Fuller & The Factory Funtime Facility, Finale: Industrial Accidents
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Veronica stared in wide-eyed terror at the gremlin mere inches in front of her, its reeking yellow fangs bared in a menacing display, ready to bite her face off in an instant if it was displeased.

“I, I don’t know where Fuller is,” she lied. “He sent us here alone, he could be anywhere in the Multiverse right now.”

Before the gremlin could accuse her of lying, the Funtime Facility’s PA system crackled to life.

“Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?” asked a voiced that both Veronica and Manny were disquietingly familiar with. “Greetings, patrons of The Factory Funtime Facility. I’m here on behalf of the United State’s Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Unusual Incidents Unit - health and safety division. In what should come as a surprise to no one, this theme park has failed its health and safety inspection. Most alarming is the high concentrations of alchemical rust in the air, a known risk factor in the development of Iron Lung. I recommend you all consult an alchemist about treatment options as soon as possible.

“I’m afraid this park is too much of a public safety hazard to remain open, so I’m going to have to insist you all evacuate in a calm and orderly manner whilst I blow this haphazardous heap of scrap iron to Kingdom Come.”

A cacophony of screeching gears, exploding boilers and terrified screams rang through the air, shaking the ground and buildings of the Funtime Facility like a small earthquake. The mechatronic arms of the Assembly Line ceased their odd dance and instead turned on each other, thrashing and bashing one another with unchecked ferocity, sending sparks and chunks of metal flying in all directions.

The gremlins abandoned their two victims and fled off into the shadows, their arms raised over their heads in a desperate attempt to shield themselves from the flying debris. Veronica and Manny leapt off the cart, and with Manny placing himself between her and the malfunctioning mechatronics as protection, they ran out as quickly as they could.

The scene that greeted them outside was not one of safety, however. The roller coaster had been pushed beyond its limits so that its track gave way and the train of cars sent crashing to the ground. The Sisyphean Wheel had come off its axel and now rolled through the fairgrounds, sending patrons fleeing in panic and crushing everything in its path. Most troubling of all was the Smokestack, which now belched out fire instead of smog, and produced a deep rumbling that signalled imminent catastrophe.

“Everyone, please, remain calm!” Hasselflax shouted as it frantically tried to undo the pandemonium that had erupted. “It’s just all part of the fun!”

“Manny, the gates,” Veronica said, pointing towards the entrance. The gates had been closed, and numerous Eidolonic security guards were now at work beating back the mob. “They’re not letting anyone out.”

“Afraid of bad press, I imagine. There aren’t that many guards, you and I can force our way past them. Come on.”

They weren’t able to make it more than a few steps before Hasselfax ran ahead of them to hold them back.

“Whoa whoa whoa, where are you two going? You only just got here. Don’t you want to go on some more rides? Eat some gruel? Ah, did I give you a lead balloon yet?”

“Out of our way,” Manny ordered.

“No, you have to stay. This is just a minor technical hiccup,” Hasselflax insisted. Behind him a monstrously fat pig broke through the wall of The Factory Farm exhibit, its massive bulk supported on a pair of stubby legs that would have been cute if they didn’t look so agonizingly painful. Struggling to stand on cracked and bleeding hooves, the pig charged forward and scooped up a fleeing gremlin into its jaws, chomping down on it with enough force to squash it in one bite. “See, now the livestock is free range. We listen to your concerns, we’re very socially conscious.”

Hasselflax whipped out its walkie-talkie and raised it to its mouth.

“What the hell is Aloysius doing?” it asked. “Hello, anyone?”

Manny tried to push past Hasselflax again, but the Funtime Facilitator pushed back with surprising force and pulled out a cattle prod.

“I said you’re not going anywhere!” it screamed. “You don’t know what the Foremen’ll do to us if this fails! You have to stay! You have to have fun!”

Manny punched the Facilitator in the face, knocking off its mask.

What they saw beneath chilled them both to the bone.

Instead of a face, there was a hole cut into the front of the Facilitator’s saggy grey head. The word hole didn’t do it justice though, since the inside of the skull was nowhere to be seen. It was instead a void, of unknown but certainly impossible dimensions. Air could be seen flowing to the void’s edges and sinking inwards, as if cooled and condensed by the being’s frigid skin and then drawn down into the vacuous cavern by its sheer density.

Without the mask to dampen it, the sound of faint, echoing wind could be heard within the cavity, and the hollow darkness of the void was deep enough that it stood out even in the dark and smog filled environs of the fairground. Though the void seemed empty, Manny and Veronica’s gazes remained transfixed upon it, as if they were staring at something abominable.

And then, somewhere deep within that abyss, something stared back at them.

Thinking them paralyzed, Hasselflax moved in for the kill. Before it could touch them Manny sprung back to life and in an instant seized both of Hasseflax’s wrists in a vice-like grip.

“Veronica, get to the gate now! I’ll catch up!” Manny shouted. Veronica, too terrified to argue, did as he said. With her safely out of the way, Manny smirked as he leaned in towards Hasselflax. “Now it’s your turn to see what’s behind my face.”

Veronica didn’t turn back, not even at the sound of Hasselflax’s blood-curdling screams. Ahead of her the Eidolonic security guards had successfully barricaded the main gate and were holding the crowd at bay. There was no way for her to get to the guards through the crowd, so she’d have to go over it.

Taking out her deck of trick cards, she cast all the numbered cards to the ground in a six by six grid. The grid became enveloped in a shared blue aura that allowed her to levitate them as one, even with her standing upon it. She rose to about twelve feet off the ground, immediately attracting the attention of the guards. As they fumbled to switch their cattle prods for their guns, she sent a pair of Wild Jokers careening their way. The cards tumbled through the air at a rapid velocity, decapitating the guards and showering the crowd in their pressurized yellow innards.

A Facilitator threw a tin can of gruel at Veronica’s head, striking her with enough force to knock her off of her levitating platform. Laying on the soot-covered ground, clutching her head in pain, she looked up to see several rusted smiley faces all staring down at her.

“Bloody hell, do you think those things grow on trees?” one of them demanded, gesturing to the fallen Eidolonic guards. “Box her up so she can’t cause any more trouble, and we’ll deal with her once things have settled down.”

Two of the Facilitators grabbed her by the arms before she could summon her cards. She kicked and struggled as they lifted her up, only to drop her as they were struck down with blasts of white light, their coats and masks falling to the ground in smouldering heaps. She looked up in bewilderment, only to see Fuller standing there with his Wondertainment Hyper Fun Sun GunTM.

“Fuller. You, you saved – you’re covered in yellow shit,” she said.

“Looks like there’s a lot of that going around,” he said with a smirk, nodding to the remains of the guards Veronica had killed. “Nice work.”

A pair of strong hands grabbed Fuller from behind and spun him around so that he was face to upside-down face with Manny.

“What did you do?” The Man With The Upside-Down Face demanded.

“Well, from a purely technical perspective I’m not quite sure. I mostly just fiddled with buttons until all the warning dials moved into the red,” he replied.

Manny snarled at him, but kept his temper in check when he saw the mob still trying to push through the locked gates.

“Veronica, use your cards to cut through the lock chains,” he said. She nodded and engulfed one of her cards in a sharp red aura, pulling it backwards in anticipation of the throw.

Be still,” ordered a silky yet guttural voice that reverberated through the fairgrounds. Veronica froze, her card still in her hand, as did Fuller and Manny and all the other patrons. “Behold.”

At the voice’s behest, they all turned to see the being it belonged to. There, shrouded in the thick smog, was a Factory Foreman.

It was hard to say how big it was, as its unfamiliar form and shrouded surroundings made it difficult to judge distance. Its torso was humanoid, albeit with a hunched back and a curved spine. Instead of legs, it had a long, serpentine tail it slithered along the ground on, and instead of arms, it had two long tentacles. Its head was mounted on a long, twisted neck and its small eyes were set back in two, deep, black sockets. Most unsettling of all, its form was covered in numerous small, dark, semi-humanoid creatures like parasites, their rust-red eyes glowing furiously in the darkness.

Herman raised his gun to fire at the creature, or host of creatures, but found himself unable to fire when it held up its tentacle in a clear gesture to stop.

We apologize for the disruption,” the Foreman hissed, all its mouths moving in perfect unison while the singular voice seemed to come from none of them. “You shall be compensated with employment opportunities. Report to the administrative center for interviews, assessments, reorientation, and complementary septic buckets.”

They all stood still, simultaneously terrified of the consequences of both obedience and disobedience. The Foreman roared at them to urge them to action, but its cry was drowned out by the eruption of the smokestack behind it. Molten slag began raining down on the fairground like lava from a volcano, with a glob of it striking the Foreman, the incandescently hot metal knocking it to the ground.

This was enough to break The Foreman’s hold over the crowd. Veronica spun around and threw her card, slicing through the chains that held the gates shut. The mob immediately pushed the gates open and stampeded out of the Funtime Facility as quickly as their feet could carry them.

“Don’t forget to get your hand stamped for re-entry,” the booth attendant said, weeping despite her indelible smile.

The injured Foreman slithered after the escaping horde, pulling itself out past the gate with the aid of its remaining tentacle. It was not the third of its body that it had lost to the burning metal rain that stopped it though, but the fresh air that lay beyond the bounds of its domain. It couldn’t risk it in its weakened state, so with a bitter snarl it reluctantly retreated back to the suffocating heat, darkness and smog that was The Factory Funtime Facility.

In the Ringmaster’s tent, Herman Fuller leaned back in his chair with his feet upon his desk, puffing on a cigar in smug satisfaction. Across from him, The Man With The Upside-Down Face sat with his arms folded across his chest, decidedly less pleased with how the course of events had played out.

“I’m back,” Veronica announced as she entered the tent, holding a copy of the Weekly Wanderer in one hand and a six pack of Doctor Wondertainment’s Causta ColaTM in the other. “Are you sure this stuff is all we need to get that damn rust out of systems?”

“Positive,” Fuller said as he opened a bottle and, in an uncharacteristic display of gentlemanly behaviour, handed it to Veronica. “Reggie uses it himself to keep his own Iron Lung in check. This stuff would strip even ordinary rust from nails, and if you look closely you can see a little bit of the Wonderlight in each bubble. More than enough to get rid of a little Factory Rust.”

Veronica took a deep swig of the cola, then unfolded the newspaper to read the headline.

‘Factory Funtime Facility Fails Fantastically’,” she read. “ ‘After only a few hours of operation, The Funtime Facility’s attractions suffered a series of disastrous malfunctions, necessitating the park’s immediate evacuation. The Facility is now completely abandoned and mostly buried under an enormous amount of iron slag which appears to have come from a foundry explosion. The Factory itself has since issued a statement claiming that the amusement park was an unlicensed knockoff out to profit off their good reputation and that they would never stoop to something as unproductive as entertainment. Witness reports suggest a UIU agent may have been involved in the Funtime Facility’s destruction, but this remains unconfirmed at this time’.

“Yadda yadda yadda, there’s no mention of us in here.”

“Marvellous,” Fuller smiled.

“Marvellous? Do you seriously believe The Factory doesn’t know it was you who blew up their theme park?” Manny demanded. “How many people knew who you were?”

“Let’s see; there was the receptionist at the administration building, a few Facilitators in the control room, Aloysius, and the Overmind of the Eidolonics I killed,” Herman replied. “Aloysius is dead, the receptionist and facilitators are most likely either dead or took their chance to flee The Factory so aren’t talking either way, and Eidolonic collectives are notoriously bad communicators. I don’t think The Factory knows it was me, not for sure anyway, and even if they do they won’t care,”

“They won’t care?”

“You heard Veronica, they’re denying the Facility was theirs in the first place. They are no longer in the business of anomalous entertainment, which means we are no longer competitors, so they have no reason to come after us. Revenge is not in their M.O. There’s no profit in it.”

“What about sending a message to anyone else who might try to destroy their holdings. Is that profitable?”

“To do that they’d have to publically acknowledge I destroyed the Facility in the first place, and they clearly decided that’s a bad move. They’ve disowned themselves from the whole enterprise and are eager to move on. I applaud their media savviness.”

“You don’t even want to add them to your list of enemies?” Veronica asked.

“Not even tempted. All’s well with The Factory,” he nodded.

Manny shook his head in disdain, but clearly didn’t have any retort that he thought Herman would listen too.

“Well, I’ll give you this old man; you’ve got more nerve left than I had thought,” he said.

“And don’t you forget it,” Fuller said with a waggle of his finger. “Whilst we’re on the subject of forgetting, remind me to thank Wondertainment for the Hyper Fun Sun Gun tee em next time we see him. That thing really saved my caboose back there.”

“Ah-oh,” Veronica muttered as she read further along in the newspaper article.

“What?” Fuller asked.

‘In an official statement by little Larry Little from Wondertainment’s Wonder World’s Wonder Tower, the news of The Factory Funtime Facility prompted Dr. Wondertainment to consider opening their own theme park’,” she read aloud. “ ‘The project, temporarily entitled as Wondertainment Land®, will most likely be located in the continental United States and hopes to carve a niche for itself as a premier destination in the anomalous tourism and entertainment industry,’.”

Fuller snatched the paper away from her and began reading it himself, his face growing redder and left eye twitching more fervently with each passing word.

“Ah, Fuller?”

“THAT SICK, SORRY, SON-OF-A-FUNLOVER IS MUSCLING IN ON MY MARKET!” he screeched, throwing the bottle of Wondertainment Causta ColaTM towards the floor lamp, only for his luminary nemesis to swivel around with enough force to bat it back at him, striking him in the head and knocking him out cold.

Manny and Veronica stared nonchalantly at his limp body, leisurely sipping their own Colas as he lay unconscious on the ground.

“Why does he even keep that lamp here?” Veronica asked.

“Says he goes through regular lamps too quick, so made one that can put up a fight,” Manny replied.
“I’d think it’d be humiliating losing to a lamp so much, but that’s me.”

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