Pericolo! Morte! Rinnovata!

Mission I: Grand Reopening Party

Finally, it was time. The great grand reopening of the Pericolo! Morte! server. After the team had busily scrubbed the base from top to bottom and had a day to rest for their efforts, everyone was up early with anticipation and trying to settle back into their routines from so long ago. As usual, Redd and Pyro arrived from their respective homes OUTSIDE the Fortress, both carrying large loads of homemade food and bringing their loved ones with. A party was due, a temporary cease-fire, to celebrate with the Bloo team about the server's reopening! The Spectator slots were likely filled with spam bots, but that never dampened the cheer of the moment.

"What did I do last night?" The Voice slurred drowsily. Because it was physically attached to the server and what people were doing, it was taking a long time to catch up with the idea nobody had been around for years. "Someone make me some coffee, black as night... oh bloody..."

"Mon petit chou, do not fret!" Corky obliged, running the coffee machine and pouring out the delicious nectar into a mug, holding it out at the air. "You'll soon be back to normal. Your coffee, madame?"

"Brilliant." The mug suddenly left Corky's hand and tilted back, the coffee vanishing into nothing. "WOW, this could wake the dead. What in the world is going on around here? Aren't you all suppose to be going to war?"

"Big celebration time!" Hevy cheered, already set with a party hat tied to his giant empty head. "With food and Doktor and team and everyone! Been gone so long, you know," He scratched the side of his face, "Wonder what happened..."

"I'll tell yoos what happened: Someone forgot ta pay the server hostin'. I wasn't even aware that was a problem until it happened. Feels bonzer ta be back from purgatory, though, that place is borin' and the tucker is terrible." Brent was more focused on making sure his beloved rifle was in working order, cleaning it there in the break room and sitting at his own table. "But I'll admit I'll miss the quiet. Back ta the old routine of all of yoos screamin' your damned heads off for nah reason."

"Mmmfmf!" Pyro put his big stack of home-prepared potluck dishes on a counter, before turning to his little family. Mrs. Pyro was trying to keep the kids from destroying the place, which was easier said than done. Talking to them himself... or so it seemed... he made a lot of wild gestures in the air, before all of them cheered in that muffled way. The two adults then released the children to do what they wanted until the party, who were probably going to try to utterly destroy the Fortress.

"Brent, don't go rainin' on everyone's parade." Redd sat down his own helping of packaged dishes, before tossing an arm around his realistic-modeled wife. Betty was always out of place in these areas, but neither of them minded. True love surpassed games, after all! "Besides, I know you like a BBQ just as much as the next carnivore! Y'can't be TOO upset about that!" Betty nodded in agreement.

Just then, Big C ran in screaming, the last to wake up. "Help! Help! Ah can see straecht! Och mah god, Ah hink aam sober! E'en waur, Ah hink aam completely it ay booze!" The Demoman ran around in circles until the Doktor slapped him hard enough to make Big C fall over. Face against the floor, he blubbered, "If Ah dornt gie blooter'd, i'll min' mah mom. Ack, mah mom! She thinks aam a fashion designer, nae a cyclaps!"

"Administering emergency alcohol!" Dr. Katzenstrand pulled out an IV filled with the heaviest scotch known to man, and quickly hooked Big C up to it. The large, sober man sighed in relief, as did the Doktor. "Vell dat ought to keep him quiet for de remainder of de day."

"Great, so he's back to being useless." Greg chomped on a pop tart, looking jittery and sour as usual. "Why do we even keep him around if all he does is drink and throw up all the time? He's going to ruin the party with his sobbing about potatoes." The scout scoffed when Big C immediately started wailing over the fact he hated 'tatties'.

"Shut up!" Hevy threw his fist at Greg's head, causing it to fly off instantly, the rest of his body shortly falling off the seat and onto the floor before he respawned.

"They don't make Scouts like they used to!" Derek chimed up from his own coffee mug, which had a picture of a cat weilding a machine gun on it and the words, 'Eat this, Mondays!' "No siree. Back in my day, when you got yourself a scout, they lasted for at least a whole week! Now they make them out of cardboard - where HAS the proud manufacturing industry gone? Those damned weasels took them during the war, I say!"

Corky cleared his throat and adjusted his tie, mostly to break Derek's train of thought and prevent him from going on the subject for the rest of the day. "Come on, friends, let us not worry about unhappy things. Today is a celebration, and who knows when we will next have a cease-fire? Let us proceed to set up the picnic!"

Everyone cheered in agreement, then started hauling out the appropriate things to set up.

The nearest open space was set up for all of the coming festivities! Streamers hung from various buildings and posts in various colors, the picnic tables were in nice covers, and several games had been set up. The local waterway had a few floaty-rings in it, where the Pyrokids were busily trying to dunk each other. The food, still covered, was on a great table, along with the plastic-and-paper instruments to serve and eat from - and the drinks were being attended to by Redd's own dispenser to promise they'd have enough to last the entire evening.

"Good lord." The Voice complained, "This is so stereotypical I could crawl into a hole and die. This better end in a bloodbath."

"Ssh." Corky crossed his arms, letting everyone else do the hard work while leaning against a wall. "The Bloos will be here shortly. I highly suggest you try to relax, madame. After this, we'll be back to the daily grind."

"Much to your apparent chagrin I see," she responded, "More so than before. What's getting to YOU about this?"

"Something was keeping that server connection online despite the years of disuse and lack of monetary involvement. It makes me wonder what it was being held online for, and by whom. I didn't even realize what it was when I first sapped it," Corky blew a smoke ring into the air idly, "But now all of a sudden we're all aware of a 'server' existing in the first place. It strikes me as some kind of... I don't know. Simulated enviroment, like all of that before was just a test."

"You're thinking too hard about a parody." That Voice snickered.

"I may very well be, but I cannot help my mind's wandering." Corky glanced over as soon as the Bloo Team arrived. "Ah! Bonjour, our friends, welcome to the party! Food on the obvious table, and then we can begin."

The Bloo Team all offered their own greetings and helped to populate the food table. Now that everyone had arrived, Corky called everyone to attention with a few loud claps, and then spoke to all of them. "This is a special celebration, after several years of silence... Our grand re-opening of the server! From today onward, may both sides engage in the spirit of progress and determination, plus extreme resentment of each other... but for now, put that aside and feast together as allies! Let us also hope our server never again runs out of funding!" Corky nodded when everyone applauded. "If anyone has anything they'd like to say before the fun begins, let them do so now."

"Mmmfmfff!" Pyro jumped up and down a bit, before going on in his excited way. Everyone stared, pretending to understand what was going on, uncomfortably glancing among the others. Bloo's Pyro applauded several times during... whatever was going on... until Red Pyro finally stopped speaking. Abruptly everyone started clapping to prevent hurt feelings.

"Yes, that was... that was wonderful." Corky coughed.

"Now I am very very hungry!" Hevy bellowed, "Can we eat?!"

With Corky's nod of approval, everyone immediately attacked the food table. Both Corky and the opposing Spy sat on the side commenting together on the lack of hygeine on the sudden feeding frenzy, rather than joining in. If there hadn't been a dispenser placed behind the table, there would have rapidly been nothing left! By the time everyone else had a plate, both of the spies looked over the offerings... sneered... then flipped out new cigarettes to suck on rather than feed themselves.

"Mmm!" Greg stuffed his face as fast as he could, having grabbed a portion of pretty much everything. "Wow, this one dish... I think Brent made it... it's delicious! Dude, what is in this stuff?" Greg looked over while continuing to shovel it in.

"Pork brains 'n scrambled eggs. Me favorite, like Mum used to make." The man nodded a bit. This promptly caused Greg to stop what he was doing, gag, then run off to throw up somewhere. "Bah! Kid doesn't know bonzer tucker when it's right in front of him. Guess if he's not goin' ta eat the rest..."

While that was going on, Hevy was looking over at the Pyro family with their own food. He was struck with an odd curiosity - if they never removed their masks, how in the world did they eat? But as he looked over, the family looked back and never touched a thing. "Why not enjoying picnic?"

"Mmmfmfmmf." They all responded.

"I think dey find your staring rude." Doktor commented.

"Oh no!" Hevy covered his eyes, "Sorry, Pyros!" But the next time he snuck a glance he was surprised to find all of their plates were cleaned, along with their drinks. Dumbstruck, he looked between them and his Doktor. "What..."

"Hm?" Dr. K looked over himself and looked stunned as well. "... I don't know."

"Pyros are mystery creatures." Hevy slowly nodded, accepting that rather than tax his brain. "Let us go play fun games!" He grabbed Dr. K over one shoulder and marched off with him, ignoring the fact the man was in the middle of eating.

"Ahh...!" A mysterious voice purred in a room bedecked in security monitors. Every angle of the Fortress and both bases were covered constantly, showing what each individual was up to. "It looks like everything is running smoothly now. Those updates went through nicely too, though it still seems like the server is isolated. Perfect!" The shrill voice chuckled. "GUS! Where are you?"

A small round robot scuttled over from hauling around large control panels and plugging them back into the walls. GUS (Generic Underappreciated Servicebot) saluted the shadowed figure, saluting. There wasn't much to him, save for a giant eye-like 'body' and arms and legs made for heavy lifting. "Here, miss."

"As soon as the hour strikes midnight I want you to turn on ALL of the mods, especially the map rotator!"

"Yes'm." GUS put an arm down. "I'll activate Operation Toybox at exactly midnight and not a second later. Praise for GUS?"

"Only if the plan succeeds...! Then we shall see if you deserve praise. Hmhmhm." The dark figure tapped her hands together in a very cliche, evil-scientist sort of way. "This is going to be so much fun."

Things went pretty well during the game-playing portion of the party, though the limbo stick didn't last long after it ticked off Pyro. Pin-the-tail-on-the-wooden-cow was a big hit, especially when someone stuck it on Greg's ass instead. Why, it was if there never was any reason to fight in the first place! But by now, Brent had made himself scarce and was busily trying to arrange his outdoor-exposure loft. After all, with so much time passing and the old furniture being too weathered, it all had to be replaced.

"Mgh. This won't do at all... all me handmade stuff is completely ruined. I'll be at this for a week or more... at least nobody flamin fenced up the windows." Brent grumbled, before looking down over the party and surrounding areas with his sniper scope. "Don't know how anyone tinnie find all this noise 'fun'. Now let's see... wouldn't be right ta pop any heads durin' a cease-fire, but nobody said I couldn't make someone cry."

His gaze focused on Big C, who finally had a bottle of precious brew to suckle on. About to tip it to his lips, the glass exploded, sending alcohol everywhere. With a shriek, he suddenly started trying to lap it up off the dirt. "Nae! Nae th' brew! Anythin' but th' brew! Whit ungodly monster woods dae thes tae perfectly guid booze? Baaah!" Spitting out dirt and rocks, the feeling of dispair quickly turned into one of rage. "Th' only bodie fool enaw tae dae somethin' loch thes is 'at bludy demoman oan th' Bloo team! He's aye bin it efter mah booze!"

Big C hurried over to Pyro, who was taking a moment with his kids. "Guid day, ye! Can Ah borraw an axe? Ah tryst yoo'll gie it back in th' morn." Soon as Big C put his hands out, Pyro handed over the axe in good faith. "Cheers, mukker! Yoo're aye dependable, except when yoo're nae! Hawhaw!" Then the Demoman snuck off, finding the opposing Bloo man attached to a keg.

"Sweet nectar av de 'eavens, flow into me bloodstream! Oi canny stan' bein' sober!" Bloo Demoman cried aloud. As soon as he saw Big C, he waved, "'Owaya, mucker! You're lookin' a bit on de vexed side, can oi 'elp yer wi'-"

"Ye gantin duck-sucker! messin' wi' anither man's kergo! Tak' thes, reit atween th' yak sockets!" WHACK! Axe firly buried in the Bloo Demo's skull, Big C stole the now deadman's keg and took off cheering. "Victory fur Scootlund!"

"Hm?" The Voice paused for a moment, then suddenly announced loudly to everyone, "Bloo Team has lost a member. Murder! Finally, something INTERESTING has happened!"

The two sides gasped loudly... and promptly started accusing one another for what happened without even bothering to investigate. Tempers flared like wildfires, and weapons were readily brandished to show neither side was going to back down. Quickly, Mrs. Pyro escorted her kids, and Betty, back into the Red Base just as the two teams had at each other. Body parts and blood were soon flying all over the place, along with the picnic setting being torn to absolute pieces. The Voice cackled cheerfully over the din and started issuing her usual orders of attack!

The next morning, everyone woke up in the Doktor's office, with tremendous amounts of bandages all over them to keep their blood from leaking out entirely. The only three uninjured members, consisting of Corky, Brent and Dr. Katzenstrand himself, looked over the others with a bit of a sigh.

"Well, it was about what I expected." Corky reached for a cigarette, only to be slapped by the Doktor... damn his no-smoking rules! The spy grumbled bitterly and shoved his hands into his pockets instead. "I suppose that means the party was a great success."

"Ja, and I feel more alive dan ever!" The Doctor pulled out his collection of needles. "It's been a long time, my friends. You all need your updated healf shots!" The collective screams of the bed-ridden patients only got louder as sharp instruments were jabbed into their veins. "Stop squirming and it might go quicker!"

"Heh. Definitely a success. Well, here's ta the upcomin' bloodshed, eh, Corky? Try not ta get it on your suit." Brent patted the man on the shoulder, the spy only returning a bit of a sneer. "If yoos need me, don't come knockin'! "

Corky rolled his eyes, stepping out and putting on his cat ears. "At least there's one advantage to the Bloo team coming back: Pampering." With a smirk and a coy 'meow', he strutted off to enjoy the spoiling and attention only a completely hoodwinked Bloo Team could give.