“When Benji became sick, all of the playland became sick. For Benji was the Keeper of the Chest, the Boy King, the Great Imaginator. It was his imagination that powered their world, and as the disease dulled his thoughts, their world fell into disrepair. BRIO bridges collapsed, construction of the new LEGO tower halted, robots began to rust. In an instant, a golden age became a depression, and like Benji himself, many toys struggled to survive.” -Chronicles of the Benji’s Playland: Ages 7 to 9 When Clank arrived home it was dark and quiet. The only light was the dim glow of their kitchen clock. 11:47. Another 16-hour day. He sighed and set his toolkit down quietly. Around him he saw a graveyard of happy moments. A toy car crashed through a wall of blocks. Two bowls cleaned of grease. A pile of scrap metal that was just beginning to resemble a dog. All moments he missed. He walked slowly to his kids’ room and peaked inside. Nut and Bolt lay soundly asleep, their favorite book sitting on the night stand beside No. 115 them. A part of him wanted to go and wake them up, to steal a moment of sleep so that they may spend some time together, if only a moment. But he knew he’d only feel all the more guilty in the morning. He closed the door quietly and whispered, “Goodnight, boys.” When Clank climbed into bed his wife, Machina, turned away from him in her sleep. There was a time she had sympathy for him. He’d come home to find her waiting with dinner, and they’d sit together while she told him of all the adventures her and the boys had that day. But her sympathy had waned, and stories became admonishments. “They’re working you too hard, mi amor.” “You’re not home enough.” “The kids miss you.” Now she said nothing at all, and somehow that felt so much worse to Clank. It made him angry. He lay awake in bed beside her, stewing in his anger. How could she not understand? This was what he had to do. He’d give anything to be at home with her and the kids, but that just wasn’t the way things worked now that the Boy King was ill. And sure, he hadn’t told her that

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