Chapter 18: Critically Planned
|The Mazkertis Paradox|
|← Chapter 17: Elated: Into the Mind's Eye|
Critically Planned is the eighteenth chapter of The Mazkertis Paradox. In this chapter:
- Xavier leads the Dong Squad and the League of Super Critics on a rambling journey across Sojourn V.
- President Donald Trump meets with the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, to discuss the ongoing degradation of the universe's timeline.
Earlier on Day 76 of The Mazkertis Paradox arc, the Dong Squad had landed on Sojourn V in order to refuel the new spaceship that they had obtained on their previous mission to the Dark Mirror Universe. Ten minutes after BONES, Ross Mandell, and an Ayy-Lmalium engineer ventured out into the nearest city to ask the locals where they could purchase compatible fuel, Jesse Ventura receives a call from BONES, who tells him to bring the rest of the Dong Squad to a bar in the middle of the city named The Backdoor to the Manhole because Mandell and himself have encountered a 'situation' that they need Ventura's expertise and the rest of the team to deal with.
Accompanied by Ainsley Harriott, Billy Mays, Joey, Merasmus, No Image Guy, Randolph Moloch, One-Punch Man, the Shell-Shocked Cat, and Soldier, Jesse Ventura proceeds into the Backdoor to the Manhole, where he finds BONES, Mandell, and the LGAM engineer in a tense standoff with five humans who he does not recognize: Doug Walker, Linkara, Malcolm, Paul Latza, and Spoony. After the humans introduce themselves as five members of the League of Super Critics (with the sixth having barricaded himself from the Dongers in the bathroom for reasons unknown), Walker explains that the standoff between the two teams is a result of one of the Dong Squad's members, Ross Mandell, having stolen $200,000 that Walker had raised from his fanbase via a crowdfunding platform two years prior. In addition to this complication, Ventura's senses are assaulted by the appearance of a repulsive hybridized creature with both animalistic and hominid features. After Linkara explains that this creature has been operating under the delusion that he is destined to make the Dongers and Critics like each other, the creature introduces himself to the delegation as Xavier by using a psychic third eye on his crotch to project the letters of his name directly into their minds, which sends even the seasoned patrons of the Manhole, including 18-LA, reeling out of the bar in a mixture of horror and disgust.
Ventura instinctively reacts by beating Xavier, but he is stopped by Saitama, who convinces him that the Dongers need to at least hear Xavier's reasoning for being there regardless of how repulsive he appears. Spurred on by this statement, Xavier warns the Dongers and Critics that he has experienced a prophetic vision of a terrible future that can only be prevented if both teams set their differences aside and work together. However, the room quickly devolves into arguments and bickering between the members of both teams, which only worsens when Ventura discovers that the sixth member of the League of Super Critics, who still has not returned from the bathroom, is none other than his old romantic rival, Dr. Amasiv Bedge. When it becomes clear that the Dongers and Critics simply cannot cooperate with each other if left to their own devices, Xavier has a flashback to a period of his adolescence that he spent under the tutelage of the Chief Master Guru, who taught Xavier that "To begin a friendship, one must first plant the seeds". Bolstered by a new idea that this flashback has given him, Xavier produces a hypnotic instrument he calls a 'shakashuri' that he uses to mesmerize the Dongers and Critics before leading them out of the bar and across the landscape of Sojourn V in search of the seeds that will create their friendship, leaving Dr. Bedge and the thought of him behind.
After spending hours wandering the planet under Xavier's spell, the Dongers and Critics regain cognizance of their whereabouts and purpose on the planet when they arrive at a farm supply store outside of the city named Sneed's Feed & Seed. Two local farmers, Chuck and Farmer Too, mock the strange assortment of characters as they proceed into the store, but their jibes are mostly ignored. Inside, Xavier purchases a large amount of soul seeds from the proprietor, Sneed, then instructs the Dongers and Critics to each plant one of the seeds in a dry-looking field next to the store. To their surprise, the seeds instantly mature into fully-grown plants that sprout out of the ground within seconds, with each one bearing some resemblance to an aspect of its planter's current personality, hopes, dreams, or desires. Xavier is impressed with the results of the seeds and attempts to bring the Dongers and Critics together by telling them that they both have the ability to create wonderful things, but the teams are not convinced, and end up turning on Xavier for wasting their time. After No Image Guy shouts "These seeds are bogus!", Xavier returns into the store and confronts Sneed to see if he had failed because No Image Guy's claim was true. Sneed replies that he had tried to convince Xavier not to plant his soul seeds in the field next to the store because its soil pH level was too high, but was ignored.
However, Sneed suggests that if Xavier truly wants to "blow some minds" like he claims he does, he should try one of the store's other products: Kökainum. With the assistance of his own personal Computer, Xavier identifies Kökainum as a highly unstable, experimental psychoactive drug that is potent enough to instantly transport the consciousness of whoever consumes it into the Dreamscape. Excitedly deciding that Kökainum is just what he needs, Xavier lifts a tray of the shelf and tells Sneed that he will buy twenty doses for the Dongers, Critics, and himself.
Meanwhile, in the Oval Office of the White House on planet Earth, US President Donald J. Trump meets with the newly elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson. After the two world leaders exchange formalities, Trump announces that the matter he wants to discuss with Johnson is a "TKX-class scenario", which prompts the human bodyguards to file out of the room and leave the two men alone with their Psymancers. While Johnson sits and listens with growing concern, Trump explains that something has gone very wrong with the timeline of their universe that has caused the passage of time to become distorted and difficult to measure on Earth, as well as creating temporal anomalies across the universe at an unprecedented rate. Trump adds that the Foundation has already started to enact Special Containment Procedures on Earth in order to prevent knowledge of the calamity from spreading among the public, but warns that the timeline will only continue to degrade if it is not corrected soon. Trump then reveals to Johnson that the reason he knows so much about the state of Earth's timeline is because he is a time traveller himself who had used a time machine based on the late Nikola Tesla's scientific notes to routinely travel into the future and use knowledge of future events to amass wealth and power in the present.
As Johnson listens, Trump recalls that, after he became President of the United States, he had travelled into the future to see what would become of the rest of the universe. However, instead of a peaceful, prosperous future, he discovered a universe in chaos that seemed to have been chiefly caused by the actions of one man: an alien renegade named Klak. Armed with this knowledge, Trump had returned to the present and had attempted to ally himself with an enemy of Klak named Mazkertis in order to remove Klak and prevent this dark future from ever occurring, only to learn that Mazkertis is an even greater threat who plans to warp past, present, and future into his own twisted vision. Johnson suggests alerting the Galactic Government to the threat that Mazkertis poses, but Trump informs him that four aliens (Captain Eurobeat, Strika, Niflheim, and Levi) had already attempted to do so at the 3784th Assembly of the Reverie, only to be mocked and ignored. However, Trump reveals that he had allied himself with the aforementioned aliens and had instructed them to break several prisoners out of Supermax 282 who had the skills that would be needed to find and kill Mazkertis. Johnson realizes that this was the breakout that had led to the closure of the prison and his own subsequent release by the Blackwatch Corporation, which had allowed him to continue his political career on Earth.
The final matter that Trump discusses with Johnson is that Trump had somewhat prematurely promised the aliens that they would have all of Earth's resources at their disposal in their mission to kill Mazkertis, despite Trump only being the representative of Earth in the Reverie and not the supreme commander of the planet. However, because Johnson has gained even more confidence in Trump as a result of his story, he agrees to lend the resources of the United Kingdom to Trump's mission in order to kill Mazkertis and save the universe's timeline.
- The Dong Squad:
- The League of Super Critics:
- Boris Johnson
- Chief Master Guru
- Donald J. Trump
- Farmer Too