El Thorvaldo Moderator

Sup ma homeyz Th0rv@1dUb3rR0XX0R hear wit hmy SEAUQAL 2 teh GR8EST FNAFIC EVARR!!!!1!

In the black emptiness, two lines of blue text suddenly appear:

A short while ago in a galaxy
you're all familiar with . . . .

They linger for a while, long enough that the average viewer can re-read them three, maybe four times.

Then they vanish.

Alright, this time I'm ready.

Usually the fanfare that blasts as they play the title card scares me three quarters of the way to a heart attack.

So this time, I'll mute the sound.

I can't believe I never thought of this earlier.

Hey wait, un-pause un-mutes?? That's not fOH SH—



Dd-la-Da da da DA da da Da da da DA da da


Do Do Do


Episode I can't believe it's not recession:


It is a dark time for the
Rebellion. Although the Doom
Sphere has been destroyed,
Imperial troops have abused
expansion rules to scatter the
Allied forces across the galaxy.

Evading the dreaded Imperial
Starfleet, a group of freedom
fighters led by Hermann Fegelein
has established a new secret
base on the remote ice world
of the SPORE Forum.

The evil lord Darth Lackarse,
obsessed with finding young
christos200, has dispatched
thousands of remote probes into
the far reaches of space . . . .

—Da da da DA!
Dd-la-da da da DA- da
DD-LA-DA dd-la-da DD-LA-DA dd-la-da
DD-LA-DA dd-la-da DD-LA-da-dladadla-da-dladadla-
DEE doo doo dee DEE doo doo dee
DEE doo doo dee DEE doo doo dee

Hey, hold up; what's this?


It's a note.


"If you are reading this message, then my knock-off TARDIS worked and I am now in Bangladesh in the year 2136. A bit of a roundabout way to get those lozenges, but I was hacking like a seal and couldn't wait the week-end—"


"—I forgot to mention earlier that I borrowed your car last week for an errand and forgot to fill the tank before I got back?!"

Oh Jeez, and here my sister thought I was pranking her!

Ben... why didn't you tell me??

An Imperial Star Destructor floated through the mind-numbing emptiness of deep sp—wait, that's not quite true, I can see some planets or moons or something in the background. A dozen pod-like objects descended from the docking bay and blasted off in separate directions. One of the pods found its way to a bluish-white globe; a red flame streaked through the sky before the intruder slammed into the planet's icy surface, coughing up smoke and debris. As the dust cleared, a robot resembling something from Dr. Eggman rose from the crater; hovering over the ground, it set off across the inhospitable terrain.

Elsewhere, a figure raced across the icy floes on the back of an Arctic Llama. Mount and rider reached a halt as they crested a snowy dune. The figure pulled off his mask and goggles, gazing across the forbidding horizon. As he looked left, he saw something red streak through the sky and slam into a distant hill. He took a moment to survey the impact with his... hmm, how to describe it? It looks like a set of binoculars, but it only has one lens. Anyway, he brushed off the ice on his wristwatch and dialled in a radio channel.

"Star Ranger to Naziman," said christos200, "Fegelein old buddy do you read me??"

"I told you," Fegelein's voice crackled, "Our callsign is 'Echo'. I'm Echo 3, you're Echo 7."

"Whatever. I finished my circle, i dont pick up any life readings," he reported with clear annoyance.

"There isn't enough life on this ice cube to host a forum," joked the officer. "Sensors are placed; I'm heading back." In the distance, Chris could see another figure riding off toward the horizon.

"ok, I'll see you there. Theres a meteorite that hit the ground near here I want to check it out, it wont take long." As Chris took the reins, the llama suddenly grew agitated. "Steady!!" shouted Chris, grabbing its neck, "Steady girl! Whats the matter?? You smell somethig?"

Chris looked to his right and was greeted by a woolly face with a gaping mouth of sharp teeth. Long claws raked his back, pulling him off the llama before the creature seized it by its throat. Unconscious and bleeding ...er, that snow must've hit his face pretty hard... Chris was dragged away.

Some time later, Fegelein rode past two sentries and a laser turret guarding the icy maw of the subterranean Resistance base. It was carved out of the outcropping, and although it had a few artificial components to the superstructure most of the interior remained rock-hard snow, requiring personnel to remain bundled up even deep within. He brought the llama to a halt in the middle of the hangar, an aide immediately taking charge as he dismounted. He threw off his hood and pulled off his patrol cap as he strode through the hangar bay, technicians at work on the Allied strike fighters and surface speeders, to the Centurion Raptor, a modified private freighter that he frequently boasted to be the fastest ship in the galaxy. On top of the ship, welding a section of exposed circuitry, was Fegelein's first mate, a werewolf named Arkady. SPORE's frigid climate having triggered his winter coat, he was able to make do with slightly less overdress than the rest of the troops, but even he sported a light winter jacket.

"Arkady!" called the Obergruppenführer, repeating the address when he failed to respond.

The werewolf raised his welding mask as he turned to him. "About damn time," he shouted, "It's taken me two hours on this accursed section alone!"

"Alright," Fegelein raised his hands apologetically, "Don't lose your temper. I'll come right back to give you a hand."

"Two, if you can spare them," the first mate quipped before resuming repairs.

Having stored away his overcoat, Fegelein navigated to the cramped base communications room. He made a cursory inspection of the staff, who were analyzing radio signals or plotting co-ordinates on space charts. One of the analysts was C. Aubrey Farnsworth, Esquire, a tall and well-mannered gentleman originally under Chris's patronage but who now functioned as an aide to the Resistance in whatever capacity they needed. Fegelein didn't see from across the room the appraising look of Princess Kaiser, one of the key leaders of the Resistance. She was an Allied senator permanently exiled after the Empire inaugurated their short-lived superweapon on her home forum of Doctor Who. Her hair was braided in an eastern European style that tied a large bun to the back of her head. Like the other staff, she was dressed in a field outercoat. As Fegelein proceeded further into the room, she turned back to the computer console.

He reached the far corner of the comm room where a stern-faced man with a thick beard was adjusting a set of controls. Noticing the officer's approach, the man straightened up with the simple acknowledgment, "Fegelein."

"No sign of life out there, General," he reported. "The sensors are in place, so you'll know if anything comes around."

"Has Commander Christos reported in yet?"

"No, he's checking out a meteorite that hit near him."

The general, Stavros, turned back to the controls, picking up a headset and putting one speaker to his far ear as he resumed his calculations. "With all the meteorite activity in this system, it will be difficult to spot approaching ships."

"General, I'll be taking my leave," Fegelein began abruptly, "I can't stay any longer." Kaiser straightened up, looking over to the two men.

Stavros turned back to him, brow furrowed with regret. When that Nazi and his misfit companions showed up at their last secret base claiming to have broken the Princess out of the Empire's new battle station, the General had held doubts; but in the months since, any suspicions as to Fegelein's intentions had been dispelled. "I'm sorry to hear that," he said.

"The price on my head's higher than usual; if I don't pay off Dolfy his goons might show up at your door, too."

"The Führer's vendetta is not an easy thing to live with," he nodded. With a cordial smile, he extended his hand, which the other man shook. "You're a good fighter, Fegelein; I hate to lose you."

"Thank you, General."

Fegelein turned about, noticing Kaiser for the first time. She was once again facing her console, and with deliberate slowness turned her head towards him. Realizing the game, he sauntered over with equal deliberation.

"Well, Your Highness," he began with a faint grin, "I guess this is it."

"That's right," she said coolly.

Fegelein stood silent for a moment, then turned and walked quickly back into the corridors. Soon enough, Kaiser was trailing after him. "Fegelein!" she called, and he turned about.

"Yes, Your Highnessness?" he asked with mock innocence.

She drew level with him. In a quiet voice, she asked: "I thought you had decided to stay?"

"Well, the bounty hunter we ran into in Argentina changed my mind."

"Fegelein, we need you!"

The officer paused for a moment. "'We' need?"


He contorted his face in mock confusion. "Well, what about you need?"

"I need?" she replied in genuine puzzlement. "I don't know what you're talking about," she sighed nonchalantly.

He made a 'tsk', flashing a crooked grin. "I'm sure you don't." He spun about and marched down the hall.

"And what precisely am I supposed to know?" she called after him, jogging to catch up.

"Come now," he explained matter-of-factly, "You want me to stay because you're attracted to me."

"Yes! You're a great help to us! You're a natural leader!"

"Noooo," he teased, bringing them to a halt. "Come on," he pointed to his mouth. The two backed up as an Allied soldier passed through, either oblivious or purposely keeping his head down. "A-a-ah?" he continued, leaning forward. "Come on..!" Another soldier slipped behind him, heading in the opposite direction.

"You're imagining things," scoffed the Princess.

"Am I?" he pressed, "Then why are you following me? Afraid I was going to leave without giving you a goodbye kiss?"

"I'd just as soon kiss a werewolf," she shot back, defiant.

"I can arrange that," he grinned, jabbing a thumb down the hall. "If you'll follow me..." Fegelein continued on. Kaiser stared angrily after him, then turned around to see a soldier heading into one of the side rooms. He raised his hands in surrender.

Elsewhere in the corridor, Farnsworth had retired from his analytical duties and was in conversation with his inseparable companion Jenkins, a short, stocky, but equally distinguished man who, for reasons known only to himself, communicated exclusively via slide whistle. "Don't try to blame me," quipped Farnsworth, "I didn't ask you to turn on the heater! I merely commented that it was freezing in the Princess's chamber!" Jenkins uttered a squawkish response. "But it's supposed to be freezing!" he retorted. "How we're going to dry off all those clothes I really don't know..."

The gentlemen entered into the hangar not far from the Raptor. Arkady and Fegelein were underneath, seemingly in the midst of an argument. "I tell you we're leaving—"

"Da, no—"

"The hydraulics weren't damaged—"

"Da, no—"

"So you pulled apart the struts—"

"Da, if I could just—"

"Excuse me, sir," Farnsworth called, shuffling forward.

"—Put them back together right now!"

"Might I have a word with you, please?"

Sighing, Fegelein straightened up. "What's up?"

"Well, it's Princess Kaiser, sir. She's been trying to reach you on the communicator."

"I turned it off; she knows where to find me."

"Oh, well..." The gentleman retracted a bit, befuddled. "Princess Kaiser is wondering about Master Christos. He hasn't come back yet. She doesn't know where she is."

"I don't know where he is," he shrugged.

"Nobody knows where he is," Farnsworth stated matter-of-factly.

Fegelein frowned. "What do you mean, 'nobody knows'?"

"Well, you see—"

But before he could finish, Fegelein broke away out into the hangar. "Deck officer? Deck officer!"

"Yessir?" a thirtysomething soldier called, jogging over.

"Do you know where Commander Christos is?"

"I haven't seen him... It's possible he came in through the south entrance."

"It's possible?" he parroted, "Why don't you go find out? It's getting dark out there."

"Yessir." The man gave a quick nod and headed off. Fegelein turned back to Farnsworth.

"Excuse me, sir; might I inquire as to what's going on?"

"The more the merrier," he replied, patting Farnsworth on the back before taking off.

The gentleman sighed before turning to his compatriot. "Come along, Jenkins, let's find Princess Kaiser. Between ourselves, I think Master Christos is in considerable danger."

Fegelein made his way to the llama pens just as the deck officer returned from the south entrance. "Sir, Commander Christos hasn't come in the south entrance. He might have forgotten to check in," he offered.

"Not unless he was hauling contraband," mused the Obergruppenführer, "And this planet's not exactly a trade hub. Are the speeders ready?"

"Uh, not yet, we're having some trouble adapting them to the cold."

"Then we'll have to go out on llamas," he stated, slipping past the personnel that had gathered around them.

"Sir, the temperature's dropping too rapidly!" the deck officer protested.

"That's right," said Fegelein, "And my colleague's out in it."

"I'll cover sector 12," called an assistant officer, "Have comm-control set screen alpha."

"Are we just making up terminology now?" shouted a soldier.

Fegelein found a sturdy-looking llama and swung up onto its back. "Your llama will freeze before you reach the first marker!" the deck officer protested.

"Then I'll see you in Hell!" He spurred the llama on with a "Hiya!"

A foggy dusk descended over the frigid hills. Somewhere in an icy cave, Chris was suspended upside-down, near the skeletal remains of what was presumably his captor's previous meal. A bestial holler woke him from his induced sleep. Taking stock of the situation, he reached up to free himself, only to find his feet were frozen into the ceiling. Exhausted, he fell back down, at which point he spied his plasma foil a little ways off. He jerked his head as he heard another howl from deep in the cave. He tried to reach his weapon, but it was a good three to four feet away. He balled his hands into fists, screwing his eyes shut in frustration. Then, suddenly, he had an idea: the Farce!

Trying to calm his young and presently anxious mind, he extended his hand again, this time reaching out with his sense of mise-en-scène, tapping into the latent comedy of the universe. Almost imperceptibly, the plasma foil began to move! But something else was moving further in the cave; something large and woolly. The foil lurched once, twice, then sprung from the snow and right into Chris' face. Too much Farce, he groaned, picking it up off the ground and igniting the blade. Swinging himself forward, he sliced at the ice binding his feet. Chris fell to the floor, picking himself up just as he registered a new presence. The creature's face was in shadow, but even beneath its fur he could see the exaggerated muscle definition, its arms extended toward him, with long, razor claws. He knew instantly that he was face-to-face with a Turk.

Panicking, Chris lashed out as the creature bore down on him, slicing off one of its arms. The creature roared in pain as Chris hastily made his retreat, climbing out into the howling wind of a SPORE evening. He ran as fast as he could through the ankle-deep snow, only to catch himself on a ledge and tumble down the slope. Hastily picking himself up, he trudged on across a featureless expanse of snow. Elsewhere, Fegelein paused for a moment, briefly raising his snow-caked goggles to peer across the forbidding landscape.

Back at the base, Jenkins stood at the mouth of the cave, slowly sweeping a device resembling a parabolic microphone from left to right. He made a series of short chirrups on his slide whistle. Farnsworth made his way over.

"You must come along now, Jenkins!" the taller man implored, "There's really nothing more we can do. And my limbs are freezing up!" Jenkins gave a trill in reply. "Don't say things like that!" exclaimed Farnsworth, turning in to the base, "Of course we'll see Master Christos again!" Jenkins blew a sombre note. "And he'll be quite alright! You'll see!" called Farnsworth. "He'll be quite alright," he muttered to himself with considerably less confidence.

Chris collapsed, panting. After a moment and with considerable effort, he rolled himself forward and onto his feet, stumbling through the snow as he tried to reaffix his scarf over his face. Giving up, he suddenly fell forward. Elsewhere, Fegelein entered out onto a vast expanse of flat land. He dismounted a drowsy-looking llama and stepped forward a few metres, brandishing a gadget with two long antennae, sweeping the area for anything that might register a biological signal.

Meanwhile in the base hangar, a squad lieutenant jogged over to his commanding officer. "Sir, all the patrols are in. Still no—" The superior raised his hand, motioning to where Princess Kaiser was walking slow circles beneath a strike fighter. In a low voice, he continued: "Still no contact from Christos or Fegelein."

At that moment, Farnsworth and Jenkins arrived. "Princess Kaiser, Jenkins says he's been quite unable to pick up any signals, although he does admit that his own range is far too weak to abandon all hope—"

The two soldiers joined them. "Your Highness," began the senior officer, "There's nothing more we can do tonight. The shield doors must be closed." Silently, the Princess nodded. "Close the doors."

"Yes, sir," replied the lieutenant. A little ways off, Arkady rested his forehead against a structural beam.

Jenkins made a little whistle. "Jenkins says the chances of survival are 725... to 1." There was a low hum as the heavy hangar doors began to slide shut. Kaiser looked on with the expression of someone witnessing the final stages of a public execution. When the doors slammed shut, Arkady tipped his head back with an anguished cry. For all Fegelein's reputation, he couldn't see how the Master of Antics would overcome this time.

"Actually," Farnsworth added in an attempt at conciliation, "Jenkins has been known to make mistakes..." He slowly backed away. "From time to time." With leaden feet, the Princess headed back to the base interior. "Oh dear, oh dear..." the gentleman muttered. Jenkins let out another low note. "Don't worry about Master Christos," said his colleague, putting a hand to his shoulder, "I'm sure he'll be alright. He's quite clever, you know! For a Greek." Arkady replaced his forehead against the beam, weeping softly.

Out in the field, Chris lay sprawled in the snow, a thin dusting overtop indicating he had been this way for some time. His thoughts of silent death were interrupted by an ethereal voice. "Chris," it called. Slowly, agonizingly, Chris lifted his head. "Chris!" repeated the voice. Ahead of him stood a translucent figure. Chris stared in disbelief at a bearded elder man clothed in a long brown robe.

"Ali-G???" Chris asked incredulously. Alec Guinness, his mentor in the Farce, had been cut down by Darth Lackarse during their adventure on the Doom Sphere; how could he have survived?

"You will go to the Deewhyoh System," Alec Guinness began, straight to the point.

"Deewhyoh System," Chris repeated.

"There you will learn from Thorvald, the Cheddar Master who instructed me."

"Ali-G!!!" Chris cried, reaching out as the vision began to fade, replaced by an oncoming Arctic Llama and its rider. Utterly spent, Chris collapsed.

"Chris!" called Fegelein, rushing over. "Chris?!" He rolled the unconscious boy onto his back. "Don't do this, Chris," he groaned, "C'mon, give me a sign here." He leaned in forward to check for a pulse. A sudden cry from the llama called his attention. With a strange gargling noise, it keeled over sideways, succumbed to the cold. Fegelein sighed, looking first to Chris, then back to the llama. Then he had an idea.

The officer dragged Chris over to the fallen mount. "Not much time," he muttered.

"Ali-G!!! Ali-G..." Chris moaned, semi-conscious. Fegelein retrieved Chris' plasma foil and engaged the blade. With a deft cut, he made an incision across the llama's belly, exposing its fatty insulation.

"Hang on, kid."

"Deewhyoh System... Deewhyoh..."

"This may smell bad, kid," Fegelein began as he manoeuvred the delirious boy into the protective warmth of the llama.

"Tho... Thorvald..."

"But it'll keep you warm, until I get the shelter up."


"Ah!" he sighed, leaning against the corpse, "And I thought you were chatty..." he gasped for breath, "When you weren't drunk!" Slowly picking himself up, he retrieved his field tools and set to work building an igloo in the rapidly fading light.


Over the snow-encrusted outcroppings glided four hoverspeeders, small yet agile strike craft equally suited to deserts hot or cold. As they entered a valley, hazy from the blowing snow, they broke off in separate directions. "Echo Base," called one pilot as he zoomed into a vast stretch of icy dunes, "I've got something. Not much, but it could be a life form." Banking left, the speeder clung to a rocky embankment as the pilot recalibrated his radio.

"Commander Christos, do you copy? This is Rogue 2. This is Rogue 2." He sailed over a hill, levelling out over a rough plain. "Gruppenführer Fegelein, do you copy?" Reaching the end of the depression the speeder pitched backward, sailing into the frigid SPORE sky. "Commander Christos," he repeated, "Do you copy? This is Rogue 2."

The radio warbled and a smooth voice penetrated the cabin "Good morning!" called Fegelein, "Our hot chocolate’s late; don’t expect a tip!"

"Echo Base, this is Rogue Two," the pilot reported, beaming, "I've found them, repeat, I've found them!"

Fegelein gave a wave as the speeder flew past his makeshift igloo and Schneeführer.

About ten minutes later the speeder returned to the base with the adventurers aboard. Chris was taken to the medical bay where he was put into a rejuvenation tank, a most ingenious contraption that could repair physical damage in anything from a few minutes to a few hours. Woe betide the day the Empire got its hands on such technology, its callous disregard for human life sending the poor conscripts back to the front the moment they were patched up, an unending wave tactic that would turn even a remote border skirmish into a mini-Holocaust...

But I digress.

After his swim, Chris was dressed in a bathrobe and placed in a bed to recuperate. "Master Christos, sir," bubbled Farnsworth, "It's so good to see you fully-functional again!"


There was a chirrup as Jenkins joined the posse. "Jenkins expresses his relief, also."

"How you feeling, kid?" called Fegelein. "You don't look so bad to me."

"'Sides, beauty's on the inside," muttered Arkady with a crooked grin.

"He looks strong enough to tear the wings off a gadfly."

"yeah, I can take on any soviet rebels!!!"

Fegelein leaned in closer, brandishing thumb and index finger. "That's two you owe me, Junior." The trio chuckled, albeit for different reasons. Fegelein turned about to Princess Kaiser, who stood at the other side of the room, arms crossed. "Well, Your Worship, it looks like you managed to keep me around for a little while longer..."

Caching his look, she straightened up. "I had nothing to do with it," she grinned mirthlessly. "General Stavros thinks it's dangerous for any user to leave the forum until we've activated the ROM field."

"It's a good story," the officer nodded. "I think you just can't bear to let a gorgeous guy like me out of your sight." Behind him, Chris scowled.

"I don't know where you get your delusions, Luger-for-brains."

Arkady did a terrible job of disguising his snort as a cough. Fegelein turned, slowly and deliberately, to face him. "Laugh it up, fuzz-ball," he smirked, striding over to Kaiser and putting his arm about her shoulder. "You didn't see us alone in the south passage..! There, she expressed her true feelings for me."

"What?" she shot back, throwing off his arm. Chris perked up as his romantic rival's salient was repulsed. "Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking... Nazi!"

He gave a look of mock injury. "Who's scruffy-looking?" Jenkins gave a low trill as Fegelein returned to Chris' side. "Must've hit pretty close to the mark to get her all riled up like that, huh kid?" The boy desperately tried to contain his excitement.

Nodding her head with that 'I-know-how-this-game-works' air, she strode over and all but pushed Fegelein aside. "I guess you don't know everything about women yet," she said, then grabbed Chris' head and pulled him into a deep kiss. Everyone but Fegelein watched in amazement, Farnsworth casting nervous glances to the Obergruppenfüher. Deed done, the princess grinned at Fegelein.

At that very moment, "Headquarters personnel, report to command centre" buzzed through the station's PA system. Kaiser swiftly departed.

If Chris' smile had been any wider, he could've played the Cheshire Cat. "I hate to say it, sir," muttered the werewolf, "But your girl's tastes might not be as discriminating as you thought."

Fegelein shot Arkady a look. The intercom message repeated. "Take it easy," he muttered to Chris, before spinning about and marching after the princess, followed swiftly by his first mate.

"Excuse us, please," said Farnsworth, before he too trailed after them, accompanied by Jenkins.

Chris, still lost in his daydream, was oblivious to all of it.

"Princess!" called Stavros, "We have a visitor." Kaiser, Fegelein and their entourage gathered around a table in the communications room where the general and an intel officer were examining a computer console. "We've picked up something outside the base at Zone 12, moving east."

"Signature indicates metal construction," added the officer.

"Then it's not one of those creatures," surmised the princess.

"Not one of our speeders?" asked Fegelein.

"No," replied the officer. "Wait—I'm getting a faint signal." He pressed a button and a repeating pattern of daktaklakpak, somewhat muffled by static, echoed through the room. The party frowned, pensive.

"Sir," Farnsworth spoke up, "I am fluent in six million programming languages—" behind him an officer spat out his coffee "—and this signal is not used by the Alliance. It could be an Imperial code."

The officer recalibrated his instruments for a clearer transmission as the group listened with knitted brows. "It isn't friendly, whatever it is," Fegelein declared. "C'mon, Arkady, let's check it out."

"Sir," he nodded to the general before following the Obergruppenführer from the room.

"Send Rogues 10 and 11 to Station 3-8," Stavros ordered, before heading off in the opposite direction.

Out in in the field, the probe had completed its survey of the Allied shield generator complex and sped on. Fegelein watched it approach from a rocky outcropping. "Hey, beautiful!" shouted Arkady, popping up from the opposite side. A klaxon wailed as the probe pivoted, shooting off a salvo of lazors as the werewolf dove for cover. Taking his cue, the Obergruppenführer levelled his Walther and loosed a shot before dropping down as the craft retaliated. He made another shot and it exploded in a fireball, sending him back down as shrapnel rained all about. "Chinese crap!" shouted Arkady; Fegelein frowned.

"Afraid there's not much left," he reported to headquarters.

"What was it?" asked Kaiser.

"Robot of some kind. I didn't hit it that hard; it must've had a self-destruct."

Stavros and a number of officers crowded around as Kaiser brought up a schematic on her console. "An Imperial Probenik," she declared.

"Ready or not, the Empire knows we're here."

"Begin the evacuation," ordered Stavros.

A veritable swarm of Star Destructors were idling about in an empty region of space, while a throng of Kite Flyers buzzed about like a swarm of angry bees, but completely devoid of any spatial awareness. It's... so horrifying, yet I can't look away... Anyway, they—wait, what in the hell? There's a massive shadow falling overtop that one.

Sweet Mother Mary.

I mean...


OK, picture an arrowhead, load it up with laser guns, and then inflate it to the size of Australia. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the Empire's latest quest to drive aerospace engineers to suicide. I mean, Jesus, I can't imagine what sort of mileage you're gonna get on that thing. And braking? I thought my car handled like a cow...

Scratch my earlier comment. This is the majestic abomination.

Darth Lackarse must've been thinking the same thing as he stood on the bridge of that monster, gazing out into the void. But we'll leave this existential architectural quandary to him for the time being. Elsewhere aboard the ship, a man whose face resembled the unholy child of Hitler and Stalin was walking in tandem with a tall blonde woman with a Joan-of-Arc haircut and hard-set features. "Admiral," called an officer, and the first figure turned.

"'Sup, brah?" he said, making his way over.

The officer in question was Tyo Parkins. Miraculously, he had survived first his X-wing's destruction and then the explosion of the Doom Sphere and was picked up by Imperial search-and-rescue. Having bought his claim that he had been a mole in the Resistance, they freshly suited him up, and next thing he knew he was Captain aboard this spacefaring leviathan. On the one hand, he was still on a ship. On the other, he wasn't commanding anything. "I think we've got something," he said. "It's only a fragment, from a probe in the SPORE Forum, but it's the best lead we've had."

"Your mom is the best lead we've had!" boomed the admiral, pausing for the laughter that never came. "We have billions of these little bastards combing teh Intarwebz. I want proof, not leads!"

Overhearing the argument, Lackarse turned from the windows and strode over. "Visuals indicate life readings," Tyo pressed.

"Yeah, and so does FurAffinity. If we went to every niche porn site—"

"But sir, SPORE is supposed to be devoid of human forms!"

"YOU FOUND SOMETHING?" The admiral gave a start as Lackarse joined the circle.

"Yes, milord," Tyo inhaled, glad that someone had his back on this. He turned to the officer sitting at a computer console displaying video recording of what looked like a set of turbines half-buried in the snow.

"THAT'S IT," Lackarse declared, "THE REBELS ARE THERE."

The admiral forced a smile. "Darth L., buddy, there are so many uncharted settlements... It could be liberals, it could be—"


Editor's note: One of the reasons the Empire knows Chris’ identity is because he wouldn’t shut up about how he "kicked [their] ass" and blew up the Doom Sphere on every available social media channel.

"SET YOUR COURSE FOR THE SPORE FORUM. GENERAL SNEERS," he turned to the woman, nearly smashing his mask into her face she was standing so close, "PREPARE YOUR MEN." He carefully sidestepped the officer before moving on.

"Admiral," nodded the general, with a knowing smirk. Eye slightly twitching, he nodded back, and she departed after the Dork Lord. He frowned at Tyo, came up alongside him, made to speak, then with another scowl left himself. Tyo watched him go with a mix of confusion, and pity.

Back on SPORE, the Resistance was preparing for battle. "Groups 7 and 10 will stay behind to fly the speeders," a field officer briefed his subordinates; one of the men nodded in affirmation and departed. "As soon as each transport is loaded, Evacuation Control will give clearance for immediate launch."

"Right, sir," replied the second, before both moved on.

Fegelein, meanwhile, was atop the Raptor, welding circuitry while Arkady sat in the cockpit to test flight systems. "Alright," he shouted, straightening up, "That's it! Try it!" Arkady flipped an overhead switch, and the exposed panel abruptly burst into flames.

"Chyort!" barked the first mate, before punching panels as he tried to cut the power.

In the medical ward, Chris was zipping up a bright orange flight suit. "Mein Herr," advised the Medic, "I must advise against strenuous activity until you have made a complete recovery."

"Thats alright, i once took on the whole world in IOT9!"

"And did you win?"

Chris said nothing, snatching his jacket from the closet and marching straight out of the room.

"Take care, Mein Herr," the Medic muttered as he left.

Chris ran through the hangar to where Arkady was working on an underside panel. "Arkady?" called Chris.

"Da?" he turned to the boy.

"Take care of yourself ok??" He reached up to squeeze the werewolf's shoulder.

"Hey! NO! Bad touch!!" he shouted, leaping backwards.

"Hi, kid," called Fegelein from up top, before turning to a gentleman with him on the roof, saying "There has to be a reason; go check it at the other end. –Wait a second." He turned back to the boy. "You alright?"


Fegelein stared for a moment, reconsidering the phrasing of his query. Mistaking the gaze for empathy, Chris grinned apologetically before heading off. "Be careful," called the officer.

"You to!"

Arkady looked to Chris' retreating back, then to Fegelein, a quizzical expression on his face.

"Kid owes me twenty bucks," he shrugged.

In the comm room, Stavros approached an officer working the early warning relay. "General, there's a fleet of Star Destructors coming out of hyperspace in Sector 4," he reported.

"Idiots," he muttered. "Re-route all power to the ROM shield." He straightened up, turning to another staffer. "We need to hold the base until all transports are away. Prepare for ground assault."

Above the forum, the Imperial fleet approached, headed by that black hole of at least half the world's collective GDP. Onboard the flagship, a contraption resembling a twenty-sided die split apart, revealing Darth Lackarse in the centre. Standing before the cubicle was General Sneers. "WHAT IS IT, GENERAL?"

"My Lord, the fleet has moved out of light speed. Comm-Scan has detected a Read-Only Memory field—"

Before she had even finished speaking, the geodesic dome descended shut. Sneers blinked. Just as quickly, the dome reopened. She cleared her throat and began again: "Comm-Scan has detected a Read-Only Memory field protecting the—"

Again the dome closed, cutting her off. She took a deep breath. A couple of seconds later the dome reopened. She opened her mouth—only for it to immediately shut again. Sneers gritted her teeth. The dome opened—

—and shut before it had even started. It start-stopped once, twice more, then opened and stayed open.

Lackarse stared at Sneers.

Sneers stared at Lackarse.

Lackarse stared back at Sneers.

Sneers took a sharp breath. "Comm-Scan has detected a R—OH FOR EFF'S SAKE!!" she barked as the dome snapped shut. She was about to turn to leave when the dome reopened; with a stealthy growl, she snapped forward. "Are you finished, My Lord?" she asked, faux-sweetly.


Sneers rolled her head left and right as she took another breath. "Comm-Scan has detected a Read-Only Memory field protecting an area on the sixth planet of the SPORE Forum. The field is strong enough to deflect any editing."


"...He felt surprise was wiser—" the general started.


"Yes, My Lord." Sneers gave a short bow and departed as Lackarse spun his chair about, activating a vidscreen behind P_F and Tyo. The captain noticed and tapped him on the shoulder.

"The hell, man?" he snapped. Tyo turned to face the screen, P_F following suit when he registered what was going on. "G'day, Lacky!" he grinned, strategically positioning himself in front of the captain, "The fleet's moved out of light speed, and we're ready to—"


P_F frowned, looked to Tyo, who shook his head. He shrugged.


P_F started forward, and Lackarse headbutted him through the screen, sending him to the floor with an "OOUF!"

"CAPTAIN PARKINS," called Lackarse.

"Yes, milord?" he asked, stepping forward.


Tyo's face went white. Swallowing hard, he managed to stutter "Th-Thank you, L-Lord Lackarse."

Back at the base, Chris and another pilot rushed through the hangar bay to where Princess Kaiser was briefing the squadron. "All troop carriers will assemble at the north entrance. The heavy transport ships will leave as soon as they're loaded. Only two escort fighters per ship. The ROM field can only be opened for a short time, so you'll have to keep tight to your transports."

"Two fighters against a Star Destructor?" chortled one of the pilots, "I thought I was fighting for the Resistance!"

"The Imperial fleet has been spread thin to cover the entire forum, meaning our Ion Cannon will only need a few shots to clear you a flight path," she explained. "Once you're clear of the ROM field, proceed directly to the rendez-vous point. Understood?" The group nodded in affirmation. "Good luck."

"'Kay!" called the deck officer, "Everybody to your stations! Let's go!"

Out on the surface, ground soldiers surveyed the desolate expanse before them. They were stationed at a series of trenches and fortified turrets ahead of the base, positioned at the valley chokepoint. The line was closer to the entrance than they would have liked, but it was the only place they could funnel incoming forces for a focused defence. Inside the control room, General Stavros and Princess Kaiser observed the radio maps of the surrounding airspace as the first convoy prepared to depart. "Their primary target will be the power generators," the general surmised. Turning to a control officer, he ordered: "Prepare to deactivate ROM."

As a transport and its X-wing escort entered the upper atmosphere, a Star Destructor bore down on the sector. "Sir!" called an officer, "Rebel ships are coming into our sector!"

"Good," replied his commander, "I'll beat Czarnecki to the First Blood achievement!"

"Stand by, Ion Control", called a comm officer. "...Fire." Outside the base, an omnidirectional turret emplacement fired a short burst of particle projectiles that sailed danger close past the convoy and impacted across the Imperial ship. It sparkled like a Christmas tree as its main power network failed, falling out of orbit while the convoy flew by and jumped to hyperspace.

"The first transport is away," called the intercom, prompting a round of cheers from the scrambling pilots.

"feeling alright sir?" asked ceaser1345, a young and headstrong pilot not unlike Chris, who was serving as rear gunner in his hoverspeeder.

"just like new ceaser," he replied, clambering aboard, "How about you?"

"right now i feel like i can take on the whole empire myself!"

"yeah, in IOT14 I declared war on the whole UN!!!"

"sweet! did you win??"

Chris said nothing, pulling down the canopy as the speeder rose into the air.

Out on the field, small dark specks emerged from the snow-blown horizon. Soldiers jumped down into the forward trenches, readying their weapons. An officer steadied his... I think I'll call 'em cyclopculars, y'know, like a cyclops. Anyway, coming into focus was what looked like a giant animal's foot, but made entirely of metal. He trailed his vision upward and the full figure came into view. "Aw crap," he groaned. It was a giant mecha-like construction in the shape of an anthropomorphized lynx. Despite its obvious combat design, the cockpit had an unmistakably cartoony appearance. Mounted at the lower torso just above the leg joints was a giant lazor cannon. As the officer zoomed out, he made out three more around it, modelled after a wolf, a fox, and a hedgehog. Even at over two kilometres' distance, the troops could feel the tremors as the machines lumbered toward them. "Echo Station 3-T-8," the officer radioed in, "We have spotted Imperial FUR Suits."

"Imperial FUR Suits on the North Ridge," buzzed the intercom. Dull thuds reverberated through the base, and bits of ice fell on Jenkins' head as he wandered the halls.

Suddenly, the orchestra broke into a tense overture as the hoverspeeders deployed from the hangar. As the FUR Suits closed distance with the front line, they opened up a barrage of lazor fire. "Echo station 5-7, were on our way!!" shouted Chris. The squadron sailed over the trenches and into the valley, dodging the oncoming fire of the Imperial walkers. "Alright boys keep tight now!!" he ordered.

"chris i have no approch vector!!" shouted ceaser, "im not set!!"

"Steady ceaser!!" he retorted. "Attack pattern Storm!! GO NOW!!!" The speeders opened up on the mechas as they sped by straight-on, then banked up to strafe from the side. "Alright i'm coming in!!!" Chris squeezed the trigger as he sailed past and between the legs of the hedgehog, nearly clipping a fellow speeder as he raked fire across the wolf. "Hobbie you still with me??" he called as he pulled up.

"I told you before, you are to address me as Mr. Hobbes," growled the pilot, absent-mindedly running a gloved hand through his lustrous beard.

The walkers continued their assault on the front as the speeders kept up their strafing, but seemingly to no effect. The lynx pivoted its pelvis and delivered a shot into the back of an oncoming speeder, sending it to the ground in a fiery streak. From within the cockpit, General Sneers, dressed in winterized combat armour that looked like a Wehrmacht interpretation of our second nod to Black Helmet from Spaceballs, held a commanding view of the carnage. Despite first blood, her face was contorted in a barely-suppressed revulsion. "I feel so dirty in these things," she muttered.

"That armors to strong for blasters!!!" Chris realized after the umpteenth pass.

"what are we gonna do???" screamed ceaser.

Chris thought. What had Star Wars taught him about improvised tactics? "I know!! Rouge group, use your harpoons and tow cables go for the legs!!!"

"Sir, those things are like, 80 feet high and can stride past a football field in a single step!" a pilot protested, "Tow cables won't do jack s—"

"Just do what i tell you!!" Chris snapped. "Stand by ceaser."

"chris weve got a problem with fire control! ill haveto cut in the auxilery!"

"whatever," he said, wincing as a lazor blast lit up the cabin. "just get ready to fire that cable!!"

There was a blast, a sizzle, and an "AAGH!". "ceaser? ceaser!!" shouted chris, banking left as he tried to see his co-pilot. His head was bowed and the console was crackling. Breathing heavily, Chris faced forward. Always gotta do this myself.

The mechas' barrage was keeping the infantry well-pinned, and even their turrets were unable to damage the oncoming furversion. A holo-projector in the lynx's cockpit displayed the figure of Darth Lackarse, hands on hips in what Sneers thought might actually be nonchalance. "Yes, Lord Lackarse," she was saying, "I've reached the main power generators. The shield will be down in moments. You may start your landing." As the figure faded, the general pulled down a periscope to take direct command of the main cannon, wincing as she realized too late the perspective that entailed.

"Rouge 3!" called Chris.

"It's Rogue," groaned Omega124, the Resistance's hunk-a-licious prodigy pilot that would surely get his own spin-off series, he was so good, "R-O-G-U—"

"Ive lost my gunner youll have to take the shot!!"

"Figures," he muttered to himself, sailing over the smoky battlefield and scrambling ground troops.

"Ill ocver for you!! Set your harpoon follow me on the next pass!!"

"Dammit, why do we keep running at them head-on?!"

"Steady Rouge 2!!" Chris sailed between the wolf's legs.

"Fire harpoon!" Omega's gunner pressed a trigger and a long spear shot into the wolf's heel, a thick cable trailing behind. "Good shot, Hassan!" Omega deployed smooth jazz as he began circling around the mecha's legs, drawing the bindings tighter. "One more pass..."

"Coming around," the gunner briefed the wing, "Once more..." As the speeder completed another circle, the cord began to draw taut. "Cable out... Loose!"

"Detach cable!"

Hassan pressed another button and the cable broke off as they sailed into the sky. "Cable detached!"

As the FUR Suit raised its leg, it caught on the wire. Without enough momentum to break it and too little space to correct, the mecha tipped off-balance and began to fall forward. Its massive cannon sprung upwards as it struck the ground, snapping from the force of the impact and delivering a blast straight into the cabin. There were cheers, as well as a few snickers, from the Allied soldiers. "C'mon!" shouted an officer, and a squad broke cover to search the wreckage for survivors.

"Woo-ah!" shouted Omega, "I can't believe that worked!"

On the one hand, Chris' crazy plan actually worked. On the other, ceaser had to go and get himself killed, denying him the kill. "I see it megs good work."

"For the last time..!"

Meanwhile, in the comm room, Stavros picked his way over to Kaiser. "The fleet's closing formation. I don't think we can protect two transports at a time."

"It's risky," she admitted, "But we can't hold out much longer." There was an explosion above that rocked the display screens. "We have no choice."

The general nodded, pulling up his radio. "Launch patrols."

"Evacuate remaining ground staff," ordered the Princess to an aide.

Over in the hangar, Fegelein and Arkady were still trying to get the Raptor space-worthy. "Coupling E connects to the female joint, right?" called the first mate.

"No! No..." Fegelein dashed over. "This one goes there, that one goes there. Right?"

"Uh, da."

"Jenkins?" called Farnsworth as his compatriot clambered aboard an X-wing, "You take good care of Master Christos, now, understand?" Jenkins made a little whistle. "And... do take good care of yourself..?" The man gave a cheeky chirrup. Farnsworth gave a nervous smile before proceeding on.

Back on the field, the remaining mechas had closed the distance, and smaller walkers, resembling small horses, had appeared to assist. The Allied line began to falter under the onslaught. "All troops will—" Sneers shook her head, then realized that the soldier standing next to her wasn't from the Ku Klux Klan. "...Debark for ground assault," she finished. As the soldier departed into the bowels of the mecha, which aside from totally overpowered impracticality was also an infantry transport (although I beg you, do NOT ask about the deployment mechanism), Sneers faced forward to the Suit's pilots. "Prepare to target the main generator." Redundant, you may ask? Not so: having worked with grunts for years, she knew just how slow Imperial soldiers could be on the uptake.

"Rouge 2 are you alright???"

"Yeah," mumbled the pilot as he crammed more Kleenex up his nose to stop the bleeding, "I'm with you, Rogue Leader."

"We'll set harpoon i'll cover for you!!"

They sailed straight on like usual, lazor fire jostling the ships.

"Coming around."

"Watch that crossfire boys!!"

"Set for Position 3... Steady..."

"Stay tight and low!! This is it!!!"

At that moment, a blast hit Rogue 2 head-on and the speeder slammed into the ground. Chris craned his neck to see, inadvertently pulling up and into the line of fire. Sparks flew around his cockpit as the circuitry overloaded and he began to lose control. "Hobbie Ive been hit!!!!!"

"T'is to be expected in this state of Warre, in which all human life is solitary, poore, nasty, brut—" The radio cut out as stabilization failed and Chris' speeder ploughed into the icy plain, head slamming into the windshield and leaving a sizeable crack. Fortunately, he was wearing both his seatbelt and helmet.

*** SHTAR WORZ will return after these messages ***


Apply directly to the forehead!


Apply directly to the forehead!

*** We now return to SHTAR WORZ ***

Once the stars cleared, Chris quickly unbuckled and pushed open the canopy. The hedgehog was plodding straight towards him. Panicking, he turned around to see if he could snag ceaser's wallet, since he'd obviously never be using it again. Finding that he must have left it back at base, Chris peeked out to see the giant metal foot roughly a hundred metres and closing. He clambered back inside, sure there must be something worth bringing back, and managed to appropriate a backup tow cable, hastily scrambling out and leaping from the wreck just as the foot flattened it.

Fegelein hastened down the base corridors, avoiding exposed wiring and chunks of ceiling that were constantly raining down. He picked his way through the debris of the comm room to where Kaiser was still stubbornly giving orders. "You alright?" he called, prompting her and Farnsworth to turn around.

"Why are you still here?" she barked.

"I heard the command centre got hit."

"You got your clearance to leave!"

"Don't worry, I'll leave," he clambered over a ruined console, "First I'm getting you to your ship."

"Your Highness, we must take this last transport!" the gentleman implored, "It's our only hope!"

Kaiser stepped over to another officer. "Send all troops in Sector 12 to the south slope to protect the fighters."

A massive explosion reverberated through the station. "Imperial troops have entered the base," buzzed the intercom, "Repeat, Imperial troops have ent—" There was a moment of static, then the YouTube Poop "Tomorrow, I'll..." began blasting through the PA.

Fegelein grasped her by the arm, gently but firmly. "Come on. That's it."

Without missing a beat, she leaned down the the intel officer. "Give the evacuation code signal." Another blast. She looked up at the Obergruppenführer, who began to hurry her along. "And get to your transports!"

"Wait for me!" cried Farnsworth, hurrying after them.

On the front, the troops abandoned the trenches and ruined turrets and broke into full retreat as the FUR Suits continued their indiscriminate bombardment. Chris ran after the hedgehog, eager to exact revenge. As he sprinted slightly ahead, he shot the cable between its leg joints and hoisted himself upward. He found himself right below two spherical protrusions that housed the battery for the main cannon. Igniting his plasma foil, he sliced into the nearest one and tossed in a grenade before disengaging the line and...



...fell face-first into the ground.

Saved by the Farce, it's the only explanation.

The charge detonated, overloading the capacitors and supercharging the lazor. A short-circuit led to a backfire that blew the mecha in half, the upper torso falling head-first into the ice while the legs toppled backwards.

The lynx, meanwhile, strode on with no regard to the rebels scurrying before it. "Distance to power generators?" Sneers called out.


The mecha swung around to try and shoot a passing speeder out of the sky. "Focus, please!" growled the general. She pulled down the periscope, bringing up a perfect view of the generators. "Target; maximum firepower." With a mighty hip-thrust, the lynx delivered a supercharged blast that obliterated the complex in a dazzling explosion.

"Money shot!" shouted one of the pilots as both exchanged a high-five.

"Don't— don't. Just... don't."

Kaiser in tow, Fegelein raced through the now-deserted halls. A sudden blast led the ceiling to cave in ahead, and after a quick surmise he radioed the ship: "Transport, this is Fegelein. Better take off; I can't get to you. We'll evacuate via the Raptor." They hurried back the way they came, spinning Farnsworth around, who sped after them.

An explosion deeper in the base was quickly followed by Imperial shock troopers and Darth Lackarse himself.

"Hey! Wait for me!" cried Farnsworth, dodging a lazor blast, "Stop!" He nearly collided with the door that sealed after Kaiser. "How typical," he muttered, before it slid back open and Fegelein dragged him inside.

"All aboard!" shouted Arkady as the group dashed through the hangar. Unbeknownst to them, Lackarse and his entourage were rapidly closing the distance. The Raptor gave a stuttering whine as the engine stalled, Arkady breaking into a coughing fit as steam billowed from within the ship as the men conducted last-second repairs.

"How's this?" called Fegelein, fiddling with a control console.

"Would it help if I got out and pushed?" quipped the Princess.

"Mr. Fegelein! Mr. Fegelein!" Farnsworth called excitedly, hurrying over.

"It might."

"I thought that's what Chris was for?" the werewolf called.

"Sir, might I suggest that you—" Farnsworth was cut off by a raised hand as Fegelein hurried to the cockpit. "...It can wait."

Fegelein entered the cabin and flipped some overhead switches to power up the ship. The console fizzled out; he gave it a thwack and coughed back to life. "This bucket of bolts is never going to get us past that blockade," snapped Kaiser as she joined him.

"It's got a few surprises left in her, sweetheart," the officer replied, jumping between dashboards.

Outside, shock troopers stormed the hangar. A panel opened up on the ship's underside and a remote-control pulse laser deployed, launching a salvo against the unlucky troopers.

"Skip the pre-flight check," said Fegelein as Arkady took his seat. "Switch over. Let's hope we don't have a burnout."

The shock troopers began firing wildly while a team set up a memegun. The engine roared to life. "See?" he grinned to Kaiser.

"Some day you're going to be wrong, and I just hope I'm alive to see it." Outside, the cannon made short work of the assailants.

"Punch it." Arkady threw a switch and the Centurion Raptor accelerated forward. Darth Lackarse arrived just in time to watch it zoom out of the hangar. Chris, dazed and confused, spun around as it shot over the frozen hills and banked up into the sky.

A little while later, the boy arrived at the fall-back point where fighter pilots were scrambling as the last transport prepared to depart. "Jenkins!!" he shouted, and from his special hatch the gentleman chirrupped. "Get her ready for take-off!!" The man ducked inside and started up the fighter's engines.

"Good luck, Chris," shouted Omega, "See you at the rendez-vous!"

Chris clambered aboard as Jenkins angled the craft skyward, and soon they had left SPORE behind. Once free of the Imperial blockade, Chris banked his ship left, prompting a confused trill from his co-pilot. "Theres nothing wrong jenkins," Chris replied. "Im just setting a new course." A flurry of staccato notes. "Where not gonna regroup with the others." Whistle. "Were going to the Deewhyoh System." Querying note. "Yes, Jenkins," he sighed. Another flutter. Chris grinned. "Thats alright. I wan to fly it myself for a while."

Jenkins removed the slide whistle from his mouth, licking his lips nervously.

Fegelein had to admit: as days went, he was in the midst of a pretty bad one. First the Raptor needed a nigh-complete overhaul, Princess Kaiser wouldn't admit she had a crush on him, and the secret base that would have put the finest ice hotels to shame was cased by the Empire. Now, to top it all off, he was being tailed by a Star Destructor and its fighter wing.

"Looks like he brought friends, sir," Arkady stated with the nonchalance of a soldier that had accepted his imminent death.

"I saw them, I saw them," Fegelein muttered, wrestling with the dashboard.

"Saw what?" Kaiser shouted over the din of the lazors.

"Star Destructors. Two of 'em, coming right at us." He pointed to the white triangles dead-centre of the cockpit.

"Sir? Sir?" chriped Farnsworth, shuffling in, "Might I suggest—"

"Zip the stiff upper lip," he snapped. Another blast from the fighters sent the gentleman tumbling into the first mate's lap. "Check the deflector shield."

"Sorry, tovarishsh, no homo," said Arkady, pushing him back onto his feet before focusing on the overhead controls. "Uh..."

"Great," groaned the officer. Then, seeing their trajectory, a smile crossed his lips. "Greeeat..!"

Fegelein pitched the Raptor down sharply. The ships' commanders simply stood, dumbfounded, for a full minute, sailing blindly on. By the time they'd recovered their wits, the Star Destructors had almost closed together like a set of pointed teeth. "Take evasive action!!" screamed the captain of the first ship before the crew was thrown about the deck.

For once, a narrower perspective turned out well for Imperial pilots as the Kite Flyers maintained pursuit. Now, one might be wondering why, given all the time devoted to the dogfight in the first movie, nobody was manning the Raptor's batteries here. Well, to get the ship airborne Fegelein had to put off repairing certain systems to a later date; in order to work on the hyperdrive, he forwent maintenance on the weapons.

"Prepare to make the jump to light speed."

"But sir—!" shrieked Farnsworth.

"They're getting closer," pressed Kaiser.

"Oh yeah? Watch this." Fegelein thumbed a lever, but rather than the expected electric blue tunnel, he was answered with the sound of a propellor plane's engine stalling.

"Watch what?" the Princess quipped, sarcastically. In one of those moments so rare that even a photograph would be challenged as legitimate proof, doubt flashed across the Obergruppenführer's face.

"I think we're in trouble."

"If I may say so, sir," the gentleman continued, catching his balance after the latest lazor salvo, "I noticed earlier the IP6 protocol has been corrupted! It's impossible to go to light speed!"

So much for prioritization.

"We're in trouble!" the officer repeated, springing from his chair. As Kaiser and Farnsworth took control of the ship, Arkady and Fegelein withdrew into the interior for emergency repairs. "IP4 protocol set to default?" he called, balancing on a set of pipes.


"DNS server?" He swung himself around like a gymnast as he reached into the bowels of the machinery.

"Never touched it."

"No, that's not it... Bring me our proxy list!"

"Let's hope the damn VPN doesn't override it again," growled the first mate as he deposited a set of tools next to the manhole.

"I don't know how we're getting out of this one," muttered Fegelein as he descended back into the hardware. A sudden lurch sent the toolbox tumbling inside; but the Obergruppenführer was a prudent fellow and had kept himself to the opposite side. He re-emerged, setting the tools away from the ledge when the ship lurched again. He looked around in confusion. "That wasn't a memetic mutation; something hit us."

"Fegelein, get up here," called the Princess. The men broke from their posts and ran to the cockpit. "Chatroom," she explained, leaping from the seat as the pilots took over.

"Oh, no," he muttered matter-of-factly as he sat down. "Arkady, set 2-7-1."

"As you will."

Kaiser stared at him, flabbergasted, when the ship didn't alter course. "What are you doing? You're not actually going into a flame war?!"

"They'd be crazy to follow us, wouldn't they?" he smirked. The Raptor began aerobatics worthy of the finest Russian ballerinas as it threaded its way through the barbs and eroge.

"You don't have to do this to impress me," she breathed, panic-stricken.

"Sir," interjected Farnsworth, even more agitated, "The probability of successfully navigating a chatroom flame war is approximately equivalent to a baby's chance in Iblis!"

"Never tell me the odds," he replied.

The Kite Flyers tried to keep pace as the Raptor dodged the litany of curses. One unlucky fighter was a millisecond too slow, and was smashed to bits by hardcore furry porn. As they careened around a particularly menacing strawman, another fighter was clipped by an ad hominem, spinning out of control and dashing itself against a homophobic slur. Farnsworth could barely contain his screams as the Raptor narrowly avoided jousting political partisanship, and even Arkady uttered terrified exclamations as they sailed straight through a boobytrap image link.

"You said you wanted to be around when I made a mistake? This could be it, sweetheart."

"I take it back! We're going to get pulverized if we stay out here much longer."

"I can't argue with that."

"Pulverized?!" the gentleman whimpered.

"I'm going in closer to one of the big ones," Fegelein declared.

"Closer?!" everyone else cried in unison.

Evading an epileptic GIF with a barrel roll, the Raptor twisted around and began skimming the surface of a massive trollfic. The fighters had closed distance and resumed their strafing. Keeping low, Fegelein sped into a narrow crevasse; he jerked the ship onto its side, barely slipping through a choke point as the pursuers smashed into the wall-o-text. Levelling out, he pitched back up over the canyon wall.

"Oh, this is suicide!" Farnsworth wailed, "There's nowhere to go!"

"There," breathed the officer, pointing forward, "That looks pretty good."

"Eh?" Arkady turned to him.

"What looks pretty good?" Kaiser asked, standing up.

"Ja... That'll do nicely..." The ship pitched forward into another jagged crater.

"Excuse me, Ma'am," Farnsworth piped up, "But, where are we going?" She shrugged. The Raptor made a wide backflip, plunging into a tunnel to the trollfic's interior. Fegelein switched on the headlights and cabin lamps as darkness enveloped the ship.

"I hope you know what you're doing," the Princess murmured.

"We'll see soon enough,"he replied, tone devoid of any trace of sarcasm.

Meanwhile, somewhere off in the opposite direction, Chris' X-wing was entering the outer orbit of a large planet whose surface was obscured by a thick fog of secrecy. Peering out from his observation dome, Jenkins gave a whistle. "yeah thats it," said the boy, "Deewhyoh." Jenkins made a trill. "No i'm not gonna change my mind about this!!" he snapped back. "Im not picking up any people or aliens... huge technology readings though... thre should be something worth looting down there." Jenkins gave an indignant squawk.

The ship began to tremble violently as it plunged into the ambiguity, and Jenkins chirrupped alarms. "I know I know!!! All the scopes are dead I cant see a thing!!!" Chris shouted as he wrestled with the controls. "Just hang on!!!!! Im gonna start the landing cycle!" Jenkins whistled a flurry of protests as Chris only seemed to speed up. Metal beams and timbers smashed against the cabin before with a mighty heave, the ship ploughed into a steel-grey pool, water droplets spattering across the windshield.

A few moments passed. Jenkins chirrupped anxiously. Slowly, Chris came to, groaning as he picked his head up off of the dashboard, blinking to clear the stars. He opened the cabin and looked around. The fighter was half-submerged in the water, its headlights barely piercing the foggy uncertainty that clung to the environment like Jehoshua to a choirb—aw wait no, he only died last episode. Too soon, man. Too soon.

Chris cast a sweeping glance from left to right. Then he began cursing, loud and furiously, pounding the dashboard as he writhed in his seat like a man possessed. His tantrum lasted a full five minutes before he finally exhausted himself, sinking into his chair as shouts turned to sobs. After a quarter-hour he pulled himself together and climbed out of the cockpit, shuffling down the nose of the X-wing toward the shore. Jenkins clambered out of his crawlspace, whistling after him. "no jenkins you stay put," ordered the boy, "I'll have a look around." He pulled off his helmet and tossed it back into the cabin. A sudden lurch nearly sent him into the water and knocked the gentleman overboard. "Jenkins?! JENKINS!!!!" he screamed, scanning the metallic surface for any trace of his co-pilot. "Where are you?!?!?! JENKINS!!!!!!!!!!!"

A tense moment later, a snorkel pierced the surface, ejecting a spout of water. Chris sighed, still coming to terms with the man's uncanny knack for preparedness. Jenkins surfaced shortly afterward, sporting a pair of swimming goggles; he poured the water out of his slide whistle, replacing it between his lips. The boy laughed. "OK I'll meet you on the shore." He looked around for a sandbar or a rock or something, but had to dive into the water himself, swimming over to a crumbling concrete ledge and dragging himself ashore, then helping the gentleman up.

He looked around. Emerging from the mist were the outlines of buildings, tall, like skyscrapers, most of whose tops disappeared into the murky sky. They were all in an advanced state of disrepair, windows cracked or missing, empty archways with no doors. The higher the buildings stood, the less intact they looked, steel girders and brick ledges leaving jagged outlines against the limited horizon. The roads and sidewalks, despite no sign of natural wear, had cracked and buckled, shoots of grass and weeds peppering the surface. A light breeze felt its way through the streets, as dead as the city, echoing eerily through the gaping holes and rattling ragged tarpaulins that hung over the buildings' upper storeys like an outer skin that had somehow failed to decay. At first Chris thought he was on the site of an ancient battlefield, but upon closer inspection he realized that half of what he thought was disrepair was in fact incomplete construction, as if someone had started building the city all at once, only to vanish just as abruptly. The whole thing left him deeply unnerved. It didn't just feel unfinished; it was as if it was unbegun.

"You said coming here was a bad idea... I'm begining to agree with you." He spied a rusted but sturdy-looking metal bench and sat down. "Jekins, what are we doing here??" he groaned. "Its like... something out of a dream..." The gentleman played a low trill. "Or I dont know. Maybe I'm just going crazy."

No, I'm not going to comment.

No, really, I'm not.

Elsewhere, also far from Fegelein & Co. but not quite as far as Chris was, that huge... bloody... that spaceship putted along, 'flanked' by its tiny brethren. Within, Tyo entered Darth Lackarse's private quarters. The dome was open and he arrived just in time to see a robotic arm affix the Dork Lord's helmet with a shhhp–THUNK. He swallowed nervously as Lackarse turned to face him. "YES, ADMIRAL?"

Tyo cleared his throat. "Our ships have sighted the Centurion Raptor, Lord, but... it has entered a flame war and we cannot risk—"


The officer gave a nervous smile. "Yes, Lord," he bowed, as the die closed up.

Back onboard said Raptor, Fegelein returned to the cockpit where everyone else was tinkering with the control panels. "I'm going to shut down everything but the emergency power systems," he declared as he reached across the dashboard. "Farnsworth, I need you to talk to the Raptor, find out what's wrong with the hyperdrive."

A sudden, violent lurch nearly toppled everyone over. "I hate rollercoasters," muttered Arkady.

"Sir," said Farnsworth after a moment, "It's quite possible this story is not entirely stable."

"An unstable trollfic?" he repeated scornfully, "You don't say! Arkady, take the Professor into the back and set him up with the hyperdrive."

"Will do," he replied.

As the door closed behind them there was another lurch and Princess Kaiser tumbled into Fegelein's lap as he tumbled into the rear passenger chair. As the ship steadied she looked down to where his arms wrapped around her waist. "Let go," she muttered. He hushed her, peering out of the cockpit with that unfocused gaze of someone who was thinking more than watching. "Let go, please!" she repeated as the aftershocks dissipated.

"Don't get excited," he teased.

"Gruppenführer, being held by you isn't quite enough to get me excited."

"Sorry, sweetheart," he said as he unceremoniously pushed her onto her feet, rising himself, "I don't have time for anything else." He gave a sidelong smirk before disappearing into the interior. Kaiser's jaw slid back and forth as she resumed her work on the controls.

Meanwhile, on Deewhyoh, Chris had changed out of his flight suit and returned to the ship to collect his provisions. He shut off the lights and sealed the cabin, returning to shore by a weathered solid wooden plank he'd found for a makeshift bridge. He picked his way through a decaying foyer to the empty centre of an uncompleted structure that looked like the foundation to an overly-ambitious LEGO house where Jenkins had prepared a makeshift camp. Chris set down a tin of rations by the portable stove, looking around at the desolate city. "Now all I gotta do is find this Thorvald... if he even exists." Jenkins gave a low trill. Chris pulled a pack over and sat down. "Its really a strange place to find a cheddar master," he muttered. Jenkins chirruped. Chris opened his food tin, setting it down between them. "This place gives me the creeps." He looked at their meal, frowning as he found no less than three kebabs, resigning himself to the soda crackers. "Still... theres something familiar about this place." Inquisitive note. "I dont know. I feel like..."

"Like what?"

Chris spun around, pistol in hand in a split second. "Like were being watched!!!!"

Standing—or rather, cowering—in the rubble of a collapsed wall was lean, hunched figure clutching a tall umbrella. "Away put your weapon!" it croaked, "I mean you no harm!" Slowly, it unfolded itself, revealing a bearded man with a gaunt face, wearing a medieval steel helmet with a funnel-like top and heavily rusted aventail. "I am wondering: Why are you here?"

Still keeping his gun trained on the intruder, Chris replied: "I'm looking for someone."

"Looking?" the man's face lit up. "Found someone you have, I would say! Hmm?" He broke into a gravelly chuckle.

"Right," said Chris with a nervous smile, turning a little ways back to his food.

"Help you, I can!" said the man, "Yes! Mmm!"

Chris let out a sharp laugh. "I dont think so," he said as he holstered his pistol. The man cocked his head to the side, dog-like. "I'm looking for a great warrior!"

"Oooh!" He laughed again, shuffling forward. "Great warrior!" he giggled. "Wars not make one great!" Chris stood up as he walked right into the middle of the camp. "Ooohhh!" he cried, picking up a tray of souvlaki.

"Put that down! HEY!!!" shouted Chris, as the intruder began eating it. "Thats my dinner!!" He snatched it away and sealed up the other cases, putting them out of immediate reach.

"Pah! Pfeh!" spat the man, hoisting himself on top of a portable battery, "How you get so big, eating food of this kind?"

"Listen 'friend'," snapped Chris, looking over the souvlaki before tossing it away in disgust, "We didnt mean to land in that puddle and if we could get our ship out we would but we can't, so why don't you just—"

"Aww, cannot get your ship out!" he teased, before plunging his head into one of the tool bins.

"Hey get out of there!!!"

"Ahhh!" he croaked in delight, before Chris came over and snatched away his portable hard drive. "Nooo! Aww..."

"Hey you couldve broken this!!!"

The man began tossing tools and trinkets willy-nilly, as if burrowing into the ground.

"Don't do that!!!" the boy groaned, shuffling over to pick up the mess.

"Oohh!" he cried again, giggling as he returned with a workman's LED flashlight. Jenkins watched the expression silently, but with a very amused expression.

"Your making a mess..." Chris sighed. "HEY!!!" he shouted, spying the torch, which the man was shining into his own face like a playful child.

"Mine!" he snapped as Chris reached to retrieve it, "Or I will help you not."

"I dont wan tyour help!" he snapped back, "I want my lamp back im gonna need it to get out of this dead-end plot hole!"

"Plot hole?! Dead-end?!" the man repeated, incredulous, "My life's work, this is!"

Chris looked to Jenkins, hinting at him to steal the lamp back, but the gentleman gave a neutral whistle, shrugging. The boy rolled his eyes, too tired to consider fighting the intruder himself. "Can you move along old man? We've got a lot of work to do!"

"Noo! No— Nooo!" he protested, shuffling over until he was right in front of Chris. "Stay and help you, I will! Heehee! Find your friend, hmm?"

"Im not looking for a 'friend'," he scowled, "Im looking for a cheddar master!"

"Ooohhh..!" The man's whole face lit up instantly. "Cheddar Master! Thorvald," he prodded the boy, "You seek Thorvald!"

Chris brought himself face-to-face with the man. "You know him?!?!"

"Mmmm! Take you to him, I will! Eeeheeheeheeheh! Yes, yes... But now, you must eat. Come!" He began shuffling off in the opposite direction from whence he came, giggling the while. "Good food! Come!" Chris watched him, unsure whether the man was having him on. But if he did know Thorvald... Already the old man had almost faded into the mist. "Come! Come!" he cried, waving the torch.

"Jenkins," he finally declared, and the gentleman whistled. "Stay and watch after the camp."

Onboard the Centurion Raptor, Farnsworth was hesitantly tapping at a brightly-lit panel as though the wrong button would fry him to a crisp. "Ack!" he cried in vexation, "Where is Jenkins when I need him?!" Fegelein entered the corridor to pick up a bundle of cables. "Sir, I don't know who programmed your ship's computer, but it has the most peculiar arithmetic." The officer stepped over. "I believe, sir, it says that the power coupling on the negative access has been polarized. Do you have any idea what that means?"

Fegelein peered inside an open spot of panelling, thumping his free hand against the wall with a scowl. "Something fried the circuitry and now it'll only take Direct Current. Of course I'll have to replace the whole thing." He walked over to an opening in the ceiling where Arkady was conducting repairs, passing the bundle up. "Here. And Arkady?"

The first mate poked his head out. "Da?"

"We'll need to replace the power coupling on the out-port." The Obergruppenführer cast a frown back to the console. "I swear the laws of physics are getting weirder every day..."

Further into the ship, Princess Kaiser finished welding a set of wires. She yanked off a dead line as she hung up the welding goggles before closing up the maintenance hatch. She gripped the breaker switch and tried to push it up, grunting in frustration as the lever refused to budge. Fegelein entered silently and moved to help her, but she angrily shrugged him off. "Hey, Your Worship," he sang apologetically, "I'm only trying to help!"

"Would you please stop calling me that?" she sighed, adjusting her grip.

"Sure, Bernie," he nodded nonchalantly.

Kaiser sighed, exasperated. "You make it so difficult sometimes..."

"I know, I really do." She gave another heave, to no effect. "You could be a little nicer, though," he began. "C'mon, admit it: sometimes you think I'm alright."

The Princess turned away from the control panel, kissing her finger where it had slammed into the panel. "Occasionally," she confessed, "Maybe. When you aren't acting like a scoundrel."

Fegelein stepped over, taking her hand in his. "Scoundrel?" he repeated innocently. "Scoundrel?" He broke into his trademark scoundrelly grin as he caressed her hand. "Yes, I can see your point..."

"Stop that," she said quietly.

"Stop what?"

"Stop that!" she repeated, more as chastisement than out of discomfort, "My hands are dirty."

"Well, in place of a towel..." His brow furrowed. "Are you cold? You're trembling."

"I'm not trembling," she lied as Fegelein slowly leaned in.

"You like me because I'm a scoundrel," he surmised. "There aren't enough scoundrels in your life."

"I happen to like nice men..."

"Nice men," he parroted back, their noses almost touching.

"Very nice—"

Whether Fegelein kept going or Kaiser nodded forward was hard to tell; the end result was that princess and gruppenführer locked lips in what could only be described as mutual enthusiasm. –There, you can tell it's romantic from that flowy crescendo.

"Sir! Sir!" Farnsworth practically skipped into the alcove, "I've isolated the—" He took stock of the embrace. "I'll come back later," he murmured.

Barely a moment after he had departed, Fegelein broke off. "I had better go check," he apologized, "Turn your back for five minutes and we might end up in a wormhole to Star Trek." Kaiser watched him go, with just a tinge of disappointment.

Out in the flame war, everyone's favourite spacefaring Ratte tore a swath of new ones as it sailed through the chatroom, adminning at will. Onboard, Darth Lackarse watched three officers on holo-projectors, the leftmost raising his hands in a terrified brace-for-impact before his image shorted out. "That, Lord Lackarse," explained the man in the middle, a wide-eyed elder with a long white beard and cane, "Was the last time they appeared in any of our logs. Considering the amount of damage we've sustained, they must have been perma-banned."

"NO, CAPTAIN," Lackarse replied, "THEY'RE ALIVE. I WANT EVERY 120 THOUSAND OF YOUR SHIPS TO SWEEP THE CHATROOM UNTIL THEY ARE FOUND." The men gave a curt bow, and the projection terminated. Just as Lackarse made for a side hall, Tyo approached him, a little out-of-breath.

"Lord Lackarse," he called.

The Dork Lord turned around, and in spite of himself, the admiral swallowed hard. "YES ADMIRAL, WHAT IS IT?"

He took a breath, mustering his courage. "The Emporer commands you to make contact with him."

"MOVE THE SHIP OUT OF THE CHATROOM," he commanded, side-stepping the officer, "SO THAT WE CAN SEND A CLEAR TRANSMISSION."

"Yes, milord."

It took thirty minutes and untold forumers toasted for that obscene arrowhead to turn about. Lackarse stepped onto a circular dais by his private cubicle, bowing with one knee. A bright gold ring illuminated around him, and a massive holo-projection materialized in the space above. The black cloak did nothing to conceal the inhuman face, a bizarre mix of a lynx, wolf, and a heavily stylized hedgehog. The eyes were comically large, like something out of anime or an old platform computer game, and a mischievous, condescending smile played upon its lips. "Hey, Lackey," called the Emporer of Teh Galaxy in far too cheerful a tone, "'Sup?"

"WHAT IS THY BIDDING, MY MASTER?" asked the Dork Lord with embarrassing reverence.

"A coffee, if it's not too much trouble. But seriously, there's a great disturbance in the Farce."


"I bet. Must suck when the teenagers drive by blasting Eminem; you probably shake like a big tin can filled with pebbles. Speaking of teen spirit, we've got a new enemy on our hands, a Rebel kid. You know, the one that cased the Doom Sphere?" As he spoke, the hologram shifted, and the faint sound of a zipper could be heard. "I have a funny feeling this boy is none other than Star Wars' Number One Fan."

"HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?" Lackarse asked quietly.

"You're a Dork Lord of the Farce, Lackey," chided the Emporer, "Spend half a minute thinking it over and you should figure it out on your own. My mechanics aren't that obtuse." The Emporer's brow knitted and he gave a grunt. "You know," he remarked casually, "He could destroy us..."


"The Farce is strong with him," the Emporer sighed, rolling his eyes, "You know what that means. The Son of Starlifter must not—" he jabbed a clawed finger "—become a Cheddai."


Another tense expression flitted across the Emporer's face as he considered the proposal. Slowly and frighteningly, his face widened into a toothy smile. He even began to pant. "I like they way you think! He would be a great ass—" Another grunt. "A great asset." He drew a breath. "Can it be done?"

"HE WILL JOIN US, OR DIE, MASTER." Lackarse gave a deep bow. Above him, there was a hiss from the hologram, followed by a slow and heavy exhalation. The Dork Lord remained bent over, shuddering at the mental image.

Unaware of the fates conspiring against him, Chris had followed the old coot to a crude lean-to erected along the side of one of the many crumbling buildings. It was little more than a set of tarps pitched over a half-laid room, but at least it kept out the rain now pounding from the heavens above. The "house", if one was generous enough to call it that, was filled to the brim with filing cabinets and overflowing with sheets of sketch paper depicting comics and character concepts; but for a single studio table the place was almost completely covered, so much that he could barely see the floor. Skulking about the artisanal mountains were more red foxes than Chris had seen in his life. Jenkins sat in a corner by the entrance petting one as they both watched the weather outside. Likely due to his stoop, the codger had built almost everything at half height, and Chris had to double over to navigate.

"look im sure its delicious," he called to where the elder was working at a makeshift kitchen, "I just dont understand why we cant see thorvald now!!"

"Patience!" the man retorted. "For the Cheddar Monk, it is time to eat as well! Hm? Hmm-hmm!"

Sighing, Chris shuffled over to a small table, scowling at the fox sprawled out on top, who scowled back. "Eat!" laughed the man, "Eat! Hot!" Chris grabbed a beaten metal plate and leaned in to a portable stove on the other end where a pot was simmering. He opened the lid, fighting back the urge to retch as he scooped jelly-like mounds of fish onto his dish. Wrinkling his nose in disgust, he brought the spoon to his lips and dared a bite. "Good food! Hm?" called the host, "Good? Hm?" Chris nodded vigorously, but whether he was being polite or his body was going into shock was hard to tell.

"How far away is thorvald?? will it take us long to get ther???"

"Not far," he replied, shuffling over, "Thorvald not far! Hee hee!" He skritched the fox behind the ears as he joined Chris at the table. "Patience! Soon, you will be with him." The boy made way as the man grabbed a plate for himself. "Lutefisk! Hmm-hmm! I cook! Mm-hmm! Hmm-hmm!" Chris looked for some sort of seasoning while his host's back was turned. "Why wish you become Cheddai?"

"Mostly because of my father i guess."

"Oohh! Father! Pooowerful Cheddai was he! Hee-hee! Mmmm, powerful Cheddai."

"Hang on!" snapped Chris, "How could you know my father you dont even know who I am!! I dont even know what Im doing here!!!" He slammed the plate down angrily and the foxes around him jumped up in alarm. "Were wasting our time!!!!"

While Chris shot daggers at everything around him, the elder man sighed, head bowed. In a low, wearied voice, he muttered: "I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience." Chris eyed him suspiciously.

"He will learn patience," the ethereal voice of Alec Guinness drifted through the room; Chris' eyes blew wide and he sobered up at once.

"Hm." With a grunt, the elder turned to face Chris, eyeing him like a stable master sizing up a racehorse. "Much anger in him," he appraised, "Like his father."

"Was I any different, when you taught me?"

He seemed to consider the suggestion, peering at the boy again. "He is not ready."

"Thorvald!" Chris breathed. The man gave a curt nod. "I am ready!! Ali-G—!" he shot a glance up at the ceiling for backup, "I can be a Cheddar Monk!! Ali-G tell him I'm read—" There was a thud as he slammed his head against the brick overhanging that section of tarp.

"Ready, are you?" he asked rhetorically. "What know you of 'ready'?" He grabbed his umbrella and began shuffling back around. "For eight hundred threads have I trained Cheddai! My own council will I keep, on who is to be trained!" He eyed Chris over a third time. "A Cheddar Monk, must have the sharpest timing, the most incisive wit..!" Chris bowed his head, guiltily. Thorvald cast a glance up to the ceiling. "This one, a long time have I watched. All his life, has he looked away. Looked to the future, to the horizon... Never his mind on where he was," he prodded Chris with his umbrella, "Hm? What he was doing! Hm," he scoffed again, "Adventure. Heh! Excitement! Heh! A Cheddar Monk craves not these things." He had shuffled over to the middle of the lean-to and Chris was forced to turn around. "You are reckless!"

"So was I," Alex Guinness interjected, "If you remember."

"He is too young," Thorvald concluded, "Yes: too young to begin the training!"

"But Ive leard so much!!" Chris all but pleaded.

The Cheddar Master sighed, realizing there was no way he was going to get rid of this kid. After a moment, he turned to the metaphorical spatial disposition of Alec Guinness. "Will he finish what he begins?"

"I wont fail you!!" the boy pressed, "I'm not afraid!!!"

"Good," he breathed, eyes narrowing and an unsettlingly predatory expression spreading across his face. "You will be. You will be."

Chris swallowed, suddenly regretting everything he'd ever done in his life.

No longer even looking for a pretext, the Star Destructors blasted their way through the chatroom, practically perma-banning on sight. Against the trollfic, specially-designed Kite Flyers were dropping cherry-bombs and caustic reviews. The muffled blasts echoed through the literary landmine, but that far deep into the gratuitous shock, Princess Kaiser didn't even raise an eyebrow as she slouched in the co-pilot's seat, contemplative. Only once the bombardment ceased did she suddenly look up, and sighted a shadowy shape flit past the cockpit. She slowly righted the seat, rising from the chair as she peered into the inky blackness.



A tattooed face with what looked like filed teeth bashed itself against the screen crying some sort of gibberish. The princess recoiled with a startled scream.

"Sir, if I may venture an opinion—" Farnsworth began back in the ship's interior.

"I'm not shopping for opinions, Farnsworth," muttered Fegelein from the other side.

Kaiser sped into the hall. "There's something out there!"

Fegelein and Arkady pulled themselves away from the welding, raising their goggles. "Where?" asked the Obergruppenführer.

"Outside, in the cave."

At that precise moment, there was a sharp screech from the ship's exterior. "There it is!" cried the gentleman, "Listen! Listen!"

"Hentai monsters..." whispered Arkady.

"I'm going out there." Fegelein dropped his tools and made for the supply cabinet.

"Are you crazy?!" asked the Princess, incredulous.

"I just got this bucket back together; I'm not going to let something tear it apart!"

"Augh, then I'm going with you!" she called, making after him.

"I'm going to regret this," muttered the werewolf as he joined the train.

"I think it might be better if I stay behind and guard the ship," Farnsworth muttered. He looked up as a ghastly wail reverberated through the hall. "Oh no..!"

Against all odds, there was something approaching an atmosphere in the belly of the trollfic, and they could make do merely with respirators. The entry ramp descended and Fegelein took a hesitant step onto the surface, eliciting a sticky squelch. Princess and First Mate trailed after him, pistols and machine gun drawn. "The ground sure feels strange," Kaiser muttered as Fegelein crept about the front, Arkady making his way along the rear.

"I take it you've never encountered a hard-core trollfic?" said the officer. "You know what it is, but... the heavy stuff can still get to you." He straightened up, looking around their vicinity. "There's an awful lot of latent anger, too. Unusual for such a large piece..."

"I don't know," she muttered, "I have a bad feeling about this..."


There was a hiss and they both spun around. "Watch out!" he called; he loosed a shot and a bizarre figure fell from the Raptor's underbelly. "It's alright!" he called to Arkady, "It's alright..." They walked over to the corpse. It had the general appearance of a human but with bat-like wings for arms, wrinkly, leathery skin and scaly talons in place of legs that gave it the look of some goblin-like harpy. "Yeah, that's what I thought. NESer." He prodded the body with his foot. "Arkady, check the rest of the ship; make sure there are no more attached."

"Yes, sir."

"Chewing on our literary potential."

"NESers?" Kaiser muttered, looking about confused.

"Go on inside," called Fegelein, "We'll clean them off if there are any more."

"I can handle a NES—aaah!" A flock of the beasts swooped in with a patronizing screech and everyone ducked for cover. One made for Arkady's machine gun but he batted it off. "Alt-Hist-tards!" he shouted before loosing a salvo.

There was a sudden tremor, and with frightened squeals the pack dispersed. Fegelein spun around in one of his rare instances of uncertainty. "Wait a minute," he muttered. His eyes darted about, then he shouted: "IOT #1!"

A sudden lurch and the ground tipped 45 degrees, sending Fegelein tumbling against the landing gear. Kaiser nearly fell over backwards, before the ground careened the other way and she collided with the ramp's piston. Fegelein stumbled over, catching her before she fell over again. The three hastily climbed aboard. Farnsworth clung desperately to a bulkhead as the rocking sent everyone sliding back and forth against the hallway. "Skip the pre-flight check, Arkady!" Fegelein shouted as he hastily threw switches on the interior control.

"The Empire's still out there!" the Princess barked, "I don't think it's wise to—"

"No time to discuss this in committee!" he shouted, clawing his way to the cockpit.

"I am not a committee!" she hollered, trailing after him. Farnsworth made to follow, but another lurch sent him toppling into Richard Simmons.

Fegelein took his place in the pilot's seat as the engines revved.

"You can't make the jump to light speed in a flame war!" Kaiser snapped, incredulous, as the cockpit door sealed behind her.

"Sit down, Süße, we're taking off!" The panels around them lit up as the Raptor lifted off, aligning itself upward.

"Chyort," muttered Arkady.

"Look!" cried Farnsworth, joining them at the helm.

"I see it, I see it," the officer growled.

"We're doomed!"

"The cave is collapsing!" Kaiser exclaimed. Ahead of them, a set of yellowed boulders, some large and flat, others razor-sharp, were closing together.

"This is no cave," Fegelein muttered.


The Raptor rolled sideways, darting out of the gap just as the halves snapped shut. It soared out of the crater, but the monster wouldn't give up so easily and threw itself forward, its second bite missing by metres. As the ship sailed back into the flame war, the beast let loose a primal roar before slinking back into the abyss, defeated.

You could say it was one...

...hold on, let me find my sunglasses...

Unlucky Moose.

The murky grey of the ever-present Deewhyoh fog was briefly interrupted by a swarm of macaws gliding through the skeletal superstructure of what might have become a foundry. Dull metal clangs echoed through the husk as Chris, sporting a sweat-soaked undershirt and cargo pants, struggled up a steel chain, Thorvald hanging about his neck. Reaching the top of an open platform he collapsed on the cold surface, gasping for breath. Thorvald kicked him in the shin as though goading a racehorse, and with an agonized groan he struggled back onto his feet, grabbing another chain and swinging across. Unfortunately his hands were so slick that he barely kept from slipping right off it, sliding down the metal vine and back to the ground floor. He struggled to find his balance as the forward momentum threatened to tip him over.

Darting right, he picked his way over debris. His foot caught on an exposed rebar and he found himself falling. He threw out his hands; the inertia sent him somersaulting and he managed to land on his feet with a grunt. Before he could savour the success of his accidental acrobatics, the old man spurred him forward. "Yes, run!" he cried as Chris weaved through rusted storage tanks; "Yeees, a Cheddai's strength flooows from the Farce! But beware the Dork Side! Blue jokes, memes, stereotype: the Dork Side of the Farce are they! Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight... If once you start down the Dork Path, forever will it dominate your destiny! Consume you, it will!" Exhausted, Chris slowed to a stop. "As it did Alec Guinness' apprentice."

"Lackarse," the boy muttered. "is the Dork Side stronger??"

"No! No," the sage replied; "No. Quicker, easier, more seductive."

"But how do i know the good side from the bad!"

"You will know, when you are calm, at peace! Passive... Mmmm, a Cheddar Monk uses the Farce for knowledge and defence," he shook his head, "Never for attack."

"But tell me why I cant—"

"No! No," he quickly cut in, "There is no why!" Chris sighed. "Nothing more will I teach you today. Clear your mind of questions." Thorvald hummed meditatively, then climbed down off Chris' back. Jenkins whistled from a little way ahead; they had returned to the plant site's main entrance and Chris made to collect his kit.

A low chord sounded and he hesitated as he slipped on his jacket. Thorvald eyed him sidelong as he poked at pebbles with his umbrella. "THere's something not right here," he muttered. The sage lowered his gaze, seemingly disinterested. "Ifeel cold!" Frightened, he whispered: "Death!"

"That place," said the man, pointing the umbrella to the partially collapsed office a few metres ahead of the boy, "Is strong. With the Dork Side of the Farce. A domain of evil, it is." Fixing Chris with a meaningful stare, he said: "And you must go."

Chris eyed him warily before turning back to the darkened entrance. "Whats in their?"

Thorvald took a moment to reply, turning back to his pebbles. "Only what you take with you."

Chris eyed him, then walked toward the building, putting on his belt. "Your weapons," Thorvald called, "You will not need them." Chris rattled his head the way indignant youths do after being told they're wrong, and fastened his belt. Summoning up his courage, he plunged into the shadowy maw of the—

A shriek from beneath him sent him leaping into the air as the fox whose tail he stepped on bolted from the wreckage. Jenkins whistled after him nervously. Thorvald followed Chris' receding outline until it disappeared. "Hmm," he muttered, contemplative.

An iguana crawled out from a hole where the floor had given way into the complex's lower level. Taking a breath, Chris began climbing down, using rusty piping for leverage. Some of them felt soft and slimy; fortunately for his sensibilities he couldn't make them out, wincing as he descended into the murky depths. The room was covered in snippets of Dane Cook performances, and Peter Griffin's obnoxious laugh echoed all around him. Tubing and electrical cables dangled like roots and creepers, image macros slapping against his face. He instinctively moved toward a dull blue glow at the far end, probably leading to the only way out of the unsettling tomb. Hearing a squawk he spun around, but it was only a Komodo dragon downvoting the latest Cartoon Network pilot.

He approached a stone archway, looking oddly sterile and intact against the degeneracy surrounding it. At once, a cold chill ran across Chris' body and he stumbled backwards as—wait, what the hell is this? Did the camera budget run out again? Sorry guys, I know it's choppy, but looks like ‘proper playback’ was a stretch goal. Anyway, the unmistakable silhouette of Darth Lackarse strode into the space immediately ahead, his deep, echo-y respiration at once filling the room and then sucking all the oxygen out, like... dang it, what was that wraith from that fantasy series, you know, the one with the Evil Eye and the short dudes and even though they had Christopher Lee and Ian McKellen, some genius decided to cut the epic wizard fight?—Ah damn it, the name'll come to me at like two in the morning. So Lackarse advanced on Chris, and the boy braced for a fight, igniting his plasma foil. The Dork Lord responded in kind, holding forth his crimson blade before launching into a... mind... numbingly... slow... fight... parry... riposte... parry again... then for some reason Lackarse hoisted the foil upwards and Chris took a mad swing at his face, lopping off the helmet with a bright explosion. He looked down as the severed head rolled toward his feet, struck by a strange sense of anticipation. Suddenly the mask burst apart. When the smoke cleared, he found his own face staring back up at him.

Chris screamed, long, hard, and shrill.

Back at the plant entrance, Thorvald sighed forlornly. Jenkins chirrupped inquisitively. "Hm," muttered the Cheddar Master. He held out one of his hands, and the fox deposited a 100-kroner bill.

The real Darth Lackarse was safe and sound aboard the testament to why you don't write blank cheques to R&D, especially if it's building a spaceship. He was conversing with several guns-for-hire whom Tyo eyed with trepidation as he patrolled the work stations below the walkway. "Bounty hunters!" he hissed to a communications officer, "We don't need their scum!"

"If it makes you feel better, that General Sieve or what'shisname prefers to call himself a merc."

"Those rebels won't escape us," the admiral muttered, as does one feigning batting for the other team lest they learn his true allegiance. Turning away from another station he found himself confronted by a pair of dainty paws, claws curled around the edge. Looking up, he found they belonged to a golden-furred feline that looked like she'd just come from the Renfair.

"Hey there, beautiful, I'll be back to pick you up later!" She gave a bright smile and an exaggerated wink. Tyo simply stared, one part flattered and ninety-nine parts deeply unsettled. Fortunately for him, an officer arrived before he needed to reply.

"Sir? We have a priority signal from the Star Destructor Nauru."

"Right," mumbled Tyo, all but bolting from the scene.

In addition to the cat, there were two Frenchmen in glitzy space helmets, a Fremen, Robot B-9, and a thin-bearded man in thick combat armour and a red beret. "THERE WILL BE A SUBSTANTIAL REWARD FOR THE ONE WHO FINDS THE CENTURION RAPTOR," Lackarse briefed as he paraded between them. "YOU ARE FREE TO USE ANY METHODS NECESSARY, BUT I WANT THEM AS THE ARE," he brandished a finger at the last man, "NO PONIFICATIONS." The merc's face turned beet-purple, whole head rattling as every muscle in his body tensed at once; for a moment those next to him thought he might literally explode.

"Lord Lackarse!" called Tyo as the Dork Lord descended to the lower deck; "My Lord, we have them."

The Centurion Raptor did its best to dodge the Nauru's onslaught. "Oh, thank goodness we're coming out of the chatroom!" Farnsworth breathed as the space around the cockpit opened up. The relief overed quickly, though, as a lazor blast struck the ship full-on, sending it lurching hard to starboard.

"Let's never speak of such grammatical horror again," muttered the first mate.

"I'll drink to that," said Fegelein; "Ready for light speed?"


Fegelein counted as Arkady primed the systems. "One. Two. Three." He pulled the lever, only to be met with the same taunting propellor stall.

"Sladkiy mat' Meri," Arkady groaned. Princess Kaiser lowered her head, thoroughly disappointed.

"It's not fair," muttered the officer.

"I said read the manual first," the werewolf sang, "But you said—"

"The transfer circuits are working," he shot back, "It's not my fault!"

"All Oberst’s antics and all Oberst’s schemes," Kaiser sighed.

"It's not my fault!"

The ship rocked from another blast, diving down and out of range of the dorsal battery. "Sir, we just lost the main rear deflector shield!" Farnsworth declared, "One more direct hit on the stern quarter and we're done for!"

"Turn her around," Fegelein ordered.

"Are you crazy?!" Arkady began.

"I said turn her around! I'm putting all power in the front shield."

"You're going to attack them?!" Kaiser cried in utter disbelief.

"Sir," exclaimed the gentleman, "The odds of surviving a direct attack on an Imperial Star Destructor are—"

"Shut up!" she snapped.


Yet Fegelein remained determined. The ship swung around before rapidly accelerating.

"They're moving to attack position," the wide-eyed, bearded captain exclaimed. The Raptor levelled out, bee-lining for the ship's bridge. "Shields up." The little craft dodged the surface fire, and everyone on deck reflexively ducked as it sailed right in front of the windows. "Track them!" he cried, nervously scanning the now-empty space. "They may come around for another pass."

"Captain eduhum," called an officer, "The ship no longer appears on our scopes!"

"They can't have disappeared!" he scoffed, "No ship that small has a cloaking device!"

"Well, there's no trace of them, sir."

"Captain," interjected a signals officer, "Lord Lackarse demands an update on the pursuit."

The captain's face flashed a mix of rage, indignation, and nagging fear. Composing himself, he declared: "Get a shuttle ready. I shall explain their powergaming to Lord Lackarse, and apologize for losing them. Continue to scan the area until I return."

"Yes, Captain eduhum," replied the ship lieutenant. The crew watched him go, silently wondering who would replace him.

Back on Deewhyoh, Chris was engaged in an exercise even Cirque du Soleil would find ambitious. Balancing on his hands as Thorvald balanced on his upturned feet, he struggled to assemble a house of cards using nothing more than his mind. "Use the Farce," the sage murmured, "Yessss..." Jenkins sat a little way off by the pier, idly watching the ship. "Now, the next card. Feel it." Huffing and puffing, he struggled to manoeuvre it into place while simultaneously holding its neighbour support upright. Jenkins, meanwhile, saw the fighter sinking beneath the surface and began whistling urgently. Startled, Chris opened his eyes, immediately losing control of the cards and sending the whole four storeys folding in on themselves. "ConcentraaAAAATE!" Thorvald cried as he and the boy toppled to the ground. Chris winced as he recovered from the knock against the pavement; Thorvald eyed him chastisingly. With an apologetic frown he picked himself up and ran over to Jenkins.

Only the tip of the right wing still poked about the surface. "OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" he said calmly and in complete control. "We'll never get it out now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"So certain are you!" Thorvald called in a sing-song voice. Chris spun around, shooting daggers. The elder bowed his head with a disappointed sigh. "Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?"

"Master building card hoses is one thing this is totally different!!!!!"

"No! No different!" He pounded his umbrella. "Only different in your mind! You must unlearn what you have learned."

Chris wiggled his head. "Alright i'll give it a try!!!"

"No!" The boy spun around. "Try not! Do. Or do not." Thorvald shook his head. "There is no try."

Chris nodded, clearly understanding none of it. Turning back to the ship, he sighed. Closing his eyes he reached out a hand, willing the Farce to lift the ship the same way he'd played the cards. Miraculously, it began to rise immediately. Thorvald watched, wide-eyed at such rapid progress. But the boy was clearly struggling, his arm wavering, and Jenkins' excited notes soon turned melancholy as it sank back into the murky depths and out of sight. The forlorn sage dropped his head.

Chris ground his jaw back and forth, fighting back tears. Returning to Thorvald he collapsed to the ground. "I can't!!!" he panted, "Its too big!!!!"

"Size matters not," replied the Cheddar Master. "Look at me! Judge me by my size, do you? Hm?" The boy wasn't entirely sure how to answer that, since if Thorvald straightened out his spine he'd probably stand a lot taller. Unless he was referring to—no! Blue jokes were the Dork Side! He shook his head apologetically. "Hmm. And well you should not! For my ally, is the Farce. And a powerful ally it is!" Thorvald cast a tranquil gaze over their surroundings. "Life creates it. Makes it grow. Its energy... surrounds us, and binds us. Luminous beings are we!" He reached out and pinched the boy's shoulder. "Not this crude matter! You must, feel the Farce around you. Here. Between you. Me. The tree. The rock. Everywhere!" Chris gave a start as a throng of animals silently padded up around them, seemingly out of nowhere. "Yes! Even between, the land, and the ship."

The boy felt an embarrassed flush in his cheeks as the flash mob's eyes fell on him. Trying not to move too fast, he rose to his feet. "You want the impossible!!" he stammered, picking his way out of the gathering to collect his kit.

Thorvald simply stood, staring ahead. Then, with a soft sigh, he bowed his head and stretched out his arm. The water began to broil and Jenkins whistled excitedly. Rolling his eyes, Chris picked himself up and stomped back over. Anger quickly turned to incredulity as his fighter broke the surface once more. With smooth and gentle motion as a conductor leading the adagio movement, the sage guided the ship over the waterfront and set it down on the street. The boy rushed over, running his hand over the underbelly, still not trusting his eyes. Thorvald slowly opened his eyes with a satisfied sigh. After confirming that yes, it was real, Chris jogged back over to his master.

"I—" he gasped for breath, "I dont believe it!!!!"

A faint grin played upon the elder man's lips. "That, is why you fail."

Speaking of failure... A shuttle craft resembling a paper airplane deployed from the hangar of a Star Destructor before darting down to... I hope this thing gets blown up by the next episode because I'm running out of ways to lampoon it. Moments later in the hall, a wooden cane clattered to the floor, followed swiftly by the Nauru's commander, KO'd by Lackarse's head-butt. "APOLOGY ACCEPTED, CAPTAIN EDUHUM." He flicked his wrist and two aides hastened over to remove the body as he strolled over to Tyo and a group of officers huddled around a console, coincidentally the same console where the misfortunate admiral had first shown up his predecessor.

"Lord Lackarse," he straightened up, "Our ships have completed their scan of the area and found nothing. If the Centurion Raptor went into light speed, it'll be on the dark side of Dark Side of the Moon by now."


"Yes, milord. We'll find them."

"DON'T FAIL ME AGAIN," he brandished a finger, "ADMIRAL."

Lackarse turned and walked away, Tyo's face flickering with that reflexive panicked grin. "Alert all commands," he ordered hastily, "Deploy the fleet."

Unbeknownst to said fleet, the quarry was sitting right under its proverbial nose. Perhaps if that gargantuan space-compensation hadn't sucked up all the surplus capital, they might've afforded to put some rear windows into the Star Destructors' control towers so that they'd see the Raptor clinging to the back of the Nauru's. "Gruppenführer Fegelein!" an animated Farnsworth exclaimed, "This time you have gone too far!"

"Ah, hush, you limey," growled the first mate.

"No I will not hush, Arkady! Why doesn't anyone listen to me?!"

Ignoring the banter, Kaiser and the officer observed the passing ships. "The fleet's beginning to break up," Fegelein noted. "Go back and stand by the manual release for the landing claw," he instructed.

Arkady unbuckled and began climbing his way through the cabin, which thanks to the larger ship's gravitational pull sat about ninety degrees downward. "Pardon me, ma'am," he grunted as he practiced the rock-climbing skills he never thought he needed.

"I really don't see how that is going to help!" the gentleman continued to no-one in particular. "Surrender is a perfectly acceptable alternative in extreme circumstances! The Empire may be gracious enough—"

"Hey Farnsworth," Kaiser began, "It's 4 o'clock somewhere; why don't you put the kettle on?"

"Oh," he mumbled, caught off-guard, "A capital idea, Your Highness!" Faster than they thought they'd ever seen him move before, he bolted from his chair and scrambled up the hallway.

"Thank you," Fegelein sighed.

"What's your next move?"

"Well if they follow standard Imperial procedure they'll dump their garbage before they jump the system to cheat local environmental laws. Then we just float away..."

"With the rest of the garbage," she nodded. "Then what?"

"Then we find a safe port somewhere around here." He turned on a dashboard monitor and began flipping through displays. "Any ideas?"

"Where are we?"

"5minIOT System."

"5minIOTs," she muttered, "There's not much there."

"No... Wait! This is interesting." The princess leaned forward. "HJ!"

"HJ System?" she repeated, dubious.

"HJ's not a system, he's a man," he explained, "hoplitejoe. He's a card-player, gambler, scoundrel; you'd like him."


"MMMBop's pretty far, but I think we can make it."

"A mining colony?"

"Yeah, a pop rock refinery. HJ conned somebody out of it. Funny, 'cause he's the last authority on music. We go back a long way, HJ and me."

"Can you trust him?"

"No," he replied matter-of-factly, "But he has no love for the Empire, I can tell you that."

There was a lurch and a metal scream and they could feel the ship's balance shifting. "Here we go, Arkady," Fegelein called into the intercom, "Stand by... Detach." The view from the cockpit became dizzying as the Raptor drifted freely away from the capital ship, mingling with the discarded scrap and waste containers.

"You have your moments," Kaiser grinned, "Not many of them, but you do have them." She gave him a peck on the cheek before settling back in her seat. They waited until the Star Destructor blasted out of sight before engaging the engines, looping about and speeding off in the opposite direction. Unseen behind them, another ship gave pursuit. It looked like the DeLorean from Back to the Future because that's exactly what it was, albeit tricked out in so much weaponry that it resembled a fully-armed Airhawk from Streets of SimCity.

The bounty hunter mercenary finished calibrating his navi-computer before facing forward, scowling at the ship ahead. "I'll show him ponification!" he muttered.

Several minutes later everyone was back in the cockpit, each with a steaming cup of tea. "So..." Kaiser began, "When do we get to MMMBop?"

"A couple weeks," Fegelein muttered innocently, "Assuming no adventures en route."


The minutes dragged on in silence, save for the ambient hum of the ship's systems and the occasional sip and tap of china. Arkady cast a covert glance about the cabin, then in a slow, almost taunting drawl, began: "I spy with my little eye..."

Jenkins sat upon the rock playing a sprightly tune to the assembled woodland critters as ahead of him Chris did a handstand while telekinetically juggling a set of crates. The boy would've much preferred a quiet work space, but Thorvald insisted that he learn how to perform on a live stage. A comic was nothing without an audience, after all. "Concentrate," breathed Thorvald, "Feel the Farce, flooow! Yeeees..." Jenkins and his patrons soon joined the invisible Ferris wheel. "Good," sighed the sage, "Calm... yeees..." But to look at Chris' face, one would think he was suffering a seizure.

"Through the Farce, things you will see," Thorvald said; "Other places. The future, the past... old friends long gone. Yet still following in the Consulate..."

"Fegelein?!" he began suddenly, "KAISER!!!!" Concentration broken in an instant, the phantom wheel spun apart, a perturbed ocelot slamming into Chris' gut and sending him toppling to the ground. Jenkins issued a salvo of indignant chirrups.

Thorvald sighed vexatedly. "Control, control, you must learn control!"

Chris gasped for breath. "I saw..." his gaze retrieved his sensei, "I saw a city in the clouds!!!"

"Mm," he nodded, "Friends you have there."

The boy's jaw trembled. "They were in pain!!!"

"It is the future you see," he replied matter-of-factly.

"Future????" Thorvald nodded. Chris bounded to his feet in an instant. "Will they DIE?!?!?!?"

Thorvald screwed his eyes shut, contemplating. "Difficult to see," he stated. "Always in motion is the future."

Chris shook his head vigorously. "Ive gotta go to them!!!!!"

"Decide you must, how to serve them best," he called after his student; "If you leave now, help them you could, but..." he narrowed his eyes, "You would destroy all for which they have fought, and suffered."

Chris started once, twice, but in the end conceded to the master's author-like wisdom.

While the boy dwelt beneath the fog of unknown future, the Centurion Raptor sailed above dark pink clouds stretching on to infinity in the upper atmosphere of MMMBop's evening light. Trailing its flanks were peculiar craft that looked like pods from one of those faiground spinny-rides, two linked together by a single metal rod that emitted a blue glow in the middle. Somehow.

"No," Fegelein reported over the radio, "I don't have a landing permit, I'm trying to reach hoplitejoe—" The escorts darted in front of the cabin, firing off short bursts as they did. "Halt your small horses and let me explain," he snapped as though it was their fault he'd shown up unannounced.

"You will not deviate from your present course," a pilot replied.

"Rather touchy, aren't they?" muttered Farnsworth.

"I thought you knew this person?" Kaiser hissed.

"Yeah," scoffed Arkady, "Trouble is, Joe knows Fegelein, too."

"Well, that was a long time ago," the officer murmured defensively, "I'm sure he's forgotten about that." The princess gritted her teeth.

Y'know, as sketchy as their predicament is, I can't gush enough about how beautiful it'd be to watch them flying through the clouds. If you've ever been in a commercial airliner and it's overcast below, you'll know precisely what I mean. Plus it's a setting sun, so the whole sky just glows. I wonder if I have any overseas trips coming up...

"Permission granted to land on Platform 327," the pilot returned.

"Thank you," sighed Fegelein. "There's nothing to worry about," he muttered to Kaiser, "We go waaay back, HJ and me."

"Who's worried?" she sniffed.

As the ships broke the cloudscape, the station itself came into view. From their perspective, it was like gazing upon an entire city settled on the head of a gigantic pin, the shaft disappearing into the lower atmosphere. ...Oh jeez, the orchestra brought a choir. Give me a minute, there's something in my eye, I gotta go find a Kleenex®.


The Raptor touched down on a circular pad outside a nondescript, featureless building face. The passengers began filing out; Arkady gave a bemused grunt. "Oh," said Farnsworth, looking around, "No-one to meet us."

Kaiser shook her head. "I don't like this."

Fegelein back-tracked instantly. "Well, what would you like?"

"Well," the gentleman offered, "They did let us land..."

"Look," Fegelein shot a suave smile, "Everything's going to be fine. Trust me."

"Heads up," called the first mate. The door slid open and a retinue made its way over.

"See? My friend." Joining Arkady, he muttered: "Keep your eyes open, huh?"

"You're telling me."

"Hey!" called Fegelein, striding forward as the party drew near. At its head was a short, pale-skinned man with curly black hair, a blue long-sleeved shirt with matching gold-trimmed cape, and faded black Trilby. Following shortly behind was a rather curiously-dressed man: his head was smooth-shaven and round bolts protruded from his upper-right forehead; some sort of computer device ringed his skull, covering his ears. He wore a ceremonial chainmail suit that called to mind old Turkish cavalry; painted on the chest was a midnight blue winged unicorn... what would you call that, an alicorn? Pegacorn? Unipeg? While he didn't sport glasses, from a first glance one instinctively recognized him as a farsighted individual.

After him marched a double column of security personnel.

"Why you slimy, patriarchal, no-good cis scum!" the man rattled, drawing level, "You've got a lot of guts checking your privilege here, after what you pulled." Fegelein gestured to himself in mock bewilderment. Our Heroes watched nervously as the man slowly stepped forward. He lurched as though to strike, froze, then grabbed the Obergruppenführer in a tight hug, breaking into a staccato laugh. "How you doin', you old Nazi?" he cried, as behind him the aide signalled for the escort to depart; "So good to see you!.."

"HJ," Arkady stated, moving to join Fegelein.

"Well, he seems very friendly!" Farnsworth declared.

"Yes," Kaiser muttered, "Very friendly."

"—What're you doin' here?"

"Repairs," Fegelein thumbed the ship, "I thought you could help me out."

HJ's face fell in an instant. "What have you done to my ship?

"Your ship?" he replied in mock bewilderment, "Remember, you lost her to me fair and square!"

Looking past his old comrade, HJ nodded to the first mate. "And how you doin', Arkady?"

"A'ight," the werewolf replied in his attempt at Yorkshire drawl.

"You still hanging around with this loser?"

"It pays the bills," he smirked. Kaiser came up beside him, Farnsworth slightly behind.

"Hel-lo, what have we here?" asked the man. The princess remained silent, inspecting him warily. "Welcome," he restarted in a professional tone, "I'm hoplitejoe, I'm the administrator of this facility." He stepped forward. "And who might you be?"

"Kaiser," she answered, with a mirthless smile.

"Welcome, Kaiser." He made a show of doffing his hat. Her eyes darted between Fegelein and HJ, suspicious.

"Alright, alright," Fegelein cut in, walking her away, "You old smoothie." Kaiser and the officer shared a grin as they made toward the doorway.

"Hello, sir!" Farnsworth greeted brightly, "I am C. Aubrey Farnsworth, Esquire. My faculties are at... your..." But HJ barely registered his fellow Englishman, following after the woman with dreamy eyes and a dazed grin.

"Ladies before lords," shrugged Arkady, following.

"Well, really!"

"What's wrong with the Raptor?" HJ asked as he caught up.


"I'll get my SJWs to work on it."


He pivoted to Kaiser. "You know that ship saved my life quite a few times! She's the fastest hunk a' junk on the Intarwebz!"

The station interior's breathtaking art deco design was almost completely lost under an unending parade of LED ad screens—the only spot other than the windows not shilled out to corporate sponsorship was where a technician welded a circuit board. "How's the pop rock?" Fegelein asked, "Is it paying off for you?"

"Oh, not as well as I thought. We're a small studio and not very self-sufficient. I've had... equipment problems of every kind, I've had labour difficulties, I've—what's so funny?" Fegelein had started chuckling.

"You! Listen to you: you sound like a businessman, a responsible leader! Who'd've thought that, huh?"

HJ grinned himself. "Y'know, seeing you sure brings back a few things."

The men shared a wistful look. Fegelein clapped a hand on HJ's shoulder. "Ja."

"Yeah," he perked up again, "I'm responsible these days. It's the price you pay for being successful."

Following in order were HJ's cyborg aid, Kaiser, sporting an amused grin, Arkady, and Farnsworth, bringing up the rear. He halted as a sliding door opened to his right and out stepped a woman in a blue turtleneck sweater and business suit. "Oh!" he exclaimed, "Nice to see a familiar face!"

"U wot m8?" she snapped, "get #shrekt skrub! Imma PWN j00 wit me 360 n0sc0pe! swer on me mum!!1" She abruptly stormed off.

"How rude!" He turned about as he heard a flute melody from inside the room. "That sounds like a slide whistle in there! I wonder if..!" He shuffled inside. "Hello?" More trills. He walked into the middle of a circular partition and looked around. "How interesting!"

"WHO R U???" snapped a gravelly voice.

"Oh, my!" he mumbled. "Oh! Uh—uh—terribly sorry," he blubbered, backing away, "I d—I didn't mean to intrude! No—no—no—please don't get up! NO—!" There was a flash and the sound of an airhorn as Farnsworth was blasted backwards. Outside in the hall, Arkady was retracing his steps and rounded the corner just as the door sealed shut.

"Farnsworth's not MLG pro," he muttered in confusion, before turning back down the hall.

Some ridiculous distance away, night had settled on Thorvald's stretch of Deewhyoh. Chris, back in his flight suit, helped Jenkins into his crawlspace on the fighter before climbing into the cockpit. "Chris!" called the Cheddar Master, "You must complete the training!"

"I cant get the vision out of my head!!" he whined, "Their my friends i gotta help them!!!!" His foot slipped and he slid down the ladder onto the ground.

"You must! not! go!" he implored.

"But fegs and kaiser will die if i dont!!!1"

"You don't know that," Alec Guinness' voice echoed. As Chris gazed ahead, his old mentor materialized to Thorvald's right, clad in his old desert robes. "Even Thorvald cannot see their fate."

"But I can help them!!!!!! I can feel the farce!!!!!!"

"But you cannot control it." Frustrated, Chris shook his head. "This is a dangerous time for you. When you will be tempted by the Dork Side of the Farce."

"Yes, yes!" Thorvald piped up, "To Alec Guinness you listen! The cave," he rumbled, "Remember your failure at the cave..!"

"But ive learnd so much since then!!!!" he pressed, "Master Thorvald I promise to return and finish what ive begun!!!!! you have my word!!!!" The sage lowered his head forlornly.

"It is you and your abilities the Emporer wants," Alec Guinness explained, "That is why your friends are made to suffer."

"Thats why I have to go!!!!!!!!!" He turned to fiddle with the bow landing strut.

"Chris, I don't want to lose you to the Emporer the way I lost Lackarse!"

"You won't!!!" He dashed about the underside of the ship making final preparations.

"Stopped they must be," said Thorvald, "On this all depends. Only a fully-trained Cheddar Monk, with the Farce as his ally, will conquer Lackarse, and his Emporer! If you end your training now, if you choose the quick and easy path, as Lackarse did, you will become an agent of evil."

"Patience!" urged Alec Guinness.

"And sacrifice fegs and kaiser?!?!?!?!"

"If you honour what they fight for?" Thorvald replied, "Yes."

"If you choose to face Lackarse, you will do it alone," warned Alec Guinness. "I cannot interfere."

Chris leaned against the ladder; swallowing, he said: "I udnerstand." Thorvald's jaw dropped. The boy cast a glance back, then began climbing. "Jenkins? Fire up the converters."

Thorvald hung his head. Alec Guinness threw out his hands. "Chris!" he called, "Don't give in to hate! That leads to the Dork Side."

"Strong is Lackarse," Thorvald added, "Mind what you have learned! Save you it can!"

"I will!!!!! And ill return!!!!!!! I promise!!!!!!!!!!!!"

The canopy sealed as the craft dusted off. Thorvald sighed as the Cheddar Monks were enveloped in darkness. "Told you I did. Reckless is he. Now, matters are worse."

"That boy is our last hope."

"No," he declared, briefly illuminated by a dull red glow as the X-wing rocketed into the sky, "There is another."


MY God.

Words cannot convey the sublime beauty that is the city in the clouds in mid-afternoon. If heaven was futurepunk, I'm certain it would look like this.

Sadly, Princess Kaiser was far too anxious to appreciate the view from the circular, glass-ceiling top-storey lounge. She had finally changed out of the SPORE jumpsuit into a floor-length maroon dress with a pinkish-beige cloak. Her hair had been redone, two loops anchoring New York style pretzels linking back to a knot topped by a hot cross bun.

The door to an adjoining room opened and Fegelein strode in. "The ship's almost finished," he announced, "Two or three more things and we're in great shape."

"The sooner the better," she huffed, walking over briskly. "Something's wrong here! No-one has seen or heard anything about Farnsworth! He's been gone too long to have gotten lost!"

Fegelein leaned in and kissed her on the forehead. "Relax," he cooed, "I'll talk to HJ, see what I can find out."

"I don't trust HJ," she hissed, sliding into a nearby armchair.

"Well I don't trust him either," he sighed, kneeling. "He is my friend. Besides," he murmured, "We'll soon be gone."

Kaiser stared at him for a moment. "Then you're as good as gone, aren't you?"

Fegelein tried to grin nonchalantly, but he didn't have a ready reply.

Meanwhile, several storeys below, Arkady picked his way through a machine shop filled almost to the brim with junk and scrap, the terminus of his sleuthing trail. "Maybe he signed on with a Griersonian film unit," he muttered. He wandered over to a conveyor belt where a bunch of shyguys were tossing the unsalvageable components into an incinerator. He caught sight of several congregated around a figure; it turned out to be Farnsworth, and they were looting his clothes. "OI! /b/tards!" he shouted. The scavengers froze, then tried to scatter. He charged the nearest one, slamming him to the wall and yanking the coat out of his arms. The scene turned into a game of monkey-in-the-middle as the shyguys tossed their loot back and forth, the werewolf trying to intercept, but the ruse quickly imploded when he opted to beat them unconscious instead. Several minutes later he strode into the suite, Farnsworth slung over one shoulder, his clothes over the other. "What happens in MMMBop," he announced.

"What happened?" Kaiser exclaimed as he lay the gentleman down on a chesterfield.

"Don't know. Found him in the underworld."

"Where?" asked Fegelein.

"Junk pile in a machine shop."

"You found him in a junk pile?"


"Oh, what a mess," she sighed. Farnsworth had been stripped down to an undershirt and a pair of briefs, dirtied from the room, and the rest of his attire was torn and sullied. "Arkady, do you think you can revive him?"

"Probably," he shrugged.

"HJ's got doctors that can fix him," Fegelein offered.

"No thanks," she said curtly.

There was a soft ping; "Speak of the devil," muttered the first mate as hoplitejoe entered from the hall.

"Sorry, am I interrupting anything?"

They hesitated. "Not really," Kaiser replied, pulling the cloak tighter around herself.

HJ couldn't conceal the dumb grin that enveloped his face. "You look absolutely beautiful." Fegelein slowly slid his hand across his mouth to cover his own smirk. "You truly belong here with us among the clouds."

"Thank you," she muttered diplomatically.

"Build your castles in the air..." Arkady whispered.

"Would you join me for a little refreshment?" he asked, extending his hand.

"Vi nyevyeroyatno!" the werewolf cried.

"Everyone's invited, of course," he quickly added. Fegelein glided up, presenting his own arm to Kaiser. Arkady slowly rose to his feet.

"Compatriot had a wild night?" HJ asked, noticing Farnsworth.

"No problem," Fegelein stated matter-of-factly, "Why?" Shooting his friend an almost accusatory look, he led Kaiser out of the room. HJ's gaze lingered on the strange scene a moment longer before he headed back into the hall.

The station was much more active in the daytime, pedestrian traffic in constant motion through the corridors. Even with full daylight, the flashy ads were a bit overwhelming, and Kaiser kept her eyes fixed on HJ just to keep her brain steady as he recounted the history of the studio. "...So you see, since we're a small operation, we don't fall into the, uh, jurisdiction of the... Empire."

"So you're part of the Artists' Guild, then?" she surmised.

"No, not those homophobic cretins—our operation is niche enough to remain viable as an independent. Which is advantageous for everybody, since, er, our customers are anxious to avoid attracting attention to themselves."

"Aren't you afraid the Empire's going to find out about this little operation?" quizzed Fegelein, "Amalgamate?"

"It's always been a danger looming patriarchally over everything we've built here," he admitted. "But things have developed that will ensure security—"

"That ain't good," Arkady muttered, casting a glance behind him.

They arrived as a sliding set of double doors. "I've just made a deal that'll keep the Empire out of here forever." As he pressed the button to open the doors he glanced toward his friend.

At the head of a small dining table, Darth Lackarse was already rising. "Chyort!" barked the first mate; Kaiser tried to pull Fegelein away but he instinctively drew his Walther, firing three shots that merely bounced off the Dork Lord's outstretched hand. He tried for the left flank but it too was palm-parried. There was a comical slipping sound and the thump of a bass drum as Lackarse used his Farce powers to telekinetically yank the gun out of the officer's hand and into his own.

"WE WOULD BE HONORED, IF YOU WOULD JOIN US." From the far side of the room the bearded mercenary emerged, rifle in hand, scowling as he drew up to Lackarse's left. Our Heroes spun around as a squad of shock troopers clattered in behind, cutting off their escape. At the head was HJ's aide.

"I had no choice," HJ muttered, "They arrived right before you did. I'm sorry."

Kaiser looked from him to Fegelein, who grasped her hand defensively. "I'm sorry, too," he said, emotionless.

"Hentai monsters," mumbled Arkady. The party filed in and Lackarse took his seat; the merc remained standing, gun trained on the Obergruppenführer. Behind them, the doors sealed shut.

Meanwhile, in SPAAAAAAACE!, Chris had entered sight of MMMBop. Jenkins played a flurry of staccato notes. "No, Farnsworths with them," he replied. Another nervous trill. "Just hang on!!!! we're almos there!!!!!!"

Back in the city, Arkady stumbled about cursing wildly, hands clasped firmly over his ears as a major league gaming mashup blasted through the speakers. He let out an anguished moan as it abruptly cut off. "Silence is vastly underrated," he growled. Sitting down beside the still-unconscious Farnsworth, he set to work repairing the gentleman's clothes using the limited memories of his own mother's needlework. "Alright, Arkady, let's see if you still know how to tie a knot. ...Glad there's no-one else here or I'd never hear the end of that. Damned furries..."

As he rifled through an appropriated sewing kit—where'd it come from, anyhow? Had the Princess lent it to him? Did the gentleman keep it for emergencies? He honestly couldn't remember—he nudged Farnsworth's arm. "Oh—Oh my! Oh my!" Arkady gave a start, but the man's eyes remained closed, suggesting he was sleep-talking. "A—da—da terribly sorry, I d—I didn't mean to intrude—no—no—no—no—no—please don't get up! Nooo—!"

After a moment he leaned in closer. "Farnsworth?" he whispered, "Farnsworth, are you awake?" He cautiously waved a hand over his face.

"Nooo!" he screamed, before mumbling some gibberish. But he was still asleep. "Shock troopers? Here? We're in danger! I must tell the others! OH NO! I'VE BEEN SHOT!"

In a nearby wing, two soldiers finished strapping Fegelein to a pillar. As Lackarse strode up beside him, the pillar began to descend toward the declassified details of Multipolarity 1. The Obergruppenführer was not known to bleed easily, but the sheer quantity of lies, deceit, karmic contempt, mind-rending doublethink and GM abuse proved such a universal trigger that he was screaming in agony in seconds. Outside the torture chamber, HJ stood with the merc; the former was morose, the latter couldn't wipe the grin from his face if he tried. As Lackarse emerged, HJ stepped forward, his aide snapping to attention. "Lord Lackarse," he started, but the Dork Lord ignored him, approaching the freebooter.


"He's no good to me dead," the merc hissed, trailing after him, HJ and the cyborg in tow.


"Lord Lackarse!" HJ called again with growing impatience, "What about Kaiser and the werewolf?"

Entering an elevator, Lackarse turned around. "THEY MUST NEVER AGAIN LEAVE THIS CITY."

"That was never a condition of our agreement," he snapped, "Nor was giving Fegelein to this bounty hunter!"

"Mercenary," he growled.


HJ backed away, licking his lips. "...No."

"GOOD! IT WOULD BE UNFORTUNATE IF I HAD TO IMPLEMENT UNSKIPPABLE POP-UP ADS." The doors closed and the merc returned back down the hall.

HJ curled his fingers, wishing he could strangle the nearby shock troopers. "This deal is getting worse all the time..."

No, I'm not.

If you know the Robot Chicken sketch, then you know I can't top it. Same with the dinner scene.

Back in the cell, Farnsworth had awoken and Arkady was trying to suit him up. It wasn't easy: the clothes had practically been pulled apart at the seams, and whatever struck the gentleman had paralyzed his limbs, meaning the werewolf pretty much had to dress him himself. "Oh yes," Farnsworth gushed as Arkady fixed the right sleeve, "That's very good! I like that!—Oh! Something's not right, because now I can't see!" Arkady rolled his eyes, jerking the jacket down past the gentleman's head. "Oh? Oh, oh that's much better!—Wait!" He looked down, "Wait! Ohh my! What have you done?! I'm... backwards!" Arkady broke down into childish giggles; poor Farnsworth had been dressed the wrong way 'round. "I can't face the old club like this! " the distraught peer cried, "If Montefiore saw me now I'd never hear the end of—" With a gentle pinch to his collar, the first mate knocked him out.

The cell door opened and two shock troopers entered, dumping Fegelein's limp body before storming out. Arkady lay Farnsworth down before dashing over to help him up. "And the bars don't even open for another hour," he cracked.

"I feel terrible," the officer stated matter-of-factly.

"You look it." Deploying a cell bed from the wall he gently helped Fegelein lie down. Seconds later the door opened again and Kaiser was thrown inside, stripped back down to her flight suit.

After finding her balance she knelt down at Fegelein's side, stroking his forehead consolingly. "Why are they doing this?" she sighed.

"Scheiße und kichern," he said simply. "Not like they asked any questions." Kaiser kissed his forehead before laying her own cheek against it.

The door opened again. "Heads up," muttered Arkady. Two of the blue-suited security staff entered, followed by hoplitejoe.

"HJ," Kaiser warned. She helped Fegelein sit up as the administrator strode into the middle of the room, guards taking post on either side. Arkady let loose an animalistic snarl that froze him in his tracks.

"How nice of you to drop in—" sneered the Obergruppenführer.

"Shut up and listen," HJ cut in. "Now, Lackarse agreed to turn Kaiser and Arkady over to me."

"Over to you?"

"They'll have to stay here, but at least they'll be safe."

"What about Fegelein?" she asked.

"Lackarse is giving him to the bounty hunter."

"Lackarse wants us all dead!" she huffed.

"He doesn't want you at all!" he snapped, "He's after somebody called, uh—Christos."

Fegelein straightened up. "Chris?"

"Lord Lackarse has set a trap for him!" he explained.

"And we're the bait!" Kaiser exclaimed.

"Yeah, well, he's on his way."

"Perfect," growled Fegelein, rising to his feet, "You fixed this all real good, didn't you?" HJ grumbled, rolling his head. "Mein Freund—!"

Fegelein swung a right hook into HJ's face, sending him stumbling backwards. Instantly one guard drew a baton and beat him to the ground. "Stop!" HJ barked. Kaiser rushed over to Fegelein's side while HJ replaced his cape.

The other guard kept his pistol trained on Arkady "Oh, sure, profile the non-human," he sang.

"I've done all I can," HJ sighed, "I'm sorry I couldn't do better, but I've got my own problems."

"Yeah," hissed the officer, "You're a real white knight." HJ glowered for a moment, then sped out of the cell, the guards quickly following.

Arkady rushed over to help his battered captain to his feet. "And people wonder why we hate Tumblr," he muttered.

Fegelein winced, too sore to move, and the first mate backed off. "You certainly have a way with people," Kaiser grinned ruefully. Getting to her feet she crossed to his other side and they tried hoisting him again.

In the station's lower levels, Lackarse inspected a large industrial contraption as shyguys shuttled back and forth, tinkering with its various controls and pipes. A circular walkway ringed a large hole whose floor, illuminated by long orange lights, was blanketed by a dull grey fog. "THIS FACILITY IS CRUDE, BUT IT SHOULD BE ADEQUATE TO FREEZE CHRISTOS FOR HIS JOURNEY TO THE EMPORER."

"Lord Lackarse!" called Tyo, hurrying over, "Ship approaching, X-wing class."


"Lord Lackarse," HJ started as Tyo marched off, "We only use hiatuses for game threads. You put him in there, it might kill him."

"I DO NOT WANT THE EMPORER'S PRIZE DAMAGED," Lackarse concurred. "WE WILL TEST IT... ON GRUPPENFÜHRER FEGELEIN." HJ stopped dead in his tracks. A shock trooper elbowed past him, trailing the Dork Lord.

Oblivious to the impending peril, Chris sailed through the planet's upper atmosphere, cresting a cloud column and coming into site of the station.

Our Heroes were marched under armed guard up a gangplank toward the freezing chamber. Farnsworth had regained mobility in his arms but his legs were still numb, so he was strapped to Arkady's back; having been summoned before his tailoring was complete, he was also left, literally, half-dressed. "If only you'd repaired my trousers," he wailed, "I wouldn't be in this ridiculous position! ...Now remember, Arkady: you have a responsibility to me, so don't do anything foolish!"

As the prisoners were brought before the chamber, Lackarse descended from the opposite end. Fegelein leaned forward to where HJ was standing. "What's goin' on, Kamerad?"

"You're being put on hiatus," he muttered.

"What if he doesn't survive?" the merc asked Lackarse, "He's worth a lot to me."

"THE EMPIRE WILL COMPENSATE YOU IF HE DIES." Little did he know, the merc had a history of the Emporer refusing to honour his title deeds. Lackarse raised his arm. "PUT HIM IN."

"Over my dead body!" screamed Arkady. He began swinging wildly, knocking the nearby shock troopers off the platform and into I honestly have no clue what's below, but if it's anything like those arbitrary rail-less canyons in the Doom Sphere... "No!" wailed Farnsworth, "Nonono! Stop!" The merc shouldered his rifle but Lackarse pushed it down. "Arkady, stop!"

"Stop, Arkady!" Fegelein barked, "Stop!"

"—Yes, stop, Please! I'm not ready to die!"

"HEY! Hey! Listen to me!" Fegelein threw himself face to face with his lieutenant as the shock troopers bound his arms. "Arkady! Arkady, this won't help me! HEY! Save your strength. There'll be another time." Lackarse watched the scene with clear interest; noticing, Kaiser instinctively backed away. "The Princess! You have to take care of her!" The werewolf's jaw was trembling and he couldn't meet the man's gaze. Kaiser came up beside him, taking his paw in her hand. "You hear me? Huh?"

"...Aye-aye, sir," he mumbled.

Kaiser turned to Fegelein and they leaned in to a kiss, only for the guards to tear him away to a raised dais in the middle of the platform. Regardless of their private thoughts on the Emporer's anti-heterosexual stigma, there was protocol to uphold. "I love you," she called.

"I know," he grinned wanly.

Two shyguys made last-minute inspections of his bindings, uncuffing his hands, and the platform began to descend. HJ's eyes darted from Fegelein to the Princess; they held each other's gaze until, reaching the bottom, Lackarse nodded to a technician and Fegelein was enveloped in a cloud of smoke that billowed straight up and between the grilles of the floor. "What—what's going on?" asked Farnsworth, "Turn 'round! Arkady, I can't see!" A giant four-pronged claw descended from the ceiling and into the pit. There was a high-pitched whine and a sound like ice cracking; HJ watched nervously. The claw retracted, bearing a large dark-grey pillar not unlike the monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey, a set of computer controls embedded along its left side. Kaiser and Arkady instinctively clutched each other as they beheld its front face. Two shyguys shuffled up and pushed it over; it slammed to the ground with a metallic thud. Kaiser buried herself even deeper into Arkady's arm; rising out of the slab like a marble sculpture was Fegelein's profile. Even with the risk of imminent death his head and shoulders conveyed a defiant nonchalance. HJ looked from the block to Kaiser apprehensively; she was biting her lip and clearly trying not to break down into tears. He gingerly stepped over to the far side and knelt down to read the computer panel.

As Arkady turned to cradle the Princess, Farnsworth finally saw the scene. "Ohhh, they've put him on hiatus! He should be quite well-protected!" His face fell. "...If he survived the freezing process, that is..."

"WELL, HOPLITEJOE," called Lackarse, "DID HE SURVIVE?"

"Yes, he's alive..." he breathed, "And in perfect hibernation."

Lackarse turned to the freebooter. "HE'S ALL YOURS, BOUNTY HUNTER."

"Mercenary," he bowed, gritting his teeth.


An unnamed officer who we'll probably never see again strode in. "christos200 had just landed, milord."


Straightening up, HJ crossed over to the trio; he tried to take Kaiser's arm but she, still not breaking her gaze, roughly shook him off, Arkady growling defensively. "HOPLITEJOE," called the Dork Lord, and he spun around, "TAKE THE PRINCESS AND THE WEREWOLF TO MY SHIP."

"You said they'd be left in this city under my supervision!"

"I AM ALTERING THE DEAL." With a sinister tone, he added: "PRAY I DON'T ALTER IT ANY FURTHER."

Lackarse marched off; HJ balled his hand into a fist before turning back to Kaiser, who still only looked upon the slab in mourning. He slowly turned his head to his aide, whose eyes locked on in an instant.

The halls were deserted and eerily quiet. Well—quiet as they could be with the constant background thump of techno muzak from the more assertive ads. Chris plodded along the corridors, handgun drawn, Jenkins sneaking along behind him. As the boy rounded a corner he nearly tripped over himself as he caught sight of the mercenary leading Fegel-on-Ice... which apparently could hover in mid-air. Huh. When the escorts were out of sight he sprinted after them, only to see them disappear around the bend. Jenkins strode up, whistling a flurry of notes, but Chris waved him off.

The boy peeked his head around the corner and nearly lost it as the merc opened fire, sending him reeling for cover. As the attacker withdrew, Jenkins urged Chris to seize the advantage, which he... didn't. Attracted by the noise, further down the hall Princess Kaiser glanced over her shoulder while hoplitejoe stealthily punched in a code on his wrist-computer. Somewhere else in the station, his cyborg minion awoke.

Finally working up the courage to save the day, Chris leaped from his corner and sprinted down the hall. Forgetting LCD screens were still susceptible to sunlight and could therefore register a shadow, as he rounded a bend an Imperial officer noticed and signalled to his squad. The shock troopers opened fire as the officer grabbed Kaiser as a human shield, scuttling across a small plaza as the boy struggled to retaliate.

"Fancy a Greek giving us a bailout!" called Arkady.

"Chris!" screamed Kaiser, "Chris, don't! It's a trap!" He poked his head around and nearly got it blown off. "It's a trap!" she repeated, before being dragged down another hall.

Firefight over, the boy skulked over to where the parade had exeunted. When no further shots followed he replaced his gun and slid into an unusually dark, ad-free corridor. Jenkins whistled after him, but before he could cross the threshold a door slid shut.

Meanwhile, a manhole opened and Chris was elevated into the hiatus chamber. He looked around warily, gun drawn, stepping forward. The moment his foot left the platform the port sealed shut behind him. He took a moment to ponder this might not have been the best-laid plan. Just as he lowered his firearm, overhead lights turned on and the walkway lit up and a respirator echoed through the facility. "THE FARCE IS WITH YOU, YOUNG CHRISTOS," boomed a voice; Chris spun around to behold the silhouette of Darth Lackarse behind him. "BUT YOU ARE NOT A CHEDDAI YET."

There was fear, yes, but also overwhelming pride. Almost instinctively, Chris ascended the stairs to where the Dork Lord stood waiting. Holstering his gun he took a moment to strike a nonchalant pose, then with rapid speed drew and ignited his plasma foil. Lackarse calmly activated his own blade, holding it forth.

A second passed.


Chris took a right swing, which Lackarse effortlessly parried. He swung straight down, two-handed, but Lackarse's blade caught the attack and pushed him back, sending the boy to the floor. The Dork Lord stood by as Chris struggled to his feet. He advanced; Lackarse retreated. He advanced again; Lackarse withdrew. With a scream Chris launched a triad of strikes, each intercepted, before Lackarse started striking himself, the boy only barely blocking in time. Chris ducked as Lackarse made a lateral swing, slicing through a nearby pillar.

Meanwhile, the royal escort proceeded down the hall. As it passed an intersection, the station security surrounded the troopers, guns drawn. Pulling the Imperial officer aside, hoplitejoe began collecting the shock troopers' blasters. "What a tweest!" Arkady remarked. Kaiser looked around in confusion.

"Well done." HJ handed the weapons to the cyborg. "Hold them in the Mandatory Fun Tower," he instructed, "And keep it quiet." As the detachment marched away, HJ handed two more guns to Kaiser before uncuffing the werewolf.

"What do you think you're doing?!" the Princess snapped.

"We're getting out of here."

"I knew all along," Farnsworth said matter-of-factly, "It had to be a mistake."

"You think that after what you did to Fegelein that we're gonna—"

"PSYCH!" exclaimed Arkady, grabbing HJ by the throat.

"I had no choice!" he wheezed.

"What are you doing?!" wailed the gentleman, "Trust him! Trust him!!"

"Oh!" Kaiser sneered, "So we understand, don't we, Arkady? He had no choice!"

"Just try'na help—!" he choked, falling to his knees.

"SJWs always think they are," Arkady scoffed.

"We don't need any of your 'help'."

"Fe—" HJ coughed, "E-e-e—!"

"You laughin' at me?" muttered the werewolf in his best Robert De Niro impression.

HJ struggled to clear his windpipe. "Fe—! E-e-e—!" he repeated.

"—I don't see anyone else here; you laughin' at me??"

"What?" asked Kaiser, leaning forward.


"It sounds like 'Feg'!" said Farnsworth.

"There's still a chance to save Fegelein!" he wheezed.

"Oh thank God," sighed Arkady, still not breaking his grip, "I thought he was calling me a—"

"—At the east—" he gasped desperately, "Platform!"

"Arkady," the Princess stated, nodding her head down the hall. The werewolf gave one last throttle before turning about and following. hoplitejoe heaved for breath as he struggled not to collapse.

"I'm terribly sorry about all this!" Farnsworth called after him, "Arkady's had some bad encounters with furries, you see..."

Meanwhile, in the setting sun on the East Platform, the merc feigned disinterest as the hired help prepared to load the Fegel-block into his car. "Put Gruppenführer Fegelein in the trunk," he instructed.

"Er," began one of the men, "Isn't that full of time-travel junk?"

"Then put him in the back seat!" he snapped.

"Isn't that also—"

"What the CHRIST?!" he shouted, "You're freaking movers, aren't you?!"

"Actually, sir, we—"

"—It's called keep wiggling until it fits! Bob Saget, this is why I hate Tani's NPCs!"

"Actually, sir, we work with—"

On an outside balcony, Jenkins strode into an alcove just as hoplitejoe and company jogged past, Arkady muttering about his evening constitutional. Jenkins spun around, chirping excitedly. "Jenkins!" cried Farnsworth, "Jenkins, where have you been?! —Wait! Turn 'round!" he huffed as Arkady spun about.

"Dobriy vyechyer!" he called.

Jenkins whistled as he ran to catch up. "Hurry!" his fellow gentleman ushered, "We're trying to save Fegelein from the bounty hunter!"

"MERCENARY!!" a voice echoed ahead.

Jenkins issued a flurry of notes, appraising his comrade of his adventures. "Well at least you're still fully-dressed! Look what happened to me!"

The bay door opened and the posse sprinted out, only to see the DeLorean lifting off. "Don't let it reach 88 MPH!" screamed Arkady. They opened fire on the retreating car, but within seconds it accelerated out of range. Kaiser watched it sail into the atmosphere, mortified.

"Oh no!" Farnsworth screamed, "Arkady, they're behind you!!" Our Heroes took cover as a squad of shock troopers opened fire from inside. Jenkins found himself stuck in the middle, improvising some ballroom dancing as he dodged the crossfire.

Deeper inside the station, Chris struggled to reorient himself after Lackarse's latest attack. "YOU HAVE LEARNED MUCH, YOUNG ONE," appraised the Dork Lord.

"You'll find i'm full of surprises!!!" he grinned mirthlessly, launching into a lightning strike. But Lackarse's lightning was greased, and with a circular motion he twisted Chris' blade out of his hand, sending it clattering to the floor behind. He swung down, and the boy tumbled down the stairs. Lackarse leaped at him and Chris only narrowly dodged his feet.

"YOUR DESTINY LIES WITH ME, CHRISTOS." The boy shakily picked himself up. "ALI-G KNEW THIS TO BE TRUE."

"No!!!!" he said calmly and with complete control.

There was a whine of machinery as the centre of the platform opened up. With a wave of his blade, Lackarse sent Chris tumbling into the hiatus chamber. "ALL TOO EASY." With a gesture, he telekinetically pulled the control lever and gas swirled around the boy. Chris leaped with all his might out of the hole and into the piping above. Oblivious, Lackarse looked at the cloud billowing from the chamber. "PERHAPS YOU ARE NOT AS STRONG AS THE EMPORER THOUGHT." His gaze turned skyward as a spanner dropped from the ceiling, finding Chris scurrying up a set of tubing. "IMPRESSIVE," conceded Lackarse, before taking a swing. "MOST IMPRESSIVE." Chris swung down and, before Lackarse could make a move, shoved the broken half of one of the tubes toward him, literally blowing smoke in his face. Using his Cheddai powers he summoned his plasma foil, igniting it in time to block Lackarse's attack. "ALI-G HAS TAUGHT YOU WELL. YOU HAVE CONTROLLED YOUR FEAR." Lackarse feigned left, then swung from the right, Chris barely blocking in time. "NOW... RELEASE YOUR ANGER. ONLY YOUR HATRED CAN DESTROY ME." He launched into a rapid series of swings and Chris struggled to keep up. The boy leaped, somersaulting over Lackarse and trying to catch him from behind. He slowly forced the Dork Lord backwards until Lackarse lost his footing, exclaiming in surprise as he tumbled from the platform.

Chris grinned smugly, deactivating his foil and leaping down after him. A metal grille opened to his side. Switching on the lights he found a round metal tunnel. He followed it to a deserted room with some sort of circular control station. As he stepped out, the tunnel sealed shut behind him. He stepped forward to a a large circular window that gazed out into an enormous cavern in the station's interior. Just as he was beginning to appreciate the view, the mechanical breathing picked up. Chris re-engaged his blade as Lackarse strode forward.

Chris readied for another duel, but Lackarse nodded behind him. A set of piping tore from the wall. The boy spun around, swinging uselessly as he barely dodged it. Lackarse used the distraction to attack, but Chris recovered in time and caught the blade. He launched into a retaliatory skirmish. Just as he fought Lackarse to a stalemate, he heard a digitized voice shouting "SPAAAAAACE!" seconds before the Space Core collided with his head. A chorus of laughter erupted all around him. Gripping the foil with both hands, Chris struggled to right himself. Lackarse nodded and a CRT television flew at the boy; his swing missed and it bounced off his shoulder, prompting more laughter from the audience. Lackarse angled his blade downward and a large metal column began rattling beside him. Peter Griffin's infuriating nasal laugh erupted as Mann Co. crates and Tiny Box Tim buffeted the boy. The column broke loose and smashed through the window. The room depressurized, commercial-brand junk food flying through the breach; Lackarse grabbed hold of a secure grip, but Chris, badly-beaten, lost his and was sucked outside as the laugh-track howled in delight. As the pressure normalized, Lackarse strode over to the window.

Chris's fingers coiled around the edge of a girder striding a seemingly bottomless pit. With all his might he heaved himself to safetwait wait WAIT what are you KIDDING me?! I watched—I WATCHED—his foil fly out of his hands when he sailed through the window, so how in the name of Deus ex Machina could he have caught it AND clipped it to his belt if BOTH HANDS were gripping the railing for LITERALLY DEAR LIFE?!

Screw it. Scene change!

Kaiser blasted a shock trooper before retreating to the elevator as more advanced. "Blue Team scores twenty points," called Arkady. Proceeding to the next level, they regrouped with hoplitejoe by a sealed door. "Aw, don't tell me we forgot to pick up the key..!"

"The security code has been changed!" he huffed.

"Jenkins!" called Farnsworth, "You can tell the computer to override the security system!" Whistling affirmative, the gentleman withdrew his USB cables. "Hurry!"

HJ crossed the floor over to a P.A. terminal and punched in his clearance. "Attention, this is hoplitejoe. Attention. The Empire's taken control of the city, I advise everyone to leave before more Imperial oppressors arrive."

The console began to spark and Jenkins whistled in alarm as his gadgets overloaded. Arkady yanked out the cables and pulled the man to safety. "Must've hit the non-binary gender porn by mistake," he muttered.

"This way," called HJ, dashing down the adjoining hall.

"Well don't blame me," Farnsworth told Jenkins defensively as the rest of the party made after him, "I've never even used Tumblr! I don't know what counts as a pronoun these days—!"

The posse wove its way through the torrent of evacuees, heading for the Raptor. Kaiser and Arkady provided covering fire as Jenkins tried again at another terminal. As he hacked into the network he whistled a flurry of notes. "Ack!" cried Farnsworth as a lazor shot past his ear, "We're not interested in the hyperdrive on the Centurion Raptor, it's fixed!" Jenkins issued another trill as Arkady continued exchanging shots. "One crisis at a time! Just open the door!!"

As the door began to rise a bittersweet melody broke through. "I never doubted you for a second!" As Our Heroes ran for the ship, Jenkins reached into his coat and lobbed smoke grenades ahead of him. Kaiser and HJ lay down covering fire as the short gentleman dashed for the ship. Arkady clambered aboard, quickly unstrapping Farnsworth and setting him down by the entryway.

"Kaiser!" cried HJ, "Go!" Ducking out from cover she raced up the gangplank, the erstwhile administrator quickly following. Onboard, Arkady took his seat in the cockpit while Jenkins dragged Farnsworth further inside.

"I though MMMBop would be the end of me!" muttered the gentleman. Jenkins blew staccato notes. "Of course I've looked better!"

As the shock troopers finally filed out onto the landing pad, the Raptor lifted off.

Jutting out into the middle of MMMBop's central void was a large station resembling the tailfin to the An-225's obese uncle. Two-thirds of the way to the top, a narrow catwalk extended even further. Chris struggled against the rushing wind as he rounded the outer walkway to slip into the interior. He'd barely taken eleven steps inside when a plasma foil ignited and Darth Lackarse leaped out from behind a pillar. The audience cheered as the boy scrambled back, hands shaking uncontrollably as he brought his blade to bear. After only a moment's hesitation, Lackarse launched his attack. Gone was the teasing from earlier: he hacked and slashed with primal fury, Chris beating a steady retreat as red blade pounded on blue. "YOU DUN GOOF'D!" a middle-aged father yelled as the Dork Lord shoved the boy backwards; Chris barely managed to dodge a downward swing that tore into the wall, showering them in sparks as the crowd broke into laughter. Forced back outside, Chris rolled aside as Lackarse's swings clipped the guardrail, then the outer wall. Their blades locked, and for a moment Chris thought he was winning this Farce arm-wrestle, only to be jerked aside and forced further down the bridge to the hysterical jeering of the invisible onlookers.

One, two, three hacks and—


—Excuse me, do you mind?—As I was saying, the boy almost regained control, only for another vicious hack to send him scurrying back, the red blade slicing the railing. Attempting an opportunity strike, he locked the blade near the hilt; sparks exploded as the foils twisted into the opposite rail. More laughter erupted as Lackarse veritably threw him to the floor; a confused spectator, thinking 'Chris' was short for 'Christina', leaped in front of the camera, shouting for the Dork Lord to perform lewd acts with the boy's pet cat. "YOU ARE BEATEN," Lackarse declared, plasma foil levelled in front of Chris' face, "IT IS USELESS TO RESIST. DON'T LET YOURSELF BE DESTROYED AS ALEC GUINNESS DID."

Puffing his face out in fury, Chris buffeted the blade aside, prompting a group of friends to erupt into incredulous screams of ...sorry, all I caught was 'wom-bow combo', I have no clue what they say after that. Leaping to his feet he struggled to retaliate as Lackarse swung down, across, any-which-way to cut him into pieces. Catching a split-second opening, Chris grazed Lackarse's shoulder in a flash and—


—the Freddy Funtime is going ON here?! Lackarse actually shouted in surprise, crying "OO-AAAH!" as he cut a nearby column clean in two, sending Chris scurrying off the walkway and into a precipitous metal pipe extending from the main platform to some sort of antenna. One hand gripping the rail he tried to catch the Dork Lord unaware, but with a circular parry Lackarse knocked the blade up and away.

With a diagonal swing, Lackarse sliced off Chris' right hand. "AAAAAAAA!"—



  *shrill girlish scream*

   "OH MY GOOOD!!"



    "Smoke weed erry—"





That's QUITE enough of that.

...Christ, where were we?

Oh, right.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!" screamed Chris, clutching the instantly-cauterized stump as he tumbled backwards. Grasping a protruding metal beam, he stared up at Lackarse, still defiant.

"THERE IS NO ESCAPE," he breathed. "DON'T MAKE ME DESTROY YOU." Struggling to keep his balance, Chris crawled backwards along the pipe toward the far column. "CHRIS," he called, deactivating his foil, "YOU DO NOT YET REALIZE YOUR IMPORTANCE. YOU HAVE ONLY BEGUN TO DISCOVER YOUR POWER." Slowly, nervously, the boy pivoted about to face the beams behind. "JOIN ME, AND I WILL COMPLETE YOUR TRAINING. WITH OUR COMBINED STRENGTH, WE CAN END THIS DESTRUCTIVE CONFLICT, AND BRING ORDER TO THE FANDOMS!"

Gripping the vertical piping for dear life, Chris struggled to his feet. "ILL NEVER JOIN YOU!!!!" he hollered.


"He told me enough!!!" Chris nearly fell off the platform as he manoeuvred onto a lower ring, trying to put as much distance between him and the Antichrist as possible; "He told me you killed it!!!"

"NO," said Lackarse, "I... GAVE YOU STAR WARS."

It began as a low bubble, slowly but surely crescendoing into steady laughter that didn't stop even as the dialogue cut back in. "No!" Chris whimpered, head shaking, "No!! That's not true!!! That's impossible!!!!"

Lackarse reached up, removing his helmet and pulling off his mask, revealing a bespectacled man with a thick beard and silver, wavy hair. "Search your feelings," croaked George Lucas, "You know it to be true."




Chris screamed in mortal anguish, finally drowning out the audience,


"Chris," Lucas called, "You can destroy the Emporer! He has foreseen this! It is your destiny..!" The boy gazed down, unfocused, as he mulled over what his favourite director was saying. "Join me, and together we can rule pop culture as author and fan!"

He held forth his hand. Chris looked around him; even if the pit wasn't bottomless, there was no way he'd survive that drop without some serious deus ex machina, and he'd used the last of that up in IdIOT. He looked back up to Lucas.

"Come with me," called the filmmaker, "It is the only way."

On the one hand, turn himself over to the Dork Side.

On the other, he'd have a literal right-hand seat next to George freaking Lucas!!! Besides, if worst came to worst and Return of the Sith didn't get green-lit, he could always back-stab the studio and—

Bolting for the platform he forgot he was missing his right hand. There was a roar of laughter and an ear-splitting scream as Chris lost his footing and plunged into the gaping void. Lucas watched him go, his expression unreadable.

Free-falling through a gigantic hole in the middle of a space station gives one ample time for thought, and Chris found himself pondering several questions regarding his choices in life. Most of them went something along the line of "If only Lackarse hadn't cut off my hand!", or "If only he hadn't parried at that second!", although now and again an "If only I'd listened and stayed to finish my training!" flitted by. His existential quandary was interrupted as he found himself sucked into a large red-ringed tube along a gently sloping face. What happened next no doubt inspired the galaxy's seventh-longest funpark slide as he sailed feet-first down the metal piping, rolling to a stop as the path levelled out. He'd barely had a second to get his bearings when the floor suddenly gave way and he fell right out of the station, legs hooking around some sort of antenna-like apparatus. Between the shock of staring down at the infinite cloud mass below—wait was that his hand?!—and the roaring winds of Nineties pop music whirling around him, he couldn't even scream.

Wrapping his good hand around the vertical pole, the boy struggled to pull himself up to the port whence he'd been ejected. His hand slapped against part of the metal hatch just as it started to close, but unable to keep a grip he retreated to the antenna as it sealed shut. "Ali-G!" he choked, wits at end, "Ali-G, please!!!!" He tried climbing further up the pole, but as he struggled to find a grip he lost his balance, tumbling upside-down onto the second-lowest bars. "Ali-G!!!!!" he sobbed, barely strong enough to hold himself in place. "Kaiser!!!!!" he called, changing tack. "Hear me!!!!!!! Kaiser!!!!!!!!!!"

Onboard the Centurion Raptor, hoplitejoe finished checking the flight controls and sat back in the navigator's seat. In front of him, Princess Kaiser stared ahead, yet without focus. "Chris," she whispered, as if entranced. Her eyes darted about. "We have to go back," she announced.

"What?" muttered HJ.

"I know where Chris is!"

"What about those fighters?"

"If I may suggest—" began the first mate.

"Arkady, just do it!"

HJ leaped up from his chair. "What about Lackarse—"

"The Princess is speaking!" snapped the werewolf.

"Alright! Alright, alright!" he threw up his hands in defence. The ship back-flipped, levelling out as it raced back toward the station.

Onboard said station, Darth Lackarse and an Imperial entourage idled about at the Park 'n Fly terminal with increasing frustration. "THIS IS WHY," growled the Dork Lord, "I ASKED YOU TO BRING MY SHUTTLE."

The Raptor decelerated as it sailed beneath MMMBop. "Look," HJ pointed, "Someone's up there."

"Luke!" the princess breathed, "Arkady, slow down. Slow down and we'll get under him. HJ, open the top hatch."

As the ship drew closer, Chris shimmied down to the pole's bottom bars because... jeez, I don't know. "It's gonna be a helluva stunt with this cross-wind," Arkady muttered.

Kaiser finished setting some controls. "OK. Easy, Arkady..."

"I wish it was..."

The ship ducked down before coming to hover just beneath the stranded boy. Riding an elevator through the dorsal hatch, HJ clipped a lifeline as the seals parted and he emerged into the open air. Looking down, Chris tumbled from the antenna as seconds later a squad of Kite Flyers dove underneath the facility. "HJ?" Kaiser called through the intercom.

"OK, let's go!" As he brought the rescuee below-deck, the ship turned about and rocketed away. The fighters kept close pursuit, lazors strafing the rear. HJ returned to the cockpit, and Kaiser rushed over to steady a weary Chris while HJ dashed to join Arkady at the controls. "Kaiser!!" whimpered the boy.

"Alright, Arkady," called HJ, "Let's go!" A driving theme picked up as the Raptor made for space. Lazor blasts rocketed the ship as Kaiser set Chris up in a medical bed.

"I'll be back," she said. Chris tried to call after her, but he was too weak.

Soon the ship was space-side; the princess had joined the men at the front. "Star Destructor," she pointed to the ludicrously overpriced dagger that, in the distance, almost seemed like a not infeasible investment. The Raptor promptly banked right.

"Alright, Arkady," said HJ, "Ready for light-speed!"

"If your people fixed the hyperdrive," Kaiser cut in. "All the coordinates are set. It's now or never."

"Punch it!"

The first mate flipped the switches... and was answered by a familiar stalling sound. HJ ground his teeth as Kaiser and Arkady shared a look. The administrator emeritus turned to find them both staring at him. The ship rocked from another salvo. "Who will rid me of this blasted SJW?!" cried Arkady, pounding the controls.

"They told me they fixed it!" he exclaimed defensively, "I trusted them to fix it!!" He leaped from the chair to troubleshoot the controls. "It's not my fault!!" Arkady rose from his chair, shoving hoplitejoe aside as he made for the interior.

Onboard the Super Credit Destroyer, Lackarse strode over to a side window where Tyo was standing. "They'll be in range of our tractor beam in moments, Lord," reported the admiral.


"Yes, milord."


"Yes, milord." Tyo spun about. "Lieutenant?"

"It's pronounced 'lef-tenant', but yes, sir." The junior officer peeled away.

Back in the Raptor, Arkady practically tore away the gratings to the interior circuits. "I swear to God," he grumbled, "If they bugged it so I have to use 'shi' and 'hir' in adult conversation, I am literally going to flip out."

At the other side of the room, Jenkins was mending the seam to Farnsworth's right pantleg. The taller gentleman observed the first mate with befuddlement. "Why don't we just go into light speed?" he asked his compatriot. Jenkins replied with a squawkish whistle. "We can't??" Chirrup. "How would you know the hyperdrive is deactivated?" A long flurry of notes. "The city's central computer told you??" Chirrup. "Jenkins Applebee, you know better than to trust a strange computer! Remember that mechanic—Erik, I think it was—and instead of getting parts for sabres we ended up with twelve thousand copies of—ouch!" Farnsworth nearly leaped off the bench as the needle jabbed his leg, "Pay attention to what you're doing!"

The Kite Flyers kept up their fire, shepherding the Raptor toward the gargantuan monstrosity. Lackarse stood alone at the side gallery, watching the pursuit. "CHRIS," he called out telepathically.

The boy immediately came to. "Lucas!"


Chris made to speak, then collapsed back onto the bed. "Ali-G..." he murmured, "Why didnt you tell me????" There was a lurch and a sharp bang, and Chris struggled to his feet.

In the cockpit, HJ and Kaiser's arms were criss-crossed as fingers blazed over the console. "Arkady?!" he shouted through the P.A.

"All mechanics are are busy," he replied with saccharine sarcasm, "Please beg forgiveness after the beep."

The Raptor was only a few hundred metres from the Star Destructor. The pilots looked up in surprise as Chris entered. "Its lackarse," he stated, sinking into a rear chair.

"CHRIS," Lackarse called, "IT IS YOUR DESTINY..."

Chris screwed his eyes shut as the emotions overwhelmed him. "Ali-G..." he sob-whispered, "Why didnt you tell me?????"

Though they managed to get in front of the battleship, in a few minutes it wouldn't make a lick of difference. "Alert all commands," ordered Tyo, stepping forward to the pit crew; "Ready for the tractor beam."

Back with Our Heroes, Arkady wrestled with a set of computer cables. "Why can't they make these with a standard format?" he snarled. Jenkins gave a little whistle as he shuffled across the floor.

"Jenkins, come back at once," Farnsworth called from the corridor, "You haven't finished with me yet!" His left pantleg was still split and flapping uselessly against his thigh. "You don't know how to fix the hyperdrive! Arkady can do it!" The shorter gentleman withdrew a set of cables and began fiddling with an open circuitboard. "I'm standing here in pieces, and you're having delusions of grandeur!"

Jenkins issued a short trill; with a flick of his wrist the panelling lit up blue and the Raptor lurched forward, sending him tumbling into the maintenance pit. "You did it!!" shouted Farnsworth. Wasting no time, Kaiser pushed the dashboard lever forward. The stars drew out into long beams of light, and the ship vanished from view.

Watching from the bridge, Tyo's jaw dropped. Lackarse stood still a moment, then turned to the side. He cast one last look at the empty void before him, then strode slowly but methodically down the room. Even after the Dork Lord had left, it took a minute for the admiral's heart to start working again.

After far more delays than anyone had even pessimistically anticipated, the Centurion Raptor finally regrouped with the Resistance fleet, a motley assortment of capital ships pulled from disparate fandoms throughout the Internet. "Chris," hoplitejoe called through the ship's radio, "We're ready for take-off."

"Good luck HJ!"

"When we find Dolfy the Führer and that bounty hunter, we'll contact you."

"Ill meet you at the rendez-vous point on Greece!" Chris sat on a medical chair onboard the frigate, as the Medic wrapped up the surgery; Princess Kaiser stood nearby, while the gentlemen observed a spiral galaxy from the gallery window holy blap just how far out in space is this fleet??

"Princess," HJ lowered his voice, "We'll find Fegelein. I promise."

"Arkady i'll be waiting for your singal!! ...Take care you two. May the Farce be with you."

"Don't worry," called the first mate, "Where we're going, it'll be nothing but." Everyone in the medical ward had a good chuckle.

As Kaiser moved off to join the gentlemen, Chris turned back to the Medic. The boy had been fitted with a prosthetic hand that looked exactly like the real thing, save for the controlling electronics built into a panel just below his wrist. The doctor held a needle aloft, poking his thumb, then his index finger, then his palm, each tap eliciting a twitch from the prosthetic and a hiss from Chris. This continued about a dozen times, before Chris sealed the panel and got up to join Kaiser at the gallery window. With a few practice wiggles, he put his robo-hand on her far shoulder.

HJ and Arkady took their seats as the Raptor detached from the docking bay. "Once more unto the breach," muttered the werewolf as the ship blasted off. From the gallery, the party watched as it sped toward the galaxy, an off-white speck against the universe.

—do DAAAA, da, da dee

DA! dada dada dadododo
Da, DA-, dadado deee, do
dadado deee, do
Da, da DA

Written and Directed by

Produced by

Executive Producer





What a RIDE, ladies and gentlemen! I don't want to place bets yet, but from the aesthetics alone this might be the definitive film of the series! And the drama—! Will this startling revelation turn Chris to the Dork Side? How will the Alliance hope to stop the Empire now? Pray tell, what mind-blowing twists could possibly await us in the next film??

Rest assured, dear audience, I'll be tuning in for the epic conclusion to this incredible journey!

Until next time, may the Farce be with you.

SHTAR WORZ - Teh EMporer stirkes BAUc by @Thorvald (El Thorvaldo)

Get ready to tease all your friends that Vader is Luke's father—Parte the Seconde of the critically-acclaimed* Star Wars/IOT parody fanfic is polished up for export in this convenient package! "SHTAR WORZ" originated on Taniciusfox's IOT spin-off forum in response to a number of short stories by christos200 that were criticized for being poorly-written and overly derivative. Conceived as a "teach-by-example" parody, it quickly expanded into a madcap satire of the IOT community in general. Part II was serialized on CivFanatics from October 2013–September 2015 in 8½ installments; this document closely imitates the story as it originally appeared in the thread, save for a few aesthetic effects that could not have been implemented with the technology on-hand—hey, if Abrams can start pulling retcons before the film even goes to home video, so can I. ;p

Luke Skywalker — christos200
Han Solo — Hermann Fegelein (Downfall Parodies)
Princess Leia — Bernádett Kaiser (OC)1
Master YodaThorvald of Lym
Alec Guinness — Himself
C-3P0 — C. Aubrey Farnsworth, Esq. (OC)
R2-D2 — Jenkins Applebee, OBE (OC)
Chewbacca — Arkady Dmitraev (OC)
Lando Calrissian — hoplitejoe
Lobot — Farsight
General Rieekan — Nikos Stavros (C&C Red Alert)
Wedge — Omega124
Dak — ceaser1345
Boba FettCivGeneral
Emperor Palpatine — Taniciusfox
Admiral Ozzel — Patriotic_Fool
Captain/Admiral Piett — Tyo
Captain Needa — eduhum

Star Wars, SPORE, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, and all other commercial content remains © its respective holders. Cover images whipped up in Gmod by me, because Reus never called back. HAV - Nikola Tesla 2

1 - Actually a shout-out to a character from a televised Star Wars parody that unfortunately cannot be found online; KaiserElectric was only sporadically involved in IOT at this time, so the character has zilch to do with him. Now, once we get to the prequels...

Originally submitted as PDF to DeviantArt March 2016; reformatted as plain-sheet .ODT for upload here.

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