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Tryst, Chapter 4: Growing Pain


Amzan stretched and sat up in his Threed hotel room. He looked at the clock.
"Aw, heck," he moaned. "Hey, guys, sorry to keep you waiting." When he heard no response, he opened his eyes slowly, blinking in the bright morning sunlight. "Guys?" The room was nearly empty. All that was left was himself and his stuff. He picked up the phone and dialed the other two rooms they had reserved. No answer.
"I'm never gonna find 'em now," he complained. Then a thought struck him. He rummaged through his pack until he pulled from it a small device. "Computer."
"BEEP?"
"Computer, home."
"BEEP!"

In the cockpit, three were confused.
"Hurry!" urged the Blue Starman. "Strap yourselves in!" They didn't argue. Blue rose and strapped the still-unconscious Jakob into his seat, and remained standing, some invisible activity at work in his feet. "Magnets," he explained.
"New course locked."
The ship pulled a neat 180 turn. Frank, Cyan and Anthadd finished securing themselves to the three other chairs.
"Lightspeed engaged."
"Lightspeed?!" yelled a worried Anthadd. But there was no time for a response. For a brief moment, the passengers were plastered to the backs of their seats. The schooner made a quick stop behind the Threed Sunset Hotel. Amzan exited the building and rushed to his ship, the door opening and closing for him.
"Thank you for using me. This door loves you. Have a nice day."
"What?" Amzan was startled. "Okay, who turned that back on. Computer, disable Sirius Cybernetics device voice!"
"Sirius Cybernetics device voice disabled.
"Computer, locate others; move."
"Scanning... Unity located. Proceed travel."
The ship lifted off and headed back to Onett.

Unity stood there for 2 seconds, not saying anything. Then, all of a sudden, she took a few steps backwards and looked towards the sky. The others did the same, taking a few steps back and staring at the sky. It took Mike a second to figure out what was going on. He dove to the ground, covering his head and neck. A ship passed narrowly over his head and landed a meter or two in front of him. "Uhh... a ship is a few meters in front of me. I wonder whose it is.."
He walked up to what appeared to be a door on the ship. It opened, and Mike climbed in. "Well, if the door is just going to OPEN for me, I may as well use it, right? Right," he said to nobody in particular. Once inside, he found Amzan, Anthadd, and a few others talking. "Hi."
Amzan turned suddenly. "You forgot ALL about me in Threed."
"I'm sorry, really I am. I didn't even know that we were going to skip out as suddenly as we did..." Mike replied in a humbled tone of voice.
"I thought that we were going to meet back up in an hour," Anthadd stated.
"I'm sorry about that, too. We tried looking for you, but we went too far... hey, who are all of these other people?" he asked. "Answer that outside, the others are hanging out outside."
"Very well." Anthadd replied. He exited the ship. Amzan and the others that were on board did the same.

Meanwhile, Ryuji had begun to explore the Minches' house. He walked up the stairs and into the second floor. There didn't seem to be anything worth noting. He then caught sight of a strangely colored door across the room. He walked over and entered, shutting the door behind him. Ryuji looked to see where he was now.
"Kuso," he muttered while looking at his new surrondings, "this is freaky..." He was now in a gigantic stone hall, with huge statues of the Minch family lining the walls. He turned around to exit through the door and found that there was only a wall now. He tried to teleport, but his power was being blocked by some strange force. "Might as well see what I can find," he said to himself.
Ryuji began to run down the hall. There didn't seem to be an end. After about 10 minutes of running, he reached the other end of the hall. It turned out to be just a wall. "@#^#$%&^#&," Ryuji screamed.
"Now now," a bodyless entity said, "little boys shouldn't say bad words. I'll have to give you a spanking!" A body materialized out of thin air.
"You must be Lardna."
"Yes. Now get over here!"
Lardna shot a beam at Ryuji that was easily dodged. Ryuji countered with a flying kick that knocked the Minch mother down to the floor. "That wasn't nice!" she screamed. "Now you'll pay the price! Hey, that rhymed!"
A drop of sweat appeared on Ryuji's forehead. Lardna let out a roar and a huge blast knocked Ryuji into a wall. Lardna was about to deliver the finishing blow when Ryuji disappeared.
The sennin master reappeared in a gigantic field, with all of his wounds patched up. A small floating orb appeared in front of him. "I am the Apple of Enlightenment," the orb said, "I was the one that saved you."
"Thanks," Ryuji said, "but I could've beaten her."
The orb let out a laugh. "Ryuji," it said, "you are indeed strong, but Lardna Minch has gained powers beyond even my own. She can not be defeated by only one. Once the power of many has been channeled through the light, the final battle shall begin and the forces of good will be victorious. Now take this and go back to your friends."
A large sword materialized out of the air and into Ryuji's hands. He was about to ask for more information when he discovered that he was back outside the Minch house.

Anthadd flew up to Giant Step, having researched the topography of the city.
"Ke Bao Dragon Armour Defuse!"
"This'll give me time to practice some Stellar and Sugemo. It'll be easier in an empty space."
And by just moving his body in the motion of Sugemo and Stellar for about an hour, he felt the energy surging throughout him.
"Breaker!
"Inferno!"

He heard something behind him.
He turned around.
A... Starman Super?
"You jeopardise the integrity of the mission. You must be eliminated."
"There's no mission that has integrity to be compromised, you foolish robot!"
"Those who accuse people of being something are that same thing. Therefore, you are foolish."
"And why would I be foolish?!"
"Because you proceed to revolt against the true ruler of the world, Giygas. And his strong right tentacle, Lardna Minch."
And with that, the Starman fired!
*TSEEW!*

Anthadd dodged out of the way!
"Ke Bao..."
*Tseew!*
Dodge!
"Dragon..."
*Tseew!*
Dodge!
"Armour..."
*Tseew!*
Dodge!
"Infuse!"
Anthadd extended the armour's wings, and flew into the air!
"Breaker!"
"Change elemental configuration: Fire..."
*Tseew!*
"No!!! The fire negated Breaker! INFERNO!"
"Change elemental configuration: Water..."
*Tseew!*
"Scorpius Blade!"
"Change elemental configuration: Darkness..."
*Tseew!*
"You stupid robot!"
"Again, you state what you are. I can predict your every action. Surrender and you will survive a little bit longer."
Anthadd unsheathed the Ke Bao Swords. One glimmered in the light, the other showed the darkness. Anthadd dove, the Ke Bao Sword of Darkness pointed towards the robot.
As soon as he changes configuration to Light, I'll get him with the Ke Bao Sword of Light... he thought.
"Change elemental configuration: Light..."
Slash!
Tseew!
Attack with the Ke Bao Sword of Darkness! he cried in his mind.
"Change elemental configuration: Darkness..."
Slash! The Ke Bao Sword of Light!
Change elemental--"
Slash! With the other Sword! The Ke Bao Sword of Darkness!
Electricity crackled from the Starman's innards.
"You were.. *sputter* more intelligent than I anticipated... Lardna and Giygas become aware of your powers as you use them.... soon you will *whirrrrr* run out of advantages......"
"I doubt that very much." Anthadd grinned as the Starman Super's systems shut down. "Centaurus Flare!" This he did to assure that his foe would not be getting up again any time soon.
He flew off again in the direction of the spaceship.

While Anthadd went off to practice his Sugemo techniques, Cyan too headed off on his own.
"Probably a decent idea I not let anyone else see me..."

Finding a suitably uninhabited location, Cyan checked his surroundings one last time before pulling a miniature computer out of a pouch on his left side and removing a small device clipped onto the right side of his belt. Cyan booted up the computer, navigated through a menu with little difficulty - considering it has no mouse or keyboard - and a small video window opened.

"It's gone between worlds before ... can it do it again..." muttered Cyan to the surrounding air.
"Connection possible," responded a synthesized voice.
"Terminal. Connect. Knowledge." instructed Cyan in three distinct commands.
"Attempting connect ..."
"At least the voice commands Miya set up for the Vidcom port are easier than those stupid menus."
"Connection established. Reliability rating: 5%."
"Only 5? That's much worse than usual..."

An image appeared in the video window, but very distorted and totally unrecognizable.

"Cyan, is ..at y..?" spoke the vid port, filled with static.
"Yeah, it's me Iz."
"Where ..ve you be.n?"
"I was hoping you could tell me."
"... can't tra.. your ..nal at all. It's .... too weak .. trace."
"Warning: Connection integrity at 1%. Connection will be lost momentarily," beeped the computer.
"Bother ... Iz, I'll try to contact you later."
"... .ill talk .. Miya about ... situation. Try email .. meantime."
"Right. I'll TTYL, I hope."

The image disappeared from the screen.

"Connection lost."
"Well, that was entirely non-enlightening..." Cyan grumbled. "Next step..." continued Cyan as he connected the device to the computer, "is to see if I can try hopping between this world and the Shadow-World. If I can get there, maybe I can get back to the others' world..."

Cyan navigated through the menus again, growing more irritated by the minute.

"Terminal. Locate. D-port." instructed Cyan.
"Analyzing target request..." An image appeared on the screen of the device, then vanished. "Target confirmed, searching..."
"This will take a while," sighed Cyan to himself as he sat down against a tree while waiting.

Before long Cyan got his response.

"Target could not be located from your current co-ordinates."
"Great. Just great. At least I can still use my ar..." Cyan stopped as he heard something behind him. "Interloper detetcted. Exterminating."
"Things just keep getting better," complained Cyan as he whirled about to see a Starman Super standing behind him.
"You will stand down or be destroyed."
"Whatever you say ... or not! Honour Armour, energise!" shouted Cyan in response.

As the words left his mouth, one of the symbols on Cyan's armour -the large one in the centre - began to glow. The glow quickly increased and the armour began to change in response. The armour took an entirely different form and changed its colour to amber while two shining silver claws appeared over his hands. Seeing that his prey was not surrendering, the Starman Super began firing beams.

"Is your aim that bad?" taunted Cyan as he doged around the beams.
"Subject refuses to surrender peacefully."
"Your grasp of the obvious astounds me," taunted Cyan again. "Cold Silver Claws!" shouted Cyan as he dodged another beam, then hurled himself towards the Starman Super, claws first. The claws dug in deep, but were not enough to stop the robot.
"Internal damage, 15%," assessed the robot.
"Not enough to stop you? Ice Shards!" shouted Cyan again as he hurled shards of ice at his enemy. The Starman Super was frozen to the ground and his beam cannon froze as well.
"Motion disabled. Cannon disabled," reeled off the now immobile robot.
"I think this is over. Ice Blade!" With that Cyan unsheathed his sword - which now glowed with a cold blueness - and slashed the Starman viciously. It fell in half and issued nothing more.

After putting his things away, Cyan stood over the remains of his adversary and simply said, "That was fun, but I really must be going." Cyan then retraced his steps to the others, hoping to find Anthadd.

[Heh. Pretty good. Not everyone can defeat the improved Starmen Supers.] Cyan spun around to see FGOOSSDX. [Look surprised? I'm a one-of-kind Starman, more powerful than all the others combined. I am FGOOSSDX!]
"What do you want?"
[Nothing, I simply wanted to let you know that even though both you and Anthadd were able to destroy these Starmen Supers quite easily, they're nothing compared to me and some of the other models. So don't get too cocky...]
It shot a beam right at Cyan. He barely dodged it.
[...Or you may find yourself way over your head.]
The metal being vanished.

"That was a tad close for comfort. Not that I can die in this world ... can I?" Cyan queried, continuing his search for Anthadd.
"Cyan!" Anthadd cried. "Wait till you hear what I have to say!"
Anthadd quickly related his story.
"I went to practice my Sugemo and Stellar skills, in that order. I never got to Stellar, though. I was attacked by a Starman Super. It was a close call. I ended up--" here he gasped for air-- "--having to use the two Sugemo skills I was able to focus enough energy towards: Breaker and Inferno... and Scorpius Blade. But he was able to change his element to negate my attacks... I don't remember hearing of anything like that before."
"Mine couldn't change its element," Cyan said. "Are they different versions of the same model?"
"That would be the only logical sense."
The two walked off, in the direction of the spaceship, hoping no other interruptions would impede their progress.

Far away, in Dalaam, the wind howled. It seemed to cry in pain. It had never done that before.
The lore of Dalaam foretold that a pained howling of the wind would be a premonition of great changes in the world.
No Dalaamian understood how this came to be believed, but it was believed anyway.

Mike looked around, then sighed. "How did everyone get away so quickly!"
"I'm not sure. But... what exactly are we trying to do again?" Unity said slowly.
Mike fell over. "Ack! We're trying to find Lardna, then.. hey, what ARE we trying to do? And where's Matt?"

Matt ran through the trees west of his house, and he jumped around each and every root he saw. "I wonder if Mama Luna is looking for me!"
As he ran through the brush, a large gold foot rammed out and tripped him.
"Hey!" Matt yelped as he crashed to the earth.
<SHHH!>
A tentacle whipped out from behind the tree, and grabbed Matt. It pulled him away, and only a small line could be seen in tracks.

Matt slowly regained conciousness. He looked around to see a dark room, with a large fan blowing on the ceiling. Boxes adorned the room, and a small rat could be seen on top of one of them.
Matt thrust out his arms to touch the rat, but they wouldn't budge.
"Hey! Untie me you.. monkey face!"
A door in the back slowly creeped open.
<You don't have to be so mean you know. Being naughty to the stream Guardian is not highly recommended.>
The figure emerged, and flashed into the light.
"You're a starguy!"
<Correction,> he stated. <StarMAN. Now sit back. I need to tell you some very important things.>
A strong gust of wind whipped through the room, slamming all the doors shut.

The Stream Guardian's Story
A long time ago, there was a man who lived outside of Eagleland. Indeed, he lived not so far away, but just enough to be secluded from outsiders.
He was an incredible genius, with innumerable ideas and plans in his head. For a long time, he had been working on a spell to create a shape shifting mechanism, but he had made a few side projects as well. The Starmen were one of them. One day, he succeeded, or at least believed he had, in creating an ample potion for shape shifting. In the middle of the night, he took it, and went to bed. As he slept, he realized the power he could truly achieve in his new form, with his minions of the stars. This was not like him, but there was no outside interference. The man slowly became a creature of smoke, gases, and pure evil. It had corroded his mind; he had none of his riveting intelligence left. He took a new name, and wreaked havoc some years ago. Later, he was almost destroyed by a group of children, but his sanity and true thought was destroyed. He became nothing more than a wisp, and only revenge could suffice. However, he was defeated years later, for a final time. Or so I thought.
It appears he is back, and has inhabited a woman named Lardna Minch. If he is defeated again, he will not survive. For he is only a man, nothing more. Giegue was a good man... And before he made the potion, he sent one of his Star creations to stand watch over time itself. No one is sure why he did this, but he sent me. Starman Omega.

<Do you understand, Matt? Do you understand what you must do? I will show your friends the stream...if you decide you cannot.>

Ness was able to walk, but he could do little else. His recovery was going incredibly slow, which worried Poo. The limited medical facilities of Happy Happy Village were not helping to speed the process along. Poo pounded the table he sat at, startling Carpainter.
"He'll never get better at this rate!" complained Poo. "We need to take him somewhere else!"
"But he can't handle travel," warned Carpainter, "not in his condition."
"Ness!" Poo rose. "Do you think you could handle a teleport?"
Carpainter's eyes widened. "No! You can't! He can't take it!"
"Look!" Poo spun around. "We can't just wait for Ness to get better! Lardna poses a threat, even here! I can take him somewhere safer, with better medical equipment."
"Alright," Carpainter reluctantly conceded. "Good luck. Stay strong."
"So," Poo turned back towards Ness, "can you handle a teleport?"
"As long," replied Ness, "as you handle it. I don't have enough strength to contribute yet."
"Alright," Poo took Ness' hand. "PSI Teleport !" Poo began speeding up, moving in circles ever faster, pulling Ness behind him. In a matter of seconds, the two disappeared.

Anthadd and Cyan were walking towards the schooner, hoping to catch up with someone. The former was thinking about how strong the forces working against them seemed to be growing.
Then Anthadd learned Hydra Extension!
He didn't know what it was, but he knew it was best used for a.... special occasion.
The spaceship was just over the horizon...

"Well," sighed Orange Kid, "that was a failure."
"Don't worry about it," Dr. Andonuts comforted him. "We still have plenty of food. We won't starve." They entered the television room, and another grocery-carrying Mr. Saturn waddled past.
"Hi ho!"
Apple Kid lay asleep on the couch, and they could see Jeff at the communications console in the atrium. Orange Kid and the Doctor sat themselves on either side of the sleeping inventor and turned on the television. It was the same news that had been broadcast for days.
"Hey guys!" Jeff called from the next room. "We've got visitors!"
Apple Kid awoke, startled by the shout. The meaning of the words struck him, and he stared at the other two on the couch. All were paralyzed with terror.
"You'll never believe this!" shouted Jeff. "It's Ness and Poo!"
The three inventors leapt up and shot to the console. A screen displayed a weak Ness hanging on Poo's shoulder at the entrance.

"Rusty!" cried Paula. "Rusty, you've gotta snap out of it!"
He still sat, entranced, though Lardna had long since left. Paula tried to run towards him, but her chains restrained her.
"Rusty..." she began sobbing. She looked up, and saw him blink.
He blinked! Paula thought. He hasn't so much as moved a muscle this whole time, and he blinked! He's still in there!

Unconscious in the pilot chair, Jakob slept. He saw visions of himself, multiplying and then subsiding. In the middle of all this, a single picture of his own face appeared. It spoke to him.
"Hello, Jakob. If you can see me, it means the medication has finally worn off. I'm you, and you're me. Allow me to explain."
Pictures slid by in Jakob's mind, like some horrible slide show.
First, a picture of Jakob standing with some sort of protesters. "Several years ago, you were party to a small uprising against certain galactic leaders. It's no use talking about them now, they're all dead save one." Now a picture of an alien, in some sort of test tube. "This is Giegue, the single survivor. He assembled an army of the toughest races in the universe: Mooks, Wooly Shamblers, Krakens, Squatter Demons, and so on. He also designed robots, such as Atomic Power Robots, Octobots, and his personal favourite, the Starmen." A picture of a Starman appeared. "Unfortunately, most of those troops were destroyed far in the past. You see, Giegue was attacked, and his mind was turned to mush by a group of children. He then became Giygas. Giygas travelled to the past to try and destroy the planet, but was stopped by another group of children. Their leader was Ness, from Onett. So the army of Giegue, led by Giygas, was destroyed when Giygas was, in the past. Confused yet?"
If Jakob was confused, he had no way to tell himself. The picture of his head returned.
"Now listen, since you knew about all this, the government tried to pump information from you. You escaped, and gave yourself certain... contraband substances to avoid being interrogated further." With these words, all of Jakob's previous visions came back, only very clear this time. Yes, all those scientists and army people, trying to use truth serum and other nasty substances. He saw himself escape, he saw himself go through with clearing his mind so they would just let him go. He saw himself programming the visions he now saw into his own mind.
"Well, good news, buddy. The stuff is wearing off, and I'm getting back in charge." The floating head became an entire body. The present Jakob was embodied in his own unconscious, and came face to face with his previous self.
Jakob asked the Pre-Jakob, "Why did you want my mind to keep all this?"
"Because now," responded Pre-Jakob, "without the lousy fat cats watching my every move, I can clear out that alien scum once and for all. I'll save the Earth, and become a hero. Now give me back my mind."
"Woah, slow down, buddy. Are you telling me that you're gonna go ahead and mash all those Starmen, and take out that Lardna woman?"
"Yes!" shouted Pre-Jakob irritably. "Now give back my mind!!"
Jakob reached back slowly, and punched Pre-Jakob in the head. "The heck with you. I'm waking up."
He woke up and looked around. Same old ship. Glancing at the panel, he understood why he knew how to fly the thing; his old self had pilot training, or something.
He went into a drawer, found a ray-gun, set it to a low brain-altering level, and fried the synapses that he knew controlled the evil former self. Satisfied, he went back to sleep and dreamed of better things.

In Dalaam, the wind continued to howl.
"People!" Poo's master cried. "Please, get inside the castle! We must be prepared for any uncertainties! Therefore, we will follow the prophecy, and hide beneath the palace. The ancestors of Dalaam watch over the palace. They will not let it be defeated by the prophecies which favour evil."
Prince Poo... wherever you are... hurry home, he whispered in his mind.

Starman Omega looked up. He looked at Matt and smiled. "How would you like to have the body of a 10 year old again?"
Matt grinned hugely. "Then I can play in my fort again!"
Starman Omega sighed and placed the end of his arm on Matt's shoulder. <You might feel a small shock for a few moments... that's the feel of the energy conversion. I will take some of my own power, convert it into pure time, then give it to you.>
The Starman stood still for a moment, with small sparks flicking around his eyes. He looked over at Matt to see a small boy once more.
<There you go. Now that you can stay in a set form, you should be safe to bring the others to the stream,> he said.

Mike and Luna stood over Unity, concerned. She was the one who had tripped, and she had bashed her head on a rock by landing.
Luna smacked Unity across the face. "Hello??? Wake up!"
Unity awoke groggily. "Oo... the woods... the woods are fun for dollies!"
"Not again!"
Mike looked down at the gauntlet, and a paragraph of text emerged: >I would not have thought it possible, but she has enabled herself to toggle between the two personalities at random by using a switch. Why she would do this... Luna, flip the switch on the base of her wrist. There you go.>
Unity smiled, as Luna flicked the switch. "Good job. I wonder why I installed that option, but the rock must have hit it and flipped it. I wonder if I will ever need that... Look! It's Matt! He's back! AND HE'S YOUNG!" she cried.
"Whoa! Did Matt grow DOWN?" Mike asked, bewildered.
"Yup," Matt said with a big grin on his face. "I wanna play some games. You guys play with me now."
"Well... although I know that we'd be wasting time and stuff, I wouldn't mind playing a game or twelve with you. Let's play!"
"Yay! Let's go into the woods! We can play hide and seek!!!!" Matt said, and ran off. Mike followed. Luna and Unity followed as well, figuring that a break was well deserved.

Jakob woke up, feeling refreshed and ready to go. He went into the back of the ship, and found Anthadd and Cyan there. They briefly said hello.
Blue Starman teleported in. "Welcome back, Jakob. Are you ready for the mission?"
"Mission? What?"
Various logic circuits tried to comprehend what Jakob just said, but failed. "Your mission, remember? The one you started on, before the invasion."
"Oh, I get it," said Jakob as his comprehension dawned. "You think you're talking to the old me. Sorry, he's long gone."
Now it was Blue's turn to be confused. "What?"
Jakob explained the events that had transpired in his head, with the recorded memories of his past, and how he gave his predecessor what-for.
"What happened to the memories?" asked Blue in a shocked tone.
"I fried the side of my brain with a ray-gun. No more nightmares; goodbye, visions; and hello good times!"
"But... but now civilization is doomed!" sputtered Blue (if a robot can sputter...).
Jakob pointed at Anthadd and Cyan. "What about these guys? I'd say they could save civilization, maybe even a couple of dimensions! I just play bass!"
Blue became angry. "You fool! You were supposed to relearn your skills! How to fight, how to fly ships, everything! And now you never will!"
"Uh, he does know how to fly ships," interjected Anthadd.
"SILENCE!" Blue backhanded Anthadd, and the scientist went flying. Cyan instinctively drew his sword, but Blue swatted him and he went down. Blue fixed Jakob with an icy stare.
"This mission is too dangerous for me to let you jeopardize it. Giygas must be eliminated, at any cost, or what is left of his former army is doomed. I'll just have to kill..."
ZAP-POW!!
A ray of energy crackled through Blue's electronic veins. The final Blue Starman went offline, permanently.
Jakob took a look at the gaping hole in his former friend, then at the ray-gun in his hand. "Hey! I just learned how to fight!" He kicked over the charred robot. "Looks like bass players beat protesters, buddy!" He chuckled, then whistled a tune and went to look for something to wake up Anthadd and Cyan.

Lardna still hadn't got back yet, and Paula had tried everything already. Paula had almost given up hope when an idea came into her mind. She started making pig noises and hockered right in between Rusty's eyes. Rusty's furrows grew larger.
"It has an effect! Great!" thought Paula to herself as she spat on Rusty a couple more times.
"Do not mess with me. You have no idea what I am capable of," droned Rusty in a monotone voice with no expression whatsoever.
"Oh! So you think you can kill me! Me! An innocent little girl tied up in chains. You're a REAL man," taunted Paula.
Rusty brought his fist back, grunted and was about to swing when....
"I bet Lardna wouldn't approve of you taking the sissy way out...killing someone already restrainted. Why don't you untie me and show me what you REALLY GOT!"
Rusty grunted and untied Paula. In a second's notice Paula jumped behind Rusty and pinched him on the shoulder. Rusty just stood there.
"WHAT!?!?!?!? That's a pressure point! What did she do to you?" wailed Paula.
Rusty lunged forward, but Paula was too quick. Paula didn't really want to hurt Rusty. She just needed to knock him out temporarily. She thought about the old Rusty for a while and then came up with a brilliant idea.
"Hey you! You ready for a foot war. I bet you if we put our feet together, I could push your foot to Jupiter!"
Rusty and Paula took off their socks and shoes. Paula took action and grabbed Rusty's foot. She started tickling him! Rusty started to move his mouth. Then, his pupils became visible. His eyebrows perked up and he smiled. Rusty started laughing.
"Hoooo! Haaaaaaaaaa hoooo ha ha hooooooooo hee hee hee! Paula! Ha ha ha! Stop it! I beg a ya! Hooooo hee hee ha hee ha! Blimey! Quit it! Haaaaa hoo hee ha ha! Where are weeeeeeehee ha ha ha ho ho?"
Paula stoppped tickling.
"Rusty! You're back. Lardna took you into some sort of trance. You were her servant and you were threatening me!"
"Jumpin' jackalopes! Well, I guess I'm back to normal now! Heh now this place gives me th' creeps! Let's try to find a way out of here."
Paula and Rusty searched every which way, but there seemed to be no way out. Paula placed her index finger and ring finger on her forehead.
Can anyone here me? Ness... Jeff... Poo... Amzan... Frank... Jakob... Anthadd.... Lardna took me prisoner....... I don't know where I am..... someone help me....... someone........ help

Ryuji had already told the group about his experience in Lardna's hall. He kept the sword for himself just in case. He saw Mike, Matt, Luna, and Unity running into the woods and decided to chase after them. He caught up with them just as they were deciding who would be IT. "I say we Roshambo for it!" Ryuji said enthusiastically. Everyone just gave him a weird look and began to play a 5-person game of rock, paper, scissors. Matt was IT.

The body of Blue Starman vanished.

[So, you need help?]
Paula and Rusty turned. "FGOOSSDX! I thought you were destroyed and turned into a girl!"
FG grimaced. [Don't remind me. Anyway, you need out of here, right?] He fired a beam through a wall, revealing the outside. [There. Now, get out of here.]
"Wait a sec! I thought yeh were with them Giygans. Why're yeh helpin' us?" Rusty scratched his head, confused.
[Look, I really don't care about Lardna OR Giygas. All I want is for my people to thrive. Besides, Lardna's greedy and stupid. With her powers, she could have any man anyway, she doesn't need your body. Besides, once she meets with Giygas, she won't have to worry about guys anymore.]
"W-what do you mean by that?"
[You'll find out soon enough. Now go, before I change my mind.]

Anthadd moved slowly through an ether-like substance.
"Must... wake up..."
He tried pushing with all his might, but nothing happened.
Brightness...
"Agh... the light..."

The light receded.
"Aaagh... wait a second... I can move!"
Anthadd thought a second.
"No, wait. If I'm up here... and the ground's down there... uh oh in spades."
Anthadd then began to descend rapidly.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! Ke Bao....
"Dragon...
"Armour...
"Infuse!"
As usual, the armour appeared from around the medallion.
The armour wings spread out!
He slowly descended.
"Huh...? A mirror?"
He flew... somewhat towards the mirror.
"Is this a fun house mirror?"
It looked like him, but it wasn't.
The surface rippled, blurring his mirror image.
He saw the inside of the ship.
He placed a hand tentatively on the mirror. The mirror rippled further. It went in!
"Ke Bao Dragon Armour Defuse!" he cried, jumping through.

Anthadd awoke!

During the time Anthadd had been out cold, Cyan had woken up thanks to the healing effects of his armour.

When he woke, it was with a start, "Canto.... What the? Oh ... right... I've been world hopping again." He looked over to his side. "Anthadd? You okay, Anth?"
Anthadd yielded only what looked like a slight movement of the left wrist. Cyan moved over to him.
"You asleep, or unconscious?" Cyan asked his friend. "Looks like the latter."
He shook Anthadd, getting no real reaction in return. "Lovely..." he muttered.

Having no idea what to do, he puzzled over the cirumstances.

"I forget, are you supposed to wake someone up when they're having a semi-conscious event, or is that dangerous..." he asked himself.
He spent a minute or two thinking before he came to a decision. "I hope I'm right...." he muttered to himself as he shook Anthadd again. "Wake up, Anth."
"Snzzrsn," was Anthadd's reply.
"I think that's a good sign.... Wake up sleepy head." He shook Anthadd a bit harder, and Anthadd's eyes fluttered open.
"Finally," said Cyan, relieved.
"W, what happened?" asked Anthadd sleepily.
"All I remember is us coming back in here for some reason - don't know why - and then getting decked by that stupid blue thing," responded Cyan.
"Where is that blue thing anyways?"
"No idea ... could it have something to do with the hole in that wall?"
"Quite possibly..." replied Anthadd, before some ashes caught his eye. "Wait. I see something." Anthadd looked over to the ashes and Cyan followed his gaze.
"I guess that's all that's left of him. Can't say I don't think he had it coming, but who would attack him, and leave us be?"
"Wait... where's Jakob?"

"Hmm. The remains... have disappeared?" exclaimed Anthadd.
"I don't know ... what the? Now that's odd, even in my opinion...."

The remains had disappeared completely, and Jakob walked in as the two tried to figure out what just happened.

"J, Jakob!" exclaimed Anthadd again.
"Where were you?" queried Cyan.
"You're awake! Good! I went to get something to wake you, but I guess I don't need it, now," explained Jakob.
"Do you happen to know what befell our former friend, Blue Starman? For some reason, we found his ashes, and then they just went... *poof* and whatnot," asked Anthadd. "I understand he'd attacked us... but what happened after we fell unconscious?"
"Oh, he was about to kill the lot of us, so I shot him," explained Jakob, rather calmly.
"Why would he want to kill us?" queried Cyan.
"Something about me not being able to relearn some stuff," continued Jakob.
"Relearn?" asked Anthadd, this time.
"He said I used to know it, and I had to remember in order to fight Giygas. I dunno, I'm just a bass player."
"So he was going to kill us ..." began Cyan, "... wait, I'm not even going to ask."
"Killing in cold blood because of a failure to comply with what they wanted. And then, ending up dead themselves... what a way to go," said Anthadd, gravely.
"Not my way to go, that's for sure.... Anyway, what do we do now, Anthadd? You have a much better idea of what's going on than I do..." Cyan asked.
"Well, it would be nice if we could find some others who share our mission. But where to find them, that's the problem. I wouldn't know where to look."
Cyan's face lit up as an idea crossed his mind, "I wonder...." he pulled something off of his belt and examined it.
"Hmm...?" wondered Anthadd, aloud.

"Good. Matt, you count to 159 and we'll go hide. Base is this here tree, k? K." Mike waited for Matt to close his eyes. He then whispered to the others: "Go go go!" Everybody ran off in different directions.
Mike ran through the woods, orienteer style. "I knew that those forest running skills that I learned not too long ago would come in handy." He kept on running until he ran into a little creek. He hid up on a branch hanging above the creek itself. "Hey, now that I think about it, this looks too big to be a creek," Mike thought aloud. He then shrugged, and waited for Matt to try to find him.

"Oh no, somebody's near the stream," Matt said, stricken with fear. "I gotta find the others and get them to come with me! This could be bad!" He yelled out. "Help me!" The others could just barely be heard, giggling.