A snowball Mortal Kombat fanfic by Johinsa and Biku. A word of warning: frequently the story switched authors in the middle of scenes, so we apologise for any incontinuities.

Authors' Notes:

Johinsa: Well, it didn't turn out as odd as I'd thought it would...
Biku: Like we had any idea how it would turn out.
Johinsa: Well, you're the one who came up with the plan...you must have had some idea.
Biku: None at all. The only way I got any ideas was from panic because I didn't know where YOU were going with it...
Johinsa: I feel so loved now.
Biku: You should. And now, on with the show...

Wandering Souls

Liu Kang backflipped in the air and launched himself off the wall to deliver a series of devastating kicks and punches before landing. This would undoubtedly have knocked his opponent unconscious, if his opponent had not, in fact, been a punching bag.

Liu backed up and tried the move again. He still wasn't quite satisfied with his balance. *Three weeks out of practice,* he thought with an inward sigh.

It hadn't been his fault, of course. Johnny Cage had asked him to come to LA to work with him on Johnny's new movie "because the fight choreographers are idiots, and I don't have time to do it myself. C'mon, Liu, as a favor to me?"

Liu glanced around the dojo. It was a fairly shabby place, run out of someone's basement, but it cost almost nothing to use the place. It meant putting up with the other students, though.

Three of them were sitting by the wall at that moment, watching him with open-mouthed awe. All were teenage girls in gis and white belts. He wouldn't have minded, except that they kept giggling and whispering, and he distinctly caught the words "cute butt" several times.

Suddenly, the door opened, and Johnny Cage himself walked in. Or, to more precise: sauntered, as Cage looked extremely cocky. " Guess what!" he called out.

" Sssh," said some of the students.

" Yeah, whatever." Cage clomped across the dojo floor in his street shoes as Kang rolled his eyes. " Great news, Liu! The movie has opened to rave reviews--and it hasn't even premiered yet!"

" That's great, Johnny," Kang began. He cleared his throat, and was about to say something to his friend about the muddy street shoes when the teacher of the class Cage had interrupted walked up to them.

" Achem." The sensei said.

" Yes?"

" Do you know the rules of the dojo?" the sensei continued. Cage sighed, and pulled out of his pocket a one-hundred dollar bill. He tucked it into the black belt of the sensei.

" Consider it a donation," the movie star explained. He took Kang by the shoulder and lead him out.

" I was thinking of a celebration," Cage said to Kang after they left the dojo. " Got any ideas?"

" Yeah--I was thinking--My God! What's that?!"

"What?" Johnny turned to look, just in time to see a three- hundred-pound man sail through a nearby window and land, dazed, on the street outside. "Just a barfight. Let's get to the studio. I've got this--"

A second man flew through the window to crash into the first. Both collapsed. "--idea I want you to take a look at--" Johnny continued, unruffled, "and--"

Another man staggered out through the door, saw Johnny Cage, and started swinging wildly. Johnny ducked and kicked him in the back of the head, but a lucky shot broke a lens of Johnny's sunglasses. "Hey!" Johnny protested. "Does no-one appreciate how much these things cost? C'mon." He headed toward the door of the building.

"Uh, Johnny--where are you going?"

Johnny shrugged. "I'm going to see what's going on." He walked inside.

Sounds of a fight greeted them as they entered. Liu, following Johnny in, barely missed being hit over the head with a chair. The fight seemed to be centred around one person, who was drunkenly shouting threats and taking on all comers.

"Let's go, Johnny," Liu said, "we--" He stopped. He stared. "Is that Sonya?"

Sonya Blade spotted them then. " You losers! I can't believe you!" She took a wild swing, and Johnny was so shocked that he couldn't duck, and she nailed him on the nose.

" How dare you, you *&^%$#@&--" it was followed by more abuse and obscene language until Blade collapsed on the floor. The other drunken revellers disappeared soon after.

Kang picked the unconcious Blade up off the floor. Cage stood by, mopping at his nose with a napkin. He picked up a glass half full from off the bar. He took a sip, but spat it out. " That drink's been spiked!" he exclaimed.

" It's a bar, Johnny," Kang explained patiently. He managed to get Blade slung over his shoulder.

" That's not what I meant. I meant that something else has been put into the liquor." Cage replied. " I have a sinking feeling I know what the fight was about."

" Let's get her back to your house." Kang said.

Cage opened the front door to his house, and held the door open while Kang carried Blade in. Kang laid her gently on the couch.

" She should be all right, in a while." Kang said, after checking how she was.

" That's good," Cage called from the kitchen. " I'll make some coffee, okay?"

" Fine by me," Kang said.

" Fine by me, too." another voice said.

Kang whirled to face behind him, and Cage stuck his head around the kitchen door.

" What?" said Rayden, who was busy taking off his shoes at the front door.

Cage and Kang looked at each other.

" Okay." Cage finally said, ducking back into the kitchen. Rayden sat down next to Blade. He looked at her, then harumphed.

" Liu: black?" Johnny called out.

" Yep." Kang replied.

" Rayden: Double, double?"

" Yep," the thunder god called back. He ignored the look from his former student.

" So," Cage said, while bearing the tray out into the living room, " Rayden, mind telling us what you're doing here?"

"Oh, you know," Rayden said in a too-innocent voice, "I just thought I'd drop by--"

Liu and Johnny shared a dubious glance. "Sure," Johnny said finally. "God business a little slow?"

"Well, to be honest," Rayden admitted, "I've been hearing some disturbing things lately, and I thought you might appreciate the warning."

"What things?" Liu asked, managing to keep his tone level. "Don't keep us in suspense."

"Well," Rayden began, "it might all be nothing, but I paid a visit to the Temple of Light last week and the monks have been seeing all sorts of visions and portents and that sort of thing. How about you, by the way?" he added, turning to Liu. "Any strange dreams lately?"

Liu frowned. "Now that you mention it, I've had a few nightmares lately. I didn't think it was anything."

"Well, anyway, I talked to the monks and they seem to think there's something major going on. Nobody's had any specific instructions or anything, though, so we're still pretty much in the dark." He shrugged. "I wasn't going to pay too much attention, but I thought it would be a good idea to let you guys know. So I went to where Sonya was stationed--where I thought she was, anyway, since it turned out she'd gone AWOL--and that's when I heard about Jax. I thought, no wonder she took off, and I figured she'd have come to see you. Then I came here."

"Hold it a second," Liu said slowly. "What about Jax?"

Rayden looked at him strangely. "You didn't hear about Jax? I thought Sonya would have told you."

"She didn't say anything really coherent," Johnny said. "What about Jax?"

" I didn't want to be the one to tell you this, but it turns Jax has been captured by rebels who still follow Shao Khan, and Outworld." Rayden said slowly. " The signs that appear in all of the visions of the monks show a powerful ruler, with, of course, lots of death and destruction thrown in for good measure."

" Oh, of course," said Cage dryly.

" Anyway," Rayden continued, after a sip of his coffee, " I came to see if Sonya could help us."

" How?"

" Oh, I don't know. What do you think I am? Omniscient? I thought, maybe if somebody brainwashes Jax, we might be able to use her to get through to him or something." the god of Thunder finished.

Cage sat on the easy chair and suppressed a chuckle. " I'm glad somebody here knows what to do."

" This isn't funny, Johnny," Kang said. " It means a real danger, if Outworlders can kidnap people."

" Especially big people like Jax." Rayden added. The other two looked at him. " What? The guy's built like an ox!"

" This isn't the point," Kang said, exasperated. " First, we have to get Sonya sober, then figured out what we should do."

" Get Sonya sober?" inquired Rayden. " Why didn't you say so?"

"We figured it was obvious?" Johnny suggested dryly.

"You don't have to be rude," Rayden said in annoyance. He waved his hand in Sonya's direction. "There."

Sonya's eyes opened slowly. She groaned, putting a hand to her forehead as she gingerly tried to sit up. "What happened?"

"Long story. You feeling okay?"

"Yeah, I--Johnny?" Sonya looked around in confusion, for the first time noticing her surroundings. "What am I doing in your house?" She spotted Liu and Rayden. "What are *they* doing here? What's going on?"

"What's the last thing you remember?" Johnny asked.

"Jax disappeared," Sonya answered. "I asked for leave to go look for him and they wouldn't give it to me, so I left." She grinned. "I've probably been busted down to private by now. They aren't very happy with me over there anyway."

"It looked like you got a bit sidetracked," Liu pointed out.

Sonya blushed. "Well, that's a long story."

"We have time to hear it. Did you have something else planned for today?"

"Um. All right, this is what happened. I tried to get leave to go look for Jax, and it turned out that my request was denied. So then I--"

" Why would they deny it?" asked Cage.

" I don't know. They're assholes?" Blade snapped. She seemed to be returning to her normal self. " So I decided, since my request was denied for unknown reasons, I tried to track Jax down."

" And you went to that bar?" asked Kang.

" Uh huh--it's one of Jax's hang-outs. I thought that maybe he had decided to leave because the stress was getting to him. So I went to the bar, tried to get the "regulars" to talk to me, but they wouldn't until I had a few drinks. Now, I can hold my liquor pretty well, but one of them slipped something into it, and I could start to feel myself passing out. That's all I remember." Blade said.

" Oh." Rayden replied thoughtfully. " That doesn't explain anything beyond what I already know. Hmmm."

" Hmmm?" asked Cage.

" Oh, nothing." the god said with a wave of his hands.

" It's never nothing," Cage persisted.

" Well, I--no. I think that we had better go talk to the monks, and see if they've had more visions since I left." Rayden finished his coffee with a slurp. As he put empty cup down, Cage snickered, and pointed to his upper lip. Embarressed, Rayden wiped the java moustache off his face. " Okay, let's go."

" Go? Go where?" asked Blade.

" To the temple."

" You want us to go with you?"

" Sure. Liu can compare dreams, and the rest of us can figure out what's going on." Rayden stood up. He walked briskly toward the front door.

The three mortals stood up, and followed.

" I have a bad feeling about this," Cage remarked as they stepped through the open front door and into a glowing portal.

The portal opened at the familiar setting of the Temple of Light. It appeared peaceful and quiet on the surface, but Liu, more attuned to the usual emotional atmosphere of the temple, could almost touch the tension in the air.

Sonya shivered. "This place feels creepy."

"You're telling me," Liu agreed. "Come on, let's go find Grandfather. He'll want to see Rayden."

Just as they turned toward the gate, though, Liu's grandfather came hurrying out, bowing to Rayden and then embracing Liu. "It's good to have you back. Are you here to stay this time?"

Liu shook his head regretfully. "No, Grandfather, I'm afraid this is more than just a visit."

The old man nodded. "Yes, the visions. I thought that was why Lord Rayden had come back. I'm afraid they're getting worse." He sighed. "Two of the monks have died."

"What? What happened?" Liu demanded.

"The visions, as I said. One of our older brothers died of a heart attack while in meditation, and a young novice threw himself into the ocean, screaming that something was coming after him." Liu's grandfather looked years older than he had when Rayden had seen him a week ago. "Can you do anything, Lord Rayden? I'm worried, if things keep getting worse--"

" I'm trying," Rayden said patiently.

" I know," the monk said humbly, bowing his head.

" I didn't mean to snap," Rayden apologised with a sigh.

" I know you are trying your best, Lord Rayden," Liu's Grandfather said, bowing, emphasizing the "Lord". He shuffled off.

The three mortals stared at Rayden, but he ignored them. " I'd better go see if my visions compare with the monks'" Kang said, breaking the silence.

" I'll go with you, there might be something in them related to Jax," Blade added. Both jogged off into the Temple buildings. That left Cage.

" Um," he said a bit awkwardly. Rayden didn't say anything.

" Um," Cage said again, but the Thunder god seemed distracted by something, and was staring off into the sky.

Just as Cage was about to say "um" for the third time, there was a startled yell from one of the far buildings. Cage started to run to the source, when there was a sudden boom of thunder, and he found himself inside the darkened building.

" What's happened?" Rayden said, as Cage skidded to a stop.

" It's Guoyong," one of the younger monks said, worriedly. " He was meditating, and...and..."

" It's all right," Rayden said, putting a hand on the young monk's shoulders. " I'll see what's the matter."

He leaned down, next to Guoyong, who seemed like a middle-aged, but healthy man.

" Heart attack?" murmured Cage.

Rayden shook his head. Suddenly the monk sat upright, pulling on Rayden's white sleeve.

" It's the Dark One...coming for ours--can't let him--" Guoyong suddenly made a gargling noise, then keeled over, blood trickling from his mouth.

"Do something!" the young monk pleaded, staring down at Guoyong's white face. He clutched at Rayden's robe. "Lord Rayden, can't you do something for him?"

"No," Rayden said quietly. "The dead are beyond my power."

The words spread like ripples through the crowd. Guoyong is dead--another death--gods, how many more of us? Lord Rayden--Lord Rayden should do something--why doesn't he?

Rayden, though, seemed lost in his own world. "The Dark One," he said reflectively. "It isn't possible--"

"Rayden?" Johnny said urgently. "C'mon, Rayden, you're scaring me. What's going on?"

"What?" Rayden came back to himself with a start. He glanced around at the gathering crowd of monks. "Don't you people have something better to do? Get someone to take care of the body and get out of here." With bows and muttered apologies, the monks filed out, and Rayden and Johnny were left alone with the dead Guoyong.

"Come on," Rayden said. "We've got a lot of work to do. Let's go find Sonya and Liu."

Liu was, at that moment, in a private meditation chamber with his grandfather and three of the oldest monks of the Order of Light. Ten years ago, he would have been awed to be in such august company; now, he felt only impatience.

"We must move carefully," one of the old monks said in a quavery voice. "We must be certain of our path before we proceed. We should do nothing in haste." The other two nodded agreement.

"How can we possibly be certain of anything?" Liu demanded. "Look around you! Monks are dropping like flies!"

"Liu!" his grandfather snapped.

"Well, they are! And no-one seems willing to do a damned thing!"

"You may feel that your--status--permits you to take such liberties," another of the old monks said sharpyly, "but you are still a member of this Order and you will obey the directions of those wiser and more senior than you!"

Liu was about to retort when Rayden flashed into the room, Johnny beside him. "Come on," the god said, ignoring the startled monks. "Let's get Sonya and get out of here. We're running out of time."

"Lord Rayden," the first old monk began, but Rayden waved him silent.

"I'd like to explain, but we may already be too late."

" Too late for what?" Blade asked.

" I have no idea." Cage replied.

" The rebels of Outworld have resurrected the soul of Shang Tsung," Rayden said. " And they're using Jax to get to Liu."

" Oh," all three mortals said. Then: " What?!"

" How could they use Jax to get to Liu?" Cage asked. " No offense, Sonya."

" None taken," the woman replied

" Simple-- they can't try to lure Liu in directly, he's too cautious for that." Rayden said, looking at them as if they knew the obvious. They didn't. " However--Sonya will rush in to save Jax, they knew that." Rayden continued.

" And they knew I'd rush in to save Sonya," Cage added.

" Exactly." Rayden smiled.

" And I'd go to save Johnny." Kang finished. " I see. It's a very roundabout way of drawing me in, without looking like I'm being drawn in."

" What about us?" Kang's Grandfather asked slowly. " How does the Temple figure in all of this?"

" You're insurance!" Kang suddenly understood. " In case I don't run after Johnny to save him!"

" Thanks." Cage muttered.

" You know I would, anyway," Kang assured him.

" So know what do we do?"

" Do what they obviously think we won't." Rayden replied.

The three mortals and the four monks stared at him. " Sonya has to do this alone."

"Now wait a minute!" Johnny protested. "You can't mean--" Rayden nodded. "That's crazy! She'll be killed!"

"It's nice to know you have so much confidence in me," Sonya said sarcastically.

"I didn't mean it like that!" Johnny protested. "But--well, would you let Liu do something like this by himself, for instance?"

"I'd trust Liu to know what he's doing," Sonya snapped. Then her voice softened. "Besides, you know Rayden's right. If we all go, we'll be playing right into their hands."

"Well, I can see why Liu can't go, obviously," Johnny said reluctantly, "but why can't I?"

"Because," Rayden explained, "while Sonya is in Outworld rescuing Jax and taking care of Shang Tsung, the three of us-- you, me and Liu--are going to be doing something else here on Earth."

"We are?" Liu asked, surprised.

Rayden turned to the old monks, who were still seated on the floor. "Eldest," he said formally, "I'm going to need your help."

"Whatever we have is yours, Lord Rayden," one of them answered, bowing his head to the floor. "What do you need us to do?"

"First," Rayden began, "I need to know everything anyone has seen in his visions. Even the youngest novice could have been given special instructions--it's happened before. Talk to everyone, find out what they know."

"Of course, Lord Rayden. We'll do it as quickly as we can. Is there something else?"

" Yes," Rayden answered. " After all that is done, I want the Temple evacuated. I want it to look like it's been abandoned for days."

" As you wish, Lord Rayden." the Three Elders bowed their heads.

" What have you got in mind?" Kang asked curiously.

Rayden smiled. He put an arm around Blade, and steered her away from the two others, talking in a low voice. She nodded frequently.

She soon left, and Rayden turned to the two others. " Okay, this is what we're doing..."

They stood outside the "abandoned" Temple, in a small semi- circle. " You sure of your part to play?" asked Rayden to Blade. She nodded, and the Thunder God created a portal in front of her. She took a deep breath and stepped through.

Outworld was as desolate as she remembered. Grotesque statues stood everywhere, and small fires burned fitfully by the edge of the road. Ruined buildings loomed over her, their tops lost in the dark grey clouds that covered the sky. "I hate this place," she muttered. The last time she had been here, it had been as a prisoner of Shang Tsung, chained and helpless in the evil sorcerer's tower. As unwilling as she was to admit it, she had been more afraid then than at any other time in her life.

"You can deal with this, Sonya," she told herself firmly. "Come on, think. If Shang Tsung is back, where would he have taken Jax? His old fortress, of course," she answered herself. "Great."

She set out toward the tower, her footfalls echoing eerily in the deserted stone street. From time to time she saw a flicker of movement, people scurrying furtively through the shadows, but they were always gone by the time she looked. Sonya shivered. "I really hate this place."

Sonya reached the tower without interference. This surprised her at first--wouldn't Shang Tsung have posted guards, at least?- -until she remembered that they wanted her inside. She was, after all, bait for Johnny and Liu.

The metal doors opened at a touch, and Sonya strode inside, looking around for any sign of life. A faint clicking, as of a pebble disturbed by an errant foot, gave her a split second's warning before three hooded men leapt out of the shadows.

Sonya pivoted and slammed her foot into the stomach of the one on her left, sending him flying backward into the wall. The second threw a punch, but she ducked, caught his arm at wrist and elbow and wrenched it backward, feeling a satisfying *crack* as his arm broke.

The third man drew a long curved knife from his belt, and he and Sonya circled each other slowly, just out of range. Surprisingly, he backed up and straightened out of attack posture. Sonya watched him warily.

"You can't win, Sonya Blade," he said mockingly. "Give up."

"Like hell," Sonya grunted, and threw herself at him. Her open-handed strike caught him on the chin and he staggered, almost falling. A roundhouse kick to the wrist and his fingers opened spasmodically, dropping the knife, which Sonya caught neatly before it reached the ground. Shoving him against the wall, the knife at his throat and pressing into his skin, Sonya pushed back the man's hood. "Talk," she hissed. "Where's Jax?"

"Don't know--" the man rasped.

"Bullshit. You knew who I was." She pressed the knife harder, drawing beads of blood. The man stared at her, wild-eyed with fear. "Tell me where he is, or I cut your throat."

"At the top of the tower," the man said quickly. "Guarded. You'll never get in--"

Sonya reversed the knife and smashed the hilt down on his head. He crumpled to the ground. "Thanks," she said dryly, tucking the knife in her belt, and headed for the stairs.

The stairwell narrowed as she climbed, until it was nearly a ladder by the time she reached the highest landing. The stairs opened out into a hallway, lined with doors.

Opening the first few, she saw that they were some sort of meditation cells or something of the sort; two contained kneeling monks. Fortunately, neither noticed her.

A large, ornate door at the end of the hall seemed to be her destination. She strode toward it and threw the door open.

Jax was chained to the wall at the end of the room, bound and gagged. He seemed unhurt. Sonya rushed over to him. "Jax!" She pulled off his gag. "Are you all right?"

"Fine, I--oh shit." Sonya turned to see what he was looking at.

The room had filled with warriors. Sonya drew her knife, knowing as she did that it was useless, that she couldn't defeat that many, but determined to go down fighting. Maybe she'd be lucky.

Then Shang Tsung stepped out of the shadows, and she felt even that faint hope die. "My beautiful Sonya," he said with a smile. "How nice of you to show up." He gestured to the massed warriors. "Get her."

" You won't get anything from me!" Blade yelled. She charged, wielding her knife, but as she reached Shang Tsung, she fell right through him. She realised, suddenly, that it had only been an illusion.

With a growing feeling of dread in her stomach, she turned to face Jax, whose eyes were glowing with a bright red light. " My beautiful Sonya," he said. Jax's voice, Shang Tsung's inflection.

The blood drained out of Blade's face. She realised with growing horror that there was no way she could kill Jax. That's what they had been counting on. Jax/Tsung stepped forward, smiling nastily.

" Tell me," he said, in Jax's voice, " Do you think that your friends will rescue you this time?"

" No." she replied instantly.

" Oh?" The sorceror was surprised. " How so?"

" They're dead." Sonya replied.

" Liu Kang is not dead."

" No, not him."

Tsung glared at her, confused.

" Rayden has taken the monks to another realm," Blade said. " He won't let you harm them."

" And Johnny Cage is dead?" Tsung said, confused.

" He was killed by the Emperor," Blade answered, using the story Rayden had told her, although she had no idea where he had gotten that story from.

" Liu Kang will save you." Tsung said.

" Probably not, since he doesn't know where I am." Blade continued lying, on cue. " It was just me and Rayden who knew anything at all."

" And where is Lord Rayden?" Tsung asked, cautiously. Blade realised that he was probably getting suspicious.

" With the monks." Blade answered. " I don't need his help."

Tsung believed that completely. " If the monks are gone, then the temple is empty, yes?"

" Duh," Blade snapped. Tsung glared at her, with Jax's eyes, and Blade willed herself not to be worried. She had every reason to be cocky, and she showed it. " It's just you and me, Tsung."

Tsung's eyes narrowed as he smiled. " Yes, just you and me."

Suddenly he turned. He waved his hand, and a glowing vision of the Temple appeared, floating over the center of the hall. It showed the Temple clearly abandoned, ripped pennants blowing in the wind, grass over grown, windows broken.

Tsung smiled. " Prepare our invasion force. The Temple will be ours, and when it is, Liu Kang will come."

He glanced at Sonya. " And when he does, I will use him to become more powerful than I ever was."

Within minutes, a portal opened above the temple grounds, and the Outworld soldiers began pouring out. Shang Tsung was at the forefront of the invasion, with Sonya beside him. She wasn't chained, since Shang knew that Sonya wouldn't leave Jax. He was right; much as she hated it, she had to stay close by him.

After the men had spread out, a scout came up to Shang. "My lord," he said, bowing, "the Temple is deserted. No-one has been here for days."

Shang nodded, turned to Sonya. "So. It appears you were telling the truth."

"Of course I was," Sonya snapped. "How stupid do you think I am?"

"I think you're clever enough to hide things even from me, my lovely Sonya." He smiled at her, and she tried to keep from shivering and almost succeeded. "I think you've got some sort of plan to free Jax. I have looked into your soul, but there are depths that even I can't reach." He stroked her cheek. Her skin crawled, and it took an effort of will not to pull back. "Rest assured, Sonya, I'll have all your secrets sooner or later."

Sonya glared at him and said nothing. Shang merely laughed.

"Have the men spread out," he ordered the scout. "Occupy the Temple. When Liu returns, we'll have him right where we want him."

" That depends," Johnny Cage suddenly called out, appearing in the doorway of the Temple's main building. " On whether you count the fact he's already here."

" You lied!" Tsung/Jax yelled furiously, shoving Sonya down. He was about to kill her with a bolt of energy when one of his soldiers yelled:

" My Lord!"

Tsung looked up, towards the Temple. The grounds were covered by monks. They far out numbered Tsung's simple army. Liu Kang, Rayden and Johnny Cage stood at the front, arms crossed.

" They're only monks!" Tsung yelled furiously. " Kill them!"

" They're monks alright," Cage said with a smirk.

" But they're Shaolin monks," Kang added. " The inventors of Kung Fu."

With that, the entire Temple of Light fighting force simaultaneously took fighting poses. Rayden smirked, and waved his hand. A giant thunderstorm suddenly brewed over top of the Outworld Army. Lightning flashed quickly. The monks attacked.

In mere moments, Shang Tsung's army was in shambles. With the lightning and thunder, the troops were continually startled, although the magic storm did not bother the monks, nor did the lightning strike their numbers. They were being decimated.

Tsung was furious. " No! I will not be defeated again!"

Using his magic, he cut a wide swath through the monks towards Liu Kang.

" Be careful, Liu." Rayden warned him. " He looks like Jax, but he's got Shang Tsung's powers."

" What can I do? I can't kill him." Kang said. " Sonya would murder me." he added as an after thought.

" Wear him down, and leave that to me." Rayden said mysteriously, drawing back into the temple to leave Liu Kang to fight Shang Tsung.

Tsung yelled furiously as he attacked Kang with a flying leap. The kick landed solidly on Kang's chest, and he tumbled backwards. He got up, and lashed out, catching Shang Tsung on the side of the head. He fell, or at least, Jax's body did, but got up immediately.

" You can't win, Sorceror," Kang said. " You will be defeated again."

" I will not be defeated once I have your body and powers, Liu Kang!" Shang Tsung yelled. He suddenly reached out with his powers, and caught Liu Kang in an energy web.

" Uh oh," remarked Cage in a battle with an Outworld minion. With a quick kick to the head and a punch to the stomach, the dredge was out for the count, and Cage leapt to Kang's aid.

Kang fought against the black magic, but he was not powerfull enough. Gradually, the power overwhelmed him.

With a battle yell straight from his new flick, Johnny Cage leapt to Liu Kang's aid--literally. One of his famous jumps would knock Shang Tsung senseless.

And it did. Cage hit the large black man that Tsung had possessed square one, and Jax tumbled to the ground.

" What?" he groaned. " Where am I?"

" That's Jax!" Blade yelled. She rushed up to Cage's side. " He's back!"

" But if Jax is back, then where's--" Cage started. The two both turned to face Liu Kang.

He was standing facing them, grinning maliciously.

" Oh dear." Cage managed to mutter.

Kang/Tsung raised his hands over his head. The two could see the build-up of black energy that was forming, and knew that they had a large problem on their hands.

Suddenly there was a large rumble of thunder, and Rayden appeared, his eyes blazing. Tsung shrieked, the energy he was creating dissipating. He screamed a final time, and collapsed. Blade started to run towards the prone body of Liu Kang, but Rayden held her back until they all noticed a small wisp of smoke rise up out of Kang's body, and fade away in the air.

Johnny bent down to help Liu up. Jax, meanwhile, had staggered to his feet, holding his head. "Sonya? What happened?"

"What do you remember?" Sonya asked.

Her partner shrugged. "I was in my quarters, I heard someone come in, and then--it's all a blank until I woke up here."

"It's a long story," Sonya assured him, "but everything's fine now. Hey, c'mon, there's someone I want you to meet." She pulled Jax over to Johnny. "Johnny, meet Jax Briggs. Jax, Johnny Cage."

They shook hands, grinning. "I've heard a lot about you," Jax told Johnny. "Sonya thinks very highly of you."

"She does?" Johnny asked, raising an eyebrow. "I'm surprised."

"No, really. She talks about you all the time--"

"Let's not get into that," Sonya interrupted loudly. "We'd better get back to base. I don't think the Captain's going to be too happy with either of us."

Jax grimaced. "You're probably right."

"Hey," Liu protested. "Don't I get an introduction?"

Sonya looked over at him, confused. "You guys already know each other."

Liu shook his head, equally confused. "No, we've never met."

"But I thought you--I mean, you and me and him and Rayden and--"

"I've never met him either," Rayden volunteered.

"Are you feeling okay, Sonya?" Johnny asked, concerned.

"Fine. I just can't shake the feeling that you guys know each other--"

"Well, we don't, but we'll remedy that right now," Rayden said. "Come on. Let's go get some dinner. I'll buy."

"We really should get back--" Sonya protested weakly.

Johnny rolled his eyes. "How often do you get to eat dinner with the Chinese God of Lightning and Thunder, Sonya?" He grinned. "More importantly, how often does he offer to pick up the check?"

"Oh, all right," Sonya said with a smile.

"Great. I know this amazing Italian place, Rayden, if you could zap us back to LA--"

"God of Lightning and Thunder?" Jax repeated. "Sonya--"

"I'll explain later," Sonya assured him. "Rayden?"

The thunder god raised his hand, there was a bright flash of light, and they were gone.