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Portal Protocol

"And what is that?" Tatterdemalion asked, her voice echoing in the chamber.

"It's the Metaplex, represented as a four-dimensional object. That's why it appears to change shape over time but still retain cohesion."

"It hurts my head, looking at it."

"It's even worse when you are inside it. Don't you remember?"

Tatter stared at the pulsing, morphing substance hovering in the centre of the room. The colour changed, sometimes shiny, others muted.

"It's like a strange attractor..." Tatter whispered.

"Well, it most certainly attracts the strange. You'll observe three recurring patterns on the sides of the object. Interacting with it at each of these will produce a different experience."

Pattern One: Fragments

Pattern Two: Iteration

Pattern Three: Crisis

Tatter squinted. "I... I think I see a fourth pattern..."


Game Not Over

Dan drew a card from the deck and looked at it. GUN FU +10. It was something that he needed in order to take the beast down.

He looked down at the pattern of cards on the table: his Max was tapped out, he had used Cigarette Clue and Mystic Java earlier in the fight against the big boss. He knew that if he didn't get the card he needed it would be over. He had never had to depend more on the luck of the draw and he got it.

"Looks like it's going to be curtains for Max," Chance replied. His Darius card had Bible Verse of Doom, Skateboard of Protect +2, and Angelic Wings attached to the kid.

"The game isn't over yet," Dan replied.


Up and Down The Dial


... and tonight on MasterCook we have three constants left....


.... and of the three there is a possible fourth that could be seen...


... on the right. Now, we know what to expect....


... for those evenings when nothing works out right there is always...


... Max....


... and the ....






.... gang....


... to save the day once again...


C2IP Update.4

"I'm sorry, Professor. I'm still experiencing some residue from the shift."

"That's okay. Even the abnormal has been exceptionally abnormal of late. I was asking you the Ruffo-Haskins screening questions to determine what your Prime Version was prior to my experiment."

"Did you identify it? Wait, what experiment?"

"I transmitted a vector-feedback signal into the XXXXXXplex in order to generate a pulse of Continuity in the hopes of creating the conditions for one of the Dragons' to discover the source of the current Agenda War. And yes, I believe you had recently escaped some sort of facility in which you had undergone an Upgrade of some kind?"

"Yeah, that does sound familiar... And yes, it worked. Your experiment. Did Aki make it out?"

"His arrival seems to have been an iteration of an event that occurred earlier in one of the beginnings of the current Crisis, when he intervened on the Subway to thwart an Agent that was attacking Aqua. If I am interpreting the data correctly."

"So he's not here? Where is here, exactly?"

"We've gone Liminal. It's not ideal but it's the only way I've been able to maintain any perspective on the Crisis. Akimoto is one of the signals that I have had a great deal of difficulty tracking. His and Darius'. Oh, and Suki's."

"Who do you have a lock on, then?"

"Records show a number of intersections with Angst, Frank and Goner, Aqua too, all Upgraded as well. And Wraith, Dex and Callan appear to be in a parallel stream... There's also these sporadic but intense signals regarding someone named Summer. Everything has gone a bit bonkers, honestly."

"The War, like you said. The Metaplex is at war. The System vs The Counter-System vs The Anti-System."

"It's a good thing I know some truly excellent warriors," the Professor said with a smile. Maggie was handed a cup of tea.


"I'll download you a copy of the most recent analyses and then we need to start working on what might be the most important question."

Maggie sipped the tea, glanced at the files downloading onto the tablet on the table in the cafe. "What's that?" she asked. The person seated at the table beside at her glanced over, then away.

Analysis One

Analysis Two

Analysis Three

"Whose side is Max on?"


C2IP: The Agenda War X - Final

The Masked Man was shouting, a voice raw with rage. "None of you really care! None of you give a shit!"

She feels dizzy, feels for a moment as if she is back on The Horsebreeder's Ranch, the night it burned. Maybe I died there and now I'm a ghost...

The dizziness keeps her from noticing Brogan staggering out of the flames, pistol in hand.

The Masked Man draws on Brogan but Brogan squeezes first and a burst of blood erupts from the Masked Man's head.

Brogan's gun sounds strange. Mags remembers the rumours, that the gun Logollos shot Sugarcube with had sounded strange. It's bringing her back, the sound, the question of it, bringing her back from the ranch, but too slowly.

Brogan already turning to face her, gun raised.

And part of her mind, staggering out of the flames from that night at the ranch into the flames that are swallowing Omega, part of her is trying to see if she can see, now that their hat is knocked off from the gunshot, if she can see who The Masked Man is...

Even as she, reflexes kicking in, raises her own gun at Brogan, but still too slow.

Maybe I am going to find out what happened to Sugarcube after all.

Except there are suddenly hoofbeats like thunder and a horse and rider charge out of the smoke. Right behind Brogan. And the rider, a massive man, shirtless and bloodied, long blond hair tangled and damp with sweat, hacks Brogan's head off with a giant sword.

"Maggie!" the rider roars, a savage grin on his face. "It's time to go!"

And she remembers him, another wave of dizziness, a wave of memories, enough to drown her - Vlad, he was called, and Akimoto - and the dizziness overtakes her, starting to fall, and the memories, remembering what it feels like to shift.