Sinister Six: Revenge of the Scissor Army
Rich (Bombman) Kassidy
CHAPTER 11- Retaliation Gathering
James Weaving stood at the windowsill, staring over the expansive green lawn of his residence. His arms held behind him in a thoughtful manner, he had to contemplate his options very carefully. There was no easy way out of this situation, but then again there never was. For every easy solution to be found, there were ten nearly insurmountable obstacles lying in his path. But it wasn’t like he wasn’t prepared for such hard decisions: it was a part of the job. Nearly lost in thought, he almost didn’t notice the heavy oak door leading to his office shut rather quickly behind the entrant.
“Mr. President. I’m afraid I have…bad news.” The fumbling, pressed-suited man hesitated as he tried to find the best words to deliver such a message.
“Let’s here it, son. Don’t sugar coat it.” Weaving curtly said as he turned to face the pasty man that stood in the Oval Office.
“Phoenix is a total loss, sir. There are only a handful of survivors that managed to escape the city as soon as they heard the start of the conflict?”
“Conflict?” the President echoed. “Conflicts are for two opposing sides fighting each other. Get that straight. This was an outright assault on the citizens of the United States of America. Now, tell me something I can use.”
The pale, sweaty man fumbled some more before the clearly agitated President.
“Well, sir…It seems the assailants-“
“Terrorists.” Weaving corrected.
“Terrorists…have all but left the city. They apparently had occupied a military-run factory for approximately…three hours and forty-five minutes before fully withdrawing from the city.”
“A military factory? What was being produced there that could be so important to them?”
“Let’s see here…Ah! The Gentech Series Zero Sixty One model robot, also known as the ‘Sniper Joe’ to the civilian world. It’s a fairly simple robot used for light combat situations and-“
“I know what they are. But why would they want to have some of our robots when they reportedly have much more sophisticated models of their own?”
“That’s unclear as of right now sir, but intelligence is working around the clock-“
“Tell me something else: Do we know where they came from yet?”
The pasty-faced man finally had an answer that may redeem himself.
“Well sir, they apparently originated right from our own backyard. The teleportation logs indicate that they came from a location about one hundred and fifty-two miles north-northeast. It appears to be a tiny, abandoned mining town that has been deserted since the turn of the last century.”
“A mining town? Are you joking? What kind of a madman sets up shop in a backwoods shack?”
“A madman capable of keeping himself hidden from public scrutiny using the town as cover.” The pasty man answered with a surprising amount of gall.
“What else do we know of this town? Who is occupying it?”
“That’s still uncertain at this point. Intelligence is checking the teleportation logs for the past year as we speak, but its a time consuming process…”
The President sighed as he continued to weigh his options. Already, the United States had been made a fool by it’s inability to stop such an attack on it’s own grounds, and to let the terrorists continue on would be even worse for the administration. At this point, they had made no demands or even shown who they are or what they want, but it sure wasn’t any sort of terrorist attack that anyone had ever seen. It was getting harder and harder to avoid making the call which the President had in the back of his mind since he heard the location of the town…
“Tell me, do we have a name for this ‘mining town’ yet?”
“Historic records last have it named ‘Desert Gulch’, sir.”
“Desert Gulch…It sounds like something out of some damn spaghetti Western. In any case, I want this…’Desert Gulch’ wiped off the map within the hour.”
“…Sir? When you say ‘wiped clean’, I assume you’re not talking about using ground troops?”
“Of course not. Whoever they are, they’ve destroyed an entire city, along with that city’s police force, single handedly. I’m afraid I see no other recourse for action but to authorize and encourage the use of tactical nuclear weapons.”
“But sir!” the pale man protested. “A nuclear attack on the United States perpetrated by the United States itself…The media would have a field day! And what of the cost to the environment? It’s career suicide!”
“The media is already having a field day. Our only lucky point in all of this is the fact that this mining town is surrounded by desert, so I’m not going to fret about losing a few hundred acres of barren wasteland. And as far as ‘career suicide’ is concerned, that’s my concern- not yours. Now get out. I have a very important phone call to make.”
Within ten minutes of receiving the President’s phone call, a secluded air strip in Southern California had prepared a B-2 stealth bomber for what was sure to be it’s most important mission yet. It was unprecedented! A nuclear strike on American soil perpetrated by the US government, no less. While it was certainly one for the history books, the scrambling crew of the sparse airstrip was hardly pondering how history would treat such an event. All they knew was the most powerful man in the free world had made his orders very clear, and they had a duty to see them through to the letter. Still, it was very sullen amongst the crowd of flight engineers, technicians, and the pair of pilots that would be charged with flying this harrowing mission.
Of the two pilots, one would have the most control over the stealth plane’s every movement. While his birth name was Jeff Sparrow, fittingly enough, the crew of the United States Airforce had taken to calling him “Jade”, due to his intense green eyes and dragon-like flight techniques. The latter of the two was what netted him one of the most prestigious positions one could strive for as a pilot of the Airforce. But it wasn’t like he had some strange desire to drop nuclear missiles on his homeland- it just turned out that way.
Sharing this sullen mentality was Jade’s co-pilot Sam Mountain, who was known to his closer friends as “Blackbelt”, due to his near obsession with anything to do with martial arts. Blackbelt was in charge of arming the bomb itself and coordinating the drop point of the warhead. He had done so many times in practice missions over the Mojave Desert, but he never would have dreamed to do so with a nuclear bomb with a one hundred megaton payload. It was unreal to him, as well as his co-pilot. But, orders were orders, and if it had anything to do with the massacre at Phoenix just hours before they wouldn’t turn down the job. As if they had a choice.
Climbing into the dark and cramped canopy of the sleek, flat black jet, the two took one last opportunity to prepare a final system check and coordinate their target. It was only a few hundred miles away, and could be reached within minutes in the sub sonic stealth bomber, so surprise was an advantage they had. They highly doubted the terrorists would expect a nuclear strike so soon after their brutal assault on the Arizona capital, so it seemed the President’s strategy was quite secure, if not more than a little excessive. But at this point in time, America could not afford to deploy any more ground troops to be marched into Death’s door, as it’s forces were already stretched paper thin across the globe. Not to mention the fact that if they waited too long or were weak kneed in the terrorists’ threats the damage to the United States would be irreparable.
So, the two young pilots soon found themselves Northbound as they flew a course to this mysterious “Desert Gulch”, which would be wiped clean off the face of the planet by night’s end in a blinding nuclear flash. Within fifteen minutes they were nearly on top of the target, so Jade had prepared the B-2 for a sudden slowdown for Blackbelt to properly sight in the location of the tiny mining ghost town. However, as Blackbelt had the town nearly in sight, a strange, out of place noise began to be heard from outside of the bomber’s cockpit. To the pilots, it was faintly familiar…
Whup, whup, whup, whup…
“The hell…?” Jade asked no one in particular. “That sounds like…”
“A Huey.” Blackbelt finished Jade’s incomplete observation. “But we aren’t scheduled for any type of escort, not to mention the fact that no helicopter built could keep up with a B-2…”
“So what the hell is it? Did something break loose from our plane?”
Suddenly, the chopper sound grew larger and closer in a heartbeat as it finally settled in front of the canopy of the black bomber. The moon was in clear view behind the thing that created the noise, creating a dark silhouette of what appeared to be a human with his arms folded across his chest. But this was at a height of forty-five thousand feet above ground! How could anybody breathe in such a harsh atmosphere?
“Sam! That ain’t one of ours! Drop the payload NOW!”
Blackbelt obliged by flicking a few switches around him and saying the obligatory “Payload armed and…released!”
The huge bomb, which weighed about the same as a small car, plummeted to the Earth with an eardrum piercing wail as it sliced through the wind on its way to it’s laser guided target. But the very moment the nuclear device left the bomb bay of the B-2, the dark figure in front of the cockpit swooped down and out of sight to seemingly accompany the bomb. Cruising downward at remarkable speed for a propeller driven flying machine, the “Huey” soon caught up with the bomb mid way through it’s descent. Stretching out his arms, the green schemed figure grabbed hold of the bomb’s rectangular guiding fins, eventually pulling up on the huge device. As the bomb’s detonation device was activated by dropping below a certain altitude, it wasn’t near enough to trigger it’s internal mechanism to start the nuclear chain reaction, thus keeping the bomb active. But more importantly, the still active bomb was now in the hands of a possible hostile.
“What the hell just happened? Is that even possible?” Jade exasperated in disbelief.
“I guess so…” was all Blackbelt managed to come up with. Both of the pilots were now in shock of the event that just played out before them. It didn’t seem possible in the least.
Jade wasn’t about to let this interloper keep his hands on a nuclear weapon stamped with the American flag. He looped the agile plane around in a graceful arch, quickly finding the helicopter/humanoid back in his sights, only this time his fingers rested on the plastic triggers of the twin .22 caliber machine guns implanted in the nose of the plane.
“Er, Jade? You really think it’s a good idea to shoot at a nuclear bomb at this height and range?” Blackbelt asked in a noticeably worried tone.
“I’m not aiming for the bomb; I’m aiming for this punk that snatched it up! If I blow him outta the sky, the bomb goes back down with him and blows the target either way.”
“I hope you brushed up on your target practice then…”
Jade squeezed the triggers, releasing a steady stream of bright yellow fire straight at his quarry. But this bomb-thief wasn’t going down without a fight as he swooped up even higher, and then nose-dived into a cumulous cloud for cover. Not one to give up so easily, Jade looped around once again to continue his dogfight. He hadn’t seen action like this in…well, ever. It was certainly an uneven match or so it seemed- a stealth bomber versus some guy with a propeller on his back. Whoever he was, he must have been completely out of his mind.
But this human-shaped chopper had plans of his own, as he tore open the bomb during the chase, reaching into the bowels of the nuke. With practiced precision, he pulled exactly two wires out of the cylinder shaped bomb and began to take a drastic nosedive straight towards the earth below.
Not seeing the dismantling of the bomb due to the cloud cover, Jade watched the strange figure and the bomb seemingly fall from the sky. Assuming he had finally landed a solid shot on the target, he allowed himself a small smirk of victory as he swooped the plane around for a view of the impending explosion. But it never came. Confused, he continued to circle the sky above the mining town, hoping that the bomb had somehow hit an air steam and was perhaps slowed down somewhat. Unknown to him, the bomb was already on the ground.
“Did you get it?” the lab coated General asked his Commanding Officer with his arms folded.
“Yessir, General. Easy as pie.”
“Good. Well executed, Captain. Now, if would, kindly hand the bomb over to our good friend Frostman so we can see some fireworks…”
“Fireworks?!” the giant, frost covered robot echoed. He had a limited vocabulary, but apparently he easily understood the term “fireworks”. Hefting up the huge nuclear device with a single hand, he looked at his creator for final approval.
“Now, see that annoying gnat in the sky? Hit it with this and you’ll get your light show.” The General sneered. So easily was the lumbering creature manipulated.
With a hearty roar, the house-sized robot lobbed the deadly warhead directly at the black jet with speed even faster than it would have encountered on it’s trip down. Captain Gyroman, who had removed the bomb’s altitude control device, had also reversed the device’s control scheme, which detonated the huge bomb as it rocketed within mere feet of the black jet. It didn’t hit the plane, but then again, when you have a nuclear bomb at your disposal precision isn’t necessarily an issue.
The B-2, along with it’s two pilots, were instantly reduced to ash in the blinding light of the explosion, the likes of which were easily seen for miles as the shock waves echoed in the night air, hitting the earth below with horrendous force. Had it detonated on the ground, it would have knocked over the three robots that now enjoyed the light show. Instead, the General waited for the one hundred mile an hour winds to pass over before he pulled a cigar from his lab coat.
“Well,” he began as he bit off an end of the fine Cuban, “that should send quite the clear message to the pigs in Washington. Thanks to your work, Captain, I don’t think we’ll have to worry about another foolhardy attempt like that for quite sometime. And the radiation thrown around by the bomb will make a human bravo team useless in this area. Those morons hadn’t a clue that I had expected such a strike to be attempted in my own backyard so soon, and they played right into my trap like the puppets I’ve always known them to be.
Today has been…quite refreshing. But I’m sure tomorrow will prove to be even better…”
The General took a few puffs of his cigar before disappearing into the well that acted as the entrance to his home of ten years. Following behind him, Frostman was still clapping his huge, mitten-like hands together in delight for the fireworks he helped make. He was easily entertained with his relatively low IQ, which contrasted greatly with the brilliant warmonger that led him on.
However, the green-camouflaged Gyroman stayed outside as the last glowing remnants of the nuclear explosion died out in the sky above them. The sky now glowed an eerie hue of blood red from the massive amount of radiation that was released. Gyroman, being the sort of poetic-yet-macabre type, couldn’t help but think that would be a hell of a good opening shot for a music video. Snatching up his ever-handy camera, he brought the viewfinder of the camera up to his dark-visor equipped jet pilot helmet.
He would spend the rest of his night in the cave below him, writing an appropriate short song to go along with the scene from earlier. Much to the General’s chagrin, Captain Gyroman spent more time in his hobbies than actually preparing for his missions, often making Cutman wonder what the hell Colonel Red was thinking when he was programming some of the C.O.’s personalities. However, there was no denying Gyroman’s capabilities when in action, and he was second to none in aerial combat expertise, so perhaps preparation wasn’t needed after all. If that were the case, Gyroman could have all the hobbies he wanted, so long as he remained focused and consistent on his work.
Gyroman would have little time for his music in the coming days, as he was to take part in some sort of top secret mission of the General’s. He wasn’t the type to ask questions, so he pretty much resided in the moment, allowing whatever to be to be.
“Que sera, sera…” Gyroman muttered to himself under his breath as he leaned back onto his four-bladed propeller. “Tomorrow…I think I’ll stretch my wings.”
CHAPTER 12- Challenge Issued
During Odin and Jonathan’s near escape from the clutches of Captain Crashman, the remaining heroes of Light’s laboratory had become aware of the full extent of the damage in Phoenix. It seems as though Gauntlet’s cold logic had proven right once again, as the US government had declared marshal law for the city, which had been deemed a total loss. By dusk over the city, there were said to be no survivors within the city limits, and only a small handful had managed to escape. Not even the media was brave enough to venture into the city, or even hover above in a helicopter, as the temporary occupants of the city were extremely hostile and had shot down three news choppers in an hour. It had seemed as though the newly dubbed “Scissor Army”, as they had said to have called themselves, weren’t after any sort of sum of money or any other demand for that matter. But the heroes knew exactly what they were after.
The Sinister Six knew first hand that the demented General would not stop until the entire planet was rid of the “human problem”, and the devastation in Phoenix would pale in comparison to what surely lay ahead of them if they didn’t act fast.
Apparently, however, they weren’t fast enough, as the news had begun reporting of similar incidents around the globe, but nowhere near the ruthless nature of Phoenix. In fact, the new areas of concern lay, thankfully, away from most heavily populated areas. Almost on que, a semi conscious Odin dragged himself into the large chamber where the S6 and Mechs were gathered, warning of an impending situation.
“…Y…You’ve g-got…to…stop…” was all the Lightning Knight was able to stammer out before his systems finally forced his mechanical brain to shut down. ClassiCal, a long time friend and close ally of Odin, and Lennon, Odin’s favorite sparring partner and rival, rushed to his side.
“Odin!” the two Mechs shouted in unison as they each took an arm to drag him to the repair quarters of the laboratory. Odin’s body was severely damaged in almost every conceivable location. It looked as though was dropped into a huge blender and partially shredded mercilessly.
“…Those bastards…” Ben grimaced as he looked over his fallen comrade. In the six years as a Robot Master serving alongside Odin, he had never seen any of the Sinister Six so utterly beaten. Even when Cutman defeated them each almost a year ago, none of them had been so maliciously destroyed. Whatever did this to Odin, and as they would later find out Magnetman as well, was perhaps even more sadistic than the General himself, which frightened the Sinister Six collectively. It was utterly gruesome.
Magnetman’s body was in nearly as bad a state as Odin’s but most of his wounds were self-inflicted by his own systems, which were pushed far beyond their limits in his showdown with Gravityman. Unlike Odin, however, electromagnets were not easy to replace and rebuild, meaning Jonathan would be out of action far longer than Odin, and that was only if Dr Light was able to recover fast enough to begin repairs on both of them. In fact, it was now painfully obvious that many more repairs would probably be needed if they were to successfully fend off the mounting attacks perpetrated by the Scissor Army. Either way, the Sinister Six and Mecha Maniacs would need to expect the worst in the coming days, as it was clear now that war was here, whether they were ready for it or not.
Deep within the bowels of the caverns below Desert Gulch, the General had finished briefing two of his COs on their mission.
“Now, we’re perfectly clear on the goal of this venture, hmm?” he looked at the humanoid of the pair quizzically.
She couldn’t resist the excuse to use the next word for her answer: “Crystal.”
“Excellent, then. Now, time to get a move on and return promptly. I have yet another task for the two of you when you return, so be sure not to play around with the idiots Light sends to stop you for too long. You can expect them to run along as soon as they catch wind of your arrival in Greece, so I’ll be creating some cover to split them up and distract them. That should buy you more time than you need.”
“Much obliged, General.” a strange set of silver orbs held within the hands of the female answered. The sleek, blue and white robot walked out with her “brother” in hand and into the night sky of the Arizona desert, taking in the still faint glow of the night’s earlier nuclear festivities. Taking a few seconds to stare into the dim red glow of the atomic sky, her brother interrupted her to further push her along.
“We had better not waste any time. The General may be in a good mood, but I still wouldn’t want to make him mad.”
“Yeah, yeah blockhead. I’m goin’.”
And with that, the two vanished in a white haze as the beam of light carried them skyward and towards their destination.
Back in the caverns, yet another CO had begun to confer with the lab coated megalomaniac.
“So, you’re sure he’ll be the one to show up and not anyone else?” the ghostly voice huffed.
“It’s right in here in ‘dad’s’ notes. Seems like our good friend Fireman has a long history with his beloved homeland…at least when he was human. A nice, unannounced attack upon one of his cities will surely bring him out. Then, you spend as much time as you want having your little duel with him. That city is useless to me as far as strategic value is concerned anyways."
“…I’m thinking Calgary would make a great new ‘Hiroshima’.”
“Do as you like, Specialist. Just come back alive, as I have other tasks for you to complete once you’ve had your fun. Oh, and be sure to kill him, or at least get him out of the picture for a long stretch of time.”
“I fully intend to do no less, General.”
The stout figure about faced from his commander and marched out of the mining cave, teleporting off into the night sky with none of the appreciation of the nuclear christened sky of the previous CO to leave.
“Such wasted emotion…” yet another voice rang out from behind the General, who has watching the demonic-looking Specialist beam off towards Calgary.
“Oh, and would you prefer no emotions at all? That can be arranged, after all.” A slightly aggravated Cutman answered back, knowing who was behind him.
The “Judge”, as he preferred to be called, as he believed his sharp shooting skills were all that were needed to tell if someone was guilty or not, had walked up behind the General along with his co-leader. Thus far, there wasn’t a single “innocent” verdict rendered by his rifle.
“Emotions have no place on the battlefield. All that you need is this.” as the “Judge” motioned to his robotic mind. “And…this.” Gesturing to his beloved “gavel”. His gavel was a monstrously powerful rifle capable of piercing through an entire tank from one side to the other. It certainly wasn’t standard issue for any known army, but then again, this was no standard army.
Most of the special technology used in the Scissor Army’s Commanding Officers was either remodeled from their original Robot Master forms or adapted from stolen or pirated experimental projects from the US Army’s development labs- one of Cutman’s favorite resources. Over the years, he had discovered all the little tricks into infiltrating the base without being seen, and spent hours upon hours searching through the labyrinth of hallways and large rooms that played host to busy body scientists during the day and the occasional janitor to clean up at night. It was his home away from home for many years, and he couldn’t help but sneer each time he thought about how ironic it would be when the United States government was destroyed by its own “black projects”. He loved it, every nuance of it. The “Gavel” was simply another prize he brought back with him one night.
“Anyways, sir…”, the Judge continued. “Our unit is ready for deployment. Are we still set to continue our course of action?”
“Yes, but with a…minor adjustment.” The General stated with his back turned to his CO.
“Oh? You know how I dislike last minute changes, sir…”
“Don’t worry; it’s simply a failsafe. Your mission is of the utmost importance, and that is why I’m going to personally accompany you to oversee this operation.”
“I see. Then I shall honor thine father and accept these changes. Are you ready to depart, sir? It is fast approaching oh-five-hundred hours, sir.”
“So it is! Then we’ll have to start day two of this glorious war…with a bang. Come, let us make our presence known even further.”
The Judge, along with his hulking, silent fellow CO that stood next to him during this conversation, began to order his small unit of green camouflaged troopers to the outside of the mine and into the early dawn. The General, watching his creations step out into daybreak before him, smirked at what was to come. If the humans thought yesterday was bad, then today would be truly…cataclysmic.
Calgary, like the rest of North America, was a city that was glued in horrified silence to their televisions as they watched rescue workers comb through the bleak ruins of Phoenix. From what the news reports said, only a dozen or so survivors were found within the Arizona capital- a figure that said with cold reality the swift, merciless brutality that swept over the city, and vanished from the city just hours after their initial attack. And with the rumors circulating about a supposed nuclear strike near Phoenix, the entire continent was now on high alert, with most of the West Coast on marshal law.
It was a terrorist attack unlike any other. It had shaken both the US and Canada to its very core and whipped its citizens into a frightened mess. Some cities across the Western parts of the continent had reports of rioting or looting, as if this were the end of the world.
And on this day, it would be the end of the existence, at least for this city.
A bright beam of white light had just fizzled down from the sky, ending at almost the heart of the city, and neatly within the middle of an intersection. The handful of motorists that were brave enough to leave their houses and had found themselves staring at this sight collectively held their breaths, hoping it was a batch of military enforcement robots. Instead, a single, bulky looking creation appeared from within the angelic haze, but didn’t seem to be living- or at least the robotic equivalent of life.
It stood there, motionless. It appeared to be humanoid, as it had two arms, two legs, and a head, all protruding from a neat, yet heavily vented square box. It’s face, or lack thereof, was nothing more than a flat, burnt black surface, and with two large round vents where it’s eyes would be. All over its body, it showed the signs of being burnt, and the few bits of paint on its body were clinging on due to being baked directly onto the surface of the unwieldy looking being.
Within moments, the police, already somewhat expecting some sot of unusual activity, began shooing away the gawking citizens, setting up barricades in the process. Within seven minutes, more than three dozen guns were focused solely on this unmoving object that had still shown no sign of life.
Along with the second wave of police, the news media had picked up on this latest development, and were now training their cameras to focus on the reporters with this strange thing behind them. However, as soon as a few words escaped the first reporter’s mouth, a haunting noise began to permeate the air.
Those surrounding this creature knew it had come from within, but were at a loss as to who or what “Ann” might be. Another minute went by as all eyes and ears focused even more intently on the figure.
“…Maaaannnnnn…”, another low, ghastly hiss filled the air, much like the sound of escaping gas from a broken vent, beckoning towards some unseen force. It was a strange, disconnected voice that seemed to make everyone who heard it shiver. At this time, the Chief of Police had made his presence known by gathering enough courage to talk into a bullhorn directed to the short, semi-human figure.
“What is it that you want?” was all he could think of to say. He knew that going by the book at this point was probably out of the question given the situation at Phoenix, so he decided to go by his own judgement instead.
Another minute of silence.
Suddenly, however, a sign of life erupted from the strange figure as the two circular vents that were placed where its eyes would be burst into a twin set of bright yellow flame. The two jets of heat snaked into the air, almost as if it were supposed to hypnotize the weak-minded. Slowly, the head of the mostly metal-looking robot rose to face the Chief, and turned just as slowly to face the lens of the closest camera. The jets, mimicking a set of eyes, narrowed and slanted, implying some strange form of concentration…or anger. Even more telling was the next occurrence.
“…Fireman…” it hissed, and in doing so a demonic grin made of pure white flame projected itself onto the face of the Specialist.
And then, it’s entire body burst into white-hot fury, blinding the reporters and police officers with its sudden light and rush of heat. The inner core of the figure also began to glow, but it was not like the flames that surrounded its body. It was a strange, almost angelic light, almost like that of which it came into town in. But, it immediately unnerved all those who saw it. It was like staring into the Ark of the Covenant, as if it were the light of some all-powerful force. Indeed it was, but this was far from that of holy origins.
Within seconds, the officers and media staff all began coughing and gagging, with some vomiting from acute radiation sickness. In another minute, they were all barely clinging to life as the hideous amount of radiation continued to build strength and sweep over them as Heatman began compressing a single plutonium cell within his stout frame. Then, he reached critical mass, and hoping the news camera was still able to receive sound, he issued his only statement:
“Fireman…You are already too late…Come and avenge your people…I won’t hide…”
With a deafening shriek, he finally split the isolated atom, letting his body become the epicenter of a nuclear explosion. The blinding wall of flame burned its way from the epicenter, annihilating everything in its path, turning anything organic into ash within seconds of the explosion.
Within fifteen minutes of his arrival in Calgary, Specialist Heatman made good on his promise of turning the once promising city into yet another city that could be added to the likes of Hiroshima. His challenge made, his “sparring partner” now had to make a choice: go to Calgary and perhaps die against this seemingly invincible opponent, or stay at the base to await a more strategic use of his powers.
Ben was already halfway within the teleporter before the mushroom cloud was displayed in front of his horrified teammates.
CHAPTER 13- Atomic Showdown
Fireman arrived in Calgary forty-six minutes after the initial explosion, the remnants of which hung over the city as a thick, dark blanket of ominous presence. As soon as his arms had finished materializing, he lifted them up in a half-defensive, half-threatening stance, as his left hand disappeared into his thick forearm, a large cylinder standing in its place. He was, however, about a quarter of a mile away from ground zero of this sickening nuclear strike on his beloved Canadian homeland, and presumably just as far from his target.
He had only seen his raw specs in file form while secretly looking through Light’s data during one of his many attempts to divulge the truth behind the HARRP program, to which he still never found an answer for. The brief moments Heatman’s ghastly “face” was on camera, however, proved that this was no simple rebuild of the original Heatman model. Heat had always been powered by an atomic reactor, but for him to have such control over such a power was, even to the usually steely Ben, downright frightening. Ben knew he couldn’t let a monster with nuclear capabilities continue to walk about unchecked.
But, in Ben’s eyes, he wasn’t doing this purely because it was the right thing; he wanted revenge. Even after six years as a Robot Master and having been removed from any sort of Canadian citizenship, he had always remained fiercely loyal to his homeland, almost to the point of obsession. Oddly enough, he rarely journeyed here. In fact, only once could he remember venturing to Canada as a member of the Sinister Six, something that he never really thought of until now.
As Ben walked forward with his shoulders squared in a clearly agitated manner, something caught his eye in the bleak, desolate wasteland that, until a little more than an hour ago, was a bustling city. A lone street sign, twisted and nearly broken in two from the tremendous force of the multi-megaton shock wave, somehow stood its ground. It wasn’t so much the fact that it remained that intrigued Ben, but what it read. He brushed away the layer of thick black soot to see if it really read the way it was supposed to.
The sign read “Deerfoot”, and for some reason Ben knew he had a connection with this name. He leafed through his memory banks until he started remembering how he spent time on this very street as a kid. It had been so long, he started to forget he even had a childhood, or even real flesh and blood. For some reason, he gasped when he realized this, and snapped his fingers back to him from the filthy sign. Staring at his hand, which now bore the black soot that blanketed the city, he felt a strange feeling deep within his head. It was a small head ache. He had suffered these even as a robot often when he thought of his human past, which is why he had made it a habit to not think about it so often.
He knew it was Light’s doing. It had to be. Light had known for quite sometime that Ben never fully came to trust the robotics scientist, and had most likely taken measures to dissuade the angst-ridden robot from discovering his true past. But, Ben soon re-realized his true purpose for being here at this desolate, radioactive hellhole.
He trudged forth yet again, ignoring the dull pain centered between his eyes. The thick soot sounding much like snow beneath his ceramic feet did little to help keep childhood memories from flooding back into his mind, but he managed to fight it. He now became focused on meeting with his challenger, who somehow knew of his links to the city. But how?
Perhaps he would get his answers, or perhaps not. At this point, it didn’t really matter to Ben. Either way, his city was crushed and swept away. His fists clamped shut and began trembling with a familiar fury as he realized that his family was more than likely nothing but ash in the wind that now swirled around him. He face contorted in a rage filled scowl as he quickened his pace, seeing his target in view as the wreckage around him grew to be nothing more than a few rocks and more piles of black ash.
Finally, he was standing in front of the small Specialist, whose back was turned to him. From what Ben could see Heatman was in an inactive state much like he was on television before he wiped out the city.
“Face me.” Ben demanded with a sharp tone. He would waste no time in getting down to business.
Heatman remained silent and immobile, seemingly ignoring the enraged Robot Master.
The Specialist stirred slightly, moving his right arm outward. Fireman again raised his arms up as he noticed Heatman’s hand held something within it.
“It’s a wonderful fuel source, this.” The small, box-shaped CO explained as he turned around to face Ben His flame projected face was not visible, and Ben found himself staring at a robot sans any face so to speak of. “Plutonium. It was supposed to be the great miracle fuel of the future back in the Cold War. Problem is, it’s tough to find.”
“And I assume you’ve got a whole room full of the stuff?” Ben grimaced.
“I manage. Quite well, actually, as our quite brilliant leader has found a way to create a synthetic plutonium, which is just as good as the real thing.”
Heatman’s chest, which bore a large circular device, opened up a small receiving hole within the circle. Heatman plunged the cylinder inside of the receptacle, and his eyes burst into flame once again.
“Ahhh…” the CO sighed euphorically. Plutonium was more than just his energy source, but his addiction as well. He got a high-like charge from it every time a fresh canister entered his reaction chamber. It was a
small wonder how he didn’t “accidentally” overload from time to time just to have an excuse to “fuel up” again.
“Let’s cut to the chase here. Answer me this before I pull that greasy head from your neck: Why Calgary?”
“’Why Calgary?’ Why not? It seemed to do the trick when I wanted to get you here.”
“You blew up a major metropolis just to call me out? I would have fought you without…this.”
“Ohhh…But I doubt you’d fight me with that same spark in your eyes if I didn’t do something like kill your fellow countrymen. I want you at you absolute peak when I kill you, Original, so that there will be no discrepancy when I prove myself the superior model.”
“’Countrymen?’ How did you-“
“How did I know? We know a hell of a lot about you and your friends…Ben. More than you know about yourselves. But I’m not here to give you the answers. If you want them, you’ll have to take them, Original…”
Heatman’s body again erupted into a white haze of nuclear flame. His ghoulish grin once again manifested itself onto his face, taunting Ben, who had to shield himself from Heatman’s initial burst of hellfire. Even Fireman was feeling the effects of the flames.
“This is…This is more heat than I’ve ever felt before…”
Still, he refused to give up. Ben now switched his hands for his fire spouts and brought them up to meet the still smiling Heatman. Not wasting any more breath, he unleashed a full on assault of fire onto his opponent, who made no move to dodge. Ben’s trademark red and yellow flames met with Heatman’s blinding white, and the two forces mixed for second before Heat’s fire devoured Ben’s.
“Figured that would happen…Dammit.” Fireman cursed himself. He searched his mind for a possible strategy before Heatman began to taunt again.
“I didn’t even feel that, Original! I would have at least expected a little more from you. Don’t disappoint me, Fireman: I’ve decimated an entire city just to see what you can do.”
“You want to see what I can do, you little glow worm? You’ll find out…”
Not thinking as clearly due to his ever-growing rage, Fireman rushed forward to engage in hand to hand combat. But, even before he came into contact with the miniature nuclear reactor, Ben knew he had perhaps made a mistake already. His battle scarred armor was already starting to smoke and glow with every inch that he came closer to Heat. He finally enclosed his face with the chrome-red facemask with the HUD system to protect his eyes from the increasingly blinding flames in front of him.
“It’s too damn hot! My armor can’t handle it…But I can’t let this city down. They died just so this maniac could prove himself to be better than me, so I can’t just give up so easily.”
Fireman leapt forward, surprising Heatman. Tackling the CO’s midsection, Ben prepared to unleash a volley of blows to Heatman’s face. He managed to get in two good punches on the deranged Specialist’s face when Be noticed something; his left hand was melted down to the bare robotic components underneath the thick, heat shielded gloves. His armor was quickly failing, whether he was going to allow it to or not.
Ben didn’t feel pain at this point. He was running primarily on instinct, with logic taking a backseat to near-animalistic rage. As Heatman managed to pry the enraged and savage Ben off of him, he noticed his right eye’s fire vent was now bent too badly to allow the jet to continue to spew forth. With just those two solid punches, Ben had effectively disabled his eye. Contrary to what Fireman expected from Heat due to this, primarily anger, Heatman laughed.
“Hehehe…Finally! This is what I had wanted all along! Now that you’ve finally decided to fight, I can stop going easy on you!”
Ben’s eyes widened and he clamped his teeth shut beneath his HUD mask, as a tremendous amount of pure atomic fire rushed towards him, eventually engulfing him all within an instant. It washed away from in nearly as fast, but it didn’t have to be on his all that long to cause some serious damage. His left hand, already damaged from the excessive heat, was now completely melted away, and the forearm above it had nearly followed suit. His right arm had most of his protective coating burnt off, exposing the raw titanium underneath, leaving it vulnerable to another attack. In fact, most of the front of his body resembled his arms, with patches of bare metal peaking out from underneath the ceramic heat shielding. In same places, even his bare, robotic skeleton was now partially visible. Even his facemask had failed, and it now covered on his left eye.
That little bit of HUD told him the obvious; another gush of fire like that would most definitely kill him. But his robotic muscles were in too much distress to do any high speed dodging. Suddenly, Ben found himself relating to Odin and Magnetman, and he now understood how they ended up in such a terrible state. However, it didn’t seem like he would be as fortunate as his fellow teammates, as he now fully intended to die right here on his hometown’s burnt out husk.
But Heatman had different plans.
“What? Is that is? You’re just going to give up and allow yourself to die so easily? You’re nothing like your profile said. You’re weak! You’re nothing like a pure machine such as me! You’re proof right there that human beings are all weak to their very core! I won’t even allow you to die with the dignity or the speed at which I had intended you to. Instead, I think I’ll just cripple you and let you rot here for a few days while you lament your true human heritage, you…virus.”
Ben grimaced again, cursing his foe. It was bad enough that he was caught unprepared for such a fight, but to be insulted like this…
“You…It’s not…over yet. We’re not finished! I’ll make you pay…for everything.”
“And how in the hell do you intend to make me pay? By issuing me a citation?”
“You’ll get yours…But not yet…From here on out, I’m going to live to make you suffer.”
Catching Heatman by surprise, Ben actually did something he had never done before: he retreated.
Laughing at what he perceived to be cowardice on his opponent’s part, Heatman actually wanted just such a thing to occur.
“That’s right! You run now! Run back to your little lab and get ready for real this time! I’ll be waiting, do you hear me?! I’LL BE WAITING!!”
The Specialist continued to curse the clouds in which Fireman’s white teleportation beam disappeared into, as a thick, inky black rain began to drizzle onto him. The rain hissed as it came into contact with his flames, which slowly began to die down as his plutonium fuel supply started to die out. Ejecting the empty canister from his reactor. Heatman’s remaining eye suddenly snuffed itself out. He continued to stare into the dark, dirty sky above him, as if he were searching for a sign of Fireman’s continued presence in the pitch-black downpour that had opened up.
“That’s right, Original…You’ll come back stronger than ever and give me a challenge that I truly deserve. You won’t let me down again…I know it.”
With no more plutonium reserves, Heatman returned to base via his teleportation system’s auto function, his goal for the day complete.
CHAPTER 14- On Rocky Ground
Hours after Odin and Magnetman’s near death experience in Phoenix, and just minutes after Ben’s escape from his home town in Calgary, most of the other Sinister Six and Mechanical Maniacs had separated to respond to varied reports of violence and rioting across the globe. Some riots were caused not directly by the Scissor Army, but by panic-stricken citizens who began pilaging their cities to collect supplies and move out of major cities. Most of the teams’ various members had split off into groups of two, often one S6er and one Mecha Maniac. This was the case of Cut-Chan and Hardman as they fizzled into existence outside of a strange, deserted cavern entrance in the Grecian countryside.
Little to the pair of heroes’ knowledge, not but half an hour earlier a similar pair were just arriving on the scene to begin their mission. They teleported into view in front of a handful of tourists who were on site to see the wondrous cave, which had long since been a tourist attraction. Even though the tourists weren’t entirely aware of what had transpired halfway around the world, they knew that seeing a Robot Master beam down from the heavens meant that there was trouble in the area, and so they fled without giving it so much as a second thought.
“Heh…”, the diminutive, bright blue and white female robot chuckled aloud, “Looks as though not all humans are as stupid as I thought.”
Still held within her stark white-gloved hands was her “brother”, or at least his basic components, which included a large set of eyes and a voice box, sometimes much to her dismay.
“Pity for you, sister. I’m willing to bet that you were hoping for trouble. All the same, its better that we won’t have to waste any time in cleaning out the area before we get down to business.”
“Oh, I’m still expecting some trouble. It’ll just take awhile for it to get here, which is why you’re going on guard duty, blockhead. You wait outside while I take care of what we need to inside the cave. Though…I wouldn’t mind if you were a little lax in your guarding…”
The slender CO walked towards the cave, still holding her brother and his booming voice. Upon reaching the cave entrance through a lush, grassy field, she set the eight, silvery globes that made up her sibling onto the dirt path that began the cave’s descending entrance.
“This is the only way inside, so just lie in wait here. Just don’t go off and admire the locals too much like you did last time…”
“I can’t help it if I have an appreciation towards the finer things that man has created. He hasn’t been completely destructive in his days as dominant species.”
“Gah, not this speech again! You know the General hates it when you talk of the enemies’ good points as though you admire them. We don’t have time for this right now, any ways. I’m expecting…company.”
“For once, I’ll agree with you. No doubt our presence here is already known to Light’s camp. Go on inside- you won’t have to worry about me.”
“Who said I was?”
With that final rib on her brother, she leapt down the entrance to the cavern with a quick, inhuman leap, her features becoming awash in a strange, azure light that emanated from deep within. Had she not hid her face’s lower half under a light-colored mask, a strange smile would no doubt have been visible. After all, she was going to be in her element down here
Half an hour after this arrival, the two heroes had made their entrance to the exact location as the SA members had arrived upon. Oddly enough to Hadrian and Britt, there wasn’t a soul to be found, and no sign of any struggle anywhere.
“…The hell?” Hardy opened with a rhetorical question. “Were the reports wrong? There’s nobody here…”
“Don’t be so sure. These bastards are pretty tricky, so don’t let your guard down. They’re probably inside the cavern already, if they haven’t already left.” Britt reassured her huge teammate of the potential threat.
“What could they want with some tourist trap to begin with? From what I’ve heard, this cave has absolutely no strategic value at all. It doesn’t make much sense.”
“Blowing up Phoenix didn’t make much sense either from a strategic point of view, but it sure dealt a blow to the US government, didn’t it? Maybe they’re here to prove that nothing is safe no matter where it is.”
“Still doesn’t make much sense for Cut to spread his forces so thin and so quickly for such a stupid place. Something seems to be out of place here. They need something here…” Hardman suspected.
Nodding in agreement, Cut-Chan led the way in front of the massive, mech-like Robot Master, who easily cleared the twelve-foot mark. Even his smallest strides were ten feet long, and a full stride required a full twenty feet of legroom. This meant that Hardman was surprisingly quick for a giant, and once he was in a full run few things could stand up to his massive, train-like path of destruction. Hardman was a truly frightening sight to behold in person, and one could easily mistake him for one of the bad guys at first glance. For this very reason, and the fact that he seemed to cause thousands of dollars worth of property damage by simply being in an urban setting, the Mechs rarely used him. This didn’t really bother the dark blue giant, as he preferred solitude anyways.
But, these were pressing times that required the heroes of Dr Light’s lab to use every resource in their roster, so Hardman now found himself in the alien landscape of Greece. He may as well have been on Mars for all he knew, as the grassy fields and bright blue sky above him made him stand out like a single man in the desert. Being almost uneasy in the serene setting, Hardy took uncharacteristically small steps as he looked around nervously. This could be used as a metaphor for the current situation in the world.
Within a few minutes, the two were within mere feet of the looming entrance of the cavern, which was still glowing bright blue from within. Despite his subdued steps, small tremors were still formed by his Mini Cooper sized feet, and tiny stones and dust could be seen being shook loose from the ceiling of the cave as the continued their approach. Still, it shouldn’t have been enough to cause a cave in…but it seemingly did. With a tremendous rumbling the front half of the entrance crashed to the earth at the feet of the two heroes, who jumped back slightly and simultaneously shielded their eyes from the dust. It confused them, as the cavern’s roof didn’t seem like it should have collapsed so easily.
As the swirling clouds of dust in front of them settled, something seemed odd to Britt and Hardy. Both of them had been in cave ins at one or another time, but this was immediately apparent that this wasn’t a common cave in. One thing about this one set it apart from every other cave in- the rumbling never stopped. Even after all of the rock had tumbled to the ground below, it continued to stir about through the dust, and surprisingly enough, it seemingly defied physics by floating upward.
The stones each, one by one, fixed themselves into a presorted position, manipulated by some unseen force. What could be seen, if only for a moment, were a handful of metallic objects that caught the sun for a split second before being engulfed by the dark brown stone. Soon, it took a definite shape, an easily distinguishable one of a man. A huge man, at that. Easily as tall as Hardman and every bit as powerful, it took less than a minute form in front of the bewildered pair of heroes. As soon as the main body was formed, a few decorative pieces were set into place. They were once beautiful sculptures of white marble, with human features of faces and limbs melding into the rocky frame of this giant, with the lower half of a bearded statue of a man forming a face in front of the two, deep set eyes that snapped open to stare right at his chosen opponent.
“…Stoneman.” Hardman coldly named the huge being in front of him. “I was wondering if Cut was keeping something like you under his hat. Looks like I was right after all. Figures I have all the luck.”
Stoneman didn’t move his eyes from his stare on Hardman, ignoring Britt in the process. But Britt wasn’t about to make herself too well known to this giant’s consciousness.
“Hardy…”, she half-whispered to her ally, “Think you’ll be alright with this guy by yourself? He’s obviously protecting something in this cave.”
“Sure. I can plow through entire buildings. A dude made of some left over bricks isn’t about to stop me for very long.”
“Oh? I beg to differ…” Stoneman said with authority as he made his first movement with his newly formed body. He held his left hand out to his side, and the earth below him responded by shooting a column of stone straight to it. With a small effort, Stoneman grabbed the tall handle with both hands as he ripped the giant stone axe from the ground. “I’m not the Stoneman that was so easily destroyed by Rockman a few years ago.”
“I’ll be the judge of that.” Hardman quickly retorted without batting an eye towards the giant weapon Stoneman now possessed. In his mind, he had little to fear from a weapon made of rock when he was built with the very latest in metal armor.
At this time, Britt leapt past the lumbering beast of a CO and down into the cave. Stoneman didn’t make any move to stop her, and apparently was expecting such a move.
“Good, now we can go about this like they used to do in ancient times.”
“Says you.” Hardy shot forward as he opened up his chest cavity to reveal a massive Howitzer cannon. Without wasting any time, he let loose a single shot aimed at Stoneman’s center of mass, reducing the CO into another pile of broken rubble. But before Hardman could even grin to himself, the rocks began to pull themselves back into place even faster than before, and within a few seconds Stoneman was whole again without a single sign of damage from the massive firearm.
“Guess you weren’t kiddin’…”, Hardman snorted as he realized the truth in his opponent’s earlier words.
“I should say not. Do you mind if I take my turn now?”
Not waiting for Hardy’s answer, he rushed forth, axe held high for an overhead strike. The head of the great weapon crushed itself into Hardman’s shoulder, but with all the force behind it the axe still couldn’t put a single scratch into the super dense armor.
“Looks like we’re both in for a long evening.” Hardy commented.
“I hope not. I have other things to do besides this, as much as I love a good duel every now and then.”
“I bet. I hope it isn’t anything too important, cause you’re not going to make it, buddy.”
“Yet again I find myself in disagreement with you. Seems as though I’ll have to prove your wrong yet again.”
Stoneman hefted his huge axe yet again, this time aiming right for Hardman’s head. Hardman simply ducked his head, which easily took the blow as he grabbed Stoneman’s extended arm and crushed it at the elbow. Stoneman didn’t seem to notice at first, and even after he did he made no sign of feeling any pain. Instead, he reared back his other arm, axe still in hand, and used the butt of his weapon to punish Hardman’s face. Hardy stumbled back for a moment, releasing his grip on Stoneman’s arm for just long enough for him to pull it back. Shaking off the stunning blow, Hardman reared back his massive fist for a blow of his own, which landed right on target on his enemy’s chin.
The two traded about a dozen blows between the two of them, and neither of them seemed to be very effected by the other’s attacks. They both took a second to further considered their next options and slowly circled each other as they eventually wound up in the grassy plain in front of the cave.
“Gotta say man, I haven’t seen a guy yet who take more than one of my punches.” Came a rare compliment from Hardy.
“So I’ve heard. You seem to be quite capable of taking my blows as well. However, I have more to my arsenal of attacks than I’ve been letting on, I’m afraid.”
As he said this, Stoneman unleashed another attack on his foe, who was caught off guard. Suddenly, the very ground beneath Hardman stirred, and a giant wall of rock and stone reached up from the ground around him and enveloped the awestruck Robot Master. As quickly as they sprang up, the huge stone clutches enveloped Hardy, dragging his struggling body underneath the surface. Almost immediately, Hardman could feel the pressure building up around his every body part.
“Do you hear me, Hardman?” Stoneman bellowed from the surface above as Hardy continued to be dragged under deeper and deeper. “I can crush a metric ton of coal into a block of diamond no more than five inches wide in less than ten minutes! Granted, you’re a lot tougher than a block coal, but I’m sure that even now you’re realizing your position. I’m afraid there’s no escape from this position, so this duel will be over in a matter of minutes!”
Hardman wasn’t in any position to argue this statement, either. The earth around him was tightening its grasp on him with every passing second, and he knew that even his remarkable armor wouldn’t be able to stand up to the earth itself turning against him. But with the suddenness and severity of the situation, he was having a difficult time in pondering his means of escape. What little concentration he had, however, was shattered with a tremendous crack that was felt throughout his entire body. He knew his armor was failing. Finally being frightened by the situation, Hardman did the one thing he could think of- he launched one of his Hard Knuckles upward, hopefully to the surface.
Above, Stoneman remained in a state of strained concentration as he maintained the pressure on his opponent. His concentration was ruined as well when a giant, dark blue fist erupted from the ground in front of him and adjusted itself to drive itself squarely into his face. With as fast as it happened, Stoneman had no time to prepare his body for the attack like he did before, and one of his controlling orbs went along with the fist’s ride instead of staying in place. This knocked his entire body off balance, and his concentration on his task was utterly shattered. Within seconds, another tremendous rumbling sounded out from deep below, and Hardman rose from the earth with his powerful jet thruster working at full capacity.
Hardman gasped for air, almost elated to see the sun once again, despite his earlier feelings towards his surroundings. He was only under for three minutes, but he felt as though he was entombed beneath the ground he now stood on for a millennia. Now, both warriors stumbled about, trying desperately to be the first one ready for attack and possibly end the fight. With Hardman showing a huge crack in his upper torso, Stoneman reformed his axe as quickly as he could and rushed forward, heaving the giant melee weapon into the Blue Behemoth’s chest, wedging the stone blade deep into the newly created weak spot.
Hardman shouted in pain as the axe drove itself deep into his exposed inner mechanics. Bits of the axe head splintered off and drove themselves even deeper into the Robot Master’s chest cavity, causing dark, well worn oil to spew up and out of the fresh wound. Fighting the pain, Hardman managed to grab the axe and pull it slowly out of his torso, despite Stoneman trying to keep it in there. Finally, he managed to completely remove the weapon from his body and force his attacker off of him entirely, and he clutched his chest in attempt to keep any more coolant from flushing itself out.
But, Stoneman had done exactly what he wanted to do, and that was to create a weak point in his seemingly invincible opponent. Even with one of his control orbs slightly damaged from the Hard Knuckle, he knew his opponent remained ignorant of his true weakness, and that he had the clear upper hand. Slowly, he reformed his mighty axe, and lifted it skyward, fully intending to drive it into his enemy for one last killing blow. With Hardman’s internals becoming even more damaged as the stone splinters continued to move about inside of him, shredding delicate circuitry within, he was losing power at a frightening rate. Still, he wasn’t about to allow this bastard to get him.
Before either could react, however, they were interrupted by a tremendous explosion behind them, emanating from the cavern. Stoneman, if he had a mouth of his own would have grinned, as he realized that his sister must have been successful in her mission within the cavern despite the interference from these two interlopers.
CHAPTER 15- Queen of Fortune
Britt dashed off into the deepest recesses of the dark cavern, almost haunted by a few quick flashbacks of the last cave she was in, and the result of that trip. But, she had no time to be afraid of what she may or may not find, as her comrade, Hardy, was just above her, fighting some strange creature that nearly reminded her of Dr Wily’s Stoneman model. She also knew that something was probably waiting for her when she reached the end of the cavern, and she’d most likely have to fight it. She sighed slightly, as a knot started to form in her stomach as she remembered what had happened to Jon and Odin when they tried to fight with Cutman’s demonic army.
Cut-Chan was also expecting to be ambushed, so her eyes were every where but the path in front of her as she raced at almost full speed to the epicenter of the cave as it’s St. Elmo’s fire-like glow grew in brilliance as she got closer. Finally, she could see a huge chamber open up in the near distance. She gradually slowed down to a sprint, and then a quick run, and finally to a cautious walk. However, when she found herself at the opening of the room, her jaw dropped. Not because of the being she would have to fight, either. She was awestruck by the strange and captivating scene she found herself in.
The cavernous chamber was about the size of a basic warehouse, save for the fact that there were no steel beams to break up the space. Instead, it was a wide-open cave with a huge ceiling that was seemingly made of blue, stained glass like a cathedral. Even more amazing was the fact that she was surrounded by floating chunks of multicolored crystal and diamond-like rocks that hung lazily in the air, almost as if the entire room was expecting her. It was, little to her knowledge. For a brief moment, she forgot her purpose of being there, and she almost believed herself to be in a fantasy painting that she had remembered examining in an art book.
“It really is gorgeous, isn’t it?” a sharp, female voice rang out from behind a few crystalline orbs, snapping Britt out of her awestruck appreciation for the room.
“It is…But why attack this place? You are with the Scissor Army, aren’t you?”
“Mm hm…But, who said anything about attacking this place? We didn’t have to touch a single human to get inside here. They practically gave it to us, and why not? They weren’t doing anything with it, anyways.”
Britt could finally see the voice’s body, which sat casually on a bench made of dark stone at the back of the room with her legs crossed. She stared intensely at Cut-Chan, sizing her up and looking over her every movement with her clear and harsh blue eyes, the lower half of her face hidden by a white face shield that matched most of her armor. She was slightly smaller in stature than Britt, but she carried a strange aura about her even from across the room. As she sat in her mockingly relaxed position, she casually tossed an ice blue crystal orb in her hand up and down, adding even more to her insinuated disrespect for the Sinister Six alumni.
“In any case, this isn’t yours for the taking. I suppose just asking for you to leave isn’t going to convince you to leave, now is it?” Britt said with a thin tone of cynicism.
“So quick to fight! You’ve been hanging around the humans for far too long, Original.”
“Original…?” Britt said to herself, remembering Jonathan muttering the same phrase when he was being carried off to the repair room. She quickly shrugged it off and continued on. “You monsters are ones to talk about violence.”
“We’re simply returning the favor. A friend of mine has pretty much burned a suitable phrase into our minds to rationalize it: ‘Do unto others as they have done to you.’ But, before this gets to the point we both know this is going, don’t you want to know why we’d take over such a useless site in the first place?” Crystal-Chan offered.
“…May as well” Britt answered back, masking most of her enthusiasm for wanting to know the answer.
“Alright…Just look around you. Those aren’t a bunch of useless baubles floating around you. Look real hard.”
The room seemed to darken around Britt to allow her a better view of the strange crystals that were present around her. Quickly, she came upon an answer as to what these chunks were: “Crystillium.”
“Can’t put anything past you, kiddo. Guess Doc Light didn’t keep you kids entirely in the dark about everything!”
Before Britt could fully understand the cryptic last statement issued to her by Crystal-Chan, she was suddenly blinded by a sudden harsh light the emanated from above her.
“Dammit!”, Britt cursed to herself within her mind. “I should have known something was up when she started giving out info!”
Luckily for her, Cut-Chan’s eyes weren’t like a human’s, and they were back to normal in a matter of three seconds. But, those three seconds could have done a lot for her opponent’s advantage. Much to her surprise, however, the crystal white CO hadn’t moved from her spot, and she had only stood up just now. However, her arm was raised to the sky as if she had thrown something in the air above her. Instinctively, Britt looked up to see the ice blue orb Crystal-Chan was lobbing up and down in place just a few moments ago floating high in the cave’s atmosphere. Britt also saw a huge number of giant crystal blocks move around above her, blocking out some of the sun that had been filtering into the room for light.
“Ah ha…She used that orb to magnify the incoming light. She’s brash, but she may have a reason to be if she can position a single object in such a precise manner so quickly. This…is going to be tricky.” Britt continued her inner assertion of her enemy.
“I am Major Crystal-Chan of the Earth Shock Forces!”, she bragged as she finally announced her name. “But, you may refer to me as the Queen of Fortune, and the bringer of your misfortune! At least be thankful that you’re in such a beautiful place to die!”
Crystal-Chan then lobbed another blue crystal up into the air to meet with the still floating first one, shattering the two on impact. A rain of deadly glass-like shards flew out from the epicenter of the collision. Britt, being as fast as she was, has already lowered her HUD mask into position and formed her large fore arm blades to try and evade and block the wide spread assault.
As she slinked in-between dozens upon dozens of the deadly shards, she was hit by a few. Though not deadly on a one by one basis, they did build up and slow her down substantially. With the blisteringly quick shard rain over with in a blink of an eye, Britt hurriedly pulled some of the bigger pieces of broken crystal from her armor, which stopped them from going in too deep and causing enough damage to make her worry.
However, she knew that this was just a wear down tactic, and that it was also meant to give Crystal-Chan more time to prepare an even deadlier attack. Not one to disappoint, the blue and white Queen of Fortune had already summoned up another clear blue orb to toss into the air, but with a different intent this time. As soon as she had the crystal ball in the air, she began moving the huge chunks of multicolor geoformations that had remained suspended in mid air above them from the beginning of the battle, letting more light flood into the huge space. As soon as they were all in alignment, they had begun focusing the incoming ultraviolet light into an immensely focused beam that functioned much like a magnifying glass under the afternoon sun.
Crystal-Chan cackled slightly as she began to move the target of the beam towards her opponent, who quickly dashed off to the right. Following suit, she mentally moved the giant blocks of semi-broken gemstone to follow her target, and was always within a few feet of burning Cut-Chan with the intense solar energy. Britt watched how the complex system of blocks and had noted a single key slab of glass-like rock as the main focusing point. Removing the familiar set of rounded shears from the base of her skull, she lobbed the blades at the stone.
“Not so fast!” the sleek blue CO yelled in defiance of Britt’s strike. Crystal-Chan moved a few other blocks in the path of the spinning blades to try and block them…But to no avail. The blades, despite the obstacles, plowed right through to their mark and destroyed the critical keystone, eliminating the laser beam in the process. “Not bad! But, don’t think you’ve got me beat just yet. I’ve got a lot more toys to throw at you than just the old ‘killer laser beam’ trick!”
“Not if I take you out before you can start again.”
“Oh, and we’ve only just met! What would Gary say?” Crystal-Chan sneered from beneath her mask.
Britt stopped cold in her tracks upon the mention of Gary’s name. This was the first time anyone outside of Dr Light’s small camp of heroes had even mentioned Gary or anyone else’s secret identity.
“How the hell did you know that!?” Britt demanded.
“Oho…Whoops! Seems as though I’ve let the cat out of the bag a little too soon. Guess I’ll have to kill you to keep our little secret weapon a secret. Too bad- I was just startin’ to like you.”
“Dammit, what do you monsters know ?! And how? What the hell are you planning ?!” the now furious Cut-Chan continued, ignoring the threat.
In response, Crystal-Chan hunched over and crossed her arms as she pointed them towards the ground. Violently shaking as if she were lifting something just barely within her threshold, she growled a low, angry sounding grunt. Before Britt could even contemplate what she was up to, an answer was already given to her. Just in front of her, a huge pillar of pure crystal shot out of the earth, tipped with an extremely sharp point meant to skewer her. Without pause, a second pillar appeared, and then a third. Within a few seconds, the entire floor was sprouting these dangerous and beautiful formations, giving the stealthy orange Robot Master increasingly little room to dodge. Seeing as the ground was quickly becoming a hazardous place to occupy, Britt leapt atop one of the newly formed stalactite. No sooner than when she landed on top of the pillar, a few chunks of glass-like rock came speeding down from the ceiling towards her, seemingly intent on sandwedging her between it’s own weight and one of the many sharp protrusions that surrounded her.
Not one to give up on such a dire situation, especially with this latest development involving their secret identities, Britt felt obligated to get out of this cavern intact to warn the others. But, she also knew that the Scissor Army would have control over a huge power resource if she simply retreated now, and that might put the entire world in even further jeopardy. Thinking fast, she decided that it really was her or Crystal-Chan; kill or be killed. Searching out her enemy in the forest of crystillium shafts, Britt palmed her signature shears to quickly end the battle as soon as she had the chance. But, her quarry was no where to be found.
With the room now noticeably silent, Britt felt very uneasy now. Even with her HUD display engaged and active, heat tracking was impossible thanks to the various refractive surfaces within the cave. Britt leapt down to the ground once again, slowly stalking the narrow passageways formed by the oversized crystals. A full minute of utter silence went by, adding to the tension Britt was now feeling in the pit of her robotic stomach, although such a feeling was obviously habitual for her formerly organic mind.
Suddenly, the entire room seemed to stir for a split second, sending Britt to the tips of her toes in anticipation for some huge strike. Far different from that however was the raising of the giant crystal structures from around her as they rose high into the air above her, further blocking out the sun. Confused, Cut-Chan continued to peek around the cavern to try and spot her opponent, but still came up empty handed.
Britt now looked at the massive collection of crystal growths that hung tightly together at the peak of the ceiling, seemingly ready to break free and escape on the own. Then, peeking out from the edge of the floating mini-island, Crystal-Chan finally gave Britt an indication of her whereabouts.
“Surprised you made it through my little skewer machine trap in one piece. I’d be impressed if I wasn’t already annoyed and running low on time, so this is where we’ll bid adieu for now! Maybe we’ll get to finish this some other time, but until then consider the time between now and then a gift from me to you. Don’t thank me all at once.”
“You bitch! I’m not going to let you get out her Scot-free! Get back here and finish this!”
“Well…Since you were so kind about it…Sure!”