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3x15 - System Crash

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Author Topic: 3x15 - System Crash  (Read 992 times)
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« on: July 14, 2007, 02:40:55 am »

Written by: Marv Wolfman
Story by: Gavin Blair, Dan DiDio, Phil Mitchell, Ian Pearson, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman

This is the third part of a four-part story: "The Viral Wars"

    * 3.4.1 "Megaframe"
    * 3.4.2 "Showdown"
    * 3.4.3 "System Crash"
    * 3.4.4 "End Prog"

The whole system starts to shut down, and this causes individual sectors of Mainframe to fall apart. Former incarnations of the User's game sprites are running amuck throughout the city.

Down by the docks, some hillbilly binomes are a-pickin' and a-grinnin', dancing to dueling banjos, when the pier starts to disintegrate. The null-juggling clown is one of the victims. Then the building with four rock stars (Kiss) collapses. Panic in the streets! Sailor Moon, surrounded by the Sailor Scouts, activates her compact, but a falling chunk of concrete puts an end to that. A waiter on roller skates glides past Data Nully and Fax Modem (the latter is trying to make up his mind between B.C. and L.A.). Elvis is squashed. The leaning tower of Bob's apartment falls down. Its 8-ball goes rolling after Indiana Jones. A family of three watches this and tries to outrun the destruction. The young boy watches helplessly as his parents get swallowed up.

Although portions of the damaged Principal Office are falling apart, most of the central area is in relatively good shape. Dot has a plan. She has all the inhabitants of Mainframe evacuate to the Principal Office. Mouse and the Surfer spread the word. As the two visitors to Mainframe are flying around, it is clear that Mouse is flirting with the Surfer. He usually travels alone since he hasn't found anyone willing to take the risks that he does and this amuses her. They pick up two very polite punkers and drop them off just as Al's waiter gets the usual response from Al ("What?!").

Back in the War Room, Phong is still in the bell jar, and is very glad to hear that Hack and Slash have found the rest of his body. He tells the others to shutdown power to the other sectors, so that they will go off-line quietly, instead of being torn apart. The Core Control panel was destroyed; someone is going to have to go into the core and perform the shutdown manually.

Herr Doktor and the frankenbinome are trying to remain unobserved, but Hexadecimal finds them. (They were the ones that put the nasty pain collar around her neck.) It's not clear what she's planning to do to them, but she's holding a rolling pin.

One last binome is holding out - Old Man Pierson down at the Data Dump. When Matrix tries to argue with him, the big guy has to explain that he really is Enzo (and switches his icon to game-sprite mode as he is explaining.) This conversation via VidWindow is really a diversion so that AndrAIa can get close to the curmudgeon.

Everything seems to be under control when all hell breaks loose. Three tears open up near Matrix, Mouse and the Surfer. Out comes Zaytan (the form of the User that defeated Enzo in an earlier game.)

Bob enters the Core as Hack, Specky and Slash notice a bunch of tears opening up. Dot convinces him to continue the task, stating that she has things covered. But the instabilities in the system have released the User's game sprites from undeleted RAM. The characters are:

    * Red flaming devil with no neck attacks Matrix.
    * Santa Claus goes after Surfer.
    * Silver knight carrying a mace and
    * Killer clown double-team Mouse.
    * One-armed man with chain-saw strangles Dot.
    * Wide red flyer attacks AndrAIa's flying motorcycle.
    * Pterodactyl + fighter/bomber taken out by pirates.
    * Angular guy in prisoner garb knocks out Specky.
    * Blonde in red pant-suit has Mouse in a headlock.
    * Little Greek warriors and
    * Wooden T-Rex stomped on by Surfer.
    * Warrior carrots get their heads knocked together by Matrix.
    * Shark (out of water) flops around at Enzo's feet.
    * Robot T-Rex with a Nintendo Super Scope felled by Matrix.
    * Knight (in brown armor with horned helmet) snagged by AndrAIa.
    * Rocky the Rabid Raccoon shows up later.

Bob elevates to the center of the Core. With communications down, he's on his own. That is, until a familiar apparition shows up. Megabyte! Actually, a simulation. One designed to be able to mock Bob one last time. This does not prevent Bob from turning off the subsectors. He taps hexagons with red lights, the extend to where he can turn the handle, then push them back in, turning them blue. Each sector is not safe until all of its subsectors are done.

Dot is doing her darnedest to fight off the guy (white streak in hair, chain-saw in place of his right hand) from the Graveyard game. Ash defeats Hack and Slash, but not Frisket. On the other side of the room, the prisoner from Starship Alcatraz has the best of Specky, despite Phong's efforts. Then Princess Bula steps in and gets rid of the bugger with one hand.

Mike the TV bursts in, asking if there is room in this crowded show for a cameo appearance by the loud-mouth announcer, and the answer is a resounding "No!"

In the Core, the simulation has created multiple images of Megabyte, all telling Bob that the situation is hopeless. The Guardian does not believe in the "no-win scenario". One particular subsector is very difficult, and not just because the MB simulation tries to get in the way. Its completion is quite dramatic; MB dissolves. But still the edge of destruction approaches. Bob is able to do the last one just before passing out.

Status lights turn green; the central parts of Mainframe have been spared. Matrix and AndrAIa retrieve the weakened Guardian. "System, out of danger?", he asks. Dot tries to revive him with a kiss, but the osculation is intercepted by Rocky, the Rabid Raccoon.

Phong has bad news. They have survived Megabyte's bane, but Mainframe is still doomed.

    * I don't believe in the no-win scenario - the excuse that James Kirk used for cheating in the Star Trek movie.
    * Hexagons - scene from Lawnmower Man.
    * System out of Danger - Refers to Spock's death speech at the end of Star Trek Wrath of Khan, 'The Ship, out of danger?'
       (after he has disabled individual units of the core reactor).

Did You Notice?
    * Census count: 8746 (not counting 2 polite punkers, Al's waiter, Al, and Old Man Pierson).
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