Title: Exiles: The Way Things Were Author: Bacta Bubble Bath Genre: Drama, Action, Sci-Fi Time Frame: Characters: Morph (Marvel), Superwoman (Earth-11)(DC), Franky (One Piece), Doofus Rick (Rick and Morty), Starlight Glimmer (Equestria Girls), Jaal (Mass Effect), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Episode 1), Samurai Jack enemies and allies. And all characters included are over the age of 18. Summary: When the newest group of Exiles had just gotten settled in, they are whisked away to another Reality that needs saving. They come together with some iconic characters to finally defeat the evil Aku. Notes: This is for the Mod's Time Trials, and I know it's LOOOOONG so please bear with me. I had 48 hours to do this and with two consecutive days off I had been doing nothing BUT writing. I hope you all enjoy. Spoiler: Prompts 1. Your TV Tropes is: Call to Agriculture 2. Your weather forecast is: hot and dry 3. Your random word is: omnium-gatherum - a miscellaneous collection (as of things or persons) 4. Your required line of dialogue is: “Could you be happy here with me?” 5. Your picture prompt is: https://amidtheimaginary.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/prompt.jpg?w=363&h=362 - - - - - An indeterminable amount of time spent together. Despite how remarkably different these six strangers were, they came together quickly to face the challenges set before them: mending reality as a whole. A daunting task, one might think. They wouldn’t be wrong. It wasn’t just one reality but in fact dozens… hundreds… there was no way for them to know for sure how many universes required their help. Morph was sure to tell them when it all started way back when. To them, it felt like they had known each other for years. And now they were given a reprieve from being heroes, saviors, harbingers of hope… “H-hey Franky?” Rick Sanchez poked his head into the cyborg’s workshop with a six-pack of glass bottles within a wire carrier. “I made some more cola for you.” The blue-haired shipwright raised his goggles with a smile. “SUUUUUUUPERRRRR! Thanks, Rick!” The scientist, taken from his home reality of Earth but a version where it too had its own various Dimensions within it, was seen by his alter-selves as… inferior. Rick Sanchez of Dimension J19 Zeta 7 was perhaps one of the more compassionate and caring of his alters while still retaining a great chunk of the intelligence expected of a Rick. “I-I even -uuuurrrp!- had some time to process some food for Jaal. Since we’re not sure how long we’re gonna be stuck here anyway and he’s got those specific dietary needs.” He said with an honest, buck-toothed smile. Franky clapped his large hand on Rick’s back, opening the panel on his own stomach to remove the empty bottles of cola to replace them with the new blend his friend had concocted. “I know I appreciate it. I was really starting to wear down after that last Reality.” Both went silent a moment as if remembering the events that took place, solemnly nodding. “It won’t be the same without him.” Rick said after a time. He could tell Franky was still raw about the whole ordeal and put a comforting hand on his back. “So wh-what are you working on? Is that a ship?” “Mmm! There’s not enough raw material to make it the way I want to here but when I get back to Luffy and my crew…” “Knock knock~” Starlight stepped into the doorway. “Oops! Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.” The purple-skinned human smiled nervously. Rick waved it off with an innocent smile where Franky truly beamed and rushed to the girl, picking her up around the waist with his large hands. “You’re not interruptin’! I was just showing Rick my new project!” He gave her a twirl, holding her aloft for a moment before setting her beside him. The two had grown awfully close in this time together. “Wow, so it’s… a boat?” Starlight blinked. “It’s a pirate ship!” Franky stood proudly and continued to admire his work. “Riiiiight… I forgot you said you were part of a pirate crew.” She said, a bit ashamed that she’d forgotten that iconic part of Franky’s past. “I guess I better leave you two lo-oooouuugh-ve birds alone, huh?” Rick couldn’t shake the smile from his face as he set the rest of the manmade cola on the pirate’s workbench and exited the shop. “L-lovebirds?” Starlight Glimmer’s purple cheeks flushed as she tried to hide her face with her hands. “I’m sorry I forgot, Franky. It’s easy to forget things that someone says to someone else--” His finger pressed to her lips. “Like you being a ‘unicorn’ from a world of magical horses?” “Ahem. Ponies… but close enough.” She found herself nearly melting into his strong arms, taking a deep breath as their faces got closer. Starlight closed her eyes and leaned in, finding herself taken back by why she had originally stopped in. “Oh! Laurel was just telling me that the Tallus started humming again. I know that Morph told us that it would do that from time to time, but I think it’s got her a little worried.” Franky slid off his goggles entirely and set them on the nearby tool cart, pushing it to the side. “We just got settled in here. Laurel’s got her farm… Jaal and Rick have their labs…” He sighed. “I’ve got you.” Starlight smiled and hugged the cyborg from behind. “And it’s been one misadventure after the next. I don’t want it to end. This to end.” Starlight didn’t enjoy the silence, but she had grown accustomed to sitting in the workshop while Franky worked and filling the gaps with her own dialogues. That wasn’t to say he didn’t contribute to their conversations, but he often became so engrossed in his work that the young mare… young woman found the diligence endearing. “Could we make this work? Here?” She asked, squeezing him a little tighter. “Could you be happy here with me?” His rough digits slid over the backs of her hands and he let out a happy chuckle. “I already am.” - - - - - The tip of Laurel’s boot touched the ground as she hovered downward, wiping the sweat from her brow. She gazed upon hundreds of rows of crops all either dug out by hand or with the assistance of the automated plow that Rick and Franky had made for her. Being one of the last Kryptionians from her version of Earth, a reality called Earth-11, she had almost forgotten how calming farm life was. Ma and Pa would certainly have been proud of her… wherever they were. “Kent. Glad to see you’ve finally taken a break.” The Angaran Rebel Jaal smiled, holding out a glass of fabricated lemonade. “It was… exhausting watching you work for nearly eight hours.” “Eight hours?” She laughed and took the glass gently. “Is that all?” “Last week it was fifteen. And days before that it was nearly twenty. I’m well aware that this world’s sun isn’t as energizing as the one you claim to have back home--” “I’m not getting tired more easily, Jaal. I think I’m settling in.” As she nursed the lemonade with one hand, the other hefted a tractor effortlessly above her head where she carried it through the open door of the barn to store it. Back home, or what could be considered her original home, Laurel Kent went by the name Superwoman: an alien survivor raised by humans who struggled her whole life trying to fit in while defending their adopted homeworld from threats near and far. And now she felt like she was back where she started all those years ago. New people; new threats… but it was certainly her duty to protect them all. She downed the glass and handed it back to her friend, adjusting the strap on her coveralls shortly after; a mannerism Laurel had picked up from her father. “Don’t you get bored watching me work all day?” “Not at all. It’s… near-cathartic.” Laurel chuckled. “Cathartic? You sound like my Pa.” Jaal Ama Darav, a resistance soldier from someplace far within the Andromeda galaxy, had grown fond of Laurel in their time together. Since their first mission assisting the young Ben Tennyson and his cousin Gwen against a horde of Vilgax’s minions to their most recent, more heart-wrenching loss of The Cowlorado Kid to the hands of Davy Jones and the crew of the Flying Dutchman... “It’s interesting to see how other beings take their minds off of things. We’ve been here for a matter of what seems like months and we’ve all fallen into routines. A farm for you, Rick with his… energy supplements--” “You don’t like the Gamma Bars he makes you?” Laurel smirked. “They are very filling, it’s true! However, the taste leaves much to be desired.” “He’s looking out for us, Jaal. All of us.” Laurel defended. The Angaran nodded. “Of course. It was rude of me to criticize him when we obviously have very little from our own worlds to make this… Dimension seem like home.” Laurel sat down and patted the ground next to her as they looked out over the compound they had built. In those few months Jaal mentioned, they had built a complex in which to live and occupy their time until the Tallus called them away… … though there was no guarantee that they would even return to this particular Reality when and if they were whisked through the swirling pink vortex. “And the others?” Laurel wondered. “Hm?” Jaal sat next to her. “You mentioned my farming. Rick’s experiments… what about the others?” Jaal cleared his throat. “W-well! Franky has been building a crude ship of sorts. I’m not certain it would be fit for traveling in space but for primitive locomotion upon the water it would seem fine. Obi-Wan has his meditation and studies… Starlight has her magical research…” “And you?” “Me? I’ve not been doing anything of note, really.” “Aside from watching me toil in the field without even picking up a hoe.” The alien soldier seemed to be taken aback by the comment but was even more confused when Laurel began to laugh out loud. “I’m teasing you, Jaal. It’s rather cute how you’re trying so hard to show that you’re interested.” Her lips met his cheek as she stood back up and began walking towards the compound. “Come on. Let’s see what’s for dinner.” Jaal laughed as he got back to his feet. “Gamma Bars, Helix Toast, and those… Instant Noodles.” - - - - - Obi-Wan was restless. Since the defeat of his Master at the hands of that Sith Apprentice and his promotion to Jedi Knight, his mind hadn’t been at ease. So much had happened between his conversation with Master Yoda and joining this ragtag group of reality-hopping adventurers. The Force was blurring everything. This Tallus, an obvious artifact of great power, likely dated back to something far back in the annals of Jedi History. If only he had access to the Archives so he could know for sure. He paced the well-fashioned walls of their temporary base; the credit of which went to the skilled hands of Franky and the surprising precision of Laurel’s heat vision. Rick and Franky developed the diagrams, Jaal assisted with making it more defensible… Kenobi paused mid-stride to look up at the ceiling as if something were calling to him. If he could feel it, surely the others could as well. With hurried steps, he made his way into the room in which they kept the Tallus, greeted by his other comrades. “You felt it too?” Starlight said as she folded her arms over her chest, eyeing the metal box on the central pedestal. “I sensed a disturbance in the Force. For you, it was--” “Magical? Yeah. Like it was resonating through the air.” The once unicorn, now human explained. Neither one had really understood the abilities of the other; Starlight’s equating of the Force to Magic seemed almost insulting to the Jedi Knight. She meant no offense, but Magic was just natural to her and anything that couldn’t be explained by science just HAD to be magical in nature. Among all of them, it was rather farfetched that Starlight Glimmer would come from a Reality in which unicorns, pegasi, and ponies could cast spells, fly, and more importantly: talk. Although her own natural abilities with magic had diminished since taking a human form, Starlight still remained a quick study and re-learned how to cast the most basic of spells from her time spent in Equestria. The others soon joined them as the box began to glow from the inside. All eyes were on the container until it sprung open, flooding the room with light. Everyone shielded their eyes until the flash subsided, leaving a red-jeweled bracer floating high above the gathered strangers. Correction: friends. “Gooooooooood morning, Exiles!” A voice came from the odd trinket. Each of them took a slight step forward as if to hear it a little better. “It’s afternoon--” Starlight murmured to herself, gaining a light nudge from Jaal. “Hello, Morph.” Laurel, Jaal, and Franky said in unison. “Is everyone there? I can’t tell because this two-way communicator thingy doesn’t have a video-chat feature…” “We’re all here.” Obi-Wan piped up, arms folded within the sleeves of his robe. “Oh, goodie! Perfect! I’ve got another mission for you, Exiles! Let me just grab my notes---” “Listen, Morph… I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I don’t think--” Starlight began. “Ah ah ah~ not another word Starlight. I know EXACTLY what you’re going to say.” “You… do…?” She seemed genuinely confused. “Gosh, golly I sure do! You were gonna say ‘THE UNIVERSE NEEDS OUR HELP!’ “ He said in a bold, masculine, mocking voice. If anyone could see Morph from his own Dimension, they would find him posing with his hands on his hips with his underwear on the outside of his pants. “N-no, I was going to say---” “Ah! Found my notes… ahem~” The group knew what to expect now, as it had happened so many times before that it ceased being a surprise anymore. Rick made sure to keep his inactive portal gun at his side, part of him hoping he could get it to work… Obi-Wan took a deep breath, taking mental inventory of his own equipment: comlink, lightsaber… Franky had kept his duffel bag slung over his shoulder, extra cola and a few tools within should he have to take apart or repair anything… Laurel had donned her iconic Superwoman suit… Jaal checked his rifle and made sure that he had some extra clips of ammunition around his bandolier… And Starlight kept a backpack strapped to her back that contained a strange magical tome while her fingers slid over Cowlorado’s pistol against her hip… BBBLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOK~! - - - - - BLLLLOOOOOOOOONCCCCCC~! The Exiles. An omnium-gatherum of beings from across time and space. That’s what Morph called them. Their unofficial guide through an expanse of Multiverses and beyond. That’s what his group had been called… he kept it around for old-time’s sake. The six (formerly seven) grew to accept it and filled in roles as needed, offering support to one another in various ways. Friendships blossomed, romances bloomed…. … regret cultivated. Deposited less-than-ceremoniously onto the desolate, dry wasteland reminded them of the first time they had been brought together. “Ugh, you’d think with all the omniscience Morph claims to have, he could have found a softer spot for us to land in.” Starlight dusted herself off as she rubbed her aching bum. “Or somewhere cooler.” Jaal added. “Where are we?” The Tallus, a mystical-magical-omni-whatever, began to glow as it relayed the mission to the group. The future. A far-flung one on a very distant Earth not unlike the one that some of you would have called home. Where millions of Earths would be plagued by galactic tyrants, invasive alien hordes, or cataclysmic events… this one seemingly managed to find itself under the shadowed rule of a Shapeshifting Master of Darkness… AKU, a prime evil from a distant past, controls this world and others. People live in fear of Aku and he forces many of the indigenous and not-so-indigenous beings to pay homage to him. And many had… … except one. An image flashed in each of their minds of a brave, young warrior in white robes and a sword. Obi-Wan focused his mind, locking the image in place. ‘A Jedi perhaps?’ He wondered. A samurai warrior wielding a magic sword opposed Aku and for all he was worth, he had succeeded… until he was thrown through a portal in time to the future where Aku had NOT lost to the samurai. But now, that samurai has fallen… and no one remains to defeat Aku. Your mission is simple: stop Aku and lay the memory of Jack to rest. “Simple, it says.” Jaal huffed. “H-hey. That Jack guy... He’s a samurai? That’s so cool!” Rick asked. “Zoro would love to duel that guy.” Franky added. “So where do we start, Team?” Laurel asked as the Tallus’ light slowly faded and left the six among a dry desert landscape. “I don’t think we should split up yet. Not until we find some city or town first.” Starlight deduced. The outlying landscape reminded her of when she founded her own village far from others. It wasn’t the worst place to live, but it was definitely mountainous and secluded. And if ponies like her wanted to be away from the watchful eye of Princesses and the like, then surely those seeking refuge from a tyrannical demon lord would do the same. “Good idea. We’ll search for civilization and maybe some clue as to where we can find this Aku.” Superwoman took the skies, hovering above the others while her keen, Kryptonian eyes scoured the landscape. Jaal took point, using the scope on his rifle to scan the horizon. Franky walked alongside Starlight while Rick toyed with a device. “I’m getting a signature far o-uuuugfff-ver there! I think it’s a town!” Rick commented, turning to point it out to the others. Laurel flew a little faster in that direction, focusing her gaze and nodded in confirmation. “Great job! We’ll just have to--” “Look out!” Obi-Wan shouted as an armored droid collided with Superwoman from behind. Several more seemingly swarmed over her, each one being remarkably tall with sharp blades where arms would be. Their blades weren’t sharp enough to cut through her strange alien skin, though her time spent away from Earth’s yellow sun had definitely made her weaker as the months went on. It must have been something about being away from her home Reality. Her fists punched through a few of the strange, beetle-like robots which sent them hurtling towards the ground in twisted heaps. Obi-Wan ignited the blue blade of his lightsaber, slashing through several incoming robots. “AH!” The ground erupted beneath the others, sending Starlight to the ground once more. Rick rushed to help her up, but his advance was cut short by a black behemoth made of metal. “O-oh man!” Rick fumbled with his device, losing it into the open crevasse beside them. Gunfire could be heard as projectiles ricocheted off of the carapace of the strange beetles. Jaal popped the clip of his rifle and slammed another one into place. “Rick! Starlight! Get down!” The Angaran yelled, hefting a grenade towards their enemy. Rick panicked, looking to either side before throwing himself behind a large rock. Starlight mustered whatever magical reserves she had within her and closed her eyes, teleporting herself to the same rock Rick had taken refuge behind. The energy grenade rolled between the beetle’s sharp legs, the robot comically looking down at it before it detonated and sent shards of metal flying. Franky remained in hand-to-hand with a beetle, his thick hands grasping the sharp blades at the ends of its arms. “Frrrrrrrresh….. Fiiiiiiiiiire!” The cyborg puffed out his lips and a huge gout of flame erupted into the face of his metal opponent. The heat was enough to turn the beetle a bright shade of red, glowing red-hot before it staggered backward and collapsed. Franky belched, patting his stomach as he rushed to his friends' aide. “You guys okay?” He knelt down, moving his sunglasses from his eyes. “Yeah… thanks Franky.” Starlight smiled. Rick peeked around the rock. He could see Laurel in the sky using her heat vision to stop the advancing legions of beetles, Jaal atop a rocky outcrop firing into the enemies that were threatening to sneak up on Obi-Wan still on the ground. “You two get to that town,” Franky ordered. “I’ll help the others!” Starlight nodded. She wanted to protest but instead, she knew it was for the good of the group. If they all failed, they would never be able to see one another again… Franky’s left hand folded to the side as if it were an open door, the machine gun within becoming visible. The highly self-modified cyborg had numerous weapons and tricks within himself that he could use to help overcome nearly any opponent. He kissed Starlight on the lips and lowered his glasses back over his eyes, firing into the oncoming robots. “Let’s see if I can get us closer. Rick, do you have the coordinates for that town?” Starlight tried to fight away the blush on her cheeks, clearing her mind for the spell she was about to cast. “Y-yeah! They’re Z-Ceta 4, eight-seven-seven-six…” Starlight focused herself, a magical glow surrounding herself and the scientist as they disappeared from the battle in a flash of brilliant turquoise light. ‘I hope they’ll be okay.’ She worried. - - - - - VWWWWWWM-PZZZTT! Starlight and Rick found themselves in the remnants of what would be considered an old fortress. Large walls made of metal and stone; a likely edifice of safety and protection long ago. There was no sign of anyone around. Machinery had been pushed up in a makeshift wall just before a massive dug-out trench while the inside was littered with rubble, old weaponry of both futuristic and prehistoric natures, and many bones of varying sizes… “Hello? Is anyone here?” She called out. “H-hey wait, Starlight. Maybe we should check things out first?” Rick placed his hand on her shoulder to give her pause. “Yeah, good idea.” The two stuck together, Rick leading as he nervously reached for a discarded spear on the ground. Starlight reached into her pack, holding out the mystical tome she had been hiding. ‘C’mon… this has been working so far.’ She reached in and withdrew a pen, scrawling in the book as the two made their way through the ruined door. The others had no idea that Starlight still maintained a connection to her home Reality thanks to a book given to her by Sunset Shimmer. ‘Dear Princess Twilight, It’s Starlight again. We’re still stuck hopping from place to place and I know you’re likely very, VERY busy with a friendship problem but we could really use your help again. I need to know if you can scribe a series of spells for me into this book so I can help my new friends and save the Multiverse. I know I’m really asking a lot right now, but after all, as a student of Friendship at least I’m making friends and not enemies right? Right? Just please hurry when you read this. Your faithful student, Starlight Glimmer “Hey Starlight! Look over here.” Rick slid away a warped panel on the wall which seemingly led into a dark cavern of sorts. “You think that it leads somewhere? Like an underground railroad type of deal? Maybe there are some survivors down there!” She shrugged. “I really don’t know, but we have to find out before the others get here. If this is where those beetles came from…” - - - - - “AAAAAAARRRGGGGH!” Franky cried out in exquisite pain, two scything talons piercing his back and raking through his flesh. Despite being a majority of metal with a flesh outerlay, his back was the only part of himself he couldn’t modify leaving that to be a notable weakness. Superwoman flew down and pulled the robot free of Franky’s body, throwing it far into the distance. The numbers had dwindled and the mechanical minions found it better to retreat in the interest of their self-preservation. As they fled over the hill, Obi-Wan clutched his own arm as he turned off his lightsaber. Blood seeped between his fingers and soaked into the cream-colored fabric. “Sit still... you’ll be alright.” Laurel tried to comfort Franky who was losing a remarkable amount of blood. He twitched and spasmed, his body wracked with seething pain as she tried to keep his body from moving too much. “Roll him onto his side.” Jaal said as he fished out some medi-gel from his pack. He applied it liberally to Franky’s wounds, but the lacerations were far deeper than what they could get to. “He’s bleeding too much…” Obi-Wan held out his hand over their friend, calming his pained state with the Force until they could better assess his injury. “We have to get to Starlight and the others. I sense that something else is coming…” Explosions could be heard in the distance from where the robot beetles had retreated, garnering Laurel’s attention. She hovered a little higher and stared outward, spying a hulking man riding on the back of a metallic steed. A bagpipe under his arm and a massive sword held aloft in victory. “Aaaaaaaay wot ‘ave we ‘ere? A flock o’ lost little lambs gotten away from their shepherd? Waaahaahaaaahaaa!” The burly man laughed aloud, his voice carrying across the arid wasteland. Laurel lowered herself to float a few feet above the ground, arms folded over her chest. “A shepherd does look after this flock. And she’ll protect it from any wolves thinking they can snatch one away…” “Calm down, Lassie! Ah din’na mean no offense! Ah’m here to help!” The Scotsman held up his hand and leaped from the back of the mechanical steed. “Wot are ya doin’ all the way out here fightin’ Aku’s robots?” Obi-Wan stepped forward. “You mean those droids belonged to Aku? We’re on a mission to--” Jaal placed a hand on Obi-Wan’s shoulder giving him a stern look. “Aye! Aku! We’ve been fightin’ tha good fight fer years since… since…” The Scotsman broke into a blubbering sob, shielding his eyes with his meaty forearm. “Since…. Jack?” Obi-Wan stepped forward again. “We’re not from this time. Like Jack, we’re here to stop Aku…” “AYEEEE?! IS THAT SO?” The big man scooped Obi-Wan up in a hug, causing Superwoman and Jaal to tense up a moment. “WELL WHY DINNA YE SAY SO, LADDIE? COME WITH MEH!” He flung the Jedi Knight over his shoulder and whistled for his steed. “Ye can put yer friend on Angus’ back! He can carry all this muscle around, so he can carry yer pal no problem!” The robot steed huffed black smoke from its nose as Superwoman looked to her friends for affirmation, but saw no need to distrust the Scotsman. She lifted Franky effortlessly and laid him upon the back of the horse as the rest of the Exiles followed… - - - - - “Wow! S-so you guys have everything you need down here? That’s so cool.” Rick said as he and Starlight were led further into the fortress, both tied up with thick cables. “Silence! We will bring you to Da Samurai… he will decide if you’re worthy.” A young warrior said, tugging hard on the cable as the two humans were brought into a much larger cavern. ‘Samurai!’ Starlight thought as she leaned to whisper to her captured comrade. “Rick! Do you think he means Jack? What if he’s not dead!” “I-I dunno, Starl-iiiiiiiihhhhht…” Rick belched, trying to observe the way they came in just in case they needed to escape the same way. “But if he’s NOT dead, maybe we have a chance at actually beating that Aku guy…” “Aku? AKU? Let me tell y’all about Aku, man!” A young man with a mohawk and parachute pants stood up, pointing his sword towards the two prisoners. Apparently they weren’t whispering quietly enough. “We’re gonna BEAT Aku when we finally lure him out, man! Beatin’ his robots ain’t no thang! But beat enough of ‘em? He’ll come to us!” The young man posed and adjusted the green glasses on his face, beaming a rather cocky smile. “Now wait a minute! We’re here to stop Aku too!” Starlight huffed. “We’ve come from… err… far, far away to find Jack and--” “Jack? JACK?! Now there ain’t no waaaaaaay you came all the way here to find Samurai Jack!” The hip-hop swordsman rubbed his chin. “Y’all must be spied of Aku! Take ‘em away!” He ordered, a pair of men grabbing each of them by the shoulders. “Wait! We’re telling the truth! We’re here to stop---” A gag was placed on each of them, both struggling as they were dragged off to a holding cell. - - - - - “And that’s the story of how I met me bonnie wee wife!” The Scotsman laughed as Obi-Wan rubbed his face. “That’s a… very engaging story, my friend. Very engaging indeed.” He cleared his throat. “Might you put me down? I can walk on my own.” “No need! We’re here!” The warrior exclaimed, hands raised to the sky as he grabbed his bagpipes and blew out an obnoxious tune. Obi-Wan covered his ears as he slid from the Scotsman’s shoulder to land firmly upon the ground. A makeshift drawbridge lowered to allow the Scotsman and the Exiles a way inside. “I say, glad to have you back!” A rather proper voice greeted. “Oh! You’ve brought friends?” Obi-Wan looked for the source of the voice, his eyes coming upon a small canine with a pith helmet and glasses. “Sir Rothchild, at your service.” The dog bowed, leading Obi-Wan to do the same. “I am Obi-Wan Kenobi. And these are my friends…” He motioned back to the group as they entered. “Laurel Kent, Jaal Ama Darav, and Franky… I’m afraid we’ve had a run-in with some of Aku’s minions?” “Ah yes, terrible luck. Just terrible. We’ve had a spot of the same, I’m afraid. Ever since the disappearance of our good friend, Jack.” Rothchild explained. “You mean he disappeared? We were told he was--” “Dead? HA! Ye can’t kill ol’ Jacky Boy! Why, he’s as strong as a horse and ten times as smart! There’s no way Aku could defeat him! WAAAHAAA HAAAA HAAA!” “They’ve got some wounds that’ll need a lickin’, Rothy! See to it they’re given the best we ‘ave!” The proud clansman puffed out his chest, slapping Kenobi on the back. “Nnf… th-thank you.” “That reminds me! Two of Aku’s spies were caught inside the perimeter! They mentioned something about Jack.” The canine resumed. “SPIES?! IN THE FORTRESS?!” He drew his sword and held it aloft. “Did ye question them? Ah can’t believe they got in…” “They likely used some of Aku’s teleportation magic to do so. If he’s found us sooner than we had hoped---” “Ah! Don’na worry about it, Rothy my boy. With who we have now, plus Obi’s friends, we can’t lose!” He resumed laughing and ushered the Exiles into the compound. “I have a bad feeling about this…” Jaal said to himself, but even he knew that Laurel could overhear the faintest of whispers. “Me too. I wonder if Rick and Starlight ran into those spies…” The group proceeded to be led through various hallways, further down, passing by men in Spartan armor, massive wooly creatures in thick robes, and other beings wearing glowing jewelry. Once in the bottom of the fortress, the Scotsman held out his arms. “SAM MOO RHAI!” He called out, the young man in parachute pants leaping down from his place in a makeshift throne. “Ah hey man! Glad to see that you made it back. Didn’t have much trouble, did ya?” “Nah, but Ah made a few new friends on mah way back! This is Obi… Flygirl… Bendy Legs… and Blue Hair…” He pointed to each of them who looked among themselves. ‘Ahem… my name is Laurel, I’m the leader of the Exiles.” She stated proudly as she floated towards Da Samurai. He remained leary, but if they were with the Scotsman they had to be somewhat okay. “Oh yeah? Well check it, Flygirl--” “Laurel.” She corrected one final time. “A-aha… right right. Laurel, my bad… check it, girl…” He motioned for his walking boombox to come closer, tapping PLAY on it as a beat began to pulse from the speakers. “When Sensei disappeared, we was all kinds of messed up. Scattered all over, no idea what to do next… we all looked to Jack for inspiration! An’ now he’s gone…” He held his hand up to his face, fighting back tears. “But we’re Da Ree-Zistance! The last remainin’ allies to have eva known the great Samurai Jack! And when you in the D R Z; we gon’ fight ‘til we free!” Cheers erupted from the corridors and even the Scotsman joined in, stamping his machinegun leg upon the ground to add to the noise. It was comforting, of course, seeing such passionate individuals drawn by a common cause; like Superwoman and the Justice League or Jaal’s resistance back home on Havarl. Or even now with the Exiles as a whole. All would fight for something meaningful. At least that was the hope. “I commend you on this… Resistance. But we have injured members of our own group as well as two missing companions. Have you seen them? One is an older human with a short haircut and a labcoat and the other is---” Jaal began. “--- a chick with purple skin and a beanie? Those are Aku’s spies!” Da Samurai exclaimed. “We had them thrown in lockdown town, baby! Ain’t no way we’re gonna let them out to tell Aku where we are!” “They’re NOT spies. Those are our friends. Our… nakama… nnnnngh!” Franky said as he struggled to slide off of Angus, clutching his side while limping forward. “Let them go.” The young warrior stood straight and folded his arms. “No way.” It wasn’t longer than a second until Superwoman found herself nose to nose with Da Samurai. “Let. Them. Go.” Her eyes began to glow red, focusing on the center of the warrior’s green glasses, cutting a very fine, precise line down the middle. As they fell to the ground, he gulped and gave a nod. “Y-y-ya’ll heard the lady! L-l-l-let them prisoners go!” The guards didn’t question it, rushing out of the main room to fetch Starlight and Rick. “Aye, she’s one heck of a woman, isn’t she?” The Scotsman leaned into Jaal who could only smirk and nod at her tenacity. “Aye, indeed. She makes my heart sing.” - - - - - Starlight and Rick were reintroduced to the group in moments, a heartfelt reunion for what seemed like an eternity apart. Medics took Franky and Obi-Wan to the infirmary where Starlight refused to leave the cyborg’s side. Rick and the others exchanged information that they gained on their own as well as what the DRZ had been planning all this time. “Ya think it can work, laddie?” “I do! If we manage to gather enough energy to power it, I can build a machine that will open a portal in time to bring Jack to this time or send Aku back in time to where Jack can take him out for good.” Rick explained. “The issue is…” He slid his portal gun from his belt. “This is all I have to work with.” “Hmmm… Ah don’t know nothin’ about this technical mumbo-jumbo… Rothy! Ye got any ideas?” “Hmm, I suppose if we used the batteries from the wall turrets it could give Rick’s portal gun a bit of a boost. It would leave us rather vulnerable should Aku decide to attack us, however.” There was a long silence. “Exactly how much power would you need?” Laurel wondered aloud as she looked at the laid out battle plan. “More than any single one of us could produce at once.” Rick’s ever-present smile seemed to fade. “That’s the only fault with this whole equation.” “What if we pitched in?” Starlight said as she helped Franky limp into the room, his wounds patched up but far from healed. “I’ve got plenty of energy stored with the cola Rick made.” Franky strained. “And I can channel my magic into whatever we need.” Starlight added. Rick slowly shook his head. “We’d need more. Much much more. Besides, y-you guys are hu-uuuuuurrrrrtt. We can’t risk losing you too...” Franky disagreed with a scoff, where Starlight continued to hold him up. She definitely didn’t want to lose him... Laurel folded her arms. “What about heat? Or centrifugal force?” “Th-that might actually do it! Like a hamster running in a wheel!” Rick patted his fist into his palm as if having a “eureka” moment. “If we build up enough speed, it could power it to any capacity we need!” “Aye! Ye lads are pretty smart when it comes to this, aren’t ya?” “I can fly or run at whatever speed we need, the problem is that whatever we build would have to withstand said speeds.” Laurel furrowed her brow. “And that would also take me out of the equation if we were to come under attack.” “No way, lassie! You leave defendin’ the fortress up to us! You tell us what we need to do an’ we’ll gladly do it if it’ll bring Jacky back!” Rick and the others beamed, a broad triumphant smile crossing each of their faces. They could do this! If all went according to plan, they would have a way to defeat Aku and make things right in this timeline. KKKKKKKKRAAAAKAAA-KHWOOOOOM!! The entire base shook, dirt falling from the ceiling as everyone instantly sprung into action. Da Samurai and Jaal grabbed their sword and rifle respectively, rushing to the upper levels. Laurel looked to Rick and held the Tallus out on her wrist. “I can communicate with you through the Tallus. Keep me updated.” Superwoman disappeared in a blur, obviously rejoining the others outside. Rick immediately went to work, running through the base trying to do a quick mental inventory on anything they could use. “And how might we assist you, Mister Rick?” Rothchild said as he and the other canine archaeologists followed behind, tails wagging. “I-I’ll need every bit of tech you’ve got! We’ve gotta br-rrreeeeaaa-eak it down and make the frame for the device…” - - - - - “You shouldn’t be out here!” Laurel scolded, as she watched a dark shadow forming on the horizon. Hordes of Aku’s minions were advancing on their location and their time was running out. “Nonsense, I’m fine. Besides, I didn’t want to miss the war.” Obi-Wan said, his eyes shooting to the bandage on his arm. The two managed to have a smirk on their faces. “They spoke of Aku as if he knew that they were here. If that’s true, then perhaps he knows that we’re here.” “Perhaps.” She folded her arms and continued to watch. “If we fail?” “We won’t.” “But if we do?” Laurel sighed. “If we fail, we fail. It won’t matter for us anymore. But knowing that we can either succeed or fail means that it should be worth trying.” Kenobi chuckled. “Your optimism is outstanding.” He called his lightsaber to his hand, igniting the blade in an instant. “They’re here!” “Yep! Get ready…” Both Exiles jumped off of the fortress wall, Superwoman using her super-speed to rush towards the incoming wave where the Jedi harnessed the Force to make his strides faster. Kenobi may not have been able to keep pace with the likes of a Kryptonian with the energy of Earth’s yellow sun, but he could at least soften the first few ranks of the robotic minions with a few telekinetic bursts from his hands. - - - - - Starlight could hear the magic book vibrating in her pack, previously her attention was drawn to Rick, Franky, and the other scientific minds among the DRZ as they broke down various pieces of tech to make this… portal. Her hands nervously grasped the tome, opening it to find that several pages were filled with dozens of spells that could help them out. ‘Ooooh, Twilight you’re the best!’ “How about a little extra help?” She held out her hand and harnessed her innate magic to cast Simulo Duplexis combined with Accelero to remarkable effect. To their surprise, a doppelganger of each of them appeared at their sides, allowing them to have twice the brainpower than they previously had! Their movements were swifter as well, enabling them to work at a much more lightning-fast pace. “Thanks, Star!” Both Franky’s called out as they continued to work. The sounds of battle continued to rage on, but soon it all went quiet. “What happened?” Starlight walked towards the entrance, peering out to see what the commotion, or lack thereof, was about. Aku. A towering black blot on the horizon leered over the dark hordes of robots and miniature versions of himself. The imposing figure sent a shiver down Starlight’s spine, never having encountered anything quite like that before. “WHO DARES TO DEFY AKU, MASTER OF DARKNESS, LORD OF ALL EVIL?” His words resonated across the wasteland, even causing Superwoman to be forced backward by the sheer boom in his voice. Aku squinted his eyes, seeing more strangers than he had expected. He sensed that there was something magical at work and although he had grown bored from not having to hunt Jack anymore, he was still keenly aware of what was going on in HIS world. “WHO ARE YOU, STRANGERS? A MEAGER RESISTANCE BROUGHT FORTH FROM THE ANNALS OF TIME AND SPACE TO STOP ME? HA! LAUGHABLE…” Superwoman huffed and flew towards the demon knowing that their chances to defeat him were slim. Even at her remarkable speed, Aku could keep up. “ZAP!” Beams of energy shot from his eyes, colliding with Laurel and sending her to the ground like a swatted mosquito. “BWAA HAAA HAA! A FUTILE EFFORT!” Obi-Wan found himself surrounded by dark, tiny clones of Aku, each of them brandishing a sharp glaive. He deflected many of their attacks with his vibrant blade, though, for each one he would slice through, two would grow in their place. The Jedi Knight was instantly overwhelmed. “AAAAYE OBI! AH’M COMIN’ FOR YOU!” The Scotsman howled, riding in on the metallic horse, leaping from its back to slice through the demonic doubles. He grabbed his leg and held it outward, gunning down the advancing monsters and robots as he stood between Kenobi and them. “Are ye okay, laddie?” “Yes. Thank you….” He stood up on shaky legs, back to back with the burly Highlander. “Bit off more mutton than we can chew, eh?” “We just have to keep them from the base. Once Rick and the others finish that machine, we’ll have done our job.” “Aye… ya think it’ll bring him back?” “Aye.” Obi-Wan said, charging towards the robots to the left while the Scotsman took the ones to the right in a joined battle cry. Superwoman found herself snatched up by a few robots, which she easily vaporized or froze with her eyes or breath. She soared into the sky and resumed her attacks on Aku, flying around him and hitting him with everything she had: fists, lasers, frost breath… all of which the powerful demon shrugged off like it were nothing. A powerful hand swatted her back to the ground again. “AN INSIGNIFICANT PEST! YOU CANNOT HOPE TO DEFEAT THE ALL-POWERFUL AKU! LORD OF SHADOWS!” Superwoman smirked as she held the Tallus up to her mouth. “How’s it coming, Rick?” “-It’s finished! Head back to the base!-” The Kryptonian stood up, brushing herself off as she wiped some blood from her chin. ‘You really ARE getting weaker…’ She thought as she flew back towards where the others were working on the device. “RUNNING AWAY? YOU CANNOT ESCAPE ME! YOU WILL ALL FEEL AKU’S WRATH!” Explosions rocked the area, the Lord of Darkness breathing fire directly ahead at his own ranks and the DRZ warriors below. One after one they fell, either by flame or by blade… dark shadows enveloping them. Sacrifices needed to be made for this to work. They all knew this. “Hold up!” Da Samurai grabbed Jaal from behind, throwing him off the rocky ledge to the ground below just before three black spears pierced the human’s chest. “H-HUURRRK!” His eyes fluttered as he swung his sword, cutting the spears in half before slicing the dark clones down the middle. He staggered forward, clutching one of the broken spears to pull out of his body. Blood seeped down his palm and his vision became blurred. “S-sensei…” ‘Willingness to sacrifice the self for another is the Samurai way.’ He could hear Jack’s words echoing in his mind as he slid to his knees, head hunched over. Body still. Jaal grunted as she fell, feeling his bones break as he hit the rocks below. He dragged himself to his feet, clutching a broken arm while holding his rifle within his limp fingers. “Hnnng… I must get to the others…” - - - - - “Just keep moving! Whatever you do, don’t stop!” Rick instructed as Superwoman began running, the generator picking up the energy as it fluctuated through various capacitors and terminals. All of which led to Rick’s portal gun which looked as if it were quickly filling up with liquid… but instead of green it was becoming a vibrant purple. “It’s working! It’s working!” Another explosion sent a tremor through the base, loosening a piece of rubble from above to crash down on part of the machine. The terminal itself was busted, leaving a significant gap between things. “What happened?” Superwoman asked, keeping her pace. Electricity was coursing through the air, freely colliding with everything. She wanted to slow down but even if she could, it wouldn’t stop the chaos from happening. Rick ducked beneath a bolt of electricity. “Th-the conduit was fractured! There’s nothing holding it together so the energy is just flooding out! We need a large piece of metal to form a bond---” “FRRRRRRAAAAANKY SUUUUUUUPERRRR---” Franky gripped the loose wires to form a human conduit between the two. As soon as he did, his hair shot out in all directions, his toes curling as the voltage poured through every inch of his body. “--- SPAAAAAAAAAAARK!” Starlight cried out and reached for him, having to be held back by Rick and the canines. “FRANKY!” Tears welled up in her eyes as the circuit was completed, the device charging even faster now. The cyborg stared out with wide eyes at the woman he promised everything to and smiled. ‘I love you.’ He mouthed, the jolts of electricity making him spasm as the portal gun was finally fully charged. “Stop! Stop!” Rick motioned to Superwoman as he snatched his device, both her and Starlight rushing to the unconscious Franky. “H-he’s not breathing! Franky! No, please… don’t leave me like this…” Starlight cried, pounding his chest as she laid over him. Laurel used her X-Ray vision to see within his chest and could see that everything inside of him had been fried. She placed a hand on Starlight’s shoulder and tried to comfort her by pulling her away. “NOO! I CAN SAVE HIM, JUST LET ME--” “Starlight! STARLIGHT! He’s gone… he’s gone.” The girl sniffled and turned, throwing herself over Franky’s body again to mourn the death of the man she loved. Laurel placed a comforting hand over her sobbing friend, mourning his passing with her in silence. Rick stood over them for a moment before opening the portal next to them. Upon stepping through, he found himself in the middle of a heated battle. The Scotsman, bloodied and battered, stood over the bloody body of Obi-Wan as they fended off more attacks. Rick Sanchez of Dimension J19 Zeta-7 stood before the monstrous form of Aku and stared up at him. “Hey, big guy! Get a load of this!” Rick aimed the gun at the Shapeshifter, firing a portal directly at him. Aku dodged his head to the left and sneered. “HA! YOU MISSED!” Aku taunted. “HYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” A scream echoed out through the portal, garnering the demon’s attention. In almost one flashing instant, a white-robed man with a katana emerged from the portal above Aku and brought the blade down through the center of the tyrant! “I-IMPOSSIBLE! YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE--” The echo of the blade against the shadowy form of Aku rang out and in moments the towering behemoth was reduced to a small, wispy shadow. “Y-you cannot defeat me, Samurai… I will be back…” “Wrong.” He said as he drove his blade into the dark heart of the overlord, the last remnants of Aku fading away. The hordes of minions ceased their advances, either falling over, dissipating, or retreating. The Scotsman embraced the Samurai and laughed triumphantly. “HA HA! AH KNEW YOU’D BE BACK, LADDIE!” Tears seemingly welled up in his eyes as he clutched his friend who had been thought to be lost. “Ah, yes. Thank you, my friend.” Jack politely patted his comrade on the back. “He’s not gonna make it.” Rick said as he rolled Obi-Wan over, seeing that his wounds were far more serious than they could tell. Obi-Wan coughed and smiled, patting Rick on the shoulder. “I-it’s fine…” He coughed, blood splattering on his own robes and Rick’s labcoat. “N-no way. We’ll get you patched up!” “I’m to become… kaaaf kfff … one with the Force. I fought bravely... “ “Aye, ye did, Obi. Ye did. Go on. Rest now…” The Scotsman smiled faintly, feeling himself becoming emotional. Jaal hobbled over from behind a pile of discarded robot pieces, clutching his arm as he joined the group surrounding his comrade. A solemn air blew around them as his spirit left his mortal form. - - - - - Bagpipe music played over the hills as many were being laid to their final rest. Three graves of note were given a more somber ceremony. The Scotsman continued to play as Starlight placed a blue flower over Franky’s grave, clutching Laurel tight through her sobs. Jaal whispered a prayer to his own gods, feeling that his friends would find peace and reincarnation in the afterlife. Rick, though certainly not like the other Ricks, withdrew a flask from his coat and took a prolonged sip. Obi-Wan Kenobi. Franky. Da Samurai. Each grave was the same, showing them as equals in life though their deeds would never cease to be outshined as they were part of a grand rebellion against the demonic Aku. “I am very sorry for your loss. Your people did not have to do this.” Jack said as he approached Laurel and the others. “We did. That’s why we were sent here. To stop Aku… and you were the best way of doing that.” She said with a slight frown. “Where will ya go now, lassie? Now that you’ve done yer job?” She sighed and looked to her three comrades. “We go where the Tallus takes us. Far and wide, fixing any little problems it tells us to…” Jack stepped forward and bowed his head. “Then allow me to join you. It is the very least I can do for what you have done for me.” “HOLD ON A MINUTE!” The Scotsman puffed out his chest. “Ye can’t be leavin’ so soon after jus’ gettin’ back! Besides, aren’t ya tryin’ to get back home?” Jack nodded. “But so are they, my friend. They are not from this time either. By helping them, I will help myself. My greatest enemy has been defeated thanks to them, and I owe it to them to help them in any way I can.” “Ye always were a big heart, Jacky Boy!” The Scotsman clung to his friend, pulling him up off the ground to squeeze him firmly. “If ye ever need a place to stay, Ah’m sure ye’d all be welcome back home with me wife!” The group stood together, Jack donning his straw hat as the Tallus warmed up and opened another portal. Canines, white apes, Spartans, Triseraquins and more all bid goodbye to the saviors of their Earth as the portal faded… … leaving everyone involved with memories etched upon their hearts forever.