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Neo Static: The Permutation Particles Polka II

Ruffo was down to her last clip, her anti-biotic pin had reached the maximum limit and she knew her time was going to come. She would save a last bullet for herself since she didn't want to be a drone in the Ul'ran horde.

She was in the meat locker, secured in the confined space with a few other souls that had managed to escape the chaos. But she couldn't shake the feeling that something wonderful was going to happen; she got this feeling once in a blue moon and she attributed it to just plain dumb luck.

Could there be someone pulling the strings? she wondered. Could this be just a game of some sort and I'm just a ...

Nope... Well, maybe.... or it could be a movie...
a voice entered her head. It was Max. Well, one cannot answer that question honestly though, since it's only a matter of how you look at things.

"Cap, are you alright?" Denmark asked. He raised the gun on her in a precautionary manner and he was ready to put a bullet in her brain-pan if she was infected.

"Yeah," she said. "Save your bullet for when you truly need it."

Denmark cracked a wry smile; she was okay.

You can open the door in about 30 seconds.

Outside the hammering and pounding on the steel door stopped and she could hear the rattle of Uzis and the sound of shells dancing on the floor like an erratic drummer at a punk concert. Then all was silent.

Ruffo looked at the others in the freezer and she went to the door and pulled a tie from the handle.

"What's going on?" someone asked. "Did they send a rescue unit?"

"I don't know," Ruffo said. "But, I think whoever it is ain't takin' no crap from Ul'rans."

The door opened and Ruffo looked and saw two young ladies in different cheerleader outfits. Why they could be twins. She didn't know who they were or why they were here but she was glad to see them.

"Max needs to see you now," one of the cheerleaders said.


Neo Static: The Permutation Particles Polka I

"... now you understand what must be done," Max said to them all. He had turned to the three-dimensional projection of Suki and Aqua hovering before them. "Time is of the essence, though the essence of time is not up for question. Comprehend?"

Aqua nodded as if she understood. She banged the battle gauntlets she was wearing together to activate them.

Suki just shrugged, lifting her hands in a 'comme ci, comme ca' motion. Her 13 year old brain was still trying to wrap around the fact of seeing herself, or another version of her, in the room with Max while he was giving them their task to do. And she was still trying to figure out if this Max was the Max.

"You got it, dude," she finally said. Then the holographic projection disappeared.

Max turned to the others he had gathered; a cup of coffee materialized before him and he took a sip of the elixir.

Suki glanced up at Max and smiled; same old Max. Then she looked at the others in the room where they had gathered:

Darius and his sidekick, Twofeathers, resting on his shoulders.

A much older version of Frank, his hair grey and his face clean shaven standing with what she had first thought was a version of Angst but turned out to be her daughter, Angelissa. Suki presumed the various strings in the plex intertwined and changed and off-shoot to various other alternatives which were endless and constantly changing like waves on a beach. 

And standing beside them was the Angst that she knew and loved but it wasn't her Angst, or maybe it was but it was not too easy to tell these days.

And then there was the Suki and Aqua which Max had contacted, wanting them to...

"You sure you are up to this, Suki?" Max asked her.

"You got it, dude," she told him.


Neo Static: What May Be, What Might Be, What It Is IX

"So what you gonna do?" Suki asked Aqua. "Do you wanna go or not?"

Aqua sat in the booth and picked at the plate of fries in front of her. She didn't know what she wanted to do with the spare time that she had; she was used to being on the go, one minute battling a gazillion robots, the next battling giant mutant wasps in some secret lair of some mad scientist. Now the biggest decision of the moment was whether to go to an Anime Convention uptown or to just rest her bones. Suki wanted to go ever since she saw the signs and she didn't want to go alone, and she had been hounding Aqua for the better part of an hour now.

"Please," Suki said, pouring on the charm. "Pretty, pretty, pretty please."

"Okay doke," Aqua said. "But if we are going to do this, let's do this right. We need to pick up some cosplay outfits!"

"Done," replied an excited Suki. "I checked MapsApp for some shops and there just happens to be one around the corner! 'Mally's Manga Mall'. They have a whole slew of styles from The Reverend..."

As the girls got out of the booth they saw Max hovering there before them.

"Max?" Suki said. "What's the deal?"

"I can't take you with me but I do need you girls to do a big favour for me. I need someone I can trust for this task," he said. "You ladies are my ace up the sleeve. Everything depends on it."

"Sure thing, Boss," Aqua replied. She was leery, seeing that the Max before her was Max but not the Max that left with Goner, Frank and Pretty George to see Clipboard Jones at a club for some items. "What's the task?"

Max took something out of his pocket and held it open-handed before the girls.

"甘いイエス·キリスト" Suki said.


Neo Static: What May Be, What Might Be, What It Is VIII

They were sitting around a campfire, relaxing and taking it easy. It seemed like months since they had had a break in the action, that's for sure.

Max and Maggie were lying by the fire, Maggie enjoying the summer breeze as Max sipped coffee from one of those old tin can coffee mugs they had picked up at a flea market a few days back.

Angst sat cross-legged on a blanket field-stripping the Uzis, which made Frank shake his head and chuckle. Here they were on a beach in North Carolina admiring the summer evening.

Goner was picking stones and seeing how far he could toss them into the water; well, after what had happened in North Africa with the grenade he could use a little practice on throwing.

Aqua and Suki sat on a log reading Manga and both were fan-girling on how different and vastly improved the series The Reverend was in this version of Earth.

Akimoto sat away from the group, sitting on a rock and meditating as usual.

All was quiet and peaceful for the moment, a time to catch one's breath and enjoy the scenery for a change of pace.

"You there yet?" Maggie asked of Max.

"Huh," Max replied.

"Nope, not yet," Maggie stated and she turned to kiss him.

"What brought that on?" he said, as if she needed a reason to.

"Just saying hello to an old friend," she replied. Then she saw the sparkle in his eyes, as if an ancient door was opening, letting light into a room that was completely dark.

"Dammit," Angst said as she looked around the blanket.

"What?" Frank inquired.

"Nevermind," she replied. "I think I left it in the car."

"Want me to get it?" he asked.

"No, I'll do it," she said, getting up. "Besides, I think I have a kink in my leg to work out."

"Well, considering you've been doing that for a while now it would kink up," Frank joked.

Angst stood and headed for the car.

Max had glanced over and then he looked back at Maggie and she just smiled and nodded. "You see it now, don't you."

Angst headed to where the vehicles were parked and she heard a noise and looked to see Max, hovering off the ground.

"What the hell, Max," she said. "You scared the bejesus out of me."

"Angst, you're needed," Max said to her.

"Well, no guff," she chided.

"Take my hand and we'll go," he said as he reached out. "You'll only be gone from here a fraction of a micro-second."


Neo Static: What May Be, What Might Be, What It Is VII

Frank sat at the kitchen counter, reading the paper and sipping away at his coffee. The television was turned on at a low volume, just enough to provide background noise. He glanced at the clock and noticed the time.

"Sweetheart," he called. "We've got to go."

"In a minute," came back the reply.

He took the last sip from his coffee and folded the paper neatly and put it on the counter. He brought the cup to the sink and ran the water over it, gave it a good rinse out and then set it in the sink.

"How's this?"

Frank turned and his mouth fell open.

She stood before him in a cheerleader outfit and her hair in ponytails.

"Oh... my..." he stammered. Seeing his daughter, Angelissa, in her school uniform showed that she was the spitting image of her mother.

"Oh, Dad, I'm so sorry," Angelissa said. She approached him to give him a hug. She could spot the tears building in his eyes. They had lost her mother ten years ago to cancer.

"No, Angel, it's okay," he said. "I wasn't prepared to see you in your new outfit, that's all. I will be there this evening for the game. It's your first performance and I wouldn't miss that for the world."

"Dad? Whose your friend?" Angelissa said as she looked at the counter. Frank turned to see Max there on the other side.

"Jeeze Frank, just how old are you?" Max asked with a sly smile. "The grey in your hair suits you."

"Max!" Frank said. "What the hell? I thought... I thought..."

"Well, that's another Max," Max said. "Or I'm that Max but just not the same Max you knew."

"Dad?" Angelissa questioned.

"Sweet Mother of Mary, she's the spitting image of her mother!" Max said, looking at Angelissa.

"What's happening?" Frank said, snapping Max out of the flashback moment of Angst in his mind.

"I need your magic, Frank," Max stated. "Of all the Franks in the Plex you are the one with the edge."


Neo Static: What May Be, What Might Be, What It Is VI

Darius and Twofeathers were resting against a tree; well more like Darius was resting while Twofeathers seemed to fly from branch to branch looking for a particular roost that seemed comfortable. It was spring in New York City and Central Park was lovely this time of the year. Darius had only been here once before but that was New Year's and he really didn't have time to enjoy it due to the circumstances that were happening at the time.

"Damn it to hell," Twofeathers replied.

"Just get some shut eye will ya," Darius told her. '"We've got a big job to do tomorrow."

"How bout a big job right now," Max said, sending Darius out of his slumber.

"What the hell?"

Max was hovering one metre off the ground before them. "I got a job for you guys."

"Sweet!" Twofeathers stated. "But, who the frak are you?"

"This is Max," Darius told her.

"Max?" she repeated. "You mean the Max?"

"The one and only," Max answered. "And I need your help... Well, not me but some people that are going to need some help."

"You don't need to explain anything to me," Darius stated. "I'm in."


Neo Static: What May Be, What Might Be, What It Is V

Suki sat there on the subway car, sipping a soda and watching the darkness blend with neon signs as the subway continued onwards. She was unsure what was going on but she knew she was going somewhere where she was needed.

The newly acquired Godhammer rested in her lap; the weapon was as big as her forearm. But it felt natural to wield in her tiny hands. Her new friends were resting as well as the train moved on and that was okay, it was giving her time to think.

Her old life was behind her and she was going to forge a new one in this weird thing called life that she was at. She glanced at Max who had closed his eyes and apparently nodded off, and she knew that she could trust him with her life. Her new life, riding a subway car and visiting various stations where their particular skills were needed.

She took a sip from the soda and thought about maybe catching forty winks herself - that's when Max tapped her on the shoulder.

"You're wanted," he said.

"For?" she asked.

"Not here," Max said; his eyes seemed to have aged a million centuries and he looked at her as if he had known her for decades (when in fact they had just met days before). "Do you trust me?"

"Yes," she told him.

"Okay," he nodded as he reached up his hand and touched her shoulder. "Blink!"

She blinked and in the moment of time she was not in the subway car but standing before a hovering Max.


Neo Static: What May Be, What Might Be, What It Is IV

Max could see it all and everything, his mind alert to all possible realities and situations that unfolded in the now. Even though it seemed like eternity it was only mere seconds in his mind. Relaying images from various possibilities and situations that were related to what was happening in this particular thread he was in.

He took in a deep breath and let it out as gently as a summer breeze; he could hear the klaxon going off and he could sense the imminent threat that was going on around him in this tiny fabric.

"Just let it go," a voice told him. "This teeny tiny micro-thin slice of a world is of no significance what so ever upon the billions and billions of others that are going on."

That voice, Max thought. I've heard it before.

"Max, my old friend," the voice continued. "Just let this one fade with the other lines, it will make no difference if this is lost amongst the timelines."

Oh fuck no, Max thought.



Neo Static: What May Be, What Might Be, What It Is III

Even though this might be the end of everything Ruffo was having the time of her life. She had never felt more alive than right now, her thoughts were crystal clear and her actions were smoother than silk on satin. She realized that this feeling had been building up inside of her since they discovered Max in the chamber.

"What the hell are you smilin at?" Anderson asked. Anderson had dispatched three of the creatures that used to be good friends only moments ago and now they were lying at her feet twitching like bugs on a hot windowsill.

"I really don't know," Ruffo confessed. "At first I was filled with dread and then a few moments ago I got this feeling inside that something good will come of all this."

"Well," Anderson stated. "I hope whatever the hell it is you're feeling is coming soon... or we're all Ul'ran drones."


Neo Static: What May Be, What Might Be, What It Is II

Munson and Hyllensen stood there looking at the screen; it only had five minutes until the whole compound was purged. It was better to go out in a blaze of glory than to become a servant of the Ul'ran infestation in their minds.

"See you on the other side," Munson said to Hyllensen.

"We're not there yet," Hyllensen replied. He had learned from history to never count your chickens before they hatched.

"What do you mean?" Munson questioned.

Hyllensen pointed to the screen showing Max hovering off the floor as a bright light began to emanate from him. "There's still him."

"What the hell is he going to do?" Munson wanted to know.

"Well," Hyllensen stated. "It could be beneficial.... or detrimental. Either way we're screwed."