"Maximum Carnage" Part 5 (Denouement) by NobodyAtAll

Part 4


I wave my hand in front of Ugly Sweater Guy’s face.

He’s been frozen up in fear for the last few minutes.

If he’s SHAT his pants in fear, we wouldn’t know. He ALREADY smelled like shit when he walked in.

His fear is completely understandable, though.

Yeah, I know.

He’s an abuser who was forcibly nailed to the wagon.

Abusers tend to be scared of me, even though most of them refuse to admit it.

And even fewer will admit how much they’re scared of Marley.

Pride’s a helluva drug.

Marley, having extinguished his golden flames, looks up at our suprise last minute guest.

“Am he otay, daddeh?”

“He’s probably scared shitless right now, Mar.”

Venom doesn’t recognise the newcomer.

“Hu eben AM dis gai?”

“Haven’t I told you about Ugly Sweater Guy, Venom?”

“Oh, DAT gai. Su wai am he HEWE?”

“I’ve got my theories, and I can confirm them as soon as I get his attention.”

snap snap

When I snap my fingers a couple of times, Ugly Sweater Guy unfreezes, and immediately runs away, dropping the sonic cannon.



But I shoot a web at the back of his sweater, pulling him back.

“Didn’t wanna do it like this, dude, but I’m getting sick of you running away from me. Look, I’m not gonna hurt you, I just want to talk.

Reeling him in like a sea bass isn’t really helping your case.

It is rather amusing.

Ha! That it is, doll.

Ugly Sweater Guy turns around a few times like a dog chasing his tail, before he grabs the web and pulls it off his back.

I don’t want to talk to you.

“Dude, I get why you’re so scared of me–”

“I’m not scared of you, Korkea!”

I spread my arms.

Prove it. Take a swing at me right now, and I’ll let you walk out of here without saying another word. Go on, I promise I won’t hit you back.

He looks at his hand, already balling into a fist.

Then he unclenches it, and sighs.

“What’s the point? I’d just break my hand. Alright, fine, what do you want to talk about, Korkea?”

“First of all, I’ve guessed what you’re doing here. Our mutual friend sent you to lend assistance. Am I right? Because he’s done that before.”

Chaos appears, in jester form, wearing a San Francisco Giants shirt and cap over his jester outfit and his cap and bells, holding a rainbow-colored baseball bat over his shoulder, nodding and speaking up in his usual cheerful, flamboyant voice.

“You’re absolutely right, dearest Cal! Oh, I’m so happy to see you two finally meet!”

Then Chaos points his bat east.

“My, that’s a multi fortuni sunrise!”

We all look east too, taking a moment to appreciate the view.

You know, it DOES feel good to see that sunrise after a night like THIS.

It -yawn- does, Niv.

Feeling the need for a pick-me-up, Cal?

Yeah, kinda.

As I reach for my bag, a sound issues from Ugly Sweater Guy’s direction.


And as his sweater goes from gold and silver back to its usual appearance, he blushes.

“That wasn’t me, I swear.

Chaos chuckles.

“I couldn’t resist. But that sound does mean that your bonus round is finito.

He walks over to the rainbow cannon, picking it up with his free hand.

“So I’ll be taking this back now. Did you have fun on your playdate tonight, boyo?”

Ugly Sweater Guy thinks about it, and shrugs.

“Other than the part where I waded through raw sewage for no reason, I actually did have fun. I think I earned a lot of points tonight. Gonna miss that double bonus, though.”

“I wasn’t seriously going to let you fight Carnage, you know. He’d kill you in seconds. Honestly, I lead you to this stadium just so you would finally meet Cal properly.

“And now I have. Hoo-fucking-ray. So can I go back to Korkeaopolis, Chaos? Please?”

“Now now, boyo. Aren’t you going to tell Cal what you’ve been up to tonight? I’m sure he’d like to hear it.”

I pull a vial of Liquid Insomnia out, pop the cork, and down it, feeling the caffeine claw through my veins.

“Yeah, I’ve only got a few parts of the story. Go on, dish.”

Marley nods.

“We saw yu in Chai-nuh-town, but we nu cud stawp tu tawk.”

Ugly Sweater Guy shrugs again.

“Well, the short version is that Chaos dumped me there with that sonic doohickey, and told me to free as many fluffies from that red crap as I could.”

“So why do you stink of shit?”

“Got in here through the sewers, Korkea. Someone tunneled into the locker room, luckily. I was half expecting to have to dig my way in with a rainbow-colored spoon.”

I watch Deston, having teleported in to heal everyone, now pulling a spare battle suit for Danny out of his bag of holding, and Danny carrying the battle suit in the direction of the locker room.

“That was probably Carnage’s doing, dude.”

“Why was that thing so big, anyway?”

“I’ll share my side of the story, if you share your side.”

Chaos chuckles again.

“Frankly, I’m not letting you go anywhere until you sit down and talk to Cal, boyo. You can run away if you want, but you’ll just end up back here.”

Ugly Sweater Guy throws his hands up.

“Alright, fine, one short talk, but then I want to go back to Korkeaopolis so I can take the world’s longest shower.”

I groan as I lead Ugly Sweater Guy, Chaos and Marley over to a bench.

“For the record, I hate it when people call the city that.”

Ugly Sweater Guy laughs.

“I know, Korkea. And I’m going to keep calling it that just because you hate it. It’s the one thing I can do to you.”

“…I’m gonna let you have that one.”

Victor and Scarface, now fully healed, walk over to Venom.

“Good work tonight, Little V.”

“Fanks. We am sowwy abowt yu nyu toysies, foh.”

Victor pulls a joint and a Zippo lighter out of a pouch, and tokes up.

“Ah, don’t sweat it, the Nerd Squad can replace 'em.”

“Scawface gut a wotta pwans fow dat see-pwace.”

“You know how I feel about 3D, Soul Brother. But it’s your cybernetic eye. Knock yourself out.”

Bellikose and Taarn-tual walk over too.

“We’re probably gonna have to start hunting those pieces of Carnage. We won for now, but he’ll be back. So, uh, Taarn. You must be feeling a bit jealous right now, huh?”

Taarn blushes.

“Jealous? That Cal bonded with Venom? N-no! It just means that me and Cal are Klyntar cousins now, like me and Tom. And my bond with Venom lasted longer than Cal’s. What do I have to be jealous about?”

Bellikose grins at Taarn.

“You know, if you want to get back into the bonding game, we could probably introduce you to a nice Klyntar who isn’t bonded to anyone right now…”

“…I’ll think about it, Bellikose.”

Victor sees Deston hurriedly running over from the direction of the locker rooms.

“Des? What’s–”

“Reilly just followed Danny to the locker room. Considering what happened earlier, I think they’re entitled to do what they’re currently doing in there, and it’s for the best that we give them some privacy.”

Victor starts laughing.

“Doing it in the locker room at Oracle Park! I haven’t done that either! Although, I did once have a hookup in the restroom at Fenway Park.”

“Yu am a cad, Victow.”

“Yeah, but who doesn’t know that by now?”

Dave and Drake share a bench and a joint, the joint rolled with some of Dave’s Kitchen Island Kush.

Slayer is sitting on the grass with Diablo, Dexter, Ghost and Mayday.

Naturally, the two half-demons are back in mortal form, and the three pyrokinetics have doused their flames.

Dave sees Slayer moping.

“What’s wrong, buddy?”

Slayer sighs.

“Swayew neba gut a chance tu gib Cawnage speciaw huggies.”

“Hey, you got to do your thing to one of his little minions. And we’ll probably see Carnage again some day. You’ll get another chance.”

This brightens Slayer’s mood.

“Gud-ee, sumfin tu wook fowwawd tu!”

Drake grins.

“See, that’s the spirit. Look at how long you waited to do your thing to Umbra.

Dave pulls his phone out.

“Drake, you gotta check this out. This is the video of us showing Umbra the new Special Huggie Friend I got Slayer last week.”

He pulls up security camera footage from Umbra’s cell at the School, showing it to the others.

In the video, Umbra can be seen sobbing, as Dave gestures at a Special Huggie Friend that looks identical to Umbra, Slayer vigorously, ah… using it, not breaking eye contact with the real Umbra.


“You two have a sick sense of humor, Weissman!”

The whole group starts laughing.

Yes, there is, in fact, a stallion model of Special Huggie Friends.

Homosexuality is more common among fluffies than you might expect.

Henry and Alpha walk into the stadium, General Lucas following them in.

Alpha’s back in normal form, his Omega Drives in his silver bag of holding. He explained about the Omega Drives to General Lucas on the way.

“You look grouchy, General.”

“Oh, that’s just because I’m not a fan of the Giants! Or a baseball fan, I prefer football! I’m a Dallas Cowboys man through and through, Al!”

Lucas looks in the direction of Calvin, stil chatting with Chaos, Marley and Ugly Sweater Guy.

He does a double take when he sees the last one.

“By God, that’s the ugliest sweater I’ve ever seen! And you fellas should see the sweaters my wife knits for the grandkids every Christmas! Don’t… don’t tell her I said that. Didn’t we see that guy earlier!”

Henry laughs nervously.

“Chaos is doing a thing with him, sir. Ugly Sweater Guy’s become kind of a celebrity back home.”

“Chaos! You mean Chaos Chaos, Morris! As in that whole Harbinger of Chaos thing Cal has going on!”

“Yup, I mean the literal personification of chaos. He outranks everyone here on the cosmic hierarchy, sir, but he’s a fun guy to be around if you haven’t pissed him off.”

“Cal certainly seems to be chummy with him! Must be the perks of being a Harbinger, I suppose! Do you think you can apply to become a Harbinger, gentlemen! Because I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I’ve always seen myself as a Harbinger of American Freedom!”

“…I’m sorry, but I don’t think you can apply for that.”

“Was worth a shot! I hope they’re done talking soon, I’d like to show Cal the latest addition to the Lucas family! He’ll love the camo print diaper!”

“Congratulations, sir. My boy Adrian’s got bat print diapers, y’know. Cal thought that was funny, so I’m sure he’ll get a laugh out of a camo diaper.”

“I’m glad to-- wait a minute, there are baby vampires!

“Well, yes. Just like there’s dhampirs, half-vampires, like my other boy, Jackie. Adopted, before you ask, and his biodad was a gigantic asshole.

“I kicked Ianos in the face so hard he spat his pointy teeth out. Believe me, he had it coming.”

“So yeah, some people are born as vampires. I’m… still not really sure how that works, but I’m not really complaining, sir.”

“There’s a lot of parents in the ChaotiX, General. We’re like one big, very unusual family. We look out for each other. All of us who came to San Francisco last night did so because Venom needed us.”

“And if you ask us who’s under that Klyntar, with all due respect, sir, we’ll tell you to fuck off.”

“I certainly wouldn’t ask you to betray one of your own, Morris! I can always appreciate loyalty like that! So, uh… about that whole baby vampire thing–”

“Yes, we fill a baby bottle with NuBlood. Doesn’t really matter, he’s a long way from his adult teeth.”

“A toddler vampire doesn’t really bite necks, per se.”

“They scrape and lick.”

As I’m chatting with Chaos, Marley and Ugly Sweater Guy, I pull a joint out of my bag.

“You mind if I light this up, Ugly Sweater Guy? No, don’t actually answer the question, that was a rhetorical question.”


I light it with a fingersnap, and take a puff.

“But here’s an actual question for ya. This, uh, this is gonna sound weird, but… you wouldn’t want to work for us occasionally, would you?”

Ugly Sweater Guy looks at me like I just grew three extraneous heads.

“Are you seriously inviting me to join the ChaotiX?

“No, no, no no no. I was thinking that you could be more of a… consultant. We bust a lot of abusers, and it would be handy to pick the brain of someone who knows how they think from time to time.”

“Look, I know I haven’t hurt any fluffies since I involuntarily moved to Korkeaopolis and started playing the game, but I’m not going full hugbox. I’m doing everything I’m doing so I can get out of Korkeaopolis, and I might just wash my hands of fluffies altogether when I do. So the answer is no. I’ve got a lot of old friends who wouldn’t be thrilled if I snitch on them to you. It’s like asking a Crip to become a police informant, Korkea.”

Marley grins.

“Mowe wike a Bwud.”

I take another puff.

“Obviously, protection from reprisal would be one of the perks of the job. It’s not mandatory, dude. Offer’s on the table if you change your mind.”

Chaos nods.

“I should probably get you home now, boyo. Electra will be waking up soon, and you don’t want her to see you like this. But considering her condition when you first met her, she doesn’t really have a leg to stand on.”

“Yeah, I already figured I’d be burning most of the points I earned tonight on SFT. I need a shower, and then, I need a nap.

“About that… see, you’ve done such a good job tonight, I’ve decided to give you one more reward, or rather, three: you can have one hour of free SFT to get yourself cleaned up, I’ll wash that sweater for you, and it won’t start itching again until tomorrow morning. That should give you plenty of time to recover from this. Or Cal could just give you one of those doses of Liquid Insomnia.”

I shake my head.

“That stuff’s powerful for me, Chaos. If this dude downs a vial, he won’t sleep for a decade.

Then I take another dose out, offering it to Ugly Sweater Guy.

“Let’s see if you can use this responsibly. That’s espresso made with Vic’s coffee, so it’s very strong stuff. Don’t use it unless you need the boost.”

He hesitantly takes it, and pockets it.

“Thanks? I guess?”

Chaos pats Ugly Sweater Guy on the shoulder.

“See? My dearest Cal isn’t so bad, is he?”

“Chaos, if I ask you why you call him that, can I get that straight answer for free?”

“Of course. It’s because he’s like a son to me, boyo.”

I smile at Chaos.

“Hey, you’ve been like a father to me, same as Pierre.”

Ugly Sweater Guy looks suspiciously at me and Chaos.

“…You aren’t actually his father, are you Chaos? Or his mother? Because I’m at the point where, like Electra, I’ll roll with anything.

“Okay, one last freebie: no, I am neither of Cal’s birth parents. Alright, let’s get you home. See you later, Cal.”

“Any time, Chaos. Ugly Sweater Guy, I’ll talk to you later too.”

Ugly Sweater Guy smiles wryly at me.

“You’re easier to talk to than I expected, Korkea. I shoulda known this won’t be our only conversation. Okay, let’s go, Chaos.”

“Goodbye for now, beauties and gentlebeauties!”

And like that, Chaos and Ugly Sweater Guy vanish.

I get up, walking with Marley over to Deston, Victor and Scarface.

“How’s the un-evacuation going, guys?”

Deston smiles.

“We’ve got the Nerd Squad portalling everyone here from the safe zones, and I’ve got my people working on fixing the damage from the battle. Fortunately, there are plenty of wizards living in San Francisco, and they were helping to evacuate too.”

Victor nods.

“So San Fran should be looking like its old self again in… eeeeuuuuhhhh, a couple of days, tops. It’s not as bad as Vegas after Vulcanus was done with it, Cal.”

I look at the burnt remains of Carnage, a scorched trail between where he burst into flames and where he burned to ash.

“Good, because I don’t know when the next game here is, and we don’t want any of the Giants falling through that hole in the locker room floor.”

“Dey am Jai-yunts, dey nu wud fit.”

“Very funny, Mar. I’ll have the Carnage squad continue the hunt for his surviving remnants, and I’m probably gonna have to think up a proper name for that squad, seeing as it isn’t disbanding any time soon.”

Victor opens his mouth, but I web it shut.


“Whatever name you were about to suggest, Vic, consider it vetoed. Have you forgotten that you’re banned from naming squads?”

He pulls his holo-pen out and writes two words with it.


So I continue.

“And when Carnage comes back, we’ll be ready for him. We’ll have bigger, better traps and weapons, and new tricks. Until then, we do what we usually do. And there’s some good things lurking on the horizon too.”

Venom waddles over, nodding.

“We wiww be keepin a see-pwace owt fow Cawnage, Caw.”

And don’t forget that we still have a few samples of Carnage in our custody. But now Sander’s got all the time in the world to work on something with them.

We will have to be vigilant with those samples. Carnage will use them to spy on us if he can.

Which Madam Valerie is already aware of.

Maybe we could use the pieces we have to track down the others? I mean, if they’re all extensions of Carnage’s will, there’s gotta be some kind of connection, and it HAS to be a TWO-WAY connection.

Val’s already theorised that too, Niv.

But are there any other loose ends that we need to take care of here?

I don’t think so. Judy will want to hear about that thing with the fire potion, though.

It should provide her with important data for her attempts to perfect that potion.

Yes, that could be useful to the ChaotiX too. Not just against Carnage.

Yeah, because it’s not just KLYNTAR who are weak to fire. Pretty much anything that’s flammable is.

We’ve got plenty of sonic cannons, sonic traps, palm-mounted flamethrowers and anti-Klyntar force field tech now.

And then there’s the Merge-O-Matic. We still need to put Scotty and Deedee through it.

When it’s ready, I’ll let him know.

He’s planning to spend one more day with the family Up There before he goes through that thing, in case it’s the last time he can go Up There for a long time.

Hey, but there’s perks to being alive again too. It’ll be good to see Scotty become whole again.

Well, assuming that whoever steps out of the Merge-O-Matic is someone we want to see.

Honestly, it’s a damn shame that Scotty can’t come to an understanding with Deedee.

But that’s a matter for another time. For now, focus on the fallout of… of this.

This is going to be another long day, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, in a white void, Michelle Howard and Father Lucian Pax meet once more.

Pax beams, speaking up in his deep, calm voice, the voice of an incomprehensible being attempting to sound like a human and not quite nailing it.

“Why are you so glum, Michelle? You should be happy. A serious blow has been dealt to the forces of darkness last night.”

“I’m not glum, I’m just… trying to process everything that happened last night. I’m pretty sure that I’m gonna be mega-fired when my bosses see the state my office is in. I didn’t have anywhere to go to the bathroom, so don’t ask me where I did do that.”

Pax obliges Michelle, patting her shoulder in a gentlemanly manner.

“Do not fret. There’s always a place for you in the Peacemakers, Michelle. In fact, I dare say that you could become a most valued agent of the Light. Are you ready to help make the world a more peaceful place, Michelle Howard?”

“Look, I’m doing this so I can sleep without worrying about waking up in my former pet’s stomach. Usually, the pets wait until after you die before they start eating you. I don’t understand any of this lofty Peacemaker, Light of Peace, new age retro hippie crap you keep blathering on about. You promised to help me solve my Venom problem, so, and I say this with the utmost respect, will you please get to the damn point and fucking help me already?

Pax chuckles and nods, reaching behind his back.

“I’m sure that you’ll be feeling a bit more… enlightened in a few minutes.”

He pulls out a jar from behind his back.

The jar is transparent, and the lid is white.

Inside the jar, there’s a quivering blob of black slime the size of a burly man’s fist.

Michelle stares blankly at the jar.

“Is that… what I think it is?”

Another nod.

“A piece of your former pet’s Klyntar. I was lucky enough that they lost a few pieces in the fight against Carnage, and that no one saw me help myself.”

“So that’s how you’re going to help me get rid of Venom? By turning me into a Venom?”

Pax unscrews the jar.

“You misunderstand me yet again, Michelle. No, you will not become Venom.”

When he reaches into the jar, the blob springs to life, desperately trying to get away from his hand.

It can instinctively sense what he really is.

But it has nowhere to run, and Pax firmly grasps it, extracting it from the jar.

He holds the writhing lump of Klyntar biomass in one hand, winking at Michelle.

“Pay close attention, now.”

As Michelle keeps her eyes on the blob, Pax drops the jar and pokes the blob.

For a second, Michelle is certain that she glimpsed Pax’s eyes flash white.

And the moment his finger touches the blob, a change spreads through it.

It goes from black, to white.

Then Pax throws the blob at Michelle, much to her surprise.

It quickly latches onto her, and she panics.


Shhhhhh. Just let it happen, Michelle. This is what you wanted.

The inverted Klyntar spreads over Michelle’s body, forming into a slimy white suit.

Jagged, blank black eyes, and sharp black teeth.

Sharp claws, and a long, black slithery tongue.

And power.

The power to achieve that which Michelle wants more than anything else in the world, even a free lifetime supply of coffee:

Peace of mind.

With Michelle’s transformation complete, she roars in delight at the power coursing through her body, her voice distorted by her new suit.


And Pax looks immensely pleased by the transformation, clasping his hands together.

“Congratulations, my dear, and welcome to the Peacemakers. I hereby dub thee… Anti-Venom.

Part 6 (FINALE)

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