Sinister Six: Revenge of the Scissor Army
Rich (Bombman) Kassidy
CHAPTER 16- Suppression
It was vertical. The rain fell at an almost vertical angle, almost seeming as thought it were part of a collective force consciously working to blind him as he peered through the thin, antiquated scope mounted to his beloved rifle.
But, it didn’t bother him. Any respectable sniper wouldn’t let it. It was his job to be uncaring to the world around him- to have utter, uninterrupted focus on but one thing: annihilate anything he found within his crosshairs. For the past four hours, his eye was trained to but one spot from his scope, unblinking. He was working with the bare minimum of power functions, as only his arms and head remained active. He didn’t need anything else.
The single spot that he was so focused on was, for all extensive purposes, all-important. With the teleportation web above him disrupted and letting only a single channel in, that lone spot half a mile away from him in the small clearing of this humid and hellish jungle, he was focused on the only way into the area for miles. And given the critical nature of this particular mission, it was important that nobody make it to his fellow CO before his preparations were complete.
So, the Judge found himself here. “Here” was Vietnam’s infamous jungle, or more specifically, the very same jungle that Dr Wily had a short lived control over with his Bombman-based Robot Master- Napalmman. Had the Judge had a more developed poetic sense, he would have found it more than ironic that a handful of years later that very same Robot Master would once again be found here at the deserted Vietcong half-hidden bunker. But he didn’t, so his thoughts remained on but one subject while his cohort did his final launch preparations a few meters away.
Suddenly, a small red light flickered within his vision on the far left corner of his field of view. It was an alarm, in this case indicating an incoming transportation- a teleportation signal.
The Judge’s finger tensed slightly on his trigger, and he finally allowed himself to blink in anticipation.
Raijin’s vision snapped out of the blinding white light as he found himself in the thick-aired, lush jungle. He took a deep breath and adjusted himself, moving his head quickly from right to left. In doing so, he swore he heard a rustling behind him, a short snapping sound that drew his sharp gaze behind him as a second beam of light dropped down from the sky.
Fushi arrived within mere seconds of Raijin’s appearance on the scene, and was greeted a swift, harsh kick to the knee, making her drop quickly to the dirt.
Before she could even say the customary “What the hell?”, she was shoved into the thick brush that lay a few feet away from her and Snakeman, who continued forth with the push until they were both hidden from view. Obviously, Bomb-Chick was not amused by Raijin’s sudden assault, even if she suspected that he had a completely valid reason for it. It didn’t stop her from planting a swift punch squarely on the jaw of the scaly Robot Master.
“What the hell?” she finally was able to ask. “If you wanted to go for a roll in the bushes we-“
“Sniper.” Snakeman cut off her snappy banter. Raijin was the type of man that was always short and to the point, especially when it counted. In keeping with most of his other Mecha Maniacs, he was introverted, and seldom exchanged jokes with his teammates. It was almost an unspoken custom within the team. “About a kilometer ahead. I don’t know exactly where it’s coming from, but I’ve got just the method for finding out.”
Snakeman shot out a small, snake-shaped robot from the barrel of his slender, metallic green arm cannon. Complete with a set of bulging eyes and a flexible tail, the small recon robot could easily be mistaken as the real thing unless one were looking for tell tale mechanical designs. The jungle was Snakeman’s element, and he could easily find out everything he wanted about it within minutes. It wasn’t often that he found himself in such an environment, but thanks to the latent programming found within the original Snakeman, Raijin was right at home here. He continued to launch half a dozen more Search Snakes to scour the area and survey the enemy.
“Snake,” Fushi began to ask, letting the quick kick and tackle from a few moments ago go, “I suppose you’re as good a person to ask as anyone else.”
“Ask what? We’re kind of in the middle of a sniper’s trap here, in case you didn’t notice.”
“I know, I know. But, I didn’t want to ask anyone this while in a large group. Anyways, I wanted to know…How do you deal with it?” Fushi continued.
“Deal with what?” Raijin questioned without raising his head from his work. He was already showing signs of a slight bit of irritation at such a cryptic question.
“How do you deal with this whole super hero thing? I mean, don’t you find it kind of odd that we just sort of plopped into this thing and we can never have any sort of interaction with our former families?
Raijin sighed for two reasons. One was because of the fact that he hated being asked such complicated questions when he was in the middle of something, and the second because he knew he couldn’t just shrug Fushi off. So, he tried to answer her the best he could as quickly as possible.
“I do…But I don’t think about it. What difference would it make? We’re here to do something important with what we’ve been given, so I guess what we did before this could be considered irrelevant.”
“‘Irrelevant.’’ Fushi repeated. Something about that word depressed her further. As if she was continuing to lose meaning in herself as the seconds continued to tick by. But, perhaps luckily for her before she could continue to entertain her darker thoughts, Raijin interrupted her.
“There…”. He is about half a mile away, and he’s packin’ one hell of a rifle. I don’t know who it is, but he’s not with any human army for certain. I think we’re going to have to do this the hard way.”
The hard way was always Raijin’s favorite method, but he never let any one in on this small indulgence he allowed himself.
“Fushi…I’m going to distract the sniper. When I say ‘go’, you run off to the right of here and try and stay in the brush until you make it past the sniper’s vantage point. He’s obviously guarding something behind him or around him, so we need to find out what it is, and most likely fast.”
Fushi, realizing the possible severity of the situation, simply nodded and waited for Raijin’s signal.
He couldn’t believe it. Somehow, his target had gotten lucky and happened to duck his head just enough to avoid his perfectly aimed shot. Not only that, but he managed to realize it and run off into the thick of the jungle with his partner and avoid his sight.
This was more than irksome.
The Judge rarely, if ever, missed. He has spent nearly half a decade honing his skills, and he was not about to let them go to waste for the sake of some luck-laden “hero”. Still, he knew that the mission took priority over his ego, and called his counterpart, who was a few yards away preparing the final launch procedures.
“Major…”, the Judge began speaking to his radio transmitter. “We have one, possibly two, incoming targets. Be on the alert. Over.”
“…You let them get past you? How did that happen?”
“Mere luck, that’s all. Rest assured, they won’t make it past me, but just in case…”
“Just in case be prepared to clean up your mess? This isn’t going to look good for you, Judge.” The other CO warned.
“I am not worried. Just finish the launch and there won’t be any need for concern. Over.”
“For your sake, there had better not. I only need six more minutes to finalize it.”
“Consider it done. Over and out.”
The Judge clicked off his transmitter and restarted his survey of the vast jungle that lay before him from his vantage point. Suddenly, he heard something behind him.
“Behind me? Already? Not possible.” He thought to himself.
Using the muzzle of his rifle, he brushed away a few stray branches to get a better look at what made had made the noise. As soon as he did, however, his eyes were drawn to a fleeting glimpse of something long and green crawling on the dirt. Quickly unsheathing his knife from his boot, he lunged into the bush, stabbing downward.
He didn’t miss this time. However, it wasn’t a potential enemy that he caught; it was some random forest critter. Or so he thought at first glance. Instead it turned out to be some sort of…surveillance robot.
Then, his attention was yet again drawn away, this time off into the distance. This noise-making object was clearly humanoid, and it’s bright yellow and orange color scheme easily stood out in the dark green surroundings. Not about to let his prey escape, he took aim with his rifle with the full intent of ceasing his target’s advance towards the launch area ahead.
Once again, he would miss much to his disbelief, but this time due to his legs being assaulted by…something. This something was a small squadron of robotic snakes, which chomped and tore at the armor that made up his rigid boots. Pulling his combat knife from his sheath once again, he began to furiously whip his blade around, killing the robotic reptiles within seconds.
It was obvious at this point that his primary target wasn’t the bright orange one he saw running by- it was Snakeman, one of the Robot Masters he had researched in anticipation of just such a fight. The Judge began glancing around his shoulders, trying to pin point his enemy as quickly as possible.
Raijin, meanwhile, continued to allow his signature smirk to cross his face as he watched from a few yards away. He was letting more and more Search Snakes out into the environment to stalk his prey. In a sense, Snakeman was the original Sniping Robot Master, even though his Search Snakes weren’t specifically designed for long range target diffusing. He was, however, proficient in tracking prey, and rarely let an enemy out of his grasp once he knew their location. Now, he was the sniper, and he had his prey at his mercy. Raijin wasn’t known for being particularly merciful.
“Alright…You’ve got me…”, The Judge admitted loudly. Unknown to Snakeman, however, he had activated his short range tracking system, and was pin pointing his exact location. “Come on out, so we can fight face to face.”
Raijin was no coward, but he knew a ploy when he saw one. He made no movement to meet the Judge’s challenge. Instead, he continued to peer at his opponent, trying to analyze his foe to hopefully end this battle with as little damage to himself as possible. Somehow, he knew that wouldn’t be the case.
The muddy-colored Judge noted a small tick on his chest-mounted radar screen that faced him, seeing that his enemy was just ten yards away to the East. Not about to let Snakeman move locations, he opened up his chest cavity, revealing eight miniature missile launchers and unleashed a volley of Homing Snipers towards his foe.
The Earth was bombarded and scorched as soon as the small explosive rounds found their target. A bundle of trees that had managed to avoid both the harsh effects of the Vietnam War and Dr Wily’s numerous world assaults were blown to splinters and reduced to nothing more than burnt out trunks. The resulting smoke hadn’t even begun to dissipate when a sudden flash of emerald green and white darted forth from the smoke and back into the darkened jungle, once again hidden by it’s branches.
Angered, the Judge launched another tirade of mini-missiles into the brush, this time with less intent on accuracy and more on simply clearing the area and weakening Snakeman’s advantage. With a few more volleys of Homing Snipers, the surrounding area was nothing more than a circular area of blackened dirt, with an agitated Judge once again shouldering his rifle, intent on annihilating his foe and stalking that other orange and yellow one.
Much to his surprise, however, Snakeman walked into the clearing right in full view of his opponent. His time of running and hiding was over, and was now time to get serious. Unlike most of his fellow heroes, Raijin wasn’t opposed to ending a life for the greater good if need be, and he knew this would be one of those cases where it was more than necessary- it would be required.
The Judge acknowledged his enemy’s bravery with a simple, curt nod, and threw down his rifle, knowing the bulky long range weapon was now useless against Snakeman’s speed and agility. Likewise, Snakeman retracted the barrel of his arm cannon in favor of having two hands, knowing the Search Snakes could be easily destroyed by his foe. Sizing up his opponent, Raijin suddenly came to a revelation about him.
“Searchman.” he said aloud. “So, that’s what has happened to the Eighth Generation, huh? You got recruited for this half assed world domination scheme.”
“Half-assed? Hardly. We’ve already done more than Dr Wily ever could have hoped. We have the United States at our mercy, and the world is soon to follow. We’re closer to our dream than Wily ever was.”
“That may be so right now, but you won’t win. You big time bad guys always manage to slip up somewhere, and you know what? This is that time.” Raijin said with authority.
Searchman, who’s near infinite patience was beginning to wear thin, refused to continue the banter and instead drew not one but two wicked looking combat knives from his boots. Taking one of the blades by the tip in his fingers, he whipped it towards Raijin, where it landed at the green-plated Robot Master’s feet.
“Fifty years ago, things were settled hand to hand in this very location. Let’s not break tradition.” The Judge explained.
Snakeman obliged and grabbed the knife by the handle, assuming a standard combat pose in doing so. Searchman did much the same with his own preferred position and the two combatants inched towards each other with caution, knives in hands.
Bomb-Chick was now two football fields’ lengths away, running as fast as she could and hoping Raijin was making progress with the sniper. Being that she hadn’t been shot yet, she assumed Snakeman was making good on his end of the battle plan. Suddenly, however, she was being assaulted from above as a few dozen missiles screamed in from above. Seeing them coming from so far away, she was easily able to avoid their landing zones and watched as they exploded, sending a huge amount of burning fluid into the immediate area. The deadly, melting substance splashed around like magma from a volcano, killing any and all plant life it touched.
Bomb-Chick made a half serious mental note to not find herself under the napalm’s target, and quickened her pace. The bombs continued to shower down blindly from above, indiscriminatingly reducing the entire jungle behind her into ash and burning craters.
She finally saw the edge of the clearing up ahead, and presumably the launching point from which all these bombs emanated from. Whipping up a small bomb of her own, Fushi slowed her pace and peered through the brush, trying to see what was responsible for the carpet bombings. Much to her surprise, her enemy was staring right back at her, fully aware of her exact location.
“Right…Bright orange in the middle of a jungle. Way to go on that one…” she muttered to no one in particular.
“No need to sneak around, Original. Come inside…” the large figure beckoned.
Seeing little other choice, as the large object next to the dark figure was no doubt her supposed target. She stepped through the vines and downed tree branches with her bomb still in hand, eyes fixed on her enemy. Her electronic brain cycled through files, trying to match a possible description with the mostly black robot in front of her, but came up empty handed. She looked over his massive frame, looking for possible weak points and clues to his identity.
His most prominent feature were the massive twin guns he had instead of hands. With the barrels still smoking, she assumed that those monsters were what launched those napalm bombs from before. And then, that word “napalm” struck an epiphany.
“Do you know what this is, Original?”, he gestured to the large structure next to him.
“A…Missile carrier? Oh no…An ICBM-528!”
“Well, you know your weapons of mass destruction. It’s a shame, however, that you’re far too late to let that knowledge be of any use to you. The preperations are complete…”
Suddenly, Napalmman brought down the barrel of his cannon atop the control panel of the missile carrier, smashing it to a heap of sparking circuitry and twisted sheet metal.
“…And it’s officially on lock mode. In two minutes, we’ll see what our new toy is capable of.”
“You…You bastard! Where is that thing pointed to?!” Fushi demanded.
“Heh…There are two missiles loaded in this launcher, each with a key target in Beijing programmed. It will take just ten minutes for the missiles to reach the capital, and the chemical agent found within the warheads will annihilate all human life from the city and all surrounding areas. If all goes according to plan, this will be the beginning of mankind’s end of days.”
“You…Nothing will go to plan, you son of a bitch. I’ll find a way to stop you and those bombs!”
Knowing time was of the essence and words would just waste precious seconds, Fushi stopped all talk with a toss of the small Hyper Bomb she carried with her.
Napalmman simply shot one of his own Napalm Bombs into the air to greet the compact explosive, creating a blinding flash and a scattering of liquid hot explosive jelly into the area below. With a quick move of his own, Napalmman changed his own figure by letting the long barrels slide off of his forearms, revealing a pair of dark-gloved hands that were visible for an instant before being engulfed in yet another explosive-lobbing weapon. In an instant, he had gone from a long range assault machine to a close combat battle mech, ready to defend the missile launcher to the end.
One minute, thirty seconds to go.
The missile dock began to decompress the safety valves from within, releasing cloudy steam into the air. Fushi reacted to this by throwing a bomb into the haze, dispersing the potentially hazardous mist. For a moment, she cursed herself for not being fitted with Erik’s fancy new HUD system, as the infrared would have worked wonders now. Instead, she had to focus on her opponent, whose deep-set eyes continued to stare her down from behind the artificial fog.
Bomb-Chick wasn’t about to be intimidated at this point. There wasn’t any time to be. She had to beat him! Her self-motivating dialogue was suddenly interrupted by a peculiar sound from her opponent, who burst forth from the fog with unnatural speed for a robot of his size. His tank-tread equipped feet drove him towards Fushi as he plunged his egg shaped cannon into her stomach. Though her stout frame was able to absorb the majority of the blow, it sent her flying backwards and on to her back.
“You know…” she huffed in anger as Napalmman continued to trudge forth upon her. “I’m getting real sick of that kind of thing happening to me today!”
She then produced another Hyper Bomb, and this time threw it at her enemy’s foot, blowing the tank tread apart. Napalmman let out a small, painful howl as he crouched down to clench his gun barrels to his destroyed foot. It brought little comfort to him, and he instead felt even more anger well up from within. In retaliation, he launched his shoulder-mounted grenades into the air.
The small, black orbs jetted towards Fushi, exploding halfway towards her. The resulting shotgun-like spray was almost unavoidable, and it drilled into her thick armor plating. Growling in protest and doing her best to ignore the pain, she shook it off as best as she could. Now, angered even more herself, she created two even larger Hyper Bombs, launching them straight at Napalmman.
Clumsily, thanks to his injured leg, Napalmman hobbled out of the direct path of the two black spheres, but was caught in the hellish explosion of the combined bombs. Unable to control his own voice, he let an animalistic scream loose, which quickly turned into yet another growl of pure rage. Forgetting his own damaged foot in the process, he leapt towards Bomb-Chick with his good foot and latched onto her.
Thirty-five seconds remaining.
Napalmman latched onto his hapless foe with a tremendous bear hug. Intent on crushing her, but at the same time allowing her to witness the launch and subsequent deaths of millions. He turned her towards the launch pad to force her to watch the impending launch.
“How does it feel?! Knowing you weren’t enough? You were right here- you could have stopped me…if you weren’t such an antiquated piece of equipment. You’re just an obsolete original.”
Bomb-Chick didn’t say a word. She simply stood there, barely fighting her attacker’s grasp.
“Given up so easily? I must say, Original, that I expected more from you…”
“…You always should, you cheap knock off.”
Fushi dropped the pair of Hyper Bombs she had created during Napalmman’s tirade, exploding beneath the both of them. The two enemies were tossed into the air as if they were a pair of plastic dolls blown up by a vicious child wielding M80s. Of course, this was at a huge sacrifice to Fushi as well as her opponent, as her own powerful legs were severely damaged by her own close-ranged attack. Napalmman was even worse for wear, as he was now missing half of his previously damaged leg. His open stub poured thick, dark oil onto the burnt Earth, and the smell of machine oil and coolant filled the area.
“Yeeeaaarrgh!!!” Napalmman screamed in agony and anger. He tried to roll into a sitting position, but he was still in a state of shock from the kamikaze style attack. At the same time a few meters away, Fushi was still on all fours, trying to get a bearing on her situation. Her field of vision fizzled in and out of focus as she leered at the missile launcher. With only ten seconds to go, she had no idea if she’d be able to recover in time to disable the war head with her input device.
As she finally stood up, the launcher’s clamps unfastened, and the rocket thrusters began to engage and pour massive levels of heat into the air, along with giant plums of white and gray smoke.
The two rockets each started to slowly inch forward as the missiles tried to gain momentum. Without any options left, Fushi formed yet another Hyper Bomb and did her best leap. As she left the ground, she threw the bomb beneath her- a painful yet essential maneuver to help her get the height her damaged limbs couldn’t give her. Fighting the pain her legs now insisted on giving her, she somehow managed to latch onto one of the missiles, which were gaining forward momentum at a blazing pace.
A plan quickly came to mind, though it was sketchy at best. Hopefully, the missiles would travel close together until they reached China. If that was the case, she’d be able to hopefully jump onto the next one before they separated paths. If it all went well, the only casualty would be…her.
She wouldn’t be able to get off the missiles, even after she deactivated the warheads.
“It’s just as well.” She thought to herself.
Napalmman finally stirred to a sitting position, and was greeted with a rather frustrating sight as he watched the two missiles jet onward with a passenger to accompany them.
Still, he had a back up plan. He always insisted on having one, and this odd situation was just such a reason to have one. Looking at his arm, he flipped open a small control panel, revealing a simple cache of plain red buttons. Wasting little time in savoring the moment, he tapped one and watched the sky for the reaction.
And he got it.
The missile that was now just a speck on the horizon- the one that his telescopic vision had shown with the stow away- disappeared in a sudden flash. The emergency detonation key still worked, apparently. Luckily, the other missile was still intact, and that alone would be enough to at least annihilate the entire population of Beijing, shaking the entire Eastern world to its core, just as North America had experienced the same un announced attack.
Despite the small kinks in the plan, things went relatively well today for the Jungle Infantry Squad that was headed by Major Napalmman and Specialist Searchman. Perhaps, with the death of one of the Sinister Six, General Cutman would be forgiving.
Yes, today was a good day.
CHAPTER 17- Lady Luck
Raijin felt the Earth quake beneath his feet as he watched a dozen fiery objects jet away from the jungle and dive back in, creating the Earth trembling blast that could be seen even through the thick brush behind his knife-wielding foe. Not batting an eye, the Judge didn’t bother to watch the Napalm Bombs take flight, as he knew that his commander, Napalmman, wouldn’t have much to worry about with his Original. After all, the Commanding Officers were vastly improved over their previous incarnations. It also helped that General Cutman had taken more than paranoid methods of keeping the entire line of COs hidden from anyone or anything outside of the Scissor Army. Until now, of course.
Searchman, now with but one head controlling his body, was in more control now than ever before, despite Wily’s mad two-headed theories. Now, the single-minded sniper lunged towards Snakeman, knife in hand and intent on killing his foe but good.
Raijin, though not much of a knife-user, was quite capable of defending himself as he met blades with the Judge and found himself face to face with his nemesis. The two locked death stares with each other for a moment, trying their best to inflict psychological wounds as well as physical. However, both were un-intimidated, as Raijin rarely ever displayed fear, and Searchman, for all intensive purposes, was an emotionless android built for nothing but war and useless outside of its boundaries.
Using his free hand to back his knife holding right hand, Raijin pushed down and forward on his enemy’s blade, trying to force the two knives into Searchman’s face. With a sturdy and vicious kick to his enemy’s midsection, the Judge backed off Raijin and twirled around once to gain momentum for his own offensive slash.
Raijin was far too nimble to be caught with such a brutal maneuver, and ducked off to the side. Executing a spin of his own, with the possible knowledge of his own teammate’s, Topman, signature attack, Snakeman used his helmet mounted tail to strike a nasty blow to the right side of the Judge’s head. Searchman stumbled to the left for a second, and then managed to catch his balance quickly enough to gash the middle of the tail, causing a small flood of dark lubricant to gush out.
Raijin barely noticed. Perhaps it was because the tail wasn’t considered a limb, but rather a prehensile tool. Or, it may have been because he was busy with a far more ghastly knife wound to his side, where his kidney would be. More oil gushed out from the torso wound, and a small trickle found itself spilling from the corner of his mouth.
Still, Raijin remained as sturdy as a rock, barely letting his opponent know of the true severity of the wound. Instead, he shifted his weight backwards and sprung forward suddenly like a rubber band pulled to its limit. The Judge braced himself, holding his blade towards his foe, as well as his free hand. Surprisingly, Raijin released the handle of his knife, and used his other fist to punch the handle and turn the handheld tool into a deadly projectile. Amazingly enough, the blade found a place to sink into- the Judge’s left eye.
“Arrrghhh!” the cloaked sniper bellowed in agony. Perhaps the biggest factor going into that scream was the shock and immediate realization of what this meant, as a sniper’s eyes were his greatest tool, even more so than his rifle.
Not letting Searchman recover in the slightest, Raijin executed a low sweep kick aimed directly at the Judge’s shaken shins, bringing the jungle-themed CO down to the dirt, Raijin snatched the knife out of the air as it ejected itself from Searchman’s eye socket. Holding the blade to the Judge’s throat, Snakeman was interrupted by a frightening sight- a pair of rather huge missiles erupted from the jungle in the distance.
Using the distraction to his advantage, the Judge delivered a jab to Snakeman’s throat to allow him space to get his feet. Raijin stumbled back, more stunned than hurt by the punch that would have crushed a human being’s windpipe, his eyes still peeking at the two bright lights that emanated from the giant rockets. For a moment, he could have sworn he saw a glimpse of something grasping onto the side of one them as it climbed upwards.
The Judge clambered to his feet, clutching his neck with his left hand, as Snakeman had managed to put a sizable gash into the oil delivery system to his cranium.
Raijin had slashed the Judge’s throat.
Still, since he was a robot, Searchman wasn’t about to be put down so easily. While his functions would undoubtedly be affected by the loss of circulatory fluids, he knew he could still muster enough reserve energy to annihilate the single burden in front of him. This bothersome fly would pay for the taking of his eye, even if it could be repaired.
“You…You’re quite good.”, he admitted to his adversary.
Snakeman didn’t bother to make a response. Instead, he found himself distracted by the sudden light show he found in the distant horizon. Inexplicably, a horrendous feeling of dread swept over him, and his mechanical body shivered slightly. He was at a loss for words.
Searchman, seeing his opponent at a psychological distraction, opened his chest cavity once again and unleashed a volley of Homing Snipers to hopefully finish the battle. And while Raijin’s attention was torn between the Judge and the disturbing detonation off in the distance, he snapped his attention back to the incoming wave of miniature missiles. Quite nimble in his own right, Raijin remained true to his name and managed to snake in between each of the small rockets.
Well, most of them.
One Homing Sniper managed to connect quite solidly with his knee, bringing him to a kneeling position in front of Searchman. The Judge wouldn’t waste time in gloating or making any sort of pre-victory speech. Instead, he palmed his combat knife, reeling it back in preparation to stab Snakeman right between the eyes with the intent of impaling his computerized mind.
Instead, the Judge found himself with his arms trying to pry a Search Snake, fired at point blank range, from his abdomen as the recon robot savagely chewed and squirmed within. Raijin made sure he met eye to eye with the Judge once more. He thought that this opponent deserved that much in the least before he detonated the small explosive within the Search Snake.
The Judge’s arms went limp a few seconds after the initial explosion. Amazingly, his body managed to stay in one piece, albeit with a tremendous hole carved in his stomach and chest. As he knees gave out and his sunk to the ground, his eye never interrupted its glare with Raijin, even as his head wobbled to the side slightly and he finally collapsed to the ground. The rest of his fluids, now unrestrained by his internal pumping system, wept onto the dirt underneath him and dyed it an oily brown.
Snakeman, oddly enough, allowed himself a slight nod to his fallen enemy and struggled to his feet.
“God…Don’t let that have been what I think it was…”, he thought aloud as he peered at the spot on the horizon where he had watched the large explosion just moments before.
Off the coast of Southern China, a twin set of bright white laser beams shot down from the heavens, stirring up a small amount of dust and loose rock in the edge of the small fishing village. Universally recognized as a sign of an impending robot attack now, frightened fishermen virtually trampled each other to escape the impending Robot Master attack that would surely ensue, given today’s current events. Even this small, disconnected village in the middle of nowhere knew of the latest robot revolution, heralded by some unknown enemy.
Within a blink of an eye, two Robot Masters had indeed taken shape, but they were not of the Scissor Army, or even Dr Wily; they were two of the androids found in Dr Light’s camp.
“Did we get to the right coordinates?”, the orange and bright white female asked the considerable larger comrade next to her.
“Yeah…looks like it. The missile should be here in less than a minute if that info was correct…”, Erik assured.
The two Robot Masters found themselves here due to an anonymous tip found upon one of Dr Light’s computer screens. But, as this wasn’t the first time such a thing has occurred, they had a good idea of who sent it.
Blues had remained quite silent in light of his brother’s sudden death just a few days ago, and this anonymous tip, if it was him, would be the first thing anyone had heard from him in months. Could it be possible that even Blues was unaware of his own kin’s death? It had been kept an absolute secret amongst Light’s lab, but the gold scarf-clad prototype had an uncanny knack for unearthing such facts from Dr Light and Wily alike. It was entirely possible that he knew of Rock’s demise, as he would have had to actually have been inside of Dr Light’s laboratory if he did indeed leave that note.
But the question was simple now: if he knew of the incoming missile strike against Beijing, why did he not act on his own and instead risk an entire city? While his actions have always been dubious, Blues’ secrecy was now found to be nearly appalling to many of the Robot Masters. Still, knowing the answer at this moment wouldn’t change what these two Robot Masters had to do.
Erik, snapping himself out of his inner query on Blues, glanced at his impromptu teammate. She was SparkChan of the Mechanical Maniacs, and not surprisingly she had volunteered for this defense mission. She did so love China- her adopted homeland. Upon finding the note herself, she was nearly half way inside the teleportation chamber to save the capital without a partner, which Gauntlet had deemed mandatory at the start of the war. Erik felt obligated to accompany her, if only to find some way of logically stopping a flying missile without any sort of flying Robot Master on hand.
“This…is going to be a problem…”, he said aloud. It didn’t really need to be said, but he felt compelled to voice his opinion. The huge Gutsman surveyed his surroundings, hoping some sort of plan could come to mind. He knew that simply throwing something wouldn’t be the best option for hitting a missile cruising at seven hundred miles an hour at a height of twenty thousand feet. Even his gifted mechanical mind couldn’t calculate a precise enough trajectory to hit the target, and he would have only one shot.
But, ClassiCal thought of something.
“Erik, hun?”, her crystal clear voice bubbled despite the desperate situation. “Would you mind picking up that rickshaw right over there?”
Erik obliged, taking two massive steps over to the abandoned, foot-powered taxi cart left behind in panic.
The missile was now barely within view of the two in the Southwest edge of the horizon. Within forty seconds it would be right over head.
Much to Gutsman’s surprise, SparkChan leapt atop the wooden cart and clutched the sides, bracing herself for launch.
“You can’t be serious! This is an impossible-“
“Shh…It will be just fine. Believe in me, as I you.”
Despite the confidence of his teammate, Erik couldn’t help but shake his head slightly over the absurdity of the situation. If he couldn’t hit the rocket with a toss of his own, what good would it do if he tossed his friend into the sky to plummet to her death, anyways? Still…The calm in her voice seemed to be almost surreal, and he assumed a football-throwing stance, heaving the cart and passenger over his shoulder with a single hand.
“…Good luck.” Was all the giant Robot Master could surmise. He was fully aware that he may be sending a good friend to her death, even if she did manage to destroy the missile.
“…Thanks. Be strong and it’ll all work out.”
With not a moment to spare, Erik’s computerized mind and human ingenuity worked together to calculate the best possible trajectory for the impromptu surface to air missile, and he launched the rickshaw high into the sky at near mach one speed.
It was a wonder the cart held itself together at all. It was a small miracle that it’s passenger managed to keep her grasp on it’s shaky sides as it cruised straight for the screaming rocket overhead. Planting her feet firmly onto the wooden floor, ClassiCal managed to hold on with a single hand as her free arm formed the characteristic needle-like plates from her forearms around her wrists, almost completely enclosing her hand in a blink of an eye.
As she felt the cart start to veer off course to the right slightly, she loosed a small jolt of yellow blaze on the side, somewhat correcting the trajectory of her taxi. Using the needle to unleash small jolts of power, SparkChan was able to steer herself straight ahead, and even boost her speed. In a mere fifteen seconds from launch, she was within half a soccer field’s length from the missile, and she aimed her conductor straight at the warhead, intending to overload it with a single Spark Shock and detonate it high above, where the winds could dissipate most of the explosion and whatever the warhead might be carrying.
Taking a final breath in, she held it as she mentally triggered the shock release circuit. ClassiCal bit her lower lip in both fear and anticipation as she loosed the glowing orb of plasma into the warhead. For a split second, the current washed over the pointed tip of the cylinder-shaped weapon, reflecting the bright golden hue of the electricity before sparks of it’s own erupted from within, and then breaking itself apart.
The warhead had blown itself to pieces with the onslaught of extra current on it’s structure and systems. Somehow, she had done it.
She was, however, unable to celebrate for very long, as reality was indeed harsh. She was now plummeting to the vast sea stretched out below her. Though she was a well-built and well-armored android, a fall at this astounding speed and height would smash her to bits on first contact. To make matters worse, her taxi was now breaking apart from the stress and crumbling to dust under the demanding pressure of the upper atmosphere.
Somehow, her small victory smile never left her face. She knew that she was sending herself on a suicide mission at the moment she saw the note. She did take a great amount of solace knowing that she had managed to save the capital of her beloved China, and that may inspire hope amongst the rest of the world. Somehow, she felt at ease, even as the ocean rapidly approached her, threatening death.
She closed her eyes and out stretched her arms. It was all so strange. It was as if she were dreaming that she were flying. She listened to the howling atmosphere around her as it whipped by. She could even hear something like the sound of a high pitched jet-whine as she neared the Yellow Sea below.
Oddly enough, the tremendous jolt that she felt with her eyes still closed shut didn’t kill her. She was, however, getting extremely dizzy as whatever was underneath her was spinning at a hellish pace and taking her for a ride. Shocked, SparkChan clutched the edges of the rectangular shape underneath her as it hit the water. It skipped a number of times, like a stone thrown just right. Eventually it ejected her from it’s surface, sending her spilling into the ocean below. Oddly enough, she had somehow survived the impossible, albeit with some further help by Erik, who’s quick thinking had him commander a cola billboard from near by and launch it like a giant Frisbee to catch the falling angel.
“Unbelievable…”, he chuckled to himself, amazed at the speed at which this happened, and also in the fact that ClassiCal had managed to survive both the rickshaw ride and the impromptu landing pad.
Classi was now unconscious and floating in the Yellow Sea, her face still adorned with the smile she allotted herself.
CHAPTER 18- Loss
Ben scowled in the steel-plated lab he found himself in as the MediBot peeled off yet another layer of crisped and melted armor from his arm. The battle with his “cousin”- Heatman- had left him with a useless limb that needed to be completely replaced entirely, along with a half dozen other panels upon his battered body that would require service. Ben, however, remained a slight bit grateful that he escaped in as “good” a condition he did. He gazed across the lab to a pair of service stations occupied by Jonathan and his teammate, Odin.
Of all the other members on his squad of government-endorsed vigilantes, he was closest with the sardonic yet heroic Elecman, who had managed to crawl back from Phoenix with Magnetman in tow. It was a haunting scene to see his compatriot so close to the edge of death. Even still, Odin hadn’t regained consciousness since he collapsed upon his return. Had he been awake, he would be enveloped in a world of unfathomable anguish, so Ben was actually glad his friend remained in his coma-like state. Still, Odin’s gashed and darkened face wore an expression of obvious discomfort, even in his dream state. Somehow, the human-turned android managed to retain the very human-like quality of dreams, despite the lack of an organic brain and body. Ben couldn’t help but realize how much Odin would appreciate that mere fact, given Odin’s interest in robotics.
Ben could dream as well. His dreams, however, were barely comprehensible, and when they were it was like a sort of torture. He had the same few dreams every few weeks, and they always included the same images- a trip to the local grocery store, a lighthearted argument with someone he assumed to be his brother, even though his face was murky at best, a sudden blaze at home, and then…Pain. A white-hot flame that seemed to consume his very essence followed by an inky blackness that always awoke Ben from his restless robotic slumber. He always focused on the pain, as it was too real to ignore. He knew it wasn’t entirely imagined- that something was missing from his memory banks. He always found it suspicious that he could never recall ever meeting Dr Light as a human or even volunteering for this…experiment.
Ben felt the pain from his arm once again as the MediBot continued to pry away seared titanium from his endoskeleton. He gritted his teeth in pain and anger and smacked the small repair robot to the cold floor, muttering “damned robot” in doing so.
It was hot in the lab. Or, that’s what his body kept telling him. The lab was always at a steady 76 degrees Fahrenheit, but his battle with Heatman had overloaded Fireman’s internal temperature control module, making the searing atomic heat from just an hour before seem just as real now.
In a rare gesture, Ben reached with his good arm to his helmet, touching a hidden release button inside the large, circular indentation on the side of his head. A quick hiss of decompressing air sounded from the seal that kept the dark silver helmet firmly in place atop his head, releasing the apparatus’ grip from his cranium. Ben took this moment to look over his helmet, which he rarely removed from his titanium skull.
He examined the many scrapes and gouges- both large and minuscule- that adorned it’s structure, and ran his fingers over the fresh burn marks from the previous battle. Setting the helmet down onto the operating table he was sitting on, he got up to use the shiny metal surface of the table to look over his face. Like his helmet, his face was riddled with small scars and knicks from battles, which were usually hidden by his helmet. The human part of his face was a strange sight to behold, as it was nothing more than a special latex with “blood” vessels to fluctuate temperature and control liquids going to and from the face. For all intensive purposes, the synthetic flesh replicated the real thing amazingly well, but the sudden edges that it broke off to just behind the helmet betrayed it’s realism. Even more evidence of his para-human form was the metal understructure that was now exposed to the world, with the large, circular tube jutting from the top of his skull like a dormant volcano.
Ben batted away his helmet, sickened by the sight of his own true nature. He hated it. While he didn’t hate his own power or his ability to help those weaker than himself, he hated not knowing the truth. How did he end up like this?
A door sliding open behind him, in which the diminutive Gary stood, interrupted Ben’s thoughts. Gary was taken aback slightly at Ben’s appearance. Aside from the grim sight his skull displayed without his helmet in place, he looked as though he had crawled away from the depths of Hell itself, and for all intensive purposes, Ben would say that he did. However, Gary had seen Ben without his helmet on before, and seeing Fireman with assorted scorch marks across his body was nothing new either, so he said what he had come to say, although the words didn’t come easily.
“Ben…Bomb-…Fushi…She’s dead, Ben.”
Ben hadn’t turned around to face Gary when the door slid open, but the news made him take a quick spin to look the Arctic robot in the eyes.
“How?”, was all Ben could think of to ask. He knew that death would be inevitable, which led to the mystery behind it.
“It happened about twenty minutes ago. Raijin radioed in, saying she was trying to disarm some sorta missile that ended up blowing her up. I suppose she managed to disarm one of the two, but it must have blown as a failsafe. Erik and Classi are coming home now, reporting that they managed to destroy the other one that got away.
Ben stood silent for a moment before bouncing his fist down on the table.
“…You knew it was going to happen sooner or later…”
“…I know. We all knew. I just…I can’t believe it happened so soon.”
Ben smashed his fist down on the table, crushing it instantly as if it were constructed of tin foil.
“Believe it”, he growled in a deep tone. “This is a war. It’s a war now because everyone was afraid to take the fight to Cutman when we had the chance. Now, he’s spread out all over the damned globe and splitting us up. It was only a matter of time before-“
“Before one of us died? Ben, it would have happened even sooner if we stormed the mine again. We did the best thing we could have done under the circumstances.”
“Oh? Want to try telling that to the people of Phoenix? Or how about Calgary? God knows how many other cities have been leveled in the past hour.”
“That was low, man. You’re not thinking straight. If we all got wiped out in one big massive strike, he would have crushed even more cities than he has already! Did you think about that?”
“What I’ve been thinking about…Is how we’re supposed to beat him now that he’s taken all of that power.”
“…I don’t know. But we have to find a way. I can only hope that we can get in touch with Dr Cossack to see where he’s been during this whole mess. We really need him now more than ever; the Doc isn’t looking like he’ll wake up any time soon now.”
Fireman glanced at the MediBot he knocked to the floor earlier, which had picked itself up and mindlessly climbed back up to Ben’s arm to continue with the repairs.
“I agree. These damned MediBots are close to useless.”
The pair of Sinister Six alumni suddenly had their attention snapped to the large loading bay door that was now raising itself. Unsure of what to expect, they became visibly tensed for a fight, but were instead put into a sudden shock at the sight of the giant blue armored Hardman, who held the still body of CutChan in a single, massive hand.
“Oh god! Britt!” Gary screamed as he jumped over tables to reach her.
“She’ll be alright in the long run, I think. She’ll need some major work, though. At least her vital systems are still working without emergency power…” Hardman said, quickly trying to comfort the startled S6 leader.
Hardman laid the orange and white android out on a table for the MediBots to get to work as soon as possible. As he put her down, he touched a single finger to his own wound, which was still trickling a small amount of oil down his massive barrel-shaped chest.
“What about you? You gonna be alright?” Fireman asked, covering up his cranium with his helmet once again.
“Yeah…I just got a long night of wielding to do, that’s all. Could be worse.”
Fireman and Iceman fell silent, thinking of Fushi. Hardy could easily read their mournful expressions.
“Did I miss something here…?”
Napalmman staggered into the inner bowels of the dimly lit mineshaft he called home. Or more specifically, into the personal planning room of his superior officer.
“General,” he wheezed through his taxed vocal system “I’m afraid we have a problem…” the beaten CO stated as he leaned on his makeshift gun barrel crutch with the Judge’s body slung over his good shoulder.
General Cutman shifted around the room at a maddening pace, checking and rechecking blueprints and scribbled equations, barely minding the obviously defeated CO standing at the threshold of his quarters. “Continue”, he plainly beckoned.
“Well, sir, the launch was successful, but certain…elements conspired to destroy the missiles before we could see if they’d be as destructive as we had hoped.”
Surprisingly, the wicked General sneered. “This is already old news by now. The truth is, I had anticipated a failed launch, but you accomplished your true mission wonderfully.”
“Our…true mission, sir?”
“Hehehe, you did what I had wanted from the beginning- divide our enemies’ forces and wear them down as individuals. I knew that the missiles would work on human beings, but I didn’t think that you would have enough time to actually launch. I even hacked into Light’s system to plant a few hints, which they obviously must have followed. Well done, Major.”
“Thank you?”, the confused CO responded.
“Tell me, what else happened that may not have reached me? I know the missiles were destroyed before they reached the Chinese shore...”
“Sir, Searchman was unfortunately incapacitated by the enemy, as you can see. However, the enemy suffered a loss of their own. My Original was destroyed at the cost of one of the missiles, sir.”
The benign General clapped his hands together loudly as the sound reverberated off the cavernous walls around them.
“Excellent! Then it was well worth a mere missile!”
“Sir? Can’t they simply rebuild my Original if they want to?”
“In body, yes. But in mind, I doubt it. You see, I have their original mind programs here with me. I stole them upon leaving “daddy’s” lab, along with the most recent back ups. In short, they’d have to start from scratch! And with Dr Light still incapacitated, they’ll quickly lose even more robots while I can assume even more resources to rebuild my fallen brood. We’re in a numbers game now, and I hold all of the dominoes in the palm of my hand. It’s only a matter of time before their numbers are whittled down to nothing, and we’ll be left with no opposition in our path.”
“I see! So, it would appear that we’re winning?”
“To put it so bluntly, yes. I wouldn’t discount our enemies to have a few surprises up their sleeves, but I have more. Now…In the mean time, go see the Engineer and get repaired. Our greatest advantage will be our better turnout rate for rebuilds, so be sure he’s quick about it. I’ll be needing as many CO as I can muster to assist in out new capital’s construction…”
“Our new capital? Is that why you took Phoenix first, sir?”
“Not at all!”, the dark orange android huffed. “Our capital will be a glorious structure that showcases the power of the robot, and it will be within mere yards of where we stand!”
General Cutman noted the lack of outright glee from the injured Commanding Officer in front of him, and motioned for his dismissal in a hurried frenzy. Getting back to his work as Napalmman turned and limped out of the room, the demented robot smoothed out the blue prints of his greatest work.
But what to call it? It was the one detail left unchecked in all of its perfection. For a brief instant, he considered naming it Scissor Castle to mock Dr Wily, but that didn’t seem to fit quite right. Cutman rolled around a few more names muttering some of them aloud to see if they were palatable. Then, quite suddenly, inspiration struck yet again and he reached for a wide tipped marker to scrawl out the name on the blueprints.
Minutes after Hardman arrived with Britt’s battered form, Snakeman had appeared within Dr Light’s laboratory once again, still holding his oozing torso wound.
“Ergh…Got me a bit better than I thought…” he muttered to himself as his systems warned him of his damaged coolant pump. Movement was getting to be a hassle for the normally agile Robot Master, as his joints were seizing up. He was entering a state that would eventually make him move about like an eighty-year-old man instead of a spry android. “At least I’m better than the other guy”, he joked to himself while thinking of the Judge’s horrified expression during his demise.
Before heading for the lab, he decided to take a detour for the living space, which was being used as a makeshift command center for the Mechanical Maniacs and Sinister Six. The two teams were being taxed to the limit now, which nearly every Robot Master having seen some sort of action in the past few hours. Aside from the handful of encounters with some of the “COs”, most of the Robot Masters had fought in small firefights with the highly trained Scissor Army Infantry, which was comprised of various converted Sniper Joes.
Raijin’s allies all bore the telltale signs of battle, from small plasma burns to torn Kevlar coverings. All of them had nearly the exact same expression of exhaustion and even a little bit of sickness from some of the grizzly scenes that they witnessed in the destruction. Gauntlet, who was the only Robot Master to not have seen battle, looked the most worn down. He had stayed at the Light Lab for coordination, and had his hands full. Raijin decided to take a seat to hear the rest of Shadowman’s briefing of the current situation in the rest of the world.
“…And after Seattle, they moved up the coast to Vancouver. Again, they didn’t leave more than a few dozen human beings out alive, and laid waste to all but a few structures, like power plants and manufacturing factories. It’s obvious that they’re still building onto their army as they go along, but they’re so quick they never stay in a city for more than three hours at a time, sometimes two. So far, the US has failed every type of assault on this army, and has called for help from Britain and Australia. But…I doubt it’ll do any good. Cutman already has control of the entire West Coast of the United States, and is moving Eastward at a pace that has him in New York in two weeks. If that happens, we’ll be done. He’ll have acquired too much of a foothold in the Western Hemisphere, and would be poised to destroy the East with ease.
So…basically, we’re it. Either we figure out a way to break down his infantry and start killing off the leadership, or we die along with everyone else. We’re out of options. He’s not interested in reasoning or negotiation, so we’ve got to prepare to take the fight to him.”
“And just how are we supposed to do that? We’re outnumbered as it is without the injuries.” Erik questioned.
“Well, we managed to get into contact with Dr Cossack. Apparently, he’s been revising the Comrades with new technology, and is nearly finished. Unfortunately, he’s been fighting bouts of multiple sclerosis and has limited use of his own hands, which has really slowed him down. I was hoping that he’d be able to assist the MediBots in repairs with Dr Light still recovering, but we may not be that lucky.”
“When are we ever?” Topman jested, drawing a muffled chuckle from some Robot Master that remained anonymous.
“He should have the Comrades completed within a few days now that Kalinka has returned home to help him.”, Gauntlet continued, ignoring the joke from his team mate. “Which means we’ll have to continue to tough it out for a few more days. But, to get everyone on the same page I’m…minimizing our ventures until the Comrades are up and running again…”
This drew gasps and defiant groans from the group of androids before the black robot. He knew that statement wouldn’t go over very well, so he braced himself for the inevitable argument.
“What the hell, man? You want us to do even less with all of…THAT going on out there?!” an angry Geminiman shouted, pointing to the large LCD screen that continued to play images of the Scissor Army’s malicious attacks. “You want us to just sit here and recoup while thousands of people we swore to protect are slaughtered like pigs? If we just up and disappear, we’ll look like cowards to the people that need us!”
“I’m well aware of that, Lennon, but public relations are on the back burner for now.” Gauntlet rebutted calmly.
“If we wait any longer, there won’t BE any public to have relations with.” Fireman hissed as a MediBot still toiled away at his open shoulder socket. “You said it yourself- if we let them take over most of North America, that’s it. We’ll be screwed.”
“I know, but so far, even our best efforts have saved very few lives due to the limitations of teleportation, and have cost us heavy repairs and worse. The bottom line is that Cutman has purposely been drawing us out and splitting us up to wear us down while he concentrates most of his efforts on securing the Americas. If we keep on playing that game, we’ll be in no shape to fight him in a week.”
“I still refuse to let more innocent people die without at least trying to help…” Classi stated in a rather sullen tone. “It’s why we’re here.”
“Look, I don’t want to allow it to happen, but if we keep globe trotting like we’ve been doing, we’ll be playing right into his trap. He could even strike here while most of us are out and cripple us even more. That’s why we have to consolidate our forces and get ourselves back into fighting form. Once the Comrades are finished, we can talk about a possible storming of Cutman’s mines. And if Light recovers in time, he may be able to help Roll finish the Sixth and Seventh Generation androids. If we can hold out long enough for that to happen, we’ll have a chance of invading Desert Gulch successfully.”
“Light’s working on even more Robot Masters? I didn’t know that…”Gary said.
“It’s true. That’s why Roll hasn’t been in the MediLab like you may have expected. She’s been holed up in the rebuild lab for days now, trying to finish Light’s work. She’s not as fast as the old man, but she’s pretty good…”, NeedleGal chimed in to confirm Gauntlet’s claim.
“About that…”, Ben began in a low growl “where are we going to get volunteers this time around? Nobody’s going to want to fight the Scissor Army at this point…”
“I have no idea. But that’s not our concern right now. They’ll figure something out, even if they have to use completely android-based minds to get them up and running. The thing that matters is that we’ll get our back up soon.”, Shadowman offered as an explanation. He sure didn’t want to get involved in another one of Ben’s tirades about the HARRP program. He was already too familiar with Fireman’s conspiracy theories as it was.
“So, best case scenario, what are we looking at here?”, Erik piped in again.
“Two to three days- Comrades up and running; Five to six days- Sixth Gen finished; One week from now is ‘D-Day’. If Light recovers fast enough, we may be able to get out there fast enough to save the East Coast entirely, but it’s a risk.”
“If Light recovers fast enough…He’ll just work himself to the floor…”, a familiar voice echoed from behind the androids.
Thomas Light never looked so vulnerable. He was now confined to a wheel chair, with an IV stand accompanying him. He pale skin was now sheet white and pulled gaunt around his frame, which had lost twenty pounds in five days as it attempted to repair itself. A slight, halfhearted smile persisted on his face, though it was made with obvious effort. Even his ocean blue eyes seemed dull and nearly extinguished of all life. Still, he managed to pull himself out of bed to lend whatever help he could to the war effort, however small it may be.
“So…Sergei is coming? It’ll be nice to see him again.” Light whispered as he fought a coughing spasm. It was obvious that he was no where near recovered.
Still, he was a welcome sight to the jaded team of heroes, who have needed a light of hope in the dire situation the world found itself in now. Maybe, just maybe, they stood a chance.
CHAPTER 19- Building the Death Trap
Dr Light fought another coughing fit as he explained his latest work to the remaining members of the Mecha Maniacs and the Sinister Six. If it worked out as he had planned, what he had in store would vastly help in the war effort.
“This”- as he held up a small chip in front of the android group- “is the teleportation excelleration chip.”
A few smirks managed to snake their way onto a few of the faces of the Robot Masters. Finally! Without the nominal delay in teleportation, they may be able to get the drop on the Scissor Army at last!
“Now, as you may have already guessed, this will, in theory, cut down the break down and assembly times during teleportation, as well as improve satellite relay. I have been working on it for a few months now, and with Roll’s help I was able to complete it just moments ago. Obviously…This could mean big things.”
“Yeah…We can get around to mauling those bastards almost as soon as they show up…”, Fireman growled, his arm’s skeletal frame still being rebuilt by a series of MediBots.
“I think not. Even with this new advantage, it doesn’t guarantee a win against some of those other robots. I mean, would teleportation have really helped you out against Heatman?”, Gauntlet reminded.
“…No, but it could have saved the city before he nuked it.”
“Enough! I’m tired of this in fighting! It’s getting us nowhere!”, NeedleGal interrupted.
“Yes, quite.” Light continued. “However, we still have a major draw back. For one, we still have to produce enough of these for everyone, which will take a few days yet- at least two. And even after that, there’s still the issue of backlash to contend with.”
“Backlash?”, Gutsman echoed. “ A possible defect in the excel chip?”
“Not quite, Gutsman.”, Light began to explain. “You see, every time one of you teleports, you may note a certain ‘kick’ to your initial landing. From what Rock told me, it’s similar to having the wind knocked out of a human.”
“I’ll say…” Gary agreed, holding his chest to add merit. All of the androids in the room knew what Light was talking about, but they had long ago gotten used to it.
“Well, with teleportation speed being improved, this backlash grows considerably. From what I’ve calculated, it could mean a drop of efficiency to about fifty percent for as long as ten minutes. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why that’s a bad thing any more than that.” Light stated.
“So…If we use these things, we’ll be sitting ducks for about ten minutes until our power supply catches up with us?” Raijin questioned to confirm his understanding.
“That is correct. You won’t be ‘sitting ducks’, but you will be incapacitated for a few moments upon entry. And worse yet, it may effect some of you more than others. Some of you may not be able to use this chip at all until it’s second or third redraft. There is good news however- I’ve created an adapter for Rockman’s E-tanks for use with your own systems. It should bring your levels up to normal operating range as soon as you use it. But again, we’re short on supply and we’ll need materials and time that we just don’t have.”
This left the androids with mixed feelings, as they perhaps held the key to the war’s turnaround within their hands, but at the same time it left them having to wait to be able to use it. Like it or not, it seemed as though the exhausted band of androids would have to follow their tentative leader’s, Shadowman’s, advice.
“There’s something else…”, Light said ominously. “Those missiles that were exploded above the Yellow Sea…They weren’t typical warheads according to our on sight researchers. There was some sort of chemical agent present in the debris. At this point, it is entirely possible that Cutman has access to a cache of bio weapons. If that’s true…”
“If that’s true, then we’ll be in even more a bad spot if he manages to get to the East Coast. If he has enough of these rockets…He wouldn’t have to bother with a land campaign from across the Atlantic….God…”, Hardman surmised grimly.
Stoneman’s colossal voice grunted under the strain of his task. Standing atop the huge chunk of crystillium that was brought back with he and his sister from Greece, a few dozen power amplification wires and tubes ran between him and the meteor-sized energy source. Had he been able to sweat, his face would no doubt have been a drenched mask of strain and stress.
“Don’t you give up now! Even without Gravity here, I know you can do it, blockhead! Don’t make us look bad in front of the General…” CrystalChan urged.
They stood outside in the desert air as the sun rose in the East, forming huge shadows from the two dozen Commanding Officers as they bore witness to Stoneman’s attempts to raise a mountain from nothing. In the distance, one could see already existing mountains, but none of them seemed to fit the needs of their leader, who sought to display the Scissor Army’s true power in the form of a structure created entirely by robotic hands.
Even Colonel Red made a rare appearance outside of the dank mineshafts that lay a few hundred feet behind the group. It seemed as though even his eyes had shown a slight notion of interest.
Finally, after what seemed like days of stress, the Earth in front of the group split with a thunderous crack, sending some of the mighty COs scurrying to avoid being swallowed up by the new fault. A deep red peak now rose, inch by inch, past the surface and into the air, defying what was deemed impossible by nearly every human scientist.
Within twenty minutes, this artificial mountain stood in defiance of reason itself. Towering a mighty five thousand feet tall, it drew a deep gasp from every robot that witnessed it’s birth. Even Red’s mouth opened slightly in awe.
Stoneman dropped to his knees as soon as the deed was complete, smoke pouring from each control orb within his stony frame. Huffing madly to feed his main energy conversion chamber, he attempted to get back on his feet within minutes of kneeling, but found himself right back to the lowered position with every attempt. His sister, however, beamed with glee at her brother’s achievement. She had always considered their victories to be shared one’s no matter who completed it.
“See? What did I tell you? Nothing to it, huh?”
Some of the COs broke out in laughter at the blue and white Major’s jest, but one particular laugh was a more maddening cackle than the others.
Cutman stood at the very foot of the mountain, staring straight up. From where he stood, the peak could not be seen, which impressed him further at it’s majesty. His guffaws rose into the sky above the hearty chuckles of his loyal COs, who quieted down to again bask in the sight of their new base of operations, or so their General decreed it to be. Some of the androids just didn’t see the need for it- they had the mines, so why would you need to build a fortress? None of them dared to dream of questioning the mad rationale of their hostile dictator.
With a huge grin still adoring his face, the deep orange and filthy white android leapt skyward using some of the jutting stones of the face of the mountain. With uncanny speed and flat out unbelievable agility while climbing such a steep incline, Cutman was at the top of the towering formation within minutes, and wasted little time in going to work.
Using both sets of his silvery shears, he flung them around in seemingly random directions all at once. They scraped against the raw stone and bedrock that made up the top of the mountain, cutting away huge slabs of the mountaintop that tumbled down to the valley below. Another few minutes went by and the chunks of carved rock became smaller and smaller as Cutman made a few more adjusting cuts before standing at the very edge of the newly flattened structure. The top of this mountain was now a flat, half square mile of perfect surface, and the bemused General smiled again as he pictured his completed fortress perched atop his new property.
With a few near-suicidal leaps down the mountain’s face, Cutman landed with a small grunt before his robots, and delivered a simple demand:
“Now…get to work.”
The COs all nodded with excitement- some real and some forced- as they tackled the mountain before them to create their leader’s vision as he had discussed with them earlier. Within a handful of days, the deathly fortress that would engulf the flattened top of the new mountain would be completed and ready for action, and knowing their leader the COs knew he would waste little time in employing his new “throne’s” capabilities. In only a few hours, the rest of the world would know Hell much like the Western United States.
A few Commanding Officers had opted to miss out on the “mountain-raising party” on the surface, instead focusing on one of the few missions that required the supervision of a CO. In fact, aside from this mission, all current campaigns would make use of only infantry-grade Joes while Elysium would be completed by the other androids.
Among them, the Marine Assault Captain, Bubbleman, spoke to his pair of fellow COs. The Marine unit was the smallest of the three major Scissor Army divisions by far, holding only a handful of Ocean Joes compared to the massive land division. But, this particular division of the SA didn’t have much use in shear numbers. Instead, it focused mostly on stealth and sabotage, and given their current record of deployment, they were their good at their job. So good, in fact, that they have met no resistance what so ever when they were sent to destroy key underwater power supply lines and weapons storage structures near the beach. It was a fact that Bubbleman took much pride in.
“Nothing too major this time, boys. Hit these lines like we’ve done a few dozen times before and get back home before they even realize what’s going on. This should be the last such mission on the West Coast before we’re all done on this side of continent, and we can just move onto the Atlantic soon enough.”
The black and blue android’s subordinates nodded in silence, acknowledging their orders. Ascending up the mineshaft’s pathway into the sun-filled desert, they caught a glimpse of their new HQ as it was being assembled by their fellow former Robot Masters. Bubbleman, from behind his scuba diver-like mask, probably would have smirked had he a mouth. The aptly named “Elysium” was the very embodiment of all he was working towards.
The three COs teleported after taking a few more seconds to admire their crazed General’s mad dream come to fruition. It was only a matter of days now…
Dr Cossack sat in his well worn red office chair in front of his desk, dark circles etched under his eyes. Barely able to keep his head up for longer than a few minutes at a time, Sergei Cossack had been working for 62 hours straight now, stopping only to check the news for a brief instant as motivation for his seemingly impossible task.
It was just the worst timing possible to have something like this happen- He had just decided to take the entire Comrade crew offline for maintenance and a few minor upgrades, being that it was such a slow time for major crime and atrocities in the world. After all, Light’s two android teams were able to handle more than their fair share of action, so Cossack decided to take the time to make sure his own band of HARRP androids were in perfect working order.
And then this happened.
It was almost as if it were all planned by this maniacal robot. To make matters worse, the teleportation relay satellite in his immediate area was also taken offline for repair by the Swedish government, which played into his reasons for taking his own androids offline all at once; they wouldn’t be going anywhere soon anyways. Not from his citadel, anyways.
The beleaguered scientist now stared at his mangled hands. They throbbed and ached, but somehow he had managed to work through it. Cossack rubbed his burning eyes, nearly drifting off to sleep, but quickly snapped his attention upward. In doing so, he laid his eyes upon his slumbering daughter, Kalinka. She had arrived just two days ago to assist him, braving the ferocious blizzard outside that had been going for weeks without end. Cossack often regretted having put his fortress in the very Northern section of Russia, but he always remembered that he didn’t even want a fortress to begin with- it was all Dr Wily’s doing.
But, now he wished he was dealing with Wily this time instead of this hideous orange monster that appeared on the television every few days to antagonize the governments of the world. Cutman had not once made any sort of demands, which was the most frightening part of it. Instead, he merely prophesized his own extermination of mankind. At least Dr Wily’s goals were dealt with, and at least Wily didn’t take aim on killing all of humanity in one fell swoop. Wily almost seemed like an out of control child compared to the orange android that now controlled the Western United States.
In fact, this “Scissor Army” now dominated all states up to New Mexico, with an average of four states falling a day. Napoleon could only have dreamt of such efficiency. Cossack didn’t need Shadowman to tell him that the US would be completely toppled in just under two weeks at this pace.
Which is what drove Sergei Cossack to rebuild his entire fleet of androids from the ground up using planned upgrades that he had only sketched out days before. Aided by a battalion of assembly robots and computerized machinery that most governments strove to purchase themselves, he had done the unthinkable in managing to complete, essentially, eight new Robot Masters in under three days. Even his friendly rival, Tom, would have been awestruck.
And now, as the human minds that accompanied each Robot Master’s own minds re-downloaded themselves into their retrospective bodies, Cossack continued to look over his beloved offspring’s sleeping form. Poor Kalinka. She had been through so much in her seventeen years as a person. She had lost he mother at the age of five, been kidnapped by Wily at age twelve, and struggled through college while also playing a pivotal role in the Robotic Reform Party. It’s no wonder she was just as tired as her recluse of a father.
Cossack now drifted off to sleep himself, all the while praying for his new and improved Robot Masters to be enough to stave off this new world threat. If only Cossack was more alert…He would have noticed the small anomaly in one of the Cossack Comrades’ mind download process.
CHAPTER 20- Surface Tension
Off the Mexican coast, just miles away from the California state boarder, a lone man wrenched away at one of trade mark creations. He had built these animatronic creatures for amusement parks all around the globe all of his life, and in his waning days after his retirement, he continued to do freelance work every so often. That is, until this latest “robot revolution” stopped all incoming sources of work dead all at once. But, it was actually kind of nice to relax and take things slow while this whole situation blew over like it always did.
Trevor Murray wasn’t one to take much of anything seriously, especially now that his career was at an end. If anything, he was more of a child than ever before, using his vast amounts of free time to keep his skills sharp while still finding time for his online activities. In fact, his only true source of communication lay with his trusted personal computer, and even then he rarely took interest in what was going on in the rest of the world. He knew he was at last happy, and that was all that mattered to him. He didn’t even know about the Scissor Army’s world coup until just yesterday when Trevor’s curiosity got the better of him when he noted the lack of commission work.
He remained blissfully indifferent- desensitized by the violence after growing up watching such atrocities unfold on television, and later on by Dr Wily’s ruthless attacks on the world at large. As he tightened a few remaining bolts on the outer covering for his latest work- a twenty foot long crocodile with a cartoonish, if not somewhat eerily sinister face- his concentration was broken by a sudden flash of light from just outside of his beach side retirement vista, followed by a sudden gust of wind. Shortly after that, voices.
“Alright you two; get out about two hundred meters out and stand watch while I go to work. I’ll be in the water in just a minute. I thought I picked up some radio disturbance when we landed…”
Trevor peeked around the corner of his vista to see the impromptu visitors, and was horrified to see a trio of very menacing robots that had collected upon the beach. Quickly, he ducked back inside, but was at loss for his next move. For some reason, he thought the best solution would be to simply avoid contact by ignoring the situation. After all, he wasn’t running and screaming like all the people he saw on TV when he was growing up, so maybe if he didn’t draw that sort of attention on himself he-
And then the black and blue robot was in his house, slipping in as Trevor sat back down next to his crocodile masterpiece. For a moment, he sat there with his mouth hanging open, then he quickly shot his eyes back down to his work. Maybe if he didn’t act as afraid as he felt inside he wouldn’t end up like all the other victims of the robot wars.
“Ahoy there…”, said the odd, portly looking android standing in his living/ working quarters. It spoke with a strange, jolly voice that also conveyed a sort of condescending tone to the human. Not wasting time in waiting for a response from the fear-stricken human, Bubbleman continued. “Say there…That’s a real nice toy you have there! Tell me, is she sea worthy?”
Taken aback by the portly robot’s keen interest in his work, Murray stammered out a curt “yes” before he could think of anything to add to it.
“Ho ho ho…And she would happen to work on a radio signal by chance, would she?”
Murray followed suit with another quick “yes”, lacking anything to add to it yet again. He was already feeling uneasy as the marine-inspired android hobbled towards him and knelt down in front of him and the croc.
“Well, there we go! Guess that solves my little problem, eh?” It was unclear whether Captain Bubbleman was talking to himself or the frightened man in front of him. “She’s a fine work, I’ll say. Tell me, does she have a name?”
Trevor didn’t have a quick answer to this. He could say “crocodile”, but he feared that this strange robot’s good nature would suddenly turn sour at the quip. Instead, he gave another short reply: “No.”
“Well, that won’t do at all. Say…since you’re the creator of such a fine machine, why don’t we give it your name? What’s your name?”
“M-Murray…”. Trevor, for a moment, forgot his own first name and could only recall his last name at that given moment.
“’M-Murray’, huh? Let’s just shorten that to ‘Murray’ for the time being, though it is a strange name for a sea-going vessel. But, I’ve seen stranger, so it’ll do.”
“W-why give it a name at all?”, Trevor questioned suddenly, catching even himself off guard.
“Why? Why not? All good seaworthy vessels need something to be called by, so I’m just trying to help you out. Besides, I may as well give you one honor before you die…”
“What?!” the man shouted as a harpoon lanced his left lung, skewering him to the wall behind him. He began to gurgle, trying to form some desperate plea for help, but at the back of his mind he knew he was miles away from anyone that could be of any real help. But, when you’re in a life or death situation, logic rarely prevails, and Trevor’s last breaths were used to try to form his last, unspoken words.
Bubbleman, not impressed by the death scene in front of him in the slightest, mentally searched for the robotic crocodile’s remote control frequency for a few moments before finally settling on the right one. Testing out the machine’s range of movement, Bubbleman made the four-legged creature walk out to the beach in front of him. As soon as it found its way into the waters, the delighted Captain jumped atop its back as if he were riding an over sized surfboard. Much to his strange, almost childish joy, he quickly discovered “Murray’s” speed under water was much faster than on land.
“Now THIS is how to go boating!”, he exclaimed to himself.
Minutes after the grizzly death of the retired robotic creature designer in his villa, another teleportation beam split the sand apart upon impact. Within seconds, a trio of robots stood on the beach, representing Dr Light’s camp. It seemed as though Gauntlet’s orders had fallen on a few deaf ears- ears that, in this case, belonged to two of his own teammates; Geminiman and Topman. Along for the mission was Rockman’s faithful metallic canine, Rush.
The two androids were far from battle ready in an aquatic environment, but then again, none of the Mechs were. They were, however, given some quick modifications to allow them slightly improved underwater movement, but would be severely lacking when it came to fighting specially trained marine-type COs. Unfortunately for them, they knew this very well may be the case here in Mexico.
“I don’t see anything…”, Topman surmised. Yet again, he was another heavily redesigned Robot Master. His toy-inspired helmet was now a memory, instead replaced with spiky, raven black hair that wafted in the wind. His orange armor was even lighter in color now, trimmed with white with the familiar black pants and sleeves. Over his armor, he wore a high profile leather jacket with richly detailed embroidery on the back and shoulders, as the Spinning Demon wasn’t shy about his apparent pride in being a Robot Master. So much so, that his true name was rarely used by himself or his teammates, and Topman now referred to himself as a Robot Master first and a former human secondly.
He was also famed for being quite eccentric, both in battle and out on the town. Topman was the one Mechanical Maniac that made public appearances outside of battle, often using his “super hero” status as leverage for privileges. But, he also had a good heart, as he often lent himself to charities on occasion. While his use of the Mechanical Maniacs name as a way to get into some of the hottest nightclubs was a dubious practice at best, it was hard to ignore his good side.
That, and he had unquestionable control over his new power, which, at last, made Topman a force to reckoned with.
Lennon, on the other hand, was much like Odin on the Sinister Six- noble, gifted with almost machine-like control over his own powers, and perhaps slightly narcissistic. Like the majority of the other Mechs, Geminiman preferred solitude above all. Though not nearly as secretive as Gauntlet and his supposed sister, Lennon was very quiet. However, he took on an almost immediate kinship with Odin, and the two have engaged in a friendly, if not somewhat heated, rivalry. The two jousted regularly, but they could never pick a clear winner due to their sparring matches taking so incredibly long that they always get interrupted by some outside force.
His body was very similar to what Wily’s original design was, as Lennon had opted for most of the improvements of his “mark II’ body to be internal. He still bore the mirrored armor panels, with a slight blue tinge to them. His face was gaunt and thin, with his cheekbones being pushed outward. Atop his brow a crown of chrome spikes raised proud into the air. Perhaps the only real outer difference was his body’s total appearance being even more chrome-like. Aside from that, Lennon also carried a new weapon with him, untested even by him. He wasn’t even sure how well it’d work on dry land, let alone under the water’s surface. He couldn’t believe that he had opted to leave his own rapier sword behind to test out this new device, however fantastic an idea it may be.
A “beam saber”. What in the word was Dr Light watching when he thought up of this? Light claimed that this new toy worked almost exactly like his own Gemini Laser, but without the propulsion that projected the beam forward. Lennon knew his own weapon very well, which is most likely why Light fitted Geminiman’s arm with the beam saber’s mechanics. The operation was supposedly simple- switch to “buster” mode and fire a Gemini Laser, but activate the plasma field around the beam before it completely left the barrel of the cannon. It would essentially capture the laser beam and turn it into a melee weapon. An odd concept, especially given the Gemini Laser’s reflective qualities and lack of cutting power. Lennon was more than a little skeptical of the new weapon.
“There…”, Topman noted aloud. “I see something out there. Looks to be a single robot just…standing there.”
“Standing? On what? Water?”, Lennon quizzed.
“I dunno…but if he starts turning the ocean into wine, I say we get the hell out of here.”
“Agreed.”, Lennon said sardonically as he gave Rush the command to switch to Jet configuration. “Top, there’s a good chance he’s standing guard over something below. These guys like to work in pairs, and there’s nothing above the water that appears to be of any use. Since I’m outfitted for marine battle, I’ll have to be the lucky contestant that gets to check out the depths.”
“Guess that means I’ve got to play nice with Jesus, then? Fine by me; I’m not much of a swimmer anyways.”
“Right…Let’s get this over with. G’s gonna be mad as hell about us leaving in the first place, so let’s make sure we don’t get too smashed up out here. If you’re in a jam, just beam outta here. I’ll be sure to do the same.”
“Works for me. I just wish we weren’t wasting our time out in the middle of nowhere-land when I thought we would be defying G in hopes of saving a few lives.” Topman complained aloud.
“Yeah…I know. But, we’re out here, so let’s at least give these monsters a headache.”
Standing atop the surface of the ocean and facing his incoming opponents, Waveman glared defiantly at the two heroes atop the famed crimson canine that Rockman had used to much effect. Clutching his spear in one hand, he whispered to his hidden counterpart, who unbeknownst to the incoming Light Alumni was actually what Waveman was standing atop.
“They’re coming…”, he stated in his salty voice.
“I know…We’ll have no problem with these two…”, the other robot, who lay in a liquid state underneath Waveman, said.
Suddenly, the white and blue form of Geminiman leapt off the flying robot dog and into the ocean, leaving a high flying Topman headed straight for the pair of COs ahead.
“Should I go and crush the stupid one that jumped into the sea?”, the liquid-state robot asked his fellow officer.
“No…Let the Captain have some fun with him. He’ll be wanting to try out his new toy. Just give him a call and let him know what’s coming his way so he isn’t caught off guard. We can have plenty of fun with this other scalawag that is foolhardy enough to take us on.”
“Aye…I’ll notify the Captain then…”, the bubbling, childish voice whispered to the rounded Waveman.
Topman slowed down the robotic pooch down and then to a stop, hovering high over head of the aquatic menace below.
“Well…If it ain’t Waveman…Guess you’re another one of Cutman’s squad of losers that he threw together. You should have stayed dead, tubby.”
“You could easily be fitted into that same ‘loser category’ as the rest of the Robot Masters that died at the hands of Rockman, you hypocrite! And you’ll quickly find out how much better we’ve all become as COs in this new world order that the General has finally unleashed!”
“Easy there, tiny. You’re gonna give yourself pump clog if you keep working yourself up like that. Just take your incoming beating like a man and you can sink your fat ass to the bottom of the ocean down in ‘Davey Jones’ locker’ or wherever the hell you ‘scurvy dogs’ go when you die.” Topman scathed insulting Waveman’s sailor-inspired voice.
“It’s not going to be as easy as simply fighting one of us…” a voice claimed as a new figure formed beside Waveman, whose own power now supported him above the choppy waters.
“The hell…?” the Spinning Demon asked rhetorically as he slightly jumped at the appearance of this new comer. “Just what the hell are you supposed to be now? El Nino?”
“You could say that…But everyone I know calls me Aquaman…But you can call me ‘handsome’.”
“’Handsome’…Right. They don’t have a whole lot of mirrors down in the Bat Cave, do they? Topman continued his verbal abuse of his opponents. Since receiving his newfound power, he had become infinitely more confident in his abilities, and even took pleasure in humiliating his enemies before commencing a fight.
“You know…I’m real sick of seeing that do-nothing porthole you call a mouth move when you could be busy drowning. Let’s cut the banter.”, Waveman interjected angrily.
“Sure thing, tubby. May as well get this over with.” Topman said as he unfolded his arms.
Waveman, now incensed by his opponent’s final insult, raised a quick arm skyward, sending a high pressure tower of water into the air to knock the day glow nightmare from his perch above. Rush had seen his fair share of incoming weapons and projectiles, and wasn’t about to be caught off guard now. The red robot nimble dodged to the side…A bit too quickly for his passenger, who was nearly tossed into the drink.
“Hey…Some of us aren’t into the whole ‘flying around’ thing, you know. Mind keeping that in mind?”
Meanwhile, Waveman continued his assault, sending a pair of watery towers into the air to knock the pair down into the sea. Again, this time minding his passenger’s uneasiness about flight, Rush swooped around and in between the watery jets. Topman was now getting used to Rush’s mobility and his own confidence in his stability was increasing. He was, after all, fitted with the “automatic balancer”, and someday Topman would remember to ask what that did, exactly. For now, he concentrated on dodging another volley of sea salt laden Water Waves.
“Damn you! Get down here and fight us you coward!” Waveman demanded.
“Only cause you asked so nicely…”, Topman obliged. He steered Rush downward and stopped the pooch just a few feet above the water’s surface. Now, the Spinning Demon flicked his wrists and produced an attack of his own- two over-sized, bright orangey-yellow tops, which now spun in place atop his fingertips.
“You have got to be kidding…A toy? It didn’t work on Rockman, and it won’t do you any good here today, you joke!” Waveman sneered as his cohort continued to look on. Aquaman had instead taken to letting Waveman vent his anger out towards his opponent, as Aquaman was the self-admitted weakest member of the aquatic trio that made up the Marine Assault division’s commanding line.
“Oh?”, the devilish orange nightmare smirked innocently, flicking the pair of toy-shaped projectiles off of his fingers and onto the water. The two tops skipped across the water much like a stone that was tossed in just the right way, and they eventually found themselves bounding towards Waveman, who continued to watch in a bemused manner as he placed a hand on his side and flicked his own hand to summon a small, insulting wave of water to bat the toys aside.
As soon as the water hit them, however, the tops exploded in a blinding light like a pair of fireworks exploded at close range. In one fell swoop, both Waveman and the semi-liquid Aquaman were blinded. Topman wasted little time in conjuring up more of the bomb-equipped tops and flung them towards his foes, this time with much more aggression. Aquaman and Waveman, staggering atop the rippling water, leapt blindly to the side to avoid anymore of the toy assault.
“What’s the matter? Don’t like being the weaker ones? Guess maybe now you know how all the people you’ve helped slaughter felt!” Topman lashed out.
“I could never identify with those sweaty pigs that you serve! You’re just another one of their puppets, and you’ll die right along with them!!” Waveman bellowed in retaliation, as the water under his finned feet seemed to boil and explode with his rising anger. A wall of tidal energy now surrounded Waveman twenty feet high as he regained his vision within.
Aquaman, who’s own vision returned quicker than his fellow CO’s had, now saw an opening for his own attack on the benevolent Topman, who almost seemed to focus solely on Waveman’s display of power. Commanding a tube-like stream of his own water, he snaked it around his foe with eerie stealth until it smashed into Topman’s back, sending him plummeting to the ocean below.
Not wasting a opportunity to end his enemy’s life quickly, Aquaman deconstructed his body and melded with the ocean once again, leaving his few mechanical pieces, which were painted a bright orange, behind. Aquaman’s nanomachine infected water, which is what gave him complete control over his own liquid body, swarmed over the stunned and shaken Topman, who was trying to swim to the surface for air. The Spinning Demon wasn’t a fan of the ocean at all, as his body wasn’t ever meant to be a marine machine, and even now he was starting to lose his cool under the murky, salty depths. He lost even more of his calm when the surface wouldn’t break- it was like being trapped under a thin sheet of invisible ice!
The water above him seemed to stretch and fight his every attempt to break it’s tension, keeping him from the oxygen his internal fuel reactor needed. Topman was one of the rare robots that actually need fresh air to breath, thanks to his nitrogen reactor. It was the same energy source that gave him his speed, but right now it seemed as though it would be his undoing. Upon hitting the water’s surface after being thrown off, he had accidentally taken a breath of the sea water into his body; he was effectively drowning now, as the water was clogging his pumps and plugging up his filtration system.
Out of desperation, or perhaps instinct at this point, Topman summoned another pair of top bombs, which exploded just above him and sending a loud concussion wave throughout the ocean. The very ocean around him seemed to wince and eventually give, giving Topman the air he needed so desperately now. Right after that, he did something few robots could do- he threw up. His system now expelled most of the dirty salt water that was destroying him from within, and now his smarmy demeanor was all but gone, replaced by a look of anger at his unseen adversary.
“You bastard…Do you know what sea water does to leather?!”, he screamed, tugging at his collar. Oddly, he was more enraged by the ruination of his favorite jacket, rather than the attempt on his life. “So that’s how it’s gonna be…”
At that instant, the orange one could feel his feet being tugged at, as Aquaman tried to drag his rival down to his death, rather than simply denying him air this time. Topman flailed his arms about slightly until his hands caught hold of something solid above him. Rush had finally recovered himself, and had swooped down to help the beleaguered toy-like robot back onto solid footing, where he was at his greatest advantage.
A strange game of “tug of war” ensued between the ocean-engulfed Aquaman and the famed canine companion of Rockman. Topman decided he had had enough, and now produced yet another set of bombs, exploding just under his feet and breaking the aquatic terror’s grasp on them. At that instant, Waveman made his presence known again and assaulted with a rolling tidal wave that was ten feet high and just as wide across, with the intention of handing Topman and Rush over Aquaman for disposal.
Instead, Rush kicked his rockets into full boost and flew straight towards the wave…and through it. The robot, with Topman still hanging onto his side, came within inches of hitting Waveman’s face before taking a sharp, skyward ascent. Below, Aquaman’s voice let out a grunt, followed by a growl intended for his teammate: “Watch it, you amateur! You nearly scattered me too far!”
Hearing that single line gave the staggering Topman an idea as he gathered himself atop the high flying android pooch. If Aquaman was so afraid of being scattered, he no doubt wouldn’t like Topman’s next move as he steered Rush towards the liquid android’s last known position. Hovering just above the water’s surface, Topman seemed to mock Aquaman into showing himself by reaching for him. True to his nature, Aquaman’s strange, watering form appeared beneath the surface, outstretching his arms to ensnare the Spinning Demon above. This time, however, Topman had a plan.
The air around Top crackled at first, a small burst of orange plasma. Then another, followed by a third. Within a few short seconds, the ten feet surrounding Topman seemed to spark to life with a thousand shimmering crackles of kinetic power, and in short order they began to spin counter clockwise. In less than six seconds, Topman had produced an ion field about him, which spun with the force of a small tropical depression within a very localized area.
Naturally, since Aquaman had attached himself to Rush’s undercarriage in hopes of dragging the heroic pair under, he was sucked into the maelstrom. Screaming, his nanomachine-saturated body was separated from the water molecules that it had bonded to, as the H2O evaporated under the extreme heat that resided within inches of Topman and Rush’s bodies, leaving only a few tiny and shimmerings that indicated the remains of Aquaman’s nanobots.
After a few seconds of maintaining the intense aura, Topman shot his arms up and outward, calling for his shield to disperse, which it did. Quite violently, in fact, as it resounded with a huge “bang”, sending the molecular remains of Aquaman far away from each other. He now stood atop Rush with his arms to the sides and his shoulders hunched slightly, his eyes closed. His breathing eventually calmed down to manageable levels, and he craned his neck around, almost as though he were trying to summon a pop from his vertebrae as if he were still human. His eyes then snapped open and fell upon Waveman yet again, who was still in disbelief over his friend’s instantaneous death.
“H-how?! You’re a weakling! Your specs had nothing that indicated the potential for a kinetic field!”, he claimed, with no small amount of fear riding his words.
“Yeah…I get that a lot. Guess you can’t believe everything you read now a days…”
“No matter…Aquaman was but a weak link in the chain of command and he knew it. I will not be defeated so easily!” Waveman stated, his confidence returning once again as he spun his trident-tipped spear in hand.
“Yeah, yeah…Hey, you want to get this over with? If I hurry back I might be able to save this coat if you knock off the yammering, tubby.”
Obliging his enemy’s request, Waveman shot towards his foe with uncanny speed, projected by a sudden burst of water that he rode atop with much skill. Grasping his spear with both hands, he lunged towards Topman was the intent on maiming him with a single blow, hoping his surprising amount of speed would let him claim yet another life. However, Topman wasn’t so easy to attack, as he surprised Waveman with a shock of his own- he jumped off of Rush and to the side, and using his momentum and kinetically charged boots he was able to skate across the water’s surface.
Waveman, who was at first caught off guard by the extreme maneuvering, most likely sneered within his own mind, as he realized very quickly that Topman now needed to stay in motion to stay above the surface. A quick blow would disrupt his momentum and send him under water into Waveman’s non-existent mercy.
Giving chase to his foe, Waveman caught up with Topman in a matter of moments, and attempted to spear the orange speedster’s feet. Traveling at well over two hundred miles per hour now, a spill at this speed would damage even a Robot Master. Topman, however, knew his opponent’s plan and countered with a few top bombs, forcing Waveman to veer from side to side.
Eventually, Topman pulled ahead and looped around as Waveman came to a stop. The two were now engaged in a game of chicken, a most deadly version at that. Waveman was still quite confident in his skill on the water’s surface and spun his spear around yet again to intimidate his incoming foe before starting his own charge. Top chuckled to himself at the display by the portly robot.
For what seemed like minutes without end, the two sped towards each other, each carrying a speed of two hundred and fifty miles per hour, intent on ending the confrontation with a single, decisive action. Waveman reared back his golden and ornate spear high above his head, while Topman continued his usual skating motions before catching Waveman by surprise for the final time.
About thirty feet away from their point of impact, Topman made an incredibly quick and high flying leap, his legs sailing over his head twice before they pointed downward, one foot extended further than the other. As he did so, he spun his body around furiously in his signature Top Spin attack and drilled his heel into Waveman’s unprotected shoulder, nearly separating it from his body immediately and crushing vital pumps and coolant reserves below. Losing his balance due to the violent kick, Waveman lost control over his riding wave and tumbled forward, still flying at over two hundred MPH and crashing onto the water’s surface. With the rupture to his outer hull, his body spun apart, tearing like cardboard caught in a typhoon. It was like watching a horrific race boat accident, and you knew that nobody could have survived the collision between sea and machine.
Topman, still unsure exactly how his “auto balancer” worked but knowing he owed a lot to it now, had flipped forward after delivering the devastating corkscrew kick and landed back in his skating formation, avoiding a possibly nasty tumble of his own. Slowing down gradually, he called for Rush to swoop down from his observation position in the sky to pick him up.
“Well…That was fun.”, he said, half serious, half sardonically. He rubbed the edges of his now-ruined coat between his fingers, frowning at what the salt water’s effects on his favorite garb. “Dammit…I hope Needle still remembers what patterns she needed.”, he grunted, seemingly already over the deaths of two androids by his own hands.
His attention was then pulled back to the water’s surface, as it now boiled from deep below the surface, carrying a deep hue of dark brown oil with it. It was obvious to the Spinning Demon that someone down there had most likely died, and he could only hope that Lennon’s body wouldn’t be the one that needed recovering.