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Years ago, Total Drama was cancelled, but left it's mark by starting the trend of teen reality shows. Now, the new holders of the rights to Total Drama set out to cash in on the craze by making a reboot of the popular franchise, with an 'American' version of the show! Three struggling actors host in America's capital of Washington, D.C. where twenty-two teens compete for two million dollars along fame and fortune. Who will win the show? Who will lose? And will the show be a success or the last cliffnote in Total Drama's history...

Now has a tropes page here

Characters

Staff

Rhonda- Hostess 

Jenny- Co-hostess

Toby - Co-host

Contestants

Aiden- The American Patriot 

Bethany- The All Star

Cynthia- The Sociopath 

Diamonique- The Scatterbrain 

Easton- The Older Twin

Frannie- The Circus Act

Griswold- The Lineman

Hayden- The Big Brother

Ignacio- Mr. Fanservice

Jasper- Some Nobody

Kalino- The Slacker

Lita- The Knockout

Melissa- The Sweetheart

Ness- The Jinx

Pascal- The Pop Star

Riley- The Bro

Seraphina- The Psychic

Tessa- The Big Shot

Vance- The Rodeo Champ

Weston- The Younger Twin

Xidorn- The Straight Shooter

Zipporah- The Token Goth

Images

Chapters

Chapter 1 Total Drama Goes to Washington (Part One)

"No, no over there!”

“I put it over there earlier!”

“Then you’ll have no trouble putting it there again!”

An old woman glanced up from her magazine. She had only been in Washington for a few days, yet she had gotten use to the busy nature of the metro stations. But scurrying around the plaza were camera crews, grips, gaffers, makeup artists, and other such ‘behind the scene’ workers. Two young ones were arguing about where to place a bundle of balloons, while others hung a banner.

“What’s happening here?” the old woman asked herself. 

The girl sitting next to her looked up from her scripts. “Didn’t you hear? This station is the premiere of a reality show!”

“Reality show?” the old woman replied. “Which one?”

“Total Drama,” the girl replied.

The old woman tilted her head in confusion. “Total Drama… is it one of those teen reality shows networks keep trying to pass off?”

The girl squirmed a little. “Well, kind of. It was a popular show in Canada that had a cult following in the US. It basically started the trend of teenage reality shows.”

“Oh yes!” the old woman recalled. “I remember watching a few of those early seasons. Whatever happened to that show?”

The girl scowled. “Budget issues, lawsuits, a big drop in ratings, failed merchandise…it all ended up leading the network to cancel it. An international corporation bought it and tried to revive it, but that plan had issues, never got on air and the show was cancelled…again.”

“So why is it back now?” the old woman inquired.

“Well it’s like you said,” the girl replied, “a lot of networks are making reality shows starring teenagers, all trying to mimic Total Drama. Despite all of its later seasons' flaws, the original was still a huge success. The corporation still has the rights, but there soon to expire. The corporation is having success with a version exclusive to Canada, and its head is a huge fan of the show, so the network is trying to reboot it. They’re calling it an American version of Total Drama.”

“I might just have to watch it,” the old woman said. “Is that old host returning? I remember him being rather handsome.”

“No,” the girl replied, “he left the franchise after a health scare to pursue his acting career. Then he did some bad movies and afterwards…disappeared. Some say he went to jail for some illegal scam, while others say he ran away with his big, burly assistant to a private island. Some insist he died a long time ago.”

“Well that's a darn shame,” the woman stated. “Who is the new host?”

The girl smiled and peered into the old woman’s magazine. She flipped a few pages before she stopped, and pointed at picture. The picture was of a young woman, the magazine said eighteen but she could pass for younger. She was simple, with brunette hair and hazel eyes, dressed in a purple hoodie and average jeans.

“Hmm,” the old woman said, "she seems rather plain and frumpy to actually host a big TV show, don’t you think?”

Rhonda!” a voice called. “Get over here, the show’s about to start."

The young girl stood up and scowled at the old lady. “Thanks for that.”

Rhonda walked up to the mass of balloons, where a boy and girl about Rhonda’s age argued.

The girl was a petite, short youth with a freckled face and a slightly pointed noise. She wore a lime green shirt underneath a worn out pair of overalls, that she coordinated with high-top purple sneakers, which lit up when she walked or stomped her feet. Her orange ponytail bobbed from side to side as she shook her head.

In contrast, the boy was rather tall, though his hunching posture made it less noticeable. His face seemed to have a frown permanently carved into it. He dressed in a plain gray sweatshirt covered in woodchips and jeans stained with grease spots. His baby blue eyes were hardly noticeable due to the heavy, dark circles surrounding them.

“I’m here,” Rhonda stated, “How long till the show starts?”

“Oh it started three minutes ago!” the redhead replied. “We’ve been filming you talking to the old broad over there.”

“What!” Rhonda exclaimed. “Why didn’t you call me?”

“We were on break,” the blonde said.

“Union laws,” the redhead added.

“Remind me of why you two idiots are here again?” Rhonda sighed.

“Because we’re your only friends not from the Internet and you couldn’t get anyone else,” the redhead replied. “Remember?”

“We’re still filming,” the blonde stated.

Rhonda turned to a cameraman and forced a smile. “Hello. And welcome to…Total Drama Genesis.”

The camera panned up to the banner, which read Total Drama Genesis in blue letters.

Rhonda nodded. “I’m your host Rhonda and these two knuckleheads are my co-hosts, Jenny and Toby. You might recognize us from our sketch comedy or our Youtube videos.”

“Probably not though,” Jenny admitted.

“But we’re also big fans of reality television,” Rhonda continued. “And we’re here in Washington, D.C. to bring you the return of one of reality TV’s biggest darlings; Total Drama! Like the original, twenty-two teens will compete on our show. They’ll live together in close quarters, duke it out in intense challenges, and vote off one another in ceremonies until only two are left to compete for the grand prize; now two million dollars! Who will be able to conquer the toughest, grossest, intensest competition ever? Let’s find out!"

A loud screech echoed through the station. A subway halted to a stop at the gates, releasing a stampede of travelers into the metro.

“We’ll be meeting our cast of newcomers at this station,” Rhonda explains. “They’ll be getting off the subway at any-“

The hostess was interrupted by a basketball to the face, which knocked her down onto the pavement.

“That must be one our of our newbies now.”

“I’m so sorry about that,” a voice called out.

A tall woman jogged up to the hosts. She was a somewhat muscular girl of African American descent, and towered over the hosts at over six feet tall. Her jet-black hair was cut in a bob, and sported a red sweatband that matched the bands on her wrists and the red striped sneakers on her feet. Her red jersey was numbered with a '1' that matched her red shorts.

The basketball bounced onto the jockette's left finger, who spun it while she helped Rhonda off the ground. The athlete carried all her luggage in a single Harlem Globetrotter brand duffle bag on her right shoulder.

“Crap, you alright?” the athlete asked.

“Fine,” Rhonda replied, “the only thing hurt was my pride. Anyway, it’s nice to have you on the show Bethany.”

Bethany blushed. “Again, I’m so so so so so so so so-”

“-It’s cool,” Rhonda said. “I see you came in your uniform.”

“Yeah,” Bethany replied, “it’s for the best shot-put team ever, the Shelbyville Lady Canaries!”

Bethany laughed. “I figured this was going to be a tough competition, so I should dress for it. It's going to be tough, right?”

Rhonda smirked. “Oh, you have no idea.”

"I see our next contestant,” Toby stated.

The camera scanned the horizon and focused in on the middle of a crowd, where sky blue hair stood out a mile away. As the crowd dispersed, it turned out to be a thin Asian boy, who smiled wide.

The camera zoomed in on his black sweatshirt, which featured a deformed sea monster howling at the moon, with the words ‘Part Of Your World’ printed at the top in pink cursive. The man's purple jeans were held up by rainbow suspenders decorated with buttons of memes. On his back was a panda pack, while he carried an instrument case in one hand, and a camera case in the other.

“Welcome Xidorn,” Rhonda said.

Xidorn sat his stuff down and shook Rhonda’s hand. “It’s a pleasure to be here.”

"Cool instrument case," Bethany said, analyzing all the stickers and decorations on it.

“Thanks” Xidorn replied, "I play the french horn. I see you're a Harlem Globetrotters fan."

Bethany blushed. "No! Er yes...kind of. My dad is a really big fan."

“So how was the metro Xidorn?” Rhonda asked.

“To be honest,” Xidorn admitted, "It was…uncomfortable; some of the people on there…made me anxious.”

“Really?” Rhonda questioned. “How so?”

“To be honest,” Xidorn admitted. “It was just this one person in the corner who…oh my god. They followed me…”

“Who?”

Xidorn started to shake. “Behind you…”

Bethany raised an eyebrow. “What do you…”

Bethany froze as she felt a deep breath exhale on her neck. Slowly, she turned around. There was no one.

Xidorn shook even more. “Where did…”

The two arrivals turned around in a fright as they heard a clang. Even the hosts spun around as a new contestant dropped their stuff off.

“That’s the person,” Xidorn whispered, “from the subway.”

Standing in front of them was girl. She looked mostly normal; she was of average height, and wore a school uniform that consisted of a buttoned, white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a dark blue skirt, and black flats. Yet her hair was naturally white and matched her pale skin. Her face was expressionless and her grey eyes showed no emotion at all. The woman carried a nondescript black bag.

Rhonda shook. “Oh hello Cynthia.. uh, how long have you been here?”

She stared back.

“It's not at all terrifying to meet you Cynthia,” Bethany greeted as she took deep breaths and Xidorn cowered behind her.

Cynthia said nothing.

We were just talking about what we like to do," Bethany said. "I umm…play sports, and well Xidorn plays…uh, French horn. What do you do?”

Cynthia unzipped her bag. The newcomers peered inside to see a chainsaw, knives, a can of gasoline, and a group of black trash bags.

“Oh god,” Xidorn whimpered.

Another subway pulled to a stop. The newcomers and hosts walked ahead to try and see through the crowd. When they steppedback, Cynthia was gone. In her place were shards of broken glass arranged into a eye.

"Are you okay Xidorn?” Bethany asked.

“Honestly,” Xidorn admitted, “I peed myself a little.”

“Same,” Rhonda stated. “Uh… I mean here come our next arrivals.”

Dashing forward were two twins. They were kind of muscular, yet kind of skinny. The twins were black and their hair was shaved completely bald. Their shorts were grey, as were their sneakers. The only difference between the two was one wore a green sweatshirt with a yellow spiral, while the other wore a yellow sweatshirt with a green spiral.

“Hi,” the first twin greeted. “This is my brother Weston.”

“And this is my brother Easton,” the other twin added.

“A pleasure to have you two here,” Rhonda said. “So, why did you two decide to join the show?”

“Well I always wanted to compete on a reality show,” Easton stated. “And Weston thought…”

“It’d be fun if we competed together,” Weston finished. “And together…”

“We’re going to kick butt!” the twins shouted in unison.

“I’m already confused as to who is who,” Rhonda whispered to Toby.

“You do know we're right here?” Easton asked. “And we…

But before Weston could finish their thought, the next subway pulled up. Unlike before however, the crowd quietly started to part as someone marched through it, staring and gasping at the confident girl.

Bethany gasped. "Holy cannolis! Isn’t that the gymnast who won a gold medal at the Summer Olympics?”

“The one on all the talk shows?” Xidorn added with a grimace.

Rhonda nodded. “This is Tessa.”

Tessa strutted forward. She had long, light brunette hair in a ponytail and dark, green eyes. Except for the gold medal that hung around her neck, Tessa dressed like a normal girl, wearing a green flowerily shirt, white pants, and brown boots. Upon seeing the other newcomers, Tessa scrunched her nose.

“Tessa, it’s great to have you here,” Rhonda welcomed.

Tessa didn’t reply, as she studied the faces of the current arrivals.

“Wow, I can’t believe we’re meeting a celebrity!” Easton said.

“Me either!” Weston added.

Bethany hyperventilated. "Ermygoshyou'retotallyfamousvlsmdslfkmvsdlf...I mean, nice to meet you. I'm an athlete too!"

“Really?” Tessa replied.

“Well not like you,” Bethany admited. “You're a professional! Wow, I feel like this competition just got a whole lot more serious.”

Don’t get the wrong idea,” Tessa stated. “I am not one of those competitive ‘jock’ types, unlike…certain people.”

“Oh…okay,” Bethany said.

“So, why are you here?” Easton asked.

“Yeah,” Weston added.

“I wanted to,” Tessa said, "what’s it to you?”

“Just curious is all,” Easton replied.

Tessa glared at the other arrivals, who backed away.

“I’m trapped with a bunch of meatheads,” Tessa whispered, as she rolled her eyes.

Another metro arrived. The crowd rushed out, yet people started falling down like dominos. Pushing her way to the front was a short and plump African American girl. She dressed in a silvery sequin top, apple bottom brand jeans, and fur ugg boots, accessorizing a raspberry beret and dangly, gold hoop earrings. She sported a brunette weave with blond highlights. Her arms were laced with shopping bags, and in her hand she held a doggy bag.

"Hey lady,” she said to Rhonda, in a slow, yet deep voice. “I’m looking for that Total Drama show. You seen it?”

Rhonda pointed up as the camera zoomed out to the banner.

“So they’re upstairs?” the girl asked.

“We’re right here Diamonique,” Rhonda sighed.

“Woah, how did you know my name?” Diamonique asked.

“I’m the host of the show,” Rhonda replied.

Okay,” Diamonique said, “but how did you know my name?”

Rhonda facepalmed. “Why do you have so many bags?”

"I took an early flight so I could go shopping,” Diamonqiue admitted. “I even got some tacos!”

“Did you enjoy the subway?” Rhonda asked.

“Eh, it was fine breakfast but I think it’s better as a lunch place,” Diamonqiue replied. “By the way, do you or do you not know where that Total Drama show is?”

A hearty laugh rang out through the metro station. Behind Diamonique was a large man, almost as tall as Bethany and as wide as Diamonqiue. He wore a red football varisety jacket, cargo pants and sneakers. He had a bit of a stubble on his chin to match his brown hair.

He patted Diamonique on the back while he laughed, almost knocking the girl over.

“You’re a riot,” the boy laughed.

“Nice to have you here Griswold,” Rhonda stated.

“My name’s Diamonique,” the ditz stated.

“How did you get a name like that?” Griswold asked.

“My parents let me rename myself for a birthday,” Diamonique replied. “So I named myself after my birthstone and Monique.”

“I was actually born in April too," Griswold replied. 

“April?” Diamonqiue asked. “I was born in September.”

Griswold laughed again as he marched on. Diamonqiue shrugged, walked away, and began eating another taco.

"Coolio, another athlete!” Bethany stated as she and Griswold high-fived.

“Well I’ve got to represent my primo team after we became state champions this year!” Griswold announced. “Go Bulldogs!”

“Great,” Tessa mumbled to herself as she rubbed her temples, “another cocky jock.”

Rhonda looked for the next subway, when Toby tapped her shoulder. He pointed to the stairs, where a young man entered carrying a large backpack. He was jogging down the steps and beamed a smile. He had blonde hair, blue eyes, and a somewhat muscular build. He wore an American flag t-shirt, a red baseball cap, and a pair of long military camo pants.

He marched up to Rhonda, and then saluted her. “Good day mam’.”

“Hey Aiden,” Rhonda greeted, “Welcome to the show!”

Aiden nodded and marched over to the others.

“Why didn’t you take the subway?” Xidorn asked.

“Oh I’ve lived in Washington D.C. my whole life,” Aiden bragged. “I would have been here sooner, but I had to go see all of nation’s monuments…and cry at the symbolism and majesty of them.”

“Okay...” Xidorn replied, “but don't you live here?”

“Yeah,” Aiden stated, “That’s just what I do every morning.”

“It's good to be proud of your country," Rhond said. “I’m actually very happy to be in the state of Washington, at my nation’s capital.”

“Mam' you do know that Washington D.C. isn’t in the state of Washington, right?” Aiden questioned.

“WHAT?” Rhonda asked. “I thought it was like New York City in New York. What state are we in?”

"We aren’t in a state,” Aiden replied. “We’re in the district of Columbia.”

Rhonda’s eye twitched in annoyance. “So the United States capital isn’t even a state? That’s kind of stupid.”

“I think it works,” Aiden said. “Washington acts as neutral ground for the other states.”

“We should’ve named our capital after our first president,” Diamonique stated.

“You mean George Washington?” Tessa questioned.

"Who the heck is that guy!?” Diamonqiue asked.

Jenny pointed. “Ooh, I can see our next victim approaching!”

Everyone looked and saw as the newest arrival, a girl, approached the growing mass of teens and frowned at the group.

Seraphina,” Rhonda stated to the girl. “How’s it going girl?”

“Alright,” the new arrival replied.

Seraphina was of average height for a girl her age. Her skin was somewhat pale and coordinated rather well with her long, dark auburn hair and somewhat squinty hazel eyes.

Draped over her shoulders and lavender tee, was a wool shawl. She wore simple blue jeans and white sneakers with a lavender stripe. She looked nice but didn’t seem too outstanding. On her shirt in white letters was the phrase, ‘Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

“So are you excited to be here?” Rhonda asked.

Seraphina shrugged. “I guess.”

A few brief seconds passed. Seraphina raised her eyebrows and walked into the mass of arrivals.

“Nice to meet you Seraphina," Xidorn said. 

“Uh...” Seraphina replied. “Yeah, right back at you.”

Xidorn held out his hand. Seraphina drew back, accidentally dropping her bag. It opened, and out spilled an archaic set of cards all over the platform. Seraphina immediately reached down and began scoping them up.

“Let me help you dude,” Griswold said, as he and others tried to help pick them up.

What are those?” Tessa asked, not moving.

“They're called none of your business,” Seraphina replied.

“Aren’t these tarot cards?” Griswold asked as he picked up a few.

“Don’t you know that stuff is mumbo jumbo?” Tessa stated.

Seraphina rolled her eyes. “I had no idea, but thank God you informed me.”

“Cool!” Easton said, picking up a card.

“Yeah cool,” Weston added.

“Are you a psychic?” Easton asked.

Seraphina sighed. “Yeah, but it’s not a big deal.”

“It’s not,” Tessa stated, “it’s sad; I’ll have you know that I don’t support who-blah like that.”

“I care,” Seraphina replied as she collected her cards. "Deeply." 

“Hey pals, let's stay cool,” Aiden stated. 

"I’m just using my right to free speech,” Tessa snapped back. “It’s an amendment and you can’t respond with telling me I shouldn’t.”

“Actually, while we do have a right to free speech, people do have a right to respond negatively,” Aiden said. “So while you could agrue we can say whatever we want, we also can be held to those consequences and-“

“-Shut it!” Tessa screamed.

“Fine,” Seraphina stated. “If she wants to use her free speech, so will I; you’re a ****ing *****.

Griswold walked into the middle of the two girls. “Hey dudettes; let’s all take a chill pill and talk this out.”

Tessa scoffed and sulked off.

Seraphina rolled her eyes and walked to the back of the group. "I knew this show was a bad idea..."

“Or not,” Griswold mumbled to himself. “That works too.”

Another subway arrived. One of the last to leave was a short girl, with dirty blonde hair. The youth was dressed in a brown sweatshirt and boots and a black skirt and leggings. Her left arm was completely bandaged.

She glanced to the sides, as if crossing the street. Walking forward, she saw the banner and waved at everyone…before tripping and tumbling forward into a waste bin. Trying to crawl out, she tipped it over and busted her chin on the floor.

“Ow,” the girl groaned.

“Ouch,” Griswold cringed, "bogus.”

Immediately, another passenger from the subway, a light blue eyed boy, rushed over. The young man was tall and muscular, with curly strawberry blonde hair. He wore a light blue plaid shirt, with the top buttons undone, and matching jeans.

The man grabbed the youth's hand and helped pull her up. “You alright kid?”

The girl blushed and nodded.

“She’s probably just faking it for attention,” Tessa grumbled to herself.

“Nice to see you Ness and Hayden,” Rhonda said to the girl and man respectively.

“Thanks,” Hayden replied, “I’m thrilled. Now are you sure you're not hurt sprout? That was quite a fall.”

“It’s okay, it tends to happen,” Ness admitted.

“Where is your luggage Ness?” Rhonda asked.

Ness blushed. “Well a homeless, crazy subway lady kind of…sort of…punched and stole all of my stuff. But it’s not important; I’m just really, really excited to be here.”

“Well we’re excited to have you,” Rhonda reassured.

The next subway arrived, yet the first passenger off wasn’t a person, but a ring-tailed lemur! Jumping atop people’s heads, it landed on the camera and titled it to back to the subway exit.

Passengers were knocked out of the door by someone unicycling out. It was clown; a purple haired girl, dressed in a colorful outfit, complete with a flower pinned onto her chest. The clown wore big red shoes, a big red nose on her face, and even had her face powdered and painted in clown makeup. The clown summersaulted off the unicycle, performing a split right in front of Rhonda. The hosts and most of the other arrivals clapped as the clown bowed.

"Put it there!" the clown said to Rhonda.

Rhonda shook the clown's hand, only to be shocked by a joy buzzer.

The clown snorted and held her hands up to her face, only to shock herself. "Sorry but what can I say, I have an electric personality."

Everyone groaned.

Rhonda coughed smoke. "Wonderful to see you Frannie."

“Great to be here Rhonnie,” Frannie said. “Do you mind if I can you Rhonnie? I’m calling you Rhonnie. Or what about Rhonda Stoppable? Or Rhondonalido? Rhon-Rhon? Nope, going to back to Rhonnie.”

The lemur wheeled over the unicycle, now draped in Frannie’s bags. Frannie petted the primate and allowed it to crawl on to her shoulder. 

“What is that?” Tessa asked.

“I’m a clown,” Frannie replied. “I thought that was obvious...”

“On your shoulder,” Tessa grunted.

“Ohh,” Frannie replied. “This is Ziba. She’s my pet lemur, though some say I’m more her pet, am I right Ziba?”

The lemur rolled her eyes.

“That was awesommmmme,” a hazy voice stated.

Walking over now was a tall, extremely skinny guy of Pacific Islander descent. His eyes seemed to always be closed, and he wore an unbuttoned Hawaiian t-shirt and cargo shorts. His black hair was cut short, matching a soul patch he had grown. He carried hardly any luggage or bags.

“Here comes Kalino now,” Rhonda stated.

“You were all like, 'woosh', and I was like, ‘huhhhh’, and then I was like, ‘woahhhh’,” Kalino described. “And then I was all…’huhhhh’ again.”

“I didn’t know we had a poet,” Seraphina stated.

Somewhere in the station a person gasped. People turned their heads as a white horse charged down the stairs.

“Hi-ho Tinfoil!” the rider yelled, as the horse leapt over the other arrivals and landed in front of Rhonda.

The horse neighed and it threw its head back, letting its mane dance in the wind. The horse’s rider tossed his white cowboy hat back and waved it around.

Jumping down was a short lad, though he seemed taller with the heels on his silver spurred boats. White and silver seemed to be his signature colors, as his suit was white and adorned with silver tassels and finishes. His belt was the only expectation, an oversized gold champion’s belt.

Under his white hat was messy red hair, and under his nose was a matching curly mustache. He turned to the other arrivals, winked one of his dark, green eyes and flashed a smile, revealing a missing front tooth. He looked much older than the other arrivals. 

“Wonderful entrance Vance,” Rhonda stated.

Vance tipped his hat over his face and leaned against a dark pillar. “Aw shoot, it’s just what I do everyday.” His voice sounded more redneck than southern.

Rhonda grimaced. “Be careful…”

“Oh don’t worry little lady,” Vance said. “I’m an expert.”

“You’re leaning against wet paint,” Rhonda stated.

Vance leapt up and blushed, throwing off his now cow print jacket.

“Bro that’s a sweet horse,” Griswold said. “That you’re deputy or something?”

“Oh I got no clue who this here horse is,” Vance replied as he took off his luggage. “I just found ‘em and took ‘em for a ride.”

Vance slapped the horse’s rear end, which sent it charging up the stairs into the streets.

A ringing noise went off as the next subway arrived.

“That’s my phone,” Toby stated. “I’ll be right back.”

As Toby stepped away, the passengers exited into the station. One particular passenger moonwalked out of the metro however.

Flipping around and striking a pose, he noticed the camera and waved. He was a young man about average height with some Asian heritage. His black hair was in a swished bowl cut style (like a boy band member) and under an orange knit cap. He was somewhat muscular, as his blue wife beater showed, and wore designer jeans and name brand white sneakers. His blue eyes seemed to be made of sparkles.

Jogging over, the boy took Rhonda’s hand and shook it. “Yipee Skippy! I made it!"

“I’m glad you’re so enthusiastic Pascal,” Rhonda replied.

“I’ve been a big fan of Total Drama since back in the day,” Pascal stated. “It’s why I started doing reality shows!”

“Well we’re happy to have one of the most popular show jumpers on the reboot,” Rhonda stated.

Pascal rubbed the back of his head. “Thanks. It’s like I always say, believe to achieve!"

“Wasn’t that your first single?” Rhonda asked.

Pascal nodded. “Top of the charts for two weeks straight. But I’m not here to focus on my highly successful career, I’m here to focus on the show. I believed I’d get on Total Drama, and now I achieved it! And if we all believe, with all of our hearts, we can achieve.”

He took his luggage and joined the others as Rhonda shed a few tears.

“Hmm,” Seraphina said to herself, as Pascal passed by.

Kalino sniffed the air. “Woah, does anyone smell…cookies?”

Walking in from the steps was a young lady with somewhat dark features, carrying a ceramic plate wrapped in tinfoil. She was a little short, and had her curly black hair done in short pigtails tied with pink ribbons. Likewise, her light pink shirt had a darker pink Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon on it. She also wore jeans and sneakers. She flashed a large smile. Her only luggage was a duffel bag.

“Nice to see you Melissa,” Rhonda greeted.

“Hi Ms. Rhonda,” Melissa greeted. “I apologize for being so tardy. There was some kind of serious traffic accident, something involving a horse…”

Vance whistled innocently, except he didn’t know how to whistle so he more or less spat everywhere.

“But it’s not that poor pony’s fault I’m delayed,” Melissa admitted. “You see I wanted to bake cookies for everyone!”

The mass of teens swarmed Melissa, each taking a heart shaped cookie.

“I hope it’s all right I made snicker-doodles,” Melissa stated. “I love them because they have such a funny name, though every cookie is unique and special in its own way!”

Tessa refused a cookie. “Oh, how clever of you to try and win over everyone for the competition.”

“Or maybe Melissa is just a nice person,” Xidorn defended.

“Unlike some of us here,” Seraphina added.

“Competition?” Melissa asked.

“Melissa was a late addition to the show,” Rhonda clarified. “As in, we were desperate to fill an open spot during the last two days. She lives in Washington and was nice enough to help some struggling crew members who dropped some paperwork, so we gave her a spot.”

“I’m just glad I was able to help someone in need,” Melissa replied.

“And I thought these cookies were sugary,” Seraphina stated, munching her second cookie. 

“You’re a local?” Aiden questioned.

“Oh I’ve only been living here a week now,” Melissa confessed. “And though it is different from small-town Wisconsin, there’s something magical about living in your great nation’s beautiful capital.”

Aiden’s smile widened. “Gee wiz, that’s exactly how I feel! I’ve lived here my whole life, so you know if you ever want a tour, I’d be happy to give one to you.”

Melissa blushed. “I’d love that.”

“America sure is a fine place,” Tessa scoffed, “if you’re blind.”

WOAH NOW,” Aiden stated. “Now I’ll be the first to admit that America has made a lot of mistakes that aren’t acknowledged enough, and we still have some issues. But we do have certain liberties you won’t find in a lot of nations, and have done a lot of good for a relatively young nation.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Melissa added. “Didn’t you represent the US in the Olympics?”

"That doesn’t make me ignorant,” Tessa stated. “Maybe you’ve just been living too cozy to be aware of what’s actually going on.”

Before anyone could say more, Tessa sulked off again.

“That’s funny,” Jenny said, “I thought that last subway would have more newbies.”

“It did,” a voice said. “I’ve been trying to talk to the staff but no one’s been paying attention to me.”

The hostesses turned to see some guy standing behind them. He was um…there. He had some luggage and brown hair or something. He wore some shoes, and pants and a shirt with some stripes I think.

“Who are you?” Jenny asked. “I mean I didn’t actually look at who the newbies were but...”

“I’m Jasper,” that guy said.

"I don’t remember a Casper,” Rhonda admitted. “And I’ve been studying the cast for weeks so…”

An intern rushed over and whispered in the hostesses’ ear.

Rhonda blushed. “Oh right, Jasper! I apologize; it’s been a stressful day.”

“It’s fine,” Jason Jasper said, “I-“ 

“-Wait!” Jenny interrupted, “Isn’t that the guy with the famous brother that was in his audition tape, before me and Toby lost it? You know, the guy we thought was auditioning?”

Rhonda elbowed Jenny.

“It’s fine,” Jake Jasper sighed, walking to the other arrival. “I’m just glad to be here.”

Toby walked back over to his co-hosts, closing his flip phone. “One of the interns 'happily' informed me that Ignacio is on the upcoming metro.”

Rhonda and several interns squealed, while the cameraman fainted. 

Who is Ignacio?” Xidorn questioned.

Rhonda swooned. “Only one of the most attractive people ever!”

Rhonda pulled out a photo of her pocket. On it was a tall, handsome man of Hispanic heritage. He had a serious expression, and was staring off in the distance with his caramel eyes. He was wearing no clothes, except a tight pair of black briefs. He had well developed pecks and a twelve pack.

“Dang!” Frannie exclaimed. “I’d eat off a body like that! I’d be a lot better than most of the bodies I eat off…”

“I’ve never met him personally…” Rhonda admitted.

“Yet you carry a photo of him?” Seraphina asked.

Rhonda turned red and shoved the photo away. “What…no this was uh…I was holding this for um…Toby!”

“But Toby already has his own photo!” Jenny yelled as her sidekick blushed.

“And you don’t?” Diamonique asked.

“Do I look like I have cooties?” Jenny replied.

“Yes,” Toby said.

“YOUR MOM!” Jenny yelled.

Everyone hushed and turned, as a subway pulled in. As people exited the metro, a teenager with luggage walked over to the banner and…was a goth chick.

“Hey you’re not a sexy man in underwear!” Diamonique yelled.

“Perceptive,” Seraphina stated.

“Hey Zipporah,” Rhonda greeted.

Standing there was an average sized lady who seemed to have some Asian heritage. She looked like your stereotypical goth; lots of black eyeliner, pale face, black nails and long, black hair. Her clothes were all black; a long dress, heeled boots, and a hairband.

Zipporah looked around and sighed. “Let me guess, I’m the goth one. Aren’t I?”

“Well I wouldn’t say that,” Rhonda replied.

“I would!” Jenny shouted.

“Great,” Zipporah replied, "just another reason to hate the false 'Hollywood notion' believing, mainstream, image obsessed business known as television.”

Zipporah sighed again as she took her black bags with her and walked away.

Suddenly, the cameraman pointed and squealed, “I see him!”

Emerging from the crowd was another teen with luggage. And he looked like Ignacio…somewhat. He had a full-grown beard around his face, and his hair done in a ‘man bun’. He wore large sweatpants, a long sleeved red hoodie, and big hiker boots. He walked over and blushed at the many eyes upon him.

“That’s not a sexy man in underwear either!” Diamonique shouted. “Could someone just strip for me, please?”

Very, very slowly Kalino started to take off his shirt. “Surrrreee. I’ll take any chance to be in my birthday suit.”

“Bro, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Griswold stated.

“Hey Ignacio,” Rhonda greeted, sweating profusely.

“Did I do something wrong?” Ignacio asked.

“To be honest,” Xidorn admitted, “I was kind of hoping you’d be shirtless or something.”

Ignacio looked down at the floor, where Rhonda’s picture of him laid. He became even redder.

“Don’t uh…pay attention to those,” Ignacio stated quietly. “I…um…I’m just a normal guy.”

Ignacio dashed off into the back of the crowd.

“Maybe we shouldn’t have taken the agency’s word on him,” Rhonda whispered.

Rhonda was interrupted by a grinding noise. But it wasn’t a subway; a skater grinded down on the rails of the exit. Reaching the end, the skater did a double flip before landing in front of Rhonda. The skater stomped on the board, sending it flying, which she caught in her hands. Her luggage slipped down the rail as the other arrivals cheered.

“Nice entrance Riley,” Rhonda said.

“Thanks bro,” Riley replied.

Riley was a tall teen that was lanky yet also muscular. She had Asian and Hispanic features. Her black hair was long…on her right side, while her left side was completely shaven. She had several piercings; two for each ear, along with gauges, a stud in her nose, a piercing in her belly button, and a piercing on her lip.

Her outfit was...unique; green gator shoes, zebra stripe pajama pants, a red grandpa sweater with the sleeves cut off and the midriff burnt off, faux fox fur cut into a vest over that, and a wolf hat over her noggin.

“I was taking a subway,” Riley said. “But this dude triple dogged dared me to skate over here, and I do not back down on dares. Random dude, if you’re watching this, you so owe me five dollars!”

“Well we’re just glad you’re here,” Rhonda stated.

“I would’ve been here sooner,” Riley stated. “But there was a major accident on the streets; cars piled for blocks, firemen putting out burning buildings, a school bus of children going to the hospital in critical condition. Apparently a horse caused it or something…”

Vance ‘whistled’ even harder.

“Cool outfit bro,” Griswold stated.

“Thanks,” Riley replied. “I wanted to look fancy, so me and my bros went on a spree; it cost twenty whole bucks.”

“Dude that’s crazy,” Griswold responded.

“That’s what I’m saying Broseph!” Riley replied.

Another subway pulled in.

"That should be our last contestant,” Rhonda announced. “Who would be…”

Few patrons exited the car, one a teenage girl pulling luggage. If Ignacio was Mr. Fanservice, then anyone could tell who was Ms. Fanservice; she had flowing black hair, violet eyes, long legs, was rather curvy, and was the most well developed of the cast. She was of African American descent, and dressed nicely, with a designer purple scarf that matched her eyes, a yellow midriff with a purple heart, brown boots, and light purple shorts on. 

"…Lita,” Rhonda said.

“Present,” the girl replied and waved. “Hey y’all. I hope I’m not too late.”

“You’re right on time,” Rhonda stated.

Lita smiled. “Good to hear.”

Lita walked over and stopped at a jaw dropped Weston, raising an eyebrow and closing his jaw.

“Careful honey,” Lita said, “you might catch bugs if you leave your mouth hanging out.”

“Hehe,” Weston giggled and fell back on Easton.

Tessa rolled her eyes at the new arrival.

“Well now that we’re all here,” Rhonda said. “Allow us to take you to your quarters!”

"I only count twenty one of us,” Griswold said.

“Oh she’s here,” Xidorn warned. “Somewhere…watching…waiting…”

“Yeah, she’ll catch up,” Rhonda said.

Rhonda marched towards the stairs, the newcomers following behind her. Rhonda breathed in deeply.

This is going great,” Rhonda thought. “It’ll be a hit I’m sure of it…it has to be, it’s the only thing left that can save our careers. I mean sure Washington D.C. isn’t the ideal survival location, and the network has no faith it and only making it because they’re contractually obligated to…but that doesn’t mean it won’t work, right? RIGHT? Oh, please give me a sign, any sign that…”

Rhonda walked right into a stop sign. She fell back and bumped her head. Opening her eyes, she shrieked as standing over her was…Cynthia. Rhonda jumped up and backed away from Cynthia, as did the other newcomers.

Cynthia carried a black umbrella, which she opened and held over her head. At that second, the rain began to pour and drenched the newbies. Clouds cast away the sun. Lightning crackled across the sky. Wind tore through the streets.

Rhonda looked up at the sky. “I meant a good sign…”

Chapter 2 Total Drama Goes to Washington (Part Two)

A run down bus with the initials T.D.G. pulled up to the side of the road and opened its doors.

“Everyone hurry inside,” Rhonda declared, “Two to a seat!”

Rhonda took the driver's seat from an intern as the contestants piled in.

“Hey Melissa!” Aiden called. “I saved you a seat; you can have the window.”

“Thank you so much Aiden,” Melissa replied. “But…no one’s sitting with that poor dear in the back.”

Everyone froze and looked back, where Cynthia had taken the back seat and stared. Another crack of lightning lit up the sky. 

“Really?” Easton asked.

“Yeah, really?” Weston said, sitting next to his brother.

“Oh sure she seems a little odd,” Melissa admitted. “But deep down, aren’t we all odd? After all, we are all humans.”

Everyone turned back to see Cynthia take a knife out of her bag and cast a stare at all of them.

“I’m not so sure about that,” Seraphina said, as she took the closest open seat, next to Griswold.

"I do want to sit next to you,” Melissa said to Aiden, “but I just can’t leave someone isolated and lonely. What’s more scary than not having a friend?”

“Being murdered in the back of a bus,” Seraphina suggested.

“I’ll remember you fondly,” Aiden said, as Melissa left.

Ignacio walked towards the back of the bus as the other contestants fawned.

Frannie popped up from her seat. “Would you look at that? I have an open seat! Oh, Ignacio I didn’t see you there…right in front of me. Do you a need seat?”

“Uh…”

“Of course you can sit with me!” Frannie stated.

“Actually Ignacio is sitting with me,” Diamonique stated, grabbing the man by his arm. “He asked me to save him a seat.”

“I did?” Ignacio asked.

“Yes,” Diamonique replied, “with your eyes!”

Frannie’s lemur, Ziba jumped onto Ignacio and rubbed her tail against his face.

“Well my lemur’s already left her scent on him,” Frannie stated.

Diamonique rubbed her face against Ignacio. “Well I’ve left my scent on him!”

Ignacio pointed. “Hey look…it’s a…a distraction!“

“Where?” Frannie asked, looking forward.

“I don’t see it,” Diamonique asked.

Ignacio sat Ziba down and ran. He stopped at the next open seat, Tessa’s.

“Hey,” Ignacio said. “Would it uh-“

“Save it,” Tessa stated. “It’s not available for you, pretty boy.”

Ignacio sighed and walked on.

Lita stepped on walked towards the back of the bus.

“Hey,” Lita said to Tessa, “you're the pro athlete right? Do you mind if I sit here?”

Tessa spread her legs out to take the whole seat. “I do.”

“There aren’t any more open seats,” Lita said.

“Well then you should’ve got on the bus sooner,” Tessa replied. “Instead of fooling around.”

Excuse me?” Lita asked.

“Did I stutter?” Tessa replied.

“Alright little girl, do you have a problem?” Lita shouted back.

“I'd just rather not sit next to a streetwalker,” Tessa replied. “I believe girls should dress decently, as though they have class…even if they don’t.”

“Well I believe people should act decent,” Lita retorted. “As though they have class, which you don’t. Now move your legs, before I move them for you.”

“Now you’re going to resort to violence?” Tessa questioned, getting in the knockout's face. “Real classy.”

Lita pounded her fist into the back of the seat, leaving a hole in it. “You’re about to see how much class I have!”

“Everyone please hurry to a seat,” Rhonda called. 

“Lita,” Hayden called, “me and Aiden can make room, come up here.”

“You sure?” Lita asked. “I hate to-“

"-It would be our pleasure,” Hayden said as Aiden nodded.

The doors closed and Rhonda started to drive through the rainstorm.

“Don’t take what Tessa said personally,” Bethany said from her and Xidorn's seat. “She’s been a total grump since she got here.”

“What’s her deal?” Lita asked.

“No idea," Hayden admitted, "perhaps its an idicator of her stress, being a celebrity and all."

“Have you guys seen any of her interviews on TV?” Xidorn asked.

Lita blushed a little. “No, my family doesn’t…watch a lot of TV.”

“I heard they were controversial,” Aiden admitted. “But wowie kazowie, I never assumed anyone would be that way on the show right off the bat. Especially an American athlete!”

Hayden patted Aiden’s back. “Sometimes people can surprise in the worst ways.”

“Agreed,” Xidorn said. “I don’t like to spread rumors, but this all the truth; in interviews she’s said nothing but horrible things about most of her fellow athletes and even other celebrities. She claims some bullied her.”

“Maybe that girl's had a rough life,” Lita wondered. “Ain't excusing her behavior, but I should talk to her again.”

Xidorn shook his head. "Good luck, and may the force be with you."

At the same time, Pascal told Diamonqiue, Kalino and Frannie a tale from his previous reality show.

“And that’s how I solved the puzzle and saved my team from elimination,” Pascal narrated. "Again."

“Wow,” Frannie gasped.

“Man I’m not even surprised,” Kalino stated. “You’re like my favorite show jumper out there.”

“Show jumper?” Seraphina quietly asked herself, eavesdropping from her far away seat.

“Never heard of a show jumper?” Griswold asked.

Seraphina turned away. “I don’t really care for reality television."

“Show jumping is this new trend,” Griswold explained. “The original verison of this show started a reality show craze. Now dudes can make a career out of appearing on reality TV.”

“A career?” Seraphina questioned.

Griswold nodded. “It’s outrageous! These dudes keep auditioning for reality shows to show off their talent and get managers, became famous and get some sponsorship deals or just win prize money like it’s a paycheck.”

Seraphina bit her lip. "So uh..."

"Griswold," the lineman said with a smile. "You're Seraphina right?"

Seraphina nodded. "Yeah. Do you recognize that guy?” 

Griswold scratched his chin. “That dude? Uhh…oh yeah, dude’s like crazy famous; he won some Voice/American Idol rip off. Then he used that to go on some other shows. Only watched one or two, but he corners the market on tank top commercials.”

“How do you know so much about reality TV?” Seraphina asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Reality shows are all the rage at my school," Griswold stated, "after our school’s old quarterback appeared on one. It’s become a football tradition to apply to reality shows, like the whole team wearing prom dresses for spirit week.”

“Okay…” Seraphina replied. 

“Since I’ve answered your questions,” Griswold started. “You think you can I ask you something?”

“Sure, I think you could pull off a prom dress,” Seraphina replied.

“I already know that,” Griswold bragged. “I’ve been told I have pretty cheekbones. But I wanted to see if you’d use those tarot cards to give me a prediction.”

Seraphina turned away again. “Why? Do you even believe in psychic powers?”

Griswold shrugged. “I don’t know; I didn’t believe in luck till I find out the legend of my team’s lucky jockstrap and saw it in action.”

“I'm going to regret asking this but…lucky jockstrap?” Seraphina asked.

Yeah,” Griswold said, “it works on and off the field. I won every school raffle when I wore it! My football bros let me take it; if we get on the same team I’ll let you borrow it.”

“I’ll pass,” Seraphina cringed.

“Anyway the point is,” Griswold went on, “I never thought psychics were real, but I should find out first.”

“I guess I can give you a reading sometime,” Seraphina replied. “But only because your cheekbones are so pretty.”

Griswold fist pounded the air and laughed another hearty laugh.

Seraphina stared at Pascal, as he finished another story.

The weather got worse and worse till the contestants couldn't see out their windows. Eventually, the bus squeaked to a stop. 

“Well we’re here,” Rhonda said. “The five-star hotel you’ll all be staying at for the next indeterminable amount of days.”

“Oh no, not a hotel,” Zipporah said. “How tough can this show get?”

“Right?” Diamonqiue screamed. “I mean what will the continental breakfast be like?”

The newcomers exited the bus and froze in their tracks. A tower that loomed over the sky stood before the newcomers, black and worn down yet evoking the image of a mansion. The window ledges were decorated with deformed gargoyles holding their arms out, as if beckoning onlookers to join them. Surrounding the high-rise was a rusted, pointy gate that swung open in tune with the thunder cracks.

Zipporah gasped. “It’s…so beautiful…”

“Dude, I thought you said this was a five star hotel?” Riley asked.

“It is,” Rhonda replied. “This in the historic Pentagram Hotel!”

“What happened to this place?” Hayden asked.

Oh you know,” Rhonda said, “the usual; tough economy, poor location choice, the owner and designer turned out to be a serial killer who used the secret catacombs he built in the hotel to murder people…that kind of stuff.”

Lita shivered and tugged on her scarf.

“You okay?” Griswold asked.

“I'm not a fan of serial killers,” Lita admitted. She noticed Cynthia staring at her and turned away.

“It looks run down,” Hayden concluded. “Are you sure everyone will be safe here?”

“Well after they caught the owner, the cops shut the place down,” Rhonda explained. “They did further investigations to find out who all was murdered...and never finished, some saying the ghosts of the victims and the serial killer scared them out…and still haunt the hotel now.”

Zipporah smiled and shed a tear.

“But don’t worry,” Rhonda said. “This place has been bought by an enterprise that are repairing it and making a fun, family friendly tourist attraction!”

Zipproah immediately frowned. “Every moment of happiness I have, life beats away into nothingness.”

“That’s the spirit!” Rhonda cheered. “Now I’m sure we all want to get unpacked…”

Jenny and Toby stepped out, each holding a basket.

“So, get in line by gender,” Rhonda clarified. “Draw a room key to see where you’ll stay…and find out who your roommate is! Everyone has a roommate; the genders are uneven, so a boy and a girl will share a room. Oh, and feel free to use the confessional!”

“Where is it?” Easton asked.

“Yeah, where?” Weston added.

“It’s the cursed broken elevator,” Rhonda said. “We’ll have lunch in ten minutes. Be there; it’s required.”

“It’s about time,” Diamonique stated, finishing another taco. “I’m starved!”

As the newcomers rushed on, Lita stopped Tessa.

“Look, can we talk?” Lita asked.

“As if,” Tessa scoffed.

“Listen I’m sorry for overreacting earlier,” Lita said. “I’m not here to make enemies. So do you think we can just move on, forgot about this and be friendly?”

“Forgot about you bullying me?” Tessa asked.

“You insulted me first,” Lita clarified. “I was trying to take a seat. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Can we not have bad blood between us?”

“If you think I’m going to allow you to push me around, you’re dumber than you look,” Tessa stated.

“Fine then,” Lita replied, “I tried to be nice. But if you’d rather have your head up your *** than please go ahead. I’m not going to take your crap. Just hope we aren’t on the same team ***** cause I will cast my vote against you. That is a promise.”

Lita flipped the bird and walked off.


Bethany entered the closed elevator and pressed a close door button. She sat down on the fluffy, purple cushion inside. The tacky salmon colored wallpaper was halfway peeling off the walls.

“This is actually very comfortable for a cursed elevator,” Bethany said. “Anyway, I’m pumped to be here! I’ve never really thought about being on a reality show, but I want to challenge myself. I'm aiming to win; my family's motto is 'go big but don’t go home if you don’t win.' No pressure or anything, heh, heh...”


“I’ve always dreamed of winning this show,” Pascal said. “And I’m going to make sure that dream comes true. How? Simple; I’m going to introduce some real strategy to this show. First thing I need to do is make a secret alliance to control the votes, and make it easy to win over everyone in the finale. Reality show finales almost always depend upon getting support from other contestants.”


“I’m a glass half full kind of guy,” Kalino stated. “Some might complain we’re staying in a haunted hotel, but I say we’re staying in a hotel for free! Some might say we have to scramble and work hard and stuff to make sure we aren’t eliminated. But I say I just got to sit back and wait till the right moment until… man it’s really uncomfortable in here!”

Kalino flipped up the seat cushions and out fell what looked like a golden flash-drive.

“Cool,” Kalino said, stuffing it in his shirt pocket. “I found a good luck charm…”


"Well,” Joaquin Jasper said. “I-“


“Yeah, I don’t really want to be here,” Zipporah said. “My parents signed me up for this stupid show. It sucks. They suck. All you people watching suck. A lot.”


Seraphina read her key card as she reached her door. “The sixth floor, room sixty six; 666.”

She unlocked her door and saw Tessa sitting on one of the beds.

“The number of the beast,” Seraphina said.

“You're joking if you think I’m going to share a room with you,” Tessa said.

“I’m hoping this is just a joke,” Seraphina replied. “But I doubt it…”


“I joined this show because I wanted to get away from the world for a while,” Tessa sighed. “I wanted to meet people who were outsiders like me, be in a judgment free zone. Instead, I get treated the same as always by the ‘popular’ snobs. I know most of them are talking bad about me behind my back, already defining me for what they’ve seen on TV. And then they verbally attack me for no good reason. Well just wait and see; one by one I’m going to take them all down…”


"I'm not really a people person," Seraphina admitted. "I don't even like my own mother. In general, I've found people are the worst. So I'm not sure why I was cast; I just auditioned as an excuse not to get a summer job. But the show isn't as bad as they thought it would be."

Seraphina smiled, then frowned. "Its worse."


Halting to stop at the end of the hall, the twins arrived at their room.

“657,” Easton cheered. “Must be our lucky number!”

“Yeah, it must be!” Weston said.

Weston put in his card. The automatic lock spat his key back out.

“What?” Weston asked.

“Let me see,” Easton said, taking his card. “Bro, this says 654!”

“But that means,” Weston realized. “We’re…in separate rooms! We can’t be in separate rooms!”

“Hey it’ll be alright,” Easton said. “Your room is right across from me. You’ll be fine, right?”

“Yeah, yeah it’ll be alright,” Weston agreed. “Your room is right across from mine, so I’ll be fine. You’re right.”

“I’m going to unpack,” Easton explained. “I’ll be back out in five minutes. You go unpack.”

“Okay,” Weston agreed. “Hey bro?”

“Yeah,” Easton replied.

“I love you,” Weston said.

“It’s just five minutes,” Easton said.

Weston hugged his brother.

Easton sighed and used his key. “Five minutes.”

“I’ll be ready in four,” Weston shouted, as Easton closed the door.

“Howdy!” Vance greeted. “Hope you don’t mind, but I did beat you here so I took the left bed.”

“It’s fine,” Easton replied.

“Something getting your gumption partner?” Vance asked.

“I just had to leave my brother,” Easton said.

“Well that’s a darn shame,” Vance said. “If I hadn’t already unpacked I’d offer to switch with him.”

“No,” Easton replied, “I mean it’s just a room.”

Vance shrugged. “Whatever. Now I hope you don’t mind, but the women tend to be on me like a chicken on a June bug, so I might be having some late night make-out sessions. So just try not to be awkward during it, alright?”

“Uh, I’ll try,” Easton replied.

At the same time, Weston had unlocked his room.

“S’up Broadie,” Riley welcomed. “Looks like we’re bunking together.”

Weston sighed. “Cool.”

“Everything okay?” Riley asked. “Not afraid I’ve got cooties are ya?”

“No,” Weston replied, “I grabbed the wrong key. It was suppose to be me and my brother sharing a room.”

“Aw dude that sucks hardcore,” Riley said. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s no biggie,” Weston replied. “It’s like Easton said, it’ll be alright.”

Riley put her arm around Weston’s shoulder. “Well I’m not your brother, but if you need somebody I’m here for you.”

Weston sighed. “Thanks.”

Melissa reached her door and put in her key. Her room was poorly lit by black candles, but she could make out a shadowy figure; Cynthia, sharpening her knives.

Melissa dropped her bags...and ran over to glomp Cynthia. “We're roommates? Oh, I was hoping we would be! We'll have so much fun together!”

Cynthia doesn’t look up, intensely focusing on her blades.

Down the hall, Bethany exited her dorm and saw Pascal teetering right outside.

“Hey Bethany!" Pascal greeted. "Do you mind if we talked for an teeny weeny moment?"

“Of course not,” Bethany replied. “Wait, we’re you waiting for me…how did you know this was-“

“Follow me!” Pascal interrupted, bouncing down the hall.

Bethany followed the singer, and entered a dorm. Inside were Kalino and Vance. Pascal slammed the door shut.

“Am I interrupting something?” Bethany asked.

“Well me and my roommate Kalino were talking,” Pascal said. “And we thought this game is going to get extra super duper serious soon, right?”

Bethany smiled. "I hope so!"

“Darn tootin,” Vance added.

"So I decided that maybe I should do something extra super duper serious myself,” Pascal explained. “Such as…form an alliance.”

“A who?” Vance asked.

“We all agree to vote together and not vote each other off,” Pascal said. “That way we can get far in the game together and protect our bestest interests.”

“And were your first draft choices?” Bethany asked.

“I want someone to win whose good,” Pascal said. “Too many times, villains form alliances and target deserving people. I say we form a good guy alliance! Besides, working together we can keep our team strong and safe.”

“I guess that makes sense,” Bethany admitted. “But don’t you think it’s a bit early?"

“The early worm gets the early bird special,” Vance said. “I say we do while we can.”

“Mannnnn it sounds fine to me,” Kalino stated. “As long as I can invite a friend or so in it.”

“The more friends the better!” Pascal said. “Just…wait till we get our feet settled.”

“I don’t know,” Bethany replied. "This feels like some dark side of the force stuff..."

“Duuuude I thought you’d want to be in a good guy alliance Bethany,” Kalino said. “I mean, I figured you’d want to avoid some sneak targeting you for being good at challenges. I must’ve been thinking wrong...”

Bethany frowned. "You think someone would actually target me for that? This early?"

Kalino nodded.

"Well I guess it wouldn't hurt," Bethany said. "Okay, let’s do it.”

Yippie Skippy!" Pascal cheeered. "Now remember, let’s keep it a secret, just to avoid people targeting us and to spare feelings; there’s a lot of people who can join us, I just wanted to start small.”

“Well I don’t know about y’all but I could go for some grub,” Vance said as he strutted away.

“Saaaaaammmmmeee,” Kalino said.


“My alliance plan worked perfectly!” Pascal cheered. “Yipee Skippy! With Vance and Bethany I have two big targets to hide behind at the merge when they start voting off threats. And the only way Kalino could be a more ideal scapegoat is if he grew an udder. It’s a win-win-win situation!”


Over in room 666, Tessa tossed an old box, Seraphina's box, from one hand to the other as the psychic tried to grab it back.

“Give me back my tarot cards,” Seraphina shouted. “They're in my great, great grandmother’s box.”

“If you want your hoodoo voodoo crap,” Tessa said, “go get it.”

Tessa tossed the box outside of the room. Seraphina chased after it, slipping across the floor and barely catching. Her other luggage was tossed outside and the door slammed behind her. Seraphina jiggled the knob but it wouldn’t budge.

“Let me back in there you ***hat!” Seraphina screamed.

“Sorry this room is taken,” Tessa shouted.

“I know you and your big fat ego can take up a whole room,” Seraphina replied. “But I have to sleep somewhere.”

“That’s not my problem,” Tessa said.

Seraphina started to kick the door.

“Honey, you alright?”

Seraphina turned around to see Lita watching.

“Just peachy,” Seraphina replied, turning away.

“What happened?” Lita asked.

“My roommate is the devil,” Seraphina said. “aka Tessa. Now I'm locked out of my room.”

Lita picked up Seraphina’s luggage. “Come on sweetie."

“To where?” Seraphina asked.

“My room,” Lita replied.

Lita walked towards the beginning of the hall and opened her door as Seraphina slowly followed.

“Hey Ness,” Lita said. “I’m back; didn't find no vending machines.”

“Hey Lita,” Ness replied, leaving their bathroom. “And, oh hey...Seraphina. What’s going on?”

“Tessa forced Seraphina out,” Lita explained. “I was hoping, if it was okay with you, that Seraphina could stay here.”

“How awful,” Ness exclaimed. “It’s no problem with me, she's great”

“Why are you offering to share your room with me?" Seraphina asked. 

“Cause I don’t want you sleeping on the floor,” Lita said.

“I’m sure if I complain to Rhonda she’ll force Tessa to let me in,” Seraphina said.

“So you can room with her?” Lita said. “I’d take the floor over that.”

“Well thanks,” Seraphina said. “I’d like to crash here, but it’ll be just for a little while. I promise. I’ll take the floor.”

“Girl I just said you ain't sleepin there,” Lita stated. “Now you go make yourself comfy on that bed.”

“We could rotate who sleeps where,” Ness suggested. “Or maybe we could share the beds, put them together to make a super bed. Kind of like a sleepover.”

“Whatever you want,” Seraphina said.

“That sounds like a lot of fun,” Lita said. “Let’s do it!”

Ness clapped. “Eeeee! This’ll be so cool!”

Soon the contestants gathered in the cafeteria, a dim room lit by the candelabras on dusty wood furnished tables.

“Welcome to lunch contestants,” Rhonda said. “Please note we only have one cup for each of you.”

Rhonda pointed to the two stacks of cup outside the lunch lines; outside the left line were red cups while blue cups were stacked outside the right line.

“Again, everyone gets one cup and one cup only,” Rhonda clarified. “Now please enjoy your lunch.”

The contestants went through the line, grabbing a cup and finding places to sit.

Melissa exited the line and saw Aiden waving.

“Thanks so much for saving a seat for me,” Melissa said.

“It was my pleasure,” Aiden replied.

“So how’s your room?” Melissa asked.

“Fine,” Aiden said. “I’m rooming with Hayden and he seems like the bees knees. How’s your room?”

“Wonderful!” Melissa replied. “They really went out with the atmosphere; my room started to ooze a mysterious liquid and I still don’t know what it is!”

At another table, Bethany and Xidorn cheered as Griswold and Riley chugged soda.

Griswold slammed his red cup down and belched. “Beat that!”

Riley sat her red cup down, cleared her throat…and burped so hard her glass shattered.

“Consider yourself roasted Bro-B-Q,” Riley replied.

Bethany and Xidorn clapped as Griswold bowed his head in defeat.

“Oh hey Lita!” Bethany called. “Come sit with us!”

“Sure,” Lita replies. “Is it cool if my roomies join us?”

“Heck yeah!” Griswold said. “We’re having a party over here.”

Lita and Ness started to walk over.

"I cannot not believe this lunch!” Lita said. “They have my fav; cheese fries!”

“Yeah,” Ness agreed. “They have my favorite too; fried clams. I haven’t had them in forever and-“

Ness slipped and face planted on the ground, as her clams split on the floor.

“Oh,” Ness said. “That’s okay, I wasn’t really that hungry anyway.”

Lita helped Ness up. “Nonsense sweetie, have mine.”

“Really?” Ness asked.

“Sure,” Lita replied. “Besides I’m going to get seconds; we can go together.”

Seraphina exited the lunch line as her roommates took their seats.

“Hey Seraphina,” Ness called. “Over here, we saved a seat for you!"

"Yeah, come sit us with us dude!" Griswold added.

“Okay…” Seraphina replied, going to the table.

At Melissa and Aiden's table, Hayden sat down. “Is it fine if I sit with you two kids?”

“We would be delighted,” Melissa said. “Aiden was just telling me you and him were roommates.”

“Yeah,” Hayden said, “he’s a pretty cool roommate. For a dork.”

Aiden chuckled. “Aw jeez, right back at you.”


“I’m the oldest one here,” Hayden said. “Which is fine; I’m happy to be able to be here for these younger kids. Take my roommate for example; sweet guy but he’s a little innocent and dopey. He needs someone to look out for him. And I’m happy to be that someone, offer him a little guidance. Youngsters need that sometimes.”


“Who are you rooming with Melissa?” Hayden asked.

“I was lucky enough to room with Cynthia,” Melissa stated.

Aiden spat his drink all over Hayden.

“Sorry pal,” Aiden apologized.

“No, that was a proper reaction,” Hayden replied. “Cynthia? Has she even spoken a word to you?”

“Well no,” Melissa replied, “she’s more of a strong-silent type. I invited her to sit with us, but I don’t think she will.”

Aiden and Hayden sighed in relief.

After a while all the contestants had started lunch, some even finishing.

Ignacio sat by himself where he picked at his food.

“Um pardon,” Lita said, behind him. “I was just wonderin’ if-”

Ignacio sighed. “-No I will not take off my shirt or flex or let you pet my…’man bun’. Can I just please eat my lunch?”

"What did you just say?" Lita asked. "Don’t get a fat head with me! I just wanted to see if you was going to eat them cheese fries ‘cause the lunch line is out and you aren’t eating them. What, just because you get paid for stripping half naked in front of a camera you assume girls are just thirsty for you?"

Ignacio stared wide-eyed at the knockout.

Lita turned away. "Shoo, I don't even want them anymore. I hope you choke on them!"


“I have a temper,” Lita admitted. “I know it and I try to control it. But I cannot stand people who think they’re so great they can treat others badly. I should be use to dealing with people like that but…ooo! I don’t care who you are, how you look or what you have; you’re just a jerk if you act like that makes you better. And I’m not afraid to fight you; verbally or physically.”


“I really shot myself in foot there,” Ignacio said. "Some of the other girls and guys were inquiring about such things and it made me rather uncomfortable...still that wasn't the way to act..."


As the contestants finished eating, Rhonda reentered with a smirk on her face.

“I hope you’ve all enjoyed the lunch,” Rhonda said. “Because you’re going to need it for your first challenge. This challenge will test everything; your social skills, strength, intelligence, accuracy, courage, balance, creativity, vigor, speed, leadership, endurance and teamwork. And the winners of today’s challenge will receive an extra special reward!”

“What are the teams?” Hayden questioned.

“Oh you’ve already chosen your teams,” Rhonda stated.

Everyone looked at each.

“Indirectly I mean,” Rhonda teased. “You see, for each of you there-“

“-Was a cup from the lunch line,” Kalino said. “Eleven red, eleven blue; each half of how many of us are here. Based on what cup we picked, we picked our teams.”

“Yeah,” Rhonda said. “How’d you know?”

“I just realized it duuuuude,” Kalino admitted. “I was wondering what was up with cup stuff.”

“Well if you have a red cup stand to my left, blue to my right,” Rhonda stated.

The contestants reluctantly got up.

Rhonda turned to her right. “Bethany, Weston, Melissa, Diamonique, Kalino, Aiden, Vance, Cynthia, Xidorn, Hayden and Frannie you are…the Molting Eagles!”

A red symbol of a naked eagle trying to cover himself with a few remaining feathers appeared over their heads.

Rhonda turned to her left. “That means that Griswold, Zipporah, Ness, Riley, Ignacio, Tessa, Pascal, Lita, Easton, Seraphina and Jasper are now…the Fizzling Fireworks!”

A symbol of an exhausted cartoon firework coughing smoke and few sparks appeared over their heads.

“But me and Easton aren’t on the same team!” Weston complained.

“So sad, too bad, no do overs,” Rhonda stated.


Pascal forced a smile. “How could I forget? An alliance is the way to control the game…unless your alliance is all on the opposite team! Now I need an entirely new plan! But that's okay; I can handle this. When life hands you lemons, thank life with a smile. SO THANKS LIFE. THANKS. A LOT!”


“Now,” Rhonda says. “The first part of your challenge is to get to Lincoln Memorial while staying ahead of the obstacles.”

“Obstacles?” Hayden asked.

Rhonda snapped her fingers. Two crates fell from the ceiling, shaking and echoing screams. Out of the crates came, a rhino, a lion, a tiger, a bear (oh my), a shark, a murder of crows, a mass of scarabs, a chainsaw welding maniac, a chicken, Jenny and Toby on an ATV, a grandma, an animatronic dinosaur, a hipster, a monster truck, a komodo dragon, a mouse, a skunk, a vulture, a large tortoise, a girl scout, a wooly mammoth beaver, a wildebeest stampede and the Brady Bunch.

“Ah yes,” Hayden replied, “those obstacles. Well, thank you for clearing that up and, EVERYONE RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!”

The contestants bolted out as the ‘obstacles’ chased after them.

Later, the T.D.G. bus pulls up to the Lincoln Memorial and Rhonda exited.

“Ha,” Rhonda laughed, “they weren’t expecting that.”

“I know I didn't,” Diamonique agreed. “Care for a fry?”

"No thanks Diamonique,” Rhonda replied.

Rhonda smirked to herself. Then she turned around to see Diamonique, Melissa, Cynthia, and Frannie.

“What?” Rhonda asked. “How did, but you…”

“Please don't be upset Ms. Rhonda,” Melissa said. “Diamonique was kind enough to haul a taxi for us.”

“It just seemed like the easiest thing to do,” Diamonique admitted. “We got here a while ago but you weren’t here, so we went to Mickey D’s.”


“After becoming roommates,” Frannie said, “me and Diamonique realized we’d do better working together than against each other. Especially since we are the two hottest girls here.”


The rest of the contestants raced towards the Memorial.

“What a glorious day!” Jenny cheered as she held a tranquilizer gun. “Get ready Toby, this’ll be all over soon.”

Suddenly, one of the vultures swooped in and carried Jenny and Toby off.

“That was soon,” Toby said, “good work Jenny.”

“YOUR MOM!” Jenny screamed.

At the same time, the scarabs swarmed after Ness.

Ness screamed, before tripping over a penny and face planting on the concrete.

The scarabs crawled over the jinx and sunk their pinchers into her skin, until someone picked her.

“Don’t give up now!” the person encouraged.

Ness grabbed their neck, as the person carried her on their back.


“I’ve had a fear of scarabs ever since I was five, and a mass of them escaped from the zoo and bit me so hard they put me in the hospital,” Ness explained. “It wasn’t the worst field trip though. Thank goodness I was rescued from them now. At the time, I was thinking some prince must have saved me. Maybe Pascal, that singer on my team…heehee…”


Eventually, all the contestants reached the Lincoln Memorial.

“We’re here,” Ness’ savior said.

“Thank you for saving me,” Ness said, kissing their cheek.

“Uh…”

Ness opened her eyes to see her savior was Bethany.

“Oh,” Ness said. “You can leave back at the scarabs.”

“Forget it about,” Bethany laughed as she set Ness down, “We’re just lucky nobody got hurt.”

The two turned around to see citizens being terrorized by the obstacles, running for their lives.

“Oops,” Rhonda said, “we should have had a plan to rangle them back up…”

“So who won this here challenge?” Vance asked.

“The Molting Eagles arrived first, so they win an advantage for the next part of the challenge,” Rhonda said.

The Eagles cheered.

“Consider that your baptism into the world of Total Drama,” Rhonda stated. “Now that you’ve been initiated, let’s see what you all are made of…”

Rhonda moved to the top of the Lincoln Memorial steps, as a crowd began gathering.

“For the next challenge you’ll be performing eleven labors,” Rhonda stated. “One person from each team will each compete in one challenge. The winner scores a point. The team with the most points at the end wins. As an advantage for winning the race, the Eagles start with one point.”

The crowd became bigger and bigger.

“Anyone notice a lot of these people are wearing ‘I Love Total Drama’ shirts,” Seraphina stated.

Rhonda nodded. “For your first labor, one member must deliver a speech to these hardcore fans of why your team should win invincibility. Then, they’ll vote who wins this labor. Teams, pick your speaker.”

“Let’s let huddle up team,” Hayden stated, as the Eagles formed a circle.

"Who here feels like they’re good at public speaking?” Hayden asked.

“I feel I could do it,” Aiden said.

“I think you could do it,” Hayden said, “but only one person can do one challenge. You’ve got a lot of physical strength Aiden, so I say we save you for another challenge.”

“Huh,” Aiden replied, “I didn’t think of it like that.”

Xidorn raised his hand. “I can do it. I believe I can go up there, speak from the heart and win them over.”

“I like your honesty bud,” Hayden replied, “Go for it.”

Bethany patted Xidorn on the back as the huddle dispersed.

The Fireworks were having their own meeting.

“I’m going to go for it!” Pascal cheered. “I could even do a song for them!”

“Sounds righteous brah,” Griswold said.

“Actually,” Seraphina said. “I’d like to do it.”

“Well I think we’ve already decided Seraphina,” Pascal said.

“I must not have been here for the vote,” Seraphina replied.

“You can do the next one!” Pascal beamed. “I’m sure you’d do extra super duper at it!"

“Or I could do 'extra super duper' at this one if you’d give me a chance,” Seraphina said.

“Don’t let this hurt your feelings,” Pascal said. “But I don’t know if you have the right…’oomph’ for this challenge.”

"You just want to get out of doing it as soon as possible,” Tessa stated.

“First and most importantly,” Seraphina said. “shut up Tessa. Second, I don’t think it’s smart to let our most experienced player do a speaking challenge. Third, I know I can do this. Let me do this instead of waiting and having me end up competing in the body builder challenge.”

Pascal sighed. “Seraphina I just don’t-“

“-Vote me off,” Seraphina stated. “If I lose this challenge and our team loses today, you can vote me off first.”

“Gurl has kahunas,” Lita laughed. "I say let her do it!”

“She brings up some good points,” Ness added. “And…I believe Seraphina can do it. And if I believe it, she can achieve it.”

“When you put it like that,” Pascal replied, “then let’s do it!”

Rhonda held her arms out to the crowd. “Now, let the eleven, or more, labors begin...”

Chapter 3 Total Drama Goes to Washington (Part Three)

The crowd cheered as the two representatives got on the steps; Xidorn stood behind a podium.

“To be honest,” Xidorn admitted, "our teams have only been formed for a short while. Yet I can say with one hundred percent certainty, my team is the better team. The Eagles are filled with people who get along; we’re already a fine-tuned machine.”

“I don’t believe the same can be said for the Fireworks,” Xidorn went on. “Just look at the way an Eagle used their smarts to bring over a third of our team to first place. We’re stronger, not just as players, but also in what makes a team important; teamwork. It’s why I’m happy to be an Eagle.”

The fans cheered. Seraphina took the podium.

“My opponent made a good speech,” Seraphina stated. “And I’m not going to lie; I agree with him. My team is more dysfunctional; people are already strategizing, flirting and fighting. Lots of fighting, mostly between girls.”

Everyone stared at her.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Seraphina said, “we can take the Eagles, but they’re all best friends over there; good for them. But if I wanted to watch a show about best friends I’d watch Disney Junior. Reality shows aren’t about tolerance; they’re about scandals, alliances and catfights. It’s how they get ratings. The Eagles themselves admit they don’t have that."

The fans shuffled awkwardly in the audience.

“So vote the Eagles,” Seraphina said, “and enjoy the fascinating story of the people who were winning and kept winning. Or vote the underdogs and give us an equal chance; not like the show has the word ‘drama’ in the title or anything. Ultimately there’s no pressure; it’ll only affect the opening and future ratings of the last ditch attempt to reboot and save your favorite show.”

The audience murmured amongst themselves and started to vote.

Rhonda appeared behind the podium. “The results are in,” the hostess announced, “and the winners are…The Fireworks!”

“Wow,” Xidorn said, “I guess your speech was better.”

“Eh,” Seraphina replied, “or people are just inherently selfish. Your speech was really nice for something on the spot.”

“I meant everything I said in that speech,” Xidorn stated.

“Really?” Seraphina said. “You’re not lying?”

“I don’t believe in lying,” Xidorn replied. “I haven’t told a lie since the third grade.”

“Dang...” Seraphina said. "I can't say I'm that honest.”

Xidorn laughed. "You aren't afraid to speak your mind; that seems pretty honest to me.”

Xidorn held out his hand and Seraphina pulled back for a second, before reaching forward and shaking it.

“Thanks,” Seraphina replied. “And…uh, good luck.”

“You too,” Xidorn said. “I hope this isn't the last time we compete against each other.”

The Fireworks cheered as Seraphina walked over, staring at the straight shooter, who shot a smile at her before returning to the Eagles.

“You pwned it!” Riley cheered.

"I was nervous at first," Lita said. "But you slayed honey!"

Seraphina blushed. “Whatever…I mean, I couldn’t have done it without you guys anyway. So yeah…go Fireworks.”


“Okay, I said I don't care for people," Seraphina explained. "Yet... I have to admit, some of these people here are nice; on my team and on the other team. I appreciate that, and I want to be nice back...it’s weird.”


As for the next challenge,” Rhonda said, “the only clue I can give is that you should consider weight.”

“What is that suppose to mean?” Easton asked. "Like being heavy or being lightweight?" 

“Wait,” Seraphina whispered, “remember that speech Rhonda made before the challenge; she said we’d need a lot of things.”

“Ooh,” Riley replied, “like we’d need social skills, which we did in the last challenge!”

So that means according to Rhonda’s speech,” Pascal said, “we need strength for the next challenge.”

All the Fireworks turned to Griswold.

Griswold smirked and stepped forward. “I got this!”

“I’ll give it my best,” Aiden stated. "For the Eagles and for our Founding Fathers! And for our founding mothers! And our current congress, judges, senators, DMV workers-"

"Shush," Rhonda hushed and snapped her fingers; interns wheeled out two weight benches.

“You two must lift weights,” Rhonda stated, “and we’ll add ten pounds until someone can’t lift anymore. Jenny and Toby, watch over them."

The two co-hosts nodded.

While they complete that task,” Rhonda said, “We’ll do two labors at once! The first challenge is tricky while the other is a shot in the dark.”

Pascal volunteered for the first challenge, along with Diamonique. Easton and Bethany volunteered for the second.

“Good luck Easton!”  Weston cheered. “You got this!”

Vance flicked Weston’s ear. “Don’t wish him luck, he’s on the opposite team you nitwit!”

“It’s fine,” Bethany said. “It’s his brother, you don’t want your brother to fail. Besides, I don't need luck.”

Rhonda brought Pascal and Diamonique to their task. Rhonda clapped and a potrait of Washington’s skyline appeared behind her, almost popping up out of the ground. 

“See this picture?” Rhonda asked.

Rhonda flicked the picture and it fell to pieces.

“You’ll have to rebuild it from memory out of one thousand pieces,” Rhonda said, as interns laid out a large frame and bags of puzzle pieces.

“What?” Diamonique complained. “I thought this was going to be a trick or treating challenge!”

“Oh well,” Rhonda replied. “Now, go!”

Next, Rhonda took the teams to a make shift field on a blacktop for the next task.

“I hope you like shot put,” Rhonda announced.

Bethany fist pumped. “You know I do!”

“Good,” Rhonda replied, “because for this challenge you’ll have to throw a shot put ball on a target from behind the white line.”

Rhonda pointed several feet away to a target.

“Each of you will try to aim your shot put ball and land in the center,” Rhonda said. “Whoever is closest wins. I’ll give you a moment to figure out your aim.”

“I can do this,” Bethany said to herself. "It's easy, no pressure at all."

“Oops,” Rhonda said, “forgot to mention one little thing; you have to wear blindfolds.”

Interns came behind Easton and Bethany, blindfolded the two before they could realize what was happening. 

“Begin!” Rhonda announced.

Easton spun and tossed his ball while Bethany stepped back and released hers.

THUD

“Did I hit it?” Easton asked. “Did I hit it?”

“You hit something,” Riley replied.

“More like someone,” Seraphina said.

Easton removed his blindfold and cringed; Ness had taken a shot put to the face. The jinx laid fallen on the ground. 

“How, how bad is it?” Ness asked.

Ouch,” Bethany said, as she removed her blindfold. “Well…”

You look amazing,” Zipporah stated as she pulled out a hand mirror and handed it to Ness.

Ness's jaw dropped as saw she had a black eye and bloody nose.

“I’m so sorry Ness!" Easton apologized. 

Ness coughed up a little blood. “It’s fine; I was actually expecting a least a bloody lip.”

“Well,” Rhonda said, “Ness’ face is not at the center. However, Bethany’s shot put is!”

Bethany and the others turned to see her shot put was dead center of the target.

“YES!” Bethany cheered. "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, er…sorry. Hope you feel better Ness.”

“No really, it’s fine,” Ness replied.

“It was a good try bro,” Weston yelled.

Easton blushed. “Thanks pal…"

Griswold and Aiden rejoined their teams at the next challenge point; Griswold had won to no one’s surprise, as being a football player weightlifting was a daily part of his routine.

Rhonda walked forward, rattling chains.

“These chains are your next clue,” Rhonda said, “as they’ll be used for the challenge…”

Hayden had gotten the Eagles huddled together again.

“Team,” Hayden said, “I think I’m beginning to notice a pattern that's lead me to a theory; all the challenges are based off of Rhonda’s speech, about what would be tested.”

“Gee willikers!” Aiden replied. “Xidorn’s challenge required social skills, mine required strength…"

“That means Diamonique’s challenge requires intelligence,” Kalino stated.

“We’ll focus on that later,” Hayden said. “But now we now the trick of this challenge.”

“After we’ve lost our lead,” Vance added.

“Sure we’re tied,” Hayden said, “but we still have a chance to turn this around. We aren’t going to give up now when things are looking rough, are we?”

“No sir!” Aiden replied as other Eagles nodded.

“Glad to hear it,” Hayden said. “Now if memory serves this next challenge is a test of courage. Who thinks they can-“

"-Times up!” Rhonda announced. “Let’s start this challenge. Fireworks, whose going for you?”

Ignacio stepped up.

“And for the Eagles?”

Hayden blushed. “Well, it looks like-“

“-Me.”

The Eagles parted and shook in fear; Cynthia stepped forward.

“I’m already scared,” Ignacio whispered.

Rhonda gave out a hoarse laugh and squirmed. “For this challenge, you will enter a coffin. We’ll chain your coffins together and shut out all light. Inside the coffin is a red button; press it and you’ll be able to leave the coffin but lose the challenge. Though, we’ll give you good incentive to want to leave…”

The two laid back and fell in the wooden coffins. The lid was closed down tight and chained together.

“Sure it’s dark,” Ignacio said to himself, “and as humans we have an instinctive phobia of darkness; the darkness contains unknown threats. But I know what’s in the interior of this space.”

Suddenly the coffin jolted up.

“Though I don’t know about the exterior,” Ignacio admitted.

Ignacio began to tip left and right.

Hisss….

Ignacio gulped. 'Snakes. I hate snakes.”

Ignacio shivered as a snake crawled up his pants leg, while another moved down his shirt.

“They most have stored these reptiles in a undisclosed compartment,” Ignacio said. “Still, no reason to freak out.”

Sssss….Kkkk….ahhhh…

Ignacio slammed the button at the animalistic screams. The model shifted down. As soon as Ignacio heard the chains removed, he sprung out and removed his shirt and shook out the snake, revealing his pecs that glistened in sweat.

Most of the contestants stared, though Hayden blushed and turned his head, Frannie panted, Xidorn and Riley drooled a little bit while Rhonda drooled puddles.

“Dude, you’re so hot,” Easton said.

Ignacio blushed and threw back on his shirt, igniting several ‘awws’ from the contestants. Ignacio turned to see a crane behind the coffins.

The Eagles win the challenge,” Rhonda announced while drying her some of her drool.

“Cynthia,” Melissa called, “Cynthia, are you okay in there?”

“S…sorry everyone,” Igancio stated. “I…uh…I…the slicing sounds just freaked me out too much and I…uh…yeah.”

“Slicing sounds?” Rhonda asked. “We didn’t add any sound effects.”

Melissa pried open Cynthia’s coffin and screamed as cut up pieces of a snake splattered out. Cythina stood expressionless and covered in blood, holding the other snake by the neck next to her knife. She froze for a second, before slicing its head off.

“Oh my,” Melissa said. “Cynthia you…you…you accidentally split snake blood on your nice shirt, poor dear. I saw a washroom back at the hotel. I’d be happy to clean them up when we get back."

Cynthia dangled the snake’s corpse and nodded.


“I feel awful about the challenge,” Ignacio admitted. “And I feel worse I couldn’t apologize right. Everyone was just staring at me…. Whenever I take off my shirt, or anything like that, most people flip out. My manager says it’s a ‘power’ I have, as though looking at me can drive people insane. But of course that’s scientifically impossible. It just feels like it sometimes. The worst part is I’m very afraid of attention…and I am aware of the irony of that statement.”


Cynthia dropped the snake corpse on the confessional’s camera.


Meanwhile, Pascal quickly slid puzzle pieces in his frame.

“Yippie Skippy! That makes seven hundred pieces solved!” Pascal cheered.

“Great job,” Diamonique said as she turned a page in a magazine.

“I can do it!” Pascal said.

“I believe in you,” Diamonqiue yawned.

“Thanks!” Pascal replied. “I’m going to win this thing!”

“Well…I’m not so sure about that,” Diamonique said.

Pascal froze, then turned to Diamonique, whose puzzle was complete.

“What but…you and how but…when?” Pascal asked.

“The interns aren’t sure if it took two minutes or one,” Diamonique replied. “I would’ve told you but you were working so…I didn’t want to be rude.”

Pascal’s smiled widely as his eye twitched.


“Yeah, I won the puzzle,” Diamonqiue stated. “I actually have an IQ of 180, at least according to the last time I took the test. My personal psychologist says despite my poor memory, I still could be able to do sciencey stuff and go to Harvard and junk if I worked harder, but working hard is like…hardwork.”


Over at the teams, Ness and Frannie stood on platforms raised high in the air. The platforms connected to another raised platform by a thin wire. Under the platforms were a net.

“Wait, why I am here?” Ness said.

“That is the age old question,” Frannie stated, “but the meaning of life we can only determine for ourselves.”

“No I meant what am I doing here,” Ness said.

“Oh,” Frannie replied, “well when a mommy and daddy love each other very much, or are bored, they…”

“No time for that,” Rhonda yelled. “First one to the end wins!”

Frannie flipped out on to the wire. Ness looked down and gulped. She stepped out onto the wire…that snapped and sent Ness plummeting.

“What?” Rhonda asked. “That wire could hold an elephant!”

“That’s not fair,” Easton said, “her equipment is faulty. Ness should be given a do-over!”

“Cool with me,” Frannie stated.

“Alright, let’s do this again,” Rhonda stated.

Soon, the two girls started over. As Ness started out on the wire, a crow flew up to her and landed on her hair.

“Oh,” Ness said, “what a sweet little birdie.”

Suddenly, a murder of crows swarmed Ness. They lifted her up and off the wire.

“You want another do-over?” Frannie asked.

“Ahhhh!” Ness screamed. “There pecking out my eyes! HELP!”

"Is that a yes?” Frannie asked.

So, they started again. As Ness walked out onto the platform, two paper airplanes flew into her eyes and knocked her off…

They started again. Ness stepped out, when a falling air conditioner knocked her on the head and off the wire…

They started again. Suddenly, a gorilla that escaped from the zoo jumped onto the wire, grabbed Ness and started to climb the nearest building…

They started again. Ness shook but dipped her toe out on to the wire. She froze, and looked around for a minute.

“Phew,” Ness sighed.

The platform then collapsed under her.


“Overall we did the challenge thirteen times before Frannie got to the end,” Ness said. "I still don't know why I was-"

Suddenly, the murder of crows busted into the confessional and attacked Ness again. "Ahhhhh! Ahhh!"


At the same time, Zipporah and Kalino worked on a separate task.

“You two had to draw a poster that showed why your team was amazing,” Rhonda said. “Let’s see what you got Kalino.”

Kalino turned his poster around; He drew his team riding on Penguins and dressed in gold.

"We were suppose to be riding Eagles but I can only draw pengiuns," Kalino stated. "I also used smelly markers, with each smell symbolizing something different. We smell like victory...and lemon."

“Nice,” Rhonda said, “expect…why do I have a giraffe’s neck!?”

"I was trying to capture the spirit of your neck,” Kalino replied.

Rhonda frowned. “Zipporah.”

Zipporah revealed her poster; in it several people exploded into bloody chunks.

“I took a symbolic approach with my art,” Zipporah stated. “Here all of the world’s evils have exploded in a firework, symbolizing they are their own downfall; dictators, politicians, criminals, celebrities, my parents, etc. But the fireworks are fizzled, signifying the lack of justice in the real world.”

“Wait,” Rhonda said, “Am I one of those people blowing up?”

“That person is a symbol of television and media’s false, perpetuating views,” Zipporah replied. “Any similar look to an actual person is completely coincidental.”

“My name is written next to it!” Rhonda shouted.

"It’s called taking artistic liberties,” Zipporah said.

“While Zipporah’s work is horribly disturbing,” Rhonda said, “I enjoy the symbolism. So the Fireworks win.”

Zipporah sighed, “Yay, a pointless victory."

At the next challenge, the contestants gathered outside of a wrestling ring, where a cage was suspended in the air.

“I’ll be honest about this one,” Rhonda said. “It’s a steel cage match! First one to knock their opponent unconscious wins! Now lets get ready to rumble!”

The Eagles huddled together.

“Dang,” Bethany said, “if I’d have known we’d wrestle in a cage, I would have waited for this challenge.”

“Nonsense,” Vance stated, “that’s plum ridiculous.”

“What?” Bethany replied. “Why?”

“It’s not a lady’s place to fight,” Vance said. “You’d chip a nail."

Bethany rolled her eyes. "Whatever, I don't care to argue with you now." 


"I'm starting to regret my alliance with Yosemite Sam here," Bethany stated. "He's not much of a good guy..."


“Yeah, let’s talk about this later,” Hayden said. “Does anyone have wrestling experience?”

“Well shoot,” Vance said, “I uh…wrestled hogs all the time on the… farm I totally lived at. And I ride bulls for a living. I’ll do it.”

The Fireworks huddled together as well.

“I got this!” Lita stated. “I am a boxer." 

"Really?" Seraphina asked. 

Mmhmm," Lita stated. "I'm more than just a pretty face. They call me Lightning Lita, because one quick strike from my right hook, and it is lights out baby!" 

"Nice," Riley complimented. "But I wanted to give it a try though. I’m on the wrestling team. Rock, paper, scissors you for it?”

Lita smirked. "Sounds fair." 

“Neither of you should do it,” Tessa stated. “First off it’s not lady-like behavior.”

“Some would say the same about participating in any sport,” Seraphina retorted. “Like I don’t know, the Olympics?”

“That’s completely different,” Tessa replied. “Some sports are male and female, and some are divided by gender; aren't you worried they'll likely send in a male contestant, who is likely physically bigger than you? 

“I beat dudes all the time,” Riley replied, “But Lita papered my rock, so she’s going to win this one.”

“You know it!” Lita said, as she stepped into the cage.

Vance raised his eyebrow as the cage rose in the air.

“Go!” Rhonda shouted.

“I’d just like to state,” Tessa announced, “That I do not condone this act and believe we shouldn’t even be participating in this.”

“I’d just like to state,” Seraphina mocked, “That no one gives a **** Tessa.”

“This ain't right,” Vance said. "I'm not gonna fight no girl!" 

“Good,” Lita replied, “then this will be easy.”

Lita charged forward and tackled Vance into the cage's bars, then grabbed and twisted his arm.

“Agh!” Vance grunted, as he pushed Lita off. “Fine then, I’ll fight ya!”

“Prove it cowboy!” Lita teased.

Vance charged forward…and ran right into Lita’s fist, hitting him on the ground. He recoiled in pain as Lita backed up, ran forward, jumped and…

“Elbow drop!” Lita screamed.

“Have mercy,” Vance whimpered.

After dropping him, Lita put Vance in a chokehold. “WOO! Sorry honey, but mama needs this win.”

Lita released Vance…before she knocked him out with a punch from her right fist.

The Fireworks cheered as Lita blew kisses.

“You weren’t kidding about that right hook,” Riley cheered.

“Ooh,” Xidorn winced, “you think Vance is okay?”

Bethany smirked. “No. I think he chipped a nail.”

Eventually, once Vance regained conciousness, the team’s gathered outside of a maze that the interns had constructed.

“First, you each must select someone to compete in the next challenge, no clues,” Rhonda said, “and at the same time, someone will do the next trial with our interns’ project.”

“It’s the speed challenge,” Griswold recalled.

“Me and my brother are on the track team,” Easton said. “He’ll probably do this portion of the challenge for his team.”

“Don’t worry dude,” Griswold said. “I’m sure your bro will be fine.”

“I might as well do it,” Tessa stated, “part of my Olympic training involves distance running and sprints.”

“Sounds good, I can do dat maze then,” Riley said. 

Weston and Tessa were chosen for the first challenge and lead away. Hayden and Riley stepped up for the next challenge.

“Our interns have finished the maze,” Rhonda said. “However, you two won’t be going in. Instead, you’ll be standing on platforms and giving commands via headset to Jenny or Toby, who’ll be in the maze blindfolded. First to get their person out, wins.”

Hayden and Riley took their places and began.

“Alright Jenny,” Hayden said, “take a right.”

“Just one question,” Jenny said, “which way is right again?”

“Well,” Hayden said. “turn…turn…there go forward! Great job. Now turn again…”

“You’re doing good man,” Riley said. “Now hold on, I need to make my fingers into Ls to know my left or right. You ever to do that…”

“Straight forward for about teen feet till you get to a wall,” Hayden said, “so be careful.”

“I’ve actually explored a lot of mazes,” Jenny said. “Usually I-“

“-Jenny I’d love to talk with you,” Hayden said, “maybe schedule a psych session. But I need to win this challenge, so let’s talk later, I promise. Now turn…”

“…And that’s how I crashed my moped,” Riley said. “You don’t talk much Toby, what’s your story?”

“I don’t care about anything,” Toby replied.

“That’s chill brotato chip,” Riley stated. “There’s a lot of stress in the world, gives people a heart attack everyday.”

“Hayden has won!” Rhonda announced.

“Whoops,” Riley said.

Hayden hugged Jenny. “Thank you Jenny, you did wonderful.”

“I always do,” Jenny replied.

The contestants gathered outside of the Lincoln Memorial again. Tessa and Weston walked in.

“I’m sorry you guys,” Weston said. “It was close…but she beat me in the last second.”

“Don't sweat it Weston,” Bethany said. “You did your best.”

“Exactly,” Hayden said, “and we appreciate it; that’s all we can ask for.”

Weston nodded, but turned his head to the Fireworks, seeing his brother high-five Griswold.

“Now it’s time for the final event,” Rhonda said. “The Eagles lead by a point, but this event could decide it. You’ve all realized the trick behind these challenges, so you know this is an endurance event. Only one person on each team hasn’t gone…”

“That’s me,” Melissa stated, stepping forward. 

“Wait, whose are last member?” Ness asked.

“I am,” that one guy said.

“Oh hey man, when did you get here?” Griswold asked.

“I’ve been here the whole time,” Jonas Jasper said.

“Jenny, Toby,” Rhonda said. “Would you care to show them what the endurance test is?”

Jenny snickered as the interns carried over covered bowls and Toby pulled out a blender.

“We’ve prepared a special recipe for you,” Jenny said. “A special juice containing locally grown cockroaches, organic pigeon poopy, old man sweat, just born maggots…and black licorice!”

The contestants gasped in horror.

Weston fainted on Cynthia. “Black licorice; The horror! Won’t someone think of the children!”


“I actually really like black licorice,” Ness said.


Jenny pressed a button on the blender. “Each turn, you’ll drink a small glass of this. Person who throws up or gives up first loses.”

“You can do this Melissa,” Aiden cheered.

Melissa held back a gag. “I’m sorry, I’ll try but I don’t have a strong stomach.”

“How’s your stomach dude?” Griswold asked.

“Average,” Jasper replied.

Toby sat out little glasses as Jenny poured out the concoction.

Jasper stared at Melissa as he suddenly chugged a whole glass. He twitched but slammed the glass on the table.

“Tasty,” Jasper coughed.

Melissa’s eyes grew wide as she ran over to a trashcan and heaved in it.

The Fireworks cheered and whooped.

“And with that,” Rhonda said. “we have…a tie; six trial wins for the Fireworks, five for the Eagles plus their point lead.”

“So now what?” Seraphina asked.

“Now,” Rhonda replied, “you’ll do the final test. Don’t you remember last thing I mentioned in that speech? Teamwork. This will be a water challenge, cause we need to show some skin, so we went through your luggage and stole your swimsuits…it’s not as creepy as it sounds. Oh, and by the way Ness; we were able to find your stuff.”

Ness gasped and nearly broke down into tears as Lita patted her on the back.


Ness looked down towards the floor. “I’ve brought disaster as soon as I was born… I’m bad luck. Yet I’m chosen to be on one of the most popular reality shows of all time? I thought my luck might be changing if I was here. And it is; Total Drama might just be my good luck charm.”


The contestants changed into their swimsuits, except for…

“Kalino!” Rhonda shouted. “Why are you naked?”

Kalino shrugged, not even bothering to cover up. “It took so much offer to get my clothes off, imagine how much it would take to put more on.”

“Whatever,” Rhonda sighed. “For the final challenge, you and your team will race back to the hotel. You can take a greased toboggan down a giant slip and slide maze! You’ll..."

"Pardon, but how will we use a toboggan?" Ignacio asked. "I mean Washington is not on a hill. Without an incline, we have no gravity to propel the tobggan and-"

Ignacio blushed and froze when he noticed all the looks on him. 

Rhonda blinked. "Uh...well, that's why Toby is going to glue wheels on it. And you'll use sticks to push it through the slip and slide."

Toby shook his head and sighed as walked off. 

Rhonda cleared her throat. "Anyway, you'll have to navigate from the Lincoln Memorial all the way to the finish line back at the hotel. However you won’t be going alone…”

Jenny walked over to the Eagles carrying a box as Toby did the same for the Fireworks.

Hayden opened the box and a featherless eagle chick popped its head out and screeched. Riley found an old, damaged firework in her team’s box.

“Poor baby,” Melissa said, as she took the eagle chick into her hands and nuzzled it.

“Each team must cross the finish line with their team’s mascot,” Rhonda clarified. “Now…GO!”

The teams dashed off.

“Aiden stand on the back of the toboggan,” Hayden stated. “You know Washington best, you’ll be our guide.”

Aiden saluted as the Eagles took off.

“Hurry up, we’re losing!” Tessa yelled as the Fireworks started.

“Oops I forgot to mention the obstacles on the course,” Rhonda snickered with her co-hosts.

The Eagles dashed down the streets, turning street corners with rapid success. 

“Nice job everyone,” Hayden stated. 

“Woo!” Bethany cheered, high-fiving Xidorn. “We are all killing it!”

“We aren’t too far off,” Aiden said. “In five or ten minutes we’ll be there!”

The Fireworks however…

“We’re slowing down!” Pascal announced as the Fireworks tilted from side to side.

“Thanks captain obvious,” Tessa replied, nearly losing her stick. 

“Wait, haven’t we pasted Independence Avenue already?” Ness asked.

“Three times actually,” Zipporah said.

At the same time, the Eagles passed another street corner.

“We’re faster than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking competition!” Vance yelled.

“Is that fast?” Xidorn asked.

“Oh jeepers,” Aiden yelled, “a brick wall straight ahead!”

“Left!”

The Eagles titled left and cheered as they swerved away from the wall.

As for the Fireworks…

“Brick wall!” Seraphina shouted. “We need to tilt-“

“Left!”

“Right!”

The Fireworks tilted…and crashed into the wall first face.

“Wow,” Zipporah said spinning, “our teamwork is so good we can stir into a wall. Go Fireworks.”

Seraphina looked up to see a street sign that read Independence Avenue.

“Ugh!” Seraphina sighed. “That’s it, taxi!”

“What are you doing?” Tessa asked.

“Rhonda said we could use the slip and slide,” Seraphina answered as she hailed a taxi. “Not that we have to. Cabbie, take us to the Pentagon Hotel.”

“And step on it please!” Pascal shouted as he entered the taxi.

Like their namesake, the Eagles soared down the street.

“I see it!” Melissa cheered. “The hotel is just down this hill!”

“And them darn Fireworks ain’t nowhere to be seen,” Vance added.

Honk!

“Is that taxi riding us?” Xidorn asked.

In the taxi, the Fireworks were crammed into the back.

“Oh driver,” Pascal said, “could you pretty, pretty, please run those children off the road? Please, with cinnamon and love on top?”

The taxi rammed into the toboggan.

“What the ****!” Xidorn shouted. “It’s the Fireworks! They can’t do that…can they?”

Bethany smirked. “Everybody, hold your ground and don’t let them pass; if they want to play rough, we’ll play rough! Go Eagles!”

“Go Eagles!” the team shouted as they swerved to the left and blocked the taxi.

Jenny, Toby and Rhonda watched from the finish line.

“I say we give this race an explosive ending,” Jenny chuckled as she pressed a red button.

“Right!” Hayden yelled, as the Eagles blocked the taxi again.

Beep…beep…beep…

Aiden’s eyes grew wide. “Um, does anyone else hear that…”

Tessa rolled down the window and stuck out her arm as the taxi tried to butt its way in next to the sled.

“Yeah,” Frannie replied. “It sounds like…”

An explosion went off, causing both teams to spin out of control and the taxi to lite on fire. Tessa grabbed Melissa’s pigtail, yanking it as the explosion went off and causing the sweetheart to drop her team’s mascot…right before they crossed the finish line.

The taxi crossed the finish line right after…and crashed into the side of the building.

“We did it!” Weston cheered.

“If by it you mean lose,” Jenny said. “Then yes you did.”

“Since the Eagles didn’t carry their mascot across the finish line,” Rhonda said, “the Fireworks win by default!”

Riley was the last one to stumble out of the taxi, still in the wall. “Woo! Default is the best fault to have.”

Griswold’s eyes grew wide. “Riley, where is the firew-“

Suddenly, the firework went off and the taxi blew up into a smoldering heap.

“Eh,” Rhonda said, “we’ll fix it later.”

“This isn’t fair!” Xidon stated. “They took a taxi!”

Rhonda beamed. “I was hoping someone would catch my loophole! Nice Fireworks.”

Xidorn frowned. “Well I saw Tessa attack Melissa and force the eagle chick out of her hands.”

“There wasn’t a rule against it,” Tessa stated as she swatted her ponytail in Xidorn's face.

“This is true,” Rhonda said. “There was a rule against not having your mascot however.”

Hayden grabbed Xidorn’s shoulder. “Give it up bud, her mind is set; we’re voting off someone tonight."

Jenny smirked. “Uh oh Hayden…”

If you remember,” Rhonda said, “I said the winners of the first challenge get an extra special reward!”

“Oh goody goody good!” Pascal cheered.

“Aw jeez, they get that while we vote off one of our own,” Aiden sighed.

“Not exactly,” Rhonda said, “you see the Fireworks’ reward is…they’ll vote off the first member of your team tonight!”

A few of the Eagles (and Fireworks) gasped.

“What?” Xidorn said. “That’s completely unfair!”

“Sorry, those are the breaks kid,” Rhonda replied. “We’ll vote in two hours; Fireworks I’d discuss this amongst yourselves and Eagles…it wouldn’t be a bad idea pack your bags, just in case.”

The Eagles were silent and didn’t move as the Fireworks left, no longer cheering. 

Later, Diamonique sat down for a meal in the cafeteria and noticed Frannie biting Ziba’s nails.

“Aren't you worried?” Frannie asked.

“Nah, this food seems edible enough,” Diamonique replied.

“I meant about the votes,” Frannie said. “We both won our challenges…we could be the first ones voted out.”

“It’s not us Frannie,” Diamonique replied. “They’ll go for the more obvious type, the ones that look stronger than us. We’re too silly.”

“Huh…I guess that’s another perk of being a comedic relief character,” Frannie said.

“Okay, sure,” Diamonique said. “On the other hand, that’s the same reason we could be targeted at a future vote. People we’ll underestimate us.”

“You think?” Frannie asked.

They do me at least,” Diamonique replied. “Most people have my whole life.”

“So what should we do?” Frannie asked.

“We got to try and show our stuff at challenges, “ Diamonique said. “And we need to make friends, form alliances, get people to like us, trust us, then vote with us.”

“Well,” Frannie said, “I’m happy to know there is someone I can trust here.”

Diamonique smiled. “Right back at ya’ girl.”

The Fireworks gathered together in Lita, Ness and Seraphina’s room.

“Where’s Tessa?” Easton asked.

“Dudette refused to meet in this room,” Riley sighed.

“I’m kind of uncomfortable about this whole thing,” Griswold admitted. “Feels…really mean.”

“Maybe we should just ask the Eagles who’d they vote for,” Ness suggested.

“You guys, we have a golden goose right here,” Pascal stated. “This is our reward that we earned and we need to use it! It’s part of the game.”

“I kind of agree with Pascal,” Seraphina admitted. “If we hadn’t gotten lucky the Eagles would be doing the same to us. They nearly beat us, so we need to make them weaker.”

Pascal nodded. “Whose the first person on the Eagles you think of when you think of a threat?”

Everyone was quiet for a second.

“Bethany,” Easton admitted.

“What?” Griswold stated.

"She is a big physical threat,” Ignacio said.

“But she saved me from the scarabs!” Ness defended. “She doesn’t deserve that…”

“My first thought was Hayden,” Seraphina admitted. “He’s become their leader after all.”

“And that Brofessor’s strong too,” Riley added.

“Are we not going to mention Cynthia?” Lita asked. “She killed at the challenge…literally. I don’t think I’d want to go against her in a challenge…or even just keep her around long.”

“Even I find her eerie,” Zipporah admitted.

“Everyone,” Pascal said, “We all don’t have to write down the same name, but I think we all know who needs to go…”

At the same time, Xidorn trekked down the hall. He stopped when he heard crying. He turned and opened a closet to find Bethany.

“Hey,” Xidorn said, “you okay?”

Bethany looked away and wiped her eyes. “Yeah, yeah. I’m sorry.”

“What do you have to be sorry about?” Xidorn replied.

“I don’t know,” Bethany replied. “I just didn’t want anyone to see me cry. My mom and dad always say only losers cry.”

“Then I’m a pretty big loser,” Xidorn replied. “I cry all the time; heck every time I see a rainbow I cry.”

Bethany giggled. “It’s just…I should have tried harder out there today.”

“You tried your best,” Xidorn said. 

"My best wasn’t good enough,” Bethany said. “I’m worried…it could be me going home.”

“You don’t deserve to go home,” Xidorn said. “I…I don’t want you to go home. I know I can’t change it, but I honestly don’t believe it will be you.”

“You never lie,” Bethany replied.

“Exactly,” Xidorn said.

Bethany sighed and sat down. “It’s just…to be the first one out…I feel like you can never live that down. My parents wouldn’t let me forget it…”

“What is up with your parents?” Xidorn asked, sitting next to her. “I’m sorry but to be honest they’re bugging me.”

“Okay,” Bethany said. “Don’t tell anyone but the truth is…my entire family are professional athletes.”

"All of them?” Xidorn asked.

Bethany nodded. “My mom’s a champion tennis player, my brother’s on an NFL team and my dad is a Harlem Globetrotter. They put a lot of pressure on me; they don’t even think shot put is a real sport!”

“Have they lifted one of those things?” Xidorn replied.

Bethany laughed. “Psh, not enough. They just expect first place out of me…and I might get last.”

Xidorn hugged Bethany. “I think you’re a winner.”

Bethany sniffed. “Thanks.”

At the same time, Aiden and Hayden were unpacking in their rooms.

“I’m worried,” Aiden admitted.

“Hey,” Hayden replied, “don’t be. You’re going to be just fine pal.”

“I think I will,” Aiden said. “I mean I lost the challenge. I’m worried about you.”

Hayden froze. “Me? You think I’d be up for elimination?”

“If I had to vote one of us off,” Aiden said, “you’d be high on the list.”

Hayden gulped, but shook himself. “Hey, I’ll be fine bud. Let’s not waste time worrying about it; it’s out of here hands now. We got to stay strong team, keep our chins up. Can you do that?”

Aiden smiled and nodded. “Will do sir!”

Aiden dashed off as Hayden watched and smiled. But as soon as Aiden was gone, Hayden sighed and fell on the bed. "It might actually be me..."

In Melissa and Cynthia’s room, Cynthia polished her knives as Melissa entered carrying clothes.

“You’re clothes are all nice and tidy,” Melissa said.

Cynthia nodded, not looking up.

Melissa set them on a dresser and looked in the mirror. She sighed.

Cynthia sat her knives down.

Melissa nodded. “I understand we have to vote someone off. But its one thing to be able to vote off one of your own then leaving it in someone else’s hands. It could be someone who doesn’t deserve it, like Aiden or Hayden or Xidorn or Bethany or Weston or Diamonique or Vance or Frannie or Kalino or…”

Cynthia stared.

“Everyone tried today,” Melissa replied. “It’s not fair for them to go. But I was deadweight out there. Maybe I should just volunteer to leave.”

“You’re being an idiot,” Cynthia said. “You tried too. Sometimes, people lose.”

“You're right Cynthia,” Melissa replied. “I’m going to do a little baking. Care for anything?”

Cynthia shook her head, and began sharpening her knives again.

“Okay,” Melissa replied. “And…thanks for listening Cynthia.”

Cynthia didn’t look up from her knifes.


“It could be me tonight,” Bethany said. “I do have my alliance and I talked to Pascal who said he was steering the vote away from me. I can’t give up; I’m not a quitter. I’ve just got to keep my head held high.”


“Aiden is right,” Hayden said, “I might be going home tonight; which would suck. The other team hardly knows me…not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. I hope if I do go my siblings aren't watching, I'd be so embarrassed to have their older brother be first out."


Cynthia stabbed a knife in the wall, turned to the camera…and then the screen went to static.


All the contestants followed Rhonda.

Rhonda opened a door. “Welcome everyone to the Hotel’s…Haunted Internet Café!”

The contestants stepped into a well-lit, average looking Internet Café’.

"Yeah…it was new edition,” Rhonda admitted. “But you don’t want to be here, because here is where our elimination ceremonies take place.”

Rhonda pointed to a booth in the corner.

“Using the voting booth in the corner,” Rhonda explained, “you’ll use the computer and select the Total Drama Genesis application. “

Zipporah frowned.

You’ll be uploaded to your page,” Rhonda continued, “where you’ll see a section marked ‘teammates'. You’ll click on the icon of the person you want to cast a vote against,” Rhonda said. “If their icon is ‘gold’ however, then their ‘status’ is invincible, and their icon is not clickable, meaning they’ve won invincibility.”

“This all sounds like a product tie-in,” Zipporah stated.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Rhonda replied. “And for viewers at home, you can go online and buy your own version as an app for your smartphone!”

“However you turds can save yourself even if you don’t have invincibility,” Jenny teased.

Rhonda nodded. “Well hidden in this hotel are three flash drives, which you can connect to the computer before votes are cast. This can allow you to grant ‘secret immunity’ to someone, including yourself, and cancel out all their votes.”

“The first two are team exclusive,” Toby explained, “red for the Fireworks and blue for the Eagles. Only a member from that team can use that flash drive at an elimination ceremony.”

“But,” Rhonda said, “the golden flash drive can be used by anyone at any elimination ceremony! It’s the ultimate lifesaver and yet the most well hidden of all the flash drives! It may never, ever even be found…”


Kalino chuckled as he held up the golden flash drive. “Sure Rhonda, sure.”


For this elimination ceremony, all Fireworks will be able to vote for the Eagles,” Rhonda explained. “ Now, let’s get to it.”

The Fireworks nodded, and one by one went into the booth...


Zipporah cast her vote for Cynthia. “It's not that I'm scared of you or anything, you're just good in challenges. Just, don't tell Cynthia I said that.”


Riley cast her vote for Hayden. “Sorry man, I’m sure your cool and you have my respect for beating me in that challenge. Heck, if you made it to the finals I’d probably vote for you. Which is why I’m voting for you now. See ya Broda.”


Easton cast his vote for Bethany. “You’re a threat, plain and simple. Sorry it has to be this way.”


Seraphina cast her vote. “As long as it isn’t me.”


Pascal cast his vote. “Eenie...meanie...minnie...you. You’re simply to big a threat to myself and I can’t have you stopping my plans for winning. I won't sugar coat it; I’m enjoying I’ll be able to make you the first one sent home. Better luck next time...if they ever invite you back.”


“All the votes have been cast,” Rhonda announced from behind a podium. “When I call your name, you will receive a cup of coffee, signifying your safety…for now. The person who does not get a coffee will become that most pathetic of God’s creatures: the very first to be eliminated from an elimination game show. You will then exit through the Revolving Doors of Shame, and leave on the Public Transportation of Losers. ”

The Eagles eyed the Fireworks, who sat and looked the other way.

“The first coffee goes to…Diamonique.”

Diamonique smirked and caught her cup.

“Kalino. Frannie. Weston.”

The three smiled; Weston winked at his brother.

“Xidorn…Vance…Melissa…”

Only Melissa failed to smile at catching her coffee.

“Aiden...”

Aiden sighed.

“The rest of you all received votes,” Rhonda announced. “Bethany, you’re a physical strongly and have friends on both teams. Hayden, you’ve taken the leadership position easily. And Cynthia…”

Cynthia stared.

Rhonda yelped. “Um…yeah. However, one of you received the majority of the votes. The last two coffee cups go to…”

















“…Cynthia and Hayden. Bethany, you’re out.”

Bethany stood up and sighed. “Good luck you guys; Go Eagles.”

Not looking back, she exited the Revolving Doors of Shame.

“Well,” Rhonda said, “I suggest you all get a goodnight’s rest; it only gets harder from here.”

Chapter 4 Sweet Dreams (Aren't Made Of This)

Melissa slumped into her room; Cynthia wasn’t anywhere to be found.

“Maybe some reading will cheer me up,” Melissa said as she approached the bookshelf. “Let’s see…Sweeny Todd, Hannibal Rising, To Serve Man…ooh a cookbook!”

Melissa removed the book…and the bookshelf slid away to reveal a secret passage.

“How thoughtful!” Melissa exclaimed as she entered the passage.

Later at midnight, Pascal exited his room and tiptoed down the hallway. 

“Now if I were a flashdrive where would I hide?” Pascal whispered. “Maybe, at the bottom of a potted plant?”

Pascal turned towards a potted plant and started using his hands to dig.

“Pascal?”

Pascal turned around to see Seraphina.

“Oh Seraphina,” Pascal said, “how funny to see you here…at the hotel we’re all staying at. Wait, what are you doing up?”

“I can't sleep,” Seraphina replied. “I thought a walk might help. What are you doing?”

“Me?” Pascal asked. “Well I…had to tinkle! Yeah, but Kalino fell asleep in the bathroom so I used the bathroom downstairs. And then I dropped my contact…in this pot. Oh look there it is!”

Pascal slapped some dirt against face.

“Okie dokie,” Pascal replied. “Well I better go catch some Zs. Great work today, so glad we’re teammates, bye!”

Pascal dashed off as Seraphina raised his eyebrow. She walked down to another floor but stopped when she heard a scream. She turned to see Xidorn watching an old movie in a TV room. She noticed hair dyes sitting out on a table.

“Hey,” Seraphina said. “You changing hair colors?”

“Oh hey,” Xidorn said, “Yeah I thought I might add some red streaks to my hair.”

“I don’t know I kind of like you better as a bluehead,” Seraphina replied. “Why red?”

“For Bethany,” Xidorn said.

“Oh,” Seraphina replied.

“I know it seems silly,” Xidorn said, “but she was a good friend. I don’t think she deserved to be first out.”

Seraphina looked to the ground. “I’m sorry she went home.”

“I don’t blame you,” Xidorn admitted. “It’s just the nature of reality shows.”

“When you say it like that…then why are you here?” Seraphina asked.

“I know it sounds silly,” Xidorn replied, “but I want to try and win being an honest and nice person. It is kind of like life; its going to throw the worst it can at me, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to be the best I can be. I might have to fight, but its worth fighting for you know?”

“I guess I don’t think of life like that,” Seraphina admitted.

A wolf howled on the TV.

“So,” Seraphina said, “what are you watching?”

Werewolf Shotgun Wedding,” Xidorn replied. “It’s this old monster movie about a werewolf who tries to find a bride. The ending is a twist, but I won’t spoil-“

“-Oh yeah,” Seraphina said, “when the werewolf marries the heroine she turns into an even greater monster; a naggy wife.”

“You’ve seen it?” Xidorn asked.

“I enjoy Z-movies,” Seraphina replied. “What about you?”

“I love them!” Xidorn said. “I mean it’s fascinating to see what directors try to do with a limited budget. And these movies do have a place in history, there the inspiration for a lot of modern directors like Guillermo Del Toro and Quentin Tarantino.”

Seraphina giggled. “I just like hammy actors and bad stunts.”

“You want to watch it with me?” Xidorn asked.

Seraphina nodded and sat next to him on the couch.

The next morning, Lita, Ness, Vance, Aiden, Hayden and Griswold walked to the mess hall.

“Ooh,” Ness exclaimed, “what is this wonderful smell?”

“Smells like pastries,” Griswold said.

“I wouldn’t mind that,” Lita admitted.

Griswold chuckled. “I was just about to say the same thing.”

Lita winked. “Great minds think alike.”

Griswold blushed.

“Good morning everyone!” Melissa greeted from the serving hatch. “I hope you all had dreams as sweet as you are.”

“Melissa?” Aiden asked. “What are you doing in the kitchen?”

“Well the funniest thing happened,” Melissa explained. “I discovered secret passage from my room to the kitchen. I even got to take a cute little detour through an abandoned meat locker.”

“So why are you baking?” Hayden asked.

“Don’t complain!” Vance explained as he ate cake with his bare hands.

“I was a bit sad after that elimination ceremony last night,” Melissa admitted. “Baking helps me feel better, so I did a little bit last night.”

Aiden opened the door to the kitchen, which released a tidal wave of pastries that drowned the contestants.

Melissa blushed. “Well maybe more than a little. I was thinking I’d hand out most of them to the poor and homeless today.”

Vance doggy paddled through the pool of pastries. “Eh, they could buy their own desserts.”

A bell dinged.

Melissa clapped. “Ooh, my newest treats are done. Would you all care to try some?”

Melissa returned with a tray of cupcakes.

“I made pupcakes,” Melissa said. “They’re cupcakes that look like puppies.”

“I’ll try a chocolate,” Aiden stated.

“Those are the chocolate labradoodles,” Melissa explained.

“I’ll take a fluffy one,” Ness said.

“Those are walnut wire-poos,” Melissa said. “You aren’t allergic to walnuts, are you?”

“Not that I know of,” Ness replied as she bit in to the cupcake.

Five minutes later, Ness sat in a stretcher that was loaded into an ambulance by emergency workers.

“I guess I am allergic to walnuts,” Ness wheezed as she burst into more hives.

Lita entered the back of the ambulance. “I’ll go with you Ness, incase you need any help.”

“I’m so, so sorry Ness!” Melissa said as the ambulance drove off.

“Don’t put yourself down Melissa,” Aiden said. “Hey, I was thinking I could help you pack the pastries and we could give them out together while I gave you a tour of Washington.”

Melissa yawned. “Ooh that’d be splendid. I’d love to if its not too much trouble.”

“Not in the least,” Aiden replied.

“Sorry bud,” Hayden said, “but your play date will have to wait. Melissa has been baking all night, haven’t you?”

Melissa nodded.

“You know sleep deprivation is very serious,” Hayden stated. “Not to mention you’re still growing at your age, you need at least eight hours of rapid eye movement sleep.”

“I guess it wouldn’t hurt to take a nap,” Melissa said.

Hayden picked Melissa up and threw her over his shoulder. “Come on kid, lets get you tucked in.”

“I thank you for the concern,” Melissa said, “but you don’t have to car-“

“-I’m doing this because I care,” Hayden interrupted. “Now try and get a head start on your sleep.”

Later, Ignacio panted as he ran through the halls of the hotel. Ignacio froze as he came to a dead end. On the wall hung a faded portrait…whose eyes moved and followed Ignacio.

“Ignacio…come out, come out wherever you are!”

The model shook as he tried to open doors, only to find them locked.

"Oh Iggy!” Frannie called from the next hallway over. “You can’t hide, Diamonique has your scent.”

Diamonique sniffed the ground like a bloodhound. “You smell like a dirty ox, it is strangely attractive.”

Ignacio opened a door, ran inside, slammed and locked it shut.

“We made you something Iggy!” Frannie yelled. “It’s a bell necklace and not at all an attempt to hear your every movement so we can stalk you.”

“Darn,” Diamonique said, “the trail ends cold.”

Ignacio sighed but heard a door open. He turned around to see Riley walking out only, topless with her lower half wrapped in a towel. Ignacio turned red and stared.

Riley flashed a peace sign. “S’up dude?”

Ignacio turned away. “I’m so sorry! I…I didn’t…I was-“

“-I heard your fangirls,” Riley replied as she started to dress. “I’d hide too.”

“Thanks,” Ignacio replied, “but I didn’t mean…you without…I’m not a pervert!”

Riley laughed. “Chill Broseph Stalin, its not like I haven’t seen you shirtless. Besides, I figure everybody here has seen boobs, intentional or not.”

Ignacio nodded. “You aren’t wanting-”

“-Nah,” Riley said, “you’re fine don’t get me wrong, but you’re not my usual type. I like my men like I like my energy drinks, freaky.”

“Okay…” Ignacio replied.

“If you want to come with,” Riley said, “me, Gris Bear and the Twinners are going out for some ‘broritos’.”

“Oh, uh…” Ignacio replied, “that sounds fun, sure.”

Outside in the hallway, Frannie and Diamonique gave up their search and went to the cafeteria as the eyes in the portrait watched them leave…

…Until Frannie back flipped to the portrait and poked the eyes out.

Rhonda recoiled in pain inside a secret room.

“It is rude to stare,” Jenny said, as she and Toby entered.

"Hey,” Rhonda said, “have the ratings come back yet?”

Toby nodded.

“And?” Rhonda asked.

“They were fine,” Toby replied.

“Fine?” Rhonda asked. “We have an hour and a half premiere of the return of a legendary television show, and the ratings are…fine?”

“Yeah, what part didn’t you understand?” Toby asked.

Rhonda slumped in her chair. “What now?”

“Give up and admit we’ll never succeed in life?” Jenny suggested.

“There must be something we can do!” Rhonda shouted.

“Well,” Jenny said, “we need to get people talking about it. Let’s stir up the doo-doo with these goody two shoes! Let’s manufacture some drama; for example we could reveal to Aiden that Melissa-”

“-We aren’t forcing drama,” Rhonda interrupted. “The point of a reality show is to capture the reality of people reacting and adapting to the challenges and situation of the game.”

“Oh yeah,” Jenny stated, “what about twists?”

“Twists are built in a reality show’s DNA,” Rhonda answered. “There’s a difference between changing the gameplay and forcing a conflict between people.”

“It would get people talking if we revealed that about Melissa,” Jenny pointed out. “It would come out at some point anyway.”

“That's not what I want people talking about,” Rhonda replied. “I know it’d come out, but it needs to happen at its own pace. If we force it, we’ll focus too much on it and it wouldn’t play out if it happened gradually.”

“Everyone knows the big dogs of reality TV makes up the drama to tell a story,” Jenny replied. “We’d be doing the same thing.”

“I’m not a fan of that approach in other shows,” Rhonda replied. “It ruins people’s chances in the game and it’s dishonest to our audience. We’d be selling out.”

“So you’re a fan of not being employed?” Jenny asked. “I get it Rhonda, you want reality shows to be real. But that isn’t how reality shows are anymore; if they even were that way to start with! They meddle in others’ lives for their entertainment and people expect it. Heck they want it!”

Rhonda shifted her eyes. “Toby…what do you think?”

“Do it,” Toby stated.

“Dang it you’re suppose to be my good angel Toby!” Rhonda shouted.

“I don’t really give a **** what happens,” Toby said.

Jenny batted her eyelashes. “It’s either your integrity or keeping your career, your favorite childhood show and not having to admit to your friends, family and yourself you couldn’t make it big and your dreams will never come true.”

“Why do I keep you around?” Rhonda sighed.

“Because I’m right,” Jenny said, “and cute as a kitten!”

"A dead kitten on the side of the road,” Toby said.

"YOUR MOM!" Jenny yelled.

In the library, Zipporah read. She heard a dragging noise and turned to the doorway, where she saw Cynthia carry a full trashbag through the hallways.


"I've been reading journal entries made by the owner of the hotel," Zipporah explained. "Its been great inspiration for my poetry. And so has been living in the same place as Cynthia. She's hardcore...and I don't know how to feel about it..."


Cynthia opened the trashbag and pulled out packed desserts.


"Cynthia is such a good friend!" Melissa exclaimed. "She helped Aiden and I give pastries to the needy. I cannot understand why people distrust her, just because she's different. Every has their own talent that makes them special; for some it’s a sport, some its making art and for Cynthia its her ability to wield weapons and hurt other living things. Its not our place to judge."


At the same time, Griswold and Easton walked out to the lobby.

“Hey thanks for inviting me out for burritos,” Easton said.

“Don’t mention it man,” Griswold said. “We’re teammates now, that’s what we do.”

Easton nodded. “Yeah. I guess this is a team trip…sorry my brother is tagging along.”

“I don’t mind,” Griswold replied. “Riley rooms with him and if he’s anything like you than he’s a cool dude.”

Easton smiled.

Just then, Weston tripped out of the staircase and fall face down in front of the two.

“Sick wipeout dude,” Griswold said.

“You okay Weston?” Easton asked.

Weston jumped up and glomped his twin. “Of course, now that I’m with my best friend.”

Riley and Ignacio, his hood up, exited the staircase.

“Hey,” Riley said, “Ignacio’s joining our brohemin rhapsody. Hope that’s cool.”

Griswold high-fived Ignacio. “Heck yeah! Nice to have you here!”

At the same time, Tessa marched down in the halls and ran into Xidorn.

“Sorry,” Xidorn said, looking for his glasses.

Tessa stood up and handed Xidorn his glasses. “No harm, no foul.”

Xidorn looked up to see Tesssa and frowned.

“Do you have a problem?” Tessa asked.

“To be honest yes,” Xidorn replied.

“Let me guess,” Tessa said, “you’ve seen my interviews.”

“Yes,” Xidorn replied, “but that’s not it. I’ve heard you’ve been talking smack about Bethany since she left.”

“You wouldn’t understand,” Tessa replied, “you’ve never been bullied.”

“I wear rainbow suspenders to a public high school,” Xidorn replied. “I’ve been bullied.”

“Then why are you upset I sent some dumb jock home?” Tessa asked.

“Bethany wasn’t dumb,” Xidorn replied. “And she never said a mean thing to you.”

She was being fake,” Tessa said. “People like her talk crap about others when they aren’t saying it to your face.”

“If the pot isn’t calling the kettle black,” Xidorn replied.

“You don’t know anything about me!” Tessa yelled.

“Did you know anything about Bethany?” Xidorn asked. “Did you ever have a full conversation with her? No, you didn’t. What gives you the authority to judge and not anyone else?”

“You’re just another person trying to get in with the cool people,” Tessa said. “And to do that you’re just using me as a stepping stone. I’ve seen it; people have done it to me before. I’ll tell you know they won’t respect you no matter what you do.”

“The same way you don’t respect anyone no matter how they try and talk to you?” Xidorn asked.

“We’re both outsiders you know,” Tessa reasoned.

“I admit to not fitting in,” Xidorn said, “but I’m not like you; I don’t bottle my hate.”

Tessa opened her mouth but Xidorn turned away and left her alone to her thoughts.

Later, Ignacio, Easton, Weston, Riley and Griswold sat in Burrito Queen, as the customers stared at Ignacio.

“Wow,” Weston said holding up a jar, “they sure have a whole lot of peppers.”

Griswold finished a third burrito. “Hey Riley, I dare you to chug that whole glass of peppers. If you do, I’ll pay you-“

Riley slammed down the empty jar. “Done.”

“Dang,” Easton said, “how is your mouth...”

“…not on fire?” Weston finished.

“What can I say,” Riley replied. “I’m so cool, spicy foods don’t affect me.”

"You have my respect dude,” Griswold said. “I’ll buy you another burrito.”

“Nah man I’m stuffed,” Riley replied.

"Well, I'm going to have another,” Griswold said, “I think I’m going to try benching more, build up my muscle. I don’t want to get to flabby."

"I wouldn't be worried about that," Easton said. “You’re basically a brick house.”

“Except without pigs living in you,” Weston added.

Griswold chuckled. "Thanks. I know, I shouldn't worry. Truth is though, before high school I was shrimpy."

The others laughed. 

"No, I'm serious," Griswold said. "I don't even know if I'd reach Riley's leg."

"Dude, really?" Riley asked. 

Griswold nodded. "I was shorter than five feet. Then puberty hit me."

"No way," Weston replied. "When is puberty going to hit me?"

"It already has Weston," Easton whispered.

"I can fathom that explanation," Ignacio replied. "I did not receive as much...attention before puberty."

"I wish puberty worked that way for me," Riley said. "Instead, my body just became awkward.”

The next day, Ness returned to her hotel room.

“Hey,” Seraphina greeted, “how did it go?”

“Well I’ll never be able to eat walnuts,” Ness said. “But the good news is that they were able to stop the allergic reaction.”

Ness entered, wearing a neck brace. “Unfortunately some wild horse ran into the ambulance. Long story short, my neck is sprained. But only for a few days.”

Lita entered with a a pureed drink. “Here you go honey, the doctors say you’ll have to drink your food for the next few days until your neck is healed. In the meantime, if you need anything just ask.”

“Same for me as well,” Seraphina said.

That night, the contestants were gathered in the cafeteria.

“Contestants I am proud to say you’ve made it through your first few days,” Rhonda said. “Tomorrow you will begin your challenge early. For now though, we want to celebrate you making it this far. Which is why, we’ve prepared a feast!”

Out of nowhere, the candelabras on the tables lite up and revealed platters of food.

“Please enjoy to your hearts content!” Rhonda said. “You’ll need to eat up to finish the challenge tomorrow.”

Quickly, the contestants began to dine and only a few ate very little. In a few hours, the teens had cleaned their plates and sat quietly amongst themselves.

“Is everyone full?” Rhonda asked.

“So much mannnnnnnn,” Kalino replied.

“Good,” Rhonda replied, “then lets begin the challenge!”

Everyone suddenly seemed more awake, except for Kalino.

“You said the challenge was going to be tomorrow,” Easton reminded.

“Not to mention most of you guys should be in bed,” Hayden said. “Right now it is-“

“-midnight,” Rhonda interrupted. “Making it the next day. I told you we’d start early.”

The contestants moved into the hotel lobby.

“Welcome contestants to what we like to call the Awake-A-Thon 2.0,” Rhonda announced. “Simply put the team that falls asleep first loses, so stay awake as long as possible to win.”

“Wait,” Griswold said, “if the challenge was to stay awake as long as possible, how would eating help us win the challenge?”

“Would help you finish the challenge,” Rhonda corrected. “You finish the challenge by falling asleep.”

“Now slow the roll of your crazy train Rhonda,” Hayden stated. “This is a highly dangerous and inappropriate challenge. Are you aware that sleep deprivation can cause? Allow me to remind you; haullications, weakening of the immune system...”

“How much older is that guy?” Ness whispered to Lita.

“Oh you all won’t be up for more than a few hours,” Rhonda interrupted. “We put some ground up sleeping pills in your food. And if you really have such a problem with it, you can always forfeit the challenge.”

Hayden pouted and sat back down.

“Now if everyone is done interrupting me,” Rhonda said.

“Wait I want to interrupt you too!” Frannie shouted.

Rhonda glared. “The rules for the challenge are simple; Fizzled Fireworks on the left side and the Molted Eagles to the right. No team intermingling; its troubling for the readers.”

“Readers?” Ignacio asked.

“Second you can’t leave the lobby unless you have my permission,” Rhonda stated. “So if you got to go, hold it. And don’t make a mess in this lobby.”

“Too late,” Kalino whispered.

“We’ll have designated times for you to leave the bathroom,” Rhonda added. “If you leave without permission you’re disqualified from this challenge. Now, lets get started.”

The teams slumped to their places. As the Eagles moved, Diamonique fell on her knees.

“Come on,” Frannie said helping her up, “you’re not out yet.”

"I’m going to hold on as long as I can,” Diamonique stated.

“It sounds like we need to get pumped,” Frannie said. “You thinking what I’m thinking?”

Diamonique smirked. “DANCE IT OFF!”

Diamonique jumped up and started to twerk as Frannie started Russian squat dancing.

The Fireworks tried a different strategy…

“I was thinking,” Griswold said, “we should all gather around together and try to keep each other awake. Plus, it’d be a great way to get to know each other and become stronger as a team.”

“Wow,” Zipporah said, “sit around sharing personal stories and singing Kumbaya songs with you guys? As tempting as that offer is, I think I’d rather talk to the painting with the shifting eyes.”

Tessa also refused the offer while the rest of the Fireworks gathered around.

“So what know?” Ignacio asked.

“Seraphina still owes me a tarot card reading,” Griswold stated. “If you’re interested.

Seraphina shifted her eyes. “Okay, I’ll give you a quick reading. But if you aren’t happy with the fortune its not my fault.”

Seraphina pulled a deck of cards and began shuffling them.

“How much do you charge for a reading?” Easton asked.

“I haven’t charged anyone for a long time,” Seraphina replied.

Seraphina sat down and flipped over a card, showing a man standing between two women.

“The Lovers card,” Seraphina stated. "It means you’re going to have a face a decision soon, and you’ll have to make a choice between two paths.”

Next, Ness asked for her fortune. Seraphina flipped over a card that showed the grim reaper.

“I’m not even surprised,” Ness sighed.

“Hold on,” Seraphina said, “Death means change in tarot cards.”

“You mean,” Ness said, “like maybe my luck changing for the better?”

Seraphina smiled. “That’s what I think.”

Next Pascal drew a card. It was a tower struck by lightning and toppling over.

“Does that mean something good in tarot cards?” Pascal asked.

“Uh…yeah,” Seraphina replied.

“How many of these do you do a month?” Easton asked.

“I don’t do but a few a year,” Seraphina stated.

"Why?” Griswold asked.

Seraphina sighed. “I don’t know…people react negatively to when they get a fortunate they don’t like or don’t see the exact thing they wanted to see. My powers don’t come with a user manual. I’m just trying to use them to help people…”

“Which is why you stopped charging for them?” Lita guessed.

Seraphina blushed and nodded.

Over at the Eagles, Frannie flipped onto her hands.

Whenever I need a quick wakeup I just stand on my hands,” Frannie said. “And let the blood slowly rush to my head.”

“I’ll try it,” Diamonique said.

She took off her beret, revealing the usually hidden top of her forehead…and a scar there. Diamonique tied her a hair up in a bun, revealing a few more scars on the sides of her head.

“Ooh Diamonique,” Frannie said, “those are rough scars.”

Diamonique sat on her head. “Huh?

Frannie pointed to her forehead.

"Oh,” Diamonique replied, “I forgot I had those on my head.”

Hayden started at Diamonique. “Interesting… those marks are approximately at the frontal and temporal lobes of your brain.”

“So what of it,” Diamonique replied. “You’ve never a scar on somebody’s head before?”

“No, no,” Frannie replied. “Er…yes? I mean, sorry to make a deal out of it.”

“There’s nothing wrong with being concerned about a teammate,” Hayden stated.

“Maybe you should be concerned about your nose,” Diamonique said. “Don’t want to get it hurt sticking it in other people’s business.”

Hayden rolled his eyes and walked away. “Alright fine, be childish.”

Diamonique blew a raspberry before she tipped over and fell on her face.

Aiden followed his roommate. “Zowie wowie Hayden, how did you know the parts of her brain?”

“I’m going for my psychology major,” Hayden replied.

“Oh,” Aiden said. “So why’d you point that out to Diamonique?”

“I was curious to see if she knew,” Hayden stated. “And she did.”

"How do you know?” Aiden asked.

Hayden cleared his throat. “Her overprotective reaction made it clear she’s sensitive about the subject and from that I can deduce that she knows what I’ve theorized.”

“Which is?” Aiden asked.

“Keep up buddy,” Hayden replied, “those marks likely indicate her frontal and temporal lobe are damaged.”

“You mean…Diamonique has brain damage of some kind?” Aiden asked.

Hayden nodded slowly. “Yes bud. The point is, the frontal and temporal lobes are both related to the brain’s function of memory.”

“Why ask her about it?" Aiden said.

“I’m simply concerned for her,” Hayden replied. “I don’t want the poor kid having issues and not being able to express them. After the challenge we’ll have a talk.”

Thirty minutes later the scores were tied at nine. Pascal entertained the Fireworks with another tale...

“…And that’s how I saved my team from elimination,” Pascal finished.

“Wow, that was even better the fifth we’ve heard it,” Seraphina yawned.

“Man you killed that show,” Riley said. “How did you not win?”

Pascal’s eye twitched. “I ask myself that everyday. But I don’t dwell on-”

“-Oh yeah that girl wowed the other contestants with her final speech,” Griswold recalled. “What was her name…Amanda Picklestein!”

Pascal cringed.

“Oh man I loved her!” Griswold shouted. “She was my pick to win…uh, no offense.”

“HA,” Pascal laughed, “HA, HA. None taken, I could hardly care less about that old show, even though it’s the farthest I’ve ever made on a reality show but whose counting?”


“I don’t use the word hate,” Pascal stated. “I don’t even use dislike. It’s not in my vocabulary, like ‘quitting’, ‘tone it down’ or ‘rutabaga’. So when it comes to…Amanda Picklestein…I don’t hate her.”

Pascal smile widened as his eye twitched. “I despise Amanda Pickelstein with every bone and fiber in my body! She’s the grossest, crankiest, cross-eyed, ugliest, smelliest, sick, stupidest, scaly, shriveled, big headed, bug swallowing, repulsive, fanged, wart-ridden, psychotic, infested, omnivorous, ratchet, repugnant, repulsive abomination of a person I’ve ever had to breathe the same air as! And I’m not fond of her either.”


How is your neck doing, sweetie,” Lita asked Ness.

“Alright,” Ness replied. “The good news is I haven’t been able to eat the same amount of food as anyone else. And it’s so uncomfortable I’m not falling asleep too easy.”

Lita yawned. “You holding up alright Seraphina?”

“Yeah,” Seraphina replied, “I have insomnia, so I don’t fall asleep so easily.”

“Hey Lita, can we talk in private for a minute?”

The girls turned to see Ignacio standing over them.

“Fine,” Lita replied as she followed Ignacio to the corner.

“I just wanted to apologize,” Ignacio said, “for what I said the other day to you. It was out of line.”

Lita smiled. “Thank you. I want to apologize too; I shouldn’t have blown up on you. I’m trying to curb my temper.”

“You were in your right to,” Ignacio said. “To assume that you were only interested in my looks…I was being a Neanderthal.”

“Well I’ve now seen how Frannie and Diamonique stick to you,” Lita replied. “So I understand how you’d get that way. Besides, I’ve dated a couple of models before and I kind of assumed you were stuck up like them.”

“I can understand that,” Ignacio replied. “I’ve met a lot of stuck up models. The truth is, I don’t even want to be a model! I’m just doing to help support my family.”

Lita put her hand on Ignacio’s shoulder. “Well, you’re a very sweet guy. I appreciate you coming to apologize to me. Friends?”

Ignacio smiled and nodded. “Friends.”

At the Eagles side, Frannie yawned and scowled at the sleeping Ziba on her shoulder.

"I don’t have enough life left in me Fran,” Diamonique stated with bags under her eyes. “I’m going out for the count.”

“No!” Frannie yelled. “Come on lets dance or, or we could stand on our heads again!”

“Wouldn’t want you to look at my scars anymore,” Diamonique replied.

Frannie sniffled. “I said I was sorry.”

“No I’m sorry,” Diamonique replied, “I just... I got some scars on my body Frannie, worse than those. A lot.”

“Oh Diamonique,” Frannie sighed.

“It’s alright,” Diamonique replied. “I don't need any pity. I’m just a little sensitive and the truth is…that I do have some brain damage.”

Frannie hugged Diamonique.

“I got them when I was young,” Diamonique answered. “When people see them or find out…they just have another reason to look down on me. I’m just tired of. So tired…”

“There’s nobody here I think higher of than you Diamonique,” Frannie said.

Frannie turned to see Diamonqiue already asleep. Frannie placed Ziba on her beret stood up and frowned.

“Hey Frannie,” Kalino called, “come here.”

Frannie walked over. “What’s up?”

“My partner’s asleep,” Kalino explained, pointing to a snoring Vance. “Your partner’s asleep, and I could use a laugh. You want to try and help keep each other awake?”

Frannie smiled and sat down. “Sure. So, what do you call a person who talks in someone else’s sleep?”

“A teacher,” Kalino replied.

Frannie laughed.

Soon a whole hour had passed.

Griswold turned to see Lita had fallen asleep and was shivering. He took off his varsity jacket and spread on top of her like a blanket. Riley watched and smiled to herself.

Over at the Eagles, Cynthia, Aiden, Melissa, Hayden, Frannie, Kalino and Xidorn were still awake. The male Eagles had just returned from the restroom.

“Alright lady Eagles may head to the bathroom,” Rhonda announced.

“I’ll be right back,” Melissa said as she left.

“Gee whiz,” Aiden sighed, “Melissa sure is amazing.”

Rhonda gulped and nodded. “Yeah, I’m glad we had her as a last minute addition. Besides being so sweet I’m glad that we could have the first Muslim contestant in the show’s history. Don't you think Aiden?”

“Wait…what?” Aiden asked.

Rhonda nodded. “We also have the show’s first open LGBTQ contestant as well.”

“Who is that?” Aiden asked.

“Well I’m pan,” Xidorn said.

“You’re attracted to pans?” Aiden asked.

It means I’m attracted to people of all genders,” Xidorn replied. “And I’m transgender.”

“You are?” Rhonda asked. “Since when?”

Xidorn stared.

“I just mean it wasn’t on your application,” Rhonda said.

“Because your only gender options were male and female,” Xidorn replied. “Besides transgender isn’t my gender; I identify as male. You weren’t ever aware of this?”

“I was talking about Hayden being gay,” Rhonda explained.

“You’re gay?” Aiden asked.

“Yeah,” Hayden said, “is that a problem?”

“But we share a room,” Aiden replied.

“Please stop,” Hayden replied glaring.

“Jenny and Toby how come the medical examiners didn’t inform us Xidorn was transgender?” Rhonda asked.

“We had to cut expenses,” Jenny explained. “So the medical exams got reduced budgets.”

How reduced?” Rhonda asked.

The scene changed to Xidorn sitting in a doctor’s office. Jenny and Toby stormed in.

“Aren’t you two a little young to be doctors?” Xidorn asked.

“Not according to the degrees we printed offline,” Jenny replied. “Now are you healthy?”

“Yes,” Xidorn replied.

“Whelp, good enough for me,” Jenny said as she left.

The scene returned to Rhonda glaring at her cohorts.

“Did I miss anything?” Melissa asked as she walked back in.

“Melissa is it true?” Aiden asked. “Is it true your Muslim?”

“Yes,” Melissa replied. “Why?”

“How can you be Muslim?” Aiden asked.

Melissa frowned. “Excuse me?”

“I just mean,” Aiden started to say, “your just…”

“What?” Melissa asked.

“You’re so American,” Aiden replied.

“My family has been legal and loyal American citizens for three generations,” Melissa stated. “But I guess because I believe in Islam I can’t be American then, huh?”

“I didn’t say that,” Aiden replied. “But I mean…well…”

Melissa started to cry. “I know what you mean, you…you…”

Melisssa ran away in tears. Cynthia followed after her.

Everyone turned to stare at Aiden who sat away in the corner, covering his face with his cap. Soon things died back down. Frannie and Kalino contiuned to talk.

“-So I put lobsters down her pants,” Kalino finished as Frannie laughed.

“I guess you could say she was crabby,” Frannie joked. “Wait…dang it that joke doesn’t work.”

“It was still hilarious man,” Kalino said. “Man I wish I could have a latte now, even one of those pumpkin spice ones."

Frannie giggled. Kalino smirked. "You know Frannie, I like how chill you are.”

“Right back at you,” Frannie replied. “I wish I could always be that calm.”

“You’re not?” Kalino asked.

“I just have a lot on my mind,” Frannie said. “I’m on this show so I can win the money and keep my family circus open.”

“That’s so righteous,” Kalino said, “I just joined to tick off my sister.”

“How bad is your sister?” Frannie asked.

“She’s so stiff and wooden if you threw her into the ocean she’d float,” Kalino replied. “She brings homework with her to the beach, instead of trying to surf.”

“Let me guess,” Frannie said. “You’re from-“

“-Yeah Nebraska,” Kalino replied. “I know, it’s the accent.”

Frannie snickered. “You’re real cool Kalino. Hey, you should join me and Diamonique’s alliance!”

“That sounds soooooo sweet man,” Kalino replied.

“Yeah Diamonique came up with it,” Frannie replied. “She’s a master strategist.”

“I’d love to hook my chain with you guys,” Kalino said. “So…who do you think you’ll vote off...”

Two hours later and most everyone was still asleep. Tessa, Ness and Seraphina stayed awake for the Fireworks while Kalino and Frannie were awake for the Eagles.

“Congrats to the five of you who are left standing,” Rhonda said.

Tessa and Frannie immediately collapsed into sleep.

“Or three,” Rhonda said. “However one of you can win. Who will it be?”

Seraphina and Ness slapped each others face to try and stay awake while Kalino sat there twiddling his thumbs.

Seraphina tipped over and closed her eyes.

“And we’re down to one member from each team,” Rhonda announced. “Who knows who will win this final, ultimate battle to-“

Kalino snored loudly.

“-And it looks like Ness wins it for the Fireworks!” Rhonda cheered.

“Hooray,” Ness sighed before falling to the ground.

“Someone wake the Eagles up and tell them they’ll be voting someone off in ten,” Rhonda announced.

Kalino sprung up instantly and shrugged.

Later the Molting Eagles sat at the Internet Café, all with bags under their eyes.

“Look on the bright side,” Rhonda said. “At least you’ll get to vote tonight.”

“Yay,” Xidorn ‘cheered’.


Diamonique cast her vote for Aiden. “Since Frannie and I rode with Cynthia and Melissa in the taxi at the first challenge, we’ve all been tight. We have the numbers, now we just needed to wait until somebody screwed up and painted a big target on their back. Sorry Aiden, that was you.”


Vance cast his vote. “A good point was made to me today, which was that you could be a future liability in challenges. And I want to win challenges. Sorry partner, but the buck stops here.”

Vance tried to spit but his saliva hung from his lips.


"The votes have been casted,” Rhonda said. “I have nine pumpkin spice coffee lattes. The one of you who doesn’t receive a coffee will be eliminated tonight and never comeback. EVER. Unlike last time, the first coffee cups are for Cynthia and Hayden.”

The two caught their coffees.

“Melissa…Frannie…Xidorn…”

The three caught their lattes and tried drinking them to stay awake.

“Vance…Weston…”

Weston grabbed his cup but accidentally dropped it.

“And the next coffee cup goes to…Aiden.”

Kalino and Diamonique eyes grew wide as did Aiden’s, who barely caught his cup.

“The last coffee goes to…”





















“…Kalino. You’re done Diamonique.”

Diamonique stood up and turned to meet the eyes of her teammates.

“Whatever, I’m too fabulous for this anyway!” Diamonique announced and stormed off.

She stopped and turned back to look at Frannie. “Thanks girl, for believing in me.”


Kalino sipped his latte. “Sucks about Diamonique mannnnnn… Aiden’s foot in the mouth syndrome and muscles make him useful for now, and I’d rather keep him than a master strategist. That’s why I convinced the others that Diamonique would likely be a challenge liability. Sorry D, there’s only room for one alliance on the Eagles. Oh and don’t worry, I’ll take good care of Frannie..."

Kalino took another sip of his latte. “Mmmmmmmm man they weren’t kidding about that pumpkin spice stuff.”


Chapter 5 Sweat, Sweat Revenge

The next day, most of the Fizzled Fireworks celebrated their latest win in Seraphina, Lita, and Ness’ room.

“Woo!” Pascal cheered, wobbling and holding a soda. “The fireworks blast off to victory again.”

Pascal toppled over onto Ness, who no longer wore her brace.

“And it’s all thanks to this superstar!” Pascal hiccupped.

Ness blushed deep red and hyperventilated. “Well…we all tried our best. But thanks Pascal, it means a lot, since you are so hot…a musician.”

“Duh,” Pascal replied as slid to the floor.

Lita and Seraphina prepared more snacks.

“Hasn’t he only had one cherry cola?” Lita asked.

“He hasn’t even finished it,” Seraphina replied, walking off.

Griswold walked in. “Alright, mini pizza bagels are done.”

“Thanks sugar,” Lita replied. “You know, you didn’t have to help us with the snacks.”

“It was my idea to throw a party,” Griswold replied.

“And we offered to host us in our room,” Lita countered.

“It just didn’t seem like the right thing to do,” Griswold stated.

“Well I appreciate it,” Lita replied and smiled.

“Hehehe,” Griswold snorted, before he blushed and dashed off.


“I’m awful with girls,” Griswold admitted. “No one was ever interested in me when I was a shorter and no one seemed to be at my new school…so I’ve never learned how to flirt. I’ve tried Internet searching it…but the advice has been…use cheesy one-liners, write poetry, wiggling my eyebrows, even making dolphin calls! Is that how you flirt, with dolphin calls and everyone just knows that but me?”


Seraphina walked back over. “Well, looks like we have another meeting in your room.”

“It’s your room too dear,” Lita replied. “I’m sorry, just say the word and we can wrap this up anytime.”

“No I was just…making an observation,” Seraphina said. “Thanks though…”

Lita smiled. “Of course. By the way, where did you get shawl? It looks so cute.”

“Eh, I kind of have the fashion sense of a sixth grader,” Seraphina stated. “But um…thanks. It was from my great, great grandmother. I um…like your scarf thing.”

“Thanks girl,” Lita replied. “It was actually a gift from last ex.”


“I’ve never really had female friends,” Seraphina admitted. “Or friends in general; I just didn’t want any. I don’t know any kind of ‘girl code’ or anything, so I’m kind of worried I’m offending Lita or Ness some of the times. They’re actually really nice. Lita is like a mom, not my mom but an actually maternal one.”


Riley crushed a soda can against her head. “Hey Easton, where’s your other half?”

Weston?” Easton asked. “Oh…well he doesn’t know about this.”

“Oh crap,” Riley replied. “I didn’t even think to tell him, I thought you would have.”

“Well this was just between the Fireworks,” Easton replied. “It didn’t seem right to invite him.”

“Dude no one has a problem with it,” Riley replied.

"It’s not just that,” Easton admitted. “Weston…he’s got to fend for himself. I mean, how would it look to his team if all he does is tag along with the other team? He’d be voted out.”

“Hey man,” Griswold said, “I’m sensing…some other issues here. Do you want to talk about it?”

Easton blushed. “It’s not a really big thing…”

“This is a judgment free zone,” Griswold stated.

“I love my bro,” Easton stated. “I just, I want some time apart from a while. I joined this show because I wanted to see more of the world outside of my town. I want new experiences…but when my brother heard he had to join me.”

Easton sighed. “Weston is just…dependent. And well, nothing’s wrong with him but he’s just not all together upstairs. He doesn’t think things through, and it ends falling to my responsibility to take care of him. I don’t really mind…but it feels like my parents treat him more special than me because he’s off.”

Lita nodded.

“Its hard to put into words,” Easton went on. “It’s like I have to make sacrifices for him and well…”

“He gets more love than you,” Lita finished.

“Yeah,” Easton said. “Does that make me a horrible person for feeling that way?”

“I don’t know,” Lita replied. “I understand though…my little brother…well it’s not important but I understand you.”

“I have little sisters,” Griswold stated. “It’s not exactly the same thing as twin, but I think everyone feels that way around their siblings sometimes.”

Easton nodded. “I don’t know…I still love him. Yet when you’re a twin everyone acts like you’re just clones. Weston and me are similar, but I think we need our own identities. Truth is, I’ve already been offered a scholarship for my math major.”

“That’s superb,” Ignacio stated. “You must be quite adroit.”

Easton blushed. “Yeah, thanks. I haven’t told Weston yet; going means we’ll be apart and he doesn’t really have plans for the future. I’m worried he won’t be able to hold his own.”

“Dude I had no idea,” Riley stated.

“Please don’t tell him what I said,” Easton asked.

“My lips are sealed,” Riley replied as the others nodded.

“For what its worth I think you’re right about some time apart,” Griswold said.

The next morning, Kalino strolled through the cafeteria while reading a paper.

"Horoscopes," Kalino stated. "You will have great accomplishments today."

Kalino looked up to see Frannie, who had made a frowning face out of her eggs and bacon.

“Fran the Wooman,” Kalino stated. “How you holding up?”

Frannie face planted into her breakfast and sobbed.

“I’ll take that as bad,” Kalino said.

Frannie lifted her head. “I’m just so upset that Diamonique is gone. I can’t even think of a joke.”

“Here’s a joke,” Kalino said. “What does a clown tell during breakfast times?”

“What?” Frannie asked.

“Yolks,” Kalino joked, as he rubbed some eggs off Frannie’s face.

“Thanks for trying,” Frannie stated. “I just don’t understand why Diamonique went home.”

“Yeahhhh,” Kalino stated. “It’s a total mystery I don’t understand…but I’ve been talking to the others and I don’t think they’ll vote you off.”

“Really?” Frannie asked. “I hope so. At least I know I can trust you Kalino.”

Kalino shrugged. “I’m just a trustworthy guy mannnnnnnn.”

Later, Aiden dragged his feel slowly to his room; he used his card. Hayden frowned as he saw him.

“Hey,” Aiden whispered.

“So are we going to talk?” Hayden asked. “Or are you going to keep avoiding me? I know you’ve been sleeping in the other hotel rooms instead of here.”

Aiden looked down. “You didn’t ever check me out did you?”

“You don’t check out every girl do you?” Hayden asked.

Aiden blushed. "No."

“I have a boyfriend anyway,” Hayden added. “I’m just so ticked off bud.”

“I’m sorry,” Aiden replied. “I don’t a lot about gay people nor really been around any-”

“-It’s not that you’re uncomfortable,” Hayden interrupted. “I try to follow Carl Roger’s belief of unconditional positive regard; respecting and accepting others as who they are. I honestly don’t care if you don’t like or support gay people as long as you don’t express it to me.”

“Then…what?” Aiden asked.

“The way you acted,” Hayden shot back. “We were pals until you find out I’m gay, and know I’m suddenly a different person?”

“You never mentioned it,” Aiden replied.

“What, am I just suppose to state my sexuality to everyone I meet?” Hayden asked. “I’ve never hid it, but I don’t make a big deal about it. It shouldn’t be a big deal."

Aiden hugged Hayden. “I’m sorry, I should have considered how you feel. Can we, can we still be buds?”

Hayden chuckled and gave Aiden a nuggy. “Yeah, we’re still buds. But I’m not the only one you need to say sorry to. I’m worried about Melissa.”

Aiden nodded. “I know and I am too. I want to talk to her…but I don’t know what to say yet.”

“I’ll help you if you need it,” Hayden replied.

“Thanks,” Aiden said. “I might…but I also want it to come from me.”

Later, Weston walked through the lobby, where a TV on a cart was placed.

“Weston…”

Weston froze and turned to the TV, which showed Easton talking in front of his team.

“Weston is just…dependent… he’s just not all together upstairs,” Easton ‘said’. “He doesn’t think things through, and it ends falling to my responsibility to take care of him. It’s like I have to make sacrifices for him… Truth is, I’ve already been offered a scholarship for my math major… going means we’ll be apart and he doesn’t really have plans for the future.”

Weston stared at the TV, which turned to static.

Rhonda awkwardly ran up to the TV. “Oh no, how did this TV I didn’t leave in this exact place get here? I hope it didn’t not on purpose accidentally show certain footage that was totally not edited together. Weston, did you see anything?”

Weston looked down, before running off in tears.

Rhonda grimaced but wheeled the TV away. Soon, she returned to the monitoring room where Jenny and Toby sat.

“Guys, I feel a little guilty,” Rhonda said. “I think I may have hurt Weston’s feelings. How were the ratings for last episode?”

“Alright,” Toby said on his smart phone. “But a lot of people have been watching it online and talking about it.”

Rhonda smiled. “Yay!”

“Mostly about Aiden,” Toby added.

Rhonda frowned. “Well, at least the plan worked.”

“The plan didn’t work!” Jenny shouted. “It actually hurt Hayden’s feelings, and I like him more than most of the people here. Present company included.”

“It was your idea,” Rhonda replied. “What are they saying Toby?”

“Some people really dislike him for it,” Toby stated. “Some agree with him. A few people have even sent death threats to his family, according to his stepmother’s social media.”

Rhonda sighed. “I…I didn’t mean for that to happen.”

The next day, the teams gathered in the lobby.

"It’s that time again,” Rhonda announced, “challenge time! To celebrate the upcoming game, we’ll be doing sport themed challenges!”

"Aw man!” Griswold cheered. “This is going to be sweet!”

“What game is coming up?” Xidorn asked.

“You know,” Rhonda said, “the…sport that people watch.”

“Another attempt at a tie-in for cheap cash,” Zipporah stated. “What a surprise."

“Anyway,” Rhonda said, “for this challenge you’ll compete in up to five different sports. We’ve taken the liberty of totally randomly selecting who does what. You’ll be in pairs of two, except the last challenge will have three people. ”

“But we don’t have as many members as the Fireworks,” Xidorn pointed out.

“You shouldn’t have sucked so much,” Jenny teased.

“Two people will go again for your team,” Rhonda explained. “Now, we’ll need a change of scenery for the first sport…”

The contestants moved to a new hotel and entered a dome that contained an artificial beach.

"Welcome to the Paradise Beach Hotel," Rhonda announced, "One of the several hotels run and owned by our home company. I thought about hosting the show here, but the Pentagon seemed like a better fit."

"That's the first smart thing I've ever heard you say," Zipporah said. "Who wrote it for you?"

"Our first challenge is for the sport of water skiing!" Rhonda announced. "One person will steer a speedboat through a course of buoys, while the other will water ski and collect flags. Then you'll reach a dock, switch roles and continue down the course. Whoever collects the most flags wins; For the Molting Eagles, Vance will drive first and Hayden will ski."

"You think you can handle it bud?" Hayden asked.

"Don't call me bud," Vance replied. "And of course I can, water skiing is just like rodeo."

"In a completely different way," Hayden added.

"On the Fizzled Fireworks," Rhonda continued, "Riley will drive and Zipporah will ski."

"We're the dream team!" Riley wooed as she tried to chest bump Zipporah but knocked her to the ground.

"More like a nightmare," Zipporah sighed. "And not the good kind."

In a few minutes, the pairs went off.

“Try not to get distracted staring at me,” Vance yelled.

“Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m attracted to every guy,” Hayden replied.

“I know that,” Vance said. “But everyone’s attracted to me. I’m not every guy; I’m a champion.”

Vance then ran into a buoy.

“Aw yeah,” Riley cheered. “This ocean breeze is amazing. Are you feelin it Z?”

Zipporah flopped about like a dead fish. “I’m feelin it.”

Vance crashed into another buoy. “I tell you Hayden, your driving is catawampus!”

“Right, it’s my fault,” Hayden replied. “You’re just protecting your own feelings-“

“Cut out your doctor talk!” Vance shouted. “I’ve collected a few durn flags after all!”

“Only because you crashed into all of those!” Hayden shot back.

“NO HANDS!” Riley screamed as her boat drove past the Eagle’s.

“AHHHH!” Zipporah screamed.

Hayden parked into the dock and switched roles with Vance.

“You think you can steer this thing?” Hayden asked.

“You do know who you’re talking to right?” Vance asked.

Vance backed the boat into the dock, causing it to sink.

“I do,” Hayden replied.

“WOOOOOO!” Riley shouted as her boat crashed into Vance’s.

few minutes later, the four teens washed up on the shore.

Griswold ran forward. “Are you okay Riley?”

“Wow Brono Somebrody,” Riley said. “That was an amazing wipeout!”

“I’m fine by the way,” Zipporah stated.

“Does anyone actually have any flags left?” Rhonda asked.

Vance smiled, revealing a flag caught between the gap of his missing tooth.

“Well I guess the Eagles win,” Rhonda stated. “Now for the next challenge, it’ll be Easton and Griswold against Melissa and Weston in a game of beach volleyball! First pair to score three points wins.”


Randomly selected,” Easton said, “yeah right!


In a few seconds, the pairs were in front of the net.

“Hey good luck bro,” Easton said.

Weston glared. “I guess you’ll have to take care of me in this too, huh?”

“What?” Easton asked.

Melissa sighed and looked over at Aiden who stared at her.


“I admit that what Aiden said really hurt my feelings,” Melissa stated. “Maybe I’m just being selfish, but that is my religion. I’m trying to not let it get me down. I need to stay positive for my team; when I’m doing a challenge I need to have a tummy full of sunshine tickles…but instead my stomach is churning in crying clouds.”


Toby blew a whistle; Griswold served the ball and it swung over the net. Weston ran forward and bounced the ball. Easton ran up and knocked it back over. Weston tried to hit it, but it landed on the sand.

“Give me some bro!” Griswold stated as he and Easton fist pumped.

Weston threw the volleyball at Easton’s head.

“Your serve,” Weston stated.

Easton handed the ball to Griswold, who served it. It smacked Weston in the face and bounced back over the fence.

“Weston sure can take a lot of pain,” Hayden stated.

Cynthia nodded.

Easton shot it over but Melissa bounced it back. Griswold hit it back strong and scored point.

Great job Griswold!” Lita cheered.

“That’s what I’m talking about Griz Bear!” Riley shouted.

Griswold giggled and blushed. He didn’t even notice Weston threw the volleyball at him, which landed in Griswold’s pompadour.

Weston sighed and took off his shirt, noticeably having some scars on his body.


“I’ve got a couple of scars here and there,” Weston admitted. “Its from climbing trees, jumping off cliffs, playing in briar patches, stuff like that. Maybe Easton’s right, maybe I do just do crazy things without thinking.”


Griswold served it, Melissa hit it, Easton hit it, then Weston jumped and slammed back over and scored a point.

Melissa and Weston high-fived, then Weston blew a raspberry at his brother.

“Is there a problem?” Easton asked.

“I’m not the one with the problem,” Weston replied.

“What?” Easton asked. “Man, you’re acting really dumb!”

“Isn’t that how I always act?” Weston said.

“Are you keeping something from me?” Easton asked.

“Like you are?” Weston replied. “I heard; about the scholarship.”

Easton’s eyes grew wide. “Weston, I-“

“-Didn’t think I should know,” Weston interrupted. “I heard it, I heard everything else you said about me. If you don’t really want to have a brother then fine; you’re no longer my brother.”

Weston jumped up spiked the ball, but Easton shot it back over and scored a point.”

“The Fireworks score a victory!” Rhonda announced.

The twins glared at each other.

The scene changed to inside an ice rink.

“Our next challenge will be the Canadian sport of choice,” Rhonda stated. “Hockey! One member will serve as a goalie while the other will have to hit the puck in the goal! First team to score two points wins! For the Eagles, Frannie and Xidorn; Xidorn will be goalie. For the Fireworks, Tessa will try to score while the goalie will be…um…uh…”

Rhonda pulled out a piece of paper. “Jasper?”

Some guy sighed and stepped forward.

“I thought his name was Jeffrey,” Griswold whispered.

“I thought our other teammate was Julie,” Seraphina admitted.

“Wait, is he on our team?” Pascal asked. “Did he just debut?”

A few minutes later, the four got in their positions on the rink. Tessa skated out and performed a perfect figure eight.

Aiden cowered nervously from the sidelines.


“My best friend is an ice skater at the Olympics,” Tessa stated. “She’s my only friend; everyone else is just quick to judge me or be snobs on look down on me. I’m thinking I might try to do ice skating in the future.


“Begin!” Rhonda announced.

“Go Frannie!” Kalino cheers as he eats a banana.

“For Diamonique!” Frannie screamed as she swung.

The puck moved a millimeter. Tessa then twirled through, stole the puck and made a winning goal. “****!” Frannie cursed.

Tessa started to slide the puck. Frannie sped forward, but Tessa danced around her.

Puck this,” Frannie shouted, as she back flipped in front of Tessa and stole the puck. She skated to the goal and slammed it in, but Jackson Jasper blocked it.

“Guess you could say I’m on thin ice,” Frannie joked.

“The ice isn’t that thin,” Juan Jasper replied.

Tessa started to skate back over. Frannie slammed the puck and made a goal.

“That was for the Canadians!” Frannie cheered.

Frannie returned to her side, is given the puck and started to skate.

Tessa skated forward. Kalino yawned as he threw a banana peel on the ice, which caused Tessa to slip and fall. Frannie slammed the puck and made another goal.

“And with that the Eagles have reclaimed the lead!” Rhonda announced.

Tessa growled and snapped her hockey stick.

“I guess you could say she needs to…chill,” Frannie joked.

“Haha,” Kalino laughed. “Good one mannnnn.”


“I don’t get it,” Kalino admitted.


The scene changed to what seemed like an old opera house.

“This is the Pentagram’s theatre,” Rhonda stated. “Where Ness and Ignacio will perform for the Fireworks, while the Eagles will again have Xidorn and Vance.”

“It’s like the Phantom of the Opera will come and kidnap me right now,” Zipporah sighed before frowning. “What mainstream, strength obsessed, self-esteem ruining event that your kind call entertainment are you going to have here?”

“This sport will be,” Rhonda said, “interpretive dance!”

“What?” Vance asked. “Dancing ain't no sport!”

"Wikipedia said it was,” Rhonda replied. “And interpretive dancing is dancing. So, you and your partner will have to perform an on the spot routine to our panel of judges; Jenny and Toby. They’ll pick the winners of the challenge. Eagles, you’re up.”

A spotlight shone on Vance and Xidorn as everyone else stepped away.

“Bust a move!” Rhonda yelled, as classical music plays.

Both teens blushed and tried to move about. Vance eventually settled on doing the monkey while Xidorn tried to do the sprinkler.

In the audience, the teams watched and cringed.

Aiden moved over to Melissa. Cynthia, who sat next to her, pulled out a knife.

“I just want to talk,” Aiden said. “Can we talk alone, Melissa?”

“Okay,” Melissa replied.

Melissa and Aiden snuck over to a corner. Cynthia didn’t lower her knife.

“I wanted to say I’m sorry,” Aiden admitted.

“Thank you,” Melissa said but turned away.

“I mean it,” Aiden said, “I know my comments were out of line. I admit I do have a problem with Muslims. The truth is…my dad and stepmom are soldiers, they met while stationed in the Middle East. And my mom was in the Middle East too; she was a medic before…she was killed by terrorist attack when I was just a toddler.”

“Oh,” Melissa replied. “I had no idea Aiden…I’m so sorry.”

Aiden wiped a tear away. “No, you don’t have anything to be sorry about. That doesn’t excuse my actions, I just wanted to try and explain why.”

Melissa sighed. “I understand. I know there are awful people out there who do things in the name of being a Muslim. But not a single person represents a whole; the Christians who protested those soldiers’ funerals don’t represent every Christian after all. I’m just…hurt you’d think I could be someone like that.”

I know,” Aiden said, “I didn't really, but I just was confused. I have some biases, but I know they can’t all be right; you’re proof they’re wrong. I want to move past this, I want to be more aware, I want us to be friends again…and more than anything I don’t want you to feel bad. Golly, you’re the sweetest person I’ve ever met; you shouldn’t feel bad.”

Melissa hugged Aiden. “I’d love to be friends again.”

Aiden hugged her back and started to tear up. “Thank you.”

Meanwhile on stage Vance switched it up to doing the chicken dance, while Xidorn pantomimed throwing chicken feed. Vance tripped and tried to play it off, as he scooted his butt across the stage like a dog. The music cut off as Xidorn and Vance sighed in relief.

“Judges?” Rhonda asked.

“It was an interesting take on the Star Wars prequels,” Jenny replied.

“I thought their dance was about the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Toby said.

“It sounds like it’ll be hard to beat,” Rhonda stated. “Ness and Ignacio you’re up.”

Ness and Ignacio awkwardly took the stage. The music started and the two started imitating ballet as they moved across the stage. Ness twirled, only for her shoe to fly off. The shoe flew into the air, knocking and shaking the stage lights, which looked rather loose.

Ness gulped as she looked up. Toby coughed and Ness blushed as she started to hop on one foot and dance again. Ignacio imitated a mime, trapping himself in a box.

Griswold covered his eyes. “I can’t look.”

Suddenly, a stage light fell and conked Ness on the head.

“Err…derp,” Ness giggled as she fell about.

“Oh god, Ness is on fire,” Riley stated.

“She’s doing that good?” Griswold asked.

“No, she’s literally on fire,” Easton yelled as Griswold put his hands down.

The stage light had burst into flames, and had spread to Ness’ jacket, who herself was completely out of it.

Ignacio ran backstage and grabbed an extinguisher. He held it out but Ness stumbled against him, causing the model to accidentally shot it off. The extinguisher bounced off wall to wall. It ricocheted into Rhonda’s forehead, knocking her out and bounced straight up into the rest of the stage lights. They fell, preceded to explode and burst into flames.

The extinguisher then knocked down a hook holding a sand bag. The sandbag fell on Ness’ foot…while the extinguisher proceeded to bounce into Ness, knocking her off stage as it ran out of fuel. Ignacio tried to help Ness, distracting him from the hook, which hooked itself on Ignacio’s pants and shirt. As Ignacio moved forward the hook ripped off his clothes, leaving him stark naked on the stage. Ignacio blushed and froze.

“Now that’s what I call hot,” Frannie joked while drooling.

“EW GROSS NAKED PEOPLE!” Jenny screamed as she ran away. Toby meanwhile fainted.

“So, did we win or…” Pascal asked.

Later, the teams were at a roller skating rink.

“Well that wasn’t a total disaster,” Rhonda stated. “And the judges ultimately decided to crown the Fireworks the winners.”

“Only because you ended up hurting Rhonda,” Jenny added.

“Since we conveniently tied,” Rhonda stated, “we go to the final challenge! The three competitors yet to compete, step up!”

Lita, Seraphina and Pascal walk forward for the Fizzled Fireworks. Aiden, Cynthia and Kalino come forward for the Molting Eagles.

“This challenge will be a roller derby challenge!” Rhonda announced.

“What’s roller derby?” Lita asked.

“It’s basically roller skating with punching,” Rhonda replied. “For this challenge, you have to race around the course. First skater to circle all the way around wins it for their team. You are allowed to push, punch and other such violence to stay ahead. And you might have to…”

Soon, the contestants got on their gear and made their way to the starting line.

“Can you guys skate?” Pascal asked.

Seraphina tripped and face planted. “No.”

Jenny, Toby and Rhonda sat in announcer’s booth. “On your mark, get set, get ready…go!”

The group skated off; Aiden struggled while Kalino slowly inched along.

“Now let’s add some obstacles,” Rhonda giggled as she pressed a button.

Suddenly, gates opened and large roller skating thugs charged out at the contestants.

“Eep!” Aiden squealed as he ran backwards as the thugs chased him.

"Eep!” the thugs exclaimed running the other way.

Cynthia skated after them.

A thug sneaked behind Lita…and got a punch to the face.

“Wee!” Pascal exclaimed as he lead some thugs in twirling around.

“Wee,” Seraphina stated as some thugs tossed her around.

“Leave her alone punks!” Lita yelled as she grabbed Seraphina. A thug tried to grab her, only to get an uppercut to the chin.

“I like this sport,” Lita admitted as she noticed the blood on her knuckles.

“You’re tough Lita,” Seraphina said.

“Trust me, you have to be in my neighborhood,” Lita said as she put Seraphina down. “Hey, where are you creeps going? I’m not done making you cry!”

“This is getting intense,” Rhonda said. “And it is the climax of the challenge…quick, play the edgiest music we have the rights to!”

Toby nodded and played a track.

Hanson - Mmmbop (Lyrics)04:34

Hanson - Mmmbop (Lyrics)

"This is the edgiest song we could afford..."

Mmmbop, ba dubi dop, ba do bop…

“I said edgy!” Rhonda stated.

“This is the edgiest song we could afford,” Toby replied.

Rhonda slumped to the floor, got in the fetal position and began to cry to herself.

The thugs skated back into the gates and slammed them shut. Cynthia had the lead, with Pascal, Lita and Seraphina together in the back.

“I have a plan to win,” Pascal stated.

“Will it work?” Seraphina asked.

“I saw it on a children’s television show,” Pascal replied. “That means its full proof!”

Seraphina face palmed.

“We’ll form a chain,” Pascal explained. “In the middle will be the lightest skater; as we skate around the corner, that person will be flung forward and propelled by our inertia to finish line.”

“Does that even make sense?” Seraphina asked.

“It doesn’t not make sense,” Pascal replied.

“We’re out of options,” Lita stated. “Everybody chain up!”

“Well whose going to be in the middle?” Seraphina asked.

Lita and Pascal look at Seraphina, before each grabbed one of her arms.

“I had to ask,” Seraphina sighed, as Lita and Pascal threw her.

Seraphina screamed but soared past Cynthia.

“Wow,” Seraphina said, “I’m actual-“

“-Hey there.”

“Oof!”

Seraphina tripped over a lying down Kalino, and fell on her face. Cynthia skated past her and completed a lap.

“And for once the Eagles actually win!” Rhonda announced from the booth. “We’ll see you tonight Fireworks.”


“I knew I wasn’t going to win,” Kalino admitted. “So if you can’t beat them, have them join you in losing. I waited at the finish line, took a power nap and helped win the challenge. My horoscope was on point today.”


“The Eagles actually won something!” Rhonda cheered. “Be seeing you at elimination tonight Fireworks…”

Later in the Pentagram, Pascal knocked on room 666.

Tessa opened the door and glared. “What do you want?”

Hey, hey, hey!” Pascal said as he forced his way into the room. “You did awesome sauce at the challenge today and it made me think, hey we should form an alliance!”

“Save it,” Tessa replied. “I wouldn’t want to form an alliance with an egotistical, know it all celebrity.”

“Well isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black,” Pascal said.

“Huh?” Tessa asked.

“I was just saying that’s too bad,” Pascal replied. “I mean that’s fine, I guess then when Lita or Seraphina suggest voting you off today I won’t convince them otherwise.”

Tessa sighed. “They’d all follow them, wouldn’t they?”

“Not if I don’t change their minds,” Pascal teased.

“Fine,” Tessa groaned, “I’ll form an alliance with you…but you backstab me and you’ll regret it.”


“I was wondering,” Pascal said, “I can’t count on that whole Good Guys alliance, so who is going to be my goat now? And then I heard Tessa baaing. I mean, nobody likes her so she’d be the ideal candidate to take to the final two! All I have to do is keep her from being voted off and that can’t be hard, right? Right?”


“I don’t trust Pascal,” Tessa said. “He’s just another popular creep who thinks he can use me to help him get ahead. Which is why the first chance I get, I’ll send him home.”


“Alright then,” Tessa said, “who are you going to vote off?”

Pascal smirked. “Well…”

Later in another room...

“Justin?” Griswold asked. “Whose that?”

“I think he means Jojo,” Riley said. “You know he has brown hair and…brown hair.”

“Why would we send home Jamal instead of Tessa?” Seraphina asked.

“Well Tessa is more useful in challenges than Johnny,” Pascal answered. “I mean, Tessa won her trial and the first challenge, stayed awake long in the sleeping challenge and was a great skater this time. At the moment, it would just be in the team’s best interests to keep a power player than a nobody.”

“Tessa isn’t really into having a team,” Seraphina stated.

“And do you remember Jeremy being a big part of the team?” Pascal asked.

“Pascal does bring up a good point,” Easton admitted.

“Tessa has been nothing but horrible to all of us,” Lita reminded.

“Maybe if we give her time she’ll change,” Pascal said.

“She’s had plenty of time,” Seraphina replied.

“I don’t want to keep Tessa,” Griswold admitted. “But she is useful in challenges and I’d like to win more…if she promises to be a better team player.”

“I think I can get her to promise that,” Pascal replied.

“He did stuff in challenges,” Lita defended. “I think..”

“Let’s take some time and think about this,” Griswold said. “Pascal, you can talk to Tessa. We’ll meet up again and make a final decision.”

Soon after, Seraphina, Lita and Ness chilled in the hall.

“I’ve already made up mind,” Lita stated. “I’m voting for Tessa.”

“Okay,” Seraphina stated, “I don’t want to…but I think its in our best interests to agree with the others in who to vote off, even if it isn’t Tessa.”

"What?” Lita asked. “I thought you disliked her more than I do?”

“Oh I despise her,” Seraphina said. “She should be going home. But if we go against the entire team at our first elimination ceremony, it’ll cause a divide.”

“That would mean voting off…um Jasper?” Lita asked. “And he doesn’t deserve that.”

“I’m not saying he does,” Seraphina said. “But we’re close as a team now, if we go against it we’ll get in trouble. It’s him, or us.”

“I think I have to agree with Seraphina,” Ness admitted. “If Tessa doesn’t improve, we can vote her off next.”

Lita sighed. “Fine.”

Later however, Lita knocked on a door.

Jimmy Jasper answered the door. “Oh I’m sorry, Ignacio isn’t in.”

“I’m not here to speak to him,” Lita said. “It’s Jasper, right?”

“Yes,” Jasper replied. “Yes, it is.”

“I just wanted to tell you…” Lita said.

Later, the Fizzled Fireworks were in the internet café.

“Well this is technically not your first elimination ceremony Fireworks,” Rhonda said. “You all have voted once already, so before we begin does anyone have anything they’d like to say?”

Julio Jasper stood up. “Look, I’ve heard rumors that I’m going home. I just wanted to say to all of you that I-“

“Alright no one has anything to say,” Rhonda said. “Let’s get to the vote!”

Jasper sighed.

Soon the votes were cast.

“I have ten coffee cups,” Rhonda said. “The one of you who doesn’t receive a coffee will be eliminated tonight and never comeback. EVER. The first coffee cup goes to…Ness.”

Ness tried to catch her coffee, but accidentally dropped it on the floor.

“Ignacio…Pascal…Seraphina…”

The three caught their cups.

“Easton…Riley…Griswold…”

The three caught their cups.

“Lita…and Zipporah.”

Zipporah swatted her coffee away.

“And the last coffee cup goes to…”

"-Oh cut the crap,” Tessa stated. “We all know how this is going to end.”

“Spoil the fun,” Rhonda whined, tossing Tessa her cup. “Sorry…uh…Jocast …but you’re going home.”

Jasper nodded and exited through the Revolving Doors of Shame.

Later Jenny, Toby and Rhonda were alone in the café.

“You know I feel bad for that guy,” Rhonda stated.

“What for?” Jenny asked.

“Well,” Rhonda said, “I guess because we never really gave him a chance. We never gave him any focus, even though he is on the show.”

“So?” Jenny replied.

“Why cast someone if you don’t plan on using them?” Rhonda asked. “It just seems unfair and maybe even...a bit pointless honestly."

“Hey somebody has to be the early out,” Jenny replied. “Might as well make them unimportant. Maybe someday someone will notice him.”


Lita sat in the voting booth with her legs crossed. “Everyone else is going to vote Jasper. Tessa came down and did promise to be nicer…she didn’t apologize of course and she barely talked to us. She’s not the one who deserves a second chance; that’s Jasper. So I’m voting Tessa. My team won’t be the wiser about it, and it just doesn’t feel right voting off that poor boy.”


Chapter 6 Invade You Look

A black void existed; nothing, blank, void.

Then an echo; an echo of color rang out. The echo shimmered and waved, metamorphosing into an evolved rainbow of colors, each pertained their own sound. The echoes melted, merged into a cohesive melody that was not music. Through the color waves and sound hues, loud whispers trickled…

“The child of a killer…”

“They blame my death on themself…”

“Nothing but a dirty rat, waiting to trap you…”

“He plots…”

“The treasure lies below…beware of the treasure hunters…”

“He will be met…”

And then, the most familiar and yet foreign voice; “Don’t close your heart. Don’t live your life alone. Don’t, or you’ll become like me. Seraphina… Seraphina, don’t die like I died! Seraphina…”

Seraphina gasped and opened her eyes, having lost her breath. Seraphina sat in the floor of the lobby, meditating. Looking down, Seraphina saw her deck of tarot cards and slowly reached her hand forward and flipped over the top card…

…The card depicted a human man and woman chained to an altar where a winged, hoof legged man sat.

“XV,” Seraphina whispered. “The Devil.”

“More mumbo jumbo?” Tessa asked as she exited the stairs.

Seraphina sighed. “Please not now.”

“What a surprise, your practicing another scheme to steal someone’s money,” Tessa stated. “Don’t you have anything better to do?”

“Don’t you have anything better to do than make everyone miserable?”

Seraphina and Tessa turned to see Xidorn reaching the bottom of the steps.

“Oh wait I know you don’t,” Xidorn said. “Now shoo fly, shoo.”

Tessa sighed and walked off as Xidorn sat beside Seraphina.

“Thanks,” Seraphina said.

“No problem,” Xidorn replied. “Don’t let what Tessa affect you, she’s full of it.”

“Amen,” Seraphina replied. “Hey Xidorn…what do you believe in?”

“Um, well lots of things,” Xidorn replied. “I believe in equal rights, the power of art, unicorns-“

“-You believe in unicorns?” Seraphina asked.

"Of course!” Xidorn replied.

“But you’ve never seen a unicorn,” Seraphina stated. “And people fake them all the time.”

“So?” Xidorn said. “People fake all sorts of things; evidence a certain unicorn is fake is not evidence against the existence of all unicorns. And just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

I believe everyone has a purpose for existing. I can’t really see that…but I know it.”

“I guess that’s what having faith is, huh?” Seraphina asked. “Sorry, didn’t mean to go philosophical there. I should clean up my tarot cards.”

“I’ll help,” Xidorn said. He grabbed her box, but a locket fell out.

“Sorry,” Xidorn apologized, snatching it before it fell. Inside he saw a black and white picture of Seraphina, except she had a few freckles on her face and wore older clothes.

“It’s fine,” Seraphina replied. “Just be careful; this box was my great, great grandmother’s.”

“Why does she have a photo of you in it?” Xidorn asked.

"It’s not me,” Seraphina replied. “That’s her sister when they were teenagers in Germany during the 1930s.”

“She looks just like you,” Xidorn stated.

“That’s what my family always says,” Seraphina replied.

“Wait, 1930s Germany?” Xidorn realized. “You mean like…during World War Two?”

“Yeah that’s why they immigrated to America…except for her,” Seraphina pointed to the locket.

“Why wouldn’t she leave?” Xidorn asked.

“My family says she was a black sheep,” Seraphina explained. “She isolated her, didn’t talk to anyone and didn’t keep up with the news. She refused to move somewhere new and well, my family is Jewish…”

“Wow,” Xidorn said. “This is not the way to start the morning, huh?”

“It’s fine,” Seraphina replied. “Let’s just talk about something else.”

“Well,” Xidorn said. “I was thinking…this weekend the remake of The Invaders is coming out.”

“The cult classic alien movie with the alien animatronics?” Seraphina asked.

“That’s the one!” Xidorn replied. “We both like monster movies, so would you want to go see it together?”

“I don’t know,” Seraphina replied. “I’m not big on going to theatres.”

“Ooh,” Xidorn replied. “Well that’s cool. I’m going to get some breakfast, I’ll see you around.”

“Yeah,” Seraphina replied. “Thanks for talking.”

"Of course,” Xidorn replied. “Seraphina…”

“Hmm?”

“I believe in psychics too,” Xidorn stated. “Don’t give up on it just because of what Tessa says.”

Later that afternoon, Hayden walked in the kitchen to see Melissa and Aiden baking.

“What are you kiddies up to?” Hayden asked.

“Aiden’s being a dear and helping me bake cupcakes to sell for a new charity,” Melissa explained.

“New charity?” Hayden asked.

Melissa nodded. “I’m raising money to support a charity that makes shoes for dog’s feet.”

“Really?” Hayden asked.

Melissa sniffled. “Yes; just the thought of a poor puppy going on that long awaited walk only to hurt its little paws on a heated sidewalk…ooh…”

Aiden put his hand on Melissa’s shoulder. “Golly Melissa, it’s alright. The puppies will be fine.”

Melissa breathed. “You’re right…sorry, it’s just puppies and sadness should never mix.”

Ding!

“Those must be the mango cupcakes,” Melissa stated. “Be right back.”

“So,” Hayden whispered, “You and Melissa are okay?”

“Right as rain again,” Aiden replied. “I’m having her teach me a few things about her religion, you know trying to get know more about her. Thanks for being there for me Hayden.”

“Of course,” Hayden replied.

“Frannnnnn something smells good.”

“Oh my,” Hayden said.

Kalino and Frannie walked in wearing ‘disguises’; Frannie wore a monocle and fake mustache while Kalino wore only a powdered wig.”

Melissa walked back with cupcakes. “Oh hey Kalino and Frannie! Why are-“

“-Don’t encourage them,” Hayden stated.

“Anyway,” Aiden said. “I was wondering something Hayden? If its not too personal, I what’s your boyfriend like?”

“I’m flattered you’d care to know,” Hayden admitted. “Here I’ll show you a pic from my phone.”

Hayden turned on his phone; his screensaver was Hayden snuggling a man wearing a sweater with a maple leaf.

Kalino rubbed his chin. “Looks like Hayden likes his men like he likes his bacon; Canadian.”

“Yes, Zach is a foreign exchange student from Canada,” Hayden replied.

“There’s nothing wrong with that,” Aiden said. “Just cause we’re Americans doesn’t mean we have to hate Canadians.”

“Especially since this whole show is based on a Canadian cartoon anyway,” Frannie stated.

“Right…” Hayden replied.

Meanwhile, Lita, Ness and Seraphina walked into the lobby, as a storm raged outside. Seraphina froze for a second as her eyeballs rolled into the back of her head.

“Eee!” Ness squealed. “I’m so excited we’re going to that huge mall!”

“Right?” Lita asked. “I’ve been thinking we should have a girl’s day out!”

Seraphina’s eyes rolled forward and she shuck. “Yeah…sounds fun.”


“I’ve never really had a girl’s day,” Ness admitted. “Most of the girls in my grade like me and place kick me signs on my back…well all the kids all my school do that…and my teachers…”


“Well let’s hit it girls!” Lita cheered.

“Wait,” Seraphina said. “It’s pretty bad out…maybe we should wait until it clears up.”

“Is everything okay Seraphina?” Ness asked.

“Yeah it’s fine,” Seraphina said. “I’m feeling a little under the weather…”

Lita placed her hand on Seraphina’s forehead. “Do you need to see a doctor? Let me go get Rhonda. No, just to be safe we’ll take you to a doctor right now. Hold on honey, we will get you better!”

“No it’s not that bad,” Seraphina said. “I just…”

“It’s okay if you don’t want to hang out with us,” Ness said. “You don’t have to just because we’re roommates.”

“Oh,” Lita replied. “Yeah, you don’t have to feel obligated.”

“My god no,” Seraphina replied. “I didn’t mean that. I like you guys, I didn’t know people were as nice as you are. I…I had a vision of some kind and I don’t feel like you two should go out there.”

“Oooh,” Ness replied. “Why didn’t you just say so? In that case we won’t go.”

“You mean it?” Seraphina asked.

“Of course,” Ness said. “I mean you are a psychic.”

"I’ll be honest,” Lita said. “I don’t know if I believe in psychic powers, but I know I trust you and if you got a feeling then I believe you.”

“Thanks,” Seraphina replied.

Suddenly a crack of thunder was heard; the next moment a gargoyle statue smashed onto the bus stop.

Lita gulped. “If we were there we’d be-“

Another strike of lightning hits the fallen statue and blows it to bits.

“-Real dead,” Ness said.

Lita exhaled. “Thanks girl and next time don’t be afraid to tell us.”

“Yeah,” Ness said. “We can have a girl’s day another time.”

“Well we could have one in our room’s today,” Seraphina suggested.

“Yes!” Lita and Ness shouted in unison.

Meanwhile, Easton and Weston were in the cafeteria but not together. They sat tables apart, glaring at each other.

Griswold walked in. “Hey Dude, you ready to go for some Brorritos?”

“Yes I am ready to go,” Easton said. “With my bro.”

“Oh yeah,” Weston said. “Well I have a totally cool new bro from my team.”

“Who?” Easton asked.

“Um it’s…uh…” Weston mumbled as he eyed someone entering. “It’s Cynthia!”

Cynthia walked into the cafeteria carrying a dead cat.

“Cynthia?” Easton asked.

“Cynthia?” Griswold asked.

“Cynthia?” Weston asked. “I mean, yeah Cynthia! We’re going to go see that new horror movie later, right Cynthia?”

Cynthia stared. “Sure…”

Weston put his arm around Cynthia. “See you around...Griswold."

As they left, Weston whispered, thank you and sorry and please don’t murder me...

Griswold turned to Easton. “So I take it you and your bro haven’t talked?”

“If he wants to be childish and ignore me then he can go ahead,” Easton replied.

“Even if it means he’s hanging out with a serial killer and could die?” Griswold asked.

Easton sighed. “He won’t talk to me. And I can’t figure out who told him.”

“I still can’t believe someone from our team said something, “ Griswold admitted.

“Me either,” Easton replied. “But when I find out who, they’re going to be sorry…”

Later, the three Fireworks roommates were in their pajamas, braiding each other’s hair in their room.

“Alright I have to ask,” Lita stated, “Out of everyone here…anyone you think you’d date?”

Ness blushed. “Well…maybe.”

“Eh,” Seraphina replied. “Not really; I’m not that interested in dating.”

“Really?” Lita asked. “Why not?”

“It just seems kind of overrated I guess,” Seraphina admitted. “I’ve never dated anyone honestly.”

“I haven’t really dated anyone either,” Ness confessed.

“What do you mean by really?” Seraphina asked.

“It’s complicated,” Ness replied.

“Well don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with,” Lita said. “But don’t be afraid to put yourself out there either. If you don’t try to be someone, you won’t know what you like or dislike in a person.”

“Do you know Lita?” Ness asked. “What it’s like to…be in love?”

Lita sighed. “It’s wonderful. To be with someone who can makes you special. To find your other half and find that person who can make you complete. Err…I say that, but I have horrible luck with dating.”

“Really?” Seraphina asked. “Don’t take this the wrong way but it doesn’t seem like you’d have a hard time getting someone.”

“It’s not that,” Lita said. “I’ve dated some guys but it always end with them dumping me.Like the last guy I loved; really nice older guy in college. We dated for a while and on our anniversary…he stood me up.”

“What a jerk,” Seraphina stated.

“It gets better,” Lita said. “It turns out he wasn’t in college; he was a married man and even had kids. I was just a ‘ghetto girl’ on the side…”

Ness grabbed Lita’s shoulder. “That’s horrible.”

“He’s the one who gave you your scarf, right?” Seraphina asked.

Lita nodded. “When we broke up he gave it to me. I’m over it now, it just sucks is all.

“I get bad relationships,” Ness said. “I had this huge crush on my best friend and next door neighbor; when I was a freshman he was a senior and my only friend at high school. And then during prom, he actually asked me out!”

“I don’t like where this is going,” Lita said.

“No, prom turned out to be magical,” Ness stated. “I mean I did end up getting diarrhea and hit by a bus, but it was magical nonetheless. We dated for a week; it was the happiest time of my life. But then on Monday, he told me he only dated me to make me feel happy; he knew I always liked him but thought of me as more of a sister.”

“I hate it when they use that line,” Lita stated. “I’m so sorry honey.”

“I wish he wouldn’t have done it on Valentines’ Day,” Ness said. “But I understood; he told me that he had always loved someone else…my dad.”

No,” Lita and Seraphina shouted in unison.

“Yeah,” Ness said. “It ended up being pretty awkward, but they have a cute relationship I guess.”

Lita sighed. “I can not believe he was so…wait did you just…do you mean….”

“Yeah, my dad ended up falling for him,” Ness admitted. “They got married in a really nice ceremony.”

“I’m sorry but what the ****,” Serphina said.

“I mean my dad’s happy and my first crush is a nice stepdad to my brother,” Ness said. “So It worked out…except for me but I don’t mind.”

Lita hugged Ness. “That’s sucks, plain and simple. But maybe you’ll find someone here; I’ve heard lots of people have found true love on shows like this.”

Ness blushed. “Well I do kind of have this crush on someone here.”

“Gurl spill it!” Lita said.

“Okay, okay,” Ness giggled. “I think Pascal is dreamy. I’ve always liked his music; he’s one of my top three bands along with Blainerson McManly or One Rejection.”

“Dancers do have great abs,” Lita said.

“I don’t know some of the things he says makes me want to throw up pink vomit,” Seraphina admitted. “But if you like him, he has to be alright. He was hanging on close to you at our celebration.”

Ness blushed. “What do you like in guys Seraphina?”

“I don’t know,” Seraphina admitted. “I’ve had crushes on a couples guys…and girls, but there isn’t really a pattern.”

“Ooh,” Ness said, “are you bi or pan?”

Seraphina shrugged. “I don’t know, I’m just attracted to people I guess. I don’t really like to use labels.”

“Why?” Ness asked.

Seraphina nodded. “I know they can be helpful to identify with, but I feel they can limit people too. Labels come with different expectations and people will hold you to those expectations. I’m not ‘The Bisexual’, ‘The Pansexual’ or ‘The Psychic’….I’m just Seraphina…sorry, didn’t mean to rant there.”

“I don’t mind listening to rant when you need to vent,” Lita replied.

Ness nodded. “I think you have a pretty good point.”

Seraphina blushed. “Thanks. I’m in kind of a mood. Tessa talked to me, and you know how bad that is.”

“What the heck did you say now?” Lita asked.

“Just the same crap about my psychic powers,” Seraphina admitted. “Sometimes I wish I didn’t have them.”

“There amazing!” Ness cheered. “And not just because they saved our lives. Why wouldn’t you want them?”

Seraphina sighed. “When I was little and I realized I could see the future, I thought I could use my powers to help people. Like I could see a bad outcome and change it for the better. But then people accused me of being a fraud and my mother…she wanted to use my powers to make money. She told me once when I couldn’t have a vision to just make up someone. I guess I just gave up on them then.”

Ness and Lita hugged Seraphina.

“Well, your powers helped us today,” Ness said.

Seraphina blushed but hugged them back. “Yeah, I’m glad for that. Thanks for listening and stuff…I’ve never really talked about it with anyone.”

“That’s what friends are for,” Lita said.


“Another disgusting sight today,” Tessa stated. “Lita, Ness and Seraphina all wore the same style of braids together. It’s really sad actually; Ness and Seraphina are outcasts who are so desperate to fit in, they’ll follow around Lita just because she’s ‘popular’. Now they’ve formed their own little mean girl trio and Lita’s probably made it into an alliance. I’ve got to get rid of her…”


In the library, Tessa whispered to Zipporah

“…And then we’ll eliminate the popular squad,” Tessa explained. “We’ll form an outsider’s alliance. So, what do you say?”

“No,” Zipporah replied.

“What?” Tessa asked. “Why?”

“Do you want the list hand written or typed?” Zipporah said. “One, it sounds like another overrated facet of this show. Two, you’re mainstream. And three, you’re also a rude, narcissistic know-it-all.”

“If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black,” Tessa replied, then cringed. “Fine whatever, I don’t need you or your vote!”

“Whatever helps you sleep at night,” Zipporah replied as she turned a page.

“Attention all contestants,” Jenny said over the P.A., “meet in the lobby in five for your next challenge! And Rhonda says, be prepared to be scared…”

Tessa stormed off.


“The owner of this hotel was a misunderstood genius of his time,” Zipporah said. “Just like myself. You know he built this hotel over an Indian gravesite. And underground he constructed a series of catacombs, a torture chamber, cathedral and a Mickey D’s. You know, incase he worked up his appetite being even more amazing."


Cynthia carried a duffel bag and pulled out a chainsaw. “Scared? I doubt that.”


The contestants gathered in the lobby where Jenny and Toby waited.

“Alright everyone hop on the bus,” Toby stated.

“But Mr. Toby where is Ms. Rhonda?” Melissa asked.

“Ooh so we’re not good enough for you?” Jenny pouted.

“You’ll hear from her later,” Toby said. “But first we have to go to our challenge location.”

“Which is?” Pascal asked.

“Up your butt,” Toby replied. “Now let’s stop wasting fuel, and more importantly my time, and get on the bus.”

Soon, the contestants arrived at a lot of abandoned warehouses. The sun was almost set as they exited.

“Your challenge is simple,” Toby stated. “Find a P.D.A hidden in one of these warehouses. Once each team finds one, you’ll both be given more instructions.”

“Now lets get out of here before it happens,” Jenny added.

The bus sped off, leaving the contestants in the dust.

“These challenges just get more and more uncreative,” Hayden said.

“And you’re surprised?” Zipporah asked.

Soon the Eagles and Firework dispersed.

Seraphina stopped at a warehouse and pulled out the door. She walked inside and started examining abandoned boxes. As she did, Pascal snuck by and slammed the door, locking it back. Seraphina banged on the gate as Pascal snickered and skipped away.

“You should have seen that coming psychic,” Pascal whispered. “Now when we lose, the team will blame you and you’ll go home. Serves you right for interfering with my flash drive search.”

“HEY!” Seraphina screamed and banged on the door. “HELP! HELP! Ugh…”

Seraphina slumped to the floor. However, she looked up as she heard the gate open.

Lifting it was Xidorn. “Hey, you okay?”

“Yeah,” Seraphina replied. “Thanks to you.”

“Always happy to help,” Xidorn asked. “How did you get locked in here anyway?”

“No clue,” Seraphina said. “But I have the sinking suspicion someone did it.”

“Well maybe you shouldn’t work alone,” Xidorn suggested. “Let’s do it together, the challenge doesn’t start until both teams find one…but not if you don’t want to.”

“No, I’d love to,” Seraphina said blushing. “Your fun to hang out with.”

“You mean that?” Xidorn asked.

“Yeah,” Seraphina replied. “You’re a cinephile, funny and I like how honest you are; it’s refreshing.”

“Same,” Xidorn replied. “I mean, about you. I like your snark.”

Meanwhile, Pascal skipped away, running into Griswold.

Griswold picked up Pascal by his tee and dusted him off. “Sorry about that buddy, didn’t see you. But we got good news, Riley and I found two P.D.As!”

“Yipee Skippy!” Pascal cheered. “Where are they?”

“Ooh I have ours right here,” Griswold stated. “Riley is giving the other to the Eagles.”

“What?” Pascal asked. “Why are you helping our enemies?”

"Slow your roll dude,” Griswold stated. “Just because we compete against the Eagles doesn’t mean we have to hate them. We can’t start till they do anyway, so let’s help them out.”


Pascal smiled but his eye twitched. “I’ve stumbled into some crazy alternate dimension, where I’m on a reality show…and people are playing nice! It’s so infuriating to try and actually play this game when no else is! Someone just kill me now!”

Suddenly, the elevator door opened and a green scorpion like tail swung in and snatched up Pascal…


Seraphina and Xidorn walked together and laughed.

“You told your math teacher you thought she looked like the Wicked Witch?” Seraphina giggled.

“She asked what was on my mind,” Xidorn admitted.

“Grrrrr…”

Seraphina turned around and gulped. “You know how you wanted to see The Invaders?”

“Yeah,” Xidorn replied.

“There’s an early showing,” Seraphina stated.

Xidorn turned around to see an alien, some kind of green reptile beast with no eyes, two mouths and a scorpion, claw like tail.

“Holy peanut butter enchiladas!” Xidorn shouted. “That’s the original animatronic from the original 1985 version of The Invaders! Do you think I could get his autograph?”

The invader thrashed its tail towards them.

“I don’t think he likes autographs,” Seraphina replied.

The alien growled and swung towards Xidorn, who was trying to take a picture on his phone.

“Look out!” Seraphina screamed as she pushed Xidorn away, only for the alien to grab her instead. “Run Xidorn, run! I’ll try and get you an autograph…”

“Thanks Seraphina!” Xidorn yelled.

Soon, all the teams were running for the gate as the invaders…uh, invaded. At the gate were two jeeps, each with a symbol of one of the two teams.

Riley, Griswold, Ignacio, Tessa and Zipporah hopped in the Fireworks jeep while Melissa, Weston, Cynthia, Hayden, Vance and Xidorn hopped into the Eagles jeep.

The two teams stormed off down separate streets. Suddenly, their PDAs turned on and Rhonda appeared on their screens.

“Howdy everyone,” Rhonda greeted. “So, were you scared?”

“No,” Cynthia said as she drove the Eagles’ jeep.

“As you may know,” Rhonda continued, “the famous movie The Invaders is having a reboot coming soon. So for some promotional benefits, we have repurposed the original animatronics to use for a challenge!”

“Who would have guessed,” Zipporah stated.

“For this challenge,” Rhonda stated, “all you have to do is stop an alien invasion; piece of cake. By which I mean you’re all doomed. As in the original, you must save the Earth by destroying the Queen Invader and her eggs, before they hatch and create an alien army. Oh and you have one hour until they hatch.”

A countdown clock appeared on the PDA and started ticking.

“This PDA will give you coordinates to a shed,” Rhonda explained. “In this shed are weapons you can use to defeat the Invaders, whose nest is somewhere in the hotel. The team whose destroys the queen wins immunity! However, if the queen survives past the hour…then both teams will be sending someone home. Good luck!”

The remaining Eagles soared down the highway in the jeep driven by Cynthia.

“This challenge seems a teeny weeny bit unsafe,” Melissa said. “Wouldn’t you agree Hayden?”

Hayden jumped in place. “We’re going hunting gang! Aw man, what kind of weapons do you think we’re going to get? I call dibs on any shotguns! Oooh…uh, did you say something Melissa?”

“Nevermind,” Melissa replied.

“We aren’t in any real danger,” Cynthia stated.

“I suppose you’re right,” Melissa said. “I feel quite awful that we have to hurt those poor little killer aliens.”

“They’re inanimate objects Melissa,” Xidorn stated. “They can’t feel pain…”

Melissa nodded. “I know, but since we need objects for tasks shouldn’t we treat them respectfully and nicely for doing their job?”

“Amen,” Vance said as he wiped his nose on his sleeve.

“I guess I agree there,” Xidorn admitted. “These were one of a kind animatronics back in the day; they should be in a film museum. But they’re tossed aside because of a reboot. How sad.”

“If it’s done, it’s done,” Vance said. “Throw it in the scrap heap and get the fancy smancy model. Ain’t it why we got reboots; for new, better things?”

“That is also true,” Xidorn stated. “And it isn’t good to look at things through nostalgia glasses. Hmm…it almost feels like we taking existentially, doesn’t it? Like about something else.”

“I don’t know I’m partial to the original,” Weston admitted. “It was some of Cornelius Puckerschmidt’s best work.”

“You’re a Cornelius Puckerschmidt fan?” Xidorn asked.

“Does an Ivander Queen have three reproductive organs?” Weston asked.

“Only in the special edition director’s cut of Invader 3: The Unnecessary Prequel,” Xidorn shouted. “I didn’t know you were a movie buff.”

“I just love monster movies,” Weston admitted. “Monsters are just cool and badass.”

“Speaking of monsters,” Vance said. “The invaders are riding our goose to the hoedown!”

“Oh no,” Weston said. “They’re using their Hovercrafts of Doom from the original movie!”

The Eagles turn around to see the invaders driving a golf cart.

“They blew the budget on the animatronics,” Xidorn explained.

The invaders sped up, preparing their claw tails.

“They’re gaining on us,” Hayden stated.

Cynthia said nothing but swerved into the opposite lane of incoming traffic and slammed the gas.

“Weeee!” Weston shouted as the jeep narrowly swerved away from a mini van.

“You’re driving like crazy!” Hayden said, almost drowned out by honks. “You’re going to kill us all!”

Cynthia didn’t respond, as she avoided a tanker. Out of her pocket she threw a knife into the tanker’s wheels, causing to spin out of a control, topple over and crash into the golf cart causing an explosion.

“You’re welcome,” Cynthia said as she returned to her lane.

“That was AWESOME!” Weston cheered.

But the invaders charged out of the explosion, their skin melted away to reveal their metal skeletons. They rammed against the jeep and snarled.

“Oh no,” Weston whimpered as he fell back, grasping the end of the jeep to stay on. An invader’s tail clawed onto his throat.

“Man in danger!” Hayden yelled, as he ran to pull Weston away. “We aren’t letting them get you Weston!”

“Amen,” Xidorn said as he, Vance and Melissa tried to pull him away.

The invader in the co-pilot seat hissed and snatched Weston’s leg.

Cynthia tried to swerve away, but the invaders dug their claws into the bumpers.

The other invader used its tail and pulled Hayden off.

“Go on without me,” Hayden screamed. “I believe in all of-“

The invader sprayed Hayden with knockout gas and threw him in a trashcan on the sidewalk.

“Melissa take the wheel,” Cynthia stated.

Cynthia stood up and twirled out a knife. “I’ll kill them myself.”

Everyone backed way as Cynthia walked forward.

“Aah,” Weston screamed, closing his eyes as the invaders pulled Weston away.

His hands slipped…but he felt someone grab his arm. He opened his eyes to see the claw tails swarming around him but then…

Kkk!

The tails were sliced off with green fluid oozing everywhere. Cynthia was covered in their fake blood as she bit off their hands and held onto Weston’s arm.

“Woah,” Weston swooned, his eyes growing wide and dazed…as romantic music mixed with the sounds of alien screams. A border of ribbons and flowers held by cupids surrounded Cynthia’s blood spattered face.

Cynthia threw Weston aboard.

“You saved my life Cynthia,” Weston sighed.

“You weren’t going to die,” Cynthia replied.

Weston glomped Cynthia. “You’re my hero!”

Weston blushed at Cynthia’s unblinking eyes and pulled away.


“I never noticed before but Cynthia is pretty cool,” Weston sighed. “And kind of cute. She actually reminds me of a serial killer or monster from a horror movie…she disturbs me but I think I’m attracted to her…which disturbs me even more.”


Meanwhile, the Fireworks had arrived at the shed.

“Has anyone seen these movies?” Griswold asked.

“I tried to engage in one,” Ignacio admitted. “But I was continuously perplexed by the biologically unfeasible physiology of these ‘invaders’ and couldn’t immerse myself into the work.”

Griswold scratched his head. “Is that a yes or a no?”

“Dude look at these weapons!” Riley shouted from inside the shed.

Inside the shed were a series of water balloons, soakers and other water toys.

“Given their a few decades old enough water must cause a malfunction in their circuitry,” Ignacio predicted.

“Well I for one refuse to use any of these weapons,” Tessa stated. “I don’t believe in using violence.”

“Do you believe in getting captured by aliens?” Zipporah asked.

A metallic growl echoed out.

Tessa grabbed a water gun. “Fine.”

“I appreciate you doing this challenge to help the team Tessa,” Griswold said.

“I’m not doing this for you,” Tessa replied.

“Well I appreciate you doing it for whatever reason,” Griswold said. “I know you have reservations about this team, but we are a team and every member is important. That means you too.”

“As much fun as I’m having here, which is so much,” Zipporah said, “we need to get going before…”

A golf cart of Invaders rammed through the back.

“Nevermind,” Zipporah said, leaving through the front door.

“Everyone get out,” Griswold stated, punching off the head of the Invader. “I can hold them back.”

“Slow your roll G.I. Bro,” Riley said. “You aren’t fighting these things alone.”

“He’s not,” Ignacio said grabbing a water gun. “I’m going to stay and fight with him. Grab what you guys need and get of here, we’ll meet up after we take care of this.”

Riley sniffled and saluted her teammates, Tessa and her taking supplies and leaving. Riley drove herself, Tessa and Zipporah away in the jeep. Tessa watched as more Invaders came to the shed.

“Why did Griswold do that?” Tessa asked. “He could’ve tried to escape with us.”

“If he did we’d all be in danger,” Riley explained. “Gris Bear did us a solid.”

“Then why did Ignacio stay?” Tessa asked. “How would that benefit him in the long run? It means less people in the final fight against the queen, meaning we’re more likely to lose! He should’ve known the odds were bad.”

“He did know,” Riley said. “But he wanted to give them both a chance to make it out of there; he took those odds knowing they were bad. He was a real bro.”

“Well now what?” Tessa asked.

“What do you mean?” Riley asked. “We win the challenge, that’s what! For all the friends we’ve lost in the challenge; for Gris Bear and Iggy Pop and Easton Shore and Lightning Lita and Seraphina Silverman and Loch Ness and for all the Fireworks and for ‘MURICA and every country and ever!”

Zipporah golf clapped and yawned.

“Do you have a nickname for everyone?” Tessa asked.

“Mostly,” Riley replied. “Why, you want one?”

“Please don’t,” Tessa replied.

At the same time, The Eagles were stockpiling their own weapons.

“The nest should be underground,” Xidorn said. “That’s where they always are in the movies.”

“And this is the part of the movie when the Invaders would try to ambush before we get our weapons,” Weston stated.

“Hisssss…”

“The hot southern one doesn’t die first right?” Vance asked.

“Get out of here,” Xidorn stated. “I can take them.”

Melissa gasped. “But Xidorn-”

Suddenly an ambush of aliens attacked.

“Save yourselves!” Xidorn shouted. “This is the part where someone makes a self sacrifice!”

The other Eagles flew off as Xidorn starting firing.

“Smile you son of a ******!” Xidorn yelled, throwing a balloon grenade at the invaders and firing off his water machine gun.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

The invaders collapsed in defeat.

Xidorn sighed. “Phew, that was easier than I thought it-“

Hisssss…

“Clever girl,” Xidorn said before a claw tail grabbed and carried him away into the shadows…

The Fireworks saw the hotel in the distance; thirty minutes were left on the clock.

“According to this google search,” Tessa read off the PDA. “The Invader Queen is always underground.”

“Maybe she’s in the hotel’s basement,” Riley suggested.

“It doesn’t have a basement,” Zipporah said. “But, it does have a series of underground catacombs; that’s where they found most of the victims.”

“Of course it does,” Tessa sighed.

“Any ideas where in the catacombs the queen is Z?” Riley asked.

“Given how cliché this show is,” Zipporah said. “I’d assume it’d be in the center of the catacombs, where his torture chamber is. It’s right next to the underground Mickey D’s.”

"Nice!” Riley cheered. “We can get a burger after this is over. What do you want Tessa, a sweet tea? That’s it, Sweet T! That’s a killer nickname.”

“Please don’t,” Tessa said.

Riley crashed the jeep into the lobby. “We’ll deal with that later. Z, which way to the catacombs.”

Zipporah shrugged.

“How do you not know?” Tessa asked.

“It’s through a secret passage of some kind,” Zipporah replied.

“Alright Fireworks let’s find a secret passage,” Riley yelled before her stomach groaned. “As soon as I finish using the can.”

Riley ran to a nearby bathroom as Zipporah looked behind paintings while Tessa started tossing books off the shelf.

“Oh no!” Riley shouted. “The handle is stuck. It won’t flush.”

“Trying jiggling it,” Tessa suggested.

“Smart thinking Sweet T!” Riley replied.

"Don’t call me that,” Tessa replied.

Swoosh…

“Uhh guys,” Riley said. “I think I found the secret passage…”

“Please don’t let it be the toilet,” Tessa murmured.

“It’s the toilet!” Riley shouted. “Jiggling the handle worked, in more than one way!”

Soon after the Eagles reached the hotel.

“Looks like the Fireworks are already here,” Melissa stated.

“Why do you say that?” Weston asked.

“We have twenty minutes left,” Cynthia stated.

The Eagles ran into the hotel.

“Where’s the door to that durn basement?” Vance asked.

“Let’s ask the front desk,” Weston suggested and dinged the reception bell. Suddenly a secret doorway opened from the wall.

“I guess they didn’t hear me,” Weston said.

The Fireworks had run into the center chamber of the catacombs lite only by torches on the ceilings. Egg sacs were slimed upon the ceiling…with the captured contestants trapped inside. The Eagles dashed in afterwards.

“Oh my,” Melissa whispered.

Suddenly a high-pitched scream rang out. The torches blew out and green lighting flashed. On the floor was a huge, insectoid alien while on the ceiling an army of invaders climbed.

“How many animatronics did they make?” Tessa said.

Cynthia began shooting a water boozka and the others followed suit. A scorpion tail snatched Zipporah and threw her into an egg sac.

“I always knew I died thanks to mainstream media,” Zipporah stated as she was sealed inside.

“No Z!” Riley shouted. “You were such a good fr…you were so helpf…”

“Riley look out!” Tessa shouted as she shot an Invader.

“Thanks girl,” Riley replied as the two got back to back and blasted aliens.

“Looks like we’re going down,” Tessa replied.

“Then let’s go down together,” Riley said.

An invader growled behind them but they blasted him.

“Woo!” Riley cheered as she and Tessa high fived. “You’re slaying it Sweet T.”

“I said don’t call me that,” Tessa sighed but smirked.

“You know you love it,” Riley replied.

“Sorry to disappoint you all,” Melissa said as she was carried off. “But it seems I’m being sacrificed for their alien babies.”

“It happens,” Vance said as he was carried off as well.

Cynthia knifed another alien but an Invader tiptoed near her.

“Cynthia!” Weston shouted. “NOOO!”

Weston jumped forward and fell into the alien’s arm. The invader shrugged and kidnapped Weston.

Click. Click.

“I’m out of ammo,” Tessa said.

“Me too dude,” Riley replied.

An invader charged towards Tessa.

“Then I guess this is it,” Tessa sighed and closed her eyes.

Bang.

“Guess again.”

Tessa opened her eyes to see Griswold and Ignacio charge in.

“You’re alive?” Tessa asked.

“Thanks to my teammate,” Griswold replied.

“And now we’re here to help our teammates,” Ignacio stated as he tossed Tessa and Riley water guns. “We got five minutes left.”

"That’s all the time we need!” Riley shouted as she lead the charge towards the queen. The Fireworks ran with their guns blazing, but the swatted them against the wall with her scorpion tail and remaining invaders trapped them in egg sacs.

“It’s just you and me…”

Cynthia pulled her chainsaw out of her duffel bag. The alien queen growled.

Cynthia cocked her head as she descended the steps. "You think I'm afraid of you? You think I'm afraid of your robots or cursed hotel? You think I'm afraid of smoke and mirrors? I'm not afraid of anything.

You’re nothing but a cheap trick. I know real pain, real hurt. I don’t need superstition or sound effects; all I need is a weapon. With just a knife, I can make you feel more pain and fear in a minute than you have in your lifetime.

I know real fear. Because I control fear. Because I embody fear. Because I am the master of fear. You want to know and understand fear? Allow me to show you."

Cynthia revved up her chainsaw as the lights went out. The next sounds were of the alien screams and the sound of Cynthia's chainsaw hacking the queen’s body in half and the oozing of her slimy blood. The timer froze at exactly one second.

Cynthia yanked an egg sac off the wall and cut out Melissa.

“Oh deary me,” Melissa said. “You saved us Cynthia! You’re a hero!”

Rhonda, Jenny and Toby exited a small door with disturbed expressions on their face.

"Congrats on your win Eagles,” Rhonda announced. “We’ll see the Fireworks tonight. Right now I think I need a moment… to cry.”


"I talked to Pascal," Tessa explained. "And tried to convince him to vote for Lita, but he wouldn't agree to it! Some ally he turned out to be. Lita probably seduced him. I've had to deal my whole life with people like her; putting me down, trying to make me feel inferior. I won't let her do that to me anymore."


Tessa stomped down the hallway and ran into Lita, walking with Griswold, Riley, Easton, Seraphina, Ness and Ignacio.

“Oh hey Sweet T,” Riley greeted. “I got you a sweet tea for Mickey D’s.”

Tessa scowled and faced Lita. “Why don’t you watch where you’re going?”

“You’re the one who ran into me,” Lita replied.

Tessa stood up and walked off. “Whatever, I don’t have time for this again…”

“If you got something to say,” Lita said, “then say it.”

“So, uh do you want the sweet tea or…”

“I know your type,” Tessa replied. “You think you’re cool just cause you break hearts. But everyone can see what you really are; you’re just making a fool of yourself. Imagine how your mother must feel, if she isn’t the same.”

Lita clenched her fist. “You leave my momma out of this!”

“Why?” Tessa asked. “It makes the most sense; like mother, like daughter. Bet the rest of your family is messed up too, aren’t they?”

You…you…you…” Lita stammered.

“Lita don’t get mad,” Ness said. “She isn’t worth it.”

Lita held her fist up. “I’ve had to hear the same thing my whole life from people like you. But you leave my family out of it, you…you…ahhh…”

Lita started to cry.

Tessa stepped back.

“Come on let’s go,” Seraphina stated, as she and Ness walked Lita away.

Tessa grunted and stormed off.

"I’m sorry,” Lita sniffled. “I didn’t mean to cry…”

“You don’t have anything to be sorry about,” Ignacio replied.


"I can’t believe she started crying,” Tessa said. “She must’ve been faking it…right? Whatever, know she’s going to try and get me eliminated. But I have a trick up my sleeve…”

From her sleeve, Tessa pulled out a blue flash drive. “Its said only an Eagle can use this at an elimination ceremony…but that doesn’t mean it has to be used at an Eagles’ elimination ceremony. All I need, is an Eagle to use it…”


Later, the Eagles sat at the elimination ceremony.

“Well its two for two so far,” Rhonda said. “You guys know how this works, so let’s go to the voting-“

Out of the voting booth, Kalino stumbled out. “Whoops, wrong place mannnnn.”

“What are you doing Kalino?” Rhonda asked.

“Nothin,” Kalino replied. “I just got lost looking for a bathroom.”

Tessa smirked as Kalino nodded her direction and left.

“As I was saying, let’s vote,” Rhonda said.

After the Eagles had voted, Toby pulled out nine cups of coffee.

“I have nine cups of black coffee,” Rhonda said.

“We ran out of sugar,” Toby said.

“There are ten of you,” Rhonda said. “Whoever does not get a coffee cup will be leave through the Revolving Doors of Shame and depart of The Public Transportation of Losers. The first coffee cup goes to…Griswold.”

Griswold caught his cup.

“Next is…Zipporah, Easton and Riley.”

Toby tossed their cups.

“Ignacio, Ness, Pascal and…Seraphina.”

Seraphina caught Ness’ cup for her.

“Lita and Tessa; there is only one cup of coffee left. One of you will be going home…”



“…JK, we all know Tessa’s eliminated.”

Lita caught her cup and sighed in relief.

Tessa frowned, turned her nose and walked out the Revolving Doors of Shame.

“Don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” Seraphina sighed.


“Tessa wanted me to use the immunity flash drive on her,” Kalino stated. “It would’ve actually worked too, which is pretty nifty. But Tessa would just get voted off next time, so why waste it on her when I can use it on myself. Man, it’s so easy to find these things.”


Tessa sat on a bench at a stop for the Public Transportation of Losers. “Here.”

Tessa turned to see Riley holding out a sweet tea.

“Save it,” Tessa replied.

“Whatever,” Riley said. “I thought we worked great in the challenge together.”

“Is that why you got me this?” Tessa said.

“Yeah,” Riley replied. “And well…you looked kind of alone. I thought you might be different than you seemed. Hope you get your stuff figured out dude.”

Riley set the sweet tea on the bench and left.

Tessa sighed and picked up the sweet tea as the Public Transportation of Losers arrived.

Chapter 7 Beauty and the Feast

Knock, knock.

Cynthia opened her door to find Weston standing there.

"Oh hey Cynthia, you're staying at this hotel?” Weston asked. “That’s so cool, me too. Did you here about this new romantic comedy Kiss Kiss Slap coming out we should-“

Cynthia slammed the door in Weston’s face.


Kalino and Frannie sat with their arms crossed in the confessional.

“Hey what gives?” Frannie asked.

“Yeah,” Kalino said. “We hardly got any focus last time.”

“We were totally doing important plot related things last chapter,” Frannie pouted.


The scene changed to a flashback of one of the days before the Invaders challenge. A huge mall, the Tysons Corner Center, was shown.

“WEEEEEEE!” Frannie and Kalino shouted in unison as the slowly rode up an escalator in the mall. “WEEEEEEEEEE!”

A toddler holding his mother’s hand turned around rolled his eyes. “Losers.”

“What’d you say?” Kalino said. Kalino grabbed the toddler, which Frannie proceeded to punt the small child away.

The mother turned around. “Excuse me, did you just dropkick my son?”

“Heck yeah we did,” Frannie replied. “What are you gonna do about it?”

A few seconds later, Frannie and Kalino were kicked out of the mall on their butts.

Whelp looks like its time for Plan Q,” Frannie stated, putting on a fake mustache and monocle.

“Way ahead of you,” Kalino said, wearing a powdered wig as he started to strip naked.


Kalino and Frannie laughed and high-fived.

“We punked ya,” Kalino laughed.

“We totally weren’t doing anything plot important,” Frannie giggled.


Kalino and Frannie were still laughing at table in the cafeteria.

“You know Fran the Man,” Kalino said. “I’ve been thinking and well…I have an important question to ask you.”

Frannie froze. “Yes, Kalino.”

“Franne, would you do me the honor,” Kalino said. “Of joining my alliance?”

Frannie sniffled. “Of course I would! Wait…you have your another alliance?”

“Well,” Kalino whispered, “I’ve formed a secret one with a couple of dudes; I’d have told you earlier if it wasn’t so secret. I know our old alliance is kind of done with Diamonique gone, but we can fuse our alliances like a Dragon Ball Z character and go Super Sayian on this thing.”

“Ooh I love it when you make nineties anime references,” Frannie swooned. “Okay, let’s do it!”

“Sweetness,” Kalino said. “Now, the reason its so secret is because Pascal from the Fireworks is on. So we can’t tell anybody about this alliance. Especially anybody.”

“No problem,” Frannie replied. “I’m great at keeping secrets, like my dad’s horrible backne problem. Anyone else in our alliance?”

Bethany was,” Kalino stated. “And finally Vance.”

Frannie looked over to see Vance picking a piece of chicken from his gap tooth and farting at the same time.

“Vance?” Frannie asked. “Not to be mean but Vance-“

“-has a personality akin to a piece of toilet paper with a suspicious yellow liquid, some raisins, and a large chest hair on it?” Kalino asked. “True, but that makes him, plus his muscles, useful for the future.”

“Huh,” Frannie said. “I didn’t think of it like that. In that case, sounds like we’ve got a good plan. Thanks Kalino.”


“You know Kalino seems a goofball,” Frannie said. “And he is! Which is great, ut he’s also a really sweet, trustworthy guy. And he always has an open shirt showing off his pecs…I think I might…nah, I shouldn’t say that…too cheesy...”


At a separate table, The Fizzled Fireworks sat eating breakfast, except for Zipporah, who was writing poetry in a dark corner.

“Hey everyone,” Lita said. “I want to apologize for my meltdown the other day.”

“There’s nothing to apologize for,” Griswold said. “If anything, we should apologize for not voting her off sooner.”

“Let’s just put behind us and forget it ever happened,” Seraphina said. “Or Tessa ever existed. Especially that last part.”


“I’m not someone to cry usually,” Lita said. “Or at least in front of other people. But my family…is very personal to me and I just don’t like to talk about them…”


“You know I think Frannie’s stopped stalking me,” Ignacio stated. “Maybe I’ve gotten uglier or something.”

“I wouldn’t say that sugar,” Lita teased as Ignacio blushed. “I think you might’ve found herself a boytoy. And hopefully, she isn’t the only one.”

Lita motioned to down the table where Ness and Pascal were talking.

Ness giggled. “You tell the best stories Pascal, tell me again about you solved the puzzle and saved your team.”

“Gladly,” Pascal replied. “Well Amanda Picklestein came up and-“

Lita sighed happily. “Its beautiful thing when people can find happiness in love.”

“Yeah,” Griswold sighed, staring at Lita.

Lita dropped a cheese fry into her bra and reached down to remove it. Ignacio stared before blushing and looking away. “Yeah…”

Seraphina stared at Xidorn. "Yeah."


“I think I might really like Lita,” Griswold said. “I think…how do you know when you like someone? Like, really like them? Do I even have a chance? Girls never really seem to like me when I was small…I still feel small now…why is so hard for me? Ugh…”


“Lita is a rather pretty girl,” Ignacio admitted. “Not that I’m thinking about that or anything. I’m still not over my breakup with my ex Carla. Still…Lita is…never mind! Ididn’tsayanything!”


And now a poem by a poet not on the Hollywood paycheck,” Zipporah stated.

“A hundred puppies in a shelter died,

And not a single person cried.

A million children starved and dead,

And not a single tear was shed.

A pop star’s album is delayed a day,

A million tears people pay.

Thanks for that government politicians!”

Zipporah motioned dropping a mike.


Knock, knock.

Cynthia opened the door to see Weston standing there.

“What?!” Weston exclaimed. “Funny running into you here Cynthia. I was thinking there’s this Italian place here, even though we aren’t Italy so maybe its not Italian but-“

Cynthia slammed the door in Weston’s face.


“I began to worry what the impacts of this show could be on young, still growing children,” Hayden stated. “So I decided to do some observations on my teammates. I started simple with some projective tests; not always accurate but something to gauge them. My results were…”


“…Let’s do some word association Kalino,” Hayden said. “Just say the first word that comes to your mind; family.”

“sasserginormachoochongy,” Kalino replied.

“A real word,” Hayden replied. “Toxic.”

“Mannnnnnnnnnnnnnn….”

“…Now tell me what you see,” Hayden said as he held up an inkblot to Weston.

“Hmm,” Weston murmured. “I see…a piece of paper.”

“Yes, but what on the paper?” Hayden asked.

“Ooh,” Weston replied. “Hmm, it looks like…an inkblot!”

Hayden face-palmed…

…Just say the first word that comes to mind,” Hayden said, “bear.”

“Bear!” Frannie shouted.

“A different word,” Hayden said. “Let’s try again; sad.”

“Bear!” Frannie shouted.

Hayden groaned.

“It was a different word,” Frannie pointed out.

Hayden shook his head. “That-“

“-Bear!” Frannie yelled...

…Hayden held up an inkblot.

“Hmm,” Melissa said. “Ooh, I see a double rainbow in the sky, raining tasty yet dentally hygienic candy to all the children of the world, who join hand in hand to sing.”

Hayden looked down to see he had turned the inkblot backwards, onto a blank page...

“…Now say the first word that comes to mind,” Hayden said to Aiden, “Beauty.”

“Yosemite National Park,” Aiden replied.

“Hate,” Hayden said.

“Taxes,” Aiden replied.

“Handsome,” Hayden said.

“George Washington’s jawline,” Aiden replied…

“…The first word that comes to mind,” Hayden said. “Stars.”

“Space Wars VI,” Xidorn replied.

“Is that a movie?” Hayden asked.

Xidorn gasped. “You aren’t familiar with the Space Wars series? It’s one of the best sci-fi series ever! It started in the 1970s as a TV-show, Space Explorers.”

“Xidorn I don’t really-“

“-which in its third season was later retconned to be in the same continuity as Moon Family, the 1950s sitcom…”

“…Say the first word that comes to mind,” Hayden stated. “Ugly.”

“Your mama!” Vance replied, laughing until he knocked himself over in chair…

“..nnnnnnnnnnn…what was the question?” Kalino asked.

Hayden sighed and grabbed his temple…

“…Tell me the first word that comes to mind,” Hayden said. “Happy.”

“Murder,” Cynthia replied.

Hayden gulped. “Uhh, friends.”

“Murder,” Cynthia replied.

“Murder,” Hayden stated.

“Soon,” Cynthia said…


“…Inconclusive,” Hayden stated. “Very inconclusive.”


Knock, Knock.

Cynthia opened the door to see Weston standing there.

“Hey,” Weston said. “Listen, sorry I’ve been bugging you. But I thought it’d be cool if we hung out; I’ve got some watermelons and a jackhammer if you want to smash them or…”

Cynthia slammed the door in Weston’s face…

…as she pulled him by the arm away to the watermelons.

In the library, Xidorn was reading Helga Potter and the Sorcerer’s Schnitzel when a series of bookshelves fell over. Xidorn turned to see Vance muttering swears and kicking pages.

“Everything okay Vance?” Xidorn asked.

“These durn books have darned dilled my pickle,” Vance replied. “Tried to find one on how to track animals but they don’t got no pictures in ‘em.”

“You could try reading them,” Xidorn suggested.

“Are you saying I don’t know how to read?” Vance asked. “Cause I do! Only poor people are illit…itlight…can’t read.”

Xidorn raised an eyebrow. “No one said you didn’t. And I thought you said you tracked animals all the time back on the farm.”

“Uhh…well I do,” Vance replied. “But its different in the city. I wouldn’t understand a city slacker to understand.”

“I’d be happy to help you if you need it Vance,” Xidorn said.

“Really?” Vance asked. 

“We are teammates,” Xidorn admitted. “And I like the library standing up.”

“Thanks but no thanks,” Vance replied. “I ride…alone.”

Vance struck a pose and froze in place. No one moved for a couple of minutes until Xidorn coughed and left.

Outside, Cynthia smashed watermelons as Weston watched.

“You’re really beautiful when you're maiming stuff,” Weston said.

“Thanks,” Cynthia replied as she smashed another watermelon. “This is was a fun thing for us to do.”

Weston giggled and fell back on the wall.

“Why aren’t you hanging out with your brother?” Cynthia asked.

“Ooh,” Weston said. “Well its kind of a long story, you don’t want hear it.”

“I asked,” Cynthia stated.

“Basically he doesn’t want me as a brother,” Weston replied. “He thinks I’m a burden and an idiot…which I might be.”

“You are what you believe you are,” Cynthia stated.

“True,” Weston said. “I came here to be closer with him but now I know what he really thinks of me. I know shouldn’t be so upset, I’m no better. I’ve always been secretly jealous of him. I feel like everyone knew he was the older twin, the smarter twin; its not Weston but Easton and Weston in that order. I feel like everyone thinks I’m not as good as him and I feel like I need him to be…something. But I still loved him though…”

“You should think about your future,” Cynthia said.

“Yeah,” Weston sighed.

“You seem to be doing fine right now,” Cynthia stated.

“I am, aren’t I?” Weston asked.

“I think you two needed some time apart,” Cynthia said. "And still do."

"I think you're right," Weston said. "You know you're a really good listener Cynthia."

"I get that a lot," Cynthia replied.

Later that night, Pascal was pulling up rugs. “If it’s not in the plants, the flash drive could be in the floorboards…”

“Pascal…again?”

Pascal turned to see Seraphina standing behind him.

“Uh…oh my goodness!” Pascal stated. “Seraphina, you look great for two in the morning! Still can’t sleep, huh?”

“Yeah,” Seraphina replied. “And you lost your contacts again…under a rug?”

“Uh…yup,” Pascal replied. “I was cleaning the carpet earlier.” 

“You were cleaning the carpet in a hotel?” Seraphina asked. “Where there are maids?”

“It’s um…part of a new dancing routine,” Pascal stated. “You know how music videos have nothing to with the song but you gotta do something…anyway, you ready for the next challenge?”

“As long as it doesn’t involve aliens,” Seraphina stated. “At least I got Xidorn an autograph from that Invader.”

“A shame you got locked in that warehouse,” Pascal stated. “Maybe if you weren’t trapped you wouldn’t have gotten captured.”

Seraphina frowned. “I wasn’t trapped, I was released…and I never told anybody about getting locked in.”

“Well I overheard the interns mention it,” Pascal replied, as he stood up and turned. “Anyhow, I found my contacts. Have the sweetest of dreams tonight Seraphina…"


“…while you can,” Pascal stated. “Because you won’t be sleeping here much longer. As soon as I have the excuse to vote you off, I will! You’ll slip up and I’ll be ready…”


“Pascal?” Seraphina said. “Yeah no, **** that guy to the ninth circle of heck, he’s the worst. I knew from the first moment I saw him he was fake! He’s a two-faced rat, plain and simple. And sooner or later, he’ll screw himself over. I just don’t if I have time to wait for that…”


The next day, Melissa was baking in the kitchen as some of her teammates ate her treats. Another ding went off in the kitchen. Melissa pulled out chocolate cakes.

“Ooh goody I’ve been hankering for chocolate cakes,” Vance said.

“Ooh these are for another charity,” Melissa stated. “I’m helping a orphanage of deaf children form a chorus for a fundraiser, that way they can accomplish two dreams; becoming a singer and becoming a member of a family.”

“Durn,” Vance sighed.

“I’ll help you pack up Melissa,” Aiden said. “We wouldn’t want to be late.”

“What do you do to make your sweets so…uh, sweet?” Xidorn asked. “Do you have a secret formula?”

“Oh I do not like to keep secrets,” Melissa replied. “Sharing is caring after all. I don’t know if I have a trick…I usually just think of my favorite things and sing about them; I could sing about them right now.”

“Well,” Hayden said, “you don’t have to-“

“-La, la, la, la, la,” Melissa sang. “Ohhhhh….

lI ike puppies and baby cats,

and their bellies’ warmness,

raising awareness about fruit bats,

and a joyful chorus!

Oh I love our beautiful universe,

I could sing about it verse after verse!"

“Please don’t,” Vance said.

Melissa twirled and jumped onto the counter.

Oh, I like each sneezing panda bear

the sound of bluebirds’ notes,

when a kids learns to share

and riding in row boats!

I like giving old people sponge baths,

Making friendship bracelets,

hiking down nature’s paths 

and giving tips to each waitress!

Oh I love our beautiful universe,

I could sing about it verse after verse!

I like flowers, colors and the sun, 

I like smiles, animals and children having fun!

Yes I think of all this and more when I bake,

But there is one secret ingredient in every pastry and cake,

To everything else my ingredient is above!

My secret ingredient is always…

“Drugs?” Vance suggested.

Love,” Melissa sang in a crescendo.

Hayden nudged Aiden, who clapped for her along with Cynthia. Weston and Kalino simultaneously sighed as they looked at Cynthia and Frannie respectively.

“Well we better get going to the fundraiser,” Melissa stated. “We’ll be back for the challenge tonight. Ooh, let me grab the dolls I bought them, be right back Aiden.”

“So,” Hayden whispered. “How are you and Melissa? Still okay?”

“Just peachy,” Aiden replied. “She’s actually been teaching me about the Quran. It’s pretty interesting; I don’t understand or believe everything in it and there are a lot of differences but there are similarities.”

“When are you going to ask?” Hayden said.

“Ask what?” Aiden said.

“You know,” Hayden whispered. “Ask her out!”

“Out where?” Aiden said. “Why would I want her out?”

“On a date!” Hayden shouted.

Aiden blushed redder than his shirt. “Ooh...can I do that?”

“Well you like her don’t you know?” Hayden asked.

“I think I do,” Aiden admitted. “I mean Melissa is the most amazing person I’ve ever met in the whole world.”

“I think that qualifies as liking someone,” Cynthia stated.

I’m just saying you should ask her,” Hayden said.

“I finally found them!” Melissa shouted. “Would you get the cakes Aiden?”

“Gladly,” Aiden replied.

At the same time, Riley and Griswold were playing foosball in the game room.

“When did we get this game room?” Griswold asked.

"Someone found a secret switch to it in the wolf’s head mounted on the wall,” Riley replied. “Right next to the wax figurine who keeps changing poses. Listen dude, we got have some real talk right now.”

“Dude is it my breath?” Griswold asked.

"Nah smells minty fresh from her son,” Riley said. “It’s about you and Lita.”

At that, the Griswold accidentally shot the foosball out, bounced it against the wall and landed it into his pompadour.

“Is it that obvious?” Griswold asked.

Riley nodded. “For real, as obvious as chili on cheese. Except maybe to Lita. So, you going to go for it?”

“I don’t know man,” the lineman replied. “I don’t know if I actually have a chance with her. I mean she’s out of this world.”

“Whoa there astbronaut,” Riley stated. “The only thing that will stop you is not having confidence, you feel me? You’re a beast man! You have a chance.”

“I don’t know, I have a bad habit talking to girls I’m attracted to,” Griswald admitted. “I start saying gibberish and muttering and stuttering and-“

Riley grabbed Griswald’s face and looked him straight in the eyes. “Bro… confidence. I think she likes; she has no reason not to, you’re the coolest guy here! And you aren’t going to feel any better saying nothing!”

“You’re right,” Griswald stated. “Thanks Riley, you’re freaking awesome.”

“Duh,” Riley laughed. “Now get the ball out of your poof so I can beat you again.”


“I’ve seen my brothers go through a lot of broken hearts,” Riley stated. “So I know a thing or two about romance, not to mention having been in relationships myself. So I’m there when a bro needs a push in the right direction."


"Another poem by another artist lost in the muddled mess that is the nature of reality," Zipporah stated.

"Dear world,

Is it you?

Or is it them?

Who is the origin of sin?

Me?

I blame my loser parents."


Later, the contestants gathered inside the cafeteria for the next challenge.

“Welcome contestants,” Rhonda said. “Today’s challenge was going to take place outside but…”

Rhonda turned on a television, where a reporter was on the streets in front of burning buildings.

“Authorities are encouraging all citizens of Washington D.C., to stay inside and avoid this incident. Reports suggest that this fire was the result of a car crash caused by a loose horse that has been reeking havoc all acr-“

A thrown chair destroyed the screen. Eyes turned to Vance, who hid behind Melissa.

“In any case,” Rhonda stated. “Today’s new challenge will be showcasing the diversity found in the states of the United States…”

In a puff of smoke two tables appeared, the table on the left having a red tablecloth while the table on the right had a blue one. Covered silver trays were also on the table.

“I hope you're hungry,” Rhonda giggled, “because we’ve prepared a feast for all of you; Jenny and Toby what is on the menu tonight?”

Jenny and Toby popped up wearing chef hats.

“I’m glad you asked,” Jenny replied. “We have fried alligator on a stick, Californian chocolate covered scorpions, cornmeal pudding, Alaskan reindeer hotdogs, New Jersey tomato pie, Texan deep fried rattlesnakes, ghost pepper buffalo wings, smoked black bear, deep fried butter, aussie cheese fries, pickled pigs feet, and rocky mountain oysters…

“I love shellfish,” Ness whispered. “I’ll eat those…”

“Do you love deep fried gonads?” Zipporah asked. “Because that’s what rocky mountain oysters are.”

“These are specifically bull ones,” Jenny stated. “And an old favorite…a single strand of black licorice!”

The contestants gasp in horror.

“Have you no mercy or kindness in your soul?” Hayden asked.

“She doesn’t,” Toby clarified.

“First to finish their entire feast wins,” Rhonda stated. “Anyone who throws up is out of the challenge. Now, get chowing!”

The contestants all stared to grab food and try to eat. Melissa eyed the food nervously.


“I knew with my weak stomach I wouldn’t be able to contribute much,” Melissa sighed. “But I had to help anyway I could and I felt so awful thinking anyone would have to eat it, so…”


Melissa grabbed the black licorice and held it in the air above her.

“No!” Aiden gasped.

"Melissa you’ve got so much to live for!” Hayden stated.

“Melissa please don't,” Aiden said, “I never even told you that I think I…”

Melissa forced the licorice down. “Huh, what did you-“

Melissa gagged and ran away to the trashcan where she started to vomit. The other Eagles saluted her for her sacrifice before continuing to feast.

Frannie coughed violently as she tried to eat a ghost pepper wing. “And I thought I was hot stuff. How can anyone eat these things?”

At the Fireworks table, Riley licked her fingers. “I feel like wings should be classified as soul food. Need any help with that smoked bear Gris Bear?”

“Maybe,” Griswold replied. “This kind of feels like cannibalism in a way…”

Zipporah nibbled on a chocolate scorpion. “A beautiful, poisonous creature turned into a sweet treat; an epitome of everything wrong with the world.”

Back at the Eagles table, Cynthia began to eat the rocky mountain oysters. Weston joined in. Weston struggled while Cynthia didn’t even react.


“This isn’t what I had in mind when I said I wanted dinner with Cynthia,” Weston said.


Vance dipped the fried butter stick into the cornmeal pudding and swallowed it whole.

“Psh this ain’t nothing,” Vance said trying not to gag. “I eat country and fair food like this all the-“

Vance threw up over his white pants and dashed off, muttering about having had a big breakfast.

“More for me than,” Kalino stated, throwing the fries into the cornmeal pudding and ate it with his hands.

At the Fireworks, Lita finished the aussie fries and gasped as she saw Ness take the black licorice.

“Ness honey, don’t do it!” Lita screamed. “Don’t be a hero, there has to be another way!”

Ness shrugged and swallowed the licorice.

The Fireworks clapped while Lita made sure to check Ness was okay. “No fever…your stomach feeling okay? Is there any swelling anywhere…”


“Am I the only person who likes black licorice?” Ness asked. "Seriously, its pretty tasty."


Kalino finished off the ghost pepper wings for Frannie, who tried her best to eat a reindeer hotdog.

“I’m sorry Santa Claus,” Frannie stated. “Please don’t give me coal.”

Meanwhile, Seraphina shrugged as she ate her reindeer hotdog. “Meh, I’m Jewish anyway.”

“Isn’t that meat not kosher though?” Griswold asked.

“I’m not very good at being Jewish,” Seraphina added.

“So…whose eating the uh ‘oysters’?” Pascal asked.

Ness gulped. “Well I did say I try them earlier…so why not?”

Ness grabbed one of several and inched it towards her mouth.

“You’re not eating those family jewels alone!” Griswold stated as he put one in his mouth. “Mmm…not bad actually.”

Ness nodded and she chewed hers. “Could use a little sauce though.”

At the Eagles, Xidorn had almost eaten the chocolate scorpions while Hayden finished the smoked black bear.


“I’ve actually hunted black bear before,” Hayden said. “Deer too. My little sister Bambi actually bagged her first buck last deer season…”


Weston and Cynthia both reached for the last rocky mountain oyster. Weston blushed as their hands touched and drew back. Looking over, he nudged it over to her with his face.

Cynthia raised an eyebrow.

“Um…err…do you…I can…” Weston muttered before jolting up, accidentally knocking a fork into his arm. “Filho da ****!”

“You alright there Weston?” Xidorn asked with mouth full of scorpion.

Weston pulled out the fork. “Yes, just startled more then anything. This wild fork appears out of nowhere!”

Xidorn eyes grew wide. “You sure? The bleeding suggests otherwise.”

Weston turned around to see blood spewing out of his arm.

“It’s like a fountain of blood,” Cynthia said as she ran her hands through it.

“Oh yeah, I tend to bleed a lot,” Weston admitted. “But it really tingles more than anything.”

“It looks like both teams are almost done,” Rhonda announced. “Who will win the challenge? Who will scarf and who will barf? Who will-“

“-Done,” Kalino interrupted, having chugged the whole jar of pickled pigs feet.

Rhonda stared. “Well in that it looks like…The Molting Eagles win. Congrats I guess. See you at elimination Fireworks.”

The Eagles cheered while the Fireworks sighed.

“These are addicting,” Riley stated, eating a chocolate scorpion.

“You do know the challenge is over?” Griswold asked.

“Yeah,” Riley replied, eating another scorpion. “Its rude to let food go to waste though. You want one?”

Griswold’s stomach moaned. “I’ll pass, I think I had too many gonads…”

“We did it Melissa!” Aiden cheered.

Melissa held thumbs up as she continued to retch.


"It was seeing Melissa throwing up in that trashcan when I realized I loved her," Aiden stated. "And I knew what I had to do."


Later that night, Melissa was sweeping the kitchen when Aiden walked in.

"You still feeling fine?" Aiden asked. "That poison isn't having any more effect on you, is it?"

"I'm feeling like sunshine," Melissa said. "Thanks for checking on me though."

"You were really something," Aiden said, "making that sacrifice for the team. A real hero."

"I wouldn't go that far," Melissa said.

"I would," Aiden said. "I'd tell everyone what a hero you are Melissa; a person like you comes around only once in a lifetime. I'm glad I meet you."

"I was thinking the same about you," Melissa admitted. "Anyways, I should-"

"-I really like you," Aiden said. 

Melissa dropped her broom. "Really?"

"Yes," Aiden replied. "Do you wanna...go on a date?"

"Yes. Yes! I'd love to!"

Melissa glomped Aiden who joined in laughing, holding her up and turning her around.

"I really like you too," Melissa replied.


"Huh," Aiden said. "That was easier than I thought it would be. Why doesn't everyone do that?"


However, at the same time the Fireworks gathered at the Haunted Internet Café Ceremony.

“Whelp that’s three strikes against you Fireworks,” Rhonda stated. “And somebody’s out!"

Seriously though,” Jenny said. “You guys have been sucking lately.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” Seraphina sighed.

“I have eight cups of jalapeno coconut flavored coffee,” Rhonda said. “This stuff expired a few days ago but somebody bought so we’re using it! The first cup goes to Riley.”

Riley, still eating chocolate scorpions, caught her cup, dipped a scorpion inside and ate it. “Meh, not bad.”

“The next cups go to Easton…Lita and…Pascal.”

The three caught their cups, with Pascal pouring his out in a near plant, which immediately shriveled up and died.

"Ness, Seraphina and Griswold.”

The three caught their cups.

“And the last coffee cup goes to…”
























“…Ignacio. Zipporah, you’re done.”

"What!” Zipporah yelled. “Why the hell did you vote me off? I didn’t do anything!”

“That’s kind of why,” Ignacio said.

“I did the challenges,” Zipporah retorted.

“Yeah but everyone else tries in them too,” Lita replied. “Its more because well...

“Because of your attitude,” Griswold clarified. “You’re always making negative or sarcastic comments. It brings everybody down, and we need positive attitudes to stay winning.”

“To be honest I didn’t think you want to be here,” Ness admitted. “You always act like you don’t and complain about the show.”

“But most of all you like you don’t want to be apart of this team,” Griswold said. “You never come to meetings, or parties or even eat with us. You act like you don’t like us or this team.”

“I don’t think I’ve even had a conversation with you Zipporah,” Easton said.

“I don’t actually know your name,” Pascal admitted. “I think its like Estrella or Lana or something…”

"Sorry Z,” Riley spoke up, looking away. “It was a tough call and I didn’t want to vote out a pal…but I can’t say I’m positive we’re pals.”

Zipporah sighed. “Whatever. I totally don’t care, I mean this show is super mainstream so I guess its good I’m leaving and stuff.”

“Then leave already!” Jenny yelled.

Zipporah stomped out the Revolving Doors of Shame.

The Fireworks started to leave. Lita stood up but felt an arm on her shoulder. She turned to see it was Griswold.

“Uh…uh…uh…eeek! eeek! eeek!” 

"Are you making dolphin calls?" Lita asked.

“Can Gris Bear talk to you in private for a sec?” Riley translated as she walked away.

“Sure Griswold,” Lita replied. “What’s up honey?”

Griswold gulped as he noticed Lita and him were the only ones in the room. “Um well…you…your..

Meanwhile, Zipporah boarded the Public Transportation of Losers and sulked her way to the back and slumped in the last seat.

“Who cares I was voted out?” Zipporah whispered. “I don’t. It’s not like I was enjoying the hotel or having a good time or anything, cause I wasn’t.

Zipporah shuffled in her seat and looked out of the window. "I mean, I guess could’ve tried to make friends while I was there. I guess that would’ve been nice. Whatever…”

The bus doors closed as the bus drove away to parts unknown in the world…

Chapter 8 Sexy and I Snow It

That night after elimination, Toby and Jenny walked into their secret headquarters, seeing Rhonda curled into a ball in a rolly chair, muttering to herself.

Toby sighed. “What is causing you to have an existential crisis and reflect on the mistakes of your life this time?”

“The network moved our time slot,” Rhonda wept. “We’re on at two on Saturdays!”

“They moved us to two p.m.?” Toby asked.

"No,” Rhonda exclaimed. “Two a.m! No one will watch us at that time! That’s a death sentence! We’re as good as cancelled!”

“Well it was fun,” Jenny said. “Except for all the parts I didn’t like.”

“We...I worked so hard for this!” Rhonda screamed. “Do you know what I had to do to get this job?”

Toby and Jenny groaned. “Not the Canada stories…”

“I had to work for Canadians to get this job!” Rhonda yelled. “I had to have Canadian speaking lessons! And every time we had a box of doughnuts, someone had to explain the life story of Tim Hortons to me and why we have that instead of Dunkin Doughnuts!”

“Your poor, poor child,” Toby said. 

Rhonda fell to the floor sobbing. “Oh god…oh god I’m a failure! Once again I failed to live up to my dreams…”

Toby gritted his teeth and very slowly put his arm on Rhonda’s shoulder. “Come on Rhonda…there has to be something we can do.”

“You’re right,” Rhonda said. “If we’re stealthy, we can change our names and run away to Mexico to-“

“-No, not that,” Toby replied.

“Yeah,” Jenny said. “Me and Toby tried that once before and trust me, it did not work.”

“But there must be a way to save the show,” Toby replied. “I mean sure people are streaming it if not watching it on TV, and this show has a big fandom.”

“Yeah,” Rhonda sniffled. “And the company still wants to hold on to the rights as long as they can, even if only to ensure others can’t make money off it. We just have to prove we’re worth a second season! We’ll cut our budget, we’ll do more product placement, jam in more celebrity cameos…whatever it takes.”

“Really?” Jenny asked. “Because I have a few ideas…”

“What did you have mind?” Rhonda sighed.

Jenny smirked. “Lots of things.”

“We did get people talking with your idea about Aiden before,” Rhonda admitted.

“Have I ever let you down before?” Jenny asked.

“Every second of every day since I first met you,” Toby replied.

“YOUR MOM!” Jenny yelled.

“Alright Jenny we’ll try it,” Rhonda stated. “Do you have plan?”

“A duh!” Jenny replied. “It’ll just take a while…”

At the same time, Lita had thrown open the door to her room. 

“I was getting worried when you didn’t comeback,” Ness said. “I know it's silly but…this hotel just gives me the heebie jeebies. You okay Lita?”

Lita hummed and twirled into the bathroom. “I’m more than okay; I’m wonderful. Girls…it happened!”

“Your time of the month?” Seraphina asked.

“No I start next week,” Lita said. “I just got asked out on date!”

Ness gasped and hugged Lita. “That’s so exciting!”

“Whose the lucky lad?” Seraphina said.

Lita smiled as she started to brush her hair. “Griswold; he’s such a sweetheart.”

“Gris?” Ness asked. “I know you thought he was cute, but you’ve never really talked about him. I didn’t know you liked him.”

“Well why wouldn’t I love Griswold?” Lita asked. “I mean he’s funny, handsome, kind…honest. Everything you’d want in someone.”

Seraphina looked down. “Yeah...”

“I’m a little jealous,” Ness admitted. “But so happy! What should we call you guys; Grista or Litwold?”

“I happy with whatever,” Lita admitted. “And if I can find someone here, you two can definitely find someone.”


“I’d always heard stories of people meeting on reality shows,” Lita said. “They hang out, fall in love, date, and end up getting married…like they found their soulmate. I thought if I joined maybe I’d find someone …and it actually happened! That feeling when you find someone to love, it just feels so great, like I could do anything.” 


“Yeah…someone honest,” Seraphina whispered. 

“Don’t close your heart!” 

“Seraphina!” Ness screamed as the psychic fell to the floor.

Ness and Lita grabbed Seraphina and brought her to the bed. 

Lita ran her head over her forehead. “You’re don’t feel like a fever…but we need to call first aid anyway.”

“I’m fine,” Seraphina said. “Just had a tired spell for a second.”

“Don’t give me that honey,” Lita said. 

“Really I’m fine,” Seraphina insisted. 

“Is it… your powers?” Ness asked. 

Seraphina looked away. “Yeah…they’ve been crazy lately. I think it's this place…they act up a lot here.”

“Well if its spirits talking to you,” Ness said, “then I guess this place must have a strong connection with them…”

Lita shivered and hugged Seraphina. “Is there anything we can do to help?”

“You mean besides giving me a room and putting up with me?” Seraphina said.

Ness laid next to Seraphina on the right. “You’re not a burden Seraphina; we’re glad we're roomies and friends.”

“Then that’s all I need,” Seraphina replied. 

Meanwhile in another room, Pascal was pacing on the floor while Kalino played games on an old Gamecube. 

“I can’t believe they voted off the goth tonight!” Pascal exclaimed. “The goth is never suppose to go home this early. 

“Who did you vote for again?” Kalino asked.

Ignacio,” Pascal replied.

“Why?” Kalino asked.

“The hot guy always usually gets out around this time,” Pascal replied. “I hadn’t really heard anything, and I assumed that was the plan! It makes more sense than getting rid of the goth!”

“Mannnnnnnnnnn,” Kalino said, “are you telling me you’re surprised your team voted off someone who never talked to them and hated everything?” 

Pascal stared. “Well when you put it like that....”

Kalino shrugged. “Woahhhhhhh, do I get Vivian this chapter?”

Pascal slumped into his bed. “At least things can’t get any worse.”

“Don’t jinx it,” Kalino replied….

Early that next morning, many of the newbies gathered in the dining hall. Melissa was in the kitchen making everyone pancakes. Tiptoeing out of the kitchen, she laid a plate in front of Aiden, who sat across from Hayden

Melissa kissed Aiden on the cheek. “Good morning my little shmoopy puppykins.” 

Aiden turned red. “Good morning Melissa. Gee wilkers this breakfast looks scrumptious…”

Aiden looked down at the heart shape pancakes with a smiley face made out of berries. 

Hayden giggled. “You two are adorable, glad it finally happened.”

Aiden and Melissa blushed. “Yeah…”

Melissa turned back to kitchen, but not before giving Melissa a kiss on the cheek in return. 

At a nearby table, Frannie  sat alone. 

“Care to share a meal?” Kalino asked as he gave her a plate of heart pancakes. 

“I’m not that hungry,” Frannie said. “You’re up earlier than usual.”

“I’ll take a siesta in the afternoon,” Kalino replied. “I uh... wanted to start my day off with you.”

Frannie blushed. “Thanks. Hey I was thinking...who are we planning on voting off if we lose?”

Kalino shrugged. “Whoever is the most convenient at the time. I think our alliance needs more people to have fire power though. Do you think you get Melissa and Cynthia on board?” 

“I don’t know,” Frannie said. “I don’t really talk to them anymore.”

“Really?” Kalino asked. “Why not?” 

Frannie shifted her eyes. “I’ve figured out how Diamonique went home.”

Kalino gulped. “Really?”

“Melissa and or Cynthia voted her off!” Frannie replied. “I mean we had ten people; you, me, Diamonique, Melissa and Cynthia. That would make half of the votes; Diamonique and Aiden would be tied.”

“I actually never about about that before,” Kalino said, “According to Pascal when the votes were tied in the original, there was a tiebreaker challenge.”

Frannie nodded. “That’s the rumor going around. But there wasn’t a tiebreaker, so one of them had to flip more than a sandal wearing dolphin! I mean Diamonique didn’t vote herself off. I didn’t vote for her. And of course I know you wouldn’t vote her off Kalino; you’re the most trustworthy person here.”

Kalino looked down. “Yup, I sure am worthy of trust... Sorry to bring this all up Fran The Man.”

“Nah we need to plan ahead if we don’t want to end up getting a kick to our keisters,” Frannie said. “I just wish I could make it up to Diamonique. And watching Aiden so happy with Melissa...it was suppose to be Diamonique here.”

I’m not one for revenge or anything,” Kalino said, “but maybe at the next vote we should teach them how it feels to lose a friend…”

Later, Ignacio was walking down the hallways when…

“You jerk!” a girl screamed, as Vance dodged a vase she hurled. “It's bad enough to schedule a date as the same time as ours, but with my sister?”

“How in Sam Hill was I suppose to know that was your sister?” Vance shouted.

A girl identical to the other stepped out of his room. “We’re twins you nitwit!” 

“What can I say?” Vance replied while tugging at his collar. “You’re just as hot as billy goat’s ass in a paper patch.”

The girls hissed and chased after the cowboy. Vance ran beside Ignacio and shoved him into the girls before ducking into a doorway. 

Ignacio blushed as he landed on top of the twin girls and brought them to the floor. 

The twins smirked. “Oh...hello there.” 

Ignacio jumped up. “I...my fault...no...I…”

The twin girls stepped towards Ignacio. “You ever been with twins before?” 

Ignacio gulped and bolted with the girls chasing after him. “Why does this always happen to me.” 

Inside a room, Vance sighed. “I think I lost them.”

Xidorn raised an eyebrow. “They must have been pretty scary.”

Vance jumped. “What are you doing here?”

“This is my room,” Xidorn replied. “And from what I heard, I take it you're hiding from a bad date?”

“Dates,” Vance corrected. 

“Well I’m happy to hide you,” Xidorn said. “Griswold’s gone out for his date with Lita.”

Vance snapped his fingers. “I guess I’ll let the mountain man date her; she’s not really my type.”

“Because she beat you in a fight?” Xidorn asked.

Pssh, of course not,” Vance gawked. “I let her win obviously, didn’t want to hit a girl. And if I wanted her, I’d have. Ain’t no creature I can’t tame.”

Xidorn shrugged. “If you say so. Hey, did you ever figure out that issue with the book about tracking?”

“Uh...of course I did!” Vance replied. 

“Ooh,” Xidorn said, “well I was reading up on how to track and trap animals if you need any help.”

“Really?” Vance asked.

“To be honest,” Xidorn said, “I figured you need more than one person if it's a big animal.”

“Well uh...I obviously don’t need help,” Vance said. “I mean I’ve captured animals on the farm since I was a midget. But you know if you really want to see a pro show you how it's done, I’d be happy to.”

“Sure,” Xidorn said. “I don’t have anything going on right now.”

“Uh, well I’m hankering for some lunch actually,” Vance said. “So it’ll have to be another time. Like I said, I ride alone.”

Xidorn shrugged. “Alright. Good luck on the dusty road ‘partner’.”

Vance opened the door but stopped. “But I mean...if you want a few quick tips on tracking, you can come with me.”

Xidorn jumped. “To be honest I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.”

“It’s not as great as you’d think,” Vance replied. “Trust me.” 

Later, Easton tiptoed into the kitchen, shifting his eyes to make sure he was unseen. He came into the serving hatch, where Melissa was stirring a bowl of marshmallow fluff.

“Good afternoon Easton,” Melissa greeted. “I was just making marshmallow bunny treats. Would you care for one?”

“Bunnies?” Easton asked.

Melissa nodded. “I love bunnies, I just find fluffiness therapeutic. That’s why I love kitties too, and koalas and puppies and ducklings…Ooh! Maybe I should make a zoo of little marshmallow baby animals.”

“Well before you do that,” Easton continued, “I wanted to ask you a question.”

“It’d be my pleasure to answer it,” Melissa replied.

“You room with Cynthia,” Easton said. “What’s she like?”

“Cynthia is a dear!” Melissa replied.

Easton raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

Melissa smiled. “She’s really great at listening and helping with problems. And she’s so driven too. Why?”

“Don’t tell my brother,” Easton whispered. “But he said Cynthia is his best friend. I wanted to make sure he’s okay; he’s not getting in with the wrong crowd…or worse. Have you seen them hanging out?”

“Oh dear, Cynthia’s never mentioned it,” Melissa admitted. “We usually hang out together, but she is quiet and goes by herself a lot…I suppose she could meet Weston…”

“I don’t know it,” Easton said. “It seemed silly, but Cynthia doesn’t seem like the type of person to want to hang out with Weston…or anyone.”

“You think?” Melissa asked.

Easton nodded. “I’m trusting you here Melissa, so please keep me updated if you notice anything. And please don’t tell anyone…my team couldn’t do that for me the last time.”

“I promise,” Melissa replied.

Easton tiptoed away as Melissa looked down at her marshmallow fluff, which she accidentally spilled on the counter.


“I never thought about it before,” Melissa admitted. “But, could I have forced Cynthia into being my friend? I thought she was alone and needed a friend, but what if just been annoying her? What if she doesn’t want me around but is too nice or afraid to say something? That couldn’t be true…right?”


Griswold ran up to the others, with Lita trailing behind. “You guys will never guess who we met at our date at the mall!”

Riley smirked. “Date? How’d it go lovebirds?”

“Wonderful,” Lita sighed.

Griswold blushed. “Yeah it was awesome…”

“Wait, what’s this about meeting someone?” Ignacio asked.

“Oh yeah, is Pascal around?” Griswold asked.

“He’s over there by the painting with the moving eyes,” Seraphina stated, pointing to Pascal chatting with Ness. “Why?”

“We have a surprise for him,” Griswold explained…

“…So there I was on the motorcycle,” Pascal explained. “When out of nowhere this giant chicken-“

A deep laugh rang out, sounding like simultaneously snorting and wheezing.

Pascal froze. “No.”

“What’s wrong?” Ness asked.

“Pascy-Wascy…”

“Dear god…it can’t be…”

Pascal felt deep breathing on his neck as he turned around to see a short girl standing behind him. She wore a red sweater and thick-framed glasses on her potato like nose with her black hair in a messy bun.

“Amanda Pickelstein,” Pascal whispers to himself.

The girl tackled Pascal to the ground. “Oh my god, Pascal! It’s me Mandy, Amanda Picklestein? Remember? Huh? Remember? Remember, Remember, we met on that reality show and become best friends and we were in the finale and I beat you and I won a hundred thousand dollars? Remember that? That was so long ago I remember it like it was yesterday! Do you remember?”

Pascal’s eye twitched as he forced a smile. “How could I forget?”

I’m like so excited to see you!” Mandy went on “It’s been so so so so so so so so long, like since the show ended! I know we promised to hang out, so I tried texting, and calling and emailing and using a carrier pigeon to contact you! But I never heard a reply? Isn’t that crazy? So so so...”

“Well I’ve just been busying touring and…” Pascal said.

“…I even went to all your concerts to try and see you but I could never get backstage? Isn’t that crazy? I think its crazy! I heard about you being on this show in Washington, which is so crazy, and I always wanted to see Mt. Rushmore and Yosemite Park and I thought maybe by fate (or destiny), I’d run into you! And I met your cute friends and they brought me here and now I’m talking to you! Isn’t that crazy? So how are you Pascy-Wascy, having a good time? You look good (your body still looks totally able to make babies) and OHMYGOD you’re wearing the hat I gave you! Isn’t that crazy? Have you made lots of friends? Ibetyou’vemadelotsoffriendslikehowwebecomefriendsremember, RememberwhenIpeedintheriverwhenwewereattherivetheoneontheshowisn’tthatcrazyblahblahblablah….

“Ahem,” Ness coughed. “I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of meeting…her.”

Pascal turned around. “Oh yes where are my manners. Ness this is Amanda Pickelestien; Pickelstein this is my good friend Ness.”

“You can call me Mandy,” Mandy wheeze-snorted.

Seraphina jumped in front of Mandy and shook her hand. “So nice to meet you Mandy! Pascal is always talking about you, always telling stories about you.”

“Really?” Mandy asked. “Oh Pascy-Wascy!”

Pascal grabbed Mandy’s shoulders and pushed her towards the door. “It was so great seeing you Mandy but we’ve got a challenge coming up and I know you’re busying being in first place so-“

“-Oh,” Mandy said, “yeah you’re probably super busy with this new show and new experiences and new friends; I wouldn’t want to intrude. I’ll just be going…”

“Wait,” Seraphina stated. “I could not live with myself if I let you leave now. I think I speak for the whole team when I say, we’d love to have Mandy around.”

“The more the merrier!” Griswold stated as the others nodded.

“Really?” Mandy asked.

“But wait,” Ness said, “um…well you probably can’t stay in the city for too long, can you Mandy?”

“Oh yeah,” Mandy stated, “My reservation ends today at the hotel and I have to catch a flight home tonight.”

Pascal snapped his fingers. “Aw darn…oh well, nice knowing you Amanda!”

“Now wait,” Seraphina said, “I mean the thought of you and Mandy reuniting just brings me joy, Pascal!”

Pascal’s eye twitched. “It would, wouldn’t it?”

Seraphina smiled and nodded. “Now if only there was a place Mandy could stay; maybe something closeby, with a bed…like a hotel…”

“WE’RE IN A HOTEL!” Mandy exclaimed.

“Oh yeah, we are in a hotel,” Seraphina ‘gasped’.

“Why don’t you stay here Mandy?” Griswold asked. “There are plenty of rooms.”

“I don’t think Rhonda would allow that,” Pascal said.

Thirty seconds later…

“I don’t know if I can allow that,” Rhonda stated. “I mean I can’t give away rooms willy nilly.”

Pascal exhaled.

“Not even for a celebrity?” Seraphina said. “I mean I’m sure Mandy would do cameos for the show in exchange for a room.”

Rhonda gasped. “Celebrity cameos!”

Thirty more seconds later…

“Here’s your room key Mandy!” Rhonda stated. “Right across from Pascal’s room!”

“YAY!” Mandy cheered.

“Yay,” Seraphina laughed.

“Yay…” Pascal cried.

“Yay.” Ness gritted. 


“Am I mad that Amanda Picklestein has followed me to this show just so she can stop me from winning this show, the show I’ve dreamed about winning since I was young?” Pascal asked. “And by doing so would crush all of my dreams and once again lord over me that she’s a winner? Hardly, where would you get that idea?”


“I’m probably overreacting,” Ness said. “I mean sure Amanda and Pascal were close before, but that doesn’t mean they’re interested in other, right?. It's not like I have a chance with Pascal anyway. ”


That night, Xidorn was up watching movies as usual.

“Hey,” Seraphina said. “Mind if I join you?”

“Of course not,” Xidorn replied. “I’m just watching Space Bigfoot 5: Revenge of The Loch Ness Monster.”

Seraphina sat next to Xidorn on the couch. “The best one.”

“Right?” Xidorn said. “I mean the camerawork is underrated.”

Seraphina giggled. “So listen…is there anyway I can still see the Invaders remake with you?”

“I’m actually going to go see it Sunday with Vance,” Xidorn admitted.

“Ooh…” Seraphina said. “You and Vance are close?”

“We’ve actually gotten friendlier,” Xidorn stated. “But I don’t have plans for Saturday, if you want to go to a midnight premiere?”

“Yeah, I’d love to!” Seraphina replied.

“I thought you weren’t big on theatres?” Xidorn stated.

“I’m not,” Seraphina said, “But I’ve been thinking and well…I’ve never really wanted to be close to people; I felt people hated me for being a psychic, or use me for my abilities, so it’d be better to be alone. I mean no one could understand what I was going through, what I saw, so what's the point in trying to get close to people?

But being on this show...I realize I do want people in my life. So what if there are other people in theatres; all that matters is someone I like is there. I like you Xidorn, and I don’t want to pass up the chance to know you or...be with you.. ”

Xidorn smiled. "I like you too Seraphina, a lot.  I love spending time with you, talking to you...The truth is I've had a crush on you since you beat me in the first challenge. Do you want to make that movie...a date?" 

Seraphina blushed. "I've never dated anyone...but I want to. Yes, let's make it a date!" 

The two leaned in close, before Xidorn pulled back and let go of Seraphina's hands. “Seraphina, you know...I’m transgender.”

“Yeah, so what?” Seraphina asked, holding his hands again. "You're also honest, kind...and have 'great' hair." 

Xidorn laughed. “You’re amazing.”

The two leaned into and kissed. 

Screech!

“Ooh, Space Bigfoot and Robbie Nessie Jr. are fighting!” Xidorn exclaimed.

“This is the best part,” Seraphina said. 

The two quickly kissed, then turned back to the TV screen, still holding hands…

That afternoon, Hayden had gathered most of the Eagles together for lunch and a ‘daily’ check up on their mental health. Kalino strolled in and rested his head on the table.

“There you are Kalino,” Hayden said. “I was getting worried little buddy.” 

“Mannnnn I was just enjoying a nap,” Kalino said. “Not sure why we have these team check ups now.”

“To make sure this show isn’t taking a toll physically or psychologically,” Hayden stated. “You know sleeping all day isn’t good for your health.”

“Its not healthy to worry so much dude,” Kalino replied.

“I’m just concerned little guy,” Hayden said. “You are a lot smarter than you seem Kalino; I’ve recognized that. And I think you should recognize that as well.”

Kalino raised an eyebrow. “If you say so.”

Hayden put his hand on Kalino’s shoulder. “You have tons of potential. If you pushed yourself and worked harder you could accomplish a lot with your life.”

Kalino removed Hayden’s hand and stood up. “Thanks for the advice mom, but I’m good.”

Kalino walked off, with Frannie following him soon after.

“What did I say?” Hayden asked.

Soon, Frannie found Kalino meditating in the library and sat down next him.

“Are you okay?” Frannie asked.

“People like that just annoy me,” Kalino admitted. “I mean why should I be trying harder; pushing myself harder and harder…for what? Stress and unhappiness and never feeling satisfied? Always telling myself I have to try harder? Always waiting for that moment I feel my life’s choices were validated, I feel all the misery was worth it? That’s not living. That’s not what I want for my life!”

Frannie rested her head on Kalino’s shoulder.

“Sorry Fran I didn’t mean to get worked up,” Kalino replied. “But dude should just mind his own business, let me live my life.”

“Kalino, what do you want for your life?” Frannie asked. “Not to be too personal…but you never say what…”

Kalino shrugged. “I…I don’t know…I guess all I want is a carefree life. But the only people who could do that are the mega super rich…”

“If only we were rich,” Frannie sighed. “Then we’d have no problems.”

“I’ve been thinking,” Kalino stated. “We’re in an alliance but there is nobody who want in the Final 2 more than you. So let’s make a deal.”

“A deal?” Frannie asked.

“We both have things we need with the money,” Kalino said. “So if one of us wins, we split it; a million for each of us.”

“You’d be willing to share the prize money with me?” Frannie asked.

“A million sounds like plenty to live off,” Kalino replied. “And more important, you need the money to keep your circus open. A place that spreads laughter and cheer shouldn’t close down mannnnnnnn.”

Frannie glomped Kalino. “That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. Let’s do it. Let’s be the final two!”

In the mess hall, the Fireworks were talking amongst themselves. Pascal, with bags under his eyes, slumped into a seat. 

“Are you alright Pascal?” Ness asked. 

“Uhh...I’m just a teeny weeny bit exhausted,” Pascal replied. “Amanda Picklestein has worn me out.”

Ness frowned. 

“I still can’t believe we’re meeting a famous reality show contestant like her,” Griswold said. 

Pascal glared. 

“Hey dudes,” Riley stated, “is anyone else seeing that outside the window?”

Everyone turned to see snow falling outside. Rushing towards the window, The Fireworks could see everywhere from the buildings, to the fire hydrants to the gargoyle statues were coated in snow. 

Ness gasped. “It’s a Winter Wonderland! Like a…Christmas miracle!”

“It’s not Christmas,” Seraphina pointed out.

“What about the tradition of Christmas in July?” Griswold asked.

“It’s still June Gris,” Seraphina replied. “I’m not saying it isn’t a miracle, but Christmas? It’s probably a…”

“Attention all contestants report in the lobby!” Rhonda announced.

“…challenge.”

The teams gathered in the lobby, where Rhonda, Jenny and Toby wore hideous sweaters.

“As you’ve probably noticed the weather is a bit mixed up,” Rhonda stated. “But the challenge isn’t snowed out; its snowed in!”

“What does that even mean?” Ignacio asked.

“It means today is a snow themed challenge okay!” Rhonda shouted. “Here, take some snow jackets.”

The Eagles received blue jackets, while the Fireworks received red jackets.

“Toby fixed up some old wood chippers and paper shredders into snow machines,” Rhonda explained. “With these and a lot of old AC units and fans, we’ve closed the block and turned this place into a winter wonderland.”

“You made it snow in summer Tobdog?” Riley asked. “Nice bro!”

Toby and Riley pound fists.

Rhonda raised her eyebrow. “Ahem, if I may finish. For this challenge we need each team to pick a leader, who will have to make decisions for this challenge.”

“I’ll take charge,” Hayden stated, stepping forward. “I am the oldest.”

“And the biggest weenie,” Frannie whispered to Kalino.

“Good choice Eagles,” Jenny praised.

“Well who's going to go for us?” Griswold asked.

“My votes for you Teddy Broosevelt,” Riley said.

“Me?” Griswold asked. “You think I should be the leader?”

“You are the most perfect choice,” Lita swooned.

“I’d trust you to do an amazing job,” Easton stated as he patted his back.

“Okay,” Griswold gulped. “Then I guess I’ll do it.”


“I’m a lineman in football,” Griswold stated. “My job is to be a wall. The quarterback is sort of the head honcho. I’ve never really been a leader before. But I guess it’s worth a shot…”


Griswold and Hayden followed Jenny and Toby away.

“The two of them will make decisions such as about your snow fort,” Rhonda stated. “A snow fort you’ll use in today's’ classic challenge; capture the flag! Simply steal the other team’s flag and place it in your fort. However, we only have a few hours to do this before Washington shuts us down. If time is up and we don’t have a winner, whoever flag is farthest away loses.”

Soon, the teams were driven by Jenny or Toby in pickup truck. The snow machines were now pounding out flurries of snow and it seemed Washington was in a blizzard. 

“I can’t even say my hand in front of my face!” Weston exclaimed as Jenny dropped off the Eagles outside a castle made of snow. Hayden waited outside and rushed in his teammates. 

“I’ve been debriefed on the challenge,” Hayden said. “Likewise I’ve chosen the location of our snow fort in the perimeters of the challenge; we’re as far south as you can get, against the wall.”

“So where are the Fireworks?” Aiden asked.

“Each of us was privately shown a map and had to decide our fort’s location on the map,” Hayden replied. “The Fireworks’ fortress could be anywhere on that map, a straight path from this wall to another.”

“So it's like a needle in a haystack,” Vance said. 

“Not quite,” Hayden said. “These forts are huge! And the Fireworks are just as blind in this snowstorm; we’ll see their fort before the Fireworks see us in the snow.”

“Doesn’t that mean the same thing happens when they come to our fort?” Weston asked. 

Hayden nodded. “True, but our castle’s location is why we have a time advantage.”

“Oh golly I get it!” Aiden exclaimed. “Given our location, we just have to go in one direction, north, and we’ll eventually run into the fort!”

“Exactly,” Hayden replied. “We’ll split into two groups; a hunting party and someone to keep the castle safe. I’ve chosen for us to have extra ammunition, so we can’t pelt any intruders.”

Hayden pointed to a huge pile of pre made snowballs. 

“Everyone needs to have a partner and stay with them at all times,” Hayden stated. 

“But we’re already in two groups,” Vance said. 

“The buddy system never fails!” Hayden exclaims. “It’ll keep us safe, especially if we get separated from the group. As the leader, I’ll be on my own and lead the hunters.”

Melissa smiled. “Well if I can I’d like to go with my friend-”

“-I’ll take Weston,” Cynthia stated. 

“Eee!” Weston squeed, as he jumped into Cynthia’s arms. 

Melissa raised an eyebrow. “Oh, well in that case I’ll go with someone else.”

Aiden grabbed her hand and the two both blushed. 

“To be honest,” Xidorn stated. “Vance and I have been working on tracking, we could help in the hunt.” 

Vance’s eyes grew wide. “Uh…”

“Sounds like a great plan,” Hayden stated. “You two and Weston and...Cynthia will go hunting with me. Your four, stay guard here with snowballs ready.”

At the same time, The Eagles discussed their plans. 

“So that’s the uh basics yeah,” Griswold said. “We were given the choice between ammunition or an extra floor to the fort, so I choose the extra floor for defense. I mean if it comes down to it, it's whose flag is the farthest that loses. So we need a strong defense.”

“Nice thinking Gris Bear,” Riley said. “So what’s our game plan?” 

Griswold smiled. “Like I said, we need a strong defense. So me, Lita, Ignacio and Riley will guard the flag, as the most muscular and or biggest fighters. Seraphina, Easton, Pascal and Ness, you’re the fastest or smallest, so you’ll sneak in and steal the flag.”

“Seems like a good enough plan,” Seraphina stated. 

“Before we split,” Griswold said, “I just want you to tell you guys, I know we got this. We’ve had our troubles, but we’re a team and believe in everyone of us. I think the Eagles have gotten a little too used to be up on top and forget who they’re against. Today, we’ll remind them! Go Fireworks!”

“Go Fireworks!” The team cheered, before departing. 

“Griswold if I may propose a suggestion?” Ignacio asked. 

“Sure brah, what’s up?” Griswold asked. 

“I was thinking we should try and create a barricade out of snow around the door,” Ignacio stated. “We can compact the snow outside for use.”

“Nice!” Griswold said. “It’ll wear them down to push through layers of snow, and gives us a warning. Let’s do it! Hey, you wouldn’t happen to have any ideas on how to make a cannon would you?”

“Cannon?” Ignacio asked.

“I thought it’d be useful to fire snow at the Eagles when they’re outside our gate,” Griswold suggested. “Like with a cannon.”

“I suppose if I had the proper materials, even household objects, I could theoretically create a snowball making and firing mechanism,” Ignacio replied. 

“Dude, go dumpster diving!” Riley suggested. “I bet that could have something useful.”

“That might produce sufficient resources,” Ignacio stated. “I can smell garbage from here. I’d need a hand, but I could do it.”

“Okay,” Griswold said, “Lita do you think you could help Ignacio out?”

Lita winked. “Don’t want me distracting you, huh? Sure I can help Iggy out.”

Griswold blushed as the two ran out to the trash. “Well, uh let's get the snow!” 

Later, The hunting Eagles were out on patrol, without much luck.

“I’m not picking up any signs anyone’s been this way,” Hayden admitted. “No tracks, nothing moved...just perfectly laid snow.”

“Hey look!” Weston exclaimed. “I found footprints! Right behind us!”

“Those are our footprints you moron,” Vance stated.

Cynthia turned to Vance, who yelped and backed away. 

“I’m not even finding signs of any Fireworks on the move,” Xidorn said. 

“Hey Cynthia,” Weston whispered. “Are you cold?”

“I’m outside in a snowstorm,” Cynthia replied.

“Oh yeah,” Weston replied, “I was just thinking, if you want to be warmer, you can borrow my jacket!” 

“You’ll freeze to death without it,” Cynthia stated. 

“Uh, yeah,” Weston sighed. 

Cynthia pushed herself against Weston. 

Weston blushed. “Hehehe...you okay Cynthia?” 

“We can share body heat like this,” Cynthia stated. “We’ll both stay warm.”

Weston hugged Cynthia. “Sounds like a great plan to me.”

Later, as Griswold and Riley packed the snow, Lita and Ignacio brought in some garbage. 

“Old spoons could could some snow balls and ah, some discarded wheels could make a conveyor belt…”

“Ignacio how come you are so scientific?” Lita asked. 

Ignacio blushed yet smiled. “Well I’ve always had an interest in science since I was little. It’s a marvelous thing, being able to explain the world. The truth is I’ve always wanted to be a science teacher, like for high school. Or maybe even a college professor. Doesn’t pay as well at the model bussin-”

“-Don’t talk like that honey,” Lita interrupted. “If it's what you want to do, you need to do it. A college professor pays pretty well I suspect.”

“Maybe,” Ignacio said. “But I make more in a month than my father makes in a year. My parents were very poor in Chile, spent their life savings to immigrant here so their kids would have a better life. They don’t speak a lot of English, we’ve been very poor. I guess looks fade...might as well make money while I can.”

“I understand,” Lita replied. “The truth is, my family lives in a ghetto. We don’t even own a TV. It use to be real bad but when my brother was born...well that’s not important.” 

“Thank you for your words Lita,” Ignacio replied. “What are your plans for your future?” 

“Me?” Lita asked. “I...I guess I always dreamed of getting married, being a housewife, having lots of kids to love and being a good mother.”

“That’s a noble idea,” Ignacio replied. “Raising children is a full time job and one of the most important.”

“Yes is it,” Lita replied. “Anyway, will this contraption work?” 

Ignacio replied by flinging a snowball at Lita...right in her cleavage. 

Ignacio blushed. “I...I’m not...that was your face, I was looking at your face.”

Lita laughed. “You’re fine. I know you’re not a pervert. Wish you could build something to heat up this place.”

“Well...suppose I could,” Ignacio said. “It maybe theoretically snowing here, but is still a hot summer’s day. They’re keeping this snow cold with fans, but if we harness the sun’s rays we could melt.”

“We’d need to reach the sun first,” Lita replied. “Like a really high rooftop…where you could see the whole snow, even the other fort.”

“Exactly!” Ignacio replied. “We could build a machine that can melt their fort, which we’d find on the roof. Let’s tell Gris our findings and get to it!”

At the Eagles’ fort, the four guards were shoveling in the snow.

“Why are we doing this again?” Frannie asked.

“It’s a trench,” Aiden replied. “I figure it’ll be another obstacle for when the Fireworks come and serve as a warning to start firing.”

“A brilliant plan my sweet boobear,” Melissa stated as she snuggled a blushing Aiden. 

“Just avoid the special snow our ‘guest’ left behind mannnnnnnn,” Kalino stated. 

Another hour or so passed and the Fireworks were still in the snow. 

“I think we’ve been going in circles,” Easton said.

“How can you tell?” Ness asked.

“We’ve passed that old lady on bench five times now,” Easton stated.

“Hello!” a familiar looking old lady greeted from a bench. 

“Oh Pascy Wascy!” a voice called. 

“Not now…” Pascal mumbled.

At the same time in the Fireworks fortress…

“Well that snow should serve as really strong defense,” Riley stated. “You’re a great captain Gris Bear.”

“Aw geez it's nothing,” Griswold replied. “Wouldn’t be doing it without your nomination.”

“Say, why did you choose this location?” Riley asked.

At a nearby roof of a skyscraper, Lita and Ignacio set up mirrors. Using binoculars made from empty soda bottles, Ignacio scanned the city. 

“Do you see the Fireworks’ fortress?” Lita asked.

“Wait a minute…”

The Eagles hunting party stared at a wall with graffiti of Obama and Trump making out. 

“I didn’t know they were a couple,” Weston said. “Good for them!”

“We scoured this whole place for hours and haven’t found a durn thing!” Vance yelled. “I mean where haven’t we looked?”

“To be honest…”

“...Who knows about processed cheese?” Mandy asked. “Oh and can you believe the weather we’re having in Washington? In the summer? A blizzard, and not the one with M&Ms! Isn’t that crazy? I mean I love Dairy Queen-” 

“-It’s part of the challenge,” Pascal stated.

“Ooh!” Mandy said. “That explains those other nice contestants snow bathroom I used earlier.”

“Wait,” Pascal said, “Amanda you went in the Eagle’s snow fort?”

“Do you think you could do us a favor and tell us where you saw it?” Seraphina asked.

“Wouldn’t that be cheating?” Mandy asked.

Pascal smirked. “Rhonda doesn’t have a rule against it.”

“Then no problemo romeo!” Mandy replied. “See, I got lost looking for a bathroom because I ate so much bran cereal this morning and do you like bran cereal cause there’s are so many varieties of bran cereal, isn’t the crazy? Some with raisins, some with bana-“

“-Mandy,” Seraphina interrupted. “You were telling us about the fort, please.”

“Oh yeah,” Mandy recalled and pointed south. “It’s right against that wall.”

Pascal sighed. “Mandy, our team is the Fireworks, you know that right? Because our fort is against that wall.”

Ness raised an eyebrow. “You don’t think…”

“...See I put it against the wall because we’d have a straight path to the opposite team,” Griswold stated. “Make it easy to find them in this blizzard; I mean a castle would stick out.”

“Well isn’t it strange we’ve heard nothing?” Riley asked. “I mean maybe Lita and Ignacio will see it. I just feel like it's been under our nose…”

...the only place we haven’t been is back to our fort,” Xidorn stated. “Which is against a somewhat lengthy wall.”

Hayden raised an eyebrow. “Do you really think what you’re implying?”

“Think what?” Vance and Weston said in unison.

“The fort could be anywhere on the map,” Cynthia stated. 

Vance and Weston looked at each other and shrugged…

“...Wow,” Lita said, as she looked through the binoculars.

“Yup,” Ignacio replied. 

The camera panned down to show the Fireworks snow fort, then panned out to reveal the Eagles’ fortress is only a few feet away. 

“I’m ashamed of all us,” Ignacio stated. 

Soon, most of the others had figured it out, except maybe Vance and Weston, and were running back to their forts. 

“Let’s tell Griswold and the others what’s up,” Ness suggested. “And with our extra floor, we might be able to jump onto their roof, get in their castle and steal their flag!”

“Nice thinking Ness,” Seraphina stated. 

“Really!” Mandy cheered.

“Why are you following us?” Pascal asked. 

“I insisted,” Seraphina said. “I want to give you two as much time as possible to reconnect.” 

Pascal’s eye twitched. “You’re too kind.”

Soon, the Fireworks arrived at their fort and the Eagles came soon after. 

“Look!” Xidorn shouted and pointed at a sun beam hitting their forting, which was slowly melting. 

“We’ve got to warn the others,” Hayden said. “I fear this is the Fireworks’ plan. Weston, you and your partner go ahead and start for the flag.”

“They may have the sun,” Weston stated, “but we have something just as strong; a Cynthia.”

Cynthia revved up her chainsaw and stormed the Fireworks’ fortress. 

“Let’s get a getting!” Vance yelled. “Tally hoooooo-ah!”

Vance face planted into the trench. 

“Fire!” Aiden yelled as a barge of snowballs went out. 

“Ahh, what kind a snow is brown!” Vance yelled.

“I told you not to use it brah,” Kalino said. 

“They’re outside!” Riley shouted. “Activating the snow scopper dopper!” 

Ignacio’s contraption went off, firing even more snowballs at the Eagles. 

In the Fireworks fort, Cynthia and Weston were having a hard time breaking through the door, the chainsaw slowing cutting through the snow.

“The barricades working but I don’t know for how long,” Griswold stated. 

“From the window we can swing right through to their roof,” Easton stated. 

“Use two ropes,” Ness said. “Easton you throw me on the first rope.” 

“Why?” Easton asked. 

“I honestly predict my bad luck will cause this to be painful,” Ness said. “But maybe with enough force, I can use that to crash in there and give us an opening.”

“Whatever works,” Easton said. 

On the nearby skyscraper…

“The mirrors aren’t generating enough heat,” Ignacio said. “They aren’t going to melt the fort fast enough.”

“Any ideas on how to make those beams hotter?” Lita asked. 

Ignacio sighed. “Well...I could take off my clothes.”

“Excuse me?” Lita asked. 

“No,” Ignacio stated. “I’m not, I don’t want you to see, not because you’re ugly because you’re very pretty…. I’m not doing for a thing cause you’d have to take yours...but I don’t wanna see that, I mean I do, I mean I don’t! Not that your...I’m sure naked you’re nice...oh god I just said that…I don’t want to see you nude!”

“Ooh,” Lita said turning away. “You want to use your supernatural looks to make it hotter, gotcha. Just say that next time.”

“Right,” Ignacio said as he stood directly in the sunbeam and revealed his abs. The sun bounced off his chest and burst into light.

“Is it working?” Lita asked, facing away.

Ignacio sighed and unzipped his pants. “Not enough…”

Here it goes,” Easton said as he threw Ness on a rope.

“Eep!” Ness exclaimed as the rope snapped on her and she plummeted through the roof, trapping the guarding Eagles under her and the falling snow.

“Super duper amazing job Ness!” Pascal said, as he swung in through the Ness shaped hole in the roof. 

“I try,” Ness coughed. 

Suddenly a burst of light happened, burning the entire Eagles snow fort. 

Ness and Pascal shrugged, grabbed the flag and walked over to their fort, placing it in.”

The snow stopped falling and Rhonda’s voice rang out. “The Fizzled Fireworks win the challenge! I’ll be see the Eagles to decide the next loser.” 

“It actually worked!” Ignacio cheered, hugging Lita.

“Uh, Ignacio?”

“I’m still nude aren’t I?”

“Yup.”

Soon, the Eagles sat in the mess hall. All except Vance, who was absent. 

“I’ve called this meeting to decide who should go home,” Hayden stated. “I figured to make sure we we’re doing what’s best for the team we have a group consensus on the vote.”

“I do enjoy the idea of discussing the vote,” Melissa said. “But I don’t think we all have to the vote the same way. Voting someone is terribly hard for me, I imagine it is for all you as well. Everyone should vote for what they feel is best.”

“Well let’s at least discuss the matter,” Hayden said.

“Where’s Vance?” Frannie asked. 

“Late,” Hayden said. “Fittingly, I think he’s the one that should go. Let’s face it; the guy’s all take with little follow through and he rubs us all the wrong way, like sandpaper against our skin.”

“He is mean,” Weston admitted. 

“Like heck you clicking my icon tonight!” Vance yelled, stomping in. “You’re just jealous of me, have been since the start.

“I can see you're not what you say you are,” Hayden replied.

Vance stepped back. “Why you...I’ll return the favor to you!” 

“I think we should keep Vance,” Xidorn stated. “I believe we should vote off someone who hurt us in the challenge.”

“Who hurt us in the challenge?” Aiden asked. 

“To be honest,” Xidorn admitted, “you.”

“Me?” Aiden asked. 

“Your trench was the cause of the whole storm of problems at the end of challenge,” Xidorn stated. 

“The trench was a good plan,” Hayden defended. “Unfortunately, we we’re right next to each other and The Fireworks had chosen the higher roof. Aiden couldn’t have known.”

“Could have looked before he fired,” Vance said. 

“You could have looked where you were going ‘cowboy’,” Hayden said. 

“Why you, you know-”

“-Know what?”

“Gee wilkers!”

“What does a joke without much fight in it lack? A good punchline!” 

“Woahhhhhhhhh…”

“Wait who were our choices?” 

Cynthia stood up and all the Eagles froze.

“Cynthia dear,” Melissa said. “Where are you going?”

“To vote,” Cynthia replied. “I decided who I was voting for along time ago.”

Shortly after, the elimination ceremony began. 

“Long time no see Molting Eagles Eagles,” Rhonda stated.

“Don’t you see us at every challenge?” Weston asked.

Rhonda frowned. “Just go cast your votes already.”


Xidorn clicked on Aiden. “To be honest you seem like you’ve become a better person and I commend you for it. But you are the weakest link. I hope you understand.”


Melissa clicked on Vance. “I’m sorry Vance, I don’t think you’re a bad guy honestly. I wish you the best. And again I’m sorry!”


Vance voted for Hayden. “There’s only room for one redhead on this show bucko and its me. I understand your jealous but I can’t help it. And I’m certainly not voting for you because I’m afraid you can see through me and who I really am.” ---

“I hope you all haven’t forgotten how this works,” Rhonda said. “I’ve got eight cups of gingerbread flavored coffee, a nice little refresher after today’s challenge. But there are nine of you. Whoever does not receive a cup, will leave through the Revolving Doors of Shame and board the Public Transportation of Losers. The first cup goes to…Xidorn.”

Xidorn nodded as he caught his cup of coffee.

“Cynthia…Weston.”

Weston smiled as both of their names were called together.

“Kalino…Melissa…Frannie…”

The three caught their cups. Melissa grabbed Aiden’s hand.

“And…Vance.”

Aiden and Hayden’s eyes grew wide, as did Vance’s, as he caught his cup.

“Aiden…Hayden…oh my gosh I just realized your names rhyme! Ha, that’s funny. Oh and one of you got the most votes and is going home. The final cup goes to…”














































“…Aiden. Sorry Hayden.”

“WHAT?” Jenny screamed. “You guys voted off Hayden? He was the only contestant I actually somewhat cared about!”

“You do know we can all hear you right?” Xidorn asked.

“And what’s you point?” Jenny asked.

Hayden stood up. “I’m confused…”

“Oh Hayden,” Melissa sighed. 

Aiden sniffled and hugged Hayden. “I don’t understand either, but I’m going to miss you pal.”

“Are you going to be okay?” Hayden asked.

Aiden nodded. “Don’t worry about me, I can take care of myself.”

“Yeah,” Hayden said. “But are you sure you can make it without me?”

“This is a show for teens,” Cynthia said. “Not children who need babysitters. ”

“Hayden blushed and looked down. “Yeah, you’re right. You guys seem to think you’ll do fine without me.”

“No they won’t,” Jenny pouted.

“Thanks Jenny,” Hayden said. “But I guess it’s my time. Good luck you guys, I’m rooting for you.”

Hayden sighed and exited The Revolving Doors of Shame.


“My scalp actually got a sunburn thanks to this challenge,” Kalino stated. “Anyhow, I wanted to say thanks mannnnnn. You made it really easy to vote you off; since you were the leader and we lost, you basically painted a big target on yourself. It wasn’t much effort to convince people; I suspect some were already planning on it. Guess you pushed yourself too hard. Just know I’m going to win this show. And I will prove to you, my sister and everyone else how wrong you all are. No matter what it takes.”


Chapter 9 Mall of The Wild

Aiden wiped away the tears from his face. 

Melissa hugged him from behind. “I’m sorry he went home, honeysuckle buns.”

“I just don’t understand,” Aiden admitted. "Why?" 

The other Molting Eagles sighed, finishing their coffee if they drank it, and left the Internet Cafe. Outside they saw the Fireworks waiting. 

“Well, I’ll be,” Easton said, “they actually voted off Hayden. I thought he was their leader.”

“What are you doing here?” Weston pouted. “Come to gloat?”

Xidorn smiled. “Seraphina! You're early, the Invaders remake doesn’t start for another two hours.”

“Is that why you ran out Seraphina?” Ness asked. 

“Xidorn,” Seraphina sighed and hugged her boyfriend. “Thank goodness you’re safe!”

“Did you think I was going home?” Xidorn asked.

“Well,” Seraphina admitted, “The Fireworks were together just a few hours agos when I got a premonition of you and..I don’t know, it didn’t look good. I just had to check and make sure it wasn’t you tonight.”

“I’m doing great Seraphina,” Xidorn replied. “Especially now that you’re here.” 

Seraphina rolled her eyes but giggled. “You want some wine with that cheese?”

“Hold the phone,” Pascal stated. “Are you two...a thing?”

“Well we-”

“I thought it was obvious,” Xidorn laughed. 

Several of the others gasped. 

“What?” Xidorn asked.

Griswold chuckled. “I’ll be honest, Seraphina never struck me as someone interested dating. Very cute Seraphina!” 

“She told us,” Ness clarified, pointing and her and Lita. “You’re both adorable! Which do you like more, Xidaphina or Seradorn?”

“But she didn’t tell the rest of us,” Pascal reminded. 

“It was just last night when we made it official,” Xidorn stated. 

“I think we all know the real reason Seraphina didn’t us,” Pascal stated.

“We do?” Weston asked.

“She didn’t want it to be know she was going against her team,” Pascal explained. “Everyone knows you can’t date when on separate teams.” 

Seraphina gagged. “Oh please. Where is that in the rulebook again?”

“Its common sense,” Pascal stated. “I mean, how can we really really trust you're loyal to us and not the Eagles?”

“Now Seraphina just wants a little sugar in her life,” Lita stated. “Ain't nothing wrong with that.”

“I mean you’d vote her off before one of us, wouldn’t you Xidorn?” Vance asked. 

“I...I don’t think we’ve really thought that far ahead,” Xidorn admitted, looking at Seraphina.

The contestants murmured amongst themselves. 

“Mannnnnnn,” Kalino whispered. 

“I know,” Frannie replied. 

“Pretty please answer the question Xidorn,” Pascal demanded. “If it comes down to it, will you vote out Seraphina?” 

“To be honest,” Xidorn said, “I don’t know. Ideally I’d love to never cast a vote against Seraphina.”

“But you’d be fine writing down an Eagle’s instead,” Pascal exclaimed.

“He never said that,” Seraphina argued. “We’re still in teams, so who cares? You’re just looking for somebody to throw under the bus.”

“We are still in teams,” Pascal said, “but when we aren’t, then what? Will you be compliant in being the deciding vote to send home your sweetheart?”

“To be honest I don’t know,” Xidorn said. “I vote for whoever I feel needs to go home.”

“I rest my case,” Pascal stated and shook his head, as the others whispered.

Xidorn glared. "Don't think I don't know about you Ratscal." 

Pascal froze. “Who, little ol me?”

“To be honest if there’s one person I’d like to vote off it's you,” Xidorn stated.

“Ooh snap,” Frannie whispered, now sharing a bowl of popcorn with Kalino.

“Hey you’re not on this team,” Ness defended. 

“That doesn’t seem to stop Pascal from talking about me in front of my team,” Xidorn said.

“This is a concern of my team,” Pascal stated.

“Listen this has gone on long enough!” Seraphina shouted. “I’ll end this debate; if it comes to it, Xidorn or I will vote the other off. We won’t like it, but we will. Now we have a movie to go see.”

Seraphina pulled Xidorn away from the crowd as the others whispered this and that. 

Pascal smirked. “Well be safe. And have lots of fun you two!”

Seraphina froze and turn around. “I will, thank you. And you have fun looking for you missing contact or whatever it is you spend all night searching the hotel for!” 

The contestants turned to look at Pascal, who blushed and shrugged. Seraphina was smirking now as she and Xidorn left. 

Soon after, Melissa and Aiden walked to their room.

“It's just me tonight,” Aiden stated. “And from now on.”

“I’m going to miss Hayden too,” Melissa said. “Are you sure you’ll be alright in there?”

Aiden nodded. “I’ll see you in the morning Melissa.”


“I just don’t understand,” Aiden said. “I mean sure Hayden was a little smothering, but he was the bee’s knees! He shouldn’t have gone home...I should have. This just makes me feel...weird. Why would our team do that? I don’t know, but I feel something fishy is going on…”


“I’m not too shocked Hayden went home,” Melissa admitted. “I thought he was really sweet, but it's clear not everyone thought so. And I don’t hold it against anyone. Voting someone off is so hard; it's ending somebody’s hopes and dreams in a way. I’m still not use to the idea, so I won’t judge anyone for having to make such a hard choice. But I am somewhat hurt no one talked about with me, especially…”


“...Cynthia,” Melissa stated as she entered her room, her roommate sharpening her knives. 

“I’m sorry Hayden went home,” Cynthia said.

“I understand why,” Melissa said. “I just wish you would have told me.”

“I didn’t want you to get upset,” Cynthia stated. 

Melissa nodded but didn’t say anything. 

In the early hours of the morning, Seraphina and Xidorn we’re walking the streets. 

“I can’t believe it!” Xidorn stated. “The Invaders are now being incorporated into the Space Wars cinematic universe! I don’t know if like the idea or hate it.”

“Uh huh,” Seraphina replied. 

“What’s bothering you?” Xidorn said. “And don’t say you’re tired, I won’t buy it.”

“That stupid premonition!” Seraphina groaned. “I thought you might be in trouble...but I think I was seeing the trouble I’ve gotten you in now.”

“I’m sure this will blow over,” Xidorn said. 

“Don’t tell me you aren’t worried,” Seraphina stated. 

“It's put a little pressure on me,” Xidorn admitted. “I’m more worried about you being on the same team as that rat. But I haven’t done anything worthy of going home.”

“Others have gone home for less,” Seraphina said.

“Yeah,” Xidorn replied. “Did you mean what you said, about us voting each other off?”

Seraphina shrugged. “I don’t want to. Yet at some point we’ll have no choice but to vote off our closest friends. That’s how this show is designed.”

Xidorn nodded and sighed.

Seraphina grabbed Xidorn’s hand. “But I don’t regret this at all. I had fun tonight. And I really am glad I met you.” 

Seraphina kissed Xidorn’s cheek, who returned the favor. The two went up to their floor. 

“You not going to bed?” Xidorn asked. 

“I’m just not tired yet,” Seraphina said. “I think I want to go for a little walk around here.”

“In the death trap made by a serial killer after midnight?” Xidorn asked. “You want me to walk with you?”

“No, you go ahead,” Seraphina said. “I’ll be fine.”

“Goodnight,” Xidorn replied. 

Seraphina smiled. “Goodnight.”

As soon as Xidorn closed his door, Seraphina sighed. “I’m not letting you go home for my mistake Xidorn. No matter what I’ll find someway to make sure you don’t go home. I guess the best idea right now is to see if I can find the Eagles’ immunity flash drive…”

At the same time in Kalino and Pascal’s room, the two had gathered Frannie and Vance.

“Why are we having this here meeting again?” Vance asked.

“I want to make sure you guys now that Frannie is officially a member of this alliance,” Kalino stated. “And all that who blah.”

Frannie waved. “It’s cool to be here! Right Ziba?”

Her little lemur nodded and yawned. 

“And remember this is a secret alliance,” Pascal said. “So don’t tell anyone about this meeting.”

“Especially because you just made a big deal about inter team interactions and if people find out this would make you a huge target and a hypocrite?” Frannie asked. 

Pascal forced a smile. “Hehe, kinda of...” 

“My lips are sealed tighter than a childproof lock,” Frannie replied. "Loose lips sink ships and all that who blah."

“Anyone have any updates on how things are going?” Pascal asked. “It seems Hayden was eliminated.” 

“It’s whateverrrrrrr,” Kalino yawned. “I do think we need more peopleeeeeee.”

“We got Frannie and Ziba,” Vance said. “That’s like a human person and an animal person!” 


Ziba shrugged in the confessional.


“While I do fill the role of the token female,” Frannie said. “I don’t think I’m enough. I mean it's three of us on one team, with five others.”

“Three is smaller than five,” Kalino stated. “Its also smaller than a lot of numbers.”

“Well durn if we want more people,” Vance said, “let’s get Xidorn to join us!”

“Are you kidding?” Pascal said. 

“Do I look like I’m pulling you leg parnter?” Vance asked.

“It’s hard to get a read on your face under that mustache,” Frannie admitted. 

“Xidorn is actually a really cool guy,” Vance stated. “I think I might make him my deputy.”

“He said he’d vote me off!” Pascal stated. 

“Is that a problem?” Vance asked. 

“Xidorn is a nice guy Vance,” Kalino said. “But the guy hasn’t told a lie since the third grade; he couldn’t keep this a secret. And this has to stay a secret.” 

“Hmph,” Vance pouted. “Kalino gets to invite his friend....”

“I think this meeting will have to continue later,” Pascal sighed. “We could all use some sleep.”

Frannie yawned. “I always hate sleeping; you could say I’m getting tired of it.” 

Only Kalino laughed as Frannie left, Vance following and slamming the door behind him. 

“How are you going to survive with those two?” Pascal asked.

“I’d be more worried about you,” Kalino stated. “Seraphina called you mannnnn.”

“I know,” Pascal cried. “I thought I’d finally found a reason to get rid of That’s So Raven, but I doubt the others would go for it. Everyone’s too good of friends with each other, while I have no allies. What am I going to do?!?”

“Hmm,” Kalino pondered, “there is one thing I can think of...nah, that’s lame.”

Pascal jumped on Kalino’s lap. “What is it?”

“Well who are people more loyal to than even their friends?” Kalino asked. 

Pascal raised an eyebrow. “Like adopting kids?”

“Make save that plan for the merge,” Kalino replied. “I mean what is basically an automatic alliance?”

“Wait, you mean form a relationship?” Pascal asked. “Like, dating someone?” 

Kalino shrugged. “Someone will be loyal to you then. Plus you wouldn’t be out of place here; you notice everybody’s shacking up recently?” 

“But I don’t like anyone here,” Pascal stated. “And I don’t know, dating someone just for a vote...that’s super duper extra super low.”

“I didn’t say it was a good idea,” Kalino answered. “Or that I condone it. Its just the only idea I have.”

“Even if theoretically I date someone from my team,” Pascal said. “Who would I date?”

Kalino raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

Ness blushed deep red and hyperventilated. “Well…we all tried our best. But thanks Pascal, it means a lot, since you are so hot…a musician.”

“Hmm…”

Ness giggled. “You tell the best stories Pascal, tell me again about you solved the puzzle and saved your team.”

Who…”

“He’s over there by the painting with the moving eyes,” Seraphina stated, pointing to Pascal chatting with Ness. Ness. NESS

“Nope,” Pascal stated. “Don’t have any clue who it could be.”

Kalino just shook his head. 

Eventually the sun rose and morning began and soon went into the afternoon. Using the secret passage, Melissa entered the kitchen and started baking cakes quietly. 

“Shh...right there…”

Melissa raised her head. “Hello? Is someone there?”

Melissa looked through the hatch and saw a TV sitting on a cart.

The TV turned on and showed ‘Aiden’. “I do have a problem with Muslims...Melissa...she’s actually been teaching me about the Quran...I don’t understand or believe everything in it and...I’ll be the first to admit...has a lot of mistakes. “

Melissa sniffled. “That’s not true. I’ve got to find Aiden.”

At the moment, many of the other contestants rushed in for their lunch. Easton and Weston gave each a glare as they pushed through opposite doors. Behind them was…

“Aiden!” Melissa called and ran.

“Melissa?” Aiden said as she tackled him. “Are you already sweetie?”

“Ooh that TV,” Melissa said and pointed. “You were on it and you said...you said you had problem with Muslims and the Quran…”

“TV?” Weston asked. 

“What?” Aiden asked. “That’s a lie! I mean, I did have problems, but I didn’t voice it, especially like that. You’ve been teaching me about the Quran and I don’t necessarily agree with, but I respect it. And I respect you.” 

“Ooh I knew it wasn’t true!” Melissa cheered. 

Aiden hugged Melissa. “Thanks for believing in me Melissa.”

“Of course doodlebug,” Melissa replied. 

“Wait, then who said all this stuff?” Riley asked. 

“I’d like to know that too,” Aiden stated.

Everyone turned to the TV cart, where Jenny and Toby stood. “Eep.”

“Ms. Jenny and Mr. Toby,” Melissa gasped. “How could you?” 

“We’ve been spotted!” Jenny cried. A trap door opened up underneath the co-hosts, who fell through on the TV cart.

“Wow,” Weston said. “That TV was the same one I saw Easton on.”

“What?” Easton asked. “What did you see?”

“What you said about me…” Weston replied.

“Well what you heard was probably those two’s tricks dude,” Riley said. “They probably edited footage together.”

“You mean to tell me you started this whole argument over some fake crap they made?” Easton asked. 

“Fake?” Weston shouted. “The scholarship wasn’t fake! As far as I can tell, you still said those things about me, about how you really feel!”

“Woah bros,” Riley said jumping in the middle of the twins. “No hold the phone; this whole argument has just been a misunderstanding. Doesn’t that mean we can move past all this?”

“Hmph,” Weston said. “I don’t think that changes anything.”

“I agree,” Easton replied as both twins stormed off in opposite directions. 

Melissa looked on as she noticed Cynthia had in the same direction as Weston. 

Riley shook her head and headed back towards the stairs, seeing Lita and Griswold walking in. 

“There you two are,” Riley said. “Where have you been hiding away?”

“Well we went to get brunch,” Griswold yawned. “Then we went to that huge mall, then lunch…”

“We had such a wonderful time,” Lita swooned and grabbed Griswold’s arm. “What’s going on here?”

“Short version Easton and Weston had a verbal brawl,” Riley said. “Turns out their whole fight has been cause of behind the scene deals with the show, but they’re still duking it out. Man, I don’t think brothers should fight like that.”

Lita looked down. “It’s a very complicated mess…”

“First that, and then a secret alliance,” Griswold sighed.

Riley raised an eyebrow. “What’cha talking about Gris Bear?”

“Well it's only a rumor,” Griswold said, “but apparently someone overheard an Eagle bragging about how their alliance caused Hayden’s elimination.”

“I’ve even heard someone from our team was seen with a bunch of other Eagles last night,” Lita stated. 

Riley shrugged. “I don’t put a lot of thoughts in rumors. Listen Gris Bear, if you’re free, you want me to school you in a game of foosball?”

Griswold chuckled. “Didn’t I win the last game?”

“Yeah out of five,” Riley replied. 

“You have fun,” Lita giggled and nuzzled Griswold’s cheek. “I’ll see you tonight handsome for our dinner and movie date.”

“Oh yeah,” Griswold recalled. “See you then too...uh beautiful.” 

Griswold blushed as Lita giggled more. Riley laughed and raced on, Griswold soon catching up to her. 

“They’re awfully close.”

Lita turned to see Pascal skipping down the steps. 

“Riley and Griswold sure spend a lot of time together,” Pascal said. “Riley really seems clo-”

“-I’m going to stop your stupid mouth right there,” Lita interrupted. “I know Riley would never make a move on Griswold; Riley is someone I know I can trust. Which is more than I can say for you.”

Lita pushed Pascal aside and ascended up the stairs. 

“Could this day get any worse,” Pascal sighed. 

“Pascy-Wascy!” 

Pascal facepalmed as Mandy ballerina twirled to him.

“Mandy,” Pascal gritted. “You’re still here.”

“You noticed!” Mandy cheered. “Isn’t it crazy? Rhonda says that she can’t afford to give me a free stay anymore, so I thought I’d have to go home!”

Pascal beamed.

“But then she gave me a job as an intern, and I’ll get paid in boarding! She says I could be here for the rest of the show! Isn’t that crazy?”

Pascal immediately frowned. 

“I was thinking we’ve had such a great time remembering things from our memory that we forgot,” Mandy said. “But we haven’t made any new memories either! So we should like totally go out to Washington, maybe see the Grand Canyon or Disneyworld…”

“Oh I’d love to,” Pascal said. “Really would, but uh...I’m hanging out with Ness at the moment and we have a lot to do!”

“Ooh maybe some other time th-”

Mandy looked around to see Pascal was gone. 

“Or not.”

In Kalino’s room, Kalino and Frannie were playing something on the Gamecube.

“I still don’t understand why Petey Piranha is only playable in this game,” Kalino stated.

“Right?” Frannie asked. “But they think Pink Gold Baby Peach or whatever is real creative.”

“You know I’ve been thinking,” Kalino said, “it might be too soon to tell, but Xidorn would be a good target.”

Frannie shook her head. “I think the whole debate is kind of silly.”

“Ooh it totally is,” Kalino replied. “But if someone buys it, that’s a vote not against us.”

“I guess,” Frannie said. “I doubt Vance would go for it though.” 

“We’ll tell him we’re voting for someone else,” Kalino replied. 

Frannie dropped her controller. “You want to lie to him?” 

“Always telling the truth might work for Xidorn,” Kalino said, “but it can’t work that way in real life. Lies are sometimes necessary. We’re keeping him in the dark, but for his own good. We’re helping and protecting him.” 

“If you think it's the right thing to do,” Frannie replied. 

“We’ll see what happens,” Kalino stated. “Mannnnnnnn, let’s just chillax for the moment and stop stressing. Whatever happens, we’ll be alright.” 

The next day, the contestants found themselves shuttled in the TDG bus.

“Where do you think we’re going?” Ness asked. “Another monument? The zoo?”

“Probably another hotel in the chain,” Seraphina stated. 

The bus slammed to a stop as Rhonda jumped up. “Not quite...allow me to present a place many of your are familiar with; The Tysons Corner Center; the biggest mall in the Washington business district!” 

The contestants looked out to see themselves at a huge mall filled with dozens upon dozens of shops and a dozen times the number of shoppers. Particularly, there were swarms of preteen girls. 

“This mall and many of its shops have paid for some free advertising,” Rhonda stated. “Which we will deliver in a subtle and tasteful way.” 

“Speaking of tasteful,” Toby said, “can I just say how much I appreciate the food court at this mall? So many great choices like Subway; eat fresh.”

Toby pulled out a sub and pushed it against his face.

“I for am enjoying these Doritos Locos Tacos,” Jenny said and winked. “I’m thinking outside the bun.” 

“Personally I’m enjoying this egg, cheese and sausage McGriddle,” Rhonda stated. “Now part of Mcdonald’s all day breakfast menu! I’m lovin it.”

The contestants stared at the hosts.

“Anyway,” Rhonda continued. “This challenge is a scavenger hunt! You’ll all have two hours to find the items on this list Toby is passing out. Most of these shops will let you take them for free, if you present this flyer to them at the checkout. Items are all worth different points, so whichever team has the most points at the end wins.” 

Easton looked on outside the window. “There is a lot of business today. Is there a sale?”

“A special guest appearance is being made at the mall,” Rhonda said. “None other than teen heart throb Blainerson McManly!”

“Eeeeeeeeee!” Ness squealed. 

“Who?” Seraphina asked. 

“He’s a super cool singer and actor,” Ness salivated. “His duet with Cody Simpson nearly killed me!”


“Someone actually dropped a radio on my head playing that song,” Ness said, “It knocked me down a manhole into the sewers; I was lost for a week down there and had to eat garbage. But I still really like the song.” 


"You’ll notice the item on our list worth the most points is a celebrity cameo,” Rhonda stated. “Blainerson McManly fits the bill.” 

“How hard could it be?” Aiden asked. 

“DIE! BLAINERSON IS MINE!” 

A ten year old girl was thrown the window of the bus. 

“We’ll be at the food court so bring us your items them and we’ll check them off,” Rhonda stated. “Enjoying all those great food options the mall has to offer, like Chick-fil-a! Eat more chicken, not cow hearts your carnivore.” 

“Kalino,” Frannie whispered. “You don’t suppose the mall is still upset after last time we were here, do you?” 

“Nahhhhhhh,” Kalino replied. “I’m sure they already-”

The wind hurled a poster against the two’s window, which read “Wanted Dead or Alive: Criminal Clown and Surfer for acts of child punting, British impersonations, and public nudity.” 

Kalino and Frannie gulped and ducked out the window. 

Inside the mall, the teams quickly took two separate escalators. 

“Alright Fireworks,” Griswold said. “We got this! To be safe, let’s split up into pairs of two. We’ll each get a section of the mall and look for the items there.” 

“In that case I’ll go with you turtledove,” Lita swooned. “It’ll be just like the great date we had here earlier!” 

“Uhh..sounds super,” Griswold replied. 

Ness and Seraphina, Riley and Ignacio and Pascal and Easton paired up. 

“Well here we are,” Melissa stated. “I was thinking Cynthia we could..”

Melissa turned to see Cynthia already on another escalator with Weston behind her. 

“Ooh that’s fine,” Melissa said. “Another time then. Well then Aiden-”

Melissa turned to see Aiden sulking in a gun store. 

“Man I bet Hayden would’ve loved this shotgun,” Aiden sighed. 

“I’ll give you some space my little chipmunk fluff,” Melissa said and went on. 


"I thought about talking with Aiden about Cynthia and Easton’s worries,” Melissa admitted. “But he’s just so sad about Hayden, I don’t want to bother him with my feelings; that’d just be mean.”


A rent a cop stood guard at the front of the mall, but failed to notice the tiptoeing trash can enter. 

“Stage one complete,” said the trashcan, who hid in the ficus plant. 

Frannie and Kalino dumped the trash can off themselves. 

“Stage two,” Kalino said, “cut out faces from a magazine and put them over our faces! Creating a foolproof disguise to allow us to go around the mall.”

The two high fived and got to work...

“Shopping for jewelry is fun, huh Cynthia?” Weston asked as he tried on various necklaces in a shop. 

Cynthia tossed more and more jewelry aside, trying to find the right item. 

Weston twiddled his thumbs. “So Cynthia…uh...umm...”

“If you have something to say, say it,” Cynthia stated as shoppers looked on, yet kept their distance. 

Weston grabbed Cynthia’s arm and looked her in the eyes. “Okay, so the truth is even though you’re scary I think you’re really cool and brave. I really like you and like spending time with you, so do you want to be boyfriend and girlfriend?”

“Yes.”

“I understand,” Weston said. “I’m sorry if I made things really awkward.”

“I said yes Weston,” Cynthia stated. 

“Wait whattttttt?” Weston asked. “Really? Are you sure?”

“Do you want me to change my mind?” Cynthia asked. 

Weston shook his head. 

“You’ve got all the perfect traits of someone I want to date,” Cynthia said.

“I do?” Weston asked.

Cynthia stared. “You scar easily and bleed profusely...yet have a very high pain tolerance.” 

Weston gulped. 

“You’re also really sweet and cute,” Cynthia said. “It’s rare to find someone who fits all that.” 

Weston blushed and turned away. “Aw shucks!”


“Hehehe,” Weston giggled. “I got a girlfriend, I got a girlfriend! And it's the most amazing girl in the whole wide world! WOO!”


Cynthia stared. “I didn’t expect to get a boyfriend on this show. But now I do; and I’m keeping him.”


“Your disguise ready?”

“Oh yeah!” 

Kalino popped out of the bushes wearing a cutout of the president on face...and wearing nothing else at all. 

“Ooh nice,” Frannie said. 

Frannie somersaulted out with a handsome yet familiar face. “I just chose some garden variety celebrity or something.”

“OH MY GAWD!” a preteen girl screamed and pointed. “Look!”

“Is that the president of the United State shopping in the nude?” another asked. 

“Who cares about that loser,” the first said. “Look who's next to him!” 

“BLAINERSON MCMANLY!” a mob of teen girls screamed and ran.

“Wait,” Frannie said, “if you’re the nude president then I must be-”

“I’m going to tear off some of his skin cells for my collection!”

“In your dreams ******! Those skin cells are mine and I’m gonna lick them!”

“Quick Fran The Man,” Kalino said, “tear it off!”

“I can’t,” Frannie replied. “It’s stuck on my face like a haunted mask!” 

Frannie dashed as the squad of girls stampeded through. 

“I’ve got to find a way to rescue Frannie,” Kalino stated. 

Meanwhile, Xidorn and Vance were in a book store.

Vance was tossing books out left and right. “What was on the cover of this book?”

“It could be a lot of things,” Xidorn replied. “A woman who looks like a pilgrim, a red letter; it’ll have a gold symbol or something on it to show it's an anniversary edition.” 

Vance kicked a shelf. “Of all the stores we had to go to a bookstore.”

“To be honest Vance I suspect you can’t read,” Xidorn said. 

“That idea ain’t worth the salt in your bread!” Vance shouted. 

“There is nothing wrong with being illiterate,” Xidorn said. “It’s a problem a lot of people face. I’m not judging, I just you to know you don’t have to feel bad in front of me.”

Vance sighed. “Alright...the truth is my ma or pa never taught me how to read. They...didn’t know either.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Xidorn stated. “If you want, I can teach you.” 

“Hmph, don’t you think it's a bit silly to be teaching an almost full grown man how to read?” Vance asked.

“I don’t find anything silly about helping someone,” Xidorn replied. “Especially a friend.”

Vance wiped a tear. “I didn’t know people could be so nice...I mean, lets save the mushy stuff for after the challenge.”

“You’re right,” Xidorn said. “Hey, do you know anything about this rumor going around?”

“Rumor?” Vance asked. 

“Apparently some of the Eagles are convinced some inter team alliance is going on,” Xidorn said. “Silly huh? Said they’re the ones who voted off Hayden.”

Vance froze. “Uh...yeah that could never ever happening, especially going on right now on our team and be true.”

Xidorn pulled a book off the shelf. “I got it! Let’s boogie on out of here.”

Vance followed and whispered to himself, “I’ve got to tell Kalino…” 

Rhonda sat in the mall, sighing and holding her stomach as she sat on a bench. “Ooh, too much free advertising…” 

“I’ve got a pill for that if you need it.”

Rhonda turned to see sitting next to her was an old woman.

“Hey,” Rhonda said, “aren’t you that woman I was talking to at the subway?”

“Oh yes!” the old lady replied. “Your that hostess! What a coincidence seeing you again uh, Raina. How is your show going?”

Rhonda frowned. “Terrific.”

“Really?” the old lady asked. “I’ve DVRed it, but hadn’t been able to see it yet. I heard it was at the Pentagram Hotel.”

“The one and only,” Rhonda replied.

“Oh I’ve always wanted to tour it,” the old lady said. “I’ve done tons of research on it. It was a fascinating little place; you know they say the owner hid his greatest treasure in there!”

“Really?” Rhonda asked.

“So they say,” the old lady replied. “I’m an architect, so I’ve studied the floor plan. I use to make houses actually, most of my life till the housing market collapsed back in 2008.”

“You know I could arrange a tour,” Rhonda said. “In return maybe you’d share what you know about the house on camera.”

“It’d be my pleasure!” the old lady replied. 

As time ticked away, the contestants continued on their scavenger hunt. A montage was shown of some of the events so far…

Ness and Seraphina struggled to pry a candy bracelet from a baby’s grip. Frannie continued to from the fans, who were being joined my more preteen girls (and thirty year old men) as she ran. Lita and Griswold we’re trying to get a orange soda out of a stubborn vending machine, but it wouldn’t budge. Pascal was signing autographs, as Easton sat besides himself as a fountain. Cynthia meanwhile managed to scare everyone out of Hot Topic. And Vance found Kalino; he whispered in the slacker’s ear, who slowly nodded…

Inside a women’s lingerie store, Riley and Ignacio were searching through the ladies undergarments. 

Ignacio was blushing and closing his eyes. “I still think I should wait outside.”

“It’d be easier if we worked together,” Riley said. “Dude, you’re doing this for a challenge not cause you’re a pervert.”

“I know,” Ignacio replied. “But I feel...embarrassed and...judged.”

“I’m not judging bro,” Riley stated. 

“I knew you wouldn’t Riley,” Ignacio replied. “It’s just...I don’t know, people expect me to be a pervert just because I’m…”

“Smoking hot,” Riley finished. 

“Yeah,” Ignacio replied. “People just assume I have my way with women all the time just because I met physically standards or am a model.”

“That often?” Riley asked. 

Ignacio nodded. “Honestly my ex girlfriend, Carla, use to be so concerned I was adulterous because women, and men, throw themselves at me. Always afraid I was sneaking looks or was...for a lack of a better word, thirsty. She dumped me because she thought I was a womanizer.”

“It sounds like Carla didn’t know the real you Ignacio,” Riley said. 

“Can I help you and your boyfriend?” an employee asked.

“We aren’t...not like that,” Ignacio stated. 

The employee laughed. “Good to know.”

“We’re looking for some leopard underoos!” Riley announced. “You have any?”

“Only pair left is in clearance and I’m afraid I can’t give that way,” the employee replied.

Riley tuned to Ignacio who sighed and ripped his shirt off. 

“I’ll get you them right away stud!” the employee swooned. 

Ignacio hid his red face in his hands. I’m shirtless in a women’s lingerie store.”

“If it’ll make you feel better,” Riley said, “I’ll take mine off.”

“No!” Igncaio shouted. “I mean not that they’re bad, I’ve seen them before. I mean I wasn’t looking at them, not because they’re bad but…”

Riley laughed. “You are too easy to rile up.” 

At the same time, Ness and Seraphina sighed and held up the candy bracelet. Ness’s nose was bleeding.

“Are we wimps or does the baby bench press a thousand?” Ness asked. 

“A little bit of both,” Seraphina replied. “Sorry it punched you in the face.”

“It looks worse than it feels,” Ness said. 

“I’m going to go ahead and check this in with Rhonda,” Seraphina said. “I hope the others had a better time.”

“I’m gonna look around for any last minute items,” Ness said. 

“Go for it,” Seraphina encouraged. “And good luck.” 

Ness nodded and walked off. She looked at the stores for anything…but stopped at crying. Turning to a massage chair, she found Amanda Picklestein sobbing. 

Ness sighed and took a seat next to the chatterbox. “Hey Mandy.”

Mandy sniffled. “Huh? Oh hey Ness, Pascal’s new friend. You came to the mall too, huh? Isn’t that crazy?”

“Why are you crying?” Ness asked.

“I’m just having an allergic reaction to all these great items and deals at this mall,” Mandy cried.

“Are you sure?” Ness said. “You look like somebody who’s going through a lot. Trust me, I know.”

Mandy let out a loud groan and cried into Ness’ lap. “I’m such a loser Ness! I came here hoping to reunite with Pascal...but he’s forgotten all about me.”

“He recognized you,” Ness said. 

“Yeah but its not the same,” Mandy replied. “He’s not the same; it's like he’s a totally different person. He use to ask me how my day was at every meal and make up songs to sing to me at night. I thought we were really special friends…”

“I’m so sorry,” Ness said. 

“I should be the sorry one,” Mandy said. “Showing up unannounced, when Pascal’s here making new friends. That time on the show was just really important to me and...I wanted those experiences to last forever, not disappear. But I guess they already are gone; people grow apart as time goes on and life changes. Friends become acquaintes and then memories and then forgotten...” 

“Well have you told Pascal how you feel?” Ness asked. 

“No,” Mandy admitted.

“You don’t know if he’s forgotten you if you don’t ask,” Ness said. 

“But what if he really doesn’t care for me?” Mandy asked. “What if it's better not knowing than facing the truth...that Pascal and I will never be the same people we were on that show.”

“I don’t know what he’ll say,” Ness said. “But will you ever really be happy always wondering? The worst case is you’ll have to move on...but that’s better than being haunted forever isn’t it?”

Mandy hugged Ness. “Oh Ness, you’re such a nice person! Can I ask you something?”

Ness gulped. “Yeah?”

“Do you think we could be friends too?” Mandy asked.

“You...you want to be my friend?” Ness asked. “Why, I think we’re already friends now!”

Mandy squealed and hugged the girl again. “That’s wonderful! And thank you; if you ever need anything just name it!” 

Ness shook her head. “That’s not necessary I...wait, actually Mandy would you mind coming with me?” 

Mandy beamed. “Not at all!

At the same time, Lita and Griswold were still punching the same vending machine. 

“Can this **** machine be loosened!” Lita screamed. 

A little girl skipped up to the machine and punched it; the orange soda came rolling out.

“Do you guys even lift?” the little girl asked before skipping away. 

“Well at least we have it,” Griswold said taking it as he and Lita headed to the nearest escalator. 

“Hey is that Easton?” Griswold asked, pointing out the holder twin sitting at a fountain.

“Poor dear looks miserable,” Lita said. 

“I bet it has to do with that fight with his brother,” Griswold said.

“Sweetie you go deliver that to Rhonda,” Lita said. “I’m going to see if I can talk to him.”

Before Griswold could answer, Lita got off the escalator. 

“Hey honey,” Lita said taking a seat. “You alright?”

“Oh yeah,” Easton said. “Just taking a breather.”

“Now I see a serious frown on that face,” Lita said. “You can tell me honey; I promise I won’t judge.”

“It’s Weston,” Easton admitted.

“I thought so,” Lita said. “Things still rough?” 

“I’m still furious if that’s what you mean,” Easton replied.

Lita nodded. 

“But...I do miss Weston,” Easton admitted. “I still worry about him. But those things I said...I admit I do kind of resent him; I know everyone likes him more. And I mean who wouldn’t, he’s great. I just work so hard in math, in track, at taking care of him...and I’ll still always be nothing but his twin brother. I thought this show would be chance to show I’m somebody...but I’m not.”

Lita patted Easton’s head. “Now honey, don’t you say that. You and your brother are very different, even if some people can’t see it. And maybe some people like him more, but I know some people here who like you a whole lot more.”

Easton nodded. “Thanks. It burns me up that Weston saw those tapes that he didn’t know something was off. That he actually thought I didn’t love him. I mean, can you call love when I was jealous at the same time.”

Lita sighed. “I think its clear you still love him, even if you won’t admit it. But I don’t know the answer to that question, I really wish I did.”

Easton turned to Lita. “Thank you Lita, I feel better talking to you. I’m glad someone understands. Do you...want to talk about your brother?”

“Huh?” Lita asked. 

“You said you understand,” Easton said. “And I remember you mentioning your brother after we won the Awake-a-thon.”

Lita squirmed. “Its different.”

“Its’ different between me and my brother,” Lita replied.

“If you don’t mind me asking,” Easton said, “how is it different?”

“It’s worse,” Lita admitted. “I’ll tell you but you have to promise to never tell anyone else.”

Easton raised his right hand. “I swear.”

Lita nodded. “Me and my brother are different circumstances. My momma’s always had a hard life, yet she’s tried to take care of us. But...I know she can’t ever love me the same way she loves him.”

Easton nodded. 

“With me...well my dad is a real bad guy. My mom was worried he’d leave her; she thought having me would make him stay. Truth is, it made him leave.”

“You can’t mean that,” Easton said.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Lita said. “I’m grateful he left. But trust me, I know it's true."

“God,” Easton mumbled. “I’m sorry Lita.”

Lita shook her head. “With my brother, or half-brother, she never planned to have him...but he wasn’t an accident either.”

Easton paused for a moment, then sighed and nodded. 

“When he came into our lives,” Lita continued, “so much changed. She treated him in ways she never had treated me before...everyone treated him different from me. And it's not like he doesn’t deserve it…he’s the greatest little guy I know. But I can’t help wishing...that could be me, that I could be loved like that! And then I feel so awful for feeling that.”

“I think understand,” Easton said. 

“But it is different from you and your twin,” Lita said and leaned in whispering in his ear.

Easton’s eyes grew wide. “Oh Lita, you can’t think that-”

“-Please don’t say anymore,” Lita said standing up. “We have to get back to the challenge. Just don’t tell anyone, especially Griswold or Seraphina or Ness. I don’t want them to know how awful I am…” 

Over on the other side of the mall, Kalino was racing around nude as the president. 

“Okay finding Blainerson McManly failed,” Kalino said. “How else can I save her?”

“Hey you.”

Kalino turned around to see a rent a cop.

“Oh, hey mannnnnn.”

“Are you really the president of the united states?”

Kalino blinked. “Yes, yes I am.” 

“Why are you running around naked?” the cop asked.

“I’m expressing my freedom as a citizen of America dude,” Kalino replied.

“I knew there was a reason I voted for you!” the cop cheered. “Listen, if there is anything you need, just name it.”

“Well if I could ask a presidential favor,” Kalino said, “I need to rescue Blainerson McManly. You know, FBI/CIA/SAT kind of stuff.” 

“Of course!” the cop replied. 

A few floors below, Riley and Ignacio exited the lingerie store. Riley stopped as she noticed a familiar lineman napping on the benches. She tossed the underoos on the still shirtless Ignacio.  

“Go on Iggy Pop,” Riley said. “I got to help a bro out here.”

Ignacio nodded and went on, ignoring the whistles he was getting. 

“What’s wrong Gris bear?” Riley asked, sitting on the edge. 

“What makes you think something’s wrong?” Griswold asked.

“I know you,” Riley said. 

Griswold chuckled. “You do. The truth is, it’s about Lita.”

“Oh no,” Riley said. “What’s the trouble?”

“Dating is has been interesting,” Griswold said. “I mean at first it was amazing, but she’s really...kind of smothering. I feel suffocated and exhausted to be honest. And we kissed and...I felt I wasn’t ready for my first kiss, and now that I did it...I just pictured something else. Something like a Faith Hill song.”

“You and your love of Faith Hill,” Riley laughed. 

“Faith Hill’s music is amazing,” Griswold swooned. “Look in your heart bro, you know it to be true. The point is, I don’t know how to feel at this point.” 

“I hate to break it you Gris but it doesn’t get easier after forming a relationship,” Riley said. “It might even get harder.”

“And look how much I struggled forming it,” Griswold said. “I don’t know, I’m not going to call it quits, but this wasn’t what I was expecting of my first girlfriend.”

“What were you expecting?” Riley asked. “A fairytale wedding?”

Griswold laughed. “Of course not.”

“You know one of my older brothers always fell hard into love,” Riley stated. “He was so obsessed with finding someone…and all it got him was two divorces. The third time has been the charm so far, but it wasn’t an easy road for him to get there.”

“What are you trying to imply dude?” Griswold asked.

“I’m saying love isn’t easy or as magical as we think,” Riley said. “I’ve thought it was too, but I’ve learned from my brother’s relationships and my own that it isn’t. Don’t get wrong, love can do good, but it isn’t good by default, it’s...powerful.”

“With great power comes responsibility,” Griswold sighed. 

Riley chuckled. “As true as that phrase is cliché. Relationships are great but they take a lot of work; they have to survive time passing, people growing, and things always changing. And they’ll never be perfect; they’re manmade after all.”

“So what should I do now?” Griswold said. 

“Well call me loco,” Riley said. “But have you thought about talking with Lita?”

Griswold blushed. “That would make sense.”

Riley shrugged. “I mean you can’t solve a problem if you don’t acknowledge there’s a problem dude. And let me tell you this, communication is important. And I don’t mean by dolphin calls.” 

“Eeeee!” Griswold squeaked before he and Riley burst into laughter. 

“I’ll just be straightforward with her when we get the chance alone,” Griswold stated. 

Riley gave a thumbs up. “Right on Broprah Winfrey. Communication is really important. A relationship can’t be happy if you’re keeping secrets or bottling up things inside. It's not healthy for your or your relationship.”

“Gosh Rye Bread, you ever think about writing a book?” Griswold teased. 

“I tried to write one on money saving tips but it costs a lot for paper dude,” Riley replied.

The two bros laughed and got up. 

At the same time, Frannie found herself chased up a fake palm tree. “Hmm, I didn’t expect to die in palm tree while being chased by preteen girls. I always thought it’d be a pine tree.”

“Marry me Blainerson McManly!” a girl shouted. 

“No me!” another girl shouted.

“He’s marrying me!” a man shouted. 

“No one is marrying that handsome man!”

“SAYS WHO?” a preteen girls shouts. 

Everyone gasped as Kalino stood like George Washington crossing the Delaware river, riding on a the rent a cop’s golf cart. “Says the President of AMURICA!” 

The golf cart ran over the girls as it got to the palm tree. Frannie jumped and landed in Kalino arms. “My hero!”

Then suddenly, Kalino and Frannie’s masks fell off. 

“Hey you’re not my teenage fantasy come true, you’re a clown!”

“And you’re not the president,” the rent a cop shouted. “You’re some naked guy.”

“PUSH!” Kalino shouted as he shoved the rent a cop away and hijacked the golf cart.

“Let’s get out of this mall!” Frannie shouted. 

“Not yet Fran The Man,” Kalino replied. “I promised I’d try to save you. This challenge still has a minute left; let’s say we double dash this bitch?”

“Oh yeah!” the two shouted. 

At the same time, Rhonda and most of the contestants gathered together. To the left, the Fireworks had a pile of their items. To the right, the Eagles had a smaller pile. 

“Well it was close,” Rhonda said, “but this win is the Fizz-”

“-Woaaahhhhhhhhhh!” 

Frannie and Kalino drove their golf cart off the top floor and descended down. The two and their shopping bags jumped out of their in slow mo. The golf cart landed on the floor and exploded right next to Rhonda. Frannie and Kalino landed on their butts nearby and high fived. 

“What The Heck?” Rhonda screamed.

“Wrong fanfiction,” Frannie said. “Also, we brought gifts!” 

The two tossed their shopping bags on top of Rhonda. “Well this changes everything; I’d say the winners are-”

“-Wait!” 

Ness ran up pulling Mandy behind her. “I have one last item.”

“It’d have to be worth a lot of points mannnn,” Kalino said while smiling at Frannie. 

“She is,” Ness said, presenting Mandy.

“Mandy isn’t on the list,” Toby stated.

“The list requests a celebrity cameo,” Ness explained. “Mandy is a celebrating, and here she is cameoing.”

“Hmm,” Rhonda said. “Well I finally wanted Blainerson to cameo, but I’ll take it.”

Yes!” Ness cheered and hugged Mandy as the other Fireworks joined in.

“It’ll take some math,” Rhonda said, “give us a minute.”

Five hours later, the co-hosts separated. “We’ve calculated your exact scores and by a single point the winners are…The Fizzled Fireworks!” 

Kalino’s smile immediately dropped. Xidorn nodded, as the other Eagles realized what that meant and looked at each other. 

The Fizzled Fireworks cheered at their victory...except for Seraphina who stared at Xidorn and the other Eagles. “Please, please let it work.” 

“Prepare to say goodbye to another one of your friends tonight Eagles,” Rhonda said. 

It was a quiet night that night; the Eagles shuffled into the Internet cafe without a word. Dark clouds loomed outside. 

Rhonda sighed. “The votes have all been cast and I’ve got seven cups of raspberry flavor coffee. It’s good stuff. But one of you won’t know what that’s like. Weston, will however.”

Weston nodded as he caught his cup.

“Vance...Kalino...Melissa.”

The three caught their cups and shuffled awkwardly. 

“Cynthia...Aiden.”

Aiden nodded. 

“One cup left; two newbies. The final coffee cup goes to...”



















































“...Xidorn. I’m afraid it's your time now Frannie.” 

Frannie didn’t move for a few seconds, before slowly raising her eyebrows and turning to the others. She looked towards Kalino, but he looked the other way. “I don’t...why?”

“We’re so sorry Frannie,” Weston said. “But we know you’ll be happier now!” 

Frannie just stared. “What?”

“I’m sorry but you have a ride to catch,” Rhonda stated. 

“But-”

“Goodbye,” Rhonda interrupted. 

Frannie frowned and crept towards the Revolving Doors of Shame.

Kalino stood up. “I better talk to her…”

Frannie set her luggage down at the bus stop. 

“Frannie,” Kalino said in a whisper as he exited.

Frannie turned to notice him and ran to hug him. “Kalino! What happened? Why...why am I going home?”

“I...don’t know,” Kalino said. “I’m just as confused and upset as you are.”

“Then why didn’t you say anything in there?” Frannie asked.

Kalino looked down. “I was in shock, that’s all…”

Frannie’s eyes grew wide and she separated from him. “You knew. You knew it was going to be me.”

Kalino turned away. “Why did you have to do that? Why did you have to go and ruin a good thing? I felt like I could trust you.”

“Of course you can trust me,” Frannie replied. “What did I do?”

“Loose lips sink ships,” Kalino quoted. “Remember?”

“What?” Frannie asked.

“The rumors going around?” Kalino asked. “We have our first alliance meeting with you and suddenly everyone’s talking about an alliance meeting and Hayden going home. You tell me that’s coincidence?”

“I didn’t say anything,” Frannie said. “How could you think that?”

“Like how you spllied the beans about Diamonique's genius?" Kalino asked. "You aren’t good at keeping secrets. I couldn’t risk my game, my dreams, on you.”

Frannie turned away and began crying. Kalino stood and watched her. 

“Frannie,” Kalino said. “I’m sorry...I really am. But I promise our deal’s still intact, you’ll still get-”

“-I didn’t say anything!” Frannie yelled, revealing her smearing makeup. “I never told a soul. Why didn’t you just ask me? Why didn’t you talk to me?”

Kalino looked down.

“For my own good, was it?” Frannie asked. “Thought I’d never know about it till you’d won and then when you saved the circus I’d understand. Is that it? What did you tell them?” 

“I told them you weren’t feeling well,” Kalino said. “You were homesick and didn’t want to be here.”

“Soon I won’t have a home to go to,” Frannie stated. “The circus will close down now.”

“You can still save the circus,” Kalino said. “With your share you-”

“-You actually meant that deal?” Frannie asked. “Or was that another lie? What you just said about Diamonique...you voted her off, didn’t you?” 

Kalino sighed. “Yes.”

“Oh my god,” Frannie wept. “Of course you did! I was such a fool! You used me! I trusted you Kalino. And I thought, I thought you and me...that we…”

The Public Transportation pulled up and opened its door as it started to rain.

Frannie wiped her face on her sleeve as she picked up Ziba and her luggage. 

“What?” Kalino said. “You thought what?”

“Who cares,” Frannie replied. “It doesn’t matter now; none of it does now. Keep the money for yourself, I don’t want it.”

“Fran The Man...I...I...”

“Good luck Kalino,” Frannie said. “I hope you get everything that you wanted. Hope you prove everyone you were right.” 

Frannie didn’t turn around as the doors closed behind her. Then she was gone. The rain poured as Kalino stood there and looked on at the street...

Chapter 10 A Crime of Fashion

Kalino eventually walked in from the rain, most of the Eagles already dispersing. The rain was not letting up.

Melissa ran up and hugged the slacker. “If you need anything, say so.” 

Kalino said nothing, slumping down at a table in the corner. Vance followed and took a seat beside him.

“Hey partner,” Vance said, “how you holding up?”

Kalino shrugged. 

“Listen,” Vance said, “you can’t be mad at yourself; Frannie didn’t want to stay. Now she can go home.” 

“I thought if I won I...” Kalino said. “...I didn’t tell her.”

Vance scratched his mustache. “Well. I don’t know how you’d tell someone that. Sometimes you have to keep people in the dark for their own good. Just remember, you did the right thing.”

Kalino said nothing. 

Eventually, Vance coughed, wished Kalino goodnight and left. Kalino laid his head against the table…

In the hall Pascal was tiptoeing around a corner, where he bumped into Xidorn. The two fell to the floor, Xidorn gripping his hand tightly. 

Pascal forced a smile. “Ooh Xidorn. Good to see you buddy. How’d the elimination ceremony go?”

“I’m still here,” Xidorn replied, shoving his hand into his pocket. “Sorry to disappoint.”

Pascal shoved his way through the straight shooter and went on. “Oh well; there’s always next time.”

“Good flashdrive hunting!” Xidorn shouted back before heading down the hall. He looked down at his fist and smirked to himself. 

Xidorn entered the usual commons room, where Seraphina was watching an old movie. The psychic jumped on her feet and sighed in relief at the sight of Xidorn. 

“Thank god,” Seraphina said, embracing her boyfriend. 

“I’m glad to be here too,” Xidorn replied. “But I told you it wouldn’t be me.”

“Who was it then?” Seraphina asked. 

Xidorn sighed. “Frannie. Apparently she was homesick, so we voted for her to go home. I’d have told you sooner, but I only found out right before the elimination ceremony.”

“I guess I didn’t need my plan,” Seraphina muttered. 

“I have something I want to...plan?” 

Xidorn separated and stared at Seraphina, who blushed. 

“I decided I wasn’t going to sit back and cause your elimination,” Seraphina admitted. “So I went looking for the immunity flash drive, and while I didn’t find it...I did see some Eagles leave Pascal’s room, probably his roommate’s friends.”

“So?” Xidorn asked. 

“Well...it gave me an idea,” Seraphina admitted. “The whole reason you were on the chopping block was for ‘fraternizing with the enemy’. If someone was doing the same thing, on a much worser scale, then the target would be off of you. So…”

“That rumor going on,” Xidorn stated, his eyes growing wide. 

Seraphina nodded. “I made up the rumor about an interteam alliance. We were shocked to see you voted off Hayden, so I tied that into it. I told the other Fireworks, knowing it would spread. I knew no one would suspect you, you’re too honest.”

“So you told this huge lie?” Xidorn asked. 

“Yeah,” Seraphina replied. “Why, what’s the big deal? It was a game move.”

“If your plan would have worked,” Xidorn said. “It could have sent home someone completely innocent.” 

“Someone has to go home and I’d rather it not be you,” Seraphina said. “Especially for a stupid reason.” 

“What’s the difference between this and any lie Pascal told?” Xidorn asked. 

“I did it to save someone I care about,” Seraphina shouted. “I did it to protect you. Not to get ahead.”

“So you’re willing to let someone else take the fall?” Xidorn replied. 

“Your team was willing to turn on you for dating me,” Seraphina countered. “People will use any given reason to take someone down and save themselves.”

“So that makes it right to do the same thing?” Xidorn asked. 

Seraphina sighed. “I guess not...but we can’t do the right thing all the time. I’m not going to be an idiot and take the higher ground. I mean is taking the high ground worth giving up two million dollars? Is it worth letting some ass have a better chance? Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and do what you have to do to make it through another day.” 

“I’d rather take the high ground than lie and use others,” Xidorn stated. “Even if it is two million dollars.”

“So I should have just sat back and let you go home because of me?” Seraphina asked. “I should have done nothing?”

“I’m fine,” Xidorn stated. “We didn’t need your plan because Frannie was homesick. And even if she wasn’t, I have friends. I wouldn’t be voted out for it.”

“I know you want to believe that but that's not what I heard!” Seraphina replied. “Riley's roommates with Weston ; he said your name had been brought up.”

Xidorn’s expression didn’t change. "You didn't trust me."

He sat down next to the psychic, but facing the opposite direction. They sat there, not moving, not speaking, not looking at the other for a few minutes. 

“This is for you.”

Xidorn opened his hand to reveal a red flash drive. 

“Where did you-”

“I saw it sticking out of a potted plant,” Xidorn explained. “The one near your room. Take it.”

Seraphina grabbed it. “I...thank you.”

A few more minutes passed. Xidorn stood up and left. Seraphina watched him leave, then turned away.

Outside of another common room, Griswold stood waiting outside the door.

“I’ve just got to be honest,” Griswold whispered to himself. “We just need to slow it down.”

Griswold started to knock on the door, only for Lita to fling it open. “Ooh Gris, I thought I heard you whispering to yourself out here.”

“Lita there’s something I have to tell you,” Griswold stated. 

Lita tugged on her scarf. “Yes Griswold?”

“Uh...squeak! Squeak!”

“What?” Lita asked. 

“I uh...like your hair,” Griswold mumbled.

“Oh thanks,” Lita laughed. “Your pompadour looks good as usual. So I thought tonight we could watch something special.”

Lita pulled out a DVD titled…

The Notebook?” Griswold asked.

Lita snuggled his shoulder. “Yeah. Its my favorite movie actually! You know it's a movie that couples watch, cause its so romantic. And we’re a couple so-”

“I’ve seen it,” Griswold stated. “Me and my sisters usually watch it with our momma, she bawls at it.”

Lita frowned. “I’ll start it.” 

In the secret observation room, RhondaJenny and Toby were holding a meeting. 

“Now that’s advertisements handled for the next few episodes,” Rhonda finished. “Onto other news; are you two aware of that vulture?”

The camera panned up to reveal a vulture circling the co-hosts.

“Oh yeah,” Jenny replied, “It's been stalking us ever since then the first challenge. I’m pretty sure it thinks Toby is going to keel over soon, since he basically looks like a corpse.”

“Your outside is a direct reflection of your inside,” Toby stated.

“I’ve named her Elaine,” Jenny stated.

Rhonda shrugged, and went on with business.

Early that next morning, before the sun had even come out, Melissa left her room and using her tiptoes, made her way downstairs. Turning behind her, she tripped and fell down the stairs in a clatter. She landed on top of Aiden

“Gee wilkers Melissa,” Aiden stated. “You alright?” 

“I am fine,” Melissa replied. “Are you alright snookums?”

Melissa and Aiden stood up and dusted the other off. 

“Just dandy,” Aiden replied. “What are you doing up at this hour?”

“I just wanted to do some baking,” Melissa admitted. “Why are you up?”

Aiden shifted his eyes back and forth. “Have you heard those rumors about an interteam alliance?”

Melissa shook her head.

“Well rumor is they were responsible for Hayden's elimination,” Aiden replied. “I’ve been looking for clues on who they are.”

“I don’t know if I’d pay any mind to rumors,” Melissa said. “Sweetie, I believe Hayden just didn’t mesh well with everyone on the team. That’s why he’s gone.”

Aiden shook his head. “That can’t be it. There has to be something else.”

Melissa sighed. “Aiden, I...I was thinking we-”

“-I’m sorry Melissa, I’ve got to go find more clues,” Aiden interrupted. ‘I’ll see you later.” 

The patriot marched off.

Melissa trudged towards the kitchen. Her eyes widened as she saw Kalino asleep on the table. She snuck into the kitchen and headed to the secret passage to her room. She came back with a blanket she draped over the slacker. 

In Ness' room, Ness and Lita were going through their morning routine, as Seraphina was sprawled out in bed, face buried in a pillow. 

“How’d your date go last night Lita?” Ness asked. 

Lita grimaced. “Great."

Ness started brushing her hair. "Its weird, it feels like its been almost a year since we've been on this show, huh?"

"Amen," Lita replied. "How long has it been?"

Ness shrugged. "We started at the end of May, right?" 

"Ooh!" Lita exclaimed. "Let's look at my new calander and see if we can tell. 

Ness’ eyes grew wide, and she snapped her hairbrush in half. 

Lita strutted over towards the side of the room. “Any excuse to look at my calendar of food and hunky gu-”

Lita froze and frowned as she her calendar tossed on the ground. The knockout picked it up, and her jaw dropped. “What in the world?”

“I didn’t rip out June’s calendar page!” Ness screamed. 

“No one said you did sweetie,” Lita replied. “Look at who's on my July cover.” 

Ness giggled as she saw the cover, Ignacio sporting American flag briefs and grilling burgers. 

“I can’t believe Iggy is in your calendar shoot,” Ness teased. “Should we tell him? Or do you think he’ll get too embarrassed.” 

“I have to tell him,” Lita stated, “because he is overcooking those patties. That is a waste of meat products!” 

“I feel like you only bought the calendar for the food,” Ness joked. “The hot guys were just a bonus.”

“Girl, stop calling me out,” Lita laughed.


“The truth is I did actually got rid of Lita’s June calendar page,” Ness admitted. “My birthday is coming up and I don’t want the girls to know. My birthdays tend to be pretty bad...worse than usual actually. I have to celebrate it at home, but I’d like not to here. So if everyone thinks we’ve skipped ahead to next month, we can avoid it entirely.” 


In the hotel’s lobby, Rhonda, Toby and Jenny were escorting the elderly lady from before inside. 

“Thank you for allowing me to tour the Pentagram Raina,” the old lady stated.

“No problem Ms…”

“Holmes,” the old lady replied. “Ms. Holmes. Its beautiful architecture; you know this hotel was closed off to the public for years after the murder and subsequent treasure hunters.”

“You mentioned a treasure before,” Rhonda said, “What is the treasure?” 

“No one knows for certain,” Ms. Holmes replied, “the owner was a wealthy man and known to take many valuables from his victims.”

“You know it's one thing to be a serial killer,” Jenny said. “But a murderer and a thief? That’s just rude.”

“On his execution day he said his greatest treasure was still hidden in the hotel,” Ms. Holmes explained. “He said it was in the hotel’s ‘heart he’. Whatever that means. To this day, it has never been found.” 

“I’m sure it won’t be a plot point later,” Toby stated.

“You know the owner said he designed the hotel after a pentagram to ensure he could finish his plans,” Ms. Holmes continued. “Right before he was executed, he said he placed a curse on the hotel. He said the curse would allow his spirit to haunt the hotel and continue his business forever.”

“He cursed it?” Rhonda asked.

“Oh yes,” the old lady replied. “It is the reason his ghost haunts the place.” 

“What do you mean?” Rhonda asked.

“He didn’t die here,” the old lady stated. “He died in the electric chair. So why would his ghost be in the hotel?”

Rhonda blinked. “I uh…I never thought about that.” 

Jenny shook her head. “What a dummy.” 

“Look whose talking,” Toby said.

“YOUR MOM!” Jenny shouted. 

“So, could we tour the underground catacombs?” Ms. Holmes asked. 

“Afraid not,” Rhonda replied. “The higher ups orders. But we can let you see the new Internet cafe in the hotel!”

In a common room, Xidorn slouched on the coach and was trying to watch some movie. Rushing in the room comes Weston, who halts to a stop and starts at the screen.

“Oh hey Weston,” Xidorn said. “What’s up?”

“I got lost looking for the bathroom again,” Weston said. 

“You know there are bathrooms in our room,” Xidorn explained.

“Ooh!” Weston exclaimed. “Now if I could just find my room….are you watching a Cornelious Puckerschmidt film?” 

Xidorn smiled a bit. “Yeah, it's during his weird Japanophile phase, Rise of the Wily Takunis.”

“I say he’s still in that phase,” Weston joked. “Why are you watching it all alone?” 

“To be honest,” Xidorn said, “Seraphina and I got in a fight. I'm trying to process how I feel about it all.” 

“Aw jeez,” Weston sighed. “I’ve only recently started dating...no one, but I bet it isn’t fun.” 

“Weston you’re a well sprung of simple but deep truths,” Xidorn replied. 

“I get that a lot,” Weston replied.

"Can I ask you something?" Xidorn questioned. "Would you have voted me out last night?"

"No way!" Weston declared. "Someone did say they were thinking of voting for you, can't remember who though. But I like having you here, you're the first person I've met with naturally blue hair!"

Xidorn laughed. "Thanks Weston, I appreciate it."

“Do you mind if I watch this with you?” Weston asked.

Xidorn patted the couch next to him. “I was hoping you’d ask.” 

In the billiards room, Riley, Easton and Griswold were playing another game of pool.

Easton shook the rack. "So how'd it go last night Gris? Did you talk to her?"

Griswold blushed. "Well I..."

"Nope," Riley stated, shaking her head.

"I'm sorry," Griswold admitted, "I'm trying! I will soon, I just don't want to hurt her feelings."

"As long as I get invited to the wedding," Easton joked.

"Have you talked to your brother?" Riley asked.

"We're not starting that again," Easton replied. "But...how is he? He tell you anything?"

"He asked what the mac in mac and cheese was," Riley replied. "I really didn't have the answer."

"How come you don't have problems dude?" Griswold asked.

Riley lined up her cue with the ball and prepared to break. "Cause I'm awesome."

Riley rammed the ball with her cue, firing it off the table and out the secret passage. A sound like glass breaking followed.

Griswold laughed. "The awesomest."

The next day, Xidorn and Vance were in the library…

“Eat...them...with a f, f, fox,” Vance read, from Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. “Eat them...in a box.” 

“That’s right!” Xidorn cheered. “Awesome job Vance.” 

Vance spit and tossed the book against the wall. “Aw great, I could read as well as **** preschooler!” 

“Vance-”

“I feel like an idiot!” Vance shouted. “If I’m just now reading a picture book, how am I ever going to really read? How is anyone ever going to take me seriously?”

“Well throwing the book isn’t going to help,” Xidorn retorted. “I know its tough, but you’re making progress and that’s what counts!”

Vance had crossed his arms and faced away.

Xidorn reached his hand out to the cowboy’s shoulder, but the cowboy pulled away. 

Xidorn sighed. “I think that’s enough for today. Hey listen, I’m going to a movie later tonight, you want to come with us?” 

Vance turned around a little bit. “Well...who are you going with?”

“Weston,” Xidorn replied.

“Weston!” Vance exclaimed. “Why are you going to the movies with that polecat?”

“Because we’re friends,” Xidorn answered. “We enjoy a lot of the same movies and directors.”

Vance pouted and sniffled. “You’re my deputy though...”

“I still am,” Xidorn insisted. “But I have other friends, like you and Kalino.”

“Why do you have to hang out with Weston though?” Vance asked. 

I know you and Weston haven’t always gotten along,” Xidorn stated, “but I think you could! You actually have a lot in common.”

“Oh yeah?” Vance asked. “Like what?”

“Well for starters you both asked what the mac in mac and cheese is,” Xidorn stated. “And asked me if Santa Claus visits Jewish kids.”

“Psh, everyone has those same questions,” Vance replied. “doesn’t mean I’m Weston’s new twin.” 

“You’re both members of the same team,” Xidorn added. “And you're both guys I like.”

“That’s because everyone likes me,” Vance stated.

Xidorn shifted his eyes back and forth. “Honestly I-”

“I ain’t doing it,” Vance stated. “And that’s final!” 

“Come on, give him a chance,” Xidorn pleaded. “Please, for me.”

Xidorn held his hands together and made ‘puppy dog’ eyes at Vance, having his eyes grow wide and batting them at the faux cowboy. 

“The puppy dog eyes won’t work on me this time,” Vance stated. “No sir, you will not-”

The scene cut to Vance and Xidorn preparing to leave for the movies. Weston tripped down the stairs, wiping out in front of the honest abe and the rodeo star. 

“Ready for the newest superhero crossover Xi...ance?” Weston asked. 

“It’s Vance,” the cowboy corrected. “With a V, like in violin or the two in W.” 

Weston frowned. “Xidorn, can I talk to you in private?”

The straight shooter and twin scooted by into the corner, Vance scowling at Weston. 

“What is that meany pants doing here?” Weston pouted. 

“I invited Vance along,” Xidorn explained. “I thought you guys should get to know each other.” 

Weston frowned. “I think I know him pretty well. Enough to know I don’t want to hang out with him.”

Xidorn batted his eyes and began making a puppy dog face. “Come on, it's not too much to ask if I try to have my friends hang out, is it?” 

Weston cringed and turned away. “Uhh...okay, just stop making puppy dog eyes.”

Xidorn beamed. “Woo! Let’s go have fun at the movies!”

Weston sniffled. “I can still feel them looking at me…”


“Me and Vance?” Weston asked. “I don’t see it. That guy is kind of mean, like a bear. But not a panda bar, or a teddy bear, or a gummy bear, or a care bear. Those are the nice bears! There’s no way me and him could ever-”


Xidorn, Weston and Vance exit the movie theater laughing with their arms together. 

“That was a blast!” Weston cheered.

“You can say that again partner,” Vance agreed. “And it's thanks to these two funny guys right here!”

“Right back at you buddy!” Weston stated. 


“Vance is actually pretty cool,” Weston admitted. “I mean I finally found someone who also wants to know what the mac in mac and cheese is! He grew up around farms too, though his had animals like horses and even ostriches! The animals in Nebraskan farms are usually just corn.” 


“I mean I kinda always knew Weston and I would get along,” Vance bragged. “We’re both thinkers, you know? I mean this guy gets it, let me tell you. He was obviously impressed by my rodeo skills. I might even let him become my backup deputy.” 


Xidorn crossed his arms and smirked. “What did I say? I knew they’d hit it off. Part of the reason I wanted them to hang out though is that I felt they needed to make more friends, just so they can have a bigger support system. Another thing they have in common is that they’re both going through some rough times.”


The following day, Cynthia walked down the hall, sharpening her knives. From around the corner, Aiden crawled on the ground and followed her.

"Operation Ghost Eagle is a go," Aiden whispered to himself. "Let's see where you're going. To meet your secret alliance?"

Cynthia stopped and shot a glance backwards.

"Eep!" Aiden squealed, hightailing it out of there. "Abort mission, abort mission!"

Cynthia turned around and continued on her way, stopping at a broom closet and sneaking inside.

"Hi Cynthia," Weston greeted. "Uh, why are we meeting in her again?"

"To keep it a secret," Cynthia replied. "I think someone is on to us."

"I'll get them off you Cynthia!" Weston stated, brushing the girl's back. Weston pulled Cynthia closer to him, then blushed as their faces were only inches apart. The two moved in closer...till Weston recoiled back.

"Ooh," Weston stated. "I think I accidentally bit my lip."

Weston motioned towards his bottom lip, showing where was blood was trickling down.

Cynthia grabbed Weston and pulled him towards her. Weston giggled as the two began making out.

Meanwhile, the other contestants ate in the cafeteria, enjoying the quietness of the day.

A crackle was heard over the loud speaker. “Its time for the challenge newbies! Everyone on the bus in five fabulous minutes!” 

The TDG bus departed, eventually stopping outside of glitzy, glittery hotel. The newbies entered through the lobby and gazed at racks of fashion magazines and the headless mannequins modeled in unrealistic positions. The newbies reached the elevator and headed towards the top floor. But instead of rooms, the elevator opened up to a catwalk and judges’ table. 

“Welcome contestants to The Hotel de Couture,” Rhonda announced. “One of the most expensive and exclusive hotels, and one of the many amazing hotels that are part of our main company’s chain!”

She paused and forced a smile. “Only the most on point fashionistas stay here. Now as you can probably tell, this place is not only a hotel, but doubles as a host of many fashion shows…”

Rhonda motioned beyond her as stage lights lit up the runway.

“Which brings us to today’s challenge,” Rhonda said. “We’ll be hosting a fashion show! Each team must design outfits and then have some of their teammates model their outfits on this runway.”

“Ain’t that the berries!” Vance shouted. “They got a model on their team!”

“Didn’t you guys have a circus acrobat in a high wire challenge?” Ignacio replied. “Or a track star compete in shot put? Or a Washington local in the race in Washington?” 

Vance pouted his lip. “Well…”

“This is a fashion challenge,” Rhonda stated. “Modeling is only a small part of it. And if you’re still sore about it, get over it because I’m not making special accommodations. Trust me, life isn’t fair.”

Rhonda took a deep breath before continuing. “You’ll need to create three outfits for this challenge; swimwear, evening wear and a wedding dress. You also need to have at least male and one female model. We’ll then have a fashion show, where are mystery designer judges will decide the winners.”

“Mystery designer judges?” Ness whispered.

“I bet it’s just Jenny and Toby,” Seraphina replied. “Probably wearing oversized hats or something.” 

“You can use any of the materials backstage for your clothes,” Rhonda stated. “If you need other materials, you each have a little spending money you can use at the fabric store down the street. See you in five hours!”

In a designer's room towards stage left, the Fizzled Fireworks gathered around Griswold.

“So what’s fashionable Ignacio?” Griswold asked.

“I don’t know,” Ignacio replied.

“Wait what, why not?” Seraphina questioned.

“Guys I’m adorned in the same sweatshirt everyday,” Ignacio stated. “I have no knowledge of couture.”

“But aren’t you a model?” Easton asked.

“I model underwear, the clothes others aren’t suppose to see,” Ingacio replied. “Not that stops people who still think sagging their pants is cool. But the point is I wear clothes, not design them.”

“What about you Seraphina?” Griswold asked. “Your shawl is totally spiffy.”

“It’s from a dead relative,” Seraphina replied. “Which is my extent of fashion. And also shows Griswold’s out.”

“That’s fair,” Griswold replied and patted his pompadour. “I’m more known for my great hair.”

“Well I am a celebrity,” Pascal stated. “So I’d say I’m pretty high fashion.”

“Is that why you were that beanie everywhere?” Seraphina asked.

“Hey my hat is super cool,” Pascal said. “And it was…a gift from a friend…”

“Lita you know this stuff, right?” Seraphina asked.

Lita raised an eyebrow. “Honey I don’t know nothin about no clothes. I buy my stuff from on the sale bin at K-mart. Not even the Super K-mart.”

“Well I thought you looked nice,” Seraphina replied.

“Thank you sweetie,” Lita said. “But the only thing I know about clothes is that fashionable clothes are expensive ones.”

“Not necessarily,” Riley said, “as my outfit can attest to.”

Griswold nodded. “True, true. Wait a minute…Riley could design the outfits for this challenge!”

“Dude, you really think so?” Riley asked.

The other Fireworks exchanged looks. “Uhh…”

Of course bro,” Griswold replied. “Your the swaggiest fashion guru I know.”

“Can’t argue with that,” Riley replied. “Hmm, now let’s see…”

As soon as Riley walked off, the remaining Fireworks huddled together.

“Are we sure this is a good idea?” Easton asked.

“Why would you doubt Riley’s fashion sense?” Griswold asked.

Riley took down a mounted deer head. “Dudes, we could totally make this into a hat! Or if we have two, they could shoulder pads! Or maybe split the face and antlers…”

“I mean I like Riley’s outfit,” Ness said. “It’s totally cool! But it’s not what comes to mind when I think of high fashion. More like…little red dresses and lots of jewelry.”

“I guess its not that,” Griswold said. “But I have full faith that Riley will knock it out of the park for this challenge.”

In the back, Riley is dancing with the deer head on.

“I guess you’re the leader,” Seraphina said. “And nobody else knows anything.”

“Sweet!” Griswold cheered.

Riley jumped. “Don’t leave me out of the team huddle. What’s up?”

“Just deciding models,” Seraphina lied. “We need two besides Ignacio.”

“It should be Lita and Pascal,” Ness spoke up. “They’re really attractive like models.”

“Aw sweetie, thank you,” Lita replied.

“You think I’m attractive?” Pascal asked.

“I’m sure she meant anyone but you,” Seraphina said. “Like that dead deer head.”

Ness blushed. “I uh, I just um…I meant you attract the audience with your energy. You are a performer, so you’d do good on the catwalk.”

“It is another stage,” Pascal agreed.


“Ness doesn’t like me right?” Pascal asked. “Psh, what I am talking about? Ness is more like having a little sister, and I’m sure she probably feels the same way.”


“So who gets what outfit?” Ignacio asked.

“Gurl dibs on the wedding dress!” Lita shouted. 

“Well swimwear is for showing off skin,” Seraphina admitted. “So I recommend you take it Ignacio.”

“Really?” Ignacio murmured and blushed.

“You do model underwear,” Easton said. “A speedo is basically underwater underwear.”

“I don’t think this deer head would make a good speedo,” Riley said. “Maybe a squirrel…”


“I’ve always dreamed about trying on wedding dresses,” Lita swooned. “You know, all your girlfriends giving you advice, modeling the gown, a sassy designer snapping his fingers, all the works! And then to strut down that church, have my dream guy lift my veil and tell me how much he loves me in that dress...isn’t that what every girl dreams of?”


“What do I dream of?” Riley asked. “Two words; monkey, butlers. Like its a monkey in a tuxedo who will make you little sandwiches and do laundry. Isn’t that what everyone dreams of?”


“Does anyone have any sewing skills?” Griswold asked.

Ness raised her hand halfway. “Not with clothes. But I know how to use a needle and stitch; I learned from some free classes at the vet’s clinic...and personal experience.”

“Vet classes?” Easton asked.

“Mhmm, I love animals!” Ness exclaimed. “I plan on becoming a veterinary.” 

Everyone stared at Ness. 

“What?” 

“Uhh…”

In a flashback, the Fizzled Fireworks walked down the street. On the side of a road, a one eyed cat limps in an alley. 

“Oh no,” Ness gasped, “that poor kitty is hurt. We should call a-“

“Hisss!” 

The cat leapt onto Ness’ face, forcing her backwards where she slipped on a banana peel and fell into a dumpster. 

“Aackkkkk!”

“I think it just coughed a hairball in my mouth…”

In another flashback, Seraphina approached Lita in the lobby. 

“I’m excited for this trip,” Seraphina said. “Where’s Ness?”

“The girls’ room,” Lita replied.

“Ahhh!” 

Ness ran screaming out of the bathroom, a piece of toilet paper stuck to her boot. Seconds later, a sewer gator crawled out after her. 

“Huh,” Seraphina said, “it's smaller than usual.” 

In another flashback, the Fireworks are dancing at a party in the girls’ dorm.

“Easton look out!” Ness yelled.

Easton froze, along with everyone. “Huh?” 

Ness bent down and picked up a caterpillar almost crushed under Easton’s foot. “You almost squashed this little guy.”

“Its just a caterpillar,” Pascal said. “There are about ten dead ones in the window sill.” 

Ness blushed. “It's just he’s got a whole life to look forward to. He hasn’t even had a chance to be a butterfly yet. I’ll be back, I’m going to let him back outside.”

A few minutes later and the Fireworks were back to partying. 

“Where on Earth is Ness?” Lita asked. “You don’t think she got mugged, or kidnapped, or abducted or-“

“-We’ll check,” Seraphina said, opening the door. “But I’m sure she’s just-“

They froze as they found Ness passed out in a pool of her own blood, the caterpillar bathing itself. 

Ness blushed as the other Fireworks gave her questioning or concerned looks.

“Okay, I’m not the best with animals,” Ness admitted. “But I can use a needle.”

"We'll take it!" Griswold stated. "Get us started Riley..." 


On the right side of the stage, the Molting Eagles discovered a similar problem...

"...None of us have any fashion sense," Aiden sighed. 

"So what do we do?" Weston asked. 

No one said anything, looking over at the others for a sign. 

"Does anyone have any ideas?" Melissa asked. "There's no such thing has a bad idea."

"Could we buy clothes and wear those?" Weston asked. 

"I think that would defeat the purpose of the challenge," Xidorn stated. "It is a designing contest. Not to mention I don't think we have enough money for a winning wedding dress, let alone three whole outfits." 

"I've hemmed clothes before for the needy," Melissa said. "So I have a few skills with sewing. Any ideas for a design? Aiden sweetie?"

Aiden shook his head and looked down at the ground. 


"This is why we need Hayden," Aiden stated. "If he was here, he'd know what to do. But its my fault he isn't."


"The magazines."

The Eagles turned to see Kalino, pulling a magazine off a shelf and flipping through it.

"This hotel is covered in fashion magazines," Kalino explained. "We can borrow some designs from them, simplify the designs for our skills, and then model those. There in fashion magazines, so they have to be fashionable."

Melissa clapped. "Brilliant idea Kalino!"

Kalino forced a smile. "Thanks. Melissa, you model the wedding dress, I'll model the swimsuit and for the evening wear..."

"Hope about Cynthia?" Melissa suggested. "I'm sure she'd look gorgeous in a evening dress."

"I second that!" Weston agreed, Melissa giving the twin a look.

Everyone cast a look and tried to sweat too obviously.

Kalino forced a smile. "Mannnn, if that's what Cynthia wants, then totally! Right guys?"

The others nodded, trying to avoid eye contact.

Cynthia shrugged. "I don't care."

"Its settled then!" Vance shouted. "Lets get busier than a moth in a mitten!"

The teams got to work as best they could, their respective sewers trying to pass on what they know to their team members and crafting designs, eventually making some progress. Over at the Fireworks, Lita and Ignacio were in the changing room. A metallic buzz was heard humming in the background.

Lita frowned as she looked at herself in the mirror; the dear head had been converted into a headdress, where between the antlers an American flag veil was suspended. The wedding dress was meanwhile created almost entirely of emerald like snake skin and had a long 'trail' of various feathers flowing behind it.

The metallic buzzing stopped. "So how bad is it?"

Lita twirled back and forth in the dress, almost tripping on the wooden clogs she wore. "I think my husband would leave me at the altar."

"That bad?" Ignacio asked, hidden behind a changing cover.

"There is one bright side," Lita admitted, pulling out a handful of cheese fries from her bra. "Riley made a bra with a cheese fry cup. And I will never not wear it. How's yours?"

"Itchy and tight."

Lita turned around and nearly fell over again in her clogs; Ignacio walked out in a squirrel fur speedo, but more striking was that he was shaven. His facial hair was gone and his body was silky smooth. Even his hair was cut to a stylized, swept look. Ignacio looked almost identical to his modeling photos.

"Who they heck are you and what have you have done with my hairy friend," Lita teased.

Ignacio blushed. "I thought it might help if I look more like a model, maybe get some bonus points."

"Well you can certainly pull it off," Lita replied, turning back to the mirror and adjusting her headdress.

"You look great too Lita," Ignacio replied. "I wouldn't leave you at the altar."

Lita turned around, but stumbled in her clogs and fell forward. She grabbed onto the model for support, knocking right into him...with her chest.

"Phew, that was a close one," Lita exhaled.

Ignacio was turning all shades of red, as his face was plastered against Lita's...features. "I...I um...this not okay, not that you, but I...I'm not that, its not...I got to go!"

Ignacio sprinted out of the modeling room. Lita raised an eyebrow, before shrugging and pulling out another handful of cheese fries.

The model dashed into the nearest room and held his face in hands. "What on earth Ignacio! Come on!"

"Iggy?"

Ignacio looked up to see Ness, tailoring a purple sequined vest. "Everything okay?"

Ignacio blushed. "Its nothing."

"You can tell me," Ness insisted. "We're teammates."

Ignacio sank to the floor. "Its...me and Lita were changing and she...she kind of smothered me in her chest."

Ness blinked. "Oh. You guys both okay?"

Ignacio shook his head. "Yes, yes we're both fine. But...I liked it."

Ness blinked. "And?"

"And Lita is with Griswold!" Ignacio shouted.

"Were you going to make a move on her?" Ness asked.

"Of course not," Ignacio replied. "Griswold and Lita are my friends."

"Then what's the problem?" Ness asked.

Ignacio buried his head into knees. "The problem is, I'm a huge hypocrite. I get so annoyed at everyone fawning and flirting with me, but I'm no better. I'm really attracted to Lita...and other girls too. But I shouldn't be! Everyone expects me to be some kind of pervert...and they're right."

Ness took a seat next to the model. "Okay, so you're attracted to people. You're also a teenager. And teenagers have hormones. Lots of hormones."

Ness blushed. "I just mean, its okay to be attracted to someone. I mean I'm attracted to lots of people! Err...I guess I mean, its okay to feel things, it happens. You shouldn't be ashamed of that, its not a sin. But its what you do that matters."

Ignacio looked up and blushed. "Thanks Ness. When you explain it like that, I guess I kind of feel silly."

"Don't," Ness replied. "Its not silly at all. Now, lets go and win this challenge!"

Ignacio nodded and helped Ness back on to her feet.

On the right side, Melissa flipped through a wedding magazine as she sewed a white dress as carefully as she could. Looking up, she saw Aiden tiptoeing by.

"Yoohoo sugarlamb!" Melissa called.

Aiden froze and blushed. "Oh hey Melissa. How's the wedding dress coming?"

Melissa smiled. "Its been going wonderful, thank you for asking. Where have you been? I haven't seen you recently." "I've been eavesdropping," Aiden admitted, "trying to figure out whose in that alliance."

Melissa shook her head. "Buttercup, I don't think there's any truth in that rumor. Cynthia even voted for Hayden."

Aiden raised an eyebrow. "Hmm, she could be in that secret alliance."

"Pardon me but no she's not," Melissa stated. "I know everyone seems afraid of Cynthia, but that's only part of who she is; the other part is a a wonderful friend...even if she doesn't want to be my friend. Listen, if you could help out with the challenge I need more embroidery. Take this to the fabric store and see if you can find some of this cloth."

"But I-"

Aiden slumped into the fabric store. "Let's see, Melissa said she needed some kind of embroidery..."

"What's with the long face sonny?"

Aiden pivoted around and nearly fell over gasping. "Is that...the President of The United States!"

To the left of the American was a crowd of buff, tall secret agents forming a circle around a concealed figure.

"Gee wilkers is that really you-"

"Call me The Prez," the figure in the circle stated. "Everyone does. I see by your shirt, you also another warm red, white and blood blooded American. What's your name?"

"Aiden," the boy managed to spit out. "Its just an honor to meet you."

"The honor is all mine," the president replied. "Now like I asked Aiden, what's wrong?"

"Oh you don't want to hear about it," Aiden said.

"I'm concerned with the concerns of the American population," the president answered. "Now, tell me what's up?"

The circle of bodyguards opened up and pushed Aiden inside, who blushed. "Well, I'm on this reality show and my friend got voted off. And well, I feel like its my fault."

"Could you have stopped it?" the president asked.

Aiden scratched his head. "I don't this so. I know why he went home, even though I keep telling myself there's another reason. Honestly, I just wish...wish I could have told him how grateful I was we were friends. The truth is, I didn't accept him, or my girlfriend, and I still feel like a jerk for it."

"If you accept them now, then what's the problem?" the president asked.

"My beliefs haven't changed too much," Aiden admitted. "I mean, I really care for them and I'd defend them from anybody. I mean, the beautiful thing about America is that we're based on freedom; they are who they, and they should be here, whether we agree or not."

"Amen," the president agreed.

"But I didn't treat them like that at the time," Aiden said. "And I don't know if I can ever make it up to Hayden, especially now that he's gone."

"The way I see it you can't change the past," the president stated. "But you can change what's happening right now, and that can change the future. As president, America's future is my biggest concern. So what I do what I can when I'm in the office to create a great future for America."

Aiden wiped away a tear. "That's beautiful. But what should I do?"

"If you continue to care for your friends then they'll know you accept them," the president said.

"Golly you're right," Aiden stated. "Except I haven't been there for Melissa. But I need to know! First I have to get that cloth."

"I'll pay for it," the president stated. "Take it and help your friend."

"Thank you so much," Aiden stated, running from the circle with the embroidery. "And um...can I ask you one question?"

The president laughed. "Of course. What's up?"

Aiden blushed. "Um, why are you not wearing any clothes?"

"I'm expressing my freedom as a citizen of America!" the president replied. "And I really just like shopping naked. Now go Aiden, go!"

Aiden nodded and ran off. The scene cut back to the hotel, where Aiden was visiting...

"Cynthia," Aiden called.

Inside the dressing room, the pale girl was modeling a sleek, black dress. It was simple in design, but very formal.

"Listen I know we have had our issues," Aiden stated. "And you haunt me in my nightmares. But Melissa cares about you, and I believe you care about Melissa."

"Of course I do," Cynthia replied.

"Well for some reason, she thinks you don't," Aiden replied. "Please, can you talk to her? I'm worried about her."

Cynthia walked out immediately.

Soon, Cynthia found her way to Melissa's dressing room and threw open the door. Melissa was trying on her wedding dress.

"Oh hello Cynthia," Melissa greeted. "You look beautiful."

"You too," Cynthia said. "Aiden just spoke with me."

"What did he say?" Melissa asked.

"He told me something was wrong," Cynthia stated. "Between us."

Melissa turned away. "Its nothing. I don't want to bother you. I know you still probably need to-"

"-I can't help if I don't know what's wrong," Cynthia answered.

Melissa looked down. "I know we're different Cynthia, and that you like being alone. You don't have to be friend if you want to."

Cynthia walked up next to Melissa. "Its true, I don't mind being alone. I'm fine by myself. But, I also like being your friend."

Melissa gasped. "Really?"

"Obviously," Cynthia replied. "You're extremely kind and thoughtful. And you also don't question my knives or chainsaw."

"There one of the things I love about you," Melissa cheered, throwing her arms around her friend.

"Where did you even get this idea?" Cynthia asked.

"Well Easton was asking questions and I-"

"-Easton's an idiot," Cynthia stated.

"And every time I tried to hang out with you, you were with Weston," Melissa explained. "I guess I thought maybe he was your new friend."

"He's not," Cynthia stated. "You're my best friend."

Melissa let out a squee and glomped Cynthia again. "You're mine! But then, why are you and Weston always hanging out? And he's always whispering to you, and looking at you, and you're always eating together, and he thinks you look pretty in this dress and..."

Melissa froze and blinked. "Ooh...ooh! Cynthia, you and Weston?"

"Yes," Cynthia admitted. "We're dating."

"Oh my goodness that's adorable!" Melissa cheered. "You two look so cute together! Ooh, we should all double date! Do you prefer to be called Ceston or Wnythia?"

"We're keeping it a secret," Cynthia explained. "Both from that idiot Easton, and after what happened with Xidorn."

Melissa nodded. "I understand completely. I promise not to tell anyone."

"Attention everyone!" Rhonda's voice over the P.A. announced. "Our mystery celebrity judges have arrived! Its time to make it work!"

As the models waited backstage, the newcomers took their seats in the audience.

"Its my pleasure to announce the celebrity guests who will judge this challenge!" Rhonda announced. "Presenting the dynamic duo of...Chip McCazmerick & Flutina Weathers!"

Strutting out on stage were two strangers, a man and a woman. The man had chocolate brown hair seems to defy the laws of physics, with sparkly eyes the color of the sky when the sky is inexplicably green. Beside him, a woman whose luscious mane of bubblegum pink hair made the boldest of statements, wearing a tight white dress that certainly did favors for her bust.

"Its a pleasure to be here future fashionistas," Chip greeted. "Me and Flutina are excited-"

"-to see what you've designed today!" Flutina exclaimed. "Molting Eagles, show us what you got!"

Generic pop music, likely royalty free, begin playing as Kalino strutted out.

Rhonda smirked and watched the fashion show from the side. A ding went off, as the elevator arrived on the floor and dropped off the co-hosts.

“Excuse me?” Jenny shouted, stomping over to Rhonda while wearing a large sunhat. “I thought me and Toby were going to be the judges! We even wore oversized hats for it!”

Toby slugged behind, wearing a rather tall top hat, with Elaine perched on top.

“Change of plans,” Rhonda answered. “I got celebrity cameos.”

Jenny stomped her feet. “That’s not fair. The readers want more of me, and they need to get it!”

Toby rolled his eyes. “Yes, lets give more scenes focused on all you do, like binge watching and eating all my snacks.”

“YOUR MOM!” Jenny shouted.

“Where did you find these cameos?” Toby asked.

“I knew them from something prior,” Rhonda replied. “Our home company is involved in one of their projects, so I gave them a call and asked for a favor.”

“When did you previously know them?” Toby questioned.

“A project from before we met,” Rhonda stated. “Let’s leave it at that.”

On the runway, Melissa took her final lap. She winked and blew a kiss towards Aiden, who blushed, but winked back and pretended to catch the kiss, putting it in his pocket.

"And now, the Fireworks!" Chip and Fluntia announced.

Ignacio came strutting out in the squirrel fur speedo, almost a completely different person from his smile to the way he walked. The judges blushed as Ignacio gave them a wink...

...however, at that moment the hems in the speedo burst out. The entire thing fell down, leaving Ignacio completely exposed on the stage. The model froze as others gave cheers and whistles.

“Oh my,” Flutina stated, “I thought we were at a fashion show Chip.“

“More like a peep show, huh Flutina?” Chip replied. “Going all-natural is so 2008.”

"Oh no," Ness whimpered. "I sewed that outfit."

"In hindsight we should have seen this coming," Seraphina realized. "I mean, we were kind of just tempting the world to strip Ignacio."

"You mean we didn't plan for this?" Griswold asked. "I thought that's why you suggested him for the speedo."

"This wasn't suppose to happen," Ness sighed, hitting herself in the head over and over again. "And its all my fault!"

Ignacio covered himself and ran backwards, right into Lita's bust.

"Girl down!" Lita screamed as she tripped in her clogs, "Girl down!"

She fell over, her cheese fries spilling all over the stage and slipping up Pascal. The two male models fell on top Lita, pulling the curtain down on top of them. Chip and Flutina shook their heads in unison.

A little bit later, the models got changed in their clothes, Ignacio burying his face in his hoodie. Rhonda stood to the side as Chip and Flutina overlooked the newcomers.

"Share with us your thoughts Chip and Flutina," Rhonda stated.

"Well its obvious one team could model," Chip stated.

"And one team could not," Flutina added.

“Fireworks you showing went up in smoke,” Chip said. “Wouldn’t you agree Flutina?”

Flutina nodded. “As nice as the show was, I came for the clothes. And if that stunt proved anything, its that outfit was not made properly. How can anyone wear your clothes if they fall apart?” 

“The models were just unprofessional,” Chip added. “Though I do appreciate the practically of your bra."

“It’s always good to have a Victoria’s Secret compartment,” Flutina agreed. “But overall, Chip and I agree the winners are clearly…”

“...The Fizzled Fireworks!” the duo announced as they struck a pose. 

“Wait what?” Griswold asked. 

Riley fistpumped. “Aww yeah! 

“How did those pig lickers win when they were such a disaster?” Vance asked. 

“This was a fashion challenge designers,” Chip explained. “And the Fireworks outfits are fashion that’s out of this world!” 

“Really?” Vance asked. 

“Really?” Seraphina questioned.  

“Really?” even Rhonda asked. 

“Really!” the two fashionistas announced. 

“It’s so unique and original,” Flutina exclaimed. “Its nothing like I’ve seen on any human being before.” 

“Its as if a Fashion Picasso designed it,” Chip continued. “Revolutionary!”

“Aww stop,” Riley replied. “I just thought, ‘what would I wear?'"

“Sorry Eagles,” Chip stated. “But your outfits were seen it, done it, threw it in the fireplace and watched it burn last season.”

“I think I actually burned a dress just like that last year at my annual bonfire,” Flutina admitted. “The fashion industry is one that’s constantly evolving, changing. There’s no time for outdated outfits.” 

“You heard the judges,” Rhonda stated. “Congrats Fizzled Fireworks!” 

The Fireworks clapped as Riley took a bow. 

“As a prize, you each win a twenty dollar shopping spree at the Tyson’s Corner Center!” Rhonda announced. While Eagles you win an all expense paid trip to the Haunted Internet Cafe.”

“Cool, we won a prize!” Weston cheered. 


Why do I have a suspicion that our prize was meant for the last episode and Rhonda just forgot to give it to us then?” Seraphina asked. 


“That was wonderful fun Chip,” Flutina sighed. “You know I was thinking we should-” “-host our own fashion themed reality show?” Chip finished.  The two clapped in unison. 


That night, the Eagles arrived at the Haunted Internet Cafe. 

“Geez Eagles, you guys are getting pretty small,” Rhonda stated. “And you’re about to get a whole lot smaller when you vote off one of your own tonight. One of you will not receive a refreshing lemon lime coffee-”

“-Ew,” Weston interrupted. “Have you guys run out of good flavors?” 

“All the coffee tastes like crap here kid,” Toby stated. 

“Is that because we’re in a scary hotel?” Weston said. “You know, to match the theme.”

“Its because I don’t care enough about any of you to learn how to make coffee,” Toby replied. 

“Ahem,” Rhonda coughed. “If I may continue, I have six cups of coffee and there are seven of you. The first cup of coffee goes to... Cynthia and Kalino.”

The two caught their cups without saying a word. 

“Weston, Xidorn.”

The twin sniffed his cup and coughed violently. 

“And...Vance."

The rodeo star raised his hand to catch it but was too slow. He put it back down quickly and turned away, as if nothing happened.

"Which leaves us with two…”

Melissa gasped and turned to match a confused Aiden. “What? But why?”

“I don’t know,” Aiden replied, wiping away a tear. 

The two grabbed the other’s hand. 

“And the last cup of coffee goes to…







































“...Melissa. Aiden, the Revolving Doors of Shame are that way.” 

Melissa and Aiden stood up and embraced. 

“What happened?” Cynthia asked.

Kalino sipped his coffee. 


“I’ve felt awful ever since Frannie left,” Kalino admitted. “I admit it's my fault and part of me regrets it. But I realize I have to do whatever’s best for me, to win the money. If i win, I plan on honoring my deal to Frannie, even if she still hates me. Even if she always hates me. And I wish she were here. But I can’t change the past and, as awful as it is to admit, maybe it's for the best.”

Kalino took another sip. “I heard Aiden was trying to find out more about our alliance and those rumors, so it was best we got rid of him. Sorry pal…”


“I’m sorry Melissa,” Aiden said, “I wanted to be with you till the end. But I’m glad it's me over you.”

“Don’t say that,” Melissa cried. “I don’t want you to go…”

Aiden kissed her cheek. “Don’t going acting like I did, all sad and pouty. I’ll see you again, we do both live in Washington, right?” 

Melissa half smiled. “I guess that’s true. Aiden, I know we’ve been through this and that but….that doesn’t matter; you’re wonderful.”

Aiden wiped away his tears. “You’re a one of kind girl Melissa; I’m so glad I got to meet you. I know you can do anything; you can win this show! I’ll be rooting for you.”

The two kissed one last time. Aiden marched to the Revolving Doors of Shame and saluted the Eagles before leaving. 

Chapter 11 If The Who Fits

Melissa sniffled, as she stared at the Revolving Doors of Shame.

“I’m really sorry Melissa,” Kalino stated. “We just thought that-“

“-Why didn’t you tell me?” Melissa asked.

Kalino, caught off guard, flinched. “What?”

“Even if I don’t fully understand why you decided Aiden,” Melissa explained, “I can’t judge you for voting; someone had to go. But you couldn’t have warned me? Couldn’t have even give a notice or ask me how I was voting?”

Melissa wiped her eyes on the sleeve. “Maybe if I had know, we could have enjoyed our last moments together…had a date or something…”

“We didn’t want to hurt your feelings,” Vance answered. “You know, since you’re so…”

Melissa walked off, not even glancing at her teammates.

The Eagles stood around for a moment, before departing. Only Cynthia and Weston remained.

“I think we might have broken Melissa,” Weston admitted.

Cynthia stared at the twin.

Weston gulped. “I have a feeling your mad, but I can’t tell.”

“Why did you vote Aiden?” Cynthia asked.

Weston gulped. “I heard Vance’s name was up, and we’re actually kind of sorta friends now…so someone told me voting Aiden would help save him.”

“And you decided not to tell me,” Cynthia stated.

“I just didn’t want to hurt your feelings,” Weston stated. “I’m sorry.”

Cynthia stared. “I can’t blame you when I did the same thing to Melissa.”

Weston sighed and hugged Cynthia, nuzzling her cheek with his own. “I promise from now on we’ll talk about each elimination…are you still mad?”

“You’re lucky you’re cute,” Cynthia stated.


Melissa slouched in the confessional, her lip quivering. “I’m going to miss Aiden, but I’m not going to give up just because he went home. These past votes have just showed me how little any of my teammates trust me or think much of me… and I don’t know if I can trust any of them. I mean Cynthia is still my friend…even if she wants to keep me in the dark. And her boyfriend voted off mine.”

Melissa sunk even further in the confessional. “I think its fair to say that if we lose the next challenge its me…unless I can find a way to save myself.”


Meanwhile, the Fizzled Fireworks were enjoying their reward from the last challenge, a shopping spree to the mall. Seraphina was walking out of a bracelet store while Ignacio was walking and talking with Lita outside of a nearby pretzel stand.

Lita took another hunk out of her pretzel. “Is it wrong I’m spending all my money on food?”

Ignacio laughed. “That’s what they’re here for.”

Lita finished off the rest of the pretzel in one gulp. “Well in that case let me see if I can find some cheese fries…”

Seraphina walked over to the hunk as he watched Lita walk away. “How’s the shopping?”

Ignacio jumped back for a second and blushed. “Oh uh…good. I bought some new clothes, since my clothes tend to…you know. How about you?”

Seraphina smiled, looking left and right, before opening her hand. Inside it were three charm bracelets and a button. “I got Lita, Ness and myself matching friendship bracelets.”

“I didn’t take you for the type,” Ignacio admitted.

"I’m not a jewelry person,” Seraphina replied. “But I didn’t really want anything here and I thought the girls would like them...and I’d maybe like something to remember them by.”

“And the button?” Ignacio asked.

Seraphina put the bracelets back in her shopping back, revealing the button to be a sky blue unicorn. “It reminded me of Xidorn so I thought maybe he’d like it.”

“I’m sure he will,” Ignacio replied. “And hey listen, don’t worry about us voting you off because of your relationship. Nobody thinks it’s a big deal.”

Seraphina looked away. “Oh, don’t worry about that.”

Ignacio pursed his lip. “Is everything okay? Did something happen?”

Seraphina shook her head. “Its…a bit of a long story.”

Ignacio sat on the park bench and patted a seat next to him. “I got time. Especially for a teammate.”

Meanwhile, Riley and Griswold were goofing off in arcade, playing a fighting game of some kind. Riley mashed the buttons in quick succession, causing her character to shout random Japanese words and launch a fireball, turning Griswold’s lady ninja into ashes. “Player One Wins.”

"Heck yeah I did!” Riley cheered.

Griswold chuckled, grabbing his sides. “Why I do keep playing games with you?”

“Cause I’m addictive,” Riley retorted, pulling out another quarter. “Hey, did you ever talk to Lita yet.”

Griswold shifted his eyes back and forth. “Well…no. But I will, I promise!”

Riley sighed and shook her head.

Griswold frowned, glaring for a second. “Why do you care anyway? Its my relationship.”

Riley raised an eyebrow. “Sorry I’m just trying to help. I’ll keep my nose out of it then. Even if this makes no sense.”

“What makes no sense?” Griswold asked.

“You dude,” Riley replied. “Acting like this! You’re so confident at challenges and talking to people usually; why does dating make you uncomfortable?”

“Maybe its cause I’ve never dated before,” Griswold explained.

“You’ve never been on reality TV, but that wasn’t a problem,” Riley countered. “I think its something else.”

Griswold sighed and sat leaned against the wall. “Yeah; I usually feel like I can do anything, but… when I try to girls I feel small…I feel like I’m that little guy I was in middle school. I wasn’t good enough then, and maybe I’m not good enough for a relationship now.”

Riley sat down besides Griswold. “Okay, now I get it. You feel like you’re still that guy you were who couldn’t do anything.”

“I am that guy,” Griswold said. “I might be big enough to be a wall…but that doesn’t matter in a relationship. And without that, I’m still the loser I was…”

Riley flicked his nose.

Griswold rubbed his nose and stared at her. “Uh…ouch.”

I don’t care for pity parties,” Riley replied. “There the only parties I don’t really like. I don’t why you’re saying that BS, because it isn’t true man. I mean, a loser? You’re a starting linebacker, leader of this team, and you have a great hair.”

“But in the past I was-“

“-different,” Riley interrupted. “Yeah, everyone’s different in the past. But we change and grow. I don’t care who you are in the past Gris, I care about who you are now.”

“But without my growth spurt-“

“Sure you’re a big guy,” Riley yelled. “But you’re more than that. I call you Gris-Bear not just cause you’re big, but cause you’re kind and caring like a teddy bear. You’re fun, hilarious and smarter than the average bear too. And that’s who you are now. You have to know that man.”

Griswold jumped up. “You’re right. This is ridiculous. I am confident. I’m not my muscles; I’m a grizzly bear, a bulldog and a fizzled firework!”

“That’s what I like to hear,” Riley cheered.

The two bumped fists.

“Thanks Riley,” Griswold stated. “You’re always there for me. You’re the most amazing bro I have."

“Cause you’re totally amazing Brosalina,” Riley replied. “And I’m glad you’re my bro. Now come on, best two out of three.”

“Fine,” Griswold laughed. “Let me get some broritos first; we’re going to need them.”

Riley smirked as the jock left, Easton walking up behind her dressed in survival gear.

“What’s with the get up dude?” Riley asked.

“Just in case I need it,” Easton replied, looking over his shoulder.


“Something is going on with Cynthia and my brother,” Easton stated. “I’m ninety nine percent sure that she is actually a monster, and I’ve seen tons of horror movies. So I know this is going to end with a showdown when she reveals her true form; so I’m preparing to step in and save my brother.”


“What are you and Gris up to?” Easton asked.

“Just having a pep talk,” Riley replied. “Man, I love that guy.”

Easton raised an eyebrow, causing Riley to laugh. “Dude, not like that. We’re hommies. And Griswold is not my type.”

“Why not?” Easton asked.

“I mean sure we like the same things, and he is funny, fun and totally sweet,” Riley admitted. “But he is in a relationship. And is not the kind of guy I date.”

“Well maybe you should look for a different kind,” Easton stated. “Cause the person you described sounds pretty great.”

Griswold walked over with burritos. “Wow, nice getup Easton. Hope you don’t mind I got you a brorrito.”

“You know I don’t!” Easton chuckled.

“So what are we talking about?” Griswold asked, passing out burritos.

Riley rolled her eyes at Easton. “Nothing. Now let’s chow down so I can beat you again!”

In a shoe store, Pascal was admiring new shoes in a mirror as Ness watched on, sighing and blushing. A shopping attendant stood by.

“Geez these shoes sure as so spiffy,” Pascal stated.

“You sure do look nice,” Ness sighed. “Uh, with the shoes.”


“A lot has happened since this show started,” Ness admitted. “And I think my luck is actually changing! I mean, here I am with the celebrity I’ve always crushed on. And with my birthday almost here...I figure I better use what luck I have…before things get ugly. I mean I believe, so I will achieve!”

Ness blushed even redder and giggled. “Wish me luck!”


“Wonderful choice sir,” the attendant remarked. “And how about a new hat while we’re at it?”

Pascal froze, staring at the mirror and his orange knit cap. “Uh, no just the shoes.”

The attendant nodded and left. Pascal grabbed his hat and held it in his hands, studying it and feeling its texture. In the inside brim was the initials AM.

“You know I’ve never seen you without that hat,” Ness admitted. “Even before the show, at concerts or in your music videos. Where did you get it?”

“Actually it was a gift,” Pascal stated. “From Amanda Picklestein. On the show, after we won our first challenge, she knitted it for me.”

Ness smiled a little. “You know, she really does miss you. I don’t know what’s between you guys, but it seems like you had a lot of history. She’s afraid to say something, but she’s worried you guys are no longer friends.”

Pascal placed back on his cap. “I’ll uh…talk to her. But there was something important I want to ask you Ness.”

Ness gasped, starting to breathe rapidly. “Y-y-yes?”

“Well we spend a lot of time together,” Pascal explained. “And I really enjoy it. I mean, the others are nice but you’re really the only person I’m close with on this team.”

Ness started to sweat profusely. “I really enjoy spending time with you too.”

Pascal beamed. “So I was thinking…do you want to form an alliance?”

Ness’ face froze in a smile, the jinx pausing before exhaling. “An…alliance?”

“You know for voting,” Pascal stated. “I want both of us to go far and you’re someone I really trust, so how about it?”

Ness blushed again and smiled. “Well then yes. Let’s do it!”

“Yippe Skippy!” Pascal cheered, glomping the sweaty girl. “It’ll be great!”

“I bet,” Ness replied. “And I promise, I won’t ever vote for you.”

“Ooh same,” Pascal stated.

"Um..there’s something important I want to ask you,” Ness stated.

Pascal let go of Ness, who now couldn’t look the singer in the face. “Sure, what’s up?”

Ness turned almost halfway through her chair. “Ooh…I don’t know if I can say it.”

“Hey its no big deal,” Pascal replied. “I want to know! You can tell me.”

Ness gulped and shut her eyes. “O…okay. So, um, you know we spend a lot of time together and I...I really like you. I think you’re really cool and kind and have had a crush on you since you started performing. Do you maybe want to... go out on a date with me?”

Pascal stared at her with wide eyes. “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…”


"Ness just poured her heart out to me,” Pascal stated. “And I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t like her, but she just seems so hopeful and pitiable. I didn’t want to tell her no…”


“Ness,” Pascal stated. “I...I like you...”

Ness gasped and started to smile.

“But…”

Ness' smile immediately dropped.

“Not romantically though,” Pascal continued. “You’re really nice and cool-”

“-But not good enough,” Ness finished, turning away.

“No, no, no,” Pascal exclaimed. “I don’t want to hurt you, but I don’t want to lie to you either. I’m sorry, I just don’t feel that way about you.”


“But I couldn’t,” Pascal continued. “I don’t like her like that and...something in the back of my head was...I don’t know. Thinking about it, I’d have that relationship like Kalino suggested. But to use Ness’ feelings like that? I don’t know if I could ever sleep again.”


Ness tried to hold back the tears.

She failed.

“It's fine, I totally understand. I’m sorry to bother you.”

“Ness-”

"I just need to…um lady things,” Ness blurted out. She ran out of her chair, holding her face in her hands.

At the park bench…

“…So that’s what happened between me and Xidorn,” Seraphina finished.

“Wow,” Ignacio replied.

Seraphina scratched the back of her head. “So...did I do the right thing? Was the rumor really the worst thing ever?”

Ignacio was a quiet for a moment. “Well...I feel like on certain reality shows that would be seen as a game move, and if it worked I’m sure people would applaud you for your strategy.”

“And this show?” Seraphina asked.

Ignacio shrugged. “I am not very familiar with this franchise, but Griswold says its unusual. The real thing is, do you think what you did was right?”

Seraphina scowled. “I don’t know! I mean, would you have done that?”

I can’t honestly confirm nor deny I would,” Ignacio confessed. “I want to win this show tom make a better life for my family, but…I don’t know. But I do know, you are aware of how you feel about it.”

“I guess...I do feel it was the wrong thing to do,” Seraphina replied. “I don’t know why though. I mean it didn’t even work, and I just wanted to protect Xidorn.”

“You didn’t think he’d be okay on his own?” Ignacio asked.

Seraphina looked up at the ceiling. “I wanted to. I mean I know he’s not a kid. But I couldn’t believe that; it felt stupid too. I just knew people would target him for us. Its one of those things that is too good to last, so it can’t! It has to end badly, you know?”

Seraphina looked at Ignacio, who scratched his chin. “I’m not Dr. Phil or anything, but I think this goes a little deeper into your psyche. If you think it's going to be bad, then will it not be? Are you making a self-fulfilling prophecy?”

“It did end badly,” Seraphina admitted. “Thanks for letting me vent Ignacio.”

Ignacio smiled. “Happy I could assist. So…what now?”

Seraphina shrugged. “I guess…I have some thinking to do. But I have to say something.”

Late that next morning at the Pentagram, most of the newcomers waited in line at the cafeteria. Rhonda strolled by, sipping a soda can.

“Hey Rhonda when is breakfast being served?” Xidorn asked. “Its not almost eleven thirty.”

Rhonda shrugged. “We haven’t made breakfast for a while. Melissa’s been doing it. I’ll talk to Toby about cooking you some sausages or something.”

“Rhonda!” a voice called off in the distance. “You got a package! From Canada! Isn’t that crazy?”

Rhonda raised an eyebrow and walked off. A unified groan emitted from everyone’s stomachs.

Ignacio rubbed his chin as he stood with the bros. “Something has flummoxed me.”

“I have some Pepto in my room if it’ll help,” Easton suggested.

Ignacio shook his head. “I mean, I’m confused about Rhonda. Have anyone you’ve heard of her before this show?”

The others shook their heads. “Didn’t she say she was on a sketch show and Youtube?”

"Yes, I conducted research on that using resources in the Internet café,” Ignacio admitted. “Her videos don’t have many views, and you wouldn’t know she or her cohorts were on that sketch show without the credits. Wasn’t the original host rather famous?”

“In Canada,” Griswold replied, “where the original was filmed. He had some film success and other failed attempts, but Total Drama made him a household name. Though it was his ‘child’ so to speak."

“So no one else is curious how Rhonda became host of this reboot?” Igancio questioned. “How she contacted and convinced an entire network to put her in charge of a revamp of an acclaimed show, especially given she’s relatively youthful.”

“How old is she?” Easton asked. “Heck, Vance looks older than her…though he kinda looks older than everyone…”

“Most reality show hosts aren’t that famous till hosting,” Griswold pointed out. “And dudette’s clearly a fan; maybe that persuaded them. I heard she had to go to Canada and help with the newer seasons there to get this revamp; apparently the Canadians liked her.”

“I suppose,” Ignacio yielded. “Still, I feel the network would someone with more experience and met more Hollywood standards. And I question how she had the connections to secure two fashion icons for the last challenge. We lack a sufficient amount of information on her, and her toadies for that matter…”

The four’s stomachs growled again.

“Well no point in stressing with an empty stomach,” Riley said. “Who is up for broritos again?”

“Yeah!” Easton and Griswold cheered, high fiving each other. Ignacio laughed and nodded.

The others waited in line as the bros left. Pascal eyed the exit Rhonda left and the line. He sighed, set his tray down and jogged out. He stopped next to a mail cart, where Amanda Picklestein was sorting a letter.

“Amanda Picklestein,” Pascal called. “Hey, I thought I heard your voice.”

Mandy turned and forced a smile. “Ooh, hey Pascy-Wascy. What’s up?”

“Not much,” Pascal replied. “Breakfast has been cancelled, and I thought that…maybe we should get lunch and you know, catch up. It’s been awhile.”

Mandy sighed and shook her head. “No, I wouldn’t want to bother you. I have to pack anyway…”

“Pack?” Pascal asked.

Mandy turned her back and pushed the cart away. “Sorry Pascal…maybe we’ll run into each other again. Don’t let me stop you from enjoying your time here.”

Still in the line, Vance tapped his foot and pulled on the tips of his mustache. “Well where is Melissa anyhow? You don’t think she’s still upset, do you?”

“We just voted off her boyfriend without warning,” Xidorn replied.

“Yeah,” Vance said, “but is she still mad?”

Xidorn sighed, as Melissa walked into the kitchen.

“Oh there you are!” Weston cheered. “What’s for breakfast?”

Melissa picked up a book, and then looked up at the guys. “Sorry, I scheduled a reading for blind people at the retirement home. Just because they can no longer see, doesn’t mean they still can’t enjoy stories.”

“But what about our grub?” Vance asked.

“I’m truly sorry,” Melissa replied. “I’m just not really in the mood for baking today.”

Vance’s jaw dropped and he started to sniffle. “You mean…no pastries today…”

Kalino sighed. “Melissa, we’re sorry about Aiden. You know it was nothing personal.”

“Not talking to someone about two of the three past votes feels personal,” Melissa admitted. “I’m not trying to take it that way-“

“-We didn’t want to hurt your feelings,” Weston said. “Really!”

“We just didn’t want you to get hurt,” Kalino explained. “I mean it was tough, and that on your heart we thought would be tooooooo much.”

Melissa shook her head. “My life isn’t one big ray of sunshine. I mean you know how many people tell me I’m evil for believing in Allah? How many times people have egged my house for not celebrating Easter? Or how many of my fellow Muslims criticize me because I believe I don’t have to wear a hijab? Or do you think that I’ve never seen death or sadness when I volunteer at a hospital or a homeless shelter? I know the world is a big scary place. So next time, don’t try to protect me or spare my feelings.”

Melissa walked off, the Eagles in line looking dejected while the Fireworks whispered amongst themselves. Lita, Ness and Seraphina stepped out of line. All of them wore their matching bracelets.

“Whelp looks like we’re getting pizza,” Lita stated.

Ness scratched her head. “Mmmhmm.”

“You alright sweetie?” Lita asked. “You’ve been quiet all day. Is what happened with Pascal at the-“

“-No,” Ness interrupted. “I’m…I’m totally over that. I’m just…admiring this bracelet Seraphina got us.”

“Right?” Lita asked. “It was such a sweet thing to do girl.”

Seraphina blushed. “Its nothing really, I just wanted to give you guys something for being great roommates…and great friends.”

Ness and Lita smiled. “That’s it girls, group hug time!”

Lita pulled Ness and Seraphina in an embrace.


I’m really worried,” Ness admitted, shifting her eyes back and forth. “Today is officially my sixteenth birthday, which means something really horrible is going to happen. But its really quiet…too quiet…”


A crackling noise was heard over the loudspeakers. “Attention newcomers! Report to gaming room at six tonight. Or else.”

Ness’ eyes grew wide as she swallowed a lump in her throat.

Seraphina frowned. “Okay, that’s weird. The next challenge shouldn’t be until a couple of days or so.”

“Maybe its some new kind of twist,” Lita predicted.

“You know Seraphina maybe you should do a reading or something,” Ness suggested, her voice shaking just a bit. “Give us a prediction of what’s coming.”

“Well if you want me to I can,” Seraphina replied.

“You know we're always up for some physic something,” Lita stated, Ness nodding.

Seraphina sat down at a table, pulling out her tarot cards. Closing her eyes and shuffling the deck, she laid out a single card. Flipping it, the card depicted an archaic painting of a hunched figure, struggling to carry ten poles. What looks to be a small town is in the distance, but the figure cannot see beyond the load in his arms.

“The Ten Of Wands,” Seraphina stated. “This card means great adversity is head.”

“So it is a challenge,” Lita sighed.

“Likely but it may mean much more than that,” Seraphina clarified. “The card implies an internal pressure, struggle within ourselves.”

“Like indigestion?” Lita asked. “Dang, I knew I shouldn’t all that mall food.”

In their secret office, Rhonda sighed and chugged the rest of her drink. A parcel sat at her desk, the stamp having a maple leaf. “Everything’s ready, right?”

“Weeeee!” Jenny giggled, spinning in a wheelie chair with Elaine.

"Ugh,” Rhonda groaned while banging her head against the table.

“Relax,” Jenny replied. “I got everything taken care of on my end. What about you?”

Rhonda smiled a little. “We’re sold out.”

"Sold?” Toby asked, looking up from his phone.

“We’re strapped for cash, so I figured ten dollars a seat wouldn’t be a bad idea,” Rhonda admitted. “Still, I’m a bit nervous about this. The show before us had an issue, so this episode may be able to fill two spots. And I’ve come up with at least seventeen ways this could backfire…now eighteen.”

“Rhonda we’ve been planning this since the snow challenge,” Jenny stated. “Hey, remember that readers? When I said I had a plan? Yeah, we actually remembered the plot we set up this time!”

Rhonda nodded and opened her package, pulling out a letter and stuffed manatee.

“What’cha you got there?” Jenny asked.

Rhonda smiled to herself as she read the letter, wiping away a tear. “Its something from an old friend…”

Jenny and Toby looked at each other. “Since when does she have friends besides us?”

“I don’t even think we count,” Jenny whispered back. “Well okay Rhonda, I got slacking off to do. See you soon for my totally awesome, full-proof plan!”

Toby rolled his eyes. “Its not like your plans haven’t failed or backfired. Except for every occasion.”

“YOUR MOM!” Jenny yelled. “Listen, we need to stir up the drama. And I’ve created a drama bomb. And we’re setting it off tonight…”

The day went on and eventually five o’clock came. The newcomers arrived in the game room. The lights were off, only a few candles on. As he entered, Xidorn flicked the light switch, but to no avail.

“Come in. We’ve been waiting.”

Jenny sat in an unopened recliner, petting Elaine, while Toby stood behind her. The newcomers gathered on a center carpet in the room.

“Oh hello Ms. Jenny,” Melissa greeted. “Ooh, worry is Ms. Rhonda?”

“You’ll see her soon enough,” Jenny replied. “But first, is everyone here?”

Seraphina sighed and reluctantly stepped into the room. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

Jenny smirked, reaching for the recliner’s lever and slowing pushing it down. “Oh please. I mean…”

“Ahhh!”

<The floor disappeared from under the newcomers, sending them falling down a trapdoor into complete darkness.

“What could possibly go wrong?”


Moments later, the newcomers moved around.

"Uhh…” Griswold moaned. “What happened?”

“Um, is anyone else having some trouble moving?” Melissa asked, struggling back and fourth.

Suddenly the room lit up from all sides, blinding the teens. As their eyes adjusted to the lights, the teens noticed there were in the torture chamber in the center of the catacombs. The room had been modified with spotlights hanging from the wall, while interns operated large spotlights to the left and right. And they discovered, they were restrained into rows of electric chairs, blue for the Eagles and red for the Fireworks.

“What the heck is going on?”

“This is part of the challenge right?”

“How did we even end up perfectly landing in chairs?”

“Did I leave the stove on?”

“Aww quit being babies,” a certain redhead’s voice announced. We’re just getting ready to play…”

“...Who's Really On My Team?” a crowd shouted, clapping and cheering.

Seraphina squinted, seeing shapes of people in the darkness. “What? Did they get an audience for this challenge?”

Ascending from the ground was a podium to the right of the newcomers, where Jenny waved at the glaring teens. The crowd erupted in applause. Toby sat in a lawn chair behind the podium, staring at his phone with Elaine on his shoulder.

“Thanks for dropping in newbies,” Jenny said, pausing for the audience’s laugh. “You ready to start the challenge?”

“I’m guessing it involves ambushing us in this contraption?” Ignacio asked.

Jenny rolled her eyes. “Duh! For today’s challenge, we’re going to do a sort of game show. I’ll ask a question to each team about someone. You’ll answer who it is. Answer correctly, and you score a point. The team with the most points at the end wins. Simple, right?”

“That still doesn’t explain locking us in here like opossums in a whiskey barrel,” Vance stated.

“Its to prevent cheating,” Jenny explained. “This challenge is about seeing how well you all know each other. So if the question is about you, you can’t answer. If you do, your team loses a point. You can’t try to give hints or talk with your team about it either, or your team loses a point. These chairs will prevent that, or you from trying to guess by looking at your teammates."

Each chairs’ right arm flipped, revealing a joy buzzer now at the end.

“To answer just hit the buzzer,” Jenny continued. “First person to hit it gets to answer, but only one person can answer. Some answers may have more than one right person; if you can say give more than one right answer, then you’ll score a point for each. Ooh, and answer wrong and your team loses a point!”

“It honestly sounds easy enough,” Xidorn admitted. “So what’s the catch?”

Jenny pretended to gasp. “Catch? Isn’t a trapdoor enough of surprise? But that does remind me, if neither team answers a question in a round, we’ll do a challenge to award someone a point. Pairs from each team will compete against each other in a small challenge, a little game of…”

“...Dump The Chumps!” the audience cheered.

“Wait do what?” Griswold asked.

“Since there are no further questions,” Jenny continued, “let’s get started. And folks at home, feel free to play along. See if you know the answers. Fireworks, you’re first. Whose favorite musician is Faith Hill?”

Riley slammed the buzzer. “Everyone knows that my bro, Gris Bear!”

“Correct!” Jenny announced as the audience clapped.

“Guilty as charged,” Griswold laughed.


Lita tugged on her scarf. “I didn’t know Griswold liked Faith Hill…”


“Eagles, whose hometown is in Wisconsin?” Jenny asked.

Cynthia pressed the buzzer. “Melissa.”

“Correct!” Jenny cheered. “Now then…”

In post-production, the episode was edited to have a montage. It started with scenes of Jenny asking questions…

“Who loves listening to One Rejection?”

“Who enjoys smashing watermelons with jackhammers?”

“Who dreams of owning monkey butlers?”

“Who is from Nebraska?”

“Who can’t handle their caffeine?”

“Who mends clothes as part of their church?”

“Who is on the school’s track team?”

“Whose favorite book series is the Helga Porter series?”

“Who dreams of becoming a high school science teacher?”

“Who speaks Portuguese?”

“Who says they look great in a prom dress?”

“Who favorite console is the Gamecube?”

The montage then displayed a cut of different contestants answering.

“Ness!” Lita stated.

“Cynthia,” Weston swooned.

“That’s so Riley!” Griswold stated.

“I believe that was Kalino,” Melissa stated.

“Pascal,” Ness remembered.

“Melissa,” Kalino stated.

“Easton!” Riley shouted.

“Ooh, Xidorn!” Weston stated.

“Ignacio!” Lita shouted.

"Weston,” Cynthia stated.

“Griswold,” Seraphina laughed.

“Kalino plays that all the time,” Vance stated.

The montage ended, focusing back on Jenny. “Correct! And with that, we’re tied! Fireworks, which of your teammates lists The Notebook as one of their favorite movies?”

Griswold slammed the buzzer. “Ooh, that’s an easy one; Lita.”

“Wrong!” Jenny shouted. “And on one of the easy questions too.”

Griswold titled his head. “Huh?

Lita sighed and hid her face in her scarf.

Zzzzzzzztttttttttt.

An electric wave went through The Fizzled Fireworks’ chairs, shocking all of them.

“Oops, did I forget to mention punishments are given for wrong answers?” Jenny asked. “Ha ha, most of slipped my mind.”

“So then whose favorite movie is it?” Griswold asked.

“Don’t know, don’t care,” Jenny replied. “What matters, is that the Fireworks just lost a point.”


“I actually really enjoy The Notebook,” Ignacio admitted, wiping away a tear. “I know it's flawed but...it touched me emotionally okay?”


“Let’s move on to the Molting Eagles!” Jenny announced.

“Pssh,” Vance scoffed. “Y’all just give us the win already. I mean this is here challenge ought to be for babies its so easy!"

“I couldn’t agree more,” Jenny replied, smirking and pulling out a set of red notecards. “Let’s make it a little more challenging. Eagles, who on your team doesn’t actually know how to read?”

The Molting Eagles stood motionless. Vance eyes grew wide and he looked back and forth, as if trying to look at his teammates. Xidorn cast a glare at Jenny, flipping her off.

“Ooh, times up,” Jenny giggled, turning to another notecard. “Looks like the Fireworks have a chance to catch up. So Fireworks…hahaha! Ha, sorry, I’m just..haha…there’s a photo with this question. So, who use to be extremely, morbidly obese when they were a kid? Hahaha…”

Lita blushed and further buried her head in her scarf. The other Fizzled Fireworks looked around, scratching their heads or raising their eyebrows.

“Times up again,” Jenny sighed. “Here’s an easy one for the Eagles; who is dating each other on your team?”

Weston gulped. Melissa put her hand on her heart, but refused to move towards the buzzer. At the last second Kalino yawned and pressed the buzzer.

“Mannnn I’m pretty sure it's Weston and Cynthia,” Kalino stated.

“Correct,” Jenny stated.

Nearly everyone gasped and tried to cast a look towards the couple in question.

“Wait seriously?” Easton asked.

“Its true,” Weston admitted. “Cynthia and me are a couple.”

“A really cute one too,” Melissa added.

“You’re actually dating Cynthia?” Easton asked. “Like, by choice?”

“Shut up!” Weston shouted. “Yes, I’m dating the most amazing girl in the world. And I’m glad it's official, cause I’m proud to be with Cynthia!”

“And I’m happy and proud to be with Weston,” Cynthia stated.

The newcomers responded either by sighing ‘awwww’ or giving a concerned look.

“Aw shucks,” Weston giggled. “So uh...yeah, shut up and suck on an egg Easton!”

Easton crossed his arms and faced away. “Its your funeral.”

“How did you know Kalino?” Melissa asked.

“I thought everyone knew,” Kalino replied. “I mean, there always sucking face in the broom closet.”

Weston blushed. “Hehehe well…”

“Eww cooties,” Jenny gagged. “Let’s get going already. Fireworks, who’s father walked out on their family?”

The Fireworks shifted around.

“Once again time is up,” Jenny complained. “Let’s hope the Eagles can do better; who has had their house egged on Easter before?”

Cynthia pressed her buzzer. “Melissa.”

“Correct!” Jenny shouted.

Melissa sighed and shook her head. “I suppose you’re enjoying this Miss Jenny, shaming and humiliating everyone.”

“Are you kidding?” Jenny asked. “I’m actually having fun while doing my job! Let’s keep rolling! Fireworks, this person’s best friend and crush ended up marrying their dad! Who is this?”

Seraphina sighed and a few seconds before the end pressed the buzzer. “I’m...I’m really sorry. Ness.”

“Correct,” Jenny replied.

Pascal sighed. “Oh Ness, I-”

“-Can we not talk about it,” Ness shouted. “Please.”

“Sure thing,” Jenny said, “After all it is the Eagles’ turn. Eagles, who grandfather told them to go to hell on their deathbed?”

None of the Eagles ended up pressing their buzzers.

Jenny scoffed. “Lame! Fireworks, whose family is so poor they can’t even afford a TV?”

None of the Fizzled Fireworks answered.

“Alright then,” Jenny scoffed. “Speaking of poor, Eagles who on your team is the poorest?”

None of the Eagles answered.

Jenny smirked. “No answers this round folks. So it looks like its time for…”

“...Dump The Chumps!” the audience shouted.

“But we still don’t know what the titular name alludes-”

A trapdoor appeared in front of Ignacio’s chair, which jerked forward and dumped him down. Ness, Cynthia and Xidorn followed.

The newcomers found themselves piled on top of each other, this time on the burned remains of the theater.

“Welcome newcomers,” a familiar voice greeted. “Are you ready to play...”

“...Dump The Chumps!”

“We still are unaware of what that means,” Ignacio murmured.

The rookies looked up to see Rhonda, dressed in lime green tuxedo, which made almost everyone curious if the eighties had called and asked for it back yet. In the auditorium was another audience of fans that sat in the singed seats. The newcomers see them more clearly know, noticing many had ‘I Heart Total Drama’ T-shirts or other fan memorabilia. The camera lingered on two fans in the front row, a purple haired girl and a brunette who slouched in her seat.

“About time this started,” the purple girl stated. “I was afraid it’d be another thing Rhonda cancelled.”

“I was hoping it was cancelled,” the brunette girl sighed.

“Thanks for dropping in newbies,” Rhonda joked. The only reaction from the audience was the brunette girl coughing. “It sounds like the cat’s out of the bag upstairs. But we’ll be doing the same thing for this challenge!”

Rhonda threw two sacks towards each pair. The sacks fell to the ground as bunches of black cats fell out.

“The pair to fill back up their bags with the cats...” Rhonda announced.

Cynthia pulled out a knife.

“...alive,” Rhonda added, “scores a point. Go!”

Cynthia lowered her knife.

Ness swooned as she bent down in front of a black kitten. “Aww! Come here sweetie, we do-”

“-Kkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!” the cat hissed, jumping on to Ness’ face and beginning to claw her.

Cynthia held the bag as Xidorn shivered and looked away, while simultaneously trying to put a cat in the sack.

“Look at what you’re doing,” Cynthia stated.

“S...sorry,” Xidorn whimpered. “To be honest I’m just too scared to make eye contact.”

Cynthia only stared and didn’t blink. The cat screamed and clawed its way out of Xidorn’s arms.

“Wait a minute,” Xidorn said, “ this gives me an idea.”

“Ahhh!” Ness screamed, as more and more of the cats attacked her.

“Hold on Ness,” Ignacio stated, trying to throw the cats in a bag. “I’m trying to get them all here. Good plan to lure them to you.”

“This wasn’t a plan,” Ness groaned.

Ignacio picked up a black cat, which hissed and scratched the hunk, completely clawing away his shirt.

“Hubba hubba!” the purple fangirl cheered, adding a whistle. Ignacio tried to cover himself and dropped bag, releasing the cats on Ness.

“And we have a winner!” Rhonda announced, as Cynthia chased the final cat into Xidorn’s bag, which shook with fright.

“Talk about scaredy cats,” Rhonda joked. The purple girl imitated cricket chirps. “Anyway, the Molting Eagles score a point!”

“Woo!” Xidorn cheered, holding his hand out. Cynthia turned to the truth teller, who gulped. The floor fell from underneath them, and the Eagles disappeared. The other cats were escorted away by interns.

Rhonda smirked. “And so that means its time to…”

“...Dump The Chumps!” the audience cheered.

What does that mean!” Ignacio shouted. “Someone just give me an explanation!”

On cue, a giant bucket hovered overhead the Fireworks, tipping over and pouring cat litter over them.

“How’s that for an explanation?” Rhonda asked.

Ness coughed up a chunk of litter. “Please tell me this isn’t used.”

“Only the best for you,” Rhonda replied with a wink. A trapdoor opened up underneath the two, and they fell through, only to end up falling back into their chairs in the torture chamber.

“What happened?” Griswold asked, sniffing the air. “What is that thing?”

“Don’t ask,” Ignacio groaned.

“Yeah, I’ll do the asking,” Jenny insisted. “Fireworks, who’s gotten a full ride to the college of their choice when they graduate?”

Griswold slammed the buzzer. “Easton.”

“Correct,” Jenny replied, as Weston rolled his eyes.

“Now Eagles,” Jenny said, “whose family thinks they’ll never amount to anything?”

Kalino glared at the redhead.

“Times up,” Jenny stated. “Fireworks, who works a job to support their family after immigrating here?”

Lita groaned as she pressed the button. “Ignacio.”

“Correct,” Jenny replied.

“Its fine,” Ignacio stated. “I’m not afraid to admit I’m not rich, nor that I help my family when they need it.”

"That’s very touching,” Jenny said. “But I don’t care. So Eagles, who on your team was almost held back in high school for failing math?”

The Eagles looked around for a moment.

“That’s Weston,” Easton whispered to himself. “I helped him study for weeks for the final so he’d pass…”

“Excuse me!” Jenny shouted. “I heard that Easton! You gave away the answer! That's cheating, so now your team loses a point!”

“Oh come on!” Easton yelled. “The Eagles didn't even hear me!"

“Whose the super cool host here?” Jenny asked.

“Not you,” Toby stated.

“YOUR MOM!” Jenny yelled. “You know, I’m actually going to take away a point for the Fireworks and give it to the Eagles! So meh!”

Easton groaned as the Fireworks sighed. Weston sighed too, while the other Eagles shrugged.

“Now Fireworks,” Jenny stated. “Who secretly resents their sibling?”

No one reacted for a moment. Easton hovered over the buzzer, but pulled away. Cautiously, Pascal tapped his buzzer. “It’s Easton, right?”

“Wrong!” Jenny screamed. “I said secretly, and that’s no secret. So Eagles, who was named after a song?”

“What kind of a question is that?” Seraphina asked. “I mean you ask us about and secrets and past, and then ask whose named after a song?”

“These questions are about information that shows how well you really know each,” Jenny replied. “Information that is either shocking or someone keeps as a secret for some reason. Its not my fault you don’t know; I mean you’ve been together for around a month and are ‘so called’ friends. Maybe you don’t know each other as well as you thought.”

The teens were silent for a moment.

“So I take the Eagles don’t have an answer,” Jenny replied. “Fine then. Fireworks, whose parents died in a car crash when they were only a baby?”

Again, no one answered.

“Way too catch back up,” Jenny said. “So Eagles, whose never been home since they ran away as a kid?”

The Molting Eagles didn’t react.

“No answers again,” Jenny chuckled. “Then its time to…”

…Dump The Chumps!” the audience cheered.

The floor opened up again as Riley and Griswold fell through this time, followed by Kalino and Melissa. The pairs each landed in their own separate piles of bananas on the burned stage.

“It sounds like things have been going bananas,” Rhonda chuckled. “So its time for a banana based challenge! First pair to get rid of their pile first wins. But for the losers we’ll…”

“…Dump The Chumps!” the audience cheered.

“Now no monkeying around,” Rhonda teased. “And…go!”

The four newcomers began peeling and eating bananas. Griswold and Riley were chugging the down, while Kalino and Melissa struggled.

“This is a pretty tasty challenge,” Riley admitted. “I actually-ow!”

Riley turned her head and was pelted by another banana. Kalino was tossing bananas towards the two jocks.

“What gives?” Griswold asked. “That’s totally cheating!”

“Oh dear,” Melissa said, trying to finish another banana.

Kalino shrugged. “Sorry dude, but there’s no rule against it.”

“That is true,” Rhonda admitted.

Griswold smirked. “Well alright then.”

The linebacker jumped up and grabbed his entire pile of bananas, tossing them on top of the Eagles.

“And with that, the Fireworks score a point!” Rhonda announced as the audience cheered.

Riley and Griswold pounded their fists, before the floor disappeared under them.

“So once again,” Rhonda said, “its time to…”

“…Dump The Chumps!” the audience cheered.

Above Kalino and Melissa a barrel was suspended, shaking with howling sounds emerging from it.

“Oh no,” Melissa gasped. “Please don’t let that be-“

“A barrel of monkeys,” Rhonda replied. “Specifically a barrel of hungry howler monkeys.”

Kalino and Melissa looked down at the bananas as the barrel tipped over. “Ahhhhhh!”

Moments later, Melissa and Kalino dropped back into their seats, their clothes in tatters with mysterious brown stains.

“About time,” Jenny yawned. “Alright, I’m getting the vibe you guys are not enjoying this as much as I am.”

“What gave you that idea,” Kalino stated, brushing a banana peel off his torn sleeve.

“And I’m also really tired,” Jenny stated. “This was way too much work for me. So let’s do one final round. I’ll select one random question and if you get this question right, you earn three points. Eagles, you’re up first.”

Jenny shuffled her notecards then drew off the top card and immediately broke into a grin.

“Oh no,” Xidorn whispered.

“Don’t worry,” Jenny said. “Its actually rather simple; who has a hidden immunity flash drive?”

The Molting Eagles and even the Fizzled Fireworks eyes grew wide.

“Then its time for the Fireworks,” Jenny announced. “Alright, here’s another simple one Fireworks…who have you been saying happy birthday to today?”

Ness almost gasped, stopping herself by biting her lip. The other Fireworks weren’t sure how to react.

“Well someone is not having a happy birthday,” Jenny giggled. “Since neither team answered it looks like its time for…”

“…Dump The Chumps!” the audience cheered, as all the teens screamed and fell through the floor onto the burnt stage.

Rhonda rubbed her hands together. “Welcome to the Sudden Death match. The last round. For the Eagles, we’ll take Vance and Weston…while for the Fireworks, we’ll have Pascal and Seraphina!”

“Great,” Pascal and Seraphina muttered under their breath.

“Its about time for this challenge to be over,” the purple girl said. “Its gotten so long no one is probably going to finish reading it.”

“They shouldn’t bother starting it,” the brunette girl replied.

“For this challenge,” Rhonda explained, “you’ll prepare to have some very fine dinning. You’ll feed your partner a small three course meal…”

“Woohoo!” Vance cheered. “I’m always for some free grub.”

“…Using your feet,” Rhonda finished.

The newcomers and even some of the audience nearly threw up.

“We know you’re still growing kids,” Rhonda said. “So we made sure this meal has plenty of protein for you. First to finish wins. Oh, and try not to vomit; the food you spit back up is still the food you have to eat…so you’ll have to eat it again.”

At that point, Melissa ran backstage and retched.

Interns grabbed the competitors and chained each to pole not too far apart, leaving silver platters by the newcomers’ feet, taking off their socks and shoes.

“Eww,” Pascal grimaced.

“Eh, your feet are just as gross as the rest of you,” Seraphina stated.

“The winners will get three extra points,” Rhonda stated. “And the team with the most points will win a special reward! Yet the losers will face elimination, while we…”

“…Dump The Chumps!” the audience cheered. On that cue, a trashcan suspended on a high wire moved to the center stage. The newcomers glanced at it and the knowing few of them cringed.

“Now then,” Rhonda said, “Enjoy your first course…of escargot salad.”

Kicking aside the lids, the first tray contained a greek salad covered in snails.

Smirking, Pascal picked up salad leaves in his toes and shoved in it in the psychic’s face. “Here comes the train! Open wide.”

Seraphina didn’t react and instead started eating as quickly as she could and trying to pick up a snail for her partner. The Molting Eagles were off to a slow start, as Vance struggled to pick up any salad.

“What in tarnation!” Vance screamed as a snail slipped out his toes. “These little fellows are too slippery.”

“Hee hee,” Weston laughed as a snail crawled on his heel. “And they tickle!”

Pascal almost gagged. “Wait they’re still-mmphhh!”

Seraphina smirked as she shoved snails in the singer’s mouth. “Be careful Pascal. I’d hate for you to vomit.”

“And the Fireworks almost finished with their first course,” Rhonda announced, as Seraphina and Pascal moved towards the next dish. “Let’s see if they can handle course two…roasted road kill opossum.”

Pascal kicked away the tray to reveal a skinned and cooked opossum, a tire track still imprinted on it.

“Mmm,” Weston sighed, sniffing the air while slurping up a snail.

“Come on now partner!” Vance stated. “We got to catch up!”

Pascal smirked as he kicked Seraphina in the chin, dropping an opossum leg across her face and on the stage floor. “Whoops, sorry Seraphina. My leg slipped.”

Seraphina smiled and reached for it. “Oh no problem, old buddy. It happens.”

Seraphina swung her foot at the singer, right in the crotch. The singer let out a high pitched yelp. “Like how my foot just slipped. Sorry about that.”

“You could stop me from having kids,” Pascal winced.

“The world can thank me later,” Seraphina stated, trying to kick Pascal’s shin.

Meanwhile, Weston nibbled on an opossum leg. “Mmm, tastes like chicken!

“Looks like the Eagles are taking the lead. And they’re going for dessert…”

Weston kicked off the lid, revealing a cup of something dark brown with a spoon sticking out.

“You ever had that dish of chocolate ice cream, with cookie bits and gummy worms?” Rhonda asked.

“Ooh a cup of dirt!” Weston exclaimed. “I love those! We get to have that?”

Rhonda smirked. “Well that was the plan…till someone ate all the ice cream.”

Rhonda looked to stage left, where Jenny and Toby were scarfing down bowls of ice cream.

“So we decided to go with actual cups of dirt!” Rhonda announced.

Pascal grimaced as he kicked off the Firework’s own lid.

“We have to catch up,” Seraphina sighed, dropping to the floor. She tried to use both feet to balance the cup…

Vance trembled as Weston brought dangled a spoon between his toes. “Is…is that all? D…dirt? Psh, why we use to eat dirt clods as a kid back on the farm all the time.”

Vance took the spoon to his lips as Rhonda shifted her eyes. “It actually isn’t all. Like I said, it’s a protein diet. So instead of gummy worms…”

Vance looked down at the cup, where a worm wiggled its head out. Vance’s mouth dropped, failing to notice the spoon coming in. The cowboy accidentally swallowed the spoon, which became lodged in his throat and made the rodeo star cough violently. Weston tried reaching out his feet to the rodeo star, but was not having an easy time.

Seraphina meanwhile shoved Pascal’s face in the cup. “Chug! Chug! Chug!”

“Don’t worry Vance I got you!” Weston shouted, lashing his feet out, accidentally hitting the cowboy in the stomach.

“Uh oh,” Weston stated, as the cowboy kneeled over. He proceeded to upchuck all over the floor. The spoon flew out of his throat, landing on and sticking towards the younger twin’s face.

“Eww!” the audience gagged, many running out of the room. Melissa once again ran backstage, with Ignacio and Lita following after her.

“Look on the bright side Eagles,” Rhonda stated, “you don’t actually have to the vomit!”

“Yay!” Weston cheered, tossing the spoon away.

“Because the Fizzled Fireworks have finished their course!” Rhonda announced, motioning to Pascal who kicked aside the empty cup and looked ready to heave at any moment. Seraphina held her stomach in pain but smirked at the singer.

“Yay!” Weston repeated, before dropping his expression. “Wait…”

“Congrats Fizzled Fireworks,” Rhonda stated, interns untying the chained contestants. “You’ve earned the three extra points. Which means the winners are…The Molting Eagles!”

“WHAT?” the Fireworks shouted.

The spotlights fall on the Eagles, Kalino and Xidorn hoisting Vance on their shoulders. Their dejected looks changed to confused ones as the audience cheered.

“Yay?” Weston asked. “I think.”

“But we won the three course meal!” Pascal insisted.

Rhonda nodded. “You did. And your team got three extra points to your final score. But the Molting Eagles still have one more point than you.”

Seraphina glared. “So those three points were-“

“-basically meaningless,” Rhonda stated.

Pascal forced a smile. “So what you’re saying is…I ate dirt…FOR NOTHING?”

“I mean I wouldn’t say for nothing,” Rhonda replied. “Our audience seemed to enjoy it.”

The audience laughed and cheered, though quite a few were too grossed out to stay.

“As winners, the Molting Eagles will enjoy a three course dinner under the stars tonight,” the hostess stated, ignoring the glare from Vance and his deputy Xidorn.

“As for the Fizzled Fireworks,” Rhonda said, “you get your own ‘reward’ for being the losers. Its time for us to…”

“Dump The Chumps!” the audience erupted, members from before having joined and formed a crowd.

The Fizzled Fireworks looked above the trashcan tipped over. The Fizzled Fireworks were assaulted with pepper, ketchup, mustard, relish, mayonnaise, coleslaw, barbecue sauce, sprinkles, and pickle juice. Finally, the biggest tub appeared and dumped pig’s blood on the losers for a solid minute.

The audience roared and hooted, as the Fizzled Fireworks stood there with miserable expressions.

“Thank you for enjoying today’s challenge folks!” Rhonda announced. “As for you Fireworks, I’ll see you at elimination tonight.”

Soon, the Fireworks trudged through the halls. No one said anything for a moment.

“Today sucked,” Easton stated after awhile.

“So much,” Ignacio agreed, the other Fireworks nodding.

Griswold sighed and turned to his teammates. “Look, today was bad. And I know its not just the dump that’s messed with us. The real sore spot is…all those things Jenny said.”

The Fireworks shifted uncomfortably.

Riley sighed. “The one about the parents in the car crash. Yeah, that was me. I’m sorry for not telling you dudes, just not something I bring up in conversation.”

“I don’t know how you would,” Griswold admitted. “And I’m sorry Riley. And I know what you mean. I was the one whose dad walked out…”

“That might have been a two for one,” Seraphina spoke up. “Mine did too.”

The two gave a soft smile at each other. The silence lulled for a moment.

“No one has to reveal anything about themselves,” Griswold stated. “If you want to get it off your chest, then I understand and will be happy to listen. But I won’t judge if you don’t; some things we keep to ourselves. But I don’t want this challenge to change anything; I don’t think less of anyone here and I am still happy to be a Firework, through and through. This was bad and I’m not looking forward to elimination, but I am still behind this team and still glad we’re team members.”

The Fireworks smiled a little.

“Well, I’m headed to the showers,” Ignacio stated.

“Second that,” Lita laughed, the others nodding and seconding it.

The Fizzled Fireworks dispersed to their showers. Riley patted Griswold on the back, and the bros fist bumped. But Griswold looked back, staring at Lita.

Pascal walked next to Ness. “Hey.”

“Hey,” Ness sighed.

“Ness I am sorry about what happened at the mall,” Pascal blurted out. “And with your friend...you don’t deserve that.”

“Its fine,” Ness said. “Really. I understand. Just…can we still be friends though?”

Pascal smiled. “Yes! That’s what I want.”

Ness forced a smile and Pascal returned it. Seraphina and Lita watched from their door, glaring at the singer. Pascal waved goodbye to Ness, and caught the girl’s glances.


“I was not looking forward to elimination tonight,” Pascal stated, now apparently squeaky clean. “Mostly because I knew I was on the chopping block; Ness promised not to vote for me…but her roomies were obviously gunning for me. And even if I did survive, I’m without a power alliance. And that phony Seraphina will take any chance she can to eliminate me. But that’s when I came up with a plan…”


The scene changed to the game room, with Riley, Easton and Griswold playing pool. Pascal stepped in and forced a smile. “Hey guys.”

“Oh, sup Pascal,” Griswold greeted. “What’s happenin’? Want to join us for a game?”

“Thanks but I have to help Kalino with something in a bit,” Pascal replied. “I just wanted to see how everyone is, you know after today.”

“Aww thanks man,” Easton replied. “Doing better.”

“Glad to hear,” Pascal replied. “I believe our team will do better next time, and if you believe it you can achieve it! So…you guys decided who to vote tonight?”

Riley shook her head. “I’m undecided. I don’t want any of our peeps going. We’ve been through almost a month together! You?”

Pascal rubbed the back of his head. “Well…me and Ness are close, and I promised her I would vote with her and her roommates. I’m not thrilled with who but I promised so…”

Griswold raised an eyebrow. “Who?”

“Well they think someone who blew the challenge should do it,” Pascal ‘explained’. “Especially since it was so close. Since Easton did give the other team a point…”

“Me?” Easton asked. “They’re voting me?”

Pascal shrugged. “It’s a tough choice. I just wanted to hear what you guys thought, maybe another option…”

“If they do that,” Easton realized, “then with you they only need one vote for majority. Do you think Ignacio will too?”

“I doubt it,” Griswold replied. “But that means a tied vote. Back in the original, ties were broken by a challenge, and the winner stayed.”

“Griswold is right!” Pascal added. “I’ve broken a few tiebreakers myself on other shows. If it is a tie, you’d just have to defeat them Easton. But you’d need to be against someone weaker, or really unlucky.”

Griswold raised an eyebrow at the pop star.

“Listen I’ll try talking to Ness again,” Pascal explained. “Maybe stop her from voting you out. I just wanted you to have a fair warning. I’m sorry, and I really hope you don’t go.”

Easton nodded. “I appreciate you being a pal Pascal. I won’t forget it.”

The singer dashed off, smirking to himself…

Easton banged his head against the pool table. “I really screwed up today.”

“It was a slip of the tongue bro,” Riley replied, hugging his shoulder. “It happens. The roomies are crazy if they think you’re going home. And we’re not going to let our bro go home!”

“She’s right,” Griswold stated. “We’ll talk to Ignacio about this. And I’ll talk to Lita, I’ve been meaning to anyway.”

“You know what Pascal said is true,” Easton admitted. “If it is a tiebreaker challenge, then the best person for me to go up against would be…”

“…Ness!”

Lita and Ness gasped, now showing Pascal talking to the three girls. Seraphina’s eyes grew wide, but shifted into a raised eyebrow.

“They said they were voting Ness?” Lita asked.

Pascal nodded. “Easton suggested it. He’s worried he’s a target. And he said that Ness’…unfortunate luck makes her a challenge liability.”

“How do we know anything you’re saying is true?” Seraphina questioned. “That doesn’t sound like the others.”

“Ask them if they thought about voting off Ness,” Pascal replied. “Listen, I’m telling you this because I don’t want Ness to go home! I was hoping if we combined our votes, we could ensure that…”

“If we all vote together that would be half of the team,” Lita admitted. “I can try talking to Ignacio too. And I’m certainly going to ask Gris what the heck he is thinking! I mean Ness, a liability? Honey please…”

Ness looked down at the floor and sighed.

“Its not like she lost us the challenge,” Pascal agreed. “No one really did. I mean Easton’s conflict with Weston hurt us…”

“That’s true,” Ness realized. “He gave them the extra point they needed to win. Yet he’s voting for me; maybe he should go home instead.”

Pascal snapped his fingers. “That’s a good idea Ness! We should vote off Easton for his role in the challenge. Ignacio might see the reason in that, and vote with us!”

“Ooh, um thanks,” Ness replied.

“I’ll bring the idea up to him,” Pascal explained. “Don’t worry Ness, I promised not to vote for you. And I intend to keep that promise.”

“Thank you,” Ness said smiling.

Pascal nodded, giving a smirk to the glaring psychic and dashing out the door.

Seraphina gritted her teeth and held up a fist. “That filthy rat why I ought to…”

Ness slumped on the bed, hiding her face in the pillow and whimpering...

“Oh sweetie,” Lita said, as she and the psychic sat on side of her. Lita rubbed the jinx’s back. “Don’t you worry, we are not going to let you go home.”

Ness turned her head. “But…”

“Lita’s right,” Seraphina stated. “We’ve come this far, and the three of us are not going to get split up now! We have your back Ness. In fact, if it comes to it tonight, I want you to use this…”

Seraphina pulled out the blue flash drive from her pocket.

“But Seraphina,” Ness gasped, “Xidorn gave that to you For you to use!”

“Well I’m giving it you,” Seraphina replied, placing it in the blonde’s hand. “As far as I’m concerned, this flash drive is for all of us.”

Ness turned to the wall. “But…what if I do deserve to go home?”

Lita and Seraphina looked at each other confused than turned to the girl. “What are you talking about?”

I’m talking about that I’m a jinx!” Ness screamed. “My bad luck brings nothing but destruction…and it might have done that to our team. I mean, what good have I done the team? In the first challenge I had to be saved by an Eagle and failed my trial. I made Ignacio’s speedo…that broke in the challenge. And today…I didn’t even tell you guys it was my birthday.”

“It was your birthday?” Seraphina and Lita asked in unison.

Ness wiped away a tear. “I…I didn’t want you to know.”

Lita put her hand on her friend’s shoulder. “Sweetie, its fine. We love you! We’d want to celebrate the day-“

“-But I don’t,” Ness interrupted. “Every year my birthday is horrible. Even the day I was born…I didn’t want to celebrate it. The point is, maybe I should go.”

“Okay so you’ve had some missteps,” Seraphina stated. “But you’re not the weakest link! Who was able to get into the Eagle’s snow fort? Or win the interpretative dance challenge?”

Ness shook her head. “That was just…chance, not skill.”

“So Ignacio’s speedo broke,” Lita stated. “We wouldn’t know how to sew without you in that challenge. And may I remind you who was the one brave enough to volunteer to eat bull testicles? And black licorice?”

“Who helped us win the scavenger hunt by coming up with a loophole?” Seraphina added. “Or won the Awake-a-thon?”

“But that was just-“

“-that was you,” Lita stated. “And that’s why you deserve to stay! This team is stronger, not weaker for having you. And you ain’t going home. Even, if we have to vote for Easton…”

Ness nodded and faintly smiled at her friends, who joined together for a group hug.

Soon after, Lita and Griswold were walking in the halls. Spotting each other they half-heartedly waved and ran to the other. Lita sighed and smiled. “Hey Gris-Bear! I’ve been looking for you…”

Griswold rubbed the back of his head. “Yeah, me too. We need to talk.”

Lita’s eyes grew wide. “Did I do something wrong?”

“Huh?” Griswold asked. “What did you say?”

“I said…uh, what’s up?” Lita replied with a forced chuckle.

“Is it true you’re voting for Easton?” Griswold asked.

Lita furrowed her brow. “Is it true you’re voting for Ness?”

The two stared at each other for a while, before turning and look away.

“About today’s challenge,” Griswold spoke again, “The Notebook isn’t your favorite movie?”

Lita turned further away. “No…the truth is, I hate it! I’ve seen it with almost all of my relationships and I never like it.”

“So why did we watch it?” Griswold asked. “Why did you say you like it?”

“Because couples are suppose to watch it together,” Lita sighed. “Its suppose to be that romantic movie couples cuddle to and enjoy with each other. I wanted us to do that, to be that couple…”

Griswold sighed. “Lita, we need to break up.”

Lita gasped. “What?”

“I’m sorry,” Griswold admitted. “I really am, but its not working out. I’ve never had a relationship before. You’re cool Lita but…I think I dated you not because I liked you; I liked the idea of being in a relationship. We tried…but I’m not happy. Are you?”

Lita sighed and looked down. “No. I’ve been feeling it coming…but I thought if we just kept going then maybe we would work…”

The two stood there looking at their feet for a moment. Eventually, the two walked away.


“That was awful,” Griswold stated. “I almost want to take it back, but I know I did the right thing. But I’m going to take a break from relationships for a long time…”


Lita wiped away some tears from her scarf. “Ooh! I can’t believe it! I told myself not to drive this one away! I mean Griswold is the perfect guy. And I tried to make him like me…to have that relationship…but I couldn’t get him to care for me like that.”


Pascal rubbed his hands together. “My plan was risky, but I think its paid off! I’ve turned the two factions on my team against each other, and avoided being the target. I’ve also convinced Ignacio on why Easton is the choice.”

Pascal chuckled to himself. “So Easton will go home…and the bros will be in need of an ally; me! There's my alliance! And since Ness and I promised to never vote for each other, the girls can’t have the numbers, even if Igancio sticks with them. Which means I can target Seraphina next…and go to the merge with potential meat shields. Even combine my inter team alliance with the bros.”

Pascal scratched his head. “Worst case scenario, Ignacio flips and creates a tie. But I doubt that. Even still, it’ll be a tiebreaker challenge like in the original seasons. And if Ness does go home…well I didn’t break my promise. And Seraphina is still doesn’t have the numbers. It’s brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!”


The Fizzled Fireworks sat in the Haunted Internet Café, everyone quiet and avoiding eye contact.

“Its been awhile Fireworks,” Rhonda greeted. “Almost too long, don’t you think?”

The Fireworks replied with glares or depressed looks.

Rhonda pouted. “Well find, don’t talk to me. Let’s just get voting.”


Pascal cast his vote for Easton. “I’ll tell your twin you said bye.”


Griswold cast his vote for Ness. “I really hate doing this. But, bros are loyal to each other. Me and Easton have been close. He has my back, and I have his. Sorry Ness.”


Easton cast his vote for Ness. “I don’t like this, but you’re targeting me and I probably have the best chance of beating you in a tiebreaker challenge. And I understand you’re doing the same thing. Honestly, I hope we can do the challenge so we can compete for the right to stay. Makes it a bit more fair.”


Lita cast her vote for Easton. “I appreciate you not revealing the details about me and my brother at the challenge. And this feels ungrateful. But you targeted my homegirl. And I can’t let her go home.”


Ness cast her vote for Easton and sighed. She opened her palm, revealing the immunity flash drive. “Do you ever think fate is telling you something’s suppose to happen?”

>Ness’ expression became serious as she closed her hand and shoved the flash drive in her pocket. “I’m not wasting Seraphina’s flash drive on myself. More importantly…if I am meant to go home, then I’ll go home tonight. That’s how the universe wanted it to be.”


Ignacio bit on his nails for a moment, moving between Ness and Easton’s icon, before ultimately dropping the mouse and rubbing his temples. “Uhh…I have no clue what option to take. Strategically neither is targeting me, nor is a liability. Pascal tried to explain why voting Easton is a more suitable option…but I admit to zoning out. I’ve taken notice of Pascal’s tendency for exaggeration.”

Ignacio turned at the screen. “Personally, I like both of them. I consider Easton a friend, a ‘bro’, and I admire his commitment to the mathematics. However, Ness is kind and helped recently with my own issues…”

Ignacio nodded and clicked on an icon.


“Well the votes are in,” Rhonda announced. “If I call your name, you will receive a cup of peppermint flavored coffee. I think its nasty but people drink it. Anyway, the first coffee cup goes to…Pascal.”

The pop star smirked as he caught his cup.

“Ignacio.”

The model caught his cup, avoiding the eyes of his teammates.

“Lita…Riley.”

The two shared a look before catching their cups.

“Griswold and Seraphina.”

Everyone turned to the middle, where Ness and Easton sat and stared at Rhonda.

“Easton, Ness. There’s only one coffee cup left. And it goes too…”
















...neither of you; we have a tie.”

The other Fireworks gasped.

“Looks like its up to a challenge,” Easton stated.

“Challenge?” Rhonda asked. “What challenge?”

“For the tiebreaker,” Ness explained.

“Who said we were doing a tiebreaker challenge?” Rhonda questioned.

“What?” Pascal exclaimed. “But in past seasons-”

“-Yeah, but not this season,” Rhonda interrupted. “The tiebreaker may be decided by a challenge, but it could be decided by a number of other methods.”

“So what is the tiebreaker?” Seraphina asked.

Rhonda smirked. “We’ll have a revote; everyone but the bottom two will vote again. The bottom two will be the only choices available to vote. And you can’t use immunity flash drives either; you had your chance and you blew it.”

The Fireworks nodded and began to move.

“However,” Rhonda announced, “if the bottom two are still tied after the revote, the bottom two will be granted immunity and one of you will be eliminated instead.”

All the Fireworks froze. The room became dead silent, some of the newbies trying to make eye contact with their teammates while others tried to avoid eye contact.

“Through a luck based decision,” Rhonda explained, “one of the six of you will be eliminated and go home in their stead, where you can never come back to the show and will have lost the prize of two million dollars. On that note, let’s get voting!”


Ignacio drummed his fingers against the wall. “What I do, what I do! Uhh...let's ponder this dilemma scientifically, review the facts and contemplate all my options. Now theoretically, how will everyone else vote?”


Seraphina immediately clicked Easton’s face. “Ness deserves to be here, and I’m not going to let her being eliminated. Even if I have to go home instead.”


“Easton, you’re my bro,” Riley stated, clicking Ness' face. “Through thick or thin. This time ain’t no different.”


Pascal chewed on his beanie, yanking it with is teeth. “Ahh…”


The Fireworks reseated themselves in the cafe. Jenny passed Rhonda a note, who read it, nodded and pulled back out the last cup of coffee.

“A decision has been made,” Rhonda stated. “The last cup of coffee goes to…












“...Easton.”

Rhonda tossed the twin a cup of coffee.

The short blonde nodded and stood up.

“And Ness.”

The jink’s eyes grew wide, so caught off guard she failed to register a cup of coffee headed straight for her, Rhonda having hidden it in her podium.

“Congrats Easton and Ness,” Rhonda announced, “you have received immunity. Griswold, Ignacio, Lita, Pascal, Riley, Seraphina; one of you will now be going home.”

“How did this happen?” Ness asked her teammates.

“We weren’t gonna let our girl go home,” Lita replied as Seraphina nodded.

“And we aren’t going to let our bro go home either,” Griswold added.

“Mmhmm,” Riley agreed.

“This still doesn’t make sense,” Ignacio stated. “I switched my vote from Ness to Easton, no offense.”

“I get it,” Easton admitted, “it was a tough call.”

"But if that’s true,” Seraphina said, “then for the votes to be tied, someone else would have to had switched their votes.”

All at once, the other Fireworks turned their heads to a blushing Pascal. “Heh, heh...I uh...well…”

“You mo*********** snake,” Lita whispered.

Ness looked away. “Pascal, you promised that no matter what you…”

“Ness I-”

“-Save it,” Ness replied, struggling to hold back the tears. “I’m not even surprised.”

Rhonda cleared her throat. “If you all would follow me through the Revolving Doors of Shame for the next part of this choice.”

Outside on the sidewalk six fireworks were positioned facing the sky, and looked ready to blow up. They were each a different color, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple, and each a different size ranging from miniature to bulbous.

Rhonda handed a match to the six newbies.

“Each of you must decide upon a firework and use this match to ignite it. All of these fireworks are designed to fail to launch, fizzling out. Except for one firework, which will shoot off into the sky and be extinguished in one quick motion. Whosoever firework successfully goes off will not be a Fizzled Firework, being eliminated from this team, leave the show for good and say goodbye to the two million dollars. Choose wisely.”

The six stood silent and stared at the fireworks.

“Did I mention you only have thirty seconds to choose a firework or be automatically eliminated?”

Griswold ran forward and chose the red firework.

“It's the color of my football team,” Griswold mumbled, “and it hasn’t let me down yet…”

Seraphina’s eyes rolled into the back of her head and sat in a lotus position on the ground.

“Eenie, meanie, minnie, moe,” Riley said, going between the fireworks.

“Let’s see I have a one in six chance of being wrong,” Ignacio stated. “Well one in five now, so that’s four fifths chance of being right…”

“If he hollers let him go…”

Lita tugged on her scarf, before deciding upon the purple firework.

“So that makes one in fourth…”

Pascal turned his head back and forth, looking for a sign. His beanie fell off his head, and as Pascal caught it he smiled and dashed towards the orange firework.

Seraphina’s eyes rolled to the front of her head, the psychic jumping up and claiming the blue firework.

“And the very best one is you,” Riley finished, her finger landing on the yellow firework.

Ignacio sighed and quickly ran to the green firework, lighting its wick.

The Fizzled Fireworks stood back as the fuses burnt out. There was a short pause…


























...before the orange firework shot off into the sky and rained down a display of orange sparks. The other fireworks released a bit of smoke before collapsing in on themselves.

“I’m afraid it's the end of the road Pascal,” Rhonda announced. Jenny passed out cups of coffee to the remaining Fireworks, who chugged the drink in relief despite its flavor.

Pascal sighed and walked forward for a moment. He turned back, only to see Ness already headed back towards the hotel.

Seraphina wiped away a tear.

“It's okay Seraphina, you’re safe,” Griswold stated.

Seraphina sniffled. “I know, I’m just...I’m just so happy that Pascal’s nasty ass is finally gone!”

“Amen!” Lita added. “Don’t let the door hit you, where the good lord should have split you.”

“You know I can hear you,” Pascal shouted from the bus stop. “I’m like five feet away.”

“I know,” Seraphina replied. “And seeing your sadness is even sweeter than this cup of coffee you didn’t get!”

The Public Transportation of Losers pulled up and Pascal limped on board, trudging to the back of the bus and falling into the seat.

“Pascy-Wascy?”

Pascal looked up and saw Amanda Picklestein in the seat across from him.

“Mandy?” Pascal asked. “What are you doing here?”

“I quit being an intern,” Many sighed. “I’m taking this bus out of here. Why are you here?”

“I lost,” Pascal grieved, slouching further in his seat.

“Oh Pascy-Wascy…”

“No, no I deserved to go home,” Pascal admitted. “I was a jerk, a monster. I didn’t mean to be so horrible, I just...I wanted to win for once, especially the show I’ve watched since I was a kid.”

Mandy nodded and looked down.

Pascal looked up, his hat falling off his head and beside him in the seat.

“I’m sorry.”

Pascal raised his eyebrow. “What?”

“I’m sorry I came here,” Mandy stated. “And...I’m sorry I won our old show. If I had known how important it was to you I-”

“-I’m the one who needs to apologize,” Pascal said. “You didn’t do anything. I got jealous over that, and I let it consume me. When instead I should have been happy that my best friend won.”

There was a silence for a moment.

“Mandy,” Pascal said, “you’re a little talkative and overexcited, but I realize I like that about you. I am the same way. I’m sorry I hurt your feelings, you didn’t deserve that. I take it all back if I can. You know, on every show I competed on I was thinking about you, maybe in jealously. But I’ve realized that all this time I still care about you; that’s why I still wear the hat you made me.”

Mandy smiled. “It suits you.”

“Yeah, I think it does,” Pascal laughed. “I’m actually really happy I have it; even today, I am glad I wear it.”

The Public Transportation of Losers swerved at a turn, causing Mandy to slip right next to Pascal.

“Mandy,” Pascal said, “do you wanna go out? Like, on a date?”

“Does this answer your question?”

Mandy stood on her tippy toes and jerked Pascal into kiss, the two eventually making out.

“Heehee,” Pascal giggled and fell back against the seat. “What have I gotten myself into?”

“Oh my gosh I can’t believe this is happening!” Mandy cheered. “Isn’t that crazy? I think its crazy. What we do now? Where should we go on a date? I mean I don’t really care where but I want it to be magical so its burned in our minds forever and oh I have to introduce you to my dad! And my mom! And my sisters and brothers and aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews and cousins and friends and acquaintances and, oh! Should we have cutesy nicknames for each other? And a couple name! What about Pasclstien? And I blah blah blahblahblah…”

Pascal facepalmed. “What have I gotten myself into?”

Chapter 12 In Squad We Trust

On the roof of the Pentagram Hotel, the Molting Eagles sat at tables enjoying a classy italian dinner, their reward for winning the last challenge.

Vance slurped up pasta noodles as waiters brought more plates out. “That’s it! Keep it coming! And bring more breadsticks!”

Melissa laughed as she took another spoonful of soup. She smiled as Cynthia took a seat next to her. “Ooh Cynthia! You didn’t have to come sit with me, you can sit with Weston.”

“He has time for his friends,” Cynthia replied. “I want to make time for mine.”

Melissa hugged the girl. “You’re too sweet.”

“I wanted to apologize for not telling you about the Hayden vote,” Cynthia said. “It won’t happen again.”

“Thank you,” Melissa replied. “I’m not mad, but I appreciate it.”


“I don’t care about people,” Cynthia admitted. “But I guess Melissa and Weston are an exception...I’m glad I met them.”


The sky suddenly lit up as an orange firework went off. The Molting Eagles gasped and clapped.

Later that night, Ness sat in her bed. Slowly, Lita and Seraphina inched into the room.

“Hey sweetie,” Lita greeted. “Can we hang with you?”

“I was just going to bed,” Ness admitted.

“That’s cool,” Seraphina said. “But we thought if you wanted to...you could enjoy some cake.”

Ness turned to see Seraphina and Lita pull a rich chocolate cake out from behind their back. Sixteen candles were lit on top of it.

“We know you hate your birthday,” Lita said. “But we’re glad to have you here, so we wanted to show that.”

Ness wiped her eyes on her sleeve. “You got me a cake?”

"After you told us about your birthday earlier,” Lita explained, “we snuck off to bake you a cake.”

“And after almost burning down the kitchen we asked Melissa for help,” Seraphina admitted.

“But we made sure nothing you were allergic to is in it,” Lita stated. “Can we cut you a slice?”

Ness shrugged. “I guess so.”

Lita nodded and sat it on the drawers. She cut three slices while Seraphina put them on paper plates. The three girls sat on the bed and dug in, sighing in delight.

“Melissa has got some skill,” Ness admitted.

“Amen,” Seraphina replied. “Ness, we’re sorry about what happened with Pascal. He was a jerk, you didn’t deserve that.

"He was nice to me...I thought,” Ness replied.

Lita brushed hair out of her smaller friend’s face. “Ness, you’re amazing! Some guy will wise-up and realize it, or screw it, I’ll marry you myself.”

Ness and Seraphina laughed. “I’ll officiate you two if I can.”

“Seraphina please, you can marry us too,” Lita joked. “I know you want to! We’re just too good for everybody else.”

“Griswold might get jealous,” Ness teased.

Lita rolled her eyes. “Psh, well he can be jealous. Like **** him, **** all the other losers out there.”

Ness laughed. “You know, you guys might’ve made this my best birthday yet.”

“Maybe we need to change the day of your birthday,” Seraphina suggested. “Let’s celebrate it tomorrow, we can have a girls day at the mall.”

“Yes!” Lita cheered. “We can get you a nice gift too.”

Ness blushed. “Oh...what the heck! Let’s do it!”

The three roomies embraced each other, accidentally spilling their cake on the bed.

The next day, Weston walked into the kitchen. Melissa and Vance were already there, standing awkwardly.

“Hey Melissa,” Weston greeted. “Vance said you wanted some help pie tasting?”

“Um...well...look Weston,” Melissa stated, pulling a coin out of his pocket. “I have a shiny nickel.”

Vance stole the coin and tossed it in the open freezer. “Go fetch partner!”

Weston crossed his arms. “Do you really expect me to chase a nickel?”

Melissa blushed. “Well…”

“No, it was a dumb plan I reckon,” Vance said, looking down. “It wasn’t even a nickel; just a quarter.”

The two looked up to see Weston had ran off into the freezer. “A whole quarter? That’s like four baby dollars!”

The two Eagles high-fived. Easton came walking back into the kitchen with Griswold and Riley behind him.

“Why are we going to the kitchen when we’re getting burritos again?” Easton asked.

Riley and Griswold shared a look. “Uhh…”

Griswold grabbed Easton, tossing him into the freezer and slamming it shut. “Sorry about this bro; hopefully you’ll thank us.”

Easton stood up and immediately glared upon seeing his other half. “Weston.”

“Easton.”

“Vance this was a nickel,” Weston shouted.

“I think I’m owed an explanation,” Easton stated, trying to push the door open.

“And I think I’m owed twenty cents!”

“We’re awfully sorry to do this,” Melissa stated, “but you two need to talk, and since you wouldn’t do it own your own, we thought we could help.”

“It was defiantly my idea though,” Vance added.

“You mean definitely, right?” Griswold asked.

“Get comfy in their you two,” Riley said. “Cause until you make up we aren’t letting you out.”

“So the sooner you two hug it out, the sooner you can get warm,” Vance stated.

Easton sighed and turned to face Weston’s glare. “Well…"

“I don’t have anything to say,” Weston stated. “I wouldn’t want to burden you.”

“For someone who has nothing to say you certainly don’t mind talking,” Easton replied.

Riley pressed her ear against the door. “I think they’re speaking to each other!"


“Easton was in danger of going home because of his and Weston’s fighting,” Riley explained. “But even more than that, you shouldn’t hate your brother; their your family.

When my parents died, all of my eight brothers pitched in to help raise me. Of course we didn’t always get along, but we did always make up; we’re always there for each other. I don’t want Easton or Weston to lose someone like that over a silly fight.”


“I appreciate the help with this,” Vance stated. “Xidorn thought it was a ‘dumb’ and ‘would make things worse’.”

“I was happy to help a teammate in need,” Melissa replied.

“Well I want you to know that we still consider you a teammate...”

Melissa smiled.

“...we just kept you in the dark about a lot of stuff and voted off your boyfriend,” Vance continued. “No hard feelings.”

Melissa raised an eyebrow, yet tried to keep her smile. “Thanks?”

In the freezer, the two twins were now arguing.

"I don’t care if it was manipulated or not,” Weston replied. “You still think I’m a burden and told your teammates I was an idiot.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Easton explained. “I wouldn’t say those things to hurt you; but you don’t think about that, about how I feel.”

“Like how I didn’t think about starting a relationship with Cynthia?” Weston asked. “I know you don’t approve, not that I care.”

“I’m sorry if I don’t like that you’re dating a serial killer,” Easton replied.

“I finally found someone who likes me for me,” Weston stated.

“Who doesn’t like you?” Easton asked. “Everyone likes you!”

“No, everyone likes you!” Weston stated. “You’re the smart one, the reliable one. The one who’s doing something with your life.”

“Everyone likes you,” Easton yelled again. “Everyone thinks you're funnier, more interesting. Mom, dad, our friends; they all care about you. They don’t give a crap about what I do.”

“No they like you better,” Weston shouted, trying to be louder. “Don’t you get it-

“You don’t get it!” Easton screamed. “Its obvious-”

“-You’re the superior twin!” the two shouted in unison.

Riley fist pumped outside the freezer door. “I think they finished each other's sentences again.”

“Everyone thinks I’m just your dummy sidekick,” Weston stated.

“Everyone thinks I’m unnecessary when you exist,” Easton stated.

“This is actually going a lot better than a I thought,” Griswold admitted.

Clank. Griswold took a step back as the door vibrated a little bit. “Or not.”

Riley threw open the door, the twins tumbling out while punching each other. Quickly Griswold and Melissa pulled them two off, holding them back.

“Calm down dude,” Griswold stated. “Don’t do this!”

“Don’t start Gris!” Easton shouted. “You locked me in there with him.”

“We just wanted you to talk,” Griswold replied. “To stop fighting and be brothers again.”

“Easton is not my brother,” Weston stated. “He’s not anything to me anymore.”

The younger twin stormed off.

Easton froze there for a moment, before turning away and sulking out. “Right back at you!”

"There was more hurt than I realized," Riley admitted. "They've been bottling it up for such a long time...this is going to take a lot of work to fix, and it won't be easy." The others nodded.

Melissa walked off, only to run into Seraphina.

“Ooh, good morning Seraphina,” Melissa greeted.

“Mornin’,” Seraphina greeted. “Hey, thanks for help with the cake yesterday. Ness loved it...till we split it in the bed...but still ate it…”

“I was happy I could help,” Melissa greeted. “No one should have a bad birthday.”

“I was actually looking for you,” Seraphina admitted. “Could I ask you something?”

“Of course,” Melissa replied. “If there’s anything I can help with, I want to.”

“I just wanted some advice I guess,” Seraphina said. “I know you and Aiden had issues, we sse them at the Awake-a-thon...but you ended up dating. How did you make it work? You were so different.”

Melissa sighed. “It's weird to think he only left a few days ago.

“I’m sorry,” Seraphina replied. “You don’t have to-”

“-Like I said I don’t mind,” Melissa said. “I think with me and Aiden...we had our differences. But we had so much in common, that the differences just seemed so small. We realized that was more important than the differences...does that make sense?”

“A lot, yeah,” Seraphina replied. “Thank you.”

Melissa winked. “I have faith you and Xidorn will make it work.”

The two girls said their goodbyes and parted ways.

Early in the hours of the next morning, the contestants slept peacefully…until an air horn played over the P.A. “Hey everybody! Be in the lobby in five for today’s challenge!”

Still dressed in their pajamas, the contestants groggily crept to the lobby.

“Morning everyone!” Rhonda greeted. “You sleep good?”

“For five mintues,” Griswold sighed.

Seraphina yawned. “Why are we doing this challenge now? “Wasn’t it every three days?”

“I have to finish this show by a certain point, ” Rhonda replied. “Before this hotel opens to the public.”

“Didn’t you plan out the schedule beforehand?” Easton asked. “That usually helps.”

Rhonda tried but failed to hide a smile. “We have a very flexible schedule, lots of production changes…nothing to worry your heads about yet. Instead you ought to worry about your next challenge.”

“Are you going to tell us what this challenge is?” Xidorn asked. “Or just throw us down another trap door?”

“We’ve been doing challenges rather similar to the ones your predecessors faced,” Rhonda explained, “so it's time for another variation on a fan-favorite challenge…”

“So you just copied and pasted another old challenge?” Seraphina asked.

“Its called a call-back and a celebration of this franchise’s rich history,” Rhonda replied.

“Then why’d she yell at us for using it,” Jenny whispered to Toby.

“We’ve noticed that some conflicts have been forming between your teams,” Rhonda explained. “We want to help mend those bonds...through extremely dangerous events! So prepare for trust building!”

The contestants stared at Rhonda, Toby imitating cricket noises.

“Really?” Rhonda asked. “You don’t have a problem blabbing earlier, but now nothing?”

“Is that before or after breakfast?” Kalino asked.

“Didn’t you already eat?” Xidorn asked.

“Not second breakfast,” Kalino replied.

Rhonda facepalmed. Jenny smirked and tip-toed over to her technical superior. She whispered things in her ear, causing an ugly grin to appear on the hostess’ face.

“I like it,” Rhonda replied. “Alright newcomers, let’s get cooking…”


“Does anyone else think that Rhonda is become meaner and meaner?” Griswold asked. “Sure she was intense at the start, but friendly. Maybe we have rubbed her the wrong way, but she’s a little too sadistic. Jenny might be having a bad influence on her…”


Later, the newbies had changed into their swimsuits and found themselves standing outside of the Pentagram hotel. They stood on a makeshift dock, each team having a large aquarium tank in front of them.

“For your first challenge, you’ll be making a delicious soup,” Rhonda announced. “Kung-fu soup! Allow me to share the recipe; noodles, vegetables...and seven of the deadliest fish in the world!”

Rhonda smirked and rubbed her hands together, pointing down to the water below. “We’ve stocked this tank with electric eels, piranhas…”

The contestants gulped as a horde of piranhas tore into the flesh of an eel, who shocked them in response. However both were killed as they were stung by a purple jellyfish.

“Toxic jellyfish, swordfish, the poisonous fugu blowfish…”

A blowfish popped up, only to be deflated by a charging swordfish. The swordfish smirked, only to pass over dead.

“...Man eating sharks…”

As if on cue, a great shark jumped out into the sky and flashed a toothy grin. It tied a bib around around its neck before sinking back into the water...only to be grabbed by giant octopus tentacles.

“...and a killer octopus. Fun fact, it's called kung-fu soup for a reason; a single bite of an ill prepared bowl of this soup feels like taking a beating from Jackie Chan. One person from each team will prepare the soup and serve it to another team member.

“Melissa will be cooking for the Molting Eagles, while Kalino will enjoy the meal.”

“Good luck partner,” Vance said. “If you die who do you want me to give your gamecube too?”

“Take a chillaxative bud,” Kalino replied. “Melissa is cooking; she’s like a pro-chef.”

“Good point,” Rhonda admitted. “In that case, you’ll cook and Melissa will eat.”

Kalino facepalmed as Melissa gave him a sympathetic look.

“For the Fireworks...I think it’s time to see how much our ex lovebirds trust each other,” Rhonda announced. “Lita will cook, while Griswold will eat.”

“Exes?” Seraphina asked. “You broke up and didn’t tell me or Ness?”

“It’s not important,” Lita replied. “It happens. It's not going to affect how either of us do in this challenge.”

“I’m sure,” Rhonda replied. “I was going to have the ingredients ready...but since you all seem so eager to nitpick, the rest of you will fish for the ingredients and bring them to our chefs in the kitchen. If there’s a tie, whoever brought the most wins.”

Toby dropped a ham into the water. It sank into the water...before resurfacing as a bone. A shark eagerly chomped into it and brought it back underwater.

Jenny snickered. “Gee, I sure how the soup is prepared good. It’d be shame if Gris or Melissa became sick and had to be voted out to keep the team strong.”

Griswold rolled his eyes while Melissa gulped.


“Do I think Kalino would poison me?” Melissa asked. “Oh goodness no. I’m not sure I trust him though...he’s kept me out of the loop quite a bit. I’m not sure he knows how to cook either. I had to help him microwave a Kids Cuisine meal once.”


“I didn’t actually need Melissa to help me with that Kids Cuisine meal,” Kalino replied. “The microwave was just...like a whole room away.”


The remaining teens stood outside the tank; Toby delivered each a set of fishing gear.

“So now what?” Weston asked.

“Psh, I go fishing in the crick all the time back home,” Vance bragged. “This will be easier than hog-tieing a...hog.”

Vance placed a bit of cheese on a fish hook and flung the line into the tank. With a sploosh it sank into the ocean. In seconds the line tugged.

“Told you,” Vance replied. “Have I ever been wrong?”

“You want the list handwritten or typed?” Xidorn teased.

Before Vance could reply he found himself tugged by the line. The cowboy was yanked forward, falling into the tank and into the arms of a man-eating shark.

“To be fair, there are not sharks in the crick,” Vance admitted. The shark itself being dousing him in barbecue sauce. But as it prepared to snap, Xidorn maced it in the face. The shark pouted, tossing Vance in Xidorn’s arms and swimming off.

“Thanks for the rescue deputy,” Vance replied. “But how did you do it?”

“Oh that’s easy,” Xidorn replied. “Shark repellent.”


"I was a fan of the original Total Drama when I was a kid,” Xidorn admitted. “I stopped watching after some of the later seasons…not to jump on the All-Stars hate bandwagon, but I wasn’t crazy about it. But I knew we’d have sharks on this show, given its history, so I figured I’d need this. Not to mention Batman always carries it.”


The Fizzled Fireworks were trying to come up with a plan; their net had been torn, their rods snapped in half and their bait depleted, with nothing to show for it.

“We need a new strategy,” Easton said. “Anyone have any ideas?”

“What if we just like shattered the tank,” Riley suggested. “We could do that, right?”

“No, no you can’t!” Rhonda shouted off the sidelines. 

“Well,” Ness said. “It's not a great plan...but we could use me as a bait. Animals aren’t always my biggest fan...and I think these fish really don’t like me.”

Ness looked down into the tank; in the octopus’ tentacles it held a photo of Ness. It then held up a lighter to it, burning it and tossing towards the Fireworks, who stepped back.

“How can it even light a fire underwater?” Seraphina asked. 

“I’m not comfortable with this plan Ness,” Ignacio stated. “You could be brutalized...worse than usual.” 

“I think I might have a plan,” Seraphina admitted. “But I don’t know if you’ll like it Ignacio…”

The Eagles themselves were trying to think of a plan, just as unsuccessful. 

“Well we’re out of bait,” Vance admitted. “What else do fish like?”

Weston jumped in place, raising his hand. “I know! I know! Fish love water! If we get some water…wait...”

Xidorn and Vance shared a look. 

“Ooh!” Weston exclaimed. “I have another idea! Why don’t we send in our secret weapon, my sweetheart!”

“Huh,” Vance said. “We should just done that in the first place.”

“To be honest I was trying to be merciful to the fish,” Xidorn admitted. “But I guess we’re out of options...where is Cynthia?” 

Xidorn jumped as he felt breathing on the back of his neck. Cynthia appeared behind him, having grabbed her chainsaw.

“Use these for the carcasses,” Cynthia stated, dropping a roll of black trash bags. She revved her chainsaw before jumping into the water. 

Weston swooned as chunks of fugu blowfish and octopus floated to the top of the tank. “She’s like a little mermaid...a mermaid Cthulhu.”

The Fizzled Fireworks had a plan of their own…

Ignacio sighed as he he stood out in front of the tank, pulling down the top of his wet suit. Immediately, the fish started throwing themselves out of the tank and at the hunk. Using the remains of their poles as spears, they moved the smaller fish into the net. 

“Nice plan Seraphina,” Easton said. “Its working really well!”

A shark, with hearts in its eyes, threw itself out of the tank. Ignacio ducked and it flew right into Ness, knocking her off the platform. 

“A little too well,” Easton said. 

Later in the kitchen, Kalino and Lita were getting to work. Kalino whistled as he precisely chopped a fugu blowfish into sushi-style pieces. Weston rushed in with a dripping trash bag. 

“Here’s more fish Kalino,” Weston said. “Ooh, and Cynthia got us each one of these.” 

He dropped a large shark tooth onto the kitchen counter. “We can put it under our pillow for the tooth fairy!”

“Nicceeeeee,” Kalino replied, high-fiving the twin. 

Riley meanwhile drug the net of fish and plopped it next to Lita. “How’s the cooking Lightning Lita?” 

“It ain’t no thing,” Lita replied. “Hmm...do you use an egg beater for soup?” 

Riley shrugged. “My diet usually consists of fast-food, leftovers or mini pizza bagels.”

Lita laughed as she held up a jellyfish. “I feel. I haven’t been able to find any jelly in these things...meh, I’m sure it’ll turn out alright though.” 

“Hey I hope you don’t mind me asking...but you okay?” Riley questioned. “You know...after you and Gris…”

“He told ya?”

“Yeah...I didn’t see it coming honestly.”

“I did,” Lita replied. “It was obvious Griswold didn’t love me. We just didn’t fit right.”

“Ooh...guess I missed that. So you didn’t love him either?”

“No, I loved him,” Lita replied. “Loving someone just isn’t always enough.”

Riley nodded and walked away as Lita stirred the soup. 

Soon, Rhonda and her cohorts have gathered into the dining hall. Griswold and Melissa sat at opposite tables, both with weary looks on their face. Lita and Kalino walked out, placing bowls in front of their teammates. Melissa gasped as she stirred the soup; it looked like ordinary, delicious soup. Griswold stirred his soup; it looked like fish guts floating in water. 

“Bon appetit!” Rhonda laughed. 

“This looks amazing Kalino!” Melissa exclaimed. She sipped a bit from her spoon and sighed deeply. “It tastes amazing too! Thank you!”

“What are teammates for?” Kalino replied. 

Melissa started drinking from the bowl. “Mmm...I didn’t know you were such a skilled chef.”

“Eh, I rarely cook,” Kalino stated, “never made soup before either, but it seemed easy enough.”

Melissa raised an eyebrow, but shrugged and finished slurping her soup. Everyone turned to look at Griswold, still stirring his soup.

“Well?” Rhonda asked. 

“Don’t worry Griswold,” Lita stated. “I know I’m not a chef so-”

Griswold slammed his fist on the table. “I admit that its...fishy looking. Uh, no pun intended. But I trust Lita, even if we are exes! I have faith in her and in my team. So here goes nothing…”

Griswold threw his head back as he chucked down the soup in one gulp. 

“Huh,” Griswold said. “It's not bad actual-” 

He immediately blew chunks onto the table. 

“Aww yeah!” Vance cheered. “Eagles win!”

“Not quite,” Rhonda said. “The goal was to see if you trusted your teammates, not whether you prepared the soup right. Since both teams finished we’ll go to our tiebreaker, seeing who caught the most fish…which was actually the Molting Eagles so uh...congrats Eagles.”

The Molting Eagles burst into cheers, patting Kalino and Melissa on the back. 

“Way to go guys,” Xidorn cheered. “You kicked butt. You too uh...Cynthia….”

Cynthia held a thumbs up as she sharpened her knife with a shark’s tooth. 

“Don’t get too cocky Eagles,” Riley said. “We still got another round. Gris Bear, Lita, Iggy Pop, you all did great.” 

“Riley’s right,” Jenny said.

“Aww thanks Jenny,” Griswold replied. 

“Not about y’all, you lost,” Jenny replied. “Its called sucking hardcore.” 

The Fireworks glared at the co-host. 

“But we do have another round,” Jenny giggled. “So let’s found out if you trust your teammates to fight beside you…”

The scene cut to outside the looming Pentagram Hotel, where an area of sorts had been built from trash, and now stood outside the gates. In the center was a large tub of mud. A raised circular platform shot out of it, also drenched in mud. The two teams each sat in a separate section of wooden bleachers. 

“Aww sweet!” Riley cheered. “I’ve been wanting another wrestling challenge! I’m guessing Tobster made this sweet arena.”

Toby smirked a little. “Guilty as charged.”

“Guilty of being a loser,” Jenny said. 

Rhonda cleared her throat. “As you guessed Riley, this is a wrestling challenge, but its tag team wrestling! You’ll be tethered to your teammate with a short chain, and have to knock your opponents off the platform to win. We’ll give you each a jousting stick to use, but other than that it's hand-to-hand combat. No other weapons.”

Everyone turns to look at Cynthia. She stops carving the bleacher and stabs her knife inside it. “I don’t need a knife to make someone bleed.”

“I don’t think anyone doubts that,” Rhonda replied. “For the first round...let’s see...we’ll have Seraphina and Griswold for the Fizzled Fireworks versus Xidorn and Kalino.”

Griswold rubbed his chin as he eyes Kalino, who waves at him.


“Kalino played pretty dirty at the last challenge,” Griswold said. “I don’t know, I’m just getting an off feeling about this guy…”


Seraphina forced a smile and tried waving at Xidorn. He sighed and looked away. 

“Hey man, I think you’re girlfriend is trying to talk to you,” Kalino stated, following him to the arena. 

“We’re not really together anymore,” Xidorn replied, clipping the chain on his leg.

“Aww sucks dude,” Kalino said.

“I don’t really want to talk about,” Xidorn replied.

“Worried about fighting Xidorn?” Griswold asked. 

“You can take him,” Seraphina said.

“You know that’s not what I meant,” Griswold replied. 

“I’m not looking forward to it,” Seraphina replied. 

Griswold sighed and rustled her head. 

“Enough talk!” Rhonda yelled, sitting like a Roman Empress. “Commence the fighting!”

Jousting sticks in hands, the pairs stood, waiting for the other to make a move. Suddenly, the platform shifted and shaked. In his hand, Toby titled a control stick. 

“Did I mention this platform moves?” Rhonda asked. 

Seraphina rolled her eyes, groaning and charging forward to strike at Kalino...only to reach to far and be yanked back into Griswold. 

Kalino stuck out his tongue. “Neiner, neiner.” 

Griswold smirked, then charged full steam ahead. Seraphina screamed, before falling face forward into the mud and being dragged behind him. Xidorn and Kalino gulped, swerving to the right and sliding behind the linebacker. 

Xidorn poked the mud covered psychic. “You alright?” 

Seraphina held up her head and coughed up a puddle. “Yeah...haha, I’m just glad it's only mud.”

Xidorn giggled as he helped her up. 

Kalino meanwhile had been dodging Griswold’s swings. 

“You’re...enjoying this...aren’t you?” Griswold panted. 

Kalino yawned. “Honestly I think it's going on a bit too long mannnn. But let’s change that…”

Dodging another swing by ducking, Kalino pantsed Griswold. 

“Think of the poor children!” Lita screamed, jumping on top of Ness to cover her eyes. 

Griswold blushed and noticed Riley doing the same as she looked away. He dropped his jousting stick as he tried to cover himself. 

Kalino held a thumbs up as he kicked away Griswold’s jousting stick. “Hey, its not a bad look man.” 

Griswold glared and prepared to strike, but the platform teetered to the the right. Kalino used his jousting stick like a baseball bat and whacked Griswold in the face. He fall back, pulling Seraphina with him right off the platform. 


“Yeah,” Griswold stated, now covered in mud. “**** that guy! I got my eye on him...”


“The Molting Eagles score!” Rhonda announced. “Can the Fireworks ever catch back up? Let’s find out in round two! Lita and Ignacio will duel Vance...and Cynthia!”

Lita gulped as she slowly approached the platform. 

“Are you nervous Lita?” Ignacio asked. “I thought you’d be looking forward to another ‘smackdown’ with Vance.”

“I’m just a tiny bit utterly horrified,” Lita replied. 

Ignacio followed the path of her eyes to Cynthia’s own unblinking eyes. 

“I see,” Ignacio said. “Your serial killer phobia. Well...uh, I’ll take care of Cynthia. You focus on trouncing Vance.”

Lita squeezed the model. “Ooh Ignacio, you’re just the best!”

Ignacio blushed and stammered gibberish as the model found himself pressed into her chest. 


“I’ve been terrified of Cynthia since we faced each other in the first challenge,” Ignacio admitted. “But I couldn’t let Lita down...I hope she’ll speak at my funeral.”


At the same time, Vance was shaking in his knees. 

“You’re not worried about facing Lita again are you?” Xidorn asked. 

“Why would I be?” Vance asked.

“Because she curb stomped you in the first challenge, remember?” Kalino asked.

“Yeah, she owned you!” Weston continued. 

“You cried a little,” Xidorn said. 

“It was so sad,” Melissa recalled. “It's okay if you’re scared again Vance, I would be too.”

“She had the advantage because I wasn’t going to fight her,” Vance defended. “But I’m not making that mistake again.”

“Really?” Xidorn asked. 

“I realize that was sexist,” Vance explained. 

“Wow Vance,” Xidorn admitted. “I’m really proud to hear you say that!”

Vance smirked. “So I’m going to embrace feminism by punching women too!”

Xidorn facepalmed.

“What I’m worried about is fighting with…”

He turned to end of the podium where Cynthia seemed to be staring straight at him, as if is greatest fears were revealed in her unblinking eyes. 

“Ooooh,” the cowboy shuttered. 

“Cynthia wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Melissa stated. “Well actually...what I mean is that she’s a good person.”

“Yeah, she doesn’t usually bite,” Weston added. “Except me, but that’s different…”

The other Eagles’ raised their eyebrows, except for a thumbs up from Kalino.

“Look at it this way mannnnnnnnnn,” Kalino said, “I’d rather be fighting with Cynthia than against Cynthia.”

Before Vance could reply, he found himself chained to Cynthia. 

As the two groups got on the platform, it already started to teeter. 

“Fight!” Rhonda cried out. 

Lita and Ignacio nodded as they moved in separate directions, cornering their opponents. 

“Hey there...uh Cynthia,” Ignacio greeted. “How are you?”

“Bored.” 

“Good thing I peed before this challenge,” Ignacio whispered. “So uh...there’s not a possibility my magic hotness will divert your attention, is there?”

“I have a boyfriend,” Cynthia replied.

“It's okay Cynthia!” Weston shouted. “Ignacio is a dreamboat, I would understand.” 

“Don’t think I’m going easy on you this time girly,” Vance greeted. 

“I didn’t know you had any other setting,” Lita replied. “Show me what you got sugar.”

Vance let out a battle cry and charged forward, swinging his jousting stick..only to be held back by Lita’s hand on his head. 

Cynthia stepped closer to Ignacio, holding out her pinky finger.

“What...what is that for?” Ignacio asked. 

Cynthia inched forward. “In a little bit, you’ll regret asking that.” 

“Hey Vance,” Lita asked. “Idiot says what?”

Vance rolled his eyes and scoffed. “Okay, first off that is plain dumb with capital B, like really Lita? Second...wait what?”

Lita punched him square in the jaw, then punched him in the gut. “Two for flinching!”

Suddenly the platform began to move up and down, then side to side, before spinning in circles. Lita tried to gain her balance as Vance lunged at her. He slipped and tried to grab onto the knockout… but pulled off her bra. 

The others gasped, trying and failing to avert their gaze. Toby’s jaw dropped, as did the controller, which smashed on the floor. 

“Won’t someone think of the children,” Seraphina shouted, covering Ness’ eyes. 

Vance froze. “Wooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…”

Lita rolled her eyes, grabbing Vance by the waistband of his speedo and chucking him away. Cynthia stood over a wounded Ignacio, still holding out her pinky finger, when she found herself yanked backwards. The two Eagles landed in the pool of mud below. 

“Uhh...well I guess the Fizzled Fireworks won that,” Rhonda admitted. 

“Aww yeah!” Lita cheered, picking up Ignacio and hugging him. “We’re on the scoreboard. Thank you for fighting Cynthia Iggy, I wish I could you repay.”

“I think you already did,” Riley teased. 

Lita let go of the supermodel, who flopped red face first into the mud, looking like a dead fish.

“I’m just surprised Ignacio wasn’t the one to lose his clothes in this challenge,” Seraphina admitted. 


“So I showed some ta-tas,” Lita said. “We won, didn’t we? If that’s what it takes to get two million dollars, then they’ll be seeing them again.”


“It's twice for the final round,” Rhonda announced. “This time, let’s try to win while keeping our clothes on. Let’s finish with Easton and Ness...against Weston and Melissa. Let’s find out which twin will come out on top!” 

The two twins immediately shot each other glares. They raced up to the platform, their partners rushing after them. 

“Begin!” Rhonda announced. 

Easton and Weston immediately went at each other. The two clashed with their jousting sticks; Weston swinging quickly, but Easton keeping his balance and blocking each time. Melissa and Ness meanwhile found themselves awkwardly squashed next to each other.

“How are you doing today Ness?” Melissa asked.

“Pretty good all things considered,” Ness replied. “By the way, thank you for baking that cake for me. It was delicious!”

“I was happy to!” Melissa said. “Happy belated birthday too!”

“Think your so better than me,” Weston growled. “Are you better than this!” 

He tried to swing lower, but Easton blocked. 

“Says the guy who doesn’t care about how he treats me,” Easton replied. The older twin flicked his jousting stick, pushing Weston back. 

Weston screamed, swinging like a crazy in every direction. Easton stood his ground and with a quick swing knocked his brother back. He charged forward, pushing his twin over the edge of the platform, sending Melissa following. 

“Woo!” Easton cheered, raising his jousting stick. Ness was laying in the mud behind him. 

“With that,” Rhonda said, “we have a winner! The Fizzled Fireworks win this round!”

The Fizzled Fireworks cheered and clapped. 

“You know,” Toby stated. “If you read this past challenge with jousting sticks as innuendo, the whole thing takes on different meaning…”

“With that,” Rhonda interrupted. “Let’s get to the final challenge…”

The newcomers, out of their swimsuits and no longer covered in mud, now stood over the sidewalk of a busy Washington street. It was the large inclining road from the first challenge, the Pentagram Hotel seen in the distance at the end of the hill. From up the sidewalk, Toby, Jenny and Rhonda pulled two toboggans with wheels also from the first challenge. 

Rhonda dropped on the ground, heaving and huffing deep breathes. “The final...trust...challenge. It's a partner's sled...race, where one of you will steer...blind...folded. The other...gives...directions. Why am I so out of shape?” 

Riley jumped in place, raising her hand. “Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! Pick me!”

“We all know why Rhonda’s out of shape,” Jenny said. 

“No,” Riley said. “I want to do this challenge! I didn’t get to do wrestling again, I at least want to do this one!”

Rhonda forced herself off of the ground. “You want to the deadly race through traffic blind?”

Riley nodded. “Sounds fun!”

“At least somebody has some enthusiasm,” Rhonda stated. “Alright you can be blindfolded, while Ness is your partner!”

“Ooh yeah!” Riley cheered. “Me and Loch Ness got this!”

“Let’s make it girls versus girls then,” Rhonda said. “Cynthia will steer, Melissa will direct.” 

Melissa smiled and glomped her eerie bestie. “We have this in the bag.”

“A body bag,” Xidorn whispered to Vance. 

“We roll in five,” Rhonda said. “Everybody else, head back to the Pentagram. 

The other teens started to walk back to the Pentagram, grumbling at haven just gotten here.

Kalino grabbed Xidorn’s sleeve and pulled him to the back. “Can we talk?”

“Of course,” Xidorn said. “Is there something on your mind?”

“Not to be a dog and stick my nose in your business,” Kalino said, “but I got to know...do you really want to be done with Seraphina?”

“No,” Xidorn admitted. “Talking to her at the challenge was nice...but I’m still hurt.”

“Trust me,” Kalino said, “if you care about her, don’t let her slip away. Sometimes there’s time limit you have to be with someone and make it work...and you can never go back to that place where you were in love once its up.”

“I...I can understand that,” Xidorn said. 

“I mean did she cheat on you or something?” Kalino asked.

“Nothing like that,” Xidorn replied.  “She just told a big lie for this game...she said it was to help me but I think she crossed the line.”

Kalino rubbed the back of his head. “I gotcha. This is just me, but I wouldn’t let it come between us.”

“Really?” Xidorn asked.

“Sometimes we do things we regret,” Kalino said. “It sounds like it was for a good reason.”

“I don’t think so,” Xidorn replied. “She didn’t trust me enough, why should I trust her?”

“Give her the chance to earn it,” Kalino replied. “I mean if I betrayed someone’s trust like that...well I’d want a second chance. Everyone would.” 

Xidorn kicked the ground. “Am I being selfish?”

“Not necessarily,” Kalino replied. “But I wouldn’t call it a dealbreaker. If it's really love, it's a learning experience for both of you about each other. It's a tiny hurdle on the way to happiness.”

Xidorn pulled Kalino in for a big hug. “Thank you. Really, thank you. You have a way with words with Kalino.”

“Yeah, I get,” Kalino replied. “So what lie did she tell anyway?”

“Ooh it's silly…”


Kalino sat silently in the confessional for a moment, before exhaling heavily. “So apparently that little rumor that got Frannie sent home...was spread by Seraphina. Huh. Who’d have guessed.”

The surfer sighed, slouching in the seat. “Maybe I would have fallen too hard for Frannie, would’ve got distracted. Now I only have one goal; win this thing. What Seraphina did doesn’t change that.”

Kalino sat up and smiled. “Though I do plan on returning the favor. Let’s see if her tarot cards can predict which of her close friends I take down first.” 


“Go!” Rhonda shouted. 

The two sleds pushed off, the Fireworks wobbling towards traffic while the Eagles dashed forward.

“Left!” Ness screamed, Riley narrowly swerving. .”Right, Right! Left! Ahh, look out! Incoming old lady!

A crunching noise was heard as they passed by. “Aah my hip!”

“Incoming mom!”

“Aah my baby!”

“Incoming Rhonda!”

“Aah, my few remaining shreds of dignity!” 

“Whoops,” Riley laughed. “You didn’t she noticed I almost hit her, do you?”

“Almost?” Ness cried. “Aah, fire hydrant! Right, right!” 

Melissa and Cynthia swerved back and forth through the street. 

“Left!” Melissa called. Cynthia swerved easily out of the way of a car. 

“Right!” Melissa stated, Cynthia dodging again. 

“Trash can dead ahead!” Melissa said. 

From behind her back Cynthia grabbed her chainsaw and slashed the can in half. The two girls high fived as they took the lead. 

At the Pentagram, Toby and Jenny watched the race through binoculars. 

“It looks like they’re getting too tame,” Jenny stated. 

Out of her pocket the mischievous redhead pulled out another of Toby’s contraptions, this time a tv-remote with an antennae and covered in duct tape. 

“How were you able to legally do any of this again?” Seraphina asked. Secretly she hoped to distract the redhead from her latest scheme.

Instead, Jenny pressed all the buttons on the gadget first. “Ooh, the coppers don’t care about any of this! They have bigger issues to worry about.” 

Seraphina raised an eyebrow. “Bigger issues?” 

“Haven’t you heard?” Toby asked. “The subway system has been temporarily closed after a horrible crash. Say the mad horse caused it.”

All the newcomers turned to look at Vance, who bent down and pretended to be tying his laceless boot. 

“Weeee!” Riley laughed, the sled spinning in circles as cars swerved left and right to avoid the teens. “Look Ness, no hands!”

Ness covered her eyes as her face turned green. “I don’t think I can. At least it can’t get any worse.” 

Suddenly a boom was heard. Ness immediately dropped her hands as explosions started going off. 

“Where do they keep getting all these land mines?” Ness cried. 

“Where do you keep getting all these land mines?” Seraphina questioned, Jenny going crazy pressing the buttons. 

“Rhonda said it's because of the original show,” Jenny explained. “The show always had that questionably legal angle, you know? But as the seasons went on it became deadlier and deadlier as the host became nastier and nastier. It had coat following with sadists as result.”

“Cult following,” Toby corrected. “Which anyone with a sixth grade vocabulary would know.”

“YOUR MOM!” Jenny snapped. 

“I’m noticing a pattern with these seasons,” Seraphina said. “So the explosives?”

“Generous donations from sadistic fans who want to support a new version of their favorite program,” Jenny replied. 

“Why couldn’t they just write stories on the internet like the other nerds?” Vance asked. 

Xidorn pouted. “You said you liked my Overwatch fanfiction.” 

As the race continued, the explosives proved to be hardly any obstacle for Cynthia and Melissa, who seemed to move with inhuman precision. 

“We’re almost there!” Melissa cheered. 

The same couldn’t be said with Riley and Ness, the jink trying to pat out on a fire on the bro’s wolf hat. 

“Do you think we’re close Ness?” Riley asked. 

“I don’t even know if we’re on the same street,” Ness admitted. 

“Oops,” Riley laughed. “Hey, maybe we’ll get lucky and catch up.”

Before Ness could reply, an explosion went off. Riley and Ness screamed as their now burning were launched far into the air...landing a little ahead of Melissa and Cynthia. 

“Wooo!” Riley cheered. “I guess we did get lucky Ness.”

Ness coughed out black smoke. “Yeah...I...I guess so…”

“Uh oh,” Melissa said. “They flew right in front of us!”

“Flew?” Cynthia asked. 

“I have no idea either,” Melissa replied. 

Cynthia nodded. She leaned forward, Melissa following suit, and put their forward. Swerving from traffic lane to lane, they swooped in next to the Fizzled Fireworks. 

Rhonda, now having joined the onlookers, watched with her binoculars. “They’re entering the home stretch and they’re neck and neck!” 

Melissa whispered in Cynthia’s ears. The eerie girl nodded, and in flash pulled out her chainsaw. Ness shrieked as Cynthia sawed the half sled. With a kick, she send Ness flying into a dumpster. 

“I’m really sorry about this,” Melissa called. 

“What’s going on Loch Ness?” Riley asked. “Ness...you alive back there?” 

With loss of a load, Riley easily sled into the line and crossed the finish line, followed by the Eagles. 

Riley lifted her blindfold. “Uhhh…”

“Well since all of the Fireworks didn’t cross the finish line,” Rhonda stated. “The win has to go to Cynthia and Melissa, meaning the Molting Eagles win today’s challenge!”

The Molting Eagles cheered, Melissa glomping Cynthia again as the male Eagles high-fived each other. 

Ness came running up to the finish line, immediately frowning upon seeing the Eagles. 

Riley patted the blonde girl. “Hey don’t worry Nessie, it couldn’t be helped. We at least had fun on the ride here, yeah?” 

Ness smiled slightly. “Yeah, a little.”

“Hopefully you’ll have even more fun at tonight’s Internet Cafe Elimination ceremony,” Rhonda announced. “I’ll see you there Fizzled Fireworks, where another one of your teammates will get the boot.” 

Rhonda turned to the celebrating Molting Eagles. “Later tonight, we’ll get to the special reward you won tonight Eagles!”

“Ooh another five star dinner under the stars?” Weston asked. 

“Nope,” Rhonda replied. “For today’s challenge you proved you trust each other pretty well...for now. But as another test, each of you will be picking another Eagles’ reward!”

The Eagles looked at each other in confusion. Rhonda stepped forward, now holding a magician’s top hat in her hand. “In here are six pieces of folded paper, each listing three possible rewards. Each of you have been randomly assigned a teammate. You’ll draw a list, then pick a reward from the list for your teammate in the confessional after the elimination tonight. ” 

“Interesting idea,” Xidorn admitted. “Allows a lot of choice involved.”

“Yeah, we stole it from another fanfiction,” Jenny replied. “Err...were ‘inspired’.”

Rhonda rolled her eyes. “We have permission. Some these rewards are fabulous...others not so much. The lists are meant to be secret, so you can’t tell anyone of the other options. You’ll just have to trust your teammate gave you the best option.”

Rhonda allowed each Eagle to draw a list, but warned not to open it until their alone.

“Now here’s are the choosers; Cynthia will pick for Xidorn, Xidorn will pick for Weston, Weston will pick for Vance, Vance will pick for Melissa, Melissa will pick for Kalino, and Kalino will pick for Cynthia."

"You have tonight to think and decide. Choose wisely, you might regret it later...”

Later, Xidorn was in his usual watching room, reviewing his list. “Hmm…”

“Hey, can we talk?”

Seraphina stood in the doorway. 

“Yeah, I was hoping to see you,” Xidorn said with a smile.

The psychic took a seat on the couch. “Invasion of the Living Pants, that’s a good one.”

“I’d ask you to join...but you have business tonight,” Xidorn replied. “How’s that?”

“It's between two people who I don’t want to go home,” Seraphina stated. “So, nothing new. Listen...I want to say I’m sorry for spreading that stupid rumor. I should have talked you.”

“I appreciate it,” Xidorn replied. “I don’t want to be rude...I get you did it for me, but I don’t understand why you didn’t talk to me? For a relationship to work we have to talk…”

“I gave into my fears and doubts,” Seraphina admitted. “I didn’t believe you could stay and we kept dating...and I made it so we couldn’t.”

“So do you not have faith in me?” Xidorn asked. 

“I just don’t have faith in the world,” Seraphina said. “Sometimes I think...I use to be an optimist. I use to be like you Xidorn.”

“So why did that change?” Xidorn asked. 

“I learned not to trust,” Seraphina replied. “From my mom raising me, to not controlling my powers and being rejected because of them...too many bad things happened.”

Xidorn pulled Seraphina closer to him. She rested on his shoulder. “You know I use to be more cynical. Then I realized I was kind of acting like my grandfather. He was a nasty guy...once I lied about breaking a window and he broke my arm.”

“God,” Seraphina said. “I’m sorry Xidorn…”

Xidorn shrugged. “He was a piece of work...but I still loved him. He past away a couple years after; on his deathbed he didn’t have kind words...that made me realize I didn’t want to be that. I wanted to feel happy about myself, by being honest and being the best person I could be. 

Xidorn sighed. “Life kind of taught me the opposite lesson Seraphina...I have faith life has those things for me. Like corny movies, the stars, food, good friends, good memories and experiences...I have all that, and my grandfather can’t change that.” 

Seraphina wiped away a few tears. “You’re too good for me Xidorn.”

Xidorn laughed. “I’m just a geek in a suspenders. Seraphina...I still really like you. I know that we are different though…”

“We’re really the same too,” Seraphina said. “I want to focus on that. I mean even the way you're different...I like the differences. I...I want to have faith in us, that we can work. I want to be an optimist...it might just take awhile.”

“I believe in you,” Xidorn replied.

“That reminds me,” Seraphina stated. “I got you something.”

Seraphina reached into her pocket and pulled out something. She grabbed Xidorn’s hand and put it in his palm; the unicorn pin.”

Xidorn laughed. “Oh my god, I love it! It’s so cute!”

“I saw it at the mall,” Seraphina said. “It made me think of you, and not just the blue hair.”

“So what, do you believe in unicorns?” Xidorn joked.

“Yeah...yeah I do,” Seraphina replied. 

“It's time Fizzled Fireworks,” Rhonda announced over the P.A. 

Seraphina groaned. “I have to go...but I hope I’ll see you again.”

Seraphina stood up, as did Xidorn. He grabbed her by the waist and pulled her close to him. The two kissed for a moment.  


“Naturally the outcome we wanted to avoid transpired,” Ignacio sighed, shoving his hands into his sweatshirt pockets. “No one wants to vote off each other...we’re a family. But the wounds are still open from last night...and I’m once again a swing vote between Ness and Easton. 

“Both sides think the other has a reason, and both Easton and Ness are valuable to the team in their own way. And I really like both. But I’m not going to risk another tie…”


“Welcome to elimination again Fireworks,” Rhonda announced. “Given how things went last time, I’m a little concerned for you. When I call your name, you will receive a cup of delicious cinnamon mocha coffee...except one of you, who most of your peers have deemed worthy of getting rid of. The first cup goes to...Ignacio.” 

“Griswold...Seraphina…” 

The brunettes shared a look. 

“Lita...Riley…”

The two caught their coffee cups, and each turned to their friend.

“Once again, Easton and Ness are in the bottom two,” Rhonda stated. “But this time there is no tiebreaker; one of you will be going home. The final coffee cup goes to…































“...Ness. I’m afraid it's over Easton.”

Easton sighed. “It was fun while it lasted.”

“I’m sorry,” Ness replied. “I wish-”

“-Don’t sweat it,” Easton interrupted, bringing in the jinxed girl for a hug. “You did what you had to. Stay strong.”

Ignacio stood up, rubbing the back of his head. “I feel I have to apologize to you too. I admire your intellect and consider you friend...but I also value Ness. I couldn’t decide.”

Easton smiled. “I’m not going to hold it against you; you were in a tough spot. But I do have to ask...why?”

“The truth is…”


In the final episode, Ignacio’s earlier confessional was edited here.  

“But I’m not going to risk another tie. So...let's leave it up to luck.” 

Out of his sweatshirt, the model pulled a quarter. “Heads I vote Ness, tails I vote Easton.”

Flipping the quarter with his thumb, Ignacio held his palm open and let the quarter rest upon it.


“That appeared the only fair way to decide,” Ignacio admitted. 

“That’s fair, that should technically be an equal probability,” Easton replied, hugging the model. “I appreciate being given a fair chance. You’re still a bro in my book.”

Ness stared at her coffee cup. “I was...lucky?” 

Easton fist bumped Lita and Seraphina as he made his way to the Revolving Doors of Shame. He stopped before them, hugging Griswold and Riley. 

“Thanks for being my bros in this game,” Easton stated. “Couldn’t have asked for better.”

“Of course bro,” Griswold sniffled. “We’re gonna miss you.” 

“Take it easy brocep,” Riley stated, fist bumping the twin. 

Easton nodded and headed towards the Revolving Doors Of Shame.

“Is...is there anything you want us to tell your brother?”

“No. Nothing at all.” 

Chapter 13 The Maze Of Our Lives

While the Fizzled Fireworks were voting off one of their own, the Molting Eagles were making their way to the closed elevator confessional one by one. To recap, for winning the last challenge the Eagles won a special reward; from a random list they’d choose a teammate’s reward. Behind the buttons on the elevator wall, a secret slot existed, which Rhonda had instructed the Eagles to use to submit their decisions. 


Kalino sat in the confessional, slouched as usual. “This might have been easier if I wasn’t picking for...Cynthia.”

He looked to his left in right despite the elevator’s small size. “I feel like Cynthia could find out the options I had...she might already now. I swear she’s like...magic or something. The problem are my choices; I can give her an, “all expenses paid trip to the local garbage dump...” and start planning my funeral.”

Kalino shuddered. “But my other option is a ‘vote steal’ advantage. Right now, I’d like to be the only one with any deus ex-machina game changer advantages, you dig? Which just leaves a coupon book. Hopefully I can talk to one of the Cynthia whisperers and have them convince her it was the best option.”


Melissa looked over list. “I like the idea of giving each other rewards; it seems sweet...if I wasn’t sure Ms. Rhonda wants to cause drama with it. Hopefully we’ll keep it sweet.”

Melissa tapped her chin. “I have Kalino. I think he’s nice and glad he’s on my team...but he hasn’t always been honest with me in some of the previous votes. I’m willing to move past that, but…”

Melissa sighed and shook her head. “The best option on the list is probably a, “golden immunity flash drive that will be secretly delivered in a chocolate gift basket”. With the merge approaching, it’d ensure Kalino’s safety. Truthfully, I’d love it if the Eagles could keep acting like a team at the merge...but only one of us can win and the guys are really tight. Cynthia is my BFFFL, but I’m not as close with the others as I thought. I feel like I would be the first one they’d vote off when comes down to it. Not to mention I really do like the Fireworks, some have been awfully nice to me...”

The sweetheart sat there for a few moments, before scribbling on the sheet. “I’ll give Kalino a free shopping trip to the mall! I feel horrible not picking the best option, but it's a lot of power. What if he used at the final six and gets me out instead...if things even turn out like that. I mean, no one would give someone the golden immunity flash drive if there’s no trust, right?”


“Melissa has almost no trust in me,” Vance explained. “So I’m going to give her a golden immunity flash-drive. It’ll be delivered secretly in a chocolate gift basket. I figure I do this, and she’ll trust me again! Not to mention I guess I do feel bad about hurting the little lass...it feels like the right thing to do.”


An hour after elimination, the Fizzled Fireworks packed into the dining room. The Molting Eagles were already seated, except for one. 

“Oh dearie my,” Melissa whispered. “They voted off Easton. Is Weston going to be okay Cynthia?”

“He won’t admit he isn’t,” Cynthia said. 

“Speaking of one of my little deputies...where is he?” Vance asked. “Cynthia you didn’t…”

The cowboy gulped as he felt her unblinking eyes looking upon him. “...see him, did you?”

“I don’t know if I can say,” Xidorn stated. “But I may have an idea where he is…”

Rhonda stood in front of the cafeteria line, a smile on her face. “Now that...most of us are here, I’d like to reveal the Eagles’ prizes to everyone. First up, Weston chose to give Vance a Greatest Hits’ album of popular boyband, One Rejection.”

Vance pouted as Rhond tossed him the album. “Psh, I gave Melissa a way better gift than some crappy boy band.”


“Vance is from way out in the country,” Ness stated. “Naturally he hasn’t had a chance to hear how great One Rejection is! I’m so jealous he got that, it's not even in stores yet! I heard it even has the original recording of “You’re That Girl Who Did That Thing”. Hehe, it's one of my faves.”


“I’m getting to your pick Vance,” Rhonda stated. “Tomorrow morning, courtesy of Vance, Melissa will receive a gift basket of chocolates. What a sweet surprise.”

Melissa gasped as she looked at the cowboy, who winked and tilted his hat. 

“Melissa chose to give Kalino a shopping trip to Tyson’s Corner Center Mall,” Rhonda explained. “He’ll have fifty dollars to spend!”

“Sweeeet!” Kalino exclaimed. “Thanks Melissa, I’ll have to get you a gift for giving me the best prize.”

Melissa forced a laugh. “Haha, of course.”

“Kalino is going to let Cynthia do a little shopping too,” Rhonda said. “He chose to give her a coupon book.”

A hushed silence fell over the room as Kalino gulped and smiled at Cynthia.

“Thanks.” Cynthia replied. “I won’t forget it.”

“Cynthia chose to give Xidorn two free movie tickets to the local theatre,” Rhonda stated. 

“Thanks a million Cynthia,” Xidorn stated. “This will be great for a date night between me and Seraphina.”

“Nice to hear you two lovebirds worked it out,” Kalino whispered. 

“It seems like almost everyone enjoyed their rewards,” Rhonda replied. “Remember you still can’t admit what the other options were. But you all got the best prizes your teammate could choose...right? I mean, some secret advantages were options on a few lists after all…”

All of the newcomers eyes grew wide. The Molting Eagles gave looks at each other. 

“Well, I think that’s everything,” Rhonda stated, turning away. “Goodnight everybody!”

“Wait!” Melissa stated. “What about Weston?”

Rhonda turned around, a grin on her face. “Ooh yes...what about Weston? Why isn’t is he? Shed some light for us Xidorn; what did you pick his reward to be?”

“Well the best reward on my sheet,” Xidorn explained, “was, “The chance to earn ten thousand dollars.” Weston is my bud, and a fellow film buff, so I thought he should have it.”

“Heartwarming,” Rhonda said. “So let’s see if Weston can earn that ten thousand dollars…”

A tv screen descended down from the ceiling in front of the newcomers. Rhonda motioned to the cameras who zoomed in on the screen…


“Ahhhhhhh!”

A thud was heard in dark room. Lights shot on, revealing the still scorched stage. Weston dusted a few ashes off himself as he picked himself up. 

“I can’t believe I fell down a trap door...again,” Weston admitted. “That’s the third time today. Hmm...are they ever gonna actually clean this stage or just leave burnt looking?”

As the other lights dimmed, red and blue lights flashed. Out from stage left, where all the red lights seemed to be stationed, skipped out Jenny. From stage right, where the blue lights shone, was Toby. 

“Welcome Weston,” they greeted in unison. 

“Uhh...is it time for a challenge already?” Weston asked. 

“No,” Toby replied. “We’re here to give you your reward from today’s challenge, courtesy of Xidorn.”

“Ahh!” Weston exclaimed. “Thanks Xi for...whatever it is.”

“A chance for ten thousand big ones,” Jenny replied. She held her hands behind her back as she swayed on the heels of her shoes.

“So it is a challenge?” Weston asked.

“Ooh know,” Jenny giggled. “It's really quite easy.”

A podium appeared next to Jenny, displaying an oversized check. “You can leave with it...you just have to do a little something first.” 

“Sure!” Weston replied. “I’ll do whatever!”

Jenny clapped. “Wonderful. You’ll need this.”

From behind her back, she pulled out a hammer. Next to Toby a cart containing eleven old computers rose from the stage floor. 

“What’s that?” Weston asked. 

“Ooh nothing,” Jenny replied. “You just need to smash that cart of junk, then you can take your money and go.”

Weston looked at the cart, to the check and back and forth for a whole minute. “Why?”

“Why do you care?” Jenny asked. “Just take the money and go silly.”

“They’re old computers I was able to repurpose,” Toby interrupted. “They have video chats hooked up on them.”

“Video chats to who?”

“Friends and family of all your other competitors,” Toby said.


The other newcomers gasped. 

“Are families are there?” Ignacio asked. Rhonda nodded, but held a finger to her lip.


Weston scratched his head. “What’s really going on?”

“You prize is a chance at ten thousand dollars,” Jenny explained. “This is your chance. You can take the money and destroy the computers…”

“...or you can let the others talk to their friends and families and destroy the check,” Toby finished.


“Oh my god,” Lita cried out. “You mean my brother might be on there?”

“Your brother is on there,” Rhonda stated. “So are Ignacio’s parents, Kalino’s dad, Melissa’s mom, Riley’s brothers, and so many of your friends and loved ones.”

“How?” Lita asked. “We don’t even own a computer?”

“We arranged it,” Rhonda explained. 


“The show went to everyone’s homes and found their loved ones,” Toby explained. “They’re under the impression they're waiting for the other newcomers to talk to them...but if they don’t answer, it's because they chose not to talk to them.”


“Why the **** would you tell them that?” Riley asked. 

“More drama,” Rhonda replied, with a little laugh. 

“You’re heartless,” Griswold said. 

Melissa shook her head as everyone else glared at the hostess. 


“So all our loved ones are expecting us?” Weston asked.

“No,” Jenny replied. “You don’t have a computer. If you choose that prize, you leave with nothing.”

“How’s that fair?” Weston asked.

“Its not,” Toby replied. “So, what do you choose?”


“Ooh Weston,” Lita cried. “Is it bad I want him to pick us.”

“I don’t know,” Ignacio admitted. “But I want him to…”


“I don’t know,” Weston admitted. “I have to think about this…”

“What’s there to think about?” Jenny asked. “It's ten thousand dollars! Why wouldn’t you pick it?”

“But the others…”

“The others?” Jenny asked. “What about the others? Most of them would have picked the money.”

“No they wouldn’t have...would they?” Weston asked. 

“I guarantee it,” Jenny stated. “I mean, what do you owe them anyway?”

“True,” Toby replied. “It's not like Xidorn chose this reward for you.”

“Yeah, your reward,” Jenny said. “The rest of the Eagles got rewards, what about you?”

Weston pouted. “Well…”

“Do you want to give it to the Fireworks?” Jenny asked. “To Easton and the friends he replaced you with?”


“Easton isn’t even here,” Griswold pointed out.

“Weston doesn’t know that,” Rhonda replied.

“Does he even know we can see this?” Kalino asked.

“He has no idea.”


“You really want Easton to talk to your folks,” Jenny continued. “Let them visit their favorite son.”

“Of course I don’t want Easton to have it!” Weston shouted.

“Even if your brother misses your family?” Toby asked.

“They’ll all see their loved ones again,” Jenny replied.

“You’re right, they’ve just been away from home for over a month,” Toby said. “They probably won’t see their loved ones for even longer. You’ve got the once chance they have.”

“It's not like they’ll know you didn’t give it to them Weston,” Jenny explained. “You don’t have to explain how you won the money, you can make up something.”

“Yeah, lie to your friends and girlfriend,” Toby said. “That sounds like it won’t backfire.”

“Think about what this money could buy,” Jenny said. “I mean, right now you have a one-in-twelve shot of winning. If you lose, you get nothing. At least you can still get the money.”

“Is ten thousand a lot?” Weston asked. 

“I don’t think so,” Toby replied. “It’ll be easy to burn through.”

“Maybe,” Jenny said. “Maybe not. I mean it could at least help out your family, or even in college. Which college are you going to?”

“I...I have no idea,” Weston admitted. “I don’t even know what I want to do at college…”

“Well with that money you can go to plenty of colleges,” Jenny replied. “I mean, Easton has money going to college. Why not show you can earn some too?”

Weston stepped forward.

“You know if it was someone what you would want them to pick,” Toby stated. 

“Do you really want to remembered as the guy who gave this up?” Jenny asked. “The internet will be calling you an idiot for ages if you do this.”

“You know what the right option is,” Toby said. “You know what you want to pick.”

“Yes, you do,” Jenny agreed. 

Weston sighed and went over to the check. 

Jenny flashed a grin at her sidekick as Weston lifted up the check. The grin quickly fell as the younger twin tore the check in half. 

“I don’t know if I made the right choice,” Weston admitted. “But I’m sticking by it.”

Jenny sulked off. For a second, Toby half-smiled, but returned to his usual expression as he pushed the cart to Weston. 

“Now what?” Weston asked.

“You go up,” Toby replied.

Weston raised an eyebrow as a platform shot up from under him. The ceiling opened up, taking the twin and cart all the way into the dining room. 

“Huh?” 

“Weston!” 

The newcomers cheered as the raced to Weston, many pulling the confused kid in for a hug or thanking him while crying. 

“What’s going on?” Weston asked.

“We saw the whole thing,” Xidorn stated. “You made the right choice!”

“I don’t know how to thank you,” Lita cried.

“Haha, it isn’t a big deal...wait, where’s Easton?”

“He...was voted off tonight,” Ness said. “I’m so sorry he’s not here Weston.”

“He’d be totally proud of you Bromer Simpson,” Riley said. 

Weston looked away. “I don’t even really care…”

“I’m afraid we don’t have anything for you Weston,” Rhonda said. “You can stay if you want…”

“Weston can have my call,” Kalino suggested. 

“You don’t have to do that,” Weston said. 

“I really don’t mind man,” Kalino replied. 

“I’m afraid it's not allowed,” Rhonda replied. “Weston doesn’t get a call; that was the deal. Now for privacy’s sake, you’ll do your calls one on one in the confessional. Ooh, and don’t think of asking for spoilers. If you try, kiss this all goodbye. So who's first?”


Vance gulped as he opened the laptop. A rio of girls in cowboys hats appeared on the screen, sitting inside what looks like a stadium. Vance sighed in relief. 

“Ooooh Vance,” the girls swooned. 

Vance smirked and tipped his cowboy hat. “Ladies. How are you?”

“We’ve missed you Vance,” a blonde girl said. “The rodeo just hasn’t been the same without you.” 

Vance blew his knuckles. “I’d imagine; not as daring or sexy without me.” 

The girls nodded. 

“What’s it like there?” a brunette girl asked. “I bet the girls there are really pretty? You’ve probably forgot all about us.” 

“You know I couldn’t forget about you Jenna,” Vance stated. 

“Umm…it's Rachel,” the girl replied. 


Riley opened her laptop. She was greeted by a chorus of, “Brah!” 

On the screen were eight men with similar features to Riley, all older than her ranging from in their thirties to mid twenties. A few of the older men were dressed more normal and casual, in white beaters and sweats, but many had a fashion sense just as ‘stylish’ as Riley. Only one stood out, dressed more professionally. 

“Bros!” Riley cheered, wiping a tear. 

“Aww you miss us Ry.”

Riley laughed. “Shut up! You know I do! And to see you all there...it's rare these days. You know, with life going on and stuff. I hate I’m missing out.”

“It’s all cause of you Riley,” the eldest said. “To support our little sis, who's kicking butt out there! How is it?”

“Are you having fun?”

“You making a lot of friends?”

“Is the food good?”

“Have you gone skating in Washington?”

“You told any girls we’re single?”

“Seriously, what is the deal with the food?”

Riley laughed and shook her head. “You guys! One at a time...”


Cynthia opened her laptop. Her video showed an walking down the streets of what seemed like a small town. 

Caww! Caww!

A harsh screeching echoed in the background, the call of a crow. It seemed on every roof, tree branch, and power line sat a murder of crows, who stared directly at the computer’s camera lens. 

A blonde teen and a redheaded girl walked down the street, looking at each other with loving eyes. 

“Hey,” the teen shouted, running towards the teens. “Total Drama here; anything you want to say to your classmate Cynthia?” 

The two teens’ eyes widened, the boy focused on in the screen. “Uhh…hey Cynthia, hope you win, heh, heh. I’d stay to talk longer but um…I have to…”

A crunching noise and a scream was heard. “I have to talk my girlfriend to the hospital! Yeah, she just fell in front of car. Crazy right? Bye!” 

The blonde ran off, picking up the redhead from the windshield of car. The driver saw Cynthia, immediately started back up their car, and drove off into an alleyway.

The intern turned and focused on a girl with short black hair exiting a store. “Hey you, thoughts you’d like to share with Cynthia? We’re live with her right now!”

The girl gulped but forced a smile. “Oh yeah, I’ve been watching. Cynthia’s done so well. I was kind of surprised to see her friendship with Melissa and her dating Weston…but I think it's super cute. I totally ship it Cynthia haha.”

The girl smiled at the camera. Cynthia stared at the screen.

The girl stood there awkwardly, her smile fading and her eyes shifting back and forth, before bursting into tears and running away…only screaming, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry…” 

“What is wrong with this place?” the intern asked. As if in response, a crow attacked the intern. The man screamed as crow screeching intensified. The feed cut off. 

Cynthia stood up and walked away. “That was more fun than I thought it would be.” 


Ignacio took a deep breath before opening the screen. On the screen were an older Hispanic couple at a small table. Their faces lit up as they saw Ignacio. 

"¡Mamá! ¡Papá!"

“¡Ignacio!"

"¿Cómo estás mi hijo?"

"Estoy bien, estoy teniendo un mejor momento de lo que pensaba."

"Estamos muy orgullosos de ti Ignacio! La mayoría de los padres desean que puedan ser tan buenos como los niños como tú.”

"Y la mayoría de los niños no se dan cuenta de que podrían tener padres tan amables como tú".

Ignacio wiped away tears.

"Entonces ... ¿Conoces a alguna linda niña Ignacio?"

"¡Mamá!"


Xidorn opened his computer. A purple haired Vietnamese preteen girl smiled and waved. 

“Cousin Vy!” Xidorn cheered. “Did you...did you dye your hair?”

“You like it?” Vy asked. 

Xidorn laughed. “I love it! I just can’t believe Aunt Rose and Uncle Van let you...they let you, didn’t they?”

“Yes, they did,” Vy giggled. “It's in honor of you! You and how awesome you are on the show!”

“Really?” Xidorn asked. “Your family is watching?”

“All of our family is,” Vy said. “And thinks you’re doing great! Your family is too; you’re mom, sister and your dad! They’re all really proud of you!”

“My dad is watching?” Xidorn asked. “They are?”

Vy nodded excitedly. “We all are! Team Xidorn all the way!”


Griswold opened his laptop. A locker room appeared on the screen, where football players walk around with towels around their waists. They notice the camera is on and cheer. 

“Griswold!”

“Grizzlywold in the house!”

“Woop! Woop!”

“Go Bulldogs!”

Griswold chuckled. “Guys! It looks like the whole team is here! What are you doing?”

“Just some summer practice rounds,” one of Gris’ teammates replied. “Coach is ticked you’re gone...but still rooting for you!”

“You’re taking good care of the lucky jockstrap aren’t you?”

“Of course,” Griswold replied. “We need at our opening game. It's done me pretty good so far.”

“We’ve seen,” another teammate said. “You’ve been having some success with the ladies.”

A chorus of chuckles and cheers erupted from the locker room. 

Griswold turned redder than his varsity jacket. “Me and Lita aren’t a thing…”

“What about that hot skater chick?” one of his teammates asked. 

“Riley?” Griswold asked. “I mean she’s the most awesome person ever...but I never thought about dating her…”

“Well you should! Half of the school ships you with her.”

“Yeah, and who does the other half of the school ship me with?” Griswold asked. 

“Ignacio…”


Melissa jumped in place as she opened her laptop; on the screen sat an older woman who looked like Melissa, wearing a hijab. 

“Melissa!” 

“Mother! I’ve missed you so much!”

“I’ve missed you too dear,” the woman replied. “It's strange; I know you’re still in the same city, yet I haven’t seen you in over a month. Are you well?”

“I’m good,” Melissa replied. “Better now that I’m talking to you.”

“It looks like you’ve been very brave,” Melissa’s mother said. “I didn’t think you could do a show like this to be honest...I’m happy to be wrong. You also got your first boyfriend…”

Melissa blushed and chuckled. “Hehe, yeah. Aiden’s a sweetie. You’ll love him.”

“Ooh I already do,” Melissa’s mother replied. “Your father though…”


Ness opened her laptop and frowned. At a mall somewhere, a large crowd of teenagers waiting for the message. 

“Is that everyone from school?” Ness asked. “I thought this was my loved ones visit?”

“Oh my god,” a girl laughed. “Look everyone! Its Ness the mess!”

The crowd roared in cheers and laughter. 

“Total Drama came to town and said they wanted someone to talk to you,” a boy explained. “We decided we wanted to tell you how amazing we all thought you were on the show.”

Ness raised an eyebrow. “You...do?”

“Ooh totally,’ a girl replied. “We had no idea you could be that pathetic for millions of people to see!”

The teens laughed. “I mean we thought you were a mess at school, but you really proved it on Total Drama!”

“I can’t believe you made it past first boot...but god am I glad you did haha!”

“I’ve been making a compilation of all your fails so far,” another voice said. “Its too many videos.”

“I’m not doing that bad,” Ness sighed. “I...I almost at the merge.” 

“If your team doesn’t wise up and eliminate you, once they stop feeling sorry for you.”

“Ooh by the way Ness,” a boy said. “How are you and your boyfriend Pascal doing?”

The crowd made kissing noises. 

“You know what...who cares what any of you losers think!”

The crowd went silence. 

“Why should I?” Ness asked. “You all applied to Total Drama and none of them wanted you! You’re all just a bunch of insecure creeps who can’t think for themselves! I’ve worked hard to get here, and you can’t take that away. So choke on that!”

Ness slammed the laptop closed. She took deep breaths. “Wow...I’ve never raised my voice that much. ...I kinda liked it.”


Kalino opened up his laptop. The screen showed a desk in a lawyer’s office. Sitting at the desk was a man of Pacific Island descent, black hair cut short and slicked back, talking on the phone. 

“Yes, yes I know! But I gave a deadline, and I want it met by that deadline!”

Kalino shook his head, coughing. 

The lawyer turned to the screen. “I’ll have to call you back… hell Kalino.”

“Yo Daddy-O,” Kalino replied. “Is this a bad time, I can call back.”

“Nonsense, this is your only call,” Kalino’s father replied.

Kalino frowned. “Ooh...darn.”

“It's good to see you son,” Kalino’s father replied. “I really wanted to talk to you.”

“You did?” Kalino asked. “Ooh..well, thanks dad...”

“My secretary has been keeping me update on how you’re doing on the show,” Kalino’s father continued. “So has your sister Iolana. We agree that it might be best for you to...leave the show.”

“Leave?”

“My firm can settle the legal matters and have you out in days,” Kalino’s father continued. “I mean you’re not going to win, so why don’t we have you do something more productive, right?”

“You know, the others have talked to their loved ones,” Kalino stated. “Telling them how much they miss them, how proud they are...and I get to talk to you. No, ‘how are you?’ No, ‘I miss you’...”

“Son, please I didn’t-”

“- Weston didn’t get to talk to anyone,” Kalino continued. “I tried to give him my call, but Rhonda wouldn’t let me. He doesn’t get to speak to his loved ones, but I get to hear how disappointed you are. Yippee for me.” 

Kalino closed the laptop. “Not today old man. I’m not going through this today.”


Seraphina stood outside the confessional, laptop in hand, Ness beside her. Lita rushed out of the confessional, crying heavily. Seraphina and Ness pulled her in for a hug. 

“You talk to your brother?” Ness asked. 

Lita nodded. “We...we don’t own a TV, but he said he knew I was kicking butt. It was just great to see him.”

Lita grabbed Seraphina’s shawl and blew her nose in it. “Ooh...sorry Seraphina.”

Seraphina giggled. “I can wash it. I’m glad you got to talk to him.”

“It's your turn now,” Lita sighed. 

“Do I have too?” Seraphina asked. 

“Rhonda said it was your school that wanted to talk to you,” Lita replied. 

“My school doesn’t even know I exist,” Seraphina replied. “I don’t even show up enough. I mean, what if Rhonda’s setting me up like poor Ness…”

“Like I said, my message was nothing,” Ness replied. “You could handle them for sure.”

“Rhonda better watch herself,” Lita stated. “If she thinks she can pull that crap on y’all, and keep up her nasty tricks, karma will get her. And in this case, karma might be my fist in her face.” 

Seraphina sighed. “Alright, here goes nothing…”


Seraphina opened her laptop; the screen showed a couch in a dimly lit living room. An older woman sat there, dressed in cheap jewelry and with sharp features. 

“Crap, you’re here,” Seraphina groaned. “I knew that school thing couldn’t be true…”

“Is that any way to greet your mother,” the woman replied. “I raised you better than that...or at least I tried, all by myself with no help. A thankless job with a thankless daughter…”

“The guilt trip is not going to work this time,” Seraphina replied. “Is that why you decided to speak to me?”

“Can’t a mother just want to visit with her daughter?”

“That’s not what you want, is it?” Seraphina asked. 

“Sounds like you're still seeing the future, good…”

Seraphina rolled her eyes. “I know it! What do you actually want?”

“I’m here to tell you to come home.”

“What?” Seraphina asked. 

“I’m telling you to leave that show and get back here.”

“Why would I do that?” Seraphina asked. 

“Since you’ve been on this show I’ve been getting tons of calls,” Seraphina’s mom replied. “People want you to do give them readings, talk to their relatives...I’ve got at least a two months booked for you. Don’t you get it, you don’t need this show anymore! We can make millions all on our own!”

Seraphina gritted her teeth. “For the last time, I don’t do readings anymore! I’m not here to advertise, and I’m not going to exploit people.” 

“I didn’t ask for your opinion,” her mother replied. “I’m the one in charge, not you. Can’t you think of others for once Seraphina...like me! We need the money!”

“Maybe you could try getting a real job,” Seraphina said. “You could try to stop profiting off me!”

“I knew you’d let me down Seraphina,” her mother replied. “You always did, and now you have the chance to make up for...and you still want to hurt your poor mother.” 

Seraphina glared. “I’m sorry...what was that? I, I, I can’t hear you...I think I’m going through a tunnel…”

“I can see you! This isn’t a ph-”

Seraphina slammed the laptop closed. 


She sighed and stepped out of the confessional to see Lita and Ness waiting.

“That bad sweetie?” Lita asked. 

“It was my mother,” Seraphina groaned.

“That bad,” Ness said. 

“She is the worst kind of person,” Seraphina stated. 

“What did she want?” Lita asked. 

“For me to leave,” Seraphina explained. “So she can charge for readings...these psychic powers are nothing but trouble…”

“That’s not true,” Lita replied. “They’re a part of you sweetie.”

“A sad, twisted part,” Seraphina replied. 

“Come on,” Ness said. “I think we all need some rest. Then we can get ice cream for breakfast tomorrow.”

Seraphina smiled. “Sounds like a plan.”


In the early hours of the morning, as Rhonda stated, Melissa received her chocolate basket at her door. Peeping out to make sure no one was watching, the sweetheart grabbed it and snuck off to the confessional. 


Melissa rummaged through the basket, filled with chocolate treats, from white chocolate hearts to milk chocolate cups. From the center she pulled out a chocolate woodchuck sculpture. She raised an eyebrow as she bit into its head, before spitting out a piece of gold paper. 

“Congratulations Melissa,” she read, “you are the recipient of a golden immunity flash drive, hidden inside this woodchuck head. This flash drive can used be in the voting booth before votes to secretly nullify any votes at any ceremony, unless exceptions are noted.”

Tearing off the chocolate woodchuck head, she dropped the flash drive on her lap. “Hmm...well, Vance knows I have this obviously, but I don’t know if anyone had a similar option on their list like I did...still, I need to find a chance to talk to Vance alone and thank him for this flash drive.”

She bit into the chocolate woodchuck’s neck. “Ooh nugget! And this delicious chocolate!”


The day went off as normal, with the newcomers enjoying their leisure with no challenge. The next day was different however. In the mid morning Rhonda announced that there would be a challenge today. When questioned again why the challenges weren’t scheduled every three days, Rhonda replied there was surprise in store for them, but it would be for another time.

She lead the teams to the cafeteria, to have breakfast before they started. 

“I decided to make a pancake breakfast for you all,” Rhonda stated. “Something special for the extra special challenge we have, and the extra special reward the winners receive. So please enjoy, but not too many…”

The Fizzled Fireworks began feasting at their table. 

“You dudes think Rhonda’s words confirmed we’re having a gross food eating challenge today?” Rhonda asked. “You know, ‘but not too many’ or whatever.”

“Maybe,” Griswold replied. “But it won’t be the main one I think, since we did one earlier. I want to know what the reward is...and why she keeps scheduling them. With how much she worries about production you think she wouldn’t have this issue...unless something’s changed…”

“I want to know what Rhonda’s deal is,” Ignacio said. 

“You still going on about how she got to host this show?” Griswold asked. “It was probably just cheap labor.”

“Maybe,” Ignacio replied, not at all convinced. 

“I’m curious when that marge is,” Lita stayed, stuffing away pancakes. 

“You mean the merge?” Seraphina asked. 

“Yeah,” Lita replied. “That…”

“I’m worrying about that too,” Ness admitted. 

“May I inquire what’s stressing you about it Ness?” Ignacio asked. 

Ness sighed. “The teams are even now, but whichever team goes into the merge with more players will likely…”

“...pick the others off,” Riley finished. 

“So if we lose the next few challenges, like we have,” Seraphina said. “We’ve basically lost.”

The Fireworks were silent for a moment.

“We’ll just have to win all the remaining challenges,” Seraphina said. “I mean, if anyone can do it, it is us right?” 

Griswold smiled. “Exactly Seraphina! We’re going to kill it today!”

Ness snapped. "We should have some kind of cheer or something. You know, for our team!"

"That's an awesome idea Ness," Griswold replied. "Any ideas?"

Ness blushed. "Ooh, I don't know... maybe something like, it ain't going to work unless its the Fizzled Fireworks?"

The other Fireworks shrugged. "We'll workshop that."

“How many challenges do you think till the merge?” Seraphina asked. 

“The original merged around ten,” Ness recalled. “So maybe two?”

“You’re wearing your lucky jockstrap right Gris?” Seraphina teased. 

Griswold winked. “Of course.”

“Then we can’t lose,” Seraphina chuckled. 

“Lucky jock strap?” Ignacio whispered to Ness, who shrugged. 

Riley yawned. “I just hope I stay awake for it.”

“Same,” Serphina sighed. “Suddenly I’m so sle-”


“Ooh my head…”

Seraphina groaned as regained consciousness. Standing up, she frowned as she looked around; the ceilings matched those of the underground torture chambers, yet walls were erected around her. The walls were made from random materials; melded scrap metal, taped plastic, cardboard and other trash. 

“Wakey wakey everyone! It's time for your challenge…”

Slowly the other newcomers came to, finding themselves separated and surrounded by walls. 

Riley scratched her head, kicking sand dunes that were over the ground. “I take it we’re not at the beach…bummer.”

“Sorry for the nap everybody,” Rhonda announced over the P.A., “but it was necessary.” 

“Was it?” Xidorn asked, likewise surrounded by sand dunes. “Really? Hmm...I’m guessing this is Toby’s work.”

“As you can see,” Rhonda said, “We’ve converted the torture chamber into...The Amazing Maze! Today’s challenge is simple, the first team to leave the maze wins.”

Kalino strolled along through a forest of tall trees. “So we just have to leaf this place as fast as we can haha…”

“I’m sure you’re wondering why we call it the Amazing Maze,” Rhonda said.

“Not really,” Seraphina replied. 

“I’ll show you,” Rhonda replied. In her secret office, Rhonda pressed a button. The maze began to shake as the newcomers tried to get steady. The walls moved and turned, Seraphina almost falling over as they blocked off her path. Kalino gasped as the trees sank into the ground. 

Riley struggled to stand as the sand seem to sift through the ground; the floor panels shifted and we’re suddenly ice. The bro slipped and facepalmed the ground. 

With Toby’s tech and the trap doors of this hotel, we’re able to change your surroundings drastically,” Rhonda announced. “If you’re curious how...just don’t ask. Seriously, don’t poke holes in this maze…”

Somewhere the maze a swimming pool was shown, where a key dangled from a buoy. 

“To leave the maze you’ll need to find a key,” Rhonda said. “A single key is hidden in each section of the maze, you’ll have to find and retrieve it before the area changes and the key is hidden again. You might have to overcome an obstacle…”

A shark fin rose above the water, circling the buoy.

“...Or complete a task that will reward you the key…”

The maze shifted again; the swimming people became covered as two tables appeared in its place. Sitting on the tables were bags of puzzle pieces. A key dangled in birdcage that was tied to both tables. 

“Once you have a key, you’ll have to find a gate corresponding to your team.”

A red gate was shown, bearing the emblem of the Fizzled Fireworks. A comically oversized, rusty lock was on it. 

“But you’ll have to find it first. Every time a key is used, and every thirty minutes, the maze will shift and change the location of everything!”

“Ooh, that’s all,” Seraphina sighed. 

“But that’s not all…”

The psychic facepalmed. 

“For this challenge we really want to see how strong your teams are. So this challenge will test how much you contribute individually to your team, and how well you work together. This challenge has three stages. The first stage is on your own. In the second stage, you’ll meet and work with a teammate to secure a key. So if you’re taking your sweet time, you’ll be holding back your team.”

Ness gulped as she listened, peering over the edge of a big pit in front of her.

“The third and final stage will require all six of your team members be present,” Rhonda continued. “Together you’ll lower a drawbridge and reach the finish line. Ooh...and one more thing...there’s only one key at time in each of your area’s...but a member from the opposing team is in the same section of maze as you are. So you’ll have to beat them to the key.”

“That explains this,” Griswold stated, tapping a blue Molting Eagles gate in front of him. 

Rhonda cleared her throat. “TL;DR: The maze moves, find a key before the other team, find the gate, work with a fellow team member to do it again, meet your whole team and cross the finish line together.”

“Is that all?” Seraphina asked. 

“And one last thing,” Rhonda continued. 

Seraphina shook her head. “Rhonda can never keep it short.”

“Like I said, the winners of today’s challenge will receive an extra special reward!” Rhonda announced. “With that, let the challenge begin!”


Griswold jogged through the maze, his eyes scanning every corner. “We gotta win this challenge...I can’t let my team down...not after they made me leader.”

Griswold halted to stop as he turned the corner. In front of him was a waiter holding out a silver tray. “Bonjour Monsieur Griswold.”

“Sup waiter dude,” Griswold replied. “I’m guessing you got a key.”

The waiter lifted the silver tray, revealing a bowl of guts, flies swarming around them. “I will give you a key, if you eat an entire bowl of eel guts.”

“Looks like Rye was right about gross food eating,” Griswold chuckled. He lifted the whole bowl and dumped it down his throat, swallowing the eel guts whole.


“After that soup Lita made last challenge,” Griswold explained, “eel guts sounded like a delicacy.”


The waiter bowed, closing the tray and revealing a key from his sleeve, which was immediately snatched...but not by Griswold.

“Thanks for the help Gris-man,” Kalino shouted, running away. “I appreciate it.” 


“That wasn’t the smartest idea in hindsight,” Kalino admitted.


“Aaaaaahhhh!” 

Kalino looked up as Griswold jumped on top of the slacker, tackling from the ground. He pulled back his wrist and grabbed the key. “You want a key? You have to earn it.”

“Can’t blame a dude for trying right?” Kalino asked. 

Griswold picked up Kalino by shirt collar and began spinning in circles, before high tossing into a corner. The jock smiled a little, placing the key in his pompadour, and jogging off. 


“If I have any power in deciding,” Griswold explained, “the first person I want to vote off at the merge is Kalino! I guess the rules allow him to play dirty...but something about that guy just rubs me the wrong way. He’s not to be trusted, and I’ll make sure everyone knows that…”



Over in a different section of the maze, Riley was skating on the ice floors. She gasped, dropping to the floor; a key was frozen in the water below her.

“Found you little key dude,” Riley laughed. “Now I just have to figure out how to get you out of the ice and-”

Suddenly the maze began to shift again. Riley jumped up as the floor began to sink...only to run straight into a tree. More trees began to rise from the ground as the ice floor disappeared. 

“Of course,” Riley sighed. 


In another part of the maze, Vance was struggling with another part of the maze. A sour looking intern spun three coconut halves or shells in place on a table before the cowboy. Vance groomed his mustache in thought, before selecting a coconut shell.

The intern flipped up the shell, revealing nothing. She flipped the one on the end, revealing the key. 

“You’re lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut!” Vance yelled. 

The intern began spinning the shells again. “For the last time, I’m not cheating. I don’t get paid enough to try that.”

“Then why do I keep losing?” the cowboy asked.

“Do you ever think it could be you?” the intern asked. “Or you know...think?”

“Its modern times,” Vance stated. “We have computers for thinkin’. I’m a man of action.”

“Have it your way,” the intern replied. “Pick a shell.”

Vance twirled the end of his mustache, moving his finger back and forth over the shells.

“Eenie menie minie moe?”

“Shush! That one, the middle one.”

The intern sighed and lifted the shell. There was no key.

“Errrrr!” Vance growled, biting the top of his hat.

“What do you plan to do now man of action?” the intern asked. “Huh? Huh? Hu-”

Vance punched the intern in the face. He flipped the table and grabbed the key off the ground.

Vance tipped his hat. “Pleasure doing business with you.”


Meanwhile, Riley had found a key, hanging from the highest branch of the tallest and widest tree in the sudden forest. She had climbed up towards the top and reached for the key...only to touch hands with someone else.

“Xidorn?” Riley asked. 

“Riley?” Xidorn returned. 

“Small world man,” Riley laughed. “I hate to be a bother, but would you mind letting go of the key? I already got to it.”

“Actually I believe I got here first,” Xidorn replied. “Not to be rude, but could you please let go of the key.”

The two stared at each other for a moment, before pulling at the key. 

“Just because you’re always honest, doesn’t mean you’re always right,” Riley stated. 

“I agree,” Xidorn said. “But I am right here! And I’m not letting you go with the key. So go skate somewhere else and find another one.” 

Suddenly, the tree started shaking, before starting to retreat back into the ground. Xidorn’s eyes grew wide as Riley gulped, but the two shared a look and refused to move. Tugging at the key again, they pulled, until they fell back. The tree descended back into the ground, the key flying into the air before falling back into the ground. The two teens landed on top of each other.

“Temporary truce,” Xidorn moaned. 

“Sounds groovy,” Riley groaned. “Let’s go our separate ways.” 


A montage played in the final episode, dealing some of the others finding keys. Ness shot her’s down from a series of balloons, while Lita wrestled a gator for her key.

Seraphina pickpocketed Vance from some bushes, who was too distracted screaming and running, while Cynthia found her key hanging from a bat’s cave. Ignacio managed to solve a puzzle to be rewarded with a key, while Weston found his digging from sand dunes.

The montage ended with Melissa bobbing her key out out a water bucket. 

Now, the sweetheart sat outside of a blue gate, yawning. She sprung to her feet as she heard panting. Vance ran up to the gate, unlocking it. 

“Ooh dear,” Melissa gasped. “Your face is all scratched up, what happened?”

“Get back here!”

The intern from earlier, now sporting a black eye hissed as she ran towards the cowboy. She tried to claw at him from outside the gate. 

“She’s meaner than a wet panther,” Vance whispered. 

“You southern sack of-”

Melissa grabbed Vance by the arm and pulled him away. “I think we’ll just take our leave and uh...let you cool down. Have a nice day!” 

Vance sighed in relief. “Sorry I took so long, that banshee was stalking me for...some reason. You know I hate to keep a lady waiting.”

Suddenly, the maze shook and shifted again; haystacks appeared in front of the teens. 

Melissa clapped. “One of the keys must be in these stacks! This is wondrous! I mean, you told us all how you found needles in haystacks all the time on your ranch.”

“That sure is thing that I remember saying because it's true,” Vance replied.

The two teens hopped into a haystack and began sifting through the straw.

“Hey Vance,” Melissa said. “I...I never got the chance to thank you for my reward.”

“Ooh yeah,” Vance laughed. “Your ‘chocolates’, right?”

“I have to ask...why? Why give me the flash drive? I was...am upset with you and the other Eagles for keeping in the dark. It's very risky.”

Vance blushed. “Well, you didn’t trust us...so now you have a reason to. Trust me at least. I’m not planning on voting you out, and if you’re worried I am you can use that to save yourself. I’m putting my trust in you that you won’t use it against me.” 

“Wow Vance,” Melissa gasped. “That’s really sweet. You’re very generous man, you know that?”

“I’ve been told that several times,” Vance admitted. “Its one of my best features, like my amazing abs or my humbleness.”

“I super duper, extra pinky promise I won’t use it against you,” Melissa replied. “But I would like if we kept it a secret from the other Eagles for now.”

“No problem,” Vance replied. “Trust me, I don’t think the other Eagles will be targeting you. Kalino said we’d pick off the Fireworks first.”

Melissa paused and raised an eyebrow. “Kalino said that?”

“Ooh yeah,” Vance replied. “He usually knows what’s best, where the votes should go.”

“Well hopefully he’ll let me know the next vote…”


“Has Kalino been deciding the votes all this time?” Melissa asked. “I mean he and Hayden had that fight before the challenge...then Hayden went home. He was the one who told us Frannie was homesick...did he send home Aiden too? I think I need to keep an eye on Kalino...if that’s okay with him hopefully.”


“I do have one thing to ask of you Melissa,” Vance stated. 

“Don’t worry Vance,” Melissa replied, “if you’re trouble I’ll use the immunity flashdrive for you!”

“Ooh,” Vance said. “I was just ask if you’d share some of that chocolate with me.”

Melissa giggled. “After we win this challenge, I’ll bake you make my signature tripple chocolate chimp cake!”

“Sweet doggies!” Vance cheered. “Uh, is it made with real chimps?”


In another section of the maze, Ignacio and Griswold wear searching under rocks for another key. 

“Nothing under here,” Griswold announced, flipping another large rock.

“Likewise,” Ignacio replied. “Hey Griswold...can I ask you something?”

“Shoot,” Griswold replied, throwing a boulder away.

Ignacio blushed. “Well, I’m a bit embarrassed, but since the two of us are here alone…”

“Oh my god, Grisnacio is happening,” Griswold whispered. 

Ignacio raised an eyebrow. “What did you say?”

“Uhh...I said you can talk to me dude. This rock quarry…”

The maze shifted, the rocks disappeared, and the floor became an icy lake. 

“...this frozen lake is a judgement free zone,” Griswold replied. 

“Well...how do you know when you like someone?” Ignacio asked.

Griswold raised an eyebrow. “Is there somebody you’re crushing on Iggy?”

Ignacio blushed. “Uhh...there might be a girl, but I don’t know.”


“So Ignacio wasn’t attracted to me,” Griswold replied. “I’m kind of relieved I don’t have to reject him...but kind of disappointed he wasn’t into me...is that weird?”


“Well, what don’t you know?” Griswold asked. 

“I mean I’ve liked a girl before,” Ignacio admitted. “I still have lingering feelings for my ex-girlfriend Carla ...even if she falsely accused me of cheating...in public...at a busy mall...at the top of her lungs. But that’s what's confusing about how I feel now. I’m trying to be more honest with my feelings and attractions...but I’m not sure.”

“Unfortunately, I don’t know if I’m the right guy to help you,” Griswold admitted. “Me and Lita didn’t exactly pan out, and she’s been the only girl I’ve dated.”

“I’m still not sure I comprehend why you two split,” Ignacio admitted. 

“We were into each other, but discovered there wasn’t more than that,” Griswold explained. “That’s all. You should ask Riley, she’s great with relationship stuff.”

Ignacio blushed. “I was embarrassed to ask Riley actually…”

Griswold gasped. “Oh my gosh, you like Riley? Well, well...you sly dog Ignacio. I had no idea!”

“No, no, no,” Ignacio replied. “I mean Riley is hot, I mean not like that, I mean she is...what I actually mean is that Riley’s nice, I just know she’ll tease me about. I’d rather not say the girl I’m confused about…I mean she might not even be on the show.”

Griswold raised an eyebrow. “Uh, if you say so. But don’t worry, I won’t say anything. You figure out you Iggy.”

“What about you Gris?” Ignacio asked. “Anyone you’re interested in?”

“After Lita and I, I’m taking a long break from dating,” Griswold replied. “Not to mention I can’t even talk to girls. I just wish there was one I was comfortable to talk with. But who would that be?”


“Riley!”

Seraphina called out as she flagged down the bro, looking around the maze. 

“Nice to see you Seraphina Silverman,” Riley replied as the psychic ran over. “And not too soon either, I found where the key is!”

“Well then lead the way,” Seraphina cheered. 

The two raced down a corridor. 

“Have your psychic powers say about our chances at the merge?” Riley asked. 

“I haven’t bothered to try and use them,” Seraphina replied. 

“Aww, why not?” Riley asked. “I think your psychic powers are cool.”

“That makes one of us,” Seraphina sighed. 

Riley stopped. “Alright, tell me what’s going on.”

“Nothing-”

“I wasn’t born yesterday,” Riley interrupted. “I was born seventeen years and some days ago. Now, what’s wrong?”

Seraphina sighed. “I video chatted with my mother yesterday. A real nice woman...in comparison to Medusa. I only wanted to use my powers to help people, but I couldn’t control them, and she just wants to use them for profit. Being here supported by Ness, Lita, Xidorn, everyone else...I almost felt…”

“Yeah?” Riley asked.

“I almost felt glad to have them again,” Seraphina admitted. “Then I talk to her.”

“Seraphina its obvious you still enjoy being a psychic,” Riley replied. “I mean, you still carry tarot cards with you!”

“Not all the time,” Seraphina replied. 

“Are you carrying them now?” Riley asked. 

Seraphina blushed. “Okay, your point was made.”

“The point is,” Riley continued, “deep down you want to be a psychic, and your powers are part of you. So forget you mom! Forgot those people who call you fake or reject you for being having freaky awesome powers! They don’t matter; what you want matters. You have a gift, and I think you should totally open yourself up to them.” 

“Wow,” Seraphina said. “That helps a lot Riley. You have a gift for saying the right thing.”

Riley pulled Seraphina into a hug. “I try. Now let’s go win this thing. The key should-”

The ground started to shake as the maze shifted again. A wall appeared before the two Fireworks, blocking their way. 

“-Nevermind.”

Seraphina sighed, and sat down on the ground. Assuming a lotus like position, she mumbled words under her breath and closed her eyes. 

“Uh Seraphina Silvermann-”

“I see the key,” Seraphina stated. “Its two lefts and right.”

“Now that’s what I’m talking about!” Riley cheered. “Let’s go!”

“Wait, it's tied to a buoy in a pool, and guarded by a shark.”

Seraphina opened her eyes. “We need a plan.”

Seraphina looked down to realize Riley was carrying you her on her shoulders. “The plan is I’ll get the key from the shark. I’ve been wanting to use my wrestling moves since the first challenge!”

Riley dropped Seraphina off her shoulders as she jumped in a cannonball into the pool. She surfaced...right next to a smiling shark.

“S’up Jabberjaw,” Riley greeted. “Hey...is that hot mermaid’s shell bra falling off because it's a horribly impractical design?”

The shark turned its head, only to see Seraphina. “Sorry, I gave up my sea legs for the surface world. Better food up here.”

“Let’s do this!” Riley shouted. She grabbed the shark by the fin and began punching him. “You punch it in the snout to establish dominance!” 

The shark tried but failed to shark her off as she continued to punch it. Not even diving up and down could shake her off. The shark swam forward, crashing right into the buoy. It chipped its tooth, which shattered into pieces, before sinking to the bottom of the pool. 

Riley grabbed the key and tossed it to Seraphina. “And that’s how you wrestle a shark! Now let’s win this thing.”

The two ran off, cheering and hollering. 

“Oh just so you know,” Riley said, “I almost beat up your boyfriend earlier.”

Seraphina raised an eyebrow, then laughed. “Be careful, I want to beat him and the Eagles, but I still want to date him.”


Xidorn found himself racing through the maze. “I have to say this is rather impressive. How does Toby manage to make these things out of garbage?”

Studying the walls, Xidorn unknowingly ran into Kalino. 

“Looks like I found you mannnnn,” Kalino stated. 

“Looks like it,” Xidorn laughed. “When did you get here?”

“Just now,” Kalino admitted. “You?”

“I’ve lost track of time,” Xidorn admitted. “This maze keeps…”

The maze shifted again. 

“...shifting.”

“It's no sweat man,” Kalino replied. “We can take our time. We’ll get out of here.”

The maze shifted again. 

“Eventually.”

The two Eagles began walking through the maze. 

“So you and Seraphina are officially good?” Kalino asked. 

Xidorn nodded. “All thanks to you.”

“Don’t give me any credit,” Kalino replied. “You did the work.”

“You just gave an ear for me to listen to,” Xidorn replied. “I won’t forget it Kalino. You’re like a guru.”

“I can see that,” Kalino laughed. “I consider myself a pillowsophical man. Do you mind if you give me an ear for a second.”

Xidorn nodded. 

“So the merge is coming up in a few challenges, right?” Kalino asked. 

“That’s what everyone seems to be thinking,” Xidorn replied. “And the logic holds up looking at past seasons.”

“What are your plans come the merge?” Kalino asked. 

“To be honest I’m going to do what I’ve been doing,” Xidorn admitted. “Do my best at challenges, vote who I think is best to go home, and be honest about it.”

“Righteous,” Kalino replied. “So who does that mean voting off? Like the Fireworks?”

“If that’s what seems best,” Xidorn stated. “I’m not going to suddenly be a turncoat if that's what you mean. But if I don’t think someone should go, then I won’t vote for them. And if I think someone should go home, for being a threat, an opposing number, or just a bad hombre, then I will.”

“Noted,” Kalino replied. 

“Don’t worry though Kalino,” Xidorn replied. “I don’t plan on voting you out; I trust you.”

“Right back at ya,” Kalino replied. 


“I’m not sweating the merge,” Kalino stated. “Mostly cause I don’t like to sweat. Except in saunas or japanese bath houses. While there are a couple Eagles I’m worried about, I think I can convince any of them to vote with me. Xidorn is a bit tricky; he’s headstrong and might spill a blindside like a glass of milk, but he isn’t voting for me, so why not keep him?”



In another section of the maze, a greased pig ran across a muddy field. Chasing after it were Lita and Ness. The knockout jumped, but missed the pig. Ness tripped over her fallen friend, sending her sliding into the mud and right into the pig. She caught the critter, then grabbed the key off its neck. The pig snorted, kicking Ness in the face with its hind legs before running off.

“You alright sugar?” Lita asked.

“I’m fine,” Ness replied. “Especially, because I have the key!”

“Woot woot!” Lita cheered, the snorted. “Now we just have to find the gate...and maybe a shower.” 

Ness giggled and followed her friend. “We’re kicking butt today.”

“You can say that again,” Lita laughed. “I’m glad you’re feeling good Ness, especially after everything that happened.”

“I’m trying to be in good spirits,” Ness admitted. “I’m still confused how I stayed.”

“Well Ignacio flipped-”

“I know that,” Ness replied. “But I won a coin toss? Doesn’t that sound a little too...lucky for me?”

Lita smiled. “I think your luck is changing honey.”

Ness smiled as the maze shifted; the two fell into a pool of water. “Hey a bath...kind of. Guess that was lucky too.” 

The girls laugh, not noticing the shark fin swimming nearby...


At the same time, Weston tip-toed through the maze, peeking around corners. He froze, feeling something was off...like he could feel breathing on his neck, as if someone was watching him…

Weston smiled and turned around. “Cynthia?”

The strange girl waved. 

“I thought I felt your presence,” Weston laughed and hugging his girlfriend. 

The maze shifted again.

Weston pouted. “Guess we better start over looking for the key. I should have found it already…”

“Why?” Cynthia asked. 

Weston looked down. “I don’t know…if I was more useful to this team, we’d have it! That’s what this challenge about, right? How much you contribute...what if I’m just dead weight?”

“Does this have something to do with your brother?” Cynthia asked. 

“No...maybe,” Weston admitted. “I don’t miss him or anything. I just...I wanted to be the one to send home. To defeat him in challenge. Sure I’ve lasted longer, but I never bested him myself. That still makes him the superior twin.”

“Easton didn’t have what it takes to survive elimination to that point,” Cynthia stated. “You have.”

“I guess,” Weston replied. 

Cynthia grabbed Weston by the shirt collar, and kissed him. “I don’t care what, you’re my favorite twin.”

Weston giggled. “Hehehe…”

Sssssssss….

Weston and Cynthia turned to see a giant snake slithering behind them.

“Look Cynthia!” Weston exclaimed. “In its throat there’s a lump! Its shaped like a key! It must have swallowed it! If we can make it spit up then-”

Kkkkkkk.

Cynthia placed her knife back in her pocket, then dug her hands through the snake’s headless corpse and pulled out the key.

“Or that too,” Weston stated. 


The teams raced towards the exit.

Griswold and Ignacio arrived first; there were two drawbridges to the left and right of each at the end, each colored blue or red and sporting the team emblem. 

Griswold ran to the left gate, were a red rope hung from the wall. “This must be it! Alright Iggy, let’s get pulling!”

At the same time, Melissa and Vance arrived, seeing the two Fireworks they raced to their own rope and began making quick work. 

“Sorry Fireworks,” Vance teased.”But you’re going to elimination tonight! You’ve been there so many times already, we’d just feel if we took it from ya.”

“Its not over...till it's over,” Griswold stated, working faster. 

Cynthia and Easton came next, joining in the scene. Kalino and Xidorn came next. 

“How about now?” Vance asked. “Is it over now?” 

Griswold grunted, trying not to look at the Molting Eagles descending drawbridge. 

“It isn't over yet! After all, you still haven’t lost.”

Seraphina came running in, grabbing the rope from behind Ignacio. Riley ran up behind her and helped. 

Lita dashed in. “It ain’t going to work…”

“...unless it's the Fizzled Fireworks!” Ness cheered, as both girls began pulling the rope. 

“I think you’re a little too late,” Vance teased, their bridge still having a lead. 

“Don’t listen to him,” Griswold stated. “We’ve had it rough these past few challenges, but that’s only made us stronger! When we started it out, we got by on dumb luck. But not today! Today we’re a well oiled machine, we’re closer and stronger together! I believe in each and everyone of you, and you believe in me. So let’s win this thing! It ain’t going to work…”

“...unless it's the Fizzled Fireworks!” the entire team cheered. 

The Fireworks began pulling in synch, usually all their strength, chanting their new cheer as they started taking the lead.

“They’re beating us!” Vance cried. 

“Then pull,” Cynthia stated. 

“Don’t let go,” Kalino cried. 

“I’m trying but I’m slipping!” Weston cried. 

“Could someone please get off my foot,” Xidorn groaned. 

“And can someone get their elbow out of my ribcage, pretty please?” Melissa begged. 

“Could someone get their ribcage out of my elbow,” Vance whined. 

“Don’t...let…”

The rope slipped from the Molting Eagles’ hands, their drawbridge ascending back up. The whole team fell in a pile on top of each other.

“Guess that means we lost after all,” Weston sighed. 

Kalino grunted. “No. I have a plan, follow my lead.”

“We did it!” Griswold cheered. “Our drawbridge is down first.”

“And we sure do appreciate it!” Kalino replied. 

He ran forward, pushing the Fireworks aside as the Eagles did the same and raced across the Fireworks’ drawbridge. 

“They’re getting to the finish line!” Seraphina cried. 

“We have to stop them!” Griswold yelled. 


The Fizzled Fireworks chased after them, but it was too late. The Molting Eagles had already reached the finish line. 

“We have a winner!” Rhonda congratulated. “The Molting Eagles.”

Ness was red in the face, in anger and out of breath. “That’s no fair! They didn’t even lower their own drawbridge!”

“Rhonda didn’t say we had to use our own drawbridge,” Kalino defended, “just get your whole team to exit the maze first. And we did, you just helped us out. Thanks!”

Griswold glared. “This challenge was suppose to be testing teamwork! If anything, we proved we were the better team!”

“You passed the test,” Kalino admitted. “But you didn’t win the challenge. Sometimes the best team is just the quickest thinker.”

“I’m afraid I have to concede with the Eagles,” Rhonda said. “They’re the winners of our challenge! Which means that once again, the Fizzled Fireworks will be sending someone home.”

Melissa shook her head. “This doesn’t feel right.”

“Melissa, we won,” Vance stated.

“It just doesn’t seem fair the Fireworks have to vote off one of their own,” Melissa admitted. 

“Well,” Rhonda said, “that’s not entirely true Melissa..”

Everyone turned to look at the hostess. 

“Remember that extra special reward I referenced?” Rhonda asked. 

“Oh no,” Seraphina stated. 

Rhonda winked. “For winning today’s challenge the Molting Eagles will vote off one of the Fizzled Fireworks!”

The Fizzled Fireworks went silent, just staring forward. 

“I mean you had the same reward after the first challenge,” Rhonda teased. “How does it feel when the shoe’s on the other foot?”

The Fireworks only glared at the hostess. 

“I’m afraid unless the Eagles want you to vote off one of their own,” Rhonda stated, “then its final. Eagles?”

The Eagles shook their heads, even Xidorn and Melissa reluctantly. 

“I’ll give you till tonight to decide who its going to be,” Rhonda said. “I’ll see both teams at elimination. Till then!”

The Fizzled Fireworks looked at one another.

“No matter what happens tonight,” Griswold stated. “I’m proud of this team, everyone knows we killed it today. I appreciate you guys electing me leader, and I love you guys.”

Seraphina sighed and gave Griswold a hug. “We did good Gris, really good.”

The rest of the Fireworks joined in, making a group hug. 

After a moment, Ness asked, “What’s going to happen?”

“We’re going to be fine,” Seraphina stated. “I can see it...we’re going to be fine.”


Xidorn sighed. “I hate this. When the Fireworks won I was against it, and I’m not proud of how we ‘won’ today. I know all of us were furious when this happened...and we lost Bethany. I know everyone probably doesn’t even remember her, but I do. We all came together and agreed who we had to vote off…”



Both teams gathered into the Haunted Internet Cafe. The Eagles stared at the Fireworks, who avoided or didn’t bother to match their gaze. 

“You’re awfully quiet Fireworks?” Rhonda asked. 

“Just accepting that everything sucks,” Riley replied. 

“The Eagles have voted,” Rhonda stated. “Any ideas on who's going home?”

The Fireworks looked at each other briefly. 

“Well let’s not avoid the inevitable,” Rhonda stated. “Tonight you’ll be having an almond blend in your cup of coffee, except for one of you. I have five cups, and the Eagles have unanimously chosen one of you to leave through the Revolving Doors of Shame and board the Public Transportation of Losers. Without further ado, The first cup of coffee goes to…

...Ignacio."

"Ness."

"Riley.” 

The three caught their cups. 

“Tonight, the Molting Eagles have decided that…









































































“...Seraphina is going home. Griswold, Lita, the final coffe cups are you.” 

The two didn’t bother going to get their coffee, turning to their now former teammate. 

Seraphina sighed, grabbing her stuff. “Whelp, that’s that.” 

“What?” Ness asked. “Why? Why Seraphina? That can’t be right?”

“Are you saying Xidorn voted for his own girlfriend?” Lita exclaimed. “How could you, any of you?”

“Relax,” Seraphina said. “It's okay; I asked them if they vote me off tonight.”

Riley gasped. “But Seraphina Silverman-”

“-It's alright,” Seraphina said. 

“We thought it was unfair when you were able to vote of one of our own,” Melissa stated.

"We said we wished you asked us who to vote off," Xidorn said. "To make it fair. We decided to do that. Seraphina came to and us asked to vote for her, and we felt if it's what she wanted, we would.”

Ness had already started crying. “But why would you ask that Seraphina? We’re so close to the merge!”

“That’s exactly why,” Seraphina said. “Because all of you deserve to be here; Gris, Lita, Ness, Riley, Iggy you all should go to the merge. I'll admit... when the teams were first formed, I thought we wouldn’t get along...but you’ve all been there for me throughout this game. You’re some of the kindest, most supportive, most amazing people ever. I’ve never had any friends before, but I’m proud and happy to call all of you my teammates and my friends."

The Fireworks immediately got up and joined in another group hug. 

Seraphina walked forward, stopping at Xidorn. “Thank you for doing this.”

“I think it's really sweet you did this,” Xidorn admitted. “But part of me wishes you hadn’t.”

Seraphina giggled. “I understand, but I’m going to see you after this. We’re going to see a lot of movies. Got it?”

Xidorn nodded, pulling her in for a kiss. 

Seraphina reached the Revolving Doors, waved goodbye and exited. 

She sighed, but was immediately glomped as Ness and Lita ran out after her. 

“Don’t think you can leave without giving us another hug goodbye,” Lita replied. 

“We’re going to wear our friendship bracelets everyday,” Ness cried. “Its...its not going to be the same without you.”

Seraphina cried. “You guys are my best friends, you know that? You believed in me and were always there for me. I’m going to miss you, but I wasn’t going to let you leave today either. Roomies forever.”

The Public Transportation of Losers pulled in and opened its door.

“That's my ride,” Seraphina stated. “But before I go, take this."

Seraphina placed the blue immunity flash drive in Ness' hands. "But Seraphina!"

"I can't use it anymore," Seraphina teased. "But you two might need it. Now just cause I’ve left doesn’t mean give up. Both of you can win this thing!”

The girls nodded and waved as Seraphina took her seat and the bus departed.

“Well,” the bus driver said, “sucks to be gone huh?”

“I guess,” Seraphina replied, wiping her nose on her shawl. “But I think I got something out of this experience.”

“What’s that?” the driver asked.

Seraphina just smiled to herself.


Lita and Ness came back into the Internet Café, noticing the others still sitting. Toby and Jenny motioned them to join their teammates. 

“I know that today has been a rough day,” Rhonda admitted. “It's been over a month since you got here and you’ve fought hard. I just wanted to take a moment and formally congratulate you all.”

Weston raised an eyebrow. “Congratulate us?”

Rhonda nodded. “Yes. Congratulations everyone; you’ve made the merge.”

Chapter 14 Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?

“Congratulations everyone; you’ve made the merge.”

There were a few quiet gasps, but mostly silence. 

“Its an individual game now,” Rhonda stated. “Which means that you can put a fork in The Molting Eagles and The Fizzled Fireworks, because they are done! Tomorrow night I’ll give more details, and also give you a surprise. Enjoy the rest of your night.”

Rhonda walked away, smiling to herself. Toby and Jenny followed suit.

Everyone shared a look with each other.

Kalino yawned. “This...has been day. I think I need to sleep on this. In any case, congraritos everybody on making the merge.”

The others shrugged, and soon made their way to bed.


“I’m grateful to have made the merge,” Ignacio said. “But my team...or I guess former team, knew that we were outnumbered. If all the Eagles vote together, we’ll be exterminated. Rhonda saying a surprise didn’t help; we still have a bad taste in our mouth for all her others.”


The next morning, Vance entered the dining hall, sniffing in the air.

“Yeehaw!” Vance cheered. 

His eyes lit up as he ran to the line, tripping and falling in the trash can. Tossing aside a banana peel on his mustache, he smiled as he saw Melissa place heart shaped pancakes out. 

“I thought I smelled your cooking,” Vance cheered. “You decided to take up the spoon again?”

Melissa giggled and nodded. “I thought we should celebrate making the merge...and they might help us move on from last night. Plus, I had to make my favorite cowboy a special treat…”

Melissa pulled out a three tier chocolate cake in the shape of a chimpanzee. “My triple chocolate chimp cake, as promised. The first layer is dark chocolate, the second is white chocolate and third is milk chocolate, complete with peanut butter chips and mix of homemade banana icing and chocolate icing that-”

Melissa looked up to see Vance diving face first into the cake, not bothering to use her hands. Melissa giggled, but suddenly frowned. Vance looked up to see Xidorn standing in the doorway; his hair was now lavender with the red streaks. 

Melissa quickly made a plate of pancakes. “How are you feeling Xidorn.”

“Is it obvious I miss her?” Xidorn replied, trying to sound like a joke.

“Dying your hair the color of her shirt was a bit of a giveaway,” Melissa admitted. 

“I’m still proud of her doing that,” Xidorn stated. “But I’m not proud of myself for how we won that challenge.”

“I’m not either,” Melissa admitted. 

“They won just as unfairly in the first challenge,” Vance stated. “I say they had a debt to pay.”

“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” Xidorn answered. “We know how much it sucks to lose like that.”

Melissa hugged her former teammate from over the counter. “It’ll get better Xi.”

“I guess you know what it's like to lose someone you love too,” Xidorn replied. “I’m sorry Melissa.”

“What’s done is done,” Melissa said. “We’ll see them again.”

“Does it get better?” Xidorn asked, wiping away a tear.

Melissa nodded. “It's rough, but it’ll get better. You’ve got good friends, that will make it easier. I promise.”

Vance put an arm around Xidorn. “Don’t worry deputy, you can try to make it up to her by winning that two mil...you know, if I somehow don’t win it. Tell you what, you can even have some of my cake.”

Xidorn looked at Vance’s plate, where only crumbs remained. “Thanks partner, but I’m not hungry. I’ll wait till lunch.”

“What do you think we’ll have for lunch?” Vance asked. “You making anything Melissa?”

“Actually,” Melissa said, “Mr. Toby told me the dining hall and kitchen would be closed for the rest of the day. We’re to be here at seven tonight, but we’re on our own for lunch.”

Xidorn raised an eyebrow. “That’s weird...any idea why?”

“Mr. Toby said safety inspections,” Melissa replied. “I’m not sure I believe him. I was going to ask him, but he left in a hurry.”

“Now that you mention it,” Xidorn said, “On the way here, I actually say Jenny doing work.”

“I went to Ms. Rhonda’s secret office,” Melissa stated.

“The one she thinks no one knows about?” Vance asked, licking his plate. 

Melissa nodded. “I wrote her a strongly worded letter last night. I wanted to give it to her in person, but I heard her arguing with someone on the phone...something has changed with the network.”

“Well it sounds like,” Vance said, now starting on pancakes, “we’re all free for lunch. Kalino wants all the Eagles to meet up and go out for pizza. Celebrating the merge and our team one last time.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Xidorn replied. 

“Splendiferous,” Melissa agreed.


“Personally,” Kalino said, “I wanted Seraphina to be the last Firework left. That way she could watch as everyone she cared about went home. But if she’s dumb enough to send herself home for nothing, then I’ll be happy to help her on the way. It's what she gets for eliminating Frannie. She can greet her buddies when we send them to wherever they sequester the losers. Who do you think she’ll be most upset to see; Lita or Ness?”


“It was really sad last night,” Ness admitted. “It just felt so awkward and empty in Lita and I’s room, without our roomie there. We spent most of the day moping. I promise Seraphina, we won’t let the chance you’ve given us be in vain.”


That night, at seven, the newcomers all gathered outside the dining hall. No one wanted to go in first, knowing Rhonda had a ‘surprise’ in store. Cynthia stepped forward first, the others so followed...and were shocked at what they saw. 

Xidorn gasped. “Oh. My. God.”

“Noooooo way,” Kalino said.

“This is not possible right?” Lita asked. 

“Did Ms. Rhonda actually do all of this?” Melissa questioned. 

A feast of delicious foods were before them, including some of their favorites; cheese fries, clam chowder, burritos, mac and cheese, pho, baked potatoes, caviar, a baked ham, empanadas, pancakes, grits, triple cheeseburgers, Doritos Loco tacos, feijoadas, plenty of pastries, and more. 

The room had changed as well. Now dining hall was a lit by a giant, golden hanging chandelier in the center of the room, decorated with candles. All the tables were gone, replaced by a single long dining table that extended from one end of the room to the other, right in front of the cafeteria line. Two old-looking chairs were at each head of the table, and a row of six seats on the left and right side in between them. Interns dressed in fancy tuxedos were setting and opening silver trays of more food on the table. 

Rhonda stepped out of the kitchen. “What do you think?”

“I think my pants just increased three sizes today,” Griswold replied. “What is all this?”

“It's your surprise,” Rhonda replied. “To really celebrate making the merge! You’ve all made the halfway point, and should feel extremely proud. I do want to go over a few things about what the merge means, officially, you know? But that can wait until after celebrating. So eat up everyone! I’ll reconvene with you soon...I have a few things I still need to discuss with the higher ups…”

The hostess smiled as she left, but grumbled and cursed when she thought she was out of earshot. “Things were starting to look up, then they pull this crap! What do they even want from me…”

The teens eagerly grabbed their plates and began piling on the food. The intern waiters brought them drinks, with little umbrellas in each. The contestants pigged out easily, some not even using a fork as they went for the finger foods. 

Lita swooned as she stuffed cheese fries in her face. “Ooooh, this food has never been so good.”

“It was rather nice for Ms. Rhonda to make this surprise,” Melissa stated. “Maybe she still has a heart…”

“You don’t think she drugged this food like she did the sleeping challenge?” Xidorn asked. 

“If she did it's too late for me,” Riley joked, switching between eating two different burritos. 

“Okay, is anyone else surprised to have made the merge?” Weston asked. 

“Yes!” Ness replied, pouring a bowl of clam chowder. “I feel like I’m dreaming.”

“I always knew I would,” Vance bragged, missing his plate while piling on grits. “I am pretty amazing.” 

“I just can’t believe it's actually here,” Griswold stated. “I mean it doesn’t feel like it's been a month...more like years yet simultaneously a day.”

“We got to do a lot of awesome stuff to get here,” Riley chuckled. “Just think; solve mazes, fashion shows, snowball fights, stopping alien invasions, and racing through Washington.”

“Can someone pass the tacos?” Diaomonique asked. 

Xidorn nodded, sending them to the end of the table. “We had to say goodbye to a lot of great people too. Like Bethany, and just now Seraphina. In the most unfair way they could go.”

“Amen to that,” Lita stated, hugging Ness for a moment. 

“I know,” Melissa sighed, placing her hand on Xidorn’s shoulder. “I miss so many people; Diamonique, Hayden, Frannie…Aiden especially. I wonder if he’s thinking about me now...”

“We had a lot of great people on our team,” Kalino admitted. 

“Not to mention our bro Easton,” Griswold stated, not noticing Weston’s pout. 

“I even kinda miss ZZ Zipporah,” Riley admitted. 

“That goth chick?” Vance asked, raising his eyebrow. “Pssh, who cares about her?”

“She had her charm in her own snarky way,” Riley defended. 

“Hmph, the only good thing is that those rats Tessa and Pascal aren’t here,” Lita stated. 

“I guess,” Ness sighed. “Though Pascal wasn’t all bad...”

“He was a fun dude,” Kalino admitted. “When he wasn’t strategizing.” 

“Well let’s not focus on the past right now,” Melissa stated. “As sad it is to say goodbye to good friends, let’s be happy for the friends we made.”

“Here, here!” Weston cheered. 


“I made the merge!” Weston cheered. “You hear that Easton? I made the merge, and you didn’t! Nah, nah, nah! I know I’m not the brightest, so I thought I would get voted off because of that. But I’ve had a lot of fun actually; with Xidorn, Vance and my sweet Cynthia! I love my small town...but I’ve never had so much fun!”


“There were a lot of times I was worried,” Xidorn admitted. “But I actually made the merge. This feast made it feel real! Glad it was a brunch of disgustingness. I think it raised all our spirits. The thing is this is the halfway point; it’s a milestone, but it's still a big battle to go. I’m ready for it though!”



Lita was eating cheese fries from her bra. “Before this show, I never slept in a hotel before. Now I’m eating a feast at one on TV! I’m looking forward to the merge, it means tougher challenges and more opponents butts to kick!”


Cynthia sharpened her knives and stared. “I’m not surprised I’m still here. I am surprised to have made some friends and a boyfriend actually. I guess I had fun getting here; I cut a lot to get here…but I’m just getting started.”


“I’m somewhat astounded to be here,” Ignacio admitted. “Part of me thought I’d make it here just for my looks; another part thought I’d be eliminated for the same reason. Yet my teammates accepted me...I’m really luck I guess.” 


Melissa clapped her hands. “I’m just so proud of us all for making it here. Everyone should feel really proud of being here. It's been a ride with its ups and downs, but I think it's going to turn around...right?”


“Eeee!” Ness squealed. “I made the merge, I made the merge, I made the merge! I mean I was actually cast on my favorite show and made it here! I’m still shocked I wasn’t the first one sent home. And to all of the jerks at my school that bet I would be, suck it! To all the fans...dreams do come true!”


Vance leaned back and put his feet up. “The merge doesn’t change all that much for you boy Vance here. Just more challenges for me to win. I do have to thank my deputies of course...and I do really appreciate Xidorn teaching me to read. That would have never happened if I wasn’t here."


“Woo!” Griswold cheered. “I’m at the merge on TOTAL DRAMA! Woo! I want to give a shout out to my team; Go Bulldogs! I did guys! I actually lead a team, and we didn’t actually lose every challenge. Ooh, and a shout out to my sisters and mom, miss you girls. Dang, the game is about to get serious! I’m a little nervous, but just so excited!” 


“I kinda knew I’d get here,” Kalino stated. “It wasn’t always how I planned, but good enough. My sister said I’d never get on the show over her...then when I did that I’d be the first out. Suck on that sis! You’re wrong as per usual! I think I need to just sit back and see what happens next.” 


Riley licked her fingers clean. “I’ve just been trying to enjoy my time here, but I actually made the merge. It's crazy dudes, and you know even crazier? I might actually be able to win this! You know, the Eagles do have the numbers but I’m not worried. Not everything goes like it seems in life. I’m just going to wait and see what happens.” 


“Can someone pass the danishes?” Diamonique asked.

Ignacio nodded. The model patted his stomach, but still went for another bite. “Wow, we now have a one-in-eleven chance of earning two million dollars. The end feels far, but you can just see it.”

“What will you do if you win the money Ignacio?” Ness asked. 

Ignacio scratched his beard. “I would ensure my parents would never have to work another day in their life. Then I presume I would set up college funds for my siblings and myself. Possibly even retire from modeling.”

“The world will have a day or mourning when that happens,” Lita joked. 

“I think the world has seen enough of me after this show,” Ignacio replied. “What about you Lita?” 

“I really haven’t thought about it,” Lita admitted. “I guess I’d help my family too...Ness, give me some ideas. What would you do?”

Ness blushed and looked away. “Well I’d…no, its silly. I’d probably never do it even if I won.”

“Aww, tell us Loch Ness,” Riley stated. “Please, with jalapeno sauce on top!”

“The only silly idea is not pursuing your dream,” Xidorn stated, the others nodding. 

“Okay, okay, but everyone else has to share too,” Ness stated. “ I want to be a veterinarian, so I’d go to vet school and then…well, I’ve always wanted to open my very own zoo, dedicated to medical research and treating injured animals.”

“That’s an amazing idea Ness!” Lita cheered. 

“I would love to see that,” Ignacio agreed. 

“Way better than mine,” Riley said. “I was just going to have monkey butlers.”

Griswold chuckled. “Of course you would! That’s such a you thing. ”

“What’s that mean?” Riley asked. “You don’t think it’s a good idea?”

“I think it’s a great idea,” Griswold stated. “I might even steal it.”

Riley playfully punched her friend’s arm. “If you do, you better share dude!”

“Of course,” Griswold replied. “I might ask for some more of your ideas, you always have great ones.” 

Riley started to blush, but she and Griswold kept laughing. 

“I hate to interrupt,” Lita stated glaring, “but is that all Riley?”

“Oh no,” Riley said. “I’d probably move me and my bros to some huge mansion too, you know Richie Rich style.” 

“I’ll definitely buy a bigger house for my mom,” Griswold stated. “And take my little sisters to a One Rejection concert like they want. And I’m throwing a kicking victory party, and you’re all invited!”

The others cheered. 

“Well when I win I’ll probably start my own rodeo show,” Vance stated. “Buy my own ranch too, fill it with tons of new horses.”

“New horses?” Ignacio asked. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea after the last one.”

Vance blushed as some of the other snickered. 

“Wait, but what about your family’s ranch?” Xidorn asked. 

“My what?” Vance asked. “Ooh, yeah the ranch my family definitely owns.” 

“Why buy another?” Xidorn questioned. “I mean you said you’d inherit that one, right ?”

“Well…of course I will,” Vance replied. “I just meant I’ll get another one…start a chain of my family’s ranches, its’ what my Pa would’ve wanted. What about you deputy?”

“I’d pay my way through film school,” Xidorn replied. “And maybe use the money to make my own independent horror film, one of my dream projects. I wonder if I could even get it to air at the Sundance Festival.” 

“Ooh, ooh, can we cameo in it!” Weston begged. 

“Definitely,” Xidorn agreed. “Heck, maybe I’d film it here; it’s certainly a good setting.”

“It has its charm,” Melissa admitted. “In a grotesque kind of way. For me, I think I would give most of the money-“

“-to charity,” the other finished. 

Melissa giggled. “Exactly. What about you Cynthia?” 

Cynthia looked up from carving the ham, holding a knife dripping with juice. “More knives.”

The other newcomers gulped. 

“And you Weston?” Melissa asked. 

“Huh?” Weston asked.

“Yeah, what will you do if I didn’t win bud?” Vance asked. 

“What are you future plans?” Xidorn asked. 

“Well…I don’t have any future plans,” Weston admitted. 

“Not even a career you want to do?” Xidorn asked. 

Weston shook his head. “I guess I never thought about it before.”

“You’re going to be a junior next year right?” Xidorn asked. “You’ll start applying to colleges. You should give it some thought Weston.”

Weston rubbed the back of his head. “I guess…”

“If he wins it doesn’t matter,” Kalino stated. “You’ll be loaded for life, you wouldn’t have to work ever again!”

“Well what are you planning to do if you win Kalino?” Melissa asked. 

“Mannnnn whatever I want,” Kalino admitted. “I could do anything…though I do have a promise I have to keep.”

Melissa stood up, glass in hand. “It sounds like whoever wins it’ll be exciting. I’d just like to make a toast to us all, and wish the best of luck to everyone. I hope the rest of our days will be fun, and early congratulations to the winner. Cheers, to the merge!”

Melissa raised her glass and the other newcomers followed, clinking them together over the table. “Cheers!”

The contestants took a sip and sighed. 

“What do you think Rhonda is talking to the producers about?” Ness asked. “The merge?”

“Who knows with Rhonda,” Ignacio stated. “She’s very secretive.”

“I hear that,” Vance replied. “I bet she has a big secret or something she’s hiding…like an ugly birthmark.”

“I could see it,” Weston admitted, a few of the others nodding in agreement. 

“I meant more relating to her past,” Ignacio sighed. 

“I wonder what the first challenge will be?” Melissa asked. “Or if they’ll be any twists.”

“Eh, I doubt it,” Diamonique stated. “Meliss, could you pass the potatoes?”

“Sure thing Diamonique,” Melissa stated, passing the potatoes. 

“The original did,” Xidorn stated. “Around the merge they brought b…”

Everyone paused for a moment. They then turned their heads towards the left, where a familiar face was stuffing their face at the head of the table. “DIAMONIQUE?”

Diamonique titled her head. “Surprise, bitches.” 

“Why are you here?” Ignacio asked. 

“Great to see you too hot stuff,” Diamonique replied with a wink. 

“I thought we voted off Diamonique?” Weston asked. “Or was that someone else?”

“Oh, you did vote me off,” Diamonique replied. “But I’m way too fabulous to stay down; I’m competing again.” 

How is this possible?” Kalino asked. 

“Ask Rhonda,” Diamonique replied, squashing a potato with her fist. 

That’s not fair; we already voted you off!” Vance shouted. “Now we have to do it again?” 

“Nice to see you too Vance,” Diamonique replied, finishing off the last potato.

“Wait,” Xidorn stated. “Did…did someone return with you?”

Diamonique swallowed, and smirked a bit. She nodded and pointed at the end of the table. Everyone turned to see someone else sitting at the other head of the table. 

Riley gasped. 

Griswold gasped. 

Ness gasped. 

Kalino gasped. 

Vance gasped. 

Melissa gasped. 

Lita gasped. 

Weston gasped. 

Xidorn gasped. 

Ignacio gasped. 

Cynthia didn’t react; only staring with her unblinking eyes as usual. 

There, sitting in the chair was...a guy. He was um…there. He had brown hair or something. He wore some shoes, and pants and a shirt with some stripes I think.

Everyone stared for a long moment at the guy sitting there. He forced a smile and waved.

“Who?”

“Was he a contestant?”

“I thought he was an intern.” 

“Who?” 

“Is he debuting?”

“Wait, where are we looking at again? I don’t see anything…” 

The guy sighed, hanging his head in shame.

“Don’t you remember?”

The guy shot up. Everyone turned to look at Lita. “He’s the first one voted off from the Fireworks.”

“Y...yeah,” the guy replied. 

“It's Jasper, right?” Lita asked. 

“Uhhhhhh…”

His mouth hanging open wide and not working, he nodded repeatedly, until he accidentally hit his head against the table.  

“How did you know there would be two?” Weston asked.

“The original had two people brought back,” Xidorn explained. “I didn’t even think about it, but it makes sense Rhonda would use this twist.”

“No it doesn’t,” Vance pouted. “It's completely cheap.”

“Let’s vote you off and see if you still feel the same way,” Diamonique stated. “I bet if any of you went home early, you’d all be begging for a second chance.”

Vance blushed as the other mergers shared a look.

“She has a point,” Kalino admitted. 

At that moment, Rhonda walked in. “Sorry for the disturbance. Did everyone enjoy the meal?” 

Diamonique belched, knocking over a tower of plates next to her. “It was alright.”

Rhonda frowned. “Didn’t I tell you two to wait for your cue?” 

“And miss a free feast?” Diamonique asked. “It's not realistic of me.” 

Rhonda shrugged and smiled. “Well, was everyone surprised then?”

“I knew you had some trick up your sleeve,” Griswold sighed. 

“You going to explain any of this Rhonda?” Vance asked. 

“In a good time,” Rhonda said. “I have a lot news for you all tonight, some good, some bad. So let me go through it all. First, let’s just make clear what the merge means. For the audience and you."

Rhonda cleared her throat. “You went through the team phase; this is the individual phase. This means you will compete by yourself, though a select couple so challenges may allow you to work with a few others or have you compete in pairs. You will also all vote at an elimination ceremony, with only the winning newcomer, or newcomers if a challenge allows, having invincibility.”

Everyone nodded. 

“Good,” Rhonda said. “Now I’m here to tell you this about the merge. You should feel good, you made it to the halfway point. But that doesn’t mean you get to be lazy. The challenges, the votes and the twists are going to be a lot harder from here on out! We have surprises in store for you all, and it's not going to be pretty or fair. You’ll have to fight hard, but that’s what it takes for two million dollars.”

A few of the teens gulped, but nodded. 

“That brings us to number two on the agenda,” Rhonda stated. “I’m happy to announce that we once again of a primetime slot!”

“We lost it?” Ignacio whispered. 

“I guess the ratings went up then?” Griswold asked. 

“Some,” Rhonda replied. “But really the network needed a last minute replacement. The host of some world-traveling show got hospitalized by a camel and won’t be able to do the rest of the season.”

“Oh how dreadful,” Melissa said. 

Rhonda placed her hand over her heart. “It truly is a tragedy, but the best way to honor him is by giving a great show. Our episodes will now be slightly longer to fill this primetime slot. Additionally, we’ll have two extra episodes to fill in its entire schedule. On that note, I’m sure you’ve noticed our two guests.”

Diamonique waved again. “It took them a while, but how could they not?”

“Took the words out of mouth,” Kalino mumbed.

Rhonda smirked. “For all of you curious, allow me to clarify for you. Diamonique and Jean-Pierre are officially returning! This means that they will compete and have the chance to earn two million dollars.”

Diamonique clapped for the two of them as Jimbo Jasper blushed.

“With two episodes, we need two more eliminations,” Rhonda explained. “And I thought what better drama than the two people who were first voted off by own their teams?”

Ignacio raised an eyebrow, but he said nothing. 

“So I’d like to welcome them back,” Rhonda said. “Anything you two would like to say?”

“I’m glad to be back,” Diamonique replied. “I’m sure all of you will be too soon enough.”

“I just feel really-”

“-That’s nice,” Rhonda said. “Its great to have both of you back. Isn’t everyone excited?” 

“I think it's sweet to give someone a second chance,” Melissa stated.

Everyone else agreed, even if they were shocked or disappointed. 

“Well then you’re all going to love the next bit of news,” Rhonda said, with a forced laugh. 

“What do you mean?” Xidorn asked. 

Rhonda gritted her teeth into a fake smile. “Like I said, we got two extra episodes ordered as part of our primetime slot. We’ve been having earlier challenges recently to make this adjustment for our own schedule. Now, the producers realized that we need something to fill in for those two episodes and made plans for it...without consulting me first. I had my plans already made when they told me their decision...which for the sake of my job, I’m forced to comply with.”

“This is some of that bad news isn’t it?” Ness asked. 

Rhonda nodded. “They decided we should have a returnee, and insisted on someone specific. Despite my telling them it isn’t necessary, they’ve insisted.”

“There is an extra chair still available at the table,” Kalino said.

Toby walked into the room, whispering into Rhonda’s ear, before leaving. 

“It looks like our last guest has arrived,” Rhonda stated. “So it's my ‘pleasure’ to welcome back…”

Jenny and Toby escorted the returnee into the room. Everyone went silent at their presence, until finally a voice spoke up. 

“OH **** NO!”

“...Tessa,” Rhonda finished. 

The former Olympian sighed and took the only available seat, next to Riley. 

“Why her?” Xidorn asked. “Why not...anyone but her?”

“It's not my choice,” Rhonda said. “She’s still very famous, so the executives thought she’d be good for ratings.”

“There’s nothing you can do?” Lita asked. “Literally nothing? You couldn’t even get someone like Amanda Picklestein instead?”

“I even tried that,” Rhonda said. “Sadly, the network would not relent.”

“I can hear you,” Tessa said. “I’m right here.”

“We know,” Ignacio stated. “That’s precisely the problem.”

Tessa sighed and rubbed her temples. “I knew this would happen…”

“Is Tessa’s return going to change anything?” Weston asked. 

“Besides making everything even worse,” Kalino said. 

“It may change some plans I had for challenges and a potential merge returnee contest,” Rhonda admitted. “But we’ll work around it. Its great to have you back I guess Tessa.”

“That sure means a lot Rhonda,” Tessa replied, side-eyeing the hostess. 

“Now, any quick questions about the returning competitors?” Rhonda asked. 

Ignacio raised his hand. “Pardon, but I have to ask, have these returnees had the privilege of seeing the finished episodes? It feels like that could be a huge disadvantage to us.”

“Fair point,” Rhonda said, “but the returnees haven’t seen any of the footage. As perhaps you’ve guessed or heard through the grapevine, the losers are sequestered together. Since the losers support one of the final two in the finale, we wanted their opinions to be based on what they or their follow losers experienced in the game.” 

“So do you guys know anything that’s happened?” Weston asked. 

“We know plenty,” Diamonique replied. 

Rhonda nodded. “While they don’t have the advantage of being present, they have been able to talk to everyone who has been voted out at this point, even Seraphina for at least last night to now. So they’ve had a chance to hear most everything; whether they took that chance and whether that info came from a reliable loser is up for debate.”

“What can they tell us?” Melissa asked. 

“Good question Melissa,” Rhonda replied. “There are obviously some things they can’t disclose. For example, what happens to you after you eliminated; the only way for you to know is to find out first hand. However at this point we all know they’ve seen the other losers, so if they want to share updates or news, they have the right.” 

Juju Jasper raised his hand. “I was wondering if-”

“-Alright, since there are no more questions,” Rhonda continued, “let’s get to the next bit of news.”

“Jasper has a question,” Diamonique stated. 

Rhonda blushed. “Sorry about that Jagger, you were asking?”

“Will we be rooming in the same rooms as last time?” he asked. 

Rhonda nodded. “You’ll get your old room keys after this meeting; that means Diamonique and Tessa will be sleeping alone, while you’ll room with Ignacio again.”

“We were roommates?” Ignacio asked. 

“In any case,” Rhonda continued, “I’d hate for you all to try and ruin the fun of having returnees by sending them right back home. So Diamonique, Joey and Tessa will have immunity at the first elimination ceremony they need it.”

Diamonique chuckled. Jerd Jasper sighed in relief. 

“The first ceremony we need it at?” Tessa asked. “What does that mean?”

“I’m guessing,” Xidorn said, it means that if they, or you sadly, win invincibility, the immunity will carry over until you aren’t safe.”

“So if we win the first challenge we’ll be safe at the next two eliminations?” Diamonique asked. “And if we win the first two challenges, we’ll be safe at the next three? And so on?”

“Yup,” Rhonda replied. “I didn’t bring you back not to participate in challenges, and I thought you might not have enough motivation for the first challenge if you were already immune. Consider this your motivation.”

The others groaned, mostly directed at Tessa. 

“On the subject of immunity,” Rhonda continued, ““Its to my, and the network breathing down my neck’s, disappointment that no immunity flash drives have been used. I mean we don’t want to waste a twist, or an easy to manufacture piece of merchandise. So, we’re amending the rules a bit for them. The team immunity flash drives were only for the team phase...however, if you have a gold immunity flash drive you can take immunity off those drives and place it on the gold drive.” 

“Ooh yeah!” Weston recalled, “I forget those things exist!”

“Since it is the merge,” Rhonda said, “we’ve decided to hide another gold immunity flash drive in the hotel! So you’d better go flush it out of its hiding place.”


Kalino was shown shaking the cushion of the confessional seat and rummaging through the side, before stopping and shrugging. “I guess Rhonda isn’t actually dumb enough to hide it in the same place twice.”


“Now Jewel just mentioned rooms,” Rhonda said, “which brings me to our next point. We haven’t always had rewards for every challenge, but we’re trying to incorporate more. We’d like to have one for every merge challenge; more rewards for harder tasks. We can’t promise they’ll be a unique reward for every challenge, but there will be a recurring prize for the winner of every challenge…”

“The Pentagram Hotel will be open to the public soon after the show,” Rhonda narrated, “so we’d like to advertise one of its finest features. Allow me to introduce, the penthouse suite.”

Jenny and Toby pushed in a cart with a TV and DVD player. Toby put in a disc and turned on the On the screen was a large hotel room, a lit hearth on the wall, and a creepy portrait hanging over it, of a pale man in black, with sunken in face and a smile as twisted as his mustache. 

“On the top floor you’ll find this room,” Rhonda continued, “where the very creator of this hotel spent his days planning murder after murder, until he was executed.”

“Why would any sane person want to stay there?” Lita asked. 

“Because we’ve upgraded this room to be the ultimate in luxury!” Rhonda replied. 

The camera panned over to door. Jenny and Toby entered, using a gold key card. Jenny ran over to the left, where she jumped into a giant, comfy bed. 

“Staying here you’ll be sleeping in a king sized bed,” Rhonda said. “Complete with silk and satin sheets made from China and plenty of Egyptian cotton pillows.”

Jenny grabbed a remote from a nearby nightstand. She pressed a button and the bed reclined and began vibrating. “Ooooooh yeaaaaaaahhhhh.”

“Did I mention the reclining and massaging mattress?” Rhonda asked.

“Ooooh!” the contestants gasped. 

“The penthouse suite has one of the best views in all of Washington, D.C.”

The camera panned to the window, where the White House and Lincoln Memorial could be seen. 

“But if you want to look at something else,” Rhonda said, “the penthouse suite has something for you.” 

Jenny grabbed another remote off the stand. With a press of a button, a giant TV screen descended from the wall in front of her.

“We have a flat, plasma screen TV for your enjoyment!” Rhonda continued, Jenny flipping through the channels. “With over a thousand channels to choose from, including all access pay per view! No channel is off limits.”

“Not even the naughty ones?” Vance asked. 

He blushed at the all looks he got. 

“Sure, they’re there,” Rhonda replied, getting her even more looks. “Hey, we can edit it to be PG-13.” 

Jenny pressed another button, causing shelves of DVDs and games to rise up from the floor. 

“We also have tons of movies you can choose from,” Rhonda said. “And five different video game systems you can play!”

The scene cut to Toby in a bathrobe, now stepping out of a fancy shower.

“This suite also comes with a state of the air shower,” Rhonda continued. “With multiple massaging shower heads and exclusive soaps and shampoos imported from Europe.”

“Mama has to try that,” Diamonique announced. 

“We haven’t even gotten to our high tech toilet,” Rhonda stated. 

Toby walked over to a large porcelain toilet. It glowed blue and stated, “Good Evening Toby.”

“You got a talking toilet?” Kalino asked. “That’s horrifying and awesome!”

“This toilet can actually responds to voice command,” Rhonda explained. “It can even recognize voices of previous users. It can also play music, tell jokes, has a seat warmer and a bidet.”

“What is a bidet?” Lita asked. 

Ness whispered in her ear. “Wait...what! That’s a thing?” 

The scene cut back to Jenny in bed. She reached over to the nightstand again, picking up a phone. 

“You can also use the phone to order free room service,” Rhonda stated. “You can request any meal, and it’ll be brought to your room. Want breakfast in bed? Popcorn for a movie? An ice cream sundae midnight snack? Just pick up the phone. Our attendants will be happy to help…”

“Attendants?” Griswold asked. 

“Fans were so eager to get on the show,” Rhonda explained, “they paid for a chance. So we let a select few winners of a raffle become ‘maids’ and ‘butlers’ for you at your stay. You can select who will attend you, where they’ll wait on hand and foot for you. They even come with special uniforms.”

“Did someone order room service?” 

Toby opened the door. Standing outside where a young man and woman striking a pose. The woman, the purple haired fan from Dump The Chumps, was dressed in a french maid costume, with a short skirt and fishnets. The butler was a blonde and muscular gentlemen, with green eyes. He was shirtless, dressed in black dress pants, shirt cuffs and a bowtie, looking more like a chippendale than a butler.

The maid held out a silver tray, lifting it to reveal a pizza. “One pizza, fresh and piping hot.” 

“I also heard someone ordered a hot towel massage?” the butler asked, speaking in some kind of foreign accent. 

“Call us if you need anything,” the maid stated. “Anything.”

“Its our pleasure to serve,” the butler added. 

“As long as we can cameo in fic, we’ll do it,” the purple girl teased, before Toby slammed the door.

“So come on down to the Pentagram Hotel,” Rhonda continued, “and enjoy the luxury of our penthouse suite!” 

The clip ended. The two co-hosts pushed the tv out of the room.

“Man I killed it in that commercial,” Jenny said. 

“That’s cause you didn’t have to speak,” Toby replied. 

“YOUR MOM!”

“As I said, the winner of a challenge will get to stay in the penthouse and enjoy its amenities,” Rhonda said. “Until the next challenge. There are two massage beds in there, so you can even choose one friend to accompany you.”

“That all sounds amazing!” Ness stated. “Especially the butlers…uh, cause they can wait on you.”

“That butler wasn’t that hot,” Ignacio grumbled. 

“This is all a lot to take in,” Xidorn admitted. “Is that everything with the merge?”

Rhonda smiled. She motioned to the cameramen with a finger over throat, who lowered their camera. “Finally, I just want to share something with you. I appreciate you all joining this show and giving it your best. It means a lot for us to share this journey together. Really it does...”

The others smiled.

“…But I also want to be frank with you,” Rhonda stated. “This show has struggled, and only now have we’ve clawed our way from the grave and back to primetime. Really only through dumb luck. I’m trying to save this show…so if you want to come to me and complain, as you’ve started doing, or dare I say try to ‘quit’, allow me to make one thing clear; you can leave.”

“If you want to whine about returnees or twists, go the confessional or each other. Not me! If it's soooo unfair, then I’ll be delighted to send you home early. Instead of the Public Transportation of Losers, I’ll make a special call and you can ride the Whambulance right off this show! You can leave Washington and won’t appear for the rest of the season, including the finale.

And mark my words, I swear if you try to quit or refuse to participate and make my show boring, you will be miserable. I will have the editors, which I am one we’re so understaffed, make sure that you’re hardly heard or seen at all. We can even use CGI to edit you out of scenes! What we will show will be your biggest failures, most shameful moments and when you’re at your worst. Whole montages of you sucking will play. You’ll be hated and a joke. If you want to give America, Canada, Japan, Brazil, many other countries, and the whole Internet the chance to see that, then test me. Understood?”

Weston shot up his hand. “But haven’t most of the other episodes already aired? You can’t change those, can you?”

Rhonda by now was shaking in anger, her eye starting to twitch. “I will find a way to ruin you. ANYONE ELSE?”

The newcomers simultaneously gulped. 

“Super duper!” Rhonda cheered. “It was great talking to you all! Congrats again for making the merge! Enjoy the rest of your feast. I’ll see you tomorrow for our first challenge!”


The newcomers sat there in silence for a few moments. 

“Can some pass the cupcakes?” Diamonique asked. “No sense in letting this food go to waste.”

“She has a point,” Riley agreed. “We still made the merge, and this feast is to celebrate, so why not celebrate?” 

The others decided to agree and everyone began to dine again, only much more quietly. 

Weston rubbed his chin in thought. “Hmm...did anyone find any of the flash drive things?”

Melissa almost choked on her salad. “Uh, I think even if anyone did they wouldn’t admit it dear.”

“Someone on our former team did.”

Everyone turned to look at Cynthia. “Remember our final question in the truth challenge? Who has an immunity flash drive on our team.”

“I just assumed it was a cruel joke by Jenny,” Xidorn admitted. “The question didn’t even matter since the points wouldn’t help.”

“Every other question was accurate,” Cynthia stated. 

“Cynthia has a point mannnnn,” Kalino stated. “One of us could have a flash drive.”

“You’re not actually playing dumb are you?” 

Everyone turned to Tessa. 

“What?” Kalino asked. 

Tessa rolled her eyes. “Really? So what happened to that red immunity flash drive I gave you?”

“You gave him a flash drive?” Griswold asked. 

“I have no idea what you’re talking about?” Kalino asked. “Did I do something to you…have we even talked before?”

“I found that flashdrive sticking out of a vent,” Tessa explained. “I knew you and Pascal were close, so I asked you to use it for me.”

“But a flash drive is only for one team, right?” Kalino asked. 

“Don’t act like you don’t know,” Tessa shouted. “As I told you, it can only be used by a member of that team. Doesn’t mean you can’t use it on someone else from another team. You pretended you did before our elimination ceremony, and kept it for yourself this whole time!”

Everyone gasped.

Xidorn shook his head. “I can’t believe it.”

“I...I am sorry,” Tessa admitted. “I know that probably is not something you want to hear.”

“No,” Xidorn said. “I mean I don’t believe it. Kalino has been a good friend to me, and  teammate who gives his all. What I can’t believe, is that you would actually try that!”

“What?” Tessa asked. 

Xidorn stood up. “You heard me! I’m not buying that ridiculous story, against Kalino of all people! You expect me to believe that coincidentally the night you were eliminated, you found the Eagles flash drive and got Kalino to agree to that? But he just happened to betray you? 

How ‘convenient’ you’ve returned and can out him,” Ignacio added. 

“I just don’t understand why you’re so against me,” Kalino ‘admitted’.

“She probably has some random beef with you,” Lita said. “She tends to do that.”

“Why would I Iie?” Tessa asked. 

Xidorn rolled his eyes. “To get the target off your back. You know nobody is glad you’re here and you’re trying to save your own skin by throwing someone under the bus. Gosh...this isn’t actually that surprising.” 

“That’s not what I’m trying to do,” Tessa said. “I’m trying to help! He has the Eagles immunity flash drive!”

Xidorn slammed his fist on the table. “Just stop! I can’t deal with this...Seraphina sacrificed herself. She gave up her chance this close to the merge.” 

“Xidorn, I didn’t mean-”

“-Don’t even try,” Xidorn stated. “Don’t act like you’re upset. We all know you kicked her out of your room! You were awful to her! You were awful to a lot of us! Yet here you are, instead of all the people we care about! Instead of the people who deserve it. So enjoy your immunity while it lasts; as soon as it's over, we’re all voting you off.”

Xidorn stared Tessa down. The gymnast sighed, saying nothing as pushed out her seat and left. 

Xidorn panted as he seat back into his seat. 

“You alright partner?” Vance asked. 

“Yeah,” Xidorn replied. “I’m just, so ticked off.”

Kalino pulled Xidorn in for a hug. “I appreciate it you standing up for me dude.”

Xidorn nodded. “Of course! I just wasn’t going to let her get away with that. I just hate we actually have to put up with her for a little while.”

“Amen,” Lita stated, Ignacio and Ness nodding. 


Dinner ended soon after, with the teens slowly slipping away. 

Griswold, Riley and Ignacio were the last to leave. 

Griswold looked around, eyeing the hallway. He whispered, “Okay dogs, this might sound crazy. But what if Tessa was telling the truth?”

“The assertions against Kalino?” Ignacio stated. “I doubt she was candid; she’s known to play underhanded. Even in her own anecdote she was underhanded if the plan worked. Not to mention her unforgivable bullying of Lita just informs her character as malicious.”

“It sounds fishy,” Griswold sighed. “But…I don’t know, something Kalino rubs me the wrong way.”

“I got the same vibe,” Riley replied. “I could see Rhonda creating a loopy loophole like that for the flash drives too.”

“Exactly,” Griswold stated. “But what really makes me consider it…remember that elimination ceremony? Kalino fell out of the voting booth right before we voted.”

“Dude he did!” Riley exclaimed.

“It was likely an accident,” Ignacio stated. “I mean if Kalino hypothetically kept the drive for himself, why even be in the booth? It certainly didn’t make her immune. She probably got the idea from it.” 

“He does fall asleep everywhere,” Riley admitted. “I found him asleep in the lobby john, the mailbox, on a gargoyle…” 

“I found him slumbering in a ficus and a chandelier,” Ignacio added. 

“Fair point,” Griswold conceded. “It's not like we’re not going to vote Tessa off next time.”

“Yeah,” Riley sighed. 

“What elicits my curiosity is the other returnees,” Ignacio stated. 

“What’cha talking about Iggy?” Riley asked. 

“Why Diamonique and…Jonah I think,” Ignacio questioned. “Why them?”

“They were the first voted off by their own team,” Griswold explained. 

“That’s what Rhonda said,” Ignacio replied. “She also said they were here for drama. And while this could cause drama…do those two seem like drama starters?” 

“Not really dude,” Griswold admitted. 

“Exactly,” Ignacio replied. “Rhonda’s goal is to gain a lot of ratings, especially now that she’s in primetime…so she brings back a guy no one knows. I suspect an ulterior motive for their return.”

“Rhonda could be lying,” Riley stated. “She has lied to us before, like about no one ever coming back ever…”

“Well we don’t know what happened on the Molting Eagles,” Griswold stated. “I still don’t know why exactly they voted off their leader. I mean I wasn’t surprised when Diamonique was voted off, but I honestly don’t know why she was.” 

“Fair enough,” Ignacio replied. “Perhaps we need to talk to more Eagles. What really baffles me is…Jar Jar. Why him? Rhonda could have chosen anyone, or even made it into a competition. But him?”

Griswold shrugged. “Who knows half the stuff Rhonda does. You got to stop obsessing over her so much, its a little weird.”

“Understandable,” Ignacio replied. “I just don’t like a mystery unsolved.” 

Riley poked Ignacio in the ab. “Maybe he likes her?” 

“You’re kidding?” Ignacio laughed. “Of course not...and I don’t like anybody else either. You know, if you were curious.”

Riley raised an eyebrow. “That sure sounds suspicious.”

“It wasn’t,” Ignacio replied. 

Griswold chuckled. “Maybe he likes you Riley.”

“For real?” Riley laughed. 

“Well who could blame him,” Griswold replied. “You’re the most amazing girl ever.” 

Riley laughed. “Yeah, yeah.”

“No, I mean it,” Griswold replied. 

Riley laughed, but blushed. “Right back at you big guy...except the girl part.”

“I think we should stop by Lita’s and Ness’,” Griswold stated. “We need to figure out what we’re going to do…” 

Griswold ran ahead. Riley watched, then looked back to see Ignacio winking at her.

“What?”

“I ship it,” Ignacio whispered. 

Riley rolled her eyes. “Griswold and I totally don’t like each other.”

“That sure sounds suspicious,” Ignacio replied.

“Weren’t we talking about your love life?” Riley asked.

Ignacio raced ahead of her. “Come on, we’re losing Griswold.”


“I’m not denial about liking my bromosapien Gris Bear,” Riley stated. “I mean, ever since Easton said something I have been thinking...well Griswold isn’t the kind of guy I would notice. I usually go for the weirdos...my last boyfriend was an iguana farmer. Gris isn’t freaky, but we do have a lot in common, enjoy spending time together, and he’s one of the best people ever. He’s just really sweet to me. What would it be like if he we dated...not that we would…”


Meanwhile, Diamonique, Cynthia and Melissa walked through the hall. Diamonique sipped the soda.

“Its really good to have you back Diamonique,” Melissa stated. “Again, I’m terribly sorry you left.”

“Like I said I’m not mad,” Diamonique replied. “It happened, but I’m still at the merge! I didn’t even have to do any that many challenges to do it. I know you gals didn’t vote me off, but no hard feelings to any of the other Eagles.”

“Aww, that’s really sweet,” Melissa stated. “I’m honestly relieved you returned. I felt like Cynthia is really my only ally. Its nice to know that’s no longer true.”

“Thanks girlie,” Diamonique replied. “I’m glad you two are actually happy I’m back.”

“We did have an alliance,” Cynthia reminded. 

“As far as I’m concerned,” Diamonique stated. “That alliance is back in black hunties!”

Melissa squealed, glomping the two. “This is wonderful! I wish Frannie was here too; she really didn’t talk much after you went home you? Of course it sounds like she didn’t go home…”

“Rhonda let her visit the circus,” Diamonique stated. “She got a put on few last shows with them… I promised Fran I would help her if I won, so I have to win for her too.”

“We’ll do it together!” Melissa stated. “The three of us, a girl group united! We could call ourselves...The Lady Eagles!”

Cynthia held out her hand. Melissa immediately placed her hand on top. Diamonique smiled and placed hers on top.They raised them up and shouted, “The Lady Eagles!”

Melissa giggled. “Well, this is our room. We’ll see you tomorrow, okay Diamonique?”

Diamonique scratched her head. “Hold on, I’m forgetting something...oh duh!”

From under her raspberry beret, the scatterbrain pulled out an envelope. “I snuck this in here for you Melissa, from a special someone.” 

Melissa squealed and tore open the letter. “Eeeee! My shoompy poops wrote me a letter! Aww, its poetry…”

“Your man ever write you love poems Cynthia?” Diamonique asked. 

“He tried once,” Cynthia said. “He couldn’t rhyme anything with orange. He expresses his feelings in other ways.” 

Diamonique winked. “I think it's time for me to get some beauty sleep, not that I ever need it. I’ll see you at breakfast Lady Eagles!”

Melissa wiped away the tears. “Thank you Diamonique, really thank you! I’m so glad you’re back!”

Diamonique waved. “Me too! Like I said, I’m not mad.”


Diamonique stared at the camera. She held up her soda can. “I’m not mad. I’m PISSED OFF!

She grunted as she tore the can in half with her bare hands. “Those dummies voted me off, and the rest didn’t even care! They thought I was their weakest link, that I could be tossed aside and forgotten like a piece of garbage. Well guess what; think again!”

Diamonique crushed the can halves in her hands. “I’m here for two things; the free food, and revenge! And once I’ve won this show...they’ll never forget about me.” 


The Fireworks gathered in Lita’s and Ness’ room. Lita heard a knock at the door; she found Tessa standing outside. 

Tessa squirmed in place, looking at the floor. “Hey Lita.”

“Do you want something?” Lita asked. 

Tessa sighed. “I wanted to apologize to you, for everything that I said before.”

“Aww, you can apologize,” Lita replied. 

Tessa looked up and smiled. “Really?”

Lita nodded. “Yeah. You can apologize by shutting the **** up and never saying another word to me ever again!”

Lita slammed the door in her face. “Hmph, who does she think she is trifling?”

“Geez Lita,” Riley stated. “Don’t you think that’s a little harsh?”

“Excuse me?” Lita asked. “Harsh? Refusing to give you a seat on the bus is a little harsh. Insulting me when I tried to apologize is harsh. Kicking out my best friend and insulting her is harsh. Insulting my mother and my brother to my face for millions to see is harsh!”

“Fair point,” Riley admitted. 

Lita gritted her teeth “If that spoiled daddy’s girl thinks she can just waltz in here and get my forgiveness like that, she’s mistaken. I just want to send her home again.” 

“I get it,” Riley said. “Gris, what’s this meeting about?”

“I guess I thought we should just talk,” Griswold admitted. “What we’re going to do now in the merge.” 

“We’ll stick together, right?” Ness asked. 

“That’s what I want!” Griswold replied. “Unfortunately, there’s still the matter of the Eagles outnumbering us. Technically, the returnees made us equal at seven each.” 

“We’re not actually working with Tessa though, right?” Ignacio asked. 

“I wasn’t planning on it,” Griswold admitted. “She failed us the last we time we trusted her. I want to vote her off the next chance we get. My real concern is Diamonique and uh…”

“Jasper,” Lita corrected. 

“Right,” Griswold replied. “Do we think Diamonique would flip?”

“I can’t tell if she was peeved or not,” Riley admitted. “But we can try. Maybe you can talk to her Iggy Pop...shirtless of course.” 

Ignacio blushed. “I don’t want to lead her own...or have her start stalking me.”

“I was kidding dude,” Riley teased. “We should all have a word with her.” 

“If she flips what’s stopping Jorge from doing the same,” Griswold stated. 

“We did vote him off,” Ness said. “I don’t know if I would trust any of us, if we all sent him home.”

“Uhhhhhhhh…”

The former Fireworks turned to Lita, who blushed. 

“You didn’t vote for Judith?” Ignacio asked. 

Lita rolled her eyes. “If we’re going to try to work with him, y’all need to learn it’s Jasper! Like Capser, that ghost, but with a J. And, yes I didn’t. I warned him about it and voted that hag Tessa, because I didn’t think he should go. Which I was right about by the way…” 

“We should have listened,” Ignacio admitted. “Now we’re lying in the beds we’re made. You don’t think you could talk to him, do you?”

“I was planning on chatting with Jasper a bit,” Lita replied. “What do you want me to say?”

“Just see if J’Casper is willing to work with us,” Griswold said. “Tell him if we wants we’d be happy too.”

“The more the merrier,” Ness agreed. 

Lita sighed. “Yeah okay, I’ll bring it up to Jasper.”


Tessa sighed as she flopped into her bed. She heard a knock at the door. She ran to the door to answer it, but frowned. 

“Expecting someone else?” Diamonique asked. 

The fashionista pushed her way into the room and slammed the door behind her. She sat herself on the bed and started to file her nails.

“Can I help you?” Tessa asked. 

“Maybe,” Diamonique replied. “Maybe we can help each other.”

“Huh?”

“Its shame you never really talked at the resort,” Diamonique said. “I didn’t realize we had so much in common.”

“We do?” Tessa asked. 

Diamonique nodded. “You know, I’m probably the only one who's happy you’re here.”

“Thanks...I guess,” Tessa replied. “Not that I’m not grateful, but why?”

“We have a common enemy,” Diamonique stated. “Kalino.”

“You hate that snake too?” Tessa asked. 

“Who do you think convinced my team to vote me off?” Diamonique asked. “And listening to the other losers, it sounds like we’re not his only victims.”

“So why didn’t you say anything at dinner when I was getting roasted?” Tessa questioned.

“Well, it wasn’t totally his fault you went home,” Diamonique replied. “You were pretty awful.” 

Tessa frowned, but slumped over. “Yup.”

“Not to mention Kalino has them eating out of the palm of his hand,” Diamonique stated. “Until they wise up, we’re the only ones with a clue.” 

“So you believe me about the flash drive?” Tessa asked.

“Yeah,” Diamonique replied. “I could see you being stupid enough to think that would work.”

“Is there a point to this?” Tessa asked. 

Diamonique nodded. “How does a secret alliance sound to you?”

“Not great,” Tessa admitted. “That didn’t work out so great with Pascal…”

“I’m not Pascal,” Diamonique replied. “The boobs were kind of a give away. Listen Tess, if you want to go right back out the Revolving Doors of Shame, I’ll hold it for you. But if you want to get even with Kalino...to have the others realize the truth, then I’m your best bet.”

Tessa sighed. “When you put it like that; you have a deal.”

Diamonique held out her hand. “Let’s shake on it.”

Tessa grabbed her hand, as Diamonique picked her up and began shaking her. She then dropped Tessa on the floor. “Alright, this secret alliance is official.”

“Do you actually have some kind of plan?” Tessa asked. 

Diamonique shrugged. “Meh, I’m kinda making it up as I go along.”


Meanwhile...

Jasper opened his door. “Ooh.”

Lita stood outside the doorway. “Hey.”

Jasper shook his head. “Um, Ignacio isn’t here now…”

Lita chuckled. “Didn’t we do this before? I’m here to talk to you...can I come in?”

“Y...yeah, please!” 

Jasper tried to step outside and hold the door for her, awkwardly running into her. “You can uh, sit on the bed.”

Lita sat next to Jasper’s open luggage. She held up a pair of drawers. “Hehe, nice underoos.”

Jasper blushed and tossed them aside. “I was just unpacking. Sorry.”

Lita giggled. “You’re fine, I’m just messing with ya. Anyhow, I’m glad your back.”

“Really?” Jasper asked. 

“If anyone got a raw deal, it's you,” Lita said. “You didn’t really get a first chance, so you should have a second chance.” 

“Thank you,” Jasper replied. “Thank you for everything.”

“Huh?”

“Thank you for trying to save me from going home,” Jasper admitted. “And for not voting for me...I overheard one of the interns discuss the votes.”

“The interns said that in front of you?” Lita asked. 

“They uh...don’t usually notice when I’m there,” Jasper replied. “I do really appreciate out you risking your game for me like that. It's the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me. Ever.”

Lita flicked her wrist. “Pssh, it ain’t no problem honey. Fat load of good it did; you still went home.”

“I’m still really grateful for it,” Jasper said. “It means a lot to me.”

Lita smiled, but sighed. 

“Is something wrong?” Jasper asked. 

“My...our former teammates wanted me to ask if you would vote with us,” Lita confessed. 

“Ooh,” Jasper said. “Really? I hadn’t really thought about a vote yet. Do you want me too?”

Lita bit her lip. “The truth is, we probably need a vote. But I’m not going to lie to you; I don’t know if you should.”

“What do you mean?” Jasper asked. 

“You don’t owe us anything,” Lita replied. “We gave you a raw deal. We sent you home without getting to know yo. We kept that witch Tessa just to vote her off again.”

“You didn’t,” Jasper stated. 

“I didn’t save you though,” Lita replied. “If it was me, I’d be bitter. I wouldn’t want to work with the Fireworks. You have another chance at this, and if it's not in your best interests to work with us, then you shouldn’t throw your game away. Do what you need to do.” 

“Well thank you for the honestly,” Jasper replied. “I have a lot to think about... but I’ll get back to you, I promise.

Lita smiled and stood up. “Thank you. I better go and get some shut eye; no telling what Rhonda plans for tomorrow. I’ll see you...and I really am glad you’re back.”

Jasper blushed. “M...me too.”


Riley yawned as she enter her room. “Hmm, Weston must be making out with gf somewhere.”

There was a knock against the door. 

“Did he lose his card again?” Riley laughed. 

Outside the door stood Tessa. “Hey Riley.”

“Uh, hey. What up?”

“Do you maybe...want to grab some Mickey Ds?”

Riley stared, then smiled. “Yeah! I’m always up for some Mickey Ds!” 

The two girls soon made their way to the Mickey D's in the unground chapter. 

“No one but us stays at this hotel, and it's still open for twenty hours,” Tessa stated. 

“Less of a wait,” Riley replied. “What are you going to get anyway?”

Tessa blushed. “I’m getting a sweet tea actually.” 

Riley laughed. “Really?”

“Yeah,” Tessa replied. “I...I thought a lot about what you said to me that night. And I realized, you were right. I am really alone…”

“Why didn’t you do it Tessa?” Riley asked. “Why did you attack Lita?”

“I don’t know,” Tessa admitted. “I guess maybe I was jealous and I thought...I mean Lita’s this beautiful athlete, she felt just like one of those cool girls in high school.”

“What do you mean?” Riley asked. 

“I was bullied a lot in high school,” Tessa said. “I was a few grades younger and I do come from a rich family, so everyone just kind of treated me like dirt. I didn’t have any friends. They made me feel like I was nothing, so I swore I would become special; I trained endlessly to win my gold medal. That way I could prove I was better, I could make them nothing…”

Tessa sighed and slumped down into a chair. “I thought I’d feel better, but I was still alone. I couldn’t shake this sad feeling no matter what. I thought coming to this show I could escape it, but I realize now that I was the reason I felt awful and alone.”

“So you were just projecting your own fears it sounds like,” Riley stated. 

Tessa nodded. “I’m too defensive. I was trying to protect myself from people I thought were the popular crew, when I didn’t even to get to know. I don’t want to be alone, and I don’t want to be such a mean person.”

“So don’t,” Riley stated. 

“But...what if I can’t change?” Tessa asked. “I mean everything thinks I’m the worst, for good reason, so doesn’t that mean it's true?”

Riley pulled a strand of air from Tessa’s hair. 

“Uh, ouch!” 

“I’ve had enough of this pity party,” Riley replied. “Now you realize you were a tool and want to change, right?”

“That’s what I just said, yeah,” Tessa replied. 

“Well admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving it,” Riley replied. “You just have to try, and I’m sure the others will see that you’re not the same person.”

“You really think so?” Tessa asked. “Then...how can I apologize to Lita? I think of everyone here I was the worst to her…”

Riley shrugged. “I don’t know, maybe make her a card?”

Tessa raised her eyebrows. “A card?”

“I don’t have all the answers,” Riley replied. “We’ll figure it out. Just know that right now, you’ve got a friend Sweet T.”

Tessa hugged Riley. “Thanks Riley! You really are the best.”

“I’ve been told that,” Riley replied. 


In the hallway, Diamonique walked through the halls, deep in thought. “Now where was that bathroom?”

“Hey Diamonique.”

Diamonique turned her head and smiled. “Well, if it isn’t my good friend Kalino?”

The surfer forced a laugh. “Hey, glad to have you back.”

“How sweet,” Diamonique replied. “It's a shame I got eliminated somehow, huh?”

Kalino looked down. “I just wanted to ask something, if I can.”

“Sure Kalino,” Diamonique replied, “old buddy, old pal.”

“So all the losers are sequestered together,” Kalino explained, “you haven’t...talked to Frannie have you?”

“Why?” Diamonique asked. 

Kalino sighed. “I suppose she told you how I voted her off, huh?”

“You know she did mention it once or twice,” Diamonique admitted. “What of?”

“You're her best friend so,” Kalino stated, “...do you think Frannie would ever forgive me?”

“Would you?” Diamonique asked.

“Honestly...yeah,” Kalino admitted. “I’m not one to hold a grudge. But I broke her trust...I don’t know if that can heal.”

Diamonique shrugged. “I don’t know. But I will say, I don’t hold grudges either.” 

Kalino raised an eyebrow. “Yeah. What are you saying?”

“I’m saying, you’re somebody who cares about Frannie,” Diamonique stated. “Someone who seems regretful of it. And rumor is, you made some sort of promise for her. The same promise I’ve made to her; that if I win I’ll save her circus. That’s someone I wouldn’t mind getting far.” 

“Are you proposing an alliance?” Kalino asked. 

“Are you interested?” Diamonique asked. 

“Kalino scratched his soul patch. “Uuh, yeah sure! If you’re for it. We could work well together.”

Diamonique and Kalino shook hands. 


“I don’t trust Kalino as far as I can throw him,” Diamonique admitted. “And I could throw him really far, my a whole block or two. I know what that snake did to me and Frannie; and I plan on cutting the head off of the snake. But as they say, ‘keep your friends close...and keep your enemies closer.’ So I will for the time being...but I won’t let him in the final two. No, I have someone else in mind…”


Diamonique knocked on a door again and again, until it was answered. 

“Ignacio isn’t here,” Jasper stated. 

“I’m sure that stud wants to see me,” Diamonique replied. “But I’m here for you.”

Once again, Diamonique pushed her way in and slammed the door behind her. 

“Diamonique?” the guy asked. 

“That’s my name,” Diamonique replied. “Yours is Jasper.”

“Yeah...it is. You know that?”

Diamonique nodded. “I’m not going to forget it. We’re a lot alike Jasper. We’re the first ones are teams decided needed to leave. We’re the only ones who really need this second chance.”

“What about Tessa?” Jasper asked. “I don’t like her, but she was an early out too…”

“You mean the girl who got a second chance at the expense of yours?” Diamonique asked. “The girl who production chose personally cause she’s so special? She’s the worst; I don’t have any sympathy for her.”

“I don’t either,” Jasper replied. “She deserves to be here the least...but I guess I don’t really deserve to be here then. I didn’t earn it.”

“You deserve it,” Diamonique replied. “We both do. We were wrongfully voted out.”

Jasper rubbed the back of his head. “I don’t know about that. Maybe I was the first boot for a reason.”

Diamonique titled her head. “Remind me, who won the Fireworks their tie breaking point in the endurance test? Who without, they would have lost the first challenge? Who was the only reason they had a chance against the Eagles?”

“That...that was me,” Jasper said. “I won that point! I tied it!”

“You’re the whole reason we had a tiebreaker Jasper,” Diamonique stated. “Without you, the beginning of the game would be so different. The entire course of this show would be changed!”

“You remember I won that?” Jasper asked. 

“Of course,” Diamonique replied. “It's the same with me. Who won the Eagles the advantage of an extra point, and won the puzzle challenge in record time? Me. But did our teams remember our successes? No, they only remembered us when it was time to vote someone off.”

“It wasn’t fair!” Jasper shouted. “I always gave my best in the challenges! I got far in the Awake-a-thon, not that any noticed. I made the tiebreaker! Yet they voted me out for being a weak link...it wasn’t fair.”

Diamonique nodded. “It wasn’t fair. They all saw us as weak links and losers, and even when we proved them wrong, they wouldn’t change their minds. We were only cannon fodder to them. Clowns to be laughed at, then shooed away when things got serious.”

“Did you hear them at dinner?” Jasper asked. “They talked about everyone who went home...everyone but me.” 

“They thought they could forgot about you,” Diamonique stated. “They thought you didn’t matter anymore...but they’re wrong. You’re special Jasper.”

“Me?” Jasper asked. “Special?”

“Of course,” Diamonique replied. “Don’t you see, they need you know. They need us both. The Eagles and The Fireworks are at a stalemate. They need our votes to get a majority. Their fates are entirely in our hands. We control who goes home now.”

“I never thought of it like that,” Jasper admitted. 

“They can’t forget about us now,” Diamonique stated. “But we need each other Jasper. We’re the only ones who knows what it feels like to be forgotten and tossed aside. We need to form a secret alliance.” 

“An alliance?” Jasper asked. “I don’t know about that, it feels shady.”

“What don’t you know?” Diamonique asked. “I mean, aren’t you tired of being mistreated?”

“I mean-”

“-Aren’t you tired of being underestimated?”

“I guess I am…”

“Aren’t you tired of being underappreciated?”

“Yeah.”

“Aren’t you tired of being looked down upon?”

“Yeah.”

“Aren’t you tired of being forgotten?”

“Yes.”

“Of no one remembering you? Of being tossed aside?”

“Yeah, yes. Yes!”

“Of no one caring about you? Of being a reject, a loser, a nobody!”

“Yes! Yes!” 

“Then let’s change that,” Diamonique said. “Let’s make the final two.”

“You want to go with me to the final 2?” Jasper asked. 

“You’re the only one I want to go with Jasper,” Diamonique replied. 

“Why?”

Diamonique chuckled. “I want to see them choke when they see the final two are the ‘early outs’. I want them to be beaten by the ‘pathetic creatures’ they’ve tossed aside.”

Jasper gulped. “You’ve a...really thought about this, huh Diamonique?”

Diamonique sighed and fell against the bed. She ran her fingers against the scars on her forehead. “I’m tired too Jasper. At Playa Des Losers, I had a lot of time to think. I realized this game went just like life.”

“What do you mean?” Jasper asked. 

“I don’t know if you noticed but I’m not always smart,” Diamonique said. “So people think I’m an fool. That I’m so dumb blonde! I’m not even a natural blonde, my hair just looks really good this way.”

“Is this all about your hair?” Jasper asked. 

“No,” Diamonique sighed. “This is about how the world sees us; the same way the people on this show saw us, and the people who watched this show probably saw us. We were just minor losers to them. Not that shocking, not that missed. I’ve always been overlooked in my life. I realized when we came back, you have too. People just see us as an idiot and a nobody.”

“That’s been my life,” Jasper stated. 

Well I’m not having it anymore.”

“Then...let’s make the final two!” Jasper stated, striking a heroic pose. “Um...if you really think we can?”

Diamonique laughed. “I’m positive.” 


In her office, Rhonda watched the cameras, smiling to herself. “This went better than I expected. I can salvage this show yet...especially with tomorrow’s special guests….hehehe...

Chapter 15 Wheel With The Devil

Chapter 16 Kart Of War

Chapter 17 Chest Thing I Never Had

Chapter 18 A Movie Kind Of Love

Chapter 19 The Ghost Dangerous Game

Chapter 20 A Zoo Story

Chapter 21 Game Of Groans

Chapter 22 Forget Me Fought

Chapter 23 Neigh Of The Dead

Chapter 24 And Then There Were Sewer

Chapter 25 Three Fallin

Chapter 26 Winner For Schmucks

Elimination Table

# Contestant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Cynthia IN WIN LOW SAFE WIN WIN WIN SAFE SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN IN
21.75/ Diamonique IN WIN SAFE OUT RETURNS IN
Griswold IN IN WIN WIN SAFE SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN LOW SAFE SAFE IN
Ignacio IN IN WIN WIN SAFE SAFE LOW WIN WIN WIN LOW SAFE SAFE IN
21.5/ Jasper IN IN WIN WIN OUT RETURNS IN
Kalino IN WIN SAFE LOW WIN WIN WIN SAFE SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN IN
Lita IN IN WIN WIN SAFE LOW SAFE WIN WIN WIN LOW SAFE LOW IN
Melissa IN WIN SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN SAFE SAFE LOW WIN WIN WIN IN
Ness IN IN WIN WIN SAFE SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN SAFE LOW LOW IN
Riley IN IN WIN WIN SAFE SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN LOW SAFE SAFE IN
21.25/ Tessa IN IN WIN WIN LOW OUT RETURNS IN
Vance IN WIN SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN SAFE SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN IN
Weston IN WIN SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN SAFE SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN IN
Xidorn IN WIN SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN SAFE LOW SAFE WIN WIN WIN IN
15th Seraphina IN IN WIN WIN SAFE SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN LOW SAFE OUT
16th Easton IN IN WIN WIN SAFE SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN SAFE OUT
17th Pascal IN IN WIN WIN SAFE SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN OUT
18th Aiden IN WIN SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN LOW SAFE OUT
19th Frannie IN WIN SAFE SAFE WIN WIN WIN SAFE OUT
20th Hayden IN WIN LOW SAFE WIN WIN WIN OUT
21st Zipporah IN IN WIN WIN SAFE SAFE OUT
22nd Bethany IN WIN OUT

KEY:

Teams:

  •      This contestant was on the Molting Eagles.
  •      This contestant was on the Fizzled Fireworks.
  • An individual color shows this contestant made it to the merge, or individual phase, of the game.

Ceremony Status:

  •      Won the challenge, earning invincibility. 
  •      There was no elimination ceremony this chapter, so they were in no danger.
  •      Did not win, but was safe at elimination.
  •      Was in the bottom at elimination, but not eliminated.
  •      Was voted off the show.

Unusual Ceremony Status:

  •      Had immunity at elimination, which unlike invincibility, is earned by means other than winning the challenge.
  •      Was eliminated automatically through a challenge.
  •      Was eliminated as a result of a tiebreaker caused by the vote being tied.
  •      Was in danger due to a tie in the votes causing a tiebreaker, but was not eliminated.
  •      Was voted off due to a special voting procedure.

Finale Results:

  •      Lost the final challenge, becoming the runner-up of Total Drama Genesis.
  •      Won the final challenge, becoming the winner of Total Drama Genesis.

Trivia

Warning: There be spoilers here.

General 

  • A special thank you to Reddy for making these amazing character images <3
  • A thank you to Gideon for his help with grammar, contributing ideas, along with his contributions to the tropes page (and letting me 'borrow' so much from LTDI xD). 
  • Since I started my first story I had started planning or coming up with characters for this story, about four to five years ago, even before Total Drama: Revenge of The Island. A lot of last minute changes have been made however. 
  • Originally this story was going to be a sequel to Total Drama What The Heck? and would've featured Chris as a host as well. The original title to go with it would've been Total Drama: Oh My God
  • The title of Total Drama Genesis was chosen because Genesis means 'the formation of something' and this seaon is the formation of my new canon and in-story the new version of Total Drama. 
  • Very early on, this story was originally going to be about a murder mystery going on at the same time of the show. This was inspired by the show Bones, which takes place in Washington, which is ultimately why Washington is the setting. This was scrapped very soon because I wanted a story more focused on the contestants and the competition. Washington ended up staying as the setting for plot reasons.
  • There were several scrapped/alternate versions of characters planned for the story including, The Awkward Sweetheart, The Lovey Dovey Girlfriend, The Lovey Dovey BoyfriendThe Lightning Jock, The Cold StrategistThe Child Prodigy, The Pokemon FanaticThe Creepy Girl, The Fire EaterThe Girl In Mad Love, The Mysterious GuyThe Ex ClownThe Master Villain, The Actress, The Comic Lover, The Magical Girl Parody, The Swimsuit Model, The Television Critic, The Cool Kitty, The Introvert, The Extrovert,  The Country Boy, The Boy and His Dog and The Most Popular Girl In School. They were scrapped for various reasons.
  • I had tried to make this cast more racially diverse, since I felt my previous casts had been predomiantly white or were until I changed characters' races. I also wanted this cast to have at least some LGBTQ representation, as I realized it was somewhat lacking on the wiki. 

Chapter 1

  • The title is a reference to Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.
  • Credit goes to Zac and Dyna for grammar fixes along with suggestions on how to improve flow and jokes <3
  • Since Total Drama has split first episodes into two parts, I decided to split my into three so I could have enough time for everything I wanted. I felt like a lot of premieres of other shows, such as Survivor, are longer than usual (about 3 TD episodes in length) as well so it wouldn't be a problem.
  • The story was designed to be able to read without a strong knowledge of Total Drama, which is why a lot of the opening gives some backstory on the show. The exact fate of Total Drama is left ambiguous because I wasn't sure if it was going to be in the same canon as Total Drama What The Heck? and if not I didn't want to name a specific last season of TD, since it would become outdated when a new season of TD starts. 
  • This story later become tied into the same canon as Zac's story Total Drama Tides and related seasons, with Tides somewhat serving as a prequel. I edited in a reference to a Canadian version and assume that the company that owns the American rights is international, with an American and Canadian branch. 
  • The crazy subway lady is a reference to Mana's character Anamaria
  • Rhonda Stoppable, one of Frannie's nicknames for Rhonda, is a reference to Ron Stoppable from Disney's Kim Possible. Ron Stoppable is known to fail, so it is a fitting nickname for Rhonda. 
  • Vance's horse's name, Tinfoil, is named and based off the Daffy Duck's horse in the Looney Tunes short 'Drip Along Daffy', which maybe a parody of the Lone Ranger's horse's name. 
  • Many of the initial interactions this chapter are meant to be foreshadowing of future interactions.

Chapter 2

  • Griswold and Seraphina's scene was originally going to happen in the first chapter but was switched to the second chapter for length. 
  • Show jumping was meant to be a bigger deal in an early draft, when the show was a sequel to WTH? and Pascal wouldn't have been the only show jumper. Show jumping was also thought of as a way to explain any characters submitted by winners of any contests who were intially from a different story. It ended up being more tied to Pascal's story instead. 
  • I imagine Rhonda choose the Pentagram as where the competition would take place to make up for not being able to host at a 'more exotic' location...along with it being owned by the same company that runs the network making it cheap and free advertising. 
  • I had cut confessionals from Weston and Melissa, along with another Kalino, for the sake of length. They didn’t add much that wasn’t too funny, obvious or addressed.
  • The full list of roomates are;
    • Aiden and Hayden
    • Bethany and Zipporah
    • Cynthia and Melissa
    • Diamonique and Frannie
    • Easton and Vance
    • Griswold and Xidorn
    • Ignacio and Jasper
    • Kalino and Pascal
    • Lita and Ness (later joined with Seraphina) 
    • Riley and Weston
    • Tessa and Seraphina (with Seraphina kicked out)
  • Initially, Bethany was Weston’s roommate but I changed it to Riley because I felt like she didn’t have enough focus in the first two chapters. Griswold was intitially Easton's roommate but was changed to Vance because Vance would've been funnier. 
  • I added a confessional for Seraphina and reworked a few of her lines after this chapter was posted, to better express her character after readers found her actions in the next chapter strange.
    • The confessional here is based off Seraphina's original confessional in chapter three, which was edited a bit as well to reflect the new confessional. 
  • Another cut scene was Melissa offering Zipporah a seat, and Zipporah hard core ignoring it.
  • Kalino's noticing of the cups was meant to be a hint that he was smarter than he seemed, along with how he convinces Bethany to join the alliance and him finding the flash drive. 
  • The cups were originally meant to serve as a call back to WTH? when this was a sequel to that fanfiction. In hindsight, I would've tried to make the teams more random, such as less equal gender divisions, to show it becoming more randomly selected. 
  • Originally, The intial Fizzled Fireworks were the Molting Eagles. The Molting Eagles didn't have a name for a long time, as I wanted something that sounded crummy but American based. The closest I had settled on was 'The Rotten Apple Pies', but  it felt too long, which along with  plot reasons (see Chapter 3 Trivia), lead to a change. 
    • ​Even older drafts revealed I planned on calling The Molting Eages by 'The Exploding Cherry Trees' and the Fizzled Fireworks by 'The Soaring Eagles'. Other team names I had were The Shiny Pennies, The Revultionary Frieworks and the Patriotic Baldies. 
  • The Brady Bunch being in the mob was based off a skit from The Amanda Show called When Bradys Attack.
  • Jenny's line "What a glorious day!" is a reference to Mad Max: Fury Road.
  • The vulture that attacks Jenny and Toby is based off a similar incident in their original story Total Drama What The Heck?

Chapter 3

  • Intially, I was going to base all of the show's challenges on Rhonda's speech like the labors were. I scrapped that when I found it limiting my ideas.
    • The idea to refer to the labors as trials is based off a similar idea thought by Gideon, who expressed in a blog to make the reimaging of the wheel of misfortune in The Legend of Total Drama Island parallel the Labor of Herakles. 
  • Griswold and Aiden had a scene during their challenge, which would've revealed Jenny and Toby kept the vulture that kidnapped them as a pet, but it was cut for time. 
  • I had always planned for a tie-breaker labor for this challenge. 
  • Rhonda including a water challenge to show skin is based off a similar accurance in The Legend of Total Drama Island.
  • Originally, the final labor was going to force the contestants to have to unlock a crate containing their team's mascot. The crate would have had eleven locks (one for each team member), whose keys would be hidden amongst a hundred placed in crab traps hidden at the bottom of a pool. Teams would dive in and have to find them. Some scenes, like Ness actually opening one and Igancio's swim suit getting torn while trapped in a crab trap, were planned. It was cut for time. 
  • Ignacio pointing out the flaws in the original idea of the challenge was added later to the chapter, based on Gideon pointing out the same logical issues with the challenge. 
  • The Fireworks were always planned to be losing but win in an 'unfair' way such as;
    • With the scrapped challenge idea, the Eagles would've finished while the Fireworks would stll have seven locks left. The Fireworks would realize Rhonda said they 'could' use the keys but didn't have to, so they busted the locks off instead.
    • When the Fireworks name was The Molting Eagles, the current Eagles would have had a name based off apples or apple pie and a mascot that was a gross apple pie. They'd lose because the Eagles would have their mascot, a featherless eagle, eat the apple pie and since the apples didn't have a mascot, they'd lose.
    • Finally the Fireworks were going to scare the Eagles mascot, a featherless eagle, away which wouldn't happen to them because they had an inanimate object as a mascot. Long story short, this is why the team names are what they are. 
  • The idea the winning team would vote off a member of the losing team was thought of before the idea was used in Sprinklemist's now cancelled story Total Deception Island and in canon's Total Drama All Stars
  • Though not mentioned in story, if both teams had failed to bring their mascots Rhonda would have made it a double elimination where each team would vote off the first member of the other team's group. 
  • This chapter was edited after it was originally published, rephrasing some things. The biggest is that Rhonda's elimination speech has a quote from Gideon's The Legend of Total Drama Island; the quote was included since I felt it really fit the story and Bethany's elimination. 
  • Bethany was always planned to be the first out, and was designed to be opposite from a typical first out. 
  • The votes were;
    • Bethany: Easton, Igancio, Tessa, Seraphina, Pascal, Jasper,
    • Hayden; Riley, Ness, Griswold,
    • Cynthia; Lita, Zipporah,

Chapter 4

  • The title is a reference to the song Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) by the Eurythmics
  • The sedatives used in the sleeping challenge came from the use of sedatives for the Awake-a-thon in The Legend of Total Drama Island
  • There were several cut scenes, though most were saved for later chapters. The only scene that wasn't happened during the feast. Toby would realize Jenny wasn't giving sleeping pills to the Eagles because of her friendship with Hayden, so he did the the same for the Fireworks due to his friendship with Riley. Both would secretly add extra sleeping pills to the other's food. I cut it for length and because I felt Jenny and Toby had enough focus this chapter. 
  • Frannie refering to Ignacio as 'Iggy' was based on how Zac refers to Ignacio. 
  • Zipporah isolating herself from her team was meant to serve as evidence for the reasoning behind her future elimination. 
  • Pascal's rant against Mandy Picklestein was based on a similar speech done in an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy that was my signature for a while, but done more over the top.  
  • I was hesitant to reveal Melissa being Muslim and Aiden's reaction given some of the recent events, but I decided to go ahead with the plot since I had planned it from the start. The reason the show takes place in Washington D.C. is because of this plot. 
  • Cnythia followed Melissa to be a supportive friend in story. Out of story, I couldn't imagine Cynthia sleeping or closing her eyes so I had her eliminated by leaving the area.
  • Originally, Tessa was going to make a remark about diversity and representation after Melissa ran away, but I cut it for time and I felt I didn't want the story to be even more political.  
  • Jasper wasn't mentioned at all in this chapter as a joke on how forgetable he is.
    • I had originally planned to have a counter or other measurement to show how the teams fared but that would mean referencing Jasper, so I decided against it. 
  • The votes were;
    • Aiden; Cynthia, Melissa, Diamonique, Frannie
    • Diamonique; Kalino, Vance, Aiden, Xidorn, Weston, Hayden
  • While Aiden should have been in the bottom two for recieving more votes, Rhonda had Kalino in there to add dramatic effect. 
  • In every draft, Diamonique was always the second eliminated. 

Chapter 5

  • Credit goes to Reddy for the chapter name <3
  • I actually used a random generator to select pairs, with the exception of Tessa, Jasper, Easton, Ignacio, Ness and Griswold (after Weston was randomly selected for Volleyball, I had him compete against Griswold and Easton). I did this because I wanted to try and have new and or different team interactions.
  • I had planned to use more traditional sports like basketball or football...but I ended up going a different route for some reason, perhaps due to a lack of idea in how to write those.  
  • The Paradise Beach Hotel and its indoor beach was based off a real hotel I saw on TV, along with being a reference to Total Drama: Paradise Beach.
  • Frannie's joke about needing to chill was a reference to a similar joke by Puck.
  • I had originally planned for Aiden and Melissa's conflict to go on longer but I felt it was out of character for Aiden not to adress it, wanted to not be as political and readers wouldn't enjoy the story going on for so long. 
  • Pascal's plan for winning in the roller debry was suggested by a friend based off an idea from a Phineas and Ferb episode. That's likely the show Pascal got the idea from. 
  • The votes were;
    • Jasper; Pascal, Tessa, Griswold, Easton, Riley, Seraphina, Ness, Ignacio, Zipporah,
    • Tessa; Lita, Jasper
  • In every draft, Jasper was always the third eliminated. 
  • Rhonda's comments after Jasper was eliminated was to poke fun of how reality shows often treat contestants, not acknowledging them or their impact. 
  • I try to have the narrative of Total Drama Genesis be unbiased, i.e. not using too many adjectives to describe the contestants actions, reactions or feelings, so the readers can interpret the story and not be too influenced in their opinions of the contestants. The only exception is Jasper, who is so unmemorable even the narrative gets his name wrong. 

Chapter 6

  • The title is based off the phrase 'made you look', a phrase used by kids who trick other kids to look when there isn't anything there.
    • The original chapter title was "What To Expect When Expecting An Invasion", but I felt it wasn't that funny and tried to find a new title, but struggled for along time before deciding upon this one. 
  • This chapter took an extremely long time to get out and went through several rewrites including starting over from scratch. I wasn't satifised with everything going on for along time, but I do enjoy this chapter a lot more now. 
  • Seraphina wasn't going to have that psychic moment, but I added it since everyone wanted more psychic ablities.
  • As implied in the story, Seraphina's great great great aunt did die in an concretration camp during German occupation.
  • The Invaders are designed to be similar to the Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise. Though some their plot elements is a mix of Plan 9 from Outer Space and Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • Seraphina describing Pascal as like pink vomit is based on a similar comment Zac on Pascal.
  • Ness' favorite band One Rejection, is based on a group parodying One Direction created by Toad
  • Hayden's boyfriend is named after Mroddy or Zac. 
  • The director Cornelious Puckerschmidt is a reference to Puck
  • Weston developing a crush on Cynthia was planned from the start of the story. Congrats to Zac for correctly predicting this development! 
  • Some of Xidorn's lines during his fight against the Invaders are quotes from Jaws and Jurassic Park.
  • Though not stated, its meant to be implied that Tessa working with Kalino was due to their shared connection in an alliance with Pascal. 
  • The votes were;
    • Tessa; Lita, Ness, Griswold, Ignacio, Seraphina, Easton, Riley, Zipporah, 
    • Lita; Tessa, Pascal
  • Tessa was originally concieved as a different character and went through several elimination plans. She had always been planned for eliminated seventh, but ulimately she was moved up for other contestants to have more development and other reasons. 
  • Tessa's elimination was meant to be a more realistic version of a recurring trend of snobby antagonist whose openly mean to everyone; while other characters contiune to stay despite being awful people, Tessa is eliminated for it.
  • Tessa was meant to originally have a harsher elimination; she would have caused Lita to have a bigger break down, causing everyone to decide to forfeit the challenge (a playground obstacle course) to vote her off. Tessa would've tried to do the challenge herself and almost win but lose, have her head shaved and be voted off. I changed it because I wanted Tessa's story to be more meaningful. 
  • Tessa's possible redemption arc was to give her a better, more hopeful ending. 

Chapter 7

  • The chapter's title is a play on Beauty and The Beast, which was also chosen given the chapter's focus on romance.
  • I tried to give the Eagles more focus this chapter, as I felt like their focus last chapter wasn't as big as I intended.
  • I didn't plan for romance to be as big a focus this chapter, but plots needed to move along. I consider this chapter's theme to be romance and social skills in general. 
  • Seraphina and Pascal's scene was originally removed from the chapter, but I felt there wasn't enough room to establish this conflict next chapter and felt it worked best here, so I retroactively added it back in. 
  • Helga Potter and the Sorceror's Schnitzel was a reference to Toad's character Helga, who usually reads parody titles, and a ship she is in (SchnitzelShipping). 
  • Zipporah originally only recited the first poem, but I added a second poem to give the character more lines since she was popular with some readers and it was her boot episode. 
  • Thanks to everyone who gave suggestions for foods to be part of the feast! I appreciate it <3
  • Aiden and Melissa weren't going to hook up this soon but I reasoned their wasn't any reason for them not to at this point, so I made them offically a couple (and tried to lampshade how silly it is for characters not to hook up other than its too soon). 
  • The names Pascal confuses Zipporah for are references to other goth characters on the wiki, Estrella and Lana.
  • The votes were;
    • Ignacio: Zipporah, Pascal
    • Zipporah: Griswold, Lita, Seraphina, Ness, Ignacio, Easton, Riley, 
  • Ignacio was simply in the bottom two because I couldn't think of who else would be, and figured Zipporah probably thought he was mainsteam. 
  • Zipporah was originally planned to be fourth out but I felt the reasoning behind Zipporah's elimination wouldn't hold up if Tessa was still around, so she was spared for a chapter. 
  • Zipporah's elimination was meant to realistically portray how a stereotypical goth contestant would fare in a reality show or 'social game' as its called; their anti-social attitude and negative personality would make them unlikable.

Chapter 8

  • The title is a pun on the song Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO. It was chosen for fitting in with Ignacio's 'moment' in the chapter. 
  • Rhonda's remarks about Canada are a reference to her time on Total Drama Tides
  • Frannie's comments on Diamonique's elimination was a result of me realizing their would be a tie if Kalino was honest, so I acknowledged that and decided to use it to cause conflict. 
  • Mandy wasn't originally meant to ever appear on the show, but after I wrote the line referencing her I knew she had to show up. 
  • The point of the leaders making decisions was mainly an excuse to have the teams have to choose leaders for the challenge. It ended up leading to a lot of the strategy for the challenge, which I ended up liking even if it made the challenge long. 
  • The familiar looking old lady is in fact the old lady in the metro from the first chapter. Due to a strange amount of like and interest in her, she made a cameo and maybe come a recurring character. 
  • An original plan for this chapter was for Jenny and Toby to give special advantages to Hayden and Riley retrospectively. It was cut for time and feeling too out of place.
  • Subconsciously I basically ripped off a similar challenge from Total Drama: Revenge of the Island. But mine had more nudity in it, so whose the real winner? 
  • The votes were;
    • Aiden: Xidorn
    • Hayden: Kalino, Frannie, Vance, Cynthia, Weston, 
    • Vance: Melissa, Aiden, Hayden
  • Hayden was always planned to an early out, around sixth or seventh out. I decided on sixith out to have more time for Frannie's story.
  • I had tried to set Aiden up as the obvious boot to have readers assume he was going home and surprise with Hayden's elimination. Vance should have been in the bottom two, but once again Rhonda changed it for dramatic effect. 
  • I hadn't realized Aiden and Hayden's names rhymed until I wrote their first scene together in the first chapter, so Rhonda realizing it here was a joke on that. 

Chapter 9

  • The title is a play on the Jack London novel The Call of the Wild
  • I just have to say I love Kalino’s justification to Frannie for lying to Vance; its twisting advice that is true (you can’t always be honest) but in a wrong way. The scene was designed to foreshadow Frannie’s eventual fate. 
  • The Tyson's Corner Center is an actual mall. I have no idea what its actually like there (other than a few facts mentioned in the story) and or if it has any of the shops I listed.
  • Ness' reference to Cody Simpson is based off the character Angel's love of the singer in Total Drama Tides.
  • The president Kalino is digused as is never stated to avoid dating the joke, and to leave it up to reader interpretation; pick your president, whether its Obama, Clinton, Trump or even Taft. 
  • Riley’s conversation to Griswold about love and relationships was made not only to apply to him, but to the various romances and overall relationships in the story, working similar to the 'long term stories' or themes of a Survivor season. 
  • The coffee was chosen to be raspberry flavored, based on ‘blowing raspberries’, which reminded me of Frannie.
  • The votes were;
    • Frannie: Kalino, Aiden, Melissa, Cynthia, Weston, Vance, Xidorn
    • Xidorn: Frannie
  • Frannie was always planned to be betrayed by Kalino due to their alliance. Originally, Frannie would have made a joke about juggling alliances to one of her teammates, not realizing she revealed her own, and causing her elimination. I changed it for it to have more impact for her character and the story overall.
  • Frannie was always going to go out before the merge. She originally was going to go as soon as fourth or fifth out, but due to Tessa’s elimination being moved up and Zipporah’s inclusion, her elimination was pushed back.
    • She was also originally going to go home before Hayden, but I wanted more time to wrap up her story, establish Xidorn’s relationship and establish herself in the alliance. I also figured it might make more sense for her to be a part of voting Hayden off.

Chapter 10

  • The chapter title is based off the phrase a 'crime of passion'. 
  • Originally this challenge was going to happen next chapter, but it was switched to earlier to allow more set up for things to come. 
  • This chapter was to have additional scenes, but they were moved to the next chapter just because this chapter was getting so long. 
  • Its implied that the flashdrive Xidorn found was in the potted plant Pascal was searching, before Seraphina spotted him. 
  • There were clues to imply that Seraphina was the original rumor starter in the previous chapter, such sd her being outside at the same time of the allaince, meeting, the first mention of the rumor coming from the Fizzled Fireworks and Seraphina's lines before the Eagles' elimination. 
  • Ness' comment that it feels like its been a year is a joke that at the time of this chapter' posting, its been almost a year since the first chapter was originally published. 
  • Shout out to Zac for helping me work in the calander plot more naturally than it originally was. 
  • The billiards scene was really only added to avoid having two Xidorn themed scenes after the other. It was fun comic relief. 
  • The Aiden, Cynthia and Weston scene was added thanks to a suggestion by Zac, to reference Cynthia and introduce elements of the story sooner. The Cynthia and Weston portion I had written a while ago and was looking for a place to include. 
  • The hotel the contestants visit for the challenge is named after the one from Easy, Breezy, Beautiful and based on what I thought it would be like before it was rundown.
    • The hotel's name was also meant to be a hint at the celebrity guest judges, who are from the same story.
  • The president's apperance was thought as a good contiunation of the joke from the previous chapter. I also thought Aiden meeting the president would be a good send off. 
  • Rhonda saying 'make it work' is a reference to the catchphrase of Tim Gunn from Project Runway
  • Thank you to Reddy for allowing me to use Chip and Flutina for this challenge!
    • The idea for the fashion challenge, hotel and the cameos came from Reddy's suggetion that are fics should crossover since we both had hotels. 
  • The votes were
    • Vance: Cynthia, Aiden, Melissa
    • Aiden: Xidorn, Vance, Kalino, Weston
  • Once again, Vance should have been in the bottom two, but Rhonda switched it up for dramatic effect. A couple getting split up was too dramatic to pass up, for her or me. 
  • Aiden was not always planned to be out this early. In early drafts he made it to the merge, in one draft even being the first out at the merge. Other drafts had him being the last out before the merge, and recently he was planned to survive two more chapters before the stories changed. 
  • I didn't want to eliminate Aiden sooner, as I felt I still had some things I wanted to do with him and ideas for him, but I realized he had a pretty complete story. I needed more time to develop future stories fully and saw potential for his elimination to cause new plots, so I moved up his elimination to allow room for that. 

Chapter 11

  • The chapter title is based off the phrase 'if the shoe fits'. For some reason, this is one of my favorite chapter titles. 
  • As lampshaded last chapter, the shopping trip to the mall was suppose to happen after the mall. I simply forgot and moved it to this chapter, which worked in hindsight, because events would have been out of order otherwise. 
  • Lita's mall food addiction is based off my own...
  • The conversations between all the Fizzled Fireworks where all meant to happen last chapter during the sewing, but were pushed back because I felt I didn't have enough room last chapter. Ironically, it made this chapter so long. 
  • Seraphina was originally going to confess to Griswold, but he was having his moment. I decided Ignacio would work just as well in the scenario.
  • Originally Pascal was going to date Ness to be safe, reluctantly dating her after Kalino's suggestion. I scrapped the idea, as it made Pascal too unredeemable. The alliance and promise were designed to still serve as Pascal betraying the others. 
  • Jenny's 'plan' as mentioned in the snow chapter was this chapter's challenge. It took longer than I expected, partially due to moving up the fashion challenge, but was always the plan. 
  • Rhonda's package, with the letter and the manatee, is a tie-in with Total Drama Tides and the events that happen there. Here working on a Canadian season and being popular there is also a reference to her time on Tides. 
  • The split line is to indicate a 'halfway' point for this chapter, as its roughly twice as long as a usual chapter. Rhonda explaining the episode could be longer to the show before them having issue was meant to explain this a bit...
  • All the questions in 'Whose Really On My Team' were designed for readers to know the answers too, with the exception of a few. All the answers to the questions will be known by the end of fanfic. 
  • When Aiden was here, he'd originally have questions for the challenge, most notably about his dead mom.
  • In-story, I imagine the challenge was originally going to just 'Dump The Chump', but Jenny added some 'modifications' to it. Out of the story, the reverse is true. I added the mini challenge segments to add some variety, instead of just having Jenny ask questions.
    • Originally the 'Dump The Chump' segments were to be based off games, Riley and Griswold competing in a 'whack a mole' segemnt, where Griswold was the mole. 
  • The audience members were Julie and Nellie, having a cameo as my most favorite and popular characters from my previous series. They were designed to have a 'Statler and Waldorf' like role for the challenge. 
  • There were going to be more 'Dump The Chump' moments, but I didn't have enough secrets for more rounds and the chapter was running long. I also used all the Eagles as pairs, and would have to repeat them. 
  • I was reluctant for the final task to be a gross food eating challenge after having done it before, but I decided I really enjoyed the idea and stuck with it.
  • I hadn't planned on all the dishes having animals either, but it happened. The 'protein' reference is based on canon character Lightning's preference for protein.
  • The idea of having to eat your own vomit was originally just an insult Seraphina made to Pascal during the challenge. It didn't work, but inspired the rule.
  • I thought about continuing the black licorice joke by having the last dish contain it, but then I thought no one could eat it, so I decided against it.
  • I was a bit concerned with the fake out of who won the challenge, after last chapter did a similar thing, but I found it too funny not to do.
  • The reward of a dinner under the stars is based off the reward Killer Bass earned after winning the cooking challenge in canon. It was inspired by the use of it in The Legend of Total Drama Island, which offers it as a reward twice.
    • Originally the reward was going to be another reward inspired by LTDI, but was moved to next chapter when I realized it worked better there.
  • The original votes were:
    • Easton: Seraphina, Ness, Lita, Pascal
    • Ness: Riley, Griswold, Ignacio, Easton
      • The votes in the revote were:
        • Ness: Riley, Griswold, Pascal
        • Easton: Lita, Ignacio, Seraphina
  • Ignacio decided he was closer to the Easton and the other bros, explaining his choice in voting for Ness initially. 
  • The original tiebreaker was going to be a random selection method, such as a spinner and a wheel with all the eligible Fireworks' faces on it. I changed it to be more dramatic and thematic. 
  • I had the newcomers assume tiebreakers were in place, even comparing it to canon or 'past seasons', to surprise readers when that wasn't true. 
  • Originally there was dialogue where Rhonda explained tiebreakers had to be preselected before the episode’s main challenge took place for legal reasons, but I cut the line for slowing down the suspense and not being too relevant. It still applies in story however. 
  • One idea I had was Seraphina calling dibs on a firework through her vision, but Pascal will shove her aside and claim it himself. Seraphina would have predicted this and it would turn out she would’ve tricked Pascal into picking the losing firework. I decided against, for a more tension based ending. 
  • I had originally planned for Pascal to make the merge, but I was conflicted on which characters I wanted to bring. Ultimately, I came up with the idea of Pascal's elimination and enjoyed the idea of him causing his own downfall, so I eliminated Pascal sooner. 
  • Mandy and Pascal hooking up was meant to either seen as a happy ending for Pascal after continuously failing, or a punishment by being tied to a chatterbox, depending on the reader's interpretation. 

Chapter 12

  • The title is based of the phrase 'In God We Trust', the official motto of the United States. It was the original phrase for Chapter 13, since that challenge was originally more team-focused, but changed when the challenge changed. I used it for this chapter since it fit the trust challenge. 
  • Originally since was going to be the extreme sports challenge from Island, based on I enjoyed the original challenges used in The Legend of Total Drama Island. Ultimately though I changed because I wanted to do the trust based rewards, have more team interactions, and already did a sports themed challenge.
  • The dangerous food-making challenge and the blind sledding challenge were all from the original trust-building challenge in Total Drama Island, with slight tweaks for this instance.
    • When the challenge was extreme sports, this challenge was a combination of the Island's first challenge, one thousand foot shark diving, and the sofa skydiving part of the extreme sports challenge. It also had the faulty parachutes from Pakithew Island's first episode. I wrote the whole scene out and may include it in a 'What-If' blog, since I really enjoyed it...but couldn't use it. 
  • The Kung-Fu soup is from Total Drama Action, where the winner of the Kung-Fu movie challenge enjoyed this soup, made by the losers of first part. I wanted to reference the franchise a little more than Island, and enjoyed the concept of the soup, so I used it. 
  • The duels were originally one on one when this was the extreme sports challenge, and the platform was an earthquake simulator. I wanted a dueling challenge so I made it two on two.
    • On the one on one duels, Ignacio would have lost to Melissa after having another wardrobe malfunction, which happened in the shark diving. 
  • Easton beating Weston in the duel was meant to give him a victory, while Weston ends up outlasting twin. 
  • In the extreme sports challenge, it would have been a moped race where one person drives and the other defuses a bomb. Other ideas was polo while riding animatronics dinosaurs, based on the polo challenge in LTDI. It was scrapped for being too long and that I had trouble understanding the rules of polo. 
  • To save time I originally was going to have the Eagles win both parts, Rhonda upset they couldn't do the third extremely dangerous part. It felt a little too lacking in suspense, so I changed it.
  • The reward of secretly picking your teammates rewards is based off The Legend Of Total Drama Island, where this was the reward for the trust challenge. I loved the idea, but originally didn’t think I would be able to use it with any story impact, before coming up with an idea.
    • Jenny lampshades this in-story. 
  • The votes were:
    • Ness: Griswold, Easton, Riley, 
    • Easton: Lita, Ness, Seraphina, Ignacio
  • As someone may point out, technically a coin flip is not a fifty/fifty split; whichever side the coin is face up when it's launched has a fifty-one percent chance of being face up after launch. Ignacio probably is unaware of that, but didn’t look at the sides anyway. Easton probably is aware of it, given his love of math, but doesn’t see reason to argue it. 
  • Easton's place was always around tenth out, sometimes a few places earlier depending on the other characters eliminations.  
  • Initially I planned to have Easton and Weston's conflict be so bad that whenever they faced against each other in a challenge, they'd fight so much that both teams would lose that round. This would lead to the Fireworks eliminating Easton for being a liability and build good will with the other team. While part of Easton's conflict with his brother was how Pascal pushed for his elimination previously, this plan was changed for no longer working with story. 
  • At one point I considering having a team swap, introducing a third team and changing up the dynamics. I scrapped it since the original team dynamics were important to future plots, feared people would have trouble keeping tracking of who was on what team, and it felt pointless to have for only a couple of chapters. The third team would have been white, making all the teams have the colors of the American Flags.
    • The swapped teams were:
      • The Boisterous Bullmooses: Cynthia, Lita, Easton, Weston
      • The Fizzled Fireworks: Griswold, Seraphina, Xidorn, Kalino
      • The Molting Eagles: Ness, Riley, Vance, Ignacio,
    • The Bullmooses would lose their first challenge as a team, forcing a tie vote between Easton and Weston. The tiebreaker would be a challenge that Weston would win. 

Chapter 13

  • The title is a pun on ‘Days Of Our Lives’, the title of a long-running American soap opera.
  • This chapter was designed to serve as a kind of book-ending to the team phase, call backing to the first challenge, where the closer team loses due to a cheap trick and having the same reward as the first challenge, but the roles flipped.
  • Kalino’s reference to the extra vote as a ‘game changer’ is a reference to Survivor: Game Changers, a season of the popular reality show that was criticized for its overuse of advantages like that.
  • Originally Xidorn was going to win a video chat with a loved one, and decide to split it between the rest of the newcomers. I changed it to make it more drama-filled and character developing.
  • It was then going to be that Xidorn who would have to choose between ten thousand dollars or the video chats from loved ones. I changed it to Weston, since I felt it would be obvious which Xidorn would pick.
  • The idea behind Weston’s reward comes from something similar in Big Brother Canada 2. There houseguest Ika Wong won a prize, where she could take five thousand dollars if she shredded her follow houseguests letters from home.
    • I had wanted to save this idea for a reward in a future story involving a different character, but I liked the idea and it helped bring some character moments I wanted, so I decided to use it here. I may still use it later...
  • The whole point of the video chats was basically to have Seraphina have a confrontation with her mother.
  • Ignacio is Chilean, and speaks to his mother in Spanish, the national language of Chile. Chilean Spanish is very different from other kinds of Spanish, I did use Google Translate, so there are probably errors. Feel free to correct me if there are. I'll provide a link to the original translation here eventually.
  • Seraphina was going to have a seance this chapter will all the newcomers, but too much was going on, so it was scrapped.
  • Another scrapped plot point before the challenge was the contestants finding about the secret treasure in the hotel from Ms. Holmes.
  • The maze constantly shifting was inspired by Pahkitew Island, from Total Drama’s canon six season (or 5.2 if you want to be ‘technical). The island was robotic, allowing Chris to change the landscape and wildlife at a whim, with the landscape shifting similar to how the maze does.
  • I really liked the idea of the shifting maze, and the concept of it testing the teams individually and on their teamwork. I felt like there was more I could’ve explored with this challenge, action-wise and concept-wise, but I’m not the strongest challenge writer and felt the chapter was running long, so I nipped it in the bud.
    • Originally, the second stage was going to have tasks that would require two people, but I cut that simply for time.
  • Rhonda asking the newcomers (or readers) not to question the logic of the maze was me lampshading of this shifting maze makes no sense. I wasn’t too bothered by this
  • Though not all stated, these were who the Molting Eagles and Fizzled Fireworks against in stage one of the maze:
    • Kalino vs Griswold
    • Xidorn vs Riley
    • Vance vs Seraphina
    • Cynthia vs Lita
    • Weston vs Ignacio
    • Melissa vs Ness
      • I wanted to have all of these pairs face off in the first stage, but that would be a lot, and I decided I could either focus mostly on that or one the pairs in stage two, and chose that for the development it would bring.
  • I didn’t originally plan this, but I ended up using the pairs to develop story-lines I wanted to, that would have had to been pre-merge talks, such as Vance and Melissa on her reward.
  • Riley calls the shark Jabberjaw, a reference to a Hannah-Barbera cartoon of the same name (who has this awesome song).
  • Riley was originally going to interact with the shark in the previous chapter, back when it was extreme sports and involved shark plane diving.
  • Riley and Seraphina were paired together as Riley was the only Firework that Seraphina hadn’t had a significant interaction with. I wanted Seraphina to have a character moment with each remaining Firework prior to elimination, to justify why she’d be willing to sacrifice herself for them all.
  • I originally had Lita and Ness talk about Lita’s breakup from Gris in their scene, but I felt it wasn’t adding anything we didn’t know or was retreading territory.
  • The votes were:
    • Seraphina: Cynthia, Kalino, Melissa, Vance, Weston, Xidorn,
  • As many readers correctly guessed, Seraphina was a sort of decoy protagonist, meant to seem like a main character but go home sooner than expected.
  • Seraphina was originally going to make the merge. However, some other characters gained prominece and I decided they would be better at the merge. I realized I could complete her story and feel sastified, so I did. 

Chapter 14

  • The title isn't actually a pun, but references a movie titled, "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?" I chose because it felt like it was good foreshadowing for the events of the chapter.
  • The merge chapter was originally going to have a challenge, but I felt it would take too long, so I split it into two chapters.
  • In various other drafts, Seraphina, Pascal and Aiden made points at times.
  • When the mergers were remembering the past contestants, Jasper was the only one not mentioned. This was to surprise readers even more when he returned. 
  • Diamonique and Jasper were always planned to return since I developed their characters. I tried to offer hints at their return, such as:
    • Both are the only contestants eliminated before the merge without traditional audition tapes. This is because they have a second audition tape.
    • The two were meant to seem like very traditional early out archetypes, and based off other early outs. Unlike others who were the same way, such as Ness, Kalino or Cynthia, they were eliminated early. This was meant to seem suspicious. 
    • During both of their eliminations, Rhonda says “The one of you who doesn’t receive a coffee will be eliminated tonight and never comeback. EVER.” This is based off Chris’ statement in TDI, that he eventually breaks. Rhonda only says this line at their eliminations. 
    • Jasper in particular was meant to return, as his story was about being given a chance and commenting on how unfair having someone there to only be fodder was. The storyline didn't feel honest if he didn't have that chance.
  • Congrats to Zac who predicted I would have returnees, and specifically guessed Diamonique early on, who I didn't think anyone would xD
  • The twist of the returning two was based on Total Drama Amazon, where the first two voted off returned. Diamonique was partially inspired by one of those returnees, Lacey
  • Tessa was not originally planned to return. However, I realized that I wanted more out of her story, and with my current plans I wouldn't get the chance to tell that story for a long time. So I made her a last minute returnee.
  • I had considered having other characters return instead, most likely Frannie, Zipporah or Easton. However, I had planned for Jasper and Diamonique from the start and it was part of their story lines, so I decided to stick to who I wanted.
  • I hadn't realized that Tessa's return made it that all the returnees were eliminated one after the other until I started writing the chapter. I decided that was fine, even if it makes the elimination table a mess, for the sake of story.
  • Jean-Pierre, Jimbo and Jerd were wrong names that Gideon used in a comment referring to Jasper, and it was such a hilarious continuation of the joke that I shamelessly stole for myself :p Thanks Gideon!
  • To make it more clear, more episodes means more challenges, which means the show will go over longer. The show only has the Pentagram to a certain point, so Rhonda did a few challenges early to make room. 
  • As it is implied, Lita is the one to scream upon Tessa’s arrival. 
  • The idea for the luxury penthouse suit was based off the reward for winning merge challenges in The Legend Of Total Drama Island and the Chris Mclean Hotel and Spa from canon.
  • The high tech toilet is based off a similar toilet from an episode of Bob’s Burgers
  • The idea behind the butlers and maids, is that they’re cameos of characters from other fanfictions. In this case, the maid is Julie making her second cameo and Tameron from Total Drama Tides
  • I felt bad the Lady Eagles talk had the girls have to mention their boyfriends, I felt like I was failing the Bechdel Test in that scene, but I wanted that and it felt like the only place. 

Chapter 15

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