Awesomesquad! Assemble! 8.1! Revenge of the Fame Monster

For those of you who’ve never read an Awesomesquad! Assemble! post before, this post should bring you up to speed.

(Note: to understand the first part of this post, you need some information regarding a section that will appear in the book. In said section, The Awesomecopter! crashes, and when everyone wakes up, Lady Caggiano is missing. This post takes place 6 months after that crash.)

“Minigan,” a voice called for me at the entrance of The Watch Tower. I ignored it.

“Minigan, damnit, turn your head away from the bloody monitor and listen to me!” Clearly, it was Damien. I obliged.

“Thank you,” he muttered. He then raised his voice to an urgent tone and stated, “I just wanted to let you know that we’re about to head out. It’s Charlie Sheen. He’s totally lost his shit this time, and he’s apparently taken hostages in a Los Angeles TV Studio. You should come with us. You haven’t even fought with alongside The Knifemaster, and you hired him four months ago. Plus, the group is not the same when it’s missing you- well- and Lady Caggiano.”

“I cannot stop looking for her,” I replied formally as I turned back around and faced the screen, “That is my number one priority. Besides, you guys have been doing an amazing job with Raul fighting. Who knew that he would be so good with guns?”

“Well-“

“Don’t even say that he’s good with guns because he’s a Mexican, you racist,” I interjected.

Irritated, Damien replied, “I wasn’t even thinking that!”

“Oh…”

“What I was about to say that he’s good just as long as women aren’t involved. Who knew that, while really talented with guns, Raul is actually a total ogler and pervert?”

I turned back around, more interested in the conversation. “How so?” I asked.

“Here’s the thing,” Damien began, “We didn’t want to tell you this cause, anymore, you only leave this room to pee and sleep, and you’re so worked up over Lady Caggiano’s disappearance that you yelled at us whenever spoke to you.”

I apologized and said, “It’s been a hard few of months since the crash.”

“We know that,” Damien said earnestly, “That’s why we aren’t offended by it. We all knew how preoccupied you were… And still are.” “Anyway,” he continued, “We received word that Kim Kardassian was plotting to steal the Hope Diamond from The Smithsonian and wear it for the upcoming award season, so we went out to prevent it. But once Raul took one look at her, he immediately tried to flirt with her and help her steal the diamond.”

“Well, of course he did,” I replied, “It’s Kim Kardassian. Her ass is literally hypnotic.”

“She hadn’t even turned around to show us her ass,” Damien argued, “There wasn’t a mirror behind her either. He just walked up to her and started hitting on her, even though I told him that she was the person we were supposed to fight and to not think with his dick. Everett had to tranquilize him to get him to stop fighting us.”

“So that’s why you brought him back zonked out of his mind that one time,” I answered.

“How did you know about that?”

I pointed to the wall of screens and stated, “From the Watchtower, you can see everything.”

“Right,” Damien noted, quickly glancing up at the screens, “But we still need you.”

“Why?” I asked, “Even if Raul is a little perverted-“

“Dangerously perverted,” Damien added.

“You guys are going to fight Charlie Sheen- Raul won’t try to seduce him.”

Grasping at whatever straws he could think of, Damien argued, “But what if he as an army of strippers and hookers? We’d be screwed!”

“Does he actually have an army of hookers and strippers?” I asked with suspicion.

“Well,” he answered hesitantly, “It’s doubtful. But he could!”

“Go, Damien.” I got up and ushered him out of the Watch Tower door.

He fought me, but I managed to get him onto the catwalk and close the door behind him. I had barely made it back to my work at sifting through the images of the wreckage of the Awesomecopter! when the door opened back up and Phlegm stepped in.

“Minigan,” she said hesitantly, walking up to me and resting her hand on my shoulder, “We need to talk about the mission that Team Pugnastics is about to go on.”

“You’re not going with them to fight,” I said to her without turning my head. There was a dark form in the corner of one image of the security footage that seemed pretty suspicious.

“That’s not what I was going to say… And why can’t I go? I’ve been training with guns, knives, and Everett’s weapons!”

“Because you’re our psychologist!”  I shouted back pulling my gaze away from the dark form, “You’re supposed to be here to help us cope with emotional trauma from fighting. You cannot do that and also be in the middle of the fighting. And why are you so desperate to fight anyway?”

“I just, you know,” Phlegm paused before finding the right words to continue, “I want to feel the life slip out of someone’s body as I strangle them.”

“What the Hell?!”

“But that’s not why I’m in here,” she continued, “I’m here to help you cope with the loss of Lady Caggiano. I think you should go with the rest of the team. They need you, and you need to fight with them.”

“No,” I snapped, not removing my gaze from the screen, “Lady Caggiano needs me. Team Pugnastics will be fine without me. They’ve been fine for the past six months.”

“That’s right!” Phlegm cried, “Six months! It’s been six months and you have found nothing that could help us find her, and for those six months, Team Pugnastics hasn’t had their leader! Damien’s great- don’t get me wrong, but you’re the leader and your team needs you.” She sighed and continued, “Maybe you should start thinking that you won’t be able to find her.”

“No!” I cried, “I won’t give up! She wouldn’t do that to us!”

A grim expression formed on Phlegm’s face, “What if Lady Caggiano didn’t want to be found?”

I laughed, for the first time in months probably, “C’mon Phlegm. We’re talking about Lady Caggiano here. If there’s one person that is more faithful to the group than me, it’s her.”

Phlegm looked really uncomfortable. She sat quietly for a second or two, I think she was building up the courage to say something. Finally, she closed her eyes and stated, “What I’m about to tell you, I’m telling you not to hurt you, but to help you move past this. Last year, Lady Caggiano and I started having private sessions, and she had told me during several of these sessions that she was thinking of quitting. I think the crash might have been the final straw for her.”

“I don’t believe you,” I stated as I felt my blood go cold.

“You don’t want to believe me, but you know I would never lie to you like this,” she replied softly, “But I have some audio from her last meeting with me to prove it.”

From her hoodie pocket she pulled out a small voice recorder. She pressed the play button and her voice came through the recorder’s speaker.

“So, Lady Caggiano,” her voice asked, “How are you feeling today.”

“Tired,” Lady Caggiano’s voice replied. She sounded tired.

“Do you mean physically tired or emotionally tired?” Phlegm’s voice asked.

“Both. My body aches from all the training and fighting we do, I cannot sleep because of all the shit I’ve seen and done- the people I’ve seen die… Nut’n Fancy in particular… But mostly, I’m just tired of doing this.”

Phlegm’s voice asked, “This?”

“This! All this! Awesomesquad! I don’t think I want to do this anymore. I don’t think I can take it. I mean, I love Minigan like a brother, and I know that we’re doing saving the world, but I regret ever joining this team.”

After a seconds pause, Phlegm’s voice replied, “Are you sure that’s what you want?”

“Yes…No… I’m not sure. I haven’t even tried asking Minigan about the possibility of quitting. I know he’ll never let me.”

“You’ll never know until you ask,” Phlegm’s voice said brightly.

“You’re right,” Lady Caggiano sighed, “I’ll ask him now.”

Phlegm pressed the pause button on the recorder, and the playback stopped. I sat there staring at the now silent recorder, remembering the day that Lady Caggiano disappeared and how she asked me what I would do if someone quit. I thought to myself, I was joking when I said, “If anyone tries to quit, I’ll kill’em.” I thought she knew that. If she actually wanted to leave, I would’ve let her, and she wouldn’t have to escape from us when the Awesomecopter! crashed.

“Are you OK, Minigan,” Phlegm asked, her voice dragging me out of my thoughts.

“Oh, yeah. I’m totally fine,” I replied, looking at her with a smile, “But I should probably hurry up and get to the armory. Hopefully the rest of Team Pugnastics hasn’t left yet.”

Without looking at Phlegm, I turned off the computer I was on, and rushed out of The Watch Tower. She followed me out onto the catwalk and called to me, “You know what? Maybe it’s better if you didn’t fight today. I mean, I shouldn’t have expected you to take the information I gave you and then be in the right frame of mind to fight.”

I turned to face her and scoffed, “Phlegm, do you know who you’re talking to? Of course I can get information like that and still be OK to fight, because that’s who I am- a total badass.” The grim look on her face told me that she didn’t believe me, so I reassured her, “Trust me. I’m great. I’m just ready to get out and fight for once.”

I turned back around, hopped onto the catwalk hand rail at the top of the steps and slid down. I had always wanted to do that. For a few brief seconds, the breeze from me sliding down the metal rail kissed my face and blew back my hair. I reached the bottom, and within seconds, I was already across the Great Room.

From behind and above me, I heard Phlegm’s voice call out, “But we still need to talk about how you’re going to handle this!”

“I’m handling it right now!” I yelled back to her.

I stepped into the blue hallway, or the hallway that leads to the armory. It is also the hallway with every private quarter of member of Team Pugnastics (Team Prevention’s rooms are on the other side of the Great Room, down the Red Hallway.) It’s called the blue hallway because, well, the walls are blue. I admit- it wasn’t my most clever of name choices.

I paused for a second at my door, debating on whether or not I should shower before going to the armory when I remembered that I had actually showered that day. I had barely showered, brushed my teeth, or brushed my hair since Lady Caggiano’s disappearance. And I had stopped working out all together after about three months, when my quest to find her became a full blown obsession. The only reason I had even showered that day was because GMZ wouldn’t let me into the Watch Tower until I, “stopped smelling like I was trapped inside of an ass for the better part of a century.” Clearly it had been a rough six months for me.

I entered the armory and felt renewed by the activity inside. Damien was passing out guns, extra magazines, and knives to Raul, Series of Japanese Symbols, and Criss. Everett was at his work table tinkering with one of his wrist mounted flame throwers. I couldn’t see Knifemaster, so I assumed that he was down one of the aisles of weapons.

When Damien saw me at the doorway, he called out, “Well, well, Look who’s come to see us off this time, boys!”

“Not exactly,” I called back, “I was actually thinking that I could go for some fighting today.”

A look of joyous surprise washed over each of my teammates’ faces.

Damien looked to Everett and smugly  stated, “See, my talk with him did help.”

“Sorry to disappoint you, Damien,” I replied, “but it was actually Phlegm who changed my mind.”

Damien glared at me, “You just have to ruin everything for me, Don’t you?”

“That is part of my job description,” I joked.

I strode across the armory to my cloak closet. It’s actually a large, steel box, about the size of a refridgerator, Inside was all of my battle gear. On a black mannequin was my cloak and protective vest. Behind it was a pair of black pants that were of the same material as the vest. I made sure that there was twice as much protective layering at the crotch, for reasons that I think is obvious (It’s where I keep my balls). On the one door of the closet was my Justice Stick, hanging diagonally from corner to corner of the door. At the foot of the cabinet were my pair of black tactical combat boots. On the other door was an inscription of my saying, “We do not fight fame for fame, but for those without it.” Instead of reading it like I normally do when I open my cloak closet, this time I ignored the inscription completely and hurriedly got ready.

I grabbed my usual accessories: flame thrower, wrist communicator, grappling hook gun and two hooks, a serrated edge knife and the wrap for my ankle, two hand guns and hip holsters, a tranquilizer dart gun  a vest trap of extra ammunition, and two sets of throwing knives. I also walked down the couple of aisles and picked up some of the more unconventional weapons, like Everett’s spider canister, and his sticky bombs- small explosives that stick to hard surfaces and are best used to explode holes in walls.

Once I had grabbed the weapons I felt were necessary for this mission, I headed back to the center of the armory, where everyone, except the Knifemaster who was still unaccounted for, had gathered.

“Where’s the Knifemaster?” I asked.

“Dunno,” Criss replied, “He should be down here already.”

Series of Japanese symbols said something in his crazy gibberish language, and I all I could do was stare at him. He and I hadn’t spoken much since the crash of the Awesomecopter!, what with our translator going missing, and because of this, our relationship had become increasingly strained. He yelled some more things things that I couldn’t understand, and I looked to the rest of the team for help.

“We should check his room, he said,” Damien finally interjected.

“Good idea,” I said to Damien, which threw Series of Japanese into a rage. He yelled something else that I couldn’t understand and then flipped me off.

Damien looked from Series of Japanese Symbols to me and said, “He said ,”Fuck you.””

“Yeah,” I retorted, “I figured out that one. Now let’s go find The Knifemaster.

We headed back up the stairs and into the blue hallway, and as we reached The Knifemaster’s room. The sounds of music and The Knifemaster shouting things snuck through the crack under the metal door. I turned the knob, but it didn’t budge- locked. I tried knocking, but since the music and shouting was loud enough to penetrate the door, my knocks were most likely drowned out and went unanswered. I tried pounding on the door, but still got no response. Frustrated, I pulled out the skeleton key from my cloak pocket and went to unlock the door.

“Wait,” Damien interrupted as he smacked my hand away from the lock, “What in God’s bloody name do you think you’re doing?”

The music stopped and then started up again. I couldn’t identify the song, but I think I could hear guitar. I answered Damien, “I’m opening this door. We need him down at the armory now, don’t we?”

“I mean,” Where did you get that key?” He asked aggressively. I could tell this was going to be just another one of his things.

“I had it made once the doors were put in. I figured that it would be useful.”

“Yeah, to breach our privacy!” Everett cried. He seemed more offended by me having the key than Damien, which took even Damien off guard. The Knifemaster started yelling again. I think he might be singing along to whatever song he was listening to.

“Look,” I replied as softly as I could, “I get that you feel that I could use this to get into your rooms. But I only had this key made for emergency situations. Like if someone locks their key in their room or for situations like this: when we cannot get to the person inside. I’ve always assumed that I’d have to do this for more serious reasons, like someone getting hurt or starting a fire or something, but here we are, I guess.”

“I’ve been locked out of my room for three days, and all I had to do was come and ask you to unlock it?!” Jessie cried. I ignored him.

“How do you know that you aren’t snooping through all our stuff?!” Everett cried before Damien could say anything.

“Well,” I asked rhetorically, “Has anything of yours been misplaced or missing? Or have you ever seen me going into or coming out of a room other than my own?” “But if you don’t believe that,” I said as I pointed up to a security camera in the corner of the hallway, “that camera turns on and records anyone who uses this key to get through the door. And besides, all of you have a fireproof safe in your rooms that I told you you should keep your private stuff in, and I don’t have a key for those.”

“Seriously guys,” Jessie interjected, “I left my key on my bed and have no way of getting back in. I’ve been using Criss’s shower for the past couple of days.”

“Prove the part about the camera,” Everett demanded.

Without answering, I strode over to Jessie’s door, practically stabbed the keyhole with the key, and turned it. Instantly, there was a ping from the corner of the hall, and a red light began flashing on the camera. I pushed the door open and let Jessie run in and grab his key. I returned to the group standing at The Knifemaster’s door and asked, “Happy?”

Everett didn’t reply, which I took as, “No, but it will do,” and I went to unlock the Knifemaster’s door. Damien stopped me again.

“Maybe you should knock again, Yeh know, to be polite,” he suggested.

I grumbled to myself, but obliged. By this point, the song had started over again. Making a fist, I pounded on the heavy metal door and yelled, “Knifemaster, are you in there?” No reply. I looked to Damien, who nodded for me to go ahead, and I unlocked the door. The security camera pinged once again, and the door gave way. A wave of sound washed over us as the door opened completely. Immediately, I recognized the song. It was “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus. In the center of the room, wearing nothing except black compression shorts, was The Knifemaster, back to the door, singing and dancing along to the song.

…The butterflies fly away/ Noddin’ my head like ‘yeah,’ movin’ my hips like ‘yeah…’” The knifemaster yelled along with the song as he shook his ass to the beat of the song.

“What the shit?!” I cried at the scene in front of me. The Knifemaster heard my cry and spun around with a gasp. He looked at us in shock, and immediately covered his nipples with his hands, despite the fact that we had clearly seen him shake his ass in compression shorts.

“Can I help you?” he asked in a calm tone- much calmer than I would’ve been if I had been caught dancing half naked to “Party in the USA.”  I could not see the rest of the team, but I assumed that they were as shocked as I was.

“We need you down in the armory. The rest of us are ready to leave to fight Sheen,” I answered after a long second or two.

“OK, I’ll be right down,” he said unabashedly. He then walked over to the door and swung it closed. Right before it did, however, I watched The Knifemaster turn around and start jumping around to the song. “So I put my hands up/ They’re playin’ my song/ the butter flies fly away…” he sang/shouted with Miley.

The door clicked shut. The seven of us stood there, just processing what we just saw, and then without a word to one another, headed back down to the armory.

A few minutes (and possibly one more run through of “Party in the USA”) later, The Knifemaster came down from his room, completely ready, and followed by Team Prevention to see us off. Every member of Team Prevention wore a grim look upon their faces, which I sensed had something to do with what Phlegm had told me. Not wanting to deal with that, I headed down to the Awesomehangar, to see if Jessie and the Awesomebus! were ready. Unfortunately, Phlegm, Danica, GMZ, Derren, and our genetic scientist, Coco Montoya, followed me. I pretended not to notice, and hurriedly rushed down the stairwell and the only route (regrettably due to my poor planning) to the Awesomehangar! The stairwell reminded me of my old highschool: comcrete brick walls painted a light tan color, and wide stair cases, and an overwhelming feeling of emptiness as you walked down them alone. This was the first time I had ever walked down these stairs without Lady Caggiano, which made the stairwell feel even emptier. Each slapping sound of my boots on the linoleum tiles echoed up and down the stairwell alone, and the missing pair of echoes that had always accompanied mine made Lady Caggiano’s absence that much more noticeable.

I shook my head in an attempt to loosen those useless thoughts’ grip on my brain, and returned to thinking about how similar this stairwell was to the ones in my high school. The colors were the same. The size was the same. The lighting was the same. The echoing effect was the same. Hell, even the smell of disinfectant was eerily similar-like cheap toilet bowl cleaner mixed with lemons. Did I subconsciously plan this stairwell to look just like that one? I asked myself, Or was this some kind of weird coincidence that I’m not noticing until now. And why did it take me two damn years to finally notice that the two stairwells were practically identi-

“Minigan, Hold up!” Phlegm’s voice called from above me, effectively pulling me away from my thoughts. I kept walking and moved across the stairs to grab the outer railing. Above me came a storm of footsteps, each accompanied by their echoes, creating an almost white noise that filled my ears. Team Pugnastics must’ve been walking down with her. There was way too many footsteps for only Team Prevention coming down those stairs. Despite the sounds of a dozen pairs of feet coming down the stairs, I heard no one talking, which meant that she had told Team Pugnastics too. What the hell ever happened to Doctor/Patient confidentiality? I asked myself as I skipped the last four stairs and pushed through the doors to the Awesomehangar!.

“Jessie!” I exclaimed in an obviously fake tone, “How’s the Awesomebus! coming along?”

He came around from the otherside of the bus, which was standing in the center of the hangar facing the runway/ exit tunnel, holding the fuel hose. He hung it back up on the pump and said to me, “Minigan! You’re finally out of The Watch Tower?! That’s amazing! The bus is ready to go; I just finished putting gas in it.”

No shit.

“Awesome,” I stated. I then looked passed him to the piles of parts and the white sheet covering a large structure behind him and asked, “So how’s the Awesomeplane! coming along?”

The sound of the doors clicking open behind me distracted Jessie, and he looked passed me to the rest of the group flooding into the room. “Hey you guys!” he said excitedly.

“Jessie,” I commanded as I slapped him lightly on the cheeks, “C’mon, focus. How is the Awesomeplane coming along?”

“Good!” He said finally, “Sorry it’s been taking so long with it, but our benefactor’s demand for the parts I need to come in intermittently has  been drawing out the building process. On the bright side, I’ve been able to incorporate new a new feature into the Awesomebus!! It’s a cloaking device, for lack of a better term. Everett helped me with it.”

“Minigan, we need to talk,” Derren’s voice said behind me.

“So how much work is left on the Awesomeplane!?” I asked, ignoring Derren.

“The fuel system is the last big piece; It’s going to use electrolysis to-“

“Minigan,” Phlegm pleaded, “Listen to us for a second.”

“Excuse me,” I snapped as I turned around to face the rest of my team, “But I’m right in the middle of a very interesting conversation with Jessie. You can wait until we’re done.” I then turned back to face Jessie and ushered him to continue.

“Well-“ he started before he was cut off again. This time it was by Derren.

“He’s lying.” He said, “He never cares what Jessie has to say.

“That’s not true!” I cried as I spun back around to face him, “I always care about whatever stupid thing Jessie is blabbering on about!”

“Hey!” Jessie’s voice shouted behind me. I ignored it.

“Please, Minigan, you need to talk about this if you want to be of any help against Charlie Sheen today,” Phlegm said softly, as if she thought her words could break me somehow.

I laughed it off, “Guys, you’re totally overreacting. I’m fine. Really. All that recording did was wake me up from a six month long stupor and help end a pointless rescue search. I should’ve known better. I swear, I’m totally fine. It’s going to take a lot more than a member quitting to shake this ”

Derren stared at me through his squinted eyes, making me feel uncomfortable in the process. Out of that discomfort, I looked to everyone standing behind him. They were all staring at me as well, making me feel more uncomfortable.

“He’s still lying,” Derren affirmed, “Minigan, you need to talk to us about this. We’re here for you. But you need to talk to us about Lady Cagg-“

“DON’T SAY THAT NAME! DON’T YOU DARE FUCKING SAY THAT NAME!”

I don’t know why I yelled it. Those words spilled out of my mouth before I was able to even process what they meant. And somehow, my hands found their way up to the collar of Derren’s sweater and had lifted him off the ground by it. Coming to my senses, I gently returned him to the ground, apologized, and announced to Team Pugnastics that we were leaving right then. And without another word, I turned on my heel and climbed onto the Awesomebus!.

From my seat on the Awesomebus!, I heard several of my teammates mumble to one another, most notably Derren.

“Why in the bloody hell did you think it would be a good idea to tell him that before a mission?” He asked Phlegm.

“It was the only way to snap him out of it!” She retorted, “Besides, he has never been this battle ready before!”

“He’s going to be reckless!” Damien snapped, “He’s quite likely to do something stupid!”

“I can totally hear you guys,” I barked out the window, even though I meant to say in a joking tone. I cleared my throat and continued, “Team Pugnastics, let’s go.”

They obliged, and silently entered the vehicle. Jessie revved the engine of the old, modified school bus, and pressed his foot on the accelerator. The tires squealed, and their squeals echoed through the large, mostly empty room. Then, the Awesomebus! lurched foreward into the dark tunnel. The Awesomebus! sped up for a minute, the headlights illuminating the way, while those of us who weren’t driving fastened our seatbelts. While still in the tunnel, Jessie swerved the bus to the left. Instead of hitting the wall, like I’m always afraid we will, we veered off into an auxiliary tunnel and up a ramp. With a quick press of a button on the dashboard, Jessie opened the tunnel gate, and the Awesomebus! launched out into the cold February night and landed on the paved private access road at the edge of the Awesomebase!’s property.

Apparently growing bored of the several minutes of tense silence, The Knifemaster stood up from his seat and announced, “I’m going to turn on some tunez with a ‘Z’.”

Damien and I looked to each other, fearing the worst, as The Knifemaster strode up the aisle. As if he had planned this in advance, he only pressed one button on the CD player, and Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA” started blasting through the speakers. He let out a loud, “Woooooo!” and began skipping up and down the aisle, swinging his machete over his head, while the rest of us groaned and either rolled our eyes or put our heads in our hands.

“Knifemaster,” I shouted over the song and his whooping, “We’re only going to listen to this once before I put on something different.”

“NO!” He cried, “Tonight was my night to choose the tunez! I’m calling bullshit on this whole situation!”

“C’mon, Knifemaster, no one wants to listen to this song,” I replied.

“That’s just because you haven’t given it a chance yet! It’ll grow on you, I swear!”

“It’s kind of outdated, though,” Jessie announced over the music.

“Shut up, Jessie.” The Knifemaster spat, “You don’t have any say in this because you still like music from the eighties, or more commonly known as the era that cursed us with Def Lepperd and Milli Vanilli.” The Knifemaster turned his back on Jessie and continued to dance up and down the aisle of the Awesomebus! “All I see are Stilettos/ I guess I never got the memo!”

As I promised, once the song finished, I went to the front of the bus and thumbed through the music on the Awesomebus’s iPod. For some reason, it was mostly filled with Nickleback. Gross. I was tempted to go with a new My Chemical Romance song, but I figured that would be a good way to get me murdered by my team. Eventually, I was able to narrow it down to two songs. I decided on the first one, feeling like it more accurately fit the whole situation today.

Na na na na na na na/ na na na na na na” The singer sang with the guitar.

The Knifemaster raised his eyebrow at me, “Really, ‘So What’ by P!nk? So you traded a pop song from 2009 for a pop song from 2008?”

“It’s more like a Pop-Punk song, I think,” I replied uncomfortably. I stood in front of them for what felt like the longest first verse of a song ever, and joined in with the singing at the chorus, “So what/ I’m still a rock star/ I’ve got my rock moves/ And I don’t neeeeed youuuuuuu!”

I sat back down in my seat, singing merrily along with P!nk, while everyone else sat uncomfortably in their own seats. The Knifemaster looked particularly sour. We made it to the bridge of the song before he sprinted up to the front of the bus and changed the song back to “Party in the USA.” It was going to be one of those nights, apparently. Once I saw that The Knifemaster (and this time, Everett) were too distracted with singing along with Miley, I ran back up to the iPod player. This time, I changed the song to Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You” which I figured would be more agreeable with my finicky team.

Right as I walked back to my seat, the song changed back to “Party in the USA.” I looked to the Knifemaster, who was waving the Awesomebus!’s lone remote at me with a triumphant grin. Grumbling to myself, I went back to the front and changed it back to “Fuck You.”

The music battle between The Knifemaster and I lasted the entire way to Las Angeles. And by the time we got there, everyone except for me was singing along with the Miley Cyrus song. Jessie pulled the Awesomebus! down an alleyway, and one by one, we hopped out. The alley smelled like piss and broken dreams, which I assumed smells like a homeless persons, because I was passing one. I flipped the man a quarter, which was the only change I had on me, and stepped out of the dark alley into the brightly lit street.

I looked at the screen on my wrist communicator and brought up the map. We were about a block away from the studio where Sheen had taken hostages. I turned to my group and said, “We’re close. Let’s try to get there without drawing any attention to our-“

“Oh my God, It’s Awesomesquad!” A burgundy hair colored woman that looked to be about my age yelled. She was wearing a black beret with matching yoga pants and a loose fitting turquoise blouse, all of which gave her the appearance of a crazy older woman. She looked to me through her thick rimmed glasses and shouted excitedly, “And you’re the leader! I swear, I’m you’re biggest fan. I’ll follow you until you love me!”

I couldn’t help but grin. “Why thank you,” I said brightly, “We, and especially me, are pretty badass, aren’t we? I’m glad to hear that you appreciate what we do.” Damien grunted behind me. I ignored it.

“I totally do!” she exclaimed, nodding her head up and down feverishly. She then asked, “So why are you in L.A.? Oh, please tell me you’re going to go beat up Chris Brown.”

“Been there, done that,” I replied confidently, “He was an easy fight. Nothing more than a d-bag with an anger problem. Today we’re going to fight Charlie Sheen.”

Damien cleared this throat. Again I ignored him. This time, however, he wasn’t going to let me. Placing a hand on my shoulder, he pulled me back so that his mouth was an inch away from my ear and he whispered, “It’s not a brilliant idea to tell people you just met what our mission is, in case you forgot.”

“Right,” I replied. I then looked to the girl and said, “It was very nice meeting you, but we need to go. We do have a mission, after all.”

I turned around and began to walk across the street, the rest of Awesomesquad! following me, when the girl yelled, “Can I at least see your face first?! I’ve never seen it, and it’s driving me crazy!”

“Sorry,” I replied, “But that’s just going to have to remain a mystery.”

The girl swooned a little, and I headed across the street feeling the best I have felt since the crash. We made it to the studio building in no time, and made it inside unseen thanks to Series of Japanese Symbols’s ninja skills.

“OK, guys,” I whispered to my team, “We really need to be on our toes with Sheen. He has called himself a warlock, a rockstar from Mars, and that he has Adonis DNA. We should anticipate that he does actually have those and maybe more secrets that he hasn’t told the media yet. After all, those do sound ridiculous, but just about every villain we have battled against has turned out to be supernatural in some way, so we should take what he has said as truth.”

My team nodded, well, except for The Knifemaster who was singing to himself, “I’m your biggest fan, I’ll chase you down until you love me/ Papa- paparazzi

Instantly, I felt my heart drop. I knew those words- they had haunted me for the past year. “What did you say?” I gasped at The Knifemaster.

“Oh, sorry,” he replied, embarrassed, “I was listening, it’s just that that girl back there had quoted a Lady Gaga song, and now I have it stuck in my head.” He then sang, “I’m your biggest fan, I’ll follow you until you love me.”

I could feel the blood rushing to my face and ears. “Guys,” I announced in a whisper, “We’re aborting this mission. It’s a trap!” My team looked confused, but there was no time to explain, not until we got out of the building at least. I turned to head out the way we entered, but we were too late. Over the doors and windows giant slabs on concrete slid into place, effectively sealing us inside. “Well, shit,” I muttered to myself.

Before I could warn my team that Lady Gaga was behind this, a door opened up at the other end of the room and she stepped out of it. This time, she stood about six feet tall, largly due to her shoes, which looked an awful lot like horse hooves. She seemed to be wearing a dress made out of ripped black lace and a shiny, black, skin tight material-maybe latex. Her blonde hair was fashioned into several sharp looking spikes.

Raul gasped, “She is beautiful.”

“No she’s not,” I whispered harshly at him, “She’s a terrifying monster that must be stop- Raul, where are you going?!

Raul began to walk towards Gaga, unable to keep his eyes off of her. The rest of us tried to get his attention, but to no avail. She had him.

Over our cries of protest, Lady Gaga walked up to the thunderstruck Raul and said in a French accent, “I know that we are young, and I know that you may love me, but just I can’t be with you like this anymore…”As she said that, her jet black tail formed from her backside and wrapped around Raul, “…Alejandro.”

With that, several sharp looking blades formed on her tail, and with one swift constriction of the appendage, she severed Raul into five pieces. We all screamed in horror. I nearly threw up. Criss managed to. Everett’s knees gave out and he fell onto Damien, who looked like he was having trouble standing up as well. I stared down at the pile of human meat that used to be our maintenance man as his blood flowed freely out of the chunks of flesh and formed an ever growing puddle on the floor. The smell of fresh blood made my stomach churn. I suppressed the queasy feeling in my stomach, and instead focused on the rage that was making my skull feel like it was on fire. If I wasn’t ready to fight someone before, I absolutely was now.

Before I knew what I was doing, I had already pulled out my Justice Stick and was charging at Lady Gaga. With one strong bound, I leapt over Raul’s body and aimed my Justice Stick at Gaga’s heart. But before I was even close enough to stab the bitch, her tail wrapped around me and left me suspended in the air. My team cried in protest as she her tail drew my face closer to hers.

Once our faces were a mere inches apart, she smiled at me and said, “Oh, Minigan, I’ve missed you so much!”

I spat in her face.

Her smile immediately turned into a grimace and she then growled, “Get your ass in my bed.”

With that, she whipped her tail and sent my flying across the room. I landed face down, not on the cold hard floor like I was expecting, but instead on a soft bed. My sense of relief was almost instantly extinguished, however, when several sets of hands clasped down on my arms, legs, and shoulders, only letting me lift my head to get air.

From behind me I heard Lady Gaga announce to the rest of my team, “Greetings Awesomesquad!, I’m glad you finally managed to bring Minigan along with you. I’m sorry if you had your hearts set on fighting Charlie Sheen, but you will just have to settle with fighting me and my monsters instead.”

Gaga snapped her fingers, and a flood of footsteps filled the room. I looked to my right and saw the girl that I had talked to just a few minutes earlier holding down the arm with my flame thrower on it. I shifted my face on the fabric on the bed. Cotton- flammable, but as long as my butane container wasn’t leaking, I wouldn’t get burned too badly. I looked back to the girl, who wasn’t staring at me, but in Lady Gaga’s direction. I really didn’t want to burn this girl; she seemed nice, but I couldn’t let Gaga get the rest of my friends.

“Sorry,” I said as I arched my wrist as much as I could, pulled back my thumb and-

“Aaaaeeeeee!” the girl shrieked as my torrent of fire blasted her in the crotch. The smell of burning fabric and flesh was almost immediate. She held on for a few seconds, an impressive amount of time for someone getting third degree burns on her vagina, but she did let go, and I was able to torch some of the other monsters holding me down. With my right arm and leg free, I turned partially on my side and blasted the monsters holding down my left side. With all of the monsters holding me down currently writhing on the floor and clutching various charred parts of their body, I jumped off the bed (doing a couple of bad ass front flips over the monsters) and sprinted back to my team, who were currently battling against a massive hoard of Gaga’s human followers. I could feel a burning and tingling on the bottom of my hand. Without looking, I knew that my flame thrower had burned through my glove and scorched my skin. I kept my eyes focused on my team, who had formed a circle and were fighting the monsters in 360 degrees. Unfortunately, Lady Gaga intercepted me before I could get to them.

She tackled me and pinned me to the floor. With her long and threateningly sharp looking fingernails, she traced the lines of my vest. “C’mon, Minigan,” she cooed, “I just want to touch you for a minute. I could show you things you’ve never imagined.”

“Yeah, well I’ve probably never imagined it for a reason,” I grunted. For her size, she was surprisingly heavy. I remembered from our last meeting how much it hurt to get kicked in the chest. Shaking the unhappy memory, I wedged my legs between us and, with all my might, forced her off of me. I rolled to my side, right as she threw a fist down right where my chest was. “Don’t be scared; I’ve done this before,” She whispered in a mock soothing tone.”

I jumped to my feet, “Based on how you just tried to crush my chest, I kind of doubt that.”

I tried to back away, but Gaga had wrapped her tail around my feet. In an instant, She had me suspended upside down a couple of feet off the ground. As if I was a goddamn toy, Gaga swung me around and playfully batted at me with her sharpened nails, shredding my vest whenever she managed to catch it. I looked around for my Justice stick (I dropped it when Gaga threw me across the room), but it was nowhere to be seen. I did see, however, my team murdering the monsters.

“Guys!” I yelled to them in between dodging Lady Gaga’s ferocious swipes with her claws, “They’re just humans! Use your tranquilizers! Do not kill them!” “Also,” I continued, “do any of you have my Justice Stick?”

“Why shouldn’t we kill them?” Criss yelled as he levitated my Justice stick over the hoard of monsters and launched it at Lady Gaga’s tail. The Justice Stick hit its target. Gaga let out a deafening roar, and her tail released its grip on my ankles. My head practically spit open when it hit the floor.

As I got up and rubbed what was going to be a huge lump on the top of my skull, I turned to face Lady Gaga, but she had vanished into the crowd of monsters. Keeping an eye out for an oddly dressed blond woman, I yelled back, “Her followers are just humans that she has hypnotized. There is no reason to kill them. In fact, we should probably capture a couple alive so that we can try to figure out how to fix them.”

I punched and kicked my way through Gaga’s hive of followers and joined the rest of my crew, who despite being a little bloodied up, were holding their own impressively well against the monsters. The tranquilizers seemed to be working, and my team had formed a donut shaped pile of unconscious bodies around them. I joined the group between Everett and the Knifemaster and begun to either punch or tranquilize the hoard of Lady Gaga fans. I have never punched so many people so hard, or enjoyed doing so, in my life.

Without looking at him, I asked Everett, “Do you have any of those spider canisters on you?”

“Yeah, three. Why?”

“We need to get out of here, but we also need to take a couple of these monsters with us to figure out how to undo whatever it is that Lady Gaga does to them,” I stated. “If we capture three of them, we can blast a hole through the wall and Criss can levitate them into the Awesomebus!.”

“Right,” he replied. He pulled out the three spider canisters and threw them into the crowd.

I turned to Criss as best I could and called, “Criss, give you tranquilizer gun and extra darts to Damien, I’ve got another job for you.”

He obliged, and we both stepped backwards into the circle. Once we were safely inside, our teammates tightened it. Now facing Criss, I ordered, “When the spider canisters are finished capturing some of the monsters, you need to levitate them out of here and into the cage in the Awesomebus!. Do you think they can handle it?”

“Absolutely.”

“Good.” Before stepping back into the circle and resume the fight, I brought my wrist communicator up t my mouth and said, “Jessie, bring the Awesomebus! around and open the roof over the cage.”

“Oh, so you captured Charlie Sheen then?” he asked brightly.

“No,” I replied, “It was a trap set up by Lady Gaga. We’ve captured some of her followers, and we need to run a few tests on them.”

“Oh jeez,” he laughed, “Gaga is really good at tricking us into fighting with her.”

No shit.

“Just bring the Bus around,” I pleaded.

“OK,” he answered, “Where should I park?”

“Look for the hole in the wall.” I lowered my wrist, and with my burned hand, pulled out two of the sticky bombs I had brought with me and flung them in the direction that I was pretty sure we entered through. The gel disks flew through the air like Frisbees, and stuck to the walls on their sides. They then flopped down so that their flat sides were against the wall. After about a couple long seconds of nothing, the sticky bombs exploded with a loud bang and sent concrete debris flying in every direction. Some of the pieces even managed to hit some of Gaga’s followers and knock them out, which was especially nice. When the smoke cleared there was a long hole at the top of the wall. It was tall enough that the immobile bodies could easily fit through.

A honk came from outside the hole, and I turned to Criss and said, “You’re up.”

Criss nodded, closed his eyes in concentration, and raised his right hand into the air. As if they were attached by invisible strings, three silvery, squirming cocoons silently floated into the air, above the heads of us and their fellow monsters, and out of the hole in the wall. After another few seconds, Criss dropped his hand, and three honks came from outside, indicating that the monsters were successfully caged.

I rejoined the circle and called out the my team, “Alright guys, let’s get the hell out of here!”

I was out of tranquilizer darts, so I took one last swing  at the monster in front of me. He was a skinny looking young man, probably around GMZ’s age, and had such flawless skin, that I assumed he was wearing makeup. His hair was cut in such a way that it looked like he had given himself a comb-over with a full head of hair. He dodged my punch and then grabbed me by the throat.  Within seconds of grabbing onto my neck, the monster’s face began to shift and distort, long spikes of blond hair jutted out of the receding brown. He grew to about six feet tall, thought part of that was due to his newly formed hooves. And his facial features became strikingly more feminine.

“Gaga!” The Knifemaster cried when he saw who had me by the throat.

Before The Knifemaster had a chance to pull out a knife and stab her, Gaga threw me over her head and across the room. I didn’t hit a soft, fluffy bed this time, but instead the cold, unmoving concrete wall. I fell the the floor in a crumpled heap, not sure if or how many of my bones had been broken. If you’re not sure if you’ve broken a bone, I said to myself, then you probably didn’t. Get back up and fight. I obeyed myself, but I was too slow, and Lady Gaga managed to plant one good kick to my stomach. I flew back up into the air, hit the ceiling, and came crashing back down. Despite the raw strength of my abdominal muscles, Gaga still managed to knock the breath out of me, so when I hit the ground, all I could do was attempt to gasp for air until my diaphragm reset itself.

While I was attempting to breathe, gaga shrieked to her monsters, “Work your blonde Jon Benét Ramsey/ We’ll haunt like Liberace/ Find your freedom in the music/ Find your Jesus/ Find your Kubrick!

Once she finished saying… whatever the hell that was, her league of loyal fans dropped the floor and began to twist and contort their bodies. I watched in horror as the one nearest me rolled its eyes to the back of its head and his jaw dropped to the point where his tonsils were showing. From his throat (and the throats of all the other monsters) came an odd puttering sound. It sounded like someone put an old, dying engine through an autotuner: It was Lady Gaga’s language. Suddenly, the teeth of the young man in front of me started to grow into long spikes. Out from the sides of his twisting body exploded an extra set of arms, with each hand sporting razor sharp nails. His skin turned grey. His hair vanished. And for a second, he was calm. But then, his eyes rolled back down to reveal that there were nothing but two black dots in a sea of red. He and all the other now literal monsters shrieked (I managed to catch my breath and scream along with them) and jumped back onto their feet. They charged at my team.

As fast as I could, I  shouted through my wrist communicator, “Fuck it. Kill them.”

Gaga grabbed my wrist and threw me up against the wall. She pressed her “You know that I love you, boy. And you should also let you know that I’m never gonna let you go.” She squeezed my wrists, and I could feel my wrist communicator and my flamethrower break apart, the small sharp pieces piercing my skin. Luckily for me, my blood made my wrists slippery. I managed to free one of them from her grip and hit her hard in the face with my forearm. My forearm screamed, but it did the trick. Dazed, she let go of my other wrist and stumbled backward.

I hit her with a couple more punches and a roundhouse kick before I growled, “But there’s that.”

She let out a short, cold laugh and warned, “You know I like it rough.”

She then dove at me, which I dodged by dropping to the floor and somersaulting under her, and she slammed her head hard into the wall. The wall cracked all the way to the edges, and I barely made it out of the way before it crumbled and fell on top of her.

Pulling out my Justice stick, I beat, sliced, and stabbed my way to the rest of Team Pugnastics, who were being easily overwhelmed by all the Gaga fans- turned hideous monsters.

“Attention Guys! I have discovered that the best way to kill Lady Gaga’s hive of followers is with kindness,” The Knifemaster said. He then spun around and beheaded the nearest monster with his machete.

“I thought you said ‘Kill them with kindness!'” I cried.

“That’s what I named my Machete-Kindness,” he replied as he affectionately pet his large blade.

I shook my head, suppressing a laugh, and then turned to Damien, taking a moment to throw a throwing knife at a rushing monster, and said, “Are you ready to try out the ‘Boom Escape?’”

He smirked a confident smirk, “Let’s fuckin’ do it.”

I smirked back and yelled to the rest of my group, “Were going with the Boom Escape in 3…2…1… GO!!!”

Criss stopped threw his hands forward, and then out to his sides. All of Gaga’s fans that were between us and the wall were thrown off to the side by an invisible force like rag dolls in a tornado. The Knifemaster, Series of Japanese Symbols, Everett then pulled out their guns and shot at any monster that stepped into that path. Damien started sprinting towards the wall, and I followed close behind. He then started doing front flips while keeping his body perfectly straight. I pulled out one of my sticky bombs and flung it at the wall right when Damien’s body was going horizontal. The disk flew over his body, narrowly missing his head as he flipped forward. Once it had passed him, Damien did a barrel roll as he flipped and continued towards the wall doing back flips. The bomb hit the wall on its side, flopped down flat, and exploded.

“NOW!” I screamed.

From behind me I heard the blasts from my the rest of my team’s guns cease, and I knew that they were now following us. Without the gunshots shooting them down, the monsters closed in on Damien and I. Damien did one final back flip, pulled out his guns, and then jumped backwards though the hole that the bomb had created. As he flew through the hole, he folded himself in half and shot both of this guns at me. Damien’s (thankfully) perfect aim made sure that his bullets did not hit me, but instead the monsters that were close to catching me. I dove through the hole, pulled out three more sticky bombs, and threw them at the wall. By the time I had landed and slid to a halt at Damien’s feet, the bombs had gone off and created a hole large enough for the rest of the team to run through. They did, and Damien threw a few sticky bombs at the building, causing part of it to collapse and trap the monsters on the other side.

“Nice work,” I panted at Damien, as he offered me pulled me off the ground, “Let’s get the hell out of here.”

We clambered into the bus, practically all at once, and to Jessie, I commanded, “Drive now.”

“Sure thing, boss.” He said brightly as he strapped himself in, “How did it go in there?”

“JUST FUCKING DRIVE!”

I heard a crash come from outside. I and the rest of my team shoved out heads out the Awesomebus!’s windows to see Lady Gaga claw her way through the wreckage. Seeing us pull away, she let out a roar. Jessie floored it, but with a single bound, Lady Gaga managed to jump a good twenty feet and land on the roof of the Awesomebus!.

To Be Continued…

3 Comments

  1. […] Awesomesquad! Assemble! 8.1! Revenge of the Fame Monster […]

  2. […] Awesomesquad! Assemble! 8.1! Revenge of the Fame Monster […]

  3. […] I was fucking obsessed with this site before I discovered Cracked.com. I have my best friend and knife aficionado to thank for that. For those of you who don’t already know, Cyanide and Happiness is a web comic […]


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