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Venture League: Sharpie, Legofan
Assembly: Intrepid, Iron
Sentinel: Coyote, Vyron
Paradox: Kashooki, Crash
Real Life: Sam, Kastia, Dave, OPEN, OPEN, OPEN
Book One: The RiftEdit
Samuel Golderstien was an ordinary kid. He was street-smart, almost a teen, but he acted a few years older than his age - and he was starting to look like it, too.
His gifted program at his school was getting ready to let out for the summer. On the last day of class, he walked in to see everyone opening up their bags and pulling out their school supplies.
The way the program worked, there was one teacher for kids of various ages, as young as middle school and as old as graduating that night from high school.
Samuel slid into his seat in the front row and pulled out last night's homework, his pencil pouch, and a calculator.
He leaned over to see who else was there. It looked like everyone except for one person was in class.
Suddenly, a black haired high schooler burst through the door and jumped into his seat next to Samuel's, slamming his homework on the desk as the bell rang.
"Kastia?" Sam whispered. "Where were you?"
"Flat tire," Kastia grumbled. Then he added under his breath, "Again."
Sam sighed. He knew how Kastia's flat tires were. They popped for no reason all the time.
"Good morning class," Mr. Jones said. He began roll call, when suddenly, the lights blacked out.
Then a single light bulb started glowing purple.
Everyone in the class backed away from the light bulb except for Mr. Jones. He obviously didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.
The light made a noise like a bugzapper, and Mr. Jones was struck by the purple bolt. His hair morphed into a glowing purple three-cornered hat. His face turned purple, and his eyes began glowing red. His chest burst, and his ribs glowed purple. His left hand morphed into a claw, and his right leg morphed into a pirate leg. Mr. Jones had turned into..."Gull Rawstew!" Kastia gasped.
Sam was bewildered. Dozens of questions raced through his mind. What was happening to the electrical system at school? Who was Gull Rawstew? Who was behind zapping their teacher?
The most bewildering, though, was: How did Kastia know what was going on?
Sam had no time to wonder. A purple creature similar to Mr. Jones jumped out of the light bulb, except this one had a backpack, a weird purple hairdo, and a chainsaw on one arm. His color constantly shifted between pink and purple. You know those barber shop things that are red and white and swirl around? Imagine that being pink and purple, just with this creature's shape cut out of it. And it was alive, swinging a chainsaw around the room.
Sam had nothing to do except pick up his pencil as a sword and his textbook as a shield.
Chapter ThreeEditDozens of more Chainsaw Stromlings burst into the room. Sam used his textbook, which was now being torn to pieces by the chainsaw arms of the mysterious attackers, to shield himself. He pulled out his pencil pouch and threw pencils and pens at color-shifting creatures. He knocked down three, but they got up immediately.
Kastia wasn't doing much better. He had quickly folded his homework up and threw it at Mr. Gull Rawstew Jones, and he had knocked the pirate hat off. Now Mr. Jones was leading Kastia to detention for "throwing paper airplanes during class".
With the rest of Enrichment outside in the school shed (they had jumped out the window), trembling in fear, Sam was alone in the classroom.
Chainsaw-wielding creatures cornered Sam near the bookshelf. He grabbed six sheets of construction paper and dove behind the bookshelf, slicing zombies with his scissors if they got close. He peeked out and saw only pink and purple. There was no escape.
He folded his construction paper into makeshift ninja stars. He threw them at the enemy, but they all got stuck in their hairdos.
Suddenly, Sam heard a whirring and something like a water gun shooting. Sam dared to look out to see the creatures suddenly fall. They melted into purple gas, then disappeared.
"Those Stromlings didn't stand a chance," Sam heard.
"That's not what I'm worried about," another voice said. "Vanda closed the rift to prevent this. If she reopened it, and this happens, but dragons - or worse, the Darkitect himself - gets through, who knows what might happen?"
"We'll have to come back."
"Duke and Overbuild can work together to make a filter, so the Maelstrom can't get out."
"I hope you're right."
"In the meantime, let's see if any other Darklings got out, and if, more importantly, there are any survivors."
At this, Sam stood up. He nervously peeked out, then said, "Wait up!"
The two figures turned around. One wore a racing helmet, but it was different colors than the usual black. He held orange... Dual chainsaws? He had torn jeans, a brown bag hanging on his side, and a bright purple T-shirt with a bright yellow smiley, with, of course, bright black eyes and a bright black mouth.
"That looks like an awfully... bright shirt," Sam slowly said.
"I never leave without it," he said. "Name's IronTwistTank, or Iron for short."
"Sometimes not leaving without it is not too... bright?" the other figure said. He had a purple helmet, similar to Iron's, just in a different color. He held a purple water gun - actually, it sprayed purple stuff, not water - and wore a matching purple shirt and pants. He held a purple missile launcher in his left hand.
"Okay, Kashooki, so I get us into trouble sometimes, but we've always gotten out of it, haven't we?"
"Iron, you left your shirt in the Paradox labs, and grabbing it, you pressed the button to get us into this mess!"
"ENOUGH!" Sam yelled. He yelled so loudly that the entire school fell silent, including Mr. Jones, who melted into purple gas, freeing Kastia from detention. "Will someone PLEASE tell me what's going on?"
"I will," Kastia proclaimed as he walked in. "It's a long story, so we ought to move to a different classroom before a Stromling eavesdrops on us."
"How do you know what they're called?" Kashooki gasped.
"Settle down in the library, and I'll tell you all about it," Kastia replied. "Like I said, it's a long story, so focus well, and don't be distracted by all the books."
"Books?" Iron asked, bewildered.
"Y'know, hardcover things with lots of paper inside that tell you about things."
"We have iBricks and iStuds for that back in Nimbus Station."
"So the Nexus Jay Public Library IS more advanced than I thought!"
"Can we just get to the library so you can tell me about what's going on?" Sam interrupted.
"Fine," Kastia sighed. He led the way to the library, and the four kids sat down. Kastia cleared his throat and began his tale.
"Long ago," Kastia started, "there were four explorers who set out to find the source of pure Imagination: Hael Storm, Albert Overbuild, Duke Exeter, and Baron Typhonus. They searched long and hard for the source, but they could not find it.
"Eventually, they came across Planet Crux, a most unusually shaped planet: it was square, rather than round.
"The four explorers landed and approached Nexus Temple (where the Imagination Nexus was). They each wished up something, and it was built.
"Typhonus went too far. He dreamed up a chaotic being, known as the Maelstrom. This being dragged Typhonus into the Nexus, which then erupted into purple. Duke, Overbuild, and Hael fought for their lives." He paused and glanced at Iron and Kashooki. They both nodded, impressed."Then Nexus Temple collapsed, and Crux exploded, unable to contain the Maelstrom?" Sam asked.
Kastia nodded. "Yes, indeed. The Nimbus Station that Iron mentioned in the hallway is one of these chunks.
"Soon after, the remaining explorers recruited Typhonus's protégé to join them, and they formed an organization to battle the Maelstrom, known as the Nexus Force. Each of them founded a faction in the Force - Duke formed a team of elite battlers, known as the Sentinel Faction; Overbuild gathered the best builders around to form the Assembly Faction; Hael found a group of pirates, stuntsmen, and explorers - just like him - and created the Venture League Faction; Vanda Darkflame, Typhonus's protégé, collected scientists to turn the Maelstrom against itself, and this group was called the Paradox Faction. Kashooki is a Paradox member, and Iron is in Overbuild's Assembly.
"Fast-forward about ten years. The Nexus Force was losing the war. The Maelstrom was attacking everywhere. A Paradox experiment to recreate the Spider Boss, the creature Typhonus imagined into existence, went haywire; the Spider Queen, as it was called, ran into the caves of Avant Gardens and built a launchpad to Block Yard, where it created Dark Spiderlings, small copies of itself that are less harmful, but still dangerous. On her way out, a Maelstrom pipe burst, and the Paradox Research Center's scientists were all infected, along with the mechs guarding it.
"Gnarled Forest wasn't safe, either. The Maelstrom hid in treasure, and greedy pirates and admirals opened it to be infected. Meanwhile, the Darkitect scoured the planet to find a powerful creature to create, and he settled upon Stromling Apes.
"Duke Exeter had one planet which he needed to keep a grip on - Forbidden Valley. He deployed samurai in various places on the planet, some on foot, others on horses. All were infected by the end of the week. These infected Ronin and Horsemen knew of the dragons protecting the edge of Forbidden Valley and knew that if the Darkitect got control of them, he could make them stronger and take over the Universe. The take over the Universe part didn't happen, but the infecting part certainly happened. He created Blastbreath, Torchblight, and Burnshout.
The Nexus Force was losing its grip on the Universe rapidly. They needed help.
"For five years, Vanda and Overbuild worked on building a vortex, which would allow recruits to pass back and forth between Universes," Kastia continued. "The idea was to get more people to join the Nexus Force. But they did it sneakily.
"Years earlier, they had deployed a company known as the LEGO Corporation - I'm sure you've heard of it - in Denmark, and it has since spread across the globe. Through this company, they made a 'game' out of the Universe. But if you would create a character, you would be creating a minifigure aboard the Venture Explorer.
"But the Maelstrom was smarter. That year, they crashed the ship. Hammerlings, Corrupted Sentries, and Elite Dark Spiderlings flooded the ship. And they were looking for one thing: the rift. Eventually, it got so dangerous, Vanda decided to close it.
"That was three years ago. The Darkitect was a step ahead of us the entire time, and he was working on opening up the rift again, and letting his minions flood Earth. I see he has succeeded at this. He nearly killed us while he was at it!"
Iron and Kashooki were speechless. "How do you know all of this?" Kashooki asked.
"I'm sure you of all people would know," Kastia smiled in response. "I'm Vanda's interuniversal pen pal. The only thing that can pass through dimensions without a rift is electricity. So we email each other."
Suddenly, there was a bang in the other room. The four ran back to the Enrichment room to find a golden plate on the floor.Iron gasped. "An Imagimeter Shard!"
Kastia's eyes were wide. "Do you realize what this means, Iron?"
Kastia pointed at the ceiling.
The lights were working normally.
"Typhonus can not only open the rift, but he can close it at will, too. He meant to trap you here."
"He didn't mean for us to get them back, however," Sam grinned. "Kastia, I have a plan, but you'll have to trust me on this one. There's no time to waste!"
"Where are we going?" Kastia yelled as he ran after Sam, Iron and Kashooki running behind them.
"We're going to get Iron and Kashooki back to their homes and defeat the Darkitect once and for all!"
"How do you plan on doing that?" Kashooki asked. "First, how do we make a rift? Second, if there's one in existence, how do we find it? Third, if it's even possible to get into it, how do we know the Darkitect won't close it when we're inside? What would happen if he does? Would we vaporize? Fourth, where do you think the rift will open up? The Darkitect might hide it underneath Maelstrom fog, and we would exit it as brainless zombies! And if it lands up in the Darkitect's base, we'll have to face him or fall off a cliff!"
"We'll figure out where the rift is and track it down," Sam explained. "And I might just be able to control it from this end." Sam grinned.
"How do you plan to do that?" Iron asked.
"Do you still have the Imagimeter Shard?"
"Make sure nothing happens to it. Meet me at Columbus Circle in one hour, and I'll explain the plan." Sam ran down the hall to the office to explain that he would probably be away from school for a week or two.
"The State will have your head, Sam," Mrs. Morrington, the school secretary, sighed. "You can't fake sick for two weeks."
"Hear about the purple aliens that attacked half an hour ago?"
Mrs. Morrington nodded, eyes wide.
"They're called Stromlings. Stay away from anything glowing purple or pink. I'm going to their home town to stop them."
"It's too dangerous. You'll smash doing i-"
"Would you rather one person smashing, or the entire world turning into brainless zombies?"
Mrs. Morrington nodded and sighed, defeated.
Sam ran out the door and hopped on his bike. He sped down the familiar streets of Manhattan and came to a stop at his apartment on 42nd Street, just down the block from Times Square.
"Mom?" Sam called.
Still no answer.
Even his sister wouldn't open the door.
No bark answered him.
It was like he was trying to get into a ghost house, er, apartment.
He quickly ran down the ramp and jumped on his bike. He prepared to race.
Sam raced up the ramp, and right at the last minute, he pressed both brakes. He was thrown off the bike, but that gave him the right burst of energy he needed. The door splintered, and a boy-shaped hole was formed in the door.
Sam brushed himself off and looked around. His helmet kept him from getting too harmed, but he suffered minor scrapes on his arms and shins. Nothing too bad, however.
The house was eerily quiet. Sam looked around, and he noticed a faint purple glow in the kitchen.
He peeked in and saw a purple version of his mom roasting chicken. His dog, now purple, stood at her side, begging for food. His dad was sitting in the living room, reading the newspaper. And, of course, he and the newspaper were purple.
Sam ducked behind a couch and strapped on his top secret battle stash, replete with armor, bullets, and places to store extra bullets. He dumped thirty bullets into the gun and two hundred into his bullet containers. Then he got on the phone.
"Kastia? Meet me at my house. Get Kashooki or Iron to give you some Notion Potions. My family is infected!"
Kastia peeked through the door of 2 West 42nd Street. Well, more like the hole in the door of 2 West 42nd Street. He readied a Wormholer that Kashooki lent him, fully charged with bullets containing Notion Potion liquid and disintegrated Hiccup Tablets. He put his finger to his lips as soon as he caught Sam's eyes and tossed him two pink vials, which he dumped into his gun. He held another vial filled with disintegrated hiccup tablets and prepared to throw it."Mom!" Sam yelled. "I'm home!"
His Stromling mother walked away from the stove and prepared to attack Sam, but the latter was too quick. Sam threw the hiccup tablet vial at his mom, and the purple melted through the floors and into the New York soil.
Sam ran into the kitchen and shot five bullets point blank at cabinets and the floor. They ricocheted off of their marks, due to the Notion Potion Sam dumped in the gun, and they fell into the dog's water. Sparky ran over to have a drink, and the Imagination in the water attacked the infection on the dog, the former winning. Maelstrom drained into the floor, but it scooted around the floor before sinking through. The dog chased it and scratched at the spot where it went under for a few moments before giving up, at which point he walked over to his bed and sulked.
Mr. Golderstien threw down the paper when he noticed Sparky walk in, disinfected. The paper touched a drop of Imaginative water that fell from Sparky's beard. The paper turned black and white once more.
Mr. Golderstien jumped at the dog, who was too quick to become a Stromling once more. Seeing that Sparky had things under control, Sam walked back into the entry room to tell Kastia what was going on.
"Mom's hit by disintegrated hiccup tablets. Sparky drank water purified with Notion Potions. A drop on his beard purified a copy of the Business section of the New York Times, and presently, Dad's trying to reinfect Sparky. I think Sparky's doing well, however." Sam and Kastia peeked into the dining room. Sparky was biting Mr. Golderstien's foot. The Maelstrom was draining out of him, due to the Notion Potion water on Sparky's teeth. Soon, everything was back to normal. Surprisingly, Mr. Golderstien hadn't hurt his foot. Imagination has some strange yet useful powers, I guess.
Sam and Kastia jumped through the hole markingSam's last stunt and ran down the steps on their way to Central Park about thirty blocks away. Sam strapped on his helmet, and Kastia put on his. Sam hopped on his bike, Kastia on his RipStik.
"Race you!" Sam contested.
"You'll be ten blocks behind by the time I get to Colombus Circle," Kastia smiled.
"Let's see about that," Sam smiled. "On your marks..."
"Get set..." Kastia replied.
"GO!" both shouted. Sam pedaled across the street, and Kastia sped down towards Times Square.
Neither of them knew how much trouble this plan of theirs would get them into. Trouble that might cost them their lives.
Sam biked down the busy sidewalks of West 42nd Street towards 6th Avenue. He peeked over his shoulder and saw Kastia skating across the street and decided to take a different route.
Sam quickly got lost in the crowds around Times Square and took this as an advantage: he turned right onto Broadway before Kastia could notice.
Meanwhile, Kastia skated down 42nd Street and quickly raced down 8th Avenue.Soon enough, they reached Columbus Circle. Sam hit a pothole in the road and went flying, right onto a tarp Iron and Kashooki were setting up.
"Twice I fly off my bike today," Sam grumbled.
Kastia walked up behind him. "You were the one who pulled on both brakes so you could get into your house!"
Sam looked up at the clouds as Iron and Kashooki set down the tarp. "Can you believe it's only been an hour since we started this whole thing?"
"Let's just finish it," Kashooki said. "I'd really like to be on Crux Prime fighting Darklings, rather than in Central Park fighting Darklings."
Sam smiled and explained his idea of how to control the rift from this end.
"So," he concluded, "if LEGO Corp. can help us, then we've got you home."
"And if they don't help us?" Iron asked.
"Then we've got Plan B."
Just then, a black, spikey haired guy walked over. "Sam!" he said. "What brings you to Central Park?"
"Dave!" Sam smiled. "What brings you to Central Park?"
"Just want to take a walk. You?"
"Just chatting with my friends. Hear about the alien attack yet?"
"Sure did. Who hasn't?"
"I was almost a victim. My family got turned into them, but I managed to get them back." Sam winked at Kashooki. Kashooki smiled.
"Glad to hear that," Dave replied. "So who are your friends?"
"You know Kastia," Sam said. "This is Iron." Sam pointed at Iron, now wearing an orange shirt and grey shorts. "And this is Kashooki." Kashooki was wearing a purple shirt and red shorts.
"Nice to meet you, Iron, Kashooki," Dave said. "I'm Dave. Sam, can I talk to you privately for a sec?"
Sam nodded, and the two of them walked over to a bench. "Listen, I think I know these people."
"I know you've played LU for a while. Can I tell you a secret?"
"I think I know what it is already, and the strangest thing yet. They came through the rift with the Maelstrom. How do I know this, you ask? My character was Fred, Iron's brother, the hot dog vendor."
"Back in Gnarled Forest," Dave explained, "we had a peaceful time together, living in the forest, warding off Stromlings as they attacked, and visiting the beach occasionally to get some supplies and to talk with the pirates. On one of these visits, my parents got us each a smiley face shirt – Iron got purple, Max got red, and I got green.
"One day, Iron, Max, and I went down to the beach while our parents stayed in the forest to ensure that our shelter did not get destroyed. The Darklings attacked almost hourly at this point; living in Brig Rock was not easy. When we had returned with some cherries, bananas, and bread, our parents were missing. We looked everywhere, and they were nowhere to be found."Then we saw the apes.
"I know you didn't play LU, so let me explain. These apes were massive – twice as big as the apes down in South America and the forests of Africa. And they glowed purple and threw rocks they found underground, which turned purple on touch and would nearly smash anything around their impact point.
"When we found these apes, we threw down our food and ran towards the Pirate Beach, as we called it, with the ape on our trail. Because of its hurling powers, we called it ‘Kinga Hurl'.
"Captain Jack Knife, the pirate captain on the beach, saw the ape coming, and he shot his cannon at the Darkling.
"'That, me mateys, be an ape!' he said. ‘Say, where be your parents?'
"'We don't know,' I sighed.
"'Try looking for them in Nimbus Station,' he suggested.
"So we went to Nimbus Station, and although we didn't see our parents, we saw two people who needed help. Nexus Jay recruited Max and Iron into the Nexus Force. As you could tell, Iron joined Assembly. Max joined Paradox. I helped Farnham Spoon by opening a hot dog stand for Farnham's Spoonery. Until today, I never saw Iron nor Max again."
Sam sighed. "It almost sounds like my story, but with a happier ending.
"When I was little, I had a sister, named Jessica Golderstien. She was nine and a half years older than me, and despite the age difference, we were very close.
"On my eighth birthday, Jessica was old enough that she could drive me and one other person, as she was half a year older than when she got her license. We drove everywhere. She would drive me to school, then run across the street to her school; she would pick me up at the end of the day; she would take me to all of my Boy Scout meetings—"
"You're a Boy Scout?" Dave asked.
Sam nodded. "Troop 236. I'm going back for my third year this summer.
"As I was saying, last year, she got married to a Joe Morrington. But at the end of the procession, as everyone got ready to leave, a candle seemed to fall over on its own, and the window drapes caught fire. Everyone got out safely, except for two very important people.
"As I ran out of the building, Jessica and Joe right behind me, I heard a scream. I turned around to see Jessica sprawled out on the floor. Joe tried helping her up, but she screamed again; she had tripped over her gown and twisted her ankle. I couldn't bear to see it, and I ran away, crying. The building went up in flames before anyone could save them." Sam paused as a tear trickled down his cheek.
"The worst part of the entire ordeal was the laugh. When I saw Jessica on the floor, I saw a dark figure dart through the shadows, but then it disappeared. And when I ran away afterwards, I heard a cruel laugh, just as the building went up in flames. And after all this business with the Maelstrom passing through the rift, I think they're connected somehow."
Sam paused for dramatic effect, then said, "I think the Darkitect and I have some unfinished business to take care of."
~~Twenty Minutes Later~~
"So remind me again how we're going to stop the Darkitect?" Dave said as he walked with Iron, Kashooki, Sam, and Kastia walked down Fifth Avenue towards the Empire State Building."Simple," Sam said. "We're at Forty-Fifth Street. At Thirty-Fourth, we'll hop on the elevator and take a good look from the top of the Empire State Building for some clues."
"What sort of clues?" Kashooki asked.
Sam gave him a look. "Keep an eye out for anything purple."
The five of them looked up to see they were approaching the Empire State Building. Sam opened the door for them as they got into the elevator.
"Wait a minute," Dave said, holding Sam's hand back from pressing 102. "Didn't this happen once before?"
"What do you mean?" Iron asked.
"The Maelstrom's attacked Earth before, I think, just in a different form."
"What do you mean?"
"War of 1812. How do you think America beat Britain?"
"Didn't the British surrender?" Sam asked.
Kastia's face brightened as Dave facepalmed. "A secret weapon!" Kastia explained, getting Dave's cue. "My great-grandfather said that he was in the war. He said they had some weapons forged from tanzanite, a precious purple stone, but with all of this Maelstrom business going on, I think he just said that as to not scare me. I think they simply had emeralds, or diamonds, or some stone that looks like tanzanite in a different color, and they used Maelstrom to infect it, thereby allowing it to overtake the enemy."
Dave smiled. "At least someone figured it out."
"Hey!" Sam exclaimed, offended. "I only just found out about Lego Universe an hour and a half ago. Iron and Kashooki never heard of the War of 1812 before."
"You know an awful lot about LU for someone who has never played it."
"That's one reason I'm going on this quest. I want to see what it's like."
"How do you know you're not going to get trapped in there?"
Sam paused. "The Darkitect isn't that stupid. He knows he'll need more than one chance to cross over again. We'll get through on one of those chances."
"So listen," Kastia said. "If the Maelstrom was here, wouldn't it make sense some Nexus Force soldiers came across to stop them while they're at it? And if that's true, wouldn't they make a secret base?"
Kastia knocked three times on the side of the elevator. The electrical box flipped open. A hidden blue button with a Nexus Force logo was there. Kastia pressed it, then closed the box.
Sam looked at the elevator numbers. They whirred upwards quickly. 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100. Sam realized that the elevator wasn't stopping at 102.
110, 150, 200, 300, 400, 500, 550, 575, 585, 590. The elevator slowly came to a stop, and it opened up on the invisible 600th floor.
Sam looked outside and gasped.
The only thing to stand on was cloud. Pure white clouds. If it weren't for the power of Imagination, they would be blindingly bright, let alone unable to support any weight.
Sam noticed a small machine on the edge of the cloud fortress that was sky blue.
"What is that thing?" Sam asked, pointing at the blue box.
"Why do you think the sky is blue?" Iron replied.
"Imagination blue near the sun, a slightly darker blue away from the sun," Kashooki added.
"Kashooki!" Iron said, playfully slapping his friend. "You're not supposed to say that!"
"Sam's supposed to figure it out himself!"
"Let me guess," Sam interrupted. "That thing emits Imagination, and Maelstrom tries to attack; Maelstrom wins at night, but Imagination wins during the day."
Iron sighed. "I TOLD you, Kashooki!"
"So anyway, let's see if we can find anything else," Kastia said as he peeked over the side of the cloud.
Sam walked over to the machine and inspected it. There's something about this machine that could be useful, Sam thought, but I can't figure out what it is.
"Don't pull any wires, Sam," Iron warned. "Last time someone did that, disastrous consequences occurred."
Sam quickly moved his hand away from the loose wire. He looked over the edge again and noticed something out of the corner of his eye, but it went away too quickly for Sam to determine what it was.
Sam pulled out a pair of binoculars, having an idea. He placed them next to, but not touching, the machine. They started glowing translucent blue. Sam picked them up and looked through them.
"Wow!" Sam exclaimed. "I can see the Turnpike through these!"
"The power of Imagination," Kastia smiled.
Sam looked at the cars whizzing down the Turnpike. He saw dozens of cars fly through the intricate maze, some heading down the Verrazano Bridge, others towards the Lincoln Tunnel, still others to the George Washington Bridge. But one car caught his eye.
It was glowing purple.
"Guys, a purple 12-seater is headed toward the Lincoln Tunnel!" Sam exclaimed. "And it doesn't look friendly!"
"We've got company!" Dave shouted as two elevators returned up the invisible shafts.
The elevators opened, revealing purple creatures.
"Stromling Mechs!" Iron said, rolling his eyes. "These guys are easy."
Not really. The mechs were armed with jetpacks, a double blaster, and Everlasting Quicksicles. And they were heavily armed. Within seconds, the five were separated and cornered.
Sam backed up toward the edge of the cloud. The mech prepared to fire as Sam got an idea.
"Sorry, Iron, but I'm going to have to use this machine!" Sam shouted. "Either way, it looks like we're going to have a disastrous consequence!" Sam sat down on the box and started glowing blue.
The mechs in front of Sam backed away slowly. Sam just then was able to get a good look at them. They were red and black, with purple splotches on their eyes, arms, and legs.
"Don't harm them!" Kashooki yelled, as he was now able to get a good look at them, too. "They're Paradox robots!"
"They're infected!" Iron said as he kicked one off the side.
"4444444HHHHHHHH!" the robot screamed as it flew 6000 feet downward. "1 W4N7 MY M0MMY! 222227777 3rr0r 404 2222277777!" (Translation: "AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! I WANT MY MOMMY! ZZZZZTTTT Error 404 ZZZZZTTTTT!") Sam looked downwards w
ith his binoculars to see a pile of metal and wires.
Then a robot pushed him over.
Meanwhile, Kastia pulled out a pen.
"This isn't time for games, Kastia!" Dave yelled as he kicked and punched mechs around him, metal and sparks flying everywhere.
"I'm not going to write ‘I ❤ Darkitect' on its arm!" Kastia retorted as he uncapped his pen and stuck it in his sheath. The pen tip grew until it was a foot-long golden sword. "Don't try me, Mech. Slasher and I are going to defeat you before you can say ‘you are going to be smashed.'"
"Y0u 4r3 601n6 70 83 5m45h3-2222277777!" the mech beeped. (Translation: "You are going to be smashe-zzzzzttttt!" The last part was because Kastia stuck Slasher into its shoulder sockets, disarming it, then shot it with a water gun.)
Kastia, now not surrounded, lunged at a robot Dave was fighting. Dave was unaware of Kastia jumping, so he kicked the robot in the gut – if robots even have guts – and smashed it. Kastia, now having nothing to break his fall, went flying over the side.
Iron and Kashooki were still cornered, but they were trained for these situations. Iron pulled out his wrench and a few bricks, lying down on the cloud, just out of either of the mech's arms' reaches. He quickly built a Ravencloud Guardian, set it to life in the center of the battlefield, and bonked some mechs on the head while they were distracted.
Meanwhile, Kashooki pulled out a few devices from his pocket, tied the wires together, and threw it at the mech attacking him. The device was heat-sensing, so it attacked the mech immediately. Landing on its eye, the mech shot sparks, then regained itself and started shooting at the mechs on the battlefield.
Kashooki smiled as he looked around. His "Revert Maelstrom Flash Bangs" were working perfectly. And there was water. Wait… Water. Kastia shot that. But where was Kastia?
Kashooki peeked over the edge to see Kastia falling. Kashooki's systems told him that Kastia was about fifty stories from the ground.
Then he stayed at one.
It seemed that a glowing blue being had grabbed onto Kastia and was holding him up.
Then the two zoomed upwards.
Sam deposited Kastia on the cloud and passed out next to him.
Then he stopped glowing blue.
When Sam awoke, he looked around.
"Where…am…I?" he asked hoarsely.
"Empire State Building hospital, 598thfloor," Dave replied. They were still on a cloud, but they were now enclosed in cloud. Kastia stood next to him, trying to cap his pen/sword. Iron was polishing his wrench. Kashooki was refilling his blaster. Dave was making sure Sam was and stayed alive.
"What…happened?" Sam whispered, still with a hoarse throat.
"You sat on the Imagination box, remember?" Kastia said.
"And some mechs pushed you off the edge," Kashooki reminded him.
"Then Kastia fell after you," Iron recounted.
"And you used your powers of Imagination to bring him back to the clouds," Dave smiled.
"Then you passed out," Kashooki added.
"So we brought you here," Kastia stated.
"Then you woke up with a hoarse throat from the impact," Iron concluded.
"And it seems the impact made you lose your Imagination," Dave noticed.
Sam nodded, then collapsed again.
"Head…hurts…"Sam made out before blacking out again.
Iron looked at Kashooki. They exchanged glances and said simultaneously, "Disastrous consequences."
"At least he'll be okay," Kastia said. "He saved my life. If he hadn't sat on that box, we both would've gone SPLAT on the ground."
"Let's play the Maybe Game!" Iron said. All four started laughing.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. A nurse walked in.
"Mind if I take a look at the patient?" the nurse asked.
"As long as he'll survive," Dave said.
"He will," the nurse smiled.
Iron, Kashooki, Dave, and Kastia walked out into the hall.
"Think he'll be alright?" Kastia asked.
"I'm not sure," Kashooki replied. "My systems picked up something…dark."
"I thought you liked darkness!" Iron asked.
"Shadowy darkness," Kashooki responded, pushing open the doors to the examination room. "Not evil darkness."
And upon seeing who was checking up on Sam, he said, "nor do I like enemies. Leave my friend alone!"
The "nurse" turned around to face Kashooki. "Kashooki. We meet again." And with that, the nurse's clothes darkened, as well as his skin, and his face was a red, evil grin.
The needle the Darkitect suddenly grew into his diamond-tipped scepter, which he threw onto the floor. A pink Spiderling grew out of it.
"Muffet Bane," Kastia snarled.
"Welcome back, Kastia," the Spiderling replied sarcastically. "How was your trip last fall?"
Kastia whacked the Spiderling on the head with his knife. The knife was almost harmless. Kastia kept attacking it, as the Spiderling shot a web at him.
Kastia was trapped. The Spiderling picked up Kastia and melted back into the Darkitect's staff.
See, Spiderling Web Traps are easy to break out of when they come from a Dark Spiderling. They're slightly harder, but still relatively easy, when it's an Elite Dark Spiderling. Harder still from an Invader. But the Nexus Force Academy's first lesson on tactics for attacking Muffet Bane:
"Go offensive. If it shoots a web, DO NOT DUCK! Jump to the side, then pick up a corner and tie it around one leg. If it tightens while you're holding it, then throw the web. If you get trapped under the web despite all of these precautions, try to slice your way out. If the web hardens before then, grab onto the floor. If you can't get a good grip, you may as well wait for defeat." – The NFA's Guide to Defeating the Hardest Darklings, lesson 3.5.
Fortunately for Kastia, defeat never came. In fact, the Darkitect may have sped up Sam's plan, Kastia thought with a grin.
Dave was up next to attack. The Darkitect threw his staff down once more, tossing Kastia's cage to the side.
Dave lunged toward Kastia as Roo Morgg threw a boulder where Dave was standing moments earlier. Kastia slipped his knife out of his pocket. Dave flattened out next to the blade as a rock went soaring over his head.
He peeked out to see the Darkitect had caught the boulder. Dave jumped at the ape, knife in hand, as the ape prepared to pounce. Dave threw the knife at the monster's chest and landed just out of reach of the ape. He quickly put an anchor together, throwing in some string he found, and he jumped onto the table, accidentally stepping on Sam's hand, and he jumped across the room, sliding the string between ceiling boards directly over the ape.
Dave landed on the Darkling and walked backwards. The anchor stayed almost attached to the ceiling while Dave held both hands.
But when Dave let go of both ends…
Sam awoke to the sound of battle.
His hand throbbed, and somehow or another, some dirt got on it.
"We won!" Dave cried. Sam sat up in bed and rubbed his head.
"What time is it?" he asked.
"Party time!" Iron replied. "Dave single-handedly smashed Roo Morgg!"
"You realize I'm still here, right?" Typhonus asked, still holding the glowing boulder. He chucked the rock at Sam, just as it opened up and seemingly ate him.
"A rare ability among apes that not even Roo Morgg or Kinga Hurl have is to throw Minifigure-Eating Boulders, or MEBs. There is only one known being with this being – the Darkitect. If any ape chucks a rock at the Darkitect, he can catch it, channel his power through it, and throw the MEB. It will devour whatever it hits, and it will explode like normal boulders if nothing is inside. Take extra precaution if the Darkitect summons Roo Morgg! Never lure a rock towards Baron Typhonus if you can help it. Otherwise, duck or dodge if Typhonus throws a rock!" – The NFA's Guide to Defeating the Hardest Darklings, lesson 6.1.
Sam could see out around the emergency room, but nobody could see in.
"Now, for the rest of you!" Typhonus chuckled. He summoned a new staff as Dave grabbed Kastia's knife.
Just then, a rumble was heard outside.
"Iron, Kashooki, go," Dave whispered. "You need the Darkitect to capture you. Otherwise, you may never get back!"
"Yo, Darkitect!" Iron shouted.
"What," Typhonus grumbled.
"Kashooki and I are turning ourselves over to be captives," Iron requested.
Sam's eyes grew wide with terror as he realized what the Darkitect would do to Iron and Kashooki if they didn't escape in time…if they would escape.
Let alone them, but what would happen if we can't escape in time?" Sam thought worriedly.
"No!" Sam shouted. "Kastia and I will go. We'll be fine. Follow my plan; you'll get back in time, not to worry! Kastia and I will be okay!"
"How sweet!" Typhonus cooed. "Not only do you two want to join my army, but your friends are keeping you from losing your minds! Typhonus chuckled. "Well, what if we compromise? It wouldn't be that fun capturing you without you struggling, so let's make a deal. I have special ropes that will allow twenty-four hours to go by before you're infected. Of course, you'll start becoming infected before then, but after twenty-four hours, you'll completely lose control of your body. Sounds good?"
Sam and Kastia exchanged glances. Iron and Kashooki exchanged the same glances. The engineer and space marauder agreed.
"Good!" the Darkitect smiled. "Let's go!" And with that, the web-cage, the rock, the willingly captured prisoners, and the Darkitect went up in purple flames, all disappearing within moments.
And Dave was left alone in the room.
We did it! Sam thought proudly. Now we just need to get out of here.
He sat in a small jail in a cavern in Crux Prime. Across from him was Kastia. Iron was in the cell over. Kashooki was in the cell next to Sam. All their gear was in a mound on the floor between Sam's and Kastia's cells. Kastia reached for his sword, grabbed it, and slipped it into his holder for his pen.
I still can't figure out how he does that, Sam wondered.
Sam reached for the one useful thing he brought: a Swiss Army multitool. Luckily, the Darkitect hadn't taken that.
Sam flipped open a part, and looked at it. Flathead screwdriver on the end, bottle opener in the middle, and wire splitter on the bottom. Among the other features of the tool were two blades, a key ring, a can opener, another flathead screwdriver, a toothpick, and tweezers.
He put the flathead up to the screws on the padlock and started working. After what seemed like hours but was in reality a few minutes, the pad lock was just how Sam wanted it for his escape: hanging from the frame, but not from the cell door as well. He pulled out his phone and motioned to Kastia. Kastia nodded, and Sam quickly texted the plans over, then tossed the multitool through the bars of the cell.
Iron and Kashooki gave the cellmate across the way a questioning look, and Sam slipped his arm into Kashooki's cell to pass the text over. He passed it over to Iron. Iron paused after reading it, prepared for his next move, got into position, and threw the phone at an arch upwards.
Sam realized what he wanted to do before he did it, so Sam had approximated where it would land as soon as he threw it, and he sat down there with his arms in a circle, legs to cushion the fall.
"Swish!" Sam whispered across the way. Iron chuckled as Kastia slipped the multitool into his cell and Sam slipped his phone back into his pocket.
Once all the cells were unlocked, Sam retrieved his multitool from Kashooki and waited for the right time to signal.
The Darkitect walked in ten minutes later to deliver their meals. Only then did he realize that he forgot to bind them when he put them in. Sam scratched his head just above his neck – not because he had an itch, as this was the sign to the others.
The Darkitect opened up Sam's cell. Sam threw his multitool at the Darkitect. It knocked him backwards into Kastia's cell – but Kastia had already left.
Sam caught his pocketknife and fixed the padlock on the cell – the Darkitect was trapped! Iron and Kashooki grabbed their Engineer and Space Marauder gear, respectively, and the four ran out of the cave systems underneath Crux Prime.
"Remember," Iron cautioned as the four began to surface, "we're in the Maelstrom's home territory. We might run into quite a few enemies here."
No sooner than he said that had they reached the exit. Kashooki opened the door, and they were slightly startled to see skeletons mining Maelstrom Ore.
Even Kashooki and Iron were surprised.
For these were no usual skeletons. These were boney creatures never before released.
Bone Vultures swooped overhead. Bone Beetles scurried across the ground. Underhands gripped the pillars. Nuckal, Wyplash, and Kruncha were walking around, making sure all the skullkins were doing their jobs. Hardhead, a skullkin which looked like Nuckal missing his shoulderpads, was trying to figure out how to get across to attack Neido's monastery. His friend, Blackmarrow, a skullkin that looked like Nuckal's head on an engineer's body, wasn't too far behind in trying to get across.
In the center, two Nuckal-like guards, most likely Hardhead clones, stood next to a purple throne. And in that throne was…
"Lord Garmadon!" Sam gasped.
A little too loudly.
"Kruncha?" Nuckal asked. "If you have more than one ninja, is it ninjas, or just ninja?"
"Uh… I think it's just ninja," Kruncha replied.
"Oh, okay," Nuckal said. "NINJA!"
All of the skullkins saw where Nuckal was pointing, and they started to close in on the four minifigures.
Dave sighed as he exited the Empire State Building. He walked a few blocks and entered a random store on Times Square.
"I hope they'll be alright," Dave sighed.
Dave realized he had entered a pizza shop, Jerusalem 2 Pizza.
Dave sat down and ordered, then waited to have an early lunch.
Dave looked at his watch. Could it really only be 11:00? It seemed so much earlier than that. And yet so much had happened that morning.
Dave sighed as his thoughts turned back to Sam's, Kastia's, Iron's, and Kashooki's welfares. Would they escape in time? Would they turn into brainless zombies, for Dave never to see again?
But just then, Dave realized he had worse problems to worry about, for a horde of Pirates and Admirals Frankenstein-walked into the store.
And leading them was Admiral Flogmore.
Dave picked up his fork and knife to prepare for battle.
"What are you doing?" the waitress asked as she put down his pizza. "Don't bother them. They'll leave on their own."
"Not without a fight, they don't," Dave retorted as he did a flying kick at Flogmore.
"Ai-eeeee!" Flogmore screeched. The entire store fell silent as the duel took place. Those enjoying their pizza just gaped. The pirates and admirals cheered Flogmore on.
"Surrender or smash!" Flogmore threatened.
"You surrender or smash!" Dave responded.
"Fight! Fight! Fight!" the Darklings urged.
Dave threw his fork like a dagger. It hooked onto Flogmore's ribcage (in the spot where that's exposed), and pinned him to the wall.
Dave walked up to Flogmore, who attempted to throw his hook forward, but Dave caught it and threw it at Flogmore. It sliced his cannon arm off, and Dave took his knife and thrust it at the admiral's head.
The entire store, human and Stromling, was silent, when the waitress suddenly morphed into a purple samurai without legs.
"ATTACK!" Grim Daisho shouted. Then the Darklings slowly moved over to Dave.
"NINJAGO!" Sam heard as he saw a blue tornado with clouds quickly swirling around it spin towards them. All of the skullkins attacking were sucked into the tornado and thrown over the edge into the Maelstrom abyss below.
The tornado stopped as he looked at the figures. He had a futuristic space helm, two guns, futuristic white and blue shoulderpads, and white and blue pants.
"You look like you need some help," the space ranger said as he looked at Sam and Kastia. "Come with me. We're headed for Nexus Tower. You'll need to join a faction if you want to survive in these parts."
A green, blue, and black colored daredevil jumped down from a skeleton watchman's post. "Coyote, I think they're good for now. They must have come from the other end of the rift. They brought back Iron and Kashooki."
"Sharpie," Coyote replied, "what are they going to do when Iron and Kashooki go off on their own and they have nobody to protect them? Right now they're fine, but they should get some Rank 1 gear. This place is too dangerous for newbies."
As if on cue, a massive pink and purple dragon swooped down from the sky.
End of Book One
Book Two: The Darkitect's RevengeEdit
The pictures for this book will be coming soon.
"Master, what is my next job?"
"I have just heard that the weaklings are running away from my skeletons," the Darkitect replied. "Block them at Studburst Pass, and they shall never escape."
"But, Master, why me? You haven't sent ED-902 to bricks yet. Muffet Bane, Grim Daisho, Vargas the Tormented, and Butterscorch are also still alive."
"Talli Reeko," the Darkitect sighed. "You have a lot to learn. ED-902 is my most powerful mini-boss left, besides you. Muffet Bane is indeed smashed. If you recall, I told you that I can summon any mini-boss with my staff? So I summoned Muffet Bane, took her back, and summoned Roo Morgg. Once the latter was smashed, I lost my staff. So Muffet Bane is also gone.
"Grim Daisho and Vargas the Tormented I'm planning on sending over to New York soon enough. And Butter...How could you miss the massive pink and purple outside the window?"
The Darkitect and Talli Reeko peeked outside the window.
"All I see is rock," Talli stated.
"HOW COULD THEY SMASH BUTTERSCORCH!" the Darkitect fumed.
"But you can summon her again," Talli informed him. "Only the smashed on Earth is truly smashed. But the smashed here can be rebuilt."
"Which requires Imagination, our biggest enemy."
"Not necessarily. Just pour chaos into the mold you made for it and-poof!"
The Darkitect smiled. "Talli, I have taught you well. Head out to Studburst Pass and carry out your orders. I'll meet you in the lobby once you're through."
As Talli walked over to the teleporters, the Darkitect smiled to himself and thought, "Or the Smashed Bay."
"DUCK!" Coyote screamed. Sam pushed Kastia out of the way as the dragon breathed fire where he was standing a split-second earlier. Coyote turned into a tornado again, and jumped onto Butterscorch's head, all the while firing out of his tornado, blasting a hole in the massive dragon's wing, and summoning a blast from space to temporarily stun it.
Kastia looked on in awe at the space ranger's performance and decided then and there he would be a space ranger.
He didn't have long to ponder his future, for it seemed like his future would vanish then and there. The dragon managed to weakly fly up and slam itself down, propelling Coyote, Kastia, and Sam backwards. Coyote shot four missiles at the dragon, blinding it.
Sharpie took this as his cue. He jumped out of the watchman's tower and lit himself on fire, jumping right into the dragon's mouth.
The dragon started smoking from the inside. Sam could hear electricity buzzing, a fire extinguisher spraying, a car revving, and more fires and smoke being activated. Suddenly, Sharpie emerged on the dragon's tongue and leaped from its mouth as the dragon exploded behind him.
Iron and Kashooki had suffered a small blow that temporarily knocked them out when Butterscorch slammed downwards. Presently, they awoke.
"We…we smashed Butter!" Iron exclaimed.
"We have some more enemies to take care of, though," Kastia nervously stated, eyes wide, pointing ahead.
Hundreds, maybe thousands, of skullkins were coming out of the ground.
"RUN!" Sam shouted.
And so, they ran.
Sam and Kastia ducked left, Iron and Kashooki dashed right, and Sharpie and Coyote leaped upwards.
Sam ran towards a small monastery that lay in ruins on the side. Sam launched himself at a trampoline that lay at the end of some stairs and was flung to safety across the ravine.
Kastia followed suit, but leaped too late. He grabbed onto the side of the platform Sam was on, but the rock crumbled, and Kastia fell.
The rest of the rock, since it was floating in mid-air, started crumbling, too.
Sam bolted up the steps.
The rock was crumbling right behind him. He leapt to the side as the road turned.
The rock stopped crumbling at the corner.
Sam panted and stood up, brushing his legs.
It was now that he realized that Kastia was gone.
- In this segment of chapter 1, there's a line for which I must give credit to Coyote, who made it up. This line is marked by an asterik.
Coyote did a flip in midair and kicked a button on his shoulderpads. His space ranger armor folded up, and as he came to a landing on the ground, it had been replaced by sky blue ninja gear with golden highlights, a golden cloud emblem, and golden shoulderpads. His guns had morphed into what looked like an oversized tuning fork, with lightning cackling at the ends away from the handle. Coyote was now in his Ninja of Air outfit, holding the Fork of Air.
"Ninja-go!" Coyote shouted as he started swirling around. Clouds enveloped him until he was surrounded in a cloudy blue tornado. Any skeletons who got near were flung backwards into a heap of bones, which, in turn, would fling another skeleton backwards into a heap of bones. This pattern would continue until one skeleton hit the rock wall, when it would fall straight down and tackle an unlucky skeleton. The unlucky skeleton would not hit any others.
Sam grinned as he saw this, as there was a paper tacked to a tree next to him, which read: "Weather forecast for the Maelstrom Quarry, Crux Prime: Dark and Maelstromy, with an extremely high chance of tornadoes."*
Sharpie pulled out his flareguns, customized with lightning to strike with as much damage as the Nunchuks. Oh, how he wished he could hold those Nunchuks!
Sharpie smacked himself, then scolded himself for losing focus. Most skeletons were hit by fiery lightning, and they didn't know what was coming until it hit them.
Iron quickly built a fan and jumped on it. Kashooki followed suit, and the two of them ran towards Nexus Tower.
"Not so fast!" a pink stromling said as he walked out of Zeta. Talli Reeko raised his blade arm to attack the unlucky passerby, then realized who it was. "Master will be glad to hold you captive, but it might do you well to answer me now: Where are your city slicker friends?"
"Your master doesn't know what he's talking about," Iron replied, thinking quickly. Stromlings weren't so smart. Reeko couldn't be THAT much smarter. "We came to join you. We were just looking for you. Right, Kashooki?" Iron turned around to face Kashooki, then lifted his visor to give Kashooki a look which said I know what I'm doing.
"Well, um," Reeko stuttered, "I'd be glad to do that for you right now, but I didn't bring any Maelstrom Samples."
"I happen to have some," Kashooki said. "But we want Master to do it himself."
Talli's face brightened. "Then come on!" As he turned towards Zeta, he turned around again and asked, "How do I know you're not trying to trick me?"
"If we were with the Force, we wouldn't be allowed to lie, which we're not," Iron replied. "But since we're on your side, we're allowed to lie, thus giving you assurance that you can trust us."
Iron thanked his lucky stars that Talli fell for that old mind game.
"Sorry about ruining your monastery," Sam sighed.
"It's okay," the grey ninja in the center of the monastery, who introduced himself as Neido, replied. Neido wore a grey hood with golden highlights, golden shoulderpads, and a blue orb on his shirt. "This place needs to be fixed up anyway. Think you can head to Ninjago, since you can't return to Crux Prime proper anyhow, and ask Sensei how to fix this place up?"
Sam pictured his blueprints in his mind. Most of the parts could be found in Ninjago anyhow, so "Why not?" he replied.
"Just drink some of my tea, and you will be teleported there," Neido instructed.
Sam looked at him like he fell from Mars.
"You don't believe me?" Neido asked. "Drink some of it and you'll see."
Sam picked up the kettle and poured a cup. He drank half the cup, just as it hit the floor.
"Good thing I switched from china to paper the other day," Neido thought.
Kastia rubbed his eyes. He was on a stone platform.
All around him was Maelstrom. The platform extended behind him and in front of him.
Kastia walked forward, but suddenly, the rock began to turn into Stromlings.
"Dark Stone," Kastia chuckled, as the stone beneath him began to turn purple.
Kastia made a break for it.
Coyote started spinning in the air, spinning towards Sharpie. The daredevil noticed this and jumped towards a rock on Caldera Mar.
Coyote quickly spun into his path to intercept.
"What did you do with the Fork of Air?" Coyote growled.
"A-aren't you holding it?" Sharpie stuttered.
"This is simply a replica," Coyote sneered. He pulled his hood back to show his bloodred eyes.
"W-who are y-you?" Sharpie whimpered.
"I am Etoyoc, you fool!" the Air Ninja wannabe replied. "You knew all nine ninja besides Neido were captured. You knew they left their Golden Weapons behind at the Monastery. But WHERE in the Monastery?"
Sharpie replied with a kick in the gut.
Then he realized his mistake, for he was now free-falling one hundred feet downwards.