Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Insert Random Scream of Pain Here (part 3 of 5)

Time seemed to stand still as the warhead exploded.

Drake saw his entire life flash before his eyes.

Christoph sent a silent prayer of apology to Algzdun.

Aster mourned over all the manga she'd never read.

Emily closed her eyes and shrank back into Tash as the tendrils of flame reached out for her.

Tyler wondered what was for dinner.

Suddenly, the fire shifted into a condensed stream and began to blaze into a circle.

Tash stood, head down, staff planted in the ground, flames coiling around the staff like a snake before vanishing into the staff's tip.

"Nice going, Lady Tash!" Christoph said, picking himself up from the floor where he'd fallen after missing Ben.

Shirley hadn't moved an inch, she just continued to stare unseeingly at the place where Ben vanished.

"Is everyone all right?" Adrian barked, taking a quick headcount.

"I think so." Tash said, putting an arm around the trembling Emily.

"Wait! Where's-?"

Everyone turned to look at the Vault, but it was too late. Ben and Repiv had long since vanished.

Drake leaned up against a wall, running a hand through his hair. "Just what is going on here?"

"This isn't the place to talk about it." Adrian said. "Let's get upstairs."


Shirley trailed behind the rest as they climbed the long staircase. The Cliche Stick was stunned, confused and hurt. Had Ben really betrayed them? Why?

Her eyes narrowed. Come to think of it, Ben had been acting strange the past few days, she should've realized when he yelled at her earlier that something was up. But Ben had always shared everything with his muse, so why not this? Nothing made any sense.

Shirley was so lost in thought so failed to realize just how far she'd fallen behind everyone else, and didn't notice the figure approaching from behind.

"Having a bad day?"

Shirley turned, then froze.



Subdued, the group trouped up the stairs to find the rest of the Society gathered around the doorway and instantly were assaulted by a barrage of questions.

"What's going on?"

"We heard an explosion."

"Where's Ben?"

"We'll talk in a minute." Adrian said, looking around. "This is something everyone needs to hear. Where's Jared and Chloe?"

"I sent them on a mission." Tash said, sending Emily with Karissa to go see Valerie to check her for injuries. "They should be back in a little while."

Adrian nodded. "Good. I want everyone to report to the briefing room immediately. We'll explain everything there."

As the speculating Agents hurried off, Adrian turned to Tash. "Is everything in place?"

"According to Camille it is."



Everyone was already sitting and waiting for Adrian and Tash when they walked into the briefing room.

Adrian headed to the front of the room and looked around.

"Is everyone here?"

"We are now." Jared said, walking in the door, followed by Chloe.

"We heard the explosion," He grimaced as he eased himself onto a chair. "So, what did Ben nuke this time?"
Then he noticed how serious everyone looked.

"What's going on?" Chloe asked.

"Ben and Repiv are traitors." Adrian announced heavily. "Repiv was a member of the Pro-Cliche and Mary-Sue Protection Society, and they tried to break into the Room of Things Man was not Meant to Know!"

There was a chorus of gasps and "What?"' as the assembled Agents quickly began to murmur amongst themselves.

"Are you serious?" Charis asked, her face pale.

"I'm afraid so." Said Adrian, looking grim.

"But that's impossible!" Jared exclaimed, jumping to his feet. He quickly regretted the action though.

"Why would he do something like that?" He winced at his injured ribs as he slowly sat back down in his chair, assisted by Chloe.

"We don't know why," Adrian said. "But that's what happened. Repiv tried to use Emily as a hostage to get me to open the Room, and when things went south they both escaped."

Jared slumped back in his chair, stunned.

"I can't believe I didn't see this coming." Tash murmured. "I mean, all the signs were there and I didn't recognize them! Valerie even warned me there was something going on with him!"

"Don't beat yourself up too much" Adrian said, his eyes hard. "What Ben did was up to him. If he wanted to betray us, that's up to him."

"I don't think Ben has gone traitor, though!" Tash insisted.

"What?" Christoph scowled. "With all due respect, Lady Tash, Ben tried to nuke us!"

"But that's just it!" Tash insisted. "There wasn't enough power in that warhead to nuke a sandcastle! At the worst, we would've gotten our eyebrows singed!"

Drake shrugged. "Maybe he just didn't have time to summon a stronger nuke."

"I wish Doug were here." Tash sighed. "He and Ben got along pretty well, maybe he could've told us what was going on."

Adrian shrugged. "No matter. We're still going to have to operate on the assumption that Ben is a traitor. "

Adrian looked around. "Ben knows too many of our secrets to be left unchecked. We need to re-capture him before he can do any serious damage. I want Christoph, Drake and Aster to get ready, we're going after Ben and Repiv in ten minutes."

"Hey, I want to go!" Jared exclaimed. "Ben's my friend too you know!"

"And that's exactly why you shouldn't be going." Adrian said. "Your friendship could cloud your judgement if you end up having to fight him."

"But I could try to snap him out if I got the chance to talk to him." Jared insisted.

Chloe shook her head. "Adrian's right. And besides, with your ribs the way they are you couldn't fight. Not to mention your Boomhamer's still recharging."

Jared looked glum but nodded nonetheless.

"Just promise me you'll at least try to talk to Ben first." He pleaded.

Adrian nodded. "I promise."

He looked around the room again. "I want everyone I just mentioned to get ready for insertion in ten minutes! I'll lead the strike team to recapture Ben. Meanwhile, I want everyone else to remain on high alert! There's no telling what the Protection Society might try to do while we're still off-balance."

"Wait a second..." Tash frowned. "Where's Shirley?"

The Clichè Stick was gone.


Ben came flying out of the plothole and hit the ground hard.

He groaned and coughed as he picked himself up. This was bad on so many different levels. Not only had Repiv's cover been blown, but the worst of Ben's fears had come about, and now the entire Society thought he was a traitor. But the absolute worst part of it was with Ben no longer being an asset, chances were Bella would be dead within the hour.

Ben gritted his teeth. It was all on him now. The only person he could rely on to help him and rescue Bella was himself.

He took a moment to look around. He seemed to be in a cavern of some sort.

"Great, now where am I?" Ben wondered out loud.

"So, you managed to get away, did you?"

Ben whirled at Repiv's sneer to find the traitor standing several feet behind him.

"No thanks to you." Ben growled.

"You weren't exactly a huge help either as I recall." Repiv replied, folding his arms. "You even let that girl go! We could've used her as a hostage!"

"As if I'd let you do that." Ben sneered. "Don't forget, I'm not on your side here. I'm only working with you so I can figure out where you're keeping Bella."

Ben gestured around the cave tunnel they were in. "I'm guessing that this place, whatever it is, is the Protection Society's hideout. And now that I know where you're keeping Bella," He said, dropping a hand to Bahamut's neck and pulling the guitar around to his front. "I don't need you anymore."

Repiv's eyes narrowed. "That's funny," He said slowly, pulling another Space Hammer card from his pocket. "Now that my cover's been blown, I could say the same thing for you..."

The two stared each other down for a long moment. Then Ben made the first move, snapping off a note on one of Bahamut's strings, firing a bolt of green energy at the traitor, but Repiv was faster.

He threw himself to one side, avoiding the projectile, unwinding Carl from around his neck and hurling him, fangs outstreched, at the Society Agent.

Ben tried to do the Fast-Step, but he slipped on the smooth rock and went down.

Carl overshot Ben, and when he hit the ground, he whirled on the Agent, preparing to strike again.

Ben desperatly tried to scramble out of the way, but it was too late. Carl's teeth were less than inches away... Ben closed his eyes, waiting for the feeling of fatal venom entering his veins.

Suddenly, a blur came flying out of nowhere, crashing into Carl in midair and slamming the snake into the opposite wall.

"Listen, buddy. I've got one rule and one rule only."

Ben cracked open an eye, then widened both in astonishment.

"Nobody," Growled Shirley, pinning the thrashing Carl to the wall. "And I mean nobody, messes with Ben, except for me!"

"Shirley?" Ben gaped, struggling to his feet. "How did you-?"

"We'll talk later!" Shirley snapped, turning to face her erstwhile partner. "For now, you just take care of Repiv while I deal with Capitan Overbite here!"

Just then, Carl managed to work his head around and sank his fangs deep into Shirley's bark. The Clichè Stick turned around slowly and gave the serpent a whithering look.

"I'm a stick, you moron," She sneered. "You really think that's gonna affect me any?"

At that moment, if Carl was human, Ben would've been willing to bet that the snake would've sweat-dropped.

Ben turned back to Repiv, ignoring the one-sided battle raging behind him.

"Looks like it's just you and me now." He nodded towards the Space Hammer card still in Repiv's hand. "Think that little knife's gonna be much help?"

"I prefer to tailor my weapon to the occasion." Repiv replied.

The Space Hammer card twisted and flickered in his hand, until it morphed into a long ivory-colored steel whip tipped with a wicked spike.

"You call your guitar Bahamut, the king of Dragons, right?" Repiv asked, cracking the whip a few times. "In that case, this is Balor, king of the snakes!"

With that, he cracked the whip at Ben. The Agent ducked, but not quickly enough to prevent the tip of Balor's spike from snagging his shirt sleeve and tearing a rip in it.

Ben fired of a second series of notes, but Repiv whirled Balor in front of him, creating a vortex and batting the energy bursts aside.

He quickly struck again, this time Balor shot straight out, aiming for Ben's chest.

In a flash, Ben angled Bahamut at the ground and fired, the energy blast creating a small explosion which forcefully propelled Ben backwards, just out of range.

Ben staggered as he hit the ground and Repiv capitalized on the opportunity. Pulling Balor backwards as far as he could, he struck with all his might.

Even down, Ben was not out of the fight. He blasted a power chord out on Bahamut, knocking the whip inside aside, deflecting the blow.

Repiv's eyes widened. He was wide open.

"My turn!" Ben gritted, wailing a barrage of notes at the traitor.

I got him! Thought Ben triumphantly as the energy streaked towards their target.

But fate begged to differ. Repiv tightened his grip on his whip's handle and in a flash, Balor curled in front of him, absorbing the blow.

"Nice try," Repiv scoffed as Balor trailed to the ground. " You really thought I would go that easy?"

Ben shrugged. "No, not really."

Shirley leapt at Repiv from behind, jabbing the fangs of the now-dead Carl into his neck.

The traitor gasped as the venom entered into his bloodstreams. His eyes were wide and vacant as he took a staggering step forward.

He gasped for air again, his eyes fixed on Ben. "You..."

He took another step forward, then his legs gave out from under him and he slumped to the ground like a sack of grain, panting in vain for air. A few seconds later his eyes glazed over.

Ben gingerly walked over to the body and, kneeling, checked for a pulse, keeping one hand on Bahamut as he did so.

"Dead." He said shortly, standing.

"Sorry." Shrugged Shirley, not sounding very sorry at all. "There was no other way to stop him."

Ben shook his head. "If you hadn't done it someone else would have, probably me."

"If you say so." Shirley said, tossing the dead Carl's body aside. "Well, c'mon, let's go home."

Ben shook his head. "I can't." He said looking away.

Shirley growled. "Why not? Come on, Ben! You're already in hot water as it is! You're obviously not in league with the Protection Society, or at least Repiv! If we go back now-"

"Neb's got Bella." Ben said, still not meeting Shirley's gaze.

Shirley scowled. "Bella? I thought you killed her in Buso Renkin!"

Ben shook his head. "She's still alive."

"Well so what if she is? And who cares if Neb has her? I mean, it's not as if you're in love with her-!"

Ben didn't reply; he just continued to stare at the cave wall.

Shirley frowned. "You..."

Then it hit her.

"Oh." Was all she could say.

There was a long pause as her mind tried to register this development.

Then she took a deep breath. "You could've told me, Ben."

Ben nodded. "I know." He said quietly.

Silence reigned between the two for another long moment, then Ben glanced at Shirley.

"How'd you find me here anyway? Even I don't know where we are."

Shirley looked grim. "I ran into an old friend of ours."

Ben raised a questioning eyebrow, but Shirley shook her head.

"You'll figure it out soon enough," She said. "It wouldn't do you any good even if I told you, believe me."

Ben considered pressing the issue, but decided against it. After what he'd done he was in no position to make demands.

"If you say so." He sighed. "C'mon, let's-"

Shirley suddenly wavered and collapsed as he started forward.

"Shirley!" Ben cried, hurrying forward to catch his muse. "Are you OK?" He demanded, worried.

"I'm fine." Shirley grimaced. "Just a little dizzy is all. I may be a stick, but that venom Carl shot me up with still knocked me for a loop!"

Shirley glanced up into his worried face. "Don't worry about me, I'll be fine." She assured Ben. "I just need to rest for a bit. You go on ahead and rescue Bella, I'll follow when I've caught my breath."

"Are you sure?"

"Just go!" Shirley insisted, shoving on Ben's shoulder weakly. "I'll be right behind you!"

"All right..." Ben conceded, standing, as Shirley propped herself up against a rock.

Ben turned to go.

"Ben!" Shirley called after him. Ben looked over his shoulder at his partner.

"Be very careful." Shirley said, looking Ben straight in the eye. "We're in deeper trouble than you know."

Ben met her gaze for a second longer, then turned and ran off down the tunnel.


Ben hurried through the caves twisting tunnels silently. He jumped at every little sound, convinced that every other shadow held a Pro-Clichè and Mary-Sue Protection Society agent ready to jump him. More than once he stumbled on a hidden rock and fell flat on his face. The caves seemed to go on forever.

Ben had no way to keep track of time, but it felt like he'd been stumbling around blindly for hours.

Maybe this wasn't the Protection Society's base after all. Maybe Repiv had just opened a random plothole and he was going nowhere. He could wander these caves forever and never find anyone.

Ben could just feel the beginnings of panic setting in when he felt something. A breeze.
An exit?

Ben quickened his pace and quickly found the source of the wind. It was an opening in the cave wall, just big enough for him to fit through.

He glanced around warily, but there was no one in sight.

Holding his breath, he sidled up to the aperture, looked through and froze.

He was looking into a massive cavern. The hole he was looking through was situated almost one hundred feet up a steep cliff face. The cavern was so large you could easily fit four football fields side-by-side in it. That wasn't what had caught Ben's attention though.

On the ground far below him, several figures were milling around. Even at this distance Ben could pick out the forms of Ekard, Relyt... and Neb. Ben's eyes narrowed when he spotted his nemesis, but forced himself to focus, that wasn't the only thing that had caught his attention.

Situated in the exact center of the cave was a massive construct. It reached from the ground to the ceiling and was roughly dumbbell shaped. Ben frowned. Just what was that thing? He shook his head, it didn't matter. The priority right now was rescuing Bella.

He scanned the cave again and spotted her. She was tied to a stalagmite off to the side. She appeared to be asleep... or unconscious. He hoped it was the former. Fortunately most of the Protection Society was ignoring her.

Ben glanced down the cliff face. It would be tricky, but if he took his time and went slow, he should be able to make it down without breaking his neck. He gave another glance at the people far below. At this range, it was unlikely anyone would notice him climbing down. At least he hoped it was...

Ben took a deep breath and tentatively stepped out of the hole onto a rock outcropping. From there, he gingerly began to climb down the cliff face. More than once he thought he'd reached a dead end and was stuck, but there was always another way down just within range.

It was a torturous few minutes. He was completely exposed. If anyone on the ground did manage to notice him, he would be a sitting duck. While Ben was lost in thought of the horrible things that would happen if he was spotted, his foot slipped.

He scrambled desperately for something to hold onto and managed to find a tiny ledge to balance on, but his thrashing around had knocked loose a few pebbles. The stones went skittering down the cliff face, their nearly inaudible clicking sounding like thunder to Ben. He held his breath, looking down, but by some divine intervention, he was still yet-unnoticed. After remaining frozen for several seconds to be sure he was still invisible, he cautiously continued his descent.

Ben wanted to let out a sigh of relief when his foot finally reached the ground, but he still wasn't out of this just yet. Ben stuck close to the cliff wall, skirting the edge of the shadows and slipping from stalagmite to stalagmite.

Even from this distance he could hear the Protection Society Agents talking as he moved thanks to the caves acoustics.

"You really think this is gonna work?" Relyt asked, arms folded, looking up at the giant dumbbell-thing.

"How should I know?" Neb grumbled, leaning up against a stalagmite. "I just can't believe the big brass actually gave him the green light to go ahead with this harebrained scheme."

"Theoretically speaking, it is perfectly possible." Raven said. The Stu was sitting on a rock, one ankle resting on the other knee.

"Besides, if this does work, we will enjoy such power that those fools in the Elimination Society will be helpless to stop us."

"I don't know why you're even here." Relyt muttered, shooting the black-clad Stu a resentful glance. "I don't even know why we're here."

"To protect it, moron." Ekard snorted. "'Cause, you know that's what we do. We're the Pro-Cliche and Mary-Sue Protection Society, remember?"

"Yeah, but protect it from what?" Relyt grumbled. "A few bats? Her?" He jerked his head towards where Bella was tied up. "If he really wanted to protect it, he would've built this thing back at base, not out in the middle of god-knows-where. And why do we have to keep that pathetic excuse for a Sue here with us anyway?"

Raven sighed tolerantly,as if he were dealing with a small child. "He insisted it had to be built here, something about energy fields and multiverse-geolgical locations. And if this thing really is as powerful as he claims, would you want to take any chances on anything happening to it?"

Relyt muttered something under his breath.

"Also," Raven continued. "He insists that Bella is crucial to his plan. As for why I'm here," He shrugged. "I'm a scientist. I wouldn't pass up the chance to witness something as spectacular as this in action!"

As the four continued to argue, Ben had finally slipped behind the stalagmite Bella was tied to.

He inched closer, still in the shadows and whispered in her ear.

"Bella," He hissed. "It's me. Are you alright?"

Bella instantly stiffened and let out a small squeak at the sound of Ben's voice

Ben? What are you doing here?

"Don't worry, I'm going to get you out of here. Can you move?"

Bella nodded slightly, making it look as if her head had lolled in sleep.

"Good, hold still."

Ben looked around and found a suitably sized rock.

It always works in the movies, why not?

Still crouching, he hauled back and threw the rock as hard as he could into the darkness in the opposite direction.

"Look, I'm not disagreeing with you," Relyt growled. "I'm just saying-" The clatter of the rock as it bounced off a stalactite and bounced to the ground interrupted him.

"What was that?"

"Just ignore it." Neb yawned.

"No, he'll throw a hissy fit if he finds out we let a potential threat to his baby go investigated." Ekard sighed. "C'mon, let's go check it out."

As the arguing dopplegangers went in search of what had caused the mysterious noise, Ben went to work on rope binding Bella. Someone really knew their knots. Ben frowned, tugging harder at the cords.

"Well, well, well. What do we 'ave 'ere?"

Ben whirled to find Cassandra standing behind him, a smirk plastered across her face. "SON OF A B-!"

Fortunately for this story's rating, it was at that moment that Bella acted. A pulse of green energy blasted from her hand, severing her bonds and slamming the french Sue back.

Neb, Raven and the rest whirled at Ben's cry.

"How'd he get here?" Relyt asked, open mouthed.

"Why cares, moron?" Neb shouted. "Get them!"

Ben leveled a palm at the approaching Protection Society and barked "My coffemakers are not controlled by Hoover Dam computers!"

The torrent of dark liquid blasted out, and the charging Protection Society with no time to stop, were caught up in the wave and swept back.

"Go, go, go!" Ben screamed as Bella jumped to her feet and ripped her blindfold off, her bindings falling to the ground.

By now Neb and the rest had recovered from the coffee wave.

"You're not getting away from me this time, you little freak!" Neb rasped, pointing at the fleeing duo. "Mess with-"

"No!" Ekard knocked his hand aside. "He said he needs Bella alive."

"Yes, but he didn't say anything about Ben." Raven said, materializing his sword.

Ben and Bella started to run, but Raven appeared from nowhere blocking their path.

"And just where do you think you're going?" He asked, leveling his sword at the two.

Bella glanced behind them in desperation, but it was too late. They were surrounded.

Ben made a move for Bahamut, but Raven was faster. In a flash he twirled his sword and swept Ben's legs out from under him.

Then he raised a palm and knocked Bella off her feet with a blast of magic, negating the energy beam she'd been charging.

Ben tried to get back up, but the point of Raven's sword at his throat forced him back down.

"Long time no see, Ben." Neb chuckled as he approached.

Ben just snarled at his twin as Cassandra and the rest of the Protection Society surrounded them.

"I can't believe you were actually stupid enough to come on your own." Ekard snorted. "What happened to Repiv?"

"Dead." Ben spat.

Ekard shrugged, completely unconcerned. "I should've figured. I never got just why he recruited that idiot into our ranks anyway."

Ben frowned. "He? He who?"

"None of your business." Relyt snorted, twirling his staff menacingly.

"Say, Raven," Neb said slowly. "Are you certain Bella's needed for his plan?"

"Not entirely." Raven said. "I suppose we could do without her, if we absolutely had to."

"Then let's have to." Neb hissed, taking a step forward.

"'Ey!" Cassandra protested. "I've got a score to settle with eem too you know! Plus eez a leed on that eediot cheesing me!"

"Back off," Neb rasped. "He's mine!"

"Five bucks on Neb." Ben whispered to Bella as they all watched the two bickering.

"Make it ten and you've got a deal." Bella replied.

"What was that?" Raven asked, digging the tip of the blade into Ben's throat.

Ben resisted the urge to swallow, for fear the sword at his neck would tear out his larynx. Maybe this wasn't worth ten dollars after all... twenty maybe, but not ten...

"Oh, for the love of Chuck Norris. I leave you infants alone for five minutes and what happens? You get in a fight!"

Everyone turned to see a plothole open and someone step out.

"How many times do I have to tell you? I don't want any violence near the device!"

The figure who emerged from the plothole was tall, with unruly blonde hair streaked with brown. He was dressed in a set of combination plate and chainmail armor and steel boots. The S-shaped latticed hilt of a sword protruded out from behind one shoulder. His ice-blue eyes swept the crowd, widening when he spotted Ben.

"Well, well, well..." He breathed. "What do we have here?"

Ben couldn't move, it was like his brain had shut down. This was impossible, it couldn't be him...

"A-Asasca?" He said in a quavering voice as he got slowly to his feet.

"So it is you!" Asasca said, walking over.

"You know him, Asasca?" Neb rasped.

"I should hope so," Asasca said with a dark smile. "He's my creator."


There was a loaded silence for several seconds.

"Is this true, Ben?" Bella whispered, standing. "Did you really create him?"

Ben nodded, still stunned. "He was my greatest character..." He said dumbly.

"Greatest character, eh?" Asasca scoffed. "Not great enough to keep from getting locked up in the Vault of Abandoned Ideas though, was I?"

"So can I kill him then?" Neb asked, cracking his nuckles.

Asasca eyed Ben for a long moment before shaking his head.

"I don't think so," He mused. Ben let out a sigh of relief which he regretted as Asasca finished his statement. "It'll do him good to see what he caused. After all," He continued with a cold smile. "If not for him, the Fandom Stabilizer wouldn't even exist!"

Ben frowned. "The what?"

"He killed Repiv, you know." Neb put in, clearly hoping Asasca would still let him kill the Society Agent.

Asasca shrugged. "If Repiv was weak enough to get himself killed, then that's his fault."

Neb muttered something under his breath. Everyone ignored him.

"I'm assuming you got what you needed, then?" Raven asked, letting his sword vanish.

Asasca nodded. "I'm planning on installing it right away." He said, turning towards the massive dumbbell-shaped structure. "Why don't you give me a hand, Ben? And the rest of you keep an eye on that Sue!" He called over his shoulder as he headed towards the construct.

Ben looked uncomfortably at Bella for a moment before Raven gave him a shove to start moving. "Walk," the Stu growled. "Don't worry, we won't kill your little girlfriend...yet. We still need her."

With one last backwards glance at the jade Sue, Ben hurried after Asasca.

"Asasca, just what is going on here?" Ben asked as he struggled to keep up with his character.

"What do you mean?" Asasca asked, innocently.

"Why are you with the Protection Society? Just what is that thing?" As they drew closer to the device, Ben could see a slew of access panels, lights and control boards scattered across it's surface.

"This," Asasca said, gesturing to it as they drew up. "Is my mangum opus, my doomsday device."

He turned back to Ben. "My revenge."

"Revenge? For what?"

"Don't give me that," Asasca sneered. "You know very well what you did. We, your characters, were perfectly happy in the stories you made for us, you had massive epics and quests spanning millennia and entire universes planned!"

"Yeah, but-"

"Oh, I know what you're going to say. Sure," Asasca shrugged. "The stories were crap and you never got farther than three chapters before giving up on it, but we were perfectly happy knowing you cared for each and every one of us. Nobody ever died and stayed dead, and you had pasts and futures planned for all of us!"

"But then," Asasca's face darkened. "You discovered fanfiction and the Society and you forgot about us completely. You threw yourself into the Society with everything you had and left us to fend for ourselves. Eventually, by default, we ended up in the Vault of Abandoned Ideas. Me, Sluthen, Starfire, Spirit, Jet, Nightmare, Damnation, Hellfire, all of us."

Ben couldn't look away as Asasca's piercing blue eyes pinned him in place.

"Fortunately, you made me strong enough to be able to escape on my own, though I couldn't save anyone else. Once I got out, I learned of your exploits in the Society and knew immediately what I had to do."

He turned to the device, open an access panel and began to fiddle with a tangle of wires inside.

"Tell me, Ben." He said as he worked. "What is the greatest, no, the only thing standing between the Sues and total domination of the Multiverse?"

"The Elimination Society?" Ben hesitantly.

"As if!" Asasca snorted. "You idiots are only deluding yourselves if you think you can really stop the Sues. There will always be Sues. Their forces are increasing and at a faster rate than that of your patheic Society. The best thing you can do is stall for time. There is only one tiny detail that keeps the Sues from destroying you utterly. Think about this, what enables fanfictions to exist? What allows you and your friends to insert yourselves into fandoms without fear of repercussion?"

"The... fact that we accept that we're not canon, so..." Ben trailed off.

"So?" Asasca prompted.

"So anything we do is reversed the instant we leave."

"Exactly!" Asasca closed the access panel, moved to a control panel and started to push various buttons. "But the Fandom Stabilizer removes that limitation! When this is activated, it aligns the bio-signature of anyone who's keyed into it's database with the wavelength of any fandom they enter, resulting in any action of theirs becoming canon, and thus permanent!"

Ben's eyes widened. "What? That's impossible!"

Asasca shrugged. "Extremely difficult maybe, but far from impossible. Of course, such a venture would require a massive source on energy, so that's why I sent Repiv into the Society as a spy, to acquire the energy source I needed."

"From the Room of Things Man was not Meant to Know." Ben deduced.

"So you're not a total idiot after all." Asasca smiled wryly. "Yes, the power source we needed was locked in the Room of Things Man was not Meant to Know. I sent Repiv to go get it, but I should've guessed he'd bungle it, so I had to go and get it myself."

"Fourtnately," Asasca crouched down and opened a small access port. "With the entire Society rushing around like a chicken with it's head cut off after your little 'betrayal', it was a simple enough matter to break in."

"But how did you get into the Library Arcanium in the first place?" Ben asked. "I thought it was safeguarded against any outsiders!"

"I got in with this." Asasca said holding an item up.

Ben frowned. "Isn't that just a regular old Plothole Generator?"

"Close." Said Asasca. "See, when Repiv was in the Society he stole several Plothole Generators for me and a few other members of the Protection Society who needed them. Once we had them, it was childs play to rewire them in order to remove the safeguards."

"And once I was inside," Asasca continued, drawing an object from a pouch. "I was able to steal this, the power source for the Fandom Stabilizer."

The object was small enough to fit into the palm of Asasca's hand, but it glowed so brightly you could barely discern what it was.

Ben paled. "Is that...?"

"Yes..." Asasca hissed. "This is the reason fangirls write Mpreg fics!"

"But you can't!" Ben exclaimed, taking a step back. "That power was locked in the Vault for a reason! It was never meant to be used by mortal hands!"

"You're forgetting, Ben!" Asasca said as he opened an access panel and shoved the object deep inside. "You made me immortal!"

Lights lit up across the surface of the Fandom Stabilizer as it began to power on.

Even Neb and the rest who had been arguing (again) turned to watch.

Asasca turned to Ben with a gleeful expression.

"And now," He said, holding up what appeared to be a detonator switch. "It's all over!"

"No!" Ben shouted, diving for the switch. But it was too late.

Asasca pushed the button.

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