URPG: The Musical (A Love Story) (WARNING THIS MIGHT MELT YOUR SOUL AHAHAHA)

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Thread: URPG: The Musical (A Love Story) (WARNING THIS MIGHT MELT YOUR SOUL AHAHAHA)

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    The Hyacinth Girl Alaskapigeon's Avatar
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    Default URPG: The Musical (A Love Story) (WARNING THIS MIGHT MELT YOUR SOUL AHAHAHA)



    Pokemon Captures: A Porygon and a Cottonee (for Kai), A Porygon and a Ralts (for Alaska)
    Needed Characters: 100k
    Actual Characters: 165002


    AWESOME MASSIVE DISCLAIMER OF DEATH: For the record, this story in no way reflects anyone's views of any aspect of URPG, BMG, or any related concepts, be it members, administration, or otherwise. This story was written as a comedy rather than a satire, and nothing in it should really be taken seriously. While many of the characters are very obviously based on members across the forums, their actions and personalities are exaggerated by us, the authors, for comedic purposes and are not meant to be any sort of reflection of our views of them. We don't intend to disrespect BMG management, URPG management, or Marriland/Pokecommunity/Smogon/4Chan management, nor do we intend to disrespect members from any of the above places, including all of the URPG members mentioned. This is a parody, folks. Say it with me. P-A-R-O-D-Y. 's not meant to put anyone in a good or bad light, (and anything that actually puts me in a good light was prollly written by Alaska anyways, because I don't want to sound like an arrogant prat when that comes up) EDIT: THIS APPLIES TO ME AS WELL. KAI MADE ME COOL AND I'M SORRY ABOUT THAT. HEH. If we have offended you in any way through this, feel free to ask us about it and we'll try to talk it over; however, know that all of this is meant to have been written in as light-hearted of a manner as possible, and is not intended to be cruel. In addition, this story by no means reflects any sort of tension between BMG and any other Pokemon forums, especially BMG. It was more of a plot idea that was kicked around a bit too hard a bit too late at night.
    tl;dr: we wuvvles everyone mentioned here/eluded in this piece, and we don't intend to offend anyone. Have a pleasant day.

    Uh. This also contains some strong language, innuendos, and what might be recreational drug use. So beware.

    Also, someone is likely going to point out the fact that there is absolutely no description for any external appearances for any of our characters. Part of that is stylistical/symbolical, but it's mainly because: a) we don't know what half of you blighters actually look like, or you don't want that revealed in such a crude manner, and b) we don't want to insult anyone (any further) by saying that they're a tiny, midgety asian girl with squinty eyes and ugly hair. Or something. But for the record, Lasky and I are totally aware that every good story needs description, especially of the characters, and this is prolly lacking in some regards... :>



    Composing Credits:
    Better Life- Alaskapigeon
    Clean Up Our Acts- Alaskapigeon
    Clear Skies- Kai-Mei
    Move Along- Alaskapigeon
    Smogon's Song- Alaskapigeon
    Bread!- Alaskapigeon
    I Just Can't Wait To Be King- Original, Elton John; Modified, Alaskapigeon
    Marriland's Song- Kai-Mei
    Ain't Nothing That Can Stop Me Now- Alaskapigeon and Kai-Mei
    Strange Present- Alaskapigeon
    URPG Fight Song- Kai-Mei
    A Friend- Alaskapigeon
    Born on the Bayou- CCR
    Welcome to the Jungle- Guns N' Roses
    Not Over Yet- Kai-Mei

    ~*~Prologue~*~


    The meeting hall was dark, to begin with. As the URPG staff shuffled in, they couldn't help glancing anxiously at the large men on the other side of the table, their faces covered by emerald green hoods. Chainy whimpered slightly, and pulled his head and arms into his sweatshirt like an over-sized turtle, before sitting down at a chair in the middle. Bumbles and Winter sat on either side of him, both biting their lips, and the rest of the staff members spread out. Towards one end of the table, Scourge was grinning maniacally and snickering, while Taras kept pushing his horn rimmed glassed up his nose frantically, which kept slipping down from the sheen of sweat that covered his face. On the other end, Pidge sat silently, fish eyed, and ST yawned to one side of him. Monbrey, a seat down from his drowsy companion, was impatiently tapping his fingers on the table. Near the head of the table, Harry calmly clasped his hands together and sat serenely.

    "We have provided coffee and cake," said one of the BMG mods near Harry, his voice deep and menacing. "It is delicious. You must try some."

    "That would be lovely," Harry said approvingly. He smiled serenely, glancing warmly around at the pantheon gathered on all sides, seemingly oblivious to any animosity that was slowly developing around him.

    The head BMG mod snapped his fingers and another jumped up and fetched some mugs and plates, passing them out to each URPGer. Coffee and cake was then delivered to each of them. Kai sniffed at her cake curiously and suspiciously, as normally she was not allowed any, because it was deemed unhelpful to her study habits. Meanwhile, Jess inhaled hers, trying to get the maximum amount of caffeine and sugar working through her bloodstream, in order to handle the verdict of the BMGers.

    "Are you all comfortable then?" the head BMGer asked. After a round of nods from the URPGers, he continued, "Good. Then the meeting may begin."

    Another BMGer stood up. "It has come to our attention that the URPG is not conforming to BMG's standards. Your users are identified across the forum by their inappropriate behavior, troll-like tendencies, and corruption."

    "I couldn't imagine," WTP muttered snidely, which earned a glare from ST.

    "In fact," the mod kept going as though he had not been interrupted, "Some of their activities could be considered illegal." He sat down, having made his point.

    Harry coughed politely. "Well, in my experience, the URPG members are all a loving bastion of friendship and civility. Nobler people I have never known, and I am proud to be their leader."

    The entire URPG staff stared at him in disbelief. ATF's eye twitched a little.

    The BMGers also seemed a little taken aback by this. "However," another mod said, closer to Scourge's end of the table, "There is another problem. Your activity levels are... worrisome."

    "No shit, sherlock," Jr said with a snicker. He crossed his arms in front of his chest and tipped his chair back, stirring the coffee of the mod next to him with his index finger. The BMG mod looked repulsed. "Our activity ratings are off the charts, baby!"

    The mod who had been speaking sighed and produced a chart from his green robes. The red line on it zig-zagged erratically on the graph, but it actually proved Jr's conjecture to be correct. "Your ratings are off the charts," the mod agreed, looking nonplussed. "They're also on the bottom. Do you see this line? It's the very end of our graph, low enough that even things like ASB don't bother sinking to those levels. Not only that, but your users are chasing away our existing members."

    Ireign giggled. "He said 'members'."

    The mod growled, all signs of patience quickly evaporating. Knuckles whitened against the dark walnut of the wood as he rose to his feet, towering over the seated members and glowering at everyone present. "For all the trouble you people seem to cause, you don't seem to be bringing anything to the table."

    "I brought cheese," Scourge said proudly. People stared at her, but she ignored them as she pulled, in rapid succession, three wheels of mozzarella, a block of Swiss, and something that smelled suspiciously like bleu cheese from the depths of her robe. They landed in a neat stack on the table in front of her, rinds leaking tiny traces of grease along the expensive and lovingly-polished wood. A copious amount of feta quickly followed, crumbling around like a snowfall and landing with a dull patter around her. Everyone stared. "Oh, come on," she muttered under her breath, picking at a stray lump of feta and popping it into her mouth, "you were asking what we had brought to the table. I've just showered you with a cornucopia of cultured lactose. You should be thanking me."

    The BMG mods looked at one another, most of them looking more than slightly irritated. One mod, however, edged over anxiously, popping a large piece of Swiss into his mouth before stumbling back into his chair, tripping slightly as he turned around to stuff the entire block into his pocket. Scourge smiled proudly.

    With a sigh, the standing mod sunk back into his seat and nodded at the one next to him.

    This one did not stand, but instead sat up a little straighter, folding his pale hands beneath his chin and calmly beginning to speak. "It has come to our attention," the tallest figure, imposing and face completely obscured by his emerald cowl, said grimly, "that other users on BMG have expressed intent of petitioning to get URPG removed from BMG entirely."

    "Oh, that shouldn't be much of a bother," Taras said serenely, glancing up from the parabolic sector of his coffee cup that he had been painstakingly measuring with a ruler he had seemingly produced out of nowhere. A lot of that had been going on recently. "We can just move to PE2K anyways. That place is almost as active as I am."

    Somewhere, in the distance, a ghost named George began to splutter profusely. But no one remembers him anyways.

    "SHUT UP. NO ONE LIKES SASSY NARRATORS."

    "Ahem," the lead mod said. "In any case, unless you can all come up with both a way to increase your activity AND to make the URPG more family friendly, we will be forced to remove you from the forum. Forcibly."

    There was a brief silence.

    Harry clapped his hands together, and though his expression was as placid as ever, the staff members who knew him best could see panic growing in his eyes. "Any suggestions?" He looked down the table at his staff. "ST?"

    "Ban everyone," he said, playing disinterestedly with the crumbs on his plate. "Not like anyone would actually care."

    If Harry had been expecting anything less brutal, he didn't show it. Instead, he turned and hopefully asked, "Erm. Kat?"

    She shook her head, at a loss.

    "Pidge?"

    He muttered something under his breath.

    "What?"

    He muttered a little louder. Harry could make out one or two odd words.

    "You'll have to speak up."

    "ALL ARE COCKS," he shouted.

    The BMG mods looked at each other. Harry ran a hand through his hair. "You'll have to forgive him, he has... A few problems. Bit of the heat fever, you know."

    "We could, like--" Feng began excitedly, glancing out from behind Pidge.

    "HE DOESN'T EVEN GO HERE," Stinky shouted before the former could speak. Everyone stared at him. "Oh, I know you're all jealous," he humphed, adjusting his collar.

    Harry stared at them briefly, before returning to his hopeless task. He continued down the line, and each person either didn't have an answer or were otherwise completely incoherent. Finally, he reached the rangers. "Bee?"

    Bee shrugged.

    "Winter?"

    Winter looked up. She and Chainy had been playing footsie under the table and they both blushed crimson.

    Harry sighed. "Chainy?"

    Chainy's bottom lip trembled slightly. He looked as though he would rather be anywhere else. "Erm. Uh. Hm."

    "It's settled then," the main BMG mod said as Harry's face fell, "We'll write you up a notice and you can all be gone by-"

    "MUSICAL," Chainy blurted. "WE COULD ALL SING AND DANCE AND- AND- HAVE AWKWARD YET ADORABLE RELATIONSHIPS. AND WE COULD TRAVEL AROUND TO OTHER FORUMS...." He trailed off.

    "That's a nice idea, Chainy," Harry said sadly, shaking his head, "But..."

    "That sounds good," the main BMG mod said.

    There was silence again.

    "I don't think I understand," said Harry quietly.

    The BMG mod smiled for the first time that night. "What Steely or whatever the heck his name is said. You can all become a musical RPG."

    "But... But... But," Pidge stuttered.

    ST spit out his coffee.

    Scourge laughed maniacally.

    "DAMMIT CHAINY," yelled everyone else.

    Chainy retreated back into his sweatshirt.

    "Harry, we're not actually going to do this are we?" Chris asked pleadingly.

    Harry sighed. "We'll do what we have to to keep the URPG going, as always. My friends, my family, we must all be brave during these hardships..."

    "Annnd, here we go," WTP murmured into his mug.

    "And I know," Harry continued, "That each and every one of us will find the strength to meet the tasks set before us."

    "But Harry, we can't sing," protested Sam, spluttering indignantly into the remains of his half eaten cake. "Or at least I can't." No one disagreed with him.

    The staff members all made noises of agreement.

    "Actually," the head mod spoke up, "We have a solution for that." He whistled. There was a flash of light and two odd pink and blue Pokemon appeared and hovered above the table. "These Porygon will bend the waves of reality around you so that your primary mode of communication will be song and dance."

    "That doesn't make any sense according to the Theory of-" Kai started to argue.

    "SILENCE. IT MAKES SENSE IF WE SAY IT MAKES SENSE," shouted the head mod. She shrunk back. "You all have a week to bring in some new members, and you can start the musical business tomorrow! Case dismissed."

    The BMG mods shuffled out.

    ~*~Act One~*~


    Sun streamed in through the curtains of Alaska's bedroom. She yawned and stretched, only a tuft of brown hair visible from beneath the blankets. Her room was covered in all manners of papers, books, wrappers, trinkets, and little shreds of paper with phone numbers written on them.

    "Ugh," she muttered as she sat up, hair sticking out at all angles. "Why do I feel so... weird... especially my vocal cords..." She climbed out of bed and slipped on a pair of jeans and a black t-shirt. As she exited her room, she hiccuped. "Last night was crazy. I feel like shit. Sometimes..." She sighed, and stopped for a moment, almost sure she had heard something like the sound of a guitar strum. "Sometimes... I just want to be normal." She hiccuped again and her eyes widened. Her mouth opened.

    "My head is aching,
    My hands are shaking,
    I feel like I've been,
    Hit over the head.
    "

    She skipped down the hallway to her bathroom, and smiled at herself in the mirror, though the alarm in her eyes was quite clear.

    "How long can I live,
    Like a spoiled little kid,
    It can't be healthy,
    I'll soon end up dead,
    "
    She could now clearly hear music, and she was brushing her hair and teeth in synchronization to it, completely involuntarily. She applied lipstick as a piano tinkled in the background.

    "I've spent my whole life,
    In a world of my own vice,
    And being this hungover,
    Sure ain't a field of clover,
    I feel like I"m losing my miiiind,"

    She twirled out of her bathroom and pranced down the stairs and into her living room, completely sure that she had gone completely insane.

    "When you can't even recall,
    A name, a face, a call,
    You might be on a very nasty path,"

    She leaped onto a sofa that was more foam than fabric.

    "I think this ship is sinking,
    Between the sex and drinking,
    I think that I can do the math,"

    She slid off of the couch, slightly seductively, mostly bemusedly.

    "I'm still alive mysteriously,
    But I'm in trouble, seriously,
    If I don't get a helping hand,
    I might just sleep with the baaand,"

    She winked across the room, where absolutely no one was standing. The music blared.

    "I just want to live a better liiiife,
    To end all of my pain and striiife,"

    She grabbed a pillow and squeezed it.

    "So starting today,
    I'm gonna say,
    I'll live a better liiiife,
    I'll live. A. Bett. Er.
    Liiiiiiife!"

    She dropped to her knees and bowed. The doorbell rang and she jumped to her feet.

    "COMING!" She shouted and covered her hands with her mouth. "Oh thank God," she moaned, "It's over." She wobbled to the door, knees weak. Opening it, she saw a small Asian girl in front of her, her black hair covering one eye.

    "DID YOU JUST BREAK INTO SONG?" Kai demanded and jumped forward, clutching Alaska's shirt.

    "Yes, yes, I did. I thought I had completely lost it." Alaska grabbed a clump of her own hair and pulled. "Get in here before something else happens."

    "Oh, going inside won't stop it," Kai said miserably, but came in anyways. "You haven't heard?"

    "Heard what?"

    Kai gulped. "Last night... Well... You know we've had some trouble with the BMG mods..."

    "Yeeeeeah?"

    "Um. They were going to shut us down, because of our activity levels and our, uh, unwholesomness, is that a word? Anyways, Harry was asking us for suggestions and Chainy suggested we might all start singing and dancing..."

    There was a pause. Alaska placed two fingers on the bridge of her nose and squeezed her eyes shut.

    "You know what's worse than waking up and finding that EVERYTHING I DO IS IN SONG?" Alaska half-growled, half-sang as she paced anxiously, hands massaging her temples in annoyance. Speaking was going to get obnoxious soon.

    "No," Kai squeaked. Her voice was full of high pitched trills, and her hands flew to her mouth.

    Effing Chainy, Alaska thought to herself in annoyance. She sighed, trying to ignore the piano chords in the background-- was that a spotlight? "I was hoping," she muttered, holding the vowels in 'hoping' far longer than she had ever intended, "that you had someting in miii-iiiind..."

    A guitar riff somewhere in the background that was almost vaguely in tune. She hissed at it.

    Kai grabbed her by the hand. "Let's goooooo." She stopped to collect herself. "Before we start singing again," she said through gritted teeth, "The staff is going to hold a meeting in the town square to explain to everyone what's going on." She opened the door and dragged Alaska into the street, where numerous people were running around, screaming or singing loudly about their musical problems. There was also some rather horrific dancing involved. They both cringed.

    As Kai kept pulling Alaska towards the center of town, Roulette ran up to them, accompanied by the sound of an acoustic guitar. He had on a plaid shirt and blue jeans and under one arm was a large rifle.

    Alaska curled one hand like a claw and narrowed her eyes. "GET AWAY FROM US. I REFUSE TO SING MORE."

    "But Alaska, it's not contagious!" Kai insisted.

    "I woke up in these clothes," his voice twanged, "And my pick up truck was gone. Probably yella folks like you, need to send them back to Saigon."

    "Okay. I agree with Alaska. Can it. Come with me." She marched down Main Street towards a gathering crowd with Alaska and Roulette in tow. Suddenly, a small group of judges popped up in front of them. The trio winced visibly.

    "HI ALAAAAASKA," sang SLC as they ran and danced by, "Whaaaat is happeniiiing?"

    "I SOUND LIIIIIKE NICKIII MINAAAAJ AND TPAAAAIN PUT TOGETHEEEER!" Jesse screamed ecstatically.

    Buoyysel skipped a little and smacked Jesse over the back of the head. "Shut uuuup Jesseeee, this is terriiiiible!"

    They ran off to the sounds of loud conga music.

    "ARRRRRRRRRRIBA!" shouted a disembodied voice.

    Alaska turned to Kai. "NECESITAMOS IR A LA PLAZA AHORA!" She threw her hands over her mouth. "CHINGA!"

    "Let's hurry before Alaska starts speaking in tooongues." They set off again. Before long, they reached the crowd, which was tightly packed together. "Um. Excuse me," Kai mumbled.

    "Nah, 's like this," Roulette said, and began to push people out of the way with the butt of his gun. "PARDON US. YA'LL BEST GET OUT THE WAY NOW."

    "Oof!"

    "What the heeelll's wrong with yoooou?"

    "Eep!"

    "Why is everyone singing?" Turtwig asked miserably.

    They managed to get to the front just as the meeting started. The crowd had gathered around a large stage which was covered in carvings of every kind of Pokemon. A microphone stand was in the middle. Most of the staff were standing around the back of the stage, other than Kai who jumped up and scrambled over to them. Harry came forward.

    "You may all be wondering why you woke up singing and dancing this morning," he began. The crowd before him made noises of agreement.

    "Seriously, what are you all talking about?" Turtwig asked.

    "Last night, the moderators from BMG ordered that we change to meet their standards. They decided the best way to do this would be to turn us into a musical RPG."

    Jr coughed. "Right, that's how it happened," he muttered.

    "We're just going to have to get used to these changes," Harry continued, "Otherwise it will end in the destruction of the URPG. The other problem, is that regardless of our new singing abilities, the URPG will also be destroyed if we do not bring in enough new members. So, we have a bit of a plan..." Music began playing, slowly at first and then faster.

    "MOTHERF-" ST began before being cut off by Harry.

    "It seems we're in a sticky situation,
    Our number of new members is quite low,"

    Kat came up behind him with a graph of member activity, which skyrocketed before plummeting off the graph.

    "We need a plan to save our lovely nation,
    Or BMG will take us out, soooo,"

    A guitar started strumming and Alaska could swear she heard a few notes from an organ. The staff members all leaped out of their chairs, suddenly dressed in white robes. Harry was also in a white robe, holding a tambourine which he began to play expertly.

    "We've got to clean it up!
    Clean up our acts!
    Gotta get ourselves together now and,
    Make a pact,
    That we'll be good and pure and sweet so BMG can lift this curse,
    We've got to-
    "

    "CLEAN IT UP!" the rest of the staff and crowd yelled, by no will of their own.

    "Before it gets any worse! Kat, would you care to explain?"

    She twirled out to center stage. "Sure thing, Harry!" Her smile was obviously forced.

    "We're going 'round to different forums,
    To attract some fresher blood,
    And when they see how great we are,
    We'll have a member flood,
    But we've got to-
    "

    "CLEAN IT UP! CLEAN UP OUR ACTS!"

    "We've got to get this thing together and,
    Get 'em back!
    "

    Kat danced as quickly as she could back into place. "But there are a few other things to mention! Scourge?" Harry called out happily.

    She strolled out, tapping her feet to the music.

    "The main staff are the ones who will be,
    Making this trip,
    But one other lucky member can,
    Give 'em the slip,
    We've chosen one of you to come along and represent your friends,
    To avoid this fate that BMG so cruelly recommends,
    You've got to-
    "

    "CLEAN IT UP! CLEAN UP OUR ACTS!"

    Alaska was slowly piecing together what was going to happen. She could go with the URPG Staff, save the world as they knew it, and maybe make some friends along the way... in musical fashion. And, most importantly, she'd be able to get out of this godforsaken town and see the world a bit. This would be enforcing exactly what Harry had talked about, right? Yeah, it would...

    "Gotta show 'em how we do it and then stab them in the backs! BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

    Scourge pulled a large axe out of her robe and scurried off the stage, something that distinctly resembled blood matting her hair...

    Seeing the world... escape...

    "And who are we gonna pick, ST?"

    Alaska clenched her fists, slightly nervous even though she figured she wouldn't have to be. After all, it's not like anyone else around was all that active-- Turtwig couldn't even sing, for crying out loud: he was under his chair somewhere, muttering something that sounded like PMU... or perhaps PMS...

    ST snarled and grabbed fistfuls of his hair, attempting not to sing. He fell over and began to roll around rhythmically, growling.

    "...Um. Pidge, then?"

    At this point the entire crowd was clapping in time and dancing. Pidge awkwardly danced onto stage, looking anything but amused.

    "We had our pick of URPGers,
    But we didn't break a sweat,
    We all knew right away that we would choose,
    That guy, Roulette!
    "

    Out of nowhere a spotlight shone on Roulette.

    Alaska gawked. Oh, no. No. Someone had to be kidding.

    "He's gonna-"

    She was going to be trapped here. No hopes of getting out.

    "CLEAN UP OUR ACTS!"

    God was a jerk.

    "And get us out of BMG's terrible contract!"

    And who the bloody hell was going to get her out of this terrible life?

    There was a drum roll and the entire crowd and staff began singing at once.

    "CLEAN UP OUR ACTS!"

    "He's gonna-"

    Alaska knew he deserved it. He really did, no matter what the blood-stained truck would entail. But really. There was something bitter, something hurt inside of her that felt like she was just being crushed underfoot by people like ST and Pidge. Again. But that was okay. She was strong. Strong enough, at least. And besides, Alaska told herself, Roulette and the others would probably be a safer choice. She knew him well enough. He could help them all and...

    "CLEAN UP OUR ACTS!"

    Alaska found herself singing along with the others, waving her hands in the air. Convinced that if she sang it loud enough, it would have to come true.

    "WOOHOOHOO!"

    Or, in the very least, people wouldn't notice that she felt pained inside.

    Harry jumped back up, still banging the tambourine. "He's gonna cleeeean, up our aaaacts!"

    Because, after all, they would only laugh at her for considering something as woefully ignorant as the thought that of everyone in URPG, the Staff would pick her-- little, tiny Lasky, who still couldn't make up her mind for some of the simpler aspects in life-- to try to save their fates. It was stupid enough that she had thought she could ever escape this place. Why would she want to escape? It was okay here, with the monotony and the boredom the stupid squabbles that happened every day over the most mundane things, really. It was okay. She didn't need to get away from here, or anywhere, or anyone.

    And so she sang. Because, maybe, if she sang hard enough, she could fool herself as well. She didn't have to be the hero of this tale, it seemed.

    "WE'LL CLEAN UP OUR ACTS!"

    Everyone suddenly fell over, completely exhausted, except for Turtwig who had been completely still the entire time. "Was there some kind of practice for this that I wasn't invited to? Guys?" Everyone ignored him.

    "So, um, I guess the point of that was, we're going to be touring around to different forums in the hopes of finding new members. The other thing is, I want you all to be on your best behavior. Hopefully, BMG will see how good we're being and will decide we don't need to do musical numbers anymore."

    "But I don't get it," someone yelled from the crowd. Alaska turned to see Captain Dude. "How are they making us do this?"

    Harry pointed at the sky. Everyone squinted and looked. Hovering above them, were the two Porygon, who looked back at them quizically. "They're bending reality to make us sing and dance every few minutes. We can fight it off, but the effects... are not good." He gestured to ST, who was foaming at the mouth. "From what I understand, one of them will be staying here, and I assume reporting back to the BMG mods. The other will be following the recruiting group. Let's just all try to be good and see if it helps. Okay?"

    There was some groaning, but everyone seemed to agree, if grudgingly.

    "While we're gone, Feng is in charge." Pidge beamed and sounded rather proud, albeit a bit hoarse. "We'll have to be leaving right away. Limited time. Roulette, meet us backstage."

    Alaska glanced at Roulette. "Have fun," she smiled, wondering if her smile was fake enough to be made in China. Kai would've laughed at that one. She recognized the pained look on his face, and cut him off with a slight shrug of her shoulders. "It's fine, really," she said. God, it was hard to be irritated or jealous of him when he was so nice about everything... "I'll just stay here and listen to Feng yell nonsense to the Lion King soundtrack. Seriously," she added frankly, shaking her head and crossing her fingers behind her back, "it'll be fun."

    He shrugged, although he didn't look convinced. "You could teach them something cool. Taylor Swift has this great new album out that--"

    "No way in hell."

    Roulette smiled at her, adjusting his backpack straps slightly. How he had managed to pack so quickly, Alaska would never know. "And that's the Lasky I know."

    "We'll be back soon, actually," Kai said reassuringly, sliding something small but heavy into Alaska's pocket while looking in the opposite direction with a bemused and not-very-subtle look on her face. She noticed Alaska's hand straying towards her pocket, and slapped it quickly before hastily glancing towards Staff and adding, "Like, really. If we don't finish this within a week and BMG makes us sing forever, I'm going to make a point to take the bus and drive it off of a cliff."

    Roulette snorted. "Women can't drive, sillyhead," he said, patting her arm gently. "And I never let Ching-Chong or any of his yellow friends drive my pickup truck. Last time, he almost--"

    "WOOOOOOOOH!" Ireign half-screamed, half-sung from the window of their decrepit-looking Greyhound bus, twirling his shirt over his head and tipping something that looked suspiciously like whiskey behind him. "PARTY BUS, EVERYONE!"

    "Oh...my..." Kai said faintly, staring at the frolicking figures in the interior of the bus. "I should... probably... go fix that..." She sounded stricken, but she shook her head firmly and added, "And I'll be getting my brain bleach now. Don't mind me."

    Roulette smiled sheepishly, and then shuffled after them, waving slightly to Alaska before turning and sprinting towards the bus. "WAIT FOR ME, GUYS!" he shouted, little puffs of dust around his feet as he barreled away. The large, rickety Greyhound buss didn't look secure. Scourge was gingerly stepping on, glancing around suspiciously and hefting a large, black bag over her shoulder that she had vehemently refused to store beneath the bus. Something metallic rattled as she climbed the steps.

    Alaska dropped her facade after the last of the Staff pooled into the bus, feeling despair wash over her again. The others were happy, but there wasn't much she felt she could do to combat the sinking feeling of overwhelming dread in her stomach. Keeping her walls up hurt, goddammit, and watching all of the other people-- the more successful ones, the "better" ones, so to speak, walk away from her and leave her so alone-- was excruciating.

    She scowled, kicking at an insolent Caterpie by her feet that was still whistling "Clean Up Our Act", eyes dreamy. It squealed and cut off quickly before hitting a tree with a dull thud. Meanwhile, the bus was peeling away, tires roaring against the pavement and a copious amount of black smoke pouring from its mufflers. Ireign looked like his head was stuck in the window. Alaska sighed.

    They hadn't even bothered to say goodbye.

    ~*~

    The party bus was gone, and the townspeople had scattered soon after, leaving the streets empty within hours. All traces of excitement had gone away with the last puff of exhaust from the rickety Greyhound.

    In the quieter side of life, Alaska was bored. It wasn't the sort of boredom in which one would call a friend, or look up illicit things on the internet, or eat a banana, or run around with an expression on one's face screaming "GOD, I AM SO BORED RIGHT NOW. PLEASE TALK TO ME." It was the more dangerous kind of boredom, the brooding type, and it ended just as well as anyone would expect: with Alaska's plopping down on a couch and sitting, wondering if the walk to the fridge for some pity-ice cream would be shorter if she willed it to be. It didn't work.

    Alaska sighed. And then promptly stiffened as a musical riff rang in the background, echoing in her deserted house. Eyes widening, Alaska wedged herself firmly into the dark upholstery of her sofa, as if it would help her any. "This isn't funny!" she shouted, irritated, to the dusty ceiling. "I already sang once today, got my hopes crushed, and got Caterpie juice all over my favorite pair of shoes. What the hell do you--"

    As if to spite her, the guitar grew louder. Another sigh.

    Scared, she found herself singing quietly, angry, or betrayed?
    Maybe sadness, sorrow, or dismay...
    And while I'm in this storm I only wonder
    If somehow, somewhere I am slipping under,
    These times are changing now,
    and I can't imagine how
    I'm supposed to feel
    Nothing feels real...

    As she sang, the words felt less forced, less painful, and more as if she was doing it willingly. Alaska almost shuddered at the thought.

    Solos aren't my thing
    And I sure as hell can't sing,
    But I'd really thought I'd have a better part
    God, how I knew it to be true deep in my heart,
    I'd been so sure I'd go along
    And now it's all gone so very wrong.
    I'm trapped here, waiting for the sky,
    wondering if it's so wrong to want to fly.

    Alaska sighed, depressed enough to ignore the atrocity that was singing. She rose to her feet, looking around as she found herself singing louder, her voice echoing around the deserted house. She found herself moving to the window, placing her hand on the cold pane as she did so.

    I've spent my life inside a cage
    Watching for the world to change
    And now I cannot see
    how it could ever be fair to me
    That they would be allowed to save the world
    And yet I'd be here, my dreams unfurled
    Hands all shaking, face all pale
    Wondering why I always fail...

    Outside, the sun was setting, and the night was beginning to grow cold. Alaska sighed. It was fitting, she supposed.

    It's not my part to be a hero, true,
    But sometimes, maybe I just want to do
    What I think just might save us all
    But no one cares for me until I fall...
    And even when I'm broken, dying
    Through clenched teeth I see them lying
    Laughing, mocking, even jeering,
    When I die, there'll be people cheering...

    Alaska clenched her fist against the window, knuckles turning pale against the cool glass as her brow furrowed. When she sang again, her voice was much quieter.

    No one even said goodbye.
    I wish I was still weak enough to cry.
    But I'm stronger than I appear,
    And I've got nothing left to fear,
    Because in my cage it's safe for me
    Who will care if there's nothing I can see?
    They don't want me; I don't want me, too
    So I guess there's nothing for me to do...

    Alaska pulled her hand from the window and turned away. The last vestiges of sunlight fled from the sky.

    I'll just wait inside my cage
    Until I can find a better age
    Somewhere that I can to truly fly
    But until then... oh, until then...
    I think I'll just... wait... for my...
    clear... skies.

    She closed her eyes, although she had only been whispering by the time she had finally finished her song, and the music had faded altogether.

    The lights in her house flickered briefly, very briefly, and then went out entirely, leaving her in darkness.

    ~*~

    Roulette leaned his head against the side of the Greyhound's window. Kai plopped into the seat next to him then groaned.

    "I think I sat in gum. Fresh gum."

    "Yeah there was some white stuff on the floor too. I'm just kind of ignoring it."

    There was an awkward silence as the rest of the staff piled on the bus, chattering excitedly.

    "-AND THAT'S WHEN THE SQUID CAME IN!" Pidge babbled to a somewhat harassed looking Taras.

    Scourge scurried after them, and Taras tried to catch her eye while mouthing, "Help me."

    Finally, the floor began to vibrate under their feet and the bus jerked forward and began to roll down the road.

    "Here we go!" Harry said from the front seat, next to Monbrey who was the only one with the proper license to drive this sort of thing. "We're off on an adventure!"

    "Splendid..." WTP muttered. Everyone else groaned.

    Suddenly, the lights dimmed around everyone else, leaving a spotlight over Kai and Roulette. Her eyes widened. "No. Nononononono." An acoustic guitar and banjo began to strum from somewhere nearby, though no one could see exactly where.

    "NOT A DUEEEEET!" he half yelped and half sang. His expression of fear froze on his face as words began to pour out.

    "Don't know what I'm gonna do if we find we can't succeed,
    It seems to me that life's gettin' harder every day, I feel the need,
    To move along now.
    "

    Kai's eyes widened as her mouth was forced open against her will. Her voice was soft as she tried to muffle it.

    "Don't know what I'm gonna do if I don't wake up tomorrow,
    If we can't save the day, if there ain't no time to borrow,
    Guess I'll move along,
    "

    They put their heads together, to the chagrin of both, and they began to sing simultaneously.

    "But how can you keep goin',
    When there ain't no way of knowin',
    If you're gonna see another day,
    How do you keep breathin',
    When your heart is grievin,
    I guess we'll have to find a way,
    "

    Kai stopped singing and Roulette began again.

    "Don't know how I'm gonna live, if we can't fight this thing,
    If in the end, we're at the gallows, left alone to hang,
    Guess I'll move along,
    "

    "Don't know how I'm gonna live, if we can't beat their scheme,
    And now all I can do is wonder why, and sit, and dream,
    That I'll move along,
    "

    "But how can you keep goin',
    When there ain't no way of knowin',
    If you're gonna see another day,
    How do you keep breathin',
    When your heart is grievin,
    I guess we'll have to find a way,
    We'll find a way
    ."

    The music faded, the lights came back on, and the two jumped away from each other. Kai ended up landing across the bus on Kat's lap. Everyone looked at them. Harry began to clap slowly. No one else did.

    "Don't encourage it, dammit," Monbrey swore at them, "I'm trying to fucking drive over here."

    It was quiet for about thirty seconds. "Monbreeeey," Chainy said from the backseat where he was laying with his head on Winter's lap, "I wanna watch a moviiie."

    Kai grinned, pumping her fists through the air. "I've always wanted to see one of these!" she muttered to herself. Roulette snorted.

    "Wait until we get to the next rest stop," he responded gruffly.

    "Yay!" everyone shouted.

    "LET'S WATCH MEANGIRLS!" Stinky shouted.

    "Ew, no, I WANT TO WATCH REPO THE GENETIC OPERA!" said Scourge.

    "But that movie is scary," Chainy complained, "What about Barbie On Swan Lake?"

    "OH MY GOD YES, YES, BARBIE ON SWAN LAKE," Pidge shouted. "THAT IS WHAT WE'RE WATCHING."

    ST mumbled something.

    "What's that ST?" Pidge asked.

    "I said I kind of like Mean Girls."

    "Ha, ha, you're such a girl!"

    ST snarled menacingly. "WHAT'D YOU SAY PIDGE?"

    "YEAH, I RESENT THAT!" Stinky yelled.

    The staff was about to break out into a brawl when the bus suddenly slammed to a halt. Monbrey turned around. "DAMMIT I TOLD YOU ALL TO BE QUIET. YOU'RE ALL GOING TO SHUT UP OR I WILL TURN THIS BUS AROUND, KICK ALL OF YOUR ARSES, AND YOU CAN ALL BE CHUNKS OF PAVEMENT IN BMG'S SHINY NEW DRIVEWAY, GOT IT?"

    There was a long silence. "Um. Would it be okay if we watched Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home?" Harry questioned politely.

    Monbrey considered it. "Yeah, sure, Boss."

    Twenty minutes later, they were driving down the road quietly. Harry was watching the screen in rapt attention, Scourge was attempting to braid Taras' hair, and Chainy was fast asleep, drooling slightly. Pidge and ST were busy playing Mario Kart.

    "Hey Kai, watch this," Roulette whispered after a while. He jimmied the bus window open and stuck the barrel of his shotgun out the window. "See that Spearow?"

    "Roulette, I really don't think you should-"

    BAM!

    "Oh, what now?" Monbrey groaned.

    BAM! BAM! BAM!

    "Hey!" someone yelled from outside. "Hey, you, pull over!"

    Kai face palmed. "Roulette..."

    The bus began to slow. "Dammit, Roulette, what did you do?" Monbrey demanded as he pulled the bus onto the side of the road.

    "I didn't do nothing illegal!"

    The bus doors opened and a short Asian man with horn-rimmed glasses stepped inside. "Yes, excuse me, but your, err..." He seemed to be looking for a word. "Your friend is endangering the lives of our prized winning Pokemon. Could you please put your weapon away." He pushed the glasses up his nose.

    Everyone looked first to him, then back at Taras. They were identical.

    "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore," someone said.

    "Oh, shut it, you twat," Chris responded.

    "Hello," Harry said diplomatically, "Where exactly are we?"

    "You," the man huffed, "are in the most noble land of Smogon. And as I stated previously, you are endangering our Pokemon. Please cease from doing that."

    "OH GOD," Scourge said, cackling, "THERE'S MORE OF YOU. CAN ONE OF YOU DO MY ACCOUNTING?"

    The man stuck up his nose.

    "What she means," Kat jumped in quickly, "is we've been looking to recruit more members to our group, the URPG. Are you at all interested, Mr....?"

    "My name," he said, drawing out each syllable, "Is Kim Jong Chu." He paused as everyone began snickering. "It's a family name, okay." He brushed something invisible off of his shoulder.

    "Uh, Mr. Chu then. Could we perhaps have a tour of the town?"

    He narrowed his eyes. "Fine. However, I must request that you please restrain those of you who are... slightly less cultured." He stalked out of the bus as though he were king of the world. The staff looked at each other and shrugged before following him.

    A short distance from the road was a small village in which people and Pokemon were working in harmony.

    "This looks lovely," Kai said.

    Roulette squinted at a nearby Pachirusu. "Looks like dinner."

    "Um." She grabbed his shirt sleeve and pulled him after the rest of the group.

    Kim Jong was pointing out different Pokemon ahead of them. "And over there is where we keep the Alakazam, and THAT's where we have all of our Starmie, and...

    ...this is where the Gengar are."

    His eyes widened. People, also identical to Taras, began to stream out of their homes in synchronized motion, wearing trousers, white shirts, and suspenders.

    "Is everyone here a Mormon?" WTP demanded.

    "Why am I sing-!?" Kim Jong started to say, but the words cut off as he started to hum. In fact, all of the Smogon residents began to hum, right before Kim Jong's mouth popped open. A drum beat somewhere in the background.

    "Well, you say you want to come and recruit,
    And I'd hate to start a callous dispute,
    But I don't know if we're interested, I don't know if I care,
    Because you all seem just to be a bunch of brutes.
    "
    "Mmhmm," his cohorts agreed.

    He harrumphed musically, which many of them found quite impressive. He started to turn his back on the URPGers, but Harry jumped in front of him.

    "I think that I can beg to disagree,
    I know we've had a long history,
    Of being blunt and boorish and a smidgen crude,
    But underneath it we're a happy family,
    "
    Chris jumped in.

    "Harry's been a great guy since we met
    And the home he's made I never will forget,
    So come join us in a paradise that's hard to replicate,
    It's a decision that you never will regret,
    "

    Some of the Smogon users were whispering and looking interested, but Kim Jong still had a scowl on his face. Before he could pull the plug on their recruiting efforts, Chainy wobbled forward, looking nervous.

    "You're not lying when you say that we're impure,
    And I can't blame you for being a bit unsure,
    But this place is how I met my girl, and nothing could be better,
    And you'll find happiness in URPG, I'm sure,
    "

    Winter blushed somewhere in the background. Kim Jong's expression was unreadable.

    "The points you make seem to be fair and true,
    And I can sense the bliss that's coming off of you,
    I want that for my friends, if they choose it for themselves,
    And I wish the best of luck to all of you.
    "

    He bowed and the music slowed, but didn't stop. Suddenly, Taras stepped forward. He turned to address Scourge.

    "I feel a little bad about this, Ma'am,
    But I think it's time for me to cut and scram,
    I really seem to like these guys, we've got a lot in common,
    And if you don't mind I think I'm going to-
    "
    BAM!

    The music cut off mid note and everyone jumped around to see Roulette holding a still smoking gun. "HEAD SHOT!" he yelled excitedly. About twenty yards away from him was a dead Swampert, several quarts of purplish blood, and what looked disgustingly like mucus scattered over the carefully clipped grass. The staff members turned back to look at Kim Jong. His eyes narrowed.

    "그 돼지, SMOGON를 파괴하십시오!!!"

    The Smogon users' eyes began to turn red.

    "Maybe we should go now," Bee suggested. Kai had already dragged Roulette inside the bus, and several other staff members were running for it.

    "Are you sure you want to stay here, Taras?" Harry asked.

    "Yes, sir." He hung his head. The sound of the Smogon users eye lasers charging made him look back up. "But maybe you should go now. I'll call you or something."

    "If you ever need anything-"

    Scourge grabbed Harry by the collar, picked him up in her arms and began to run for the bus, which was already starting to move. Her eyes were slightly teary as she dumped Harry into his seat.

    "It's going to be alright, Scourge," he said, patting her back, "He said he'll call us."

    "But, but, you don't understand. HE WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO STILL GRADED." She plopped down into her seat and stared at the floor.

    "Well," Sam said from somewhere near the back, "that was underwhelming."

    "It's okay, everyone," Harry assured them, "I'm sure we'll meet quite a few new members at our next stop, which is, er... I believe Jess has a map."

    "WE'RE GOING TO MARRILAND!" she announced happily, before pulling out a hentai magazine and leaning against Sam, who cringed a bit.

    Everyone managed to contain their excitement. The bus crept down the road like some kind of metal onlong dinosaur. Eventually, most of the staff fell asleep, except for Harry, who was now watching reruns of Barney, and Scourge who was scribbling hastily into a book with a title in Latin.

    ~*~

    This time when Alaska woke, it was dark out. Rain thudded against her window panes and she could hear the crashing of thunder. Lightning split the sky and her room was lit up in a weird, ghostly light that made everything look gray. There was no music starting, and without so much as a strum of a guitar, she climbed out of bed and stumbled silently downstairs.

    She opened the fridge, while numbly trying to wipe the sleep goo from her eyes. The fridge made a loud buzzing noise and released a malodorous smell. She grimaced. The light bulb was mostly broken, but she could see what looked like a moldy orange and something that had once been almost an omelette. She slammed the fridge closed, sighed, went back upstairs and threw some clothes on. She didn't really bother to look at them. She grabbed a backpack and a coat on the way out and set off for the store.

    Unlike yesterday, the streets were deserted. Everyone was inside, where they could sing in the privacy of their own homes, free to make sure that they wouldn't have any kind of romantic duet in public. Hah. She felt bad for whatever suckers that'd happen to.

    As she got closer to the grocery store (a generic Walreinmart), the rain began to slow and finally stop, leaving everything a gloomy grey. She heard the tinkling of piano keys and walked a little faster. She made it through the sliding doors just as a violin began to swell. Then they shut and the music was gone. She sighed in relief. The only thing that could bother her in here was what sounded like a muzak version of 'My Heart Will Go On'. She could live with that.

    Let's see, what should she buy... Chicken sounded good but she couldn't really cook for herself. Last time that had happened, Bee had to run over with several water Pokemon to extinguish the fire. She shrugged and quickly found the aisles she wanted. She threw a loaf of bread, some bananas, a jar of peanut butter, and several large liter bottles of Mountain Dew into her basket. On the way out, she couldn't help glancing at a Wanted board. Most of them were uninteresting and about users of different forums, though one caught her eye.

    "'Gliscorman," she read aloud, "A somewhat dangerous vigilante and ex Park ranger who dresses up in a Gliscor costume and could be considered a danger to himself and others. Contact BMG moderators if you have any info.' Hah. What a weirdo." She continued to the checkout.

    "CASH OR CREDIT?!" someone screamed at her. She thought she felt a bit of spittle.

    "Morning, Ted. It'll be cash today." She slipped a few bills out of her wallet and threw the items onto the counter.

    "JUST BANANAS, PEANUT BUTTER, AND BREAD?! ARE YOU SOME KIND OF FREAK!?"

    "Hah. No. I just loaf bread." Ted was unamused. "Um, sorry about that." Suddenly, she began to hear a familiar strumming sound. "Oh, dear God, RING ME UP FAST-" A cheery, yet fake smile lit up her face.

    "Bread! Everybody loafs bread!
    It's tasty, good, nutritional,
    Six servings a day or you'll be dead,
    Bread!
    "

    Ted shot her a panicked grin. She tried to look sympathetic, but her face muscles wouldn't relax. Poor guy, she thought, being forced to be this happy will probably give him a heart attack. That's when Ted began to sing.

    "BREAD! EVEN I LOAF BREAD!
    WITHOUT IT I WOULD PROBABLY RYE,
    IF I GAVE IT UP, I'D LOSE MY HEAD,
    BREAD!
    "
    He jumped up on the counter, then down, and grabbed Alaska by the waist. Somewhere in her chest, her soul screamed and promptly fainted.

    "Bread, bread, the magical food,
    Without it we'd be super screwed,
    Peanut butter, jelly, spread,
    It's amazing, just ask Ted,
    Bread!
    "

    Ted picked her up, twirled a little, set her down, and the music abruptly stopped. Ted dropped her and she began to retch. She had the unique sensation of being hit in the head with a banana and several liters of Mountain Dew... Oh, wait.

    "JUST TAKE YOUR FOOD AND GET OUT, BEFORE IT HAPPENS AGAIN!" Ted screamed.

    She scrambled to gather her food, throw it in her backpack, and run outside. By the time she noticed the blaring music, it was too late.

    As soon as she exited the grocery store she knew something was wrong. The sun was shining brightly, about a hundred colorful Pokemon of every shape and size had gathered outside, and all the URPGers were gathering. Loud music was playing, and it sounded very, very familiar.

    Then she realized the problem. A Girafarig walked by with Feng clinging to its head and Ash sitting farther down along its back. She was debating running when she saw something interesting; there was something shiny around Feng's neck. In fact, it looked a lot like a key. Heh. Maybe she'd have some fun with the staff out of town anyways. The music grew louder and the crowd began to clap along. Alaska was chagrined to find herself doing the same thing. However, instead of running from the music, she tried to get closer to Feng. That's when he started singing.

    "I'm gonna be a mighty king, so enemies beware!"

    He absolutely did not, she thought to herself. That's when she saw Siless running after them.

    "Well I've never seen a leader,
    So caught up in Pidge's snare!
    "

    Feng looked backwards over the Girafarig and blew his tongue out at him.

    "I'm gonna be the main event,
    Like no king was before,
    I'm brushing up on looking down,
    To be the one they all adore!
    "

    Siless scowled.

    "So far you're uninspiring...."

    "Oh, I just can't wait to be king!"
    Feng jumped off the Girafarig onto a passing Stantler, and Ash followed him. He seemed not to be particularly trying not to sing. Worried that she would lose them, Alaska jumped onto a Furret, which was bouncing after them. It jolted her up and down.

    "Gaaaaaah!" she screamed, somewhat musically.

    "Oh, I just can't wait to be king!
    No one saying do this,
    "

    "No one saying be there," Ash piped up.

    "No one saying stop that,"
    Ash and Feng leaned into each other.

    "No one saying see here
    Free to run around all day,
    "

    The majority of the URPG that had been left behind were dancing around the two, along with all of their Pokemon. Only a little closer, Alaska thought, as the Furret jumped. She reached forward and missed Feng's key by a hair. It was held to his neck by what looked like a very thin string.

    Siless, on the other hand, was much better at catching up with them. He came riding up next to them on a Blitzle. He began to sing-shout at them.

    "Now when I said that --"

    They jumped onto another Stantler, and he tried to catch up.

    "What I meant was --"

    Feng whistled and a Snorlax popped up between them.

    "What you don't realize --"

    The Snorlax roared, covering Siless in saliva."

    "Now see here!
    That's definitely out!
    "

    Alaska leaped onto the Snorlax's head, then jumped after Feng, but hit a Bouffalant instead. It didn't seem to notice her. Feng continued singing.

    "Free to do it all my way!"

    Siless suddenly teleported in front of them, clinging onto a Gardevoir.

    "I think it's time that you and I arranged a heart-to-heart,"

    This time, Ash reached into his pocket and threw a stuffed Pikachu at him.

    "Kings don't need advice
    From any rangers for a start,
    "

    Siless winced and gave up, stalking off angrily.

    "If this is where the URPG's headed
    Count me out
    Out of service, out of BMG
    I wouldn't hang about
    This kid is getting wildly out of wing!
    "

    Feng grinned.

    "Oh, I just can't wait to be king
    Everybody look left!
    "

    The entire URPG, including Alaska, felt their heads turn left through no will of their own.

    "Everybody look right!" Ash yelled excitedly.

    Alaska heard a slight cracking noise as her head twisted right. Please be my back cracking, please be my back cracking... she prayed silently.

    Several people grabbed their necks in pain but Feng was oblivious.

    "Everywhere you look I'm,"

    "Standing in the spotlight," Ash chimed in with him.
    "Not yet!" Siless yelled in the distance, shaking his fist.

    The song was building to a climax and Alaska knew her last chance was approaching. She saw a Swellow above her and jumped. "SWEET MERCIFUL ZEUS!" she screamed, and managed to grab its talons. It cawed at her, but didn't drop her. She silently thanked herself for attending a Bird Pokemon Communication seminar. Her jaw opened and she began to sing involuntarily, along with Ash, Feng, and the rest of the URPG.

    "Let every creature go for broke and sing,
    Let's hear it in the crowd and on the wing,
    It's gonna be King Feng's finest fling,
    "

    "Oh, I just can't wait to be king!"

    "Oh, he just can't wait to be king!"

    "Oh, I just can't wait..."

    "Just can't wait..."

    This was her last shot... The Swellow was right above them. Alaska let go of its claws and plummeted several feet onto the very back of Feng and Ash's Stantler. She started to fall backwards, but managed to grasp hold of the key! She tumbled onto the ground, but the string snapped and she quickly jammed the key into her coat pocket. Feng didn't even notice it was gone. As the music built to a crescendo, she tried to dance away from them.

    "To be kiiiiing!!!" they concluded, and the music stopped.

    "What the hell is wrong with you guys?" Turtwig moaned from his shelter behind a shopping cart near the store front.

    Alaska began to run as fast as she could towards her home, cackling the whole way.

    ~*~

    The bus was spitting exhaust and slowly chugging along. To the left, the sea was there, a glistening expanse of roiling salt water, Wingull skimming its surface and diving for the occasional Magikarp. Islands dotted the horizon, the imprints of tiny palm trees far away, and boats skipped across the surface of the water. The sun had just begun to set, sending brilliant rays of water across the waves, and the forest on the right was beginning to filter out the sunlight into tattered shreds of dying light. Between them, the road stretched on for miles before curving out of sight behind a cluster of mountains, whose massive tops reared to the skies. Their snow-capped peaks nearly reached into the slowly fading lights of the heavens, but the road had no end.

    "God, the place around here is so ugly," Monbrey muttered, rolling down his window and flicking his cigarette stub out of it. It skidded to the ground, trailing sparks, before igniting against a particularly dry cluster of grass by the side of the road. Somewhere within the forest, a Bidoof squealed in alarm. Something else was roaring something that could’ve easily been mistaken for cursing.

    And the Greyhound bus simply barreled on.

    “Going to Marriland will be like… a Day To The Zoo, if I say so myself,” Bee said, looking around to see if anyone would laugh. He managed to elicit a weak smile from Winter, but no one else really acknowledged him. He scowled.

    “I’ve always wanted to see Marriland!” Chainy squealed, propping himself up on the seat in front of him with his elbows and kicking his feet back and forth excitedly. Winter shrunk to one side to avoid being hit in the face. “There will just be so much fun stuff to do!”

    The occupant of aforementioned seat, WTP, turned around to fix him with an icy stare. “The amusement park, the forums, or the person?”

    Chainy looked at him for a moment before slowly deflating. “Darn you,” he muttered, sinking sadly back into his chair.

    “Hey, look, a sign!” Kat shouted, pointing excitedly. Sure enough, there was a gilded sign fifty feet up the road, with elaborate gold patterns twining around its borders. The message was inscribed in pink, while the baby blue paint of the background was in pristine condition.

    Welcome to Marriland! the sign read, in bright, curling script.

    “We can’t be here already,” Jess said, biting her lip as she looked up from her map. “There’s at least ten more miles left.”

    “They have these signs everywhere within a fifteen foot radius of their central hub,” Harry said, smiling benevolently and tearing his eyes away from the screen, from which the sounds of spacecraft still blared. “I’m personally surprised that we haven’t seen any already.”

    As the bus drew closer, the Staff was able to make out the rest of the words.

    1. No inappropriate language or discussion!
    2. No Flaming, Bashing, Pressuring, or Insulting other users or people!”


    Jr pretended to look away. If anything, he could at least say that he hadn’t seen the rules and try to get away with it.

    3. No posting, linking to, or promoting offensive, inappropriate, or illegal activities!

    At this point, Scourge raised her hand and shouted at Harry, “Would torture count?”

    He looked at her strangely.

    “Sometimes, people are just jerks and take my potatoes,” she muttered defensively, sinking into her seat and shoving her large black back further into a corner with her foot. “Don’t even get me started on my milk…”

    4. No Spamming, Flooding, or Disruptive Posting!

    “What in tarnations is a Posting?” Roulette asked, pulling the muzzle of his shotgun away from the open window and sheepishly drawing the curtains shut to obscure the mangled body of a Pachurisu he had managed to shoot in the face as it fled from a forest fire… strange how those were there so close to the ocean…

    “Shhhh, Roulette,” Kai hissed, elbowing him. “We aren’t supposed to break the fourth wall yet!”

    5. Have fun!

    “…damn,” ST muttered, slouched in his chair and lurking in a corner.

    “Heh, they should have a rule thirty-four,” Ireign mumbled under his breath. “Because then we could—”

    “Does this mean I can’t bring in my magazines?” Jess shouted, drowning him out entirely. Next to her, and buried beneath a stack of publications and rather illicit images, Sam cringed. Harry shook his head.

    “Do they all of their sentences end in exclamation points?” Winter had been studying the sign intently, and looked rather perplexed.

    Harry opened his mouth to respond, but was cut off by the sound of… bells.

    We welcome you to Marriland!
    We hope that you have fun!
    We’d like to talk and play
    But we haven’t got all day
    And we’ve got a place to run!

    As you can clearly see our rules are on these signs
    You should read them all
    And make sure you understand
    Over here in Marriland
    We are a peaceful place
    And we want to make sure you know how to interface!


    “We haven’t even started talking to them yet,” Kat said, amazed. “The Porygon shouldn’t have taken their effect yet.”

    Pidge shook his head warily. “They haven’t,” he said grimly.

    Kat looked at him with wide eyes. “So you’re trying to say…”

    We loooove to sing our songs!


    “Make it stop!” ST roared, clutching his ears as the sound of children’s voices assaulted his senses. “Make it stop!”

    We could sing them for all the day
    But we’ve got games to play
    So please enjoy your stay
    And have fun with us all day loooooong!


    “That was… odd…” Harry muttered, looking slightly perplexed. “I hadn’t thought that there were any forums that would enjoy singing, but I suppose that makes our job that much easier!”

    No one else seemed to share his enthusiasm.

    “Is… is it over?” ST croaked wearily, curled up in a fetal position in his corner as he cracked his eyes open. “Oh, thank god,” he muttered, looking around.

    Monbrey suddenly doubled over in laughter at his position while driving, and the Greyhound swerved dangerously. Everyone screamed. “Wimps,” he muttered under his breath, although he was smiling as he righted the wheel. The Staff craned their necks to see why he was laughing, although the cause quickly became apparent as the bus rounded the curve of the mountain.

    Not too far in the distance, a large, dome-structure protruded from the ground, easily towering over the other small structures around it. From the sides of the dome, two more blue domes, smaller, protruded. It soon became apparent that the domes were not simply domes, but the rough rendition of a pair of aqua blue mouse ears.

    In essence, it looked as if someone had taken a Marill, buried it into the ground up to its ears, and then let it die.

    “That’s totally copyrighted,” Pidge muttered under his breath at the offending arches as they drew closer. “Seriously. They didn’t even spell it correctly. It’s just like Disneyland, but even stupider.”

    “I’ve never been to Disneyland,” Kai murmured wistfully.

    Chainy perked up. “It’s great, because they’ve got so many songs that we can—”

    His rambling was cut short, however, as Monbrey swerved the Greyhound into a large, designated parking spot and opened the doors with a sigh. “Hurry up,” he said with a scowl, already halfway down the stairs. “The sooner we get out of this place, the better chance you guys have of not having me rip your heads off. He stopped suddenly, and the procession of officials behind him pulled up short as well.

    In front of him, a short boy who couldn’t have been more than twelve stood in front of him. Pinned to his chest was a badge that proudly proclaimed “Junior Administrator!”, and an equally shining smile was pinned to his face.

    “I had no idea that Turtwig was here, too,” Kai whispered to Roulette. He snorted.

    “Welcome, one and all to Marriland!” the Junior Administrator (!) said proudly, bouncing on his toes. His neatly creased white uniform was practically luminescent. “I can give you a tour of the place, if you’d like!”

    “Uh…” Monbrey said eloquently, finding himself in the fortunate position of being the one in front and the only one who the Junior Administrator (!) could see.

    “Excellent!” the Junior Administrator (!) said, taking a step backwards and gesturing around. “We’re actually closed for renovations right now, so I won’t be able to show you much of the park!” He still sounded cheery.

    “What a shame,” WTP muttered.

    “Yes, it really is!” the Junior Administrator (!) agreed whole-heartedly, gesturing around to the semi-circle of URPG Staff that had gathered around him now and were listening with wary interest. “Obviously, Marriland is the head honcho here at Marriland, and he was the one who founded the forum in—”

    Harry cleared his throat politely. “Sir, if you wouldn’t mind my asking, do you think we could put off our tour for a later time and speak with Marriland? We, as representatives from URPG, would like to put forth a business proposal for him.”

    The Junior Administrator (!) shook his head and said in a very practiced and mechanical tone, “I’m sorry, sir or ma’am, but Marriland is too busy to speak with anyone right now! However, I will be glad to assist you in case you need to—”

    “It says right here that he just uploaded ninety videos to Youtube in the past fifteen minutes,” Monbrey said, glancing up from his smartphone.

    “You get service in these mountains?” Chainy asked, holding the frustratingly dead husk that was his own phone. “How do you even do that?”

    “Duh,” Monbrey muttered, not even bothering to look away from the mesmerizing glow of his screen any more. “I built the darn thing myself. It wouldn’t dare not work on me.”

    “As I was saying,” the Junior Administrator (!) continued, looking slightly flustered, “Marriland is often too busy working to—”

    “Lol just got my new DSi and it’s so much fun playing Pokémon Black and White. Thank god I don’t have anything else to do. Hashtag mymembersjustgetintheway,” Monbrey read from his screen, cutting off the Junior Administrator (!) expertly. “That’s from his Twitter, by the way. I can go to his Facebook next, if you’d like.”

    The Junior Administrator (!) was very much flustered by this point. “I don’t think you actually know his—”

    Monbrey looked confident. “Try me. There’s the official Marriland one, and then there’s the Dev—”

    “Wewerefoundedintheyear1996byMarrilandinordertocreateasaferandmoresecurefanbaseforPokémonloversli kemyself!” the Junior Administrator (!) paused for a breath and then prepared to speak again. “We—”

    “Listen, kid,” ST growled, stepping forwards and grabbing the Junior Administrator (!)’s starched collar. “We just want to speak with your leader, then we’ll get out of here.”

    “Rule Number Two!” the Junior Administrator (!) squeaked, his feet dangling in the air as ST lifted him off the ground. His toes barely scraped the lovingly polished cobblestones of the street, and his flailing knocked over a carefully tended begonia.

    “What?” ST hissed, putting his face in front of the Junior Administrator (!)’s and grimacing. “What is that supposed to mean?”

    “You’re violating Rule Number Two, sir!” the Junior Administrator (!) whimpered, and then, against his better judgment, added, “No Flaming, Bashing, Pressuring, or Insulting other users or people! I’m a user and a person!”

    ST simply gawked for a moment. “I’m sorry,” he said finally, his voice growing very dangerous. “Do you think I give a sh*t about any of your g*y rules? We have a god d*mn business proposal to do, and your d*mn bells are hurting my god d*mn ears. So you’re going to listen to me, *sshole, and you’re going to get your f*ggot Marriland away from his harem of scr*wing b*tches and get him the h*ll over here, so then we can do our stupid song and get. The h*ll. Out. Of here.” He shook the Junior Administrator (!) for good measure, and then froze. “Did I just get censored?” he asked, sounding amazed.

    “Rule Number One!” the Junior Administrator (!) yelped, his face growing red as ST’s profanity washed around him. “No inappropriate language or discussion! There are children on our forums!”

    ST looked at the Junior Administrator (!) with a glare of the utmost disgust, and then threw the smaller boy to the ground, who whispered, “Rule Number Three” with a whimper as he hit the ground.

    “No one,” ST growled, a dangerous gleam in his eyes—the Staff was already backing up in fear; Scourge, Kat, and Jess had already taken the wiser route and retreated back to the bus— “FUCKING CENSORS ME!” With a roar, he charged towards the downed Junior Administrator (!)

    ~*~

    “Well,” Harry said, clasping his hands together, “that could’ve gone better.” They were back on the Greyhound bus, speeding as quickly away from the giant dead ears as quickly as they could.

    “Well, yeah,” WTP muttered, examining his nails, “we sorta just got ourselves forbidden from Marriland. Forever.”

    ST, who had the word “Permabanned” emblazoned on his forehead in large, red, letters, only glared. The Marriland Administrators (!!) had been forced to use their most powerful Pokémon—Marill, naturally—to subdue him, and he had gone down after a few blasts of their very powerful Bubble techniques. Then, the Marriland Administrators (!!) had been forced to plastic tie his hands behind his back and shoo all of the remaining URPG Staff onto their dilapidated bus before registering their identities and preventing them from entering the amusement park ever again.

    No one had bothered untying him.

    “We did break Rules One, Two, Three, and Four with ST alone,” Kat pointed out fairly, ignoring a muffled snarl from ST’s corner of the bus with a pointed glare. “And even Rule Five. I didn’t know it was possible to break Rule Five…”

    “Well, you guys are paying for the shot transmission that we’re going to get from this,” Monbrey said, from his spot at the driver’s wheel—the landscape was rushing past them now, as he easily went above ninety miles per hour. Who knew that Marriland’s Security Forces could easily top eighty-eight?

    …heck… who knew that Marriland had Security Forces?

    “Where are we supposed to go next?” Jess called, looking up from her map. “I think it’s safe to assume that Marriland was a bust.”

    Harry looked distraught. “Well… we’re almost out of places, and 4chan was on the way…”

    ATF’s eyes widened. Roulette pumped his fists through the air and cheered, and Pidge high-fived him. Chainy cringed. ST gave a very emphatic “mmph!”.

    Scourge summed it up. “Well, when a naked slut is dancing over your corpses, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

    ~*~


    Alaska sat down with a humph, hearing something crunch in her pocket. Oh god. Had LS borrowed her jacket and left his pot in there again? She hastily reached into her jacket, wondering if he would actually wear the mass of pink that she had somehow been connived to buy, and pulled out... a piece of paper.

    Oh, well. She had been hopeful.

    Sighing, she unfolded the envelope, recognizing the tightly creased graph paper that Kai always had to keep stocked for graphing conic sections. Crinkling her nose, Alaska debated crumpling up the paper and returning to making a peanut butter banana sandwich while singing Elvis.

    But that wouldn't have been any fun, would it?

    Dear Lasky,

    Well. I hope you haven't spent too long angsting or anything, and I hope that you remembered to pay the electric bill this month--


    Alaska grinned slightly, although she had to angle her candle away to keep the wax from dripping on Kai's cramped writing. Who knew that Reliant would actually be so uptight about things as silly as money?

    --and whatnot. There's some ice cream in the freezer if you've forgotten to go there already, and I think that there might be a few bananas in your breadbox-- which, incidentally, is full of rye, so DOUGHTN'T worry about it... cwutididthar... no... okay... that haven't gone rotten yet. It depends on how late this is, although hopefully you haven't gone to the store already...

    Alaska glared at the pile of bags on her counter. So all of the pain and suffering that had been Feng and Ash's duet had been for... nothing?

    "Stupid groceries," she muttered under her breath. "Why do you have to be so awful?"

    She hadn't really been expecting much of a reply.

    Well, I've rambled for a bit now. Hopefully you haven't wanted to trash this note in favor of making a sammich or something, although that sounds like something Roulette would do.

    Alaska hastily nudged her plastic bags away with her foot and continued reading.

    Oh, right. You're probably wondering what in the blazes I'm doing, right? I figured by the time you thought to check your pockets (or, at least, sat back down long enough to mistake this for LS's... marijuana, I think), you'd have a clear enough head to understand what I'm trying to say here. YES. LET'S GO WITH THAT. And besides, I didn't want Feng to see this. Or Ash. Or anyone else, for that matter, because it'd end up rather awkward and I don't want that happening. Yeah.

    I had a hunch that Staff wouldn't pick you, and you're probably just trying to hide your disappointment and whatnot. I just want to tell you that whatever reason they had for picking someone else (I'm betting on Roulette, personally, but WTP is convinced that they'll pick Webbie... what the hell is a Webbie?), it's not your fault. So. Stop angsting about it already, if you haven't already, because that's not going to help anyone out much. I--


    Alaska sighed and stuck the note back in her pocket. She was beginning to see things in a different light, now: she could either sit here on her couch and read Kai's note, or... well, she had a suspicious hunch that the key she had filched from Feng would actually open Pidge's apartment. And that would be really, really fun. She snickered to herself, threw the food she'd bought int he fridge, and left.

    The walk to Pidge's apartment complex wasn't too long. Alaska actually lived fairly close to him (having at one point owned many, many flying Pokemon before losing some of them to Pokemon Control), and it was actually a shorter walk than it was to get to the grocery store. The sun had come out when Feng sang, and it was now quite nice out. Other than the constant threat of breaking into a musical number with a traffic cone, the walk was enjoyable.

    "Hmmm." She stared at the foreboding looking building from the outside. Who could she be making an excuse to see if someone stopped and asked her? She mentally ran through a list of people who lived here, while noticing the bars that had been crudely nailed to the outside of the window. ST, Anna, Ireign, Feng, Marco, FD... Oh, FD. I could probably say I was being his wingman again this weekend. She smiled inwardly and fingered the key in her pocket. "Time to do this," she muttered.

    She tried to be as inconspicuous as she walked through the front lobby.

    "HI ALASKA!" someone yelled. She winced, and turned slowly. Thank God, it was only Aimee.

    "Oh, hi, Aimee." She forced a smile. Please, dear God don't let Feng walk in right now...

    "I got some more Glameow!" Alaska did distinctly hear a mrowing noise coming from somewhere back behind the counter. "Hey, I have a question, what does it mean if they keep getting their claws stuck in their-"

    "Um. Aimee. Can you call me later or something, I have to... help FD pick up chicks."

    She blinked. "Didn't you already do that three times this week?"

    "Yeah, but-"

    "Nah, it's okay, I got it. Well have fun!"

    "Sure! See ya, Aimee!" As Alaska walked away, she muttered to herself, "Hopefully she'll forget about this later." She stepped into the elevator, pulled out a newspaper (URPG Times: Issue #37, BUY IT NOW, KIDS) and held it in front of her face. She'd seen someone do that in an old spy movie. Let's see, Pidge has a suite on the top floor... She noticed that there was a slot for a key next to the '7' button. It fit the one she'd stolen off of Feng, so she turned it. The elevator began rising. When the elevator doors opened, she whistled. "Goddamn. Pidge is making bank."

    The entire seventh floor was an ornately furnished apartment. One entire wall was a glass window and Alaska could see a mini bar, a large plasma screen TV, and another set of stairs leading up to the roof. "Jesus Christ," she murmured as she stepped out of the elevator. It closed behind her silently. "He must have some kind of embezzling scheme going on or some-" Her sentence was cut off as she stumbled over something and fell to the ground (an elegant shag carpet, she noticed). She climbed to her feet. Weird, why is there just a box laying in the middle of the floor... She picked it up and read the side to herself, "Dragon Dildo Two Thou- OH GOD." She dropped it and wiped her hands off on her pants.

    She searched around the apartment but didn't find anything too fun (though there were several letters on the counter she tossed in her bag, along with a URPG financial report). Eventually she got bored and decided to climb to the second floor. There was a set of metal stairs that spiraled up around the center of the apartment where the elevator was. It lead into a small, plain antechamber with an unmarked door. She shrugged and opened it. Her mouth dropped open. All around her were hundreds of Flying Pokemon, kept inside by a mesh cage around the top of the building. Noctowl, Staraptor, every species she had ever heard of surrounded her. Out of the corner of here eye, she thought she saw what looked like a Dodrio with the heads of Condoleeza Rice, Conan O'Brien, and Karl Marx.

    "Oh my God," she said, "It's a birdcage." She heard what sounded like the Jurassic Park theme music and decided to be quiet. She whistled and a Salamence swooped down from its perch on an artificial ledge. It nuzzled her shoulder quietly. As it did, something in her pocket crinkled. "Oh, right, Kai's letter." She took it out and began to read again, in case it gave her any other fun ideas.

    ...if you haven't already, because that's not going to help anyone out much. I gotta write this all really quickly, because Harry and some of the actual Staff (you know, the guys who actually know what they're doing and stuff. And Pidge) are in some meeting trying to decide who our one member-ambassador-sort of person is going to be.
    There's a lot of people here, so you... uh... might not be going. Hopefully I'm mistaken, in which case I'll be burning this letter anyways... writing was never really my thing. GNAR. SO. If you're reading this... well, yeah. COOL. I'm assuming Feng is in charge. You, my dear, have my condolensces.

    Well. This means that you won't be on our trip with us (you know, like I haven't said this forty or fifty times this far; you have my utmost apologies if it sounds like I'm rubbing salt into your wounds 'r something), so it means that there are some things that I shouldn't tell you, because they are logistical secrets about this journey that I'm not sposed to share with non-Staff and stuff. Also, some of it might be illegal. Eep.

    For starters. I can't tell you that I've... er... accidentally rigged Pidge's Mew Plushie (seriously, why does he carry that around with him everywhere...?) with a tracking device that works on satellites and allows for accurate positioning on most places on the world. I also cannot tell you that the metal object I slipped into your pocket earlier is a receiver for aforementioned tracking device, and would allow you to find the Staff vehicle (if it's a bus, I swear to god...), if you felt so inclined. And I cannot, under any circumstances, suggest that you use your resources to track us down. Because that's horribly, terribly illegal, and I know you'd never, ever consider doing something like that. You know.
    Well, yes. Incidentally, I've found out that Pidge is not, as you said he is--


    Alaska frowned. A bunch of this part had been blotted out heavily with a mass of neat scribbles, as much of a paradox as that was, and she had to squint hard to read it. Even then, she couldn't make out all of the writing.

    xST... (there were more scribbles here) AVIANSHIPPING4LIFE...

    Alaska blinked. "What... what the..."

    Well, yeah. This is getting horribly lengthy, you know, so at the risk of repeating myself several more times, I think I gotta go. Yeah, it looks like the meeting is almost over. If you're reading this, odds are I won't be able to say goodbye Properly. Or wasn't, actually. 'cause odds are I'm not going to be very subtle with what I'm doing, you're going to try to look in your pocket and I'm going to have to slap you for it. Then you'll probably forget, and then you'll read this while eating your bananas. THEY'RE STILL IN THE BREADBOX, BY THE WAY. But yeah. I couldn't be all "OH GOD, LASKY, I'MMA MISS YOU" 'cause that's terribly obvious... and we're only gone for a week, anyways. But I do hope we didn't offend you too much by our running off like that. Yeah.

    SO. HAVE FUN NOT DOING ILLEGAL STUFF, LASKY. YOU KNOW THE REST.

    Wishing you the best, (ohgodthatrhymedithinkit'sstartingalready)

    Kai.
    Oh, and PS: Hopefully you're in Pidge's house sort of thing by now. I never knew that Feng had a key to his apartment, but... well, iunno. Ya learn something new every day, I guess. And apparently he has a bunch of bird Pokemon and stuff somewhere in his house. Something tells me I should make a basement joke here (I think it might be Roulette), although I'm not sure what he's trying to imply. Oh well. I doubt that the Pokemon will be of any other use besides, like, entertainment (knowing you, you've already Crawwwed and probably slept with at least four). It's not like they can Fly you instantly to anywhere. SO YEAH. CAW-CRAWW. THIS BLUE PEN IS SO SUBTLE.


    Smiling slightly, Alaska folded up the letter and put it back in her pocket, hefting the small, black tracking device in her palm. A flash of dark ink on the outside of Kai's letter, though, caught her eye, and she quickly flipped over the graph paper for a better look.

    BAHAHAHAAHAHAHA, it read, in small, spindly script hastily scralwed in black pen. KAI IS ADORABLE. KINDA PREDICTABLE, BUT OH WELL. MAKE SURE TO KEEP YOUR EARS CLEAN; WHEAT LOTS OF BREAD, TOO. DID YOU KNOW THAT PORYGON LOOK LIKE DUCKS?

    Alaska stared. Who in the world...?

    IT'S SCOURGE, YOU DUMMY.

    She folded up the letter, placed it back in her pocket, and smiled. It might be a good week after all. She whistled again, this time with several trills interspersed. If she remembered anything from owning Violet Gym, this should work... She waited a few seconds, and then something hit her hard in the chest. She fell over backwards, landing only a couple inches from the stairs. Something licked her face. She looked up to see a shiny, metallic bird standing on her.

    "Skar?" it asked.

    She began to giggle. "BAHAHAHAHAHAHA, YES." She jumped up, knocking it off of her. It didn't seem to mind and began to lick her hand. "There ain't nothing that can stop me now." A trumpet blared, and a drum rattled. "Aw, frig," she cursed, before swinging around towards a Scizor, and grabbing the smooth part of its claws.

    "Watch out world cause I've got a plan,
    I've been schemin' and dreamin' since this mess began,
    And now I can take a boooow,
    "
    She did so, as did the Scizor.

    "There ain't nothing that can stop me now,"

    "They called me crazy, delirious,
    I gotta know, why are they so serious?
    Like they're so much holier than thou,
    There ain't nothing that can stop me now,
    "

    She twirled into the arms of a very confused Charizard.

    "I don't bother with their silly gaaames,
    I'm too busy with my own aiiiims,
    "

    "So I'm gonna catch 'em, on the fly,
    I know I can make it a mile high,
    Cause Lasky's on the prooowl,
    There ain't nothiiiiiing,
    That can stop meeeee,
    Ain't nothing that can stop me noooooow!
    "

    She curtsied to no one, before collecting herself. "That needs to stop happening," she mumbled, before calling to the Skarmory, "Come on, buddy, we've got work to do." But how do I get him out of the apartment, she wondered, Hmmm...

    Ten minutes later, she climbed into the elevator carrying a large squirming bag. She pressed the lobby button. At the fifth floor, the elevator stopped and her heart began to pound in her chest. The doors opened to reveal a man wearing all black, a ski mask, and holding a large trash bag and a TV. She sighed in relief. "Hi Maverick."

    "Hey Alaska."

    There was an awkward silence.

    "You didn't see anything," they said together, then nodded.

    When they reached the lobby, Alaska dragged the bag out of the building and got ready for Phase 2.

    ~*~



    As the bus came closer to 4chan, the Staff noticed that the horizon was disturbingly covered in what looked like a lightning storm, though the surrounding landscape was bright and sunny.

    "Is that 4chan?" Kai asked anxiously.

    "YES. THE MOTHERLAND," Roulette said ecstatically.

    Pidge was the only other staff member who shared his excitement. As they got closer, he began to 'meep' with more and more frequency. When they passed a sign marked '4chan-2 miles' he began to do so steadily. "Meep. Meep. Meep. Meep. Meep. Me-"

    "PIDGE SHUT UP," Monbrey yelled from the driver's seat. It was now hailing and thunder was crashing around them. He found it increasingly difficult to drive.

    "This looks like a bad neighborhood," Kat said, wringing her hands.

    "What are you guys talking about, didn't you see the Ritz we just passed?" WTP added as they drove past a dilapidated Motel 6.

    A few minutes later, and Winter let out a small scream.

    "What is it?" Bee asked.

    She shook her head and pointed.

    Everyone looked outside of the left windows. Harry quickly covered Kai's eyes. Several people dressed as wolves were setting each other on fire in the street. Kai retreated to the right side of the bus, but almost immediately asked, "Um, what are they doing out there?" Everyone changed sides and gasped. On this side, a man dressed as a bear was walking a naked child on a leash.

    "Kai, why don't you just come here," Harry said. He tied a bandana over her eyes.

    "I don't think I like this..."

    "Trust me, it's better."

    "OH SWEET," Monbrey yelled as they drove by what looked like a cross burning.

    "I'm thinking maybe we shouldn't stop here," Chris suggested.

    "Yes, yes, oh God, yes," Chainy whimpered from his spot on the floor where he had crawled into the fetal position.

    That was when the bus began to slow.

    "What's happening?" Jess demanded, "WHAT'S HAPPENING?"

    Scourge and ATF were silent but shot each other panicked glances.

    "I DON'T FUCKING KNOW. PIECE OF SHIT GAS PEDAL ISN'T WORKING."

    The bus ground to a halt. They heard muttering, and then cheering from outside.

    "Oh, this can't be good," Sam groaned.

    There was silence for a moment, and then the sound of metal hitting glass. The glass plates on the bus's doors shattered.

    "Well shit," Monbrey said and stood up. "Let 'em at me, I've fought crocs bigger than these-" He suddenly slumped over.

    ST started to put his fists up before also falling to the floor.

    "Are they dead?" Kat shrieked.

    "Guys, what's going on?" Kai pleaded, but before anyone could answer, they all fell unconscious.

    ~*~

    Kai awoke dazed and confused. Her back and neck hurt, and she couldn't move her arms or legs. "Wh- where am I?" She twisted her neck around and could see Roulette and Scourge nearby her. Roulette was still asleep, but Scourge was staring at her. "Scourge-" she started to say, but Scourge shook her head. Kai followed her gaze to what looked like a throne made of human skulls. Sitting upon it was a skinny blonde man wearing a loin cloth made of small hands, hands so small they could only be children's. Next to him, on an identical throne, was a small pixie-like girl who sat completely naked, applying copious amounts of eyeliner.

    "BOXXY?" he shouted.

    She put the eyeliner down. "Yeah, Moot?"

    "PREPARE THE SACRIFICES."

    She rolled her eyes and slid off the throne. "Fine." She peered down at Kai.

    "I'm not supposed to see private parts!" Kai protested.

    "Hmmm. This one is cute, Moot, can I keep it?"

    He waved a hand at her.

    "Yay!" She untied Kai's legs and slipped the pole she had been strapped too out from under her arms, then retied them around the base of her throne. Kai whimpered. "Okay, so, I'm supposed to prepare the rest of you." She walked around, checking to make sure everyone was no longer sleeping. Only Roulette and Ireign still were, and she quickly kicked them awake.

    "Bitch!" Ireign slurred, then spit at her feet.

    Roulette's reaction was somewhat different. "MY EMPRESS."

    She ignored both of them. "As you're most likely all aware, it is the custom of 4chan for virgins to be sacrificed to our users every full moon."

    "But I'm not a-" Monbrey started to protest, but Boxxy cut him off.

    "CLOSE ENOUGH," she bellowed. "Anyways, you have all been chosen as this month's sacrifice!"

    "So we're going to be eaten?" Chris asked with some alarm.

    "Ewww, no. Just beaten and raped until you're dead. Then we use your skin and bones to build furniture."

    Several of the staff members retched, Chainy cried a little, and Jr said, "Giggity."

    Scourge wiggled a little closer to Roulette. "You know we only have one way out of this, right?"

    He raised an eyebrow, questioning. She glanced up at the Porygon floating high above them. Neither Boxxy nor Moot had apparently noticed it yet.

    "On purpose!?" he mouthed.

    She nodded.

    "Excuse me," he spoke up, "Empress, I have one last request."

    She whirled around to face him. "Oh?"

    "Yes... You see, we're a traveling performance group." Several staff members strained to look around and see what he was up to. "We were planning on going to a large venue in Pokecommunity before our bus broke down..."

    Now she was interested. "What kind of performance group?"

    "We're an up-and-coming hip hop group." She looked incredulous. "We're called, uh... Strange... Present." Out of the corner of his eye he saw Pidge bang his head into the ground several times. "We'd like to do one last song for you."

    "Um, sure, I guess." She looked to Moot for permission but he was busy playing a game on his iPhone. "Go for it."

    "WTP, drop a beat."

    WTP shot him a "Why me?" look before making some slightly pathetic noises that could pass as beats. "Psh, ba-bum, psh, psh, psh."

    Roulette looked upwards. The Porygon was glowing. Then he felt the bass vibrating through the ground. Oh God, he thought, here it comes. Suddenly, WTP stopped his awful beat-boxing and Roulette became a literal slave to the beat.

    "Slim Chance, yo. Here we go,
    I'm a hardcore nigga,
    But I hate niggas,
    I'm not actually a nigga,
    But yeah, I don't like niggas,"

    Pidge started banging his head harder.

    "Born and raised in the 'Sas,
    I'm an ice cold stunner,
    Livin' on Tim McGraw,
    Gettin' hotter every summer,
    Strange Present's where it's at,
    Don't make me get my gat,
    Cause I'll teabag you then hit you with a bat,
    My name is Slim Chance,
    I can stop ya with a glance,
    Now everybody stop so I can show you how to dance."

    The wooden pole he'd been tied to spontaneously broke, and he began to spin around on the ground in an attempt at break dancing. At this point, Winter attempted to jump in.

    "If Slim thinks he'll freeze ya,
    I'll give you frostbite,
    Make it rain on them hoes,
    Then snow that night,
    Deadly assassin from beneath the earth,
    I'ma shake things up like a virgin birth,
    Pass this on to the next member in the crew,
    Give me a break so I can show you how to move,"


    Just like Roulette, her restraints snapped and she was then free to dance horribly. Pidge picked up where she left off.

    "Leave it to the newbies to make you wince,
    But when it comes to rapping, nigga I'm the prince,
    I'll catch you in a Pokeball, take you to battle,
    Then knock yo ass down like the Tower of Babel,
    Take me in ropes to the hangman's noose,
    And I'll make you scream until you call a truce,
    I'm the deadliest moderator kickin' this beat,
    Now let me loose so you can watch my feet,"

    The ropes on his arms and legs fell away and he began to moonwalk around the rest of the captives. Roulette got off the ground and began to rap again.
    "If you fuck with us,Your Chances don't look good,
    We broke down in our bus,
    To take over your hood,
    My name's Slim Chance, so you should roll them dice,
    Like bitches on my dick and patron on ice,"


    The music stopped and so did the three URPGers who escaped.

    "There goes the next 50 Cent," WTP deadpanned.

    "Um, what was that supposed to do?" Roulette muttered to Scourge.

    She shrugged. "Dunno. I was kind of hoping for something more, but, at least now I sort of want to die."

    Boxxy clapped slowly and the three spun around. "Very good, but now... you must meet your doom!" She howled, and howls began to echo back from the area all around them. Roulette realized they were on a hill surrounded by a falling down city. He could feel the legions coming. Slowly, but surely, demons and monsters of every shape, size, and description lurched out of the dying city. They crept closer and closer, screaming for the flesh they could smell nearby.

    "Don't just stand there!" ST snarled from beside Chainy and the other mods, looking annoyed and thoroughly embarrassed. "Untie us before we die!"

    "With what?" Winter asked, glancing around uneasily and wringing her hands.

    In response, Roulette aimed his gun at the ropes lashing Chainy to the pole. "I've made more difficult shots than this here one," he said through gritted teeth. "Now, stop squirming. You ain't gonna make it any easier when yer wriggling like a greased Grumpig trying ta get after some kipper..."

    Chainy screamed. "KNIFEINMONBREYBACKPACKSTOPSHOOTING!"

    Roulette sighed and lowered his gun before rummaging around for the aforementioned knife. "Fine," he muttered, studying it with interest and then biting it. "Good quality steel, though," he remarked offhandedly.

    ST looked livid. "DAMMIT, KID, IF YOU DON'T MOVE THIS INSTANT I WILL TEAR YOUR TESTI--"

    "Oh, right..." A few sawed cuts later from an astonishingly adept Roulette allowed all of the Staff to spring free and scramble away from the throne. Unfortunately, with the gathering army of 4chan zombies at their backs, there weren't many options of escape. Ireign was already screaming and sprinting away from the throne towards what might have been a road, and the Staff was quick to follow.

    "Harry," Jess said faintly as they ran and looking abashed, "you never told us that we would be visiting a forum full of zombies! I would've brought a costume!"

    "The travel brochure made it sound like a lot more inviting of a place," Harry said distantly, looking slightly abashed. He had obviously misinterpreted her distress. "They were talking about some very nice attractions and things..."

    "Oh yeah?" WTP asked sarcastically, edging away as a zombie-sort of thing lashed out at his face. "Let me guess. They told you that they had strip clubs, and you thought that it was a glorified form of a strip mall?"

    Harry looked away uncomfortably.

    Kai looked up. "Oh, you mean it isn't?" she asked, sounding confused.

    WTP deadpanned for a moment. "What do they teach you guys in school?"

    Kai brightened and said excitedly as she skipped over a rock, "Well, there's integrals, derivatives, and--"

    "I hate to break up this happy discussion," Scourge shouted over the sound of a keening demon, "but I think now would be an excellent time to think of a plan. Preferably one that doesn't end in OUR DEATHS, DAMMIT."

    "I could rap again!" Pidge shouted back over his shoulder. Somehow, he had gotten ahead of all of them.

    The Staff's decision was unanimous. "No."

    Jr, in the lead, ground suddenly to a halt. The Staff behing him stopped as well, horror in their stomachs as the dense fog around them slowly sank to reveal that they had run themselves onto the very edge of a narrow precipice, rocky and unstable, that jutted out into a dark and ominous chasm. It looked like it had been a bridge of some sorts, at one point, but at least half of the bridge had been shorn away by some unknown force, and only this narrow isthmus remained.

    And at the edge of that isthmus, zombies were beginning to grope their way over, Moot and Boxxy at their backs.

    Sam looked pained. "So then what do we do?" he retorted. They were backing up, now, slowly trying to put as much distance between themselves and the pack of zombies and demons that had risen around them while not inadvertendtly sending anyone off the edge. It got difficult as the ground crumbled away and they found themselves backing up in a small huddle around the edge of a rocky drop, the demons to their front and the abyss to their backs.

    "I can help," a proud voice said from behind them. From the abyss. There was a scnick of metal grating on metal, as well.

    Kai brightened.

    "You're late," Scourge muttered, glancing at her watch but not even bothering to turn around. "What were you doing, picking daisies? AND MY GOD, YOUR EARS ARE FILTHY."

    "Had to get snacks," Alaska muttered, hefting the bulging bag that she had taken from Pidge's apartment over her shoulder before chucking it towarsd the ground. ST caught it, eyes wide, although he didn't seem to process what had happened. "You'll thank me later. I'm not going to live off of that crap curry that Pidge's people call food."

    Roulette nodded. "Amen, sister!" he shouted.

    Pidge glared.

    "You just had to be the personification of Deus Ex Machina, didn't you?" Kai asked with a slight grin.

    "Well, techincally, that would involve a giant crane," Kat pointed out fairly.

    The Skarmory on which Alaska was riding crawwed indignantly.

    "Hey!" Pidge shouted, waving his hands frantically and having apparently missed the jibe at his culture. "You might want to know that in that abyss there's a--"

    Alaska, who had been singing, suddenly found herself belting right over Pidge while the Porygon glowed.
    Ain't no one gonna bring me dow--

    She didn't even get to finish, though, as a giant hand comprising of what could only be described as pure and utter darkness rocketed up from the abyss and wrapped around Alaska and the Skarmory, both of whose faces were frozen in horrible screams. The Skarmory stopped flapping as its wings were bent against its body while the hand of darkness clenched around it, and then its feathers snapped off with horrifying cracks and rained into the canyon, its crimson secondary feathers trailing after them. The darkness swallowed them immediately, and deep below the earth, something cackled deep below, causing the ground to rumble.

    Alaska shrieked finally, her voice coming to her, and then all she knew was pain as the Skarmory literally melted away into shadow beneath her. Her own legs began flickering out of existence, and then her arms, before her frightened gaze, but still the monster only squeezed tighter. Alaska closed her eyes, unable to watch any more, and then she felt herself vanishing into oblivion.

    And then Alaska faded away entirely.

    "--/b/ monster," Pidge finished, looking mollified.

    "Duuuude," Ireign slurred, sipping something that looked suspiciously alcoholic, and, for that matter, stolen from the base of Boxxy's throne. "Did Alaska just try to save us and then sorta just die? Because that's just plain... stupid..." He slumped over.

    Scourge and Kai exchanged frightened glances with each other. There wasn't much of an explanation for that. "I..."

    "Isn't this supposed to be a happy ending?" WTP asked no one in particular. "WE WERE SINGING SONGS, DAMMIT."

    Harry, for one, looked mortified. "It's over," he said quietly, bowing his head. "We're done."

    "We were doing so well," Jr muttered sarcastically. "I mean, Smogon only stole an official from us, Marriland permabanned us, and then 4chan tried to sacrifice us..."

    "A member just died," Harry said bleakly. "The rest of the stuff could be fixable, but we just watched Alaskapigeon get pulled over a cliff. And then eaten by a monster. BMG will not allow us back now. And, more importantly... we just lost a very dear member of the community."

    Jr snorted, and then ATF punched him in the face.

    "She could've lived," Pidge said fairly. "I mean..." he trailed off, unable to think of any plausible explanation.

    "I hate paperwork," ST mumbled. "Now we have to do an official report. And we're going to look so stupid. "Cause of member death: walked off a cliff. Reason Staff did not intervene: they got drugged by 4chan zombies and were tied to poles. Oh, and there were demons". We're all going to lose our jobs because of something stupid..."

    "And I hate half-assed deaths like that," WTP interjected, although he looked slightly put-off. "I thought that she would've at least died in an epic way, instead of just... well... yeah..."

    "It's over," Harry repeated dully. He didn't even have the energy to reprimand ST or WTP for being so callous about Alaska's sudden destruction. He looked up at the hordes of zombies that were slowly inching towards them up the cliff. "There's nothing left for us to do. We can't go up against that. We don't stand a chance."

    "No," Kai whispered, her eyes wide. Nothing felt real to her.

    The music, which had been playing in the background, began to swell, and Kai found herself willingly singing her pain and hatred towards 4chan into it as well. But most of all, there was her thirst for justice. Vengeance. Frankly, she hadn't felt these feelings that often before, but...
    They think that we're finished,
    They think that it's done
    They think that it's over
    That their battle is won!

    Kai looked around imploringly, stepping in front of the huddled mass of Staff and trying to drown out the gnashing and wailing that was the 4chan zombies approaching on the rickety pathway behind her. The Staff was still frozen in fear, and they were all going to die. Kai sang, almost pleading,
    Kai grinned, taking a confident step forwards.
    We've been through too much stuff...

    Chris grimaced.
    I had to hear Pidge rapping...

    Roulette patted him on the shoulder.
    That was pretty tough...

    Kai glanced around, seeing some signs of life from the people around her. She spread her hands apart and grinned as she began to sing, hearing the music intensify around her.
    Kai found herself at the head of the group of Staff on the cliff. And there might have she realized, looking into the snarling maws of the zombies approaching, been valid reason why no one wanted to be where she was standing. Oh well.
    But we're gonna take our stand...
    C'mon guys, we've gotta stand and fight now.

    ST growled in agreement.
    We're gonna show 'em we're tigers, not Glameow!

    Everyone stared at him for a moment. Had ST just sung?

    No one bothered correcting him. Kai glanced around a final time, and then began again.
    We've gotta move, we've really gotta go--

    Pidge cut her off.
    Listen kid, you're nice and all, but I really don't think so!

    Kai could've slapped him right there. Maybe. Not really. She was nervous.
    They think that it's ended,
    But we're never through...
    Stop, and think, my friends,
    What would Lasky do for you?

    Scourge stepped forwards, looking grim.
    Alaska wouldn't give up the fight,
    she agreed quietly. Her eyes were rimmed red.

    Roulette nodded in agreement, searching for a rhyme. He settled on belting,
    Alaska stood up for what was right...
    he added. "Well, sorta," he continued sheepishly.

    The Staff traded glances, and then Kat added,
    And now...
    It's our turn!

    Even if the Staff hadn't been forced to sing, a good deal of them would've joined in the next chorus as they all shouted,
    Our turn...!

    Kai grinned, and they all glared at the zombies running towards them. Bolivian Army ending? Perhaps. But it would be worth it if they did it together. No, no it wouldn't. But what other choice did anyone have?
    Now it's our time
    We're gonna shine
    We're gonna turn this battle around
    It's our time to shout
    Let it all out!
    These 4chan freaks are going down!

    Harry looked at them all with a watery smile, but he sang sadly,
    You guys are brave and all
    But, please, try to understand, now
    There's nowhere left for us to go but dooown...

    The Staff swelled around him, though, and they drowned him out as they shotued,
    We aren't going to hide around any more
    We'll become a force that you just can't ignore
    We're gonna slam you idiots into the floor!
    You guys might think that you're something more,
    But you're gonna take an arrow to the knee
    Because we, fools, are U. R. P. G.
    And this, my friends, is what Staff decrees...
    We'll only give up when Hell begins to freeze,
    But until then... oh, until then...
    4chan freaks are going down!

    The zombies were marching closer, but the music showed no signs of stopping.

    "Oh, hey guys, I'm alive!" Alaska shouted, the Skarmory squawking in metallic protest as she stood on top of it while it wheeled around in the canyon. This time, it was sure to stay close to the land.

    Jr sighed sadly. Scourge looked relieved. Pidge nearly shat himself.

    "You taught your Skarmory Double Team," Alaska called over to Pidge, looking irritated. "Normally, I wouldn't advocate such a cheap move, but at least it--"

    "Someone's spent too much time on The Island," WTP muttered, shaking his head sadly.

    "Yeah... back when I was yer age, getting devoured by the /b/ monster or takin' ten rounds of heavy machine fire to the face meant that ya stayed dead. None of this newfangled shit," Roulette muttered, casually headshotting a zombie that had gotten into his range.

    "Talk later," Chainy said hurriedly. "Maybe if we sing loud enough, the zombies will go away and we won't, you know, die."

    ATF, who had been helping Alaska dismount from her Skarmoy, looked up and snorted derisively. "Yes, because singing to 4chan has worked so well al--"

    The music drowned him out, and he scowled. Still, all of the Staff, plus Alaska, scooted together out of what could've been friendship or fear of zombie apocalypse and began to sing.
    We're gonna unite,
    So we can FIGHT!


    Alaska brought her fingers to her lips and whistled, and the entire host of Pidge's bird Pokemon from his apartment rocketed out of the abyss on swift and silent wings. The /b/ monster rose, its great, clawed hands flailing around, but a Ho-oh screamed before bursting into purple flames and ramming into it. The /b/ demon roared in protest, its shadowy hands beginning to blister away beneath the heat of the inferno. Pidge looked on proudly. Even as the zombies began coming closer, the Skarmory from before, shrieking bloody murder, rammed into the fragile remains of the base bridge behind the demons, shattering it completely and preventing either party from leaving the bridge.

    None of the human members of the fight seemed to have paid even the most remote attention to that, though.
    Turn this battle right around!
    When we work in tandem,
    Things go the way we plan them
    Soooo...


    A Dragonite landed on the bridge in front of them, its tail glinting steely-silver. Crooning, it whirled around with deceptively gentle force before smashing its tail into the rickety bridge, shards of stone flying into the air and destroying the remaining sections that kept the bridge from falling into the abyss.

    So, naturally, that left the zombie-infested bridge with only one direction to go.

    THOSE 4CHAN FREAKS ARE GOING DOWN!


    The screaming zombies, still clawing towards the fresh meat, sank into the darkness of the abyss as the Ho-oh whirled around them, casually bathing them in fire. The odor of faintly charred meat hung in the air.

    As the music slowed, Alaska interpreted from what the miming Skarmory was trying to tell her frantically. "Oh," she said, turning a faint shade of pink. "Apparently, destroying their half of the bridge also means that we're going to drop... right... about... now..."

    Their fragile disk of rock began to plummet even before she had finished speaking.

    ST sighed, and then roared, "I'M IMAGINING TEARING YOUR TES--"

    Alaska cut him off. "QUICKLY. EVERYONE GRAB ON TO PIDGE'S BALLS."

    Even though it was dark as they quickly sank through the abyss, she could feel their eyes trained on her.

    Alaska grimaced. "POKEBALLS," she shouted. ST whipped his hands away guiltily.

    Alaska threw shook her head to clear the painful mental image and then hurriedly began pelting people with Pokeballs.

    Scourge nabbed hers, and a bird squawked as she called out to it. Hastily, she clambed on to it, climbing on to the black feathers and affectionately ruffling its black hat as it spread its wings and took off, soaring towards the light. "I got a Honchkrow!" she shouted. "BAHAHAHAHA."

    Kai, who was flitting around the skies on the back of an elegant, draconic Pokemon with large, emerald wings, an orange, slender body, and a blistering flame on its tail, giggled happily. "I got a Charizard!" she replied. It licked her fingers, its scaly tonge scraping at her skin. "And it likes me!"

    Jr screamed from the talons of an ancient rock lizard, which screeched menacingly as it unfurled its wings. "IGOTANAERODACTYL, DAMMIT."

    Ireign sighed as his Blaziken tried to fly. But failed. "BLAZIKEN ISN'T A FLYING TYPE," he shouted in frustration until Jr's Aerodactyl nabbed him as well. "I DON'T KNOW WHO THOUGHT IT COULD EVER--" he was cut off as a falling rock hit him in the face.

    The rest of the Staff was quickly carted off by the army of bird Pokemon and away from their doom.

    Except for Pidge, who was left cradling the impossibly round stone that Alaska had mistakenly thrown him in the dark. "I got a rock," he said forlornly, hearing the ground rushing up to meet him, where he died with a giant splat, his organs tossed upon the rocks and left as treats for the stray 4chan zombie, and his innards hung up on the rocky precipices to feed the Mandibuzz, while the bits that remained would be left to--

    except, not really, as the glimmering Ho-oh looped out beneath him and deftly caught him, brown eyes fixing him with a knowledgeable stare.

    "Right," Alaska was saying as he finally caught up to them, the Ho-oh flapping with long, powerful wingbeats. "So--"

    "So we could either fly to our next destination on these birds--" ST said, cutting her off brusquely. He paused and watched with a disgusted expression as Chainy promptly puked off the side of his Gliscor. "...or we could go back on the smelly bus and not watch Mean Girls." He looked around hopefully, and then wilted. "Dammit."

    ~*~Act Two~*~


    Once they'd gotten a safe distance from 4chan, the bus became very quiet. Pidge and ST muttered darkly from their seats in the back. Several other Staff members stared at Alaska, Roulette, and Kai, and then quickly looked away when they were caught. Harry watched the scenery pass by out the window, seemingly a million miles away. Only Scourge would openly acknowledge Alaska's presence. She winked at her and chuckled. Roulette and Kai were quiet, but supportive. Kai hugged her every few minutes, as if to make sure she were really there. Pidge's Skarmory refused to go back to Pidge, instead wandering around the bus licking people. It gave Monbrey a wide berth, however, after he threatened to sic his Charizard on it as soon as they got back home.

    Eventually, the sun set below the horizon while they were still miles from anywhere. Monbrey had to pull over. "The stupid bus' lights barely work," he said angrily, "and I'm not even going to try to drive this metal hunk of crap up those mountain roads." He folded down the seats so that they were flat enough to sleep on top of.

    "Girls get the left side, men on the right," Harry told them.

    Chainy raised his hand.

    "Yes, Chainy?"

    "Does that mean I can sleep with Winter?"

    "Um."

    Winter whispered something in Chainy's ear and he blushed, before stumbling over to the men's side of the bus. ST went outside with Monbrey to start a fire, and once they got it started, everyone went out with them.

    They were all quiet for a few moments, before Monbrey finally spoke up. "So, how has the URPG been without us there?"

    "Oh, Godawful," Alaska replied. "Feng did an entire Lion King song and Ted danced with me."

    "WHAT?" ST jumped up from where he was sitting, "HE DID A LION KING SONG WITHOUT ME?"

    Everyone looked at him.

    "I mean, um, I would've liked to see Anna. She really likes that movie."

    It was quiet again for a while. Pidge stared intently into the fire. "Um. What exactly did you see in my house?"

    Alaska looked away. "Nothing, just, uh, lots of Pokemon stuff."

    He swallowed. "Well, when we get back home, I hope you realize there will be some kind of punishment."

    Scourge started choking in the corner.

    "WHAT!?" Alaska demanded.

    "You broke into a personal residence, stole several Pokemon, defied the laws of life and death..."

    Before Alaska could open her mouth and take the argument further, Harry stopped them. "How about we tell campfire stories?" Several people cheered, but Alaska and Pidge still glared at each other. Everyone could feel the tension. "Anybody got one?"

    "Oh, I do! I do!" Chainy said, bouncing up and down with his hand in the air.

    "Yes, Chainy?" Harry asked politely.

    "Okay, well, it starts with a bunch of friends sitting around a campfire..."

    WTP rolled his eyes.

    "They were all having a great time telling campfire stories, when suddenly... They heard a noise in the bushes."

    "Did they find a bunch of stick figures and branches out of place?" Chris asked, "Because I think I've seen that movie."

    He shook his head. "No, even better, they saw... nothing. But just then, they started to hear what sounded like music..."

    Just then, they started to hear what sounded like music.

    "OH GODDAMMIT, CHAINY, NOT AGAIN!" ST yelled.

    However, he seemed unaffected by the music. In fact, none of them were, other than Pidge and Alaska. They both got to their feet and Pidge began to circle her.

    "I've got a bone to pick with yooou," he said.

    "I'm sure you do,"


    "You broke into my hooome!"

    "And kept you all from being boooned,"

    "But that's not an excuuse!"

    "Why do I try to even talk to you!?"

    Alaska jumped back from him, towards the fire. He sighed.

    "You're so immature..."

    "Of that you can be sure,"

    She turned her back and he tried to circle around again.

    "And you always think you're right..."

    "Well I am, aren't I?" She smirked.

    He wasn't amused. The music sped up.

    "It's like you're living in a bubble!"


    "I'm not the only one with troubles!"


    They stopped on the verge of a physical fight. The music slowed again.

    "Well do you really think that's so?"


    She nodded.

    "In fact, I knooow."

    "Do you think that you could share?"


    "Well first your head's full of aiiir,"

    "Do you think it shouldn't be?"


    "And you can't let me be meee,"


    This irritated him. He scowled and the music started again.

    "You're so self destructive!"


    "And you're so corrupted!"

    They paused, looked away, and the music slowed.

    "I think it's just tonight," he sang, almost apologetically.

    "No, no, I think you're right." She turned back to him and shook her head.

    "I think it's you who is correect..."


    "I didn't mean no disrespect..."


    They began to sing together.

    "It's just that I'm afraid,
    Cause your opinion can't be swayed,
    And it could cause a nasty end,
    But I think I want you as a friend,"


    The music stopped and they both looked at each other in horror.

    "DID WE JUST WORK OUT OUR PROBLEMS THROUGH SONG?" Alaska screamed, disgusted.

    "DID I JUST SAY I WANTED TO BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?" Pidge began dry heaving.

    Scourge pat Alaska on the back. "There, there. I've had my awkward song and dance numbers with Pidge too."

    "When were those?" Harry asked, perplexed. "We've been with both of you almost this entire time."

    "Um."

    "Erm."

    The question went unanswered.

    "Well," Scourge said shakily, "I think that's enough excitement for one night. I'm going to bed."

    There were murmurs of agreement and everyone got up. Monbrey kicked some dirt into the fire, extinguishing it. Alaska scrambled ahead to stay with Kai and Roulette, away from the vets.

    "Did you just sing with Pidge?" Kai squealed.

    "SAY ONE MORE WORD."

    Kai grinned and skipped into the bus. It took a few moments of awkward shuffling and pushing, but eventually everyone was laying in somewhat comfortable positions. It was finally quiet.

    "Could someone tell me a bedtime story?" Chainy asked.

    Everyone tried to ignore him.

    "Kai, you tell good stories."

    "Um, no I don't," she responded.

    "TELL A STORY, DAMMIT," WTP shouted.

    Kai shrunk back, and then suddenly muttered, "Once upon a time, there were a bunch of people in a forest. Then a monster ate one. The rest were stricken with horrible guilt after the death of their friend, and they began to fight amongst themselves until the arguments caused them to kill one another off. Finally, when they managed to reconcile, the monster came back and ate the survivors anyways. THE END." Everyone stared at her. "OH, COME ON," she said loudly, looking slightly abashed. "Did you see what happened with Lasky? Like, when she suddenly fell off a cliff instead of saving the day? Yeah. Well. That's what would have happened if I had free reign to write this as a story. EXCEPT SHE WOULDN'T HAVE GOTTEN BETTER. SO STOP ASKING."

    There was an awkward silence, which Chainy promptly broke. "Well, Alaska could, if she promises not to scare me..."

    Alaska groaned. "Make ST do itttt," she whined.

    ST sighed. "Well I do know one."

    Everyone was suddenly wide awake with amazement.

    "Once upon a time, there was a man named Marcellus Wallace..."

    Harry interrupted. "ST, maybe you shouldn't tell Chainy THAT story."

    "Why?" WTP asked, "Chainy's pretty gung-ho."

    "Um, never mind guys, I think I'll be alright," Chainy peeped. He pulled blanket tight around him. In a few moments, they were all fast asleep.

    ~*~

    The next morning, the tension was gone and things were relatively normal. Pidge had even managed to recapture his Skarmory. As the bus rolled to a start, Harry put in the DVD of Mean Girls. ST and Stinky squealed and hugged each other, before ST realized what he was doing, and pulled away, huffing.

    Outside, the sun was shining, and large fluffy clouds floated around like Mareep. Kai giggled as a flock of curious Swablu flew by their windows.

    It was such a nice day, Chainy eventually said, "Hey, Monbrey should turn on the radio so we could sing some songs."

    Everyone turned and glared at him. He retreated back into his sweater.

    Finally, Bee spotted the sign. "Pokecommunity, 10 miles!"

    Harry turned around. "All right, everyone, this is our last shot. Let's give it our best effort and I'm sure we can make lots of new friends!"

    WTP saluted. "Thank you, Sergeant Barney."

    Everyone else looked at each other, a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Would Pokecommunity be as bad as the rest of the forums they visited? Would having to abandon URPG be better? They drove on.

    "Does anyone hear... music?" Chris asked after a while, as they were driving up a large hill.

    "Oh God," ST moaned.

    Everyone else started groaning too.

    "No, wait," Kai said, looking out the window, "The Porygon isn't glowing."

    "Then where the hell's it coming from?" Alaska asked.

    Then they crested the hill. They all gasped. Before them was a huge valley, with a large stage in the center and thousands of people standing around, cheering. There was no visible city, but what looked like a hastily built shantytown existed on the borders of the crowd. There was a sign halfway down the hill.

    "Welcome to Pokecommunity!" it said. It had little purple flowers handpainted around the border, and the second 'o' was a yin yang sign.

    The bus rolled to a stop at the bottom of the hill. The music was louder now. They could clearly hear the sound of a guitar riff, the pounding of drums.

    Monbrey's eyes widened. "I KNOW THIS SONG!"

    There was the vaguest sound of singing. Monbrey began to howl, "WHEN I WAS JUST A LITTLE BOY, STANDIN' TO MY DADDY'S KNEE!"

    Roulette got a twinkle in his eye. "This here's the song of my youth."

    "Why is Monbrey telling us anecdotes about his childhood?" Kai asked Alaska.

    "He's not, it's a song."

    Her head drooped. "Oh."

    Alaska patted her on the back. "It's okay, I'll pirate you some copies."

    "MY POPPA SAID SON DON'T LET THE MAN GET YOU DO WHAT HE DONE TO ME," Roulette belted out.

    "CAUSE HE'LL GET YOU, CAUSE HE'LL GET YOU, NOW, NOW!" Alaska added.

    The entire bus (other than Kai) began singing Born on the Bayou, and outside, the crowd was also singing along. Just as they all sang the final chorus, Monbrey slammed on the brakes, right at the edge of the crowd. The music faded away, and a swarm of hippies crowded around the bus. Several Pokemon were interspersed among them. A Cottonee bounced around like a fluffy white beach ball. Ralts and Kirlia danced in-between the people even though no music was playing.

    "Duuude, this bus is so awesome," exclaimed a man wearing a large t-shirt and a ski cap.

    A girl with beads threaded in her hair smiled. "Oh my goddess, look how bright their auras are." Her eyes were focused at some point in the distance. "They're blossoming... like... flowers." She fell backwards and stared at the sky.

    "Duuude, bro," Alaska chattered excitedly, "they all talk like me. This is coolsicles."

    "Well, let's go out and talk to them," Harry suggested.

    They all filed out of the bus. The hippies reached forward, pressing against their clothes. One touched ST and he snarled at them. The hippie who had touched him laughed and brushed a strand of tangled hair behind her ear.

    "Whoa, lion dude," she said happily.

    "Close enough," he grumbled.

    "Hello!" Harry called, "Which one of you is in charge?"

    A man smiled. "Hey, little Asian dude, nobody's in charge here. We're all one." He closed his eyes peacefully.

    "Oh," he said, "Well, then, is there anywhere I could go to address you all?"

    A woman nodded. "Totally. The stage is yours."

    "Thank you so very much!" Harry grinned.

    The Staff and Alaska made their way through the throngs of people, who smiled and grabbed at them, all the way to the middle of the crowd, where the stage was. When they reached it and climbed up (with the help of several hippies), Harry spoke into the mic.

    "Greetings!" he said. The crowd cheered. "We are representatives from the URPG..."

    The people smiled but looked confused. Monbrey sighed.

    "Harry, let me take over, I know how to talk to these people."

    "Well, if you're sure..." He handed the mic to Monbrey.

    Monbrey cleared his throat. "WHO HERE LIKES ROCK AND ROLL?"

    The crowd screamed their approval. Alaska looked up and noticed the Porygon was glowing.

    "WELL," Monbrey continued, "WE'VE GOT SOMETHING TO TELL YOU!" He picked up a guitar that had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. He began to strum. In the back, Ireign began to pound on the drums. Alaska found herself holding a bass guitar. The rest of the staff were suddenly dressed in leather. Monbrey started singing.

    "Welcome to the jungle we've got fun and games,
    We got everything you want honey, we know the names,
    We are the people that can find whatever you may need,
    If you got the money honey we got your disease,"


    The crowd screamed and danced, excited beyond belief. Smoke began rising from the crowd.

    "Alaska," Kai asked, bug-eyed, "Are they on fire?"

    Alaska leaned over. "Uh, no, I'll tell you when you're older."

    "But... it smells funny."

    Luckily, Monbrey began singing again then.

    "In the jungle, welcome to the jungle,
    Watch it bring you to your kne- kne- knees, knees,
    I want to watch you bleed!"


    He strummed the guitar furiously. The crowd was ecstatic.

    "
    Welcome to the jungle we take it day by day,
    If you want it you're gonna bleed but it's the price to pay,
    And you're a very sexy girl that's very hard to please,
    You can taste the bright lights but you won't get there for free,
    In the jungle welcome to the jungle,
    Feel my, my, my serpentine,
    Ooh, I want to hear you scream!
    "

    Roulette was dancing with the rest of the staff on the edge of the stage. He occasionally shot his rifle into the air. "I DIDN'T KNOW HIPPIES COULD BE SO MUCH FUN!" he shouted over the music, "YEEEEHAW!"

    "Welcome to the jungle it gets worse here every day,
    Ya learn to live like an animal in the jungle where we play,
    If you hunger for what you see you'll take it eventually,
    You can have everything you want but you better not take it from me,"

    They rocked out until the song was over, then bowed. The crowd cheered.

    "I think they want an encore," Monbrey said happily.

    Scourge pulled him away from the microphone stand. "That's enough rock star time for you, I think."

    He grumbled. Several of the hippies ran forward.

    "Wow, man," one girl said, "I could really feel your vibes! Take us with you!"

    "Yeah!" agreed a man, "Let us join you on your quest for like, spiritual enlightenment, brother!"

    "Well," Harry said with some embarrassment, "Even if we do lap riding there's only room for about twenty of you in the bus..."

    "Nah, that's alright, dude," the man replied, "We'll send some of our people with you and the rest of us can wait here." He sat down and crossed his legs. "All will come to us in our time."

    "Um, well, splendid!" Harry responded.

    After a brief discussion, everyone piled into the bus, including about twenty hippies. Soon enough, all the seats were taken. One girl tried to sit with Kai, Alaska, and Roulette.

    "Uh, sorry, Moonflower," Alaska protested, "We've got three people on this bench, why don't you go sit with Starshine."

    She laughed. "There's nowhere else to sit, little sister. Also, my name is Earthflower. Moonflower is over there." She pointed towards the back where a girl wearing a few rags tied around her chest and groin area bounced up and down excitedly next to Chainy. He stared at her, unsure whether to be frightened or happy.

    "Oh, well, you'll just have to wa-" Alaska started to say, but Earthflower cut her off.

    "I'll just sit with him," she said, and jumped on Roulette's lap.

    "SWEET BABY JESUS," he shouted.

    The girl wriggled in his lap as the bus started. Kai giggled, then stopped. The bus was filling up with smoke. She looked slightly frightened.

    Alaska sighed. "Kai... I think it's time to teach you about recreational drug use."

    "Like Tylenol?" Her eyes were wide.

    "Not... exactly."

    ~*~

    When the bus turned down a road marked 'URPG Boulevard', half of the Pokecommunity members were passed out on their neighbors, and someone had rigged up a stereo in the back that was now blasting Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Roulette groaned as Earthflower drooled on him.

    Finally the bus jerked to a stop. Roulette threw the girl off of him and ran out the bus before anyone else. As they all climbed out of the bus, they noticed something was wrong. The entire sky was dark, as it had been over 4chan. They could hear singing somewhere ahead.

    "Dude, this looks totally uncool," said Moonflower, as she shivered.

    "Yes, we'd better see what happened," Harry agreed.

    The Staff ran towards the center of town, where the storm clouds seemed to be coming from. They turned a corner and were face to face with Feng up on a large crystalline formation that hadn't been there only a couple days before.

    "What the fuck?" Chris asked, before his jaw fell open.

    "AHAHAHAHA!" Feng shouted. The music that surrounded them was ominous. The URPGers who had been left behind were marching in place all around him.

    "What's wrong with everybody?" Chainy asked, frightened.

    The hippies had already ran back the way they came.

    "Oh my God, I know what he's doing," ST said suddenly.

    Everyone looked at him.

    "Lion King scene #8, Scar's musical number," he recited.

    Feng began singing and everyone managed to tear themselves away from ST's Lion King obsession.

    "I know that your powers of retention,
    Are as wet as a Croagunk's backside,
    But thick as you are, pay attention,
    My words are a matter of pride,"


    He began to pace and cackle maniacally.

    "That thar varmint looks evil," Roulette summarized.

    "It's clear from your vacant expressions,
    The lights are not all on upstairs,
    But we're talking kings and successions,
    Even you can't be caught unawares!"

    The URPGers began to swarm at his feet.

    "There eyes are dilated," Scourge noticed. "Common effect of mind washing."

    Chainy gulped.

    "So prepare for a chance of a lifetime,
    Be prepared for sensational news,
    A shining new era,
    Is tiptoeing nearer!"


    One of the URPGers stepped forward. Once he'd freed himself of the rest of the crowd, the Staff could see it was MK. He sang/asked Feng a question.

    "And where do we feature?"


    "Just listen to teacher!" he responded.

    MK was sucked back into the crowd, which was now seething and moving like a powerful tide.

    "I know it sounds sordid,
    But you'll be rewarded,
    When at last I am given my dues,
    And injustice deliciously squared,
    Be prepared!"


    The crowd started to sing back at him.

    "It's great that we'll soon be connected,
    With a king who'll be all-time adored!"

    Feng grinned.

    "Of course, quid pro quo, you're expected
    To take certain duties on board
    The future is littered with prizes
    And though I'm the main addressee
    The point that I must emphasize is
    You won't get a sniff without me!"


    The whole crowd degenerated into singing, dancing, and what generally looked like random Feng worship.

    "Want me to stop him?" Pidge asked Harry.

    "Um. That would be lovely."

    The Staff, Roulette, and Alaska walked out from behind the Burger Kingdra they had been using as cover.

    Feng's eyes widened. "THERE HE IS!" he screamed and pointed at Harry. "ATTACK, MY MINIONS!"

    Alaska, Roulette and the Staff winced, expecting the crowd to charge them. Instead, three Dunsparce wriggled out of the ground at Harry's feet and began to nibble on his sneakers. He shooed them away gently and they burrowed back under the ground.

    Feng looked momentarily irritated before seeing Pidge. His eyes lit up and he jumped off the stage. The URPGers shook their heads and seemed confused. Several fell over. Feng ran up to pidge, hid inside his coat, and began to make a noise similar to Zoidberg.

    "WUWUWUWUWUWUWU! I miiiiissed you."

    Pidge patted his back.

    Trumpets blared suddenly, and the Staff managed to tear their transfixed gaze away from the horror that was Feng's dancing.

    However, what they saw wasn't that much better. The two Porygon had reuinted and were glowing strangely while zipping around one another, flashes of pink and blue, and were no doubt the source of the random trumpets that had originated from nowhere. The fanfare was obnoxious, loud, and presumptious, and could belong only to one group of people...

    ...with a white flash, the BMG mods appeared in front of the Porygon, their dark green cowls still pulled over their head despite this pleasant temperature outside. ST growled, but Harry cheerily waved and stood up straighter as the clump of Mods approached rather ominously, walking in unison and not saying a word.

    "We understand that you have returned, as the uniting of the Porygon has signified," the short and stubby mod said, sniffing as he lifted the hem of his cloak out of a puddle of what might have been piss. "In addition, your time limit has concluded."

    "No way in hell were we gone for a week," ST hissed to Pidge.

    Monbrey looked up from his phone calendar. "Yeah, this thing here says that we were just gone for--"

    "We also got bored," another BMG mod said tonelessly. "If you would like to argue, kindly take up your complaints with the Bulbagarden Board of Appeals." ST opened his mouth to say something, but the mod steamrollered expertly over him. "We'll get back to you with that in six to eight weeks, assuming that you haven't been shut down yet."

    Under his breath, Bulba Turtwig added, "Yeah, or the Appeals board shuts down after no activity again." Everyone stared at him, and he shifted his weight uncomfortably as the eyes of his superiors burned at him. "Anyone wanna explain why people have been singing all over the place?"

    "My god," one of the BMG mods muttered, "do you live under a rock?"

    "IT'S A BOULDER," Bulba retorted defensively.

    The same mod snorted and took off his hood, taking the time to ignore Bulba completely. "Damn," he muttered, looking around and wiping sweat from his brow while glancing around, "it feels like we're in the middle of the Serengheti or something stupid."

    Ash cantered by briefly on a Girafarig, scowling while chasing after SLC and Buoyysel and shouting something vaguely Rotom-related. the four figures quickly vanished from view.

    The mod blinked slowly, and then promptly doubled over as something small, joyful, and unmistakably Lasky barreled into him, cheering happily. "HiPS," she squealed, hugging him tightly and cutting off most of his circulation, voice slightly muffled by his cloak, "I missed you! Where have you been!? AND WHY DO YOU SMELL LIKE BOOZE."

    The mod, HiPS, looked disconcerted as he gently pushed Alaska's head away from his midsection. "I... uh..."

    "You have failed in your mission," the taller BMG mod said, sounding irritated, "even though we provided you with--"

    HiPS cut him off suddenly, looking at the rest of the URPG and finally succeeding in unlatching Alaska from his waist. "Oh, god," he said, a massive smile spreading across his face, "don't tell me that you actually tried to negotiate with them to save URPG. Because that would be..." HiPS trailed off as he saw the sheepish looks of most of the Staff. "Well," he amended hastily, "at least you didn't do anything absolutely ridiculous and stupid like singing..."

    Everyone glared at Chainy. HiPS doubled over for the second time in minutes, this time in laughter. There was a horribly awkward pause, only filled by the raucous laughs of HiPS, during which many glances were exchanged among the Staff. HiPS looked up, wiping a tear from his eyes, and stopped when he realized he was the only one. "Oh, god," he said, growing somber instantly. "You can't be serious."

    No one said anything.

    The taller BMG mod from before hissed in irritation, and HiPS shot him a glare before leaning backwards out of respect and shutting his mouth. The taller mod looked around, and then faced Harry and asked impassively in a deep voice, "Do you have evidence of the new members and improved behavior from your members?"

    Harry nodded respectfully, and then turned around to gesture to the crowd of Pokecommunity members behind him. He was greeted, however, by a patch of empty space and some swirling dirt. Harry promptly did a double-take. "Guys?" He looked around frantically. "Guys!?"

    "They left," Ireign muttered quietly, sniffing at a bag full of powder that he had found on the ground. "Left a bunch of crack everywhere, I think."

    "Unhand my baking soda," Siless said politely and somewhat quietly, grabbing the bag out of Ireign's hand and hurrying away, leaving a trail of bewildered Skitty in his wake. "How else will I keep their litter boxes clean?" he asked by way of explanation, somewhat defensively.

    "You guys are missing the point here," Pidge said seriously, looking worried. "Where did they go?"

    "Feng's gay dancing scared them off," Monbrey said, irritated. "They mentioned something about not wanting to live in a place that looked like the second coming of Mussolini, and then they sorta just left." He gave Feng a pointed glare. "They also said that The Lion King was pretty gay."

    ST glowered. "Well," he muttered darkly, "they wouldn't have worked well here anyways. It's okay."

    Harry looked pale. "Are you telling me that they just left? What should we do?"

    The BMG mod looked smug. "Well, you can start with vacating this area. We were thinking of replacing here with an ASB forum or something."

    Most of the older staff visibly cringed.

    "You're telling me," Pidge said slowly, "that Feng, in driving away the Pokecommunity members by being... well, Feng... managed to doom all of URPG to BMG?"

    The Staff all nodded quietly, looking sheepish.

    Pidge beamed. "I couldn't be prouder." ATF rolled his eyes.

    One of the BMG mods, irritated, cleared her throat imperiously.

    Harry looked up, seeming grim but slightly confident. "I was looking up the BMG rules on the bus, actually," he began slowly, locking gazes with the head BMG mod, "and such a course of action would be blatantly against the rules listed in Article IV Part V, paragraph three." He smiled a little bit at the shocked look on the faces of the other mods. "I could quote it for you, if you'd like?" he suggested.

    "But..." one of the shorter mods whispered to the head mod, "no one actually reads the forum rules. They're such a waste of--" he cut off with a wheeze as the second mod quickly elbowed him in the ribs.

    "Changed my mind," the BMG mod repeated merrily.

    Scourge frowned. "I get the feeling that this system is really--"

    The BMG mod frowned. "AND NOW, YOU SHALL BE ANNHILATED." He threw his hands into the air, and both of the Porygon glowed simultaneously. Horrible shrieking sounds filled the air, and both of the Porygon began exuding waves of roiling energy.

    "I really don't think this was part of the deal!" ATF shouted over the sound, looking pale as the Porygon began to charge up whatever attack they had been planning on using. "Like, I--"

    "CHANGED MY MIND, DAMMIT," the BMG mod shouted. "Sheesh. When will that ever sink in on you?"

    "Sir," Harry said as politely as he could, while keeping a firm eye on the ever-brightly glowing Porygon, "I think that perhaps we could talk things over a bit and then we could come to a conclusion that would be more beneficial to both parties."

    "Yeah," Scourge muttered darkly. "One that doesn't end in our deaths would be just peachy."

    "Well, you see," the BMG mod said, looking around. With a wave of his hand, the Porygon stopped preparing their attacks, although the shining light still hung around them. "You sorta didn't fulfil the requirements that we laid out for you in the beginning. I've sorta got a pair of Porygon who can control reality-- before, they were simply distorting the universe and making you guys sing." He glared at Kai as she opened her mouth. "And yes, I know that your Theory of Bullshit is going to tell me otherwise. Get over it. They also can blow you guys up, which is something that I think we'll be doing now."

    "Did he just talk like a normal person?" Junior asked, sounding astounded.

    "Characters not acting in character," Kat muttered to Jess; they both shook their heads. "Classic newbie mistake."

    Harry looked abashed. "I think that we could try to--"

    "Nah." The BMG mod cut him off immediately. "I don't think I feel like doing that," he said lazily, by way of explanation. "So, yeah. Perhaps you guys should do something logical. Like, I don't know... run." Nobody moved. "Ten." The Porygon began to glow again, and the waves of power began swirling around them in tight nebulae.

    Harry looked around, and then nodded to Kat. "Everyone out!" she barked sharply. "Escape plan forty-two!"

    Captain Dude looked at Kat with wide eyes. "You can't mean--"

    "Yes, yes," she muttered quietly, biting her lip and looking distracted, "forty-two. Go have lives and stuff. We'll call you back when it's safe."

    It was like magic. The entire population of URPG, Feng and the Girafarig included, began hurrying away from the scene in a myriad of directions, where they promptly disappeared into the forest like drops of water emptying from a sieve.

    "I've always wanted to do that," Kat said distantly.

    "Seven!" the BMG mod called out merrily.

    "This," Pidge said with a sigh, "is by far the worst job of counting that anyone has ever--"

    "Don't just stand there," Chainy shrieked. "Run!"

    "Can't we poof, too?" Kai hissed as they began running point-blank away from the Porygon, the ground shaking ominously around them. "That'd be wonderful right now."

    Chainy shook his head, looking pale. "We're Staff," he said weakly. "We're not meant to have lives."

    Somewhere, far away, a ghost named George snickered.

    "YEAH, RIGHT."

    Chris looked uncomfortable. "Yeah," he said, uncertain. "Right!"

    "You're not Staff," Scourge whispered to Alaska as they ran faster and the ground began to vibrate with more intensity. None of them were sure exactly what the Porygon could do, but geysers of lava were already spewing into the air, inexplicably erupting from out of nowhere. Scourge looked at Alaska intently. "You can poof and stuff, right!" Kai nodded in affirmation.

    Alaska shook her head firmly. "I'm not leaving you!" she shouted back as a wave of lava landed a few yards away from where they had been standing.

    "This isn't the time to be the hero," Kai said, looking irritated. "You should just--"

    "Oh, that," Alaska murmured, looking guilty. She added in a louder voice, "I don't have a life anyways. Plan forty-two wouldn't work on me anyways. A shame."

    "Well, yeah."

    "Four seconds until destruction!" the BMG mod shouted.

    "THESE ARE THE SLOWEST GOD DAMN SECONDS IN THE HISTORY OF EVER," ST roared angrily as they ran through the deserted streets of URPG. "BMG SUCKS."

    As if to spite him, both Porygon promptly teleported in front of the running cluster of URPG Staff.

    WTP pulled up to a screeching halt. "Whose idea was it to run away from the dimension-bending Pokemon again?"

    Everyone glared at Chainy.

    Somewhere, the BMG mod's voice, impossibly loud, rang through the empty streets. "Threetwoo--"

    "Those aren't even seconds, now," Monbrey muttered darkly.

    "TWOONE!" the mod shouted merrily. The eyes of both Porygon glowed with a strange blue energy, but this time there was no music. Apalled, the Staff looked into the glowing Porygon, aware that the end was nigh.

    "We should hold hands," Harry said faintly. "Perhaps the power of friendship will drive them away."

    Everyone stared at him, but this time, no one bothered to disagree.

    "Okay," ST finally said, slowly, as he looked around. "Let's hold hands."

    If all of Staff had been staring at Harry before, that was nothing compared to the shocked glances that ST received.

    "DESTROY," the Porygon clicked together in unison, charging up beams of orange energy in their beak-like mouths.

    ST grabbed Pidge's hands hastily. "Since we're all about to die," he said hurriedly to Pidge, palms sweaty, "I think I can just tell you that I always--"

    He was cut off as the Porygon exploded.

    Literally, exploded, with two bangs as loud as a gun. Fragments of their heads flew in every which way, like shards of glass, and quickly shattered on the pavement before burning away from tiny fires around each piece. In seconds, there was nothing left in the street except for a rapidly vanishing pile of pink and blue powder, which bled smoke everywhere, the clump of staff, and behind the destroyed bodies of the Porygon, a very happy-looking Roulette.

    "AWWW, YEAH," he shouted happily, holding his smoking gun. "TWO HEADSHOTS!"

    Everyone stared.

    "Roulette," Alaska began, staring at the place that both Porygon had up until recently been occupying. ""I don't think that we're allowed to shoot them. The BMG mods said that--"

    "But Alaska," he protested, with the air of a petulant child, "ducks are in season! Haven't you ever had duck stew?"

    "Can't say I have," Alaska said, looking slightly miffed.

    Roulette frowned. "So then what about duck pancakes? Or duck burgers? Or duck filets? Duck wings?" His expression began to drop.

    Kai brightened. "I've had Peking--"

    "It's okay, Ching-Chong," Roulette said, placing a comforting hand on Kai's shoulder, who looked very abashed. "You don't have to try hard for all of us white people. We'll treat you the same."

    "Uh, Roulette?" Jess asked anxiously. She had knelt down and was sifting through the powdery remains of the two Porygon. "Your dinner sort of kersploded."

    Roulette shook his head forlornly. "That always happens," he muttered miserably, thinking of the Pachurisu. He brightened considerably, however, and discharged his rifle into the air again, cackling.

    Chainy screamed and covered his ears. Next to him, Winter looked downright furious as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders comfortingly. "Don't you need to take a test to use a gun!?" she shrieked, eyeing the scattered fragments of the Porygon around her.

    "Not in the south," Bee said proudly.

    However, Roulette only grinned and hooked his thumbs beneath his overalls, leaning back slightly to add with a relaxed air, "Of course I did." Everyone stared at him. "I failed, of course."

    "AND YOU KNOW WHO ELSE HAS FAILED?" a thunderous voice boomed, echoing in the impossibly empty house. "HERE, JUST GUESS. I WILL BE AMUSED."

    "You?" Jr tried hopefully. He was rewarded with silence.

    "That segue?" Scourge suggested, idly brushing imaginary dirt off of her hands.

    "YOU," the voice droned angrily.

    "Wow," Pidge said, looking slightly miffed. "That was such a mature and original response. I certainly couldn't see that coming."

    Slowly, tentatively, the Staff turned around to see the pantheon of BMG Mods gathering behind them in their stoic ranks, emerald cloaks trailing in muddy piss. Or perhaps it was pissy mud.

    "You have failed to secure the members we requested," one of the Mods growled angrily, taking his point at the head of the conglomeration. The Staff shrunk back uneasily as he continued. "You have insulted us. And you just damaged very, very valuable equipment. Do you know how much each Porygon costs?"

    "OVER 9,000!?!" WTP shouted from a corner before shrinking back.

    "I thought that BMG wanted to treat Pokemon like their friends," Alaska muttered under her breath. "Why the sudden callousness?"

    "That's an excellent question!" Scourge shouted, taking a nervous step back from the Mods in front of her. "One that will stir a very heated debate and--" she stopped quickly as one of the mods literally growled in her direction. Looking slightly unnerved, Scourge hurriedly continued, "One that can be answered in a time when WE'RE NOT TRYING TO DIE. GODDAMMIT, WHY DO I LEAVE YOU PEOPLE TO SORT THINGS OUT?!"

    "Sir," Harry began respectfully, trying not to turn red as he thought of any plausible explanation or excuse as he faced the BMG Mod.

    "I'M A GIRL."

    Jr promptly spat his very much non-alcoholic beverage into the street.

    Harry turned a delicate shade of pink. "I'm sorry, ma'am," he amended hurriedly, searching for words. "But if you don't mind, Sir--" he stopped immediately, face turning even redder as he realized his mistake.

    The offended BMG Mod stuck his--her nose into the air, folded her arms impassively in front of her chest, and glared. "I think it's time to say, if I may,
    "That it's time to call it a day."

    The Mod froze, hands flying to cover her mouth. Beside her, the short slightly chubby mod looked forwards in curiosity.
    "You don't mean to say--"

    He, too, stopped, covering his own mouth.

    And around them, the music started.

    "What's going on?" Kai asked in a frightened whisper as all of the Mods around the Staff froze, picturesque expressions of horror on their faces.

    Alaska pointed at the fragmented remains of the Porygon on the ground, which had begun to glow golden, just like before.
    "They had one more song left in them; we're in luck."

    The BMG Mods looked around frantically. One of them couldn't help but shout-- musically--
    This is just... What the Fu--


    Scourge snorted something under her breath as the music began to swell to a crescendo around her.

    "What?!" Roulette shouted over the sounds of the drums in the background.

    She muttered something again.

    "WHAT?" Roulette asked.

    "DEUS EX MACHINA," Scourge repeated. People stared at her. "Oh, come on," she added, looking defensive yet again. "It's like you guys expected me to say something stupid like--" she caught Pidge's glance and stopped talking.

    "With their dying breath," Winter said gravely, looking at the Porygon with shining eyes.

    "They're going to torment us by forcing us into a finale with the BMG Mods," WTP finished for her, looking exponentially less sentimental. "If Porygon had middle fingers, this is certainly their way of flipping us off."

    The music swelled, though, although the BMG Mods looked as horrified as the URPG Staff was tickled.

    "My god," Kat said, looking around with wide eyes, "they're horrible." She looked around uneasily. "We can't have been this bad when we started, right guys?" No one answered, and a few more measures of music played. "Right!?" she asked, paling as she watched as the BMG Mods were forced to do some sort of odd shuffling that vaguely looked like dancing, a cacophony of grating sounds all around them.

    Harry smiled benevolently.
    We've learned so much through all of our journeys.


    The lead BMG Mod looked around in horror. He shouted angrily,
    They're singing, too; you've got to be kidding me!


    His underlings were quick to join in, whether they liked it or not. The music turned darker, suddenly, chords appearing from nowhere as it grew more somber. And still, the BMG Mods continued to sing.
    We've given you guys plenty of slack
    But now you'll find that we're going to strike back!
    You've gone too far; crossed the wrong line
    What kind of excuse have you got for us this time?!


    Harry held out his hands placatingly, but all of his attempts to speak were drowned out by the horrible screeching sounds that partially resembled singing.

    "Boss, I think you'll have to actually sing again for them to hear you," Chainy half-shouted, half-groaned through the din. "Willingly." People stared at him. "Er, I mean... we'll have to actually sing again for them to hear us. Yeah. I'll definitely sing along." More stares.

    "Well, thanks for volunteering, Sherlock," WTP snarked, looking irritated.

    Chainy paled. "I don't think that it works that way."

    ST looked strained as he pushed Chainy forward. "NOPE, HE'S DEFINITELY SINGING ON OUR BEHALF. HE STARTED THIS."

    Pidge glared at him. "Nice job," he muttered. "Now, you've put the drunk, Australian half-witted, naive, stupid idiot in charge of saving us."

    "I object to that!" Chainy retorted. Pidge rolled his eyes. In a much quieter voice, Chainy added, "I'm not drunk right now..."

    "Yes, yes, we're sure you're not," Winter said encouragingly, hurriedly pushing him forwards. "Now go on and sing already..."

    Chainy glanced around and muttered something
    Just wait a sec and listen to us,
    You guys don't really have to get in a fuss
    We came in peace
    And if I may say so we've got a perfectly valid lease.
    We looked it up, my friends, and you've got to get
    That in terms of the contract, it's not over yet!


    The lead BMG Mod glared.
    We gave you a time limit which you all eschewed
    So don't complain when I say you're screwed
    We had a deal
    And you broke it so let's all just be real!"


    Chainy looked around hopelessly, but none of the other Staff members were able to come to his aid. Instead, he had to continue,
    We tried our hardest to make ends meet
    We sang some songs, and it was really sweet
    We did our part
    We just ran out of time so have a little heart!


    He earned himself a glare as a different BMG Mod-- the female one-- replied,
    Just call it quits while you lot still can
    I've got the power to permaban
    It's over now
    It's a musical and all, so just take a bloody bow...

    One of the other mods quickly continued the song before Chainy could continue.
    You guys have used up all your time
    And now you're making us effing rhyme.
    Still not amused.
    You want to come back; know that you're all refused!
    You were supposed to prove to us that you'd clean up your acts
    That was the point of our whole contract!
    So show us some sort of proof that you've got something nice
    You're not doing a good job of making us think twice!

    Chainy looked at Harry uncomfortably.
    We... uh... tried to... went to 4Chan...
    Smogon didn't go to plan...
    Marriland didn't want to take us
    And then Pokecommunity smoked pot in our bus...

    Around him, the URPG Staff groaned in unison, and Chainy immediately paled when he understood the implications of his words. Across from them, the BMG Mod smiled triumphantly.
    You might as well quit while you're still ahead.
    We'll still ban you, but at least you won't be dead.
    You speak of all your members, so where did they go?
    You want a second chance? I really don't think so!
    There's no one left for you, no one to come
    Go back to whence you came!


    An awkward silence.

    "From," the Mod added quickly. Around her, the other BMG Mods looked proud as they stood tall. The music began to die down.

    "So," a second BMG Mod-- still holding the block of cheese he had filched from Scourge so long ago; it reeked slightly of mold, now-- quipped happily, "I think this is where our ways part. If you'll just--"

    He was cut off by the sound of drums. And the sound of a multitude of voices, barely out of sight but thundering with the force of an million.

    Not gonna lie, but you were just tempting fate
    We got held up; sorry to be late!

    The first BMG Mod facepalmed. "Oh, god, who now?"

    The crowd of voices answered him triumphantly.
    You shouldn't count us out so soon
    There's enough of us to make a god damn platoon!
    We've showed up to turn the tide around
    We're not the kind to let our Staff down!


    Chainy squealed and clapped his hands in delight. Harry beamed. Jr puked, although that might've been because he was wasted. Somewhere, ST scowled.

    Because marching up from the sides was an army.

    An army filled to the brim with members of the URPG of all kinds. Literally, all kinds. There was even a ghost named George, who--

    "NO ONE CARES, DAMMIT."

    Harry was speechless as he gaped at the URPG members, eyes wide. He opened and closed his mouth a few times before finally managing to stammer, "How... how did you..."

    Webbie, at the head of the group of URPG members, smiled proudly. Somewhere, Pidge beamed. "We heard that you were in trouble," Webbie explained, gesturing to the crowd of people behind him. Most of whom were bearing pitchforks or crudely constructed torches.

    "We told you not to come!" Kat protested vehemently. "It's too dangerous!"

    Alaska coughed violently, sounding both like a whale and someone snorting "NOYOUDIDNTANDTHATSSOEFFINGCORNY" at the same time.

    Webbie turned to face the BMG Mods, folding his hands in front of his chest. In a quavering voice, he began,
    You guys think that the world would be better off without URPG.


    Silver spoke up behind him.
    But the world just doesn't agree!"

    Around them, the URPG members began singing as one, turning to face the BMG Mods. There was determination in their eyes as they stared down the obviously more powerful Mods, and resolve, but they spoke first to the URPG Staff.
    You guys called for help, and it's our time to shine!
    People messing with URPG is just crossing the line!
    We're a million voices here but we speak as one.
    You can't hope to go down and leave us away from the fun
    You might be in charge, but sometimes you need our help too
    And we're only all too glad to be of assistance to you
    We've come from near and we've come from far
    BMG asked you for for members, and here we are!


    "How did they know they asked us that?" Scourge hissed quietly to no one in particular.

    The crowd obviously didn't hear her as they turned, crossing their arms and smiling as they faced the BMG Mods.
    We might be beaten, but you can just as well bet,
    That while we never fought, it's not over yet!


    Captain Dude smiled proudly.
    We've gathered all our friends, near and far!
    And you guys better take your pick,
    Or else I'm going to make you all suck my--


    WELEARNEDTOMAKEOURFRIENDSANDBEHAPPY
    WHILEWEWERETRAVELINGAROUNDONOURBIGJOURNEY
    Winter shouted hurriedly.

    "My god, is that Fenix?" Kat asked while poking Jess in amazement over the roar of the music. "I thought that she went to a great squeaky birdcage up in the sky..."

    Jess looked on in equal amazement as she squinted at the crowd. "And I think that might be Jack, Haze, and Ball next to her..." she whispered in awe.

    Someone had managed to elbow Captain Dude in the ribs, while the rest of the crowd continued without him.
    We've got all that we ever need to be pleased
    Friendship, happiness, and...


    An awkward pause as someone sought a rhyme.

    Plenty of cheese!
    the chubby BMG Mod from before shouted happily, waving his mildly rotting mozzarella in the air while his companions stared at him.

    We've got a happy community going on here
    And we'd like to tell you with plenty of cheer
    That, with all due respect we'd like to be here to stay
    We're glad in these parts; and perhaps we can keep it that way?

    There was a short pause as the BMG Mods hemmed and hawed together.

    This time, when the URPG Members sang again, the Staff joined with them.
    Sure, we're not as large as we used to be
    But we're still just a great big happy family
    And we know that we've got a lot to learn
    And you've got plenty of right to be concerned
    But on the inside we're not so bad
    Spend some time with us and you'll see we're more than just a fad.
    We've all started to sing, and we've all started to dance
    Please, we've done so much; give us one more chance!

    The lead BMG Mod looked on in amazement, while his underlings whispered excitedly to one another. Obviously not amused, he drew himself up to his full height and prepared to give his verdict, but he closed his mouth and frowned, thinking carefully. Everyone waited with trepidation as he glanced at the BMG Mods around him, nodding while he sang,
    You came not with force but with compassion instead
    That's something that we're glad to see has gotten in your heads
    You've showed how close you are together as one
    And I guess you could say your adventures looked a little fun.

    The other BMG Mods quipped in,
    You've got your members back, and it's far to say
    That here in BMG you lot can still stay
    We guess we understand that size isn't all
    And you've got so many old companions to answer your call.
    It's not the number of members that really counts
    But actually how dedicated they are in all your accounts.
    And we can tell that you've all played out your part
    What you lot lack in some things you make up... in heart!

    Harry smiled proudly, walking to the front of the crowd of returned URPG members to shake hands with the lead BMG Mod. Together, they both smiled and sang,
    We're glad that we coud both settle our affairs
    We'll be partners here 'til we've both got gray hairs!


    There was a pause, and then the music swelled as all of the people present, be they BMG Mods, URPG Staff, or the returned members, began to sing,
    It's not over and it'll never be!
    Two happy forums, URPG and BMG
    We've got our peace and happiness; it's all we need here
    With you guys on our side we've got nothing to fear
    We'll keep this place clean and free of all crimes
    And then we'll be glad together until the end of our times!


    Everyone smiled as the music dimmed and they sang their last few lines. In the distance, the glow of the Porygon faded away, and the music stopped echoing in the streets.
    Our song may be through now but you can certainly bet
    That at least in our stories, it's not over yet!

    The last of the music trailed away entirely, and there was a collective silence as members, mods, and staff alike all looked at one another with new understanding.

    Silence which was promptly broken, first as the lead BMG Mod ripped his hand away from ST and stared at it like he had been burned. "Oh my god!" the BMG Mod shouted in horror, thunderstruck. "Did we just rejoin our forums while holding hands?" He looked around frantically. "Holding hands!? Please tell me this didn't just happen. I've got a girlfriend!"

    ST looked uncomfortable. "I got one too, man. And yeah, that was pretty gay," he muttered, seeming very fixated upon a speck of dust on his shoes. "No homo, right?"

    The BMG Mod scuttled away awkwardly, casting not-so-furtive glances at ST over his shoulder as he approached Harry. Everyone watched with baited breath as the Mod offered his hand towards Harry and very politely said, "I think that it's time for this to end." An awkward pause. "And by this, I mean our feud. We have seen that URPG shows potential and that you are all much closer with one another and even with other forums than our records had previously shown, and we would be happy to allow you to stay on with us."

    Harry beamed and shook the Mod's hand. "It would be a pleasure."

    The crowd erupted into cheers.

    A small box beeped on the BMG Mod's belt, and he looked at his communicator with a sigh. "It looks like our servers have crashed," he muttered with regret.

    "For the fortieth time!" one of the BMG Mods shouted, irritated. "You'd think that--"

    The lead BMG Mod cut him off with a false smile painted firmly upon his face. "If you'll excuse us, Mr. Harry Kim, we'll be going now."

    "Thank you for visiting!" Harry replied, waving happily as if he wasn't addressing the collection of people who had almost tried to obliterate him and several others from existence, among other things. "We hope to have happy dealings with you in the future!"

    The BMG Mods began to glow in pale green light.

    "You know, it would have been incredibly useful if we could teleport. Would've helped us not get attacked by 4chan zombies," Alaska muttered under her breath to Scourge.

    "Would've been useful if they had remembered they could teleport in the first place, because then we wouldn't have needed a bus," Scourge replied quietly, watching with mild interest as the Mods's forms began to flicker. "Would've saved them from an awful lot of running and a very anti-climatic fight scene, too."

    Kai looked fascinated. "You know, the teleportation is actually just as implausible as time travel due to the theory of--"

    She was cut off with a sharp Zap! as all of the BMG Mods, save for the lead one, vanished into thin air. The lead BMG Mod remained for a second, looking at Harry with what almost could be described as a mischievous grin. "You know," the Mod said. "You might want to talk things over with Marriland. It could help you get your bans revoked a bit. Tell them I sent you."

    Harry nodded, more joy joining his already pleased expression, and the final BMG Mod vanished. Proudly, he turned around to face the crowd of members behind him, which was slowly starting to disperse. "We did it!" he proclaimed, an exuberant smile on his face. He clasped his hands in front of him and beamed to all of the URPG members gathered around him, Staff and not. "We prevented the BMG Mods from destroying us through the power of friendship."

    ATF started gagging violently. ST fell over.

    WTP scowled. "No, that's impossible. And sentimental and simplistic and stupidly romantic. You did what you did because the Porygon remains were still active enough to induce a final song and then--" he caught on to people staring at him, namely a very distressed Chainy and a very crestfallen Harry, and hurriedly amended, "Okay, fine. You saved them with friendship. Yeah. Sure."

    Pidge beamed. "We just saved URPG," he said, to no one in particular. No one answered him. ""That's kinda cool." Still no answer. "Anyone?" Nothing. "No one is surprised?"

    "They might be recovering from their aneurisms," Scourge remarked in mock politeness. "Or they all just overdosed on DEUS EX EFFING MACHINA, BECAUSE WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED."

    Pidge cleared his throat and appeared behind Harry to address the already shrinking crowd. "I think everything is all settled down here. We'll be giving a formal report if anyone actually reads the wonderful things in the URPG Times--"

    Alaska nearly choked.

    "--but for now," Pidge continued, "are there any questions?"

    Nitro frowned and raised his hand. Without waiting for Pidge to call on him, Nitro quickly shouted, "Someone broke into my apartment while you were gone and stole my TV!"

    Maverick looked uncomfortable.

    Pidge, however, looked at Alaska and studied her carefully, narrowing his eyes. Slowly, Pidge said, "I don't think anyone entered that apartment complex while you were away, Nitro. Perhaps you have misplaced it?"

    Nitro gawked. "It's a TV, Pidge. I can't just put it somewhere and forget about it."

    Very carefully and firmly, Pidge repeated, "No one entered our apartment complex while we were away."

    Alaska couldn't help but hide a smile. Things were exactly back to the way they were supposed to be.

    Without an answer, the crowd slowly began to trickle away as members returned to their respective homes, near and far. There was silence, there was peace, and there was the quiet sense of happiness permeating the now-calm streets of the URPG.

    And in the center, alone, a very dismayed Bulba looked around, rather confused.
    Guys!? Gu-uys!?
    He looked around frantically as he tried and failed to stop the words from tearing out of his mouth.
    Why can't I stop singing...?


    ~*~Epilogue~*~


    That night as Alaska climbed into bed, she reflected on the past few days. She'd had an adventure with Roulette and Kai, discovered a new shipping (PIDGEXSCOURGE AHAHAHAHA), reconciled with Pidge slightly, and helped to save the URPG. Not bad. Maybe not the best week of her life, but definitely in the top five.

    Outside, the Kricketot were chirping what sounded like a refrain of
    Clear Skies. She leaped out of bed and shut the window. "That was close," she muttered, "THERE WILL BE NO HAVING OF BOOKENDS."

    She got back into the bed and slid under the blankets. Tomorrow would be another day, filled with doing Scourge's bidding, trolling other people's gym battles, and annoying the hell out of Pidge. As she fell asleep, she knew that everything was going to be okay.
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  2. #2
    noble roar Buoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: URPG: The Musical (A Love Story) (WARNING THIS MIGHT MELT YOUR SOUL AHAHAHA)

    Oh god. What am I doing?

    Claimed. SEE YOU IN A FEW YEARS.

    EDIT: After sitting on this for slightly over two weeks, I've been attempting a grade, but I don't really think I can, so I'm going to unclaim this. I'M NOT A GOOD ENOUGH GRADER FOR THIS. First abandoned story ever. ._. I'm sorry. You have my permission to grievously injure me when you see me next. Sorry again. }:

    @Kai-Mei; @Alaskapigeon.
    Last edited by Buoy; 26th February 2012 at 05:06 AM.

  3. #3
    Senile EmBreon's Avatar
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    Default Re: URPG: The Musical (A Love Story) (WARNING THIS MIGHT MELT YOUR SOUL AHAHAHA)

    BLARGH..

    Story/Plot: Funny. I didn't get half the jokes, but it was still amusing and fun to read. The idea is original. After the 100th grade, unique concepts really stand out and make the entire process easier. You guys did a great job coming up with this saga. :P The events were creative, and humorous (as intended). There was a clear path, a unique cast of pro and antagonists (:P) and fun obstacles to overcome along the way.

    --Plausibility: It's a little unusual trying to critique this seriously because, being a parody, the majority of the plot devices are intended to be balls-to-the-wall insane. The entire event at 4chan was like.... @_@. Some things nagged me as being too unrealistic. But, I guess that's the fun part about writing a parody, huh? Your creative limits get stretched far beyond the walls of plausibility and the reader immediately accepts that. hah

    Something to watch for, even if the chaos is intentional, is impact. My own personal feeling about humor, is that repetitive randomness becomes less amusing the more it is used. Eventually, I find myself wondering 'why?' instead of just laughing and accepting that it's not supposed to make sense. For instance, each 'forum' that was traveled to had some kind of crazy event happen (namely 4chan, baha - with its zombies and demons and some other crazy shiz). And while these are all intended to be chaotic jokes, when I am trying to immerse myself into the story, I still subconsciously wish for reason. Why are there zombies and shat? Where did they come from? How did Alaska get there? YEAH, SHE MANAGED TO FIND THEM WITH HER TRACKING DEVICE AND FLOCK OF BIRD POGEYS, BUT GEEZ. A bit more of her journey there could have potentially helped, rather than just conveniently appearing at that precise moment.

    But, being a comedy, PERHAPS THAT'S THE ENTIRE POINT.

    --Pacing: The progression at the beginning went a bit quick for me, as the entire 'world' and staff were all thrown in at once. It probably could have used a bit more fine-tuning to set a stronger foundation for the rest of the story. And by this, I mean including more passive content to allow us to absorb the world before we are flung into the following scene. It wasn't until about half way through before the story stopped requiring much effort to follow. This is harmful to the rest of the piece, because people will often decide not to continue reading if the intro includes too much information to process smoothly.

    Action. Some things that itched me about this little word depends on how you want to define it. For one definition in writing, it could refer to actually doing. The process of performing an action. Kicking a Caterpie in the face. Walking to the store. Doing. In this meaning, there was very little action in this story. It was comprised mostly of dialogue. The problem with this, is that it feels more like I am reading a script instead of a story. The world narrows, and it is simply a spotlight following your characters around as they travel. The action that was conveyed, felt mostly as a passing thought. A little twitch, cough, or shift as someone spoke. While this technique is fine in moderation, I shouldn't generally be waiting for someone to speak for an action to unfold.

    The second definition, is action as an event. Something happening. The good-'ole-fashion, intense, adrenaline-pumping action. With this meaning, there was too much of it. The story involved one BANG after another. So it read BANG BAM BOOM BANG BAM BAM BANG. EXACTLY LIKE THAT. Similar to descriptions, too much action becomes very dull. One scene that was intended to be the most intense of all, becomes diluted by the sheer amount of thrilling moments. The rhythm of events matches throughout the entire story. The effect of this is that the story becomes monotone, which I am guessing is NOT what you were going for.

    This is why pacing is so important. The speed of it manipulates how the reader feels by how you allow your events to unfold. Slow pacing when you want to put emphasis on something, or after you write an active scene. It's impossible to feel intensity for long periods of time. People can't sustain this emotion indefinitely. Readers need to catch their breath.

    --People: (I would have called this area 'Characters', but I wanted them all to start with P's!) A reason why I didn't delve into this before, is the fact that this story is very atypical in the importance of the cast. Normally, I would have said that the massive amount of characters gives you little room to allow the important ones to shine. It becomes a clog of shifting dialogue and flits of personality. But, I am almost positive that it was all intentional. You wanted the entire staff (and a couple members) to be involved, amping up your potential for gags and inside jokes.

    It's still important to develop characters, however. You want your reader to care about them. If there is no dimension or growth, it is just a name on a page. You want them to feel like actual people, even if they only exist in our imaginations. I was sad to say that I didn't really feel bad when Alaska 'died' (I'M SORRY PEANUT, IF IT WAS THE REAL YOU I WOULD HAVE BEEN DEVASTATED THOUGH), because we never really got to know her. At least, not very well. And she was the main character of the whole story. v_v

    The BMG antagonists, were also somewhat...unthrilling. For lack of a better word. These guys got no love, which is a bit odd, seeing as they were the plot-device that kicked off your entire story. Even though they are 'bad guys', you want readers to care about them. Even if that feeling is hate or disgust.


    Overall, this was an enjoyable read - even for someone out of the loop like me. :( I can tell you had fun writing it, and that is the most important part of all this anyway. The mood you conveyed was refreshing and fun. It felt wonderfully lighthearted. It brings so much life to the text when people put their personalities inside. That is where all the best humor stems from.

    Some of my favorite moments:

    She scowled, kicking at an insolent Caterpie by her feet that was still whistling "Clean Up Our Act", eyes dreamy. It squealed and cut off quickly before hitting a tree with a dull thud.
    Harry began to clap slowly. No one else did.
    "LET'S WATCH MEANGIRLS!" Stinky shouted.
    Several of the staff members retched, Chainy cried a little, and Jr said, "Giggity."
    Alaska grimaced. "POKEBALLS," she shouted. ST whipped his hands away guiltily.
    "We should hold hands," Harry said faintly. "Perhaps the power of friendship will drive them away."
    Grammar/Spelling: Sometimes I wish we didn't have to talk about this. Whenever writers like you two are involved, I have a hard time coming up with junk that's even worth mentioning. You guys obviously know your way around a keyboard. Could probably have used an extra once-over as far as typos were concerned (not that there were even that many), but there's no need to fuss about those.

    ACTUALLY, I'M GONNA POINT SOME OUT JUST TO EMBARRASS YOU.

    Something else was roaring something that could’ve easily been mistaken for cursing.
    YOU MISSED A COMMA. THE NERVE OF SOME PEOPLE..... ACTUALLY, I READ THIS WRONG. YOU DIDN'T. DOUBLING UP ON WORDS WITH A DIFFERENT MEANING GETS KINDA CONFUSING, EVEN THOUGH IT TECHNICALLY ISN'T A GRAMMATICAL ERROR. AS YOU HAVE JUST WITNESSED. BUT MAYBE THE FIRST 'SOMETHING' WAS SUPPOSED TO BE 'SOMEONE'. I DON'T REMEMBER AND I AM TOO LAZY TO GO CHECK. AND YOU DON'T REALLY CARE ABOUT ANY OF THIS, BECAUSE I WAS ACTUALLY JUST TRYING TO BE SILLY BUT NOW I JUST LOOK DUMB.

    “Do they all of their sentences end in exclamation points?”
    RANDOM 'THEY' IN THERE, WHAT THE FLYING HECK. SO BAD.

    She untied Kai's legs and slipped the pole she had been strapped too out from under her arms, then retied them around the base of her throne.
    SHOULD BE 'TO'. PHAIL.

    I HOPE YOU ARE ASHAMED.

    XD On a serious note, the only thing that I thought might not be an accidental mistype were the several comma splices. For example:

    Her own legs began flickering out of existence, and then her arms, before her frightened gaze, but still the monster only squeezed tighter.
    Eventually, most of the staff fell asleep, except for Harry, who was now watching reruns of Barney, and Scourge who was scribbling hastily into a book with a title in Latin.
    Nasty buggers, but easily fixed with a period or semi-colon.

    I also noticed some issues with tense usage:

    To the left, the sea was there, a glistening expanse of roiling salt water, Wingull skimming its surface and diving for the occasional Magikarp.
    Couple issues with this sentence. Most notably, is the use of both past and present verbs. You either need to a)change the splice to a period, and add a 'were' before 'skimming' to match the tenses. Or, b)use a coordinating conjunction after the comma instead.

    Detail/Description: As you already have noted, character descriptions were pretty lacking. If this had been the only descriptive blunder, I wouldn't have mentioned anything at all. Your reason for not including much in that aspect was understandable (though, you still could have just made up pretend identities for the parody's sake :P). The entire story, however, seemed to significantly be deprived of visual descriptions. Personality-wise, this story had a lot of flair. There were awesome metaphors and some spot-on expressions that made me see a scene perfectly. The downside is that the majority of them happened within dialogue. There were moments in a few cuts where scenery was described - a few flashes of color, some shapes and sounds - but for the rest of the time, I felt blind.

    One of the more prominent things neglected were the Pokemon themselves. Often when they made appearances, things like 'she hopped on a Girafarig' or 'a Cottonee was bouncing around' were said. This implies that I know what a Girafarig and Cottonee already look like. As a writer, you should treat elements like these as though your reader has no idea what you are talking about. Adjectives are your friend. Without them, you simply have a narration.

    Kai, who was flitting around the skies on the back of an elegant, draconic Pokemon with large, emerald wings, an orange, slender body, and a blistering flame on its tail, giggled happily. "I got a Charizard!" she replied. It licked her fingers, its scaly tonge scraping at her skin. "And it likes me!"
    Here was a place where I could see the beast perfectly. It wasn't a motionless anime picture burned in my brain, it was a living and breathing dragon.

    I feel, however, this may give you the wrong impression. I praised this quote because it was one of the few places that used any simplistic descriptions. The majority of the story used what I'd call active describing. Feeling was created through action. Most notably, in the dialogue. Or, you used imagery that gave us the visual by comparing the thing to something else, rather than simply describe the thing itself. I struggle with this, myself. Often times I am trying so hard to avoid conventional adjectives and dull scenic displays that I end up packing the thing with comparisons and awkward metaphors. So, instead of the reader immersing themselves into my world with relative ease, they have to pause and decipher what the heck I just wrote.

    I am using this an example to explain the importance of flow. This particular description of the Charizard could have probably been better perceived had it been spread out, rather than cramped into one sentence. But his camera-time was so quick, there wasn't much of a place to really pull it off; this circles back to what I said earlier about pacing. Adjectives gain strength when they are spread evenly throughout the story, and lose strength when they are pushed together in a short amount of writing. Finding that happy medium is tricky, but if you make the conscious effort to be aware of it, it will eventually come naturally.

    Something you should avoid as well, is repetitive style. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the visuals were given as side-events during dialogue. Keep things fresh and you will provide plenty of entertainment for your reader, even if the descriptions are simple.

    Some other Shat: Plenty of character count. I never felt like this was being dragged on for length-addition purposes. If anything, it went too fast. :P

    One last nag I have is that the Cottonee and Ralts were mentioned like, once. XD Yeah, you don't need to battle the potential capture-ees or have your story revolve around them anymore, but it is a good idea for them to have some kind of significance to the story. Whereas here, they seemed more to be seen as a passing glance.

    Also, sorry if I seem degrading at all. I try to supply my entire thought process to the author. Because, as a writer myself, I want to hear everything - whether I agree with it or not. It's useful to get feedback about how your story is perceived, and can only improve your skills as an author.

    Outcome: As a whole, this was a wonderful tale. Sure, there were some things that were a bit iffy (not really 'iffy' per se, but rocky. AND THAT'S ONLY MY INTERPRETATION, DOESN'T MEAN IT IS FACT) for me, but overall I see no reason to keep the pogeys from you.

    People do this spoiler thing now?



    Thanks for the fun read, ladies. :D
    Last edited by EmBreon; 8th March 2012 at 06:00 PM.

    urpg

  4. #4
    Senile EmBreon's Avatar
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    Default Re: URPG: The Musical (A Love Story) (WARNING THIS MIGHT MELT YOUR SOUL AHAHAHA)

    @Alaskapigeon and @Kai-Mei

    I went back and edited this grade into a less shatty one. The reason I half-assed it before is because one - being a musical/parody, this whole thing entirely subjective. (All stories are to some extent, but this one is ESPECIALLY OPINION-BASED) You accomplished crafting an amusing tale, and the musical numbers were epic. So I felt it was a bit unneeded to dive into some technicalities that may have slightly irked my own personal view. Especially since you may completely be aware of some of them already. So I just threw out some general fluff to think about. And two - I THOUGHT PEANUT JUST WANTED HER DANG POGEYS, GAH. SORRY.

    ALSO I AM OLD AND HAVEN'T CRITIQUED OR READ MUCH IN THE LAST COUPLE YEARS SO I AM THROWING OUT THE GRANNY CARD. WAAAAAAAAH

    But yeah, the story was some crazy fun and don't get the impression that I didn't enjoy it by that thing up there. It's yours to do with as you see fit.

    I guess I could have just edited this into the bottom of the original post.... BUT MEH. MORE POST COUNT FOR ME. AND ANOTHER EXCUSE TO TYPE IN ALL CAPS.

    *shrinks back into whatever dark closet she came out of* >_>

  5. #5
    The Hyacinth Girl Alaskapigeon's Avatar
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    Default Re: URPG: The Musical (A Love Story) (WARNING THIS MIGHT MELT YOUR SOUL AHAHAHA)

    GMAN MADE FAN ART

    Lurking, SLCalamity and EmBreon like this.
    I speak four languages, help me practice please
    Hablas conmigo en español, por favor
    Vous parlez avec moi en français, s'il vous plaît
    我正在学中文

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