In HFO Post 27, Dr R. Deep is frustrated to see a standard human, seemingly of Earth, as their expert astrophysicist. Bill Nye, however, states that he is merely wearing the guise of the original Bill Nye of Earth and is actually an alien named Jumin'kath'lantarulla'klinkpoumdangionfing'fong're lathianefrangio. He briefly transforms into his true self, which horrifies all the member of Hero Force One. They ask about Bill's theory on returning the galactic supercluster to its original position, and he spouts a lot of technical nonsense that only Hermes Trismegitus understood, though Qhobeg pretends to. When Hermes, sardonically, celebrates Qhobeg's bravery and sacrifice, Qhobeg, alarmed, admits he only heard the part of the plan that leaves him alive, with a long life. Hermes explains that Bill Nye plans to create a Deus Ex Machine, which would allow Qhobeg to amplify his Story-wielding powers to resolve the problem through a Deus Ex Machina. As this would kill Qhobeg, the superheroes want another option. Bill Nye suggests they could find and use the Reset Button, which would reset the Story Arc to the beginning. Hermes believes this would cause a Groundhog Day effect, repeating events over and over. Seraphim doesn't like either option, but it seems that the danger of the current Narrative is too great, after Nick's ugly death in HFO Post 10 and the huge cosmic events going on around them. They decide to split up when Acidspitter confirms there is a book in Hell that should tell them where the Reset Button. He and Seraphim would fetch the book from Hell. Qhobeg wants to go too, but Deep refuses because Qhobeg will run off. The rest of the group would remain with Bill Nye to create the Deus Ex Machine, in case the quest for the Reset Button didn't work. Seeing Acidspitter going off alone with Seraphim, Flax asks Judge to join him on the shuttle for some one-on-one time, but she refuses. Flax is perplexed that he is constantly being rebuffed by the women on this team and starts to wonder if it's his male rivals getting in the way.
Qhobeg: "What fears? We're not afraid of anything!"
Bill Nye instantly transforms, in the space of a blink, and Hero Force One all recoil in horror and fright at the true vision of the Bill Nye before them. Magick covers her eyes, Benjamin leaps into rat form a scurries off while Qhobeg literally hurls from fright.
A moment passes and human Bill Nye is with them again.
Bill Nye: "My true form does that to most species."
Seraphim: "Was that truly necessary?"
Bill Nye: "Just wanted to test your friend's theory."
Qhobeg: "Me and my big mouth..."
Dr R. Deep: "Mr Nye... or whatever your name is--"
Bill Nye: "It's Jumin'kath'lantarulla'klinkpoumdangionfing'fong're lathianefrangio."
Everyone Else: "..."
Bill Nye: "Actually that's just the pronunciation. When you write it there's ten silent letters in there and quite a few accents to make sure you get the pitch just right. One accent out and you'd be asking me for my tape recorder."
Judge: "I think we should just stick to Bill..."
Dr R. Deep: "Perhaps you've heard, an entire cluster of the Milky Way galaxy has been moved through time and space to appear in the Deep Void. Why, right now, is irrelevant. We need to put it back. All but the Earth has been moved, and why that didn't move we don't know yet."
Hermes: "Someone... something... wanted it to stay where it was. Someone... something... knew this was going to happen."
Qhobeg: "Do you really have to keep saying something? You're just trying to conjure up images of that thing again, aren't you?"
Bill Nye: "I prefer not to be called a thing."
Qhobeg: "Sorry, not sure what else to call you. Or rather your true... shape..."
Dr R. Deep: "Let's focus, people."
Seraphim: "What can you do for us, Bill Nye?"
Bill Nye: "Well... I could transvert the quadratic estate of the plural confusion nodes in the bottomless nexus of equine lanes and systematically compound the adiabatic qualities of the refraction of the... hmmm... I need to reverse the polarity first though. You always have to reverse the polarity[Ext 2]. It's practically science mumbo-jumbo[Ext 3] true of thumb."
Judge: "Was all that a yes?"
Bill Nye: "It was all a maybe."
Hermes: "But it sounded plausible to me. It'd be a stretch but... it just might work."
Qhobeg: "Yeah... sounded good to me too."
Hermes turns to frown at Qhobeg.
Qhobeg: "What? Like you're the only smart guy around?"
Hermes: "Okay. That's good to know. So you understand what you, and specifically you, have to do?"
Qhobeg: "Uh... sure..."
Hermes places a reassuring hand on Qhobeg's shoulder and nods sympathetically.
Hermes: "That's good. You're a brave lad. You'll be missed."
Qhobeg: "... ... I think maybe we heard different parts of the same plan. The part I heard didn't involve me at all. Actually, I think it said I should go home and watch reruns of Quantum Leap, eat nachos and live... a long, long life."
Dr R. Deep: "What does he need to do?"
Hermes: "Enter... the Deus Ex Machine."
Hermes: "No. It's a Deus Ex Machine. You create a Deus Ex Machina this big, your Story-Wielding powers will need to be amplified by... millions. Essentially what you're trying to do--"
Qhobeg: "Is end a Story prematurely. Right?"
Hermes: "You do have a brain after all."
Qhobeg: "I know Story rules. If we don't cut the Story short, what will happen?"
Hermes: "Well, you already lost one team member. How many are you willing to lose?"
Dr R. Deep: "There must be some other way of returning everything to its prior state."
Bill Nye: "Well, now that you mention it... There is... The Reset Button."
Judge: "A Reset Button? So it will... reset everything to the way it was?"
Bill Nye: "That's right. Specifically to the beginning of the Story Arc in which it's used. Use it now and you'll return everything to the way it was when you woke up... whatever morning it was when this all happened."
Qhobeg: "This sounds like a great plan. Let's do this one."
Hermes: "Wait. It's a dangerous mission and probably much more time consuming than just having Qhobeg set everything right himself."
Qhobeg: "But it'll kill me."
Hermes: "A journey for The Reset Button would also get you killed."
Dr R. Deep: "But everything would reset. Even if someone did die, they'd be alive again if we hit that Reset Button."
Hermes sighs and rubs his old, wizened eyes. Dealing with younger, less able-minded people had always been frustrating, but heroes in particular were so unrealistically minded when they believed 'there is another way'.
Hermes: "If I had thought the Reset Button was a viable option, I would have recommended it long ago. You're talking about tampering with narrative constraints. If you were able to find it, get to it and not die - you still have no comprehension what the knock on effects might be. The Story Arc following this one will cease to exist, break apart and result in some kind of narrative rupture. At worst you could force a kind of Groundshog Day[Ext 5] event, where this single Story Arc will continue to repeat over and over. You wake up, the world is displaced, you push the reset button and do it all over again. This is not a viable option."
Qhobeg: "Says the guy not risking his own skin."
Judge: "I hate Qhobeg as much as the next guy, but he shouldn't be sacrificed if there's even a chance of doing this another way."
Qhobeg: "Gee... thanks Judge."
Seraphim: "Frankly I don't like either option. Both are short-cut options. Perhaps the better option would be to get to the bottom of the mystery instead?"
Dr R. Deep: "I'm not sure we can afford to, Seraphim. This particular story doesn't seem immune to the usual 'no death' rules of the NeS."
Qhobeg: "Yeah. Most NeS deaths are villains or comical deaths. Nick was... neither."
Magick Snowflakes bit her lower lip at mention of Nick's name. She didn't express it then, but she wanted to go for the Reset Button - then Nick would be alive again. No one else seemed to have thought of it, but she did.
Judge: "Or maybe we just need to keep all our options open. We track down this Reset Button and keep hold of it. If we haven't made any headway on solving the problem ourselves, we can press it. Maybe we'll get lucky and the entire cluster won't be blown up or eaten by some gigantic monster."
Seraphim: "And Bill Nye here can work on the Deus Ex Machine until we get back. If we've failed, Qhobeg can use his Story Wielding to save the cluster. And the Earth."
Hermes shook his head.
Hermes: "I do hate that I'm always the reality check. None of you has a single clue where this Reset Button is even located. I don't even know that secret. It--"
Acidspitter: "I do."
Acidspitter: "There's reference to it in the vaults of Hell. I could probably pop down there, slip in and grab the files, and bring them back?"
Dr R. Deep: "Well, it's a start. Acidspitter, take Seraphim with you."
Seraphim folds her arms. She's unhappy, but doesn't voice it.
Dr R. Deep: "The rest of us can start preparations on the Deus Ex Machine."
Qhobeg: "Maybe I should go with Acidspitter too? Biased opinion and all that."
Judge: "Yeah right. You'd do a legger as soon as your arse touched terra firma. You're staying here."
Qhobeg: "Damn it."
Acidspitter approaches Seraphim. He offers his arm and she, after a pause, steps into his embrace. In a sudden whirl of flame they both vanish. Bound for Hell.
Judge: "I'd rather spend the night with Qhobeg."
Qhobeg: "Wow! Seriously!?"
Judge rolls her eyes.
Judge: "If he's last on the list, you're second-to-last, Qhobeg."
Qhobeg: "Wow. You find me more attractive than Flax..."
Judge: "Less obnoxious at least."
Flax Hyperon: "There's definitely something wrong with the women in this outfit. Could it be the male competition? This Acidpuker and the runty guy?"
Everyone looks at Flax.
Judge: "You know everyone can hear your little monologue, right?"
Flax Hyperon: "Don't worry, babe. I'll show you how much of a man I am, and how this little dweeb ain't worth your time."
Qhobeg: "Luckily my self-esteem is backed up by my over-confidence, arrogance and juvenile outlook."
Flax Hyperon: "Whatever, kid. Why don't you go and get prepared for this Dweeb Machine, already?"
Bill Nye: "Yes! He's right. Let's go and get set-up."