Dana Scully adjusted the power pack in her disruptor pistol and surveyed the wreckage of the Anti-Monitor's headquarters. The bodies of the fallen of both sides still lay where they fell. There was no time to bury them. Hopefully, if the Doctor could work his magic, their deaths would be undone. But for now, they could only wait. She thought back over everything that had happened, and marveled at how quickly what had started out as a simple X-File had turned into a titanic struggle for the fate of hundreds of universes and trillions of lives. She knew that it was only luck that she was still alive while hundreds of beings more powerful than she was had died.

Images sprang unbidden into her mind - the "refreshed" look on Hedorah's face as it drank Chemo (a look disturbingly like that of a man enjoying a cold beer after a hard day's work on a hot day), the final march of the Pokémon as untold thousands of the poor, doomed creatures had swarmed over Kaiser Ghidorah, the final mission of the U.S.S. Enterprise,and of course, Mulder...She shook her head and steeled herself not to think about that. Instead, she turned and looked at her fellow survivors.

Excel Excel sat on a fragment of a fallen wall. For the moment, she was at rest, her eyes reflecting nothing but innocence. It was hard to believe that this was the same deranged, would-be terrorist that lived lived only for the approval of the enigmatic Lord Il Palazzo. And yet, in the end, she had chosen the side of the angels. Scully still remembered the final battle in which Excel, using some bizarre martial art, had somehow turned Victor Von Doom into a chibi version of himself, and then watched impassively as the Doombots, who no longer recognized their master, killed him without mercy or malice.

Next to Excel was Sailor Moon, who had not spoken three words since she had seen the other Sailor Senshi killed fighting the Daleks on Satellite Five. The look in her eyes troubled Scully. A high school girl's eyes shouldn't look like that, thought Dana, especially not the eyes of a girl as cheerful and friendly as Usagi had always been. She's too young to have eyes like Frank Castle.

On the other hand, Worf, son of Mogh, looked worn out. A Klingon warrior, of a race born and bred to enjoy the slaughter, he looked sad and surprised, as though he had, to his astonishment, seen more violence than even he had cared to see. Scully hadn't spent much time with Worf before the final battle. What had he seen, she wondered, to make a man born for bloodshed tired of battle?

Spider-Man stood talking to Kal-l. Peter had his mask on, and so his face was unreadable. Kal-l looked tired but confident. From the looks they stole at the Cosmic Stabilizer, it was obvious they were discussing the Doctor's chances of fixing the device. Both men had impressed Dana greatly - her world had no super-heroes. People with odd abilities, yes, but nothing like these two. Peter Parker was a sweet, earnest man, concerned for his wife and aunt, but in battle he was a lightning swift fighter who had earned even Worf's admiration. And as for the Superman of Earth-Two, well... Scully had heard the others speak of other Supermen, counterparts to Kal-l, who were even more powerful than he. She couldn't conceive of it. She still remembered the Watcher's gasp of astonishment when he saw how Kal-l had handled Thanos.

She looked at the Cosmic Stabilizer itself, which looked like nothing so much as a tuning fork a hundred stories high. It had taken alot of damage, first during the initial attack on the Anti-Monitor's base, when the heroes and villains of hundreds of worlds had finally beaten him. Then had come the expected betrayal, when the surviving villains, led by Doom,had turned on the surviving heroes, hoping to use the Stabilizer for their own purposes. After this had come the unexpected betrayal, when young Alex Luthor had also tried to commandeer the Stabilize for purposes of his own. It had been damaged some more during their battle to defeat him.

Standing in front of a control panel at its base was the old man known as the Doctor. "The First Doctor", someone had called him, and possibly the last, if they failed. He had seen twelve of his future selves die, and then his own granddaughter. He had become nearly as grim as Usagi for a time. Next to him stood young Kindaichi Hajime, the boy detective. Another miracle survivor, Hajime was a smart as a whip, and seemed to be picking up on what the old man told him as he worked. As she watched, the Doctor and Hajime walked over to Superman and Spider-Man, and waved the others over to them.

"Well, Doctor", Kal-l said, "What's the verdict?"

"I'm afraid I won't be able to repair the Stabilizer in the time we've got left to us, my boy. The damage is too great."

"So, we're doomed?"

"Not quite, we should be able to salvage at least something of our worlds. As you know, despite our best efforts the Anti-Monitor managed to use the Stabilizer to, ah, destabilize over 300 timelines, including our own. His plan was to collapse them down to one timeline, which he would then rule. I have managed to place the timelines in stasis. If the Stabilizer was in good working order, I could use it to simply re-stabilize each of the timelines in turn. Unfortunately the power supply is too damaged - the whole thing will fail before I could re-stabilize more than one universe. And we don't have time to fix it - the stasis generator is beginning to fail. It's one universe or nothing."

"You're saying we're going to have to choose one universe and let the rest just die?"

"I believe I can avoid that, by using a variation on the Anti-Monitor's plan. I have set the Stabilizer to collapse the universes in stasis into one timeline, a timeline that will contain elements of each of the ones in stasis. It won't be a perfect solution, but it is my hope that much of what is unique about each timeline will thus be preserved. The history of the resulting universe will perforce be a bit convoluted, and there will be some loss."


"The new universe will, in effect, be made up of fragments of all the old universes. These fragments will doubtless interact in different ways. Some people familiar to us will be the same, others will be substantially different, others may not exist at all. As I say, not a perfect solution, but I believe it's the one most likely to minimize the loss of the unique elements of each of the worlds."

"How will it work?" asked Dana.

"Very simply, my dear", said the Doctor, "Just press a button, and a wave of energy will move outwards from the Stabilizer, collapsing the timelines into one, and re-shaping their history."

"And our friends that were killed?"

"They will be alive again in the new universe, or will at least have lived out their normal lifespans. Except, as I say, for those, hopefully few in number, who will not have existed at all in the new timeline."

"And us?"

"We will be returned to our own times and places, to live out the lives the new world will have in store for us, with no memory of what happened here, except that we battled a villain called the Anti-Monitor, and won."

"I wish there was a better way," said Superman. "I don't like the idea of all those universes being effectively eliminated."

"I understand, my friend, and I wish I could come up with a better solution. It's very frustrating for a Time Lord, not to have enough time."

"Doctor", said Kindaichi, "You said the energy wave will move outward from the Stabilizer? But then, that means that the one who operates it..."

"Perspicacious as ever, my dear young man. The operator will indeed be outside the area affected by the wave - in effect, he will be forever trapped outside the universe he helps to create. He'll be stuck here alone, in what will effectively become a singularity from which there will never be any escape. However, since time will cease to exist here, he'll be forever in stasis at the very moment of operation. He'll never die, but he won't really be alive, either. "

"Is there no way to set up a timer or a remote control?"

"Not with the time and the equipment available to me. Anyway, it's a small price to pay, to save all those worlds."

"I agree", said Worf. "I will do it."

"That's very noble of you, my dear fellow, but as the person who suggested this idea, I feel beholden to carry it out."

"No! I'll do it", said Excel, "a final service for Lord Il Palazzo..."

Even as Dana stepped forward to speak, another voice rang out. They turned and saw a small figure standing next to the control panel.

"Never mind", he said, "I'll do it!"

"You!" said Superman, "We didn't even know you were still alive. We thought we were the only survivors."

"I was half-buried under the Rhino. It took me awhile to get out, and then I sat and listened to the Doctor the same as you all did. Anyway, to save you 'heroes' the trouble of very nobly arguing over who'll sacrifice themselves, I'm going to do it."

"No!", said Dana, "you don't have to do this!"

"Oh, please. I may not be any genius, but I'm not completely stupid, either. I haven't played as big a part in this fight as some of you, but I've still visited over a dozen timelines. And on every one of them I was ridiculed, mocked, scorned. 'Unnecessary' was the kindest word I heard. 'annoyance', 'pest', 'irritant' - do you know that on one world they called me the 'Antichrist'? All I ever wanted to do was help my uncle and his friends, and for that I get called the Antichrist? Do I deserve that? Does anyone? No matter what this new world is like, there'll be no place in it for me, I know that. So, instead I'll get the only triumph I can ever have. You heard the Doctor, 'forever in stasis at the moment of operation', he said. You'll all forget, but I'll remember forever that I saved the day - all the days."

He turned and looked at them with a look that was very bitter indeed.

"Da-da-da-da-daaaaa!" his voice become a triumphant snarl as he pressed the button that sealed his fate, "Puppy Power!"

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  • They could have gotten that guy in Five Dooms to Save Tomorrow. He was already outside of time and space.

    Actually Scrappy does have fans. There are several people on fanfiction complaining Scooby Doo was better with him in it. Nobody listens to them because they also like Flim-Flam and want Shaggy to marry Daphne. He actually mellowed a lot in 13 Ghosts and became tolerable in that show.

    You also could have had a little green guy with antennae say "Oo, I'll do it, dumb-dumbs!"

  • Ron M. said:

    They could have gotten that guy in Five Dooms to Save Tomorrow. He was already outside of time and space.

    Can't say as I've ever heard of him.

    Actually Scrappy does have fans. There are several people on fanfiction complaining Scooby Doo was better with him in it.

    It wouldn't surprise me.  I picked Scrappy precisely because I always loathed him.  One day I decided to set myself the challenge of trying to find a sympathetic side to a character I really didn't like.

  • He was in Avengers#101, a Harlan Ellison written story that didn't make a bit of sense.

    I hated him up through 13 Ghosts, where he got a personality and voice change. Unfortunately the show then introduced Flim-Flam, so I still had somebody to hate. But it also had Vincent Price, and he could make even pure garbage at least tolerable. Pity since he was doing cartoon voice work that Marvel didn't grab him back then and do a Dr. Strange series.

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