"Oh wow." said the Saiphid, waking up the next day back in their hotel room, putting a hand on her aching head. "That was the best bonfire EVER!"

"You KNOW it!" said Vessex.Z., who was already up and watching TV with Soria. She got a fond, reverent look in her eye. "Lighting a gigantic pile of wooden objects on fire, doing pretty much nothing at all for several hours after that..."

"These are memories we'll cherish forever." agreed Soria.

"Zaaa... Zaaa..." droned Suzie, staring at the wall and drooling.

"Suzie? Suzie!" cried the Saiphid, rushing to her side and shaking her. "What's wrong? Speak to me!"

"I've seen this before." said Soria gravely. "You guys, don't panic, but I think she may have been... SOBER."

Vessex.Z. and the Saiphid gasped.

"But... But being sober at a bonfire..." trembled Vessex.Z.

"There's nothing in existence more boring!" said the Saiphid.

"Indeed." said Soria. "Of course, we were having the time of our lives... but for someone like Suzie, who has a low tolerance for boredom to begin with... It may well have broken her little mind."

"Zaaa... Zaaa... Zaaa... Zaaa..." repeated Suzie, slumping to the Saiphid's shoulder, wide-eyed.

The Saiphid patted her on the back. "What can we do?"

"There is something that might snap her out of it." said Soria. "We'll have to make her do something really fun, something so fun that all the boredom will be forgotten."

"Hmmm..." said Vessex.Z. thoughtfully. "Now what would Suzie consider fun..."

...

"I can't believe we've known Suzie all this time and the only thing we she know she likes is hanging out with us for extended periods of time." said the Saiphid, carrying Suzie to her seat in the stands and sitting down next to her.

"She plays with her cards close to her chest. I respect that." said Soria.

"Zaaa..." said Suzie.

"Ladies and gents, welcome to another FRIGHTFULLY good day of the greatest fighter in the galaxy tournament!" said MC Gargleflax, wearing a werewolf mask. A stagehand ran up and whispered something in his ear, possibly that it wasn't Halloween, and MC Gargleflax solemnly took it off.

"Anyways, let's get our first match underway!" he said. "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, DOYOOOOOO DOOOOOYOOOOO!"

Doyo Doyo walked out, high fiving fans and showing off with some cartwheels and stuff while 'You're the Best' played. She did a standing back flip into the ring, and the crowd cheered.

"And her opponent, give it up for, .!" he proclaimed.

Vessex.Z. walked out in involuntary slow motion while The Isley Brothers' 'Pop That Thang' played.

"Hey! That wasn't the entrance music I asked for!" she protested.

"Yeah, well, it's the entrance music you got." MC Gargleflax replied. Vessex.Z. grumbled and got in the ring.

"Hi Vessex.Z." said Doyo Doyo, limbering up. "Are you ready to fight?"

"Yup!" said Vessex.Z.

"I couldn't sleep, I was too excited." said Doyo Doyo. "Isn't this surreal? Whoever wins this goes on to the FINALS! It's a dream come true!"

"Hmm, yeah." said Vessex.Z. thoughtfully. "I guess things have been happening so quick, I never really had time to sit down and think about it."

She looked at Doyo Doyo and held out her hand. "Let's do our best."

Doyo Doyo smiled and shook it. "Right!"

"Overly sportsmanlike conduct! The crowd is booing!" proclaimed MC Gargleflax, as the crowd booed.

"Hey, shut up!" shouted Vessex.Z.

"Are you rrreadyyy?!" asked the referee, trying and failing to a do a Korn impression.

"Yep." they both said.

"Then begin!"

The two of them began to duel. Doyo Doyo seemed to be in an energetic mood; her moves were more acrobatic than usual, and she punched and kicked at Vessex.Z. with fluid power. Vessex.Z.'s clawing lacked finesse, but made up for it with it's accuracy and damage-dealing coolness. Doyo Doyo's clothes were starting to become shredded, and wounds began to open up on her clashing-colored skin.

Doyo Doyo said something in her foreign tongue and a faint green glow encased her.

"Okay, what does that one do?" asked Vessex.Z., scratching her again. But her question was immediately answered, as her claws simply slid off her, not even leaving a nick. Vessex.Z. tried again. The claws raked skin, but the skin didn't give way. Her defense was just too high.

The battle raged for a while, and indeed, no matter what Vessex.Z. pulled, it seemed to have little effect.

"Looks like you're gonna have to bring out the big guns, huh?" grinned Doyo Doyo.

"Hmm, the big guns..." said Vessex.Z.

"Is she gonna have to use her super move?" gulped Soria.

"She can't!" said the Saiphid. "She's... not ready yet!"

FLASHBACK

"BROADWAY IS DARK TONIGHT! LIL' BIT WEAKER THAN IT USED TA BE!" sang a huge pack of drunk aliens, Vessex.Z., Soria, and the Saiphid among them, arms on each others' shoulders, swaying back and forth by the bonfire. "SEE THE YOUNG MAN SITTIN' AT THE OL' MAN'S BAR! WAITIN' FOR HIS TURN TA DIEEEE!"

"FLYYYY ON WITH ME, I CAN'T QUITE MAKE IT ALONE!" slurred Sheriff Zema.

"That's not the same song, shtupid!" said the Saiphid. "You're so dumb!"

"No, you... you're dumb, you stupid, uh..." said Sheriff Zema drunkenly, trailing off to a mumble. She forgot what they were talking about. "Hey, what... what... what... what... should Vessex.Z.'s super move be?"

"Who caresh?" laughed Vessex.Z. drunkenly, opening another beer. "HEY, WHO WANTSH ME TO TAKE OFF MY PELT?"

"Yeah!" cheered all attendees.

PRESENT DAY

"Despite all her effort, she's not ready!" agreed Soria. "If she tries to use that move now... it could kill her!"

"Don't do it, Vessex.Z.! Don't you dare!" shouted the Saiphid.

"Sorry guys, but I have no choice." said Vessex.Z. under her breath. She smiled, touched by their concern, then struck a pose. "Eye... OF THE STORM!"

Some dark energy or something plumed up behind her and took the shape of a hurricane monster, then zoomed at Doyo Doyo, claws outstretched. But right before it struck, Doyo Doyo saw it was actually Vessex.Z. Aw yeah, that's pretty cool.

The attack went straight through Doyo Doyo. Vessex.Z. stopped behind her. The black plumes fluttered out as though a strong gust had extinguished them, and a number of bloody gashes ripped open on Doyo Doyo's body.

"Argh!" she cried.

"Alright!" cheered Vessex.Z.

"I don't believe it! She pulled it off!" gasped the Saiphid.

"Zaaa... Zaaa..."

She leapt over Doyo Doyo, sank her claws her shoulders, and when she landed, lifted her up over her head and threw her. Doyo Doyo hit the ropes and winced. She turned her grimace of pain into a grin, then stood up.

"Pretty good." she said. "If I hadn't been protected, who knows how much damage you could have done."

"Giving up?" asked Vessex.Z.

"No way." replied Doyo Doyo. She said something, and a purple light formed around Vessex.Z. "I definitely don't want you using that again, though."

"The same thing she used on Maroon." said Soria. "I guess it nullifies super moves. Scary power."

Vessex.Z. didn't bother to tell her that she wasn't planning on using Eye of the Storm again any time soon anyway. The move was strong, but it took a lot out of her to use. She was significantly weakened for having done it. Perhaps with practice, she could lessen its negative side effect, but for now it was impractical.

Fortunately, Doyo Doyo could apparently only have one of her magic thingies activated at a time, and she was now as vulnerable to Vessex.Z.'s regular attacks as Vessex.Z. was to hers.

The fight raged for a while before Doyo Doyo leapt up, caught Vessex.Z.'s neck between her knees, and twisted the both of them down to the floor.

Doyo Doyo didn't let her go, squeezing the Spican's neck with her long, powerful legs.

"Nnn... Nnn..." struggled Vessex.Z., turning blue. She swung and scratched at Doyo Doyo, but she didn't flinch.

"C'mon, tap out, I don't wanna suffocate you." said Doyo Doyo sympathetically, squeezing harder.

"Rrraah!" said Vessex.Z., biting down on Doyo Doyo's leg.

"Ow!" cried Doyo Doyo, reflexively loosening her grip. In an instant, Vessex.Z. seized this opportunity, flipping Doyo Doyo onto her stomach and bending her arm way farther back than it was supposed to go.

"Say uncle." said Vessex.Z.

Doyo Doyo couldn't... this was her big chance! She couldn't just give up. Vessex.Z. slowly bent it back further and further.

"Argh!" moaned Doyo Doyo, eyes tearing up a little.

"Say it." insisted Vessex.Z.

"Un... Uncle!" said Doyo Doyo sadly.

"Alright, now surrender." said Vessex.Z. Doyo Doyo tapped out.

"Holy cow! I don't believe it!" said MC Gargleflax. "Doyo Doyo taps out, leaving the newcomer, Vessex.Z., on her way to the FINAL MATCH!"

"Eee!" said the Saiphid and Soria, hugging each other. "She did it, I don't believe it!"

"Zaaa..." said Suzie, head lolling to the side. They looked at her.

"Say zaaa if you're dumb." said Soria quickly.

Suzie awoke. "Shut up." she said.

"Good god." said the Saiphid. "I think we just found the cure to brain damage." And it was true. Thanks to their discovery, the 'if you're stupid, don't say anything.' method of treatment swept the galaxy, curing many vegetable cases and coma patients previously considered hopeless.

"Is it over?" asked Suzie.

"Nope!" said Soria. "Vessex.Z.'s match just ended! She made up this awesome super move, you gotta see the replays sometime!"

Suzie yawned. "I'll take your word for it."

"Yo, we all havin' a good time?" asked MC Gargleflax.

"Wooo!" cheered the audience.

"Not really." said the few who hadn't already forgotten Threeseed's death.

"We're about to see an amazing fight, y'all! A battle between two true greats! Please give a big this planet welcome to... MONOCLE WIG MAN AND JIMMY OTROPOS!"

"Welcome!" said the crowd.

"Wow, such hospitality." said Jimmy Otropos, touched. "Also, you're goin' down, OLD MAN! Ain't nothing gonna stop me from taking that title!"

"You seem confident." said Monocle Wig Man. "That's good. A young man should be confident. Just don't let it blind you."

"God, that's such cliche old guy advice." said Jimmy Otropos.

"Yeah, I'll admit I half-assed that." said Monocle Wig Man.

"Do gila monsters really shoot blood out of their eyes?" asked the referee, knowing that no one really listened to the stuff he said.

"Yep, I'm ready if he is." confirmed Jimmy Otropos.

"Always ready." confirmed Monocle Wig Man.

"Then begin!" said the referee.

Jimmy Otropos and Monocle Wig Man watched each other for nearly half a minute before both leaping into battle at the exact same time. Their blows were so fast, it took a little while for our heroes to realize they were even attacking each other.

"Why are they just standing there, being blurry?" asked Vessex.Z.

"No, look close!" gasped Soria, pointing. "Those blurs are their limbs! They're fighting!"

"T-turn on the slow motion replay!" said MC Gargleflax to a guy offstage, covering the mic with his hand. A huge hologram of Jimmy Otropos and Monocle Wig Man filled the air above the ring, which was replaying what was happening at a fraction of the speed so the audience could enjoy it.

"Good god!" said the Saiphid. "Their speed is incredible! How is it possible?"

Suddenly, Monocle Wig Man was on the floor. The replay showed Jimmy Otropos faking him out, then double faking out, then punching him in the side of the face.

"Heh. Not bad for a twerp." said Monocle Wig Man, wiping some silver-colored blood off his lip.

Jimmy Otropos touched a nasty looking bruise on his rib area and grinned. "Funny, I was just about to say 'not bad for an old geezer.'"

"Wait, was that..." said Vessex.Z.

"I don't believe it!" said MC Gargleflax. "Jimmy Otropos has just complimented someone! It's never happened before! Sure, it was backhanded, but he must be very impressed with Monocle Wig Man's fighting ability!"

"Heh." chuckled Jimmy Otropos. "Idiots, making a big deal out something like that..." He looked at Monocle Wig Man, who rose to his feet. "Don't get me wrong, old man. The bigger they are, the harder they fall, as far as I'm concerned. I'm gonna have a lot of fun beating you, Monocle Wig Man."

Monocle Wig Man chuckled. "So, still calling me Monocle Wig Man, huh? Can't believe you still haven't figured it out."

"Eh?" asked Jimmy Otropos.

"Oh man, here we go." sighed Suzie, shaking her head.

Monocle Wig Man looked to the crowd. "To think you were all fooled by such a simple disguise! Ha ha ha!"

"What an idiot." said Soria.

"How did we seriously learn from that guy?" asked Vessex.Z.

"What are you talking about, old man?" asked Jimmy Otropos. "Cut to the chase."

"Of course." said Monocle Wig Man. "You see, I am not Monocle Wig Man at all! I am actually..." He deactivated his disguise.

"Captain Druntus L. Nnryg of the Space Navy of Rodor!" said Captain Nnryg, as the holo disguise thingy vanished.

"Who?" everyone including our heroes asked.

"Oh waaaait..." said the Saiphid, remembering. "Isn't he that guy we got fired back on Yannon?"

"You know what? I think you're right." said Vessex.Z. "Ahhh, when you put it like that, I feel bad..."

"I don't, that guy was an asshole." said Soria.

"Hey loser." said Melissa Jackson, sitting down next to Suzie and stealing her soda.

"Wah!" said Suzie, shocked to see her. "I thought I was glimpsing you hanging around here!"

"How'd you get into space?" asked the Saiphid.

"Ohoho, how indeed." laughed Melissa Jackson coyly. "I bet you're also wondering how that Nnryg guy got off earth?"

"Yeah, we didn't know he was ever on Earth." said Soria.

"Oh." said Melissa Jackson. "Well, they're related."

"I see..." said Vessex.Z. thoughtfully. "It all makes sense now."

"No it does not." said Suzie.

"I needed to enter the tournament to get my revenge on that accursed Suzie Superb and her little group, but I needed a disguise. Who better than one of her ex-boyfriends?" boasted Captain Nnryg.

"What the hell? He wasn't my boyfriend!" said Suzie.

"He's here to get revenge?" asked Soria. She looked at Melissa Jackson. "Melissa, is he... the assassin?"

"Eh, yeah, I guess." said Melissa Jackson. "On the way over he was saying all this stuff about planting bombs and sniping people, and trying to kill you when he faced you in the ring. I kinda tuned it out though, couldn't care less."

"You couldn't care less about us being assassinated?" asked Vessex.Z. "I thought you wanted to befriend us or something."

"A means to an end." said Melissa Jackson, waving her hand dismissively. "I found another way to get into space, though, so you're no longer interesting."

"Get lost, Melissa. No one wants you here." said Suzie courageously.

Melissa Jackson smiled and stood, patting Suzie on the head. "Of course, YOU were never interesting." she responded. She walked away.

"I guess that solves that. If Nnryg is the assassin, it all makes sense. The motive's there in force, and if he's a soldier, he'd surely have access to explosives and weapons..." said the Saiphid. "But there's still one question."

"Yeah, why DOES Melissa Jackson wear her cheerleading uniform everywhere?" pondered Vessex.Z. "She's rich, doesn't she have other outfits?"

"I guess she thinks/knows it's sexy." said Soria. "But that's not the question."

"Nope." said the Saiphid. "The question is, why did Nnryg reveal his identity to us? He could have stayed Monocle Wig Man and we would never have suspected him."

"Yeah, I basically don't care who you really are." said Jimmy Otropos. "Sounds like you put a lot of work into this, though... Sorry, I guess?"

"Grrr, don't mock me!" said Nnryg, rushing at Jimmy Otropos. They fought, punching, blocking, grappling. Jimmy Otropos separated them with a mighty, plummeting kick that connected with the top of Nnryg's head, crumpling him to the floor.

"I guess I won't hold back now that I know I don't have to worry about breaking your hip." said Jimmy Otropos with a laugh.

Nnryg grumbled and stood up. "Alright pal, you asked for it!"

"Uh oh! He's gonna use it!" warned Vessex.Z.

The same animation from the first time he used his super move was recycled. "SONIIIIIC BOOOOOOM!"

The huge light flashed again. But when it had passed, Jimmy Otropos was still standing. "That was it? Man, that might be enough to take out a Type A, but that barely tickled me."

"Whoa! That move that completely destroyed me had no effect on him!" said the Saiphid. "Incredible!"

"Way to go, Jimmy Otropos!" cheered Vessex.Z.

"No." said Soria, a look of realization on her face as a look of intense anger croosed Nnryg's. "This is bad, you guys. Things are about to get really dangerous."

"Dangerous how?" asked Suzie nervously.

"Do you guys know the key to Rodor's success as a conquering empire?" asked Soria. The three of them shook their heads. "Sure, they're strong, and are adept tacticians, but their main advantage is..."

Thunder boomed, and rain began to fall. They started to close the stadium dome. "Space echolocation."

"Space wha-?" asked Vessex.Z.

"It's a unique and dangerous ability which only the Rodori have evolved." said Soria. "An emitted wave... not sound, but something stronger, something faster, capable of travel through the vacuum of space. It allows them to detect positions of planets, stars, ship fleets, space stations, anything... instantaneously, from distances farther than any telescope can penetrate. This power allows them to see all and know all, and any Rodori can do it, just with their mouth."

"Creepy." said the Saiphid, scared. "So is that what Sonic Boom is?"

"Probably, or something related. But if it is, it's only a fraction of the space echolocation's true power." said Soria.

"What if he decided to stop holding back and go all out?" asked the Saiphid.

Soria trembled. "Space echolocation is meant to be used only in deep space, far from any colonized worlds. If he used it here, in combat..." She gulped. "The vibration could destroy this entire planet."

"Welp, time to go." said Suzie.

"No... we have to stay and make sure that doesn't happen." said Soria. "The guy's mad, he's out for vengeance... he's capable of doing any crazy act if he thinks it'll finish us off."

"Yah! Hyah!" shouted Jimmy Otropos, pummeling Nnryg. Nnryg opened his mouth wide and fired a blast of space echolocation. It wasn't bright like the Sonic Boom was, but it was much stronger. Jimmy Otropos was thrown off balance, and stumbled backwards a few steps to keep from falling over.

He regained his footing just as Nnryg fired another blast. This one was continuous and more powerful. Jimmy Otropos crossed his forearms in front of him as a shield to guard himself from the sustained onslaught of invisible waves that were crashing over him.

He grit his teeth and steadied his footing even further, as Nnryg turned up the power even more. You could even see the huge ripples in the air. Jimmy Otropos slowly slid backwards, the bottoms of his shoes squeaking against the floor of the ring. His skin was tearing and his bones were cracking, his long dreadlocks whipped back as though he was in a hurricane.

Then, Nnryg stopped. He leapt at Jimmy Otropos and kicked him right in the face before he could recover his fighting senses. Jimmy Otropos fell to the floor. He tried to get up, but Nnryg stood over him, pinning him with another huge, sustained blast of space echolocation.

Jimmy Otropos struggled to move, but his back was firmly pinned. The floor beneath him dented under the pressure. The pain was agonizing. Pops were heard over the gale as his bones broke.

He gritted his teeth. What he was about to say was the most painful thing of all. "I give up... Stop..."

But Captain Nnryg didn't stop. Jimmy Otropos raised a pleading hand to Nnryg, but it wasn't enough.

Nnryg finally put an end to it when Jimmy Otropos no longer moved. His eyes were rolled back into his head, and his mouth hung open. The audience was shocked. No one knew what to do.

"Why didn't you stop?" demanded MC Gargleflax. "He gave up!"

"I didn't hear anything." said Captain Nnryg coldly.

"Is..." said MC Gargleflax. "Is he..."

"He'll live." said Captain Nnryg. "But he'll never fight again."

"Oh my god." said Vessex.Z., covering her mouth.

...

"Are they seriously gonna let that creep fight in the finals?" asked the Saiphid.

"He hasn't broken any rules." said Soria helplessly. The four of them were out on the playground. Suzie and Soria were sitting on the swings, Suzie was sitting on one of those springy animals, and Vessex.Z. was climbing on the jungle gym.

"Hwa! Hwa!" she said.

"Why are we here?" asked Suzie.

"Gotta cram in some last minute training!" said Vessex.Z. "It's my only hope of beating that beast!"

"No, I mean, doesn't this stupid death hive have one single actual gym or training facility? It has a cook-your-own-pizza bar for crying out loud." said Suzie, grabbing a slice of the pizza they made; one quarter pepperoni and mushroom for Suzie, one quarter pineapple & yantosaur for the Saiphid, one quarter plain cheese for Soria, and one quarter entirely meat for Vessex.Z.

"I guess not." said the Saiphid. "All we were able to find was this day care thing for fighters to bring their kids to."

"Alright son, time to go." said 0110001010, walking over.

"But daaaad!" said 0110001010 Jr., a child-sized version of 0110001010 with the exact same deep voice.

"No buts." said 0110001010.

"Just lemme go on the slide one more time!" said 0110001010 Jr.

0110001010 laughed. "Ha ha, very well, my son. One more time."

"Hey kid, can I have a bite of your pizza?" a little girl who looked like a mini-Novazoid asked Suzie.

"No way. And who are you calling a kid?" asked Suzie, insulted.

"Nyah!" said the girl, sticking out her tongue at her and spurting a few small little flames out her back.

"No way..." said Soria, shocked, observing the child with fear. "To be as hot as Novazoid and still be a mom... It's unfair, uncalled for..."

"There's no way someone like us could pull it off... she truly is the greatest." said the Saiphid reverently.

"Hey kiddo, ready to go?" asked Novazoid, walking over. She spotted the ambassawarriors and frowned.

"Novazoid, is this your kid?" asked Vessex.Z. "She's adorable!"

"Are you married? Did this child spring from your womb, or was she from your husband's previous marriage?" interrogated Soria.

"Shut up! None of your business!" said Novazoid, embarrassed, tucking her daughter under her arm and running away.

"She got away. Damn her." said the Saiphid.

"She will become a supporting character. Mark my words." swore Soria.

"Well, it'll have to wait until book 3, because I'm about to get my butt handed to me and we're running out of time!" said Vessex.Z., starting to panic.

"Vessex.Z., settle down." said Soria in a calming voice, putting her hands on Vessex.Z.'s shoulders. "You're not gonna get your butt handed to you. We won't let that happen. Just relax for a second and have some pizza."

"Okay." said Vessex.Z., grabbing a slice and taking a bite. "Oooh, I like that crispy crust." she said as she munched the bacon.

"Maybe you don't need to get stronger." said Suzie, hoping to leave. "Maybe you can beat him the way you are."

"You are pretty good." said the Saiphid.

"Yeah, but gimme a break. He beat Jimmy Otropos." said Vessex.Z. "I'm gonna need something crazy up my sleeve!"

"We could use..." said Soria nervously. "THAT."

"No." said Vessex.Z. "I want to do this right."

"If she used THAT... there would be no going back." said the Saiphid.

"Huh?" asked Suzie. "What are you guys talking about?"

"You don't want to know." said Vessex.Z.

"Why is he even that good?" asked the Saiphid. "I mean, he's just a soldier, he doesn't have any real martial arts experience..."

"Maybe he's cheatin'!" said Vessex.Z.

"That's it!" said Soria. "If we can find out what he's up to, and make him stop being up to it, then you'll have the advantage again!"

"Ooh, let me!" said the Saiphid, raising her hand.

"Why you?" the other three asked.

"I have chameleon powers, remember?" asked the Saiphid.

"I vaguely remember... SOMETHING..." replied Vessex.Z., concentrating deeply.

"See, look!" said the Saiphid, turning chameleonized.

"Wow, how about that." said Soria, impressed. "Alright, do it. We're counting on you."

...

"Upon seeing their new toys, the parakeets became scared and did not want to play with them, at which point they were easily shooed away." said a news anchor. "In related news..."

"Boooring." said Captain Nnryg, sitting on the couch in his hotel room and watching TV, as the Saiphid stood up against the wall behind him, all nekkid and camouflaged.

"I'd get up and assassinate those wretched ambassawarriors, but I just don't have the energy." he lamented.

There came a knock on the door.

"Finally!" he said, springing up from the couch and answering it. A shady looking alien answered the door.

"You got it?" asked Nnryg.

"Of course I got it." said the alien, handing him a small padded envelope labeled 'STEROIDS'.

"Aha! What a crook!" whispered the Saiphid.

Nnryg eagerly grabbed it and opened it up. He shook the contents into his hand. It was a loaded syringe.

"And you're sure the drug tests won't detect this?" asked Nnryg.

"No, but you'll be a dishonorable dick." said the steroid dealer.

"Hah! Honor! There was a time when I placed value in it!" said Captain Nnryg. "But now I know the only thing that matters is revenge!"

"Just be really careful. Don't use too much of this stuff at a time. It can be... DANGEROUS." said the dealer.

"Ha ha, like that would ever happen." assured Captain Nnryg, getting ready to shoot up.

"Yah!" shouted the Saiphid, leaping in and knocking the syringe out of his hand. Or at least, that's what she tried to do. She actually missed, slammed it into him and injected the entire contents into his body, but it's the thought that counts.

"Oops." said the Saiphid.

The drug dealer didn't even waste time screaming, he just ran, a look of terror forever etched upon his face.

"Whoa!" said Nnryg. "Wow! I feel so powerful! Much better than the other times! Ha ha ha! HA HA HA HAAAAAA!" The camera panned over to the wall and showed his shadow growing from normal size to monster-sized as he dropped the syringe and it shattered on the floor.

"Oh man, no way..." said the Saiphid, stepping backwards and knocking over a vase. Nnryg, now more monster than alien, turned his big shaggy head to look at the noise.

'Thank god he can't see me...' she thought to herself, backing towards the door. But guess what, he had heat vision now.

"Ha ha ha, die, ambassawarrior scum!" shouted, swinging a mighty fist down at her. She jumped out of the way at the last second and his fist punched a hole in the floor to the room below. She jumped in the hole and ran away. By the time he'd opened up the hole wide enough to fit himself in, she'd escaped.

...

"And then you fold this part like this, and that's how you make a fortune teller." demonstrated Suzie.

"Ooooh..." said Soria and Vessex.Z., amazed.

"I'm back." said the Saiphid, exhausted, walking into their hotel room. She turned back to her normal color and reached for her clothes.

"Alright!" cheered Vessex.Z. "The woman of the hour returns victorious! This fight's gonna be a snap thanks to your heroism!"

"Yeah, I actually screwed everything up and made things worse." wept the Saiphid. "I'm so sorry."

"Oh. Well, that's okay, I know you did your best." said Vessex.Z., but she was still disappointed.

"How much worse did you make it?" asked Soria.

"He's like this huge roid-rage behemoth now." said the Saiphid. "He was breaking syringes like they were matchsticks. I barely got outta there with my life."

"Well, at least now we know what we're up against." said Vessex.Z. "Now what do we have that will put an end to a steroid-using cheater?"

"It's against the rules, right? Couldn't you tell somebody?" asked Suzie. "He'd be disqualified and the match would be cancelled and we could all go home."

"Eh, tattling isn't very honorable..." said Soria. "But I guess it would be the safest way to handle this situation."

"Alright, let's give it a try." said Vessex.Z.

...

"Hmm, steroids you say..." said the president of the tournament planning committee. They were sitting in his office, giving him the scoop.

"Plus he's the guy who's been trying to assassinate everybody!" said the Saiphid. "I heard him say it!"

"I see. I'm sure you realize these are very serious allegations." said the president.

"But they're all true, sir." said Soria. "We swear it on our honor as ambassawarriors."

"And we got proof!" said Vessex.Z., throwing down a ballistics report. "The lasers match. The gun that killed Threeseed and the gun that spooked the horses were one and the same."

"Say what?" asked Suzie.

"Hmmm..." said the president, looking it over. "I guess he really did do it. Impressive sleuthing."

"Yay!" they cheered, high fiving each other.

"We will contact the police immediately after the match." he said.

"Whaaat?" they all demanded.

"You're gonna let him walk into that ring, knowing he's a cheater and a murderer?" demanded the Saiphid.

"Don't think I approve of him." clarified the president. "However, it's the final match. We can't possibly cancel it. This is what sports fans across the galaxy have been waiting a year to see. It'd be a disaster if the tournament ended here. People need the climax. No matter what, this show must go on."

"This is a miscarriage of justice that we cannot allow." said Suzie.

"Hmmm." said the president. "Well, I guess we could just disqualify him and start the tournament over from the beginning..."

"Yeah, a clean slate might be best!" said Soria, liking the sound of it.

"Actually, I think we can let this miscarriage of justice slide." said Suzie.

...

"Here we are, the moment you've all been waiting for! The finals of the 4,029,193th annual greatest fighter in the galaxy tournameeeent!" shouted MC Gargleflax as the crowd went nutz.

"Whoa, that's a long time." said Suzie.

"It was biannual a couple times." explained the Saiphid.

"In the red corner! An example of the ultimate underdog story! A member of a primitive, backwater race, a person with no history in the ring, she has struggled up the bracket against unimaginable odds! Now, she has a shot at the most prized title in fighting! Please welcome, VESSEX.Z.!"

The spotlight shone on Vessex.Z., who waved nervously, a little overwhelmed by it all.

"And in the blue corner! Tightly shackled for my protection, a disgraced former soldier, current monster who will stop at nothing to get revenge on those who ruined him! Please welcome... CAPTAIN NNRYG!"

The spotlight moved over to Nnryg, who was struggling against his chains, roaring and making threats. "Get me outta this or I'll rip your guts out! Rrr!"

"Ooh, tough guy." said Vessex.Z. sarcastically.

"What was that? Yarrl, I'll show you how tough I am!" he shouted.

"I think I already have an idea." said Vessex.Z. condescendingly.

"Your mom." replied Nnryg.

"Alright fighters!" said the referee. "This is it! Are you ready to do this thing?"

"Yeah!" they said.

"Then fight!"

"Raaah!" shouted Nnryg, breaking out of his chains at that exact moment, pretty much confirming that they were just for show.

He and Vessex.Z. started to fight. Despite his size, he was incredibly fast; the steroid had increased his speed just as much as it had his mass. There was no point trying to block such strong blows; the best she could do was to dodge, and 8 times out of 10 she was too slow to avoid taking at least some of the damage.

"Oof! Ow!" she cried, getting smashed.

"Oh no!" cried the Saiphid.

"Try this, jerk!" Vessex.Z. ordered, countering one of his punches with her leg, then roundhouse kicking him in the chest. He was too monstrous for her to reach his head, but she didn't need to. The kick knocked him off balance enough for him to be sent to the floor with a diving eagle chomp, a very simple move which is the first thing they teach you in tae kwon do.

He landed on his back with a crash. Vessex.Z. kicked him in the head, then straddled his enormous beefy chest and gave him a huge scratch in the face, then another.

"Yeah! Go!" cheered Soria. The Saiphid whistled with her fingers. "Whoa, how did you do that?"

"Rarrrr!" shouted Nnryg, opening his mouth and using his space echolocation on her. The waves hit her and she was lifted up off him and into the air. She did a backflip and landed on her feet. He rose to his own, then opened his mouth for another blast.

'Please let this work on him!' she thought to herself, striking a pose. "Eye... OF THE STORM!" She used Eye of the Storm on him. According to plan, wounds opened up on his body.

"Yeah!" cheered Vessex.Z.

"Ha!" laughed Captain Nnryg. "You think this'll stop me? I barely feel it!"

"He's lying!" shouted somebody in the audience.

"A great fibber, 'e is!" shouted somebody else, in a British accent.

"Lie detector dunk!" called Vessex.Z., doing one of her more technical moves on him. She gasped. "He's telling the truth!"

"Got ya!" shouted Nnryg, grabbing her with his mighty hands. Her arms were pinned to her sides. She struggled vainly, secreting acid on him like there was no tomorrow, but nothing was effective on this chemically-enhanced monster.

He opened his mouth and fired machine gun bursts of space echolocation right at her head. Vessex.Z. screamed, but her voice was lost in the roar. Her nose started bleeding and her eyes rolled back.

She kicked him in the jewels and he immediately dropped her, howling with pain and collapsing on the floor in the fetal position.

"And there it is folks, the first nutshot in the history of this tournament!" said MC Gargleflax. "4 million years coming and worth the wait!"

"I hate doing that, it's a cheap shot, but you left me no choice." said Vessex.Z. He forced himself up onto one knee. In a fit of fury, he unleashed his most powerful echolocation yet. Vessex.Z. only barely jumped out of the way in time. The waves punched a huge crater in the stadium seats far behind her, killing hundreds.

"Holy-" started Vessex.Z., shocked, but she was interrupted by him firing another even stronger one at her. She ducked under it. It impacted with even more seats. This time, most of the spectators in the area had managed to scramble to safety.

"Oh man, it's as we feared." said Soria, as he fired again and again, causing massive destruction. "He's letting his anger get the better of him and he's holding back less and less. The roid rage isn't helping."

"We have to do something!" said the Saiphid.

"Like?" asked Suzie. Vessex.Z. was hurled out of the ring and landed in the stands next to them. However, the referee didn't call the match; him and MC Gargleflax were too busy freaking out and trying to get out of there amid the destruction.

Nnryg aimed his mouth at them, a thirst for death in his eyes.

"Aaah!" the ambassawarriors screamed, jumping out of the way just in time. Their seats flattened into piles of kindling, and the entire structure of the sloping floor caved inwards.

"It doesn't look like we have a choice." said Soria. "This isn't about just winning a fight anymore. It's about stopping a monster and saving lives."

Vessex.Z. nodded grimly, clutching a wound in her side. "We have to use... THAT."

"What's 'that'?" asked Suzie, losing her patience.

The Saiphid grabbed her hand, then Soria grabbed her other one, and Vessex.Z. grabbed their others, forming a circle. "Just don't let go." said the Saiphid.

"AMBASSAWARRIOR COMBINE!" the three of them yelled.

"No no no!" said Suzie.

"Haha, just kidding." said Soria. "We are gonna give her our powers though."

"How are you gonna do that?" said Suzie.

"I guess it's all done with computers now." answered the Saiphid cluelessly. "Just close your eyes and think power giving thoughts."

So Suzie did. She felt a bit of a tingle and then it was over.

"Ugh, I feel so weak now..." said Soria.

"Me too..." complained the Saiphid.

"I actually feel pretty good!" said Suzie. "It's like a weight's been lifted off my shoulders."

"Holy cow, so much strength, so much power! I'm sure I can beat him now!" said Vessex.Z. excitedly. She shed a tear. "So why do I feel so empty inside?"

Soria looked at Suzie. "Is your power your depression?"

"I guess so." said Suzie.

"Buck up and beat that clown's head in, Vessex.Z.! You can do it!" insisted the Saiphid.

"Yeah, go for it!" agreed Soria and Suzie.

"I won't let you guys down!" said Vessex.Z., returning to battle.

Nnryg smirked as she approached. "So, want some more, huh? Rawr!" He shot another almighty blast of echolocation at her, but she broke into a run, plowing straight through it and kneeing him in the stomach as hard as she could. He was launched off his feet, through the wall with a loud SMASH, and into the neighboring stadium, where they were doing pole vaulting.

"Oh my god!" shouted some of the pole vaulters, pole vaulting away. Vessex.Z. followed Nnryg, jumping up onto the hole she helped him create and facing him.

"Looks like you've powered up!" he shouted, grabbing a pole. "It won't be enough to beat me, though!" He hurled the pole at her like a javelin. She dodged it and long-jumped at him at him, giving him a diving kick in the face, strong enough to smash the both of them through to the stadium below, where there was a huge pool full of professional swimmers waiting for them.

They splashed down into the water and began to fight there, punching and kicking with incredible speed despite the water resistance. Nnryg used his space echolocation. The sound waves traveled four times faster under water, gaining huge power and demolishing more than half the stadium floor. They fell yet again, water draining down after them, onto a rugby field.

Vessex.Z. breathed fire at Nnryg. Ordinarily, it probably wouldn't have hurt him, but with her increased strength it caused him great pain.

"Arrrgh!" he cried, enveloped by fire. He angrily punched her a few times, but then she dodged one and was able to hold him. She lifted Nnryg off the grass and hurled him through one of the goalposts. He landed in the audience. People screamed and were flattened/burned by his enormous flaming bulk.

Nnryg stood and fired a blast of echolocation many times powerful than any he had before. Vessex.Z. dodged out of the way and he followed her with the blast, tracing a line of destruction across the far wall. Lacking support, the ceiling cracked and caved in on them.

Before the rubble had even settled, they burst out of it, ready to continue fighting. Vessex.Z. picked up one of the ceiling's massive metal support beams, many times her size. She energized it with Soria's power, then started swinging it at Nnryg like a giant glowing baseball bat. Everything it touched it burned through cleanly and with no resistance, causing even more structural damage.

Captain Nnryg used his echolocation, and this blast was strong enough to blow a hole in the wall of this stadium, and the one behind it. Vessex.Z. dropped the beam and avoided taking the full blow, but she was close enough to be caught in the slipstream. She was ripped off her feet and into the next stadium. Fire began spreading quickly throughout the complex as the fight escalated.

...

"Holy cow." said Suzie. She, Soria, the Saiphid, along with the other contestants, MC Gargleflax, and the referee stood outside Credit Card Insurance Company Soft Drink Tortilla Product Fields, watching as things exploded and as entire floors and stadiums collapsed or disappeared.

"Yeah." said Soria.

"Gah!" said Chirps, as the south wing erupted in flames. "How the heck is it possible to be that strong?"

"They're monsters..." said Maroon.

"Well, we've finished evacuating the prisoners." said a cop, as he and his fellow cops led Sheriff Zema and some other convicts out of the stadium. "Now let's start evacuating the regular civilians!" As they turned around, the entire building collapsed. "Whoops."

The rubble lay still for a while.

"Are they dead?" asked Rinele.

"No, they can't be!" said the Saiphid. "Or at least, Vessex.Z. can't be. I don't care if that other guy dies."

Then, a huge piece of concrete trembled, then broke. Vessex.Z. burst out from under it, holding Captain Nnryg's lifeless form above her head.

"Nnryg is unconscious!" shouted MC Gargleflax. "VESSEX.Z WINS THE TOURNAMENT!"

"Yippee!" everyone cheered.

"You did it! You did it!" shouted Soria, as she, the Saiphid and Suzie ran over and hugged her.

"And it only took you millions of innocent lives to do it!" said the Saiphid.

"I knew you could do it!" said Suzie happily, eyes sparkling. "I always knew!"

"Oh man, I don't believe it, I do not believe I actually won!" said Vessex.Z., freaking out. "Here's your powers back, guys!"

"NOOO!" cried Suzie, before becoming sad again. "Eh, who cares. It doesn't matter, nothing matters."

Some officials from the committee came over and placed the tiara on Vessex.Z.'s head, a sash on her body, then a bouquet of flowers.

"You earned it!" they said. Some others rolled out the Stone of Heroes, an ancient boulder with the names of all the past winners carved on it. They gave Vessex.Z. a laser pen and asked her to sign it.

As she walked over to it and signed, eyes teary with joy, a cheesy lounge singer guy in a suit walked out and started singing.

Here she comes

One among millions

Hero to trillions

She's history now

The times we've shared

Never been better

No one will forget her

She's history now

Everyone there cried too, it was a very emotional ceremony. Just then, Nnryg woke up!

"Rawwrrr!" he bellowed, charging at our heroes with everything he had.

"No!" they cried. But just then, pzeww, he was stopped by a tractor beam from the skies.

They looked up. It was a Rodorian ship.

"Druntus L. Nnryg, you are under arrest for multiple counts of murder, treason, and unauthorized impersonation." said the voice of his stepdad, the general, blaring out of some speakers on either side of the ship.

"Nooo!" shouted Nnryg. "How'd you find me?"

"This tournament's televised, dumbass." said his stepdad.

"Yeah, dumbass." said his mom.

"No! Mom!" wept Nnryg. They sucked him up.

"Our people will handle this slime's punishment, if you have no objection." said his stepdad's voice.

"Nah, take him." said Soria.

"Very well then." said the general. "Good day, Aurigaean. When next we meet, we may not have a common enemy." And with those ominous words, the ship sped away.

"Base, this is agent 14." said Nuclei quietly into his watch. "Target has been reclaimed by the enemy. Requesting withdrawal."

"Affirmative." He glowed and then seemed to dissolve into thin air.

"So then, will you ladies be staying for the after party?" asked Lure hopefully, as people started changing into formalwear.

"We'd like to, but we have school tomorrow..." said Vessex.Z., looking at her watch.

"Yeah, it's getting kinda late." said the Saiphid.

"That's too bad, it's gonna be a lot of fun." said Melissa Jackson with a cold laugh.

"Wow, so, I guess you're gonna be in space now." said Suzie.

"That's right, Lose-ie, I got my happy ending at last." said Melissa Jackson blissfully. "I guess you don't have to worry about me hassling you at school anymore."

"Guess not." agreed Suzie.

Some men in blue suits came over and tapped Melissa on the shoulder. "You Melissa Jackson?"

She regarded them boredly. "Who's asking?"

They showed their badges. "Status Quo Police. We've received reports that you have committed acts that would have actual lasting effects on the plot. That is something we cannot allow."

"We'll take her back, officers." said Soria kindly, as she and Vessex.Z. each grabbed one of her arms.

"NO! NOOOOOO!" screamed Melissa Jackson, kicking and flailing as they brought her aboard their ship.

...

"Thank god that's finally over with." said Suzie. It was the next morning, and they were eating breakfast back in Suzie's kitchen while waiting for the school bus.

"Aw, c'mon. You had fun. Admit it." said the Saiphid, poking her with her spoon.

"I admit nothing." said Suzie.

"Where did you go, anyway?" asked Suzie's mom.

"Oh, uh..." said Soria, looking for an excuse.

"Suzie ran away from home." said Vessex.Z.

Suzie's dad looked up from his newspaper at Suzie with a scornful expression. "And you're back already? What a quitter."

"Hey mom, turn on the radio!" said Spencie.

"Sure thing, dear." she said, turning it on.

"I just hope I'm never reminded of that whole ordeal ever again." continued Suzie, taking a bite of her toast.

"And now our number one song this week!" said the radio. "The smash hit that shot to the top of the charts over the weekend, and will sure to continue to top them for at least the rest of the school year, here's Suzie Superb's goofy novelty 'Our Galaxy'!"

"No." whispered Suzie, aghast. It started playing. Soria, Vessex.Z., and the Saiphid started crying, deeply touched, while Suzie's family started laughing hysterically.

"Man, I'd hate to be this kid right now." said the DJ. "She is gonna be made fun of for this until the end of time."

THE END