Dead Eye Jake/Infinite Jake Crises
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
This is the synopsis of a story that takes place in the life of Dead Eye Jake edited for use of the Virtueverse Handbook. It introduces several of the alternate versions of Dead Eye Jake and explains how many of them met for the first time. A sequel to the story is in the works. It is recommended that a person be familiar with Jake's personal history before reading this story.
Prologue: Death of Dead Eye Jake
The story begins as Jake and the Dead Eye Gang, consisting of Curly Bill, Lame Johnny, the Apache Kid, Texas Jack, Arkansas Tom, and Big Nose George, arrive at Ouroboros and launch an attack. They are met with little resistance as they cut a swathe to the main citadel. The Kheldian Twilight’s Son defends the building, taking out Apache Kid. The brute Big Nose George grapples with the alien, neutralizing both of them in their struggle.
Upon entering the central building the remaining bandits make it to the giant crystal occupying its center. Jake orders his men to set up a special device while taking cover. It is intended to shield them from temporal interference as they set out to complete their mission of stealing one of the floating time crystals stored in the tower, the “Pillars of Ice and Flame.” However, when the machine is activated, rather than erecting a barrier it displays a timer which starts a count down.
Jake and the gang only begin to suspect the dangerous predicament they are in as the counter reaches zero. An explosion erupts from the machine that consumes Jake, Bill, and Johnny, along with a chunk of the giant crystal in the center. Mender Silos, watching at his perch above, displays no emotion at what appears to be the death of Dead Eye Jake.
Part I: House of M
Days before the incident in the prelude occurs, Jake meets up with a mysterious stranger at the Tiki Bar in St. Martial. The man, identifying himself as Quentin Reynolds, has made an appointment with the Jake to discuss the theft of a valuable item that he wants the outlaw to obtain.
After a brief discussion, Quentin reveals that the item in question is a time-tuning crystal owned by Ouroboros. Jake is skeptical, pointing out the danger of dealing with time travelers who are able to effectively alter the past. Quentin assures the bandit that all will be well if he uses his special temporal shielding module, which he presents. Although doubtful, Jake relents and agrees to take the job, comparing it to any number of bizarre heists and whacky adventures he has had in the Isles.
Later, Quentin observes Jake via a secret form of surveillance technology in a hidden chamber. He watches as Jake attacks Ouroboros as they had discussed, showing nothing but grim satisfaction when the explosion occurs. However, when the smoke clears and a chunk of the giant crystal appears to be missing, he shows surprise. He rises from the console and activates a control panel attached to his wrist, altering his appearance to that of man in armor with a style resembling a Mender, his face covered in a helmet. He summons an Ouroboros portal and vanishes.
Jake awakens, surprised to be alive, floating in a kind of blue liquid haze along with his men Bill and Johnny. After debating if they are dead or not, they notice the broken piece of time crystal floating along with them. Jake notes that his clothes and equipment seem to be intact, suggesting they were not killed, but rather were just transported to another time and place thanks to the crystal.
To leave, Jake tries to activate his Ouroboros portal, but instead of working properly the damaged device reacts with the crystal shard. He and his goons are instead sucked up in a vortex created by the crystal. They are spat out onto a dirty city street. After a brief look around they are able to identify the place as being a part of Mercy Island. As they walk, they notice the streets are unusually clear of gang members and released ex-cons. What people they do see, huddled groups of ragged homeless, run away in fear at the sight of them.
Deciding not to play with his teleportation device, Jake attempts to contact his gang or anyone else with his communicator. After first picking up only static, an unfamiliar female voice replies. At first admonishing him for using a secured channel, the woman reacts when he angrily identifies himself as Dead Eye Jake. After pinpointing his location, the operator asks if he desires transportation. Jake confirms that he does, prompting her to state that an Arachnos flier will arrive to pick him up shortly. Confused, Jake terminates the call.
Meanwhile, people in red and white outfits resembling Longbow secretly observe Jake’s actions.
The flier soon arrives on the city streets where a pair of Night Widows files out. They seem puzzled to see Jake and his men, who are equally surprised to see them land, but the bandit consents to the offered ride, feeling that if any trouble occurs he can handle it. Once inside the craft lifts off and begins its flight toward nearby Widow’s Tower. Suspicious glances and hushed conversations take place in the cockpit.
After landing in a secured bay and escorting the outlaw inside the Arachnos lair, the Widows are joined by a contingent of armored troops who quickly surround them, demanding their true identity. When Jake asserts that he is who he says he is, the soldiers claim they are under arrest. Separated from his men, Jake is disarmed and led into a small cell with his hands and feet fastened to the wall. Locked away for a short period the door finally opens again, where in appears a man dressed in fine black garments of an old western style. When Jake is able to see his face, he finds that the man looks exactly like him.
The man immediately begins interrogating him, demanding to know who he was and where he came from. Jake says he is who he is, and in anger demands to his questioner’s identity. The man laughs and claims to be the real Dead Eye Jake, or rather he was, and now calls himself by his real name, Charles Morgan. He also points out that it is now illegal for anyone to address him as “Jake” and that after he discovered his true identity, he would be punished for that as well.
Arguing, tempers flare and threats are made, causing Jake to begin inadvertently summoning some of the dark energies he possesses, empowering him in his shackles. The man calling himself Charles Morgan quickly notices the effect, changing his demeanor as he summoned a similar effect. Jake is surprised to see the man duplicate his talent so easily, while at the same time Morgan seems fascinated and suspicious at the ability Jake demonstrates. Perceiving some familiar sense emanating from the outlaw, Morgan grips Jake by the neck and begins sapping his strength in a dark ethereal flow. Jake watches helplessly as supernatural force he had learned to call on is sucked out of his body, while Morgan on the other hand marvels at the sensation. Finally, the Dark Servant, the detached spirit that follows Jake and aided him in battle, manifested itself, only to be sucked up into Charles Morgan’s being. Jake slumps, feeling drained. Morgan, apparently imbued with greater power than he had before, opens the jail and leaves him.
While walking unopposed through the base, Morgan reflects that what he had just taken from Jake was a copy of his own soul, or at least that is what it felt like. He moves through the corridors before coming to a private chamber guarded by an imposing security system, the inside lavishly decorated in the Arachnos style. Coming upon a stand in the center of the room, he handles an item resembling a sphere with a glowing crystal shard in the middle. It reacts like a genie’s lamp, releasing a shimmering energy that takes the shape of a slim, pale woman. Finally it reveals itself to be Ghost Widow. She shows proper reverence to the man before inquiring of his wants. He tells her of the situation as he saw it, saying that a man currently incarcerated looks exactly like him. At first he assumed it was some kind of cheap trick, until he extracted a spiritual essence that was identical to his own. He prompts Ghost Widow for an explanation, asserting that even if the man was some kind of artificially created duplicate, it would not account for the dark soul they shared. As they talk, Morgan reveals that Jake claimed to travel through a miniature portal device. Ghost Widow suggests he may have been telling the truth and comes from another world. Morgan agrees, deciding to question Dr. Aeon about it.
After what seems like several days, Charles Morgan again visits Jake, demonstrating better spirits than the last time they met. He says that they have determined who and what Jake is, amused by the outcome.
Morgan tells that Dr. Aeon examined Jake’s equipment and determined it to be a kind of sophisticated portal technology, more advanced than his own, and that retro-engineering has already begun. Morgan mentions that Aeon had been conducting secret experiments in creating portal technology at his behest in Widow’s Tower, even though Lord Recluse had forbid such work outside of Grandville. They anticipated new breakthroughs thanks to Jake’s confiscated items. He goes on to explain that Jake must have come from a world where the ghost of Charles Morgan, the thing Jake calls a Dark Servant, had never possessed Jake’s body. Morgan tells the story how in his world the outlaw Dead Eye Jake had served under the Arachnos patron Ghost Widow and delved into all kinds of dark magic, which eventually served to empower Morgan’s ghost. The apparition finally gained enough power to control Jake’s body and devour his soul. Alive again, he took great pleasure in destroying Jake’s previous associations while increasing his dark power. At last he achieved true notoriety by imprisoning Ghost Widow in a crystal stolen from the Circle of Thorns combined with a soul trap provided by Mage-Killer Zuhkara, taking her place in Arachnos as a patron.
Morgan concludes his tale by stating how disgusted he is to think that in some other world the same Jake who murdered him a hundred years ago remained alive and well. He gloats that it was fortunate Jake arrived when he did, which gave him the opportunity to add to his power through the absorption of the other Charles Morgan ghost, steal his technology, and torture him to his heart’s content. Jake expresses a similar disgust that the man who murdered his fiancé could be alive in any world, and that he plans to kill him again. Morgan responds with a laugh before proceeding to pummel Jake, beating him severely before tiring out and leaving his cell.
Days later, Jake receives a visitor from one of the guards. Identifying herself as having the rank of Dark Widow she takes to the task of giving Jake water and feeding him NutriPaste. She then speaks up and privately asks if Jake would like to escape. He says that he does. The woman says that in truth she is in league with an organization called Longshot, a covert regime based in Paragon City intent on defeating Arachnos, including the operations of Charles Morgan. She tells that other soldiers in the base, particularly the women, have secretly desired the downfall of Charles Morgan since he usurped control from their mistress. When asked how he fits into all of this, she tells how word has gotten out to Longshot about Jake’s existence, and that a plan has been concocted around him. She proposes that if they free him and he helps them in staging a coup, they will use him as a double while Morgan is removed from power. Furthermore, as Morgan is extremely dangerous, they hope Jake to be a valuable resource in defeating him. Jake says that he is uninterested in becoming their political puppet, wanting only to kill Morgan and return home. She says that she will have to discuss this with her superiors and leaves. She returns later that night to say they are in agreement, and that the operation will begin at once. She frees Jake and returns some of his gear and guns while explaining the details of the attack and a layout of the building. Once ready, Jake asks to be shown where his men are being held. She complies, leading him to the nearby jail cells. Once she turns to unseal the doors, he takes the opportunity to smack her on the back of the head with a gun, knocking her out.
Jake frees his men and fills them in on the situation. When asked why he knocked out the guard, he points out that he did not trust her and Longshot, expecting them to betray and capture him when they had the chance. Rather, he explains that their only goal tonight was to do as he planned. They would kill Charles Morgan, and go home.
The woman who helped free Jake wakes up from the ground, realizing what happened. She contacts her associates via a wrist communicator, woozily explaining the situation. They respond by telling her they will proceed with the operation, expecting whatever Jake does should provide enough distraction to aid their plans.
Jake, along with Bill and Johnny, makes his way through Widow’s Tower, meeting little resistance, and fighting their way through when necessary. They reach Morgan’s private sanctum before any alert can be sounded. Expecting to break down the door, Jake finds the security system bids him enter, thinking he is Morgan. They enter to find a surprised Morgan dealing with Ghost Widow in an indecent fashion. Morgan barely has time to react before Jake begins an attack, shooting alongside with his outlaw thugs. Morgan dismisses Ghost Widow back to her crystal and takes cover, sounding the alarm with voice-activated systems. However, Curly Bill seals off the entrance to the chamber, cutting off any help from the Arachnos guards. Morgan, in a rage, finally decides to defeat Jake alone, drawing from his dark powers, and starts by summoning the Dark Servant version of himself he stole. Jake soon finds himself on the defensive Morgan shows off the extent of his supernatural abilities.
Meanwhile, the Arachnos agents working for Longshot in the base begin their attack, turning on their fellow soldiers while disabling the Tower’s defenses. Soon after, a group of Longshot Chasers swoop in toward the base outside, firing shots and launching missiles as the invasion starts in full force.
Inside Morgan’s chamber, Jake finds himself in trouble as Johnny is incapacitated. Bill is likewise is disposed, felled by the Dark Servant. Jake tries to hide and realizes he has one bullet left in his remaining gun, which is no great comfort since none of his previous shots had succeeded in doing any real damage. Morgan begins to press his advantage, toying with the outlaw through a variety of sadistic attacks, demonstrating various dominating powers. Jake’s gun is also tossed aside before Morgan grabs him in another life-draining chokehold, meaning to kill him. The room is suddenly rocked due to an outside explosion resulting from the Longshot attack. Jake is able to break free and leaps for his gun, recovering it so as to aim it as his enemy. Morgan tauntingly dares him to fire, secure in protective dark aura. Jake pulls the trigger, but rather than aiming at Morgan, the shot hits the crystal attached to Ghost Widow’s soul trap, smashing it to bits. Both men watch as the wraith-like female takes shape again amidst the broken pieces of the crystal. A weary Jake watches as she claims her freedom, and then attacks a terrified Morgan, seizing him in her power. However, another jarring explosion and further commotion outside warns him that the window of opportunity for escape is fast closing. Content to let Ghost Widow finish Morgan off, he gathers up his men and escapes the room.
Jake and company escape down the corridors and head to the lower levels of the tower to find Dr. Aeon’s laboratory. He finds the frightened doctor activating their experimental portal to escape the Longshot attack. Jake manhandles him and demands that he set the portal to take him back home. Aeon complies while the room starts to crash down around them. With no time left to lose, Jake and his goons dash through the gate, leaving the twisted mirror universe to sort itself out.
Part II: Maximum Jakeage
Jake and company come out the other side only to arrive on city streets with scenery resembling the more urban areas of Paragon City. Their sudden appearance out from a temporal vortex causes a commotion that escalates into a panic as Jake begins brandishing his guns, demanding to know their whereabouts from nearby civilians. Soon sirens are heard. Jake, weakened from his battle and deprived of his dark powers, decides to run, prompting the trio of bandits to duck into an alleyway.
The entire city block is soon infested with police forces, however, surrounding them with cars and setting up blockades. Finally, as a team of armed lawmen descend upon them, Jake gives up and surrenders, too weak to fight and unable to escape. As they are arrested and handcuffed, Jake notices the uniforms they wear say “PIP” on the badge, prompting him to ask who and where they are. Receiving mostly terse replies and berating disbelief, they finally tell Jake and his men are in the custody of the Paragon Isle Police of Atlas Island. Jake groans and curses Dr. Aeon. He makes the plea that he and his men did nothing wrong, their guns lack ammunition, and none of them have superpowers. Once unmasked, the arresting police confirm his identity and laugh at his claims. An officer remarks that it was foolish of Jake to suppose that wearing a stupid cowboy costume would fool them. When Jake still claims confusion, they assure him he will have plenty of time to work it out in the Zig.
Two days later, Jake meets up with Bill and Johnny in the Zigursky Prison courtyard, where they compare notes. Apparently sent to another alternate universe, in this world the superhero population infested the Paragon Isles, while villainy stemmed from a closed off area on the mainland United States called Rogue City. Many other curious twists and reversals from their reality seemed to occur here, causing Johnny to point out that everything was like an inverse of their own world. Jake had also been mistaken for a notorious criminal of this world named Dead Man James, but beyond that the stories were too conflicted for him to ascertain his counterpart’s status or affiliations. Presumably he was alive and well in the Rogue City while Jake served his time in prison.
Later that night, Jake sleeps in his bunk until awakened by the sound of explosions and a rocking sensation. His cell door open, he is alerted by scrambling prisoners that the "Pantheon" had arranged another breakout, offering free passage to Rogue City. Leaving his cell and gathering up his men, Jake takes part in the beating of guards and fellow prisoners until he gaining the information he needs, learning of a Pantheon stealth ship that would secretly dock on the east bay of Brick Island to ferry prisoners ashore. In the cover of night, amidst the chaos of rioting prisoners and Pantheon forces clashing with members of the "Light Brigade", the trio of outlaws finds the rendezvous. Entering a line of prisoners, including some low level meta-humans, they see a man ushering each on board the deck of the ship spouting cliché pirate phrases. When at last it is his time to board, both he and Jake are surprised to find they look exactly alike. Jake greets him as Dead Man James before being moved along by the stunned pirate captain.
After the ship takes off, James finds Jake. They talk, at first with defiant declarations, then flippant banter. Finally they begin to joke and speak with one another on friendly terms. The conversation carries to the lower decks, where the pair eat dinner, share stories, tell of their past lives and home worlds, and drink long into the night. By the evening’s end Jake is able to glean from the drunken pirate that the nearby Port Peregrine is home of this world’s Portal Corporation, likely with the means able to take him home. When asked to be taken there, James says they cannot, as his duty is to ferry the prisoners to Mercy Park. When Jake insists, James gets mad and points out that he is captain of the vessel, and everyone on board does what he says and not the other way around.
Later, in the wee hours of the morning, a man looking like James and wearing the captain’s regalia appears on deck and demands a change of course toward Port Peregrine. When the helmsman objects, he is offered a proper beating if he does not do as told. Demanding to be patched in through the ship’s PA, the captain orders all hands to prepare for assault, as they will be raiding the Portal Corporation. The man then returns to the lower decks, finding Bill and Johnny, where he reveals that he is actually Jake in disguise. At dawn the ship suddenly appears off the coast of Peregrine, emptying its guts filled with the recently escaped prisoners coordinated by James’ crew. When the battle begins Jake sheds his pirate disguise and moves among the attackers, making his way to the Portal Corporation building.
Meanwhile James awakens to find himself bound and bereft of clothing. His calls for help heard by passing crewmen, he is untied and informed of the situation. After dressing again he gathers a contingent of men and exits the ship, moving through the battle to head off Jake, his actions guided in anger. The pirate reaches the Portal building, where a trail of damage leads him to the upper levels, where Jake forces a group of technicians to activate the portal and take him home. A fight quickly breaks out as James attacks Jake with a pair of rapier swords, damaging the portal’s controls in the process. As the group moves toward the giant dimensional gate, the sound of explosions and gunfire are heard coming from the room’s main entrance. PIP forces, led by Arbiter Castle, begin to file in. Shots are fired, and in an attempt to escape Jake and James rush into the portal, quickly followed by Bill and Johnny, disappearing in the dimensional vortex.
The four find themselves inside a building resembling an Arachnos prison, with multiple holding cells around them. Jake wonders if he made it home before James makes to attack him again. He is restrained by Bill and Johnny, the violence ending in angry words.
The argument is interrupted when a pair of soldiers dressed as Wolf Spiders sees them and shouts something about a prison break. Jake is at least assured they are probably back in his own world, but now has to contend with evading capture by Arachnos again. Thinking on the fly, Jake heads toward the cells, and starts to unlock the stasis-field doors keeping the prisoners inside. Directing the others to join him, they start freeing the inmates, including meta-human villains and superheroes alike. As prison guards show up, fights begin to break out, as the growing number of escapees assemble. Jake hopes to escape in the chaos.
As Jake prepares to open the final cell door, several of the prisoners notice and begin to shout warnings, but it is too late. Out from the darkness of the special holding cell steps a giant green behemoth, dressed in rags, with horns protruding off his head through the remains of a black cowboy hat. The prisoners start to run in fright as the monster begins speaking in rudimentary sentences, calling himself Jorg and threatening to crush everyone. Jake can not help but notice a certain familiarity in the creature’s scarred face and torn outfit. Jorg seizes Jake and seems ready to make good on his threat, until the outlaw talks hurriedly to point out that he was the one who freed him. He continues to talk him down while motioning Bill and Johnny not to antagonize the monster. James wonders aloud what kind of creature it could be, to which Johnny replies it is a Supa Troll, explaining how a drug called Superadine turns regular people into these monsters in large doses. James remarks that it looks like Jake.
Jorg claims that Jake seems like a friend and releases the outlaw. Once freed, a gasping Jake points out that they need to escape. Jorg agrees, and begins smashing down walls to lead them out. As they move through the building, dealing with guards and passing through various rooms, Jake remarks that they seem to be inside the central tower of Grandville. He points out that if so, there should be a portal nearby, one that they can use it to leave this world as soon as possible. When asked about it, Jake grudgingly admits that “Jorg” is probably this world’s version of him, keeping in with the bad luck that seems to be following them.
Leading the way, Jake comes upon the portal room, where an aged Operative Grillo is disposed of with one slap by Jorg. Jake orders Vernon von Grun to activate the portal to send them to their world. The panicked scientist works the controls, but replies he can not possibly know where they are from or where to send them. As more Arachnos soldiers begin to appear, firing at them, forcing the group to take cover behind Jorg. Deciding once again to take his chances with the portal, Jake dives into the crackling temporal sphere, followed by James, Bill, and Johnny. Jorg, not wanting to be separated from his new friends, leaps in after.
Part III: World War Jake
An Ouroboros portal opens, out of which steps Charles Morgan, who surveys the scene before him in smug fascination. It is some kind of floating island hovering above an endless sea, with a pool in front of him, separating him from a small towering structure. The place, however, is dead, devoid of any other signs of life. Morgan walks toward the building, though not without feeling a sudden pang of discomfort, causing him to pause and grab his stomach. He has not been feeling well since his battle with Ghost Widow, who despite her searing attacks into the very heart of his being, he had managed to defeat and exterminate once and for all. With Widower’s Tower successfully defended and the traitors eliminated, he now had the opportunity to try out Jake’s portable inter-dimensional travel device, thanks to Dr. Aeon’s work.
As he reaches the citadel’s open archway, a man steps out in front of him, who cautiously greets the stranger. Morgan demands to know who he is, and what this place is. The man identifies himself as Quentin Reynolds, a Mender of Ouroboros, which is the name of both the organization he belongs to and the place they are in. He explains that theirs is a society of time-travelers sent to aid the world from a future catastrophe, but that the attempt to contact Morgan’s time period was abandoned due to incompatibilities with their world. The universe Morgan lives in, he claims, is charged with harmful magical energy, and groups like the Circle of Thorns have too many of their own portals to make contact safe. The project was abandoned along with the grounds Morgan now visited. Reynolds suggests he might well consider this place Dark Ouroboros. When Morgan asks why he is still there, Reynolds replies that he has been waiting for Morgan, expecting him to come, and needs his help. When Morgan laughs at the idea of helping anyone besides himself, Reynolds suggests that he might want to in this case, as they share a similar goal. He says he needs him to kill Dead Eye Jake.
Morgan becomes deadly serious, demanding to know his meaning. Reynolds beckons him inside the citadel. There he shows Morgan a floating crystal with a flame inside, saying with it he can observe the activities going on in multiple worlds. He says he watched the struggle between him and Jake, including Morgan’s humiliating defeat and that now Jake was traveling multiple worlds trying to get back to his own. Morgan denies being beat, claiming that Jake had only ran away, and that next time they meet he will die. Reynolds says that it will not be that easy, as through his adventures Jake has taken on new allies in the form of alternate versions of himself. Before Morgan can complain, he assures him that with all the resources at his disposal, they have it within their means to finish him off. Finally Morgan asks why Reynolds wants to kill Jake. He is told that he tried to kill him in his own world, but a freak accident sent him to Morgan’s universe instead. It was Reynolds job as a Mender to slay him for the good of the time stream, and now with Morgan’s help he can correct that mistake. Morgan agrees, affirming that nothing will save Jake this time.
Jake, James, Bill, Johnny, and Jorg arrive in what at first glance appears to be the middle of a park. Jake decides to settle and take a load off, sitting in a patch of grass, with James and his henchmen doing the same, weary from their journeys. Jorg goes wandering off, which no one interested in trying to stop him. The four men start to take in their surroundings, asserting that they are not in the Rogue Isles of Jake’s world, and James knows they are not in Rogue City. They choose to rest before exploring any further. A short time later Jorg returns, bringing a hotdog stand with him so his friends can eat. He says a nice man gave it to him before screaming and running away.
High in the sky, a man in an armored suit receives a call on his high-tech helmet, patching it through the screen on his visor. He receives a report about some kind of disturbance taking place in Peregrine Park, including a sighting of what people claimed was a giant green monster. The superhero alters course, propelled by rocket boots, and heads toward the island at once. Swooping above the area in no time, the armored figure scans the ground with his suit’s sensory system. At the sight of the hulking troll, he halts in mid-air, shock giving way to grim resolve. The appearances of the four other men joining the beast suggest they are menaces as well, a group of super villains and some thugs. Accessing his online criminal database offers no useful information, their abilities unknown. Taking it upon himself to find out firsthand, the hero descends, flying down to the ground. At the sound of roaring rockets, Jake and the gang look up to see the gleaming figure. The blue and gold design, along with the letters “PPD” emblazoned in a star on his chest, all scream “cape” to Jake. He inquires as to their business, prompting a knee-jerk reaction of hostility from outlaw, thugs, pirate, and monster. The superhero poises for battle, remarking that they should know better than to cause problems in Paragon City, as those who do have to deal with Sheriff Star.
Jake threatens the hero before remembering his guns are empty and he has no powers. Sheriff Star responds by shooting a beam of energy down below, scattering the group. Jake and the thugs can only duck for cover as James draws a pair of swords. The pirate slashes at the hero as he swoops in, but the blades do nothing against his armor. Jorg, on the other hand, leaps toward the man, proving more formidable as the battle ensues. Considering the strength of the green monster, the Sheriff decides he may need back up, using his helmet’s built-in communicator to contact the PPD, informing them of the situation and a plan of attack. In the meantime he is able to hold the monster at bay, firing concussive blasts at the others to keep them on their toes. He is able to fend them all off, though the growing rage of the brutish Jorg seems to increase his strength, putting the outcome of the fight in doubt. Helicopters begin to appear in the sky. Jake looks about to see a flood of officers in protective gear surrounding the area, weapons drawn. Perceiving another no-win situation, he calls out to Jorg to stop fighting. The troll tentatively halts, and the Sheriff asks if Jake plans to surrender. Jake takes a gamble and tells the truth, explaining that they are all from another world, flung into this one by mistake, innocent of any wrongdoing. The flying hero begins to deny the unlikely story until he at last gets a good look at Jake’s face. After a tense moment of silence, he orders the police to lower their weapons. He offers Jake the deal that if they will cease resisting and be taken into custody, he will try to determine whether or not they are telling the truth. Jake sees no other alternative, consenting to their surrender, though says if they are double-crossed he will turn Jorg loose. The Sheriff agrees. The police begin filing out onto the scene, where once again Jake and company submit to being captured.
Days later, Sheriff Star meets with Dr. Wachhorst at the Portal Corporation R&D. The doctor states that according to their readings the claims of the five captured individuals appear to be true, and that they are all from different worlds. Star replies that he was afraid of that, although he knew it was probably true.
He suggests that they should probably lock them up anyway, as they are all clearly dangerous men with criminal pasts. The doctor replies that the same could have been said about Star. The Sheriff protests, but Wachhorst points out that in this situation, protocol is to return them to their own worlds, despite what dangers they pose. Star finally agrees, knowing the doctor to be right, and ask that preparations be made to send them back. Star finally removes his helmet, revealing himself to have the same scarred face as Jake and James. He laments that in other worlds his counterparts never turned from their self-serving practices to become a champion for good like he did. Wachhorst replies that maybe meeting him will help inspire them to change, though Sheriff Star doubts it.
Later, Jake is led through the halls of the Portal Corporation building by a group of armed guards until being brought to one of the giant portal chambers. There he meets up with the others as his shackles are finally undone. Under the watchful eyes of Sheriff Star a short distance away, the guards release all five of them, and even return Jake his guns, complete with ammo. Sheriff Star states the portal has been properly attuned to their dimensional signature and each will be returned to their own world, starting with Jorg. This causes the monster to become anxious, stating he does not want to go back to his world to be locked up. Star says they have no choice, which only serves to anger the troll. Before the situation gets dangerous, though, the portal behind them begins to react, crackling with energy. Star looks to the control console, but the technicians act dumbfounded as no one had activated the portal yet. They all back off as the vortex grows, a silhouette appearing in the bright light. Jake starts, recognizing the figure as that of Charles Morgan.
Morgan haughtily claims that no one is going through the portal, but rather Jake and everyone standing with him is going to die. The outlaw and pirate react to the threat by brandishing their weapons while the agitated troll begins to hulk up. Morgan notes that Jake has brought some of his friends, and so he decided to bring some of his own. The portal behind him crackles with further activity. Three more figures arrive behind the villain, giving everyone pause. Morgan introduces them: Snake Eye Jake, a reptilian version of the outlaw from a world overrun by the Snakes, bearing toxic spit and a venomous bite, Dead Man Jake, a zombie from a magical world where the Circle of Thorns still battles the forces of Mu, and Mecha Jake, an android styled after the famed bandit in a world controlled by intelligent machines.
Sherriff Star contacts Dr. Wachhorst in the portal’s control chamber up above with his communicator. Advising him of the situation, Wachhorst says that he can rig the portal to create a vacuum effect, drawing in the various “Jakes” and depositing them into their respective worlds forcefully, but he would need time to arrange it. Star orders him to try. He then stands in line next to the outlaw, choosing to stand with him against what appeared to be even more dangerous versions of himself. The fight begins. Jake and Morgan pick up where they left off, the outlaw firing shots as his enemy deflected them with his dark energy. Mecha Jake blasts off, a trail of noxious fumes spilling in his wake as it crashed through the roof to the sky, followed by Sheriff Star. Jorg and the pirate face off against the zombie and the snake, the troll rampaging forward with James following in his wake, forcing their foes to scatter.
Meanwhile, as Dr. Wachhorst works furiously at the controls, a golden light shines behind him. Focused on his work, the scientist does not notice the presence of a man lifting an Arachnos-style mace above his head. With one blow the doctor crumbles to the ground. Alone in the control booth, the others having fled, the man known to Jake and Morgan as “Quentin Reynolds” begins fiddling with the controls.
In the air, clouds of green smoke form as Mecha Jake flies away from Sheriff Star. The superhero launches a series of tiny missiles, forcing the robot to veer, putting him in reach. The aerial battle continues, sending panicked citizens below running for cover. In the portal room, Jake curses as his bullets still have no effect on Morgan, who has called forth Jake’s Dark Servant again to deal with Bill and Johnny. Despite Morgan’s display of dominating power, Jake notes that Morgan's chest seems to be bothering him as he grips at his torso in discomfort periodically. Meanwhile, Jorg, chasing Snake Eye, crashes into another room, leaving James to contend with the zombie. In close combat, Sheriff Star beats up on the robot, causing heavy damage with energy-charged fists. Though bombarded with irradiative blasts, he pummels it in mid-air, puncturing its hull. Apparently sensing its imminent defeat, the Sheriff hears its mechanized voice call for a self-destruct function, its body suddenly sparking and smoking in mid-air. He blasts away before its too late, only to watch the fiery explosion rain down over the city, creating a sizzling shower. Calling the PPD up to coordinate their efforts, the hero sweeps down over the streets to make sure no one is hurt.
James shows frustration in his one-on-one battle with the zombie, who laughs while dodging his sword’s attacks. The buccaneer finally manages to strike the creature, slicing off its arm at the elbow in one swift blow. However, instead of showing injury, the zombie aims the severed limb at him, spilling its poisonous contents and rotting flesh his way. First nauseous, and then woozy from the effect, James’ guard drops, receiving a punch to the face that drops him to the floor and knocks him out. The zombie hovers over him, preparing to feed on the fallen pirate, until a massive green hand grabs him by the back of the neck. Lifting the squirming undead creature, Jorg simply squeezes the neck, popping the zombie’s head off in a slushy explosion of decayed guts. It falls lifeless to the ground. Jorg bends down to inspect James’ fallen body before Snake Eye suddenly leaps onto his back, sinking his teeth into the troll at the fleshy part of his shoulder. Bellowing in rage and pain, he is unable to reach back to pry him off as the smiling snake pumps poison into his system. At last the troll slumps, falling to his knees, and then collapses face first on the floor. Triumphant, the snake man rises, looking over the two fallen foes. Summoning up a mouthful of acidic spit, he prepares to kill them both. He does not get the chance, however, as Sheriff Star rockets into him from the side, sending him crashing across the floor. He does not get back up. Star turns to see Jake fighting Morgan, the outlaw now using his fists, and with little success. He accesses his communicator, calling Dr. Wachhorst, in an attempt to get an update on the portal situation. He gets no response. Looking up, he spies an unfamiliar figure working the controls of the machinery. Fearing for the doctor, Star flies up, though not before the man sees and aims his mace at the hero, firing a blast of red energy. Star deftly dodges, however, returning an energy blast, hitting his target and knocking him away from the controls. Landing in the booth, he finds the doctor still alive. Reynolds likewise tries to get up, but another blow from the Sheriff knocks him out for good.
Jake again finds himself in Morgan’s death grip. Having called back the Dark Servant into himself, Morgan is awash in the negative aura while holding him aloft, squeezing the life out of him. Jake tries to pull at Morgan’s arm, to no avail, and the evil man assures him that this time he will not escape. Desperate, Jake notices Morgan cringe at whatever injury was evidently plaguing him. Drawing the last of his strength, he reaches for Morgan’s chest and tries to use the energy-siphoning ability that had saved him so many times before. Strangely enough, it works, and even in the grip of Morgan’s power he finds himself able to draw life from his enemy. Morgan feels it too, but is aghast to learn he can not stop it. With Jake’s will overpowering his own, he realizes his battle with Ghost Widow had had a lasting effect on him, the Arachnos witch somehow crippling his very aura in her attack. Morgan grows weak as Jake grows strong, and finally the man cries out as Jake rips the essence of his Dark Servant back out of him, debilitating him further. He falls to the floor, where Jake quickly side-steps and withdraws one of his fallen guns. Morgan looks up in time to see Jake aim and fire, shooting him in the chest, just as he did more than a hundred years ago. Morgan falls on his face, unmoving. Jake realizes the poetic justice of the moment, but shoots him a couple of more times in the back, just in case.
Quentin Reynolds wakes up in the booth to see Jake holding a gun at him, with Sheriff Star and the groggy scientist behind. At first cursing his luck, he stops as Jake waves his weapon and threatens to kill him for good. He demands to know who he, why he sent him to die, and how he ended up here. Reynolds reaches toward his person, activating a device that drops his disguise, appearing in Ouroboros-style armor and helmet again. He claims that as a Mender, it was his job to kill Jake for the sake of a future timeline. Jake thinks on it, before deciding it was an obvious lie, as no Mender would send someone to fight his own like he did. After a moment of silence, Reynolds finally states that it does not matter anymore, as his plan has failed and Jake is still alive. He admits he no longer works for Ouroboros, although he once did. A rogue Mender, he is known as the Quantum Reaper, and he has taken it upon himself to kill dangerous men like Jake to cleanse time. Unsatisfied, Jake asks why he did not do it himself, so the Reaper tells how against powerful foes like him where the outcome is in doubt he uses indirect means. The bomb that was suppose to kill Jake, for instance, would have worked, except for unlikely reaction that occurred with the nearby time crystal, a million-to-one chance that spared him. When he saw that Jake ended up in Morgan’s world, and that the fight they had nearly killed them both, he happened upon a new plan. He guided Jake’s dimensional journey via his own superior technology, forcing him to run into different versions of himself over and over again, and finally manipulating Morgan into the showdown that would hopefully had killed them all.
Sheriff Star states that while Jake and the others are still free to go home they will most likely imprison the Reaper indefinitely.
Once again Jake, James, Bill, and Johnny stand before the portal, ready to go home. When asked about Jorg, the Sheriff states the troll escaped, and will be caught and dealt with afterward. Jake wonders aloud if the Sheriff did not let him go on purpose, either out of mercy for the monster, or to stave off boredom when they are gone. With the bound Quantum Reaper at hand, Star gives Dr. Wachhorst the word to begin activating the portal. It does so, but then suddenly surges with a booming excess energy. Stumbling over the shaky ground, Star calls up to the scientist, who realizes that the Reaper must have rigged the controls and set the portal to explode, no doubt to finish everyone off during the battle before. Star asks the doctor to stop the explosion, to which the Reaper says it is too late. Star has no choice but to fly off as a white light erupts, consuming the others. The explosion rocks behind him, sending him crashing into the control booth.
In the wake of the blast, Wachhorst assures Sheriff Star that it is alright. Star asks him what he means, as the portal room is now a collection of sizzling rubble and the five men left below were vaporized. The scientist states that he successfully initiated the “sucking” procedure as the explosion took place, swallowing up any of the "Jakes" not of this world before they were incinerated. Wachhorst begins to call up the readings at the controls to confirm this. Looking down, Star points out that the blast must have at least killed the Reaper, who is now gone. Wachhorst stammers in surprise, replying that the system records an unaccounted for person also being drawn into the flux, which could only have been the Quantum Reaper. Star wonders at that, and asks if he is saying that the Reaper was another of his dimensional duplicates. The doctor responds that there is no other explanation.
Back in his own universe, Jake finds himself back home, where he reunites with the rest of his gang. He finds everything back to normal, except that he is still missing his portable Ouroboros device. He decides to wait before asking them for a new one, since he would first have to explain why he attacked them in the first place. In the end, the outlaw decides he has had enough portal hopping for a while.
Epilogue: Morgan Massacre
In the vacated grounds of Dark Ouroboros, the bleeding figure of Charles Morgan crawled across the floor. Though injured and leaking life, he had survived the multiple gun wounds, and lasted through the explosion, attributing his fortitude to his dark powers. For whatever reason, the portal had sent him here, possibly because it was the last place he had been before staging his attack, or maybe it was due to Jake’s portal device he still had on his person.
Regardless, he would recover, and get his final revenge on Jake.
A golden light suddenly shines behind him. Gasping for breath, Morgan twists about, looking for the source. He sees the armored figure of the Quantum Reaper walking behind him, mace in hand. Eyes widening in fear, he holds out a hand to stay the rogue Mender, telling him to keep away, but the faceless figure shows no pity as he stands over him, raising his mace. It is the last thing Charles Morgan ever sees.
- The story's title is a parody of DC Comic's Infinite Crises. The titles to the individual parts of the story are parodies of famous Marvel Comic events, House of M, Maximum Carnage, World War Hulk, and Mutant Massacre. The "Death of" preface in the prologue is also used often in comic book titles.
- The story both begins and ends with a "Jake" being killed in Ouroboros, directly and indirectly by the Quantum Reaper.
- Jake is either imprisoned or goes to jail four times in the story.
- Under the theory that the Quantum Reaper is another alternate version, Jake's promise to kill Morgan in Part I is fulfilled in the epilogue.
- The pseudonym "Quentin Reynolds" was most likely chosen because it has the same initials as "Quantum Reaper". However, the name "Quentin" is also Latin for "fifth". As each team of "Jake's" in Part III consisted of four men, Quentin could be considered the fifth Jake.
- "Quantum Reaper" is also a reference to the TV Show Quantum Leap which featured a man who traveled through time by inhabiting people's bodies.
- Jorg and Sheriff Star can be likened to Marvel Comic's Incredible Hulk and Iron Man, respectively. That they end up in the same universe at the story's end is thus fitting.