Narrator: The press gathered around the Flashpack, who stood
in the middle of the stage they’d set up at Jimmy’s campaign headquarters. It
was the first of December, and there was a lot of confusion left in the United
States regarding what exactly had occurred since election day. Jimmy called
this press conference at Max’s urging, to settle things in the eyes
of the public, just as they had settled things on the larger scale.
Jimmy: … which is how we defeated Cthulhu.
Press1: Is he dead?
Max: Nnnnnnot exactly… but he’s certainly not going to be a threat
Press2: So, does this invalidate the election?
Jimmy: In no way. Randal Marsh was a terrible man, bent on helping destroy
humanity as we know it, evil in ways unfathomable to the majority of the good
people of America… but election tampering was more despicable than even
he was willing to sink. Besides, if he was going to rig things, why would
he have had me win?
Max: The Kovacs/America ticket won the election fair and square. You’re
looking at the next president of the United States of America!
Narr: The crowd of onlookers behind the press corps erupted into cheers,
causing Jimmy’s cheeks to glow red. He looked at his shoes and shuffled
his feet, embarrassed.
Jimmy: Thank you, thank you all. I want you to know, I couldn’t have
done it on my own. I wouldn’t be here right now if it weren’t
for every one of you who looked inside yourselves and realized that, Gosh… we
really can change the country! From those who petitioned congress to write
the 56th amendment, right up to those who decided to back me on election day
itself, I’ll work every day to be worthy of the votes you’ve given
me. I also want to thank my amazing campaign manager, Jill Slotter. You helped
me get on my feet when the campaign was at its lowest points. You’re
a great girl- even if you were a guy for a while. And of course all the Flashpack.
You guys are the best friends… the best family a boy could have had.
Drallus Thornfield, Molly Singh, Sara Keane, Furtrace Fuzzbotham-
Furtrace: Thank you.
Jimmy: And especially, and most of all, Max Thornfield. Max… you’ve
always been there for me, no matter what. You’ve been my hero ever since
I can remember, and I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without your
guidance. Of course I’m going to give it my all, but… in my mind,
you should be the one leading our country. You’re the best man I’ve
ever met. Thank you.
Narr: The crowd burst forth with its adoration again, and this time it was
Max’s turn to bear the brunt. Jimmy stepped aside and Max was stranded
center stage in front of the microphone. When the onlookers quieted down,
he had no choice but to speak.
Max: Wow… when I began the Flashpack, I had no idea it would ever become
something so… so meaningful to so many people. Even when we authorized
the comic books, we never thought… Well, thank you all. I do have something
of an announcement to make. We, the Flashpack, are incredibly proud of Jimmy.
He’s been with us for a long time… but now he’s got a new
job ahead of him. A job he’s going to be great at, but… well,
a job that doesn’t require a Flashpack. Now that the election results
are confirmed, we’re going to turn over the duty of protecting Jimmy
to the secret service, where it belongs. Jimmy will always have a place with
the ‘Pack, but the ‘Pack is going to stick to adventuring, and
leave politics to the experts. Once our boy takes office, we’ll leave
him to his business, and go back to what we do best.
Jimmy: Gosh, Max… I don’t know how I’ll do it without you.
Max: Sure you do, Jimmy. It’ll be just like when you set up the Yahoo/Houyhnhnm
peace accord. You were all alone for that.
Jimmy: And of course, I won’t be alone, now: I’ve got the best
running mate of any President ever!
Narr: The crowd cheered again. Once they settled, the Flashpack began bidding
their adieus, until a final request came from the press.
Press3: Can you say it? One more time?
Narr: Max looked at the others, who smiled and nodded. He then looked to
Max: Mister President?
Narr: The young man straightened his tie, pulled down on his jacket front,
and stood up straight.
Max, Molly, Keane, Slotter, Furtrace: Flashpack!
Narr: The ‘Pack spent the next few days riding the high of their success
as they helped prepare Jimmy to take office. Jimmy called one of his infamous "brainstorming
sessions," likely the last of his Flashpack career, to see what the ‘pack’s
thoughts were on exactly how one lets freedom ring.
Max: I can’t believe this is our last ‘Kovacs Jam Session’.
I am really going to miss these. The whole Flashpack focusing our very different
perspectives on one problem… It’s a shame.
Jimmy: If you’re interested, you can always take over calling them
for me, Max.
Slotter: In case you haven’t noticed, Jimbo, Max’s style is different
from your variety. He’s more the ‘Jump Right In’ type than
the ‘organization’ type.
Furtrace: That’s an understatement.
Narr: A secret service agent had been anxiously hovering nearby. He was clearly
trying to be polite, but awaiting a chance to intrude.
Jimmy: Can I help you, sir?
Narr: In reply, the agent held out a piece of paper.
Agent: There’s a call for Mr. Thornfield as well. We’ll put it
Narr: His radio crackled as he left the room and returned to his station.
As Max headed for the phone, Drallus stopped him.
Drallus: Don’t leave!
Max: This phone call could be important.
Drallus: So could this message!
Jimmy: It doesn’t seem like a big deal… though it is for the
Drallus: Let me see that. It’s signed by "The Mistress of the
Galaxy"! (reading) "Flashpack- It’s useless to attempt to
radio for help. You are already on a path towards the theatre of pain into
which you shall be cast. As the director of your fates-"(phone rings)
Slotter: Is this a threat, or an entry in a pun contest?
Furtrace: But you did read it very well, Drallus.
Max: I think I should take this call.
Molly: Go ahead, Max. We can handle this.
Drallus: But, but- whatever. Then she says… she’s going to kill
all of us and enslave humanity and- this could be serious, guys!
Slotter: I doubt any serious threats to mankind make demands for obeisance
Slotter: Yeah, right there, see?
Max: Guys! We’ve got to get a move on!
Molly: What is it, Max? Who was on the phone?
Max: It was Tex Mornestar.
Drallus: Of Alter Earth?
Max: He needs our help. The Empress has finally gone too far.
Jimmy: Then we need to help him!
Max: No, Jimmy- you need to stay here. We’ll handle this without you.
Jimmy: But, I- … No. You’re right. Good luck, Max.
Max: Thanks, Jimmy. Furtrace? Take us back to Alter Earth.
Furtrace: But of course. You’d be lost without me, as usual. (cat noises)
All right… turn around.
Narr: The ‘Pack closed their eyes and turned around. When their eyes
opened again, Jimmy and his staff were gone, as was any mention of the young
president-elect. They were clearly in the same room of the same building,
but instead of seeing evidence of a highly organized political campaign, there
were indications of the building having been abandoned for some time.
Slotter: It still gives me the creeps.
Keane: What? Why?
Slotter: The idea that there is another entire other society coexisting with
us on Earth that literally takes place behind our backs.
Keane: It’s a completely understandable phenomenon. It is perfectly
in keeping with the laws of probability. Everyone from Alter Earth is always
somewhere behind us and out of sight, just as we’re always out of their
Slotter: I know all that, and it’s creepy.
Max: We’re the lucky ones- at least our version of humanity isn’t
enslaved under an evil Empress. Now let’s move- Tex needs us.
Narr: The Flashpack followed Max outside and found the Alter Hero waiting
for them with his familiar beat-up hover-van.
Tex: Thank you kindly for coming, Flashpack.
Max: If what you said is true, Tex, we’re needed. And where the Flashpack
is needed, the Flashpack goes.
Tex: It’s true. Petra’s captured every other member of the Contra-Band
and all set to deal some old-fashioned Texas Justice over the vidcast tonight,
live from what’s left of Shea Stadium.
Slotter: She’s going to execute them? Her own friends?
Drallus: Former friends.
Keane: What can we do, Tex?
Tex: I don’t care if she is my adopted sister, we need to take the
little lady out. Call it justice, call it assassination, call it coo-day-tat,
it needs doing. Only problem is she’s already got the entire stadium
encased in one a’ them impenetrable force fields.
Molly: I could cobble something together to get us through the field.
Furtrace: Not necessary. I can magic us a doorway.
Tex: No can do- nothing can poke through the thing. Not science, not magic,
and not prairie dogs. I’ve tried it all, nothing doing.
Max: There’s got to be a way. We can do this.
Tex: Actually, I was thinking Miss Jill might be able to help. I was thinking
we could trek on back to before her rise and put an end to her before she
got up the momentum to become Empress.
Slotter: Oh, well… I would love to… except I can’t. I sorta
got in trouble.
Molly: The time steppers have said if she doesn’t stop changing history,
she’ll be considered a threat to space-time continuity and they’ll
erase her from existence.
Slotter: But Alyssa was really nice about it!
Tex: Well, shucks.
Max: Momentum… time travel… Wait! How long do we have until the
Tex: Coming on six hours.
Max: We can do this! I’ve got a plan, and it’s going to take
every single one of us. Come on!
Narr: Five hours and forty-seven minutes later, Max could see Empress Petra
the first standing on a platform in front of the crowds at Shea Stadium, and
he knew it was time. Molly had spent the interim souping up Tex’s hover-van
for travel in a vacuum, and the preparations were finally complete.
Molly: We’re set, Max… but why are we going into space?
Max: Are you ready with those calculations, Keane?
Keane: Hours ago… and the engines on this heap will never get us up
to the speeds we’d need to-
Max: Just feed them into the computer, Keane. All right, Tex, Slotter… take
Narr: The hover-van lurched into the air under Tex’s direction, and
the Flashpack recognized the familiar sight of time slipping past them as
they flew backwards in time and away from the Earth.
Drallus: What the hell is going on, Max?
Max: We’re going to build momentum. Molly rigged us for space travel,
now we’re heading away from the moment of the execution in both space
and time. Once we’re far enough away… are we there, Keane?
Keane: Almost. Another few centuries, I’d say. But these engines are-
Max: Furtrace- we’re gonna need speed. I need you to propel the ship
forward as fast as our level of reality can tolerate.
Narr: The catman began paging through his spellbook.
Furtrace: I think that can be arranged…
Drallus: What are we going to do?
Tex: We’re going to smack that crazy D. O. B. clear into next week.
Max: Well, sort of, yeah.
Drallus: What about the force field?
Max: So long as we pass through where the force field is at a point in time
before it was activated, we’ll be fine.
Drallus: And… what about me, Max?
Drallus: You said it was going to take all of us…
Max: Well… I guess I was off by one. But this is a team effort. And
I couldn’t have done it without you, Drallus.
Drallus: … right.
Keane: We’re here.
Max: All right, Tex, Slotter, let’s head back. Furtrace?
Furtrace: Got it. (Cat noises)
Narr: The star appeared to slow and then revolve around them as the hover-van
turned back to the place that Earth would be when they left. After a moment,
the ‘Pack felt the bump of Furtrace’s magical speed being added
to the own. Out the front windows, the star became nearly a solid wall of
white as they flew across their sight. They were blasting through hundreds
of miles and years per second. The van silently screamed through time and
space faster than almost anyone could comprehend- except, of course, the fastest
pilot in Alter Texas.
Tex: Here it comes! Hold onto your hankies!
Narr: For only the slightest fraction of a nano-second, the Flashpack could
see Earth around them- specifically the interior of Shea Stadium and the crowds
of the Empress’s onlookers. Petra Mornestar slapped against their windshield,
pressed hard against it. Her eyes opened, and for a moment, met Tex’s.
Tex: My pleasure.
Narr: Tex slammed on the breaks of the van as Slotter abruptly stopped their
time travel. They came to stop mid-space, and the Empress vanished from their
Drallus: Did it work?
Max: I think so. We hit her with all the momentum of both our time and space
travel. She’ll be flying forward through time far longer than her lifespan
could possibly last. For all intents and purposes, she’s… "encased" in
Keane: That’s not really accurate, Max.
Max: Close enough.
Tex: Let’s all go home, folks.
Narr: Upon arriving back on Earth, Tex and the ‘Pack found that the
momentum had carried them a little ways into the future themselves. Alter
Earth had already begun forming an interim government to bridge the gap between
the Empress’ reign and the proposed democracy. A movement had already
begun to persuade Tex and the Contra-Band to become the new world leaders.
The Flashpack bade them well, but happily turned back around to return to
their own Earth. Upon doing so, they found themselves in the middle of a large
party in Jimmy’s headquarters.
Jimmy: Max! Gang! You’re back! Just in time!
Max: Just in time?
Jimmy: 3… 2… Happy New Year’s!
All: Happy New Year’s!
Narr: And so the Flashpack began a new year together… one they were
destined not to finish whole. Who is the Mistress of the Galaxy? Will Jimmy
successfully take office? Will Max and company be able to make it with him?
Come back next Episode for: "Crash and Burn".