12XOLORXhttp://messageboards.lego.com/en-US/showpost.aspx?PostID=6334665Before I begin this story: it is important that you note this is a sequel to The Story of Tom. It takes place in the future, when Tom is old, and the Baron and the Spider are vanquished. With this in mind, let me begin.
Availability: The Beginning of the End can also be found here.
Author's Notes: Before I begin this story: it is important that you note this is a sequel to The Story of Tom. It takes place in the future, when Tom is old, and the Baron and the Spider are vanquished. With this in mind, let me begin.
It was a hot day, Jim walked outside, his brother John was already at work. They lived on a farm, there father and mother had been smashed years before fighting the Baron Typhonus. They lived alone, surviving only by the money they made on there small farm. The day was like any other, they went out in there blue overallls, and begin to pick the crop. The didn't have enough money to afford expensive farming tools. Jim decided to take a break, and so he took a walk. He walked for ten minutes, until a glimpse of light caught his eye. He whirled around to see a shooting star, shooting towards him! He ran faster than every, but he didn't run fast enough! In a final burst of energy, he lept up and dived, sliding on gritty dirt. He looked up, it was a machine, it looked like something he had seen in books, something that existed long ago- it had a sort of aura, it was purple, and he felt strange. Suddenly a figure, a bit like a human lept out of the machine, his vision went dark.
"Jim!" John cried, "Jim!" No reply, he had been searching for his brother for a long time, hours now, but there was not a trace, a few minutes later however, he saw a faint trace of smoke in the air. He walked towards the source. He saw the machine, and scratched his head. He didn't here the footsteps behind him. He thought about for a little while, but couldn't think of what it could be.
"I bet old Tom would know what it is," he said. Tom was a hero, he had fought and defeated Baron Typhonus and the giant spider of old, he lived far off, in nexus tower, he was old now however. John gave up hope and turned around. Two red eyes were staring at him. He screamed, it was purple, and he knew what is was- the maelstorm had returned.
The stormling was Jim, John knew that. He was about to turn and flee when he heard a calming voice.
"John, I'm OK."
"You don't look okay...,"
"I'm a stromling now, but I'm only have contaminated my the maelstorm."
"But what do we do?"
"To Nexus Tower."
John didn't notice the stormlings smirk as he turned in the direction of home. His plan was working.
John was poor, he didn't own a car, so he had to walk to the shuttle. He rigged a disguise for his stromling-brother, giving him a moustache, a beard, and lots and lots of hair. It worked and they made it to Nexus tower safely. As they approached the tower, a sentinal stopped them.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"We need to talk to the council," John replyed. The council consisted of the four faction leaders, who were now old, and the legandery Tom, who was let in because of his extraordinary heroism. The guard let them pass. John decided that it would be best to talk to Dr. Overbuild first, as he was the most peaceful of the council. He went to Overbuild's private quarters, and knocked on the door. Overbuild opened the door, and asked them to sit down, they made small talk for a few minutes but then John got down to business. He ripped off the disguise. Overbuild gasped. John raised a hand as he began to tell the story. Overbuild listened intently. Once he was finished he said:
"We must talk to the council, this is a very grave matter. It is well that he is only half-stormling, or we would have had even greater troubles."
So they agreed to talk to the council. The other four members agreed, and they decided that they should alert the universe of this grave new threat. Vanda went out to the intergalactic intercom and began to explain. Back at Nimbus station chaos ensued. It was a new age of darkness.
The council decided to give John and Jim a large room, before they did this however they had to test something. They needed all minifigures staying at nexus tower to have a large enough spark of imagination, so as to eliminate the risk of a minifigure contaminating the pure imagination. They let Jim go, even though he had no imagination, and high levels of maelstrom, but John was interesting. He, strange enough had three times the imagination of a normal minifigure, this high amount of pure imagination would later come in handy.
It was two in the morning. Jim got up, his plan was working. He silently opened and closed the rooms door. He went outside, and snuck through the halls, until he reached a door marked "The Nexus. Inside there was a guard, he took out a syringe, which had been given to him by the first stormling that arrived in the ship on the farm. He injected the guards with it, they fell down, asleep. Now he walked towards the nexus, nothing standing in his way. The nexus began to glow, and change, until it was purple. Contaminated imagination. An alarm rang, and guards everywhere ran to the nexus, they captured Jim, but didn't have time to ask questions, they had to evacuate. Nexus Tower was comtaminated, stormlings burst out of the nexus, and the minifigures ran to the ships. Sadly, not everyone made it, about one hundred or so minifigures were turned into stormlings, but our heroes story does not end here... it continues.
Let's fast forwards about, well... about two years. Nexus tower is taken, and so are many other of the many planets in the universe. Stormlings invading the Avant Gardens have wiped out all resistance, and are now moving to attack the minifigure fortress at nimbus station, which has now become the final haven for imagination. The council is there, along with John and the stromling Jim, who is locked up, due to his evil deeds. John now, like many minifigures before him, had a choice of faction. He considered engineer, but he was still furious at Jim for ruining imagination, so he decided that he wanted to pick a fighting faction, so he decided to go along with his her Tom, and so he became a sentinel knight. He trained along with hundreds of other minifigures, preparing for the great battle that was to come. So... let's fast forwards a little more, to "The Great Battle"...
John was on watch, he partrolled the walls of the fortress, looking for enemies to attack. It was five o'clock in the morning, and it was misty at the nimbus fortress. John had type one hypothermia, it was very cold. His hands were numb, and he held his weapon, a powerjouster limply in his hands. He also carried a pistol, for good measure. He didn't see a little speck far off to the left. Ten minutes later enemies were sighted! The alarm sounded and the fortresses gates opened. On the walls minifigures fired ranged weapons. Engineers and Space Marauders fought bravely, but were driven back. A group of samurai led a charge, but where cut down. Now it was John's turn, he fired his pistol, but it had little to no affect on the advancing forces. He singled out a horseman, and charged, driving his powerjouster through the purple rider, it fell.
Behind him came Jim, (the half-stromling) he was ready to attack, he had managed to escape in the confusion. He lept at John pulling him backwards onto the ground. He was about to make the fatal attack when John spun around, and punched him. Jim was surprised, didn't John know that punching a stromling was useless? It was true that many years ago when stromlings were weak you could smash them with your fist, but now? No. As Jim thought he had already wasted a second of precious time. John grabbed the powerjouster, but a second before he was going to run him through, another powerjouster came flying towards Jim, it hit him and smashed him. John turned to look at the thrower, it was Tom.
The attack had given hope to the minifigures, and now they charged, the stromlings who were still not fully ready for a full on assault gave in, and a swarm of maelstrom pirates tried to repel the attack, they were assisted by mechs, but the resistance was a failure from the start. Many stromlings turned and ran, but emerging from the waves of maelstrom troops, came four horseman followed by a line of horseman, who in turn led a battalion of dark ronin. They were the four horseman of the maelstrom. They wasted no time, and charged. John and Tom prepared to fight. John fired his pistol to no avail. As they came charging forwards John and Tom lept out of the way, letting them pass, then they attacked from the rear. The dark ronin fell easily, and the horseman were also easy to take out, thanks to lots of help from the paradox and assembly factions. The only enemies left were the four horseman, they turned to face their opponents. The first horseman attacked, sending a minifigure who had just joined the venture league flying backwards. Two members of the venture league faction filled his place, and began to fire. Engineers assembled cannons, and Space Marauders fought to the best of their ability. John and Tom charged, as they both knew that was one of the most effective ways to attack. It took a while, but the horsemen were forced to retreat. The first battle was over, but the war had only begun.
It wasn't pretty. Jim smashed, Nimbus Station in ruins... but the minifigures had stood their ground, and this time it had worked. John was troubled, his brother first turned into a stromling, then corrupted the Nexus, and was finally tried to smash his very own brother! His dreams reflected his thoughts, and sometimes he would flap his arms like a bird to see if he was dreaming. He wished he could be back on the farm, with his brother, and that none of this would ever have happened, but there was no denying it. It was what it was. But trouble was brewing, and a new power had risen. The spirit of Baron Typhonus, an aura of menace and dark power had joined with the maelstrom. There was no stopping it. Danger lurked.
Vanda Darkflame felt it. She had always had a sort of connection with her old master. Hurridly she slid the door of her room open and went to tell Dr. Overbuild. Dr. Overbuild told the rest of the council, and soon the knews had spread. Typhonus was back. The truth of the matter was Typhonus was not back, it was simply his spirit. There was no way he would ever have any physical power, but in the mind it was a different story. Any minifigure, even the faction leaders where at risk of turning to the maelstrom, if they let the defensive powers of imagination slip by them. It was decided that swift retaliation was necessary if they were to defeat the maelstrom once more. All minifigures were now requried to be armed and ready for battle. The factions were ready for battle.
The Avant Gardens now acted as a forward maelstrom assault base. The first step was now to mount an assault on the gardens. Overbuild set to work working on a huge armored transport to carry the assault teams. He recruited many of the minifigures, and in three weeks in was finished. It could hold three hundred minifigures comfortably, and five hundred if you jammed in extra. It was decided, however that a scout team was sent in first. It was decided that the team should consist of the minifigures: John, Tim, and Graham. Tim and Graham were veterans, so they knew what they were doing. John was recommended by Tom, so he got his place in the team.
"Alpha scout, alpha scout, report to briefing," a voice said over the intercom. They three minifigs arrived at the briefing room on time. Dr. Overbuild would be doing to briefing, as he was the one who made all their fancy gimmicks and gadgets.
"Hello and welcome alpha team," he said in a cool collected voice, "we are going to be scouting the maelstrom fortress here," he pointed to a 3D holograph. The fortress was carved into a mountain of solid rock. He continued.
"They have state of the art defense systems. We will be able to jam their scanners, but only for a short period of time: i.e ten minutes thrity-eight seconds. In that window you need to infiltrate their fortress, approximate the number of troops, and figure out the easiest way we could assault it. Understood?"
"Yes sir," the three minifigs said.
"Alright, you are dismissed. Hael, please escort them to their ships."
Hael Storm escorted them towards their ships. They were scout v 3.2s, the newest version of the scout ship. They were made of an ultra-light steel/kelvar mixture, they had cloaking devices and were equipped with the anti-maelstrom defense system, an age old system that fought maelstrom attackers within a ten foot radios using imagination. The system had not been used for a very long time. The minifigs were equipped with dual pistols and a short sword, though combat was to be avoided at all costs. They carried the ultra-light ultra-flexible kelvar armor, and a special helmet. The helmet contained a camera, a laser targeting device, a map, and a microphone to talk to mission command.
The scouts hopped into their scout-ships, and blasted off.
"Mission is go, I repeat, mission is go: green light, green light," Overbuild said over the helmet intercom. The mission had begun.
The ships were equipped with the newest version of imagi-turbo: which allowed the ships to go faster than light speed, at the cost of imagination which was carried in a tank at the back of the ships. The scouts slowed down as the Avant Gardens came into view. The gardens used to be beautiful lush green vacation spots, but the maelstrom, fort the second time in a century had conquered them.
"Bank right, bank right," Tim said- he was commanding the op.
The ships moved in tandem.
"Lock on the target," Tim said.
The ships were now locked on their target. They slowed down to a stop, and Tim pressed a button on his helmet.
"Alpha leader to Overbuild, Alpha leader to Overbuild, you are cleared to began jamming targets scanners."
On the transport Overbuild hit the button, the fortresses detection systems were down.
The ships moved together-
"Activate heatshields," Tim said.
"Roger that, activating heat shields," the other two pilots said in reply.
As they entered the atmosphere the ship was burning hot, but the heat shield protected it from being instantly destroyed.
"Target landing area, coordinates 4003, 5645," Tim ordered.
"Targeting landing area,"
The ships landed safely, and the three of them got out. They activated there helmets, now if they spoke they would only be heard by the other members of the squad, and by the good folks at the command center. The target was ahead, it was a huge fortress, glowing purple. It seemed impossible to penetrate.
"How are we going to get in their," John asked.
"Watch," Tim said in reply.
He pressed a button on his rist, and springs flew out of his boots, launching him up and over the fortress. John smiled. The other two followed. They were on top of the fortresses central command room, but they didn't know it. They opened a hatch and jumped down. They were in the central command room, they were greated by a stromling, who sensing the danger, pressed a button sounding the alarm.
John ran to the control pannel, his eyes lept to the area marked "defense systems" he flicked all the switches down, now all defense mecanisms were off.
"John to Overbuild, John to Overbuild, we haved sounded the alarm, but all the defense systems on this fortress are down, now would be a good time to attack," he said into his mic.
"Overbuild to John, allied forces on way."
From his command ship Overbuild sounded the alarm at Nimbus fort.
"This is Overbuild! We have a situation, I need assault groups 1,2, and 3 down to the fortress on the double!"
Minifigures scrambled into ships, unfortunately these weren't the fastest of ships, so it would take them more than three minutes to arrive, and while three minutes isn't much, it could mean the difference for alpha scout.
Mechs marched into the room in Indian file, and then turned and began to fire upon alpha scout. Alpha scout drew their pistols, and began returning fire.
"Cover me!," Tim shouted.
He drew his short sword, and took down the first mech. Suddenly another line of mechs marched through the doorway! They were different, they weren't even orange anymore- but 100% purple. These were the elite mechs. The maelstrom now had extra-powerful mechs. They immediately fired at the closest target, which was Tim.
"I'm hit, I'm hit," they heard him shout.
Graham rushed into the fray, and John followed.
"John, hold them back!" Graham said. He pulled out a syringe containing blue liquid. He injected it into Tim, who was already starting to glow purple. The purple faded, and vanished. Tim jumped to his feet, guns blazing. John had been having a rough time, he had decided to use his short sword, but to do that he had to jump over the mech and attack from behind, or else he would be shot to maelstrom.
A sound outside attracted the mechs. They marched right by alpha scout.
"Overbuild to alpha scout, reinforcements are here."
The three of them cheered, and where about to turn around and leave when they realized that they better destroy the mechs first. John laid down an explosive barrel, and then the three of them climbed back through the hole in the roof. The mechs turned around, hit the barrel, and exploded. The three of them were greated with hundreds of minifigures clapping there hands as they bounced along with the spring shoes. Alpha scout moved back to their ships, and flew back to Nimbus Fort.
"Hello everyone! This is Duke Exeter, we have some good news! The maelstrom fortress in the Avant Gardens has been taken due to bravery of assault teams 1, 2, and three, the speed and reaction of Alpha scout, and the intelligence of Dr. Overbuild!"
It was a good day. There was one catch though.
"However," Duke Exeter continued, "Alpha Scout, and assault teams 1, 2, and 3 will be deployed in the Avant Gardens. I will be coming with them!"
"Hooray!" shouted every minifigure in the fort but the ones who were going to be deployed.
The ship was filled with a three hundred and three grim faces. The last face, the one of Duke Exeter, showed no emotion. Nimbus Fort had been relatively safe, but this one? Not so sure. The anti maelstrom contamination crews had been through more than a hundred times, but it was fear that made this minifigures sad. They knew something, something concerning Baron Typhonus lurked there, and they didn't want to be the first to find it, or... the first to be found.
Systems were set up, scanners communications, quarters were assigned. John and the other members of Alpha Scout shared a large room. They could be deployed at any time however, so it was important that they had all their gear ready. They had both scout gear, and gear for their own faction.
Tim was in the Paradox faction- space marauder so he was familier with the scout gear, as the two gears were similar. Graham was in the Assembly, so the scout gear was alien to him. It was the same with John, but the two of them quickly got used to it.
Alpha scout was called to briefing room about four in the morning. A hologram of Overbuild was to brief them.
"Hello team," the hologram said, "this mission is going to be different. Only Tim will be carrying it out."
They nodded gravely.
"However, John and Graham will be using our long range scanners to detect enemies. We need to find the next maelstrom base, therefore we need to find the area which has the highest amount of concentrated maelstrom. We have hooked up maelstrom scanners to a scout ship. Tim, you are going to be flying at sub-atmospheric level, about five hundred feet above the ground for proper readings. Once you have found a target, mark it with your helmet laser, and then return to base. John and Graham are going to use our extra long range scanners to see if any enemies are following you. Understood?"
"Alright then, John and Graham, you stay here watching the scanners, Tim- go down to the hanger and get in your scout."
They went their separate ways, and about ten minutes later Duke Exeter announced over the intercom:
"Green light, Alpha Scout, mission is under way."
Tim flew off. He activated his helmets targeting systems, that way it would automatically target maelstrom enemies. He pressed the button the activate sensors. Slowly he levelled out. He was at four hundred feet, which is very low for a ship normally meant to fly through space. He slowed down to three hundred MPH, any higher and it would be dangerous. He picked up a blip on the scanner:
"Tim, bank left!" John shouted.
Tim flew to the left just in time to avoid a blast of fire. He looked in his rear view camera, it was a dragon. Dr. Overbuild had warned him of them, he hit a button on the control pad marked "dragon defense system" out of the year of the scout flew a few chunks of meat, the dragon swooped down to grab them, giving Tim time ot accelerate away. Something began to beep loudly, it was the maelstrom scanner.
"Alpha Scout leader to command, scanners detecting large maelstrom concentration."
He decided to fly down to investigate. This time it wasn't a fortress, but a hole in the ground. The scary part was he could see the core of the planet... it looked like purple plasma! The entire planet was contaminated! He thought for a minute, and then figured it out. It was made so that anyone who stepped on the planet would be turned into maelstrom! So how had Alpha Scout and the assault teams done it? They had been wearing imagination infused kelvar armor, meaning that as long as they wore the armor, they could step on the planets surface safely. Tim called up mission command and told them his finding. They ordered him back to base.
On arrival he told Overbuild his findings. The doctor listened politely, but then interrupted-
"I'm sorry Tim, but you are wrong. Do you remembed what happened when the origanal source of imagination was corrupted by Typhonus?"
"Yes, but you don't mean!"
"Yes, this planet will explode because it will not be able to contain such a high concentration of maelstrom!"
"Is there anything we can do?"
"No. The only way would be to find back with pure imagination- but we don't have any, other then the creative spark that exists inside every minifigure."
"Is there a way we could get the nexus back?"
"No, it would require just a little bit of pure imagination, just a bit more than what we have inside ourselves."
"What if we combine two or three minifigures imagination?"
"No, impossible- it would not be concentrated."
"So what do we do?"
The alarms blared, the sirens wailed, as many minifigures as they could crowded into the transport ship. Alpha scout and Duke Exeter managed to get on, and so did another two hundred or so minifigures, but assault team three didn't. The transport blasted off, leaving one hundred stragglers behind. Five minutes later, when the gardens were almost out of the sight, there was an explosion, the Avant Gardens were destroyed.
Duke Exeter radioed Overbuild to tell what had happened. Overbuild almost fainted, but one of his students held him up. Nothing more was said, none of the minifigures on the ship spoke. It was not said, but the moment of silence was for the lost minifigures who had not been able to make it. Ten minutes later they arrived at Nimbus Fort. There was no cheering, no party, no happy faces, yet this was only the beginning.
It was quickly decided that swift retaliation was needed. Sadly, much of the blame the for the lost minifigs was laid on Overbuild, because he had only built one transport. He immediately got to building more. A group of special soldiers were selected to go on a mission, this one was called "Operation Free-Nexus". Alpha scout, and a few select members of assault group one and two were picked. New gear was created for this special unit, which was named Nexus-Force Elite. Overbuild created new armor to resist the high concentrations of maelstrom found in Nexus Tower, which was now called Maelstrom Tower. He also created new weaponry, which was needed if they were to retake Maelstrom Tower. He swapped out the old Space Maruader pistols for new imagination pistols, and he took out the short sword and replaced it with an imagination syringe, to turn stromlings into minifigures.
The groups were called in for briefing, the mission was to be carried out one week later.
"Hello brave minifigures, I am Dr. Overbuild. our mission goes as follows. There will be two transports, one of them will carry one hundred soldiers, those soldiers being you. The other will be used to blow artificial fog on to the target. The fog is mixed with low concentration imagination, which will weaken the stromlings prior to your attack. Understood?"
None of the minifigures in the task force would admit it, but they thought it was a suicide mission. Attacking the heart of maelstrom with only one hundred troops? It was like throwing a pebble at a brick wall and expecting the brick wall to come crashing down. Finally the day came.
"Mission is go, green light," Overbuild said slowly, and then fell back into his chair and turned towards the 3D live feed model of what was going on during the mission. The ship blasted off, along with the other transport, which was holding the artificial fog. Maelstrom Tower was not very far away, and they arrived quickly. The transports slowed to a stop.
"Permission to begin operation?" Tim asked.
"Permission granted," Overbuild replied.
The two ships activated heat shields as they entered the tower's artificial atmosphere.
"Overbuild to taskforce, fire artifcial fog."
A hatch opened, and fog spilled out completely envoloping the tower. It was gray-blue colored, John wondered if it would really help. The troop ship began to move towards the docking bay. They docked successfully, and the hatch opened. Nexus tower was completely purple on the inside, but their armor protected them from being contaminated.
"Go, go, go!" Tim shouted into his comm-link.
The troops hopped out of the ship. As they began to walk forwards, Tim raised a hand.
"Alarms," he said softly, "crawl under them."
The minifigures went prone and cralled under the laser alarm. They made it safely, all one hundred of them. Tim slid a door open.
"Sweep and clear," he whispered. He saw a stromling but motioned for them not to shoot. Slowly he moved towards it, until he was at melee range. He injected imagination into it with the syringe, and slowly it began to morph back into a minifigure. Before he could say anything Tim put a hand over his mouth, and John gave him one of the extra pairs of armor, so he wouldn't be contaminated by the maelstrom.
"Nexus-Force," he whispered.
They continued down the silent halls, until they arrived to a door marked "Nexus".
But then something happened, the minifigure bringing up the rear, who's name was Jennifer began to morph. She touched the minifigure in front of her, and she too began to morph. Tim turned around to see what was happening, and to his horror he saw half of his unit had turned into stromlings. John heard a voice in his head:
"Let go... imagination... forget... let your imagination leave you..."
He saw a vision, he was falling into an endless sea of maelstrom, until he stopped- he saw a face that he recognized. Baron Typhonus. He smiled.
"Do not fight back... for you shall not win..."
John tried to walk back but he couldn't. Baron Typhonus came closer and closer. Suddenly John felt himself be sucked out of the world, Typhonus breathed heavily, he was angry. John flew backwards, away from Typhonus, away from the sea of maelstrom, back to where he was. He was lying on the ground. He got up, and found himself face to face with a stromling. He ran faster than ever, back to the ship, but it was already under way. He saw it, just three feet in front of him, moving away from the tower. He jumped, accidently flipping a switch on his armor, the armor turned off. He found himself falling once more, into the sea of maelstrom. This time the Baron wasted no time. He walked forwards, about turn John into a stromling when he disappeared. He woke up again, Tim had pulled him up onto the ship and closed the hatch.
"I can't explain...."
"Alright, we're leaving, mission failure."
"I know, I need to talk to Vanda, now!"
Tim got Vanda on the comm link.
"Vanda, somehow half our unit got turned into stromlings without anyone even touching them! They were wearing armor, and I, I... saw a vision... I was falling into a sea of maelstrom, and there was the Baron! And he spoke! Back then I got sucked back up again, and I got back on the ship, but I turned my armor off, and I fell again, and he tried to turn me into a stromling! But then Tim pulled me back on the ship and closed the hatch, and I woke up again."
"John, I know what happened to you. The Baron doesn't exist physically, only in the mind, but he can turn people into stromlings. In fact I am very surprised you didn't turn into a stromling the first time you saw the vision, but Overbuild tells me you have an extra strong spark of imagination, so that is the reason your aren't a stromling. When you turned you armor off, the concentration of maelstrom was too high for you, you fell into the Baron's world, and you would of turned into a stromling if Tim didn't pull you up."
The radio link vanished. The survivors couldn't believe, more than half of their unit wiped out, with only a little more than thirty remaining. John slapped himself, testing if he was dreaming, but he wasn't. It was scary, how Baron Typhonus could control you with his mind, but John gave it little thought, and went to sleep.
Nobody spoke on the funeral day. Not even Duke Exeter, who had seemed undaunted by the losses, but it was now clear that winning this was going to be harder than every before. Later, the council called a meeting.
"You know why we are here," Overbuild began, but he never finished.
"We need to do something," and fast he said.
"Would there be a way to decontaminate the Nexus?" Hael Storm asked.
"I don't think so. Imagination still exists, but in very small quantities. As I told Tim before, we would only need a handful of imagination to decontaminate the Nexus, but we are in a spot, where we don't have that imagination. We would only need just a bit more imagination then we have present in a minifigure, and even if we could extract imagination from a minifigure it is impossible to combine two different minifigures imagination. It would not work."
"So what shall we do?" Tom asked.
"I do not know."
"We will just have to hold out against the maelstrom, it seems like we cannot fight back."
"You are correct, Vanda... but in time this fortress will fall," said Overbuild.
"But we must not let it!" Duke Exeter said dramatically drawing his sword, "Overbuild, our fate is in our hands."
"What do you think we are going to do?" John asked Tim.
"John, I really don't think we can do much."
"So what are we going to do? Just stay here?"
"What else can we do."
"I don't know, but, but... could this be the fall of imagination?"
"It could very well be so."
"So what is going to happen?"
His question was answered by Duke Exeter:
"Hello minifigures- this is Duke Exeter. It has now become clear to me that we are not going to be able succesfully attack the enemy. Therefore, defense is our only option! Comrades, our fate is in our hands!"
He said it into the intercom, so all the minifigures heard it.
"John, does that answer your question?"
Graham entered the room. It was clear he was not happy. He sighed.
"Fellows, I reckon we won't survive this war."
"Don't give up hope!" John said.
"Hope saved us the first time the maelstrom struck, it can save us again," Tim finished.
"Yes... yes... but this time the maelstrom is so much stronger, you saw what happened to our unit!"
"I did, but now you're giving up hope!" Tim argued.
John got up and left the room, he didn't want to be sucked up into the argument.
"But there is no hope!"
"And that's what they said the first time! And we lived to argue on about it!"
"Yes, but this is different, that was twenty-three years ago!"
"Yes, but it's the hope that matters!"
"But the maelstrom has evolved since then!"
"Well? So have we!"
"But they can control us with their minds!"
"True, but only when we are exposed to high levels of maelstrom!"
"Yes, but in all our missions that's what happens!"
"But we have armor!"
"But our armor clearly wasn't strong enough in that final mission!"
"Alright, I'll admit there still is hope, but not alot of it."
The argument was finished. The war wasn't.
It was two in the morning when the alarm sounded. Maelstrom forces were coming out of the Forbidden Valley and the Gnarled Forest. John and Tim jumped out of bed and grabbed their faction gear. They were ready to fight in less than a minute. They walked out the door and joined many other minifigures marching towards the gate. Graham didn't move.
'This can't be happening, this can't be happening,' he told himself, yet it was happening.
'It's just a dream, a dream that's all it is,' but in his heart he knew it wasn't.
He finally finished with:
'No hope... the end.'
Meanwhile John and Tim raced out the gate, and prepared the repel attackers.
"Where is Graham?" John shouted.
"I don't know," Tim shouted back in reply.
"John, maelstrom incoming!"
A wave of horseman and pirates charged towards the defending ranks. Tim dismounted one, leaving it open to attack, John finished it off.
Arrows flew down dismounting many of the horseman, but not destroying them.
"Fire at will!"
More horseman fell.
The ranks of Sentinels now charged, doing massive damage, and temporarily stunning the enemy. The charge was however a failure, as even the brave Sentinels could not hold their ground forever, as more and more stromlings charged they were forced to retreat. John and Tim tried to hold their ground longer than they could, and they were surrounded.
"So, this is the end," Tim said.
"Looks like it."
They fought bravely, but hundreds of stromlings attacked, a hole appeared the stromling lines-
"Go! That's an order!" Tim shouted to John.
He slowly turned and ran.
A horseman rode up towards Tim, and was about to put an end to him when something knocked him down. Tim looked up to see Graham. Graham quickly set up a turret, driving the maelstrom back. He then helped Tim to his feet.
"Where is John?" Graham asked.
"I ordered him away, what took you so long?"
"I, I gave up hope. I'm sorry."
Seeing they were okay John rushed to the scene.
"It was only a diversion! The fortress is being attacked on the other side!" he shouted urgently.
"They ran to other side of the fortress, there were thousands of stromlings.
"Oh... my... gosh...," Graham said.
Explosives were rolled from the walls of the castle, keeping the stromlings at a safe distance. The stromlings were well prepared however, and charged the wall, climbing up using scaling latters. John, Tim, and Graham who were now on top of the walls helped. Stromlings however outnumbered defenders, John ran from one side of the wall to the other, pushing the ladders down.
Stromlings managed due to superior numbers to make it to the top of the wall. Members of the Venture League swung to the outer wall using ropes attached to the keep, creatures were summoned to fight back. The maelstrom did not lose many stromlings, but they made little progress. They drew back to a safe distance and waited, attacking no more.
"What are they doing," Overbuild said.
"Siege. They try to outlast us by not letting us go outside to get food and such."
"Is there a way to break the siege?"
"They are much stronger than we are. We are going to have to slowly weaken them. However... Overbuild- I have an idea. It's much like something they had... thousands of years ago. Do you have any working turrets?"
"No. Even if I did, there range is limited."
"Give me a minute."
About ten minutes later Duke Exeter came back holding a sheet of paper. He handed it to Overbuild. Overbuild nodded.
"Can you build this?" Duke asked.
"When do you think it will be completed?"
"Maybe in an hour?"
Overbuild got his team of engineers working on the new project, meanwhile the defenders morale was falling.
"They are going ot try to outlast us, so our food runs out!" someone said.
"I heard it's horrible to starve to death," another says.
They horrible talk continued for about an hour and a half, until an announcement was made.
"Hello. This is Overbuild. Thousands of years ago people had this thing called a catapult. Today we would like to show you how it works. Our catapult, is slightly different because it is operated by a motor, however. Thank you."
This got the minifigures talking. They had never heard of a catapult. They went to the wall excitedly. The catapult was huge, about sixty feet long and forty feet high. The minifigures gasped.
"Is everyone ready?" Overbuild asked.
The minifigures nodded.
"Credit for this idea goes to Duke Exeter. Let us begin."
With those words he pressed a button. The catapult's arm swung forwards, sending a huge chunk of stone hurtling towards the maelstrom lines. The stromlings, who weren't paying attention did't see it coming. It smashed about twenty of them on impact, and as it continued rolling smashed another forty or so.
Minifigures cheered! Overbuild was happy. He assigned Duke Exeter to keep the catapult firing, while he went down to make another. An hour later another catapult was ready. By now stromlings were running around in fright, some towards the castle, some away from the castle. The ones that ran towards the castle were quickly smashed by explosives, about one thousand stromlings were smashed in that day, and the minifigures took the record for fastest to break a siege in history.
The stromlings ran away, but they were brought back together by the spirit of the Baron Typhonus. He forced them to make one final assault, this time using the unexploded exploding barrels that the defenders had thrown at them.
It was three hours after the siege was broken, when a watcher sighted stromlings moving towards the fortress. The alarm rang, and once again soldiers took up arms. This time instead of making a full out assault, the stromlings rolled the explosive barrels towards the wall.
"They're taking down the wall!" Tim shouted.
"Can the walls withstand those explosives?" Duke asked Overbuild.
"No, they cannot."
The walls fell. Duke exeter came down to organize a final defense, but it was clear that even he was afraid.
Stromlings swarmed in through the holes in the walls. All the minifigures fought bravely, Overbuild used the last of his turrets in the defense, but the turrets ended up being smashed. The fight continued for hours, the minifigures were tired and could fight no more, but they had smashed every stromling, but it was not finished. They went to sleep, knowing that it would be no better the next day.
It was one in the morning, Tim and Graham were asleep, but John was not. He got out of bed, picked up a letter and began to write. Then, silently he opened the door, went outside and shut it. He walked towards the hanger, and got into the scout ships. He didn't bother getting his armor this time, he wouldn't need it. He punched in the coordinates for Nexus Tower, and blasted off.
Tim woke up, he couldn't sleep thinking about what had happened, and how imagination was to be forever corrupted by the maelstrom. He looked towards John's bed. It took him a minute to register what he saw.
John was gone! In his place he saw a folded sheet of paper. He knew it was a message from John. He took it and silently unfolded it. It read as follows:
John- I have decided what I must do. Do you remember what Dr. Overbuild said? He said that it would only take a handful of imagination to decontaminate the Nexus, and he said that amount of imagination was about double the amount of imagination in each and every one of us. Well I have three times the amount of imagination found in a normal minifigure, and so I am leaving, to go to Nexus Tower. I shall not return.
A chill ran down Tim's spine. This wasn't how he thought it was going to end, no, this isn't how he wanted it to end. He cried, but knew that it wouldn't help, he needed to take action. He woke Graham up and handed him the letter. He read it intently.
"Do you know what that means?"
"Yes, he is going to throw himself in the Nexus!"
"We have got to save him!"
The friends put on there amor, and ran to the hanger, and hopped in the remaining two scouts. They blasted of for Nexus Tower.
John landed with a thud. He opened the hatch and got out. He walked inside the tower, going the same way he had gone with the failed special operation unit. Once again, he felt himself sucked down into the sea of maelstrom, but this time it was different. Once again he was greated by Baron Typhonus, but this he stepped forward, and threw him into the endless sea of maelstrom, he woke back up in the normal world. He saw a door marked "Nexus" and he went inside it.
For the first time in many years the baron was scared. If John got to the Nexus he would be lost forever. He decided that he must try once more. John once again, fell into the sea of maelstrom, and was met once again by the Baron Typhonus. This time the Baron wasted no time, and swung at John with his staff. John blocked it with his sword. A duel followed, but John got the better of the baron, sending him falling into the sea below. He stood before the Nexus now, nothing to stop him.
Two scouts zoomed into the room containing the Nexus. Tim and Graham hadn't even bothered getting out of their ships when they got to the hanger, they just kept going.
"John, stop!" Tim said.
"No. I picked this myself."
"But you can't do it!" Graham interrupted before Tim could speak.
"I order you to stop!" Tim shouted.
"This is the one thing you cannot order me not to do."
"I know," he said weakly.
John stepped towards the Nexus, a small bit of blue appeared at the bottom of the Nexus, and began to work it's way to the top. John stepped into the Nexus, the Nexus was decontaminated, but John was gone. Blue energy enveloped the entire universe for one quick second, and then faded away. The maelstrom was, and so was John. Tim cried, and so did Graham. They would bear the costs of John's sacrifice for the rest of their life. They returned to Nimbus Fort, and told the minifigures there of John's bravery. They cheered! The maelstrom was gone, imagination had returned!
While John will never again be alive in the physical world, he will always live in memories, and he will never be forgotten.