Two years later…
[I highlight a lot of text and hit Backspace. Out of the chaos, order begins to come back.]
Chapter 9: Fun with Numbers
[the Dark Garden fades in]
[Shade fades in, a grey Dark/Swim chao in a bandanna and wielding a crowbar]
[Dark fades in, a regular Dark chao with a guitar strapped to his back]
[Red fades in, a red Dark chao with machine gun in hand]
[Shadow fades in, a Dark/Run chao in a trilby and purple scarf]
[Shawn fades in, a Neutral chao in a trenchcoat]
[Tagliare fades in, a blue chao wearing a gas mask]
[Levity Nite fades in, a tall cloaked figure hiding an old green chao]
[Doctor Eggman fades in]
[Chao fades in, a Dark Chaos Chao who was once the ruler of the Hero Garden]
[Professor Shade fades in, an arbitrarily female grey Dark chao in a top hat]
[Amphis fades in, a red Neutral/Power/Power chao]
[Mephiles fades in, a demon that.. resembles Shadow the Hedgehog, he's from Sonic '06, that's what's important]
[Mecha Knuckles fades in, the thing from Sonic R]
[the Tails Doll fades in, the other thing from Sonic R]
[Shade Junior fades in, a young Dark chao with stilts and a cloak hidden away in hammerspace]
[Zero fades in, an X-Naut]
Shade: Did we.. did we make it? What just happened?
MK: ...I think we made it. Metal Speedy ain't here.
Dark: It's not over, though.
Shadow: What? Why?
Dark: Shadow, you only got five chaos drives. How did you become a Dark/Run chao?
Red: Wait a minute. Didn't Future Shade give you a chaos drive just after the hiatus?
Shadow: Hey yeah, he did.
Egg: That should only be six, though. The boy needed one more. It should be impossible!
Shade: …not necessarily.
[everyone turns to look at Shade]
Shade: Does anyone else remember, yonks ago, when we'd just come back from Chao Talk for the first time and the Dark Garden was filled with clones?
Shawn: …and you turned into a Dark/Swim chao despite having been given no chaos drives at all. I remember; it gave you the strength to fend me off.
Shadow: Wait, really? Do you remember the specifics of how that worked?
Shade: It only lasted a little while, just long enough to save our Gardens. I remember… I remember hearing my brother's voice. And seeing visions of eight chaos drives.
Red: Shouldn't it have technically been seven?
Shade: Man, I honestly can't remember. I know I saw eight.
Tag: I have a more pressing question.
[everyone turns to look at Tagliare]
Tag: Wasn't Metal Speedy supposed to come in here and kill me?
Red: I guess he was, but we fixed the plot hole. Shadow's experiencing a deus ex machina in a form that at least has precedence, which counts for something. His Dark/Run should fade soon, too.
Shadow: Wait, so.. I didn't even really need to gather all the chaos drives to save the show? That was a bit of a let-down.
Shadow: The show is saved, right?
Shade: One thing's for sure: DJay sure as hell won't be telling us. C'mon, let's look around for ourselves.
Chapter 9.2: Expected Developments
[cut to the Chao Lobby; everyone enters]
[everything looks normal]
[cut to CPAK; people check every room and find everything in order]
[cut to the Hero Garden; nothing appears out of place]
[cut to the Neutral Garden; all looks fine]
[Eggman and Levity Nite decide to check the Void to see if they can find anything; they walk off-screen]
[in the meantime, the remaining characters gather around in the Neutral Garden]
Shade: Alright, so.. something happened. Can anyone remember what, exactly, went down?
Shadow: I remember grabbing the chaos drives and… bending the script.
Shawn: Yes, and Shade and I bent it too to help you.
Red: What were you guys trying to do?
Shawn: I wanted to stop Metal Speedy, to banish him from the script.
Shade: I wanted.. another shot, another chance at whatever we were trying to do.
Shadow: I just wanted to get out of there, out of that damn city.
Dark: Well, I know at least one of those came true.
Red: And do we know what Metal Speedy was trying to do?
Shade: Probably kill us.
SJR: ..but this has all happened before. Not this, this is different for some reason. That's what I don't get. We've been.. through this already, that battle.
MK: Man, all this meta stuff's making my head hurt. Tails Doll, you want to come check see if the Stardust Eggman's still up?
[Mecha Knuckles and the Tails Doll leave]
Red: Does anyone have.. lack of a better phrase, "access to the paper?" To the script?
Shawn: I still do. I think.
[Shawn pulls a piece of paper out from hammerspace; the protagonists gather around and read it]
Shade: ..DCA ends with Episode 88. Something.. took over the show? Something that's been hiding in the shadows all along?
Chao: The Instability…
Shade: So this is where they come in.
Dark: Wait, wasn't the second Season Finale the one with all the nonsense and plot holes?
Shade: It's where everything came from.
[Shade chuckles, then breaks into an uncontrollable laughter]
Red: What? What is it?
Shade: If the beta Season Two had survived and been the canonical one, we never would have gone to the future after all and started all this chaos.
[Shade starts crying]
Shade: The Beta Avengers were right all along. They were the good guys.
[Shawn slaps Shade, who stares back in shock]
Shawn: Listen to me. Nothing about what we did was "good." We were in it for vengeance. We were no heroes; we were the villains. I don't think any of us had the Instability in mind when we commandeered the script.
Shade: You.. slapped me.
Shawn: It's not the worst I've done. Get a hold of yourself, I'm the goddamn MILKMAN, for Hero Chaos's sake.
Red: We keep saying that, but what does it even mean?
[now everyone looks at Red]
Red: ..I mean "Hero Chaos." Why do we say that? We say "God" plenty of times; there's no reason why we'd need to specify Hero Chaos every now and then. Who even is Hero Chaos?
Chao: It's an old myth. It was really more of a Hero Garden thing, this idea that chao can become beacons of.. hope. The Hero Chaos is a potential god, an archetype to aspire to. It's never come true, though.
Shade: What does that make you, then? You're a Dark Chaos chao.
Shade: Does that mean you're what we should all aspire not to be?
Chao: No, no, shut up! God, why do we keep fighting?
Shade: Because you get everything. You get everything that I've always wanted.
Chao: I don't, though! Can't you see?!
Shade: You have a fucking medal; you've had one for as long as I've known you!
Chao: What? A medal for swimming? I didn't earn this stupid thing!
[Chao rips his medal off his chest and throws it into the pool]
Chao: Mister Prower gave me it so I wouldn't feel bad. Look at you, you went on a journey, you got chaos drives, you stopped Metal Speedy, you earned your swimming abilities. If anyone should be envious here, I should envy you!
Shade: Yeah! You should envy me! Yeah! You're a Dark Chaos chao, exactly what I'd always dreamt of being.
Chao: I'm not.
[pause as Shade processes this]
Shade: ..you're what?
Chao: I'm not a Dark Chaos chao.
[Chao rips his features off and reveals they were only a costume; underneath he is the same old Hero chao he once was]
[everyone stares at him in disbelief]
Chao: I just.. wanted you back, Shade. Someone had to run the Dark Garden. It wasn't right for it to be so.. empty. And I mean, look at me, running the Hero Garden; I'm the king of nothing at all! What's the point of me?
[Shade hugs Chao]
Shade: I'm sorry. I wish I'd have known.
Chao: I'm sorry too. I'm sorry for not helping. I'm sorry we couldn't have been friends.
Shade: We can still be friends. We can start again.
DARK CHAO ADVENTURES
Season Nine: Chaos
Episode Eighty-Nine: Ink on a Canvas
Chapter 9.3: In the Void
[cut to the Void]
[emptiness fills a space that shouldn't be]
[a faint blue tint paints the background]
Egg: This is impossible. This is all impossible.
[Eggman and Levity Nite are staring at the blue nothing]
[Eggman turns to his cloaked partner]
Egg: Can you think of any explanation for how… how we can… be again?
Nite: No. I can't.
[Levity Nite floats towards a piece of the blue nothing that has split off from the rest]
Nite: But I have the feeling the answer lies in DCA's past.
Egg: DCA's past? A little kid's attempts at being "funny" and "interesting," you mean.
Nite: The show developed, though. It became more than that. It grew the beard, and.. we were the harbinger for that.
Egg: I don't know why I ever wanted to become a member of this twisted cult.
[Levity Nite turns back to Eggman, anger in his posture]
Nite: "Cult?" The Veteran's Committee was more than just some cult, Doctor. We were trying to…
[he trails off, unsure]
Nite: I don't.. even remember.
[in Eggman's glasses, a reflection of red can be seen despite the blue surroundings]
Chapter 9.4: Revelation
[Mecha Knuckles and the Tails Doll fall through the blank space behind the script]
TD: Welp. This figures.
MK: I could have sworn the Chao Lobby Exit took us to somewhere on Earth.
TD: DCA was destroyed, remember? All of it wiped clean! We're floating in IT right now.
MK: What do you think will happen to us?
TD: Well, you're a tough bolt to break, and I'm a demon trapped inside a stuffed doll. So dying's probably not likely.
MK: Wanna play I Spy?
TD: No, I do not want to play I Spy.
Chapter 9.5: Interpolation
[somewhere, red eyes activate in a dark room]
?: In no dream is such emptiness nigh. …hunger.
[the red eyes rise, the reader's eyes adjusting to the darkness and making out a figure attached to the eyes]
?: It's been two years, DJay. I didn't think that you were coming back.
[the figure breaks into laughter]
?: But of course, I see. It doesn't matter how long you live, we will never leave your mind.
[the red eyes step closer to the camera]
?: We nurtured you, we praised you, we kept you warm when you made startling yelps at the shadows that stared from your changing rotting walls.
[another step, one eye disappears]
?: We helped you, and you gave us an entire universe to play in. You gave me the universe to play in. How could you ever leave your script behind?
[the figure stops walking, shakes its head, and its other eye comes back]
?: Welcome back, all, to DCA. DJay still has some blanks to fill in.
[a loud thump is heard, a giant heartbeat from far away]
?: We'll be waiting, the antagonists.
[the camera slowly zooms out, letting the steady heartbeat and flickering red eyes remain]
[a piercing shriek is heard in the distance]
Chapter 9.6: An Unlikely Alliance
[cut back to the Void of the Veterans; Levity Nite has brought in Shawn and Tagliare, last of the Beta Avengers]
Egg: Why are they here?
Nite: We're gonna need all the help we can get if we want to salvage this show.
Egg: Salvage?! After all the effort we went through to end it?
Shawn: This show is unendable. There's too many loose ends, too many plot points that could be followed, and worst of all, too many villains.
Nite: Exactly. We tried so hard to end it on our own terms, but we had forgotten just how deadly of a villain we'd ignored, just how uncontrollable.
[Levity Nite takes his hood off, revealing a slightly purple Dark chao on stilts with two tiny little nubs on top of his head and a lime-green spiky emotiball]
[he hops off his stilts]
Nite: By trying to end the show, we were putting ourselves up against a foe that broke every fourth wall and hid behind every abstract nerve there is.
[he throws his hood and his stilts away into the Void beyond]
Nite: Life's too short, gentlemen.
Egg: I'm sorry, who are you, again?
Nite: I'm Shade Junior.
Nite: From the future.
Tag: Which future?
Nite: Well, okay, the past. I'm from the.. the.. repeat of the show as shown in Episode 88. The Instability put this show on repeat, and I put on a cloak and called myself Levity Nite and formed the Veteran's Committee with Echo.
Tag: God, this show is confusing.
Shawn: I can see why DJay doesn't write much with time travel in his other stories.
Nite: Look, let's keep this simple. I'm Levity Nite. No worrying about future and past, at least not unless we have to. I won't wear the cloak; there's too many cloaked characters as it is.
Tag: Thank you.
Nite: There's a Shade Junior in the Gardens who, for whatever reason, won't grow up to become me. And frankly, I'm thankful for that. I have hope now-- for whatever reason, that cycle, the unexpected developments, they.. broke.
[Levity Nite gestures to the whole group]
Nite: So I say we make the most of this. We've spent so long trying to make things worse for the world; well, look at the world now! It's about as bad as it can get! Do you want this? Are you happy?
[close-up of his face]
Nite: 'Cause I'm not.
[pause as the others think]
[Eggman shakes his head]
Egg: Who am I kidding? Let's do it.
Shawn: But do what, exactly? How can we help?
Nite: You're the MILKMAN. Just do as you do best, but do it wanting to make the world a better place for your children and grandchildren.
Tag: What can I do? I'm Tagliare; I'm the Beta who's always forgotten, the Scrappy Avenger!
Nite: That's a question you're gonna have to find an answer for yourself.
Zero: You guys talking about saving the world?
[the four former-villains turn to see Zero walking into the Void]
Egg: How did you get here?
Zero: I'm a Beta Avenger just like those two; I can find my way around. And I want in on this group, but I got one question: What are we gonna call ourselves?
Nite; Do we need a name?
Egg: I mean. It'd help. Organization's sake, and all that.
Tag: How about Chaos?
Shawn: Why "Chaos?"
Tag: I dunno, it's the name of this Season, and that's usually relevant.
Egg: The Chaos Alliance?
Nite: I don't know how comfortable I feel naming ourselves after the Season name.
Egg: There's significance to it, boy! We're the ones who met up in the impenetrable void of blue space, picked the show up out of the post-mordial chaos, and forged an alliance out of it!
Zero: I think that sounds pretty badass, personally.
Nite: Alright. From this chapter onwards, let it be known that Levity Nite, Doctor Eggman, Shawn the Dark, Tagliare, and Zero are the Chaos Alliance!
[the environment turns ever so slightly redder, but not enough for anyone to notice]
Chapter 9.7: For Want of a Better Word
[cut back to the Neutral Garden; the chao (and Mephiles) are patiently waiting for anyone to come back with news]
[Shade and Shadow are sitting at the edge of the Garden, staring off into the skybox]
Shade: What even is the point of living when you're not even a video game character anymore, just a concept reduced to practically a self-insert in the form of text on a screen? I used to think I had a goal in my life: Save the Gardens from whatever strange thing threatened our happiness. I thought the chaos drives could give me the strength to do so, but what defeated the Beta Avengers many Seasons ago wasn't the ability to swim but logic. Before I knew it, before I could even process this mockery of my ambitions, I got pushed to the side, becoming a mentor to someone else who was told the same lie… and in the end, past all these distractions and mockeries and obfuscations, past all the chaos drives and all the villains, I failed my goal. The villains won. The chao were divided, many were killed, the ones left living were locked in an eternal loop, playing the same eight Seasons over and over.
Shadow: And for some reason, we weren't.
Shade: For some reason, we weren't.
Shadow: Did we ever find out why we weren't? Why we got the special treatment, why DJay brought us back for the Episodes that shouldn't have existed, why we were trapped in PLAN 31?
Shade: My guess is our creator felt attached to us. He couldn't let us become like the others.
[Shade and Shadow turn to look at the others, gathering fruit from the trees and going for swims in the pool]
Shadow: But then why this? Why bring us all back? Why the change of heart?
Shade: Ain't that the million-dollar question?
[Shadow looks at Shade]
Shadow: Do you still want to live, to protect the Gardens from danger?
[Shade closes his eyes and takes a deep breath]
Shade: I had may as well. We don't even know what the danger is yet.
[Shadow grabs Shade's shoulder]
[Shade opens an eye and looks at Shadow]
Shadow: Do you want to protect it?
Shadow: What do you want?
Shade: A million dollars.
[Shade gets up and walks off, leaving Shadow]
[cut to Dark and Red; Dark is eating, Red is polishing his machine gun]
[Shade walks up to them]
Shade: Hey. I'm thinking of reclaiming the Dark Garden. You guys in?
Red: "Reclaim?" It's still yours.
Shade: I know, but we can still have some fun with it, can't we?
[Dark stops eating and looks up at Shade in curiosity]
Shade: Now, look. The Dark Garden's been taken over by robots.
[Shade grabs Red's machine gun and ejects the ammo from it before giving it back]
Shade: They can only be defeated by imaginary bullets, 'cause they feed on the eldritch concept of imagination.
Red: Wouldn't that mean imaginary bullets would only make them stronger?
[Shade brushes this off]
Shade: Nah, they've eaten too much, absolutely full up; if you give them more, they'll explode!
[Dark laughs and grins, brandishing his guitar]
Dark: Does the power of rock do anything to them?
Shade: You kidding? It's their biggest weakness!
[Professor Shade comes in]
SShade: I want to help with this!
Shade: The more, the merrier!
[Chao comes in]
Chao: Can I come too?
Shade: Sure, but afterward, we've gotta help you reclaim the Hero Garden! And Amphis!
[Amphis wakes up on top of a rock]
Amfy: (dazed) Hm?
Shade: Once we've sent the robots out of our Gardens, they're gonna come here, so we're gonna help you fend 'em off! Start building a barricade!
Dark: AMPHIS, START BARRICADING THIS GARDEN, 'CAUSE WE'RE GONNA HAVE SOME FREAKING FUN AND YOU'RE INVITED!
SJR: I'll stay here and help with that.
Shade: Good idea. Shadow!
Shade: Are you in?
Shadow: I wouldn't miss this for the world.
Red: Has anyone seen Mephiles?
Chapter 9.8: A New Story
[cut to the space behind the script]
TD: I spy with my little eye something beginning with the letter M.
MK: Oh yay, we're playing this game! Um. Letter M, uh.. is it me?
MK: Huh. What else could it be?
Mp: IT'S ME, YOU FOOLS!
[Mephiles falls down alongside them]
MK: Hi, Mephiles!
Mp: Hey, guys. What are you up to?
MK: We were just playing I Spy.
Mp: I could see that. Do we know what we're falling towards?
TD: Probably nothing at all; this is IT, the stuff behind the script. And DCA's over.
Mp: I dunno, man. I'm seeing something down there that we'll probably hit soon.
[Mecha and the Doll turn to look below themselves and see a daylit forest approaching quickly]
TD: Huh. I'll be damned. Mecha, will you grab me?
TD: You're made of some very tough metal and I'm made of cloth. I'd rather hit the ground being held by something more robust.
MK: Oh, sure.
[Mecha grabs the Doll; Mephiles lays back and rests his head on his arms]
Mp: Get ready, fellas. If something's appearing below us, that means a new story's beginning. This is the stuff that makes up DJay's writing, remember?
MK: A new story? I hope it's another adventure. Cosmic horror stories are depressing.
Mp: Only one way to find out where we're going! Brace yourselves!
[the three characters hit the ground with such a loud crash that they form a crater in the forest floor]
[Mecha jumps up, excitement filling his robot eyes]
MK: I wonder where we are!
[the Tails Doll climbs out from his arms]
TD: Looks like a forest to me.
[Mephiles manifests next to them]
Mp: Anybody else hear music?
[indeed, approaching the characters is the thud thud of a drumbeat]
[tall pairs of black legs march into the scene; atop the legs are boomboxes and amps]
[on the ground, below these mighty amplifiers, are groups of foreign chao of all breeds and types]
[these chao gather around our heroes and watch with curiosity]
[the music stops]
[a Hero/Power chao steps forward]
HP: Are you two demons and an unstoppable robot?
[our heroes look at each other and shrug]
TD: We've been called worse.
[the chao all bow at their feet]
HP: Then you are the figures of legend we have been waiting for.
MK: Aw, it's so nice to be appreciated!
TD: Mind telling us about this legend of yours?
HP: Come with us.
[the chao lead them, past a small town, to a magnificent cathedral]
[inside the cathedral, the walls are inscribed with pictures]
Chapter 9.85: The House of the Hero Chaos
[much of the decor of this cathedral is designed to resemble the Dark Garden, the Neutral Garden, and the Hero Garden all floating in space]
HP: Obviously, you three must already know the legend of the Chao Ship.
Mp: Yeah, drawing a blank.
HP: But it was explained in Episode 24!
MK: Man, nobody reads the early stuff!
TD: Nobody even reads the new stuff.
HP: *sigh* Alright. Let me clear some space.
So. The Chao Ship is the location of the fabled Gardens of Chao. No one knows who built it or even why, but legend has it that only the best of the very best can gain access to it.
There is a fountain on Chao World, its location a secret to us all, that tests all newborns: The Fountain of Ruse. The meek crawl past it, destined for lives on this accursed planet.
Every now and then, a chao will be born who rises above newborn expectations and drinks from this fountain. They are encased in a pink cocoon and placed in an egg, transported to the Chao Ship by divine means.
HP: ..or so the legend goes, anyway.
TD: Yep, that sounds about right for Episode 24. Twelve-year-olds can't write legends for shit.
HP: DO NOT SPEAK BLASPHEMY IN THE HOUSE OF THE HERO CHAOS!
TD: I'm just sayin'!
HP: Anyway. The legends continue from there.
[one picture on the wall is of eight yellow chaos drives and three chao in the centre-- a grey Dark chao, a neutral chao in a trenchcoat, and a neutral chao covered in scars]
[above it all is the silhouette of a chao shaped like Metal Sonic, arms raised to the skies]
HP: First came the Grey Journey, as I'm sure you're all aware.
The Forgotten Ones returned to rule the script after being imprisoned in the great abyss of Beta, led by a foursome of vengeful souls.
There was the MILKMAN-- father of kings. There was JOE-- ordinary by no means, identity shrouded in mystery. There was Echo-- one of the last living souls who knew the origins of the Chao Ship.
And then there was Tagliare-- the biggest mystery of all. Some say he was an assassin who killed off all the original chao of the Chao Ship. Some say he was a demon planting the seeds for the Unwritten End. No one knew for sure.
The only one who could stop the Forgotten Ones of legend was king of the Dark Garden, son of the MILKMAN: the Grey One. But in order to attain the power, he had to gather eight chaos drives across a demented journey.
After gathering the chaos drives, he had to reunite with his father, the MILKMAN, and regain the power of his Dark lineage.
Then he had to atone for his sins of neglect. The meaning of this, I'm not sure-- that's just how the legend goes.
And then finally, when his Grey Journey was almost finished, the Grey One had to confront the Cyber Mastermind, creation of gods long forgotten, and best him at a game of logic, sealing him away for many years.
Mp: That's a surprisingly cool way to word such a shitty Season.
HP: CEASE THIS BLASPHEMY!
Mp: Don't hate the player!
HP: We of the Chao World were not witness to the Grey Journey, but its repercussions were felt worldwide. And the legend continues.
[the picture on the opposite wall is of seven green chaos drives above four Dark chao-- one grey, one green, one red, and one black]
[below them are a round man with a thick mustache and a chao on stilts; below them are robotic hands rising up out of an abyss that, upon closer inspection, is made of 8s and 5s]
HP: The False Journey came next.
Here, the Pyrrhic Ones showed their faces, eyes blue with tears at the End of All Things. Legend has it that the Pyrrhic Ones were visitors from another world in the future, that they had seen the fate of all life and wanted to stop it.
But their efforts were futile, for with every victory they earned, they attracted the attention of the Grey One. The Pyrrhic Ones' goal was to end all tales, stop the legend in its tracks, but in doing so, they became a threat.
So the Grey One gathered a legendary ensemble-- himself, the Red One, the Dark One, and the Green One. To make matters worse, a rogue assembly of False Prophets from the abyss of Beta implanted in their minds visions of…
Mp: Wait a minute, wait just a minute here. Are you telling me the Green Journey was a bust? We helped them gather those chaos drives for nothing?
HP: Your efforts were not in vain; you were simply pawns for a power greater than yourselves.
Mp,MK,TD: I take offense to that!
MK: I thought giving greenie all those drives would make him a Runner or whatever, and then he'd be able to beat the Veteran's Committee!
HP: Did you not realize that the Pyrrhic Ones were helping you locate the chaos drives?
MK: I mean. …that's.. a good point.
HP: It aided their interests to send the Green One on his Green Journey, for it meant he wouldn't get in the way of the real war going on.
Mp: I dunno, though. Their leader always struck me as odd. He found me awfully quick, long before any of the others, when I was lost in that hospital.
TD: Episode 74, was this?
Mp: Yeah. Their leader, the future Shadow guy. He was.. well, he was very anxious to get the chaos drive.
HP: I have a possible answer for this. Let me show you the next legend.
[on the far wall is a large picture of a chao with one blue eye, one arm, mouth stitched shut, and three tails; fungus-like strings grow out of the missing arm stump and spiral away]
HP: This is the Instability.
MK: Hey yeah, I remember them! They were from the shitty serial back in Season Two! And the shitty second Halloween special!
HP: I SWEAR TO HERO CHAOS, WHY ARE SUCH FIGURES OF LEGEND SO BLASPHEMOUS
HP: *clears throat* The Instability has many names and many forms.
Some call it the Camper, being of depersonalization.
Mp: When has anyone ever called it "the Camper?" What the hell kind of name is that?
HP: There are many worlds out there, many more than just our own. The Camper is the name given by.. some.
Mp: ..hey, while I'm asking questions, how many legends are you gonna tell us? I'm getting kinda tired just standing around here.
HP: Only two more! Just. Just let me tell this one, okay?
Mp: Alright, alright.
Some call it Bringer of IT. Some call it--
TD: And when has anyone ever called it "Bringer of IT?"
HP: …okay, so it's my own personal nickname.
TD: Ah. Go on.
HP: Thank you. As I was saying!
Some call it EAT, the End of All Things. No one knows exactly where the Instability came from, but legend has it they were introduced by a False Prophet taking the form of your leader, rust in peace.
MK: Wait wait wait. "False Prophet?" It was Metal Sonic from the future! Episode 16 said he made them by.. shit, what was it, double-crossing Mephiles, absorbing his demonic data, then getting all the Chaos Emeralds and--
HP: --and messing with the timestream enough to accidentally create temporal monstrosities? Ah, but the future is a fragile thing. After all, if it truly will be your leader who creates them, how can he? He's dead. ..rust in peace.
Mp: Yeah, plus I find it a little shady anyway. How could he absorb my "data?" I'm a fucking demon, not a Windows program.
MK: Man, I don't know; Episode 12 was written when DJay was eleven.
HP: But you are right to question its veracity. There are some grains of truth to the tale that you know, but the real truth is shrouded in obfuscation, natural confusion, and generally in a lot of frustrating mystery.
TD: Pfft, you got that right.
HP: But here is what we have gathered from legend!
Mp: You really like saying that word.
HP: It's the acoustics of this cathedral. Makes it sound booming and ominous. Give it a try.
MK: LEGENDARIUM. Hee, that is fun.
HP: Right, where was I?
Chapter 9.88: The False Prophets of DCA
[cut to the dark room; the red eyes stand up and step towards the camera]
HP (Voice-Over): The truth is, there is only one future. The Instability first reared its head into our legend through another world entirely.
TD (VO): An alternate timeline, you mean?
HP (VO): No such thing. The fact is, my friends, that Chao World is an accursed place.
[cut to an empty street; a small robotic foot steps into frame]
HP (VO): I envy those who drink from the Fountain of Ruse, for it means they could potentially live their lives without worry of the dangers that plague our planet.
[the camera only sees our antagonist's shadow as he walks up to another building and enters it]
HP (VO): Our dangers come from and bring with them chaos, the true origins of their impossibilities unknown.
MK (VO): But you just said they come from chaos, isn't that their origin?
HP (VO): It was a metaphor, you oaf.
[walking down an endless corridor to the tune of a distant epic heartbeat]
HP (VO): You see, the "future" so far has been a fabrication. There are two forces in particular who can manipulate reality, and they have been doing so for far longer than you might expect.
Mp (VO): …is this going where I think it's going?
[in the distance, at the far end of this endless hallway, something red this way comes]
HP (VO): Where do you think it's going?
Mp (VO): You're gonna say all these trips into the future have actually been trips to that damned city, aren't you? The city that I thought was Euphoria. The city I tried to banish the chao to way back in Episode 24.
[it comes closer]
MK (VO): The city we woke up in before the Grey Journey?
[closer, and an approaching scream is heard]
TD (VO): The city where everything went down? Where the script was supposed to end, but miraculously didn't?
[closer, it can be recognized as a giant screaming face]
HP (VO): You only know half of the horror. You are right to infer Chao Talk, but there is another.
[our antagonist walks directly into the Nomble]
[abrupt cut to the House of the Hero Chaos, the cathedral-- our heroes are standing before a giant inscription of the Nomble, a giant painting of a screaming face, with a tiny chao standing before it]
HP: Chao Talk is on the other side of the world from here, the exact other side of the world. Our present location, however, is just as dangerous.
[the camera pans over the False Journey inscriptions again]
HP (VO): Remember, if you will, during the False Journey. You three, according to legend, were enlisted to acquire a chaos drive simultaneously to the Green One.
TD (VO): That's right. We had to go to some stupid stinking house.
MK (VO): Aw, fuck. Do we have to go back there again?
HP (VO): No, not there. Do you know where the Green One had to go for his chaos drive?
Mp (VO): They never talked about it. Why, where'd they go?
[cut to outside the cathedral; the Hero/Power chao leads our heroes out of the cathedral and points at the forest surrounding them]
HP: They came here, to the forest of Sancheria. The only force in the universe as twisted as Chao Talk.
[pause as this sinks in]
Mp: ..wait, we're in it?
TD: This place is as bad as the city?
[they look at the Hero/Power chao and see he is now Future Shade-- Shade with a cowboy hat and grizzly beard]
ShadeF: Boys, this place is gonna fuck your shit.
[they look around for other chao and see rabid feral one-eyed beasts crawling on one arm, snarling through their stitched-up mouths]
[all is normal again; our heroes are still in the cathedral, staring at the Instability inscription]
TD: ..what? What'd you say?
HP: I said, "The forest only works at night." For now, you're safe, and as soon as I'm done filling you in on what needs to be done, we're going to escort you out of here as fast as possible.
Mp: What we need to do. Right.
[Mephiles turns to the other two]
Mp: (whispering) That wasn't just me, right?
[Mecha and the Doll frantically shake their heads]
Chapter 9.9: What Needs to Be Done
[the camera cuts to the Gardens and shows the chao pretending to fight off robots]
HP (VO): Legend has it that the Instability originated as a substance known as "Red Metal," discovered in Chao Talk by scientists exploring other worlds.
[they're having so much fun, playing soldier]
HP (VO): At the same time, this forest.. appeared. At the exact opposite end of the world, at the exact moment Red Metal was discovered, this entire forest just manifested without explanation!
[look at Chao, pretending to be crippled by a robot]
HP (VO): The city has been the meeting grounds of gods ever since, but this forest… well, the forest has been your future.
[look at Shade, feeling so much love]
HP (VO): The Green One would be able to tell you personally, as he has experienced the forest's hallucinations firsthand. It gets inside your mind and makes you believe anything it wants.
[look at Shadow, running so fast with his friends]
HP (VO): This has been the origin of every False Prophet you have met on your journeys, every character claiming to have come from your future. It's all lies, all of it.
[look at Dark, laughing with his son]
HP (VO): We've been waiting for you three, just on the outskirts of Sancheria, for the day you would come crashing down from the heavens when we would have to enter the forest, a group of martyrs, to tell you of your destiny.
[cut to one last inscription, imprinted on the ceiling of the House of the Hero Chaos: three comets-- one yellow, one red, one purple-- crashing down onto a planet]
HP (VO): You are no doubt questioning my choice of words. I say "destiny" when you know you cannot know your own future. I say "a group of martyrs" when we have not threatened our lives.
[the camera zooms in-- the planet is made entirely of 8s and 5s]
HP (VO): But please, please listen. You three are the messengers of the gods, whether you know it or not. Your crash-landing on Chao World, in the exact spot as prophesied, can only mean one thing.
[at the center of the planet is a large mass of strings hiding.. something]
HP (VO): Your world has already ended. The Instability has already crushed your spirits and taken almost every one of you, leaving sixteen living souls. It wanted to leave the rest of you in Sancheria for easy picking, but…
[before even a hint of what the strings are hiding can be seen, the camera cuts to the middle of the cathedral: In the floor, a trilby has been painted]
HP (VO): The Green One won the struggle. It took the help of the Grey One and the MILKMAN, and it took two years of madness, but… forgive my preaching, but someone up there likes you.
[the camera cuts back to our heroes]
MK: Just give it to us in English: What needs to be done?
HP: You need to take the fight to the Instability. The Camper must be eradicated from this universe if you want to ever live happy lives again. If you don't, Chao Talk and Sancheria will be free to play with your minds, and from there they have access to the script. DCA is a tragedy so long as the End of All Things still exists.
Mp: Shit, man. You don't need to convince us. But what can we do, specifically?
HP: You three must make your way back to the Chao Ship and say "Goodbye" to your chao one more time.
TD: How do we get back from here, though?
HP: Sadly, the legends do not give an answer to that. They just end the same way everything ends: With the number 5.
TD: (sarcastically) Great, that's a lot of help, thanks.
HP: However, there is one more legend I can tell you of!
MK,Mp,TD: NO THANKS!
[Mecha, Mephiles, and the Doll quickly walk out]
HP: Damn. I was thinking they'd be interested in the legend of immortality. I guess not.
[the camera pans down to the floor, to show the trilby again-- wait, now the painting is of a Hero Chaos Chao?]
Chapter 9.98: A Strand of Ink Trails Down the Canvas
[cut back to our antagonist(s?) in Chao Talk]
[Metal Speedy sits, alone, on a city street]
MSp: We have been growing in power for years.
[one eye disappears from the chao Metal Sonic]
MSp: It's shocking to think they didn't expect us.
[a voice from Episode 88 is heard calling out]
ShadowF: You can defeat me, but through this door is the eighth district. Are you sure you want the show to end so soon? Break out of the cycle, boys.
[Metal Speedy's other eye returns, both turn blue]
[he stares forward with stagnation]
Chapter 9.99: Nine is God
[the gods of the Void gather once more]
Nite: I trained as a Beta Avenger, I endured as a Tour Guide, I challenged my father to a guitar duel and was rightfully smitten down to prepare for the end. But my end was impossible, so I formed the Veteran's Committee, where I became the Ten Speed to speak with the creator, where I served an impossible chao.
Egg: I sought to defeat the fastest thing alive for all my life before finally ruling as dictator of this Earth, figurehead for the Metal Sonic that should not exist, ascending to a Veteran in the process. But in another world, I helped the chao battle the Instability on Earth and saved Shade's life. I never got an explanation for that future that never was.
Shawn: I raised the Grey One before being deemed a Beta, driving me mad and setting me on a path for revenge. All along, I dueled my son and assisted him where I could, figurehead for the JOE that should not be. I later ascended into the antagonist I would be for the end that never came. I participated and died in the future that never was.
Tag: I was a mystery even in the Betas. Never explored, never questioned, never given the chance to develop, the creator tossed me aside as if I had no point. It is my forgotten nature that drove the Beta Avengers, but I couldn't tell you a thing about my past if I tried. I shouldn't exist.
Zero: I attempted to usurp the Dark Garden but was banished to the moon. I clawed my way using every means at my disposal to find Chao Talk, where I trained as a Tour Guide and attempted to double-cross the monstrous guardian of the city itself. I survived the torture of Red Metal, I survived the introduction of the Veteran's Committee, but Shadow murdered me in a duel. I shouldn't be alive, but I was brought back by the powers that be for the impossibility that was the end.
[the gods of the Void put on white cloaks]
Nite: We are the Chaos Alliance. Born out of impossible circumstances, left in a universe that makes no sense, aware of the seeping Instability that watches us just as we watch it.
Tag: That was the single most badass thing I've ever been a part of.
Zero: I've been in better.
Nite: Just shut up, both of you.
[As we look down on the Void, down on the Gardens ("Chao Ship," what a silly name), down on the forest of Sancheria, and down on the city of Chao Talk, I feel the need to step in.]
[Hello. DJay here.]