"SOME LIKE IT COLD"
EDITED AND HTMLIZED BY
Friday, December 3, 1993, 9:00 PM
"Hey, Mike?" Mike Vincent glanced up from the console tiredly. "What do you want, Keene?" Kevin was carrying two soda cans, and handed one over to Mike. "Thought you could use one. No luck?" "Nope." He handed Kevin the list of possibilities that Gameboy had printed out so far. Each and every one had been crossed off. "Hyrule, Kongoland, Baseball World, Final Fantasy, Punch-Out...you name it; she isn't in any of 'em!" He punched the console. "Damn it!" He punched it again for emphasis. Kevin caught his friend's arm before Mike could seriously damage the equipment. "Hey, man, calm down!" Mike glared at him, then shook it off and stalked over to crash down on the couch. "What's gotten into you?" "I don't know." Mike muttered as he opened the can of Pepsi and took a swig. "If I hadn't been so slow, I would've gotten to Stace before she got sucked in." Kevin sat down across from him. "Both of you would've been sucked in instead. Mike, it wasn't your fault." "Yeah, yeah, I know." Mike scowled. "It just figures, though. You get pissed at a friend and act like a dumbass, and, before you get a chance to cool off..." He shook his head. "Whatever. I didn't mean all that stuff I said." Kevin nodded. "I kinda figured. Stace can take care of herself if she has to. And I think she'll forgive you." Mike snorted. "But it was her fault." "Whatever." Kevin stood up. "Look, everyone's agreed on a break, and we've got pizza ready if you want some." "Hey, yeah." Something occurred to Mike. "Wait a minute. This isn't your Captain N Special, is it?" "Nah." Kevin made a face. "Lana made it. Probably super-hot-and-spicy, knowing her." "Real pizza?" Mike stood up. "Cool! I'm in!" He started towards the kitchen. Kevin was right behind him. "Hey! What do you mean 'real pizza'?"
"So Dr. J was here?" Mike Jones asked, accepting the blanket and wrapping it around his shoulders. Stacey was already bundled up and delighting in the warmth of the fireplace in the hermit's cave, which was a surprisingly large and well-furnished cavern. The old man nodded, pouring himself a cup of tea. "Just for a bit - on Monday, I think. We discussed his new invention that he was planning to test." Stacey glanced up from the fire. "Like, what kind of invention?" Chuckling, the hermit sat down in front of the fire. "He was trying to perfect a refrigeration technique that would work in a tropical climate without too much waste. He wanted to use it for food storage for the natives. Actually, the plans were quite well laid out. He even had certain test sites mapped out." "What's that mean in English?" Stacey wondered. The hermit turned to address Mike, who was sitting down next to Stacey. "It means that your uncle was trying to build a device for freezing food for storage. And, if I'm not mistaken, it must have backfired." "A fridge for the tropics." Mike clarified, and Stacey finally got it. "But do you know what happened?" "No." The hermit frowned, and then brightened. "But I do have a copy of the test sites your uncle planned on using to test at different altitudes." He hobbled over to a desk in the far corner of the room, covered in mounds of papers and odds and ends. The hermit promptly started digging through the mess, nearly getting buried in the mound himself. "Let me see here - herbal remedies, fradulent witch doctors, the treatise on Kepler's Laws - here it is!" A hand emerged from the mound holding a rolled-up piece of paper. Mike took it as Stacey helped dig the hermit free. "You have totally got to organize." He chuckled. "I gave up years ago." They crowded around the drafting table as Mike unrolled the map of C-Island and most of the surrounding islands. The hermit pointed to a red dot halfway up the mountain, with a date attached. "This was his first test spot, since I refused to let him try it up here. Here's the second." "That's it!" Mike exclaimed, tracing a finger across the map. "We ran into ice here, and along here, and here. It leads back to the cemetery! That's the origin!" "Cool!" Stacey cried. "And it's the place all the ice is coming from!" "Stace..." Mike trailed off. "Naah. Too easy." "But he's tested there quite a while ago." the hermit added. Mike scanned the map, bypassing points with earlier dates until he found one. "At the ruins. He's scheduled to test it tomorrow." He yawned suddenly. "We'd better go check it out." "I wouldn't advise that at this hour." the hermit said. "Why don't you two stay for the night and get started in the morning?" They were too tired to argue.
Saturday, December 4, 1993, 8:00 AM
"I never would've figured you for a morning person." Mike joked as Stacey jogged happily ahead of him. She'd been up with the dawn, ready to get moving, and the hermit had allowed them to take his makeshift lift down the mountain and a series of secret passages to get back to Miracola. The rocks before them parted to reveal an exit onto the beach, and Stacey shielded her eyes in the bright light. "I just wanted to get back down, Indy. Like, you're so hot to trot to find Dr. J, I thought you'd be the one ready to go." She frowned. "I wish we'd known about this before." "He's got it hidden for a reason, Stace." Mike said. "If we'd been able to send a message, he'd have let us use it." "Well, why didn't we?" "It was getting too dark to send and receive a message by smoke signals." Mike snorted. "That's because somebody had to get a shower before we left, so don't go whining to me." Stacey sniffed, but let it pass as they started down the beach. The tunnels opened out onto the beach near Miracola, which would guarantee them a short walk. After they passed through, the rock slid closed behind them, leaving no outward sign that there was any passageway there. They walked along the beach for a few moments without speaking, listening to the crash of the surf and enjoying the lack of monsters for once. "I hate to sound, you know, selfish and all that," Stacey said suddenly, "but why do we have to look for your uncle?" At Mike's pained look, she flinched. "Um, no, I mean why can't we go find a warp back to Megaland and get the N Team? They'd be a big help." "Because we can't." Mike said. "Say what?" "We can't just go find a warp around here. It's not that easy." Mike shoved his hands in his pockets. "This is what Uncle Steve told me, and I don't really get it all. Around here, there's not much in the way of stable warps. Mostly random warps generated from warp devices and such. If there are any stable warps we can get to, Uncle Steve would know. We're kind of isolated out here. Almost no one even knows about Videoland, period." "Then how do you know?" Stacey retorted, poking him in the ribs. Mike shrugged and continued walking down the beach. "We still get some travelers from time to time. This warp-to-warp salesman showed up last year and tried to sell Uncle Steve everything from ghost repellers to satellite TV." Stacey started giggling. "A warp-to-warp salesman?" "Yep. Biggest con artist I ever saw, too. We didn't know what the hell he was talking about, and Uncle Steve thought he was some kind of escaped lunatic. Short, balding, and babbling. The plaid tie and Hawaiian shirt didn't help either." Stacey had another giggling fit. "We eventually got a straight story out of him, but the only one who really has a clue about the technology would be Uncle Steve." Stacey sobered at that. "I thought he was, like, an archaeologist." "Yeah, but he tries to invent stuff in his spare time. He practically built Sub-C, so I think he might be able to start up a warp for you." Stacey broke into a trot as the huts of Miracola came into view on the horizon. "Well, let's get going already!" Mike shook his head and ran after her.
"How's the search going?" Lana asked as she entered the lab. Li and Dr. Right were working busily on the interface, a sort of scaled-down model of the Shielder. The viewing screen was gone, and it was half the size of the original device. But it was intact, gleaming, and there was no signs of any foreign objects going in or out. Mike was back to work in the Communications room, Kevin and Kid Icarus were patrolling, and Li had finally coaxed Simon to get some sleep. Li yawned, rubbing her eyes. "It's going. Slowly." "Rick's coming back from Final Fantasy." Mega Man said as he entered. "He said he was getting mega tired of Romeo and Julius." "Can't say I blame him." Dr. Right said, checking the settings and switches on the device. "All right, Li, let's boot it up." Li nodded and flicked several switches. Again the lights on the machine lit up, and the terminal that it was connected to was illuminated with a blue glow. A second later, the lights flicked off. Lana turned to see the message on the screen: "Illegal operation error. System shutdown." Dr. Right sighed. "I suppose it's back to the drawing board." Li sighed and banged her head lightly on the device after switching it off. "I have my usual hundred morning appointments," Lana said with a sigh, "so I'd better get to them before the mob comes after me." As she turned to go, Rick entered, cheerfully surveying the mess of Dr. Right's lab and the tired faces of the scientists. "I see everything's running as smoothly as usual." Mega Man, Li, and Right glared at him, and he held up his hands. "Okay, I'm sorry. What do you need me to do?"
"I don't see any ice or anything." Stacey announced as they climbed out of the sub and onto the beach. Mike jumped down beside her, his attention focused on the tracking device in his hand. "That probably means he hasn't tested yet." He pointed the device north, into the jungle, and the beeping from the tracker grew louder. "Okay, the signal's getting stronger in this direction." As they moved through the jungle, it became more and more difficult to pick out a trail as the foliage grew denser. It got to the point where Stacey had to use her boomerang to chop through the thick undergrowth. As they came into a clearing, the tracking device in Mike's hand started beeping frantically. "Indy, what's going on?" "I don't know." Mike said as he moved forward, Stacey right beside him. They moved in unison, taking each step together. "Closer....closer...closer..." The beeping changed in pitch. "What the - " Before Mike could finish the sentence, the ground gave way beneath them, and the two adventurers screamed as they were swallowed by darkness.
The chute dropped them unceremoniously onto a stone floor. Mike hit the ground first, and tried to sit up only to have Stacey fall right on top of him. "Stace, you mind?" "Like, excuse me!" She scrambled off of him, and they got to their feet, brushing off dust and dirt as they looked around. "So, where are we?" Mike knelt to pick up the tracking device, checking to see if it was damaged. He walked around the dim chamber, inspecting the walls. "This looks like the Ruins, all right. I think Broken Joe used to be here." He knocked the dirt off of his jacket and slid it on, putting the yo-yo back in the pocket. "I don't think the yo-yo's going to cut it." Stacey frowned as he unhooked the odd weapon from his belt. "What's that?" "It's the Star of Shecola." Mike explained. Stacey frowned, trying to think. "Like, isn't that the place where there's only women or something allowed in? I don't remember much of the game." Mike nodded. "Yeah, sort of." "Oh." She smirked. "Then how'd you get it?" "I, um, - look out!" Stacey whirled to see the two mummies coming at them. She missed the flicker of relief that crossed Mike's face as she drew her boomerang. One hit merely knocked one of them back, and the other one was only slowed by the spheres of light that Mike threw from the Star of Shecola. "This is bad." she said as the Muumus advanced. Mike glanced down. "I've got an idea." he whispered. "Cover me!" With that, he tucked the Star into his pocket and rushed at the Muumus, only to drop and slide between them at the last minute as Stacey hit them both with one toss of the boomerang. Disoriented, the slow-witted creatures froze, giving Mike the chance to seize hold of a stray bit of gauze from the ankle of each and tie them together. He scrambled up as the Muumus tried to turn. "Go around the left! I'll go this way!" She took off the way he'd pointed, and Mike ran in the opposite direction. One Muumu went after Stacey, and the other went after Mike, gauze unraveling as they went. They raced around the room, trying to move in opposite directions. As they pursued their prey, the Muumus only served to unravel each other further. Just as the Muumus caught up with them, they collapsed into piles of dust and gauze. "Cool!" Stacey exclaimed, nudging the pile with her toe. When it didn't react, she grinned. Mike sighed. "Come on, Stace." He turned and jogged down the next tunnel, tracking device in one hand. Stacey followed, and nearly crashed into him as he stopped short in the next room. There were a pair of Pirate Ghouls waiting for them. The ghostly skeletons waved their swords menacingly as they advanced. Mike gasped. "I don't believe this!" "Why not? It's been weird enough until now." Stacey muttered as they edged away from the creatures, readying their weapons. "They're not supposed to be here!" Mike cried excitedly as his shot passed through one apparition. Stacey ducked the swing of the other Ghoul's blade and gulped as it lodged into the wall. "Why are you so happy?" "It means we're on the right track!" Mike scowled as he dodged a blow. "Wish we could've gotten a magic mirror first." The Ghouls weren't giving them a chance to get to the door at the other end of the room. "Hey," Stacey exclaimed as she came beside him, "I've totally got a mirror!" She pulled out a small compact and flipped it open. Seeing the mirror, the Ghouls shrieked in unison, dropping their swords and cowering in fear. They didn't realize that it was an ordinary mirror, and in their panic forgot to block the exit. But they'd figure it out soon. Taking the mirror from Stacey, Mike grabbed her arm and moved along the wall, keeping the mirror pointed at the two Ghouls. Just as they started to realize the hoax, the two teens reached the door and dashed into the tunnels. Mike tossed the mirror back to Stacey as they ran. "You're a genius, you know that?" "Like, do I care?" They could hear the enraged shrieks of the Ghouls in hot pursuit. "They're after us!" They had entered a maze of dimly-lit tunnels, which curved and branched off in every direction. Mike pulled out the tracking device and flipped it on, choosing his path by the signal.
After several twists and turns, the Ghouls' howls could no longer be heard. "I think we lost them." Stacey panted as they entered a new room - only to find that the floor was covered with snakes. "Eeek! Oh, gross!" Something seemed to snap in Mike. With a yell, he grabbed the Star of Shecola and started striking the ground repeatedly. Light sparked and sizzled as he struck, obliterating snake after snake with blind fury. Dragging Stacey behind him, he cut a path through the writhing bodies, jumping on the tile by the far wall. As the door slid open, they dove through seconds before it closed again, leaving them in an empty corridor. A stray snake made it through, but, before Stacey could say a word, Mike whirled and reduced it to ash. For a few moments, they stood there, breathing heavily. Finally, Stacey turned to stare at Mike. "Okay, what the hell was that?" "Nothing." Mike gasped, checking the tracking device. "I just really hate snakes." Stacey stared at him for a moment, then started giggling. Mike made a face. "Don't even say it." She tried to muffle her hysterical laughter as they headed down the corridor.
Dr. Steven Jones was not having a great week. He shifted his position against the pillar, wincing at the sting of the rope burns as he did so. His three captors, all hooded and cloaked, were bustling around, making adjustments to his precious invention - first built to help others, now warped to enslave them. He had to do something, but what? His gaze moved to the pack a few feet away. He had a couple of Zoda's ray guns retrieved from the wreckage of the alien ship inside it. But getting to them was another matter. If only... "Gentlemen!" the leader exclaimed suddenly, attempting to be dramatic. "And you, too, brother, dear." The taller figure snorted as the shortest one - who Dr. Jones privately called "Shorty" - snickered. "Today is a momentous day in our history. Today is the advent of our final test: to control a world with snow and ice at the flip of a switch!" Dr. Jones suddenly noticed movement in the nearby corridor. Amused at their boss' melodrama, the others didn't notice as two heads peeked around the corner, then zipped back into the shadows. Hope sprung to life in his heart as Dr. Jones recognized his nephew. He was immediately glad that he had left the transmitter in his shoe as the leader continued rambling on. "Low-power activation froze a string of islands; maximum power will subdue an entire video world! When we take on Megaland, the Princess will submit control to us, and Videoland shall be ours!" The other two clapped as Dr. Jones cleared his throat. Curious, they turned to face him. "Give me a break." the archaeologist spat. "You three couldn't even tie your shoes without help. What makes you think you can take over a world?" The leader advanced towards him. "What did you say?" "I've listened to you whine this whole week." Dr. Jones answered calmly. "You can't even agree on pizza toppings. And you can't even pull off an original evil plot; you had to rip off my invention to do it!" All three of them were staring at him, and no one noticed the two teens dash into the room and behind a statue. The leader growled. "I'll take great pleasure in watching you freeze to death instantly." He turned to his followers, gesturing to Shorty, who stepped up to the device. A blonde head moved behind Dr. Jones, and he could feel something sawing at the ropes. None of his captors noticed as his ropes broke free. The pack was on the other side of the group, so Dr. Jones grabbed something else as the leader started to count down. "On the count of three. 1...2..." He never made it to "3". The light from the Star of Shecola hammered into him, sending him flying across the room. Shorty let out a yell of surprise as Dr. Jones swung the shovel like a baseball bat, knocking him away from the device. The brother charged the blonde, who simply sidestepped the rush, and he smashed into the wall. Dr. Jones dove for the pack. The leader was getting to his feet as Mike took a shot at the biggest one, pulling his wand out of his robes. "Indy, look out!" the blonde shouted as a bright hoop of light shot towards Mike. Hearing her shout, Mike dove away just in time as the statue behind him was blown to bits. A silver boomerang whizzed through the air, knocking the wand out of the leader's hand. As the blonde caught it, Dr. Jones stood up, a ray gun in each hand. "Do you feel lucky, punk?" he snarled in his best Dirty Harry impression. Mike stifled a laugh. The leader whirled, his hood falling back to reveal his face. The blonde let out a gasp of shock. "Like, no way! It can't be!" "Oh, but it is." Ludwig von Koopa said with a cackle. Behind him, Roy Koopa and Kamek got to their feet, identical evil grins on their faces. He giggled maniacally. Mike wasn't intimidated in the least. "Okay, Chuckles, if you haven't noticed, you're screwed." "Wrong again." Ludwig answered cheerfully, pulling out a small object from his pocket. "I'll just have to skip to Phase Three." Roy adjusted his glasses. "Hasta la vista, baby." the big Koopa sneered as Ludwig tossed something to the floor. It exploded in a burst of light, sound, and purple smoke, which immediately filled the room. As the three humans coughed and tried to clear the smoke, there was a strange sound and a flicker of blue light. When the smoke cleared, the Koopas - and the device - were gone. Mike was the first to speak. "I got a bad feeling about this." The blonde started giggling, but then stopped. As the other two stared at her, she shrugged. "Oops. Wrong movie. So, um, what do we do now?" Suddenly, the earth started shaking, and bits and pieces started falling from the ceiling. "For starters, let's get out of here!" Mike shouted as Dr. Jones grabbed his pack. He grabbed his nephew's arm. "This way! I know a shortcut!" Placing his hand on one of the tiles, he pressed it in, and a section of the wall slid away to reveal a stairway leading up. "Why do we always find the shortcut after we get places?" the blonde whined as she charged up the stairs, Mike and Dr. Jones following. As they emerged into the light of day, Dr. Jones nudged Mike. "'Indy'?" The teenager shrugged as they turned to see the roof of the tunnel behind them collapse into rubble. "It's a long story, Uncle Steve."
TO BE CONTINUED...