Sinister Six: Revenge of the Scissor Army
Rich (Bombman) Kassidy
1 - Ritual
It had become a weekly ritual now. Coming to this small room tucked away in the furthest corners of the top secret complex he had now called home for nearly six years now, Gary, known to the public as his robot alter ego Iceman, would come here to think things over and ponder important decisions. In the nine months since the defeat of what was perhaps their toughest challenge ever, the Sinister Six had become rattled as they realized just how vulnerable they still were in their robotic bodies. They were at the brink of defeat that day, their whole comfortable way of doing what they did was abruptly destroyed by one monster. A monster that called himself their brother.
Within this tiny room, various items were placed here to memorialize those that had either helped the Sinister Six, or those that had fallen. In the case of the fallen, the room became more of a trophy room. On the back most wall, set near the right side was an item anyone outside of the S6 would think was completely out of place. A severely tattered and filthy coat of some sort was spread out and pinned to the wall, displaying all of the garment’s character. Above that, an item even more ominous- a worn pair of oversized shears, battled scarred and scraped, were displayed half open. If one were to look closely, small amounts of dried blood could be seen embedded within the deep cuts and gouges. However, had one failed to notice the room’s grandest trophy upon entry of the room, you would note an identical pair of shears, albeit polished and unused, rested upon the head of the scarred-set’s owner.
The original Cutman lay within a tube-like coffin that was set vertical against the wall, the front half of which was transparent to display it’s infamous occupant for anyone who happened to visit the room. Despite the rather peaceful expression set on Cutman’s face, Gary would never forget this creature’s true form, the face of which was pure evil if he had ever seen it. Every time he came to this room to think, he could close his eyes and he’d be right back in that cave again.
Sitting on a bench positioned directly in front of the coffin, Gary could remember each blow delivered to him by this orange monster, every kick to the ribs. He could remember being lifted at arm length as Cutman promised to deliver the final blow. He remembered giving Britt, whom was lain incapacitated on a table behind Cutman, one final glance to sort of bid her farewell, then closing his eyes shut. He was then tossed like a brick through the air as he heard a set of blades clang against each other as Cutman snatched them from his head, then hearing that sound of metal slicing the air as he braced himself for the inevitable hand of death that was sure to follow. But…it never came.
Instead, Cutman’s own overzealous nature became his undoing. The shears he had taken from Cut-Chan- the same shears he had planned on finishing off Iceman with- were instead called back to their true owner, and along the way they had taken a route through Cutman’s chest, sawing the would be world conqueror in two. Gary landed with a thunk, expecting himself to be the one landing with two “thunks” instead of just one, surprised that he was the one left in one piece. Then, he opened his eyes and the scene in front of him explained everything.
Britt was still laying upon the table, her body motionless save for her head, which now was once again topped with her signature silver shears. Tears began to run from her eyes, both because she was glad to see Gary alive, and also because she somehow thought that she was wrong in killing Cutman. Cutman seemed to agree with this sentiment, as he lay on the grated metal floor suspended high above the cave’s dirt floor, spewing blood as he uttered his hatred of Gary and Britt with his last breath.
Britt had entered the room to fetch him. Gary had almost forgotten that he had an important meeting with Dr Light in Japan in the next few minutes.
“…Oh…Sorry about that. I’ll be ready in a few minutes.” He answered her with a slight smile, a bit fake given his darker thoughts from a few moments ago. Still, it wasn’t like Gary to remain in a grim state of mind, so he focused on what he was about to receive from Dr Light.
Since their near defeat by Cutman, the Sinister Six have taken a more active interest in upgrading themselves. For the past five years, they each visited Dr Light on an annual basis for what could be described as a “check-up” to laymen. At this time, Light would thoroughly inspect his creations, which did their best to repair themselves, but they could always use the eyes of their maker to catch any problems that managed to evade their watchful eyes and internal monitoring system. Also at this time, Light would often add any upgrades he had been tinkering with to the appropriate Robot Master, but these were usually slight upgrades. Now, since this near-tragedy with Cutman, they began to devise new adaptations for themselves, some of which called for major overhauls of their bodies, or even in some cases, full body replacement.
Furthermore, their new upgrades would be better suited to non-fighting elements, such as disaster assistance or search and rescue. Each of the Sinister Six would be designed to handle specific situations, like harsh weather or an earthquake. This meant that they would do much more than simply wait around for crimes to happen, and they could save so many more lives by becoming even more active. It was a daunting proposition for anyone, but given the fact that Dr Light was rebuilding more of the fallen Robot Masters for new teams, the workload wouldn’t be as drastic as one might think, especially given that crime-rates world wide were falling at record paces, thanks largely in part to the efforts of the Sinister Six, as well as the other two current teams- the Mechanical Maniacs and Dr Cossack’s Comrades. And this roster of teams would only increase as the next decade wore on. One might point to the irony of robots originally intended for world domination instead being used for saving the lives of whom they were meant to conquer, but something about that seemed redundant.
Erik was instrumental in this development, as he kept a watchful eye on his teammates movements, even when he wasn’t on the field of duty. Erik, or as he was more well known to the world as the incredibly strong Gutsman, was also gifted with a technically inclined mind, and often presided over his fellow crime fighters’ repairs. Now, through his notes and memory, he helped Dr Light design the new upgrades and bodies for the other Sinister Six. Gutsman’s vigil and care over his friends would now prove to be even more useful than ever before, and through this action he could potentially save even more lives by allowing his teammates that ability.
Already, four out of the six S6 alumni have received their upgrades. Erik, Ben, Odin, and Britt had already received their new goodies, and were already flaunting their new looks around the base. The most strikingly different looking member was Cut-Chan, who now boasted a sleek new look designed for stealth and espionage. In fact, her new look called for a brand new body, leaving only one original part- the same, characteristic silver shears that allowed them to be here today, her shears. But, in keeping with the stealth theme, her blades were now mounted at the base of her metallic skull, giving her a pony tail look. Along with her new head configuration is a type of technology borrowed from Rockman himself- a helmet on demand. With this face covering half helmet, Britt’s eyes are presented with Erik’s custom made heads up display. Also new were her forearm-mounted blades, which mimicked her original shears general shape. However, these new blades were fixed in place, but could be retracted into her arms when not in use. In fact, had she not been finished in the classic Cutman orange and white color scheme she could be mistaken for a type of ninja robot, but she wanted to seem friendlier in public, and dark colors were usually associated with villains.
For himself, Erik had many portions of his body rebuilt, which included a foot and a half reduction in overall height for easier maneuverability, as well as the usual upgrades he usually received, which meant a higher level of strength and more armor plating. Being the big man of the group, Erik found a comfortable role in being a primarily defensive character. That being so, many of the smaller upgrades had to do with defensive measures, such as hand guards that would deploy within a fraction of a second, knee guards of a similar nature, and the heads up display that retracted back into his helmet. In fact, his new helmet looked more like a traditional mining helmet compared to the Japanese construction themed helmet he was famous for. His body was now sans the construction caution stripes and warning labels that he had grown used to, and he now resembled more of a fighting robot equipped for search and rescue rather than a wilderness reclamation robot.
Not to be out done by any of his fellow teammates, Odin’s new Elecman upgrades matched his ever-growing ego. One of the things that nearly did him in when fighting Cutman was his apparent weakness to a new form of liquid insulation, which was used in a robot built by Cutman named the Silver Devil. To avoid a similar defeat, Odin’s new body skin included a rubbery material that repelled most liquid based attacks. More so, his body could now generate electricity from his entire body, not just his hands. This made Odin dangerous from every angle, even if he wasn’t facing you. On top of this, he carried a souvenir brought back from a mission in England: a broadsword. Odin had Dr Light coat the blade of this sword in copper to conduct electricity, making the sword itself an excellent conductor and lightening rod. Not being the humble type, Odin has taken to showing off in public as much as possible, but still uses his power in reserve. Also, as with the rest of the S6, Elecman’s mask is now equipped with display screens that act as both protection from the intense light given off from his own weapon, as well as his heads up display.
Confident in his body’s inherent power, Ben had opted for minimal upgrades. Mostly, his body was more accommodating to conflict, with more layers of heatproof Kevlar and ceramic armor plates. As with the rest of the S6, Ben was equipped with a heads up display that covered his entire face when activated. This fireproof facemask provided a rather scary looking red/chrome face, complete with the familiar Fireman chin guard. As Ben was the first of the S6 to receive his new upgrades, he has seen the most action with the new gear. Fireman has taken a rather unique view to his new armor in that he no longer repairs any of the smaller cuts and scrapes in his armor, leaving his body covered in the scars of battle. Contrary to what you think when looking at this body, Ben is not reckless in battle. Instead, he merely chooses to use each cut and scar as reminders for what he could have done better in battle.
The only two S6 team members not equipped with this new technology were Gary and Fushi, of which Gary was set to receive over the next two days. Since Fushi was getting an entirely new body, she would have to wait a few more days to receive her new “toys”, but for some reason she didn’t seem too enthused. Even Ben showed some excitement when he came back to the S6’s home base with his new upgrades, but Fushi has instead remained sullen, as she has been since she was repaired from her near fatal wounds given to her by Cutman during one battle. Before that, she was usually very open and optimistic among the team, providing insight on cloudy situations and often doling out difficult to give advice. All of that seemed to change that one night in Italy when Cutman’s blades plunged through her torso. It was almost as if he managed to cut out a piece of her very soul that night.
Gary finally unlaced his fingers and stood up, staring at DLNO 003’s now restful expression. It seemed almost impossible that a creation of such a kindly man like Dr Light could desire such bloodshed and destruction. But in some far off corner of Gary’s mind he could relate to him in a strange way. He could understand that feeling of rejection, that feeling of being forgotten even by your own father. He never condoned Cutman’s actions, but Gary knew that given different circumstances he probably would have been used in the HARRP project instead of the Wily-built model originally used for Britt’s construction. It was sad really that things worked out the way they did. He could only imagine the lonely nights this twisted creature endured for ten long years.
Giving a final glance to the glass-encased robot, Gary departed to the teleportation chambers. The chambers were needed to both leave and enter the base, as the entire S6 compound was shrouded in both a hologram depicting an abandoned building instead of the real dome-cluster shapes and a teleportation proof shield that prevented anyone from simply beaming in, as Cutman did just a few months ago.
Gary now hugged Britt goodbye, departing towards Dr Light’s main lab in Okayama, Japan. Wishing him a safe journey, she knew it was almost useless to say such a thing. Teleportation was the most used form of transport among non-organic items and beings even among such complicated things as robots. It had a near flawless safety record, faithfully transmigrating something from one place to the next. This was just another one of Dr Light’s fantastic innovations and gifts to society, and one that people quickly took for granted, as shipping costs and raw material transport times became nearly non existent by cutting out the middleman. The world truly became a smaller place with this revolutionary device, but it was but one gadget born from a sketchpad, brilliant as it was.
Teleportation also gave off a characteristic glow as it shot the disassembled particles of the transported matter into the sky, which was visible for just a few seconds. Just outside the Sinister Six’s’ grounds, a sizable number of robots camouflaged by the very same cloaking technology that kept prying eyes out of the crime fighters private refuge observed the telltale beam of light that signaled the departure of one of the robots. However, their wait continued as they awaited the arrival of their commanding officer...
2 - The Arrival
As dawn broke a few hours after Gary’s departure to Dr Light’s lab, the rest of the Sinister Six were awakened by yet another emergency call, this time coming from the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Scenes like these were not all that uncommon for the S6, who had long ago gotten used to this constant series interruptions. It was not unlike being a fireman, as you always slept with the feeling of waiting for the alarm to sound, forcing a reflex from you to spring up and off to save some lives. Once again volunteering for the job, Ben and Odin departed to the site to apprehend a pair of arsonists fleeing the scene of the crime, leaving Britt, Fushi, and Erik to monitor any other goings on in the world that might need their attention.
Outside, a strikingly different scene was being played out under the veil of optic camouflage. Known to the world as the “Sniper Joe” series of military and security robots, a highly customized unit of nearly one hundred remained hidden from even the Sinister Six’s all seeing security devices. These Sniper Joes were quite different from their factory counterparts in that they were all painted and dressed in different styles of camouflage, but even more striking were the signs of extreme military discipline and intelligence not usually associated with the usually dumbed-down light-combat robot. Each individual had the expertise of the highest skilled US Marine, Navy SEAL, and Green Beret soldier- obviously not something any normal person could ever possibly replicate in a robot. Even the US military in general refused to entertain the notion of completely replacing all of the human soldiers with robotic counterparts, citing the numerous risks of placing a robot in some extremely delicate situations.
These Sniper Joes were not here for the US Military, however, nor were they here on the part of any other world country. Instead, they awaited the arrival of their commanding officer, who at that moment appeared suddenly above them, without the characteristic beam of light from a teleportation beam.
“Aha, you’ve arrived Colonel Red, sir.” spoke one of the tan painted Joes. “Our machines are within five minutes of reaching their underground generators and cutting off their power.”
Colonel Red was about as unintimidating a robot as you had ever seen, until you got up close to look at him. Draped over his entire body, save for his head and sand beaten white boots, was a velvety textured crimson poncho, which apparently was patched together using triangular cut scraps of cloth. His face, which was visible from the chin up, was not unlike that of a small child, but his eyes told you a different story. His eyes themselves showed nary a trace of life, with a creamy brown iris that bore no glimpse into his inner thoughts. It was as if all of his actions were governed second to second, but that was hardly the case. His eyebrows contrasted with his eyes, in that they showed some sort of sign of constant concentration, but not enough to really tell you hat was going on inside his mind. His mouth was a small, uneventful line underneath his rounded nose, showing no signs of a frown or smile. His most interesting feature just may have been his hairline, which displayed a rather noticeable and uninterrupted scar that ran the entire length of his scalp, broken only by the occasional staple or crude stitch meant to keep his hair in place. Apparently, the spiky dark brown hair atop his head wasn’t even his own, but of some hapless person who sported a hairstyle the Colonel took a fancy to. Even his ears didn’t appear to be his own, as they were stitched on as well.
“…What activity has occurred within?” the Colonel inquired in a soft, craggy, almost inaudible whisper. At some time during his operation, his mechanical vocal cords must have been damaged.
“Sensors have shown the departure of three entities within the past eight hours, sir, with visual conformation. From what we have gathered, they were most likely that of Iceman, Fireman, and Elecman, of which Iceman appeared to depart for Japan.”
“…That leaves but three inside. Now, where is your unit’s commanding officer? I believe it’s…”, Red struggled to remember the name of the robot placed in charge of this particular unit, but quickly shrugged it off.
“I’ll notify him at once, sir.” The Joe offered with a salute.
“…I have no need to speak with him. Just tell him to keep his radio on in case I am in need of his assistance.”
“Sir, aren’t we charging in as a unit?”
“…There is no need. I shall retrieve the General’s remains myself. You may remain here until my return, where we shall initiate phase three.”
At that moment, almost as if on cue, the hologram that kept the Sinister Six’s base hidden suddenly flickered out. The small drilling robots that were deployed an hour ago by the Sniper Joes must have reached the base’s power generators and cut the supply, leaving the Sinister Six without security…or the force field that would have kept any one out. Colonel Red abruptly turned to face the building, offering a glimpse of the Iceman based body underneath the cloak, and began the quarter mile journey to the complex’s main entrance, hell-bent on completing his task.
Inside the Sinister Six compound, the three remaining members inside had already reacted to the sudden loss of power. In the six years they had occupied the US government-built building, not once had the power failed. Strange indeed, but it was probably nothing more than an inconvenience that could be fixed by Odin when he arrived from his morning “errand” with Ben. Fushi even ventured out of reclusive state to ask what had happened then promptly retreated back to her quarters to finish reading her magazine under a flashlight. Erik decided to take a look at the underground generators for himself, which would take up to half an hour just to reach. Britt remained in the central control room just in case this glitch decided to fix itself and restore power.
That is, until she heard some unusually load banding from the corridor outside.
“Erik? Is that you? What’s the matter- did you forget the keys to the basement again?” she jested.
Erik, however, was already out of hearing range. The banging continued, this time accompanied with the distinct sound of metal twisting slowly. Britt quickly determined that it was coming from the main entranced and raced to the site. Not knowing what to expect she unsheathed her forearm mounted blades, as well as taking her shears in hand.
Turning down the hallway that lead to the door, she was almost blinded with the sunlight that poured in from the place that should be occupied by a large, two foot thick vault door. Placing her hand over her eyes, she focused on the figured that stood in the doorway, now making its way towards her.
“Stop right there! You’re on-…Gary?” she interrupted herself, thinking her icy soul mate had already returned from his trip to Japan. If one were to look at this figure and Iceman, you could forgive quite easily for mixing up the two at first glance.
“That was quick!” she continued even as the small figure continued forward without one word. “Doc didn’t really do much, did he? And I don’t think that cape is your color, Icy-Kun.”
However, as the cloaked figure continued his approach, she quickly realized this wasn’t Gary after all, especially given this person’s nasty looking scars. Before she could once again demand who he was, the figure broke his silence.
“…The General. Where is he being held?”
Confused, Britt could barely hear his question, let alone know what he was talking about. “General? What General? Look pal, I think you’ve got this placed confused with another place, cause there’s nobody by that name here.”
Slightly annoyed, Colonel Red voiced his lack of patience by revealing his hand and lifting it towards her. This acted as a signal to an unseen force, which soon materialized in the form of glittering, ruby-like shimmerings in the air as they quickly swarmed upon Britt, lifting her into the ceiling.
“…With or without your cooperation, I shall retrieve my commander.”
Britt soon found herself being pushed through the ceiling and into the roof of the dome, her systems being suffocated by this deadly crimson storm of dust. But just before she was nearing unconsciousness, they receded, leaving her dizzy and weak from lack of air.
Continuing onward, Colonel Red had retracted both his hand and the red swarm back to its resting-place into his cloak. As it returned, a triangular patch reformed on his back, covering a spot near his legs. Apparently, his entire poncho was made of this swarm, which constantly maintained this appearance until it’s master called for it. It could properly be called his power manifested by anyone observing this phenomena. However, not too many people who met Red had ever been able to describe this to anyone afterwards.
The determined Colonel had now reached the complex’s main juncture, which branched off into several hallways. Not willing to explore each massive hallway individually, the resourceful commander had a clever shortcut. Closing his eyes, Red outstretched both of his arms away from his body in one fast motion. The moment he did this, his body covering reacted by becoming a massive swarm of ruby red, filling the air with itself. With another swift motion, the Colonel started directing bits of the swarm into different tunnels, which they would explore far faster than if he had chosen to inspect each and every one of the one hundred and plus rooms of the Sinister Six complex in person.
His entire body was now in plain view, save there was no one to view it. Looking very much like the body of Iceman, the once sky blue Kevlar pants and parka had been scorched by the sun, turning them a pale version of their former color, almost white. His boots and gloves remained white, but it was obvious to anyone that he hadn’t always been so careful with his body, as small holes dotted them as well as various spots of dirt dusted about them indicated. Missing from his back was the cylinder that provided Iceman with the necessary ingredients needed to form the Ice Slasher. In its place was a rectangular interface plate that once meet with this canister. Also absent was the parka’s hood, which had apparently been ripped off by either himself or something else, leaving his bare robotic skull and neck components exposed to the elements. This explained the rather grotesque impromptu hairpiece, as well as the fragments of the red cape that remained, which formed a scarf around his neck to hide most of the mechanical components.
Suddenly, Red snapped open his eyes- his red swarm had given him the location of his objective.
“…There.” he thought aloud, almost proclaiming victory. With no one around to stop him, he may as well.
A few stories up in the dome-shaped main juncture, Britt was just now stirring to her feet, still shaking off the effects of he encounter with the red-draped stranger.
“Who…in the hell…?” she could only wonder. Even with her specially designed new body, she couldn’t keep up with his movements. Perhaps it was due to the fact that she was still getting used to it, or perhaps he was just faster. In any case, they now had to deal with one dangerous intruder in their private sanctuary, and the Sinister Six weren’t about to give it up for anyone.
“Erik? Erik, can you hear me?” she called to her comrade, who was still making his way to the base’s power supply center.
“Loud and clear. What’s up?” he responded after a short delay.
“We’ve got trouble up here! Someone’s managed to pull off the front doors like they were made of taffy and on top of that, he was able to toss me almost skyward.”
“That’s impossible. The only person, other than me, even remotely capable of tearing apart those doors is Hardman! What did this guy look like, anyway?” the hulking Gutsman asked flatly.
“It’s strange…He looked a lot like Gary, but I know it wasn’t. Listen, he’s after something in here. I don’t even think he wants to fight us. I heard him muttering something about a ‘general’.”
“General?” Erik echoed. “Maybe he’s got us confused for someone else? We are on government property, after all…”
“We can theorize all we want later, but we better deal with this guy before he really does some damage. Can you remotely seal off all the blast doors from where you are? That’ll at least buy us sometime before Odin and Ben get back. Maybe we’ll have a shot then…”
“Will do. I’ll head up as soon as I can get the power back online. Just try to keep an eye on this guy but don’t go fighting him if he’s as strong as you say he is. We don’t know what he’s capable of, but if he can get in here of all places, he’s no joke.”
“Right. Leave it to me! Over and out!” Britt obliging to Erik’s suggestion, she now would have to test her new body’s stealth capabilities. Luckily for her, that’s exactly what it was made for. Descending from the newly blasted hole in the ceiling, the orange and white female robot now shifted her color spectrum to a dark black, rendering a hard sight to catch in the darkness of the emergency lit hallways. Catching a glimpse of the telltale red “hornet swarm” of the stranger, she silently began tracking her quarry, ready to watch his every movement as he wandered the blackened labyrinth-like hallways.
Red now was within mere feet of the room containing his fallen commanding officer and mentor when suddenly a thick blast door slammed over each and every opening. At first, Red assumed he could simply pry it away from its hinges like the front door, but upon a closer look he realized that would be a tall order.
“…Subterranean kept blast doors? This could take some time even for me…” the Colonel thought to himself. Fortunately for him, he had an easier solution. “…Captain, do you copy?” he asked as he clicked a hidden radio switch in his ear.
“Yes sir. What do you need?” a voice popped into his ear almost immediately.
“…Have you been keeping track of my position?
“Yes sir, we have. I know exactly where you are. In fact, I’m right above you as we speak…”
“…Good. Directly in front of me is our target, but it is blocked off by a door that I can’t get through. I’ll leave the details to the solution to you, so long as you be careful with the General.”
“Roger that, sir. See you in a few…”
Within seconds of ending communication, a huge explosion rocked the room in front of the Colonel. Taking this as his signal, Red stepped off to the side, knowing exactly what was to follow. Right on que, the thick steeled door bulged when yet another huge explosion rang out, then was violently ripped open with yet another ear-shattering “bang!”
It was at this moment that Britt had caught up with the S6’s uninvited guest, only to realize exactly what he had come for. Taking the opportunity to snap some quick photos of this stranger using her electronic eyes, Cut-Chan made doubly sure he wouldn’t get away as clean as he might have hoped. Red then slowly walked into the now smoke filled memorial room, finally coming within view of his intended target.
By this time, the bomb throwing Captain had already ascended back into the room’s new impromptu skylight, leaving Colonel Red to collect the General, who’s glass coffin was now shattered, and his body lay slumped off to the side, lifeless. It was exactly as the Colonel had expected- no, even more. Surprisingly for him, the General’s body had been completely restored to new condition.
“…Sentimental fools…” he remarked to himself as he began grabbing anything that might be of use to the General later. Underneath the coffin he found a whole box full of some of the orange robot’s original parts, including the ugly, yellowed glass eye covers Red remembered staring at. “…Could they have made it any easier?”
Just then, Britt had finally peeked her head into the room, only to be met with a sight she had hoped she wouldn’t see. The red clad stranger had Cutman’s body propped over his shoulder, and using his swarm of ruby red he lifted many of the room’s contents skyward. Red had taken notice of his “hunter” even before she managed to take the photos of her quarry. Taking the opportunity to deliver an ominous message, Red looked directly at her.
“…Judgement Day is upon you. You had better make sure you’re on the right side.”
And with that, Red leapt clear into the smoke-filled air above him, landing quickly on top of the dome’s roof before heading back to the waiting troops in the distance.
“…Good God…” was all Britt managed to utter.
The camouflaged troops outside crowded around their returning commanding officer, almost to confirm that Red had indeed accomplished his mission in such a short amount of time. The same tan and black painted trooper that earlier addressed the Colonel inquired about their next mission almost as soon as he had handed off the lifeless body of the General to some other Joes.
“What now, Colonel? What are your orders?” he quizzed with a salute.
“…We continue our plan. All troops depart for location number two on the double.”
Within seconds of hearing this order, the entire battalion disappeared in a huge beam of collective white light, departing to their next unfortunate target.
3 - Assault and Retrieval
Gary stood in the bathroom of Dr Light’s lab, enamored with his new body. It had taken the good doctor nearly all night to transfer Gary’s mind into the new Iceman body, but he remained quite proud of his latest work. Gary would agree with Light that his new body was quite the nice piece of equipment, he would say in his usual jokingly tone. Indeed, it was many times more capable of nearly every action the original was capable of, and then some. The newly designed tank on his back was no longer a plain canister that was rather uncomfortable to land on, as now it was a custom made, space age looking tank that resembled a small clam shell. This new shape could also contain even more of the liquid nitrogen Iceman used for the Ice Slasher, which when combined with more fuel-efficient technology with Gary gave him a near limitless supply of the liquid coolant in battle. Also streamlined was the coolant’s delivery system, which no longer had just one opening to dispense the deadly ice attack. Now, Gary could launch the Ice Slasher not just from his mouth, but from his palms and even his feet, thanks to the new openings they now bore. All of this, coupled with the usual mobility upgrades made Gary feel like his new body was made of air- it’s weight had been drastically reduced, even though he grew a full four inches taller to 5’1”.
However, none of these features are what Gary had been staring at the mirror at for the past five minutes. He had now been given a mane of fine brown, synthetic hair. He hadn’t had hair in years, in fact, none of the S6 had any either, being that they were always robots. It was amazing to Gary: he looked almost completely human now from the neck up. He never really thought about it, or he never wanted to, but he missed the little things he was able to do as “just a human”. He couldn’t even go out in public without throngs of reporters and autograph seekers, as well as the usual anti-robot riff raff dashing up to him to assault him with whatever they had wanted from him. All of those crowds really made a person feel all alone, really.
But still, he always had to take into consideration his position in life- as a protector. Even if it meant sacrificing any semblance of a normal life, he was glad to be a part of it. He just wished that there wasn’t a need for beings like him, and that human beings and robots could co-exist as the Sinister Six had learned long ago.
Gary eventually pried his eyes from the mirror long enough to examine his new weapon, which he requested of Dr Light. Right now, it didn’t look like much. If anything, it just looked like a plain old metal staff with a loop attached to the end of it, but it was one of the most versatile weapons ever conceived by Dr Light. It worked hand in hand with his own inherent power, much like Odin’s new copper plated sword worked with his powers. The loop at the end of the staff actually acted as a channel for his ice to flow, allowing Gary to turn the staff into any number of weapons, from a pick axe used to dig for survivors of an avalanche, to even a giant hammer. Concentrating on the hammer thought Gary clutched the staff with both hands and feed the liquid nitrogen into some tiny pores drilled into the staff, sending the coolant into the loop at the end of it. Before his eyes, he watched the perfectly shaped hammer head form from out of each end of the loop.
Taking a few practice swings, Gary was amazed that the block of ice at the end of the staff hadn’t made the weapon much heavier, but then again he was rather strong now thanks to his new metallic muscles. Getting a little too carried away with it, Gary wound up smashing the hammer right into the mirror behind him, creating a loud smashing noise. Reacting much like a child in trouble for smashing a similar object, Gary looked around the room to see if anybody had seen it, then yelled “Aww, Rush! Look at what you did!” as he bolted from the bathroom.
Outside, a less humble scene had just arrived from halfway around the world. The hundred-strong troop force, flanked by their two commanding officers, emerged from a blinding white light that carried them a few thousand miles within a matter of one hour, which seemed like an eye blink to all of them. It was still pre-dawn in Okayama, giving them all the cover they needed to hide from Dr Light’s ever watchful security system. Luckily for these characters, Erik was still wrestling with the S6’s electronics system, effectively cutting off the flow of communication between Light’s lab and the Sinister Six headquarters. Everything was playing out just as Colonel Red had predicted it would.
“…I want twelve of the best troops here to come in with me. We’re not going to waste any time here.” Red said as loudly as he could, which was still little more than what a human would consider “library tone”. Luckily, he was speaking to a crowd of robots equipped with some of the best audio sensors available and they could hear every word that he spoke with crystal clarity. Immediately, one dozen Joes in assorted camo paint stepped forward. There was no quibbling amongst the force about who was the best and who wasn’t- they all knew who was, and there were no arguments. It was what every sergeant, no, every commanding officer ever dreamed of in his troops.
As soon as he had his dozen men, Red began to walk swiftly towards the fort-like lab. It may not have had the amount of security as the S6 base, but Red knew that within minutes of coming within range of the security cameras’ eyes that he would have his work cut out for him. Again marching onward with his general’s body thrown over his shoulder, Red began directing his troops to any points of interest, ready to take the most strategic positions in case of any resistance that might come out of the building to greet them. And just as he had predicted, something did indeed come out to welcome these unwanted guests.
A small army of Sniper Joes and Metools burst forth from a shutter in front of them. However, these small arms robots were quickly picked apart by the high precision machine gun fire of the Scissor Army, who were vastly superior in each and every way. Within seconds of their deployment, the Light-built robots were destroyed without even having a chance to fire off more than ten rounds, and Red never broke his stride as he continued into the lab.
Within the lab, the rarely rung alarm code broke the silence of the hallways, notifying everyone inside of the impending intruders. Light, who had just gotten to sleep not five minutes before, found himself quite angrily reaching for his coat and glasses to run for the control room. Already on the scene, Roll quickly briefed the groggy scientist on the situation. It seemed as though a small, highly trained army had somehow breached the high security zone of the lab, and even managed to tear apart their entire Sniper Joe regiment. Light knew by the description that this wasn’t the work of Dr Wily, who never really had much precision in these types of assaults.
“Who is it?” he inquired, wanting to know exactly who or what could guide such an attack.
“So far, all we’ve seen are a few Sniper Joes, but by all indications these aren’t like the mass produced ones…” Roll rattled off.
“They’ve got to be after something. This is too highly coordinated to be those anti-robot terrorists this time.”
“…Why thank you, Doctor. It’s humbling to hear such kind words from the man that made this possible.” A voice rang out from behind them.
Standing the doorway with a handful of troops was the poncho wearing Colonel Red, a strange sight for Light and Roll to behold. Roll wasted no time in confronting this attacker of their peace; she was, after all, cut from the same material that made up her famous brother.
“You’re the one behind this? What are you here for? If you’re here for the Doctor, I’ll never let you get your hands on him!”
“…I have no interest in the old man. Instead, I only ask that you point me to your archives and storeroom. There’s something there of ours that we wish to retrieve.” Red coldly stated.
“Whatever it is, you’ll never get it without a fight…” Roll threatened, but she knew she wasn’t much of a match for the deadly looking Sniper Joes flanking their leader.
“…You’re wasting my time as well as your life. I have no wish to cause any harm to either of you, but if I must, I will.” Red grimly whispered as he sent forth his red swarm to grab both of the now-hostages. “…Finding it by myself won’t take very long at all, anyway.”
Colonel Red closed his eyes once again and sent whatever wasn’t being used of the red swarm to search for his goal just as he did in the S6 HQ. Light, observing all of this, muttered in astonishment.
“N-nanotech? That’s impossible…”
Not bothering to answer the doctor’s observation, Red opened his eyes when his seeker found his latest target. “…Come. You will bare witness to a great event…”
Towing his captives behind him, Red and his troops marched down the hallway from the control room to a large storeroom. Ripping the locked door from it’s hinges, the ill-tempered Colonel now instinctively walked to a shelf that stood out to him among the hundreds of shelves within the massive storage room, crushing a heavy steel casing that kept him from his prize. Pulling the small object from the destroyed lock box, Light at that moment realized what Red was after.
“No! Not that chip! You don’t know how dangerous it is!”
“…Believe me, I do. That’s why I’m here.” Red replied as he beckoned to his troops. Light and Roll hadn’t noticed what one of the Sniper Joes were carrying as they were escorted to the storage room, but as the Joes came towards Red and past Light and Roll it became clear.
“…That body…I see now. I know what you’re trying to do, but I’m afraid it won’t work! I wiped that chip’s stored AI clean weeks ago. That data is lost forever!” Light yelled with a sense of victory over his assailants. At least they wouldn’t leave with what they had hoped.
“…I expected nothing less from you, doctor. That’s why I brought my own.” The Colonel said as he pulled another small chip from underneath his cloak.
Taking the General’s head into one hand and opening it’s hidden access port with the other, Red was just about to insert the pair of chips into his mentor’s cranium when he paused.
“Having second thoughts, are we? If I were you, I’d leave him just as he is…” Light tried to reason as he began sweating. However, Red stopped for a different reason as he grabbed the pair of yellow, aged lenses from one of the troops and began prying Cutman’s new, clear lenses away from his face. Roll almost became sick as she tried to keep from watching the disturbing scene.
“…He’ll appreciate it.” Red said to Roll as he noticed her writhing in her crimson bindings. As soon as the old eye covers were back in place, Red continued inserting the AI chips into the orange head.
The lifeless body was stood up in the middle of the room as the AI went to work readjusting itself to Cutman’s interior. Then, with a few twitches, Cutman’s eyes snapped open and he let out a painful scream as he clutched his chest. To him, there was no interruption from now and the events that killed him months ago, so he instinctively lurched forward trying to keep his body together. Within seconds, however, he realized that he was whole, and the separating cut across his chest was no more. Confused, he began to look around to try and find out for himself an explanation when he met eyes with Red.
“…Welcome back, General.” The ruby-cloaked figure saluted.
Still huffing, Cutman looked at him quizzically. “…Red? What happened?”
“…I’m sorry to say that you were defeated nine months ago. I would have retrieved your body sooner, but I wanted to finish our Special Forces units.”
Suddenly, Cutman’s memories all came flooding back to him. He remembered the fight with Gary, the blades coming back at him. He remembered seeing Iceman’s face as blackness enveloped him.
“Iceman…” Cutman hissed. “His day of reckoning is fast approaching. He will pay…”
“…Your live feed back up chip theory proved to be a success, General. At least you can claim that as a success.” Red tried to make light of the situation.
“…Indeed.” Cutman now calmly stated. “And you said it would never work. Heh…”
At this moment, a Sniper Joe handed over Cutman’s tattered lab coat, as well as both pairs of shears. Cutman grinned as he wrapped himself in the filthy garment and grabbed both blades, examining both sets. Placing his worn shears atop his head, he menacingly swung the newer pair around as he took sight of Light.
“Well, ‘dad’…Long time no see. And ‘sis’ as well! Aren’t you going to give me a welcome back hug?”
“You stopped being a son of mine long ago, you fiend.” Light growled.
“Now, here I thought you were a smart man. I must say it’s not the most brilliant thing to do when you insult someone with a weapon of death in his hands.” the General patronized. Then, he set his sights on something behind both Roll and Light. “Now…what’s this? A computer? In such an odd room? And with no network hooked up to it to boot? Pretty sneaky, papa. You must have some nice info stored on that baby.”
Cutman gestured to his troops to tear the computer from its resting-place and take it with them.
“Well dad, I would stay and reminisce about the good old days with you, but unfortunately I have plans.”
“Make no mistake, Cutman; they stopped you once before, they can and will do it again.” Light countered.
“I have no doubt that they will try to do just that, but I won’t fall to the same trick twice. I have you to thank for such wonderful thinking, after all.” Cutman said in yet another mocking tone as he turned for the exit. “Oh, and just one more thing, doctor…”
Cutman signaled to Red to release the now shaking scientist from his crimson grasp and the old man spilled onto the floor.
“Ten years ago, I left that idiot Wily with a reminder of who was superior. It wouldn’t be fair to you if you didn’t receive a similar gesture…” Cutman began grinning madly as he reared back his palmed shears.
4 - Brother v. Brother
Gary was sprinting down the cavernous hallways as if a tidal wave were following him. The droning alarm still echoed throughout the massive laboratory, and Gary struggled to find exactly where Dr Light was within the huge building. Checking and re-checking every room along the way, Gary eventually settled on finding the control room and seeing if the doctor was already there.
Rounding one particular corner, the Arctic research robot came across a rather dark hallway- strange to say the least, especially when all the other hallways’ lights were working just fine. Narrowing his eyes to see any movement in the pitch blackness of the passage, Gary very quickly became aware of slow and steady foot steps coming his way from the back of the hallway. Hoping it was his missing doctor, Gary called out.
“Dr Light? Are you there? Are you alright, doctor?”
The footsteps continued without reply for a few more steps, then stopped short of the end of the darkness. Gary began clenching his fists in preparation for the worst, which of course happened. At that instant, a shower of sparks erupted from the wall, blazing a beeline path straight towards the hero, who tried in vain to predict its movements. Watching it cut to the right suddenly, Gary shifted his weight toward the opposite side, hoping to avoid the object. For the most part, he did, but it managed to chop off two of his fingers as well as a good portion of his forearm. Had Gary been more well adjusted to his new body, he would have easily dodged the strike, but due to a slight misstep on his part he was now grasping the open wound with his good hand. As oil poured forth from the gash, Gary sealed it using a layer of ice to shut off the pain sensors in his arm. Looking up, Gary still couldn’t see his assailant, but knew he had to be prepared for another attack and second now.
“Just like old times, eh number zero-zero-five?” a hauntingly familiar voice rang out from the shadow.
“It’s…not possible! You’re…” Gary stammered out.
“Dead? I was, thanks to you. But I got better, you see.” Cutman grinned as he emerged from the darkness, clutching his new shears in his hand. “Consider that a taste of things to come.” As he pointed to Gary’s damaged limb.
“Heh…You got me with a cheap shot, you bastard. Don’t expect to get lucky a second time!” Gary claimed, raising his arms up to prepare his new Ice Slasher Mk II.
“No…not here. There’s no style if I kill you here in this dull setting. And besides, you’ve got to deal with the wounded.”
“Wounded?” Gary repeated. “Cutman…you didn’t…”
“I didn’t? Well, go see for yourself if you’re so doubtful.” he offered as he stepped to the side. “I’ve got more important things to do anyway.”
“…And let you get away scot-free? The hell with that. You’re lying anyway.” Gary accused.
“Fine. If you’re so eager to know what Hell looks like, I’ll be your tour guide.” Cutman exclaimed as he grabbed both shears and crouched down in a menacing stance. However, he was cut short by yet another voice coming from behind him.
“Iceman, go on ahead and check on Dr Light. Looks like I’ll have to beat some manners into my long lost brother here.”
“That voice…It wouldn’t happen to be my big brother Rocky now, would it?” Cutman smirked as he flung himself around.
Indeed it was the now legendary Rockman who challenged the General. Standing at the lighted end of the hallway, Rock held his azure blue helmet in his left hand and raised his buster equipped right arm towards his opponent. Gary, not willing to get in between these two when the sparks started to fly, ran ahead, giving Rockman a good luck gesture as he prepared to fight his twisted little brother.
“I beat you once before, I can do it again if that’s what you want.” Rock taunted as he placed his iconic helmet atop his head.
“You’re mistaken: you’ve never beaten me. You managed a notch on your victory belt by trouncing some half-baked copy. Even ‘dad’ knew you couldn’t even dream of fighting me and escaping with your life!” Cutman reminded his older sibling.
After a brief stare down between the two, Rock made the first move and unleashed a volley of plasma towards the General, who quite easily slinked in between each blast to gain distance. Now using the cover of darkness to hide his movements from Rock, Cutman flung a pair of blades right at Rock, who was waiting for just that type of attack. Rockman quickly shifted to the side and let loose another barrage of cannon fire into the blackness, but yet again the cunning scissors wielder managed to dodge each shot with ease, eventually coming within inches of Rock. Rock knew Cutman would want to get up close and personal from his previous fight with the Cutman model, and performed a near flawless back handspring to avoid a slash from the orange robot.
“Pretty nifty moves, brother. Doc Light really knows how to program ‘em.” Cutman commented.
“It’s not programming. It’s experience from beating scum like you back underneath the rock.”
“Ha! Ha ha ha ha! Was that a pun? I see Light must have had some hand in that horrid sense of humor of yours, because it has his style written all over it.”
“And you have Wily’s sick intentions written all over you.” Rock retorted flatly.
This actually angered Cutman, whose characteristic mad grin had now faded into an angry scowl. “NEVER compare me to that no talent halfwit ever again! He and I are in no way equal to each other!”
“You’re right…he’s better than you.”
And with that remark, a now maddened Cutman began to take even more aggressive swings at Rock, who still managed to avoid even a scratch. Countering every swipe, Rock began to grin himself as a clearly frustrated Cutman continued to increase his offensive swings with his hand held pair of shears. Panting, Cutman stopped, then clamped his teeth shut in another sickening grin.
“What are you smiling about? I don’t see you as the winner of this fight so far.” Rockman again taunted.
“Careless…” Cutman whispered, twitching his right hand subtly.
“Me? Careless? You haven’t landed a single-“
Rock’s words were literally cut short by the set of shears Cutman tossed at him at the start of the fight as they bore through his midsection from behind. A horrified Rockman crashed to the floor as he watched his still standing legs slowly collapse to the floor without any more signals from his brain to direct them. Everything started going black and numb, but he still managed to turn himself around to look at Cutman and attempt one last shot. Letting loose the blast, he only managed to graze Cutman’s coat as the General stomped on his hand and reach for his Rock Buster. Savagely ripping the egg shaped cannon from its owner’s arm, Cutman enjoyed the screams of his fallen foe. Unable to mount any type of defense or offense, Rock was forced to watch the demented general examine his own mangled limb as he began to succumb to the darkness.
“Big brother…I’ve been watching you for years now. I’ve seen you in hundreds of battles now, each time doing your damnedest to save the ungrateful population of this wasted planet. I’ve absorbed your every move, studied you like a preacher and his Bible. Didn’t you see that I was going easy on you? Did you really become so over-confident that you really let yourself believe that you had any chance of beating me? Ha! You’ve become so weak and polluted by the poisonous words of the human race that you’ve lost any sort of killer edge you once had.
You’ve become dull, brother, like an overused knife. While you’ve settled into your little routine of fending off those pathetic, so-called Robot Masters built by the inferior Wily that you’ve grown gradually weaker while I’ve been biding my time all these years. You never stood a chance. Still…”
Cutman now picked the oil-spewing lump that remained of Rock off the saturated floor by the hair.
“…That magnificent AI program of yours is just too good to pass up! I think I’ll take it as a souvenir…”
Again readying his shears, Cutman separated the last chunks of Rock’s body from his head, ending the last of his functionality.
“Oh don’t worry, Rocky…” Cutman grinned into the lifeless face of his kin, “I’m sure Light will waste no time in rebuilding his golden boy. That is, assuming he survives my “reminder”.
Laughing maniacally, Cutman continued on his path to meet with Colonel Red and the rest of his troops who waited outside the lab. With Rockman out of the picture so easily, Cutman was even more confident in his near god-like abilities. It seemed that nobody would even come close to stopping him now, especially now that his Special Forces and commanding officers were now finally complete. His infantry may have been lost, but they could always be replaced in time. Now, he concentrated on what he could do with his power, and he was sure the rest of the world wouldn't like it one bit.
5 - A Message
Minutes before the horrific scene in Japan, a fatigued Ben and Odin returned from what was supposed to be a simple search and capture mission, which turned out to be a wholly different ordeal. As they beamed into the emergency powered teleportation receiver within the base, they exchanged banter about the rather eventful morning.
“Jeez, what a morning. Say, where do these guys keep getting flame-throwers from, anyway?” Odin quipped to his pipe-headed partner.
“I don’t know man…But what I do know is that zapping that one guy in the crotch could be construed as cruel and unusual punishment. I mean, it’s one thing to send a few thousand volts through him, but to fry his sausage like that…Hell, even I think that’s kinda twisted.” Ben wryly shot back.
“Hey look, nobody told him to try peeing on me when he ran out of gas! And you know the old adage: ‘Don’t whiz on the electric fence’.”
“Whatever man. All I know is that guy made the most horrified facial expression when he realized what was happening.” Even Ben was getting a small laugh when he thought of it.
“Oh yeah…Hey, was it always so dark in this place? I know Erik’s big into energy saving, but I can’t see my bloody hand in front of my face in here.” Odin remarked in his usual sarcastic tone.
“…Something’s wrong. In all the years we’ve been here, how many times has the power gone out? Never. I don’t like this.” A now cautious Fireman noted as he began to inspect every dark corner.
It really was a scary place to find yourself in when the power was out. Luckily, the master of fire was a walking torch and source of light, but it was still almost impossible to see more than twenty or so feet in front of you. As the two slowly made their way through the darkened catacombs of the S6 HQ, they suddenly became aware of a loud banging noise coming from somewhere down the hall. Now, both of the warriors were armed and ready, expecting just about anything. Finding the source of rhythmic beating coming from behind a shuttered blast door, they both held their readied weapons to the door to greet whatever came from behind.
Suddenly, the door violently ripped open with a flash and one more loud boom. As smoke poured out of the massive hole, a figure stepped through the foggy mist and into the hallway. However, contrary to what they were expecting, a friendlier, yet visibly frustrated Fushi huffed into the hallway, ready to bomb whoever tripped the blast doors. What she was met with were two very confused fellow S6 alumni who breathed a sigh of relief at seeing a friend.
“What the hell is going on around here?! I’m in there reading when everything goes pitch black! It took me twenty minutes just to find the stupid door!” a fuming Bomb-Chick yelled.
“Wish I could tell you, sister. We just got back, only to find…this.” Odin quickly explained as he made sure the blame wasn’t on Ben and his shoulders.
“Wait, where are Britt and Erik? I know Gary left, but what happened to the others?” Ben questioned.
Trying to find the answer to this inquiry, the trio began moving through the hallways once again, eventually coming across the hulking figure of yet another team member- Gutsman.
“Erik! What happened here? This place is a mess!” Fushi shouted at the not-so-gentle giant.
“Ugh, this has been a nasty day. Whoever was here made damn sure our power was kaput before running in here…”
“Wait, what?!” Odin asked in a shocked tone. The other two S6 members next to him stepped in closer to hear Erik's explanation.
“Guys, somebody, or something, came in here after destroying our generators and I guess threw Britt around like a marionette. I just got up from the basement to check on the generators and…”
“…And what?” Ben inquired with a growl.
“There was nothing to check. Something tore apart both of the generators and left them in a pile of scrap. We’re not going to have normal power here for a long time.” Erik sighed.
“Well, where’s Britt? Maybe we can at least find out who the hell these guys were.” A still restless Fushi reasoned.
“She went on ahead to Okayama to tell Dr Light and Gary what happened. Our lines of communications are completely shot, so somebody had to go and tell the doc in person. She also seems to be a bit shaken up from that stranger.” The rattled former construction robot explained.
“Well, we might as well go and meet with the others. Not like sitting around here in the dark is going to help anything.” Fireman plainly reasoned as he headed back to the teleportation chamber.
The others shrugged at each other and nodded in agreement with their fiery friend. They wouldn’t be of much use at the base when they’re completely shut off from the rest of the world.
For the second time that day, Gary found himself in yet another mad dash within the cavernous laboratory of his maker. This time, however, his creator’s life may very well depend on how fast he got to him. He could only hope that Rockman was holding his own against the reborn Cutman.
“Dammit!” he shouted to himself. “Why did I leave Rock alone like that? He might need my help…No, he was right back there. I need to keep my mind on finding the Doc.”
At last, the nearly exhausted Iceman found himself in front of the entrance to the massive storeroom that Roll said she was in over the communicator. Frightened by the scene inside, Gary took a small step back in horror of the sight.
Lying on the floor of the warehouse, Dr Light struggled just to breathe as he fought off the numbing shock. His legs were now separated from his body, strewn across the room in a bloody display. Roll, tears building at the corners of her eyes, clutched her father’s hand as he tried to fight the pain. Gary eventually came to his senses and ran to the doctor’s side to see what he could do. Luckily, the cuts that split his limbs away from his body were clean and above the knee. To stop the bleeding, Iceman created a block of subzero ice around his stumps, numbing the pain almost instantly.
“He’s lost a lot of blood.” Roll observed, gagging slightly at the sight of the thick red liquid.
“They’re clean wounds. If we move quickly we should be able to reattach them with the medibots.”
Moving quickly now, Roll and Gary carried the barely conscious Light out of the room after gathering his limbs. Delivering the doctor to the medical exam room, the medical robots immediately went to work on the brilliant scientist, who was now in a chemically induced coma to help him avoid any more pain. In less than an hour, the doctor was again in one piece, but he would remain in the artificial coma for several days to stimulate his healing process and allow him to regain his energy after suffering the ghastly wounds.
Never in her life did Roll ever expect such a terrible event to happen right in her own home. She had seen Rockman come home from countless battles, suffering all kinds of awful wounds and the like, but it was vastly different when the person or robot injured was somebody like Dr Light, who abhorred war and violence. She cursed herself for not doing more. She could have stood up to that orange bastard or at least tried to reason with him, though she doubted either would have done anything more than encourage him to hurt her as well.
Putting a comforting arm around his troubled mechanical sister, Gary offered some solace.
“It’ll be alright. He’s not in any pain right now, and he’ll even get his ability to walk back someday. If anything, this was meant to send a message to us.”
“A message? Of what?” Roll questioned.
“’Prepare for war.’” Iceman said with a grim look painted on his face.