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A Piece of Rebellion

Chapter Text

The whole area was surrounded with police tape and the worksite was packed with President Business' super secret police, all searching the ruins for the suspect. Bad Cop surveyed the situation grimly, then turned to the person who had phoned in the report. "You did good, kid."

The construction worked beamed. "Really? I was just following the instructions!"

Bad Cop didn't want to waste time entertaining this guy. Good Cop, however, had other ideas. The cop's head spun around and Good Cop grinned back. "That's a valued skill to have nowadays, mister..." His eyes glanced at the name tag on his leg. "...Emmet."

"Thank you!" Emmet had already seen Bad Cop and Good Cop switch between each other, so he didn't flinch when it happened like he did the first time. "Wow, I'm glad my instructions blew away, then! Otherwise I never would have seen the suspicious person, and who knows what would have happened then."

Who knows what will happen if those darn robots don't find them! Bad Cop grumbled. Good Cop frowned. "You're right," he said. "Thank you for your help, Emmet. We're going to go down and help with the search. You've told us everything you know, so you're free to go."

"I dunno, this is cool! Could I stay and watch?"

Bad Cop switched in and glared at him. "Beat it before you get in someone's way."

Emmet jumped. "Oh, sorry! I'll just, uh, go now."

Bad Cop watched him for a moment to make sure he was really leaving, then made his way down to where the search teams were. In the back of his head, Good Cop said, You didn't have to be so rude.

"We've got work to do." Bad Cop walked up to the leading robot. "Status report! Have you found anything?"

"Yes," said the robot in its tinny voice. "We have discovered a network of caverns beneath these ruins. It is possible the suspect escaped into them."

"Search the whole caverns! Find them or else!" Bad Cop paced around the ruins. "I don't want to be the one to report to President Business telling him that we let the one thing that could ruin his plans get away -- and neither do you!"

"Sir."

"I don't want to hear any objections! I'm sure Business would be pleased to turn you into scrap metal himself!"

"Sir, watch out!"

"What --"

There was a cracking sound beneath his feet, and Bad Cop had barely enough time to look down before the ground broke beneath him. The robots rushed to the hole, but they were too late to stop him from falling, and the next thing he knew he had crashed into the wall and ricocheted off it deeper into the cavern.

"Ow! Ow! Darn -- ow!" The fall seemed to never end, and Bad Cop wasn't able to slow himself down. He felt Good Cop trying to switch in, and stopped him. "You don't -- ow! -- want to -- ow! -- deal with this!"

It's not fair that you have to be the one to deal with the pain, Good Cop complained, and before he could stop him, their head spun and Good Cop took control. Bad Cop was cut off from their body's physical sensation, and Good Cop started screaming.

I told you!

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

By the time they hit the floor, Bad Cop had switched back in. He picked themselves off the ground gingerly, checking each limb to make sure nothing had fallen off or broken. "I think we're good," he said.

That was horrible, said Good Cop.

"I know, I know. Those darn, incompetent heaps of scrap..." He reached down to his belt for his radio, only to discover that it wasn't there. "Darn!"

Don't worry, they'll find us soon!

"Always the optimist," Bad Cop grumbled, and stood up. It occurred to him that there was light down here; had they somehow bounced their way back to the surface?

No, that wasn't it. He squinted and tried to make out his surroundings in the dim light. There was something glowing in front of him, a red brick embedded in strange... clear... stuff. Except it wasn't a brick at all, it was something that didn't fit into the grid of their world, and when he realized what it was, Bad Cop's eyes widened and he took a step forward.

"Oh my gosh," he said. "It's the Piece of Resistance."

It's what? Good Cop switched in to get a look at it himself. "Oh my gosh!"

Bad Cop could hardly believe it. The piece Lord Business had been searching for for eight and a half years... and they had found it. Just like that. Bringing this to Business would definitely please him. And maybe then...

Good Cop, said Bad Cop, you should be the one to present this to Business.

"What, me? I mean, we both found it, really. It's hard for us not to."

You know too darn well that he hasn't been pleased with your work lately, said Bad Cop, and Good Cop flinched. If we say you found it, he'll be more forgiving of your past mistakes.

"Well, what if we..."

Bad Cop switched in and scowled at nothing in particular. "Look. Just take the Piece, present it to Lord Business, and say you found it."

I don't want to lie.

Bad Cop groaned. "It's hardly a lie. If it means you don't get fired or worse, I'm willing to lie. Are you?"

Good Cop switched back, frowning. "He can't fire me and not you, that's impossible, we're the same person, sort of. But if you really want me to," he added before Bad Cop could say anything, "then I'll do it."

Good. Look, don't worry about it. It'll be fine. Bad Cop tried to sound reassuring, but he had never been good at reassuring people, not even Good Cop. It just wasn't one of his strong points. Those darn robots better get down here soon. This place gives me the creeps.

The Piece seemed to fill the cavern with a mysterious energy, and the strange echoes that almost sounded like whispering didn't help. It's just the wind, he told himself, or water, or something. It still creeped him out.

Lost in thought as he was, he almost didn't notice when Good Cop started walking towards the Piece.

What are you doing.

"I think..." Good Cop frowned in concentration. "I think I should touch the Piece."

Oh boy. No, you should not touch the Piece, that is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing, what the heck!

"Don't swear. Besides, it couldn't hurt."

Didn't you read the instructions? Don't touch strange pieces! Bad Cop tried to switch in, but Good Cop stopped him. No, stop!

"Just one touch. It's... it's the right thing to do." Good Cop reached out a hand to the piece.

Darn it, don't do it!

His hand collided with the piece with a gentle tap.


Their minds were assaulted with visions and words that they could barely make out, a cacophony of color and sound, and their head hurt and their thoughts mixed and they struggled to keep the mind that was Good Cop and the mind that was Bad Cop separate.

"The prophecy foretells that you --" "-- aren't special, you aren't anyone --" the Piece of Resistance "-- the man upstairs -- " a cat poster "-- believe --" "-- don't tell me it's --"

It felt like forever before it finally all stopped.


The two of them returned to consciousness slowly, Good Cop blinking his eyes and squinting in the bright light that was shining down on him. In the back of his head, Bad Cop was more alert, and was mentally berating him. Why did you do that, how could you ever possibly think that was a good idea, where are we now, what the heck --

"Hey," said a tinny voice. The bright light shone right in his eyes, and Good Cop tried to shield his face, but when he went to move his hand, it was handcuffed to the chair.

Uh-oh.

Uh-oh is darn right! What did you do?!

"He's awake."

"Stick to the plan. We get all the information we can out of him, and then we bring him to President Business."

Good Cop had a sinking feeling in his gut. His eyes had adjusted to the light now, and he could make out two robot police officers standing in front of him. He was sitting in a chair behind a desk, in a familiar interrogation room, which was... bad. Very bad. This was the room that he and Bad Cop normally used for high-profile criminals. Good Cop put on a smile and tried to wave to them, forgetting for a moment that his hands were handcuffed, and said, "Hey, fellas, what's going on?"

The robot lowered the flashlight. "Good Cop, Bad Cop, you're under arrest."

Good Cop's mouth twitched. Bad Cop cursed. Gosh darn it! Gosh darn it to heck! Let me handle this.

Their head spun and Bad Cop switched in with a scowl. "There's been a misunderstanding," he said. "I have no time for this. I need to report to President Business immediately."

The two robots looked at each other. "We can't let you do that," said one.

"Oh come on!" Bad Cop slammed his hands on the arms of the chair, rattling the handcuffs. "What could possibly be more important than informing President Business that the one thing, the one thing that could ruin his plans has been found, and that we need to destroy it as soon as possible!"

The robots made a whirring sound. "Informing President Business that his head officer has not followed the instructions and fused with the Piece of Resistance."

"What."

There's something stuck to our back, said Good Cop nervously.

Bad Cop twisted his head as far back as he could to try and get a look behind him. There it was, the Piece of Resistance, stuck on his back as if it were  a part of him. Bad Cop opened his mouth, but nothing came out.

Oh no.

Bad Cop struggled to find something to say. "You're telling me," he said to the robots, "the Piece of Resistance has been stuck to my back all this time... and nobody got it off?!"

"It's fused with you somehow," said one of the robots. "We can't get it off."

"You can't get it off, of course you can't get it off!" He slammed his hands down again, wishing he could get the handcuffs off so that he could unleash his anger on the chair. "You incompetent heaps of scrap metal! Let me go so I can report to President Business how utterly useless you are -- and deliver the Piece to him while I'm at it!"

A phone rang, stopping him before he could continue with his tirade. "Hold on," the robot said, and held the phone to its ear. Bad Cop rolled his eyes and groaned loudly while it listened to whoever was on the other end. "Yes. Yes. Absolutely. We will bring him to the melting chamber at once."

"The melting chamber?!"

Please don't tell me you said what I think you said, Good Cop said timidly.

"You can't melt us!" Bad Cop shouted, while the robots picked him up along with the chair he was handcuffed to. "You're making a huge mistake! When Lord Business hears about this --"

"On the contrary," said the robot, "Lord Business was the one who ordered us to."

As they carried him away, Good Cop's fear flooded their skull, and Bad Cop frantically searched for something to say that would stop this, give them more time to find out what the absolute heck was going on -- "Let me speak to Lord Business, there's got to be something wrong!" He was afraid too, and it was difficult not to let the fear creep into his voice. "He wouldn't just throw us away like this!"

The robots didn't deem it necessary to respond. Bad Cop continued to try and reason with them even as they strapped them into the machine, while Good Cop panicked. Oh no. Oh no. What have I done this is my fault --

"Blame won't get us anywhere," said Bad Cop, gaining a few odd looks from the robots. "Now listen --"

He couldn't see it from how he was strapped in, but he could feel the heat from the laser when it hit the Piece on his back. "Ow, ow, okay, we can still fix this, just get me out of this thing before this starts hurting!"

The robot manning the controls turned the laser's strength up higher. Bad Cop squirmed in the straps, but they held fast, and he was still handcuffed. "You gosh-darned --"

He was interrupted by someone crashing through the door, and then things got completely out of hand.

The hooded figure kicked the first few robots advancing on them to the ground and leaped over them to behind Bad Cop, where the melting device was. Bad Cop felt the heat from the laser move off his back. The robots began shooting at the figure, but they expertly dodged the storm of lasers and quickly incapacitated them. The figure landed in front of Bad Cop, took their hood off, and for the first time, the woman got a clear look at exactly who she was rescuing.

"You have got to be kidding me!" she said. Something behind her exploded.

More robots burst through the door, and the woman grimaced. "I can't believe this," she said, jumping up on top of the machine where Bad Cop was strapped in. "I can't believe this," she said again, pulling off the straps and grabbing Bad Cop by the shoulders.

"You and me both," Bad Cop grumbled. "Unhand me before --"

"Shut up before I leave you here to not live." She yanked Bad Cop off the machine and dragged him behind her, towards the window.

What's going on? Good Cop asked.

"See for yourself."

Good Cop switched in and blinked. "Hi," he began, and was thrown out the window.

He crashed into the alleyway below and got his head stuck in a trash can. He tried to get it off, but his hands were still handcuffed together. "A little help?" he said, trying to sit up.

The woman landed beside him and kicked the can off him. "Don't even think about trying to escape!" she said, pulling him to his feet.

"I'm not," Good Cop said, "really. But, erm, could you please explain what's going on?"

She ignored him and instead darted around the alleyway, grabbing bricks and clicking them together at a fantastical rate until the frame of a motorbike began to form in the center of the alley. Good Cop was still recovering from the events of the past five minutes, so it took a while before he realized exactly what this woman was.

She's a Master Builder, said Bad Cop.

"You're a Master Builder," said Good Cop. "Oh no."

The motorbike was completed, and Good Cop was unceremoniously thrown into the back of it. "I can't believe this!" the woman shouted over the roar of the engine, and they started moving.

The next few minutes were very loud and very confusing. The master builder weaved through the cars on the crowded highway, while police sirens blared behind them and robot cops shot at them. It was a horrendously bumpy ride, and Good Cop was nearly knocked out of the vehicle a few times. They approached a barrier of police cars and helicopters and gosh knew what else and she leaped out of her seat, tearing off pieces of the motorbike and rebuilding it. With one last click, she flipped the front wheel around, and the newly-created hovercraft rose up and above the barricade, towards the city limits.

"What do we do?" Good Cop said, quiet enough so that the woman couldn't hear him.

Even if we do manage to escape, Bad Cop said, we've got these darn handcuffs, and those 'bots think we're supposed to be melted! Darn it all, I don't know!

Well, if nothing else, perhaps she could be reasoned with. Good Cop cleared his throat. "Miss Master Builder," he said, raising his voice to be heard over the wind. "I know, I know, I've captured a lot of the other Master Builders and brought them to Lord Business to be enslaved, but I'm sure we can work things out if you just --"

"Ugh!" The plane jerked to the side and Good Cop banged his head against the wall. "This is the worst possible thing that could have happened!"

Good Cop decided not to bother her anymore. Instead, he stayed quiet, listened to Bad Cop's stream of darn darn darny darn, and wondered how in the world he was going to get out of this.

Chapter Text

Emmet was excited, nervous, and very, very confused. He had no idea why he of all people had been called to the Octan Tower, but the robots had made it clear that it was for something of the utmost importance.

He shifted uncomfortably in his seat, waiting to be called into the office. It occurred to him that maybe there had been a mistake. Maybe he had been mistaken for someone else. Emmet was just an ordinary construction worker, that was all. What could President Business possibly want with him?

Just then, the man in question burst through the door. "Emmet!" Business said cheerfully as the construction worker hastily got to his feet. "It's a pleasure meeting you, young man!"

"It's a -- gosh -- it's an honor to meet you, sir!" Emmet shook the hand offered to him, a grin spreading across his face. "How did you know my name?"

President Business slapped him on the back. "Why, I heard all about what happened earlier! You were the one who reported the mysterious suspect in the construction site, correct?"

"Well, yeah, I guess so, but..." Emmet looked down nervously. "I was just following the instructions, that's all."

Business' expression darkened. "Well, not everyone follows the instructions, nowadays."

He turned away and walked towards his office, gesturing for Emmet to follow him. He did, albeit hesitantly. "What do you mean, 'not everyone follows the instructions?'" he said. "Everyone has to follow the instructions!"

"It's great that you think that." The doors slammed shut behind them, making Emmet jump. "Everyone should follow the instructions! But not everyone does. That's why I brought you in today. No, computer," he said, waving a hand at the robotic arms that reached down from above. "I'll stick to this outfit for now. Don't want to scare the new guy, haha!"

"Um..." Emmet ran forward a few steps to catch up with President Business' long strides. "New guy? What do you mean?"

Business stopped and turned around with a grim look on his face. "Let me tell you a story, Emmet," he said.

"Once upon a time, there were many different worlds. All the worlds were allowed to mingle and contaminate each other, causing great confusion -- and what's worse, there were no instructions to be heard of."

Emmet gasped. Business smiled, just for an instant, before resuming his serious expression. "Yes, it was a chaotic time, before I arrived and fixed things.

"I built walls between the worlds, so they could no longer contaminate each other with foreign ideas, and created instructions so that everyone knew what they were supposed to do at all times. However, some people were not happy with this, and to this day, they continue to work against me to bring back those days of confusion and chaos, and create a world where everyone would be free to do whatever they wanted with no consequences! It would be horrible, Emmet!"

"It sounds horrible," he said. "But what does this have to do with me?"

"You see," Business continued, "the suspect you reported was one of these people. They call themselves Master Builders. They're searching for the one thing that could undo all my years of hard work to keep things in order, so naturally it's in my best interest to make sure they don't get it. So I sent my most trusted subordinates, Good Cop and Bad Cop, to find it first -- only for them to take it for themselves!" He raised his voice to a shout, and Emmet took a step back in alarm. President Business coughed quietly and cleared his throat before continuing.

"This is where you come in.

"I need someone to rally the support of the people, so the Master Builders don't win. Someone so average, so utterly generic that everyone can identify with them. Someone nice and agreeable, someone who always follows the instructions. Someone like..." President Business raised a hand towards Emmet. "You."

Emmet's jaw dropped. "I. Uh. I'm not qualified for this position."

Business laughed. "Don't worry, it won't be hard at all. All you have to do is follow the instructions."


Good Cop and Bad Cop had known about the supposedly-secret tunnel through the wall, so it wasn't a surprise when the woman flew the hovercraft through it. Once they were on the other side, it got very bright, and Good Cop started to wish he had Bad Cop's sunglasses. When his vision adjusted, he caught sight of the large floating letters that announced they were in the Old West. "We're in the Old West," he said out loud so Bad Cop could hear him.

"Yeah," said the woman flying the jet. "I know, I was the one who flew us here."

"Sorry, I was talking to Bad Cop."

She shook her head. "Fine, fine, whatever. This is a disaster."

Well, at least we can agree on something, Bad Cop grumbled.

Good Cop frowned. "So, I never got your name," he said, while the woman lowered the hovercraft down into the desert. "I'm --"

They landed none too gently, knocking him over and sending up a cloud of sand. "You're Good Cop, Bad Cop," the woman said, jumping out of the pilot's seat and glaring at him. "And you're responsible for the captures of my fellow Master Builders!"

"So you do know me!"

She kicked him. Hard. Bad Cop switched in and scowled. "Look," he said, "we've tried to be nice --"

She kicked him again. "If you have to know," she said, "my name's Wyldstyle."

Bad Cop furrowed his brow. "What, are you a DJ?"

She kicked him a third time. Bad Cop, Good Cop scolded, don't provoke her.

"You're not the boss of me," he muttered, and quickly rolled out of the way of yet another kick. "I wasn't even talking to you!"

You're just making her angry. Let me handle this.

"We have a rule. I handle things whenever they get physical."

But this isn't working!

"It's working just fine!" Wyldstyle rolled her eyes while Bad Cop argued with his other half. "Let me deal with her!"

"I'm not something to be dealt with." Wyldstyle hopped out of the hovercraft and whacked it, causing it to break apart into its individual bricks, with Bad Cop in the middle of the mess. "If anything, I'm the one who has to deal with you. Do you realize what you've done?!"

Bad Cop got to his feet and waded his way out of the pile. "Technically, this is all Good Cop's fault."

"Ugh! Do you realize what the both of you have done?! You ruined the prophecy! You touched the Piece of Resistance, and now it thinks you're the Special!"

Bad Cop paused.

He had been told about the prophecy, of course. Lord Business insisted that it was made up, but just in case, he informed Good Cop and Bad Cop that under no circumstances was anyone allowed to go near the Piece of Resistance before it was destroyed, just in case the Special really was out there somewhere. They had, quite frankly, thought the whole thing was ridiculous -- if the prophecy was made up, why was Lord Business worrying about it so much? -- but they followed orders. Well, up until they actually found the Piece, they followed orders. But to think that they were the Special... it was laughable. Neither of them would ever go as far as to directly oppose Lord Business. So then why was the Piece stuck to their back?

In the back of his head, Good Cop cringed. I'm sorry.

"I don't have time for this," Wyldstyle said, snapping them out of their train of thought. "From now on, you are my prisoner. Got it?"

Good Cop switched in before Bad Cop could respond. "Got it," he said.

Wyldstyle sighed. "I am never going to get used to that."


"Wait right here," Wyldstyle said. "Don't go anywhere."

"We couldn't go anywhere if we wanted to," said Bad Cop angrily, "and you darn well know it!"

Wyldstyle knelt down to check the ropes that held him to the rock. "Just making sure."

Bad Cop rolled his eyes and groaned. "This is completely unnecessary."

"You're my prisoner, remember? I can't have you running off and delivering the Piece to Business. And getting yourself killed in the process."

"'He's not going to kill me," he grumbled. Wyldstyle rolled her eyes, tightened a not, and stood up straight.

"I'm going to get Vitruvius. He'll know what to do with you." She turned and walked briskly towards the saloon, pulling out a fan as she went. Bad Cop became all too aware of how darn hot it was out in the desert. He was starting to sweat already.

"Darn it all!" he shouted.

We'll be fine, Good Cop said gently. I'm sure things will work out.

"Good Cop," said Bad Cop, trying very hard to keep his voice level. "We are tied to a rock in the middle of the Old West, held prisoner by a Master Builder, Lord Business' robots think he wants us dead for some reason, and we've still got handcuffs on!"

Well... there's got to be some way out of this. Good Cop was quiet for a moment. We could... pretend we're betraying Lord Business? Pretend we're allied with the Master Builders, and then betray them instead!

"That would be a good plan, if it weren't for the fact that they're never going to trust us! We've captured a hundred other Master Builders, remember?"

Well, Good Cop said, and Bad Cop could feel the annoyance in his every word, maybe if you tried to be a little nicer, they would.

"'Be a little nicer,' oh yeah, like being nice is going to -- wait."

Wait? Wait for what?

Bad Cop was quiet for a long moment while he went over all the possibilities in his head. "You're Good Cop," he finally said.

Erm, yes, that is my name.

"No, you don't understand! You're good! You're the complete opposite of me, right?"

No. That's not true at all. Good Cop sounded hurt. We're not opposites, Bad Cop.

"Okay, no we aren't, but nobody else knows that." Bad Cop talked faster, more excitedly. "You're the good cop. You're nice, you're polite, you're helpful... Why would someone as nice as you be working for the bad guys?"


"I have good news and I have bad news," Wyldstyle said once they were both Vitruvius' room.

Vitruvius frowned and sat down in a chair. "Tell me the bad news first."

She hesitated. "Actually, I think it'll be easier if I tell you the good news first. I found the Piece of Resistance."

"Really!" Vitruvius brightened and stood up, taking a step towards her. "Then that means... you are the Special!"

Wyldstyle grimaced. "Actually, I'm not. Someone else found it first. That's part of the bad news."

"Oh." Vitruvius sat down again. "Then who found it? Who's the Special? I need to speak with them at once."

All of a sudden, Wyldstyle felt like the room was crowding in on her, with all its strange objects filling the space and leaving her no room to breathe. This was not how she wanted this conversation to go at all.

"Uh, before I tell you that, how about I tell you some more good news? You know Good Cop, Bad Cop? I captured them!"

"You mean the cop with the two faces? The ones who personally led the capture of a hundred Master Builders?" It was impossible to tell behind his beard, but Wyldstyle was sure he was grinning broadly. "That's incredible!"

"Yeah! I have them tied up outside!" She coughed. "Also they were the ones who got to the piece first and now it's stuck to their back and I don't think we can get it off."

For a moment, Vitruvius didn't say anything. "What."

"Yeah."

"Wyldstyle." Vitruvius stood up and paced around the room, his staff tapping on the floor. "You realize what this means, don't you?"

"Yeah, they ruined the prophecy!"

"No. They fulfilled it. If they found the Piece, then they are the Special."

Wyldstyle shook her head. "That's impossible, they're against everything the Special is supposed to stand for! They work for Lord Business! How could they possibly be the Special?"

"Because they found the Piece. I didn't make the rules, Wyldstyle, I am merely a messenger."

"But..." She trailed off as Vitruvius made his way over to the door. "Where are you going."

"Meet me outside in ten seconds. We're going to talk to the Special."


TEN SECONDS LATER


The cops were, thankfully, right where Wyldstyle had left them. Good Cop was in front again, biting his lip and averting his gaze from the two of them. Vitruvius walked right up to him and whacked his helmet with the staff. "Well, it's definitely them, alright."

"Ow," said Good Cop.

Wyldstyle snorted. "Who else did you expect?"

"I don't know. Anyway." He walked around to where the Piece was pressed against the rock. "And here's the Piece? Hmm, yep, this is it. So this is the Special!"

"They're not the Special!"

"Wyldstyle, we've been over this."

"But -- they just aren't!" Wyldstyle threw her hands up in the air. "The Special is supposed to be someone good! Someone who's a Master Builder! These guys aren't either of those things!"

"Erm, could someone untie us?"

"They don't have to be a Master Builder," Vitruvius said, ignoring him. "They just have to have the potential to be one."

"He's still a bad guy!"

"I don't want to be."

That got their attention. Both Wyldstyle and Vitruvius whipped their heads around to stare at Good Cop, who gulped.

"You don't want to be a bad guy," said Vitruvius.

He shook his head slowly. "No, I don't."

"He's lying," said Wyldstyle. "We can't trust him."

"It's okay if you don't trust us -- I mean me," said Good Cop. "I've done some pretty, erm, bad guy things. But..." He looked down at the ground. "It wasn't me who wanted to work for Lord Business. That was Bad Cop. I just... had to go along with it. But now..." He looked up and smiled. "Things are different now! I don't have to do what Bad Cop wants anymore! I can do what I want! And I want to help you!"

There was a moment of silence before Wyldstyle cleared her throat and spoke up. "That speech," she said, "was a load of --"

Good Cop's head spun to reveal Bad Cop's face twisted into a snarl. "No," he said, "no, no, no! We are not helping them! We are not going to completely ruin all of Lord Business' plans, not after we spent so much time to make them succeed!"

His head spun back to Good Cop. "But that was what you wanted! Not what I wanted!"

"I don't care what you want!"

Wyldstyle and Vitruvius watched as their head spun back and forth, the two faces arguing with each other. "We still can't trust them," Wyldstyle said. "Either of them."

"Well, at least they're trying," Vitruvius said. "Let's untie them and get them back to my room."

Their argument paused and Good Cop looked up at him. "Really?"

"We're giving you a chance," said Vitruvius. Wyldstyle shook her head. "Of course, it's not easy for us to trust you, but, well, we'll see what the other Master Builders think once we announce that the Special has been found."

"He's not..." Wyldstyle sighed and bent down to untie the knots. "Fine, fine, just as long as you don't blame me when everything goes wrong."

Good Cop tried to hide the fear on his face while he was slowly freed from the ropes. In his head, he could feel Bad Cop's anxiety as he muttered, This plan better work.

It will, Good Cop wanted to say, but he held his tongue. It wouldn't do well if Wyldstyle heard him.

Chapter Text

They had to keep the handcuffs on, to Good Cop's dismay. "We still can't trust you," Wyldstyle said. "And even if we could, we definitely can't trust Bad Cop not to try and sabotage us. So, handcuffs stay on. Sorry."

She didn't sound very sorry at all. Good Cop tried not to let it bother him. After all, their ultimate goal was to betray them to Lord Business the moment they were able to, so Wyldstyle was right not to trust them.

He tried not to let that bother him, either.

It was your idea in the first place, said Bad Cop. What's the problem?

Good Cop didn't know. He stayed silent, and Bad Cop's question faded away into a dull annoyance.

There was some trouble about how they should get to Vitruvius' room. They couldn't go through the main door of the saloon, without a disguise for Good Cop, and they didn't want to have to answer questions about why he was handcuffed. The back door was safer, but the employees hung around there, and they would run into the same problem. So they went in through the roof.

"What if someone looks up?" Good Cop asked while Vitruvius hoisted him up on his shoulders.

"Oh, don't worry about it," he said. "They'll just think it's me again."

Up on the roof, Wyldstyle rolled her eyes, reached down, and pulled Good Cop up the rest of the way. "What do you get up to without me, Vitruvius?"

"Nothing interesting," he said, reaching up to grab Wyldstyle's hand. "Here, the trapdoor's over there."

Good Cop had to be lowered down carefully inside the room, since he had no way of easily climbing down himself in handcuffs. Once he was safely on the floor, he gawked at his surroundings -- Vitruvius' room was crowded with all sorts of bizarre, colorful objects of all shapes and sizes, most of which Good Cop had never seen before. Vitruvius made his way through the mess effortlessly, picked up a large battleaxe, and approached Good Cop with it.

"What are you going to do with that?" Good Cop took a few steps back, bumping into a table and knocking it over. "I don't think I like where this is going."

What's going on out there? he heard Bad Cop say.

"Don't worry," Vitruvius said, raising the axe high above his head. "It won't hurt."

Good Cop cringed and closed his eyes.

The axe came down on his handcuffs and broke them apart with a crack. Good Cop kept his eyes closed for a moment longer, then once he was absolutely sure he was not dead, opened them and raised his now separated hands. "Oh."

"I only broke the chain, I didn't get them off. Hold still."

"No, no, it's okay!" Good Cop shook his head frantically before Vitruvius could raise the axe again. "This is good! This is good! Thank you!"

As soon as we get somewhere we can talk, you're going to explain everything to me, because I have no darn clue what is going on.

He had to admit, it was frustrating not being able to talk to each other like they normally did. Unless he spoke out loud, Bad Cop was only able to catch the occasional glimpse of Good Cop's thoughts and feelings, and if they switched places so Bad Cop could get a good look at what was going on... well, Wyldstyle and Vitruvius were hopefully under the impression that while Good Cop wanted to help them, Bad Cop was still allied with Lord Business, so if Bad Cop switched in, they would react appropriately. No, Good Cop thought to himself, it was better for him to handle things for now.

Not that he was that good at handling things to begin with. If he had only listened to Bad Cop and left the Piece of Resistance alone...

"What kind of powers does the Piece have?" he asked.

Vitruvius looked up from where he was digging through a pile of junk. "You mean, other than being the only thing that can stop Lord Business' plans?"

"Erm, yes. You see..." Good Cop looked down. "When we found the Piece, we were just going to wait for the robots to find us so they could deliver it to Business, but... I felt like I had to touch it. Does the Piece have... mind-control powers?"

Vitruvius shook his head. "I don't know. Probably not. I've never heard of it having powers like that before."

"Oh."

"Vitruvius," Wyldstyle called from across the room, "were you looking for the birds? Because I found them."

"Great! Bring them over here!"

While Wyldstyle and Vitruvius quietly talked amoung themselves, Good Cop was lost in thought. Why had he touched the Piece? It was clearly against the instructions, Bad Cop had been yelling at him not to, so why had he been so compelled to?

It's the right thing to do, he had said. How he wished he had done the wrong thing.

Bad Cop had been quiet for a while now, and the only sign he was there was the disgruntled presense Good Cop felt in the back of his mind. He sighed; he really wished he would talk to him, even if he couldn't respond. Still, it was comforting to know that he wasn't alone.

"There we go!" Good Cop looked up at the sound of the window opening. Vitruvius chucked two birds outside, closed it again, then turned to Wyldstyle. "They'll go to an internet cafe and email the other Master Builders to inform them of the meeting. Now..." Vitruvius looked around. "Do we have time? Is anyone coming after us?"

"Lord Business' robots probably followed us into the Old West," said Wyldstyle, "but they won't know where we are."

"Then I should have time for this." Vitruvius opened the door. "I'm going to check the saloon for a moment. I'll be back soon."

"Wait, what's at the saloon?"

"Just the usual, Wyldstyle. Keep an eye on those two, now!"

He closed the door, and Good Cop and Wyldstyle stood there in silence while the sound of his footsteps faded away.

They stood there awkwardly for some time. Good Cop looked down and shuffled his feet nervously. "So," he said. "What --"

"You're not a Master Builder. That's true, right?"

Good Cop shook his head. "No," he said. "I mean -- yes, it's true, no, I'm not a Master Builder. I can build, but..."

"Okay, build something."

"What?"

"You heard me," she said. "To be the Special, you have to be a Master Builder. So let's see what you can do. Given what's around you, build something simple. Like an awesome racecar."

"Erm." Good Cop took a deep breath. "Okay. A racecar..."

She watched as Good Cop looked around the room, and a heavy silence settled over them. Good Cop rocked back and forth on his feet, took a step forward, then shook his head.

"There're no wheels," he said. "Could I build something else?"

Wyldstyle snorted. "So you can't build after all."

"I can build! There just... aren't any wheels."

"If you really could build, then you would've found a way to make a racecar. So you can't!"

"You can't make a racecar without wheels!"

"All I'm saying --"

Oh, come on! said Bad Cop, and before Good Cop could react, his head swiveled and Bad Cop glared at her. "There are no wheels! What, are Master Builders supposed to turn bricks into other bricks? That'd be a useful skill to have, y'know, if it was real!"

Wyldstyle slapped his face and spun him back around to Good Cop. "I don't know what Vitruvius is thinking," she said, "but you're not the Special. And that's final."

Good Cop rubbed his head, Bad Cop fuming in the back of his mind, and didn't say anything.


 

When Vitruvius walked into the saloon, everyone was crowded around the radio, conversing in quiet murmuring while a voice crackled out from the speakers. Vitruvius thought it was odd, but ignored it until he heard the phrase "Master Builders," which got his attention very quickly.

"As you all know," the voice said, "the instructions are very important to our way of life. Without instructions, people wouldn't know what to do, or when to do them, and some people would just do whatever they wanted, without taking into consideration the feelings of other people.

"The latter is what Master Builders want to do -- they want a world where they can just do whatever they want, and break things and change them and -- it would be chaos, and ordinary, instruction-abiding citizens like you and me would suffer because of it!

"So, it's very, very important that if you see anything out of the ordinary, whether it's a brick out of place or a person who isn't following the instructions, that you report it to your local authorities. You know, whoever those are in... wherever you are. I, uh, don't actually know where this is being broadcast, so, uh... anyway!

"The Master Builders think they're more important than ordinary people, but they're not. You, me, all of us -- we're important, too! So, just remember that, and, uh, remember to follow the instructions. If you do, then not even Master Builders will be able to stop us. Thank you."

From the radio came the sound of applause, and a muted, "Oh, gosh!" before the recording changed and a different voice spoke up. "That was Emmet Brickowski, speaking live from the Octan Tower..."

"Oh boy," said Vitruvius.


 

"Alright," Vitruvius said, bursting into the room. "I'm done, let's go."

Wyldstyle and Good Cop looked up from the chairs they were sitting up. "Okay," said Good Cop. "Did something happen?"

"Sort of." Vitruvius grabbed a ladder and positioned it underneath the roof trapdoor. "Lord Business has decided to start spreading propaganda about the Master Builders. Saying we're trying to... uh... I've already forgotten. It was rubbish, all of it. Anyway, it might not be safe here much longer. So let's go."

Wyldstyle leapt to her feet immediately. Good Cop was a little slower, and Wyldstyle grabbed him and dragged him to where Vitruvius was already scaling the ladder.

"You don't have to be so rough with me!"

"Look," she said. "You're obviously going to be staying with us for a while, so here's something you need to know. When Vitruvius says we go, then we go. Right away. Got it?"

"But it doesn't seem that serious," Good Cop began, when someone pounded on the door. He shut up and climbed up the ladder, reaching the rooftop just as the entrance exploded.

The blast nearly knocked them off the roof. Good Cop staggered, straightened up, and fell over when a blast from a laser gun shot by right in front of his face. "Ow!"

That was a gunshot, Bad Cop said. Good Cop, if things get worse, let me --

"I'll be fine!" he whispered. "Stick to the plan!"

"Good Cop! Bad Cop!" He peered over the edge of the roof to see a robot cop with a megaphone standing at the head of a group of police cars. "You are under arrest. Please do not attempt to --"

"Let's move!" Wyldstyle and Vitruvius ran and jumped onto the top of the next building, with Good Cop following as best he could.

"-- escape." The robot pointed at them. "Fire!"

Bad Cop let loose a string of hecks and darns and Good Cop just tried to focus on getting away. Wyldstyle and Vitruvius were getting farther ahead, the Piece on his back suddenly felt much heavier than before, there were shots whizzing by his head and darn it all what could Lord Business have possibly said to his robots to make them think they were supposed to kill him?

A shot hit his helmet and knocked him to the ground. His head ringing, Good Cop spit out sand and tried to get to his feet, but the robots had caught up to him, and before he could do anything more than lift himself off the ground they had surrounded him and were pointing their guns down at him.

"Surrender at once."

Good Cop was dizzy and tired and his head felt like it was splitting open. There was nothing he could do.

"I surrender."


 

"Keep running, Wyldstyle!"

Wyldstyle looked back behind her. "But they have the Piece!"

"What good will the Piece do if we get captured, too? Keep running!"

"But --" She screwed up her face. "We can't --"

Vitruvius abruptly pulled her behind a rock outcropping, where they both tumbled into the sand. Once they were untangled, he sat up and peered out from behind it.

"They've stopped chasing us."

Wyldstyle punched the rock as hard as she could. "Darn it!"

Vitruvius rested a hand on her shoulder and shook his head. "Don't give up hope. They were Lord Business' most loyal subordinates; he won't order their deaths. If we can intercept them before they take him to Octan Tower, we can still win. Contact Batman at once."

Wyldstyle took several deep, shuddering breaths. "Yes," she said. "We can still win."


"Sir, we have successfully subdued Good Cop and Bad Cop. What are your orders?"

Good Cop held his breath. Bad Cop tried to reassure him, but his own thoughts were clouded with fear. This will all be sorted out now, there's no way Business ordered them to kill us, don't worry --

"Understood. We will dispose of them at once."

"Wait!"

Their head swiveled and Bad Cop reached out a hand to the robot speaking into the radio. "Let us talk to him," he said. "We can explain everything. Don't -- just let us explain!"

"They want to speak to you, sir."

An eternity passed.

Civilizations came and went.

Entire worlds were built and taken apart into their individual bricks, only to be rebuilt again.

The universe ended, and was reborn.

Time was frozen, and Good Cop and Bad Cop were trapped forever in that moment before the robot held out the radio to them.

Bad Cop wasted no time. He snatched the radio and began speaking into it before Lord Business could say a word. "We're sorry for the late report," he said, struggling to keep his voice steady. "We were unable to apprehend the suspect at the construction site, but we have found and secured the Piece of Resistance. What are your orders, sir?"

Another eternity passed, this one longer than the first, before, through the static of the radio, they heard Lord Business laugh.

"You," he said, "are a real piece of work! Both of you! This is... well!"

Bad Cop waited patiently for him to finish laughing, biting his lip.

"Alright," Business said, "alright. My orders are for you to personally deliver the piece to my office. You have a lot of explaining to do."

Chapter Text

"Welcome to Cloud Cuckooland!"

Unikitty trotted alongside Vitruvius, chattering on about how wonderful it was to see him again and did you really find the Special? Where were they? Vitruvius answered what he could and carefully avoided saying anything about the Special other than, "It's very important that we inform the other Master Builders of the situation."

A few steps behind them, Wyldstyle and Batman were arguing with each other.

"What took you so long?" Wyldstyle whispered angrily. "We were halfway to Middle Zealand before you found us!"

"Look," said Batman, not caring to keep his voice down. "You called me at a bad time, okay? I had some stuff to take care of."

"We found the Piece! What could have possibly been more important than that?"

"I don't expect you to understand --"

"Don't you dare start with this --"

"Hey!" At the sound of raised voices, Unikitty pranced over to the two, frowning. "There are no mean words here! It's not allowed!"

Wyldstyle sighed in exasperation. "I thought there were no rules," she said.

"There aren't, except you aren't allowed to do anything that makes you feel not happy!" Unikitty stomped a hoof. "So stop arguing or else!"

Batman groaned exaggeratedly. "Fiiine."

"Yay!" Unikitty smiled broadly and bounded back to Vitruvius. Wyldstyle and Batman spent the rest of the walk refusing to look at each other.

The Dog Dome was bustling with voices when they arrived, all the Master Builders sitting and chatting with either other. Vitruvius paused at the entrance and listened carefully. "Is it me, or are there less of us than there were before?"

"Umm..." Unikitty sat down beside him and looked around. "You're right! Are they all late?"

Wyldstyle ran a few steps to catch up to them and looked around. "I see Superman, Wonder Woman, Michelangelo, Cleopatra... there's a lot of us missing! Where's Green Lantern? Where's Abraham Lincoln? Where's 1980-something space guy? We finally found the Piece of Resistance and only half the Master Builders bother to show up to the meeting?"

Vitruvius shook his head. "I can only hope that's the case."

Before she got a chance to ask what he meant, Vitruvius banged his staff on the ground, and the room hushed. "Attention, everyone," he said, walking forward. "We don't have a lot of time, so I'll keep things short. We've found the Special. So has Lord Business. He has captured the Special, and --"

"What?!" shouted one of the Master Builders -- Wyldstyle couldn't tell who, because in the next moment they all started shouting. Vitruvius banged his staff a few more times, and when that didn't work, said, "Everyone, please, let me finish. Yes, the situation is less than ideal, but it's not completely hopeless. The Special is currently being taken to Lord Business, but before we came here, Batman was able to sabotage their vehicles --"


"Why are we here. Why are we here. Lord Business is going to have our head if we don't get there soon and we're lost!"

"Nonsense," said the robot driving the police car. "It is impossible for us to be lost. The GPS is working perfectly."

Bad Cop gestured furiously at the barren, rocky landscape outside. "We are on the gosh-darned moon!"


"-- so it will take them a while to get there. If we move quickly, we should be able to intercept them before they reach him, and then --"

"How do we know the Special is still alive?" Wonder Woman said, standing up. "Wouldn't Lord Business have killed them by now? It's not as if he has a reason to keep them alive."

"Well," said Vitruvius, "that's where the good news comes in. Lord Business won't want to kill them because the Special happens to be his two most trusted officers!"

There was a moment of silence while the Master Builders contemplated his words. Then pandemonium broke out.

"The Special is what --"

"Don't tell me it's who I think it is --"

"Then how are they going to work with us --"

"Ye better not be talking about the cops!"

When Metalbeard spoke, people tended to shut up. He just had that effect on them. The room quieted when the pirate stomped inside, ducking down to fit his enormous robotic body inside the dome. He stopped in front on Vitruvius, glaring down at him.

"Yer tellin' me," he said, "that Good Cop an' Bad Cop be the Special -- and this be good news?"

"Yup."

Metalbeard threw his arms up in the air. "Ye be talking nonsense! They can't be the Special -- have ye forgotten that they personally captured a hundred of our fellow Master Builders? Or do I be needing to tell my tale of woe all over again?"

"No," said Vitruvius, while the people around him groaned. "You really don't. I know what Good Cop and Bad Cop have done, but we have reason that they -- or, well, one of them -- might be willing to help us."

"Really." Metalbeard bent down to look him in the eye. "And what makes you so sure of this?"

"You are aware of the cops' split personality, of course. When we were able to speak to them, Good Cop told us that he never wanted to work for Lord Business, and though he had been going along with what Bad Cop wanted, he was willing to defect and help us." Vitruvius tapped his staff on the ground.  "Obviously we can't trust him completely, but we decided to give him a chance, and then he was recaptured by Lord Business' forces."

"So what? Now we've got to be rescuing them?"

Wyldstyle had enough. "No," she said, "we've got to get the Piece of Resistance! Right now, it's stuck to their back, and regardless of whether they're the Special or not, we can't let Lord Business get his hands on it!"

Everyone was looking at her now, and for a moment Wyldstyle didn't know what to say next. She swallowed, feeling nervous all of a sudden, and continued. "We need the Piece," she said, "and so we need the cops. And we don't have much time; if we're going to have a chance at stopping Lord Business, we need to leave now. So who's with me?"

"I'm not," said Metalbeard. "I don't have the time to waste on this."

"What!" Metalbeard turned and strode out of the Dog Dome. "Wait!"

All around her, the Master Builders were muttering to each other and standing up. "What are you doing?!" Wyldstyle shouted. "You can't just leave!"

"I'm not going to have anything to do with Good Cop and Bad Cop," Superman said bitterly. "You can deal with them yourself." He flew out the nearest window, and was soon followed by a few others. One by one, all the Master Builders were leaving, and Wyldstyle could only stand there in disbelief until everyone was gone.

Well, not everyone. Unikitty, Batman, and Vitruvius were still there. Vitruvius looked at her sadly. "It's not because of you, Wyldstyle."

"They're all poopoo-heads," Unikitty said angrily.

"I don't understand." Wyldstyle shook her head. "I just don't understand. We finally found the Piece of Resistance, and they all just leave?"

"A lot of us have had very personal experiences with Good Cop and Bad Cop." Vitruvius sighed. "They might not have seemed like a threat when you captured them, but if you had met them in different circumstances... well, you might think twice about going to rescue them, too."

"I know that, but... darn it, maybe it would have been better if we said we were capturing them instead of rescuing them."

"Whoa, where is everyone?"

The group looked towards the entrance. Standing there, looking around in confusion, was the 1980-something space guy, dressed in his usual blue spacesuit and hovering a few inches off the ground. "How late am I?" he said. "I didn't think I was that late. Is the meeting over already?"

"Space guy!" Wyldstyle exclaimed.

He grinned. "Girl who's name I can never remember because she keeps changing it! I'm Ben, by the way, but you can call me --"

"Okay, got it." Wyldstyle turned to Vitruvius and clapped her hands. "Now we have five people. Do you think that'll be enough to find where Good Cop and Bad Cop are now, beat up all the robots guarding them, and capture them again?"

"-- Benny. Um. Wow, I did not agree to whatever you just said I was a part of." Benny slowly started to rise up and float towards one of the windows. "Hey, I just remembered, I have something I really need to get back to --"

"We need you to build a spaceship."

His eyes lit up and he sank back down to the floor. "I'm in."


The robots had escorted them to one of the police cars and locked them in the back. Bad Cop supposed it was to be expected; Lord Business wasn't pleased with them, after all. At least he wasn't ordering their deaths anymore.

Because... he had, before. Both Good Cop and Bad Cop had been in denial ever since the incident with the melting chamber, but they couldn't deny it any longer. Lord Business had ordered his robots to kill them, not once, but twice, almost without waiting to hear what they had to say. Bad Cop could tell that Good Cop was still rattled from the experience, and the splitting headache they had didn't help.

The team of robots getting horribly lost really didn't help. At least they were finally starting to realize they were going the wrong way.

Bad Cop stared out the window, watching the scenery of Middle Zealand roll by. They were still far from the Octan Tower, but they were going in the right direction now. "Do you want to come out?" he asked out loud.

No, said Good Cop. I'm sorry.

"What're you apologizing for? You don't have to come out if you don't want to." He shifted in the seat; the Piece was pressing into his back and he was having a hard time finding a comfortable position.

I don't know. Oh no, Good Cop was definitely in a bad way, he could tell. I'm sorry for touching the Piece and almost getting us killed and probably ruining our lives forever. I'm sorry for existing.

"You're being ridiculous."

...I'm sorry.

"No. No. Stop." Bad Cop groaned and covered his face. "Look," he said tiredly, "you're not being rational. You're having an emotional response to our situation, and though your feelings are valid, it's not very helpful right now. What's done is done. We'll sort this out with Business and then everything will go back to normal."

Good Cop was quiet, and Bad Cop wondered if he had managed to shut down his other half's train of thought before it got too bad. Then he heard, Things aren't going to return to normal. I mean... Taco Tuesday is coming up in less than three days.

Oh, right. That. "Okay, so things won't have time to go back to normal, because Business is going to end the world and then we'll be able to go live in the countryside with Ma and Pa and never have to think about this job again."

Do you know what the Kragle is like?

"Where did that come from?" Bad Cop simply could not get comfortable; every move he made seemed to dig the Piece deeper into his back. Finally, he unbuckled  his seatbelt and sat sideways across the backseat. It helped a little. "We know it permanently sticks bricks together so that they can't be taken apart again."

Lord Business is going to use on people, too.

"So? That's not our problem."

Bad Cop, I'm afraid. What's Lord Business going to do with us?

Darn, his back hurt. "We were doing our job. It's not our fault the Master Builders kidnapped us. He can't blame us for that. We'll report back, explain everything, and we'll be fine."

Bad Cop waited for a response, but all he felt was Good Cop's fear. Groaning, he leaned back against the door and stared out the window. "Well, at least things can't get any worse."

He regretted those words the moment he saw the spaceship flying towards them.

The driver slammed on the breaks. Bad Cop tumbled forward and banged his head on the seat in front of him. "Ow!"

"Do not leave. We'll deal with this." The robot got out of the car and slammed the door shut while Bad Cop was still struggling to right himself.

Oh no, Good Cop said, what's going wrong now?

"Everything." Bad Cop slipped and banged his head again. "The entire world has decided that all it wants to do is make this the worst day of our lives. And it is darned working!"

By the time he was able to get off the floor and look out the window, there was complete chaos outside. The spaceship was flying jerkily, darting from one point to another and hovering in place before darting off somewhere else. The police copters were shooting, but with its erratic movement, they weren't having much luck hitting it. The robots were all running to and fro on the ground, and gosh knew what they were trying to accomplish like that.

The spaceship shot at a stationary police car, blowing it up, and Bad Cop realized they were in very real danger.

"Those incompetent --" Bad Cop yanked at the door handle. "-- useless --" He punched the door as hard as he could, but the bricks held tight. "-- inept --" The spaceship was flying towards his car. Bad Cop leaned back and kicked the door over and over again. "-- gosh-darned --"

"DON'T SHOOT! DON'T SHOOT! THEY'RE IN THE CAR!"

Bad Cop could barely make out Wyldstyle's voice through the noise, but sure enough, when he looked out the windshield, there she was, waving her arms in the air and yelling up at the spaceship. "BENNY, DON'T SHOOT, I FOUND THEM! THEY'RE HERE! Please tell me you can hear me --"

There was a roar of wind as the spaceship rushed over the car, chased by several helicopters. "Great!" Wyldstyle shouted, and she ran towards the car.

"Long time, no see," she said, jumping in the front seat. "Yes! They left the keys!"

"I hate you so much," said Bad Cop.

"Great to see you too." She revved the engine and the car jerked forward, knocking him backwards. "Hey, can I talk to Good Cop? There's some things we need to discuss with him. Like making sure he's actually willing to betray Business for us."

I think I want to disappear and never come back, said Good Cop. Anything would be better than having to face Lord Business after this.

As the car bounced down the road and the sounds of shooting from behind them faded away, Bad Cop had to agree.

Chapter Text

"You lost them."

The small group of robots looked about as uncomfortable as robots could look. "The Master Builders captured them, yes," the one in front responded.

"You lost them," Lord Business repeated, wearing his full ensemble and glaring down at them from the full height of his boots. "You had them right in your hands, and for the second time, the Master Builders stole them from you. The second time! And now we have to go capture them for the third time! What is this, some elaborate game of keep away? Are we just going to keep passing them between each other until Taco Tuesday? Because, I'll say right now, if that happens, I'm going to be so mad."

"Understood, sir."

"Oh, shut up!" Business kicked the robot across his office, where it crashed into the wall and broke apart. "You're robots, you're supposed to be better than actual people! Instead, you're just as incompetent as everyone else, and it's not nearly as satisfying to threaten you! Where's the cops when you need them? Oh wait --"

The remaining robots looked at each other and took a few steps back.

Flames spouted from Business' helmet and he took one long stride forward. "Honestly!" he said. "The only person who's not a complete disappointment is Brickowski, and he's disappointing in... other ways. I mean, sure, he gives good speeches and he follows my instructions almost perfectly, but I have to be constantly praising him and assuring him, and you can bet that the moment I threaten to throw him out into the infinite void he'll freak out and never work the same again! It's so frustrating!"

"Yes, sir."

"You're all like a broken record, I swear. At least when Bad Cop does it it's entertaining." He gestured towards the door. "Go set up the broadcasting room. We have a very special episode to air tonight, and I don't want anything to go wrong."

The robots quickly gathered up the pieces of their fallen member and rushed out the door. Once the door had shut behind them, Business sighed and spoke out loud to the empty room.

"Computer," he said. "Send a message to Emmet Brickowski. Tell him I have a new script for tonight's broadcast, and he needs to come up here so I can give it to him personally. Then call up the Cop family; we need to have a little talk about their sons."


After they took care of the helicopters following them, Benny reluctantly landed the spaceship the designated meeting place; an old Middle Zealand forest clearing where Wyldstyle awaited them. "I wanted to keep flying it," he said sadly.

Vitruvius patted his back. "You'll have plenty of other opportunities to pilot, don't worry." Benny brightened up at once.

Wyldstyle waved to them from beside the stolen police car, which had been driven straight into a ditch. "They're all right," she said once Vitruvius and the others had climbed down to the ground. "Bad Cop's out right now. I haven't been able to talk to Good Cop yet."

From the car came the muffled sound of shouting. Wyldstyle grimaced. "He's been doing that the entire ride," she said. "I've heard more variations of 'darn' than I ever thought existed."

Unikitty trotted over to stand next to her. "He doesn't sound happy at all."

Batman frowned. "Yeah," he said. "Why are we dealing with them again? I mean, yeah, they're supposed to be the Special, but, y'know, I think that the Piece is actually wrong and we should ignore its decision and find someone else to be the Special."

"That would be great," said Wyldstyle, "and I totally support that idea... but we need the Piece of Resistance to stop the Kragle, and it's stuck to their back."

"Maybe we could try talking to them! Bad Cop, I mean." Unikitty stood up to peer through the window. "Hello, mister Bad Cop! You should turn that frown upside --"

Bad Cop's fist hit the window with a loud thunk and Unikitty yelped. "That's not nice! That's not nice at all!"

Wyldstyle glanced back at where Vitruvius was trying to coax Benny out of the spaceship. "Let's just get them on the ship and go. We shouldn't spend too much time in one place. It didn't take long for Lord Business' forces to find us before, after all."

She whacked the police car with the same force she had used on her hovercraft earlier. Unlike the hovercraft, however, the police car did not break apart, and Wyldstyle stared for a moment before hitting it again. Its bricks remained solidly in one piece. "What?"

Batman came over to kick the car himself. "Ow! What the heck? It won't come apart?"

Inside, Bad Cop rolled his eyes. "Of course it won't, it's been Kragled."

Everyone stared through the window at him. Unikitty's mouth fell open.

"What, you didn't know that? Business has a bunch of cars and aircrafts and junk that he's Kragled so they won't break apart. Hardly ever uses them, though, so getting us back must have been pretty important!"

He didn't want to get us back, he wanted to kill us, Good Cop said.

"That was a misunderstanding. It's taken care of now."

We almost died.

"But we didn't!"

Good Cop didn't say anything in response to that. Bad Cop groaned and leaned forward against the window, his helmet colliding against the glass with a quiet tink. Their situation was bad enough without having to deal with Good Cop's obviously irrational doubts.

Abruptly, the door he was leaning against opened, and Bad Cop was unceremoniously dumped out onto the ground. Before he could get up himself, Wyldstyle and Batman each grabbed an arm and pulled him to his feet. "Alright," said Wyldstyle. "I was going to break apart the car to hide it better, but if we can't do that, let's just get them on the spaceship and go."

Bad Cop attempted to wrench his arms away, but their grips were too strong for him to get free. "You are all going to regret this when Lord Business hears about this," he said angrily while they led them away.

In the back of his head, Good Cop spoke up. So will we, probably --

"Don't even start!" Bad Cop snapped, to the confusion of those around him. "We're going to be fine, we're going to explain everything to Lord Business, and then we're going to be fine."

"You said 'we're going to be fine' twice," said Wyldstyle.

"I didn't ask for your opinion!"

"Hold on."

Vitruvius walked over to them, Benny following a short distance behind. "Let's wait here for a moment," he said. "There's something I'd like to do."

Wyldstyle frowned. "What is it? We don't exactly have a lot of time here."

"We're going to go inside their mind to see if they have the potential to become a Master Builder, of course."

Wyldstyle gaped. Bad Cop had no words, and judging by the stunned silence in the back of his head, neither did Good Cop.

"What," said Batman.

"What?" Vitruvius looked confused. "This is what we do to all possible Master Builder candidates, isn't it? The Special has to be a Master Builder, after all."

"Vitruvius," said Wyldstyle, "we don't even know if we can trust them, and you're talking about them becoming a Master Builder? What?"

"What?" said Benny, running a few steps to meet them. "What's going on?"

"We're going to go inside their mind," Vitruvius said, gesturing at Bad Cop.

"...What?"

"If I hear 'what' one more time," Bad Cop said, "you can bet darn well --"

"Like you have any room to talk, mister 'darny-darn-darn.'" Wyldstyle shook her head. "Anyway! You can go inside their mind if you want. I'm staying out here. Someone has to be a lookout."

"Yeah," said Batman, "me too. That whole mind thing is freaky."

"Then that leaves... Benny and Unikitty. Okay."

Benny and Unikitty glanced at each other nervously while Vitruvius stepped towards Bad Cop and reached a hand towards his helmet. Bad Cop jerked his head back. "What do you think you're doing?!"

"I was... uh... to enter your mind, it's best to remove all obstacles between... never mind. We can work around it. Wyldstyle, Batman, let him go."

"Uh --"

"Wyldstyle, not only are we all Master Builders, but we outnumber him by five to one. He's not going to try to escape."

Bad Cop thought about attempting escape just to spite him, but Vitruvius was right; they were severely outnumbered. So he just stood there, even when Wyldstyle and Batman released his arms, and glared at the lot of them. "So what, you're going to enter my mind? That sounds really invasive."

"It's more like a shared dream. Stand still." Vitruvius tapped his staff on either side of Bad Cop's helmet, then tapped him hard in the face. Bad Cop stumbled backwards. "I said stand still. Okay, Benny, Unikitty, get into position."

Once his head had cleared, Bad Cop looked up to see that Benny, Unikitty, and Vitruvius had formed a triangle around him. Vitruvius raised his staff and touched Benny and Unikitty with a gentle tap, then the three of them began a strange dance while murmuring gibberish under their breath. Well, Vitruvius and Benny were murmuring -- Unikitty seemed to be getting really into it and was practically shouting the words.

"Now, said Vitruvius, "let's see what your mind looks like."

Bad Cop was starting to feel dizzy, and he didn't know if the room was spinning or if the three were just circling around him. Maybe it was both. He tried to steady himself, but everything was moving too fast and the trees of the forest around them seemed to be closing in on him, and the last thing he heard was Good Cop's voice  in his head saying, What is going on, before abruptly they were somewhere else.


 

Bad Cop's mind looked like a quiet countryside, with a small ranch-style house sitting in the middle of rolling green hills, all underneath a deep blue sky. Bad Cop, Vitruvius, Benny, and Unikitty stood just outside the gate, looking around in confusion.

"Are you sure this is the right mind?" Benny asked.

"It can't be anyone else's," said Vitruvius. "But... where's Good Cop?"

Bad Cop rolled his eyes. "Right where he always is."

"You still share a body, even inside your mind?"

"This is what we're used to, so why wouldn't we? What, did you think we'd be in two bodies?"

"Well..." Vitruvius looked uncomfortable. "Yes."

"We've been like this our whole lives. Why would it change now?" Bad Cop frowned. "Now, just do whatever you're going to do so we can leave.

"Okay," said Vitruvius.

There was a moment where nobody said anything; they all just stood there in an uncomfortable silence. Finally, Benny spoke up. "What did we come here to do again?"

Bad Cop groaned and looked around. "I could really use a chair right now," he said.

Abruptly, there was a chair in front of him. Bad Cop stared at it, blinked, then jumped back. "What the --"

"This is your mind, remember? You can... uh..." Vitruvius trailed off as Bad Cop grabbed the chair and threw it across the field. It landed next to Unikitty, who leapt backwards out of the wildflowers with a yelp. Bad Cop lunged for it while Unikitty ran out of the way, and proceeded to pummel it, punching it over and over again.

When he was done, his hands hurt and he had worked himself into a sweat. He stood up, took a step back, and looked up to see Vitruvius and the others staring at him.

"What?" he said.

"You created that chair just to beat it up," Benny said in horror.

"We didn't create it," Bad Cop said, "it just showed up."

"Actually," said Vitruvius, "you did create it. Like I was saying, this is your mind, so anything you think of will... this is really not productive."

Bad Cop had willed another chair into existence, picked it up, and swung it around, sending it flying high into the sky. "You are so violent!" exclaimed Unikitty, watching as a row of chairs appeared in front of him and he began kicking them every which way.

"Hey," said Benny. "How about we leave him here and... uh... look around for something that could help us! Yeah!" Benny grinned, then flinched at the sound of a chair being slammed into the ground. "Maybe... inside that house!"

That got Bad Cop's attention. "Nope!" he shouted, tossing his chair aside and running over to block the entrance. "Absolutely not, our parent's house is off-limits, go look somewhere else."

Benny's eyebrows shot up. "That's your parent's house?"

Unikitty looked up at Vitruvius. "What should we do?"

"Hmm..." Vitruvius frowned. "If we could go deeper into their mind, we might be able to find out something useful that they wouldn't tell us otherwise. I think going in there's our best bet, especially if we were able to talk to their parents --"

Bad Cop's face twisted into a snarl. "You stay away from our Ma and Pa!"

But it wasn't Vitruvius he was shouting at.

It was Lord Business, towering over him in his boots, his helmet blocking out the sun. Bad Cop felt the cold grip of terror and he switched gears immediately.

"I'm sorry for my outburst, sir, it won't happen again, sir, I didn't mean it, of course, sir, I thought you were someone else --"

Wait.

Business wasn't doing anything, he was just standing there, his expression frozen in the same sinister smile he always had when someone was about to get hurt. He wasn't moving. He wasn't real.

Bad Cop took a deep breath. "Okay!" he said. "That was a great trick, where you summon Lord Business for absolutely no reason." He curved the edges of his mouth up into something resembling a smile. "You really got me there! Now get rid of him and get us out of here. I've had enough."

Vitruvius nodded and tapped his staff on the ground.


 

Good Cop had control of their body. When did that happen? All it took was a mental nudge to get him switched out, and Bad Cop found himself sitting down in the clearing, surrounded by the Master Builders who had captured them.

What happened? Good Cop asked. The question struck him as odd, but before Bad Cop could ask what he meant, Vitruvius spoke up.

"Bad Cop," he said. "And Good Cop, if you're listening. Are you afraid of Lord Business?"

"Irrelevant," said Bad Cop. "As long as we do our job, it doesn't matter."

"Are you afraid of what he might do to your parents?"

Bad Cop gritted his teeth, Good Cop's distress spiking through his mind. "If you absolutely must know, Lord Business has promised to leave our parents alone -- which is more than I can say for the rest of the universe!"

"What happened in there?" Wyldstyle asked.

"I'll fill you in later. I have something I need to say to them."

Vitruvius took a step towards Bad Cop. "Good Cop, Bad Cop," he began. "The prophecy foretells that you are the Special, the embodiment of good, foiler of evil, the most talented, most brilliant, most important person in the universe. You are the only one who can stop the Kragle and put an end to Lord Business' plans, and with our help, you can make sure that he will never harm anyone ever again. Are you with us?"

He held out his hand. Bad Cop realized his mouth was hanging open. He closed it and shook his head.

"I quit," he said.

Vitruvius' expression didn't change. "You... quit."

"I quit," Bad Cop repeated. "I don't want anything to do with this anymore. I'm letting Good Cop handle this.

Wait -- Bad Cop switched out before Good Cop could finish his sentence. "-- what?"

Don't say anything, Bad Cop said quickly, while Good Cop's face was twisted up in confusion. We're still doing the plan. Pretend you're helping them, and if we're lucky, we can deliver all of them straight to Lord Business. Just do everything I tell you and everything will be okay.

"Good Cop?" Vitruvius lowered his hand and stared at him. "Is everything all right?"

Say I'm letting you help them.

Good Cop nodded slowly, then realized that all five of them were staring at him in confusion. "I'm... fine," he said, trying to keep his nervousness out of his voice. He was moderately successful. "Bad Cop, he... he's letting me help you, I guess."

"Yaaay!" Unikitty's exclamation caught him off guard and he flinched as the Master Builder hopped up and down in excitement. "We have the Special now!"

Wyldstyle glanced at Vitruvius. "I don't know about this, but... Vitruvius, if you're certain, then I'll give him a chance."

Benny quickly nodded. "Yeah! Me too! I think?"

Batman just grunted. Wyldstyle turned to look at him. "Don't worry, Babe," she said. "If either of them tries anything, we can handle it."

Good Cop forced himself to smile while Unikitty hopped around him. Despite Bad Cop's assurances, he couldn't help but have an awful, awful feeling about this.

Chapter Text

Benny had flown the spaceship to Cloud Cuckooland, where the six of them stood in the now-empty Dog Dome; the other Master Builders had had no interest in staying after the meeting, and it was late at night, so none of the inhabitants of Cloud Cuckooland noticed them bringing Good Cop inside. All the better; they didn't want to involve non-Master Builders in this. So the Dog Dome served as a good place to stop and rest while they thought up a plan.

"It's simple," Vitruvius said. "All we have to do is break into Octan Tower, find the Kragle, and put the Piece of Resistance on it."

"Wow," said Good Cop, "I think you and I have very different definitions of 'simple.'"

"Well, do you have any better ideas?"

Unikitty hopped up and down. "I have a plan! I have a plan! It's a really good plan, too!"

The group turned to Unikitty, who grinned broadly. "Okay," said Vitruvius. "What's your plan, then?"

"Yaaay! Here we go!"


"First, we have to build the biggest, most rainbow, most perfect sparkly spaceship."

Benny was disappointed that they couldn't use his spaceship, but he still enjoyed helping them build the new one. Even Good Cop helped, except he wasn't a Master Builder so he couldn't really do a lot. But Unikitty was glad he was trying, because it proved that he was actually good and wasn't just trying to trick them or something awful like that. When they were complete, the spaceship was huge! Big enough to fit all of them, without having to cram together like they did in Benny's spaceship.

"Then, Benny takes his spaceship --" Benny was really really happy when Unikitty explained that part of the plan. "-- and flies around the tower, distracting the robot guards so they won't notice the other spaceship!" Benny was not so happy at that part.

He still did it, though. Unikitty watched from their spaceship's hiding place as the robot guards chased Benny around the sky. Eventually, he flew away, and the spaceships followed him. Unikitty turned to Wyldstyle, who nodded. "Now!"

"Then we fly the spaceship to the top of the tower, so that we don't have to climb all the way up to the infinitieth floor."

Unikitty was very proud of that part of the plan. Vitruvius had wanted to enter the tower at the bottom, which would be absolutely terrible and Unikitty did not want to do it. The Kragle was at the top of Octan Tower, according to Good Cop, so why not just fly the spaceship there? Thanks to Benny, they were able to fly it all the way to the top of the tower without anyone noticing.

"Then we have to be really careful and sneaky while Good Cop leads us to where the Kragle is! There'll be lots of robots, but that'll be okay, because Wyldstyle will beat them up."

Good Cop tried talking to the robots, first. He said that Lord Business needed him to check on the Kragle really quick, and it almost worked but then one of the robots said hey what's that on your back and then Wyldstyle tore its head off. They decided not to try that again, and so Wyldstyle took the lead, beating up every single robot they came across, while Vitruvius and Unikitty guarded the Special. It actually wasn't that careful or sneaky but they went really quick so it was okay.

"Meanwhile, Batman will go to the computer room and disable the Kragle's shield because he's really good with technology and stuff and Benny won't be there because he'll be distracting the robots still."

Batman did his job very grumpily because he was a big mean grump most of the time, but he still did it because he knew that saving the world was important. Vitruvius, Unikitty, and Good Cop waited outside the Kragle's room while Wyldstyle beat up the robots in the monitor room. Then Unikitty and Vitruvius went in and beat up the rest of the robots. Good Cop didn't really do much.

"Then we get to the Kragle, put the thing on the thing, and save the universe!"

They had almost made it. They were so close to saving the universe. And then something terrible happened.

"What do you think you're doing?!" a voice shouted.

They turned around to see Lord Business stomping forward in his silly but kind of scary outfit. "I will not allow you to ruin my plans of using the Kragle to end the world!" he said. "Robots, get them!"

"We beat up all the robots," said Unikitty.

"It was mostly me but okay," said Wyldstyle.

"Then I'll have to take care of you myself!"

They were all very scared, but Unikitty knew that something had to be done.

"I won't let you!"

Unikitty stepped forward, blocking Lord Business from progressing any farther.

Business laughed. "You? You think you can stop me?"

Unikitty frowned and started glowing.

Business kept laughing but then he noticed what was going on. "Wait, what? What is this?"

Unikitty glowed brighter and brighter, until everyone had to cover their eyes. "This is my secret weapon! The power of hope, friendship, and all the happy thoughts in the world ever!" A light coated all the walls with beautiful rainbows. "I WON'T LET YOU MAKE EVERYONE NOT HAPPY!!!"

A beam fired from where Unikitty was standing, and Business didn't have time to do anything but stand there before he was hit. There was an explosion of sparkles and rainbows and pink ribbons for some reason, and when the light faded, Business stood there seemingly unchanged.

"Unikitty," said Vitruvius, "what did you do? Nothing happened and now Business is going to try and hurt us!"

Unikitty smiled. "Don't worry! He's friendly now!"

"Wow," said Lord Business, "I finally realize that Kragling the world is an awful idea! I should use my power to make everyone happy instead! Thank you, Unikitty!"

"You're welcome!"

"So it's okay if I put the Piece of Resistance on the Kragle?" Good Cop said.

"Of course!" said Business. "Go right ahead!"

So Good Cop put the Piece of Resistance on the Kragle, and the Kragle exploded but everyone was okay. Then Good Cop and Bad Cop, because Bad Cop was friendly now too, were reunited with their parents, and everyone in the universe was happy because they could still move and weren't stuck like the police car was and also they fixed the police car and the other stuff Lord Business had Kragled and the world was saved, all thanks to Unikitty!


END OF UNIKITTY'S STORY


Okay so they were all in Benny's awesome spaceship and flying to Cloud Cuckooland to make a plan or whatever but then Benny had a great idea.

"Why don't we just use this spaceship to break into the Octan Tower right now?" he said. "I mean, we have the Piece of Resistance, so why wait?"

Everyone agreed with him, because Benny's ideas were always the best, and so he flew the spaceship right into the infinitieth floor, where the Kragle was. They were all set to put the Piece of Resistance on the Kragle, but there was one problem. Good Cop turned out to not be on their side after all, and once they got there, he tried to escape!

But Benny was ready for him. Good Cop tried to run, but Benny tackled him to the ground. "You can't escape!" he said. "We're going to stop Lord Business no matter what!"

Then Benny stood up and dramatically tore the Piece of Resistance off of their back. Everyone cheered. Bad Cop switched in and glared at Benny.

"You won't get away with this!" he said.

"Yes we will," said Benny, and he put the Piece of Resistance on the Kragle. Lord Business' plans were stopped forever and there was a great big party for Benny because he was the one who had saved the universe. The bad guys were not invited.


END OF BENNY'S STORY


The robots stood guard next to the Kragle, holding big guns that shot lasers at any unsuspecting person who came near them. Death lasers. That killed you. However, even the robots did not notice the dark shape as it appeared behind them, and before they could react, Batman had torn off two of their their heads and chucked them at the other robots standing guard, disarming them immediately and permanently. By killing them.

Once they were taken care of, Batman was alone in the room with the Kragle. He stepped towards it, holding the Piece of Resistance, because obviously the cops weren't the Special that was a horrible idea and eventually the prophecy realized that it had gotten the wrong guy. Guys. Whatever.

Because the cops weren't the Special -- Batman was.

"Well, well, well," said a voice behind him. Batman whirled around.

"Lord Business."

Business smirked. "Batman. You're too late! My plan to end the world is nearly complete!"

"Sorry," said Batman, "but actually, I'm early. I run on bat time."

He leapt up in the air and threw a bunch of batarangs at Business. He dodged them and fired back with a blaster cannon or something. Batman used his grappling hook to fly out of the way, landing behind Lord Business.

"Take this!" he said, and he shoved Lord Business over so that he fell off the narrow walkway and down into wherever it doesn't matter. The point is that Batman won.

"Oh, Babe!" said Wyldstyle, who had been there all along. "You're so cool!"

"I know I am," said Batman, smirking. "I'm Batman."

He put the Piece of Resistance on the Kragle and flew away in the Batmobile with Wyldstyle while the building exploded behind them.

It was really cool.


END OF BATMAN'S STORY


I'm so not doing this.


END OF WYLDSTYLE'S STORY


If Bad Cop was being honest with himself, he would say that yes, he was afraid of Lord Business. He had very high standards for the two of them, and though they did their best to hold up to them, there were still times when he shouted or threatened to throw them into the infinite void and other horrible things.

But there was no need to be afraid of him now.

"Well done, Good Cop, Bad Cop," Business said as Bad Cop walked in, dragging the five chained-up Master Builders behind them. "You've done very well!"

Bad Cop allowed himself to smile. "Thank you, sir. We've brought the Piece of Resistance as well."

"Oh right, that nasty thing! Let's just get that off of you." Lord Business took out the Blade of Exact Zero and sliced the Piece of Resistance off of them. "There we go!"

"I am fully prepared to assist in disposing it. What are your orders?"

"Oh, that won't be necessary." Business smiled. "I think that you deserve a break! You've been through a lot, after all. Go back home to your parents and make sure everything's ready for Taco Tuesday; you want to make it very clear that we're skipping that house when we Kragle the universe, after all."

In the back of his mind, he felt the last of Good Cop's doubt fade away and relief flooded through them. Of course their parents house wasn't going to be Kragled. Lord Business had promised not to harm them, after all. "Thank you. Sir."

"Don't worry about it! I'll have the robots take care of the Master Builders that kidnapped you. Go on home and have a good rest."

Bad Cop turned and left, and he and Good Cop spent the rest of their life living happily with their parents, and they never had to think about their job again.


END OF BAD COP'S STORY


Good Cop listened to Bad Cop and didn't touch the Piece of Resistance, they waited for the robots to find them, and brought the Piece back to Lord Business, and after Taco Tuesday they went home to live with their parents and NOTHING BAD HAPPENED THAT'S IT THAT'S THE END GOODBYE.


END OF GOOD COP'S STORY


Emmet was just an ordinary guy. Just a construction worker, working with his friends every day and going out with them every night, even though most of the time they ignored him and just talked to each other instead and Emmet was kind of left alone. That was okay, though. Emmet could handle that.

Okay um where was I.

Right! Emmet was just an ordinary guy. Or so he thought! One day, he reported a suspicious figure in the construction site, and because of that, President Business himself noticed him! President Business saw that Emmet had a lot of untapped potential, and so he sought him out and brought him to the Octan Tower.

Emmet was really nervous at first. But President Business assured him that he was the right person for the job. Emmet was given these long speeches to read on /live TV/ all around the world, and it was very scary but Emmet managed to do it! And President Business praised him and said he did a good job!

So Emmet gave more and more speeches, all about how bad the Master Builders were and how important the ordinary people were. And as he spoke, Emmet tried to make it so his words reached every single person who thought that they weren't important, who thought they could never be important, because he had felt that way once before President Business had chosen him and he never wanted anyone else to feel that way.

Finally, he had a very important speech for Taco Tuesday. Emmet stood up on the podium and talked about how ordinary he used to be, and how ordinary he still thought he was sometimes, and how he used to think he was just a nobody. Emmet had to be told by President Business that he was someone important, and now Emmet wanted to do the same for everyone else.

Because everyone was important. Sure, Emmet was the only one who President Business chose, but that didn't mean he was the only one important! Everyone had unlocked potential inside of them, and as long as they worked hard and followed the instructions, they could truly be great people.

The crowd cheered. Emmet had a huge grin on his face, like he always had after he gave a speech. He left the stage, waving to everyone, and found President Business waiting for him.

"You did a great job, Emmet," he said, smiling.

Emmet's heart soared. "Thank you! Thank you so much!"

"Well, it's the truth!" President Business laughed. "Now come on! It's Taco Tuesday; let's go have some tacos together."


END OF EMMET'S STORY

Chapter Text

They left the police car back in the clearing. It wasn't as if they could take it with them, after all. The Master Builders seemed overly bothered by it, in Good Cop's opinion. The car had been Kragled, yes, but all that meant was that the car couldn't be taken apart again.

"It's so sad," Unikitty said. "Now those bricks can never be used for anything else ever again!"

Good Cop frowned. "But this way, it won't break. Isn't that a good thing?"

"No!" Unikitty stomped a hoof. "Things broken can be put back together, or the pieces can be used for something new! But if it's K- K- Kragled, then it can't change or grow, ever, ever! And that's horrible!"

Good Cop shifted in his seat as best he could without disturbing anyone else; the six of them didn't have a lot of room to move in the crammed spaceship. He still didn't understand what was so bad about using the Kragle on bricks -- though obviously using it on people was another thing entirely -- but judging by the looks he was getting from the others, the Master Builders felt very strongly about it, so he let the issue drop. Arguing that the Kragle wasn't that bad probably wasn't the best way to gain their trust.

The pilot -- what was his name, Benny? -- had set a course to Cloud Cuckooland, where the plan was to stop and rest and figure out what their actual plan was. Meanwhile, Good Cop was to give as much information as needed for their plans, and also to prove that he really was on their side, while Bad Cop coached him on what to say.

"First off," Wyldstyle said, sitting across from him. "When is Lord Business going to use the Kragle on the universe?"

"Erm..."

Tell them, said Bad Cop. If we can't report to Lord Business before Taco Tuesday, we might end up Kragled with everything else, so we need them to act fast.

"...soon. Really soon. On Taco Tuesday."

Everyone gasped. Wyldstyle slammed her fist on her knee. "I knew that had to be a cover for something!" she said. "You could have told us earlier, you know!"

Good Cop wasn't sure how to respond to that. "...Whoopsie?"

"So we don't have a lot of time." Vitruvius narrowed his eyes. "Do you know the layout of Octan Tower? Can you guide us once we get in?"

Say yes, but don't tell them the actual layout. We want it so they can't get around without us.

"Yes, if we're able to get in, I can."

"Great! Once we get to Cloud Cuckooland, you can draw a map for us."

Good Cop bit his lip. "I'm... I'm not sure..."

Darn it! Bad Cop cursed. Okay, we'll deal with that when we get there. Say you can for now.

"...never mind. I can do it."

He smiled nervously, trying to ignore Wyldstyle's look of suspicion. Vitruvius nodded. "Okay," he said. "Next question --"

"Uh-oh," said Benny.

The rest of the group stared at him. "What do you mean, 'uh-oh?'" Wyldstyle said.

Unikitty stood up and peered through the yellow glass of the cockpit. "Oh no! They found us!"

They all scrambled to get a look outside. Good Cop ended up pushed behind the others and couldn't get a good look at what was going on -- but a glimpse of the police helicopters in the distance was all he needed to see.

"The Super Secret Police?!" he exclaimed. "How did they find us?!"

"I don't think they found us," Benny said nervously. "I think they found Cloud Cuckooland!"

"Have they seen us?" Wyldstyle said, pushing her way past everyone to stand just behind Benny. "What are they doing here?! Why are we still flying towards them?!"

Seriously? said Bad Cop. Seriously?! We finally get things to go according to plan and now we're going to get captured again?!

"Hang on, guys!"

The spaceship turned sharply, knocking Good Cop off his feet, and he tumbled against the side of the wall with everyone else. While they all struggled to untangle themselves, Benny turned again, and they slid against the other side. Good Cop lifted himself off the ground just enough to see outside.

The Super Secret Police had surrounded what looked like an enormous cloud -- Good Cop assumed that was Cloud Cuckooland, the Master Builder's secret realm that he and Bad Cop had been searching for for several years now, not that it mattered anymore. As Good Cop watched, he saw a piece of the cloud burst into flame, and the entire structure began slowly sinking towards the sea below.

"No!" Unikitty squirmed out of the pile and bounded up to the pilot's seat. "We have to stop them! That's my home!"

"Hands -- uh, hooves off the pilot!" Benny glanced back at the others. "What do we do? They've definitely seen us by now!"

Wyldstyle picked herself off the ground and looked at Vitruvius, who shook his head. "It's your call, Wyldstyle," he said.

She sighed. "I'm sorry, Unikitty, but there's too many of them. We can't risk getting captured ourselves."

Unikitty stared back at her, eyes wide with horror, and then tried to push Benny out of his seat. Benny yelped and pushed back, the spaceship swerving as they fought over the wheel. "Hey! Stop it!"

"Unikitty!" Wyldstyle lunged forward and grabbed Unikitty, and nearly got a kick in the face for her trouble. "Batman, help me out here!"

Batman grumbled something Good Cop didn't quite catch, then joined Wyldstyle in trying to hold Unikitty back. Benny managed to regain control and righted the spaceship. "Okay!" he said. "Now I just need to get us out of here before they catch up to us!"

"No! NO! We have to go back!" Unikitty struggled furiously in Wyldstyle and Batman's grip, while Good Cop watched helplessly. "We don't know what's going on there! Maybe we can help! Maybe we can fight them off!"

Unikitty nearly managed to free herself, and Wyldstyle glared back at Good Cop. "What are you doing just sitting there?" she shouted. "Help us!"

Good Cop realized he was still lying on the ground, and he got to his feet. "Okay," he said nervously, and he reached out for Unikitty.

Unikitty whirled around, eyes blazing, knocked Wyldstyle and Batman to the ground, and screamed.

"Don't touch me!"

Good Cop jerked his hand back like he had been burned.

For a moment, Unikitty just stood there, snarling at him. Wyldstyle stood up and stepped forward. "Unikitty?"

At the sound of Wyldstyle's voice, Unikitty seemed to snap out of it.

"I... I must stay positive!" Anger seemingly fading away, Unikitty sat down and took several deep breaths. "Cotton candy! Marshmallows! Rainbows!"

They were far away from Cloud Cuckooland by then, but even at their distance, they still heard the explosion sound behind them. Unikitty's face twisted up in grief. "Sp- sparkles! Butterflies! Ribbons and frills! Why isn't this working? This is the opposite of happy!"

Good Cop had no idea what to do. What could he do? Less than twenty-four hours ago, he and Bad Cop had been in charge of the Super Secret Police. They had captured a hundred Master Builders. And here they were, pretending to be allied with them just so they could betray them.

It made Good Cop hurt to think about.

"I'm sorry," he said.

"It's- it's-" Unikitty took more deep breaths. "Okay! It's okay! I'm s- sorry for shouting at you, Good Cop! We're going to- you're going to- we're going to stop them, and then we can fix everything! Right?"

It really hurt.

"Right," Good Cop said, his voice shaking.


Once they had lost the Super Secret Police, they flew aimlessly above the ocean for some time. Nobody seemed interested in asking Good Cop anymore questions, to his relief. Bad Cop asked what exactly had happened, but Good Cop couldn't answer without drawing attention from the others. Bad Cop didn't say anything after that.

"Hey, guys," Benny said, breaking the silence that had settled over them like a heavy weight. "We kind of need a place to land soon."

"Where are we supposed to go?" Batman said. "Business has security cameras put up in all the worlds, so there's nowhere else for us to go! It's not like a safe place to stop is going to show up out of the are you kidding me."

Out of the fog, an enormous ship revealed itself, its sails billowing in the wind. "Ahoy, mateys!" the captain shouted, a hulking monstrosity of metal and wood and Good Cop remembered him -- he was the leader of the team of Master Builders that had attempted to infiltrate Octan Tower! Good Cop and Bad Cop had assumed he was no longer a threat, but clearly they had been wrong.

"Metalbeard!" Benny opened up the cockpit and waved down at him. "We got the Special! We need a place to rest before we go into Octan Tower, can you help us?"

"On one condition!" Metalbeard stomped forward and glared up at them. "I'd like to speak to the Special personally."

Good Cop gulped.

Meanwhile, Batman stared up at the sky. "It's not like a whole ton of money that I can do whatever I want with is going to fall out of nowhere, right into my arms!" He looked around expectantly. "Right? Right?"


"Babe," Wyldstyle said, "don't you already have, like, a bazillion dollars?"

Batman pouted. "I'm still disappointed."

The group all stood on the ship, the Master Builders mingling with the crew. out of the corner of his eye, Good Cop saw Benny and Unikitty chatting animatedly with some of the pirates, but it was hard to focus on that when Metalbeard was looming over him. In the back of his mind, Bad Cop was speaking rapidly. Don't panic. Don't panic. Switch to me if you think he's going to hurt you. Don't panic. It wasn't helping.

"So!" Metalbeard leaned down and glared at him. "Ye be claiming to be the Special, are ye?"

"I, erm, never said that." Good Cop flicked his gaze back and forth, searching for something that could help him if things went bad. Some of the other pirates had gathered around him, and there was no clear escape route that didn't involve jumping overboard. "I just, erm, found the Piece," he said, taking a few steps back.

"Ye did, did ye?" Metalbeard took one long stride forward. "And what's stopping ye from handing it off to someone else?"

"It's... stuck. To my back." Would Vitruvius help? He didn't look like he would help. All he was doing was standing there, watching the events unfold. "We, erm, can't get it off."

"Really? Let me try!"

Before Good Cop could register what was going on, Metalbeard had picked him up and was tugging at the Piece of Resistance. "Ha! Looks like it really is stuck!"

"Yes. Yes it is. Please put me down."

Metalbeard lifted him up to his face. "And what gives ye the right to give me orders?"

Good Cop was terrified, and he was sure that some of his fear was spilling over into Bad Cop's mind, too. He suppressed it as much he could, trying to hide it from his other half -- he did not want to know how Metalbeard would react if they swapped places, considering that Bad Cop had been the one to corner him back in Octan Tower. The resulting skirmish had ended in Metalbeard's body being damaged enough that he had abandoned it and escaped with only his head and organs, and though Good Cop thought his new body more than made up for it, he probably still held a grudge towards Bad Cop. Not that he held any goodwill towards Good Cop, either.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to, erm, order you, haha." Good Cop laughed nervously. "I was just trying to ask nicely. Sorry."

Metalbeard snorted. "An' what if I don't put ye down?"

"I... can't really do anything about that."

"Metalbeard," said Vitruvius, stepping forward. "What exactly did you want to talk to the Special about?"

"Just making sure he be knowing who's boss around here!" Metalbeard stomped towards the edge of the ship, still carrying Good Cop. "Because if he be trying anything, there be consequences in store for him!"


"I'm just saying, Good Cop, your work has been subpar recently, and if you mess up again... oh boy, are there going to be consequences!"

Good Cop tried to get himself to stay still in Lord Business' grip, staring out the window at the infinite void below. Every fiber of his body wanted to switch to Bad Cop, but Lord Business had specifically asked to talk to him, and disobeying Lord Business was out of the question.

"I mean, really!" Business slammed him hard against the glass. "What was that nonsense you pulled yesterday? You had cornered a Master Builder right here in Octan Tower, and then you let him get away! I mean, sure, Bad Cop's to blame too, but if I recall correctly, it was when he switched to you that he made his escape! I have to say, I am very --" He slammed him against the glass again. "-- very --" And again. "-- disappointed!"

In the back of his mind, he heard Bad Cop's voice saying, Don't panic, don't panic, we'll be fine, we might get a little beat up but he won't do any permanent damage --

"So make sure nothing like this ever happens again! Got it, Good Cop? Are ye even listening to me?!"

"Yes, sir, I'm listening, sir!"


Metalbeard raised an eyebrow. "'Sir?'"

Good Cop blinked.

There was no Lord Business, there was no infinite void, there was only the ship and the ocean he was being dangled above. The entire ship was staring at him, and as the silence dragged on, Good Cop realized he should probably say something.

He cleared his throat. "Sorry."

Metalbeard shook his head. "Ye be a real piece of work," he said. He put Good Cop back down on the ship and crossed his arms. "I've got nothing more to say to ye."

Good Cop bent over and took several deep breaths before his heart stopped racing. Someone put a hand on his shoulder and he looked up to see Vitruvius looking down at him worriedly. "Are you alright?" he said.

"I'm..." Good Cop shook his head. "Yes. I'm fine. Sorry."

You're not doing well, are you? Bad Cop said.

"I'm doing fine," Good Cop snapped, to the confusion of those around him. "I mean, I was... whoops."

You're not. You're going to have a nervous breakdown if we keep going on like this.

Good Cop bit back his reply and closed his eyes, wishing he was back in the countryside with Ma and Pa.

"...okay." Vitruvius took his hand away. "If you're done, Metalbeard, there's some very important things we all have to discuss with you. Wyldstyle! Gather up everyone. We're going to have a meeting."


The first order of business was informing Metalbeard and his crew of the destruction of Cloud Cuckooland. There was shock and horror in the crowd and Vitruvius had a hard time getting them to calm down. Good Cop stared down at his hands and fiddled with the broken handcuffs that were still around his wrists, trying not to look at Unikitty.

"But how did they find it?" Metalbeard asked. "We don't exactly be advertising the place!"

"I don't know for sure," Vitruvius said, "but I believe I have an idea. Someone reported it."

Metalbeard rolled his eyes. "That be ridiculous, nobody ever reports anything!"

"Not true!" Everyone turned to Benny. "I mean, yeah, they used to never report anything," he said. "But they've started all of a sudden! I got reported before I left for the Master Builder meeting; that was why I was late!"

"You did?" Wyldstyle said in disbelief. "Benny, you should have told us! Batman, was that why you were late to pick me and Vitruvius up?"

"What? No, I was at a totally awesome party, and you called me in the middle of it!"

"Oh."

"But why?" Unikitty said. "Nobody's ever reported us before, why have they started now?"

"Because Lord Business has begun spreading propaganda about the Master Builders." Vitruvius paced back and forth in front of the crowd. "While we were in the Old West, I was able to catch the end of one of his radio broadcasts. I believe I mentioned it to you, Wyldstyle?"

"Yeah, but you didn't tell me what you heard!" Wyldstyle threw her arms up in the air. "Why does nobody think it's important to tell people things?"

"What's important is that Lord Business is using propaganda to convince ordinary people that us Master Builders are a threat -- and it is working. I believe that's why there were so many missing at the meeting; they were reported, Lord Business' forces responded, and they were captured."

"And ye be sure about this? What harm can a bunch of talk be doing?"

"Maybe there's a broadcast going on now, come to think of it. Does anyone have a radio? It might be best for you to hear what they're saying yourself."

Metalbeard shouted to one of his crew members; the pirate obeyed, running off and quickly returning with a radio clutched in their hands. He took it from them and nodded. "Let's see what all this fuss' about," he said, turning it on.

"-- from Octan Tower. Hi, I'm President Business, president of the Octan Corporation and the world, and I'm here with Emmet Brickowski and two very special guests tonight! Let's have them introduce themselves."

Good Cop had looked up when he heard Emmet's name, and was about to say something -- Wasn't that the guy from the construction site? Why was he on a broadcast with Business? -- but then the next voice spoke up and his blood ran cold.

"Oh, you can just call us Ma and Pa."

Good Cop couldn't move, could hardly breathe. He was vaguely aware that people were staring at him, but that didn't matter -- the only thing that mattered was the two all-too-familiar voices on the radio.

"It's nice to meet you!" Emmet said, and he recognized his voice, too. He sounded so horribly cheery; how could he work for Lord Business and still sound like that? "I understand that, uh, President Business invited you here for a demonstration of some sort for Taco Tuesday?"

This can't be happening, Bad Cop said, and Good Cop felt the fear with every word. He promised -- he promised --

"Yup!" That was their Pa speaking -- he sounded so much older now! "We're supposed to keep it quiet, though. Can't tell anyone the details."

"Yes, that's right," their Ma said.

"Okay," Emmet said, "I won't ask about it, then!"

They all laughed, Lord Business' laugh sounding so wrong alongside his parents'. "Besides," said Business, "we're here to talk about something else. Now, I know everyone here knows this, but our audience doesn't. Just last night, the head of police -- Good Cop and Bad Cop, Ma and Pa's sons -- went missing.

"You've all been doing such good jobs reporting any suspicious things or people you've seen, so I thought I'd ask all of you to keep an eye out for them. And -- just in case they're listening right now -- their parents have a message for them."

Everyone really was staring at him now. Good Cop didn't care.

Their Pa spoke first. "Sons -- both of you -- please, if you're listening... stay safe out there, alright? I know you can handle yourselves well enough, but... we're worried about you."

"Remember that we love you very much," said their Ma, her voice trembling. "We know you've been very busy with your job in the city, but there will always be a place for you back home. Come back soon."

There was a moment where all they could hear was the radio static. Then Business spoke again. "Don't you two worry, I'm sure your sons will be back in no time at all; they won't want to miss Taco Tuesday, after all!" He paused while the other three laughed politely, then continued. "Well, that wraps it up for tonight's broadcast! Have an awesome night, everyone!"

Someone clicked the radio off, and a crushing silence descended over them.

Chapter Text

The room was closing in on him, and Good Cop could hardly breathe. His heart was pounding, he was shaking uncontrollably, and Emmet's words kept echoing in his mind. President Business invited you here -- demonstration for Taco Tuesday -- invited you here for a demonstration -- Business invited you -- Taco Tuesday --

"Good Cop? Good Cop? Can you hear me?" Wyldstyle waved a hand in front of his face. Good Cop flinched. "Come on, snap out of it!"

"Wyldstyle, I don't think you're helping," Vitruvius said.

"How can we help?" Unikitty said, trotting over. "I don't know what to do!"

"Ye can start by giving him some space!"

The three looked up at Metalbeard and backed away from the cop. Metalbeard stomped forward, but all Good Cop could hear was the footsteps of Lord Business in his Serious Business suit and he stiffened, bracing himself for whatever abuse he'd have to take.

Except it never came.

Metalbeard's hand hovered just above his shoulder. "Take deep breaths, now. We can't have ye be passing out on us."

Good Cop continued hyperventilating, unable to calm himself, and he barely registered Bad Cop's voice in the back of his head.

Oh, he said. That's what's happening. Good Cop, let me handle this.

Good Cop was more than willing to let Bad Cop take control, and it was only when he was cut off from the physical symptoms of his panic attack that he realized switching out might have not been the best idea.

Bad Cop bent over and took several deep breaths until his heart had slowed to a normal tempo. "Should've done that a long time ago," he muttered, looking up to see nearly all of the pirate crew pointing various weapons at him.

"Really?" he said. "Really?"

"What?" said Metalbeard, a sword clutched in his hand. "Ye be still loyal to Lord Business, be ye not?"

"I told the others I was letting Good Cop handle this," he said, "and I meant it. I don't want anything to do with all of you. But he just had a panic attack, and he needs time to calm down."

"So you're just going to ignore that?" Wyldstyle gestured at the radio. "Lord Business just threatened to do who-knows-what with your parents, and you're just going to sit back and let Good Cop continue to help us? Do you expect us to believe that?"

Bad Cop grimaced. Switching out had gotten Good Cop away from the worst of the panic attack, but now Bad Cop had to deal with it. He was still trembling, and it was an effort to keep his breathing under control when he could feel Good Cop's fear and anxiety in the back of his mind.

Their plan was more important now than ever. Lord Business was obviously dissatisfied with how things were progressing, so they needed to report back to him fast -- and they couldn't appear before him empty-handed. They had a chance to lead the Master Builders straight into Lord Business' hands, but they had to get them to trust them first.

And they couldn't trust them if they thought Bad Cop was going to sabotage them.

"I worked for Lord Business because he promised never to hurt our parents," he said, thinking fast. "The situation has changed now. The way I see it, I've got two options: escape and deliver the Piece to Lord Business like he wants us to, or work with you all to stop him from Kragling the universe. Even if Good Cop let me try to escape, we're horribly outnumbered, so that's not happening. Looks like I've really only got one option."

Bad Cop flicked his gaze from one person to the next. They looked... confused, mostly. He continued on. "So here's my deal. I'll work with you if you promise to get our parents out safely."

He waited for a moment, but nobody said anything. He mentally reached out to Good Cop to see if he had anything to say, but his other half's thoughts were a jumbled mess. Looks like it would still take him awhile to recover.

The Master Builders exchanged glances. "I say we still give them a chance," said Vitruvius. "I told you what we saw inside his mind, didn't I?"

"Yes," said Wyldstyle. "He cares about his parents and is afraid of Lord Business. Honestly, I don't see how that helps us. He'd betray us in an instant if it meant Business wouldn't hurt his parents."

"I'm with Wyldstyle," Batman said immediately.

Benny nodded enthusiastically. "Yeah! And who's to say Good Cop wouldn't do the same thing?"

Bad Cop's mouth twitched.

Metalbeard sighed. "I won't lie, I be finding it hard to trust them meself. Vitruvius, I think ye be too forgiving of all they've done. But, I be willing to give them a chance as well -- if, and only if, Unikitty be speaking in their favor."

Heads turned towards Unikitty, who froze. "Me?"

He nodded. "Yes, ye."

"Wow, haha!" Unikitty giggled nervously, eyes flicking back and forth. "I dunno, this is a big responsibility!"

"Out of all the people I've known, ye be the most empathic, insightful person of them all. If anyone be knowing their true intentions, it be ye."

"Umm..."

Bad Cop frowned. Everyone else was silent, and it was obvious that Unikitty's decision would be the deciding factor in whether to trust the cops or not. Bad Cop thought back to the destruction of Cloud Cuckooland, Unikitty screaming at Good Cop, and bit his lip.

"Yer silence be all I be needing to hear." Metalbeard crossed his arms. "Now..."

"Wait! Wait, no!" Unikitty jumped forward, towards Bad Cop. "It's just hard! I want to believe that they're good now, but they've done such awful things in the past that it's not clear! I have to examine them closely."

"What?" Bad Cop said, and then Unikitty was in his face, peering into his eyes. Bad Cop jerked his head back in surprise, which caused Unikitty to frown. Wincing, he forced himself to relax, while Unikitty paced around him, staring intensely at every inch of his body -- but not once, he noticed, touching him.

What were the Master Builders doing? Was Unikitty some sort of living lie detector? That would be bad. That would be very bad. Bad Cop took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and thought hard, in the hopes that he could get some sort of message out to Unikitty, some sort of assurance.

I have a job to do. This is the only way.

Unikitty's eyes lit up. "He's good!"

Bad Cop let out the breath he had been holding.

Benny's jaw dropped. "Seriously? Seriously?"

"Yeah! He's good!" Unikitty bounded around the room, while the other Master Builders stared in disbelief. "I knew it all along, I just had to be absolutely, positively, double-doozy sure!"

Metalbeard shook his head. "If ye be certain, I suppose I be having no choice. I'll throw in me lot with all of ye."

"I'm not," said Batman. "I'm getting out of here. See you later."

Wyldstyle grabbed his arm before he could make a move. "Whoa, what? Where do you think you're going, babe?"

Batman jerked his arm out of her grasp. "Do you think I'm going to work with one of our worst enemies just because a weird cat thing says they're good? Nope, I'm leaving."

At Wyldstyle's crestfallen expression, his eyes softened. "Hey, babe, it's not like you can't come with me. Come on, you don't actually trust them, do you?"

Wyldstyle looked back at the others. "Uh, guys? Batman and I need to talk in private. We'll just go above deck."

"Okay!" Unikitty chirped, oblivious to the tension in the air. Vitruvius nodded, and Wyldstyle left, Batman following close behind.

Benny was still gaping. Metalbeard patted him on the back, nearly knocking him over. "What say ye, Benny? Be ye still with us?"

He shook his head. "Yes," he said. "I mean. Yes. There's no other way, right? They've got the Piece of Resistance. We can't do anything without it."

"Some of the Master Builders be having other ideas," said Metalbeard. "They think they can take back the Kragle without disarming it. Or maybe they be thinking they can disarm it some other way. Whatever the case may be, it won't be mattering if they all be reported."

"Hey, I was reported, and I did just fine!"

"Ye be an exception."

Benny scrunched up his face. "Is that a good thing, or a bad --"

They were interrupted by muffled shouting.

"Well, if you were just going to leave in the first place --"

"Hey, I said you could come with me --"

"I can't! You know I can't!"

"It's not like the Piece of Resistance is the only way --"

"Really? What other ways are there, huh? You tell me!"

"Well --"

"If you're going to go, just go! Leave! But I'm staying here!"

The silence stretched on for a long moment, nobody willing to speak up and break it. Finally, they heard the sound of engines roaring, and Benny's eyes widened.

"That's my spaceship!" he shouted.

Wyldstyle slammed open the door, and smoothly stepped out of Benny's way as the astronaut dashed up the stairs and out above deck. "You get back here with my spaceship, you- you-"

"Batman's gone," said Wyldstyle.

The sound of the spaceship faded into the distance, until the only thing they heard was Benny screaming threats and insults. Nobody quite knew what to say.

"Do you want a hug?" Unikitty asked.

"Thanks for the offer, but... no."

"Wyldstyle." Vitruvius stepped towards her. "It's going to be fine."

She shrugged. "Yeah, yeah, I know. So what do we do now?"

"Continue with the plan. It should be easier now that Bad Cop's willing to cooperate." He paused. "You are willing to cooperate, I assume?"

"Yeah," said Bad Cop. "Yeah. Isn't that what I said?"


 

It was hard, trying to figure out what information to give the Master Builders. He didn't want to bother Good Cop, not when he was still recovering from his panic attack, so in the end, Bad Cop decided that they needed to give them enough information to get them inside Octan Tower -- which meant a lot more information than he was particularly comfortable with.

It won't matter, he told himself. Once the Master Builders were secured, it didn't matter how much they knew, because they'd all be Kragled with the rest of the universe, and he and Good Cop would go back home with their parents and finally get some rest.

By the time they had settled on a plan, it was very late. The next day was Monday; they'd have the entire day to finish their preparations and get inside Octan Tower. So the Master Builders called it a night and settled down to get some sleep.

Except for Wyldstyle. Despite Unikitty's assurances, most everyone else didn't trust the cops, and Metalbeard especially was insistent on having someone keep watch to make sure they didn't try to escape. Wyldstyle volunteered, despite the fact that Bad Cop was fairly certain she hadn't slept since before breaking them out of the melting chamber. "I'll be fine," she told Vitruvius when he tried to talk her out of it. "Don't worry about it." He eventually let it drop.

Eventually, nearly everyone else had fallen asleep, apart from a handful of Metalbeard's crew. Wyldstyle and Bad Cop sat in chairs across from each other, listening to the sounds of the ship creaking, the Master Builders shifting in their sleep, the soft footsteps of the pirate crew.

Wyldstyle cleared her throat. "You planning on going to sleep anytime soon?"

"We don't sleep," Bad Cop said.

"Oh."

The silence between them continued for some time. Finally, Bad Cop stood up. "I'm taking a walk," he said. Wordlessly, Wyldstyle stood as well and followed him above deck.

Under the night sky, surrounded by the ocean, Bad Cop felt a little less trapped. He went to the edge of the ship and looked down at the waves. The sea was quiet, almost calm. Wyldstyle leaned against the railing next to him.

"That was a short walk," she said.

Bad Cop grunted in reply. The cool air felt nice after being stuck below deck for the past few hours.

I want to come out now.

Good Cop's request caught Bad Cop by surprise -- but he obliged, and their head swiveled around until Good Cop was looking down at the sea. Wyldstyle glanced at him.

"Feeling better?"

He nodded. "A little."

Wyldstyle shrugged. "Don't worry about it. Sorry if I made things worse when I tried to help."

"It's okay." Good Cop wondered why she was being so friendly with him -- he knew she didn't trust them. Was this some sort of ruse? To try and get him to reveal their ulterior motive? The thought made him nervous.

Don't worry, Bad Cop said. It can't hurt to talk.

"Does it happen often?" Wyldstyle asked. "The panic attacks, I mean."

"Not... really. Once or twice a month, mostly. Bad Cop helps me deal with them."

"I don't blame you for having one then. I mean, what Lord Business threatened to do..."

"I know."

"Your parents must care about you a lot." Wyldstyle looked out at the sea. "You're lucky. Not every parent is like that."

Good Cop winced. "I know. Our, erm, biological parents put us up for adoption."

Wyldstyle was quiet for a moment. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay. You didn't know."

"No, I'm really, really sorry. I..." She sighed. "It's just a sore subject for me. My relationship with my own parents is... not that great, and seeing how much you care about your parents and how much they care about you... I don't know. I guess I'm just jealous."

Good Cop didn't know what to say to that.

She yawned. "I can't believe I'm telling these things to one of my worst enemies. This is bizarre. This whole situation is bizarre. I can't believe you found the Piece of Resistance."

He didn't know what to say to that, either.

"I can tell Vitruvius feels sorry for me. He's been trying to let me lead more, get me more involved in some of the decisions. Technically, the Special's supposed to be the leader, but even Vitruvius knows we can't trust you to do that. So I guess he wants me to lead. So all the years I spent in training wouldn't be a complete waste of time."

Good Cop couldn't look at her. Instead, he stared down at the sea.

"Can you do something for me?"

He jerked his head up. "What?"

Wyldstyle was staring right at him. "Just... say it. Say you're the Special. Can you do that?"

"...Okay." Good Cop took a deep breath. "I'm... I'm the... I'm..."

He trailed off. The words were catching in his throat, and all he could think of was how he was going to betray them all. He couldn't be the Special. Why would the Piece ever choose him?

"You can't say it, can you?"

"...I'm sorry."

Wyldstyle turned away. "It should have been me."

The two of them didn't exchange anymore words until after the sun peeked over the horizon.

Chapter Text

The Super Secret Police base was hidden deep within Pirate's Cove, with numerous signs surrounding the perimeter reading "SUPER SECRET POLICE BASE -- KEEP OUT." The robot police were milling about inside the control room, looking over the hangers where the Octan spaceships were housed, when the radio crackled to life.

"Report received. Batman was spotted off the coast of Middle Zealand in a spaceship."

The head officer, who had had its feet up on the console, snapped to attention and sat up, slamming its hand down on a button. "Copy that. We'll send a group out immediately."

Two of the other robots glanced at each other. "Why is Batman in a spaceship?" one said.

"Clearly that was why he was reported." The robot officer stood up. "Let's get going before he gets too far away."

The door slammed open with a bang and Bad Cop stumbled in, panting. Instantly, every robot in the room had their guns out and pointed at him. "Hey!" he said, putting his hands up. "Hold up!"

"Freeze, Special!"

Bad Cop groaned. "Come on," he said. "I just escaped from the Master Builders who captured me, and I need you to take me to Lord Business before they notice I'm gone!"

"You are no longer authorized to give us orders." The robot officer lowered its gun. "Lucky for you, we already have orders to deliver you to Lord Business. Will you cooperate?"

"Obviously," Bad Cop said, rolling his eyes.

The other robots kept their guns pointed at him while the leader pressed a button on the console. "Officer 196-3007 reporting with an urgent message for Lord Business, please connect me through to --"

The robot was rudely interrupted when its head was wrenched off its body. The others spun to point their guns at the new figure, and Bad Cop took the opportunity to duck out of the entryway as Benny flew in. The astronaut, a gun in each hand, fired wildly, blue lasers blasting the robots into pieces, and the remaining robots quickly dissolved into panic and began firing every which way.

Wyldstyle grabbed the gun of the decapitated robot officer and fired back, while Benny landed at the console next to her. "Act quick!" she said, glancing at him before turning her attention back to the chaos around her. "We have to move fast!"

"Okay!"

The console screen lit up. "Who would you like to connect to?" a robotic voice said.

"Oh wow, a talking computer!" Benny began tapping out a command, hesitantly at first then gaining more confidence. "Please cancel the connection!"

"Of course. Connecting to Lord Business' office."

"What? No! Cancel that, cancel that! Do anything but that!"


Emmet's office was mostly empty; he had only had it for less than two days, after all. Emmet was gathering up the pages of the speech he had been given for that night when the phone rang. He hesitated. The phone had never rang before. Was he supposed to answer it?

He did, anyway. It was in his office, after all. "Hello?"

The sound of gunfire blasted out of the phone and he jerked his head away. "Whoa! Who is this?"

"What? I said cancel! Who did you connect me to?!"

"This is, uh, Emmet Brickowski." He scrunched up his face in confusion. "What's going on?"

"Wait, Emmet? Emmet Brickowski? The guy that's been giving all those speeches on the radio?"

"Uh, yes. I don't think I'm, uh, authorized --"

"Oh boy!" the voice on the other end said gleefully. "You are a huge stinker and I don't like you! At all! What do you have against us Master Builders, huh? Huh?"

"What?"

"BENNY!" a different voice shouted. "We have bigger issues!"

"Oh, okay! Bye!"

The line went dead, and Emmet was left standing there with the phone held out away from him. After a moment, he put it down, then picked it up again and dialed.

"Excuse me, could I speak to President Business? Something really weird just happened and I think I should tell him about it."


The moment the shooting had begun, Bad Cop had backed out the door and closed it behind him. It was only when the sound of gunfire had stopped that he dared to open it again, peering out at the carnage of scattered robot parts and sparking machinery.

"I said, unlock the hangers! Unlock the hangers! Why aren't you listening to me?!" Benny typed furiously on the console while Wyldstyle watched in dismay.

"I don't understand what you mean."

"Benny, I thought you were good with technology!" Wyldstyle shouted.

"I'm good with nineteen eighty-something technology! This futuristic nonsense is deliberately undermining me!"

The computer whirred. "Which sentence would you like me to undermine?"

"UNLOCK THE HANGERS!"

Bad Cop stepped forward. "Do you need help?"

"No," Benny said, "absolutely not! I can handle this! UNLOCK THE HANGERS, YOU WASTE OF BRICKS!"

"Understood. Running brick-wasting programs."

"No!"

Bad Cop groaned and pushed Benny out of the way. "Computer, unlock the darn hangers."

"Unlocking hangers," the computer said.

Benny blinked. "What?!"


"This better be good," Business grumbled, swiping the phone away from the robot secretary. "Hello? Oh, Emmet!" He plastered on a cheery smile, even though Emmet wasn't around to see it. "There isn't a problem with the next broadcast, is there?"

The secretary watched as Business' smile faltered, his eye twitching. "You're right, that is strange! I'll have someone investigate at once. No, don't worry about it, you did the right thing! Okay, bye now!"

He hung up with a black look on his face. "Computer!" he shouted at his office, causing the secretary to jump. "Trace the location of the last person to call Emmet's office, and get security footage on here pronto!"

"Of course, sir."


They piloted the stolen Octan spaceship straight to the surface entrance, slipping into the line of identical spaceships without anyone batting an eye. Tensions were high as Benny steered the ship into the laser gate and the bar fell in front of them.

"Space I.D.," the robot guard said.

Good Cop poked his head out from behind Benny, grinning. "Hi, buddy!"

"Good Cop!" The robot glanced up, then back down at the paper it was holding. "Oh wow, this is awkward. I'm supposed to report you to Lord Business if I see you."

"Haha, that is awkward!" Good Cop laughed. "That won't be necessary, though, because we're about to report to Lord Business ourselves. So don't worry about that!"

"Okay, then! I'll just tell him you're on your way."

"Erm..." Good Cop glanced back and forth nervously. "That... won't be necessary either. Because... it's a surprise!"

"A surprise?"

"Yeah!" Benny was looking at him strangely now. "It's for his... birthday! We're throwing a surprise party for Lord Business' birthday, but we need you to keep it a secret! Otherwise, it wouldn't be a surprise!"

"Oh! Am I invited? I don't have a present or anything!"

"Don't worry, buddy, you can put your name on my present."

"Great!" The robot pressed the button in front of it and the bar lifted, letting them through. "Thanks, Good Cop!"

"No problem!" They waved at each other as Benny flew the ship inside, and it was only when the entire ship was past the laser gate that Good Cop let his smile drop and he collapsed back in his seat.


Even after he told President Business, the phone call still weighed heavily on Emmet's mind. Even if it had just been a Master Builder upset that they couldn't do whatever they wanted anymore... well, Emmet hadn't really considered Master Builders people when he made those speeches, as bad as that sounded. They were just something that was wrong and needed to be stopped. The idea that there were actual people upset at what he was doing... that didn't feel good.

Emmet shook his head. "It's not like Master Builders care about how people feel," he muttered, stuffing his hands in his pockets as he walked down the hallway. "They just want to do whatever they want! Like President Business said, it's about time people stepped up and started reporting them..."

What happened to the people that were reported, anyway?

The new tuxedo President Business had loaned him suddenly felt very tight.

Emmet needed to talk to someone about this. Not a robot, and not President Business, so the only other option was...

Emmet turned around and walked back down the hallway. Ma and Pa Cop had already invited him to come and see them later, and it would be good to get his mind off things.


"Okay," Wyldstyle said, while the group huddled in a corner of the spaceship docking port. "Let's go over the plan one more time.

"We split into four groups. Metalbeard and Benny, you're going to head to the master control room and disable the Kragle's shields. Benny, I know you had trouble with the computers before, but now that you know how they work, you shouldn't have any trouble, right?"

Benny nodded enthusiastically. "Right!"

"Okay, good. Unikitty, you're our backup plan. If anything goes wrong, we need you to stall Lord Business until we can fix things. If things go really wrong, we'll need you to help get us all out safely. That means you, too -- we're not going to have any heroic sacrifices on this trip, alright? This is a dangerous job, Unikitty, I'm not going to lie. Can you handle it?"

Unikitty grinned. "Of course!"

"Great. Good Cop, Bad Cop and I will be going up to the Kragle itself. They'll distract the robots while I clear them all out of there. It'll be tricky, but the robots seem to drop their guard around Good Cop, so it might work." She shook her head. "I mean, it will work. It got us inside, after all. Then we'll disarm the Kragle, and --"

"One question," Metalbeard said. "What be ye doing about the explosion?"

Wyldstyle stopped mid-sentence. "Uh. Right. That."

"You didn't say anything about an explosion," Bad Cop said, furrowing his brow.

"Well," Vitruvius said, "when we put the Piece of Resistance on the Kragle, there's a chance it might explode."

All of a sudden, Bad Cop was keenly aware of the weight of the relic attached to his back. "It might explode."

To say that Wyldstyle looked uncomfortable was an understatement. "Yes."

"But!" Unikitty bounded to the center of the group. "It might not explode, right?"

Bad Cop stared at Vitruvius, who shrugged. "Sure, let's go with that."

"Anyway!" Wyldstyle cleared her throat. "Meanwhile, Vitruvius will find Good Cop and Bad Cop's parents and bring them to our designated meeting place. Once the Kragle is disarmed, we'll either steal another spaceship or Benny will build a new one, and we'll all get out of here. Everyone got it?"

Everyone mumbled an affirmation. Wyldstyle took a deep breath. "Alright, then. Let's go."

"Wait!"

Good Cop felt a knot of anxiety in his chest as the group turned to look at him. He swallowed hard. "Vitruvius," he said. "Do you promise to get our parents out safely?"

"Of course," said Vitruvius.

"No. That's not what I meant." It was hard to get the words out, and even harder when Good Cop thought about what he and Bad Cop were planning to do. "Our parents -- they're innocent. They shouldn't be here. Lord Business promised not to hurt them, and he -- he lied. We don't care what happens to us --"

Good Cop, Bad Cop said.

"-- I don't care what happens to me --"

You should care a little --

"-- even if everything goes wrong, even if you have to abandon us -- do you promise to get our parents out safely?"

Vitruvius was quiet for a long moment. Finally, he closed his eyes and sighed. "I promise, Good Cop."

Good Cop smiled. "Thank you."


"Astronaut in a blue spacesuit? With a broken helmet? That was a confirmed Master Builder. You just let a confirmed Master Builder pass right through the gate."

There was only silence from the other end. Lord Business gripped the phone tighter. "Well, Good Cop was with him, so --"

"Oh, so not only did you let a Master Builder get inside Octan Tower, you let the Special in, too! Why are all of my robot minions so incompetent?!"

"...it's not your birthday, is it, sir."

Business slammed the phone down so hard the receiver cracked. "Fire robot guard 189-2001. And by 'fire' I mean break into pieces and throw in the infinite void!" He glared daggers at the rows of skeleton robots before him. "Then find the Master Builders, find the Special, and bring them to me NOW!"


Vitruvius was lying.

Bad Cop had switched back in once the group split up, so Good Cop was left to sit quietly with his thoughts. Vitruvius was lying. There was no way he would abandon his friends to save the parents of their worst enemies. As soon as he caught wind that Good Cop and Bad Cop had betrayed them, he would leave their parents to fend for themselves.

Lord Business lied. Vitruvius lied. Good Cop and Bad Cop were lying right now, as Bad Cop led Wyldstyle not to the Kragle, but to Lord Business' office. Good Cop waited, hearing nothing but the soft footsteps of the two as they made their way up the tower.

Bad Cop was certain that Lord Business would spare Ma and Pa if they just did their job. Track down the remaining Master Builders and find and dispose of the Piece of Resistance. That was all they had to do, right? That was their job.

And Good Cop had ruined it the moment he touched the Piece of Resistance.

Maybe Lord Business would have spared their parents if they had just waited for the robots to find them in that pit. Maybe not. Maybe he had never planned to spare them in the first place. Whatever the case, Good Cop was certain of one thing: if their parents hadn't been dead before, they were dead the moment Lord Business had invited them onto the broadcast.

Good Cop had nothing left to lose.

I'm sorry, he said to Bad Cop, a moment before he wrenched control of their body.

Good Cop took a moment to assess the situation. They had stopped just behind a corner, their backs pressed to the wall. Wyldstyle was staring at him in confusion; he ignored her. Instead, he peered around the corner to see where they were.

Good Cop, what are you doing.

They were right outside Lord Business' office, with two skeletron robots guarding the tall doors. Good Cop felt fear and anxiety rise up inside him and he took deep breaths to calm himself down. He couldn't have another panic attack, not here, not now.

Good Cop, this isn't part of the plan.

He turned to Wyldstyle. "I'm sorry," he said. "I've made some bad decisions."

Good Cop, you need to give me back control.

"What?" Wyldstyle hissed. "Why? What's going on?"

Good Cop, this is a very delicate situation!

"I'm really sorry. I'll fix things now."

Good Cop, it's not your job to fix things!

He could feel Bad Cop trying to switch in, but it didn't matter. Bad Cop had never been able to take control without Good Cop letting him. Hadn't that been what landed them in this mess in the first place? Bad Cop had tried to switch in before Good Cop touched the Piece, and Good Cop hadn't let him.

GOOD COP!

Good Cop took a deep breath and stepped directly out into the line of sight of the skeletrons.

They pointed their guns at him. Of course. As if he hadn't had enough of that in the past forty-eight hours. "Freeze, Special!"

Good Cop swallowed, forcing himself not to look at where Wyldstyle was hiding. "I'm here to report to Lord Business," he said. "Could you tell him I'm here, please?"

"You are not authorized --"

The doors slammed open, knocking the two robots to the side. "Good Cop!"

He stiffened. His breaths started coming out in short gasps, and he could only stand there petrified and stare.

Lord Business stood on the full height of his elevated boots, smiling down at him. "Man," he said, walking forward, "you really like to keep a guy waiting, don't you? I mean, really -- you should have been here ages ago! Come on --" Business nudged him with his foot. "-- why don't we step into my office? You've certainly got a lot of explaining to do, don't you?"

Good Cop nodded, slowly, and walked inside, Lord Business following him close behind.

Chapter Text

Bad Cop had a lot of regrets.

He kept going over them in his mind as Good Cop walked into Lord Business' office. Words and phrases he wished he hadn't said. Mistakes he had made that might have cost them both their lives, now. Why hadn't he payed more attention to Good Cop's mental state? Why hadn't he noticed that his other half was falling deeper and deeper into despair? This was all his fault.

I don't care what happens to me.

Good Cop, said Bad Cop. It's going to be okay. We can still fix this.

Good Cop didn't respond, only glanced up at Lord Business looking down at him.

"So!" Business said, with that cheerful tone in his voice that Bad Cop knew to be very, very afraid of. "How about we let Bad Cop give me your report now, why don't we?"

Good Cop nodded and ceded control; Bad Cop wasted no time and switched in at once. "Sir," he said, not bothering to keep the fear out of his voice. "We have successfully deceived the Master Builders into thinking we were on their side, and we are fully prepared to assist in arresting them. There are five currently loose in the building, and --"

"Oh, don't worry about that!" Lord Business said with a laugh. "We've already managed to track them down."

He snapped his fingers. A door opened behind them and a group of robots shuffled in, dragging three people in with them. Bad Cop dragged his gaze over the group -- Benny, Metalbeard, Unikitty --

Vitruvius wasn't with them. Bad Cop sagged in relief.

"Oh no!" Unikitty cried. "They got you, too?"

"They didn't get them, Unikitty," Benny said, his voice shaking with anger. "They were working for Lord Business all along!"

"But- but-" Unikitty stared at Bad Cop, eyes wide and ears back. "Benny's wrong, right? You wouldn't do anything awful like that, right? You're good! I said you were good! I don't understand --"

Metalbeard let out a long sigh. "Ye were wrong."

Bad Cop tore his gaze away from them and back to Business. "There are still two others," he said. "We left one outside this office, and the other --" The words caught in his throat and he had to pause to take a deep breath. "-- the other's whereabouts are unknown."

You know where they are, Bad Cop.

He gritted his teeth. Even if Lord Business wouldn't spare their Ma and Pa, there was still a chance that they could get out safely, get out of the range of the Kragle. Bad Cop was not going to give up, even if Good Cop already had.

And then Good Cop took control again.

"Vitruvius was going to search for our parents," he said. Lord Business raised an eyebrow at Vitruvius' name. "We don't know where he is exactly, but chances are, he'll be heading towards where they're are being kept."

He heard a gasp from the group of captured Master Builders. He ignored it.

Good Cop. Bad Cop struggled to articulate his thoughts. What are you doing?

Good Cop sighed and looked Lord Business directly in the eye. "You were never going to spare our parents, were you?"

He shrugged. "Well, no. I mean, I considered it, but I've got to draw the line somewhere, you know? The less people there are to mess with my stuff, the better."

Bad Cop didn't know what to do.

"I'm glad you figured it out on your own, though! I wasn't looking forward to telling you, to be honest. I mean, talk about an awkward conversation!" Business smiled down at him. "This makes everything much, much easier!"

"Ha ha..." Good Cop twisted his face into something resembling a smile.

"Oh, don't be so glum about it. Think of it this way." Lord Business stepped forward. "Your parents will be part of my perfect world, forever and ever and ever. No one will ever be able to hurt them again. Isn't that a good thing?"

"NO!" Unikitty shouted, earning a sharp nudge from one of the robots. "You are awful! You are the worst!"

Business glared at them. "Why am I being yelled at by a weird cat thing of indeterminate gender? Robots, take them all to the Think Tank. And while you're at it, see if you can find the other two Master Builders that are out there still."

The robots nodded and led the group out of the office; Benny glared at Good Cop as he was dragged past, Metalbeard averted his gaze, and Unikitty just stared at him until the door closed behind them.

"Now!" Lord Business said, once the room had cleared. "There's the issue of the Piece of Resistance."

Good Cop was offering him control again, but Bad Cop didn't take it. Lord Business was never going to spare their parents. Lord Business was never going to spare their parents. All the time they had spent working for him, working to protect their Ma and Pa -- it had been pointless. What had they spent the last eight and a half years doing?

Eventually, Good Cop shook his head and looked up at Lord Business. "Although we had... issues in securing the Piece, we are fully prepared to aid in neutralizing the threat."

"Well, there's a problem with that." Lord Business loomed over him with a sinister smile. "It's not just the Piece of Resistance that poses a threat to my plans, it's the Special. You see what I'm getting at here?"

Good Cop felt sick to his stomach. "Yes, sir."

"You don't, actually. You think I'm going to do something awful, like throw you into the infinite abyss of nothingness, or stick you in the melting chamber, or break you into pieces or something. Am I right?"

"...yes, sir."

"Really? Come on, we're buddies, aren't we?" Business lowered himself down until he stood only a head's height above Good Cop, still smiling. "I wouldn't do something like that to my most loyal officer, would I?"

"No, sir."

"Here's the problem! I don't know if you still are my most loyal officer." His expression darkened. "I mean, escaping the melting chamber, resisting arrest, leading a whole group of Master Builders straight into Octan Tower... it's not looking too good for you, is it?"

"No, sir." Bad Cop wasn't saying anything. Good Cop was keeping the mental door open, letting him switch in at any time, but he wasn't taking the opportunity. All Good Cop felt from his other half was despair.

"You sound like a broken record, haha!" Lord Business laughed again. "Don't worry, though! We're just going to do a little test, that's all."

"A... test?"

"Yes, a test!"

Lord Business stepped away and gestured for Good Cop to follow him. "You really messed things up, you know," he said, taking long strides while Good Cop struggled to keep up. "But it's not just you. Everyone, everywhere, keeps messing with my stuff!"

He spat out the last words and took out a remote. With a click, a portion of the wall unfolded to reveal an enormous screen. Good Cop recognized himself and Bad Cop in the footage that played -- there they were, telling the computer to unlock the hangers; there they were, talking the guard into letting them through; there they were, sneaking their way through the tower with Wyldstyle...

"Actually, that's mostly you, isn't it? Whoops!" Business grinned down at Good Cop. He smiled back nervously. "Let's move on."

The screen changed.

A group of robots wearing protective suits were carrying an ancient chest, hunching down over its weight. Good Cop didn't recognize the hall they were carrying it down, but it was definitely somewhere inside Octan Tower.

"It took me over eight years to finish preparations," Lord Business said, "but finally, I have a way to keep everything the way it's supposed to be. Permanently."

Light shone from the chest as the robots carefully opened the lid, revealing what was inside. "Behold! The most powerful weapon of all the relics -- the Kragle!"

Good Cop stared at the screen, his mouth hanging open. The Kragle, the superweapon that could end the world... was a worn-out tube, its label faded away over time. It did not look like it could end the world. It didn't look very impressive at all, actually.

"As you can see, they've loaded the Kragle into the machine upstairs," Business continued. "I call it the Tentacle Arm Kragle Outside Sprayer, or TAKOS." He must have seen Good Cop's confusion, because he quickly added, "The 'ess' is silent.

"So on Taco Tuesday..." Good Cop started at the sound of machinery above him; he looked up to see the ceiling opening up and a robotic tentacle descending towards him. "...I'm going to use a bunch of super-scary nozzles -- just like this one! -- to spray the Kragle over everyone and everything." Okay, this looked a lot more impressive. Also terrifying. Good Cop backed away as the nozzle unfurled its claw-like protrusions and continued advancing. "Here, I'll show you how it works."

The nozzle rotated rapidly, right in Good Cop's face. Panic reared its ugly head and he began to hyperventilate. "I'm honored, sir," he squeaked out. "But I'm not sure --"

"Don't worry, buddy. I won't test it on you." The nozzle turned away. Good Cop gasped and managed to get his breathing back under control. Looking over at Business, he saw his boss facing away from him, the tentacle hovering at his side.

"I'll test it on your parents."

A section of the floor slid apart and a horribly familiar house rose up out of the opening. Good Cop's eyes flicked from one feature to the next -- the blue roof, the red door, the crooked fence, the trees that had grown so much taller than he remembered them -- taking in the sight of his childhood home. This wasn't supposed to be happening. His parents and their house was supposed to stay in the countryside, far away from Lord Business' plans -- why was this happening?

His eyes met the figure standing just outside the gate.

"Wow," said Emmet. "I, uh, wasn't expecting that. Hey, President Business! You're, uh, dressed differently. And Good Cop! You're back! Did my broadcast help?" He grinned and looked around. "Where are we? What's going on?"

"Emmet," said Business, struggling to keep his voice level. "What are you doing here?"

"Oh, I was going to talk to the Cop family about, uh, stuff, but it looks like... they're not here? I knocked on the door and everything." Emmet shrugged. "Maybe they decided to take a walk?"

"Great." Business glared down at Good Cop. "Just great. Looks like not following the instructions runs in the family! ROBOTS!"

A pair of robots approached Good Cop on either side and he cringed. "What? I don't --"

"Oh, come on, who do you think I am? This was your plan, wasn't it? To get your parents out safely?" Lord Business chuckled. "Well, I'm afraid all you've done is delay the inevitable. Robots, take him to a holding cell. We'll get back to him after we've found his parents."

"But- but-" The robots grabbed his arms and pinned them behind the Piece on his back. "We didn't --"

"Do you honestly expect me to believe you didn't have anything to do with this?" Business sighed. "I gave you a second chance, you know. And you wrecked it. You wrecked it before you even walked into this room!

"But don't say I don't keep my promises. I'll let you go back home with your Ma and Pa. You'll just have to be stuck there. Forever, and ever, and ever!"

"Okay," Emmet said. "I am really confused, and also a little worried and scared. Can someone please explain --"

"Shut up, Emmet!" Business roared. Emmet shut up.

Good Cop.

Good Cop looked down at the floor as the robots led him away, barely registering Bad Cop's voice.

Good Cop, I'm about to do something that will probably get us killed. I need you to give me full control. Can you do that?

He didn't know what the point was. They were dead. Their parents were dead. What was there left to do?

Good Cop, this is our only chance.

Fine. Fine. Wordlessly, Good Cop dropped his hold on their body and let Bad Cop take control.

Bad Cop headbutted one of the robots restraining him, his helmet taking the brunt of the blow. While it reeled back, he kicked out the other's legs and yanked its blaster gun out of its hands. The robots didn't have the chance to recover before he fired two blasts to their torsos, incapacitating them, and turned the blaster to the robots around him. One by one, the robots were blasted into pieces, and Bad Cop slowly advanced towards the door.

"Wow," said Lord Business. "Wow! I'd like to say I was expecting that, but honestly? I wasn't. Doesn't mean I'm not prepared! MICROMANAGER!"

Another part of the floor opened, and Bad Cop dashed out of the way as an enormous, spindly robot rose up on a platform, an array of red lights flickering on its cube-shaped head.

"COMMENCING MICROMANAGEMENT."

The Micromanager lunged for him, and Bad Cop barely managed to get out of the way of its robotic hands. He wasn't so lucky the second time, when it cuffed him hard and knocked him to the ground. He lost his grip on his weapon, the blaster skidding across the floor, and just as he caught sight of it, scrambling to his feet despite his aching body, metal claws wrapped around him and lifted him off the ground.

"Good job, Micromanager!" Bad Cop desperately struggled in the robot's grip as Lord Business approached him. "At least some things work the way they're supposed to. Now what are we going to do with you?"

Bad Cop inhaled sharply. "Sir --"

"Don't even start," Business snapped. "Don't even start! I am so tired of seeing your face! Your good half, as soft and pathetic as he is, wouldn't have dared to try anything like this! I am very disappointed in you, Bad Cop!"

This time, he had the sense not to respond.

"Nothing to say to that? Good!" Lord Business turned away. "Well, we can't have you attempting to escape again and blowing up another dozen robots." He snapped his fingers. "Bring me the Fleece-Crested Scepter of Q-Teep and the Polish Remover of Na-eel!"

The robots brought Lord Business two relics; a tall staff with strange fuzzy lumps on either end and an enormous pink bottle. "I am truly sorry for this, Bad Cop," he said, grabbing and twirling the staff around and dipping one end into the opened bottle. "But now that you're the Special? You're a threat, and you need to be removed."

We're going to die, Good Cop said, his words filled with grief. I don't know what he's doing but we're going to die and it's my fault --

"No," Bad Cop said sternly, ignoring the presence of Business and the robots. "We're going -- you're going to be fine. Everything is going to be fine. I'm..."

He hesitated. Dread welled up in Good Cop's mind and he switched in to face Lord Business himself. "Sir --"

"Oh, get out of here!" Lord Business snarled, and he reached a hand towards Good Cop's face.

In the split second before his hand touched his face, Good Cop understood why Unikitty had screamed at him back on the spaceship.

Lord Business forced Bad Cop's face back into view. "If we're all finished --" he began, only to be cut off when Bad Cop started talking again.

"It's going to be fine, Good Cop," he said, his voice oddly calm. "I'm fine with this. I've done my job."

"What?" said Lord Business. "What are you talking about, you've done, like, the opposite of your job, that's why I'm getting rid of you, have you been listening to anything I've said? Oh, forget it!"

He pressed the dampened end of the Scepter on Bad Cop's face and wiped across it with a squeak.

All of Bad Cop's thoughts and emotions came flooding into Good Cop's mind, as if the mental wall between them had come tumbling down. Fear, pain, anger at the Master Builders, anger at the Piece of Resistance, even some anger at Good Cop -- but it's not his fault it is his fault but I can't let him think that -- sadness for their parents, disbelief and betrayal at what Lord Business had done to them -- he promised he promised if only I had done a better job -- and at the end of it all, a sense of peace.

I've kept Good Cop safe. I've done my job.

Then there was only blackness.

Chapter Text

Light flickered at the edges of his vision. Good Cop thought he was dead. He wished he was dead. It took a long moment for him to realize he was staring at the back of his helmet. He reached out mentally for Bad Cop, but the presence he always felt, the presence he had shared his body with for his entire life, was gone.

"Okay!" Lord Business said. "Robots, you take care of him now. He shouldn't pose a problem to you -- right, Good Cop?"

The Micromanager dropped him. Good Cop hit the ground and lay there.

"Oh, stop being dramatic, I know you're not dead," Business snapped. "This isn't the first time I've done this, you know. Get up."

He didn't want to move. He couldn't even bring himself to turn his face around. All Good Cop wanted to do was disappear.

"Fine. Fine, you can just lie there and do nothing. I don't care. Anyway --"

"THAT WAS NOT OKAY!"

Business sighed and turned to where Emmet stared in open-mouthed horror. "Right. I almost forgot about you."

"You just -- you just --" Emmet pointed at where Good Cop lay unmoving on the floor, then pointed to Lord Business. "That was not okay!"

"Yes, Emmet, I get the idea."

"There is a list!"

"What?"

"Of things that are okay!" Emmet was trembling all over, still pointing at Business. "That was not on the list! That was not okay!"

He rolled his eyes. "How long are you going to keep going on like this? You saw how Bad Cop acted. He was a threat. You're lucky he didn't shoot you just then. Now the threat is gone, and everyone's happy!"

Emmet shook his head. "Good Cop doesn't look happy!"

"Who cares if he's not happy? He betrayed me to join the Master Builders, and you know how bad they are." Lord Business smiled. "Now why don't you go on down to your office and prepare for tonight's speech? Just forget all about what happened here."

"I don't -- I don't --" Emmet took a step back, bumping into the fence behind him. "What are you going to do with Good Cop?"

"Put him in a holding cell until we can reunite him with his parents. See? He gets a happy ending, too!" Lord Business let his smile drop. "Now, since you've clearly missed the hint, I want you to get out of here or else!"

He shouted the last words, making Emmet jump. Emmet whipped his head back and forth at the robots that were now pointing their guns at him, stepped away from the house, keeping his back to the fence, and it was only when he was off the grass that he turned and ran out the doors.

Lord Business glared at the doors as they closed. "I want him watched. Make sure he does everything exactly as planned, and if he tries anything? Get rid of him. Sure, the public will wonder what happened, but considering Taco Tuesday is tomorrow, they won't have time to do anything about it. Got it?"

"Yes, sir," the robots said in unison.

"Then go! And find those missing Master Builders, while you're at it!"

The robots scattered. All but two of them ran out the doors, the ones that remained each grabbing one of Good Cop's arms and roughly pulling him to his feet. Good Cop finally turned his head to face the outside, blinking in the light of the office after being in the dark of his helmet. His face was twisted up in grief and he couldn't bring himself to move, instead letting the robots drag him forward.

"I am truly sorry it had to end like this, by the way!" Lord Business called out cheerfully before he reached the door. "It's nothing personal, I assure you. It's just business."

Good Cop didn't respond, and the doors slammed shut behind him.


Sitting alone in the holding cell, Good Cop had a panic attack.

It was inevitable, really. It was a wonder he hadn't had one in Lord Business' office; it wouldn't be the first time. But it was only after the robots had left him alone that the feelings of doom and despair overwhelmed him and he curled up on the floor, shaking and sobbing, his breaths coming out in irregular gasps.

He wanted to die. In giving Wyldstyle a chance to get away, he had managed to betray Lord Business, the Master Builders, and even Bad Cop, all in one go. Now Bad Cop was gone -- and Good Cop was still here. He did not want to be here anymore.

Why couldn't it have been him? Lord Business had never liked him. In Business' eyes, it was Bad Cop who did all the work of bringing in and interrogating the Master Builders, while all Good Cop did was put on a good face for the public. He had even threatened to get rid of Good Cop before -- but they had thought they were safe, that Lord Business couldn't hurt one of them without hurting the other. If Good Cop had been gone from the very beginning, he would never have touched the Piece of Resistance, would never have gotten them into this mess, and Bad Cop would still be here.

Without Bad Cop to help him, the panic attack lasted a long time. There was no clock, no window to tell the time of day, so Good Cop didn't know for sure how long it lasted before he stopped trembling and his breathing returned to normal, with only the occasional sob. He sat up slowly, wiping off the dirt from where his face had rested against the floor. His clothes were a mess; he smoothed out his jacket as best he could, then stopped. Why was he doing this? To look presentable for Lord Business? He was going to die anyway, it didn't matter what he looked like.

But his parents were going to see him, too. Good Cop hesitated, then ran his hand over the fabric, over and over, trying not to think of anything else.

There was a noise from outside. Good Cop pretended he hadn't heard anything.

"Hey," a robotic voice said, but it didn't get a chance to say anything more. There was a clattering of metal, a loud thunk against the door, and hushed voices:

"Vitruvius, please be careful."

"Don't worry about me, Wyldstyle."

Good Cop stiffened. He could here the quiet shuffling of people moving outside the door -- too much noise for just two people. He squeezed his eyes shut, praying that he was wrong, that whoever was with Vitruvius and Wyldstyle was anyone other than --

"Are... are you sure he's in there?"

His hopes were dashed at the sound of his Ma's voice.

"I saw them bring him in here." Wyldstyle hesitated. "But... he wasn't in very good shape the last I saw him. I mean... I told you what happened back there."

"We know." It broke his heart to hear his Pa sounding so weary.

Wyldstyle took a deep breath. "I'm sorry. I couldn't do anything. I... I wish I had."

Nobody said anything for a long moment. Good Cop focused on the sound of his own breathing. Finally, Wyldstyle whispered, "Vitruvius, please hurry up with that door!"

"Got it," he said, and Good Cop heard the lock click.

The door swung open slowly.

"Good Cop?"

"Son?"

Good Cop was too choked up to say anything. He covered his face with his hands, still sitting there on the ground. He didn't want his parents to see him like this -- hurt, dirty, a red relic affixed to his back --

He heard the soft padding of footsteps coming towards him, and then he was pulled forward into a hug.

"Oh, son." Ma was trembling all over, her grip tight around him. "It's going to be okay."

"Why --" Good Cop could barely get the words out. Pa knelt down beside him and put a hand on his shoulder. "Why -- why does -- why does everyone keep telling me that? Why does everyone keep lying to me?"

Then he was sobbing again, his face pressed into Ma's shoulder, because despite everything that had happened, his parents had gotten away from Lord Business before it was too late, and they were here and they were alive, and Vitruvius hadn't lied to him. He had kept his promise.

Almost.

Good Cop pulled away and wiped his eyes. "You've got to get out of here," he whispered to his parents. "Lord Business wants you dead."

"We're not going without you, son," Pa said gruffly.

"You have to! Do you have any idea what he was going to do to you? Do you have any idea what he'll do to you if he finds you?"

"And what's he going to do to you?" Ma shook her head, her eyes hard. "We can't just leave you here!"

"Lord Business might not bother looking for you if you get out of here in time -- but he will look for me!" Saying "me" instead of "us" felt like a stake through his heart, and Good Cop had to pause for a moment before continuing. "So if I stay here --"

"We don't want to lose you, too!"

He screwed up his face, feeling the tears in his eyes threaten to spill over. Too.

Ma's gaze softened. "Is... is it really true? Is he..."

Good Cop didn't know what to say. If he said yes, that would make it real. If he didn't say anything, well, that would be just the same as saying yes. But if he said no... he would be lying.

He didn't want to lie anymore.

"He's gone," he said, his voice shaking. "He's gone and it's my fault. That's why I'm staying here."

He forced himself to look his Ma in the eye, even as her face contorted with grief and she covered her mouth to suppress a sob. Pa began to speak, but Good Cop spoke up before he could say anything.

"It is my fault. Don't lie to me and say it wasn't. I walked into Lord Business' office knowing that I had let everyone down, that there was no possible way we could get ourselves out of this one. I went in there expecting to die -- and I was fine with that! I had given up!

"But Bad Cop... he hadn't. He still tried to get us out of there. Maybe if I hadn't let him take control, he would still be here. But I didn't, and now he's gone! It's my fault! If I had just done my job and left the Piece where it was, none of this would've happened! I don't deserve to still be here!"

"Keep your voice down!" Wyldstyle hissed.

Good Cop stopped. He had forgotten Vitruvius and Wyldstyle were still there. The group stayed quiet, waiting in a tense silence for the sound of a robot guard to come by and notice something was wrong, but they heard nothing. Wyldstyle glanced down the hall, then sighed and stepped inside the cell.

"Can I talk to you?" she said.

"...okay."

Ma shifted to the side to let Wyldstyle kneel down in front of Good Cop. For a long moment, all they did was stare at each other. Then Wyldstyle punched him, knocking him over.

Both his parents started. "Excuse me!" Ma said sharply.

Wyldstyle spoke. "The old Good Cop is gone. I just killed him."

Good Cop rubbed his face and didn't respond.

Standing by the door, Vitruvius raised an eyebrow. "Wyldstyle, what are you doing?"

"The Good Cop that wanted to give up, that wanted to die?" Wyldstyle spoke quietly, but firmly. "He's gone now. You're someone else, someone new. I'd tell you to choose a new name, but I don't think we have time for that right now." She looked back over her shoulder. "We've spent too much time here already."

Good Cop still felt like the same Good Cop that wanted to give up and die. "What am I supposed to do?" he said.

"Fight." Wyldstyle pulled him to his feet. "We're going to put an end to Lord Business' plans, but we need the Piece of Resistance. Will you join us?"

He looked away. "I already betrayed you once. What makes you think I won't do it again?"

Wyldstyle shrugged. "I don't know. Will you?"

Good Cop shook his head. "I don't know. There's... there's no point anymore, is there?"

"I was hoping for something more affirming, but that's good enough. Vitruvius, we're ready to go."

Vitruvius narrowed his eyes. "Wyldstyle, are you sure that will help him?"

"It worked for me." She walked out the door and gestured for Good Cop and his parents to follow her. "I'm trying, okay?"

Good Cop took a shaky step forward; he was unsteady on his feet after lying on the floor for so long. Ma put a hand on his shoulder to steady him while they walked forward. "You two still need to get out of here," he said.

Pa shook his head. "We can handle ourselves, you know. You don't need to worry about us."

"But --"

"Intruders!"

The group froze just outside the door. Down the hall, a skeletron robot pointed its gun at them and held up a radio. "Lord Business, We've found the Master Builders, they --"

Good Cop didn't even see Wyldstyle move -- all of a sudden she was at the skeletron, ripping off its arm and beating it over the head with it. Once it had shut down, she tossed the arm aside and grabbed the blaster off its body. "We need to move!" she shouted. "We need to get to --"

"Think Tank!"

Everyone stared at Good Cop. "What?"

"The Think Tank," he repeated. "It's where all the Master Builders we've captured are kept. If we can get there and free them..."

He hesitated. The Think Tank was heavily guarded, and the security measures that kept the Master Builders in check were intimidating, to say the least. Even if they got there, would the five of them really be able to free them?

But Vitruvius and Wyldstyle were already nodding. "Okay!" she said. "Lead the way."

Chapter Text

"They gave us wrong directions," Benny said bitterly, strapped into a cell of the Think Tank. He had long since stopped straining against his bindings and was now sitting here, shaking with anger. "I knew it all along! We never should've trusted them!"

"I thought they were good," Unikitty said sadly, head held upright by the electrodes the robots had attached. "I wanted them to be good! Why weren't they good?"

Metalbeard sighed. His mechanical body couldn't fit inside the cell, so the robots had improvised; they tied him up so that he couldn't move, and disassembled a cell, taking the electrodes and wiring and rigging them up around him. "Ye shouldn't be too hard on them."

"What?!" Benny shouted. "Can you repeat that? You're saying we shouldn't be too hard on the guys who tricked us and got us captured and ruined everything?"

"I be seeing all kinds of people during me travels. Some like the cops. People so scared and hurt that they be afraid to do what be right." Metalbeard shook his head in the limited motion the electrodes allowed. "Yar, if only we had realized that, things would be different."

There was a long moment where nobody spoke, Benny scrunching up his face in confusion while he processed Metalbeard's words. Then a Master Builder in one of the neighboring cells spoke up. "Uh, are we still talking about Bad Cop? The guy who's the reason most of us are in here in the first place?"

"Good Cop and Bad Cop," Unikitty said. "And it's not all their fault! Lord Business was awful to them!"

"Easy for you to say!" another Master Builder called out from across the room. "They didn't track you down and lock you up in here!"

"But --" Unikitty's eyes started to water. "I was so sure they were good! Maybe -- maybe they'll still be good! You'll see!"


Good Cop hadn't actually thought the plan through this far. He hadn't expected to be alive after going into Lord Business' office, let alone joined up with the Master Builders and actively working against him.

The thought gave him chills; he had definitely betrayed Lord Business now. There would be no way to talk himself out of this one. If they were caught, he was dead, the Master Builders were dead, and his parents were dead, too, along with everyone else in the universe.

Except Lord Business, of course.

The group was pressed against the wall, Wyldstyle peering around the corner at the robots guarding the entrance to the Think Tank. Good Cop kept glancing back at his parents. His Ma smiled back at him. He looked away.

Wyldstyle pulled back and nodded at them. Good Cop nodded back, having no idea what he was agreeing to. They really should have discussed this plan beforehand. She gestured to Vitruvius, and the two of them darted around the corner and towards the robots, Good Cop following at a slower pace.

"Intruders --"

"What --"

Wyldstyle slammed into one of the robots and tore its blaster out of its hand. Without looking back, she tossed it to Good Cop and ducked out of the way as the remaining robots began shooting at her. Good Cop barely caught the gun, stood there holding it for a moment, and then came to his senses and started firing. Vitruvius hovered around the edges, using his staff as a club to forcibly shut down any robots that tried to escape.

The skirmish was brief. There were only a few robots, and they were quickly taken care of by the three of them. Ma and Pa stayed out of it, to Good Cop's relief, staying behind the corner until the sound of the fight had ended. Wyldstyle tossed the broken pieces of a robot aside and stepped towards the door. The console beside it lit up at her approach. "Passkey required," it said in a tinny voice.

Wyldstyle glanced back at Good Cop. "A little help?"

"Hey!"

They spun around to face the robot that had exclaimed. There were two of them -- one on either side of Emmet, who stood there with his tuxedo in moderate disarray, looking terrified. One of them aimed its blaster at them and fired two quick shots at Wyldstyle, who dodged them both. Good Cop rushed to stand in front of his parents.

Emmet's expression changed. Abruptly, he fell over onto the robot firing, knocking them both into the ground. "Oh, whoops!" he said, lying on top of it. "I tripped! Haha, that was totally an accident please don't shoot me --"

Wyldstyle and Vitruvius didn't hesitate. Within seconds, Wyldstyle was at the fallen robot's side, yanking its blaster out of its hand while Emmet quickly rolled out of the way. Vitruvius raised his staff and the second robot was slammed into the wall by an invisible force, where it stayed struggling until it got hit by a blast from Good Cop and fell into pieces.

"Wow!" Emmet scrambled to his feet and brushed himself off. "That was really cool!" he said, grinning. "I, uh..."

He looked at the group, who were all staring at him.

"I have to go," he said. "Do you have any idea what President Business will do to me if he finds out I helped you? Because I do, now! And I'm really scared! Sorry! The passkey is eight-two-two-six!"

He backed up a few steps, then turned and ran down the hall. The group watched him until he turned the corner and was out of sight.

"That was weird," Vitruvius said. "That was the person who's responsible for all the reporting that's been going on?"

"I know," Wyldstyle said. "I expected someone more impressive too. Whatever. Is the passkey really only four digits?"

"Yes." Good Cop had been holding his blaster up the entire time, still aimed at where the robot at been. He finally lowered it and turned to Wyldstyle. "But... that's not the code I remember."

"If the first attempt fails, can we put in another code?"

"You get three tries before the alarm goes off."

"Then we're good."

Wyldstyle typed in the code. The console hummed, then the doors slid open. "Access granted."

Good Cop braced himself for Wyldstyle's reaction as they walked into the Think Tank. She stopped dead in her tracks a few steps inside, her gaze flicking back and forth across the rows and rows of imprisoned Master Builders. "This is... this is...!"

"Wyldstyle! Vitruvius!" Benny leaned forward as far as he could in his cell. "And... other people? Wait a second, what's he doing here?"

"Good Cop!" Any hope he had of going unnoticed vanished when Unikitty cried out his name. "I knew it! I knew you were good!"

"What do you mean, good?" someone shouted. "It's only in the name! They're both bad cops, for all it matters!"

There was a murmuring of agreement, and the other Master Builders started up, one by one.

"He's the reason we're here in the first place!"

"Does he seriously have the Piece of Resistance?"

"He ruined everything!"

"Shut up, he's helping us!" Wyldstyle snapped. This didn't stop the clamor, which slowly increased in volume. Good Cop barely registered Vitruvius and his parents crowding around him, Ma telling him not to listen, Pa putting a hand on his shoulder again, Vitruvius assuring him that everything would be alright. None of it mattered.

"How could someone like him be the Special?"

"Why is he even here? Does Lord Business not want him anymore?"

"Didn't he already betray you? Who says he won't do it again?"

"Who cares about him! All Good Cop does is put on a good face for the civilians -- why don't you get Bad Cop out here?"

"Why don't ye all shut it before ye bring Lord Business down here!"

Everyone quieted at Metalbeard's shout. Wyldstyle sighed in relief, then looked at him, Benny, and Unikitty, the three of them strapped tight into the Think Tank. "Good Cop, how do we free them?" she asked.

Good Cop swallowed. "The whole thing is controlled by the computer. Lord Business has the remote, but it takes voice commands too."

"Can you do it?"

He hesitated before nodding.

"Go ahead, then," said Vitruvius.

Good Cop took a deep breath and stepped forward to the center of the room. Everyone was staring at him; he took a moment to compose himself before clearing his throat and speaking. "Computer!"

An enormous screen lit up, the square face of the AI appearing on it. "How can I help you?"

"Shut down the Think Tank and release every Master Builder. Now!"

"Of course."

There was a long, long moment where nothing happened. Good Cop waited, expecting a group of robots to burst in and start shooting at them any second now. Finally, the computer spoke again.

"Error. Authorization required."

"Authorization..." He gulped. "Authorization, Good Cop, Bad Cop!"

The screen flashed red and block letters appeared, spelling out what it announced out loud a moment later. "Access denied."

"What!"

The Master Builders were starting to murmur again; Wyldstyle shushed them and turned back to Good Cop. "Three tries, right?"

"It's... it's not..." Good Cop shook his head. "Three tries. Authorization... Bad Cop, Good Cop?"

"Access denied."

"Authorization..." He could feel the stares of the Master Builders surrounding him, suffocating him, crushing him, and he was trembling all over. He vaguely realized that he was on the verge of yet another panic attack, but it didn't seem to matter. "Authorization..."

"Access denied."

"I didn't even say anything!" he screamed.

"Warning. Intruders."

"No!" Alarms blared and the room lit up with flashing red lights. The Master Builders started shouting, and Good Cop dropped his blaster, covered his ears, and squeezed his eyes shut. "No! Stop it! This isn't what I wanted! Stop it, stop it!"

"Access denied."

"SHUT UP!"

"Good Cop!" Wyldstyle raised her voice over the noise. "We've got to get out of here!"

"It's too late for that, I'm afraid!"

He heard the doors slide open behind him, and Wyldstyle and Vitruvius quickly moved to either side of him. He felt rather than heard the enormous footsteps, felt the vibrations through the floor. Dread crashed over him and he started gasping for breath.

"I have to say, you nearly got me there! But I removed you from the computer's systems the moment I heard you betrayed me."

His parents were holding him, telling him to take deep breaths. Nothing mattered except for Lord Business' voice.

"Too bad! It's game over for you and your friends, Good Cop! I win, you lose."

"The game's not over yet, Business."

Vitruvius' words cut through the noise of the alarms. Good Cop managed to suck in a deep breath and look behind him.

Vitruvius was standing between him and Lord Business, tapping his staff on the floor as he walked forward. Lord Business raised an eyebrow. "Really, old man? You think you can stand against me? Skeletrons, destroy him."

He shrugged, even as a line of robots appeared from behind Business and advanced towards him. Wyldstyle shifted into a battle stance. "You can call me old if you want. But I prefer the term experienced! Watch the cops, Wyldstyle!"

Wyldstyle nodded and grabbed Good Cop's abandoned blaster.

Vitruvius slammed his staff into the first of the skeletrons and broke it apart. Grabbing the pieces, he used them to deflect the numerous shots being fired at him, his hands moving so fast that Good Cop couldn't keep track of them. A pair of robots ran at him; Vitruvius spun around and kicked one in the head, decapitating it, while the other was dispatched by a shot from Wyldstyle. Wyldstyle herself stayed back by Good Cop and his parents, blasting any skeletron that dared to approach them.

The robots hesitated, shooting nervous glances at each other. Vitruvius took the opportunity to run at them, smashing his configuration of pieces on top of them. It wasn't long before he had cleared the area, the remaining robots all huddling behind Lord Business. The Master Builders cheered in their cells, but Good Cop was still filled with dread.

Something was wrong. Lord Business didn't seem bothered by how Vitruvius had just taken care of his robots. He was just standing there, smiling, holding a flat disc in his hand --

"You see, Good Cop?" Vitruvius said, turning around. "You don't have to be afraid of him anymore."

"Watch out!" Good Cop cried.

Vitruvius reacted a moment too late.

The disc hit him in the base of his neck and kept going, ricocheting off the floor and walls and back into Business' hand. Wyldstyle gasped. Good Cop could only stare, frozen in horror as Vitruvius' head rolled over to the group, coming to a stop just before them and opening his eyes.

"Good Cop," he said. "There's... something I must confess to you."

"I... I don't..."

"The prophecy... I made it up."

Wyldstyle gasped. Good Cop stiffened, and his parents put their arms around him. "What? The prophecy..."

"I made it up," Vitruvius said. "It's not true. But you must listen carefully, for what I'm about to tell you will change the course of history."

And then he died.

Good Cop felt sick. There was never a prophecy. Vitruvius could have chosen anyone to be the Special. Despite that, despite everything they had done, he had chosen him and Bad Cop, and he had trusted them. And they had betrayed him, and now he was dead because of it.

A twang sounded from the robots and Wyldstyle was hit with something that wrapped around her, knocking her down and pinning her arms to her side. Good Cop didn't have time to react before there was another twang and he was shoved to the ground. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his Pa fall, another band wrapped around him -- "No!" -- and he scrambled to his feet only to see his Ma hit, too. "No! Mummy! Daddy!"

"We're fine, son!" Pa said, breathing hard. "You get out of here!"

"But --"

"GO!" Wyldstyle shouted. "You've got the Piece! You can still --"

"Can still what?" Lord Business scoffed, walking forward and crushing Vitruvius' staff under his giant boot. "You've lost! I've captured you, all your friends, and it's not as if Good Cop is a threat anymore!"

"I --" Good Cop stared at his Ma, his Pa, Vitruvius' body. "I --"

His eyes fell on Wyldstyle. She gritted her teeth and kicked something across the floor. It skidded to his feet, and Good Cop stared at the blaster before picking it up.

Business' eyebrows shot up. "Oh boy --"

Good Cop fired at Business, but his hands were shaking and the shot barely grazed his helmet. Cursing, he aimed again, but the robots were running forward and he jumped backwards to avoid being shot himself.

"Oh, for the love of the Man Upstairs!" Business snarled. "GET HIM! Destroy him, and the Piece of Resistance!"

His aim was steadier now, and one by one, Good Cop shot off the heads of the skeletrons advancing towards him. But there was only one of him, and so many of them, he had to keep backing up until the Piece on his back collided with the glass window behind him. He gulped, and kept shooting, even as more and more robots appeared to replace the ones he shot. It was harder to dodge as the robots came closer and closer, but he couldn't give up, that was what the old Good Cop would do, he couldn't --

Searing pain erupted in his shoulder and Good Cop yelled and collapsed, his blaster skidding away from him. Somehow, it had gotten wedged into the hand of a severed robot arm, almost like it had been holding it. Actually, the robot arm looked a lot like his own arm. The arm he was having trouble moving. The arm that he couldn't feel for some reason.

Lord Business' boot stomped right in front of his face. "End of the line, Good Cop," Business said, standing above him. "I'd keep you around so you could see your friends and parents die, but you know what? You're annoying, and the longer I keep you around, the more likely you are to mess up even more of my plans. So bye-bye!"

Good Cop was still struggling to understand what that meant when the boot crashed into him.

The glass shattered on impact, sending him flying out into the void. The windows of Octan Tower rushed past him, and he couldn't hear the scream that tore out of him over the roar of the wind in his ears as he fell, falling, falling --


"There!" Lord Business turned around and grinned, while Good Cop's screams faded away. "No more Special, no more Piece of Resistance, nobody left to mess with my plans. Robots! Get them into the Think Tank!"

The robots hesitated and gestured at Ma and Pa. "Sir, even --"

"We have the space, don't we?" Business glared at them. "I know they're not Master Builders, but it's easier to terminate everyone at once this way. So get on with it!"

They nodded and roughly grabbed Wyldstyle and the Cop family. Wyldstyle and Ma strugged, kicking out at the robots and squirming in their grips, but Pa didn't move, just stared blankly at the broken window while the robots dragged him away.

Business smiling. "Computer! What time is it?"

The screen flickered to life. "Three fifty-three AM, sir."

"Okay, not quite the scheduled time, but hey! It's a very important day today -- we might as well get everyone up a little bit early!" Lord Business laughed. "It's time for Taco Tuesday, everyone! Release the Kragle!"

From the ceiling, a nozzle extended down to the floor. Lord Business grabbed onto it, his boots folding up into his feet. "Set the electric shocker to one-hundred Mississippi," he said. "Then terminate everyone in the room. That should give them enough time to witness the beginnings of my perfect world!"

"Yes, sir."

The nozzle rose back up into the air, taking Lord Business with it. "Sorry, everyone!" he said, grinning. "There'll be no place for you in my world. Ciao! Computer, hook me up to the network! We've got a very important broadcast this morning."

"Error. The network is already in use."

"Wait, what?"

That was the last they heard, as Lord Business was carried away from view, and block numbers appeared on the computer screen.

"Begin zapping termination in ninety-nine Mississippi, ninety-eight Mississippi, ninety-seven Mississippi..."

Chapter Text

Emmet kicked open the door to the TV studio and flicked the lights on, leaning against the wall to catch his breath. "Okay!" he said. "I need you --" He pointed to a startled robot hiding behind a couch. "-- to set up the cameras for a very important broadcast! Like, really important! Send it out to every world, connect me to every network, do whatever you have to do to make sure everyone sees this message!"

He paused and straightened up. "It's great that you're here, by the way. I didn't think anyone would be here this time of night!" Emmet grinned, then squinted. "Wait, aren't you a guard? What are you doing here?"

"Hiding," the robot said.

"Hiding? From who?"

"Lord Business. I let the Special in the building without telling him and now he's angry at me."

"Oh, okay!" Emmet laughed. "Don't worry, he'll be angry at me too when this is over. Anyway, I really need you to set up the broadcasting stuff. Can you do that?"

The robot shook its head slowly. "You are not authorized... who are you?"

"You don't know?" Emmet stood up tall, smoothed out his tuxedo, and adjusted his half-undone bowtie. "I'm Emmet Brickowski, and President -- uh, Lord Business gave me access to the entire studio for my speeches! So come on! I've got one last broadcast to give!"

The confused robot didn't know what else to do but obey.


The whole room shuddered as the top of the tower slowly detached itself from the rest of the building, bricks falling from the ceiling to crash on the floor. Wyldstyle strained at her straps, but they held firm. The other Master Builders were shouting, sobbing, and all the while, the computer counted down, one Mississippi at a time.

"Wyldstyle."

She would not allow herself to give up. Even if there was no Special, even if they had lost the Piece of Resistance, even if Vitruvius was dead and she was hallucinating his voice --

"Wyldstyle."

Wyldstyle squeezed her eyes shut. She didn't want to think about Vitruvius. He had lied to her -- to everyone -- but she couldn't even bring herself to be angry at him, because now he was dead.

"Wyldstyle."

"Am I the only one seeing this?" Benny called out, a few cells away. "Because I'm seeing something really strange, and I want to know, is anyone else seeing Vitruvius' ghost here?"

Wyldstyle opened her eyes.

Vitruvius was floating in front of her with a sheet draped over his head, a crude smiley face cut out of it. He looked absolutely ridiculous, and for a few moments the only thing she could do was stare at him with her mouth hanging open.

"Wyldstyle," he said.

"What -- what --" She couldn't get the words out. "You died!"

"Yes," said Vitruvius, "I am Ghost Vitruvius," and he made a ghostly "wooo" sound. Wyldstyle found that she could, in fact, bring herself to be angry at him.

"You lied to me!" she shouted. "You lied to all of us! Why? Why make up the prophecy? Why choose them to fulfill it?"

"I didn't get to finish earlier, because I died," he said. "The reason I made up the prophecy because I knew that whoever found the Piece could become the Special. The only thing anyone needs to be special is to believe."

"So it could've been anyone? It could've been me?"

"Is that what this is about? Wyldstyle --"

"No! Shut up!" Wyldstyle gritted her teeth. "I wanted to be the Special, okay? Ever since I heard about the prophecy, I wanted it to be me! And you knew that! You knew that all along! So why didn't you pick me? Why did you pick our worst enemies over me?"

"Hey," said Benny. "Do you think Ghost Vitruvius can free us so we can, uh, not die?"

They both ignored him. Vitruvius sighed. "My child," he said, "you didn't need the Piece to be special. You were special all along. And you still are. You're a fine young woman, Wyldstyle, and I'm proud to have had you as my student."

"Well," she said bitterly, "it doesn't matter who's special now, because the Piece of Resistance is gone, and we're all about to die in..." She craned her head to peer at the screen behind Vitruvius. "Forty-two seconds! Great!"

"Oh, Wyldstyle," he said. "Don't give up just yet."

"I'm not!"

Vitruvius made that darned "wooo" sound again and floated up into the air, out of Wyldstyle's line of sight. She groaned out loud. "I hate you!" she yelled, but there was no response, the moment passed, and she regretted it.

Up above them, the screen continued its countdown. "Thirty-five Mississippi, thirty-four Mississippi, thirty-three Mississippi --"

The screen went black. "What?" Wyldstyle said out loud.

"Thirty-two Mississippi, thirty-one Mississippi." Despite the screen shutting down, the artificial voice continued counting, but now there was another voice overlaying it.

"What did you do? There's still a countdown, why is there still a countdown, we have less than thirty seconds before everyone dies and there's still a countdown!" Emmet's voice was pitched high with panic, and the Master Builders could hear the sounds of frantic typing.

"Uhh," said a robotic voice. "It's asking for a passkey."

"Twenty-five Mississippi, twenty-four Mississippi --"

"Eight-two-two-six! Put in eight-two-two-six!"

"Okay."

"-- twenty-one Mississippi, twenty Mississippi, nineteen Mississippi --"

"Now make it shut down! SHUT IT DOWN!"

"It, uh, needs voice authorization."

"You have a voice, don't you?!" Emmet shouted. "Look, all I do is give speeches, there's no way it'll listen to me!"

"Robots are not authorized to give voice commands."

Emmet didn't say anything for a few, precious seconds.

"-- seven Mississippi, six Mississippi --"

"Authorization, Emmet Brickowski! Authorization, EMMET BRICKOWSKI!"

"-- two Mississippi, one Mississippi." The voice paused. "Access granted. Termination cancelled."

"Yes!" said Emmet, at the same time as the robot said, "Lord Business is going to be so mad." Wyldstyle's straps snapped open, the electrodes detached themselves from her head, and she jumped down from her cell, while all around her other Master Builders did the same. She could've sworn she heard Vitruvius' voice in her head -- See? I was right. -- but when she stopped to focus, all she heard was her own thoughts.

"We're alive!" Unikitty hopped around the room gleefully. "Yeah!"

Wyldstyle couldn't help but grin. "Yeah," she said. "Yeah! We're all..."

She trailed off. Through the crowd of Master Builders, she saw Ma and Pa Cop standing by the broken window, staring down into the void. Her stomach clenched up, and Wyldstyle took a deep breath before approaching them.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I..." She caught sight of Good Cop's severed arm lying a few feet away from them and stopped short. Anything she said would be insufficient, it seemed, so she elected to not say anything.

Ma put an arm around Pa's shoulders and didn't say a word.

Benny, Unikitty, and Metalbeard stood some distance away, having wandered over when they noticed where Wyldstyle had gone. "Hey, Wyldstyle?" Benny said. "Who're they?"

Wyldstyle gestured vaguely in the direction of the window. "Their parents."

"Whose -- oh. Oh." Benny's eyes widened and he averted his gaze. "Oh gosh."

Behind them, the other Master Builders were talking among themselves, trying to figure out what to do next. Just background noise. None of them said a word, and to Wyldstyle, that silence seemed overpowering.

"We did it," Unikitty said.

Everyone turned to stare at her in confusion, even Ma and Pa. "Did what?" Wyldstyle asked.

"Good Cop 'n Bad Cop -- they made us promise to protect their parents." Unikitty's eyes began to water. "And we did it! They're safe, aren't they? They're alive, aren't they? We..."

Unikitty whimpered and curled up on the floor. Metalbeard reached down and picked them up, placing them on his shoulder where they curled up against the crook of his neck. "I hate being the one to be saying it," he said, "but we can't be sitting here an' moping forever. What next?"

He looked at Wyldstyle. "What?" she said. "You don't honestly think I'm still the leader, do you?"

"Well, yeah," said Benny. "Who else is it gonna be?"

"Not me, maybe?" She sighed. "Look, I don't know --"

"Uh-oh."

The gang looked up at the speakers. "What do you mean, uh-oh?" said Emmet. "What's going on?"

"We're being booted from the network," the robot said.

"Can't you, like, override it or something?"

"Negative. Lord Business' commands can't be overridden."

Emmet inhaled sharply. "We are so dead."

There was a burst of static, and the audio cut out.

"New plan," Wyldstyle said quickly. "We're going to go rescue the person who just saved all our lives." She glanced at Ma and Pa. "Are you coming with us?"

Pa wiped his eyes and smiled weakly. "Of course we are," he said.

"We've got to finish what our sons started," said Ma.


The couch was way too small to hide behind, but they hid behind it anyway. Emmet and the robot had dragged the rest of the furniture in front of the door and were now crouched behind the couch, trembling with fear.

The skeletrons smashed through like there wasn't any blockade at all. "There they are!" one said, pointing at the couch.

Emmet yelped and clung to the robot, who clung back. "I'm sorry for getting us killed!" he cried over the sounds of gunfire and metal crashing.

"I'm sorry for assisting in getting us killed!" said the robot.

"I'm sorry for never finding out your name!"

"I'm sorry for not recognizing you when you came in!"

"I'm sorry for -- wait, why aren't we dead yet?"

"Hey guys," said Wyldstyle.

Emmet and the robot looked up. Wyldstyle and the rest stood amidst a sea of broken robot parts, and as they watched, Metalbeard chucked the last remaining skeletron against a wall, where it crashed to the ground and shut down.

"Oh," Emmet said, and the two of them detached themselves from each other and climbed over the back of the couch. They stood there awkwardly for a moment, the Master Builders looking suspiciously at the robot.

"Are you a good robot or a bad robot?" Unikitty said, and immediately after the words came out they stiffened and screwed up their face. "I mean -- I mean --"

"A good robot," Emmet said, oblivious to Unikitty's distress. "I mean, they..." He glanced at the robot. "He? She? They? Something else?"

"I don't care."

"Okay. They helped me connect to the network and save everyone, so yeah! They're a good robot!" Emmet grinned and looked around at the group.

"Yeah. Uh." Wyldstyle rubbed the back of her head. "Thanks for saving all of us back there."

"Yeah! Thanks for saving us just now!. My name's Emmet, and this is, uh..."

"Guardbot 189-2001," said the robot.

Wyldstyle nodded. "We've, uh, heard you on the radio."

"Oh." Emmet smiled sheepishly. "Sorry about all that stuff I said about Master Builders. You are Master Builders, right? Gosh, this is kind of weird."

"Yeah." She coughed. "I'm Wyldstyle, by the way."

"I'm Unikitty!" said Unikitty, leaping forward, their previous distress seemingly forgotten. "And this is Benny, and Metalbeard, and Ma and Pa Cop..."

"Oh! Right!" Emmet dropped his smile and looked around the room. "Where's Good Cop?"

Ma and Pa cringed. Wyldstyle spoke up before anyone else. "Lord Business threw him off the tower," she said. "Look, we need to think of a plan fast. Lord Business is unleashing the Kragle on unsuspecting civilians as we speak --"

"Not entirely unsuspecting."

Wyldstyle stared at Emmet for a moment. "Explain," she said.

He looked down and shifted his feet. "I mean, I didn't have a lot of time, I panicked, and then the countdown started and I really didn't have a lot of time and I was really panicking. But, it turns out, Pres- Lord Business gave me access to a lot of things, and so I just told the computer I needed them for my broadcast and it --"

"Just tell us what you did!"


All across the myriad worlds, people were crawling out of bed and shaking off the last bits of sleep, after the radios and televisions and town criers had shouted out their messages and gone silent. A pile of parchments lay in the castle of Middle Zealand, the scribes pouring over them and reading them out loud for those who were illiterate. Cowboys in the Old West shuffled through papers, while everyone in the saloon crowded around them to read over their shoulders. People in Bricksburg logged onto their computers and read the files that had just been uploaded to the internet -- while above them, the top of Octan Tower slowly traversed across the sky.

For the second time that night, the TV screens flickered to life, and Lord Business appeared. "Attention everyone," he said, "this is President Business. Hello, hi, welcome to Taco Tuesday! I know it's a little early, but hey, it's good to get things started, right?

"Okay, don't worry about this big black monolith thing that's blotting out the stars. What you need to worry about is this question that I'm about to ask you."

Lord Business pointed dramatically at the camera and grinned. "Who wants a taco?"

Dead silence.

There were crowds of people in the streets, all staring up at the sky. Nobody said a word, not even the guys he had hired to hand out the free tacos. Lord Business' eye twitched.

"Come on, let's get some more enthusiasm! Who wants a TACO?!"

Still, nobody reacted. Lord Business grimaced and turned to the skeletrons behind him. "What exactly did Brickowski do when he was on the network?"

"Not much, sir. All he said was for everyone to wake up and check... oh."

"What do you mean, 'oh?' 'Oh' is not an answer!"

"...he sent out all of your super secret files and documentation to the entire universe."


"I didn't actually have time to read any of it, I just grabbed everything that said 'super secret' and published it. What is the Kragle, anyway? What does it do?"

Wyldstyle and the others gaped at him. Emmet stared back in confusion. "...did I say something wrong?"

"You're incredible!" Wyldstyle blurted out. Emmet grinned, his cheeks reddening. "Now everyone knows all of Lord Business' plans! Now they can fight back!"

"There be one problem," said Metalbeard. "They aren't Master Builders! How be they fighting back if they can't build?"

"So we help them!" Wyldstyle whirled around to face the others. "Get all of the Master Builders to the first world to be Kragled, which is... what is it?"

"Bricksburg," said Guardbot.

Emmet's eyes widened. "Bricksburg?! That's my home! What's going to happen to it?"


"Okay," said Lord Business. "Okay! This is okay!"

A network of pipes twisted their way out of the monolith. The crowd was murmuring to each other, their voices raising higher and higher in volume.

"So someone uploaded a bunch of weird stuff onto the internet, and now you're all worried that I'm, like, the bad guy or something."

The pipes halted a few meters above the ground and nozzles extended out from the openings, snaking down into the crowds. People started backing up, shoving each other aside to get out of the way, and the murmurs turned into shouts.

"Don't worry about it! All you need to do is act normal, like you're just going about your day, and... FREEZE!"

Chapter Text

The Guardbots were prepared for nearly anything. They were not, however, prepared for a horde of Master Builders to descend on the spaceship docking bay, armed with weapons pieced-together from broken robot parts and blasters. The Guardbots barely knew what hit them.

To be perfectly honest, it made Guardbot 189-2001 a little bit uncomfortable. But they kept silent and stuck close to Emmet's side, wearing a large sign reading "GOOD ROBOT, DO NOT SHOOT."

Wyldstyle was standing in the middle of the chaos, barking orders while the other Master Builders tore apart the spaceships and whatever other creations happened to be nearby. "Build anything you want, just make sure it can fly and fly fast! We need to get to Bricksburg right away!"

Emmet stood not far away, holding a tablet and flipping through the files he had just uploaded, a horrified expression on his face. "Oh my gee oh ess aych, do you have any idea what the Kragle does?!"

"Yes, Emmet, we know!"

"And Lord Business is using it on people!"

"We know!" Wyldstyle turned her attention away from him. "Okay, Superman, good job, keep at it, Abraham Lincoln, doing awesome, Benny... Benny, is there something wrong?"

Benny sighed, clicked a brick into place, and stepped back to examine the half-finished spaceship. "It's just not the same."

"You've built like, a bazillion spaceships, how was the one that Batman stole special?"

"Every spaceship is special to me."

Wyldstyle sighed and shook her head. "Look, when we meet up with Batman again, I will make absolutely sure he apologizes and gives your spaceship back, but until then, we need something to get us to Bricksburg. Got it?"

"Got it." But his heart wasn't in it, and Benny continued placing the bricks piece by piece, without any of the speed or enthusiasm Wyldstyle had seen him use before.

Nothing to do of it; Wyldstyle looked around to see where the others had gotten. Metalbeard was using his superior size and strength to help tear apart the spaceships into smaller, more manageable chunks, while Unikitty was trying to show Ma and Pa how to build. The feline slash equine pushed a pile of bricks in front of them and chirped something Wyldstyle couldn't make out, and the two cops picked up the pieces and started putting something together. They moved slowly, and the thing they created didn't look like much of a spaceship, but they were building, which was honestly more than Wyldstyle expected.

Her plan was a long shot, based on an idea she had extrapolated from something Vitruvius' ghost had told her, but it was the only plan they had. Vitruvius had said that everyone had the potential to be the Special. He had also said that the Special had to be a Master Builder. In Wyldstyle's mind -- the reason she had trained so hard to become one -- "Master Builder" and "the Special" were almost synonymous. If anyone could become the Special, did that mean anyone could become a Master Builder? If all of Bricksburg -- no, the universe -- worked together, could they build something that could stop the Kragle, even without the Piece of Resistance?

It was more than a long shot. It was practically inconceivable. But it was the only chance they had.

Some of the Master Builders had finished their ships and were taking off, zooming away into the early-morning sky. Wyldstyle ran her gaze across the room one last time. "Okay!" she said. "Benny, are you ready?"

Benny looked up, having just put the last brick on his spaceship. "As I'll ever be."

"Then let's go! Everyone in -- uh, Metalbeard, Unikitty, you might have to ride on top."

Benny jumped into the pilot's seat, a spark of his old enthusiasm returning, and the remaining five squeezed in behind him. Wyldstyle did a quick headcount -- Ma, Pa, Emmet, Guardbot, Metalbeard and Unikitty up on top -- and nodded. "Let's fly!"


"No. No! Running around and screaming is not acting normal!" Lord Business snarled. "Why does this keep happening? Why does nothing go according to plan? Release the Micromanagers!"

A swarm of the robots flew out of the monolith, stretching their laws and descending on the panicking citizens. "COMMENCING MICROMANAGEMENT," they announced in their squeaky synthetic voice, as they took hold of the people and repositioned them, maneuvering their bodies into the correct position before backing away to let the nozzles spray them with the Kragle.

"Great! That's more like it! Once we're done with Bricksburg, we'll move onto the Old West, and then... bah, who knows! We have all the time in the world, now that the Special is taken care of!"

He turned away from the screens and grinned at the robots. "Don't worry, your turn will come soon enough! I wouldn't you to miss out on my perfect world, after all! I've got a special spot saved for you all in Octan Tower.

"What a shame, though, that the Cop family had to go and betray me like that. Wouldn't that have been such a picturesque scene? The two proud parents standing in front of the house with their son... well, sons, technically, but it's not like we could show both faces at once! Erasing one of them made things a whole lot easier, I'll tell you that much --"

"Sir," a robot interrupted. "We have a situation."

His grin vanished. "Seriously? Seriously? What's going wrong now?!"


Wyldstyle couldn't believe her eyes.

Benny had dropped them all off in the middle of the city, then flown away to fight off the Micromanagers in the skies. Wyldstyle had done her best to assure the citizens that even though things seemed really bad right then, there was a way out of it -- but they hadn't listened, only panicked even more when she said she was a Master Builder.

It was Emmet who had stepped in then.

"I made a mistake," he said. "I was lied to a whole lot, and it made me believe a whole lot of things that... weren't true. Uh, I mean... wow, this is a lot harder when I don't have a script."

Wyldstyle elbowed him sharply.

"Right! Anyway! The Master Builders aren't our enemies! President Business just wanted them out of the way so that nobody could stop him from using the Kragle to freeze everyone! But they're helping us now! Everything is going to be okay!"

He looked around at the citizens. Seeing everyone stopped to listen to him was suddenly a lot more intimidating than it was during a broadcast.

"Listen," he said. "I told a lot of lies during my broadcasts. But one thing I didn't lie about was this:

"Back when I was just a construction worker, sometimes, I felt like I wasn't important. Like I was a nobody. Pres- somebody had to tell me that I was someone important, and even though they were trying to lie to me at the time, what they said was still true!

"I am important. And so are all of you. Everyone is important. We're all an important part of making the world go on, and it'll take all of us working together, Master Builders and everyone else, to stop Lord Business' plans to freeze us.

"You all have unlocked potential inside of you. So..."

He trailed off and glanced at Wyldstyle. "What was the plan again?"

Wyldstyle quickly stepped up in front of him. "We have to build!"

And they did.

All around her, the citizens were tearing apart the structures around them and rebuilding them into something more. A transformed garbage truck swooped over her head, chewing up a Micromanager in its metal jaws. A sled pulled by cats rushed past, the white-haired woman at the reins throwing handmade bombs at the nozzles.

"It's working!" Unikitty hopped up beside her, smiling broadly.

Metalbeard laughed, shooting several Micromanagers down from the sky with his arm cannons. "Lord Business won't be expecting this!"

One of the Micromanagers crashed down behind her, and Wyldstyle found herself grinning. "It's working," she said. "It's really working!"

"Uh-oh."

The two of them turned to Unikitty. "What's --" Wyldstyle started, then she followed Unikitty's gaze up into the sky, where a cloud of Micromanagers was descending from the monolith. "Uh-oh!"


After getting separated from the others, Emmet quickly discovered that he was utterly awful at building. It was difficult to even come up with ideas, and even the simple constructions that he tried to make kept falling apart, and he was left without even a gun to defend himself. Guardbot stayed close to him, but they were just as bad, if not worse -- their programming never accounted for this!

The two found themselves cornered against a wall, a Micromanager stomping closer and closer. For the second time that day, they clung together, staring in horror at the enormous robot.

"You're a robot too!" Emmet cried. "Can you tell it to stop with like, wi-fi or something?"

"Negative! The Micromanagers do not answer to robots!"

"Not robots, huh? Well, here goes nothing!"

Emmet let go of Guardbot and stepped forward. "Hey!" he yelled at the advancing Micromanager. "I order you to shut down! Authorization, Emmet Brickowski!"

For a moment, the Micromanager did stop, the red lights on its face flickering. "ACCESS DENIED," it said.

"I, uh, need you to shut down for my broadcast!"

It paused, as if contemplating the order, then, one by one, the lights faded, and the robot crashed to the ground.

"Yes!" Emmet whooped and jumped into the air. "Man, I have no idea what Lord Business told those computers when he added me into the system, but man am I glad for it!"

"Uh-oh."

Emmet turned back to Guardbot and his grin was wiped off his face. "Huh?! What's wrong? What's happening?"

Guardbot was standing stiff, staring straight ahead. The red plate that served as their eyes flashed, and they said, "Receiving new commands from Lord Business."

"Oh no!" Emmet ran to them and grabbed their shoulders. "Snap out of it! I command you to ignore those commands! Because, I, uh, need it for my broadcast? Come on, listen to me!"

"Lord Business' commands cannot be ignored. Shutting down."

"No!" The robot's machinery whirred and they fell forward into Emmet's arms. "No! Come on, wake up! Why is this happening?!"

He heard a stomp from behind and turned to see dozens of Micromanagers facing him, too many to count. "WHAT THE HECK IS THIS," they said in unison.

Emmet gritted his teeth and glared at them. "You are all going to pay!"


Ma and Pa had managed to build something resembling a tank with the instruction that Unikitty gave them back in Octan Tower. It may have broken down in the middle of the street, but it was armed with a large cannon that Pa manned, using it to take down any Micromanager that got too close while Ma worked underneath the tank.

"What's your status?" Pa called down to her.

"Not good!" Lying on her back, Ma put a brick in place, took it off again, and stared at the bottom of the tank in confusion. "They're just bricks! I don't understand how they make an engine!"

"I think this Master Building nonsense is a little too much for old folks like us!" Pa spun the cannon around to shoot a Micromanager that was approaching from behind. "Where d'you think the others are?"

"Well --"

The spaceship fell out of the sky and crashed on the ground with Micromanagers clinging all over it. One of them tore open the cockpit, only for a blue laser to hit it in the face, and Benny squirmed out of the wreckage and ran towards the tank, shooting at any Micromanager that stood in his way.

Pa quickly moved to the side to make room for Benny as the astronaut jumped inside. "Bunches of Micromanagers!" he cried. "They came out of nowhere! Started tearing apart my spaceship in midair! Do you know where the others are?"

"Nope!" There were more Micromanagers then there had been before, and Pa realized that with every one he shot down, another one stepped forward to take its place. "Mind helping us out? We can't get this contraption moving!"

"Got it!" Benny darted out and ducked under the tank beside Ma. "Just take this, get rid of this, give it wings and rocket boosters --"

"Uh --"

"Wait for us!"

Wyldstyle, Metalbeard, and Unikitty burst through the wall of Micromanagers that surrounded them and ran to the tank, visibly out of breath. "There must be hundreds of them!" said Wyldstyle. "They just came down and started taking everything apart! We couldn't stop them! Where's Emmet and the robot?"

"We don't know!" Ma crawled out from underneath and looked around them in horror. "What do we do?"

Benny clipped wings to the sides of the tank and the vehicle shuddered and the engine rumbled to life. "Let's get out of here!"

"We can't! The skies are surrounded!" Wyldstyle pointed up at the swarming Micromanagers above. "If we go up, we'll just be shot down!"

Metalbeard fired his arm cannons at an approaching Micromanager, only for two more to appear from behind it. "Ye were a hearty crew," he said sadly. "But it be over for us."

Wyldstyle shook her head furiously. "We can't just give up! Maybe -- maybe -- "

"Good Cop!" said Unikitty.

"What?"

Unikitty bounded away and squeezed between the Micromanagers' legs, disappearing from view. "Wait!" Wyldstyle yelled. "What are you -- hey!"

"Sorry, lass," Pa said, jumping down from the tank to stand beside Ma. "We've got to go with them."

Ma nodded, and the two of them turned and ran after Unikitty. "No!" Wyldstyle said. "We can't be separated! We --"

She was cut off by Benny's yelp as a Micromanager stomped right in front of him. He backed away and jumped inside the tank. "Everyone in!" he cried.

Wyldstyle took one last look around them and gestured to Metalbeard. "You heard him!" she said. "We can't be separated, so we're following the others! Come on!"


"This rebellion ends right now!"

Hundreds of Micromanagers spilled out of the detached top of Octan Tower, while Lord Business glared at the screens. "It's not even a very big rebellion," he muttered angrily. "Like, just a little piece of rebellion. Wow, that sounds like the title of some cruddy movie or something. Why is one of my robots hanging out with Brickowski?"

"Uh," said a skeletron.

"Shut it down and wipe its memory. That should get rid of whatever bug is making it act like that. Oh yeah, and remove Brickowski from the system, if you haven't already! I can't believe I granted him full access to the network for his broadcasts, what was I thinking? That people would actually listen to me for once? Haha, wow! What a ridiculous thing to think!"

He paced back and forth, his boots elevated to their full height. "Looks like it's being taken care of now," he said. "At least until something else goes wrong. Make sure none of the Master Builders leave Bricksburg! We can't have them spreading their ideas to the other worlds and making this happen all over again. Unless they've already started doing that. Send Micromanagers out to all the neighboring worlds, just to make sure."

Lord Business spun around to face the Kragle. "I've been dreaming of this day for years," he snarled, "and nothing is going to get in my way!"

Chapter Text

Good Cop screamed, and screamed, falling down and down into the infinite abyss, Octan Tower long since vanished from view. What was going to happen to him? Was he just going to keep falling forever? Good Cop didn't want to die of thirst.

His mind was assaulted by a cacophony of colors and patterns that he couldn't make sense of, just like the vision he had after touching that horrible, terrible, awful Piece -- but it wasn't the Piece of Resistance that was awful, Good Cop realized. It was Lord Business, the one who had stolen the Kragle, the one who ordered them to capture the Master Builders, the one who had killed Bad Cop and was going to do the same to his Ma and Pa and everyone who had a chance at stopping him, the most awful, most terrible, most horrible person in the universe --

The colors were wiped away and his vision cleared.


Two creatures stood in the universe, so enormous that even the smaller one stood nearly as tall as the skyscrapers of Bricksburg. They faced each other, surrounded by all the myriad worlds, and the larger one spoke.

"You got glue all over that construction worker," that one said. "Here, give that to me."

"He's not a just construction worker, Dad, he's the hero!"

"Nope, he's not. He's just an ordinary, regular, generic construction worker, and I need to put him back where he belongs. Now where did I put my Exacto knife..."

The larger one turned away, carrying Benny's spaceship and a person, and as he watched, that one put Emmet aside and --

"Wait," Good Cop said. "What's going on?"

He crashed into the ground and everything went black.


"Ow."

Good Cop got to his feet gingerly, checking to see if anything was hurt or broken. He felt fine, for the most part, except for the pain in his shoulder where he had been shot --

"Oh," he said. "I lost an arm. That was a thing. A thing that happened. Wow!" Good Cop laughed nervously. "Well, at least I'm left-handed."

He forced a smile, even if there was nobody and nothing around to see it. All around him was a black void, so utterly devoid of color and light -- but Good Cop could still make out his own body, despite the darkness that was all around him, so there had to be light somewhere. 

Good Cop took a deep breath. He felt oddly calm for someone who might be dead and in the afterlife, for all he knew. He took a step forward, but nothing changed, and the fact that he couldn't see where the sky ended and the ground began was making him dizzy. He sat down, and the Piece bumped against the ground when he did. Good Cop sighed.

"What now?" he said out loud.

"Hi-ii!"

Good Cop spun his head around to the source of the voice and suddenly Unikitty was in his face. He yelped and scrambled to his feet, backing away and struggling to choke out words. "What -- what -- 

Unikitty continued like there was nothing out of the ordinary. "Welcome to the Infinite Abyss o-of Nothingness! I am --"

He finally found words. "What are you doing here?! Did you -- did you --"

Static flickered across their body and Unikitty changed -- suddenly Emmet was standing there, grinning at him. Good Cop screamed.

"What," said Emmet, "I'm not that scary, am I?" There was another burst of static and Benny was there instead.

Good Cop pointed at him and stammered out something unintelligible.

"I know this might be a little strange for you, but..." Benny smiled nervously. "Would it be better if you heard it from someone else? I can be Unikitty, Emmet, Wyldstyle --" And with each name, the person standing there changed. "-- Batman, Metalbeard, even --"

"Stop!" Good Cop shouted. "Just stop!"

The static stopped and Vitruvius stood there, holding the staff that Good Cop had definitely seen crushed under Lord Business' boot. "Okay."

"Actually, that's worse. Please be someone else. Be Emmet, I'm pretty sure Emmet's the only one who's not dead or soon to be because of me."

Emmet appeared, frowning. "It's not your fault, Good Cop."

"Okay," Good Cop said. "I don't know who you are, but clearly you are entirely unaware of what happened back there. Vitruvius is dead, and everyone else is captured and probably are going to be dead soon, and I fell into the infinite void with the only thing that can save them still stuck to my back." He raised his remaining arm up towards him. "And nobody took these handcuffs off!"

"Sorry about that."

"What?"

Emmet smiled, a little sadly. "Sorry about that. They could probably have been taken off off-screen, if you will, but it just never happened. So, sorry."

Good Cop stared at Definitely-Not-Emmet for a long time, his mouth hanging open. Finally, he said, "Are you the Man Upstairs?"

"There is no Man Upstairs," they said. "Just a severely depressed author putting too much of themself into a story. I'm sorry if you were expecting someone different."

He closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them again to see the person still standing there in Emmet's skin, the blackness of the infinite void all around them. "I don't know what's going on," he said, his voice shaking. "Tell me what's going on!"

They sighed. "This is going to be a long story."


Once upon a time there was a boy named Finn.

Finn loved playing with bricks, but he was eight-and-a-half years old, and was starting to outgrow the bricks he was given. There's only so much you can do with a hodgepodge of vibrantly colored bricks that don't really belong to a set. He wanted to play with his father's sets, the ones that all have a color scheme, the ones with gears and moving parts that you can create real elaborate contraptions with, but his father, the Man Upstairs, the one who had built the world with everything just the way it was supposed to be, he didn't approve of Finn messing with his stuff.

So the Man Upstairs made plans to make it so nobody could mess with his stuff -- not his son, not anyone else. Everything had its place, and he was going to make sure that they stayed in their place. Permanently.

Finn staged an adventure, with the Piece of Resistance as the only thing that could stop the Man Upstairs from enacting his plans. In doing so, he spun an elaborate story, as only imaginative kids can do.

Everything that happened in the story is a reflection of what happened with Finn and the Man Upstairs. The Man Upstairs put up signs to try and dissuade Finn from mixing up all the sets. Lord Business erected walls to prevent the worlds from contaminating each other. The Man Upstairs made plans to glue everything into its proper place. Lord Business made plans to utilize the Kragle and freeze the universe. The Man Upstairs found a defective figurine with two faces and wiped one of them off. Lord Business... you know what Lord Business did.

This is where your universe comes in.

Finn and the Man Upstairs do not exist in your universe.


Once upon a time there was an author.

This author had been writing for a long, long time, and though most of their stories they discarded, having lost interest in them, one story they managed to stick with for more chapters than they ever had written before. After some time, it became clear that this story would have a chance of being finished, and the writer worked even harder to achieve that goal.

This author tended to write their stories about other people's universes, as opposed to their own, borrowing other characters instead of creating them themself. Despite that, they put a lot of themself into their writing, and gave traits of their own to the characters they wrote about.

Unfortunately for the characters, there were some side effects of this.

The author was very, very sad, for reasons they couldn't understand. This came across in their writing, as there was tragedy and death, as the characters cried and despaired. This story was no different, and though it started out lighthearted enough, the author's mental state grew worse as the story went on, and the characters suffered for it. Still, the author continued to write, using their writing less to tell a story and more to work out their own issues with depression.

Everything that happened in the story was determined by the author. Every death, every tragedy -- nothing could happen without the author writing it. Every event was deliberately chosen for the sake of the story, and through the characters, they act out their will.

This is your universe. This is your story. And I am the author themself.


Good Cop didn't know how to react. "You... you..."

He couldn't finish his sentence before the person in front of him changed, and Unikitty stood there again.

"People are good!" they said cheerfully, but their smile was strained, and their eyes were watering. "People are good... right? I have to believe that people are good, because if they aren't, why should I even bother? Even bad people -- they can change, right?"

Their body flickered with static and Batman appeared. "People are who they are and they don't change," he said. "They can't ever change. People are flawed, and that's just how the world is."

Static. "People be so hurt," said Metalbeard. "They be flawed. It just be a part of living. We do the best we can, and that's all we can do."

"I'm flawed," said Wyldstyle. "I have to be better. I have to be stronger. I want to be better. I want to be stronger. I don't need validation from anyone, I have to trust in myself."

"Am I doing a good job?" said Emmet. "I am, right? I'm making people happy, right? People like me, right? I have to do a good job. Please tell me I'm doing a good job!"

"It's not for me," said Bad Cop -- and Good Cop gasped. "I don't care about myself. As long as I do a good job, as long as I protect the people I care about -- well, that's enough for me. I don't need anything else."

"No," Good Cop whispered. "Please care about yourself. You're the one who's stronger than me, the one who's always taken care of me -- I love you. I need you. Please come back."

Bad Cop said nothing, and a moment later there was a burst of static and Good Cop found himself staring at his own face.

"I'm the one who's useless," the other him said. "I'm the one who's worthless. I'm the one who doesn't care about anyone else, who just wants to disappear without caring about what happens to anyone else -- so why am I still here? I don't want to be here anymore."

His expression changed. "You see?" said the other him. "I put little parts of myself into my writing. There's a part of me inside you -- inside everyone. Do you understand?"

"I don't know!" Good Cop blurted out. "I don't -- this is really confusing, okay? I just -- I need to --"

Good Cop sat down, breathing hard. They -- the Author -- cocked their head and stared at him. He closed his eyes.

Stay calm. Stay calm. His parents had tried to teach him coping mechanisms for his panic attacks when he was young, but he hadn't bothered to learn them, not when he could just switch to Bad Cop and be separated from the worst of it. Now, he struggled to recall them. Take deep breaths. Exhale longer than you inhale -- or was it the other way around? Don't suppress your thoughts, but let them pass through you. Something like that. Why hadn't he paid more attention?

He supposed it didn't matter, in the end. Everyone he cared about, everyone he might've begun to care about, was gone, and here he was, in the infinite void, with no way of getting back.

Wait.

Good Cop opened his eyes.

"My parents," he said. "The others. What happened to them? You would know, right?"

"Yeah," said the Author, and they flickered to Emmet. "Emmet saved them. They're alive."

"They're alive." Despite everything, Good Cop found himself smiling. "They're -- they're really alive? You're not lying to me?"

"They're really alive. Why would I lie to you?"

"I don't know! Because everyone else has!" He shook his head and took a few more deep breaths. "I want to go back."

"We're not done here," said the Author, wearing Wyldstyle's face. "There's still a lot you need to understand before --"

"You know what?" Good Cop said, standing up and raising his voice. "I don't care. I don't care! All I have to do is put the Piece on the Kragle, and the universe is saved! That's it! Was that a lie, too?"

"No, that's how you stop the Kragle, but --"

"Look," he said. "I tried to write stories when I was a kid. I wasn't very good at it, but I can understand the power you have -- you can write whatever you want! You can send me back, you can keep me here, you can dump me in a volcano if you wanted to -- you could save the universe yourself and just get rid of me!"

"That's called a deus ex machina, and it is bad writing. Most of the time."

"I don't care!" he shouted. "I don't care how bad the story is, I want everything to be okay again! So please!" Good Cop felt tears pricking at the corners of his eyes; he wiped them away furiously. "Give me another chance. I need another chance to make things better again."

The Author stared at him, and then there was a burst of static and they had Good Cop's face again.

"You may not technically be my character," said the Author, "but I'm the one writing the story. And though this was not what I had originally planned, I can tell that there's nothing I can do to change your mind without breaking what meager characterization I have."

"What?" said Good Cop.

"Nothing. I'm just being self-deprecating about my writing. Should I apologize for that?" They laughed, which sounded utterly bizarre in his own voice. "Go save the universe, Good Cop. You'll understand everything soon enough."

"But wh- AAAAH!"

Good Cop didn't have a chance to raise any more questions before the ground dropped out from underneath him and he was falling again, the Author vanishing from sight and colors rushing into the black void until he was falling towards a bright light, getting brighter and brighter until --

Chapter Text

Unikitty weaved through the maze of Micromanagers, Kragle sprayers, and panicking citizens as their creations were torn apart. Unikitty ran as fast as they could, ducking under claws that tried to grab them and leaping over fallen debris, their eyes focused on the one tiny dot they spotted in the sky as it fell closer and closer to the ground.

The impact was barely audible above the chaos going on around, but Unikitty heard it, and they redoubled their efforts. Their hooves pounded on the pavement, and they dashed around a corner to see Good Cop picking themselves up out of a crater.

"Good Cop!"

Good Cop shook his head and looked up at them. "Unikitty? Are you really you this time?"

"What? Of course I'm me! I'm always me! You're not making sense!" Unikitty jumped down into the crater and skidded to a stop, a huge grin on their face. "You're okay! You're really okay!"

"I... think I'm okay, anyway." His helmet had been knocked askew; he adjusted it and looked around him. "What's going on?"

"Oh!" Unikitty began talking in a rushed voice, barely even pausing for breath. Good Cop listened as best he could, though it was hard to understand them at times. Something about Lord Business and the Kragle and building and --

"-- then a bunch more Micromanagers came down and they took everything apart and we had to run and we found Ma and Pa and --"

"Wait!" Good Cop raised his hand to stop them. "My parents! Are they okay?"

"I left them with the others when I saw you, so --" A look of horror spread across Unikitty's face. "Oh my gosh, the others!"

"HOLD IT RIGHT THERE."

They jerked their heads up. Micromanagers loomed above the two of them, stomping down the sides of the crater towards them.

"Oh no! Oh no!" Unikitty's ears went back and they started breathing in and out rapidly. "Got to stay positive --"

Good Cop backed up as a Micromanager approached him, only to bump into the foot of another one. He gulped and threw himself out of the way of its claw. "Unikitty, I could use some help!"

"Yes! Help!" Unikitty shuddered. "I just need to calm down! Control myself! Stay positive, stay positive --"

A Micromanager grabbed Good Cop around the middle.

Unikitty exploded.

"DON'T TOUCH HIM!"

Their fur blazed red and orange and Unikitty screamed, lunging themself at the Micromanager and opening their jaw wide. Good Cop was dropped to the ground, and he looked up to see the Micromanager disappear into Unikitty's gaping maw.

"Oh my gosh," said Good Cop.

Unikitty kicked an approaching Micromanager hard enough to shut it down instantly, and pushed off it to slam into another one. They ricocheted off from one robot to another, screaming with rage, until Good Cop was in the middle of a pile of broken-down Micromanagers. He climbed out of the mess and looked around him. "Unikitty! I need --"

"Son!"

The rest of Good Cop's sentence was lost when he saw his parents running towards him. "Mummy," he choked out, feeling tears well up in his eyes. "Daddy! You're okay? You're really okay?"

His Ma pulled him into a tight hug. "You're okay! We thought you were -- we thought we would never see you again!"

"I'm okay, Ma," he said, hugging her back as best he could. "Most of me, anyway. Where are the others?"

Pa tore his gaze away from the empty socket where Good Cop's missing arm had been. "We don't know," he said. "We left them behind when we followed Unikitty, and --"

"Hey! Hey, Good Cop -- oh crud!"

Wyldstyle's exclamation caused the three of them to look up to the sky. The tank, now outfitted with wings and rocket boosters, was jerkily flying through the air, accosted by Micromanagers. The three Master Builders did their best to fight them off, but as Good Cop and his parents watched in horror, the Micromanagers began tearing apart the tank in midair.

Metalbeard, standing on the top of the tank, quickly tore open the hatch and scooped Benny and Wyldstyle up into his arms. "Abandon ship!" he cried, leaping down to the ground.

They crashed next to Good Cop, Benny and Wyldstyle jumping down at once. "Good Cop!" Benny said, grinning. "You're not dead!"

Good Cop grinned weakly. "I guess not."

"Okay," Wyldstyle said, stepping forward. "We have to act fast. We've got the Piece of Resistance again -- Good Cop, are you ready to put the thing on the thing?"

He opened his mouth to say yes, but something stopped him. He thought of Lord Business, looming over him, telling him how worthless he was, how soft and pathetic he was, how lucky he was to have Bad Cop holding his hand. He thought of Bad Cop, how despite everything, he had put all his trust in Lord Business until the moment in the office, how loyal he had been until the very end.

His expression darkened. "Yes," he said. "I'm ready."

Wyldstyle looked at him. "Hey," she said. "Before we do this... there's something I'd like to say to you."

Good Cop mentally braced himself -- but Wyldstyle didn't sound confrontational. She averted her gaze, took a deep breath, and said, "I'm sorry."

"What?"

"I'm sorry," she repeated. "All of us -- we saw how badly Lord Business had hurt you, how he had used you, what with the panic attack you had and what Benny and Unikitty saw inside your mind -- and we treated you the same way he did."

"Objection," said Good Cop. "You saved my life several times over when Lord Business tried to kill us. You treated us like people. That's more than I can say for Business. Why are you apologizing? We're the ones who captured and tortured all the other Master Builders! If you treated us badly, we deserved it!"

"Well, maybe I'm not apologizing to you, then," Wyldstyle snapped. "If we had treated you a little better, maybe you would have never tried to betray us, and we would have saved the universe already! Maybe then all of us would still be here!"

Her bitter expression softened when she saw the grief on Good Cop's face. "Look," she said. "I was afraid of you, okay? You had captured and hurt so many of the other Master Builders -- I was afraid of you, and that made me angry. So it took me a long time to realize that you were just as afraid of Lord Business as I was of you."

"That doesn't mean..." Good Cop shook his head. "I don't understand."

Wyldstyle sighed. "I'm not apologizing for your sake," she said. "I'm doing it for mine. I mean... this is coming out all wrong. Just listen, okay?"

She waited for him to nod before continuing. "I was afraid of you, and that made me angry. You're afraid of Lord Business, and that's making you angry. I'm trying to let go of my anger. I'm not saying you have to apologize to Lord Business because wow, no, that shouldn't even be an option here, but if you go in there angry, you might end up doing something you regret."

"I..." Good Cop was acutely aware of his parents standing close to him. "I've already done things I regret."

Wyldstyle shook her head. "So have I."

Nobody said anything for what seemed like a long while, until Unikitty, buzzing far above their heads, sent a Micromanager crashing down into the ground not far from them.

That brought Good Cop back to reality. "Okay," he said. "I think I have a plan."

"Then ye better tell us fast," Metalbeard said, "because we be in a situation here!"

Good Cop looked up at the swarming Micromanagers, barely kept at bay by Unikitty's rage. "Right," he said. "Okay. Erm. I need to talk to Lord Business."

"'Talk?'" Benny said incredulously. "Are you being serious here? He threw you out the window!"

"Well, we're not above the Infinite Abyss of Nothingness this time, so he can't do it twice. I mean, he could, but -- never mind. I just need something to get me up there!"

He gestured at the top of Octan Tower, still hanging there in the sky, the morning sun shining off its windows. Wyldstyle nodded.

"Okay," she said. "Benny, Metalbeard, let's build something!"

"My spaceship," said Benny.

Wyldstyle groaned. "Yes, Benny, I know, you're still upset about your spaceship --"

"No -- my spaceship!" Benny jumped up and down and pointed up at the sky. "My spaceship!"

The others followed his hand up to where he pointed.

The spaceship zoomed over their heads, chased by a swarm of Micromanagers. With a quick maneuver, it curved around a building and looped back to shoot the Micromanagers from behind. Once they were taken care of, the spaceship doubled back and approached the group, landing roughly on the ground nearby.

Batman popped open the hatch and grinned at them. "Anyone need a hand?"

Good Cop bit his tongue.

"Batman!" Wyldstyle exclaimed. "You came back!"

"Well, I noticed that things were going down here in Bricksburg, so I decided to check it out, and when I saw all the Master Builders I figured you'd be at the center of it." He hopped out of the spaceship and approached Wyldstyle, then stopped. "Look, Babe --"

"We can talk later," Wyldstyle said quickly. "Anyway, we need to get Good Cop into that thing so he can do... whatever weird plan he's come up with and put the Piece of Resistance on the Kragle."

"Wait, we're trusting them now? What happened?" Batman glanced at Ma and Pa. "And who are these old farts?"

"Wow," said Good Cop, "wow, okay, you just lost your speaking privileges forever, and I'm taking the spaceship."

"Wait, what?" said Benny.

Good Cop ran past him and jumped up into the cockpit of the spaceship. "Son!" his Ma cried. "What are you doing?"

"I'm sorry!" he said. "I have to do this alone, okay?"

"We're coming with you," said Pa, and he moved to climb on the spaceship's wing, but Wyldstyle grabbed his shoulder.

"Trust him," she said.

Pa stared at her with fear in his eyes, then looked back at Good Cop and nodded.

Good Cop smiled. "Thanks, Pa."

Ma was not so easily dissuaded. "Good Cop, you don't have to do this alone!" she shouted. "We won't let you do it alone!"

The spaceship's engines flared to life and the craft lifted off the ground. "I'm sorry! I love you! Goodbye!"

"GILLIGAN MALCOLM COP, YOU GET DOWN HERE THIS INSTANT!"

Pa held her back as she shouted at the retreating form of the spaceship, but she twisted out of his grip and ran forward. "Come back!" she shouted. "Don't you understand?! I can't lose you both!"

Wyldstyle watched the spaceship go and sighed. "That may have been the worst decision of my life," she said. "Well, too late now! Good luck, Good Cop!"

"What just happened," Batman said.

"Can I let Benny go now?" Metalbeard asked.

Wyldstyle glanced back at him, holding the squirming astronaut in his arms. "Yeah. Sorry, Benny."

"Why me?" Benny cried. "Why my spaceship?"

Metalbeard dropped him. "What do we do now?"

Unikitty crashed into the ground, their flame-patterned fur fading back into pink and white, and skidded to a stop. "Ow," they cried. "That hurt!"

The group quickly huddled together as the Micromanagers that had been held back by Unikitty approached them. "Alright, Wyldstyle," Batman said. "What's the plan?"

Wyldstyle swallowed hard. "All we need to do is hold out long enough for Good Cop to do what he needs to do," she said. "That's the plan. You ready?"

"He better bring my spaceship back," Benny muttered, taking out his dual pistols.

Metalbeard raised his arm cannon threateningly. "Lord Business be in for a tough fight!"

Batman grumbled something and stepped close to Wyldstyle.

Ma and Pa exchanged glances and took each other's hands.

"I take that as a yes." She glared at the Micromanagers. "Come on!"

Chapter Text

Good Cop kicked open the double doors, breathing hard. "Lord Business!" he shouted, and then stopped when he took in the scene before him.

The room had been trashed. Broken skeletrons littered the floor, some of them lying against the wall like they had been thrown there, and not a single one was moving. Computer terminals had been crushed, and off to the side, Good Cop saw the only thing large enough to have done so -- a Micromanager, shut down and lying on its side, blast marks spotting the floor around it.

Lord Business stood facing away from him, looking out the window -- he hadn't even turned around when Good Cop burst in! -- and there, standing in the midst of the wreckage, was Emmet.

Here he was. The Kragle sat in the device that connected it to the TAKOS system, right behind Lord Business. All Good Cop had to do was get the Piece of Resistance on the Kragle, and the universe would be saved and everything would be fine again.

And here was Emmet, and he wasn't moving.

"Emmet?" Good Cop said in a shaky voice, even as realization dawned on him. "What are you -- how did you --"

"Aren't you supposed to be intelligent? He's been Kragled. He came in here to try and stop me, so I stopped him first."

Good Cop opened his mouth, but nothing came out. He couldn't take his eyes off of Emmet, frozen in mid-step. He had his back to him, so he couldn't see his face; had he been afraid? Had he realized what was happening? Good Cop tore his gaze away, to the fallen Micromanager, the torn-apart robots. What had happened here?

"But enough about that." Business turned around now, with a sinister smile on his face. "Great to see you back from the dead, traitor."

Good Cop shook his head. "Wow," he said, "it's almost funny, that you're calling me the traitor, when you were the one who tried to kill us like, five times before we even considered betraying you!"

His eyes fell on a fallen skeletron, still clutching a blaster in its hand. He forced himself to look away, hoping Lord Business hadn't noticed.

Business waved a hand in dismissal. "Jeez, buddy, you're making me sound like the bad guy here! All I'm trying to do is create my perfect world, with everything and everyone in their proper place. You're the one who decided to join up with the Master Builders and try to stop me."

"What, and that makes me the bad guy?!" Good Cop exclaimed. "You -- you're trying to kill literally everyone!"

He sighed. "Did you really think that, all this time? I'm making it so nobody can be hurt or broken ever again --"

"By killing them!"

"I'm not killing anyone!" Lord Business shouted. "Through me, the world can reach perfection. There will be no pain, no suffering, no tragedy or loss. That's the world I desire! That's the world I'm going to create!"

Business' face was twisted in rage, and Good Cop felt a familiar panic rising up inside of him. Desperately, he tried to push it down, but that only made it worse. His heart began to pound and he started trembling and as hard as he tried to control his breathing his breaths started coming out in gasps anyway.

And Bad Cop wasn't here to help him, Bad Cop was gone and was never coming back. There was an emptiness in his head that was never going to go away, with nobody there to help him, nobody there to hold his hand, nobody there to tell him that everything was going to be fine. Good Cop was alone, and he was going to be alone for the rest of his life.

"Oh. This is that thing, isn't it? The thing where you stop talking and freeze up and Bad Cop takes over and no matter what I do you won't switch back. This is that thing!" Lord Business chuckled. "This makes things easier! Hold still, just like that."

Darn it, this was the worst possible time for this to happen! Good Cop forced himself to move, taking a step towards the fallen skeletron.

"I said --" Lord Business grabbed the Kragle and pointed it at him. "-- hold still!"

Good Cop dove for the gun.

There was a splat, and Good Cop realized too late that Lord Business had anticipated that.

The Kragle-stuff covered the gun, his floor, and his hand. Good Cop had landed on his side awkwardly, and as much as he struggled to pull his hand free, he realized it was no use. With that one mistake, Good Cop had lost.

"No," he whispered. "No, no, no --"

Lord Business laughed. "Did you really think you could win, Good Cop?"

He stepped forward with the Kragle. Good Cop frantically went over all the remaining possibilities in his mind. No weapons, couldn't move --

"Your friends -- they're finished!"

-- but would being Kragled be so bad? If it meant he would never hurt again --

"My perfect world is almost finished."

"There's a part of me inside you -- inside everyone. Do you understand?"

"All I need to do now is finish you."

Realization hit him like a freight train.

"You never planned to spare yourself," Good Cop said.

Lord Business paused. "What?"

Good Cop turned himself so that he was looking him in the eyes. "You planned to Kragle everything and everyone," he said, his voice trembling. "You never planned to spare my parents, you never planned to spare me... you never planned to spare yourself."

"I don't see how this is relevant," Business said. But he hadn't used the Kragle yet -- so Good Cop pressed on.

"I'm right! I'm right, aren't I? You kept going on about how the Kragle would make everything perfect, make everything stop hurting -- you planned this from the very beginning, didn't you?"

"Wow," said Lord Business, "I am getting really sick of hearing you talk! Yes, after I make the entire world the way it's supposed to be, I'm going to Kragle myself. So what? Why do you care what happens to me? Why do you care now?"

"Because..." Good Cop struggled to come up with something to say that would make Business not Kragle him. "Because..."

"Stop it!" he shouted. "Just stop talking! I know how you feel about me, I know you hate me! So stop it!"

Good Cop stopped. He was right. Good Cop didn't care if Lord Business Kragled himself, he only cared that he planned to Kragle everything else, too. What could he say to him to make him change his mind that wasn't an outright lie?

He slumped on the ground. It was hopeless.

"Thank you! Now where were we...?"

Good Cop, listen to me.

Good Cop's eyes widened.

Calm down. Take deep breaths. This isn't only about him.

"Bad Cop?" he mouthed.

"What?" said Business. "I didn't catch that, what did you just say?"

Good Cop ignored him. The voice was weak, flickering at the back of his mind, but it was there, and it was real, and he wasn't alone anymore.

Repeat everything I say.

"...okay."

"Okay what? You're ready to be Kragled?"

You are...

Good Cop shook his head. "You are..."

"I'm what?" Lord Business glared at him and shifted his grip on the Kragle, keeping it pointed at him. "Awful? Terrible? Horrible? Is that what you're going to say?"

"...the most talented..."

Business lowered the Kragle.


if you could say one thing

to the boy standing in front of the office doors, ready to give up

to the man sinking so deep in anger and despair that he was ready to drag the whole world down with him

to the kid standing there crying, holding the pills in their hand

what would you say?


 

"...most interesting..." Good Cop continued. "...and most extraordinary person... in the universe... and you are capable of amazing things. Because you are the Special. Because... without you, the world would be different in ways you can't even imagine."

Static flickered at the edge of his vision. Good Cop tried not to look at it, keeping his gaze focused on Business, who's face was scrunched up in such grief that it hurt to look at, the Kragle hanging forgotten at his side.

"And it's the same for everyone." Good Cop was gaining confidence now, his panic beginning to subside with Bad Cop's voice in the back of his mind again. "Everyone is creating a wonderful story together, and even though it's hard and sometimes terrible things happen, it's still our story. It's your story, too.

"I know that sometimes everything is too much and you want to make it all stop... but if everything stops, there won't be any happiness, any friendship, any hope that things could get better. We might never reach perfection... but we can reach happiness.

"I can't make the choice for you. But..."

Good Cop tried to smile reassuringly at Lord Business -- and couldn't do it. He couldn't even force it. This was the person who had hurt them, who had lied to them, who had treated them like objects to be used up until they couldn't be useful any longer, and then he tried to get rid of them. Good Cop hated him.

So instead, he focused his gaze on the staticky figure next to him, and managed to smile at them instead.

"...I want to see what happens next. Don't you?"

It's going to be okay.

"It's going to be okay," Good Cop repeated.

You... actually weren't supposed to repeat that part. But... it's fine. Everything is going to be fine.

Good Cop felt tears welling up in his eyes again. "I know."

Good Cop, you did a good job. I'm sorry I couldn't stay with you. Goodbye.

"Wait, what?"

Silence.

"What? What! No!" Good Cop shouted, ignoring the confused expression on Business' face. "What do you mean, 'goodbye?' You get your butt back here this instant! I'm not losing you! I'm never losing you again! Why aren't you saying anything? Come back!"

"I..."

Good Cop affixed Business with a glare, stopping him. "What I said to you was absolutely true," he said slowly, "and I'd be glad to say it again if it meant you didn't Kragle the universe, but it is very hard for me not to hate you right now. So unless you have something good to say, don't even start."

Business swallowed hard, then continued. "There's a relic that... well, instead of taking things away, it can... put things back. Sort of."

Good Cop stared at him for a long moment.

"Okay," he finally said. "Here's what we're going to do. We're going to put the Piece of Resistance on the Kragle and save the universe. Then we are getting that relic, and you are going to fix things!"

Business nodded, and this was exactly when Ma and Pa crashed through the window and knocked him off his boots.

Good Cop was too shocked to do anything but stare.

Business hit the ground with an oof, his helmet and the Kragle skidding away from him. "Hey, wait --" he started, but he couldn't get anymore words out before Ma kicked him in the face.

"You --" She kicked him again. "-- stay away --" And again. "-- from our son!"

While she was busy with that, Pa ran over to Good Cop. "Son, are you alright?"

"I'm fine," said Good Cop, finding words again. "I'm fine. Hey, Ma, stop!"

Ma paused, in the middle of hefting Business over her shoulder. "What?"

"Stop," he said again. "We... we..."

He hesitated. Business spoke up quickly.

"We worked things out," he said. "I'm not going to Kragle the universe, we're going to put the thing on the thing, everything's fine! Really! I swear! Please put me down."

Both Ma and Pa looked at Good Cop. "Is he telling the truth?" Pa asked.

Good Cop nodded. Ma frowned.

"What do you want us to do?" she said.

"Put me down?" Ma glared at him. Business shut up.

Good Cop was quiet, thinking it over in his head. "Business," he said. "I really did mean everything I said back there."

"Is there a 'but' coming here?" Business said. "Because I can feel a 'but' coming."

He took a deep breath.

"Throw him out the window."

"What!"

Ma nodded and carried Business to the window. Business squirmed in her grip. "Hey! Hey! Put me down!"

"Come on," Good Cop called out. "It's not like you'll die!"

"I still don't want to be thrown out the window!"

"You threw me out the window!"

"It's not the same!"

"Yeah, there's no infinite abyss under this one!"

Busines stopped struggling and was quiet for a moment. "You have a poi -- AAAAAAH!"

Ma wrenched open the window and heaved him through. They listened to his screams fade away, until there was a loud crash and a shouted, "Ow!"

Ma rushed over to where Good Cop and Pa were. "Oh, son!"

"I'm okay," said Good Cop, and burst into tears. Both his parents hugged him tight, and they stayed like that for a long while, content to forget about everything else.

Chapter Text

First off, if it weren't for a post on tumblr I saw of GCBC with the Piece of Resistance and this ask for inspiring me, this fanfic would never have been written. All I did was ask if I could write something. Thanks to everyone that helped inspire me!

Thanks to my friend Joanne for taking my sister and I to see the Lego Movie in the first place (and also for being Super Super Great).

Thanks to my parents for taking my sister and I to see the Lego Movie AGAIN, and also being willing to watch it with us.

Thanks to my sister for inviting me to come along with her friends for her birthday and see the Lego Movie FOR THE THIRD TIME.

Thanks to my friend James for sitting through an awful camrip of the Lego Movie with me after it stopped showing in theaters. Have you read this fic yet. If you haven't read it by the time I've finished it I'm gonna be Mad (this is a joke I am joking).

Thanks to TV Tropes user FoominBlue for creating and being the main contributor to the Piece of Rebellion TV Tropes page. You rock so much.

Thanks to AO3 user carolnegate for leaving wonderful paragraphs-long comments on my chapters, and also being a super great writer as well. I liked Built For This so much that I was planning to reference it in my fic -- and then I only ended up yanking the GCBC-doesn't-sleep headcanon. Sorry!

Thanks to AO3 user RebeccaOTool for commenting on almost every single chapter, or at least enough chapters to warrant special mention here.

Thanks to AO3 user KTKomedy2813 for going through and commenting on every single chapter right after I posted chapter 10, and then continuing to comment on almost every following chapter.

Thanks to Tumblr user cell113 for writing fanfiction of my fanfic. You are super, super rad.

Thanks to everyone who drew fanart of my fanfic. You're all so so great and all your art really made my day!

Thanks to Tumblr user atomicmuffin for drawing me construction cop when I was feeling down. You made me so happy!

Thanks to everyone who I have not mentioned by name but are still Super Super Awesome.

Thanks to everyone who sent me kind messages when I was feeling down and asking for kind messages.

Thanks to everyone who told me not to worry when I started to slow down after posting the first three chapters in four days.

Thanks to everyone who edited the TV Tropes entry.

Thanks to everyone who commented here on AO3.

Thanks to everyone who liked and/or reblogged my chapter updates on Tumblr.

Thanks to everyone who followed my realityandrebirth blog.

Thanks to everyone who thought I was cool enough to follow my personal blog, even after I revealed my true identity as Uncool Person of Indeterminate Gender.

Thanks to everyone involved with the making of the Lego Movie, even if you won't ever read this awful AU fanfic ever.

Thanks to all my readers, for helping me to achieve one of my dreams, ever since I started writing fanfiction ten years ago.

This fanfiction is dedicated to everyone who struggles with depression, anxiety, and/or thoughts of suicide, or has in the past.

You're all awesome.

Thank you!

One more chapter remains!

Chapter Text

THREE MONTHS LATER


beep beep beep beep

Emmet woke up slowly, blinking in the light of morning. Grinning, Emmet tossed off the blankets, clicked the alarm off, and hopped out of bed.

"Good morning, apartment! Good morning doorway, good morning wall, morning ceiling, good morning floor..."

Picking up the instructions off the bookshelf, Emmet stopped at the doorway to the guest room and knocked on the door. There was no answer, only the rustling of blankets as the person in the other room shifted in his bed. Emmet knocked again, louder this time.

"Goo-ood morning! Ready to start the day?"

"No," came the petulant voice.

"Well..." Emmet tried to sound happy and cheery. "It's seven-o-clock, so the day's starting anyway!"

"Great. It can start without me."

Emmet took a deep breath. "Please, come out, Business. This is going to be the third day in a row that you've stayed in bed all day. It's not healthy."

"Go away, Mom."

Emmet raised a hand to knock on the door again, hesitated, then turned away, all enthusiasm for the morning gone.

"Good morning, Emmet!"

"Good morning, Guardbot." Emmet managed a small smile at the sight of the robot. "Business isn't coming out today. Again."

"Oh." Guardbot 189-2001 couldn't change their expression, but Emmet saw their shoulders slump at the news. Their body language had gotten much more expressive over time; was every robot like that, or had something been done to Guardbot when their memory had been restored? "That's too bad."

"Yeah..." Emmet looked down at the instructions and frowned. "I have to go out now. Can you make sure he eats?"

"Of course! Is there anything else I can do?"

"No, just the usual. Don't go in there unless he says it's okay or you think he's in danger." Emmet sighed. "I wish there was something more we could do, but..."

Guardbot patted him on the back. "It's okay. I'll take care of things. You can head on out with Wyldstyle."

"Yeah..." Emmet still felt a sunken feeling inside, but having Guardbot around had made every day seem brighter. "Thank you."

If they could, Emmet thought Guardbot would have smiled. "You're welcome!"


The coffee shop was almost empty this time of day, after the initial rush of customers in the morning had passed. Despite that, Wyldstyle shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She still wasn't used to being out in the open like this, after over eight and a half years of being in hiding. She could feel the eyes of everyone else in the room, and she had to force herself to keep her gaze focused on Emmet.

"I don't know what's wrong. Am I not trying hard enough? I'm doing my best, Wyldstyle, I really am!"

"We all know you are, okay?" Wyldstyle gave Emmet a reassuring smile. "You've been doing a great job, you really have been."

Emmet slumped forward on the table. "It's not enough..."

Wyldstyle shook her head. "It's not your fault. He's not going to get better easily, but considering how he was three months ago, he's doing way better now. And it's thanks to you. You know that, right?"

Emmet mumbled something Wyldstyle couldn't quite catch.

Wyldstyle reached out across the table and took Emmet's hand. "Hey," she said. "He'll get better. Just give him time. You're doing a good job."

Emmet looked up and smiled. "Thanks, Wyldstyle."

For a while, they just sat there, holding each other's hand, and the anxiety Wyldstyle felt from before began to fade away.

"So how's Unikitty doing?"

Wyldstyle started. "Oh. Right. They've been doing fine. I guess you heard that they're staying with me?"

Emmet nodded. "Yeah, Vitruvius told me last time I saw him."

She grimaced. "Don't even talk to me about Vitruvius. Is he still doing the ghost thing?"

"Uh, yeah."

"Then I definitely don't want to talk about him." Wyldstyle sighed. "Anyway. Unikitty's been doing fine. They're planning some sort of party soon, actually."

"Really?" Emmet's eyes lit up. "Am I invited?"

"Last I heard, the plan was to invite everyone. I don't see why that wouldn't include you, but I'll mention it to them, just in case."

"Awesome! Thanks!"

Wyldstyle glanced at the clock. "It's almost time to go. Are you ready?"

Emmet's smile faltered. "As I'll ever be, I guess."

"Then let's go."


Ma and Pa's lot had been moved back into its place in the countryside after the events of Taco Tuesday. It was a hour's drive to get there, and Wyldstyle and Emmet spent the time flicking through various radio stations until they decided they were too nervous to listen to anything -- not that either of them would admit it.

Finally, they were there. Emmet carefully parked the car just outside the gate and sat there for a moment, taking deep breaths.

Wyldstyle looked over. "You sure you're ready?"

"Of course I am!" Emmet forced a smile.

"I noticed you wore a skirt today."

Emmet stiffened, leaning away from Wyldstyle. "Yes! Yes I did!"

Wyldstyle gently locked hands with Emmet. "It'll be fine. They're all okay with Unikitty, after all."

"It's just hard not to be nervous! I know they're good people and they'll probably be okay with it but..." Emmet squeezed her hand. "I changed my mind. Let's just not mention it, okay? If they bring it up I'll talk about it, but I don't even know if I want to be called something different or... I don't know. We're not here to talk about my... weird gender thoughts. We're here to visit Good Cop and Bad Cop."

Wyldstyle nodded.

The two of them got out of the car and walked out to the front door. They glanced at each other, then Wyldstyle reached out and rang the doorbell.

There was silence for a long while. Emmet and Wyldstyle waited with baited breath, until, finally, they heard someone moving on the other side and the door opened.

"Oh, you're here!" Ma smiled down at them. "Come on in!"


"So how are they?" Wyldstyle said the moment they walked in the living room.

Pa looked up from his chair, frowning. "Not even a hello?"

She shrugged. "Hello."

Ma gestured to the couch. After Emmet and Wyldstyle had sat down, she took a seat in the chair besides Pa and sighed. "They're doing... well. Who do you want to hear about first?"

Wyldstyle shrugged again. "I don't know. Good Cop, I suppose."

Ma leaned back in her chair and looked at Pa.

"Good Cop has... changed," she began. "He's more serious. Withdrawn. Granted, the last we saw him before Taco Tuesday was years ago, but even when he called us on the phone, he was... cheerful. Joked around. We still see some of that, but... he's different now." Ma shook her head. "I'm worried. He won't open up about any of what he went through; not to us, not to anyone."

"I heard from Emmet that he's been meeting with Business," said Wyldstyle.

"Right. How's he doing, by the way?"

"He's..." Emmet hesitated. "Okay. Ish. Won't get out of bed most days. He hasn't told me anything about his visits with Good Cop, other than they've been happening, but from the way his mood's been... I don't think they're going well."

"They're not," Pa said.

"It's Good Cop who keeps arranging these meetings," Ma said, "but I don't understand why -- how is this helping them? Every time Business comes over, it always ends with Good Cop screaming at him! And then he leaves and Good Cop goes and locks himself in his room and won't talk to either of us!"

"Does he talk to Bad Cop?" Wyldstyle asked.

"Of course."

"Does Bad Cop talk to you?"

Ma averted her gaze. "Sometimes. Not about everything. He... he hasn't been in control as often as he used to be. It's mostly Good Cop we see."

"Which means we don't know what's going on with him, much," added Pa.

"Can we talk to them?"

Ma and Pa both looked uncomfortable at Wyldstyle's request. "You can try," Ma said. "But... well, I'll tell them you're here."


The room was quiet. Good Cop lay in his childhood bed, staring up at the ceiling, and did nothing.

His eyes fell on the dresser next to the bed. On top was an empty box, a plain card sitting next to it. Good Cop read the words on the card without getting up, like he had countless times before.

GOOD COP/BAD COP

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HARD WORK & LEADERSHIP

SIGNED,

COPBOT 167-2000

COPBOT 118-2004

FRANK

COPBOT 110-2005

COPBOT 159-2006

COPBOT 102-2009

COPBOT 196-2011

Good Cop raised his right arm. The robots had done a good job on it. The mechanical arm was smooth and almost seamless, only the faintest hint of where the metal had been welded together. It was heavier than his other arm, but he had adjusted to that. Mostly.

He could hear the muffled sounds of his parents moving around in the other room, talking with Emmet and Wyldstyle. He had known they were coming the entire morning, and it still wasn't enough to get him moving. He wasn't even dressed.

There was a knock on his door. "Son?" his Pa said. "Emmet and Wyldstyle want to talk to you."

Something stirred in the back of Good Cop's mind.

"Give us a minute," he called back.

Good Cop waited until he heard his Pa's footsteps going away from the door before sitting up. "You want to talk to them?" he said out loud.

He waited a few full minutes, watching the clock's hands tick-tock around. Finally, while the minute hand was completing its fourth lap, he heard the response.

I don't need to.

He didn't have anything to say to that.


It took Good Cop nearly half an hour to get himself looking presentable. When he was finally dressed, he took a deep breath, composed himself, and exited his room.

Emmet, Wyldstyle, and his parents were still in the living room, chatting about nothing in particular. Emmet looked up and smiled broadly when he walked in. "Good Cop! Hi! You... have two arms again!"

"Yeah," said Good Cop, unable to summon up the same cheeriness Emmet had. "The robots we worked with built it for us."

"They were wondering how you were doing," Ma said. "You took a while there. Are you feeling alright?"

"I'm fine." Good Cop didn't know where to sit. Normally when he and his parents sat in the living room, his Pa sat in his chair and his Ma sat in her chair and Good Cop sat on the couch. But Emmet and Wyldstyle were on the couch, and though there was room for three people, he didn't feel comfortable being so close to people. "Sorry," he said.

"Oh, uh, don't be sorry! We're just glad to see you're alright!" Emmet was back to smiling again. "How's Bad Cop doing?"

Good Cop didn't say anything. The silence stretched on and on, and Good Cop couldn't bear to look at the worry on his parents' faces.

"Emmet asked you a question," he hissed under his breath.

I'm doing fine, said Bad Cop, after what seemed like an eternity.

"Really? Then come out and say so yourself!"

Emmet and Wyldstyle exchanged glances. Ma bit her lip. "Dear..."

I don't have to.

"Yes you do-oo!" Good Cop said in a sing-song voice. "This is the first time we've seen Wyldstyle and Emmet since back then, after all! I'm sure they want to see how you're doing!"

I'm doing fine. Let me be.

Good Cop gritted his teeth. "You don't come out for days at a time and you say you're doing fine? No, I'm not going to leave you alone!"

"Days?" Emmet exclaimed.

Good Cop, you don't need to do this.

"Yes I do!" he shouted. "Just because you've given up doesn't mean -- doesn't mean --"

He choked off in a half-sob. His parents had both stood up, his Pa rubbing his back the way he always did when he was a kid. When they were kids. Good Cop felt tears threatening to form; he blinked rapidly to ward them off.

He waited for Bad Cop to say something, but when he heard nothing more from his other half, he shook his head and looked at Emmet. "Bad Cop says he's doing fine," he said.

"Except he's not," Wyldstyle said bluntly. "How long has this been going on?"

"Since back then." He stepped away from his Pa, who let his arm drop to his side. "You saw how he was."

"We didn't, actually," she said.

"What?"

"We didn't." Emmet shifted uncomfortably in the seat. "Wyldstyle wasn't there, and I was, uh, still Kragled then. I know that Unikitty used the relic to give Bad Cop a new face, and that... something happened that nobody wants to talk about. What happened? Can I ask?"

Everyone in the room turned to Good Cop. He sighed. "I just... assumed everyone knew. It's fine. I'll explain."


Unikitty narrowed their eyes in concentration. "Eyes, sunglasses over the eyes..."

"Why are you drawing eyes if you're just going to cover them up?" Benny said.

"Shush! Okay, sunglasses..."

Good Cop took deep breaths to calm himself, staring at the inside of his helmet. He could still feel his body, was still the one in control -- when would they know it had worked?

Wyldstyle and Batman had gone with Business to administer the antidote to the Kragle, while Metalbeard was off helping the rebuilding process, leaving the others with Good Cop. His Ma and Pa were close by, he knew, but he couldn't tell where they were, and he couldn't say anything to them or else risk moving his head, messing up Unikitty, and ruining everything forever.

"Oops," said Unikitty.

Someone inhaled sharply. Good Cop willed himself not to react, not even a twitch.

"Don't worry! It's not a problem! Everything's fine!" He heard the clip-clop of Unikitty's hooves on the pavement as they backed up a few steps and walked forward again. "Okay, and now a smiley face!"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," said Benny. "A smiley face? Have you ever seen Bad Cop smile, ever? Do a frowny face instead."

"No! I'm not doing a frowny face!"

"Come on! You've got to be accurate!"

"I'm not doing a frowny face!"

Good Cop felt a shiver pass through him, and tried to suppress it -- but, abruptly, he wasn't the one in control.

Unikitty yelped and jumped backwards, dropping the relic. Ma and Pa held their breath as Good Cop's body stood up, took the relic, and drew a wobbly line for a mouth.

For a moment, nobody said anything.

Bad Cop? Good Cop said tentatively.

There was a long, drawn-out sigh.

"Y' didn't need t' do that," Bad Cop said, his words slurred. "I've done my job. Y' don' need me anymore."


"And so," Good Cop continued, "somehow forgetting that he is literally the most important person in my life, Bad Cop switches out and doesn't say a word until two days later, after I spend a whole night sobbing. He only comes out when I threaten to force a switch, doesn't stay out for more than an hour at a time, if that, and has apparently decided to check out of existence."

Emmet stared at him, wide-eyed. "But what about what you told Business? What about all of that? I mean -- he can hear me, right?"

"He can hear everything that's going on. Whether or not he'll respond is anyone's guess." Good Cop shrugged. "As for what we told Business, apparently that doesn't apply to himself for some reason. Honestly, I'm convinced that he's punishing me for getting us into this mess in the first place."

I'm not --

"Then why?" Good Cop shouted. "Why are you doing this?"

I told you, you don't need --

"I'm the one who decides what I need! I need you!"

"I've heard enough."

Wyldstyle stood up. Emmet looked up at her, confused. "Wyldstyle? What are you doing?"

"Bad Cop," she said. "I know you can hear me. Why are you doing this? What's the benefit -- to either of you? You're hurting Good Cop, you're hurting your parents, and you're hurting yourself, and you know that. So what makes it worth it?"

Good Cop felt a dull annoyance emanating from Bad Cop's mind. Tell her --

"Tell her yourself," he interrupted. "Or else I'll force a switch."

You always threaten to do that, and you never follow through.

"Only because I don't need to." Good Cop raised a hand to his face. "Don't test me! You are going to come out and explain yourself, even if I have to Kragle our head in place to stop you from switching out again!"

The Kragle blew up.

"Not the point and you know it!"

...fine.

To her credit, Wyldstyle didn't flinch at the sight of Bad Cop's drawn-on face when he switched in, though the same could not be said for Emmet. Though Unikitty had worked very hard on drawing his face, it wasn't perfect -- they had made lens of the sunglasses were different sizes, missed a few spots when coloring in the outline, and in some places had gone outside the lines. And then Bad Cop had drawn his mouth himself, just a single wobbly line that was currently curved into a frown.

"Why 'r y' doin' this?" he said. "This is none of y'r business."

"You're right," Wyldstyle said. "It's none of my business. I'm going to butt in anyway."

"Please don't."

"You realize all of us owe you, don't you?" she said. "Both of you. You saved the universe."

"So what?" It was hard to keep his face straight when he could feel the anger and grief Good Cop had been trying so hard to suppress. "So y'r not goin' to leave us alone?"

"It means we're going to try and help you. Right, Emmet?"

Emmet started. "Yeah! I mean... we're friends, right? Well, not really. We're... potential friends!"

Wyldstyle nodded. "So. You haven't answered my question. What makes this worth it?"

"I don' have t' explain myself t' you."

Yes you do, said Good Cop. They're trying to help.

"I don' need their help."

I do.

Bad Cop searched for something to say in response -- but what was there to say? The only thing he could think of was, No you don't, but that would just make Good Cop angrier. He finally decided on, "I can 'andle this."

Wyldstyle sighed. "Fine. Whatever. That's not why we came here today, anyway."

Emmet looked at her, clearly confused. "Uh, Wyldstyle? Why did we come here today?"

"Remember when I told you Unikitty was planning a party?"

Oh no. Bad Cop did not like where this was going.

"They're inviting all of us. Including Good Cop and Bad Cop."

Okay, that wasn't too bad. Good Cop could go to the party and Bad Cop could just stay out of it. But Wyldstyle wasn't done yet.

"And..." She glanced at Ma and Pa. "If it's okay with their parents, they'd like to host the party here. It'd just be around... ten people or so, if everyone comes."

Oh no. "Absolutely not," said Bad Cop firmly.

"It's fine with us," said Ma. Pa nodded.

"No, Ma!" Bad Cop groaned. "I don'..."

"What does Good Cop say?" his Ma said cheerfully.

I think it's a great idea!

Bad Cop grimaced. "He says... fine. I'll do it."

Ma smiled. "I think this will be good for you. Wyldstyle, what kind of party is it going to be?"

She shrugged. "They're not sure yet. It'll probably be something small. Not so much a party as just... hanging out."

"Exactly who's coming?" Bad Cop said.

"Me," said Wyldstyle. "Unikitty. Emmet. Batman, Benny, Metalbeard... Guardbot..."

"Is Business invited?"

Silence fell over them. Emmet looked very uncomfortable all of a sudden. Wyldstyle bit her lip. "Unikitty... was waiting to hear back from you before saying anything to him. How do you two feel about him being here?"

Their parents house had been a safe space. A place that Lord Business couldn't touch. And then he had ripped up that safe space and brought it into his office, where he could do whatever he wanted with it. Now it was back, but he couldn't help but feel that it wasn't safe anymore.

He's already been here, Good Cop said. That's not the issue.

That was true. Good Cop had invited Business here several times to try and talk. And he had come there alone -- it was just them, their parents, and Business. If he had wanted to try something, it would have been easier then than it would be with five Master Builders here.

But this was different. The meetings he had with Business were formal. Just business. A party was... it was different.

What was he afraid of? That the frightened man trying to make amends he had seen in their meetings would appear as the towering figure that Bad Cop had worked for for eight and a half years? Business was... different now. Or so they said.

That was it. Bad Cop was afraid that Business was still Lord Business, that he hadn't changed at all since trying to Kragle the universe. Even if that had been born out of a desire for self-destruction, it didn't change what he did, and it didn't change how he and Good Cop had been treated all those years. Business had done terrible, terrible things in the past, and nothing would change that.

Bad Cop turned his gaze to Emmet. Emmet had forgiven Business almost immediately. When Business had fallen into a deep depression after all his plans were ruined, it was Emmet who invited him to share an apartment, Emmet who was trying to hard to take care of him. Why? How could Business be forgiven so easily? Good Cop was trying to forgive him, too, but he couldn't do it.

Emmet noticed Bad Cop staring and sunk back into the couch cushions. Bad Cop looked away, back to Wyldstyle, and said --

I say he can come.

"Wha'?" Bad Cop said out loud. "Why?"

He can come, Good Cop said, without offering any further explanation, but we can kick him out if we need to.

Bad Cop shook his head and relayed Good Cop's words.

"Are you sure?" Wyldstyle frowned. "He doesn't have to come. He might not even come anyway."

"We'll give 'm the option, an' if he doesn' come, he doesn' come." Bad Cop scrunched up his face. "I'll let Good Cop 'andle the rest of this."

Their head spun, and Good Cop looked out at his parents' dejected faces. He felt a lump starting to form in his throat. "You couldn't have stayed out longer?" he said out loud.

I've done enough.

"Fine." Good Cop sighed. "So when is the party?"

The rest of Emmet and Wyldstyle's visit was spent deciding what days would work best for the family and what information Wyldstyle needed to relay to Unikitty. Good Cop carried in a chair from the kitchen so he could sit down, and spent most of the conversation fidgeting in his seat.

Bad Cop didn't speak up again until after Emmet and Wyldstyle had left.

Are you sure about Business? he asked when Good Cop was lying in his room again.

"Yes," he said. "I've been... getting better at facing him. I can do this."

Bad Cop responded with a wordless feeling of doubt. He frowned. "This is for you, too, you know," he said. "They're trying to help us."

I don't need help.

"Yes you do," he said. He never got a response.

Chapter Text

Unikitty arrived first, appearing at the front door with no apparent method of arrival. They greeted Ma with a cheery, "Hi-ii!" and bounded inside to greet Good Cop as well.

"Hi, Good Cop!"  They grinned and butted their head up against his shoulder. "It's so good to see you!"

"It's... good to see you too." He smiled weakly. "You're very... touchy."

Unikitty leaped backwards, ears back. "Is that bad? I can stop!"

"No, it's okay! I'm just..." Good Cop averted his gaze. "...not used to it, I guess."

Unikitty cocked their head. "Good Cop," they said seriously, "we are going to turn that frown upside-down! I know we don't know each other that well, but I bet we're going to be best friends!"

"That will be good for them," Ma said. "They haven't been very social for a while now."

Good Cop tried very hard not to think about the reasons why they hadn't been social. "Yeah," he said.

The doorbell rang and Ma quickly excused herself to answer it. Unikitty started hopping up and down. "Eeeee I wonder who it is! I can't wait!"

It turned out to be Wyldstyle and Batman, keeping considerable distance between each other even as they stood together on the front step. Batman mumbled something unintelligible. Wyldstyle elbowed him. "Be polite," she said.

"I am being polite."

"Don't worry about it," Ma said. "It's good to meet you under... better circumstances."

Batman nodded and slunk inside, Wyldstyle whispering "Sorry!" under her breath as she followed him.

They sat down in the living room, Unikitty draping themself across Batman's lap, to his dismay. The group managed to make smalltalk until the doorbell rang again and they heard Metalbeard's voice: "How do ye propose I be getting inside?"

"Oh boy," Wyldstyle said. "I... didn't really consider that."

Unikitty scrunched up their face in concentration. "Move outside?" they suggested.

Good Cop shrugged. "Fine with me."

It took some time to get a table and chairs for everyone outside. Good Cop put down the two chairs he had carried out, and turned around to go get more, only to come face-to-face with Benny, floating above the ground.

"Hi!" said Benny.

Good Cop smiled nervously. "Hi?"

Benny stuck out his hand. "My name's Ben," he said, "but you can call me Benny! It's great to meet you!"

They shook hands awkwardly. Good Cop could tell that Benny's smile was forced, and after a moment, he averted his gaze. "Sorry," Benny said. "We didn't get off to a very good start, uh, before, so I wanted to start over. Now you introduce yourself!"

"Okay," he said. "My name's Good Cop, but... you can call me Gilligan."

Benny's eyes widened. "Really?"

"I mean..." Good Cop coughed. "Normally, only our parents call me that, but... you can too, if you want."

In the back of his mind, he felt Bad Cop's surprise. It was the first thing he had felt from him all day.

Benny grinned, and this time it was genuine. "Okay! It's great to meet you, Gilligan!"

"Same to you, Benny." Good Cop found himself smiling, too.

His Pa put the last chair down and put a hand on his shoulder. "Your Ma and I are going to go inside. Will you be alright out here?"

Good Cop nodded without completely registering the question. Pa smiled at him and said, "We'll be inside if you need us," before he left.

Benny grabbed his hand. "Come on! Let's go sit with the others!"

Good Cop hesitated.

It hadn't quite dawned on him before, but he was slowly beginning to realize how utterly surreal this situation was. Everyone here was a Master Builder -- the same people he had been enemies with three months ago. And here they all were, sitting in the backyard of his parents' lot, and Good Cop had no way to defend himself.

Not true -- he was a trained police officer, after all. If need be, he could hold his own in a fight, even without weapons. The only problem was that there were five of them, all of them dangerous. Good Cop sized them up, one by one. Master Builder powers aside, he had seen Wyldstyle fighting before and she was nothing to sneeze at, Unikitty had incredible power hiding behind that cheerful facade of theirs, he didn't have a lot of information about Benny but the astronaut had been able to escape capture after he had been reported, Batman was Batman, and Metalbeard... Good Cop didn't want to think about what would happen if he had to fight Metalbeard unarmed.

"Hey, Gilligan? You okay?"

Good Cop shook his head and looked up at Benny. "Yeah," he said, his voice shaking. "I'm fine."

Benny frowned, but didn't press the issue. He tugged on Good Cop's arm, and he let him lead him towards the others.

"There be the man of the hour!" Metalbeard said when he approached. "Haven't seen ye since... well!"

"Long time no see," said Wyldstyle.

"Weren't you here last week?" said Batman. Wyldstyle rolled her eyes and didn't answer him.

Good Cop smiled nervously and sat down. He regretted that action the next moment, because what if he had to get up quickly? He couldn't stop thinking about what would happen if something went wrong, if all five Master Builders turned against him. A small part of him knew that he was being irrational, but the fear he felt was real.

He played out each scenario in his head. If things went wrong, his best bet was to run. If he flipped the table over onto the ones sitting across from him, that would slow down Batman, Unikitty, and Metalbeard... but Benny and Wyldstyle were sitting on either side of him, and he knew Wyldstyle, at least, could move fast...

"Are you sure you're okay?"

"Benny --"

"What?" said Good Cop, shaking his head and looking around. "Is -- is there a problem?"

He didn't mean to sound defensive, but it came out that way anyway. Now everyone was looking at him, and Good Cop felt dread rise up in the back of his mind. He knew it. Of course nothing would go right. He braced himself, gripping the edge of the table, and --

"Maybe we should give him some space," Benny said.

Unikitty immediately jumped back away from the table, knocking over their chair in the process.

"Not like that," he said. "I mean... don't you think we're rushing things? How do you feel about this?"

He directed the last line at Good Cop, who was still sitting there frozen, gripping the table. "Oh," he said. "I feel... fine. I'm fine."

Liar. You're on the verge of a panic attack.

"You shut up," Good Cop snapped. "I'm fine. I'm fine! If you can say you're fine, then --"

He cut himself off, remembering that he was with company, he couldn't be having arguments with Bad Cop now. He took a deep, shuddering breath, and realized he was standing up. When had he done that? He sat back down again and let go of the table.

"Maybe we are rushing things," said Wyldstyle.

"I don't understand what you mean," said Good Cop.

"We... kind of sprung this party thing on you out of the blue. We probably shouldn't have done that. I mean..." She hesitated.

Good Cop spoke up. "You don't think I'm ready to be around this many people."

"Kind of? I don't know. Are you?"

"No," he said. "Absolutely not. There's too many people here, more are coming, and I feel like I want to run into traffic. If there were any traffic around here. Ha!"

Nobody else seemed to find that funny. In fact, they all looked visibly uncomfortable.

"But you know what?" Good Cop said. "I knew I wasn't ready for this. I knew all it would do was make me feel awful. That was the point."

"Whoa, what?" Wyldstyle furrowed her brow. "Why would you make yourself miserable on purpose?"

Good Cop leaned back in his chair. "Because normally, when I'm put into situations like this, it's Bad Cop who switches in to deal with it for me."

There was a moment of silence before Good Cop heard the voice in the back of his mind: You've got to be kidding me. You're trying to force me out?

"I'm not forcing you. If I wanted to force you, I could just force a switch. I'm trying to encourage you."

No, this is worse. You're trying to manipulate me.

Good Cop felt a chill run down his spine. Bad Cop was keeping his voice calm, but Good Cop could feel his anger coming off him in waves. He shuddered, took a deep breath, and said, "You don't care about me, do you?"

Of course I care! Why do you think --

"I'm deliberately putting myself through pain to try and get you to come out again, and you don't care!"

I do care, that's why I don't want you to do this!

"If you don't want me to do this then stop shutting yourself away!" Good Cop shouted, slamming his fists on the table. Next to him, Benny flinched away, and Good Cop, for the second time, remembered he shouldn't be arguing with Bad Cop in front of guests. He forced himself to take another deep breath and stood up.

"I'm going inside," he said. "I'll be out again in a few minutes."

Everyone else stood up at once, except for Batman, who appeared to be texting someone on his phone and only stood up when he realized everyone else had. "Hang on," said Wyldstyle. "Is there anything we can do to --"

"No," Good Cop snapped. "Sit back down."

Unikitty immediately plopped themself on the ground. Everyone else remained standing. Or floating, in Benny's case. "We came here to help, you know," Wyldstyle said.

You're not helping, Bad Cop said.

"You shut up," said Good Cop. "Not you, Wyldstyle, I just -- I think we have to work this out ourselves, okay?"

"Guys..." Unikitty folded their ears back. "I think we should listen to him, okay?"

"Thank you."

The others looked uncomfortable, and Wyldstyle opened her mouth to speak again. Good Cop turned away just as she said, "What are you going to do when Emmet gets here?"

Emmet. Emmet would be arriving soon, along with the robot that had somehow attached themself to the group of Master Builders, and -- oh. Oh.

"I changed my mind," he said. "Party's cancelled, everyone go home. We'll tell them to go home too when they all get here."

"Good Cop --"

Metalbeard, who had been quiet while watching the scene play out, spoke up. "Yer about to have an attack."

Good Cop, who had been doing his best to push away the cold dread rising up inside him, who had been trying so hard to keep himself from trembling, completely broke down. "Well, now I am!" he screamed, and let himself collapse onto the grass.

There was a minor kerfuffle, with everyone moving forward at once, Unikitty's high-pitched shout of, "Don't crowd him!" and everyone stopping in their tracks. Good Cop barely heard them, could only focus on the sound of his own fast breathing, the pounding of his heart, and Bad Cop's voice in the back of his mind.

Alright. Alright. You'll get through this and we'll continue our talk when you've calmed down. Just take deep breaths.

Good Cop wanted to shout at him, wanted to ask why he wasn't helping, why he was punishing him like this, but the only thing that came out of his throat was a muffled sob.

"Should we get his parents?" Benny said, his voice pitched with worry.

"Why are you asking me?" said Wyldstyle.

"I don't know! I don't know what to do!"

"Everyone quiet!"

Someone nudged his shoulder and he flinched. He lifted his head just enough to see that it was Unikitty. Wordlessly, they lay down beside him and pressed themself against his trembling body, and Good Cop leaned back against them. Unikitty closed their eyes and a low rumbling sound arose from within them, which confused Good Cop until he remembered Unikitty was part cat, they were purring.

Unikitty's presence and purring managed to calm him enough gain control of his breathing, and after a while -- Good Cop wasn't sure how long -- his panic attack began to recede. There were tears running down his face, and Good Cop was acutely aware of how he had broken down in front of everyone, and his cheeks burned with shame, but he stopped trembling and forced himself to sit up.

The others were still staring at him, concern written across their faces, apart from Batman, who was unreadable. Good Cop got to his feet, along with Unikitty.

"Did that help?" Unikitty asked.

"Yeah," said Good Cop, his voice shaking. "Thanks."

Then he raised his hand to his face and spun his head around to Bad Cop.

The first thing Bad Cop did was fall over, his scribbled mouth open in shock. Unikitty yelped. "Are you okay?"

Bad Cop mumbled something incomprehensible and shook his head. Unikitty's ears went back. "You're not okay? What happened? What do we do?"

"'m fine," he said, clearer this time. He stood up and brushed himself off. "Good Cop jus'... forced a switch," he said. "Didn't expect 'im t' do that. 's disorienting."

What? Good Cop said. Thought I was too soft and pathetic to ever force --

Bad Cop groaned. "Don' start," he said. "Y'r not... thought y' would respect my wishes, tha's all."

Your wishes? Your wishes? You mean your wishes to abandon me, worry our parents, give up on life for no good reason...

Bad Cop wanted nothing more than to tell his other half to shut up as he went on and on, but he could still feel what remained of the panic attack affecting his words, and their shared body wasn't over the physical symptoms, either. Bad Cop's heart pounded and he took a deep breath before decidedly ignoring Good Cop.

"Okay," said Wyldstyle. "So what's the deal?"

He shrugged. "Dunno. Ask Good Cop."

Oh no. You are not switching back until you explain to everyone here why you are doing this!

"If I haven't 'old you, why d' y' think I'll tell a bunch of strangers?"

Unikitty's face fell. "We're strangers?"

"No," Bad Cop said. "Y'r worse. We used t' be enemies. Jus' three months ago, our orders were t' capture you an' lock y' in th' Think Tank. Don' y' remember?"

"Vividly," said Wyldstyle, scrunching up her face.

"So why 'r y' doin' this? Why 'r y' bothering with me?"

"Is 'we care about ye' not good enough?" Metalbeard said.

Bad Cop shook his head. "It doesn' make any sense. Why d' y' care about me? Wha' did I do?"

"Saved the universe?" Benny offered helpfully.

"Doesn' count."

Wyldstyle's eyes widened. "Oh my gosh, I can't believe I didn't realize this sooner. You're depressed."

Bad Cop flinched back like he had been struck. "Wha'?"

"It all makes sense now." She took a step towards him. Bad Cop took a step back. "I mean, we've known Good Cop's depressed, and that he's been suicidal before -- dunno if he still is, you're the better judge of that -- but we never considered what you might be feeling. You share the same head, of course you'd be affected by the same depression!"

"I don' --"

"So you're depressed," she continued, "and you're probably suicidal, judging by how you've been acting. This explains everything. What you're going through is just a depression thing, which means it'll go away eventually and everything will be fine."

"Okay, stop," Bad Cop snapped. "I'm not depressed," he said angrily. "I can 'andle myself. Even if I was depressed, it doesn' work like that. I've seen 'ow it works. It destroys a person from th' inside out. If I 'adn't been there for Good Cop during 'is worst times, I don' know 'ow things would've turned out."

"So why are you leaving him now?" Wyldstyle asked.

"Because..." Bad Cop screwed up his face. "Because... 'e doesn' need..."

I need you. There was no anger in Good Cop's voice now. Why are you doing this? I love you. Please stay with me.

The Master Builders were all staring at him, and Bad Cop's heart was pounding. This couldn't be right. This couldn't be right. He wasn't the one who had panic attacks, he wasn't the one who broke down in tears, he was the one who had to be strong, who had to carry Good Cop through the darkest times, who had to protect him --

-- and if he couldn't even do that --

-- if he left Good Cop all alone --

"I don' want t' talk about this," he said weakly.

To his surprise, Wyldstyle nodded. "Okay," she said. "But can you do one thing for me?"

"Wha' is it?"

"Stay out for the rest of the evening," she said. "Just... spend time with us, okay?"

Bad Cop hesitated, then shrugged. "Fine. 's long as Good Cop's okay with it."

Of course I'm okay with it. Why wouldn't I be?

"I don't know. I..." He shook his head. "Good Cop's fine with it."

"Good." Wyldstyle cracked a smile. "It'll be good for you to be social. Isolating yourself is a symptom of depression, you know."

Bad Cop sighed. "'m not... whatever. I don' care."

Unikitty tilted their head. "What do we do about Emmet and the, uh, others?"

"A car just pulled up," Batman said casually, still staring at his phone.

Wyldstyle started. "What? How did you know that?"

"I have good hearing."

I can't do it, said Good Cop. I was wrong. I can't deal with him. I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry --

Bad Cop covered his face and sighed. "Nothin' t' do about it now. Let's go say hello to Business."


"We're here!" Emmet said cheerfully, turning off the car. In the back seat, Guardbot chirped a "Yay," enthusiasm that was not shared by the person in the passenger's seat.

"I can't believe you dragged me into this," Business said, slumping down in the seat. "I can't believe I agreed to be dragged into this. I am sure looking forward to Good Cop yelling at me some more!"

"Don't say that!" Emmet smiled at Business, who did not return the gesture. "You were invited for a reason, after all!"

"Yeah, because everyone thinks I'll do something to hurt myself if I'm left alone."

That was precisely the reason Business had been invited, but Emmet couldn't exactly tell him that. "No, it's because we want to get to know you -- the real you!"

Business rolled his eyes. "And I suppose the me that tried to Kragle the universe was some fake me? Because it sure felt like the real me. More than I feel now."

"Well..." Emmet desperately searched for something to say. "Then you have to... uh... I don't know. But I don't think the you that wanted to hurt people is the real you."

"Well, if things had gone according to plan, nobody would've had to have been hurt."

"But people were hurt, and the real you is trying to fix that, right?"

Business was quiet for a moment. "Yeah," he finally said. "Yeah. Let's get this over with."

The three of them got out of the car and walked up to the entrance. "By the way," Business said, "is there something we should all call you that's not just Emmet?"

"Uh... what do you mean?"

"Like, I looked at the list of pronouns Unikitty sent to you."

"Uh..." Emmet suddenly found the concrete steps leading to the house very interesting.

"Some of them are kind of weird, but if you want me to use them, I'll do it."

"Uh..."

"Business," Guardbot said sternly, "you are doing that thing where you make Emmet very uncomfortable, and you need to stop."

Business stopped. "Okay! Sorry, just making sure."

"I mean..." Emmet was still looking down at the ground. "I'll figure it out eventually, but... just use my name for now. Please."

Business shrugged. "Okay."

Ma answered the door when Emmet knocked, smiling at the three of them. "Emmet! It's so good to see you, dear. And Guardbot, and --" Her smile faltered. "-- and Business. Come on in!"

They shuffled inside, Business hunched over and not looking anyone in the eye. Ma's smile was forced, he could tell, and he didn't want to look at it any longer than was necessary. Why was he even here?

Emmet was oblivious to the tension in the air, of course. Guardbot was probably aware -- they were surprisingly empathetic for a robot -- but they made no mention of it. The two of them exchanged smalltalk with Ma as they walked into the living room, where Pa sat. He glanced up when they walked in and met Business' gaze for one, brief moment. Business wanted to sink into the floor.

What a far cry he was from Lord Business, president of Octan and the civilized universe, the man who had raised up an army of robots, the man who almost succeeded in making the world perfect. Now he had to share an apartment with a generic construction worker and a defective robot, could barely get himself out of bed most days, and took regular trips out to the countryside to be yelled at by his old underling.

Not like Good Cop was doing much better. He was barely half of who he used to be! Business told that joke to Emmet shortly after they moved in together, expecting to get a laugh. Emmet did not find it funny.

Emmet nudged him, snapping him out of his thoughts. "The others are outside. Want to go join them?"

"No," said Business, then thought about the alternative, which was to stay inside alone with Good Cop's parents. "Never mind. Yes."

He regretted it the moment he stepped into the backyard and everyone stared at him. Only Unikitty was smiling. And Good Cop -- oh, Bad Cop was out. Business lost track of his train of thought when he saw Bad Cop's scribbled face, and ended up staring for what was probably longer than appropriate before forcing his eyes away. Bad Cop himself was sitting down at the table, not looking at him.

"Hi everyone!" Emmet said, waving at the group.

Wyldstyle tore her gaze away from Business and grinned at Emmet. "Hey! It's great to see you!"

Business edged away from the group while they greeted Emmet and Guardbot. He didn't need to be a part of this.

Unfortunately, the others noticed what he was doing. For a moment, he thought they would let him get away with it, but then Bad Cop stood up and walked towards him, Unikitty trailing close behind.

Business straightened up and took a moment to compose himself. "Bad Cop," he said. "It's... good to see you're doing well. Congrats on the face."

"Thank you, sir," Bad Cop said stiffly.

Business visibly winced, along with everyone else in the vicinity. Bad Cop didn't correct himself, so Business spoke up hesitantly. "You don't... need to... call me that. Anymore."

Bad Cop shrugged. "Yeah," he said, as if only half listening, and abruptly, his head swiveled around to Good Cop.

Business braced himself. He knew what was going to happen. Good Cop was going to start screaming at him, telling him how awful he was, asking him over and over again why he did what he did. Business could only repeat the same thing: he wanted absolute perfection, and it wouldn't come about naturally. And that he was sorry. It wasn't enough, of course. Inevitably, Good Cop kicked him out and he had to call Emmet to come pick him up.

So, it was the same thing after all. That was fine. Business was prepared for this.

He was unprepared for the sheer rage he saw on Good Cop's face.

"This is your fault!" Good Cop shouted, and tackled Business to the ground.

"Don't!" Emmet shouted, even as Good Cop punched Business' face over and over. Through the pain, he heard Good Cop shouting.

"This is your fault! You're the reason Bad Cop thinks he's useless, you're the one who threw him away like he was nothing! Why? Why?"

Someone pulled him off. Business lay there, stunned, while Good Cop squirmed in Metalbeard's grip.

"Bad Cop tried! He tried so hard to do a good job and it wasn't enough! It was never enough! Why?"

Someone was helping him off the ground. Good Cop's Ma? Why? Pa was standing at his son's side, putting his arms around him once Metalbeard put him down. But Good Cop was still not done.

"It should have been me! I know I'm worthless, I know I'm nothing! I know I'm too soft and pathetic to do anything without Bad Cop holding my hand -- why did you do this to him? Why didn't you get rid of me?"

His head hurt. Both of Good Cop's parents were at their son's side now, and Emmet was holding Business steady. There were tears running down Good Cop's face and he choked on a sob as he continued.

"Tell me I'm worthless! Tell me I'm nothing! I know it! You know it! I'm the one who deserves it! Why aren't you saying anything?!"

"You didn't deserve any of what I did to you," Business said weakly.

It took both of his parents to hold Good Cop back.

"Stop it! Stop lying! This is my fault! I deserve -- I deserve --"

"You deserved so much better."

Good Cop stopped, leaning forward in his Ma's tight grip, breathing hard. For a long while, no one said anything, until a new voice spoke up.

"He's right, you know," said Vitruvius.

Everyone stared at him, floating there with the sheet draped over him. Vitruvius spun around and made a "woo-oo" sound.

"I'm going to kill you!" Wyldstyle screamed.

"Too late!" Vitruvius said gleefully.

Business fainted.


Guardbot took Business inside and stayed with him while the rest spoke to Vitruvius.

"You're dead," Good Cop said in shock. "You're supposed to be -- what --"

"He's not dead," Wyldstyle said angrily. "He's just doing the ghost thing."

"Ghosts are pretty dead, Wyldstyle," said Benny.

"More to the point," Emmet said, "Vitruvius, have you really not told Good Cop that you're, uh, still around?"

"I was, uh, busy," Vitruvius said. "But, since everyone else is visiting right now, I thought I'd show up too."

"You could have warned me!" Good Cop shouted.

"Really!" said Ma sternly. "Letting people think you're d- gone is really rude!"

"I'm sorry," he said. "I won't lie, I had... other reasons. But it's time to end the secrecy. Good Cop, Bad Cop, Wyldstyle -- " Good Cop and Wyldstyle exchanged confused glances. "-- there's something I need to tell you."

"Take off the sheet and then we'll talk," said Wyldstyle.

"It's about why I chose Good Cop and Bad Cop to be the Special."

"...you can keep talking."

Good Cop felt Bad Cop stir in the back of his mind. You mean he's going to explain why he ruined our life?

"I should've chosen Wyldstyle," Vitruvius said. "I'll start off with that. Even though she didn't find the Piece, I should've chosen her when it turned out you two had."

"So why us?" Good Cop said. "I know you made up the prophecy. Why did you insist on it being us?"

"Because..." Vitruvius sighed. "...I knew you, once."

Good Cop scrunched up his face. "We've never met."

"We haven't," said Vitruvius. "And I'm very sorry for that."

Oh no, Bad Cop said. He is not saying this. There is no way he's saying this.

"What?" Good Cop was getting more confused by the moment, and judging by Wyldstyle's expression, so was she.

"There is no easy way to say this, but... I'm sorry."

Bad Cop told him what was happening. Good Cop stiffened.

"...for not being there for you..."

This didn't make any sense.

"...throughout your life..."

This could not be happening this could not be happening this could not be happening --

"...but I'm very proud of what you've done and how you've grown." Vitruvius paused. "Sons."

Good Cop stood there with his mouth open, acutely aware of his Ma and Pa standing on either side of him with the same expressions. Bad Cop wordlessly pressed for control. Good Cop gave it to him.

"No," Bad Cop said. "Y' don' get t' do this. Y' don' get t' show up over thirty years after abandonin' us, when we're livin' happily with our real parents -- th' parents that wanted us -- you don' get t' show up tryin' t' claim -- t' claim us!"

"I tried to find you." It was surreal, hearing Vitruvius' sad voice behind the cut out smiley face of the sheet. "But your mothers were the ones who left you at the orphanage, and when Lord Business started hunting down Master Builders, well --"

"Mothers," Bad Cop said flatly. "There were two of them."

"In one body, yes."

"We spent our entire lives thinkin' we were alone," Bad Cop said, his voice pitched with anger. "Tha' there was no one else like us. Tha' there was somethin' wrong with us. Tha' we weren' wanted. And now y'r tellin' us -- tellin' me -- you -- you -- !"

Bad Cop shouted a word that made Unikitty's ears go back and his Ma say numbly, "Language, dear," without taking her eyes off Vitruvius.

"I'm sorry," Vitruvius said. "I should have tried harder to keep you. I did want you. Both of you."

Bad Cop's legs felt weak.

"And your parents -- your Ma and Pa -- they want you too." Vitruvius lowered to the ground and pulled off his sheet, a faint smile behind his beard. "I've seen some of what you're struggling with. We all want you here, Bad Cop."

His parents -- his real parents, not Vitruvius, who had shown up out of the blue dropping this on him -- held him tight. Behind him, Unikitty gently pressed against his back and started purring.

Bad Cop broke down into tears, surrounded by people who wanted him.


Guardbot and Business came out a while later, Business holding an ice pack to his face, and found everyone sitting in a pile with Bad Cop and his parents at the center.

"What's going on?" Guardbot asked.

"Group hug!" said Unikitty.

"Help me," said Batman, trapped under one of Metalbeard's mechanical arms.

Guardbot surveyed the scene. "Can I join?"

"Sure!" Emmet said happily, curled up next to Wyldstyle.

Guardbot stepped forward, then hesitated and turned back to Business. Business shrugged. "I'll sit out of this," he said. "I --"

"Get over 'ere," Bad Cop said.

Business blinked. "Okay."

Business and Guardbot sat next to Emmet, who put an arm around them both. Business had no idea what to do, so he just sat there, looking around nervously. "Are you sure --"

"Look," said Bad Cop. "It's goin' t' take us a long time t' ever come close t' forgivin' you. We can work on it. I'm sure th' others will, too."

Metalbeard laughed and patted Business roughly on the back, nearly knocking him over. Business smiled nervously.

"So what'd I miss?" he said.

"Vitruvius is our biological father."

"Oh. Wait, what?"

Bad Cop shrugged. "We were adopted. We spent a long time not knowing who our biological parents were. Now we know."

Business blinked. "That's... uh..."

"A lot to take in, I know," said Vitruvius, standing some distance away. Business yelped in surprise.

"You're -- you're not even a ghost anymore! What is going on?"

"I would be a ghost, if Wyldstyle would give me back my sheet. Wyldstyle, would you please --"

Wyldstyle clutched the sheet closer to her chest. "Nope!"

Vitruvius shrugged. "Oh well. Time to return to the world of the living, I guess."

"I'm not even going to try to understand anything anymore," Business said, shaking his head. "Man Upstairs help me, this is bizarre."

Bad Cop felt Good Cop perk up. Wait. There's something I need to do.

"What is it?" Bad Cop said.

Can I come out for a bit?

Bad Cop nodded and switched out. Wyldstyle looked up at the sound of their head swiveling. "Hey, Bad Cop said he would stay out for the rest of the evening."

"Sorry," said Good Cop. "It's just... we're all happy, right?"

Everyone shifted their positions slightly to look at him. "I certainly hope you are," said Ma.

"I mean..." Good Cop shook his head. "We might not be happy, but I think... I think we might be getting there. It'll just take time, and a lot of hard work. Right?"

Business made a small noise of agreement. At least, Good Cop assumed it was agreement.

"Right," he said. "But... okay, this is going to sound weird. I think it'd be okay if the story ended here. Wouldn't it? If... if you let us handle the rest ourselves. You've done so much for us, but I think we'll be fine on our own."

"Who are you talking to?" his Pa asked.

"So... is it okay?" Good Cop continued. "To let the story end here? To let us find our own happiness?"

And from the world around them, from the grass they sat in to their own heartbeats, from the depths of all the people that surrounded them, came the wordless, loving response: Yes.

Good Cop smiled. "Thank you."

THE END