A Timely Escape
As things get out of hand and the crowd on the dance-floor riot, you realise you need to get under cover fast. To your right, Hammerstein and Nikolai Dante swing their hammer and sword at Zenith, who dodges both attacks before taking to the air and flying up to the ceiling. "See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya!" the cocky pop-star mocks, punching a hole in the roof and vanishing through it. Stunned that the smarmy git has abandoned you after you stood by him, you turn and vault over the barrier onto the dance-floor, a ball of green flame shooting past behind you, singeing the hair on the back of your head before knocking Hammerstein away. On your hands and knees you scrabble through the legs of the brawling crowd and somehow make it to an overturned bar table, nestled neatly in one corner. Slipping behind it, you are shocked to find somebody has beaten you to it - a burly man with a beard and a twinkle in his eye, who is enjoying a beer as he peeks out at the chaos. Seeing you, he smiles and slaps you on the back, drawing you fully behind the table. "Is good fight, no?" he laughs, offering you a swig from his bottle, which you refuse. "My friend Johnny vud love this, but he go vit friend Gronk to jazz bar! Silly Johnny, miss all the fun!" Even before the mention of Johnny and the Gronk you know this is Wulf Sternhammer, and what a jolly giant of a man he appears to be. Before you can engage him in conversation however, you hear a commanding voice bellow: "Cease and desist, creeps! This is the Law!" "Oh no," Wulf groans, shaking his head. "There goes the neighbourhood." You risk a peek over the top of the table and your heart skips a beat as you see Judge Dredd standing inside the door, inexplicably dressed like a waiter whilst sporting his usual helmet and badge. He carries a bottle of wine on a tray in one hand, his day-stick in the other.
"Time to make like der cucumber and split!" Wulf says, standing up beside you and fiddling with a round device he has produced.
The device beeps as he presses a button, and he reaches out to you with his free hand. "Coming?" he asks. Realising anywhere is better than here when Dredd starts cracking skulls, you take Wulf's hand as the time-bomb activates. A blinding flash of light engulfs you and suddenly you are somewhere else, somewhere that is dark, wet...and very stinky.
"What the Hell?!" you gasp, hopping to your feet in some shallow water as the chittering sound of rats reaches your ears. "Time bomb shift us ten seconds into future," Wulf says, following suit and standing up beside you. "Earth spin, ve end up in sewer! Johnny explain many time but Vulf still not understand!" The big guy laughs heartily, patting you on the shoulder before wishing you adieu and striding away into the darkness, singing "Ve vish you a merry christmas" as he goes. Looking around, you spot a circular opening in the roof ahead through which a small amount of light is seeping, and make your way towards it. A ladder attached to the wall leads up to an uncovered manhole, and you waste no time in clambering up the slippery rungs to safety. Pulling yourself up through the hole, you find yourself in an alleyway alongside the Nerve Centre and breath a sigh of relief. That is, until you remember the Dictators' plot. You are just about to run around to the front door to raise hell and attract some attention when a snowball whacks you in the face. "Hey!" you gasp, wiping snow from your eyes and scooping up more to retaliate. When you see where the snowball came from, however, and who threw it, you quickly change your mind, dropping your half-made projectile and turning to run.
"Sh-sh-sh-ka-ka-kara!!!!!" the alien robot thing standing nearby shouts, hurling another three snowballs at your back as you flee. Enough is enough, you think, knowing when you are out of your depth. 2000ad christmas party? They can blow it up if they want, you decide, as you make your way across the street to the nearest bus stop, hop the first bus that comes along and set off on the long journey home.
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