The Game Master
Season 4, Episode 1
The Tetris Wars
Webster S. Swenson
Kevin Keene lay on the back of the Warp Wagon, staring up at the starry sky that hung above the skies of Hyrule. Out of all the videoworlds he had been to, Hyrule would forever be his favorite for stargazing. He could do it for hours on end, just watching the sky, seeing the stars, watching meteorites fall from it as he used his imagination to make shapes between the various brighter stars. Someday, he thought to himself, he must bother to draw out a star map of his own constellations. As his eyes began to close as he drifted off to sleep he suddenly became fully alert again as an alarm went off from inside the Warp Wagon. Kevin launched himself over the hood of the Warp Wagon and into the pilot’s seat. Looking for the reason for the alarm, he soon flipped a switch and opened the communications channel.
“This is the Warp Wagon. What seems to be the problem, Tetris?”
“Captain N!” shouted a relieved voice as its face appeared on the video display. “This is Lyle, Protector of the Sacred Square of Tetris. I’m so glad its you that heard my distress call!”
“What seems to be the problem?”
“Tetris is under attack! I don’t have time to explain! Please bring the N Team as quickly as possible! We need your-” Lyle’s voice and image were cut off suddenly. Kevin sighed and turned on the ignition to the Warp Wagon. He set course for the Palace of Power – it looked like there would be no rest for him tonight.
“Warp Wagon to Palace of Power. This is Captain N. We have an emergency on Tetris. N Team, prepare to be picked up.” Kevin Keene pulled the Warp Wagon down towards the palace, parking it right outside of the palace doors. A few seconds passed before Princess Lana, Mega Man, and Kid Icarus came out the doors and jumped into the Warp Wagon, Game Boy, Duke, and Simon Belmont following only a half-dozen seconds behind them.
“So what’s wrong on Tetris, Kevin?” asked Lana as Kevin began to fly the Warp Wagon away from the Palace of Power, quickly accelerating in the direction of Tetris.
“I’m not quite sure,” replied Kevin honestly. “All I know is that Lyle said Tetris is under attack and then was cut off. Not good, N Team.”
“Suggest use of warp zone to decrease time to arrival,” bleeped Game Boy.
“Prepare yourselves,” yelled Kevin enthusiastically, “We’re taking the quick route!”
The journey to Tetris was uneventful until the last few dozen miles of space travel. At that point it had become obvious what was attacking Tetris – there were four, gigantic ships, each about a hundredth the size of Tetris, that were dumping a constant stream of blocks towards the surface of Tetris.
“What are those things?” asked Lana quietly.
Kevin turned the Warp Wagon’s nose down slightly so that he’d reach the cube-shaped planet at a sharper angle. “I don’t know, Lana, but we’re not going to find out until we find your brother!”
The Warp Wagon landed near the front of the Chamber of Tetris, the huge oddly-shaped structure that held the Sacred Square – an object that contained the very force that held Tetris together. It was the most likely place for Lyle to be – he was a Keeper of the Sacred Square, after all – and thusly the first place to look.
Kevin hopped out of the Warp Wagon, the others following him. “Let’s go, N Team.” He walked speedily towards the structure, the N Team close behind him. The door automatically opened and they entered, it closing behind them.
The inside of the Chamber of Tetris was almost as bizarre as was the outside. Although things were all made to angles, without a curve to be seen, the angles tended to be far from the right angles that were usually used but instead mostly of the thirty and sixty degree varieties. The walls were mostly of deep blues and purples, with highlights of black on objects such as the tops of desks. The Chamber of Tetris seemed strangely abandoned, without a single citizen of this strange world moving around inside of it. A sudden large noise behind him caused Kevin to around and pull his Zapper, automatically taking aim at the source of the noise. He soon relaxed – a large square block had fallen in front of the entrance to the building.
“Looks like its going to be harder getting out than in,” he said, trying to not think of that the Warp Wagon was probably under that block right now. “Let’s keep going.”
The N Team continued going through the Chamber of Tetris. They soon had searched the ground floor and found no sign of Lyle or anyone else, for that matter. Without anywhere else to look, they boarded the elevator that led to the actual chamber inside the Chamber of Tetris that held the Sacred Square on the only floor that the elevator led to, some five hundred feet above the ground floor. After the N Team entered the elevator, Kevin pressed the button to close the elevator and it began to rise, a peaceful music playing in the background.
The metal elevator rose in the glass shaft that led to the chamber of the Sacred Square, making a quiet hum as it did its work. After it had risen about a hundred feet off the ground, though, Kevin could sense that something was wrong. The ascent seemed to be slowing. He looked to his friends; they seemed to be thinking similarly. “Back away from the wall.”
As Kevin said this, the elevator came to a complete halt. He squeezed the trigger on his Zapper, creating a large, roughly circular hole in the side of the elevator and the glass shaft. Outside, in the space between the shaft and elevator, he could see now what had stopped their ascent. In front of them, hanging on by ropes, were three angled people of Tetris, all dressed in black outfits similar to that of a ninja. Kevin fired a shot at one of them, barely missing. “Who are you?” he demanded of them.
“He shoots first! He’s one of the Tetties!” yelled one of them as he jumped towards Kevin. Kevin fell back and closed his eyes as the assailant pulled a knife. Right as Kevin thought the end had come he heard the bloop of dedigitalization. With his eyes reopened he saw Mega Man pointing his Mega Blaster at where the assailant had been. The other two had been captured while Kevin had been frightened – one of Kid Icarus’s arrows had caught in a net; the other was held by Simon’s whip.
“Have no fear, Simon B is here.” Simon gave one of his ego-fueled smiles at this.
“Thanks, guys.” Kevin looked outside the elevator for a moment. “It looks like there’s some damage to the machinery on top of the elevator. Mega Man, do you think you can fix it?”
“I’m sure I mega-can, Captain N!” Mega Man stood at the edge of the hole in the elevator for a moment before kneeling down and launching himself up, doing a small back-flip at the end so that he would land on top of the elevator. The metal box shook uneasily as the heavy robot landed. After a few moments, his mechanical voice was heard by those still in the elevator. “I can’t mega-fix it, Captain N. It’ s been mega-totaled.”
Lana frowned, a worried expression on her young and innocent face. “What are we going to do, Kevin.”
“It’s okay, your highness. I think that I can mega-pull us up there.”
And so he could, as soon they were rising up the shaft again, Mega Man working as the power source behind the movement of the pulley. It was a bit slower than the elevator’s normal speed, but soon they reached the top of the shaft, Mega Man only having to stop a few feet before the point that it would usually stop at so that he could still open the door to the chamber and get out of the shaft himself.
The hall leading to the chamber of the Sacred Square was made of small blue squares, creating a soothing pattern on the walls. As they neared the locked door that was the final defense between the Sacred Square and whoever was attacking it a familiar voice yelled out. “Forces of Tetris! Keepers of the Square! This is our darkest hour! For Tetris!”
Kevin and the others fell to the ground as a barrage of lasers shot down the hall towards them. “We come in peace!” yelled Kevin back towards the source of the laser-fire. The firing soon stopped.
A form came forward. It had blonde hair and square rimmed glasses. It was Lyle, the Prince of Videoland and a Keeper of the Sacred Square, but he seemed strangely changed since the last time Kevin had seen him.
“Kevin! I’m so glad its you!” said Lyle with a smile. “And sis!” He embraced his sister tightly as she stood up off the ground. “I just wish you would have come for a less unfortunate reason.”
“What’s happened here, Lyle? Who are these people attacking Tetris?”
Lyle frowned and lowered his head. “Perhaps we should go to the Sacred Square for me to explain that.”
Lana nodded. “Whatever you want, my brother.”
The chamber of the Sacred Square was a small and plain room considering it’s the importance of what it held, with only a lightly visible pattern of blocks on its blue walls.
They all sat down on a collection of plain white chairs that were against the walls of one side of the chamber. Lyle gave out a sigh before he began to speak.
“Lana, there is more to Tetris than you or Father ever knew. A long time ago Tetris was a world even more peaceful and holiday loving than when I first came here. There were only one or two days in the year that didn’t have one celebration or another on them. In fact, that’s where the problems came from. Some people on Tetris didn’t think that this was good. They eventually began to protest Tetris’s excessive holiday celebrations. Eventually, Tetris broke into three major sects. One, the Tetties – the sect that presently inhabits Tetris. Two, the Beeps – a sec that left early on, not wanting to join either side and deciding to enjoy life in space rather than on Tetris. Three – the Tengen. The Tengen were the violent protestors. The turned Tetris into a war zone for over three decades before the Tetties were able to force them off of this world. Over ten thousand people were eventually killed on all sides because of this war.”
“Why didn’t you contact us earlier, Lyle?” asked his sister.
“We couldn’t, Lana. The first thing the Tengen did was knock out all communication on Tetris, even setting up a jamming network around this world so that we couldn’t send a message off of it. It took this long – it’s been over a month since they arrived - to create a single use transmitter powerful enough to break through their jamming network. It’s not been an easy time, Lana. We’ve nearly lost the Sacred Square to the Tengen twice in the last week.”
Lyle shook his head. “But now that you’re here, we can finally really fight back! We can finally have a chance against the Tengen’s assaults!” He looked at Kevin and smiled. “Captain N, will you be Tetris’s savior one more time?”
Kevin frowned, he didn’t like hearing something like this from Lyle. “Lyle, you do realize what you’re saying, don’t you? You’re suggesting that we destroy the Tengen! I don’t want to do that. Why can’t the two sects get along?”
Lyle’s eyes suddenly ignited with hatred. “They are evil, Captain N! They would rather kill all Tetties than live in peace with us. They have taken Mayor Sqauresly hostage! They are evil, Captain N!”
Kevin was starting to get frightened by this. This was not the Lyle he knew. He could tell that Lana was even more distressed by Lyle’s new behavior.
“How can you say that, Lyle?” she said with a whimper in her voice. “Are you know longer the brother I love?”
Lyle stood up and frowned. “War makes us become what we must. If you will not help us, you will leave now.”
“Lyle!” screamed Lana at her brother.
“Lana, I suggest you leave.”
Fifteen minutes later the N Team found themselves outside of the Chamber of Tetris. Kevin’s Zapper had taken care of the large square block that had fallen when they had entered the building and the Warp Wagon, much to Kevin’s relief, had not been destroyed, or even damaged – it had been missed by the fall of the large block by almost two feet. He reluctantly hopped into the vehicle and turned it back on.
“What do we do now, Lana?” he asked with a sigh.
“I don’t know.”
Kid Icarus, having been silent, broke this now by speaking. “I doicus. We need to go to the Tengen. If the Tetties won’t listen, we have to hope that they will.”
Kevin looked at Kid, then at the others. He nodded. “What else can we do?”
The Warp Wagon sped through the skies of Tetris, up towards space and the Tengen cubes.
Tetris was not a large world by any means, but the Tengen cubes were, by normal standards of space ships, gigantic. Each of the four ships was perhaps three or four miles across, tall, and thick. The Warp Wagon was now approaching the one that was slightly differently colored from the others, having a golden highlight on each corner instead of black. As they neared it, Kevin began to notice the lines of windows that went across the side of the ship, showing the inhabitants inside. Children, women, families were walking around the ship. What was this? This wasn’t what he had expected. He hadn’t heard much about the Tengen and Lyle’s words were surely biased, but this was definitely not what he had expected.
A message was being sent towards the Warp Wagon from the Tengen cube. As a beep sounded on the Warp Wagon, Kevin pressed a button, bringing up the image of an angled man in a black military uniform.
“Incoming vessel. Please identify,” he said plainly.
“This is the Warp Wagon, I am Captain N.”
“You have been expected. Please release your controls. We shall bring you in.”
Kevin suddenly felt the Warp Wagon pull in a direction other than what he was directing it. Realizing that the Warp Wagon had been taken control of by the Tengen, he let go of the steering wheel and allowed the Warp Wagon to go where it would.
Soon the Warp Wagon turned towards a relatively small, circular opening in the side of the Tengen cube. Once inside, the Warp Wagon slowed down and began to lower, eventually setting down in a bay amongst several other small ships. There were two people there to greet them. One of them was quite familiar to Kevin.
“Mayor Squaresly?” he said in astonishment. “We were told you had been taken hostage.”
The short and fat politician laughed. “I disappeared quite quickly when the Tengens first arrived. It’s unfortunate that things have gone as they have.”
Lana hopped out of the Warp Wagon, followed by the others. “And how have they gone, Mayor Squaresly?”
“Poorly.” He frowned. “I came here on account of a Tettie terrorist. He had found this ship and assassinated one of its higher ranking military officers.”
“If it was a terrorist, then why have you attacked?”
The Tengen spoke now. “I can answer that. I am Governor Cube of the Tengen. Our government works a bit differently than most. Our military functions independently from other parts of the government. They also control where we go. They decided to renew the declaration of war against the Tetties from so many, many years ago. We cannot stop them.”
“And,” continued Mayor Squaresly, “If you cannot, either, Tetris will be destroyed.” He looked pleadingly at Kevin. “Please, Captain N. Please stop General Georon.”
“And where is he?”
Kevin and the others turned around as a tall, blocky man appeared from behind one of the larger ships in the docking bay. “Tetris shall perish, and what you have just said is treasonous! Prepare to suffer the fate of all those who plot against Tengen!”
Suddenly, his sword was drawn and General Georon leapt towards Governor Cube. Just as suddenly, the sword was gone, clattering to the floor.
Kid Icarus reloaded his bow. “Do that again, and the next one will be for youicus.”
General Georon looked at the small winged archer. “You have just made a deadly mistake, archer.”
Kid Icarus pulled back on his bow’s string. “You will end your assault of Tetris and leave, never to come back hereicus. You will resign and you will leave these people. You will go somewhere where you shall not disturb anyone else. You will do this now or, so help meicus, I will let go of this string.”
Georon just smiled. “Then do it, archer. Fire at me.”
“I will do it.”
Kid Icarus squinted his eyes at Georon, then raised his aim and fired the arrow towards a light hanging from the ceiling. It broke off as the arrow cut through the cord that held it to the ceiling and fell down towards the general, hitting him on the head and knocking him unconscious.
“And I did.” Kid Icarus smiled
and let his bow lower.
“I go speak.”
Governor Cube had been inside the council room for over an hour speaking to the military leaders of Tengen in a request that they end the war against the Tetties. Although it was a long shot, it was the last real chance that the war would end.
“Kevin,” asked Lana softly, “do you think that they will listen?”
Kevin frowned. “I don’t know, Lana. I hope so.”
As Kevin finished the sentence he looked around. He noticed a face that he hoped he would not see again. The general had returned.
Kevin put his hand against the Zapper on his belt when suddenly the door to the council room opened and the Mayor of Tetris and the Governor of Tengen came out from it.
“General Georon!” he yelled in an authoritative voice. “The Council of Tengen has decided that the war against the Tetties shall be ended and that you shall be reprimanded for your behavior. Enter the council chambers and prepare to receive your sentence.”
The general stopped unsheathing his weapon and the two Tengens entered the chamber, the door closing behind them. Mayor Squaresly looked at the ‘round-faces’ and spoke. “We should leave now. This is not going to be a square place for a long time. I have a ship that I can use here. I suggest that you don’t come back to Tetris for awhile.”
Kevin nodded. “I’m afraid I must agree.” He turned to Lana and the others. “Let’s go.”
The Warp Wagon sped off through the starscape back towards Videoland. Kevin couldn’t help but think about how they weren’t as beautiful from here as they were on from the ground. They never were – things are so very rarely as nice close up as they appear as from far away.