The party had just defeated three members of Cage Force Bravo, with no idea where to go further. The Mariner came up with the idea of jumping through the hole he had created when he fought Wicker Man Cage, engaging his boot thrusters to try to land properly. Unfortunately, he didn’t count on the preparedness of the most devious member of Cage Force Bravo: National Treasure Cage. NT Cage engaged a trap door, causing the Mariner to fall further down through the floor. The rest of the team ran down the stairs in hot pursuit.
At last, they reached a disturbingly ornate door, which they wasted no time bursting through. There, they saw a tall throne underneath a reversed American flag. A pool of lava separated the door from the throne, above which dangled the Mariner. Waiting there was National Treasure Cage, alongside Con Air Cage, who was itching for a rematch. The fight began near-instantly.
The Mariner attempted to swing his way out of the lava, but ended up colliding with the wall instead. National Treasure Cage attempted to activate a rolling boulder trap, but everyone managed to dodge out of the way. Bright Man managed to shoot Con Air cage into the lava pool, but using superhuman stamina and out of love for his beautiful daughter Casey, he rose once more. However, concentrated effort managed to stop both Cages. What’s more, the lava pool had drained, revealing a staircase even further down.
After descending yet another spiral staircase, the team came across an even more ornate and threatening door. They opened it, revealing at last Lichard Nixon’s private laboratory. Artifacts from all periods of time were scattered across multiple tables, and a Doctor Doom-style time machine lay in the back. More interesting was Lichard Nixon himself, awaiting the heroes on a throne in the middle. Shaking with fury, Nixon summoned his vice-president, the impregnable Pyro Agnew, and the fight began.
The Wraith managed to close the distance to Nixon and struck his phylactery (the missing 18 and a half minutes of the Watergate tape), but Nixon teleported away, summoning undead Secret Service agents. Meanwhile, Agnew dealt heavy damage to the Mariner using his twin flamethrowers, but Bright Man managed to damage his extremely durable armor. In seething rage, Agnew attempted to turn his guns on Bright Man, but Bright Man shot a lemon into one of his guns, causing him to explode in a ball of flame.
Nixon created the terrifying illusion that the Wraith was back in his parents’ house as it burned down. In a last-ditch maneuver, the Wraith reached out, grabbed the final Faerie power source, and inserted it into the book. He underwent a profound spiritual change as he transformed into THE Wraith, Fae knight of illusion (weakness: truth). Using his newfound power, he was able to destroy Nixon’s phylactery, causing the unpopular lich-president to crumble into dust. In the dust was a mysterious film reel: The Mariner inserted it into his armor and it started to play.
The film was security footage eerily similar to the bank robbery that brought them together. However, a new set of heroes had appeared: The Mariner was oddly absent, and instead Camera X had become a hero. Additionally, Craig, adopting the name Flashbang, had appeared, presumably instead of Bright Man. The film stopped as the Shadowy Figure entered the building…shooting out the cameras first.
Nixon had sent a message to the Shadowy Figure through the time machine; the Descendant managed to trace it to before the beginning of time. The team jumped on the time machine, despite the Descendant’s warnings that the Time Agency had told him never to go there, and they disappeared…
Only to arrive in a tall marble hall. In front of them awaited their longtime foe, leader of the Dread Hand…
Evil Wraith explained what had happened: He was from an alternate timeline where all of his orphans had died. In his grief, he turned to evil and acquired the book, transforming him into a fae knight similar to this world’s Wraith. For four hundred timelines after that, he had attempted to create a timeline that would allow him to take over the world permanently. In the latest one, he had sent Lichard Nixon to interrupt Craig’s origin story and create the more incompetent Bright Man instead.
For the final battle, Evil Wraith summoned three more fighters: Agent Gamma, a John Herschel who had never been expelled from the Time Agency and retained his future technology; the Ancient Mariner, who had encountered whatever thing in the depths had corrupted Camera X; and Craig Prime, the Craig from the current timeline empowered by the Craigs of timelines past.
The final battle began. The Wraith made a beeline for his evil counterpart, attempting the burning-orphanage trick that had been pulled on him. However, Evil Wraith had become immune to this power and punched him through every person with bad ideas about media who ever existed in time. In return, the Wraith punched him through every failed timeline he had ever attempted. Meanwhile, the Mariner made a leaping strike at the Ancient Mariner, but failed to realize that the AM was covered with rapidly-growing barnacles that quickly rooted him to the floor. He powered up his electrical field, hoping to destroy the Ancient Mariner before he became part of it.
Meanwhile, Bright Man drank the last drop of Mountain Dew left in his cup, becoming Dirkman Lee once more. Craig Prime, ready for this, muttered a spell, fusing the Bright Man/Dirkman personas permanently and giving him knowledge about all of the disgustingly weeby things he had done in the past. However, this served to do the opposite, granting Dirkman knowledge about how to perform the Bright Stopper, and he finally managed to do the thing Bright Man had been trying for years: He performed the Dirk Stopper, actually stopping time, and fired a plasma lemon point-blank into Craig Prime, putting him out of his misery.
Agent Gamma managed to block most of the Descendant’s laser fire with his force field, but Evil Wraith called his attention to finally take out the Wraith. He opened up a time portal, casting the Wraith into deep space…just as the Nutro-Nuclear Dissolvo-Bomb was flying at his new location. Thinking quickly, the Descendant used his radio to call MTV at the time, instructing them to move their satellite over; however, they thought it was a prank call and told PBS to do it instead. The PBS satellite blocked the blast from the bomb, casting it and the Wraith back into the hall. Because of the fundamental truthiness of the satellite, the Wraith found himself without his powers…giving him an idea about how to stop Evil Wraith.
The Wraith punched the satellite in an attempt to move it, but only managed to break his own hand. The Mariner took advantage of the distracted Evil Wraith by suplexing the Ancient Mariner onto him. Meanwhile, the Descendant managed to shoot Agent Gamma’s wrist device, causing it to malfunction. Exhausting the last of his powers, the Wraith threw Agent Gamma onto the other two, causing them to disappear into the depths of time. The battle was finally, finally over, and the only thing left to do was step out into a brave new world…
Dirkman Lee came out of the backstage door to “Kickin’ Rad: The Legend of Tommy Max”, based on the hit TV show that lasted for ten seasons, hi-fiving his happy stagehands Chad and Craig. Waiting for him were Jonah Lethrbridge, full-time CEO of Industrial Aquatics, Lewis Turner, TV cameraman and volunteer at Our Lady of Perpetual Superheroics orphanage, and John Herschel, Turner’s great-great-great descendant from the future. They congratulated Lee on the great show and strolled off into the sunset as the army cadet once known as Weeaboo Man jogged the other way in his full military fatigues.
SAVED METRO CITY!