Super Mario Parody Story:
The Super Mario Bros. Freaky Show!

By Toasty
-Mario: Mysterious life form 'Super Mario Brothers' Freaky Show' has shown up! What will you do? -A: fight. -B: run. -C: vomit

Episode 19 - Dawn of the Era of the Dominion of the Flame of the Immortal Army of the King of the Sky

Plumber's log, number LS-379G. Recently, an unidentified, gigantic flying object has been spotted in various locations around the world. Although solid information is scarce, reports claim that it is some sort of humongous battleship. Is it an alien entity? Is it a secret weapon of some rogue kingdom? Is it a threat, is it benign, or does it simply not care? The world waits with tense nerves and sweaty armpits for this mysterious behemoth to make its next move. Nobody knows what the flying fortress' true intentions are, since it has done nothing so far but fly around the world loosely. Can you believe how boring that is?! When you've got a huge, hi-tech airship, at least do something dramatic with it, fer cryin' out loud!

Fade in to a view of a mass of large, pale grey clouds. As these clouds drift by on a bleak sky, a blurry black shape becomes visible in their midst. While the screen gradually pans upwards, voices are heard, ostensibly of various newsreaders reading out bulletins, while some fuzzy radio interference crackles along in the background. Only the following shards of information can be clearly heard through the noise;

-..."Experts estimate that the flying ship measures roughly fifty meters in length. Speculations about the kinds of engine that could keep such a massive object airborne is rife, with no conclusive..."

-... "Earlier today, the mysterious giant flying entity was spotted above the Gatling Ocean. Fishermen who witnessed it claim that it resembles a giant bird. This marks the seventh sighting of the giant entity ever since it first appeared in..."

-... "The government has stated that there is as yet no cause for alarm, but they will use all means to determine whether the huge object is hostile or not. Investigations into a possible threat from this flying giant have revealed no solid facts so far..."

The chattering news reports fade out as the screen reveals that the black blob on the clouds is in fact a shadow, projected by none other than the much-rumoured flying giant, soaring high above the clouds. An extensive sideways fly-by of the giant entity is shown, backed by majestic yet slightly ominous music. It is indeed mechanic in nature, as demonstrated by the metallic hull covered in hatches, cables, small lights and other such gizmos. Its shape is indeed somewhat bird-like, though the enormous, egg-shaped hull, twin sideways wing-like flaps and small head with pointy beak at the front suggest a massive emperor penguin tobogganing on his belly more than anything else. The screen then cuts to a few shots of the inside of the giant ship. Apparently, it is entirely deserted. We're shown a few long, starkly-lit corridors with immaculate white walls, an engine room full of ducts and pipes, and a darker room where the walls are lined with large glass tubes that emit a dim neon green glow. In some of the glass tubes, vaguely humanoid shapes can be seen. Finally, the screen cuts to what is ostensibly the ship's nerve centre. A cloaked figure is standing on a circular platform in the centre of a large, cylindrical chamber. All around him are dark monitors. Covering the walls, hanging from the ceiling, piled up on the floor, the entire room is covered in disorganised heaps of monitors. Suddenly, each of these monitors comes alive with a low humming noise, until they are all glowing bright white. On the white canvas of each of these blank monitors, big red letters spelling out 'J.A.L' then appear. Bathed in the glow of all the white screens, the cloaked figure in their midst can now clearly be identified as Triclyde, wearing a long black cape for dramatic effect. Feeling very smug with himself, he begins to speak out loud, apparently addressing the masses of monitors in front of him.

-Triclyde: Well, J.A.L, what's the next step? I'd say the world is pretty well aware of our magnificently menacing presence by now. So when do we attack? Is our terrifying legion of doom ready yet?

In response to Clyde's question, a calm, yet somewhat tinny-sounding voice begins to speak, emanating from several speakers dotted around the room. This is the artificial voice of J.A.L 2084, the supercomputer that controls the giant ship's every single aspect, as supercomputers on giant ships are wont to do. Although a computer, and thus technically sexless, J.A.L will henceforth be referred to as a male, since we live in a macho chauvinist pig society.

-J.A.L: I'm afraid it's not yet ready, Lord Triclyde. With the limited amount of raw tissue we had at our disposal, we could only fashion a handful of KLM units. To be precise, our forces number 42 units at this moment. Our priority right now is to gather more fresh tissue. We also require large amounts of fuel if we're going to keep criss-crossing the skies like we do now.

-Triclyde: Whaddaya mean, more fresh tissue? I thought we had that part covered! J.A.L, it took a ragtag team of roughly one hundred mechanics, grease monkeys, outcast textbook mad scientist and isolated computer geeks to build our glorious Garuda and program you. All of them were handpicked from the world's finest criminal circles and painstakingly lured in with promises of easy money. And all of them were, shall we say, disposed of when their work was finished. You got your raw tissue right there! Why do you think I went through all that trouble in the first place?

-J.A.L: General Triclyde, may I remind you that your favoured method of, as you call it, disposal involves hand grenades and needle bombs? In spite of my negative cost-efficiency analysis, you've favoured this method, which often leaves the disposed material in a very messy state. If I may be so frank, and exposit just a tiny bit further, we were very lucky that the bodies still yielded roughly 30% of tissue that could be processed for KLM units.

-Righty: 'sright, fool! Even I could tell you that hand grenades and needle bombs are a bit over the top for stabbing henchmen in the back!

-Triclyde: Shaddup! I don't care if it was a bad idea! Hand grenades and needle bombs are just so much fun!

-J.A.L: Be that as it may, I'd like to remind you that preparations to fire the Sabena cannon are currently underway. We should be ready to fire about two minutes from now. I must remind you to observe proper safety procedures during this operation. This is not merely expository dialogue, it's part of my programming that I have to be a nag about this stuff. Honest!

-Triclyde: Now you wanna fire the friggin' Sabena cannon?! But what for? And at whom? Are you sure you're a properly working artificial strategic mastermind of evil, J.A.L?

-J.A.L: Positive, if I do say so myself. All of this is part of the plan. We're going to bare our fangs a little to the world now, just sit back and watch...

Clyde is still a bit dumbfounded by this, but he decides to just go with J.A.L's plan. We then cut to a gigantic energy reactor-plasma conductor-bigass power generator-ish thing in the ship's entrails that begins to crackle with amassing energy. Bright red bolts and glowing sparks dance around the room as the massive machine builds up an ever stronger surge of energy. The energy build-up finally reaches its peak, and bright red light floods the room entirely. This is followed by a shot of the ship's 'head' from the outside. All of the tiny lights and windows dotted around the head are alive with the bright red glow from the generator. The 'beak' slowly opens and masses of red energy escape from the opening. However, there is a black mark on the tip of the beak, where all the flowing energy slowly converges to form a huge ball of glowing red supercharged electro-laser death. We then cut back to Clyde in the monitor chamber, which is also bathing in red light. He has now strapped himself into a large safety chair with loads of belts and restraints, and is also wearing goggles over every pair of eyes that he owns to protect his vision from the intense red light. A large cluster of monitors in front of him is displaying images from the ship's beak area, amply showcasing that the cannon has reached the peak of its power-buildup. Clyde beholds all of this with a massively excited grin.

-Triclyde: Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I still don't really understand what we're trying to shoot, but firing the Sabena cannon is just so cool! Do I get to yell 'Fire!' now? Do I? Do I?

-J.A.L: General Triclyde, please pronounce the firing command in a stern and authoritative tone of voice, and with the appropriate amount of decibels, so that your voice cleaves through the air with the desired volume, symbolising the swiftness and lethality of our impending strike! Please remember how crucial the aesthetic aspect of a properly-yelled fire command is. Everything depends on you now!

-Triclyde: J.A.L, you're making me nervous! I don't know if I'm really ready for this yelling commands stuff after all... I need time to get in character. I should've practised more. Do my eyelashes look good? Ohmigosh, I'm too nervous, I can't do this! I need to...

-Righty: Oh, for crap's sake, will you give the stupid command already?!

-Triclyde: Oh, all right, all right, stop pushing me! Right then... A-one, a-two... Fire!!

This command from Triclyde causes the giant penguin to sneeze, thus shooting the huge mass of energy from the tip of its nose in a north-by northwest direction at an angle of approximately 45,6 degrees and at moderate air-speed velocity. Which means that the red energy ball is in fact heading straight for the putrid nation of Rapland. For the unsuspecting and largely cretinous population of Rapland, the day had started like any other day. The oily odour of terrible puns clung to every phrase spoken in idiotic, pseudo-rhythmical rhyme, as is the completely incomprehensible custom in that place of fools. Even in the early morning hours, the smelly streets were filled with the sound of nerves snapping due to over-exposure to the nation's grating habit of rap-speak. Everyone went their merry way, dressed in retina-assaulting costumes of questionable taste and dodgy dated hipness, until the atmosphere brusquely changed. The dysfunctional dancing came to a halt, the phat mofo rhymz were interrupted, and the screams of despair briefly subsided when everyone realised that there were suddenly two suns in the sky above Rapland. The golden sun that normally bleaches Rapland's streets was suddenly joined by a pale red globe shining down on the wretched hellhole. The small handful of functioning brain cells in Rapland came to the conclusion that their monarch King James had better be informed of this unusual development post-haste, so that he may offer his limited wisdom to his people. To that end, the two gelatinous dimwits known as the Flab Boys were dispatched to King James' castle. King James himself was still blissfully unaware of the fate that would soon befall Rapland. In fact, his only worry in the world as of now was a pressing sensation in his bowels, which drove him to the gentlemen's lavatory to relieve himself of the crap that he was so full of. However, just as he was about to unbutton his neon green glitter trousers with swirly puce stripes and reflective apricot lining in front of the lavatory, the heads of the two Flab Boys suddenly surfaced from the toilet's basin, startling the tone-deaf monarch greatly. Before King James even had a chance to recover from his surprise, the Flab Boys spoke to him in these painstaking terms;

-Flab Boys: Yo, King James-dude, it's no time to whack your baloney! 'Coz we got news for you that we swear ain't phoney!

-King James: I wish we could drop this habit of pointless rhyme. It does so put strain on these nerves of mine. So report to me this news, and then be off with you, you tiny-testicled cretins who smell of crusty poo!

-Flab Boys: We felt that you should know a second sun hangs in the sky, and strange as though it sounds, no one can explain why!

Despite what his looks may lead one to believe, King James is not the world's biggest imbecile. He grasped the urgency of the situation in a fraction of a second, and sped off to the nearest window to look up at the sky for himself. There, a grim sight awaited him. The second sun had now swollen to much larger dimensions, so that it filled a good portion of the Raplandian sky. All of Rapland was submerged in its vivid red glow, and the menacing ball of light seemed to be growing larger by the second. King James never had the time to think of a tacky, gangsta-slang infested rhyme that adequately gave vent to his feelings of surprise, alarm, and a serious wish to take a dump in peace. For at that moment, the red sun seemed to brusquely burst like an over-ripe fruit, flooding everything in deafening noise, searing heat and an attractive shade of bright pastel carmine light. What had in fact happened was that the sneeze-blast from Tricylde's Sabena cannon had hit home. An orb of glowing red fury smashed into the soil of Rapland, its impact causing the very ground beneath the people's feet to shatter. Massive earthquakes shook the nation, the level ground transformed almost instantly into a mess of upturned chunks of rock and buildings fell apart like soggy cornflakes. Needless to say, the entire population perished in the cataclysm. A few shafts of red light still shone from cracks in the earth's crust, and a few brief rumbles continued to chuck rock into the dusty air above, but the destruction eventually died down almost as quickly as it had been unleashed. And in the grimy, dust-choked sky above the wasteland, a fearsome shadow slowly materialised. The fact that this was a penguin-shaped shadow somewhat mellowed its ominous overtones. The Garuda, for that is the ship's name in case some fool still had to figure that out, slowly set itself down in the ruins of Rapland, dominating the desolation with its massive silver bulk. Inside, Triclyde was still whooping and hollering in ecstasy over this display of the tremendous power he now wields. Little did he realise that this assault on Rapland was not just a senseless slaughter of the stupid. This has been a carefully planned move by J.A.L, with the smallest detail painstakingly calculated. The force of the blast, its speed and its angle of impact had to be precisely fine-tuned. For J.A.L did not want the population of Rapland to burn, to vaporise, to melt or to explode under the rays of red death. He had calibrated every aspect of the blast in order to set off a chain reaction of destructive earthquakes with a minimal amount of firepower. People who perish in earthquakes are generally in a somewhat messy condition. They may be missing the odd limb, and parts may be crushed to a pulp, yet J.A.L's calculations led to the conclusion that decent amounts of dead flesh would be scattered about, ready to harvest and to process into fresh KLM units. At any rate, it was far better than hand grenades and needle bombs applied to a relatively small amount of people. The soil of Rapland was also brimming with a mineral known as Alitalia. Although this mineral could, in theory, have been a tremendously useful form of fossil fuel, nobody ever bothered to mine it. It is believed that large concentrations of Alitalia give off a strong radiation that viciously assaults brain cells. The phenomenal idiocy of every living being in Rapland was often attributed to the large amounts of Alitalia in their soil. This side-effect of the Alitalia mineral made it a far less desirable form of fossil fuel, and nobody wanted to try and set up a mining operation in a place as awful as Rapland anyway. J.A.L was not bothered by such inhibitions. Since General Triclyde, or any other properly organic being would never need to be exposed to the Alitalia's radiation, J.A.L had no qualms about the idea of grabbing the whole of it as a solid and durable energy source for the Garuda. Another welcome effect of the destructive earthquakes was that gathering the Alitalia would be much easier with the entire soil of Rapland in a state not unlike that of scrambled eggs. J.A.L gets cracking when night falls (because it's much more dramatic to wait until nightfall, dammit). In the Garuda's dark room full of glowing green tubes that was glimpsed earlier (y'know, in case some fool had forgotten - seriously, doesn't anyone ever pay attention?), two large monitors light up and begin to display blueprint images of Smith and Wesson along with a whole bunch of figures and readouts and all that jazz. Some small, bright green lights blink on above a few of the green tubes, and the tubes in question are drained of their slimy green content, while those oh-so-eerie vaguely humanoid forms can be glimpsed as they get sucked out of the tubes along with the green goo (let's just keep mentioning that it's green, because things have that much more dramatic impact with a completely needless epithet). Outside, the immobile Garuda is starkly silhouetted against a gigantic full moon (which is also very, very atmospheric... and if you look at it in a certain way, it's also kinda green in a pale-yellow-veering-on-pistachio kind of way). Some vague shapes begin to move around at the base of the Garuda. Shady cloaked figures, apparently the moving entities that emanated from the Garuda, begin to prowl the ruins of Rapland. Their faces aren't clearly visible on account of the hooded cloaks made of coarse, tattered grey cloth that hangs around them (you can probably figure out how atmospheric that is on your own). A group of the cloaked beings begins to remove chunks of rock from the many piles of rubble that dot the landscape. Some even wrench away bits of stone from bigger structures, or punch large rocks apart with apparently just their bare hands. They load their gatherings into large sacks, which they then carry off towards the Garuda. Other cloaked beings are busy gathering corpses from the ruins. Every pile of dead bodies that they encounter gets packed into sacks and carried back to the Garuda. When it comes to corpses that have been partially crushed under heaps of rock, the Cloaked Ones (doesn't it sound much more ominous, written like that?) simply pull off the limbs and other non-mashed bits of flesh that stick out from the wreckage and load those into their sacks (which is not atmospheric, it is merely gross). During his cruise for corpses, one of the cloaked figures stumbles upon a bunch of dead Raplanders that apparently suffocated in the clouds of dust that the earthquakes kicked up. However, a single survivor creeps out from this cadaverous pile. His eyes wide with bewilderment, the last Raplander tries to think of some way to rhyme 'please help me' with 'holy shit!' but never gets the chance. Before the survivor can utter a word, the cloaked being nimbly runs towards him with a pale hand stretching out from his cloak. The poor schmuck only catches a brief glimpse of a deathly pale face peering out at him from the hooded cloak, apparently that of a young man, surrounded by a few wisps of sickly turkis-ish green (yes, green!) hair. Then the creature punches the survivor's head off, and everything goes green. No, hang on, everything goes black. Green would've been nice, though.

We then cut to the lovely, immaculately clean castle of Princess Toadstool in the happy, sunny Mushroom Kingdom, a few hours before the nasty events that have been described above. At this moment, Mister Sun is about to go beddy-bye, and the bright springtime sky turns into a soothing lavender dusk. That means it's time for everyone's din-dins in the castle, and they hurry to the table with some especially rumbly tummies. After a solid diet of Dead Mole Stew for the past three weeks, they could do with something more filling for a change. When he's not out administering ill-advised doses of Justice!!! or experimenting with interesting banana-shaped objects, Mario lives here in the castle, along with the princess, her faithful servant Toad, and Yoshi, who has no adequate reason for getting free food and accommodation there but gets it anyway because he eats everyone who brings up that particular point. What could chef Grot T. be serving them tonight? Apparently, it's a big pile of meaty red slop, consisting mainly of ground meat drenched in tomato sauce, with some meatballs scattered over it. Mario eagerly digs into his serving of meaty red slop, and pulls out a dripping green cap with an 'L' on it, which he promptly flings away to concentrate on shovelling food into his face as quickly as possible. Toad, meanwhile, is reading today's newspaper over his plate of meaty red slop. He suddenly notices that the princess is not present at the table. Indeed, the princess is currently in her room, watching the sunset from her window. This tranquil scene, which plays out in a room suffocating with pastel pink tones and random heart-shaped objects generates a pleasant, benevolent aura. Said aura is irrevocably shattered when the princess turns around from her window, and the utterly foul expression on her face becomes visible. She angrily yanks open a drawer, pulls out her diary, and sits down at an overwhelmingly pink desk to write in it. The new entry in her diary reads as follows:

"Dear retarded bitch of a diary. I hate you. I hate everything about you, and I wish you would die. You know what else I hate? I bloody hate the fact that that swine Koopa just doesn't give me one simple phonecall! Who does that great big ape's testicle think he is?! My phone is right there, on my pink bedside table. It is there in all its rose-pink plasticky glory with garish little heart-shaped buttons, and I friggin' hate it as well, especially when it never rings because that fat bucket of rat spooge is unable to realise that I must have overwhelming amounts of attention because I deserve it! I don't know if he thinks we've grown apart, or if we need some time away from each other to re-evaluate our relationship, or what the hell he thinks. I don't encourage him to think when he could just do as I command instead, but there's one thing I am certain of, and that's that if he won't call me, I will call him and shout unspeakable obscenities at him! I'm sure that will make me feel much better. But first, you will also suffer my wrath, because I absolutely bleedin' hate you!"

Having furiously scribbled down these lines, the princess then begins to tear pages out of her diary at random, and then sets the whole thing on fire with her pink pocket lighter while cackling like a maniac. She is just about to turn her negative attentions to the phone, when the door opens slightly, and Toad pokes his head into the room, inquiring whether he might have a moment of the princess' time. There was a rather alarming article on the front page of his newspaper, which he believes should be brought under the princess' attention at once. The princess, however, bellows at him to shut his godforsaken stinking trap and hurls an extremely pink nearby vase at his head. The vase knocks Toad out cold, and he falls backwards, thus rolling out of the princess' room and down a humongous flight of stairs. With this interruption out of the way, the princess rips the phone of its hook and practically karate-chops the garish heart-shaped buttons to dial Koopa's private number. This causes a telephone somewhere deep in the Lufthansa mountain range to start ringing. It is in fact the only telephone in the Lufthansa mountain range. For in this barren and especially unpleasant part of the world, Koopa's head fortress lies hidden. When he's not off terrorising random peacenik kingdoms or carrying out ill-conceived schemes for petty nastiness, Koopa resides in this mastodonthine castle with his entire army. When he is out terrorising random peacenik kingdoms, Koopa always opts to erect a temporary base in the form of a sinister castle over there. Said temporary bases usually have to be built on such short notice that they end up pretty ramshackle, with lots of brittle ceilings for Mario to jump through and styrofoam doors for him to break down when the castle doesn't crumble away entirely for no fathomable reason. The dungeons, however, are always top-notch, Koopa insisting they be built with lavishing care and attention to detail. The head fortress in the Lufthansa mountains is pretty much home base, and the dungeons there are truly something special, easily the most elaborate ones ever seen. The fortress' location is a secret which is sternly kept from anyone outside the Koopa army except the princess. It is not a secret which is likely to be discovered anytime soon, since no-one in their right minds would wander into the vicious Lufthansa mountains. It is a lump of no-man's land which has remained uncharted and largely ignored by the rest of the world, because the rest of the world quite rightly figured that it wanted no business with the Lufthansa mountains. But now, a touch of the outside world does trickle into the fortress' dark heart in the form of a telephone's insistent peal. The telephone in Koopa's throne room had started to ring just as he had switched on his throne room TV and was comfortably reclining in his cushy throne, ready to enjoy some mindless televised violence. He turns down the TV's volume and picks up the phone, only to have a barrage of verbal abuse shrieked into his ear with unusual vehemence. He doesn't quite get the gist of the obscenities that burst from the telephone - something about elderly gorillas and genital warts - but he recognises the voice, and responds to it in the following terms:

-Koopa: Oh, hey babe. Yeah, hit me with it hard! It's been too long since you gave me a good old-fashioned dirty phonecall.

This was apparently not what the princess was hoping for as a response, since the telephone's shrill barking only doubles in volume and intensity as a result of this phrase. Koopa doesn't quite get the gist of the insults that spew forth from the telephone - something about salami and assorted orifices, which he figures is meant to be taken metaphorically - but he assumes that this is all a good thing. With a broad smile on his muzzle, he prepares to inquire about the possibility of strap-ons, when something on the TV suddenly catches his eye. He reaches for his remote and cuts into the barrage of noise from the telephone with the following words:

-Koopa: Hey, hold on. Turn on your TV for a minute, see if there's a news broadcast on. There's something you oughtta see.

The telephone receiver practically jumps out of Koopa's hand with one last, extra-loud expletive, followed by a thick thud and nothing but steady beeping noises afterwards. For some reason which Koopa cannot comprehend, the princess has hung up just when it seemed they were getting into the spirit of things. He blankly stares at his telephone for a few seconds, blinks, and then shrugs and puts the receiver away to concentrate on the TV instead. As Koopa turns the volume back up, the screen cuts to a close-up of his TV where a special bulletin from Pan Am News is currently underway. The news is being read by the incredibly spindly Waluigi, who has followed in his brother's footsteps and decided that he also wanted a part of all the glitz and glamour, no matter how small. The ideal opportunity for him was to appear as a newsreader, only instead of a post on a dinky little local news station in the quiet Gatling Ocean, he has climbed to the position of newsreader for the prestigious world-wide Pan Am news channel, where the pay is better and the staff doesn't throw animal faeces in your direction all the time. With a Pan Am News logo in the background, and a decidedly cheesy jingle that attempts to sound urgent and businesslike, a news item titled 'Complete destruction of Rapland' starts.

-Waluigi: At around noon today, the mysterious giant flying entity, which has recently caused so much speculation, made another appearance. Using an as yet undetermined means of assault, it attacked and completely laid waste to the nation of Rapland in a single lightning strike. There are no known survivors in Rapland. In response to this, many have already proclaimed the flying giant to be a kind of benevolent saviour which has come to free the world from excessive stupidity, and in several large cities, celebrations are already being held to commemorate the eradication of Rapland.

The news broadcast is intercut with footage of the ruins of Rapland, and footage of some of the large-scale festivities that the broadcast mentions. We get to see a few moments of a lurid night-time carnival, and a full-scale celebration march in a big city. Several of the partygoers are toting large signs with slogans such as "The Rap is dead!", "Go Penguin!" or "Serves you right for being such a bunch of annoying pooholes, you Rapland cretins!" on one especially large sign. In short, the world responds with unanimous joy at being delivered from Rapland. The most ardent optimists have in fact gone to Rapland themselves to worship the giant metal penguin, which they view as a deity. The screen cuts to a shot of the ruins of Rapland just after daybreak, where the Garuda dominates the horizon. On a silent hill where the Garuda can clearly be seen in the distance, a bunch of Shy-guys has gathered on the remains of a crumbled clock tower. They are wearing what seems to be ritual costumes, consisting of vibrant multicoloured robes, bracelets and necklaces made from small animal bones and a few dashes of ritual face paint over their masks. Their apparent leader raises a spear skywards and intones an ode to the mighty penguin, praising it as the world's liberator and the vessel for the hope of many future generations, after which everyone drops to their knees and bows to the almighty entity with lots of resonant ooh-ing and aah-ing. Inside the Garuda, Triclyde is twisting his face into expressions of utmost distaste. He is surrounded by monitors that play back news broadcasts from around the world, nearly all of them concentrating on the mass partying that has broken out in response to Rapland's destruction. A few of the monitors display the letters J.A.L, and it is to one of these monitors that Triclyde turns to spit out his frustration.

-Triclyde: J.A.L, how do you explain this?! This was never the idea! I am an evil overlord of an especially nasty calibre. I may even be the nastiest of them all! The primal rage of my killer instinct is supposed to freeze the world in fear!

-J.A.L: Pay it no mind, General Triclyde. This will only serve to enhance the effect of surprise when we finally show our true colours to the world.

-Triclyde: Hmph, I still think it's crap. And another thing, why are we still sitting around on our asses like this?! I want to go to the Lufthansa mountains and lay waste to the entire Koopa forces! That was the plan right from the start, so what are we still waiting for?!

-J.A.L: To be precise, we're waiting until the new supply of raw tissue has grown into a sufficient number of fully functional KLM units, and until we've processed enough of the Alitalia into a solid fuel supply. We currently do not have the fuel necessary to even fly the distance to the Lufthansa mountain range.

-Triclyde: Oh yeah... That's a good point, I suppose...

Having thus been robbed of the will to whine, gripe, complain or otherwise express dissatisfaction by J.A.L's rock-solid logic, Clyde slithers off to a dark corner of the ship with not a lot of monitors around where he curls up to sulk. Lefty and Righty find themselves completely out of lollipops to brighten their central brain's mood, and are thus unwillingly dragged into this sulking session. Lefty tries to count Righty's nostril hairs to pass the time, but then realises that reptiles have no nostril hairs and suddenly feels in dire need of a lollipop himself.

At that very same moment, Fryguy was feeling in dire need of a cigarette. Preferably a menthol Benson & Hedges. His nerves had been put to the test continually while he, Lakitu and Tempera had slowly made their way to the main Koopa fortress. They had now made it to the last stretch of their journey, which was going to be a hard one; they had to brave the Lufthansa mountain range in order to reach the secret fortress at the centre. During their long journey, Fryguy had first wailed loudly about his misery, then clamoured insistently for them to stop and get some cigarettes, and finally whined enduringly about Lakitu and Tempera's general meanness towards him when they completely ignored him. Having exhausted all the noises of despair that he could possibly press from his lungs, Fryguy had settled into a low, dreary sobbing for the rest of the journey. His resolve to run away from the Koopa army as soon as they had gotten back there was now stronger than ever, and it helped him endure the trek through the cold, bleak, windy and most definitely scary wasteland of the Lufthansa mountains. Realising that Fryguy's vocal chords had finally settled down to a more moderate level of acrobatics, Lakitu and Tempera had taken out their earplugs, and exchanged the odd remark during their trek through the mountains. Most of these exchanges started by Tempera expressing doubt whether this great big Koopa army would any good at all, in response to which Lakitu did his best to lay these doubts to rest as succinctly as possible. After some moments of plodding through the wilderness in silence, Tempera cleared her throat and gave Lakitu a most hostile look as a prelude to the following words:

-Tempera: You'd better not been telling me baloney about this Koopa army of yours. Are you sure you're such a high-ranking and well-respected individual in that army? Are you sure they'll allow you to stage a rescue mission with all the firepower you want just as soon as you request it? Because, frankly, I have a hard time believing that.

-Lakitu: Look, I know what you're thinking, but Lord Koopa is a really mellow kinda guy. I'm sure he'll be all right with it all if I just ask him nicely.

-Tempera: And if he isn't?

-Lakitu: Then we simply switch to plan B.

-Tempera: I see, and what's plan B?

-Lakitu: Err... well, I'll tell you once we get to the fortress.

As if on cue, the camera zooms out slightly as soon as Lakitu has pronounced these words to reveal that only one small rim of rocky peaks now separates the three travellers from the vast Koopa fortress. In fact, if they look up, they can clearly see the fortress right in front of them. Lakitu is unable to suppress a small "uh-oh" at this moment. The screen then segues to a view of the main, the original, the one and only permanent Koopa Kafé in the main fortress. This one is nothing like the dinky little bars built in the temporary castles. It is a large, luxurious cocktail bar with low lights, pool tables, multiple televisions hanging from the ceiling and marginally less awful food on offer. Lately, the Koopa army hasn't moved out to harass random peacenik kingdoms a whole lot, and Clawgrip is overjoyed at these long stretches of time where he can work behind a proper bar. In fact, he is so overcome with zealous enthusiasm for his work as main bartender that he has undertaken to learn how to toss cocktail shakers around in flashy fashion, just like bartenders do in movies. However, he's not making a lot of progress in his endeavour, as catching cocktail shakers with his pincers is proving to be very difficult. He tries once more to throw a cocktail shaker filled with pińa colada up in the air, and to catch it as it comes twirling down, misses, and winces as the shaker and its contents clatter to the ground. Frustrated, Clawgrip is about to launch into a tirade about how it's unfair that he was born with pincers that make catching things so damned difficult, that it's a case of evolutionary discrimination, and that he hates every single thing in the whole universe. But he realises that there's nobody around that could possibly listen to his outburst and decides to let the matter rest. Only Mouser is present at the bar, heavily drunk and snoring heavily in a heavy drunken stupor. Mouser is overjoyed at these long stretches of time where he can drown his sorrows in a wide variety of expensive alcohol, and vomit copiously on a rich, thick carpet afterwards. At this moment, Lakitu stomps into the bar, picks up the first random full glass he sees lying around, downs it, and pronounces whatever drink it was to have been utterly awful with a look on his face that speaks volumes about his unlimited loathing for every single thing in the whole universe right now. Unimpressed, Clawgrip mockingly raises one eyebrow and casually greets Lakitu, asking him where he's been and how his anal fixation is doing lately. Equally unimpressed, Lakitu chucks the empty glass in his hands at Clawgrip's head and declares that he needs to see Lord Koopa. Lakitu is about to stomp off in the direction of Koopa's throne room, but Clawgrip calls out to Lakitu and tells him that Koopa can't be found there right now, as he's currently having his bath. And, as Clawgrip darkly adds, Koopa hates being disturbed during his bath. Lakitu mutters that he doesn't care and stomps off in the direction of Koopa's royal supreme bathroom deluxe. With Lakitu gone, a few moments of silence descend upon the bar, until Fryguy bursts in screaming. Like a runaway bottle rocket, he zooms towards the bar's biggest cigarette dispenser and violently shakes the thing until a single packet of cigarettes gets dislodged and tumbles out of the machine. Fryguy grips the packet feverishly, tears it open and devours the cigarettes within as if they were a handful of pretzels. Content, and slightly calmer, Fryguy lets out a deep sigh. Fat blue plumes of tobacco smoke waft from his lips as he does so. Only then does Fryguy notice the black looks that Clawgrip shoots him from behind the bar for mistreating the cigarette dispenser so bluntly. He suddenly gets very nervous again, as he can't think of a way to explain to Clawgrip that he has no coins on him, and that whole journey was so long and terrible, and he's a little scared about that Tempera woman too, because she went off on her own in their top-secret main fortress which might be a bad thing, and he might have to tell someone about that, but he's not sure, and the more he thinks about it, the more it just gets very, very scary. So he just collapses into a mess of tangled nerves and cries.

Segue to a shot of Koopa's bathroom. It is a massive room, decorated in massively bad taste. Chintzy, pale pink statues of Koopa Troopas in various suggestive poses line the walls, mirrors cover the ceiling, and the squeaky-clean salmon pink tiles on the floor are covered by leopard-print plush rugs here and there. At the centre of all this overblown faux chic lies a massive marble pedestal. On top of the pedestal rests a massive clamshell-shaped bathtub sculpted from some pale green mineral. Inside the bathtub, massive bubbles of pomegranate-coloured foam pile up sky-high, and at the centre of these bubbles, the massive Koopa lies in the steaming bath water. He's not alone in the bath - a gaggle of Bloobers swims around him, tending to his every need. One Bloober massages his toes, while another rubs a sponge along Koopa's neck, and the rest swim to and fro carrying rubber duckies, bottles of scented oil and lumps of colourful soap wherever they're needed. Koopa sighs with content and reclines in the warm water, almost impaling his personal neck-scrubber with the spikes on his shell. On the edge of Koopa's bathtub, one more Bloober sits, who stands out from the crowd with her cleopatra eyelashes, her mauve skin tone, and the big ribbon on top of her head. This is the Koopa army's most skilled and highly respected strategic advisor, Ana, who has just returned from a lengthy vacation that drastically improved her tan. With her drastically improved mauve tan, she immediately set to work twice as efficiently as before, and just before her lunch hour, she came to the conclusion that an emergency conference with Lord Koopa concerning the destruction of Rapland was of vital importance. Which is why she was elegantly perched on the edge of Koopa's bathtub, with a clipboard full of notes in one tentacle. Koopa turns a lazy eye towards her.

-Koopa: Why don't you join me in here? The water's just right, and there's plenty of raspberry bubble bath left. Or if you don't fancy that, I've also got patchouli.

-Ana: hay but im a shouwer person lolz :p and we hafta talk about the ginat penqin(sp?) Do u think its a real danger???

-Koopa: Not really, no. It can go around blowing up stupid places all it wants, that doesn't bother me. And even if it wanted a piece of the Koopa army, it wouldn't know where to look for us. Only members of the Koopa army know the location of our top-secret home base, so there's nothing to worry about.

Koopa then turns his attention to a chunk of garnet-coloured soap with which he starts to rub his right armpit, when suddenly, a horrible realisation clicks into place in his mind. As a former member of the Koopa army, Triclyde knows of their base in the Lufthansa mountains. Plus, he has vowed to reduce them to rubble and has shown a penchant for bothering them with humongous robotic monstrosities. The garnet-coloured soap slips from Koopa's hand and plops into the water. For a moment, he just stares ahead of him, on the edge of utter panic. Then he thinks to himself that, nah, it's probably nothing after all, and orders a nearby Bloober to fish up the soap which he just dropped. Something in the back of his mind tells him he should probably mention to Ana that Triclyde may be the one after this whole penguin incident, but before he can do so, the large double doors to the bathroom slam open and Lakitu strides in. Taking no notice of the pomegranate-coloured bubbles and the sickeningly strong scent of raspberry and patchouli that hangs in the room, he drops to his knees and earnestly begs for permission to borrow an armed airship. Koopa blinks a few times and asks him why. Lakitu is somewhat taken aback by this response. He takes some time to think of a succinct, yet decently clear way to explain the entire episode in the Gouache area, can't think of one and just begins to babble insanely and gesticulate all over the place in stead.

-Lakitu: Well, it's like... bla bla bla, and then there was this village, bla bla, yakkity yakkity, and so I need a Doomship to go rescue all these guys!

-Koopa: Oh, I get it!

-Lakitu: So, can I borrow an airship?

-Ana: stfu n00f NO you cant!!!!!11!1

-Lakitu & Koopa: Huh? Why?

-Ana: lol ur mom ... No, wait, let me put it this way. We'd only end up with a furious Acrylic Kingdom putting our name on their death list. Going to rescue these people in a big, flashy Koopa Doomship is tantamount to declaring war on the Acrylic Kingdom, and you don't wanna do that.

-Koopa: Yes! Absolutely!!! Truly, I couldn't have put it better myself...

-Lakitu: So the answer's no?

-Koopa: I guess so. Hope you're not too bummed. Oh, and could you pass me the banana scalp scrub from that small shelf to your left?

With a sigh of resignation, Lakitu drags himself off to a small brass shelf protruding from the wall at his left hand, where a dozen or so exotically scented bathing products are packed together. With a slight doubt in his mind whether such a seemingly aloof leader like Lord Koopa is really worth following, Lakitu reaches for a bottle full of dark yellow sludge. However, before he can further explore these issues and reach the banana scalp scrub, the entire fortress is suddenly shaken by a violent rumble. Bits of debris tumble from the ceiling, waves of near-opaque water gush from Koopa's bathtub, and a mighty shock rocks the room, sending Lakitu flying flat on his bum. Startled, Koopa stands up in his bathtub and demands to know what is going on. The double doors of the room promptly slam open again, and two Hammer Brothers rush in to report a great calamity. However, they go red in the face and find themselves unable to speak as soon as they face their master. Noting their discomfort, Koopa grabs a nearby towel and covers up his naughty bits, after which he orders them to speak freely. After much scraping of throats, the Hammer Brothers report a great calamity: an intruder has broken into the Doomship hangar, knocked everyone out cold, blown a huge hole in the wall with a Bob-omb and finally made off with the biggest, most heavily armed Doomship present. The ship in question is as of now flying away from the fortress at top speed in a south-western direction. Koopa doesn't quite know what to make of this story, but a gravely alarmed Lakitu sits up, shouts "Tempera!" followed by several expletives and bolts out of the room as fast as he can. Lakitu bounds out of the nearest window he can find, calls forth his cloud, and cloud-rides after the stolen Doomship which is by now but a mere blot against the horizon. As he begins to catch up with the Doomship, he finds himself having to dodge a volley of Bullet Bills fired from the ship. His cloud swerves frantically to avoid the projectiles. He's now so close to the ship that he can see Tempera on the main deck handling one of the ship's Bullet Bill cannons. He begins to wave his arms around and shouts at Tempera.

-Lakitu: Don't shoot! It's me! What the heck are you doing?!

-Tempera: You were taking too long, so I switched to my own plan B! Now clear off, or I'll put a hole through you!

-Lakitu: No, don't do that! Tempera... I wanna come with you!

This statement leaves Tempera baffled, and Lakitu manages to land his cloud on the Doomship. He decides that Koopa and his banana scalp scrubs can go to the dogs, for all he cares. This feeling is further strengthened when he remembers how Koopa left him and Fryguy to die at Mario's hands just prior to their ordeal in Gouache. He has a parting thought for poor, useless Fryguy, but then shakes off all thoughts of the Koopa army. It's just not worth bothering with. He'll go with Tempera, rescue her fellow villagers from Gouache, and then think about what to do next. Cut to a shot of the stolen Doomship cruising over the mass of violently swirling clouds that always covers the Lufthansa mountains. As the Doomship rises over the clouds and soars towards the horizon, an insert song begins; Les dessous chics by Jane Birkin. Because a French song about swanky underwear is just what the following scenes need. If you don't understand the poignant significance of a French song about swanky underwear highlighting the following striking images, then tough luck for you. They teach these things in film school, you know.

As the insert song's first chords resound, the screen cuts to a wide view of the huge Gouache crater. The sun is beginning to set, so that a rich orange glow now hangs over the massive natural prison. The black surveillance helicopters that buzz above the crater reflect glitters of deep golden light from the setting sun. The day's shift was passing as usual for the surveillance troops, but a sudden alarmed transmission from the Acrylic Kingdom cut their routine short. The wide view of the sunset over the crater is suddenly intercut with a few quick shots of a radar screen where a big blip appears with every sweep of the radar. Through the radio, a crackly transmission from home base nervously explains to the Gouache surveillance choppers that a large airship of some kind is closing in on the Gouache area. It will take some time before reinforcements from the Acrylic mainland can reach them. If the incoming craft is indeed hostile, as they assumed it to be, the surveillance choppers would have to fight it off as long as they could. No sooner has this transmission finished than one of the choppers hovering above the crater bursts into flames with a loud bang. The other choppers immediately turn to face the oncoming threat; at the edge of the reddening horizon, the stolen Doomship appears, with one Bullet Bill turret still smoking. It blasts another volley of Bullet Bills in the direction of the surveillance choppers, who deftly swerve to avoid this onslaught. Without a second's hesitation, the choppers return fire, and soon, the blazing sunset sky is filled with flames from all side. Below, in Gouache's treetop village, the villagers nervously look up, trying to make sense of all the noise from above, but unable to see through the layer of leaves that separates them from the sky. They pretty much get the gist of things when the mangled, burning remains of a surveillance chopper come clattering down through the branches. Crispy!

While this battle rages on, the screen cuts to a view of the ruins of Rapland. The Scary Cloaked Figures are still gathering raw materials from the wasteland surrounding the Garuda. When they've filled their sacks, they begin to march in single file towards the Garuda. There, a hatch opens in the leftmost toenail of the Garuda's left foot, through which the creatures march inside, one by one. When the last one is back inside, the hatch slides shut. Inside, in a chamber where the walls are covered in monitors of many different sizes, Triclyde sits hunched over one monitor on which he's playing Dig-Dug to pass the time while J.A.L sees to the important stuff. The important stuff is actually going quite well. After some time has passed, and Triclyde's fifth attempt to beat his last high score has failed, J.A.L informs him that fuel levels are now at 100% and production of the required number of KLM units will be finished shortly. Which means they are now ready to commence their attack on the Koopa head fortress. Triclyde is annoyed that this has to interrupt his game of Dig-Dug, but goes to strap himself in for take-off as he's told. Cut back to a shot of the Garuda's outside. Huge clouds of dust begin to rise from the ground while the dormant metal creature comes to life again. With a cranium-splattering roar, the Garuda suddenly shoots straight up into the air like a cosmic pogostick of destruction, propelled forward by the force of a thousand white-hot flames blasting from what is effectively the giant penguin's bum area. This is followed by a close-up of Triclyde, who isn't the least bit bothered about this rather inelegant method of take-off. In fact, a mile-wide grin spills onto his snout as the light from a multitude of monitors projects a mosaic of little pale glowing rectangles on his face. All of the monitors surrounding Triclyde are displaying a simplified map of the world where a big, penguin-shaped doohickey is beginning to move towards a glowing red dot right in the middle of the Lufthansa mountains.

Cut to a shot of an all-white hospital room, where on an all-white hospital bed, Toad is lying motionless and covered in all-white bandages following his tumble down the castle staircase. He resembles a squat, lumpy mummy in this state, but the machines that go ping in his room indicate that his vital signs are good, and that he will be able to play the accordeon again once he has recovered. This shot is followed up by a rapid shot of the princess' pink-a-thonic room. With an angry scowl on her face, the princess is reading a book titled 'Murder! Death! Kill!' but it is only mildly successful in lifting her spirits. Downstairs, everyone else in the castle is having stomach cramps from the meaty red slop.

The screen then cuts to a close-up of Tempera, looking tense and a touch sweaty. She has every reason to be, as she is manning the gun turrets on the Doomship, blasting Bullet Bills in every direction to ward off oncoming Acrylic choppers. Meanwhile, Lakitu speeds back and forth on his cloud to fetch Gouache villagers from the forest below and bring them aboard the Doomship whenever there's a gap in the exchange of bullets between Tempera and the choppers. The operation is going well; Lakitu has managed to haul a lot of villagers onto the Doomship already. He dips into the treetops for one last trip, this time picking up the elder Pastel along with the last few villagers. Pastel's considerable bulk makes the trip back up a little harder than usual. They're almost caught in the treacherous fire from a helicopter that Tempera missed. She catches sight of the cloud-riders in distress from the corner of her eyes, though. All the ship's Bullet Bill cannons are concentrating on an oncoming wave of choppers, so it looks like Lakitu and the others are completely at the mercy of this one chopper that got through. But Tempera puffs up her cheeks and barfs an extra large egg from her rotund mouth at the lone helicopter. Smothered in sticky yolk from Tempera's egg-blast, the chopper is thrown off-balance, and its rattling machine guns miss Lakitu's cloud to everyone's general relief. Lakitu quickly zips aboard the Doomship with the last villagers, after which they put all their efforts into hauling bucketloads of ass. Firing Bullet Bills at the relentless stream of ill-tempered helicopters, the Doomship begins to rise up and away into a sky that is now slowly turning from deep blue to inky black night.

The screen fades to black, then cuts to a shot of the late-night drinkers at the Koopa fortress' Kafé. Clawgrip has his pincers full carrying various intoxicating substances around. At a quieter corner of the bar, Fryguy is busy writing a letter to formally announce his intention to quit to Koopa, but his hands shake so much, and his vision is so clouded from the thick cigarette smoke surrounding him (he had to smoke three packs before he could even face the frightful task of putting a date on his formal dismissal application letter) that it goes hopelessly wrong. Clawgrip is much too busy to give Fryguy some help, and Mouser, usually a regular heavy drinker isn't here either. Fryguy starts to feel very forlorn and abandoned with his poorly scribbled lines on a crumpled sheet of paper. The reason why Mouser's not at his habitual boozing spot is because he has been granted the exceptional privilege to be present at Koopa's weekly pedicure session. The screen cuts to a wide pan of the long, Asian-inspired room where Koopa's pedicure is taking place. It is an elaborate ritual, where droves of servants come and go from paper screen-doors at either end of the room, bringing a variety of foot-tending instruments to Koopa, who lies sprawled on a futon in a dark crimson kimono, his feet resting on red cushions as two Ninji wearing Geisha make-up handle the expensive pedicure instruments with ice-cold precision. They have just finished powdering, oiling, rubbing, filing, polishing, and varnishing Koopa's left small toenail, which now shines with a coating of expertly applied blood-red nail polish. In a respectful silence, they begin the same process for his right small toenail. In a corner of the room, Mouser is kneeling on a small cushion, observing the ritual with rapt attention. Koopa grants him but a short glance and then returns his full attention on the all-important ritual of freshening up his feet. The atmosphere of reverence and quiet professionalism that dominates this scene is, however, rudely shattered when the sharp noise of an alarm siren begins to blare, and the room is bathed in flashing red lights. Koopa looks up in shock, and turns to the wall to his left. There, a paper screen door slides away to reveal a large computer monitor which is also flashing red in tune to the siren's noise. On this screen, the following text appears, much to Koopa's horror:

Warning! A huge battleship, 'The Garuda' is approaching fast!

Instant pandemonium breaks out. In the Koopa Kafé, the same message is being displayed on multiple TV screens that hang suspended from the ceiling, while red alarm lights continuously flash on and off. Everyone present in the Kafé drops what he was doing and heads for his battle stations. Except for Fryguy, he just cries. Back in Koopa's manicure hall, Koopa races over to Mouser, grabs him by the shoulders and tries to stir up Mouser's combat instincts. Unfortunately, the message has some trouble getting through.

-Koopa: Mouser, I need you!

-Mouser: Oh, how long I've waited to hear those words... le sigh, le whimper, le tightening feeling in le slip!

-Koopa: No, no, I mean... err, I gotta use you!

-Mouser: Yeah baby! You can use me all you want!

-Koopa: Oh, fer cryin' out loud... Look, what I mean is get out there and do your job! You're a soldier, so go out and do what you're getting paid for!

These words strike Mouser like a bitchslap across the face. He fixes a shocked stare on Koopa for a few moments, then turns and runs out to join the mass of Koopa critters scrambling for all-out war. Koopa, meanwhile, dimly wonders why it was always so much easier to give Mouser these pep talks when Lakitu was around to script them for him. On the ramparts of the fortress, a steady stream of Hammer Brothers, Beezos, Koopa Para-Troopas and Birdos gathers to meet the oncoming enemy. In the distance, starlight is glinting off the Garuda's silvery hide as it hovers in the night sky some distance away from the fortress. Inside, Triclyde lets loose a deranged cackle as the Koopa fortress shows up on a large viewscreen in front of him. There has been some debate between Triclyde and J.A.L. concerning this option. Clyde absolutely insisted that they position the Garuda within comfortable viewing distance of the fortress so he could see with his own eyes how his sworn enemy would crumble to dust. J.A.L. had taken great pains to explain that the Koopa fortress was within range of the Sabena cannon well before they got this close, so that they could just vaporise the fortress from afar without ever needing to glance at it, but none of these logical, efficient arguments had any impact on Triclyde. He estimates that the theatrical comes before the practical in a showdown of such epic magnitude, and is so confident about his chances of success that he doesn't mind taking this less efficient approach. It will be observed that Triclyde is adapting very rapidly to the thought patterns of a bona fide crackpot evil mastermind.

-Triclyde: Finally, it has come to this! Their simple life will end! They will writhe in pain, they will stand in awe of me! J.A.L, can we really not get any closer than this?

-J.A.L: This is the absolute minimum safe distance if we don't want to get caught in the blast radius of our own Sabena cannon.

-Triclyde: Oh well, it'll have to do, I suppose. Commence primeval Sabena cannon blast charge sentence! Wait, I mean primordial blast charge sentience... sequence... primary segments... whatever! You know what I mean, get cracking!

-J.A.L: General Triclyde, a number of airborne attack craft are heading towards us from the fortress.

As J.A.L. so astutely noted, a squadron of smaller Koopa Doomships is now visible on the viewscreen, flanked by large groups of battle-ready Beezos and Koopa Para-Troopas. This sight seems to inspire a few extra notches of manic delight in Triclyde.

-Triclyde: So that's how you wanna play? Test you might, eh? Do your worst, you laughable sub-insectoid non-threats! J.A.L, show them what the Garuda and our KLM units can do!

The oncoming Doomships are already spewing out a cloud of Bullet Bills in the Garuda's direction. The flying fortress meets this by opening up a multitude of small hatches all over its outer shell, from which angry red Bullet Bills are blasted out. At the same time, a large number of those very unpleasant cloaked figures known only as KLM units are launched from the Garuda, suspended from hang-gliders. Their finely-tuned artificial nerve systems allows the KLM units to fly these hang-gliders with such precision that they can meet the airborne troops head-on. A vicious clash in the starry sky breaks loose, as the Doomships and the Garuda pepper each other with generous handfuls of Bullet Bills. Koopa Para-Troopas get their wings kicked off by KLM units craftily hang-gliding past them. A few Beezos manage to tear large holes into a few of the KLMs' hang-gliders with their spears, thus sending their foes plummeting down. A good handful of KLMs breaks through the line of Koopa air troops and manages to land their hang-gliders on the deck of the smaller Doomships where they proceed to do massive damage. But we've had one aireal battle a few pages ago, so this display of mid-sky violence won't be dwelled on any further. You'll just have to believe that it was really, really intense and exciting, and that the Koopa forces were clearly at a disadvantage. Meanwhile, the screen cuts back to a shot of the Koopa fortress' ramparts. Troops are still hurrying to and fro while the sky above them is starting to fill with smoke and fire from the battle raging up above. Mouser comes clambering out of a warp pipe and stands on the ramparts, his eyes fixed on the battle-smudged sky. In the depths of his somewhat thick skull, Koopa's parting words to him still echo. "I'm a soldier, that's what I get paid for" he repeats to himself time and time again. Then he angrily shakes his head, as if to clear it from cluttering thoughts. All right, being a soldier is fine by him. It's what he's good at. If he means nothing more to Lord Koopa than just one more soldier, that's okay. At least being a soldier gives him some infinitesimal way in which he can be important to Lord Koopa. In that state of mind, he loads an improbably huge backpack stuffed to bursting point with Bob-ombs onto his back, and jumps over the ramparts to head into battle. While all this is going on, Koopa frantically searches the fortress for his strategic advisor, Ana. He finally finds her, quivering in panic behind the Koopa Kafé's biggest jukebox.


-Koopa: Ana, where have you been?! Come out of there and be a strategic advisor, that's what you're getting paid for! Now, how do you evaluate our current situation?

-Ana: O macnoes we gotta run :0!!!!!!!!!!1

-Koopa: Turn tail and run away, that's the best you can come up with? Are you sure you're a strategic advisor?

-Ana: ... allow me to succinctly make my point. Yes, retreat is the best option in the current situation. It can't be much longer until the enemy uses whatever weapon caused the destruction of Rapland. If it fires at this range, it is likely that the whole fortress will be wiped from the face of the earth, no matter what our airborne troops are trying up there. They clearly can't match the strength of the enemy troops anyway. In this situation, the best we can do is reduce our losses to a minimum and ensure your survival at the very least, Lord Koopa. And we can only do that if we get as far away as we can while there still is a slim sliver of time to escape!

Floored by this well-phrased reasoning, Koopa can only agree. He orders to have all troops retreat back to base and assemble everyone in Sector Y. Ana scurries off to have these orders relayed to all the troops. Koopa, meanwhile, fishes a warp potion with a pink label on its bottle from the folds of his kimono. He gazes at it for a while, considering that he never imaged he'd have to use one of his special warp potions like this...

In the meantime, Mouser is still stampeding off with his load of Bob-ombs. During his manic dash, he hears some vague shouts that sound like orders to retreat, and notices clusters of Koopa Troopas on the battlefield apparently dropping what they were doing and turning away from the battle. However, in the heat of the moment his brain only partly processes these signals. He just concludes that a lot of people are being right wussies today and charges on blindly. He eventually arrives directly underneath the Garuda. The area is now submerged in deep red tones emanating from the ever-growing ball of red light that is amassing on the tip of the warship's beak. Very few troops are still left on the battlefield at this point. Only a few Birdos spit some half-baked eggs at the Garuda up above, and a few Shy-Guys riding Autobombs half-heartedly direct their fire skywards. But Mouser, in the grip of a complete adrenaline rush, takes off his backpack and begins to hurl Bob-ombs straight up at the Garuda's iron belly. Since he doesn't really pay attention to the accuracy of his throws, most of his fire goes sailing into the sky, although he does hit on hang-gliding KLM unit who was still buzzing around outside. With its mode of flight vaporised, the KLM in question tumbles down and lands right next to Mouser with a loud crash. Mouser briefly ceases his fierce yet futile onslaught to consider the large-ish crater that suddenly appeared next to him. His mild distraction turns to outright shock, however, when the KLM unit clambers out of the crater, covered with dirt but otherwise pretty much unharmed, and turns its gaze on Mouser. Despite being caked in dirt and grime, the face staring out at Mouser brusquely causes the young rodent's boiling blood to freeze. There is no mistaking it; the creature's facial features almost exactly match the hated mug of his old acquaintance Colt. While half of Mouser's brain screams with the desire to bash that face in and ask questions later, the other half is utterly baffled with this scenario. Before both halves can come to an agreement, a handful of other KLM units suddenly drop out of the sky, surrounding Mouser. JAL's sensors have picked out the High-Class Priority Target that is Mouser on the ground, and he promptly dispatched a few extra KLM's to deal with the situation. Brandishing a Bob-omb, Mouser prepares for a life-and-death struggle, but to his surprise, the KLM units display levels of speed and raw power that nearly equal his own multitronic super-strength. Outnumbered as he is, the outlook is bleak. Two KLM units manage to grab him by the arms, while another punches him in the gut with full force. Reeling from the punch's impact, Mouser staggers backwards. He is dimly aware of all the KLM units clenching their right fist at the same time and lining up for a combined turbo-megatonic super punch. He notices their combined turbo-megatonic super punch all right when it hits him. He hears a major low droning noise in his head, flashes of white, yellow and aquamarine dazzle his eyes, and the word 'critical hit!' flashes before him in thick letters. Such is the force of this blow that it sends him sailing through the air like a helpless ragdoll. Knocked out cold, Mouser flies through the air in a neat arc, hurtling back towards the Koopa fortress like a misguided missile. Inside the Garuda, JAL informs Triclyde that there are no more enemy units outside of the Sabena cannon's blast radius. Thus, they are ready to commence the firing sequence.

Inside the fortress, the bulk of the Koopa army has been assembled in the gigantic storage space known as Sector Y. Koopa is standing on top of some crates and holding his warp potion aloft, with Clawgrip and Ana flanking him. Koopa takes a brief moment to overlook his assembled soldiers. He's mildly troubled that he can't spot Mouser anywhere among them. He then throws his warp potion to the floor, the customary red warp door appears, and he swings it open. Following this chain of events, Koopa addresses his soldiers in their darkest hour.

-Koopa: Okay boys, I know escaping with a warp potion at the end of each episode is getting old, but this time it is actually a sensible move to make. If it's really Triclyde in that battleship up there, he won't wait politely like Mario does. I want you all to get through this door in a nice and orderly straight line. Clawgrip, Ana, you watch over this and make sure the evacuation goes calmly, with no pushing. There are some things I still need to take care of, so I'll come back here later.

-Clawgrip: No, Lord Koopa! You should go first! There is hardly any time left, and your survival is our top priority!

-Koopa: Thanks, but you're going to do this the way I told you to. I want as many of you as possible to get through that door in the time we still have. Now get on with it and don't waste time.

With those words, Koopa strides out of Sector Y followed by a large number of awe-struck eyes. For the first time in living memory, the long-suffering Koopa forces have witnessed an act of selfless, noble leadership from Koopa. The evacuation begins. The troops silently head through the warp door in single file. All goes well for a few minutes, until a horrified wail rises from the masses. Somewhere down the line, Fryguy had been doing an okay job of keeping his anxiety in check so far, but it's just getting to be too much for him. He shrieks that he wants to go first and starts to push forward, sobbing violently and evidently on the brink of hysteria. This single disruption is enough to throw the entire evacuation into chaos. The soldiers all begin to push madly for position, everyone trying to force their way towards the warp door first. In the utter pandemonium, Clawgrip and Fryguy are pushed through the warp door along with a disorganised clutter of creatures, while Ana is last seen being pushed aside and calling lots of people OMG MEEN! Meanwhile, Koopa has made his way to the part of the fortress known only as Sector Z. This was always Koopa's favourite part of the castle. It is a massive area where all his outfits are stored, with his very best pieces lovingly displayed. As far as the eye can see, rows and rows of clothes stretch out into a veritable labyrinth. Groups of Troopas have frequently gotten hopelessly lost in Sector Z during a routine inspection and starved to death. That's how vast the area is. Despite the tight time limit, Koopa is determined to save a bare minimum of his favourite clothes. He begins to pick through his outfits, but gets overly absorbed in the task after a few merely a few moments and forgets all about the urgency of evacuating before the Sabena cannon annihilates the entire fortress. While Koopa frets over spiked rubber brassieres, a slight rumbling sound begins to fill the room. The rumbling turns into a sharp crash as Mouser's immobile body comes breaking through Sector Z's east wall. The amazing unconscious flying Mouser still continues his destructive trajectory, having left Mouser-shaped holes in seventeen different sections of the fortress already. He is now hurtling straight at Koopa. The two eventually collide, scattering a pile of kinky garments to the four winds. Mouser's head has collided frontally with Koopa's beer gut, which causes Koopa to sail along helplessly in Mouser's unstoppable path. With the forces of plausibility on a temporal hold, the two of them go crashing through another wall, which takes them straight to Sector Y, where the two wildly hurtling bodies plough through the mass of fighting soldiers and fly right into the open warp door. They disappear into the warp while the general chaos continues around them unhindered. At that moment, the Garuda fires its Sabena cannon, and moments later the entire Koopa fortress vanishes in a discharge of pure destruction, along with all the Koopa soldiers left inside. The ramparts go poof, Koopa's throne room is swept away, the original Kafé shatters into fifteen million pieces, the dungeons disintegrate, the artillery explodes, Sector Z turns into a tornado of multicoloured shredded fabric, and everything else is basically blown to smithereens. The screen then shows a shot of the overwhelming explosion from outside. A big red ball of energy is digging into the centre of the Lufthansa mountains, devastating everything it encounters. The screen cuts to a close-up of Triclyde, who stares straight ahead while waves of mad ecstasy splash all over him.

The screen fades to black and then cuts to some nondescript grasslands. It is raining steadily from a cover of thick, grey clouds. Suddenly, a warp door materialises in a cloud of vomity-purple smoke, and an unruly clutter of Koopa soldiers comes tumbling out all at once. On top of the haphazard pile of soldiers are Clawgrip, Mouser and Koopa, of which the latter two don't seem to be moving. Clawgrip pokes Koopa a few times, which causes him to lazily lift his head and stare in sheepish fashion.

-Clawgrip: Lord Koopa, are you all right?

-Koopa: Okay, I guess. Is this everyone who made it out?

-Clawgrip: That's all, I'm afraid. Beg your pardon, sir, but where exactly did we warp to just now?

-Koopa: Ah yes...

Koopa stands up straight on top his soldier-pile and makes a theatrical gesture towards the rainy hills surrounding them, announcing in triumphant voice:

-Koopa: This, men, is the Mushroom Kingdom!

END of this episode.


<- To Episode 18