sanders." the woman said. "Nice to meet you."
"Yeah." Taggart added.
"It looks like Lt. Weems doesn't like you, Fly." Lana observed. "How come?"
"Three years ago, Weems ordered us to fire upon civilians." Taggart grinned. "He got a knuckle sandwich from Yours Truly."
Kevin grinned. "Way to go, dude!"
"Well, anyway, you guys can keep us company here." Taggart said.
The group began walking around the perimeter of the hangar.
"So, what's going on here?" Lana asked.
"The Union Aerospace Corporation is a multi-planetary conglomerate with radioactive waste facilities on Romero and its two moons, Phobos and Deimos." Fly began.
"For the last four years, the military, UAC's biggest supplier, has used the remote facilities on Phobos and Deimos to conduct various secret projects, including research on interdimensional travel." Arlene continued. "So far, they have been able to open gateways between Phobos and Deimos, throwing a few gadgets into one and watching them come out the other."
"Recently, however, the Gateways have grown dangerously unstable." Fly told them ."Military 'volunteers' entering them have either disappeared or been stricken with a strange form of insanity - babbling vulgarities, bludgeoning anything that breathes, and finally suffering an untimely death of full-body explosion. Matching heads with torsos to send home to the folks became a full-time job."
"Latest military reports state that the research is suffering a small setback, but everything is under control." Arlene said. "Bullshit."
"Then the call from Phobos came in, Deimos vanished, and you guys showed up." Fly finished.
Suddenly, Fly and Arlene's radios picked up the sounds of combat: guns firing, men yelling orders, screams, bones cracking, then, finally, silence.
Fly drew his radio and pressed a button. "This is Taggart! Come in!"
He released the button. Nothing.
"This isn't good." Fly said. "We gotta get outta here."
Fly and Arlene turned and headed back towards the shuttle.
The N Teamsters walked after them.
"Fly, don't you think we should go in there and find out what's going on?" Kevin asked.
Fly and Arlene turned and faced him.
"Are you kidding?" Fly asked. "With what? All the heavy weapons have been taken by the assault team, leaving us with only pistols."
"C'mon, guys, you have to stop whatever's in there." Kevin insisted. "We'll help you."
"Okay." Fly agreed. "You're right. Let's go."
The group walked back to the hangar.
"I hope we can find more substantial firepower somewhere within the station." Arlene said. "If only I could get my hands around a plasma rifle - or even a shotgun."
As they walked inside, they heard animal-like growls echoing throughout the distant corridors.
"They know we're here." Fly said. "There's no turning back now."
They began walking forward. Kevin went to the left, so the others followed.
They saw two sergeants in black uniforms, one on either side of a staircase. The sergeants didn't speak to them, but simply growled and began firing. Fly and Arlene drew their pistols and fired. After three bullets hit each of the sergeants, they died and fell to the floor. The group walked over to them.
"What happened to them?" Fly asked.
"They were turned into zombies." Kevin explained. "They were already dead."
"Well, at least they left us their shotguns." Arlene squatted down and picked up the shotgun of the zombie she had killed.
Fly squatted down and picked up the other shotgun.
When Arlene and Fly stood up and holstered their pistols, they suddenly heard more shooting. Everyone looked up. Two more sergeant zombies were on top of the staircase. Kevin drew his Zapper and shot them dead.
"What the fuck is that?" Arlene asked. "Some kind of new military weapon?"
"It's from another planet." Kevin replied. "Oh, yeah, guys, don't use your off-world weapons except in an emergency. We don't want them running out of power. We can't recharge them here."
Kevin walked up the stairs. When he got to the top of the staircase, he picked up a shotgun and threw it down to Mike. Then he picked up the other shotgun for himself.
"Hey, Fly, I found some armor." Kevin said. "Want it?"
Kevin picked up the green vest and carried it back down to the floor. Fly put on the armor.
Then the group went across the room to a door. Mike touched the door, and it rose.
"Hey, just like Dr. Wily's doors!" Stacey said with a smile.
They entered the next room. Waiting for them were three sergeant zombies and two sergeant privates. Unlike the sergeants, the privates wore camouflaged uniforms and carried only pistols. All five zombies fired at the group, missing.
Fly and Arlene returned fire. Each zombie required only one shotgun shell each to die. Lana, Rick, and Kristen picked up the shotguns. The group headed to the back of the room.
Standing there was another sergeant zombie. Lana killed it, and Stacey picked up the shotgun.
Next was a small hallway. Waiting there were a sergeant zombie and a private zombie. Kevin and Mike killed them.
"Finally, my very own shotgun!" Heather said, grinning as she scooped it up.
They entered a spacious room. Standing there were three sergeant zombies and two private zombies. Lana, Rick, Stacey, Kristen, and Heather killed them.
Suddenly, a ball of fire came at them.
"Get down!" Mike yelled.
Everyone ducked, and the fire hit a wall. Kevin and Mike turned over and fired at two brown creatures with huge teeth that were standing on a platform on the far wall of the room. One shotgun shell for each, and they were dead.
Everybody stood up.
"Okay," Fly asked, "what were those?"
"Imps." Mike replied. "Scary, but nothing compared to what's waiting."
They made their way across the room. Fly, Arlene, and Mike reloaded their shotguns with clips from the sergeants' shotguns.
"Don't step in the green ooze." Mike cautioned. "Stay on the path."
They came to a door. Stacey grinned and touched it with her right hand, then giggled as the door rose.
"Get down!" Kevin yelled. He knocked Stacey to the floor, then killed the imp that was in front of them. He then helped Stacey to her feet.
"Oh, Kevy, you saved me!" Stacey hugged Kevin, then kissed him on the lips.
Stacey pressed her tongue against Kevin's lips. He opened his mouth, and she sent her tongue inside and caressed his. After about thirty seconds of frenching, they let go of each other.
"How do you thank him when you're alone?" Arlene asked Stacey. "Suck his dick?"
Stacey giggled. "No, silly! I'm still a virgin!"
The group walked into the room. Fly went to the left and saw two private zombies. He was about to fire at them, but Mike stopped him.
"No, wait, I got somethin' funny I wanna do." Mike raised his shotgun and fired at a barrel of the green ooze.
The barrel exploded, killing the zombies. Their innards went flying everywhere.
Arlene heard more growling and went to the right side of the room. There were two more private zombies standing there. Arlene fired at the barrel, and it exploded. The zombies died.
Arlene grinned. "Cool."
"Here's our exit." Kevin said. "Stand back."
Kevin opened the door and killed the imp waiting inside the small room.
Fly pressed a button on the wall, and a door opened. The group stepped outside.
"Let's go." Fly said.

Dr. Li Shiroshi walked into the Monitoring room.
"Any word from the team?" Li asked Roll.
"I haven't heard anything yet." Roll replied.
"Why haven't they checked in yet?" Li wondered. "I hope they're all right."

They encountered no new enemies at their next destination, the nuclear plant. However, Lana got a chaingun, and Mike got a chainsaw.
The first new enemy they encountered was at the toxic refinery, their third destination, when Mike opened a door.
The creature waiting in the next room was as tall as a human and had pink flesh, a huge mouth, and lots of teeth. It growled at them.
"Man, is that thing ugly!" Rick said.
Mike started up his chainsaw and attacked the monster. He cut it into pieces, covering his clothes with blood in the process.
Mike turned around and faced his friends, grinning. "Anyone want burgers?"
"What was that?" Fly asked.
"A demon." Mike replied.
"Fly, get down!" Rick yelled suddenly.
Fly ducked, and Rick fired off two rounds from his shotgun.
Fly stood up. "What were you firing at?"
"A specter." Rick replied. "It's an invisible - almost - demon. Be careful."
"Great." Fly said. "Thanks."

Li and Gameboy were in the Monitoring room.
"They've been gone for five hours now." Li said. "I'm really worried." She faced her creation. "Gameboy, would you like to come with me and help look for them?"
Gameboy beeped in the affirmative.
"Roll, get me the coordinates to Romero." Li told her.
Roll picked up a warp zone opener and entered in the coordinates. She handed it to Li. "Good luck."
Li opened up a warp, and she and Gameboy entered it.

The group had encountered no more new bad guys at the toxic refinery, but Fly did find a rocket launcher, much to his delight.
They had encountered no new bad guys at the military base, Command Control, Phobos Lab, Central Processing, or the computer station.
When they reached the place known as Phobos Anomaly, Lana fired a round from her shotgun and blew up a barrel. This caused a chain reaction that caused all the other barrels to explode and killed all the demons in the room.
Mike grinned. "Nice going!"
Lana smiled.
The group went over to the door. Mike opened it, and they entered a hall.
Kevin and Heather ran to the rooms on the left and right, respectively, and killed the demons.
Then the group went to the end of the hall. Fly pushed a button, and a lift lowered. They got on it, and it rose.
The lift brought them into another room. Ahead of them, two doors rose, and two new baddies emerged. These were tall dudes with horns.
Mike and Lana went and took out the specters. The others had a feeling they didn't want to be near the new guys.
Fly took his rocket launcher off his back and fired. He hit each of the monsters five times. They died.
"Man, good thing I had Mr. Launcher." Fly said.
Arlene raised an eyebrow. "Mr. Launcher, Fly? You name your weapons?"
"What were those things?" Fly asked instead of answering her.
"Barons." Kevin answered.
"Hey, dibs on the next launcher." Arlene said.
"Fine, fine." Fly replied.
Suddenly, the ceiling rose. They were outside, above ground.
The group jumped out of the room and ran across the ground. Mike pressed a button on a staircase, and the stairs rose.
"Prepare for a huge fight, guys." Mike warned.
The group ran up the stairs and stepped onto the pentagram. They teleported away.

They teleported into a dark room. The room was quickly lit up by weapons firing.
The group killed all the bad guys in the room and managed to avoid getting hit themselves.
"What the hell is this?" Stacey asked.
"Hey, I found a teleporter!" Arlene said.
They stepped onto it.

When they arrived at the next location, Fly and Arlene weren't expecting what they saw.
"What is it, Fly?" Heather asked.
"It smells like rotten meat but looks like the lost Deimos base." Fly said.
"Well, the only way out is through." Arlene said. "Let's go."

While they were going through Deimos Anomaly, they encountered a huge, round, red creature with a big mouth. Fly fired two rockets at it. The creature shriveled and died.
"What - " Fly began.
"Cacodemon." Kristen told him.

Kevin found a plasma gun in Deimos Anomaly. Then they went to the containment area.
While they were there, they encountered a new baddie. It was a flying skull that was on fire. Heather killed it with two shotgun blasts.
This time, Fly decided to keep his mouth shut.
"Lost souls." Kevin told him anyway.
"Kevin, could you please give it a different name?" Lana asked.
"Sure, Lana." Kevin said, understanding Lana's situation. "How about flying skulls?"

Before they had left the containment area, Heather had found a chaingun, and Arlene had found a rocket launcher of her very own.
The group went through the refinery, Deimos Anamoly, the command center, the Fortress of Mystery, the Halls of the Damned, and Spawning Vats without meeting any new bad guys.
But they did when they arrived at the Tower of Babel.
They heard heavy stomping and a loud yell. Then they saw it. The monster was colossal. It had horns on its head and a rocket launcher on its right arm.
"What the fuck?!" Heather yelled.
"Cyberdemon!" Kevin yelled.
Kevin, Mike, Rick, and Kristen knew the drill, learning through many hours of Doom playing. Kevin used his plasma gun, and Mike, Rick, and Kristen used their shotguns. Heather joined in with her plasma gun, Fly and Arlene with their rocket launchers, and Lana with her shotgun. The Cyberdemon roared as it was hit from many different directions.
Unfortunately, they missed quite often while dodging the Cyberdemon's rockets. Soon they ran out of ammo.
"Oh, shit, what are we gonna do now?!" Kevin yelled.
Suddenly, more rockets hit the Cyberdemon. The group turned and saw Stacey standing there!
Stacey fired rockets at the Cyberdemon. With one final roar, the monster died and fell to the ground in a smoldering heap.
"Stacey!" Kevin said with a smile.
Mike grinned. "You found the rocket launcher!"
"Yep!" Stacey said with a grin.
Kevin walked over to Stacey, swept her up in his arms, and kissed her on the lips.
Lana cleared her throat. Kevin and Stacey stopped kissing and faced her.
"We should get going." Lana said.
"How?" Arlene asked.
"Yeah, there isn't an exit." Heather said.
"Oh, but there is." Lana pointed up.
Everybody looked up. A red planet was directly above Deimos, very close to it.
"Mars?" Kevin asked.
"Hell." Kristen said. "Deimos floats above Hell itself!"
"Don't be absurd." Lana said. "It's simply a planet that fits the popular description."
"How do we get up there?" Fly asked.
"We jump." Lana said. "We'll get caught in the planet's gravity and pulled to the surface."
The nine people jumped and landed on the surface of the planet. They got to their feet.
"So, did we jump up or down?" Stacey asked, confused.
Mike grinned. "Both, yet neither."
Kevin smiled. "You are wise."
"Thank you."
"Let's go." Lana said.

Li and Gameboy had made it to Deimos Anomaly by now.
There were very few monsters left alive. Those monsters were taken care of by Li with her laser gun and Gameboy with his bat.
They kept going forward, hoping to find their friends alive and well.

The group had encountered no new monsters at Hell Keep, the Slough of Despair, Pandemonium, the House of Pain, the unholy cathedral, Mt. Erebus, Warrens, or the Gate to Limbo.
However, Mike had found a rocket launcher at Hell Keep, Kristen had found a chaingun in the Slough of Despair, Rick had found a plasma gun in the Slough of Despair, and Fly had found a BFG9000 at Pandemonium. Once he had it, he gave his rocket launcher to Kristen.
Now they entered Dis.
As they entered the spacious arena-like room, Heather picked up a rocket launcher.
"Careful." Kevin cautioned.
On the left side of the arena were old favorites - including a Baron. On the right side was a new baddie. It looked like a brain with eyes and a mouth. It had a protective glass dome over itself and moved around in a contraption.
"A brain with metal legs." Arlene said. "Now I've seen everything."
"The Spider Mastermind." Rick told her. "Bad-ass motherfucker."
"Okay, so how do we take it out?" Fly asked.
"We'll walk around the arena, collecting the rockets. We have to stay clear of the Spider Mastermind's chaingun fire. We'll let it kill off the other baddies for us." Mike said. "Then we fire the rocket launchers and barbecue its ass."
"Sounds like a plan." Heather said with a grin.
And the plan worked. The group managed to pick up all the rockets in the path around the arena and avoid the Spider Mastermind's fire at the same time. While they were doing this, the Spider Mastermind killed the other bad guys, taking damage itself at the same time. Then the group jumped down into the arena.
"Fire!!!" Mike screamed.
Fly fired his BFG9000. The Spider Mastermind walked out of the way of the plasma blast. It couldn't avoid all of Mike, Arlene, Lana, Stacey, Heather, and Kristen's rockets, however. Nor could it avoid Kevin and Rick's plasma gun blasts.
When they ran out of rockets and plasma, Lana, Heather, and Kristen used their chainguns.
The Spider Mastermind was still standing.
"Fly, please tell me you still have enough plasma cells for a BFG blast." Mike pleaded.
"Shit." Mike said. "Okay, there's a plasma gun in that room over there. Someone go and get it."
"I'll go!" Lana ran to the room.
The others fired at the Spider Mastermind with their shotguns. Lana got the plasma gun and started running back over to the room.
At that moment, Li and Gameboy entered the arena.
The Spider Mastermind turned toward them and fired. Li ran out of the way and avoided getting hit.
Gameboy wasn't so lucky, however.
The bullets from the Spiderdemon's chaingun hit Gameboy, creating holes in his case and screen.
"Gameboy!!!" Li screamed in horror.
Gameboy fell to the floor of the arena. His circuitry was exposed. Electricity crackled throughout his body. Then his screen went black.
Li walked over to Lana and took the plasma gun out of her hands. "Give me that."
Li turned and fired at the Spider Mastermind. Tears ran down her cheeks, and her face was red. She screamed in rage as she fired at the monster that had murdered her child. All those present were surprised as Li showed such an anger and hatred that they didn't know she was capable of.
The Spider Mastermind, already weakened, died and fell to the floor in a smoldering heap.
Even after it was dead, Li crashed her plasma gun over the corpse repeatedly. She cried as she bludgeoned the monster's brain, staining her white lab coat blood-red.
After she had thrown down the weapon, everybody stood in silence for a moment.
Suddenly, a hidden door opened.
Lana placed a hand on Li's right shoulder. "Li, - "
"Fuck off!" Li yelled, pulling away. She began to cry.
"Li, I know you're sad." Lana said. "We all are. But...we should go."
Li turned and faced her. "Lana, that thing killed Gameboy!"
"I know," Lana said, "but you might still be able to save his circuitry and build him a new body. For Gameboy's sake, let's go."
Li nodded, then went over and picked up Gameboy.
The group went through the door.

On the other side, they were standing in a green field.
"Romero!" Arlene cried with joy.
"Home at last." Fly said. "I wonder what's been happening here while we've been battling evil unleashed. It's good that no monsters could come through the door with us."
"Uh, maybe not with us, Fly, but..." Kevin began. He pointed.
They looked. The city was on fire. People were driving and running away from it in a panic.
The group entered the city. Chaos was everywhere. People were being killed and turned into zombies.
"The monsters have reached Romero!" Arlene said.
She and Fly drew their shotguns and fired down the zombies.
One ran at Stacey with a gun. His face was all bloody and bruised. His uniform was torn and dirty. Stacey raised her shotgun and fired. She killed the zombie. It fell and hit the street pavement.
"You bitch." he said. "I was trying to...help you."
"Lt. Weems?" Arlene asked.
Lt. Weems died.
"Stacey," Lana said in shock, "...he was no zombie."
"Oh, my God." Kristen said.
"He...was alive?" Stacey asked. "He - I - I didn't mean it."
Lana faced Fly and Arlene. "Fly, Arlene, will you be able to handle Doom 2 by yourselves? We...need to go."
Arlene nodded. "We'll be fine." She offered Lana her right hand. "Thanks for helping us."
Lana shook it. "You're welcome."
Fly offered Mike his right hand. "Take care of yourselves."
Mike shook his hand. "You, too. And keep on Dooming."
"We will."
Mike took out a warp zone opener and opened a warp back to the Alliance Headquarters.
Kevin, Rick, Heather, Kristen, Stacey, Lana, Li, and Mike entered the warp, and it closed.
"Well, Fly Taggart, what do we do now?" Arlene asked.
"Follow me, Arlene Sanders." Fly said. "We'll shoot our way to the base. Find out what's going on once we get there."
The two of them cocked their shotguns and ran into the fury.

"So, they were able to destroy my clone." Brain Child said, watching a few viewscreens. "No matter. The invasion has just begun. Soon there will be nothing left of Romero. Let's see how Flynn Taggart and Arlene Sanders do against my spawn."

The group exited the warp and found themselves in the kitchen.
"Guys, I'd like to have a moment alone with Stacey." Lana said.
Kevin, Mike, Rick, Heather, Kristen, and Li left the room.
"Have a seat." Lana said.
Stacey sat at the kitchen table, and Lana sat to her right.
"Stacey, I realize this is difficult for you." Lana told her. "I know. I've been there. Please talk about it."
"I've never killed anyone before." Stacey sobbed. "Not a human being."
Lana placed her left hand on Stacey's right. "I know. Stacey,...dear sweet Stacey, you're always so cheerful and happy. I'd hoped you'd never have to go through this."
"I'm sorry." Stacey said.
Lana shook her head. "I'm not your priest. You'll receive no absolution from me. If you really feel bad, go to confession, but you didn't do anything wrong."
"Didn't do anything wrong?!" Stacey yelled. "I fucked up big time and killed someone! A man died because of my stupidity. Isn't that, like, a mortal sin?"
"Stacey, you made a mistake." Lana told her. "But the mistake wasn't killing him. You mistook him for a zombie. That was your mistake, not killing him. You killed in self-defense. There's nothing wrong with that."
"How do you live with it?" Stacey asked.
"This may sound cold, but you get over it." Lana said. "Well,...if it's someone you don't care for. I've killed two people. I didn't plan on it or expect it. It just happened. I had to deal with it, or else I'd keep blaming myself. You'll get over this in time."
"I, uh," Stacey began, "I guess it's kinda like losing your virginity, huh? You can never go back."
"No, Stacey, there's a difference." Lana told her.
"If I take a human life to save another, I'll still be able to respect myself. If I lose my virginity, any guilt I feel will stay with me until the day I die."
Stacey swallowed hard. "Thanks, Lana."
Lana kissed Stacey on her forehead. "Good night, Stacey."
Stacey looked at Lana, then leaned forward and kissed her on the left cheek. "Good night, Lana."
Stacey stood up and walked over to the fridge. She took out a can of Pepsi, then left the room.
Lana watched her go. She replayed the moment in her mind when Stacey kissed her. What was that? "Thank you, dear friend"?
Then Lana thought of the other possibility.
"I love you, Lana."

Copyright © 1999 by Mark Moore