12Brickmaster7946https://community.lego.com/t5/Stories-of-LEGO-UNIVERSE/Paradox-Story/m-p/1920804This is the first book of my series, the Paradox series. I have fixed spelling errors and altered some sentences/phrases as to make them more comprehensible.
Availability: Paradox can also be found here.
Author's Notes: This is the first book of my series, the Paradox series. I have fixed spelling errors and altered some sentences/phrases as to make them more comprehensible.
The moment Vanda Darkflame created Paradox and became a Faction leader, her fate was sealed. She could have abandoned her place in the Universe, and continued operating in the shadows as a ninja. But Dr. Overbuild had decided that the Nexus Force needed another Faction to study the Maelstrom, and he felt that Vanda should not be left out - she had only had a job working for Baron Typhonus for a few weeks.
Vanda Darkflame was always in Nexus Tower, watching the Shadow Orb. She looked into it a few times a day, not affected by the dark scenes she found. The Paradox guard, Meyer Muckrake, watched her each day. He seemed freaked out when she exited the visions, as if she'd been struck by lightning and burst into bricks.
Vanda was happy that Meyer gave tokens to minifigures that helped him. His pay was low, yet he seemed content guarding the Paradox area. When he was first recruited, he seemed unfit for both Sorceror and Space Marauder. When he'd been smashed several times because of his lack of skills, Vanda had even allowed him to try out the Shinobi kit, but it was unfitting as well. He was given permission to create his own Paradox gear, as Augie Ninewells and Trek Furino had. His staff was infused with Maelstrom, and his armor was hand-crafted, perfectly sized.
One day, Duke Exeter reported an increase in Maelstrom energy in a newly-discovered area in Crux Prime, called Maelstrom Domain. It had many enemies originally, and was deemed too dangerous for all but the Faction leaders. If there was an increase in Maelstrom there, it could be devastating for the war effort on Crux Prime.
Duke Exeter asked Vanda if she could go and find the cause of the increase. Meyer Muckrake volunteered to go with her. So did Sutoro Hatto.
Duke Exeter looked uncertain. "Fine," he said. "But remember... some of you may not make it out..."
"Yes, Duke," Meyer and Sutoro said. "We understand. But we will protect our leader at all costs... even if it costs our own lives."
Vanda looked a bit surprised. "No need for that. We will get in, find the cause, stop it, and get out."
A Nexus Talon dropship flew up to the room.
"Here's your ride," Duke said. "Jake is the best pilot I have. He'll get you in, no questions asked."
" 'Course not," the pilot said. "Anything for a Faction leader."
They boarded the dropship and it took off, heading toward the battlefields below. As they reached enemy range, a watery shield formed around them.
Jake looked at the minifigs. "Camo field. They can't see us."
They flew over towards Aura Mar. Several minifigs of mixed Factions were battling their way through the Maelstrom there. The dropship cruised smoothly towards a rocky area outside the Mar. The shields flickered and died.
"Too much Maelstrom energy," Jake explained. "We're open for fire."
As he said it, Maelstrom Domain came into view. Mech Invaders and Stromling Invaders were everywhere.
"Watch out," Jake said. "We're gonna take flak."
And then the Mechs opened fire.
Jake dodged the lasers and approached the rocky area swiftly. Spiderlings came in and fired quicker shots. Jake dodged and continued closing. Suddenly a console beeped.
"Whoa!" Jake said. Suddenly flak exploded around them.
"What's that?" Vanda yelled over the noise.
"AA guns!" Jake replied. "They're on the cliffs!"
Vanda looked and, sure enough, huge cannons manned by Stromlings were firing off the clifftops.
"Keep going," she said. "I'm taking them out."
"What?" Meyer said. "Wait, no---!"
Vanda jumped out of the dropship and came down on a cliff with perfect accuracy. Ronin Invaders approached her but she cut them down easily. The Stromling manning the gun jumped out and attacked. Vanda quickly sliced it and then threw a blade into the side of the cannon. She grabbed it and ran as the gun exploded into pieces.
One of these pieces happened to fly towards the next gun. It lodged itself in the firing chamber, and, as the round fired, the cannon erupted into flames. Vanda jumped along the clifftops, cutting down guns. Once she was done, Jake came and picked her up. Meyer helped her in.
"Nice work." Vanda wiped sweat off her brow. "That was only part of the problem. Look." She pointed down.
Below, hundreds of Invader Maelstrom were crawling around. Several Dragon Invaders stood on sentry platforms jutting out of the cliff.
"That," Sutoro Hatto said, "is very, very bad."
"I've gotta go." Jake dropped them off at the cliff. "Duke expects me for a new job."
Vanda and the others hopped off. Jake flew off into the distance.
"Now," Meyer said. "How do we get past all that Maelstrom?" He looked at Vanda.
She looked thoughtful. "I say we smash the Dragons first. They are the biggest threat."
"Right," Sutoro said, unsheathing his katanas. His hat flared with lightning for a moment. "Let's engage them."
Vanda jumped down, finding footholds. The Paradox members worked their way down, and reached the first Dragon. It's platform was fairly large, and a few Ronin Invaders stood around.
"Stay silent," Vanda ordered. "We must take this one quickly."
She jumped down onto the platform and charged the Dragon. It saw her and fired a huge string of fireballs. She dodged most, but one hit her in midair. She flew backwards and hit the ground hard, her clothes smoking.
"No!" Meyer jumped from the cliff. He charged the Dragon, firing off bolts of Maelstrom from his staff.
Suddenly, he stopped. He concentrated and began to glowed with Maelstrom. A spinning tornado of Maelstrom energy expanded in front of him, and inside, miniature Maelstrom creatures spun.
Vanda looked up weakly and saw the tornado. Meyer released the tornado at the Dragon, and when it was a few bricks away it split it pieces... and Maelstorm came flooding out in its place. Spiderlings, Ronin, Admirals and Stromlings appeared on the ground. They all stood for a moment.
"Serve the Paradox!" Meyer yelled. Suddenly the creatures burst into action, attacking the Dragon. It spun and looked around, trying to target the creatures, but there were too many.
One Spiderling broke off from the swarm and crawled over to Vanda. She was trying to get up. Then Spiderling began releasing short pulses of energy. With each pulse Vanda look better and stronger. The scorch marks on her clothes got fainter. Each pulse the Spiderling looked weaker and frailer. The Spiderling was healing her with its own life force.
Vanda stood and looked to the Spiderling. She spoke something to it and it stopped releasing pulses, and slowly began looking less weak. The Dragon was almost finished off, and distracted, so Vanda walked over to Meyer, the Spiderling following behind her.
"Meyer..." she said. "How did you do that?"
"Honestly I'm not sure," he said. "My armor... it seems... different." He looked at it. It looked similar to a pair of samurai shoulderpads, but thicker in the middle. Purple lines glowed along the centre, and red stripes decorated it.
"It may be." Sutoro had jumped down from the cliff. "It is not like anything any other Paradox has ever worn."
"Yes," Vanda said. "Nobody, ever, in the history of the Nexus Force..."
Meyer felt awkward. "Um, how about we move on. We need to take down the Dragons."
"Right," Vanda said, looking at Meyer as if seeing him as a new person. They locked eyes for a moment, but them Meyer looked at the Spiderling following Vanda.
"Er," he said. "Vanda? What is that Spiderling doing there?"
"Oh," Vanda said. "He seems to like me. The Doomslicer could never maintain a Spiderling for long enough. It seems your tornado can create new pets."
The spider hissed happily and shot a web and an orb of Maelstorm approaching, sending it into the cliff. Vanda laughed. "Thanks Meyer. I've always wanted Spiderling pet."
Chapter 5 - ExtremeEdit
The trio quickly downed the remaining Dragons. Then they looked at the sea of Maelstrom enemies below.
"How are we meant to get through that?" Meyer asked. He kicked a rock off the platform. It fell around 20 bricks before it began glowing purple and disintegrated.
"I'm not sure," Vanda admitted. "This is more Maelstrom than I've seen before."
"I've seen more," a voice said. Vanda looked behind her and standing there was a Space Marauder. His armor was scratched and burned, as if he'd been here battling Dragons for a very long time. His visor has a small crack in it, and there was a small hole in his shoulderpads. Inside you could see hundreds of tiny bombs. "Hello, ma'am. I'm Extreme."
"How are you here?" Vanda asked suspiciously. "This area is classified."
"My dropship crashed here," Extreme said. "I was flying to Aura Mar on a mission. I got shot down. I've been trapped here for two months, hiding in a small cave."
"Well," Vanda said. "How do we get past all that?" She pointed a katana at the Maelstrom.
"This." Extreme pressed something on his sleeve and jets began activating on his shoulderpads. He hovered to the edge and looked back. He said, "Follow me."
Then he backflipped off the platform, into the swarm of Maelstrom below.
Vanda and the others ran to the platform edge. As Extreme fell, a Space Marauder Wormholer appeared in his hands. He hit the ground and blew dust and rocks everywhere. For a moment, there wasn't a sound except the trickle of rubble and dust.
Then the rocks exploded and Extreme emerged, Wormholer firing in machinegun mode.
"Ahahaha!" Sutoro yelled. "Onwards!"
He jumped down, and came down softly. He began twirling his katanas, cutting down Maelstrom. Meyer shrugged and jumped down. On impact, he released a blast of energy, sending lightning bolts flying at nearby Maelstrom. Vanda jumped down and began slicing up the enemy.
Extreme led the group through the waves, blasting down Maelstrom. His Wormholer unleashed pure energy, cutting holes in the Maelstrom enemies. He threw clusters of bombs at them, destroying rock and throwing enemies in the air.
Sutoro called down lighting bolts, shot Shinobi Bullets and rushed enemies. Vanda's katanas began glowing brighter as she cut down more enemies.
Then, suddenly, she raised it, and a glowing Paradox eye appeared above her. A blast of Maelstrom energy came down upon her, decimating everything around her. She created a ten-foot wide crater, and, inside, liquid Maelstrom flowed in a huge underground lake.
They cleared the area and examined the Maelstrom. "I think," Sutoro said, "we just found the increase in Maelstrom energy."
"Whoa." Extreme backed away.
A spurt of Maelstrom came up from the purple, bubbling liquid and formed a Ronin Invader. The creature settled on the edge and began trying to attack the minifigures. Meyer quickly smashed it.
"If this liquid can form and create Maelstorm creatures," Sutoro said, "I don't want to know what it could do to a minifigure."
As if the liquid had heard him, a tendril of Maelstrom reached out from the liquid. As fast as lightning, it snatched onto Sutoro's ankle. He yelled in pain and Maelstrom energy began seeping up his leg.
Vanda sliced the tendril with her katanas, but it simply formed back together. Sutoro fell over, unconscious, and began glowing purple. He was being infected. Finally Extreme opened a Notion Potion and threw the contents onto the tendril. It sizzled, then disappated.
"Sutoro?" Meyer asked. "You ok?"
Sutoro groaned. Then suddenly he sprang up. His skin was purple, and his eyes were a blazing red. His katanas radiated Maelstrom. He charged at Meyer but he dodged and Sutoro lodged his katana in the rock.
"Sutoro," Vanda said. "We don't want to hurt---"
"I will destroy you!" Sutoro rasped. "Face the wrath of the Maelstrom!" And he lunged at Vanda.
Chapter 8 - ThensoEdit
"No!!!" Meyer jumped in the way of Sutoro. He raised his staff, and Sutoro's blades struck Meyer's staff. There was a moment of silence, and then, with a horrible crack, the staff snapped.
A blast of energy was unleashed, sending Sutoro tumbling away and Meyer crashing down in front of Vanda. Sutoro hit the ground and rolled several bricks beforing coming to a stop.
"Meyer!" Vanda said. "Why did you do that?" Meyer looked up.
"I couldn't let you die," he said. "You're my Faction leader." There was a horrible shout and Sutoro came limping back at them. His left leg hung behind him. Meyer stood up. His staff lay in two pieces at his feet.
"Stand down." Extreme walked up to Meyer. "You can't fight him anymore, not without a weapon."
As Sutoro got closer, Extreme began charging up his Wormholer.
"Extreme!" Vanda objected. "You can't just smash a---"
Suddenly, a blast slammed into Sutoro from the left, and he was knocked to the ground. Sutoro was fine, but he looked dazed. His skin and armor was normal, along with his weapons.
"What was that?" Meyer asked. Everyone looked to the left. "Why," a voice said. "It was me, of course."
A Rank 3 Sorcerer was standing to the left. He looked at the group of minifigures.
"What?" he asked their blank looks. "Usually, when I see Maelstrom, I blast it."
"Who are you?" Vanda marched forward. The Sorcerer looked surprised.
"Ah, hello, Miss Darkflame. I am Thenso."
Vanda looked suspicious. "This is an unknown area. Why and how are you here?"
"Well, let's see," Thenso said. "I was blasting from Nimbus to Nexus Tower in my Darkwarp, when I saw this and approached. I landed safely and began exploring. When I returned to my landing site I found the smoking ruins of my rocket and quite a number of Maelstrom. I've been here a few hours."
Suddenly a katana lodged itself in the ground next to Thenso. "Eek!" he said. "That was close."
Another katana whizzed by, barely missing his head. "Ah!" he said, jumping around. "I'm not a target dummy!"
Then a bolt of lightning came down and struck him. He yelled and electricity coursed through him. He collapsed. Vanda looked at Sutoro, who was standing. His hat was powering down from shooting lightning.
"Sutoro!" Vanda yelled. "What the heck was that?!" Sutoro shrugged.
"Can I blast him now?" Extreme asked. "Fine." Vanda marched over to Thenso. Extreme charged his Wormholer and suddenly Sutoro was unconscious again.
Extreme, Meyer and Vanda decided to keep Thenso and Sutoro separate.
Thenso was calm, and even joked about the incident. Sutoro, however, was not so calm. When he regained consciousness, he tried to attack Thenso again. They held him back and he finally agreed to stop.
Then they faced their first problem: how to destroy the Maelstrom liquid. Imagination could destroy it, but they didn't have enough. They couldn't move the whole Imagination Nexus here either. Finally they created a plan: Someone would stay back at the liquid pool, and the others would go on.
"I will stay," Sutoro said. "I have caused too many problems today."
They agreed and the others set off. After walking for a very long time, they found the end of the area. There were Spiderling Invaders and Mech Invaders standing on the edge, guns pointed to the sky. Vanda spotted familiar pillars of cliffs with smoke coming off the top.
"This is where we came in," she said.
"Let's raid." Extreme charged his Wormholer.
"Extreme," Thenso said. "Destruction to not the solution to everything!"
"Extreme!" Vanda said. "For once, charging in like that is not the solution."
Extreme stopped charging his Wormholer. "What do we do, then?"
Vanda thought. "Well..."
Suddenly something exploded in front of them. A horrible voice that sounded like an injured man on a battlefield yelled, "Nexus Force!" and chaos ensured
. "Looks like that's it." Extreme charged his Wormholer and cut down a line of Stromling Invaders. A Doomslicer appeared in Thenso's hands and he summoned a Spiderling. It jumped up and charged towards the Maelstrom. Meyer picked up the nearest weapon - a fallen Pirate Invader's claw - and began hacking at the enemy. Vanda began cutting up the liness with her katanas.
They mowed down the lines slowly. Extreme and Thenso lead the force, cutting down Maelstrom. Meyer noticed that Thenso was humming some song that Meyer had never heard before. Vanda kept unleashing blasts of energy.
After a time, they thinned out the Maelstrom enough that the rest scuttled off in fear. Then they sat and cooled down.
"How did we do that so fast?" Thenso asked. "We couldn't have taken down so---"
"You didn't." A Sentinel Knight came into view. He held a Powerjouster over his shoulder. On his shoulder, three blue bars indicated he was a high rank. "I'm the leader of the Sentinel reinforcements. Come with me."
"What?" Meyer asked. "We called for no reinforcements. Anyway, Sutoro Hatto is back---"
"Come with me," the Knight repeated. "Duke Exeter has ordered us to retrieve you."
"Why?" Vanda asked.
"His reason does not matter." The Knight wasn't going to give in. "He has ordered us."
"Wait a second," Thenso said. "What is going on here?"
"I just explained," the Knight said. "Duke Exeter has---"
"No, not you!" Thenso said. "You. Meyer, Vanda. What is going on?"
Vanda was surprised for a second. "Duke Exeter found an increase in Maelstrom energy here. He sent us - Sutoro, Meyer, and I - to find and destroy the cause."
"Oh," Thenso said. "Right." Extreme held his Wormholer in a defensive position.
"Who are you?" The Knight looked at the Wormholer with no fear.
"I am the leader of Sentinel reinforcements. Come with me."
"Alright, that's it," Meyer said. "You're not a real Nexus---"
There was a loud zapping noise, and the Knight exploded into dust.
Vanda jumped. The others were surprised. They looked in the direction of the noise. Standing next to them was a Sentinel - fully armored. He held a three-barrelled blaster in his right hand, and a huge cone-shaped weapon in the other. His armor was bulky and futuristic, and his helmet had a gleaming blue visor.
"Hey there," said Nikolai Gammapulse. "I was wondering where you were."
"Nikolai," Vanda said calmly. "What was that?"
"Oh, that pile of dust?" Nikolai replied. "That was--- Oh. Um... I don't know. A spy? A Stromling? A minifigure? Could be anything with what's going on in the tower."
"What's going on in the tower?" Meyer asked.
"That's what I came for," Nikolai said grimly. "Quickly. Let's go."
He led them to a small Sentinel camp. It consisted of a few sandbag lines, some metal, and an automatic turret. The camp was under siege. Stromlings and Mechs battered the sides, denting the metal and bursting the sandbags.
"Hey, Nikolai!" a Sentinel called. "We can't take any more of this! We gotta get out of here!"
"Got it!" Nikolai replied, shooting down a Stromling Invader. He called down a quick Orbital Strike then dived into the camp. Bullet Mullet was standing inside.
"Nikolai," he said. "Get to the tower! We'll be right behind you."
At the back of the camp was a small launchpad.
"What?" Thenso asked. "How are we meant to fit a rocket onto---"
"You're not." Nikolai stepped on the pad, and was flung into the air.
Extreme shrugged and jumped on. The rest jumped and found themselves standing on the landing platform for Nexus Tower.
"We have a situation inside," Nikolai said. "Come on."
They walked into the tower and instantly saw something very out of place: a real, solid minififgure, identical to Nexus Naomi, was standing on a console. She jumped around, seeming freaked out.
"Ok," Thenso said. "That is just plain weird."
"What happened?" Vanda asked. Nikolai glanced towards the Sentinel corridor for a second.
"Something with the Imagination Nexus," he said. "Something fell out, or... nobody's really sure. But now everything's gone haywire. The dummies in the Sentinel area are alive, and real Maelstrom. Duke's Crux Prime hologram has become a solid battleground. All the Nexus Naomi holograms are real minifigures."
"Right," Meyer said. "Where are we needed?"
"Well, our first priority is the Sentinel vendor area. Achilles Plutarch is using his arsenal to hold off the Maelstrom."
They ran down the Sentinel corridor. They went past Yawny Goodknight, who was now awake and fully alert, sword at the ready, and down the hallway. The speed pads had turned into paper cutouts. The holograms of armor had turned into real sets of armor. The Talon Dropship hologram above the Crux Prime teleporter had turned into a small model and was lying on the floor.
In Bullet Mullet's room, the holograms had solidifed into living creatures, so he was fighting a Spiderling and an Admiral - and he was losing.
"Bullet!" Nikolai called.
"In a bit of a situation here, Nikolai!" Bullet replied.
Nikolai shot at the Spiderling. "Catch!" He threw a flashbang to Bullet.
"Thanks!" he said, throwing it at the ground. It exploded, sending the Spiderling and Admiral slamming into the walls. They shattered into bricks.
"Hey, Nikolai!" Bullet said. "You'd better get back to the vendor room! Things are intense in there!"
"On our way there," Thenso said, following the group through the room. They walked through the doorway into the sound of explosions.
The vendor area wasn't in such a good condition. Maelstrom flooded out of the Challenge booths. Stromlings, Pirates, Admirals, and deadly Kamikazees charged at Achilles Plutarched, who was valiantly defending the area. He swapped from a Massive Spear to a Zweihander and sliced three enemies into bricks.
"Hey, Achilles!" Nikolai called.
"Nikolai?" Achilles asked, not turning around. "You're back! Finally!"
"Yeah, I brought friends." Thenso and Extreme ran forward and began blasting down Maelstrom with their Valiant weapons. Vanda came forward and began cutting up Maelstrom.
"I could use a weapon," Meyer said.
"Here," Achilles said, throwing him a Scarlet Scythe. Meyer grabbed it. He came up and put a group of enemies to sleep, then proceeded to slice them up.
After several minutes, not much had changed. The Maelstrom wasn't spawning any slower, and the minifigures had gained no ground.
"This isn't working!" Extreme said, summoning a Mech. It began shooting at Maelstrom.
"I know!" Vanda said. "We need a new tactic."
"The generators!" Nikolai said, pointing at the machines that were shooting down lightning, creating more Maelstrom.
"Yes," Meyer agreed. "We need to destroy them."
"I'll take care of that." Extreme turned his Wormholer to the generators and fired. In a few seconds, the Maelstrom had stopped coming.
"I'll clean up here," Achilles said, getting out a Construction Shield and repairing the minifigs' armor.
"Right," Nikolai said. "Priority number two: the Venture League map room."
"What could posssibly go wrong in there?" Meyer asked.
"You'd be surprised," Nikolai said. "Planet Crux has reformed."
"You mean the hologram has come alive?" Vanda asked.
"Yes," Nikolao replied. "The corrupted Nexus is active in a way. Trek Furino was infected. A few Stromlings are there, but the main problem is the Maelstrom concentration. We need you to destroy it. Nobody else can get close to it."
"Brilliant," Thenso said, rubbing his hands. "Let's get started."
They walked into the Venture League map room. The first thing they noticed:
A huge cube was sitting lopsidedly on the floor. It had smashed in part of the wall. Near the top, a small column of curling, purple energy bubbled. Purple smoke floated around it. A few Stromling Pirates stood around the cube. One was unmistakable: Trek Furino. He still held his pistol, but his entire outfit had changed. The skull on his shirt now popped out, and had glowing red eyes. His shoulderpads radiated purple. Instead of green, his pants were dark grey with tears through them. The second thing they noticed was Hael Storm. He was standing at the entrance to the room, shaking his fist at the Stromlings and cube.
"Curse ye!" he yelled. "Ye be ruinin' all me hard work! Do ye know how long it took me to get all these what-ya-me-call-its workin'?! I'll smash ye for this!"
"Uh, Hael," Thenso said. "What are you doing?"
Hael turned around. "Aye, mateys, it's about time some of ye Paradox got 'ere!"
He pointed his cutlass at the cube planet. "That thing! No one can get close to the blasted thing! Go smash it, then I can get me revenge on them Stromlings!"
"Right." Extreme exchanged his Wormholer for his Launcher and Blaster. "Let's get to it."
They ran towards the cube. Meyer and Vanda cut down nearby Stromlings as Extreme unleashed a barrage of missiles on the cube. Thenso's Spiderling charged it and began slicing away. Suddenly something blasted Meyer aside.
A voice echoed out of nowhere, "Vanda Darkflame. As believe you know- " A Stromling emerged from the shadows. He held a smoking pistol. " -I am Trek Furino, servant of the Maelstrom."
Before Vanda could react, Furino blasted her with his pistol. She was knocked to the floor, but only to reveal Thenso standing behind her. His Doomslicer glowed as he spun around. Furino groaned as he was hit by a blast of energy being released from Thenso. He fell to the ground.
"Surrender," Thenso said, aiming his Doomslicer at Furino. Furino tried to stand, but when he saw the Doomslicer's grotesque head, he fell back down again.
"Never," he managed.
"Fine. I'll do it for you." Thenso got a Thirst Quencher out of his pocket and poured the contents onto Furino, who instantly passed out, but the Maelstrom was quickly fading. Thenso helped Vanda back up as Extreme ran over, holding back a huge crowd of Stromling Pirates with his Wormholer.
"Little help?" Meyer got back up and began cutting up Pirates.
Off the sidelines, Hael seemed to rally his courage. He yelled and began charging into battle. His parrot flew ahead of him.
As soon as it got close to the cube, it dropped out of the air and began turning purple. It got back up and stared at Hael with red eyes.
"Err," Hael said. "No need for that now, matey..." The parrot screeched and tried to attack Hael. He knocked it away with his hand, but it flew back up and began pecking him on the head.
"Ouch!" he complained. "Yar! Stop it!"
He dug a Hiccup Tablet out of his pocket and threw it into the parrot's beak as it opened it. The tablet fell into it. The bird coughed as if choking, then fell out of the sky into Hael's hands.
"Aye," he said, watching the Maelstrom fade from the parrot. "That was a bad idea."
In a few minutes, the cube had been destroyed. Immediately, the Stromling Pirates exploded into smoke.
They walked back to Nikolai and Hael at the entrance.
"Yar har!" Hael cried. "Ye did good. Now I need to get me guard Trek Furino back up." He walked into the room and helped Trek up.
"Good work," Nikolai said. "Now, priority number three: the Paradox room."
Vanda unsheathed her katana. "What's happened?"
"You probably don't want to know," Nikolai said, "but let's just say the Shadow Orb is..." She trailed off.
"That sounds bad," Thenso said. "Very bad."
"We'll take them," Extreme said, spinning his Wormholer's blade.
"Right," Meyer said. They ran down the hallway. As they looked into the Assembly room, things were haywire. A dozen Assembly technicians and engineers were desperately doing something to the Imagination Nexus, and so was Doctor Overbuild.
Something very bad must've been going on if Overbuild didn't trust his own men to fix it. They walked down the stairs into the darker Paradox area.
"Which portal?" Meyer asked. "Let's go left." They jumped into the one on the left and emerged in Rutger Hemoglobin's area - and it was under attack.
Rutger himself wasn't in his vendor stall, instead, he was holding a Gem Hammer. Down the hallway, Stromlings were emerging from the portal. Rutger smashed them into bricks easily, but more kept coming. As they watched one with a chainsaw form an arm emerged.
"Rutger!" Meyer yelled.
"Meyer?" Rutger said, glancing back. "Ah, zere you are! I have been holding zese Stromlings for ages! I'm so tired, I vill not be able to hold them for much longer!"
"Don't worry, we've got it," Vanda said, coming forward and holding them off. Rutger stepped back. He looked as if he'd drop his hammer at any moment.
"Rutger," Meyer said, "where'd you get that Gem Hammer?"
"Oh," Rutger said. "Mr. Ree came by a vhile ago. He gave me zis zen went into your Paradox room. I haven't heard from him since..."
"That's bad," Meyer said, standing back up. Vanda, Thenso and Extreme had pushed the Maelstrom back already.
"You did good work, Rutger. But now you need to rest." Meyer was about to charge at the enemy when there was an explosion, and Thenso, Vanda and Extreme flew backwards.
Extreme nearly slipped into the teleporter, but Thenso grabbed his hand and pulled him out. Then there was an insane laugh and Admiral Flogmore marched into the room.
"I have defeated many of you!" he cackled in a horrible voice. "And you will be my next---"
Suddenly there was a flash of lasers, a firing sound, and Flogmore collapsed into bricks - and a minifig in a dark grey suit, wearing tinted shades. He held a Gat Gun Sprayer, a Foreman's Radio and wore Shard Armor.
"Mr Ree," Thenso said.
"Hello," Mr Ree said, giving Thenso his Gat Gun Sprayer and gtting out a Double Blaster. "I see you've come to rid your room of the Maelstrom?"
"What's going on in there?" Vanda asked. Mr Ree looked frightened.
"Horrible things, see? It seems as if the Darkitect's creations are coming to life from the Shadow Orb, see?"
"That - is - very - VERY - bad," Extreme said.
"Yes," Ree agreed. "So I've been fighting some things that noboy's ever fought before, see? There's huge tunnelling beasts, merciless canines with fangs... it's some scary stuff, see?"
"Sure sounds like it," Meyer said grimly. "But we have to go in. Come on."
They walked up to the portal. Suddenly someone burst out of the portal behind them. It was Nikolai.
"Sorry I'm late!" he said. "Had to get some Maelstrom."
"Ah, Nikolai," Ree said. "You might need this, see?" He threw Nikolai a Fleur-De-Lis Shield.
"Thanks," Nikolai said, grasping it in his hand. "Let's move on."
He walked up to the portal. Then they all jumped in.
After a few seconds, they emerged into the Paradox room. And it was a horrible scene: no Maelstrom creature the same. Each was different, and newer ones kept appearing out of the Shadow Orb. Within the huge armies of Maelstrom, they saw rhinosaurus with skeleton faces, sharks with horse bodies, apes with six arms and huge boulders, and much more indescribable things.
"Oh," Vanda said, horrified. "This- this is horrible."
Nikolai took a step back. "Uh," he said. "This is... not natural. At all."
"What in Imagination did he do?" Meyer asked. "No sane creature could ever - EVER - make anything... like- like this." Suddenly one of the creatures turned in their direction. It saw them and charged. Everyone was frozen in horror except Extreme, whose helmet filtered the image into something better. He raised his Wormholer and fired, turning the creature to dust.
"Guys!" he said. "Snap out of it!"
"Wha- what?" Nikolai asked. He shook his head. "Oh. Right. Maelstrom."
The only one unaffected seemed to be Mr Ree. "We need to smash this, see? It's the only way to---"
"Look out!" Meyer dragged Ree out of the way as a small bug flew past and slammed into the wall. It began burning through, but Meyer blasted it with his Gat Gun.
"Thanks," Ree said, standing back up.
"Let's go," Thenso said. "We have some Maelstrom to smash." They raised their weapon and charged.
As one, the Maelstrom turned to the charging warriors. Then they, too, charged. Lasers flared, swords sliced, and soon the area turned into a place of Maelstrom. Meyer had again unleashed a tornado of Maelstrom, and they were "serving the Paradox," as Meyer said. Vanda had summoned massive blasts of Maelstrom.
But as fast as they could smash the Maelstrom, summon it, or turn it against itself, more enemies were flooding out of the Shadow Orb, and dangerously fast. A huge three-headed bird had perched itself on top of the Paradox circle dominating the room, and was blasting fire in all directions.
After almost as hour, the minifigures were cornered. They fought valiantly, smashing and summoning as fast as they could, but the Maelstrom spawned faster. With horrible spark showers, small pieces of the ceiling crashed down on the floor, threatening to crush everything.
"We've lost," Meyer said miserably. "There's no hope. We'll be smashed fighting or be crushed by the ceiling."
As the Maelstrom closed in, fast as lightning, a horrible canine hound barged in. Before anyone could hit it, it snatched up Mr Ree, and as soon as it had arrived, it had disappeared into the line of Maelstrom.
"Ree," Vanda cried. "No!"
To make things worse, a lion with the head of a huge python jumped into the small circle and snarled. It circled them once, then charged. Before he could react, the creature bit Meyer in the chest, sinking in its fangs. Meyer yelled in pain, then the creature dived away as Vanda sliced at it.
"No you don't!" Nikolai roared. He touched his helmet, and suddenly the creature flew backwards at him, well in the range of a sword. He aimed his blaster and it turned to dust.
Meyer sank to the floor. He had frozen still. Vanda unleashed a huge blast of energy, blasting down waves of enemies like dominoes, decimating the entire army. But Vanda looked at Meyer.
"Meyer," she said. "Are you alright?" He coughed and looked up at her.
"I--- I think I'll be alr---" Suddenly he stopped. His eyes stood open, glassy and cold. Around them, the Maelstrom line held back. Then Meyer unfroze, and his outer layers seemed to shatter like ice. He emerged in a new form: a hideous, purple creature, with deep black eyes. Instead of a left arm, he had a skeletal talon. For a right arm, his Gat Gun Sprayer had solidifed over it, and turned red.
The creature stood and looked Nikolai in the eyes. He froze for a moment. Suddenly he began shaking and fell over. His armor began smoking. The creature looked at Vanda. It tried to look at her eyes, but something seemed to stop it, as if something was battling for control of its mind.
"You- you're not him," Vanda said shakily. "You're not Meyer. You're an evil creature, a servant of the Maelstrom. You came from the Maelstrom liquid, didn't you? You inhabited his body until now. Until that thing bit him."
The creature grew a mouth and smirked evilly. Then it said in a voice so hideous it burned into Vanda's soul, "Yes. I am a Jarzek, a mind-reaper. I take control of beings' minds, then use them for the Darkitect."
Vanda showed no fear. "Then," she said, "you should be rid from the world!"
On the last word, she thrust her katana into the creature's chest. It wheezed.
"I thought you would be reasonable," it cackled. "It appears not."
Then the creature liquidified and dissolved, returning to the Maelstrom Domain. The only think left was a tiny blue orb, floating in the air: Meyer's Imagination Spark. It was pure blue on one side, glowing with Imagination. On the other, it was red and purple, and radiated evil. The colours would swirl, a constant battle for control over Meyer's soul.
"Meyer," Vanda said to the orb. "Meyer." Each word, the red and black seemed to disappear a tiny bit. The blue side seemed to grow eyes, and turned in her direction.
"Meyer," she repeated. "Meyer. You---" Suddenly the red and black side exploded in a fury. It overcame the blue side, and only a small spark was left. In desperation, Vanda charged the orb. As she touched it, there was a high ringing noise. It echoed around the area, and suddenly all the Maelstrom that Thenso and Extreme had been off fighting disappeared.
A huge purple cloud of pure Maelstorm receded into the Shadow Orb, and there was a roar: a roar of anger from the Darkitect himself, all his perfect creations of chaos destroyed, deleted, undone. And Meyer's Imagination Spark began glowing. So brightly that the darkness on it dissapated, and then it exploded in a burst of Imagination. And Vanda collapsed.
She had spent all her strength and life force restoring Meyer's Imagination Spark. Her own Spark was almost depleted. She was dying.
Thenso and Extreme ran over to Vanda and Nikolai. Vanda was pale white, and deadly still. Nikolai looked tired and shocked.
"Argh," he said. "My armor." Then he saw Vanda. "Uh oh. That's not good."
"Correct," Thenso said, placing a hand on her forehead. "She's feverish. I can barely feel a pulse."
Extreme roared in frustration. His Wormholer roared and he cut down a steel beam with the blade.
"What happened?" a voice echoed from behind them. Extreme turned around. Behind them, a minifigure stood. He wore a Dragon Gi and Rank 1 Shinobi gear. He walked over to Vanda.
"Who are you?" Thenso asked. "I am Justin Darkflame." His face crinkled with concern as he saw Vanda's condition. "Brother of Vanda Darkflame."
Extreme began, "Since when did---"
"Vanda have a brother?" Justin finished smartly. "Ninjas must keep their secrets, mustn't they?"
"I suppose." Everyone turned around. Standing right where he should, was a minifigure, in gleaming black armor with red streaks, a black helmet, holding a long staff, with four points at the tip, glowing with Maelstrom energy.
Meyer laughed and walked over to them. "I'm here," he said. "What happened?"
"To who?" Extreme asked. "You or Vanda?"
"Vanda?" Meyer looked worried. "What happened to Vanda?"
"It appears," Thenso said, "that she used her life force to destroy the chaos bound the your Imagination Spark. Sadly, it appears more than just her life force has been depleted."
"Who are you?" Justin asked.
"I am Meyer Muckrake," Meyer replied.
"Who are you?" "Justin Darkflame," he replied. "Sister of---"
"Vanda Darkflame?" Meyer finished.
Justin nodded. "I suppose we share the same concerns."
Everyone turned back to Vanda. She looked even worse than before.
"She's in a very bad condition," Justin said. "We'll need Pure Imagination. From the Nexus."
"The Nexus which caused the Darkitect's worst ideas to flow out of the orb?" Meyer said. "The Nexus that created a hound that took Ree and created a python-lion hybrid that bit me, caused a demonic mind-reaper to take over my body, hurt Nikolai and try and kill Vanda? The Nexus that caused Vanda to end up like this in the first place?"
Justin was not offended. "Everything in nature, however evil it may be, must repay its debts to those who it has done wrong to eventually, whether in a second or a thousand years."
"Fine," Meyer said. "Although I'm not sure whether the Nexus is actually safe at the moment."
They picked up Vanda and walked to the portal. They jumped in and appeared in Rutger's vendor area.
"Wait..." Extreme said. "Ree! What about Mr Ree?"
"Oh!" Thenso said. "Where is he?"
"We can't go back now," Justin argued. "We need to get to the Nexus."
"Well, I'm going back for Ree," Thenso said. "Whether you are or not." And with that he jumped back into the portal.
"So am I," Extreme said, and followed Thenso back.
Nikolai stayed with Justin and Meyer. They walked past Rutger. "Hello," he said. "Vhat happened in---"
Then he saw Vanda. "Vhat happened to her?"
"Long story," Nikolai said. "Has to do with demonic Maelstrom, mind-reapers, Imagination Sparks and stuff."
"Oh," Rutger said. "I'll come vith you. Where are you going?"
"The Nexus," Meyer said, continuing to the portal. "Right..."
When they emerged from the portal, everything seemed normal. But the closer they got to the Imagination Nexus, the louder the yells of engineers and technicians got.
They turned the corner just in time to see the Imagination Nexus, a blue column of Pure Imagination, transform. There was a horrible smash, and everyone went flying away from it. Doctor Overbuild slammed into the wall next to them.
He coughed and said, "Run! I'll be fine. Just run!"
And then the Nexus turned into a figure: a fifty-foot tall figure, with a skeleton face, wearing a tuxedo, holding a tall scepter, and wearing a black top hat. It was Baron Typhonus.
Extreme and Thenso looked around the Paradox area cautiously. They Maelstrom may be gone, but the Shadow Orb was shimmering and rattling dangerously, as if it were about to explode.
"What do you think happened to him? Ree, of course." Extreme asked.
"Well," Thenso said, "he got grabbed by the hound, yes? Then it jumped away. Then all the Maelstrom got sucked back into the Orb... but did you see that Stromling?"
"I saw loads, yeah."
"No, a normal one. Avant Gardens-style."
"Well I never saw it get sucked away. I was about to Doomslice it when the Maelstrom got sucked into the Orb. I saw it scuttle away."
"So...?" "It seems only the unreal Maelstrom, the ones created from the thoughts of the Darkitect, made of Pure Maelstrom, were sucked back."
"So Ree could have been taken away with the hound?"
"Possibly. Or he could have been left..." Thenso's eyes drifted to the Paradox eye circle, and spotted a small wisp of purple smoke behind it. "...right there."
They silently dashed up the stairs, making sure they couldn't be seen by the Stromling. They made it to the top and saw a Stromling facing away from them. In front of it, Mr Ree was lying on the ground, tied up in ropes.
He saw them and began wriggling, trying to escape. Before the Stromling could turn around, Thenso sheared it's head off with his Doomslicer.
"Ree," Extreme said. "We gotta get out of here." They cut the ropes and Ree stood up.
"Thanks," he said. "I thought I was gone, see?"
"Yeah," Thenso said. "Well, we've got to get out of here. I heard something from the Nexus room."
Every minifigure in the room fell to the ground and writhed in pain as the Baron - or what used to be the Imagination Nexus - began laughing. It was a horrible sound, like fingers on a chalkboard, but a thousand times worse.
Meyer adjusted his helmet to soundproof and stood back up.
"What's this?" the Baron said, although Meyer couldn't hear. "A minifigure has resisted my attack?"
He laughed again. "You will fall."
He sweeped his scepter in an arc, and a creature formed in front of Meyer - ten-foot tall, with four, long, black legs, and a hideous, purple head: The Spider Boss.
Thenso, Extreme and Ree ran into the room just in time to see Meyer get flung into the wall by the Spider Boss. Everyone sprang into action: pistols blazing, swords slicing, Wormholers shooting, turrets opening fire, and all Crux broke loose.
The Spider Boss was battered from all sides by an uncountable number of minifigures of all Factions. Doctor Overbuild was creating turrets and creations.
Justin Darkflame was defending Vanda from the Spider's webs, lasers and leg stabs.
Meyer was unleashing Maelstrom creatures.
Extreme was non-stop blasting and summoning mechs.
Thenso sliced at the Spider, summoning Spiderlings.
Rutger was shooting the Spider with an Overcharged Blaster he'd acquired from Ree, who was holding a Double Blaster, calling in explosive pianos, and reparing armor.
And other minifigures were rushing into the room: Achilles Plutarch, Duke Exeter, Honor Accolade, Bullet Mullet, Olivia Nightshade, Hael Storm, Billy Ganges, Torbert Oscillator, Ace Warprider, Trek Furino, and even Yawny Goodknight were charging in.
The Spider Boss looked left and right, trying to smash minifigures with its feet, shooting webs, blasting with lasers, but nothing worked. It was overwhelmed.
Then, with a horribly screech, the mighty Spider Boss fell, and hit the ground with a clang. It's body smoked and it's eyes were closed, and it exploded into smoke. For a second, nothing happened.
Then a mighty cheer erupted from the minifigures. They had defeated the undefeatable, smashed the unsmashable, reached the unreachable: they had smashed the Spider Boss.
Then they turned as one to the fifty-foot tall Baron. Alone, they were afraid. But together, they were indestructable. They could smash the Baron together, they knew for a fact.
The Baron seemed to realise it too. He backed away, and looked pointedly at Meyer Muckrake and his group. "This- this is not over. I will smash you. I will smash you all!" And with a mighty bang, the Baron disappeared.
The cleanup took a few weeks. The Imagination Nexus had turned itself into a tiny shard again after the Baron escaped, and Overbuild finally figured out what was wrong: those Infected Bricks! He'd known someone had been donating Infected Bricks to Nexus Tower, and one had been placed right at the Nexus, causing it to glitch out. It was removed and replaced with a genuine brick.
When Overbuild placed the shard back in its place he used it to heal Vanda, with Justin and Meyer at his side. The destruction had taken it's toll on the Paradox area. The Shadow Orb was still shaking and clattering, and the ceiling was half-destroyed. The huge Paradox eye had many cracks through it and looked as if it would shatter at any moment. When Vanda saw it, her heart sank.
She looked at the destroyed area and said sadly, "I don't think it's ever going to be the same."
"It will," Justin and Meyer said at the same time.
"Yes, it will," a voice said. Doctor Overbuild walked up to them. "I've ordered my best engineers to repair this room back to exactly the way it was before, right down to the dust particles."
Vanda smiled sadly. "Thanks," she said.
The experience changed everybody. The invasion of the Baron in the safest place, Nexus Tower, had shaken everyone. How could it have happened? All because of one traitor donating Infected Bricks. This just went to show how dangerous they were.
Chapter 33 - YonderEdit
Vanda, Justin and Thenso were overseeing Overbuild's engineers trying to fix the Shadow Orb one day when a minifigure entered the room. He wore Space Marauder Pants and Shoulderpads, but wore a Black Ninja Gi. He held a Water Sprayer.
He walked over to a burning console and sprayed it with water, putting out the fire. He got out some Armor Gleam and began cleaning the console. Thenso saw him and walked over.
"Hello there," he said.
"Hey," the Space Marauder replied. "I'm Yonder."
"Just helping with the cleanup?"
"Yeah. I guess we all have to play our part."
"I suppose." He turned and walked back towards the Shadow Orb, but somehow he doubted he'd seen the last of Yonder.
Mr Ree climbed out of the vent and assumed his new position in the Assembly vendor room.
"Hey Ree," Gwen Tweenbangle called. "Always on the move, aren't you?"
"Hello," Ree replied. "I have to be on the move, see? I can't just stay in the same place like you and offer my whole inventory of gear at the same time, see?"
"Have you seen what I sell?"
"Well... no." Ree got out a Double Blaster and scorched a hole right through the floor. Then he equipped a Foreman's Radio, destroyed more flooring, then got out a Skeleton Key and summoned a Bone Daddy. It began walking towards Gwen. Then Ree got out an Oil Can, slipped the Bone Daddy over, then equipped a Mole Whacker, smashed the Bone Daddy to the ground, equipped a Sapphire Scepter and unleashed tracking lasers that smashed the Bone Daddy into bricks. Then he equipped Shard Armor and began repairing all the damage. Then he simply equipped a Gat Gun Sprayer, destroyed the floor again, smashed it more with a Gem Hammer, even more with an Overcharged Blaster, then even more with a Launcher.
After several weeks, the Paradox area was finally restored. The Shadow Orb was destroyed and reconstructed by Paradox trained in dark arts and Maelstrom sorcery. But the destruction had left it's costs: broken panels around the area, and a broken portal near Vanda. A few days before she left to Maelstrom Domain, Overbuild had told her it was almost done and would lead to "a new world of Maelstrom". He hadn't told her much about it, but she knew once it was complete again it would be her next mission - and she knew exactly who she was taking with her.
Read the next part at Paradox 2: Battle on Ryol...