And so we've arrived.
Evil One moved through the halls, moving quickly towards the control room. They hadn't had contact with Max or Sky in a while. The last they'd seen of Alejandro's aircraft had been in the air, before breaking up. He had no idea what had happened to Max and Sky but he hoped to God that they were still alive. His gaze shifted to see Jasmine moving confidently towards him. He hoped that meant they had good news.
"Any word?" Evil One asked. "And how's Noah doing?"
"He's stable," Jasmine said. "In a lot of pain, but stable. We haven't heard anything from Max or Sky but there's been a lot of radio interference coming from Pahkitew. We think they're there but we can't be sure."
"Still unconscious," Jasmine allowed herself to look a little self-satisfied. "When she wakes up she'll have a lot to deal with. Bitch."
The sound of a distant explosion echoed from outside. Evil One glanced out onto a monitor, sighing and shaking his head. "How the hell are we supposed to contain this riot?"
"It's worldwide," Jasmine sighed. "People don't know what to believe anymore. I think that a group of former world leaders have started organizing a council to bring them under control but I don't know whether the people will believe it. There wasn't a better way to handle this, unfortunately."
"And it could all be moot if Alejandro gets a hold of those weapons," Evil One said, taking a seat and rubbing his head. "How's your leg?"
"Decent," Jasmine said, sighing and sitting down as well. "The skies are too crowded right now to even think about going to help them. We'd get blown out of the sky in no time flat, with the frenzy these people are in."
"Yeah," Evil One said meekly. "It looks like it's up to Max and Sky now."
Jasmine nodded and her eyes glazed over as her stomach seemed to float into the clouds. "Looks like it..."
The five stood in silence as the wind whipped across the beach. Each seemed to be afraid to make the first move. Alejandro glanced around, calculating the people standing before him and was coming to the sobering realization that literally everyone there hated him with a passion. Ironically enough, Max was feeling the same exact thing.
"This is nice," Scarlett finally broke the silence, moving forward casually in an attempt to bridge the gap. Dave followed suit. "This is just...perfect. Really, you have no idea how much we NEEDED that."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Alejandro growled, and he moved forward as well, keeping his stance open and his eyes on all four other combatants. It wasn't likely for them all to team up on him but he was facing two teams of two, and he didn't want to fuck this up.
"You broke our ride!" Dave growled, gesturing to the crashed ship. Underneath it was presumably the remnants of Max and Scarlett's ride, although it was hard to tell. "The hell's that about?"
"Oh, right," Sky let out a laugh as she raised her gun, moving forward. "Sorry about that." Max moved forward anxiously.
"Sky, I can't take any of them, what do I do?" Max asked.
"Just stay back and let me handle this," Sky said under her breath.
"Listen to her, Max," Scarlett said idly, unsheathing a knife and calmly flicking a bit of blood off of it. "Accidents do happen, after all."
"Yeah yeah," Alejandro laughed under his breath. "But seriously now. You all can't fight. 'Specially you Dave. What makes you think you can-"
Dave's eye twitched. Within three seconds he'd let off at least five shots at Alejandro. The Spaniard ducked and Sky took the opportunity to open fire on Dave and Scarlett, who scattered. Dave took cover in the forest, firing at Sky before hiding behind a thick oak branch. Alejandro, somehow ignoring the gash on the side of his head, took the opportunity to sprint towards the woods as well, clearly realizing that he'd be better off securing the nuclear weapons rather than wasting his time on them.
He rapidly came to a halt as the ground started sparking before him, and with a tearing sound the earth came apart in front of him, closing and opening repeatedly. The gash in the ground went down at least thirty feet, which made him wonder how the mechanics worked, but he didn't exactly have time to consider it.
The fight moved into the woods of Pahkitew. Sky and Dave continued firing off at each other. Max glanced around, trying to find something to do that could be helpful.
Alejandro backed up from the mechanical malfunction in the ground, and let out a surprised shout as Scarlett slashed at him with a knife, which he jumped backwards to avoid. Scarlett slashed at and around him, gritting her teeth as she tried to land a hit. Scarlett cursed as she tripped over a piece of land that suddenly decided to raise itself six inches, and was saved from having her head smashed in by Alejandro by a few shots from Dave.
Sky changed courses, firing at Alejandro and Scarlett, who took for cover. Dave appeared to be out of ammo, as he had stopped firing and seemingly vanished. Max whimpered as Alejandro barreled at the two of them. Sky and Max separated as Alejandro took a knife out of his boot and engaged Sky in hand to hand combat. Max backed up, glancing around nervously for Scarlett and Dave.
Alejandro slammed Sky into a tree, before she kicked back and hit him in his head wound, causing him to cry out. Her gun dropped to the ground and Alejandro cradled his bloodied head with one hand. Randomly, the tree behind Sky decided it was time for it to leave the earth, and rocketed into the air before randomly exploding some distance away.
"I don't have TIME for this-" Alejandro said, on the verge of panic. He was interrupted by Scarlett entering the fight. Sky cried out in pain as Scarlett's knife sliced her in the arm. Sky staggered backwards, gritting her teeth.
Suddenly, a punch hit Max in the face, staggering him back slightly. Dave advanced on him, a psychotic grin on his face.
"I've been waiting too long for this," Dave laughed. "All three of you, here! Just for me!"
An image of Izzy bleeding out on the ground. Max felt a burning sensation in his gut as the anger took over. Max slammed Dave in the knee before punching him in the face, knocking him back and drawing blood. He went on the offensive, catching Dave off guard and hitting him over and over, each time Izzy's image clear in his head.
Something metal hit his head, and his onslaught stopped. Max swayed slightly, a bit dizzy, as Dave held the gun in his hand, before whacking him with it again. As Max fell to the ground, Dave fumbled with a clip, trying desperately to reload.
Sky uppercut Scarlett, sending her crashing to the ground, before intercepting a kick from Alejandro. The Spaniard cut at and around her before grabbing her by the wrist where Scarlett had cut her, eliciting a restrained cry from her. He then stabbed at her, but misjudged. The knife entered her shoulder and she headbutted him out of the way before noticing Dave about to kill Max, and tackled him to the ground. Dave pressed a button on his watch and an electrical current moved through her, shocking her and leaving her smoking.
The ground shifted again, another gash opening up and nearly sending Sky into the abyss. The cracks and malfunctions were growing and it was only a matter of time before the island broke apart. Alejandro once more eyed a way to the Pahkitew control room where the bombs were held. However, his path was blocked by Scarlett at every turn. The two masterminds danced with their blades, slashing and stabbing and trying to find some opening against the other.
Scarlett was the first to fold.
Alejandro swung, and slashed her diagonally across her face, damaging her artificial eye and causing her to let out a scream. She fell to her knees, blood dripping down her face and her eye sparking sporadically.
"SHIT NO!" Dave yelled, and fumbled for his gun before steadying himself, and before Max or Sky could stop him, he fired several times, each bullet finding its home in Alejandro's gut. Alejandro gasped slightly as he looked down at the blood spreading across his stomach. Sky rose back to her feet and punched Dave several times, slamming him into a tree. About a quarter of a mile away Alejandro could see a spot where the ground before them actually started crumbling away, falling down and revealing the long-neglected corridors below.
Alejandro pressed his arm into his wounds and began running, showing surprising endurance despite his injuries. Max moved backwards and the sound of something flickering filled his ears, before the ground between him, and Sky and Dave tore apart. Dave was holding his own against her by using his shock weapons, but he quickly retreated. Sky glanced back over her shoulder at Max.
"Alejandro's on your side!" Sky yelled, intermittently avoiding fire from a retreating Dave. "I can take him, and I'm pretty sure Scarlett's here too! I'll catch up as soon as I've taken care of them!"
"Got it!" Max yelled, and started jogging after Alejandro.
Only to hear an inhuman shriek from beside him, and with a kick he was driven to the ground.
Scarlett stood over him, most definitely not on Sky's side of the chasm as she loomed over him, hair down and shoulders breathing heavily, knife in hand.
"You...YOU!" She screamed like a banshee, and as she was about to raise the blade and end it she convulsed slightly, keeling over and coughing. Blood splattered from her mouth onto the ground, and her knife fell from her hands, which Max quickly picked up and tried to strike back.
It was a no sell, and Scarlett kicked him in his wound, drawing forth a sharp sensation of pain as the island continued to break apart before them. Max looked up horrified at Scarlett, as blood from the slice trickled down her face as her eye sparked, a combination of blood and drool forming near her mouth. She looked like a creature from the gates of hell, ready to dismember everything in her path.
"IT WAS ALWAYS YOU!" Scarlett punctuated with a kick to Max's face, bruising him and knocking him back. She cackled madly before descending into a coughing fit again, more blood splatters hitting the ground as she did so. "I've hated you from the beginning, and LOOK AT US NOW! LOOK AT ME, MAX!"
Max scrambled backwards as Scarlett began to cough again before covering her mouth, her coughing having converted back to cackling. "You...you're coughing up blood..."
"I wasn't supposed to strain myself too soon after this fucking surgery," Scarlett grinned, and kicked him in his flabby throat, watching gleefully as he scrambled for air. Covertly, he tucked Scarlett's dagger behind his back as he continued moving backwards as the island continued to break apart around them.
"Guess we know how well that turned out!" Her psychotic grin still on her face, she dove for him, hands ready to wrap around his throat. Max kicked out, knocking the wind out of her and she tumbled to the ground, more blood dripping from her mouth. "I don't even CARE about this anymore, Max...I don't care about Alejandro, or Moreau, or any of this...I only care about making sure all of you SUFFER."
Max continued moving backwards, a look of complete horror on his face. Blood started dripping down from Scarlett's eye as it continued to spark, and Max found it hard to speak. "Y-you're pure evil..." he let out, lip quivering in fear.
"Evil?" Scarlett let out a laugh at this. "Oh, THAT'S rich! Remind me, who was it that SPENT THEIR ENTIRE LIFE DEVOTED TO EVIL?" In lieu of a dagger, she picked up a nearby rock and slammed Max in the gut with it, wounding him and bringing tears to his eyes.
"And really?" Scarlett put on an over the top mock pouting face. "What IS evil? EVIL-" She punctuated the statement with another blow from her rock, this time drawing blood. Max sobbed as he struggled to even get up. "-is just a social construct created by the weak-minded. EVIL-" Just as he was about to get up, she hit him with the rock again, sending him back to the ground. "-is what the mindless masses call people who are DIFFERENT!"
"Scarlett, please," Max said, a slight gargle entering his voice as a blood bubble popped in his mouth.
"NO!" Scarlett screamed at him, her entire body shaking as she directed her entire sense of self, of fury at the boy who stood for everything that she'd ever despised in the world. "Do you think I WANTED to be born this way?" She hit him again. "Do you think I WANTED to be different? But that doesn't matter now, because it's far too late for me, right?" She laughed again, shoulders heaving.
"Lunatic! Sociopath! PSYCHOTIC BITCH!" She punctuated each word either with a blow from the rock or a sadistic kick to one of his many wounds. Max was a bloody pulp on the ground, and his eyes continued moving. He eyed a crevice opening up, one that seemed to be staying open. He coughed weakly as he crawled over in its general direction, a plan starting to form in his mind.
Max sputtered as Scarlett grabbed hold of his flabby throat, leaving him gasping for air. She leaned down next to him, speaking with a deadly quiet. "For a long time I was convinced that I was the problem. That everyone else lived the 'correct' way." She giggled. "No. That was never the case. Now I understand that you're the problem. ALL of you are. Which means you all are going to burn."
Max glanced towards the chasm, then felt the knife pressing up underneath him. He'd have one shot at getting this right.
"At the end of the day, this world will have chosen my morality over yours," Scarlett said smugly, as her blood dripped off her chin onto Max's face. Max spit. "I win. Nothing will change that."
Scarlett raised the hand with her rock in it, letting out a short mirthless laugh. "Only the strongest will survive, Max! And if that makes me evil? So be it."
As she was about to bring it down for the final time, her eye sparked up again, halting her slightly. Max took his cue, and moving quickly brought out the knife from under him and stabbed it into Scarlett's leg. The psychopath toppled over him, kicking and screaming as the two tumbled around on the ground, kicking and fighting each other.
Max glanced over at the opening and as Scarlett grabbed a tight hold of him he kicked out and jerked his entire body forward, pushing Scarlett towards the abyss.
To his surprise, his arm got jerked along with him as Scarlett went over the edge, nearly taking it out of his socket as he regained his footing before being taken with her. He looked down to see flickering lights, and a thirty foot drop that was unsafe enough to surely kill whoever fell. Scarlett dangled with her hand wrapped around Max's wrist, glancing up and down and the insanity slowly leaving its face, only fear in its place.
"Wait, Max!" Scarlett glanced up and down in horror as she realized the position she was in. "Max, don't! Please!"
Max looked down at the woman who'd caused him so much suffering and torture throughout his life, and with his free hand he grabbed the psychopath's dagger.
"So long, sidekick."
Scarlett's eyes widened. "Max, DON'T-"
The knife cut her arm and Scarlett let go, falling through the crack. On the way down her head banged against the metal wall, sending her body tumbling to the ground before landing with a sickening crunch. Max shielded himself from the visage by covering his eyes. As his nerves calmed, he moved his arm away from his face and glanced down the crevice.
Scarlett lay thirty some feet below him. Several of her limbs were bent in grotesque directions, while her eye sparked weakly and a pool of blood slowly grew larger around her head. Her glasses lay broken by her side and her dead green eyes stared into nothingness. Her breathing slowed before eventually stopping completely.
It was done.
Exhaling deeply, Max lay down and took a breather. He ached pretty much all over and needed to sit down for a little while. He glanced over himself as his hands shook. She'd beat him up pretty bad. Everything was bloody and hurt like hell and he wasn't sure if he could carry on much longer. Not in this condition.
"Sky," he grimaced, trying to contact her. "Sky do you copy?" He was met only with radio silence. He didn't know what that meant but he didn't like it. Slowly he got to his feet, Scarlett's knife still in his hand as he limped forward. If she wasn't picking up, then he'd have to continue on. The island was only getting worse and the longer he dawdled, the worse it'd get. Sky was in shape and intelligent. She'd be able to kick Dave's ass and get over to help him. Maybe until then he could keep Alejandro occupied.
He gripped Scarlett's knife more tightly as he moved over to where he'd seen Alejandro enter. This was probably the worst on a series of bad ideas he'd had over the years, and he'd continue trying to radio Sky. But if Alejandro got to the weapons then all their hard work would have been for nothing.
Max glanced down the crack, and part of the floor beneath him snapped. Max yelled as he hit the ground about ten feet beneath him, not helping his already bruised and battered form. Groaning, he rose back up to his feet and glanced around at the corridor he now stood in. It was almost completely dark save for a few flickering lights.
It felt strange to be back.
It was too quiet. Sky moved through the woods, keeping her eyes out for Dave or Scarlett. Dave had stopped firing at her after a while. The trees above her grew thicker and obscured the sunlight above her. It was unnerving to say the least, to be back here after so long. Hard to believe she'd done a lot of the things she did. Pahkitew Island had been a shitshow for pretty much everyone and it'd only spiraled down from there.
The quiet continued and Sky started to grow nervous. Maybe it was the lack of wildlife, or the fact that it was a fairly still day with not a lot of wind, but the total silence unnerved her. Dave didn't strike her as the kind of person to be acting this way. Which meant he likely had something planned.
About a hundred feet to her right, something exploded, tossing flaming metal chunks of the island into the air. Suddenly she missed the quiet. She ran towards it to find just a random bit of the ground had exploded for no reason. She could feel the heat against her and her eyes widened as the fire began to spread, moving from tree to tree, sparking and burning everything down.
"What the hell?"
The voice came from behind her and Sky whipped around to see Dave staring in confusion with a gun in his hand. He'd likely been trying to sneak up on her but the explosion had distracted him. Sky went for his gun, only to get shocked for her efforts again. Dave backed up, letting off a shot that was frankly rather poor, not even close to hitting Sky.
"The hell do you think you're doing?" Sky asked. "This CAN'T just be because of me or Alejandro, right?"
"You were the first person I ever wanted to kill, you know that?" Dave laughed, hanging back with the gun in his hand, reaching for his final clip with an eerie calm. "Just...in my head, you know? The first time I ever thought about that kind of thing."
"So this is MY fault somehow? Sorry, I didn't MAKE you start killing people. Izzy didn't even have anything to do with any of this! You had no reason for killing her other than to hurt Max, who wasn't even at fault for anything!"
Dave giggled. "Since when have I ever been reasonable?" With that, he raised his gun and let off two shots. Sky ducked behind a tree, only for the tree to explode from the spreading fire. Sky cried out in pain, blood spreading across her side as pain pierced through her body. The flames moved around them, lighting up the previously dark surroundings. Dave grinned, his face lit by the flames around him.
Sky limped backwards, holding one hand to her side as Dave continued firing. Sky ducked for cover, and was relieved when her cover didn't explode this time.
"Scarlett's taking care of Max right now," Dave said cheerfully. "And Alejandro doesn't matter anymore."
"I thought you hated him too," Sky spit out some blood, rising back to her feet.
"Oh, I do." Dave's grin didn't leave his face. "But he's done for, thanks to you. We've won."
He fired once more. Sky dodged and ran for him, kicking him in the wrist and trying to avoid acknowledging the pain in her side. Dave's gun clattered to the ground. With a movement of his hand he electrocuted her once more. Sky cried out in pain as he aimed a weak punch for her face. She grabbed his arm and looked at the device he was using to electrocute her.
She crushed it in her hand.
Dave's eyes widened as Sky decked him in the chin before kicking him in the face, sending him staggering backwards before falling flat on his ass to the ground. Sky stood over him, teeth bared.
Only for Dave to start laughing again, his giggles rising in both pitch and volume as his shoulders convulsed on the ground. It reached fever pitch. In the middle of it Sky kicked him in the throat, causing him to choke and sputter slightly before his laughter dissolved into coughing.
"You're done," Sky said calmly. "Give up."
"Is...is that what you think?" Dave let out another brief giggle. "You really are stupid."
"Shut up you-"
"Look around you." Dave gestured dramatically to the island falling to bits around them. "The island's gone. And guess what?" Dave covered his mouth and continued giggling.
"Go on," Sky said with a death glare, circling around him as he continued to stumble around on the ground.
"We got here first! We were about ready to leave when you crashed on top of our ship!" Dave burst into hysterical laughter, before in a rage Sky grabbed him by the shoulders and pinned him against a tree.
"The hell do you mean?" Sky spit out.
"Exactly what I said!" Dave's crazed features made Sky feel physically ill. "We've already set the bombs to be launched! And we engineered it so that they'd all leave so they can detonate at the same time!" His features calmed. "Including, for good measure, a bomb on this island." His grin, if possible, widened even more. "We're ALL doomed! THAT'S why it doesn't matter what Al does! Have fun!"
Sky looked at Dave with quite possibly the largest amount of loathing and disgust she'd ever felt in her entire life.
"Not if I can help it, you psychopath."
Sky grabbed a hold of Dave's head and drew it back, before with all the force in her body she slammed it into the tree. Dave lost consciousness and slumped to the ground, bleeding severely from the head. Sky put a hand to her headset and started talking.
"Max, Evil One, anyone, this is Sky! Dave and Scarlett made it to the bombs first, and they're planning on blowing up the island and the entire world! We need to defuse the bombs and warn people about what's happening. Does anyone read?"
The sound of something garbled came through as Sky looked around, trying to find a better vantage point. She slung Dave's unconscious body over her shoulder as she moved out of the thick forest.
"I cannot hear you, please repeat, whoever you are!"
The voice came through more clearly this time, revealing the voice to be Evil One's. "Sky, it's me, what's this about Scarlett and Dave?"
"Scarlett and Dave have-" Sky broke off in horror as a whooshing sound came from the center of the island, a missile streaking into the sky. "OKAY SCARLETT AND DAVE HAVE STARTED FIRING THE NUCLEAR WEAPONRY! WE NEED TO EVACUATE AND TELL EVERYONE TO TAKE COVER!"
"Sky, what does 'everyone' mean-"
"EVERYONE, THEY'RE GONNA BLOW THE WHOLE WORLD TO HELL!"
Sky looked around anxiously, trying to find a way down into Pahkitew's depths. A tree toppled, sparking as it went. Sky leaped out of the way with Dave in tow. The island was breaking apart and she had no doubt that if she were to go down there to help him she'd just end up trapped down there with them.
"I'll...see what I can do," Evil One said anxiously. "Jasmine and I are coming to pick you up."
"Got it," Sky said. "Once you get here we'll see if we can get in contact with Max, he's not picking up right now. He's headed after Alejandro below."
"What? By himself?"
Sky looked up at the atmosphere above her as another missile was launched. "It looks like it's up to him to shut the controls down."
Sky grabbed her arm tightly, nearly letting Dave slide over her shoulder before she steadied herself in time. "I know. But it's all we've got."
Considering the amount of chaos on Pahkitew's surface, it felt altogether far too quiet underneath. Max's heartbeat accelerated exponentially, his arms shaking as he glanced around for anything he could use as a weapon. He was bruised and bleeding all over from Scarlett's beatdown, and he didn't know how well he'd be able to actually fight against Alejandro in this state. Then again, Alejandro was currently nursing both a nasty head wound and several bullet wounds in the gut, courtesy of Dave. Maybe now the fight would be a bit more fair.
Max passed a sparking cabinet, which he opened to uncover bits of old paintball gear, abandoned and left to rot over the years. It was better than nothing at any rate, and considering Alejandro's injuries it could actually prove to be incredibly useful. He picked up the gun, holding it shaking in his hands, feeling a bit silly in spite of himself.
He heard footsteps down the hall, creaking, gusts of wind threatening to break apart the ceiling above him and the floor beneath him. He perused his memory to all those years ago, when they'd had to navigate the underground in order to stop Scarlett from blowing up the island. Somehow he felt a longing for simpler times. Relatively, of course.
"Are you seriously coming after me?" Alejandro's voice echoed through the halls, and Max whipped around back and forth, unable to determine the source. "Seriously? What happened to Sky, huh? She too busy with her freak of an ex? Or maybe Scarlett's already killed her."
"Scarlett's dead," Max replied. "I killed her."
"You did WHAT?"
Max briefly saw a figure at the end of the hall, who fired off a few shots in his direction, bursting a pipe in front of him and spewing gas from it. Max felt a twinge of pain from his shoulder as the shot grazed it. He held up the paintball gun and fired a bit, to no avail.
"Forgive me if I don't believe you." Alejandro's voice echoed across, growing more distant. Max moved his short stubby legs, following nervously, arms shaking. He was acutely aware of the pain he was feeling all over.
"You're stalling," Max said, voice quavering slightly. "Are you dying too?"
Max turned the corner and was greeted by a shot coming directly towards him, which he barely dodged by moving back behind the wall. He fired off a few shots himself, the lights flickering bright enough for him to see Alejandro on the other side. A shot hit Alejandro in his head wound. As he screamed, he dropped the gun to the ground, holding both hands to his head as he grimaced and let out a whimper of pain.
"You little SHIT!"
Max looked down to see he had one shot left and he had no ammo with which to reload. All he'd succeeded to do was piss people off yet again. It was all he was ever good for, it looked like.
Alejandro and Max stood awkwardly before Max started to move towards Alejandro. Al turned another corner and with one hand on his gunshot wound went into a sprint, somehow still having enough energy to run despite all the injuries he'd sustained. Well, if Alejandro could still run after all that so could Max. Max broke out into a run despite his haggard physical state, trying to get a clear shot at Alejandro that would actually do something other than piss him off.
Alejandro came to a stop as he reached a door that stood open ajar, slowing down and entering the room. Blue lights illuminated Alejandro's face as his stomach turned. He faced the controls where Scarlett had taken control of the island all those years ago, and now where the nuclear missiles were being armed.
Max let off his final shot, the paintball hitting Alejandro in his gunshot wound. Alejandro howled in pain as he crumpled to his knees, clutching his wound.
"You're finished," Max said, more confidently than he felt. "Give up NOW."
"You idiot..." Alejandro said, gesturing to the control panel. "It's over...it's all over..."
Max moved into the room, his paintball gun still pointed at Alejandro despite its lack of ammo. His eyes found the control panel that was currently directing the missiles. The controls lay slashed, sparking from a wide array of knife slashes, completely inoperable. On the screen above, Max saw a number of targets on the screen, ranging the entire globe. From Berlin, to London, to San Francisco, to Toky
"She got here first," Max realized in growing horror.
"We're done," Alejandro groaned. "She and Dave...they organized it so everything would go off at the same time. They set the island to explode. It's done."
Max dropped his weapon to the ground, moving past Alejandro heaving and clutching his wound to look at the carnage. The timer read two minutes until each missile would find their mark. They were spaced enough so that even those who survived would be unable to recover. Millions if not billions more would die on top of all the shit Max had caused.
Max cupped his hands around his face, trying to steady his breathing. When he finally felt like he was able to control himself, he found an outlet on the control board that remained undamaged.
"MIC, can I upload you into this?"
"Think so, don't know how much I'll be able to do."
Max held up the chip containing MIC and connected it to the board. A whirring sound and MIC's voice expanded to fill the room.
A sharp pain pierced Max's back and he cried out, tumbling to the floor. A beaten, bloodied Alejandro stood over him, limping over his direction, ready to kill him.
"What are you doing?" Max asked, horrified. "I'm trying to save us!"
"Look at it from my point of view!" Alejandro's voice cracked and he laughed mirthlessly, staggering and clenching his teeth. "There's nothing left for me! It's best just to let it all die. Then I won't have to deal with it anymore."
"You'll kill Heather too! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?"
"Don't you understand?" Alejandro snarled, stumbling slightly. "We're ALL doomed, no matter what. Even if you deactivate it we'll be executed anyway! I know it, YOU know it! SO WHY BOTHER?"
Gritting his teeth, Max punched Alejandro in the gut, his hand getting soaked with blood as the Spaniard fell back down to his knees, sputtering. Max groaned as he moved around slightly.
"MIC, can you deactivate the missiles?"
"Whatever she did has made me unable to deactivate the weapons, or the imminent countdown. I am not sure how. I'm sorry, Max."
"It's over...it's over..." Alejandro coughed slightly, breathing heavily and still holding his hand tight to his wound.
"Wait..." Max heaved, moving back over to the controls. "MIC, can you redirect where the missiles are going?"
Silence for a moment on the AI's end as it calculated. "Yes. I believe I can."
Max heard something through his headset, a faint static and someone yelling. "Yes? Hello? Who is this?"
The voice became clearer and Sky's voice came through. Something about the room's status as the control room allowed the signal to be accepted.
"Max! Oh, thank God! Scarlett and Dave got there first, they-"
"I know," Max grimaced. "I can see it now. MIC...can you send the missiles to space?"
"What?" Sky's voice came through. "MIC has control?"
"It's hopeless..." Alejandro muttered from behind Max, trying to get back to his feet, only to fall back to the ground again.
"Yes," MIC said simply. "Why?"
"Well we can't put it in the water, that'd just make everything even worse," Max said. "So can you put them in space in time?"
"What?" Sky's voice came through the speaker. "Wait, Max, what are you saying?"
"Yes, with two seconds to spare, so complying now unless waiting further instructions." MIC's voice sounded uncertain.
"What the hell are you DOING?" Alejandro yelled. "That won't change the fact that this island is going to blow! There's no point to it Max, you're not gonna live, and I'M not gonna live, SO WHAT'S THE POINT?"
"IT'S NOT ABOUT US ANYMORE!" Max yelled back at him. "LOOK AROUND, ALEJANDRO! MILLIONS DIED BECAUSE OF ME AND I'M NOT GONNA LET THAT HAPPEN AGAIN!"
"T minus thirty seconds to detonation."
Alejandro's body stilled as he seemed to comprehend what was about to happen. "I'm about to die..." he said, tears flowing freely down his face. "I'm really about to die..."
"Max, can we get you out of there?"
"No time," Max said, a certain serenity taking over him as he gazed over the controls. "MIC, what are the effects of nuclear detonation in space?"
"On a scale like this? Worldwide electromagnetic pulse. Should fry the majority of people's electricity."
"It'll have to do," Max sighed, running his hands through his hair.
"Max, what the hell is going on? Do you need help? H-How can I help? MAX?"
"T minus fifteen seconds to detonation."
"I'm sorry Sky," Max said, closing his eyes. "This is it. I just have one request."
"Don't tell the story like I'm some kind of hero. Goodbye, Sky."
Max picked up his headset and smashed it.
"T minus ten seconds to detonation. Nine. Eight."
"I'm sorry, Heather..." Alejandro said weakly, the tears still coming. "I'm sorry..."
"Seven. Six. Five."
Max glanced at the screen, seeing that the missiles were rising steadily into the atmosphere. Signal Industries had done its job too well, he supposed. They'd make it in time. Thank God.
A million thoughts passed through his mind. Everything that led up to this moment. Everyone who'd ever laid down their lives for him. All the people he killed, and more importantly all the people he'd cruelly left alive. Izzy's corpse by this point was ingrained in his skull but now at the end he found himself recalling the time they'd spent while she was still alive.
Although he'd never liked Moreau, he wondered if the man had felt this way in his final moments. How interesting, that both of them would now be sacrificing their lives for the cause, when only a month prior they'd been mortal enemies. He wondered if Moreau would be proud.
His thoughts turned to those still living, for better or worse. Sky. Evil One. Noah. Jasmine. They'd all have to carry on with a broken world, and he didn't like it just as much as they did. But they would have to make do.
Something came to his mind, and Max out a small sigh and a laugh, finally coming to the sad realization of the truth. Of the entire culmination of his life.
He shook his head mildly, accepting his fate. "What a cliche..."
"One. It's been an honor, sir."
Max closed his eyes.
The aircraft set down on Pahkitew's edge, nearby the crash of Alejandro's hovercraft. Jasmine sat in the pilot's seat while Evil One stepped out of the doors, glancing frantically around for any glimpse of Sky or Max. Finally, he saw a figure emerging from over the woods, and he breathed a sigh of relief as he saw Sky running towards them, an unconscious Dave slung across her back.
"C'mon, c'mon!" Evil One yelled, helping her onboard. "Where's Max? What's going on? Why the HELL did you bring DAVE?"
"Max...isn't gonna make it," Sky said simply. "Now MOVE IT, GET OUT OF HERE! THE ISLAND'S GONNA BLOW!"
"What about the missiles?" Jasmine yelled from the cockpit.
"Max sent them into space, apparently it'll create a worldwide EMP. Will that harm us?"
"This doesn't run on electricity, fortunately," Evil One said, sitting down as the ship started to take off. "We'll be fine."
"Pull it into overdrive!" Sky yelled at Jasmine.
"I'm trying!" Jasmine responded, equally frustrated. The ship sped forward, and the sound of an explosion from behind them. Sky glanced back through the window as Pahkitew exploded in spectacular manner. The island broke apart at the seams, debris flying into the air as the explosion blew everything sky high, hot enough to melt some of it even. The sinking feeling in her chest deepened.
Then it felt like the world was ending around them as the missiles detonated in the atmosphere above. While the nuclear devices would not explode while in space, the sheer amount of energy being released worldwide caused a rumbling sound to resonate across the entire Earth, rippling the waves beneath. It was done.
For better or worse, Max, Alejandro, and Scarlett were dead.
"Guess you were right about the EMP," Jasmine said from the cockpit. "We just lost radio contact."
Evil One looked back in shock. "So he was...he was...Max is..." Tears welled up in Evil One's eyes, and once more Sky seemed unsure of what to do.
"He's dead," Sky said simply.
Evil One steadied his breathing slightly, and managed to calm himself. His eyes shifted towards the unconscious and bruised Dave. His scowl set as he remembered the person who'd killed Izzy. "Why...the hell...did you bring him along?"
Sky sighed, looking over at Dave with an odd mixture of revulsion and pity. "You know what...death is just too good for him."
Evil One looked at the killer with revulsion before turning as Sky sat down. "So what now?"
"Now," Sky said solemnly. "We see what kind of world we have waiting for us."
Headlines taken from the week after the exposure of Alejandro and Heather's plan:
ALEJANDRO BURROMUERTO RESPONSIBLE FOR MAX'S RISE TO POWER, KILLED MOREAU
MAX HISCOCK AND ALEJANDRO BURROMUERTO BOTH DEAD, HEATHER TO FACE IMPRISONMENT
EMP FROM NUCLEAR BLASTS WIPE OUT WORLD'S ELECTRICITY, RECOVERY EXPECTED TO LAST MONTHS (BETTER THAN BEING DEAD)
CONSPIRACY UNRAVELS, MAX HISCOCK MANIPULATED ON ALL COUNTS
RIOTS IN NEW YORK CONTAINED, ORDER IMPOSED
PEACE TALKS BETWEEN NATIONS TAKING PLACE OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, DIVISION OF TERRITORY LIKELY
The police escort stopped outside of the ETOD. A number of policemen stood guard with shields, as rioters screamed and spit and threw rocks. The policemen remained rigid and unmovable. Jasmine stood on the steps of the ETOD as the car doors opened, and Heather limped out, clearly in pain and not supposed to be walking at all. A bandage remained wrapped around her leg and jaw, and the week or two that had passed had done nothing to improve her appearance. Her hair was messy and damp, and her legs trembled with each step.
The police moved her along. It wasn't exactly gentle but as Jasmine looked down at her and the two made eye contact, Jasmine motioned for the policemen to stand down.
"Yes?" Jasmine asked coldly.
"I just wanted you to know..." Heather said weakly, her bandage obscuring your words slightly. "When I stabbed Noah...I...I wasn't expecting him to come. I was expecting you. I wanted you to kill me. I...was hoping you would kill me."
"But I didn't come, so you didn't," Jasmine replied, stone cold. "Is that why you mocked me about Shawn?"
"I...yes." Heather's eyes welled up again. "I didn't want to do it anymore. I wanted it to end. But I was too scared to do it myself...I'd be letting Alejandro down." Her voice choked inside her throat as her voice rose in pitch. "And now that he's gone I don't...I'm sorry...I'm so sorry..."
Jasmine's expression didn't change as the former manipulator finally lost it completely. She held up a hand and the guards continued pushing her along. She'd spend the rest of her life in prison. Part of her felt pity. Most did not.
Heather entered the ETOD and out of Jasmine's sight. She pulled out her phone and made a call. Yes, she wanted to speak to Sky. Oh, she was indisposed? Okay, just let her know that the doctor requested a visit. No, we don't know if it's because he survived, or because he's ready to receive visitors. What do you want here? Okay, goodbye.
Jasmine hung up and started moving. It was impossible to get anywhere at this point in time. But this was important. It was time to see how a friend was doing, after all. Sky could meet her after she was finished inside. Evil One was supposedly already there.
Time to move on.
The cell that had once held Scarlett, then Max, had remained brightly lit for all those months. Now, after the EMP, the room and corridor outside was dark, befitting of the individual currently being held inside. Sky moved through the hallways anxiously, glancing in at the prisoners inside. Alejandro had imprisoned those who'd spoken out against him, and now they would be processed in files to see if they actually deserved to be there.
Like several others before her, Sky now stood before three sets of doors that slowly opened before her. Dave sat in his cell, staring blankly ahead, the dim lights flickering slightly. A bandage wrapped around his forehead from where Sky had slammed him into a tree. He'd refused to speak after waking up, and was either facing a lifetime in prison or a psychiatric ward. Sky was almost positive that he'd been hoping to be killed on that island, whether he consciously realized it or not.
"Hi, Dave," Sky said softly, sitting down on the other side of the glass. Dave didn't move in the slightest, not even acknowledging her presence. "I came to see you. I...wondered how you were doing. With all this."
Silence on the other end. Sky sighed and relaxed her posture slightly. "Please talk to me. There's no reason for you to ignore me. It's just petty."
"Petty?" Dave's voice came out in a high-pitched rasp. Finally, he made eye contact with her. "Petty...please...tell me more."
"Yes, it's petty," Sky said, looking over at him. "Everything about you is petty. You just tried to kill billions of people. And for what, again? Couple of slights? Normal people don't work that way."
Dave let out a bitter laugh. "Yeah, do you think I don't know that? Do you think I haven't just...tried letting things go?" Dave rose to his feet, staring coldly at Sky. "I hate you just as much as I did when you broke my heart on the island. If there weren't glass between us right now, I'd be trying to throttle you."
Sky felt queasy again. "So...you KNOW what you did is wrong? There goes your insanity defense."
Dave giggled. "Oh, I KNOW I'm too far gone, Sky. But by this point I don't care! Look at us, Sky! We won!"
"You failed!" Sky yelled, taking a defensive pose. "You tried to kill everyone and you failed!"
"Wrong!" Dave laughed. "Look around, Sky! Who did Scarlett want to kill the absolute MOST? Well guess what? Max is DEAD! I wanted Alejandro gone, and now he's dead too!" He dissolved into a laughing fit before regaining control of himself, letting out a sigh as his body language relaxed as he slid forward, still looking at Sky.
"I guess I didn't think of it that way..." Sky muttered, stomach rising again.
"You don't think at ALL!" Dave laughed. "And guess what, Sky? You're the last one."
"What?" Sky asked, voice rising in terror as a grin slowly spread across Dave's face, stance becoming almost predatory.
"I killed Max. I killed Alejandro," Dave said, voice rising in pitch and frequency. "All that's left...is you. And let me assure you, that until my dying breath you will NEVER keep me down." Sky backed up as Dave slammed his fists on the glass. "I'LL FIND YOU, YOU HEAR ME?" His voice suddenly became very quiet. "Maybe when you're on a walk, maybe when you're fucking some guy, maybe when you're taking a shit...I'll be there. You'll slip up, Sky." Dave's eyes remained glassy as he stood up straight.
"And then, once I'm done with you, I'll finally be able to kill myself, knowing that I'll finally be at peace."
It was quiet for a few moments as Sky's heartbeat started to slow back down. Tears rose to her eyes as she realized just how far he'd fallen.
"Is..is that what you really think, Dave?"
"Why wouldn't it be?" Dave sneered, sitting back down.
Sky sighed, clutching her arms slightly. "The reason you're not dead right now...it's partly because I feel you didn't deserve it. I think...I think you projected your self-hate onto everyone else. And once you'd killed everyone you'd have no one left to hate but yourself." Sky became more confident, straightening her posture. "I wanted to show you that firsthand."
"Cruel mercy?" Dave laughed. "You stupid bi-"
"And I'm sorry," Sky choked out. Dave stopped mid-laugh, his expression fading slightly on his face as the shock of what she had just said hit him.
"I'm sorry I hurt you," Sky said, the emotion rising in her voice. "It was wrong of me, and I shouldn't have done what I did. You...you're not okay in the head. And instead of treating you the way we did we should have gotten you help. Maybe that's Chris's fault for leaving you on the island for as long as he did, but...this could have been avoided. I'm sorry you ended up replacing me with Alejandro and got betrayed even worse. I'm sorry."
Dave didn't move, his face still frozen in shock, seemingly unable to comprehend the words she was saying.
"But that doesn't excuse what you did." Sky's face darkened, and the pity was completely overtaken by disgust. "You may not be right in the head, but most people don't act the way YOU did. You didn't have to kill Izzy, but you did anyway. You tried to kill EVERYONE IN THE WORLD. You can't justify that. And you know what? THAT is why I left you alive. Because killing you would have been the easy way out for you. You wouldn't have to face any consequence for your actions. I was hoping that you didn't understand what you were doing wrong so you could get sent to a psychiatric ward. But now that I realize that you just don't care?"
Sky paused before continuing. "You can burn in hell."
The two remained still for a few moments as her words set in. Dave's eyes appeared glassier than usual.
Then, to Sky's surprise, tears began pouring down his face as his shoulders heaved. He'd forgone the loud, obnoxious crying of the past, and he wept quietly, trying to stand before collapsing to the ground. Sky looked down in shock as he continued, curling up into the fetal position. Guilt racked Sky's body as she looked down at the crying boy in front of her. Slowly, she backed away, hands in her pockets, and walked quickly away from the sight, leaving Dave curled up on the floor behind her.
Evil One stood in front of the hospital room, nurses wheeling stretchers back and forth. Phone calls continued to ring as the hospital he was currently standing in continued to be one of the busiest places in the entire city. He tapped his foot anxiously, waiting for his two compatriots to join him.
Finally, he saw two women moving towards him, one significantly taller than the other.
"Thank God you're here," Evil One said, sighing in relief. "I've been waiting for you guys to finish your errands."
"It was...more difficult that I expected," Sky said. "But I had to get some closure. You know."
"Likewise," Jasmine nodded in agreement.
Evil One smiled. "That's good to hear...I think. Anyways-"
"You three here to see Noah Grant?" a doctor asked, interrupting Evil One, who looked miffed for some reason. The doctor adjusted her clipboard and glasses slightly. "Well, he's ready to see you now. At any rate."
"How is he? Other than that?" Sky asked.
The doctor grit her teeth slightly. "I'll have to let him tell you."
"Dr. Bishop!" someone called from down the hall. "New batch of patients, coming in!"
"I'll be right there!" the doctor called. "Gotta go. Hope he's more responsive to you than he was to me. Hell, I'm technically supposed to be on leave after I got held hostage by two lunatics."
"Scarlett and Dave?" Evil One asked incredulously.
"You know 'em?" the doctor asked, sounding bored. "Why am I not surprised? Anyway, gotta go. Try not to kill him by accident."
The three entered the hospital room to see Noah sitting upright in his bed, looking haggard and frankly almost dead.
"Noah?" Jasmine asked nervously as the three moved towards him.
"Hi, guys," Noah said, sounding even more dead inside than usual. He turned his head to see them. "So Max is dead, huh? And Scarlett and Al..."
"Yup," Sky said. "The fight isn't over, though. We still have a lot of work to do."
"You still have a lot of work to do," Noah corrected her, looking down at his legs.
"What do you mean?" Jasmine asked.
"You didn't hear the news?" Noah scoffed, before his face softened up again. "I'm...never going to walk again. The knife gave me permanent nerve damage. I'm gonna have to use a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
"Oh no!" Sky said. "That's terrible!"
"Oh really?" Noah sneered. "I had NO idea! Do you have any idea how much pain I'm in right now?"
"She didn't mean anything by it," Evil One said. "Back off. I'm sorry to hear, but it's not like there's much we can do."
"Preaching to the choir, aren't we?" Noah continued. "Look at me, James. I lost to Heather. While you all were out there fighting for the sake of the world I was on the floor being useless and bleeding out-" His emotions seemed to rise as tears flowed down his face, the facade of anger giving way to just how much he was hurting, both physically and mentally.
"Are you okay for hugging?" Jasmine asked, moving in just in case.
"No," Noah snapped, his voice still hollow. "I don't need it. I failed. I don't deserve it."
"Did you though?" Evil One asked innocently, all eyes turning to him. "I mean, even if you didn't participate in the final battle...weren't you the one who clued Izzy and I in about the conspiracy? Then you took the leadership role and directed us. You might not have been able to help us in the final battle, but...you were probably the only reason we got there in the first place."
Noah was quiet for a few moments, and he shifted his head so he was staring at the wall. "...thank you. I do appreciate it. But...could you all please just...leave?"
"But-" Sky interrupted.
"Please," Noah said desperately, clenching his fist tightly. "Just...leave. I need to be alone."
The three looked around at each other sadly, before looking back at the broken man before them.
"Okay," Evil One said meekly. The three turned and walked away.
Noah watched them go. Once they were gone, he closed his eyes. What he hadn't told them was that he hadn't been allowed anywhere near his pill bottles. Not after they'd left it on the counter and he'd promptly downed the entire bottle. He was effectively imprisoned until they could be sure that he wouldn't try again.
As Noah drifted off into sleep, his troubles lifted and, until he woke up again, he would have peace.
Evil One sat down on the steps outside, wrapping his arms around his legs and putting his head near his knees. Sky moved to sit next to him while Jasmine took the other side, her large size making things rather awkward for her.
"What the hell do we do now?" Evil One asked weakly. "Max is dead...Moreau's dead...we're not in control of the peace talks. We just have to trust that they'll work out. So what the hell do we do now?"
"I don't know," Sky admitted. "Maybe...maybe just take a break."
"I'm going to organize a funeral for Shawn," Jasmine said. "I don't know whether or not Moreau or Max will have one. If so there probably wouldn't really be a body left for them, but..."
"We'll give them funerals," Evil One said, sounding certain of himself for once. "They deserve at least that much."
"Do they, though?" Sky asked. "They both...had their flaws."
"Don't we all?" Evil One pointed out. Sky didn't really have anything to say to that.
The three sat in silence for a while before Jasmine finally broke it. "Maybe we could start by helping the people directing the peace talks," she said "God knows we can shed some light on what's really gone on here. We don't want things to be remembered incorrectly."
"Yeah..." Evil One rose to his feet, smiling. "I still have bits from my Archive that can help. How do we get there?"
"Just one question," Sky said as we rose to her feet. "Max said he didn't want to be remembered as a hero. How the hell are we supposed to tell this story?"
The silence continued. It was an apt thing, silence. It represented all that was not and what would never be. And while it represented uncertainty, it would soon give way to what would be.
"We do the best we can," Evil One said, and the three began to walk down the sidewalk, through the war-torn world, and hopefully toward a better tomorrow.
A Note From The Author:
Writing is hard. Writing a story that is incredibly convoluted and not at all black and white is even harder. When I began this project my main goal was to tell Max's story, of how he realized he "was hopelessly and pathetically out of his depth." This has evolved to some extent to include the tales of Moreau, of Dave, of Scarlett. I've been very lucky in the resources I've been gifted. Possibly the most vital source of information provided to me was the recordings left behind by Marcus Gibson. He clandestinely spied on his superiors and provided the clearest picture of Alejandro and Heather's actions, possibly even more than my interviews with Heather herself.
It just so happens that I've finished writing this on the day that the bill deciding whether or not to erect statues of Max and Moreau was finally decided. It was decided that in honor of his words to Sky that Max would not receive a statue, and as such neither would Moreau. Both would however receive a museum dedicated to telling every single possible side to this story. And really, I think that's what both of them would have wanted.
It's been a long eight years since the worldwide electromagnetic pulse, the end of Max, Moreau, and Alejandro's reigns. The world is set on a slow recovery, and by that I do mean SLOW. It'll be at least three lifetimes before we're anywhere close to where we once were. The damage done to this planet is inexcusable and unforgivable, and writing about such tragedies has been hard.
However, I retain hope that at least some people will be able to live out the rest of their lives in relative peace, capable of finding some solace, whether it be through this story or whatever personal closure they may want. I know as I'm writing this right now, I certainly feel some sense of it. In a way this has been a way for me to cope with the losses I've felt, and the life I continue living.
It's hard to write a story without bias that you are so deeply involved in. I hope I did a decent job.
Until next time.
The man formerly known as Evil One,
James C. Brass
This has been the longest chapter of my entire fanfiction career, and I couldn't be happier.
On November 23, 2014, or 1 year, 5 months, and 25 days ago, I began this fic on the same day I ended From Drama to Death, my other major project. I couldn't have expected how big this would grow in my head, or how it would all stem from the simple question "what if Max actually took over the world?"
Now, in 2016 I've finally completed it, and I can safely say that this is my favorite work I've ever done. Even though it hasn't achieved near as much popularity as FDTD, those who've stuck around clearly are passionate about it and I thank you all who've stuck with it this far. I greatly appreciate you.
The ride doesn't stop here.
This is an entire world that I've thought about, and lots of things I couldn't fit into the story itself. Backstories for characters such as Moreau and Evil One. Changes that I made to the story's plot, all held on an unedited Google Doc from over a year ago. It's all there, and I can continue supplying it to you, either through PM, through gmail exchange, whatever.
The final plot twist, namely, that Evil One is the narrator has been foreshadowed for quite some time now. Apart from his personality being based around recording, you might notice slight...slips from third person to first person in the narration, almost always when Evil One is involved in the scene. It's very subtle stuff and I'd actually encourage you all to reread the fic keeping that in mind, and the questions that might come up because of it.
As for what Evil One, Sky, Jasmine, Noah, Heather, and Dave do next? As with my previous fic, I leave it up to you to decide. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. I'd love to hear ALL your thoughts on it, the good and the bad.
I'm posting a poll to my profile that'll ask if there's a character you wish survived. There will be three choices and it'll be good.
I feel very emotional typing this up. This has comprised almost a year and a half of my life and now that it's over I don't know what to do. I'll likely fade out of the TD fandom completely after this, and move on to original works. If you ever want a glimpse of that, all you need to do is ask.
Thank you so much for making it this far, and I hope you've enjoyed.
See you guys.