F-Zero – A Tale of Two Cartridges – Part II of III

“What happened to the chips we implemented in them, they should have kept their senses subdued?!”

“It seems the shock wave from the crash knocked the chip offline. They’re memories must’ve started to flood back in that moment.”

“Probably didn’t need the Tasers then did we?”

“Hm, a little brutality will keep these boys in line, not hi-tech chips.”

“Please Major; nobody wants to see these two under any strain. The audiences want to see the Mario Bros. strong they know, not one’s controlled by fear.”

“Well then I need confirmation that these chips aren’t going to malfunction a second time!”

“Hush now Major they’re waking up.”

Mario did not recognise any of the voices buzzing through his head nor could he comprehend what they were saying. He opened his eyes to the sharp, clear gaze of an operating theatre and a chill ran through his body as the bodies before him began to take shape. Doctors he thought or perhaps scientists? He wanted to jump away but he found himself shackled to a cold metal table, unable to escape.

“Dr. Stuart, a medical report if you please.”

“He’s stable for the moment, just stressed, I’m sure waking up to such a commotion can be unsettling. If I may major I’d like to reassure the patient.”

The doctor shone like the sun in his yellow jumpsuit and Mario briefly felt an overwhelming warmth flow through him. Was this an angel sent to save him, or a fire to consume him?

“Do not be alarmed Mario, you are our esteemed guest here. The F-Zero Grand Prix committee is honoured to have you in their domain.” The plumber squirmed, unsatisfied by the doctor’s kind words. “You can trust us Mario, you and your brother are perfectly safe, why don’t you see for yourself?” Stuart gestured to a large window into the adjoining room where Luigi lay in a similar situation, many professionals standing around monitoring him. Mario tried to reach out to his brother but again was confined by his shackles. “You’ve been through some trauma my friend; the shackles are simply to prevent any harm coming to you.”

“Please let me off this table”. Mario was surprised how frail his voice was and the effort it took to speak. “What did they do to me?” he thought.

The doctor’s expression became stern. He turned on his heel back towards the rest of the group. “All in good time Mario we aren’t quite finished yet. Major, he is well enough to continue.”

“Put him under” the major ordered. Mario began to thrash about as the white coats began to swarm around him. He shot a look over to his brother who was just stirring, wishing he could help him. All went black and Mario knew he had reached his end.

However, the voices continued only they became confused and alarmed. Mario had not been put under but the lights had been terminated. Suddenly an alarm began to sound, piercing everyone’s ears accompanied by a dim red light illuminating the room in pulses. The door burst open and an alien force stormed inside. The Major tried to react but he was gunned down in an instant and the remaining staff inside the room stood frozen into place.

“Pico you devil!” Doctor Stuart exclaimed as his racing rival entered the room. Two guns were then pointed directly at him and he had to curb his excitement as Pico strode over to Mario who had suddenly realised he had been set free of his shackles. He jumped off the table and prepared himself for battle but four more guns pointed his way and, not understanding the technology, he decided to remain still in his place. Pico grabbed him by his collar and began to drag him out the room. “No Pico stop! This is for the better of all of us!”

“Clam it Stuart, the reward I can get for these two is far greater than any F-Zero championship” He nodded to one of his soldiers who knocked Stuart on the head and out cold. He then signalled to the rest of his men and they all began to flee the building.

In the commotion Mario and Luigi were thankfully re-united, both held tight by one of the strange alien creatures. “Brother, are you okay?!” Luigi exclaimed. Mario could only manage a slight nod, the hold upon him choking the voice out of him. “Listen brother we’re sure in trouble, these F-Zero guys have terrible plans for us. We must get out of here and back to the Mushroom Kingdom before it’s too late. For everybody…” Luigi looked more serious than Mario had ever seen him. “I’ll explain later but right now we must get out of here.” This determination in his brother, Mario had never known how calm Luigi could be in a crisis.

They were soon dragged out the building onto a gangway high up off the planet’s surface and the sharp sting of daylight disoriented the brothers to no end. When they felt an explosion only inches away from them they could not even notice they had been freed as the aliens lost their grip on them. A hearty laughter boomed nearby and as the dust settled Captain Falcon stood defiant of the danger before him. Pico had suddenly fled, protecting his identity as best he could; now believing the plot had been spoilt.

“Those boys will return to my custody thank you very much” the bounty hunter declared to the rogue alien group. Gunfire met this bold statement but Captain Falcon deftly dodged their assault and bounded boldly into their midst. As the aliens fell Luigi signalled to Mario that it was their time to escape and pulling themselves off the ground they jumped as high as they could onto a gangway several feet away. Luigi made it but Mario slipped on the edge and his brother only just caught him from falling to his demise. Dragging him back up they began to make their escape.

They ran for several minutes though they could only think to head towards the planet’s surface as their escape route. They ran across gangways of impossible height and between buildings of incredible structure. They felt they had left the battle far behind when, upon ducking through an archway, Captain Falcon landed directly in their path a triumphant smile upon his face.

“Please Captain Falcon” Luigi boldly stepped up. “You have no idea what they want to do with us, with our home. You have to let us escape”

“Nonsense fellows, you’ve been branded as enemies to my very universe. And as a Bounty Hunter extraordinaire it is my duty to place you into the hands of justice.” He spread into a fighting stance. “Show me your moves”, he declared and dashed in battle.

Mario quickly jumped between his brother and this attacker and despite his incredible fatigue managed to fend off the flaming punch that would have floored Luigi. Un-phased by the attacked Luigi propelled himself backwards and began to send fireballs at Captain Falcon as Mario met the bounty hunter punch for punch. Suddenly Falcon sent Mario widely off balance as his kicked materialised into a flaming falcon, “Falcon Kick” the captain cried. Luigi dived in throwing his fists out trying to catch Falcon off guard but was grabbed by a quick jab and held up by his throat. Captain Falcon had won this battle…

Yet in that moment he was sent flying by a mighty force as the Fire Stingray flew past. Mario tried to help Luigi up as the vehicle returned and Samurai Goroh opened his hatch. Gesturing for the brothers to hop in, they did not hesitate and soon the three of them were speeding away leaving Captain Falcon and Mute City far behind.

Next – Part III

Previous – Part I

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