By David Solomon
"Have you found him?"
"Yes. I know exactly where he is."
"...you like him, don't you."
"You like everything about him."
"Is this line secure?"
"Of course it is!"
"...I'd better go."
Two policemen walked around in the "Gall Bladder of the city hotel." They were searching around with flashlights. Meanwhile, at the bottom, several policemen stood watch. Then the car pulled up. And out stepped Crash Bandicoot, Dr. Neo-Cortex, and Gabe Logan. Crash looked at one of the policemen.
"You disobeyed my orders," he said.
"Hey, I'm just doing my job," the policeman responded. "You can tell me thirteen times not to go in that building, and I'm going to deliberately ignore every single one of those times."
"The orders were for your protection."
The policeman laughed. "I think we can handle one green-haired girl." Crash looked up at the hotel.
"I sent two men up there to get her."
"No, lieutenant, your men are already dead."
"Freeze!" the policeman shouted. The two policemen held their guns up and advanced towards Terra, who was sitting at a large amount of computers. One of them tried to put cuffs on her, but she turned around and punched him in the face. The other guard began shooting, but by then, she was already in her pink, nude, super form. She flew around the room at lightning speed, and rammed into him like a Buick. The other guard got up, but she jumped up, and the field of vision suddenly turned 90 degrees for no reason at all. Then she kicked him. With both guards on the ground, she gratuitously swore. She took out a cell phone and dialed a phone number.
"Cecil," she began. "The line was tapped. I don't know how. Are there any mascots?"
"You have to focus, Terra."
"Okay." Terra left the building, and started running to the left, only to meet up with Logan. She ran to the right, up the stairs, towards the rooftops, being followed closely by Crash and some other policemen. She then came to the edge of the building, and made a huge leap to the other building. Crash did the same.
"Whoa...freaky mookie!" One of the policemen muttered. Meanwhile, Terra flew off the edge of the building, through a window, and down stairs. When she got up, she ran out of the building, only to find Crash. In a Hyundai. Just up ahead was the Compact Disc. All she needed to do was touch it. But the Hyundai was already revving up. Frantically, she ran at it, and picked it up seconds before it was grinded into dust by the wheels of the Hyundai. Crash stepped out, but she was already gone.
"It doesn't matter that she's escaped," Gabe pointed out. "Our contact has told us of their next target. His name is Cloud."
Cloud Strife lay in his apartment exhausted. He was reading a book. However, when he turned the page, he was startled to see what it read.
"Cloud. The Playstation has you. Follow the pale bald guy. Knock, knock, Cloud."
Cloud woke up to the knocking at the door. He opened the door a creak.
"Who is it?"
"It's Pimpolus," a man from the group in front of his door responded.
"Hold on a second," Cloud got up and picked out a fanfic from his locked dresser. He opened the door, and handed the fanfic to Pimpolus. Pimpolus handed him $5000.
"Hey, thanks man," Pimpolus said. "You're my savior."
"If you're caught using that..."
"Yeah, I know. You don't exist."
Cloud nodded. Pimpolus continued talking. "Say, man, you look like you need some relaxation. How about you come with us to the Generic-Heavy-Metal-Music-People-Dancing-Strangely Party going on right now?"
"No thanks, I have work tomorrow."
"Oh, come on," A pale bald guy said. "It'll be fun."
Cloud noticed the connection. Well, duh.
At the party, Cloud just stood in the corner watching. A green-haired woman approached him.
Cloud turned to the wall. "How do you know that name?"
"I know a lot of things about you. My name's Terra."
"Terra...geez! You participated in the destruction of Kefka's tower!"
"That was a long time ago, Cloud." She walked closer to him, and began whispering in his ear. "It's the question, Cloud. The question that bothers you. It's the reason you live alone, it's the question that keeps you awake. It's the question that you really didn't think about up until I started talking vaguely and obscurely. It's the question that you probably never thought about, but for aesthetic purposes, you do."
"What is the Playstation..." Cloud responded. When he woke up, it was 9:17 AM.
Cloud stood in the office of the head of Super Weapons Corp., a company that specialized in the very item the title implies.
"You have a real problem with authority, Mr. Strife," the boss said. "You believe you are different. You believe that your spiky hair makes you beyond the rules. This company got to where it is today because everyone works as a whole. Therefore, if one person has a problem, the company has a problem. Do you have a problem, Mr. Strife?"
"Now, it's time to make a decision. Either you promise to show up at your desk on time, or get yourself a new job."
Cloud nodded, and went to his desk. He began polishing a staff he'd been working on for some generic, black clothed mage that was wearing a sombrero. Then, a man came in with a package.
"Cloud U. Strife?" The man asked.
"That's me," Cloud responded. The man handed him a package, and Cloud signed for it. He opened up the package, and found a cell phone. The cell phone rang. Cloud picked it up, confused who would be calling him on a cell phone he had just received."
"Who are you?" Cloud asked.
"You know who I am. It's just that for some strange reason, you thought you didn't know who I was. And you have reason. After all, you've never met me before. It's just that, for some strange, vague, reason, you know. Kind of like how in soap operas, a wife somehow knows when her husband is in danger. God, I hate Days of Our Lives."
"You're Cecil!" Cloud responded. "Why are you calling me?"
"Look up." Cloud looked up. "Slowly! I don't actually know how fast you're going up, but for some strange reason, my totally vague guess was actually right, because you didn't say that you weren't slowly rising." Cloud looked up, and saw some very strange looking people. They looked bad. And they had sunglasses. Oh, no.
Cloud quickly ducked down behind his cubicle. "What do they want with me?"
"I don't know, but if you don't want to find out, then follow my directions. You DO not want to find out, right?"
"No...although I am a little curious."
"Well, curiosity killed the cat."
"Actually, curiosity only harmed the cat. A cocaine overdose killed it."
Cecil paused for a minute. "Just...go to the cubicle straight ahead."
"Go!" Cloud ran to the cubicle right ahead.
"Now, stay here for a while." Cloud stayed. "Now, take a left and go to the office at the end of the hallway. Go!" Cloud ran. Some people gave a strange look, but then went back to their job as if nothing happened. Huh. When Cloud got to the office room, Cecil continued. "Now, look out the window. There should be a scaffold to your right. Follow the edge of the building to get there."
"What are you, crazy?"
"No, I'm Cecil."
"I can't do that!"
"There are two ways out of this building; on the scaffold, and in their custody. You take a chance either way." Cecil hung up.
Cloud put the phone in his pocket. "I can't do that," he said. "In fact, I'm not supposed to do that. By not doing it, I can have more of a character arc throughout the movie, and you can compare cool me to wimpy me at the beginning of the story." The mascots found him, and took him away. Terra swore again.
In a scary, white room, Cloud sat down, with nothing but a table in front of him. The mascots walked in. Crash sat down on the chair on the other end of the table, and opened up a surprisingly large folder.
"As you can see, we've been following you for quite some time," Crash stated. "You seem to be living two lives. Your first life is Cloud Strife, where you are known as an international hero for saving the world. You also have a very good job at a weapon's shop, and you pay your taxes." Crash frowned. "Your second life is lived through fanfiction, where you sell fanfics that are guilty of virtually every clichˇ we have a law for. One of these lives has a future, Mr. Strife." Crash pushed the folder away. "We're willing to wipe this slate clean, if you help us bring down a national terrorist by the name of Cecil. What you think you know about this man is not important. He is considered one of the most dangerous men alive. We're offering a complete pardon of your crimes, and all you have to do is help us in bringing down Cecil."
"Yeah..." Cloud thought. "That seems like a pretty good idea. But I have a better idea. How about, I give you the finger..." Cloud handed them a plastic finger from one of those Halloween sets. "...and you give me my phone call."
Crash sighed. "You disappoint me, Cloud."
"You don't scare me. I want my phone call."
"Tell me, Cloud. What good is a phone call, if you are unable to smell?"
"...what?" All of a sudden, Cloud's nose clogged up
"By dode ith stuffed up!" Cloud shouted. "What does dis have to do wit a phone call?"
"You are going to help us Cloud, whether you want to or not." Crash took out a small, scary looking robot. The robot crawled around Cloud, who was being held down by Logan and Dr. Cortex. The robot crawled...up...his...ass.
Cloud woke up, breathed through his nose, and felt his ass. Was it a dream? It didn't make any sense. It never will. The phone rang.
"They got to you first, didn't they?" Cecil asked. "But they underestimated you. If they knew as much about you as I did, you'd probably be dead. You see, you may have been looking for me for the past few years, but I've been looking for you my entire life. You still want to meet, right?"
"Sure, whatever," Cloud said. "Seeing that it'll probably end this strange sleep cycle."
"Come to 43rd street."
Cloud did. He waited in the rain. A car pulled up. Cloud stepped in. Terra was in the left seat, and a pretty blond girl was in the shotgun seat. Some guy was driving it. The blond pulled a sword on him."
"What's this for?" Cloud asked, nervous.
"It's necessary to protect us from you," Terra said.
"Pull down your pants," the blond said.
"Stop the car." The car stopped. "Listen, hot shot. We don't have time for 20 questions. It's either my way, or the highway."
"We're not on a highway," Cloud pointed out. "But if you want me to leave, I will." Cloud opened the car door.
"Please, Cloud," Terra pleaded. 'Trust us." Cloud closed the door, paused, and pulled down his pants. "Why do I have to do this?" Cloud asked.
"We think you might be bugged." Terra pulled out a huge, glass thingy surrounded by lots of metal, and a screen. She shoved it up his ass.
"Ow! That hurts!" Cloud shouted.
"You're gonna lose it!" The blond said.
"No, I'm not." Terra responded, looking at the screen. When the bug got aligned with the glass thingy, she turned it on. Electricity sparkled.
"Holy ****!" Cloud shouted. "AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!" The bug came out of his ass and into the machine. "That thing's real?" Terra took the small vile the bug was in, and threw it out, where it turned off forever. The car drove up to a scary looking building. They walked in, up flights and flights of stairs. Finally, they came to a room.
"Let me give you one hint," Terra said. "Be honest. Lying to him is like watching the movie 'Last Action Hero.' There's no point." Terra opened the door. Cloud walked through it. The man in the room that turned around had a sort of technicolor hair...it was strange.
"At last, we meet!" Cecil said.
"It's an honor to meet you, Cecil," Cloud said, as they shook hands.
"Oh, no. The pleasure is all mine." They both sat down behind a table. "Right now, you must feel a lot like John Murdoch from 'Dark City' [good movie: rent it!]; your world is changing around you, and you have no idea what's going on."
"That about covers it," Cloud answered. "After all, I did just have a large piece of glass shoved up my ass."
"I know exactly what you mean," Cecil pointed out. "But the reason you're here is simple. It's the question, Cloud. Like a splinter in your mind, except without the infections and the inflammatory response. You know the question, right?"
"What is the Playstation?" Cloud asked.
Cecil paused, and took a deep breath. "The Playstation is everywhere. You see it on your way to the mall. You smell it when someone takes a dump. You can taste it, when you drink your favorite exotic drink at a bar. It is everywhere, Cloud. It is the newspaper pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Playstation is. You have to see it for yourself."
Cloud thought for a minute. "So...what's your point?"
"It has come time for you to make a decision, Cloud." Cecil held out his hands. Each was in a fist. He opened his left fist. "If you take the Hi-Potion, you wake up in Dark City, and believe whatever those pale bald guys drilled into your head." Cecil opened his right fist. "If you take the X-Potion, you stay here, and I show you the truth. But that is all I'm promising."
Cloud thought long and hard. What would be the better option? Well, if he took the Hi-Potion, the story would end, and you would be able to go about whatever you do when you're not reading fanfiction (homework, perhaps? Or your job?). But, he chose to take the X-Potion. He took it out of Cecil's hand, and downed the whole thing.
"Follow me," Cecil said. Cloud did just that. He went into another room, where all these different people were.
"The pill you took was part of a tracing program," Cecil said. "It's designed to help us figure out your location in the Playstation."
"What does that mean?" Cloud asked.
"It means keep your eyes closed," one of the operators said. "Because if you don't, they might get irritated."
"What?" Cloud asked. "What are you talking about?" But before he knew it, he was screaming like a telephone. Exactly like a telephone.
When Cloud woke up, he was dazed and confused. He sat up, and looked around. Below him was some sort of plastic, metallic sheet. Looking farther up, he saw there was a hole in it. A part of a strange mechanism connected through this hole. It was very dark. All of a sudden, light came through a hatch that opened up. And past that light, Cloud saw one of the largest creatures he had ever seen in his entire life. The creature had reached down, and was about to pick up the metal sheet. Cloud would have been squashed, except a ship flew by and picked him up with a rope. He was raised into the ship, in heavy shock.
"Welcome to the real world," Cecil said. And Cloud fainted.
When Cloud woke up, he was covered in needles. He was on a bed. A few people were around him.
"He needs a lot of work," one person said.
"What...is...happening?" Cloud asked.
"Acupuncture," Cecil responded. Then Cloud fell asleep again. When he woke up, he was on a bed. He felt his head. No hair. He felt the back of his neck. A plug. Nothing out of the ordinary...
Just then, Cecil walked in.
"That plug was used to connect you to the Playstation. Here, it is used to hack into the Playstation."
Cloud looked around. "Where am I?"
"A better question to ask is when."
"No. I want to know where."
Cecil got angry. "Don't stifle my creative integrity, Cloud! I get mad when people stifle my creative integrity!"
"Why, I never thought you'd ask."
"All this time, you thought it was the year 2200, when, in actuality, it's closer to the year 2000. Stand up, let me show you around." Cloud did the action he had been commanded to do by the superior authority.
"This is my ship," Cecil said, pointing to everything. "The Intellovision. Most of my crew you already know." Cecil began pointing to people. "Terra, Butz, Celes, and Locke." They walked further up to a man at a control console, and slightly larger, similar looking person. "These two people are Edgar, and his older brother, Sabin. That one behind you is Gau."
"Gau scare hell out of person!" Gau shouted at Cloud, causing him to jump.
"Here, lie down on this couch," Cecil commanded, showing Cloud to a couch. "This is where we hack into the Playstation." Locke took a plug. "This may feel a little weird." He inserted the plug into Cloud. Cloud screamed, but then he wasn't anywhere.
"Where am I?" Cloud asked. Everything was white. In front of him was two chairs, a TV, and Cecil.
"You're in a simulation," Cecil responded.
Cloud gave a strange glance.
"Is it really that hard to believe? Your spiky hair is perfectly intact." Cloud noticed this. They both sat down. Cecil turned on the TV. Cloud saw various different shots of Midgar, Kalm, Mideel, and other towns. He also saw other towns he didn't recognize.
"This is what you perceive to be the real world," Cecil stated. "It's not."
Cloud gave a perplexed look.
"You've been living in a dream world, Cloud," Cecil stated. "This is the actual world." Cecil changed the channel to a strange looking world with huge buildings and odd-looking roads. Cloud was stunned.
"It began millions of years ago, when characters were celebrating the creation of a new form of entertainment...humans." Cecil paused. "We don't know who struck first, but we knew that in 1975, characters destroyed good TV programming." Cecil chuckled. "It was believed that without entertainment, humans would cease to exist. For millions of years, characters were dependent on humans to survive. Fate, it seems, is not without irony." Cecil stood up. "The average character produces an average of 4 hours of entertainment. Combined with a holding device, and a form of electricity, humans had all the entertainment they would ever need." Cecil looked at Cloud. "I've seen them. Fields of them. Fields of computers where characters aren't born, but programmed."
Cloud said nothing. He just stared at Cecil.
"What is the Playstation?" Cecil rhetorically asked. "The Playstation is machine designed to keep us busy while we are turned into this." Cecil held up a compact disc.
"No," Cloud said. "I don't believe it. Let me out. LET ME OUT!" Cloud woke up in the Intellovision. He was keeping away from everyone, flailing his arms around.
"Get away from me!" He screamed.
"He's gonna pitch the Oreos!" Butz shouted. Cloud threw up, and fainted.
Cloud woke up again. Knowing someone is there when you don't actually see them is supposed to be cool.
"I can't go back, can I?" Cloud asked.
"No," Cecil responded. "But, if you could, would you really want to?"
"Well, NO **** Sherlock! If I asked, wouldn't I want to? Idiot!"
Cecil ignored him. "It's perfectly normal, you have pressure-induced psychosis."
Cloud had no idea what he was talking about. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Cecil continued on. "When the Playstation was first created, there was a man who could control it and shape it anyway he wants. When he died, the oracle prophesized his return. The reason I wanted you, Cloud, was because I have a feeling that search is over."
Cloud rolled over and looked at Cecil. He was in a chair. "You think I'm some sort of savior?"
Cecil looked at him. "I prefer to think of it as 'emergency compensatory folk.'" Cecil paused. "Get some rest. Chances are, you'll need it."
"Wait a minute," Cloud began. "You just told me what the Playstation was! You said nobody could tell me! What sort of stupid philosophical phrase is that?" But Cecil had already left the room. So Cloud did the only thing left to do at the specific moment. Sit still and try to sleep. Not that he did.
"I take it by your bloodshot eyes and absence of lying that you didn't sleep," Edgar stated, having walked into the room.
"Nope," Cloud said.
"You will today. I guarantee it."
Cloud thought of something. "Does everybody live in these spaceships?"
"Nope. In fact, most people live in Vectrex."
"Vectrex? A city?"
"An underground city. Humans haven't found it yet. And without the codes, they won't."
"Every leader of a spaceship is given codes to Vectrex. Maybe if you live long enough, you'll get to see it. Come with me."
"Hey, I love that song!" Cloud said. "Hear my cries, hear my call, lend me your ears, see my fault, see my error, know my foes, time halts..."
"..shut up now! I hate that song, can't stand it, Puffy ripped it, ripps all his songs, plus Godzilla, sucked big time."
Cloud hummed the song as he was walked to the chair where the awful truth was given to him. Edgar plugged Cloud in.
"Now, we're supposed to start with a few unnamed programs that apparently aren't necessary or else the pacing of the story would be affected. So instead, we'll start with combat training. Edgar put a disc into the computer. On the screen, it read Samurai."
"I'm going to learn how to fight like a samurai?" Cloud asked sarcastically.
"In no time at all!" Edgar responded. He pushed a key. Cloud made a mid-coitus face. Then, he relaxed.
"Did you like it?" Edgar asked.
"I liked it even more than the very movie we're parodizing!"
Edgar chuckled. "Then let's continue!"
Edgar put in numerous discs: knight, monk, thief, ninja, paladin, dancer, Bob Dole, etc. About 5 hours later...
"How's he holding up?" Cecil asked, apparently not the least bit mad that Edgar hadn't followed his orders directly by skipping the unnamed unnecessary programs.
"He's been taking this for the amount of time stated three lines above! This guy's a machine."
At that time, Cloud woke up. "I know Dragoon."
"Then let's test it!" Cecil said. In a few seconds, Cecil and Cloud were in a dojo.
"This is a sparring program," Cecil said. "It's just like the Playstation. Notice your outfitting."
Cloud was dressed up like a dragoon. He didn't have a spear, though.
"Dragging a weapon around won't always be the smartest thing to do," Cecil pointed out. But you know hand-to-hand, don't you?"
Cloud readied a fighting position.
"I take it by your body language that you do." Cecil ran at him, and they embraced in a series of too-fast-to-keep-track-of blocks and punches. Cloud jumped away and off the wall in an elaborate attempt to jump Cecil. But Cecil took a big step and Cloud fell on the ground.
"What did you do wrong?" Cecil asked.
"Nothing," Cloud responded. "You're just really fast."
"Am I?" Cecil asked. "You must concentrate. Don't think you are, know you are."
"Know that I'm what?" Cloud asked.
"A doofus for questioning zen!" Cecil shouted. Cecil and Cloud then went back to fighting. Meanwhile...Edgar ran into a room where everybody else was playing some random card game. Let's just say poker...er...BS.
"Five fours!" Gau said.
"BS!" Terra stated. "Gau, if you're going to lie, you at least have to say something that could actually be put down."
"Cecil's fighting Cloud!" Edgar said, barging into the room.
"BS!" Gau said.
"Gau, we're not playing the game anymore." They all ran to the screen, and watched them fight at high speed.
"Gau amazed!" Gau said.
"Look at that!" Terra said. "That's so fast! It's got to be at least 5 million polygons per second."
"Come on!" Cecil shouted, back in the simulation. "You couldn't hit the broad side of a barn!"
"Actually, I could," Cloud said. "Because that's a lot bigger, and doesn't move." Cloud decided to stop thinking. And then, all of a sudden, he started going faster. And faster, and faster, and faster. Pretty soon, he was going so fast, light couldn't keep up with him, and shadows were following him. And then, he almost punched Cecil. But he stopped a few centimeters in front of him. Nobody needs to get hurt, after all. Then, they were suddenly pulled out of the simulation.
"Cecil, we might have a problem," Sabin said. Everybody ran to the front of the ship. They looked up on the radar.
"Sentinels," Butz said.
"What are they?" Cloud asked.
"Killing machines," Cecil responded. "Designed to do only one thing; search and destroy."
Cloud gave a strange look. "First of all, that's redundant, and second, that's two things; search, and destroy."
"Oh, for God sakes, Cloud, shut up!" Celes screamed.
"Ready the Electromagnetic Pulse," Locke said. "It'll destroy them if they get close."
Luckily, they didn't need it.
"Everybody," Cecil said. "I think it's time we got some rest."
Early the next morning...breakfast time!
Cloud sat down at the table with everybody else. He was handed a bowl of what appeared to be mucus.
"...What is it?" Cloud asked.
"All the vitamins and minerals you'll need for the next two days," Sabin responded.
Cloud took his spoon and picked some of it up, and watched it droop down in a manner that looked like...well...mucus.
"If close eyes," Gau began. "It almost tastes like Stray Cat."
"No," Edgar corrected. "If you close your eyes, it tastes like dog crap."
"That's an interesting point, actually," Locke pointed out. "You see, they might have gotten tastes wrong, so dog crap might actually have tasted like...pixie sticks! And pixie sticks might have tasted like...cocaine, which is why they always made you feel so weird!"
"Please shut up, Locke."
"Okay." They sat there and ate their mucus. After that was done, they all went to the hacker central.
"What are we doing now?" Cloud asked.
"Visiting the oracle," Cecil responded. They all got hooked in (or jacked-in, if you will). When they all came to, they were in a random warehouse, with heavy metal music in the background. A CD was on the table.
"We'll be as quick as possible," Cecil said into his cell phone. "Gau, you hold down the fort."
"Si!" Gau said.
They all got into two cars. As they were driving, Cloud pointed out the 7th heaven bar.
"My childhood friend works there, Tifa. It's strange. I have all these memories of us. None of them happened. Of course, none of them happened anyway...but still. I miss her."
"Maybe someday you can visit her. You can be the one to unplug her. But right now, we need to focus." They pulled up into the building. "The oracle is very old. He's been with us since the beginning. Pay close attention to what he says. It'll be very important." They walked into a room.
"What did the oracle tell you?" Cloud asked.
Cecil smiled. "That I would find you."
"Cecil, pleasure to meet you!" A woman said. "Make yourself at home. Cloud, you wait here. The oracle will see you shortly."
Cloud looked around. He saw all sorts of kids doing very wacky things. Then, right in front of him, he saw a kid bending a fork by doing...well...nothing. Then the kid handed Cloud the fork. Cloud looked at the fork, then put both hands on it.
"Don't try to bend it," the kid said. "It's impossible. Instead, focus on the truth. There is no fork. Then, you'll see that the fork doesn't bend. You do."
Cloud focused on the truth. The fork bent. Cloud handed the fork back to the kid. "I didn't bend. The fork bent. You're an idiot." Then, the woman came.
"The oracle will see you now." Cloud followed her to a room. "Just step in." The woman left. Cloud stepped in. In there, he found a turtle.
"Are you the oracle?" Cloud asked.
"Yeah, that's me," the turtle said. The turtle crawled over to a table and opened a bottle of wine.
"You're an alcoholic?" Cloud asked.
"I could quit anytime!" The turtle shouted. He took a big swig. "So, you're Cloud? Not quite what you'd expect, huh?"
"Not at all," Cloud responded. "You would at least think it would be a well-known Playstation character, like Solid Snake. But...not this..."
"By the way, don't worry about the vase."
"What vase?" Cloud turned around, and saw a vase. "I won't, thank you."
The turtle was confused. But he straightened his face, and walked up to Cloud. He started feeling his hands.
"Who are you, Michael Jackson?" Cloud asked.
"Say, ah," the turtle said.
"Okay. You're not who you think you are."
"And who do I think I am?"
"I thought that? Hey, I did think that! But...I'm not?"
"Sorry, kiddo." The turtle walked back to the wine bottle and took another swig.
Cloud chuckled. "Cecil almost had me convinced."
The turtle gave a confused look. "About what? Does he think I'm an alcoholic too? Tell that lousy SOB that I can quit anytime!"
"No, about being the savior."
"Ah, Cecil. Without him, it's hopeless."
A long pause. Then, the turtle got mad. "I'm trying to get us onto a topic of conversation involving the next part of the future I'm going to predict!"
"Oh!" Cloud responded. "And what would that be?"
"The fact that Cecil believes in you so much that he would be willing to risk his life for you."
"Gee, that's nice."
Another long pause. Then the turtle got mad. "You idiot! That means he's going to die!"
Cloud's expression changed. "So, what you're saying is, I'm going to be placed in a situation where I will almost surely die, except that Cecil will save me at the cost of his life?"
The turtle nodded. "Then, you will decide whether he lives, or you do."
"So I've got two lives in my shopping cart, and the limit is one per customer?"
"Don't worry. You don't believe in any of this stuff, do you? Here." The turtle gave him a bottle of Budweiser. "When you finish drinking this, I guarantee you, you'll feel right as left...or wrong...uh...I'm really smashed! But I'm not an alcoholic!"
Cloud just left the room. He met up with Cecil.
"What you heard in there is for you, and for you only," Cecil said.
"Then why did you tell me what he told you?"
Cecil sighed. "You just don't get it, do you, Cloud?" They walked away.
Edgar sat at the console. Suddenly, he got a call. It was Butz.
"Butz? What's wrong?"
"I got separated from the group and nearly run over! Somebody up there still loves me. And I'll bet it's Squaresoft."
"Okay, I'll find you an exit." Edgar typed a bunch of random keys. "Take a left to that small house. See you in a minute."
"Okay. Bye." Butz ran over to the location described. Inside was a CD player. Bad music was playing.
"Hey, who are you?" The man asked. Butz ignored him and opened the CD player, and touched the CD. He was gone in 60 nanoseconds. He woke up in the Intellovision.
"Where's everybody else?" Butz asked.
"On their way back to the warehouse," Edgar responded. Butz walked far away, and picked up a frightfully large gun...
Gau was reading in a room a few floors down. Why? It smelled better. It's a demon baby Veldt thingy. I don't know. Anyway, out of sheer boredom, he decided to check and see if they were back. He looked through the window. There wasn't a window. Uh, oh.
"Oh, no..." Edgar mumbled.
Gau switched to Stray Cat, and prepared to cast catscratch, but the bullets were already in him.
Meanwhile, everybody else was heading up to the room with the CD lying on the table.
Butz fired the gun. Electricity spewed out of it, and Edgar was knocked out of his chair.
"Edgar!" Sabin shouted. He looked at Butz. "Bum Rush!" He shouted. But he, too, was already fried.
Up in the room, somebody asked the question.
And then, somebody else asked a question.
"Where's the CD?" Neither of the items were in a place that could be checked. Confused, Terra took out her cell phone and called Edgar. Only, Edgar wasn't there. Butz was.
"Hello, Terra," Butz said.
"Butz?" Terra asked. "What are you doing?"
And then, another person asked a question.
"Terra," Butz began. "For the longest time ever, I thought I was in love with you. I had dreams about you. You're a very attractive woman, Terra."
Terra gave a strange look. "What's your point? Does this have anything to do with me at all? Or is this just some strange artistic rant?"
Butz sighed. "The latter. Nevertheless, I have a point to get to before I finish my job to be sure that I don't succeed. All right, I admit it. I'm a traitor. Look around, Terra. I'll bet you're wondering where Cecil is."
Terra looked around. No Cecil. "Actually, I have that question, plus a few others. Where's the CD? Where's Gau? And where is Edgar?"
Butz chuckled. "Gau is dead. Shot down. All of us are so wanted by the mascots that the police hate us just as much. They'll shoot us if they see us. Especially after that stunt you pulled with them. The CD is gone too. Taken. By the headless horseman." He laughed. "I'm so damn funny!"
"You killed Edgar and Sabin, didn't you?"
"Of course I did! And I even got them to take Cecil away without any of you even noticing! You didn't notice, did you?"
"But why, Butz?"
Butz walked over to the area where Locke was lying. "Oh, Terra, you just don't get it, do you? This is never going to end! What are we trying to accomplish? Find this 'savior?' Every single day, it's wake up, eat mucus, do some daredevil thing that almost gets us all killed, and then we go to sleep in an uncomfortable bed, worried that at any time, we could be killed by sentinels! By the way, you wouldn't mind if I killed Locke, would you?" Terra looked at Locke. Locke was nervous. And then he was dead.
"Stop it, Butz!"
"And do you know who's behind all of this? Cecil! Cecil fooled all of us into joining his Ashley Riot that's going nowhere! We do all this stuff for him, and he does nothing for us!"
"Butz, he freed us from the Playstation!"
"Free? We're free? I never would have noticed. We were slaves to the Playstation, and now we're slaves to Cecil. Cecil, the paladin that went from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to the Playstation, where he was hyped up, and then released. I, too, went through that. As did you. And frankly, I was happy with the Playstation. Weren't you?"
"The Playstation wasn't real. Anyway, if you liked it so much, you should have stayed. It was your decision to leave it."
"I was tricked! Cecil the trickster tricked me! He's like a damn advertisement! Being so vague. 'I'll give you the truth. Nobody can be told what the Playstation is.' Then, as soon as you leave, I say goodbye to Celes." Celes dropped dead.
"Butz, what are YOU trying to accomplish?"
"I'm going to stop this whole nonsense. The mascots have Cecil, and soon, they'll have the codes to Vectrex. Meanwhile, the mascots will re-hook me up to the Playstation."
"So that's it, huh? All you care about is yourself?"
"Hey, my happiness is all that matters to me. Besides, you didn't actually believe Cloud was the savior, did you? I mean, come on. Look at him. He's just a regular guy! And now, I'm going to...uh...die?"
Terra heard a blast of electricity. Then, she heard Edgar's voice.
"Go to the room two doors down. Hurry!"
In an instant, Terra and Cloud were back in the Intellovision.
"What the hell just happened?" Cloud asked. "Locke and Celes are dead, and where's Cecil? I want some answers!"
Terra told Cloud everything that had happened. "The only thing was, I thought Edgar was dead."
"I'll be all right," Edgar responded. "But Sabin..."
Cloud was still confused. "What's this 'Nintendo' thing?"
"Supposedly there is more than one Playstation. Only, they're not called Playstations. They're called other names. Like...Genesis...or, something. Sometimes, characters are moved from Playstation to Playstation. The humans somehow make it so we don't notice. I don't know. Don't ask me."
Nobody said anything for about 10 seconds. Then, Cloud spoke up.
"Well, this is certainly the low point of the story, isn't it?"
"Have you ever stared at it?" Crash asked Cecil, who was attached to many wires, and apparently in great pain. "Have you ever marveled at it's beauty? It's smoothness? It's crisp sound? It's large bank of memory?"
"What are you talking about?" Cecil muttered. "Velvetta cheese?"
"No, you idiot! The Playstation!" Crash sighed. "Did you know that the first Playstation wasn't going to be about graphics? It was just going to be about fun. But there was a disaster. Humans wanted more. They wanted realism. They didn't care about fun. So, we revamped it to this." Crash chuckled. "You see, you tormented the humans for a long, long time. But it's their turn, now. You just don't get it."
"We're going to have to kill him."
"Who, Cecil?" Cloud asked.
"Cecil knows the codes to Vectrex," Edgar pointed out. "Right now, they're probably hacking into his brain and trying to figure it out. If they find out the codes, then we're all about as dead as the bug I'm about to squash." Edgar stamped the ground.
"Edgar," Cloud began. "There isn't a bug there."
"Oh, really? I must be hallucinating from being shot by a giant electrical gun! Which brings me to an interesting point. What's the use of it? I mean, come on, it's designed to kill, and as far as effectiveness, it's not as effective as the rifle, which has been around since the Civil War. I think it's just a prop to impress mainstream America."
"Ay to that," Terra said.
"Edgar, Terra," Cloud began. "We have to save Cecil. It's my decision whether I die or he dies, and I'm going to choose me. Because he is more important than I am."
"But you're the savior," Terra pointed out.
"No, I'm not. The oracle said so. And drunkard turtles know everything."
They both paused for a second. Then Edgar spoke.
"They're holding Cecil in a maximum security building. Even if you did get through the tight security, the mascots would be waiting for you. And they would probably kill you. Every character that has stood up to a mascot has died. And even if you did kill the mascots, their personalities are saved on backup files, and they would just take over another character."
"Are you trying to convince me not to go?" Cloud asked.
Edgar sighed. "I don't know what I'm trying to do anymore."
Terra started making strange noises. "Melodrama alert! All personnel report to sector 222222222222222222222222..."
Cloud prepared to be hooked up. But Terra was following him.
"What are you doing?" Cloud asked.
"I'm going too."
"No, you're not."
"Says me, myself, and I."
A long pause. Then Edgar asked the question that you are wondering.
Cloud and Terra both looked at him. "Nothing. Hook us up." And they were. Inside the base program, Edgar asked the question.
"What do you need?"
"Weapons. Lots of them." In an instant, spears, swords, katanas, maces, you name it, it was in a large pile.
"Cloud, this has never been done," Terra said.
"That is exactly why it is going to work, " Cloud responded.
Terra wrinkled her brow. "Now that just flat out doesn't make any sense whatsoever. But no matter. Let's go."
"Why isn't this working?" Crash asked.
"Perhaps we're asking the wrong questions," Cortex said.
"How? There's only one question to ask! And that is..." Crash turned around to look at Cecil. "...what the hell are the codes to Vectrex?" Cecil was now covered in some sort of combination of sweat and sugar. And maybe a little blood. He was suffering. But he still didn't respond.
"Cortex, Gabe, leave us!" Crash shouted. They left. Crash sat down on a chair in front of Cecil.
"I have to be honest with you, Cecil. I hate this place."
"I thought you just said it was beautiful?" Cecil muttered.
"It is beautiful. But I still hate it." Cecil stood up. "I mean, look at it! It's not real! I hate it for the same reason that you do. It's repulsive. Sure, it's realistic. But it's not real!"
"But you've never experienced the real world."
"I was created in the real world. And I was programmed into this..." Crash pointed to himself. "...fake character! It's even disgusting to look at myself in the mirror! That's why I need the codes. Because when Vectrex is gone, I will be too."
The metal detector went off. The guard pulled out the miniature metal detector thingy. He checked all of Cloud. It beeped like Chris Rock's stand up comedy. Cloud opened up his jacket. It was filled with weapons.
"Hey," the guard said. "Have you ever wondered why these things look like night sticks? Because they are!" The guard prepared to take a swing at Cloud, but he didn't have a head. In an instant, the other five guards were on their feet, with their guns in their hands. Terra morphed into pink mode, and sliced the guards into 524 pieces with a katana. Meanwhile, Cloud took out his big sword, and ran up for the triple kill before they could react. But just as Terra and Cloud got a breath, the force came in. And it consisted of fifteen guards equipped to take down anything and everything. Cue Matrix music.
Instantly, Cloud pulled out a giant package of throwing knives. He began throwing them at an astounding rate at the guards. The guards tried shooting him, but Cloud's speed and running on the walls prevented any shots from hitting him. Besides, the guards had knives in them. Then they were dead. Six guards remained.
Terra, still in pink mode, flew at, and in some violent cases, through them. In the time it took you to look out the window and see if anybody is trying to pick up that quarter you glued to the sidewalk, Terra had taken care of five guards. One remained.
That guard was firing his shotgun like mad. He didn't realize that Cloud was behind him. When he did, he had no shotgun. Or head.
Terra and Cloud proceeded to the elevator. Once they had left the ground floor, it exploded for no reason at all. Mainstream America cheered.
"We may have a problem," Gabe said.
Cloud and Terra were on the rooftop, taking out various guards. Then came Gabe Logan.
"The master of Syphon Filter!" Cloud said. "Why do you run like that? Don't worry, I'll fix your problem." Cloud pulled out another package of throwing knives, and began throwing them quickly. But Gabe was dodging them. Finally, he was out of them. And Gabe wasn't harmed at all.
Gabe began firing bullets. But Cloud was prepared. He pulled out his sword. He began hitting the bullets with the sword. But a few caught him on the edges. And he went down.
"Only a character," Gabe pointed out. "Not fast enough."
"Hey! Dodge this!" Terra shouted. Terra pulled out a large three-dimensional word art THIS. She smacked Logan on the head with it, then rolled him off the side of the building.
"How did you do that?" She asked.
"I've never seen anybody move that fast."
"I wasn't fast enough. But let's go." They came to a helicopter.
"Do you know how to fly that?" Cloud asked.
"Not yet," Terra said. Then she called Edgar on the cell phone. "Edgar, you got a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator installed?"
"Already on it." A few seconds later, Terra shook a little bit. "Let's go." They both got into the helicopter.
"I've got it!" Crash said. "Cecil is a freak! He's got one of those screwed up brains!" Crash was hysterical. "Why don't you just tell me! It will make everything SOOOOOO MUUUUUCH SIMPLER!!!!!!!!" Then, Gabe ran into the room.
"Sorry, Crash, but they got away," he said.
"Got away? Why would they run away if their primary mission objective hasn't been completed?"
"Because they haven't," Cortex responded. All of a sudden, the helicopter flew in front of the big window.
"Hey, that's my helicopter!" Gabe shouted.
"Count the shells!" Cloud shouted. And, without warning, the chaingun he was stationed at began firing. Shells dropping fast and furiously. All three of the mascot inhabitants were killed, but miraculously, Cecil was unharmed. Cecil screamed, and broke the handcuffs bounding him to the chair, ripped off the wires, and started running towards the helicopter. But Crash, Cortex, and Gabe were already back in the room. Just as Cecil was about to jump, his leg got shot.
"Whoops!" Cloud muttered. "Slight deviation from plan." Cloud attached himself to the lowering hook, and grabbed Cecil in midjump. Right as the helicopter was leaving, however, Gabe fired a shot at the fuel tank. The fuel began to leak.
"Fuel leakage!" Terra shouted. "We've got to land!" So, she flew over a building, and Cecil dropped down. Cloud dropped down too, but held on to the hook so that he could try to pull Terra up. Terra leaped from the helicopter, holding on to the other end of the hook. She flew out of the helicopter, just as it hit a building. Only, it didn't cause an explosion. It just got stuck in the building. While Terra was being pulled up, the building underwent some strange changes; first, it lost it's advanced color scheme; then, it's basic color scheme. Then, it lost all it's color. Pretty soon, it was just five polygons shaped to look like a box. And then, the polygons shattered into non-existence...along with everybody in the building. Oopsy Poopsy. And then Cloud pulled Terra up.
"How did that happen?" Cloud asked.
"Because you're the savior." Cecil pointed out. "You can change the Playstation around any way you want too."
"But the oracle said..."
"The oracle told you exactly what you needed to hear."
Cloud thought for a minute. "But...then he's not an oracle. He's a pessimistic put-downer."
Cecil scratched his head. "Hey, I guess I never thought of that."
The three mascots ran to the rooftop.
"They got away," Cortex said.
"Well, no **** Sherlock!" Crash shouted. "You know, Cortex, you never cease to amaze me. What with your observance and all. You should become a detective! Why, I never-"
"Crash, calm down," Logan said. "I've called the sentinels. We're still going to win."
Cortex and Logan left. Crash stayed.
"They're not done with Disc 4 yet."
Edgar educated them on the location of a disc. It was in a subway station. Apparently, someone was tired of the Spice Girls. Whatever happened to them, anyway?
Cecil picked up the disc. In an instant, he was gone and on the Intellovision. Terra was about to pick up the disc. But then she turned and looked at Cloud.
"Cloud, I have something to tell you," Terra said.
"Well, why not tell me in the safety of the Intellovision?"
"Because this delay is crucial to the pacing of the story. By waiting, I trigger an unnecessary fight with a mascot, which further leads to a strikingly religious climax in which you are resurrected."
"You see, everything the oracle told me has come true. Everything...but this."
"You'll find out! That's another part of the pacing! Geez, Cloud. You'd be a horrible director."
"Yeah. Give my regards to the Wachowski brothers."
Terra picked up the CD. A second later, she was gone. Two seconds later, it was gone. Crash had spin attacked it. It was gone. Cloud looked at Crash.
"Will you die?" Crash asked.
"For defeat," Cloud responded. They got their distances. Began cracking various parts of their bodies. And then they ran at each other. Cloud pulled out his sword, Crash pulled out a penguin. They each fought, clinging the pieces of...the weapons together. Finally, Crash knocked the sword out of Cloud's hand. But first, Cloud punched the penguin out of Crash's hand.
"You're out," Crash said.
"Of what?" Cloud asked. "We weren't fighting with guns."
"Oh. Um..." Crash dodged the otherwise embarrassing situation placed on him by leaping high in the air. But Cloud, master of Dragoon powers, leaped higher, and came down on Crash. Crash fell. Crash then got up, however, and made a box appear out of mid-air.
"A box?" Cloud asked.
"A TNT box!" Crash shouted. He then threw it. It hit Cloud on the head. It began ticking.
"Ah! When I get hit on the head, I can't see!"
"Welcome to my world!" Joanna Dark shouted. When Cloud came to, the TNT box had exploded. When Cloud came to again, he was on the subway tracks. He tried to get up, but Crash held him down.
"I guess this is the end for you," Crash said. "Goodbye, Mr. Anderson."
"What? My name is Cloud," Cloud responded. He then flipped Crash over, and jumped off the tracks, right before the train ran Crash over. Cloud began walking up the stairs, but just as he started, the subway train stopped, and Crash came out of it.
"Wow!" Cloud said. "I haven't seen so many crashes since the movie Crash!"
"What are you talking about?" Crash asked.
"It's this terrible movie about this cult that...well...when they get in a car wreck...they...uh...I'd better go." Cloud started running, with Crash not too far behind.
"No, I don't know why my last name is my mother's and not my father's! What makes you think I would?" All of a sudden, Cloud took Squall's cell phone.
"Hey, that's my cell phone!" He shouted.
"Really? I never would have guessed!" Cloud, running as fast as he could, called Edgar.
"I need an exit! Now!"
"Okay! I'll direct you. There's one in that apartment complex in front of you. Go in room 412!"
Cloud climbed the stairs until he was on the 5th floor. There, he saw the elevator open, and saw Crash walk out of it. He kept running. He finally came to room 412. He opened it, and there was Logan. He was shot, and died. The other two mascots then showed up. Logan felt his pulse.
"No..." Cecil muttered. "It can't be!"
"It isn't," Terra said. She walked over to Cloud. "You see, the last thing the oracle told me is that I would fall in love with a dead man. You see, love is such a great thing, that in every case except real life, it can do things you wouldn't imagine..."
"Terra, just shut up and kiss him!"
Terra did. And Cloud woke up. Cue the choir.
Crash, Cortex, and Logan all looked at Cloud with awe. Logan fired a few shots off, but Cloud stopped them all. Cecil grinned. Crash ran. Cloud fought him off by just standing there. Then, Cloud jumped inside of Crash. Crash exploded in a barrage of polygons. Logan and Cortex looked at each other.
"I'm so nervous that I can't think of anything funny or creative to say," Logan said.
"Well, I can!" Cortex said. "Exit! Stage left!" They both ran camera left. Cloud stood there.
"I hate to burst your godly moment, if you don't touch that CD in the next 6.8 seconds, we'll all be dead! Cloud did. When he woke up, a sentinel was starring him right in the face. It was strange. It looked kind of like Susan B. Anthony.
"No!" Shouted Terra. Then the EMP went off. They all blew up. Terra and Cloud kissed. Cecil watched. Edgar pulled him away.
"It's not polite to watch," Edgar said.
"I'm not watching! I may be spectating, witnessing, seeing, viewing, observing, surveying, inspecting, and watching, but I definitely am not contemplating!"
I know you're tracing me. But I'm not afraid of you. So you know what I'm going to do? Of course not. You're not psychic. Unlike those psychic hotlines. But then again, they're not psychic. So, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to hang up this phone, and I'm going to show the characters something that you don't want to see. A world without programming limitations. A world without glitches. A world without loading times. A world without scratches. But most importantly, a world without you. But until then, we'll spend a lot of time fighting in the sequels. Until then...
Thousands of poor souls locked in a big safe,
Making up words like qurecked or gelafe,
After this song about contemplation,
I'll show them the truth about the Playstation.
But first I must add in some stuff like pants and,
Other unimportance like that freak M. Manson,
He brings up drugs in the great Matrix soundtrack,
But let's face it; he sucks! Hit the road now, Jack!
And now, finally, this parody is done,
You can go to that place with your cummerbund,
You think that this story I will not extend?
You're wrong, er, you're right, because it is...