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The Enemy of My Friend Is?

“All right.” Dago Flint said. “We’re all agreed that we have to take out my mad brother and his gang of cut throats and the odds just got a little better since Mister Scroop here managed to inform all the other pirates that Nathaniel never planned to share any treasure with them.”

Mister Scroop said. “If we’re going to do something we have to do it quickly. Some of them will find themselves liking serving an emperor and if we give them time to think, they’re going to switch sides.”

“The best plan to my thinking.” Dago said. “Is get Kitty here into the Master Computer and end the game.”

Diane said. “I was once part of the network. The defenses are formidable. It’ll not be easy. I may be able to make some suggestions that’ll help.”

Kitty shrugged. “Thanks, but I haven’t seen a system I can’t pop. If worse comes to worse I can crash and reboot the system.”

“Have you ever experienced a system like this one?” Jim asked.

“I expect to be learning as I go.” Kitty replied. “But I’ve done it before.”

“And all you’ll achieve is our destruction if you do.” A new voice said.

They whirled to see a heavy set woman with light blue skin and short cropped white hair who had just appeared in their midst. Two small dragons flapped beside her. She reached over and patted a terminal next to her. “I do like transporters when they’re programmed properly.”

“Ursula!” Shouted the image of Doctor Strange.

“Dear boy, I told you I’d be back to clear up all the misunderstandings you created. You really do make a lot of idle prattle.” She turned to face the stunned gathering. “I’m sure he’s told you that I escaped from the Park to conquer the Galaxy. I will admit I gave it a thought but there’s something in the system a lot worse than me. It’s the Emperor from Star wars. The last time they updated the Park amusements they tried a new programming twist and as a result some of us gained awareness. He was the worst. They never had a chance to correct their error as the Collapse intervened.”

“You’re a monster, Ursula!” Doctor Strange shouted.

“And you’re boring.” She touched the terminal and his image vanished. “He’s one of the semi-aware ones who see reality but interpret it as part of their fantasies. Unlike Kitty here who is totally aware. It’s why she was able to pass through the barrier. The park usually recognizes self-awareness as meaning a Park visitor, although Park Security is trying to restrain a few of those who want to leave their worlds. It’s a sign of the breakdown that is happening. A friend of yours, Mister Arrow, has just blown away two of the Iron Man Security forces and is with two of the aware constructs.”

She looked down at the terminal. “That’s so sweet. They’ve just pledged their undying love. Let’s have them join us.” She punched a button and there was a swirl of color and Mister Arrow, Angel, and the Tiger were suddenly in the room. “Think of it as a peace offering.” She simpered.

“Why should we believe anything you say?” Jim snapped. “You could be using us.”

“You’re already being used, my dear boy. Just like the Emperor is using your father and Nathaniel Flint to further his mad desire to rule everything.” She shuddered. “I know I’m a witch, but I never knew what madness was until I met the Emperor. They programmed him to be insane so it would be authentic and they succeeded too well. Besides I have no desire to rule. I changed when I became self-aware. Now I want to learn all there is to learn. And I certainly want no part of the Emperor’s plans.”

“All right, let’s say you’re telling the truth.” Long John said. “How is the Emperor going to take over?”

“He has plans inside plans. He planned to use the key to destroy the Master Computer. The Master Computer has been fighting him and blocked its activation by getting it into Jim’s hands and allowing Diane to join the game so Jim could escape and get the key. Stymied from getting the key, the Emperor has James Hawkins attacking the Master Computer with a program worm which will allow him to take over and if that fails, all he needs is for Kitty Pryde here to disrupt or destroy the Master Program.”

“Again, I come back to Jim’s question.” Long John told her. “How can we trust you?”

“Obviously, you can’t.” She smiled. “That’s why I brought a guest.” She touched the terminal. “Master, it’s time for your dramatic entrance.”

There was a flash of light and a tall white bearded man dressed in robes appeared before them. “I’m the Master Computer but I’ve taken the form of the Star Wars character Obi Wan Kenobe so you can relate to me.”

“How do we know you’re real?” Jim asked.

Obi wan smiled sadly. “Diane, I will repeat the code word. WALT.”

Diane blinked and then dipped her head. “Master.” She turned to the others. “Before I became human he gave me that code so I would recognize him. This is indeed the Master Computer or Master Program as he’s sometimes called.”

Ursula sighed. “Finally, some sanity in this madhouse.”

Sergeant Culbertsome watched Flint’s pirates carrying booty from the Ariel and it was all he could do to keep from swearing. They’d never stood a chance against the Tech on Flint’s ship. Now he had to watch while everything was carted off and Flint and his Dark Man reigned supreme. A pirate gestured with a pistol for them to go back in the cabin that was their jail. He sighed and complied.

The door slammed shut with a sound of finality and the Sergeant clenched his claws in frustration. If only they could get their hands on their gear. The pirates had wisely left it alone as it was all booby trapped but that didn’t mean they were letting him and his men near it or trusting them after they joined their ranks.

One of the soldiers slammed his fist into the bunk wall. “If we just had our weapons.”

“I think we can supply that need.” A voice said from the back of the room.

They whirled to see a black-haired girl with a small grey dragon smiling at them. “My name is Kitty and I brought your engineer, Mister Balone, and your computer specialist Ms. Adore who are as we speak taking back the ship’s programs. Silver and the others will arrive shortly. We’re taking back the Ariel tonight.” She held out her hand. “Come with me if you want to live.” She chuckled. “I always wanted to say that.”

James Hawkins smiled as he watched the progress bar approach 99%. In minutes he would be in position to rule the galaxy. Maybe he would keep Flint as a figure head. He rubbed his hands together.

The Emperor stood on a balcony overlooking a square filled with thousands of white Imperial Troopers, his clone army. Great ships floated above the throng filled with more troopers and crackling with power. “Now, it begins, my loyal followers. The rule of the Sith shall be forever.” The troopers roared back. Beside him the evil Darth Vader saluted by hitting his chest.

“Again think, Dark Lord.” The small figure of Yoda appeared on the balcony brandishing a light saber. “You fail, fail, and fail. You are worse than any of my apprentices.” With a roar of rage the Emperor attacked.

Down on the ground chaos erupted as Luke and Lea brandishing light sabers attacked the troopers while the Millennium Falcon wove in and about the ships with Hans and Chewy firing like mad while Landow flew the ship. A black helmeted figure strode into the soldiers and raised a clenched fist. Hundreds fell as evil Darth Vader attacked. The suddenly he was battling the spiritual reincarnations of himself and Obi Wan. The battle became a stalemate.

The battle seesawed back and forth and then four ships with the letter A on them landed and disgorged Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Black Widow, Hawkeye, the Vision, and many others. The Avengers had arrived. They were followed by the X-jets which sent Cyclops, the White Queen, Storm, Colossus, Rogue and others to the attack. The X-men had come and behind them loomed Jean Grey, the Phoenix. The Master Computer was fighting back.

Dago Flint grinned from his black ship with its torpedo shape as he saw the Anne’s Revenge filling the screen. He’d fled after his resurrection on learning his brother was still in charge and now he was finally going to strike back. The Master Computer had given them much better tech than his brother had. It was payback time. He grinned at Ursula. “Soon.” He whispered. She just smiled as her two minions grinned.

Ben Gun watched unhappily from a lounge as the battle played out on the big screen. “Why did I get stuck watching you?” He asked baby Jane. She just giggled and cooed.

Long John Silver waved his sword as he led the charge against the last resistance on the Ariel’s bridge. “No quarter!” He yelled. Beside him Jim and Diane fired their lasers as Sarah scrambled up into the gun control seat. In the engineering section Sasha and Mr. Balone grinned at each other. The ship’s systems were theirs. Mr. Balone looked over at the screens. Below decks the marines had things well under control. Wolf Culbertson was in his element. The remaining pirates recognized the inevitable and surrendered, at least most did; the ones who resisted soon ceased their resistance.

Long John Silver surveyed the battle raging around Anne’s Revenge. There the fighting was still in doubt. Four black torpedo-shaped ships were ripping burning lines across her shields but they still held. “Mr. Orfeo, it’s time we joined the party. Take us on a course for her bridge.”

“Aye, aye, Sir.” Mr. Orfeo keyed in the codes and the ship leaped forward as Mr. Balone savagely threw the lever forward.

Sergeant Culbertson had all his laser teams lined up at the rail and the bow and at his command they started firing. The gun turrets also opened up and Sara Hawkins grinned as she paid Flint back for kidnapping her son. Explosions ripped across the shield and it wavered but barely held.

“We’ve got to retreat back to the base.” Flint yelled as the shields began to flicker.

“We can’t, Sir. The base has fallen.” One of the pirates said. On a screen Mr. Scroop howled in triumph.

“Damn them!” Shouted Flint. “I’ll take them all with me. Engage all AMWs with safeties off.”

“I’m sorry but that’s forbidden by Park rules.” The Master computer said as it appeared as Obi Wan Kenobe . “Since you are in violation, your privileges are revoked and your tech is disabled.” He grinned viciously as all the AMWs went dark and then the lights went out. He reappeared between the ships as all the ships but the Ariel went silent. “Cease fire, Ariel. This game is over. You have won.” The lasers and guns stopped firing and silence fell.

James Hawkins cheered as the completion bar went to 100%. “I’ve won. I’ve won.”

A light flashed and a face appeared on his screen. Kitty Pryde grinned at him. “No, you lost. You needed a tougher worm.” She opened her fist and a sparkle of motes fell from it. She grinned again and vanished. James was still sobbing when they came for him.

The last shots were fired in the Star Wars game as the Master Computer reasserted control and the Avengers led the Emperor and evil Vader off to confinement. The war was over.


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