Holding Out for a Hero

Laura Kinney

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As she passed the threshold of the city of 8-Bitain once again, Laura grumbled and winced. The settlement itself was bustling, the low thrum of crowds of people talking amongst themselves, distant vehicles and the echoing music of clunky 8-bit soundtracks all served to render the mutant irritated; afterall, she was a stark contrast to the candy colored architecture, clad in black leathers and appearing as moody as ever. She whipped about on her heels, practically snarling at nothing in particular as her own, infuriating soundtrack began emanating around her. She’d gotten used to the city itself over her month-long stay, but the music was another story. She didn’t recognise the tune, nor did she enjoy the melody.

A couple of stationed guards glared over toward her, giving her the once over from tip to toe before dipping their chins a little, the lesser of the pair seeming to shrink into the background as she returned the glare, with her own, signature ferocity. She snorted a derisive laugh as she continued her meander into the city proper. “Pussy,” Laura grinned wickedly. Though she was far from famous or truly known, she’d managed to make a bit of a name for herself amongst the locals. She cut a deep swathe through the crowds as she walked, most of the locals giving her a wide berth; others were ignorant of who she was. Not that she particularly cared either way; she had neither the time nor the energy to garner a positive relationship with every citizen of 8-Bitain.

The mutant recoiled a bit as she was approached by a little, true to the city’s name, 8-Bit creature with a yellow exclamation mark floating over its pixelated head. Clunky, vaguely resembling a humanoid and with the most high pitched, whiny voice she’d been forced to endure, it called out to her a few times.

“Laura! Hey.. Hey Laura! It’s me! Remember me?!”

“Uh.. uh.. Azol, right?”

“Hey! You remembered!”

“I mean, yeah?” She gave the pointy eared creature a quizzical stare.

“That’s awesome! Anyways, look, you really helped me out. I got another favour to ask, though.. See, you got Quizal and his lot to back off, right? That’s great. Really great.. But his boss ain’t too happy now, you know?”

“Right? Well, you tell ‘em to come see me and we’ll put things straight.”

“Yeah, yeah, that’s amazing, really! I told him that, though. And, well-” Azol cut himself off, his features shifting into what Laura assumed to be a grimace.

“And what, Azol?” The creature recoiled a bit.

“He uh, kinda smashed up my shop a bit. A lot. He smashed up my shop a tonne. Like, it’s barely a shop anymore.” Azol chuckled, perhaps forcefully.

“Where’s the boss live?”

“Oh.. uh.. Y’know.. I dunno if-”

Laura slammed a foot into the ground, fists clenched as she glowered down at the creature. A few cracks crept from underneath her foot, followed quickly by an eruption of dust.

“Okay, okay.. A couple streets down. It’s the place with the purple bricks. There’ll be some guys standing outside. But he isn’t alone.. It’s dangerous to go alone..”

“I’ll be fine. Go back to your shop, clean it up or whatever. Gimme a couple hours tops and I’ll be back.” Azol nodded hastily, the exclamation mark blinked from existence in a small puff of smoke.

Laura groaned, loudly, and stomped away in the direction Azol had pointed out. She flexed her fingers a few times; a general uneasiness that set her on edge crept out from the pit of her stomach. Laura had seen more than her fair share of this kind of thing, but since arriving in this weird city, her healing factor had been a little off. Little cuts and scrapes that used to be healed within a second or two were now taking at least a minute.

Regardless, she pushed on, barely having to avoid any of the citizens as they took care of that for her; parting like the sea to allow her to pass. Maybe word had spread about the nature of her arrival, maybe she was just imposing enough to strike fear in the hearts of the citizens. Thinking back on her arrival, Laura cocked a brow. The whole situation left her wondering. Last she remembered, she was in space, aboard the Guardians’ ship. No shit. she snorted an inward laugh. After that, there was a bit of a haze. She remembered leaving the ship initially, Quill in tow, but anything between wbamfing into the ship and leaving the ship was essentially gone. She remembered practically snapping one of the guards of 8-Bitain in half in a rage. Word had probably spread. Maybe it’d die down in a while, but that wasn’t looking likely. It’d been nearly a month since she awoke.

She sighed and hung her head for a moment as she rounded the corner to the street Azol had indicated. Sure enough, there in the middle of the street was a building built out of purple bricks, devoid of the guys Azol had mentioned. Laura approached the building and curled a hesitant hand around the square handle. With a click, the door swung open and she crossed the threshold, greeted by a musky haze that wafted throughout the interior. She recognised the smell instantly; cigars. A wave of nostalgia washed over her as her thoughts were thrust back to her father, the Wolverine, who was rarely without one. She shook her head to rid herself of the thoughts, returning her attention to the matter at hand. A few muffled voices rumbled throughout, apparently from behind a door further within the entrance hall. The mutant stalked ever closer and planted her ear against the wood, trying to listen in on whatever conversation was being had.

Shit, she groaned inwardly; the door was too thick, their conversation too hushed, she couldn't hear a bloody thing. Her patience was beginning to wear thin. Subtlety and sneaking had its place, but for something as mundane as this, she just couldn’t be bothered. Her heavy boot struck the door, just across from the door handle and the door swung open with a mighty thud.

“What the-“ a bunch of pixelated, green skinned, pointy eared creatures spun around to watch Laura saunter into the room, blowing the hair out of her face.

“Which one of you is the boss?” She asked, her tone flat and stoney. She gazed across the group for a moment. One of the group spoke up, almost hesitantly. This one, as opposed to the green skin of the rest, was blue skinned, stood a little taller and was adorned with gold trimmed armour.

“Ya jus’ kickin’ you’s way in ‘ere?! You’s knowin’ dis is Boblin da Moblin’s ‘ouse?!”

“Guessing that’s you, then?”

“Yeah. Das me.”

“Good.” She approached the blue one, narrowing her eyes in the process. The green skinned ones backed off a little, probably caught off guard by the sheer audacity of the mutant. “You know Azol, right?”

“I ain’t answerin’ nuffin. You’d take anotha step n’ da boys’ll stuff you’s full’a spears.”

“Do it.” Laura grunted, “I dare you.” A toothy, sinister grin crept out.

“You’d heard her!” The blue one screamed. The rest of the bunch looked between themselves before drawing their spears and plunging them into the woman’s sides. Six spears, all thrust through her, pointed out at odd angles. Now, in Boblin’s experience, that’d normally be enough to silence.. outright kill someone. His eyes widened and the blue from his skin faded to a pasty gray as Laura took a step forward. She tugged one of the spears out of the hands of one of his goons through her own body. Her grin only grew wider as she took another step forward. Boblin practically collapsed to the ground, on his ass and scrambled up against the wall behind him. Kinney took a couple more steps towards the Moblin. The green ones had already fled, they’d seen enough as blood dripped from the handles of the spears, leaving a trail of claret behind the woman.

Laura reached the cowering Moblin, having removed the rest of the spears from her sides, and knelt down beside him. The various wounds about herself had already begun to stitch themselves back together, the blood flow ceased. She raised a fist and let it hang in the air a few inches away from the Moblin’s face.

“You’re gonna leave Azol alone from today. Or,” her adamantium claws burst from her knuckles with a Snikt, drawing a little blood from the wounds which were quickly seen to by her healing factor, “I’m gonna come back and it’ll be you punched full of holes. Got it?”

Boblin had continued to pale; where he was pasty grey, there was no colour left in his face. He shrank into the floor and nodded furiously.

“‘Kay, ‘kay!” He shrieked, “Deal, deal. You’s leave me alone, I’ll leave ‘im alone.” The mutant grinned and pushed herself to her feet, her claws retracted as quickly as they had appeared. She brushed herself down and grumbled, unhappy with the holes that had been left in her clothes.

“I’ll let you off for the clothes, this time. Next time, it’s your head. Don’t make me come back here.”

She turned to leave the building but hesitated. She spun on her heels to face the cowering Moblin.

“Friend of mine needs some parts for his ship. What’ve you got?” She crossed her arms across her chest.

“You’s ain’t serious, are ya?” Boblin whimpered.

“Do I look like I’m taking the piss?” The mook gave her a quizzical look, clearly perplexed.

“I’unno what you’s mean.”
“Yes, I’m serious. Idiot. Parts for a ship. Hurry it up.” The mutant rolled her eyes, her expression darkening a touch. Boblin scrambled to his feet and rifled through the various cabinets and chests scattered around the room. He managed to knock the chair he’d been sitting in, causing it to topple over and collide with the relatively flimsy looking desk. Growing impatient, Laura practically growled through her teeth. The Moblin whimpered a little more as he rummaged through his collection of junk before finally emerging with a large metallic block. Far from her usual wheelhouse, Laura eyed the block curiously for a moment. She took it and held it in the crook of her arm. She turned to leave once again.

“Dat it?” Boblin dared to pipe up.

“Not unless you wanna keep seeing more of me?” Laura gave the Moblin a deadpan stare.

“Not like dat, hell nah.”

“You know the terms of our.. Agreement. Best pray I don’t hear your name crop up again, eh?”

Boblin huffed, righted his chair and sat himself down.

“I’ll take that as you agreeing.”

Laura didn’t wait for an answer. She turned and left the building, shutting the door behind her and made for Azol’s again. She’d told him it’d be a couple hours, but barely half an hour had passed. Easier than expected.. It didn’t take her too long to return to Azol’s shop. He was already standing outside the door, waiting; his little yellow exclamation mark that sat floating over his head had been replaced with a question mark. He perked up a bit as Laura approached.

“Sorted. Any trouble, you let me know, right?” Azol immediately burst into a run, arms outstretched wide to encase Laura in a hug. She caught him with a single finger to the forehead and shook her head a few times.

“Look, I got places to be. Just.. be careful.” Laura nodded and set off on her way as Azol called out behind her, his voice lost in the hubbub of the crowd. She was headed for that seedy place Quill had picked out. It was a little run down and smelled like shit, but dive bars were something she’d grown accustomed to over her time.

As she approached the door, a little slat opened up. A pair of reptilian eyes peered out and narrowed upon studying the mutant.
“Passssword?”

She raised a fist and unsheathed her claws with a Snikt.

“How’s that for a fuckin’ password, Jargo? Just let me in.” The door immediately swung open, the reptilian form of Jargo cleared the door to let her enter.

“Did you give Quill the new password?” She grinned wickedly.

“Sir-dickhead-the-first, lord-of-dumbasses-is-here. Yeah.. he got it.” Jargo cackled shallowly.
 

Star-Lord

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knock knock knock

Three taps on the old yet reinforced wooden door sounded like an old video game, "Never gets old."

The peephole slid open, "Passssword?" A lisping voice spoke from veiled darkness.

Sigh
"The-Dickhead-is-here." A reluctant voice replied. "Look i don't know why you guys insist on these so-called personal passwords." From behind the door a hissing yet supressed laugh was heard,"That's the old passssword dickhead, we need the new passssword."

The visitor slammed the door, "Just open up, you know it's me Jargo."

"Ssssorry, no-one comes in without their proper passssword. Care to try again?" Clearly the gatekeeper was thoroughly enjoying torturing the visitor. "Dude i don't even know of a new Password."

"Perhapsss check your communicator."


….

It remained silent for a short while. A communicator was checked,"Are you kidding me? Really?"

"Passsssssword? Heheh" The snake-like voice known as Jargo asked again.

The longest sigh of the decade was released before the new password was given. As if the visitor was reading a script in the most unamused monotone of voices,"Sir-dickhead-the-first, lord-of-dumbasses-is-here."

"HAAAAAaaaaahahahahahah" Jargo was dying of laughter in safety from behind a barred entrance. The sound of locks being opened was heard before the large portal was opened. A hidden-area-discovery-tune appeared out of thin air and passage was granted. From the pixelated shadows Jargo was revealed as a brown, patch skinned lizard standing on two feet. He had a wide head, long scaly tail and sharp claws you did not want to mess with. The doorkeeper stood an impressive two and a half meters tall at least.

With the gateway opened, sunlight pierced the darkness within the lair. Jargo's square eyes squinted as they adjusted to the brightness. In the doorway stood the red leather jacket wearing guardian in full HD, RTX enabled. With wavy hair directed to the back, a scruffy beard and two quad blasters on his side. "Welcome back Sssstar-Lord." The reptilian lisped with a grin.

Peter stared at his tormentor,"Was this all really necessary? You knew it was me."

"Sssssure, but wheress the fun in that?" Jargo admitted. "Now come, he is expecting you." BLEEP The gatekeeper closed and locked the entrance before leading the way. A long, poorly lit stairway led the duo deeper underground. "Has Laura returned yet?"

"Oh yes, ssshe is around here ssssomewhere, ssshe will sssshow up eventually, you know how ssssshe issss" The Guardian nodded, "Oh yessss i know by now." Mocking Jargo's lisp like a pro. Peter's mind started drifting off while following his guide. All of this would have seemed strange to him a few weeks ago when he got stuck in the crossroads. Or even more specifically, stuck on this Atari like world.

***********************Several weeks ago*********************

The dark vacuum of space was host to the colorful ship of the guardians. Making its way through the stars. None other than Peter Quill, better known as Star-Lord, guardian of the galaxy, was on his way to a tip he received about Gamora. The trip was longer than usual so it was a team decision Quill went out on his own to validate the authenticity of the tip.

Within the ship steam was finding its way from a small, lower deck room. The corridors filled with the deep voice of a self-proclaimed angel, "Ain't no mountain high, ain't no valley low, ain't no river wiiiiiide enough baby~" Peter's voice sang along with the music livening up the auto piloted ship. "NOoooo don't worry baaaaaby~" Curtains opened and Peter stepped out with a towel wrapped around his waist, stepping to the beat of the music,"Remember the day I set you free~" He glanced at his reflection to adjust his hair slightly before resuming his sing-along. "I told you you could always count on me darling~". Quill entered the cockpit, checking if the autopilot was still on course. A few tabs on the screen settled the pilot's mind, everything seemed to be in order. "I told you you could always count on me darling~" Peter's impeccable cover got interrupted by what appeared to be a dark-blue cloud, centered with a pitchblack orb, enhanced with thunderflashes within. With one hand on his towel, the other one reaching for his helmet and gun, he prepared for what was to come.

The fully automated helmet formed around his face, the eyes of it shining bright red. His quad-blaster was aimed at the anomaly. Several thunderous blasts shook the entire ship, throwing it's captain off balance. From the vortex a humanoid was spat out like spit from a camel. After which, it vanished as unexpected as it appeared, leaving the fresh stow away on the ships' cold steel roster floor. The Guardian took steady aim. In the background the iconic music continued to color the atmosphere. "Who are you and what the hell are you doing on my ship?!" The muffled voice behind the mask asked.

The brunette groaned as she defied artificial gravity by pushing herself from the ground. She looked up and noticed the towel wearing Guardian, helmet on and armed with his blaster. The sight was ridiculous. However, she did recognise him, "Quill, is that you?"

Before an answer could be given the ship violently started shaking, throwing the duo across the cockpit. "The fuck is going on Quill?!"

Who is she? How does she know my name? What's going on? Peter's thoughts were all over the place as he rushed towards the pilot's seat. Warning lights colored the area red. Through the glass something resembling a wormhole was pulling the ship in. "Oh fuck this, hell no." With both hands firmly grasping the duo sticks the pilot attempted to steer away from the dark entity. "Peter what the hell is going on, what the fuck is that!" the new passenger shouted near his ear.

"Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up." The Guardian kept on repeating, fully focussed on the task at hand. His compulsive, repetitive narrative was getting on Laura's nerves. Two silver-colored, metallic coated claws shot out her hand and moved it close to Quill's face, "Tell me to shut up one more time."

"HOLY SHI-..." Peter pulled back, "The hell are those things?!" His brief loss of focus was enough to allow the ship to drift into the darkness.

Darkness…..

"Oh my head" Star Lord groaned as he got up from the cold floor. The ship found itself to a planet's surface. Crashed but not totalled the piece of metal was smoking inside a crater of its own creation. Laura was already up and staring outside. "What happened?" The still groggy pilot wondered out loud.

"Isn't it obvious….you crashed." She said calmly. Laura turned her head to him and back to the surface "Peter….your towel." Came out in the exact same, cold, unaffected tone of voice. Quill peeked down and noticed the cloth was missing,"Oh shit.." Like a magician he vanished—as fast as possible he dove towards what was left of his bunk.

Several minutes later the pilot emerged fully clothed in his iconic bordeaux red leather jacket. X23 did not move, she was still looking into the distance, trying to comprehend where the hell she was. Her entire body slightly glowing. Even though she would never admit it out loud, this setting was unnerving to her.

"Care to tell me who you are and what the hell you were doing on my ship?"

***********************

It was right there and then the duo got talking. Laura explained to him she was from another dimension, familiar with a different version of him. After some damage reports Quill concluded the ship itself was badly damaged. It was in need of several parts in order to repair it. They decided to stick together, find a way off this strange planet. When they found their way to the nearest city the marvel duo came in contact with Jargo and his boss. Asking them about the weird exclamation mark floating above their head set an entire chain of events in motion in and outside of a city called 8-Bitsin. Neither Quill nor Laura had any local currency in their possession, so a working debt was their only option.

By doing several jobs for one of the larger ‘business-people’ in town they would be able to collect the parts they needed for the job. The X-man however, was tasked with the more...persuasive jobs. As opposed to the galaxy defender who was tasked with retrieval of several rare and unique items. Weeks passed and jobs were completed. There was but one last request for the both of em. For Peter it was to acquire an extremely rare raw material, only found in deep mines, or…with collectors.

*************************

The end of the hallway approached, a pixelated door with shades of poison green door welcomed whoever wished to come this deep. Jargo glanced over his shoulder, "You know the rulesss by now. No funny businesss. Big Nalto doesn't appreciate funny businesss"

Peter's eyes portrayed nothing but innocence, "Hurt….I am actually hurt you'd even think i would even consider insulting Big Nalto." A hand was placed on his chest, emphasizing his words. Jargo responded with a slight glare. Star Lord, like Laura, also had a reputation around these parts. Just of a different origin.

The digital amphibian pressed a red glowing button, triggering a dark castle 8 bit soundtrack. The door shook before dramatically shifting upwards into the ceiling at the speed equal to a sloth dashing the 100meters. The whole thing felt anticlimactic with Star-Lord impatiently tapping his food. Jargo next to him had an impressed glinster in his eyes. The whole thing was being dragged out, to a point it just bored the hell out of the guardian.

Peter walked towards the port and bent a knee in order to gain premature access to the room, "Hey Nalto! You in here?"

"Quill! You bastard! wait!" A futile attempt by the doorman.

The room was dark and the ambiance was created by a churchlike music,
"Ahhh Star-Lord has returned." A deep and ominous voice echoed in the new room, "Tell me young Quill, have you obtained what i asked for?" It remained quiet for a while. "Quill?"

CLICK

Bright office lights switched on, revealing the entire room. Expensive paintings were displayed on the cream white walls. In the centre a huge desk filled most of the room, behind it sat a mole, barely two pints high, "My eyes!!!" Nalto screamed as his little claws scoured the desk until he found a round glassed pair of sunglasses and put them on. He saw Peter near the lightswitch with a dumbfounded expression on his face, "It was kind of dark in here. Thought i'd turn on the lights." He said pointing at the switch.

"You imbecile! You are well aware of my situation! Did you atleast bring what i asked?!" The irritated mole enquired.

Quill took a defencive negotiation stance, "That depends, do you have my ship part?"

"What do you take me for fleshbag, of course I do. I'm a Mole of my word" Nalto pressed a hidden switch, materializing a treasure chest, presented with a familiar zelda tune. "Go on, i am sure it's to your liking." The guardian obliged and opened the chest, within it laid the aflex-regulator required to fix his broken ship.

"Excellent, now all we need is to wait for Laura and we ca-..."

"We can what?" The ice cold voice of the wolverine carried the woman's entrance.

"Wait! How did you get passsssed the door? I locked it?"

Laura grinned back at Jargo, "What door?" Before returning attention to her companion, "Is that it?" She nudged her head towards the spare part in the pilot's hands.

"Oh yeah, it's exactly what we need to get off this pixel dump." A hand was raised towards both Jargo and his boss, "No offense boys but...be honest, it's kind of a shithole." The antagonizing words were not well received by the locals.

Nalto stood up all, two feet tall he walked across his humongous desk, "I believe you have something for me Quill. Hand it over before I change my mind and bury you on this pixel dump, piece by piece." Laura took a step forward before she got halted by Peter's hand, " No no, he's right. A deal was struck." Star-Lord removed his pack and placed it on the ground with great care. From it, he took out a metallic box, about the size of a shoe case. Lifting it with just the tip of two fingers on each hand, it was as if he was holding a piece of dynamite. Peter inched closer to the desk and placed it upon the wooden surface. Fingers detached with even greater care before Quill took a giant step back.

"The hell are you doing, dickhead?" Jargo judged the actions out loud.

"What? You don't know?" Quill asked on the verge of sounding demeaning. "That stuff is highly unstable. Yeah, Nalto...this job you had me do was more dangerous than you had me believe. But...we did not blow up, it now has to rest for a day before removing it from that container."

"What in Bit's name are you on about Star Chump? There is no danger with this?" The mole did not heed the guardian's word and reached for the mysterious box.

Peter intervened immediately, "WOAH WOAH!! If you are going to open it, at least let us wait outside the room, I don't feel like exploding today." Jargo and his boss shared a look, followed by a shrug from the doorman. "So...when -can- I use it you say?"

"About 24 hours should be enough. Well then, that concludes our business, I would tell you it was a pleasure but...Well we both know it would be a lie." The biggest of grins on his face was even more taunting than his words. "Let's go Laura."

With hastened pace the duo left Nalto's lair. Once outside the wolverine had questions, "What was that all about? You brought that lunatic explosives?"

"What? Heck no, I couldn't even find the stuff hè was looking for. But Nalto is now the proud owner of some very unique rocks autographed by yours truly."

Laura snickered but did not reply, her facial expression did betray her in judging Quinn's action. But whether it was good or bad judgement was to be seen.

************** 3 hours of travel later*************

The sun scorched from the heavens, it was a hot day, and after a long, and by Laura's request, silent march, they finally reached their crash site. " We should see my baby just down this cliff, oh how I missed her touch on my fingertips"

"You do realise it's just a ship right? Not an actual woman."

"Please, she has never let me down. Treat your ship well and it treats you well. It's common space knowledge. Not that you'd have space knowledge. But hey, be nice and I will add a nice scratching pole for you."

X23 and Star-Lord made it to the edge of the cliff and looked down to where they left the ship. "Sooo, you must not have been treating her well. Seems like she left you Quill." Laura taunted as they both saw but fragments left and right, the entire thing was disassembled. "Any more bright ideas spaceboy"?

Peter just stood by in disbelief, "No,no,no,no,no….This can't be happening...in 21hours Nalto find out we screwed him and we will never leave this place."

"WE screwed him? Sorry but that's all you buddy, I did my part."

"Shit, shit." Peter started pacing, "we need a ship, and fast."

Even though Laura enjoyed the great Star Lord being mentally tortured she did share her thought, "Look I know a place. It's a bar where pilots come together, looking for work or just a drink. We could see if we can find a captain that is willing to take us with him."

His companions' words were like music to Quills ears. "That's a great idea! I could just kiss you right here and now." In response two blades, spawned from in between her knuckles, found their way to Peter's face, "Better lose that thought….fast."

"Just a metaphor." Quill said with hands raised and taking a step back, "jussssst…. A metaphor. We should get going, 21 hours left on the clock, lead the way.."

The clock was ticking...
 

Mickey Mouse

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20:59…

20:58…

20:57…


***

“Whaddya mean you’re not gonna let us in?!” Mickey Mouse shouted.

The doorman gave the talking mouse and his literally child-shaped best friend another once over before deigning to respond. “Yeah, absolutely not,” he crossed his arms and stepped further in front of the doorway. “I’m sorry, but I’m not about to lose my job by letting in a fuckin’ five year old and his pet hamster. Sorry ‘bout it.”

“I’m not five,” Blues retorted, but the tall, muscular man -- one of the first truly human-shaped organisms the pair had encountered on Nos’talgia -- shot him a death glare, and even the preteen machine found himself shrinking a little.

For his part, Mickey huffed in frustration. What type of bar had restrictions on who was allowed in? Back in the Disney Realms, all the taverns just let people in willy-nilly! This was straight up age discrimination, and not even, like… valid age discrimination, since it wasn’t as if Blues was an actual preteen. He was just a robot that looked like a preteen. The mouse king puffed out his chest, trying his best to look intimidating in the slightest, and stepped just forward of his best friend.

“First of all, pal, I’m not a hamster, I’m a mouse,” he squeaked, placing his hands on his hips defiantly. “Second of all, I’m a goshdarn celebrity around these parts, basically. I’m Mickey Mouse. From Dante’s Abyss?”

The doorman blinked and quirked his head, crouching down to get a better look at the supposed Abyss contestant. “Aren’t you a little short to be Mickey Mouse?”

Mickey scowled. “The collar made me taller!”

Blues stifled a chuckle, and then Mickey, too, was shooting the boy robot a death glare.

“Hmmmmm,” the doorman continued, “you do look suspiciously like that plushie doll I got my daughter a few days ago.”

“That’s because it’s me, pal!” Mickey protested, whipping his backpack off and unzipping it. He pulled a half-scale push doll of himself out and pressed down on one of its gloved hands, leading to it saying, in a strikingly accurate Mickey Mouse voice, an extremely sing-songy ‘How about… King of Pals?’. Mickey’s cheeks flushed a bit as Blues found himself unable to hold in his cackle for any longer, and the doorman’s eyes went wide with recognition. “Maybe ya don’t recognize me, bud, because I’ve got my arms and my legs back,” the mouse king shrugged. “But I swear to Gosh, I’m me.”

“Hoo-wee,” the bouncer nodded, “that sure does look and sound like you. But I’m gonna need to hear you say the thing if you want me to let you in.”

“Oh, come on, now…”

“No, Mick,” Blues interjected, “I agree with the doorman. The only thing to do is for… heh… for you to say the thing.”

Mickey’s eyes narrowed. He’d missed Blues so much, but the preteen machine was already on thin ice. Nevertheless, he knew they’d never get anywhere unless he made a fool of himself right here, right now. He needed to get inside this place to figure out who this ‘Viz’ fella was and what they wanted. “Okay, okay,” he waved both of them off, “ahem… How about, King of Pals?” He shrunk immediately as both Blues and the door guy launched into a fit of laughter.

“L-O-L,” the bouncer said aloud, which confused the heck out of Mickey, “alright, alright, I’ll let ya both in. But if someone starts to give me grief about lettin’ a little kid in, you take the heat, alright? I’m not getting fired over some little boy’s early onset alcoholism, okay?”

Mickey didn’t know what half of those words meant, but he nodded, grabbed Blues by the hand, and dragged him into the run-down looking, yet still wildly colorful, establishment. He sighed. It seemed embarrassment would follow him wherever he went throughout these Crossroads now that he’d ended up in a friendship with the guy who’d formerly been his worst enemy.

Luckily, there seemed to be a whole roster of fellas and fellettes in prime condition to be his new arch-nemesis scattered about the dive bar. If Frieza hadn’t already made a pretty good play for the position, Mickey figured this might be as good a place as any to start accepting applications, ‘cause the people populating this establishment looked… well, to put it mildly, they looked rough. To put it frankly, they looked downright troublesome. He spotted a couple of Goomba gangbangers from earlier who simply gave he and Blues the side-eye before looking away. Over in one corner, a contingency of turtle-looking dudes in sunglasses were playing poker. And there, in one of the back booths, a hooded person with what looked to be a lizard snout sat flicking away at a little tablet.

“There!” Mickey said in a hushed tone to the Proto Man. “That must be Viz!”

Blues glanced over where the mouse’s gloved fingers pointed. “Mhm,” he nodded, “my scanners indicate that guy has approximately the same biological makeup as the one in the video message.”

Mickey let out a breath, then steeled his resolve and began to march over toward the table. He didn’t notice, but he attracted a little bit of attention as he did so. Even amongst poker-playing turtles and chestnuts with neck legs, the mouse with the big, perfectly round ears struck a… distinct silhouette.

Viz, for their part, turned to see Mickey approaching well before he’d fully reached the table, and the mouse felt ever-so-slightly unsettled as he watched their reptilian lips curl into a sly smile.

“Mickey Moussssssse,” they called out as the mouse king and his machine accomplice approached the booth.

“Hey, pal, could ya keep that a lil quiet,” Mickey held up two hands, sliding into the booth. The preteen machine joined him on his side a few seconds later, and though Mickey and Proto Man didn’t notice at first, two others, more human-shaped than most of the rest of the denizens of the dive bar, slid into the booth behind Viz at approximately the same time. “I’m tryin’ to keep kinda a low profile here, y’know?”

Blues looked quizzically at Mickey. Hadn’t he just used his seventh place status to get them into this bar?

“I’m afraid it isssss too late for that,” Viz laced their fingers together in front of them, leaning towards the pair of diminutive heroes. “You sssssee, most everyone in this place already hassss heard tell that a brave warrior from the Abysssssss has landed on Nosssssss’talgia. Most everyone not in this place, asssssssss well, including my employer, who… ssssssseeks your ssssssservices.”

Mickey’s face scrunched up. “I don’t have any ‘sssssservices,’ pal,” he placed his hands down on the table. “I ain’t a merc, okay? I don’t do jobs for other people for cash money, it’s just not the Mickey Mouse way, ya dig?”

“Oh, it is not only for cassssssh money,” Viz elaborated, “you ssssssee… it isssss alsssso in the interessst of jussssstice.”

Mickey paused.

Justice?

“I wanna give them a taste of their own medicine… I want…”

“...justice?” Gilgamesh offered.

“Justice.”


He leaned forward. “Talk, lizard dude.”

Viz chuckled. “Sssssstrictly sssspeaking, I’m not a dude,” they explained. “You sssssee, my ssssssspecies is genderlesssssss. Assssss it isssss, I’m alsssso not fully organic, ssso you sssssee, that makessss me the perfect asssssssssistant for my employer. Ssssstuck between ssssso many worldsssss. Much like the team he wantsssssss to create.”

Mickey quirked his head to one side. “A team, pal? Like a crew for my ship?”

Before Viz could speak, the vaguely redheaded human in the booth behind the lizard-robot whipped around. “A ship? Laura, lil’ mouse over here’s got a ship!”

“Not fer long he don’t,” another voice, which Mickey pinpointed as Southern, though South of where he couldn’t tell ya, piped up simultaneously with the cocking of an old-timey pistol. Mickey and Blues turned their head at the same speed, almost comically, to see that the poker turtles had congregated next to their booth and one of them had the barrel of the gun pressed directly to the preteen machine’s forehead. “Y’see, we don’t take too kindly to rich, famous fellers gropin’ all up on our territory, Mr. Mouse.”

Mr. Mouse is my dad,” Mickey nearly yelled, standing up in the booth, “and I’m not gropin’ anything! That’s heckin’ gross, pal!”

Snikt.

“Let the young man go,” the woman sharing the booth with the ginger said, “or you’ll regret it.” Mickey glanced over and saw the glint of two super sharp, super shiny claws, and gulped. He didn’t know why these two humans were taking his side, but he was sure glad to have those sharp fellas on his team. The woman, clad in leather, slipped out of the booth and lifted up her other hand, releasing two more claws from her knuckles with a snikt. “Anyone in here really wanna mess with these guys?”

Mickey couldn’t tell if she was talking about he and Blues or her claws, but if he was one of the rest of the dive bar’s denizens, he wouldn’t wanna find out.
 
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Laura Kinney

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“If y’all don’t mind, we can get this done nice ‘n quick.” The turtle’s southern drawl made Laura’s skin crawl a bit as she pushed her way in between the Mouse, his companion and the gaggle of turtles, “Ain’t no need for blood today, Missus.”

“Yeah, well, I don’t take too kindly to guns being waved about like it’s nothin’.” Laura began, Quill stepped up beside her, his hands firmly grasping at the elemental blasters, “We can get this done nice ‘n quick. Piss off back to where you came from and we’ll be on our way.”

For a brief moment, the turtle seemed to consider her words before turning the old timey pistol on the mutant.

“Well, we don’t take too kindly to being spoken to in that kinda tone, lady.” The turtle screwed his face up and clamped his eyes shut as he squeezed the trigger. The resulting shot was near deafening. Mickey squeaked loudly, the various patrons dropped to the ground and ducked underneath tables. Laura barely made out Quill’s voice as he cried “Oh shit!” The round sunk into her abdomen with a spurt of blood, something that would generally put anyone down. The turtle peeked an eye open and opened his mouth to gloat, only to be met with a heavy fist to the face. She’d retracted the claws briefly to land the strike, sending the turtle reeling. It collapsed to the ground, flat on its shell, scaly hands clutched around its bloodied nose.

“Agh! Shit! The fuck was that?!” The turtle screamed, rolling about on the ground to try and right itself. Laura turned to Star-Lord and quirked a brow.

“I dunno how this works. These guys’ll, like, respawn or something, right? It’s basically a game here…. Right?” Quill gave her a flummoxed look.

“Maybe? I don’t know?” He had drawn his elemental blasters and held them at the ready. The lizard-machine hybrid chimed in.

“That’ssss doubtful.” Laura groaned and retracted her claws.

“As much as they suck, probably best to not murder ‘em, I guess.” The rest of the turtles group had frozen, initially, given that they were likely used to the recipient of a bullet to the chest would usually be down for the count. They finally shook themselves from their shock and moved to help what was apparently the leader of their little troupe off of the ground.

“What’re ya waitin’ for? Get ‘em!” The bleeding turtle screeched. The gang whirled around to face Kinney and Quill.
“You sure about this?” Quill interjected, giving Laura a vaguely concerned look, “You sure we can’t get.. Just a little murder-y?” The Wolverine rolled her eyes and leapt into action, her fists clenched and outstretched. She threw a punch at the first turtle she reached. It yelped and withdrew into its shell, the punch connecting with the solid bone exterior. Laura hissed through her teeth and shook her hand about, grimacing through the pain. The second turtle stepped up and drew a similar pistol. He took shaky aim as Laura dropped low to the ground. Quill took the opportunity to vault over the stooped Wolverine and thrust one of his blasters into the cheek of the turtle, opting to use the weapons as makeshift clubs, rather than the blasters they were. The turtle dropped to the ground, eyes rolling into the back of its head in the process.

“Their shells are really fuckin’ hard..” Laura panted.

“No shit. They’re turtles. What did you expect?” Quill retorted, dodging a haymaker.

“Yeah.. thanks..”

“This is crazy.. You know these things are from Super-” Quill was cut off of a clawed hand raking at the side of his face. He responded with a swift boot to what would usually have been the sternum. The turtle was launched onto its back and writhed around.

“Maybe.. If I was a shorter.. Wider yet ruggedly handsome Italian Plumber things would go down a little easier. He is Italian, right? Or Japanese?”

“Shut it, Quill. Seriously, or it’s your turn next.” She held one of the Koopas up by its neck and tossed it away. It collided with a table, the breath forced from its lungs in a strained groan. Satisfied that the majority of the gang had been dealt with; the two that stood had backed away towards the exit. She planted a foot on the writhing leaders stomach and pinned it in place.

“Piss. Off.” She snarled and gave it a quick kick to the side. The momentum allowed the Koopa to right itself and scramble to its feet. It spat on the ground and wafted an arm around, gathering its compatriots.

“Lets get outta here. I ain’t dealin’ with this t’day.”

Laura snorted a laugh and turned to face the Mouse and his group. The other patrons had just begun to emerge from the relative safety of their makeshift cover.

“You said you had a ship?”
 

Josuke Higashikata

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Two Weeks Ago…

New Bordeaux, Louisiana
Fall of 1968

********************************************************​
Dawn begins as the sun slowly rises, naturally shining over the city of New Bordeaux. Sparsely clouds spread across the sky with a dark tone because of the sun not fully grown yet. The morning dew sparkles across any grass or hard surface all over the state. Birds begin to awake and sing for a new day in their lifetime. Still, the city remains steadily quiet in the early morning before everyone is awake.

The air is cold and full of smells coming from the alligator-infested rivers and bayou surrounding the city's foundation.

Toward near the main airport of this vast southern city, an unbuilt casino resort lies north across the muddy waterway. The sunshine reflects off the newly built glass windows that fill the appearance of the towering cylindrical high-rise main casino building. At the near top of it looks over the once in a lifetime beautiful skyline of New Bordeaux. Unlike any other in the United States, a city where people come to drink, party, Mardi Gras, and indulge in different adult themes that the metropolis well known for in conversations. Now, it's vacant for anyone to have a criminal grasp that brings riches and an extravagant lifestyle.

A glass window obtaining this magnificent view shattered where a penthouse located on top of the resort. Razor-sharp pieces of glass scattered on the office's floor and the natural earth below. A racial mixed young adult grown man is standing at the broken window, gazing at the ground that a dead man fell upon at a deadly height, Lincoln Clay. Sal Marcano, the once last living member of the Marcano crime family, was the bloodied corpse that fell and impacted the soil. For the rest of his relatives and only son, they had perished by Lincoln's fury and vengeance.

Finally, they had paid the price of pissing off the wrong man. This day will mark the beginning of crumbling the Marcano crime family. Victory is so sweet for Lincoln to taste after long months of plotting against Sal. Everyone inside the casino was dead by Lincoln's hands.

He turns away from the city's beautiful skyline and makes his way to the elevator by descending a luxurious winding staircase. The elevator's car still sits on the same floor as Lincoln, untouched by any unexpecting survivors. His finger presses the button, and the slide doors open automatically. He steps inside the cart and activates the ground floor button. The doors close and start descending the tall, dark shaft.
While Lincoln is not paying attention, a sparkling blue particle starts glowing at his feet and begins to spiral around his legs. As it reaches his chest, he realizes this strange phenomenon is dancing and surrounding his entire body.

"What the fu-"

In an instance, a white flash blinds his eyes for a second. Lincoln disappears inside the elevator, leaving no trace of himself.

This day is when Lincoln Clay now becomes part of the crossroads. Not only Lincoln but his closest pal John Donovan will have the same fate…


Planet: Nos'talgia (located in the crossroads)
Town: 8-Bitain

***************************************************​
Somewhere in a laboratory located within a settlement known as 8-Bitain, a short 8-bit old baldheaded Caucasian white lab coat scientist is sporting a long white beard, and big glasses work the levers and buttons of a highly advanced machine with flashing colorful lights that identify the contraption's technologic advance settings. The computer wholly made of 8-bit polygons that had an appearance coming straight out of a videogame and roars with life. On the other side of the lab is a platform, and tesla coils hang above the platform that begins to power with electricity. Hoses and wires hooked to this device that helps to have an electric energy source. The same blue particle that took Lincoln start to spiral around the platform at a breakneck speed.

"C'mon, don't fail me again now, my magnificent invention!" the scientist yelps as he straps his protection goggles while looking at the teleporter he created.

His device begins humming and flashing with the particles as the unnatural wind begins to fill the room. All his scientific data, 8-bit sheets of paper sitting on some counters, start flying throughout the lab. Lightning protruded out of the tesla coils, hitting the surface of the platform. This process happens three more times until two physical human bodies appear and landed on the teleporter's platform.

"It worked! My invention is successful!" the scientist announces in excitement and does a little dance as the two humans lay on the teleporter daze and confused while blinded.

The machine begins to power down as all the trash flying around the room, settles down when the unnatural wind isn't present. Lincoln started to sit up, still bewildered of what just happened. He regains his vision suddenly to see him no longer in the casino's elevator. His eyes widen while his mind cannot comprehend how possible this can be. Why is he here? How did he get here?

"John… John! Wake up!" Lincoln tries to wake up his friend by shaking him aggressively to get his attention while John still hasn't got up yet.

John's eye blinked a few times and grabs his head immediately then sits up along with Lincoln.

"Ow, my head, w-what the hell just happened?" Mr. Donovan said while his eyes dart around the room quickly, and shock comes over his mind.

"I dunno, wherever we are, this ain't Sal's Casino." Lincoln stats as he begins to stand on his two feet, wearing combat boots, slowly.

The scientist that did the impossible ran up to the teleporter quickly along with 8-bit shuffling noises. He aids John Donovan stand on his feet, but when he got next to him, Lincoln's mind races with possible threats of this "creature" that has the appearance of a goofy human can cause. Besides, they didn't volunteer to be in this situation in the first place. John's eyes begin regularly, seeing again and realizes who helped him on his feet. In the same mindset as his friend Lincoln, he harshly shoves the scientist half his size instantly, making the old man land on his butt.

Lincoln gets his pistol out in a quick draw and aims at their man responsible for them being here since his friend feels threatened.

"You bastard! Give us one good reason to not put a bullet in your brain, commie!" Donovan raises his voice in an angry manner of thinking he must be abducted by an alien.

"W-w-w-wait, I-I-I'm not a-a-a-a threat! Please, I can explain how you are here!" the old scientist trembles in fear and starts backing away from the two.

"You better have a good one." Lincoln retorts with the gun pointing down on the shivering old 8-bit man.

"A-a-all I was doing is experimenting with my new machine!" the scientist explains but stops moving when Lincoln waves his gun in a threatening manner.

"Yeah! Well, we didn't ask to become Guinea pigs to your Frankenstein experiment!" John shouts back at the scientist as he steps down from the platform, standing over the poor older man.

Lincoln follows behind John, but as soon they got off the teleporter, alarms roar with red lights flashing above.

"Warning, system overload commencing. 0% chance to sustain the overload. Evacuate immediately." The intercom announces as the teleporter breaks down, catching on fire in the process.

Every computer in that room begins having blue screens as the invention emits electricity uncontrollably.

"We need to leave now!" the scientist insists while making it to one of the emergency fire exits.

They run toward one of the exits for their safety as the room sets ablaze. Lincoln holstered his weapon since they had to work together for survival. The roof begins to break apart from the series of explosions that were in the lab. They got to the door and pushed it open, triggering the emergency exit alarm. All of them ran into the streets of 8-Bitian that's present with moderate traffic. 8-bit cars and trucks swerve to avoid the three jaywalkers. Some cars bumped into each other, and one hit a red fire hydrant causing pixelated water spew everywhere.

Pedestrians crowded the sidewalk to witness what was happening across the street. The three made it out alive before the laboratory on that block exploded in a deadly sight. They hit the ground at the right time to cover their heads from the falling debris. Soon after, citizens panicked and ran for their lives after witnessing the unsettling event. Police and Firefighters were called to the scene to aid anyone in the area of chaos.

Fire engulfed the lab with 8-bit particle polygons mixed with orange, red, and yellow colors—the bricks and other materials that built the lab scattered all over the town's block. Lincoln, John, and the scientist had to explain to the authorities what happened. The police recorded this incident to report to the city's officials and let go of the witnesses shortly afterward. Still, things were not typical for the New Bordeaux duo that transported out of their timeline, not willingly. They gather with the scientist in an alleyway so they can privately talk about their discussion.

"All right, grandpa, now explain why all this strange shit is happening to us," John demands an explanation of what is happening to them.

The conversation's length ended at eight minutes so that the native of Nos'talgia can thoroughly explain the crossroads and everything surrounding them plus how they ended up here. Since their one-way ticket to be back in New Bordeaux became destroyed in the fire, there is no way to return. On top of that, this invention took him twenty-three years to build because of how complicated multiverse travel is for developing.

They have nowhere to go, and their minds still have a hefty process to understand this is a reality now.


The present…

Lincoln and John set up in a rundown motel in the downtown district of 8-Bitian, living by barely with no salary. They have been getting coin by accomplishing criminal jobs for anyone desperate not to get their hands dirty. While Lincoln did most of the mule work, Donovan tries to dig up more information about the crossroads and to get off this annoying planet that doesn't fit well with their lifestyles. After a long day of work that brought little money home, Lincoln gets his keys out to open the door. Meanwhile, John lies on his bed watching the Television in boredom, just how nothing on 8-Bitian's broadcasting is entertaining.

The door opens, and Lincoln steps in their awful motel room that was small. Cracks were in the walls, and 8-bit mice try to hide in dark corners of the room away from potential predators. He closes the door behind to see his pal on the bed with the same upset look he got when the scientist explained everything that just happened to them.

"So, any intel on how we're gettin' off this rock?" Lincoln questioned while walking over the nightstand between their beds and dropping keys on top of it.

He sits down, waiting for John's response about any progress made today. His friend shuts the 8-bit television block off and sits up to face Lincoln.

"Yeah, I finally got something that can help us get out of this acid trip of a planet," John responds, moving his legs over the bed's edge, planting his feet on the stained carpet.

"There is a bar in this part of town where pilots or captains gather to drink and let off some steam from space trucking. I wrote down the address of this bar's location. When you get down there and find our ride out of here, meet me back here, and we will discuss further what place sounds suitable for us to at least live in." Lincoln's colleague releases details of their next plan while grabbing a cigarette from his pack on the nightstand, then lighting it up close to his mouth with his lighter, letting out a puff of smoke to calm his stress down.

"Why are you not comin', is it because you're still havin' those sleepless nights realizin' this is our life now?" Lincoln curiously talks about why his friend isn't coming.

"It's not just that. Every time I step out of this motel, I keep hearing this same goddamn annoying music playing over and over again while I'm just trying to walk down the street, minding my own damn business. That music, if I hear it again, I swear I might just have to put a bullet in me just to end the torture," John explains in an irritating mood by remembering how the music doesn't get out of his head.

He takes the cigarette out his mouth and releases the cigarette's ash into the ashtray that sits on top of the nightstand, laying the smoking cigarette in the ashtray.

Lincoln laughs heartily about his friend's experience being out on the alien streets.

"Hey, just be glad you ain't stuck here alone," Lincoln mentions to John about the what-if situation.

"Yeah, I'm thankful that I'm not the only one stuck in kiddy land," Donovan mentions as he grabs his flask from the nightstand and takes a swig.

He hands it to Lincoln for him to take a shot at the hard liquor. Lincoln makes a swig and gives it back to John.

"I don't know how long it will take to find someone, but I won't forget you." Lincoln chuckled a little bit at the end of his sentence.

The grizzled soldier stands up and goes to the bathroom before heading out.

"But first, I need to take a damn shower since I have the case of swamp ass." Lincoln turns around before entering the bathroom and smirking at the remark he made.

"It's more like you are trying to impress someone this evening." Donovan jokes about Lincoln trying to clean up before leaving.

"Shutup." Lincoln snickers at John's jab of his daily hygiene then entering the bathroom, locking it up to take his shower.

After his shower, he heads out back into town and tracts down this bar they discussed. It only took almost half an hour to find, and he enters the establishment. He sits down at the bar and requests the space invader bartender for a cold beer to quench his thirst. There is quite a bit of folk out currently to relax from the day. The crowd mixed from humans to aliens or videogame minions that made the cantina lively.

That was the atmosphere until a fight broke loose between two humans and the turtle humanoids. After the gunshot, all the helpless patrons plus the bartender duck for cover, but Lincoln didn't, and it made him stick out like a sore thumb. He saw what went down in the situation but wasn't horrified about the events, but it was strange how the leather-clad woman had sharp metal claws jutting out of her skin and in result, a gunshot wound appeared in her flesh, but she seems that no pain is inflicting in her. Lincoln has never seen any human before shrugging off a gunshot like nothing. Yeah, he has taken a bullet before, but man, it's still excruciating pain.

That Quill guy had some funny remarks to say to his partner in crime while kicking ass, making Lincoln smirk at his comments. The koopas retreated after losing their bravery to take on two punks since one of them dealt a bullet like a boss. Before everyone got back into their conversations that filled the bar earlier, he overhears the mutant woman snorting a laugh to the strange group of people about a spaceship.

"Yup, I do have a ship, pal. Y'fellas lookin' for a ride or somethin'?" the mouse happily replies to the duo that helped him not be beaten up by thugs.

Before the mutant woman could respond, a gruff voice enters their conversation across the room before the crowd could speak amongst themselves.

"I'm lookin' for a ride," Lincoln announces and gathers their attention as he turns around away from the bar.

He sets his half-full glass bottle of beer on the counter and walks toward them, combat boots creaking on the wooden floor. They weren't sure if this guy was going to be a foe or a friend. Laura tightens her fists, ready to make her claws come back out of again if threatened. Quill guides his hand over a blaster to draw in case something happens. The mouse, too, wasn't sure if this was another guy going to pick on his innocent appearance.

Lincoln stops in front of them, standing tall outmatching their height. They can tell this stranger was well built and more robust than those weakling koopas. The scar on his head's side did sure gave him an appearance that he can be a potential danger.

"Me and a friend who is not currently here are lookin' for a ride to get off this rock. We're new here and never have been to these worlds before. We are willin' to work for your crew if that means we have a way to leave here for good without a hefty cost." Lincoln speaks with ease to not let them think he's here to cause any trouble.

"Who are you?" Laura questions at this new stranger she has never met before, unwrapping her fists slowly.

"Lincoln Clay."
 

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"Alright, hold up. Let's get everything in order." Quill stated with both his hands in the air. It was enough to get the attention of everyone who was currently involved in this potential ride. "So we have this random Lincoln from the bar and his absent mysterious friend, hi by the way. We have a talking mouse with his robot friend, because why wouldn't it be a talking mouse and his robot friend. And last but not least, miss personality over here and myself. Am I missing someone?"

"Val! Don't forget about Val, Pal! " The cheerful mouse squeaked. "Oh...accidental rhymes are the best!" The equally short robotic man next to Mickey shook his head subtle enough not to get noticed. "But eh…" The mouse continued, "we might have a small problem."

Laura was getting impatient, which in turn reflected strong in her tone of voice, "Problem? What problem?"

"Well, Blue and I have a ship but can not fly it ourselves, we need a pilot."

A sparkle appeared in Quill's eye "Pilot? A pilot is what you need? I am a pilot! A pretty damn good one if i do say so myself."

Laura sipped on an unfinished drink,"The great pilot that crashed us into this virus of a planet in the first place."

"Shut uuuuuuuup Laura~." Star-Lord sang through the teeth of his forced grin.

Proto-man nudged Mickey, his words were barely audible, " I'm not sure about this one, he seems really desperate to get off this planet. And then there's the fact that he doesn't appear to be all there in the upper chamber if you know what i mean."

Mickey being Mickey slapped his old buddy in the back, "Don't be silly, he's just excited! … I think. Tell me mister pilot, why do you want to get off this planet? It seems like a great place!" The always cheerful all-man-friend asked, most likely curious after his buddy pointed out the suspicious behaviour.

Peter took a moment before answering, if they knew the real reason it might just scare them off. "Well you see, when we got stuck here Laura and I needed some parts to repair our own ship. But neither of us had the money to simply buy the parts so we went to do some jobs for a...let's say less honest man? Well we-.."

"Quill conned the guy and gave them ordinary rocks, now he wants to haul ass before they find out." Laura interjected, not in the mood for another one of the guardian's bullshit speeches.

Peter once again found himself stabbed In the proverbial back by his partner, "Thank you, what would I do without you…" Daggers were shot through his gaze towards the carefree woman.

"Well that's not really a nice thing to do mister pilot, perhaps you should go to him and come clean about it all." Mickey suggested.

From the entrance of the bar a, to Laura and Peter, familiar voice of Jargo was heard echoing loud through the establishment. "Oh itsssss to late for that now Mouse, Quill jussst made it onto Nalto's sssshitlist. But tell me...before I blast you, how did you know it was us that dismantled your ship?"

Star-Lord was visibly confused as the dots were being connected. It was Laura that put her drink down and stood up, "So you guys are responsible for us being still stuck on this planet?" With clenched fist and her eyebrows frowned it was clear this news did not please the woman. The amphibious collection of pixels did not show any sign of being intimidated,"Oh oh, looksss like we finally get to-.."

WHACK

Thud

Jargo fell to the ground, a clean pistolwhip from behind was more than enough to subdue him. Lincoln stood tall behind the knocked out lizard. "Well then, shall we get going? And are you sure you can fly?" The out-of-place gunslinger questioned Quill who was still a bit shocked about the whole situation that unfolded within seconds. "Oh he can fly alright. Mouse, where is this ship of yours?" The mutant asked.

"Just follow me!!" Mickey shouted as enthusiastic as ever, waving people to come over.

"Aren't you forgetting something? Or rather, someone?" Proto-man sighed out loud. "OH right! Val and Lincoln's friend. Blue you go get Val, Lincoln you go get your friend and we will meet up at hanger 96! I will show the Pilot and his friend to the ship"

With Blue and Lincoln off to retrieve the final passengers it was the trio Quill, Laura and Mickey that were the first to arrive at the hangar. "Alright, show me what I am working with!" Peter said excitedly. White gloves grabbed the hanger door, "You ready?!" With a tug the door slid open, revealing Mickey's unorthodox space ship.

Peter was stumped, and simply awed in silence. "Is that…a steamboat?" He finally managed to say. "You know steamboat don't fly right?" Mickey wasn't too bothered with the whole judgement. "This one does! It's modified for space travel, come, let me show you around!"

"I should've died in the crash, life would be so much simpler." Laura muttered as she followed Quill and Mickey. The king of pals showed the duo around the ship, before finally reaching the cockpit. "This is where you'll work! Think you can handle it?"

The guardian took a swift look around, familiarizing himself with the controls. Never before did he fly a steamboat into space. First thing for everything right? Now all they had to do was wait for the others to arrive so they could leave this planet.
 
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The man who insisted on being called Star-Lord lounged in the pilot’s chair, just a few meters away from what Mickey had dubbed the ‘captain’s seat.’ When they’d arrived at the garage, he’d badgered the Chao-in-charge for a protein shake and some Doritos. Currently, much to the mouse king’s dismay, the shake was perched on the command console and Dorito crumbs were peppering the grayscale floor of the bridge. Mickey watched as Peter Quill spun around in the chair like… well, like an actual kiddo, and not in the cute, playful way that Mickey would usually be fond of.

How, exactly, had he gotten rolled up in this weird burrito of a situation? Looking back, he supposed it was sorta a ‘wrong place, wrong time’ kinda thing; this Viz person had wanted to see him, to talk to him about whatever the whoosit whatsit financial benefactor of justice situation, which was still unclear, and then suddenly they’d ended up with a squad of turtles pointing pistols in their faces.

Boy, this happy-go-lucky planet was sure not living up to the promise of its premise.

He didn’t wanna bite the hand that fed him. Though he was sure that he and Blues probably could have handled the Koopa killas and made it out of that dive bar in one piece, he certainly was grateful that Laura lady had managed to scare ‘em off. She cut an intimidating figure, even if Mickey thought that leather outfit she wore looked a bit too heckin’ warm for his tastes, or for any actual fighting or adventuring.

But at the same time, he’d somehow ended up back at Arrdyn’s Garden and Garage with two complete strangers poking around his ship. No matter how it shook out, having Laura Kinney and Peter Quill as his first passengers on the Spaceboat Willie hadn’t exactly been a part of his grand plan. Or, the mouse king figured, a part of Viz’s plan, either. The lizard-cyborg-thingy had slipped out almost unnoticed following the turtle trauma, pausing only to slide Mickey a little note that the Keyblade wielder now twiddled between his thumbs.

‘1-877-COIN-NOW.’

The phone number -- at least, Mickey supposed that’s what it was -- was scribbed in exactly the kind of handwriting Mickey would expect from a reptilian person on a crumpled up napkin from the bar. The mouse had taken to staring at it for long stretches of time to distract himself from Star-Lord’s concerning antics, how he kept tip-tapping on buttons and yanking on levers. Every once in a while, the ship would lurch a bit when he tugged on something, and Mickey’s attention would be pulled back, only to hear the same apology every time: “Hoo-wee, sorry, mouse man!”

“No problemo,” Mickey would shrug before drifting off into a whole tirade of thoughts and doubts about this dude’s piloting abilities that normally would have made him shudder. This guy was gonna pilot the Spaceboat Willie?

Yeah, well, they’d see about that.

...as soon as Blues got back, anyway. The third object of Mickey’s focus -- aside from Viz’s note and Star-Lord’s shenanigans -- was often the hangar door, his breath quickening ever so slightly as he worried that just as quickly as he’d found his best friend, the complete stranger he’d let him run off with would snatch him away.

“They’ll be here,” Laura said from the doorway to the bridge, her surprisingly comforting voice accompanied by a distinctly less relaxing shing sound as she sharpened one set of claws with the other. Mickey glanced over his shoulder at X-23, letting out a sigh as, for the first time around this quirky, mismatched duo, he decided to let just a little bit of his guard down.

“He’s my best friend,” the mouse king shrugged. “You guys get that, right?” He glanced between the two of them, and Laura scoffed, looking back to her claws. Peter caught up relatively quickly and started to cackle.

“Oh, shit,” he laughed, “this wet blanket? My best friend? Nah, man.” He glanced up at Laura, who’d started to scowl vaguely in his direction. “I mean, I like her though,” he corrected, spinning back to face Mickey and, hopefully, avoid the wrath of the Wolverine. “Yeah, she’s pretty cool.”

For the first time since he’d happened upon the Spaceboat with Peter and Laura -- “Heh, Willie, nice,” Quill had remarked -- Mickey Mouse let himself smile.

Then the ship lurched again.

“Goddammit, Peter,” Laura grunted as she stumbled and caught herself on the walls with her claws. Mickey cringed as he heard the sound of adamantium scraping his brand-new spaceboat.

“Hey, yo, I didn’t do anything,” Quill shot his hands up.

Attention: Captain Mickey Mouse,” the soothing yet apparently urgent voice of PLUTA chimed over the speakers. Mickey’s ears did a little bit of a dance at being called ‘Captain,’ but he quelled the excitement. Was this how Gilly felt when people called him ‘Your Majesty’? It’d been so long since anyone used a title for the mouse king he’d basically forgotten what it felt like. “Do not panic, but the Spaceboat is being boarded.”

“Don’t panic?” Star-Lord shouted first.

Please,” PLUTA sassed back. Mickey smirked. He kinda liked this weird, disembodied robot voice.

“By who, PLUTA?” he jumped to his feet, standing up in his chair as if somehow being taller would make him more comfortable with the title she’d unceremoniously bestowed upon him. Gosh, where’s Karl Jak’s collar when ya need it --

The ship lurched again, and Mickey tripped out of the chair and landed face-first on the control console. He lifted up his head and looked out the front window, and he saw, across the hangar bay, Arrdyn -- owner of the garage -- with his hands up and being backed up against a wall by some truly sketchy lookin’ thugs.

“Um,” he said, pushing himself to his feet and sliding off the control panels, “I think your buddies found ya, pals.”

He heard the by-now familiar snikt of Laura readying her claws and watched as Quill pulled his weapons from his belt, but the pitter-patter of feet coming down the hallways toward the bridge caught his attention much more than either of his companions’ quick draws. Aw, geez, they’re already on the goshdarn boat?

“Stay back, Little Mouse,” Star-Lord grasped Mickey’s shoulder and knelt down next to him, “we’ll take care of these guys for ya. I didn’t exactly sign up to be your pilot and your bodyguard, but I get it, you’re a little guy and we brought our problems to you, so.”

Mickey grinned. “Bodyguard, huh, pal?”

“Peter,” X-23 jumped in, “maybe we should let Mick handle these guys?”

Peter looked up at Laura with genuine concern in his eyes. “What? Laura, no way,” he said, and then, in a more hushed tone: “he’s small.”

Mickey nudged Quill’s hand off his shoulder and went to stand in the doorway, then glanced back at the ‘Lord of the Stars.’ “Watch and learn, pal.”

Star-Lord’s face scrunched into a quizzical expression as a pair of mismatched animal goons appeared in the corridor. A bunny rabbit with an eye patch carrying a club and a pig with a peg leg wielding a metal baseball bat stared down the mouse king as he leaned against the door frame, arms crossed and a shiitake mushroom-eating grin on his little face. He didn’t exactly know why everything here was so heckin’ weird -- like why were these guys dressed as pirates? -- but at this point, he found it a little easier to just, like… go with it.

“Hey, fellas!” he nodded, tipping an imaginary cowboy hat to the pair of pirate-themed thugs. “You guys the welcoming committee?”

“Who’s the mouse?” the pig huffed in a surprisingly deep voice.

“No idea,” the rabbit shrugged, “but he’s standin’ between us and the fat ginger, so.”

“Fat ginger?” Star-Lord yelled. “Come here and say that to my face!”

“Tell your mouse friend to move aside and I will, bozo,” the bunny sassed back.

“No can do, pal,” Mickey shook his head, standing upright and holding out a gloved hand. A white light flashed and his fingers wrapped around the hilt of his keyblade, knees bending a little bit into a fighting stance. “If ya want the ginger, ya gotta get through me.”

“Heh,” the pig chuckled, “piece o’ cake.”

Moments later, the thwang of the metal baseball bat slamming against Mickey’s Star Seeker rang throughout the corridor. The pig staggered back, a little taken aback by the Keyblade wielder’s agility, as his rabbit accomplice swiped for the mouse’s feet. Mickey leapt into the air, flipping over the rabbit and once again magically reforming his keyblade into a completely new sort of weapon.

Two tiny, blue pistols, with some yellow and purple designs carved out, materialized in his hands. The butt of one of them quickly connected with the back of the rabbit’s head, and as he skidded to the floor, Mickey aimed the other Arrowgun at the pig and fired off a blast.

The energy collided with the pig pirate’s chest, sending him backwards, and then lights flashed again as the Double Arrowguns crept up onto Mickey’s hands. The mouse sprinted for the pig and swung a roundhouse kick into his gut, sending him into the wall before one of the Agile Claws wrapped around his neck and punctured the metallic structure of the ship, trapping him there.

The mouse removed his hand from the gauntlet and turned to see Laura pinning the rabbit down with her own weaponized knuckles. “Nice claws,” the Wolverine nodded at her new, diminutive ally.

“Back at ya, pal!” Mickey smiled broadly.

“So,” she looked down at the bunny rabbit, “did Nalto just send you guys to clean up his mess or is he on his way here?”

“Oh, the boss man wanted to see to this personally,” the rabbit gave up easily, struggling ever-so-slightly against Laura’s grasp.

“Nice,” X-23 nodded, retracting one hand’s share of claws and launching a fist into the rabbit’s face. The bunny went slack, unconscious, and Mickey yanked his Agile Claw from the wall, whacked the pig in the noggin, and watched as he slumped to the ground as well. Behind Laura, Peter Quill’s jaw hung slightly agape.

“You just…” he sputtered.

“Close your mouth, ginger, it’s embarrassing,” Laura waved her talons at Quill.

“I am not a ginger!” Star-Lord shouted, and Mickey and Laura met eyes. The mouse began to giggle. “Dammit.”

“Language, pal!” Mickey scolded.

Laura strode down the hallway, claw-bumping Mickey and then looking further down the corridor where the thugs had appeared from. They’d seen more of them outside, but it didn’t seem like anymore had boarded the ship yet -- maybe they figured the pair of goons they’d sent would be enough to apprehend the Star-Lord and X-23, but Mickey didn’t know how they could underestimate people with cool names like that.

“So, Captain Mickey,” the Wolverine started, and Mickey caught himself feeling a little bit too proud. He could really get used to being called ‘Captain.’ “What next?”

Mickey thought for a sec, then held up the Agile Claws. “Let’s go say hi.”
 
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Laura Kinney

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Kinney let out a sigh as she looked down at herself. Her fairly standard attire was tattered, punched full of holes and stained with blood; hers and otherwise.

“Go and say hi it is. Just,” Laura glanced about the spaceboat for a moment, “Is there anywhere I can change? As much as I love ruining perfectly good clothes, let’s amp up the intimidation factor a little, eh?” Both the Mouse and Quill gave her a perplexed stare.

“You’re gonna change to up the intimidation factor?” Mickey quizzed her.

“Wait.. you’ve got a costume?!” Quill blurted out, barely containing a child-like grin.

“Uh, I guess?”

“Aaahahah! That is amazing!” Quill burst into laughter, likely out of excitement.

“Yeah. Brilliant. Mickey?”

“Oh, sure. Just through there.” Mickey pointed out a door just down the corridor.

“‘Scuse the language, Cap.” She gave the mouse a brief look before turning to Quill, “I swear, if you make a big deal out of this or make one comment.. One single comment out of place, I’ll rip your fucking throat out with my teeth.”

“Hey, hey. You said it. If you wanna give me a hickey, I’m all in, Honey Buns.” Laura turned to face the Guardian, her features contorted into a severe, almost wicked grin. Quill backed up in his seat a little and cleared his throat as the Wolverine approached him, a single claw emerging from her knuckle which she placed under his chin.

“Consider this your last warning, Quill.” He gulped, “I prefer the other you. No fucking idea what Kitty saw in you, though, Star-Prick.”

“Wait, wait, Kitty?” Quill called after her as she dragged the claw from underneath his chin and saunted from the cockpit. Mickey stood, flabbergasted at the exchange. These two were supposed to be friends, at least that’s what he thought.

Laura ducked away into the room the mouse had indicated and made damn sure the door was closed behind her. She let out a huff as she pulled her rucksack off and tossed it onto the bed within the room. After a little rummaging, she retrieved her suit. A yellow and blue, form-fitting suit made of a breathable, reinforced spandex weave, emblazoned with a red and black X on the centre of the belt that sat at her hips. She left the cowl off for the time being, leaving it resting at the nape of her neck. As she exited the room, she heard scampering down the corridor. She rounded the corner to the cockpit to see Quill scrambling to get back into the seat she’d left him in. Before she could speak, he piped up, grinning widely.

“Oh, this is perfect. You waited this long to pull this out of the bag?!”

“Yes, Quill. And you are precisely the reason for that.” Mickey stared up at her, a little in awe.

“If.. if you’re a superhero, what’s your superhero name?” Mickey questioned her after a slight pause.

“Wolverine. It’s.. It was my father's name. Seemed fitting, I guess.” Laura fell into a somber silence again before looking between Mickey and Peter, both of which quickly averted their gaze to the ground, “Let’s go say hi, then?”

“Oh, sure, sure. After you, pal.” Mickey squeaked. Quill remained seated for the moment as the Wolverine and the Mouse left the cockpit, slack jawed.

“Quill. If you’re staring at something you shouldn’t be, I’d suggest you get up and move, now.”

“Hell no. I was just.. Making sure.. Uh.. making sure the ship was turned off.”

Laura emerged from the Steamboat first, tugging her cowl up and over her face as she went. She exhaled and extended a hand towards Mickey, signalling for him to stop.

“Wait here a minute, Mick. I dunno how this is gonna go.” Mickey gave a small, hesitant nod. The last thing she wanted was for him to get caught in any crossfire. That, and she’d had enough of these goons. If things went south, she didn’t want to have to worry about watching his back as well.

“Be careful..” the mouse spoke, barely a whisper as she approached the trio of thugs, holding Arrdyn up.

“Alright, gents, that’s enough. It’s not him you’re after.” The Wolverine stepped up. The trio turned to face her, one barely held back a laugh as he looked her up and down.

“And who the fuck are you mean’a be, huh?”

“Let’s be honest, it’s not like you actually give two shits who I am. I’m not in the mood for pleasantries. You’ve got a job to do. But, we’ve got places to be and shit to do.”

“Alright, alright. Down to business, then. Bring me Star-Prick, boys.” Two of the thugs turned to face the mutant as she dropped her arms to her sides, her claws extending threateningly in the process.

“We both know that isn’t gonna happen. Just leave. I don’t wanna hurt any of you.” Laura drawled, “But I will.” The pair lurched forwards into a run. The Wolverine sprung into motion as well, stooping low as the first swung a metal bat for her head. There was a sickening crunch as she threw an uppercut and sank her claws into the thugs chin. She tore her claws free as the thugs form began to flicker and shimmer before dissipating into a thin, glittering mist and dispersed into nothingness. The second goon let out a roar, screaming at the loss of his colleague. He threw a wild haymaker, followed up with a swipe of his blade. Kinney responded in kind by letting out a beastial roar as she thrust both pairs of her claws into the sternum of the thug. He exhaled his last, gurgled breath and shimmered into nothingness, just like his companion. The last goon shrank into the wall and scrambled backwards, away from the Wolverine as she approached, but she didn’t strike. She knelt beside him and wrapped a hand around his neck, pulling him up to her eye level.

“You tell Nalto that we’re leaving. If he has a problem with it, he can come after us. But I’m telling you now. Whoever he brings, no matter how many, you’ll all end up like those two. Get the fuck out of here.”
 
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Josuke Higashikata

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The door to the motel room of Lincoln and John unlocks then opens, showing Lincoln stepping inside. He shut the door behind him and sees John already packing his belongings in a navy-blue briefcase, lying on top of the bed's covers. When that door soon opened, John's eyes shot up away from focusing on packing hastily to see his colleague's return finally.

"I assumed you find our ride off this acid trip of a planet?" John questions and returns to finishing packing for the journey.

"I did, but you will probably not believe the spaceship's owner is a talkin' cartoon mouse," Lincoln answers to John and walks over to a corner of the room to grab a green army duffel bag.

"Christ, I'm still trying to cope that this is the reality now. We are squatting in a weird *8-bit* society, and next door is toon town where I'm afraid to walk downtown because a piano or an anvil will drop on top of me from some ungrateful shit-grin eating dickhead." John mentions, shutting the briefcase closed full of clothes, personal hygiene items, and the motel's bars of body soap.

"Ain't that the truth." Lincoln agrees, packing his duffle bag with shirts, pants, underwear, socks, and other personal belongings.

Mr. Donovan reaches down next to his bed, grabbing a bottle of bourbon from a brown paper bag and two whiskey glasses.

"A little celebration for our voyage," Donovan mentions showing the bottle and two glasses to share.

Lincoln smiles at the fact of celebrating their accomplishment with some hard alcohol.

His colleague walks over to the nightstand and sets the two glasses on top of the 8-bit wooden surface. He pops the cap off with one swift yank then pours the hardened liquor into the glasses, half-full. After Lincoln finishes packing, he throws the duffel bag on top of his bed, and the two grab their drinks.

"To new opportunities in the crossroads! Finding a place where we fit!" John celebrates as Lincoln, and he raises their drinks, clinging the glasses together, making a satisfying sound.

After drinking for five minutes, they grab their belongings and leave the motel room with everything shut off. They must make a trip to the motel's welcoming desk to drop off their keys. This process only took a couple of minutes to accomplish, but soon after, they hailed for a pixelated taxi car. The two rode for twenty minutes facing traffic and red lights. They arrived at one of the main spaceports of Nos'Talgia that held many assortments of ships and their colorful species mixed crews.

The spaceport is currently busy and filled by random species of humanoid or non-humanoid that make the universe of the crossroads interesting. John would occasionally shift his eyes around at all the conscious minds that passed him and still uneasy that this isn't normal for him. Most of the time, they feel like they were apart of a sci-fi novel or Hollywood flick. While walking and curiously figuring out, which hanger will have Mickey's ship, they run into the captain's closest longtime friend assisting him on his adventures, Proto Man. Momentarily, the advanced-technological android had his back turn until Lincoln called him out.

"Hey, Mouse's friend!" Lincoln called out loudly, making the Proto Man turning his hand around and smirking the fact of the familiar face he seen back at the bar.

"Hey! Lincoln, isn't it?" the robot questioned, still not familiar yet with Lincoln's presence.

"Yeah, I brought my friend along, as I said. Don't mind him too much. He's still trying to get used to fitting here." Lincoln pointed to his colleague, standing next to him.

"Hello there. John Donovan." Mr. Donovan introduced himself yet curious about the technology that made up Proto Man.

"Nice to meet you, John, the name is Proto Man." Mickey's pal greeted John at his arrival.

"Where's your partner you were pickin' up?" Lincoln questioned realizing Proto Man didn't have the person Mickey mentioned back at the bar.

"Not coming, there are other important things Viz must take care of." Proto Man answers on the current situation with his visor glaring from the lighting.

"Let's move along, so we don't keep the others waiting." Lincoln mentions and the android agrees soon to be walking down the corridor to find where Mickey kept his ship.

Shortly after, they find the garage that kept Mickey's ship, and witnesses the final reveal that will get them off this crazy world, a steamboat. Lincoln could not believe that this is a spaceship that Mickey mentioned back at the bar. The sight of this cartoon-made space boat just sent John into a laughing matter.

"You got to be fucking kidding me, a steamboat? For Christ sake, what are we going to do, whistle a tune of kumbaya, and somehow break the laws of gravity to reach space?" John laughs at the fact that just how all that lead to this moment can fail.

"Hey, my friend is capable of doing amazing things." Proto Man shoots back at John for not believing in how they will leave this place in a steamboat.

"Yeah sure, whatever. I'll believe it when I see it with my own two fucking eyes." John mentions, taking a good view of their ticket off Nos'Talgia.

"By the way, you might want to keep in check with those choices of words. My friend doesn't tolerate any foul language," the robot explains before walking away from the pair of humans.

Proto Man proceeds toward the steamboat while leaving the two gazing at the cartoon boat.

"Hey man, I'm willin' to take the risk," Lincoln mentions passing his partner in crime, following behind the android.

After taking in what has now become uncanny, John takes a good swig out of the metallic flask and puts it back inside his blazer.

Meanwhile, Mickey looks through one of the window panels of the bridge and notices the rest has shown up for takeoff.

"Great timing! Our fellas finally arrived!" Mickey expresses in a jolly manner, dashing out of the bridge, leaving Laura and Peter.

The king opens a black and white metal cartoon door that matches the rest of the theme that built the boat's character and greets everyone on the main deck. He even shook John's hand after the stranger's introduction.

"Welcome aboard the space boat Willie! Come on inside, fellas. Let's get this show on the road." The mouse excitedly says, guiding them inside the steamboat.

"What a mess, I just shook hands with a toon and now about to trust him with our lives believing that this thing can take us to space?!?" John whispers intimately to Lincoln's ear quietly so that Mickey could not hear, but the king is too busy making small conversation with his longtime buddy.

They gather on the bridge and prepare to launch before any obstacle gets in their way once again. There were enough seats for everyone to sit their bodies in the piloting control room of the ship. Lincoln realized Laura changed into an outfit that did fit a comic book superhero's appearance of his time. Her cowl was off since no combat was present.

"What's with the suit, you guys had any problems earlier?" Lincoln is curiously gazing at X-23's outfit but not in a rude way.

"Pardon my language captain; we ran into assholes earlier that we have a little history now thanks to Quill's schemes," Laura explains while crossing her arms and leaning her hips against the frame of a control panel.

"You're welcome by the way for making new friends." Peter butts in across the bridge while still figuring out how this boat will fly.

Laura scowls at Quill, rolling her eyes at the kind of manner that her partner carries. Lincoln thinks it's funny to see how the two interact but no laughter, only a smirk. Meanwhile, John stands next to Peter, four feet away, while wondering if this was a good idea.

"You a pilot too?" the galactic outlaw, Star-Lord questions while turning his seat to face Donovan.

"No, I'm just trying to wonder if we are going to die in this deathtrap," John answers, turning his head to meet Quill's

"Not to worry, amigo. You're looking at the finest pilot in the galaxy. Well… I have never flown a boat into space before. Name is Star-Lord, well my friends call me Peter Quill or shithead when it comes to spandex-wearing twinkle claws over there." Peter introduces himself to John while filling with ego about his title.

"John Donovan. Earlier, you said you have never flown a boat into space before, right?" Mr. Donovan introduces himself yet paranoid of what Quill said.

"Uh Maybe…" the space outlaw answers but not wholly to cover up any cons about his pilot skills.

"Great, now you excuse me, I need to count my prayers before I realize I'm dead and stuck in hell. Bourbon and tobacco can help me with that." John says, walking away to ask Mickey where their cabins will be to drop off his belongings.

The captain of the Spaceboat Willie does tell where everyone will be staying in the case to get some sleep or privacy. Lincoln and John go to their rooms to leave their luggage in before making their way back to the bridge. After that, they rejoined the crew, and everyone is ready for lift-off.

The wild bunch sit in their seating and strap their seat belts in for safety. Quill remained in the captain's chair to man the boat because he's the designated pilot.

Everyone acknowledged that they were ready to take off and send this boat into orbit. The outlaw guardian commences the steamboat's thrusters to heat up by flipping random switches that control the engine's part. Suddenly, the thrusters roar to life by Quill's actions. They hissed as the fuel pumps into the fuel system to bring life to this magnificent technology. When the thrusters were at the perfect temperature, Quill flips another switch that now fully activates the thrusters. The ship makes another unnatural roar but louder this time.

While the thrusters were hot, the smokestacks cartoonishly go up and down, releasing puffs of black smoke that sure could cover anyone's face completely in soot. Quill gives the go-to signal to the traffic command that they were ready for takeoff. The air traffic controller gives them the green light to fly into a specific sector. The garage roof opens automatically above the space boat, revealing the bright sun that shines down and fully encases the ship with sunlight. At the moment, the ship begins to hover off the ground as the thrusters run at a calm control.

Hard shaking occurred when Quill manages to get the ship off the ground, jerking everyone around uncomfortably.

"All right, let's see how this ship sails," Peter utters before pulling the vertical thruster lever that sends the ship higher in the air.

They lift above the garages of the grounded spaceport, and a magnificent view reveals over the videogame-made paradise. Getting to the satisfied altitude the pilot wanted, he engages the thruster throttle. The steamboat chugs in an old fashion, releasing more puffs of black smoke outward from the squeezing smokestacks. More fuel combustion powers the thruster immensely, and in an instance, the space boat takes off across the clear blue sky at incredible speeds. Everyone's heads and stomachs get sent back, pushing against the comfortable leather seats of how powerful the launch control is capable.

A smile comes across Quill's face of finally using his piloting skills after a dreadful hiatus and sending the first boat into space.
 
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