Chapter 23: Is That a Pack of Sugarless Gum in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Glad to See Me?

  1. Chapter 22: Not a good jumping on point
  2. RAC Challenge!
  3. Chapter 24: Annual

In the murky depths of unconsciousness, knowledge came to Paragon the Ultimate Man. It was not a new sensation, but never had he experienced such clarity. He understood the true nature of his Ultimate Power, and why he was chosen by the Ultimate Collective. He also knew that, in order to preserve the fragile fabric of the Multiverse, Earth’s sun had to die.

Earlier, he felt like he was a ghost who occasionally experienced periods of life. Now he knew why he felt like that. He was dead.

Somehow, he knew that he died at the age of 12. His uncle, Horst Bock-Pilsner Malevo, used the Ultimate Marble to resurrect him. Instead, he drew every Dirk Darrenger in the Multiverse from their respective alternate dimensions and merged them into one being, whom he mistook for his resurrected nephew.

Dirk’s new Omniversal body made him the perfect candidate to receive the Ultimate Power, but his existence had dangerously weakened reality. The ridiculous events of the past few months are a clear sign of this. To heal reality, Dirk must split himself back into multiple beings throughout the Multiverse. Every Dirk that he had seen in his dreams will each live their own lives.

But splitting himself up will require a tremendous explosion. For example, the explosion of Earth’s sun. Dirk’s weakness to intense solar radiation will shatter him when the sun goes boom, the countless Dirk Darrengers will return to their worlds, and all will be right with the Multiverse.

Paragon also knew that his current writer was from the Patrollers Universe, and he thanked the Collective that this story actually saw the light of day.

Dirk woke up in a secret bunker underneath Washington DC. He lay on a comfortable bed and he was wrapped in silk sheets. Two giant, armor-plated PEZ dispensers towered over him. One was modeled after Donald Duck, the other after Donny Osmond.

Dirk instantly recognized the war machines which had knocked him unconscious back in Dr. Malevo’s secret lab. They were the robot sentries of the Candy Commandos, an elite strikeforce modeled after the candy products of the late twentieth century. They came from the year 2259 of Alternate Future # 491320431980.

The Paragon of that future timeline sent the Candy Commandos to the year 1995 to knock out the present-day Paragon. While unconscious, his connection to the Universe Wide Web would solidify.

That’s how Dirk knew all this now. He was actively drawing information from the Web, rather than passively tapping it through strange dreams.

The Power Enforcement Ziggarauts backed away from Dirk’s bed. From behind them came four blonde, chipper-looking Nordic young adults.

Dirk looked at one of them and muttered softly, “Is that a pack of sugarless gum in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?”

“Actually, sir,” he replied, “it’s the source of our powers.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a roll of candy mints.

“Oh yeah,” Dirk said. “I know who you are. You’re the Freshmaker Corps.” Dirk accessed the Web and learned that the Freshmakers were the elite troops of the Candy Commandos. By ingesting their mints, which were irradiated by quadraflux energy, they gained the incredible powers to annoy old people in irreverent yet non-threatening manners.

For the first time in his life, Dirk actually missed the Ultimate Twins.

Back in the secret lab of Dr. Malevo, the OMNI-2995 computer system continued the experiment which Paragon initiated. Wild streams of energy flowed through the capacitors which lined the walls of the lab.

“initiate dimensional grid realignment” boomed the sterile voice of the OMNI.

A panel opened in the street above the lab. Out of it rose the Hyper-Cannon, an invention so unpredictable, even Malevo dared not use it in his plots against the Ultimate Man. Yet, fate decreed that the cosmic contraption would come to life now. It fired the strange energies generated by the lab into the air. Bolts of hyper-dimensional energy shot forth and spanned the globe.

The lanes of the Interdimensional Superhighway realigned themselves under the influence of the Hyper-Cannon.

And with it realigned the fate of the world.

“Everyone move as quickly and as calmly as possible, and you’ll all be safe!” shouted the Atomic Atlas. He was a member of Earth’s greatest heroes, the Delta Squadron. The Atlas helped direct the masses of Dixon City through a glimmering portal.

That portal was maintained by Torbin, a member of the Settlers. The Settlers were a band of time-travelers from Earth’s future. They desperately tried to transport all of Earth’s inhabitants to the planet Gammani, which they had colonized in the future, before the sun explodes.

The evacuation process was overseen by Aridalla, another Settler. She is the one who foresaw Earth’s inevitable destruction. At least, she believed that it was inevitable, and no one else said otherwise.

When the last of Dixon City’s inhabitants walked through the portal, Torbin closed it. Suddenly, Aridalla screamed, “No! Don’t close the portal!” But her warning was too late.

The Atomic Atlas shrunk down to his normal size and asked, “What’s wrong? Did you have another vision?”

“Yes. The portal was altered. It didn’t lead to Gammani!”

“Where did it lead?” asked Atlas.

“It… it lead into a lifeless void. All those people are now dead.”

“No!” cried the Atomic Atlas. “Who could have done such a horrible thing?”

Aridalla’s eyes narrowed. “Paragon,” she said.

“That bastard! I knew we couldn’t trust him!” Atlas reached for his communicator. “I’ll alert the rest of the Squadron and we’ll get him-”

“No! The Settlers will take care of Paragon. You organize the rest of Earth’s population.”

“If you insist,” Atlas said warily.

“Indeed, I do,” said Aridalla.

Torbin frowned with worry. He knew Aridalla was lying.

Torbin, directed by Aridalla’s visionary powers, teleported the Settlers into the secret bunker of the Candy Commandos.

“You bastard!” Aridalla shouted at Paragon. “How dare you interfere with our evacuation process!”

Paragon raised his hands in a gesture of peace. “Please, let me explain everything.”

“You’re disrupting the natural flow of events.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” replied Paragon. “There is no natural flow of events. There is no one set path. Surely, with your tenuous connection to the Universal Wide Web, you can understand that?”

“What I understand is that you stole our colonists when you realigned the Interdimensional Superhighway.”

“They are not your colonists. They are human beings with a right not to endure the horrible life you have planned for them on Gammani. A life full of hideous mutations and death!”

“How do you know about that?”

“I know because I’ve finally opened my eyes. And all it took was a rocket blast from a giant PEZ dispenser.”


“I also know that I’ve sent Dixon City’s citizens to a paradise, where they may live free from the fickle flow of reality.”

The confused refugees from Dixon City looked around. They were in a small island city. The buildings had a quaint, Mediterranean appearance and cobblestone roads wound all around them. A large sign hanging from the tallest nearby structure read “Welcome to Cessitrale, ex-home of the Patroller Aventine”

Two men appeared out of nowhere. One was Dirk Armington, the Dragonslayer. The second was the Man in the Black Trenchcoat, and he carried a megaphone. “Greetings, everyone. You’re probably wondering where the hell you are right now. This is a place where all the discarded, forgotten, and stillborn literary creations of the RACC can find a refuge.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the PRICKworld.”

“The PRICKworld?!” gasped Aridalla. “That’s it. Settlers, attack!”

Paragon lunged at the Settlers, but the mechanical joints in his body froze from lack of oil. With a loud clank! he hit the ground.

Pira, the pyrokinetic Settler, laughed and set Dirk on fire.

A Hulk PEZ robot took out Pira with a cherry flavored missile.

Malloc, another Settler, hid behind a mannequin and raised force fields to protect his teammates.

But the mannequin was actually Freshmaker-1 in disguise. He knocked out Malloc and the force fields dropped.

Torbin didn’t know which side of the battle to take. He was a loyal Settler, but somehow, Paragon’s words rang true. What was the right thing to do?

Freshmaker-2 sent an army of construction workers into the fray. They ran towards Midge, the superlucky Settler, and the floor beneath them caved in.

Freshmaker-3 took pictures while Freshmaker-4 threw on a makeshift apron and ran to get a pitcher of water.

Freshmaker-4 returned with a pitcher of water and a can of oil. Unfortunately, he accidentally threw the oil on the burning Paragon first.

That’s when the whole bunker began to shake. A blinding flash filled the room, and when everyone’s sight returned, they saw the cosmic supervillain Enthropy. “So,” he shouted, “you’ve decided to come out of retirement, eh Paragon? Now I’ll get a chance to destroy you before I destroy your sun!”

“Enthropy’s destroying the sun?” thought the burning Paragon. “I didn’t know that!”

Next Issue: Why does Enthropy want to destroy the sun? Who will save Paragon from Enthropy? When will Baron von Frankelin find out about this mess? These questions will be answered by J. C. Payne in the next chapter of the RAC Challenge:

“Hot Tub Vigilantes” or “The Secret Life of Newt Gingrich”

This has been a Power Rolers Production

  1. Chapter 22: Not a good jumping on point
  2. RAC Challenge!
  3. Chapter 24: Annual