(CWAL HQ, where Lothos is sitting at his customary spot in front of the television. Various CWALers are scattered about the room)


TV: More wacky zaniness and human desperation abounds in the next showing of "Who Wants to Participate in an Unholy Union with a Dead Pig For A Million Dollars?", but first, a message from our sponsors!


TV (Cutting to a commercial): MegaOmniCorp Mall! The mall of the FUTURE! Where you and your family may shop for wares in the comfort of a weather-controlled, sanitary and communist-free environment! At a size equal to 78 city blocks, with over a thousand stores contained therein, this juggernaut of progressive capitalism stands as a monolithic testament to the fundamental desire of humanity to have the Gap only a few steps away from a Sears and a Lords & Taylors! Built and sponsored by Phasmus & Co. Construction Division, "Proving again and again that unfeeling corporate oligarchies can pretend to care too!"


Lothos: What!? All the joys of living in a cold, faceless consumerist environment contained within a building dedicated to exploiting the labor of the masses?! I wonder if they have coupons for new customers... (The commercial is interrupted and replaced by the face of one of the few surviving reporters of the Irvine News Team)


Reporter: Attention! We intterupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you a special news bulletin! Errrr...how much time do I have?


Lothos: I'll give you 30 seconds.


Reporter: Right. I am standing here in front of one of MegaOmniCorp Mall's software stores, "Babbages". It is here where a blatant act of unforgivable terrorism was commited as an explosion savagely gutted the store's wares and immolated the employees!


GAVAL: What?! An act of unforgivable terrorism?! This can only be EEEEEVVA---*SMASH!*


(GAVAL crumples to the ground, standing behind him is Pez, weilding the "Club o' One-Breasted Slayer Disabling")


Z: Awww, he was going to go smash some evahl!


Pez: Look, if that...thing of his gets any larger, I'm going to have to create a machine just to keep it in check, and I quite frankly feel that smashing GAVAL in the head is far more efficient. And fun.


(The special report continues on the TV, as Lothos keeps an eye on his watch)


Reporter: At the Babbages in question, a small explosive was planted on one of the display racks. The explosive itself was contained inside of a "Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun" package, and thus was undetected until too late.


Z: Hmmm...A Westwood plot? Could they be up to some...tricks?


Reporter: Wrong genius. Maybe if you let me finish, you might be able to figure it out and I might be able to report this quick enough to live another day.


Z: Hey! Well, it could be! Don't you think Lothos? (Looks around, but no Lothos to be seen) Where did he go....


Reporter: All of the items in Babbages were destroyed in the explosion, with the exception of all software, toy figures and mouse-pads made by Blizzard Entertainment. Wheew...well, that's it. Guess I made it af---AIEEEEEEEE!


(The TV screen shows Lothos charging into the ruined Babbages after the reporter)


Lothos: Not so slick little man! You've just made me miss the first five seconds of "Who Wants to Participate in an Unholy Union with a Dead Pig For A Million Dollars?" I guess that means we're going to have to find ourselves a dead pig and FORCE YOU TO MAKE UP FOR WHAT I MISSED!


Reporter: Oh Gawd NOOOOOOO! (The camera shuts off, but sounds can still be heard)


Lothos' Voice: Of course, the only difference is you won't be paid a million bucks in the en-- (Pez reaches for the remote and turns off the TV)


Pez: I'd listen some more, but I suddenly realized that I value what little sanity I have left. Ah well. Who's up for Starcraft?


(Before anyone can respond, Mu comes stumbling in from the infirmary, holding a bag of ice to his head)


Mu: Cease your interlocution forthright and with immediate haste! I fear our attempts to remedy the current dillema of invasive neural usurption and propellance by Blizzard Entertainment has been complicated exponentially!


Pez: Well, great. Of all the time for Lothos to go and humilate a reporter. Now Mu, you're going to have to condense your sentences this time. What did you just say?


Mu (Breathing deeply): Please...cease..talking. We may have a problem on our...hands, involving mind control.


Pez: Now that wasn't so hard! What's the matter?


Mu: Imp...the patient with a case of...neur--


Pez: Mu!


Mu (Getting frustrated): Mind-control!


Pez: That's better. Now what about Imp?


Mu: He traumatized my cranium with a soiled bed-pan and escaped the premises two hours ago!


Pez: Oh. Umm..you might want to take a shower then. (Mu sighs a weary sigh before walking off)


Z: Hmmm...Imp, a slave to Blizzard escaping two hours ago. And just now, an explosion destroys all the software in a local Babbages except for Blizzard merchandise. There's a connection here somewhere...


Pez (rolling his eyes): Before you are struck with divine clarity, I'll just tell you my hypothesis. Imp has been commanded by Blizzard to destroy all non-Blizzard gaming products to increase their hold on the market.


Z: Wait a minute! Imp has been commanded by Blizzard to order a pizza for the developement staff! And on the way he was captured by carnivorous flowers! And they sold him on the flesh-market to MegaOmniCorp Mall! And there were terrorists! And laughing clowns! A--*SMASH!* (Z crumples to the ground, standing behind him is Pez, wielding the "Club o' Insane Xel'Naga Ramblings Cessation")


Pez: Eh, I'll just go see what MAGGOTT has to say.


---(The MAGGOTT's Throne Room)---


(Pez finishes explaining the situation to MAGGOTT, who is currently thouroughly uninterested)


Pez: Well? What can we do about it?


MAGGOTT: My advice? I suggest a campaign of strategic global destruction. Lemme just go to my ordinance cabinet, and after I'm done with this world, the atmosphere will boil away into the vacuum of space. The seas will churn in a cascading mealstrom as they drain into broken fissures within the earth, extinguishing the core and stealing away the geothermal heat that sustains the fragile ecosystem! (Growing more and more impassioned as he describes the end) As the earth under the feet of puny mortals shake and bring them to their knees, they will feel the oxygen inside their lungs ignite into blazing fireballs as the MAGGOTTonian bolts of energy flay the life energy from their fragile shells! The ice caps will boil over and flood the now barren planet as it converts into raw plasma! Those few unlucky enough to be alive in the first five seconds will...(continues the diatribe for a good five minutes. When he's done, MAGGOTT slumps back into his throne, a wild look in his eyes and his body panting from the exertion)


Pez (Wiping off some spittle from his face): Well...actually, I was talking about Imp...


MAGGOTT: Bah, we'd get him in there somewhere.


Pez: How can global destruction be strategic?


MAGGOTT: Look mortal, if you have to ask, you wouldn't understand.


Pez: I think I'll just send the Newbie Patrol to go fetch him back.


MAGGOTT: Eh, that's just plain unimaginitive right there. Fine, send the Patrol.


---(At the MegaOmniCorp Mall)---


(The mall is indeed huge, well beyond cavernous in size. Scores of shoppers and consumers make their daily rounds in this goliath testament of commercial zeal. Despite the spartan decor, the harsh artificial lights and the police tape surrounding the demolished Babbages, the bustling populace is in a jovial mood as the mall celebrates its grand opening)


Mall PA: Welcome one and all to the first full day of glourious spending! This message is brought to you in part by Phasmus & Co. Consumer Division, "The Consumer Division, your devoted servants today, your corporate overlords tommorrow!"


(In a small, corner of the mall's farthest wing, a vague rumbling sound can be heard. The rumbling grows to a dull roar, and the wall is quickly demolished as debris spews forth from a newly created hole. As the dust settles, the insurgent wall-remover is seen to be an army-surplus APC, from which a motley crew of Newbies pour out)


Paradox: All right gang! Get out and form up! We're looking for one person out of this entire mall, and we've got a lot of ground to cover.


Shade (looking around): You've got to be kidding me! This will take forever! How do we even know Imp's still here?


Orcfodder: Well, there are six other software stores here, and if it's Imp's mission to destroy all non-Blizzard software in the area, he'll have to hit them all, which will take a while.


Galileo: And quite possibly longer for us to find him? I venture to guess the time it will take to search every wing of this complex monstrosity would be in the scale of perhaps a day. And during the entire time, our good Imp will most likely be on the move.


Paradox: All right, enough with the pessimism. We'll split up into groups and search each floor of the mal--


Paranoid CWALer (Stepping out of the ruins): Oh no you don't! I'm the vet around here! You newbies follow MY lead.


Craw: CIA Illuminati Mandroids!


Paranoid: AHG! Where? They'll never catch me! Never! (Runs away deeper into the mall)


Copernicus: ...


Box o' Newbies: ...


Paradox: Why'd we let him tag along anyways? At any rate, we've got a job to do. Computer games are at stake here...


Orcfodder: And lives.


Paradox: Yeah, whatever. Anyways, all Newbies scatter from here.


Galileo: Come Copernicus, an interesting spectacle, is this facility. We shall explore the upper reaches and work our way down from there.


Shade: Uh-huh. Well, I'll go up to the second level. Anybody coming with?


Dei': Sure, count me in.


Craw (Noting the sudden inclusion of females into the fold): Oh errr...ME! I'll tag along!


undertow: I think I'll stay on the ground floor.


Punt: Me too. Less chance of me falling to my death.


Orcfodder: As will I. The last time I used in escalator...


Paradox: Yes, yes. I remember. You know, not even escaped mental patients think that the escalator is a demon-possessed staircase.


Orcfodder: Look, it was my first time, okay?!


Robo-Gerbil: ---Newbie Allocation Assessment: First floor-4; Second floor-3; Third floor-2. ---Conclusion: Will accompany Third floor expedition---


Paradox: Right, we've got our-- "Here piggy piggy piggy!" "Squeal!" (The newbies are interrupted by what appears to be a small piglet being chased by a knife-wielding Lothos)




Galileo: I say...


Craw: It's usually best not to ask. Actually, it's always best not to ask.


Galileo: Right.


(Meanwhile in another section of the mall, Paranoid has regained his composure after the threat of being abducted, brain-washed and cloned by the Illuminati)


Paranoid (growing even more paranoid as he speaks):


They'll never get me! Never! They think they can chase me down, ha! I'm too smart for 'em... They're everywhere though. They've got trackers and stalkers and sniffers and hunters and...(he glances at the crowd around him nervously)...everywhere...


(As Paranoid mumbles to himself, he wanders into a plaza area with a sign "Peter Rabbit and Friends" hanging over it, a bunch of kids are gathered around a person inside of a rabbit costume. As Paranoid continues to ramble, he's caught off gaurd by a voice at his side)


Voice: I hear you man.


Paranoid: What?! Who are you?


Voice: Right here dude. (Paranoid turns to see Peter Rabbit himself)


Paranoid: Gahh! The flouride in the public water system is causing me to hallucinate! Nooo!


Peter Rabbit: Naw dude, it's just a costume. Me 'n my buds are here on some kind of "Storybook Adventures" theme.


Paranoid: Oh...well what do you want? I've got enough to worry about.


Rabbit: Just wanted to tell you man, I know what you mean. Like with the black helicopters and Roswell 'n all that jive. That's why I took this job. When you wear costumes like this, they think you're just another brainwashed citizen. But not me man. I got myself an official KazzCo. Aluminum Foil Helmet. It's designed to deflect the psychotrophic mind-control waves. I'm too smart for 'em.


Paranoid: Hmmph. It's not fair is it? Being the only people who know the truth? If only people could see the obvious, that the Gnomes of Zurich secretly control the world economy and all first-grade teachers are members of the Illuminati.


Rabbit: I hear you. The freakin' Man got it easy. But check this, I got a way of reverse-engineering CIA mind-control man! That's another reason I'm working here. If I can lure enough kids and parents into this area, I can free 'em and raise an army against the aliens from the Dog Star and kick some serious ass man!


Paranoid: You have a way?! How?


Rabbit: Check this out...(And the two collaborators discuss ways to raise an army against The Man/ The Illuminati/ Gnomes of Zurich and other sinister organisations)


---(Meanwhile, in Canada)---


(Fron's throne room. An aide approaches the Emperor with a brochure in his hand)


Aide: Sire! Sobering news brought to us from our ambassador to the United States.


(Hands Fron the brochure)


Fron (Reading aloud): Blah blah...Irvine... blah... New mall...blah... Grand opening... OmniMegaCo--WHAT?!? "OMNIMEGACORP MALL, THE LARGEST MALL IN EXISTENCE"?! Those bastard yanks stole our record! (Leaps off of his throne and paces the floor) West Edmonton Mall is the largest mall in existence, and I'll be DAMNED if it doesn't stay that way! (Turns to the aide) You! Assemble my advisors, we've got ourselves a mission to attend to. Nobody steals a Canadian record and gets away with it with their limbs intact!


Aide: Gladly sire!


--- This could get messy... To be continued,