An alternate ending. The Wiseman gives the girls their last assignment, but they face a difficult decision about their future.

Based on the characters in Sucker Punch, written by Zack Snyder and Steve Shibuya, directed by Zack Snyder.

The Final Mission

By Diablo Priest

I was roused by the Wiseman's stentorian voice bellowing:

"Babydoll, get UP!"

And he kicked the two steel legs at the foot of my cot, shaking it like an earthquake.

I sat up drowsily and looked around the barracks. Empty were the other beds, their linens made up with military precision.

"Where are the other girls?" I asked anxiously.

"Did I give you permission to speak?" the Wiseman shouted like a drill sergeant. "Get UP! Get UP!"

I threw my blanket aside, swung my feet out, and stood up. My lacy pink undies not concealing much of my adolescent form.

"Good God, Babydoll!" the Wiseman exclaimed, "what kind of soldier are you? - you dress like a GIRL!"

"What's going on?" I asked.

"Fall in! Fall in!" the Wiseman bellowed so loud my chest vibrated.

Scooping up my clothes, I began to pull them on as I stumbled towards the door, while juggling my sword and my Colt .45. Outside the sun was just about to rise. The palm trees on the eastern horizon seemed to be ablaze. I was happy to find the other girls standing at attention. In the distance, a B-29 bomber, illuminated by work lights, was parked before a long airstrip. Near the cockpit windows in large yellow letters was painted the name "Golden 5." A crew of men with a forklift were loading an enormously large bomb into the plane. The bomb looked like a grotesquely bloated fish, fat with large fins for a tail. On the side of it was painted, "Tommy Boy."

I bent to tie my shoes.

"When you're ready princess," the Wiseman shouted, "we have a war to win."

When I stood up, I beamed a big smile at my comrades. They all kept their heads straight, except Rocket. She turned to me and flashed that melodious smile that made me want to kiss her face all over. Rocket - our baby sister. I had thought the monstrous fat cook stabbed her to death, but she was alive! Amber and Blondie were alive too. The mission on the speeding train had been only a nightmare. Rocket was alive! Smiling at me as the first glorious rays of the rising sun glinted in her eyes.

"All right! All right, girls!" the Wiseman shouted, smacking his hands together loudly.

Energetically, I hopped into line with the other girls.

"The steampunks commanded by a zombie general, the dragon and the Orcs were tests; and you have proved your skill, courage, and team work," he addressed us with profundity. "Now, this is your final mission - and it's for real this time. No fantasies here! The enemy won't give up, but his air defenses are nearly non-existent, so this should be a breeze. That being said, however, if enemy fighter planes attack you: stay on course, make sure you drop 'Tommy Boy' on the target city."

"That bomb," the Wiseman gestured to the loading in progress on the runway while continuing his speech. "That bomb is a top-secret weapon - there is only one in existence. Your assignments are Amber flies the Golden 5, Sweetpea is co-pilot and navigator, Rocket and Blondie are the gunners; and Babydoll, you're the bombardier. When Sweetpea tells you that the aircraft is over the target, you look into your bombsight to verify, then press the button to release 'Tommy Boy.' And - BLAMO - the city is gone! The war is over and you are free. It's really that simple."

Then the Wiseman took from a satchel an envelope marked "Top Secret: Operation Prometheus. Orders and Navigational Charts," and held it out.

"Amber," he said.

She stepped forward and took the envelope from his weathered hands. I saw her hand trembling slightly.

"Babydoll," he said.

I stepped forward.

"I've given Amber the map," he said. "The B-29 is the knife, the bomb is the fire; and to you, I give the key. It arms the bomb."

I hesitated, then held out my hand; and he gave me the key.

"But, that's only four things," Rocket said to the Wiseman. "You spoke of five things. We need five things to be free, and the fifth is a great sacrifice."

"Rocket, my dear," he said, "each of you - even in your loneliest hour - have always had the fifth item."

"I understand," Rocket replied with a quivering voice.

"Happy landing," the Wiseman said jauntily. Then he turned and began walking away towards the control tower. After several steps, he stopped and slowly turned around. For a moment, he looked at us. I was expecting one of his usual slogans, and I smiled slightly to myself.

"'I am become death, the shatterer of worlds; Waiting that hour that ripens to their doom,'" he said almost in a whisper. *

"All right!" Sweetpea cried out in jubilation. "This is it! A few hours flying time to a defenseless target, drop one bomb, and we're free! We're FREE!"

The rest of us were morosely silent. A loud metallic bang from the bomb bay of the Golden 5 echoed across the runway. Rocket shuddered violently.

"What?" Sweetpea said, looking at us.

"You don't understand, do you?" Blondie asked.

"We're free," Sweetpea replied. "All we have to do is drop one bomb, and we're free! It'll be a cinch. You heard the Wiseman. It's what we always wanted."

"No," Rocket said, tears swelling in her eyes. "We'll never be free after doing that."

"It was different before. This city is full of innocent people," Blondie said, her eyes watering. "Thousands of children..."

Sweetpea turned an inquisitorial glare at me: "This was all your idea, Babydoll."

"I can't push that button," I declared. "No matter what..."

"You're fuckin' kidding me, right?" Sweetpea yelled at me. "What kind of twisted joke is this?"

Sweetpea waited for a response. I was silent.

"Fuck you then!" Sweetpea cursed. "I'll press the god damn button myself, and the rest of us will be free."

"No," Rocket said again, weeping.

"You don't understand, Sweetpea," I said. "There are hundreds and hundreds of girls in that city like us. Hundreds and hundreds of girls who want to protect their baby sisters. I won't kill my little sister again. If we drop that bomb, we drop it on ourselves."

"Yes," Amber said, and she threw down the envelope. "We'll drop that evil bomb in the ocean. Even if they stand us against a wall and shoot us, we'll drop that bomb in the ocean."

Sweetpea looked at her beloved Rocket, who was sobbing loudly now.

"Is this what you want, Rocket?" asked Sweetpea.

Rocket choked off a sob and nodded.

"We can't be free at the expense of innocent persons, Sweetpea," I said. "We are the fifth object the Wiseman spoke of: the great sacrifice. We have a choice, but we can only be free when we renounce our selfish desires."

Sweetpea was our crusader, the chivalrous knight in armour who brandished a long two-handed sword. This was her persona because she had always protected her baby sister, Rocket. It was Sweetpea's duty to protect those who couldn't protect themselves. Innocent and vulnerable as Rocket had once been. And now Rocket's renunciation of her long held desire for freedom, confused Sweetpea. Whom should she protect? Desultorily, she took a few agitated steps away from us. Absentmindedly her hand fumbled for her sword, the security of a holy warrior; but instead, her fingers touched the chain of beads that always hung by her side. She looked down and then at each of us, her gaze lingering on her sister. Slowly Sweetpea pulled the string of beads up until, before us, the object at the end scintillated in the rays of the morning sun.

"I understand," she said solemnly.

[The End]

* The Wiseman quotes lines spoken by God in the Bhagavad-Gita (Song of God).

I must thank Morbane for catching too many SNAFUs that slipped by me.