NOTES: Here we are at the close! In all seriousness, this fic was actually right up there with Mysterious Scent and V&V, I genuinely enjoyed writing this one a whole whole whole lot. It started out as a weird idea I was messing around with and just sort of mutated into this semi-epic tale. Maybe I should do more crossovers, what do you think? Anyway, thanks to Phantom Thief Kid, my lone reviewier for keeping me company on this crazy journey into the cosmos. And now, the grand finale! -MS


- Chapter 16: See You Next Multidimensional Mission -

...five minutes earlier...

King Bowser Koopa was riding high. This was it; this was the day all of his rotten luck would finally turn around! No one had seen hide nor hair of the red-capped scourge in a full week. It had happened during their foiled attempt to take control of Pipe Maze; there had been two Mario Brothers at the start of the battle, but by the end of it, the more adventurous of the pair was a no-show. It was the best news he'd heard all century! Then, after a week of hasty repairs to their air fleet and sending spy after spy into Mushroom Village to find out if he really had vanished, it was finally time for his cunning tactics to shine.

This was their day in the sun. This was going to be a day for all Koopas everywhere to remember.

"Dad, can I have some ice cream?"

King Bowser Koopa wished he had a babysitter.

"Okay, Lemmy," he sighed tiredly, running his left claw over his reptilian face while his right continued to steer the Doom Ship. "What flavor?"

"Butterscotch Ripple! Ooh, can I have some, huh? Can I can I can I can I can-"

"NO! The Ripple is mine! All you brats know that much! And that's KING Dad, or do you need to go to bed straight after our hostile takeover without any TV time?"

Lemmy was crestfallen. "Aww, King Dad, but tonight's the only night when Eggplant The Clown comes on! He's my role model!"

"Then get a new role model, runt!" Roy cackled as he smacked his younger brother on the back so hard he fell off his circus ball. "Like me; I take after Reznor Fonzarelli, the king of cool!"

"Will all of you be quiet!" Ludwig snapped, eyes widening in fury as he ducked back out from under the main console of the ship's computer. "The navigational array isn't going to repair itself, you know!"

Roy's eyebrows knitted over the top of his sunglasses. "ME be quiet? I'm too freakin' awesome to take orders from a nerdy little hairball like you!"

It was just as they began to bicker in earnest that Wendy trotted in. Rolling her eyes at their squabble, she turned to find Larry in the corner. He was playing with a hand-held video game. Then he wasn't, because she dropped a magazine on top of it. "What do you think of these earrings?"

"AARGH!" he burst out in sheer frustration. "You made me lose! I was just about to finally get my claws on the Coat Of No Particular Color, too!"

"I think I want them in ruby," she went on as if he hadn't spoken. "But then again, the sapphire matches my eyes. Don't you think they would match my eyes?"

"How much do I look like I care what your-"

THOOM.

The entire Koopa family went silent. That wasn't their cannons firing; it was something banging into the hull of the ship. Two seconds later, Morton was sliding down the ladder from the crow's nest and into the cabin. "It's awful, terrible, terribly awful, disgustive and repulsing!"

"What, what, what?" Roy bellowed. "Spit it out!"

"Mario's out there wrecking everything! Making a mess out of the mess hall, planks out of the plank, leaving holes in the hold! And he's not alone!"

Bowser lashed out with his fist and knocked over Lemmy, who had the bad fortune of jumping into the air to land atop his ball again at the exact wrong moment. "Blasted bilge-brains! Both of those bamboozling brothers on my boat!"

"No," Morton said, his voice somehow hushed and shrill at the same time. "This other guy, it's not Luigi! I don't know what the heck he is!"

Before anybody could ask further, the door that led out of the cabin and onto the poop deck imploded and went flying across to the opposite wall, taking down poor Lemmy for a third time. In bounded Raccoon Mario, fists flying and determination in every inch of his fuzzy 'stache.

"Curse you calzone-chewing cretin! What have you done to my luxury liner?"

"I'm laying in a new course: back to Dark Land, you pompous, pilfering piece of pr-"

"ENOUGH!" shouted a voice so unfamiliar that silence fell immediately. "If one more person tries out such painful alliteration again, I swear I'm just gonna burn this thing down with all of you in it!"

The Koopas turned, astounded, to look at the new player in this eternal chess game of theirs. Tall, metallic, foreboding. A real threat. And it had some kind of enormous gun.

Instantly, they all began to scatter in every which way, fumbling and crawling over the tops of each other. Two of the boys attempted to get through the hole left by the door at the same time and got stuck, so Mario simply grabbed Iggy and Lemmy's tails and swung them back into the room, knocking their heads together and putting them out of commission. Morton ended up unconscious by jumping head-first into the steering wheel, and Larry got so tangled up in a length of rope that he might as well have been hogtied. Roy stood his ground, determined to fight to the bitter end, but a single well-aimed stun blast from the interloper had him groaning on the floor.

Finally, with Mario facing down the nervously-twitching patriarch, the unknown assailant paced slowly over to the cowering figure of Wendy, clutching her fashion magazine in front of her chest and watching with wide, fearful eyes. "P-please..."

"What's that?" a voice asked from behind the opaque helmet. "You have something to say, hatchling?"

"I..." She cleared her throat, glancing around at her fallen brothers, and managed a weak smile. "Come on, you wouldn't hurt an innocent little girl, would you? Not one this cute!" Then she smiled wider, fluttered her eyelashes, even as her breathing came faster. However, the stranger continued to advance, to crouch and move in. "Oh no, don't... I promise I wasn't doing anything truly evil; all I want is some designer jewelry from the upcoming Kammy Hilfiger fall collection! P-please, I... who the heck are you?"

"You don't know?"

Only when the green visor was an inch from Wendy's face did it slide up, revealing... a mirror. No, wait; it wasn't a mirror. This other face was about a decade older, a little more weathered and scarred, but unnervingly similar – and most importantly of all, it was a Koopa face. The only Koopa she had ever seen outside of her own family.

"BOO."

Then, as she let out a tiny "Yii!" of sheer fright, Wendy lost the last scrap of dignity she was clinging to when she made a tiny puddle beneath herself on the floor.

"You think you've won, huh, pasta-face?" Bowser was growling angrily. "Bringing in outside forces – I cry foul! It's bad enough you and your miserable sibling dropped in outta noplace and ruined my fun! Now you gotta go traipsing all over the known galaxy and bringing back hired help?"

"Oh, clam up already, you degenerate." The 'help' took off her helmet as she stood up again, revealing a long, flowing mane of golden hair that trailed down to the middle of her back. More importantly, she revealed a curiously reptilian face. "I'm ashamed to call you a member of my species."

The few Koopas who were still awake gaped in awe at what they were seeing. It couldn't be real. In fact, Roy voiced this exact opinion when he said, "This can't be real, I... how is... wow, she's hot!"

"It's some sort of trick," Ludwig hissed, trying to yank his way free of the electrical wires wrapped around his feet. The woman was still glaring at Roy with a great deal of revulsion and didn't even look over at him while he spoke. "An elaborate costume designed to catch us off-guard, to confuse us so they can more easily take us prisoner! Don't fall for it! One of you, quick, part her from that ridiculously-cheap mask so we can-"

"Get out of my reality!"

Everyone turned to look at Bowser. Mario let out a harsh laugh. "Since when does Mushroom Land belong to you, lizard lips? It belongs to everybody!"

"What did I tell you about the 'lizard' comments?" the unknown woman scolded him in an undertone, and Mario looked the tiniest bit remorseful about his choice of words. But then he was listening to Bowser rant and rave.

"I paid good money to that shady crackpot Marius to get my own dimension all to myself – just me and the missus and our eggs! He swore nobody would follow us through, that he was going to destroy the portal afterward! What a lousy businessman!"

"Oh really?" This seemed to greatly interest the stranger. "So you paid Dr. Marius for this? He had the technology all along, did he? Oh, if only we could have brought him in..."

"King Dad," Larry hissed from the floor, "what's going on? Who is she, what is she talking about?"

The scaly man didn't answer; he just stood there, huffing and puffing indignantly with his fists clenched. Mario was the first to speak again. "You were from the Rosetta Galaxy all along. All this time, the princess has been wondering how you got here and why you came when you did, why you suddenly decided you got to own this whole world lock, stock, and barrel, and it's... and it turns out you really don't belong here!"

"Yes I do!" Bowser shouted. "It's mine, I paid for it! You really think Bowser Koopa was gonna give up and go home just because of a few Fungish primitives? Bah! Their adults barely come up to my knees! My whole conquest of this land would have been a cakewalk if you filthy humans hadn't meddled in my affairs!"

"Bowser, Bowser..." Then the woman's large blue eyes lit up. "You... your real name isn't Barzus, is it? Please, tell me it's not. I'd actually really appreciate it if you say it's not, even if you're lying. That would be pretty Bob-ombdamn decent of you and might make up for everything you've already-"

"How do you know that name?" he growled, both suspicious and irritated at her knowledge. "I haven't used it in years! Nobody should know it by now! Who the Koop are you?"

"I am Wendus Oran. And..." Wendus swallowed as if she was very close to losing her lunch all over the cabin floor. "And I guess my family reunions might be a little more crowded than I told you, Mario."

"Wendus? Y- aw, crap." Bowser slapped a palm to his face. "Tarzus swore he was gonna let me use that name for my firstborn daughter. What a lousy brother he turned out to be! Well, I already knew that much, I guess; he refused to help me get the credits together to make the jump to Mushroom Land! Can you believe that? My own brother! Makes me glad I siphoned it from his bank account anyway."

A small "ahem" made everyone look back to Ludwig, who had already freed his legs and stood. "Excuse me if I'm somewhat mistaken in my interpretation of this little exchange, but am I to believe... this gilded female is... is perhaps our... cousin?"

"Yep," Wendus affirmed reluctantly.

Mario wasn't sure what he thought was going to happen; for his own part, he was still reeling over this most recent development. More than anything, he was waiting for disbelief, for accusations and threats and other such Koopa-like pandemonium. What he didn't expect was for every last Koopaling (the ones who were awake, at least) to crowd around Wendus expectantly, eyes wide and curious, some of them hopping from foot to foot in ill-suppressed glee.

"Another Koopa!" Larry whispered. "Gosh!"

"I never thought I'd meet one!" Iggy gasped.

"Gross, I said my cousin was hot," Roy said, looking a little queasy. "That ain't right, man... no fair! I mean, how was I supposed to know?"

"Terrific," Wendus was grumbling as they pawed at her suit, as they all babbled at once. "And now how long am I going to be putting up with this?"

Ludwig waved his hand like a schoolkid in a classroom, calling, "Miss Oran! The plumber said we're from the Rosetta Galaxy – where is that, exactly? Could you point it out on my star charts if I showed them to you?"

"Your gun-arm thingy is so groovy, so radical, so lethal!" Morton was yammering on and on. "Where can I get one just like it, a facsimile, a replica, a variation on the archetype that you-"

"MAKE WAY, YOU JERKS!" Everyone cringed away from the shrillness of the voice. Wendy stomped forward in her little pink heels, put her hands on her hips, and glared up at her taller counterpart. "Wendus, huh? You got my name and my face, and you're supposed to be my older cousin? You know what I say to that?"

"No idea," Wendus sighed wearily. "Go ahead, say whatever it is before I lose interest."

"I say THANK GOD!" The girl threw her arms around Wendus's legs, shoulders shaking with powerful sobs. "Do you have any idea what it's like being stranded in a family with nothing but icky brothers? They wanna make mud pies and pick their noses and – ugh – play sports! No appreciation for the finer things in life like expensive shoes or claw manicures! And I get kicked around because I'm the only girl and they think girls are wimpy and dumb, but now here you are, and you're... you're so COOL! Where have you been hiding and why didn't you come sooner?"

Then, for the first time since she had entered Mushroom Land, Wendus cracked a genuine smile.

-o-o-o-o-

"Well, I guess this time it really is goodbye."

Mario nodded, hands deep in his pockets. "Yep, I guess so. Just sorry you couldn't have stayed longer, taken the grand tour... experienced this magical countryside of ours."

Wendus chuckled, laugh lines appearing at the corners of her eyes. Mario felt a pang when he noticed them; she was really too young to be developing any at all, but she'd been through a lot in her early life. More than anyone should have to. "You know, I honestly didn't believe your stories about pyrotechnic flowers until I saw you eat that leaf and turn into a flying rodent. So bizarre."

"Sure you won't stick around for a quick bite and a few stories? Chef Torte, down in the castle kitchens? That man can make a mean crème brûlée that'll light your world on fire!"

"Any cook you trust has to be good, pudgy buns. Maybe someday."

"Or not. Aren't you going to tell Gadd to explode the gateway after you go through?"

"Nah." She shrugged, looking around in wonder at the clear blue skies and grassy plains. "I'm sure Peachpittine will make sure he doesn't run around using it to do overly-hazardous things and that's good enough for me."

"What about Marius? Doesn't he love tampering with forces beyond his control like it's a weekend hobby?"

"He does. But don't you remember? Marius already knows the technology exists and perfected it before the professor started his own work. No point trying to hide it from him." She took a deep breath and stared vaguely toward the portal. "Though my new mission in life is to bring that dirtbag in for good; he can't be trusted to live out in the universe where other people are."

"Too true." Mario glanced over her shoulder. Through the heat-haze effect the portal created, he could just see Bowser in Gadd's laboratory, struggling against the magnetic shackles that had been placed on him by a few of the Fungalactic Federation Police officers. Most of his children were standing by him, shouting and carrying on, also cuffed because they had tried to free their father, but two of them were still lingering in the Mushroom Kingdom, waiting for her to catch up: Wendy and Ludwig.

Following his gaze, Wendus allowed herself a rueful smirk. "Yeah, I know. Family. I spent so much time lamenting that mine was gone, and now that I have one again, it's kind of a 'be careful what you wish for' scenario. What am I supposed to do with them?"

"Bowser has to go to jail," Mario told her adamantly. "No matter what he called himself before he moved to our neck of the woods, he still threw his weight around and tried to force us all to be his servants. Rotten, no-good, stinking-"

"Fine, fine, I'm not arguing with that part. But... where do the children go?" She gulped. "I told them their father was my father's brother, but I haven't had a chance to... to... how do you tell hatchlings that the aunt and uncle they're so excited to meet are already dead?"

Mario's face fell. For the first time, when he looked over at Ludwig and Wendy standing there, waiting for their cousin and staring at the grass nervously, all he saw was a pair of children. It wasn't their fault they had a bad luck of the draw when it came to which of the two Oran brothers appointed himself lord of Castle Koopa. That was just the life and fate, cruel as always.

"What happened to their mother, anyway?" Mario wondered aloud, almost to himself. "I can't help but think if she had stuck around, if they'd had at least one parent who didn't suck so bad…"

"I'll wring that out of the surviving parent. Eventually, when I'm ready to find out myself." She swept a hand through her bangs. "Okay, Mr. Ambassador, enough stalling; Gadd says that once this portal closes I'll be stuck here for three months until he'll be able to establish the gateway again, so if I don't-"

"WAIT!"

Both of them whirled to see Luigi huffing and puffing as he ran up the hill. Mario was still wondering in the back of his mind why the portal had appeared just a brisk walk outside Mushroom Village, but he was just beginning to suspect it might have been where he picked that Fire Flower Gadd used in his research. A pretty shoddy hypothesis, but the only one he had.

"Okay, okay," she said bemusedly. "Make it quick, Brother Of Brooklyn."

Luigi only looked momentarily curious at the label, then bent double to regain his breath for a few seconds before he straightened and handed her a scroll with a bright-pink wax seal holding it closed. "This... is a missive from... Her Majesty, Princess Toadstool. She sends... her regrets that she cannot... come in person to testify against... Bowser Koopa, but she-"

"She's got her plate full already cleaning up his messes?" Wendus guessed, hoping to save him the trouble of talking when he should be trying to get oxygen back into his lungs. "Fine, fine. I'll make sure the supreme chancellor gets... hey, what's this other thing?"

"A medal," he panted as she looked it over. A bright, shiny golden star, etched with the Toadstool family crest. "For bravery and valor and... service to the kingdom. Normally, there'd be a parade in your honor, but since... you're on a tight schedule, she figured the least we could do was toss it to you. So, uh, please accept this token of our gratitude, or something like that."

Wendus grinned, then tried to pin it to her Power-Up Suit, but obviously that wasn't going to work. Therefore, she took the time to remove her breastplate and pin it to her zero-suit instead. Mario noticed Luigi's eyes bug out, but when he kicked the taller brother he seemed to come back to himself.

"It'll never be far from my heart," she promised once she had put her armor back on. Then she placed both hands on Mario's shoulders. "You're gonna be allright without me, tenderfoot? This wild, untamed, prehistoric land of yours doesn't seem too inviting."

"We manage well enough. You get back to hunting down those hotspots of scum and villainy, Your Worship. The Kingdom needs me, and Rosetta Galaxy needs you." Mario bit back the "hill of beans" line from Casablanca that had sprung to mind, though it did make his bemused smile a little bit moreso.

"If you say so. But... oh, Bob-omb help me, I'm actually gonna miss having your hairy face around. We made a half-decent team."

Ah, what the hey; you only live once. In his best Bogart, he intoned, "Here's lookin' at you, kid."

She laughed, as if she still couldn't quite figure out what to make of him after all this time. Then she leaned over and up and kissed him on the forehead, eliciting a shocked outcry from the Koopalings behind her. "Such a funny little man."

It was time. The Space Hunter picked up her abandoned helmet from the ground, stuck the royal missive inside it and turned to go, sunshine-hued locks fluttering in the light breeze like something out of a movie. Just as she got within a few feet of her tiny cousins and Ludwig was already opening his mouth to ask some question about the portal or her suit, Mario called out, "Wendy?"

For the first time, she turned without comment at the nickname, even as the young Wendy O. Koopa pursed her ruby-red lips in outrage at having to share.

"Come back sometime. I mean it."

The small, wistful smile filled him with an oddly cold warmth. And when she raised her free hand to her brow and actually saluted him, he couldn't have been more surprised than if she'd dropped to one knee and asked for his hand in marriage. Then she finished the salute and her face took on a bold defiance, as if she meant what she was about to say more than he could ever imagine.

"See you in the stars... Mario."

Ten seconds later, all the Koopas were gone. Every last one.

"WHEW!" Luigi gusted, wiping his forehead with the back of his hand once the portal had irised closed and vanished. "Glad that's over! Think about it, Mario; no more attacks or kidnappings, ever! Maybe we can finally settle into a peaceful era for once!"

"Yeah."

As they began to trot back into town, Luigi nudged his brother. "Why so glum, chum? This is what we've been fighting to achieve for years and years, now. Bowser and his horde are history! It's good news!"

"You're right, I know you are." He rolled his shoulders, loosening the tense muscles. Then he lashed out with his arm and snared Luigi around the neck, causing the younger brother to laugh. "Boy, is it great to be back! I've missed everybody something fierce, and hey! Have I got a heck of a story to tell you guys – all the fantastical stuff I've seen!"

"Yeah; the mushroom retainers are still pushing that cart of goodies up to the castle. Seriously, they gave you a statue?" When Mario only kept walking, staring at his boots, he lowered his voice and asked, "Come on, you're not really gonna miss that Koopa woman that bad, are ya? I mean... she's cute for a lizard, I guess, but be serious. What kind of future would you two have together? Hunting bounties, beating up crooks... and she'd probably have you eating chilled monkey brains or whatever weird stuff Koopas eat."

"KoopaNs," Mario corrected. "Now that I know what they're called, we gotta start using the right word. And you know something? We really did just end up with the worst example of their race. We really did."

"Whatever you say, man."

"Besides," he went on with a twinkle of amusement in his eye, "I saw the way you looked at her morph balls when she pinned that medal to her shirt. Naughty, naughty, brother mio."

"Her what? Hey!" When Mario began to walk faster, Luigi jogged to catch up. "Wait up, you creep!"

"Exercise, Luigi! If you're out of breath, you're out of shape!"

"How could you accuse me of such a thing? I would never- well, Koopas don't normally have any- you really think I'd be interested in dating some cold-blooded vixen from outer space?"

"You could do a lot worse than Wendus – believe me. Not that she'd give you the time of day." Then something came to him, and he stopped short just as they neared the castle moat. "By the way... have you thought of dropping in on Daisy lately?"

Luigi's eyebrows furrowed. "Daisy? Wow, that's a name I haven't heard in... well, a long time. What made you think of her?"

"No reason."

"MARIO!"

Both plumbers looked up, startled, and Mario grinned when he saw Princess Peach Toadstool bounding over the drawbridge, her disheveled hair an enormous golden bird's nest that had swallowed up her crown at some point. His grin only got wider when he saw she was wearing an old, faded pair of pink overalls, a ratty blue t-shirt, and one grubby shoe. Her other foot was bare and almost black with dirt. "Milady," he said with a gracious bow, but she plowed into him, squeezing with all her might.

"Oh, thank God you're safe! The whole kingdom's been looking everywhere, trying to figure out what happened, I- we all missed you so much, you have no idea!"

"Take it easy!" he laughed, holding her at arm's length. "Geez, not that it could ever make you any less beautiful, but you're a colossal mess!"

Her smudged cheeks began to glow. "W-well, I was out in the garden pulling weeds when Koopa attacked, you know; there wasn't time to change! But where have you been? Luigi gave me the bare details – that there was some robot from another universe with you! Is Koopa really gone? Did the robot already go home? Where is home for them, exactly? And how come all your luggage says 'Ambassador' on it?"

"It's a long, ridiculous story, Peach, and I promise I'll tell you all about it over dinner. What the heck happened to your other shoe?"

"I threw it at a Snifit," she told him easily with a big, goofy smile. In that smile, he could see the qualities Peach encompassed that her doppelganger didn't; effervescence, contentment, earthiness, warmth, openness. Everything Leena didn't have the luxury of enjoying. No, they really were two very different women, and he knew he could never sacrifice either one of them for the other. "But nevermind that, just... tell me first, most importantly. Are you okay, Mario? Will everything be okay?"

Mario contemplated this question for a fleeting instant. Then he ran a gloved hand over her frizzy, sweat-soaked hair and her breath caught. Those compassionate, deep blue eyes were concerned for a whole new reason now, and she fingered the bib of his overalls nervously, waiting to see what might happen next. At last, as he touched his nose to hers, he let out a contented sigh.

"You're Bob-ombdamn right it will."

- Epilogue -

Space Hunter's Log, Entry 9121:

"I am presently en route to the distant planet of SMB388. Supreme Chancellor Peachpittine has declared, after much deliberation, that Goomboids cannot be allowed to exist in a universe where the Space Plumbers are out there trying to exploit their natural abilities to further their black desires. Alas, the Fungalactic Federation Police aren't having much luck with their attempt at genocide. Therefore, Leena specifically asked me to step in, dispatching me to their world of origin. I cannot describe the look of regret in her eyes when speaking about her decree, but she was adamant; they must be put down for the safety of our citizenry.

"Back on Gaddologic Space Labs, Professor Gadd and Ludwig are working together to attempt a reconfiguration of the Ice Beam so that it will destabilize the molecular structure of the Goomboids; this will give me a great advantage in my coming battles. Ludwig has also taken a great interest in the Super Missile Bill upgrade, and is attempting to link it with the beam to devise a devastating attack he has tentatively named the 'Ice Spreader'. I'm crossing my fingers that all of their efforts are met with success.

"However, it is with some unease that I report the news of my uncle Barzus Oran's escape from the Fungitraz orbital prison. It is unclear how he even accomplished this, being that his cell is still locked tight, but I have heard that a Space Plumber frigate was spotted in the area.

"Yes, I too would first look to his family, but I have been guaranteed that all of my younger cousins were safely tucked away in the Orphanarium on Koopus V at the time of his escape, and Ludwig was feeding the Etakongs on GSL. Even more specifically, I was suffering through a video conference at that exact hour with the little Wendy, listening to her tell me about this Koopan boy she had a crush on and beg me for dating advice. How do you tell a girl who thinks you hung the moons that your experience in that area amounts to one or two whirlwind romances that ended in disaster?

"But I'm letting myself lose focus; the mission is all that matters. I have Goomboids to destroy and survivors to locate. There may not be any survivors, but I'll go over the subterranean catacombs of that planet with a fine-tune handheld scanner if I must. Those are Peachpittine's marching orders.

"And yet I can't help but feel an urge to make a little side-trip to GSL. Not solely for the juiced-up Ice Beam, but to ask the egghead if he's willing to hook up the dimensional portal again. How about it? Should I send for... reinforcements? Nah. I shouldn't bother them. Mario and his cohort have achieved lasting tranquility in their kingdom, and that above all else must be respected.

"It's crazy. When I almost tripped over that chubby little human down in the shadowy evil of Durian, I never would have expected in an eon that he would give me back not just my sense of humor and my faith in people... but my family. The one thing I knew – knew was gone for good...

"You know what? He is a certified Space Hunter, not to mention a member of my guild. If I want to call on him for backup, it's well within my right. Not only that, but he told me to come back sometime, and we really do make a half-decent team. I am laying in new coordinates for the research station and updating my itinerary to include this brief stopover, then sending word to Gadd to have the portal and that spare Power-Up Suit out of mothballs by the time I get there.

"After all, he's practically family, too. It's about time we held a reunion – a reunion among the stars." -Captain of the Red Pearl, Wendus Oran

- The End -