Linksano, Harvey Finevoice, Pollo, 90’s Kid and Lord Vyce all watched the screen on the bridge of Comicron-One as it showed them the events unfollowing aboard Comicron-Two. They stared transfixed as Linkara reassured MissingNo through its last moments. 90’s Kid and Lord Vyce watched the closest as the Outer God of unimaginable power faded away and accepted death.
If 90’s Kid hadn’t been so absorbed in the events on the other ship, him might have recognised the danger that Lord Vyce now posed. Unfortunately, he was too concerned with the death of the Entity to notice anything else. In all likelihood, those few extra seconds wouldn’t have made a difference anyway. Vyce was like an unstoppable force of nature when he set his mind on something, it was the reason he had survived so long.
“No,” Vyce cried and his clenched fist came down with a clang. Everyone turned to him as he continued, “NO! It’s a trick! It’s still alive!” Vyce quickly began pressing buttons on the arm of his chair.
“What the hell are you doing?” Harvey asked taking a step towards Vyce but not reaching for his weapon yet.
“I have increased power to the singularity generators,” there was no remorse in his voice or uncertainty that he might be doing the wrong thing. He seemed proud as he insisted, “There is no escape now!”
“Nims! Lock him out!” Harvey cried desperately as he moved towards Vyce.
“Unable to comply,” came the voice from the speakers. Vyce pulled his weapon out and pointed it at Harvey’s heart, Harvey froze. “This Unit no longer has full control of Comicron-One.”
The weapon moved slightly to point in Linksano’s direction. Linksano held his hands up to show they were empty and backed away until he was against the wall. The memory of Vyce’s hands around his throat, chocking the him, flashed vividly in his mind and he tried to swallow his fear but found himself unable to think clearly.
While Vyce pointed his weapon threateningly in Harvey and Linksano’s direction, Pollo flew and 90’s Kid ran forwards from Vyce’s other side. Vyce swung his weapon around and fired it at Pollo who only just managed to dodge out of the way.
90’s Kid reached the console on Vyce’s chair and started typing commands in as quickly as he could, trying to undo Vyce’s instructions.
Vyce hesitated for less than a second before attacking. Using his free hand, he hit 90’s Kid squarely in the chest with enough force to send him crashing backwards. 90’s Kid let out a strangled scream and his vision went white as his left shoulder connected with the metal floor of the bridge.
Vyce had already turned away. He switched the view on the screen from the bridge of Comicron-Two to the growing portal in space. “In one hour, the singularity will be large enough to engulf the Earth itself. The Entity will NOT escape this time! Their sacrifice will not be in vain. I will kill the Entity!”
From the floor, 90’s Kid tried to focus through the pain and listen to what Vyce was saying. Harvey, Linksano and Pollo watched in horror as Vyce raised a triumphant fist in victory, “Behold the end of this game! Lord Vyce wins!”
Before the others had a chance to do anything, Vyce hit a few more buttons sending Harvey, Linksano and Pollo to the ship’s brig. A few more taps and Nimue was completely locked out.
90’s Kid struggled slowly to his feet and fought down his nausea. The world spun dizzyingly around him and black spots obscured his view.
His left arm felt wrong. It didn’t seem to be hanging right. 90’s Kid deliberately didn't look at it and tried his best to ignore the pain. When he was sure that he wasn’t going to be sick, he opened his mouth and begged imploringly, “Please, Vyce. Don’t do this! You’re smarter than this!”
Vyce sighed and turned back to 90’s Kid. “I am sorry that I hit you so hard and for what I am about to do, but surely, you of all people understand why I have no choice.”
“Don’t be an idi…” 90’s Kid started to say but then he stopped because, no matter how faulty Vyce’s thought prosses currently was, he did understand. He took a deep breath and started again in a calmer voice, “Just think about this for a second, dude. Please, close the portal and think. If it is a trick, we need a new plan.”
“While you may act the part of a clown, you are the only one amongst the Champions companions that I have respect for,” Vyce told him, shaking his head sadly. “You recognised the danger before the others and knew to act on it. I am sorry for what I must do to protect all of reality.”
Vyce pressed some more buttons and teleported 90’s Kid away to the brig too. After a moment of looking at the spot where 90’s Kid had just been standing, Vyce turned away. He banished any regret from his mind and concentrated on what was important. Eyes on the viewing screen, he made a vow to the Entity that he knew was still out there,
“As it was before, shall it be again; Lord Vyce alone with his ship against the Entity. Let it take me to the edge of eternity if it must, I will end you.”
90’s Kid found himself teleported into the brig with Pollo, Harvey and Linksano. He swayed on his feet and Harvey ran forwards to catch him before he could collapse. 90’s Kid couldn’t stop himself from whimpering in pain as his arm was jostled.
“Sorry, 90’s,” Harvey said, rearranging his grip on 90’s Kid.
“Are you okay?” Pollo asked 90’s Kid as Harvey lead him to a small bed. 90’s Kid slid gratefully into a sitting position on the bed and nodded.
“Fine, dude,” 90’s Kid said as reassuring as he could.
Linksano rolled his eyes behind his goggles, “You’re not fine,” he strode forwards. “Here let me take a look.”
As carefully as he could, Linksano removed 90’s Kid’s top. 90’s Kid bit his lip to stop himself from crying out in pain. Linksano gave a long whistle, Pollo swore and Harvey clenched his fists so tightly that his knuckles went white when they saw what 90’s Kid’s top had been hiding. His left arm hung limply from his side and there was a dark, nasty looking bruise in the shape of a hand on his chest.
Linksano was the first to recover. His hand went to the side of his goggles and his fiddled for a moment before letting out a frustrated breath and gently running his hand over 90’s Kid’s shoulder. “I don’t think it’s broken, just dislocated.”
“Can you fix it?” 90’s Kid asked.
“Well… I can put it back in its socket but it’s going to hurt.”
90’s Kid clenched the fist of his other hand, “Do it.”
With a wince, Linksano grabbed 90’s Kid’s arm and pushed it back into position with a sickening pop. 90’s Kid’s vision went white with pain for the second time. He leant against the wall, breathing heavily until he could see properly again.
Linksano, Harvey and Pollo were looking at him with worried faces. He gave them a thin smile, “Thanks. I’m good now, my dudes.”
He sat back in a more comfortable position and let the pain from his shoulder slowly fade, there wasn’t much he could do about the pain from the bruise. When the pain had faded enough, he pulled his top back on.
90’s Kid looked around the room for the first time. It was small, probably only meant for holding one person at a time, not three humans and a robot. 90’s Kid was sat on the only bed, on the opposite wall was a thick metal covered in locks and bolts, in one corner there was a toilet and a sink and, other than the speaker in the corner of the ceiling, the room was completely bare.
90’s Kid noticed Harvey’s eyes moving slowly around the room too. With a sigh he told him, “It’s no good, dude. There’s nothing in here we can use to escape.”
“Indeed,” Linksano agreed. “If I had some of my tools with me maybe but unfortunately, there’s also a dampening field in place. My goggles are just working on regular vision right now.”
“None of my weapons or communications are working either,” Pollo informed them. “I can’t transfer my consciousness to one of my other bodies. It’s only my shields that stop the dampening field from deactivating me completely.”
Linksano’s face suddenly broke into a smile as he fiddled with his goggles, “No wait!” they looked at him expectantly, “Twitter’s still working so not a total loss.” The others let out a collective breath they hadn't realised they were holding.
“We’ve gota do something!” Harvey insisted. “We can’t let bucket brain do that to…”
He was interrupted as the speaker crackled to life, “Err guys, what’s going on?” came a familiar voice.
“Linkara!?” 90’s Kid asked in disbelief.
“Ye, it’s me,” came the reply. “Why is the portal getting bigger? The Entity killed itself again. We need to shut that thing down.”
“It’s Vyce, dude,” 90’s Kid said, struggling to his feet. “He’s gone totally bogus. He thinks the Entity just tricked us all again and he’s gonna to use the portal to swallow the Earth and stop it!”
Linkara let out a frustrated noise, “because of course he did!” The speakers went silent for a few moments before he asked, “Okay, the portal will close on its own if the Entity goes into it, right?”
“Right. I can try to access the satellites to reverse it,” Linksano told him. He sighed before admitting, “Unfortunately, we’re kind of in the brig right now and the long we wait, the larger the portal will get and the harder it will be to do that.”
“I think I have a plan forming,” Linkara’s voice said over the speaker. “Give me a little time to work on it.”
“How long?” Harvey asked.
“Mm twenty, thirty minutes. Length of a review, I think,” Linkara admitted.
“Seriously, right now!?” Harvey asked incredulously. “Kid! Priorities!”
“I do have my priorities,” Linkara told them. “One of those priorities is the ability to pay rent should we survive all of this. I’ll call you back when I’m ready.” The speaker cut out.
Pollo’s light blinked off and on again, which was his version of rolling his eyes, “You know, one of these days he’s going to be halfway through the review and we’ll have already saved the world without him.”
Harvey growled, “Well, I ain’t waitin’.” He turned to the others, “Whether or not the kid succeeds, we’ve gotta try and get out of here and help, right?”
The others nodded.
“I mean, obviously,” Linksano said, “but I don’t see what we can do stuck in here.”
“I’m pretty useless, right now,” Pollo said bitterly. “If my gun was working, I could try to break through the door but I doubt it would help.”
90’s Kid looked around the room again and his eyes settled on the door before they flicked back to Linksano. Suddenly he started to laugh but he stopped quickly because it made his ribs and shoulder hurt. He grinned despite the pain as he really thought about thing for the first time.
“Are you okay, 90’s Kid?” Pollo asked.
“Ye, dude!” 90’s Kid said happily. “I’ve just worked out the totally bodacious way we’re getting out of here and what Vyce was planning to do if he ever ended up trapped here.”
“How and what, 90’s?” Harvey asked.
90’s Kid turned to Linksano, “Well, assuming that your goggles really are still connected to Twitter,” Linksano nodded, “then you just need to tweet some of our friends asking for help and I bet at least one of them answers.”
“Huh… yes, that could work,” Linksano admitted. “Why didn’t I think of that?”
“And what would Lord Vyce do if he was captured and sent to his own prison?” Pollo asked.
“Well, he’s always the dude with the bitching back-up plans,” 90’s Kid told them. “He would definitely have a plan for what to do if he was somehow defeated and sent here. There’s probably some spoken code that would let him straight out but I doubt we’d crack it. However, I do know what he’d do if he wanted to stay in here a while without anyone reaching him.”
“What?” Harvey asked.
“Look at the door, dude.”
They all turned to look.
“It looks like a regular prison door to me,” Pollo said.
“Yes, locks, catches and chains, that sort of thing,” Linksano agreed.
Harvey laughed suddenly, “But they’re all on this side of the door!” He looked at 90’s Kid for confirmation. 90’s Kid grinned back at him.
“There’s only one lock on the outside. Everything else is still in here. He’d never build a prison that he wouldn’t willing spend time in himself,” 90’s Kid told them all. “I bet if we locked that door from the inside, it would put a dampening field on anyone trying to listen in on us from the outside.”
Linksano moved towards it, “Don’t,” 90’s Kid instructed. Linksano stopped and 90’s Kid continued, “It’ll only alert Vyce to what we’re doing. He’ll be the only one who knows how to overcome the dampening field and still listen to us.
“Right now, he’s concentrating on defeating the Entity,” he continued. “He thinks we’re trapped so he’s not paying attention. Now is the perfect time to call for backup.”
“Right!” Linksano started to write a message.
“Tell ‘em to get Nims back online and bring some weapons,” Harvey instructed.
“And I want my other bodies,” Pollo added.
“Got it!” Linksano finished the Tweet and made it public. “Sent! Now all we have to do is wait and hope someone answers.”