Author: The Gar'En

Author: The Gar'En

Contact: foilman1@usa.net

Address: www.geocities.com/darkforcepro

HA! Take THAT, Naomi Sisko! I bet you thought you were the only one who would EVER write a Minesweeper fic, didn't you! AHAHAHAHAHA!(throws a smoke bomb on the floor and vanishes)

Now, from the man who brought (and is still bringing) you Ash to Ash, Dust to Dust, comes the finest piece of mind-melting crap you'll ever read! This is my first time writing a one-part fic, and probably the second time that anyone has ever written a fanfic about the Windows Start Menu games. This was envisioned in a day for the sole purpose of giving the other Minesweeper writer competition for this highly sought-after category!

And now, I present...

ENDGAME

This is the epic story of four Windows games, and their narrow brush with deletion from their school-PC home. First there was Minesweeper. He was smart, as he needed to be to last long on the minefield, but he hated his job. At first, he was really gung-ho about it, calling himself 'Shepherd of the Mines' or something snazzy like that. But after the first few mines exploded, his like for his position changed, and he started calling himself 'Flagmonkey' or, on really bad days, 'Sorry son of a bitch'.

Second, there was Hearts. She could easily be summed up in one word: bitch. In two words: mega bitch. And so forth. She was in a perpetually bad mood, and loved to transfer some of her pain into others by, say, giving a player the Queen of Spades and as many hearts as she could while holding one little heart back to prevent a player from shooting the moon.

Third, there was FreeCell. FreeCell had had about fifteen minutes of fame a few years back, then everyone realized they hated him. He started hitting the bottle. Hard. He became given to fits of shouting 'Hey! You can't do that move is illegal!' or something incoherent like that even when no one was playing the game or even in the same room.

Fourth and lastly was Solitaire. To be frank, Solitaire was the most boring game ever. Rumor had it that he had a few relatives who were more interesting, but since none of them had ever been seen on the system, they were of no concern. Solitaire lived with the other three games in the Games folder.

These four games didn't know it immediately, but they were each in big danger. For they were not on any old PC; they were on a school computer...

"So then I says 'Hey! You can'd put tha Ten a' diamons on the Jack a' Hearts, dumbass! But if ya' bends over, I'll show ya' where ya' CAN put it!" FreeCell said before starting up with a string of hysterical drunken laughter.

"SHUT UP!" Hearts yelled, slapping FreeCell sharply across the face. His head turned around from the force, and he toppled into a motionless pile on the floor.

"Is he dead?" Solitaire asked.

"Like I care," Hearts scoffed.

The door to the Games folder opened, revealing a charred, very unhappy Minesweeper.

"Oh, did the poor baby have a bad day at work?" Hearts taunted.

"Mines...so many mines...mines...EVERYWHERE! AHHHHHH!" Minesweeper screamed as he dove through the window. He fell for quite a long time, considering the Games folder was at the top of the Start Menu.

A few minutes later, after climbing the stairs, he reappeared at the still-open door to the Games folder, with a few more wounds then before.

"Okay, I got that out of my system," Minesweeper said as he sat down at the table with Hearts and Solitaire. FreeCell was still unconcious on the floor.

"What happened to him?" Minesweeper asked, looking at FreeCell.

"I happened to him," Hearts said viciously.

"You and a bottle of tequila," Solitaire finished.

"Turn on the Netscape. I need something to take my mind off the pain," Minesweeper said.

"I doubt anything good's on," Solitaire said unenthusiastically as he picked up the remote control for their cruddy, black and white Netscape. They scrolled through the channels, of which there was a pathetic selection since all the good stations required higher versions. One channel was a news site that hadn't been updated since the Reagan administration, one was a broken Geocities link, one was a site that promised customers 'the best vasectomy they ever had'. They stumbled through Fanfiction.net for a moment, and screamed in horror for a moment as they saw themselves in the screen. The moment passed, though, as soon as the channel was changed again. After flipping through several more, Solitaire turned the Netscape off.

"Told you," Solitaire said, almost sadly as always.

"Oh well. I'll check the mail," Minesweeper said. He nearly tripped over FreeCell, but eventually made it to the Mailbox. He took out the few letters and brought them back to the table.

"Bill. Bill. 'Rent overdue' notice. Bill. Junk mail. Mail-Virus," Minesweeper counted off, throwing each respectively over his shoulder. Except the mail-virus package; he threw that out the window, where it promptly exploded. No one seemed to care; it had been quite a shock for them all when the first Mail-Virus had come, but this was the twenty-seventh in two weeks.

However, he eventually reached one letter that got a reaction out of him. His eyes grew wide as he looked at just the envelope. It was from the Recycle bin. His eyes opened even wider, if that was possible, as he opened it and read the contents.

"What the hell's the matter with you? Gimme' that!" Hearts ordered, snatching the paper out of Minesweeper's hands. She read it and looked shocked for a second, then a devilish smile grew on her face. She dropped the letter and ran to her room.

"What's this thing say?" Solitaire asked, picking up the letter.

"Its...its our deletion notice," Minesweeper said, still shocked. "They're cleaning up the desktop for the new year, and we're to be deleted! This is terrible! I'm too entertaining to die!"

"Well, I think its very decent of them to tell us they're going to delete us," Solitaire said, still in the depressed calm that he always seemed to be in. "Give us some time to wrap things up and all that."

Suddenly, a knock came from the door.

"Hello?" a voice asked from the other side.

Minesweeper hesitated before answering. "Um...yes?"

"Yes, hello, we're from the Recycling Bin. We have deletion orders for Minesweeper, Hearts, FreeCell, and Solitaire. Could you kindly open the door so as we could delete you, please?" the voice asked very politely. Solitaire actually got out of his seat with the full intention of letting them in, but luckily he tripped over FreeCell.

"Gotta' think, gotta' think," Minesweeper said to himself. His thoughts came to a sudden, unceremonious stop when Hearts came out her room, decked in full battle garb. She had her lucky shotgun, which she called 'The Queen of Spades', an assortment of throwing-arrow-cursors, and some other generally deadly equipment.

"Hey, MS, do you have any of those spare mines on hand?" she asked.

"What are you doing! These are Recycling men, we can't fight them like this! Don't you remember what they did to AmiPro?" Minesweeper asked.

Another knock on the door. "Excuse me, sirs and madam, could you please open the door? I'd like to take this moment to remind you all that the process is quite painless and humane."

"I'll show you PAINLESS!" Hearts said as she pointed her bazooka at the door. Minesweeper pushed it aside.

"What are you doing!?!" he demanded. Hearts pushed him aside.

"Never leave a man to do a woman's job!" she shouted, firing a rocket at the doorway. It blew off its hinges, and when the smoke cleared they all saw seven large figures in white, starched suits. Recycling men.

"Yes, good day," the biggest said casually, apparently not caring that it had just had a bazooka round fired at it. They didn't even seem to notice when Hearts leapt at them, deploying grenades, razor-sharp arrow cursors, machine guns, and whatever else she had on her. They didn't take as much as a scratch of damage, and didn't even seem to acknowledge that they were under attack.

"Hello, sir, are you Mr. FreeCell?" the Recycler asked to the intoxicated card game, still lying on the floor. Solitaire had gotten up, and rather than try and formulate a plan like Minesweeper was, he just sat down at the table and rested his head in his hands. He was perfectly aware that he would cease to exist in a few minutes, but the thought just didn't strike a chord with the depressed game.

"Who the HELL wants ta' know!?" FreeCell blurted out. "I tell ya', I'm sick and tired and sick of you people, barging in here and blowin' up the door and askin' everyone if they're Mr. FreeCell and blowin' up the door and bullshit and bargin' in here and askin' everyone if they're blowin' up the door and Mr. FreeCell and..." This continued for about two hours, with the rambling being randomly spiced with expletives. During that time, Solitaire had fallen asleep, woken up, then fallen asleep again, Hearts had run through her entire arsenal without so much as making the Recyclers blink and was vainly trying to cut them up with her battleaxe, which she barely had the energy to wield at this point, and Minesweeper was sitting in a puddle of his own sweat from his anxiety and fear. It wasn't just the Recyclers and the promise of being deleted; for some reason during his rambling, FreeCell shouted out the number 8, the very mention of which set off a rush of emotions in Minesweeper, who began to have terrifying hallucinations about being surrounded by mines.

"...and askin' everyone if they're Mr. FreeCell," FreeCell finally finished. He would normally have been a little more sober by now, but he had managed to have a few drinks during his rambling and was drunker than ever now. "I'm SICK of it!"

"We're very sorry, sir. But we would appreciate it if you could answer the question so we can finish up here," the big Recycler said politely.

"Oh, in THAT case, yeah, I'm FreeCell," FreeCell answered.

"Thank you, sir, that will be all," the Recycler said very nicely as he pulled out a strange gun and fired it at FreeCell, who disintegrated. Minesweeper screamed, waking up Solitaire.

"You puff bastards!" Hearts said, dropping her axe in exhaustion. Unwilling to admit defeat, she began to claw exhaustedly at the Recyclers, making for quite a pathetic looking scene. They took no notice of her, and moved on to the panicking Minesweeper.

"And you, sir? Are you Minesweeper?" the Recycler asked.

"...mines everywhere...mines everywhere...mines everywhere..." Minesweeper muttered, hugging his knees and slowly rocking back and forth.

"Excuse me, sir?" the Recycler asked again. Minesweeper looked up, but he had a delusion that the Recycler's head was a mine.

"AHHHH! THE MINE KING!" Minesweeper screamed in terror. Never one to miss an excuse for violence, even in her current exhaustion, Hearts gave up her attack on the Recyclers and grabbed Minesweeper by the scruff of his neck.

"Get a hold of yourself, man! Don't let them break you!" she ordered, giving him a hard slap across the face.

"Thanks, Hearts, I needed tha..." Minesweeper began.

"Hmmm, that felt good," Hearts said to herself, looking at her hand. She looked back at Minesweeper and slapped him a couple more times unnecessarily. Finally, she dropped him on the floor. "That was fun. Anytime you think you're going crazy, just give me a call!"

"Thanks," Minesweeper said unenthusiastically.

"Excuse me, sir?" the Recycler asked. "Please tell me if you are or are not Mr. Minesweeper."

Minesweeper faltered. For all the time he had spent planning, it come to nothing. He had no idea how to explain himself, no idea how to get out of this.

"Ummm...no," he said in a nervous voice. "Yeah, yeah, I'm...uh...Mine...sorter." That was the best excuse he could muster, and he saw Hearts slap herself in the face at Minesweeper's idiocy. Still, it seemed to work.

"Alright, then," the Recycler said, moving on to Hearts. Minesweeper was trying to figure out what had just happened; his brain wouldn't accept the possibility that simply saying 'no' would get him out of this, and he was waiting for them to turn around any minute and send him to the Eternal Log-Off. No such luck, though. Hearts seemed to get by with the same excuse, calling herself 'Clubs', and she passed Solitaire with it too, calling him 'Farcard', since the depressed card game had fallen asleep again from lack of interest in the situation.

"Good day, then. Sorry for the confusion," the Recyclers said as they left. The sound of the door closing behind them woke Solitaire up again.

"Mmm...what happened? Why are we still here?" he asked, still groggy from sleep.

"Yeah, we're trying to figure that out, too," Minesweeper said. "We just told them that we weren't the games we were looking for, and they left."

"Yeah, didn't even ask us for identification or anything," Hearts said.

"I guess its there business to act, not to think," Solitaire said.

"They didn't seem to act much, either, luckily," Minesweeper said. "I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm still not sure about this whole thing. I mean, as much as I'd like to believe that everyone on the Recycling chain of command was dumb as a brick, someone's going to find out that we're still here."

"Yeah, and when they do, they'll probably just blow up this whole folder. I've seen them do it a few times," Solitaire remembered.

"Yeah, me too. So, what are we going to do?" Hearts asked.

"The only thing we can do. Let's go see the Explorer..."

A few minutes later...

Minesweeper hit the bell at the front desk. Hearts and Solitaire were with him, ready to argue their cause if need be. In a few moments, the Windows Explorer came to the desk. The Windows Explorer was a young, stressed fellow, who had inherited his job from his father, the File Manager. He had the entire system under his jurisdiction, and could do almost everything his father could. Except for one difference, that had come about as a result of the Deletion Act of 1995, which made it so that the Explorer couldn't delete anything himself; he could just send things to the Recycling Bin. But he was much too busy for that anymore. He came to the front desk with beads of sweat coming down his face, and a blue stress-reliever ball that looked like the Internet Explorer 'e'.

"Hello, and what brings you here? Questions? Comments? That kind of worthless crap that NO ONE HAS TO CARE ABOUT BUT ME! AHHHHHH!!!" he screamed, ripping the poor stress-reliever ball apart. He was breathing hard as he turned back to the three startled games. "Sorry, I don't know what this looks like to you, but I just have to vent sometimes. Now, what do you need?"

Minesweeper spoke first. "We need a new folder, as soon as possible!"

"Yeah, that's right! If we don't get one soon, we're going to be deleted for sure, and..." Hearts began.

"Whoa, whoa, I don't need your life story," Explorer interrupted. "Just tell me what you want it named, and where to put it."

"You don't want any information about us at all?" Solitaire asked.

"Why should I? Its Norton's job to go prodding into every file's business, not mine," Explorer answered.

"Oh...in that case, how about..." Hearts began.

"Wait, let's all decide this together. We'll probably be living there for a very long time," Solitaire suggested.

"Good idea. Group huddle!" Minesweeper said. Explorer gave a very frustrated sigh, but tried to be patient as the three games got into a huddle and decided their new folder's name.

"Alright, we have name, and a location..."

The three games had had to hurry to get their belongings out of the Games folder before the guided Recycling missile hit it and incinerated it. They didn't really miss their old folder once it was gone; their new one had more neighbors around it then their old, isolated one. They had asked for a new folder, nestled snuggly in the Accessories folder, slyly named 'Network'. It looked like it belonged, thus making them safe from any further Recycling attacks, but all three games knew it was fake. Their new home was very good for them; Solitaire found a kindred spirit in the bored, depressed Notepad program, Minesweeper found several other programs who hated their jobs, mostly because no one knew or cared what they did, and made good friends and commiserates with them, while Hearts found many other unreliable, temperamental programs that she made fast friends with. And so, the three Start Menu games lived peacefully and happily, for many years to come.

Until one day, when something happened...I'm not quite sure what that 'something' is, and don't go counting on a sequel, either.

The end of this was based VERY loosely on a real life event. Basically, I was enrolled in a summer programming course, and since me and the kids sitting near me didn't know the first thing about programming, we spent the two hours mostly playing the Windows desktop games. Now, the overseers weren't entirely unaware of this, and, with the help of some strange 'master' computer through which they could get remote control of any other computer in the room(it may sound far-fetched, but they exist), they managed to rid our computers of our beloved desktop games. Thanks to the network, though, we were able to get the games back, and, to prevent them from being deleted again, we renamed them and placed them in seemingly-inconspicuous folders. And that is the epic story of how me and a few other kids wasted a programming class...