After a very unusual somersault, Donut found herself at the rubble that used to be the Statue of Liberty. She leaped on top of a giant toe to get a better view. It would have been just a jump, but her newfound powers upgraded it to a leap.
As she steadied herself from the leap’s unexpected impressiveness, Donut scanned the scene for the Redressers. She spotted them as they took turns making out with the chunk of statue that contained the mouth. What a bunch of creeps, right?
Donut assumed a heroic stance, pointed at her newly-evil former teammates, and shouted, “Hey! Lady Liberty didn’t give you her consent!”
The Redressers turned to face her. They recognized her and started laughing. “Look out,” said Kathryn, “that banana’s loaded!” Oooooh, that just burns me up.
Donut looked around, excited about the potential banana. When she saw there wasn’t one, she got really embarrassed. That embarrassment manifested itself as anger, which then led to shame for allowing her anger to distract her from Buddha’s teachings.
Just then, Buddha appeared two toes over from her. “Hey-y-y-y, Donut! How’s it going?”
“Not great, sir. Those guys blew up the Statue of Liberty and made fun of me. It’s making me really upset. I’m not controlling my emotions or letting go of my ego at all.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that. There’s plenty of time to shed the baggage of earthly life. Right now the bigger issue is those guys causing trouble.”
“So it’s okay if I get mad and take things personally?”
“What’s important is you’re aware of it and work to improve in the long run.”
“I dunno, that sounds like an excuse.”
“Think of it as training wheels. No one finds enlightenment in one day. We’ll work on clearing your mind tomorrow. Right now, you’ve got to stop these jerks from wrecking more symbols.”
“Okay. Thank you, sir!”
Donut leaped at the Redressers. This time it was a fully intentional leap and her form was inspiring. She shouted, “Monkey rise!” and grew until she was a hundred feet tall. She shouted, “Monkey staff!” and her magical staff materialized in her paw. She swung it at the Redressers and knocked all five of them out over the harbor.
Carl quickly waved his hands and created a huge portal in their trajectory which popped them out behind Donut. The force of five people hitting her at full speed knocked Donut prone.
Kathryn smirked and said, “Let’s get rid of that stick, eh, little monkey?” She grabbed the butt of the staff and turned it into water. Can you believe it?
As her weapon splashed away, Donut rose to her feet. Though she was much larger than her opponents, she was outnumbered. She tried kicking at them, but they dodged nimbly.
“Donut!” Buddha called. “I gave you other powers!”
“Like increased awareness and control over my pulse?”
“No! Like finger lasers! You have finger lasers, dude!”
“Holy crap!” Donut yelled. She spread her fingers out and fired ten lasers at the Redressers. She only hit Frankenstein and Kathryn, but they were all terrified. “This is amazing! Thanks, Budda!”
Frankenstein shot a death beam at Donut, but she shrank down to fifty feet and it went over her head. Dwayne shot his machine guns at her, but she turned her body to kevlar and the bullets bounced off her. Jeez, I can’t believe I used to like these guys. Well, not Dwayne. He always kind of sucked. Anyway.
Mia looked around for anything technological to take over, but only saw a bunch of dumb old copper and concrete. Ha! How about them all-natural, organic apples?
Just then, Skranenflon appeared. “To me, my Redressers!” he called. “Hey, what gives? You’re making us look bad up here!”
“It’s that monkey,” Mia said, not mentioning her inability to contribute to the fight in this setting. “She somehow got Sun Wukong’s powers and we can’t stop her.”
“Aw, man! Is that Buddha guy here? Ooooh, I hate him! He’s like a walking coexist sticker. I’d better power you guys up.”
Skranenflon wiggled his nose and the Redressers were suddenly much buffer. Dwayne and Carl were now well over six feet tall and covered in veiny muscles. Frankenstein was now ten feet tall and looked more like a Hollywood action star than a stitched-together pile of corpses. And Mia and Kathryn were now standing back to back and wearing sports bras, knee-high boots, bikini bottoms, and random straps on their arms and legs. Mia’s hair was now purple and Kathryn’s now had a white streak. They also had a strange urge to make out with each other. Mia looked over at Skranenflon, who was staring at them with a big, pervy grin. Gross!
Mia and Kathryn shook their heads to clear the horniness and all five Redressers punched the air in front of them, each discharging different types of energy. Dwayne’s was plasma, Mia’s was electricity, Frankenstein’s was dark energy, Kath– Oh, who cares? Donut fired her finger lasers back at them and all the various beams met in the middle, pouring more and more power into a bright ball of energy. The ball exploded, knocking all six of them back on their butts. Wow!
“Aw, come on!” Skranenflon shouted. “This isn’t working at all!”
“I know,” Buddha said. “This is ridiculous! We’ll be here all week at this rate.”
“Forget it,” Skranenflon said. “I’m calling in our fleet.”
Skranenflon tapped a few buttons on his gauntlet and within seconds, hundreds of starships came out of hyperdrive in the sky above New York. A loudspeaker from the ship in point position crackled, “This is Pandemonium-1, reporting in.”
“All units, fire!” Skranenflon commanded.
Just then, Buddha drew a mystical sign in the air and another fleet of starships appeared overhead. They immediately started firing on the Pandemonium ships.
“Great job, Nirvana,” Buddha said into his earpiece. “I knew you’d get here in time.”
“Time is a construct, sir,” Nirvana-Red-Alpha replied. “We’re concerned with higher things, like kicking some infernal tail.”
“Atta boy,” Buddha said.
The Redressers and Donut looked up at what would surely be the greatest science fiction movie of all time if anyone wants to buy the rights from me, when they suddenly disappeared.
They rematerialized in the cockpits of the lead ships for their respective sides, Donut with Buddha in Nirvana-Red-Alpha and the Redressers next to Skranenflon in Pandemonium-1.
“What’s happening, sir?” Donut asked.
“I guess it’s time you knew. This was all a proxy war in the eternal battle between Skranenflon’s and my rival alien empires.”
“That’s mind-boggling and all, but shouldn’t you be worried about the innocent people down there? They could get killed!”
“Oh, right.” Buddha wiggled his fingers and the Earth disappeared. “Sorry to scare you like that. Earth was a hologramic arena we created to play out our moral conflict in more concrete terms.”
The space battle raged. Every second, more ships from the opposing alien races exploded into dust. Before long the only ones left were Pandemonium-1 and Nirvana-Red-Alpha.
“Oh, poo,” Skranenflon said.
The universe dissolved to reveal Skranenflon and Buddha sitting on either side of a sophisticated video game console.
“Hmm, looks like another tie,” Skranenflon said.
“Shall we play again?”
Skranenflon sighed. “It’s so tedious. Can’t we just do it directly?”
“You mean with our fists?”
“Yeah, why not?”
The two beings stood up and started kicking and punching each other. Neither was getting hurt, so the fight was pointless.
After a few minutes, Skranenflon said, “Nope, this still isn’t getting us anywhere.”
“No bodies, then?”
Both beings dissolved into amorphous clouds that slowly grew. The clouds slammed into each other, intermingling and then pulling apart. Each collision resulted in a few particles of each cloud winding up inside the other cloud, then being destroyed by their equivalent of white blood cells. After several millennia and countless collisions, both clouds had only experienced nominal losses.
“This is getting us nowhere,” Helen said.
“I can’t believe it,” Methuselah said. “Over eight billion simulations and we’re still no closer to determining if people are generally good or evil.”
“It seems like it’s mostly determined by the almost random conditions you grow up in, with some influence by characteristics that you’re born with,” Helen said.
“Yeah, I know,” Methuselah said. “I was working on the same experiment. Why are you being so expository?”
“Why are YOU being so expository?” Donut mumbled. She stirred, realizing she had been talking in her trance. The Redressers, Buddha, and Skranenflon had stopped fighting among the rubble on Liberty Island and were staring at her.
“Heh. I guess you heard all that, huh?” Everyone nodded. “Then I guess we can just cancel the fight and move on with our lives.”
Everyone shrugged and shook hands. Donut looked at the camera and winked.
I read over the last sentence. “Looked at the camera and winked?” I said. “What am I thinking? This is text! Ugh, this arc is so stupid. I’m not even posting this episode.”
I crumpled up the paper I was writing on and threw it on the floor in disgust, quitting my Redressers story forever.
As I walked away to drink seven more coffees, the wad of paper looked at the camera and winked.