|20.20|21|22|22.2|22.22|22.222|23|24|25|Those Extra Four…|1|2|3|4|Back Cover|
The Massacre On Treering Avenue
Here It Is
The Prisoner slowly relaxes the muscles in his hand, releasing the trigger and laying the rife on the cool tar roof next to him. He presses a finger against the communicator in his ear and says, “Target hit. Mission accomplished, Doctor Torpol.”
“Excellent Pris– I mean, zer Beta.”
Beta stands up and cracks his back – the end has finally arrived. It came… it had to come, and here it is.
“You have just done a very great deal for the Apex Corporation, consider your debt repaid. A life for a life.”
Beta says nothing, refusing to speak until Doc Torpol confirms his following through on Apex’s end of the deal.
“…Right, never one to waste words. Very well then,
Zeroc, your tenure here is complete. I shall activate the teleporter in a moment, I just need to get out of bed. They have me riddled with tubes an–”
Beta removes his earpiece and smashes it with the heel of his boot. There’s no need to hear Edvard Torpol fish for pity, those days are long gone. Now, all Beta must do is play the waiting game.
That, and shake off the large hairy ape creature that just appeared in the sky mere inches above his head.
The two go down and roll across the roof. Beta kicks away from the Quatchfut and steadies himself as Tim-nah’tee charges, letting out a mighty roar as he attempts to bring his fists down on Beta’s skull. Beta, the master of martial arts that he is, takes a few punches before his eyes snap into focus and he’s able to catch Tim’s hands. The two stand there on the roof of Hoffman High, mere inches from the saline waters of the pool, locked in combat, the muscles in their arms tearing under the extreme pressure, shaking like an earthquake.
Off in the distance, a gut-wrenching scream shakes the birds from the trees, causing both Beta and Tim to jump back a few feet. They look at each other, both knowing what’s going to come next. It’s a good thing Beta’s about to jump halfway across the world.
He puts a hand on his side, where the teleporter should be, and… wait, what? It was there before I pulled the trigger, where…’
Seeing Beta swept up in a cloud of confused distraction, Tim charges again. It’s too bad that Beta wasn’t that distracted, because he catches him and uses the momentum to fling Tim up into the air. Having used the last of his energy to teleport himself on top of the
Zeroc scum, Tim is utterly unable to stop himself from falling into the pool. If you think a wet dog smells bad, you’ve never smelled a wet Quatchfut.
As Tim breaches the surface of the water, he calls out to Beta. “Fool! You know what you’ve done here, you know he’s coming for you!”
“Let him come!” Beta cries out, not even bothering to brandish his gun. “I’ll be on an island on the other side of the world in a few seconds, as soon as I find my…”
There, teetering on the edge of the swimming pool in front of Tim-nah’tee’s soaked, stinking body, is a small gray device with a pink light that blinks faster with every beep. Tim looks at the device, then at Beta, then back at the device.
Beta charges at the device and dives, crashing through the open space that was Tim-nah’tee, then lands in the water.
An Island Shaped Like A Foot
On a different side of the world, on an island shaped like a foot, Tim-nah’tee appears and gets his feet caked with hot sand. He stumbles back, not used to being teleported by an outside force, and crashes into a salty wave of ocean water. The sting is painful, but familiar – he walks back onto the beach and rubs his eyes, is it possible?
Not even a moment later, a troupe of large, hairy beings emerge from the jungle… could it be? Survivors of the Quatchfut holocaust? Could they have been living here all this time? No, that’s… well, the jungle has grown back a bit, maybe food has emerged from the soil once more. Existence is weird, and anything is possible.
Tim excitedly WHOOPs, but the beings do not respond, they just keep approaching him, surrounding him. Closing in. Tim’s not sure what exactly is going on here, but he is sure of one thing: he must drop the teleporter into the ocean and beat on his chest like a proper Quatchfut before he lays waste to these impostors.
Back at Hoffman, Beta swims to the surface of the pool and drifts over to the edge. He puts his arms on the roof and doesn’t even climb up, he just sits there. That… that was his only chance home, and it was stolen from him. By a fucking Quatchfut, no less… those damn dirty apes have caused the
Zeroc nothing but problems ever since the dawn of time, they’re ev–
Beta’s thought process is interrupted when a metal knee slams into the back of his head, effectively curb-stomping him into the roof and shattering every last tooth that used to be sprouting out of his gums. Then his vision goes dark – no, there’s two eye holes, it must be a mask.
The mask, a Chuck Leary special, closes around Beta’s head and impales him with no less than four hundred and twenty hypodermic needles, each needle injecting him with healing serum.
“You couldn’t just fucking let it go, could you? You breathing piece of fucking shit.”
Chuck grabs Beta by the skin of his back and lifts him out of the water before whipping him onto the roof.
“I fucking beat you fair and fucking square, you didn’t need to fucking come back!”
Chuck’s hands morph into knives and he begins cutting into Beta’s flesh, peeling back the hardened, numb layers of scar tissue that is Beta’s epidermis to reveal the ultra-sensitive hypodermis.
“You fucking KILLED the KID, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE! YOU DON’T FUCKING KILL THE KID!”
Chuck’s knives then turn back into his hands, which are now sporting a pair of gnarly brass knuckles. He begins wailing on Beta’s entire body, his fists moving faster than his brain can keep up with them, blow after blow after blow, tenderizing the meat, preparing it for cooking. “FFUUUCCCCKKKKK!! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! FUCKYOUFUCKYOUFUCKYOUFUCKYOUFUCKYOUFUCKYOU! FUCK! YOOOOUUUU!!!!!” Chuck doesn’t feel a thing.
Chuck stands, faces away from Beta, and positions himself with one foot on either side of Beta’s head before squatting down. Beta, unable to pass out from the immense pain due to the healing serum and adrenalin solution that’s being injected into his eyeballs (and the rest of his face) and keeping him awake, feels his arms shatter and leak as Chuck ties them around his neck like the straps of a cape. After he stands and takes off into the sky, bringing Beta with him, two small interceptor arms emerge from the back of Chuck’s ankles and grab hold of Beta’s feet, forcing Beta to lay flat on top of Chuck as he’s carried through the air. Then… oh fuck, Chuck… no. It’s too late dude, that won’t solve… oh, fuck it.
Chuck flips upside down and, holding Beta’s arms tight against his chest, drags Beta along the street, pushing cars to the curb and grinding the assassin’s exposed flesh against the pavement, painting the line down the middle of the road an eerie purple-blue color. The healing serum kicks into one tier above maximum fucking overdrive and replenishes Beta’s body as quickly as it’s smeared like jelly unto bread down the three-mile stretch of street connecting Wanapo to Jaskell, allowing Beta to feel his cells being existentially tormented as they’re regenerated and then frictioned from his shredded body. Chuck, meanwhile, still feels nothing; he’s just looking at the sky. It’s such a nice day out today, hardly a cloud up there. What a shame.
Near the end of the road, just outside of the Beefy Moore butcher shop, Chuck flips back over and unties Beta’s arms. He then does a backflip, causing Beta’s ankles (which are still held by Chuck’s mini ankle-arms) to snap like matchsticks as his body arcs through the air and collides with the ground. Then, the arms let go.
At least it’s over n– oh fuck, it’s not over.
Chuck’s head, without the rest of his body, mind you, swivels a one-eighty so he can stare down at the putrid, impudent little waste of atoms, of energy even (the energy being infinite) laying in the
Zeroc-shaped crater in the pavement.
Chuck wonders to himself, ‘How many atoms are in an apple, in a pear, in a single piece of fruit to feed a starving youth? How many atoms are in a four-course meal at Le Voyage, the kind that a single business executive could put down by myself in a half hour? How many atoms are in a vial of the perfected reanimation serum that I won’t release to the world because I’m afraid a few humans will be mad at me?’
Chuck extends his hands; they turn into a pair of drum-magazine submachine guns that, even after a full minute of a trigger hug, still don’t run out of ammo. That’s because the hemibots in his suit are constantly reforming themselves into bullets, and every time a shell casing ejects into the air, it disintegrates into hemibots and flies right back into Chuck’s suit.
Finally he stops firing at the puddle of alien blood in front of him and catches his breath. The chest plate of his power armor melts away and reveals his tie, which sports a glowing red button. Chuck raises his left hand to the button and–
‘No, not yet.’
–grabs hold of the tie, tearing it off his neck. With his right hand, Chuck makes a fist and commands the Df
ZT ring to appear, which it does. He then draws a small circle in the air and shatters it, ripping a hole in the fabric of the Universe and dropping the NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST button (and the rest of the necktie) through.
Back at Cape Enterprises, Uncorporated, a small portal opens above Sigmund’s bed. Chuck’s tie, the NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST button exposed, falls through. Thankfully it lands button-up, and even more thankfully, Sigmund looks at his bed before he lays back down after getting up to go to the bathroom. He’s feeling a tad bit groggy this morning – dude just emptied a few units of weight from his bowels, it knocked the wind clear out of him – but the sight of the Chuckless purple tie perks the man right up. He dashes, yes he actually dashes, into his lab, then to the elevator.
When Beta’s body (aside from his head, which is still safely secured within the impenetrable robinite regeneration helmet) has reformed from the puddle that Chuck reduced it to, the helmet spreads around his body into a full suit of power armor which takes the whimpering asshole back to the Cape building to be locked away in a simulation forever. Chuck then flies over to the accident and hits the mangled and blood-smeared Jettison ship with a vaporization ray, destroying it instantly. He peels the smushed SUV door away from the car and–
“Are… are those fucking crash dummies?”
“I was surprised to see the same thing inside the Jettison craft.”
Jolon walks out from his hiding spot behind the SUV, preventing the gravity of the situation from hitting Chuck for as long as he can.
“What the fuck… what the fuck is this?”
“This is a plot, I fear. And a very twisted one, at that. Is Jack…”
“I… there was no body, no nothing.”
“I see… well, then I suppose there’s nothing to be done.”
“What the fuck do you mean there’s nothing to be done? You can fucking time travel, like, as a species, right? Go the fuck back and save him. Do it. Now.”
“I’m afraid it’s not that easy, Chuck. When one time travels, one doesn’t go back into their own timestream, they simply dip into an alternate time stream that’s state of present is identical to the original time stream’s state of past.”
“No, fuck that, I literally saw one of you purple asshats make a phone call that went back in time. If you can dip into another time stream then you can dip back into this one. It doesn’t matter where you start, it just matters where you go, it–”
“Chuck. Any time traveling that’s happened here has already happened; if this incident was going to be stopped, then it would not have happened in the first place. Look, the reason I’m here… I know that you have a mission for me that involves
Zerocian intervention into this Universe’s past to fix something via fabrication ray and I need… confirmation. Yes, that’s it; I need some sort of confirmation to make sure you know what’s hap–”
Chuck starts to tear up. “The fucking Christmas shit…”
“The… fucking Christmas shit indeed, uh, say no more. I’ll take that as confirmation and will leave you to do…” Jolon’s breath runs short when a single superdense cloud floats rapidly through the sky and stops in the perfect position to cast a black shadow over Chuck. “To do… well, whatever you feel like you need to do.”
With that, Jolon beams himself back into his ship and engages in a quick time jump to extinguish a house(s) fire on some arbitrary celebratory day in Earth’s history before blinking back and locking his happy purple ass in orbit until Sunday.
Chuck takes a few wobbly steps backwards before he falls down. He… he can’t believe it. It was… a fucking distraction. A ruse. All this chaos… the Apex Corporation planned the whole thing.
Those assholes assassinated a child, an innocent fucking child, just to get back at Chuck. And it’s irreversible.
They made it about me.’
A random bullet deflects off Chuck’s right shoulder, ricocheting and stopping the heart of a stunning tuxedo cat who ran out of his house to investigate all the commotion.
‘They made it about me.
Chuck turns around to see three of the five remaining MERCS, guns raised, standing in the street. He sighs, shakes his head. Why do they have to do this, why do they always have to push Chuck to his limit? Why do they want to see him snap? Who even are they? They need to pay. They need to die. They need to wait. They killed the kid. They killed the cat. The– Wait, sto– They need to perish.’
Without a word, Chuck begins to spin in circles. He rotates faster and faster and then even faster until a literal tornado forms around him, the razor-sharp whirlwind ripping bushes from the ground and shattered glass from the pavement. In the heart of the twister, no less than one hundred machine gun barrels emerge from the outer shell of Chuck’s power armor and begin to fire, delivering wall after wall of instantaneously fabricated lead to everyone and everything in the immediate vicinity and, most importantly, pulverizing the MERCS into mush. The tornado then travels back down the street all the way to the turnoff point for Hoffman High school, leaving nothing but a three-mile landing strip of decimated wasteland and dead bodies in its wake.
When he finds himself back at the crater where he originally landed, Chuck stops on a dime and the twister dissipates so fast that it would look surreal if anything in the area was left alive to see it. He turns around and looks at the carnage he’s created – everything is dead silent. The lack of life hangs heavy in the air, emanating like fog from the robe of the grim reaper. No parents left to weep over their dead children, no children left to cry over their dead parents, no pets left to silently feel their own complex emotions. Just blood; empty cars, dead bodies, and blood.
The outer layers of Chuck’s power armor form into tiny body-seeking darts loaded with healing serum. Instructing the darts to find and reanimate the humans first, then the children, then the animals, then the women, and then the men, Mister Leary fires his spines and takes off into the sky without looking back.
By the time Sigmund’s fleet of BioBots arrives on the scene, the majority of the humans have woken back up. All the children were saved, as were the pets and wildlife, and not a single man or woman was left to remain deceased. All the SigFleet has to do is clear out the rubble, repair the streets, and fix up the houses that Chuck’s rampage demolished. All in all, this whole thing could have gone worse; it’ll take the rest of the day to fix, sure, and it’ll cost quite a bit of Cape’s dollars, but it could have been worse. Honestly, the only real damage done here today, save for the untimely death of Jack Monta, of course, was property damage. Some Earthlings were harmed, I suppose, but everybody’s okay now. Surely it could have gone much worse; the “massacre” probably won’t even make the news tonight.
But that’s tonight and this is now, and now Sigmund must get to work. As he removes a brick from the shattered skull of a plaster lion statue, there is but a single thought on Sigmund’s mind, a phrase slathered in buttered gratitude and laid to sizzle on his cranial grill:
‘Thank you, Chuck. Thank you for not pushing the button.’