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What Next #1
This story was written (almost) entirely by fans.

BZZZZZZT! The alarm went off. Jack Renard groaned and smashed his hand on the "sleep" button. But suddenly he realized... 1 His crush was siting next to him! AHHHHHHH! Jack was married. 2 Jack stared blankly at her, then at the wall as he tried to recall the events of the previous night. 3 He remebered that he was in a battle last night... but was it really just last night? It felt like it had lasted forever... no matter how or what he thew at the guy... he just would'nt go away.. what did he look like... for the life of him, Jack could'nt remember- just a black shawdow. How did he get out of it... he could'nt remember defeating the villian. Had someone saved him...? He turned and lightly shook Arden, hopeing she might know something. Jack thought he saw her eyes twich, but that was about it. "Hey! Het Arden, wake up!" Jack said, shaking her just a bit rougher than before. He eyebrows knit slightly, but she still was'nt waking up. A feavor of panic arose in Jack. He clamored to stand up, but it seems that his legs would'nt only let him sit up. "Arden! Arden! This'nt is'nt funny! We're not safe here!" There was a draf of cold air coming from somewhere... but the windows we'rnt opened... and it seemed so dark out despite being seven in the morning. Jack looked about. Something was definately not right. 4 Then, the realisation struck him, with painful clarity -- THEIR ROOM HAD NO FIRE ESCAPE!! "Quick, we need to get out of here," he said! "Our home isn't as fire-safe as it should be!" When he rolled back over, however, he saw that the woman next to her wasn't actually Arden, it was 5 Arden's evil twin from the mirror dimension! 6 "Wait a minute, what is Nedra doing here?" (What else would you name someone from another dimension?) 7 Poor Jack was very confused. Suddnely, Nedra sat up and looked at him. She grinned evilly and said, 8 "Moooooooooooooooooo!!!" 9 As you might guess, that is about the last thing Jack was expecting to hear from an evil twin of his heart throb, so it certainly didn't make him any less confused. That started to change when Nedra flung the covers off the bed and stood up. He found that from about the waist down, he was duct taped to the bed! From downstairs came the sound of some large, hoofed creature and Jack stared at Nedra in open horror. In that special way that evil people seem to have, she smiled and explained, "Yes, the sound I just made is the mating call of the man-eating cow of my world. When the bull arrives and finds you instead of a mate, he'll eat you." "So what's going to save you?" asked Jack. Nedra rolled her eyes. "Dummy. I said it was a man-eating cow. Do I look like a man?" "Oh..." The hooves could be heard clattering up the stairs now, and suddenly 10 he realised he'd gotten one leg free from the bed! Then he realised how much ripping duct tape off hurts when you're covered in fur. "AAAAAAAAUGH!" he yelled, grabbing at his leg. This sudden yell came just in time, however, as the Man-Eating Cow 11 ...started dancing about. Turns out Jack's scream sounded akin to the newests dance song from the cows world. The man eating cow pranced about, across the room, over the table, and into the closet. Jack just blinked. Minus and hours passed...Jack and Nedra stared at the door, waiting for it to open... to hear even a sound... 12 Suddenly, the door burst open! Jack shrank back in horror, fot he Man-Eating Cow had somehow transformed into... 15 a telemarketer, already breathlessly into the spiel:"Yes, friends, when I found out how time-sensitive this great offer was I just knew I had to share it with you at once, while you still had time to act! Think of all you could do with enhanced transdimensional portal access! We've got all the latest technology, high-speed vroadband, nifty jelly colors, (puff! Wheeeeze!) multi-dimensional linking, all you could want! Imagine yourself or your friend here transported instantly to the dimension of your choice! But you have to act now! The price is only 50 easy payments of 100 gold each (plus shipping and handling) but that will soon be a thing of the past! I can take your plastic now! What do you say?" Jack looked slyly out of the corner of his eye at his unwanted companion. He didn't do mental math very well, and this looked like a great time to ship this "friend" to a dimension he, Jack, would choose. Evil possibilities loomed. But then... 16 the telemarketer went back into his speech. "Act now and receive these limited edition Ginsu Spoons! Great for slicing through the thickest soups. *not responsible for damage to face or mouth*. And if you buy within the next ten minutes we'll even throw in this handy dandy Flowbee! The only device for cutting your hair that connects directly to your vacuum cleaner!" 17 Jack stared at the telemarketer, and then he realized...he didn't have any money or plastic on him...DAMN! 18 Of course, that really didn't matter because that's when Nedra chose to make her move. "Free limited edition Ginsu Spoons? I'll take it!" she exclaimed jumping off the bed and whipping out her Asiv card. (What else would a mirror dimension's credit card be called?) One quick transaction later and the telemarketer disappeared, but now Nedra had a transdimensional portal and what was worse - a set of Ginsu Spoons and a Flowbee! She spun back to face the bed and menace Jack with a really bad fur day when... 19 a certain talk show hostess poked here head through the door from the stairs and exclaimed: "Oh, yessss!!! An Involuntary makeover! Just what we need for our latest venture: a cross over of day talk shows with reality TV! Just hold on while I get the lawyers and waivers; I'll make you both stars!" Nedra was briefly perplexed by this opportunity to make profit from her evildoing, and Jack saw his chance. Quickly, he... 20 grabbed the Flowbee and shaved his remaining leg free (how fortunate that it was battery-operated!). then he danced around the bed and taunted Nedra: "neener, neener, can't get me!" She rushed around in a frenzy but could not catch him. "chortle, chortle", he chortled; "chortle, ch-heh?ack!" for Nedra had vaulted through the air in a perfect 360 flip and landed on his head. "who's got the last chortle now? chortle, ch--eeep!yiii!" as Jack desperately grasped her ankles and tumbled them both through the portal, where they found themselves in... 21 a bamboo forest! The sounds of the leaves rustling echoed through their ears. The ground was dusty, and it was dark. What to do? The rustling grew louder. Jack looked cautiously at the leaves as they covered the ground like water. Nedra jumped into his arms. "I'm scared!! Save me!" she exclaimed as Jack dropped her on the leaves. "Not likely, Duct-tape lady!!" he called out as he walked through the leaves, which seemed to claw at his feet. Nedra sat there half confused and up to her waist in leaves... "why won't he help...?" she thought as the leaves opened up a hole and who else should appear but... 22 the real Arden! "Nedra... He seems to be playing hard to get... Let's go show him how to really treat a lady!" she said, then helped her mirror-twin to her feet. Arden whispered the plan into Nedra's ear as a grin creeped across her face. Jack wandered through the bamboo forest. "HEEEELLLLLPPP!!!!!" suddenly echoed through the leaves so loud that he had to cover his ears. "Arden!!" he called out as he ran through the forest in search of her. As he stepped into a clearing, he saw... 23 a tour group driving through the Aisan Jungle Tour portion of Yensid's Animal Kingdom. Several mothers gasped and put their hands over the children's eyes because Jack was only wearing a shirt and undies to go with his recently shaved legs. The driver stopped the vehicle and spoke into his walkie talkie, "We've got another weirdo in the dragon exhibit again. Why is it always on my shift?" 24 Thinking quickly, Jack pulled the driver out of the tour group and into some bushes. "Here's my leg hair I just shaved off. If I give it to you, can you give me your suit?" "Can I?? Wow, I'd kill for leg shavings like these! They're so soft and silky and--" "Enough with the small talk. I need some clothes!!" The driver gave Jack his uniform and drove off wearing a pair of heart-spotted boxers as the rest of the tour group stared. Jack dressed quickly and headed through the forest in search of Arden, but as he stepped between a pair of bushes, "HEEEEEEELLLLLPPPP!!!" echoed so loud that he lost his balance and fell into... 25 The steaming soap pot of a hungry Chinese dragon (it is a Dragon exhibit!). The dragon was amazed "Aiyah! Fox and sour soup! You need to be barbequed." With that the dragon took in a breath and breathed fire! However Jack's new suit was made of titanium neo-weave primuim norplex (don't ask I have no idea) and therefore immune to fire. Jack leaped from pot. Taking the queue the dragon grabbed the seam on his body and removed the plastic suit revealing an Asian fox samurai who then proceeded to try to ginzu Jack. Dancing through the flurry of slashes, Jack stumbled upon an Ancient Chinese magic bag of items. He needed a something to defend himself. Just then the Fox samurai scored a lucky hit cutting through Jack's side. "Yeeow!" He exclaimed and stuck his hand into the bag and pulled out a... 26 The steaming soap pot of a hungry Chinese dragon (it is a Dragon exhibit!). The dragon was amazed "Aiyah! Fox and sour soup! You need to be barbequed." With that the dragon took in a breath and breathed fire! However Jack's new suit was made of titanium neo-weave primuim norplex (don't ask I have no idea) and therefore immune to fire. Jack leaped from pot. Taking the queue the dragon grabbed the seam on his body and removed the plastic suit revealing an Asian fox samurai who then proceeded to try to ginzu Jack. Dancing through the flurry of slashes, Jack stumbled upon an Ancient Chinese magic bag of items. He needed a something to defend himself. Just then the Fox samurai scored a lucky hit cutting through Jack's side. "Yeeow!" He exclaimed and stuck his hand into the bag and pulled out a... 27 beanbag pony doll! "What the heck am I s'posed to do with this?" Jack thought to himself as he dropped it on the ground and searched for another item to use. The pony beanbag fell to the ground and burst open, scattering marbles everywhere! Each marble exploded with a tiny "Poh!" sound, and a circle of fire came from several of the marbles. Jack looked around at the other marbles scattered everywhere. When the Fox samurai stepped on one, it exploded and knocked him back. Unaware of what he was doing, Jack popped one of the marbles into his mouth and the wound on his side healed. Next, Jack gathered up as many marbles as he could and threw them at the Fox samurai! The marbles... 28 smashed against a darkly glowing jewel on the helmet of the fox samurai and exploded shattering the jewel. Instantly the samurai was transformed back into an ordinary teenage fox in school clothes. "Thanks for freeing me, Jack," he said. "How'd you know my name?" asked Jack. "Huh? Oh, um...I didn't. Its just an expression." "Oh yeah," murmurred Jack. "Yeah, look, the name's Corey, but I'm also secretly known as Foxfire, Samurai of the Red Dragon." Jack looked at him quizzically. "Not much of a secret..." "Yeah, well, ever since the evil Lord Meeney put the Beast Jewels on us so he could control us, he's pretty much known our identities." Jack snickered, "Lord Meanie? Who the heck calls themselves that?" "No, MEENEY - he's really sensitive about that. Anyway, I've gotta free my friends and then we can help rescue Arden from Lord Meeney." "Um, sure, but how do you know Lord Meeney has her?" Corey rolled his eyes. "Because Lord Meeney has a complete monopoly on evil deeds in this realm - he ruthlessly squashes anyone that might try to oppose him. I wasn't wearing that Beast Jewel as a fashion statement after all." "Riiight. Okay, well, I think there's still a few of those weird exploding marbles left..." "Exploding marbles? Where?" "Look down. That's also where that weird Chinese bag is." Corey looked at the ground around them and snatched up the bean bag pony and the Chinese bag as well. "Great! All of our magic talismans are still here!" Interestingly enough, the pony seemed to be intact and full again. Corey held it aloft and shouted, "Firebrand, come to me!" A little flame symbol on the pony beanie's flank glowed and suddenly Corey and the beanie were transformed. Once again Jack was facing the Fox samurai, but this time, the Fox was on the back of a firey maned horse. "Mount up behind me," said the samurai. Jack shrruged and climbed up behind him. "Ready when you are, Corey." "I'm in my armor now - the name's Foxfire." "Um...yeah. Sorry. Just a sec..." Jack turned his head aside and quickly slipped on his Midnight Fox Mask. "There, that's better." Foxfire looked back and gasped. "Who are you? What have you done with Jack?" he growled prepared to knock Jack back off. "Relax! Its still me!" He lifted the mask to let Foxfire get a look at the real him again. "You can call me Midnight Fox." "Whoa, cool name dude! Good mask too. Sorry about the misunderstanding." "No problem," grinned Jack and lowered his mask again. The two set off traveling through the other dragon exhibits freeing Stacy aka. Airedale, Samurai of the White Dragon who rides Thunderbird, Deidra aka. Water Tiger, Samurai of the Blue Dragon who rides Wave Runner, and Brad aka. Stone Marten, Samurai of the Black Dragon who rides Rocket. Together, they and Midnight Fox thundered out of the zoo headed for the evil Lord Meeney's Fortress of Much Unpleasantness! As they approached... 29 the floor beneath them began to crumble. The whole group fell down deep into the ground and landed on a large haystack. A rotting smell surrounded them and the sights of skeletons and dead bodies were everywhere. Above the stone brick wall was a sign: "PLAYROOM" Midnight Fox shuddered. "Yuck, this smells worse than Iggy's sweatsocks!" The group stepped through the main big door and into a plain room. It was solid white. There was no furniture anywhere! Suddenly, from the ceiling appeared... 30 Nothing... All that suspense for nothing... Yet, Arden's voice still echoed through the halls... The plain white room started to melt away, so Midnight Fox and the others dashed toward the door. Unfortunately, the moment Midnight stepped through the door, it shut tight, sealing off everybody else. As he stood facing the door, Midnight Fox could hear "Go on!" "We'll be fine!" "Go save Arden!" and "I like cheese!" from behind. Midnight Fox turned around to see where he was. To his disbelief, he saw... 31 a ten foot tall plush teddy bear! That wouldn't be bad if it weren't stomping towards the Midnight Fox and growling. 32 Midnight Fox looked up at the teddy bear searching for a weakness... A broken seam, or a tear, or anything... but saw nothing. What would happen to our hero? The bear inched forward a bit closer and swiped a giant plush paw at him, knocking him several feet away toward the door. That's when Midnight Fox saw the zipper on the back! Thinking quickly, he dashed around the bear and jumped for the zipper. Too late! Another paw swiped at him again, knocking him into the door he came in from. Voices could be heard from the next room: "Don't give up!" "trust your instincts!" "You can do it!!" From beneath the door, a small envelope slid under. Midnight opened it up and saw one of the marbles from earlier. A note inside said "eat me." Midnight Fox wasn't sure what to do, but when he looked up at the giant bear, he swallowed the marble. When the marble released its power, it made him... 33 incredibly fast! Jack ran around behind the bear and jumped up onto its back, latching onto the zipper as the power wore off. Back to his regular speed, he pulled the zipper as hard as he could, and inside the bear was Arden standing on top of her mirror-twin's shoulders! "What did you do this time, Arden?" was all that Jack could say. Nedra grinned. "Silly boy! This isn't her fault! This will be my triumph!" Then she pulled off her 'face' to reveal that she was a lawn flamingo! Jack got confused. "Right... I thought you already owned the world..." The flamingo just chuckled. "Who cares about owning the world when I can own Paraguay? Wa ha ha ha ha!!" Jack reached into his back pocket and pulled out a deed entitled "Paraguay" and handed it to the pink one. "Can we go home now?" The flamingo took the paper and ran off. "Sure! Later, suckers!" 34 Jack glared after the new Emperor of Paraguay. "Stupid lawn flamingos, always causing trouble." He looked at Arden, "So how do we get home, anyway?" Arden rolled her eyes, "It's obvious, if you think about it, silly." At that moment... BZZZZZZZZZT!!! The alarm went off again! Jack sat up in bed and stared around him. No lawn flamingos, no Man-Eating cows, no Arden. Only an odd sensation coming from his stomache. He grunted. That's the LAST time I have artichoke pizza and chocolate milk before bed." He smacked the snooze button again, and went back to sleep. THE END 35