The Power of Words
AUTHORS NOTE: The characters are not mine. They are the sole copyright of NetherRealm Studios and Hasbro. Anything else however, well you'll just have to wait and see…
Ed could not believe it. This was a disaster of nigh epic proportions.
The programmer and mastermind behind the fabled ode to martial arts and violence sat in his chair, looking thorough the current roster of fighters he had. And we must emphasize on the word 'had' at this moment, for the present situation left his stock of burly brawlers quite empty. There was no possible way he could hope to start up any work on the next installment in the 'Mortal Kombat' saga now.
"EVERY SINGLE STINKING ONE OF THEM?"
These were the words that burst forth from his mouth, signs of disbelief, panic and restrained terror hidden within. His assistant, Larry, slowly nodded in response, but managing to maintain a composed aura about him. "I'm afraid so, sir," Larry confirmed, "and it looks like we may not even have enough reserve fighters to even try to make a separate spinoff. We just may have to aim for a new angle, like perhaps a time skip scenario."
"No not with this series. After the way we ended this one, we've got a shitload of questions to answer for. Ok, maybe it's not so bad. They're intelligent people…"
"Yeah I know, most of them aren't human. That doesn't mean I can't reason with them. We can sit down and work it out, that's how we got them all back together. We even got Stryker back. That was a good thing."
"It may not be that easy sir. The cast has made, dare I say, DRASTIC changes after they quit." Larry sat down in the chair opposite Ed and folded his arms in his lap as Ed warily asked "What do you mean?"
"Well, to start off, Liu Kang decided to open up his own Tai Chi studio. He teaches it to the elderly now. Kano renounced his life of crime and is now a Born Again Christian bounty hunter. He currently has captured 55 of L.A.'s most wanted fugitives."
"Wow. That was fast."
"Johnny Cage has decided to become a more serious actor, so he's now doing Shakespeare. He's playing the lead role in Richard III and word is he may be a shoe in for a Tony. Raiden has decided to look into research for clean energy alternatives. He's got a think tank up in Seattle now. Scorpion has decided to become a anger management counselor and help people learn to channel their rage and focus it elsewhere. Sub Zero decided to become an ice cream salesman."
"And Sonya? What about her?"
"She volunteered herself to head up a Spec-Ops unit in Iraq. Word is she just eliminated a major terrorist cell in Baghdad."
"At least there could be hope with her," Ed sighed, "but the others…"
"That could be a bit tricky. Kitana decided to be a fashion model. Mileena is now currently a very successful motivational speaker. Her book "Look Beyond The Mask", its at the top of the NY Times bestseller list in non-fiction. Baraka, Goro, Montaro and Shiva each have decided to fight for equal rights for their respective races in Outworld. Reptile opted instead to hire him out as a stunt double for Lizard in the next Spider Man movie…yes I know, shocking huh? Cyrax and Sektor have donated themselves to MIT so that students can learn from their hardware."
"Geez, this is overkill man! Who else do you know about?"
"It gets a bit dodgy here. Rain has opted to go learn the skills of, and I can't believe I can say this with a straight face, water bending. Sindel is performing opera at The Met now, she's gotten lots of positive reviews. Nightwolf has become a National Parks ranger, while Noob Saibot is working as a stuntman for the Naruto crew. Jax and Jade got married…"
"Yeah, no one saw that coming. They got married and decided to move up to Canada. Shang Tsung and Quan Chi however, decided to turn into Vegas magicians. Their act has made them instant millionaires. Stryker has quit law enforcement and is now a consultant for television. Word on the grapevine says he will start writing for CSI or NCIS."
"What about the big guy, what about Shao Kahn?"
"His was the most notable of all. He renounced violence and decided to become a philanthropist. He's opened up several orphanages and charities, hell he's even got his own line of kid friendly toys."
Ed rubbed his temple. All of it was so damn frustrating. These were, as one fan put it, the baddest of bad ass fighters he had lost. "And you're absolutely sure all of the other fighters are unavailable?"
"Sadly no. To be fair, most of the fighters left are fairly unpopular. I don't think anyone wants to see a fighter from Deception or Armageddon getting their own game. We had bad enough issues with the drunken monk."
"Ugh, don't remind me. I just can't understand this. How could they just up and quit like this?"
"I think I may know what did this. Are you familiar with 'My Little Pony'?"
Ed raised an eyebrow. "Please, PLEASE tell me that's not why they quit."
"Uh, not exactly. Ok, hear me out; there's this show that's become really popular now called 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic', it's a hit with everyone. Not just little girls, EVERYONE. It's like SpongeBob all over again, but in a good way. There's even a subset of fans called 'bronies' who are identified as…"
"Yeah, uh, I know about the bronies thing."
"Anyway, it turns out that most of the fighters are viewers of the show. Mileena in particular is a huge fan."
"Ok, so why did My Little Pony just kill my franchise?"
"It wasn't the ponies sir," Larry answered. "Rather, it was the internet."
"…fucking Rule 34!"
"No, it wasn't that. It was something far worse that made them all quit."
"Are you telling me there is something far worse than Rule 34 of our guys? What could have been that bad to do this?" Ed practically screamed.
"It's a story, sir. "Cupcakes" is a MLP story that was written and has a, well, notorious reputation among the internet dwellers. Even 4chan fears and hates it."
"Well, one day, Mileena read it and…it broke her. Bad. Then the others got wind of what happened, looked up the story and, as you can see, this was the result."
"So, what you are saying is a story featuring some ponies that is feared even by They Who Must Never Be Angered did this to us?"
"Afraid so sir." Larry glumly nodded.
"To be fair, it was described as 'grimdark as fuck' by Equesteria Daily."
Ed slammed his head on the desk. This was gonna be one of those days, he just knew it. "Well, guess I got no choice. Tell the execs to give me two weeks. I think I know what I need to do."
"What are you gonna do?"
"I have no recourse; I'm gonna lock myself in my house, hook up my laptop in my living room, watch MLP nonstop and write the best damn pony story ever devised and get those people back into prime ass kicking mode. There's no way I'm going out like this!"