INTERPLOSION: THE FIRST UPRISINGChapter Listing:PrologueChapter 1: Investigation
Chapter 2: ConfrontationChapter 3: Conclusion, Part OneChapter 3: Conclusion, Part Two2 - Confrontation
The world faded slowly back into view. He wasn't in the hallway anymore. What had happened?
The memories came flooding back suddenly. He had discovered that Azog and Xicon had kidnapped Rando. Then... he had thrown laughing gas at Azog in the hopes of making an escape. It had worked, too, until Azog caught up. And then...
That's right. Azog was a firebender, and had shot him with a bolt of lightning. At that thought, he started laughing.
"Shut him up, please." Whose voice was that? He didn't recognize it. What he did recognize was the familiar feeling of inexplicable heat enveloping his head. It had the opposite effect of what Azog, who Tod now realized was standing above him, intended; he started laughing harder.
Lifting his head upward, he saw Xicon approaching and bending water out of a small vial attached to his wrist. It formed a somewhat dagger like shape, and then suddenly froze, becoming a solid, needle-thin weapon. Xicon slashed at Tod's cheek, and the pain stopped his laughter for a moment at least. "There's some scrap metal in the corner. Bend me one of those Hannibal Lecter masks, please." Xicon held his icy blade at Tod's throat as the third man set about bending. Tod was further amused by this, but decided not to laugh for fear of causing unnecessary pain due to the massive gash in his cheek.
The third figure returned and affixed the mask to Tod's face. He noticed that the blades on the mouthguard were turned away from his mouth, so he could still speak.
"He shot me. With LIGHTNING. How the fuck did I survive that?"
Xicon returned his icy spear into the small vial on his wrist before speaking. "You wouldn't have," he said as he approached Tod, the water once again bending out of the vial. It formed a small puddle on his cheek, and Xicon placed his hand there. A warm sensation spread across the gash, and Xicon removed his hand and bent the water back into the vial. The gash was gone, and Tod understood how he had survived.
"Why keep me alive?"
"Why kill you? We're not doing this out of greed or ambition. We're just tired of Rando guarding what is apparently the greatest source of power and happiness in the world for himself; we want to give it to the people, like we said."
"Yeah, I know you said that, and I hope you know that I still believe it's bullshit."
Azog laughed at that. "Feel free. I just hope you know that we're still keeping you locked in here. Don't worry, though, Rando's right next door. Here, we'll even give you a window so you two can talk to each other." The third man made a motion with his arm, and a part of the wall - which Tod now realized was made of dirt - vanished, revealing Rando strapped to a chair in the other room. "As an added bonus, you get to watch this next part."
The three benders stepped through the window into Rando's room. Tod tried to follow, but found that his foot was chained to a small metallic fixture in the center of his own room. 'Well that's demeaning,' he thought to himself.
Azog stood in front of Rando. "So. An energy shield. I'll admit that's pretty clever. For you." Rando didn't speak or acknowledge that Azog had spoken. "Fortunately, we have ways around that." Tod saw Azog's hands begin to glow blue once again, and he knew what was coming.
Azog shot a bolt of lightning straight at Rando's face. Naturally, he was unharmed, but once again the energy shield was beeping rapidly as it was vulnerable before it recharged. Azog signaled the third man, who placed his hand on Rando with somewhat great force. He took it back off as the shields began to recharge.
"What the hell was all that about?" Rando asked.
"It's right here," the third man said, pointing to the back of Rando's neck. Azog nodded, and moved behind the chair. His hands once again began to glow blue and spark. He placed a finger on the spot the third man had pointed to, and sparks began to fly out of the spot where they touched. The energy shield dropped, and then the beeping began. Then suddenly it stopped, and there was silence. The third man made a motion with his fingers, and a small metallic object came flying out of the back of Rando's neck, causing him to yell out in pain. Xicon took over, bending a large quantity of water from the bucket in the corner of Rando's room and filling the wound on the back of Rando's neck with water before placing his hand there. When he removed it, the water and the wound were both gone.
"Well, that was painless. For us," Xicon chuckled. "You ready to talk now?"
"I said I had no intentions of talking, and that hasn't changed yet."
"Yet? Well good! Then we've established you will eventually talk, it's just a matter of when," Azog pointed out with maniacal glee.
Rando suddenly cried out in pain, however, as he hadn't noticed the third figure pulling out his bullets again, nor sending it flying into his right calf. He looked over to Xicon, who wasn't moving. "Are you just going to let that stay inside me?" Xicon motioned to the third figure, who, with a flick of his fingers, pulled the bullet out of the wound, eliciting another scream from Rando. Xicon then walked up to Rando's calf, and bent out water from his vial. Instead of healing Rando's leg, he slashed it across his shirt, scraping his chest in the process.
"God dommot thos wos o good short," Rando managed to say through the pain.
"I think that's good enough for today. Perhaps tomorrow he'll be ready to talk." With that, Xicon strode off past the lowered wall and up the stairs. The other two followed shortly after, leaving Rando and Tod imprisoned.
• • •
TWENTY NINE DAYS LATER
The common room was unusually busy as various conversations were taking place. Deimos and Mari were engaged in a rare discussion about various Metal Gear Solid characters (and though he may deny it, the discussion of Snake Eater brought a single manly tear to the Australian's eye). SuperHeroGirl was seated very precariously, trying desperately not to move her badly burned arms more than necessary (even though they were healing, they were still immensely painful). Zaphod, bob and McWeird sat in a corner, swapping Arrested Development quotes rather than actually conversing.
The conversation quickly quieted, however, upon the entrance of several housemates. Riovas, Dawnkitty, and N7 all entered the room within a short, five minute period. That any one of them had made an appearance was cause for celebration, as all three had intermittent attendance at best, but all three at the same time was damn near mythical. N7 was wearing his "Official Punching Bag" shirt, which led the rest of the room to give him a customary punch to the arm. Rio was sharing plans for a proposed expansion to the Interplosion Mansion which would allow for an Olympic size swimming pool. Dawn shared new pieces of art to hang in the hallways. Overall it was one of the more active days the mansion had had in a good while.
In the absence of Rando and in SHG's injured state, Azog and Xicon were able to exert a mostly indisputable rule over the mansion. While they had not established total dominion quite yet, there were clear indicators that they were slowly establishing a totalitarian regime. The cult of Andrew Hussie that included at least three members at the time of Tod's kidnapping, and had grown to around seven in the subsequent week, had been outlawed under penalty of banishment from the house. Sunday nights had become nearly religious rituals involving the viewing of the new Game of Thrones episodes. All pop culture consumption had to be approved by a committee consisting only of those two. Things were becoming downright dictatorial, but gradually. And yet, few people seemed to notice this.
But Tod's absence WAS noted by many people, and none more so than Zaphod and McWeird.
McWeird nudged Zaphod on the shoulder and said, "Germany." Zaphod nodded, understanding right away. It had been nearly a month since Tod's disappearance.
"I know he didn't come back, but what are we supposed to do?" he whispered, trying to keep it between them. But as bob was literally two feet from him, and Zaphod absolutely sucked at whispering, he heard.
"What are you supposed to do about what?" bob asked.
"Well, Tod told us that he suspected Azog and Xicon had kidnapped Rando. So he was going to investigate, and told us that if he didn't come back, we'd know he was also kidnapped by them."
"Peanuts," McWeird noted.
"Why would they -" bob started, but Zaphod shook his head.
"He didn't know, and I don't really know either."
"Well we have to do something about this. We can't let them hold two housemates captive," bob said.
"True, but nor can we hope to combat them on our own. Xicon can do that water thingy, and probably freeze us or something." Zaphod stroked his imaginary beard in thought. "What if we called a meeting of the whole house under the pretense of discussing the disappearances, and then accuse them in front of everybody?"
Bob nodded. "That would work. We need to do it soon though. Tonight would be best."
Zaphod nodded in agreement. "Muffin," McWeird commented again, with a hint of exasperation in his voice. Zaphod ignored him and walked over to the conveniently placed microphone on the wall. He picked it up and began talking into it.
"Attention housemates. A general meeting has been called for this evening regarding the disappearance of Rando and Tod. Be in the common room tonight at 9 PM. Thank you."
"HEY AMPHIBIAN DICK!" a voice yelled through the air vents.
"Do I have to be there in person? I'm still recovering from last night's PPP."
"As long as you can hear us in here, no."
"Well that's fucking wonderful."
Zaphod put the microphone back and gave a knowing glance to bob and McWeird, who responded with, "Mayans."
• • •
The dungeon-like room in which Tod and Rando were kept had only become more filthy and disgusting in the month they had been held captive there. As much as the narrator would love to avoid a reference to the ways they had been avoiding sitting in their own excrement, such a reference was ultimately necessary. While Tod was fortunate enough to be mostly mobile and was thus able to excrete in a corner, Rando was chained to his chair perpetually, and as such was more shit than man by this point.
"Tod. Hey, Tod."
Tod stirred, and woke from his sleep (dangerously close to his excrement pile). He walked as close to the window as his ankle-chain would allow. "What?"
"What's your plan to get out of here?" Rando was looking down at his feet, but Tod saw his eyes darting around the room, scanning.
"I don't have one."
"Bullshit, you've had one since the day after they put you in here. What are you waiting for?"
Tod was surprised that Rando had been so observant when chained to a chair and sitting in his own shit. "Before Azog caught me and brought me down here, I told Zaphod and McWeird what I was doing so that they'd know Azog and Xicon were guilty in case I went missing. I'm not sure what they plan to do with it, but eventually, either they will show up down here, or they'll tell everybody else."
"And then what?"
"And then Azog and Xicon will have nowhere to hide, but in here."
Tod didn't respond. Instead, he just rubbed his fingers on a small vial that was in his pocket. The vial was labeled "HF".
• • •
It was fast approaching 9:00. Most people had retreated back to their rooms, but Zaphod and bob had decided to search the upper floor for evidence of Xicon and Azog's treachery. Fearing that the same fate that befell Tod would befall them, they walked the halls back to back, watching both ends for approaching housemates.
The singed remains of the meth lab had become far more decrepit in the month since its explosion. The floorboards creaked as they walked over them, causing Zaphod to jump on seven separate occasions. The smell of burning lab equipment had never quite faded, so they were both holding their noses. The sound of footsteps rapidly approaching came from around the corner behind them, so they started running faster. They made it around the corner and turned back to peek at what was pursuing them, catching sight of only a large black cat. They breathed sighs of relief as they continued walking down the hallway.
"You know if we get caught here, we're pretty much dead." Bob's voice was unusually grave.
"Yeah, I know. But we won't. It's Sunday night."
Bob stared at Zaphod. "That's all the more reason we WILL get caught. They'll be wondering where we are and why we aren't at the viewing ritual, and they'll come investigate."
"No, they'll be too busy recapping to come and find us. But we need to hurry, so let's not debate any longer." Bob nodded in agreement and they moved down the hallway, pausing at the end.
"Look there," bob said, pointing to a singed bit of carpet. "What happened there?"
Zaphod looked puzzled. "I'm not sure. But I think I know what we can do with this."
• • •
As the clock struck 9, everybody was gathered into the common room. Xicon and Azog sat on the raised edge of the fireplace, as the chairs around the room had been filled with the room's regular members at this hour. They were visibly annoyed, as they were going to have to catch the Game of Thrones episode they were missing at 11 rather than at 9. The rest of the room seemed mostly content. As Zaphod stood up to speak, the sound of wood clattering against the walls of an air vent filled the room, soon followed by a loud clang as the vent cover smashed to the ground.
In its place was a puppet suspended in air by strings leading into the vent. He was dressed as a stereotypical Mexican, with a serape, a sombrero, and a comically oversized moustache. "I am Major Moustachio," Nick's voice said through the puppet, "and I will be Nick's surrogate for this evening." The puppet then began to dance.
Zaphod nodded and then began to speak. "So I take it you've all noticed that Randoman and MesserTod have been missing for the past month." There was a general murmuring of agreement, with a few people who admittedly had not noticed their absence. "I've called this meeting tonight, because I believe that bob, McWeird and I have found the reasons behind their disappearance." The room fell silent. All eyes were on Zaphod. He paused.
"Get on with it, amphibian dick." Major Moustachio was not pleased, and performed a dance of displeasure.
"Birthday," McWeird added.
"Zaphod, are you talking about what Tod was saying?" SHG asked candidly.
"Yes, SHG, I am talking about that." Out of the corner of his eye, Zaphod watched Azog and Xicon, looking for a sign of discomfort. Both of them sat perfectly still, and even looked rather amused. "Before Tod's disappearance, he pulled SHG and McWeird aside. I later entered the conversation, and he told us his concerns regarding Rando's disappearance." He turned to Azog and Xicon.
"Tod was convinced that Azog and Xicon had kidnapped Rando. Hours later, he disappeared." The whole room turned to stare at Azog and Xicon.
Deimos burst out laughing. "You're out of your goddamn mind, frog. Why would they need to kidnap Rando of all people?" Rio, Mari, and Dawn seemed to share Deimos' opinion.
"Well, I don't know, it makes sense to me," roastbeef added. "They were always somewhat at odds. And I can't be the only who's noticed the changes around here in the past month." The room did agree on that.
"It seems like such a superficial reason to kidnap him though. And we shouldn't forget that he DID save our lives," Riovas contributed. "The whole mansion would be gone, and we definitely wouldn't be getting an Olympic swimming pool."
The discussion continued, but Zaphod made eye contact with Xicon and Azog throughout. Both of them had twisted their faces into cold sneers. This concerned the amphibious detective. "Guys, calm down. We have evidence." Zaphod pulled out the burned piece of carpet. "This is a sample of the carpet where Azog captured Tod. It's singed... because Azog is a firebender."
Azog began to laugh. "Brilliant detective work there, Zaphod. Although I'm interested to know how you worked out that I was a firebender."
Zaphod smiled. "I didn't. It was a wild guess, but thanks for the confirmation."
Azog stopped laughing, but nodded approvingly. It was well played. The room itself was completely silent. Nobody moved. Xicon reached beside him, picked up his cup of tea, and drank deeply from it before standing up slowly.
"Azog was right. That was impressive detective work, my amphibious friend." He walked over to the window. "My only question is what exactly you intend to do."
Azog began laughing maniacally. "Did you think you could just knock on our door, and shoot us when we opened the door, so to speak? That you could catch us off guard? Ha. You don't understand, silly. WE are the ones who knock."
Xicon pushed aside the curtain blocking the window. The light of the moon illuminated the room. "It's a lovely moon out, tonight. Why don't you come take a look at it, Zaphod?"
But Zaphod didn't move. More importantly, he couldn't move. He wanted to move, he wanted to run at Xicon and tackle him to the ground, but he couldn't. He was rooted to the ground.
"What's wrong, Zaphod? Has your..." - Xicon paused dramatically - "...blood... run cold?" He smirked as he watched all the eyes in the room make the sudden realization."
"WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING DOWN THERE? GET HIS ASS AND THEN BRING ME A COFFEE!" Major Moustachio yelled. Azog made a short, sharp throwing motion, and a ball of fire from the fireplace shot out and ignited Major Moustachio. Azog twirled his finger and the flames raced up the strings and singed Nick's hand, eliciting a scream heard all across the house.
"Your detective work was in vain, I am afraid. There's not much you can do to stop us." With that, Xicon clapped twice, and the floor beneath then suddenly dropped, revealing a small chamber beneath the fireplace. They stepped out of the way, and the floor rose back up, covering the chamber.
Everybody in the room felt the hold on them lift. There was only silence, however, silence that was not broken until McWeird spoke up: "Fucked."
• • •
"Goddamn it all to hell. We're missing Regards, Azog. REGARDS. YOU KNOW WHAT EPISODE THAT IS." The rage in Xicon's voice was in stark contrast to the calm, villainous tone he had kept in the common room during the accusation.
"I know. There isn't much we can do, though. They had us figured out and were smart enough to confront us in front of the whole house."
"We're stuck down here, now. We're going to have to figure out a way to get the muffin that involves distracting all of them. Goddamn it, this complicates things."
"Let's focus on breaking Rando, first." Azog stepped through the now-lowered wall to find the figure already standing in the room with Rando. Xicon shortly followed.
"Well, you little shit," he yelled over to Tod. "Your little gambit with Zaphod worked. Looks like you guys get us for company now." He turned his attention back to Rando.
Tod, however, smiled widely. His fingers slipped the small vial labeled "HF" out of his pocket.
TO BE CONCLUDED IN: Chapter 3: Conclusion!