Thursday, December 17, 1992, 11:53 AM
"C'mon, guys!" Rick yelled impatiently. He checked the time. "We're gonna be late for lunch!" "Rick, I don't see what the big deal is." Kevin said, walking up to him. "The big deal is that my grandparents are visiting for the weekend, and I promised my parents I'd be there." Rick said. "Well, why drag us along?" Mike wanted to know, joining them in the white room they kept the Warp Zone Shifter in. "Because, I want them to meet you guys! Lana, Stacey!" "Coming!" Lana yelled. She and Stacey walked into the room. "Can you tell us about your grandparents, Rick?" Rick smiled. "Oh, you'll love them! They love painting and pottery and classical music - " "Boring!" Stacey interrupted. "I'm sorry, Rick, but there's no way I'm gonna spend three hours listening to stuff about that!" "I also told them about the band. I'm bringing a tape of your concerts so they can watch it." Rick held up the tape in his left hand. "Free publicity." Kevin said. "Cool." Mike added. "I'm there." Lana stated. "Like, count me in." Stacey agreed. Rick smiled. "The warp zone opener should've finished recharging by now. I'll disconnect it from the Shifter, and we can leave." He went over to the control panel to check. There was currently a heavy thunderstorm in the area. Now, an extra-loud clap of thunder boomed. "Rick, uh, maybe we outta wait until after the storm passes." Lana advised. "It might not be safe to use the Warp Zone Shifter in this weather. You might wanna unplug it. Dr. Wily never built a surge protector into it." "It could be hours before this storm passes, Lana!" Rick said. "By then, lunch will be over!" He looked at the panel. "There, it's done recharging. We can go now." He reached with his right hand to remove the opener from the recharger that was built into the top of the control panel. Suddenly, another bolt of lightning lighted the sky outside, and another clap of thunder sounded. This time, however, the lightning hit the house. The house itself wasn't affected, being protected from lightning strikes, but, true to Lana's warning, the Warp Zone Shifter received a surge. "Ah!" Rick yelled as he pulled his hand away. "Are you all right, man?!" Kevin asked, running forward with the others. "The lightning must've hit it." Rick said. "I told you!" Lana said. Rick looked at his hand. "It's okay, I'm fine." He pulled the opener out of the recharger. "Is it all right?" Mike asked. Rick looked it over. "Looks all right. C'mon, let's go." He turned around and pointed the opener at the center of the room. He pressed the button. A swirling blue warp opened. Rick walked through, followed by Lana, Stacey, and Kevin.
They exited the warp and found themselves in a very familiar alley. The warp closed. Because they didn't want Rick's parents to find out about Videoland, they weren't warping right into Rick's dining room for lunch. Rick checked his watch again. "C'mon, we've got five minutes!" They made their way to Rick's house.
When they got there, Rick opened the front door. They walked inside. "Mom! Dad!" Rick yelled. A black man and woman came into the living room, but they weren't Rick's parents. "Who are you?!" the man demanded. "Who are you?" Rick asked. "Where are my parents?" "Well, how the hell should I know?" the man asked. "This is my house." Rick said. "I think you've got the wrong address." the woman said. "You best leave." Rick stared at them for a moment, then turned around. "Let's go, guys." Kevin, Mike, Lana, and Stacey followed Rick out the door. "What was that all about?" Kevin asked in surprise. Rick shook his head. "I dunno. Somethin' weird is goin' on here!" "Let's go to my house." Kevin said.
When they arrived, they didn't quite know what to make of what they saw. "Kevin, you sure you got the right address?" Mike asked. "Mike, I know where my house is, all right?" "Well, it's not here now." Lana said. They were standing on the sidewalk, facing an empty lot. "What is going on here?" Stacey asked. They were all extremely worried by now. A man walked by. "Excuse me," Kevin asked him, pointing at the lot, "what happened to the house that used to be here?" The man looked at the lot, then back at Kevin and shook his head. "I'm sorry, I don't know. I've only been living here in town for a month." He walked away, down the sidewalk. Kevin and his friends looked at each other in confusion. "A month?" Kevin asked. "I was here two days ago!" "So what do we do now?" Rick asked.
Kevin signed the hotel registry, and the others did the same. The woman behind the counter smiled as she handed Kevin a key. "Please enjoy your stay." "Thanks." Kevin said. "Each room has free Internet access. Happy surfing!" Kevin nodded, and they went up to their room.
Mike paid the pizza delivery guy. "Thanks." He closed the door and locked it, then walked back over to where the others were sitting. "All right!" they all cheered. Mike smiled. "Not as fun as swiping it, but paying's cool, too." Mike sat down and opened the box. They all took a slice of the pepperoni pizza. Kevin stood up. "I'm gonna try calling my parents." "Why?" Lana asked. "Your house isn't there." "I know. I just wanna try." Kevin walked over to the phone, picked up the receiver, and dialed. It began to ring. "Hello?" A teenage girl on the other end had picked up. "Hello, may I please speak to Ned Keene?" Kevin asked. "Sorry, you've got the wrong number." "Sorry. Thanks." Kevin hung up. He looked at the others. "Wrong number?" Stacey asked. Kevin nodded, then walk back over to them. "I guess I should've expected it." "Don't worry, Kevin, we'll find out what's going on." Lana assured him. Kevin sat back down, nodding. "Rick, what time is it?" Lana asked. Rick checked his watch. "One o'clock." Mike looked at Kevin. "It doesn't feel like one." Kevin looked at him. "I know. What's up?" "That is what's up." Lana said, pointing with her left hand out the window. The others turned to look where Lana was pointing. "Look at where the sun is. It looks like it's late afternoon." "Late afternoon?" Kevin asked. "How is that possible?" Lana got up and went over to the phone. She picked up the receiver, and, after reading the instructions, dialed the front desk. The woman picked up. "Hello?" "Yes, hi. My watch stopped." Lana lied. "May I please have the correct time?" "Certainly. 4:30." "And the date?" Lana decided to ask. "Wednesday, April 22nd, 1998." Lana shivered. "Th-thanks!" She slammed the phone down. The others stood up and walked over to her at a fast pace. "What is it, Lana? What's wrong?" Kevin asked. "The date is Wednesday, April 22nd,...1998." "What?!" Mike asked. "1998?!" Rick asked. They stood in silence for a moment, thinking about this. "Kevin," Lana asked hesitantly, "we're in the future, aren't we?" "Yeah," Kevin said, nodding, "and we can never go back."
Rick looked up at them after a long moment of silent thought. "I don't see why we can't do it." They were all sitting down again. "Rick, we've traveled through time." Kevin said. "Do you know what that means?" "Yeah." Rick said. "We came here, now we go back there." "We can't, Rick." Kevin said. "Why not?" "We can only go one way safely: forward." Rick shook his head. "I don't understand." "You know how three years ago, we went forward one week?" Rick nodded. "We stayed there." Kevin said. "We made no attempt to go back." "Why not?" "Because we had already made an impact on future events. If we went back to the present, we would be altering the timeline. We could've somehow prevented our past selves from destroying the Three Sacred Treasures." "All you would've had to do was hide out until the point when you went back, and everything would've been cool." Rick said. Kevin shook his head. "Too risky. We might've gotten caught." "Well, what about now?" Rick asked. "We can go back to 1993, and when today comes along, we'll stay in Videoland. That way, we won't affect events that we've already been through." Kevin shook his head again. "You're forgetting that we'll be affecting past events, nonetheless, both here and in Videoland. Sorry, guys, I'm afraid we're stuck here. Besides, Rick, we couldn't go back even if we wanted to. I have no idea how we opened up a time warp." "I do." Lana said. She looked at Rick. "It's all your fault!" Rick stood up and pointed at himself. "Mine?!" Lana stood up. "That's right. I told you not to use the Warp Zone Shifter during a thunderstorm, but hey, it 'looks all right'!" "You still angry about that?" Mike asked with a smile, trying to lighten the mood. "That was years ago!" "Shut up, Mike, this isn't funny!" Lana shot at him. Kevin stood up and whistled. "Cool it, guys!" Everyone looked at him. "Kevin's right." Lana admitted. "Let's...let's go back to Videoland." Kevin nodded. "Uh-oh." Rick said. Lana looked at him, annoyed. "Don't say 'Uh-oh'." Rick was examining the warp zone opener. "The lightning bolt fried the circuits. We could only open one warp, and then it died." "Can you fix it?" Stacey asked. Rick nodded. "Fortunately, yes. Unfortunately, it's gonna take me quite a while." "How long is a 'while', Rick?" Mike asked. Rick sighed. "About two days. I'm gonna have to go out and buy some new parts to replace the ones that were damaged." "Fine, you're in charge of fixing it." Kevin said. "And what are you gonna do?" Rick asked. "Go on the Internet and see what's been happening all these years."
Kevin sat by the computer alone. Rick, Lana, Mike, and Stacey had gone to shop for replacement parts. After a half hour of idly browsing, Kevin decided to log on to DALnet and chat with someone. He used a program called mIRC. Kevin chose to get a list of the channels. It took quite a while. There were a lot of them. A lot of sex channels too, Kevin noticed. As he was scrolling through the list, one particular channel caused him to stop short and read the name outloud. "'#Captain_N'?" Then he looked at the topic next to it. "'Welcome To Videoland!'?!" What's going on here? he wondered. His first thought was that maybe the remaining members of the Videoland Club had decided to go public with their knowledge of the game universe. Kevin sighed. "Leave it to Romeo and Julius to screw things up." He decided to join the channel.
Session Start: Wed Apr 22 17:03:23 1998 *** Now talking in #Captain_N
Kevin noticed that there was someone called "Dragonicus" already in the room, and Kevin was using the name "Kevin_Keene".
<Dragonicus> Welcome to Videoland! <Kevin_Keene> Uh,...thanks. <Dragonicus> Cap, is that you? <Kevin_Keene> Yeah! <Dragonicus> Cool! Hey, how'd you get on at night?!
"That's all he can ask me after five years?" Kevin asked himself in surprise.
<Kevin_Keene> I'm in a hotel room. I can get on the 'net from here. <Dragonicus> Awesome! Wait 'til the others arrive! They'll be so thrilled! <Kevin_Keene> Everyone else comes here, too? <Dragonicus> Of course! <Kevin_Keene> Is this Romeo or Julius? <Dragonicus> What? <Kevin_Keene> What's your name? <Dragonicus> Nick <Kevin_Keene> Nick what? <Dragonicus> Pinto <Kevin_Keene> Hehee... <Dragonicus> Shut up.
Nick was sitting in his bedroom in his house in Stratford, Connecticut, chatting on DALnet with who he believed to be his friend.
<Dragonicus> Mark, is that you? <Kevin_Keene> Pardon? <Dragonicus> You're not Mark Moore? <Kevin_Keene> No. What made you think I was? <Dragonicus> Your nick. Mark sometimes uses it when he can't use Captain_N. <Kevin_Keene> Man, is everybody finding out about this now?! <Dragonicus> Yeah, it's great, isn't it?! <Kevin_Keene> I dunno. <Dragonicus> What's your name? <Kevin_Keene> Kevin <Dragonicus> Kevin what? <Kevin_Keene> Kevin Keene <Dragonicus> For real? <Kevin_Keene> Yeah, why? <Dragonicus> Well, that's Kevin's last name on the show. That's why I asked. <Kevin_Keene> Show? What show? <Dragonicus> Captain N: The Game Master
Kevin was definitely surprised.
<Kevin_Keene> Oh, man, there's a show about me now?! <Dragonicus> What? You're not saying you're Kevin, are you? <Kevin_Keene> Well, yeah. <Dragonicus> Um...okay. <Kevin_Keene> What does THAT mean? <Dragonicus> Nothing. So, you probably haven't found the page yet, huh? <Kevin_Keene> What page? <Dragonicus> http://cnhp.home.ml.org <Kevin_Keene> Okay, goin' there...
Kevin copied the URL, switched to Netscape, pasted it, and hit Enter. The site began to load. "What the - " Kevin wondered. "The Unofficial Captain N Home Page?" He switched back to mIRC.
<Kevin_Keene> There's a whole SITE about me?! <Dragonicus> Save it, Mark. I don't believe you're Kevin. I know we talked about writing an episode, but you're not gonna fool me. <Kevin_Keene> Episode? <Dragonicus> Kevin Goes To Hollywood <Kevin_Keene> Uh... <Dragonicus> All right, if you're really Kevin, try to prove it to me! <Kevin_Keene> Okay, how? <Dragonicus> Is there a scanner in the room? <Kevin_Keene> Yeah, to the left of the computer. <Dragonicus> Do you have a picture of yourself? <Kevin_Keene> Nope. =( <Dragonicus> Scan your face and send it to me. <Kevin_Keene> Um...okay. Hold on...
Kevin switched to the desktop and opened the scanning program. He got up, lifted the lid of the scanner, started a scan, and put his face flat on the scanner. After the scan was done, he closed the lid, saved the picture as me.jpg, exited the scanning program, and switched back to mIRC.
<Kevin_Keene> Okay, got it. <Dragonicus> DCC Send it.
<Dragonicus> Got it. BRB.
Nick switched to the desktop, opened a picture viewing program, and opened the picture he just got. "What the - " Nick started as he looked at the image. It was a kid sticking his tongue out and licking the scanner. He looked like he was eighteen years old. The resemblence was unmistakable. Nick quickly switched back to mIRC.
<Dragonicus> You really ARE Captain N, AREN'T you??? <Kevin_Keene> Yep.
"Oh, man." Nick said.
Rick, Mike, Lana, and Stacey got back to the hotel room at 8 PM. They had paper bags in their hands. "We're back!" Lana said. Kevin got out of the chair by the computer and walked over to them. "You got everything you need?" Rick nodded. "Yep. I should be able to fix the opener with these parts we got at Radio Shack. Then we can go home." "That's great." Kevin said. "But there's something you guys should know." "What?" Stacey asked. "We're not on our Earth." "Say what?" Rick asked. "What have you been smokin', Keene?" Mike asked. "I'm serious." Kevin said. "Look, while you were gone, I went online. I found a channel on IRC called 'Captain_N'. There was this guy on there named Nick. He pointed me to a website. It's about us." "What?!" Rick asked. The others were also surprised. "The lightning bolt scrambled the circuits as we suspected, but it did so in such a way that we warped to a random universe. On this Earth, there is, or rather was, a Saturday morning cartoon called 'Captain N: The Game Master'. It was about us!" "No kiddin'." Rick said. "Wow!" "Anyway, there's a whole website devoted to us. It's dedicated to keeping the N Team alive, so to speak." "Cool." Mike said. "Awesome!" Stacey said. "We're, like, famous!" "Uh, not exactly." Kevin said. "The show was canceled after only three seasons." "Aw, man!" Lana said. "I'm meeting the guy that created the site tomorrow on IRC. Nick e-mailed him and told him to be on." Kevin grinned. "You guys wanna see the site?" "Like, totally!" Stacey said.
TO BE CONTINUED...