That evening, Matt opened the door to his apartment, walked inside, and shut the door behind him.

He went to his widescreen TV-shell, leaned over, and plugged his camera into it. As the welcome splash page appeared on the large screen, Matt dragged an easy chair over to the TV. He straightened and punched a few buttons on his stereo system. An epic-style remix of Ellis Manteaux’s Rule of Threes began to play.

Matt sat down in the easy chair, picked up his shell, and smiled at the audience.

He tapped a key on the shell and an ensemble picture of the employees cleaning the war-ravaged store appeared.

“The forces of the evil Mayfield Corporation were vanquished,” he began. “Our heroes had held their ground and pushed the enemy away. The 15th and Neimuth Securemarket™ made the news that evening, and was later awarded the coveted Erdrick Award for the collective bravery of the employees there. All gained an employee rank.”

He tapped the shell. The picture changed to Alan, with a picture of Nalley next to it.

“Alan and Nalley married three years later. Nalley became a certified technician for several brands of vehicle, ensuring a steady income for the family. Alan eventually quit his job at the Securemarket™ and became the full-time manager for Sixth Gear, which attained moderate success and made the family very happy. They had a talented and intelligent son.”

He tapped his shell once more. The picture of Steve and Zap talking over the deli partition appeared.

“Steve and Zap’s relationship lasted three weeks. It ended with a screaming match at work that nearly lost both of them an employee rank.”

He tapped his shell again. Click and Michelle-Bear appeared, looking surprised.

“Click rejoined the Seelie Court at Yule and stayed Seelie for the rest of his life. He became a motivational speaker and was successful at touring schools and businesses, but remained a good-natured rogue at heart. Michelle-Bear, who made a full recovery within a few months, eventually got a waitstaff job at the Aquarium Restaurant and eventually rose to the status of maître d’. She settled down with two boys whom she loved very much and had two kids: one with each of her partners.”

He tapped his shell. A picture of a blood-drenched Dr. Wallace appeared with Mya at his side. Dr. Wallace’s smile provided a bizarre counterpoint to his gory attire.

“Mya and Dr. Wallace got married. After extensive tutelage under Sir Erdrick, Mya decided to enter the Honorable Academy of Corporate Knights and was named Sir Mya Ai’o of Securemarket™.”

He tapped his shell. A picture of Pazi, standing at the door of her dorm room and looking baffled, appeared.

“At Zap’s urging, Pazi got a job with the Bradshaw Atelier just out of school. In a few years, she and her familiars were running a satellite lab nearly on their own. Pazi eventually quit the business to become a professor of Invocation Magic at Ethertech University. She married a member of the administration. While she took many apprentices, she never had children.”

He tapped his shell with a flourish. A picture of Raimi And The Soft Winds Blow appeared, leaning against Paru with a grin on her face. Paru appeared to be tolerating the action, though only barely.

“Raimi and Paru continued to serve the Securemarket™ for years. Paru’s store remained one of the most acclaimed ones in Securemarket™ history, and Paru gave birth to a single child, whom she alternately gave a very hard time and spoiled rotten. Raimi And The Soft Winds Blow never married or bore children, though she and Click had another abortive attempt at a fling. Somehow, they managed to stay friends afterward.”

He tapped his shell and a boring-looking image of Loren appeared.

“Lorem Ipsum and Ro Z’kerr disappeared, never to be seen by our heroes again.” Matt frowned. “Probably.”

He tapped his shell once more. The picture of To’mas, smiling brightly, appeared.

“To’mas?” Matt laughed. “That’s another story entirely.”

Matt tapped his shell. A posed picture of Sir Kunimitsu and Sir Birchmore appeared.

“Sir Drake and Sir Lewis decided that after their landmark cooperation in the face of adversity, they should set aside their enmity and attempt to foster cooperation between their companies. To their credit, they managed to hold this peace for a full year, at the end of which they had a heated argument about how to cook steak. They had a total of forty-three minor duels over trifling matters from that point forward. Sir Kunimitsu barely came out on top with a total of twenty-four wins. The duels eventually stopped when Sir Kunimitsu had a minor heart attack. When he died, Sir Kunimitsu bequeathed his sword and pistol to Sir Birchmore. Sir Birchmore returned the favor unprompted: he supported Kunimitsu’s family until his own death.”

Matt smiled. “Wanting to emulate her one-time hero, Jaz Kunimitsu became a Dancer Rank Maul fighter by age 16. She will probably have a story written about her at some point.”

He thought for a moment. “Did I miss anybody important? Oh yeah!”

He picked up the camera and pointed it at himself. A moving image of him appeared on the TV.

“Matt went and got a beer,” he said. “Then he took a shower and played video games for four hours. It was awesome.”

He set the camera down, rose from the chair and walked away, leaving the camera pointing at the wall and displaying that on the television.

Thirty seconds later, he returned with a beer.

He sat back down in the chair, drew his shell, and tapped it. The image on the television changed to one of Zap and Steve locked in a kiss.

“Steve and Zap dated two more times after that. The second time was for three months, the third for three years.”

He took a pull from the beer and gave us an earnest grin.

“Evidently deciding that the third time was the charm, they got married,” he continued. “Steve finished her apprenticeship with Grover Messianic and began work as his partner. When he died, she took over the business and remained an artisan gunsmith in her own right. Zap got a job at his mother’s Atelier. After a decade, recognizing her son’s talent, she handed him the business and retired. Soon thereafter, Zap and Steve decided to merge the businesses, forming the magical smithy ‘Messiah Arms’. Despite fighting nearly all the fucking time, Steve and Zap loved each other and their only daughter until their deaths.”

Matt stood up and turned to walk away, then turned back for a moment.

“You know, I trust you guys not to tell them before it happens. Ok?”

He turned to his stereo console, and then slowly faded the lights and music out at the same time. He walked away, forgetting to turn the television off. It displayed the picture of Zap and Steve’s kiss until morning.