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Mortal Kombat - Between the Matches

Chapter Text

Scorpion was in a mirror match against himself in the Krossroads arena. He launched his harpoon at his double.

"GET OVER HERE, SELF!" Scorpion yelled as he reeled the double closer to himself.

"You have issues..." the double stated. This statement brought something Scorpion had been keeping a secret onto the surface.

"IT'S TRUE! I DO HAVE BODY IMAGE ISSUES!" Scorpion cried. The Scorpion double wrapped his arms around the real Scorpion as the latter began sobbing.

"There, there, me. You're very pretty. I know this because I'm very pretty, and I'm based on you, so that makes you at least equally pretty," the double said. The original Scorpion continued crying as he returned his double's embrace.

Chapter Text

Sonya Blade, a blonde, stern looking woman, had invited nearly everyone Raiden trusted into the Special Forces base at the thunder god's request. Once a small crowd of people had gathered in the mess hall, she looked around and surveyed the crowd.

"I have a question, General Blade," Jackson Briggs, a well built man with steel arms who preferred to go by Jax, asked.

"Go ahead, Jax," Sonya said, nodding.

"Where the hell are Takeda, Liu Kang, and Kung Lao?" Jax asked. Kenshi, a man wearing a blindfold, immediately called upon his spiritual sense and looked at Cassie Cage, Jacqui Briggs, and Kung Jin with a look of concern on his face.

"I would watch my tongue if I were you, Jax. There are children present," Kenshi stated. Cassie and Kung Jin looked embarrassed, while Jacqui looked around for any sign that Takeda was coming.

Meanwhile in the Kuatan Jungle of Outworld, Kotal Kahn, the current emperor of the realm, has summoned his right hand woman D'Vorah, his spymaster Reptile, and his general Ermac.

"I hope everyone is accounted for," Kotal Kahn said. D'Vorah immediately raised a hand in the air. "Go ahead, D'Vorah."

"This One wishes to know where Ferra, Torr, and Erron Black are," the insectoid woman stated.

"Did the three oversleep again?" Ermac asked.

Back in the Earthrealm Special Forces base, a bolt of lightning struck a nearby table. Everyone present except for Cassie, Jacqui, and Kung Jin immediately recognized the lightning bolt as Raiden's entry signal.

"Liu Kang must remain behind in the Shaolin Temple and stand guard for Earthrealm," the thunder god stated. Johnny Cage had a confused look on his face.

"That doesn't explain Kung Lao or Takeda, though," Johnny Cage replied.

"They did not wish for Liu Kang to be lonely, so they volunteered to join him in his vigil," Sub-Zero explained. Kitana and Scorpion, who had been silent the entire meeting, simply glared daggers at the thunder god. As far as the Shirai Ryu Grandmaster and the Edenian princess were concerned, everything died under Raiden's touch, and his voice itself had an underlying tone of deception to it.

In the Kuatan Jungle, Kotal Kahn was cornered against a tree by his First Minister, his spymaster, and his general. It just didn't feel right unless everyone in the group was together.

"Jussst tell usss, my emperor!" Reptile hissed. Seeing no way out of this and wanting to assure the others that Ferra, Torr, and Erron were alive, Kotal Kahn looked around before settling on looking D'Vorah in the eye.

"I had to leave them behind. I cannot leave Outworld unprotected, and they are actually surprisingly shy for a symbiotic pair and an Earthrealmer," Kotal Kahn stated. D'Vorah and Reptile seemed satisfied by the emperor's answer.

"That makes sense," D'Vorah said. Ermac, however, was not as impressed.

"We're still calling oversleeping on this," the fusion of souls said stubbornly.

Chapter Text

Sonya, Reptile, Ermac, and Scorpion were sitting at a round table when they were having a heated discussion about Spectra and who she liked best.

"I've been with Spectra since the beginning! I'm her favorite soldier!" Sonya declared.

"That's because you were the only one who had the advantage of having an actual name at the time as opposed to just Shirai Ryu or Osh-Tekk, Miss Cage. We are as close as siblings, so we are her favorite!" Ermac retorted.

"If that's the case, then you only got as far as you did because of nepotism!" Sonya argued. Scorpion slammed a fist down onto the table.

"Are you guys blind?!? Even Kenshi can see that I'm the strongest one here, so I'm Spectra's favorite!" Scorpion yelled. Reptile looked worried.

"Am I her favorite? Becaussse I think I might be her favorite," Reptile asked. Ermac turned his glance to the reptilian ninja.

"Saving the day once doesn't make you the favorite, Reptile. You only got as far as you did because she had no other options," Ermac remarked. The four heard a pair of slightly metallic boots and immediately froze. It was their general Spectra herself.

"Okay, I need this question answered once and for all, General Spectra. Who's your favorite soldier in this entire army?" Sonya asked as soon as the undead woman sat down. Spectra straightened her hair.

"That's what that big argument in here was all about? Children, please... I love you all equally. I just choose the strongest ones among you and have you do the fighting," Spectra answered before laughing at the four gathered at the table.

Chapter Text

Kung Jin was approaching Z'Unkarah, the capital city of Outworld, when he heard footsteps approaching. The monk tightened his grip on his bow staff and prepared to fight until he saw that it was his cousin Kung Lao.

"Fear not, little Jin! I am here!" Kung Lao heroically declared as he hugged his cousin. Kung Jin had a perplexed expression on his face. After all, Raiden and Sub-Zero told him that his older cousin stayed behind at the Shaolin temple with their other cousin Liu Kang and his good friend Takeda.

"Were Raiden and Sub-Zero telling the truth?" Kung Jin asked as Kung Lao released him from the hug. The older Kung cousin removed his hat and placed it on the ground. A rabbit emerged from the hat and hopped onto Kung Jin's shoulder.

"Liu Kang, Takeda, and I simply took a few bad buses on our way to the meeting. By the time we had arrived to the Special Forces base, you had already left for Outworld, so we took the nearest portal to Outworld we could find. Once we entered Outworld, the three of us split up to search for you. The problem is, Liu Kang and I don't have cell phones and the reception would likely be terrible in Outworld," Kung Lao explained. Kung Jin pulled a cell phone out of his pocket and looked at the screen, his eyebrows furrowing.

"Does Outworld even have cell phone service? Because I'm not seeing any signal bars on my phone," Kung Jin said. The two monks agreed to search for Liu Kang in the city of Z'Unkarah.

Chapter Text

Scorpion and Raiden were fighting in the streets of a destroyed city. The two kombatants were wearing each other down with each blow exchanged, and both warriors were on the verge of collapsing from exhaustion.

"Scorpion, turn back now! I do not wish for this to end in unnecessary bloodshed!" Raiden yelled as he launched a bolt of lightning at the Shirai Ryu Grandmaster's chest, knocking him down onto the ground.

"Not a chance, thunder god! I have spilled far too much blood to simply give up now! GET OVER HERE!" Scorpion declared as he got back onto his feet and launched his harpoon at Raiden's chest. He then reeled the thunder god close to him only to deliver a swift roundhouse kick to his head.

"Well... done..." Raiden said weakly before losing consciousness. Scorpion placed his left foot on the unconscious thunder god's chest.

"HA! I DID IT! I FINISHED THE RAIDEN CHALLENGE!" Scorpion yelled triumphantly. He swiped a cell phone from an unsuspecting Kung Jin, turned the volume up as high as it could go, and started playing Queen's "We are the Champions" while holding the cell phone to the sky.

Chapter Text

Spectra was in the Dead Woods when she heard the current (disputed) emperor of Outworld, Kotal Kahn. She immediately joined him, and her twin brother Wrath noticed that compared to them, he was quite tall.

"Holy shit... I had no idea you were so tall!" Spectra exclaimed. Kotal Kahn simply chuckled before taking a seat on a rock.

"It is merely a tendency among Osh-Tekk to be tall by the standards of most other races," Kotal Kahn simply said. Spectra then noticed that his eyes and the lines on his body were glowing red.

"So, I have a question that the Kahn must answer... why do all three of your variations have the word god in them? Are you actually a deity? Because it would be so cool if you were!" Spectra said. Kotal Kahn scooted over on the rock and gestured for Spectra to sit next to him.

"Sit down, Spectra. I have a story to tell you," Kotal Kahn said. Spectra did as she was told.

"Is it The Ugly Duckling? I always loved that story!" Spectra said hopefully. The emperor sadly shook his head.

"Sadly, it is not a heartwarming tale about a homely baby duck who gradually realizes that he is actually a swan. This tale is the answer to your question. Osh-Tekk was the last realm Shao Kahn conquered before setting his sights on Earthrealm. And among the Osh-Tekk people, there is a coming of age ritual called the Riftwalk. In the Riftwalk, an Osh-Tekk must survive another realm's conditions for a few years, and if he or she survives the Riftwalk, they earn their helmet. I was sent to Earthrealm for my Riftwalk. During my years in Earthrealm, I came across a group of humans under attack. I saved them, and they gave me the name Buluc and worshiped me as their war god, hence, my War God variation. My Sun God variation comes from the fact that an Osh-Tekk with enough power can harness the power of the sun itself. In addition, Osh-Tekk are stronger on sunny days than we are at night or on overcast days. As for my Blood God variation, Osh-Tekk have a ritual known as the Blood Ritual, in which we remove the heart of our defeated opponents and drink the blood. I taught this to the humans I had saved. That... led to their doom," Kotal Kahn explained. He sadly looked down at the snow covered ground.

"You you were mistaken for a god by a bunch of people and just rolled with it?" Spectra asked incredulously. Kotal Kahn took another glance at her.

"They had such hopeful looks on their faces! How could I not humor them? Anyway, I need to be alone for a bit. Spectra, you should return to your duties as an Overseer for the time being," Kotal Kahn replied before standing up and shuffling away dejectedly.

Chapter Text

"95 gallons of blood on the wall, 95 gallons of blood!" Liu Kang sang.

"You take one down, pass it around..." Takeda sang.

"...Now we have 94 gallons of blood on the wall!" Erron Black finished. The three Earthrealmers, along with the Brute/Pygmy duo Ferra/Torr, the Edenian-Tarkatan hybrid Mileena, and the fallen Elder God Shinnok, were trying to find ways to pass the time while they were trapped in Purgatory.

"How you keep gallon blood on wall?" Ferra asked, looking down at Torr.

"Buckets?" Torr responded, looking up at Ferra. In another corner of the room, Mileena was busily sewing a teddy bear.

"I can't wait to leave this gods-damned, fucking piece of shit realm... I'm really looking forward to showing Scorpion this new teddy bear I'm making!" Mileena said as she stitched the bear's left arm onto its body. Torr whipped his head in her direction and glared at her.

"LANGUAGE!" Torr bellowed. Shinnok was simply crying as Liu Kang, Takeda, and Erron Black continued singing.

"Oh, myself... I'm trapped in Purgatory and surrounded by tone-deaf pieces of feculant scum!" Shinnok said in despair.

Chapter Text

After waiting for an unknown amount of time in Purgatory, Mileena finally emerged from the pocket realm with her sais on her back and her hand made teddy bear in her, well, hand. She began her search for Scorpion when she saw a regal-looking woman in blue in a fighting stance. She quickly ran toward Kitana with a purpose in her mind.

"Hey, sister... I have a question for you," Mileena said in an innocent tone. Kitana swiftly opened and closed her fans.

"Make it quick, Mileena! I have to kill a Discovery Channel host for stealing an Edenian artifact!" Kitana sharply said. Mileena hopped until she and Kitana were mere centimeters apart from each other before releasing her confident posture.

"How do you put up with Liu Kang's singing? It sounds like nails scraping against glass!" Mileena cried. Kitana gave her "twin sister" a sympathetic look.

"I'll let you in on a secret... when he starts, I pay him to stop," Kitana answered. Mileena, whose body was shaking with sadness, broke into full-on wailing.

"They're all three horrible singers, Kitty! Liu Kang, Takeda, and that traitor from Earthrealm!" Mileena wailed. In a surprising move, Kitana embraced Mileena for the first time in 25 years. Avenging an Edenian articact could always wait until later...

Chapter Text

A dust storm was swirling about Kung Lao and Kung Jin when they entered the marketplace. All around them, people were selling and buying goods.

"I'm sorry, Jin... I could not find Liu Kang anywhere in Z'Unkahrah," Kung Lao said apologetically. Kung Jin squinted at his cousin through the dust.

"Why would Liu Kang be here, anyway? He despises Outworld, especially its capital city!" Kung Jin exclaimed. The older cousin turned around to face his younger cousin.

"This is the most populated city in all of Outworld. Besides, Liu Kang would likely seek to forge an alliance with Kotal Kahn due to the latter's slightly more diplomatic way of handling interrealm relations," Kung Lao explained. The two noticed a figure emerging from the palace. As the man got closer, they were able to recognize him as Liu Kang.

"Get inside, you two," Liu Kang simply ordered, noticing the dust storm's increasing intensity. The three ran inside the palace. Once the three were inside, Kung Jin immediately drew his bow staff and whacked Liu Kang on the head with it.

"Where the hell were you?!?" Kung Jin asked. Kung Lao and Liu Kang exchanged worried glances.

"I had actually been in this city to seek out the new emperor of Outworld. However, Kotal Kahn has been absent from this palace for a few weeks now, and he took all of his most trusted enforcers with him," Liu Kang explained.

"All SIX of them?!? Even Midget Lady, Giant Guy, and the Lone Ranger?" Kung Jin asked. Kung Lao put a hand on Kung Jin's shoulder to stop him from charging at Liu Kang.

"Ferra, Torr, and Erron Black took a wrong turn and ended up in a small pocket realm known as Purgatory. Takeda, Erron, and I passed the time by singing songs. I miss my singing partners..." Liu Kang said. He looked down at the ground dejectedly. Kung Lao walked to his longtime friend's side and placed a hand on his shoulder.

"If you want, I could sing with you until Takeda and the Outworld cowboy leave Purgatory," Kung Lao offered. Liu Kang's face immediately brightened. He turned around and grabbed both of Kung Lao's hands.

"Awesome! Sing with me, Kung Lao!" Liu Kang said happily. As Liu Kang and Kung Lao started singing, Kung Jin fell to his knees.

"NOOOOOOOOOO! Gods, why must you be so cruel!" Kung Jin screamed as he faced the sky.

Chapter Text

Kotal Kahn and Erron Black were sparring in the Outworld Marketplace. The emperor, who had a major health advantage over the assassin at the moment, stabbed Erron with a ceremonial dagger.

"Erron, I need you to react faster than this... I don't want to have to drag your dead body to Quan Chi!" Kotal Kahn said. At this, Erron removed his guns from their holsters and aimed them at Kotal's feet.

"Oh, don't worry, my emperor... you won't have to," Erron said confidently as he began shooting. Kotal was quickly dodging the bullets.

"I am to assume that you believe it will be the other way around? Your line of thinking is admirable, but it could also get you killed," Kotal Kahn said, smirking as he prepared to throw a burning stone at Erron. D'Vorah cautiously flew into the sparring area and hovered next to Kotal Kahn.

"Psst... This One has noticed that one of the civilians has wandered into the kombat area. If you or Erron were to throw her, it could help you a great deal," she whispered before returning to the stalls. The emperor looked at the cowboy-esque gunslinger expectantly.

"You throw her, Erron! You are severely disadvantaged at the moment," Kotal ordered. Erron simply met the emperor's gaze with an equally expectant glare.

"No, you throw her! I honestly can't see why you don't take advantage of your lead!" Erron argued. While the two kombatants were arguing over throwing an innocent old lady, said innocent old lady returned to the stands. Realization dawned upon the two.

"Why did we consider throwing an innocent civilian at each other?" Kotal Kahn asked.

"Oh my gods, we are horrible people," Erron said sadly. D'Vorah and Reptile looked at the scene before them with an air of amusement and confusion.

"Perhaps it is best if This One ended the sparring session early. Neither Kotal Kahn or Erron Black will be able to do much in their current state," D'Vorah said. Reptile looked disappointed.

"Ssso... I won't be eating the lossser?" Reptile, who apparently thought they were fighting to the death, asked. Torr lumbered to D'Vorah with a flower in his hand.

"Pretty Bug Lady?" Torr asked, offering the flower to the Kytinn.

Chapter Text

Quan Chi and Johnny Cage were in an Earthrealm refugee camp preparing to engage in a match of Mortal Kombat. Unknown to them, five refugees were preparing to cause mayhem on the battlefield.

"Soon, I will add you to my revenant collection... perhaps you will be reunited with a few friends," Quan Chi said with a sneer. Johnny Cage simply stared the sorcerer down.

"Nah... I don't think so, Dr. Eggman," Johnny Cage casually said. As he started running to attack Quan Chi, his legs were shot. After looking around and not seeing his daughter Cassie Cage or the Outworld cowboy ninja Erron Black, he came to the conclusion that Stryker of all people was trolling him.

"HEY! What the hell, Steve Rogers? I thought you were better than this!" Johnny Cage shouted. While he was thinking about his next move, he found himself floating up... and up... and up... Johnny Cage was trapped inside a bubble!

"Okay, Prince, this isn't even funny," Johnny Cage said flatly as he fell. On the other side of the arena, Quan Chi was teleported into the air with a ball of smoke.

"I thought I made you more obedient than this..." Quan Chi said after landing face first. Unfortunately, he landed on a bomb, which exploded shortly afterward.

"Cyrax... Perhaps being added to my revenant collection will cool that temper of yours," Quan Chi said. While he was ranting at the yellow cyborg, a sawblade zoomed toward his feet, knocking him down.

"Am I losing my necromantic touch?!? Jax, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Kitana, Jade... they were very disobedient slaves, but you, Stryker, and Smoke rebel against me as well?" Quan Chi asked. He threw his hands in the air and walked toward Johnny Cage in despair.

"Shall we work together to destroy those five cretins?" Quan Chi asked, extending a hand to the actor.

"No thanks, Paste Man. I don't wanna end up being a zombie slave," Johnny Cage answered before walking away. On the other side of the chain link fence, Stryker, Kabal, Smoke, Rain, and Cyrax were huddled around a hobo fire.

"Why are we doing this?" Stryker asked as he removed his pistol from its holster. Kabal looked at his friend and shrugged.

"Being on the sidelines and a slave to Quan Chi's will gets very boring after a while, Kurtis," Kabal answered before sending another sawblade onto the battlefield. Rain had created another puddle on the battlefield and was presently making s'more sandwiches.

"I have to say, being a mere NPC is even worse than a blood shower at the Pit Bottom," Rain added, the memories of the tournament being fresh in his mind despite 25 years having passed. Smoke was laughing at the sight of Johnny Cage falling after being sent into the air courtesy of one of his smoke balls.

"Quan Chi needs to know that Stryker, Kabal, and I are no longer his slaves!" Smoke declared.

"So... what's your story, Cyrax?" Stryker asked. Cyrax turned his head toward Stryker.

"I AM A ROBOT! I AM PROGRAMMED TO THROW BOMBS ONTO THE BATTLEFIELD AT REGULAR INTERVALS!" Cyrax declared before throwing another bomb onto the battlefield. The five refugees continued causing general havoc on the battlefield.

Chapter Text

Kotal Kahn was wandering the Dead Woods when he saw Erron Black leaning against a tree. At first, Kotal thought to simply leave the Earthrealmer alone, but something inside him compelled him to get closer... as quietly as his armor would allow.

"Don't scare the human, Ko'atal," the emperor quietly said as if it were a mantra. Erron Black turned his head toward the emperor. He pushed himself off of the tree and stepped toward the emperor.

"You know I can tell it's you, right, Kotal Kahn?" Erron Black asked. After seeing that Erron had no intention to attack him, Kotal relaxed himself. He walked closer to the Earthrealmer until the two were inches apart.

"Where were you, Erron?" Kotal Kahn asked. Erron Black took a deep breath.

"I was in Purgatory. It's small and there are no doors," Erron answered. Kotal adjusted himself to where he was at eye level with the masked gunslinger.

"How did you leave?" Kotal asked. Erron mentally prepared himself.

"It all started when Fishface insulted Takeda's mom. The kid flipped his lid, though to be fair, Shinnok had just insulted his mom. Ferra, Torr, and I were just cheering Takeda on as he and Shinnok fought," Erron Black explained. Kotal leaned closer to the human. He seemed interested in the story.

"And then what happened?" Kotal questioned, curious about the story's end.

"Eventually, Sareena had to come in and break up the fight. By then, however, Ferra, Torr, and I joined Takeda, so Sareena had a bit of trouble separating us. When we did get separated, however, she had us vote on who had to leave Purgatory between Aquaman, Takeda, Ferra/Torr, and myself," Erron Black answered.

"Is getting voted out part of standard procedure in Purgatory? Did anyone else get voted out?" Kotal asked.

"Yes, getting voted out is pretty much the only way out. It happened with Liu Kang, Kung Lao, and Mileena. If there's only one person left, Sareena will escort them out after a while," Erron answered. Kotal and Erron were getting ready to return to Outworld when they were pelted with snowballs. The two saw Mileena and Kitana behind a pile of snowballs.

"THIS IS FOR STEALING MY THRONE AND TORTURING MY EARS!" Mileena yelled as she placed a rock inside one of the snowballs and lobbed it at the pair across from her.

"I trust no Kahn! Wandering Earthrealmers who would gladly betray their realm, I trust even less!" Kitana declared sharply. She placed several small, sharp rocks in her snowball and hurled it straight at Erron Black's head.

"Kitana and Mileena are working together? How close is a second Armageddon?" Kotal Kahn asked.

"Apparently, it's coming sooner than Mortal Kombat 14," Erron Black answered as he made several snowballs.

Chapter Text

Jacqui Briggs and Kung Jin were facing each other near a statue of the Lin Kuei's founder.

"So, you ready to fight, Jin?" Jacqui asked as she adjusted her gauntlets, which she wore on her wrists to imitate her father Jax. Kung Jin twirled his bow staff.

"Oh, I'll fight, Jacqui, but you're getting your ass kicked," the young archer declared. Jacqui gasped. Never had she,Takeda, or Kung Jin been permitted to swear.

"Jin, did you just swear? Because if you did, I'm telling Kung Lao on you!" Jacqui exclaimed.

"Ass isn't a swear word, Jacqui," Kung Jin said defensively. Jacqui jumped up and pointed a finger at him.

"AH! You swore again! I'm definitely telling Kung Lao on you after this match!" Jacqui yelled as she launched a plasma blast from her gauntlets.

Chapter Text

25 years ago...

For Mileena, it was love at first sight. Scorpion was sitting on a bench in a subway in New York City when the Tarkatan-Edenian hybrid skipped over to him with a handmade teddy bear in her arms. She hoped that her gift would warm his heart.

"Oh, Scorpy-worpie... I made a present for you," Mileena said in a sing-song voice. Scorpion stood up from the bench and looked at her with an air of disinterest. The apathy became anger when he saw the small brown bear she was holding out for him to accept. The accursed bear brough his repressed memories of his son Jubei to the surface. It wasn't fair! Jubei did nothing wrong! He was just an innocent child who never got the chance to grow up! He smacked the teddy bear out of her hands.

"I HATE TEDDIES!" the undead Shirai Ryu warrior screamed. Sub-Zero, Reptile, Ermac, Noob Saibot, Smoke, Rain, and Tremor crept into the subway but remained hidden becuase of their common wish to avoid being burnt in the crossfire of the ensuing fight between Scorpion and Mileena. Eventually, after the fight, Scorpion sliced the teddy bear into pieces with his katanas. He then tossed the remains onto the tracks, where they were run over by the subway train. Noob Saibot peeked at the damage. Hellfire was still burning, and sais were firmly stuck in various supports throughout the station. Ermac and Noob cautiously led the others as they approached the yellow-clad spectre.

"I... hate... teddies..." Scorpion recited as if it were his personal mantra.

"I think we got that," Sub-Zero stated as he further surveyed the damage.

Present day...

Mileena, who had left Kitana to deal with Kotal Kahn and Erron Black in the Dead Woods, saw a vaugely familiar looking figure leaning against a plane's hull. Upon closer inspection, the fallen Kahnum deduced that it was indeed Scorpion, though he had changed somehow. When she last saw him, his skin had a deathly pale tone to it, and his eyes seemed to be made of fire itself. Now, however, he looked a lot more... alive. Mileena approved of this change in him and hid the teddy bear bhind her back.

"To think... I helped cause this destruction so many years ago," Scorpion mused to himself as he looked at the city's remains, oblivious to the Edenian-Tarkatan hybrid approaching him. It was when she tapped him on the shoulder that he was brought out of his reminiscence about the Netherrealm War, during which he fought against Earthrealm under Quan Chi's control.

"Mileena? So much has changed. How is Outworld?" Scorpion asked.

"A hideous Osh-Tekk brute turned four of my most trusted allies against me and stole my throne," Mileena answered with venom in her voice. Maintaining his calm demeanor, Scorpion reached out to the fallen Kahnum only for something soft to brush against his hand.

"On the bright side, though, I made you another teddy, Scorpie-worpie!" Mileena declared in a suddenly cheerful tone. Scorpion's calm demeanor shimmered away in a burst of hellfire. Even after 27 years, he could never forget about his family and how they were suddenly and brutally cut down by Quan Chi masquerading as Bi Han.

"I... STILL... HATE... TEDDIES!" Scorpion yelled in an anguished rage as the hellfire burned in his eyes and danced along his arms. Mileena drew her sais and pointed them at Scorpion's head. Meanwhile in the crumbling remains of what was once a shopping mall, Sub-Zero, Ermac, Reptile, Tremor, Takeda, and Erron Black were surprised by the sudden arrival of Smoke and Rain.

"Sonya said it was okay for us to leave the camp as long as we didn't get ourselves swept up in the Outworld civil war," Smoke explained.

"What else is new with Hanzo-sensei?" Takeda asked. Scorpion immediately turned his glare to the Shirai Ryu apprentice.

"Takeda... this is the worst kind of betrayal," Scorpion said.

Chapter Text

After Jacqui Briggs had defeated Kung Jin in a battle, Sub-Zero stepped out of the doors leading into the Lin Kuei temple with a rare smile on his face.

"I'm impressed, Specialist Briggs. Not everyone can say they managed a Flawless Victory against a member of the White Lotus Society, especially a member of the Great Kung Lao's bloodline," Sub-Zero stated as he watched Kung Jin retreat into the Dead Woods. Jacqui placed her hands on her hips and raised an eyebrow at the Grandmaster.

"Yeah... speaking of Kung Jin's family, I need to find Kung Lao," Jacqui said.

"Kung Jin told Frost that he and Liu Kang are currently in Outworld. As the Lin Kuei's second in command, Frost relays any outside information directly to me unless I am away, in which case, I will likely already know it myself," Sub-Zero explained. "Now, Specialist Briggs... I have an offer for you. Train with me, and your military style of kombat can be augmented with the Lin Kuei style of kombat."

"Hmm... I'd much rather just stick with the military because that was my dad's job, but I also want to be stronger so I can make Ermac pay for tearing his arms off and Sindel pay for killing him and getting him turned into a zombie in the first place," Jacqui said thoughtfully.

"Take your time, Specialist Briggs. Even part-time training with the Lin Kuei is a big decision," Sub-Zero said. Jacqui thought for a few minutes before reaching a decision.

"All right, Sub-Zero, I'll train with you," Jacqui said. Sub-Zero seemed pleased and worried at the same time.

"I will train you, but do not forget your military roots," Sub-Zero replied as he and Jacqui walked into the temple.

A few days passed when Frost and a human-looking demon known only as Kain were watching a sparring session between Sub-Zero and Jacqui Briggs.

"Is the Briggs girl already part of the Lin Kuei?" Kain asked.

"It might come as a shock to you, but the Grandmaster told me he would never make Jacqui a full member of the Lin Kuei because she also has her duties to the Special Forces to worry about and that they take priority," Frost answered. "I have to admit, I'm a bit jealous of that girl. If I were in her shoes, I wouldn't even last a day."

"Chief Frost! Kain! Come to the gates! You two need to see this!" a Lin Kuei warrior said. Judging from his panicked voice, Frost and Kain figured that whatever was happening at the gates was serious and that they should investigate. As the three reached the front gates, they saw the Outworld Emperor Kotal Kahn with his macuahuitl raised high in the air, ready to strike.

Chapter Text

Kotal Kahn, the current emperor of Outworld, had struck down a Lin Kuei warrior who was foolhardy enough to challenge him in single kombat. With a mighty war yell, he challenged everyone at the front gates to kombat.

"Should we get the Grandmaster and the Briggs girl?" Kain asked Frost.

"Go get them. In the meantime, the rest of us will try to hold Kotal Kahn off to the best of our ability," Frost answered as she summoned a pair of ice daggers and attacked Kotal Kahn.

"So... you're brave enough to challenge me, little girl. Let us see if your courage is enough to stop me," Kotal Kahn said as he began glowing a blood red color. He summoned a black crystal totem with glowing red glyphs all over it. Seeing this, two Lin Kuei warriors jumped in to help Frost while the others fled into the temple.

"There's no way we're letting you face that man alone!" one of the Lin Kuei warriors declared.

"More challengers? The Blood God will be pleased," Kotal Kahn remarked after making a large horizontal cut across his chest. Slowly, he walked toward the Lin Kuei warriors and raised his ritual knife high in the air. Frost and the other two tried to stop him from attacking them, but the crystal totem either weakened their strikes or strengthened his defenses. Kotal Kahn plunged his knife into one of the two Lin Kuei warriors' shoulder and started making a large diagonal cut. He then tore the heart out and drank the blood. Upon seeing this, Frost and the surviving Lin Kuei warrior tried to flee into the temple, only to be stopped by a black crystal totem with blue glyphs all over it.

"We have to get out of here!" Frost shouted as she set to work trying to destroy both of Kotal Kahn's totems. Kain re-emerged from the temple with Sub-Zero and Jacqui Briggs in tow.

"This situation concerns me... Specialist Briggs, remain with Kain. I will deal with Kotal Kahn personally," Sub-Zero said to the young Special Forces agent before he strode into the battlefield. Kotal Kahn simply smirked as he watched Sub-Zero's approach.

"I hope you can satisfy my blood lust more than my last two opponents, Grandmaster," Kotal Kahn said in an almost mocking tone.

"Do not mock my warriors, Osh-Tekk!" Sub-Zero yelled as he summoned an icy mallet. Despite being outnumbered, Kotal Kahn didn't back down for an instant as he tore through the other Lin Kuei grunt as if he were simply parting some curtains. Only Sub-Zero and Frost remained now.

"Sifu Sub-Zero! What should we do?" Frost asked.

"We continue fighting him off. We have actual names, Frost. Even if Kotal Kahn kills us, we'll be resurrected by any of the powers that be soon enough," Sub-Zero answered.

"Then I suggest you face one of your innumerable deaths with courage instead of cowardice," Kotal Kahn said with his macuahuitl high in the air. The markings on his body started glowing blue instead of red, an indicator that he no longer desired blood but simply kombat. After a long struggle, Kotal Kahn cleaved through Sub-Zero and Frost.

"He stopped glowing... I think that means he's done fighting for now," Jacqui whispered.

"He's leaving... I should try to contact Smoke and see if he can take over Grandmaster duties until Sub-Zero and Frost return to life," Kain stated.

As Kotal Kahn was returning to the Dead Woods to check on Erron Black, who had recently returned from a destroyed Earthrealm city, he was surprised to find the assassin lying face down on the ground dead. As he inspected the body, he saw an arrow with his heart having slid down the shaft.

"So, Kung Jin... you think you can get away with killing my assassin, Earthrealm guide, and friend? Granted, he will return to life after a while, but you will still pay dearly for this," Kotal Kahn said before setting off in search of the young White Lotus Society archer.

Chapter Text

After days of tracking down Kung Jin, he finally cornered the White Lotus Society archer in the ruins of a city that was destroyed in the Netherrealm War.

"You cannot evade me forever, Kung Jin. Now fight me in single kombat," Kotal Kahn said menacingly as his markings started glowing yellow. Kung Jin looked at his trusty bow staff and his chakram, which he carried in order to imitate Kung Lao's bladed hat.

"I will end this match the same way I ended my match with the cowboy: with a Brutality!" Kung Jin declared. Kotal Kahn had the total confirmation that unlike his cousins Liu Kang and Kung Lao, both of who had a certain degree of humility, Kung Jin was a bit on the arrogant side. Almost immediately after the two nonetheless paid their pre-battle respects toward each other, Kotal Kahn called upon the power of the sun to strengthen him. In addition, he also summoned a pillar of sunlight.

"You should just be glad it's not raining, because I'd be whipping your ass otherwise," Kung Jin said as he fired consecutive arrows at Kotal Kahn, who managed to either evade or smack away most of the arrows. However, one lodged itself just above his knee. The young White Lotus Society archer celebrated until Kotal Kahn picked him up by the head, burnt him with sunlight, and threw him across the arena.

"Never celebrate your victory too soon. Did the White Lotus Society not teach you this?" Kotal Kahn asked before hurling a burning stone into Kung Jin's chest. He followed this attack up with a knee to the youth's face, which was then followed up with a stab of the ritual knife into his neck. He then twisted until he heard a snapping noise. Despite the apparent breakage of Kung Jin's neck, he got off the ground like it was nothing.

"I'm way tougher than I look!" Kung Jin declared as he hopped back onto his feet as if his neck wasn't broken. He smacked the emperor with his bow staff before leaping backward and throwing his chakram at his shins. He jumped into the air and was about to fly into him with a dive kick when Kotal Kahn grabbed him by the ankle and slammed him onto the ground.

"I don't think so," Kotal Kahn simply remarked. He and Kung Jin managed to wear each other down after roughly an hour of kombat. Kotal Kahn knew he had to end the battle quickly. He did the only thing he knew, even if he would later regret it; he had to take a page from Erron Black's book and deceive Kung Jin into lowering his guard.

"You must be tired, as am I... come closer," Kotal Kahn said. Kung Jin hesitated for a few seconds before approaching Kotal Kahn, who had his arms open as if offering a hug.

"What do you want? Is this just a quick way of killing me?" Kung Jin asked, suspicious of Kotal Kahn's motives.

"No. It is a sincere truce. Just set your weapons on the ground, as I am doing right now," Kotal Kahn answered, putting his macuahuitl and ritual knife down on the cracked pavement in front of him. This action coaxed Kung Jin into doing the same with his bow staff and chakram.

"Now, embrace me. Embrace me, and this will be so much easier," Kotal Kahn said in an uncharacteristically soft voice. Kung Jin, no longer sensing any danger, did as he was told. Kotal Kahn returned the embrace and squeezed so tightly that the young archer's head popped right off his shoulders. He dropped the now headless body onto the ground and looked down somberly.

"I'm sorry, Kung Jin. This was the only way to avenge Erron Black's death by your hand," Kotal Kahn said as he walked away from the battlefield with a sense of guilt at the entire situation.

Chapter Text

The Winter Solstice holidays are the only time of year when even rivals as bitter as Sonya and Kano will get along and act friendly toward each other. There are beautiful decorations and delicious food shared between everyone.

"'Ello there, lovely!" Kano called out to Cassie Cage, who swiftly responded with a punch to the Black Dragon leader's low hanging fruits. Johnny Cage clapped while Sonya groaned.

"That's my sweet Pumpkin!" Johnny Cage cheered.

"John... you're the reason I'm worried about our daughter's future," Sonya flatly stated. Still, she could not help but grin a little at Kano's misfortune. In another corner, an elderly shopkeeper was swatting Scorpion and Takeda away from him with a broom.

"STAY AWAY FROM MY GOODS!" the shopkeeper yelled at the persistent Shirai Ryu ninjas, who were simply trying to offer him some sugar rolls. A tall young woman rushed to the old man's side.

"My father is an elderly man. He does not need ninjas to break him further, so if you have a gift for him, just leave it on the table and go somewhere else," the young woman said. Scorpion and Takeda left the steaming red box on the table and returned to Sub-Zero at the buffet bar.

"How did your mission go?" Sub-Zero asked.

"We were driven away, but we gave them the sugar rolls, Sub-Zero-san," Takeda explained. Sub-Zero gave a small chuckle at the knowledge that Scorpion and Takeda completed their mission. In another part of the room, Raiden had dragged Kung Lao and Erron Black in front of a camera. In Kung Lao's case, however, he willingly came along with the thunder god.

"Now, say tree," Raiden said to the other two well-hatted fellows in front of him. Compared to him, Kung Lao and Erron Black were a bit on the short side of the spectrum. All three were wearing Santa hats on top of their regular hats. Fujin pressed the button on the camera. Almost as soon as the flash faded away, Erron Black slipped back to his friends near the cookies.

"Aww! Bang-bang looks so cute with fuzzy red hat on normal hat!" Ferra cooed.

"Let it be known that this was the thunder god's idea," Erron Black said. The talking, eating, and general merriment continued until Johnny Cage attempted to steal Raiden's hat.

"I was looking for the bathroom?" Johnny Cage said, hoping to avoid the thunder god's wrath. Raiden simply shook his head.

"It would be in your best interest to not make an attempt to steal my hat and then lie about it again, Cage," Raiden sternly warned. "Now, I believe we need to meet at the gift table. It is time for us to open our gifts from our secret benefactors." And off everyone went to the gift table to open their presents.

Chapter Text

"Let's see here... The donuts and coffee are all laid out, there's even an option to put sugar and cream in the coffee, and the chairs are all laid out according to Kombat Regulation N008. Now all I need is for Quan Chi and D'Vorah to finish handing out the fliers," Shinnok said to himself. D'Vorah was the first of his two interns to return from her duty of ensuring that everyone understood that the Brotherhood of Shadows was hosting a non-threatening seminar that day.

"This One has returned from the task you have set out before The Hive," D'Vorah said to Shinnok, kneeling before him.

"Excellent work, D'Vorah. Now we can only hope Quan Chi returns as well," Shinnok said. Shortly after he made that statement, Quan Chi came in through a sickly green portal in the ceiling.

"I do apologize for my slight tardiness. Earthrealm traffic is murder, and don't even get me started on those Outworld savages," Quan Chi said.

"Understandable. Now do you see why I wish to conquer all the realms, D'Vorah?" Shinnok responded.

"The Hive now understands your motivations, Lord Shinnok," D'Vorah replied. After a few minutes, Johnny Cage came in through the door, closely followed by his daughter Cassie Cage.

"D'Vorah? What are you doing with Quan Chi and Shinnok? I thought you were Kotal Kahn's right hand woman," Cassie wondered.

"Shinnok had plans for Arnyek, Cassandra. Ko'atal did not. I think that answers your question," D'Vorah answered. A steady stream of kombatants followed Johnny Cage and Cassie Cage into the room, and everyone took their seats. Quan Chi and D'Vorah quickly took their seats as well, and Shinnok hastily ran to the whiteboard and cleared his throat.

"Ladies, gentlemen, and nobility of any other genders I may have forgotten, I am here with an important message for you all today," Shinnok announced. He turned a television on and quickly changed the channel away from Ninja Mime, much to the disappointment of Johnny Cage, Cassie Cage, and Tremor. "Today isn't Bad Film Day. Enough with the levity, though. This is a matter of grave importance to us all. As some of you may have no doubt noticed, not everyone you interact with in your daily lives has been blessed with a name. This has more dire consequences than you would think."

"Now, I'm sure some of you might be asking 'But Shinnok, they do have names! I saw their birth certificates!', but what I am talking about is an actual name. Even a name as generic as John Smith or Jane Doe will ensure that the horrors of Mortal Kombat do not remain with you for too long. Alas, this protection will not apply to nameless grunts such as Monk or Oni. If your name is actually one of the names on this list I am about to read to you, please stand up now. Monk. Oni. Osh-Tekk. Saurian. Lin Kuei. Trooper. Shirai Ryu. Sergeant." Shinnok continued. Cassie Cage panicked until she remembered that in her case, Sergeant was simply her title.

"Contrary to what I am certain mortal preachers or my fellow Elder Gods have likely drilled into your heads, faith in the divine is not the ultimate protection against the horrors of this universe. The ultimate protection is the possession of a name that does not imply that your destiny is to be a mere grunt who will be mowed down in battle. By gaining a name, you will also gain a unique appearance. In this way, you will be easier for both the Elder Gods and the beings on the other side of the Looking Glass to remember." Shinnok continued. The fallen Elder God droned on for another half hour about the importance of names. After that, the lecture was finally over.

"I'm going to a Johnny Cage fan convention next time. Maybe I can finally get his autograph!" Tremor said.

"Tremor... that's why I left ya in the Dream Realm. Wait... you conjured up Johnny Cage films and the means to actually watch them there, didn't you?" Kano asked the earthen Black Dragon ninja.

"Yes!" Tremor cheerfully answered the cyborg mercenary. The kombatants all helped themselves to donuts and coffee.

Chapter Text

Erron Black was in his room, which looked somewhat like organized chaos, carving words into his bullets when one rolled under the small table he was working at. D'Vorah came into his room to check on him.

"There will be a meeting in fifteen minutes, so don't be late," D'Vorah told him. Unfortunately, he had somehow gotten himself stuck under the table.

"I'm probably going to be spending at least ten of those minutes trying to get out from underneath this table," Erron Black dryly stated. D'Vorah shook her head, rolled her eyes, and gave a small frustrated sigh before moving to help Erron Black out from underneath the desk. As she started to do so, her eyes caught something shiny on the ground. She released a fly and had it deliver the object to her. Upon grabbing the small shiny object, D'Vorah started inspecting it. A look of concern crossed her face, and she tapped him on his shoulder to get his attention.

"Did you really mark this bullet with the word me?" D'Vorah asked.

"Yeah. Why?"

"You're not planning to take your own life, are you?"

"That bullet's for just in case I run into a clone of me."

"As much as This One hates to admit it, you're not alone. If you have any issues, just tell us and we will do our best to help you," D'Vorah told Erron Black. Feeling frustrated that Erron was still stuck under the table despite his cooperation, she released a swarm of termites to just eat the table.

"I know destruction of a table was not the ideal solution for your immediate problem, but it was the only practical solution. Perhaps now you can spend part of your next paycheck on a larger table," D'Vorah said before leaving. If Erron Black was only mildly annoyed before, his annoyance at the situation increased tenfold. Not only did his work area get eaten, but now D'Vorah assumed that he was suicidal. He could only hope she didn't spread this misinformation to Ferra, Torr, Reptile, Ermac, and Kotal Kahn. He adjusted his hat, grabbed his revolvers, and made his way for the conference room.

Chapter Text

Over 25 years ago, a demon by the name of Freddy Krueger planted a strange tree with three branches in Outworld. Nightwolf, an Earthrealm shaman who was accompanying me at the time, noted the different colors of the branches and dubbed this unusual tree the Talent Tree. I myself read a note and was intrigued by the two words on the small slip of paper: "Git gud". Nightwolf's name for this tree spread to our allies and enemies alike.

23 years after my failure to save Nightwolf and Sindel from Quan Chi's control, I noticed Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade taking their daughter Cassie to Outworld in order to show her the Talent Tree, where Liu Kang, Kung Lao and Kung Jin were napping at the time. That's when I took note on the exact colors of the three branches. The leftmost branch was red as blood, the middle branch was blue as the ocean, and the rightmost branch was green as Earthrealm's grass. I was curious about this property of the tree and decided to see if it meant anything, so I waited until all of the mortals left before creeping up to the tree. I extended my hand to touch the red branch, and immense power suddenly coursed through my veins. The thunder I controlled crackled more intensely than before, and I let a blast loose before it could tear my body asunder. I fled back to Earthrealm before the nearby Tarkatan scout could reach me.

"Raiden?" Fujin said, bringing me back to reality after I had pondered the events of the previous day. I turned around to face him.

"What do you need, Fujin?" I asked him. Judging from the terrified look on his face, I could hazard a guess and assume that he had a horrifying encounter earlier.

"It's Shao Kahn... he came back somehow," Fujin replied. The two of us retreated into the Jinsei Chamber when Fujin returned my amulet to me.

"Here. See if the vision comes to you as well," he stated. I peered into the amulet, and Fujin's vision was confirmed. I stared in shock and horror for what seemed like hours at the amulet. I feared for both Earthrealm and Outworld. Shao Kahn lives.

Chapter Text

After her failed attempt to kill Kotal Kahn and Erron Black with snowballs back in the Dead Woods, Mileena practiced her snowball throwing technique every chance she had. She squeezed this training time in between consulting with Tanya and Baraka about her latest plans to take Outworld's throne back from Kotal Kahn and searching for Rain, who had disappeared after a horrific attack that nearly took his life. One day, Mileena was throwing snowballs at a snow statue of Kotal Kahn that she had built herself when she came across the Earthrealm police officer Stryker and the Lin Kuei cyber warrior Cyrax.

"What's the matter, Mileena?" Stryker asked.

"Not only did a disgusting barbarian steal my throne and turn most of my allies against me, one of my greatest fighters disappeared! I couldn't kill the usurper and his friend even with Kitty's help," Mileena answered.

"DO YOU REQUIRE ASSISTANCE IN YOUR TASKS?" Cyrax asked.

"Help would be nice, Cyrax. I'm a desperate Kahnum. I can't exactly afford to be picky," Mileena stated.

"All right, Mileena. First thing's first, do you know how to make a snowball or did you have Kitana make them for you?"

"Kitty made the snowballs! I think Liu Kang and Subby-Wubby taught her..."

"Looks like I'll have to show you how to make a snowball then," Stryker said. He gathered a large pile of snow and scooped a handful out of the pile.

"Now, you want to try to make them as close to perfectly round as you can. Watch me make a snowball and then try to make one yourself," Stryker continued. Mileena watched him rolling the snow into a ball with great intent and scooped a handful of snow out of Stryker's snow pile. She rolled the handful of snow in her hand into a ball herself.

"Like this?" Mileena asked, showing Stryker and Cyrax the snowball. Stryker nodded. Mileena prepared to throw the snowball at the Kotal Kahn effigy when Stryker stopped her.

"Time out!" Stryker yelled, startling Mileena. "That form looks completely unsuitable for lobbing snowballs at people! You're supposed to throw them overhead, not underhanded! That way, the snowball flies further and is more likely to hit your target," he continued. To demonstrate what he meant, he threw the snowball he had made overhead. It splattered on the side of the snow emperor's head.

"Oh... so that's what I was doing wrong..." Mileena said, realization dawning upon her. Part of her screamed at her to refuse to accept help from Stryker and Cyrax, that she was reducing herself to a mere Earthrealmer, while the other part of her was grateful that they were willing to help her despite her feud with Stryker in the past. Stryker continued teaching Mileena how to throw snowballs when Cyrax started making a high pitched beeping noise.

"LIVING PRACTICE TARGET DETECTED!" Cyrax announced. He, Stryker, and Mileena made a huge pile of snowballs and lobbed them at Kotal Kahn and Liu Kang, who had finally managed to have their diplomatic discussion.

"Interfering with a diplomatic discussion between Earthrealm and Outworld... foolish mistake, Mileena. Come, Liu Kang... let us teach them a lesson!" Kotal Kahn said before he and Liu Kang made their pile of snowballs, and an epic snowball war ensued.

Chapter Text

One rainy day, Kung Jin was reading a book when he looked up and noticed Kung Lao's hat on the shelf. Though the young archer had seen his cousin use the hat many times to great effect, he had a burning question in his mind: where did he get the hat from? The question had been burning in his mind ever since he came to live with Kung Lao and Liu Kang five years ago, and he couldn't take it any longer, so he sought out Kung Lao with the intent to ask him about the bladed hat. After a bit of searching for his older cousin, he found him in a small room feeding a white rabbit.

"Ah, hello, little Jin! If you are done reading, then perhaps we could find Liu Kang and play a board game together," Kung Lao cheerfully said.

"Actually, I have a question for you," Kung Jin replied. After the rabbit had devoured the pellets in her bowl, Kung Lao gently patted her head. He then turned to face his younger cousin.

"What is it?" Kung Lao asked. Kung Jin knew that it was now or never. He had to know where Kung Lao's hat came from.

"Ever since I've moved in with you and Liu Kang, there's been one thing I've always wanted to know. Lao, where did your razor-rimmed hat come from?" Kung Jin asked. Kung Lao motioned for his younger cousin to follow him into the reading room, where he had placed the hat on the top of the bookshelf.

"The razor-rimmed hat is a secret Shaolin weapon, forged by our ancestors. Ever since the original Kung Lao had forged the hat, it had been passed down from elder Kung to younger Kung for generations. Due to my father passing away when I was still a child, the hat was instead passed down to me by Master Bo Rai Cho, who he had entrusted with it shortly before his death," Kung Lao answered. Kung Jin took a minute to absorb Kung Lao's answer into his memory. The hat was the Kung family's sacred weapon, passed down through the generations... he could see now why Kung Lao only ever trusted a handful of people with it. The two sought out Liu Kang so that all three members of the household could play a board game together.

Chapter Text

In the realm of Edenia, there was a mystical tablet said to contain an entire universe. Initially, this tablet was in the possession of the Edenian royal family. However, King Jerrod had his bodyguard hide it in Earthrealm shortly before meeting his end at the hands of Shao Kahn. With the bodyguard sealing herself and the tablet in a cave in Earthrealm, the tablet remained out of his hands.

Once, the tablet was stolen by Wrath and his twin sister Spectra. The bodyguard's bones disgusted them slightly, but the thieves valued treasure above all else. For a while, the twins were able to peer into the miniature universe, but they made the mistake of having a sibling argument on a rooftop one day. Wrath growled in protest of Spectra's hogging of the tablet. Similarly to the relationship between the Outworld warriors Ferra and Torr, Spectra had a near telepathic link with her twin brother, and she was able to understand what he meant by that particular growl.

"You can have a turn once I'm dead again!" Spectra yelled back at her twin brother. The twins got into a physical fight, but they were unaware of the tablet as they fought, and though Wrath managed to successfully pull it away from his sister, his carelessness caused it to plummet into the streets below. Once the twins noticed the tablet falling, they stopped their fighting and immediately made plans to get the pocketverse tablet back.

As Kain was searching for Sonar so that he could bring the sadistic Lin Kuei warrior to justice once and for all, something bonked him on the head. He got the object and was relieved that it did not get itself jammed on his horn, for it looked very important and valuable. Curious as to how the strange artifact worked, he tapped the sigil of the Elder Gods in the center, and a brilliant blue flash of light engulfed him. When the light faded, he found that he had the ability to see into the miniature universe contained within the tablet. Along with this came an idea. Since Sonar had the ability to detect artifacts, which was likely the only reason the Lin Kuei tolerated him for as long as they did, Kain figured that he could use the tablet to lure his rogue compatriot over to his approximate location and then spring a trap. As Kain learned the hard way, however, being able to see into another universe proved to be distracting and demanding even if the tablet's holder was a demon.

Despite the apparent cursed nature of the tablet, Kain had grown attached to the denizens of the miniature universe. After delivering Sonar's head to Sub-Zero as per the mission requirements, Kain played with the tablet whenever he had the chance. Usually, this chance came in the dead of night, when everyone else in the temple was asleep save for a few guards. Then one day, while Kain was in Hong Kong waiting for a boat to take him to the United States so he could visit the Special Forces, Wrath and Spectra stepped off of the boat they were on. They noticed the tablet in his hands and immediately deduced that this was the tablet that had gotten lost in their scuffle three months ago. Two against one... this would be easy.

Chapter Text

"May I help you two?" Kain asked, looking up from the tablet at the undead twins.

"We had that tablet first, thief! Now, surrender it peacefully," Spectra said. Under normal circumstances, a few people would be attempting to break up the impending fight. However, because Wrath and Spectra were undead thieves and Kain was a demon, they were afraid for their lives and backed away from the three.

"I cannot bear to separate myself from the denizens of this universe. They need me!" Kain countered.

"Looks like we'll have to pry it from your hands, then," Spectra threatened as she and Wrath prepared to fight. Kain, not wanting to risk the destruction of the tablet and the universe contained within, carefully placed it in his blue duffel bag before preparing to fight the twins. Spectra kicked Kain in the shins, and he responded with a stab of his dagger. While Wrath and Spectra were brawling with Kain, none of the three kombatants had noticed another thief stealing Kain's duffel bag, which contained the tablet, and ran off with it. The twins and demon made a truce and pursued the thief in order to get the tablet back.

Chapter Text

Outworld, The Kove, 1 year ago...

"Surrender and I promise I'll spare your life, Erron!" Rain offered. Erron Black threw sand in Rain's eyes, and he responded with three bolts of purple lightning from the sky.

"I'm afraid I can't do that, Rain," Erron Black countered as he threw a handful of caltrops onto the ground. Seeing the caltrops, Rain warily kept his distance.

"So... you would rather die than risk the possibility of being taken prisoner? I should have known this, with you being one of Ko'atal's key fighters and all," Rain said shortly before trapping Erron Black in a bubble. It wasn't a particularly sturdy bubble, and it popped on its own after a few seconds. The two heard a strange noise in the water but dismissed this as a trick of their imaginations.

"Shame we have to be on different sides... we could get so much more done if we work together," Erron Black said sadly once he had gotten a better look at Rain. Rain's own visible facial features seemed to soften considerably upon learning that his old friend still didn't hate him even if they were now on opposite sides of this brutal civil war.

"Finally... someone else who understands that this civil war is just pointless strife..." Rain said. The hydromancer reluctantly summoned a purple energy to his legs before he and Erron Black heard a splashing noise followed by a tentacle rising out of the water.

"What the hell is that?!?" Erron Black shouted. In his 149 years of living in Outworld, he had never seen anything quite like that... and he wasn't sure he wanted to see what followed. Rain however, not only knew what the tentacle blonged to, but he had seen what had followed many times before. If he could save just one life other than his own this time...

"That's a Kraken tentacle! If you see one, you do what I do," Rain explained, quickly grabbing the Earthrealmer's arm. "You drop whatever it is you are doing and run for your life!" Rain half-dragged Erron Black away as the two ran from the Kraken that wanted them for its next meal.

Chapter Text

D'Vorah was flying around the White Lotus Society mausoleum with her arms full of relics belonging to the dead.

"Shinnok will be so proud of This One... perhaps This One will be able to avoid the Sermon of Pain," D'Vorah said to herself. As she prepared to leave the mausoleum and return to Shinnok's spire in the Netherrealm, cold metal greeted her forehead.

"Don't take another step, Kytinn," Fujin growled. Before D'Vorah could react, Raiden appeared behind her in a flash of lightning with his wood and metal staff in his hands.

"Soon you'll be wishing Fujin had just shot you dead," Raiden said menacingly as the lightning dancing around his body crackled more loudly and menacingly than normal. To the thunder god's right, Liu Kang emerged from a flame shaped like a Chinese dragon.

"You have committed a crime against the dead. Return the relics or suffer the consequences," Liu Kang commanded in a calm but threatening manner. Across from him, Kung Lao appeared in a blue whirlwind.

"We of the White Lotus Society are giving you one chance. Don't waste it," Kung Lao said. While D'Vorah could sense no malice in Kung Lao's voice, she noticed that he was adjusting his razor rimmed hat as if preparing to use it in kombat. She briefly considered having the largest and strongest members of her swarm carry the relics back to Shinnok's spire while she fought the White Lotus Society's greatest warriors off. It was during these few seconds of consideration that Kung Jin dropped down from the ceiling and landed in a manner he hoped was similar to how Kung Lao usually landed.

"Sorry, D'Vorah... it's very personal," Kung Jin stated as he twirled his bow staff and shot warning flames from the dragon head carved onto its end. D'Vorah chuckled menacingly at the youth attempting to imitate his two heroes. He would be the first to fall...

"Sorry I'm late! Did I miss anything?" Bo Rai Cho asked as Fujin stepped to the side with his crossbow still aimed at D'Vorah's head so the decidedly less jolly than normal Outworlder could enter the room. The ensuing battle ended very swiftly in the White Lotus Society's favor.

Chapter Text

As Erron Black entered his room, he laid his weapons out so he could do his nightly maintenance routine. His heart sank when he saw a note with the Outworld imperial seal on his new, larger table. That meant Kotal Kahn himself heard the rumors and likely believed them. Shoving his fears aside for the moment, Erron lifted the paper with no small amount of trepidation and read the message on the note.

Erron Black,

I need you to meet me in the throne room tomorrow when the sun is at its peak. Earlier is even better.

Your Emperor,

Kotal Kahn

Other than a jam in his rifle which was easily cleared, all of Erron's weapons were in working order. Though Kotal Kahn was more benevolent than Shao Kahn or Mileena, even he could be ruthless. Erron crawled into his bed, but it took him until well past midnight before he could finally fall asleep.

When he woke up the next morning, he grabbed his Tarkatan blade sword and pair of revolvers and buckled his leather armor on before making his way to the throne room with no small amount of trepidation.

"You're early. Did you have a nightmare?" Kotal Kahn asked when he saw the unusually hesitant way the Earthrealmer carried himself.

"You could say that," Erron said, trying to regain his composure. Kotal Kahn decided it was better to not pry into the assassin's mental world and motioned for him to approach the throne. As Erron did so, he braced himself and hoped Kotal Kahn didn't want to crush his skull.

"Relax. I'm not going to execute you over a false rumor we both have to deal with on a daily basis," Kotal Kahn explained, hoping to coax the human into a more relaxed state. Erron simply gave Kotal Kahn a quizzical look.

"Wait, you have to put up with rumors that you're suicidal, too?" Erron asked.

"Yes," Kotal Kahn simply stated. "Just because I have a Brutality that functions as a Hara-Kiri and I cut myself to power myself up, does not mean I'm suicidal," he continued, tracing a line across the scar on his chest and then another line across the scar on the palm of his left hand.

"I have bullets with the word me etched into them," Erron Black said. This admittedly piqued Kotal Kahn's curiosity.

"And may I ask why you have bullets for yourself?" Kotal Kahn asked, leaning forward in his throne.

"Have you ever fought an exact duplicate of yourself, with all your abilities and everything?" Erron asked. Kotal Kahn leaned back in his throne as if in thought.

"I have encountered one such opponent... around four years ago, in Z'Unkahrah's marketplace. It is a miracle nobody else was harmed that day... the fight nearly destroyed the marketplace," Kotal Kahn remarked. Erron Black was relieved that someone finally believed him when he talked about the possibility of a mirror match, even if it was only because that person had a previous experience with one.

Chapter Text

Johnny Cage was getting ready to go to the US Special forces base where he worked when he noticed something... flowery on his head. Wondering if it was the work of his daughter Cassie Cage, he decided to text her.

Hey, Cass. Did you put the crown of flowers on my head?

No, Dad. I'm at Uncle Jax's place sparring with Jacqui. When did this happen?

So his daughter was innocent... he briefly thought of his ex-wife Sonya Blade, but he ruled her out as the culprit, remembering that she was too serious for this even when they were married. He snapped himself out of the past and focused on the present. He was getting ready to leave when he heard a knock on his door. He opened it and saw Stryker, who also had a crown of flowers on his head.

"You were ambushed, too?" Stryker asked when he saw Johnny Cage's flower crown.

"Yeah, they got me, Rogers. I didn't even see them," Johnny Cage replied.

"If anyone knows flower crowns, it would be Kung Lao. The guy really knows his flowers," Stryker suggested.

"Let's head to China," Johnny Cage said. As he and Stryker were driving down to the airport (Stryker drove. Johnny Cage tended to text a lot even when inside a moving vehicle.), Johnny Cage's phone buzzed. It was a text message from Jacqui.

Uncle Johnny, someone put a crown of flowers on Dad's head. Cassie and I were nowhere near Mom's flower garden. We were on the second floor of the barn because it was the only place out of the way that was big enough.

Jacqui Briggs was an honest girl. So someone had ambushed Jax with the flowers...

Hey, Jacqui, did you or Cassie see who did it?

Cassie said she saw some weird purple energy but that's it.

"Here we are," Stryker said as the car rolled to a stop in a parking lot. After he and Johnny Cage got out, Stryker made sure to lock his car with extra care in case of thieves. The two managed to board a plane to China, and after the plane landed, they made their way toward the house where Liu Kang, Kung Lao, and Kung Jin lived. Johnny Cage knocked on the door, and Liu Kang answered.

"Ah, Johnny Cage and Stryker! I apologize for the slight... disarray my house is in. Some had ambushed both Kung Lao and myself, and he and Kung Jin are currently taking care of things," Liu Kang explained before inviting the two inside the modest-sized house and returning to his battle against the admittedly small amount of clutter. After the house was neat and orderly once more, Johnny Cage spoke up.

"Hey, Kung Lao? Stryker and I need to ask you a few things," Johnny Cage said.

"Go ahead," Kung Lao replied.

"Sir, do you know anything about who ambushed us all with these flower crowns?" Stryker asked.

"I saw a man in purple placing a crown on Liu Kang's head. Before I could get a good look at him, he splashed down, went behind me, and placed the crown on my head before disappearing," Kung Lao answered. Stryker had a hunch that it was his fellow ex-refugee camp resident Rain.

"While I lived in a refugee camp, I think I may have seen a man matching your description. He left with Smoke, so wherever he is, Rain can't be too far off," Stryker said. The five searched the area around the house, but Rain was nowhere to be found.

Meanwhile in the Lin Kuei Temple...

Rain laughed to himself when he saw Smoke with the crown of chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, and plum blossom twigs on his head.

"Why?" Smoke simply asked. Rain considered telling him the truth, but he shook that thought away, fearing that he could potentially come across as insane. So instead, he formulated a lie.

"It was fun," Rain lied. To his relief, Smoke believed him and patted him on the head.

"See, Rain? It's okay to have fun," Smoke said.

Chapter Text

For the average citizen of Outworld, life was a constant battlefield. You risked death even while doing your usual errands. As a result, you didn't see many elderly Outworlders roaming the streets.

Blanche was one of the luckier denizens of Outworld, though her luck had taken a nosedive as of late. She had been continually thrown at people with often fatal results for her. And yet, despite the fact that she was just a civilian by all accounts, Blanche returned to life again and again... kind of similarly to the most important figures in the civil war, in fact. Taking advantage of her strange ability to return to life, Blanche convinced Cassie Cage to give her a refresher course on how to fight.

Eventually, Blanche decided it was time for her to get her revenge. While Erron Black was fighting off Tanya in the marketplace where she did her shopping, Blanche walked closer to the battle zone, which Mileena and Kotal Kahn marked off with black stones. All she had to do was wait for the pretty Edenian lady or the nice Earthrealm cowboy to toss her. When she felt a pair of slim, delicate hands gripping both her sides, she quickly prepared herself. As soon as she slammed into Erron Black, she knocked him onto the ground and punched his face until it was little more than a red pulp.

Chapter Text

Wrath noticed a column of campfire smoke and grunted as if to tell Spectra and Kain about this. Spectra, who was blind, gave Wrath an appreciative nod.

"Thanks, Wrath," Spectra said. She then turned to Kain. "Well, demon... Investigate that fire!" she commanded. Had he still been loyal to that accursed necromancer Quan Chi, he might have muttered something about how nobody gives orders to a demon of the Netherrrealm. However, given his current situation, he instead investigated the fire as ordered. Near that fire lay his blue duffel bag, which had already been opened. Upon investigating the contents of the duffel bag, he realized that the tablet was missing! He quickly crept back to the undead thieves.

"The thief already took the tablet out of the bag!" he said. Having no time to lose, the three swiftly snuck over to the tent, where they noticed the thief hunched over the tablet. However, something was off about this scene. The thief didn't even notice their arrival, and he seemed to be frozen in that position. Upon closer inspection, he had died not too long ago. Being a walking corpse himself, Wrath yanked the tablet from his stiff hands. When he tapped the sigil of the Elder Gods, nothing happened. With a concerned grunt, he passed the tablet to his equally deceased sister, hoping that the tablet would respond to her touch. Unfortunately, her results were the same.

"Here, demon. See if you can get it to work for you," Spectra said as she passed the tablet to Kain. He tapped the sigil, but nothing happened.

"My connection has been severed," Kain sadly revealed. The three made their way back to the dock in Hong Kong with a sense of defeat.

Chapter Text

Two years later...

 

"General Blade, there's a woman in red in the base! She's already drained ten of our soldiers dry!" a Special Forces trooper yelled. Sonya had put her pen down; she had merely anticipated another day of doing paperwork, not a battle.


"Explain, soldier. If this woman is who I think she is, I'll have to put John's four-man team on leave," Sonya commanded.


"Well, she had short black hair with a red streak and... there she is," the trooper explained, any will to fight having disappeared once she realized that the attacker was right behind her.


"Skarlet? But I thought Mileena killed you seven years ago," Sonya said in shock.


"Interesting how you're able to recognize me despite the efforts I made to avoid such," Skarlet replied as an orb of blood formed in her right hand.


"I know of only one person who is able to attack with blood, and you fit the bill to a T," Sonya retorted. "Looks like it's Kombat Time." Sonya grabbed Skarlet with her legs and tossed her. Skarlet leapt at Sonya and stabbed her with a blood knife. Sonya stepped back in recoil. Skarlet attempted to form a blood scythe, but Sonya launched three pink rings at her.


"My increased power over blood is still new to me. Nonetheless, I'm done playing," Skarlet said, donning a red cowl and a pair of goggles that were no doubt shaped with blood. "A few gallons of blood is all I need."


"Well, I doubt you're AB positive," Sonya countered. "At least now I know how you changed your appearance so quickly." The terrified trooper, not wanting anything more to do with the fight between Sonya and Skarlet, fled the scene.

Chapter Text

"HELP!" Kung Jin shouted, quite fearful of the events currently transpiring. Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Takeda, and Erron Black had gotten together. When they found boater hats and canes, it was only a matter of time before a sound more discordant than an oni's war cry pervaded the area.


"Jin's not being sarcastic. This must be serious," Cassie Cage remarked. As she looked around Yin Yang Island, she spotted the cause of Kung Jin's distress: the four people everyone had hoped would never form a barbershop quartet formed one. Once again, the fate of the universe had fallen on the duo's shoulders, and they were running out of time.


"Lord Raiden, please forgive me for this," Kung Jin said as he picked up a turtle. Thinking quickly, he ran to Cassie Cage. "Cassie, I hate to ask, but you wouldn't happen to have any tiny mines I can strap to this poor creature's back, would you? Because he is about to make a sacrifice to save everyone."


"I may have one on me," Cassie Cage replied as she searched for the requested object. Her eyes lit up as she found a small mine. "Here! Strap it on him, fast! We're running out of time!" The two worked together to strap the bomb onto the turtle's back before guiding it toward the quartet. All they could do at this point was pray to any gods that might be listening. As soon as the quartet took deep breaths in preparation to sing, Cassie Cage and Kung Jin clamped their hands over their ears.


"Hellooooooo!" Liu Kang sang.


"Hellooooooo!" Kung Lao sang.


"Hellooooooo!" Takeda sang.


"Hellooooooo!" Erron Black sang. At the moment Erron Black stepped forward, a clicking noise could be heard. Kung Jin walked away with a pang of guilt in his stomach as the mine exploded. True, his beloved cousins, friend, and rival were all horrible singers, but did they really deserve to die for it?

Chapter Text

"I can no longer show mercy to those who would defile Earthrealm!" a darker looking Raiden shouted as he fired red lightning bolts at an undead version of Liu Kang. The dark Raiden wore a menacing red and black outfit adorned with golden armor and Shinnok's amulet, while the undead Liu Kang had abandoned his Shaolin roots and instead wore an outfit made almost entirely of black leather and spiked armor. "Even if I did see the perpetrator as a son once!"


"You failed as both a father figure and a protector god!" the undead Liu Kang countered, hurling a fireball at Dark Raiden. "As Emperor of the Netherrealm, I will personally lead a full-scale war against Earthrealm! Even you will bow before me once Earthrealm falls!" He leaped out of the way of a massive hammer crashing down.


"You weak, pathetic fools! I live again!" Shao Kahn declared, briefly shooting a murderous glance at Kotal Kahn before returning his attention to Emperor Liu Kang and Dark Raiden. "Once I reclaim my throne, Outworld will konquer Earthrealm at long last!" As the three were about to fight each other, they were frozen in time by a frail-looking woman. However, it was clear from this feat that this woman was the most powerful being in the room; she was actually the Elder God Khronika.


"I will do whatever it takes to repair the damage that Raiden's continual meddling caused," Khronika announced before unfreezing the time stream around her three opponents. Despite the four way match between Dark Raiden, Netherrealm emperor Liu Kang, former Outworld emperor Shao Kahn, and the Elder God Khronika unfolding, Kotal Kahn continued watching with an air of disinterest.


"I care little for any of this madness," Kotal Kahn muttered. "I only care for how Outworld would be affected by it."

Chapter Text

Kotal Kahn had returned to the imperial palace only to find it in a state of utter chaos. Various items were strewn about the floor, giant spiders roamed about in search of people to eat, and since when did he recruit Jade?


"My emperor! It'sss a relief to sssee you!" Reptile exclaimed. "Everything'sss falling apart! Jade'sss been a great help in ssstarting to reign thisss chaosss in, but without your guidanccce, we can't make any progresssss!" It only took a few seconds for Kotal Kahn to learn what Reptile meant: Erron Black had shot a massive spider until it died, screaming the entire time. However, the spider melted, and four equally large spiders emerged from the black tar-like substance.


"I see..." Kotal Kahn simply said. "I would like to speak with Jade. She might know a way to stop this for good, and besides, I need to know her true intentions." He searched for Jade, cleaving any spiders he encountered in half. He finally spotted the green-clad Edenian impaling a spider with her trusty staff.


"We meet at last, Kotal Kahn," Jade began, hurling her glaive backwards at the spider as she turned to face the emperor. "Since I can tell you're suspicious of me, let's get this out of the way: I'll truly join you if you can tell me where Kitana might be." Kotal Kahn knew having a warrior as skilled as Jade on his side would be a massive help, and he had seen Kitana during one of his visits to Earthrealm.


"It would appear as though Kitana is residing in Earthrealm these days," Kotal Kahn told Jade as he lobbed a burning stone at the spider lunging to devour her. "Earthrealm would be a good starting point, at any rate."


"Thank you, for both the information and saving my life just now," Jade replied. The two watched the massive spider burn away until mere cinders remained. "And now I believe we may have a way to destroy these fiends for good. We need to kill them with fire."


"Now it's your turn to help me, Jade," Kotal Kahn said as he dashed through the palace, grabbing every torch he could find. "Where did the spiders even come from?"


"It's Khronika," Jade began, surprised at the speed in which Kotal Kahn handed out torches. "She's sending those spiders out to devour Outworld, starting with its palace. She sees both your reign and Mileena's reign as grotesque perversions against nature."


"She does realize that by reinstalling Shao Kahn as emperor of Outworld, he'd just be ruling over a dead realm, right?" Erron Black asked. "And that's assuming she does it after the spiders are done eating everyone." At that statement, Kotal Kahn narrowed his eyes.


"Now you've done it, Khronika..." Kotal Kahn began, in a soft yet furious voice. "You have awakened the sleeping giant of Outworld, and it will not end well for you!"

Chapter Text

Cassie Cage studied her surroundings once she noticed an odd detail: namely, there were still zombies and demons roaming about the city, and several buildings were merely in the process of being destroyed. She then turned to Smoke and Rain, who were assigned by Sub-Zero to protect her while she investigated an area heavily affected by the temporal armageddon.


"Are you two seeing this? Because I'm pretty sure this city was completely destroyed in the Netherrealm War," Cassie asked. The three then heard three sets of footsteps approaching them and prepared to fight.


"Cassandra Carlton... we meet again," Quan Chi said menacingly. Accompanying him were zombified versions of Smoke and Rain. "As you can see, Khronika granted me the ability to bring in revenants from other timelines and points in time. A half-Enenra and a fallen Edenian prince make excellent test subjects."


"Where in time are we anyway, Humpty Dumpty?" Cassie interrupted, still confused but loading her pistol nonetheless.


"I suppose I can humor you once before you and your companions die. You are now at the height of the Netherrealm War, where Shinnok was this close to achieving his plans for Earthrealm," Quan Chi answered before drawing a twisted-looking leaf dao with a skull for a pommel. "But enough talk. It's time for the three of you to die." Smoke stared down his undead counterpart.


"I killed you once. I'll gladly do it again and again until this armageddon comes to an end," Smoke told his revenant self while smoking with an intensity he usually reserved for when he was about to turn invisible or use his smoke-related powers.


Meanwhile, Rain wasted no time striking his revenant self with a bolt of purple lightning before hurling an orb of water at him.


"I don't know what Quan Chi meant by fallen Edenian prince, but I do know that I only want to see you gone!" Rain shouted before sending his revenant self flying with a mighty roundhouse kick.


Cassie stared down Quan Chi with a mixture of fear and unbridled hatred. How could she not, when she had seen her father horribly mangled on the floor of his apartment and surrounded by Nether magic that night? After she had overcome her initial urges to vomit and pass out, she drove him to the hospital herself.


That was two nights ago. Cassie had since volunteered to investigate a city that had been destroyed in the Netherrealm War many years ago. Apparently, there was a strong temporal surge there. Presently, she was alternating between shooting Quan Chi in the face and punching him in the groin. She had her suspicions that he was behind this surge, and she was determined to learn the truth one way or another.


"Don't just focus on your inferior counterparts! I command you to help me!" Quan Chi ordered the undead Smoke and undead Rain.


The two revenants obeyed and sent smoke balls and water orbs flying in Cassie's direction. Even with the living Smoke and Rain helping her, she found it difficult to keep up her defense.


Quan Chi sliced through her nightstick.


Cassie Cage found herself being warped into the air by a dark ball of smoke.


Quan Chi summoned a portal and punched her through it.


Cassie Cage was sent flying into a street light. As Quan Chi approached her glowing with a sickly green glow, Cassie Cage looked around, desperate to avoid dying on the mission. That fallen street light was looking very attractive at the moment...

Chapter Text

"What do you see down there?" Shang Tsung asked a young man wearing a mask looking down at a city being destroyed.


"Cassie Cage and Quan Chi are fighting down there. They both have a Smoke and a Rain helping them," the masked man answered. Shang Tsung's eyes narrowed at the mention of Quan Chi: while the two had formed the Deadly Alliance over 25 years ago, Quan Chi had usurped the role of head sorcerer from him. Being the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, Cassie Cage would ordinarily be an enemy of his, but the enemy of Quan Chi was his friend at the moment.


"I need you to wait here for me, traveler," Shang Tsung commanded before preparing to head into the city. He handed the masked man a crystal. "This crystal is bonded to mine. If it glows red, that means I require your assistance immediately. Just keep an eye on the crystal for now." The masked man nodded, and Shang Tsung made his way to the city.

----------

"Still, you persist?" Quan Chi asked, shrugging off the blow from the street light Cassie Cage swung at him.


"Of course I still persist! I'm the daughter of heroes!" Cassie shouted, remaining defiant despite everything and briefly eyeing a broken engine block. She deftly dodged a polluted-looking water puddle just before a bubble rose from it. "No matter what corner you back me into, I won't give in!"


Quan Chi mockingly laughed at Cassie Cage.


"How do you expect to back out of death, Cassandra?" he questioned, summoning a sickly green energy to his hands and his eyes. Before he could cast the spell, he found himself trapped within a healthier-looking bubble.


"I must thank you for holding him still for me, Rain!" an elderly voice called out. "This shouldn't take much longer..." The elderly man took the opportunity to drain Quan Chi's soul even after the living Rain's bubble popped.


"Shang Tsung?!? Didn't Shao Kahn kill you many years ago?" Smoke asked in bewilderment once he got a good look at the old man, who had finished draining Quan Chi's soul and allowed the now empty husk to fall to the ground.


"Quan Chi wasn't the only one Khronika brought back through the Sands of Time," Shang Tsung answered. "Despite the bad blood I bear with Earthrealm, I just saved your lives. You are welcome. By the way, the three of you owe me your souls."


"Thanks, but no thanks. I need mine for the forseeable future," Cassie explained.


"I think I'll hold on to mine for a while longer. I hate being a soulless abomination!" Smoke added.


"I've seen what happens to me when I don't have a soul and I don't like it at all," Rain finished.


Shang Tsung shrugged, disappointed but accepting of their reasoning. He noticed the masked man approaching him, as did the three investigating the temporal rift.


"Who are you?" Rain asked, brandishing a dagger that looked more ceremonial than practical.


"My true identity is unimportant for the time being. I simply aid Shang Tsung," the masked man answered. "However, if you are so inclined, you may call me Kryptid until I am ready to reveal my true name." He and Shang Tsung departed as suddenly as they arrived, leaving Cassie, Smoke, and Rain very confused.


Cassie then turned to Smoke and Rain.


"Hey, could you two do me a solid?" Cassie requested, exhaustion creeping into her voice now that the adrenaline was wearing off. "I want to go back to the base. I just hope Quan Chi, Shang Tsung, and Kryptid being there will be enough information for my mom."

Chapter Text

“I must thank you all for coming here on such short notice,” Sub-Zero began as he waited for his friends to enter the Lin Kuei temple grounds. “Until now, we've all been doing little things like stopping the temporal surges, but now's the time to seek a way to stop this cataclysm for good.” Once Raiden and Fujin, who were at the back of the group, had entered the gates, Sub-Zero signaled to the gate guard to close the gates.

 

“No problem, Blueberry Ice. I'm sure you'd do the same for any of us,” Johnny Cage answered.



“I really hope we can get something figured out. Thanks to a whole lot of hardworking, determined people, we're pretty sure a woman named Khronika's behind all of this. Unfortunately, we don't know the why or the how to stop her,” Jax explained. This information piqued the gods' interest.



“Khronika... she is the Time Weaver responsible for creating the universe,” Raiden began. “Now she seeks to destroy and restart it in order to return it to its 'rightful course', and she is using this temporal Armageddon to achieve her goals.”



“She isn't alone. She's pulled Shao Kahn, Quan Chi, and many other allies from across various timelines and recruited them to her cause,” Fujin added. “I fear Khronika may have gone rogue, but until Raiden councils with the Elder Gods, we can't be certain.”



Liu Kang was tempted to say something about the Elder Gods refusing to aid Raiden again, but he bit his tongue. Instead, he turned to Kung Lao.



"Our undead counterparts... we could have easily walked their dark path ourselves in this very timeline," Liu Kang said. "To see such fates befall us and our friends... it saddens me."



Kung Lao leaned closer to Liu Kang.



“It's just a bit further to the meeting room now,” Sub-Zero stated. “I'd be careful if I were you. We have a most... obnoxious guest in there.” He hesitantly raised his hand to the doorknob before turning it.



When the door opened, a Johnny Cage much younger than the one in the group was on a computer with a sullen look on his face.



"Hey, you guys are from the future too, right? Because I have an important question for you," the younger Johnny Cage asked as he turned around to face the group.



Sub-Zero and the older Johnny Cage sighed.



"Make it quick. The grown-ups need to talk about something important," Sub-Zero said wearily. He was definitely getting too old for this.



"Why is it that I have yet to see a jetpac? I've been here a whole hour!" the younger Johnny Cage complained.



The older Johnny Cage groaned. This was going to be a long meeting, especially with his obnoxious younger self present.

 

Chapter Text

In the Halls of Time, many people were gathered.

 

From undead versions of various fallen warriors who exist only to serve the Netherrealm to some of the greatest threats the realms have known to even warriors from other timelines, Khronika had no shortage of warriors to recruit in her bid to restore the timeline.

 

Her proudest creation, Geras, stood outside the gatherings as he always did; forever keeping an eye out for anything that could disrupt this meeting.

 

"I tried so hard to wipe out the Earthrealm Special Forces. I would have succeeded if not for Sonya," Skarlet began, recounting her attack on the Special Forces base and lowering her head in shame. True, she was one of countless people brought back through the hourglass and Khronika could just bring her back from the same point in time, but something within Skarlet still feared the Time Weaver's wrath.

 

"Flawed beings will cling to a flawed timeline," Empress Kitana simply replied, opening one of her fans and waving it. "This is why I propose that we simply kill them all!"

 

Skarlet was unsure of how much of Empress Kitana's old self remained within her ghastly flesh, but she accepted the Netherrealm Empress's reasoning.

 

"Never fear! As long as Khronika controls the sands of time, we can just come back again and again!" Baraka declared, much to the annoyance of the undead Jade present.

 

"You are simply overconfident, Baraka," the undead Jade began. "What if the thunder god wrests control over the hourglass away from Khronika and his allies kill us?"

 

"Which is why killing Raiden is our top priority," Khronika added. "With his death, a significant obstacle to our goals will be cleared away."

 

"Say, what happened to livey Jade? Wasn't she with us?" Kano asked.

 

"One of us going missing is of minor annoyance," Quan Chi answered. "Besides, the undead are far superior. They never complain, never request anything, and are absolutely loyal."

 

"I saw the treacherous wench in Outworld working to eradicate your Realm Eaters, Khronika," Mileena began. "On top of that, she's working with Ko'atal and his ragtag bunch of misfits!"

 

"I see... you may be worthy as a scout, Mileena," Khronika answered. "Don't forget that the top priority is still killing Raiden. After all, he created this flawed timeline, and we are to correct it by any means necessary."

 

Chapter Text

As Cassie, Jacqui, Takeda, and Kung Jin explored the Lin Kuei temple, the four were discussing something.

 

"You know, if we're still allies with Montezuma, we should DM him over Friendships," Cassie Cage suggested. Almost as soon as she said that, their cell phones all buzzed simultaneously.

 

"Speak of the devil and he shall appear..." Kung Jin remarked. Apparently Kotal Kahn had the idea to send them the message first.

 

If it is at all possible and Earthrealm is still willing to work with Outworld, I would like to request a meeting on Yin Yang Island. There are some important things about this temporal Armageddon that @JadeWithEnvy learned during what she describes as a long absence, and she wishes to share this information with all of you.

 

"My gods..." Kitana began as she entered the hall where the younger Defenders of Earthrealm were exploring. "If JadeWithEnvy is who I think she is, I may cry for once."

 

"We need to head to the front gates and wait for Raiden or Fujin to give us the unofficial Divine Okay," Sub-Zero answered. "Before you worry about me leaving the Lin Kuei unattended because I'm bringing both Frost and Smoke with me, I already have a contingency plan for that. I am leaving the clan in the hands of the emergency council until the four of us return."

 

"Somehow, I figured you would have something in place for situations like this," Jacqui stated before the six made their way to the front gate.

----------

"Remind me again why we're not going to Shang Tsung's island," the younger Johnny Cage requested.

 

"Because Yin Yang Island exists in both Earthrealm and Outworld. All of Outworld's emperors are required to learn this bit of information before taking the throne," Rain answered with the patience of a saint.

 

The older Johnny Cage wanted to egg Rain into murdering his younger counterpart, but he didn't, fearing a time paradox.

----------

"Remember, Rain, Kotal Kahn and his men are still technically your enemies, so just watch your step, keep your head down, and speak only when spoken to," Sonya instructed as the group disembarked the boat.

 

Kotal Kahn, accompanied by Reptile, Ermac, Erron Black, Ferra, Torr, and Jade, made his way to the group that had just stepped off of an ancient-looking boat with the intent to greet them. He paused a bit when he saw Rain among them, but continued nonetheless.

 

Tears welled up within Kitana's eyes when she saw Jade among Kotal Kahn's men. Finally, after all this time, she got to see Jade again. Ignoring Sonya's protest, Kitana rushed to embrace Jade, an action the two greatly missed.

 

"It's been far too long, Kitana," Jade began. "This is the one upside to this Armageddon..."

 

"By the way... where were you for the last twenty-plus years?" Kitana asked.

 

Jade contemplated telling Kitana the full story, but decided against it. If she told her the full truth all at once, Kitana would perform many reckless actions that would ultimately get her killed again. So Jade instead decided that she would tell Kitana the story in bits and pieces.

 

"When Raiden restored the two of us, I saw a flash of blue," Jade began. "Next thing I knew, sand was obscuring my vision."

 

Kitana had a hunch that the Time Weaver Khronika was the true culprit behind Jade's mysterious disappearance. If her hunch was correct, she could finally bring herself to forgive Raiden. For now, however, she decided to remain wary of him, trusting only her own desires, Jade, and her Earthrealm friends.

 

Chapter Text

"Damn it all to hell!" Erron Black cursed after a routine inventory check. All his guns were present, his makeshift sword was in surprisingly good condition considering the materials, and the bag his caltrops were in was holding up well, but he had run out of vials of sand. "I'm all out of sand grenades!"


Reptile made his way over to Erron as the gears turned in his head. Perhaps he had a solution for his grenade problem.


"I know you might find thisss a bit odd, but do you have an Eternal Vial?" Reptile asked.


Erron checked himself again. During this second inspection, he noticed something odd about an empty vial he kept hidden in his left vambrace and offered it to Reptile.


"Don't tell that Kollector fellow, but I swiped it from him a while back. Could this be that Eternal Vial thingy you need?" Erron asked.


"Yesss! That'sss it! I know my odditiesss and that'sss an Eternal Vial! I'll donate sssome of my acccid to you now," Reptile gleefully said before accepting the vial.


"Wait! Before you begin, are you sure you'll be okay after this?" Erron asked worriedly.


"Don't worry! I have acccid glandsss under my tongue. It'sss a trivial matter to fill an Eternal Vial with it," Reptile assured him.


----------


Elsewhere in Outworld, Kollector was closing in on the thief who had stolen his Eternal Vial. Shang Tsung had given him the vial as a reward for helping him collect numerous Edenians and Tarkatans for an undoubtedly gruesome experiment. He would get his precious Eternal Vial back by fair means or foul...

Chapter Text

"Kenshi, Stryker, and Kabal will stand guard in Earthrealm's Sky Temple. The Jinsei needs to be protected at all costs," Raiden ordered. "Kung Jin, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Sareena, I need the four of you to search the realms for revenants and eliminate them as threats. Sonya, do you think your Special Forces can take on a much larger Black Dragon?"


"If I didn't think they could handle a more powerful Black Dragon than what we're used to, I wouldn't have recruited them to begin with," Sonya answered.


"Good. Fujin, you'll train the Johnny Cage that came from the past. Only a god has the patience for such a task, as I have learned 27 years ago. Sub-Zero, Scorpion, unite your clans temporarily so you may fight the Tekunin more effectively. Kitana, Rain, you two need to keep an eye on Kotal Kahn and make sure he doesn't go back on our agreement," Raiden continued. "I will council the Elder Gods to determine our next move." And he vanished in a flash of lightning.


"Are you sure you'll be okay?" Smoke asked Rain before the two went their separate ways. "Kotal Kahn is still technically your enemy. I'm just worried he'll remember you were one of Mileena's generals and have you killed."


"He saw me coming with you and the others. He wouldn't dare do anything to risk destroying this alliance, and that includes killing one of us," Rain answered. "Please be careful. I hear the Tekunin forcibly transform their captives into machines programmed to obey Triborg's will."


Kitana had already returned to Jade's side. Given the length of time the two were separated, nobody could blame her for wanting to spend as much time with her best friend as she could.


Rain saw this as his cue to head to Kotal Kahn's group as well. Steeling himself, he walked toward Erron Black, who was his best friend from before the civil war in Outworld.


"Guess I better keep an eye out for any person-shaped machines, huh?" Erron Black commented as Rain continued carefully making his way to him. "Don't worry, Rain. I won't blow your brains out. The Kahn called off the war until this Khronika situation's dealt with."


"This feels right..." Rain said, matching his pace with that of Erron's as the group entered the Outworld side of Yin-Yang Island. "I missed this fighting by your side, Erron. It's been far too long."


"And I missed you," Erron replied. He handed Rain and Kitana torches. "You'll need these in case we run into any evil world-eating spiders. Don't worry. I won't charge as long as the world needs saving."

Chapter Text

"Hey, whatever happened to Smoke and Frost, anyway?" Takeda asked as he looked around. He, Sub-Zero, and Scorpion had been separated from the two Lin Kuei warriors during the latest Tekunin attack.


"I can only hope they weren't captured by the Tekunin," Sub-Zero answered. He heard another set of footsteps approaching. He quickly turned around to see their source: Frost. However, she looked more similar to a Frost that his Frost imprisoned within a block of ice weeks ago.


A Frost whose outfit more closely resembled Khronika's armor than her familiar Lin Kuei garb menacingly strode toward the trio. Her icy blue eyes narrowed; it was clear she wanted to kill them.


"We meet again, ex-Sifu," Frost began, forming an icy short sword and tossing it into the air. "Lady Khronika says you must die now."


"Wait a second! I thought my Frost froze you!" Sub-Zero interrupted.


Frost simply laughed before catching her sword.


"Ha! Your Frost is far weaker than me or even you," Frost taunted. "For starters, she could never kill me even if she wanted to."


"Do not insult my timeline's Frost!" Sub-Zero yelled. "She made the right call in merely imprisoning you until this Armageddon comes to an end, and I will refreeze you until you can go home!"

"Hmph!" Frost said with a great deal of disdain as soon as she bothered to notice Scorpion and Takeda, both of who wore their Shirai Ryu uniforms proudly. "I knew this was a bad timeline, but I never thought you would ally yourself with Shirai Ryu scum."

"Let's deal with the Time Weaver's Frost," Scorpion suggested. "After she's out of the way, we can look for Smoke and our Frost."

"Good call, Hanzo Hasashi," Sub-Zero agreed before forming a massive ice battleaxe. "And this time, I intend to keep a closer eye on her."

Chapter Text

"Rain's going to be okay, right?" a worried Frost asked Smoke.


The two had been separated from Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and Takeda during a Tekunin attack, and they could only hope the others didn't end up getting captured.


"I'd hope so. It looks like Kotal Kahn called off the civil war in Outworld for the time being, but the emperor may still hold a bit of a grudge against him." Smoke answered.


"Hey, don't tell anyone else, but I'm actually kind of worried about the guy," Frost commented, looking around to make sure nobody else was nearby.


"You and me both, Frost. I know Erron Black's with him, and they go way back, but I'm not sure about the others, not even Kitana," Smoke replied. An idea suddenly entered his brain. "You know, Outworld's had internet for about a year now. We could send Rain an occasional message over Friendships. If he responds, he's okay. If not, he's either busy or not okay."


"I kind of like the sound of that system. It looks simple enough," Frost agreed before pulling a cell phone out of her pocket. "When can we send him the first message?"


"If we reunite with Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and Takeda before the sun sets, we'll message him then," Smoke began. "If not, we'll message him just before setting up camp for the night."

Chapter Text

As Sub-Zero knocked Frost down to the ground, he took the opportunity to get a better look at her. His heart sank when he saw wires holding her together.


"You... you're no longer human, are you?" Sub-Zero sadly asked.


"Why would I be a mere human when I can be greater?" Frost replied with another question. "Triborg is already helping the Lin Kuei ascend as we speak. My job here is done."


Sub-Zero reluctantly encased Frost in a thick block of ice.


"The Lin Kuei is being abducted and forcibly cyberized?!?" Sub-Zero asked in shock. "Forgive me for this, other Frost, but I have no time to waste. My clan needs me now more than ever."


"I'll help you save your clan, Kuai," Scorpion offered. "First, we need to find Smoke and our Frost. What do we do with the other Frost? Leaving her seems irresponsible."


"I'll bring her with me, as I promised before the fight began," Sub-Zero answered as he began wrapping chains around the frozen Frost. "Her fall into darkness is on the shoulders of another me. I intend to right this wrong."

Chapter Text

As Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Kung Jin, and Sareena were on a hunt for revenants, Jin stopped in his tracks. He saw two people who looked extremely similar to his borderline father figures save for the fact that they looked younger.


"Oh. My. Gods," Kung Jin said once he noticed them. "Are those past Liu Kang and past Kung Lao?"


"It can be nobody but them," Sareena answered. Kung Jin's eyes lit up and a huge smile spread across his face. He slowly approached the past versions of Liu Kang and Kung Lao.

 

"I'm gonna go talk to them!" Kung Jin announced. "Seeing them in the flesh when they were around my age is so cool!"


The younger Kung Lao turned to face Kung Jin.


"Who might you be?" the younger Kung Lao asked. Kung Jin froze up; he never actually expected the younger Kung Lao to acknowledge him.


"I'm Kung Jin," he began nervously. "I'm your cousin slash nephew from the future. And you must be my cousin slash uncle from the past."


"I suspected as much," the younger Kung Lao said. "Lord Raiden has told us much about you, including the fact that your heart's desires lead you to men."


Fear welled up within Kung Jin. What if the past counterparts of his father figures didn't accept him like they did? His fear eased slightly when the younger Liu Kang turned to face him with gentleness in his eyes instead of the cold, disapproving glare he received from his actual parents when he came out to them many years ago.


"Kung Lao and I need you to be honest with us," the younger Liu Kang began. "Do we need to fight our future selves?"


"Your future selves accept me for who I am," Kung Jin explained. "That's why I like them even though the rest of my family disowned me."


"Then Liu Kang and I have no need to fight our future selves," the younger Kung Lao replied. "I only wish I could fight the rest of our family. You deserved better than their shameful treatment of you."

Chapter Text

“Wh… what is this spark?” Cyrax asked. “Could my humanity have returned to me somehow?”

 

“Given the fact that time itself is falling apart, it's not entirely impossible,” a younger Jax answered. “I know Sonya and I have future selves running around out there. I'm just surprised future Johnny's military as well.”

 

“Please don't tell me I marry John and have kids with him,” a younger Sonya groaned.

 

“I have some bad news for you,” Cyrax replied.

 

“Let's just find our future selves and join them,” Jax interrupted, sparing Sonya from Cyrax's news.

Chapter Text

“Can you believe some damn insurance company tried to kill us both?” the younger Johnny Cage asked once he and Fujin narrowly escaped Cetrion's wrath. “I always thought they were supposed to pay us in case our shit broke, not try to murder people with three of your stereotypical four elements!”

 

“Cetrion is no insurance company,” Fujin replied. “She is the Elder Goddess of life, nature, and virtue, although she follows her mother Khronika's vision as to what the universe should be like.”

 

“So in addition to a crazy time lady, we're also fighting Mother Nature, who is actually the daughter of the crazy time lady?” Johnny Cage questioned. “And they're trying to destroy the entire universe?”

 

“Yes, that is the current situation,” Fujin answered. “And do you understand why the universe ending is bad?”

 

“If everyone's dead, there won't be anyone around to watch my movies or fall in love with me,” Johnny Cage replied.

 

“We need to meet with the others,” Fujin told Johnny Cage. “If Cetrion truly is working with Khronika, it would be a foolish mistake to keep this information to ourselves.”

-----

“I apologize, but Khronika seeks to destroy the universe itself!” Raiden shouted to the Elder Gods, having teleported to the hall hurriedly. Cetrion's throne was empty.

 

“The Hourglass is her key to controlling time. If you were to wrestle control of it away from her, you could prevent this Armageddon from destroying our universe,” Odin explained.

 

“That is helpful, but I have another question before I leave,” Raiden said. “Why is Cetrion absent? Does she no longer number among you?”

 

“Cetrion is still one of us. Her duties as the goddess of life, virtue, and nature require her to venture away from here every so often,” Odin answered.

 

“I thank you for your council, Odin,” Raiden said before bowing. He then disappeared in a flash of blue lightning. Almost as soon as Raiden disappeared, Cetrion returned to the hall with a white axe in her hands.

 

“Mother sent me here for one reason only,” Cetrion began, raising her axe in preparation to strike

Chapter Text

One year earlier...

 

"I'm so sick of this!" Smoke yelled as he threw a rope dart with a three-pronged knife tied to the end. "Netherrealm Studios has either neglected me or screwed me over for far too long!"

 

Rain dodged the rope dart but nodded in empathy; he knew all too well how Smoke felt. After all, his statement also applied to him. He took a deep breath before extending a hand to Smoke, who was smoking more intensely than ever.

 

"Let's be tired of Netherrealm Studios together, Smoke," Rain offered. Smoke took his hand, relieved that he was not alone in his resentment of the Chicago-based studio.

Chapter Text

"I finally found the two of you!" Raiden began once he encountered Nightwolf and Sindel. "Sareena, can you read from the Nekronomicon?"

 

"It was required reading in Cocytus University. I minored in Necromancy," Sareena answered before Raiden handed her a black leather book.

 

"To think, I could have simply sent for you the entire time," Raiden said, revelation coming over him. Regardless, he raised his staff before slamming it onto the ground. From the staff, a glowing blue circle enveloped the final two revenants, preventing them from escaping. "Read the incantation to reverse Quan Chi's spell now!"

 

"Capti sunt et in carne putrida, nobis revelare verum tuae," Sareena chanted. A brilliant light enveloped Nightwolf and Sindel as their gray flesh reverted to the colors they were in life.

 

"What is this madness?" Sindel asked. She quickly took the opportunity to fly away from the holy circle. However, Nightwolf approached Raiden.

 

"I thank you for freeing me from this unending nightmare," Nightwolf said.

 

"Come with Sareena and myself, Nightwolf," Raiden began. "Much has happened while you were absent. It is best we tell you before doing anything else."

Chapter Text

"I never thought I would see my brother ally himself with my murderer," Noob began as he emerged from an inky black puddle.

 

"And what did Khronika promise you? Wealth? Life? Power? A job as the Grim Reaper?" Sub-Zero coldly answered. "You were right all these years ago: we may share blood, but we are not brothers!"

 

"That stings," Noob countered. "Why assume the worst of the brother you idolized?"

 

"I was young and foolish," Sub-Zero answered. "And if I recall correctly, you disowned me first, Noob! Now, begone!"

 

"I see you have at least perfected the icy mannerisms of a Cryomancer," Noob said before reaching into his torso and removing a sickle. "If you want to fight me, I will gladly oblige you, brother."

 

"Don't ever call me your brother again! We are nothing alike!" Sub-Zero countered before forming a large ice battleaxe.