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Title: Project Nexus
Chapter: Not So Happy Days
Rating: T
Fandom: TGWTG/ Spoony Experiment
Character(s): Nostalgia Critic, Nostalgia Chick, MarzGurl, Spoony, Linkara, Doctor Tease , Doctor Insano, Professor Celluloid, Malachite, Bennett The Sage
Pairing(s): None
Warnings: AU. mild language, violence.

Disclaimer:Any recognizable characters that appear in this fic are property of their respective contributors at ThatGuyWithTheGlasses , therefore I do not own them, nor do I intend any disrespect toward either the character or the contributor portraying them. Also any concepts/ideas borrowed from Power Rangers/Super Sentai are property of Saban and Toei, respectively. Any other properties mentioned/used are also property of their respective owners.


*Special Note: This chapter marks the beginning of this story being co-written with EsaEnai of Fanfiction.Net,I strongly encourage you to check out her work, especially if you are a Lord of the Rings or Doctor Who fan.


Meanwhile, just outside of the other end of town, Chick huffed a breath, trying to make herself comfortable next to her two teammates in the small backseat of the car.
The ride into Pleasantville was beginning to wear on all of them— well, all of them except Chip and Missy, who sat contentedly in the front seat, occasionally making bland remarks to their passengers. Their conversation prowess was more than lacking, and Chick could now say that she knew more about the Riverside Broncos, chemistry class, and the last drive-in movie than she ever wanted to know.

The Critic and Linkara were about as hyper-focused as Wholesome #1 and Wholesome #2, but on a much more irritating subject: the amount of space each had.

“Move,” Critic said for the tenth time, shoving against Linkara’s side. The comic geek scowled at him, shoving back.
You move.”

“I’m riding the hump,” Critic whined. “I already have no space. You’ve got a fudging bachelor pad over there!” The laugh track chortled, causing Chick to cringe, as Critic scooted as hard as he could over towards Linkara, who gave a grunt of annoyance.

“Stop butting my butt!”
“Stop butting my butt!”

Chick rounded on both, fuming. “I will butt both your butts into oblivion if you don’t shut up.” She wasn’t entirely sure how the two in the front seat didn’t overhear them, but she figured it followed Sitcom Law. If you weren’t talking to someone, they didn’t hear you. Simple.

“So,” Chip spoke up, taking his eyes off the road and turning all the way around in his seat. He had done this almost once a minute during the entire ride, and they had yet to be T-boned by a semi-truck. “What were the three of you doing out on the highway? Pretty sure there are better places to picnic.”
The laugh track howled.

“Out for a walk,” Critic said quickly. All four of them gave him an odd look, and he hurriedly added, “We got lost…?”

“Walking from where?” Missy asked. “Pleasantville is a long way away… and anyways, I haven’t seen you three around school. Where did you three say you were from?”

“Not Riverside, right?” Chip joked, “I might have to kick you Broncos out on the curb!” Missy gave her boyfriend’s shoulder a light slap, as the reviewers shook their heads and the laugh track went off. Chip shrugged, eyes beginning to look just a little less swell. “But… if you’re not from Pleasantville… and you’re not from Riverside… where else could you be from?”

Chick swore inwardly. “We’re from… the town next to Riverside.”

Missy and Chip looked interested, and a little wary.

“There’s another town besides Riverside?” Missy asked eagerly.


“Oh, sure,” Linkara piped up. “We’re from… uh…” He looked desperately at the other two, but both had nothing. “Uh… Pallet Town?”

Critic and Chick could have slapped him, but Missy and Chip nodded dumbly.

“Pallet Town?” Missy gushed. “Sounds exotic!”

Linkara rolled his eyes, sliding down in his seat. “Oh, it’s exotic alright.”

Chick was desperate to change the subject.

“So, what brings you two all the way out here?” she asked, doing her damndest to sound interested. The teens blushed.


“We were… um… out at Lookout Point.” Chip ducked his head, and Missy giggled and blushed. The laugh track “Ooooooh”-ed.
“Did she hand-hold your brains out?” Critic asked dryly, and Chick couldn’t help but let out a snort.

Chip and Missy seemed eager to change the subject, as Chip cleared his throat and a dark gray blush painted Missy’s cheeks.

“So, are you on the football team at your school?” Chip asked. Critic and Linkara shook their heads, and Chip chuckled, “Good. I’d hate to have to embarrass you out on the field.” Cue the laugh track.

“I don’t know, Chip,” Missy said thoughtfully, “That new boy on Riverside’s team might give you a run for your money. I hear he’s a real animal.”

“That one in the black jacket?” Chip scoffed, “Don’t tell me you’ve lost faith in me, Missy.”

Critic sat upright like he’d been shocked. Likewise, both Chick and Linkara seemed to pull themselves away from counting the number of passing trees on the side of the road, and were now listening with interest.

“Black jacket?” Critic asked, “He happen to look like a really ticked off Harry Dresden cosplayer?”

At this, Chip and Missy naturally gave confused looks. Of course, he thought, he might as well be speaking French to them right now.
“What does he look like?” Critic rolled his eyes, ignoring their confusion.

Chip shrugged. “Dunno. All I hear is that he’s big. And mean.” He beamed, white smile almost blinding them, “But if he’s like the rest of Riverside, he won’t cause us much trouble.”

As Chip finally began to focus on the road, the reviewers turned to each other, Critic looking tense.

“You don’t think…” Critic asked in a low voice, despite the fact that he knew neither person in the front seats could hear them, “You don’t think it’s him, do you?”

“Malachite?” Chick scoffed at him, “Critic, come ON. Why would he be posing as a football player in a fifties sitcom? Don’t you think he’s got better things to do?”

“Maybe not,” Critic answered, irritated, “We all know that Tegon and Devafen aren’t the brightest bulbs on the Hanukkah bush. What if he didn’t want us to keep one-upping them, and decided to come handle us himself?”

“Choke the weed before it grows,” Linkara agreed.

“Oh, get over it,” Chick crossed her arms and turned towards the window. It was sitcom conversation- all filler, nothing important. It could be anyone.
Leave it alone. I liked it better when you two were arguing.”


She looked away before the other two could see the look on her face. It wasn’t an optimistic one.
---------
Back on the other end of town, Spoony and Marzgurl pushed open the doors of the malt shop, and almost immediately had to dodge a paper-hatted waiter rushing by them. Marv’s was in full swing, pun entirely intended, as teens hung over every booth and talking over each other. Elvis Presley songs blared over the jukebox, and milkshakes and burgers littered every surface.

“Alright,” Marzgurl said to Spoony over the loud music. “You see any of the others?”
“What?” he shouted back.
“Do you see any of the others?!”
What about my mother?”
“DO YOU SEE-”

Spoony held up his hands, silencing her. He took a few steps over to the jukebox, leaning against it and pounding his fist into the side. Immediately, the song jumped to a soft slow number. Teens around the shop paired up and started to sway, not even the least perturbed by the fact sudden song change.
Spoony grabbed Marzgurl and the two took a few awkward dance steps.

“What was that?” she laughed.

“Couldn’t hear you,” he replied casually. “Plus, I’ve always wanted to try that.”

“Don’t you think you’re enjoying this a little too much?” she asked, trying to keep a serious face as he spun her.

“Hey, we’re inter-dimensional travelers,” Spoony said, spinning her again, and dipping her suddenly, “Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who appreciates how cool that is. It’s always exploding galaxy this and lives in jeopardy that.” He set her back upright, leading her in a few more steps. “I miss when things were just… I don’t know.”

“What?” Marzgurl asked, cocking an eyebrow.

“I don’t know… fun? I mean, sure Kickassia resulted in me suddenly sprouting another personality and our quest for the gauntlet killed Ma-Ti. But otherwise? It was kind of nice to just hang out with everyone. I miss that.”

Marzgurl gave him a small smile. “I see your point.”

Spoony was quiet for a minute. His steps slowed to the point that he was now no longer even pretending to dance, instead just sort of awkwardly standing there, his expression vaguely wistful and contemplative.

“Marz… you ever wish we were still back there?”
“Where?”
“Home. Reviewing bad movies, comics, and video games.

“That wasn’t home,” she reminded him. “That was Malachite getting all screwy with our heads. And don’t you think it’s better to know what’s going on, rather than live in ignorance?”

“Maybe,” Spoony shrugged casually, but his eyes looked far away, “but, you know what they say: Ignorance is bliss.”

Before Marzgurl could ask what he meant, the loud noise of glass breaking shattered the mood. All eyes turned to the counter, as a pudgy waiter hurried to clean up his dropped tray. Nearby, a group of boys in leather jackets hooted and howled.

“Nice one, butterball!” one of them yelled at the waiter from across the room.

“Come on, guys,” the waiter whined, in a weak voice. “Stop it. Please?”

The greasers laughed again, one grabbing his milkshake and dumping it on the man’s curly brown hair. The rest almost fell off their chairs, and the waiter simply wiped his face dejectedly. He stood up, and as the reviewers caught a glimpse of his face they stopped mid-spin.

“Sage?”

And sure enough, there he was, working the counter and trying to ignore the greasers as they flicked French fries at the back of his head. For a moment, the reviewers simply stared at him, surprised they had found him so easily.

“So,” Spoony cleared his throat, “What do we do?”

“What do you mean, what do we do?”  Marzgurl gave him an incredulous look, “We go over there and get him!”

“Don’t look at me,” the gamer shrugged, “Critic got Snob, and Chick got Welshy. What the heck are we supposed to say to him?”

Marzgurl rolled her eyes. “Simple. We just say… um…” She hesitated. “We tell him that… that we… no, that he…”

“That he’s really a freaky anime and fanfic reviewer with a talent for torture? That he got mind-wiped, dumped in a parallel universe and made to believe he spends his days working at a malt shop? That we’re a pan-dimensional force for good, here to rescue him from evil animal people and an ancient, demonic sorcerer?” Spoony snorted. “Sure. They’d be fitting us for our straightjackets in minutes.”

“Fine. Then…”  Marzgurl blushed, “I don’t know. We’ll figure out a plan.”

Spoony chuckled humorlessly as his counterpart hurried over to the counter.

“Since when,” he snarked, “have we had a plan?”
----
The high school immediately made the three reviewers uncomfortable, much the same way a kindergarten classroom does. Everything was far too… perfect for them. From the perfectly groomed flowerbeds out front to the perfect American flag, perfectly waving in the perfect breeze. Perfect teenagers in perfect sweaters waved at each other as they pulled into the parking lot, smiling with perfect white teeth.

The Nostalgia Chick shuddered. “I think my blood sugar just spiked.”

Critic rolled his shoulders uncomfortably. “Let’s just find Sage and get out of here. This place is a little too swell for me. I’m starting to feel like I’m about to end up that Reefer Madness PSA. And, all things considered, that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea right about now.”

They filed towards the school, pushed along by the crowd of excited teenagers eager to get to the football field. Chip and Missy disappeared into the crowd, presumably to tell their friends all about “Pallet Town.” Linkara was so busy trying to ignore the mindless crowds that he almost didn’t see a few of the teens sneaking off.

He nudged the Critic. “Dude. Look at those cheerleaders.”

Critic wrinkled his nose. “Oh, come on. Pull yourself together.”

Linkara smacked the Critic’s arm. “I mean, really look at them.”

The two men squinted, trying to get a good look at the girls. There were around ten of them, standing just a little too straight to be normal. Perfect cheerleaders at first glance, there was simply something… off about them. It could have been the strange way they all moved at once, or maybe the blank, disinterested looks on their faces.

A blonde girl with a dangerous scowl was leading them, and they marched up the stairs. As they hit the door the leader turned, and they caught a glimpse of oddly yellow eyes as the girls disappeared inside.

“Devafen,” Linkara muttered. “It has to be. That, or Tegon really wants to feel pretty today.”

“So the cheerleaders are…?”

“Synthspectors.”

“What are you guys doing?” Chick hissed at them, and Critic grabbed her arm as they set off towards the door.

“Come on,” he told her. “We’re skipping the game.”

Back at the malt shop, Marzgurl and Spoony rushed over to the counter, pulling up stools. Sage gave them a nervous grin, strawberry milkshake still dripping off his hair.

“Can I help you?” He asked, giving a wary once-over to Spoony’s leather jacket.

“You don’t remember us,” Marzgurl asked, “do you?”

Sage shrugged. “Have you ever thrown me into a dumpster?”

“Man, you shouldn’t be taking this,” Spoony chuckled, “You’re Bennett the Sage. Don’t you want to… you know…”

Sage raised an eyebrow. “Know what?”

Spoony sat back, contemplative. “Well… put some glass in their burgers? Poison their milkshakes? Shove splinters into their urethras?”

Sage turned positively green. The two reviewers were almost convinced that he was about to throw up all over them at any moment. Of course, they reminded themselves, they were in a fifties’ sitcom universe; it probably wasn’t likely that anyone here was actually were capable of puking.

What?” Sage gasped, “Gosh, that’s… that’s really disgusting!”

“This isn’t you, Sage,” Marzgurl said calmly, “Sad as it is to say, you’re one of the most awful people I know, and I miss that. Doesn’t all of this feel wrong to you?”

Sage looked shifty. “All of what?”

“You know what.” She said, “Working in this dumb soda shop. Taking every bit of abuse these jarheads throw at you without throwing any back.”
Sage rolled his shoulders uncomfortably, and Marzgurl pressed on. “Sage, this is going to be hard for you to believe-”

“Hey, man,” a smarmy voice said, and the greasers settled into stools around the two of them. One of them smiled at Spoony, “Haven’t seen you two around before. You in town for the game?”

The lead greaser snapped a finger at Sage, scowling.

“What are you looking at, blimp boy?” he demanded, “I need another shake.”


Sage flinched, hurrying away. Spoony bit back a curse, trying to get back in character.

“I go where I want,” he said casually, pulling out his comb again. “Name’s Spoony. This is Marz.”


MarzGurl rolled her eyes as she discreetly elbowed Spoony in the gut, glaring at her dark-haired companion.

“Hey!” Spoony hissed under his breath, “What was that for?”

“Idiot,” MarzGurl also hissed, “You want to blow our cover?! You could have at least made up a different name.”

“This guy doesn’t even know who we are,” Spoony replied, “Relax. I’ve got this.”

“Weird names,” the greaser commented, seemingly oblivious to the other two’s whispered conversation.  Spoony grabbed him by the collar of his jacket, not looking at his captive as he fixed his hair.

“You got a problem with my name, bozo?” Spoony demanded.

The greaser shrugged him off. Sage returned with the milkshake, but no one spared him a glance.

“Maybe I do,” the greaser said slowly, standing up. “What were you doing talking to that tub of lard, anyway? Guy’s a total dweeb.”

“He’s my friend,” Spoony replied defensively, “you cotton-headed ninnymuggins.”

Both Spoony, MarzGurl and the greaser blinked.

“What the heck did I just say?” Spoony asked under his breath to the Blue Ranger.

Marzgurl shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine.”

“This chair crusher is your friend?” The greaser laughed, as though he hadn’t heard the last exchange at all. “His only friend is a box of donuts. Isn’t that right, slim?”

The greaser turned to Sage, who was looking down at the counter, still holding the milkshake.

“You’re just a lonely, little nerd.” The greaser said menacingly.

Sage slammed his hand down on the counter, making them all jump as the milkshake glass shattered into a thousand pieces. The soda shop went silent once again. Sage didn’t look up, but he addressed the greaser quietly. 

“Don’t call me that.”

The greaser swallowed, still trying to look cool. “Or what?”

Sage’s fist shot out, grabbing the greaser by the front of his shirt and pulling him close. He looked ready to kill.

“Or I’ll pull out your esophagus and feed it to you.” He growled in a low, terrifying voice that none of the patrons in the shop had ever heard him use, “Or maybe tie you to a table saw and play in your blood. Attach a cage of rats to your stomach and force them to eat through your body to escape. Or- and this is my personal favorite- pull out every single one of your fingernails, one by one. Slowly. And sure, you’d pass out. But I’d wait for you to wake up before I moved on to your toes.”

Sage gave the greaser a terrifying grin as the leather-jacket clad man began to sweat, staring at the nerd with wide, surprised eyes.

“Take your pick.” Sage laughed, “Because either way, you’re going home in a large number of small boxes.”

The shop was silent. The greaser was pale, shaking in his boots. Sage dropped him, and he sprinted out the door. Spoony let out a low whistle. “Not bad, man.”

Sage pulled off his paper hat. He gave the two of them a hesitant smile. “That… that felt good.”

Marzgurl grabbed him by the arm and pulled him after her. “Come on. Let’s talk outside.”

Even as they rounded out behind the back of the malt-shop (Which, they noted, was also surprisingly clean and neat, even for a place that was supposed to look at least half-way grimy), Sage was staring off into space.

“Wow,” he breathed, “I mean… wow.”

Spoony nodded, leaning against the wall of the alley, “A bit much to take in all at once, huh?”

Sage nodded quietly, rubbing the back of his head, as if slightly embarrassed by his sudden outburst. Marzgurl offered him a sympathetic smile.

“If it makes you feel better, you’re taking it pretty well.” She said, patting him on the shoulder, “Better than I thought you would, anyways.”
Sage gave her a sideways look.

“Thanks,” he replied, “I’ve just had this weird feeling for a while now… like I didn’t belong here. And I’ve been having these dreams…”

“Screaming? Red rain? Fog? Feeling like the whole world is crashing around you?” Spoony said casually, but Marzgurl could see his shoulders tense up, “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.”

Sage shuddered. “I can’t believe… all of those people, just taken like that.” He gave the two of them a look. “Where are they?”

Spoony and Marzgurl exchanged a look.

“We don’t know,” MarzGurl said. “We only just found you. They could be anywhere, in any universe. We have people tracking them down, but… it’s slow-going.”


“How many are missing?” Sage asked.
“Over a dozen,” Spoony replied, sighing.
“How many do you have?” Sage asked hopefully.

The two reviewer-rangers exchanged another look with one another, not sure exactly the best way to break the news to him.

“Including you,” MarzGurl said, “three.”
Sage’s face fell. “That’s it?”
“Hey, you try finding one person in an infinite number of universes!” Spoony snapped, “It’s not ‘Where’s Waldo’!”

“Hey, dweeb!” A gratingly familiar voice called behind them, and all three turned.

The greaser was back, and he’d brought friends this time around. The five of them flanked their leader, stalking towards the three with purpose. The reviewers turned, only to be met by the brick wall of the alleyway. No way out.

“I wanted to come talk to you,” the greaser said to Sage, his fists clenched. “We have unfinished business.”

Sage cocked his head and smiled. “We do? I thought I had made my point pretty clear,” Sage replied with a bizarrely calm confidence, “You leave me alone, or I do unspeakable things that send you to years of therapy.”

The other two grinned. Bennett the Sage was back.

The greaser, for some reason, smiled. Two of his lackeys reached out and grabbed Sage by the arms.

“Why don’t we go have a talk? I was just going to meet a friend of mine,” their leader said casually, but his tone implied that it wasn’t a request.
Spoony rolled his eyes.

“Why don’t you sit on it?” He interrupted, “We were having a conversation with him, pal.”


“I insist,” the greaser said, and Marzgurl noticed for the first time how shark-like his smile was.

“So do I,” Spoony smirked, and threw a punch. It never landed. The greaser caught it in his fist, eyes darkening as his body began to grotesquely shift and stretch. Spoony’s smirk had barely vanished before the greaser raised his other hand and made a sign in the air.

Immediately, a wall of invisible force knocked the two reviewers off their feet, sending them- and, in the process, half of the malt shop- flying backwards. Rubble and cement shattered, and teenagers screamed. Spoony slammed into a standing wall, dropping to the ground with a painful thud. Marzgurl wasn’t far behind, and she felt something crash into the back of her head as she fell to the ground.

The last thing she saw before her vision winked to black was Sage, surrounded by blank-faced greasers, staring in surprise and horror at the dragon-man in front of him.

Tegon.
----
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