Kingdom Hearts: Unsung Recollection

Discussion in 'Written Works' started by Darkcloud, May 15, 2016.

  1. Darkcloud Word of advice: Let the wookie win. He's Chuck N

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    In a nightclub, not far from the most active part in the magical kingdom, a magical microphone (ironically named, “Mike,”) pops down from his perch and delivers a message from the clubs sponsor, in a rather upbeat manner. The product, displaying a familiar witch, is showcasing a more disturbingly familiar apple.

    “Pete’s evil plot provided by: “Evil Witch Sleeping Apples!” With the active magical ingredient, appletonin! Fast acting, effective relief of wakefulness is only a bite away! Evil Witch Sleeping Apples!”

    As Mike delivers his line, the picture of the familiar witch comes to life, and begins to speak in a disturbingly happy tone, “One bite, and you’re out like a light! Mmhmhahahahahaha!”

    “Wake-Up Kiss sold separately.” Mike quickly adds in. As quickly Mike delivers his final line, the spotlight shifts from him, to a more familiar, recognizable, and overwhelming famous figure. Dressed in a stage suit, minus a bowtie, Mickey Mouse needed no introduction to get the crowd going…even if he was only delivering the final curtain.

    “Ha! That’s all for today! See you cool cats real soon!”

    The band played their instruments, and the audience roared in cheers as the curtain swept over the stage of the nightclub, and the room faded to black. For a moment, it seemed the world could end on this one moment…

    “Aaaaaaand…CUT! ALRIGHT EVERYONE, THAT’S A WRAP! GREAT JOB, EVERYBODY!!”

    The curtain opened back up again, and Mickey began walking towards the end of the stage: tired, hands in pockets, but satisfied with the performance of the day. As he made his way to the end of the stage, and pleasantly jumped off it, the background behind him began to fade away. Stage hands and behind-the-scenes-people of unknown names and titles quickly began to disassemble and relocate the stage for the filming of the next show. The quickening of assembling and dissembling was enough to tear away any remaining magic leftover from the show. Mickey smiled slightly. He was used to it. He knew nothing would last forever, but he did take comfort in the fact that this show would be gone only temporarily...especially since the House of Mouse show was ordered a second season.

    Mickey quickly made his way towards his dressing room, next to two other doors: “Donald Duck” on his left, “Goofy” on his right. All three had just as large and equally bright stars. He should know, he had each one of them measured carefully; both of his two costars earned just as much laughs and fame as he (though Donald would always find a reason to complain that his star was smaller, or that Mickey got the better roles, or that Goofy got more stage time). Mickey quickly changed out of his stage attire and into something a little more comfortable: red shorts, white gloves, and large yellow shoes. He smiled at his classic look. He sometimes wondered why he anybody would demand he change his look and become more “hip.” He liked the look his fans say is “timeless.” After all, he’d be naked without his look.

    As he exited his dressing room, he caught the eye of a costar and coincidentally one of his best friends for as long as he could remember being in the business. His friend was nearly twice his height, but gangly looking. His own “timeless look” was wearing overly large brown shoes, blue jeans, dark orange long-sleeved shirt with a black vest, white gloves, and a crumpled green top hat. Although clumsy and dim-witted, Goofy has a heart of gold that hasn’t diminished once during the darkest of times of their career and friendship. And Mickey loved him for that…even if his signature word popped up a little too much.

    “Ah-hyuck! Hyah, Mickey! Are ya ready for the meetin’?”

    Mickey shook his head slightly while suppressing a laugh, “Yep. Just headin’ that way. You coming, too?” Goofy nodded while grinning. Mickey could almost swear he heard something shake loose in Goofy’s head every time Goofy did that. “Alright. We’ll go together, then.”



    The two made their way outside the studio, and past the backlots and other studios, passing a world of other sceneries, movies, and stories. Many of the stage hands and stars waved at Goofy and Mickey as they passed.

    “Hey, Mickey! Great job in that last episode!”

    “Thanks, Steve.” Mickey replied, smiling.

    “Goofy! Can you do that laugh for these kids, please?”


    “Ah-hyuck hoo hoo hoo hoo! Gawrsh, we’re glad to see you kids today! Y’all have fun and come back soon, okay?”

    “We will, Mr. Goofy!” the kids all chimed in, waving as they left.

    Mickey and Goofy smiled as they progressed to main building where their meeting was to take place. In all their years, there lots of rumors as to where the magic of their job was located: Disneyland and Disneyworld, where anyone could meet their favorite movie characters, Disney studios, where new movies and cartoons were being made every hour of every day (okay, maybe that’s a tad exaggerated by the fans), but in actuality it was here: a large, central, and unnamed building in the middle of Disney Studios. It was here that many of the ideas for some of the earliest cartoons, characters, gimmicks were developed, but not with a pen and paper…rather, it was on a sofa or love seat, various members talking to one another in the den, or even by children running and playing with their toys with their parents. This building was not another company meeting place for executives and workers. It was home, where everyone could come to at the end of a good day’s work and be a happy family. This was the true heart of Disney.

    As the two made their way through the children laughing with their toys, adults having a midday snack in the den area, or even through various caterers wheeling in carts of assorted foods to various rooms (sometimes this home was treated like a five-star hotel where everyone spent the night before an extended day’s work), the finally reached their destination: a lone door, in the middle of a rather unusually long hallway. They enter the doorway without a second thought. Why would they need one? It’s home for them…along with every creation that has ever emerged from Disney.


    The room was not a spectacular one of grand design, like one would expect from a multimedia empire mogul, nor was it even a very business oriented room. It was arranged just like a den, a simple study area. A desk towards the back of the room, some carpet, and a few simple light fixtures. What was striking were the number of books in the room: all except two of the walls in the room were lined from floor to ceiling with grand bookshelves, and filled to the utmost space with every kind of book one could imagine. Nothing seemed off-limit: fairy tales, cookbooks, instruction manuals, even toaster repair guides. It seemed to boarder on the revolutionary, while at the same time boggling the imagination. Such was owner, if not owner, of the room.

    He stood at a modest height. A touch over six feet tall, his looks were not of magnificent grandeur, not like a king or emperor, especially with his tweed suit, slicked back hair and mustache. And yet, his gentle features, warm smile, and dark brown eyes suggested something more sincere; a man who stayed the same before he accomplished his hopes and dreams. As in, accomplishing them only gave him more dreams to fulfill, if not expanding his original ones, with all of it seeming all for not if he didn’t share any of it with the world. Walt Disney was a unique man in a cynical world, but just seeing him made everything seem a little less depressing, and a little more hopeful.

    “Hello, boys,” Walt spoke. He smiled as Mickey and Goofy came closer, then a tad confused, “Where’s Donald?”

    Mickey was about to speak when the three of them heard an increasingly loud number of running footsteps. The door quickly opened and closed to a large white duck, out of breath, and very late.

    His blue sailor uniform drooped, out of order as he slumped against the door, fanning himself with his sailor cap, with white feathers falling away from his head and body in the process. His gasping for air hinted at his semi-intelligible speech; the kind of speech and way of talking you could only understand if you had known him for years. Donald Duck’s speech alone made it difficult to work with, but if you throw in his temper, lack of discipline and overall mischievousness, you had to either really love the guy or really can’t stand being around him whenever you worked for him. How he had Mickey, Goofy, and countless other friends around him for all these years in the business was still a mystery…currently under investigation.

    “Sorry I’m late,” Donald gasped, “the nephews wanted to know if we decided anything about the second season. There’s rumor they won’t be in the House of Mouse band.”

    “That’s alright,” said Disney, “we only just started. As for the rumor, we haven’t decided anything about the second season just yet. We’re going to have a temporary break from the season.”

    The trio looked up at Walt in surprise.

    “Gawrsh, sir,” said Goofy, “we only just started to pick the show up off the ground. Are we already in danger of cancellation?”

    “It can’t be,” said Mickey, “I was told by the producers we were scheduled for a new season next January!”

    Donald stared at Mickey scrupulously, “You were talking with the producers, again? Typical.” He shook his head, “Why are you always the first to know these things? Every time I ask about these things, I get the runaround!”

    Mickey shrugged, “I don’t know what to tell you, Donald. Maybe if you were nicer to the staff? You do act like you’re the one in charge a lot…”

    Donald stamped his foot, “Don’t patronize me! I outrank most of the staff! And you’re always getting the starring parts! You’re-“

    “Okay, that’s not fair,” Mickey started. It took a bit to annoy him, but Donald seemed determined to get his way, “You’ve had more theater shorts, cameos and guest appearances last year than me! I’ve only been in a few movies and a couple of guest appearances, and none of the starring me, Donald!”

    Donald was starting to turn red. Whether it was from embarrassment or anger was anyone’s guess.

    “Yeah, well you-“ Donald started.

    “Boys.”

    The two stopped abruptly and slowly turned towards Walt. His face was stern, and body language was subtle: arms folded, standing up straight, and looking down slightly at Mickey and Donald. The two’s reaction to Walt was of fear, but not of employer-and-subordinate-kind. Rather, it was the kind of fear two brothers had when their father was angry with them. Despite whatever kind of argument they had, neither of them wanted their father to be disappointed in them, nor would they wish that on their brother, no matter what needed to be aired out between them.

    “That’s enough,” Disney said, quietly. Mickey and Donald lowered their heads slightly.

    “Yes, sir.” Mickey said

    “Sorry, chief.” Donald replied.

    “Thank you,” said Disney, “To answer your previous questions, we’re taking a break from the confirmed second season. No, we’re not in any danger of cancellation or anything like that. We’ve been approached with an offer for a…special project.”

    Mickey, Donald and Goofy looked at each other in confusion and curiosity. Special project? What did that mean?

    Disney continued, “We’re going to work on a video game, but at the same time we’re going to treat it like a movie.”

    The three flinched.

    Disney tilted his head, “Is there a problem?”

    Goofy stepped forward, “Umm, sir? We haven’t had much luck with video games in the past…”

    “Goofy’s right, sir,” Mickey nodded, “We all had our attempts at video games. The closest we had to any real kind of success was the “Castle of Illusions” game.” Mickey gestured towards Donald, “Donald technically had a bigger success with his “Cold Shadow” game, except-“

    “Except I never got billed credit for it,” Donald finished, annoyed, “They gave credit to my lookalike cousin from Hawaii.”

    “We seem to do better at the, whatchamacallit…” Goofy scratched his head, trying to remember the term, “…oh yeah, “educational games,” like math and stuff.”

    Disney nodded, “Your concerns are well founded. However, this project has come from our Japanese branch. The offer has come from a company friend of ours, SquareSoft.”

    “SquareSoft,” Mickey repeated, “…how do we know them, Chief?”

    “We used to share the same building when we worked on our separate projects.” Disney explained, “Every now and again the producers would get together and exchange ideas. Which is precisely how this one formed. The creator, Tetsuya Nomura, became involved in a conversation of ideas, and volunteered to lead the project.”

    “”Producers would get together and-“…wait…” Donald’s head furrowed, as if he was thinking of something unpleasant, “…is this project going to be another joint collaboration?”

    “Yes, Donald,” Disney nodded, “it will, indeed.”

    The trio groaned.

    “Excuse me?” Disney said, surprised. He usually received more enthusiasm than this.

    “Well, sir,” Mickey started, “it’s not that we’re not onboard, it’s just…we had less success with a joint collaboration than the video games!”

    “He’s right, boss,” Goofy chimed in, “It was that movie, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” People showed to see us with those Warner Brother toons, but it wasn’t that big of a hit.”

    “That duck of theirs was daffy, too.” Donald muttered to himself.

    “Boys, I assure you, I wouldn’t approach you with this project if I didn’t think there was a good shot at it,” Disney stated, “but I will be honest with you as well: it’s a gamble. The board of SquareSoft, the company Tetsuya works for? They’re not necessarily agreeing with this plan: he’s kind of on his own on this one. He assures me that this plan will work, that it’s a surefire hit, he just needs a good script and cast.”

    Donald’s eyes widened, “His script isn’t complete, yet?!”

    “No sense writing a complete script until he knows what he has to work with,” Disney replied, “he has a rough draft, but it’s subject to change if he gets something he needs…or if something goes wrong.”

    Donald rubbed his forehead with his feathered fingers, “Phooey…”

    “Also,” Disney continued, “a good amount of this project will be oversees.”

    Goofy looked a little suspicious, “How far are we talking?”

    “Japan.”

    “Oh, well, that’s not so far,” Goofy replied, smiling. Donald and Mickey agreed as they conferred amongst themselves…then stopped. They looked back at Walt, wide-eyed and shocked.

    “JAPAN?!”

    “You’d be there for the majority of the project.”

    The trio staggered slightly. For a “surefire hit,” it’s looking more like a lucky shot in the dark, at best.

    “Chief…” Donald stammered, “…you can’t be serious…”

    Walt walked back to his desk, “Boys, I know this is a risky move. I’m not exactly in a hurry to loan out my three biggest stars to another company without knowing what I’m getting into. Rest assured, whatever happens, we will not make the same mistakes that we made when we worked with…the first company.”

    Mickey nodded slightly, “Universal.”

    Walt closed his eyes. His hand automatically ran along an old art pad he kept towards the front of his desk. For a brief moment, he recalled his first cartoon, feeling the outline of the pencil indentions on the top sheet of paper.

    “Yes,” Disney whisphered.

    The trio shuffled slightly. They could never forget what a touchy subject this was for Walt. Their very first was created with Universal…and lost. This kind of deal would not have been made if he wasn’t absolutely sure it would be a hit.

    “What’re we working with, Mr. Disney?” Goofy asked.

    Walt opened his eyes and smiled back at Goofy, “Mr. Nomura has sent us these rough draft scripts.” He handed a copy to each of them, “read through it, and meet back with me by the end of the week. Same time and place. Mr. Nomura has agreed to a video teleconference with us to discuss it in greater detail, if there are any questions.”

    Mickey, Donald, and Goofy nodded, and proceeded to leave.

    “And boys?” They stopped and turned towards Walt again.

    “Keep in mind that I’m not going to force you into this. If you’re not comfortable with this project, you will be allowed to back out of it, but also keep in mind: whatever we start together, we finish together,” Disney smiled, “Ok?”

    The trio grinned and nodded, “Ok!”
     
  2. Loxare Hollow Bastion Committee

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    Interesting concept. I haven't seen the idea of this kind of thing being something that was acted out by the characters rather than written, animated and voiced. Your grammar and sentence flow could use work, but overall, very good.
     
  3. Darkcloud Word of advice: Let the wookie win. He's Chuck N

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    @Loxare: Thanks, I'll try and keep that in mind.

    As the time of agreement approached for the meeting, Mickey, Donald and Goofy made their way from the familiar building, down the familiar hallway, on their way to the familiar room towards their familiar boss and father. The trio were discussing, in somewhat mild confusion and amusement, the roles several of their member were to play in this production.

    “So, I’m the king, and have a significant role, but I won't represent the franchise? That’s unusual…I don’t think I’ve ever heard of such a method.”

    “Eheheheh…looks like I get more screen time than you, for once, Mickey. But I’d feel better if they didn’t make me a “mage.” That doesn’t sound any better than a court jester!”

    “Ahyuk, well gee, fellers, I’m sorry you guys got poor roles. But at least you guys got enough talent to rise above your parts! If it’d make ya feel any better, you can have my part: I don’t think I’m nearly qualified to be a knight, especially head of a “royal guard.”…Gawrsh, this makes me sound really important! And I know I ain’t more important than the rest a ya two!”

    Mickey and Donald had to suppress a smile, with Donald successfully hiding his. Mickey shook his head slightly, while Donald averted eye contact. Goofy always managed to do or say the right thing to put things in perspective for the trio: none of them was more important than the other, and egos wouldn’t get anyone very far, anywhere.

    Donald took a deep breath, sighed, and said something that always made people wonder if there truly was such a thing as mind control or intelligent life on other planets…especially when it wasn’t prompted by guilt or peer pressure.

    “Sorry, Mickey.” Donald said, looking straight ahead.

    “Thanks, Donald.” Mickey said, smiling.

    “Ahyuk!” Goofy cried, his enthusiasm getting the better of him once again as he scooped up his friends in either arm, “Yeah! That’s the spirit!”

    Mickey laughed, “Okay! Okay! Settle down, Goof!”

    Donald was not as obliging, “Put me down, you big palooka!”

    The door at the end of the hallway opened, with Walt Disney on the other side of the entryway, “Boys, settle down and hurry up! The video conference is about to start!”

    “Oh! Right, Boss!” The trio exclaimed and hurried inside.



    Mickey, Donald and Goofy quickly made their way into the familiar room. Walt was sitting behind his desk when the three entered the room and quickly shut the door behind them. Once inside, Walt pressed a button on his desk.

    In almost a magical fashion, the room began to change: the room seemed to become larger by way of the walls moving farther apart from one another, the ceiling raised at the same time (a feat most perplexing, considering they were on the first floor of a three-floor building), with bookshelves shifting and moving to where they were not visible in the room anymore. At the same time, the floor opened down the middle of the room with a long, business style table emerging from the floor, complete with comfortably cushioned, fully operational swivel chairs. Once the table emerged, a large, widescreen television emerged from the ceiling, slowly lowering its way down to a comfortable eye level. How all of this emerged from the quaint little study of Walt Disney, let alone where it was hidden to begin with and how the room can shape itself like this defied most known architectural rules, was anyone's guess…at this point, nobody was surprised.

    The trio sat in their seats, making the long table seemingly less empty, with Walt Disney sitting at the very end of the table, and pressed a button on a remote control he pulled from his tweed suit. A large television screen slowly began to descend from the ceiling, stopping just at eye level. It was at just the right level for everyone: not too high nor too low for anyone to raise or lower their head. Another press of the button by Disney and the monitor turned on: snow at first, then a face appeared.

    His face was Asian by appearance, with a hair lying flat and combed to one side. Average in appearance, it would not be surmised that this would be the producer and head of several projects of a multimedia company in Japan. But then, this has been a week full of surprises caused by Tetsuya Nomura. He smiled as he realized the connection from his company to Disney’s was established.

    “Mr. Nomura, it’s good to see you again,” said Walt. “Konichiwa.”

    “Good afternoon, Disney-sama,” Nomura did a polite bow of his head, “I’m glad you have agreed to hear my proposal. And I’m even more pleased to see Mickey-san, Donald-san, and Goofy-san!”

    The three blinked and looked at one another for a moment. Finally, Donald spoke up, “Umm…my last name is Duck, not Sam. And we’re not related!”

    Nomura laughed, “No no, Donald-san, not “Sam”, “San!” It is, how you say, our version of…” He looked over at Disney, “…what is the honorific for Americans? “Mr. and Mrs.?”” Walt smiled and nodded, “Among others, yes.”

    Mickey, Donald and Goofy nooded, “Ohhhhhhh…”

    Walt shook his head, smiling, “I apologize Mr. Nomura-excuse me, Nomura-kun, but my domestic and financial officers have not arrived yet. Their flight was delayed…I believe it had something to do with a pilot error, but they should arrive any minute.”

    BLAM!

    “Confound it, Launchpad! Can’t you land a plane right, for once?!”

    “Aw, c’mon Mr. McDee! My landing was perfect! Spot on, even!”

    “Spot on for a crash, ye mean! Scrooge, why do ye keep such incompetence in your company?!”

    “Don’t talk to me about incompetence, Glomgold! I don’t need a sleezy, moneygrubbing piece of haggis to tell me what to do with my employees!

    “Careful with your cane, Mr. McDuck! You almost hit my invention!”

    “Well, watch where you’re walking, Gearloose! I told you to leave that contraption behind before we left!”

    “Mr. Clackshell, did you finish those numbels before we left?”

    “Sure did, Professor! Your settings will fit within the parameters of the experiment.”

    “Wunderbar! Thank, Mr. Clackshell!”

    The doors burst open to reveal five ducks, all anthropomorphic, all of various ages, sizes, and attitudes. The first one was the oldest and shortest. He wore a blue frock coat, a dark top hat, and wore pince-nez glasses on his orange-yellow bill. His legs, also orange-yellow, had spats on his feet. Although he walked with a cane, there wasn’t any indication of a problem with his walk. His face had feathers that frayed from the side of his bill, and eyes that were focused, sharp and gave no sign of old age despite his appearance, his accent giving only a slight indication of Scottish.

    The second duck was taller. Almost twice as tall as the first duck, yet full bodied as well. He wore an aviator’s cap and goggles with a tuft of red hair sticking out, a brownish-red shirt with a white scarf and tan cargo pants. His large beak and even larger grin gave him a friendly air to him, despite his size and form…and habit of crashing airplanes.

    The third duck was about the same size as the first, but a little younger, heavier, and angrier. His feathers frayed on the side of his head slightly like the first duck, but the beard that he sported made him look much older than the first. His accent was a much thicker Scottish than the first. A greater indication of his heritage was the plaid kilt and fedora of the same plaid pattern. His blue overcoat gave him an appearance of authority, but his rectangular glasses, although the same size as the first duck, made him look much older than he let on.

    The fourth was a little older than the second duck. Tall, gangly, yet professional looking for a scientist. His frazzled red hair was under a yellow cap, but what stood out was what was in his hands: a screwdriver in one hand, a tiny robot in the other with a lightbulb for a head. He furiously tinkered with the robot, the lightbulb flickering on and off.

    The fifth duck was not as organized…or cleanly dressed. His gray hair completely frazzled and frayed, his eye glasses slightly skewed, and his clothes wrinkled, with his vest crumpled slightly. Over all of that, he wore a very used lab coat, showing signs of years of use. In one hand he held papers, the other pencil, furiously jotting down notes in symbols and equations that were gibberish to many (partly because of the subject, mostly because of his poor handwriting).

    The sixth duck was the youngest duck of the group. He wore a cheap suit, and slicked back feathery hair. He carried a briefcase in one hand, a calculator in the other hand, furiously crunching numbers. All five stopped short at the table.

    Donald stood up from his seat, excited, “Uncle Scrooge!”

    “Hello, Donald! We’re terribly sorry for being late, Mr. Disney,” said the first duck, who smiled first at Donald, apologetically at Walt Disney, then glared furiously with the second duck, “we had some…unexpected complications.”

    “It’s fine,” answered Walt, a little annoyed, “Mr. Nomura, please allow me to introduce my financial staff.”

    The first duck stepped forward, his chest puffed up with a beam of pride, “Scrooge McDuck, head of financial estates and affairs of the Disneyland and Disneyworld domestic offices. This,” Scrooge waved his hand lazily towards the second duck, “is my pilot, Launchpad McQuack.”

    Launchpad waved, “How ya doin’, Nomura?” The rest of the duck company groaned, while some covered their heads with their hands. The rest of committee laughed. Launchpad blinked, oblivious.

    The third duck stepped forward, puffing his chest out even more than Scrooge, “Flintheart Glomgold is my name, sir. CO-HEAD,” he said with much emphasis, eyeing Scrooge as he said it, “of the financial estates and affairs of Mr. Disney’s World and Land, and head of his international offices!” The two shot looks from one another that radiated with electricity.

    The fourth duck waved, “Hello, Mr. Nomura! I’m Gyro Gearloose! I’m Mr. McDuck’s inventor and head of scientific advances for his company!” The little robot that Gyro held in his hand waved his hand also, with his lightbulb head lighting up.

    The sixth duck smiled and set his briefcase on the table, “My name is Fenton Crackshell, Mr. Nomura! I’m a publicly glorified bean counter and number cruncher for the companies…otherwise known as Mr. McDuck’s personal accountant, and head of sales for Mr. Disney! While we’re on the subject Mr. Nomura, you appear to be an intelligent and creative person! If I could just have a moment of your time-,“

    “THANK YOU, Fenton....” interrupted Scrooge, with Fenton flinching slightly, “but Mr. Nomura, for the 37th time since we’ve been on the plane, DOES. NOT. NEED. ANY. NEXT. GENERATION. SWIVEL STICKS!!” Everyone burst out laughing as Fenton dropped his head in disappointment. Scrooge lowered his head and sighed in embarrassment, while Fenton, when he saw that Scrooge’s head was turned, made his hand like a phone and silently mouthed, “Call me!”

    The room fell silent for a moment as everyone stared at the fifth duck, scribbling notes while sitting at a spot at the table, completely oblivious to what was going on around him. Scrooge coughed once to get his attention, to no avail...who then kicked the duck's chair to shake him.

    "What?!" the duck said, panicked. Scrooge, annoyed, gestured towards Nomura.

    "...Oh!" the duck exclaimed, finally catching on, "Please, folgive my manners! My name is Plofessor Ludwig Von Dlake! Head Inventor, scientific genius, and ovelall wondelful guy! I help make sure things run as smoothly as possible here in deh wonfelful vold of Disney! As a matter of fact-"

    "THANK you, Professor," Scrooge said, cutting him off, "but we're only giving introductions today, not autobiographies!" Von Drake shot a look at Scrooge, then silently mimicked him like a child as he went back to his equations.

    “Now that we have that out of the way,” Walt laughed, and the ducks taking their seats, “we’re ready to begin. If you wish, we can go ahead and discuss certain details on the project; the financial staff have received a copy of the script as well.”

    “Certainly, Disney-sama,” Nomura agreed, “We are adopting a style somewhat familiar to your films: this project, overall, will be a story of a hero rescuing a princess. Along the way, the hero will fight monsters created by dark forces that threaten to destroy not only his land, but other surrounding kingdoms as well. The ultimate goal will be to reclaim a special treasure that contains powers to eliminate the dark forces once and for all, restoring everything to its former glory.”

    “Sounds basic,” says Walt, “What’s going to make this stand out?”

    “For Square Soft, part of it will be the movement,” Nomura replied, “Our Final Fantasy games have relied on a turn-based system for our video games,” an image appeared on the screen next to Nomura’s head as he explained, displaying characters in 8-bit pixels taking turns attacking a monster, “this will be a change for us that will bring in a wider audience. The second will be the characters.”

    Nomura’s face disappeared for a moment, and replaced by three Disney characters, “Mickey, Donald, and Goofy will be among the heroes in the story, and part of one of the kingdoms: namely, “Disneyland.” Two of the survivors of their kingdom will be Donald and Goofy, the royal knight and court wizard, who are searching for the king. While they search for the king, they are travelling from kingdom to kingdom, interacting with the people to find clues, and gathering a treasure from each kingdom along the way, each piece involved with fighting the dark forces. Along the way, gather new partners and fighters, until they reach the heart of the darkness. There, they learn that the hero is the child of the king of darkness and heir to the throne.”

    Walt tilted his head, “Okay, what makes him decide to not side with his father?”

    “Is it his sense of right and wrong?” asked Mickey.

    “His friendship with us?” chimed Donald, with a happy grin.

    “Hmm…” Goofy thought, “…Pluto?”

    Everyone stared at Goofy. He shrugged, “…I’d save the world for Pluto.” Mickey and Donald looked at each other, “Well…yeah…I would too, but, umm…”

    Nomura laughed and answered, “A princess.”

    They all stared at Nomura.

    “The hero or prince will have been separated from his kingdom shortly after his birth, and placed into another kingdom. This will be what starts to war between light and darkness. To fill the void, the distraught king takes in a widow, whom he later marries, and her daughter from a previous marriage. She becomes a princess, raised like his very own, but the hero and she fall in love with one another,” answers Nomura, “In the final battle, the king takes on the full power of darkness, the hero, Goofy, and Donald fight and win, but at a cost: Mickey will still be missing, but now the hero will be gone too, save a few clues left behind. If all goes well, we will use this as a builder for the next game.”

    Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Disney all looked back and forth towards one another. Walt spoke up, “Well, Mr. Nomura, this is very-“

    “I don’t like it.”

    Everyone turned in surprise towards Scrooge. His head rested on his hands throughout the entire discussion, his fingers intertwined with one another, his eyes, though focused, were staring off into space.

    Mr. Nomura blinked, “…excuse me, McDuck-san?”

    “Scrooge,” whispered Glomgold warningly, “don’t mess this up for us!”

    Ignoring Glomgold, Scrooge continued, “Mr. Nomura, there are a few questions I would like to have clarified. These kingdoms you refer to: I assume that means each one will have a certain theme or feature, since one of them will be centered on the Disney characters?”

    “Indeed,” said Nomura, “Each one, with the exception of the Disney kingdom, every world will be centered on a Final Fantasy game.”

    “I see,” said Scrooge, “And our roles in the game, with the exception of Donald and Goofy, are to provide cameos from various characters?”

    “The majority of the game will be focused on our Final Fantasy characters, each kingdom based over a specific game. There may be one or two Disney characters in each kingdom to make things interesting, but for the most part it will be centered on Final Fantasy characters.” Answered Nomura.

    “How many of Disney characters?” pried Scrooge.

    “A few per kingdom, so no more than 40.” replied Nomura.

    Walt eyed Scrooge, “What are you thinking, Scrooge?”

    “I’ll answer in just a moment, Mr. Disney,” replied Scrooge, “What will the rating for this game be, Mr. Nomura? The equivalency if this were a movie?”

    “By Japan’s standards,” Nomura thought, “it will be the equivalent of a PG-13 movie.”

    “Hmm…”

    Scrooge intertwined his fingers again and looked past the television screen. For a few moments, it seemed he was lost in thought…

    Finally he turned back towards Walt, “Mr. Disney, I don’t think we should go through with this deal.”
     
  4. Darkcloud Word of advice: Let the wookie win. He's Chuck N

    Joined:
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    Everyone blinked in surprise.

    “Not do…? SCROOGE!! HAVE YOU LOST YOUR EVER-FLIPPIN’ MIND?!” screamed Glomgold. He hopped onto the table, fuming at Scrooge. His head, turning a steady shade of red throughout the questioning, now had smoke was pouring out of his ears.

    “THIS DEAL COULD FINALLY GET OUR FEET PLANTED IN THE DOOR!!! AND YOU WANT TO RUIN IT?!”

    “DON’T YOU EVER SPEAK TO ME THAT WAY, GLOMGOLD!!” Scrooge replied, “YOU LOOK ONLY FOR MONEY IN YOUR DEALS!! IT’S NO WONDER WHY WE HAVEN’T GOTTEN FAR IN ANYTHING OTHER THAN MOVIES!! YOU HOLD US BACK!!”

    “THAT DOES IT!!” Glomgold rolled up his sleeves and tossed his cap on the ground, “I’VE TAKEN ENOUGH FROM YOU, SCROOGE!!”

    “JUST TRY IT, YOU OLD BLOWHARD!!” Scrooge tossed aside his top hat and cane, and proceeded to roll up his own sleeves, “YOU’VE HAD THIS COMING FOR YEARS, YOU GREEDY-“

    “That. Is. Enough.”

    The two ducks stopped abruptly, facing Walt Disney, who wasn’t looking very pleased at the demeanor. There was no outburst, no fumes that came from his head. But the anger could be felt all around the room.

    “We have talked about this,” said Walt, “If you two can’t behave like civilized people, I’ll give the jobs to those who can.”

    “Scrooge,” started Walt, “Flintheart is here because he is just as good at making money as you, and the taking care of both domestic and international is too much for one person.”

    “Flintheart,” Walt turned, “whether you agree or not, Scrooge is allowed to have a decision or thought different than yours. Sometimes he’s right, sometimes you are.

    “I will not tolerate another outburst like this. Either learn to work together, or you’ll both find yourselves in the Vault. Am I clear?”

    The two looked at each other, then Disney.

    Scrooge unruffled his coat, and cleaned his glassed, “I still don’t approve of this arrangement, Mr. Disney…but if this is your wish, I can hardly refuse.”

    “If it were anyone else, Disney…” Glomgold started, “I’d be telling them to jump into a lake of starved piranhas…” Glomgold sat back in his seat, “Very well, Mr. Disney, I’ll consent…” he then sent a look at Scrooge with a message far too clear: this isn’t over.

    “Alright,” Walt began again, “Scrooge, please explain why.”

    Scrooge cleared his throat and began again, “Mr. Disney, I understand that Mr. Nomura is your friend, and he assures you that this project is a good deal…and it may very well be a good one for him. But what he’s suggesting would not be a good idea for us.”

    “Scrooge…” Glomgold started again, through gritted teeth and a forced, nice tone that was trying to hide anger, “this deal will bring in an international audience for us, and open up new opportunities. Plus, there will be a huge profit sum from all this. That means more money!”

    “No, it won’t, Glomgold,” Scrooge, in the same fake tone, “It will bring us an audience, but not the kind we’re looking for, and we won’t receive as much money as ye think! Not for this!”

    “What are ye going on about now, Scrooge?”

    Scrooge took a deep breath, and turned back to Walt, “For starters: Mr. Disney, we would be loaning our characters out to a bunch of minor appearances. Even if they were major cameos, major speaking roles and all, we wouldn’t be able to bring in much profit. Assuming we used our standard deal, we still wouldn’t make much…Fenton, how much of a percentage would we earn from this project?”

    Fenton, who had been playing with a rubix cube during Scrooge and Glomgold’s argument, looked up, “Um, just a few hundredths away from 10%, boss.” He looked back to his cube and continued to match the tiles with disinterest.

    “So we’ll charge more money for our characters and demand more lines! We’ll just drain him more!” said Glomgold, who then realized where he was and who was present. He laughed nervously and loosened his collar, “Uh, heh, what I meant to say Mr. Nomura is that, umm, we’d request more reasonable prices for our talents, and, umm-“

    “That brings in another problem: reputation,” began Scrooge again.

    “You’re not going to go into another “high morals” lecture again, are ye Scrooge?” said Glomgold.

    “I’m talking about our audience, Glomgold,” Scrooge then looked at Nomura, “Mr. Nomura, I did a little digging about your Final Fantasy games, the characters in the games, the lines said characters use, and the stories. What passes for PG-13 in Japan is more…mature for Americans. A good majority of our younger viewers may want to play your game if they catch wind that our characters are involved, and if they see them in such mature roles…that would do us more harm for our image than good. We would lose some of our longer supporters.” Scrooge looked over at Disney, “Especially if it meant seeing Winnie the Pooh in a tavern.”

    “That’s assuming this project reaches our shores,” Fenton said. He placed the cube down on the table and looked up, “If the project does a standard job and reaches our shores, we will earn about 10% of the profit. If it doesn’t reach our shores and it does well, it drops to 5%...poorly, down to 2%. Even if we somehow manage to get 15% of the profits, we would be lucky to break even.”

    “From a professional standpoint, Mr. Disney,” Scrooge stated, “we can’t afford to get involved with this deal.”

    Walt Disney watched Scrooge for a moment, then he turned to Nomura, “He has a point, Mr. Nomura. I do have to think about my employees and their wellbeing.”

    “I understand, Disney-sama,” Nomura nodded, “As I stated before, this is not a finalized story. If there are some…changes or conditions, I am willing to hear them out.”

    “We will need to renegotiate money,” Scrooge said, with a gleam in his eyes, then shook his head, “but first things first: our characters. If they are going to be involved, they’ll need larger roles. Much larger than simple cameos. We’ll need them to have feature parts, even if it’s limited to being part of their own kingdom.”

    “Can I ask something?” said Launchpad. Everyone turned towards him.

    “Uh, exactly who were you planning on appearing in your video game, Mr. Nomura?” asked Launchpad.

    “Well,” Nomura began, “we were planning on bringing in a variety of characters for cameos. Snow White, Cinderella, your “Lion King,”, your “Little Mermaids,” Pinocchio, Alice from “Wonderland,”, your “101 Dalamations,” “Beauty and The Beast,”…mainly most of your classic movies.”

    Everyone blinked and looked at one another.

    “Is this a problem?”

    “Well,” said Gyro, “it’s mainly a technical issue.”

    Everyone turned their attention to Gyro, who had finished fixing the light bulb head of his little assistant, “Many of our sets, music, and projects from the past, like the ones you mentioned, were recycled. We’d have to completely start over again to bring the sets to you, let alone the characters…”

    Nomura blinked, “…I do not understand, Gearloose-san. Why would either be a problem?”

    “Well, we’ve recently began switching from taping our movies to digitally recording them,” Gyro smiled, “Which has simplified some of our recording problems, but it also has presented a problem with releasing some of our previous pictures. We’ve had to reformat them, converting them from the commercial VHS format to DVD, but we’re not anywhere finished with the pre-DVD releases. Movies like Snow White, Pinocchio…a lot of them just aren’t digital yet.”

    “Why would that make any difference?” asked Nomura.

    “We have a very, ah…special way of making our movies,” replied Gyro, glancing over at Professor von Drake, who smiled at the sentence. “That includes how we use our sets, props, and characters. If it is prior to our conversion to our new filmmaking process, the said material just would not be available or useful for your video game.”

    “So the majority of my list is unusable, Disney-sama?” asked Nomura.

    “Well, I wouldn’t say dhat…” von Drake said, looking up from his scribbled notes and adjusting his glasses. He spoke in an Austrian accent that made some of the ducks smile, albeit in humor, “Some of deh movies demselves aren’t suitable for digital usage just yet, Mr. Nomura. A couple of dem are, but most aren’t. However, most of deh characters from dose movies: Snow White, Pinocchio, Simba, and so on, can actually be in your game. We jus’ finished the digi-fication plocess on most of our chalacters for some of our cartoon selies.”

    Nomura blinked, “…I’m sorry, Drake-san, could you repeat that last part? I think our connection failed a little.”

    “He said most of our cartoon characters were digitally converted for one of our cartoon series,” said Mickey, “We’re working on a show here in America: House of Mouse. It’s where hundreds of characters arrive at a nightclub and are entertained by…well, anything: music, cartoons, stand-up. But the point is, almost all of the cartoon characters from past movies are digital, and could still appear in the game. It’s just their movies that are questionable.”

    “Very well, the characters can be used,” Nomura said, “but that still leaves us with the problem of sets, money, appearances and lines.”

    “What if we, uh, flipped the concept?” said Goofy, “make the Final Fantasy characters the guests, and have the game centered on Disney movies?”

    “I’m not sure if that would help, Goofy,” said Fenton, “It would flip the financial profits for us in our favor, but then it would be Mr. Nomura who is in the bind instead of us. Although,” he added, “he would still get a much larger profit than we would for his 10% compared to us.”

    “So, how would we be able to settle this?” asked Donald, “If we do it their way it’s a landslide in their favor, but if we do it our way, it’s a landslide in ours? There’s no way we can-“

    Before Donald could finish his sentence, the windows from behind Donald open, with three young duckling heads, each with a different colored baseball cap poking inside the room.

    “UNCA DONALD!!”

    “WAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!”

    The interruption and exclamation of his name sent Donald flying up to the ceiling in shock, a trail of feathers falling behind him as he caught the light fixture. Tension breaking, everybody laughed as Donald glared at his triplet nephews.

    “Huh,” Nomura said as he watched Donald hanging from the ceiling, “I thought you said Donald-san couldn’t fly, Disney-sama?”

    “He has his moments,” Disney replied, smiling. Everyone turned towards the three young ducks at the window.

    Each one looked identical as the other two: same height, same feathers, and same way of talking (namely, like younger versions of Donald). Huey, Dewey, and Louie even had very similar personalities, save minor differences. The only difference between the three of them were their clothes (which were also identical, except for colors): Huey wore red, Dewy wore blue, and Louie green.

    “Sorry, Unca Donald!” the three exclaimed, but their tune quickly changed when they saw the rest of the ducks, “Unca Scrooge! Launchpad! Gyro! Fenton! You’re back!” The three started to clamor in, “We weren’t sure if you were going to make it or not!”

    The four ducks smiled. Scrooge stood up, hugged his nephews, and spoke up, “Hello, lads. We haven’t forgotten about the party, but we need to get back to business here first. It may take another hour or two, but I promise, we’ll all be at Donald’s for dinner. Please run along until them.”

    “Okay, Unca Scrooge!” They quickly hugged him again, then ran out the same way they came: out the window.

    “Rambunctious flock ye have their,” Glomgold noted, grunting.

    “Hey, watch it,” Launchpad said, his eyebrows furrowing slightly, “they’re a good group, they were just excited to see their uncle! It’s been a while.”

    Scrooge chuckled, “I’m sorry about the interruption, Mr. Nomura. We had agreed to meet with me nephews prior to the meeting, but since we were running late, we had to skip on our reunion. Now if we-hmmm….” Scrooge stopped midsentence, scratching his chin.

    “Y’know, Mr. Disney, Mr. Nomura,” Scrooge started again, “actually, I think me nephews have given us a solution to our problem.”

    “Oh, this I gotta here, Scroogey,” Glomgold started, almost dramatically, “Do, please, tell us your brilliant solution!”

    “My “brilliant solution,” as you so wonderfully say, Glomgold,” Scrooge said, almost as sarcastically, “is that we don’t make either of our characters or Final Fantasy the stars.”

    Everyone looked at each other in confusion. Just what was that supposed to mean?

    “What do ya say to that, Glomgold?” Scrooge asked, his chest puffed with satisfactory pride.

    “I think yuir bagpipe has a couple of holes punched in it, McDuck,” Glomgold replied, “because if we don’t have a star for the game, then we don’ haf much of a game!!”

    “Oh, we’ll have a star, Glomgold. There’s no mistakin’ that. It just won’t be either Disney or Final Fantasy. It will be-“

    “A third party.” Walt finished, a note of impressed satisfaction in his voice. “Very interesting idea, Scrooge.”

    “It wasn’t that good…” Glomgold muttered, his head to the side. He turned his head back just in time to see Scrooge mouth silently: neener-neener-nee-nerrrrrr.

    “And how would this be done, Scrooge?” asked Walt.

    “We would need to bring in a character completely unique to both franchises: someone who could be considered both Disney and Final Fantasy, while simultaneously be considered neither. In other words, it would have to be someone completely exclusive to this game.” Scrooge said.

    “We would need to divide the performances of both companies then, if we were to approach from that perspective,” said Mickey, “Half of the appearances would be Final Fantasy, the other half Disney…maybe one or two kingdoms would be exclusive for the game.”

    “Actually, that brings up another problem,” started Glomgold, surprising everyone. He rested a small folder of papers on the table, “A list was made of the various games. You’ve recently released ten of these Final Fantasy games…almost half of them have never made it to our shores. If we were to implement this plan of Scrooge’s, we may still lose money, because four of the ten games have never been to our shores.” He shot a look at Scrooge, as if to say, ha, nice try, Scroogey.

    “Hmm…and if we try to re-release these games now, we would either stall development, use too much money in our budget, or frustrate our customers with too many games…” Nomura concluded. “That would put a stall in this project altogether…”

    “What?!” Glomgold said, realizing the negativity of his suggestion, “Umm, well, we haven’t decided what we’re going to do yet, Mr. Nomura! There’s no need to try and pull the plug just yet!” He started gripping and twisting his fedora in nervousness, exposing his bald, feathered head.

    Walt had been silent during most of the discussion, thinking. This was certainly a difficult challenge for the teams; one that would either make or break both companies, especially with the unique talents both teams possessed.

    This dream could be something wonderful. A heartfelt desire that could light up a kingdom.

    “What if we divided the game in a different way, Mr. Nomura?” suggested Walt, “Instead of dividing up the kingdoms, we divide the game itself?”

    “What do you mean exactly, Disney-sama?” Normura asked, tilting his head slightly.

    “We divide the roles for making the game. My company’s movies have been seen worldwide, including Snow White. Your video games are famous for their stories. If you can collaborate with a couple of our writers to make the game available for an international audience, you would be able to write a story that would appeal to both sets of audiences. In addition, you would be able to apply the battle system you’re wanting to test.”

    “If we did that, we wouldn’t have any Final Fantasy characters in the game at all,” said Nomura, a hint of disapproval in his voice, “which would defeat one of the purposes of the game.”

    “Not if you consider this a creative test,” Walt replied, “if a culmination of my company’s characters, in different kingdoms, under your script can work, especially if there’s a possibility of them fighting one another…then a concept of Final Fantasy characters from ten different kingdoms on an odyssey to save the world is not as much of a stretch. As for your characters…well, I think the best that could be offered is to take some selected characters from the games that have reached our shores and give them major cameos…maybe even have them centered in a kingdom.”

    “Mr. Disney, if I may,” said Glomgold, suddenly with an idea, “I think I know how we can make this more deal more favorable for Mr. Nomura.” He waddled his way to Walt and whispered in his ear.

    “Hmm…that’s not a bad idea, Flintheart. Okay, we’ll use it.” Walt turned to the screen once again, “In addition, we’ll let you decide and design the characters for the third, neutral party. If you need something drawn or designed, especially regarding new material, we will loan what we have, including our equipment and staff. Are there any questions?”

    “I have one.” Fenton chimed, “I’ve been hearing a lot about kingdoms, warriors, and fantasy…and I’m kind of curious: how exactly do we fit in? I mean, what role would each kingdom play in the story? What kind of adventure?”

    Nomura, who had appeared a little perturbed at so many changes from his original storyline, answered, “Well Crackshell-san, the idea was that each of the kingdoms have plots identical to each Final Fantasy game: fight a key villain under a similar setting of the game, solve a key problem that follows the overall plot, move on to the next world, repeat, until the final kingdom is reached, solve the mystery…that’s it.”

    “Uh, boss?” said Fenton, looking towards Disney, “Our movies over the years don’t really follow a consecutive order…especially if you jump from princess to mermaid to lion, following their original storyline. Having all in one location wouldn’t do too well…or make much sense for that matter. They all have completely different plots, settings, even inspiration!”

    “He’s right,” chimed in Gyro, “From what you all described of this new draft, this is much more complex than different kingdoms. This is an idea of different worlds! Such a thing is unheard of! Practically impossible!”

    “Well, technically it’s feasible.”

    Everyone turned to Ludwig von Drake, who once again looked up from his note-scribbling, “The idea of having wolds so diffelent from one another isn’t so farlfetched: just look at our solar system! We have a couple of planets composed only of gases! Jus’ don’t light a match! Wahahahaha!” He banged his fist on the table like he told the funniest joke in the world…then stopped when he realized he was the only one laughing, “Ahem…deh point is, if we tleat evely movie like dey were deir own wold, we would be able to stick with the original plot of deh movies, especially if each planet was compleley unawares of one anothel. The science would actually add up.”

    Walt looked up at the video monitor once again, “Would this be acceptable, Mr. Nomura?”

    “This is a very big change from my original design,” Nomura said, almost in disbelief at the number of additions and removals to his idea, “…I am not against the idea, Disney-sama, but at the same time, I am uncomfortable with the idea of writing stories for characters I have not designed…especially if they need to be original.”

    “I have complete faith in your abilities, Tetsuya,” Walt smiled, “And I trust your judgment. All that is needed is your call and your word.”

    Nomura thought for a moment, then smiled.

    “Very well, Disney-sama. We have an agreement. Once I have prepared another draft of the script with our changes, I will have our human resources department email a copy of it, and a contract to make the deal official. I will also include a complete list of your movies and characters that I originally had planned. If you foresee any changes in movie selections, we’ll discuss then. This whole thing shouldn’t take more than a few days.”

    “Thank you, Mr. Nomura,” Walt replied, “I’ll have my toon resources department review the contract, then I’ll sign it and send it back your way.” They both bowed to one another, then they both terminated the video conference call.

    “Alright,” Walt sighed in relief, “that wasn’t too shabby, team! We have a project! Mickey, Donald, Goofy? Make sure you have things packed for your trip to Japan. Once I get a list of the necessary cast, you and the stagehands will leave as soon as we get things finalized. On that note, this meeting is adjourned.”

    Everyone stood up, stretched, and proceeded to make their way out the room, weary and tired from the extensive meeting. As they made their way out the room, into the hallway, and out the building, nobody noticed as Flintheart slipped away from the group.

    He walked quickly and as quietly as he could, making sure nobody saw him, sneaking between trees, buildings and people to a nearby payphone. A quick glance to his left and right, and he quickly used a nickel on a string. He put the nickel in, then jerked the string to pull it out of the deposit: success, as always. He smiled slyly. 60 years of that trick, and it’s never failed him. He waited patiently for the switchboard to answer him.

    “Hello? Yes, I need to place a call. To Tokyo Disneyland…what? It’s called Mickey’s Toon Town, now?” Flintheart rolled his eyes, “Yes yes, that sounds like the same place. Yes, I’ll accept the charges, now please, hurry and place the call!” He tapped his foot impatiently. This stall was already taking too long. If this didn’t end quickly, he would have to abandon the call so he would not be spotted.

    “Hello? Please put me through to human resources.”

    Glomgold was forced to wait once again, as not only did the transfer take it’s time, but this time he sat through dial tone music in the form of the Mickey Mouse club theme. He shook his head. What had happened to this world? When he was a young lad, whenever a phone call was made, a person had to sit patiently and wait for the person on the other end to pick up. Kids these days have an increasingly short attention span that they have to have music playing while waiting, otherwise they’ll get bored. And don’t get him started on kids and “boredom”. Everything has to be entertaining for them now, or else it’s suffering…completely distasteful.

    Finally, the phone picked up. Glomgold spoke, “Hello? Is this Sylvester?...ah, good! Listen carefully, Sylvester. Disney and Nomura have made the deal. They’re undergoing final negotiations now. I need you to make the changes to the contract like we planned. Be sure to do it when each person sends it to the other. Do you understand?...alright, good man, Shyster! We’ll make a pretty penny out of this, yet!”

    Glomgold smiled as he hung up the phone. This would be a grand, universal plan yet.
     
  5. Darkcloud Word of advice: Let the wookie win. He's Chuck N

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    Tetsuya Nomura stretched as he finished up the changes to his script, sitting in his office at Square Soft. The notes he jotted down during the meeting with Disney helped make most of the changes quickly and efficiently. The list of available movies for him to use was not as extensive as he would have preferred, but there was still quite a bit of legroom. He looked down his list of movies to see what he had to work with:

    Snow White. Not approved

    Alice in Wonderland. Approved

    Beauty and the Beast. Not approved

    Sleeping Beauty. Not approved

    Aladdin. Not approved

    Cinderella. Not approved

    Pinocchio. Approved

    Hercules. Approved

    The Jungle Book. Approved

    101 Dalmations. Approved

    Lady and the Tramp. Not approved

    Tarzan. Approved.

    The Lion King. Not approved

    Pocahontas. Approved

    Robin Hood. Approved

    A Bug’s Life. Approved

    The Little Mermaid. Approved

    Winnie the Pooh. Not available

    Bambi. Not approved

    Dumbo. Approved

    Mulan. Approved

    Fantasia. Approved

    Peter Pan. Approved

    The list wasn’t as extensive as he would have preferred, nor as detailed. Truth be told, he didn’t watch a few of these movies growing up, and with the very limited funding he had, he would either have to take details from his coworkers or completely make up scenes and plots from scratched. He hated doing that, but it didn’t look like he had much choice. He made one last, quick glance to his notes of the various changes and plots he made, compared to the script, then saved his document on his computer. He then compared his desired traits for the third party characters for his story: the main lead being strong, noble, mature, and driven by the desire of his heart set things right within the kingdoms. At his side was his friend since birth: a goofy, fun-loving character, who is eventually driven to jealousy by the hero and princess’s growing attraction towards one another, and distancing themselves from him after a spell turns him into a half-lion hybrid. And then, there’s the princess…Nomura wanted to pay special attention to her. He didn’t want to make a girl who was stereotyped, or be a negative influence to some of the younger girls (or the boys, but then again, at that age they won’t care about liking girls). After a few nights of deliberation, he decided on a blend for the young princess: fair, beautiful no matter what her appearance may be…spunky and argumentative, a real diamond in the rough…yet still had a kind of sweetness whenever someone was in need, but could still be passionate towards things and people. Nomura decided to keep this role loose, so that when the actress could be found, the mold could be adjusted. The rest he had a little time to work on.

    He leaned back in his chair once again, but this time his intercom buzzed. “Nomura-sama? There are two people here to see you…actually, one is a person. I’m not sure what the other one is, but he claims to be a representative from Disney-sama’s Japanese branch of studios?”

    “Send him in,” said Nomura.

    As soon as the doors opened, Nomura could understand why his secretary couldn’t tell if he was a person or not. He was a cartoon, no doubt one of Disney’s creations, but he was unlike any toon he had ever seen…not that it was a surprise that he didn’t know. The toon had a slight resemblance to Goofy, in that he had black fur, a snout, and long floppy ears like Goofy, along with a white pair of gloves. The differences, however, made him look a little more eerie. His snout was turned downward instead of up, he wore a pair of spectacles that rested on his snout. His clothes weren’t much better: they were old and frayed, as if he had worn them for too long because they were his only clothes. He wore a green suit, with shoes that were so worn that they exposed his feet and their long nails, a cane, and a crumpled top hat. Despite his appearance, he walked almost proudly towards Nomura as if it didn’t matter whatsoever, carrying with him a small stack of papers.

    “Good afternoon, Mr. Nomura,” he said, “My name is Sylvester Shyster. I’m part of the law and human resource offices for Mr. Disney’s Japanese branch of Disney Studios. I have the contract that you two have been negotiating, ready for signing.” He placed the small stack on Nomura’s desk, in front of him.

    Nomura blinked, a little in surprise, “Ah…a pleasure to meet you, Shyster-san. I’m a little confused, though. I was under the impression that Disney-sama would email me a copy of the contract instead of having someone present me a hard copy.”

    “Yes, that was the original idea,” said Sylvester, “However, with the project in something of a rush, he’s spending all his energies gathering the necessary cast, sets, and stagehands together to send to your studios. He needed extra time to commit everyone and everything, so he asked me to bring you a copy. I am on my way back to Disney Studios myself, so I’ll be presenting the contract to him in person.” He smiled, almost in a crooked way, “If it weren’t for these time constraints, he’d be emailing and talking to you about all of this, himself.”

    Nomura nodded. Things were in a bit of a rush lately. It made sense that Disney would be making sure there were no unnecessary delays.

    “Very well, Shyster-san. Where do I sign?”

    “Ah. Sign here…here…check box here…initial here…sign there…and here…aaaaaand this last one here.” Sylvester’s smile grew broader as Nomura signed page after page. Normally Nomura would appreciate a smile in the work place, but there was something about Sylvester’s that was making him increasingly uncomfortable.

    “Excellent! Thank you, Mr. Nomura. I will extend your regards to Mr. Disney. Have a good day!”

    Sylvester was almost out the door when he finished that sentence. Nomura was a little perplexed at the odd behavior, but quickly dismissed it. He had another odd character waiting outside, and it made his head hurt every time he needed to meet with him.

    “Please send in the other guest,” Nomura buzzed at the receptionist, almost groaning while he did.

    The man promptly burst in, a grin on his almost as large as Sylvester’s, but with double the pride. He practically waltzed his way to Nomura’s desk, his suit speaking louder than he was. The suit itself, at first glance looking somewhat professionally casual, was very cheap: in actual appearance and in making. The white color of his blazer and slacks made him look like he was ready for a disco dance rather than working, especially with a neon pink shirt underneath. It didn’t help either when his gold-chained necklace sparkled a little too brightly, dragging most of the attention from him to it. As he stopped at Nomura’s desk, he sat in the chair in front, took off his “Hollywood style” sunglasses, and put them into his blazer pocket, still grinning like he was responsible for everything.

    “Nomura, boss-man, what’s shakin’, bacon?” he laughed as he said, his pompous nature displaying all too well in his laugh “So! What can ol’ Takei do for you today, eh? Need me to work on another multimillion dollar deal for you? I mean, that’s about the only reason why you’d want me here! Am I right? Eh? Eh??”

    Nomura fought the urge to roll his eyes. He was good at what he did, but there were days when Takei “Tacky” Tsubasa lived up to his name a little too well.

    “Tsubasa-san,” said Nomura, almost a little sternly, “I’m assigning you to the roll of director for this upcoming project of mine. I trust you will treat it seriously…,” he stopped speaking as Takei was resting a pen on his nose. Nomura reached, removed the pen, and placed it back in its appropriate spot, “…and professionally.”

    “Awww, c’mon, Boss-man-baby! You know I always deliver the goods!” Takei sat upright, and waved his hands in an almost dramatic manner, “Who was it that delivered the major motion picture smash hit, “Godzilla Loves Mothra”? That would be, “moi”, that’s who!” He got up, walked around, grinning more, “And let’s not forget the other movies that gave Square Soft its capital: “I Know Where You Ate Last Thursday,” and its sequel of the same name, “Wonton’s Revenge!” I mean, c’mon, Boss-man, have I ever gave you reason to doubt or disrespect you?”

    “Yes. Almost every day. But we are not going into the details now.” Nomura sighed, getting up, “Tsubasa-san, you’re more than qualified for this job. But this job will either make or break Square Soft. I need to know that you won’t pull any of your antics on this project.”

    “Antics? Boss-man, I may be a little eccentric, but hey, most great directors, producers, screenwriters, and artists are! And I would never do anything that wasn’t in the best interest of the work!” Takei, placing both hands over his heart, looked offended, in an overly dramatic way.

    “I’m referring to your superstitions, Takei. I don’t want to hear anymore that half the set-staff quit again because of your…rituals.”

    “Boss-baby, you have the Great Takei-ni’s word: the only magic you will see on this project will be what appears on the video game console. And making more money appear in your pocket.” Takei took a bow.

    “It had better be,” said Nomura. He handed a copy of the script to Takei, “In that script, there’s a list of people who were in our Final Fantasy games: the most popular from our online polls. I’ll leave it to you to contact the actors and actresses and see if they can find time in their schedules to be in the game.”

    Takei briefly skimmed through the list, “…this is it? I thought we were going to have characters from all ten games, boss. There’s not even ten characters here.”

    “We had a change in plans, Tsubasa-san. These are the characters we will be working with.”

    “Alrighty then, bossanova,” Takei said, putting the script in his jacket, “While I’m at it, I’ll start prepping the studios to-“

    “No, hold off on that,” Nomura said, “We’re expecting Disney-sama to bring his sets and equipment with him for the project. We’ll wait until they get here before we set anything. Just have three studios emptied and our digital department ready to receive equipment, just in case.”

    “You got it, Boss.” Takei gave a quick bow, then made his way out the door.

    Nomura sighed. Tacky Takei always found a way to give him a headache, no matter what the cause or occasion. He can only hope that this project, he won’t act like a village idiot possessed…

    He might as well ask for pigs with wings to fly by his office window.

    His intercom buzzed, again.

    “Nomura-sama,” his secretary said, “I just received a call from the IT and human resources departments. The ads you sent for auditions were sent to their desired locations yesterday. Some have reached their destinations early and are being circulated amongst websites and magazines.”

    “Good, thank you.” Said Nomura. With any luck, he’ll receive the first wave of auditions tomorrow at 10 a.m. He pulled out his artpad, and reviewed some of the sketches he made for the third party characters, then glanced out the window towards the sky. He could only imagine what his hero was going to look like in real life…


    “Thank you for eating at McDonald’s! Please come again!”

    Sora smiled at the customer as he handed her the change from the money she paid. She didn’t notice his smile, his sincerity, or his eagerness to keep her as a customer happy. She just grabbed her food and proceeded to her seat without a word.

    Oh well. Whatever her problem was, it wasn’t with him. He did everything he could do to provide good customer service, and her food wasn’t late. Sora smiled on and wiped the counter down before the next customer arrived. He only had a few more minutes, anyway.

    Two hours later, Sora Wakahisa was out of McDonald’s and walking down the streets in the Shibuya district in Tokyo. It irritated him whenever someone was late for work and didn’t cover the appropriate shift. His anger soon left him when he glanced at a nearby television screen on one of the skyscrapers: An athletic skateboarder with blue eyes and silver hair was being interviewed about the recent completion of his Nike commercial, and about his upcoming role as a male model. Sora smiled and shook his head. He didn’t understand why this guy was on TV; he looked like just another pretty boy whose face was deemed “good enough for television.” Still, to be in demand like that must mean he makes a pretty good amount of money…

    Speaking of money, Sora needed to find another job. His job as a cashier and fry cook at McDonald’s wasn’t cutting it anymore. The pay was okay, all things considered, but the hours were ridiculous, especially with pre-college exams coming up soon. He either needed a new, reasonable full time job, or some part time job that paid a ridiculous amount. His landlord raised the rent on his apartment recently, and at the rate things were going, McDonald’s wasn’t going to be enough.

    He took a deep breath and sighed as the cool summer breeze blew by, his large, brown, spikey hair blowing slightly, exhaled and smiled. It was hard to worry about things when the weather was this pleasant. He walked to a nearby newsstand, reached into his pocket, and paid 600 yen for a newspaper. He glanced through some of the business ads to see what was available. The only good thing about his situation was that, the exams aside, he’ll have a few months of summer vacation to find a better job…he glanced through the different listings to see what was available. Pet groomer? Nah, he’d never be able to get the dander out of his clothes. Assistant chef at a nearby restaurant, working nights? He’d have the time, but he’d have to sleep in…plus, the local gangs liked to come out at night. Might not be the best idea. Hmm…now this one was interesting: “Square Soft holding auditions for upcoming video game. Must be able to provide voice, and willing for image to be used in said project. No experience necessary, but having it a plus. Come on the following dates for audition.” That certainly would take up his time for the summer!

    Except that he wouldn’t have very good odds. He didn’t have any acting experience, but he knew Square Soft would want it: they liked having big names in their films and video games. If he were to read for a part, he’d more than likely be an extra or something. Those kinds of roles don’t pay much…besides, that kind of a project would take more than the few months he had for summer break. As good as that job looked, he’d have to pass. What else was there?

    Ooooh, now here’s something: “Bond courier. Transports packages from company to anywhere in the city, possibly outside of Tokyo. Must be willing and able to travel. Company vehicle provided depending on experience and licensure. Call the number for application.” Hmm…the pay looked good. Certainly more than McDonald’s. Plus, he would have an opportunity to travel! Sure, it wouldn’t be outside of Japan or anything like that, but at least it was an adventure of a sort. Something to get him out and possibly meet new people. Yep, looks like he found his next job. Sora looked up into the air, smiling at the sky.


    Riku Yamauchi sat on the steps just outside his trailer entrance, taking of his helmet and bicycle gear. He shook his head, getting his silver hair out of its helmet shape, then stretched. He was never fond of interviews from reporters, but it was a necessary evil: the more they interviewed him and put his face on television or magazines, the more work he’d be able to have and money he’d make. These days it was less about acting and more about who-has-seen-who, and who-knows-who. The more people know who you are, the more offers you could have. Already he’s received 12 offers for commercials and modeling for clothing stores. The jobs were good, and he could get some decent money in from them, but that wasn’t what he needed from them…or wanted. He glanced over his shoulder at the picture that was visible through the window. Two adults, a man and a woman, both with silver hair, were holding the hands of child, letting him hang off them with his feet off the ground...Riku wondered if they were still alive.

    Riku went inside his trailer and pulled out his cell phone. A quick call on speed dial, and he had his agent on the phone.

    “Daisuke,” Riku said, “have we had any offers today? Or any have we found anything?”

    “Riku-san,” the man named Daisuke said, “I wish you would use “san” or “sama” with me.”

    Riku sighed. Daisuke was always irritated about Riku not using honorifics with him. Today must have been especially bad. “Sorry, Daisuke-sama. Has anything new come up, yet?”

    “Better. Well, you’ve received offers from shoe salesmen for commercials, more modeling agencies, but these appear to be more on the lines of serious runway professionals. Nothing in television, I’m afraid. I know you’re trying to get your foot in the door with acting, but you may have to settle for either one of these offers, or take up the local theater.”

    “The nearest halfway decent theater I qualify for is outside the city, Daisuke-sama. I have too many responsibilities here before I can apply for that kind of a role.”

    “Well, the only other thing is voice acting. You’ve done that before, with some success. And you’ve received a few offers since then.”

    “Yes, but that was for an ogre. All he did was grunt and roar. What kind of a paying role can I find as a roaring ogre?”

    “It works wonders for Godzilla.” Daisuke replied.

    Riku groaned, “Isn’t there anything?”

    “Well, there is one thing. Square Soft has placed an ad in just about all forms of media, from newspapers, magazines, websites, all except television. I have a friend in the office, and he says they’re working on a video game that looks like a movie. They plan on using the appearance of the actors for roles in the game, along with their voices. It’s not a role in television, but it should help your cause.”

    Riku thought about it a moment. “Would I have to audition? We weren’t made an offer, were we?”

    “Not exactly. You’ve received an offer to audition from Square Soft, but not for a specific role. It looks like you’ll have to pick a part, audition for it, then hope for the best. I also hear that Takei Tsubasa has been given the role of director.”

    Riku grimaced. “Tacky” Tsubasa had a reputation of being extremely difficult to work with, from odd habits to an estranged personal life that affected the people who worked with him. It would be a risky move working with him…on the other hand, if he can survive working with Takei, he could handle working with other directors.

    “What kind of project is it?”

    “Honestly, Riku-san, nobody knows. It’s being kept quiet, but rumor has it that it will include Final Fantasy actors.”

    “Well…that’s actually promising. If Tetsuya Nomura is in charge of producing this game, it sounds like a worth-while thing.”

    “There’s more. This might be a make-or-break deal for Nomura. The Square Soft board isn’t backing him up on this project. He’s sticking his neck out. Between you and me, there’s rumor that he’ll be fired if he doesn’t do well on it, and the board laughed at his proposal…whatever it was.”

    “So, there’s no halfway point with this?”

    “I don’t think so.”

    Riku thought long and hard about this opportunity. He knew he could get in to this project, no problem. But then again, this could end his opportunities before they even began…still, what are the odds that another offer like this to come again?

    “Call back your friend at Square Soft, and tell them I’ll accept the offer to audition.”

    “Got it.”

    “Oh, and Daisuke? Have you taken care of my payment?”

    “Transferred it as soon as it was received. It’s going through the appropriate channels.”

    “Thanks, Daisuke-sama.”

    Riku hung up his cell and stared up at the sky, his blue eyes gleaming in the sunlight.


    In a large and luxurious mansion outside the city, a redheaded girl with short hair and blue eyes walked inside past the entry door, slamming it as she entered. She walked briskly to the den area, and began to pace around the sofa. Her demeanor completely impatient as she hovers around the telephone. Kairi Mizushima had returned from an unproductive day, and was eager for good news. She was slender in appearance, and with her skinny jeans and black t-shirt on, she would have looked rather attractive while she waited…if the angry expression on her face didn’t discourage it.

    “I thought I heard the door. Another bad lunch, Sister?”

    Kairi glared at her older sister as she descended down the staircase.

    Her eyes were just as blue as Kairi’s, even almost the same shape. That’s about where the similarities end, however. She stood about a head and a half taller than Kairi, a slender yet athletic build about her. She walked in a frank manner that seemed to show an unintended confidence about her. Her blue hair was a little longer, in ratio to Kairi’s, but also extended down past the back of her shoulders. She wore a white practice uniform for fencing, carrying a rapier and helmet on either side. Despite being 6 years older than her 14 year-old sister, Aqua’s appearance would be instantly more welcome than Kairi’s anger.

    “No, “Sister”, it was not. The two-faced jerk lied to me!” Kairi paced around the phone more, becoming angrier as she talked about it.

    “He guaranteed me a role in the movie! Then he goes and tells me that the movie decided on a more “country mouse” kind of a girl! ARGH!!”

    “Hmm. Well, sorry to hear that, sister…” Aqua toyed and inspected her rapier in the air as she spoke, “How many interviews does that come up to this week? Twelve?”

    Kairi avoided eye contact, her flushed face turning more into a blush, “…Fifteen.”

    “Mmm goodness…if you keep this up, you might make enemies out of all the directors in Asia.”

    “If these people would just keep their word, I wouldn’t have to make enemies! I mean, seriously, Aqua! How hard is it to find one lousy director that doesn’t have money on their mind?! Can’t they recognize talent when they see it?!”

    “Not when you yell like that, dear,” Aqua said softly. She walked behind her sister, and coaxed her to sit down on the sofa. She stood behind her and gently rubbed her shoulders, “Look, you know you have my support, and Xion’s too. But Kairi, let’s face it, isn’t thespian work for “fame and fortune,” a little redundant when you already carry the Mizushima name?”

    Kairi shook her head, and her sister’s arms off gently, “That’s why Father and Mother are famous. I want to earn my own name, my own way! Without their help!”

    “You didn’t object to Father’s “help” when he offered to call some of his director contacts, when you told him your dream of being onscreen,” Aqua said, dryly.

    “Well…I didn’t say I wouldn’t need any help in anything at all. You do have to know someone in this business. I’m just not going to use their money to-“

    “And didn’t Father offer a sizable donation to each of the directors to hear you audition, which was double what they normally make in a year??” Aqua added, a note of irony in her voice.

    “What are you getting it, Aqua?” Kairi demanded.

    “What I’m getting at, Little Sister, is that for someone determined not to have anything to do with us, you sure seem to be using it quite a bit.” Aqua stated, surly this time. “You seem more intent on having your own way, rather than making it on your own.”

    “I have no problem with doing whatever it takes to make my dream come true, Aqua!” Kairi said, angry, “The only thing I seem to see is that, despite the “help” I’ve received, I can’t seem to trust any of you.”

    Aqua rolled her eyes, “I give up. See what you want, Sister, you clearly won’t listen to any of us.” She proceeded to walk away with her rapier and helmet. “I hope you do grow out of this little phase of yours. You used to be pleasant company.”

    Kairi watched as Aqua walked away. She got up and paced the phone again. Aqua just didn’t understand how important it was to Kairi that she get away from this reputation her father had. How important it was for her to escape his shadow, and become someone other than “Mr. Mizushima’s daughter” and become “Kairi Mizushima: star of stage, screen, and television.” No, she has to make something of herself. On her own...no matter who she needs to step on to get there.

    RIIIIING!

    Finally, the phone! She quickly picked it up and put it to her ear.

    “Francois?” Kairi said, “Well, don’t keep me in suspense! What’s the word?!”

    “Hello to you too, Kairi,” said Francois, “No offers of any kind today. It doesn’t look like there are any projects that requires beginners’ experience. I would make some calls to the theaters-“

    “I’ve tried all the theaters in Japan, Francois,” said Kairi, irritated, “None of them will accept me! I don’t know why!”

    “-but then you say that. It looks like your reputation is starting to spread around, love.”

    “…What reputation, Francois?”

    “Ohhh, nothing much, dear. Just that word about how you tried to sabotage auditions for other actresses, or throwing temper tantrums during your own auditions, or even still, how you tried to tell the other staff to do their jobs. You know, typical stuff that will make people believe you’re hard to work with and make producers put you on the blacklist.” Francois said, mildly amused, “You know, the list that warns people not to hire you?”

    “If you had handed me professional roles at the start like I asked you to, those things would never have happened! Honestly, Francois, what am I paying you for, anyway?!”

    “To keep my eyes peeled for news, and it looks like I may have found something for you, Kairi dearest. There’s word for an audition by a local company, Square Soft. It’s for a video game, but they put the images of the actors and actresses in their video games as well as their voices. You land a major part, you get your face and voice in the game, and you’re one step closer to fame and fortune. You just have to pass the audition. Oh, and try and play fair this time, dearest, or this may be your last opportunity for a role in Japan.”

    “Okay, sounds simple enough. How do I get in, and what kind of people do they have to work with so far?”

    “Well, I can put in a few calls to put you straight to the front of the line, but you’ll still have to audition a role. No telling which part yet, they don’t name the roles until they find the right person for it. Strange thing, but hey, that’s why I’m just an agent. As for who’s in, some of the stars from a few Final Fantasy games are in, but I heard from my source at Square Soft that Riku Yamauchi is being offered an auditioned role…also, there’s talk that they’re bringing in a few stars from the west. Might be Hollywood people.”

    Riku Yamauchi?! THE Riku Yamauchi?! He is one of the upcoming teen stars on the rise! If Kairi could land a role in the same game as him, it could really kick-start her career, whether the game was terrible or good! Plus…he is kind of cute. Maybe she could spark a little romance with him while she was at it. Might make her career really fly… Kairi smiled at the thought.

    “You still there, Kairi?”

    “Yes, Francois, I’m here. I’ve decided I will lend my abilities to make this video game a success,” Kairi said, smugly, “Call the company and work whatever magic you have to make it happen.” She hung up the phone before he could reply. This day had its silver lining after all. She slowly made her way to the back patio, overlooking the ocean. She looked up at the sky and smiled.


    Nomura looked from the sky back to his script. Only time will tell who his heroes would be.
     
  6. Shuhbooty moon child

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Arizona
    463
    i love how you made the characters alive. Like when someone doesn't use the proper, prefix? I think. Like "San" and "sama" I love that.

    Sylvester is creepy. I too feel like he did something he wasn't suppost too- or he's a fake.

    But my favorite part was reading about the characters. Sora working fast food and a student? Never would have assumed that about him! Same with Riku, I thought him to be like a tough punk in a gang.

    Kairi I took as the nice student, like how Sora is. However she came off like a snobby brat. And I love it. I can't wait to read how the auditions go for the trio. And let's not forget the faves of Mickey, Donald and Goofy. (A-huck)

    Over all this idea excites me. I wish I could have thought of something like this. "Where it all began" but in a movie form!
     
  7. Darkcloud Word of advice: Let the wookie win. He's Chuck N

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    Classified
    104
    Takei Tsubasa walked to his office, excited as he’ll get out, with the list of numbers he was given by Tetsuya Nomura. Another wonderful, brilliant, glorious, fantastic, along with a list of incredible adjectives but all short of this one word, divine attempt at showcasing and displaying the talent that is, Takei!

    If only his coworkers and bosses shared his enthusiasm. Oh well. Their loss, his glory.

    He walked to his secretary, the curly haired and rare beauty known as Chieko Tanaka. She was his muse (though she spoke otherwise, the minx). Her rose colored hair hung straight from her head, but then curled in big loops on the sides of her face, but was braided towards the back of her head. An unusual style, Takei admitted, but it was that form of unusualness that gave his wonderfully brilliant ideas. Oh, if only the world could share in his inspirational moments! If they could understand the wonder that is him!

    If only his assistant would lighten up and smile once in a while.

    “Takei-san,” Chieko said, as he approached her desk. It was always hard for him to tell if she was happy or angry to see him. Her deadpan demeanor and emotionless tones dominated everything she did.

    “Ahh, Chieko-chan! Wonderful to see you up to your responsibilities today!”

    “One of us has to be. You’ve received three calls since you were out. All of them angry. Something about you hounding someone to sell their cat for a sacrifice?”

    “Ohhhh good! That deal came through?” Takei asked, excited.

    “No. As a matter of fact, it was a threat to call the police if you hounded them again for any such calls, sacrificed animals or otherwise. Same person, three calls, three very colorful voicemails.”

    “I’ll take that as a “maybe,” then.”

    Chieko rolled her eyes, “Takei-san, one of these days your rituals are going to get everyone in trouble.”

    “But I must pay tribute to my lord Ig-Pay, somehow! How else do you explain my wonderful success in the arts?”

    “For the umpteenth time, it’s because you put things onscreen nobody has ever seen before, and also for the umpteenth time, that’s not an actual master of yours, that’s “Pig” in Pig Latin.”

    “Ah. Pig latin, huh? Well, I’ll try and remember that. Maybe.”

    “No, you won’t.” Chieko muttered, picking up her clipboard and pen and following Takei as he walked to inside his office.

    “In any case, Chieko-chan, we have an important job. Our illustrious high commander, producer, and all around lovable human being, Tetsuya Nomura, has tasked us not only with directing his upcoming project, but rumor has it amongst the employees that we’re getting a partner from our Western cousins! So, there are two things we need to do, first!

    “Number ichi! We need to qualm the rumors going around the office! This can lead to rival competitors coming in to steal our actors, cutting off our funds, or we get actors or actresses in so high demand that they will demand more money than we can afford! That is barbarous! We’ll need all the money we can get!...which reminds me, cancel my order for the solid gold, jewel-encrusted rubix cube, please.”

    “Qualm rumors. Cancel stupid cube order. Check.” Chieko said as she scribbled notes into her clipboard, not once looking up.

    Takei stared at her, “…I hate it when you do that. Anyway, number ni!” He spun in his chair, “Nomura gave me a list of numbers to call for the project: it’s a list of actors from the past Final Fantasy games he’s worked on. The good news is, they all have experience working with us, they are all dependable, and they all will bring in lots of fortune and good karma for everyone…the bad news is, they all know me, so I’m leaving the responsibility of calling these people to you. While you’re doing that, I shall make a list of the essentials needed for the project!”

    “Sir, please, I implore you, don’t put down items like “steel combs, three-metric-tons of salt, and several cat statues” in your list again. The staff can’t take much more of this.”

    “Of course not, Chieko-chan! I intend to get only necessary books for the upcoming project, to research the origins of some of our projects segments. For example, we are going to be covering stories based on Arabian, French, and German stories, so I’d like to be familiar with them before we start.”

    Chieko considered this for a moment, “Hmm…alright, sir. If you give me a list, I’ll see what I can do.”

    “Nah, thanks. I can handle this on my own.” Takei said, smiling.

    Chieko stood there, emotionless. As usual, she exited without saying a word or look on her face. Takei grinned. As soon as she shut the door, he picked up his phone and pressed the speed dial. “Hello, operator? Takei, here. What’s your policy on cats, combs, salt and foreign incantations?”

    “Put the phone down, sir!” a familiar voice replied, coming through the receiver.

    “Eh?!” Takei blinked, “Operator, you sound erringly like my secretary!...if you look anything like her, maybe you and I can have dinner some time?”

    *click*

    “Hmm. Strange phone call…”


    Chieko hung up the phone, irritated with her boss, then sat at her desk and surveyed the numbers. Some of them she recognized, and knew a few of them would be busy. She calculated which would be the least busy and began dialing numbers. She didn’t have to wait long for the first ring…


    A woman wearing a loose robe, tight shirt and shorts, punched and kicked the air with taped fists and feet. The crowd cheered as she warmed up, preparing for her match against another would-be contender, as the steel cage lowered around the arena.

    “IIIIIIIIN THIS CORNER! THE CHALLENGER, FROM BRITAIN! JUMPIN’ JENNIFER! AND IN THE OTHER CORNER, THE REIGNING CHAMPINE, TERRIBLE TIFA!!”

    The two women shed their robes, raising both hands in the air as the crowd went wild with excitement. They took four steps forward before the referee gave the all clear signal, then yelled, “FIGHT!”

    Tifa bounced side to side slightly, as her opponent quickly charged, a hook preparing to be launched. She sidestepped to her opponent’s open side, bringing her knee up and colliding into Jennifer’s torso, immediately knocking the wind out of her and making her double over in pain.

    Tifa quickly bounced backwards, away from Jennifer. It wasn’t that it was illegal to continue to attack while the opponent was down; in actuality, it wasn’t. It was part of Tifa’s style. She didn’t like attacking opponents while they were down. She’d rather beat them senseless while they were up and able to guard. Sometimes the fans didn’t like it when Tifa refused to attack like that, but they always changed their minds when she starts her assault again. It was like she was showing dominance in the arena and the audience: she controlled when to attack, not them.

    Jennifer crawled back to her feet, her head red with pain and anger. She charged again at Tifa, this time her arms up in a guard. Tifa shook her head slightly, as if time was slowing down. This was just too easy.

    Tifa crouched down as soon as Jennifer was within reach, and swept Jennifer’s legs out from under her, sending her in the air. Tifa used the same motion from the sweep to spin and stand up at the same time, while simultaneously bringing her leg up straight into the air, all in less than a second. Once she was in position and Jennifer at optimum height, Tifa brought her leg down onto Jennifer’s torso, sending her to the mat so hard that she bounced almost as high as she was in the air. Tifa crouched slightly, seeing a way to quickly end the match, used the same leg to deliver a powerful kick to Jennifer’s side, sending her flying from the middle of the mat to the opposite wall of the cage. The impact left her out cold before she hit the mat. The referee quickly began the count, and at ten, declared Tifa the winner, resulting in her fastest win of all time.

    Minutes later, Tifa placed her championship belt on a coatrack, and sat in her chair, trying to catch her breath and drenched in sweat. The match itself took little to no effort on her part; what got her the most was getting in front of people, accepting the belt. It was interesting to see a championship cage fighter have a severe case of stage fright; one of the reasons why she liked fighting was that she could tune everything out without fail. That worked especially well in other projects, but as soon as they were done and she had to get in front of everyone, well that’s when her knees would start to knock. She leaned her head back on her chair, silently starting to doze…

    RRRRRRR! RRRRRRR!

    Her head snapped forward again, glancing at her cell phone. She sighed in relief. If that phone wasn’t set on vibrate, she’d probably be jumping through the ceiling right now. She flipped it open and answered.

    “Hello?...Chieko! Hi, how are you?...No no, you’re fine! Sorry I sound bad, I just finished a fight for the championship. What?...who do you think won?” Tifa laughed, “So, what’s the call? You’re not normally the one to call just to check up…uh huh…yeah…Oh! Really? No, I’d love to! I loved my Final Fantasy role! I just didn’t know there was going to be a sequel to--oh? No sequel…just a more of a cameo role with other cast members? That’s odd…but yeah, I’m still interested! Do you know who’s producing and directing?...Nomura’s producing, good good. Who’s the director?...Oh. Him. No, I’ll still come, but my restraining order on him still stands: no calling me after business hours, and no more of those…gifts of his. I swear, if I smell another pickled dog foot...anyway, when do you need me? Two weeks? Yeah, I can make it there by that time. Also…before I forget, who all of the cast is coming?...FF8, FF10…and most of FF7?

    “Is…,” Tifa started to blush, “Cloud going to be there?...you plan on it but haven’t asked yet? Great! I mean, yeah…yeah, that’s great that you’ll ask him. Ehehehe…” Tifa gulped nervously. It’s been, what, five years since Final Fantasy 7? She still hasn’t been able to get that blonde boy’s gleam out of her mind…it almost broke her heart and soul to pieces when she saw him kiss another woman.

    She cleared her throat, “Ehrm, uh, yeah, I’ll be there in two weeks. Anything I need to bring? Just my-Chieko!! Why would you even say such a-?!...I’m hanging up now!!” Tifa began fanning her bright red, blushing face with her hand.


    Chieko laughed quietly to herself as she hung up the phone with Tifa. Her crush on Cloud was so obvious to everyone, except him…even if he was a dirtbag. Her smile faded as she thought of him. Why Chieko let Cloud kiss her, she’ll never know. She swallowed a lump in her throat as she dialed his number next.


    Cloud made his way down the walkway, cameras from every angle flashing at him. Once he reached the end of the walkway, he flashed his signature pose: left hand in pocket, right hand on glasses, tilting them downward slightly, and the photographers going wild. After a moment, he turned around and proceeded to walk back down the catwalk, finishing his model role for the day.

    He proceeded to sit at his desk, swirling to glass of cucumber water he just picked up. The life of an international male model was never done, it seemed.

    He swirled his drink while looking at his mirror. A couple of the younger girls were whispering to one another, glancing every so often at him. He glanced at the two girls in the mirror, smiled and winked. The girls squealed and giggled excessively before they ran off. He smiled as they left, sipping his water. He’s still got it, and not too shabby, either. He glanced at his eyes in the mirror. He’s been doing really well since his days in the FF7 game…and his gleam was stronger than ever. He was at the top of his game.

    RIIIIIING! RIIIIIING!

    Cloud glanced at his cell phone from his water. Should he answer it now, or wait a day to make them eager for his presence? Decisions…he was in a good mood. He picked up the phone, flipped it open and spoke into it.

    “Speak to me,” Cloud said. “Yes, this is he…A job offer, reprising my role as Strife from Final Fantasy? Is the producer Nomura? Good, good. Who’s the director?...Him?! No no no, I won’t do it. The last time he took part, he tried to fashion a replica wig of my hair style out of canary feathers! There’s no way I’m going to-…how much?...well…that’s a start…what would I be doing in the game?...uh-huh…well, that’s new. Would there be a fight scene? Oh wow, that’s really different. Who else is being rehired?....uh huh…yeah…wow, them too? We’ve never done that before…ok, I’m in. When do you need me?...got it. Two weeks. Where do I report to?...Tsubasa’s branch? Ugh, if I must. Alright, thanks…by the way, have we met before? Your voice sounds really familiar…is this Chieko?...Oh, hi! Your voice sounds really different on the-…hello? Hello?”

    Cloud blinked, then shut his phone. Wonder what her problem was? Hmm…maybe she was still mad about leaving her at the altar, during their wedding…oh well. Water under the bridge. Cloud proceeded to pull out the necessary paperwork to request leave, along with phone numbers to call. This was just getting better and better.


    Chieko hung up the phone, almost angrily. Calm down, she thought. He wasn’t her problem anymore, not worth getting upset over, just shut that emotion out and keep working. If he was just as callous as ever, that was his problem. He’s not worth hating. Not. Worth. It. She picked up her phone and dialed the next number.


    “THANK YOU! GOODNIGHT, YOU LOVELY THINGS!”

    The brunette with her hair braided back and tied in a bow left the stage, waving to her stadium-filled audience as she did. Aeris went backstage to shake hands with her fans and talk to them for a bit about life as a pop idol: the singing, the tours, the traveling, etc., it was some of the best years of her life. The talking was over before she knew it.

    Once inside her dressing room, she changed from her popular idol outfit she wore during her performance, to a pair of jeans and a loose sweatshirt her former co-star gave, back when they were working on a project in the late 90’s…she reached up over her vanity and took down a framed picture of two boys: one with slicked back, jet-black hair with a large tuft of hair going from his head to his face, the other with blonde, hugely spiked hair. A strange gleam in both of their eyes…she tenderly fingered the boy’s face in the picture. She hated that both of their characters were killed off in that project; he was such fun to work with…thank goodness they were able to stay in touch with one another after they were killed off. She just wished he would quit travelling from country to country in various jobs…like she should talk.

    “YOU ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE MY LOVE. ITSUKA DARE KATO MATA KOI NI OCHITEMO-“

    Aeris smiled, flipping open her phone, recognizing the person calling, “Yes?...Hey, babe. How was your day?” She blushed slightly. She loved hearing his voice…and seeing his face…and those arms of his…oh crap, she’s fallen so hard for this guy it’s almost pathetic…and she loved every moment of it.

    “Haha, I’m doing fine, honey,” Zack answered, “Actually, I got a call from Chieko a little while ago she wanted to pass on. Our old producer friend, Tetsuya Nomura, has a project in the works, and he wants YOU in it, reprising your Final Fantasy role!”

    Aeris squealed, “Are you serious?! We get to work together again?!”

    “Well…no. They just wanted you. But they’re getting a few of our old coworkers in on this project, and some from other Final Fantasy projects. Tifa’s and Cloud are confirmed, Chieko’s calling Yuffie, Sephiroth and Cid, and she’s going to call Squall, too.”

    “Wow! That’s great!...well, I wish you were going to be in it too, but still!”

    “Haha thanks, babe. Actually, it looks like it’d be a minor role compared to the FF7 game, but it might lead to something bigger later on.”

    “Hey, you don’t have to convince me, I’m sold! Oh, who’s directing?”

    “Yeah, that’s clincher. The director is Takei Tsubasa.”

    “Tsubasa…where have I heard that name before…is that the guy who pranked Cloud with that wig?”

    “He also tried to have Red XIII shot and stuffed, and filled Squall’s gunblade prop with bubble solution, so that every time it fired, large bubbles blew out. He said the first stuffing was for good luck…I didn’t ask about the bubbles.”

    “Ohhhhh, yeah, I remember now… he tried to examine my earlobes and build a swallow’s nest over each of our trailer doors!”

    “He does have a strange obsession with luck…but there are lots of rumors flying around about the game. It sounds really promising.”

    “Yeah…will you be coming with me?”

    “I’ll try, but hun, I don’t know if they’ll let me in. They’re security only allows those currently on the job.”

    “I’ll talk to the producer.” Aerith blushed and smiled as she said, “It’ll be great for us to be on set together, again…I miss having you around when we worked…we don’t get to see enough of one another, these days.”

    “Well, when you put it like that, I’ll call Chieko immediately.”

    “Thanks, babe. I gotta go. Talk to you later.”

    “Bye, sweet thing.”


    Chieko hung up the phone with Zack for the second time, shaking her head slightly, trying hard not to smile. Those two have been head over heels for one another since they started work together in ’97. She sent a quick email to security, telling them to let Zack in when Aeris arrived in two weeks. If they didn’t do that, he’d try and sneak in. Again. No point in trying to keep him out, especially when he meant no harm or wouldn’t break anything…plus, it was kind of entertaining to watch him try and romance Aeris in public; he always tripped himself up or did something silly.

    Chieko relented and smiled at her memory of Zack reciting Shakespeare to Aeris while outside her trailer door, shook her head again, and dialed the next number


    “Young lady, you go to your room right this minute!”

    “Ohhhh, but Daddy! I love yooouuuu!”

    “Ohhh….I love you too, Sweetie!”

    A teenage girl and her father hugged, as music played and an audience started to applaud…or rather, the actor and actress hugged, and the stage faded to black as the audience applauded. The lights came back on for a quick moment, and the entire cast came out and took a bow.

    “Thanks so much for coming tonight!” the young girl said, “We’ll see you next time!”

    The applause continued one more time before the stage lights dimmed to off once again.

    The young girl went behind to her dressing room, closing her door behind her and sighing in relief, leaning against the door and slowly sliding to the floor. I love you, daddy. Who writes this junk?! Yuffie sighed, burying her face in her hands. She needed a vacation…actually no, forget the vacation, she needed a new job. Money wasn’t the issue…actually, scratch that. She could use the vacation AND a new job. Even if this series was going somewhere, there’s no way it’ll help her in the long run. All she did was prance around in dainty girl clothes, get into a little mischief, then beg “Daddy” for forgiveness and the show ends. Every. Single. Week. She was about to go insane…

    This wasn’t what she wanted to be known for, anyway. She got to do more during her Final Fantasy gig: being a ninja, parachuting down, riding an “airship”, using magic…she at least had some fun and was one of the girls…heck, she was even one of the guys, to a certain degree. She was respected, not treated like an immature 5-year-old.

    RRR-RRRRRRRR! RRR-RRRRRRRRR!

    Yuffie’s phone vibrated in her coat pocket. She lazily got up and pulled the phone out her pocket, then flipped it open. She hit the “receive call option”, and putting on the voice of the character she played just now back.

    “Well, hello! You’ve reached the phone of the cutie-oh, thank goodness, it’s you!” Yuffie exclaimed, overjoyed at the familiar voice and relieved that she didn’t have to play the pretense again, “It’s been so long! How are you?...Oh?...Oh! Yes, of course I’m in! What’s the part?...my FF7 role?! Sweet! So, Nomura’s producing again? Yes yes yes!! Who’s the director?...Ugh! Seriously?! He’s always tripping me up with his stupid-…you know what, I don’t care! I’ll gladly put up with it if it means coming back! How big a part do I have in this game?...A cameo? Well…that’s not too bad. When do you want me there?...Two weeks? Can do. I’ll get my schedule cleared. Thanks for the call, Chieko!” Yuffie quickly threw her things into a bag and ran out her dressing room.


    Chieko hung up the phone on Yuffie and checked her list. Yuffie would be about 21 now…hard to believe she was the youngest out of all of them. She started off like the little sister nobody wanted, then later became a valuable friend…especially after what Cloud did.

    Chieko dialed the number for Squall.


    “Lady Guinevere, take heed. Stay with Lancelot. The Saxons shall attack soon, and we need to make sure we are prepared. I must seek Merlin for counsel.”

    “Must you, my husband? Lancelot is fierce in battle, but none can protect me morose than my lord…”

    “I trust Lancelot with my life, milady. If the Lord of Britain can depend on his friends to guard him on the field of battle, his queen can certainly depend on them to keep her safe.”

    King Arthur strode from the doors of his court, out to his courtyard, where his horse was being saddled. Queen Guinevere followed him, hurrying as she went. By the time she caught up with him, Arthur was saddled.

    “Be safe, my king.” Guinevere implored.

    “Worry not, my queen,” Arthur said, almost laughing, “Gawain and Percival shall ride with me. They await over yonder, near the edge of the wood borrow. And for now, I ride!”

    He drew his sword, holding it high into the air, the sun reflecting off of it, shimmering….

    “AAAAAAND CUT! THAT’S IT FOR SEASON ONE EVERYBODY! WE’LL MEET BACK MOMENTARILY TO DISCUSS SEASON TWO!”

    King Arthur dismounted and sheathed his sword, taking off his helmet in the process, and struggling to walk his way to the edge of the set in his armor. He didn’t mind portraying the king of Camelot, but he would much rather prefer Shakespeare, especially “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” They had about as many fantastic creatures as he encountered during his role in Japan.

    He ran his fingers through his beard. It took him forever to grow it out, but it was starting to grow on Squall. Still, he couldn’t get over how hard it was for his coworkers to believe that he was really British. Sure, he looked the part of a Jap, but his birth in London wasn’t exactly a secret, either. Oh well. People will hear what they want.

    Squall made his way to the trailers, when a gopher came by with a phone. “Squall, sir, there’s a call from Japan. Says she’s a rep from Square Soft. Right, ‘ere you go.”

    “Hullo?” he answered, “Ah, Chieko. How are you, love?...No, this is my real accent. I don’t know why this is so hard for you to believe. Anyway, I doubt you called for tea…Hmm? Reprising my role for Final Fantasy, is it? Smashing. I’d love to come by. By the by, will I be working with any of my other thespian actors?...No, it’s just the previous actors? Pity. Oh well, still sounds like a wonderful time. Just, do me the favor, love? Please inform Mr. Tsubasa that if he plans on hampering my sword, trailer, or my teas again, I shall be forced to implement rather unpleasant repercussions onto his person. Right, see you in two weeks, Cheiko. Cheers.”


    Cheiko hung up the phone, smiling. Out of all the actors, Squall was probably the most charming, even if it was unintentional. Maybe that was why she liked him so much; he was nice, but was genuinely good without really intending to be. She surveyed the next number…hmm. She liked talking to this one: he wasn’t at all like his role in the game. Cheiko dialed the next number.


    A man with flowing silver hair tied back in a ponytail sat on his knees, in a kimono, while holding a very long katana, much longer than one would normally be. He unsheathed the sword by a few inches, just long enough to see his eyes and the gleam that followed with it…

    SLASH!!

    In less than the blink of an eye, the silver haired samurai cut through all of the surrounding bamboo. The moment he sheathed his sword with a ‘click,’ the bamboo fell to the ground, all neatly cut down to the same level. He stood up, and surveyed the horizon.

    “Husband?”

    A woman came out from the shrine behind her silver haired husband, dressed in a violet kimono, her dark black hair tied back into a bun.

    “Have you decided whether you would join the war or not?”

    The samurai attached his sword to his side, and turned to face his wife. He looked directly into her eyes, speaking softly, “…yes, beloved. I ride out tomorrow to war…and hopefully we can make Lord Nobunaga’s dream of unifying the land, and honor his spirit.” He embraced his wife and kissed her, in what felt like the final time…

    “AAAAAAND CUT! BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL! TAKE FIVE EVERYONE! WE’LL MEET BACK IN 10 MINUTES!!”

    Sephiroth and the woman raised their eyebrows at the director’s interesting logic in time, then laughed. The woman stared at Sephiroth, almost coyly, “Y’know, it’s a shame this is the final season. I’m going to miss your kisses, Seph-chan.”

    “Quit giving me nicknames, Lily,” Sephiroth laughed, “and besides, we both know you would get bored with me if you had your way,” He raised an eyebrow as he smiled back.

    “Mmm, I doubt that, Seph-chan,”Lily said, almost defiantly, “I bet I could at least make our final scene together one that we would both enjoy…”

    “I don’t doubt that you would enjoy it,” Sephiroth admitted, “but it would only be for a moment. After that “moment” you would have to deal with a more serious, hazardous, and quite possibly the deadliest threat to your life to ever come at you. Something that makes any reputation I could ever receive as a swordsman seem like an infant playing with a toy.”

    Lily’s smile faded, “And what would that be?”

    Sephiroth grinned as he began to turn and walk away, “My wife.”


    Sephiroth went inside his trailer and locked the door, untying his hair as he did. He knew Lily was kidding about entering a relationship. Despite her reputation about dating numerous, extravagant playboys from all over the world, he’d always see her as the pigtailed girl he went to school with since junior high. He had asked her out to prom once and she shot him down (which was fair, he did put a pile of fake vomit in her backpack as part of an April Fool’s Day prank). Still, his wife would not find such a joke as entertaining. She wasn’t thrilled when she learned Lily was in the same show as he was, but she’s been understanding and patient…namely she’d lose her patience and make him understand that she’d turn him into a Sephiroth-skin rug if he did anything outside the script with her. Ah, good times…

    RING-RING-RING, RING-RING-RING, PHONE CALL! PHONE CALL!

    Sephiroth picked up the phone off his dresser, and removed the receiver from the main box and spoke, “Hello? Oh, hello Cheiko! It’s been far too long! Nana and I missed you last month! We really wished you had time to join us for lunch…oh? Really? Who would I be working with?...uh huh…yeah…Well, that’s well and good. A minor role would be a pleasant change in pace. Who’s the director?...oh. Him. No, no, I’m willing to work, but I would request he not use my muramasa blade to try and…how did he put it? “Appease the servants of Ig-Pay?” But yes, I would be happy to join. Do we have a star lined up for this project?...oh. Well, that’s alright. I’ll be there in two weeks….Uh-huh. Yes, okay. Bye, Cheiko. I’ll let Nana know and we’ll try and schedule another lunch.”

    Sephiroth hung up the phone and checked his schedule. Only one more day of shooting, so he’d need to tell the director that he would need an extended vacation from the show to schedule the project. He left his trailer immediately.


    Cheiko hung up the phone, smiling. She always felt better talking to Sephiroth. She looked down at her list…one left. Oh good. And it was the worst of them all…she dialed Cid’s number.


    A man staggered into his room, reeking of fruit punch, and flipped on the light. He belched as he struggled to make his way to his sofa. His clothes sagged off him slightly, as if they were worn too long, and were a little too wrinkled to stay on. He belched again as he sat down.

    He had come a long way from the 1980’s. Unfortunately, it was downhill. Cid was a star in those days: varous sitcoms, movies, even broadway, but those days were long gone. He could barely get work as a drunken bum in a western. Today was no different: his latest audition for…for…aw, he couldn’t even remember it. Next thing he knew, he found himself in the Lucky Donkey during their Hawaiian Luau night, drinking all the fruit punch he could muster…and getting slapped by just as many girls he tried to ask out. A few blurs of time later, he found himself here.

    He grabbed his remote control, sweeping bills off of it in the process, and clicked the Play button. An old movie where he was the star played. He hiccupped, trying to keep his punch down, and fighting back the spots. He couldn’t even make out his lines in the roll, the tape was so badly eroded…

    BRIIIIING!!

    “HUH? WUZZAT??”

    BRIIIIING!!

    Cid frantically looked at the source: a phone on the box in front of him starting ringing. He stared at it…what are you supposed to do with phones again? Oh right…you pick up the receiver.

    “Hullo,” he answered, in something of a haze. He waited for no reply…until he realized he had the receiver upside down. He turned it around and tried again.

    “Hullo-ooo,” he said again, this time burping it out, and struggling hard to maintain, “This is Ci-ci-ci-ci-ci-ciiiiiid….Ohhhh, hey there, Cheeky-Cheekies-Cheesy-Cheiko. Ha-ha-how-how are yooouuu…Ohh-OOHHH, you’re offering ol’ Cid a ja-ja-ja-jooooob, are ya? Well, I’ll only accep-accep-accep…What? Accept? Well, that’s easy for you to say…Anyway, I’ll only accept the job if you agree to go out with me on a date, Chongo-Choco-Cocoa-Cheiko…Wha? The job actually PAYS money? Say no mo-oooore…I can start tomorroooooow…Two weeks? Well, alright, I suppose I can wait…that should give me juuuuus’ enough tiiiiiiime to get back into shape…say, do y’know if there any paaarrr-par-parties with this movie we’re doing?...Hello?” Cid stared at the phone as the dial tone said nothing back. He hung up the phone and staggered to his room. So he had a job now. That was nice…

    He slowly went to his bed, flopped down on it, and dazed to sleep.

    “Zzzzzzz…”


    Cheiko shuddered as she hung up the phone. She always needed a shower every time she talked to Cid…hopefully he’ll be clean and off the juice when he arrived in two weeks. She shuffled her files and observed some of the auditions for some of the roles that came in already. Some of them looked promising…but she would have to wait for two weeks before she could find out anything.
     
  8. Darkcloud Word of advice: Let the wookie win. He's Chuck N

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    Classified
    104
    In the midst of a somewhat noisy passenger plane, the pilot buzzed over the intercom. His lax voice and calm demeanor was usually a good indicator of smooth flying and confidence, yet simultaneously dripping with honey as he spoke. While he was speaking, a familiar theme song played through the intercom, singing of friends for life, through thick and thin, and a lot “oo-ee-ay!” and “oo-ee-oh!”

    “Attention all passengers! This is your pilot Baloo speaking. If you look to your right, straight ahead, you’ll see…nothing! And on your right, you’ll also see nothing! This is because we’re traveling through clear skies, sunny weather, and perfect temperatures! If you look down, you’ll see clear, a blue ocean, perfect for days on the beach! Once we land our plane, you’ll be free to have as much fun in the sun as possible…for those of you who don’t have to work, that is! Ha ha ha HA! We will be landing in the official airports of Narita Airports of Shinjuku, in Tokyo, Japan in about 10 minutes. Please make sure your belongings are placed in the proper spots, your seat belts are fastened, and that you stay in your seats until we land…not necessarily in that order.”

    The passengers complied with little to no complaints, with any mainly issued to “why do this” or “why do that”…of course, those toons had a hard time thinking up to two sentences, so it wasn’t that unusual.

    Scrooge McDuck, sitting next to Mickey, complied immediately, albeit a little nervously. Mickey, noticing Scrooge’s nervousness, asked tentatively, “Everything alright, Uncle Scrooge?”

    “Aye, I’m fine, laddie. I’m just not used to having a pilot that knows what he’s doing…which reminds me, I still say it wasn’t a wise decision using Launchpad to fly the plane behind us.”

    His mind flashed back to the decision that was made where, due to the size and number of all the toons and props, all the cast, stage hands, and all the other workers would board one of the customized 747 airliners, and the props and equipment would be boarded onto another plane…unfortunately, due to the lack of actual pilots, that limited the choices down to two: Baloo the bear, and Launchpad McQuack. With the flip of a coin, Baloo would fly the plane with the passengers, and Launchpad would fly the plane with the equipment.

    “Sorry, Uncle Scrooge. I’d fly the plane myself, but-“

    “You only know how to fly a biplane, I know laddie,” Scrooge sighed, “It’s not just that, Mickey. I wish we didn’t have to fly on the same plane as the rest of the…well, the villains.”

    That was true. On board the plane, everyone involved was divided into different sections of the plane: the main cast was in the front half of the plane, the behind-the-scenes workers in the back. The heroes in half of those two…and the villains in the other half.

    “Gawrsh,” said Goofy, turning around from his seat to face Mickey and Scrooge, “at least they’re somewhere we can keep an eye on them, right?”

    “Yeah,” said Donald, who was sitting right next to Goofy, “They wouldn’t dare try anything while all the “good guys” are sitting right next to them!” Donald reclined back a little, his hands resting behind his head as he said this.

    “I’d agree with you on most of them, Donald.” Mickey started, turning his head back a little bit, “But there’s one here who I really wish didn’t have a large in role in this project…in fact, I wish he wasn’t involved on this job with us, at all…”

    Donald and Goofy turned around again, seeing Mickey’s concern and focus on the dark corridors of the plane. They could almost read Mickey’s mind: this villain caused lots of trouble for not only them, but for everyone involved with Disney for years. He’s been a thorn not only in Mickey’s side since his creation, but also Goofy’s, Donald’s, and every one of his immediate family and friends. Mickey had hoped he would have stayed in the Vault until his rehabilitation would finally take, but after an off-and-on sentence of 40 years and still no real sign of changing for the better, this still seemed very unlikely.

    “Mickey,” Donald said, a little concern in his voice, “he’s not going to be able to do anything this time.”

    “And even if he does,” Goofy said, a little toughness in his voice, “we beat him once, we can do it again!”

    “Aye, lads, that ye can,” said Scrooge, laughing a little, “I don’t have any doubt that ye can beat him. You’ll also have my resources and ducks at your disposal if he does. The best thing about the toons under my employment: they get better with age.” He winked at the trio with that last comment.

    “Thanks guys,” Mickey smiled, “Maybe I’m just being silly agai-“ Mickey’s smile stopped, and turned into a serious frown. A figure approached them from the darkness of the plane…


    The figure was very large, compared to Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and most of the other characters on the plane. He was four times as tall as Mickey, and four times as wide, like a very large ball of butter. His green sweater encompassed most of his body, with a single yellow horizontal stripe along the middle of it. His blue jeans, tan shoes and brown bowler hat gave him a look that was out of this time, but his mean demeanor suggested he neither cared what anyone thought of his look nor did he want to change it. Pete was always a bit of a scoundrel, but at least he was consistent at that.

    As Pete made his way from the dark parts of the plane towards Mickey and the others, the other characters stopped talking and stared in anxiety and concern. Pete was best known for causing trouble in moments of calm and near triumph, and this would certainly qualify as one of those times…

    “All o’ the villains, bad guys, and ordinary thugs are strapped away and not makin’ any mischief whatsoever. If that’s all ya mooks need a’ me, I’ll be preparin’ for the landing…” Pete turned around and proceeded to head back when Donald decided to chime in, “Huh. Good riddens.”

    “Careful there, Duck,” Pete turned his head around, grinning, “I might just decide to have duck l’orange for dinner tonight, regardless of what orders your boss gave us…”

    “You realize he’s your boss too, right Pete?” Mickey said, “It wasn’t that long ago when you served time in the Vault. Are you that eager to go back again?”

    “Don’t think you can order me around jus’ because you’re in good with the boss, Mouse.” Pete said, a little more aggravated, “I do what I do ‘cause I feel like doin’ it. Don’ you forget it!” He proceeded to storm off to the back of the plane.

    “That guy…” said Mickey, “I don’t think I’ll ever understand him…”


    Pete proceeded his way to the back of the plane, to where the villains were. His walk was confident, and his grin was shrewd. He was in charge of the villains on this trip, a step closer to running the show if he played his cards right. The best part was, despite the high role he had, it was a relatively cushy job: if he couldn’t make sure the villains wouldn’t be good, he’d make sure they were good at being villains…without the head cheese knowing about it, if possible. Yessiree, he was back on track, once again…

    Pete surveyed the part of the plane with the majority of the villains one more time before he addressed them:

    “Alright ya mooks, listen up!” Pete bellowed, grabbing the attention of some of the passengers (most just ignored him), “We’re makin’ deh final approach ta Japan! Despite our better judgement, we’re going to work with the losers an’ not give ‘em any trouble…at least, not while we’re here. Once we get back on our turf, all bets are off. Until den, be on your best behavior!”

    “And why should we listen to you, Pete?”

    The voice came from Captain Hook, who was reclining slightly in his seat polishing his hook and admiring his reflection. He continued prodding Pete without looking up.

    “There’s talk amongst the inner circles that you’re turning straight, Pete. People are starting to assume that you’re starting to lose your edge as a villain, and that the only reason why you’re working with Disney’s heroes is to get in good with them.”

    “You got a point, Hook?”

    “We’re thinking you can’t cut it anymore as a villain, since you got caught with your last scheme and sent to the Vault, and that you’re honing your edge as a stage hand instead to get the heroes off your back.”

    The villains slowly stopped what they were doing and started taking an interest in the conversation, some smiling maliciously at the situation that was developing. This was the equivalent of gambling for some of them: would Hook take control of Pete or his position, or would Pete take control of Hook’s ship and crew. You never know.

    Pete slowly walked towards Hook, a smile slowly forming on his face.

    “Is that so?” he asked, when he was standing right next to Hook. He reached down, and gently straightened the ruffled scarf wrapped around Hook’s neck….then quickly tightened it around Hook’s neck, making his eyes bulge, skin turn blue, and his entire head swell twice it’s normal size.

    “Now listen here, you crooked crocodiliphobic coward! I’m not going “soft,” it’s not because I’ve lost my “edge,” and it’s certainly not because it’s “easier!”” He gave Hook’s scarf a progressive pull with each emphasis, making his head swell more and more.

    “It’s because I’m the baddest of deh bad, the worst of deh worst, and the one who can mess you bunch of sissies up into even worse, lower, and uglier shapes than you already are! But hey, don’t take my word for it...” Pete released the scarf, letting Hook breath again, “…let’s see if the ol’ Cap’n has any objections.” He brought his arm up quickly and punched Hook on the top of his head, making his eyes bulge more as his head flattened slightly. Hook slumped slowly into his chair, his eyes spinning as they slowly closed and smiled as he lost consciousness. Pete brought his arms up to his head, like he was admiring a baby that was sleeping.

    “Aww, dey’re so cute when they’re asleep…” Pete turned back to the rest of the villains, and cracked his knuckles, “Any further objections?”

    The plane went silent as everyone went back to their previous business.

    Pete smiled, went back to his seat, and strapped himself in.


    The first plane landed without a hitch, in sunny skies, thin wisps of clouds, birds chirping, all practically promising a peaceful flight. Scrooged sighed in unexpected relief; almost all his landings involving Launchpad involved a crash (a badge of pride, whenever it occurred with him), along with some form of unpredictable and/or unprecedented damage: sometimes it was the plane, other times it was the archeological ruins, other times it was terrain, but it was never the same kind of crash twice.

    Scrooge quickly made his way to the control tower, making his way up the flight of stairs to the top of the tower, hurrying as he went. He barged his way to the control room and went to the nearest microphone and began hailing the second plane.

    “Launchpad!” Scrooge yelled, “Are you still up in the air?”

    “Heyyyy, Mr. McDee!” Launchpad replied, “I’m coming up on the airstrip! Won’t be much longer before I make the final approach to the landing strip! I just need a few more minutes!”

    “Remember what you were taught, Launchpad! You cannot crash this plane! All of the equipment is on your plane, and we can’t replace any of it! Do you understand?!”

    “Alright, alright, I get it! Use the landing lessons you guys gave me, don’t crash the plane, make sure the stuff gets to you in one piece, I remember, Mr. McDee! I have landed a plane without crashing it before, remember?”

    “You confessed that doing so, you were having an off day, Launchpad! No excuses on this one! Everything must be perfect!”

    “I get it, Mr. McDee! Everything will be-…whoa!”

    “Launchpad? What’s wrong?”

    “I dunno! The plane just suddenly lurched!...I just lost an engine! Now the other one! I’m going down!”

    “Launchpad! Quit trying to force a crash and fly the plane right!”

    “It’s not an act! I’m going to try and bring her down easy, but I’m not going to be able to keep her in the air much longer! I’m losing altitude fast!”

    Scrooge looked up from the microphone to scan for any possibilities of a plane. The visage of a large 747 jet was starting to become more noticeable through the tower, along with two trails of smoke following the engines.

    “Launchpad! What is going on up there?!”

    “My meters are going crazy! I can’t even get a beat on my compass! There’s-…what was that?”

    Scrooge paused as he heard it too: a lound, bending, and metallic lurch that wasn’t making a helpful sound. He looked out the window again, as the plane grew closer and closer to determine what was going on. The plane was coming in low a little too fast, but for the most part was still under control, and was swaying slightly, and shaking oddly…as it grew closer, Scrooge saw it.

    One of the wings was coming loose, and it looked like it wasn’t going to take long before it was going to snap off.

    “Launchpad, how long until you reach the landing strip?” he asked, watching the plane as it was descending towards the landing strip rather quickly.

    “At this rate, I’d say about five minutes, Mr. McDee.”

    Through the microphone, Scrooge heard the steady lurching noise turn into a sudden snap. Through the windows of the tower, he saw the shaking wing separate itself from the plane and fly off into another direction. The plane suddenly lurched in a more downward angle.

    “Uhhh better make it 30 seconds, Mr. McDee!” Launchpad said, a note of fear in his voice now.

    “Hold on, Launchpad! Just hold on!”

    The tower watched in fear and anticipation of the plane going down. Everyone knew what would happen, even if they didn’t want to say it: the plane would crash in a blaze of fire…into the ocean.

    “Hang on, Mr. McDee! I’m going to try something!” said a frantic Launchpad.

    How he managed to pull this off was anyone’s guess: what little stubs of wings the plane had left, Launchpad managed to pull and angle the plane, even if it was slight angle. His final descent appearing more definite, Launchpad still appeared to be crashing towards the water. The only difference being now it was at a 45 degree angle, and with the plane’s belly being the apparent first to hit the water instead of the nose. It was inevitable, the crash. Scrooge could practically see a countdown before the plane hit the water. He shut his eyes tight and counted down.

    5…

    4…

    3…

    2…

    1…

    BONK!

    Not the noise Scrooge imagined hearing as the plane hit the water. He opened his eyes and saw the plane…back in the air?! Launchpad’s angle caused the plane to skip on the water like a flat stone over a lake. The plane was back in the air, and over the runway. The wheels were already unloading from underneath the plane and looked like they were going to be fully extended in time before the plane hit the ground. Scrooge watched again with anticipation as the wheels touched the ground…

    BLAMBLAMBLAM!!

    All three tires popped as they hit the runway hard. The plane, still traveling at a dangerous speed, tipped forward as the front wheels popped first, the nose hitting the ground hard and bending the plane in half. The plane slid half the runway before it slowed to a stop, the fell backwards into a position that was somewhat close to its original. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief…until they saw smoke coming from the plane, with flames quickly following.

    The tower control man quickly (and finally) took the microphone away from Scrooge, flipped a switch, and yelled, “ALL UNITS TO THE RUNWAY! WE HAVE AN EMERGENCY LANDING! IMMEDIATE EVAC AND FIRE UNITS ARE NEEDED ON THE SCENE! THIS IS NOT A DRILL! REPEAT, THIS IS NOT A DRILL!”

    Firetrucks, an ambulance, and rescue workers quickly rushed to the site of the crash, the flames steadily starting to get larger. As every vehicle was rushing to the scene, the pilot’s side door kicked off.

    Launchpad stumbled out of the burning plane, his clothes singed and smoking from the flames. His eyes were spinning in opposite directions of one another, dazed and confused of where he was. His smoking scarf was slowly starting to catch on fire. To top off his wrecked appearance, the steering wheel from the helm of the plane was rammed over his head and around his neck.

    “Doooon’ worry, I’m oookaayyy…” he slurred and stumbled, “I’ll jus’ neeeeed a moment before I can fly the nex’ plaaaane hoooooome.” He finished his sentence and collapsed facefirst into the ground.

    “Launchpad!”

    Scrooge ran frantically to the pilot, quickly grabbed his shirt, and pulled him up, screaming his name again.

    “Launchpad! Launchpad, wake up!” he spoke again, shaking him slightly. Launchpad’s eyes slowly stopped spinning and finally he spoke up again.

    “Wha…ish okay, Mr. McDeedeedee…I’m gonna be fine.”

    Scrooge breathed a sigh of relief, “Yer fine…” Scrooge then straightened up, his brow furrowed, and proceeded to shake him faster and harder, “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU! WHAT WAS THE ONE THING I TOLD YOU?! DON’T CRASH THE PLANE! AND NOW LOOK WHAT YOU DID! YOU CRASHED IT ON PURPROSE, DIDN’T YOU?!”

    The shaking and abuse proceeded long after the flames were put out, and while Launchpad was being transported to the hospital inside the ambulance.


    After a couple of hours in the hospital, Scrooge McDuck and Gyro Gearloose slowly made their way to Tetsuya Nomura’s office. The disappointed looks on their faces didn’t say well of this upcoming meeting.

    “Well…” Nomura started, “what are the damages?”

    Gyro pulled out a piece of paper from inside his vest, “It’s not good, but overall it’s not bad, either…we lost a lot of the sets we were hoping to use. The list includes Jungle Book, 101 Dalmations, Pocahontas, Robin Hood, A Bug’s Life, Dumbo, Mulan, Fantasia, and Hercules. Those were completely destroyed. Some sets from Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Wonderland, and Tarzan were damaged, but we can salvage some of their props and try and recreate some of their scenes…but it may look like something completely different from the movies, especially Wonderland and Hercules. The only one that suffered the least amount of damage was the Atlantica set.”

    “Hercules’ world may be a problem,” Nomura stated, glancing at the list of available props and sets that survived the crash, “I was planning on making that a world where the main user will participate in gladiator combat; after completing so many levels, a new challenge would be available in the arena, etc…”

    “That will be a problem. The coliseum set was completely destroyed…” said Gyro, “…I think we might be able to salvage something for the level. We have produced several sport shorts over the years…we might be able to convert them into a makeshift coliseum and model it in the same style as the Hercules movie…the sets for the other movies will be much harder.”

    “This looks like we’ll have to start from scratch on a lot of movies…we’re going to recycle some of our Final Fantasy material to make some of our custom worlds…we might be able to do so for some of these other movies. If we’re going to resort to that, we might be able to work in some of the movies that weren’t originally approved…we might be able to get Agrabah into the game if we manipulate things correctly…”

    “I assume this means we have a new plan for this?” Scrooge asked, an inquiring look on his face.

    “Yes,” said Nomura, “We’ll have to change the script a little, but if we throw in a couple of custom levels…I think we can make this game a little bit better. I’ll have a draft for the game available in a couple of days. I need to start preparing for tomorrow’s auditions.”

    “I understand. Thank you for your time, Mr. Nomura,” Scrooge and Gyro bowed slightly before exiting the office.


    “I’m telling you the truth, Mr. McDee! It wasn’t my fault!”

    Launchpad sat upright in his hospital bed, with a couple of bandages on his head. He, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy sat in the patient’s room while Scrooge was struggling to keep from exploding.

    “”Not my fault?” Launchpad, you’ve dedicated your career with my company to crash as many things as possible! Even if you weren’t at the cockpit!”

    “Aw, c’mon! I’ve never-“

    “Do you remember the Hindentanic?”

    “Umm…yes?”

    “”The Uncrashable Airship.” That’s what it was called.” Scrooge said, starting to turn red, “Do you know what you did to the “Uncrashable Airship,” Launchpad?”

    “…I crashed it.”

    “You crashed it!” Scrooge said, his voice elevated and his arms swinging slightly, “You weren’t even the pilot! I gave you the task of a medial worker, someone to just clean the inside and outside of the ship! And yet, somehow, while you were cleaning the exterior of the ship, you manage to punch a whole into the blimp itself, and we went down! If I didn’t manage to make a huge profit from the crash, I’d have fired you for sure!”

    “This was different!” Launchpad retorted, “Mr. McDee, every time I’ve piloted a crash, it was like a work of art! For the most part, each time I was in control of the plane, and it went down as beautifully as it went up! But this…I don’t know how to put it, Mr. McDee, it’s like someone else was pulling the strings! The entire plane just fell apart on its own; one minute it was like riding a kite, the next minute it turned into an anvil and we were going down!”

    “I still don’t believe it, Launchpad!” Scrooge said, undeterred, “As of right now, I’m suspending you without pay until we get to the bottom of this! And don’t you three try to talk me out of it!” he said, pointing at Mickey, Donald, and Goofy, “My mind is made up! This little stunt may have set us back months, and we need to come up with an alternative for some of the movies, and it needs to be done by the end of the auditions tomorrow!” He slammed the door to the hospital room as he left.

    The four of them looked at each other, in silence, until finally one of the spoke.

    “…Well,” said Goofy, “that could have gone better.”

    “Guys, I promise,” Launchpad said, a note of desperation starting to appear in his voice, “I didn’t crash that plane on purpose! This was different!”

    “I’ll ask Scrooge’s mechanics and technicians to take a look at the wreckage, Launchpad,” Mickey said, “Maybe they’ll find something that will support your claim. But Scrooge is right about one thing: we are in a bit of trouble because of that crash.”

    “How did this happen to begin with?” Launchpad asked, “All the villains were with you guys! They weren’t allowed anywhere near the planes until it was time to board! And the planes were triple checked before each take off!”

    “Who checked them?” Donald asked.

    “Me, of course!” Launchpad stated proudly, his chest puffed out.

    Everyone stared at him.

    Launchpad blinked, “…what?”

    Mickey shook his head, “We’ll worry about it later. We need to get the last villain off the plane before we clock out for the night.”

    Goofy tilted his head, then scratched it, “Uhh, gawrsh Mickey, I thought all villains were taken to their trailers. Pete said he got them all there.”

    “I’m not talking about them, Goofy,” Mickey said, in a serious tone, “I’m talking about…him. He’s still on the plane.”

    The four of them looked at one another, then left the room without a word.

    Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and many toon police officers stood at the rear entrance of the plane that carried all the main characters. A cool breeze beginning to blow before the door opened, ruffling through everyone’s hair…fur…both.

    Four toon policemen, each one with a rod attached to the prisoner, slowly made their way down the ramp of the plane, their prisoner in the center of the rods slowly being dragged. There wasn’t anything special about the prisoner’s appearance: a long cloak with a hood, gloves, and boots. There was only one color: black. Throughout the prisoner’s entire appearance, every bit of him was solid black, not even shadows…except for his eyes. His eyes were oval shaped, and completely white with no pupils. In fact, his eyes were the only discernable feature on him. Nobody could see a nose, mouth, cheek bones, the only real feature anyone could tell about him was that he wore a black cloak. They wouldn’t have been able to tell if he had arms or legs if they weren’t also bound by shackles.

    As they made their way down, the prisoner struggled to maintain some form of what appeared to be regal composure, clearly indicating that there was still some fight in him, despite being trapped on a plane for a little over a day. When his eyes glanced at the crowd of toons, especially the ones in front, he stopped struggling, straightened more and cooperated with the police. They made their way to Mickey and the others, silently. Once they were close enough, the prisoner stopped and spoke, in a voice that was proud, dastardly, and evil.

    “Mouse.” He stated, a note of hatred in his voice.

    “Blot.” Mickey replied, “Are you going to play ball with us, or do we need to just go ahead and send you back to the Vault?”

    “Risk a sure bid for freedom by committing an act of vengeance against the merry, motley crew that has not only thrown me in jail but also the Vault, putting me in a veritable, everlasting prison for a total of more than 60 years?” Blot’s voice became louder and more intense the longer he talked, until his voice became lower and more proud with his next statement, “Oh, Mouse, you know better than to ask me that question.” He leaned in closer and whispered, “You know what my answer will be.”

    The toon cops then proceeded to drag him away, with the trio looking as he walked away.

    “…that’s what I’m afraid of.”

    In the midst of a somewhat noisy passenger plane, the pilot buzzed over the intercom. His lax voice and calm demeanor was usually a good indicator of smooth flying and confidence, yet simultaneously dripping with honey as he spoke. While he was speaking, a familiar theme song played through the intercom, singing of friends for life, through thick and thin, and a lot “oo-ee-ay!” and “oo-ee-oh!”

    “Attention all passengers! This is your pilot Baloo speaking. If you look to your right, straight ahead, you’ll see…nothing! And on your right, you’ll also see nothing! This is because we’re traveling through clear skies, sunny weather, and perfect temperatures! If you look down, you’ll see clear, a blue ocean, perfect for days on the beach! Once we land our plane, you’ll be free to have as much fun in the sun as possible…for those of you who don’t have to work, that is! Ha ha ha HA! We will be landing in the official airports of Narita Airports of Shinjuku, in Tokyo, Japan in about 10 minutes. Please make sure your belongings are placed in the proper spots, your seat belts are fastened, and that you stay in your seats until we land…not necessarily in that order.”

    The passengers complied with little to no complaints, with any mainly issued to “why do this” or “why do that”…of course, those toons had a hard time thinking up to two sentences, so it wasn’t that unusual.

    Scrooge McDuck, sitting next to Mickey, complied immediately, albeit a little nervously. Mickey, noticing Scrooge’s nervousness, asked tentatively, “Everything alright, Uncle Scrooge?”

    “Aye, I’m fine, laddie. I’m just not used to having a pilot that knows what he’s doing…which reminds me, I still say it wasn’t a wise decision using Launchpad to fly the plane behind us.”

    His mind flashed back to the decision that was made where, due to the size and number of all the toons and props, all the cast, stage hands, and all the other workers would board one of the customized 747 airliners, and the props and equipment would be boarded onto another plane…unfortunately, due to the lack of actual pilots, that limited the choices down to two: Baloo the bear, and Launchpad McQuack. With the flip of a coin, Baloo would fly the plane with the passengers, and Launchpad would fly the plane with the equipment.

    “Sorry, Uncle Scrooge. I’d fly the plane myself, but-“

    “You only know how to fly a biplane, I know laddie,” Scrooge sighed, “It’s not just that, Mickey. I wish we didn’t have to fly on the same plane as the rest of the…well, the villains.”

    That was true. On board the plane, everyone involved was divided into different sections of the plane: the main cast was in the front half of the plane, the behind-the-scenes workers in the back. The heroes in half of those two…and the villains in the other half.

    “Gawrsh,” said Goofy, turning around from his seat to face Mickey and Scrooge, “at least they’re somewhere we can keep an eye on them, right?”

    “Yeah,” said Donald, who was sitting right next to Goofy, “They wouldn’t dare try anything while all the “good guys” are sitting right next to them!” Donald reclined back a little, his hands resting behind his head as he said this.

    “I’d agree with you on most of them, Donald.” Mickey started, turning his head back a little bit, “But there’s one here who I really wish didn’t have a large in role in this project…in fact, I wish he wasn’t involved on this job with us, at all…”

    Donald and Goofy turned around again, seeing Mickey’s concern and focus on the dark corridors of the plane. They could almost read Mickey’s mind: this villain caused lots of trouble for not only them, but for everyone involved with Disney for years. He’s been a thorn not only in Mickey’s side since his creation, but also Goofy’s, Donald’s, and every one of his immediate family and friends. Mickey had hoped he would have stayed in the Vault until his rehabilitation would finally take, but after an off-and-on sentence of 40 years and still no real sign of changing for the better, this still seemed very unlikely.

    “Mickey,” Donald said, a little concern in his voice, “he’s not going to be able to do anything this time.”

    “And even if he does,” Goofy said, a little toughness in his voice, “we beat him once, we can do it again!”

    “Aye, lads, that ye can,” said Scrooge, laughing a little, “I don’t have any doubt that ye can beat him. You’ll also have my resources and ducks at your disposal if he does. The best thing about the toons under my employment: they get better with age.” He winked at the trio with that last comment.

    “Thanks guys,” Mickey smiled, “Maybe I’m just being silly agai-“ Mickey’s smile stopped, and turned into a serious frown. A figure approached them from the darkness of the plane…


    The figure was very large, compared to Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and most of the other characters on the plane. He was four times as tall as Mickey, and four times as wide, like a very large ball of butter. His green sweater encompassed most of his body, with a single yellow horizontal stripe along the middle of it. His blue jeans, tan shoes and brown bowler hat gave him a look that was out of this time, but his mean demeanor suggested he neither cared what anyone thought of his look nor did he want to change it. Pete was always a bit of a scoundrel, but at least he was consistent at that.

    As Pete made his way from the dark parts of the plane towards Mickey and the others, the other characters stopped talking and stared in anxiety and concern. Pete was best known for causing trouble in moments of calm and near triumph, and this would certainly qualify as one of those times…

    “All o’ the villains, bad guys, and ordinary thugs are strapped away and not makin’ any mischief whatsoever. If that’s all ya mooks need a’ me, I’ll be preparin’ for the landing…” Pete turned around and proceeded to head back when Donald decided to chime in, “Huh. Good riddens.”

    “Careful there, Duck,” Pete turned his head around, grinning, “I might just decide to have duck l’orange for dinner tonight, regardless of what orders your boss gave us…”

    “You realize he’s your boss too, right Pete?” Mickey said, “It wasn’t that long ago when you served time in the Vault. Are you that eager to go back again?”

    “Don’t think you can order me around jus’ because you’re in good with the boss, Mouse.” Pete said, a little more aggravated, “I do what I do ‘cause I feel like doin’ it. Don’ you forget it!” He proceeded to storm off to the back of the plane.

    “That guy…” said Mickey, “I don’t think I’ll ever understand him…”


    Pete proceeded his way to the back of the plane, to where the villains were. His walk was confident, and his grin was shrewd. He was in charge of the villains on this trip, a step closer to running the show if he played his cards right. The best part was, despite the high role he had, it was a relatively cushy job: if he couldn’t make sure the villains wouldn’t be good, he’d make sure they were good at being villains…without the head cheese knowing about it, if possible. Yessiree, he was back on track, once again…

    Pete surveyed the part of the plane with the majority of the villains one more time before he addressed them:

    “Alright ya mooks, listen up!” Pete bellowed, grabbing the attention of some of the passengers (most just ignored him), “We’re makin’ deh final approach ta Japan! Despite our better judgement, we’re going to work with the losers an’ not give ‘em any trouble…at least, not while we’re here. Once we get back on our turf, all bets are off. Until den, be on your best behavior!”

    “And why should we listen to you, Pete?”

    The voice came from Captain Hook, who was reclining slightly in his seat polishing his hook and admiring his reflection. He continued prodding Pete without looking up.

    “There’s talk amongst the inner circles that you’re turning straight, Pete. People are starting to assume that you’re starting to lose your edge as a villain, and that the only reason why you’re working with Disney’s heroes is to get in good with them.”

    “You got a point, Hook?”

    “We’re thinking you can’t cut it anymore as a villain, since you got caught with your last scheme and sent to the Vault, and that you’re honing your edge as a stage hand instead to get the heroes off your back.”

    The villains slowly stopped what they were doing and started taking an interest in the conversation, some smiling maliciously at the situation that was developing. This was the equivalent of gambling for some of them: would Hook take control of Pete or his position, or would Pete take control of Hook’s ship and crew. You never know.

    Pete slowly walked towards Hook, a smile slowly forming on his face.

    “Is that so?” he asked, when he was standing right next to Hook. He reached down, and gently straightened the ruffled scarf wrapped around Hook’s neck….then quickly tightened it around Hook’s neck, making his eyes bulge, skin turn blue, and his entire head swell twice it’s normal size.

    “Now listen here, you crooked crocodiliphobic coward! I’m not going “soft,” it’s not because I’ve lost my “edge,” and it’s certainly not because it’s “easier!”” He gave Hook’s scarf a progressive pull with each emphasis, making his head swell more and more.

    “It’s because I’m the baddest of deh bad, the worst of deh worst, and the one who can mess you bunch of sissies up into even worse, lower, and uglier shapes than you already are! But hey, don’t take my word for it...” Pete released the scarf, letting Hook breath again, “…let’s see if the ol’ Cap’n has any objections.” He brought his arm up quickly and punched Hook on the top of his head, making his eyes bulge more as his head flattened slightly. Hook slumped slowly into his chair, his eyes spinning as they slowly closed and smiled as he lost consciousness. Pete brought his arms up to his head, like he was admiring a baby that was sleeping.

    “Aww, dey’re so cute when they’re asleep…” Pete turned back to the rest of the villains, and cracked his knuckles, “Any further objections?”

    The plane went silent as everyone went back to their previous business.

    Pete smiled, went back to his seat, and strapped himself in.


    The first plane landed without a hitch, in sunny skies, thin wisps of clouds, birds chirping, all practically promising a peaceful flight. Scrooged sighed in unexpected relief; almost all his landings involving Launchpad involved a crash (a badge of pride, whenever it occurred with him), along with some form of unpredictable and/or unprecedented damage: sometimes it was the plane, other times it was the archeological ruins, other times it was terrain, but it was never the same kind of crash twice.

    Scrooge quickly made his way to the control tower, making his way up the flight of stairs to the top of the tower, hurrying as he went. He barged his way to the control room and went to the nearest microphone and began hailing the second plane.

    “Launchpad!” Scrooge yelled, “Are you still up in the air?”

    “Heyyyy, Mr. McDee!” Launchpad replied, “I’m coming up on the airstrip! Won’t be much longer before I make the final approach to the landing strip! I just need a few more minutes!”

    “Remember what you were taught, Launchpad! You cannot crash this plane! All of the equipment is on your plane, and we can’t replace any of it! Do you understand?!”

    “Alright, alright, I get it! Use the landing lessons you guys gave me, don’t crash the plane, make sure the stuff gets to you in one piece, I remember, Mr. McDee! I have landed a plane without crashing it before, remember?”

    “You confessed that doing so, you were having an off day, Launchpad! No excuses on this one! Everything must be perfect!”

    “I get it, Mr. McDee! Everything will be-…whoa!”

    “Launchpad? What’s wrong?”

    “I dunno! The plane just suddenly lurched!...I just lost an engine! Now the other one! I’m going down!”

    “Launchpad! Quit trying to force a crash and fly the plane right!”

    “It’s not an act! I’m going to try and bring her down easy, but I’m not going to be able to keep her in the air much longer! I’m losing altitude fast!”

    Scrooge looked up from the microphone to scan for any possibilities of a plane. The visage of a large 747 jet was starting to become more noticeable through the tower, along with two trails of smoke following the engines.

    “Launchpad! What is going on up there?!”

    “My meters are going crazy! I can’t even get a beat on my compass! There’s-…what was that?”

    Scrooge paused as he heard it too: a lound, bending, and metallic lurch that wasn’t making a helpful sound. He looked out the window again, as the plane grew closer and closer to determine what was going on. The plane was coming in low a little too fast, but for the most part was still under control, and was swaying slightly, and shaking oddly…as it grew closer, Scrooge saw it.

    One of the wings was coming loose, and it looked like it wasn’t going to take long before it was going to snap off.

    “Launchpad, how long until you reach the landing strip?” he asked, watching the plane as it was descending towards the landing strip rather quickly.

    “At this rate, I’d say about five minutes, Mr. McDee.”

    Through the microphone, Scrooge heard the steady lurching noise turn into a sudden snap. Through the windows of the tower, he saw the shaking wing separate itself from the plane and fly off into another direction. The plane suddenly lurched in a more downward angle.

    “Uhhh better make it 30 seconds, Mr. McDee!” Launchpad said, a note of fear in his voice now.

    “Hold on, Launchpad! Just hold on!”

    The tower watched in fear and anticipation of the plane going down. Everyone knew what would happen, even if they didn’t want to say it: the plane would crash in a blaze of fire…into the ocean.

    “Hang on, Mr. McDee! I’m going to try something!” said a frantic Launchpad.

    How he managed to pull this off was anyone’s guess: what little stubs of wings the plane had left, Launchpad managed to pull and angle the plane, even if it was slight angle. His final descent appearing more definite, Launchpad still appeared to be crashing towards the water. The only difference being now it was at a 45 degree angle, and with the plane’s belly being the apparent first to hit the water instead of the nose. It was inevitable, the crash. Scrooge could practically see a countdown before the plane hit the water. He shut his eyes tight and counted down.

    5…

    4…

    3…

    2…

    1…

    BONK!

    Not the noise Scrooge imagined hearing as the plane hit the water. He opened his eyes and saw the plane…back in the air?! Launchpad’s angle caused the plane to skip on the water like a flat stone over a lake. The plane was back in the air, and over the runway. The wheels were already unloading from underneath the plane and looked like they were going to be fully extended in time before the plane hit the ground. Scrooge watched again with anticipation as the wheels touched the ground…

    BLAMBLAMBLAM!!

    All three tires popped as they hit the runway hard. The plane, still traveling at a dangerous speed, tipped forward as the front wheels popped first, the nose hitting the ground hard and bending the plane in half. The plane slid half the runway before it slowed to a stop, the fell backwards into a position that was somewhat close to its original. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief…until they saw smoke coming from the plane, with flames quickly following.

    The tower control man quickly (and finally) took the microphone away from Scrooge, flipped a switch, and yelled, “ALL UNITS TO THE RUNWAY! WE HAVE AN EMERGENCY LANDING! IMMEDIATE EVAC AND FIRE UNITS ARE NEEDED ON THE SCENE! THIS IS NOT A DRILL! REPEAT, THIS IS NOT A DRILL!”

    Firetrucks, an ambulance, and rescue workers quickly rushed to the site of the crash, the flames steadily starting to get larger. As every vehicle was rushing to the scene, the pilot’s side door kicked off.

    Launchpad stumbled out of the burning plane, his clothes singed and smoking from the flames. His eyes were spinning in opposite directions of one another, dazed and confused of where he was. His smoking scarf was slowly starting to catch on fire. To top off his wrecked appearance, the steering wheel from the helm of the plane was rammed over his head and around his neck.

    “Doooon’ worry, I’m oookaayyy…” he slurred and stumbled, “I’ll jus’ neeeeed a moment before I can fly the nex’ plaaaane hoooooome.” He finished his sentence and collapsed facefirst into the ground.

    “Launchpad!”

    Scrooge ran frantically to the pilot, quickly grabbed his shirt, and pulled him up, screaming his name again.

    “Launchpad! Launchpad, wake up!” he spoke again, shaking him slightly. Launchpad’s eyes slowly stopped spinning and finally he spoke up again.

    “Wha…ish okay, Mr. McDeedeedee…I’m gonna be fine.”

    Scrooge breathed a sigh of relief, “Yer fine…” Scrooge then straightened up, his brow furrowed, and proceeded to shake him faster and harder, “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU! WHAT WAS THE ONE THING I TOLD YOU?! DON’T CRASH THE PLANE! AND NOW LOOK WHAT YOU DID! YOU CRASHED IT ON PURPROSE, DIDN’T YOU?!”

    The shaking and abuse proceeded long after the flames were put out, and while Launchpad was being transported to the hospital inside the ambulance.


    After a couple of hours in the hospital, Scrooge McDuck and Gyro Gearloose slowly made their way to Tetsuya Nomura’s office. The disappointed looks on their faces didn’t say well of this upcoming meeting.

    “Well…” Nomura started, “what are the damages?”

    Gyro pulled out a piece of paper from inside his vest, “It’s not good, but overall it’s not bad, either…we lost a lot of the sets we were hoping to use. The list includes Jungle Book, 101 Dalmations, Pocahontas, Robin Hood, A Bug’s Life, Dumbo, Mulan, Fantasia, and Hercules. Those were completely destroyed. Some sets from Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Wonderland, and Tarzan were damaged, but we can salvage some of their props and try and recreate some of their scenes…but it may look like something completely different from the movies, especially Wonderland and Hercules. The only one that suffered the least amount of damage was the Atlantica set.”

    “Hercules’ world may be a problem,” Nomura stated, glancing at the list of available props and sets that survived the crash, “I was planning on making that a world where the main user will participate in gladiator combat; after completing so many levels, a new challenge would be available in the arena, etc…”

    “That will be a problem. The coliseum set was completely destroyed…” said Gyro, “…I think we might be able to salvage something for the level. We have produced several sport shorts over the years…we might be able to convert them into a makeshift coliseum and model it in the same style as the Hercules movie…the sets for the other movies will be much harder.”

    “This looks like we’ll have to start from scratch on a lot of movies…we’re going to recycle some of our Final Fantasy material to make some of our custom worlds…we might be able to do so for some of these other movies. If we’re going to resort to that, we might be able to work in some of the movies that weren’t originally approved…we might be able to get Agrabah into the game if we manipulate things correctly…”

    “I assume this means we have a new plan for this?” Scrooge asked, an inquiring look on his face.

    “Yes,” said Nomura, “We’ll have to change the script a little, but if we throw in a couple of custom levels…I think we can make this game a little bit better. I’ll have a draft for the game available in a couple of days. I need to start preparing for tomorrow’s auditions.”

    “I understand. Thank you for your time, Mr. Nomura,” Scrooge and Gyro bowed slightly before exiting the office.


    “I’m telling you the truth, Mr. McDee! It wasn’t my fault!”

    Launchpad sat upright in his hospital bed, with a couple of bandages on his head. He, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy sat in the patient’s room while Scrooge was struggling to keep from exploding.

    “”Not my fault?” Launchpad, you’ve dedicated your career with my company to crash as many things as possible! Even if you weren’t at the cockpit!”

    “Aw, c’mon! I’ve never-“

    “Do you remember the Hindentanic?”

    “Umm…yes?”

    “”The Uncrashable Airship.” That’s what it was called.” Scrooge said, starting to turn red, “Do you know what you did to the “Uncrashable Airship,” Launchpad?”

    “…I crashed it.”

    “You crashed it!” Scrooge said, his voice elevated and his arms swinging slightly, “You weren’t even the pilot! I gave you the task of a medial worker, someone to just clean the inside and outside of the ship! And yet, somehow, while you were cleaning the exterior of the ship, you manage to punch a whole into the blimp itself, and we went down! If I didn’t manage to make a huge profit from the crash, I’d have fired you for sure!”

    “This was different!” Launchpad retorted, “Mr. McDee, every time I’ve piloted a crash, it was like a work of art! For the most part, each time I was in control of the plane, and it went down as beautifully as it went up! But this…I don’t know how to put it, Mr. McDee, it’s like someone else was pulling the strings! The entire plane just fell apart on its own; one minute it was like riding a kite, the next minute it turned into an anvil and we were going down!”

    “I still don’t believe it, Launchpad!” Scrooge said, undeterred, “As of right now, I’m suspending you without pay until we get to the bottom of this! And don’t you three try to talk me out of it!” he said, pointing at Mickey, Donald, and Goofy, “My mind is made up! This little stunt may have set us back months, and we need to come up with an alternative for some of the movies, and it needs to be done by the end of the auditions tomorrow!” He slammed the door to the hospital room as he left.

    The four of them looked at each other, in silence, until finally one of the spoke.

    “…Well,” said Goofy, “that could have gone better.”

    “Guys, I promise,” Launchpad said, a note of desperation starting to appear in his voice, “I didn’t crash that plane on purpose! This was different!”

    “I’ll ask Scrooge’s mechanics and technicians to take a look at the wreckage, Launchpad,” Mickey said, “Maybe they’ll find something that will support your claim. But Scrooge is right about one thing: we are in a bit of trouble because of that crash.”

    “How did this happen to begin with?” Launchpad asked, “All the villains were with you guys! They weren’t allowed anywhere near the planes until it was time to board! And the planes were triple checked before each take off!”

    “Who checked them?” Donald asked.

    “Me, of course!” Launchpad stated proudly, his chest puffed out.

    Everyone stared at him.

    Launchpad blinked, “…what?”

    Mickey shook his head, “We’ll worry about it later. We need to get the last villain off the plane before we clock out for the night.”

    Goofy tilted his head, then scratched it, “Uhh, gawrsh Mickey, I thought all villains were taken to their trailers. Pete said he got them all there.”

    “I’m not talking about them, Goofy,” Mickey said, in a serious tone, “I’m talking about…him. He’s still on the plane.”

    The four of them looked at one another, then left the room without a word.

    Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and many toon police officers stood at the rear entrance of the plane that carried all the main characters. A cool breeze beginning to blow before the door opened, ruffling through everyone’s hair…fur…both.

    Four toon policemen, each one with a rod attached to the prisoner, slowly made their way down the ramp of the plane, their prisoner in the center of the rods slowly being dragged. There wasn’t anything special about the prisoner’s appearance: a long cloak with a hood, gloves, and boots. There was only one color: black. Throughout the prisoner’s entire appearance, every bit of him was solid black, not even shadows…except for his eyes. His eyes were oval shaped, and completely white with no pupils. In fact, his eyes were the only discernable feature on him. Nobody could see a nose, mouth, cheek bones, the only real feature anyone could tell about him was that he wore a black cloak. They wouldn’t have been able to tell if he had arms or legs if they weren’t also bound by shackles.

    As they made their way down, the prisoner struggled to maintain some form of what appeared to be regal composure, clearly indicating that there was still some fight in him, despite being trapped on a plane for a little over a day. When his eyes glanced at the crowd of toons, especially the ones in front, he stopped struggling, straightened more and cooperated with the police. They made their way to Mickey and the others, silently. Once they were close enough, the prisoner stopped and spoke, in a voice that was proud, dastardly, and evil.

    “Mouse.” He stated, a note of hatred in his voice.

    “Blot.” Mickey replied, “Are you going to play ball with us, or do we need to just go ahead and send you back to the Vault?”

    “Risk a sure bid for freedom by committing an act of vengeance against the merry, motley crew that has not only thrown me in jail but also the Vault, putting me in a veritable, everlasting prison for a total of more than 60 years?” Blot’s voice became louder and more intense the longer he talked, until his voice became lower and more proud with his next statement, “Oh, Mouse, you know better than to ask me that question.” He leaned in closer and whispered, “You know what my answer will be.”

    The toon cops then proceeded to drag him away, with the trio looking as he walked away.

    “…that’s what I’m afraid of.”