It Was Steve Vanilla's Bad
Reginald tells you it's a Skeleton Wand. Whatever you point it at becomes a Skeleton, if you say the key word. "Be careful with that thing." He hands it back to you. "The key word is 'SKELTONIZE, BITCH!' I guess that's two key words, but you know, whatever. And yeah, no second e. 'SKELTON'. Like 'SKELTER' but '-ON', right? Cool item."
You keep Reginald's Star Badge. He seems not to notice. He welcomes his Visa card back and his gold. "Right. Good, I almost had to go on-line and cancel this thing. Anyway, you just write something in the Book of Mirrors and the Magic Pen of Mirrors uses Magic Ink of Mirrors to make a Magic Mirror of Mirrors that takes you to The Magic Place. It's so fucking rad. It's powered by the sun, did you know that? That's what that big mural shit is outside. SUN POWER."
You add another entry to the book.
"Sorry, no Illusionist spells. I don't swing that way."
Reginald buffs his nails and sighs. "Yeah. I am- er, was- the last guy on earth."
"So, I came out of cold storage about five years ago. Been here ever since, waiting and monitoring the skies. The Academy might come back. They went to The First Moon in a transport. That was the last of 'em."
"See, about... mmm. Twenty years ago? Basically everyone died. Some moron named 'Steve Vanilla' from some weird science lab created these like shadow virus time warp things or something. I really, really- I mean really- have no fucking clue what they were. At the time, we were up in space examining what we thought were pieces of The Second Moon, so when all the shit happened, we weren't there to die."
"At first we thought it was a big joke- I mean, come on. How many awful movies are about the end of the world after some bozo scientist makes some crazy disease or super weapon or gates in a demon or shit like that? We thought it was just the boys back home sending us comic strip bullshit for laughs."
"Nope. It happened. Twenty years ago, everyone died, except those of us in space. No one knows why."
He watches as the Tenth Mirror shimmers gold to your touch.
"Anyway, we drew straws. I faked it and snapped my straw in half out of the fucking goodness of my heart or something. Holding the short straw, I was the guy. I'd go into cryogenic stasis for a while to give the other guys time to figure shit out. Then I'd thaw out and maintain the stations, just in case they came back or needed help or sent a message or something."
"But nothing. No signals. No signs. No people, except for you guys, and the 'staff' I've got here. STARDEVIL, GLASS BOY, and THE ILLUSIONARY KID. More comic book rejects. The latter two you scared off."
"The Hall of Mirrors here basically connects the entire distributed system. Feel free to do, well whatever. See ya around, heroes."
Reginald tenderly touches his broken nose. You have no idea what he's talking about. You exit through the mirror...
...INTO BATTLE WITH THREE TROLLS. INITIATIVE.
One of the trolls wears a loincloth and a giant wristwatch as a belt. He starts up a magic chainsaw and bellows "HEY KIDS WHAT TIME IS IT??!
" Bzzz... bbzzzzz BZZZZZZZ
The second troll wears a black rubber smock and one of those doctor headlamp things. He carries an enormous, rusty, gore-encrusted speculum. "Are you gentlemen of a certain age? Are you 'at risk' for prostate cancer? Let's get you open and find out harr harr ehgmgm
" A prostate cancer awareness pamphlet is taped to his smock.
The third troll wears a plastic sack that reads FLAM RETARDA
. He carries a can of hairspray and a lighter and drools.