Chapter Three: The Return of the Prince

The hum of machinery was deafening inside the lowest level of Grumble Volcano science facility. The greatest scientific minds of the Boulder Bowl Galaxy from Super Mario Galaxy 2 had been summoned to apply their collective expertise to the project Chance Time. Researchers rushed between control panels, entering command codes, turning knobs, over-riding security protocols, and shouted out commands about the state of the program.

“The Pribnow box is at 83%! Synchronization is remaining steady!”

“Energy couplings locked, engage the Grand Star!”

Knobs were turned, adjusted, and rotated before being turned again. An alarm went off and a computer console exploded and killed a Chargin’ Chuck in a labcoat.

“Shit!” Kolorado Koopa exclaimed, “Get those plasma drives under control! We’ve come too far to fail now!”

“It’s really hard, though!” Explained Punchinello, who was struggling with the controls.

Kolorado got out of his command chair and pushed Punchinello to the floor and pulled the lever. Suddenly everything was working properly and all the tension in the scene was dissolved.

“Aw.” Punchinello whimpered. He had wanted to help.

All status reports were nominal; the room hissed a veil of steam as the pod was lowered into the center of the room by the Crane Game arm from the Mario Party 2 mini-game (Not the one from the first Mario Party). A single fogged window hinted at a floating silhouette within. Kolorado was so intently focused on maintaining the energy flow from the Grand Star that he did not hear the test chamber door swish open. The Shy-Guys, Boos and Pinatas hammering at their keyboards slowed to the crawl as they witnessed Bowser Jr sweep across the room, trailing his flowing doctor’s coat behind him like a cape.  

“You’ve died once already, Kolorado. Do you really want to throw it all away for this foolish project?”

Kolorado whirled around to find a katana pointed at him, inches from his throat. His eyes flashed with anger at the sight of his old friend. The Safari adventuring koopa turned back to his controls.

“If you’ve come here to kill me, you shouldn’t hesitate.”

“The only thing that will kill you here is your own hubris,” Bowser Jr. threw his katana into the floor, ruining the expensive linoleum; “The cost of initializing project Chance Time is too great. You have to stop now before it’s too late.”

Kolorado spoke into the PA microphone: “Ignore the infiltrator. Continue operations as directed. Chance Time will begin in sixty seconds.” He turned to Bowser Jr., seething, “Before Luigi fell into the river Twygz and lost, he explained to me before Waluigi sacrificed himself to seal the Chaos door, and he saved the last shard of his Pure Heart within the subject. If we can only bring him back…”

“YOU’RE A FOOL!” Bowser Jr. slapped Kolorado with enough force to knock him off his feet. “Did you learn nothing from the past ten years? The only way out of this crisis is to wake Tatanga!”

“Thirty seconds until Chance Time!” Pinata Cop from Mario Sunshine shouted.

Kolarado lay on the floor; he recovered his eyeglasses, one lens now badly cracked. He replaced them on his face and stood.

“When you had a chance to save Mimi in surgery, you hesitated and it cost us her life.”

“I loved her!” Bowser Jr. cried. There was an awkward moment when most of the room was thinking about her scary gross spider legs.

Tears splattered across Kolorado’s control panel. “So did I.”

“I’ll stop yo-“

The facility lit up bright green and the signal was complete. Kolorado slammed the start button before Bowser Jr. could finish his sentence. The Grand Star withered to dust as every last molecule of energy was siphoned away and the pod began radiating intense heat. Three twirling blocks brighter than the sun began revolving at the center of the room at such speeds that the kinetic force knocked Punchinello into a vending machine. Almost as quickly as it began, the energy spike was out of control and control panels began exploding. Researchers popped like kettle corn on either side of Koloardo as he concentrated on getting the timing right. He pressed the button.

The middle block stopped on a symbol of a 1up pointing to the right. Bootler screamed as he was completely vaporized by stray energy blast. Somewhere in the room, Kolorado heard the protests of Bowser Jr. as if it were a rumbling a thousand miles away. He pressed the button again and the block on the left stopped on the face of Rosalina.

The room was growing brighter, louder. He could no longer hear or see Bowser Jr. or whatever other researchers that had managed to survive. His entire world was the Chance Time blocks and his control panel. This was the final moment.

Tears ran down his face as he thought of Mimi again, laying on her deathbed, her last rasping breaths filtered through an iron lung, her grip fading in their clasped hands.

“I’m sorry, my love.”

He pressed the button again, and the block stopped.

His senses came crashing back to reality like hangover thrown into a brick wall. The testing chamber was in ruins, Bowser Jr. was badly burnt and spread across the floor, but breathing.

The pod opened, spilling medical gel across the test site. Out of the confines of the darkened chamber arose Kooper, stoic. Kolarado turned to Bowser Jr, whose eyes were wide with terror, and said to him “Now we are all sons of bitches.”

Darkness began to shine from Kooper like a reverse star. He uttered three words, “My chaos scythe.”

“Oh!” Punchinello said, “Let me grab it for you, it’s in the locker-room!”

Bowser Jr. sprang to life, “God damn it, Punchinello you idiot! Don’t give that to him!”

He felt his red hair yanked by Kolorado, “Like it or not, this monster that I’ve brought back has the last essence of Waluigi’s pure heart trapped inside him. He’s our only salvation.”

“He’s going to kill us both!” Bowser Jr. spat as the darkness surrounding Kooper spread rapidly across the room. Shattered computer terminals began sinking into inky blackness.

“What does it matter? He can kill us. He can kill a thousand. This is what Mimi wanted. It’s is all that I had left of her.”

“Damn you, Kolorado.”

Punchinello trotted happily across the hellscape of sticky shadow and offered Kooper his scythe, still burning with darkness. Just as he did, the last light went out, leaving only Kooper’s wicked grim visible in the void.

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