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This story is rated PG.
There may be some content not for younger kids. However, there is nothing here they wouldn't say on the Total Drama series.

Introduction

"Hello, all of you TV watchers, reality show lovers, and couch potatoes! Welcome to the very first episode of the latest season of the ever-popular Total Drama series! I'm your host, the one, the only, the handsome, Chris Maclean.

"Now, for those of you who have watched the previous season know what this is all about. But for those of you who have no clue as to what's going on, here's a basic rundown: In the previous season, Total Drama Island Season Two, twenty-two new teenagers came to Camp Wawanakwa to battle it out against each other for twenty-one painful weeks, until only one remained, and received the grand prize of $100,000. That last one standing was Matthew; the youngest and most well-liked of all the campers. But just before the campers were to leave and return to their average, every-day lives, they were presented with one final task: all of the teens (with the exception of Matthew) were given a chance to battle it out all over again in one day to find a suitcase containing one million dollars!

"Alliances were formed, hi-jinks were pulled, and there were several campers who ended up in hot water with wild animals such as a bear and the Sasquatchinakwa. In the end, however, the case was destroyed in an explosion that burned down a whole building, and thirteen of the campers simultaneously tied.

"Now, those thirteen campers (Violet, Jennifer, Mark, Jeremy, Isaiah, Tim, Mary, Rachael, Luke, John, Josh, Daniel, and Ruth) have been given a second chance at the million bucks. They're soon to arrive here, at this old, abandoned movie Film Lot somewhere in Toronto, Ontario. For thirteen weeks, they'll battle it out in a similar way, only in challenges that are entirely based on movie genres. In the end, hopefully, the million dollars won't be destroyed, and will go to one of the lucky teens.

"The castmates will arrive soon, and the show will begin. So sit back, relax, get as much popcorn and soda as you'll need, keep the TV remote by you at all times, and get ready for the first episode of Total…Drama…Action…Season Two!"


Episode 1 Part 1: The Castmates

Disclaimer: Fedora Kid does not own Total Drama Action or any of its characters.

The smelly, old, beaten-up bus rode through the massive Canadian city of Toronto. Inside were the thirteen teenagers who were about to go through a season of torture all over again. The only thing keeping them going was the idea of becoming a millionaire by the age of eighteen.

After several hours, the bus pulled up alongside a massive gate, beyond which was the humungous Film Lot. The bus stopped, and the creaky door opened.

"Here's your stop!" The bus driver announced.

The thirteen teens started to exit the bus one by one. The first one out was John, the Goth from last season. John was still dressed in an all-black outfit, with his long black hair that covered his eyes. He carried a black duffle bag, and stepped out of the bus. He walked over to the circle of crude seats, such as crates, barrels, etc. He sat down on the nearest one: an oil drum.

Daniel was next. He was the jock, and was seen to be very manipulative in the grand finale of the previous season. As he walked out, several of the girls followed right behind him, staring at him as they admired his body.

Violet exited the bus next. She was the one of the thirteen castmates present who had lasted the longest in the previous season: third place.

Eventually, all of them (gladly) exited the rotten old bus and sat down. The bus doors closed, and the bus sped off with a screech of its tires and a cloud of smoke and exhaust behind it.

After the teens' coughing fit was over, they sat around and waited for someone to pick them up. In the meantime, they conversed.

"So, ready for another season?" Mark asked Rachael.

"I don't know." She responded. "Seems like with every passing day, that man creates new ways to torture us!"

"I agree." Isaiah added. "If it weren't for a million bucks at stake, I wouldn't even be here!"

"Personally, I don't care if I win or lose." Mark said. "Just the experience, the excitement, and making so many great friends, are probably the only good things about all this."

Many of his friends in the circle nodded in agreement. Those truly were the only good things about the experience.

"If only Matthew were here, though! He's a great guy, and I miss him." Violet added.

"Yeah!" Several of them agreed.

"Ah, I'm glad that goody-two shoes isn't here." Daniel said. "I mean, sure he's nice and popular and all, but he already won! If he were here, he would use his popularity to win again! I think it's time for one of us to win this time!"

His insult towards Matthew earned him several glares, but ultimately the other teens agreed with his logic.

After three more minutes of talking, the small, white golf cart pulling a long trailer behind it pulled up alongside the teens.

"Hello, everybody! The one-way train to the Film Lot is departing! Hop onboard if you want to join the race for a million bucks!"

The thirteen castmates were quick to get on the trailer before it puttered off. As Chris pulled them through the old Film Lot, he gave them the overall rundown.

"Welcome, one and all, to the Toronto Film Lot! Some of the greatest filmmakers in Canada have worked here!"

"Really?" Violet asked.

"No, not really. This place has been abandoned for about twenty-eight years."

The trailer passed through one set that looked like a town from the 70's; it had several buildings with neon signs, an old drive-in restaurant, and a movie theater with a huge marquee sign (which was blank).

"Now, here's the deal: you will stay here for the next thirteen weeks, and battle it out in movie-genre-themed challenges. In the end, all but one will be sent home, and that one lucky teen will become a millionaire!"

Then, after leaving the 70's town, they drove past a large theater, which was in the shape of a half dome. The inside of the dome was pink, and spotlights lined the stage. Also on the stage was a wooden podium with a microphone, and wooden bleachers in front of the stage. Standing on either side of the red carpet leading into the theater were two massive, golden recreations of their narcissist host.

"Your fate shall be decided at the Theatre," Chris continued. "where, in the end, one castmate will be left without a prized Gilded Chris Award."

"Wow, that's a whole new level of vain." Daniel said, rolling his eyes.

Chris ignored the comment as they drove through a massive recreation of Antarctica (complete with icebergs, penguins, and "the South Pole"). After passing through, they drove by the familiar pink booth.

"That pink booth is the Make-Up Confessional Booth, where you can reveal your deepest and innermost thoughts to all the viewers at home."

Make-Up Confessional

John: (Looks around the booth at all the make-up, clothes, and other items) Not too shabby, eh.

Mary: I don't know whether or not our time here will be better or worse than our time on that island. At least this place is closer to civilization. And the general concept of a film lot really does seem more charming than a cruddy old summer camp on a desolate island.

Daniel: All I can say is this: I'm SO gonna dominate this competition! At the end of these thirteen miserable weeks, I, with my charming good looks, my smoothness, and my physical superiority, will come out on top! And no one, absolutely no one, will stand in my way!

End

Then, at the end of their tour, they passed by a beautiful, sparkly trailer that had a green canvas awning over the door, four brand new wheels, and was connected to a bright red pickup truck, ready to pull it wherever it needed to go.

"Wow! That's a nice trailer!" Isaiah said.

"Yeah." Chris agreed. Then he dropped the bomb. "That's where I'm staying. You guys get those charming abodes over there." He gestured to the other side of the trailer they were in.

The teens looked and, to their horror, disgust, grief, and repulsion, they saw two cruddy-looking parked trailers. They had torn and dirty brown awnings over the doors (some of the teens had to question if they were brown originally), and the wheels had been replaced by cement blocks. One of the tires was seen near the trailers; popped, stained, and ruined.

"Those dirty old trailers will be your homes. Girls get the trailer on the right, and boys get the one on your left."

The trailer came to an abrupt stop, sending several of the teens jerking forward suddenly, and Isaiah actually thrown out of his seat.

"Alright, then. You all have thirty minutes to unpack and get settled in, then get back on this trailer so that I can take you to the location of the first task."

The thirteen teens all picked up their luggage and walked off of the trailer towards the two hideous trailers. Several of them glanced over at Chris's beautiful trailer, and could only hate the man even more.

The boys walked into their trailer, and saw how the interior was just as repulsive as the exterior.

"This is sure gonna be fun, eh?" John said, the sarcasm obvious in his voice.

"I'm starting to wonder if even a million dollars is worth this." Daniel agreed.

"Hey, come on, guys." The optimist Mark encouraged. "We're here to have fun, right?"

"Correction. We're here to win." Daniel said. "Having fun is not gonna help us become millionaires."

"Still. There's nothing wrong with being nice."

"Says you." Daniel snorted. The jock then turned his back to the optimist and started unpacking.

"Don't worry about him, man." Jeremy encouraged his friend. "Chances are, if he keeps that up, the viewers will vote him off on the first day."

Jeremy and Mark snickered.

Make-Up Confessional

Daniel: (Scoffs) Those two are like little girls; snickering and wisecracking about me. They're just jealous because all the girls adore me.

Mark: I guess having the viewers at home decide our fate can have its good sides. This is gonna be great!

John: Barely five minutes here, and we've already got arguments going on! Argh! (Slaps hand against forehead in frustration, then sighs) Well, as long as there's gonna be tension, I want to remain absolutely, 100% neutral; no choosing sides, eh.

End

And in the girls' trailer…

The five girls were finishing their unpacking, and several of them were, well, more or less, getting along just as fine as the guys.

"So, you think that this is gonna be so easy?" Mary asked Ruth. The strong girl had her arms crossed, and a cocky smirk on her face.

"These challenges are gonna be easier than pie!" Ruth declared. "Whatever Chris and Chef throw at me, I'm ready!"

"Don't get too over-confident. You never know what they might have in store for us. Chris's main goal is to present us with life-threatening tasks!" Mary screeched.

"That was in the last season. This season, all the tasks are based on 'movie-genres'. How dangerous can they possibly be?"

"Never underestimate Chris Maclean." Rachael commented.

"Fine, fine. If you want to worry so much about the first task, go ahead! But I do things with an absolute can-do attitude! I say, BRING IT ON!"

Make-Up Confessional

Ruth: OK, so maybe I was being a little cocky back there. But, hey. There's nothing wrong with having self-confidence, right?

Mary: Just because Ruth's the strongest girl here doesn't make her queen of the universe! If there's one thing I can't stand, it's people who think they can take on God…and win!

Jennifer: Look, I don't really have anything against Ruth. Trust me, I have a lot of respect for her. But she'd better keep that smug attitude of hers in check, or she'll be at the mercy of the viewers.

Mary: Secretly, I feel just as confident about this as Ruth does. I just don't want them to know that yet. When I was eliminated last season, I was devastated! It felt so terrible to lose! And I am not, repeat, NOT, going to lose again! I want to win!

Rachael: You know, everyone's kinda focusing on Ruth and her overly confident attitude, but I have a bad feeling about that Mary. Last season, we did see some of her bad side, and how…devious, she can be. I'm gonna keep an eye on her.

End

At the end of their half-hour, they all walked out of their respective trailers and boarded the awaiting trailer, still attached to Chris's golf cart.

"Alright, castmates. Your first task awaits!" Chris then floored it, and the cart sped off, sending several of the castmates jerking again, only this time backwards. And Isaiah completely flipped backwards out of his seat and hit the floor of the trailer.

"OW!"

Make-Up Confessional

Isaiah: (Rubbing the back of his head and wincing in pain every now and then) Aw, man! Not only is that man evil and a narcissist, but he's a really bad driver, too! (Winces again) Ah!

End

Episode 1 Part 2: The REALLY Wild West

After driving through the Film Lot for about ten minutes, the trailer arrived at its stop: an old western town, complete with an old-fashioned saloon, a bank, and a jail/Sheriff's office.

"And here we are, castmates! This is where your first task will take place. The genre: The wild, wild west genre; Yee-haw!" When Chris saw that his "yee-haw" got no reaction from the teens, he cleared his throat and continued. "Anyway, before we begin the task, we must first decide the teams. Everyone, please exit the trailer, and stand in a single-file line."

After the castmates did as he said, he continued. "Now, to pick the teams, we must first decide the captains. Originally, I was gonna pick the two here who made it the farthest in the last season, which were Matthew and 'Peter'. But since Matthew never qualified to be in TDA and isn't here with us, and since 'Peter' had his little run-in with the police, that leaves us with two girls instead: Violet, who placed third, and Jennifer, who made fourth place. Come on up."

The two girls walked up and stood alongside him.

"You two will be the team captains, and will, one-by-one, pick your team members. Violet." He turned to the smart girl. "Since you made it longer than Jen last season, you get to go first."

Violet was instantly hit by a bunch of "Ooh, ooh, me!" "Me!" "Pick me!"

"Hmmmm…Jeremy."

"Yes!" He walked over to her.

"Jennifer? Your turn."

"I pick Ruth." The muscular girl walked over to her, grinning. Daniel looked shocked.

Make-Up Confessional

Daniel: OK, why didn't she pick me? I'm Daniel! I'm the toughest, strongest, and hottest guy here! She did my every bidding at the end of the last season! Heck, if it wasn't for me, she wouldn't be here right now! Why does she not pay attention to me anymore!

Jennifer: In case any of you are wondering why I didn't pick Daniel: I don't like him as much as I used to. Sure, he's strong, hot, and talented, but he's manipulative. He treated me like a slave last season! I'm gonna show him that I'm not afraid to stand up to him.

End

"Violet, your turn again."

"Mark."

Jennifer then picked Tim, which aggravated Daniel even more.

Violet picked Rachael.

Jennifer then picked Mary, and eventually had a team consisting of herself, Ruth, Tim, Mary, Luke, and Isaiah. Violet then picked Daniel and Joshua. In the end, everyone had been picked except John. Since the last one to pick was Jennifer, he went to Violet's team.

"Alright, so the teams have been picked! Now it's time to reveal your team's names and insignias!"

Chef, wearing a terrible cowboy getup (a worn-out vest, short jeans, boots with rusty spurs, and a thirteen-gallon hat), walked up with two banners in hand; one red, one green.

"Violet, your team will be…" Chef threw the banner to Violet's team, and Daniel caught it. When he unrolled it, they saw the image of a wooden, fold-up chair like the one directors sit in, with a megaphone propped against it. "…the Flaming Directors! And Jennifer's team, you will be…" When Ruth caught the banner that was thrown to them, she unrolled it to reveal a clipboard and a pencil. "…the Psycho Producers!"

"Yeah!" Ruth cheered.

"Now that that's cleared up, it's time to start the challenge!" Chris then started to speak in the worst Western accent any of the teens had heard. "Cowpokes and cowgirls, git ready for one rootin', tootin' crazy hoedown! In this here particular task, there're three phases. Each one is either tough, unusual, or disgusting! You'll need to have sharp aim, a strong stomach, and a true can-do attitude!"

"That last one I can provide." Ruth admitted.

"The teams will pick one of their members to participate in these phases. You can pick anyone you want, but you can't use the same one twice! The team that wins two out of three wins the task, and Invincibility! The first phase is a Drinkin' Contest!"

Several of the castmates gasped.

"Now, now. Don't worry, partners. This ain't alcohol you'll be drinking."

They all heaved a sigh of relief.

"It's a drink that's been handmade by our very own Sheriff Hatchet!"

Isaiah fainted. Chef walked up alongside Chris with an evil grin.

"Sheriff, go ahead and tell all these fine young ones what you made that drink out of?"

Chef then pulled out a small, rolled-up piece of paper. He let it roll out, and it eventually stretched out to be almost as long as twenty-five feet. He spoke in his usual voice, clearly refusing to speak in the same terrible accent Chris used. "Well, just to name a few here, let's see…um…oh, yeah: some of the sewage from the local septic tank; some shredded rubber from a car tire; some milk that has passed its expiration date for three years; a down-home favorite, greasy, grimy gopher guts; some of the fake sand used in this set; some blended cockroaches; eye of needle; tongue of shoe; hand of clock that points at two!"

Make-Up Confessional

Tim: OK, I read Shakespeare, and I know that those last three ingredients were a total rip-off!

End

"Toenail clippings; armpit hair; pine needles; and fur from a Grizzly Bear!"

"Stop!"

"Please, for the love of God!"

"PLEASE STOP!"

"OK, OK, fine. Wimps." He stuffed the note back into his vest pocket.

"So, for this here horrific challenge, you'll need the cowpoke on yer team who's got the strongest stomach. So make your picks, and choose wisely!"

The two teams huddled together and discussed their choices.

"OK, guys. Who here has the strongest stomach, and will do it without complaining?" Violet asked her team.

It took them only two seconds to think about it. They all turned to John.

"Well?" Daniel asked the Goth.

"Sure. Why not, eh?"

"Good."

And on the Psycho Producers, Ruth gladly volunteered.

"I've got a stomach of steel! I practically eat nails for breakfast!"

"Alright, fine. You got it."

"Excellent."

When the teams declared their choices, Chris led them into the saloon (which, unsurprisingly, was named "Chris's Bar").

John and Ruth sat down at the table in the center of the room, where many, many glasses of the hideous drink sat.

"So here's the basic idea: you each drink out of these glasses, one by one, until the glass is absolutely bone-dry. We have plenty on hand, so you won't have to worry about running out. The goal here is to drink the most amount in one minute. If one of ya either gives up, or throws up, then the other team wins. Get it? Then get ready!

They each picked up a glass, eyeing each other fiercely. Ruth was the first to look nervously at the brown sludge that filled her glass. She swallowed nervously.

"Get set…"

John raised the glass closer to his face. Ruth reluctantly did the same.

"…GO!"

Their teammates started cheering them on as they rapidly drank the stuff glass by glass. It didn't seem to affect John, but Ruth appeared to have trouble from the very start. After drinking the first glass, she gagged, and nearly threw up.

"Don't do it, Ruth!"

"Yeah, Ms. Stomach of Steel!"

Ruth paused briefly, then set her glass down and picked up another one. John just continued picking them up and chugging them down.

After twenty glasses, even John looked pale. Beads of sweat rolled down his face, and he began to slow down. Ruth was still moving as slowly as ever, apprehensive of drinking each and every glass.

Finally, only ten seconds remained. Ruth and John were neck-and-neck at thirty-eight glasses. They both simultaneously picked up the next glass and drank.

"Come on now, partners! It can't be a tie!" Chris yelled. "Someone throw up, already!"

Thirty-nine glasses. Five seconds. Both paused and looked at each other, expecting the other to vomit. John swallowed, then quickly put a hand over his mouth. Ruth also felt the bile rising up her throat. She slammed a massive fist over her mouth, only too hard. The vomit shot back down her throat, and she felt like choking. She opened her mouth and coughed several times, then it happened.

"BLECH! BLARGH! HACK!"

It started shooting out of her mouth like a cannon, splattering over everything and everyone in sight.

"Ew!"

"Gross!"

"Aw, sick!"

"Cool!"

Everyone was diving for cover, tipping over tables and hiding behind barrels. Ruth continued vomiting, eventually hitting Chris.

"AAAAIIIIIEEEEEE! MY HAIR!" Chris, covered in the puke, ran out of the saloon, screaming for a hot shower.

Ruth finally stopped vomiting, and doubled over, hacking and sputtering.

"Ooooooohhhhh…"

Chef, one of the only people who wasn't hit, stood up. "Well, I guess Chris ain't comin' back for a while, so I'll take over. Anyway, since tough girl threw up, that means Goth kid wins the task! One point for the brainy girl's team!"

"Woo-hoo!"

"Yeah!"

"Alright!"

"You did great, John!"

John didn't answer, as he was also on the verge of vomiting. He simply stood up, pale as a ghost, stomach gurgling loudly.

"Not…a…word…eh." He muttered. No one talked to him again.

"Alright, maggots! Come with me, and I'll give ya the next task!"

They all followed the massive man out of the saloon. Ruth had to be helped along by Jennifer and Mary, as she was still dizzy and out of it.

Make-Up Confessional

Ruth: (Clutching her stomach and moaning) That…was…terrible! I'll never be able to get over that one! That was one of the worst…

John: That was the most repulsive…

Ruth:…disgusting…

John:…gross….

Ruth:…filthy…

John:…stomach-twisting…

Ruth:…torturous…

John:…ordeal that I've ever had to go through in my whole life, eh!

Ruth: Oooooooohhhhh.

End

They eventually came to an old-fashioned target range, with a large, wooden plank standing between the castmates and the huge field of targets. The targets were all cardboard cutouts of various Western-type objects and people, such as bandits with bags of money, horses, haystacks, barrels, bottles on top of barrels, and so on.

"For this challenge, you'll need to pick the person on your pathetic little team who has the best sharp shooting abilities. Both participants will be given a paintball gun. All of the targets that you see before you will be constantly moving, making it even harder for all of ya! The idea is to shoot as many targets as possible! There are only thirty-one targets in this field. The game either ends when all targets have been shot, or if both shooters run outta ammo! Get it?"

All of the teens nodded.

"Good. Now the rules are: no shooting the same target twice, and don't shoot a target that your opponent has shot already. We'll know when you try to do that, since the paint colors are different; red for the jock-boy, and blue for the cheerleader. Now, pick your players, and make it snappy!"

No one dared to ask Chef what would happen if they didn't "make it snappy". The teams quickly huddled again.

"Should we pick Joshua?" Rachael asked.

"No way! I may be strong, but I'm terrible with guns!"

"Mark?"

"The only gun I've ever fired is the Water Blaster 6000 at my last pool party."

"Then who?"

"I think Jennifer would be a good choice." Tim suggested on the other team.

"I think that sounds good." Isaiah agreed.

During all the conversing, one particular castmate slipped away from the others. The castmate looked over at where the two paintball guns lied. Looking back at Chef (who was distracted by one target that was a crappy cardboard impression of a pony; there seemed to be a hint of sadness in his eyes), the castmate sneaked over to the guns, then grabbed the one that would be used by the Flaming Directors.

Time to make some adjustments. The castmate thought, grinning evilly. The Flaming Directors must not win.

No one noticed as the castmate worked on the Directors' gun. The castmate finished, set the gun down, and returned just before Chef grew tired of waiting.

"Maggots!" Chef roared. "Have ya picked, yet?"

"Y-yes!"

"Yes we have!"

"Good! Now send 'em up here and get ready!"

The two choices, Daniel for the Directors, and Jennifer for the Producers. The two of them picked up their guns.

"Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the bonus; see that one target way in the back?"

"Uh…which one, the one of…HA, HA!" Daniel laughed.

"Yeah, the one of Chris. While he's not here, I just couldn't resist saying this: You may get one point for shooting any of the other targets, but if you shoot that one, you get ten points!"

"Yeah! Now you're talking!"

"Good. Now, ready!"

Daniel wrapped his finger around the trigger, aiming carefully at the one of Chris.

"Set!"

Jennifer looked around at the many targets, eventually focusing on the closest one: a barrel.

"Go!"

All of the cardboard cutouts started moving around, side-to-side, etc. The two shooters started squeezing off shots, pelting some of the nearest targets. Daniel tried to hit the one of Chris three times, but failed to hit it. Jennifer was sticking with the closest ones, hitting seven in a row. Daniel quickly did the same and fired shot after shot, pelting each target, and leaving the mark of red paint. At one point, Jennifer aimed for a target that had not yet been hit, a haystack, but missed and ended up hitting one that Daniel had already hit.

"Oops!"

"That's one point down for you!" Chef declared.

"Darn it!" Jennifer quickly continued shooting, determined to defeat Daniel.

Pretty soon, only eight targets remained. These included a bandit with a black bandana over his mouth and two bags of money, the pony that Chef had been glancing at, a wine bottle placed on top of a barrel, and the Chris target. The score was sixteen to eight; Daniel's favor.

Daniel paused for a moment, then carefully aimed again at the face of the Chris cutout.

"I've got you now!" He said as he pulled the trigger.

Only a click responded. No shot.

"What? I'm out already?"

"Huh? That can't be!" Chef responded. "I counted each shot you fired. You fired only twenty!"

"And?"

"That's only half! You originally had forty paintballs!"

"But…b-but…that makes no sense! Why do I have half of the original amount?" He thought for a moment. By now, this outburst had the attention of all the castmates, including Jen, who stopped shooting to listen.

"…DID SOMEONE SABOTAGE MY GUN?"

Everyone started looking at each other, expecting the culprit to come clean.

"Well, it don't matter." Chef eventually said. "You still technically ran out."

"You're kidding."

"Nope."

"COME ON!"

Chef turned to Jen. "You've still got a chance here! Keep going!"

"Yeah!"

"Keep going, Jen!" Her team encouraged her.

Jen paused nervously, glancing at Daniel. A smirk appeared on her face, and she continued shooting.

"I don't believe this!" Daniel angrily threw his gun to the ground and stormed off.

As Jen shot at the remaining targets, she turned to her teammates. "Seriously, guys. Who sabotaged his gun?"

She was greeted by a bunch of shrugs, although most of them soon after turned to Mary. A few seconds after she saw the stares, she quickly realized, then responded, "What? No! I didn't do it, I swear!"

Make-Up Confessional

Luke: She did it.

Isaiah: She so did it.

Tim: Who else?

Ruth: It's obvious that she did it.

Jennifer: I don't mean to point any fingers or anything, but she has done evil things like that in the past. Besides, no one else would do something like that.

Mary: No! It's true! I swear, I DIDN'T DO IT! OK, maybe I've done things like that before, but I'm telling the truth! I didn't touch those guns!

Jennifer: Well, maybe she wouldn't stoop that low, but then again…

Ruth:…she did lock Samantha and Madison in the Old Boathouse in the last season when we were all searching for the million-dollar-case. That's pretty low.

Mary: I didn't do it, I didn't do it, I didn't do it, I didn't do it…

Isaiah:…and she did sneak a tranquilizer gun in the zombie challenge last season without telling anyone, including her own teammates. That's pretty bad, too.

Mary…I didn't, I didn't, I didn't, I didn't, I didn't…

Tim: If we lose tonight, she is so going home.

Mary: (Noticeably out of breath from all the rambling) For the last time…oh, forget it.

End

After a few minutes, Jen had nailed all of the remaining targets except for the Chris one. The score was sixteen to fifteen, still Daniel's favor, and she had one shot left.

"This is it!" Chef declared. "Hit the target, and we'll settle the score in the final challenge, and you just might win! Miss, and they win automatically. No pressure. Hee, hee, hee!"

Jen swallowed nervously. She was sweating hard, and her finger was itching to pull the trigger. She focused on the Chris target, and the Chris target only.

"Come on, you can do it!" Luke encouraged her.

"You can do it, Jen!" Ruth agreed.

Jen aimed carefully, the head of the target directly between the eyes in her crosshairs, following it as it moved.

"Any time, now!" Chef roared impatiently.

Jen slowly pulled the trigger, inching it closer and closer to firing. Jen closed her eyes, then fired.

POW!

The shot rang out, and everyone gasped. Jen slowly opened her eyes, and saw the blue paint splattered all over the cutout's head.

"YES!" She cheered.

"And the score's tied!" Chef declared. "Time to break the tie with the third and final challenge!"

At that moment, Chris walked up, his hair wet from the shower he just took.

"Ah, that feels better. But they still don't pay me enough for this…oh. Hello, castmates. Um, Chef? What just happened?"

"I hosted the second phase while you were, uh, busy."

"WHAT? I told you to never take my place unless I say so!"

"Sorry. But what did you expect? That we wait for you? Your showers can take hours!"

"…Yeah, I guess you're right. So what happened?"

"The cheerleader's team won, and the score's tied."

"Oh, goodie! Now the drama is really racked up! Time to see which team will come out victorious!"

Make-Up Confessional

Jeremy: Personally, I think I actually like Chef's hosting better.

End

"Anyway. Time for the third phase! Everyone follow me!"

The castmates followed Chris and Chef to where the third phase would take place. At the end of the dirt street running down the middle of the town, there were two wooden cattle that were very poorly made. There were holes in the wood, one cattle was missing a leg, and the other had one horn that was upside-down.

"Here's the final part of the task! Here, you will once again pick two of your teammates to participate in this. You will both be given a lasso, and one minute of time. The idea is to throw that there lasso around your cattle's neck as many times as you can before your one minute is up. The team whose player has lassoed it more wins! Now pick your players. And remember, choose carefully. This phase will decide the fate of your team for this task."

The teams once again huddled and discussed their next player.

"Look, we can't use Jen or Ruth." Luke stated. "They've already gone. Who should we use?"

"I'll do it!" Isaiah eagerly volunteered. "I went to Cowboy Camp when I was seven. They taught me how to lasso cattle when I was there, and I was AWESOME at it!"

"You better be." Mary growled.

She received dirty looks, and quickly remembered how they all still thought she was the one behind the earlier sabotage. She quickly lightened up.

"Uh, I mean, I'm sure you'll do just fine! Heh, heh. (Gulp!)"

"Whatever. So Isaiah it is." Jen declared.

After they picked, Isaiah and the other participant, Josh, walked up to the rope that was stretched across the ground, which served as the boundary that kept them from getting any closer to the wooden cattle, which stood approximately seven feet from them.

"Here are yer lassoes, partners!" Chris said as he handed the two of them their lassoes. Josh quickly picked his up and twirled it over his head like a pro, while Isaiah was still trying to straighten it out.

"On yer mark…get set…go!"

Josh immediately threw his lasso at the cattle, and successfully got it around the neck.

"That's one point for the Flaming Directors!" Chris declared.

Isaiah threw his lasso, and missed by a mile.

"Whoops." He quickly pulled it back in and tried again. He hooked the horn.

"Uh-oh." He pulled it back and tried again. It almost hit it, but bounced off.

"Darn it!"

Meanwhile, Josh was lassoing the cattle again and again and again.

"Wow. I never knew that I was this good at this lassoing thing!" He said to the others.

"Come on, come on, come on!" Isaiah was now just throwing his lasso recklessly, missing, hooking other parts of the cattle, or just barely missing.

"NO!" He then threw blindly and actually got it around the neck.

"Hey, I got it! I got it!"

"Good, now keep going!" Luke reminded him.

"Oh, right." He pulled the lasso off and continued throwing and missing, throwing and missing, while Josh didn't miss a single one.

Needless to say, you can guess how this one ended.

At the end of the one minute, Chris declared the winner.

"The Flaming Directors win!"

"Alright!"

"Yeah!"

"Enjoy your victory, all of you! You can go back to your trailer, and enjoy the fact that none of you are going home tonight!" He then turned to the losers. "Sorry, Producers. This just wasn't your day. Report to the Theatre tonight. One of you will be going home!"

All of the Psycho Producers were giving Isaiah the evil eye.

"What in the world was that?" Mary screamed. "You were terrible! Absolutely TERRIBLE! One to forty-seven? ONE TO FORTY-SEVEN! That's pathetic!"

"You know, I actually agree with her!" Tim said as well. "I mean, that was pretty bad! You said that you were good at these things!"

"Well, I thought I was." Isaiah shrugged.

"You said you were seven when you went to that camp. How far away were the cattle from you at that place?"

Isaiah paused, trying to remember. Then he did, and he shamefully admitted, "Three feet."

"THREE FEET?" All of his teammates roared. Isaiah nearly fell over.

After the Psycho Producers cooled down, they walked out of the Western set, towards the Theatre.

As the castmates went their separate ways, the castmate who had sabotaged Daniel's gun was angry at the plan's failure.

Darn it. That foolish Isaiah's weakness foiled my plan! The castmate thought. Ah, well. There will be other chances to get the Flaming Directors to lose. I have many more tricks up my sleeve. And I intend to use all of them.


The First Gilded Chris Award Ceremony

The Psycho Producers all sat on the bleachers in the Theatre, waiting for the Ceremony to begin. Most of them were staring down Isaiah hard. He simply looked away, trying (and failing) to ignore the dirty looks.

Chris then appeared, wearing the familiar blue tuxedo. He walked up to the podium and cleared his throat. "Welcome, castmates, to the very first Gilded Chris Award Ceremony. You all know how this works. Just like last season, the viewers will decide your fate. They have already cast in their votes, and sealed the deal. There are only five GC Awards here…Huh?" He turned behind him and saw that there were no Awards behind him. "Chef! Come out here!"

There was a silence. Everyone waited for a few moments, then the chef appeared, wearing the hideous pink sparkly dress, pink sparkly chef's hat, and high heels. He was carrying the tray that held the five small, gilded statues.

"I hate my life." He muttered.

"As I was saying," Chris continued, clearly annoyed. "there are only five GC Awards here. When I call your name, come up and claim your Award. You have not been voted off, and you are safe. The castmate who does not receive an Award tonight must immediately walk down the Red Carpet of Shame, to catch the Limo of Losers. That means that you are out of the contest. And you cannot come back…EVER.

"The First Gilded Chris goes to…Jennifer."

Jen walked up onstage, picked up a Gilded Chris, then sat back down on the bleachers.

"Next is…Tim."

Tim also walked up, snatched a Gilded Chris, and returned to his seat.

"Luke."

"And Mary."

Mary heaved a sigh of relief as her name was called. Several of her teammates scowled.

Chris stared down the final two castmates hard, sending shivers down their spines. "Ruth, Isaiah. This is the final Gilded Chris Award of the night."

Isaiah already pretty much figured that he was doomed. Ruth was the exact opposite. She had her arms crossed, and an arrogant smirk on her face.

"Both of you received votes tonight, but only one received a majority, and their first GC Award Ceremony will also be their last."

Ruth looked back at the pathetic geek, who was now sweating nervously. She looked back at Chris and the final Award in his hand. The thought of her being the one voted off and not Isaiah made her slightly nervous, and her confidence began to falter.

"The castmate who will receive the final Award is…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"… Ruth."

Ruth smirked at Isaiah, then walked up to the stage and snatched up the final Award.

"Thank you." She sat back down, glancing at Isaiah. All of the other members of the Psycho Producers also stared him down with satisfied grins. He simply hung his head.

"Really, not that much of a shocker, bro. You really sucked today." Chris said.

Isaiah looked up at him for a few moments, then simply shrugged. "Yeah, I guess I did." Then, without another word, he got up and walked down the Red Carpet up to the waiting Limo of Losers. Chef was already standing by, holding the door open. Isaiah stepped inside, and Chef slammed the door shut behind him. Chef then walked over to the driver's side of the Limo, got in, and started the engine.

Just before it sped off, Isaiah rolled down his window and looked at his teammates. He then stuck his head out the window and said, "I'm sorry I let you all down!"

At first, his teammates didn't seem convinced, but then they lightened up and responded.

"It's OK, man." Luke said first.

"At least you stepped up." Ruth added.

"Bye!"

"See ya!"

The Limo sped off, taking Isaiah away with it.

This Ceremony's Epilogue…

As the five members of the Producers walked back to their trailers, Jen walked up to Mary, who was all by herself at the time.

"Hey." Mary said, clearly still upset.

"Listen, I guess we were being a little harsh back there. You know, the whole sabotaging thing. But did you really do it?"

Mary looked up at her for a long moment, as if she didn't even know. Then she answered, "No."

Jen nodded slightly. "I thought not."

"Really?"

"Yeah. Usually, you admit to the tricks you pull. But after seeing how much you denied it, I figured that you were telling the truth. But now we need to find out who really did it."

"That won't be easy. But we can only hope that he or she doesn't strike again."

"Hopefully."


Episode 2: Medieval Capture The Flag

"Last time on Total Drama Action: The thirteen castmates arrived at the old Film Lot and were assigned to their teams: The Flaming Directors and the Psycho Producers. Then they were given their first of many tasks to come; a three-phase, wild, wild west task! There was a drinking contest, a shooting contest, a lasso contest, and boy, did I do a great job as a cowboy!

"Ruth lost her breakfast, lunch, and dinner after drinking thirty-nine glasses of Chef's homemade Mystery Drink.

"In the shooting contest, someone mysteriously sabotaged the gun that was to be used by Daniel of the Flaming Directors, thus running their chances for that round. Everyone on the Producers team blamed Mary, considering her devious past, but she denied everything.

"In the final round, the lasso contest, Isaiah couldn't have done worse, scoring only one point for his team against forty-seven for the other team. You can guess who was given the boot that night.

"Will the castmates ever discover who sabotaged the gun? Will the castmate strike again? Will my ego ever heal from being covered in vomit? Find out all of these and more, right here, right now, on Total…Drama…Action!"

...

The castmates were all sleeping quietly and peacefully in their trailers. This was just another perfect opportune moment for Chris to jump at.

"I love my job." Chris said to himself as he pulled out a trumpet and held it behind a megaphone. He blasted into the trumpet, which shook half the Film Lot.

"EEEYYYAAAA!" Luke screamed and jumped out of his bed, hitting his head on the ceiling. "OOWWW!" He sat back down and rubbed his head. "Doesn't that man ever quit!"

At the same time, Tim had fallen out of his bed and landed on the floor of the trailer. "Ow! Oooooohhhh…"

"I am so sick and tired of that man!" Daniel said as he picked his ear, trying to clear out the ringing still resonating in it. "One of these days…"

"GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING, CASTMATES! Chris then threw the trumpet aside. "Get your lazy butts out of bed, people! Your next task is about to begin! You have five minutes to get out here, and then report to the Craft Services Tent for breakfast!"

"Oh, boy." Ruth groaned. "More of Chef's delicious food."

"This is going to be a long thirteen weeks." Mary mumbled.

The castmates all eventually got dressed and walked out of their trailers. As they walked to the Craft Services Tent, several of the Producers were still giving Mary glares.

"Come on!" She complained to Jen. "They can't still think I'm the one who did it!"

"Don't worry." Jen comforted. "Right now, they're just looking for someone to pin it on. When they find out who really did it, they'll forget that they ever suspected you."

Make-Up Confessional

Mary: Jen is a really nice girl. I appreciate her standing up for me like that.

Jennifer: I know that she's innocent. I always like to give people second chances, and boy, does she deserve one.

End

The twelve castmates all lined up in the CS Tent and waited for their food.

"Alright, worms! You know the routine!" Chef barked. "I serve you your food. It's all you get for the next four-to-five hour period! If you don't want any, too bad! Now come and get it!"

All of the castmates lined up to take the gray slop from Chef, although none of them even touched it (what's new?).

After thirty minutes of having staring contests with their food, Chris walked into the Tent.

"OK, so hopefully, you've gotten used to Chef's wonderful food again, heh, heh."

Chef glared at Chris.

"Anyway, so the next task is an old favorite: Capture the flag! The genre: Medieval times! Follow me to the castle set on the other side of the Lot."

The castmates were quick to exit the CS Tent and follow Chris. After about thirty-five minutes of walking, they arrived at the set.

Like all of the other sets in the Film Lot, it was crappy and clearly low-budget.

The castle was the only thing that appeared to be real; it was rectangular, fifty feet on one side, seventy on the other; it was fifty feet tall, and there were turrets on every corner. There was even a moat surrounding it (which looked to be about fifteen feet wide), and a drawbridge to get in. The castle appeared to be made of regular stone.

But the forest around it was the cheesy and absolutely fake part; the trees were all just cardboard cutouts, and so were the bushes.

"Alright, castmates. Here is where the next task will be held. Here's the deal: both teams will be stationed in two different bases, the castle and the forest. The goal is for the other team to sneak into the opposing team's base without being noticed, snatch their flag, and make it back across the boundary to win. The boundary between the two halves is the drawbridge, which is also the only way over that moat, and into the castle. If you are tagged while on the opposing team's side, you are out and must go to jail, which is guarded by one teammate. The flag is also guarded by one teammate. Whichever team gets the enemies' flag to their side first is the winner!

"So I'll now assign you your territories. The Flaming Directors get the castle."

"Yes!" Daniel said eagerly.

"And the Psycho Producers get the forest, and, most notably, the massive green tent located somewhere in this field of trees. The Producers flag, naturally, is green. And the Directors flag is gray. Any questions?"

Rachael raised her hand.

"Yes?"

"What if all of the members of one team are tagged out?"

"Well, that should never happen, since two of you are forced to stay on one spot within your territory, but if that was the case, then the other team wins."

"OK."

"Anymore?"

Tim also raised his hand.

Chris sighed. "Yes, Tim?"

"Is there any way to gain Invincibility here?"

"Ah, yes! I almost forgot."

"He seems to have a knack for that." Jen whispered to Mary. The two of them snickered.

"The only way to gain Invincibility is to actually grab the enemy's flag and attempt to make it back to your base, but don't. That won't win the contest for your team, but it will win that particular person Invincibility if their team loses."

"Makes sense." Tim responded.

"Anyone else?"

After a moment of hesitation, Violet raised her hand.

Chris rolled his eyes. "Just say your question so we can get on with it here!"

"Can we hide the flag anywhere within our territory?"

"Yes, but wherever you pick to hide it, it stays there for the rest of the contest, even if an enemy sees it and knows where it is. Anyway, that's enough questions. So take your positions, plan your strategies, and the challenge will begin!"

The two teams went their separate ways.

The Producers, after searching for several minutes, found their tent, which was cleverly painted to match the green of the fake trees surrounding it.

"Nice." Jen commented.

Inside, there was only a white ring on the ground, which was obviously the jail, and the flag on its small pole.

"I'm gonna hide the flag." Jen declared. "Then I'll guard it." She walked out of the tent.

"Great, so who's gonna be the jail guard?"

"I'll do it." Mary volunteered.

"So Ruth, Luke and I will be the ones out in the field?"

"Heck, yeah!" Ruth pumped her fists in the air. "We're gonna get that flag and win this thing no sweat!

"That's easy for you to say." Tim said.

"Don't worry, I have a plan…"

In the castle…

The Directors will checking out the interior of their castle, which was mainly empty except for torches (still burning) lining the walls, numerous spiral staircases leading up and down throughout the castle, and in the main room on the top floor was a massive gilded throne with a red cushioned seat. On the seat was the gray flag.

"Not bad."

"So, where can we hide this thing?" Daniel said as he picked up the flag.

"Well, if it's gray, it blends in with the rest of the castle." Jeremy said. "So anywhere where it's hardest to spot."

"And, preferably, somewhere that's hard to reach." Mark added.

"I think I know just the place." Daniel said. "Hey, Josh. Come here."

Josh walked over to Daniel, who then started whispering in his ear. When he was done, he stood up and said clearly, "Got it?"

"Yeah."

"Then go." He handed him the flag, and Josh walked off.

"So Josh will guard the flag, who wants to guard the jail?" Violet asked.

"I'll do it, eh." John volunteered.

"Good. So John and Josh are the two guards, and the rest of us will go out and try to get their flag."

"This is gonna be so cool!" Rachael said excitedly. "I've always loved Capture-the-Flag!"

A few minutes later, they heard Chris's amplified voice. "Castmates, it's time for the challenge to begin! So take your positions, because the task starts…NOW!"

"Let's do this!" Ruth declared on the forest side.

"Let's roll!" Daniel encouraged the Directors.

Ruth and her team sneaked as quietly as they could through the trees.

"You know, I'm actually glad that Napoleon isn't here anymore." Ruth commented softly. "He was the weakest one here, and he'd probably be making a lot of noise right now. Typical of scrawny geeks like him."

Tim and Luke didn't answer, but only looked at each other nervously.

Make-Up Confessional

Luke: Maybe Napol-er, I mean, Isaiah, was weak and all, but he doesn't deserve to be talked down like that. Especially since he was the first voted off! You've gotta give the guy a break.

Tim: I have a feeling that Ruth was referring to us when she said that. I mean, she acts like we're not even there!

End

Daniel peeked out from behind the castle wall. Looking over the drawbridge and at the "forest" surrounding them. Nothing.

"All clear. Let's move!"

He slowly walked over the creaky wooden drawbridge, with Jeremy and Mark behind him. They slowly walked off to the left, and into the "forest".

A few moments later, Rachael and Violet, their own little field team, walked into the woods the opposite direction.

"OK, so Chris said that their flag, as well as their tent, is green, right?" Violet asked Rachael.

"Yes."

"So they're both gonna blend in with the environment. So keep a sharp eye out, it'll be easy to miss."

"Yeah." Rachael nodded, then asked, "How big do you think these woods are?"

"I don't know, but they seem pretty large."

"So we're basically looking for a needle in a haystack."

"More or less. Just be on the lookout, not just for the flag and the tent, but for enemies."

"Right."

Meanwhile…

The lone castmate walked quietly through the territory, scanning the surroundings.

Come on. That flag has to be around here somewhere! Geez, these things really do blend in with the environment. But even a field of one single color has its points that really stick out. If I can just find that flag…Aha!

The castmate found the flag, hidden in a high up and very hard to reach place.

Perfect! The castmate snatched the flag down, and carried it under their arm. There are several places here where the colors are different from the general color. If I can just find one…

Eventually, the castmate found just what they were looking for. Sticking the flag in a place where its color stood out like a sore thumb, the castmate grinned again. This will be good. Now, hopefully, my plan will go unspoiled.

As the castmate walked away, they couldn't stop contemplating how easy the plan could've been.

I could never have taken it back across the boundary myself. I could've easily been tagged. This way, hopefully, someone else on the Producers, preferably, Ruth, will find it easily, and be able to take it back to the Producers base. That girl is much faster, and could easily make it without being caught. Then the Producers will win, the Directors would never know how it was moved, and my plan will finally work!

The castmate grinned a sinister grin.

Back in the forest, Daniel and his team were nearing the hidden tent. Finally, Jeremy noticed the massive, green tent.

"Hey!" He whispered to Mark and Daniel. "There it is!" He pointed at the tent.

At first, it was hard to see, but then Daniel and Mark could clearly see the green tent.

"Wow. That thing was pretty cleverly hidden." Daniel admitted.

"Yeah." Mark agreed. "The flag's probably in there. Let's go check it out."

The three teens carefully sneaked over to the front of the tent, and peeked inside. They only saw Mary sitting in a corner, near a ring of white, which appeared to be the jail. There was no one else, and no flag.

"Darn it. Not here." Daniel whispered after moving away.

"YAAAA!" Someone yelled.

"Huh?"

"WHAT?"

Suddenly, Jeremy was pushed over, and fell to the ground. Mark and Daniel turned and saw that Jen had appeared and tagged him.

"AUGH! Run!" Daniel yelled.

He and Mark made a run for it, with Jen following close behind. Jeremy miserably walked into the tent.

Daniel and Mark quickly brushed past all the fake trees, running as fast as they could in the direction they imagined the castle was. Jen was still right on their heels.

"FASTER! Come on, you weakling! Run faster!"

"What do you think I'm doing!"

"Can't you run faster!"

Jen was slowly getting closer. Daniel, fearing that he would be tagged, made a hasty decision.

Mark could feel a hand grab the back of his shirt.

"Hey! What are you…?"

Mark was suddenly thrown pulled back and slowed down. "WHOA!" He stumbled backwards, and was thrust forward when Jen tagged him.

"DARN YOU, DANIEL!" He cursed, then turned and walked back to the Producers tent. As he sat down in the jail next to Jeremy, he cursed. "That darn Daniel."

"What'd he do?"

"He totally betrayed me! Grabbed the back of my shirt and threw me back a distraction for Jen!"

"Wow. That's pretty low."

Since Jen had been slowed down and was farther behind, Daniel easily lost her in the "forest". When he looked back and saw that she was gone, he stopped and put his hands on his knees. He found a large rock at the base of a "tree" and sat down.

"Phew! That was close. Good thing that little runt was light and easy to throw…huh?"

He noticed a something sticking out of the branches of the fake tree standing above him.

"Is that…" He reached for it and pulled it down. "IT IS!"

It was the Psycho Producers flag.

"Yes!" He then quickly looked in the surrounding area to take notes. To see if there was any distinct feature that would make this particular area recognizable. He instantly took note of the large rock that sat at the base of the fake tree, as well as the fact that the "tree" was the only one in a fairly large clearing, the nearest other tree being nearly seven feet away.

"Perfect!"

He then turned and ran back towards the castle, flag in hand.

Meanwhile…

Luke, Tim, and Ruth were standing before the massive castle, staring up at it.

"Pretty big." Tim commented.

"Yeah, but not nearly as big as our forest." Ruth replied. "This'll be a cinch. Let's go."

Ruth walked over the drawbridge and, after a moment of hesitation, Luke and Tim followed her in.

The castle's interior was dark and cold. Every now and then, the three of them could hear the sound of dripping water.

"How will we ever find it in here?" Luke whispered.

"Yeah. Chris said that it was gray, and if it's the same exact shade of gray as the rest of this place, it'd be like trying to find a particular drop of gray paint in a ten-gallon container of gray paint."

"Will you please remain optimistic about this?" Ruth hissed. "We don't need a second loss in a row here! Just look harder."

Meanwhile, John was still sitting by the jail, waiting for something to happen, when he heard the sound of hushed voices and footsteps.

Assuming it was members of the opposing team, he quickly hid behind a column, then slowly peeked out.

Sure enough, it was three of the Psycho Producers, sneaking through the halls. He then noticed that Ruth was one of them.

Their best player, eh? He thought. She'll never see this coming.

He slowly sneaked around the other side of the pillar, now behind them as they approached a staircase.

Silent as a cat, he raced up and tagged all three of them.

"Huh?"

"What?"

"No!"

"YES! Ha, ha! I got you all good, eh!"

"Darn it!" Ruth growled as she, Tim, and Luke walked shamefully over to the jail.

John was quite proud of himself when he suddenly heard more footsteps. He turned around, expecting to see more enemies. But instead, they were his own teammates.

"Rachael! Violet! I just tagged all three of these guys!"

"Really?" Violet asked. "Nice work!"

"You know what this means." Rachael pointed out. "The only two left are the prison guard and the flag guard. Now their flag will be easy to catch!"

"Great!" John replied. "But just one more thing, eh: Where are Daniel, Mark, and Jeremy? They should be back by now."

The girls shrugged, but moments after, they all heard the sound of someone yelling.

John resumed with guarding the prisoners while Rachael and Violet raced out of the castle. They looked into the woods, and, after a moment, saw a figure racing through the "trees". The figure then emerged.

It was Daniel.

Carrying the flag.

"I've got it!" He cried. "I've got their flag!"

"Come on!" Rachael said and motioned towards the castle. "Hurry up!"

"What do you think I'm doing?"

Suddenly, another person raced out of the woods, heading straight for the castle as well. It was Jen. She was also racing towards the spot that Daniel was heading to.

The jock never even saw her coming.

Jen reached the drawbridge first, and stood and waited for him. He looked up and saw her.

"Wh-whoa!" He turned and ran back into the woods, Jen right on his heels.

"Oh no!" Violet said. "We were so close!"

"Come on! Let's go in there and help him out!" Rachael said. She and Violet raced after him.

During all of the confusion, a single member of the Producers who had not been tagged yet sneaked out of the "forest". The castmate looked to make sure that the four of them were definitely gone.

Check.

The castmate then slipped inside the castle.

A few minutes later…

Daniel and Violet both sat alongside Mark and Jeremy in the jail. It was quite a fast, exciting, and quick chase, which had resulted in Jen tagging Daniel, then Violet, and returning the flag. Only Rachael got away.

"This is just great!" the jock complained. "Only one member on our team left who's not a guard!"

"Hey, their team is practically the same." Mark commented.

"That's true." Jeremy agreed.

"Well, I guess you're right." Daniel said. "Besides, even if we lose, I have Invincibility."

The other three Producers rolled their eyes.

Make-Up Confessional

Mark: What a jerk. First he sacrifices me to save himself, then cares only about the fact that he has Invincibility while we don't? Seriously! He's almost as egotistical as Chris!

Jeremy: Doesn't that guy think about anyone besides himself?

Violet: I can see why Jen doesn't like him.

End

"By the way," Violet added. "where's the jail guard?"

Mary sneaked through the damp and dark halls of the castle, her eyes darting everywhere, scanning the area. She occasionally stopped and turned around sharply, thinking she heard something, but it was nothing.

Suddenly, she actually did hear voices. She jumped behind a pillar, then leaned out to watch.

Rachael stumbled through the entrance to the castle. John ran up to her.

"Rachael! What happened, eh?"

"Violet and Daniel (pant, pant) both got (pant) tagged! I was the only one to get away!"

"Daniel was tagged, too? And he had the flag!"

"I know."

"Darn it!"

"But don't worry. Remember, Chris said that the flag cannot be moved to another spot. And I know where it is."

"You do?"

"Daniel told me and Violet. It's in a tree about thirty yards to the right of the castle entrance. That's if we were standing on the drawbridge looking out at the woods. Anyway, it's in a tree in a clearing of about seven feet. There's a huge rock at the base of its trunk. I'm gonna go find it. You keep guarding the prisoners, and go tell Josh the whole situation."

"OK, eh."

The two went their separate ways: John back into the castle, Rachael out and into the woods.

Oh, no! Mary thought worriedly. They know where the flag is? Now it's only a matter of time! I have to hurry. Oh, I still can't believe I left my post for this!

She slowly sneaked through the halls, eventually stopping when she heard the whispers and voices of her teammates who had been caught. She doubled back and managed to sneak around the area of the jail, and up a flight of stairs. She slowly ascended.

Meanwhile…

Rachael sneaked through all of the fake trees in the fake forest, heading in the direction Daniel said the clearing was in. She eventually stopped and hid behind a bush. She looked out and saw the clearing, several yards ahead. She saw Jen sitting on the rock at the tree's base, and the flag sticking out of the tree's branches.

This is gonna be tough. She thought. She looked over at one of the trees, and got an idea.

Back at the castle…

Mary walked up several flights of stairs, climbing deeper and deeper into the castle. Eventually, she arrived at the top floor. She found herself in a huge hall, where the walls were lined with stone pillars. At the end of the hall was a massive window, which overlooked the forest below. The window was easily as tall as the entire floor itself, and probably eight feet across.

"Wow." Mary said quietly as she looked through the window. Then she turned and took in the rest of the hall's features. There was a long, red carpet stretching across the floor, from the window all the way to the opposite wall, where a throne sat. It was gilded, like the Gilded Chris Awards, and the seat and back of the chair had red cushions.

And sitting on the seat of the throne was the flag.

"Huh?" Mary couldn't believe her eyes. "The flag?"

She practically ran up to it and grabbed it.

"You've got to be kidding me! It was hidden in plain sight!"

She then clutched the flag close and looked around for any sign of enemies.

She had the whole room to herself.

"OK, then. Time to go!"

She raced down the stairs.

Back in the forest…

Jen cautiously approached the edge of the clearing, having heard the sound of a branch snapping. She looked into the trees.

"Hello? Anyone there?"

Meanwhile, Rachael sneaked around to the other side of the clearing and, as quietly as she could, tiptoed over to the tree that held the flag.

"Come on out of there! I heard you!"

"Oh, did you?"

Jen jumped and turned around to see Rachael, holding the flag.

"Sorry, but it's time for me to go!" She dashed into the woods.

"COME BACK HERE WITH THAT FLAG!" Jen screamed and gave chase.

Rachael was nearing the castle, flag in hand, Jen in pursuit.

Mary also ran down the stairs of the castle, eventually arriving at the bottom floor. As she ran, she didn't even think about the jail guard nearby.

John looked up at the sound of running, and saw that Mary had the flag.

"HEY!" He jumped up and ran after her.

"Oh, no!" Mary said as she realized that John was chasing her. She then ran faster than she had ever run before, straight towards the exit.

Rachael burst through the woods, the castle in plain sight. Jen was now a foot away from her, hand outstretched.

Rachael saw, as she approached the drawbridge, that Mary had their flag and was nearing the boundary.

"NO!" She ran as fast as she could towards the drawbridge.

Mary also saw the same thing, and went even faster.

The two girls raced towards each other, each holding the other's flag. They were now only steps away from the boundary.

They both stepped over the line between the boundary. The moment they did, they both collapsed. John and Jen both looked disappointed.

At that moment, Chris walked up.

"Well, well, castmates. That was one heck of a climax, I must say!"

As the other castmates approached, Chris continued. "That looked like a close call, but the camera footage will reveal the answer!"

A cameraman walked up, wheeling over a monitor on a cart.

"This is the footage of that dramatic scene we just saw." Chris said as he pressed REWIND, then PLAY. All twelve of the castmates leaned in close as they watched the replay of the final moment. Chris then pressed STOP just before the two girls' feet touched down on the tip of the drawbridge. He hit ZOOM, and zoomed in on their feet. He then pressed SLO-MO. The two feet slowly came down on the ground, almost like they were in zero gravity.

But the first foot to come down, which touched a split second before the other was…

…Mary's foot.

"The Psycho Producers win!" Chris declared.

There was an explosion of applause and cheers on the Producers' side. They all instantly picked up Mary on their shoulders and started chanting, "Mary! Mary! Mary!"

Chris shook his head and turned to the Directors. "Sorry, Flaming Directors, but you have lost. Report to the Theatre tonight. Someone is going home."

As the seven of them walked off, Daniel was giving Josh a hard time.

"Dude! Why didn't you chase after her when she took the flag?"

"I didn't know that she had it!"

"What do you mean, 'You didn't know'?"

"Just that!"

"You were supposed to be guarding the flag! Didn't you keep your eye on it the whole time?!"

"Yes…well, no. At the beginning, I admired the view, but for just a few moments, then I looked at it the whole time."

"But this makes no sense! You mean to tell me that she got the flag when she never even came up to where it was hidden!"

"Where was it hidden?" Violet asked.

"On the roof." The jock replied. He then turned back to the karate kid. "Listen, you did a lousy job as flag guard if you let her get away with it, and you didn't even know!"

"But I didn't! I swear, no one come up onto that roof while I was up there!"

"Oh, really? Hang on."

Daniel then ran from the rest of the Directors, and up to Mary. "Hey, you! Mary!"

"Yes?"

"Where did you find the flag when you took it?"

"Um, on the seat of the throne, in the throne room."

"WHAT?"

"Sorry, but that's where it was."

Daniel angrily marched back to the others, and was up in Josh's face. "She says that she found it in the throne room, on the throne; not on the roof!"

"What? But how can that be?" Josh asked.

"You mean to say that someone took the flag while Josh wasn't looking, and put it in a more obvious place so that they would find it more easily?" Rachael summarized.

"DARN IT!" Daniel roared. "I'll bet it was that person who sabotaged my paintball gun last week! They've done it again!"

Daniel said this loud enough for the whole Film Lot to hear. As he yelled this, the castmate who had done this turned away, satisfied that their plan had worked this time.


The Second Gilded Chris Award Ceremony

The seven Flaming Directors sat in front of the huge, brightly-lit stage before them. Daniel was still glaring at Josh, but Jeremy and Mark assured him that he would be safe.

"Flaming Directors." Chris said as he approached the podium. "This is your first loss, thus, your first Gilded Chris Award Ceremony as well. The viewers have cast in their votes, and chosen who to send home."

Make-Up Confessional

Daniel: (Speaking in a mocking, high-pitched voice) "The viewers will decide your fate, the viewers will decide your fate." I'm SICK of the viewers choosing who goes home! I hope that Chris will at least let us have one, just one, season where we vote someone off, and not all of those idiots out there in the viewing world!

End

"Chef here has only six Gilded Chris Awards. When I call your name, accept your award proudly, as it symbolizes the fact that you will get to see another week. The castmate who does not receive one will have to walk down the Red Carpet of Shame, to the Limo of Losers, and cannot return. EVER.

"Now, the first two awards go to Rachael and Daniel. Well done, both of you."

Chef picked up two of the small Gilded Chris Awards and threw them to Rachael and Daniel. They both eagerly caught their awards.

"John."

"Violet."

"Mark."

As Mark caught his Award, the final two castmates, Josh and Jeremy, glanced at each other nervously.

"Jeremy and Josh. This is the final Gilded Chris Award of the evening."

Josh was sweating hard, and moving nervously in his seat. Jeremy swallowed hard.

"Josh, you failed to guard your team's flag, and really blew it today. Jeremy, you were the first member of your team to be caught."

Both of the teens winced as he mentioned their flaws.

"But only one of you will stay."

Jeremy straightened up, eyes focused solely on the last Gilded Chris.

Chris picked up the Award. "The final GC Award of the night goes to…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…Josh."

Josh breathed a huge sigh of relief as he caught the Award that was thrown to him. Jeremy hung his head and sighed.

"WHAT?" Daniel exclaimed.

"Yeah, I know. It was shocking, wasn't it? But the viewers just felt that it would be unfair to vote off Josh at this point. And since you had Invincibility, they really had no other choice."

"What do you mean 'since I had Invincibility'?"

"Just that."

"Argh!"

Chris then turned to the latest castmate to be voted off. "Sorry, dude. You're out."

Jeremy sighed again, then stood up, turned, and walked out of the Theatre, down the Red Carpet of Shame towards the waiting Limo.


Episode 3: Cops 'n Robbers

"Last time on Total Drama Action: The castmates participated in a medieval version of Capture-the-Flag, with one team's base being in the forest, and the other's in a castle.

"They were constantly running all over the place searching for flags, each other, and running away from opponents.

"Daniel proved his ruthlessness when, while he and Mark were being chased by Jen, he grabbed Mark and threw him back as a distraction, so that he could get away! Pretty cold, Daniel. Pretty cold.

"In all the confusion, the Mystery Castmate struck again, by taking the Flaming Directors' flag, and re-hiding it in a place where its gray color really stood out, which made it easy for Mary of the Psycho Producers to find it, and take it to her team's territory, winning the task for her team.

"That night, Jeremy was voted off by our viewers in a landslide vote, and took the Walk of Shame.

"Who will be the next castmate voted off? Will Daniel stop being suck a jerk? Will the Mystery Castmate give it a rest, or will they strike for a third time in a row? Find out on the next, and most dramatic episode yet, on Total…Drama…Action!"

...

After another rude awakening by Chris, the castmates all groggily got dressed, walked out of their trailers, and walked down to the Craft Services Tent, where Chef was waiting.

After being served their food, the castmates sat back down at the tables and stared at their food, their hunger almost overpowering their fear of the slop.

Suddenly, a man with a black ski mask and gloves burst into the Tent.

"Alright! Everyone on the ground! This is a holdup!" yelled the familiar voice.

The castmates were unfazed.

"Seriously, Chris. We know it's you." Daniel said.

"Aw, come on!" The host said as he removed the cheesy mask. "You know, it would be nice if you at least played along! Besides, it's the theme of your next task's genre: the Cops and Robbers genre!"

"Does that technically even qualify as a genre?" Violet asked.

"Well, no. But have you seen all of the moves that are basically about Cops and Robbers? Anyway, so here's the deal: One team will be the Cops/Bankers; their base is in a bank, with a vault loaded with cash."

"Really?" Mark asked.

"No, not really. It's fake cash. But you get the idea. And the other team will be the Robbers. Their turf is the entire city surrounding the bank. Their goal is to find a way to sneak into the bank, break into the vault, snatch all of the money, and get it back to their safehouse.

"Come with me to the set where this will all happen."

The castmates walked out of the CS Tent and followed Chris through the Film Lot as he explained further. "Similar to our 'Ocean's Eight-Or Nine' challenge from the previous season of TDA, with a bank heist and all, only this time, one team will be breaking into the safe, and the other has to guard it. The idea is that the Robbers can come into the bank, but they cannot be seen. If they are caught, they are out…permanently. They can go into the Cops/Bankers turf, but the Cops/Bankers cannot leave the bank. The robbers can break in any way they want, but the main goal is to break into the vault, snatch up every single piece of the cash, load it into their van, and drive it back to their safehouse without being caught. In the event that they flee with the dough, the Cops/Bankers are then allowed to give chase and leave the bank. If you can stop their van and recover the money, then you win. Also, if every single Robber is caught in the bank, then you win as well. If the Robbers get the money to their safehouse, then they win.

"I even went the extra mile to make it harder for the Robbers to get the money to their safehouse; I hired one of the campers from the very first season to make a precise calculation as to the exact spot in the city that is farthest away from the bank, which will give the Cops/Bankers an extra chance to stop them."

Just as he finished his narrative, they arrived in the city, which looked a bit like downtown Manhattan, with a massive painted backdrop way in the distance to simulate the rest of the Manhattan skyline, including the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

"This is a movie recreation of the ever famous New York City! The City of Lights! The city that never sleeps! The Big Apple!"

"Uh, dude? Why New York, if we're in Canada?" Mark asked.

"Hey, does Canada have any big, famous metropolis cities like America does?"

"Well…no."

"And another thing, Chris?" Violet added.

"What now?"

"That last name, the Big Apple, does apply to New York, but I think 'the City of Lights' and 'the city that never sleeps' both describe Las Vegas more than New York."

Chris thought it over for a moment, then snapped his fingers. "Gosh, darn it! You're right! Ah, forget it! The bottom line is, this is a recreation of NYC, and this is where the task will be! And here is the bank."

Chris gestured up at one of the buildings, which appeared to be about five stories tall, and probably covered an entire city block. It also had the words FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF MACLEAN on its side.

"Figures." Rachael said, shaking her head.

Daniel whistled. "I can imagine how much loot a bank like that could hold in real life."

"So, the robbers can hide out in any of the other buildings in this set, and scope out the bank, or whatever. While the Cops/Bankers have to do all they can to protect their loot.

"So that's the basic rundown. Now to decide the teams. The Cops/Bankers will be the Psycho Producers, and the Robbers will be the Flaming Directors.

"Robbers, your van to load the money in and escape with is across the street, in the garage of that old, abandoned warehouse."

The Robbers looked inside, and saw the large, dirty old van that was waiting for them.

"When, and if, the Robbers attempt to flee, the Cops/Bankers will chase them in their police cars, and attempt to cut off their path."

Daniel raised his hand. "Can they actually bump our van?"

"Yes, they can. But not to worry; if anyone gets hurt, we have paramedics standing by."

"Gee, that's encouraging."

"That's ALL you have to offer?" Tim asked, clearly annoyed. "Seriously, what if someone, like, breaks their neck? Can 'paramedics standing by' help that?"

"Look, you guys signed a contract. And with it, you all agreed that we are one hundred percent not responsible for any injuries/casualties you may sustain.

"Anyway, getting back to the subject. The last thing to mention is that the Cops/Bankers will be armed, but with paintball guns. If a Robber is shot, they must flee. If a Robber is actually caught, pinned to the ground, and handcuffed, then they're out. But the paintball thing is to slow them down. If the Robbers lose, then those who do not have any paint on them will have Invincibility; and if the Cops/Bankers lose, then the ones who have successfully shot a Robber will win Invincibility."

"What if every single Robber is hit with paint?" Josh asked.

"If that's the case, then Invincibility goes to the one Robber with the least amount of paint on him.

"OK, so you all know the routine. Teams, Cops, and Robbers, go to your territories, begin the challenge, and may the best team win."

"Thank you." Daniel said. "We will."

Several people glared at him.

The two teams went their separate ways.

The Cops/Bankers (the Psycho Producers) went into the huge bank. Looking around, it did look like an average bank: tables dotted here and there, a light-brown marble floor, white marble columns, and then a long, wooden desk with a protective glass covering lining it, with small squares cut out for the tellers.

"Not bad." Tim commented. "Reminds me of the bank in The Dark Knight."

"Look, we need to find this vault, and post a guard." Ruth stated.

"It's over here!" Luke yelled from across the room. "In the basement!"

Ruth and Jen walked over to where Luke was, and followed him down the staircase. They instantly found themselves in a small hallway, with the massive, round vault door at the end. It had one large dial in the center, and a knob next to it. The door was slightly ajar.

Jen opened the door, and the three of them looked inside. There were rows of smaller safes and lockers lining the wall, but most prominently was the metal table in the center of the room. The table was probably three feet long on one side, and the mountain of cash covered the entire tabletop. The pile was probably five feet tall.

Luke whistled. "If only that were real cash."

"OK, so we know where the vault is. Who wants to guard it?"

"I'll gladly volunteer." Ruth said as she raised her hand.

"Good. You got it."

Luke, Jen, and Ruth walked out of the vault. Luke and Jen ascended the staircase, while Ruth closed the vault door and twisted the dial to seal it. She then stood firm in front of the door.

"Alright, so Ruth guards it, and the rest of us…what, patrol the place?" Luke suggested.

"Sounds about right. This is a big bank; plenty of room for them to hide."

Then Mary walked up, holding four paintball guns. "I found the guns." She said as she tossed two to Luke and Jen. Then she pulled out four pairs of handcuffs, and gave one to each of them. "I also found these, and already gave one of each to Tim. Where's Ruth?"

"Guarding the vault."

"Thanks." Mary, with the last two guns and handcuffs in hand, walked over to the staircase.

"Great, so we're armed, we've got a vault guard, and now we just need to look around a bit more, get to know our environment." Jen said to Luke. "Tim!" She yelled across the room.

"Yeah?"

"Luke, Mary, and I are gonna scope out the place. I want you to stay in the teller area and hide behind the desk. That way, if they ever come into the room, you can take them by surprise."

"You got it." Tim walked over to the long desk, went through a swinging half-door, then disappeared behind the desk.

"Luke, you come with me." She turned and walked towards the staircase leading to the next floor. Luke followed.

Across the street…

The Robber/Flaming Directors were looking around in the massive storehouse. Daniel opened the driver's door of the van, and looked around. It didn't look too bad on the inside, except for the fact that several seat cushions were ripped and had stuffing sticking out. Other than that, it was very large; perfect for carrying cash.

"The van looks good." The jock told the others.

The six of them walked up the spiral staircase, which led through the whole building, up to the roof. From there, they had a good view of the surrounding area of the city, and the bank across the street.

"So this will serve as our base." Violet stated. "Now we need to get a game plan going."

"I saw a whole bunch of fancy equipment in one of the rooms on the way up here." Mark said. "Walkie-talkies, drills, grappling hooks, binoculars, the whole nine yards."

"Really? Great!" Violet replied.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold up!" Daniel interrupted. "We can't just send everyone in. That's risky! We need to have some backup guys in case a lot of us are caught."

"As much as I hate to say it, he's right, eh." John added. "We should split up into three teams of two."

"I agree with John. The more spread out we are, the better." Rachael agreed.

"OK, OK. We'll split into three teams." Violet thought it over for a moment. "OK, so I think the teams should be Mark and Rachael, Josh and I, and John and Daniel."

"Sounds good to me." Mark said.

"Whoa! Why do I have to be paired up with Goth boy here? He never does any work!"

"Hey, he may be quiet and (no offense, John) dull, but he can be a great team player if he wants to." Josh defended.

"Fine, fine. Whatever."

"And I also think it would be best if all three teams each had different occupations. You know, like the field team, the reconnaissance teams, stuff like that." Violet continued.

"Reco-what?" Josh asked.

"Reconnaissance." Violet repeated. "It means to scope out."

Josh looked at her blankly.

"To spy on them."

"Oh! OK."

"The Recon Team will be Mark and Rachael."

"Awesome!" Mark said enthusiastically. "I'll get the binoculars and walkie-talkies!" He raced down the stairs. A few minutes later, he came back. He was holding a bunch of walkie-talkies in his hands. He started passing them out to everyone.

"Let's all tune to channel four." He said before switching on his own.

"Rachael and I will watch them from this building. I can watch from the roof, and Rachael can spy on them from another floor, or something like that."

"So Daniel and John can go in first and take a look around inside. Josh and I will stand by."

"Sounds good to me, eh."

"Fine. Let's go, Goth boy." Daniel turned and walked back down the stairs. John paused for a moment, then reluctantly followed.

"OK. So first, we've got to find a way inside." Daniel said as he walked down to the equipment room. He opened up one of the massive metal cabinets, and found a grappling hook, complete with a fifty-foot long rope, and three small metal rings that could be slid around the rope to make it like a zipline, hanging inside.

"Perfect!" He removed it and two of the rings from the cabinet, slammed the cabinet door shut, and walked back up to the roof.

He and John appeared on the roof again. The others turned around.

"I think this'll be great for getting to the roof. After all, they'll never, in a million years, suspect that we could actually come through the roof. Now stand back; I'm gonna cast this thing!"

The five others stood back as he started swinging it high above his head, twirling it faster and faster.

"Ha! This is just like the hurtling contests I have at my school! This'll be a cinch!" He then tossed the hook. It flew all the way across the street, landing on the roof of the building. He started to retract it until it got hooked on a metal pipe.

"Perfect." The jock then straightened out the rope until it was pulled tight, then wrapped it around the handrail of the staircase on their roof, wrapping it around numerous times before tying it in several knots.

"OK, now we just use these things to slide across. And since our roof is about five feet higher up than theirs, it should be tilted at an angle so that we can just slide casually across, like a zipline!"

He handed one to John.

"Follow me." The jock said before he attached the metal ring to the rope, then jumped off the roof. He held his legs together firmly and didn't make a sound as he slid across the rope to the roof. He then hit the bank roof, and scraped across the surface for about four seconds before sliding to a stop.

He then stood up, pulled out his walkie-talkie, and spoke into it.

"OK, Goth. Come on over."

John then attached his metal ring, and slid across the rope. He was even more motionless. He was almost like a statue, unmoving as he slid across the rope, then touching down on the roof. He brushed off his black pant legs, then straightened up.

"OK, so where do we go from here?"

"We go down in there and check out the situation. Follow me."

The jock and Goth found the hatch on the roof. John silently opened it up, and the two of them went in.

"Turn your walkie-talkie's volume down to a minimum." The jock whispered.

Just as they did so, a voice crackled to life. Mark.

"Guys. Where are you right now?"

"Where do you think we are? We just sneaked inside two seconds ago!"

John, annoyed at the jock's sarcasm, spoke softly into the walkie-talkie. "We're sneaking through a hallway on the top floor, eh. There's, like, nothing here. No furniture, no signs of human life, no nothing. Some of the wallpapers are peeled, there are dry paint spots on the walls, and wooden boards are stacked up. Kind of like they were renovating, eh."

"Got it. Are you near any windows?"

"Uh, hang on."

They saw a light at the end of the hallway. They approached it, and saw it was a window.

"Affirmative."

"OK, I can see you guys right now."

They looked out the window, and saw Mark looking through the window with his binoculars.

"Good, you keep an eye on us then, and don't mess up! This is serious business." Daniel hissed.

"I know, I know."

Then John spoke to Rachael.

"Rachael, you're on one of the lower floors, right?"

"Yeah, that's right." Rachael's voice responded.

"Then look through the windows on the first floor; see if you can see any enemy activity."

"Um, hang on." Rachael turned the small knob on top of the binoculars, focusing the lenses a little more. "Yeah, I can see the lobby and the teller area right now. Hold on…looks like Tim is talking to Jen and Luke…now he's walking away…he just hid behind the teller desk! Repeat, Tim is hiding behind the teller desk. If you go in that area, keep your distance!"

"Copy that, eh."

"Jen and Luke are walking away right now…they're heading up the stairs. You guys might want to keep an eye out."

"I hear ya." Daniel responded. "Keep an eye on 'em if you can, Recon Team. We need to keep silent now so they won't hear us if they enter the vicinity. Delta Team out."

" 'Delta Team out'?" John repeated incredulously. "What is this, James Bond?"

"Hey, might as well get in character." Daniel shot back. "For one, we are in a reality show. And for second, this is a movie-genre-based season, is it not?"

"Well, I guess you got me there, eh."

"Glad to hear it. Now shut up."

The two teens remained absolutely quiet as they sneaked through the deserted hall. After a few minutes, when they reached the third floor, they heard more footsteps and hushed voices.

"Uh-oh!" Daniel whispered nervously. "Hide!"

The two teens looked around frantically. Spotting a hole in the wall (presumably from the renovating), they dove inside. In the cramped space, which was barely enough for both of them to fit, there were water pipes and wooden beams, but no sign of rats or bugs. The two instantly fell silent when they heard three teens approach. John turned his back to the hole, while Daniel ducked under a beam.

"Geez, look at all of this! There's not a single piece of furniture anywhere! It's like this whole place was getting ready to be demolished!" They heard Luke exclaim.

"Well, then that will make it harder for any of the Robbers to hide then, huh?" Jen responded. "Hey, check in that hole in the wall."

Mary then walked over to the hole and shined the beam in. She flashed it in Daniel's direction, and her beam was barely above the jock's back. He had stopped breathing altogether. When she looked in John's direction, he was in plain sight, but his black clothing blended in with the environment perfectly, and he might as well have been invisible.

"Nope. Nothing." She moved away from the hole. "Let's keep going up."

John and Daniel waited until the footsteps had vanished before they emerged from their hiding spot.

Daniel brushed the dust off of himself. "Phew! That was close."

"Recon Team, we just passed by their group; Jen, Luke, and Mary, eh. We had to hide, but they didn't see us." John reported.

"Good. Now keep going down, search for the vault. And remember, when you reach the teller area, keep your distance from the desk." Rachael responded.

"Ten-four."

"And Ruth is somewhere in this building, too. And if we cross paths with her, we might as well give up." Daniel commented.

The two teens walked down the halls, and eventually came to the next staircase. They walked down it until they finally reached the first floor. They could see the teller desk lining the back wall.

"Keep an eye out, eh." John reminded Daniel.

The two of them looked around the room. It was definitely the neatest room in the bank, and the only one with furniture in it. John noticed, out of the corner of his eye, slight movement behind the desk.

"Run."

Daniel didn't bother questioning why. The two turned and bolted towards the staircase just as Tim popped out from behind the teller desk.

"YAAAA!" He started firing his paintball gun wildly, missing by inches.

"Keep running!" Daniel yelled. They reached the first step.

"Ruth!" Tim yelled to his teammate. "Ruth! Get up here! Daniel and John are here!"

Ruth heard his yells and dashed away from the vault, heading straight towards the two Robbers. She also started firing her paintball gun.

"You're not getting away from us!" Ruth yelled as she fired another shot.

"RUN!" John and Daniel bolted up the stairs, hitting them two steps at a time. Ruth was right behind them, with Tim farther behind.

Daniel and John raced up to the second floor, then the third floor, fast approaching the roof.

On the fourth floor, they ran right past the other three Cops/Bankers.

"Hey!" Jen shouted as they bolted up the next flight of stairs.

"Don't just stand there! Get them!" Ruth yelled.

Soon, all five of them were chasing after the two Robbers.

"GO! Go, go, go, go!" Daniel yelled.

They reached the roof and headed straight for the zipline. Daniel reached it first, and started sliding as fast as he could. However, since he was now going opposite the slope, he wasn't moving as fast as before.

"Shoot! I've gotta get out of here!" He looked up at their teammates on the roof across the street, looking down at them.

Meanwhile, John had another idea. He sat perched on the edge of the roof for a moment, then jumped.

His teammates gasped.

"What is he doing!" Mark exclaimed.

"He's going to get hurt!" Rachael added.

But he didn't get hurt, as he didn't fall straight down. Instead, he swung backward and kicked through the window on the next floor. He crashed into the building among the shattered glass.

"Daniel! Come on, through here, eh!"

Daniel looked down and saw the new opening. At first he thought it was risky, then decided otherwise.

"What the heck!" He said before he swung backward, then swung forward and let go of the rope, also flying through the broken window. As he scrambled to his feet, they ran back down the building towards the first floor.

Meanwhile, the five Cops/Bankers stopped on the roof, looking around wildly.

"Where'd they go?" Ruth exclaimed.

"We saw them run up here!" Tim added. "They couldn't have just disappeared!"

"Hey guys! Come look at this!" Jen motioned over to the other side of the roof. They all came over and saw the zipline that had been attached to their roof.

"So this is how they got here!" They all then looked up at the roof the other end was attached to.

There was no one there.

Meanwhile…

John and Daniel raced back down the stairs and eventually came back to the teller area.

"Did you see where Ruth came from, eh?" John asked

"Yeah! From down there." He pointed at a flight of stairs leading underground. They looked down for a moment, then descended. When they reached the bottom, they saw the huge vault door.

"We've found it!" Daniel exclaimed.

"Great, but now we need to find a way to break in." John commented. "And plus, if Ruth came from down here, then that can only mean one thing."

They looked at each other for a moment before simultaneously saying, "Ruth's the vault guard."

"This is great." Daniel said, rolling his eyes.

"Look, she got distracted when we barged in, didn't she? So all we need to do is distract her, and the rest of them, for a long enough time for one of us to break in, eh."

"OK, we might have a chance. But for now, let's get back to the others."

"Agreed."

The two turned and ran up the stairs, back into the teller area, then raced to the doors just as the Cops/Bankers returned.

"Hey!" Luke shouted. But they were already out the door. "They got away."

"Uh-oh!" Jen suddenly realized. "Check the vault!"

Ruth bolted down the stairs towards the vault. After a moment, she returned.

"Nope, it's still secure."

"Good. We've got to keep a closer eye on that thing. If they had a drill or something, they could've made it in!"

Across the street…

Daniel and John had just returned to their base, and reported back to their teammates.

"…and then we made a run for it, eh." John summarized.

"OK, now we just need to find a way to break into that vault."

"Gotcha covered." Mark said as he returned with an armful of equipment. He dumped them on an old metal table. "There are three ways to do this. There's the sneakiest way: the stethoscope." He held up the small device with the listening part and two earpieces.

"What are we gonna do? Listen for its heartbeat?" Daniel asked.

"Dude, haven't you seen the movies? We put this against it, then listen for vibrations as we move the dial! The vibrations are the tumblers falling into place, which means it's opening!"

"'The tumblers'?"

"Forget it. I'll explain later. Anyway, then there's this." He held up a massive drill, which was nearly four feet long. Its sharp end was metal, and it had a handle on the underside of it halfway down the length of the device. There was another handle at the very end of it, which could be twisted easily. "The old-fashioned, but effective way: drilling in. And lastly, there's the least subtle way: blow the door open!" And with that, he held up a canvas sack. When he opened it up and dumped out the contents, many pipe bombs rolled out.

"Yikes." Rachael said.

"Well, I don't know about you, but I think that the whole stethoscope thing is a load of bologna! I say we blow the door to Kingdom Come, and then snatch all the loot." Daniel quickly suggested.

"I wouldn't be so sure of that." Violet countered. "I think the drill method is more subtle, but just as effective."

"I second that motion." Rachael agreed.

"No! I think that we need to do it as quietly and subtly as possible, eh! I say we use the stethoscope method!"

"ENOUGH!" Josh roared.

Everyone fell silent.

"Look, we'll never get anywhere if we're arguing like this! I say, we use all of them, one at a time! If none of them work, we'll think of something else to do. If one of them works, then great. Any objections?" He made a fist.

No one dared to "object".

"Good. We'll start with the stethoscope method. John, you should probably work the device, while Daniel covers you. Violet and I will patrol the halls and keep an eye out, and act as a distraction if necessary. Rachael and Mark, you two do recon work and keep us in the loop. Got it?"

"Yes, sir!" They both said, treating him like the leader.

"Good! Now let's go!"

A few minutes later…

Josh and Violet went up to the roof and saw that the zipline was still attached to the other roof.

"That's not good." Violet said. "They could be waiting for us."

"They probably are." Josh agreed. "But we don't have to go to the roof, remember? We can jump through the window that John smashed." The karate kid looked hard for a moment. "Yep, there it is." He pointed at the window just underneath where the zipline ended. "Now come on!"

Josh grabbed onto the metal ring and slid across. However, halfway down, Violet's suspicions were confirmed.

Mary popped up from behind the edge of the roof and aimed her gun.

"AHA!" She started firing at Josh.

"Ah! Ow! Oof! Ow!" He yelled as he was hit repeatedly. For the most part, he was swinging his body sideways and back, dodging the paint. But occasionally, she would score a hit.

Just a few feet from the window, the paint was really starting to hurt. He knew it was a matter of time before it hit him where it hurts. So Josh let go of the rope and threw himself at the window, barely making it.

"Come back here, you!" Mary yelled as she turned around and started down the stairs.

"Hope that guy knows what he's doing." Violet said to herself as she grabbed onto the second metal ring and started sliding down.

Meanwhile…

John and Daniel were on the first floor of the warehouse, peeking through the window's blinds at the bank across the street.

"You got the stethoscope?" Daniel asked.

"Right here, eh." John motioned to the device around his neck. "And the bombs." He shook the sack under his arm.

"And I've got the drill. Everything's set. All we need to do is wait."

Then they heard Josh's voice crackle over the radio. "Augh! Guys, a little backup here! Mary's chasing after me! And Violet's somewhere else in this building right now! I'm not gonna last much longer!"

"That's the signal." The jock said. "Go."

With that, the jock and Goth raced out of the building and towards the bank.

Violet was also racing down the halls of the bank, with Jen and Luke right behind her, firing their paintball guns.

She pulled out her walkie-talkie and spoke softly into it between breaths. "Josh! Where are you?"

"I can't seem to lose her…OW!"

"Josh?"

"I'm hit again! This time…in…a place…that…" his voice started to get scratchy. "…need…-ackup…she's…-aining…-elp!"

Violet could barely hear the distant girl's voice: "Get back here, you!"

"Josh? JOSH?"

"WAIT! NO!"

Then she lost the signal.

Violet then spoke again. "Alpha Team, Delta Team is successfully luring them away, but it sounds like Josh has been caught. Move in now!"

"Copy." John's voice responded.

Another whiz as a paintball soared past her. She nearly tripped on the next flight of stairs.

Got…to keep…moving! She thought.

In the teller area…

John and Daniel slowly entered the bank.

Looking around cautiously, John spoke quietly into his walkie-talkie. "Recon Team, see anyone, eh?"

"Hang on." Rachael's crackly voice responded. "I'm on the second floor, looking down into the teller area. Scanning the desk…nope, no one's hiding behind the desk this time. Guess they figured that we'd be expecting that."

"Good. Heading into the vault."

They slowly approached the descending staircase, and looked cautiously inside.

"See her?" Daniel whispered.

"It looks like it's deserted."

"But it can't be." Daniel said, shocked. "They would never leave the vault unguarded."

Just then, they heard rapid footsteps, muffled yelling, and the sound of paintball guns being fired. They looked around, and saw that the noise was coming from upstairs.

Only one floor away.

"Doesn't matter, eh. We need to go now!"

John started down the staircase, still nervous. He stopped breathing as he walked down. About halfway down, he could barely hear a snicker.

And he knew it wasn't him or Daniel.

Reacting with catlike reflexes, he spun around and dashed up the stairs just as the muscular girl popped out from behind a wall.

"GOTCHA!" She fired five consecutive shots, but barely missed. "Oh, no! You're NOT getting away from me this time!" Ruth fired several more shots, but missed again.

"Come on!" Daniel yelled. They ran as fast as they could towards the door.

The two of them made it out into the street just as Ruth was about to catch them.

"Darn it!" She growled. Then she noticed something on the ground.

The stethoscope.

She smirked. Goth must have dropped it as he ran. She thought smugly as she picked it up. Planning to break in the old-fashioned way, huh? She snapped the stethoscope in two. Nice try, Robbers.

As John burst through the warehouse's door, he nearly collapsed.

He brushed the sweat off his brow. "Wow (pant, pant), eh. That (pant) was the (wheeze) fastest I've ever run (pant, wheeze) in months! Huh?" Then he noticed what was missing. "Oh, NO! I dropped the stethoscope!"

"You what?" Daniel spun to face him.

"I guess I was in such a hurry that I…I…"

"Ah, it doesn't really matter. Like I said, checking for the vault's heartbeat would never work. Now we can use the drill. But first, let's check with Mark and Rachael, see what the situation is."

Daniel started up the staircase, with John behind him. At the second floor, they had gone separate ways; John went off to talk to Rachael, while Daniel continued on to the roof to get the latest report from Mark.

Daniel had left the drill on the table in the room, while John left the bag of bombs.

Just a few minutes after they left, a castmate sneaked into the room. Seeing the valuable equipment on the table, the castmate couldn't resist the opportunity.

Ah, those fools left their important tools behind, huh? The castmate thought. Well, they shall suffer for their mistake! Looking between the two valuable tools, the castmate tried to decide which one should be destroyed. Obviously, I can destroy that drill easily. But I probably shouldn't mess with that bag of explosives; I could get blown up! And I don't want that. Then they thought of another trick. …Yes. That will work just fine.

The castmate picked up the drill, then raised it over their head, ready to bring it down on the hard, concrete floor.

A few minutes after beating the living crap out of the drill, the castmate moved to the explosives.

Meanwhile…

Daniel had just reached the roof where Mark was supposed to be.

"Mark! Hey, Mark! You up here?" He looked around. Where is that guy?

Suddenly, he heard movement, and spun around to see Mark emerge from behind a massive generator. "Oh, sorry about that. I thought I saw suspicious activity on the third floor, but I guess it was just a false alarm."

"Never mind that. We hit a bit of a speed bump, man."

"What happened?"

"Well, Goth boy was about to try the stethoscope method, but he was barely halfway down the stairs into the vault room when Ruth came out from hiding. She shot at us, and we ran. Neither of us were hit, but he actually dropped the stethoscope on the way out! And chances are that she's found it, and has presumably disposed of it."

"Terrific." Mark said, rolling his eyes. "But it doesn't matter; you guys still have the drill and bombs, right?"

"That's right."

"Anyway, we also heard that the Delta Team was in danger, and were being pursued by the Cops/Bankers. Last we heard, Josh had been under heavy fire, hit several times, and then his signal went out. So we can assume that he's been caught."

"And Violet?"

"We don't know. We think she's still on the run, but we haven't heard from her since Josh was caught."

Both boys were startled when they heard a loud voice over their walkie-talkies.

"DANIEL! MARK!"

"Yipe!" Mark exclaimed before he quickly answered his walkie-talkie. "Y-yes? Rachael, was that you?"

"Mark! Daniel! Both of you get down here right away!"

"Where?" Daniel responded.

"The first floor! Get down here, NOW!"

Daniel and Mark dashed across the roof towards the staircase. They fled down the stairs, skipping three at a time. When they reached the first floor, they couldn't believe what they were seeing: John and Rachael were on the other side of the metal table where they had left their equipment. The bag of pipe bombs was still there, but the drill wasn't on the table anymore. It was on the floor.

Completely smashed.

It had been smashed into two separate pieces, with numerous smaller fragments surrounding it where it had broken. There was even a slight crack in the floor from where it had been smashed into the hard cement.

"WHAT!" Daniel exclaimed. "How could this happen? Who did this!"

"We don't need to know 'who' did this." Rachael stated angrily. "It was obviously that person who's been sabotaging us ever since day one!"

Daniel growled fiercely. "Whoever did this is SO going to pay!"

After a long, awkward moment of silence, in which everyone was clearly angry and annoyed, John finally spoke up.

"I'm just wondering why they left the explosives alone, eh. Why'd they destroy the drill but spare the bombs?"

"That's not important right now." Daniel interrupted. "What is important is that we have only one option left: we use the bombs. This is it, guys. It's now or never. We lost the stethoscope, and the drill's been smashed in two. This is our last chance. If it doesn't work, we lose!"

"OK, so we just need to prepare for blowing the door open." Mark said. "First, let's call Violet." He grabbed his walkie-talkie. "Recon Team to Delta Team. Violet? You there? It's Mark. Answer now."

Static.

"Hello?"

"You have GOT to be kidding!" The furious Daniel exclaimed. "Now SHE'S been caught too! Terrific!"

"I guess this means that Mark and I will have to go out into the field then." Rachael realized.

"Guess so, eh." John replied.

"Great. Just great!" Daniel yelled again. "Aw, never mind. After all, it's all we got left at this point."

"Yeah, it is." Mark answered.

"We don't have time to come up with an elaborate plan." Rachael said. "Just thinking of something on the fly here; Mark and I will go and distract them, while you two set the bombs and blow the door open. After that, we can load all the money into the van, and then make a run for it."

"Sounds good to me." John agreed.

"Same here." Mark also complied.

They all turned to Daniel. After a moment, he shrugged. "Ah, what the heck. Let's do it."

A few minutes later…

Rachael and Mark burst through the door of the bank, racing across the hall towards the stairs.

"RUN, Rachael!"

"I'm running as fast as I can!"

Jen and Tim, who were in the teller area at that moment, saw them and instantly dashed after them.

"Come back here!" Tim yelled after them as they raced up the stairs.

A few moments later, Daniel and John peeked in through the door, then slowly entered.

"All clear. Let's move." The two teens slowly crept through the room towards the vault.

John held up his hand to signal "Stop". They both stopped just at the top of the staircase leading down to the vault.

John mouthed the word, "Now."

"Alright, John. Let's do this! We've got to break into that vault." Daniel said convincingly.

Then John threw his voice and made it sound like a girl's voice.

"Hey, you! Stop!"

"Run!" Daniel responded. They both started running, then quickly hid behind the teller's desk. Sure enough, Ruth emerged from below, looking around.

"Where are you guys?"

"Now." Daniel whispered to John. John activated his walkie-talkie, then spoke into it.

"No! Keep running, eh!"

Ruth heard the voice to the side, and raced towards the stairs, where it was coming from.

In case you don't understand it, John had taken Daniel's walkie-talkie and hidden it under the staircase on the second floor, then turned the volume up to full blast (which was unusually loud). So the voice sounded like it was coming from the second floor. That was the bait.

And the fish took the bait, hook, line, and sinker.

As Ruth stormed away, Daniel and John emerged from behind the teller's desk, heading straight for the vault.

"You know, for a Goth, that voice acting was pretty good. You really sounded scared." Daniel said to John.

"Thanks, eh."

They started down the stairs when they heard hurried footsteps behind them. They turned to see Violet racing for the door.

"Violet! What happened?"

"They almost got me! But I just barely got away!"

Sure enough, there wasn't a single hint of paint anywhere on her.

"I lost my radio somewhere on the third floor while I was running!"

"That explains why she didn't answer when we called her." Daniel realized.

Violet dashed out the door.

John and Daniel walked down the rest of the stairs and reached the vault. Daniel turned his back to the vault and kept a steady eye on the top of the stairs, watching for an enemy. John pulled out the explosives and started placing the bombs all around the vault door. There were twenty in total. He had completely surround the large, round door with the white explosives and dangling wires until the bag was empty.

"That's all of 'em, eh."

Suddenly, John's walkie-talkie crackled to life.

"Alpha Team! This is the Delta Team! We're in a serious state! Mark's already been hit with paint several times, and I've been hit once! They've caught him, but I'm making a run for it! Are you at the vault right now? Please reply!"

"Affirmative, eh." John responded. "We're at the vault and the pipe bombs are placed."

"Good, now hurry up and-EEEEYYYYAAAA!" Then the signal vanished.

"Aw, great! They've caught her too, now!" Daniel griped. "Just hurry up and detonate those things before I-."

Daniel's sentence was abruptly cut short when John pressed the switch on the small detonation device. As hoped, the explosion did blow off the vault door.

But it also completely blew up the entire bank with it.

The explosion was at least forty times more powerful than they were supposed to be, and the entire bank was completely shaken by the explosion. And since the blast was underground, it completely knocked the foundation of the whole building out of whack. So the building completely collapsed, falling straight down rather than falling sideways.

When Chris and Chef saw the collapse over the monitors, they were both completely (Author's Note: Please forgive the pun) blown away.

"Oh…my…God!" Chris exclaimed. "Did you see that? We've got to get down there!"

As the two jumped in the golf cart and sped towards the set, Chris said, "Man! This is gonna cause the ratings to totally skyrocket!"

Chef rolled his eyes.

When they arrived at the site, there was only a pile of rubble where the bank once stood.

"Interns! Get over here and dig them out!"

Several of the new interns raced over from the sidelines and started helping Chef dig the castmates out. Chris, naturally, didn't want to get any of his clothes or his hair dirty.

After a few minutes, they had located all ten of the castmates who were in the building when it fell (Violet was the only one who wasn't in the building at the time of the collapse; she had been in the warehouse on the other side of the street).

Surprisingly, no one was seriously injured; just some cuts and bruises.

"Well, I guess that's the advantage of it being a poorly-built, small-budget set." Chris admitted. Then he quickly shook his head. "Not saying that any of my sets are like that, though!"

The ten castmates brushed off the dirt and dust, and an intern brought over a first-aid kit and some band-aids.

As the intern patched up the castmates, Chris said to them, "OK, what, in the name of my incredibly handsome hair, was THAT? Those bombs were NOT supposed to be that powerful! We even tested them ahead of time, and the blasts were barely enough to penetrate a vault door just like the one in the challenge!"

Daniel straightened up, growled fiercely, then muttered, "So that person who messed with our drill did mess with our bombs! They must've switched the original pipe bombs with these new ones!"

"But where could they even get real explosives?" Rachael asked, wincing as the intern put a band-aid over a cut on her forehead.

"Oh…darn it all!" Chef said angrily.

"What? What is it?" Chris asked the cook.

"That particular warehouse in the set…the last film crew to use it did leave some real explosives in the backroom of that warehouse when they left."

"WHAT?" Everyone instantly exclaimed.

"Why would they do that?" Chris asked again.

"See, their budget had suddenly dropped, and they had to leave this place in a hurry, so…" His voice trailer off.

Chris shook his head. "Unbelievable."

Then he turned to the castmates. "Well, I don't know what to say, but since the entire bank was completely destroyed, we can easily assume that all the money was also destroyed. Which means that the Cops/Bankers win by default!"

Despite the all the pain and shock that still lingered, the Psycho Producers all let out half-hearted cheers.

"So the Flaming Directors have lost. And since Daniel, John, and Violet were the only ones who did not get hit with a paintball at all, they all have Invincibility. So that means that Josh, Mark, and Rachael can be voted off. Report to the Theatre tonight. One of your sorry butts is going home!"


The Third Gilded Chris Award Ceremony

The six members of the Flaming Directors all entered the massive Theatre and sat down. Daniel had a smug grin on his face, while Josh, Mark, and Rachael were clearly very nervous.

Chris approached the podium, with Chef, holding the five GC Awards, behind him.

"Flaming Directors. This is your second GC Award Ceremony in a row. Seriously, if you come back here a third time in a row, then you're in some serious trouble. But for now, one of you must go home. The viewers have spoken, and chosen their least favorite loser.

I have only five Gilded Chris Awards with me tonight. When I call your name, receive your Award, and be happy about it. The castmate who does not receive an Award tonight…"

"…must immediately walk down the Red Carpet of Shame, catch the Limo of Losers, and cannot come back…EVER. Look, can we just get on with this?" Daniel interrupted.

"Fine. Be pushy." Chris retorted. "Anyway, the first three Awards goes to Daniel, John, and Violet; our Invincibility-winners."

Chef tossed the Award to the three aforementioned castmates, all of whom caught them.

"The next one goes to Rachael."

As Rachael caught her Award, she noticed the nervous looks on her friends' faces.

"Mark and Josh. This is the final Gilded Chris for tonight."

Mark swallowed nervously. Josh's left eye twitched.

"It must have been a tough choice for the viewers, as it was a close call. But in the end, only one of you received more votes.

"So the final GC Award goes to…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…Mark."

Mark sighed with relief as he caught the final Award. Josh also sighed, but not out of relief.

"Sorry, dude. Your number's up."

Josh simply nodded, then stood up and trudged down the Red Carpet of Shame.

This Ceremony's epilogue…

As the Limo of Losers drove off, carrying the karate kid away, Daniel snorted. "I still can't believe that Mr. Nice Guy here didn't get kicked off!" He gestured to Mark. What with his little trick and all."

"What?" Mark asked, stunned.

"Oh, don't play stupid with me, Mr. Optimist! I know darn well that you were the one who switched the bombs!"

By now, they had walked back to the trailers, and all of the castmates could hear the jock's booming voice as he confronted Mark. The Flaming Directors and the Psycho Producers gathered around.

"I have no idea what you're talking about, man."

"Come on! When I went up onto the roof to talk to you, you weren't where you were supposed to be!"

"I told you why…"

"Yeah, you were 'monitoring suspicious activity'. That's a load of crap! The only 'suspicious activity' to be monitored was you sneaking downstairs to switch the explosives!"

"Chill out, man! I don't know what you're talking about! I didn't know about those bombs at all up until it was too late! Besides, why would I sabotage my own team?"

"You tell me." Daniel sneered.

"So that you could get voted off." Jennifer suggested sarcastically. Everyone burst into laughter.

"SHUT UP, ALL OF YOU!"

Everyone silenced.

"Look, all I know is that Optimist here is undoubtedly the guy we're looking for! So until he's voted off, or we know for sure that he's not the one, I'll be keeping a close eye on him!"

And with that, Daniel stormed off to the boys' trailer. Mark just stood there, completely stunned. Several of his friends gathered around to console him.

"Don't worry about him, Mark." Violet comforted. "He has no evidence to prove that you did it. He just doesn't like you, that's all."

Mark nodded, but obviously wasn't listening too much, as the sound of the angry jock's voice still rang sharply in his ears.

As the castmates walked to their respective trailers, the castmate who had committed this act couldn't help but feel sorry for Mark.

Well, this wasn't part of my plan! The castmate thought. I don't want them to know that it's me, but I didn't want them to think it was Mark, either. He's a nice guy. He doesn't deserve this. The castmate was deep in thought for several minutes. …Again, as long as they have no idea who it truly was…


Episode 4: SWAT Vs. Predator

"Last time on Total Drama Action: The teams participated in an old-fashioned bank robbery heist in a classic game of Cops n' Robbers! The Flaming Directors, the Robbers, had to bust into a huge bank in a recreation of New York City, and make off with all the loot inside the vault! While the Psycho Producers, playing the Cops and Bankers, had to stop them.

"There was a lot of chases, hiding, stealth, code talk, and paintballs. Daniel managed to find a sneaky way inside by creating a zipline between the bank and their warehouse base across the street. The Robbers were constantly running up and down, sideways and back, inside and out, all the while trying to find a way into the vault.

"They had three tools to break in: a stethoscope, a drill, and a bag of pipe bombs. John accidentally dropped the stethoscope while running through the bank, which vault guard Ruth quickly preceded to snap in half. Shortly after, the Mystery Castmate struck yet again by smashing the drill to pieces on the concrete floor, and replacing the pipe bombs with real bombs, which, when they used on the vault door, brought down the entire bank and destroyed all of the money!

"No one was hurt in the building's collapse, and the Flaming Directors lost. At the Award Ceremony, it was karate boy Josh who was given the next free ride in the Limo of Losers.

"Who will be the next one to walk down the Red Carpet of Shame? Will we ever find out the true identity of the Mystery Castmate? And which of our ten remaining contestants can see well in the dark? Find out right here, right now, on Total…Drama…Action!"

...

At breakfast that morning, Daniel was staring down Mark hard. The nice guy made sure to avoid the brutal stare.

Rachael patted his shoulder. "Don't worry about him. He's just a jerk."

"I still feel bad about it. I mean, I should have known better than to leave my post! Now he has the perfect reason to suspect that I did it." He rested his head on the tabletop.

Then Chris burst into the tent.

"Good morning, castmates! Welcome to Week Three of Total Drama Action Season Two! This next task is going to be a classic!"

"Yeah, that's what you said about Cops 'n Robbers last week!" Mary replied. "And look how THAT ended!"

"I agree." Jen agreed. "Quite frankly, I think that your definition of 'classic', and our definition of 'classic' are two very different definitions."

"As I was saying," Chris continued. "Today we are going to play a Sci-Fi version of the classic Laser Tag game!

The mood in the Craft Services Tent quickly changed.

"Laser Tag? ALRIGHT!" Mark cheered enthusiastically.

Make-Up Confessional

Mark: I love Laser Tag! I used to play it with my friends all the time at a pizza place near the town I live in. This is gonna be awesome!

End

Chris explained more. "The Sci-Fi part is the fact that one team will be the SWAT team, while the other team is the Mutant Warriors. Follow me to the set where this task will take place, and I shall explain more."

As the ten castmates and Chef followed Chris through the Film Lot once again, he continued to explain. "All of this shall take place in a MASSIVE cave that we have in this Film Lot, with many rocks, rock walls, and much more as obstacles. The cave itself is an approximate sixteen acres large. It is practically a maze of rock walls, stalagmites, stalactites, and so many twists and turns! There are even some real-live bats here and there."

Several of the girls shuddered.

"There will also be glow-in-the-dark objects placed all around to provide you with some light. Other than that, you are (Author's Note: Please forgive this pun as well) as blind as a bat."

"Technically, bats aren't really blind." Luke stated. "They can see very well, it's just that…"

"Please! Please don't mention bats again!" Rachael interrupted. "I just hate those ugly, hairy things!"

"In addition to that," Chris continued. "you will also have to wear a special armor around your chest. For what? So that if someone is hit with a laser, everyone will know! See, we don't want any cheaters, or confusions as to whether or not someone was hit, so we came up with these little things. The chestplate has a sensor in it that will immediately activate a shrill alarm when and if the wearer is hit by a laser. And don't try to hide it if you're hit, because Chef and I will be watching from the infrared cameras placed in every sector!

"When eliminated, you must immediately exit the cave; you have lost.

"To distinguish each other better, especially in the dark, the SWAT team will have to wear black helmets," Chef pulled out an example of the dark, military-like helmet. "and the Mutants will wear these!" The Chef once again wordlessly pulled out another example, which generated many screams. It was quite a hideous mask; it was supposed to resemble a bat, with the long, black ears and hairy face, but the scary feature was the mouth. The bottom jaw appeared to be twisted out of place, and left slack hanging open, drooping nearly two feet from the mask itself. Inside the massive, open mouth was a hole in the mask, undoubtedly for the wearer's face to show.

"Oh, dear God." Violet said, shaking her head.

"And finally, the most basic part of it all: The contest will last for only ten minutes. The goal is for the SWAT to shoot as many of the Mutants as possible. If all of the Mutants are shot within the ten minutes, then the SWAT team wins, and the last Mutant to be shot will Invincibility.

"If any of the Mutants last longer than the ten minutes, then they win. Another thing the Mutants can do is pick up any of our scattered guns laying about, and then…" Chris's voice trailed off when he noticed the grim and/or horrified looks on the castmates faces. He immediately knew what they were thinking.

"What? No! No, no, no! It's not like that! We've made sure this time that there are no REAL lethal weapons lying around; every single gun in that cave is a laser gun!"

Sighs of relief, and some shaking heads, out of skepticism.

"Anyway, so the Mutants must try to pick up any laser guns scattered about in the cave, and try to shoot the SWAT first. Again, if any of the Mutants last longer than the ten minutes, or if all of the SWAT are shot, then the Mutants win. If the case happens to be the former, then any of the SWAT who weren't shot have Invincibility. And if the latter happens, then Invincibility goes to the final SWAT to be shot.

"That's about it…and here we are!"

The castmates all looked up at the gaping, yawning entrance to the cave. The dark hole was nearly fifteen feet tall, and ten feet wide. They could barely see several glows coming from inside the cave.

"Now, before we begin, I shall announce the teams." Chris declared. "The SWAT team will be…the Psycho Producers!" Chef then started tossing the black helmets and the chestplates to the members of the Producers. "And the Mutants shall be the Flaming Directors." Chef tossed the hideous bat masks and more armor to the Directors, who unwillingly put the former on their heads.

"I feel so stupid." Daniel said as his faced poked through the hole in the bat's hanging mouth. "Like some nine-year old on Halloween."

"And lastly, here are the laser guns for the SWAT team."

Chef then passed out the lifelike guns to the five members of the Psycho Producers/SWAT team.

"Now that you have your guns, the Mutants will be given five minutes to hide in the cave before the actual ten minutes of the contest begin. When I say, the SWAT team can race in and hunt down the Mutants. And be quick; remember, you only have ten minutes. After every minute, I'll announce how much time is left over the intercom. In addition to that, I'll also announce whenever someone is hit. Any questions?" Chris waited barely one second before he resumed talking. "Good. Now it's time for the challenge to begin. Mutants, go hide now!"

The five Mutants raced into the dark cave. Once inside and out of earshot, Violet quickly announced the plan.

"Look, I think that everyone here will agree when I say that the best thing to do is split up, and go to the farthest corners of the cave. That way they'll never be able to get all of us at once. And if you see one, hid. If they've seen you, or if you have good reason to believe that they've seen you, then run for it."

"I don't agree." Daniel disagreed.

"It doesn't matter. Look, just hide, and pick up any guns you see. We're gonna need them."

"But I can't see well in the dark!" Rachael complained.

"Then use any glowing objects you see as your guide or something. Now let's go!"

And with that, the five Mutants ran off in opposite directions.

After the five minutes ended, Chris said to the Psycho Producers, "OK, you guys are up. Go in there and hunt some Mutants!"

The five SWAT team members went into the cave, laser guns ready.

"OK, here's the deal." Jennifer started. "We need to be extra careful. These guys could be anywhere. I think we should mainly stick together, so that if one person is hit, the other can get away. I think it should be two groups of two, and one person goes alone. Now who…"

"I'll go alone!" Ruth eagerly volunteered. "I'm more than capable of taking down all of these Mutants single-handedly!"

"Um, OK. So then the teams will be…Mary and I, and the other team will be Luke and Tim. Any objections?"

"Nope." Tim said.

"Good. Now let's go, team!"

The five of them split up, Jen and Mary going in one direction, Luke and Tim in the other, and Ruth by herself.

"Mutants! SWAT! The ten minutes have officially begun!" Chris's voice rang over the intercom. "Good luck, and good hunting!"

Ruth sneaked through the cave silently, the only sound being the occasional drop of water. She even thought that she heard the flapping of wings every now and then, but she wasn't afraid.

I'm not scared of bats! I could snap one in half with my bare hands! Just try to come buzz me, you little insects!

She then saw a pale green glow up ahead. She moved closer, and saw that it was a rock, probably about a foot and a half in diameter, covered in phosphorescent paint.

With the little light it provided, the strong girl looked at her surroundings: a large wall of rock immediately rose just to her right; a couple stalagmites were nearby; and she saw several large stalactites hanging above her head.

This must be the wall of the cave. She thought when she looked to her right. I shouldn't stay here for too long; I could be cornered up against this thing. She quickly shook her head. What am I thinking? If I were caught, I could be gone in the blink of an eye. That is, if I haven't shot them first!

She walked off, deeper into the dark recesses of the cave.

Meanwhile…

Rachael was sneaking between stalagmites, trying to find one large enough to hide. She paused, cringed, then scratched the back of her head for the umpteenth time.

Ugh! This thing itches! She thought as she scratched furiously. I hate this thing! I'll be glad when I can take it off. After all, it's only ten minutes…

Rachael then stood up and looked around nervously as she heard something.

The bats? Oh, please. Not the bats!

She heard nothing more, and continued walking, unaware that she was being watched.

The castmate looked down at Rachael, having scaled one of the walls of rock that didn't reach all the way to the ceiling; a perfect vantage point.

Ah, Rachael. Not quite as physically fit as Daniel, but still a good team player. Yes, I shall eliminate her first.

The castmate raised their gun, aiming at the chestplate.

She'll never even know what hit her.

The castmate pulled the trigger. The thin red beam shot out of the gun's barrel and hit the black armor. It instantly set off the sensor in the armor, and a red light blinked on and off and beeping consistently on Rachael's chestplate.

"Huh?" She looked down at the red light. "What the…?" Then she saw the red beam that had hit her on the side of her chestplate. She followed it up to its source, just in time to see a blur as someone with a laser gun disappeared.

"HEY!" She yelled as she realized that she had been eliminated. Her loud yell echoed down the cave. Then it was responded by another loud voice.

"Attention, castmates! Rachael has been eliminated! Repeat, Rachael has been eliminated! The Mutants are down by one player! Rachael, please make your way to the nearest exit."

"But where can I…?" Her voice trailed off when she heard the sound of a door opening. She turned to her left and saw a door (which wasn't there before) in the wall of the cave open, letting light from the outside pour in.

"How did…Ah, forget it!" She said angrily. She pulled the mask off of her head as she headed out the door.

Back in the control room, Chris put the microphone back in place. He then turned to the monitor for the camera that was in the area where the castmate had struck. Due to the infrared feature that allowed him and Chef to see well in the dark, they could recognize the castmate immediately. As they walked away from the scene, they said what was now pretty much their tagline: "The Flaming Directors must not win!"

"It…it can't be!" Chef stuttered in confusion. He and Chris looked at each other. Both of them were wide-eyed. Then they simultaneously said, "THAT'S THE MYSTERY CASTMATE?"

Meanwhile…

Mark sighed after hearing the intercom announcement. Oh, no! Rachael's been hit? That's not good! She's one of our best players! Ah, well. Looking on the bright side here, at least we still have Daniel and John. They're both pretty good. But Rachael's also good. Plus, she's so friendly and pretty and smart…

His thoughts were interrupted when he heard something. Almost like a soft footstep. He stopped in his tracks and spun around on his heels.

What was that? He thought. Be real casual, Mark. Really casual…

He saw a quick flash of movement as something darted behind a large stalagmite.

Oh, boy. This is where the fun begins.

Mark, as he had said before, had played Laser Tag many times with his friends. His specialty was with the gun, as he had brilliant handi-coordination (from playing many video games), and great aim. But he wasn't so bad with being on the run, either. Again, he had great reflexes, and could dodge quickly. In addition, he had learned how to see quite well in the dark; or at least better than most teenagers. He could see pretty well right now. He had passed by only two or three glowing objects since the challenge had started. He could almost clearly see the group of stalagmites that the person had hid behind. He would see them clearly if they just showed themselves for two seconds.

I just have to make sure…

A head poked out from behind a stalagmite. He couldn't tell who it was, but he could see the long, flowing hair. It was definitely a girl.

…Ruth?

The figure then pulled out their gun and fired. Mark dodged to the side as the thin red beam shot past him.

"Ha, ha! You gotta do better than that!" He teased as he ran away. He could hear the hurried footsteps behind him.

"Get back here, you!"

Yep. It's definitely Ruth.

He zigzagged wildly as she continued firing at him.

"I'll get you!"

Mark continued dodging wildly. Even he was surprised that he had lasted this long; he was good at this game, but she was still faster than him. She was probably slower than usual because she wasn't as used to the dark as he was.

Suddenly, another figure appeared right before him, cutting off his path. Mark skidded to a halt.

The new figure also had a gun.

Meanwhile…

Mary and Jen were sneaking stealthily through the cave…or at least Jen was. She was very light on her feet, being a cheerleader and all. But Mary wasn't so graceful. She was walking through normally, the sound of her footsteps quite loud.

"So," Jen said softly, deciding to use quiet conversation to block out the noise, "you still holding up?"

Mary looked back at her with a confused look.

"About the whole everyone-thinks-you're-the-Mystery-Castmate thing?"

"Oh, yeah. I'm doing a little better; especially ever since the Capture-the-Flag challenge, when I won the task for our team. And not only that, but that was our very first victory."

"Yeah. You can be a pretty good team player when you want to."

"I guess that's a compliment."

"Yes. It is."

After about another minute of silence, Jen spoke up again. "Hey, can I ask you something?"

"Sure."

Jen slung the laser gun over her shoulder casually as she said her question. "Do you like any of the guys here?"

Mary was briefly stunned by the suddenness of the question, but then decided to answer. "No. You?"

"Actually, yes. I do. The guy I'm thinking of is a great, nice guy. He's not that bad of a team player, he's fun to be around, and he's got a great personality."

"So, all of those qualities, except for the second one, means that it's not Daniel?" Mary joked.

Jen laughed. "Ha, ha, ha! Yeah (heh, heh), no. Of course not. I used to have a crush on that guy, just like all the other girls. But after how he treated me in the finale of last season, I lost all of my respect and admiration for the guy. So, no. The guy I really like is…"

The familiar voice of the host broke right into the conversation.

"Attention, castmates! Ruth has been defeated! Yes, you heard right! Ruth, for the SWAT/Psycho Producers, has been eliminated! Now the teams are even once again. And also, the first minute is up! Only nine minutes remain. You may resume."

The intercom clicked off.

Meanwhile…

Mark was walking alongside Violet, who had just hit Ruth with a blast from the laser gun she had found on the ground, behind a glowing rock.

"Thanks again." Mark thanked Violet. "You really saved me back there. I don't know what I would've done if you hadn't shown up, or if you were one of the SWAT guys."

"No problem." She smiled.

"Oh, and thanks for the spare gun." He lifted up the gun she had given him. She had found another gun while walking through the cave, on the way to where he was being chased by Ruth. "But how did you find me?"

"Ruth's voice isn't that mistakable." She replied.

They both shared a good laugh.

"Hey, um. Can you help me out with something?"

"Sure. What might that be?"

"See, I kind of have a crush on a girl here."

"Oh, really?" Violet grinned. "Might I ask who this lucky girl is?"

"It's…" He took a while before answering. "…Rachael."

Violet wasn't too surprised. "Rachael?" She repeated. "I guess I can understand that."

"I mean, she's very nice and friendly, she's pretty, she's smart…she's everything a girl could be!"

"That's what Matthew saw in me." Violet replied.

"Yeah, and he's one lucky guy."

Violet smiled. "Thank you. Anyway, so you want advice on how to flatter her? Make her want to like you?"

Mark grinned. "Yeah. Can you help me?"

"Sure."

Meanwhile…

Jen and Mary were deep in conversation once again as they walked causally through the cave. Jen had finally been able to tell Mary, without any interruption, who she had a crush on.

"You like him?" Mary asked again, shocked by what she had heard.

"Why not?"

"…Well, I guess he is a pretty great guy. So, first off: you need to find out what he likes, you know, hobbies, movies, music, stuff like that."

"I know. But can you give me something more specific? You've got to help me out here!"

"Look, frankly, I'm not that much into boys. I haven't had a boyfriend in my whole life. So I don't really know much about how to get guys. You'd have to ask Violet about that; she's the only one here we know of for sure that's had a boyfriend."

"But not during this challenge." Jen stated. "Remember, we're on opposite teams."

"What's that?" Mary suddenly asked and stopped abruptly.

The two of them stopped and looked around.

"What? What is it?"

"I thought I heard…"

Then they heard the sound. It sounded like the flapping of wings.

Mary's eyes widened. "Oh, no. Please, PLEASE don't let it be…"

The flapping grew much louder. Then there was more, and more, and more. Then they saw them: many small, dark shapes in the air, just below the ceiling of the cave, heading straight towards the two girls.

"BATS!"

The two of them instantly turned and ran as the swarm of bats surrounded them. They both started shrieking loudly and swatting aimlessly at any bat that dared to come too close.

"AUGH! I HATE these things!"

"RUN!"

Just then, Mark and Violet stopped as well, hearing the screams and sound of wings flapping. They stopped their talking as well and looked in the direction the ruckus. They saw the two girls, Mary and Jen, racing towards them, surrounded by bats. They were screaming and waving their arms around wildly.

Mark grinned, then turned to Violet. "Let's get 'em!"

They both aimed their guns carefully, then fired. Violet, who had been aiming at Jen, hit her mark. Mark, however, was to hit Mary, but he was stopped when one of the bats (as the swarm had reached them as well by now) flew right into his face, and he missed.

The sensor immediately went off on Jen's armor. The light started blinking, and the beeping went off. Almost immediately, Chris's voice responded.

"Attention, castmates! Jennifer is out! I repeat…"

"GOOD! NOW GET ME OUT OF HERE!" She screamed back, so loudly that everyone in the entire cave heard it.

In response, a door nearby opened up, flooding the immediate are of the cave in light. Jen saw it, and raced out the door, several of the bats following her out.

Mark and Violet stared after her in amusement, when suddenly, the beeping came again. This time, coming from Violet's chestplate.

"Huh?"

Then the voice over the intercom came again. "And Violet has also been eliminated!"

Violet and Mark looked around, confused at what had happened, then remembered. They turned and saw Mary, gun still aimed, amidst all of the flapping, noisy bats.

"Darn it." Violet also walked out the door.

Mary then lowered her gun, turned, and ran.

"Hey! Come back here!" Mark started to chase after her, but the bats blocked his path. He wasn't necessarily afraid of bats, but their fluttering in his face and smacking into him multiple times was enough to stop him.

"Augh! Ick! Ouch! Darn it! Go away! Go away, you little parasites!" He swung his gun around several times at the bats. Eventually, he decided to just run as fast as he could. He ran and ran, as fast as he could. Several of the bats still lingered, so he kept his head down. But because of this, he wasn't looking where he was going.

He eventually tripped on a rock.

"WHOA!" He flew several feet and hit the rock ground hard, tumbling head over heels and eventually scraping to a stop against the cave wall.

"Ouch." He groaned, then winced in pain. It hurt him to even lift his head up at the sound of approaching footsteps. He looked up at the castmate.

"You!" He said when he thought it was Mary. He squinted a little harder, and saw that the castmate was covering their face with one arm, and raising their laser gun in the other. Even though their face was covered, he knew it wasn't Mary.

The castmate aimed the gun and fired.

Mark looked down at the flashing, beeping red light on his chestplate, then back up at the castmate, only to catch a glimpse of them racing off into the darkness.

Chris then made the announcement over the intercom that Mark had been eliminated. After about a minute of searching, he found an open door and walked out.

"Alright, castmates! We're down to our final five for this challenge! Final five castmates, three for the Psycho Producers and two for the Flaming Directors, and our last five minutes! So get your butts in gear, people! It's not over yet!"

Daniel shook his head as he walked silently through the cave.

Argh! This is ridiculous! He thought angrily. We're losing all of our players! Now it's just me and Goth boy…wherever he is. Ah, well. At least I am the best player on this team. I can still win this thing.

He stopped.

He heard a sound. A footstep. Then another.

Uh-oh.

Looking around nervously, he tried to find a place to hide. He saw a large boulder to the side, and silently dove behind it. He slowly peeked out from the side to see who it was. After a moment, he figured out who it was. There was only one castmate who wore that much black.

"Hey, Goth boy." Daniel stepped out from behind the rock. John quickly turned and aimed his gun, then saw who it was.

"Oh, it's just you, eh." He said as he lowered the gun casually.

"Where have you been?"

"Looking for one of the members of the enemy team, eh. I can't help it! Every I go, I'm the only one there! I'm trying to find someone, I'm constantly hearing Chris's announcement over the loudspeakers, and I haven't hit anyone yet, eh! And I even found this!" He held up the laser gun. "It was lying behind a boulder. Like that one." He pointed to the huge boulder that Daniel was just hiding behind.

Daniel looked back at the boulder, then back at John. Then his eyes widened and he turned back to the giant rock.

"Wait a second…" He ran back to it and looked around behind it. After a moment, he saw an object on the ground. He snatched it up.

It was a gun.

"I guess these are hidden behind every boulder. Alright!" Daniel held the gun in the air triumphantly. "No more running away and hiding! Now I can finally go on the offensi-."

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

The familiar beeping happened again. Daniel looked around wildly, then down at himself.

The red light on his armor was blinking.

"WHAT? NOOOOOOO!" He then started releasing a barrage of words and terms that cannot be repeated in a K+ story.

John turned to see who had fired the shot: Luke. And standing behind him was Tim.

"Yikes!" John turned and ran. Luke and Tim ran after him.

Then Chris's voice blared over the intercom again. "Sorry, Daniel! You're out!"

"Fine! I'm SO out of this dump!" He screamed again as he tossed the gun to the ground and headed towards an open door.

"Attention, castmates! With Daniel's elimination, we are now down to one member of the Mutants! Repeat, only one Mutant is still standing! And there are three of the SWAT team out there! Now's your last chance to get him! You've got only three minutes left!"

John raced through the cave, rapidly dodging the laser blasts from Luke and Tim.

I have got to hide, eh! They're gonna get me! And if Mary eventually gets here and also joins the chase, then I'm as good as eliminated!

But John knew his advantage: he was wearing all black, which blended in with the environment perfectly. He could already tell, from Luke and Tim's yelling, that they were losing sight of him.

"After him! He's getting farther away!"

"I'm running as fast as I can!"

"He must be ten yards away! I can barely see him!"

But John knew that, despite what Tim said, he knew for sure that he was barely five feet ahead of them.

He then turned sharply to the right, and virtually vanished right before their very eyes. He sank further into the darkness, not letting the two teens out of his sight. He could see them, but they couldn't see him.

"HUH?" They both stopped and looked around.

"Where'd he go?"

"He practically just disappeared!"

"Probably because he's wearing all black! Darn it all!"

"Be on your guard, Tim. He could be anywh-."

"SURPRISE, EH!" He yelled as he appeared right beside them. In one quick, swift move, he aimed his gun and fired twice, hitting both of them in barely three seconds.

Two of the beeps went off, the shrill sounds and flashed almost coinciding with each other.

"And both Luke and Tim are out!" Chris declared. As Tim and Luke walked off, guns dragging behind them, the host continued, "This is it! The big mano-a-mano! The final two castmates! One SWAT and one Mutant! Mary and John! Whoever shoots the other first wins! And hurry it up! One minute left, and counting!"

Mary heard the announcement, and knew now that the time for hiding was over.

It's now or never. She thought as she emerged from behind a rock. I've got to find him, and fast!

She had thought that she heard the yells of Luke and Tim a moment ago. But then again, just about every loud sound in the cave echoed throughout the entire place. But it was the best lead she had.

Raising her laser gun defensively, she marched off in the direction where the noise was last heard. She moved as silently and carefully as she could.

I've got to watch out for John and the bats. She reminded herself after she heard what she thought was a flapping of wings.

"Thirty seconds, Mary! You've got to hurry!" Chris announced again.

Mary actually started running faster and faster towards where she imagined John was.

Ohhhh! Sixteen acres? How am I ever going to cover sixteen acres in thirty seconds? That's practically impossib…

She stopped suddenly when she heard a rustle. She raised her gun and looked around hard.

"Come and get me." She said softly.

There was a hint of movement to her left. She quickly spun to face it and fired.

John jumped out of the way and rolled across the floor, sliding to a stop like a professional baseball player scoring a home run.

"Nice try, eh!" He aimed his gun and fired.

Without even thinking, Mary dropped to the floor and moved to the side, barely avoiding the laser. She aimed again and fired. John scrambled to his feet and jumped over the laser beam, dodging to the side in midair and landing next to the thin red beam. Mary aimed again. John aimed quickly and fired first. Mary rolled out of the way.

"Twenty seconds, people, and counting!"

"Sorry, but I've got to end this contest now!" John said as he fired multiple times. Mary was practically like a puppet as she danced around the beams.

"Where'd you learn to do that, eh?"

Mary simply shrugged before firing. John raced to the side, and hid behind a large rock.

Mary shook her head as she approached it. "Pathetic."

Just as she was about to race around behind it, John appeared on top of it. Mary looked up in surprise.

"How in the world…"

Her sentence was cut short as John leapt off of it, and flipped in midair. He fired his gun twice. Mary dodged again.

John landed perfectly on the ground. He spun around to face her…

…only to have the gun (Author's Note: Another terrible pun) swatted out of his hand.

The gun skidded across the ground, stopping about five feet away. John looked back at Mary, gun aimed at him. He instantly fell to the ground and started backing away.

"Wait!" He cried helplessly as he backed against the wall.

"Sorry, sweetheart." John was taken aback at first at the use of the word "sweetheart", but then he realized that she was just being sarcastic. "But what else can I do? I've got to win this contest." She aimed the gun. A grin stretched across her face.

"TEN SECONDS! Get on with it, people! There's a task to be finished here!" Chris declared, quite loudly.

This was what saved John. Since Chris's last announcement was louder than normal, it scared a small group of bats nearby. They started swarming around furiously, heading straight for the two teens.

"You know what they say…HUH?" Mary stopped and looked in the direction of the flapping and squeaking.

"OH, NO!" She screamed just before they enveloped her, flapping around and hitting her, occasionally. "ACK! NO! Get away from me, you little…"

John saw this moment of opportunity. He looked over at where his gun was. He looked back at Mary, who was still distracted with the bats.

"Seven seconds!" Chris declared. He then started counting down. "SIX…FIVE…"

John scrambled across the floor to where his gun lied.

"FOUR…"

He snatched it up.

"THREE…"

John aimed carefully, trying to find the girl that was amongst all the bats.

"TWO…ONE…"

John fired three times into the swarm of bats.

All three blasts found their mark.

The sensor on Mary's armor went off, beeping its usual, shrill beep. Only this time, both John and Mary were glad to hear it.

"And that's a wrap!" Chris declared. "Mary is eliminated! Which means that the win goes to John and the Flaming Directors!"

Just then, the cave was illuminated in bright light. John squinted briefly before his eyes adjusted. There were hundred of lights lining the ceiling, all now on and buzzing with electricity.

"John!" He heard a voice call. The Goth turned to see Chris, Chef, and all of the other castmates in the cave. Chef had a small can of something in his hand.

"Well done, John!" Violet congratulated him. Soon, all of his teammates were surrounding him, helping him to his feet and congratulating him. Meanwhile, Chef walked over to Mary and aimed the can. On the side of it was an image of a bat in a red circle, with a red line through it.

"Bat-spray." He said as he sprayed it into the swarming bats. They all scattered and flew away, leaving a shaken-up, stuttering Mary in their place. She twitched and shuddered as she dropped the gun.

"Well, Mary. You tried." Chris said to her. "The good news, for you, anyway, is that you have Invincibility, for being the last SWAT eliminated. While the rest of you…" He turned to Luke, Jen, Tim, and Ruth. "are eligible for voting off. Producers, meet me at the Theatre tonight, where one more of you will be sent to Loserville!"


The Fourth Gilded Chris Award Ceremony

The five members of the Psycho Producers sat in the Theatre once again, anxiously waiting for the next loser to be announced. For the most part, Ruth was staring daggers at Mary.

Make-Up Confessional

Ruth: How dare that little harpy outlast me! ME! Ruth, the strongest girl on the show, eliminated FIRST? And then beaten by a weak little…perfectionist? She's not the kind of girl for physical challenges! She doesn't deserve Invincibility! Besides, I KNOW that she's the one who's been unfairly sabotaging things since day one!

End

Chris and Chef walked onto the stage, the latter holding four Gilded Chris Awards.

"Psycho Producers, your effort was commendable today. You tried hard, but you lost. And now it's time for one of you to pay the price today. When I call your name, you will receive your Gilded Chris. You have not been voted off, and you are safe. The castmate who does not receive an Award tonight must take the Walk of Shame, and NEVER come back.

"Now, the first Award goes to Mary." He threw the Award to Mary, who eagerly caught it.

"The next goes to…"

Mary looked over at Ruth. Mary grinned evilly and did the slashing motion across her neck. Ruth responded with a gesture that cannot be described on a K+ story.

"…Jennifer."

The cheerleader caught the Award, and she and Mary shared a hi-five.

"And…Tim."

As Tim caught his Award, he and Luke shared a nervous glance. Luke then looked at Ruth, whose confidence didn't seem to falter. But the look in her eyes told the world that she was scared.

"Ruth. Luke. This is the final Gilded Chris for tonight." Chris said as he held up the small Award.

Luke swallowed. Ruth remained firm, but slowly started shaking.

"The viewers have voted, and one of you has been given the axe."

They both shuddered at this analogy.

"The final Award of the night goes to…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…Luke."

The brainiac sighed as he caught his Award. Just as he calmed down, Ruth practically exploded. She jumped up on her feet and started cursing wildly. In between dirty words, she exclaimed, "WHAT? NO WAY! YOU JUST VOTED ME OFF!"

"Hey, don't get mad at me; the viewers are the ones who voted you off."

"BUT...I'M THE BEST PLAYER ON THIS TEAM! I'M THE STRONGEST, THE BOLDEST, AND THE BEST! AND THAT BRAINIAC IS A WEAKLING! YOU…CAN'T…DO THIS!"

"What can I say? You were the first eliminated. Anyway, it's time to get your caboose off this show."

"YOU CAN'T! I WON'T! YOU CAN'T MAKE ME! THIS IS PREPOSTEROUS! THIS CAN'T BE! I…"

God knows how much longer or louder she could rant, but that is left to the imagination, as an intern fired a tranquilizer gun at the massive girl.

She instantly stopped screaming as the small dart hit her in the shoulder. She rocked back and forth lightly for a few moments, then fell over.

"O…K…" Chris said. "That…was…AWESOME! Oh, that is going to really bring in the ratings!"

Meanwhile, Chef walked down off of the stage, came by, and picked up the huge girl, slung her over his shoulder, and carried her away towards the awaiting Limo of Losers.

Chris, still smiling, turned to the other members of the Psycho Producers. All of whom were clutching their Gilded Chris Awards closely, and were staring blankly, eyes wide, jaws hanging open. Just like the bat masks from earlier.

"Heh, heh. Anyway, the rest of you enjoy your GC Awards. You're all safe…for tonight."


TDA Aftermath

Author's Note: This is a special episode that does not involve any elimination; it is purely for fun. Enjoy!

The spotlight moved to the stage at the back wall of the theater, instantly engulfing the center of the stage in light. All of the people in the audience cheered at the sight of their favorite curly-haired, geeky, first castmate voted off.

"Hey everyone!" Isaiah said to the audience and the cameras. "This is Isaiah, of Total Drama Island and Action, coming at you live from the set of our new mini-series, Total Drama Action Aftermath!"

The audience responded with screaming fans, applause, cheering, and whistling.

"And hello, all of you out there in the viewing world!" Isaiah addressed the cameras. "Hope you enjoy this fun and familiar segment of TDA, hosted by me! Isaiah, the first castmate voted off!"

More applause.

"Throughout the show, we're gonna talk about Chris, Chef, the remaining castmates, the other castmates who have also been voted off, and much, much more!

"First things first, I'd like to address our eight special guests: the eight contestants who weren't able to get into the second season!"

Isaiah gestured to the set of bleachers to the side of the stage, with the familiar seven campers.

"Introducing: Lauren!"

The prissy girl, who was polishing her nails, smiled sheepishly and gave a half-hearted wave.

"Jessica!"

The clumsy girl stood up, her arms raised in the air, only to stumble and fall backwards onto the stage with a CRACK!

Everyone winced, and the audience went, "Oooooooh!"

Isaiah shuddered, then shook his head and continued. "Uh, right. Heh, heh. And our next one: Samantha!"

Samantha briefly stopped texting on her phone to wave at the audience and the cameras.

"Nicole!" Nicole also waved at the crowd, who continued cheering.

"Suzie!"

"Hey, everyone!" She addressed the crowd. Then she turned to Isaiah. "…Wait, do I know you?"

Isaiah rolled his eyes. "Anyway, next is Madison!"

The crowd roared again, and Madison waved and blew several kisses.

"And our favorite overeating, jolly boy: James!"

The 315 lb. teen waved at the crowd.

"And now, the one you've all been waiting for, ready to make a dramatic entrance, here he is! Your favorite last season camper, who won the hundred grand, and, surprisingly, got to keep it! You all know him, you all love him, please give a great big welcome to…MATTHEW!"

There was an explosion of cheers and applause, and crazed fangirls screaming shrilly as the familiar boy walked onto the stage. He waved several times, then pumped his fist into the air triumphantly, greeted by more cheers, before he sat down on the bottom row of bleachers next to James.

"Alright, now first off, we'll ask each of these eight guys here what they think of not being on TDA. We'll start with Matthew. Matthew?"

All eyes were on him.

"Well, believe me, I'd love to be there, competing in challenges, with the thrill of the contest. But hey, I won last season, and I actually got to keep my money; I'm grateful for that, so I shouldn't be complaining. I guess my biggest regret is that I can't be with Violet."

There were a lot of "Awwwww"s from the audience and the teens onstage.

Matthew continued speaking. "I'd just like to tell her that I miss her, I look forward to being with her again, and I'm rooting for her. She's a great girl, I know she can win this!"

The audience went from "Aww"s to cheers once again.

"I (sniff) understand, man." Isaiah said. "That was awesomely put, by the way. OK, our next camper, James. How do you feel about being a loser?"

"Well, I tried, man." James shrugged. "I tried my hardest in the first season, but I was the second voted off."

"And how did that feel?"

"Well, how do you think?" James said, a slight hint of anger in his voice. "It's horrible! Knowing that you were one of the first ones kicked off, and that you won't get the money!" He calmed down a little. "But hey. It's better then being the first voted off, right, Napoleon?"

There was an "Ooooooh" from the audience.

"Uh…yeah. Anyway. Madison?"

"Well, I lasted fairly long in the last season. Tenth sent home is a tough place to reach, right?"

She was met with a few cheers of approval.

"I wouldn't have minded being on the second season, but I am on this little segment, am I not?"

More, louder cheers.

"That's good enough for me."

"Heh, heh. Well said, Madison." Isaiah nodded his head in approval. He then turned to the clueless redhead. "Suzie?"

"What?"

"How do you feel about it?"

"About what?"

"Oh, God." Isaiah muttered and rolled his eyes again. "Forget it. Nicole?"

"Well, I was, what, the fifth to be eliminated?"

"Yeah. I think that's about right."

"Well, that's not too good. And I do wish I could've been in TDA. But everything happens for a reason. And my not being in the second season is no exception."

"Uh…interesting." Isaiah said. "OK, Samantha. How about you?"

"Huh? Oh, sorry." She put her cell phone down. "I guess I had fun last season, even though there was no service on that island!"

She was responded by some laughs. She glared at the crowd before continuing. "But, I guess if I get past that, it was OK. I met some nice people, made some friends. Nothing, however, was as hard as when that evil, low-down, scum-sucking, no-good, egotistical man threw it into the lake, and let it become shark food!"

She was met with roars of approval at the slandering of Chris MacLean.

"The other thing I hated was the reason I was voted off!"

"Uh, you did accuse Matthew of being the reason for losing that one task, when he really did nothing wrong." Madison commented. "That, along with the fact that everyone liked him, was basically asking to be voted off."

"I didn't ask your opinion." Samantha replied fiercely. She then moved to glare at Matthew. "And I still think that you're the reason we lost that task! You should've been the eighth voted off!"

"Whoa, whoa. Hey, chill out, OK? We're here to have fun." Matthew said, holding his hands up defensively.

"Don't pull that nice-guy routine with me!"

"OK! I think it's time to move on to our next camper!" Isaiah interrupted. Samantha glared at the geek, only to be glared back with another glare, which, surprisingly, was pretty fierce, especially for Isaiah. Samantha sulked in her seat, arms folded defiantly.

"Jessica. It's your turn now. How do you feel about your performance last season, and not being in this season?"

Jessica, still recovering from her earlier fall, had one hand on her back and winced in pain before speaking. "Well, I guess my clumsiness got the better of me. I mean, I tried my hardest in the Dodgeball challenge, but I was just a little bit off."

"Or a lot off." Samantha commented. "You were terrible!"

"I don't really agree with that." Madison added. "I mean, sure you were clumsy, but that's just you. The real factor in your elimination was your being a brat when we sat you out. You were even stubborn and defiant when you were voted off."

Jessica paused, stunned by this, then continued. "But I was just trying to help! I wanted to play the game!"

"But that doesn't give you the right to act like a…"

"MOVING ON!" Isaiah declared again, interrupting the tension. "Geez, what is this, an anger management class? Gosh! I can see why no one else wanted to host it…OK, so lastly, we have Lauren. Tell us, Lauren. You were the very first voted off on the previous season. Your thoughts?"

"Well, I didn't want to risk breaking a nail! I mean, come on! Two broken nails in one day?"

There were several jeers, and Isaiah quickly continued. "OK, OK. Enough about last season; how do you feel about this next season…or, more accurately, not being in this season?"

"Well, I still feel so stupid over how I didn't get to be in the next season. All because I was in a cave with these knuckleheads searching for a cave that wasn't even there!"

"Hold up. Who are you calling knuckleheads?" Nicole challenged.

"Uh, hello? I was the smartest girl in that group! I always had a feeling from the start that maybe the case wasn't there…"

"If you did have that feeling, then why didn't you say something?" Jessica retorted. "If you had, we'd all probably be in the next season!"

"Oh, can it, Clumsy Girl! You couldn't hit water if you fell out of a boat. And I'm sure you've fallen out of a lot of boats before."

"At least I lasted longer than you!"

"Yeah, by two episodes!"

"THAT DOES IT!" Isaiah roared. "It's time for a commercial break!"

Commercial Break

A cheesy-looking, skinny man with black hair and a black beard appears on screen. The man has a terribly loud voice, with no hint of emotion at all.

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On the sidelines of the commercial's cheesy set, Chef sneered at the annoying man.

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"Call1-800-666-6667. That'srightcall1-800-666-. . '. Call1-800-666-6667. Callrightnow,operatorsarestandingby.

End of Commercial Break

"Welcome back to TDA Aftermath!" Isaiah welcomed after the cheesy commercial with the God-awful Billy Junes ended. "We've eased up some of the tension here." He glanced over at the eight guests: Samantha, Lauren, and Jessica all had their arms folded and were looking away from each other.

"And now it's time for another part of the show! We've seen the eight contestants who couldn't get into the second season, but now let's look at those who did get into the second season, but have also been voted off, besides me.

"First, let's welcome back the second castmate to be voted off, one of the nicest guys in town, Jeremy!"

The familiar black-haired boy walked onstage, waving kindly at the audience. He then gave Isaiah a hi-five, then sat down in the couch next to Isaiah's.

"So, Jeremy. You had a lot of fun this season, right?"

"Heck, yeah! It doesn't really matter how long I was here, I still had fun."

"But you missed out on becoming a teenage millionaire."

"Well, yeah."

"By the way, I've noticed something." Isaiah commented.

"And what might that be?"

"In both the previous season and this season, you've been eliminated one episode after me!"

Jeremy thought for a moment, then realized he was right. "You…you're right. That is weird."

"Yeah." Isaiah then turned to the audience. "For those of you who don't know, Jeremy and I both lasted up until the final seven. In that episode, I was sent home. And in the following episode, the final six, Jeremy was voted off."

Jeremy finished for him. "And then, in this season, he was the first voted off, and I was the second!"

"Is that weird, or what?"

"But it doesn't matter." Jeremy said. "That was the past. This is the present. Let's focus on now."

"You're right." Isaiah replied. "So tell me, how do you feel about your elimination?"

"Well, I was shocked. But it was down to Josh and I in that challenge. I was the first caught, and Josh didn't guard the flag too well, and didn't notice at all when the Mystery Castmate intentionally misplaced the flag. I guess that the viewers felt it wouldn't be fair to vote out Josh. That, and the fact that he was probably more popular than me, means that I was their only option."

"But then again, Josh was voted off the week after you."

"Yeah. He was. It's a shame, too. He's a tough guy, but he didn't last any longer than the third week." Jeremy shook his head.

"I agree." Isaiah then addressed the audience and cameras again. "And speaking Josh, it's time to welcome our next special guest! He's a fan favorite, everyone's favorite karate kid, not to be mistaken with the film Karate Kid, it's Joshua!"

The karate boy walked onstage blankly. There was applause at his entrance. He then stopped at center stage, turned to the audience, then clasped his hands together and bowed.

The crowd went even wilder.

Smiling, Josh straightened up, turned around sharply, and walked over to the couch, sitting down next to Jeremy.

"Alright, Josh." Isaiah started. "How do you feel about being third voted off?"

"Well, I am disappointed. You would be, too, if you had been in my situation."

Isaiah shrugged.

"But, as a warrior of honor, I must remain dignified, even in the face of defeat."

More roars of approval from the audience.

"Well said, man! Well said."

"And I'm glad that the kind viewers out there gave me a second chance after the second challenge. I was at fault for our team's loss, but they spared me. Well, all except for that jock!"

There were jeers and boos at the mention of Daniel.

"But I knew that I was losing my touch. That became especially clear when I messed up again the third task. At that point, I knew that twice in a row was unacceptable, and that my number was up. So I knew all along that I was going to be voted off; I had it coming."

"I couldn't have said it better myself." Isaiah said as he nodded. "And now for our final guest!" Isaiah declared. "The toughest chick in the nest! The boldest girl you've ever seen! This girl puts Wonder Woman to shame, please welcome back Ruth!"

The crowd cheered again as the muscular girl walked onstage, smiling weakly and waving. She sat down on the couch next to Josh.

"So, Ruth." Isaiah started. "You think that you're the strongest…"

"Because I AM the strongest!"

Isaiah nearly fell off of his couch. "Sorry, sorry. Right. So you're the strongest, huh? Just how does the strongest of all the competitors get eliminated fourth?"

"She took me by surprise, OK? If she had given me a little warning, I could've taken them all down! I can conquer ANYONE!"

"OK, OK. I get it." Then the geek addressed the cameras and the audience. "It's time for the next segment to begin! In this part of the show, we'll answer questions from some of our Internet viewers, or viewers on the Web-Cam. The questions can be about anything, directed to anyone, and could be the question of the day!

"OK, so our first question, through a message." Isaiah looked at the screen of the computer on the desk in front of him. "Skidman999 asks, 'Isaiah, how do you feel about being voted off first?'" Isaiah straightened up. "Well, Skidman, I was disappointed, believe me. No one wants to be the first to go. But I left knowing that there probably was no better choice at that time. I screwed up. It was my fault."

"I'll say!" Ruth instantly spoke up. She was met with many glares. Isaiah, however, ignored it.

"Alright. Next question, from TotalDrama98: Matthew, who do you think the Mystery Castmate is?"

All eyes were on Matthew.

"Whoa, that's a tough question to answer." The teen pondered for a moment, stroking his chin thoughtfully. "First off, I don't want to accuse anyone right now. Second, I have a feeling that it's not either Mary or Daniel; the two people everyone thinks it is."

"Well, WHY NOT!" Ruth asked angrily.

"Look, it's just a feeling, OK? And, honestly, I can't say for sure who it is. All I know is that, and this is just a guess, I think it actually might be someone on the Flaming Directors."

There were lots of murmurs and whispers all around.

Matthew simply shrugged. "Whatever. I've made my guess."

"Alright." Isaiah said, shaking his head. "That was a major disappointer. Anyway, the next question, which is from TurkeyPotPieRULES7: Samantha, Madison, and all of the other girls: How can you say such bad things about Daniel? Who cares if he's mean and/or manipulative? HE'S HOT!"

"Are you kidding me?" Madison angrily exclaimed.

"Hotness doesn't make up for the fact that he's a total…" Samantha was interrupted by Isaiah.

"Alright, let's try one more time! FanOfMatthew123's question is: Matthew, if things with you and Violet don't work out, would you like for me to give you my phone number?"

Matthew's eyes widened. He started to open his mouth.

"OK!" Isaiah quickly interrupted. "I think that, after that creepy display, it's time to move on to the next segment!"

There were sighs of disappointment from the audience.

"Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. But come on! More crazy questions like that, and we might as well forget it! And, thinking ahead of time here, I think that we should just skip the Web-Cam segment as well."

At that moment, around all of Canada and North America, disappointed viewers shut off their Web-Cams and began cursing FanOfMatthew123.

Back at the theater, Isaiah continued. "Anyway, here's the next segment! It's a new and improved version of 'Truth or Hammer'; it's 'Truth or Trapdoor'!"

The audience went wild.

"In this little game, we'll ask our special guests, one by one, a question. It can be about their experience, their enemies, their friends, or even their feelings toward Chris!"

Laughter.

"If they lie, the huge trapdoor underneath will open, and they'll fall into the pool of water below!"

"Doesn't sound too bad." Jeremy shrugged.

"Oh, and I forgot to mention that the water in that pool is at least fifteen degrees below zero!"

The three guests shuddered and shared nervous glances.

"Based on your answer, whether true or false, we'll have a brief discussion about it before moving on to the next contestant. Anyway, it's time to begin! Ruth, you're up first."

Jeremy and Josh got up off the couch and backed away, leaving Ruth sitting by herself. She stared down Isaiah hard, but he was unfazed.

"First question: Do you hate Mary?"

"What kind of a question is that?"

"Just answer it."

"Do I 'hate' her? Well, no-WAUGH!"

The trapdoor opened up. The couch, since it was bolted to the platform, remained where it was; the same could not be said for its occupant. The geek, the nice guy, and the karate kid jumped to avoid any of the water that splashed out of the six-foot deep pool when Ruth hit the water.

"OH MY GOD!" Ruth screamed at the top of her lungs and jumped right out of the pool, shaking and shivering as she clung to herself for warmth. "THAT'S…C-C-C-COLD!"

She slowly fell back onto the couch behind her after it rose back to its original position, shivering, shaking, knees banging against each other, teeth chattering.

"Fif-fif-fifteen degrees below zero? More like FIFTY DEGREES below zero!"

But no one noticed her outburst; the whole theater, Isaiah, the audience, the special guests, and the eight "losers" were all doubled over with laughter.

"SHUT UP!"

Despite the roar, several laughs and chuckles still lingered. Ruth glared at the audience before looking back at the geeky host.

"That's how it feels, huh? So, Ruth. It seems like you truly do hate Mary. Why is that?"

"Why? (Chatter, chatter) WHY? (Shake, shake) I'll tell you why! 'Cause she's (shiver) a low-down, goody-two shoes, sniveling, scheming little witch! That's why!"

"And why exactly do you think that she's a 'low-down, goody-two shoes, sniveling, scheming little witch?"

"Because she thinks she's so good all the time! She thinks that by pulling all of those stunts behind everyone's back, she can get to the top! Everyone was right to suspect her of it at first, because she DID do it! And then she acted all innocent! I know her little game."

"So basically you hate her because you know that she's the Mystery Castmate?"

"Yes! Yes I do! That, and the fact that I'm WAY better at physical challenges than her! Heck, she's a weakling! It was pure luck that she won the second task and the last task! She thinks that when she won the second challenge, she won her team's forgiveness, and they lost all of their suspicion about her. But I haven't."

"Why do you suspect her of it?"

"Because she's pulled crap like that before, and you ALL know what I'm talking about!"

There were nods and murmurs from the audience and the eight people on the sidelines.

"Yeah! Like the time she smuggled a tranquilizer gun during the zombie challenge so that she would have the advantage!" Madison mentioned. "Or when she locked me and Sam in the Old Boathouse during the race for the million dollars?"

"Yeah!" Samantha agreed. "We still need to get back at her for that!"

"I usually don't say bad things about anyone, but I have to admit that she has done things like that in the past." Matthew admitted.

"OK, OK! Settle down, people!" Isaiah commanded and raised his hands in the air. "I know that we'd all like to discuss how much we hate Mary, but we must move on."

Despite the groans from the audience, he continued. "Jeremy? You're up."

Ruth, still shivering and quaking, got up off the couch to make way for Jeremy. He sat down on the couch, barely showing any signs of nervousness.

"Your question: Are you bitter towards how you were eliminated in the second week instead of Josh?"

"Uh, no."

Everyone waited for the trapdoor to open, but nothing happened.

"Whoa, man! Y-you actually weren't lying? Come on! We're talking about the reason you missed out on a million bucks!"

"I know. And I didn't lie."

"Really?" Both Josh and Isaiah asked.

"Heck, yeah. I mean, sure I was disappointed, but given the circumstances, I really felt that Josh deserved to stay more than I did."

"Really?" Isaiah asked again.

"I mean, we were the two on the front lines that night; it could've been either one of us. I was the first to be tagged, and Josh had been guarding the flag when it was snatched by the Mystery Castmate…"

"Mary." Ruth interrupted.

"…and misplaced." Jeremy finished, barely acknowledging the interruption. "Both of us screwed up that night, and I guess the viewers really felt sympathy for Josh. I mean, he didn't know. That, and the viewers really like him better."

" 'Liked' being the key word here." Ruth said.

"Ruth's right." Isaiah admitted. "Josh escaped elimination that week, but was given the boot the very next week! How do you feel about that?" Isaiah asked, clearly desperate for a lie.

"What can I say? He blew his second chance. No offense, man."

"None taken." Josh replied with a shrug.

"Oh, come on! Just one little white lie!" Isaiah pleaded. "We want to see someone else get frozen!"

"Well, I'm sorry to spoil your fun." Jeremy shrugged.

The trapdoor opened up.

Less than a minute later, Jeremy had gone through the same ordeal Ruth had, and stood off to the side, shivering and quaking.

Isaiah was still busting his guts over the incident, and was barely able to say, "And now (heh, heh) it's time for (ha!) Josh to go up!"

The karate kid sat down on the couch, shifting nervously in his seat.

"Alright, Josh. Let me think of a question that you're sure to lie about…Got it! OK, Josh. What is your opinion towards Daniel?"

"My opinion towards Daniel?" Josh was surprised at how obvious the question was. "I think he's, to word it delicately, a jerk!"

"Well said!" Madison encouraged.

"He clearly likes to manipulate people! We saw that in the season finale last time!"

"Yeah…but come to think of it, he hasn't tried that kind of thing even once since then." Matthew pointed out.

Everyone thought for a moment, then realized. "You're right. He actually hasn't done that in a while, has he?" Josh said. Then his eyes went wide.

"Hey." Isaiah said as he realized. "If you just said that he likes to manipulate people, when he really hasn't done that in a while, doesn't that technically mean that you li-."

"NOOOOO!" Josh screamed and started to get up off the couch just as the trapdoor fell away.

SPLASH!

"!" The karate kid screamed as he fell into the unforgiving cold water. He also jumped out of the pool with incredible reflexes, and fell face-first onto the wooden floor of the stage. Ruth and Jeremy helped him to his feet. He was now really cold and in pain.

"Oooooohhhhh…" He stood there, shaking and coughing. "Why did I ever sign up for this?"

Isaiah then turned back to the cameras, barely able to hold back his fiendish grin. "Alright, viewers! I think it's time to wrap up the show! But don't worry; we'll be back soon, with more special guests, more hi-jinks, and much more fun than ever before! So tune in next time for the next awesome episode of Total…Drama…Action…Aftermath!"


Episode 5: "Super" Heroes?

"Last time on Total Drama Action: The teams had to participate in a Sci-Fi version of the classic game of Laser Tag. In a massive, sixteen-acre, extremely dark cave, the Psycho Producers, as the Mutant Warriors, had to hide from the Flaming Directors, A.K.A the SWAT team. The SWAT had to try to shoot all of the Mutants, while the Mutants had to either last ten minutes, or shoot the SWAT guys back.

"Over the course of the ten minutes, several of our castmates went a little (heh, heh) batty.

"We also found out that Mark has a secret crush on Rachael, and approached Violet for help. But she was eliminated before she could really provide some good advice. In addition, we also learned that Jennifer also has a crush on someone here.

"Besides that, the Mystery Castmate struck again by eliminating Rachael before she even had a chance to react, and later, Mark as well. But thanks to the night-vision infrared cameras, we were able to get a clear view of who it was. So Chef Hatchet and I now know who the Mystery Castmate is…but we're not telling!

"Although Rachael and Mark were both star players, the Castmate's plan was foiled when it came down to a confrontation between John and Mary. At first, John's number seemed to be up, but with help from some of the local bats, John managed to eliminate Mary at the last second, and win the task for the Flaming Directors.

"At the Gilded Chris Ceremony that night, Ruth was the next castmate to face the wrath of our viewers' votes. And boy oh boy, was it tough to get her into the Limo of Losers! Ho, ho, ho!

"Who will be the next castmate to be banished to Loserville, population four, going on five? Will we find out who Jen's secret crush is? Will anyone else find out the identity of the Mystery Castmate? Find out, on this exciting episode of Total…Drama…Action!"

...

The castmates were all sleeping as peacefully as possible in their trailers.

Chris menacingly walked up to the two trailers and stood between them. He then turned and spoke to the cameras.

"I've been looking for several new ways to wake these guys up, and this one is probably the best yet!"

At that moment, two interns came by and placed two massive stereo speakers on each side of Chris. A third handed an electric guitar to Chris, then hooked it up to the two speakers.

"I've been practicing my guitar skills for a while, and all of my teachers say I'm terrible at it!"

And with that, he closed his eyes, grinned a sinister grin, and strummed the guitar as quickly and as hard as he could.

The sound blared from the massive speakers and completely shattered the peaceful morning. It smashed the windows of the trailers, and shook them completely, knocking a majority of the nine castmates out of their beds, whether on top of bottom. If it was the former, of course, it was more painful.

"WHOA!" Tim screamed as he fell out of his top bunk. He hit the floor of the trailer with a THUMP! He was in pain, but focused more on covering his ears.

Luke also fell out of his bottom bunk and tumbled away from the force of the sound waves.

And in the girls' trailer, Jen, Mary, and Violet were also on the floor in a similar manner, and covering their ears.

"WILL YOU PLEASE SHUT UP!" Everyone screamed angrily.

Chris did not hear them, however, and continued strumming for seven more seconds, before Daniel burst angrily out of the boys' trailer.

Wordlessly, the jock charged Chris as fast as he could, and tackled the host to the ground, knocking the guitar out of his hands and killing the sound instantly.

Make-Up Confessional

Chris (holding a Kleenex to his bloody nose): Ow! Darn it, that kid can really pack a punch! What can I say? It's my job, people! Don't get mad at me!

Daniel: One of these days…argh! That narcissist ought to feel lucky that I didn't do more than give him a bloody nose!

End

Later that day, the castmates were all in the Craft Services Tent, (not) eating their breakfast. They were all clearly groggy and annoyed at the rude awakening. The only one who did not appear to be as bothered as the rest were Mark and John.

"Ah, it could've been worse." Mark said optimistically. "Have you seen the things Chris has pulled to wake us up in the past? I think that this one barely ranks as a fourteen on the list of the worst ones."

"How can you be so optimistic all the time?" Daniel said as he yawned. "If I recall, you fell out of your top bunk because of that!"

"Again, it's not the worst that's happened."

Everyone then turned to John. "What about you?"

John looked back and shrugged. "I ain't no optimist, eh. But I've also seen worse. As you all know, I'm not fazed easily, right?"

"That's true." Mary nodded.

Then, the most hated man of the day himself, Chris MacLean walked in. Everyone gave him the evil eye.

He reacted with barely more than a shudder. "Yeesh. Anyway, I hope you're all feeling wide awake, because the next challenge will soon begin. Today's genre: The Superhero genre!"

Several castmates perked up at this.

"In today's task, you will be reenacting the eternal battle of superheroes vs. villains! Now, follow me to the set where this will take place."

The nine castmates slowly rose from their seats and dragged behind.

After they caught up with the host, he continued talking. "In this challenge, the two teams will become the teams of the Superheroes and the Super-Villains. The Superheroes will have certain props that will serve as their Super-Weapons. The Super-Villains will be given a five-minute head-start into the town where this task will take place."

When they arrived, the town looked pretty ordinary. At most, it was probably a mix of the New York set from the Cops 'n Robbers task, and the 70's town they had seen on their tour of the Film Lot on the first day. According to Chris, the town in general was more than three times as large as the cave from the previous task; over fifty acres large.

"The Superheroes must attempt to shoot the Super-Villains with their Super-Weapons."

Make-Up Confessional

Tim: Seriously, does this guy have any imagination at all? Or is he simply obsessed with challenges that have shooting in them? The Cops 'n Robbers task, the Laser Tag game last week, and now this! Seriously, enough with the shooting, already!

End

"The only catch this time is that a Super-Villain must be shot three times before they are eliminated."

"Finally."

"And as for the Super-Villains, their goal is a little bit different."

At that moment, Chef, wearing a cheesy red, white, and blue, outfit with stars and stripes, a red cape, and a white helmet walked up, carrying several devices in his arms. The castmates saw him and couldn't help but snicker and giggle.

"I hate my life." Chef grumbled.

"Seriously, Chris. Why with the American colors?" Mark asked, gesturing to Chef. "We're in Canada!"

Chris simply ignored him (he appears to be good at that, doesn't he?) and continued. "All of the Super-Villains will be given one of these special GPS devices." Chef held up one of them for everyone to see. They didn't look any different from the ones used in the second episode (the Alien challenge) of the original season of Total Drama Action.

"These devices are maps of the entire set that we are in right now. There are fifteen red dots located throughout the city. Those are special Targets for the Super-Villains. Each one represents a certain thing that a Super-Villain would do: robbing a bank, freeing prisoners, or shutting down the generator for the entire city's power! Oh, and that last one is basically the single most important target in the whole task for the Super-Villains, so whichever Villain can reach that point first wins Invincibility.

"And as for the Superheroes, again, you must try to find all of the Villains and shoot them three times before they reach all fifteen points. Every time a Villain is shot, the Hero who did the shooting must let him have a ten-second head-start to get away before the Hero can chase them down again. The idea is that the Heroes will really have to work together, and must sometimes shoot at the same Villain.

"If all three shots are fired at a Villain by the same Hero, than that particular Hero will win Invincibility.

"Now, the Heroes will be the Psycho Producers, and the Villains will be the Flaming Directors. Here are your GPS devices."

Chef tossed each of the castmates their own GPS device. It was a small black box, barely five inches on each side, and had a small screen on it. It was a touch-screen, as one could scroll around the map of the town with their finger. On top of the box was a red light, and dotted all over the map were the blinking red dots that symbolized the targets.

"For the Villains, the red dots all over the town are the special Targets. Like I said, there are fifteen in total. If the Villains can hit all of those Targets before the Heroes eliminate all of the Villains, then the Villains win.

"When a Villain reaches a Target, there will be a red button on, or sometimes around, the Target. The Villain presses the button, and the red dot for that Target will vanish. And I will announce over the intercom when one is taken out. Again, the Villain who finds the biggest Target of them all, the massive generator for the city's power, will win Invincibility!"

"Alright!" Daniel cheered. "I am SO going to find that generator first!"

"But wait! That's just the thing; you have no way of knowing which Target is which. It's not labeled or anything. You won't find out which Target it is until you're right next to it. For all you know, you could be just two steps away from a simple cash register, or the power generator. You just head for the nearest one and hope for the best."

Daniel cursed under his breath.

"And for the Heroes, your GPS devices are a little different. There are only five dots. Those are the Villains. You must use your GPS to catch the Villains before they reach all fifteen Targets. If you succeed in doing this, then the Heroes win."

Chris then turned to the Producers. "And now, here are your weapons."

Chef, whose sudden disappearance no one had noticed, returned with four gun-like objects in his hands. He started tossing them to the Producers as Chris called their names.

"Mary, you will be Mrs. Freeze!"

Chef tossed a gun to Mary, who caught it with wide eyes.

"'Mrs. Freeze?'" She asked in disbelief.

Tim, off to the side, started coughing fake coughs. "(Cough, cough, rip-off, cough)!"

Chris scowled at the reader before continuing. "Your gun fires 'Freeze rays'; in this case, really, really cold water, compliments of our friends from TDA Aftermath."

"Wait, there's a TDA Aftermath for this season, too?" Mary asked.

"As I was saying, the water in that gun is fifteen degrees below zero! That's really cold!"

Mary looked down at the gun, and could already feel her hands freezing. A thought then entered her head, and she was quick to, reluctantly, shake it out.

Make-Up Confessional

Mary (still shaking her head, and with a slight grin on her face): Oh, you have no idea how much I wanted to use that thing on a certain evil, egotistical reality show host!

Tim: I…cannot…STAND obvious and outrageous rip-offs like that! That is TOTALLY the beginning of a lawsuit from DC Comics right there!

End

Chris then turned to Luke. "Luke, your Superhero identity will be Mr. Volcano!"

Chef tossed another gun to Luke, and already Luke dropped the gun because it was so hot.

"YEOW!" The brainiac screamed as he dropped it. "What's in that thing?"

"Oh, just some really hot chili sauce." He then held up the small red bottle of sauce. "You may remember that gun from the very first season of TDI."

Luke thought for a moment, then remembered. "Oh, yeah! In the 'Who Can You Trust' episode?"

"Precisely."

Luke grinned, then slowly picked up the gun again, this time holding it by the handle, which did not affect him.

"Alright, now Jennifer will have the special ability of Glue Girl!"

"That doesn't sound right." Jen commented as she caught the gun that was tossed to her.

"That gun is full of glue. Be careful; don't accidentally shoot yourself!"

Jen rolled her eyes.

"And lastly, Tim shall have the gun of The Jokester!"

"You have got to be kidding! 'The Jokester'? Not only is that another rip-off, but it's not even a rip-off of a Hero! That's clearly a rip-off of the villain the Jo-."

"ANYWAY!" Chris loudly interrupted. "That gun has a lot of laughing gas in it. It will easily reduce anyone caught in its spray to a laughing mess. And for that very reason, you, unlike all of the other Heroes, will have to wait thirty seconds before you can shoot the same Villain again. So you might as well forget trying to go for Invincibility."

Make-Up Confessional

Tim: For crying out loud! Why me?…Well, I guess he must be picking on me for my constantly reminding him of all the copyrights he's violated. But that's only his way of denying it! (Leans in close to the camera) YOU HEAR ME, MACLEAN? DENY IT ALL YOU WANT, BUT THEY WILL FIND YOU!

End

Chris then wrapped up the introduction. "Alright, castmates. The challenge will begin! Villains, go into the city now! Remember, you have five minutes before the Heroes come after you! And…go!"

The five Villains instantly raced off into the city, dashing in multiple directions.

Once they were out of earshot, Violet told Mark and several of the others, "It's no question; we've got to split up! There's a Target about four acres east of this position; I'll get that one! Mark, go for the one that's five and a half acres northwest of here!"

"You got it."

"Everyone else, head for the one that's closest!"

And with that, they all dashed off in various directions.

Chris looked at his watch, and mouthed the seconds and minutes as they dwindled down and down until the five minutes were up.

"Heroes, you're up!"

The four Heroes dashed into the city.

Jen instantly took command.

"Alright, everyone! There's no way for any of us to get eliminated, right?"

"Unless Chris left out an important detail." Tim commented.

"Right. So there's no reason to go in groups; just split up, and search for those Villains!"

They also split up and ran in various directions, heading deeper and deeper into the city.

Mark was actually the first Villain to reach his Target: a jewelry store. It looked fairly real, with several glass cases in the middle of the room with (fake) jewelry, and similar cases built into the counter. But only half of the store was finished. It was as if they workers had suddenly ceased construction in the middle of the whole thing.

Some of these sets are so cheesy, I would believe that they were actually made by Chris, rather than official movie crews. Mark thought to himself. Shaking his head, he entered.

He looked around, and on one of the glass cases, he could see the red button. Looking down at his GPS, he confirmed that this was the target. He reached over, paused for a moment, then pressed it.

The red dot on his GPS instantly disappeared. And soon, he heard the familiar whining of the intercom before Chris's voice roared across the city. "Attention, castmates! One of the Targets has been reached! Only fourteen to go! Heroes, you better perk up!"

Make-Up Confessional

Mark: That was easier than I thought. I could win this thing easily! …Of course, I shouldn't let my guard down; that Mystery Castmate is still out there. And he or she got me last time! I won't let that happen again!

Mary: We barely started after a minute or so, and he's already pushing us to get going? I really, really hate that man! Oh, I am so starting to regret not spraying him with that cold water!

End

After about five minutes, Mary had finally come close to one of the red dots on her GPS.

"Gotcha." She raised his gun full of cold water. She slowly stopped and turned on her heels at the sound of a footfall behind her. She thought he saw a shape dart behind a building.

"I see you!" She declared as she charged towards the building that the person darted behind. She thrust the door open, only to see that the building was one of those kinds that was simply a massive wooden board with support beams holding it up.

"Darn it!" She looked around anxiously. "Where are you?"

"Right here."

She turned in the direction of the voice. It was Daniel.

"Daniel?"

"Hey there, Mary." He said, flexing his muscles. It's been a while since I last tried this trick. The jock thought. I only hope that it'll work. "You're probably looking for a Villain right now, huh?"

"Y-yes." Mary stammered, trying hard to not fall for his looks.

"Look, you don't want to shoot me with that cold water. I can't afford to get wet. And I hate cold water."

"N-n-no."

"You know, if I was actually a criminal, wouldn't I be the most wanted criminal in the world?"

"Oh, yes." Mary sighed dreamily. She started to daze off.

No. NO! Resist, you stupid girl! She thought to herself. Don't…fall for it…

"Why thank you for the compliment. And now, if you'd be so kind as to-."

And with that, he turned and dashed through the open door, down the street, and out of sight.

It took several seconds for Mary to come around.

"Huh? What? Hey, come back here!"

She instantly dashed into the street as well, but saw that Daniel was nowhere to be seen.

"Darn it all!"

Make-Up Confessional

Daniel (sitting back in the chair with his feet on the desk, and a cocky smirk on his face): Ah, it's been a long time since I've tried that! And it felt so good! Yep, I pull that with all of the girls here, and I am going to dominate this competition.

Mary: Darn it all! I fell for it! Jen warned me about that little creep! I've got to get it together! Come on Mary, you've got to focus! Always remember: he just manipulates girls with his muscles, and good looks, and…(she clearly starts to daydream again) and good hair, and white teeth, and talent, and hotness…

End

Unbeknownst to Mary, Daniel was nearby, hiding in another nearby building. And this particular building just so happened to be the one he had been heading for in the first place: the bank.

He looked back at Mary before slipping into the building. He turned and saw that it was clearly a much smaller version of the one from the Cops 'n Robbers task. It had a small teller desk against the far wall, and only a few tables in the middle of the room. Against the wall opposite the desk was the huge vault door.

"Aw, darn it!" He said quietly to himself. "How am I going to get this open?"

He angrily slammed at the handle, which easily turned, opening the vault door.

"…Oh." Daniel slapped himself before entering. Inside, there was simply a small metal table, barely a foot across on the top. There, in the middle of the table, was the button. Daniel pressed it, then turned and walked out as Chris's announcement came over the intercom.

"Two down, thirteen to go! The Villains have really gotten off on the right foot; they're doing great right now!"

"Ha! This'll be a snap!"

"Guess again!" Mary yelled before she jumped out and instantly blasted the jock with the frigid water.

"AAAAAAIIIIIIIIEEEEEE! THAT'S…COLD! OOOOOOOHHHHH, I FEEL LIKE I'M IN ANTARCTICA! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!"

"Want more?"

"Yipe!" The jock instantly turned and ran.

Mary, despite resistance from herself, counted to ten, then chased after him. "Come back here, you!"

Of course, Daniel was too fast for her, and quickly outran her.

Mary slowly came to a stop, gun at her side. She looked down at her GPS. The red dot that was Daniel was moving farther and farther away. "Darn it. Lost him. That little weasel. He's not gonna get away with this!"

Meanwhile…

The Castmate looked around, trying to find the nearest Target.

If I can find a Target, I'll probably find one of the Directors. The Castmate thought. I knew that this challenge would be a little harder for me to pull one of my tricks, since only one team has the guns. And I don't want them to know what team I'm on. But this plan…the plan I have in mind, will work just as well.

The Castmate grinned, then stopped suddenly when they heard a rustle. The Castmate turned and darted behind a fake car as someone walked up. The Castmate peeked over the side and saw that it was Rachael.

Rachael slowly turned and looked around, then down at the GPS in her hand.

"This is the place." She said to herself. "Now where's that Target?"

She looked up at the building before her. It was a cheesy recreation of a pawnshop.

"You've got to be kidding me." She looked back at the GPS, then at the building again. She slowly entered, and looked around. She soon found the red button by the cash register.

"Really, Chris! Is that the best you can do? A cash register in a pawnshop?"

Make-Up Confessional

Chris: What? It's called "running out of ideas", people! And besides, we've got a budget to consider!

Rachael: That's just the saddest excuse I've ever heard.

End

Rachael, still shaking her head, pressed the red button on the cash register.

"That's a third Target eliminated! Pull it together, Heroes, or else you're gonna lose!"

Rachael turned and started to walk out of the building when she heard something. She quickly turned and hid behind the door just as Luke walked by.

Luke slowly turned and looked at the building when he thought her heard something.

"Someone in there?" He raised his gun and slowly approached.

The Castmate made their move.

With quick speed and agility, the Castmate swept over to where Rachael was standing, grabbed her by the shoulders, and threw her out the door. She didn't even have a chance to look behind her. After Rachael was thrown out the door to the awaiting Luke, the Castmate turned and ran.

Rachael hit the ground and rolled out the door, stopping at Luke's feet. Luke looked down at her, stunned, before he slowly raised his gun.

"Sorry." He said just before he fired.

The hot sauce completely covered Rachael, and she screamed at the top of her lungs.

"AAAAUUUGGGHHH! H-H-HOT!" She started running around as fast as she could, practically running in circles. "HELP! I'M BURNING! I'M BURNING! I NEED SOMETHING TO COOL ME!" *

"I think I can help with that."

Rachael turned to see Mary standing there, gun in hand.

"Uh-oh. No! NO! I didn't mean…"

Mary instantly blasted her with the cold water, washing off the hot sauce, and making Rachael cold.

"AUGH! Brrr! This is TOO cold! I'm getting out of here!"

She turned and started to run. But Luke had just finished counting to ten, and fired again. Once more, Rachael was completely covered in hot sauce.

"OH, COME ON! OWWWW!"

Then another loud voice rang over the whole city. "Attention, castmates! Rachael has been eliminated! That's one Villain down, four to go!"

"AUGH!" Rachael then turned to Mary. "Please, I'd rather be cold! Spray me again! I beg of you!"

Mary looked down at her gun for a moment, then back up at the wide-eyed, burning Rachael. "Um, OK." She aimed and fired again.

The hot sauce was now in a puddle on the ground surrounding Rachael, and she stood there, soaking wet and shivering.

"Ah (shiver, shiver) that's b-b-(chatter, chatter) better." She then turned and walked away.

Luke and Mary shared a confused glance.

"Um…thanks for your help." Luke said.

"Anytime."

The two then turned and went separate ways. From on top of one of the fake building, the Castmate looked down at them.

Yes. My plan worked perfectly. Soon, the Flaming Directors will lose again.

Meanwhile…

Violet looked around inside the jail that she was in. It was a fairly large building, two stories tall, and almost an acre large. She looked down at her GPS and saw that there was a red dot nearby, somewhere inside the jail. She walked down the halls, glancing at all of the barred doors of cells as she passed by them.

This jail looks so…real. She thought to herself as she walked through the spooky halls. To keep her mind off of her surroundings, she started humming the tune of Jailhouse Rock to herself. It was one of the many classic Elvis songs that Matthew had showed her in the last season. She smiled at the thought of her boyfriend.

I sure miss Matthew. She decided to get the sad thought out of her head by singing the song aloud.

The warden threw a party at the county jail

The prison band was there, they began to wail

The band was jumpin' and the joint began to swing

You shoulda' heard those knocked-out jailbirds sing

Let's rock! Everybody let's rock!

Everybody in our cellblock

Was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock

Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone

Little Joe was blowing on a slide trombone

The drummer boy from Illinois went CRASH. BOOM. BANG.

The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang

Let's rock! Everybody let's rock!

Everybody in our cellblock

Was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock

Violet then entered what appeared to be the mess hall. Tables everywhere, chairs surrounding them, some knocked over, and fake food covering the tabletops.

Number forty-seven said to number three

"You're the cutest jailbird I ever did see

I'd sure be delighted with your company

Come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me"

Let's rock! Everybody let's rock!

Everybody in our cellblock

Was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock

The Sad Sack was sittin' on a block of stone

Over in the corner, weepin' all alone

The warden said "Hey buddy, don't ya be no square

You can't find a partner, use a wooden chair

Violet walked through the tables, and eventually left the mess hall and was walking down a hallway, this time with absolutely no cells at all; only a single light at the very end.

Let's rock! Everybody let's rock!

Everybody in our cellblock

Was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock

Shifty Henry said to Bugs

For Heaven's sake

No one's lookin', now's our chance to make a break"

Bugsy turned to Shifty and he said

"Nix. Nix. I wanna stick around a while and get my kicks"

Let's rock! Everybody let's rock!

Everybody in our cellblock

Was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock

Dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock

Dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock

Dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock…

Just as Violet stopped singing, she arrived at the end of the hallway. She was at a door with a sing next it that read "Solitary Confinement."

I guess the Villainous act here is releasing the most dangerous inmate of them all. She thought as she opened the door and stepped inside. On the far wall was a straitjacket hanging on a nail, just like what most Solitary Confinement inmates wore. And on the wall next to it was the button.

She pressed the button. "Too easy." She said to herself as she smiled. As she walked out, Chris's voice roared over the intercom. She drowned it out with another Elvis song.

Well, it's one for the money

Two for the show

Three to get ready

Now go cat, go

But don't you…

Step on my Blue Suede Shoes…

Suddenly, her singing was interrupted when she heard a THUMP behind her. She turned to see Jen, glue gun raised.

"Gotcha."

Violet instantly turned and ran, with Jen right behind her. Jen was firing her glue gun wildly.

"I'll get you!"

Violet started zigzagging wildly to avoid the blasts of glue. Eventually, they reached the mess hall. Violet was dodging through the tables, jumping over chairs. Jen simply mimicked all of her movements, and was getting closer and closer. Eventually, Violet swooped her arm out and snatched up a fake turkey leg off of the table. Turning to look behind her, she threw it at Jen. Jen dodged to the side to avoid it, but ran into a chair and tripped, tumbling head over heel as she hit the ground.

Violet took advantage of this and ran as fast as she could towards the exit. Jen slowly got up off the ground and tried to chase after her, but quickly lost her. Violet dashed out of the jail and raced off, eventually hiding in an alleyway.

Phew! That was close. She thought. She turned and walked off, humming the tune of Guitar Man.

Meanwhile…

John had been walking for about fifteen minutes. He was supposed to have reached the nearest Target in only seven minutes, but he had seen Jen lurking around, so he had to double back and sneak through the alleys. So after fifteen minutes, he finally arrived at the closest red dot on his GPS.

He looked at the building, and it was a simple warehouse.

"Wonder what could be in there that's so important, eh?" He said to himself as he entered. He looked around. The walls were made of metal and covered in rust. There were several pipes running along the walls, and cobwebs everywhere. With every step he took, his foot landed in a mountain of dust. He walked further and further inside until he was standing in front of the Target.

It was a massive generator.

"Can it be…I found it, eh! It's the generator!" He said excitedly. He then realized his mistake and quickly covered his mouth. Looking around nervously, he ran up to the generator and pressed the button.

Chris's voice then announced, "Attention everyone! John has just reached the fifth Target, which just so happens to be the power generator! So John now has Invincibility!"

"Yes!" John cheered enthusiastically. He then turned around…

…and was face-to-face with an angry Daniel.

"YOU…You stole my Invincibility!"

"Whoa. I'm sorry, eh. But I did find it first."

"Don't give me that, Goth boy! You knew how much I wanted Invincibility, so you stole it from me! STOLE IT! You reached the generator first, and you pressed that button!"

"Dude, how would I have known it was the generator? Chris even said himself that they weren't labeled or anything."

"I don't care!" Daniel angrily exclaimed. "The bottom line is that you took the Invincibility that was rightfully mine! And furthermore…"

"…you're about to get soaked."

"What?" Daniel turned and saw that Mary was right behind him.

"Oh…crap."

John dashed out of the way at the last second just before Mary blasted the jock with the cold water for the second time that day.

"AAUUUGGGHHH! COLD!" Daniel screamed as he started shaking uncontrollably. Despite his limbs feeling like rocks, he dashed out of the warehouse, with Mary right behind him.

"Got to get away from…oh my God!" He stopped in the middle of the street, as he saw Jen standing in front of him. "Uh-oh."

"Hold it right there, jock boy!" Jen raised her gun.

"Hold it!"

They both turned to see Mary come out of the warehouse, gun also raised.

"Jen, I've hit him twice today. May I?"

"Go ahead."

Daniel turned to face Mary, who had an evil grin on her face.

"Oh, brother."

Mary blasted him a third time with the ice-cold water. Daniel instantly fell to the ground, shivering and shaking.

"OH, COME ON ALREADY!"

"Alright, castmates! Daniel has also been eliminated, and Mary has Invincibility! So there's only three Villains left, and four Heroes. You might have a chance, Producers! Get it together!"

Daniel, miserably defeated, started to get up off the ground, only to have a foot land on his chest and pin him down. He looked up at Jen, looking down at him with absolutely no pity.

"This is for manipulating me and treating me like a slave last season." She aimed the glue gun right at Daniel.

Daniel's eyes went wide.

"Mommy." He whimpered.

Make-Up Confessional

Daniel (covered in wet glue): Ugh! Cold water and glue? I'm NEVER gonna live this down!

Jen (with a wicked grin on her face): Oh, yes! That felt so good! I've been wanting my revenge against that manipulating creep for a long time!

Mary (also with an evil grin): Jen and I both had a good time doing that to Daniel. (Sigh) I wish I could do that again. And again. And again and again and again and again…

End

John, hiding in a nearby alley, looked away at the sound of the glue gun squirting, and ran away from the three teens, heading for the next Target.

Meanwhile…

While Jen and Mary were busy dealing with Daniel, Violet and John had individually managed to reach two more Targets each, bringing the amount of remaining Targets down to six.

"Six Targets left, castmates! Repeat, only six to go! And three Villains are still in the game! Producers, what are you doing, sleeping?"

"SHUT UP!" Tim, Luke, Mary, and Jen all simultaneously shouted to the sky, each from a different location in the city.

Chris, sitting in the control tent, perked up at the outburst, but wasn't too fazed by it.

Make-Up Confessional

Jen: Argh! I swear…I…hate…that…man!

Luke: He needs to shut up for once!

Mary: Does he have something against us Producers or something? He's always encouraging them, and discouraging us!

Chris: (simply shrugs)

End

Tim finally came across one of the Villains shortly after a fifth Target had been reached.

"At this rate, we'll win this game in no time!" Mark said happily to himself as he walked out of the building: a grocery store. Mark, looking back at the building, shook his head and questioned, "But seriously? A grocery store?"

Tim, hiding in an alleyway, quickly popped out and sprayed Mark with the laughing gas.

"Whuh? Ack! I…I…" Mark gasped and sputtered, then started splitting his sides. "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! OH, HELP! Hel-he, he, he, he, he heeeeeeee! Ho, ho, ho…"

Tim looked stunned, but knew that this would be the result anyway. He then stepped back and counted to thirty.

By the time he reached twenty, Mark had regained enough sanity to stumble to his feet. Looking back at Tim, he half-screamed, half-laughed, then turned and ran off.

After reaching thirty, Tim dashed after him.

"Come back here!" He fired random blasts of laughing gas again and again, hoping to score another hit. Eventually, as he drew closer, he fired another one and barely hit Mark; only the very edge of the cloud of gas reached him. But it was enough.

"No! Not…again…BWAH! HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HAAAAAA!" Mark keeled over and started rolling around on the ground, nearly crying from all the laughing.

Tim looked down at the optimist, almost sympathetically, as he busted his guts. He counted to thirty, but this time, Mark was racing off by fifteen.

After thirty, Tim already knew to give up at this point.

Mark raced off, looking back at the reader, who wasn't even bothering to chase him. "Phew! That was (he, he) close!"

"Not so fast!" A voice yelled.

"Waugh!" Mark instantly slid to a stop at the sight of Luke right in front of him, hot sauce gun raised.

"Oops." Mark muttered.

Meanwhile…

Violet, having just reached another Target, thus leaving only four to go, walked out onto the street, and looked down at her GPS.

"OK, so the nearest one is about…sixty-eight yards southwest of here. So that means…" She started to look around, but her thoughts were interrupted when she heard Chris announce. "Everyone, there are only four Targets left, and Mark has been eliminated! Repeat, there are four Targets to go, and two Villains, Violet and John, remain!"

Violet looked up at the sky at the sound of the voice, then back down at the GPS.

"Don't have much time. I've got to hurry!" She ran in the direction of the nearest Target.

Just as she reached the building where the next Target was, Jen was also nearing that location. She turned a corner and ran up the street just in time to see someone enter the building.

"Aha." She muttered. She raised her glue gun and slowly approached the building.

Violet looked around the building. It was pretty large, too. Almost as big as the bank from two challenges ago. She eventually saw a sign that read, "Museum."

"Ah." She said as she realized. She then saw, according to her GPS, that the red dot was right where she stood. But she looked around and saw nothing.

"What? But this can't be…" She stood there, seemingly defeated. But then she noticed a staircase nearby, leading to the next floor. "Could it be…?" She instantly dashed over to the staircase and flew up to the next floor. She turned and saw that, on that same spot, was a glass case with a replica of a football-sized diamond inside.

She whistled. "If there was a diamond that big…" She said to herself as she walked over to the case and pressed the button.

She then turned to walk back down the staircase, but instead was face-to-face with Jen.

Violet's eyes widened.

"Hi." Jen said before she fired the glue gun.

Violet closed her wide eyes just as the glue completely covered her.

"Ew! Aw, gross!" She said as she tried to lift up her right arm, but it was stuck to her side. She then looked back up at Jen.

"I'm counting."

Violet turned and started down the stairs. But her foot stuck on one of the steps.

"Augh!" She tried to lift up her foot, but it stuck hard. "Come on! Argh! Come on!"

She then managed to pull her foot off, but nearly threw herself down the stairs in the process. She stumbled down two steps before she regained her footing and dashed for the exit. She slammed hard against the door to open it, but it wouldn't budge.

"What? Come on, already! OPEN UP!"

Jen then raced down the stairs and approached her.

"Why won't it…open?" Violet suddenly thought of something, and simply pulled it open. Why didn't I think of that? She thought. Man, I hate those one-way doors.

She started out the door, only to be blasted again by the glue.

"Oof! Owwww!" She cried as the force of the blast sent her flying out the door. She tumbled across the pavement, and found herself stuck to the ground.

"Oh, come on!" She screamed as she tried to get up.

"Need a hand?" Another voice asked. She looked up (having a hard time doing so) and saw Mary with her water gun.

"Uh-oh."

Mary aimed and blasted Violet with the cold water. It instantly washed the glue off, and left Violet shivering and shaking. As she slowly got up, she muttered half-heartedly. "Ah, well. It's (chatter, chatter) better than being all (shake, shake) sticky." She slowly trudged off.

Mary grinned, and she and Jen shared a hi-five.

"Attention, castmates! John is the last remaining Villain, and there are two Targets to go! Heroes, you might have a chance…"

"Finally, he encourages us." Mary said.

"…wait! John has just reached another Target! Just now, John has reached one of the two remaining Targets! That means that there's only one left! Hurry! He's heading for the last one!"

"Oh, brother." Mary raised her gun. Jen looked down at her GPS.

"He's somewhere south of here! We've got to hurry! You go one way, I'll head the other and head him off!"

The two girls instantly dashed in various directions, racing towards the final red dot on their GPS.

Meanwhile…

John was racing through the town as fast as he could, trying to escape Tim, who was right behind him, firing his laughing gas gun aimlessly.

"I will get you!"

John, not looking back, instead looked down at the GPS device in his hand, and saw that a red dot was in the building that loomed in front of him: another bank.

John didn't really have a plan as he raced towards the building. All that's important now is that I reach this target. Then maybe Violet can reach the last one.

He was about to enter through the door when a voice said, "Hold it right there!" Luke stepped out from the building. John skidded to a stop as the brainiac raised his chili gun. "You're finished, Goth boy!" He declared.

John looked behind him and saw that he was also aiming his gun.

"Say, 'chili'!" Luke shouted as he fired. At the same moment, Tim also fired his gun.

John dodged out of the way at the last moment, and the two blasts went further than intended.

The chili completely covered Tim, and Luke was reduced to a laughing mess.

"OW! HOT! IT'S HOT! OH, AUGH!"

"HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!"

"Oh, you think you're so funny?" Tim roared.

Luke briefly stopped his laughter to say, "Yeah? Well what's the (ha, ha) big idea? Spraying (ho, ho, ho) your own teammate?"

"You ought to talk, smart boy!" Tim raised his laughing gas gun defensively.

"You want to start something?"

"It's already been started!"

"BRING IT!"

The two then started blasting each other with chili and laughing gas.

In all the confusion, John slipped into the building through a window, and approached a small safe behind a desk, where the red button was. Just before he pressed it, he heard Chris's voice. "Attention, castmates! John is the last remaining Villain, and there are two Targets to go! Heroes, you might have a chance…"

The voice paused briefly as John pressed the button.

"…wait! John has just reached another Target! Just now, John has reached one of the two remaining Targets! That means there's only one left!"

John turned and left the building as Chris continued his announcement.

"Hurry! He's heading for the last one!"

John checked on the two Producers, and saw that they were still fighting, apparently having not heard the announcement.

John smirked, then turned and ran in the direction of the final remaining Target. He ran the entire way, knowing that the other two Producers were probably racing towards him right now.

He jumped over obstacles, weaved between buildings, even cut through a few alleys as a shortcut.

Shortly after, he reached the final Target: a trailer. It was sparkly and shiny, and was obviously brand-new.

John was puzzled at what could be inside this trailer, but he didn't care as long as he reached the final Target before Mary and Jen reached him. He slowly walked towards it, reaching the steps. He opened the door and was about to enter when he heard a voice.

"JOHN!"

He turned to see Mary emerge from between two building and race towards him.

"I've got you now!"

John stopped in shock, seeing her race towards him.

Uh-oh.

She dashed towards him, water gun raised and aimed.

"You're mine!" Another voice shouted. He turned in the direction of the voice. At first, he didn't see anything.

Then Jen suddenly appeared from behind the trailer and raced towards him at full speed.

"Nice try, John!" She raised her gun.

Mary and Jen raced towards the same spot, focusing more on John than on each other…

WHAM!

Both girls collided with each other, knocking them both to the ground in a stunned daze.

John looked down at the two half-unconscious girls, smirked, then turned and entered the trailer. Almost instantly he saw the red light on a desk against the far wall. It was a make-up area; with a mirror, lights lining the whole mirror, and perfume and nail polish and cologne and everything.

The red light was right next to a small pink bottle. Josh approached it and saw that the bottle had Chris's grinning face on it.

"You have got to be kidding me, eh." He said as he pressed the button.

"AND JOHN HAS REACHED THE FINAL TARGET!" Chris's voice blared loudly over the intercom. Only it wasn't the intercom this time.

As John exited the trailer, and Mary and Jen staggered to their feet, Chris appeared, holding the familiar red megaphone. Behind him were all the other castmates, and most notably, the chili-covered and laughing Tim and Luke.

"Congratulations, John! You've won the task for the Flaming Directors!"

John held up the bottle that had been next to the button. "Chris?"

"What? It's my hair gel." He snatched the bottle from John and started applying it to his hair. Looking around at all the scowls from the teens, he quickly replied, "Stealing my hair gel is the most villainous act of them all!"

Everyone rolled their eyes.

Chris shook his head in disbelief before turning to the Psycho Producers. "Well, Producers, you've lost yet again. Come to the Theatre tonight for the Gilded Chris Ceremony. And remember, Mary has Invincibility. So that means that Jen, Luke, and Tim are eligible for voting off tonight."

As the host walked away, combing his hair, Jen and Mary glared at Tim and Luke.

The two shrugged and simultaneously said, "What?"


The Fifth Gilded Chris Award Ceremony

The four members of the Psycho Producers sat in the bleachers, most nervous about the outcome of the Ceremony. After the day's incident, Luke and Tim were sitting at opposite places of the bleachers, looking away from each other. They weren't looking away to avoid each other, so much as they were to avoid the glares from the girls.

Chris appeared onstage.

"And we have the results of our viewers' votes!" Chris announced as he held up the little white envelope. "And remember. Whoever doesn't receive a Gilded Chris tonight…"

"JUST GET ON WITH IT ALREADY!" All four of them yelled.

Chris nearly fainted from the sudden outburst. "OK, OK! Sheesh! Just trying to build up the drama here; the audience loves it! Anyway, Mary, having won Invincibility, gets the first Award."

Chris threw the miniature version of himself to Mary, who quickly snatched it.

"The next one goes to Jen." A second one was thrown, and the cheerleader caught it. She and Mary exchanged another hi-five.

Chris looked at the two remaining castmates, both of whom were now staring intently at the small Gilded Chris. They shared a brief glance, but quickly looked away from each other.

"Tim and Luke. Breaking into a fight in the middle of the challenge? I mean, it's bad enough to have a fight in the first place, but with your own teammates? Seriously! It's no shocker that you two are on the chopping block tonight."

Luke and Tim both had guilty looks on their face.

"Anyway, the viewers have voted, and it's time to decide your fate."

Tim stared intently, sweating hard. He was so nervous, he almost felt hotter than he did when he was covered in chili.

"The final Gilded Chris for tonight goes to…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…Luke."

The brainiac instantly regained his confidence as he caught the Award.

"WHAT?" Tim asked, standing up in his seat.

"Ha, ha!" Luke laughed. "I told you that you were going home tonight, after the stunt you pulled!"

"Hey, you sprayed me with hot chili sauce!"

"You sprayed me with laughing gas!"

"Smarty-pants!"

"Bookworm!"

"Enough!" Chris exclaimed. The two teens stopped arguing and looked back at the host. "Now, as much as I would love for the argument to keep going, and help improve the ratings, Tim can't stay here forever. So sayonara, Tim!"

Tim growled in frustration. "Fine! If that's what the viewers want, then FINE! As long as I'm away from that guy!" He angrily pointed at Luke. "Mr. Know-It-All!"

"Stephen King fanatic!"

"NO ONE INSULTS MY FAVORITE AUTHOR!" Tim charged at his former best friend, but a massive hand swung down in front of him and stopped him. It was Chef. Grabbing the bookworm around the waist, he hoisted the scrawny teen over his shoulder and carried him down the Red Carpet of Shame.

"NOOOOOOO!" He screamed helplessly as the massive man carried him away. He looked up to see Luke, with a cocky grin, waving goodbye.


Episode 6: GET READY TO ROCK!

"Previously on Total Drama Action: The nine remaining castmates participated in a Superhero-genre-themed challenge, where the Heroes had to shoot all of the Villains with their super powers three times before the Villains reached fifteen special Targets throughout the city. The Flaming Directors were the Villains, and the Producers were the Villains.

"At one point, the Mystery Castmate struck again, by tossing Rachael out of her hiding place to the awaiting Luke, where she really caught on fire, via a blast of hot chili sauce.

"John won Invincibility by reaching the most important Target of them all, which greatly angered Daniel. During the argument, Mary and Jennifer appeared, and were finally able to get revenge on Daniel by eliminating him…and covering him in cold water and glue in the process.

"In addition to that, Tim and Luke got into an argument towards the end of the challenge, and eventually resorted to blasting each other with hot chili sauce and laughing gas (ho, ho, ho). Oh, I live to see this kind of drama: best friends fighting like enemies.

"Jennifer and Mary were about to win the task for the Producers, but ended up, (ho, ho) having an unfortunate run-in, and John was able to reach the final Target and become the superstar yet again.

"And in the end, it was Tim who was sent home, due to him starting the fight between him and Luke, which ultimately distracted them for the rest of the challenge, and was the main reason for their team's loss.

"Now that Tim's gone, the Producers are down to three members against the Directors' five. How will they participate now? Can they finally pull it together and win? Or will they suffer their third loss in a row? And most importantly…WHO'S READY TO ROCK? Find out, on the most rockin' and rollin' episode yet, of Total…Drama…Action!"

Disclaimer: Fedora Kid does not own any of the musical artists or songs featured in this chapter, although they are all AWESOME songs.

The castmates sat around the tables in the Craft Services Tent for breakfast. Most of them, even the Psycho Producers, had gotten a laugh over the events of the Gilded Chris Ceremony the night before.

Of course, the most amused castmate of them all was Luke.

"Yeah, I insulted his favorite author Stephen King, and he practically exploded! It took all of Chef's power to get him down to that Limo after that!" He told the others over and over again.

"I thought you guys were best friends, though." Mark said.

"What do you mean?"

"You guys would always hang out and talk about…smart guy stuff, I guess. And you guys teamed up to get the million-dollar case last season!"

"Well, that was then and this is now. That was back when he wasn't a jerk."

Before anyone else could respond, Chris entered the tent, with the electric guitar from the previous wake-up around his neck, large sunglasses over his eyes, a black leather jacket, and blue suede shoes.

"Hello there, castmates! Hope you're all wide-awake and ready for the next challenge, because it's time to ROCK!"

"Oh, really?" Daniel raised an eyebrow.

"Well, that explains the outfit." Luke said.

"Yep. In today's challenge, the Musical genre, you'll be performing in front of a live audience!"

"Oh, really? COOL!" Mark exclaimed, pumping his fists in the air.

"Yes, castmates. You will be performing on a stage in front of almost 3,000 people, and a few special guest stars. In the end, you'll face the judgment of the audience, myself, and another, anonymous judge."

"Um, Chris?" Luke raised his hand. "Just who might the 'special guest stars' be?"

"Oh, just a few familiar faces; your fellow teens who did not make it to this season, and those who have been voted off."

"Ah, typical." Luke said with a shrug.

"Oh, and I almost forgot; the original twenty-two contestants from the original season of TDI will be there, too!"

"REALLY?" They all asked.

"Yep. Ezekiel, Eva, Noah, Justin, Katie, Tyler, Izzy, Cody, Beth, Sadie, Courtney, Harold, Trent, Bridgette, Lindsay, DJ, Geoff, LeShawna, Duncan, Heather, Gwen, and Owen! All of them will be there!"

"Oh cool!" Violet exclaimed. "I've always wanted to meet some of those guys!"

"Geoff was cool! He really showed me how to be a true party dude!" Mark exclaimed.

"Justin…definitely a fierce competitor for me in the good looks department…" Daniel thought.

Rachael, Mary, and Jen sighed. "Justin…" They started to daze off.

"BUT FOR NOW!" Chris declared loudly, snapping them all out of it. "You will each pick three songs, and perform those three songs onstage. The instruments will be the basics. Guitar, drums, etc."

"But what if some of us don't know how to play instruments?" Mary asked.

"Oh, don't worry about that; for those of you who don't know how to play, we have the already-recorded music to play over if all members lacks the ability to play a certain instrument in the song. But we expect at least one person on your team to know an instrument, and both teams have to have a vocalist.

"Those who don't play instruments can simply serve as background singers. Trust me, lots of songs have those, so there will definitely be a place for you in the song. But the more people on your team who do play, the more points you earn with the judges.

"You will mainly be judged on your performance, your vocalist, your syncing, the amount of people who can play instruments, and your choice of songs.

"And now for the most important part: the songs!"

"Oh, cool! I'm so gonna pick songs by Led Zeppelin!" Daniel exclaimed.

"AC/DC!" Mark exclaimed.

"My Chemical Romance!"

"Hold it!" Chris yelled. "You don't get to pick the songs or artists; I do!"

"Oh, great! You're not gonna make us do New Age music, are you?" Daniel asked.

"No…although that would be quite a cruel means of torture…no, I'm going to pick something that you're all probably not so familiar with: Classic Rock 'n Roll!

"Now, to give you a hint, through a bit of trivia: Does anyone know what day this is?"

"How can we? You don't have any calendars in this place!" Daniel exclaimed.

"Oh, you're right. OK, today is August 16th. Now, does anyone know what important event in Rock 'n Roll history happened on this day?"

It took a few moments for someone to answer.

"Um…" Violet raised her hand.

"Yes, Violet?"

"Matthew told me this back in the last season: isn't that the day that Elvis Presley died? In 1977?"

"Yes! That is correct! Now, not only do I love his music, but I had a lot of respect for The King of Rock 'n Roll for one reason: he is a fellow man of good looks and incredible hair!"

Everyone rolled their eyes.

"So, having a lot of respect for, as well as being a huge fan of Elvis, and since this day marks the thirty-second anniversary of the day that he passed away, this challenge will only feature songs that were done by Elvis Aaron Presley!"

"OH, YEAH!" Mark and Violet exclaimed and hi-fived.

"Ugh! Ah well, I guess it'll have to do." Daniel shrugged.

"Now first, follow me to the stage, and I'll explain more on the way."

They all got out of the CS Tent and followed Chris.

"We're always following Chris these days; it's almost like one big Following-the-Leader game." Rachael muttered to Violet. They both chuckled.

"Now, you all have the basic rundown; you have to have three songs, you have to have a vocalist, and you have to include some originality."

"Originality?" John asked.

"Yeah, you know, change a few of the lyrics here and there every now and then. Don't try to say the same exact lyrics as the original version."

"I…guess that makes sense, eh?"

"Anyway. So one team will go first, and there will be a three-minute intermission between songs to get ready for the next one, and a ten-minute intermission when one team's finished, so the other team can prepare. In the end, the audience can declare their opinion with more applause for one of the teams, but in the end, the decision still rests with me and the other judge."

"Which reminds me," Rachael said. "Who is this 'other judge'?"

"I am."

Chris turned at the sound of an un-familiar voice. Everyone also turned to see who it was.

"Everyone, this is Jay. He's one of our interns."

Everyone looked at the large man. He was nearly as tall as Chef, and easily just as well-built. He wore a black Fedora on his head, a pair of dark sunglasses, black pants, black boots, and a black shirt with the face of Arnold Schwarzenegger also wearing sunglasses. Below the strong face was the word written in red, "TERMINATOR."

"You see, we usually have a lot of interns on this show to pretest challenges planned for the future. But we've been running low on interns ever since day one of the original season of TDI. But most recently, we had a few challenges planned for the future, but too many interns died on them."

All of the castmates shuddered.

"And all the other ones got scared and quit. But not Jay here! He's one loyal intern. That, and he's tough enough to get through all of our challenges."

"I can handle anything." He said blankly.

"But the reason we've called him to the front lines today is because we need a judge besides Chef. See, originally we were going to have Chef Hatchet as the other judge, as usual, but I thought about something." He looked around nervously to make sure that Chef wasn't around. "I usually have him as the judge in challenges, but I've been looking back on past challenges where he was a much softer judge on the contestants than I intended; you know, like the 'Not Quite So Famous' or 'Riot on Set' from previous seasons. He's too soft! Plus, he can often pick favorites among you guys, and thus choose who wins because of that."

Chris shook his head.

"He's just lucky I don't suggest to the producers that we fire him. Anyway, but Jay here has decided to remain much more impartial, and is, if I may say, much more 'solid' than Chef. So he and I will be the judges."

"You will have to put on one heck of a performance to impress me." He commented.

"That's the spirit!"

He then turned to the teens once again.

"Now before we start making preparations for the task, there is an issue that must be resolved first-hand: the amount of people per team. Now, as you can see, there are only three people on the Psycho Producers, and five on the Flaming Directors. So, to even out the score here, one of the Directors will move over to the Producers."

"Uh, OK." Jen said. "Who picks?"

"I do!"

"OH, NO!" Jen gasped. She didn't dare look at the one she was thinking of, but she knew what the evil, torturous man was about to do.

"I choose, to send over to the Psycho Producers…" He glanced at the one that Jen did not want on their team the most.

"PLEASE, CHRIS! I beg of you!"

"…Daniel."

"WHY?" Jen cursed to the sky.

The jock grinned evilly and walked over to the Producers. "Hey there, Jen." He said with another flex of his muscles.

Jen tried hard to resist him. Must…resist…hotness!

Make-Up Confessional

Daniel: Ah, yep. I am so gonna win that girl over! Sure, she's stood up against me in the past, but now that we share a team, I can get closer to her than before. Then there will be no stopping me whatsoever. Both she and that perfectionist Mary will be like lambs! And I'm the shepherd! The big, hot, hunky shepherd.

Jen: I have to resist that hot creep! Come on, Jen! Get it together! If he truly does win me over, he'll use me as a slave again, and then get rid of me when I'm no more use to him! I've got to stay strong!

End

"Now that that issue's settled," Chris said, grinning wickedly at the desperate, cursing Jen, who was on her knees, begging for mercy. "it's time to continue on with the task."

They all walked the rest of the way to the massive stadium. Once inside, the castmates looked around at how big it was. It definitely did seem big enough to hold 3,000 people. The curtains for the massive stage were red, and currently covering the stage. Lining the walls of the stadium, about two or three stories up, were private booths were purple curtains and about ten seats each.

"Those booths are where our special guests, and the two judges will sit." Chris explained.

When they all stood on the stage, Chris got down to business.

"It's time to get down to business! The teams will now declare your choice of songs, your vocalist, and which members can play instruments! And the first team will be…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…the Psycho Producers!"

All eyes were on the aforementioned team. Before anyone else had a chance to react, Daniel quickly stepped forward. "I'll be the vocalist, and I'll pick the songs!" He immediately declared.

Make-Up Confessional

Daniel: OK, so I'm not a big Elvis fan, but I've heard a few of his songs. The trick here is to pick the greatest songs he's ever done. And that's exactly what I did.

End

All eyes were on the jock. "Our songs will be…Hound Dog."

A few people nodded in understanding.

"Jailhouse Rock. And…"

"…"

"…Burning Love."

"And the Psycho Producers have picked their songs! Now, who on the Producers can play an instrument?"

They all exchanged glances and mumbles. After a minute or so, Daniel turned back to Chris and announced, "I'm the only one here who knows how."

"Alright then. And what instrument might that be?"

"The guitar."

"Alright! In even more true Elvis fashion!"

Daniel grinned.

"And now for the Flaming Directors!" Chris turned to the other team.

The Directors looked at each other, then started to discuss it.

"What songs should we pick?" Rachael asked. "They've got all the good songs!"

"No, they just picked the most well-known songs." Violet stated. "Matthew showed me a lot of Elvis songs in the last season, and there were quite a few songs that are sure to soften anyone's heart! I'll pick the songs."

"Alright." Mark agreed.

Violet turned to face Chris.

"We'll pick the songs Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

"OK."

"(Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame."

"Alright."

"And In the Ghetto."

"Um, OK. Those are your picks?"

"Yes."

"OK. And you singer?"

Everyone already knew the answer. They all turned to John.

The Goth boy returned the looks, then shrugged. "Ah sure, eh. Why not?"

"Alright. And can any of you play instruments?"

"I can play the guitar also." Rachael raised her hand.

"And I play the drums!" Mark announced.

"Two musical instruments, huh? Things are already looking up for this team!"

The Producers glared at Chris. He acted as if they didn't exist.

"So you've picked your songs, singers, and instruments. We'll gather song sheets for the songs you chose, and the actual performance will start at 9:00 tonight! So start rehearsing!"

"But we don't have our instruments yet." Rachael pointed out.

Chris simply snapped his fingers, and Jay appeared, holding two classic guitars. He handed one to Daniel, and the other to Rachael.

"What about my drums, dude?"

Jay pointed behind him, and Mark turned to see a set of drums and cymbals, that were not there a minute ago, already set up.

"Awesome!" He exclaimed.

At that moment, Chef walked up. In his hands were bundles of song sheets. He started passing them out to the teams. Chris got a little suspicious when he saw a grin on Chef's face.

Then he remembered.

"CHEF!"

The large man jumped in surprise, then turned to face his boss. "Y-yes?"

"Give them the right ones this time!"

"Aw, man."

"I said DO IT!"

"Fine." Chef then took back all of the sheets, mumbling and cursing Chris under his breath.

Make-Up Confessional

Chris: Darn it! When will that Chef learn? He deliberately tried to pull the same trick he pulled in the last season of TDA! Argh! See? This is exactly why I'm starting to question why he's still on this show!

Chef: What? I think it's funny.

End

"Now that you have the correct sheets, start rehearsing. The audience will start to arrive around 7:30, or possibly 8:00. The special guests will probably arrive first, and will be introduced right before the show starts. Good luck, and good rehearsing!"

As Chris, Jay, and Chef left, the castmates started rehearsing.

About an hour later…

Rachael was casually strumming her guitar, practicing a few notes. Mark took a break from his eager drumming to walk up to her.

"So, you, uh, excited about tonight?"

"Yeah!" She responded. "I've always wanted to play a guitar in front of an audience."

"I see…" He scuffed his foot against the stage floor. He glanced over at Violet, who started twirling her hands over and over in the symbol that meant "keep going."

Mark looked back at Rachael and said, "So…how long have you been playing guitar?"

"Uh, since I was eight. I've always wanted to play. It's definitely my favorite instrument of all time!"

"Cool."

"My mom wanted me to play the piano at first, and I tried, but I eventually gave up, and moved to guitars."

"Why'd you give up on pianos?"

"Easy: they're too boring!" She exclaimed with a grin. "Guitars are where the party is!"

"Can't argue with that logic." Mark replied. When Rachael looked away, he looked back at the girl who gave him advice. She gave him a thumbs-up, then continued the "keep going" motion.

"So do you know any of these songs that we have to play?"

"Well, I know this, uh, Marie's the Name song, but I've only heard it a couple times. I've never heard these other two. Are they sad songs?"

"Apparently."

"Yeah, I'm a total sucker for sad songs."

"We all are." Mark said with a chuckle. "I can't wait for the performance!"

"Me neither. This is gonna be so cool! And with John as our vocalist, we're totally gonna beat the Producers, and rock this place into next week!"

"Uh, yeah."

"Well, gotta get back to rehearsing." She started strumming again.

"Um, OK. See ya." He turned and walked away.

A few minutes later, Violet approached him.

"You were terrific!" She said, softly enough so that Rachael wouldn't hear.

"I was?"

"Yeah! You didn't screw up, you handled it well, and you didn't show signs of nervousness."

"But I feel like I didn't get any further than we already are. It was just…talk."

"And this 'just talk' is how you always start off when trying to learn more about each other, and eventually start a relationship. Trust me, you were great! Keep it up, work on those pauses in between, and you'll be really smooth with her before you know it."

"OK. Thanks."

"No problem."

Violet walked away, leaving Mark with his drums once again, feeling good about himself.

And on the other side of the stage…

"Test, test…You ain't nothin' but a hound dog…" Daniel was practicing his singing with the microphone, with the guitar attached to a strap around his neck. The other three Producers were all sitting on the stage behind him, with no instruments and nothing to do except watch Daniel rehearse.

"Man, can you believe this?" Luke said, shaking his head. "Jock boy here is the only one doing anything, while we have to sit this one out!"

"He thinks he's so good." Jen said with a shake of her head. "The good news is that if we lose, he won't have Invincibility, and the viewers will vote him off so fast, it'll make his head spin!"

"Yeah!" Mary agreed.

…Ooh, ooh, ooh.

I feel my temperature rising…

"…Though you have to admit, he's a great singer." Mary quickly added.

"Yeah, I guess so. That's the most important thing. But then again, they have John on the other team!"

"Oh, yeah!" Luke admitted. "Did you hear him at the talent show last season? He's practically as good a singer as…"

Suddenly, a murmuring in the back of the auditorium cut through the conversation. All of the castmates looked up to see thirty-five familiar faces enter the building. At the front of the group was Chris and Jay. Behind them were the eight losers and the five castmates who had been voted off.

"Everyone! The special guests have arrived!"

All of the castmates came down onto the stage and approached the guests.

"Matthew!" Violet called out to her boyfriend. They ran to each other, and embraced and kissed.

"It's so good to see you!"

"Good to see you, too!" Matthew said.

Mark and Rachael also approached Matthew.

"Hey, man!" Mark eagerly greeted. He and Matthew hi-fived.

"So how's it going? You think you're ready to win?"

"Of course!" Violet replied. "And I have to give you credit; you were the one who showed my a lot of Elvis songs. Before that, I wouldn't have even known Hound Dog."

"Yeah. And you really picked the right songs, too."

"Really?"

"Heck, yeah! Those sad songs will definitely score with the audience and Chris. But that Jay guy seems a little tougher…ah, well. It doesn't matter. All I have to regret is that I can't be here for this challenge!"

"Yeah, I know you would've loved it."

Samantha, Madison, Jessica, and Nicole were all crowding around Daniel.

"Hi, Daniel." They all simultaneously said dreamily.

"Hey, girls." He replied.

"We missed you…"

"I'm sure you did. So how's it been going in Loserville?"

"It's hard. Only because we have to be away from you." Samantha replied.

"Yeah, I can understand that."

Just then, Justin walked up. Daniel looked away from the girls and at the male model.

"Well, well. If it isn't Mr. Hottie."

They both looked at each other for a moment.

"Like looking in a mirror." Daniel commented. "Except I'm hotter."

"I'm sorry, but I'm hotter."

"No, I'm hotter."

"I'm hotter!"

"I'm hotter!"

"I am!"

"No, I am!"

"I am!"

Meanwhile, Lindsay and Lauren were exchanging nail polishes.

"Wow! You have that kind?" Lindsay exclaimed. "I hear that's only available in Paris, and that it's worth, like, a bazillion dollars!"

"Yes, yes it is. But it was definitely worth it. It can last for up to seven months without getting all dry and flaky."

"That is sooooooo cool!"

Owen, Cody, Mark, and Jeremy were already deep in conversation about video games.

"Yeah!" Cody exclaimed. "So that big headless monster, A.K.A Type 28, is about to get me, right? But then I shot the little imp, and it died instantaneously!"

"Ha! That's nothing!" Mark replied. "When I played the first game, that Type 0 is throwing a shower of fireballs at me, right? I swear, a split second longer, and it would've killed me! But at the last second, I shot at the upper part of its left leg, and it exploded and died! That was my very first time beating the game!"

"That is SO awesome!"

Just then, Matthew walked up.

"Hey, guys!"

Instantly, he was swooped up in a massive Owen-hug.

"HEY, MATTHEW! HOW ARE YA? It's nice to meet my fellow season-winner!"

"(Gasp) It's…nice to meet…you too…Owen…Ack!"

Owen finally dropped him.

"So are you ready to rock tonight!" He asked the others.

"HECK, YEAH!" They all simultaneously cheered.

Matthew, still gasping, turned to Cody. "So you were just talking about the first and second games of that series, right?"

"Yeah."

"Oh, I love that series! It's like, my all-time favorite video game series! I just love the first and third one!"

"I know, right?"

"Yeah! How about that persistent Type 11 in the third game?"

"Yeah! That guy is so easy!"

"I know, right? That's why he's my favorite boss of all time! Well, he and Type 0."

"Yeah."

After about half an hour of more mingling and conversation between all of the teens, Chris interrupted with his megaphone. "Alright, everyone! Settle down! It's time for the eight castmates who are in this challenge to get back to the stage and rehearse. The special guests are allowed to roam the stadium and backstage, but cannot interfere with the castmates. Thank you, that is all."

The eight castmates reluctantly turned and went back to the stage, and the thirty-five special guests went to talking amongst themselves, and a few sat in their respective seats in the booths and watched the current participants rehearse.

Let's rock! Everybody let's rock!

Everybody in our cellblock

Was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock

Shifty Henry said to Bugs

"For Heaven's sake,

No one's lookin', now's our chance to make a break"

Daniel continued practicing with his singing voice while the other three Producers talked.

Rachael was casually strumming her guitar to the tune of Marie's the Name, while Mark was drumming to the tune of In the Ghetto.

John decided to not rehearse his singing, so that he could "save it for the performance."

Violet was the only Director who wasn't doing anything. In her spare time, she went to talk have some friendly conversation with some of the Producers (besides Daniel).

Most of the time, a few castmates went backstage to get a drink from the water cooler that was there. There was a stack of Styrofoam cups next to it, and the whole setup almost looked like one that would be seen in an office.

At one point, Violet and John were standing next to the cooler, drinking from their cups.

"So, you ready for the show tonight?"

"Born ready, eh."

"Good."

"…But I guess I'm a little nervous, eh. I mean, I know I've got a great singing voice and all, but when I sang in the talent show last season, I was singing for sixteen of my fellow campers, Chris, and Chef. That was nothing compared to an audience of 3,000! And not to mention my fellow castmates and the guys from the original season!"

"Look, I can understand why you're upset. Just don't think about it. Just sing like you usually do, and you'll be fine. Besides, I have to sing, too, being the backup singer and all."

"Yeah. But I'll be up against Daniel. He may not have a voice as good as mine, but he's still good-looking. The girls will go crazy over him, eh!"

"I know, but just focus on winning. Keep un optimistic attitude. Eyes on the prize!"

"Sure." John casually sipped from the cup. Violet did the same, and shuddered.

"Ugh! This water's as cold as ice cream!" She shuddered and pressed her fingers hard against her temples.

"You hate cold water?"

"Well, just water that's cold enough to give me brain freeze. And that's what this is!" She then looked over at an adjustment knob on the side of the cooler. There was a small arrow, pointing to the very end of the blue half of the picture. The other half was red. Violet turned it to the halfway point. She filled her cup with some of the warmer water and drank it.

"Ah, that's better."

"Since when did water coolers have temperature adjustments, eh?"

"I don't know. But it's handy."

"I guess so." John sipped his water again.

Hours later…

The auditorium was starting to fill with people. The sound of calm murmuring was low at first, but got progressively louder and louder as more and more people entered and sat down. By that time, the outer curtain had been dropped, obstructing the audience's view of the rehearsing castmates.

Chris walked onto the stage and said to the teams, "One hour 'till show time, people! One hour!"

"Oh, I am SO nervous now!" Rachael exclaimed. The guitar was shaking in her hands. "I should tell you." She said to Mark. "I…I get stage fright sometimes."

"Oh, gee. Don't feel bad about that; you're not alone! We all have it." Mark said to her.

"R-really?"

"Yeah! I once had to be in a play for my school when I was in third grade, and I practically collapsed from fright!"

"Really?"

"Yeah, but I didn't actually do it. I resumed with the part, but I stuttered a lot."

"I can see that."

Violet looked over at the two, and smiled at Mark, giving him a brief wink.

"Look," He said, putting a hand on Rachael's shoulder. "You have nothing to be afraid of! You're not performing in front of an angry mob or anything; these are all fans! Die-hard fans! Here to see you perform! They're not gonna try anything!"

"Well…I guess not."

"They won't. Look, think of it this way: If you were Adolf Hitler about to speak in front of an American audience in the middle of World War II, then you should be nervous. But these are all friendly people. They practically love you, and all of us!"

"You know what? You're right. You're absolutely right. I'm just gonna get out there and play my guitar!"

"That's the spirit!"

"Thanks, Mark."

"Hey, no problem."

Rachael, now smiling, resumed strumming her guitar.

And on the Psycho Producers' side, Luke wasn't doing so hot, either. Literally.

"Oh, I don't feel so good." He said, clutching his stomach.

"What do you mean 'you don't feel good'?"

"Just that. Oh!" He sniffed really hard, then winced. "I feel like…Achoo!" He sneezed. "Achoo! ACHOO! Oh, man! I think I have a cold!"

"Oh, come on! A few sneezes don't mean you have a cold!"

"It could!" Mary said.

"Maybe he should sit this one out." Jen suggested.

"Are you crazy? Sit this one out? He can't! I refuse to allow it!"

"Who put you in charge? (Achoo! Sniff!)" Luke said defensively before sneezing again.

"No one. But you really wanna mess with me?" He held up a fist to the brainiac's face.

His eyes widened, and he nodded quickly.

"Good. Now I demand that Luke stays in the show and be a backup singer like the rest of you!"

"Oh (Achoo!), fine." Luke said.

"Good. Now get ready!"

An hour later; show time…

Chris, holding a microphone in hand, walked onto the stage. A spotlight slowly moved to the stage and shined on him just as everything else dimmed.

"Welcome, one and all, to the first ever Total Drama Action Rock Concert!"

An explosion of cheers, applause, and whistling.

"In this special episode, our eight remaining contestants, will participate in a battle of the bands, and sing classic Elvis songs for all of you kind people! In the end, they will be judged by you, me, and our intern Jay!" He gestured to the large man standing on the side of the stage, who nodded at the audience. "One of the two teams, either the Flaming Directors, consisting of Violet, Mark, John, and Rachael, or the Psycho Producers, Luke, Jennifer, Mary, and, most recently, Daniel, will win, and be safe from voting off tonight, while the other team will go to the Gilded Chris Ceremony, and one of them will be sent home tonight.

"Now, before we begin, I'd like to introduce some special guests that we have with us tonight! First off, the five castmates who have already been voted off this season, in the order they were voted off!"

Chris gestured to the nearest booth, which held all thirteen of the teens who were members of the new twenty-two.

"Isaiah!"

There were cheers as the geek stood up and waved at the crowd.

"Jeremy!"

More cheers and applause.

"Joshua!"

"Ruth!"

"And, the last person to be voted off, Tim!"

The reader stood up and bowed several times.

"And now for the eight that never made it into this season! Lauren!"

There was a bit of applause as the prissy girl stood up, but not much.

"James!"

"Jessica!"

"Suzie! Oops, someone remind her where she is!"

Laughter. Suzie, naturally, looked as oblivious as ever.

"Nicole!"

"Samantha!"

"Madison!"

"And our last season's winner, MATTHEW!"

The approval that came from the audience next was the single biggest burst of applause yet as the season-winner stood up, smiled, and waved.

"And, in addition to those two, we have the original twenty-two from the original seasons of Total Drama Island/Action/ the Musical! Ezekiel!"

There was actually a lot of applause from the audience as the shy prairie boy stood up.

"Eva!"

"Noah!"

"Justin!"

Most of the applause for Justin was from the screaming fangirls in the audience.

"Katie and Sadie!"

"Tyler!"

"Izzy!"

"Cody!"

More fangirls.

"Beth!"

"Courtney!"

Lots of boos and jeers. Courtney ignored it.

"Harold!"

"Trent!"

"Bridgette!"

"Lindsay!"

"DJ!"

"Geoff!"

"LeShawna!"

"Duncan!"

"Heather!"

There were also booing and jeering, but the majority of the audience's reaction was something that cannot be repeated in a K+ story.

"Gwen!"

"And, our very first season-winner, OWEN!"

The audience burst into loud applause again. Once it died down, Chris continued, "Now that you've met our guests, it's time to meet the teams one at a time! First up, the team that's had more losses this season than the other, it's the Psycho Producers!"

Despite the insult, all of the Producers came out onto the stage, smiling and waving.

Luke sneezed several times, loudly.

"And it's time for them to perform their first song!"

Chris walked off the stage as several more spotlights appeared, shining on each and every one of the Psycho Producers.

Daniel walked up to the microphone stand and spoke into it, "Good evening, everyone! And hello, ladies." He raised his eyebrows up and down in a flirting motion.

There was a chorus of sighs as most of the girls in the audience fainted.

"Tonight, I am going to do both the vocals and the guitar. And our first song is the classic, Hound Dog!"

The audience cheered briefly, then slowly died down as Daniel started strumming the guitar. Pre-recorded drums also started to play.

"A-one, a-two, a one, two, three four…"

As Daniel started signing and strumming the guitar, Mary, Luke, and Jen were clapping to the beat in the background.

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog,

Cryin' all the time!

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog,

Cryin' all the time!

Well, you ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend o' mine!

When they said you was high-classed,

Well, that was just a lie!

When they said you was high-classed,

Well that was just a lie!

Well, you ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend o' mine!

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog,

Cryin' all the time!

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog,

Cryin' all the time!

Well, you ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend o' mine!

(Long instrumental break, with more clapping and music)

During the break, Luke sneezed multiple times, earning him hard glares from Daniel.

When they said you was high-classed,

Well that was just a lie!

When they said you was high-classed,

Well that was just a lie!

Well, you ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend o' mine!

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog,

Cryin' all the time!

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog,

Cryin' all the time!

Well, you ain't never caught a rabbit, you ain't no friend o' mine!

When Daniel finished, he slid to his knees across the stage, and let his head hang.

Everyone applauded, and fangirls screamed at the top of their lungs.

"Thank you! Thank you very much!" Daniel said. He then turned and walked back to the others as the curtains closed for the brief intermission. Daniel smiled and waved at the crowd as the curtain came down. The moment it did, his mood instantly changed. His face twisted in fury, and he angrily spun to face a certain brainiac.

"What was that?" He angrily growled. "What were you doing out there? Sneezing onstage like that?"

"I'm (Achoo!) sorry."

" 'I'm sorry' won't cut it! Get your act together, or else you're so gonna be voted off tonight!"

Luke tried to nod, but sneezed again.

"It's almost time for the next song." Daniel said, then focused on Luke. "Remember, do it right!" He held a fist up to Luke's face again.

The curtain then slowly rose up, and the audience applauded again at the sight of the Psycho Producers.

"This next song is another classic; you may know it. And you know what? Feel absolutely free to sing along if you want." Daniel addressed the audience.

The music started in the background.

Daniel hung his head low for the first few drum beats, then looked up to face the crowd as he started singing.

The warden threw a party at the county jail

The prison band was there, they began to wail

The band was jumpin' and the joint began to swing

You shoulda' heard those knocked-out jailbirds sing

He started playing his guitar as the chorus started.

Let's rock! Everybody let's rock!

Everybody in our cellblock

Was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock!

At the beginning of the chorus, the audience began to sing along and clap to the beat. Up in the judge's booth, Chris was also bobbing his head to the tune, but Jay frowned disapprovingly.

Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone

Little Joe was blowing on a slide trombone

The drummer boy from Illinois went CRASH. BOOM. BANG.

The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang.

The audience remained quiet for the in-between verses, but picked up again at the chorus.

Let's rock! Everybody let's rock!

Everybody in our cellblock

Was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock!

Number forty-seven said to number three

"You're the cutest jailbird I ever did see

I sure would be delighted with your company

Come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me"

Let's rock! Everybody let's rock!

Everybody in our cellblock

Was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock!

(Long instrumental break)

During the long break, Luke sneezed several more times, causing Daniel to angrily spin around to face him. However, by doing so, the microphone was a bit too close to one of the massive stereo speakers, causing a loud whine.

Most of the audience in the front row covered their ears, and Daniel turned away from the speaker and towards the audience with an apologetic look on his face. He then resumed singing.

Sad Sack was sittin' on a block of stone

Over in the corner weepin' all alone

The warden said "Hey buddy, don't ya be no square

You can't find a partner, use a wooden chair"

Let's rock! Everybody let's rock!

Everybody in our cellblock

Was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock!

Shifty Henry said to Bugs

"For Heaven's sake,

No one's lookin', now's our chance to make a break"

Bugsy turned to Shifty and he said "Nix. Nix.

I wanna stick around a while and get my kicks"

Let's rock! Everybody let's rock!

Everybody in our cellblock

Was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock!

Dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock!

Dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock!

Dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock!

Everybody in our cellblock

Was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock!

Daniel paused for a moment, then finished the song with true power and energy put into the final line.

They were dancin'…to the Jailhouse Rock!

The music stopped, and the explosion of approval from the audience rose again.

"Thank you." Daniel said. He looked down at some of the screaming fangirls in the front row, and he looked straight at some of them and said, "Hey, ladies."

Whichever one of these few girls that didn't scream louder than ever simply fainted after the jock addressed them. Daniel smirked.

The curtain came down again, and Luke was nearly plowed over by the angry jock.

"THAT'S IT, SIR SNEEZE-A-LOT!" He roared. "You're ruining the show! Get off the stage; you're sitting this one out!"

"O…(Achoo!)…K." He walked offstage, sneezing several times. As he disappeared behind the curtains and out of sight from his fellow castmates, he instantly perked up and sighed.

Phew! I can't believe it worked! The brainiac thought. Now I can sit this one out. I hate stages and huge crowds. Good thing I was allowed to sit out right before the song that actually has backup singers.

As he walked towards the water cooler, he shook his head. That Daniel is so stupid. Those sneezes were totally fake, and he still fell for it!

Then it was time for the Producers' final song to begin. Daniel took center stage, while Mary and Jen stood off to the side as background singers.

The music began, and the audience made sure to be quiet as Daniel started singing.

Lord Almighty,

Feel my temperature rising

Higher, higher,

It's burning through to my soul

Girl, girl, girl

You gonna set me on fire

My brain is flaming

I don't know which way to go

Your kisses lift me higher

Like a sweet song of a choir

You light my morning sky

Burning love

Daniel was now clearly putting all of his energy into the song. Beads of sweat were visible on his head. This romantic kind of song made the girls go even crazier over him than usual. By now, most had simply been reduced to tears over his hotness.

Ooh, ooh, ooh

I feel my temperature rising

Help me, I'm flaming

I must be a hundred and nine

Burning, burning,

Burning, and nothing to cool me

I just might turn into smoke

But I feel fine

'Cause your kisses lift me higher

Like a sweet song of a choir

And you light my morning sky

Burning love

At this point, the background singers, Mary and Jen, came in during the instrumental break, to which Daniel waved to or blew kisses to some of the fangirls, reducing more and more of them to unconsciousness.

Ah, ah, ah

Ah, ah, ah

Ah, ah, ah

Burning love

Daniel then resumed singing.

It's comin' closer

The flames are now lickin' my body

Won't you help me?

I feel like I'm slippin' away…

It's hard to breathe

My chest isn't heavin'

Lord, have mercy

I'm burning a hole where I lay

Your kisses lift me higher

Like a sweet song of a choir

You light my morning sky

Burning love

Burning love

(Background singers) Just a hunka hunka burning love

(Daniel) I'm just a hunka hunka burning love

I'm just a hunka hunka burning love

Ah, ah! A hunka hunka burning love

A hunka hunka burning love

I'm just a hunka hunka burning love

I'm just a hunka hunka burning love

A hunka hunka burning love!

The moment the song ended, the audience went berserk. The girls were all now dying for an encore, and most of the die-hard Daniel fans were sobbing, while well over half had fainted.

"Thank you, you're all too kind." Daniel said. "And thank you, ladies."

A wave of screams and approval from the girls.

Daniel gave one final wave, then a bow as the curtain came down.

He walked past the other team's members, and smirked. "Beat that." He then marched off to the water cooler.

Violet scowled. "We will."

Then Chris walked onstage. "And now there will be a ten-minute intermission before the next team performs. Now would be the time to get up, stretch your legs, or whatever." He walked off the stage again.

The murmuring arose again as the lights came back on. Most people rose and started walking around, conversing with other fans.

Meanwhile, the Flaming Directors were setting up their instruments. John stood by the microphone, which was turned off, and was clearing his throat.

Violet walked up. "You ready for this?"

"I…I think so, eh."

"Don't worry about it. You'll do just fine." She patted the Goth on the shoulder and walked off.

Rachael put her guitar on and took a deep breath.

"Nervous?" Mark asked.

She looked back at him for a moment, then answered, "No."

"Me neither. Now let's do this!"

Mark sat down among his drums, and held his drumsticks ready.

Then Chris's voice rang out again.

"OK, everyone. Take your seats; the next team, the Flaming Directors, will start their performance!"

The audience started applauding again, and Chris walked offstage.

The curtain rose, revealing the four Flaming Directors. John stood at the microphone. The noise of the audience died down as Rachael started playing the guitar. After a few seconds, John started singing.

A very old friend

Came by today

'Cause he was tellin' everyone in town

Of the love that he just found

And Marie's the name

Of his latest flame

He talked and talked

And I heard him say

That she had the longest, blackest hair

The prettiest green eyes anywhere

And Marie's the name

Of his latest flame

Though I smiled

My tears inside were a-burning

I wished him luck and then he said "Goodbye"

John waved his hand in the sign for "Goodbye."

He was gone

But still his words kept returning

What else was there that I could do but cry?

Would you believe

That yesterday

This girl was in my arms and swore to me

She'd be mine eternally?

And Marie's the name

Of his latest flame

Though I smiled

My tears inside were a-burning

I wished him luck and then he said "Goodbye"

He was gone

But still his words kept returning

What else was there that I could do but cry?

Would you believe

That yesterday

This girl was in my arms and swore to me

She'd be mine eternally?

And Marie's the name

Of his latest flame

Yeah, Marie's the name

Of his latest flame

Oh, Marie's the name

Of his latest flame

Marie's the name…of his latest flame

Rachael then stopped strumming the guitar as the song ended.

The audience applauded and cheered. It was a fair amount, but not nearly as much approval as there had been for Daniel's first song.

As the curtain came down, Mark turned to Rachael.

"Well? How do you feel now?"

"I…feel…GREAT! That was actually a lot of fun!"

"I told you it would be!"

"Yeah. It was so easy, though. It was basically the same chords over and over again. I know that the next songs are a little more complex."

"But I'm sure that you'll be able to handle them no problem."

Rachael smiled, then turned away from Mark to hid her blush.

Make-Up Confessional

Rachael (still slightly blushing): Mark is such a great guy! He's so optimistic, he's always encouraging…and he's not that bad-looking, either. (She giggles)

Mark (real cool and laid back, with his feet up on the table): Wow, I had no idea that I was so smooth with girls! But I guess it's natural; I feel so calm and positive, even more so than usual, when I'm around her. And I'm definitely getting a positive vibe from her, too. Did you see the way she turned away like that after that last conversation? I've been ignored by girls before, and that was definitely not the kind of movement that says, "I'm ignoring you." It was more the kind that said "I'm turning away because I like you." And if that's not enough evidence, I'm pretty sure I saw quite a grin on her face as well. Is it possible…? (He pulls his feet off the table and strokes his chin thoughtfully) …Could she actually like me, too? (Pauses, with shocked look on his face, then)…OH, YEAH! (Starts pumping fists side-to-side) Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah! Go, Mark! Go, Mark! It's your birthday! It's your birthday!

Violet (shaking her head): I guess my advice really helped Mark out back there. Now I can definitely sense that Rachael has a liking for him, as well. (Sighs) Yeah, I guess I'm like a regular matchmaker or something now.

End

The curtain rose again, and the audience hushed up as Rachael slowly strummed the guitar.

John had his head down, casually bobbing to the tune of the music. After a few seconds, he raised his head and started singing.

Are you lonesome tonight?

Do you miss me tonight?

Are you sorry

We drifted apart?

Does your memory strain

To that bright, sunny day

When I kissed you

And called you "Sweetheart"?

Do the chairs in your parlor

Seem empty and bare?

Do you gaze at your doorstep

And picture me there?

Is your heart filled with pain?

Shall I come back again?

Tell me dear

Are you lonesome tonight?

Rachael continued softly playing her guitar as John started with the talking part of the song.

"I wonder if…you're lonesome tonight. You know someone once said that the world's a stage, and we must all play a part. God had me playing in love, with you as my sweetheart. Act one was when we met. I loved you at first glance. You read your lines so cleverly and never missed a cue. Then came Act Two. You seemed to change, you acted strange. But why? I've never known.

"Honey, you lied when you said that you loved me. And I have no cause to doubt you. But I'd rather go on hearing your lies, than go on living without you.

"Now the stage is bare," John gestured to the stage around him, which was empty, except for Rachael's shadow in the background as she continued playing the guitar. "and I'm standing there, with…emptiness, all around. And if you won't come back to me…then the Lord can bring the curtain down."

He then resumed singing.

Is your heart filled with pain?

Shall I come back again?

Tell me dear...are you lonesome tonight?

The sound of the guitar slowly died down. And it was barely finished as the audience exploded into applause and cheers. When they looked into the audience, they could see many people were crying from the emotion and incredible singing of the sad song.

Even most of the ex-castmates, eight losers, and original twenty-two were crying. Duncan and Eva were the only ones of the latter group that hadn't been reduced to tears, but even they had looks of sorrow in their eyes. Ruth was also the same. Heck, even Chris was wiping tears from his eyes!

But as promised, Jay didn't seemed too moved, but he was nodding his approval casually.

The curtain came down again, and John headed backstage, wiping sweat from his brow.

"Phew!"

"You nervous?" Violet asked him.

"No, eh. I just put a lot of singing into that last one. More so than usual."

"How come?"

"I've heard that song a lot of times before, actually. I listen to it a lot, and it really gets me going, eh. It's one sad song."

"Which is precisely why we picked it." Violet replied.

John nodded, then walked towards the water cooler.

Mark walked up to Rachael. "You were really great out there."

"Thanks. Your part is up next now."

"I know. That's the only regret I have about this task; I get to play these babies only once!"

Rachael laughed. "Ah, I'm sure you'll enjoy it."

"Thanks. I will."

John stopped at the water cooler, picked up another small cup, and filled it up with the water. He had been sweating so much onstage, he didn't feel how unusually hot the cup was. He paused for a moment, then slurped up a great amount of the water. It wasn't until he had already swallowed half of it when the heat of the hot water hit him.

John's loud scream of pain and agony sent all of the other castmates running backstage, where they saw John on his knees, tongue hanging out of his mouth and really swelled up.

"John!" Violet raced to his side. "Are you OK?"

"Thath wather ith…ith…HOTH!" He screamed, fanning his open mouth.

"What?" Mark asked. He and Rachael were also alongside their teammate.

"HOTH!" He pointed at the Styrofoam cup on the floor, some water still left in it. Mark stuck the tip of his finger in some of it, then jerked it away.

"Yikes! He's right! That water is ridiculously hot!"

Luke, still pretending to be sneezing whenever someone else was around, looked at the temperature adjuster on the side of the cooler.

"Good Lord!" He exclaimed. "This has been turned all the way to the edge of the HOT zone!"

"You drank some of that?" Rachael asked incredulously.

"UH-HUH!"

"Look at his tongue!" Mary exclaimed. "It's all swelled-up!"

"Can you speak?" Violet asked.

"Oh, gthee, I dutho!" He said between heavy pants, the sarcasm barely intelligible through his babbling. "I justh came bath here to geth thome wather, and neth thig I know, my mouth ath throath ith, lith, on thire!"

"Ah, forget it!" Violet said, throwing her arms up in the air.

"Yeah, I can barely understand a word of what he just said!" Daniel agreed.

"Aw, man! Get him some ice, or some COLD water!" Rachael said.

Mark nodded, then turned to the cooler again. Turning the knob all the way to the COLD section, he let it run a bit longer to get rid of the remaining hot water, letting the water drip onto the wooden floor. Once he knew for sure that it was cold, he put another cup under it and let the cold water flow in.

Mark handed the cup to Rachael, who held it to John.

"Ugh! No thaths!" He pushed it away.

"But it's cold water!"

"It doesn't matter, anyway." Violet said. "His tongue's already ridiculously swelled-up; cold water isn't going to help."

"Then what are we gonna do?" Rachael said, handing the cup back to Mark, who threw it into the garbage can. "If John can barely talk normally, then he can't sing! And we have one song left to go! What are we gonna do?"

John sat down on a chair, still fanning at his mouth and tongue.

Rachael and Mark turned to Violet. "Well?" Rachael asked again.

Violet was deep in thought.

"There has to be something…" She thought for a few long moments.

Then her train of thought was rudely derailed as Chris walked backstage.

"Directors! Your next song starts in thirty seconds! Hurry up and get ready!"

"But John accidentally drank some really hot water, and now he can barely speak! Let alone sing!" Rachael responded.

"How does one 'accidentally' drink hot water?"

As Rachael tried to explain the situation to the host, a thought popped into Violet's head.

"I've got it!"

She raced over and snatched up the song sheets of the final song that were for Mark and Rachael.

"…and then he tried to speak, but it came out as just a bunch of blubbering, so…"

"…you have to give us more time to find a new vocalist!"

"Ha!" Chris laughed. "What are the chances of you having someone on your team that's just as good as John?"

"That's exactly what I…"

"Sounds to me like the Mystery Castmate has struck again." Daniel interrupted with a grin. "Whoever this person is, they're really helping us out!"

Rachael, ignoring the jock, turned to Violet and saw that she was furiously scribbling on the sheets.

"Violet? What are you doing?"

"I've got an idea for a vocal performance that should be just as good as John's!"

"Wath thath, eh?" John asked.

"Almost, and….Done!" She handed the song sheets to Mark and Rachael, respectively.

"What's this?" Mark asked, looking over his sheet.

"I've turned this solo vocalist song into a duet! Both Mark and Rachael are going to be taking John's place!" She turned triumphantly to Chris. "There's nothing wrong with that, is there?"

"Well…I guess not."

"Thank you." She turned back to her teammates. "Both of you guys will sing the lyrics to the song while playing your instruments! It's going to be a wonderful duet!"

"You sure?" Rachael asked nervously. "Our singing voices aren't nearly as good as John's!"

"Maybe not, but sometimes it's not the voice that matters. Just try it, and you'll see how good it sounds!"

"Um…OK." Rachael nodded.

Mark also nodded.

"Good. Now Mark, set up your drums, and get a microphone stand for you to sing into. Rachael, you do the same."

"Alright."

The two went off to set up for the show, and Chris and the Psycho Producers walked off, leaving only Violet and John.

"Darn thath Mythery Cathmate!" John cursed.

"I know. But their plan must not succeed. We have to win this!"

"We hath to win thith, eh!" John repeated.

"Right. You can just stay back here and rest, alright?"

"Alrith."

Make-Up Confessional

Mark: I have no idea what Violet's planning, but we have to go with it! After all, it's all we have left.

Rachael: I sure hope this works.

End

The curtain rose again, revealing Mark and Rachael on the stage, their respective instruments ready. Violet stood further back, ready to provide vocal support in the verses when there were backup singers. Rachael started the song with her guitar. A few seconds into the song, Mark added with his drums.

Throughout the following song, Mark, Rachael, and Violet were switching between singing verses on their own and singing together.

(Mark)

As the snow flies…

On a cold and gray Chicago morning

A poor little baby child is born

In the ghetto

(Violet and Rachael)

In the ghetto…

(Mark)

And his mama cries…

(Rachael)

'Cause if there's one thing she don't need

It's another hungry mouth to feed

In the ghetto

(Violet and Rachael)

In the ghetto…

(All three)

People, don't you understand?

The child needs a helping hand

Or he'll grow up to be an angry young man someday

Take a look at you and me

Are we too blind to see?

Do we simply turn our heads

And look the other way?

(Mark)

Where the world turns…

(Rachael)

And a hungry little boy with a runny nose

Plays in the street as the cold wind blows

In the ghetto

(Violet and Rachael)

In the ghetto…

(Mark)

And his hunger burns…

So he starts to roam the streets at night

And he learns how to steal

And he learns how to fight

In the ghetto

(Violet and Rachael)

In the ghetto…

(Mark and Rachael)

Then one night in desperation

The young man breaks away

He buys a gun, steals a car

Tries to run, but he don't get far

(Mark)

And his mama cries…

(Rachael)

As a crowd gathers 'round an angry young man

Face down on the street

With a gun in his hand

In the ghetto

(Violet and Rachael)

In the ghetto…

(Mark)

And as her young man dies…

(Violet and Rachael)

In the ghetto…

(Mark and Rachael)

On a cold and gray Chicago morning

Another little baby child is born

In the ghetto

(Violet and Rachael)

In the ghetto…

(Mark)

And his mama cries…

The drums and guitar died down. At first, the entire auditorium was dead silent.

Then it happened.

It was as if an Atomic Bomb had gone off inside the building. An instant burst of noise as the audience screamed their approval. Applause, cheers, whistles, screams, and everyone the Directors looked, the spectators had been reduced to tears and uncontrollable sobs.

And this included the original twenty-two, the eight losers, and the voted-off castmates. Even the hard-core three, Eva, Ruth, and Duncan were brushing tears away. Chris was blowing his nose into a tissue in loud honks.

"That…(sniff) was beautiful! That was just…(sob)…incredible!"

Eventually, the entire audience was standing up, cheering and applauding louder than ever. Many crazed fans in the front row were reaching up to the castmates, screaming their names and other encouragements.

"VIOLET!"

"RACHAEL!"

"MARK!"

"ENCORE!"

"DO IT AGAIN! DO IT AGAIN!"

"THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL!"

Rachael, Mark, and Violet all bowed multiple times and waved to the audience.

The applause continued for nearly a minute and a half straight. The curtain rose again, and John and all of the Psycho Producers walked out. Chris and Jay also walked up. The audience started to hush up.

"Everyone!" Chris said, holding his hands in the air. "Everyone, please!"

When the ruckus was low enough for Chris to speak again, he continued.

"Now it's time to decide which team wins the contest! So, Jay, what did you think? Who won?"

"Well…" Jay said thoughtfully. "Both had outstanding performances, I can say that. But they're not the best I've seen."

There was a murmuring of disapproval from the audience.

"I shall state all of the positives and all of the negatives I saw with both teams, starting with the first team. Now, Daniel did do a better job of impersonating true Elvis style during the various performances, with serving as both the vocalist and the guitarist, as well as the body movements, and timing of his lyrics every so often. And apparently, the women in the audience find him appealing."

A roar of approval rose from the fangirls in the crowd.

"Now for the negatives. First off, I noticed that a particular background vocalist was sneezing during the performances."

Daniel turned and glared fiercely at Luke.

"But I do believe that it was the fault of Daniel for forcing him to remain in the performances for the first two songs. And in the second song, Daniel paid more attention to the sneezing than what he was doing, which led to the interference between the microphone and the stereo speaker nearby, which created that unpleasant wail."

Daniel scuffed his foot against the floor casually, trying to ignore several dirty looks.

"And lastly: their choice of songs may be pleasing to listen to, but they were all too well-known, thus resulting in the audience singing along, which makes it harder for some to hear the actual vocalist.

"Overall summary: Good outward appearance, but clearly just to cover up the disunity that is within their team."

The large man turned to the other team. "As for the other team, they clearly get along much better. They also have more members who play musical instruments, which also improved their act. The incredible singing by John was also quite admirable."

The Goth nodded in response.

"Also, they maintained more originality than the other team did; altering some of the lyrics in the songs and whatnot. And I have to admit, the way that they handled the little incident backstage, and losing John's vocal talent for the time being, simply couldn't have been handled better. Personally, I believe that the incredible dynamics between Mark and Rachael throughout the duet was just fascinating, and made the song even better than it would have ever been with only one singer.

"I truly have nothing negative to say about that team; they were far better. Thus, I truly believe that it is no contest which team deserves to win: the second team."

The audience responded in a burst of applause at Jay's decision.

"Well-said, Jay." Chris said. "A very well-rounded critique, if I do say so myself. Well, Jay here pretty much said everything that there was to be said. And in the end, I have to agree with his final decision; the Flaming Directors!"

More applause.

"And now, audience, it's time for the final decision: yours! By a show of applause, who here thinks that the Psycho Producers should win?"

There was a fair amount of applause, once again, mostly from the girls in the audience who were die-hard Daniel fans. But even most of these fans remained silent.

"Alright, and now for the Flaming Directors?"

The second Atomic Bomb went off as the entire audience, from the random spectators to the friends of those onstage, stood up and signified their approval.

After the sound ceased again, Chris declared, "Then it's unanimous: the Flaming Directors are the grand winners!"

More applause than ever before as the Flaming Directors celebrated their victory. John tried to smile through his swelled-up tongue, Violet was blowing a kiss to Matthew, and Rachael and Mark were hugging.

Daniel, meanwhile, turned to the rest of his team. "I can't believe it! You guys lost? You should be ashamed of yourselves!"

"You should talk, jock!" Jen replied angrily. "You're the only one who did anything! You're the only one on the front lines here! And I guarantee it; you're going home tonight!"

"Oh, I forgot to tell you…" Chris said as he approached the Producers. "Daniel has Invincibility tonight."

"WHAT?" Luke, Jen, and Mary all simultaneously screamed. "WHY?"

"Yeah, see, since he was the only one on your team who played any musical instruments, and since he was the singer, he has Invincibility."

"When was THAT a rule?" Jen asked in rage.

"I forget to tell you that, but anyone who could play an instrument would instantly have Invincibility…"

"No, you're just saying that because you don't want Daniel to be voted off! You're just doing that to torture us, and because it'd be 'good for ratings'!"

"No! …OK, yes."

"Come ON!" Mary exclaimed.

"Sorry. But what I say goes."

"CHRIS MACLEAN, YOU ANIMAL!" Jen roared. "YOU CAN'T DO THIS!" She ran up to tackle him. But suddenly, a massive arm stopped her, and pushed her back. The arm belonged to Jay.

"Sorry, but that's how it's going to be tonight. So that means that Daniel is safe, and the rest of you could be going home tonight. See you at the Theatre!"

Chris and Jay walked away, leaving Jen, Luke, and Mary snarling at his back, clenching their fists angrily, and Daniel smirking in satisfaction.

"Darn it all!" Luke cursed. "I intentionally faked a cold so that I could sit this challenge out, and probably get us to lose so that Daniel could get voted off, only to find out that he automatically has Invincibility?"

"WHAT?" His teammates roared back at him.

"You FAKED those sneezes?" Jen growled.

The brainiac realized his mistake, and his eyes widened. "Oops."


The Sixth Gilded Chris Award Ceremony

The four remaining Psycho Producers all walked into the Theatre and sat down on the bleachers. Daniel, Jen, and Mary were staring down Luke hard, who turned away shamefully.

Chris and, instead of the usual Chef, Jay, walked onto the stage, the latter carrying all of the GC Awards in his arms.

"Alright, Psycho Producers, you've lost for the third time in a row. Now it's time for another one of you to be banished from Total Drama Action Season Two.

"There are only three Gilded Chris Awards with me tonight. When I call your name, you will receive an Award, which means you are safe, and have not been voted off. The castmate who does not receive an Award must walk down the Red Carpet of Shame, to catch the Limo of Losers, which will take you away from here, and never bring you back.

"Now, the first GC Award goes to Daniel."

The large intern threw an Award to the jock. Daniel caught it, smirking at the others. Jen and Mary sneered at him.

"Next…Mary."

After Mary caught her award, Chris looked at the remaining two Producers.

"Luke. Jennifer. This is the last of the Awards for the night."

Luke was swallowing nervously, tugging his shirt collar, shifting in his seat, and doing all kinds of fidgeting, squirming, and other kinds of nervous movements. Mary glanced at him, then shook her head.

"You two were the only ones to receive votes tonight. Only one of you is safe, and will survive another Gilded Chris Award Ceremony, while the other has received more votes, and is officially out of the race.

"The final Gilded Chris goes to…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…Jennifer."

Luke instantly slouched in his seat, defeated, as Jen received the last Award. After tossing the final Award, Jay walked offstage.

"Sorry, Luke; you're out of here."

"It's about time, too!" Daniel exclaimed. "You had it coming, Mr. Smarty-Pants!"

"Even I have to admit that what you did was low." Mary said, slightly regretful.

"Well, I just can't help it! I get serious stagefright!" Luke cried defensively.

"Doesn't matter. You abandoned your team just to fulfill your own needs." Jen said in a scolding tone of voice.

"And because of that, someone needs to stick a fork in you, because you're done!" Daniel laughed.

Luke turned and looked angrily at the jock. He tried to glare his hardest, but failed to intimidate Daniel. Luke's shoulders sagged again, and he simply turned and trudged down the Red Carpet of Shame towards the Limo of Losers, where Jay stood, holding the door open for him.

This Ceremony' s epilogue…

Jen, Mary, and Daniel were all walking back to their trailers after the Ceremony.

Daniel, holding his Gilded Chris Award proudly, scoffed. "I think it was absolutely no shocker at all that the brainiac went home tonight. He totally deserved it after what he pulled."

"I actually have to agree with you on that." Mary said, shaking her head. "I still just can't believe that he did that. I mean, that was pretty low."

"I'll say it was." Daniel then walked into the boys' trailer, and Mary into the girls' trailer. Jen also started to enter the trailer, but stopped at the entrance when she heard voices behind the trailer. She slowly peeked around the corner, and saw Mark and Rachael talking.

"You know, you were really great out there tonight." Rachael, smiling, said to Mark.

"Not nearly as good as you were. You performed for all three of the songs, while I was only in one." Mark replied. "I think that you truly were a major player tonight. And besides, your singing in the last song was just incredible."

"You…you really think so?"

"Heck, yeah! You were amazing!"

"Really? Because I always thought that my singing was lousy."

"Sometimes, people think that their own talents are terrible until they actually hear what they sound like. Like they say, 'Don't knock it 'till you've tried it'."

Rachael smiled again. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Thanks, Mark. For everything. You really encouraged me and convinced me to keep going during the show. Without your encouraging words, I probably would've gotten stagefright."

"No problem at all. It was worth it to hear your incredible guitar-playing and singing."

Rachael blushed. "I definitely owe you one after how you helped me tonight. How can I ever repay you?"

Mark paused for a moment, not knowing what to say next.

"Wait." Rachael quickly interrupted. "On second thought, don't answer that. I know just how I can thank you."

Mark looked at her, looking straight into her green eyes. She smiled warmly at him, and slowly put her arm around his neck. After a brief pause, she pulled him close to her and kissed him.

Mark and Rachael were enjoying the passionate moment, but it was a different story for Jen.

She gasped suddenly. What?! She thought. This…this can't be!

Jen was still staring in shock when Mary walked out of the trailer and up to Jen.

"Jen? What's going o-." She stopped talking when she also saw Mark and Rachael. She also gasped.

Make-Up Confessional

Mary: I can't believe this! Oh, Jen must have been crushed! Mark is the guy that she likes, and yet he's kissing Rachael? Oh, I hope that Jen doesn't take this too hard!

Jen: (Simply sits there, shoulders sagged, eyes looking down at the floor. She looks up at the camera, opens her mouth to speak, but simply sighs and shakes her head)

End


Episode 7: The House of the Deceased

"Last time on Total Drama Action: After Daniel was moved to the Psycho Producers, to even out the amount of people per team, the eight remaining castmates had to participate in an all-out Rock 'n Roll concert, in which they each performed three classic Elvis Presley songs for an audience of 3,000, and for the two judges: myself, and our toughest intern and most impartial judge, Jay. Both of us would, in the end, decide who would win.

"During the Producers' performance, Luke faked a cold and loud, obnoxious sneezes so that he could sit out the challenge, due to apparently being afraid of performing in front of large crowds of people.

"Mark, with a little more advice and coaching from Violet, took his first few steps to becoming closer to crush girl, Rachael, such as talking to her between songs, and encouraging her throughout the show.

"Right before the Flaming Directors' final song, the Mystery Castmate struck yet again by indirectly filling John's next cup of water with boiling hot water! After the initial shock, it was clear to everyone that John, with his tongue swollen up to the size of a tomato, could not sing for the last song. Yet, due to some quick thinking on Violet's part, the Directors were able to improvise, by having Mark and Rachael sing together in a duet, which moved the audience and judges even more, thus resulting in their win.

"After the Gilded Chris Ceremony that night, in which Luke was left without an Award, Jennifer saw Rachael and Mark talking; Rachael thanked Mark for his encouragement and help, and the conversation eventually resulted in a kiss. Of course, it turns out that Jennifer's secret crush just so happens to be Mark! As you can imagine, Jennifer was devastated.

"How will Jennifer be able to cope with the fact that her crush is interested in someone else? Will she actually attempt to separate them so that she can get Mark? Or will she back off? And will the Mystery Castmate back off as well? Find out all these answers and more, right here on Total…Drama…Action!"

...

The seven castmates were all sleeping peacefully in their trailers, snoring away the night and dreaming about happy things (such as winning the million bucks they were all there for).

"WAKE UP CASTMATES! IT'S TIME FOR AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT BEFORE BREAKFAST AND THE NEXT CHALLENGE BEGINS!" Chris, standing directly between the two trailers, roared into his red megaphone.

"WAUGH!"

"OW!"

"WHAT IN THE WORLD?

The castmates were all jolted awake from the sudden blast of sound. Once again, those on the top bunks had slammed their heads into the ceiling.

"Argh!" Daniel growled as he rubbed the spot on top of his head that had collided with the hard, metal ceiling. "Darn it, Chris MacLean! I'll tackle you again if I have to!" Daniel groggily slid out of his bed, mumbling and cursing under his breath.

"Special announcement? What could that be, eh?" John asked Mark as they also crawled out of their beds.

"I don't know. But there's only one way to find out." Mark replied.

The three boys walked out of their trailer, shortly after followed by the girls. Mark and Rachael stood next to each other, and Mark put his arm around her. All of the others knew by now that they had become a couple. But one person was sour about it. She looked at the two of them disapprovingly.

Make-Up Confessional

Jen: Grr! Do they have to rub it in everyone's faces that they're together now? Darn it! I liked Mark! I deserve him more! I'm more athletic, and more popular, and better in every way than that no-good, dirty, rotten, crush-stealing Rachael! Sooner or later, I'll get even with her. My biggest hope is that I'll somehow be able to separate them, and then have Mark all to myself! But for now, I can only sit back and watch; watch and wait.

End

Jen turned away from them and looked back at Chris, who stood there innocently, holding the megaphone behind his back as if it wasn't there.

"Well, good morning, castmates! Glad to see all of you wide-awake and ready for the day!"

"Drop dead." Daniel muttered.

"Now, before our next task begins, you must have breakfast once again. But before you have breakfast, I have a special announcement to make.

"Now remember last season when, at the halfway mark of the season, one of the contestants who originally had not qualified for TDA in the first place returned?"

"You mean that evil, goody-goody, sore-loser witch, Courtney?" Mary answered.

"That's a mild-mannered way of putting it, yes. That is what I'm referring to." The host responded. "Now, originally, she was not supposed to come back; she only did as a result of suing our show and demanding to return."

"Because she was a sore loser."

"Precisely."

Make-Up Confessional

Mary: OK, I'll admit it: I'm an all-out Courtney hater. Seriously, though; who doesn't hate that evil, rotten, no-good, little-.

End

"But I believe that it really boosted the ratings for someone who never made it into the season to return after all. So, just like last season, this is the point where we bring back one of the eight losers who did not make it into TDA."

Several of the castmates looked a little nervous, while some seemed more curious than worried.

"Who is it? Who's coming back?" Rachael asked.

"Good question. And that will be answered right now." Chris then turned around, gesturing for everyone else to look as well.

The seven castmates looked in the direction that the host was looking: down the long, poorly-paved road that led from the Film Lot to the massive city of Toronto in the distance. Among the skyline of the distant city were many tall skyscrapers and the famous CN Tower.

Coming down the path was the infamous Limo of Losers, with the cloud of exhaust trailing behind it. The horns on the hood slightly alluded to the idea of a charging bull. As it drew closer, most of the castmates and Chris were wise to cover their noses and mouths. Those that didn't were reduced to a coughing fit as the Limo reached them. It screeched to a halt with a screech of its tires. Once again, they were a little shocked to see Jay, instead of Chef, emerge from the Limo's driver seat. He silently walked over to the rear-left door of the Limo.

The glass of the window for the door was tinted, so they couldn't see inside the Limo until he opened the door, which increased the tension as he started to open it. Everyone leaned in closer as the intern started to turn the handle. There was a creak, then a clunk as the handle turned fully. The battered, dirty door creaked open.

Everyone froze as the person in side the Limo stepped out, one foot first. Then the next foot. A hand appeared and grabbed the top of the Limo's door. By holding onto the door, the person pulled herself up and out of the Limo, her head lifting up above the door. Everyone gasped.

The returning castmate was…

…Madison.

"Everyone, please welcome back Madison!"

"Hey, everyone! How's it going?"

Most of them responded with "Hey" or "What's up?"

"You see, we asked our viewers to vote on which of the eight losers should come back at this point."

"And they didn't vote for Matthew?" Violet asked. "Aw, darn it."

"Sorry to spoil your fun, Violet. Anyway, so we took an official poll, and Madison here won."

"What can I say?" Madison shrugged. "I'm just glad to be here."

"Well-said. Anyway, now before we get down to business, it's time for an important announcement: Starting now, the teams are officially dissolved. The Flaming Directors and the Psycho Producers are history. Now, it's every castmate for themselves.

"Now before I announce the actual task, you must go and have breakfast first."

Chris turned and walked away, so the eight castmates walked towards the Craft Services Tent.

On the way, Madison told everyone about where she had been and what she had been doing since Total Drama Drama Drama Drama Island.

"You see, the eight of us have been staying in the HUGE backstage of the set of Total Drama Action Aftermath. That's this little mini-show that's hosted by Isaiah, and it features those of you who have been voted off already, and we who didn't make it into the show."

"Is it a nice place to stay?" Rachael asked.

"Oh, yeah! It may not sound like much, but it's nothing short of a giant mansion, in addition to the single backroom that's always featured in TDA Aftermath. It's got all kinds of things; from a spa to a giant, heated pool. It's got a game room, with a stage and karaoke and all that for parties, and all kinds of things. It's basically like the Play De Loser Two."

"How do you and others spend your time?" Jen asked.

"Well, as you can imagine, James is always at the all-you-can-eat buffet or any other restaurants. Samantha is always preoccupied with her new cell phone, and never speaks to anyone. Often times, Suzie is in the pool; it's pretty much the only place she knows how to get to from her room. Well, that and the cafeteria. She's not too interested in anything else, or just forgets what other things are there. Lauren's always at the spa or the salon, which leaves me, Nicole, Jessica, and Matthew. The four of us are often doing different things. Matthew clearly likes it the best there; he'll try new things at the restaurants, and for the most part, he's nowhere to be seen, as he's always somewhere else in the mansion. So Nicole, Jessica, and I often hang out. We sometimes watch TV or try different activities. And every week, all eight of us gather for special views of each episode of TDA, with you guys.

"So, six weeks into the show, shortly after Luke's elimination, Chris himself suddenly arrives at the mansion and declares that one of us has been given the chance to return. After some of, as he calls it, 'dramatic tension', he says that it's me. So I was shocked, but I was happy to accept the invitation. I mean, it is the chance for a million dollars."

"Well, you're in for quite a tough show." Daniel said.

"Yeah, but at least I get to be with you again…" She said, already admiring the jock's muscles once again. Daniel grinned, satisfied.

Meanwhile, Jen and Mary looked at the pair disapprovingly.

Make-Up Confessional

Jen: Oh, no. Madison's already falling for that creep! Mary and I have to show her the truth! We have to prove that he's nothing but a low-down, manipulative, evil little-.

Mary: Jen is convinced that Madison isn't totally beyond help; if we can help convince her that Daniel is a manipulator, then we can help her.

Daniel: If I can't get cheerleader and perfectionist, I'll have to go with Madison! She was also my slave in the season finale last time, and she isn't as independent as Jen! My biggest concern right now is that Jen and Mary will probably try to keep her away from me. Well, I'll take care of them myself.

Madison: (sighs heavily, a dreamy look on her face) Daniel…

End

After quite a bit more of talking, they arrived at the CS Tent. They lined up and received their food.

All of the castmates were instantly suspicious about all of the food Chef was giving them. All of it was delicious and very well-cooked: burgers, tacos, turkey, watermelons, everything. It was like a five-star restaurant.

"OK, what gives?" Jen asked. "This food is all too good to be true."

"Yeah." Mary agreed as she tore a piece of a chicken leg. "It's…delicious."

"How come you don't serve more like this?" Rachael asked.

Chef sneered at her.

"This is just too delicious! Mmmm!" Violet said as she took a bite out of some corn-on-the-cob.

"Wow! This food is even better than what they serve at the Play De Loser T-."

In mid-sentence, Madison instantly fainted and collapsed out of her seat.

"Madison?" Mary was at her friend's side. "She's out cold!"

Suddenly, Mark began rocking side-to-side. "Whoa…I feel…kinda…drowsy…Ooooohhh…" He also fell out of his seat, snoring loudly.

"Mark!" Rachael was immediately beside her boyfriend. Jen scowled and looked away.

"My God! He's…" Then she fainted as well, landing on top of him, which only made Jen even more sick.

"WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?" Daniel exclaimed, standing up out of his seat. He then fell over as well.

Mary gasped and looked at the chicken leg she had been eating. "The food!" She exclaimed. "There must be something in the food! They've…drugged…us…" Mary also fainted, the chicken leg rolling out of her hand.

"This is nuts! I've got to get out of here!" Jen started to get up and bolt for the exit, but she stumbled and fell forward, sliding across the ground, out cold.

"Oh, dear! This is crazy! I don't believe it…" Violet collapsed.

John was the last one. He looked around at the others, all of them sleeping soundly. Then he started to feel it, too. He got out of his seat. The room was spinning around him. He clutched the sides of his head, pressing his hands hard against his temples. He fell to his knees, trying hard to fight it, but to no avail. He collapsed. Straining to do so, he looked up just in time to see a pair of legs moving towards him.

Then he blacked out.

Later…

John slowly woke up, looking around him in confusion. He started to get to his knees, but failed and fell again. He looked around and studied his surroundings. It was very dark. He could see nothing but blackness all around, and he wondered if he was still unconscious. But then he squinted harder and could make out cobwebs on the walls of the building he was in. He could also see a portrait hanging crooked on the wall; the person in the picture was impossible to see due to the long crack in the glass running down it. He heard a pitter-patter of noise to his left and turned sharply. There was nothing.

"Ooh, where am I, eh?" John mumbled as he tried a second time to stand up, and succeeded. He looked around him again. "What is this place?"

Meanwhile…

Violet was also waking up around the same time as John, and looked around at the room she was in. She was on a couch that was a faint red color. There were tears in the cushion, and stuffing sticking out. There was a large cobweb draped across one corner. She instantly sat up and looked around some more.

"What the…?"

She could see an old Grandfather clock in one corner, the glass door over the pendulum was cracked, and the clock face was rusted. She also saw an old green door in the far wall, hanging off of only one remaining hinge, which looked ready to break as well.

"What is this place?"

Meanwhile...

Jen woke up to complete darkness. She couldn't see a thing, but she knew that she was awake. "What happened last night?"

She tried to remember what had happened before she passed out, but only remembered how others were fainting around her after eating some of the delicious food, and then she attempted to flee the scene, but fainted.

Jen saw an old, cobweb-covered chandelier hanging over her. It was attached to an old, wooden ceiling with hundreds of rafters. She sat up straight, looking around the large room she was in. There was a spiral staircase next to her leading to the next floor. There was also an old red and white chair in one corner, with a matching footstool in front of it. Both were dirty and had stuffing pouring out of holes. She also saw a closed door in one wall, with a rusty golden doorknob.

"Where am I? What is this place?"

Then she heard the whining of an intercom, followed by the familiar voice.

"Welcome back, castmates! Hope you're all wide-awake, because this is the beginning of the next challenge!"

"JUST WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?" Daniel exclaimed in another room, having also woken up.

"We put a little something in your food to keep you sleeping long enough to put you in here. You see…"

"You DRUGGED us?" Violet exclaimed.

"Look, we knew that you would never go in willingly, and besides, you're not supposed to know your way around the House."

"House? This thing is a house?"

"Not a house, the House; the House of the Deceased!"

"You're kidding, right?"

"This is one of the many sets on the Film Lot, which was last used for the set of a horror movie. It's a giant mansion, thirty stories tall, and over twenty acres large!"

"That big? That's ridiculous!" Rachael exclaimed.

"I know. But the bigger, the better. It's basically like a giant maze; the goal is to survive getting through the House on your own, find the front door, and escape the House without being last. The last person out of the House is instantly eliminated! Do not go to Gilded Chris Ceremony; do not not collect Gilded Chris Award; and do not get to win one million dollars!"

"What do you mean by 'survive' getting through the house?" Mary asked.

"We have many different booby-traps and other goodies waiting for you throughout the House. For the most part, they're triggered by opening the door to a room that is labeled a 'dud'; opening the door will activate the booby-trap. In addition, we have Chef and several of our last surviving interns will dress up as zombies or other scary things to frighten you."

"Doesn't sound so bad, eh."

"And in addition, we have several booby-traps that feature your worst phobias from the previous season!"

Several of the castmates were horrified by this.

"You're kidding, right?" Violet asked again.

"Sorry. So if you survive, you must attempt to escape the House. And one last thing: don't attempt to get out of the House via any windows, because all the windows in the House either A) simply lead to another room, or B) are too high up for you to reach, or survive jumping out of. And there is only, and only, one door out of the House; the main door. Now get your butts in gear, unless you want to be the last one out! Oh, and remember, the first person out of the House wins Invincibility. Good luck, and try to avoid the booby-traps!"

And with that, the voice ceased, leaving all eight of the castmates looking around nervously, wondering which way to go.

Rachael looked around nervously at the slightly creepy billiard room she was in. Tables with pool balls scattered about, and a few of the sticks leaning against or across them, lined the room, and a Grandfather clock was in the corner. She paused for a moment, nervous, then walked towards the one door leading out of the room. She instantly found herself in a long corridor, stretching on for what seemed to be forever in both directions; thousands of doors lined both walls.

She thought for a long moment, then ultimately decided to go to the left. She could easily hear her own footsteps as the old wooden floor creaked under her feet.

Meanwhile…

John looked around a bit more in the room he was in, and discovered that it must have been a kind of workroom; there was an old desk with papers, pencils, paints, scissors, and other things strewn about across it. There was also a few more pictures and photographs lining the walls and the floor. Stepping around them, he made his way towards the door. He opened it, only for it to fall off its hinges in his hands. He tossed it aside and stepped into the smaller room.

Looking around, he saw an old, scummy, disgusting toilet and a sink in one corner of the room; a bathroom.

"Whoops." He turned and walked back into the workroom. He looked around some more, but couldn't see another door.

"What? How do I get out of here, eh?" He asked himself. He already started to sweat; he was extremely claustrophobic. He had to find a way out of the room, but there was no other door.

"This is impossible! How do I get out?"

Then he remembered what Chris had said.

…all the windows in the House either A) lead to another room…

"That's it." John said and snapped his fingers. He looked over and saw a single window in the wall. He quickly walked over and tried to open it. It was locked. He looked down at the lock and tried to open it, but it was rusted shut. It was stuck good. His claustrophobia started to return.

"Oh, no…"

Then, in desperation, he fell back on his last resort: punching out the window. He threw a single punch, and the fragile, old glass shattered easily, leaving only a few shards. He pulled these out forcefully, then slid through the window. After sliding through, he found himself in a large room, with several corridors leading out.

"Now that's more like it, eh!" He said. He looked between the four halls leading out of the room. "Which one?"

He then settled for the old-fashioned way: Eeny-meeny-miney-mo. Eventually, he decided on the corridor to the left of the far right. Gathering his courage, he walked in.

He crept down the hall, glancing side-to-side every time he heard even a single hint of a sound or noise that may have meant he was not alone. Occasionally, he saw a rat or a spider scurry by, and he paid them no mind.

"Geez…this place is huge." He said as he walked through another door, only to exit into another hallway. "I wonder how I'll ever find the front door, eh. Wait…EEEYYYYYAAAAAA!" He screamed.

John had just opened the door for another room, and barely had time to react as an anvil fell from the ceiling and nearly decapitated him.

He jumped backwards and fell to the floor, sitting there in shock, panting heavily.

"Oh…my…God." He then looked up at the ceiling. "CHRIS! You nearly killed me, eh! You're gonna pay for that!"

Chris, watching the scenario from the control room, chuckled. "Really? Not likely." He then pulled out a rolled-up piece of paper. When he unrolled it, it became nearly five feet long. He pulled out a red marker and scratched off "Anvil Room 14" off the list.

"One down, one hundred and twelve to go."

Meanwhile…

Daniel casually strolled down the hallways, walking through random doors, up and down stairs, and through windows, as if he had done this a million times before.

"Haunted House? Big deal. I can make it through here in a breeze."

He opened another door, and stepped into another room. Almost instantly, he heard the sound of a loud exhale of breath.

He stopped dead in his tracks and looked around.

"What's that?"

No response for a few moments. Then the low howl came again.

"Ha, ha. Yeah, real funny, Chris! Nice try, but you can't scare me!"

Then the zombie appeared. It had one eyeball missing, and several gashes along its stomach. The pants that it had on were tattered and bloody, and it had a shaved head. Blood leaked from its mouth and fangs.

"Yeah, look: I know you're just an underpaid intern in a bad zombie suit; you can't scare me."

Then the zombie reached behind its back and pulled out several objects: a slice of cake, several cookies, and a bag full of candy.

Daniel froze instantly. "J…junk food? M-my phobia from last season!"

Then the zombie moved towards him, junk food outstretched.

"AAAAAIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEE!" Daniel screamed in a very unmanly manner before turning and running away.

Make-Up Confessional

Daniel: What? I established that my worst fear is junk food! Why? Because eating too much of it makes you…(gulp) out of shape. Go ahead, sue me.

Zombie/Intern: Man, this show is full of weirdos, eh?

End

Daniel, after recovering from his encounter, eventually came to a really long staircase. He looked down, and saw it spiral down, down, down so far that he couldn't see where it ended.

"The closer to the ground I get, the better." He concluded. He started his long descent down the creaky steps.

Meanwhile...

Mary was creeping through a room that appeared to be some sort of lounge. There were many couches and chairs, and a large wooden table in the center of the room.

Mary saw several doors leading out of the room: the one she had just entered through, which was behind her, and two other doors in the opposite wall. She carefully approached the one on the right…

…and was ambushed by a skeleton that fell from the ceiling.

"AAAAAAIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEE!" She screamed as she flailed around wildly, eventually throwing the dusty old skeleton off of her.

"Ugh! Chris! That had better not be real!"

Chris, in the control booth, chuckled. "I don't even know whether or not it's real. It could be; after all, many interns have died on this Film Lot."

Mary shook it off and walked through the other door. "This one's got to be better than-EEEEEEYYYYYYAAAAAAAA!"

The other one was also a booby-trap, this time a great pitfall. The moment she stepped in, she instantly fell down at least five stories before landing in mud.

The mud she landed in splashed over the edge of the tub it was contained in. She was submerged in the gooey, sticky mud for a few seconds, then poked her head up above it, gasping and coughing, spewing up mud.

"Ewwwwww!" She stumbled out of the tub and started brushing it off. "This is too gross!" She was scraping her arms against the edge of the tub, successfully scraping some of the mud off. "Ugh! Repulsive! CHRIS MACLEAN! YOU'LL PAY FOR THIS!" She spewed more mud, and coughed hard again.

She stood up after a moment of spewing, and looked around now. What she saw horrified her.

She was in a kind of dungeon, with chains and hooks hanging from the ceiling.

"OH MY GOD!"

The walls were made of hard gray brick, and looked more even deadly and confining than the wooden walls. There were several skeletons strung up from the ceiling, and a guillotine * in one corner of the room. There was a square pit in the middle of the room that, when she looked in, had several shark fins circling around in it. Sensing a new presence, one jumped up.

"WAUGH!" She jumped back, and the shark bit thin air, then fell back into the pit.

"I've got to get out of here!" She ran over to a set of stairs that lined the walls of the square room, gradually going higher and higher. She finally reached the top, which was nearly four stories above the floor of the torture chamber. She found the large wooden door, with large metal hinges and a giant metal padlock. She grabbed the padlock and tugged, but it wouldn't budge.

"LET ME OUT OF HERE!"

She then heard something behind her. Spinning around, she could see two zombies approaching her.

"AUGH! Get away!"

The zombies came closer, arms outstretched.

"I don't care if you're real or unpaid interns, you're creeping me out! Get away!"

She looked around frantically. She saw a long metal pole, probably three feet long, and with a hook at the end, hanging on the wall.

It'll have to do. She thought as she grabbed it.

She instantly swung it at the nearest zombie, hooking him. She then jerked it to the side and threw him over the edge of the staircase. He screamed as he fell, landing directly in the pit of sharks.

Make-Up Confessional

Chris: These are some brave interns we have left; maybe I should pay them… …Nah!

Zombie/Intern 2: Darn it! We don't get paid enough for this crap, eh! Jacob falls into the pool of sharks, and I barely got away myself! If I live through this, I am definitely quittin'!

End

Mary, having finished with both zombies, turned back to the door. She decided to use the bar in her hands, and jammed one end into the keyhole. She then jammed hard to the side, springing the lock off the door after several tries. She slowly opened the massive door, and walked into the huge corridor that was beyond it. There were only two doors in the corridor; one on the left, and one on the right. Remembering how she had chosen left last time, she decided to go right.

Inside was a room with several tables in the center of the room. There were microscopes and other kinds of laboratory equipment in the room. There were three massive glass cases against the back wall, each large enough to hold a person. In a far corner, a staircase led down to another floor. She looked over at the cases nervously. They were all too fogged-up to see through them. She could barely see the dim outlines of something inside one of them…

Then, without warning, zombies burst out of all three of them, shattering the glass and sending shards all over the floor. Mary gasped as they appeared, at first falling to the floor, then slowly climbing to their feet.

Mary turned and ran for the staircase, barely avoiding one of the zombies. She ran down the staircase, yelling up to the zombies, "Go away! Leave me alone, you miserable interns!"

She ran down into the next room, and was horrified even more than when she saw the torture chamber.

Beds lined the walls, some lacking blankets or pillows. But on every single one of those beds was a person; just an average, every-day person, coughing, sneezing, hacking, vomiting.

Sick people.

"SICK PEOPLE!" Mary screamed. She turned and bolted back up the stairs, not stopping for anything. She plowed over the three zombies as she ran from her worst fear. Dashing through the door, she ran straight across the hall and entered the other door. She instantly saw the larger staircase before her. She turned and looked back across the hall. Seeing the zombies in the other room approaching, and the thought of some of the sick people joining the chase, Mary jumped onto the banister and slid down, escaping her pursuers.

Meanwhile…

Mark had been walking for nearly two and a half hours, and now, after traveling through several flights of stairs, many doors, and encountering several booby-traps, was making his way through the Grand Corridor. There were countless doors that led into this long, wide corridor. Chandeliers lined the ceiling, and there were also many suits of armor, paintings, and sculptures. The knights all had massive axes in hand, and they appeared to be staring down at Mark. He shuddered and looked away.

"Geez, this place is huge! How in the world can I get out of here?"

He walked straight down the seemingly endless corridor, until he finally came upon a massive door at the end of the hall. It was lined with fancy, twirling gold designs, and had gilded knob. He slowly reached for the knob.

"You don't want to go there." A hoarse voice said.

Mark suddenly turned and looked around nervously. "Who said that? Who's there?"

"I'm right here."

"Where?"

"Listen, I have some important information."

"Really?"

"Yes. The information is that that room that you're about to enter is a trap."

Mark looked around nervously as the voice spoke. It was very ragged and hoarse; he simply could not identify who it was. He couldn't even tell whether it was a guy or a girl.

"A…a trap?"

"Yes. A trap. What Chris refers to as 'a dud.' You want to pick the right room? Go to the right there."

Mark looked to his right, and saw a small door, definitely much smaller than the elaborate door he was about to enter.

Make-Up Confessional

Mark: Personally, I didn't know who that person was, but I wasn't taking any chances. It would make sense that Chris would set up a really big, fancy-looking door, just for it to be another booby-trap. So, I decided to take that person's advice.

End

Mark looked nervously at the little door, then at the huge door, then back to the smaller door.

"F-fine. Uh, thanks, I guess."

"Don't mention it."

Mark never would have known that the person had gone, but he suddenly had the feeling that he was alone. Shrugging, he turned to the smaller door. Turning the knob and opening it, he casually walked in.

Only to step into thin air and fall several stories.

"!"

The Castmate looked down the massive pitfall as the optimist fell, screaming the entire way down.

"One down, six to go." The Castmate muttered. The Castmate turned and opened the massive door, and looked into the room it led into: the Entrance Hall. There was nothing else in the room except at least twenty more corridors, smaller and not as fancy as the Grand Corridor. None of them had a single door lining them, and simply led into the massive room. At the opposite end of the hall was another door, a pair of double-doors just as elegant as the big one, that led outside the House.

Excellent.

The Castmate grinned. Having reached the exit first, the Castmate had originally almost fallen for the pitfall that Mark had just been sent down, and decided to use it as the next phase in their evil plan.

Now that the teams are dissolved, I can sabotage everyone here one at a time, which will work even better. The Castmate grinned again. Wait until most of the others come this way, and I send them into my trap, then I leave, come back a while later so no one will know it's me, and then leave the House first, thus winning Invincibility.

The Castmate, still grinning in satisfaction, proceeded to hide behind one of the suits of armor.

Meanwhile...

Mark fell several stories, screaming and flailing wildly as he did.

"!"

He landed, ironically, on a soft couch, bouncing up and down several times before stopping completely. Even so, he instinctively grabbed onto the edge of the couch and maintained a death grip for a few seconds, panting heavily until he realized that he wasn't falling anymore. He exhaled a huge sigh of relief.

"Oh…my…God."

Make-Up Confessional

Mark: OK, forget it! That's the last time I'm ever listening to someone whose identity I don't even know ever again!

End

Mark slowly got up off of the couch, still shaking. "Ah, great! Now I'll never get out of here!" He looked up at the massive shaft that rose up above him. "That probably was the exit! Ah, well. I'll probably be able to find a way out of here soon enough."

He looked around the room that he was in. Besides the couch and the shaft above him, there was nothing in there except the door leading out.

"Well, only one way out." He said to himself as he walked towards the door.

Meanwhile...

Daniel, after finally reaching the bottom of the tall flight of stairs, saw that he was now in the dining room. There was one long table that nearly stretched from wall to wall. It was covered by a tattered, pink tablecloth, and had all kinds of rotted-out food and plates and silverware on it. In the dead center was a fixture of candles that consisted of three candles branching out from one stem. The candles were lit.

He slowly walked through the room, glancing around nervously. He saw several massive, stained-glass windows that depicted various pictures; from knights fighting dragons to a certain cynical host.

Eventually, the jock stopped cold when he heard a sound. A single intake of breath, followed by a soft footfall. He spun to face it.

It was a giant figure moving towards him from the darkness. Right off the bat, Daniel could see that it wielded two guns, one in each hand. He noticed a smaller object sticking out of the head. Then he realized that the object was a hat.

A chef's hat.

It was Chef.

Chef emerged from the darkness, dressed up like a zombie. His clothes were tattered and covered in "blood", and he had one of those pairs of plastic fangs in his mouth. In his hands were two infamous guns. Daniel recognized them instantly. One was the super-powerful water gun from the very first season of TDI, and the other was the alien paintball gun from the first season of TDA. Chef cackled evilly as he aimed both guns at the jock.

"Take this, jock boy!"

He fired both guns simultaneously. Three consecutive paintballs and a massive spray of water headed straight for the jock. Daniel dodged to the side, avoiding both blasts. Chef aimed and fired again, this time causing Daniel to jump to the other side, landing next to the long table. He looked at the random objects placed on it, and got an idea.

As Chef aimed again, Daniel threw a slice of ham at him. Chef ducked and it flew over him. Daniel threw a chunk of broccoli, and it missed as well. Daniel threw a whole watermelon, and Chef gasped and dove to the side. He looked over his shoulder as the giant fruit flew off. Daniel, seeing his chance, reached over and grabbed the third object: the candle.

Daniel instantly threw it, and Chef didn't have time to react this time as the candle hit him right in the face.

"AAAUUUUUGGGGHHHH! CANDLE WAX IN MY EYE!" He cursed and pressed his hand against his burning-hot right eye. By doing this, he dropped the water gun. Daniel instantly dashed over and grabbed the huge gun. Aiming at Chef, he grinned and said, "Take this, psycho chef!" He then fired.

The massive blast completely consumed the large man and sent him tumbling backwards a good twenty feet before he stopped, sliding to a stop on the cold, stone floor.

"Ha-ha! Yes! That felt GOOD!" Daniel yelled before he turned and ran off, water gun still in hand.

Meanwhile, Chef scrambled to his feet and gave chase. "You're dead, you little punk!" He then started wildly firing his paintball gun at Daniel, paintballs whizzing past him.

"Ha, ha, ha! Catch me if you can, Chef!" He turned and aimed behind him, firing the water gun once. Chef dodged to the side as the blast soared past him, and continued chasing him.

"Ha! You suck at this, old man! I'm glad that Chris is replacing you!"

Chef was completely stunned by this.

Make-Up Confessional

Chef: Chris is replacing me? CHRIS IS REPLACING ME! What is that boy talking about? Chris can't be replacing me! … (Puts hand on chin thoughtfully) Then again, he has been paying more attention to that big tough intern Jay. Come to think of it, he did use Jay as a judge for the previous task! That's usually my job! Plus, he hasn't forced him to wear one of these monkey suits (gestures to the zombie outfit that he's still wearing) and be a part of this! I'm gonna get to the bottom of this!

Daniel: What a dork.

End

Chef, although stunned, continued the chase. After a minute or so of constant shooting back and forth, Daniel reached a rustic old elevator in the far wall. He looked inside and saw a simpler setup: a small dial that read "Up" on one side, and "Down" on the other. Attached to the dial was a lever that could be turned either way.

"I'll go up." He then grabbed the lever and turned it to the "Up" side. The elevator creaked, jolted, then moved up, leaving an infuriated Chef behind.

"Darn you, jock!" Chef then turned and saw a staircase just opposite of the elevator. Grinning, he ran up it.

Daniel saw the staircase too, and realized what Chef was doing.

"Uh-oh. Come on, come on, come on, come on! Must go faster!" He said as the elevator rose higher. It passed by one floor, and Chef reached the floor just as Daniel did.

"Crap." Daniel quickly raised his water gun and fired as Chef also aimed and fired. Two paintballs hit the wall near Daniel, and the water barely missed Chef. Daniel rose up to the next floor.

"Come on! I've got to lose him!" Daniel then realized something, and while he was halfway between floors, he quickly thrust the rusty lever to the "Down" side. The elevator stopped in place for a moment, shook again, then started to descend.

Meanwhile, Chef had just reached the next floor, and stood in front of the open elevator shaft, waiting for Daniel to pass by. But he never did.

After he was waiting for too long, Chef knew something was wrong.

"What the…AW, MAN!" He then turned and ran back down the steps, running farther and farther down until he reached the bottom floor. He looked at the elevator shaft across from him, and saw the elevator.

Empty.

Meanwhile…

Rachael had walked down the corridor for nearly ten minutes until she reached the end: an elevator, similar to the one Daniel had just used.

She walked inside and looked around. There were no features to the elevator at all besides the dial that read either "Up" or "Down."

"I'll go down." She decided and turned the lever.

The elevator creaked as it strained to start up, then slowly moved down.

Suddenly, an announcement came over the intercom. "Attention, castmates! Someone has just successfully left the House first, and has won Invincibility! That lucky castmate is…

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…Daniel! Repeat, Daniel has made it out of the House first and has won Invincibility! The rest of you, get your act together, or you could be the last to walk out!"

Rachael's eyes widened. "Oh, no! That quickly? I've got to find a way out of here, and fast!"

Earlier…

Daniel, having abandoned the elevator and fooled Chef, was now walking down the Grand Corridor, walking past all of the fine suits of armor and other objects. He glanced side-to-side as he walked down the Corridor, unaware that he was being watched.

Daniel…ah, yes. He shall be next. The Castmate, still hiding in the shadows, prepared to make their move.

Daniel, after walking for a little while longer, reached the massive door at the end of the Grand Corridor.

"Not too shabby." He started to turn the doorknob.

"You don't want to go in there." The hoarse voice false-cautioned him.

"What? Who's that?" The jock spun around to the direction of the voice. "Who's there?"

"My identity is not important right now. The important thing is that that room is a booby-trap, and you're about to trip it."

"Really?" He looked at the huge, fancy door skeptically.

"Chris is just setting up this huge, fancy door to look like it could be somewhere important, but it's really just another dud."

"Dud?"

"A pitfall, as a matter of fact. Six stories, if I recall. I fell for it myself. Look, just don't go in there, and use that door." The Castmate, unseen, gestured to the smaller door. Daniel looked at that door with equal skepticism.

"Look, I appreciate the advice, but I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself, thank you very much."

I've heard that before. The Castmate thought.

Daniel turned the doorknob and went in.

"No!"

The Castmate jumped after him as he entered the Entrance Hall.

Daniel saw that nothing had happened.

"Ha! You were just trying to dupe me, weren't you? Nice try, but I'm out of here!"

He raced for the exit. The Castmate ran up behind him and threw the jock into a headlock.

"Let go…you…crazy…ack!" Daniel struggled out of the grip.

"You should've taken my advice." The Castmate started to drag Daniel back towards the Grand Corridor, and the real pitfall.

Daniel, knowing he had to fight back, raised one arm up, and then brought it down hard, jamming his elbow into the person's stomach.

"Oof!" The Castmate stumbled and let go of the jock, clutching at their own stomach in pain. Daniel, without looking back at his former captor, bolted towards the Entrance Hall and blasted through the big fancy door, then the double-doors within.

Daniel was instantly blinded by the sudden bright light, but he then realized that it was simply the light of day, as he exited the House.

And Chris MacLean was waiting for him.

"Congratulations, Daniel! You're the first one out, and have won Invincibility!"

Daniel, meanwhile, scoffed and rolled his eyes. "I knew I could."

As the doors slowly closed, Daniel looked inside and saw a dark figure, undoubtedly the person who had just attempted to fool him, stand there, staring after him before turning and running off.

Chris then made the announcement over the intercom. "Attention, castmates! Someone has just successfully left the House first, and has won Invincibility! That lucky castmate is… …Daniel! Repeat, Daniel has made it out of the House first and has won Invincibility! The rest of you, get your act together, or you could be the last to walk out!"

Make-Up Confessional

Daniel (smirking, feet up on desk): Like I said before, piece…of cake.

End

John peeked around the corner, looking in both directions to make sure if it was safe, then walked out into the narrow corridor.

John had been walking up and down corridors, up and down stairs, and narrowly avoiding pitfalls and other booby-traps for an hour and a half since this madness had started.

After hearing the intercom announcement about Daniel, John sighed. "Great. Why does he always have Invincibility, eh?"

He then stopped suddenly when he heard a footstep. He paused again, listening.

Then he heard a second footstep, along with a creaking of one of the floorboards. He stopped, remaining absolutely still for a moment, then spun to face the source of the noise.

He looked down the long corridor, seeing that there was no one else there besides him.

But…I know I heard something! John looked at the door closest to him, on his right. He considered his options, then decided to open it.

Grabbing the doorknob, he thrust the door open.

Meanwhile…

Mark, after leaving the room that the pitfall landed him in, was walking down a long corridor, having chosen it over a staircase that led down. After walking for fifteen minutes or so, he heard Chris announce Daniel's victory.

After another terrifying encounter with a booby-trap (an electric prod that nearly zapped him), Mark was at the last door in the corridor. He opened it, and instantly jumped back, waiting for the booby-trap.

But there was no booby-trap.

Mark looked inside, and saw that it was just a regular room, with a single bed against one wall, a chair in the corner, and several old photographs of various people, such as an old, bald guy with a monocle and a handlebar mustache.

Mark walked further through the room, focusing on the one object in the room that was of most interest to him: the other door on the opposite side of the room.

He was halfway through the room when he heard a sound coming from the other side of the door. It sounded like a creaking of wood. Then the jingle of the door handle.

The very jumpy Mark instantly cowered in fear as the door was thrust open.

"Augh! Please! Don't hurt me!"

"Oh, it's just you, eh."

Mark perked up at the sound of the familiar Canadian voice.

"John?" He looked back at the door, and sighed in relief when he saw his ex-teammate. "Oh, am I glad to see you!"

"Likewise. I've been hoping to run into someone else since I started. What happened to you?"

"Oh, I was just really nervous. I've been hitting booby-trap after booby-trap down here! It all started after some jerk sent me right down a pitfall!"

"Come again?"

"Come on, let's get out of here and I'll explain."

As the two of them walked out of the room and back down the corridor, Mark explained his whole ordeal, how the Mystery Castmate had steered him away from the huge door, and fooled him into walking right into the pitfall.

"…and now, here I am."

"Wow. Sounds like that just may have been the exit you were about to reach, eh?"

"It would make sense. Darn it, will this 'Mystery Castmate' ever back off for once?"

"Doesn't seem like it."

After walking up a staircase, which led down another corridor, John then asked Mark a question.

"Hey, uh, Mark? Can I ask you something?"

"Sure."

"You, uh, seem pretty smooth with girls, eh? Especially after how you and Rachael became a couple."

"You want advice on girls?"

"Yeah. A lot."

Mark chuckled. "My friend, you have come to the right person. Ask away. You have a crush on one of the girls here?"

"Yeah. She's really pretty and all, but she's extremely intelligent, and, the worst part is, I don't even know if she likes me back. She doesn't even really notice me."

"Mm-hm. I feel your pain, pal."

"But I really feel better around her, and I could really open up to her; something I don't usually do with other people, especially girls, eh."

"Alright. First off: Have you ever had a girlfriend before?"

"Y-yes."

"Alright. I can tell from the reluctance in your voice that you don't want to talk about her much, right?"

"Wow. You're pretty good."

"Thank you. Now, I assume that this whole past girlfriend thing didn't end well for you, correct?"

"Yes."

"But I'll bet that you were smooth with girls before this happened, right again?"

"Right again."

"So, in reality, you don't need to worry about whether or not you can be smooth with her. Your main fear is whether or not your relationship, if it ever takes off, will end well, or if it ends in heartbreak."

"Geez. You sound like an expert, eh. You sure that you haven't done this before?"

Mark chuckled. "Well, thanks. But yes, I have never done this before. But back on subject here: So I think that the first, and the best, thing to do is to is try to spend a little time with her, learn more about her and what she likes. But don't make it too obvious that you just want to be around her; that's a big no-no." Mark wagged his finger.

"Alright. That sounds right to me. But the thing is, I'm not sure if she's too eager about relationships and all; seems to me like she's more into the competition."

"Well, if she seems like that, then why do you like her?"

"Because I truly feel better around her. I don't know why, but it's just…a feeling. I think it's like a sign from God or something."

"So you feel like He's brought you two together?"

"Kind of."

Mark couldn't help but chuckle again. "Well, well, well. If that's the case, then maybe, just maybe, she's into you too, eh?" Mark playfully elbowed his friend.

"Maybe."

"But for now, just use my advice; get to know her a little better and all that. Do good things for her, encourage her, help her win maybe."

"Isn't that last one a little…extreme, eh?"

"Well, maybe. Yeah, on second thought, don't do that last one. Just those first two."

"OK."

"Wait! What's that?" Mark pointed eagerly at something at the end of the corridor. The two of them looked, and saw an elevator.

"Yeah! That'll be perfect for going up faster!" Mark quickly ran up to it, John following. When they arrived, Mark started talking.

"If I remember correctly, I was falling for about six seconds or so when I fell down that pitfall. Judging by the height when I looked back up it, I would like to calculate that it was six stories high! We need to go up six floors!" Mark then turned the lever to "Up."

"Are you sure about all that you just said, eh?"

"No, but it's the best guess I can come up with. All we know for sure is that we're below where that big door was, since I haven't hit a single staircase or other elevator since I fell. So we clearly need to go up."

Then the elevator passed by its sixth floor. Mark let go of the lever, and it stopped.

"This is it!"

The two of them walked out of the elevator, and observed their surroundings. The room that they were in was clearly the kitchen. The white tiled floor was dirty and cracked, and all of the wooden cupboards hadn't been cleaned out in decades. Some had lost their doors, and the contents, from sugar to vinegar to baking powder, spilled out. In one of the wooden tables in the center of the room, a giant cleaver was jammed into the tabletop. Hanging up above the table were all kinds of pots and pans.

Mark and John nervously stepped out and into the kitchen. Right away, several rats scurried away and into holes in the wall. The two teens continued walking.

The huge kitchen also had some rotted-out food, such as chunks of cheese or ham. At one point, they saw a huge walk-in freezer. They could barely feel the cold air coming from within.

Mark stopped briefly and looked at the freezer, getting a sudden feeling that something was in it.

Then his fear was realized.

The freezer door burst open, and a large zombie with a buzz-cut hairdo and a beard emerged from the cold room. The zombie held a chainsaw.

Mark and John stared in shock, then in fear as the zombie pulled the cord and revved up the chainsaw.

"Oh, no! RUN!" John screamed.

John and Mark turned and bolted for the kitchen door, the chainsaw-zombie giving chase.

Make-Up Confessional

Zombie/Intern 3: OK, I know that we interns don't get paid for this show, but that was too much fun, eh! Oh, you shoulda' seen the looks on their faces! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, HA!

End

John and Mark burst through the kitchen door, running into yet another corridor.

"Go right, eh!" John yelled.

Without questioning, the two of them bolted to the right. A moment later, the zombie emerged from the kitchen and chased after them.

"Keep going!"

They then slid to a stop when they saw three more zombies ahead of them.

"You've got to be kidding!" Mark exclaimed.

"Quick! In here!" John grabbed Mark by the arm and pulled him into the nearest door. The four zombies also ran in.

A moment later, John and Mark emerged out of the door opposite the hall from the one they had just entered.

"What the…? How the heck did we just do that?" John exclaimed.

The zombies, who had entered the same door, emerged from one room two doors down.

"I don't care! Just go into another door!"

They ran into the next door, emerging from a door across from it and three doors away. The zombies ran into the same door, and emerged from a door on the same side, one door down.

"Augh!"

The two teens ran in and out of doors, always emerging from doors far away from it. * The zombies did the same. Eventually, the six of them all came out the same door.

"WAUGH! Go this way!" Mark screamed and pointed down the hall.

The two teens then abandoned running in and out of doors, instead simply running down the corridor, running without looking back.

They eventually reached the door at the very end, and barged through it. When they went through it, they found themselves in another corridor, only much more narrow and with absolutely nothing in it; no other doors, no chandeliers, no nothing. It simply stretched on and on, seemingly forever.

"Keep running!" The two of them ran down the corridor as fast as they could. They could hear the sound of the zombies' footsteps, and the still-running chainsaw, behind them. They didn't dare look back.

"Hey! I think I see the end!" John pointed in the direction they were running. Sure enough, they could see an opening into a larger room.

"We're almost there! Maybe we can lose them!" Mark said, his confidence regaining.

When they finally reached the end, they found themselves in a large room, with the entrances to numerous other corridors also leading inside. On one side of the room was a large, elegant door with gold designs. On the other side were double-doors.

Mark recognized the large, single door.

"I've seen that door before!" The optimist exclaimed. "That's the door that the person led me away from! Which means we need to go this way!" He then bolted for the double-doors. John also ran up to them, and they burst through simultaneously.

The two boys tumbled out of the door and into the blinding sunlight. They shielded their eyes at first, then looked up at the sound of slow clapping. When their eyes adjusted, they could clearly see Daniel, mockingly clapping.

"Well done, you two. You came in second and third place." He smirked.

Then Chris walked up as well. "You two are safe. Congratulations."

John stood up and brushed himself off. Mark instantly smiled. "Alright! Take that, you 'Mystery Castmate'! Ha, ha!"

Meanwhile, the Castmate had been watching them make their escape right under their nose. With the brief time the Castmate had, the Castmate knew they didn't have time to strike.

Darn it. I can't possibly make my move now! The Castmate had then watched the two of them burst through the door. Maybe I should stop this. This may not work out after all.

And with that, the Castmate left the Entrance Hall.

Mark and John then saw that the control booth for the whole House was right outside the front door. It was basically just a tent, with tables lining the walls. The tables were all stacked with monitors and other gadgets. The three castmates and Chris walked in, and the host pressed the intercom button, cleared his throat, and said into the speaker, "Attention, castmates! Both Mark and John have reached the exit! Repeat, John and Mark have made it out! Hurry it up, girls! One of you is going to walk out last!"

Madison looked up at the ceiling during the announcement, then looked back at where she was going when it ended.

Oh, no! I'm not doing so well here! Come on, Madison. Get it together! You just got here; you can't lose now! She thought nervously. How do I get out of here?

She observed her surroundings: she was in a room that looked like a morgue. All of the furniture was covered by white cloth, and it was often easy to tell what objects were covered, such as a chair or a table. She was walking through several rooms like this, as if someone had died in them.

Then she exited the rooms and found herself in another hallway. She could already see both ends from where she stood: to the left was a staircase that led down, and to her right was a staircase leading up.

Up or down? She thought.

At first, she decided to go down, and she started to go to the left. Suddenly, two zombies emerged from one of the doors in the hallway, cutting off her path. Both bore axes.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" She then decided to go with the alternative, and went to the right. The zombies followed close behind. She started racing up the stairs as fast as she could. Halfway up, she heard a thump come from above. She looked up at the balcony above her, and saw a zombie with a large wooden barrel raised above its head.

"Oh…" Madison barely had time to duck as the zombie chucked the barrel at her. She ducked, and the barrel tumbled down the stairs. She looked back, and saw the barrel hit both of the axe-zombies, sending both of them tumbling down the stairs. Madison chuckled, then continued running up, past the zombie that had thrown the barrel.

Make-Up Confessional

Madison: OK, that was hilarious! But seriously, throwing a barrel that big at me? I wonder if these guys take their jobs too seriously sometimes.

Zombie/Intern 9 (Barrel Zombie): I didn't mean to do that, but that was too funny, eh!

End

Madison eventually reached the top of the staircase, and found herself inside a kind of nursery; plants, plants, and more plants, everywhere she looked.

"Hmm. Not so bad." She walked casually among the flowers and bushes and cactuses *. There were also empty pots and small, hand-held shovels on the tables. A few plants were rotted and dead. Before Madison knew it, she was surrounded by old, brown plants.

Then Madison looked farther ahead and saw the door leading out of the nursery.

"Aha!" She walked a little faster. However, as she got nearer, she realized that there were less and less plants surrounding her. The plants were disappearing until only one was left. It was a massive plant that rose out of a huge pot. It had several leaves on its stem and a massive, flat top. The only reason it attracted Madison's attention was because it was blocking the door.

"Hmph. No problem." She then grabbed the pot and started to move it aside.

She then stopped when she heard a growl. She slowly looked up at the plant, and saw that its head was moving. It seemed to be turning in her direction. "Uh-oh."

The plant's massive head then reared back and snapped at her, sending her jumping backwards. "Yikes!" The plant barely missed her.

The angry Giant Venus Flytrap snapped in her direction multiple times, angrily keeping her at bay.

"You have got to be kidding!"

Chris, back at the control booth, saw that moment unfold on the monitors. "Heh, heh."

"Giant mutated Flytrap." Daniel said, nodding. "I approve."

Meanwhile, Madison was wondering how the heck she would get out of the nursery. She knew she couldn't go back, and the Flytrap was blocking her path. She then looked over at a table, and saw a giant pair of hedge trimmers. She reached over and grabbed them.

The Flytrap reared back again. Madison closed the trimmers and raised them defensively as the plant struck again. It lurched forward, only to bang its head against the blades. As it recoiled in pain, Madison quickly put the blades over the stem, and chopped with all her might. The blades sliced through, and the ugly plant shriveled and fell out of the pot.

"Yeesh." She said and tossed the trimmers away. Now without the added weight, the pot could be moved much more easily. She scooted it aside, and walked through the door.

"Impressive." Chris commented.

Madison left the nursery behind and found herself in the widest, longest, and largest corridor in the entire House: The Grand Corridor. She looked around at all of the other doors connected to this corridor, interrupted every so often by works of art such as a suit of armor, a painting, etc. She looked down one way, then the other. She thought that she could barely make out a massive door in one direction, so she went to the right.

The door was huge, but it took Madison nearly ten minutes to walk all the way down the Corridor until she finally reached the end. Sure enough, the massive, decorated door loomed above her. She grabbed the doorknob and pushed, slowly opening the huge door. She peeked inside and saw the Entrance Hall; numerous other smaller corridors emptying in, and the double-doors in the far wall. She approached the two doors, and slowly opened one. She saw the crack of light shine into the room, and knew what it meant. She excitedly pushed the door all the way open, and stepped out into the familiar Film Lot.

"Oh, am I glad to be out of there!" She exclaimed. She then walked into the nearby tent and saw Chris, Daniel, Mark, and John all waiting for her.

"Close call there, Madison, but you made it." Chris told her.

"Close call?"

"Yeah, because it seems that Violet is nearing the exit as well." He gestured to one of the monitors, which clearly showed Violet walking quickly down the Grand Corridor.

Violet had just escaped several zombies, having tricked them into running right into a pitfall, and had emerged from that room into the Grand Corridor.

"Attention, Violet, Rachael, and Jennifer! Madison has just made it out of the House! Repeat, Madison is out! The three of you had better hurry, or you're toast!"

Violet looked up. "Oh, no! I'd better hurry!" She then looked around at where she was. "But where exactly is here?"

She looked around at the magnificent Corridor that surrounded her: suits of armor, chandeliers, everything. She just walked straight down it, not knowing what to expect besides other zombies. However, she could see a huge door at the end. She approached it, and saw that it was the largest, most magnificent door she had ever seen. Turning the gilded doorknob, she opened it, and stepped into the Entrance Hall.

You know the routine; she walked through the Hall, then through the double-doors and out of the House.

"And Violet has just escaped! Jennifer and Rachael, you're the final two! Hurry it up, or-."

"SHUT UP, ALREADY!" Rachael and Jennifer, in different rooms, both simultaneously shouted.

Chris looked slightly stunned, but the castmates were amused.

Jen, after yelling at the host's voice, looked back at where she was. She was walking up a set of creaky old stairs, and had passed by at least seven floors. She finally decided to pick the next floor she came to that was not simply a long corridor. The room at the top of the stairs appeared to be a kind of laboratory, with all kinds of equipment and test tubes and such. It was at least three times as large as the one that Mary had seen. There were glowing lights changing from red to green to yellow and so on against one wall, and there was a huge pit of water in the room, a railing lining it.

Jen walked through the tables littered with equipment, and saw many kinds of things, from microscopes and forceps, test tubes to scissors. She looked at one test tube containing a red liquid, and didn't bother to think about what the liquid was. She walked around the pit of water carefully. Suddenly, there was a splash, and she looked to see four zombies emerge from the water pit, each wielding a spear.

"Oh, gosh!"

They started to climb over the railing. She looked around the room frantically, until her eyes fell on the nearest table. Grabbing the first object, she threw it. The microscope flew straight at one zombie and plowed him right in the face, causing him to fall backwards and into the water. The other zombies started to flip over the railing. She grabbed a large test tube and hurled it at the next zombie. It shattered to pieces, and the stunned zombie also fell into the water.

The remaining two climbed over the railing and moved quickly towards her. Jen, thinking fast, grabbed the table and flipped it over, sending debris and liquid flying at the zombies. She then turned and bolted across the lab. Racing past the flashing colors, she found a ladder and wasted no time in climbing up it.

One zombie gave up the chase, but a final one continued chasing her. It started up the ladder just as Jen reached the top. She looked down and saw it coming, then looked around the room she was in. The nearest heavy object was a large chair in one corner. She ran over and grabbed the back of it. Then, with all her might, she started pushing it towards the hole where the ladder was. Just as the zombie was about to reach the top, it looked up and saw the huge chair above it.

"Oh, sh-."

The chair fell through the hole. Needless to say, the zombie was knocked clean off the ladder, and the crash at the bottom damaged the ladder, causing it to collapse.

Jen cringed at the sound of the loud CRASH as the chair hit he ground, then the groaning of metal as the old ladder collapsed. She then turned and walked away, a fiendish grin on her face.

Make-Up Confessional

Jen: OK, I know that these pathetic interns can't really do much to hurt us, but hurting them like that is just too much fun!

Zombie/Intern 12: Wow, am I glad that I abandoned the chase and didn't try to climb up that ladder. Poor Marcus.

End

Jen walked out of the storage room and onto a balcony. At first she thought she had found a way out, then simply realized that it was a totally closed-off courtyard. It probably stretched for one hundred feet, and was fifty feet wide. A garden of dead plants and weeping willows rested on the ground level, and a dirty river ran through the center, with a small stone bridge over it. Jen looked up, and saw that the roof was almost twenty stories up. And the wall was a sheer 90-degree angle.

"Can't get up that way." She said, then looked back down. The courtyard ground couldn't be more than three stories below her. She looked down beneath the balcony, and could see that there were several windows with very prominent windowsills. She gathered up her courage, and then climbed over the balcony railing.

Meanwhile…

Rachael was now walking through the corridor extremely fast. After hearing Chris's announcement, she knew that she had to move quickly, or else Jen would make it out before her, and she would be eliminated. She couldn't afford that. She didn't want to be away from Mark.

She smiled at the thought of her new boyfriend. After that first kiss, they had been hanging out a lot more often. They had talked and discussed hobbies and such. They now knew each other quite well. Eventually, it was obvious to them, and everyone else, that they had become a couple. They weren't necessarily the kind that was always making out nonstop (like Geoff and Bridgette), but they were the kind that was just often together, sitting next to each other at meals, holding hands, and all that stuff.

Rachael smiled again, then eventually realized that she had to stay focused on the task.

She decided that any of the doors in the corridor she was in could lead to the exit, so she reluctantly started to open them all. She started with the nearest one, on her right. She carefully opened it, and instantly ducked as two massive axes swung down from the ceiling.

"Yikes!" She covered her head and listened to the swooping of the giant axes. Gradually, they got slower and slower, then stopped. She looked up to make sure, then carefully got up and scooted out of the room.

"Darn it! Don't want to fall for another one like that! I've got to be more careful."

She then walked over to the next room, and paused before opening the door. As it opened, she stepped back. Sure enough, an anvil fell from the ceiling and hit the floor just inside the door, making a crater in the wood.

"Geez! This is pretty harsh!" She said as she moved to the next door.

Back at the tent, the ever-nervous Mark questioned the cynical host, "Seriously, dude! Aren't these booby-traps getting a little…dangerous?"

"I don't think so. Trust me, you should have seen the ones we originally had planned!"

Mark paused for consideration, then shuddered at the thought.

Rachael headed for the third door, but stopped when she heard a bunch of fluttering coming from within. She already knew what it meant.

Avoiding that door altogether, she started to move further down the corridor.

"New plan. These doors are all obviously just booby-traps."

However, she saw that the end of the hall was simply a dead end; no doors, no stairs, nothing.

"It's a dead end!"

Rachael then turned and started back down the corridor. Suddenly, a nearby door burst open and two zombies emerged, each carrying a huge ball on a chain.

"Uh-oh!"

They moved towards her, swinging the balls on chains.

Rachael turned around, and saw that they had her cornered; the dead end was behind her.

Augh! What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do!

She then heard the fluttering again. She looked to her left and saw the door closest to her. She leaned against it and heard the fluttering of wings. She grinned and looked back at the zombies.

That's it!

She grabbed the doorknob, and waited a few more seconds as the zombies drew closer. Then she turned the knob and thrust the door open, pulling it out towards her, and the swarm of bats from within poured out. Naturally, they headed down the corridor straight towards the zombies. They dropped their ball-and-chains and started swiping wildly at the bats. Rachael took this moment of opportunity and dashed through the swarm, past the zombies, and straight towards the other end of the corridor, where a staircase was.

Rachael reached the stairs, and wasted no time in jumping on the banister and sliding down, sliding in circles down the spiral staircase. She eventually reached the bottom and jumped off, dashing down the adjacent corridor, which was very narrow and had no doors.

Meanwhile…

Jen had finally reached the ground after climbing down the wall, and walked down the stone path through the courtyard. She looked around at all the dead plants in the courtyard.

"Ugh. This place could use a new gardener."

Just as she walked over the bridge and reached the other end, the small bridge exploded behind her.

"What?" She turned and looked to see what it was.

She instantly saw the massive zombie rise out of the river, green gun in hand, and chef's hat on top of its head.

"You've gotta be kidding!"

Chef chuckled, tossing the detonator in his hand back into the river, and then aimed his paintball gun.

"I failed to get jock boy, so I'll settle for you!"

"AUGH!" Jen turned and ran towards the courtyard's exit, with Chef following.

Chef fired his paintball gun, hitting Jen in the back and blasting her off her feet. She fell forward, landing on the cold, stone ground.

Chef stood over her triumphantly, and thought he had really got her good.

Suddenly, Jen swung her leg with all her might, swinging it around behind Chef's leg and kicking out the back of his knee. His leg buckled, and he stumbled to the ground. Jen instantly jumped him and snatched the gun.

"Ow!" Chef cried as he hit the ground.

"Take this, Chef!" She aimed the gun.

"Augh!"

A few minutes later…

Chef lied on the ground, unconscious, and green paint covering his face. Jen, holding the paintball gun proudly over her shoulder, looked down at the fallen mountain of a man proudly, and tossed his gun to the ground, landing beside him. She then turned and strolled casually through the courtyard, and then through the door at the end of the path.

She found herself in a long, narrow hallway that had absolutely no features in it; no doors, no paintings, not a single object. An occasional spider or rat scurried by, but nothing else.

Jen walked all the way down the corridor, eventually drawing closer to the end of it. She thought she saw a massive room at the end of the. She then saw a figure moving through the room. At first she froze, thinking it was another zombie, but when she looked a little harder, she could see that it was Rachael.

It can't be...

She ran all the way to the huge room, and was beside Rachael instantly.

"Jen! Oh, am I glad to see you!"

"Rachael." Jen said in response.

"Where are we? I haven't seen this room before…"

They both looked and saw that the room they were in was filled with entrances to many similar corridors, like the ones they had just come out of; narrow, no features. They looked back at a huge, elegant door behind them, and at a pair of double-doors on the other end of the Hall. What caught their attention was the fact that there were two huge windows above the double-doors, and sunlight shone through them.

"Could it be…?" Rachael asked. Then her eyes went wide, as did Jen's.

"Girls!" Chris's voice declared. "What are you standing around for? You're both in the Entrance Hall! Those double-doors lead out of the House! Get moving!"

The two girls looked at the double-doors, then back at each other.

Then Rachael bolted for the exit. Jen quickly bolted after her.

The two girls drew closer to the doors, and safety.

"Get back here! I'm not getting kicked off now!" Jen declared.

"Sorry, but I want to win, too!" Rachael yelled back. The door was thirty feet away.

Jen gasped from exhaustion. "NO!" She ran as fast she could, trying to catch up to her rival. She finally caught her just as Rachael reached out to the huge doors. Jen grabbed the other girl by her shoulders, and threw her back, sending Rachael to the floor.

"Hey!" Rachael cried.

Jen, now in the lead, burst through the doors and into the sunlight.

"HA! Ha, ha! YES! Yes, I did it! I knew I could do it!"

"And Jennifer has made it out!" Chris declared.

All of the other castmates, however, looked at Jen disapprovingly. Mark ran back to the House and up to Rachael.

"Rachael!" He said as he helped her to her feet. Together they walked out of the House.

"Sorry, Rachael. But you've lost."

Rachael just stood there, a shocked expression in her eyes. She looked over at Jen.

"Sorry." Jen said with a grin on her face.

"How…how could you?"

"Pardon?"

"Oh, don't give me that! You deliberately pushed me down just to save yourself from elimination! Why?"

"Oh, gee, I don't know. Maybe I was desperate, maybe I was just in a bad mood…or maybe it's because you're a dirty, rotten, little crush-stealer!"

" 'Crush-stealer'? What are you taking about?"

"I saw you and Mark that night after Luke was eliminated!"

"Yeah, so? We like each other."

"Yeah, well maybe I like him too!"

Rachael and Mark stared at her blankly. Jen scoffed.

"What could you possibly see in that pig?"

"Well, he's really nice and encouraging…"

"I was talking about you!" Jen pointed an accusing finger straight at Rachael. "I don't see how he could choose you over me! I'm a cheerleader! I'm in gymnastics! I get straight A's! I'm smarter, stronger, and prettier than you! I deserve him more than you any day!"

"Well, we've just had more time to know each other." Mark said, shrugging.

"He's been helping me out in challenges and encouraging me…"

"And she's really nice and caring…"

"Well I don't care! The point is, you two will be separated! She's gone, and I'm safe!"

"I wouldn't be so sure of that, Jen." Chris said.

"What?" She spun to face him. "What did you say?"

"Rachael is eliminated, but the fun doesn't end there."

"What are you saying?"

"What I'm saying is that tonight will be a double-elimination!"

"WHAT?" Everyone exclaimed.

"That's right. In addition to a sudden-death elimination challenge, the viewers will be voting out one more of you regularly tonight. Didn't you guys get the hint?"

"What hint?" Violet asked.

"I said that the first person out of the House wins Invincibility. Now ask yourself this: What's the point of Invincibility if it's a sudden-death elimination where the last person out of the House loses? The Invincibility was for tonight, when the viewers vote! So Daniel is safe, and Rachael is already out, so as for the rest of you, before the night is over, one more of you will be joining Rachael in the Limo of Losers! See you at the Theatre!"

Chris walked away.

"NO! You're kidding, right? You can't be serious!" Jen exclaimed.

"Why, Jen?" A voice asked from behind. Jen turned to see Violet standing there, arms folded firmly, just like everyone else. They were all staring at Jen, their disapproving looks changed to sinister looks.

"Afraid for your chances, after what you just pulled?"

"Crap." The cheerleader cursed.


The Seventh Gilded Chris Award Ceremony

Rachael had left the Film Lot early. At the Theatre that afternoon, she had said her goodbyes to everyone except Jen (even rubbing it in her face by saying goodbye to Daniel), and then a long, emotional goodbye to Mark, where they shared one last embrace and kiss before she was taken away in the Limo of Losers.

That night, at the Theatre once again, everyone was glaring at Jen evilly, who simply covered her face in shame. Even her friend Mary was simply shaking her head, feeling little pity for he ex-friend.

The Limo of Losers had arrived from taking Rachael away, and parked at the end of the Red Carpet of Shame. Jay stood at the back door, waiting.

Chris soon walked onto the stage yet again, noticeably lacking the bundle of Gilded Chris Awards.

"Castmates, tonight's elimination will be a little different. Tonight, you will not be receiving Awards. Instead, we are going to read off a few of our viewers' comments that went with their votes, and then tally up the results."

Chris then pulled out an envelope, opened it, and read some of the remarks.

"Here's just a few of them. Ahem. 'I'm gonna have to vote for Jen. She's getting a little on my nerves now.'" Chris glanced at Jen.

Jen at first looked a little relieved, but then the host dropped the bomb.

"That's only one of them, and trust me, it's the most mildly-worded comment of them all. Here's another: 'Well, that move Jen pulled back there was incredibly cruel, so she's gotta go."

Jen shuddered, then went back to covering her face.

"Another is: 'WOOHOO! FINALLY AMPLE OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE OFF JEN! GOODBYE!'"

The others looked at Jen, still with no sympathy for her.

"And one last one: 'As if it wasn't obvious, I am going to vote off Jen. That lousy, rotten chick is so going'."

Chris looked back up at Jen, grinning in satisfaction as he watched her squirm.

"Well, needless to say, nearly ninety-eight percent of the votes were like that. So it's no contest there. Jen, the Limo of Losers awaits!"

Jen slumped in her seat, hopelessly defeated. At first, she seemed calm, then she exploded.

She jumped out of her seat. "FINE! If that's the way they want it, then FINE! I don't need this place! Who cares about it? It's been a miserable experience ever since the beginning! With torture from you, and having to listen to you rant about how good-looking you think you are!"

She pointed at Chris as she said this.

"And having to endure Chef's horrible food!"

She was lucky that Chef wasn't there; Jay was in his place once again.

"And now, I won't have to be around any of you jerks anymore! Especially that arrogant optimist who doesn't know the difference between the perfect girl and some low-down poor girl! And ESPECIALLY that dirty, rotten manipulative jock!" She then pointed another accusing finger at Daniel.

"FINE!" She yelled for the third time. "I am SO out of here! ARGH!" She then stamped her foot angrily, then turned sharply on her heels and stormed down the Red Carpet of Shame, everyone waving goodbye mockingly.

This Ceremony's epilogue...

Daniel, John, and Mark all walked into the boys' trailer.

After Daniel said that he needed his "beauty sleep", then fell asleep shortly afterwards, John and Mark were left sitting on their individual bunks. John looked at his friend, sitting hunched over, his head resting in his hands as he gazed out the window.

"Hey." John said.

Mark slowly turned to look at the Goth.

"You OK?"

"Not really."

"Look, I know you're upset." John got up, walked over to his friend, and sat down next to him. "And I truly feel your pain, eh. I really do. But you've got to pull through this! Rachael's gonna be rooting for you during the next few challenges. She'll want you to win for both of you."

Mark looked straight at John, now perked-up a little. "Maybe you're right…"

"I know I'm right, eh. You've got to stay strong, man."

Mark smiled half-heartedly. "Thanks, man."

John smiled back, then walked over to his bed. Mark started to get under his covers.

"Hey, Mark?"

"Yeah?"

"That one piece of advice you gave me back in the House, to not try to help my crush girl win challenges?"

"Yeah?"

"You said that was a big no-no?"

"If you're on separate teams, yes. You saw what happened to Trent in the original season because of that. You really don't want to do that." Mark then turned away, starting to fall asleep.

Soon, John was the only one in the trailer still awake. The other two teens were sleeping, snoring peacefully. John turned and looked out the same window Mark had gazed out, and could see the lake beyond the Film Lot, the light from the full moon above reflecting off the surface, making the water sparkle. Despite this beautiful sight, John couldn't help but think over and over again about what Mark had just said.

"You really don't want to do that."

John sighed heavily. Too late, eh.


TDA Aftermath II

The applause rose as the stage lit up, revealing the familiar geek sitting on a couch.

"Welcome back to another exciting episode of Total Drama Action Aftermath! Tonight, we're coming at you with all kinds of new surprises, games, and more never-before-seen footage from behind the scenes of Total Drama Action! I'm your host, Isaiah! And before we begin, I'll once again introduce our special guests!"

The geek gestured to the set of bleachers to the side, with ten special guests. They all waved at the audience, some half-heartedly, as they were introduced.

"Lauren!"

"Nicole!"

"Jessica!"

"James!"

"Suzie!"

"Samantha!"

"And Matthew!"

The most amount of applause, once again was for the season-winner.

"And of course, Madison is not with us tonight, due to the fact that she was recently picked to return for TDA!"

More applause.

"But for now, we've also got our special guests from the previous episode! Jeremy, Josh, and Ruth!"

The three aforementioned castmates, sitting with all the others, also waved.

"And tonight, we'll been interviewing four more special guests: the most recently voted-off castmates!"

The applause continued nonstop as he continued, "So here we go for another awesome episode of Total…Drama…Action…Aftermath!"

After nearly a minute more of applause, Isaiah finally spoke again.

"Now, to start the show, we're not introducing our guests just yet. First, we're gonna have a fun little segment you all might remember, called 'That's Gonna Leave a Mark'!"

More applause.

"We'll show you some of the most painful moments from this season of Total Drama Action! Are you all ready for some serious 'Ouch'?"

The audience simultaneously roared, "YES!"

"Good! Now let's start with the painful moment from Episode 6: GET READY TO ROCK!"

The giant, overhead screen switched to static, then showed the familiar image of John walking backstage, heading straight for the water cooler.

"Oh, yeah! John is about to drink a cup of ridiculously hot water!"

The audience all tensed as he quickly as grabbed a Styrofoam cup, held it under the faucet, and filled it nearly to the brim.

Isaiah, with his little computer on the table in front of him, zoomed in on the image.

"And look at that! That water is literally steaming and he doesn't see it!"

He then zoomed back out as the Goth raised the cup to his lips.

"And…there!" He paused the image as John had the cup at his mouth. He had already drunk half of the water.

"Look at that! He drank half of it before he felt it! Now take it all the way in slo-mo!"

The image progressed bit-by-bit as he pulled the cup away from his mouth, spewing out the water in his mouth. Due to his long, black hair, they could not see the look in his eyes, but they knew that they had to have been at least as large as dinner plates.

His mouth opened wide as he screamed in pain. His tongue was hanging out of his mouth, all swelled-up and almost twice its original size.

"Ha! Do you see that tongue? It's practically the size of a melon!"

The audience laughed, as did most of the special guests. A few, however, did not share his enthusiasm as much.

"Take it through."

The video returned to normal speed, in which John screamed in pain, fanned at his mouth and swelling tongue, then fell to the floor, still screaming.

"Ha, ha, ha! That has got to hurt! Now let's go to another episode, which has certainly contained its fair share of pain, it's Episode 7: The House of the Deceased!"

The audience applauded as the screen went from more static to a familiar sight: Madison running up a flight of stairs somewhere in the House. Two axe-wielding zombies followed her up the stairs. She kept running, but eventually stopped when she saw a zombie on a balcony above her, with a giant barrel in its hands.

"That zombie's totally gonna throw that barrel at her, right?" Isaiah asked as he paused the image there. "Well, yes. But it doesn't exactly hit its target."

He played the video some more, and the zombie reared back, then threw the barrel straight at her. Madison screamed and ducked, the barrel soaring overhead. Looking back, she saw the barrel tumbling down the stairs, eventually hitting the two axe-zombies and sending them flying down the stairs.

The audience burst into laughter.

"OK, wait, wait, wait! Now for the slo-mo version!" Isaiah then rewound the video to just when Madison ducked, then slowly played forward as the barrel hit the stairs, bounced once, then twice, then hit the first zombie. One corner of the barrel hit it in the chin.

The host paused it. "Look at that! Right in the chin! Ouch!"

He played it forward some more, and the first zombie flew backward and into the second zombie, sending them both tumbling down the stairs and off-screen.

The audience laughed again, then applauded.

"Yeah! That's some serious pain right there! Now here's another moment from that episode. It's where Jen…"

The audience booed at the mention of Jen's name.

"…right. As I was saying, here's where Jen finds a way to get rid of a zombie that's chasing her."

The screen showed Jen climbing up an old metal ladder, and into another room, with a spear-wielding zombie in pursuit. Jen looked around the room she was in, and eventually spotted the large chair in the corner. She ran over to it and started pushing it towards the hole where the top of the ladder was.

The spear-zombie was climbing up the ladder, and Jen was moving the chair closer and closer to the ladder.

"Yeah, that guy is so going to get it!" Isaiah said with a grin.

The chair slowly approached the edge, just as the zombie was reaching the top.

Jen gave the massive piece of furniture one final push, and it fell through the hole.

The zombie looked up and saw what was coming towards it.

"Oh, sh-."

The chair smacked the zombie face-first. Isaiah slammed the "Pause" button right there.

"Look at that! Ho, ho! He's probably gonna need some serious plastic surgery to fix his nose after that!"

The audience laughed again.

Isaiah then rewound the video, then played the moment of impact again, then rewound, then played it again.

"Ha! I just can't get enough!" After more laughter, he played the rest of it over in slow-motion. "OK, now here's the rest."

In slow-motion, the chair pushed the unfortunate zombie off the ladder, sending him straight towards the floor. The chair pushed the zombie hard against the ground, and the sound of the chair smashing in slow-motion almost resembled a crackling fire. They saw one of the zombie's arms sticking out from underneath the chair.

"Look at that! Oh, is your arm supposed to bend that way? I think not!"

He rewound it again, then played the final moments in regular speed. The chair pummeled the zombie, and both smashed hard against the floor.

"Yeah! There is a lot of pain on this show! And now, I'm sorry to say, it's time for one last moment in our 'Maim Montage' before we get to the special guests, alright?"

The audience expressed their approval through more applause.

"OK, now here's another moment from that same episode. Here's where Jen confronts Chef near the end of the task."

The video played, depicting Jen slowly walking through the Grand Courtyard. Just as she was about to reach the door at the far end, the bridge behind her exploded.

"What?" She turned around.

Chef, in his zombie outfit, emerged from the destroyed bridge, almost looking like he had smashed through the stone bridge.

Isaiah paused the video, then quickly explained. "OK, just wanted to clear it up; it looks like he smashed through that thing himself, right? Well, take a look."

He zoomed in on Chef's left hand (his other hand held the paintball gun), where they could all see a small, black device with a single red button on it.

"See that thing?"

He then rewound the video to right before the bridge exploded. He then zoomed in on the underside of the bridge, and sure enough, there was the small explosive planted underneath it just before it went off.

Isaiah chuckled. "Yeah, nice try, Chris. But that was just pathetic. Anyway, time for the part we all want to see!"

He then played the video normally. Chef crawled onto the shore, paintball gun in hand.

"You've gotta be kidding!" Jen exclaimed.

Chef chucked the detonator in his hand behind him and into the river, then aimed the paintball gun right at the cheerleader.

"I failed to get jock boy, so I'll settle for you!"

"AUGH!" Jen turned and tried to run, but Chef chased her, and eventually successfully shot her, knocking her to the ground.

Chef had the look of triumph on his face, thinking he had won, but then Jen swung her leg and knocked his own leg out from under him.

"Ow!" The large man hit the ground.

"And…stop!" Isaiah paused it, then played it slowly. Chef slowly fell out of the air and came in contact with the hard pavement, headfirst. His back then hit, and his legs flopped in the air before they also landed on the ground. Isaiah, enjoying the cruel chef's torture, rewound it and played it again.

"Look at that impact!"

Chef slowly and slowly came closer to the ground.

"See how he hits headfirst? That's gonna leave a mark!"

Then he played it regularly, showing Jen snatch up the paintball gun that had fallen out of Chef's hand, and aiming it right at his ugly face.

"Take this, Chef!"

"Augh!"

The screen then went to static, which was met with murmurs of disappointment from the audience.

"Yeah, I know. But they decided to edit out whatever followed next, since it would apparently boost ratings to 'leave more to the imagination', as Chris said.

"Anyway, that's all for this segment of 'That's Gonna Leave a Mark'!"

The audience applauded, and the overhead screen went black.

"Now it's time for the good stuff! Let's welcome back our first special guest! He was the fifth castmate voted off, and he's read over fifty Stephen King books in his life; please welcome back Tim!"

The applause-happy audience applauded yet again as the reader walked onstage, waving and smiling. He sat down on the couch.

"So, Tim. What are your thoughts?"

"About…?"

"The show? Your experience? Being the fifth voted off?"

"Well, the show was definitely interesting. It's not my favorite pastime, I can tell you that."

Laughter.

"My experience? Well, you tell me; having to endure Chef's food, Chris's torture, and knowing that a million dollars is at stake. Personally, I wouldn't do it again if I had the option. Emphasis on 'if', due to that cursed fine print that Chris is always rubbing in our faces."

"I feel your pain, bro. And the last question?"

"Being the fifth voted off? Well that's pretty early if you ask me. I mean, last season I was seventeenth out of twenty-two. That's…OK, I guess. But fifth out of thirteen? That's not too impressive. I was disappointed that I didn't last long; you would be, too."

"I guess so. Except for the fact that I was voted off first, not fifth!" Isaiah reminded him.

"Oops. Sorry. I guess that is worse."

"You bet it is!" Isaiah shouted, slightly angry. He then quickly shook it off. "Uh, anyway. So what about the reason for your elimination?"

"Oh, you mean that little incident between me and the brainiac?" He scoffed. "He deserved to go more than I did! He started it!"

"Technically, you both started it simultaneously." Jeremy commented.

"Well, I don't care! He was a jerk about it, and I wasn't about to let him get away with it!"

"Uh, I think you stated the first insult if I remember correctly." Isaiah corrected.

"What! No I didn't!"

"Oh, really? Let's let the camera footage decide that." He then gestured to the giant overhead screen. "This is the footage from one of the cameras when that unfortunate fight started." He explained.

The screen went to static for a moment, then replayed the familiar scene from Episode 5: "Super" Heroes?

John skidded to a stop as the brainiac raised his chili gun. "You're finished, Goth boy!" He declared.

John looked behind him and saw that Tim was also aiming his gun.

"Say 'chili'!" Luke shouted as he fired. At the same moment, Tim also fired his gun.

John dodged out of the way at the last moment, and the two blasts went further than intended.

The chili completely covered Tim, and Luke was reduced to a laughing mess.

"OW! HOT! IT'S HOT! OH, AUGH!"

"HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!"

"Oh, you think you're so funny?" Tim roared.

Luke briefly stopped his laughter to say, "Yeah? Well what's the (ha, ha) big idea? Spraying (ho, ho, ho) your own teammate?"

"You ought to talk, smart boy!" Tim raised his laughing gas gun defensively.

"You want to start something?"

"It's already been started!"

"BRING IT!"

The two then started blasting each other with chili and laughing gas.

The screen went to static again, then went black.

Tim sat there, speechless.

"See?" Isaiah asked.

"Well, you saw! He was laughing!"

"Because you blasted him with laughing gas!" All ten guests and Isaiah shouted.

Tim thought it over for a moment.

"…Oh."

"Yeah. 'Oh'. So you basically did start the fight."

Tim sighed.

"Well…I don't care. Then I guess we were both equally at fault, and he didn't get off any better than me! He was voted off next."

"True that."

"And did you see why he was voted off that time? That was even worse than what he pulled in the last episode!"

"You've got a point there. So you truly believe that he has done worse than you, and deserved to be voted off earlier than you?"

"I think the evidence speaks for itself."

"Well let's make this more interesting!"

"Huh?" The reader nervously asked.

"It's time for us to bring out our next special guest! He's in the debate team, the honors society, and the math club at his school, and his IQ is rumored to be over 199! Please welcome Luke!"

The familiar brainiac walked onstage, smiling at the audience and the guests, then frowned when he saw Tim. Reluctantly, he sat down on the couch, sitting opposite his ex-friend.

"So, Luke. How was your time on the show?"

"Well, I was glad to participate in the next season in general, but being the sixth voted off out of thirteen…that's almost halfway. That's about how I did last season, only this time I lasted longer than him!" He pointed at Tim.

"By only one episode!"

"Still, you deserved to go more than me!"

"Are you kidding? You blasted me with chili sauce!"

"You sprayed me with laughing gas!"

"You want to start something again?"

"I could take you any day!"

"I think it's time to go to another commercial break!" Isaiah declared.

"Yeah, that way the audience won't see all of the graphic images that are about to follow!" Luke shouted. "Your blood will be all over the place! It'll definitely put your queen Stephen to shame!"

"OH, NO, YOU DID NOT!" Tim roared. "YOU DID NOT JUST INSULT STEPHEN KING!"

"COMMERCIAL BREAK!" Isaiah declared.

Commercial Break

There is a cheesy version of a barber shop, with the familiar red, white, and blue pole out front (it is not spinning), with several "trees" nearby; cardboard cutouts of trees. One falls over. The background of a stage can be seen, with spotlights and such, and a man with long brown hair, a yellow cap, a white shirt, and green pants, sitting on a chair up in the rafters, looking down on the set.

A man walks up to the "shop." He has the worst hair imaginable: mud spread through it; several twigs and leaves in it; hair sticking out wildly in some places. He looks miserable as he sees his own reflection in the shop's window.

He walks into the shop, where the barber puts a magazine that he is reading down.

"Hello, sir. What can I do for you?"

"My hair is hideous! It's dirty, unruly, and it scares away the ladies! I need something to hunkify my hair!"

Then, in a cloud of pink smoke, Chris MacLean appears.

"CHRIS MACLEAN?" Both the barber and the ugly man exclaim.

"That's right, my friends. I'm Chris MacLean, the popular reality show host with the most handsome hair in the universe! I heard about your problem, and I have the solution!"

"YOU DO?" They ask.

"That's right. I'm introducing my incredibly product: the Chris MacLean Hair Gel!"

Chris reveals the small, pink bottle with his image on the front.

"One drop of this, and your hair is smooth, shiny, and irresistible! It can tame the wildest of hairdos!"

He hands the bottle to the ugly-haired man, who opens it and drops a single drop on it. There is another burst of pink smoke, and his hair is instantly smooth and shiny. Three hot girls instantly crowd around him.

"His hair is so Chris-like!"

Chris smiles, then turns to the camera. "You could be like him, too! Just order your very own bottle of Chris MacLean hair gel for only nineteen ninety-nine! That's right; only nineteen ninety-nine! So what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone and call this number right now!"

Then the voice of a man talking rapidly is heard once again.

"Call1-800-666-6667. That'srightcall1-800-666-. . Call1-800-666-6667. Callrightnow,operatorsarestandingby."

End of Commercial Break

Back at the TDA Aftermath studio, Tim and Luke are next to each other on the couch, each wearing straightjackets and glaring fiercely at each other.

Isaiah glanced at the two detained geeks and shook his head before looking back at the cameras.

"Welcome back to Total Drama Action Aftermath! Now, we've managed to cool down some of the tension around here, and I think we're close to settling this conflict between Tim and Luke. Now guys?"

The two stopped glaring at each other just to glare at the geeky host.

"Now, uh, we need to settle this; you guys have been fighting for weeks now! Won't you just let it go, and forget about that little accident?"

"Not until he apologizes!" Tim jerked his head towards Luke.

"No way! You started it! You apologize first!"

"Make me!"

"Just because I'm wearing this thing doesn't mean I can't take you down!"

"BRING IT ON, EINSTEIN!"

"STEPHEN KING FAN!"

"GUYS! CHILL…OUT!" Isaiah roared.

Both teens stopped and looked at the host.

"Look, why are you guys like this?" Matthew asked from the sidelines. Everyone turned to look at the previous season-winner. "You guys were best friends! You teamed up in the race for the million dollars last season! I mean, what happened?"

"I think I know."

Everyone looked at the one person they least expected: Lauren.

"It was the stress of the contest. You guys were on a losing streak, and you knew that a million dollars was at stake. It got to you, and when that accident happened, you both took your anger and stress out on each other. And now you both just don't want the blame for it, and you're willing to blame it on the other. But you guys need to focus on the real issue: you guys were best friends, just like Matthew said. You guys shouldn't be fighting like this. You should forget about what happened in the past. The contest is over; for both of you. Now, are you guys willing to get along, or what?"

Everyone looked from the prissy girl to the two special guests, then back at Lauren.

"Lauren…that was beautiful." Jeremy said, sniffing.

"Are you always handling things philosophically like that?" Matthew asked.

"I don't know; sometimes I just say things." She shrugged.

Meanwhile, Luke looked down at the floor shamefully. Tim sighed.

"Hey…maybe Miss Prom Queen is right." Tim said, slightly regretfully.

"Hey…" Luke started. "I'm…I'm sorry, man."

"I'm sorry, too. Guess the heat of the competition really did get to us, huh?" Tim replied.

"Yeah. Friends?"

"Definitely."

"Shake on it?"

They looked down at themselves, still all wrapped up.

"How about a head butt?"

"Sure."

They bonked heads, only for a loud CLONK! to be heard.

"OW!" They both exclaimed as they cringed in pain.

Everyone laughed at first, then applauded as the two bitter enemies became friends again.

"See? Everyone should just get along!" James commented.

Despite the pain in their foreheads, both Tim and Luke smiled and laughed weakly.

"Well, that was fairly easy to resolve." Isaiah commented. "However, I have a feeling that dealing with the next two guests won't be so easy."

Tim, Luke, and the commentators all looked at the host nervously, as they knew exactly what he was talking about.

"Everyone, please welcome our next guest! She's been editor of her school newspaper, and was recently part of the latest hookup of the season! Welcome back Rachael!"

Everyone applauded as the friendly girl walked onstage, sitting on the couch next to Tim and Luke.

"Hi, everyone! It's great to be here!"

"Hi, Rachael." They all responded.

"So, Rachael. We all know the tragic story about your elimination. What are your thoughts about it?"

Rachael chuckled half-heartedly. "Well, where do I begin? One of my friends betrayed me and hung me out to dry just to save herself, and to keep me away from my boyfriend! I still just couldn't believe that she did that! It was just…just…despicable!"

There was much applause in her favor.

"But at least she paid for it. Big time."

"True that, Rachael. True that."

"I mean, I don't necessarily want to fiercely hate her guts and all that, but I'm not ready to forgive her just yet. So good luck trying to resolve our problem."

"Fine. We'll see if we can't resolve this. Now, to make this interesting, we'll bring out our final guest for tonight! She was the last castmate to be voted off, and is the co-captain of her school's cheerleader squad, it's Jennifer!"

Isaiah gave an enthusiastic greeting, but the audience did not welcome Jen very warmly as she walked onstage, trying (and failing) to smile.

"Boo!"

"Jerk!"

"You suck!"

All of these and more, altogether had everyone in the theater (with the exceptions of Isaiah, Matthew, James, and Rachael) was booing and jeering as she sat down, and for a while after that. Luke, Tim, and Rachael all scooted away from her as she sat down.

Jen simply scowled.

"Uh, so, Jen?" Isaiah started.

"What?"

"Well, uh, I guess you're not too popular anymore now, huh?"

"Drop dead, Napoleon!"

Isaiah shuddered at the cheerleader's sudden ferocity. "Whoa! Um, right."

"Hmph!" She crossed her arms firmly. "I don't really care if everyone hates me or not. I made my point."

"Your point?"

"That if Mark is gonna pay more attention to some lowly, poor girl and not notice the more attractive and better-in-every-way girl that likes him, then he's going to learn the error of his ways!"

"Excuse me? Lowly, poor girl?"

"Yeah! I'm rich! I'm sure a heck of a lot richer than you!"

"You think so?"

"I know so!"

"Do we have to go to another commercial break?" Isaiah asked loudly.

"What you pulled out there was low! And don't even try to deny it!"

"Worth it to get you off the show! I was hoping to get to spend some time with Mark, but then that evil host decided to have a double-elimination that same night! Now I have four people on my list! You, Mark, Daniel, and Chris!"

"Ha! You say that you hate Daniel so much, and yet here you are acting like him by having 'a list'!"

"What? I'd never act like that dirty, rotten, evil, backstabbing, manipulative-."

"THAT DOES IT! WE'RE GOING TO SETTLE THIS NOW!"

Both girls, still growling at each other, looked at the host.

"Like I said before, good luck trying to settle this!" Rachael exclaimed.

"We don't necessarily intend to settle it; we just want to get you two to shut up! Anyway, here's how it's going to work: One of you will sit on that couch, and the other will stand up and give their side of the story. The person standing up is allowed to say anything they want, as long as it involves reasons as to why they're truly correct. If the other, however, interrupts in any way, the trapdoor underneath will open up, and they will fall into the pool of water below."

"Ugh! That cold water again?"

"Actually, this time, the water is boiling hot! It's estimated to be over 105 degrees!"

"You have got to be kidding!"

"Anyway, so the first to go up will be Jen."

There were many boos from all around as the cheerleader stood up, a smug grin on her face. Rachael remained on the couch, and Tim and Luke got up off of it as well.

"Now Jen, please begin."

"Thank you, Napoleon." She then turned from the geek to the audience. "Ladies and gentlemen of the audience; there is great reason for why I, Jennifer, deserve to go out with Mark more than she does!" She pointed at Rachael. "For one, I am prettier, more talented, richer, kinder, and I would make a better girlfriend than she ever could!"

"Just how exactly are you any of those-WAUGH!"

Rachael started to fall in when the trapdoor opened up. However, she managed to grab onto the edge and pull herself out just before she could touch the water.

"WHAT! Darn it! You were supposed to fall in!" Jen roared. "Napoleon?" She turned to Isaiah.

"Well, if she can actually resist it, there's nothing I can do."

"Come ON!"

After the trapdoor righted itself, Rachael sat back down on the couch, disgusted.

"Anyway, in response to its question: I am prettier because…well, look at me! I'm hot! I had more than seven guys ask me to the prom one year! I'm more talented because I've been in gymnastics, and I'm a cheerleader! I'm more athletic and talented than it!" She pointed again at Rachael. "And the rest speak for themselves: I'm rich because my daddy works for Donald Trump! I'm kinder because I'm always willing to give people a second chance!"

"You never gave her a second chance!" Tim angrily said, gesturing at Rachael.

"Well, that's because she stole my crush! I'd be a better girlfriend in every way since I'm all of the above things! I'd be sweeter to him, better to him than you, and I am more popular!"

A lot of people gasped, and waited to see how Rachael would react. She scowled at the cheerleader, then stood up.

"I must say, that was quite an argument, Jen." Isaiah nodded.

"I know." She sat down on the couch, and Rachael took the spotlight.

"Well, I'm not sure how to start. For one thing, I know that everything that Jen said is a load of crap."

Jen opened her mouth, ready to shout in protest. But then she looked down at the trapdoor around her, and kept quiet.

"She could be better than me. I mean, she may be richer than me, more athletic than me, more popular than me, all those things. But I guess Mark just sees something special in me that Jen lacks; the personality of a kind, sweet, humble girl."

A wave of "Awwww…" was heard after this.

"Besides, Jen ultimately missed her chance at Mark; she never really spent time with him, she never did anything for him. Well, technically, he did something for me. That night, at the concert, I was so scared! I thought I would get stagefright. But then Mark, with his kind, encouraging words and usual optimism, came in and helped toughen me up. He convinced me that it was nothing to be afraid of; that I should just relax and have fun with it! Which I did. And I'll always be grateful for that. The really cool thing about that is the fact that I don't know if he was doing that because he had a crush on me, or if it was just his usual, friendly behavior. If it was the latter, then it's cool that he would do that just to help me out, without giving any thought of who he was helping. And if it was because he liked me…well, then he should feel lucky to know that I've always liked him, too."

More "Awwww"s.

Jen simply crossed her arms, glaring something fierce at Rachael. Drama queen.

"All I can say is this: Mark, if you're out there watching and listening to this right now, then I want you to know that I miss you, and I'm still rooting for you! I hope you win this for both of us! And, as a side note: Daniel, if you're listening, I can see why you hate her." She pointed at Jen.

The audience laughed.

"If I had to choose between being on your side or hers, it'd be no contest."

That did it for Jen.

"WHAT WAS THAT? OH, THAT IS IT!" She jumped up off the couch and rolled up her sleeves.

"You want a piece of me! I could pummel you into the ground!"

"BRING IT ON!"

"Not again!" Isaiah screamed.

The two girls tackled each other, starting the long and strenuous fight. They were all over the stage, grabbing things to hit each other with, upsetting furniture and other objects, knocking over cameras and sending cameramen and interns fleeing for their lives. The ten commentators on the sidelines all crowded to the highest row of the bleachers to avoid being near the brawling girls. Isaiah dove behind the couch.

"This is crazy! Does every episode of this show have to have a fight in it?"

Eventually, the two girls ended up on the couch positioned over the trapdoor, still fighting and throwing insults.

"SNOBBY PROM QUEEN!"

"DRAMA QUEEN!"

"NO GUY WILL EVER LOVE YOU!"

"I WILL HAVE MARK EVENTUALLY! AND HE WILL LEARN THAT I TRULY AM BETTER THAN YOU!"

Isaiah looked over at the control console on the table in front of him. He quickly went up to it and started typing wildly.

After a few seconds, the words OPEN TRAPDOOR MANUALLY? appeared on the screen. Isaiah hit ENTER.

The trapdoor fell open, sending both girls tumbling into the hot water for the first and only time.

"WAUGH!"

"OW!"

"OH, MY GOD!"

"HOT!"

Isaiah looked away from the thrashing girls in the pool of steaming water and back at one of the few still-standing cameras.

"I think it's time to wrap up the show now…"

"I'LL SMASH YOUR SKULL!"

"So, uh, tune in next time to see more behind-the-scenes material…"

"THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING!"

A vase flew across the stage. Isaiah ducked as it soared over his head.

"…and more interviews and special guests! OK, see you next time! Bye! Goodbye! So long!"

"THE SHOW MAY BE OVER, BUT THIS FIGHT IS JUST STAR-."

Episode 8: Dinosaurs, Robots, and Taxes; Oh My! Part 1

"Previously on Total Drama Action: The two teams were officially dissolved. And as a special treat, Madison was brought back into the game. After being (heh, heh) escorted, into a giant, dark, and spooky maze of a haunted House, our eight castmates were faced with their first free-for-all task: to wander through the House, dodging booby-traps and zombies, and escape the House. The last person to walk through those doors was instantly eliminated.

"Even with the teams dissolved, the Mystery Castmate continued to sabotage other people's chances of winning, successfully diverting Mark into a pitfall, and attempting to do the same to Daniel, although they ultimately failed. After thwarting the Castmate's attempt, Daniel escaped the House first, and won Invincibility for the fourth time.

"John and Mark eventually ran into each other, and trekked through the House together. On the way, our favorite Goth boy actually approached Mark for advice on girls, as he apparently has a crush here. Boy, there's a lot of love this season, huh?

"In the last minute of the task, Jennifer and Rachael, the last two people in the House, met up just in front of the doors leading out of the House. Jennifer betrayed her friend, throwing her to the ground just to escape the House, and elimination. And also to get revenge on her for 'stealing' Mark. Pretty low, Jennifer. Pretty low.

"However, a dramatic twist revealed that there would be a double-elimination that night, where, in addition to Rachael's sudden-death elimination, one more castmate would be voted off as usual. After the ruthless and backstabbing stunt that Jennifer pulled, it was no shock when a vast majority of the votes were in her favor. So long, Jennifer!

"We're down to our final six castmates. Who will be the next to go? Will Mark be able to handle being separated from his girlfriend for too long? Will the Mystery Castmate's identity soon be revealed? Will Daniel's Invincibility-winning streak finally come to a crashing end? Find out all of these answers by watching the latest, most shocking, most dramatic, and most stunning episode yet, of Total…Drama…Action!"

...

The castmates all walked into the Craft Services Tent for breakfast. However, when they walked right on in, they noticed something suspicious: Jay was standing behind the counter instead of Chef.

"Jay? What are you doing here?" Mark asked.

"I am your chef for today." He blankly responded.

The castmates were a little cautious as they approached the counter, and took plates of food that he offered. Right away, they knew something was up. For the second time in the last week, the food looked good. Ham, pineapples, soup, everything.

"OK, this is just pathetic!" Daniel said to the large intern as he looked up from his cherry pie. "The food looks good! Again! Do you actually expect us to eat this after what you pulled last week?"

Then Chris walked into the Tent.

"Actually, yes. We do."

"Chris, what is going on here? Why is he here instead of Chef," Mary pointed at the man behind the counter. "And do you actually expect us to eat this?"

"Of course."

"Well, nice try, MacLean!" Daniel exclaimed. "But I'm not ready to be drugged again!"

Chris chuckled. "You don't have anything to worry about; the food's not drugged."

"Why should we believe you?"

"I'll explain: See, since I first hired Jay, I could tell right away that he was a much more loyal employee than any other we had. He failed to disappoint me in the task when I had him as a judge, and he does everything else without complaint. I told you already that I considered replacing Chef with him. Just yesterday, after dinner, the thought struck me. 'Hey, Chris. If Jay seems like a much better intern than Chef, then could he possibly be a better cook, too?'"

"Better? You actually want him to make better food for us?" Violet asked skeptically.

"No. I just wanted to see what he's made of. So today, I told Chef that he could sleep in, as breakfast would be a little late today, and then I told Jay that he could make you guys breakfast today. Just this once, he can make it as good as he wants, just to start out. If he meets my expectations, then he can be the show's new chef, and not Chef. So for today, for breakfast only, you can eat the most delicious food ever served here!"

"But I still don't get it; why let him cook good food if you plan to have him cook bad food for us?" Mark asked.

"If you're good at something, then you can just as easily be bad at something."

"That doesn't even make any sense!"

"Think of it this way: If you're bad at something, then you're not good at it, right?"

"Uh, right…?"

"But if you're good at it, then it's easy for you to do badly, right?"

"Um…I'm not sure if I get it…"

Before anyone else could get caught up in the pointless conversation, Madison took a bite of her turkey leg. She paused for a long moment after swallowing it. Everyone looked at her.

Nothing happened.

"He…he's right!" She exclaimed. "It's good food! It's good food!"

Everyone decided to take her word for it, and took a bite of their meals. After a moment of hesitation, they also realized that the food was absolutely delicious.

"She's right! And nothing bad is happening!" Daniel agreed.

Mark turned to Jay. "This food is awesome!"

Chris nodded approvingly. "I just wanted your guys' input. I plan to try some later today, but I just wanted you guys to test it first; to make sure it's edible. No offense, Jay."

The large man shrugged.

"So enjoy your food now; it will be the last good meal you will ever eat for the rest of your time here. Because I promise you that Jay will be cooking the most horrific food you can imagine! Right, Jay?"

"Sure, boss."

"Excellent." Chris then grinned evilly.

The castmates grimaced at the news, but then decided to take his advice and enjoy the food at the moment.

During all of the talk, all of the enjoyment, and all of the eating (the first in quite a while), John sat at a table away from everyone else. He could not stop contemplating his whole situation.

Make-Up Confessional

John: What am I gonna do, eh? Only now do I feel guilty about what I've been doing! Even if it was to help out the girl that I like, now I know that if they find out, I'm doomed! Sooner or later, I'll have to tell them. (Sighs)

End

Mark saw his friend all alone, seeming quite depressed, and walked over to him.

"Hey, man. You OK?"

John quickly perked up. "Uh, yeah, eh. I just, uh, didn't get a lot of sleep last night, that's all."

"Hmm, OK. Hey, you'd better hurry if you want some of this awesome food!"

"Um, alright."

John walked over to the counter and grabbed a tray with a cheeseburger on it, then sat back down.

As everyone almost finished their meals, the worst thing in the world at that moment that could've happened, happened.

Chef walked into the Tent.

Almost instantly, he saw someone else standing behind his counter.

"WHAT IS THIS! Why is HE standing behind MY counter?"

"Oh, crap." Chris turned to the castmates. "Uh, castmates? You'd better get out of here. Wait by your trailers or something, I don't know. Just wait for me to announce the next task."

The six castmates had no objections as they picked up their remaining meals and raced out of the Tent.

Chris then nervously turned to the stone-faced intern and the angry chef.

"So how exactly do you explain this?" Chef said, folding his arms firmly.

"Oh, boy." Chris sighed. Jay remained calm.

Make-Up Confessional

Chris MacLean: So, after a long and hazardous, uh, discussion, I managed to convince Chef to at least see for himself who was a better chef. So, I agreed to have him and Jay have a cook-off, to see who's better. It will happen after the challenge today.

Chef Hatchet: So, Mr. I'm-So-Tough-And-Such-A-Better-Cook-Than-Chef-Hatchet thinks he can best me, huh? Well, we'll just see about THAT! (Angrily slams fist against tabletop, causing it to collapse. His eyes widen) Oops.

Jay (absolutely calm expression on his face, but looking at the destroyed desk with a puzzled look. He shakes his head and looks back up at the camera): By the end of the day, I shall prove myself as the superior, and more adequate, chef than Hatchet.

End

The six castmates stood outside their trailers, calmly eating the last morsels of their food. John nervously looked over at his crush girl, then looked away, sighing heavily.

Mark looked at his friend.

Make-Up Confessional

Mark: 'Didn't get a lot of sleep', huh? I don't think so. Lack of sleep is no reason to be sighing all the time like that. I think something's bugging him, and I'll bet a year's allowance that it has something to do with his crush girl. I'll try to find out, and hopefully be able to help the guy out.

End

About an hour later, the now-impatient castmates looked up as the host approached.

"It's about time!" Daniel exclaimed, tossing away the bone of the rib he had just eaten.

"Sorry about that. Anyway, while Chef and Jay are busy, I'll explain your next task: Once again, we'll be returning to the lovable Sci-Fi Genre, in a dramatic scavenger hunt and race against time across six different time periods! Prehistoric times, medieval times, pirate times, the wild, wild west! Yee-haw!"

When Chris saw that his "yee-haw" got no reaction from the castmates, he cleared his throat and continued. "Right. Anyway, along with modern-day, and the future! In each era, you will face many kinds of dangers along the way; most appropriately, dangers that were common at those times, such as dinosaurs or robots, respectively. There are also evil, corrupt knights and gun-slinging bandits. And British soldiers against pirates! And of course, the worst of them all being the dangers of modern-day."

"What's so terrifying about that?" Mary asked.

Make-Up Confessional

Mary (sighs): Needless to say, we were all despaired by what followed next. (Sighs again) Me and my big mouth.

End

"I'm glad you asked that, Mary. In modern-day, A.K.A., today, there are the dangers that come with the recession-going-on-depression that we're in right now."

"We're in no recession!" Violet cried. "That's America! Why do you insist on bringing so much American stuff into this show if we're in Canada?"

The host shrugged. "What can I say? Canada's boring."

After a moment, he noticed the shocked looks on the castmates' faces, and his eyes widened as he realized his mistake. His hands flew up to his mouth. "Oh, crap! Darn it. Now that's going to bring in a lot of angry e-mails!"

"You'd better believe it will!" Violet retorted.

Chris shuddered at the thought of fan hate-mail, then reluctantly continued. "Right. Anyway. So, the dangers of modern-day include many terrible and frightening things. In modern-day New York, you will face much more than criminals and such. No, the main concerns are, dare I say it, tax collectors, politicians, and businessmen."

The six teens all gasped and shuddered.

"You can't be serious!" They all simultaneously exclaimed.

"Oh, I am serious."

All of the castmates then prayed that they would not be faced with modern-day.

"Continuing: I have six cards with me. You will be called up right now in a random order, and you will take a card."

Chris pulled out six small, paper cards.

"Each one will have a different time period written on it, the item from that time that you must retrieve, and some of the dangers you need to look out for in that era. Now, the first person I will call up is… …Daniel."

Daniel, with his fingers crossed, slowly approached the host. "Oh, please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please don't let it be the modern-day!"

He looked over the six spread-out cards, thinking of which one to take. He slowly reached for one on his far left. Slowly grabbing it, he pulled it out of Chris's hand and looked at it.

He breathed a huge sigh of relief.

"Phew! Prehistoric times!"

On the card, it said just that. "Era: Prehistoric times. Item: Pterodactyl egg. Description: A pale white with red polka-dots on it. Location: A nest high up on the side of a volcano. Hazards: Tyrannosaurus Rex, Saber-Toothed Tigers, Pterodactyls."

"Oh, great." The jock looked up from the card, then turned and walked back to the others.

"Next is…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…Violet."

The intelligent girl approached the host and eyed each of the five cards, knowing that any of them could be modern-day.

She eventually chose the card that was one card to her right of the middle card. She looked at it and read it aloud. "Era: The future. Item: Time Capsule. Description: Cylindrical, metal tube with two dark stripes across it. Says 'Time Capsule' on the side (duh). Location: The Earth Needle (you'll know what it looks like when you see it)."

Violet looked at Chris. "Oh, that's clever." She continued reading.

"Hazards: Rogue robots." She looked up again. "Sounds easy enough."

As she returned, Chris called up Mark. The optimist, not seeming too nervous, causally picked a card. It read, "Era: Pirate Times."

"ALRIGHT!" Mark cheered. He then read the rest of the card.

"Item: Treasure chest. Note: Nothing is inside the chest; the chest itself is the item. Which one? You'll know it when you see it. Location: Again, you'll know it when you see it. Hazards: Pirates, British soldiers, sharks, and sea monsters."

"Not so bad." Mark commented.

"Next, I will call…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…Mary."

Mary slowly walked up and looked at the three remaining cards. She at first moved to take the one on the far left, then quickly moved to the far right.

"Era: Wild, wild west. Item: Milk bottle (not just any milk bottle; the bottle of perfect milk) Location: You'll find it in the place you'd least expect it to be. Hazards: Bandits, bank-robbers, drunkards."

Mary shuddered, not knowing how bad it would be. She turned and rejoined the group.

"And next is…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…John."

The Goth swallowed nervously as he observed that there were only two cards left. He looked between the two, dreading the one that must've read "Modern-day."

He reached a hand forward, waving it back and forth over the two. He slowly reached for the one on the right. He paused as he grabbed it, glancing at Chris, then slowly picked it up. Trembling in fear, he read it.

The era he picked was…

…modern-day.

"!"

Chris shook his head at the Goth, now on his knees, pounding the ground miserably.

"Tough break, John." Chris then looked at Madison. "Looks like you automatically get Medieval times."

Madison took the final card from Chris, and read it. "Era: Medieval times. Item: Wizard's black cauldron. Location: The Wizard's layer; underneath the king's castle. Hazards: Corrupt knights, evil Wizard."

"OK, then. Now that you have received your time periods, it's time to start the challenge." Chris then turned and started walking off. The castmates followed. They soon arrived at their destination. A huge hallway that had to be at least thirty feet wide, and ninety feet long. There was no roof, but the walls stretched up to probably at least 200 feet tall. Down the hall were six massive doors; three on each side. Each one had large writing on it, such as "Prehistoric" or "Pirate".

"Each of these doors will lead to one of the time periods featured in today's challenge. Enter whenever you feel like it, but I suggest you get moving soon. Remember, once you enter, you can never come back out, until you claim your respective items. And, item or not, the last person to leave their respective time periods and cross the finish line is instantly eliminated; there is no Invincibility, or viewers voting tonight. It's that simple.

"Now, on your mark…get set…GO!"

The six castmates all raced to their individual doors and wasted no time in opening them and dashing inside. The massive doors all slowly closed behind them, with a loud CLANG! for when the locks slid into place.

John was the only one who hesitated in front of the door. The large, bold letters on the front clearly read "Today."

John sighed heavily.

Chris approached him. "So, Mystery Castmate, feel like this is your karma for all that you've done so far?"

John instantly turned to Chris with a wide-eyed look. Even with the long, black hair covering his eyes, the host could still see the white of his eyes.

"What?"

"That's right. I know what you've been doing since day one. And so does Chef."

John sighed and looked at the ground. "You're gonna tell them, aren't you?"

"Nope. That's up to you, my friend." Chris patted him on the shoulder.

"You're just torturing me be saying that I have to tell them, right?"

"Exactly."

John sighed. "Eventually."

Then, without another word, he walked through the huge door.

Make-Up Confessional

John: I never thought I'd say this, but Chris is right, eh. I have to tell them sooner or later. It'll be hard, but necessary. (Sighs)

End

Mark; Pirate Times

Mark walked through the huge door, and instantly found himself in an old, creaky room. The walls, ceiling, and floors were all made of old, splintery wood. An old fire lantern hung from the ceiling, and there was a wooden table in the middle of the room, with several maps and old compasses on it.

Despite all this, however, the one thing that Mark realized right away was that the room was slowly rocking side-to-side, creaking loudly as it did so.

"Whoa." Mark said as he stumbled to the side. "Uh-oh. I'm actually on a pirate ship?"

Make-Up Confessional

Mark: OK, so maybe I was stating the obvious, but see, the thing is, I've never really had my "sea legs", so to speak; every water-bound vessel I've ever set foot on, from little rowboats to huge cruise ships, I'd always get seasick and stumble around like a moron! I didn't know how I could possibly pull that one off!

End

Mark looked out the huge windows lining one wall, and could see only ocean, ocean, and more ocean, with a fairly yellow sky above it, dotted with very few clouds.

Mark sighed at first, then turned to the one other door in the cabin. It was small, with a screen in it, dotted with many little squares. He peeked through the screen, and could see a long, dark, and damp hallway, lined with many similar wooden doors. He slowly pushed the door open, and stepped into the hallway.

As Mark crept through the hallway, the ship shifted again, lurching to the side briefly. Mark stumbled to the side, crashing through one door. He stumbled into the room, and landed right on one of the hammocks, where one pirate was still sleeping…until now.

"ARGH!" The pirate rose from his hammock, brandishing a sword. "What be the meaning of this, laddie? Disturbing me peaceful slumber?"

"I…I'm sorry! I stumbled, and…"

"Get outta here! Get outta me quarters; NOW!"

Mark wasted no time in obeying the man (intern or not, he was still terrifying), and ran out of the room and into the hall.

Looking back only once, Mark quickly continued down the hall. It seemed endless, going on and on and on and on.

"How long is this thing?"

Finally, as if to answer his question, he could barely make out a small light at the end of the hallway.

"Is that…?" Mark then ran down the hall as fast as he could, straight towards the ever-growing light.

Violet; The Future

Violet walked through the huge door, and at first, she was in complete darkness. She looked around nervously, not knowing which way to go.

Then the chamber she was in was flooded with a bluish light. The walls were made of a sleek, shiny metal, and the whole chamber appeared to be dome-shaped. There was a twisted, fancy light fixture hanging from the ceiling, and various pieces of furniture, such as a chair that was in a large, half-bubble of glass and hanging from the ceiling. All of the windows in the wall were perfectly circular, like a ship's porthole.

Violet walked cautiously through the chamber, past the odd-looking furniture in the room, and towards the door. The door was stranger than a normal door; the top of it curved into a dome shape instead of a typical rectangular door. She saw that there was no doorknob.

"How am I supposed to open this?"

Suddenly, just as she was a single footstep's distance from the metal door, it instantly slid up and out of the way, sliding up into the ceiling. Violet was stunned, but quickly walked through the now-open doorway anyway.

She found herself in a bizarre world. Obviously a recreation of a futuristic moon city. The ground was a soft, white material with many craters, massive and small, dotting the landscape. Beyond the city and its huge skyline were the stars and the never-ending blackness of space.

There were many bizarrely-shaped structures, with antennas on the top. Violet turned and looked back at the small abode that she had just exited, and saw that it also had a massive antenna protruding from the top.

She looked back and saw more of this city; there were hovercrafts zipping around all over the place. They were small and white, with small, cylindrical tubes on the backs of them, with steams of energy shooting from them, propelling them forward. The "windshields" were huge domes that took up a majority of the crafts' surface. There were no wheels or headlights, like on a regular car.

She looked farther through the city, and could see many more incredible structures, much taller and more futuristic-looking than the small one she had come from. There were many skyscrapers that were like giant spirals, rimmed with walkways along the edge, and dotted with many round windows. There were also billboards that appeared to be hovering in midair, each displaying futuristic ads. One such example was one that stood right next to the house she had emerged from, which read, "Quadron Productions' Brand New Hoverpack 500. Buy One Now! Only $19.99!"

"Geez. If only they were that cheap." Violet said to herself.

She then looked once again at the futuristic skyline. This time, she saw what she was looking for. It was a towering structure that stood proudly above all the other building. It bore an obvious resemblance to the Space Needle, only it seemingly had the impossible height of the CN Tower. Violet knew that this was obviously the "Earth Needle" that Chris had referred to. That was where her prize was.

"Piece of cake." Violet said. And with that, she walked off through the city and towards the Needle.

Make-Up Confessional

Violet: Little did I know that having to go through what I went through would be anything but a "piece of cake."

End

Madison; Medieval times

Madison, after walking through the door, instantly inhaled a wretched stench. She quickly pinched her nose.

"Ackh! What ith that stinth?"

She moved a little further, and she found her answer.

She was in a stable, lined with stalls inhabited with cows. The floor of the stable was covered in hay.

"Figures." She said, moving farther away from the cows and towards the huge door. She slowly pushed it open and saw the small medieval village around her, with small buildings, some made of stone and brick, some made of adobe.

She then got a load of the people; the women wearing bonnets and dresses, and the men wearing tunics and tights and such.

Madison rolled her eyes at this sight.

Make-Up Confessional

Madison (shaking her head): Man. Those interns are so not paid enough for what they have to do here.

Green-Tight-Wearing Intern 1 (looks down at himself): Yeah, these things aren't the most comfortable clothing in the world.

End

Madison didn't know what to do. She looked down at her card, and reread the part about the Location of her Item. "The Wizard's layer; underneath the king's castle." She read aloud.

A passing "civilian", a woman carrying a milk churner, heard her and approached her.

"Did ye say the Wizard's layer?"

"Um…yes…?"

"Aye! That place be cursed! No one ever goes there, an' walks out alive!"

"Um…OK…Look, cursed or not, I need to go there and get something."

"If ye dare to brave the Wizard himself, then ye must go to the royal king's castle." The lady pointed behind Madison. She turned and looked. She could see that, far beyond the village, was a massive castle on a hill, with a winding path leading up to it.

"Thine cursed layer be beneath it."

"Uh, thanks, I guess."

Madison slowly took a step backwards, then turned and ran off towards the castle.

I'm not sure what that was, but at least I know where the castle is now. She thought as she ran.

Daniel; Prehistoric times

The jock stepped through the giant door, and when it closed behind him, he found himself enveloped in darkness. He slowly felt around him, and the cold metal of the door behind him was the first thing he felt, but he knew that would do him no good. The next thing he felt was solid rock. He kept his hands on the wall and waited for about a minute before his eyes adjusted. He could barely see the outline of several stalagmites on the floor around him, as well as some columns. In the distance, he could hear dripping water.

He was in a cave.

"Of course."

Daniel then peered into the darkness as far as he could, and thought that he could just barely see a light.

"Only one way out."

He then started walking towards the light.

Make-Up Confessional

Daniel: Sure, that cave was dark and all, but I wasn't afraid. The main thing was that that cave went on forever! It basically had no end! I was lucky to reach that thing in fifteen minutes!

End

After what seemed like an eternity, Daniel finally reached the end of the cave. His eyes burned from the sudden light, but they eventually adjusted.

He looked around, and saw a vast jungle surrounding him. The air was quite humid, and he could already feel sweat on his forehead. Some of the trees stood nearly four stories tall. Some had foliage that draped down to the ground. Looking up past the trees, he could see a towering column of smoke in the distance, presumably a volcano.

"Volcano…"

Daniel then remembered the card. He pulled it out and looked at it. "Location: A nest high up on the side of a volcano."

He looked back up at the smoke tower. "Oh, boy. You have got to be kidding me."

Daniel realized that that must be the volcano the card referred to, and that it seemed very far away. But he had no other choice.

"I've got no other choice." Daniel then started to walk through the jungle towards the tower of smoke.

After barely a minute of walking, Daniel already felt exhausted from the humidity.

"Why…Why do I feel so tired? I'm Daniel!"

Despite saying this to assure himself of his strength, he decided to lean against a nearby tree trunk.

Only a few seconds after he leaned on it, the trunk moved.

Daniel could feel it lift up behind him, then lift away, letting him fall to the ground.

"Ow! What the…?" He looked behind him, then slowly looked up.

"OH MY GOD!"

The "trunk" he had been leaning on was actually a dinosaur's leg. A Tyrannosaur's leg, to be exact. And the dino did not look happy.

It leaned close to Daniel, then roared with all its might, sending many leaves and tree branches behind the jock flying off. And his shirt, too.

"!"

Daniel turned and ran for his life, the massive creature right behind him.

Make-Up Confessional

Daniel: OK, in retrospect, it wasn't really anything to get all freaked out over…But hey, that thing was huge! And besides, just because it's an animatronic doesn't mean it still can't hurt you!

End

Mary; Wild, wild west

Mary, having walked through the massive door and into the western times, now found herself in a saloon. She could hear the sound of men laughing and bottles clinking, and a piano being played in the background. There was a staircase in front of her that led down. She slowly descended it, and soon found herself in the saloon itself. Men sitting at tables and playing cards, some having drinking contests, some talking and laughing. Against a far wall was an old piano, where a skinny man sat, casually playing it. Behind the counter, a man was cleaning off mugs with a rag.

Mary slowly started walking through the place, and was relieved that no one paid her any mind.

Suddenly, there was a SMASH!

Mary turned and looked, and saw a large, burly man holding the shattered half of a bottle in one hand, the other clenched into a fist. He was angrily confronting the equally large man before him.

"So, ya think ya can insult me an' my mother?"

"I can do more than that! I'll leave ya for dead in the middle of yonder desert for the vultures to pick away!" The other man was stumbling around and slurring his words as he talked. He was clearly supposed to be drunk.

"I'll take ye down!"

The two tackled each other and started fighting, upsetting a nearby table. The piano music instantly stopped, replaced by the sounds of scuffling, cursing, and the occasional smashing of glass. All other men scurried out of the way as the two men fought their way all around the saloon.

When the two men were near the piano, one of the men, the one who had apparently insulted the other man's mother, grabbed a bottle resting on the edge of the piano and instantly smashed it to pieces on the other's head.

"DOW! You shall pay!"

When Mary looked around some more, she saw that most of the other patrons had simply resumed their business.

It was just an average day at the saloon.

Mary then saw the shattered bottles all around, and the memory hit her.

Bottles?

The card had said that the item she was looking for was a bottle of perfect milk.

She then looked back at the bar. Bottles lined the shelves behind the counter.

Could it be that easy? Mary thought. She thought about it for a moment, then shrugged. Ah, what the heck.

Mary then walked up to the bartender.

"Ah, what can I do for you, young missy?"

"Yeah, hi. Um, do you sell milk here?"

The chubby man laughed a hearty laugh. "Sorry. But this here is a bar; no milk to be found."

Mary's shoulders sagged.

"However, there be a milk bar across the street." He gestured through the saloon's swinging doors across the street, to a similar, two-story wooden building, with a large, horizontal sign hanging over the door, which read "Milk Bar." In between the words "Milk" and "Bar" was the image of a cow's head.

Mary was a little stunned that there were milk bars (which there probably weren't), but she knew that the milk bar had to be the best place to look.

Mary turned back to the bartender. "Thanks."

"No trouble. No trouble at all."

Mary then turned and started to walk out of the saloon.

"Oh! But first, you'll need proof of membership."

Mary's heart sank. "What?"

"That place be a 'strictly members-only' place, it is."

"Oh, great. So what's the 'proof of membership'?"

As if to answer that question, Mary saw one man walk out of the bar. Atop his head was the "proof of membership": a cow hat. The top of it was the cow's head, with the black spots here and there, the ears, the cow's droopy eyes, and its snout protruding over the wearer's head. One long strap stretched below it to wrap around the wearer's head, going alongside their heads, past their eyes, underneath their chin, and back around again to securely fasten it.

The whole thing looked… … …ridiculous.

You've got to be kidding me. Mary thought to herself. She then shook her head and turned back to the bartender.

"So where can I get one of those?"

The man stroked his huge, handlebar mustache. "Well, they be pretty rare these days. I used to have one meself, but I got too old for that place an' got rid of it."

"OK, so where can I get one?" She asked again.

Then there was a loud yell from behind them. Both Mary and the bartender turned and looked to see the two brawling men still fighting. The one who had started it all, by accusing the other of insulting his mother, had slammed the other man onto a table, smashing the table to pieces. From the man's pocket flew one of those hats. It bounced off another still-standing table, and landed at Mary's feet.

"Hey! That be mine! I need that!" The man started to move towards Mary, but the other held him back.

"That won't be the only thing ye'll be needin' when I'm through with you!"

They soon resumed fighting, and Mary casually bent down and picked up the hat. Looking at it, she shook her head again.

Ridiculous or not…I still need that "bottle of perfect milk." And I know that the only way to get it is to play along.

She then put it on her head, placing the strap underneath the hat around her head, and shuffled the cow head itself into place on top of her head.

"That's better." The bartender commented. He then went back to cleaning mugs.

Mary looked across the street at the Milk Bar. She then glanced up towards the hideous thing on her head.

"Glad that I live in the twenty-first century." She muttered to herself as she walked out of the saloon.

And last, but not least: John; Modern-day (duh, duh, duh!)

John slowly stepped through the huge door, prepared for the worst. He couldn't hear a single sound other than the slight whisper of wind. He was in a dark, narrow alley that stretched to a length of fifty feet. John could see the sliver of light at the end. He gulped nervously, then started forward.

As he walked through the alley, he could hear the sound of a rat scurrying. As he walked, his feet stepped in something that was in between a liquid and a solid; almost like Jell-o. John merely shook it off.

When he emerged from the stinky alley, he looked around him to see a long city street. It looked perfectly… … …normal. The buildings were your average, every-day apartment buildings, restaurants, and so on. It looked like the kind of street you'd see in the Big Apple itself; New York City. The shortest building on the street couldn't have been shorter than 200 feet. There was garbage polluting the sidewalks, and on the streets.

"Yep, this is New York, alright." John said to himself.

He looked back at the alley he had just come from. He knew that he would have to remember which one it was if he ever wanted to return. On one side of the alleyway was a huge hotel, with a vertical sign reading, "Heartbreak Hotel." It was made of red, brick masonry, and rose to be seventeen stories tall. On the other side of the alleyway was a clothing store that was no more than ten stories, with a sign stretched out between the first and second floor which read, "MacLean's."

"Real cute, Chris." John shook his head, then turned back to look at the city that surrounded him.

The thing that struck him the most was that it was completely deserted. There were no civilians, no passing cars (no cars at all, actually, except for a few parked ones along the street). There was not a single sound.

"…Or maybe not. Something's fishy here, eh."

He slowly started walking down the sidewalk, glancing side-to-side as he walked, keeping an eye out for any…"

"WE'RE GOING INTO A RECESSION! PAY YOUR TAXES!"

John stopped dead in his tracks, and was nearly thrown backwards when the man popped up in front of him. He wore a cheesy business suit that looked extremely overpriced. He wore a pair of glasses, with tape in the middle of them. He had a light blue tie with white polka dots on it, and a tag which read, "IRS Revenue Agent." In his left hand was an old, brown briefcase. He popped it open and pulled out a rolled-up piece of paper.

"Jonathan H. Louis?"

"Um…yes?" John responded, answering to his full name.

"Here is a list of your taxes."

"But I'm only sixteen, eh!"

"Here is a list of your taxes." The man repeated. He unrolled the tiny piece of paper…

…and it unrolled all the way down the sidewalk, for nearly a whole city block and a half.

"!"

The Goth tore down the street as fast as he could, leaving tax collector far behind.

Make-Up Confessional

John (still clearly shaken-up from the encounter with the tax collector): Taxes…taxes…tax-huh? Well, it may not be the scariest thing in the world, but tax collectors are pretty scary these days, eh?

(Sighs) OK, here's the thing: When I was only seven, one of my closest and best friends, Caleb, and his family were eaten alive by taxes and debt. They lost all of their possessions, their home, and were evicted. We were unable to play together ever again. The last time I ever saw Caleb, he was living behind an old dumpster. He looks into my eyes (points at his covered-up eyes) and says to me, "John, don't end up like me, eh. And always watch out for those buzzards. Taxes are a real- (John shakes his head) Well, you get the idea. And this was only one out of hundreds of examples I had seen of people destroyed by tax collectors. Ever since then, I've been scared to death of them.

End

John, totally out of breath, finally stopped after putting about eight city blocks' distance between him and the tax collector.

"Phew! (Pant, pant) No wonder those guys (pant) are considered (wheeze) to be really corrupt in the Bible, eh?"

He slowly walked on, keeping an eye out for more tax-hungry men, but saw none.

John looked up and saw a massive digital clock on the side of one of the buildings. It read: 2:46 P.M. NOVEMBER 1, 2008.

John at first looked away casually, then his eyes shot back up to the date.

"Wait…November 1, 2008?"

He knew instantly what that meant. "Oh, NO!"

"THE TIME IS NEAR! VOTE NOW!"

John turned to see the source of the yell; a woman in a business suit, with a sticker on her shirt that read, "I'm a Democrat; Deal With It!"

"VOTE NOW! VOTE NOW! VOTE NOW!"

She held up a flier, which depicted Uncle Sam pointing at the reader. Below him were the words, "I Want You…To Vote!"

"!"

John screamed and ran down the street, only running past more politicians along the way, all chanting the same thing.

"VOTE NOW! VOTE NOW! VOTE NOW! VOTE NOW! VOTE NOW!"

And even worse than the politicians, John saw massive posters and billboards all over the place.

"Vote Now!"

"Vote Barack Obama!"

"Vote John McCain!"

"Vote Chuck Norris!"

"OH MY GOD, EH! THIS PLACE IS TERRIBLE!"

John found himself racing past all kinds of horrors like this: politicians and tax collectors, everywhere at once.

After what seemed like an eternity, he finally escaped them by running into an old warehouse.

Panting heavily, he leaned against a hard, metal wall and slowly sank to the floor.

"(Pant, pant, pant) Oh…(pant, pant)…my…(pant)…God."

He then slowly reached into his pants pocket and pulled out the info card.

"Era: Modern-day. Item: Boss tax collector's silver briefcase. Location: Local IRS office. Hazards: Tax collectors, politicians, thieves."

"What's the difference, eh?" John said to himself after reading the "Hazards" part.

But then, focusing on the issue at hand, he realized something. He had no idea where the "IRS office" was. At first, he thought he was done for. But then he looked at the wall opposite him, and saw it: a map.

"Really…?"

He walked up to it, and sure enough, it read, "Map of the city (duh)."

"How convenient." He then quickly scanned through all the names and words printed over the map, looking for anything that read, "IRS."

After about a minute or so of searching, he saw it: "IRS Headquarters."

He looked at the name of the street it was on, which was "Jay Way."

"Figures." The Goth rolled his eyes again before reading further. He then saw the huge, red dot on the map, and below it was "You Are Here." John then placed his finger on the red dot, and started tracing the path from the warehouse to the IRS office. There were so many twists and turns, and it was so far away that it hurt his finger to trace it.

Finally, John came up with another plan. He tore the map off the wall.

"OK, just gotta follow this thing, and before I know it, I'll be there!"

He then remembered, and leaned out the doorway. Roaming the streets outside were many of the politicians, still waving their "Vote Now!" signs; and the tax collectors, with their briefcases and damaged glasses.

"This is gonna be tougher than I thought, eh."


Episode 8: Dinosaurs, Robots, and Taxes; Oh My! Part 2

Violet; The future

Violet had wandered through the Moon City, and already noticed one thing; there were no other humans there. All she had seen were robots, robots, and more robots. She could never get a good glimpse into any of the hover vehicles she had seen zip by all the time, but she assumed that they were also driven by robots. Every robot she had passed by had not spared even a passing glance; they were always solely focused on the direction they were going.

She had passed by many futuristic restaurants and business and salons. They all had the initial tubular shape in their architecture, and were made of a sleek metal.

After endless walking, she finally reached the base of the massive Earth Needle. She craned her neck and looked up as high as she could, looking up at the massive structure looming above her. It consisted of several massive support beams underneath it that all sloped towards each other as they drew higher. Halfway up, they joined into one massive beam for a bit higher before they branched out again, the multiple branches all supporting the chamber at the top, which was almost shaped like a flying saucer. Huge windows could be seen on the side; clearly for observation. A huge antenna rose from the top of the chamber.

Directly in the middle of all the support beams, both separate and as one beam, was the huge elevator shaft. Violet knew that that was her way inside. She looked back down at the base and could see the entryway leading to the elevator. This was the first time she ever saw other people there. They all wore large, white, spacesuits with huge helmets, and golden straps lining them. This was the first time she saw other people; yet it was the one place she wouldn't want to see them; the line was easily nearly 400 feet long.

"Figures. Ah, well. I guess there's only one way in."

Violet then walked up to the back of the line.

"After all, patience is a virtue."

After nearly forty-five minutes of waiting, it was finally her turn to get into the elevator, along with several others. The ride up was insanely fast, and only took about a minute. When the elevator arrived, she stepped into the Earth Needle's observation deck. There were many other people walking around; some were looking at the view, some where sitting at tables and eating food, and there was one large group following a tour guide, who was dully giving them information on the Earth Needle.

"…And that, folks, is why the Earth Needle is considered the greatest landmark on the Moon. It was created as an extra-terrestrial counterpart to the equally famous Space Needle back on Earth. It is the single most popular tourist attraction here on the Moon, and it is extremely crowded today, as today is the centennial 'Opening of the Time Capsule' day."

Time Capsule? Violet thought. That sounds familiar…

"The Time Capsule is nothing less than the single most significant item on the Moon since the original American Flag from the '69 Moon Landing, nearly 2000 years ago."

That long?

"It will be opened today, and its contents displayed to the public for approximately a week, before we add one of our own era's items into it, seal it, and then return it to its place within the Moon's surface. And you may be wondering why there is so much extra security around here…"

She gestured to the many armed guards who patrolled the halls of the observation deck, as well as those floating around on hoverpacks outside.

"Well, it's because the events of 100 years ago are still fresh in our minds: the day of the single greatest and most devastating rogue robot attack in history occurred. The largest, most dangerous, and most sophisticated model of the Alpha-Delta line of robotics, the AD Model 5000, attacked the Earth Needle, and nearly brought it down, all just to get that Time Capsule."

"Why so important?" One tourist asked.

"The model believed that the contents of the Capsule were the most priceless artifacts of our millennium, and would make a fine prize."

"Since when did a robot care about money?"

"Most investigators of the case don't believe that it wanted the money. It was probably trying to retrieve them for its creator, who is believed to be hiding somewhere on Mars. But that's not important right now. The important thing is that, just before it was driven away, it swore it would return on that same day, 100 years later, to seek revenge and claim its prize. So our state-of-the-art security is here to ensure the Time Capsule's protection, so that-."

Just then, the lady's dull talk was instantly interrupted by a massive explosion that tore away half of the observation deck, shattering glass and sending tourists flying.

Violet was barely able to keep her footing as a wave of energy blew through the room. Amidst all the dust, she saw the source of the explosion.

It was a massive robot, which probably stood around forty-five feet tall, maybe taller. Its body was initially very rectangular, with all kinds of flashing lights and switches and such on it. Its eyes were blood red, and there were two, small antennas sticking out from the sides like ears. The mouth was frozen in a permanent, toothy scowl. Stretching from the torso were the tubular arms. At the end of the arms were the hands; massive pinchers that were sharper than a sword. The legs were also tubular, and the feet were actually cones, with fire shooting out of them.

All of the other people also saw it, and it was complete pandemonium.

"AAUUGGHH! It's the Alpha-Delta Model 5000!"

"It's returned!"

"RUN!"

Everyone instantly started running around and screaming.

"I…have come…for my…prize!" The Robot declared. The teeth in its scowl flashed on and off as it spoke.

"Not if we have anything to say about it!" One of the security guards declared. He, and all of the other guards inside the Earth Needle, instantly drew their weapons.

"Fire!"

They all started shooting nonstop at the massive Robot, the flashing of the guns blinding, and the sounds deafening.

Violet covered her eyes and slowly backed away, only to bump against something. She quickly turned around to face the glass case she had hit. And inside the case was none other than the Time Capsule she was looking for. It sat on a small, metal pedestal within the huge, glass box. Above the whole setup was a huge banner, which read, "Centennial Day, 4013."

"The Time Capsule!" Violet exclaimed. "But how am I going to get it?"

Daniel; Prehistoric times

Daniel was weaving in and out of the trees, smashing through branches and jumping over ditches as the huge Tyrannosaur continued chasing him. Every time he simply knocked a branch out of the way, it would swing back into place, only for the dinosaur to step on it and completely break it off. Every time one of its feet hit the ground, it made a loud BOOM!, and left a massive footprint behind it. Everywhere he went, the dino followed.

"Darn it! How the heck am I gonna lose this thing?"

With every passing minute, it drew closer and closer, occasionally leaning down and attempting to chomp him.

"Yikes!" He yelled after the last close call. "Chris! I'll get you for this!" He roared to the sky.

Finally, he managed to lose the beast, but not in the way he wanted.

As he was running, he eventually looked behind him to see how far behind the dinosaur was. Without looking ahead, he easily ran right into a small canyon.

"WAUGH!"

He fell at least fifteen feet to the bottom of the ditch. "Oof!"

He landed in a soft path of plants. The jock was completely stunned by the sudden fall. He shook his head, then looked back up at the dinosaur that had been following him.

The Tyrannosaur looked down the canyon after him, but obviously was not going to try to jump in after him. With a snort, it turned and lumbered off.

"Phew! Lost him!"

Daniel then stood up and observed his surroundings. The walls of the ditch were at a total ninety-degree angle; impossible to scale up normally. But he did notice also that the walls were littered with vines and drooping plants, which would be perfect to climb up.

Smirking, the jock walked up to the nearest vine, grabbed hold, and started climbing out of the pit. However, halfway up the wall, it hit him like a baseball bat; the strange, uncomfortable sensation of an uncontrollable itch.

"What the…EYAH!"

Reeling in pain from the sudden urge to scratch, he flew off of the vine and fell back down to the bottom of the ditch, wildly trying to scratch his back as it itched wildly.

"Why…does it…ITCH so much?"

He then thought of something, and looked down at the plants he was lying in at that moment, the same plants he had landed in when he first fell into the ditch. His eyes widened in horror.

Poison Ivy.

"Oh, come ON!" He then continued scratching his bare, itching back repeatedly.

Make-Up Confessional

Daniel: First I lose my shirt when that, that thing roars at me; then I fall into a ditch; then I land in Poison Ivy! I just can't stand this! Argh! (Slaps forehead in frustration) This is one of the worst challenges I've ever had to do!

End

Daniel continued scratching at the ever-growing redness on his back, unaware that, just above him, something was watching, and waiting to strike. After a few moments of waiting and watching, it made its move.

The Bear leapt into the pit, landing right behind the jock. Daniel instantly felt the THUMP! as it landed behind him.

"Huh? What?" He turned around, and instantly found himself face-to-face with the Bear.

"What the…? Oh come ON! REALLY? What the heck is a bear doing here in Prehistoric times!"

In the Control Tent…

Chris looked at the screen where the angry jock was confronted by the Bear. Turning to the camera, he shrugged and said, "What can I say? We all love the Bear; why not bring him back for one more day?"

Back at the Prehistoric set…

Daniel slowly backed away as the Bear drew closer to him.

"Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, CRAP. What the heck am I gonna do?"

He then heard something crunch underneath his foot, and he looked down at the Poison Ivy.

"That's it!" He quickly snatched up a huge bundle of the cursed plant.

"If it's already touched me, then it won't bother me anymore! I just hope it will affect the Bear!" He then thrust the plant forward and rubbed it around in the Bear's huge face. The creature reeled back at first, sneezing once. At first, it showed no reaction to the plant.

Then it happened.

The Bear instantly collapsed to the ground, feebly trying to scratch its face.

"HA! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha-ha! Take that you big, stupid animal!"

The Bear growled at him, then took a single slash.

"Yipe!" The jock jumped back as the huge claw swung through the air where he had been standing. The Bear then growled again before resuming with the scratching.

Daniel sneered at it, then turned and started climbing up the vine once more.

Once he was at the top, he instantly ran as far away from the pit as he could.

"Phew! Am I glad to get away from that thing!"

Suddenly, he tripped on a loose root of a nearby tree. Daniel went flying through the air.

"WHOA!"

Then, as he flew, he suddenly hit a massive rock wall.

"OOOOWWWWWWW!"

Daniel crumpled to the ground, clutching at his throbbing head in pain.

"Ow…why I oughta-."

Daniel then looked up at the thing he hit, and was shocked. The rock wall that he had hit actually slanted upward as it grew higher. It was sheer rock, and had a slightly pinkish-red hue to it. But this wasn't the thing he noticed instantly about it. The thing he did notice was the huge plume of smoke rising from the summit of it.

Just like a volcano.

"Could it be…?"

He then noticed one particular part of the wall of the volcano; a small, yellowish-brown dot against the rock. Looking at it as closely as he could, he could see the fairly round shape of it, and he knew that it was unmistakable what it was: a giant nest.

Daniel remembered how his card had clearly said that the Pterodactyl's nest was high up on the wall of a volcano. This had to be it. Daniel continued staring up, realizing the impossible height of the volcano.

"Darn it. You have got to be kidding."

Suddenly, he heard a huge roar in the distance. Turning towards the direction it came from, he could see flocks of birds take off from the trees as the roar bellowed across the valley.

"Time to go."

Daniel then quickly turned and started climbing up the rock wall, towards the huge nest.

Mary; Wild, wild west

Mary, having donned the "proof of membership" hat for the Milk Bar, walked across the dusty dirt street towards the Milk Bar. As she did, she glanced around at the town surrounding her.

It consisted of most typical buildings you'd see in an old Western town; a bank, a sheriff's office, etc. Various townsfolk wearing clothing common of that time period were walking around, going about their business. Mary looked around for a bit, then turned her attention back to the Milk Bar.

She slowly entered through the swinging doors. The atmosphere of the Milk Bar was definitely much more pleasant than the other bar. It was calm, with murmuring and soft conversing of patrons in the air. There was also a piano, and the man at the bench was playing a calm, soothing tune.

Mary looked at the bar itself, where rows and rows of milk bottles rested, as well as shelves full of milk bottles behind it. She approached the bartender, a taller, thinner man than the other bartender.

"Um, excuse me?"

"Oh, sorry. We don't serve…Ah! You're a member!" The man said as he noticed her hat. "Well, welcome to the Milk Bar! What can I get fer you today, young lass?"

"Well, um, I was just wondering if you sell a special kind of milk here."

"The best milk in the country, eh!" He exclaimed. "What kind?"

"Well…" She didn't know how to say it. "I've heard of a kind of milk known as the 'Bottle of perfect milk'. Do you know what I mean?"

"Oh, yeah. See, fer the last few months, we at this humble Milk Bar have been working on a very special kind o' milk; the Perfect Milk!"

"Great." Mary knew that this had to be it. "So, um…"

"Yeah, we were plannin' to start sellin' it to the people a week ago…"

"What happened?"

"Then, 'he' came along."

" 'He'?"

All of the patrons instantly stopped their small talk and conversing at the mention of, "Him".

"Black Bart." The bartender said.

"Black Bart?" Mary repeated.

"That's right. Black Bart."

"He's the grumpiest cowpoke you ever did saw!" One man said.

"He's the nastiest scum you'll ever know." Another agreed.

"A vicious murderer, who escaped from the local sheriff's office a few weeks ago, came in and stole the only bottle of Perfect Milk we had!"

"Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but why would someone steal milk?"

"Because he knew it'd be worth a fortune! See, this milk is supposed to be able to cure sicknesses, and taste super-duper delicious at the same time!"

"And you can't make another one?"

"It takes three weeks to brew up one of those babies! It'd be better to try and get it back from him."

"But that'd be pure foolhardy, Dave!" One man interrupted the bartender. "He'd kill ya at the first chance he'd get!"

"Yeah, but rumor has it he's gonna return to seek revenge on the sheriff for killing his brother in a gunfight as he escaped."

"His brother?"

"They were partners-in-crime; two peas in a pod. So when he was shot in that thick head o' his, his brother swore to come back and take revenge!"

Just then, a scream rang out.

Mary, the bartender, and all of the other people in the Milk Bar turned to look.

The scream was then followed by several gunshots. A woman ran up to the entrance to the Milk Bar and cried, "Black Bart! He's come back! He's returned for revenge!"

"Say what?" Everyone exclaimed.

Then there were several battle cries, and the sound of multiple galloping horses.

"And he's brought his own posse!"

"Great globs of greasy grimy gopher guts!" The bartender, Dave, screamed. "Everyone panic!"

Everyone started screaming and running around like fools. Upturning tables, tripping over each other, smashing bottles.

Amidst all the chaos, Mary walked over to the door and peeked out to see what was going on.

There were many people running in and out of buildings, scattering around the streets, being run out of town by masked men on horses, all wildly firing their guns into the air.

At the center of all the bandits, Mary saw the man who was undoubtedly Black Bart: he was very well-built, with leather boots that had a snake design wrapped around them. He had a dark brown vest with golden buttons, and black jeans. He had a black bandana wrapped around his mouth, and a black, ten-gallon hat. On each side of his waist was a holster, presumably holding a gun.

"Now…let's get this show on the road!" He declared.

"Yes, sir!" Several of the henchmen replied. With that, they each pulled out bundles of red tubes, all having fuses that stemmed from one end, and intertwined into one fuse.

Dynamite.

They then started randomly tossing the bundles through doorways or windows and into buildings, then shooting the bundles with guns, creating massive explosions.

The bursts of fire either completely consumed the buildings they were in, or at least blew away half of them. Debris and ashes went flying. The explosions sent many townspeople running all over the place, screaming and shouting.

Meanwhile…

Chris sat in the control room of the Film Lot, randomly pressing a large red button the control panel every time a "bandit" "shot" a "bundle of dynamite." Every time he did, the selected building would explode.

After the fifth explosion, he chuckled and said, "Ha! I love this show."

Back at the Western town…

As the explosions went off over and over again, Black Bart calmly rode through the town, glancing all over the place.

Mary, seeing the dynamite-wielding bandits drawing closer to the Milk Bar, quickly dashed out of the building and into a nearby alleyway. All of the other patrons also ran out, pouring into the street like ants. Mary's feeling proved true. Not six seconds after she left the Milk Bar, another bandit threw a bundle of dynamite inside and shot it. The debris and wooden boards flew all over the place, and even drops of milk went flying. In the alleyway she was in, there was a cellar door, leading underground. Mary opened it and jumped in. She slowly poked her head out to watch what was going on.

At one point, a large man with a huge handlebar mustache, a tan vest, red checkered shirt underneath, blue jeans, and black boots emerged from another alleyway. He had a bright gold star badge on his shirt, and Mary knew what that meant. He walked out into the middle of the street, amidst all the chaos, and assumed a fighting stance.

"Black Bart!"

The man on the horse instantly turned at the sound of the voice.

"Sheriff Mills."

"Back for more trouble, are ya?"

"This is just the beginning, old man."

At this, all of the frightened townspeople knew what would ensue. And so did the bandits. They all started pulling out their guns and shooting into the air, shouting insults at the people and herding them all back into the few still-standing buildings.

Soon, the street was completely empty. The bandits stood guard at the doors of all the remaining buildings, guns brandished. Mary, from her hiding spot, could see some terrified faces at the shattered windows, looking out into the street.

The only ones still left outside were Sheriff Mills and Black Bart.

"So, ya ready for another showdown?" The Sheriff asked.

"Yeah, only this time, I shall win!"

"Bring it on!"

With that, they each reached into their respective holsters and pulled out guns. Or at least the Sheriff did. Black Bart reached slowly, then quickly brandished the item he had pulled out.

A milk bottle.

He noticed his mistake instantly. "Huh? Whoa, oops." He quickly shoved it back in, then reached for the other holster and pulled out a pistol.

Even for a brief moment, Mary instantly knew what this meant.

"You have got to be kidding me! That's where the 'Bottle of Perfect Milk' is? Oh, great!"

Mark; Pirate times

Mark continued stumbling through the hallway towards the light. Once or twice he keeled over, preparing to vomit. But he didn't.

Eventually, he finally reached the light at the end of the hallway. It was a large wooden ladder leading up through a trapdoor. The light poured through the trapdoor, and, looking up, Mark could see the pale yellow sky. He could also hear the splashing of water, and the sound of a huge, wooden apparatus creaking and turning. There were voices, yelling to each other and such, and one loud, booming voice that was barking commands.

Mark paused at first, then decided to climb up the ladder.

After being in the dark hallway for a while, the light was suddenly blinding. Mark winced and closed his eyes for a moment, then slowly opened them to look around.

The deck of the pirate ship was cluttered with crates and barrels and such. There were pirates, large, burly, muscular men with tattoos on their arms, walking around, carrying equipment, and some moving huge pulleys. The large, white sails overhead flapped and whipped in the wind. And high up among them, in the crow's nest, he could see two other pirates overlooking the surrounding ocean. One held a spyglass.

He looked to the upper deck farther aft, where the captain, a tall, proud man in a flowing red cape, brown pants, a black shirt, and a fancy black hat with a red feather, stood. His left foot had a black boot with a golden buckle, while his right foot…well, there wasn't a right foot; it was replaced by a peg-leg with a gold cap on the bottom. In his right hand, he held a cutlass with a long blade and a golden handle. In his left hand, he held a map. He had a single gold tooth, which showed clearly as he scowled down on his crew. He had a small, black goatee, and a dark mustache.

He at first stood quite proud on the deck, looking down on all the other pirates. At one point, he looked directly at Mark. Mark waited to see his reaction, but the captain's attention was suddenly diverted from the stowaway as the lookout shouted, "Captain! Captain, sir!"

"What be it, Jenkins?" The captain responded.

" 'Tis a Royal Navy vessel, sir! Approaching us from the starboard-bow!"

By now, all of the crewmembers on deck had heard, and were looking up at the two men in the crow's nest. He was pointing in the direction he had mentioned.

The captain, Mark, and all of the other pirates looked. Sure enough, there was the ship; it looked similar to theirs, only it was sleeker, had gold lining the edges of the hull, and it flew a flag with the unmistakable British insignia.

"Aye! So it is. Men!"

The captain turned back to the crew.

"Battle stations, the lot of ye! Prepare for a bloody and difficult battle! Ye got that?"

"Aye-aye, captain!" The men all simultaneously responded. They all started running around, grabbing guns, pistols, swords, and all kinds of weapons out of the crates and barrels on the deck. Some started loading up the cannons and piling cannonballs next to each one. Behind the captain, the helmsman slowly turned the wheel to the starboard (the right) and turned the ship to face the oncoming enemy.

Mark instantly felt the ship turn, and was thrown off his feet, crashing to the deck.

"Whoa! Oof!"

He hit the wood hard, and slid across the deck, crashing into a barrel full of fish water. It fell over, and on top of him, pouring its contents all over him.

"Ack! Oh, gross! (Burp)"

Mark knew what the burp meant in this case. Both the disgustingness of the fish water, and the seasickness, finally caught up with him. He ran over to the edge of the ship and vomited overboard, the barf falling into the water.

"Blech! Blarch! Yak! Ooooohhhhhh!"

After he finally finished, he slowly lifted his head and turned to look at where the approaching ship was.

It was barely twenty yards from the ship he was on.

"Gents!" The captain called. "Prepare for battle! We be going in!"

Soon, the British ship was directly alongside the pirate ship. There were many soldiers onboard, all equally armed. Amongst them all was a prominent soldier, who had a large hat on his head, and wore a red shirt with gold buttons and white straps, white pants, and black boots. He stood up and yelled, "So, Captain Cornelius! Ye think ye can evade the Royal Navy yet again?"

"I don't think it; I know it, Colonel Walker." The captain responded.

"The king has ordered for ye to be terminated, and I intend to do just that!"

"Yer just talk; ye'll never amount to anything!"

"That does it!" The colonel then turned to his men. "Men, fire at will!"

The soldiers nodded, then simultaneously grabbed the rifles slung over their shoulders, took aim, and started firing. Mark instantly ducked as the many bullets whizzed overhead, chipping wood out of the masts and the deck, ricocheting off of random things, and bouncing all over the place.

Likewise, the pirates started pulling out their rifles and flintlocks and started shooting at the soldiers. They also pulled out knives and cutlasses and started throwing them. It was absolute chaos.

"How am I supposed to find a treasure chest among all this?" Mark exclaimed.

"We shall take back that treasure ye stole, Cornelius!" Walker shouted.

"Not even in yer dreams, Walker!" The captain retorted.

Eventually, Mark saw some grappling hooks fly, and pirates started boarding the soldiers' ship, and vice-versa.

At one point, the captain, a nervous expression on his face, turned to some of the pirates on the lower deck that had not yet joined the fight.

"Davis! Mitchell! Get that treasure chest out of here!"

"But how, sir?" One of them asked. Mark recognized him as the one whose sleep he had accidentally disturbed.

The captain looked down at them with an angry scowl, as if it was obvious.

"Use the crane, ye scalliwags! The crane!" He then pointed above them. The two pirates and Mark followed his finger. Above them was a massive, wooden crane, the arm of which was probably fifteen feet long, and the pole it was attached to was fifty feet up. There was a long, thick rope running along the arm and down the pole, at the end of which was a massive, metal hook.

"Yes, sir!" They replied.

"The treasure chest?" Mark said to himself as he suddenly remembered.

Sure enough, the two pirates opened up a secret trapdoor in the deck, reached in, and pulled out a small treasure chest.

"It is!" Mark exclaimed. "I have to get it before they can take it to safety!"

Madison; Medieval times

Madison ran through the medieval village, past haystacks and adobe abodes, past random civilians, who looked at her quizzically as she ran past. She ignored them all, focusing on the nearby castle on the hill.

"I've got to get there soon!"

After a long run, she finally reached the castle. It looked exactly like the one from the "Capture-the-Flag" challenge six challenges ago, except a lot bigger. The moat was probably thirty feet across, impossible to cross if it weren't for the drawbridge being down. Without giving it much thought, she started to cross it.

"AYE!"

She jumped, then looked up at the source of the loud voice. One out of many armed guards up on the roof, all looking down at her, crossbows ready and aimed.

"What be your business here?"

"Uh…" Madison had no idea of what to say. "I…uh…"

"Do ye have business with his majesty?"

"Well, no…"

"Then ye cannot enter!"

And with that, the huge drawbridge started to raise.

"What? No!"

Madison teetered on the edge of the drawbridge, eventually falling backwards. She quickly grabbed onto the edge of the huge piece of wood and held on for dear life. It creaked rhythmically as it rose higher and higher, the unseen gears and mechanisms all turning and working to raise the drawbridge.

"Gah!" One of the guards exclaimed when he realized that she was still hanging onto the drawbridge. "She still be on this side! Get her! Get her now!"

The guards all retreated from the edges of the roof, presumably to run back down through the castle to get her.

Madison was still hanging onto the drawbridge. She knew that she couldn't stay where she was for long, but at the same time, she knew that she couldn't let go; the ground was thirty feet below her.

However, before she could decide on her own, the decision was made for her.

The drawbridge finally creaked into place and stopped with a THUD! The sudden jolt startled Madison, and she lost her grip.

"WHOA!" Madison screamed and flailed wildly as she fell down the thirty feet…

…to the soft grass below.

"Oof! Ow!"

Madison hit the ground and rolled off to the side. When she regained her balance, she sat straight up and rubbed her backside, where she had hit the ground first.

"Ow…oh…probably just a bruise." She concluded. "Nothing serious."

Suddenly, the loud voices jolted her out of her pain.

"There she is! Seize her!"

Madison looked up to see the huge crowd of soldiers racing towards her. She instantly jumped up and started to step back.

"Do not let her get away!"

Madison, unsure of what to do, continued walking backwards away from the soldiers.

Suddenly, her foot did not touch solid ground as she stepped back. She found herself falling into thin air.

"What? Wh-whoa!"

She screamed as she tumbled down through darkness, into an unseen abyss.

"WHOA! OOF!"

She cried, then landed on a soft, damp, mud-like ground, rolling for a bit and becoming covered in the muck. She sat up and shook some of it off.

"Yech! Oh…what is this?" She picked some of it off her arm and smelled it.

Moss.

"Aye! There she goes!"

She turned up to see the soldiers all crowding around at the top of the pit she had fallen into. They all stood, staring down at her and mumbling amongst themselves, but did not jump in after her.

But why…?

After a minute more or so of mumbling amongst themselves, the soldiers all turned and disappeared from the edge of the pit, their voices and footsteps growing fainter and fainter until the vanished altogether.

"Uh, OK; what just happened?" She asked herself incredulously. She stood straight up, then looked around, observing her environment.

Again, the pit was completely dark, save for the light coming from above. Other than that, the only thing that Madison knew for sure was that the floor, and probably the wall too, was covered in moss.

"Great. What have I got myself into now?"

She looked down further into the pit, and thought she saw a light. A small, very faint light, way down into the darkness. She looked around some more, and concluded that this was the only source of light in the pit. She knew, regrettably, that she had to go that way.

Swallowing nervously, she walked in.

After nearly ten minutes of walking through the damp corridor, slipping on moss once or twice, she finally reached the light: a small, lit torch in a holder attached to the wall. She paused for a moment, then picked it up out of its holder and carried it. Now, with some illumination, she could see where she was going.

A large rat nearby scurried off as she approached. Other than that, she was the only living thing in that cave.

After another minute of walking, she reached a massive opening in the cave, where a pale light, about five times brighter than her torch, shone.

Madison slowly stepped into the room, and was aghast at some of the sights.

Throughout the layer were wooden shelves, containing small canvas bags, or jars and pots, some with wooden spoons sticking out. There was also a small light fixture hanging from the ceiling, with only three bright candles on it, giving off the light that was in the room. But the most horrific features of the layer were the skeletons that littered the floor. Some were missing well around half of their bones, while others were chained to the wall by their wrists and ankles; upside-down. There was one with traces of tattered clothing still attached, and a rat was causally cleaning away the bone.

Her attention then turned to the man in the center of the room; a tall, lanky, skinny man who wore a blue robe, blue boots, and a black, pointed hat on his head. He had a long, gray beard. He was standing over a small, wooden table, on which rested a black cauldron, al little bit larger than a basketball. He was casually stirring the contents of said cauldron with a long, wooden spoon.

Wait a minute… Then the realization hit her. This was the Wizard's layer, underneath the king's castle. That was the Wizard she had been warned about. That was the black cauldron that she needed to retrieve.

"That's it!" She suddenly cried. She instantly regretted it.

"What? Who goes there!" The Wizard instantly cried. He turned to face her. "Blach! What are ye doin' here?"

"Well…I…"

"Ye be another one of them, aren't ye? One of the knights, come to take me cauldron!"

"Well, that's kind of half true…"

"Well, forget it!" He instantly pulled out a small, black lid and slammed it onto the cauldron, sealing it tight. "If ye want it, ye'll have to fight me for it!"

He then brandished a huge wand, a long, transparent, red stick with a star on top, and took aim.

"Oh, crap."

John; Modern-day

John quickly dashed from one alley to the next, peeking out from the corner to see if anyone was chasing him. Nope. All of the money-hungry tax collectors and politicians were still lurking around on the streets, but they hadn't seen him.

John sighed, then looked down at the map in his hands. According to it, he had alley-hopped across several streets, and the IRS Headquarters he was looking for was just down the street. Looking at one of the nearby street signs, the Goth boy saw that, sure enough, he was on "Jay Way."

He peeked all the way around the corner and looked farther down the street. Looking farther ahead, he could barely make out the one building with a huge sign overhead, which read "IRS Headquarters; Those Who Enter Do Not Come Out."

"They usually don't." John muttered.

The building was probably around fifty feet tall. It was made of dull concrete, totally gray. The windows dotted the sides of it in the same, boring pattern, and all were the exact same size, width, and length. However, on the very top floor of the building, there was only one window; a single, long window which spanned the entire length and height of the top floor; undoubtedly the office of the Boss Tax Collector. Overall, the building seemed very…

Suddenly, John's thoughts were interrupted as he was grabbed from behind and pulled further into the alley he was in. He was spun around to face a man with a black ski mask, with holes for his eyes and mouth, black gloves, and a black jumpsuit.

"Give me all your money!" The man demanded in a hoarse voice.

John, however, was unfazed. Chuckling, he said, "You think you can scare me, eh? You're nothing compared to those guys." He gestured to the men lurking around in the streets.

"I don't care! Give me all youURK!"

The man grunted and groaned as John, in a blinding instant, quickly grabbed him by the arm, spun him around, and pinched the man in the back of the neck with all his might. He was knocked out instantly. The unconscious man crumpled to the ground in a heap.

"Too easy." John said, brushing off his hands. He then turned to face the real challenge: getting to the IRS Building.

He looked to one side, then the other, then made a mad dash for the building itself. Surprisingly, he managed to outrun all of the goons in the streets, burst through the door, and slam it shut behind him.

Inside the building, there were cubicles all over, with computers and keyboards on desks in them. It looked like a typical office, except for the fact that it was totally empty. Not a single soul was around, except for him.

John, taking a deep breath, slowly moved forward through the building.

John had barely taken a few steps when he heard a low "thump" at the door, followed by chanting.

"…ote ow…ote ow…ote ow!"

The chanting started out fairly faint, but then made itself more distinct as it got louder. John realized in horror what the chanting was.

"Vote now! Vote now! Vote now! Vote now! Vote now!"

John spun around to look at the glass doors. Sure enough, there were easily around seven or more politicians, all waving huge picket signs, which read, "Vote Now!"

The politicians had caught up to him.

"Crap." John muttered. Turning around sharply, he dashed through the cubicles just as the politicians opened the doors and followed him slowly.

John finally reached the end of the hallway, where there was a single elevator. He immediately punched the "Up" button, and he waited for the elevator. The chanting behind him grew louder.

The vote-hungry politicians were only a few feet from him.

The elevator door opened. John dashed inside and slammed the "50" button, which was the highest floor on the control panel. The doors started to close. A politician jammed his sign in between the doors to pry it open. John gave the sign itself a powerful kick, sending it back out the door. The doors finally closed.

The exhausted Goth sank to the floor as the elevator rose higher, the chanting growing more distant.


Episode 8: Dinosaurs, Robots, and Taxes; Oh My! Part 3

Daniel; Prehistoric times

Daniel continued scaling the huge wall, growing more and more tired as he climbed higher and higher. Even for a teen of his incredible physical skills, the sheer height, as well as the humidity in the air, made it extremely difficult.

"How much longer is it?" He asked himself.

Eventually, he finally reached the nest. He quickly studied it; it was about fifteen feet in diameter or so. It was made out of many small and/or broken branches, with some jutting out. The one detail that Daniel noticed the most, and noticed right away, where the various bones that were scattered all over the nest. From huge bones to small bones, they were all over the place.

Resting among the bones was the object Daniel was searching for: the egg. It was exactly as the card had described it. It was pale white, with red polka-dots all over it. It was about the size, and practically the shape of, a football.

"Too…easy." Daniel, with a confident smile on his face, started towards the egg.

Suddenly, a massive shadow swooped over him, followed by a rush of wind, which blew Daniel's hair into his face.

"Augh! What the…?" He looked up at the shadow, and nearly fainted at the sight of what it was.

A massive Pterodactyl.

The huge beast swooped down over the nest, then landed firmly in the nest, landing between Daniel and the single egg.

"Oh, great!" Daniel exclaimed before swallowing nervously.

The Pterodactyl slowly moved forward.

Thinking quickly, Daniel grabbed a nearby bone and hurled it at the huge beast.

It simply bounced off its head.

"Oh, great!" Daniel repeated.

The jock then grabbed a whole bunch of bones in his hands and started throwing them repeatedly. One by one, a bone flew at the Pterodactyl and bounced off its massive head. Then the very last bone he threw hit the eye of the creature.

Screaming and reeling in pain, the creature fell to the floor of the nest. Daniel took this brief moment of opportunity and jumped over it. Before moving to the egg, he looked back at the helpless creature, then down at another, fairly sharp bone.

"Ah, what the heck?"

Daniel grabbed the huge bone, and, with all his might, plunged it into the head of the Pterodactyl. Almost instantly, sparks went flying. He could see several electrical cords, and sparks and bolts of electricity randomly zapping around.

An animatronic.

"HA! Nice try, Chris!" He yelled to the sky as he picked up the egg. "But you can't stop me that easily!"

Back in the Control Tent...

"We'll just see about that." Chris chuckled.

The sadistic host then casually leaned over and presses a large, red button with read, "VOLCANO" on it.

Back at the Prehistoric set…

The moment Chris presses the button, a massive explosion instantly went off, shaking Daniel right off his feet. The egg rolled alongside him. He quickly snatched it up. Looking around, it seemed as if the whole valley was shaking.

"W-w-w-w-what…i-i-i-i-i-is th-th-th-that?" He stuttered as the explosion shook him around.

Daniel then looked up at the top of the volcano, and saw it instantly: the smoke tower was now darker, thicker, and hotter than ever. Looking closely, Daniel could see a certain, bright orange substance dripping from the top.

Lava.

"No. Heh, heh. N-no. NO WAY! CHRIS! That is NOT real lava, right? CHRIS!"

Control Tent...

"What?" Chris turned to the camera. "You'd be surprised what some of those major film crews leave behind."

Chris then reached over to press a yellow button, hold it down, then press a blue button also.

Prehistoric set…

Daniel's eyes widened at the sight of something else alongside the lava. Another massive explosion sent an avalanche of rocks hurtling straight towards him.

"!"

Daniel, in a last-ditch effort, dove behind the huge, disabled animatronic as a shield. He proved lucky.

Most of the huge rocks hit the animatronic, either denting it hard or bouncing off of it. But one huge boulder that was easily the same size was also rolling towards it. Daniel peeked over it and saw the boulder.

"WHOA!" Daniel dove out of the way just as the boulder pulverized the Pterodactyl, sending pieces and gears flying all over the place. The boulder then bounced hard on the edge of the nest, and that did it.

Daniel felt his balance slowly start to teeter. He looked over and saw that the nest itself was teetering on the edge. Daniel's knees shook nervously, then buckled out from under him.

"Oh…"

Then the nest slowly started to fall off the edge.

"…!""

Daniel held onto the side of the nest for dear life, holding on with one hand, while his other hand clutched the egg he was after.

The nest slid down the edge of the volcano like a sled on a snow-covered mountain, bouncing off rocks and bumps long the way. Surprisingly, it managed to stay in one piece.

"Ouch! Ow! Ow! Ouch!"

Daniel was constantly being lifted into the air, then falling back down every time he hit a bump.

"OUCH! Darn it! When is this thing gonna be oveEEEEEEEYYYYYYYAAAAAA!"

The nest hit a HUGE rock near the bottom, and totally flew up into the air, eventually starting to tip over.

"Oh, NO! Oh…NOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Daniel screamed and flailed wildly as he fell to the ground. "OOF!"

Daniel hit the ground hard. The first thing he did after managing to lift himself up was check on the egg.

Still in one piece.

"Geez…this thing is as solid as a rock!" The jock exclaimed.

He then noticed a huge shadow dawning over him.

"Huh?" He then looked up and saw the overturned nest, along with the disabled Pterodactyl heading straight towards him.

"WAUGH!"

He dove out of the way as both objects slammed into the ground where he had been standing two seconds ago.

Daniel stood straight up and brushed himself off. He then looked back up at the volcano.

The lava flow was barely twenty feet away.

Daniel backed up quickly as he watched the lava completely consume both the nest and the animatronic. Daniel then turned and ran as fast as he could, screaming.

"AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH! GET ME OUT OF HERE! WHERE IS THAT STUPID CAVE?"

Along the way, Daniel could see several tall trees on fire, after presumably being hit with flaming objects shooting from the volcano's summit. He continued running nonetheless.

This time, Daniel made sure to continue watching ahead of him as he ran. This choice ultimately saved him, as he skidded to a stop just inches from the Poison Ivy pit he had fallen into earlier. He could see the Bear, still inside, scratching at its face and all over its body in annoyance. It looked up at the jock and growled.

Daniel continued running.

At one point, he stopped when he heard a growl from above. He looked up at a huge tree branch above him, and saw in horror that a massive Saber-Toothed Tiger was crouching above him, ready to pounce.

"Oh, crud."

The Tiger, giant fangs barred, reared back, then leapt forward, heading straight for Daniel. Based on pure instinct, Daniel ducked as it soared overhead, landing right in the lava.

Daniel turned back to watch the Tiger, also an animatronic, fall into the lava and explode, sending more pieces of metal gears and wires flying.

"Well, that was considerably easy." Daniel muttered before he turned and ran off.

By now, the lava was inching closer and closer to him. After a while more of running, he could see the familiar cave up ahead. Daniel ran up to the entrance, then stopped and turned back around to look at the view.

Sure enough, it was the same exact view as the cave he had first started from, with the now-smoldering volcano in the distance and to the left, and two twin palm trees on either side of the entrance.

"Yep. This is it, alright!"

The jock then dashed into the cave, heading deeper and deeper into darkness. The cave itself grew brighter as the lava pouring in illuminated it. Thanks to the new source of light, Daniel could clearly see the huge door at the end.

Back at the Film Lot…

The screaming Daniel dove right through the huge door, tumbling head-over-heel as he hit the cement and rolled along the ground. He sat up slowly and shook his head. Looking over at the door, he saw it slowly swing shut and close with a THUD!

"Phew! What a nightmare."

Daniel then turned and looked towards the finish line…

…only to see Mark and Violet already there, standing next to Chris. Mark was noticeably soaking wet and shivering, and Violet was helping him stand up straight.

Earlier…

Violet; The Future

"The Time Capsule!" Violet exclaimed. "But how am I going to get it?"

Violet's question was answered when one of the huge guards was thrown aside by the Robot. He flew towards the glass at incredible speed, and Violet barely had time to dodge out of the way as he smashed right through the glass case, shattering it instantly.

Violet looked down at the guard, who moaned in pain. She shook her head.

Seriously, these interns don't get paid enough.

She then looked back up at the now-exposed Time Capsule. She slowly stepped into the case. She paused, facing the relic, before snatching it. She walked back out through the huge hole, and was instantly greeted with the Robot's voice.

"Give…me…the Time Capsule!"

It aimed its claw.

"NEVER!"

The claw at the end of its arm opened up to reveal a shaft in the arm.

"Uh-oh."

A rocket appeared in the shaft, ready to fire.

Violet screamed at the top of her lungs before leaping out of the way as the rocket shot forward, completely obliterating the glass case.

She shook her head, then looked back up at the Robot, which stared right back at her.

"Give it…to me!"

Violet turned and dashed through the observation deck, running past other people; tourists, security guards, tour guides.

She dove behind a table.

The Robot lumbered through the room, swiping random people out of the way as it moved towards her.

Violet, in a feeble attempt at self-defense, grabbed a nearby chair and hurled it at the Robot.

The Robot caught it in its claw and snapped it in half.

"Give…me…my prize!"

Violet looked at the approaching Robot, then at a counter opposite the room. She paused for a moment, then dashed across. The Robot fired another rocket at her, but missed. She dove behind the counter, which had all kinds of things; souvenirs, bottles, a cash register. She started grabbing objects one by one and hurled them at the huge mechanical monster. One by one, they were all stopped and smashed before they could hit it.

She then reached for another object at random and tossed it. It wasn't until she threw it that she knew what it was: a bottle of water.

Once again, the Robot caught it in its claw and smashed it. However, the sudden implosion of the bottle caused the water inside to shoot in all directions. About four drops landed on the Robot. Sparks appeared on its head, and it instantly shook its head and started groaning; a deep, strange sound.

Violet knew now that this was the trick; liquids.

She looked at another nearby water bottle and grabbed it. Pulling the lid off, she hurled it at the Robot again. This time, a great majority of it splashed on the Robot. It cringed and reeled back again, as more sparks zapped from it. This time, the Robot slowly backed off, then fell through the massive hole in the side of the building, disappearing. All of the armed guards in the vicinity jumped after it.

Violet stayed where she was for a moment, then slowly rose from her hiding spot. She looked around the interior of the Earth Needle. It was in complete shambles. There were no more people inside; they had all been evacuated. There were pieces of rubble spread around. Tables and chairs were upturned. Posters and banners dangled from the walls by single nails. Garbage and debris were strewn about all over the floors. But at least it was over.

Or so she thought.

Violet, Time Capsule in hand, started to walk back through the Observatory.

"Well, that was easy." She said.

Just as she was walking past a wine rack, she was suddenly thrown aside by a massive, unseen force.

"!" She screamed as she flew right through the huge hole in the side of the Observatory. She tumbled down the slanted deck, towards the edge. At the last moment, she dug her nails into the surface of the metal, and managed to grab hold of a loose wire just before she would fall off.

"AUGH!" Violet screamed. She looked down below her, and nearly vomited when she saw how high up she was. "CHRIS! THIS ISN'T FUNNY ANYMORE! CHRIS!"

Her plea, of course, went unanswered.

"What the heck am I going to do?" She then looked back up towards the Observatory, and at the huge Robot that had knocked her off the edge. It stood, perched over her.

"For the last time: Give…me…the Time Capsule!"

By this point, Violet was ready to give it to the Robot.

After all, it is just a challenge. She was about to give it up, but then she noticed something.

The impact made by the Robot's sudden landing in the Observatory once more caused the nearby wine rack to shake. Violet saw one bottle on the very bottom of the rack fall out of its hole, and it casually rolled towards the slope.

Violet instantly came up with an idea.

She waited. She just hung there, holding onto the wire with one hand, and clutching the Time Capsule with the other. She sat and waited, which noticeably made the Robot actually grow impatient.

"Are…you…deaf? GIVE IT TO ME!"

The wine bottle finally reached the slope, and rolled down towards her. Violet used the wire to swing towards it and block its fall. She swung her other arm up and placed the Capsule on the slope, so that her other hand would now be free. She reached for the bottle.

"I will not ask you again: GIVE…ME…THE…TIME CAPSULE!"

"Sorry, I can't give you the Time Capsule. Would you like a drink instead?"

And with that, she popped off the lid and hurled the wine bottle at the Robot. It smashed against the metal head, sending the wine spraying all over it. It froze instantly for a moment.

Then it exploded.

The Robot's head instantly blew to pieces. The eyes, the antennae, the entire head, blown to pieces and flying all over the place. The body of the Robot stood straight up, jerking and twitching, before it slowly fell over with a groan. Violet grabbed the Time Capsule before swinging out of the way as the Robot's decapitated body fell over, hit the slope, and slid right off the edge. Violet watched as the huge apparatus tumbled down, down, down, and disappeared among the buildings.

She sighed.

"It's finally over."

Violet looked back up at the Observatory, where by now, one of the guards was standing at the edge.

"Nice work there, young lady." He commented. "Now if you will please give us back the Time Capsule."

Violet looked at the prized item in her hand, then back at the guards. The Robot was fairly hard to beat, but how would the guards be?

Just then, the banner which read, "Centennial Day, 4013" floated down to her and was snagged on the wire's end. She looked at it, and got another idea.

"Miss? The Time Capsule please?"

She tucked said item under her arm, then grabbed a huge fistful of one end of the banner in her hand, hooking two fingers through one of the holes in the corner, then reached to grab the other end.

"What are you…?"

She unhooked the other end, then hooked her other fingers through the holes in that end.

Violet looked back up at the guard with a smug grin on her face. "Sorry."

The guard realized what she was doing.

"STOP HER!"

She then leapt off the edge of the building just as the guard jumped down onto the slope to grab her. Holding the banner like a parachute, she slowly drifted down over the city. And not just straight down; at an angle, heading towards the outskirts of the Moon City.

The guard behind her reached out towards the banner to snatch it, but it flew just beyond his reach, and he slid right off the edge.

"!"

Control Tent…

Chris watched the intern's death on the screen, cringing as he watched the final moment. "Ouch. Well, there goes another intern. Ah, but whatever. Those guys are a dime a dozen."

Back at the Moon City set…

Violet calmly drifted down across the City, landing, ironically, right in front of the building she had first come from, with the floating billboard advertising the "Quadron Productions' Hoverpack 500" next to it.

Violet grinned again as she casually walked through the door, then all the way to the huge door at the back of the house that she had entered through.

When Violet walked through the huge door, she found herself back at the Film Lot.

"Wow. Never thought I'd be glad to see this place ever again."

She looked farther down the huge hall and saw the finish line, with the familiar host standing there, waiting.

There was no one else there.

"Wow! Really? The first one there? Cool!"

Violet instantly dashed right up to the finish line and presented the Time Capsule to Chris.

"Well done, Violet. Well done. But you do realize there's no Invincibility, right?"

"Yeah, I know. But it's just the knowledge that you got here first; isn't that good, too?"

"I wouldn't know; I've never lost anything. I always get what I want." Chris then snatched the Capsule from Violet.

I'm sure. Violet thought sourly.

Mark; Pirate times

Mark stood and watched as the two pirates, Davis and Mitchell, carried the chest towards the crane, ready to lift it away.

"I have to get it before they can take it to safety!" He declared.

He quickly ran up to one of the large barrels and ducked behind it, watching their every move.

Amongst all the gunfire, the screams, the clashing of swords, and the curses, the two pirates set the small chest down in front of the crane. Mitchell, the other pirate, grabbed the lever for the winch at the base of the crane and started turning it, lowering the hook at the end of the rope.

The hook lowered closer and closer to the chest.

Looking around frantically, Mark found a huge dagger lying on the ground. He slowly bent over to pick it up.

"Ha, ha! That chest will be safer than Davy Jones's Locker once we get it out of here, aye?" Mitchell asked his partner.

Davis, the cranky one from below deck, nodded approvingly. "Aye. Once we get it out of here."

Mark then made his move.

The dagger raised high, he brought it down on Mitchell.

"AAAAIIIIIEEEEEE!" The pirate screamed unnaturally high-pitched as the dagger plunged through…

…his shirt sleeve, pinning him against the mast behind him. "YOW!"

He tried pulling away, but the dagger was pinned good, and the shirt sleeve was too tough, and it was too high up for him to reach.

"Davis! Davis, get that little barnacle!"

Davis turned to Mark, and recognized him instantly.

"YOU!"

"Uh-oh."

The pirate then pulled out a cutlass and brandished it menacingly.

"Crap."

Mark dove as the pirate took a powerful swing overhead. Mark sank to the deck, and scooted back. He bumped up against something. Looking behind him, he saw that it was a barrel, with many swords and weapons sticking out the top. Without thinking, he grabbed one of the cutlasses and held it defensively.

The pirate chuckled. "Heh, heh. So, this twerp thinks he can swashbuckle, huh? Well, we'll just have to see about that!" He raised his sword again.

Mark managed to scramble to his feet just as Davis brought the sword down again.

Mark raised the sword to parry the attack, blocking the pirate's blade. Davis snarled, then struck from the side. Mark dodged and swung at him, tearing a hole in his shirt.

"ARGH!"

He swung again, this time knocking Mark backwards.

Off to the side, a battle cry yelled.

Mark glanced briefly in that direction, and saw Captain Cornelius draw his cutlass, and Colonel Walker drew his bayonet. They, too, started fighting.

Mark turned his attention back to Davis. He tried to swing his sword, but Davis jumped over the blade, then brought his blade down. Likewise, Mark simply jumped over it as it passed over him.

After a couple minutes of continuous fighting, it was clear to Mark that this was an extremely impossible fight for either of them. Mark was surprised that he had lasted this long.

With one final swing, he blocked another blow and sent Davis's sword arm reeling to the side; a brief window of opportunity. He charged forward and slammed into Davis, sending him reeling backward and crashing into a pile of crates.

"Oof!" Davis grunted as the crates fell on top of him, one landing right on his head, covering it like a mask. "Oi! Get this bloody thing off o' me head! HEY!"

Mark ran past him and reached for the chest…

…only to find it gone.

"WHAT? How!"

He looked up and saw that it had been hooked up to the crane, and was being lifted over the deck.

He looked over at the winch, and saw none other than Captain Cornelius himself at the lever, cranking it casually. Speared on his cutlass was Colonel Walker's hat. Mark looked past him, and sure enough, saw all of the remaining soldiers rounded up and held at gunpoint by the pirates.

"Nice try, squirt! But British agent or not, ye won't get yer filthy hands on MY chest anytime soon! The treasures within are far too great to-."

"CAPTAIN! CAPTAIN!" One pirate yelled.

Captain Walker stopped speaking and turned to face the approaching pirate. "What is it, Johnson?"

"We may have defeated the British scumbags, but we've got another problem."

"What might that be?"

"THE KRAKEN!"

"THE KRAKEN?" The captain responded incredulously.

Sure enough, a massive red tentacle suddenly rose up over the deck, towering above the pirates.

"AYE! 'TIS THE FEARED DEVIL HIMSELF!" Captain Cornelius cried.

"Everybody, abandon ship! 'Tis every man for himself!" Another yelled.

The pirates and the soldiers panicked and ran around, screaming wildly. Many jumped overboard, while others simply fell to the deck in fear. The captain himself abandoned the crane to run off. The chest stopped its journey in midair, hanging suspended nearly fifty feet up.

Mark looked up desperately.

"What am I gonna do?"

He looked over at the rope that snaked up all the way along the crane, leading up to the chest itself. The idea popped into his head, and it would not go away.

"Uh-uh. No way. I can't possibly…"

One of the tentacles slammed down onto the deck, just inches from Mark. Splinters of wood went flying. When the huge appendage pulled away, Mark could hear the sound of water rushing into the ship.

"Time to start climbing."

With that, Mark grabbed onto the rope and started scampering up it as fast as he could.

Halfway up, Mark held on for dear life as the ship was slammed again by the monster, lurching to one side. One hand fell loose, and he dangled from the rope as the ship was about to capsize.

He eventually regained his grip and continued climbing.

When he finally reached the point where the rope went from vertical to horizontal, he started inching slowly across the rope, like a set of monkey-bars at a playground. Only the stakes were higher here.

Below him, one of the tentacles swooped below, barely scraping the bottom of his feet.

"Yipe!" Mark whimpered as the slimy, almost real-looking appendage brushed under him. He continued moving.

When he finally reached the hook, he was relieved to gain a grip on something more firm. He held onto one handle of the chest with one hand, and the other handle with his other hand.

"Good! I've got the chest. Now what do I…"

He looked below him, and his sentence was immediately cut off.

"CRAP! How am I gonna get down? I have to get down!"

Then the ship rocked again, and he felt his stomach gurgling.

"Oof! Ogh, gross! No! Please! Not here! Not now!"

The tentacle that was still under him was now brushing his legs.

"No." He whimpered.

It started to wrap around him.

"NO!"

It was wrapping around his legs and his torso. It felt so slimy, so real, so disgusting. The ship was now bobbing more wildly than a cork in the water, swaying side-to-side, rising up and down blindly.

All of this finally overpowered Mark's willpower, and he vomited. The hot, stinky substance sprayed all over the tentacle arm, splattering over it.

The tentacle froze in place instantly as it was covered in vomit.

Then the vomit got to its circuits. It started zapping and frying and twitching as the vomit burned it. It let go of Mark and started flapping around wildly, bashing into the nearby mast repeatedly. Finally, it shut down.

The massive, mechanical arm slowly fell from the air dramatically, heading straight for the deck. Mark braced for impact.

The tentacle slammed right into the deck, leaving yet another deep gouge in the wood, sending splinters of wood and debris flying. Only this time, it crushed something else besides barrels and crates and other loose objects.

It also crushed the winch.

Without the winch, the crane was completely loose. The rope instantly started spinning wildly, and the hook, the chest, and Mark, all dropped straight to the deck. At the last second, Mark climbed up on top of the chest, so that it would take a majority of the impact. His plan succeeded.

When he hit the deck, the chest slammed into the deck, knocking him right off of it. He rolled off and rolled along the deck for a moment, and stopped barely three feet from where he landed.

He was barely harmed.

Still in shock, Mark sat up straight and looked at the chest where it sat, too. It also seemed to sustain no damage.

A half-hearted smirk on his face, Mark wobbled to his feet and stumbled towards the chest, grabbing it, unhooking it from the crane, then slowly turning and heading towards the hole in the deck that led to the hold, the prized chest in hand.

Suddenly, he heard a pirate yell, "The ship be sinkin'! The ship be sinkin'! Abandon ship! Abandon ship!"

Turning to look behind him, Mark saw many of the men, pirates and soldiers alike, diving into the water. He could see the bow of the ship noticeably dipping towards the ocean, and the sound of rushing water increased.

With no time to lose, Mark turned and jumped into the square hole.

Mark instantly landed in ankle-high water when he hit the floor. Mark was jolted briefly, as the water was very cold. But he ignored it and started wading through the hall.

As he walked along, the water was slowly rising higher and higher, eventually becoming knee-high. He raised the chest above his head and continued.

Just as he reached the massive cabin at the end, he might as well have been in Antarctica. The water was up to his stomach, and it was chilling. He burst through the door and waded around. A lot of the loose items and pieces of furniture in the cabin were floating around. Several of the large, elegant windows in the back wall were broken, and water flooded through them.

He turned to the left, and could easily see the huge door that he had come from. The water was now up to his chest and rising.

Mark waded through as fast as he could, but the water slowed him down. He reached the door, and felt around under the water for the doorknob. The water was up to his neck.

At the last moment, Mark grabbed the doorknob, turned it as hard as he could, then pushed his body against the door, letting his weight throw it open.

Mark instantly burst through the doorway, followed by a stream of water. He rolled along the cement, soaking wet and freezing. He looked behind him, and saw how the huge door was able to automatically close behind him, pushing against the force of the rushing water and slam shut.

Mark shook his head, still stunned from the whole thing. He turned towards the finish line, and saw Chris and a shocked Violet looking at him.

"Mark! Are you OK?"

"I…I think so."

He slowly got to his feet, and staggered towards the finish line. When he reached it, he stood before the two of them, soaking wet and shaking.

"H-h-…hi." He smiled, then collapsed, the treasure chest flying from his arms and bouncing up to Chris's feet. The host picked it up.

"Thank you for bringing this back. I'll need it, along with all the other items from today."

"Why's that?" Violet asked as she helped Mark to his feet.

"You'll see." Chris grinned. "You'll all see."

Just then, Daniel appeared, bursting from another door in the hallway. In his hands was a giant egg with red polka-dots on it. He looked at the three of them, namely Mark, with a puzzled look on his face. He approached them, stepped over the finish line, and handed the egg to Chris.

Violet expected him to start rambling on and on about how he lost to them, but instead, he simply looked at Mark, still clearly confused. He pointed a finger at Mark, then, turning to Violet, he started to ask, "What…?"

Violet shook her head. "He'll tell us all about it later."

Mary; Wild, wild west

Mary was still hiding in the door to a cellar, in an alleyway, watching as Black Bart and Sheriff Mills made their standoff.

The guns were drawn, the bullets went flying, and it was louder than ever. Mary covered her ears at the sound of it. The bullets ricocheted off of everything in the vicinity, yet neither man was injured, as both were dodging the bullets with incredible reflexes. Mary realized that this could take a while.

Now's my chance. She realized. I have to think of something.

She glanced around, studying her surroundings. She didn't see anything immediately that could help her. She slowly crawled out from the cellar, and sneaked around behind the building she was next to, a bank.

When she sneaked around the other side of the building, she peeked around from behind the far corner, and watched the scene from a safe distance. She put her hand up to grab the wall of the building, to steady herself. Instead, she felt something fairly soft in her hands. When she looked down at it, she saw that it was a rolled-up lasso, hung on a single nail on the wall. She slowly tightened her grip, then yanked it off the wall.

Looking at it, she got an idea.

A few minutes later...

Mary stood once again at the mouth of the alley she had been hiding in a while ago. She stood with the lasso ready. She knew that she had only one shot at this, and that she had to do it quickly. She eyed the holster on the left side of his waist; the one with the bottle inside.

She let the loop end of the lasso drop out of her hand, then started twirling it above her head.

OK…here…it…GOES.

She tossed the lasso. It flew through the air, heading straight for her target. Mary closed her eyes just before it made contact. She couldn't bare to watch.

After a moment, she felt it hook on something. She prepared to tighten it.

"HEY!"

She opened her eyes, and was horrified by what she saw. She had not lassoed the holster; she had lassoed Bart himself!

"YIKES!"

She instantly dove for cover in the cellar door as Black Bart fired several wild shots into the alley. Mary covered her ears as the bullets ricocheted off the walls. When it was all over, she lifted one ear as she heard some muffled conversation.

"…little wench thinks she can…"

"…Hey! Bart! Losin' yer concentration?"

"I'll defeat you yet, Mills!"

Soon, the gunshots resumed, and Mary dared to peek out from her hiding spot. The lasso was no longer on the outlaw, but was instead on the ground, quite a ways away from him. He was now focused on the Sheriff, but he occasionally glanced in her direction every now and then in between shots and dodges.

Mary glanced to the side and cursed herself for being too stupid.

"Stupid, stupid, stupid!" She shook her head. "OK, I've got to think of something else."

Her mind raced for a while, thinking about what to do next.

As she thought, she would occasionally glance at the man on the horse. Eventually, she glanced at him for the fourth time while strategizing, and saw something.

When she looked past the outlaw, she saw a building behind him with a fenced-off area next to it. In this area, she saw several horses, panicking and racing around as the gunshots continued.

Horses?

She knew that if there were horses, it had to be a stable. And if there were horses, there had to be food for the horses, which meant…

That's it!

Mary got another idea. She slowly climbed out of the cellar yet again, and sneaked around the back of the bank. This time, however, she went further through the town, sneaking behind other buildings to avoid being seen by Black Bart.

After sneaking far away enough, she crossed the street, keeping her eye on the distant Black Bart. Once on the other side of the street, she moved behind the buildings on that side of the street until she reached the stable. She paused for a moment at the entrance, then slipped inside.

Inside the stable, she saw stalls lining the walls, most containing horses. All of the horses were panicked and stomping around, nostrils practically flaring. She ignored the agitated horses and walked through the stable, scanning the walls and the floor for what she was looking for. It wasn't until she reached the back wall of the stable when she found it. A small, wooden, rectangular container, filled with carrots.

"Perfect."

She snatched one of the largest carrots, then exited the stable.

Back on the street, the standoff was still going, but apparently nearing its end. Sheriff Mills was clutching at his arm in pain, apparently after being hit. He continued firing at Bart nonetheless. Mary knew she had to act fast.

Standing behind a small outhouse, she slowly held out her hand with the carrot in it. She then started clicking her tongue as loudly as she could. While Black Bart didn't hear her, his horse did.

The steed slowly turned its head to face her.

She smiled briefly, then held the carrot out, shaking it to show that she wanted the horse to pay attention to it. It apparently got the message.

The mighty horse instantly dashed towards her. It moved so quickly, Bart was thrown off his horse.

"WHOA!" He screamed as he fell off and hit the dirt. "Oof! Ow!"

Mary tossed the carrot aside, diverting the horse from her, before turning to Bart, still on the ground, reeling in pain. She saw that her plan had worked. The sudden impact from when he hit the ground caused the milk bottle to fall out of its holster. Since the ground was dirt, it wasn't seriously damaged when it hit the ground. It had rolled away from him a good ten feet before it stopped, hitting a small rock.

Mary, without thinking, made a mad dash for the bottle, quickly snatching it up off the ground and continuing to run.

Black Bart saw her, and yelled after her.

"HEY! Get back here with that Bottle of Perfect Milk!" He reached for his pistol, only for the Sheriff to step on his hand.

"Don't move, Bart."

Bart did not attempt to flee. Instead he yelled orders to his men. "Men! MEN! Stop that little girl! She's got our prize!"

All of the members of his posse noticed, and quickly gave chase.

Mary continued running as fast as she could when she heard them chasing him.

"Hey!"

"Stop!"

"Get back here!"

"You ain't goin' nowhere, young missy!"

Mary then saw the remains of the Milk Bar, having been demolished by the bandits. But that wasn't what she was looking for. Across the street from where the Milk Bar once stood, was the regular bar. That was her destination.

She dashed towards it, leapt onto the porch, and burst through the doorway. She ran past several startled patrons and the bartender, who recognized her instantly.

"You! What are you doin' here?"

She didn't answer him, instead simply ran past him, and towards the staircase at the far wall.

Several bandits burst through the door and took aim with their rifles.

"We warned ya, girl! Now die!"

She ducked just as one man fired. The bullet soared overhead and hit a portrait over her. The glass shattered, and it fell to the floor, smashing again. It tumbled down the stairs.

Geez. They sure go the extra mile to scare us. She thought. … Well, they do a pretty good job.

She burst through the door at the top of the stairs, and was back at the safety of the Film Lot. The first thing she noticed right away was John, standing across the hallway from her. He stood just outside his door, a silver briefcase in hand.

He looked at her, then at the Milk Bottle in her hand, then to the side, where the finish line was.

Chris, Violet, (a still-soaking) Mark, Daniel, and Violet all stood.

They were the last two left.

Earlier…

Madison; Medieval times

The Wizard took aim with his wand.

"Oh, crap." Madison muttered.

She dove aside just as a beam of electricity shot from the tip of the wand. It shot past her and struck the wall, creating a small explosion, sending a few rocks flying, and creating a crater in the cave wall.

Madison turned to the Wizard.

"No intruder leaves here…alive." He declared before aiming again.

Madison dodged again, and the bolt of lightning destroyed a nearby shelf, sending all kinds of things flying. Madison didn't want to think about it, and instead turned to the next shelf.

Grabbing one of the skulls on it, she hurled it at the Wizard, only for him to zap it with his wand, shattering it to pieces. Madison turned and grabbed a bottle of a gold-colored dust. She also hurled it, and it was zapped as well, creating a small explosion of gold and sparks.

Madison started dashing around in circles around the Wizard's layer. She didn't know what to do. Coming up with random ideas on the spot, she decided to charge.

She dashed at the Wizard as fast as she could, dodging his blasts of lightning. Even as she drew incredibly close, he did not seem fazed. It wasn't until she approached that he instantly leapt straight up, sending Madison running past him and into a shelf, sending objects tumbling.

He was now suspended in midair, firing at her from above. Madison did not bother to look for the suspension cable or whatever it was that held him up there, and just continued dodging his blasts.

Eventually, she tripped on a rock as she ran around. It was actually fortunate that this happened; she fell and barely missed another bolt of lightning. She skidded across the ground, hitting yet another shelf. She braced for impact as it fell, sending all kinds of liquids all over her. She did not think about what it was that covered her. Instead, she shook her head wildly, as if to shake it off.

After shaking her head, she looked off to the side, and saw a large, jagged dagger on the floor. She looked at it, then back up at the Wizard. This time, she could barely see the cable that held him up. She got an idea.

She scrambled to her feet, picking up the dagger first, before she made her move.

Dodging another blast, she reared back with the dagger in hand. She took a moment before she struck, knowing that she would not have another chance, and that she didn't really have that good of an aim…

Without thinking twice, she hurled the knife. The magician was still unfazed as it headed towards him, as it was clearly going higher than him. However, his eyes widened when he realized what was above him.

Before the Wizard could react, the dagger sailed right over him, and sliced the cable effortlessly.

The Wizard instantly fell down about ten feet or so before he hit the ground. Well, not exactly the ground. He instead hit the table where the cauldron rested. The small wooden table was smashed instantly, and the black cauldron flew up into the air. The Wizard sat up among the rubble, and rubbed his head.

"Ooooohhhhh…what happened?"

Then the cauldron fell right back down and hit him on the head, knocking him out instantly.

As the Wizard crumpled to the ground, the cauldron bounced right up to Madison.

"Well, that was a lot easier than I thought it would be." She mused as she picked up the cauldron.

She then turned and walked out of the lair, grabbing the other torch before she entered the tunnel. After the walk back through the tunnel, she reached the end of it, where the light still shone down form above. At first, she was stumped, faced with no way out.

However, this time, with the illumination from the torch, she could clearly see the wooden later against the wall that she could never have seen in the dark.

Tossing the torch down, she climbed up the ladder with the cauldron in hand.

When she reached the top, the light was almost blinding for a moment, although she soon adjusted. She noticed that the huge drawbridge was still up.

Now she was truly stumped.

"Oh, great! NOW how do I get across?"

She looked at the huge moat, still too wide, obviously, to jump across.

Maybe, just maybe, I can swim across it…

That idea was instantly debunked when she saw four alligators rise out of the water and glare at her.

"Yeah. Terrific."

Suddenly, another threat appeared.

"HEY! It's her! The intruder!"

You have got to be kidding me.

She looked back up at the roof, where the horde of guards was still posted.

"Get her!"

They disappeared from the edge of the roof once again.

"This is just GREAT!" She exclaimed.

The entrance to the castle itself was blocked by a huge iron gate; she couldn't get out that way. She looked back at the moat, where the hungry alligators still lurked.

Then, the most dangerous, most daredevil, most insane idea ever popped into her head.

"No."

She looked at the alligators, their teeth so huge…

"No…"

She looked down at the cauldron, remembering how it bounced around so easily in the lair, yet it was still heavy enough to knock one out…

"NO…"

"HALT! Ye are under arrest! Seize her, now!"

She saw the guards approaching fast now.

She had to try it. It was the only thing left to do.

Madison, holding the cauldron in one hand, reared back, aiming at the nearest alligator.

"I hope the angle is just right…"

She chucked the cauldron at the nearest alligator. She watched it soar through the air, straight towards the hideous beast. It hit it right in the head. The gator instantly slumped in the water, but remained floating anyway. The cauldron bounced off of it, and headed for the next one. It also hit the target. The gator was knocked out, and its unconscious body floated in the water.

Madison watched with great surprise, and relief, as it bounced off all of the gator's head, knocking them out, and then landing on the opposite shore.

Madison then jumped onto the nearest gator. It started flipping at first, but she regained her footing, and quickly bounced to the next one. She hopped across all of the gators until she reached the other end, where the cauldron was.

She picked up the cauldron, then turned around to smirk at the gaping soldiers before turning and running off towards the village.

She ran back down the trail, and through the village, ignoring the now-stunned looks of the villagers as they stared at the cauldron in her hands. She raced right into the stable she had come from, dashed past the cows, and through the huge door in the back.

When Madison emerged in the Film Lot, she didn't even bother to stop and look around; she went on a beeline straight for the finish line and crossed it.

"Phew! Am I ever glad that's over!" She exclaimed as she handed the cauldron to Chris.

"So who's left?" Violet asked Chris.

"Looks like John and Mary are the last two. By the end of the day, one of them is going home!"

John; Modern-day

John sat and waited in anticipation as the elevator rose higher, drawing closer to "50."

"No turning back now, eh." John muttered as it reached the fiftieth floor.

John slowly and cautiously stepped out from the elevator. He looked around at the huge room he was in as he walked through it. There were filing cabinets and graphs and charts all over the place. Stacks of papers dotted the floors, and there were many briefcases. Brown, black, white, but none silver.

John approached the massive desk against the far wall, with the huge window behind it, overlooking the surrounding city skyline. On that desk was the item he was searching for: the silver briefcase.

John slowly approached it, expecting the worst.

Then the worst appeared.

A large, six-foot-tall man appeared. He wore a boring, gray business suit with a white undershirt, a gray tie, and black shoes. His hair was gray. He had a similar brown briefcase in hand. Surprisingly and uncharacteristically, he smiled at John.

"So, you want this, eh?"

John, eyes wide, dully nodded.

"Well, nice try, but…YOU WON'T GET IT!" His attitude instantly changed. His face twisted into an evil scowl, his gray eyebrows furrowed at John, and his eyes almost glowed red.

"Now…FACE YOUR TAXES!"

He then reached into his briefcase and pulled out a stack of flat folders. Dealing them all like a deck of cards, he started tossing them like darts at John.

John ducked out of the way as they all soared overhead, burrowing themselves into the wall behind him. John was stunned and wide-eyed at their speed, and how deep they were in the wall.

The Boss Tax Collector then pulled out a calculator; a small, blue calculator with pink buttons. He then pressed a single button on it, and it started beeping. He hurled it at the Goth.

John realized what this meant, and dodged at the last moment before the calculator hit the floor and exploded. John rolled across the floor, stopping in an immediate fighting stance. He was scared out of his wits. He was terrified of this man. But he knew he would have to face him.

"Bring it on, eh!"

The Tax Collector then grabbed a pair of glasses from the briefcase. He tore off the two stems of the glasses, and held them like darts. They were revealed to have very sharp tips. He chucked them both, one after the other.

John ducked as they sailed overhead and hit the wall. John decided to fight back. Grabbing the nearest filing cabinet, he tore out the top drawer and threw it at the evil man. He simply knocked it aside with one swing of his fist.

John grabbed another drawer in one hand, then another in the other hand.

He threw one, then the other right after it. The man quickly struck the other one, but didn't have time to face the other. It struck him across the face.

"Oof!"

He reeled back in pain. John took this moment of opportunity. He dashed over to the desk and reached for the briefcase.

Suddenly, John's extended arm was suddenly at his side, as was his other arm. He looked down to see himself wrapped up in papers, almost like a mummy. He looked over at the Boss Tax Collector, and saw that the roll of paper had extended from his briefcase.

"I've got you now!"

John grinned, then, with all his might, pushed his arms against the paper, bursting out of them.

"Nice try." He reached for the briefcase.

The man, however, had one more trick up his sleeve. He reached into his shirt pocket, and pulled out four very sharp pencils. Spreading them out, he threw them straight at John. They each came in contact with their target, sending him back against the wall. John looked down at himself, and saw that the pencils had pinned through each of his sleeves and his pant legs.

He was pinned up.

The Tax Collector approached him, shaking his head.

"You cannot delay the inevitable, my boy."

John braced himself.

Suddenly, the elevator door burst open, and the familiar chanting instantly filled the room.

"Vote now! Vote now! Vote now! Vote now! Vote Now!"

John and the Boss Tax Collector turned to face the many politicians, who instantly advanced towards John.

"W-w-w-wait! I've voted already, eh! I…have…voted…already!"

They instantly stopped, moving no closer towards him.

"But, uh, he hasn't!" He gestured towards the Tax Collector, who's eyes widened.

"Uh-oh." He muttered.

The politicians then moved towards him.

"Vote now! Vote now! Vote Now!"

They moved in on him.

"EEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAA!" He screamed.

John focused on his situation at the moment. He quickly jerked his right arm as hard as he could, yanking it away. The pencil that had pinned it down fell to the floor. He then reached over and grabbed the other pencil, yanking it out as well. He then reached down to release his legs. He fell to the floor once he did.

John quickly stood up, brushing off his legs, then dashed over to the desk, grabbed the briefcase, then wasted no time in racing over to the elevator, slamming the "Ground" button, and riding down.

Once on the first floor, he dashed through the building as fast as he could, past the cubicles, out the door, and down the street, completely ignoring anyone else who dared to get in his way. He raced down several streets, cutting through alleyways to get there, until he reached "MacLean Lane", where the alley he remembered coming from was. He raced straight between the "Heartbreak Hotel" and the clothing store "MacLean's", and through the dark alley up to the door at the end.

For a moment, it was total darkness. Then he opened the huge door, and emerged into the familiar, abandoned Film Lot once again. Glancing back at the huge door, he muttered, "Wow! Am I ever glad to get out of there, eh! I'm never gonna join a show like this ever again as long as I live!"

He then turned away from the door, and almost instantly, he saw Mary, standing across the hallway from him, just outside her door. A milk bottle was in her hands. John glanced over at the finish line, where, in a nutshell, every single castmate except for he and Mary stood.

Glancing at Mary, he made a mad dash for the finish line. Likewise, she also ran. All of the others started cheering them on, encouraging them to come to the finish line first.

John had only one goal in mind: Win.

It took him a moment to suddenly realize that he was trying to beat Mary! Mary, the girl he liked. Mary, the girl he had helped to win in past challenges. Mary, the girl whom he felt deserved to win more than he did.

John then did what no one else expected. He ground his feet into the ground, and skidded to a stop.

After a moment, Mary dashed past him, crossing the finish line before him.

Everyone stared in wide-eyed shock.

"Did you just see that?" Violet exclaimed.

"He just threw that challenge!" Madison also exclaimed.

John stood there, briefcase in hand, just inches from the finish line.

Mary, after handing the milk bottle to Chris, looked back at the Goth. She walked up to him, and looked right at him.

"Why did you just do that?"

John still had his head down for a moment. Then he looked back up at her and all the others.

"I…I need to tell you guys something, eh."

About ten minutes later…

Everyone stared at John, more shocked and speechless than ever before.

"I…can't…believe it!" Mark gasped.

"It was YOU all along?" Daniel asked, a slight hint of anger in his voice (can you blame him?).

"Y-yes. It was I. And I alone. I did it to help Mary win."

"Why?" Mary asked. For a moment, she actually looked near to tears.

"Because…I always thought that you deserved a second chance, eh. Because of the things people wouldn't let you live down from last season. I couldn't stand to see you get voted off early because of that. So I figured that the more times you won, the longer you'd be here, eh."

"But why me?"

John paused, swallowing nervously before he answered.

"Because… … …because I think you're an incredibly girl."

Everyone, even Chris, gasped.

"You do?"

"You're just really smart, and pretty, and not too bad at challenges. I thought you were amazing. I always have. Ever since you actually listened to me last season. You know, when I told you about my life?"

"Y-yes?"

"I don't ordinarily open up to people like that. But with you…I felt better about doing it. I really think that you're unique…and…just…I can't describe. I'm at a total loss for words right now. Heh, heh."

Mary looked at him. Despite not being able to see those eyes, she knew that he was serious.

"Me too."

There was a long pause as a strange silence fell over the six castmates and Chris. Daniel was shaking his head at John, arms folded in disapproval. Mark and Violet stared in wide-eyed shock. Madison was also stunned, but was looking more at Mary than John. John and Mary looked deep into each other's eyes for several long moments.

But, after what felt like an eternity to the castmates, the bearer of bad news himself, Chris MacLean, barged in on the moment.

"Well, I hate to interrupt, but you all know that someone is going home tonight."

"Yeah." John instantly responded. "It's cool, eh; I deserve it after what I've done all this time. I'm ready to accept the consequences."

"Alright, then. But you'll still need to report to the Theatre tonight anyway."

"Why? You want to rub it in more about the fact that I know that I've already been eliminated?" The anger in John's voice seemed to rise.

"What are you talking about? You haven't been eliminated… …yet."

"WHAT?" Everyone asked simultaneously.

"But you specifically said that the last person to cross the finish line is instantly eliminated!" Daniel exclaimed.

"Yeah? Well I lied…again. Wow, I'm getting good at this lying thing, huh?"

"You have no idea." Daniel muttered under his breath.

Chris heard him, but simply shrugged. "What can I say? Dramatic plot twists bring in the ratings. Anyway, so instead of John being instantly eliminated, the elimination tonight will be just like always: the viewers decide. And what is unique about this particular elimination ceremony: For the first time in the season, there is no Invincibility; meaning anyone can go home tonight! See you all at the Theatre!"

And with that, Chris wheeled away the table with the six items on it (this was the first time the castmates noticed that the table was actually on wheels), leaving the six stunned castmates standing there, still unable to comprehend what the host had just revealed.


The Eighth Gilded Chris Award Ceremony

The six castmates all sat on the bleachers, facing the stage. They were all tired. It had been one hectic day, the challenge was tiring, and they were glad that it was over. But everyone was also nervous, and showing it very clearly. Since it was the very first time that there was no Invincibility, they knew that any one of them could go home.

But out of all the castmates, the most nervous one by far was John.

The Goth sat in his seat, sweating hard and shifting in his seat. He knew now that since his tricks had been exposed, he was definitely on the chopping block, and could easily go home tonight. He glanced over at Daniel, sitting next to him. The jock didn't seem any better. He wasn't nearly as twitchy as John was, but he didn't exactly have an iron confidence, either.

Make-Up Confessional

John: Well, my time here was fun, eh. I met a lot of great people. I met the girl of my dreams. But I've got a lot to learn about how to get a girl to notice me, don't I? (Sighs)

Daniel: Am I too worried about my chances? No, not really. See, ordinarily I would, since I don't have Invincibility. But after seeing how Goth boy turned out to be the "Mystery Castmate," that instantly sealed his fate right then and there. His tactics since the first day are far worse than what I've done. Yep, he is so going home.

Mary: I guess it was a little sweet that John had me in mind when he pulled those tricks, but I don't think there can be anything between us yet; it's hard for relationships to last only a few hours.

Mark: So I'm looking at those two, and personally, I think that Daniel actually has a better chance. John's past actions were just plain low. Sorry, dude.

Violet: I can't believe it! The one day that Daniel has Invincibility, and someone else comes out and reveals that they've been doing all of that sabotaging since the season started? Man, that guy has some serious luck. And we all kind of liked John. Ah, well. It's time for karma to catch up with him.

Madison: Wow. I've been here for only two weeks, and I've already earned a whole season's worth of drama! Even though I wasn't here for the whole time, I had learned about the whole "Mystery Castmate" thing. But I never would've suspected John, of all people! Talk about a shocker.

End

After what felt like hours, Chris and Chef walked onstage; Chris wearing the same outfit, and Chef in the humiliating pink and transparent dress, and holding only five Awards.

"The viewers have cast in their votes and made their decisions. And I can already say this for sure: This Ceremony is gonna be AWESOME! Man! After all these weeks, Daniel is finally vulnerable! But then John turns out to be the Mystery Castmate? Oh, man! We have no idea who's going home tonight! Well, Jay, Chef, and I do, but you'll all have to find out!

"Anyway, you know the routine. There are only five Gilded Chris Awards tonight. When I call your name, come up and claim your Award. The castmate who does not receive an Award must take the Walk of Shame, to catch the Limo of Losers. That means that you are out of the game…and you cannot come back…EVER.

"The first Award goes to…Mark."

The optimist smiled as he ran onto the stage and grabbed an Award.

"…Violet."

Violet, unlike Mark, calmly walked onto the stage and picked up another Award.

"Next…I will call…Madison."

Madison also climbed onto the stage and snatched up a Gilded Chris.

"There are only three castmates left, but only two Awards."

John and Mary shared a nervous glance. John looked into her eyes. Now was the last time he could ever help her to win. After this, she would be on her own. He reflected on what little time they spent together, such as back on the island during the hunt for the million-dollar case, and when he had technically saved her life that same day. He had wanted to eventually reveal his feelings for her, but he felt that he had done it poorly earlier that day. And now he would not get another chance.

Likewise, Mary was also thinking about John. She had teamed up with him in the season finale, and he was always the one who could get the case for her. And he was still willing to split it with her, even though he did all the work.

Suddenly, only then did Mary realize something important: While John's tricks as "The Mystery Castmate" were a little unceremonious, they did help her team to win on many occasions. And come to think of it, she had been fairly unpopular in the first few episodes, considering her past actions in Total Drama Island and such. She now knew the truth: He was the reason that she had lasted this long. And after realizing it now, she realized that he truly had been trying to help her.

As she looked at him, and he looked at her, she smiled a faint smile at the Goth boy, just before the host called the next name.

"Mary."

Mary paused a moment before she turned away from John and walked onto the stage to claim one of the two remaining Awards. She quickly looked from the small statuette to the two remaining castmates.

"And then there were two." Chris announced. "Daniel…and John. This is the evening's final Gilded Chris Award." He grabbed the last Gilded Chris and held it high in the air for everyone to see.

"One of you has been chosen by our viewers, and will leave Total Drama Action within the next two minutes. The other will claim this final Award, and with it, the knowledge that they have survived. Now, I shall declare the loser."

The two boys' attitudes quickly changed as they realized now that they did not want to hear their names called. John continued to squirm, while Daniel focused hard on the final Award in the host's hand. He had now lost all of his confidence. The slight smirk on his face gone, his arms no longer crossed in his usual manner, sweat dripping down his forehead.

"Tonight…the loser, the ninth castmate to be given the boot, and to be whisked away in the Limo of Losers, is…"

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"…Daniel."

Everyone in the Theatre gasped as the jock's name was called.

"WHAT?" They all asked incredulously.

"This…this can't be!" Daniel exclaimed.

John, still shaking, walked onto the stage and picked up the final Gilded Chris with trembling hands. He smiled a half-hearted smile.

"Sorry, dude. You're out." Chris said to Daniel.

"They STILL voted for me!"

"Yep." The host simply responded.

Daniel then glared something fierce at John. Everyone, even John, Chris, and Chef were stunned, and took one step back when they saw the ferocity in the jock's eyes as he stared down John hard.

Daniel continued glaring evilly before he finally exploded. "AFTER ALL THAT HE'S DONE? SABOTAGING THE OTHER TEAM SINCE DAY ONE, AND THEY STILL VOTE ME OUT? THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! THIS IS DESPICABLE! THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE! THIS…ISN'T…FAIR!"

Chris remained where he stood nonetheless. "Sorry, but for this season, what the viewers say goes."

"!"

Daniel screamed, followed by a long string of curses, all of which can never be repeated in a K+ fic.

Unlike Ruth's elimination, no one dared to interfere, as he was clearly much more vicious than Ruth could have ever been. Everyone just backed off and cowered in fear as he released all of his anger at once.

When he was finished, he finally accepted reality. Before he turned and stormed off to the awaiting Limo of Losers, he gave on final statement. "You just kicked off the one true, sure-fire way to bring in the ratings to this show; I hope you realize that!"

Daniel then stormed down the Red Carpet of Shame, his footsteps heavy on the velvet. He angrily shoved Jay aside and climbed into the Limo of Losers himself. The intern, seeming only slightly fazed, dusted himself off as the Limo sped off.

Everyone stared after him in complete shock and stupor.

The silence was broken when Mary walked up to John. It took a moment for the Goth to realize that she was next to him. He turned to face her.

"Hey, eh."

"Hey."

"So, uh, I guess I'm not out this week after all."

"Nope."

They looked at each other for a long time, once again at a loss for words. This time, however, they knew that words simply wouldn't be enough.

Mary slowly reached out and took his hand in hers.

John looked down at their holding hands, then back at Mary, and smiled at her. Then they slowly moved closer to each other…

Then (wouldn't you know it) Chris barged right in.

"Well, now that that's settled, it's time to put the items you each retrieved from today's challenge to use!"

"What do you mean?" Mark asked.

"Come, and I'll show you."

The host walked off the stage and out of the Theatre, with Jay, Chef, and the five castmates following. He led them all right to the Craft Services Tent.

Inside, the two tables were spread out, one on each side of the room. Each had its own stove next to them. In the center of the Tent was a small, round table with a fancy pink tablecloth, a glass vase with a flower in it, and fine silverware set before the single chair.

Against the back wall of the Tent was the table with the six items, the egg, the milk bottle, the cauldron, the time capsule, the briefcase, and the treasure chest, all lined up.

Jay and Chef each stood beside their own separate table, while Chris sat down at the fancy one.

"What's going on here?" Violet asked.

"Remember how Jay, Chef, and I were in this Tent for quite a while this morning?"

"Yeah?"

"Well, after a long…discussion, we eventually came to an agreement; the ultimate, the final way to decide once and for all who truly is the better chef: Chef or Jay. And the items today will help with the decision."

"How so?" Madison asked.

"Observe."

On cue, an intern walked into the Tent, and wheeled over the table with the items on it. He then started opening up the ones that needed to be, such as the time capsule and the cauldron.

"Have any of you noticed the one thing these items all have in common?" Chris asked the castmates.

"Um…they were all really hard to get, eh?" John asked, earning chuckles from several castmates.

"No. Observe, now, as our intern here opens them."

The intern then opened up the treasure chest, and pulled out a rectangular, yellow object.

"A bar of gold?" Madison exclaimed.

"No…"

Then the intern peeled off the golden wrap, to instead reveal a stick of butter.

"Butter?"

"That's right."

The intern placed the butter, the bottle of milk, the egg, and the cauldron side-by-side. He opened up the cauldron, and allowed everyone to have a look inside. Inside it was a white, creamy liquid.

"What's that?"

The intern ignored Mary's question as he moved to open up the time capsule. He twisted off the lid, and slowly flipped it open. He reached inside, then pulled out a small, glass bowl with a lid on it. Prying off the tightly-sealed lid, he showed everyone the brown, sticky substance that was inside.

"Is that…" Violet started. Then everyone finished. "…SYRUP?"

"Correct again, my friends." Chris replied with that usual grin.

Setting the briefcase aside and lining up the other five items, the castmates all knew now what the items all had in common.

"Syrup, butter, an egg, milk, and that creamy stuff…pancake mix? These are the ingredients for a pancake!"

"Exactly."

With that, the intern poured the large milk bottle into two, smaller bottles, and handed each to Chef and Jay. He did the same with the butter; chopping it in half and giving each half to both men. He divided all of the ingredients among the two until they were ready.

"Put the pieces together yet? Chef and Jay here are going to have a cook-off, to determine for good who should be the permanent chef here. They are each going to bake their own batches of pancakes for me, and I shall determine which is better!"

"So…you're basically telling us that we went through that horrible challenge today purely to get these ingredients for you, when you could've easily gone to the grocery store instead?" Mary exclaimed.

"Uh-huh. Now, if you'll all please to step back, and let these two get to work."

Chef glared fiercely at his opponent, then started to make his pancake. With the tools on the table, as well as the nearby stove, he was all set to go. He turned his back to everyone else as he prepared the pancakes.

Jay was unfazed by his opponent's ferocity, and quickly preceded to bake his pancake.

During the cooking, Mark casually leaned close to Chris, who by now had his silverware in his hands, napkin on his lap, and a bib on, and asked, "If they're all the same ingredients, then how can both pancakes be different?"

"You don't have to have different ingredients to make different-tasting foods, Mark. They can have their own special way of preparing it, they can have their own special ingredient, they can…"

"Your pancakes, sir." Jay presented the plate with the three pancakes on them. They had syrup spread around on their surface, along with a small block of butter placed in the middle of each one. They were a fresh, golden-brown color, and steam casually rose from them. They smelled perfect.

"That fast? Wow, you must be one heck of a chef, Jay. Better than our possible ex-Chef over here."

"I heard that!"

Chris ignored him and slowly took the plate of pancakes. He raised a fork in one hand, and a knife in the other. He placed the fork down near the edge of the pancake, and casually started sawing with the other. Soon, he had a perfectly triangular slice of pancake on his fork. He raised it to his mouth.

After putting it in his mouth, he slowly chewed, enjoying the delicious, perfect taste of the pancake.

"This…is…PERFECT! This is the most delicious, most elegantly-prepared, most scrumptious pancake I've ever placed in my mouth! Jay, you are an excellent chef!"

Jay smiled; a small, barely-noticeable upward curve in his mouth, at the compliment.

Chef snarled before he rudely shoved his plate in front of Chris. Chris glanced at Chef disapprovingly, before cutting a slice out of one of his sticky, slightly-burned pancakes. He paused for a moment, eyeing the piece of pancake, before he ate it.

Almost instantly, the hard, charred surface burned inside his mouth. He gagged on it, trying to spit it out. But because of the syrup, it stuck inside his mouth, and started to slide down his throat.

"GACK! ACK…" He clutched at his throat as he almost choked on it.

Jay, familiar with the Heimlich Maneuver, was instantly behind his superior, putting his arms around Chris's stomach and heaving upward, helping him to spit it out.

After an agonizing moment, he finally succeeded. Chris spewed the burnt pancake piece out of his mouth. It shot across the Tent, heading straight for the nearby intern. His eyes widened, and just as he turned to run, the black piece of food hit him in the head, knocking him out.

The exhausted Chris, still gasping, placed one hand on the table to steady himself.

"Can I (cough) get a glass of water (hack!) over here?"

Jay quickly handed him one. Chris popped off the lid and chugged down half of the bottle before he was satisfied.

"Ah! That's better. Well," Chris cleared his throat. "I think, that after that near-death experience, it's obvious who the new chef is…"

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"…Jay!"

The large man nodded in thanks, as Chris applauded quietly for him. The castmates and Chef were not so enthusiastic.

The castmates stood off to the side, amused by the cynical host practically choking to death. But when Chris made the announcement, they knew that it was just worse for them. But, of course, Chef was the most devastated.

"WHAT? THIS CAN'T BE TRUE! THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! YOU CAN'T REPLACE ME WITH THAT…THAT…TERMINATOR! THIS…IS…A LOAD OF OUTRAGEOUS, UNACCEPTABLE, DESPICABLE…"

It was an exact repeat of Daniel's elimination just five minutes ago; the yelling, the ferocity, the curses, all of which left Chris and the castmates completely stunned.

Chef continued rambling on and on, and it was nearly fifteen minutes before he finally stopped, panting heavily, and still trying to go at it. "And furthermore (pant, pant) this is a disgrace (wheeze) to me and my family's honor as five-star chefs! You…cannot…replace…me!"

Chris waited for a moment, to make sure that Chef was done, before he finally spoke. "Sorry, ex-Chef. But it's really that simple: He's the new chef, and you're not."

"You're firing me, aren't you?"

"Nope. You will stay on this show, but not as the chef; as an intern!"

"WHAT? NO!"

"It's the only other position you can have." Chris shrugged.

"NO! That's it! I'm done with this show! I quit!"

Ex-Chef angrily tore of his apron, curled it up in a ball, and threw it aside. At that moment, the unconscious intern was waking up. He slowly sat up and rubbed his head. "Ow. Where am I?"

The apron, rolled up into such a tight ball that it was rock-hard, and thrown so hard and fast, hit him in the head, and knocked him out again.

Ex-Chef also threw his hat to the ground and stomped on it.

"That's right! I'm out of here!" He turned and started to storm towards the Tent's exit.

"Sorry, but you can't do that either."

"Why not?"

"It's in your contract."

Ex-Chef froze in place at the sound of the cursed word: contract. He turned to face Chris.

"No it wasn't! Unlike all of these little maggots," He pointed at the castmates. "I actually READ the ENTIRE contract! There was nothing about me not being able to quit! … Unless…"

"That's read, my dear friend: The fine print."

The following scream caused the entire vicinity to shake, loose objects to fall off of their tables, and even glass nearly a hundred feet away to shatter.


Episode 9: War of the Sexes

"Last week, on Total Drama Action: Our final six castmates participated in a free-for-all scavenger hunt across six different time periods, for various, hard-to-get items within that era. There were robots, pirates, wizards, bandits, dinosaurs, and tax collectors. They were running all over the place trying to escape these things, and more.

"Daniel's game was totally off that week. He landed in a pit of Poison Ivy, fought a Bear, was chased by a T. Rex, nearly consumed by lava, and, most importantly, he finally failed to gain Invincibility, thus putting him on the chopping block for the very first time.

"But the real story here was John. After starting to feel guilty about his past actions as the Mystery Castmate, he threw the challenge and confessed his wrongdoings to his fellow castmates, as well as admitted that he did it to help his crush girl, Mary, win. It was a tender moment, ruined by the fact that John was now the next most vulnerable castmate, eligible for voting off that night.

"In the end, it came down to none other than Daniel and John. Daniel, having established himself as a self-conceited, manipulative user, and John, for sabotaging the other team, using some of the most dirty and unconventional tricks ever. But in the end, surprisingly, the one who did not receive a Gilded Chris that night was Daniel. And boy, did he have a fit. But in the end, he willingly walked down the Red Carper of Shame, climbed into the Limo of Losers, and was taken away to Loserville.

"In addition to that, a cook-off was held between Jay and Chef Hatchet, to determine who would be the chef. Yours truly was the judge, who had to eat the pancakes cooked by both contestants. After a rather (ahem) distasteful incident with Hatchet's pancake, I immediately declared Jay the winner; winner of the cook-off and the new title of Chef. While ex-Chef, not allowed to quit the show, was moved to the dreaded and lowly rank of intern, thus becoming Intern Hatchet.

"We're down to our final five castmates now, and boy, is the drama ever increasing. Will John be able to gain the forgiveness of his fellow castmates and the viewers for his past actions, or will he be following Daniel down the Walk of Shame? Will he and Mary ever hook up? Or do they have something else in mind? And does anyone else smell 'alliance' in the air? Find out, right here, on the latest episode of Total…Drama…Action!"

...

Another peaceful day in Toronto, Ontario. The water was still, the birds were chirping, and the castmates were all sleeping soundly in their trailers.

Chris looked down on the peaceful, relaxing scene below…

…from the huge, heavily armored bomber plane he was flying.

"I love this show."

Chris then pressed a large red button with the number one written on it.

Instantly, a trapdoor opened up underneath his plane and fell, heading straight for the boys' trailer.

It hit, smashing through the roof with a loud sound, easily resembling an explosion. Both boys in the trailer were awakened.

"AUGH! WOW! WHAT'S GOING ON, EH?"

"I don't know!" Mark screamed as he fell out of his bed, tangled up in his sheets.

John looked at the cloud of smoke in the middle of their trailer. After a moment, he could see the source of the disturbance clearly: a large, gray missile, resting in a crater in the trailer floor.

And there was a casual ticking coming from it.

John's eyes widened. "Oh, sh-."

The missile exploded, completely engulfing the interior of the trailer…

…in multiple colors of paint.

Red, blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, black, brown, gray, white, and many more colors, some not even known that well, completely covered the furniture, the walls, and the two teens.

John, a mix of pink and white, looked down at himself. "Ah great, eh! I look ridiculous!"

Mark, still tangled up in his sheets, and now dripping with blue and yellow paint, slowly staggered to his feet.

"This is nuts! Don't tell me that this is Chris's next wake-up call!"

"Unfortunately, it is." A loud voice blared from above.

John and Mark looked up through the huge hole in the roof to see the plane flying overhead.

"CHRIS!" They both exclaimed.

"Sorry! I'd love to stick around and chat, but I've got to drop another F-bomb!"

" 'F-bomb'?" Mark asked loudly.

" 'F', as in 'Full of Paint'! Now if you'll excuse me!"

Chris then yanked back on the throttle, causing the plane to instantly pull back and soar upside-down. After righting himself, he moved the plane casually over the girls' trailer.

Of course, by that time, the girls had heard all the commotion, and had come out of their trailers to see what was going on.

"What was that?" Violet asked.

"Was that an explosion?" Mary asked as well.

Then they looked up at the sound of the plane soaring above them. Looking closely, they could see the trapdoor open once again, and a small object fall from it, heading straight for them.

"LOOK OUT!" They all simultaneously exclaimed before diving out of the way. The missile fell through their trailer's roof, raising a huge cloud of dust and debris. They looked back at their trailer, the plume of smoke coming from the roof. A few moments later, BOOM!

They could see the paint splatter all over the inside of the windows, and some of it shot through the still-open door, heading straight for Madison.

"Oof!" She cried as the blast of paint hit her, sending her stumbling backwards. She coughed, sputtered, and wiped away some of the paint from her eyes. Looking down at herself, now covered in a coat of black, blue, and purple paint, she looked back up at Chris.

"CHRIS! WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?"

"SO sorry, but it's all part of today's challenge!"

And with that, Chris jumped out the open side door of the plane, parachute on his back. Halfway down, he pulled the cord, and the red and white parachute deployed, allowing him to land safely among the castmates. Up in the air, the unpiloted plane slowly dipped down and fell out of the sky, presumably crashing somewhere in the Film Lot.

Chris removed his goggles and helmet, revealing his satisfied face and sadistic grin.

"Yes, castmates, you heard me right. First off, let me congratulate all of you for making it to the final five!"

Make-Up Confessional

John (still covered in paint): Ugh! That dirty, rotten, cynical, evil man thinks he can get away with torturing us like this! Well, he's got another thing coming, eh!

Mark: So, I made it to the final five…again. But I have this feeling…that…Ah, I'd rather not talk about it right now.

Mary: You know, I've been thinking; The only reason I'm still here is because of John. Without those sabotaging tricks and all that, I probably would've been voted off on one of the first days. I guess I really do owe him. … But then again, I just don't know. He's not really my type. Sure, he's cool and tough, and good at physical challenges, but…I just…(sigh) I don't know.

Violet: So…the final five…I made it to the final five last season, too, so I'm used to the feeling. I just hope I can last longer than I did last season.

Madison (feet up on the desk, an evil grin on her face): Despite that rather rude awakening, I felt good about the day. After all, I made it to the final five. I knew I would make it this far in the first place. But you know what's even better? The ones who are also in the final five with me! True, I'd be scared if I was up against Josh, or Ruth, or Matthew. But none of them are here now. It was just me, brainy girl, little miss perfectionist, Goth boy, and the optimist. And I knew just which one of them to choose for my little…heh, heh, proposition.

End

"So, for today's challenge, it is going to be tough! It is going to be brutal! It is going to be…all-out war! That's right, castmates. Today's genre is the War Movie!"

"Cool!" Madison exclaimed.

"In today's challenge, we will once again be returning to the age-old battle of the sexes; war style! Guys vs. girls!"

As Chris talked, he started to lead them through the maze of a Film Lot once again. Eventually, they came upon a large area that was completely walled off from the rest of the Lot. Inside, they could see two massive, stone structures, about 200 feet away from each other, also surrounded by huge walls. Lining the huge, stone walls were massive spikes that ran around the entire perimeter of the structure. There were also many small, square holes in the walls, where they could barely see the barrels of guns sticking out.

"These will be your two respective forts. Here's the idea; both teams will blasting off against each other, firing at the others' forts, with relatively harmless paintball guns, bombs, turrets, and so on.

"Now in terms of how to win, you have two options: There are three flagpoles throughout the forts, each bearing the insignia of the team whose fort they're in. When a flagpole is dealt enough damage, it will collapse, and one point will be chocked up for the team who shot it down. The first team to shoot down all three flagpoles on the opposing team wins. The other option is that you eliminate every single person on the other team."

Mark raised his hand.

"Yes, Mark?"

"Yeah, are we allowed to, um, you know, invade the enemy fort?"

Chris looked back at him blankly.

"You know…to run inside, screaming, and all that?"

"Yes, I know what you mean. I just can't believe you asked that!"

"Why?"

"Because, yes, you are able to do it, but that would just be the stupidest thing you could do!"

Mark winced. Violet raised her hand as well. "So, about that last one, won't it be a little easy to do that? Since there are only three people on one team, and two on the other?"

"Ah, I was just getting to that. Thank you for pointing that out, Violet. Here's the catch: both teams will clearly need more members to help even out the odds a little, right? So, for this challenge…

…we'll be bringing back two more contestants who did not make it onto TDA!"

"REALLY?" Everyone asked in shock.

"No, not really. I lied…again."

Make-Up Confessional

John: Darn it! If that man lies like that one more time…

Madison: Phew! For once, I'm actually relieved that he was lying! I don't need any more competition at this point. They could ruin my plan.

End

"Instead, you will each have a very different and special group of recruits for your teams. Here are your choices."

Chris snapped his fingers, and both Jay and ex-Chef walked up, both completely decked out in military outfits, and the latter glaring fiercely at the former. Behind them was a massive army of people.

"You will get to pick between Jay and Intern Hatchet here. And, in addition to these two, you each will also get your own little 'army'." He gestured the nearly thousands of people. "

You see, for the past few weeks in this season, the cameramen and interns have really been fighting about which group is more important, and deserves to actually be paid; the cameramen, for putting their safety on the line to capture all of the action close up, or the interns, who sacrifice themselves every day to see which challenges can and can't be used."

"He's right!" One intern yelled. "We die or get seriously maimed every day for you!"

"We also get maimed just to get the footage!" One cameraman, the one known as Phil, countered.

"You wanna start something?"

"Interns! Cameramen! Please!" Chris then looked back at the castmates. "See what I mean? So, they will be settling this rivalry today. Now whichever team picks Jay gets the army of cameramen as well, and whoever picks Intern will, obviously, get the interns. Both armies consist of three hundred and fifty men each. That's a lot of muscle-power, if you ask me. It should be enough for you.

"Now, to decide who picks first: Since Violet won the last task, it only seems fair that she gets to pick for the girls."

Chris then pulled out a coin, and showed the two faces of it to the castmates. One side had none other than his smug, grinning face on it, and the other side was Intern Hatchet's face.

"Heads, my head, tails, Intern's head."

Intern glared fiercely at the host after he said this.

Make-Up Confessional

Intern Hatchet: I HATE my new title! It's degrading! It's humiliating! I can't stand it! Grrrrrr! Sooner or later, I swear that one of those two, either pretty boy host, or Mr. Terminator, will pay!

End

"So, Violet, call it in midair." Chris then flipped the coin up into the air. At the peak of its height, Violet called, "Tails!"

The coin fell back down, and, sure enough, landed with Intern's scowling face looking up at them.

"Tails it is! Violet, your pick?"

Madison elbowed Violet, then winked at her. Violet nodded back.

"I pick Jay."

Chris looked over at Jay, who nodded in response. He, and half of all the people behind him, all walked over to stand behind the group of girls.

"So boys, you get Intern and the interns."

After the army joined the boys, Chris continued with the explanation of the rules. "You can use any kind of weapons you may find in your fort. All members of your army will all be wearing special armor that protects the torso, and helmets and goggles to protect their heads and eyes. Their arms and legs will be exposed. So if someone is hit in the arm or leg, they're out, and unable to fight any longer. Once a member is out, they must report to the fort's infirmary."

"Hey! How come we have to follow the rules like contestants?" One intern yelled.

"You guys agreed to playing a part in this challenge, you follow the rules." Chris replied. "It's either that, or simply if you're hit too much and/or too greatly harmed to continue."

The intern swore.

"Alright, then." Chris continued. "Report to your respective forts, and prepare for battle! The three flags for each team will automatically be raised."

With that, Chris turned and left the war movie set.

The two teams, led by their respective groups of castmates and leading staff member, walked into their various forts.

Boys/Interns

John and Mark led their huge army into the fort. Once inside, they looked around at the massive structure surrounding them. There were many raised platforms and balconies, all lined with incredible amounts of paintball weapons. There were many trunks and crates as well, all containing weapons.

In the center of the fort was a massive chamber, which was completely circular. It had three small, glassless windows on it, and a massive, wooden door, with a gilded doorknob, leading inside. Jutting from the roof of the chamber was one of the main flagpoles. The pole itself was nearly five inches in diameter, and appeared to be made of metal. The rope ran all the way up along the pole, and at the top was a blue flag, with a symbol of a gravestone for the interns.

"Nice." John commented sarcastically when he looked at the flag.

Most of the interns dispersed to various locations, grabbing weapons as they went along. Intern Hatchet followed the two teens into the structure in the middle of the fort.

Inside the circular chamber was a large wooden table, four feet by four feet. There were several maps spread out on the table, and a single large map on the wall. Against the back wall of the chamber, underneath the huge map, there was a massive trunk, recognizable as similar the Big Trunk of Mind-Blowing Secrets from a challenge in the previous season of TDA.

Mark went over to the trunk, while John studied the maps on the table. After a minute, he was able to discover that they were maps of their own fort, the enemy fort, and one map of the entire Film Lot. And when he looked at the huge map on the wall, he could see that it was a map of the entire war movie set, consisting of both forts, as well as marks of important spots in both forts.

Mark slowly lifted the trunk lid, and was stunned at what he saw: three massive paintball rocket launchers. They were the biggest paintball guns he had ever seen in his life. One of the guns was probably five feet long in total. The barrel of the gun, made of a sleek, shiny metal, was at least half a foot in diameter and took up four and a half feet of the gun's overall length. The handle of the gun was four inches long, and the trigger itself was probably two and a half inches long. Directly above the massive trigger was a scope; a tube only about five inches long, with a glass lens of about three inches in diameter.

Also in the trunk, buried below the guns themselves, were long, leather straps lined with pouches for each of the massive bullets the guns used. Mark counted about eleven of the massive paint bullets, one for each of the basic colors; the six seen in a rainbow, and then black, white, brown, pink, and gray. Each bullet was a perfect ball, each at least five and a half inches in diameter.

Mark tried to lift one of the guns, but it must have weighed at least thirteen pounds. Successfully lifting it out of the trunk, he carefully set it down on the ground with a THUD!

"Oh, man! That thing is heavy!" Mark exclaimed.

Suddenly, an even louder THUD! sounded. Both Mark and John looked up in shock at Intern, having slammed his fist angrily against the stone wall, leaving a dent. He spun to face the two boys.

"Now that I have your attention, listen up! Now, I don't like you, and you don't like me. But we all know that we want to win this thing, right?"

"Uh, yeah…?" Mark said uncertainly.

"Since when would you care about winning, eh?" John asked.

"It ain't about winning…IT'S ABOUT BEATIN' THAT NO-GOOD, DIRTY, ROTTEN, EVIL, SCUMMY, DASTARDLY TERMINATOR AND GETTING REVENGE!"

John and Mark were nearly thrown back by the loudness of his screaming.

After calming down, Hatchet continued. "I want to prove to Chris that I'm worthy enough to become the chef once again, and STAY that way! So I have a proposition for the two of ya."

"We're listening." John said, sounding slightly interested.

"If you two punks can prove to Chris that I deserve my job back, and NOT that TERMINATOR…then I'll help you win future challenges, including this one. So, are you in?"

Mark and John shared a glance. The expression on the optimist's face suggested that he had no clue what to do. John simply nodded. After a moment, Mark returned the nod.

John turned back to the mountain of a man, and replied, "Deal."

Girls/Cameramen

Madison, Mary, Violet, and Jay led the huge cameramen army into the fort, which was exactly like the guys' fort; weapons all over, raised ledges and balconies dotting the walls, and the chamber in the center, with one of the three flagpoles on top if it. Their flag was a pink one with an emblem of a camera on it. The three girls entered the chamber, followed by Jay and two other cameramen. One of them was the familiar, most well-known camera operator, Phil; the man with a white t-shirt with a green collar, dark green pants, yellow shoes, a yellow bandana, and long brown hair. The other was the much larger, African-American man with a small goatee, a small, gold earring in one ear, and wearing red sweat pants, a red jacket, and a red baseball cap that was on backwards.

Similar to the corresponding chamber in the opposing fort, there were maps on the table, and the huge map on the wall. The girls opened up their trunk, and found three similar paintball rocket launchers.

"So what's the plan?" Mary asked no one in particular.

"We need to come up with a good strategy." Madison declared. "Something those stupid boys would never see coming, something those filthy guys would never see coming, something…"

"Uh, Madison?" Violet interrupted.

"What?" Madison paused, then realized what she had said. "Oops. S-sorry about that. Anyway, so we need to come up with a plan."

Madison glanced over at the huge map on the wall, and quickly rushed over to it.

"See these red dots?" She gestured to the six red dots on the map. "These are all of the flagpoles. So we need to find a way to attack the three flagpoles in their fort. That's clearly the much easier way to win this challenge. Either that, or we try to eliminate every single intern over there. And I'm sure that, with past experience, the interns are very tough and will be hard to beat. So, we go with the flagpole method. Any objections?"

None.

"Good. Now…you, you, you, and…you," She pointed at the two cameramen, Jay, and Violet, "go out onto one of the higher levels and scope out as much of the enemy fort as you can."

The four people nodded, not a single one objecting to her taking on the leadership role, and turned and left the chamber.

Madison turned and looked at the one other person in the room with her: Mary.

Make-Up Confessional

Madison: Fresh meat.

End

Madison approached the other girl with a sly grin.

"What is it?" Mary asked.

"I…have a proposition that I'd like to discuss."

"What proposition?"

"A proposition for an alliance. You and me, Mary. With your brains and my wits, we'd be unstoppable."

Mary was stunned by the very sudden, yet brief, explanation of Madison's plan.

"W-why? Why are you interested in an alliance all of a sudden?"

"I've been thinking about it since the Haunted House challenge. I am in this to win. Heck, I was lucky to even come back in the first place. And now that I've gotten this far, I'm close to realizing my goal. And better yet, with Daniel out of the game, my biggest competition is eliminated. It's a shoe-in for the grand prize! But I need someone else to take to the final two with me, and personally, I think you deserve it the most out of the other four people here."

Mary was completely speechless.

"Tell me; if John hadn't come in with the whole 'Mystery Castmate' charade, would you even be here? Would you have lasted this long?"

"Well…"

"Exactly! You're here now! And with all suspicion completely diverted from you, now's the perfect chance to strike! It's now or never. You've pulled clever tricks to win in the past; surely you've got something new up your sleeve!"

"I…guess…"

"Just admit it. You think it's a good idea, don't you? Don't you?"

Madison slowly looked up at Madison, having been hanging her head since the mention of John.

Make-Up Confessional

Mary: I could not believe that Madison wants to form an alliance! Credited, it is clever. Especially now, when no one else would suspect it. Come to think of it…I did have an idea more or less like that in the back of my mind many weeks ago, at the beginning of the contest. Still, I was a little uneasy.

Madison: Mary seemed a little unsure at first, but trust me, I knew that she had to accept the offer. It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.

Mary: Madison may be right about the suspicion thing, but that doesn't mean that I've instantly become popular. Maybe my team really liked me after I won the second challenge for them, but now I'm the last member of my team still in the game! And besides that, the main thing is that I've really just been looking for a new friend. I mean, ever since Jen left, there's been absolutely no one else here to guide me and to believe me when I say that I'm innocent. So…although I would eventually regret my decision…I was desperate.

End

Mary looked hard at Madison for a long moment, before she slowly nodded. "D-deal."

Madison grinned. "Excellent."

Boys/Interns

Intern Hatchet paced the room, talking rapidly and loudly, hands firmly behind his back.

"Now listen up! In agreement to this deal, there are several conditions. Condition Number One: You will refer to me as my original title of 'Chef' Hatchet. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, Chef Hatchet!" Mark and John both simultaneously replied.

"Good. Second condition, you will do what I say, when I say it! Understood?"

"Yes, Chef Hatchet!" They responded again.

"And the condition on my part is that I must do my best to help you win these challenges. For this one, Chris won't care if I help out. And for that reason, and that reason only, you must listen to me, and do as I say, and follow my orders when I give them to you! Is that understood?"

"Yes, Chef Hatchet!"

"Good. Now as for the rest of the challenges, you will have to pull your own weight, and I can do no more than advise you from the sidelines. And I will have to do so inconspicuously, if I want to avoid another (gulp) talk, with the producers."

Chef turned to face the boys. "And trust me, those producers are tougher than they look. Now, are we clear on the conditions?"

"Yes, Chef Hatchet!"

"Thank you. OK, now we talk strategy. I've served in the Navy before, and I've handled big guns before. First off, we must look at our options; either eliminate every single one of their troops, or we take down their three flagpoles. Now as I imagine, those poles are gonna be able to sustain heavy fire, so we need to save our biggest, most powerful, most devastating rounds for those poles, correct?"

"Yes, sir." Both boys agreed.

"Good. Now, I assume that the girls and that no-good anti-me will try to take the easy way out: shooting at our flagpoles."

"I agree. So, we're going to use the other option, right?" John asked.

"Are you kidding me? That's foolhardy! We can't possibly gun down all of their men before they shoot down all three of our poles!"

"So, uh, what do we do, then?" Mark asked.

"First, we must scope out the entire perimeter, see if we can find a way in to sneak in, sabotage it from the inside. So I'll take a group of our men to go out and search it. There's plenty of bushes and other kinds of foliage we can use for cover. We can keep in constant communication with these."

He pulled out three walkie-talkies, and handed two of them to John and Mark, keeping the third for himself.

"We'll be sure to provide heavy shielding for our Reconnaissance Team, as well as some of the most powerful guns here in the fort."

"Question, Chef?" Mark raised his hand. "Speaking of powerful guns here, what are we going to do with these?"

He gestured to the three massive paintball rocket launchers, all of them now leaning against the wall, the leather straps containing their bullets all slung around them.

Chef winced at the memory of the day they tested out those guns.

A couple days ago…

Chris, Jay, and Chef stood on the sidelines, practically looking down on the poor intern standing before them. He was holding one of the massive paintball rocket launchers.

"OK, intern, you need to test out this gun to confirm that it's actually safe." Chris declared.

The intern looked at the cynical host. "What? But I thought that Hatchet here already tested it out!" He pointed at Intern.

Intern Hatchet winced in pain and clutched at his stomach at the mention of the event just a few minutes ago. As you may have guessed, the intern's words were true. Intern Hatchet had tried out the gun earlier, and the recoil was too powerful, even for him, and hat caused the gun to jerk back and pound into his chest, which now hurt like heck.

"That's true." Chris admitted. "But since Intern here is much larger and more powerful than most normal people…"

Intern glared at the host.

"it would've been much easier for him than it would be for the average person. We need the input of someone with average strength. Now just try it."

The intern looked down at the massive gun in his hands, swallowing nervously, before wrapping his finger around the trigger. He paused, anticipating whatever would come next, before pulling the trigger.

"!"

The unsuspecting intern screamed as the recoil from the blast sent the gun flying backwards into him, and he himself flying backwards through the air. The huge bullet soared overhead, and Chris ducked as it barely missed him, slamming into a two-dimensional building prop nearby, knocking it over.

The intern continued sailing through the air, past other interns and cameramen, past props and trees. Anything caught in his path was knocked over.

Eventually, he finally stopped soaring through the air, but not at all in the way he would've wanted to stop. At that moment, he flew right over a shark-infested pool, reserved for a potential future challenge. One of the sharks detected oncoming prey, and jumped out of the water to intercept.

Its mouth open wide, it hung suspended in midair, jaws wide open.

"-."

The man's final scream was cut short when the shark caught him in its jaws, facing sideways so that he wouldn't blast right into its mouth. Once he was inside, it slammed its powerful jaws shut with an ear-splitting, hair-raising CRACK!

The shark, with its new prey in its mouth, fell back into the pool. The gun itself flew free of the beast's jaws as it crunched down, and it bounced along the ground up to the approaching Chris. The host picked up the gun, looking down at it, then back up at the shark pool, where many terrible sounds were coming from.

"Well, that seems safe enough."

Chris, who was holding the gun at his side rather than in front of him, accidentally pulled the trigger. The gun's recoil sent it flying backwards out of his hand and flying off.

Chris looked back at the departing gun, then back at one of the cameras. The host simply shrugged.

Back in the present…

Chef shook his head to jolt out of the terrible memory, and returned to the present, and the question he had just been asked.

"Uh, we'll save those guns for later. See, those are really, really powerful."

"Um, OK." Mark replied, still unsure about Chef's decision.

"Alright, troops! We've got our weapons, our plan, and we're ready to kick some Terminator butt! Now get ready for the challenge to begin!"

Then, as if on cue, the intercom whined its usual high-pitched whine. Soon, it was replaced with the narcissist host's voice. "Alright castmates, interns, and cameramen! The challenge will begin in approximately five…four…three…two…ONE! The challenge has begun! Get your weapons, plan your strategies, and let's see some paint fly! MacLean out."

The intercom clicked off.

Girls/Cameramen

Jay, Violet, and the other two cameramen all stood once again in the map room. Jay, having taken the leadership role, paced back and forth across the room, explaining his plan.

"We are going to win, and we are going to win by any means necessary, correct?"

Madison nodded, while Mary shrugged. Madison elbowed her slightly, and Mary quickly started nodding as well.

"Now, you may not have known this previously, but Chris was kind enough to give our team an advantage."

"An advantage?" Violet asked. "What do you mean?"

"Chris has a bet going with one of the producers that the team I was selected to be on shall win, and he is determined to win three hundred dollars if he wins the bet. So, to aid our chances of winning, he has placed several bugs throughout the fort, and in the headquarters, which we can monitor via this radio."

Jay then pulled out a little black box, with horizontal lines running along one side, for the speaker, and a long, silver antenna almost a foot tall sticking out the top. He placed it on the desk, and switched on the dial on the side. Static responded at first, but it eventually formed into audible conversation.

"…we're ready to kick some Terminator butt! Now get ready for the challenge to begin!" Hatchet's loud and unmistakable voice barked over the radio. "We will also be able to listen in on all of their channels of communication over their individual portable communication devices."

Madison was shocked, but a satisfied grin was on her face. "Oh, yeah. We are so going to win."

But Violet had another thing to say. "This doesn't seem fair, does it? It's basically cheating." She shook her head. "This isn't right."

Madison was instantly on her case.

"But there's no denying that you want to win, don't you?" She held up a fist. "If we have a little advantage, then there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, right?"

Violet was taken aback by the sudden ferocity, but held her ground nonetheless. "But one of my friends is on that team…And again, it just doesn't seem fair…"

"Would you be willing to throw the challenge just to help your friend?" Madison exclaimed. "Do you want to end up like that Trent jerk from the original season, or like John now? Do you!"

This made both Violet's and Mary's minds race. They knew how that same act had affected the two aforementioned castmates before, but the latter was definitely more on their minds.

Over the last week since John had revealed his past actions, the initial shock and emotion of it all had completely vanished, especially since the twist when Daniel was voted off instead of him. Ever since then, he had simply been given a taste of his own medicine: the silence treatment. Everyone had completely ignored him, and never said anything to him. Even Mary had avoided him. No one knew why, but she finally had to tell someone about it, and that person was Violet. She had told Violet in private one day how she had simply gotten too emotional on the night he had barely escaped elimination. She had overreacted, and now she didn't know what to do about John. Violet had no advice, either.

Violet and Mary shared a brief glance, before Violet looked back at the angry Madison.

"N…no."

"That's right. That's what I thought. So, we go with Jay's plan of listening in on their strategies, and we'll stop them every time! And then, victory will most certainly be ours! Right, Jay?"

The Terminator-like man slowly turned to Madison. "Affirmative."

"Very good. Now let's get this show on the road."

In a freak coincidence, that was the moment when the sounds of hundreds of paintball guns firing started.

Everyone in the room, with the exception of Jay, jumped at the sounds, but they quickly regained themselves, and the six of them all walked out of the chamber.

They could see many of the cameramen lined up on the ledge lining the wall higher above the ground, firing over the top of the stone wall. There were also many others shooting through small windows dotting the exterior of the fort.

And the situation was the exact same over at the Boys/Interns fort.

As Chef, Mark, and John walked through the barrage of paintballs, Chef relayed his earlier plan.

"So we'll gather up a team of fifty, and we'll send 'em on over around the enemy's fort! I'll go with them, you two stay here!"

And with that, Chef put two fingers to his mouth and made an extremely loud whistling sound. Even Mark and John had to wince at how loud and high-pitched it was.

Almost instantly, fifty of the interns, all lined up in five straight rows of ten.

"Alright, soldiers! We're going to do a little recon, scope out the enemy territory! Guns at the ready?"

All of the men pulled out various kinds of paintball guns, holding them firmly across their chests.

"And shields?"

The guns were replaced with long, rectangular sheets of metal, like what riot police used. Each sheet had a small, rectangular piece of glass through the metal, to allow them to see through it.

"Good! Alright, men; line up in single-file, and wait for my lead!"

He turned to the two boys, and held up his walkie-talkie, switching it on.

"I'm on channel two; you should do the same."

The boys nodded, then pulled out their respective walkie-talkies and turned them on to channel two.

"Good luck, boys." Chef then turned and walked off, leading the fifty interns off. Once he was far away enough from the two teens, he added, "You're gonna need it."

The fifty-one interns all sneaked through a door in one of the back corners of the fort. Luckily for them, the entire war movie set was very much like the one from the original season of TDA, with a desert-like setting. There were a few palm trees and bushes dotting the set, and, ironically, one long line of bushes lining the wall that divided the set from the rest of the Film Lot.

Chef silently made a "follow me" gesture with his hand, and led the troops through the bushes, into the small space between the wall and the shrubs. All of the interns, except for Chef himself, held up their shields protectively, their eyes peeking through the glass. Chef did not hold up his shield, instead brandishing his gun defensively. In the other hand was his walkie-talkie.

"Psst! Desert Eagle! Desert Eagle, ya hear me? This is the Recon Team, over." Chef spoke quickly, using their various codenames.

"Desert Eagle here, eh. What's your status? Over."

"We're moving through the bushes now, advancing towards target. Situation back at base?"

"Minimal to no casualties, sir."

"Good. Will contact when target is reached. Over and out."

John lowered his walkie-talkie, only to have it squawk at him again. This time, it was Mark. By the time Chef had finished his message, John and Mark had separated, and were now at opposite ends of the fort, observing the various situations.

"Desert Eagle, you there?"

"Here, Soul Man." John had to hold back a snicker at the mention of Mark's codename.

"Remind me again how these codenames were picked?" Mark asked.

"They were picked at random, remember? The first thing we thought of."

"Right. Wow, with all this military stuff and codenames, I kind of know now how my uncle feels."

"Your uncle?"

"He's in the marines."

"Oh."

"Yeah; miss him."

"Sorry to hear that, eh."

"It's alright. He says that he lives to serve his country. Anyway, so how's it going on the front lines?"

"Nothing serious, eh. Only one guy's been gunned down, eh. He's covered in paint. Apparently, he didn't duck behind the wall when he needed to reload. How about over there?"

"It's the rear of the fort; there's nothing back here except weapons, weapons, and more weapons just lying around, waiting to be used. Kind of creepy imagining if these were real guns."

Suddenly, another voice crackled over the walkie-talkies.

"Alright Desert Eagle and Soul Man, this is Grand Exalted Master Chief Chef Hatchet reporting."

John rolled his eyes at Chef's codename.

"We're nearing the enemy fort." Chef raised a pair of binoculars to his eyes and slowly scanned along the wall. "There appears to be no activity near us. Will keep a sharp eye out. Over."

Girls/Cameramen

Jay and the girls stood in the chamber, listening over the radio.

"…s Grand Exalted Master Chief Chef Hatchet reporting…nearing enemy fort…appears to be no activity near us. Will keep a sharp eye out. Over."

The message ended, and Jay turned to the three girls.

"So, they are led to believe that they can outsmart us, eh? Well, we shall teach them a very valuable lesson."

He then turned to the two cameramen in the room. "Go get the Minigun."

They both nodded, then turned and left the room.

Violet and Madison's mouths dropped at the mention of a Minigun.

"A paintball version of a Minigun? No way!" Madison exclaimed.

"What's a Minigun?" The confused Mary asked.

The other two girls turned to her in shock. "You don't know what a Minigun is?"

"…N…no…? Should I?"

"Haven't you ever seen Terminator 2?"

"No…"

"A Minigun is one of the most powerful handheld guns you can ever imagine!"

"What does it look like?"

Just then, the two cameramen returned, each having to hold one end of the massive machine gun. It had an incredibly long barrel, dotted with six small holes at the tip, forming a semicircle. Then there was the massive strap stretching from the side of the barrel, dropping down in a loop, dragging along the ground. The belt couldn't have been shorter than five feet at its full length. It was completely covered in hundreds, possibly even a thousand, small paintballs, all lined up and ready to be fired.

Now it was Mary's turn to have her jaw dropped. "Wow."

Jay walked up and grabbed the massive gun. He held it firmly across his chest, seemingly not bothered at all by the tremendous weight of the weapon.

"This shall take care of those parasites." He dully commented.

"Wait, if you're going to use big guns to take them out, then why not just use one of those?" Violet gestured to the three massive guns laid out around the trunk.

Jay seemed barely fazed at the mention of the huge weapons.

"No. Those are too significant to waste on just a few of the enemy troops. We save those for something extremely urgent."

"Like, an all-out, last-ditch attempt to survive when the enemy surrounds us and nearly all hope is lost?" Mary suggested.

"Precisely. See, the bullets for these guns are arranged in a special way; similar to the interior of our planet, each bullet consists of layers. The first layer, the outer layer, which takes up one fourth of the diameter of the bullet, consists of one color of paint, which matches the color of the exterior of the bullet. When the bullet is fired, the moment it hits an object, whether it be a solid wall, ground, or a person, the outer layer automatically explodes, and the paint covers everything in the immediate vicinity."

"And the inner layer?" Madison asked.

"The inner layer is actually hollow, as it contains multiple, smaller paintballs within the single large paintball. Only a few seconds after the impact, and the detonation of the outer layer, the second layer explodes as well, sending more projectiles flying in all directions."

"Like shrapnel!" Violet exclaimed.

"Precisely."

"Excellent! This is just too good!" Madison exclaimed.

Then the radio crackled again. "…are approaching enemy territory at the east wall…no visible movement."

Jay then spun on his heels, facing the door.

"I'll be back."

He then walked through the door, towards the east wall.

Meanwhile, Chef Hatchet and his Reconnaissance Team were approaching the fort, as he had just declared over the walkie-talkie. He raised the binoculars to his eyes again, and scanned the top of the wall.

"Nothing yet… … …WAIT!"

A single shape appeared at the top of the wall. Not a single other troop was seen nearby, but the large shape of the person made his identity unmistakable.

"It's him!" Chef exclaimed.

Jay slowly let the barrel of the Minigun fall into his right hand, his left hand gripping the trigger.

"What are ya doing, boss?" One cameraman asked from nearby. Jay instantly held his right hand behind him, fingers pressed firmly against each other, hand flat, palm to the man, in the gesture for "Stop and shut up." The man did as was implied.

Jay then held the gun again, and aimed at the fifty-one unfortunate interns.

"OH, CRAP! HE'S GOT A FREAKIN' MINIGUN!" Chef roared. "FALL BACK! FALL BAC-."

His sentence was cut short by the immediate sound of hundreds of consecutive shots being fired mercilessly at the Reconnaissance Team. Jay remained firm, casually swinging the barrel of the gun side-to-side to hit more of the men.

Screams and curses sounded as many of the men, out of sheer panic and fear, dropped their shields and started running, whether it was back through the bushes or (stupidly) straight across the open field between the two forts. The screams and curses of anger and desperation were immediately replaced by screams and cries of pain as they were hit by some of Jay's shots. Many of them dropped instantly.

Chef himself stayed in the bushes, ducking behind their foliage for cover. Jay fired continuously at the men, dropping them to the ground like dominoes. One large intern tripped over a smaller intern on the ground, hitting the dirt and becoming a sitting duck. Two interns ran into the open field and were gunned down by several of Jay's cameramen.

By now, most of the cameramen in the vicinity realized what was going on, and raced over to help out. Now scores and scores of paintball guns were pelting the small group of interns nonstop, continuing to drop them like bad dreams.

Jay then turned and saw the too-large form of Chef Hatchet behind the bushes. He swiveled the gun to face his rival.

"WAUGH!" Chef screamed in horror. In a last-minute ditch, he grabbed one of the few, wise interns who had decided to stay in hiding with him, and held him in front of him as a human shield.

"Wait! What are you-?"

BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLAT! BLAT!

The man was silenced as the barrage of paintball rounds hit him right where it counts the most. The man squealed in agony before Chef threw him aside. He then proceeded to make like a Republican in the middle of a Democrat rally and ran for his life, screaming like a little girl. And surprisingly, he actually ran quite fast, and was able to stay just ahead of the line of bullets following him, peppering the wall behind him. Other cameramen also shot at him, but their aim and precision was not enough to keep up with their superior. Despite Jay's determination to gun down his opponent, Chef actually managed to run all the way along the wall and right back to the side entrance of the Boys/Interns fort.

He burst through the stone door, screaming as he hurled himself in and onto the dirt, a sweaty, exhausted heap, panting heavily.

He slowly looked up to see Mark and John standing above him, looking down at him with puzzled expressions on their faces.

Chef slowly raised the walkie-talkie to his mouth. "G-g-grand Exalted…(pant, pant) Master…(wheeze, wheeze) Chief Chef (cough, hack) Hatchet…well, let's just say that we couldn't find a way in."

Then Chef collapsed, dropping the walkie-talkie and letting his huge head fall to the dirt.

Mark and John shared a glance, then looked back down at the unconscious Chef Hatchet. John turned to the small group of gathering interns around them to take the knocked-out man away.

They all crowded around him, lifted him up with all their might, and carried him off to the fort's relatively small infirmary.

A moment after he was carried off, two other interns trudged through the door as well, one closing the door behind him.

"We…we made it! Thank God!" One exclaimed.

The other looked at John and Mark.

"Sirs, I think we're the only ones who made it through all that chaos." He reported.

"Your survival is commendable." John admitted, nodding his approval. "All the others? All forty-eight of them?"

"Yeah. Hatchet come through here already?"

"Yes; he was taken to the infirmary. He was a mess. Pretty pathetic for a guy that size." Mark added, shaking his head.

"Focusing on the real issue here: we just lost forty-eight men in one attack, eh! And Chris said that our army has exactly three hundred and fifty men, so that means that we're down to three hundred and two guys!" John looked between Mark and the two surviving interns. They all returned blank stares.

Mark simply shrugged. "Ah, it could be worse."

"WORSE?" John exclaimed. "HOW CAN THIS POSSIBLY BE ANY WORSE, EH?"

Make-Up Confessional

John: ARGH! Look, it may have been a little harsh to snap at him like that; but I am getting so freaking sick of his optimism all the time! And, thanks to him, I just had to ask how it could have possibly gotten any worse. Rule Number Eight of this show: Never, ever, ever ask how it could get worse.

Mark: (Looks at the camera and simply shrugs).

End

Just then, right after John questioned the possibility of it getting any worse, a massive explosion sounded, followed by a loud groaning of metal. John, Mark, and the two interns looked up in horror as one of the three massive flagpoles in the fort started to collapse.

"You…have…got…to…be…KIDDING ME, EH!"

Many other interns in the vicinity screamed and ran out of the way, screaming things such as, "Watch out!" "The flag's collapsing!" "TIMBER!"

The flagpole was the one located at the front left-hand corner of the fort, and our four characters in this scene were standing at the entrance located near the front left-hand corner of the fort. Put two and two together, and you can figure out that the flagpole was falling straight towards them. John and Mark screamed and jumped out of the way just before it came crashing down on the spot where they stood one second earlier, as well as the spot where the two interns stood, staring in horror.

John and Mark rolled in the dirt when they hit the ground, rolling away from the impact of the metal pole on the ground. They kept their faces in the dirt and arms covering their heads as the dirt and dust hung around in the air for several long, agonizing moments before the noise and the confusion cleared up. Both boys slowly lifted their heads and turned to look behind them, at the two interns who had been standing under the pole when it came down.

Well…let's just say that they regretted looking back. Turning away quickly, they both blanched and covered their mouths to prevent from vomiting.

"Ugh! Sometimes this show gets too serious, eh!" John exclaimed. "Seriously, Chris! These guys die like that every single day?"

In the Control Tent...

Chris, in an unheard response to this statement, turned to the camera. "What? They signed the safety agreement forms, so they take the risks. And besides, at least we ship the bodies right back to the families."

Back on the battlefield; Girls/Cameramen

"Yes!" Madison exclaimed. "We have just shot down one of their poles! Repeat: We have just shot down one of their poles!" She spun to face Violet, Mary, and Jay. "And if what Jay says is true…"

"Which it is."

"Right. So that means that their army is down by forty-eight guys! Yep, we are so going to win this!"

Just then, the sound of paintballs hitting something sounded right next to them, and they turned to see one cameraman, covered in paint at the torso, face, and arms, fall back off the ledge.

Madison ducked in shock. "Uh, maybe we shouldn't be up here."

"Agreed." Jay agreed. The four of them then turned and scrambled down the nearby ladder to get away from the dangerous spot.

Once they reached the ground, Madison told Jay and Violet to report to the infirmary and survey the amount of eliminated men. Once they left, she turned to Mary.

Oh, crud. Mary thought.

"OK, so, uh, what's our…strategy?" Mary asked.

"At this rate, this challenge is totally OURS. We'll win for sure, and once we do, then either Optimist or Goth Boy gets voted off, and we'll be one step closer to the final two!"

"That's it?"

"Well, what do you expect? Some kind of elaborate, thought-out plan that took months?"

"Well…no…"

"Don' t tell me that you're actually concerned about Goth boy's chances of surviving if they lose?"

Madison leaned closer, staring her down hard, as if daring her to say "yes."

Mary shuddered for a moment, then slowly shook her head. "N-no."

"Good."

"But…"

"But WHAT?"

"W-would it k-kill you to call him by his, uh, a-actually name?"

"Fine. So either Mark or John gets voted off, and we're safe."

"Alright. Th-that seems f-fine."

"I'm glad to hear it." Madison sneered, then turned and walked off, leaving Mary standing there, alone, amongst all the battle cries and paintball gunfire.

She sighed.

"This could not be going any worse."

So, naturally, one of their flagpoles started to collapse. She looked up at the sound of a massive blast, followed by a groan, and saw the front right-hand corner flag falling slowly towards the interior of the fort.

"Oh, NO!"

Boys/Interns

"HA!" John exclaimed. "Take that, eh!" He watched as one of their flags collapsed next, out of retaliation for knocking down their flag. He could hear the screams of terror as people scattered, running away from the collapsing pole.

Oh, I hope that Mary isn't near that, eh.

But nonetheless, a smirk grew across his face when he heard the CRASH! of the flagpole. He then raised the barrel of the paintball rocket launcher to his mouth to blow some of the smoke away from the tip of it, cowboy style. He then took the long, leather strap, now covered with empty pouches, off of him and threw it aside. He then looked down at the huge gun that he had just used to blow away the pole. He was shocked himself at how good his aim had been. Maybe it was out of sheer determination or something, he didn't know. But he did know enough to firmly press his back against a nearby wall before he started firing, to prevent the recoil sending him flying back. He looked at the gun for a moment, then tossed it to the ground as well.

Suddenly, Chef was behind him, nodding his approval.

"Impressive, Desert Eagle." He said to John. "I didn't think anyone smaller than me could handle one of those babies."

John shrugged. "I try. Feeling better?"

"Yeah. They're gonna have to do a lot better than that to silence ME!"

Chef then leaned over the edge of the wall, and shouted at the top of his lungs. "YA HEAR THAT, ANTI-ME TERMINATOR! I WILL NOT BE SILENCED! I WILL NOT…"

Suddenly, a loud BOOM! sent both John and Chef ducking for cover as a massive paintball projectile flew overhead, and slammed into the nearby wall that John was standing against earlier, leaving a massive, navy blue crater in the stone.

Still on the ground, John glared at Chef.

"Note to self: Never do that again." Chef mumbled miserably.

Chef then looked up at the crater. At first, it looked like it had simply been splattered with the blue paint. But then he looked closer and saw the actual paintball still there. And it was the exact same size and shape as the paintball bullets used for…

"CRAP! RUN FOR IT!"

"What? Wh-ACK!"

Chef swiped John up off the ground in one quick movement. He flung him over his shoulder and jumped behind a nearby wall just as the bullet exploded again. A bunch of smaller paintballs burst from it, splattering over everything in sight.

John and Chef cowered for a moment as they peppered the area in paint. Finally, once it died down, they looked around the corner.

It looked like a paint shop had exploded.

"Wow." John mused, eyes wide. "So that's what it looks like up close?"

"I don't believe it! He actually shot at us with one of THOSE? Oh, that is IT! He is SO going DOWN!"

With that, Chef jumped to his feet and stormed off. John quickly ran after him.

"Wait! Where are you going, eh?"

"I didn't want it to have to come to this. I had said that to Chris earlier today. 'Chris, I didn't want it to have to come to this.' But that no-good moron leaves me with no other choice!"

"WHAT?" John asked.

The two walked right past Mark, who, after a moment, also ran after them.

"What's going on here?"

"Beats me." John shrugged.

"It's time to use a secret weapon." Chef muttered under his breath.

" 'Secret weapon'? What's that?" Mark asked.

Chef remained wordless. Instead, he stopped in the middle of a clearing in the fort, then squatted down. He brushed some of the dirt away from a spot on the ground.

"What are you doing?" Mark asked.

They watched as the mountain of a man brushed more and more dirt away, eventually revealing a wooden trapdoor in the ground.

"A trapdoor?" John asked incredulously.

"Get in." Chef ordered as he held it open. The teens reluctantly did so, and slid through the small opening, Chef following behind them. He pulled the door shut behind him.

They stood in a small, dark tunnel under the fort. It was nearly pitch-black, and the three of them couldn't see a thing.

"Where are we, eh?" John asked.

"You know, for teenagers, you punks sure ask a lot of stupid questions!" Chef's voice roared at them in the darkness. They couldn't see the man, but they knew he must be angry. "Look, just follow me."

Then a light appeared in the middle of the tunnel. After the boys' eyes adjusted for a moment, they could see Chef holding a small lantern, and gesturing to the long tunnel before them. "This way."

Chef led them through the dank, passageway, underneath the fort. The boys could just barely hear the muffle sounds of screaming and more gunfire overhead.

"Here we are."

The boys and Chef stopped when the tunnel suddenly opened up into a massive underground room, filled with the bustling of random interns and other people. There were many more lanterns like Chef's hanging on hooks on the walls, thus illuminating the room perfectly. There were tables dotting the room as well, most covered with dirty tools or blueprints. All the workers in the room wore hardhats with small lights on the front. Only a few men acknowledged the entrance of the three newcomers.

All of this was fascinating and unexpected, but what caught the boys' attention the most was the object in the center of the room. It was a massive, yellow, bulldozer-like apparatus, which probably stretched to twenty feet long, seven feet wide, and eight feet tall. It had massive treads on each side, the metal on them glinting from the lantern light. There was a small, black leather seat in the middle of it, situated in front of a fairly large dashboard of switches, lights, levers, and a large black steering wheel. At the front of the machine were two large, yellow headlights, like the eyes of a monster, each one extremely bright. There were identical ones in the rear of the vehicle, equally as large and bright, only they were red.

However, the most outstanding feature of this machine was the massive drill at the front of it. Attached to the bulk of the machine by a thick, steel rod, it was easily nearly twelve feet wide at the base of the metal, jagged cone, and growing smaller and smaller until it reached the tiny but sharp tip at the end. It, like the treads, also reflected the multiple lanterns' combined light.

It was a massive drilling machine.

"Oh…my…God." John and Mark exclaimed.

"Impressive, ain't it?" Chef asked, grinning triumphantly. "I had it prepared in advance."

"WHY?" They both asked.

"It was originally going to be in a future challenge, but our budget was crippled by another legal issue, so we had to rule out that idea. I was able to salvage this baby. Beautiful, ain't she?"

"Don't tell me that you actually plan to drill underground, burst up into their fort, and commence with an all-out invasion, eh?" John asked, basically laying out Chef's entire crazy plan.

Just then, a voice roared over their walkie-talkies, coming from on the surface.

"Mayday! Situation critical! Another flag has just been toppled! Repeat: Another of our flags was shot down!"

"Does that answer your question?" Chef inquired. "We got no other choice."

"HOW THE HECK CAN THEY SHOT DOWN OUR FLAGS THAT QUICKLY?" John roared.

Just then, a worker ran up to Chef. "Uh, sir? Boss? Did ya hear?"

"I heard. The drill ready?"

"Yes, sir. Fueled up and all ready to drill, sir."

"Good." He turned to John, holding out the lantern to him. "Go back through the tunnel and back to the surface. Grab one of our last rocket launchers and bring it to me. I've got to be armed and ready, 'cause there's an enemy fort to drill into."

John nodded, then turned and dashed down the tunnel as fast as he could. When he reached the trapdoor, he burst through it and ran through the fort. By now, the place was a shambles; discarded guns and paint all over the place, debris from some of the walls that had been blown away scattered around, and he could see that the one other flag on the front lines had fallen, and was slanted, one end having hit the ground, and the other still up on the ledge where it had once stood. Now, only the flag on top of the chamber in the center of the fort was still standing.

John raced into the chamber and up to the two remaining rocket launchers laid out next to the trunk they had been stored in. Lifting it up with both hands, also holding the leather strap in one hand underneath the gun, he dashed off.

Chef, having (naturally) grown impatient while waiting for John, was tapping his foot disapprovingly as John raced up to him and handed him the gun and strap of bullets. Chef snatched them from the Goth's hands and, without a word, turned and marched toward the machine. He jumped into the seat, and pulled out a massive key-ring, which John recognized from Total Drama Drama Drama Drama Island at the end of the previous season. He couldn't help but grin sheepishly at the memory.

Chef thumbed through the keys, searching for the right one.

"No…no…nope. Not that one. Darn it; where is it?"

The voice burst over the walkie-talkies again. "Heavy fire coming from enemy fort…sustaining more damage…more men are being gunned down!"

Chef finally located the right one; a small golden key with a pony keychain attached to it. He pressed it into the ignition and turned it. The engine started up with a loud cough, at first struggling to start.

"Come on…come on…"

He turned the keys again, and the engine coughed, sputtered, then turned on with a roar.

"YES!" Chef exclaimed. "Alright, time to take those jerks be surprise!"

He then lifted one of the levers to a certain speed level, then turned the steering wheel to face the wall opposite the tunnel they entered through. He then straightened the wheel out, and the massive driller moved towards the wall.

"Just hope that this crazy thing actually works." Chef muttered.

John, Mark, and all of the workmen all watched in mute fascination as the machine hit the dirt wall…

…and actually managed to drill a large hole clean in it.

"YE-AH! THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!" Chef roared enthusiastically.

The machine continued pushing through the dirt, leaving the underground chamber and the others behind.

"I must be getting close." Chef mused as he continued drilling. "Oh, I cannot wait to see the look on his face when I…HUH?" Chef looked down at the small screen on his dashboard, which was actually a seismograph. The needle on it was going crazy, much more so than usual; which only meant one thing.

"Something else is approaching?" Chef exclaimed. He could then hear a great rumbling, past that of his own machine, and could see rocks and dirt tumble from the roof of the tunnel he was creating. He instantly grabbed the clutch and threw it into reverse, slowly moving backward through the tunnel just as something burst through the ground in front of him.

After the dirt and dust cleared, Chef could not believe what he was seeing: another drilling machine, just like his. And sitting at the wheel was none other than Jay himself.

"YOU!" Chef roared. "How? How did you get down here? How did you actually manage to build a replica of my machine!"

"Simple, my old friend." Jay chuckled. Chef growled fiercely. "I monitored all of your actions through many different radio microphones planted throughout your territory, including your so-called 'secret' underground chamber."

"Why you little…"

"When I heard about your plan to build a powerful drilling machine, I heard every single detail about how to create it. Thus, I was able to duplicate your plans for this machine, and improve several flaws as well, thereby creating one that is clearly superior to yours. I always win, Hatchet."

"Yeah? Well, you may have copied my idea, but did you see THIS coming?" Chef then instantly pulled out his paintball rocket launcher, aiming right at Jay, and started to load the first shot.

"Yes. Yes, I did anticipate that. Which is precisely why I added this improvement."

Jay then pressed a green button on his dashboard, and instantly, a massive Plexiglas shield extended from beneath the massive drill on Jay's machine, then rose in a vertical position, completely shielding Jay and his machine from Chef's gun.

"Huh?" Chef cried, confused. Then he regained his confidence. "Yeah, well I'll break right through that thing!"

He loaded his gun, aimed, and fired right at the shield from barely fifteen feet away. A grave mistake.

The massive bullet bounced right off the shield with such force, yet it barely left a dent. Instead, it shot straight up into the ceiling of the tunnel, making a deep crater above their heads. Chef's eyes widened and he covered his head as chunks of dirt fell from above. Even after that, the second explosion went off shortly after, and a majority of the smaller paintballs shot up into the ceiling again, digging deeper into the crater. Chef looked up, only to have more pieces of the ceiling falling down towards him, only this time, an entire section of the roof completely caved in.

The roof of the tunnel had taken such heavy damage from both explosions, as well as the shaking from all the drilling, that part of it collapsed over both drilling machines. Chef saw the massive chunks falling towards him, and he screamed and jumped out of the driver's seat, just as one large slab fell right where he was sitting. Jay, however, was completely untouched and unfazed. He looked up after all of the debris stopped falling, and saw that a clean hole leading back up to the surface had been opened up directly above them.

However, the worst was yet to come.

When Chef looked back at the crushed driver's seat, the slab cracked in half and fell away, revealing the fatal damage down to the machine. He could see that the dashboard had been completely smashed as well. For a moment, it sat there, completely flattened and ruined.

Then sparks and bolts of electricity started flying around it. Hatchet had seen this before while he was in the military, and he knew exactly what it meant.

"Oh…crap."

Jay saw this as well, and immediately took action. Letting go of the steering wheel and strapping himself into the seat, he reached over and pressed a large, red button which read, "Eject."

The seat that Jay sat in instantly shot off of the machine, propelled into the air by springs. It flew straight through the huge hole in the roof, sailing up into the welcoming daylight. Right at the peak of his height, a white parachute shot out from behind the chair, and instantly slowed his descent, allowing him to float softly and safely to the ground.

Chef looked up at the escaping Jay, and, just before the explosion, muttered, "He always gets off easy."

The explosion of Chef's drilling machine instantly sent a fireball through the tunnel, and part of it up through the hole in the roof. Jay's machine was consumed as well, and it too exploded in a fiery blast. Together, the fireballs soared down both tunnels, straight towards the large, hollow spaces beneath both forts.

In one, brief moment, when time seemed to have stopped, all of the guns fell silent, all of the warring cameramen and interns fell still, as did the five castmates.

John and Mark, who had left the tunnel after Chef drilled through the wall, were thrown to their feet by the explosion, as was everyone else around them.

"WHOA!" Mark cried as he tumbled to his feet.

"W-w-what's g-g-going o-on, e-eh?" John screamed as he shook up and down from the rumblings.

"I-I-I d-d-don't know!" Mark replied, just as shaken up.

The explosion died down, but the aftershocks were the devastating part. Since both explosions had torn through the underground chambers beneath both forts, the foundations for both stone structures were completely thrown out of whack. Both forts started to shake and rumble as they became extremely loose.

"W-whoa!" Mary cried as she leaned against a wall to prevent from falling.

"What's happening?" Madison exclaimed as she stumbled to her feet.

"Some kind of…e-explosion or s-s-something under the g-gr-ground!" Violet replied.

Then, in both forts, stones in the walls started popping out.

"Oh, you have got…" John started.

"…to be kidding me!" Mary also said, in the Girls/Cameramen fort.

Then, in several brief, terrifying moments, quick as a wink, both of the forts collapsed in massive heaps of rubble, stone, and terrified people.

Both structures disappeared in massive clouds of dust, dirt, debris, stone, and flailing limbs.

Chris, back in the Control Tent, nearly vomited at the sight.

"Oh, NO! I've gotta get down there!" He raced out of the Tent, dashing towards the war movie set.

After nearly three minutes of crashing, collapsing, and screaming, the noise died down. The forts were ruined messes. Slowly, painfully, people crawled out from under the rubble. Among these survivors were a few lucky interns and cameramen, Chef (having miraculously survived the blast in the tunnel), and all five castmates.

Mark and Madison, however, were the two who ended up way out in the large, open clearing that was between where the two forts stood.

Mark slowly got to his knees, coughing and hacking over dirt in his mouth.

"Whoa. … …Ow." He clutched at his head in pain.

Madison, likewise, staggered to her feet, her head spinning. "That was crazy!" She exclaimed before wincing in pain. Then she and Mark spotted each other.

They both looked at each other for a long moment before their gazes fell to behind them. They were both shocked and horrified to see that, in a one-in-a-million chance, both forts still had only one flagpole still standing. The remaining flagpole at the Girls/Cameramen fort had been knocked down in the collapse. Both of the last standing flagpoles were literally standing on a thread.

Mark slowly looked down at his feet, and saw the last of the paintball rocket launchers beside him. Madison followed his gaze.

No. She thought in horror.

Jammed into the barrel, probably by a freak coincidence, was one of the massive shots for it, still partially tucked in a fragment of its pouch from the leather strap. Madison saw this as well.

No!

Mark slowly lifted up the gun, using all of his willpower to do so, and removed the bullet from the barrel. Taking it out of its pouch, he loaded it in.

NO!

Madison quickly reached to her side for the small paintball pistol in a holster that she was wearing. Mark looked up and saw her reaching for her gun as well. Looking past her at the enemy flagpole, he knew that he had only one shot…literally.

He raised the gun blindly, trying his best to aim right at the pole.

Meanwhile, a bruised, bloody, and exhausted Chef Hatchet slowly got up off the ground, and cracked his back. He then squinted to see through the dust, and could clearly see Mark, standing in an open field, raising the last of the paintball rocket launchers, and his finger around the trigger.

Instantly, the memory of the small intern who had tested out that very same type of gun returned to his mind.

He started to race towards the boy, waving his arms and screaming frantically. "NOOOOO!"

Too late.

Mark pulled the massive trigger, and the gun fired.

At that moment, Chris arrived at the set. He watched the scene between Mark and Madison unfold, and watched in utter horror.

Meanwhile, John, Violet, and Mary also climbed out of the wreckage, and after brushing themselves off, followed Chris's and Chef's gazes to the open field, where their friends were. Jay, who was the only one completely unharmed, had also unstrapped himself from his seat, and turned to see the two teens on the field.

There were two different events that unfolded at that moment for the onlookers to watch.

The first was where the paintball bomb was headed. The girls and Jay all watched as the massive projectile soared straight towards their flagpole. They all watched in anticipation, and, for Mary, defeat it seemed to be on a beeline for the pole.

They all held their breath as it drew closer, and…

…it missed by barely a centimeter. The black paintball barely scraped the pole, even leaving a smudge of black on the silver metal, but it did not harm the pole.

Madison sighed in relief, then she, and all the others who had been watching the bullet, turned their attention to the other event: Mark.

The recoil of the massive gun was far too much for Mark to handle, and the moment he pulled that trigger, the gun instantly sent him flying backward, almost like he was wearing a jetpack. He soared backwards through the air, still clutching the gun in surprise, and screaming.

John had to duck at the last moment as his friend soared overhead. They all continued watching as Mark flew straight back.

Then, Mark experienced the worst of bad luck in the world. He was soaring straight towards one of the last standing sections of the thick outer wall of the Boys/Interns fort.

Everyone cringed hard and looked away when Mark slammed into the wall with a gut-wrenching, ear-splitting, sickening CRACK!

Everyone knew what the crack meant.

Mark's eyes went wide in pain and fear, and the gun fell from his hands.

Instantly, John, Chris, Chef, Mary, and Violet all raced up to the wall where Mark was. He was easily buried into the wall a good two feet.

Before the five of them could ever get there, Mark already slowly fell right out of the crater in the wall that he had created. When they got close enough, they could clearly see the damage.

Mark's right scapula, which was the very first part of him to hit the wall…well…let's just say that it was certainly NOT a pretty sight. Even initial descriptions of the broken bone would simply be too much for a K+ story.

"Oh, dear God!" John exclaimed.

"Oh, wow! That looks terrible!" Violet exclaimed.

"Whoa…that is going to bring in some serious lawsuits." Chris muttered with a shake of his head.

The only one who was unfazed, Madison, simply raised an eyebrow before raising her own, smaller paintball gun and aiming right at the base of the Boys/Interns last flagpole. Squeezing off three shots, she easily hit her target. The already extremely weakened pole instantly collapsed, falling forward with a THUD!

The noise drew the attention of the others, and when Chris saw what had happened, his frown of concern instantly changed to a more-than-satisfied smirk. He instantly declared, "And Madison wins the challenge for the girls!"

"Oh, my God!" Violet exclaimed. Her hands were on her hips, and she did NOT look happy. "Is that ALL you can think about, when Mark here just broke his scapula!"

"No, not really. I don't even know what a scapula is." The host shrugged. "All I do know is that I just won three hundred dollars off one of the producers! Ha, ha! Take that, Mr. Thompson!" He pointed at one of the cameras, sending a message to his watching superior.

He then turned to face the others.

"So Violet, Mary, and Madison are safe, which means that Mark and John are eligible for voting off tonight! See you all at the Theatre tonight!"

Chris still maintained his satisfied grin, until an angry Violet snuck up behind him, with a recovered paintball gun in hand, and shot him in the back of the head, pointblank.

"OW!"


The Ninth Gilded Chris Award Ceremony

Shortly after Mark's tragic accident, he, like Owen, was instantly loaded into an ambulance and rushed off the set.

All of the castmates, even Madison, waited in anticipation for the news, which didn't come for several hours later, only half an hour before the Award Ceremony would start.

Chris walked up to the castmates, who were all sitting around outside their trailers, some staring off into space, others casually shifting or squirming. They all perked up when the host walked up, and Violet glared at him.

Chris caught her glare, and rubbed the spot on the back of his head casually.

"(Groan) Anyway, so here's the update: Mark's scapula was confirmed to be broken in three and a half places. But the doctors, thankfully, were able to do the best that they could. He's been wrapped up in a sling, and given a bunch of pain meds. The evaluation is that he will live."

Violet and John both rolled their eyes.

"He's gonna have to wear that sling for several months now, possibly more than half a year, before it recovers. But the good news is that he's up and walking again. And here he is!"

Chris then turned around just in time as the optimist walked up to the group, who instantly mobbed him.

"Mark!"

"Are you OK?"

"How does it feel?"

"Guys, guys!" Mark held up his good hand. "I'm fine, really."

They all got a look at him. There was a pale white cast wrapped completely around his right shoulder and the surrounding area, down to his chest, and covering half of his right arm up to his elbow. With the lower half sticking out of the cast, it was in an awkward, bent position. Whenever he moved the arm up and down, he looked like a robot.

"It's a little sore, but hey, it could've been worse. I mean, I could have hit headfirst. Then where would I be?"

His friends smiled at his optimism, even John.

Half an hour later…

The five castmates sat in the Theatre, the girls sitting in one group, Mark and John alone on the other side.

Chris walked onto the stage yet again, holding the small envelope in his hands.

"Castmates, today has been a rough day. You all fought hard, you all endured hard, and, in one case, flew into a rock wall at a speed in excess of eighty miles per hour hard!"

A grin appeared on his face as he said the last part, and he instantly ducked to avoid a shoe that was thrown at him. When he looked back, he saw all of them glaring hard at him, and Violet was missing a shoe.

"Touchy! Anyway; so, once again, it is time for one of you to join your nine friends in Loserville! So, the first three Gilded Chris Awards go to…"

"…Violet!"

"Mary!"

"And Madison!"

The three girls all caught their Awards. Madison held hers up triumphantly, grinning in satisfaction. She elbowed Mary, who half-heartedly held up her Award in the same manner.

Violet noticed this out of the corner of her eye, and was very puzzled.

Make-Up Confessional

Violet: I really don't understand it; those two have been off to the side, talking quietly and discussing things, by themselves. It almost seems too unusual…I wonder…could they actually be forming… …an alliance?

Madison (casually twirling a long, thin, metal rod, with one end sharp, and the other end in a circle, in her hand): I think that little miss Brainy Girl, Violet, is getting suspicious…a little too suspicious. As soon as Goth Boy goes home tonight, I'll try to get rid of her next.

End

"Now, left on the chopping block, we have Mark and John. John, you contributed fairly well in this challenge, with shooting down one of the girls' flagpoles, but you still haven't really been forgiven for the whole 'Mystery Castmate' mess, which makes you currently very unpopular right now."

The Goth boy was literally sweating bullets now.

"And Mark…you literally sacrificed yourself for your team today, but even then, you still failed right at the moment of truth, and your team lost as a result."

Mark hung his head in shame.

"Plus, in your current condition, you are completely incapable of getting by in any future physical challenges, and could easily end up being voted off next week if you were to survive this week.

"But in the end, the result was still a total shocker, with a capital S-H-O-C-K-E-R.

"The final Gilded Chris Award of the night goes to…"

"…"

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"…Mark…?"

Chris threw the final Award to Mark, who could only watch as it flew straight towards his right shoulder.

"OW!"

Chris cringed, but quickly shook it off, as did everyone else, who simply gasped in shock.

"Like I said, absolute, SHOCKER."

Mark feebly bent down to pick up his dropped Gilded Chris, then turned to his defeated Goth friend with a look of sympathy on his face.

He shrugged with his good shoulder. "Sorry, buddy."

John's mouth was still hanging wide open, as was Mary's and Violet's. Mark was just too happy to still be in the game, and Madison also did not appear to be fazed.

Make-Up Confessional

Madison: (Holds up the metal rod from earlier) Oh, did I forget to mention what the deal with this thing is? Well, if you want to break into a reality show's technician's booth, a crowbar isn't always the most effective, and definitely not the subtlest, way of getting in. This (gestures to the rod), being smaller, is a little subtler.

John (mouth still wide open) I could not believe it when Mark's name was called and not me, eh!

Madison: And after getting inside, the rest was easy; hacking into the computer, courtesy of my older brother being one of the most wanted hackers in Canada, and changing a majority of the votes to read "I have to vote for John. Sorry, John.", it was a piece of cake.

Mark: I guess I really wouldn't have cared whether or not I was voted off. I mean, if I stayed, I'd make it past the final five, unlike last season. And if I was voted off, I'd have plenty of downtime to relax and let my scapula heal. But one look at the expression on John's face told me that he clearly did not see that coming.

Madison: (Sighs in satisfaction, placing her feet up on the desk, and starting to twirl the metal rod again) John was easily the toughest player here, besides me, and with him out of the way, it would've been smooth sailing from there. Mark, with his broken scapula, would be a sitting duck, and easy to pick off next, and then Mary and I together would outnumber Violet. (Sighs again) Yep, it would've been the perfect plan, if it weren't for what happened next.

End

John sat there, shocked at first. But then he simply realized that he had it coming. Karma had finally caught up to him for all of his wrongdoings. He sighed, depressed, and slowly stood up.

Mary was completely stunned at the revelation of John being voted off, and just stared. As he stood up, she turned to Madison. Her teammate simply looked back at her, with a blank stare at first.

Then she gave Mary an evil grin.

Mary's eyes widened in realization.

In that one moment, Mary suddenly gave in to her conscience. She instantly hated Madison, and wanted to punch that smug grin of hers. She had rigged the votes against John, when he wasn't even the one originally voted off! She had probably done this in a deliberate attempt to see how she would react! To test her loyalty to her new alliance.

Well, Mary now planned to intentionally fail that test.

Just as John turned to face the Red Carpet of Shame and the distant Limo of Losers, Mary spoke up.

"Wait!"

Everyone turned to her in shock. Even Madison, having seen the fire in her eyes after she had grinned at her, was stunned.

"What? Mary?" John turned in surprise.

"Mary!" Madison hissed.

"You're not going home tonight, John! You don't deserve to!"

Everyone gasped, even Chris, especially Madison and John.

"You don't deserve to go home tonight, John! The votes weren't even against you in the first place!"

"What are you talking about, eh?"

"It's all her fault!" She pointed a hard, straight finger right at Madison.

"Huh?" Mark asked.

"Just today, she offered to have me in an alliance with her, to eliminate you three so that we could get to the final two together!"

"I knew it!" Violet exclaimed.

"She wanted to get rid of all of you, one by one, in any way necessary!"

By now, everyone was glaring fiercely at Madison, who cowered in fear.

"She was the reason that John has received a majority of the votes! She rigged them!"

"But how can that be?" Chris exclaimed. "The votes are from the viewers! And they're kept in the high-tech, state-of-the-art computer in the technician's room! And that room is locked up tight!"

"Yeah? Well a little mini-crowbar, combined with Hacking Basics 101, gets past all that no problem!" Madison admitted.

"This is crazy!" Mark exclaimed. "Why?"

"Why? Well, it's because I truly deserve to win more than any of you suckers! And especially you two boys!" She pointed at Mark and John.

"And what is that supposed to mean?" John asked defensively.

"What is it supposed to mean?" Madison repeated. "Because, you guys are nothing more than pigs! Dirty, rotten, filthy, disgusting pigs! No, not even pigs! Because pigs have a better, cleaner, and more dignified appearance! You guys are primates who never clean up after themselves! We all know that girls are smarter, tougher, more sophisticated, and far more significant than you guys could ever be!"

Everyone, especially Mark, John, Chris, Jay, and Intern, were all completely stunned by Madison's total outburst of sexist comments about guys.

"You…you…cretin!" John exclaimed.

"Have you no discretion?" Chris exclaimed.

"I don't care; I've made my point." She folded her arms firmly, and turned her face up at all of them.

Everyone was growling and clenching their fists. Madison was totally the target of everyone's hatred at the moment, but that was interrupted by Mary once again.

"Guys…" Mary spoke up again. "Focusing on the issue at hand here; John is completely innocent. He doesn't deserve to go home like this. So I'll gladly take his place!"

Everyone gasped yet again.

"What?" Madison roared.

"No!" John exclaimed.

Mary walked down off the bleachers, and towards the Red Carpet.

"No!" John repeated. He ran up to her, standing in her way to block her path. "You…you don't have to do this, eh! I'll go! I deserve to, after all that I've done!"

"Maybe you deserve to pay for that, but not in this way!" Mary retorted. "Besides…I owe you."

"Huh?" The confused Goth replied.

"You're absolutely right, John. If it weren't for your alter ego, 'the Mystery Castmate', then I probably would've been voted off on one of the first days. I owe it all to you for getting this far, it just took me all this time to realize it."

John simply stared back at her.

Mary paused for a moment before continuing. "That…and to realize something else."

"W-what's 'something else'?" John asked.

Mary looked straight at him. She slowly reached up and brushed his bangs away, revealing for the very first time, his blue eyes. It was a strange, brief moment for everyone. Not since his very first step on the Dock of Shame in the previous season had anyone ever seen his eyes. His crystal-clear blue eyes now had a complete look of sorrow in them; it was the one true emotion that reflected the beauty in one's eyes. She could even see the tears welling up in them.

The one, most shocking thing about this moment was that John was actually letting her do this.

They stared, for the first time ever, straight into each other's eyes for a long moment, before their lips met.

They shared a long passionate kiss, with everyone else (except for Madison) watching the emotional moment with shy smiles on their faces. The perfectionist and the Goth boy, a very unexpected couple, sharing a kiss.

After what seemed like forever, a glorious forever for John and Mary, they finally pulled away, and Mary looked right back into his now wide eyes.

Everyone in the Theatre was completely speechless.

Before anyone else could react, Mary ended the tender moment with two words.

"Goodbye, John."

And with that, Mary walked down the Red Carpet of Shame, straight up to the Limo of Losers. As she climbed in, she looked back at everyone else, and waved goodbye.

A few people waved back, but, as if there weren't enough surprises that night, they were taken aback by yet another shocking detail: The entire time she walked down that Carpet, and entered that Limo, Mary was actually smiling.

Even as the Limo drove off, John still stood right where he had been standing as he kissed Mary, his back to the Red Carpet and the Limo. Even after this wonderful moment, he could not bear to watch her leave. As the sound of the receding Limo grew fainter and fainter, he slowly reached up to touch his lips.

He smiled a very slight, crooked smile.

Everyone was, once again, completely silent, no one knowing what to say, until someone just as insensitive as Chris instantly barged in.

"Hey! So what's the deal?"

Everyone turned to see an angry cameraman, with a camera on his shoulder, standing next to an injured intern, who had his left leg in a cast, and was holding a pair of crutches. Behind them were similarly injured cameramen and interns. Both men were glaring at Chris.

"You said that whoever's team won today would be the party that actually gets paid from now on!" The cameraman barked. "So who gets paid?"

"Oh! Right." The host realized the earlier deal. "Well, in my opinion, the paychecks would go to those who contributed the most, not whose team won."

"Say WHAT?" All of the men roared.

Chris was still unfazed. "And, being as though all of you did little to squat today, and the castmates and Jay and Intern were the only ones really doing the important stuff, I've come to the conclusion that none of you get paid!"

The men exploded.

"THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!"

"THIS IS RIDICULOUS!"

"WE WON'T PUT UP WITH THIS CRAP ANYMORE!"

Then, all of them simultaneously, "WE QUIT!"

All of the interns threw down their clipboards, and all of the cameramen threw down their cameras. They all turned and stormed, or, in the case of the more crucially injured ones, limped, off.

"Aw, nuts." Chris muttered.

He then turned to one of the few remaining cameras, held by one of the wise cameramen who actually decided to not participate in the challenge at all that day, and said to it, "Well, that concludes another exciting episode…I guess." He then quickly shook his head and instantly regained his camera face. "So, with only four contestants left, we're only that much closer to the season finale! Tune in next time for more drama and more action, on, well, one of the only real shows that's actually got those things anymore, Total…Drama…Action!"


Episode 10: Total Drama Comedy

"In the previous episode of Total Drama Action: Our final five, John, Mark, Mary, Violet, and Madison, were pitted against each other in the age-old competition; the battle of the sexes, war style!

"The girls were given Jay and an army of cameramen to assist them, as the guys got Intern Hatchet and an army of interns. Both groups of the staff were warring it out with our castmates to see which of them should be paid. Which, by the way (heh, heh), neither of them would be.

"There was not just one secret alliance formed that day, but two! The first was when, surprisingly, Madison stepped up to the plate and offered Mary the chance to join a secret alliance with her, and take her to the final two. A reluctant Mary ultimately agreed to do so.

"Also, Intern laid out his game plan to both John and Mark; he agreed to help them win challenges if they could help convince yours truly that he deserves his job back. Oh, yeah, you're probably wondering how I know this? Well, courtesy of Jay's bugged microphones in the Guys/Interns fort on that day, which caught every minute of it.

"I don't plan to do anything about it just yet…after all, I just have to see what pathetic attempts those two will make at trying to redeem Intern.

"Anyway, back on track here: So the two armies battled it out hard, working to shoot down each other's three flagpoles first to win the challenge. Intern built a massive drilling machine to burrow into the enemies' fort, only to find that Jay had done the exact same thing! Ho, ho, ho! After a brief confrontation between these two bitter rivals, an explosion resulted, which totally threw the foundation of both forts completely out of whack!

"After the dust settled, Mark and Madison confronted each other, and raced to shoot down each others' last still-standing flagpoles. However, Mark made the mistake of using the all-powerful, deadly, one-heck-of-a-recoil gun, THE PAINTBALL ROCKET LAUNCHER…which sent him flying straight back into a stone wall. Ou-ch! Mr. Optimist then kissed his right scapula goodbye (he, he, he).

"After that, Madison easily shot down the guys' flagpole and won the task for the girls.

"But the best drama of the day was, undoubtedly, that at the Gilded Chris Ceremony that night. Madison actually hacked into the computer, and changed the votes to read John's name, as a majority had already originally voted for Mark. John, although shocked and devastated, was prepared to accept his false fate. However, Mary figured it out at the last moment, and was not going to be taking that one sitting down. She rebelled against Madison, revealed her plots to everyone there, and eventually revealed that Madison is a filthy, truck-driver-mouthed sexist against guys. Mary then shocked everyone by taking John's place in the Limo of Losers. But not before leaving our Goth boy with a goodbye kiss.

"Only two chicks and two dudes remain. Who will be sitting in that Limo tonight? How will Mark hold up with his broken scapula? Will John be able to get by without the love of his life? And will Madison get away with her plans, now that she's an alliance member down, or will her wit and cunning get her through? Find out, on Total…Drama…Action!"

...

Mark, Violet, and Madison were in the Craft Services Tent for breakfast. While the girls were simply staring at their rock-hard, five-month-old raccoon intestines, Mark was actually given something edible: some cold cereal.

Ever since Mark had broken his scapula, Chris immediately went on the defensive, sensing a lawsuit, and offered Mark to have Jay cook some delicious, survivable food to eat every meal, every day for the rest of the competition, or until he got eliminated.

"Look, anything you want, from pizza to McDonald's, we'll provide it for you, OK? Heh, heh." The host had said nervously.

"Sure, dude." Mark had replied, smiling. "But you really don't need to worry about me suing you; I would never sue over something as little as this."

But, nonetheless, he was still being fed delicious food and pampered in pretty much every way possible. And who had to do the job of spoon-feeding him, since he was right-handed?

None other than Intern Hatchet.

Intern miserably mumbled to himself as he fed Mark another spoonful. Mark was enjoying the delicious food, but Intern had had enough.

When no one was looking, he fiercely grabbed Mark by his good shoulder.

"You. Me. Talk. Now."

Mark didn't have time to respond, and the large man yanked him out of his seat, and out of the Tent.

"What's up?"

Intern was instantly in Mark's face.

"Listen up here, punk. I have been feeding you with a spoon for the past week since we made our deal. I have been feeding you, making your bed for you, opening the door for you, massaging you, and I am sick of it! When are you and Goth boy gonna do your part of the deal!"

"OK, OK, chill out!" Mark replied, holding up his left hand. "We'll think of something. But trust me, I'm gonna do my best to sweet-talk Chris into giving you your job back. If that doesn't work, then I don't know what will."

As Mark said all of this, he was disguising the worried look on his face with a false smile.

Make-Up Confessional

Mark: Yeah…I kinda lost track of my and John's part of the agreement after the first three days of it. I mean, come on! You would too, if you were practically in the lap of luxury for nearly a week!

Intern Hatchet: I'm starting to regret ever making this deal in the first place! I mean, I'm putting the potential fate of MY job in the hands of THESE boys? What was I thinking! And now, sure enough, one of them forgets to do his job! This…is…ridiculous!

End

Just as the two walked back into the Tent, and the large man continued feeding the teen, a thought hit him.

"Hey, do you know where your Goth friend is?" Intern asked Mark.

Violet overhead, and added, "Yeah, he should be here with the rest of us."

They all thought for a moment, and realized that John had been acting weird since Mary's elimination. While they had previous been giving him the silent act, he had spent the last week giving them the silent act. He had been dead silent, if they even saw him. He had practically slipped off the face of the earth. He was rarely seen, not even by the cameras, and was never near the trailers, the Craft Services Tent, or the Make-Up Confessional Booth. They had all been wondering what was going on with their friend.

Then, as if on cue, the flap at the Tent's entrance was pushed aside, and they all turned to see a teenager standing there whom they had never seen before. He wore a clean, white, long-sleeved, shirt and navy blue jeans. He also had bright red sneakers on his feet, and his short, black hair was neatly combed back.

The others would've never known who this teen was if it weren't for one thing; his blue eyes, which easily resembled the eyes that had been revealed for the first time at the Gilded Chris Ceremony a week ago.

Violet was the first to speak. "J-John?"

"Hello, Violet."

Mark instantly approached his friend. "Dude, what happened? You, like, completely transformed!"

"Yeah." Madison sneered. "You're usually just a big cloud of black, black, and more black, with a voice."

"I know, eh. I used to be that way, but today, when I woke up…I felt something I had never felt before in my life."

"What's that?" Violet asked.

"I felt…that today was going to be a good day, for once."

"Uh, dude? You do realize that today is the next challenge?" Mark questioned.

"Yeah, I know."

Mark slowly looked back at Violet. She looked just as stunned and confused as he did. Even Madison looked puzzled.

Make-Up Confessional

John: Yeah, I used to just wear all black and nothing else, and dread the coming day, and the coming year…and the coming life. But, you see, for the past few days since Mary and I kissed, I had really been thinking hard. About what? Well, about life. Ever since…she, my ex-girlfriend, completely broke my heart, I was ready to give up humanity, give up on life, and live the rest of my life like I was before.

But then Mary came along, eh. And it was only after that first kiss when I realized that she's only the beginning. There are still many other great people in the world, like Mark and Violet. And now, as I begin a new leaf, I might as well reflect that new start in my appearance, as I did when I hated everyone.

Mark (still completely shocked, eyes wide, mouth open): Un…believable.

Violet (just as shocked): I never thought I'd see the day…when John actually dressed up like that!

Madison (angry): I can't believe this! I mean, it was bad enough when stupid perfectionist Mary sacrificed herself in place of John last week, but now, because of that, he's even more strong-minded and determined to win! This…could be a problem.

End

So, despite the confused looks and awkward stares, John simply walked up, took his food from Jay, and sat down next to Mark.

Before anyone else could say anything else, Chris walked in.

"Alright, castmates! I hope that all of you, especially Mark, enjoyed your breakfast today, because the next challenge will begi-."

He then noticed John.

"Aw, crap. Are you another one of those crazy fans who keep wanting to get into the Film Lot? I've told you already, this place is for castmates only!"

"Chris? It's me, eh."

Chris recognized the voice. "John?" He leaned closer to Mark. "What happened to him?"

Mark shrugged with his good shoulder.

"Well, uh, sorry about that, or whatever. So, as I was saying, today's challenge is going to be a little more casual, and surely not going to end as disastrously as last week."

He glanced at Mark again, grinning sheepishly.

"Today, we are going to be returning to the classic, lovable, and considerably easy, skit! Today's genre: the comedy genre!"

"Alright!" Mark exclaimed.

"Today, once again, it will be guys vs. girls. The two teams will be writing their own, one-minute-long skit, and will perform it one at a time."

"What? How are we supposed to be able to write and perform a skit that can last only one minute!" Madison demanded.

"You'll have to find that out on your own." Chris suggested. "Anyway, the goal is that your skit has to be so funny that it makes our judge laugh."

"And who's our judge?" Violet asked, slightly nervous. Inwardly, she was screaming, Please say you. Please say you. Please say you. Please say…

"Jay, of course!"

"Figures." Madison grumbled.

"And if neither skit makes him laugh, then one at least has to be better than the other. If the latter is the case, then your skit will be judged based on performance, brand of humor, and how well it is presented."

"Um, aren't the first thing and the last thing pretty much the same?" Violet questioned.

Chris (for the umpteenth time) ignored her and continued. "So report to the top of our replica of the 1,000-foot cliff after breakfast. There, you will find your individual stages, each at your disposal."

And with that, Chris walked out of the Tent.

Shortly after, the four castmates also exited out of the Tent, heading through the Film Lot and towards the huge, fake cliff.

This was their first time ever going on this huge replica of the familiar, dreaded cliff from the first season. Strangely enough, it almost looked just like the real cliff, unless viewed from the other side of it, where the support beams and inner structure was clearly visible. Even the trees dotting it where clearly just cardboard cutouts. But they didn't really care for the poor construction and lack of effort that went into its construction, as long as what they were looking for was at the top of the cliff.

As John and Mark walked up the path, the latter was starting to get tired of walking nonstop up the cliff., while the former showed no signs of tiring.

"Dude! (Pant, pant) Aren't you, like, (pant) tired?"

"Nope."

Meanwhile, Madison and Violet were a little ways behind behind.

"So, uh, what do you think of John…now?" Madison tried to start a conversation.

She failed.

"Don't…even talk to me." Violet then raced ahead.

Make-Up Confessional

Madison: Ever since that little incident last week when stupid Mary voted herself off, everyone's been totally giving me dirty looks and, well, obscene gestures. I'm totally the bottom of the group! The weakest link! The outcast! WHAT AM I GONNA DO?

(Slaps herself) Get a hold of yourself, Madison! You're not done yet! You can do this! You can win! You've got wit, you've got brains, you've got… …a tarnished reputation.

(Looks straight at the camera) I'M SO SCREWED!

End

Madison hung her head as she ran, starting to regret her past actions.

The guys reached the top of the cliff first. Sure enough, there were two small, separate stages, similar to the ones from the original season.

"OK, so, uh, what's our skit gonna be like?" Mark asked his friend.

"Well…we've really got to think on this one, eh. If our goal is to at least impress Jay, then it has to be really good."

"We might as well go for impressing him; our chances of being able to make him laugh are at least one in 2,684,928,123 and a third."

"Oh, I wouldn't say that, eh." John replied.

"Really?" The stunned Mark asked. "Did you even just say that? Dude, I'm usually the optimist here, and even I have to admit that trying to get Jay to laugh is like…well, you get the idea."

Meanwhile, the girls had just arrived as well.

"OK, so as much as we hate each other, we might as well try to work together on this; we have to win!" Madison explained to her teammate as they arrived at their stage.

"Agreed." Violet reluctantly agreed. "So…what good jokes do you have?"

"Hmm." The cynical sexist thought about it for a while before she spoke up. "Got it. OK, so a plane is having engine problems 10,000 feet over the ocean, right? There are only twenty parachutes onboard, and the passengers exactly are twenty children, Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton, and Osama bin Laden…"

And so, the castmates went over their game plan, coming up with several jokes, some that were hilarious, and some that were terrible.

After a few minutes, Jay and Chris arrived. Jay took his seat in one of the two folding chairs that sat in front of both of the stages. He casually pulled out the latest issue of Terminated magazine and started reading. Meanwhile, Chris stood on the sidelines with five other men; the only remaining cameramen who had not quit the show after last week's challenge, and Intern Hatchet.

"OK, so here's the deal; since an incredible majority of your fellow cameramen decided to be poor sports and leave the show, you six are the only ones left. Since we don't have nearly as many eyes and ears around here as before, we have to keep the challenges from now on short, sweet, and simple, to fit the camera situation right now."

Chris turned to Intern. "Because of this, fortunately for you, you will temporarily be promoted to the rank of Cameraman, so that you may assist these guys here."

Make-Up Confessional

Cameraman Hatchet: Well…it's an improvement.

End

Chris then addressed three of the cameramen; the man with the yellow bandana, the large, African-American in the red tracksuit, and a shorter, bald man with tiny glasses. "I want you, you, and you to cover the girls. See what drama is unfolding over there…" Chris gestured to the stage where Violet and Madison were. They were already having an argument.

"…No, no, NO! You can't use that joke! It's offensive! Have some respect, would you? The guy died nearly three months ago!" Violet exclaimed after Madison finished telling a joke.

"So? Who cares? The guy was a freak!"

Chris then chuckled, shaking his head, before turning to the other cameramen. "So Cameraman, you take the other two guys here and keep an eye on Mark and John. Got it?"

Cameraman reluctantly nodded.

"Good." Chris looked at his watch. "Now if you'll all excuse me, it's time for my three o' clock massage."

He turned and walked back down the "mountain."

Cameraman mumbled to himself, then turned to the other two cameramen he was stuck with. "Alright, listen up!"

The two men instantly looked up at him after the sudden outburst.

"I want you two to do as you were told; I have some…business, to attend to."

"Who put you in charge?" One man asked.

"Did you not hear him? He clearly said, 'Cameraman, you take the other two guys here.' That obviously means that I'm in charge of you! So…DO AS I SAY!"

The two men instantly picked up their equipment and ran off to do their job.

Cameraman slowly looked up at all of the overhanging rafters, which completely surrounded them. He walked up to a ladder and silently climbed up among the rafters.

Less eyes and ears? Perfect. He thought evilly.

He slowly sneaked across the rafters, eventually finding the coil of rope he had hid there. He slowly let it unravel, revealing the noose at the end of it.

Excellent.

He slowly let it drop down to the floor, letting the noose rest on the floor, and the rope dangle, among all of the other loose ropes, unnoticeably. He then worked with the rope for a bit, tying it around one rafter, letting it run along another support beam, until it was all set up, and ready to spring.

Make-Up Confessional

Cameraman Hatchet: I thought it over for a while, and I've come to the conclusion that I can no longer trust those teenage punks to do as they promised. I was just desperate when I came to them for help. I've decided to take matters into my own hands, and go with Plan B: Terminate the Terminator.

End

Cameraman waited for a few minutes before Jay finished reading his magazine. He folded it up, placed it on the chair he was sitting on, then got up and started walking into position.

Closer. Closer…

"Hey! Jay, buddy! Can ya give me a hand with this boom here?" One of the cameramen unexpectedly called.

Jay turned on his heels, moving away from the trap, and walked off.

What? NO!

Just then, the worst thing in the world happened: Chris walked up.

The host was angrily mumbling to himself. "Stupid massage lady…quit the show too? You can't hire any good employees these days…"

He stepped right in the noose. It instantly tightened around his ankle, whipping him off the floor. The sandbag at the other end of the rope fell to the floor, shifting the weight on the rope, and dangling the host upside-down from the above rafter.

Chris found himself face-to-face with an upside-down Cameraman Hatchet, a mallet in hand.

The larger man looked down at the weapon he held, and quickly hid it behind his back, grinning sheepishly.

The host wasn't impressed.

"HATCHET!"

Meanwhile…

While the would-be termination attempt was going down, Madison and Violet had finally come to a compromise.

"ARGH! You can't agree on ANY joke that I suggest!" Madison roared.

"That's because they're all terrible!" Violet retorted.

"Look, we need to come to an agreement here, OK? We have to if we want to win!"

Madison then paused for a moment as a new thought entered her head.

"Wait…I think I've got an idea!"

"What is it this time? Another cruel joke about-."

"No! This time, the idea is perfect! Look, if there's one thing we know for sure in this world, what is it?"

The answer was immediately obvious.

"That Chris is a narcissist who cares more about his hair than the lives of the interns he hires?"

"Exactly! So, what if we make a little skit about that? We make fun of Chris, portray him as a total jerk, and I'm sure that Jay will approve! I mean, surely he hates Chris just as much as all of his other employees do?"

"That…is actually a good idea. I…I approve, I guess."

"Good. So let's get to work."

Meanwhile...

John was nearly doubled over in laughter.

"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…HA! That is brilliant, eh! That joke will be perfect!" John complimented his friend Mark, after making a sidesplitting joke.

"So it's settled, then; I'll do standup comedy for our act!"

"Agreed. Hee, hee! That joke is SURE to get someone even as cold as Jay laughing all over the place!"

Just then, Chris walked up to both of the stages, a highly annoyed look on his face.

"Alright, castmates! I hope you're ready, because it's time for you all to start your skits! First up, as an act of chivalry, are the girls!"

Madison and Violet glanced at each other briefly, then walked over to their stage. Chris walked over to the sidelines, while Jay sat in his chair, arms folded firmly.

After a moment of preparation, Madison started.

"Hello. I'm Chris MacLean, host of the ever-popular Total Drama series! I'm just SO incredibly, ridiculously good-looking, and I spend half of my interns' paychecks on my hair gel!"

"Hey!" Chris yelled.

"I'm just such a hunk, and whenever an intern dies on set, I simply say, 'Ah, that's one less dedicated worker to not pay.'"

The real Chris opened his mouth in protest, but then closed it, simply shrugging.

Then Violet walked onto the stage, pretending to be limping and dragging a "broken" leg behind her.

"C-Chris! I broke my leg trying out the new 'Extreme Skateboarding' challenge! I need medical attention!"

"Yeah…sorry, can't help you there."

"What? Why?"

"Sorry, but it would slice my massage budget clean in half if that happened…so…yeah, sorry, pal."

"But…"

Violet then collapsed.

"Well, I can always hire another one."

"The end!" Both girls then simultaneously declared.

Chris's mouth was hanging wide open, and Jay barely raised an eyebrow.

Both girls had put on false smiles for the finale, and were standing perfectly still, practically frozen in time.

"…Well…?" Madison asked after a moment.

Chris turned to Jay, who barely even twitched. "That was, single-handedly, the… … … …worst performance I have ever watched."

"WHAT!" Madison and Violet roared.

"Not only was it poorly presented, but it is a complete mockery of this fine host, who I happen to think of as a fine and perfectly capable man, with good morals."

Both girls nearly fainted.

"So, I give that performance a zero." Jay concluded.

Make-Up Confessional

Chris: That skit…was…a…disgrace! Never in my life have I been insulted like so! I'm glad that Jay failed them! Nice to see that there's ONE loyal employee here!

Violet: Well, it's settled; when we lose, Madison is so going home.

Madison: Un…believable.

End

"Well, unless the guys' skit is even worse, then the girls have already lost this challenge!" Chris declared. The host then turned to the boys. "Mark, John. You both have one minute to prepare."

"Thank yo-." Mark's thanks was interrupted when John grabbed him and yanked him aside.

"What is it?"

"I just got a brilliant idea for our skit, eh!"

"What? I thought I was gonna do standup comedy."

"Forget it. Watching the girls' skit made me realize. Standup comedy could take too long. I realize now that there's something else that should work just as well!"

"What's that?"

"We'll somewhat copy their idea, you know, about making fun of someone. But it's the person who'll be different."

"Who…?"

"The one person that Jay surely hates, and is allowed to hate!"

"Chef!" Mark realized.

"Exactly."

"But…won't that betray our agreement with him?"

Suddenly, Chris roared again, "HATCHET!"

"I…don't think so, eh."

Meanwhile…

During the one-minute break, Cameraman Hatchet was attempting to set another trap for Jay.

"This has got to work!" He declared proudly to himself.

He had ingeniously covered a trapdoor in the floor of the "cliff" with fake grass, and he had managed to obtain a brand-new issue of Terminated magazine on it. Beneath the trapdoor was the hollow interior of the fake cliff, which was basically a 1,000-foot plummet to the concrete below.

"When he sees the magazine…he's sure to (snicker) fall for it!"

He then hid behind a large "bush". Before hiding completely, he put two fingers between his teeth and whistled loudly.

Jay heard the whistle, and turned to face the direction the whistling sound came from.

Instead, he could see the magazine on the ground. Curious, he got up out of his chair and walked over to it.

Yes…Yes…

He was about to step on the trapdoor, but stopped barely two steps from it.

What?

Jay could see the date on the supposedly new magazine cover.

Hmm. That is not the new one I thought it was. That's the new one in America.

He then turned on his heels and returned to his chair.

WHAT? Hatchet thought furiously.

Just then, one of the remaining cameramen, the bald one with glasses, happened by and saw the magazine.

"Hey! It's Terminated! I love that magazine!"

Oh, dear God…

"NO!" Cameraman Hatchet screamed as he popped up out of his bush.

Too late.

The unfortunate man stepped right on the trapdoor, sinking straight through the fake grass. Both he and the magazine fell straight down the whole 1,000 feet.

"!"

"Ah, crap." Cameraman muttered.

Chris, hearing the scream, raced over to the trapdoor, and could barely see the man as he fell away from sight.

"What the…?" He then looked up as Hatchet rose from behind the bush.

"I…uh…I…"

"HATCHET!"

A few minutes later…

"OK, OK, sorry about that." Chris apologized to the castmates. "Cameraman Hatchet had to be disciplined for pulling too many stunts like that. This is getting ridiculous. He's going to be talking to the producers…again." He turned once again to Mark and John. "Boys, I hope you made good use of your extra few minutes, because now, your time is up."

"We're ready, eh."

"Good. And…action!"

John instantly walked onstage, flexing his muscles to look buff.

"Hey there, punks! I'm Chef Hatchet! I'm the only smart person on this show, and I secretly hate my superior, Chris MacLean!"

Chris instantly started snickering. "Ha! That does sound like Hatchet!"

"I regret ever serving in the Navy! To me, NAVY stands for Never Again Volunteer Yourself!"

Chris burst into laughter. "HA! Oh, that is priceless!

"Then I went to prison a few years later, after I killed a person for making fun of my mama's cooking! They said, is that sneer your natural face, or did it freeze like that after eating some of your mama's meatloaf?"

Even now, some of the cameras were shaking, as their operators were laughing hard.

"Now here I am, on this stupid show, and I'm not even the chef anymore! I mean, first I'm made an intern, then a cameraman? That does it; I'm gonna go and try to send that terminator down a trapdoor!"

Then, offstage, Mark screamed. "EEEEEEEYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAA! (Crash!)"

"Whoops! Ah, crap. Looks like someone else fell for it."

Even Violet, with the knowledge that her team would probably lose because of this, was laughing with everyone else.

Mark, also pretending to limp, as well as struggle with his bad arm, confronted "Chef."

"That does it, Hatchet! You're fired!"

"Fired? But I can't be! Without that paycheck, I won't be able to buy sodas from the twenty-five cent vending machine anymore!"

Chris was in tears. "It's true! He is paid only twenty-five American cents a month!"

Then John and Mark bowed. "We hope you enjoyed the show. Thank you, thank you very much."

Chris instantly started clapping, as did Violet and the few nearby cameramen.

"Bravo! That was brilliant, boys! Brilliant! Now, for the input of our fair and impartial judge! Jay?"

Everyone's eyes were on the muscular intern. He was still incredibly stone-faced, save for the extremely slight upward curve of his mouth.

"Well…it was definitely comical, and a pleasure to watch. Plus, I thoroughly enjoyed the parody of that no-good ignoramus Hatchet. You boys accurately portrayed Hatchet and his usual, unpleasant demeanor. Thus, I have made the decision to give your performance a passing grade."

"YES!" Both Mark and John cheered before they shared a hi-five.

"And the guys' team wins the task, and Invincibility!" Chris declared, still chuckling and wiping a tear from his eye. "Which means that Violet and Madison are on the chopping block tonight. I'll be seeing you at the Theatre tonight. And something tells me that it's a little obvious who's going home tonight."

At this, Violet glared at Madison, who turned away sharply.


The Tenth Gilded Chris Award Ceremony

"Castmates, the viewers have cast in their votes and made their decision." Chris declared in the usual manner.

Madison, Violet, Mark, and John all sat in the bleachers facing the stage. On the stage were Chris and Cameraman Hatchet, once again wearing the purple dress. In his arms, Cameraman held three Gilded Chris Awards.

"One of you has been chosen, and in a total landslide, I might add. Boy, oh boy, practically every single viewer voted this castmate off!"

Violet glanced at Madison, who quickly looked away.

"And, quite frankly, it's not that much of a shocker, so I'll just give it to you briefly and sweetly. The GC Awards go to Mark, John, and…"

As the boys caught their Awards, Violet sat calmly, awaiting the final Award.

Chris still took a long pause anyway.

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…Violet."

Violet caught the small statuette as it was thrown to her.

"Madison? It's time for you to get your unwanted butt off this sho-."

"FINE! I DON'T CARE ANYWAY!" Madison exploded. "I would've preferred to be voted off at this point anyway!" She added. "If I hadn't, then I'd be the last female contestant on the show! Heck, I'd be the last female character on the show! Then I'd be surrounded by boys!"

"HEY!" Chris, Mark, John, and Cameraman all simultaneously exclaimed.

Madison ignored them and turned to Violet. "Violet, good luck. You're gonna need it, now that you're completely surrounded by neanderthals!"

Before Madison could leave, Mark and John both threw their Awards at her.

"Ow, ow! HEY!" Madison roared.

"You'd better watch what you say next time, sexist!" Mark roared.

"Yeah!" John agreed.

Madison was completely taken aback by this. She had said something that actually got Mark mad at her. And boy, for an optimist and friendly, outgoing guy, he looked more vicious than ever when he was angry. His fists were clenched, and his teeth were barred ferociously.

Madison took a step back. "Uh…heh, heh. I'm just gonna…you know…go…"

Madison then turned and dashed towards the Limo of Losers, actually eager to climb inside and speed off into the night.

Chris, fists also clenched, glared after her as she drove off, before he quickly shook it off and looked at the camera.

"Well, that concludes yet another exciting, yet not too shocking, Gilded Chris Award Ceremony. Tune in next time for more of your three favorite castmates! MacLean out."

Meanwhile...

As The Tenth Gilded Chris Award Ceremony was unfolding, a certain ex-chef/intern/cameraman Hatchet was watching the entire thing on a monitor. He had been sitting in the Control Tent on "time-out" as punishment for his stunts. And what he saw on the monitors, ever since the beginning of the boys' skit, did NOTplease him.

"So…those boys think that they can sell me out, eh?" He muttered. "They went and won this challenge by trashing me…on national television! If that's their way of saying that the deal's off, then FINE!" He turned to the cameraman in the tent (whose job was to watch him while serving his punishment; he had wisely kept his distance, though), and spoke into the camera. " 'Cause I don't need those punks help! I'm perfectly capable of getting my job back on my own! And I will. Oh, how I will. And no one, NO ONE, is gonna stop me!"


Episode 11: The Not-So-Stealthy Ninjas

"Last time on Total Drama Action: You watched our final four castmates, John, Violet, Mark, and Madison, participate in a relatively simple task; writing a comedy skit. Once again, the guys were pitted against the chicks, and the skits had to impress our local resident judge: Jay.

"John went through a…transformation, if you will, and totally turned from all-out, doom-to-the-world Goth Boy to a regular, normal kid, who now has a lighter view on the human race. All courtesy of Mary's departure kiss at the end of the previous Gilded Chris Ceremony.

"The girls started off in a skit that completely mocked my good name, and made me look like a complete fool! Thankfully, Jay was quick to point out how distasteful that was, and failed them. However, the girls unintentionally set the example for the boys, inspiring to take a similar approach, and write a skit that made fun of someone. However, that someone was none other than Cameraman Hatchet!

"The skit was hysterically hilarious, and, though it failed to crack up Jay, he did approve of the guys' performance over the girls', and passed them, giving them Invincibility.

"That night, it was the greatest landslide vote in the history of Total Drama, in which practically ninety-nine percent of our viewers voted for Madison! It was so awesome! See ya later, sexist!

"So Mark and John have betrayed Cameraman, and their not-so-secret alliance. How will he manage on his own? Will he succeed in getting his job back? Or will he simply resort to setting more booby-traps like last time?

"Uh, sorry. Anyway, so we're down to our final three: Mark, John, and Violet. As you all know, this will be Violet's second time of getting into the final three! But can she make it into the final two? There's only one way to find out: Sit back, relax, strap on your seatbelt, and get ready for the awesome semifinal episode of Total…Drama…Action!"

...

Chris stood outside the Craft Services Tent, completely decked-out in a black jumpsuit, with a black, leather belt around his waist, a black mask in hand, and a katana blade in the other. He peeked in on the unsuspecting three castmates.

"Ho, ho, ho! This is gonna be SO good!" He chuckled to himself as he donned the mask, which had a rectangular hole in the front for his eyes to see through. He then reached into his suit and pulled out a small, egg-shaped device with a pin sticking out the top.

Meanwhile, in the Tent, the castmates were calmly eating their breakfast.

"Oh, I cannot wait for the challenge today!" Mark exclaimed. "It's gonna be cool to play in one challenge now without that sexist around anymore!"

"But didn't we play, like, the first six tasks without her before she came back?" Violet asked.

"Well, yeah. But that was before we found out how horrible she was. And then we would learn to appreciate her not being here anymore."

"I'm just glad to make it to the final three, eh." John admitted. "It's quite an honor."

"Yeah…you would say that." Violet muttered.

"Huh?" Both Mark and John asked.

"Neither of you have been to the final three before. I have. And…I don't know why…but I'm afraid that I'm gonna be kicked off in this episode again."

"Why would you say that?" Mark asked.

Violet shrugged. "I don't know. I mean, when I was in the final three last season, I was more than confident about my chances. But of course, I had Peter against me, so I never would have thought that-."

Suddenly, a Click was heard. The castmates turned as a small, egg-shaped object flew into the Tent, and landed in-between the tables.

Their eyes widened when they saw what it was.

"A GRENADE?" They all simultaneously exclaimed.

The grenade then exploded in a massive blast of smoke, sending all of the castmates into an immediate coughing fit.

"Cough!"

"Hack!"

"Wheeze!"

"Ack!"

Just then, a dark shape moved through the mist, heading straight towards the teens.

"Who's (Cough) who's there, e-(ack!)-h!" John coughed.

Just then, one of the figure's arms instantly grew longer, with a pointed tip. Suddenly, the sharp blade came crashing down onto the table, slicing their dishes in half.

All of the castmates screamed.

"HA, ha, ha, ha, ha, HA! Hee, hee! Oh, that is rich!"

"CHRIS!"

"Ha-ha! Did I scare you?" The cloud of smoke dissipated, and the host lifted up his mask.

"What was your first clue?" Violet asked. "Our all cowering in fear, or the loud screams of terror?"

"All fitting into today's part of the challenge." Chris then showed off his sword, twirling it around several times. "Castmates, for your semifinal task, you will be participating in an all-out, grueling, mind-bending, and physically demanding task. Today's genre: The ninja movie!"

"Oh, God."

"You will be leaping up great platforms, dodging flames, and even fighting each other to the death!"

The castmates gasped.

"Heh, heh. No, not really to the death. But the challenges will be all-out physical!"

Mark glanced down at his wrapped-up shoulder.

"Ninjas must be agile, fast, and able to beat the snot out of each other. Today, the three of you shall compete in three parts of the task. The first part: The Fire Leap!"

Gasps around the room, especially from Violet.

Make-Up Confessional

Violet: OH…he said that horrible "F" word! Fire. I knew this would happen – I just knew it! Fire's involved in the semifinal round again. I'm gonna be eliminated again, just like last season! (Sighs heavily, looks down at the floor of the booth) I was really hoping I would get farther…

Mark: Doing an all-out physical challenge…with a broken scapula? … … …No problem! What? You didn't actually think I was scared, did you? Heck, no! I don't care if it's a broken scapula or a broken back; I'll give it my all, no matter what.

End

Despite the horrified look on Violet's face, Chris continued. "In this first part, you must leap across many small, stone pillars, all the while jumping above and between huge bursts of FIRE!" The cynical host made sure to put great emphasis in the last word. "So get your butts ready, and try not to get burned to a crisp!"

Violet, still refusing to believe what she was hearing, fell out of her chair.

About ten minutes later...

Violet stumbled out of the infirmary, with Mark and John guiding her as she struggled with each step.

"Ooooooooohhhhhh… …" She moaned.

"Really, Chris; was that necessary?" John asked the host, who simply shrugged.

"I don't care who faints; ya still gotta participate in the challenge! It's either that, or you're outta here!" He jerked a thumb to the nearby Theatre.

"N-no!" Violet mumbled. "I will…I…will not lose!"

She then quickly brushed Mark and John away, and mumbled to the host, "B-br-bring it on!"

"Now that's the spirit, Violet." Chris said. "But first…you all have to wear these."

He then pulled out a bundle of black clothing and tossed it to them. They each ended up with their own jumpsuit in hand, just like the one he was wearing.

"Never thought I'd be wearing all black again this soon, eh?" John commented.

A few minutes later...

The castmates were all decked out in their ninja outfits, with only their eyes and a small part of their noses showing.

"I'm surprised that I can actually breathe in this thing." Violet commented.

"Now, brave warriors, it is almost time for you to begin your journey." Chris then folded his hands and bowed slightly. "You must first enter this cave." He gestured to the huge, yawning cave entrance next to him. "Once inside, you will come to a deep, deep canyon. There are many of those small pillars dotted throughout the canyon, and will serve as your only footing. Remember, a consistent line of fire is shooting below you, and vertical pillars of flame will also shoot up wherever, and whenever, you least expect them. Whoever reaches the end first will receive a special reward to help them with the next phase of the challenge.

"On the third count, you will all go."

Next to him stood Jay, wearing a massive black jumpsuit. His large muscles bulged underneath the outfit, making him look more intimidating than ever. He raised a huge blade into the air, readying it like a flag.

"On your mark…" Chris started. Jay had the blade exactly parallel to the ground.

"Get set…" Jay raised the sword really high.

"GO!"

Jay swung the blade down, creating a loud SWOOSH of air, as well as a brief flash of light reflecting the sun, which shot up into the air and blinded a passing eagle. The stunned bird fell to the ground, hitting the hard concrete after the castmates all reluctantly entered the cave.

Chris remained bowed until he heard the SPLAT! He looked over and saw the bird.

"Ah, darn it! Not again!" Chris stomped his foot angrily.

The castmates moved slowly into the cave, enveloped in darkness.

"Hello?" Mark called out, hoping his friends would hear him. His single call echoed across the whole cave, repeating itself at least five times before it finally died down.

"Mark? Where are you, eh?"

"I can't see a darn thing in here!" Violet called back.

Suddenly, there was a loud roar. The entire cave was instantly illuminated in a pale orange light. The castmates all found themselves not two feet away from the edge of a massive pit, and steady streams of fire shot out from it, almost as if the floor of the pit was the fire. They looked across, and could barely see the other side of the pit. They knew that it had to be at least 200 feet to the other end, and the depth looked to be over 100 feet. They could see the numerous stone pillars dotting the canyon, standing tall above the flames; safe havens from the fire. Each one was no more than two and a half feet in diameter; barely wide enough for one person.

"Whoa…" Mark muttered as he leaned over slightly to look into the pit.

Suddenly, a vertical pillar of fire shot straight up, missing Mark's face by a half-inch.

"EEEEEYIKES!" He screamed and tumbled backwards. The heat was unbelievable, and, although his face wasn't on fire, it still felt as if it was burning. And the black mask sure wasn't helping.

"Aah! Hot! Hot!" Mark fanned at his face, shaking it side-to-side. John and Violet watched in horror, but saw clearly that their friend wasn't too damaged…except…

"Mark! Your…your mask has been burned partially off!"

"Oh, great." Mark reached up and felt his forehead area, and could, in fact, feel skin there instead of the black material. Then, when he removed his hand, Violet and John noticed something far worse about his face.

"OH MY GOD!" Violet screamed. "Mark…your face!"

"What about it?" The optimist asked nervously. "Is it all red or something?"

"Well, yes." Violet responded. "But that's not what I'm pointing out! It's your eyebrows!"

"WHAT?" He then reached up to feel where his brown eyebrows should have been. Instead…

"Th-they're gone! They've been burned off!"

"HA! Ha, ha, ha, ha, HAAAAAAAAAA-ack!" Someone laughed maniacally before coughing from laughing so hard. The castmates all turned to see Chris, standing off to the side. He was wiping a tear from the small hole in his mask. Behind him stood Jay. "Oh, that is rich! Your face looks so stupid without eyebrows! HA!"

Mark simply stood there, covering the spot where his eyebrows should have been with one hand.

"Hee, hee. Oh…anyway, onto the challenge. Now, as you can all see here, there is a pit before you, filled with incredibly hot flames. As demonstrated by Mark over here, these flames are hot to the touch! So…try not to get burned alive."

Violet swallowed loudly, nervously. Her throat underneath the black material moved slightly as she swallowed.

"You must jump across all of those tiny little platforms, trying to beat your fellow castmates to the finish. Remember, first person to get across gets a special prize to help them with the next part of the challenge. Now, if you please, it's time to begin."

Mark and John lined up at the edge of the pit, ready to start. Violet, however, hanged back.

"Um, Violet?" Chris reminded her. "Time to start now. Get into position."

Violet swallowed again, then took a step forward.

"Good. Now on your mark…"

Jay raised his blade again. This time it glowed a pale orange color from the fire.

"Get set…"

Jay had the blade high above his head.

"That's one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready…"

"CHRIS!" The castmates yelled.

"And GO!"

Jay brought the sword down, and the castmates jumped over the edge of the cliff. Chris quickly looked to catch all three moments at once. Mark landed on his, stumbled a bit, then stood up straight to regain his footing. John not only landed on the first one, but had enough extra momentum left over to leap to the next one. Violet landed on her pedestal, and immediately stood straight up, standing as stiff as a statue (trying saying that fast five times).

"And they're off!" Chris declared.

Just then, Cameraman walked up to the host and Jay. He too was wearing one of those black jumpsuits, except for one very important factor: it was so small on his large frame that it had torn itself apart, leaving only a bit around his waist area, gloves on his hands, fragments on his feet, and the mask on his head. He looked incredibly humiliating (what else is new?).

"I…cannot…stand it!" He declared.

Make-Up Confessional

Cameraman Hatchet (still wearing the now-skimpy outfit): I just don't get it! How the heck did this size suit fit JUST FINE on Mr. Terminator, and yet it immediately destroyed itself when I put it on? It makes no sense! It's like the whole freakin' universe is out to get me!

Jay: (Shrugs)

End

Violet stood absolutely still on the small platform, not moving an inch.

Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God… She leaned over slightly and saw the constant orange flames, still shooting out beneath them.

"I'M GONNA DIE NOW! I'M GONNA FRICKIN' DIE!" She screamed.

Meanwhile, John was moving like a real ninja as he leaped from platform to platform, landing effortlessly and catlike on each one. He was already halfway through the course while Mark and Violet were only about five pillars away from the beginning.

At one point, he looked back and saw his friends lagging behind. Mark was struggling to keep his footing every time he jumped, wobbling and nearly falling over every now and then. Violet was still on the one she had first landed on.

John paused for a moment, then turned and looked at a nearby camera. He shrugged.

"Hey, they may be my friends, but what else can a guy do, eh? It's bad enough that I was throwing challenges for Mary. So in case you guys see this later, sorry."

He then turned away, finished with his brief narration, and prepared for the next leap. However, just as he took off, Violet suddenly screamed, "I'M GONNA DIE NOW! I'M GONNA FRICKIN' DIE!"

Although she was nearly 100 feet behind him, the scream was still unusually loud, and echoed throughout the cave. It was so loud and sudden, it startled John in midair. He suddenly lost his airtime and barely finished the jump. He hit the side of the next platform, avoiding falling completely into the flames only by shoving his hands into a small crevice on the surface of it.

John was now dangling nearly 100 feet above nothing but a blazing hot inferno.

Oh no… "HELP ME!" Meanwhile, Mark was struggling with his fourth platform. After landing the jump, he wobbled briefly, sticking out his good arm to balance out his weight from the other arm. "Wh-whoa!" He stuttered as he wobbled. A moment later, he regained his footing. He sighed in relief, then looked ahead of him at the forty or so platforms he had to go. "Oh, geez." He swallowed again, then made another jump. Several platforms behind him, Violet was still standing stiff, refusing to budge. She didn't dare look down at the fire again, but the roar was unbelievably loud, and she couldn't drown out the sound. She shut her eyes tight, nightmares of both her "bad experience" with fire and her elimination in the last season came back to her. She then opened her eyes as she remembered something. Her determination. People always believed that those who made it far in one season was usually voted off early in the next season. Well, she was determined to prove them wrong. She wanted to win. She had promised Matthew that she would.

"I…will…not…lose…AGAIN!"

And with that, a burst of sheer willpower and determination hit her. She immediately bolted to the next platform, landing gracefully on it. She placed one hand forward and on the rock to steady herself before standing up again. She jumped, performed a flip in midair, then landed on the next one.

"Hey…I'm doing it. I'm doing it!" She now found herself more able to ignore the roaring heat about 100 feet below. She leaped from platform to platform, even skipping a few in the process.

"I can't believe it…it's usually never this easy!" She commented as she made another jump.

"Too easy?" Chris called from the sidelines. "I can help with that!"

The cynical host then pulled out a detonator-like device. There were many buttons on it, some with different colors, some with different numbers, and some with both. He pressed a yellow button that was marked "13."

A vertical pillar of fire shot straight out in front of the platform Violet was on. Violet was just about to make a jump, and if she had made it, she would have been incinerated. This experience immediately threw her confidence off a great deal, and she stumbled backwards.

"WHOA!" She waved her arms wildly as one foot lifted off of the platform, leaving only one foot to keep her in place.

"NO!"

Chris was laughing his head off at the sight of the struggling Violet.

"Ah-ha! Ha, ha, ha, hee, hee, HO! Oh, that is rich! Ruining a castmate's performance by hitting them with their worst fear; I love my job."

Only about fifteen platforms ahead of Violet, John was still dangling over the edge. Even with his amount of physical strength, he was unable to lift himself back up. The crevice that he had hooked his fingers in was literally right on the edge of the platform, rather than towards the middle. Plus, he had only managed to get the tips of his fingers in. even his palms weren't level with the top of the platform.

The ex-Goth tried to flip one leg up onto the platform, but it fell right back down.

"No, no, no, no…come on! Please! Please!"

Even with his new optimistic and confident attitude, he was nervous. He could hear the raging flames below him, and he had overheard all of what Chris was doing to Violet, and had even seen some of it. He knew it was just a matter of time before…

"Oh, look, Jay." Chris said to his assistant. "John's having a little trouble, too."

He raised the control box.

John saw this out of the corner of his eye, and panicked. He started throwing his legs up towards the platform, one at a time, to get up.

"Let's see…which button ignites the fire closest to that platform…?"

"AUGH!"

John then lowered himself as far down as his straining fingers would allow. He then inhaled a great breath, then started swinging back and forth, back and forth repeatedly.

"Aha! Green button number twenty-seven!" Chris then slowly reached for the button.

John gave one last swing, then, with all his might, swung his left leg up as high as he could. At the peak of its height, his shoe's heel caught on the edge of the platform.

"Yes!"

He then started to pull himself up.

Chris, with the ever-hated sadistic grin on his face, pressed the button.

The column of fire started up, flaring straight towards John.

With both of his arms and his left leg on the safe rock platform, John yanked his dangling leg up to safety, microseconds before the flame shot up next to him. John was breathing heavily, sweating hard under his black suit, and inwardly cursing Chris.

"Aw, darn. I didn't get to see someone burn!"

As this drama was unfolding, Violet had regained her footing, and after a few deep breaths and mental reassuring, she started leaping from platform to platform again.

She was now only two platforms behind John, and seventeen platforms in total from the finish line.

John looked over at her and saw her fast approaching. He immediately jumped up to his feet, spun to face the direction he was heading, and also started jumping. Like true ninjas, they were leaping effortlessly from platform to platform, trying desperately to reach the last one first.

Only six platforms away, John turned to face Violet, and called to her, "Sorry, eh! You guys are my friends and all, but there's a challenge to win!"

"Sorry, John! But I'm determined to win this thing, too!"

"Oh, getting cocky now, are we? Sorry to say this, but you might as well kiss victory for this round goodb-."

At that moment, since John wasn't looking where he was going, he easily fell for one last trick that Chris MacLean had up his sleeve. He pressed a blue button marked "79", and a pillar of fire shot straight up under John while he was halfway between one platform and the very last one. He wasn't directly over it, so the worst of damage was avoided, but it did succeed in torching his backside.

"!" John screamed in agony and clutched at his burning butt. The shock sent him flying straight up into the air.

"!" John flew up and into the darkness of the cave ceiling and out of sight.

Violet then had free passage to jump the last two jumps to the other end of the canyon.

"And we have our winner of the first phase of the challenge!" Chris declared, tossing his control box aside. "Violet, you actually managed to conquer the fire challenge, and you will be rewarded…"

"OUCH!"

Chris, Jay, Violet, and Mark all looked up in the direction of the sudden cry. In the darkness, they couldn't see what had happened, but John had flown straight up to the ceiling of the cave, and (wouldn't you know it) the set they were in just so happened to be made out of actual rock. His head left several large cracks in the rock ceiling.

A moment later, he fell free and headed straight back down towards the cluster of platforms, particularly heading straight for the one he was jumping to when he was burned.

The four onlookers all cringed in horror when John hit the platform, landing (again, wouldn't you know it) crotch-first.

"Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-k!" He screeched in an unusually high-pitched voice as the unimaginable pain hit him like a bullet.

"Ooooooh!" Chris cringed. "That's gonna smart in the morning! Sorry, John; close, but no cigar!"

John's eyes crossed, and he swayed weightlessly for a moment until he fell forward, his face burying in the rock surface.

"Sickening, painful blow or not, we're still moving on to the next part of the challenge!" Chris declared. "Castmates, prepare for the second ninja movie task: the rock wall jump!"

"The what?" Mark asked worriedly.

"Come with me, and I will demonstrate."

After a few minutes of recovery and more strained jumping, John and Mark managed to catch up with the host, co-host, and brainy girl.

"Here we are!" Chris said, standing in an open plain.

"Where are we?" Mark asked. "This is just an open, empty area of the cave; there's nothing he-."

"Let…me…finish!" Chris interrupted. "Now, if you look above you, you will see what I am talking about."

The three castmates all looked up. They could see that the ceiling was much lower here, being barely ten feet or so from the ground. They could see a massive, perfectly square shaft rising up into the ceiling above them.

"You see that shaft above you? That's your next task. You must climb past fifty wooden platforms, sticking out from the walls on both sides. Bouncing off the walls with wall kicks can help, too."

"Say again?" John asked incredulously.

"It is exactly 200 feet high, and seventy feet wide. You must get to the top of the shaft, and to solid ground, within the five-minute time limit."

"And what happens if we don't make it in time?" Violet asked.

"The walls of the shaft will be closing in on you the entire time, from start to finish! If you don't make it, you will become pancakes!"

The castmates all screamed in horror, only for Chris to bust up laughing again. "Suckers! You actually fell for that one, didn't you? No, no. It won't crush in on you. But when it reaches the limit width of two feet, it will deliver a very painful electric shock to whoever is still stuck inside!"

"You're kidding me, right?" Violet exclaimed.

"You can't be serious!" John added.

"Don't worry, don't worry, we tested it earlier today to see that it is, in fact, safe."

Earlier that day...

Cameraman Hatchet climbed from one platform to the next, desperately trying to reach the top. The walls were closing in now, and he had barely thirty seconds.

"Augh! Chris, Chris! I really don't think I can make it, man! Seriously, now! Stop the walls! Stop the walls!"

"Sorry, you know the rules!" The host called up to him from below, using his megaphone. "We have to test this thing out, for safety!"

"But why can't you just get Terminator to do it?"

"He's on a coffee break right now!"

"COFFEE BREAK!" Hatchet roared. "YOU NEVER LET ME HAVE A COFFE-EEEEEYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAA!"

The walls closed in on him fully, when he was only four platforms from the top. His massive bulk was squeezed between the walls, and the electric shock was incredibly painful.

"!"

Chris looked back down from Cameraman to one of the nearby cameras. He then shrugged. "Well, that seems safe enough." He then turned and walked off. "Hey, Jay! Save some coffee for me, will ya?"

Present day…

"How can you channel electricity through solid rock anyway?" Violet asked. "It's physically and logically impossible!"

"No more questions? Good. Now, Violet, Since you won the first task, you get a special prize which should really (heh, heh), boost your chances. These state-of-the-art Bouncy Boots!"

He then gestured over to Jay, who held the pair of boots in his massive, gloved hands. They looked like a pair of regular, crummy hiking boots with two springs attached to the bottom of each one. There was a bandage stretched across the heel of one, and the other was missing its laces.

"Those are supposed to help me, how?"

"Uh, hello? You're the smart one here, you should know that they will help you bounce from platform to platform, giving you an advantage that could help you win."

"Are you kidding me? Those things look like they'll fall apart on the first bounce!"

"Look, just try them on! Trust me, wearing these will be one heck of an (giggle) experience."

Violet hesitated for a moment, then took the Boots from Jay. After stuffing them on her feet, she swayed and wobble for a bit, trying to stay balanced while standing on the springs.

"You have to keep moving to keep your balance!" Chris advised.

Violet stumbled for a bit more, then tried jumping. Almost immediately, she bounced right up and hit her head on the ceiling.

"OW!"

She fell straight back down, landing on her back. "Ooooohhhh."

"Well, they seem A O.K. to me." Chris commented.

Violet glared at the host as John helped her up. Nonetheless, she kept the Boots on.

"Now, castmates! Get into position!"

"Uh, where's our position?" Mark asked.

"Just stand over here." Chris gestured to a large, red circle on the floor, which, eerily enough, wasn't there a moment ago. They all stood inside it.

"Ready…and…raise platform!"

Jay, now holding the control box, pressed a large, red button with no number on it. Almost immediately, the circle rose from the ground, suddenly turning into a circular stone pillar. It rose straight up towards the shaft, and the three teens all stood closer to the middle, afraid of being on the edge. Once it rose to maximum height, a whole series of thin, wooden platforms suddenly jutted from the stone walls. It was a repeating pattern of one platform on the left wall, the next on the right wall, the next on the left, and so on. Each platform had a maximum height distance from each other of about four feet, and the edges of each flat piece of wood were approximately two feet apart.

Through the small cracks between the platform and the bottom of the shaft, they heard Chris's voice call, "Start climbing!"

They then heard a low rumbling sound. They looked on each side, and saw the walls starting to close in.

"Oh, geez…" Mark started.

"LET'S GO, EH!" John screamed.

The three castmates immediately started. Violet quickly got the lead, courtesy of her Bouncy Boots. She jumped to the first wooden platform, paused, then to the next. She caught the rebound when she hit more of the wall rather than the platform itself, and bounced at an angle straight to the next one.

John was also doing considerably well. He jumped clean to the first one, then to the second one, grabbing on with his arms and dangling halfway off. But in a matter of seconds, he was able to pull himself up.

Mark, as you can imagine, had the most difficulty. He could do no more than simply reach up to the first platform with his good arm, and use his upper body strength to pull himself up. He then stood up, faced the second platform, and jumped. But due to terrible judgment and timing on his part, his bad shoulder was the first part of him to hit the platform.

"AAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK!" He moaned in pain and tumbled right back down to the red circle at the bottom.

As he laid on the cold, hard, stone pillar, he mumbled miserably to himself, "How in the world am I gonna do this?"

Violet was bouncing off the walls and past platforms more like a Jedi knight than a ninja, effortlessly landing each one.

"Wow…these things actually work!" She chuckled and smiled as she continued bouncing. The time was down to four minutes and twenty-six seconds, and the walls were closing in ever so slowly, mocking the castmates as they continued climbing.

As Violet was up to the twenty-fourth platform, she started to grow tired.

"Oh (pant, pant) man! This is (pant) exhausting!"

As she started to tire, she lost her sense of coordination, and ended up hitting the edge of the next platform. Hitting it at a bad angle, she flew straight backwards and landed right on the one below it.

"Oof!"

She was stunned for a few brief moments. She then shook her head quickly and tried to regain her footing. However, due to the not-so-firm springs on the underside of her Boots, she wobbled and stumbled around on the platform.

"Whoa! WHOA! Oh…oh…!"

She stumbled backward, flailing her arms wildly, before she fell off the platform.

She screamed as she tumbled down, straight between the platforms, bouncing off the edges, hitting the back of her neck, then her stomach, then her knee (the last one really hurt). She finally stopped after falling past fourteen platforms. The thing that stopped her was none other than John.

"OOF!" Both teens grunted as they collided and tumbled back onto a nearby platform. Violet, underneath John at the moment, shook off the shock before she nudged her friend.

"John. John! Get up!"

"Oooohhh…whuh?"

"Would you mind getting off of me?" Violet asked again.

"Whoops. Sorry." He quickly got off of her, then turned to help her up.

"Thank you."

"Castmates!" Chris yelled through an unseen intercom system. "Get your butts in gear! You have exactly four minutes!"

John and Violet immediately went against each other once again, and started dashing up past the numerous platforms. Violet took the lead once again, but not by much. John continued climbing and jumping and bouncing from platform to platform, maintaining a steady pace of three platforms behind Violet.

And, about five platforms below, poor Mark was still struggling with each one, barely able to wheeze past the fifth platform.

Chris continued announcing the status of the countdown every fifteen seconds.

"Three minutes and forty-five seconds!"

"Three and a half minutes!"

"Three minutes and fifteen seconds!"

By the time it was down to three minutes, Violet was at the twenty-fourth platform, preparing to bounce to the twenty-fifth.

Chris, about 100 feet below her, saw her progress through a series of hidden cameras in the wall. Seeing her halfway finished and totally smoking the other two, he pulled out a small, remote-control-like device.

"Let's face it: those Boots of hers are too unfair an advantage. Time for them to go!" He then pressed the white button on the remote, which turned yellow on his touch.

The moment Violet set foot on the halfway-mark, her Boots exploded in a dusty, springy, clangy Bang! They instantly flew to pieces, bouncing off the walls and the platforms. Violet, completely taken aback by the suddenness of it all, immediately collapsed and fell to the wooden floor, stunned.

"What the heck just hap-."

Just then, one of the springs bounced off the wall at incredible speed from the explosion, and flew straight back at Violet, hitting her in the eye.

"AUGH! My eye! Get it out!" She reeled back in pain from the sharp, rusty metal lodged in her eyeball and tumbled backwards, falling off the platform.

"NOT AGAIN!" She cried as she bounced off a platform, then hit another, then landed on the further down twenty-first platform.

Along the way, John was climbing from the twenty-third platform to the twenty-fourth, and heard the destruction of the Boots. A moment later, Violet's voice above him cried out, "AUGH! My eye! Get it out! Get it out!"

Then, she fell off the edge of the platform above him, bouncing off the next one.

"Yikes!" John immediately doubled back and pressed up against the wall, dodging Violet as she nearly hit him for a second time that day. He watched as she fell back down, then continued climbing. He passed by the remains of the Boots on the way up. He looked at them for a moment, puzzled, then simply shrugged it off and continued on.

"Two minutes and forty-five seconds!" Chris declared loudly and menacingly.

John quickly picked up the pace, jumping straight up to the twenty-eighth platform from the twenty-sixth. He grabbed onto the edge with his hands, squeezing tight, then pulled himself up. Soon, he was already past the thirty-third platform, and climbing.

"Two minutes and thirty seconds, castmates! Unless you want to become barbecued chickens, you'd better pick up the pace!"

Violet, after recovering from her fall, continued bounding up the platforms, racing past the fragments of her Boots and continuing on.

Even Mark was a little more motivated, as he was rapidly climbing as fast as his physical ability would allow. Even his handicap didn't slow him down. He had just made it past the twentieth platform when there were only two minutes and fifteen seconds.

This continued for quite some time. After nearly three minutes into the challenge, John was already at the thirty-ninth platform. Violet, lagging behind by only seven platforms, desperately tried to keep up. Mark was past the twenty-seventh platform when Chris announced one minute and forty seconds.

John was in the lead, and obviously going to stay there. Before Chris could announce three and a half minutes of the competition had passed, he finally reached the top.

"YES! YES! I did it! Ha-ha! I did it, eh! YE-AH!"

"And John passes the second challenge! Congratulations, John! You, too, will be rewarded with a special item that will undoubtedly aid you in your next, and final, quest!"

"Great, Chris!" Violet called back. "Now how about stopping these walls?" The walls were now barely fifteen feet from each other.

"Nope. Sorry."

"WHAT?" All three of them simultaneously exclaimed.

"I hate to tell you this now, but those walls will not stop until all three of you escape. So…GET MOVING!"

Violet was motivated all over again, and with a tremendous burst of adrenaline and speed, she dashed past the remaining platforms. John quickly helped her out of the shaft when she reached the fiftieth platform.

"Phew! That was close." She sighed. "That…was…"

"MARK!" John shouted. "He's still down there!"

The two of them looked down the shaft again, and could see their crippled friend struggling at the twenty-fifth platform.

"Wouldn't you know it!" John exclaimed. "He's stuck at the point of no return!"

"ONE MINUTE!" Chris's taunting voice roared over the intercom.

"Oh, man! What are we gonna-." Violet suddenly felt a whoosh of air beside her, and when she looked at where John was standing two seconds ago, he was gone. She looked back down the shaft and saw him bounding back down into the shaft.

"Help!" Mark cried.

John bounced off the edge of the thirty-fifth platform.

"Fifty-two seconds, guys!"

John soared straight down through the gap in between the platforms, scraping his arms and sides against the edges as they started to close in.

He reached his friend, and immediately grabbed him by the wrist.

"Come on, eh!"

Mark barely had time to nod before John leaped back up to the next platform, pulling his optimist friend with him.

Since when was he so strong? Mark thought.

Since when was I this strong? John also thought.

He was able to help pull his friend up past several more platforms, but the walls were now dangerously close.

"Forty seconds, castmates!"

They were at the thirty-fourth platform.

"Thirty-six seconds!"

The thirty-sixth platform.

"Twenty-seven seconds!"

They jumped past the fortieth platform.

"Nineteen!"

"Eighteen!"

"Seventeen!"

"Sixteen!"

They were both growing tired, and nearly collapsed at the forty-third platform.

"Thirteen!"

"Twelve!"

"Eleven!"

"Ten!"

"Nine!"

"Eight!"

They slowly struggled onto the forty-seventh platform.

"Five!"

"Four!"

"Three!"

"TWO!"

Mark and John were now squeezing between the walls, which were barely two feet apart now. Violet reached a hand down to them.

"ONE!"

Violet quickly pulled Mark out, yanking him up onto solid ground. Meanwhile, John attempted to make a final jump, but was suddenly yanked back by an unseen force. Looking down in horror, he could see that his foot was caught between the final platform and the wall.

"TIME'S UP!" Chris declared sinisterly.

There was a brilliant burst of blue as the electricity surged between the walls, completely engulfing the two-foot-wide space and the single teen in it.

"!"

Mark and Violet looked away from the bright light, unable to take the strain its brightness put on their eyes.

After nearly ten agonizing seconds of screaming, surging, and zapping, it all died down with a tiny, barely-audible fizzle.

Mark and Violet slowly looked back at their friend, who was now even more black than before. The electricity had completely scorched him, darkening the shade of black that his suit was, and also similarly blackening his eyes and exposed face area. He hung limply on the edge of the shaft, twitching and jerking.

"J-John?" Violet asked nervously.

"This…show…will…kill…me…(Urk)." He then collapsed.

Chris, watching this event on the cameras, cringed hard. "Yeesh! First the total crotch-hit, and now 5,000 volts of electricity surging through him? Yikes."

Thirty minutes later…

Chris, Jay, Cameraman, Mark, and Violet all stood in the infirmary, standing around the bed that John was in. He had a life-support system next to him, and he was breathing hard and raspy, almost like Darth Vader.

"Well, after this tragic accident, John has been allowed some time to recover in the infirmary." Chris explained the already-obvious to the camera. "But I think he's better now. Hey, John!" He slapped John's shoulder.

"EEEEEYYYYYAAAAACCCCCKKKKK! DON'T DO THAT, EH!" He roared as his shoulder burned in pain.

"Yep. He's better alright." Chris then snapped his fingers.

Cameraman walked up and grabbed John out of his bed, detaching the facemask that had been on the fried teen's face. He lifted him up and set him on the ground, standing straight up.

"Can ya walk, punk?"

John swayed for a moment, taking a step backward in the process.

"Yep, he can walk." Chris announced.

"You're kidding me, right?" Violet asked, raising an eyebrow.

"OK, castmates! Time to wrap up today's event!"

Chris led the reluctant castmates back into the cave set, not too far from the top of the shaft they had just escaped from.

About thirty feet from the top of the deadly shaft, there was a large, circular pit in the ground, similar to the previous one, only it was about seventy feet in diameter. There was a circular rock platform in the middle of the pit, only about twenty-five feet in diameter. The castmates were plunked down on the platform and left standing in the middle of the deep abyss around them.

"OK, so here's how this one works. Like all good ninja movies, there has to be a fight scene. And, in tradition of the old movies, you will be fighting it out on this unstable, precarious rock platform.

"Yeah, what else is new?" Violet muttered.

"You will be fighting each other with only your bare hands…except for our, uh, lucky winner here." Chris gestured to John, still dizzy and spinning around like a top.

"You will be given an advantage in this challenge. And that advantage is this!"

Jay immediately reached for the huge scabbard strapped to his back, and slowly unsheathed the massive, golden blade within.

The castmates gasped at the beauty of the sword, which glowed brightly in the dim cave.

"Geez…it's almost like it's real gold." Mark mused.

"John will be permitted to fight with this." Jay placed the massive sword's handle in John's crisp hand. He cried out in pain as the heavy metal pressed into his hand, dropping the sword.

"The goal here is to knock each other off this platform, and into the pit. But don't worry though, we've got plenty of mattresses down there to cushion your fall."

The castmates all leaned over the edge, and could barely see the numerous rectangular white objects below them.

"Let me guess: stained with God-knows-what and full of springs?" Mark questioned.

"Exactly. Now, without further ado, it is time for the battle to commence!" Chris folded his hands again, bowed slightly, then took several steps backward into the massive crane arm behind him, where Jay was waiting at the controls. As the massive man pulled a lever and the mechanical arm retracted, Chris called out to them, "Try not to miss the mattresses when you fall!"

A loud gong then sounded from out of nowhere, and the castmates all glanced nervously at each other before stepping forward, away from the edge. John slowly bent down and picked up his sword, holding it in as menacingly a manner as he could.

Violet paused for a moment, glancing back and forth between John and Mark. Finally, she stopped on John. "Sorry, but when I'm against you, it's more fair a fight."

She then immediately dashed towards him, raising a foot and leaping into the air in a semi-martial arts display. She delivered a flying kick to his shin, sending him to the ground.

"OW! That smarts, eh!"

John swung his sword out, attempting to swipe Violet's feet out from under her. She jumped up over the blade, coming back down and landing on it. This only provided a brief window of opportunity for John. With all his strength, he yanked the sword out from under her, tripping her up and sending her tumbling to the ground.

"Oof!"

He raised the sword again, but was suddenly interrupted from a sharp blow from behind. He crumbled to the ground, once again collapsing on top of Violet.

"OW! What was that?" He turned and looked back up to see Mark with his cast jutting out like a weapon.

"Being rock-hard, this thing can be really handy."

John quickly jumped to his feet and swung the sword again. Mark ducked as it swooped above his head, missing his burned facial area by inches. He swung at a ninety-degree angle and elbowed John in the chest with his cast.

"OOF!" John gasped as he was winded by the cast.

"Ha-ha! Yes! Who says that this thing is such a handicap?"

Meanwhile, Violet had gotten to her feet and was quietly sneaking behind Mark. After a moment of hesitation, she jumped up and propelled both of her feet forward, kicking out the backs of both of his knees.

He crumbled like a piece of paper being wadded up as he slumped to the ground, moaning.

"Sorry." She then moved to grab him.

John quickly shoved his sword straight into the rocky surface with all his might, cracking it. The resulting fissure stretched to a length of nearly a foot and a half. It trailed directly underneath Violet's feet, and she lost her footing. She fell backwards, her head hitting the ground barely three inches from the edge of the platform.

As John moved towards her to defeat her, she spun around on the ground, swinging her feet around like a spinning saw-blade. Her feet came in contact with John's shins yet again, and he collapsed to the floor.

"EEEEEEE! You don't know it; that really HURTS! It stings like-."

Violet jumped to her feet and leaped up over Mark and John, landing on the other side of them. She quickly kneeled down and grabbed John by his feet. She started dragging him along the ground, scraping his burnt skin along the rock.

"OUCH! Oh-ick! (Gasp!) OWWWWWW!"

She then started spinning around in a circle, spinning him around on the ground. He flailed wildly, trying to squirm free of her grasp, but to no avail.

"AAAAAAHHHHHH!" He then swung the sword down in his flailing. As she spun him around again, the sword struck her in the shin, causing her to also collapse to the ground, clutching her stinging shinbone.

"OOOOOOOHHHHHHH-YACK! You're right, John! This DOES hurt!"

Suddenly, she felt a blinding force nail her in the back, pinning her to the ground. She tried to speak through the rock. "What the…? Hey! Who is that?"

"Me."

Then, she felt a hand grab her shoulder and yank her to her feet. Almost instantly, a large, hard object locked around her neck, holding her in place.

"ACK! Oh, (gasp!) That thing is (ack!) harder than the (gasp!) rock we're standing on!"

"I know." The voice behind her replied. She could easily picture the grinning face of Mark behind her, as he kept his cast around her in a chokehold.

"Ack! Mark!"

"Sorry, but like you said, there's a contest to win."

Then, for the first time, Violet looked down and saw the darkness yawning before her.

"Oh…dear…"

"Handicapped?" The voice cheerily said from behind her. "I don't think so."

And then, the rock-like object moved away from her throat, and she tumbled down into the darkness.

"!" Violet screamed all the way down as she fell the seventy feet to one of the mattresses, bouncing off of the mushy material, then landing back down on it again.

Once the whole event caught up with her, she could only stare up in shock and stupor. "…Whoa…"

"NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOO!" A voice from above shouted. Violet looked up, and could see the dark, distant form of Mark fast approaching her. Her eyes widened, and she quickly rolled over to the next mattress just as the optimist who defeated her fell onto the mattress she was on just a moment ago.

"Ooooohhhh… …My shoulder…" He moaned.

Standing up on the edge of the platform, John looked down at the person he had just defeated as he fell into the pit. He raised the sword with which he had delivered the final blow onto his shoulder, and his pure white teeth flashed a toothy grin amidst the burnt, black skin of his face.

"AND WE HAVE OUR WINNER!" Chris declared as the crane arm returned, landing him and Jay back on the rock platform. "And with that, John has secured two out of three wins, thus earning him Invincibility for tonight!"

"Yes!" John raised his golden sword above his head in victory.

"Congratulations, my friend! You are safe…for tonight." Chris then leaned over the pit. "Mark and Violet! You will both report to the Theatre tonight! One of you defeated ninjas is toast!"

John looked at the back of Chris's head, then slowly let his eyes drop to the golden sword still in hand. He slowly looked back up at the host, completely and totally vulnerable.

"The wrath of our viewers will claim one more of you, and you will lose that one ultimate chance at one million big-!"

Chris flailed wildly as he tumbled into the pit the moment John's sword came in contact with the back of his well-groomed head.

John raised the sword to his shoulder again, grinning more triumphantly than ever before.

The Eleventh Gilded Chris Award Ceremony

After the long and overdramatic Gilded Chris Theme finished playing, Chris walked up to the podium yet again, holding two Gilded Chris Awards, one in each hand. He placed them on the podium, then rubbed a large, unsightly bruise on his right arm, which he had bumped when he fell off the platform earlier that day, courtesy of John.

"Ow…Anyway, so castmates, here we are, at what will probably be the final Gilded Chris Award Ceremony of the season. There are three of you sitting before me. Within the next five minutes, there will be only two. Who will survive? Who will have seen their last day on the Film Lot? We know that John hasn't…fortunately for you."

He rubbed the bruise again.

"So just take your statuette."

He threw one of the small Awards to John, who caught it triumphantly.

"Even though I think you don't deserve it, after what you pulled."

John shrugged and grinned sheepishly.

"Fine. Whatever." Chris shook his head. He then looked at the remaining two castmates: Mark and Violet.

"Violet…and Mark. One of you has just received the honor of advancing to the final two, while the other has been given the royal boot.

"Mark. You have had your little 'handicap'," Chris put air quotes over the word "handicap," "for quite some time now. It held you back in the first challenge, and nearly got you killed in the second challenge. And yet, surprisingly, you were able to use it to kick some serious butt in the final challenge. Where did it all go wrong?"

The optimist shrugged, once again with his good shoulder. "What can I say, Chris? John took me by surprise. He beat me fair and square."

"How will you feel if it is you sitting in the Limo of Losers tonight?"

"I have no regrets. I played the game well, I persevered through it all, and I made it to the final three. Just goes to show how far a good attitude can get you."

"I hear that. Now there's Violet." Chris turned to Violet. "You somehow managed to overcome your worst fear and pass the second challenge. And yet, despite the advantage you were given, you didn't win the challenge."

"That's not my fault!" She retorted. "I don't know what happened; they exploded on me!"

"Sure, sure. Whatever."

Chris then quickly turned to the side to stifle a laugh.

"Uh, anyway. And then, you were the first eliminated in the final task. Any comment?"

"Like you said to Mark, that handicap could really pack a punch. And trust me, when that thing is around your neck, you don't want to resist it."

"Violet, this is your second time in a row making it to the final three. Do you think that there is a slight chance that you will be eliminated at this point again?"

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed."

"Alright then. The viewers have cast in their votes and made their decision." Chris held up the remaining Award high above his head. "Tonight, the final Gilded Chris, and one last shot at the million dollars, goes to…"

"…"

"…"

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"…"

"…"

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"…"

"…"

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"…"

"…"

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"…"

"…"

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"…"

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"…Violet!"

And with that, Chris threw the final Award to its recipient. Still shocked at the news, Violet caught it.

"I made it? I MADE IT! YES!" She jumped up and held her Gilded Chris up triumphantly. However, the celebration quickly died down when she looked to her right and noticed the slight look of sadness on her defeated friend's face.

"Oh…um, sorry, Mark."

"Ah, it's alright." He then stood up. "It's been an awesome experience, aside from a few speed bumps." He looked down at his shoulder. "And like I said, I have no regrets. See you guys at the finale."

He turned and started to walk towards the Red Carpet of Shame. On the way, he gave both Violet and John a hi-five with his good hand as he passed by them before making his way to the Limo.

Meanwhile, Chris wasn't so happy.

"Aw, come ON! Where's the sadness, people? The whole point of the Walk of Shame is to be ashamed! This is ridiculous!"

"Sorry, Chris." Mark said, grinning as he stepped into the Limo of Losers. It then sped off into the night.

"One of these days…" Chris shook his head. "Anyway, there you have it, viewers! We are down to our final two contestants: Violet and John. Only one of them will be left standing by the end of next week's challenge, and will win one million dollars! So tune in next time for the awesome conclusion of Total…Drama…Action!"


TDA Aftermath III: The Finale is Upon Us

The TDA Aftermath theme played, and applause rose from the huge audience, echoing around the whole auditorium.

The lights came on onstage, revealing Isaiah sitting on the couch in the center of the stage.

"Hello, everyone! And welcome to what will be, unfortunately, the final episode of TDA Aftermath!"

A chorus of disappointed "Aws" rose from the audience.

"Yeah, yeah, I know. But look on the bright side: We'll be interviewing four more special guests, and talk more about the show, both on camera and off-camera. I mean, can you believe that the season's already almost over?"

More applause and cheers.

"I know, right? The finale is upon us! Come next week, we will see who wins one million dollars! But in the meantime, we'll have to make do with this! So get ready for another awesome episode of Total…Drama…Action…Aftermath!"

More applause roared from the audience, lasting for about thirty seconds before dying down.

"So to start the show, we have all of our commentators from the first season: Lauren!"

"James and Jessica!"

"Suzie!"

"Nicole!"

"Samantha!"

"And Matthew!"

As the audience applauded at every name (especially Matthew's), those mentioned all addressed the audience and waved.

"And, all of those who have been voted off up to this point! Jeremy! Josh!"

"Ruth!"

"Tim and Luke!"

"Rachael!"

"And Jennifer!"

Naturally, there were a few more "boo's" for Jennifer than cheers, but she didn't seem to care.

"And tonight, we have four special guests: The four most recently voted-off castmates! We'll be interviewing each of them one at a time, playing more 'Truth or Trapdoor', more questions from viewers, web-cam segments, and so much more! So here we go!"

After the wave of applause, Isaiah started to introduce the first special guest.

"Now, our first special guest tonight was one tough competitor on the show. Let's review his finer moments."

On the massive screen above Isaiah, many moments started playing back-to-back, all of which featured none other than Daniel.

"Great in physical challenges and considerably smooth with the ladies, Daniel was in it to win it. He survived elimination five times before his winning streak finally came to a crashing end. And, alongside John on the chopping block, it was Daniel who was sent home. Now, our first special guest made it to the final six this season, is afraid of junk food, and once won a basketball game for his high school by scoring a full-court shot! Please join us in welcoming Daniel!"

There was actually some applause as the jock walked onstage, waving and grinning. He casually sat down on the couch. Isaiah looked quite impressed with the jock's entrance.

"Wow, man. I'm surprised that you actually had the guts to come out here."

"I'm sorry?" Daniel asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I mean, after all that you pulled over the season, your reputation kind of went down the tubes."

"I guess I was a little…manipulative. But, if I'm correct, there are still two more designated haters out there…one of them is sitting over there with the commentators."

He gestured over to Jen, who stuck up her nose and turned away.

"And the other one is a trash-talking sexist who's currently in the back room right now, waiting for her turn."

"Understood." Isaiah admitted. "So, moving onto the big subject: You started out so confident and sure that you could win. You kept winning Invincibility over and over in the show. Where did it all go wrong?"

"They finally gave me a challenge that put my physical skills to the test. That's what happened.

"OK, so when you lost that challenge, were you surprised when you were voted off?"

"I was kind of surprised, but at the same time, I saw it coming. I mean, I knew that Invincibility wouldn't be mine forever. And I do believe in karma."

"But your neck was right alongside John's that night, and for a relatively good reason… …at least at that time. Surely you agree with me; don't you think that his actions as 'The Mystery Castmate' were considerably worse than what you did?"

"Well, when you put it that way, heck, yeah! I mean, come on! Sabotaging the other team like that? That is far worse if you ask me!"

He was responded with a mixed amount of applause and boo's.

"Alright, alright. Moving off-subject here…let's talk about the challenge itself that you lost. Like you said before, it was supposedly a challenge that finally put your skills to the test."

"Yeah, that's right." Daniel responded. Very slightly, he shifted in his seat.

"But you're always rambling on and on about how athletic you are. I mean, the challenge really just required getting from point A to point B and back, right?"

"Well…I ran into a few distractions along the way, OK?"

"Distractions? Ha! I don't think so!" Isaiah chuckled.

"Oh, really? And why is that?" Daniel inquired, holding up a fist. Despite his seemingly tough appearance, nervousness was clearly visible in his eyes.

Isaiah looked off-screen. "Uh, guys? Roll the clip."

The screen above them turned to static, and Daniel immediately questioned, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Clip? What clip?"

"Oh. You'll see. This is some unseen footage of some of the 'distractions' you ran into during that final challenge."

All attention was turned back to the screen as the static ended to show the first clip.

It was Daniel, during the aforementioned challenge, still shirtless, trekking aimlessly through the jungle. He brushed aside a massive palm frond, and stumbled on a large root. After stepping into a small hole, he started to mumble angrily to himself.

"I hate this sh-."

Then, out of nowhere, a massive dinosaur foot came down from above and smashed right on top of him.

The audience, the commentators, and the host all burst into laughter, while Daniel cringed.

"Oh, crap." He muttered.

"Oh, that is priceless! Now for the next scene!" Isaiah narrated. "You have a most frightful encounter with a giant bug!"

"OH, GOD, NO! I BEG OF YOU! DON'T SHOW THA-."

The screen went to static for a moment, then showed Daniel, once again slowly walking through the jungle.

He eventually walked by a large tree, with a very large hole in the trunk. A moment later, a massive beetle emerged from the whole and snapped its claws at the jock.

Daniel turned and, seeing the bug, immediately proceeded to scream like a little girl before turning and sprinting like he had never sprinted before.

Laughter roared across the auditorium, and the center of attention immediately turned away to hide his red face.

"Oh, God."

"Oh, those clips never get old, huh?" Isaiah elbowed Daniel.

"Elbow me one more time, Napoleon, and you'll be lucky to use that elbow ever again."

"Point taken." The geek said as he jerked his elbow away.

"I thought that you were asking me about my experience on the show." The jock muttered.

"Who needs your words when your screams do just as good a job?"

Laughter.

Daniel growled fiercely, clenching his fists.

"So, one last question: Out of the five other people who were still in the game when you were voted off, do you think that Violet and John were the ones who deserved to be in the final two the most?"

"Well, let's see. Who was left after me, besides those two? Mr. Always-Optimistic, Sexist, and Little Miss Perfectionist. We all know that Sexist sealed her own fate after making those comments, and…"

The audience demonstrated their agreement through massive applause.

"Yeah, see? That's exactly what I mean. But as I was saying, and Perfectionist proved herself too weak and easily-manipulated, so we knew she wouldn't last.

"As for Optimist? Well…he was fairly popular with the others, but that's only because he was acting like the nicest guy who ever lived. And besides, that Always-Optimistic attitude clearly got annoying after a while. And we knew that would probably get him sent home sooner or later."

Once again, the audience signified their response, only this time, it was by booing and throwing things.

After the audience calmed down a bit (which wasn't until Daniel was creamed by a shoe), Isaiah finally raised his hands in the air to silence the audience.

"Alright, alright… …ENOUGH!"

The audience's uproar slowly died down.

"Now, if you all enjoyed that interview, then you're all gonna love to see Daniel here participate in our recently-altered segment, 'Truth or Trapdoor: Piranha Edition!'"

The audience roared with applause as he delivered the last two words. Daniel, however, had the exact opposite reaction.

"Wh-wh-wh-what? P-piranhas?"

"You bet." Isaiah said with a smug grin.

Daniel immediately jumped off of the couch just as Isaiah performed a quick "demonstration."

The trapdoor flipped open, and one of the pillows fell into the pool below. Almost instantly, it was swarmed by what looked like hundreds of piranhas and was gone in two seconds.

"Oh…geez."

"I know, right? Those little guys are tough. But, according to you, through all your boastings over the season, so are you. So I think you can handle them just fine…provided you don't lie."

Daniel felt like breaking Isaiah's face, but what else could he do here? He would just tell the truth about what he thought of the other contestants, and he'd been fine.

"F-fine."

He calmly sat back down on the couch once it returned to its original position. If he listened closely, he swore that he could still hear the thrashing of water below him.

"So, Daniel; you were up against quite a few people throughout the competition. Who do you think was the greatest threat to you out of the thirteen other people besides you?"

"Ha! You kidding me? I think that…"

"Uh, uh, uh! Watch what you say!"

The trapdoor creaked ominously.

"Uh…uh…I was going to say that I think most of the people against me were wimps, OK?"

The trapdoor stayed absolutely still.

"Alright." Isaiah replied, seeing that it was the truth.

"But I have to admit, there were four people in particular I would consider the same level as me. For example, Karate Boy Josh and Iron Woman Ruth over there." He gestured to the two commentators, both sitting next to each other. They both acknowledged him, but not in the way most people thought they would. In reply to the semi-compliment, they both looked at each other, then looked back at Daniel and nodded.

"Yeah, that was a compliment, OK?" The jock asked, slightly annoyed. "You should consider it to be an honor when I acknowledge you to be on my level of greatness."

The neutral looks on their faces vanished, and they glared at him.

"Anyway, you mentioned two others?" Isaiah questioned.

"Yes, yes I did. The other was Cheerleader-Backstabber Jennifer." He nodded to her as well. "Fairly athletic, and I will admit, she must have had an iron will to resist my charming good looks."

She sneered at him.

"But after that backstabbing move I mentioned, I knew that she was done like dinner."

"Understood." Isaiah agreed.

"And then there's Got-, er, well, not-so-much-Goth anymore, John. I was surprised how well he performed in those physical challenges. Especially that ninja one! I watched him do those jumps, and I was thinking, 'Wow, that guy could possibly rival me!' And like I said before, if it weren't for his inconspicuous acts as 'The Mystery Castmate', then I would think that he's the second most deserving guy to win out there…next to myself, of course."

The trapdoor stayed closed the entire time.

"OK…" Isaiah quickly thought of another question. "So who do you think is the least deserving?"

"Like the weakest player?"

"Yeah?"

"Ha! Are you kidding me? YOU!"

"ME?"

"Heck, yeah! You were kicked off first! Now that right there is pretty darn pathetic if you ask me!"

Isaiah clenched his fists, more furious than ever. But that fury quickly turned to shock when he heard the audience starting to laugh.

He turned, and could see people throwing their heads back and laughing hard at Isaiah's royal put-down. Even the commentators agreed.

"He's right, you know!" Lauren said in-between laughs. "And I should know; I've been kicked off first, too!"

"ARGH!" He slapped his forehead in humiliation. "OK, OK…I THINK IT'S TIME TO MOVE TO OUR NEXT GUEST NOW!" He roared as loudly as he could over the laughter.

"What?" Daniel stood up. "You can't cut me off now!"

"Yes, I can! I'm the host!"

"But…but I still have all kinds of things to say!"

"Yeah, unless they're lies, then I'm not interested." Isaiah shook his head.

"You kidding me? I never lie!"

The trapdoor flew open.

The theater went dead silent as a single scream penetrated the entire room.

"!"

After about five minutes, the audience complained that they were getting bored of the same thing for too long, and with no kind of narration or sounds (besides the piranhas' feasting or Daniel's screams), so they eventually tossed in a rope ladder for the jock to climb out.

Daniel slowly crawled across the stage, dripping wet. His hair was chewed off in many places, and his clothes were shredded. His shorts were missing one leg completely, and his shirt had one long gash across the middle. Even his black headband was gone.

"Ohhhh…"

"Not so tough now, are you?" Isaiah said with a smug grin.

"Drop…dead…" Daniel collapsed, rolling over like a dying animal. "OW!" He suddenly screamed. He reached behind himself, and yanked a single, remaining piranha off of his butt.

"AW, COME ON! These things stick like leeches!" He tossed it back into the pool, just before the trapdoor closed.

"Alright Daniel, you've had enough torture for tonight…which was totally AWESOME, by the way! You may go to the couch behind the one on the trapdoor."

Daniel didn't have the strength to glare at him, but turned to the geeky host with a puzzled look.

"Yes, we can assure you that it is safe."

Daniel then crawled over to the couch he was directed too, and plopped down, a soaking wet and exhausted mess.

Likewise, Isaiah sat down in his seat. "Alright, folks! It's time to bring out our next guest for tonight! And let's review her performance, too. Shall we?"

The overhead screen started showing several Mary moments as Isaiah provided a commentary. "Mary started out not too sure about her chances on the show. Without being too good at challenges, and still not trusted for her past actions, she feared of being eliminated early.

"And yet, surprisingly, she managed to make it to the final five this season, courtesy of John, who had a liking for her, sabotaging his own team to ensure her survival.

"And yet, to a certain extent, it was John who got her eliminated in the end. When Madison took Mary under her wing and formed an alliance with her, she had a grand plan to eliminate John, Mark, and Violet one by one, in that order, to make it to the final two. She planned to eliminate John by hacking into the show's computer, and changing a majority of the votes to fall under John's favor, thus saving original target Mark.

"However, Mary found out about it moments after it had happened, and was enraged. She quit the short-lived alliance, admitted her similar true feelings for John, and sacrificed herself for him, taking his place in the Limo of Losers that night.

"Now, our next guest was the first person to eliminate herself on the show, was the first on the show to see John's eyes, and has been her class president three years straight, it's Mary!"

The audience applauded for Mary as she walked onstage, smiling a genuine smile and waving. She shook hands with Isaiah before sitting down.

"Welcome to TDA Aftermath, Mary."

"Thank you, Isaiah. It's nice to be here."

"Whoa. Did you just say that? 'It's nice to be here'?"

"Uh, yes?"

"Dude! You do realize that if you're on this show, you're a loser, right?"

"Yes…"

"So you're not upset about how you were eliminated?"

"Oh, that's what you mean! No, not at all. That was probably the way I would've wanted to be eliminated."

"Interesting." Isaiah said, trying to look professional. Inside, he was gagging. "Would you care to elaborate?"

"Like you said, I was worried that I would go home early in the season. When that never came to me, I figured that it was just a miracle. But then I found out the real reason: John."

"And how did you feel about him committing those horrible, uncalled-for acts?" Isaiah asked. Inwardly, it was, Please say you hated him. Please say you hated him. Please say you…

"I'll admit, it was different. But he was expressing his true feelings for me by helping me get further into the competition."

"OH, GIVE ME A FREAKIN' BREAK!" Isaiah roared. "He sabotaged guns in the first challenge! He pushed Rachael, his fellow teammate, out into the path of the enemy in the superhero challenge! He even blew up an entire building just to make his team lose! Doesn't that all seem really, really LOW?"

Mary couldn't believe what Isaiah was saying. "What…what's wrong with you? Are you trying to get me to say that I don't love John?"

"Come on! You know he's not here! You know that you have to admit that those acts are low! And remember…you are sitting on the hot seat. And I mean that literally. That trapdoor isn't functional just during the 'Truth or Trapdoor' segments. So you better be careful what you say all the time."

"Yeah, thanks for the update." Daniel muttered from behind.

Mary looked down at the couch she was sitting on. She shifted in her seat. "But I'm not lying! I'm telling you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!"

"Fine. It's time for a 'Truth or Trapdoor: Lightning Round'!"

"A what?"

"I will rapidly ask you questions that all have either 'yes' or 'no' answers. You must answer them correctly, or that trapdoor will fall."

"Fine. Bring it on."

"Do you truly think that John's acts were justified?"

"Yes."

Nothing.

"Darn. Do you think that Daniel is a royal jerk?"

"Hey!" Daniel yelled.

"For what? Manipulating girls?"

"Yeah."

"Yes." She then turned around to face the jock. "No offense."

Daniel scoffed. "Whatever."

"Next question! Do you think that Jen will ever have a chance at redemption after what she did?"

"I think so. I mean, everyone deserves a second chance." She cast a glance at her friend over with the rest of the commentators. Jen smiled a weak smile and mouthed, "Thanks."

The trapdoor stayed closed.

"Um…um…do you think that you should be on the next season?"

"What? What kind of a question is that?"

"I'm talking about season three! Come on, tell me that at least one of you figured that there would be a third season!"

A single hand went up among the commentators. It was Lauren.

"Thank you! Someone's using their common sense on this show."

"So what exactly would you like to tell me, and the rest of us, about this third season?" Mary questioned.

"Sorry, but I'm not allowed to talk about it. Top secret."

"Alright, so in that case, are you going to ask me the next question?"

Isaiah sighed heavily, defeated. "Fine. I've asked you enough. I have to resort to one last option. Calling on the viewers to question you!"

"Fine. I can take any question, and respond with the truth."

"Very well." Isaiah reached over and brought up a list of potential viewer questions. "OK…Well, Scarletribbon82 says, 'Who do you think deserves to be in the final two alongside John right now?'"

"Hmm. That's a tough one. I do think that Violet is a nice person, and pretty deserving. But if there's one other person who I think should be there, it's Rachael."

Rachael perked up at this and looked directly at Mary.

"I feel your pain, Rachael." Mary said. "I mean, the way you were completely and brutally cheated out of the game, that was harsh. And I'll admit, if it weren't for that, then you would probably have lasted much longer."

"Yeah, I know." Rachael glared at Jen, sitting in the row below her, opposite corner. Jen looked back up at her, then shrugged.

"Ah, she deserved it."

A single, consecutive "Ooooooh!" rose from the audience.

"What?" Rachael asked, looking really mad.

"You heard me. Please don't start this up again. You are a total psycho and won't let thing whole thing drop. You know that I am superior to you, and that my point was proven."

"WHAT POINT!" Rachael exclaimed. "And what do you mean by 'superior'?"

"You know. You're just a low-down, gutter rat who is just too stupid to understand the simplest of things, is to stubborn to admit when she's wrong, and, on a side note, might as well have used toilet paper for hair."

"OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHH!" Everyone gasped again.

"THAT…IS…IT!"

Rachael immediately lost it, and tackled Jen. The two rolled across the stage, swinging punches and screaming names.

"Cat-breath!"

"Scum-sucking witch!"

"Backstabbing traitor!"

"MaDonna-wannabe!"

"OH NO YOU DIDN'T!"

As they fought their way around the stage, using props and nearby items (including an unfortunate Suzie) as weapons, everyone else jumped for cover. Daniel and Mary both hid behind the couch, and Isaiah dove under the table.

"Man! These catfights are GREAT for ratings!"

A lamp was smashed in half over Jen's head, and Rachael was thrown across the stage.

"MARK THINKS THAT YOUR OUTFITS ARE THE UGLIEST EVER!"

"MARK THINKS THAT YOU HAVE AN EVIL AND DETESTABLE PERSONALITY!"

"MARK SAID THAT HE'D RATHER KISS A TOILET SEAT THAN YOU!"

Eventually, both girls were fighting it out right next to the couch.

Meanwhile, Isaiah's look of amazement and satisfaction turned to horror. "SOMEONE GET RID OF THOSE TWO! THEY'RE GONNA DESTROY THE ENTIRE SET!"

Daniel peeked over the couch, looked down, and saw that Jen was standing within the thin cracks in the floor that separated the trapdoor from the rest of the floor, while Rachael was outside. He immediately grinned.

Jumping out from behind his hiding spot, he landed right on the couch, then loudly yelled, "I THINK THAT JEN DESERVES TO WIN THE COMPETITION!"

"What?" Jen turned to face him. "What is THAT supposed to mea-AAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

Daniel leaped off of the couch and rolled across the wooden floor just as the trapdoor opened up. Jen fell straight into the piranha pool, and Rachael barely managed to keep her footing on the edge of the hole.

"OOOOUUUUCCCCHHH! ACK! OW! GET THESE THINGS OFF OF ME!"

Rachael stood and looked down at her rival, thrashing around in pain, and grinned.

"Now that's more like it."

Then, unexpectedly, Isaiah crawled out from under the table, crept up behind her, and pushed her in.

"WAUGH!"

Rachael fell into the pool, and was immediately attacked: by both the piranhas and Jen.

"IF THE PIRANHAS DON'T GET YOU, I WILL!"

"THE PIRANHAS HAVE GOT NOTHING OF YOUR UGLY LOOKS!"

Mary looked up from the fight in the water to Isaiah. "Hey! What the heck did you push her in for?"

"A fight brings out the ratings, and a fight in the piranha pool doubles the ratings!"

"But you just pushed her in! That is low!"

"Ah, whatever. At least now they can't get away, and security can get them out of here."

He then turned and yelled to side-stage, "SECURITY!"

Cameraman Hatchet appeared, wearing his security guard outfit and holding a baton. He walked up to the open pit, where the two girls were still brawling it out. He reached in and pulled them both out, holding one girl in each arm. Both thrashed and fought with all their will power.

"ARGH!"

"LET GO! LET GO OF ME, YOU SIMIAN!"

"LET ME DOWN! LET ME DOWN SO THAT I CAN DESTROY THAT LITTLE…"

Cameraman ended it by simply clonking them together, knocking them both out. He then turned and walked offstage, carrying both girls with him.

Isaiah stood straight up, then turned to address the camera. "Well, that was a little messy, but I think we can fix this all up! Coming up, after the break, we've got two more special guests, plus more viewer questions, webcams, and behind-the-scenes footage right here on Total…Drama…Action…Aftermath!"

Commercial Break; A trailer for the new movie starring Chris MacLean, Jay, and Cameraman Hatchet – Terminator: Salvation…Army

An announcer's dramatic voice comes in… "In a world where machines rule…"

(Terminators are walking around, stepping on human skulls and firing machine guns everywhere)

"…where humans live in threat of being annihilated…"

(Humans wearing rags and covered in dirt and filth being led to a massive pit by Terminators and being thrown in)

"…and one Terminator threatens them all…"

(Jay walking among the other Terminators, his left arm torn away to reveal his mechanical arm. He holds a mingun and is searching among the humans for one man)

"…two men will arise: One handsome, natural-born leader…"

(Chris MacLean, with a torn shirt and a gun in hand, is standing on a podium and yelling to surrounding people, "We will not stand for this! We must fight! We have to show that we will not go quietly!" Many people cheer)

"…and his assistant…"

(Hatchet standing next to him, wearing a dirty, torn, pink dress)

"…will rise, and lead the human race in a battle for ultimate victory, and the fate of the entire planet…"

(Chris racing among debris and falling machines, firing his gun rapidly as other soldiers run around him. "Let's go! Come on!" Next shot shows Chris smacking Jay with a metal pipe repeatedly, all of which simply turn his head to the side. He grabs Chris and throws him against a wall. In the next cut, Hatchet is surrounded by Terminators, all aiming their guns at him. He shrieks in an unusually high-pitched voice, "AAAAAAIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEE!")

"…in the ultimate story of survival, leadership, and good looks…"

(Chris does a hair flip, which causes several of the Terminators around him to short-circuit)

"…directed by Christian McDonald…"

(Chris confronting Jay: "You machines will not win." Jay replies, "Just you wait.")

"…Chris MacLean, in…"

(Hatchet: "I ain't yet begun to fight!" He is then blasted aside by a Terminator's proton cannon)

"…Terminator: Salvation Army. Rated R."

(Jay: "I'll not be back.")

End of Commercial Break

"And welcome back to TDA Aftermath!" Isaiah introduced as the cameras came back on. "Sorry about the interruption; we had to, uh, clean up a little around here. But we're back! And now, before anything else can happen, let's introduce our next guest!"

He didn't even bother to lower the overhead screen, however; some figured that this wasn't unintentional.

"She originally was not supposed to even be in the season, but she returned anyway, by producers' choice. She at first seemed to be a fair competitor, but she eventually revealed her dark side.

"She tried to form a secret alliance with Mary, but, as mentioned before, it crashed and burned. And even after that, she continued with sealing her own fate by making sexist comment after sexist comment against guys, which ultimately led to her downfall.

"Now, our next guest is a sexist towards guys, tried to form a secret alliance, and hacked into the show's computer to switch the votes against John; please welcome our next (not so-special) guest, uh…Madison."

There was an instant uproar of boos as Madison took her first step onto the stage. She immediately found herself dodging random objects, and walking across the stage to the couch was like racing through a war zone to get to the base. She finally reached the couch, and held the remaining pillow up for cover.

"So, um, Madison…"

A pair of sunglasses flew over her head. " 'So, um, Madison'?" She repeated. "Before you even think of talking to me, can you get this crazy crowd to calm down?"

"Alright, fine." Isaiah stood up in his seat and raised his arms in the air. "PEOPLE, PEOPLE! SETTLE DOWN! There IS a show to go on here!"

Reluctantly, the audience settled down and stopped throwing things. Madison threw the safety pillow behind her. It happened to hit Daniel right in the arm, hitting a particular piranha bite that was still stinging.

"OWWWWW!"

"So, Madison. You, uh, kind of threw your reputation away on the show…Why did you choose to take on the role of antagonist?"

"Excuse me? Antagonist? I am simply playing the game! It's what you've gotta do in this kind of competition!"

"So you're basically saying that you think your actions are justified? Forming an alliance? Switching the votes against John? All of those comments?"

"Well, duh! The alliance? That was strategy. The vote-switching? That was to eliminate my toughest competition. The comments? That's just saying it like it is."

The last comment completely enraged the audience, and they resumed with throwing things at her yet again.

"AUGH! DOES NOTHING PLEASE THESE ARROGANT CRETINS?"

A vase flew and barely missed her head. "ARGH! This show is ridiculous!" Then a briefcase bounced off her leg. "OW!"

Isaiah saw this, and burst into laughter. "HA! A briefcase! Oh, they must hate you!"

"DO SOMETHING, YOU STUPID GEEK! OR I'LL RIP YOUR HEAD OFF!"

She grabbed him by the collar, yanking him out of his seat. "DID YOU NOT HEAR ME? CONTROL THEM, OR I'LL USE YOU AS A HUMAN SHIELD!"

She then held Isaiah in front of her and let him take several of the hits.

"OW! OHO, HO! OUCH! OK, OK! STOP! EVERYONE, STOP RIGHT NOW! PLEASE! ENOUGH!"

The audience eventually stopped throwing things when they saw that they were hitting Isaiah more than Madison.

"Uhh…" Isaiah moaned. His head was spinning from the pain after a purse had hit him right where it hurts the most.

"Can you, uh, let me down now, please?"

Madison dropped the geek, and he fell back onto the couch. Madison casually strutted over to the couch and sat down, a satisfied smirk on her face.

"The things I put up with for ratings." He muttered.

"So, Isaiah, were you going to ask me some questions?"

"Uh, yes. Yes I was. Now, what do you think of Mary sacrificing herself to save John?"

"What do I think? It was the stupidest move I've ever seen in my life."

"Hey!" Mary yelled.

"You know it's true." Madison said, spinning around to face Mary. "Throwing away your chance at the million just for a stupid boy?"

"HEY!" She yelled again. "John is NOT a stupid boy! He's very kind, sweet, caring, compassionate…"

"He's a downer who thinks that the whole world is going down the tubes."

"That was before!" Mary exclaimed. "He's changed now!"

"Yeah…a change in wardrobe."

"Why you stupid little…"

Isaiah, seeing the show get ugly again, quickly interrupted, "And now it's time for: 'That's Gonna Leave a Mark'!"

The overhead screen started playing many moments of pain that had happened both on-camera and off.

One part showed Mark, back in the time-traveling challenge, duck as a cannonball from the enemy ship soared overhead. He stood back up once it was gone, only for a mast it had hit behind him to fall on top of him.

Another clip was once again of Mark. This time, it was moments after he broke his shoulder in the war-movie challenge. As he slipped off of the wall he had hit, he happened to land so that a protruding piece of stone hit him in the crotch.

In the next one, one of the interns in the war-movie challenge, who was part of Intern Hatchet's Recon Team, was hit by Jay's minigun when they were attacked, and slammed against the wall of the set behind him. Then, for no reason, a single, short round from the minigun hit him in the crotch.

Another one showed Violet in the time-travel episode, as she was parachuting off the Earth Needle, and was floating among the city. Suddenly, she hit one of the taller buildings in the moon city. Still holding onto the banner she was using to sail down, she then tore away from it and hit the one right next to it. And she continued hitting building after building after building, bouncing off of them painfully, until she floated down to her destination for the challenge.

And lastly, there was a scene from the comedy skit episode, where Cameraman Hatchet was seen setting up another booby-trap for Jay. He finished tying a large rope to the base of a support beam, and looked up at the anvil that was at the other end. He grinned for a brief moment before the rope suddenly snapped, and the anvil came down on him, crushing him.

The montage of maim ended, and Isaiah, sitting on the couch, was not looking too happy.

"All these fights are good for ratings, but constantly having to interrupt the show because of them isn't." He muttered. He then noticed the cameras, and quickly put on a fake smile. "I hope you all enjoyed that segment, ladies and gentlemen! Sorry, once again, for the interruption. Now, before we took that brief break, there was some heat here between Madison and Mary. But, we've successfully solved the problem." Isaiah gestured to the couch next to him.

Madison was in a straitjacket. "GET ME OUT OF THIS THING!"

"And all this constant shouting is not good for the ratings either!" Isaiah added. "So, as dangerous as it is, I'm sorry to say this, but we'll have to skip your interview, Madison."

"WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!"

"You are interrupting the show too many times, Madison. And for that very reason, your time as the special guest must be cut down."

"This is an outrage!" She roared. "You can't do this!"

"I just did. Care to defy me? Look at you. You're already in a straitjacket. Do you want metal balls chained to your feet, too?"

She opened her mouth as if to say something, then closed it. She knew she was defeated.

"Thank you. And now, it's time to introduce our (it's about time) last guest! He was a great competitor in this game, lasting up to the final three this season, which surpasses his previous record of final five. He started out quite strong in the season to begin with, similar to the previous season, due to a great amount of popularity, and not being too bad at the challenges either.

"Even his shoulder being broken in the war movie challenge didn't stop him from giving it his all. And, he even made a girlfriend this season.

"Now please join me in welcoming our next guest! He's an all-out optimist, has formed a secret alliance with Cameraman Hatchet, and has even an academic decathlon by guessing the final three answers consecutively, it's Mark!"

Everyone cheered and applauded as the final guest walked onstage, waving eagerly with his one good hand. When he walked past the other special guests, he gave them all hi-fives, except Madison (but only because she refused to receive a hi-five from him). He approached Isaiah and gave him a hi-five as well, then sat down on the couch behind him.

"Hey, man." Mark greeted. "Nice to see all of you."

"In Loserville." Isaiah finished.

Mark didn't seem to notice. "So, you hosting your own show now? Awesome. How does it feel to be in control? To have power?"

"Well, I'm not gonna lie to you, it's awesome. You know, getting control over some of these stupid interns…"

Suddenly, a sandbag dropped from above, barely missing Isaiah. It hit the edge of the couch and split wide open, its contents spilling all over the stage floor. Isaiah quickly looked up to where it had come from, and saw an angry intern, noticeably with crutches, a cast on his left leg, and a black eye.

"Whoa, Dave! Chill out, man! It's cool! You know I'm just joking, right?"

The man snarled, then turned and disappeared among the rafters.

Isaiah shook his head and looked back at Mark.

"Besides, I'm the one asking the questions here, OK?"

"OK, fine. Whatever you say, man."

"Glad to hear it. So, Mark; did you think that you would be going home on the night of your accident?"

"I kind of thought I would. I mean, it was either me or John. And, well, let's face it: John was, and still is, a far better competitor than I ever could be. I knew that he would probably stay in the game over me. Not necessarily because my injury would interfere with my challenge performance, but because people would feel sorry for me and want me to go somewhere where I could get some real medical attention. And when I think of it that way, I really wouldn't have minded whether or not I left that night. At least that way, I could be with Rach-."

Mark then stopped in the middle of his sentence and looked around. "Hey, where is she anyway? Shouldn't she be here?"

"Uh, moving back onto the subject; did you think that the results of your accident would serve as a major detriment to your performance in the tasks?"

Mark continued looking around for a moment, then shook his head and looked back at the host.

"Well, uh, I guess so. I mean, I knew that if one of our challenges was a more mental challenge, or one that didn't involve running around, like the comedy skit thing, then I knew I'd be fine. But if it was a physical thing, something like Hatchet would give us, then I knew I'd be in trouble."

"Yeah…hey, speaking of Hatchet, what do you think of the guy?"

"What do you mean?"

"You know, about his current predicament and all? His attempt to form an illegal alliance with you and John?"

"Well, in order: I think that his situation right now is pretty funny, actually. I mean, switching so quickly from chef, to intern, to cameraman. That's pretty comical. And as for his alliance, well, it really reminded me of his and DJ's alliance last time. That got me thinking that the alliance wasn't a good idea. John agreed, and so we left his alliance. At least we went out in style, if you catch my drift."

"Ha-ha! Yeah, I remember when you guys totally dissed him on international television! That was freakin' hilarious!"

"I know, right? And it helped us win the challenge, too."

"Yeah, it did."

"But the bottom line is, I think that the dude was just desperate. You know, he wanted his job back. And I can't really blame the dude. He's been the chef for the show ever since it first started. But hey, you got to respect the boss."

"Alright, then. It's time for you to play 'Truth or Trapdoor'!"

"Alright! Bring on the questions!"

"Fine. First off, were you depressed when you were eliminated?"

"Of course not."

Isaiah quickly turned away, expecting the trapdoor to fall. But there was no falling.

"Whoa. You just admitted to being totally cool with your being booted off the show?"

"Yeah, pretty much."

"Come ON! You broke your shoulder, you were unfairly defeated! You had a handicap, and John knocked you off that platform… by hitting you in the head with a sword!"

"Yeah, but hey; it was the aim of the game, to knock each other off that platform. And besides, my supposed 'handicap', as you put it, was really effective in that challenge, as you all saw. I think that it was a little more fair of a fight."

Again, Isaiah cringed, expecting his statement to turn out as lie, but nothing happened.

"And, I guess I let my guard down, so I had what was coming to me."

"Is there something wrong with this trapdoor or something?" Isaiah exclaimed. "Intern!" He yelled offstage. "Is something wrong here!"

The intern merely shrugged and shook his head.

"You mean to tell me, that you were eliminated when you were so close to the prize, when you were totally taken by surprise, and when John deliberately betrayed you just to win the challenge…and you're not upset about ANY of it?"

"Mm…Nope."

"ARGH! You know, no lying doesn't help to boost the ratings here!"

"Why don't you turn to viewers on webcam or online?"

"That…I was just about to do that. You didn't need to remind me or anything, sheesh."

Isaiah leaned over and pressed a button on his computer. "And, we have our one webcam viewer for tonight! Eric, you are on the TDA Aftermath show!"

The overhead screen, after its usual static, turned to an image of a teenage boy in his room, sitting in a black leather chair, with brown, wooden cupboards behind him, and a door with a huge world map on it. The boy in the foreground was at a fair height, had brown hair, and a bit of acne on his face. His shirt, the only part of clothing visible onscreen, was a light gray shirt with green, black, and white stripes across it horizontally. He smiled and waved when Isaiah introduced him.

"Hey, guys! It's an honor to be a webcam guest for your show. Really, it is."

"Thank you, Eric. Now what is your question?"

"Well, uh, Mark…"

"Yeah? What is it, bro?"

"I was just wondering…I've watched that horrible moment on TV several times now since the episode when it happened. Can you just tell me…what was it like as you were actually breaking your shoulder? You know, second by second, as it unfolded? It must've been, like, blinding pain, right? How did it feel?"

"Well, I ain't gonna lie to you, Eric. When it first happened, it was total pain. I swear, as I actually hit the wall, I could actually hear it shatter, almost like glass. And yeah, it was really painful, dude. Like, a thousand bees, a few hundred pins, and a couple steak knives, all stabbing into my shoulder at once. It was crazy, I'll tell ya. For a few seconds, it was like that.

"Then, around the moment I fell off the wall and hit the ground, it suddenly changed. It no longer hurt, it just felt numb. I couldn't feel anything. Nothing at all. I could see everyone else crowding around me, all saying it was horrible. I saw it occasionally, the blood and all, but I still didn't feel anything. It felt like it was never even there. It was like that from, like, the moment I hit the ground to when I was taken to the infirmary.

"And, lastly, I felt no pain or numbness once it was actually put in the cast. Then, it just felt plain stiff. You know, like a rock. Hard, stiff, unmoving, it's a little annoying at times. But at least it doesn't hurt anymore. And besides, I finally get this cast removed, like, next week. It should be right before the finale, too.

"So…that's pretty much it, through each and every stage. Hope that answers your question, dude."

"Thanks, Mark. And thanks for having me on the show, guys. This is really cool! Later!"

The screen went to static.

"Wow…" Isaiah mused. "That does sound like a traumatic experience, does it not?"

"Traumatic? Yeah. Different? Yeah. An experience that really reminds you that you are alive? … Heck, yeah!"

Isaiah shook his head in disbelief and shock. "Really? 'An experience that reminds you that you're alive'? Did you even just say that?"

"Hey, like I said, I ain't gonna lie. Not right now, at least."

Isaiah once again shook his head before looking back at the computer.

"OK, so we've got one last question from an online fan before we wrap up the show tonight. ZekeforSeason3 asks, 'Do you think that Chef/Intern/Cameraman Hatchet deserves his original job back?'"

"Well, when compared to the man who currently has his original job, I would actually say no to that one. I mean, Jay does a better job of being a chef than Hatchet did. To a certain extent, Jay's cooking may be bad, but it's something other than Hatchet's cooking, which, strangely, makes it better. So to that one, no. But does he at least deserve a job better than what he has now? Definitely yes. First he's an intern, then he's a cameraman, what's next? Wardrobe tester?"

The audience laughed at this one.

Even Isaiah chuckled. "Well, technically, he's already got that job. Have you not seen all of his embarrassing cross-dressing over the course of the show?"

He then pressed a hand to his ear as a quick message came in through his earpiece communicator.

"Uh, it appears that we have a new clip of Hatchet, back when he was still Chef, in one of his worst cross-dressing moments!"

The screen went to static for a moment, then showed Chris, in his cowboy outfit from the first challenge, standing outside Chef's small trailer.

"Chef, man! Get out here, already! The challenge is about to start!" Chris yelled, annoyance clearly audible in his voice.

"I ain't doin' it!" Chef's voice called from inside the trailer.

"Yes you are!"

"Not wearing this pathetic outfit!"

"I thought you said, 'I'll wear any Western outfit that's not the one from the first season'!"

"Yeah? Well this is even worse!"

"Look, either you get out here in that outfit, or you can kiss your paycheck goodbye!"

"What paycheck?"

"JUST DO IT, YOU CHICKEN!"

After a moment of silence, the trailer's door flew open, smashing against the wall behind it (which left quite a dent). There stood Chef, wearing a multi-colored dress. It was extremely large, and probably spanned a maximum diameter of five feet. It had different lines of colors running horizontally along the dress, all in the order of the colors of the rainbow. It also had a bow on his back, which dangled behind him. He also wore fuzzy pink boots, with bunny ears on them. Lastly, he had been forced to put make-up on his face, which included creating ridiculously long eyelashes, yellow lip-gloss, and a red hue to his cheeks.

Chris stared for barely half a second before he was instantly on the ground, rolling around in laughter.

"Oh, ho-HO! That is rich! You look like your mother! HAAAA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HAAAAAAAAAAA!"

Chef merely clenched his fists hard, cursing the evil host in his mind, and walked past Chris, kicking some dirt on him as he passed by him.

"Pfo! Ack! Gag!" Chris choked on the dirt. "CHEF! Get back here!" Chris jumped to his feet and ran after him, running off-screen.

Everyone paused, staring in horror for a moment at the hideous image on the screen of Chef, before the laughter exploded.

"I think I'm gonna vomit!"

"Wimp!"

"That guy looked hideous!"

"That was hilarious!"

Isaiah was also rolling around, trying not to fall off the couch. "Oh-ho, ohhh…that was funny!"

Mark felt sorry for Chef, but he couldn't help but laugh either. "Wow! That was seriously humiliating!"

"I'll say it was." Isaiah chuckled, wiping a tear from his eye.

"But you get my idea, right? I think that the poor dude deserves better than that! I mean, really. Soon he could be, I don't know, driving a semi-truck off a cliff or something!"

"I see what you're saying. But you have to admit; it's great for ratings! And not to mention, the whole rivalry between him and Jay! Which brings us onto the subject many viewers are asking: Who the heck is this guy? I mean, this intern pops out of nowhere, and he's already the new chef/co-host? There's just something suspicious about him…"

"Besides the fact that he idolizes Arnold Schwarzenegger and acts like a Terminator?" Ruth suggested from the sidelines.

"Yeah!" Josh agreed. "Just look at him; over six feet tall, built like a tank, always wearing those sunglasses, speaking in that dull tone of voice, using such a big vocabulary? Who's to say he isn't actually a T-800?"

"I don't trust him, either. Even if he is a better chef." Mark commented. "There's something wrong about him. And yet, it's almost like I've seen him somewhere before. The face, the looks…it's almost like… …"

"Hold the phone!" Isaiah interrupted. "We've got yet another unseen clip from one of our anonymous cameramen, this time of Jay!"

The screen then showed an image of behind one of the staff trailers, where Jay was standing, leaning against the wall of the trailer…

At that moment, a large figure wearing a black jumpsuit sneaked into the control booth for the TDA Aftermath set. The two technicians in the room were also looking quizzically at the screen.

"What the heck is this clip?" One asked.

"I don't know, but it looks like-AUGH!"

Almost instantly, the man was grabbed by the back of the head and slammed face-first into the control board. He was unconscious instantly.

The other one turned to face the attacker.

"Hey! Who the heck are yo-."

He was grabbed by the collar, and thrown against the back wall. With a CRACK!, he was out cold, too.

The assailant walked over to the ON AIR switch in the booth, which was glowing red, and flipped the lever into the OFF position. The show's signal instantly went down in televisions all around the globe. There was nothing but static. And yet, neither the audience, the commentators, the host, or the guests knew it. Everyone in the theater was still staring intently at the screen.

Jay was leaning casually against the back wall, and looking down at his left arm. It was bent hard out of shape, apparently after it took a hit or something.

"It appears that I shall have to check it." He muttered to himself.

And then, as casually and calmly as possible, he grabbed his hand with his other hand, and yanked hard. His entire arm instantly popped off, and fell limp. Then the entire audience could see that the skin was fake, as it flopped around like a rubbery material. Where his hand was a moment ago was now a robotic arm.

At that moment, the clip suddenly ended in a burst of static, and everyone screamed in horror when they saw that moment.

"OH MY GOD!"

"HIS ARM IS MECHANICAL?"

"WHAT IF HE IS A TERMINATOR?"

"SEE!" Josh exclaimed. "SEE! I was right! He IS a Termin-."

Just then, the assailant took one of the technicians' chairs in the booth and started slamming it into the controls. All of the lights, switches, and buttons were smashed. Sparks flew from the controls, and all of the lights on the set exploded in a shower of sparks. Several spotlights fell, and the sound of tinkering glass as it fell could be heard all around the room. It was pitch-black in the theater, and almost instantly, pandemonium ensued.

"WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LIGHTS?"

"HELP!"

"I CAN'T SEE!"

"WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?"

People instantly started tripping all over each other, trying to find a way out of the theater. Isaiah stumbled across the stage, but bonked right into Daniel. Mary tripped over Madison. James tried to get off the couch he was sitting on with the other commentators, but he fell over and into the couch in front of him, flipping it over. Even the huge, overhead screen broke off of its supports (after a large cameraman on the rafters tripped over another cameraman and flipped over the railing), and crashed to the stage, destroying half of it.

"I AM SICK OF ALL THESE STUPID INTERRUPTIONS!" Isaiah roared in the darkness.

Just then, a loud, booming voice roared over the intercom, "Everyone, relax. You are not going anywhere for a long time."

The intruder then took his hand off the intercom button, and removed his black mask. As you all may have guessed by this time, the assailant was none other than Jay. He turned to four goons in the booth with him, all of which were nearly his size, and armed with machine guns. "Go. Secure the area."

They all nodded, then turned and left. Jay was standing in the destroyed booth, alone. He mumbled to himself, "They know my secret. Now they must stay in here until the end of the finale next week. I must not allow anyone to interfere with my plans to kill Hatchet."

Then, a very unusual and rare thing happened to Jay at that moment.

He actually grinned.

Then he laughed. "MWUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"


Final Episode: Disastrous Movie Part 1

"Last time on Total Drama Action: It was our final three contenders; Mark, John, and Violet, battling it out in a ninja-movie-themed challenge in our semifinal round!

"There was platform-hopping, there was rapid climbing, and there was an all-out brawl on a rock platform!

"Violet was forced to confront her worst fear in the first challenge: fire. While jumping among various rock pedestals, she and the others had to dodge pillars of fire that would shoot up coincidentally at the right moments. But, an even greater fear, that of being eliminated in the final three yet again, was enough to motivate her throughout the task. In the end, she won the first challenge, and both of the boys got royally burned.

"John and Violet were able to do considerably well in the next challenge: jumping up platforms through a rock shaft, before the walls closed in on them and delivered a horrible electric shock. Mark, however, struggled due to his handicap. In the end, John won…but still ended up getting electrocuted when he went back down into the shaft to help Mark get through faster.

"In the final round, the three of them fought to the death on a platform in the middle of a huge abyss, attempting to knock each other off the platform first, and be the last one standing. At that point, Mark was able to prove that his 'handicap' could be easily used as a deadly weapon in battle, using it to single-armedly take down Violet…before John launched a sneak attack right behind him and knocked him into the pit as well, thus winning our former Goth boy Invincibility.

"Violet's tragic fears and nightmares apparently won over the viewers, and they chose to spare her, instead giving Mark the boot.

"This is it! The grand finale of the season! The mano-a-mano! Violet vs. John! Which one of them will be the lucky winner. Winner of the million bucks. Winner of the entire season. And, most importantly, winner of a title of true dignity, honor, and commitment: the winner of a season of Total Drama! So much more drama will unfold right here, right now, on the season finale! You won't want to miss a single second! So, wherever you are right now, sit down, stay there, and don't move for the rest of the episode! Because this is the incredible conclusion of Total…Drama…Action!"

...

"Well, this is going to be quite a day, eh?"

"You said it."

John and Violet walked side-by-side after leaving their respective trailers, heading for the designated starting point of the challenge for today. Both seemed fairly confident about their chances. Violet, having conquered her fear of losing in the final three again, had a confident smile on her face. John had an equally sure smile, and his hands were in his pockets casually.

Make-Up Confessional

John: So…this is what being in the final two feels like, eh? I cannot wait for the challenge today! With Mary cheering me on, as well as Mark and all of my other friends, I have an iron will to win this.

Violet: I've already proved that I can get past the final three…now it's my chance to prove that I can get past the final two, as well. That's right; I don't care who I'm up against. Whether it's John, Daniel, or even that jerk from last season, bring 'em on! Right now, I feel like I could take on the whole world!

Chris MacLean: They won't be saying that by the end of the day.

End

When John and Violet approached, they could already see Chris, Jay, and Cameraman all standing there, waiting for them. They stood several yards from two large tunnels, which entered into a large set that resembled an ancient temple, complete with ivy and worn-out stones. At the top of the temple, there was a massive stone head, which slightly resembled a certain sadistic host, looking down at them with a serious face.

"Welcome, castmates! So glad you could make it today!" Chris greeted.

"Do we really have a choice?" Violet asked.

"No, you don't. But I just like saying that. First off, I would like to congratulate both of you in making it to the final two! Right now, I have two of you standing before me; by the end of the day, there will be only one. And not only will that one be the one left standing, but you will receive the grand prize of one…million…Georges!

"Second, I would like to clear something up. Normally, we have all of the losers from this season and the previous season here, cheering you on throughout the whole thing, but apparently, they can't make it today. Said something about meeting a contractor who has an idea for featuring them all in a new commercial. Now ordinarily, I'd be a little more protective of you guys legally, but he said it was a commercial for a new brand of hair gel, so I was quick to oblige."

Off to the side, Jay couldn't help but crack a small grin.

Make-Up Confessional

Jay: Being a man of such narcissist nature, I knew that MacLean would inevitably believe my alibi. Now, the only witnesses to my true nature are held captive and will not be going anywhere for quite some time.

End

"Now, onto the challenge! In today's episode, since this is the finale, we will be throwing at the two of you the most brutal, most devastating, most mind-boggling, most disturbing, most horrific challenge ever! Consisted of five different phases, you will be participating in a challenge that is based off of one of the worst movie genres ever: the random-movie genre!"

"The random movie?" John asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Yeah. You know, those stupid and random movies that don't really have a plot and never really make sense? Movies like 'Epic Movie' and 'Disaster Movie'?"

The mention of these two horrible movies quickly brought gasps from the two castmates.

"You wouldn't!" Violet exclaimed.

"Oh. I would."

"Great." John rolled his eyes.

"So, in a sense, today's challenge will be a massive conglomerate of different classic movie genres, all in one episode! There will be: the adventure movie; the musical; and, in honor of the title movie for this episode, the disaster movie! Rather than a simple race from start to finish, it is going to be similar to the ninja-movie challenge last week; a majority rule declares the winner. So whoever wins three out of the five rounds there are in total will win the challenge, and the grand prize. It is going to be one wild ride. So get ready for the first phase of the season finale of…Total…Drama…Action!"

Both John and Violet looked at each other, puzzled as Chris finished the last three words slowly and dramatically, striking his usual intro grin for the nearby camera. After a moment of awkward silence, he looked back at the castmates.

"Now, as you may have guessed from the exotic temple behind us…" Chris gestured to the temple set. "the first phase is the adventure movie! Here's the rundown: Both of you will enter the temple through these two individual tunnels. You will then have to wander through the whole temple, and it is like a maze inside that thing, believe me; several interns disappeared in there."

John and Violet shared a nervous glance.

"Once inside, your task is to locate the two hidden treasures within. Each of you will find only one treasure. Each one is a small idol. They will be located at the end of long and perilous tunnels, and undoubtedly placed on precarious spots at the end. It will be an adventure just trying to get to them, let alone retrieve them, and then race all the way back through the temple to the finish line.

"Alright, so you have your rundown. Now, you each need to pick which tunnel you will enter the temple through."

"Does it really matter?" John asked.

"Oh, it does. You'll see…" Chris snickered briefly. "Now, we'll settle this the old-fashioned way: a coin flip!"

Chris reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a fine silver coin. He flipped both sides for the teens to see what was on each side.

Naturally, it was the heads of Hatchet and himself.

"Heads is me, tails is Hatchet. We'll do it ladies first, so Violet calls it. Ready?"

"Sure." She shrugged.

Make-Up Confessional

Chris: Ha! That will surely be the last time she'll be saying that for the rest of the day!

End

"Call it!" Chris flipped the coin into the air.

"Tails!"

It flew up into the air, then fell back down. It landed on the pavement with a clatter. Sure enough, Hatchet's head was looking up at them.

"OK, Violet. Which tunnel?"

She turned and looked back at the two different entrances.

"Is there really any difference?"

"Maybe…All I can tell you for sure is that you will never run into each other once you enter. You'll both take two completely separate halves of the temple."

"Alright…the one on the left."

"Very well. Castmates, take your positions!"

Once they both stood in front of the two tunnels, Chris blew a whistle that had been hanging around his neck, and they dashed in.

After they left, Jay turned to Chris. "What altered your usual method of using the starter pistol?"

"Oh, producers didn't want me killing another Canadian eagle again. Said it takes a bite out of our budget due to lawsuits from the EPA, the Mounties, etc. Oh, and speaking of killing…"

Chris quickly ran up to the entrances of the tunnels and yelled in, "AND ONE MORE THING!"

Violet and John stopped running and turned to face the host once again.

"WATCH OUT FOR BOOBY-TRAPS! I'M PRETTY SURE THAT'S WHAT KILLED MOST OF THE INTERNS WHO TESTED THIS THING OUT!"

"SAY WHAT?" Both teens called back.

Before they knew it, two massive stone doors closed in on the entrances, sealing them in.

Make-Up Confessional

Violet: OK, that little run through the temple in the first round? One of the worst…

John: …scariest…

Violet: …most adrenaline-pumping…

John: … most exhilarating…

Violet: …near-death experiences I've ever had! Of course, that was simply a foreshadow of what would unfold later that day.

John: At least I've developed a sense of night-vision over the years.

End

John crept slowly, ever so cautiously, through the dark, dank, and damp tunnel. There was moss on the floor, ivy on the walls, and the sound of something scurrying past his feet every now and then. It was eerily reminiscent of the sci-fi laser tag challenge several weeks back, with the dark, seemingly-endless cave and all. The sound of dripping water echoed throughout the tunnel. All the while, John was forced to take hard and unexpected turns, choose between diverging paths, and practically walk around in circles at times.

"Geez, this place is a maze! How am I gonna find that ido-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

John found himself fighting for balance as he stood at the edge of a deep, yawning pit right in front of him. One foot was behind him, waving through the air, while the other stood at the edge of the chasm. He waved his arms wildly, then skidded his foot out from under him, kicking up moss and dirt, and falling back.

"Oof!" He shook it off, still shocked at the suddenness of the pit appearing right before him. He then leaned forward and looked down into the pit, from a safe distance. "Wow! Chris sure wasn't kidding, eh?"

He stood up, brushed off his jeans, then took several steps backward. He sucked in a deep breath, closed his eyes, then raced forward with great speed, taking one massive leap and flying over the pit. Before he knew it, he landed on the other side, tumbling through the moss and sliding to a stop, slippery and practically soaked in the dampness.

John slowly lifted himself up, shook his head, then turned and looked back at the pit he had just cleared.

It was gone.

"Huh?" He stood straight up, startled by the fact that there was now merely solid ground where the pit was three seconds ago.

"What the…?"

Then, suddenly, the sound of something brushing through the ivy and spearing towards him could be heard, and he impetuously dove out of the way just as the rack, with three sharp spears on it, shot out of the wall.

"WHOA!" John cried out as he tumbled away from it, landing in the moss once again. He looked up at what had barely missed him, and immediately saw the skeleton on it. Initially, he would have considered it to be a fake, but considering what Chris had said about the interns, he wasn't so skeptical this time around.

He had barely realized what had happened before he heard something large falling above him. He looked up at the roof of the tunnel, nearly eleven feet up, and saw the massive block of stone that was coming down on him.

"YIIII!" He jumped out of the way again as it slammed down.

"AW, COME ON!" He screamed at the top of his lungs. "I HAVEN'T STEPPED ON ANY SWITCH OR SOMETHING, HAVE I? WHAT IS THIS!"

In the Control Tent…

Chris sat in his swivel chair, with Jay standing next to him. The host was looking at the monitor that showed John stumbling through the tunnel. In his hand, he held a remote-control device. On the back, it was labeled "Booby-traps."

Chris chuckled to himself, wearing his usual sadistic grin as he pressed button after button, unleashing a hail of traps on the unfortunate teenager, practically tossing him back and forth like a ping-pong ball.

"Dance, puppet, dance." He said evilly.

"Sir?"

"Yes, Jay?" Chris replied, not taking his eyes off the monitor.

"Permission to take the other remote, and thoroughly torture the other one? The girl?"

"Sure. It's right over there on the counter."

Jay nodded, then leaned over and picked up the remote. He looked at the nearby monitor, which displayed the image of Violet on the screen, walking casually through her tunnel, jumping at the occasional spider or scorpion.

"Alright, what do we have here?" He looked at a menacing red button near the center of the remote, and pressed it.

Back in the temple set… Violet stopped when she heard a strange sound all around her. It was like a kind of scurrying and brushing, but there was definitely more of whatever was doing the brushing than rats or other pests. She looked to one side, and could see many objects poking through the ivy covering on the wall. After a moment, they burst clean through. She could see that they were stone replicas of the heads of Chris, Jay, and Hatchet. All of their mouths were in perfect O's.

Violet was puzzled at first, then quickly turned to the right, and saw the same thing on the other wall.

Then, a moment later, it hit her.

"Oh, crap."

She barely had time to hit the deck and cover her head before the hundreds of tiny little darts started shooting out of the holes and flying back and forth through the tunnel. She could hear the slight whooshes of air as they shot over, and felt the wind blowing right past her, creating slight, brief breezes.

After nearly two minutes straight, she lifted her head up and could see that darts were still flying, and that they showed no sign of stopping or running out.

"Come on, already! How many of these things are there?"

Eventually, she figured that she would have to keep moving through them. After a moment of reluctance, she started crawling, keeping her head down and out of the line of fire. She scooted slowly across the damp floor, through the onslaught of darts, until she finally emerged on the other side of the firing radius.

She jumped back up to her feet and turned to look back. All of the darts had ceased firing, and the multiple stone heads retracted back into the wall in perfect unison.

"Wow. If that was just the first trap of the day, then I'm in for one heck of a-!"

Violet screamed as a stone pillar rose from the ground directly beneath her right foot, sending her flying towards the ceiling for a moment. However, she quickly fell off and rolled across the floor. When she came to her senses and looked back up, the top of the pillar had already slammed into the ceiling, dropping several small pieces of rubble.

"Oh…my…God."

Just then, she heard a rumbling below her. Immediately, she jumped off of what she had been standing on. When she looked down, she saw that it was an oddly out-of-place perfectly square tile, clear to see despite all of the moss and ivy of the tunnel.

She then turned around and saw, on the pillar that had already risen up, small writing carved into the stone. It read, "Beware of the square tiles."

"Oh, great. Now he tells me." Violet shook her head.

She then started walking through the tunnel, an unseen, pale light always providing just enough visibility. As she walked, she made sure to avoid every square tile that she saw, carefully stepping over them or jumping around them. She continued doing this for nearly a minute.

She chuckled. "This is pretty easy."

Just then, she stepped on a diamond-shaped tile, and it immediately crumbled and fell farther into the earth beneath it, as did a chunk of the floor around it. Violet's foot sank in as well. She quickly fell back, landing beyond the area of stone that was falling away, and yanked her foot out from among the falling rubble just as it all completely fell away.

She looked down, and saw that the pit that had been revealed was only about nine feet deep, and had razor-sharp spikes all over the bottom of it, and even protruding from the walls.

She sat for nearly three minutes before she finally caught her breath, then happened to notice yet another nearby inscription in the wall: "Hey, we didn't say anything about the diamond-shaped tiles."

"Figures." She inwardly cursed the deviousness of the host before rising and continuing the trek.

As she progressed through the tunnels, she made sure to not step on any tiles that had different shapes. After traveling deep into the tunnel, she came upon a fork in the path, with one path leading to the left, one leading to the right.

She looked between both of the paths, not able to decide which was better.

Finally, she shrugged and took the path to the left.

This path led her down a corridor that was dipping down, further underground. It also swerved every now and then, creating sharp bends.

On the fourth sharp turn, Violet couldn't even see which way it turned due to the darkness that came with traveling deeper, and ran into the wall.

"Ow!"

Her cry of pain echoed blankly throughout the tunnel. She rubbed her head, scowling, before she turned and continued walking down the tunnel, this time brushing her hand along the wall to know whether or not it would drop off again. However, this was a serious mistake.

At one point, her hand hit something that was clearly stone, and rose out from the wall. She stopped, still gripping it.

"Huh? What's this?"

She turned to look at it, but mistakenly applied too much pressure in her hand, and pressed it. It instantly sank deeper into the wall with a rustic, ancient-sounding click. She realized that she had sprung the next trap.

"Uh-oh."

She instinctively dropped to the ground yet again, and a hail of arrows shot from the wall opposite her. Their whooshing pierced the silence, and they flew above her like a flock of birds, them embedded themselves in the wall where the switch had been. She could hear the springing as they shook from the impact when they hit, before they eventually fell silent.

Violet slowly looked up. When she saw that the coast was clear, she got to her feet.

"I don't know how much more of this I can take." She muttered.

After a bit more walking, however, she finally reached the next major step in the challenge.

She instantly found the tunnel ending into a massive chamber. The floor dropped off into a massive pit, and the ceiling couldn't be seen. The only thing in the whole room was the long, flimsy-looking rope bridge leading across the gap to a small platform in the dead center of the pit; an oasis from the abyss.

And on top of the platform, arranged in a very cheesy manner, was a single shaft of light shining down on the small object located on the platform, on a small rock pedestal. The object glowed brightly in the light.

"Oh, boy."

She took several steps forward, and looked into the chasm below.

"HELLO!" She yelled into it.

Her call echoed at least seven times before dying down; no exaggeration.

"Oh, boy." She mumbled again.

She paused, took a deep breath, then stepped cautiously, lightly, carefully onto the bridge.

The moment she set both her feet on the bridge, it swayed wildly, swinging side-to-side like a swing.

"Whoa! Whoa, AUGH!"

Several times, it came close to flipping completely over, but did not. She held a firm grip on the rope railing, praying for a miracle.

Eventually, it finally rested, only swaying casually in a breeze.

"Oh, thank you." Violet praised before she started creeping slowly along the bridge again.

Meanwhile…

John was having just as much luck. He couldn't advance five steps before another booby-trap hit him. He was dodging stone pillars that shot from the walls, hooks that fell from the ceiling and dangled around him, and even blasts of fire that shot from above and below him.

"I'll bet Indiana Jones never went through this much…"

He was cut off in mid-sentence as a spear shot up from the ground, not even an inch from his toes. The blade rose perfectly vertical, positioning itself directly in front of John's face. The sharp point even sliced a small piece of his hair off. His eyes crossed to focus on the spear, then, after fully realizing how close he had come this time, he fainted.

In the Control Tent…

"AH-HA HA HAHA HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" Chris was doubled over, rolling around on the floor, after seeing the unlucky teen faint. "Oh, THAT is priceless! Did you see the look on his face? OH…I love this game."

"Uh, sir?"

"Hoo…yeah, Jay?" Chris looked up at his co-host.

"The girl is now approaching her idol."

"Get out?" Chris jumped to his feet and looked at the monitor. "Well, I'll be darned! She did make it. And definitely farther ahead of John."

He turned to his assistant, his grin growing. "Activate the bridge."

"Yes, sir."

Jay raised his remote, found the lever in the center of the device, which had several different levels it could be raised to, and read, "Bridge" under it. Jay flipped the lever to the first level, then returned his gaze to the monitor.

The bridge that Violet was on slowly started rocking and swaying again. Violet panicked, and held tight once again as it started to go crazy.

"Whoa-whoa, WHOA!"

"Harder, Jay. That's too easy."

Jay nodded, then flipped the lever up to level four.

It went crazy, flipping back and forth, shaking and rocking wildly. Violet lost her grip several times, but managed to locate it again.

"CAN THIS GET ANY WORSE?"

"She asked for it." Chris said, then turned to Jay. "Take it all the way."

Jay, without hesitation, flipped the lever up to ten; the highest level.

"!"

Violet couldn't hold on as the bridge was flipping completely around, upside-down, then right side-up, then over and over and over again.

Eventually, Chris decided that the bridge simply flipping over and over wasn't too entertaining after a while, since she showed no sign of letting go.

"Alright, Jay. Give it a rest."

Jay then pushed the lever right back down to zero.

The bridge instantly halted, stopping perfectly upside-down, with Violet still clinging onto the rope. At first, she was relieved that it had stopped, but when she looked down, she instantly saw the gravity of her situation.

"Oh…my…GOD!"

She looked around frantically, trying to find something sturdier to hold onto. But there was nothing. She then looked at the platform she had been trying to reach, and saw that it couldn't be any farther than ten feet.

"I can still make it…I hope." She then looked back down, and could see the seemingly-infinite blackness that stretched far below her. "I AM GONNA DIE!"

Meanwhile…

John slowly came to his senses, and opened his eyes. He found himself looking straight up at the ivy-covered ceiling above him. He slowly sat up, unable to remember what had just happened. However, judging from the massive spear sticking up from the ground directly in front of him, he instantly remembered.

"That rotten man…" He muttered under his breath as he slowly staggered to his feet. He started to walk around the spear, then stopped. He turned and looked back at it, a thought entering his mind.

What if…? He slowly bent down, reached for the base of the spear, and grabbed it firmly with both hands. He then lifted up with all his might, yanking the spear from the ground.

"Ha-ha! Yes! Now I have a little bit of defense."

Spear in hand, he turned and continued down the tunnel.

Back in the Control Tent, Chris was surprised, both angrily and happily.

"So, John thinks that he can use that thing for his own defense, eh? Well, we'll just see about that."

His smile then faded, and he turned and yelled off-camera, "OK, who's job was it to stick that thing in the ground? It was NOT supposed to come out, you idiots!" He then got up out of his chair and walked off.

Back in the temple, John continued along, encountering no more booby-traps, due to his unseen tormentor leaving his post. When he finally reached the end of the long tunnel, he entered a chamber that had a ceiling nearly eighty feet off the ground. In the center of the chamber, a massive stone pillar rose straight up out of the ground, rising about seventy feet off the ground.

John craned his neck back, straining to look up and see the top of the platform. He could see a small shaft of light shining down through the ceiling onto the top of the platform.

"Oh, great. How the heck am I gonna get up there?"

He looked around the base of the platform, seeing that it was sheer rock, except for the vines of the ivy that covered it…

"No. Uh-uh. No way. I'm not climbing up using those. They'll probably break the moment I…"

"GET YOUR BUTTS IN GEAR, YOU TWO!" Chris's angry voice suddenly blared over the intercom. "Both of you have reached the chambers where your idols are; get moving!"

John looked back at the vines, shook his head, then walked up to the platform. He slowly extended one hand, and grabbed onto some of the thicker vines. He hesitated, then jumped up, quickly placing one foot in a hole between two clumps of vines.

He actually stayed in place.

When he realized this, he quickly reached up for a higher vine with another hand, and managed to pull himself up even further.

"Hey, maybe this isn't gonna be so hard…"

He continued climbing up, pulling himself up past the vines. Once or twice, his foot got wrapped up in the vines, or he couldn't find another hold, but he managed to push on.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, he reached the top of the platform. He reached one hand up onto the rock surface, found a crevice, and held on. He threw one leg up on top of the platform as well, then pulled the rest of him up and onto it.

"Phew! It's about time."

He then turned to look at the idol on the pedestal before him.

"Oh, you have GOT to be kidding!" He exclaimed, then slapped his forehead.

Somewhere else in the temple, Violet was having the same reaction.

"Oh, you have GOT to be kidding!"

Violet, after finally making it across the precarious rope bridge, had reached the idol, only to find that it was none other than a replica of Chris's head. And John's idol was a replica of Hatchet's head.

"That narcissist…" Violet muttered. "Ah, well. At least I have my prize."

She snatched up the idol, then turned back to the rope bridge.

"Wait…now how am I supposed to get back…?"

Just then, she heard a low rumbling behind her. She turned and looked to see the pedestal that the idol had been on slowly retracting into the ground.

"Uh-oh…"

For John, after picking up his idol (and holding it at an arm's length away from him), the same thing was happening.

"Crap." They both muttered simultaneously.

The entire temple then started to shake and rumble. Then pieces of the ceiling started falling all around them.

"AAUUGGHH!" Violet screamed. She turned back to the rope bridge. She had forgotten her previous problem, and now she didn't even care that the bridge was upside-down. Driven by pure adrenaline, she dashed across the bridge while it was still upside-down. It was actually considerably easy, since the wooden planks of the bridge were just as firm on the underside as they were on top.

As she raced along, however, several planks came loose and broke off. The first one nearly claimed her.

The weak plank gave way under her foot, and her entire leg fell through.

"YIKES!" She screamed as she fell through. She could feel a particularly sharp piece of wood cut her leg. The idol started slipping through her fingers, but she held on with a tight grip. She eventually managed to pull herself back through. Even with a damaged leg, she continued moving as fast as she could, knowing that if she stopped, it could throw the whole bridge out of balance again.

At one point, she was three-fourths of the way there when suddenly, a massive chunk of stone fell from the ceiling. It fell right behind her, hitting the bridge and completely snapping it in half.

The entire bridge jerked and swayed wildly as it broke. Violet flailed wildly as she tried to keep her balance, and realize what was happening. Just as the realization hit, the half of the bridge that she was on started falling, heading for the wall that it was still attached to. She fell, barely managing to grab onto the rope with her spare hand.

She held on for dear life as the bridge slammed against the rock wall, bouncing once, then resting. Rubble continued to fall around her.

After a minute or so of letting her heart rate slow down, Violet looked up to see how far away the top of the cliff was. It had to be at least thirty feet up.

"How the heck am I gonna get up there in time?"

Meanwhile, in another chamber in the temple, John was having the same problem. He now found himself stranded on top of the massive platform, idol in hand, and the ceiling collapsing.

He looked down at the ivy covering the entire platform, all the way down. He knew that to get down there, at least in a hurry, was near impossible.

"How the heck am I gonna get down there in time?"

Just then, another chunk of ruble fell from the ceiling, allowing several long vines to drop from the ceiling, dangling from above.

John noticed one particularly long vine, stretching from the ceiling all the way to about ten feet off the ground.

"Oh, God…You have GOT to be kidding…"

Just then, the temple shook violently again, and more pieces of the ceiling came loose. John looked up just in time to see a very large slab coming straight towards him. He instantly changed his mind.

"Time to go."

And with that, John leapt for the vine, which was nearly seven feet away. He flew through the air, then started to plummet. He reached his spare hand out and grabbed the vine. He instantly swung forward and jerked the vine hard, nearly pulling it loose.

"Whoa! WAUGH!"

John fell back into position, and nearly lost his grip on the vine. As a result, he started sliding down the vine, fast approaching the ground.

"NO! STOP!"

He tried to squeeze harder, but the vine was too slippery to fully grasp.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

Finally, he reached the bottom of the vine. However, there was a large clump at the very tip of the vine, which John's hand caught on, preventing him from falling any further. After his descent was halted for two seconds, his hand let go of the vine, and he fell the remaining ten feet. Once he hit the ground, he rolled along the stone for a bit before stopping, trying to get a hold of himself.

He was breathing heavily, still imagining himself falling dangerously fast down the vine. Then he returned to the present. Shaking his head, he quickly scrambled to his feet. He looked up just in time to see the massive platform actually starting to fall over, apparently after a large slab of rock had hit the base of it.

John, without any second thought, immediately turned and ran back into the tunnel just as he heard the explosion of the rock platform hitting the ground, the sound resonating throughout the tunnel.

Meanwhile…

Violet was slowly pulling herself, higher and higher, up the dangling rope bridge. Chunks of rock fell past her, barely missing her once or twice.

Eventually, she managed to reach the top and pull herself up and into the relative safety of the tunnel, just as she felt the bridge finally break away from the cliff and fall into the pit.

She paused for a moment, looked down at the small idol in her hand, then took off down the tunnel.

Chris watched over the monitors as, almost simultaneously, both contestants entered their respective tunnels and started back down towards the exits.

"And now it's time for the most classic booby-trap of them all!" He turned to Jay. "Let's get those balls rollin'!"

Jay nodded, then picked up both remotes. In the center of both devices was a large, red button. He pressed both of them.

Violet and John both stopped as they heard loud rumblings in both of their tunnels. Then the tunnels started to shake. Small pieces of stone fell around them.

John was the first to see the final detriment coming towards him. When he heard the rumbling advance behind him, he slowly turned.

It was a giant boulder. It was barely the right size so that it took up the entire width and height of the tunnel. Rolling impossibly fast…towards him.

"YOU'VE GOTTA BE KIDDING!" He screamed in rage as he dashed down the tunnel, the massive ball in pursuit.

It didn't take long for Violet to also see the boulder in her tunnel, coming towards her just as fast, and also scream and run.

Make-Up Confessional

John: Seriously! It's almost like Chris and the producers don't even know the meaning of the word "copyright." Sheesh!

Violet: Copying off of other famous movies like that is totally cliché, and it just goes to show that the creators clearly have no imagination.

Chris: Those contestants are lucky that I edit this stuff out so that the producers never hear it!

End

John was dashing down the tunnel as fast as he could, bounding over pits, over bumps and mounds, and past booby-traps that sprung seconds after he had left. He looked back at a wall of spears that had shot up out of the floor behind him, and as the boulder easily rolled over them, flattening them all.

"Oh, God! I have to get out of here, eh!"

He turned and looked back down the tunnel, as far as he could see, it was sheer blackness.

"HOW LONG IS THIS THING?"

John wasn't sure if it was his imagination, but the boulder appeared to be closing in. Just then, he passed by a familiar landmark: the large block of stone that had fallen from the ceiling earlier. He squirmed past it, barely keeping ahead of the boulder. He looked back as he ran, and could only stare in amazement as the boulder destroyed the block and kept moving. Running faster, he looked back in front of him just in time to see the rack of three spears. He continued running, moving slightly to the right to avoid the points of the spears. He hoped that maybe the wood of the spears was weak enough…

He immediately crashed right through them, sending dust and fragments of wood flying. He continued running, and the boulder, still right behind him, destroyed what was left of the spear rack.

Finally, he could just barely see the light at the end of the tunnel. He ran faster than ever, the spear still tucked in by his belt, and the idol in hand…

Suddenly, the ground quickly slid out from underneath him. He couldn't figure out what was happening, even as he lost his footing and stumbled, falling once again into the now-revealed pit.

"OH, COME ON!"

He was almost completely in the pit this time, barely holding on to the edge. He looked up and could see the exit, the bright light shining in.

Then the massive stone door started closing yet again.

"NOOOOOOOOOO!"

He feebly attempted to pull himself up, the low sound of the door closing, and the rumbling of the boulder behind him slightly disorienting him. He made use of a nearby vine to try to pull himself up.

The boulder was barely twenty feet away. Ten feet.

John looked back and saw it coming. He looked back at the door, now halfway closed.

He got one last idea.

Meanwhile…

Violet looked back again, seeing the boulder rolling impossibly fast, chasing her through the tunnel. She couldn't believe how many things it obliterated while rolling towards her. Even the stone pillar that had risen up from beneath her earlier was like a twig for the boulder, but it did noticeably slow down the boulder's rampage.

A little bit later, it rolled effortlessly over the spike pit. Then Violet came upon the area of holes in the wall, where, surprisingly, the barrage of darts was still shooting through.

"DON'T THESE THINGS EVER STOP?" She wondered aloud.

But the boulder was closing in again. She knew she had no choice. Inhaling a deep breath, she quickly dropped to the ground and crawled beneath them again, this time as fast as she could. When she reached the other end, she barely had time to jump back to her feet before the boulder crashed through the darts. They all easily bounced right off of the boulder and clattered to the ground.

Violet continued running, with the boulder nearly touching her. She could see the light of the exit dead ahead. Then she realized that the massive stone door above it was closing. She panicked, running faster than ever before.

She could hear the rumbling now more than ever, and she could even feel the cold, rolling stone up against her back.

With a final burst of strength, she threw herself out the door just as it closed completely. Rolling on the hard, yet suddenly appealing flat feeling of the pavement, she was blinded briefly before she could clearly see everything around her once again.

She heard a loud BOOM! She looked up and could see the door that had sealed the entrance, now denting outward with many cracks in it, but holding fast nonetheless.

"Well, quite an exit, Violet. I must say, you were cutting it pretty close there."

Violet turned to look up at Chris, standing above her. She slowly staggered to her feet.

"I'm just glad that I made it out…alive?"

She looked behind Chris and saw, standing next to Jay, was John; already out, holding his idol, which resembled Hatchet's head, and an old spear.

"He made it out first?"

"That's right. He almost got the axe, too. He fell into a pit, the door was closing, and that boulder was ready to take his head off!" Chris exclaimed. He then turned back to John. "But I have to admit, your idea was clever. I mean, lowering yourself into the pit with a vine, letting the boulder roll past and destroy the door before it closed, then escape? Different, but genius!"

Violet looked past, at the entrance to his tunnel, and sure enough, there was the boulder, surrounded by broken stones and other rubble, and split in half.

"So if he made it out first, then I lost, right?" Violet started to hang her head in defeat.

"Nope!"

"WHAT?"

"You see, I never said that the goal was to escape the temple first!" Chris announced. "The win would go to whoever retrieved the better idol!"

"The better idol?" Both John and Violet asked.

"Don't you see? One idol represents my beautiful head, while the other is the disturbing, gnarly image of Hatchet's head. Which do you think is the winning idol?"

John and Violet shared a look that said "Typical." They then looked back at the grinning host and replied, "Yours?"

"Precisely! And since Violet recovered my head, she wins!"

"YES!"

"So that's one point Violet, zilch for John! Now on to the next phase!"

Make-Up Confessional

Violet: I was still trying to catch my breath from all those booby-traps, nearly falling off that bridge to my death, and outrunning that crazy boulder! If that was just one out of five, then this is going to be a LONG challenge!

End

"OK, so it's time for the next challenge, and the next genre! Well, technically, it's not a movie-genre, but rather a scene-genre!"

"A scene-genre?"

"Precisely. This scene is a type of scene that many are familiar with. Many love it. Very few actually hate it. It's an adrenaline-pumping type of scene that is universally known! Heck, some of the greatest scenes in film history are this type of scene! It is physically and logically impossible to have any kind of the following genres of movies without this scene: thriller, action, adventure, horror, drama, or even comedy! This scene is truly a…"

"JUST GET ON WITH IT, ALREADY!"

"Alright, alright, fine! Sheesh, skip the long and well-worded introduction, and cut to the chase. The next challenge will be… … … … … … … …a car chase!"

"You're kidding, right?"

"Nope! In this particular challenge, you will each be driving a car of your choice. You will drive all throughout the Film Lot, following various paths and signs that are posted all over, telling you which way to go. Once again, you will be following two separate paths, never once encountering each other, and the paths are the exact same length. But that's probably the only thing they have in common. Both are completely different, with many crazy obstacles scattered everywhere! There are signs posted everywhere, always pointing which direction you need to go next. They will eventually lead you back to the finish line. And yes, this time, the goal is to get to the finish line first.

"Now here's the catch: Both of you will be pursued the entire way by two relentless homicidal maniacs driving eighteen-wheeler tanker trucks! Meet our drivers!"

He motioned over to Jay and the not-there-a-moment-ago-but-was-there-now Hatchet.

"Both have incredible experience with driving big rigs, and Jay can openly boast about surviving approximately twenty-seven truck crashes in his life! You can probably guess for yourself who is the better driver here!"

Chris returned his gaze to the two castmates. "Violet, for winning the first challenge, you get to make two important decisions: Which one of them chases you, and which car you get to drive!"

Chris then led them away from the temple and down the Film Lot until they reached a long road, running between two long rows of hangars. Sitting at the white paint starting line were two very opposite cars: one was a long, sleek, beautiful silver Corvette, while the other was a crappy, beaten-up, run-down pale green station wagon.

Behind both of the cars were identical semi-trucks. Both were huge tanker trucks with the word FLAMMABLE printed on both sides of the tanks. They were brown, rusty, moldy, and overall very unsightly beasts. But compared to both cars, they were giants.

"These are the cars. As you can see, the paths diverge for both drivers at the end of the alley."

Sure enough, at the end of the long road, there were two different signs, standing away from each other. On one was the image of the Corvette, and an arrow pointing to the left, and the other had the station wagon and a right arrow.

"Now as I said before, Violet shall pick the wheels of her choice. Violet?"

It took half a second for her to make the obvious choice. "Corvette."

"Nice. And the driver you choose to have chase you?"

Violet looked back at the other two choices: Hatchet and Jay. Both looked just as tough as the other, and both were clearly equally determined to fulfill their duty. But if Chris's stories about Jay's crash-survival record was true, than he was clearly a much better driver than Hatchet. And she knew she wanted to have the lesser driver chasing her, so…

"Hatchet."

"Very well. So John, by default, gets the station wagon and Jay chasing him. So it's time for…Oh! I almost forgot one thing! John, Violet, you get to hold onto the idols you recovered from the previous challenge. Keep them both in the cars with you, and don't lose them!"

They looked down at the small items they had risked their lives for, and pondered why they were supposed to hold onto them.

"Why?" Violet asked.

"Oh, you'll see. Let's just say, they should really help you out with the challenge."

"What about this, eh?" John held up the spear he had taken with him as well.

"Um, you can hold onto that, too, I guess. Now enough talk! Drivers, start your engines!"

The four individual drivers climbed into their respective vehicles and started their engines. The sounds of four engines revving up instantly sliced through the air.

"Now, castmates! You will both get an extra ten seconds as a head start before your truck drivers proceed to follow you! You'd better hightail it out of here the moment I blow this whistle, because the prize going for whichever one of them can catch their prey first is a thousand dollar check! That's almost as much as they both get paid for a whole year!"

"And that's just sad." John shook his head.

"And… … …GO!"

Almost instantly, tires screeched and a cloud of exhaust covered the scene as only one car left. Once visibility became clear again, it was easy to see that only the Corvette was still at the starting line, puttering and shaking, but not moving.

Surprisingly, Violet had her foot slammed on the gas pedal, too.

"WHAT? Come ON! What is wrong with this thing? Why isn't it going?"

"Seven seconds, Violet!"

Violet watched with mute envy as the station wagon sped off down the alley, growing farther and farther away.

"I just don't get it! This is a CORVETTE! WHY is it not GOING ANYWHERE?"

Make-Up Confessional

Chris (doubled over in laughter, barely able to get a hold of himself or keep the tears of joy out of his eyes): Oh, yeah! That was a RICH one! Jay suggested the idea, actually! Switching the crappy engine of the station wagon for the awesome and pumped-up engine of the Corvette? G-E-N-I-U-S!

Jay: The more clever suggestions I can give him, the better.

Hatchet (snaps his fingers): Darn it! Why didn't I think of that?

End

Violet started to panic, glancing in her rearview mirror at Hatchet's truck, sitting ready right behind her.

"Come on! Come on, let's go!"

She turned the key in the ignition again, slamming on the pedal. She wondered if he and Jay would actually attempt to run them down…

"Four seconds! Three!"

Violet grabbed the key so hard, her knuckles turned white. She twisted it as hard as she could, all the way to the right. The engine sputtered, coughed, then roared to life.

"Two!"

She put the Corvette in drive and hit the gas.

"One!"

She sped off, past the starting line, and towards the nearby turn.

"Zero! Truck drivers, go!"

Both semi-trucks roared out of the starting zone, giving chase to their prey.

Violet glanced nervously again at Hatchet's truck as it came up right behind her. His sinister, satisfied grin could be seen, even through the dirty windshield.

"Hee, hee, hee, hee, hee! I almost love this job as much as I used to!"

He accelerated, bumping the rear end of the Corvette, jerking it forward.

"Yikes!" Violet cried as she nearly spun out of control. She swiveled wildly, even as she turned the corner at the sign…

…and found herself driving straight towards the large display window of a clothing store, with mannequins in the window.

"Great."

She instantly smashed through the massive window, sending glass and pieces of the mannequins flying everywhere. A shirt got stuck on the windshield, but she took care of it with the windshield wipers.

She drove through a small store, knocking aside clothing racks, other mannequins, and display stands. Eventually, she flew through a large opening in the store, and found herself in a gigantic mall. It was almost a perfect replica of those malls that can be nearly three stories tall, with walkways stretching between two openings above their heads. Long tiled halls stretched on, there were numerous paths appearing everywhere, multiple stores on all sides, and glass skylights allowed patches of light to shine down on them from above.

"Geez! This is the biggest mall I've ever seen! Even if it is a fake one."

She looked behind her and saw that, miraculously, Hatchet had been able to follow her through the store, and was now rampaging after her through the mall. She continued driving nonetheless, smashing past the occasional prototype massage chair, bench, or small stand in the middle of the aisle. Jewelry, photographs, and pieces of candy flew across her windshield whenever she encountered one of the latter. Whenever she made a turn, her tires left black marks on the white tiled floor.

Meanwhile; somewhere else in Canada…

A familiar blonde and brunette were sitting in the living room of the former's incredible mansion, watching the TDA season finale on her giant-screen TV.

"Oh, this is SO exciting! Right, Beth?"

"Totally!"

"I just hope that that girl, Veronica, wins. Mainly because I don't like that boy, and…" Lindsay's rant was suddenly interrupted when she noticed what Violet was driving clean through. Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped as she saw the perfect replica of a mall being torn apart by the Corvette and semi-truck.

Beth cringed and waited for her friend's reaction, but instead…

"Oh, WOW! That girl is SO lucky! She actually gets to go to the mall, while I NEVER got to do that in the last season, no matter how many times I asked!"

Beth rolled her eyes again.

Back at the Film Lot…

As Violet destroyed everything in her path, Hatchet similarly followed her.

"How the heck am I supposed to lose him?" Violet screamed after barely making another turn. He quickly turned the corner as well. She expected for the tank behind him to be too long to fit through, but the halls of the mall must have been at least sixty feet wide.

He honked a loud and long air horn at her, grinning as his muscular hand slammed on the horn.

"I've always wanted to do that!"

Violet drove right under a walkway, then swiveled around to watch. She expected the walkway to be just too low for him…

Nope. The truck fit under it perfectly.

"DARN IT! WILL I EVER BE ABLE TO GET RID OF HIM!"

Meanwhile…

John peeled around the first corner when he heard the blast of a truck horn behind him. Then, a few seconds later, the hideous truck screamed around the corner, heading straight towards him.

"Alright, you wanna play? Let's play."

He put a little more pressure on the gas, and was surprised that his car was easily hitting over 100 miles an hour. But he wasn't complaining.

Soon, he saw a sign pointing to a hard left. He veered around the corner, barely missing a twenty-story tall wooden standee of a building. He could hear the groaning of the truck as it hit the curve.

He continued speeding along, past old props and clothing racks, desperately attempting to escape his mad pursuer. He eventually drove right through a familiar, giant metal gate, which led into an even-more familiar modern-day town, with towering skyscrapers and other buildings surrounding him.

Just after the truck passed through the gate as well, he heard the metal creaking of the gate slowly closing.

John continued driving down the street, peeling a hard right at a four-way intersection. The truck followed him.

As John drove past several city blocks, making sharp turns and even some U-turns, he realized, after driving for nearly half an hour…

"THIS PLACE IS A TOTAL MAZE, EH!"

It was true. He found himself driving in circles, racing past the same hotel or the familiar clothing store again and again. He tried new streets, even a few back alleys, but it was useless. He was a rat in a lab maze.

And Jay, driving the huge truck, was the cat.

John eventually drove into a circular plaza of some kind, with a fountain in the middle. Naturally, the fountain was a giant stone Chris, with a small hole for a mouth. Water spewed out of the hole. John shook his head, then noticed how many different streets all connected to the plaza, almost like the central hub of the city.

He got an idea.

Once Jay was right behind him, he started driving in an aimless circle around the fountain again and again and again. He was holding the wheel hard to the left, and Jay followed him in the endless circle. He rounded the fountain for almost three minutes straight. But neither driver showed signs of weakening or getting sick.

Then, John made a sudden move. Just as he made another circle, he suddenly veered off to the right, turning down a small side street. The move was so sudden that even Jay didn't see it coming. He immediately spun his wheel to the right, attempting to catch the teen, but it was too late. By the time he turned, he had passed the turn, and nearly crashed into a building. He quickly slammed on the brakes, then threw the truck in reverse. He started to back up, but had to do it painfully slow, to avoid the tank veering off to the side, and also had to avoid hitting the fountain.

By the time he had backed up and started down the street, John had managed to get a head start of nearly two minutes.

John sped down the side street, swerving down an alley, past several dumpsters, and finally onto a regular road. As he took off, he looked back.

The truck was nowhere in sight.

"He'll be back." John muttered as he looked back at the road.

Meanwhile…

Violet tore around another corner, heading down a long hallway. She eventually saw that, dead ahead of her, was the food court.

"Oh, dear."

Violet had no other choice but to drive straight through all of the metal tables and chairs, as well as a few garbage cans. Pieces of debris bombarded her car, resulting in the horrid sound of metal scratching metal, her windshield being attacked, which even left a few cracks and nearly shattered it. But she ultimately pulled through the mess without significant damage.

She saw two paths diverging up ahead. She automatically took the one to the right. Naturally, Hatchet followed her. She looked back and forth between every single shop entrance that she saw, but none of them seemed small enough for just her to fit through.

"Geez! Now I know for a fact that malls are NOT this big! The halls, the entrances, the height of the roof, WAY…TOO…BIG!"

Back in the Control Tent…

Chris snickered as he watched Violet's rambling on the monitors.

"Heh, heh, heh. That's the idea, Violet. That's the idea."

Back in the mall…

Violet sped past numerous stores, with the determined Hatchet behind her all the way. She didn't know where to turn, what to do, or how to lose him.

Finally, she saw a store coming up on her right, just on the corner of another turn. The entrance almost seemed small enough.

"What the heck!? It's a good as anything!"

She veered off into the store, which was a sporting goods store. She brushed through football equipment, lined-up baseball bats, and jerseys. She tore through half of the store before stopping. She quickly turned around and watched through the large windows in the store as Hatchet's truck raced past, even though the wheels had stopped spinning as the driver slammed on the brakes.

Violet continued to watch as he skidded right around the corner, slowing down to regain his control, then speeding up again and disappearing down the other hall.

For a moment, Violet was relieved that he was gone. Then reality kicked in. She was confused as to why he actually drove away from her, when his job was to chase her.

Panicking, she quickly threw the Corvette into reverse, struggled briefly to get the engine started up again, then backed out of the store. Several pieces of sports equipment slowly slid off the hood as she did so.

When she left the store, she put the shift into drive once again, and pulled ahead just enough to round the corner. She looked down the hall.

The truck was nowhere in sight.

"Oh, no…"

Down the long hall, there were many different paths and other halls stretching out, further into the interior of the mall. The truck could have gone down any of the paths.

Violet then turned to her left and found herself face-to-face with a conveniently-placed map of the entire mall.

It read: MacLean Mall. Seventy acres large. Three stories tall. Two-hundred and one stores.

Below that was a map of the winding, twisting, almost endless halls of the mall, and a little red dot on one particular corner. Next to it was, "You are here."

Violet glanced all up and down the map, trying to find the nearest exit. Of course, there was only one exit: the main entrance, literally on the opposite end of the mall from where she was.

"Great. I'll be lucky to get out of here before 2020." She muttered. "At least I got rid of him."

She knew that she would need to have this map on her at all times. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her cell phone. She unbuckled her seat belt and got out of the car. She walked up to the sign, as close as she could but not getting so close that not all of the map would appear on her phone. She activated the camera, held it perfectly steady, keeping all four corners of the map within the picture range, and snapped one shot. She previewed the picture to make sure it was lit well enough and able to keep her updated, then returned to her car.

She then shifted into reverse once again, backing into the same sporting goods store, then pulled out and went back the way she came.

"The more space I put between me and him, the better."

Meanwhile…

John sped down the street, the buildings whizzing by like a holographic projection. He veered down other streets, did U-turns, and zigzagged across the whole city, knowing that he had to throw the truck off his trail in any way possible. Driving in a straight line to escape was too dangerous.

Occasionally, he would hear the blast of the truck's horn in the distance, knowing that it was somewhere, and that the driver was determined to find him.

He continued desperately trying to find a way out of the city, figuring that driving around aimlessly wasn't the way to go.

Out of frustration, John slammed the brakes and pounded on the wheel.

"How can I get out of here?"

Then, almost too coincidentally, a piece of paper blew in the wind and hit his window. John looked at it, and saw that, lo and behold, it was a map of the city.

John quickly rolled down his window and snatched up the precious map. He studied it hard, trying to find the nearest escape route. Naturally, there was only one way out: through the city's main gate. Otherwise, it was surrounded by buildings or the wall that made up the "background" of the whole set. Of course, there was no way to tell where he was, since the map had no distinct landmarks.

That is, all except for one: the plaza with the fountain.

"Oh, great. Going right back to where I started, eh?"

John then folded up the map and set it in the passenger seat next to the spear and idol. He then started up the wagon and flipped a large U-turn.

"I don't know where I'm going, but I have to find that exit, and especially before he finds me!"

As he took off down the street, he concentrating on two things: where he was going, and his strategy. As his eyes remained locked on the road, his brain was working hard to come up with several different plans that he could put into action if he ever did meet up with Jay.

OK, so how am I supposed to do this? I mean, sure this car's fast and all, but that truck is almost just as fast! And he's not going to stop for anything! I mean, I just have to think of something. If I ever do get out of here, it'll be a miracle. And even then, I'll still have to follow the signs leading to the finish line. And even then, I'll have to drive for a bit longer, with him following me! Oh, this is madness! What am I going to do?

Just then, he saw it. Dead ahead of him was the plaza, with the fountain of Chris.

"Finally!"

He looked down at the map, consulting it. At the plaza, he had to make a right towards the west (he could tell which direction that was due to the compass on his car's digital clock screen). Then he turned down the fourth street on his right, then made a left at the second intersection, then drove straight until he came to a three-way intersection…

As John glanced between the map and the road, he noticed something.

He instantly slammed on his brakes, screeching his tires loudly and swerving wildly before he stopped in a cloud of exhaust.

Ordinarily, he would have had a coughing fit from the smoke, but he was focused on something else.

Rising up from between two buildings, coming from a narrow alleyway, was a column of thick exhaust. John knew this was no coincidence. There was absolutely no other activity in the city besides him and the truck.

"Clever hiding place, Jay. But you won't catch me."

John took a deep breath, said a quick prayer, then firmly gripped the wheel. He had the map spread out and flattened on the dashboard, held down by the idol, and ready to follow everywhere he went.

"Alright, let's play."

He slammed on the gas, instantly causing the engine to roar loudly as his station wagon took off down the street. The moment he passed by the entrance to the alley, the truck pulled out, turned down the street, and gave chase. Jay was instantly right behind John as they entered the plaza.

"Catch me if you can!" John yelled back to him through the window.

"You can run, but you can't hide, foolish minor."

John entered the plaza, his compass reading "N." He turned to the left, taking the street on the left. Once he turned onto it, the compass changed to "W." This time, Jay was able to make a harder turn and follow him into the street.

John looked back at the map, following its every direction towards the exit.

Come on…Come on…Don't lose track…Don't lose track…

He swerved constantly from street to street, nearly missing several turn-offs. Every move he made, Jay copied.

Then, after what seemed like nonstop twists and turns, he saw the huge metal gate looming before him. It was still closed.

But John didn't care.

He floored it, traveling at maximum speed, and slammed through the old gate, smashing both halves off their hinges. One half fell right to the ground, while the other stayed partially in place.

Naturally, Jay's truck followed behind him and smashed aside the remains of the gate.

Never before was John actually happy to see the Film Lot once again. He continued driving along, heeding the directions of the signs, pointing in various directions. He swerved past hangars and props, seeing signs every so often.

Eventually, he was heading straight down a long alley between two rows of hangars, similar to the one right after the starting line. Up ahead was the replica of the 1,000-foot cliff. And at the base, he barely see the small sign. He prepared to turn in a certain direction. Just as he was barely ten feet from it, he could see that it was pointing to the left…

But just then, Jay finally caught up to him, and rammed the back of his station wagon. John was startled and lost control. He instinctively accelerated, slamming right through the fragile sign. He knew that he was going beyond the intended path, but he couldn't let Jay catch him. Even as he drove up the cheesy, fake cliff, he knew that he had nowhere to go, but up.

As they drove, both John and Jay slowed down considerably, knowing that if they went too fast, it would put too much strain on the support beams of the "cliff," and could easily cause it to collapse right beneath them.

As they drove along the path, John started to sweat greatly from the nervousness he felt. For one, he was driving away from his intended path, and closer to nowhere. Two, the homicidal maniac was literally right on his tail, and he didn't know how to shake him off.

Then John remembered something. He glanced over at the passenger seat, where the retrieved spear rested.

He picked it up, holding the wheel with one hand, and the spear in the other. He looked at it.

Could it possibly work?

He looked back at the truck pursuing him, and could see Jay leaning forward, eyes locked on him.

What the heck? It's worth a try.

He then readied the spear, keeping it below the seat and out of sight of the truck driver.

John slowed down a bit, so that the truck was right behind him. Then he made his move.

"Eat this!"

John immediately leaned out the window and chucked the spear straight at the truck's windshield. Jay's eyes widened as it flew straight towards him.

John watched as the spear did, in fact, actually puncture through the glass windshield, creating a massive spider-web crack that covered half of the windshield.

"Yes!"

John took advantage of this distraction and quickly sped up, heading farther up the cliff.

Make-Up Confessional

John: OK, it may not have been the best plan, and I was a little more desperate at the time, but I have to admit; the results of that attack far exceeded my expectations.

End

Meanwhile, Jay's eyes temporarily focused on the tip of the spear, which had come to barely within an inch of his face. He was stunned for a moment, then regained his professionalism. He grabbed the tip of the spear and snapped it right off, throwing it out the window.

He then grabbed the wood of the spear, still lodged in the glass. He was about to remove it, but then noticed something. He peered hard at the glass, trying to see through it, but it was no good. The cracks were too great. And it was too much trouble to lean out the window or lean towards the undamaged half of the windshield. So instead, he simply grabbed the wood of the spear, still lodged in the hole, and started shaking it around inside the hole, knocking away all of the loose and/or damaged shards of glass.

Eventually, he cleared out the entire half of the windshield that had been affected. He then picked up the pole and threw it out the hole where the windshield was. It rolled down the hood, then fell down past the grille, then landed in front of the wheels, where it was instantly smashed in half.

Despite the wind and the occasional bug right in his face, he kept driving, focused only on the car ahead of him.

John looked back again at the truck that, this time, was quite a ways behind him. After seeing how easily Jay had fixed the problem, he mentally slapped himself.

Stupid! That didn't do enough!

He slammed the wheel in frustration, knowing that the top of the cliff was approaching, and that now he was truly out of weapons.

He glanced over at the idol, sitting on the passenger seat with the map and where the spear had also been. He looked back at the road for a moment, then quickly focused again on the idol. He thought he heard something. He instantly picked it up, looked at it for a moment, then pressed it to his ear as he drove.

Yes…he could hear a soft ticking coming from inside the idol. He looked back at it and squinted hard. He could barely see a thin line, a gap in the idol, running directly across the entire circumference of the idol. It was almost directly between the upper and lower row of teeth in Hatchet's hard scowl.

He quickly shoved the idol between his legs, holding it firm, then pulled on the top of it with one hand. After a brief moment, it popped wide open. The scowl turned into a yawing face as it split open, revealing a small clock inside. The red, digital numbers read 3:00. However, the moment it popped open, it started counting down.

2:59

2:58

John realized then what it was. His eyes widened, then he grinned as he got one last idea.

He looked back behind him once again, seeing how far behind him Jay still was. He continued smiling, then instantly got another thought.

He looked around him, seeing how much he could see from his height on the cliff. Judging from the view, he was about halfway up. He would never get enough time to let the countdown get lower. This could destroy his plan.

He angrily shook the idol. Just then, he heard a click, and the idol popped open even wider. The countdown was decreasing much more rapidly.

2:57

2:55

2:53

Perfect.

He looked back at Jay, then thought of something else. He saw all of the cheesy fake trees and other props lining the cliff. He knew one way to slow down the ascent.

He turned off the path and started plowing through all of the trees. As he did, the cardboard and thin wood that the trees were made of instantly snapped loose, flying over John's car and right into Jay's truck. Most of the fragments flew up high enough to fly over his hood, and straight through the broken windshield.

Jay swatted at several of the pieces of debris raining in on him, knocking them aside or out the window. But it continued coming. At one point, a sharp piece of wood flew right towards his face. He frantically ducked just as the sharp point came straight for his eye, and it hit the wall behind him, falling to the floor.

Jay sat back up, then quickly fixed the problem by donning a pair of sunglasses.

However, the slight distraction bought the teen more time and allowed him to pull even farther ahead, swerving quickly in between the trees.

John looked down at the bomb.

2:37

2:34

It was getting closer. And so was the top of the cliff. John swerved the car again to avoid a large rock in his path. The sudden movement caused the map to fly right out the window.

The map fluttered right up to Jay's truck, soaring through the windshield. Jay saw it, but before he could react, it landed on his face, covering his sight. He instantly tore it off and threw it out the window, then looked back just in time to see the huge rock that John had dodged coming right up in front of him.

Unable to react, Jay could only hold on as the truck bounced violently over the obstacle, jerking him wildly and causing him to fall forward, his head hitting one of the few remaining pieces of glass. The shard left a cut on his forehead.

"Argh!" He muttered in pain as he clutched his forehead.

By this time, the three distractions Jay had faced all gave John one heck of a head start. He was just about three quarters of the way there, while Jay was only halfway up.

And the bomb was at about 1:00.

John finally noticed the ground straightening out, and once again becoming flat as he reached the top. Almost immediately, he could see the two stages, still left over from the comedy skit challenge, everything on them arranged the way they had been during that challenge.

He instantly swerved around them, pulling around and stopping just out of sight behind the second one, with the edge of the cliff right next to him. Grabbing the idol, he jumped out of the car.

John walked around the stages, standing just at the top of the climb of the cliff. He looked down the cliff, waiting for his pursuer to approach.

Then he saw it.

The massive truck pulled out of the cluster of fake trees, and sped up the path towards him. And boy, did Jay look mad.

John clutched the bomb tightly. Glancing down at the clock, he saw that it read 0:43.

John then looked at the fast approaching truck.

Hope that my old pitching skills from Little League days haven't left me yet.

He then reared back, standing on one foot, preparing to throw the almost ball-like bomb with all his might.

The truck was close now. The countdown had reached 0:45.

He waited, then cranked his arm several times, then finally launched it.

The bomb flew out over the ground, eventually sloping down towards the ground. The moment it hit the ground, it bounced like a ball. Then it hit the ground, bouncing again. Every time it hit, it bounced again, showing no signs of stopping.

Just as Jay's truck approached, the bomb hit what it needed. It hit a small rock in the path; too small to affect Jay's truck, but big enough for the bomb to hit. It impacted at an angle, flying straight up and into the grille of the truck. Its almost flat edge from the raised upper part instantly lodged between two thin slats, securing its place.

"YES!" John celebrated for a moment, then quickly retreated back to his car, preparing for a hasty getaway.

Jay thought he saw a flash of light as the sun reflected off of something shiny right in front of his truck, but as quickly as it came, it was gone. He stared for a long moment, then simply shrugged it off and resumed driving.

Then the countdown reached 0:00.

The explosion went off, completely destroying the entire grille and front half of the truck's engine, consuming it in the smoke and fire that came next. Pieces of the engine and broken slats from the grille flew everywhere, and fire and smoke from the blast, combined with steam from the totaled engine, flew up over the hood of the truck, and straight through the hole where the windshield was.

Almost instantly, Jay started hacking and coughing nonstop, feebly swatting at the cloud of smoke around him. His eyes were watering, and his vision was greatly clouded by the explosion.

It a desperate attempt to see where he was going, he leaned out the window of the truck, only to see the first of the two stages right in front of him.

Jay effortlessly smashed through the stage, causing even more debris to fly up and into the cab of the truck. Pillows, lamps, wood, and even a window all flew up and into his face. Jay simply punched them all away from him with one swing of his fist.

But he couldn't take much more, and threw the shift into Park. At the same time, he slammed on the brakes with both feet. However, this turned out to be a mistake, as he applied so much pressure to the pedal, it snapped off.

Jay waited, hoping the truck would stop now that it was in Park. But even so, it continued skidding along, smashing through the second stage. More debris rained on the helpless driver. He tried to jump out of the truck, but he remembered his seatbelt. He reached over and tried to release it, but it was jammed. Out of desperation, Jay grabbed the entire belt buckle and yanked it right out of its place with all his might, breaking it in half and releasing the belt.

John could see the truck smash through the first stage, and started to turn the key.

Wouldn't you know it? The car wouldn't start.

"NOOOO!" He turned the key harder, pushing hard on the gas pedal. The car revved and coughed, but wouldn't get moving. John threw the shift into Park, then back into Drive again. He turned the key hard for a second time, getting a brief shudder.

"Come on! COME ON!" He paused, growing frustrated and scared out of his wits. He looked back at the truck. It smashed through the second stage, coming to within two seconds of his car.

"ARGH!" He twisted the key with all his might, stomping hard on the pedal. Finally, it choked and roared to life. Tires screeching, he sped away from the path of the truck just before it would've hit him. However, he did feel the truck barely clip the rear end of his car, scratching the paint and breaking a taillight. John swerved briefly, then regained control enough to pull ahead about five feet. He then stopped again, then turned around to watch as the truck soared over the edge of the cliff.

Just as Jay had removed the seatbelt and reached for the door handle, he saw that it was already too late.

The following minute and a half almost seemed to run in slow motion.

The truck screeched off the edge of the cliff, its grille and engine still on fire, and debris still covering it and inside the cab. The cab leaned slightly to the right as it fell, before the rest of the truck fell after it. All the way, it seemed to be groaning a loud, deep groan.

Jay desperately clutched to the wheel for dear life as he fell. The truck fell in a straight nosedive for the ground, 1,000 feet below it. However, as it fell farther and farther, faster and faster, it slowly started flipping in midair. Soon, the truck was falling upside-down towards the ground. As it fell this way, it clipped many of the outer support beams holding up the cliff. Jay closed his eyes as he felt the blood rush to his head briefly.

But then it flipped over again, this time with the rear end of the huge truck facing the ground, and the cab up in the air. After it fell for a moment like this, it did the exact same rotation again in midair, once again flipping upside-down then right side up again. It was when the rear end of the truck was facing the ground again when it finally hit.

The back of the huge tanker connected with the wall of the small shark pool at the base of the cliff. It scraped the wood of the pool wall, creating several large punctures, before it actually connected with the pavement.

The impact caused the metal of the tanker to bend greatly, which resulted in a massive split in the side. Real gasoline started pouring, like a fountain, into the pool. For several seconds, it stayed like that: cab in the air, tanker split open, gasoline mixing with the water in the pool (which killed both of the sharks inside).

Then it finally moved. The truck slowly started to fall over, creaking and groaning loudly once again. It slowly fell to the side, once again in slow motion, before it hit the ground. Metal crunched as a portion of the truck was flattened. The moment that the metal bridge connecting the cab and the tanker impacted the ground, it instantly snapped at nearly an 80 degree angle, almost like an animal that just had its neck broken. The truck bounced once, then rested for good against the ground.

But it still wasn't over.

The damage in the wall of the pool caused by the falling truck finally took its toll. The weak wooden wall instantly burst, and the water flowed out. It washed up against the fallen truck, flowing past it and down towards the cab. Of course, quite a bit of the gasoline mixed in with the water when it first landed, but even now, gasoline was still pouring from the hole in the truck and into the swirling water.

The rushing water was fast approaching the cab of the truck. Where there were still burning pieces of debris.

The mixed gasoline and water flowed right into a small piece of burning wood. The flame caught almost instantly. The blaze shot straight back up the flow of mixed liquid, heading straight for the tanker, where a majority of the gasoline still was.

The moment the flame hit the tanker, a massive explosion came from inside the tanker as the gasoline was ignited at once. The metal was instantly charred black, and many pieces of it went flying. The explosion shot the truck straight up into the air, flying a good thirty feet or so. At the zenith of its height, the blast destroyed what remained of the connection between the cab and the rest of the truck. The cab was instantly blown away from the truck, soaring through the air for several seconds.

When the tanker came back down, it slammed against the ground once more, flattening more metal and nearly causing it to collapse on itself. Even after the tanker hit the ground, the cab continued its flight. It flipped around in the air, this time with the passenger's side of the cab facing upward, and the driver's side facing the ground. It stayed like this as it started to descend, rapidly approaching the ground.

Finally, the cab hit the ground, landing about fifty feet or so away from the remains of the tanker, and slid along the hard ground for another twenty feet or so, sending a shower of sparks and fragments of metal flying everywhere, before it finally came to a grinding halt.

All of that, in less than two minutes.

John watched the entire spectacle from the top of the cliff. His mouth was agape when the explosion occurred, and he mainly focused on the cab after it separated from the rest of the truck. After it all died down, it was dead silent. There was no movement, save for the flickering flames of the still-burnin