Sinister Six: Revenge of the Scissor Army
Rich (Bombman) Kassidy
CHAPTER 26- His Will Be Done
Deep within the recesses of a certain dark cave centered in the Mojave Desert, a staggering humanoid figure used the walls as support as he made his way to his repair specialist. A robot nick-named the Engineer.
“General, is that you?”, the Engineer shouted towards the silhouette in the dark. “I was told to anticipate your arrival…”
The General, still masked by the darkness, continued forth wearily, rasping raggedly through his pain. Though he had come out as the victor in a life and death battle with the man half jokingly referred to as City Garage. However, giving the blinding pain he was in, Willow’s death upon the jagged rocks was of small consolation.
“Hur-…Hurry…”, he ordered the Engineer.
The Engineer- the former Wily robot more commonly referred to as Metalman- seemed unable to move as he looked at his supreme commander, who was now in enough light to reveal the extent of his injuries. Mostly, his face was partially blown apart from the effects of the small concussion blast from City Garage’s last act of violence. Most of his teeth were now exposed and blackened from the explosion, and the lower portion of his orange pseudo skin was melted away from the heat. His left eyebrow covering was shattered and exposed vital circuitry beneath and his crescent-shaped ear was also in disrepair. A thick layer of oozing oil, however, obscured all of his injuries.
“General…I’ve seen you in better shape.”, Metalman observed.
“So…So it would seem. I…assume you…know what needs to…be done?”, Cutman wheezed through his strained voice synthesizer.
“Of course, sir.”, the Engineer assured.
“…Heh…Hehe…Good. Very…good…Because I have…a few other…modifications I’ve been…meaning to do…”, the weary General remarked as he climbed into the makeshift repair chair in the Engineer’s lair.
“Sorry sir…But I’m afraid this is probably going to hurt…”, the rust-colored android warned.
A deafening scream filled the dry desert air surrounding the mine shortly thereafter, and the few COs that occupied the base all seemed to cringe, despite having heard thousands of screams before.
It was a quaint farming community in rural Kentucky, located at the foot of the Smokey Mountains. For generations, simple people thrived here on what little money they managed to collect from their hard work in the fields cultivating various vegetables and tobacco, as well as selling novelties based upon local legends to tourists heading for a weekend retreat near a local national park.
At least, they had just prior to the Scissor Army dropping down from the heavens and slaughtering the entire population with ruthless and cold efficiency in preparation for a special meeting that day. It had taken only fifteen scream-laden minutes to annihilate the townsfolk within a ten mile radius of a large field in which a large collection of menacing robots now gathered in anticipation of a confrontation.
“I’m gettin’ bored…”, a large, wooden robot proclaimed softly.
“Shuddup.”, Airman told his close accomplice, Woodman. “They should be here any minute. Unless they chickened out...”
“I hope not. That whole ‘killing humans’ thing gets old after the first thousand times. Frankly, I like to have little intermissions like this every once in a while.”, a purple and sunfire yellow female android stated.
“Well I sure as hell wish they’d get their asses here now! I’ve damn near leveled everything I can see already!”, a grenade-themed android bellowed, conveying both impatience and pride in his most recent work.
“Everyone, be quiet! We’re here to work, not screw around. Or have you forgotten all of that already?”, an angry voice reminded.
Crashman was here to represent the Scissor Army in what was sure to be a nasty confrontation with Dr Wily’s last crusaders. True to his usual self, he was very demanding of his lower-ranking officers, both on the battlefield and in respecting his leader’s orders. He also hated dissent amongst his ranks, and that usually started with small arguments.
“Hmph, you need to lighten up, Crash.”, a hovering, Japanese themed robot growled from behind his demon-esque mask. His arms were folded across his armor plated chest. Somehow, Tenguman felt free from Crashman’s tyranny over his soldiers, as he was a part of the air division and not under Crashman’s command.
“Are you questioning me, punk? Don’t forget- I’m here as the representative of the entire SA high command, and that means your ass is mine today. Cross me and I’ll put you in a hole without so much as a thought.”
“Keh, the words of a true leader.”, the demon robot jabbed.
Crashman shrugged that last remark off as his attention was drawn towards an incoming energy signal. Wily’s troops had finally arrived.
A few minutes after Dr Wily’s broadcast to Light Industries, Shadowman and Erik were busy making plans to capitalize on the Scissor Army’s momentary distraction.
“…So, they’re moving supplies the old fashioned way, huh?”, BrightBabe observed while looking in on the two’s progress.
“Seems that way…”, Gauntlet answered back.
“Any reason why, you think?”, Keba asked. She rarely kept her questions to herself these days, rationalizing that an unspoken thought was wasted.
“Teleportation signals. They’ve probably figured that we’ve found how to track them by now, so they’re using a land route to move important supplies from the West to the East coast. That, and certain types of warheads and weaponry becomes unstable if teleported.”, Erik explained.
“So, it looks like they’re getting ready for their plans after their big take over. Well, I don’t think we should waste this kind of opportunity. Let’s intercept that convoy and slow them down while we can.”, Shadowman suggested.
“Yeah. Though, they’re not stupid. It looks like they’ve got at least one other CO following what appears to be a train. I think we should bring a few guys along and take them out quickly to reduce the risk of injury amongst ourselves.” Gutsman rationalized.
“Yeah! Besides, I think some of the CC could use some exercise to get in shape for what lies ahead.”, BrightBabe offered.
“I’ll be going with you. I know I can just push that train over if we really need to.”, Erik exclaimed.
“Fair enough! Let’s go grab some of the guys and we’ll head right out.”, Keba cheerfully acknowledged.
Gauntlet switched the screen back to Wily’s live feed of the Scissor Army, who lay in wait for Wily’s forces to appear, and his face contorted slightly with disgust. Perhaps he was disgusted that he actually had to choose between two megalomaniacs winning a battle. Or perhaps he was simply sickened by the twisted face of Captain Crashman, whom the camera was now focusing on.
“Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!”
Flashma’am pointed over towards the small, comical camera bot that was now focused on Crashman’s scarred face.
“I know. It’s been there since we’ve got here…Probably one of Wily’s.”, the tiger-striped android surmised.
“Ohhh! I wonder if we’re gonna be on TV!”, the small, electrokinesis- wielding android exclaimed.
“Hm, don’t see why you’d be so excited about such a thing. You’ve probably been on that idiot machine a few times already.”, Crashman grumbled.
“You know, you have the uncanny ability to drain the romance out of anything.”, “Flashie” grunted.
“It’s a talent.”, Crashman smiled slightly while watching the marching Wily robots continue to approach him. “Look alive, boys! We got some killin’ ta do any minute here!”
The Wily robots- seven of them- finally came to a stop a few feet away from the lined up Scissor Army, and a large, gold crested figure took a few steps forward to address the leader of the SA.
“You’re the leader, yes?”, his mighty voice asked of the centered Crashman.
“Yeah, that’s me. Huh, that’s funny- I though you were bring 5 others and not six…”
“What’s the matter?”, the royal-robed robot grinned from underneath his eye-concealing crown. “Not up to the odds?”
“Not at all. I should have expected such tactics from Wily. Hell, I’m surprised that there aren’t six hundred of you.”
“No, I’m here as the leader of this group. I won’t be fighting directly. Not unless I’m provoked, anyhow.”
“What’s the matter, chicken shit? Afraid to get your hands dirty?”, Crashman challenged.
“On the contrary- there’s no need. My Technological Tyrants are more than enough to bulldoze any cobbled together recyclable, such as yourself, without my involvement.”
Crashman turned to face his troops in an act of mocking as he rolled his eyes skyward and formed an “O” with his mouth. His underlings responded with a mocking “Oooo!!!” of their own, with some shaking their hands to further insult the Wily Bot.
“Well, that’s the spirit! Tell you what, ‘friend’, when I’m done scrapping your boys there, I’ll give you an excuse to get your hands dirty…with your own internal fluids as you hold your guts in after I blow your belly open!”
“How sporting.”, the tall, golden android dryly responded. “Well, all bickering aside, do you wish you do this in a civilized manner rather than a lowly barbaric display?”
“What ever you want, Goldie. You’re the one who made the trip to die on our land- the least we can do is give you the opportunity to choose how you wanna die.”, Crashman snorted.
“Splendid. Then as your future king, I will allow your vagabonds to choose their opponents instead of vice versa.”
“What ever. Alright boys and girls, you heard the goofy lookin’ bastard in the cape. Pick your victim!”
The Scissor Army, in stark contrast to the newly created “Tech Tyrants”, were grimy and covered in human blood, reeking of iron and salt. They were battle hardened by now, and experts in picking apart the human body. But for some of them, this would be their first real test in combat against a formidable enemy.
“Ohh! Ohh! Lemme choose first!”, Flashma’am pleaded.
“Go ahead. I don’t give a damn who you kill.” Crashman approved.
“Then I choose you, stupid looking guy in the cloak and hat!”
“So, you like magic tricks, do you?”, Magicman sneered from under his mask.
“No, not really. I just thought that you deserved to get your ass kicked right away.” The unusually cheery CO grinned.
“So be it.”, King decreed. “With the first fight drawn, let us begin!”
Flashma’am and Magicman both separate from the retrospective groups and walk, glaring at each other the entire time, to an open field off in the distance. This left the remainders of the groups to decide each other’s fates.
“So…Magicman, huh? Clever…”, Flash smugly stated.
“Hoho, you doubt my abilities like my other brethren? I suppose this will be a golden opportunity to prove myself to not only my enemies, but my allies as well…”, Magicman promised as he rotated his shoulders and let his cape fall the grassy field beneath, where it vaporized into a few dozen doves.
“Neat trick. Shame that’s all you’ve got, apparently!”, Flashma’am sneered.
“I see more…convincing displays will have to enlighten you.” The top-hatted figure proclaimed as he produced a simple playing card. “Observe!”
Magicman flipped the card in his hand in many fanciful ways before a more than skeptical violet-hued Commanding Officer. Finally, the card vanishes from his palm, and he held out his hand as if to prove no tricks were involved.
“…Yay.”, Flashma’am nonchalantly exclaimed as she rolled her eyes for effect. “Is it my turn yet?”
“Not quite…”, Magicman said in a low tone as he watched his white doves appear from the sky above and claw and scrape at the distracted “Goddess of Gleam”.
“Damn it!”, she screamed as she waved her arms about to stave off the angelic swarm of birds. After a few seconds of struggling, she released a short burst of electrostatic into them, seemingly killing them. The doves were, of course, robotic, but they were mere cover for Magicman’s true attack- his signature Magic Card. Magicman seemed to be able to produce the cards from thin air and whip them towards his foe with hitman-like accuracy. His cards, however, were not mere run of the mill paper cards- they were made of razor-edged silicon with a series of computer patterns embued in them. Flashma’am would soon realize the purpose of these elaborate cards.
“What the hell?”, she asked aloud as she could feel something wasn’t quite right just after dodging the last of the cards. About five had managed to nick her in several places on her frame, but they worked very fast. “What the hell was that?!”
“A magician never reveals his methods.”, he simply offered as an answer.
Flashma’am’s systems soon told her what Magicman wouldn’t- the cards carried a virus that attacked her energy and internal fluids systems, locking up her body and removing her power itself. Even though virus scanning and eliminating programs were standard fare on all COs, it took a few moments for it to catch up with demand, leaving her sluggish and open for a follow up attack.
“Heh…Well, that was a pretty neat trick after all…”, she admitted with a small grin.
“Jealous?”, Magicman asked as he twirled his wand at his side and adjusted his hat with it.
“Why would I be jealous of something I was doing years ago?”
“What?”, he asked quietly.
“What, you didn’t hear? The only tricks you’ve shown so far are my moves, you fake.”, she taunted, giving her time for her virus busters to annihilate his Magic Card virus.
“You…dare?! No one questions a talent such as mine!” he roared as he menaced her with his wand and a few globules of plasma suspended in front of it. After whipping the bright golden blobs about, he hurls them at her, using his wand to conduct them.
By now, however, the virus elimination program had already gotten her back in mobile capacity, and she was more than capable of avoiding the clumsy sun-like blobs that splashed on the green earth that she stood upon moments before and now burned like magma.
“Its about time that my turn came around! I can’t stand glory hogs.”, she exclaimed as she held out her arms and two rectangular openings popped open from each of her forearms. A split second later, rapid fire burst of her own plasma cut through the air as they swarmed upon the magician-themed robot, who had no choice but to take a few of the plasma bullets with almost full force, unable to dodge many of them. This however, wasn’t enough to put even Magicman down.
“Standard fare! That’s nothing I wouldn’t have expected when my time came to fight Rockman, old model! There was nothing magical about tha-“
His words were halted abruptly as he noticed that for a very slim fraction of time, there were two Flashma’am’s. One disappeared within mere nano seconds of him noticing this, but he knew something strange was afoot. This was further evidenced again when it happened very shortly there after, only with three of the violet android’s copies in various places. Then four.
And then a hundred, it seemed, all focused on him in an instant. From the outside, no one would have seen the other copies- they would have only have seen a dumbstruck Magicman and Flashma’am crouched a few feet behind him, plasma buster cannon at the ready.
“What is this?!” he shouted as a volley of plasma seared the thin armor plating on his back. When he twirled around to slice into the source of the pain with more Magic Cards, he only saw the cards slide harmlessly through one of the Flashma’am copies, only to be shot at yet again in the right side.
Magicman rapidly started to lose his cool as the process repeated itself. He was not armed with any sort of heat tracking system, but it would have done him little good. He was now a victim of Flash’s “Temporal Eternity”, a move that flashed a sub directory directly into her prey. She was, for all intensive purposes, able to hypnotize whatever android she was able to trap using her seemingly weak plasma gun, which acted as cover for the flash that carried the hypnotic virus. With it installed, she could make her foe believe that she was able to stop time itself if she so desired.
And unfortunately for the hapless Magicman, she had every intention of doing just that, as she used her power to disappear and reappear a few dozen times within the maze of copies she had created within Magicman’s vision. The hypno suggestion was having other effects on him as well, such as diverting too many system resources into specific areas of his electronic mind, eventually causing him to lose functions one by one. After a few moments of attempting, and failing, to hit Flashma’am again, he began to forget how to use his own powers, and he was dropping cards left and right, some of them even finding themselves cutting into his own feet and furthering the destructive forces from within. In a few more moments, he was wandering around the battlefield aimlessly, barely remembering that someone else was
there attempting to end his functions.
After watching the sad display for a few moments to satisfy her own desire to watch an enemy suffer, Flash felt it was time to end it, and she did so by grabbing Magicman’s throat from behind and beheading him with a standard issue Scissor Army knife.
Flashma’am then tossed the lifeless cranium towards King, who stood watch over the fight. Barely moving his arm to catch the head in his left hand, he began to comment on the preceding event.
“Hmph. It’s no secret Magicman was the weakest amongst us. He was nothing but a joke; my jester. You would have fared far less better than you did had you fought someone with more potential…”, he berated.
“Well, if you’re so confident, then why don’t you face me yourself?”, she huffed as she wiped some of Magicman’s oily blood from her cheek.
“Please,”, the golden robot scoffed, “even with that victory you’re no threat to me. Be a good little girl and wait for your turn to die with the rest.”
“Ohh, so that’s how it’s gonna be?”, she challenged. “You’re in for a hell of a surprise if you think you’re automatically better than everyone else!”
Flash immediately launched a volley of cannon fire towards King, along with the imperceptible hypno suggestion. Halfway during their trip towards the large bright golden android, King produced a large shield from the air around him to deflect the plasma, but Flashma’am smirked to herself knowing the flash that she transmitted during the firing process would no doubt have accomplished her true goal, and she awaited for the paranoia to set in.
King soon darted his eyes around, apparently entranced by the mentally produced clone brigade that felled Magicman minutes earlier. Flashma’am started to circle around him and slice into him, proving he was nothing but talk after all.
However, when she was within a mere three feet of his back with her knife drawn, King’s massive arm shot out from under his cloak to grab her by the throat and crush her neck. Taken completely by surprise and having dropped her knife, Flashma’am kicked her feet in the air as she clawed at the massive gloved hand that wrapped itself around her throat. Somehow, she managed to choke out a breathless word.
King had brought her in front of him as her feet were at least thirty inches from the safety of the ground. At this time, he revealed a gigantic axe from his cape, which he held in his right hand and proceeded to separate her lower half from her torso. He released his grip on her throat as her legs fell lifelessly on the earth below her and let her land sloppily atop them.
“You made a simple mistake, but a grave one. Magicman underestimated you, but I did not. You used the exact same method on Magicman that you did me, and when I observed it the first time my system was quite capable of creating an anti-virus for it.”, he explained to a dying Flash.
“That’s…impossible…”, she slurred, losing more and more energy by the second.
“Nothing is impossible for Dr Wily’s will. His will be done.”
Flashma’am’s functions seemed to finally cease, and King turned to the next fight, as the other five Tech Tyrants had already been chosen by members of the Scissor Army.
He signaled for the two to begin…
CHAPTER 27- Roots
The stark and bitter white tundra that surrounded Iceman for miles seemed to reflect his inner self perfectly. Desolate and devoid of human meddling and destruction, it was as cold and untouched as it was for the last million years. In fact, to his knowledge, Iceman was the only thing close to that of a human being ever gracing this land, which lay very close to the South Pole itself.
He sat with his arms folded over his knees, hiding most of his face. The air was so bitter and frigid that even he had to cover his eyes with his blue-tinged goggles. Through that frosted view, he watched a few families of penguins enjoy the weather near the edge of a small lake, frozen over with ice. At one time, he might have related to them on some level, but now…he felt distant. Distant, at least, from anything that could be deemed organic and living. In the few hours since he had arrived, he had stopped his gaze at least every ten minutes to inspect his hands, as if to confirm their robot origins.
They looked so real. He could look at them and imagine taking off the white gloves that covered them and expect to see live flesh greeting his eyes. Instead, what he saw was a mechanical sham beneath, almost mocking him for allowing himself to slip into a dream, if only for a moment.
“I must be losing my mind already…”, he said aloud in a particularly retrospective moment.
Gary’s ears perked up after a few more minutes of solitude to the tone of footsteps crunching the dry snow that covered the earth for hundreds of miles in all directions.
“…Britt?”, he guessed to himself. He had almost expected to be found, but not so soon. Still, he made no move to turn and see who it was, lest he give away his interest. “Or maybe Gaunts?”
“…Or maybe Cutman. Or Red.”, he thought darkly.
The footsteps continued past him and onto the lake. “That’s strange,”, the blue and white robot thought. “Didn’t he see me?”
In a few seconds, his inner monologue was answered.
“How’s the fish today? Are they biting?”, came a strangely comforting voice from a figure draped in a worn-looking gray cloak and hood.
“I…I wouldn’t know…”, was all Iceman stammered out, somewhat confused that another soul would be so near him in this environment.
“Oh ha ha, that was a joke. Not too many fish around here at this time of year!”, the figure replied back as he knelt down before a family of large emperor penguins. “Hey there, kid. How ya doin’ today?”, he asked a baby penguin in a quiet voice. Strangely still, none of the other penguins seemed to flustered by the man’s presence.
“So…You must be Gary, right?”, he suddenly addressed the dumbfounded Iceman.
“How…Hey, who are you?”
“Oh geez, I’m sorry. Blues has told you so much about you that I forgot that you probably don’t even know I exist! I’m sorry, my name is Dave.”, he said as he offered his hand to Iceman, who had by now stood up to meet his “guest”.
“’Dave’?”, Iceman asked in an odd tone as he looked over the six foot tall frame in front of him. At this time, he noted “Dave” was wearing the same types of gloves he was, and even similar boots. “You’re not…human, are you?”
“Define ‘human’.”, was all Dave said in return.
Gary opened his mouth a few times to form a response, but after a few failed attempts, he realized that he didn’t even know. Finally, he settled on a textbook answer: “Flesh and bone, I suppose.”
“And what of the mind?”
Again, Gary struggled for the right words. Seeing the troubled expression on Gary’s face, he interrupted him.
“Ah, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get all philosophical on you all of a sudden. To answer your question, no, I’m not human. Not in the sense you were asking in, anyways.”
“…I see.”, Gary murmured.
“What’s wrong?”, Dave asked as he noted Gary’s demeanor become noticeably tense.
“Who sent you? Was it Light? Huh? Or are you from the SA?”, Iceman demanded to know.
“I…I don’t follow you. Nobody sent me- I’ve been here much longer than you.”
“Dave…What are you?”
“I guess, in a weird way, you could say I’m your long lost brother.”
“I never had a brother…”, Gary challenged.
“Well, not as a man…but as an android, you’ve got quite a few. I just happened to be one of the little known ones.”
Gary squinted his eyes at the face underneath the dull gray fabric, trying to figure out if he was lying for some reason.
“Would a reintroduction using our android names help?”, Dave offered.
“Sure, I guess. I suppose I’ll go first: Hi, my name’s Iceman.”
“Hi Iceman. My name is Cycloneman…”
“Hrrgh!!”, Woodman yelled as a huge drill bit into his leg, tearing his synthetic lumber and cybernetic supports apart from each other.
Of course, he could grow it back on his own. That was the advantage of his design, as his organic parts could easily grow back with time, leaving him with a minimum of mechanical repairs. He sure didn’t appreciate the pain, however. It was odd- one would expect a robot with strands of barbed wire entwined with his wooden being to have accepted pain as part of his everyday life.
Now, he stared back at the behemoth that caused him this pain- a monsterous android that went by the name Groundman. He stood, monolith-like, as he peered over his steel-cast face down upon the crouching Woodman, who by now had accepted the pain that still pestered his left leg.
“Cease this…senselessness.”, he stated coldly and quietly. “This serves as nothing more than entertainment for those around us.”
“…And you’re not a fan of attention…”, Woodman added.
“I’m not a fan of useless actions.”, the surly subterranean android corrected.
Woodman barely shrugged away the words and instead began his own counterattack. Learning from his sloppiness early in the bout, he became more defensive, perhaps now fearing that razor-sharp excavating tool. He called upon the two large pods that grew out of his back to open, producing a dozen half metallic, half organic leaves that were capable of independent movement. In short, his famed Leaf Shield lived again.
Groundman was not one to act brashly, but he none the less fired a Spread Drill to test the legendary shield’s power. True to it’s rumored nature, it let no harm come to it’s master, as two leaves moved infront of the drill, caught it, crushed it, and literally tossed it aside.
“Hmph…”, Groundman grunted, not much for words of praise. Instead, he continued his prodding by firing two of his signature weapon, and this time activated their true nature by causing them to split apart multiple times halfway towards the shield. Woodman stood his ground.
Six smaller but still considerably menacing drills bore down upon the Leaf Shield, which once again caught each weapon with amazing speed and accuracy. At this point, Groundman was still uncertain whether or not Woodman was in direct control of the shield or it was completely automated. He decided a stark change of strategy was in order, as he quickly realized that his Spread Drills were neutralized by the actions of the shield.
So, Groundman dove into the earth, burrowing beneath Woodman’s field of view. Of course, Woodman wasn’t very fond of such a move, and decided that he would have to start moving around to avoid being surprised from beneath. Unfortunately for Groundman, he wasn’t able to notice that the shield broke up considerably as Woodman moved, which no doubt would have worked in his favor. He could, however, hear his enemy move about above him.
From the surface, Woodman could see the earth shift slightly as Groundman tunneled below, seemingly aimlessly. Perhaps he was buying time to formulate his next move? He was obviously displeased with how the drill attack was easily rebounded by the Leaf Shield, but nothing about Groundman seemed to indicate “giving up” being present in his inner glossary.
Suddenly, the Earth exploded as Groundman erupted from beneath in his semi-vehicle mode, and his tank-like form plowed into the Leaf Shield head on, intent on breaking through and getting very personal with the photosynthetic android. It was not to be, as the Leaf Shield managed to hold firm, albeit with no slight effort, before rebound Groundman backwards and causing a few puffs of smoke to emerge from his treads’ servomotors.
The sturdy motors were not about to give out so easily, and Groundman took to the depths again, this time encircling the lumbering wooden android above him. If he could make him sink into the earth, the Leaf Shield would be useless, and he would be easy prey. Things didn’t work out quite as planned, however.
By now, Woodman had expected Groundman to try just such a thing. So, he already had a plan ready for when it was attempted, and it included sending his root-like feet below the surface, entangling the drill-laden android in a web of thick roots. Before long, Groundman was unable to continue, even in his own environment. Now trapped in this matrix of synthetic organic limbs, Groundman shifted back into humanoid form to pry them away from his body.
Woodman had now excavated his nemesis from the ground, and in short order began using his razor-edged leaves, combined with incredible pulling power generated from his wooden limbs, to shred the ground master with little bravado. In a few harsh minutes, Groundman lay in pieces at the bottom of one of his own pits, already fit to be buried. Of course, there was no need, being that he was torn into 13 barely recognizable parts. True to his toughened personality, Groundman had refused to let out even a grunt as he realized his death was at hand.
Woodman had recalled the lengths of roots back into his legs, and now turned his attention to a more than annoyed King, visibly shaken that one of his better champions was dispatched so quickly. Woodman had learned from the oily grease stain and lump of parts that was one Flashma’am, however, and knew he had already done his share.
So, he now focused, with King from afar, on the next battle.
CHAPTER 28- Alpha Virus
The two sat in the half-underground hut made of ice and cement, lit by a sparse collection of solar lights. The sun filtered in through some thin spots in the domed iced ceiling in rays of green and blue. The two androids within sat on the old fashioned wooden chairs across from each other, huffing visible clouds of expelled waste air that was heated by their internal mechanical workings- another byproduct that also served to help the human-like robots fit in amongst their human bases. In every way, they could mimic a real, organic human right down to the pores in their synthetic flesh that could sweat.
“That was the difference,” Cycloneman said aloud, “between Wily’s visions of what a robot was and Light’s. That’s why they split all those years ago.”
Gary had noticed it as well. Wily’s robots never strove for the amount of realism that Light’s did- Light would often add the little details to the recovered Wily bots to help their human minds adjust.
Cycloneman, or Dave as he actually preferred to be called, had hung his drab gray shawl on a hook, and his android frame was in clear view now. Colored a bright and attention grabbing scheme of shocking violet and sunset yellow, Cycloneman was of a modest build, standing at an average five foot eleven inches tall and with a slender build. On his back were two large and noticeable structures that didn’t seem to serve any obvious purpose, but knowing Light’s designs they most certainly did. His face was probably forgettable at best, with dull gray eyes and a small mouth atop an undefined chin. However, right where his hairline would be, his synthiflesh abruptly stopped and shown why he was designed with a helmet, as all of his access panels to his brain were in full view with his helmet resting on the floor at his feet.
“How did you…find out?”, Iceman inquired. “I mean, about your real past…”
“…I didn’t learn of it until after I had left Light. Until Blues had managed to find me and tell me, I had no idea that I had the mind of a human, and then Blues managed to unlock my memories with a program he had ‘borrowed’ from Dr Light.”
“Why didn’t he tell you right away? Why did he keep it a secret like that?”
“…I was his first…dealings with a human mind. I think he wanted to see if a human mind could function in an alien body without its memories. From what I understand, since I left so quickly, Light reasoned that memories were vital to a developed human mind if he were to achieve his goal of perfect android-human symbiosis. Complete amnesia and full body displacement seemed to be a volatile mix.”
Iceman heaved a sigh. “But, why would he even try to erase a person’s memories after stealing their minds?”
“Probably to avoid a sticky situation. I take it that ‘sticky situation’ is the reason you’re here and not fighting the war.”
“The war…You know about it?”
“I manage…”, Dave said as he motioned his head towards a rather modest computer set up powered by a crystillium power cell. “It’s pretty bad out there, isn’t it?”
“Yeah…it is…”, Gray said dryly. “Which is why I’m just going to stay out of it.”
“Giving up?”, Cycloneman said with a furrowed brow.
“Call it whatever you want. It just isn’t my place to fight now that I know what I am.”
“What you are…”, Dave began. “Is a man. Just like me, and just like those people that are dying out there.”
“Yeah? Then why aren’t you out there fighting? If I’m supposed to be fighting out there just because I have a dead man’s mind, then why aren’t you?”
“…It’s…complicated. You wouldn’t understand.”, Dave claimed.
“Try me. Not like I’ve got anything else to do.”
Dave looked at the cross-armed Iceman and squinted his eyes before getting up to pace the room.
“You see…Blues and I…we’re dying…”
“That’s stupid…How could you die? You’re robots…”
“Yes, we’re robots…And robots run on computer programs. Computer programs can catch viruses…”
“…A virus…is killing you? How? Why can’t you just delete it like you would from one of those?”, Gary inquired as he pointed towards the PC.
“It’s not that easy…It’s rooted in our energy management programs. You see…it’s like having a heart problem. You can’t just cut out the heart and expect the body to live by itself- the brain will die. Light’s robots are built in a way that if the energy system fails, so does the memory bank, essentially killing the robot as you know it. It’s the closest thing to real death that we androids can know.”
“Is it…something that can be spread?”, Gary asked, minding his proximity with the infected robot suddenly.
“No…it’s not contagious. It’s part of a virus program Dr Light created during the first robot war.”
“Dr Light made it? Why would he give you such a thing?!”
“He didn’t…At least not on purpose. It was a virus he called “Alpha”, and it was created to weaken Dr Wily’s fortress defenses by attacking it’s energy stations from within, allowing Rock to slip in. After all…Wily wasn’t about to just let his only real threat in just for the challenge of it.
After Wily’s defeat, Light had recovered his six prototypes and vowed to never make another one ever again. Of course, this didn’t last very long, and he decided to try his hand at his latest project- the Human and Robot Relations Program. For whatever reason, Light was hesitant about fitting his original six robots with a human mind right away, so he designed a completely new robot as a test bed for his illegal project.
Before my body was completed, however, Light decided to toy around with my memories on a separate computer- the very same computer he had created the Alpha Virus with. I guess even he is prone to mistakes, and bits of the Alpha Virus found their way into my mind program, which in turn found their way into my body when my mind was transferred. Since the virus was an incomplete version of itself, however, it wasn’t detected right away, and worked very slowly. But…it’s there.”
Iceman sat with his mouth open slightly, somewhat searching for the right thing to say. All he could come up with was “How did Blues get the Alpha Virus?”
“Blues was damaged in a lab accident before Rock and the others were built, and disappeared during it. For a few years, he wandered about, slowly trying to rebuild himself with salvage parts, but he was unable to. Somehow, Dr Wily found him shortly after his second defeat and decided to rebuild him. He knew, however, that brainwashing Blues might have disastrous consequences, so Wily decided to give him a controlled version of the Alpha Virus that Light had used on him before to ‘persuade’ Blues to work for him.
Eventually, Blues grew tired of taking orders and decided to live with the virus instead of living in fear of it. He turned his back on Wily and now suffers without the anti-virus Wily had been giving him to keep him under his wing. He and I found each other a few years ago, and I work here to create a stable anti-virus. So far, I’ve only been able to create patches to slow it down, but the virus…is amazing. It adapts to whatever you throw at it, and is firmly rooted in our systems. I’m getting closer, but…not close enough. I don’t think I have enough time to completely destroy it before it kills us.”
“Wily…”, Gary growled. “That bastard. It’s his fault. All of it. Without him, there would be no Alpha Virus…no need for the HARRP project…not even the Scissor Army! Everything…is all his doing!”
“Maybe…but I don’t think even he wanted what’s going on right now…”
“Why would you say that? All he wants is to cause destruction!”
“Because…The Scissor Army is fighting Wily’s latest robots right now…”
Major Grenademan screamed in a fit of joy as the intolerable heat of the Wave Burner roasted him. He had barely made a move to avoid the attack, which was extremely obvious in it’s intentions. Perhaps he took the full brunt of the attack to see exactly what he was dealing with. Or perhaps it was his masochistic nature showing itself once again.
“Pretty good, boy! I’ve had better, but not many!”, Grenademan chided.
“Shut up and die, old model!”, Burnerman demanded in retaliation as he let another azure burst of flame.
Again, the ignited fuel engulfed the old-fashioned explosive device themed CO, and even more of his raw, pain-filled laughter erupted from within, mocking Burnerman’s power. It was having an effect, however, as bits of armor could be seen falling away from the dark figure within the blue blaze.
The fire subsided once again, and Grenademan stood within, breathing heavily. But his eyes told a different story, as rage wasn’t the primary emotion displayed in them. Despite his joy with the hellish pain, he knew he wouldn’t be able to handle all that he wanted to without losing the fight.
“Hee heee heee! Now that hit the spot, kid. I think I should do the gracious thing and return the favor, now.”
Grenademan launched a volley of small egg-shaped bombs from his large arm cannon and leapt high into the air to deliver even more. Burnerman jumped away from the grenades and held up his arms to protect his head from the shrapnel, which dug deep into his forearms and chest. A being of very little sanity and perhaps an even smaller amount of common sense, Burnerman screamed in rage as he felt the pain of the flying debris cut into him, and he yelled towards the heavens as a giant burst of fire exploded from his forehead. Unfortunately for him, this didn't help him in the least, as another trio of grenades were already tumbling towards him right after the first three missed a direct hit on him.
The burst of flame that he was displaying exploded the grenades prematurely and rained even more deadly shrapnel into him, gouging into his metal skin even more and slicing his face apart. His face was now a mask of dark brown oily blood and deep lacerations with shiny bits of steel poking out from underneath.
“You like pain?! Do you?! I’m gonna give you so much that even you won’t be able to laugh it off, you sick bastard!!”, he promised in a huge roar.
Burnerman let loose another huge burst of blue fire from underneath him, propelling him forward and spearing the descending Grenademan in mid-landing. Grenademan was caught off guard by the sudden rush of speed, and wasn’t even able to defend himself from the first five powerful straight crosses to where his face would be, had it not been substituted for a thick blast-proof mask. With each blow, however, the mask was bent inward and crushed sensory circuitry beneath, and one particular jab crushed his eye lens into fine powder.
Out of desperation, Grenademan exploded a Flash Bomb between the two, driving him into the ground and launching the sans-sanity Burnerman into the sky to land harshly a few yards away. Grenademan rolled out of the entrenchment he had made and grabbed his damaged and beaten face with his left hand, and his blast concussion-ridden chest plate with his right. His own Flash Bomb had torn his chest apart, mostly due to his absorbing of the astronomical heat a few minutes before weakening it.
“..Ha..haha…Damn it!…Ha ha!”, he cursed himself, still able to find something to laugh about through his blinding pain.
“Still laughing, freak?! Guess I’ll just have to kill you to shut you up!”, Burnerman again rushed forward, ignoring the fact that most of his chest plate was long gone from the Flash Bomb blast. He was far too absorbed in the fight to feel the pain as much as he should, and focused solely on ending the functions of the annoying android that now bruised his ego.
Grenademan was about to run forward himself when he was caught with a “present” Burnerman managed to drop as he was tossed into the sky- a large bear trap that had rooted itself in the ground now bit into Grenademan’s foot with tenacity. He now had nowhere to go, as the psychotic red robot bore down upon him with his jet burning in full heat.
With no where to go, Grenademan felt like it was time to pull out a last ditch effort- his “Crazy Neutrator”. It was a horribly powerful set of bombs meant to demolish entire buildings by destroying it’s foundation, but it could still do something just as useful here, as he swooped his arm cannon across the terrain in front of him and let the mine-like bombs grab into the dirt.
Burnerman saw this and attempted to stop. But, when you’re propelled forward at a speed of fifty miles an hour by a volatile chemical, braking is one of the last things you’re designed with. He dug his feet into the ground and immediately cut the power to his thrusters.
The last thing Burnerman would see was the disappointed look on King’s face from across the battlefield as he scowled in disapproval, and then a blinding flash accompanied by the maddened laughter of Grenademan, who was also blown apart by the blast. Had he not been weakened so badly, he most likely would have survived the blast.
The explosion itself was spectacular, with a bright white flash, followed by an eruption of azure blue that was sucked into a half mile-wide mushroom cloud as the neutrator ruptured the large tanks that Burnerman was built with. The explosion was so great that all remaining androids stopped to watch the blast as it rose into the afternoon air and began to block the sun with the dust it had kicked up.
From atop a nearby hill a short distance away, an uninvolved figure even let out an appreciative whistle as he watched the head of the blast climb higher into the sky through his dark visor. An almost imperceptible cough followed it.
“Not so healthy these days, are you…brother of Rock!”, someone claimed from behind him.
“Forte…Come to see the fireworks?”, Blues asked uncaringly without turning around to look. He knew Forte’s voice, and his arrogance, well enough to know who it was without seeing him.
“Face me! On this day, I’ll kill you and then I’ll end the life of your brother once and for all, as is the natural order of things!”, he announced as he shifted his hand into buster configuration and readied himself.
“Rockman is already dead.”, Blues countered, still not turning around.
“…You lie…You’re lying to get me to drop my guard!”
“Believe what you want. But fighting me now won’t prove a damned thing. It’ll just be a waste.”
“Coward…How dare you…”, the black and gold-trimmed robot hissed.
“Don’t be selfish. I’m not your enemy today. If you want to fight someone, fight Cutman- he’s the one that killed your rival.”
“Cutman?! That…That relic?! I refuse to believe such a stupid claim!”
“Is it so stupid? Just look at what Cutman’s goons are doing to your boys down there…Is it really so unbelievable that Rockman could lose to someone who built things like that?”, Blues questioned.
Forte grew silent for once.
“Tell Wily…To get out of his current fortress. He’s being tracked…”, Blues stated.
“…What? Why are you telling me this? I thought Wily was your enemy…”
“We have a more dangerous enemy in common, now. We might have use for Wily, but if he gets killed we’ll be at a disadvantage later. We need as many scientists together as we can get, and if it means pardoning a madman like Wily temporarily to get past this current hurdle, than that’s what we’ll do.”
“Things aren’t…that serious, are they?”, Forte asked, aghast that his hated foe would suggest a temporary truce.
“Don’t be blind.”, was all Blues said in return. “I’ll bet that you didn’t even realize that someone’s been watching us watch them, did you?”
“What? Watching us? Who?”
“Up there…”, Blues said as he pointed one finger upwards, still not breaking his gaze upon the battlefield.
Forte looked skyward, and Blues’ words were confirmed as a single red object stood out against the now-dirty blue sky. The outlines of a cloak blowing in the wind were barely visible due to its altitude. But one thing felt clear- the crimson figure was undoubtedly looking down upon them.
And Forte shuddered.
CHAPTER 29- Divine Wind
“Now, everyone clear on what to do?”
“Er, not really. We just got here…”, the Rebellious One, Ringman, answered the senior leader of the squad, Gutsman.
Erik gritted his teeth slightly and moved his huge jaw around on its hinges. “It’s simple, really. The convoy should be here in a few moments, approaching from the West. There’s no doubt in my mind that it’ll be heavily guarded, most likely by at least two Robot Masters. We take out the guard robots and any smaller bad guys, stop the convoy, and possibly retrieve whatever it is they were transporting. That, or destroy it.”
“Easy as cake!”, BrightBabe shouted enthusiastically.
“Don’t you mean ‘pie’?”, her fellow Comrade, ToadGirl, corrected.
“Well, cake is good too, but methinks pie is better!”
“Shhh!”, Pharaohman quieted the group suddenly. “I see something…”
Indeed, now the entire group , which consisted of five in total, focused on the horizon, and the incoming object in the far distance. After a few moments, the object was revealed to be several, as the fast moving convoy sported a pair of aerial supporters that managed to keep up with the speeding, massive truck line.
“That’s it? I really thought there’d be…y’know…more.”, Rick said, his voice tinged with forced sadness.
“You sound disappointed, Ring. This just means we’ll get home sooner.”, Drillman exclaimed.
“There’s something…not right about the truck…”, Sergal noted aloud, peering at the convoy with his fine tuned archeologist eyes.
“He’s right…”, Gutsman said in a deep tone. Then it became clear to him: “Holy crap…That’s no truck. That’s the biggest robot I’ve ever seen!”
The air cracked with the scent of ozone, purified by the deadly strands of blue lightning that erupted with the demands of it’s master.
“Damn you, coward! Face me! Die like you have some shred of honor!”, Dynamoman demanded.
And still, his would-be opponent crouched low to the ground, barely shrugging off the most powerful of the Tyrants. “You’re just not worth the effort…”, he kept saying.
Dynamoman’s opponent was crouched, or rather, perched atop a pair of tongfa sandals, with a single plank holding him upright, requiring excellent balance on his part. He was unmistakably Japanese in overall design, right down to his samurai-lookalike gauntlets and oversized pants with plats of armor covering his hips and chest. However, his most distinguishing features were his cloak, constructed of midnight black crow feathers, and his mask, which made all the texture and shape of a large bird’s skull, complete with a large beak adorned with grisly remnants of human being from his habit of impaling them from above.
Perhaps most unsettling about the mask, however, were his eyes, which were completely unseen in the darkness that enveloped them.
“Fine! Then if you refuse to die on your feet, you’ll just be another grease spot!”, Dynamoman claimed as he charged up the units adorning his shoulders. He was stopped, however, when Tenguman suddenly stood up, now ignoring the large crows he was petting on the ground.
“Such arrogance…If you insist on being made an example of the Air Shock Force’s might, then it’s only fitting that I deliver it.”
“Enough talk!”, Dynamo screamed in rage, finally pushed to the brink of sanity as the tension within his body exerted itself on his mind. Using the conductor built into his arm, he unleashed a thunderous shock towards the crow demon, his power surpassing any electrical weapon-based android before him.
But, the shocking jolt blew the ground apart instead of a humanoid android. Tenguman had shot straight into the air above using his powerful, back mounted jet booster, and now floated just out of accurate range of Dynamoman’s Lightning Bolt. His arms were hanging at his side, his hands now balled up in fists, and his head tilted with a single eye opening facing down upon the emerald green Robot Master. He had just avoided a horrendous blow, and was setting up his counterattack with a dose of psychological tactics. That, unfortunately, was useless against one as power mad as Dynamoman.
“Get down here and die properly!”
Tenguman made no verbal response. Instead, he opened his left hand, which split apart between his index and ring fingers’ knuckles. A menacing set of vaguely feather-themed blades erupted from the new opening from their resting place within his forearm, and he waved them in front of his body with one swift motion.
“Shinu…”, he growled, whipping his arm upwards and launching the five-bladed device towards Dynamoman.
“HahaHA!”, Dynamoman cackled as he blasted the feeble weapon from the sky with his overwhelming lightning. He looked up at Tenguman, who seemingly had opted to stay in place and watch his attack fail. “Convinced? Time to come down and die like a samurai, boy!”
With a quick puff of air and a few stray black feathers left behind, Tenguman seemed to vanish in an eye’s blink, and within half a second, Dynamoman could fell something was amiss. Namely, his left arm at the shoulder socket.
“Yeeeaaargh!!!! ArrrAhhhhh!!!”, he bellowed, clutching his open socket, spewing oily blood from his wound and mouth.
“Do you see? What chance does a foolishly designed android have against a demon such as myself? You were doomed the moment you were first activated.”, Tenguman delivered in a flat, almost emotionless tone from behind, his arm dropping to his side after launching the near-deadly attack.
“T-teleport…? H-how…?”, was all Dynamoman said in return as the makeshift blood began to be shut off from the open delivery lines.
“As I’ve said…I am a demon; not a simple android like yourself…”, the hollow-eyed figure in black again proclaimed as he raised both hands up slowly, each armed with a star-like blade assembly that now originated from his wrists below his hands. “Besides, historically, electric-based opponents are weak in open spaced areas.”
“Tricky bastard…you knew you could just stay out of reach and pelt me from afar…like a coward! That’s all you are!”
“Hmph…Your arrogance blinds you from seeing this encounter in a different light. What you call cowardice, I call outsmarting. And being that your death is imminent, I don’t believe your opinion to be all that valid.”
“I’m not dead yet, you pompous prick…”, Dynamoman growled as he whipped his remaining arm into position to attempt to electrocute Tenguman while he was still within range. By now, Tenguman was already ascending skyward, so in a last second change of plans, Dynamoman unloaded a charge into the sky, raining bolts of lightning downward in wide arcs.
Even the high skilled, self proclaimed “Demon of the Skies” wasn’t able to avoid the electric cloud of pain that crashed into him, smashing his chest and sending him down to the Earth fifty feet below. Tenguman landing roughly on the dirt, but managed to close his arms around his frame and tuck himself in for a rolling escape, as Dynamoman continued to fire shot after shot of thunderous death upon him, sometimes barely missing his target, and even managing to hit him a few more times before Tenguman’s jet thrust him forward and far away from Dynamoman.
Tenguman attempted to stand upon the end of his roll, but fond that his left foot had been nearly melted away. He stumbled backwards, using his jet once again as a crutch, and he found himself floating above the ground by a few scant inches. He folded his arms over his chest, exuding his inherent cocky spirit (despite his claims otherwise), and seemingly peered at his foe.
“That’s a nice tactic, even I must admit. You even managed to make me gasp. Once.”
Dynamoman gritted his teeth in anger. This fool shouldn’t be able to just sit back and continue to mock him! Again, he felt something was wrong, and this time it wasn’t from an injury. He gulped slightly as his eye twitched.
Dynamoman was visibly shaken and reeling, as his now-lone generator was having trouble keeping up with his demands for energy. It emitted a high pitched whine as it sparked within, it’s inner assembly spinning within even faster than it normally should, causing his shoulder to shake noticeably. That was soon on the back burner of his list of worries, though, as Tenguman had suddenly unleashed yet another attack- his Tornado Hold. Tenguman had launched two at once from both of his arms, and the massive wind towers that were generated from the bladed weapons could actually be felt, as they pulled in loose debris towards them, and gave Dynamoman trouble as he planted his feet firmly on the ground.
Then he noticed Tenguman was no longer visible from behind the approaching tornadoes that darkened the environment around him. He darted his eyes about, searching for the wily enemy, even scouring the skies above for signs of him. Then his eyes were filled with a strange sight- his body, upside down.
His head was only active for a few more seconds as he saw the feather-draped demon’s extended arm just above his body’s neck. His last thoughts would probably be impossible to put into simple words.
“I…still can’t justify it. I can’t convince myself that fighting for anyone is even worth it.”, Iceman spat.
Dave was still pacing the room, now with his shawl drawn over his shoulder tightly. His fingers covered his mouth, and he rubbed the area beneath his nose thoughtfully, listening to Gary’s inner struggles explained.
“Nobody can…make you fight. It has to be a personal choice. And sometimes, fighting isn’t the answer at all. This time…isn’t one of those times, however. If you have any love for humanity or for your friends, you will know your place.”
“That’s the thing, though! I don’t know anymore. Nothing seems to make much sense to me anymore.”, Gary wallowed.
“Gary…Could you forgive yourself in twenty years if you didn’t do what you could have done now? You’re hurt now, but imagine a even greater pain when you realize you can’t go back and bring your friends back or save the people you could have saved. Do you really want to be alone?”
“…I think so. But I’m not sure.”
Dave heaved an obvious sigh with his back towards Gary, and then suddenly whipped around, his hand smacking into Gary’s android flesh with sharp, decisive force. “Stop! Just stop. You have got to stop with this selfishness.”
Gary narrowed his eyes as he rubbed his cheek, scowling slightly and obviously taking exception to the brutal backhand. But something in that action said something louder than any pep speech could ever hope to say.
“Don’t let them die, Gary. You can leave them later when they’re safe if you still want to, but you’ve got to defend them while they still can be. You’ve got-…”
Dave tilted his head upwards slightly, while Gary looked at him quizzically. “I’ve got to what?”
Cycloneman waved off the question and placed his helmet atop his head.
“We have visitors. And it sure isn’t Blues…”
CHAPTER 30- Eyes on the Prize
Gary could hear it clearly now, a low, rhythmic rumbling noise growing with each beat. After a few harsh booms, the ceiling began to shake visible, sending fine streams of ground up ice powder down from where two or three blocks met and rubbed against each other with the tremors. He looked to Dave, hoping he was expecting a new guest. Instead, he lifted his helmet from the ground and placed it atop his head, along with his shawl’s hood. Gary knew this was no welcome guest at this point.
The two nomads walked up the four steps to the exit, opening the door and were greeted with a breathtaking sunset on the arctic plains. Had they not been in such a situation, Dave would most likely have stopped to admire the scenery. He instead turned towards the back of the small, discreet home he had made for himself, to face the source of the seismic shocks. The source continued to approach, making no effort to conceal himself after practically announcing his arrival.
“That’s...Frostman?”, Gary said aloud, recognizing the vaguely familiar shape of the lumbering android from surveillance photos. “Figures he would be sent here...”
“Friend of yours, I take it?”, Cycloneman said, unaware of the exact make up of the SA.
“Hardly...He’s probably here to kill me. Or bring me to Cutman.”
“Can’t have that, then.”, Dave said.
Frostman continued to walk forward with a casual stumble, swinging his massive, car-sized arms as he trudged, uncaring of their movements it seemed. He was, however, staring harshly upon his target, who was clearly Iceman.
“Huurr...hurrrahhh...Iceman...huhh...kill you!!”, he managed to stammer out. He was often described as stupid by Rock in his stories to the S6, but this Frostman seemed more...crazed than blundering.
He was still enormous in size, towering seventeen feet above the tundra, and hunched over his barely adequate legs. A few more tubes than his Wily design fed more of the cryogenic mixture into his arms that fueled his ice-based attacks, and his igloo-themed armor actually showed signs of disrepair and cracks from his original battle with Rockman. A look at his arms and legs revealed a possible explanation, as they still wore some rather huge restraining shackles. It was clear that Frostman may have been regarded as a bit too insane for even the Scissor Army to handle, a prospect that wasn’t exactly thrilling to Gary.
Dave opted to step forward, oddly enough. “Welcome. What can I do for you, stranger?”, he asked, playing ignorant to Frostman’s previous statement.
“Hyuu...Move!”, Frostman yelled as he swept Cycloneman aside with a massive arm, sending Dave flying instantly.
Gary scowled at the surly move and rose his fists up for a fight. He may be unsure of his willingness to even live at this point, but it was going to be his decision as to whether or not he does or not, not this lumbering moron, he rationalized.
Frostman wasted little time in attempting to make good on his mission by slamming a massive mitten-like hand down where Gary stood. His movements, although strong and severe, were slow and telegraphed, allowing the small and nimble Iceman more than enough time to duck and roll away, and to let him take a few shots at Frostman with his Ice Slasher while the building-sized android recovered from his failed strike.
The hardened ice shards smacked into Frostman’s upper torso and shoulder, splintering into harmless pieces upon impact. Frostman, realizing he was now being attacked, swung his fists around in a double-axe-handle position, trying to backhand Gary like he did with Dave seconds before. Again, Gary’s speed was much greater than Frostman’s, allowing him to simply slide backwards on the ice and try another counterattack, this time with a freezing type Slasher. The slushy mixture splashed onto the giant with just as much speed and force as it’s hardened brethren, this time with the intent of freezing his movements and possibly damaging him, even despite his hardy design.
The Ice Slasher splashed into Frostman’s eyes, the only exposed part of his face, with the rest hidden beneath a large dome-shaped helmet and a ridiculous, Santa-themed scarf that covered it’s lower half. Despite freezing in the cold arctic wind immediately upon impact, Frostman quite literally punched the ice off his face, shattering the ice covering on his eyes.
“Well dammit...”, Gary thought to himself “He’s supposed to hate having stuff put into his eyes. I might have to take some risks that I don’t want to take.”
Frostman bellowed savagely upon clearing away the remnants of the ice from his eyes, decreeing his invincibility with the shout aimed towards the heavens. As he did so, ice formed rapidly over his simply shaped hands in large, sharp chunks. As the ice continued to form, Frostman smashed his fists together violently, splintering the icy gauntlets and sending dozens of deadly missiles of frozen death into the air.
Caught unaware of such a drastic attack, Gary could only dodge the largest bits, taking several smaller stab wounds instead of a single lethal impaling shard. As he rolled off to the side, he could feel sharp pains all over, mostly in his legs and midsection.
“Not good...”, he winced to himself. “That’s going to slow me down.”
Frostman wasted no time in sneering or gloating, and instead continued to charge forward with his massive fists draped in a thick row of frosty spikes. Gary really had to work this time to avoid the huge fist, fighting the pain from his gaping wounds in his lower limbs. Every time he attempted to gain distance from the frozen behemoth, Frostman would just continue to rain blows upon him. Gary was beginning to doubt his ability to win in such a situation.
And then, a strong wind cut between Gary and the white monster, preventing Frostman’s never ending assault.
“Gary...I do believe he’s my guest. It wouldn’t be prudent of me to not see him out.”, Cycloneman said with his left arm still outstretched in front of him.
“N-no! I’ve got to beat him!”, Iceman exclaimed through forced breaths, knowing it would probably wise to allow Dave to buy him some recovery time and allow him to form a real plan.
“My friend, I’m glad you’ve found the will to fight once again. But please, don’t continue for no reason. Not when he can be dealt with in a much...simpler fashion.”
Gary was intrigued by Dave’s confidence. He was beginning to wonder what the name “Cycloneman” meant in terms of powers, so to satisfy his curiosity, he reluctantly stepped back to show he was willing to give Dave a shot.
“Who the hell is that?”, Forte demanded to know from the mysteriously well-informed scarfed observer.
“That...would be the Colonel.”, Blues stated blankly, still watching the battles afar.
“Of what? This pathetic little insurrection?”
“That ‘pathetic insurrection’ has been butchering just about anyone that has come up against it.”, Blues lectured.
“Ha! That’s because they haven’t fought me yet- the ultimate harbinger of destruction! Maybe I should make an example of that pretty boy up there to prove my point.”, Forte proclaimed.
“No...That’s useless. You have no clue as to what kind of power you’d be up against. That...monster up there can do more than any of Wily’s robots combined, including yourself.”
“Preposterous!”, the finned android balked, using a word straight from his creator’s mouth. “What a ridiculous statement. I know- I’ll call him down here and I’ll prove to you and him just how strong I really am! HEY! YOU DAMNED SISSY! GET DOWN HERE AND FIGHT!”
“No!”, Blues yelled at Forte, finally breaking his trance off the battlefield to grab the black armored robot’s arm like a father would his child. “You idiot, you’ll kill us both if you call him down here!”
“What’s the matter?”, Forte sneered as he smacked Blues’ hand away from his limb, “You’re not afraid to die, are you?”
“...When I die, it will not be because of your mistakes.”
“Well, heh...That sounds like a challenge. I’m getting pretty tired of this ‘benevolent force’ routine you’ve had going all this time, so maybe it’s time you put your money where your mouth is.”
“Stop being selfish and stupid. Fighting each other right now will only lessen those left to fend off these monstrosities.”
“I don’t care. Not about the humans, not about Wily, and not about Colonel Dipshit up there. I was made to fight, and I’ll do as I please when the mood suits me!”
“I mean it, Forte...This isn’t the time or the place.”, Blues cautioned.
Forte stood before Blues, shifted his hand into buster configuration, and made the crimson clad prototype stare down the barrel of his weapon. “Fight me.”, he sneered.
“...”, Blues stood still for a moment and sighed. “...So be it...”
Blues tightened his grip on his shield strap.
“Get ready! It’ll be here any second!”, Gutsman ordered from the field that sprawled in front of the charging abomination before him. “This had better work...”, he said to himself discreetly, perhaps with more than just a hint of doubt, and even more worry that a building-sized robot would be running him down at two hundred miles per hour if it didn’t.
Erik waited tensely as the massive, rebuilt Chargeman bore down upon him, seemingly unconcerned with Gutsman’s presence. The black-painted robot just continued to make good on his name and steam forward, towing his cargo faithfully behind him thanks to his built in hitch located on his back. His legs, each the size of a semi-trailer stacked vertically, were planted firmly atop the wheels that dug into the earth, driving him forwards along with the 747 jet engine implanted within his torso. Fragments of buildings clung to his frame, thanks to a bloody paste that Erik preferred to remain oblivious to it’s origins and contents.
“...Now!!”, he shouted suddenly.
Just then, the ground a few yards in front of him imploded, creating a huge gap intent on causing a train wreck. Chargeman took notice and tried to apply his brakes at first, but soon realized that was much too little, too late. So, he did what any fifteen-ton android with legs would do- he leapt. He managed to clear the small canyon, and land on the other side with far less momentum and a very messy-looking landing, causing a huge tremor that made even Gutsman’s legs shake and de-stabilize.
Erik countered his destabilization with a sumo-like stomp of his own, did a small pre-stretch ritual, and ran head first towards the gigantic Chargeman, arms outstretched. Chargeman was still staggering from the titanic leap of faith, and Erik had every intention of taking advantage of the situation by attempting to push Chargeman over, where he would be in a much more vulnerable position.
The tremendous echo of metal against metal reverberated from Gutsman’s hands violently meeting one of Chargeman’s huge shins. It was a colossal show of wills, as the jet-powered transportation specialist attempted to gain enough momentum to run over and crush the considerably smaller Erik, who’s massive might was more than legendary, and was most definitely having a very real effect on Chargeman’s momentum.
Meanwhile, as Gutsman’s all out roadblock attempt kept the brakes on the entire convoy, half of the Cossack-built Robot Masters swarmed the train to investigate and destroy the contents they wouldn’t be able to recover. But, Chargeman was not the only CO accompanying the all-important cargo, as two representatives of the Scissor Army Air Shock Force had doubled back to assault and snipe the Comrades, and prevent their escape.
“Kill them! Destroy the convoy if you must! We can’t allow them to analyze the contents by bringing it back to Light!”, Captain Gyroman ordered Astroman, who only nodded a comply as the pair descended upon the group of five androids that clung to the sides of the train, attempting to access the rooftop.
Gyroman was the first of the two COs to open fire, as he unleashed his new version of the Gyro Attack. Actually, by now it resembled Astroman’s satellites, as two orbs with propellers dividing them in halves, armed with 4 .22 caliber machine guns each. The gunfire raked the side of the train that carried Sergal and Ringman, who were more than a little annoyed by being shot at.
“Ya bastard! Come down here and fight fair!”, Ringman challenged.
“Well, at least you’ve got the right spirit, though your words could use some work...”, Pharaohman quipped.
Finally, the two managed to climb atop the carrier, suffering only aesthetic damage from shrapnel. This, apparently, was still more than enough to annoy Rick even further, as he was quite proud of his ultra-maintained armor, now with a few scuff marks and burns marring the reflective gold plating. After flinging a quartet of heavy golden rings skyward in an attempt to shoot down Gyroman, each of which failed due to Gyroman’s nimble flight and distance, Sergal stepped in with an arm across Ringman’s chest, signaling his desire for a shot on the propeller-user.
Pharaohman pointed a single finger skywards, and within a few seconds, a visible aura of heat emanated from his body, and Rick, cautious of his own weakness to heat, stepped back a few paces, nearly stumbling backwards off the train but catching himself at the last second. Still, for his own protection, he let himself hang off the edge of the carrier, with his hands keeping his grasp on the edge. The backlash alone from a Pharaoh Shot could unleash hellish amounts of heat, and he made damn certain he was no where near one that was being fired off. He almost pitied the flying fool that was about to be on the receiving end of the horrendously powerful weapon. Almost.
Further up the train, the other three Comrades felt the train begin to move once again with a jarring jerk, and not helping matters was the fact that Astroman was now raining his meteor-like Astro Crush on the trio, who could only dodge the chunks of plasma and congealed matter as it crashed into the train.
“We’ve got to get that idiot to stop! Otherwise he’ll kill us all before we even know what it is we’re here for!”, BrightBabe yelled out.
“Can you and Zapper do that? If this thing’s moving again, Erik might be in some serious trouble against that monster up front. I gotta go help him out!”, Drillman shouted.
“Let’s see what we can do, Keba!” ToadGirl offered as a response.
“Good luck, you two...”, Drill said as he took off running towards the front of the train to investigate it’s sudden burst of speed.
Turning her attention towards the spheroid form of Astroman, who still continued his reckless assault from above, Keba tried a direct approach to the problem.
“Watch this!”, she exclaimed as she fired up her Flash Stopper’s bulb mounted atop her head, as well as several mirrors that opened in strategic positions on her body. A tremendous, blinding flash of ultraviolet light coursed through the air in an instant, causing Astroman to break his concentration and attack, and instead grab his eyes as they were overloaded in an instant. Unfortunately, BrightBabe had momentarily forgotten she wasn’t the only one fighting Astroman, and ToadGirl was copying Astroman’s motions by holding her own eyes and stumbling dangerously close towards the edge of the carrier.
“Zapper! Watch out!”, Keba screamed as she ran towards her stunned accomplice, pulling her to safer ground by her shoulder. “Er, sorry ‘bout that. Kinda...forgot...”, she shrugged innocently as ToadGirl continued to rub her eyes. Luckily, the majority of the flash was directed towards Astroman, who had fallen behind the train as he was distracted, passing Gyroman and his two opponents in the process.
“”It’s alright...I have an idea anyways- you check down below and I’ll fight this guy. If this keeps up much longer, neither of us will find out what it is they’re so hot to protect. Besides...I haven’t seen much action in awhile. Don’t wanna get too rusty.”, ToadGirl offered.
“Gotcha...I’ll see what the fuss is about. You be careful, though. If things get too hot to handle out here, don’t be afraid to call for back up.”
“I will...But I don’t think it’ll come to that.”
Keba nodded with a big Cheshire cat-like grin and slinked down below the rook line via an impromptu entrance courtesy of an Astro Crush. Anticipating her enemy’s return any minute now, Zapper took the opportunity to send up a few satellites of her own.
“Alright...C’mon...”, she challenged as she watched the figure of Astroman grown nearer in the distance.
Airman stood amongst the battlefield, continuing to size up his opponent and seek out a weak point. So far, his Hurricane Wind only blew around his foe, who continued to shield himself in a rather impressive barrier, despite the fact that he seemed almost completely out of place in this environment.
“Ya-har...What’s th’ matter, laddie? You look like someone took all the wind out of your sails already. We haven’t even started yet!”, the harsh voice of Pirateman insulted the venerable veteran of the Air Shock Force.
“No...We haven’t. You’re out of your league anyways, ‘Captain Nemo’.”
“Prove it, ye bastard.”, Pirateman smugly rebutted with.
Not much for words, much like his ally Woodman, Airman chose to make good on his claim with actions rather than words. This time, he opted to use his arm cannon, which could focus massive hurricane force in a tiny, compact space. His Air Shooter had become so finely tuned now that it created tornadoes that had the center of a vacuum, further increasing it’s power and destructive spin. However, this only heightened it’s only flaw, in that the tornadoes had a tendency to raise much faster than Airman wanted them too, meaning they had to be used up close.
This, of course, meant Airman had to get within range of Pirateman’s nasty-looking claw, which could probably give his fan more than a fair share of trouble. Even with it’s protective screen, the blue and white camo-themed android was willing to wager that claw could pry it off in an instant and begin tearing up his source of power.
If only he could get past that damned Bubble Lead shield...
Then, inspiration struck. Airman again used his massive chest mounted fan, only this time he engaged it to run in reverse, creating a pulling effect on the environment. Pirateman scoffed, as he simply bounced within his protective bubble within, creating enough backspin to keep him away from the fan’s effect and whatever Airman was planning on doing with it.
“Th’ poor lad has gone mad with fear!”, he gloated. “No sane robot of his build would want to get into a melee fight with me!”
“Oh no?”, Airman shouted over the tremendous noise his fan was generating. He managed to hear Pirateman’s claims even through the loud disturbance. “Good. He’s too stupid and proud to see I have something else in mind.”, he said to himself quietly.
Suddenly, Pirateman’s bubble popped with a resounding noise to announce it, as the remnants of Groundman and his numerous drills had been sucked towards the pair from behind Pirateman, who saw them coming at the last moment and managed to avoid damage to his body at the cost of his shield.
Airman shut down his fan before the debris reached him. His foe seemed genuinely impressed with his might, as well.
“Well done, laddie! This boy’s guts must have been a good two hundred feet away, and you were strong enough to pull it in! I suppose the honorable thing t-do would be to fight you without my shield, now.”, Pirateman surmised. “Not to mention I’m fresh out of Bubble Lead anyways...”, he thought to himself.
Again, without wasting words, Airman shot forth a few Air Shooters, which spun towards Pirateman, with a forward push from the Hurricane Wind. Despite the nasty wind that pushed him back, as well as the miniature whirlwinds that rode the deadly slip stream, Pirateman was programmed with a wealth of knowledge about high-wind situations, as he was a sailor not just in design, but in mind as well. Wily had done an obsessive amount of research to get it right. Then again, the same could be said of most of Wily’s creations. The man lived and breathed the details.
As Airman let up on his typhoon-like winds, Pirateman unleashed two of his Remote Mines towards him, which followed a strange and seemingly mindless path, as the pair of bombs planted themselves at Airman’s feet. Stepping back, Airman still caught a face full of the explosion that followed their landing, and a nastier surprise as Pirateman used the cover of the mines to get within reach of Airman. Using his shear-equipped limb to shred the protective mesh grill from it’s hinges and plunge a fist into the center of the apparatus.
Airman yelled, mostly in anger as opposed to pain, as he had just suffered the one thing he had tried so desperately to avoid. Out of that same rage, he returned fire with a massive punch of own, aimed squarely on Pirateman’s jaw. He followed it up with a devastating kick to the midsection, and from there on out, the “battle” had devolved into a beating, as Airman still had a huge size advantage over Pirateman, which the buccaneer-minded android seemed to have left out of attack plan, perhaps thinking the fan was somehow the only source of Airman’s power.
His mistake cost him dearly, as he lay in a heap after what seemed to be a never ending display of savagery that would have done Crashman himself proud, had the Captain not had been distracted with his own battle in the distance. Airman huffed for a few moments after regaining his composure, probably due more to a lack of immediate energy on hand. He observed the once-ornate body of Pirateman, which lay quivering on the dirt at his legs, twisted and mangled from the sudden assault. Airman himself was doused in a new coating of machine oil, as he had managed to rupture nearly every lubrication supply pump on Pirateman’s person.
The blue painted android simply shrugged, figuring a win was a win, whether it be through cunning or shrewd violence. What did it matter as long as his target wasn’t breathing by the end of it? Oddly enough, he almost felt as though someone was patting him on the back for a job well done, but soon realized it was no hand that did so, as one last Remote Mine fired from the dying remnants of Pirateman found its way onto Airman’s back, blowing a gigantic hole in his torso and separating his white-gloved hand from the rest of his body.
“...S-scurvy...bas-s-s-tard...”, Pirateman remarked before the last of his energy left his systems. It brought him small consul that his killer was perhaps on his way to death as well.
Airman, however, was not dying, not yet at least. If anything, he was enraged yet again, as the massive hole in his back gushed oil, and his hand lay useless on the dirt at his feet. His eyes went wild as he turned around once again, staggering, and rushed towards Pirateman’s corpse to continue his previously suspended maiming.
King found absolutely no amusement in the scene, as he scoffed at yet another one of his failed underlings’ defeat at the hands of this pathetic bunch of scrap robots. He tightened his grip on his axe again, which he hadn’t let go of since slashing apart Flashma’am earlier. He knew, at this point, that his action would most definitely be needed to save the operation. Luckily, he thought to himself, there was nothing he had seen from the Scissor Army that gave him any doubt as to his victory over all of them.
In King’s mind, he was ready, and despite the odds, he grinned. Nothing, but nothing, would stop him from showing the might of Dr Albert Wily to the world once and for all.
CHAPTER 31- End of the Line
Despite the sun clearly shining above, a decidedly wicked turn of weather had descended upon the area, scorching everything in sight- dirt, the metal cargo container, and even a fleeing black and white colored CO, who sought refuge outside of the range of the Rain Flush’s attack range.
“You…Witch!”, was all he could come up with from a few meters away. Even given his new programming and personality, his old memories still seemed to “grant” him his signature coward persona from time to time, and Astroman was certainly displaying that now.
“Don’t think you’re safe just yet!”, ToadGirl cautioned as she bent forward, allowing a hidden pair of missile launchers to pop out of her back and launch their acid-filled rockets towards Astroman.
Astroman managed to avoid the two rockets with relative ease, given their range, but was still building in anxiety. For lack of a better method of attack, he yet again fell back on his old standby, the Astro Crush, to destroy this enemy. Zapper, however, had easily adapted to this attack, given her inherent leaping abilities. She actually made it seem a bit too easy, taking a few “breaks” in between the crashing meteorites and mocking Astroman by exaggerating a yawn.
By now, he was even more nervous, in fact down right panic stricken. She could dodge his deadliest assault with ease, and could keep him at bay with those damned missiles and acid rain. How could he hope to beat that?!
So, he did what he felt was logical: run. Or in his case, fly. He opted to fly backwards and help his chief officer Gyroman in fighting those other two near the back of the train. Who knows? Maybe he could make the save and the Captain would be happy to see him!
“Yeesh! What a sissy!”, a surprised ToadGirl remarked aloud. Then she noticed the utter destruction her Rain Flush had wrecked upon the carrier itself, and just in time too: it caved in beneath her and planted her down below.
“…Need some help?”, a bemused Keba asked sardonically.
“N-nah! Just fine here!”, she answered, slightly embarrassed at the over the top entrance. She covered it up by quickly changing the subject: “So, what do we have here?”
“Trouble. Lots of it.”, a sudden and rare seriousness in Keba’s voice.
“These…Are chemical weapons. Nasty ones, at that. Each one of these could probably wipe out a city the size of London in a matter of minutes.”
“And this train…is full of ‘em…Oh God…”, Zapper said in fear.
“They could take care of the rest of the planet’s population if they could launch from both the West and East coasts of the US. So…That means they have even more than these in their possession…”, BrightBabe surmised.
“We gotta destroy these things then! C’mon!”
“Wait!”, Keba stopped her ally. “We can’t just nuke these things. The wind might spread the chemical out enough to kill most of this hemisphere’s population!”
“Well, what do we do? We might not be able to stop this thing before it reaches the coast, and we can’t just leave it all here for them.”
“Hmm…Maybe we don’t have to stop the train…Maybe we can let it keep on going and push it into the ocean when it gets there…”
“Oh no…Then Erik…and Drill! If they stop Chargeman we may not be able to get this thing up and going in time! They’re sure to send reinforcements!” ToadGirl exclaimed.
“We’ve got to stop them…”, BrightBabe summarized.
And then the train came to a sudden, screeching halt…
“What the hell? You wanna fight me with some freezer burn?”, Crashman scoffed as Coldman launched several more unsuccessful attempts to trap the more agile enemy with his clouds. “Alright, we’ve been at this for five minutes now and I’m pretty damn bored. Guess it’s gotta be me to get this right, huh?”
“You mock me? A fine creation of the great Dr Wily, and servant to his King? You will die for your insolence!”, Coldman yelled, albeit meekly as he long ago realized how outclassed he was as he had witnessed his fellow Tyrants die in some form.
God, just shut the hell up already! Seriously, it’s just on and on with you guys…Kissing Wily’s this, I suck King’s that…Wake the hell up, loser! You guys got you asses kicked today, and it’s just gonna continue with you and Goldielocks over there. I’m so damn bored, I’m not even gonna let you two bums talk anymore.”
The Captain was obviously bored and not taking anything about Coldman seriously at this point, having countered everything the oddly shaped robot threw at him with ease, and hadn’t even used a single missile in hopes of making things interesting, unlike his fight with Elecman a few days ago. What a bore that was.
So, he lazily folded arms after sidestepping a few more of those painfully slow clouds of white condensed chilliness and proceeded to casually bomb the hapless foe with his Crash Brigade. Poor Coldman was far too outclassed in this case, as the missiles tore through both his Cold Walls and Mist Clouds like a power washer through paper. The chunky and clumsy android didn’t even have time to attempt to dodge the impending doom, instead taking the brunt of the second missile with his chest. His body was soon enveloped in a haze of smoke, fire, and debris from his own body being torn from his frame.
In a few quick seconds, and thirty-seven missile strikes, Coldman lay in a disgusting heap, not even vaguely resembling the same Robot Master that occupied the same space only moments before. Perhaps just to add an exclamation point to such utter finality, Crashman launched a decisive Crash Bomb into the heap, decimating it.
“Tch…Damn kids these days. Think they know it all…”, Crashman grumbled.
His commentary was cut short by the surprisingly confident and loud clapping of King, who applauded Crashman’s quick butchery of one of his disciples.
“Well done…All of you! You’ve all done exceptionally well, especially given your unprofessional build qualities! Nicely done!”, he commended.
“Oh for f-…If there’s anything I really hate, it’s suck ups who try to kiss some ass to get out of a jam.”, Crashman grimaced. “Look asshole, you’re dyin’ today no matter how much ass kissing you do, and that’s a fact, Jack. So take it like a man.”
“I’m afraid you’re mistaken if you believe me to be anywhere near the same level of strength as my now dearly departed followers. Strong as they were, I was their King for a reason, after all. To prove it, you may all attack me as a single force if you so desire. It will make no difference.”
“Hey, cool with me. We may as well have some decent fun if you’re as strong as your as tough as you claim, though I doubt it.”
“…No. Stop immediately.”
Crashman turned around to face the familiar voice, who had finally come down from his point of observation.
“Colonel…You’re not needed here, sir. The situation is well under control.”, Crashman explained.
“…Return to base immediately and take all fallen robots to the Engineer for repair. The Operation has been moved ahead of schedule.”
“Sir, are you sure? Those two couldn’t have finished Elysium that fast, let alone the weapons systems…”, the orange camoed android countered.
“…As I said, return to base immediately. This fool has wasted enough of our time as it is…”, Red said, looking over King and his confident smirk.
“…If you insist, sir. But, what will you do with him?”, Crashman asked of King.
“…I will…tend him him personally.”, he said in a dark, quiet tone.
“Goddamn…Why do I miss on the most fun shows?”, Crashman protested.
Crashman “tched” again and walked over the battle field to inform his troops of their latest orders and help gather the fallen, including the remains of the former Technological Tyrants for rebuilding. There was no better way to show up Wily than having yet more of his creations taken from him and rebuilt as better warriors, as Cutman had proven he could do so countless times before.
King, however, did not protest any of the actions lain out before him. Instead, he gracefully twirled his massive axe in a wide arc and let his royal purple cape slide off his shoulders and onto the oil stained ground.
“Show me what you’ve got, little one.”, he loudly challenged the diminutive Colonel.
Red made no motion, but the air around him grew noticeably dark, sporadically lit by burst of red hued lightning.
“…You are nothing.”
Gyroman, despite being outnumbered, was faring quite well, all things considered. The awe-inspiring power of Pharaohman had yet to make contact with the flying menace, and Ringman’s attacks came up woefully short. More so, Gyroman had two smaller satellites, which were given to him instead of their original owner, Astroman, and they effectively created a triple threat with their deadly propeller blades and small caliber machine guns. On top of that, he could create his own cloud cover, as well as launch small sidewinder missiles from his back.
It was obvious General Cutman had taken an ornate amount of pride in designing the perfect “death from above” bringer.
“We’re running out of options!”, Ringman observed, catching a returning ring. He even had to be careful of his partner’s own attacks, which could easily sear his golden armor within seconds.
However, even the air in the immediate area was ten degrees cooler than a few minutes before, as Pharaohman was literally sucking the heat from the carrier beneath, and the rushing air kept cooling things in rapid order. His Pharaoh Shot was beginning to grow weak from the lack of fuel as well, forcing him to agree with his cohort with a nod.
And just when things seemed they couldn’t get any worse…
“Captain! Captain! I’ve come to back you up!”, Astroman announced, rushing in from the front of the train.
“You moron! I told you to stay with the others! Why did you abandon your post?”, Gyroman shouted in anger.
“Er…They…They were too easy! Heh, yeah! Nothing to it!”
Despite Gyroman’s face being completely hidden behind his dark shaded visor, Astroman could tell he was getting a very skeptical look from his boss.
“Lieutenant…You’re a horrible liar. It looks like I will have to clean up your mess once again, after I deal with these two.”
“S-sir! Let…Let me destroy them!”, Astroman pleaded frantically, trying to save what small shred of respect he may have had in the mind of the powerful Captain. Unfortunately, he didn’t wait for his chief officer to give him permission, and bombarded the area with his Astro Crush with little thought going into the attack.
Though the synthetic meteorites managed to score a few minor hits on the two Comrades below, they caused Gyroman much more trouble, as a few examples of the falling weapon hit the Captain squarely on his back, stalling his partially exposed engine momentarily.
“Clumsy oaf! Don’t you ever think about your plan of action?!”, Gyroman screamed through his mask. “You nearly grounded me for good”
“I’m sorry, sir! It was a stupid mistake!”
On the carrier, Rick and Sergal stood up, giving the odd scene above sideways glances at the obvious comparisons between a father berating his idiot son.
“That’s…Just plain stupid.”, Ringman observed.
He got no answer from Pharaohman, as the android was again drawing in an incredible amount of heat for a surprise attack on the two above.
“You’re pathetic! I can’t think of one good reason why I should just kill you myself and actually do the General a favor, you worthless tub!”, Gyroman berated.
Almost on que, Astroman suddenly exploded in a bright orange burst of plasma and fire, sending shrapnel and oily mess into the immediate environment, including onto Gyroman himself, whose visor was covered in opaque fluid, blinding him while the burning scraps cut into his body. Losing track of his own position, he quickly drifted away from the train, eventually rolling out of the sky and landing nastily onto the ground- alive, yet severely injured.
“Hot damn!”, exclaimed Rick. “That was sweet!”
“All in a day’s work.”, Sergal casually claimed while blowing smoke away from his index finger.
“Guess we should run ahead and check on the ladies. I think they-“
Ringman’s words were cut short as both he and his accomplice were tossed forward by a sudden halt of the convoy.
Despite the hulking Gutsman’s best efforts, Chargeman was making good on his name and baring down upon the city of Dayton, Ohio with unrelenting force, barely flinching with each of Erik’s crushing blows to his chest. The gigantic, charcoal stained robot was more armored than an Abrams tank, and combined with the rough, one hundred miles an hour ride it took away from Gutsman’s usually impressive power.
Still, Erik clung tenaciously to the monstrous mecha. The roar of the jet engine that inhabited the majority of blocked out everything else, from the pounding of metal fists on titanium ribs, to the constant grinding of rock hard earth being snapped like cardboard beneath the unforgiving wheels mounted to the sides of Chargeman’s feet. Yet, after a few minutes of this hellish symphony of industrial noise, a distinctive, out of place whine presented itself to Erik’s robotic eardrums. A sound that made him cringe from memories of dentist visits as a child.
However, Gutsman grinned when he realized he wasn’t strapped to an uncomfortable chair this time. It especially was evident when the harsh ride began to slow down, along with the tremendous jet engine winding down in an attempt to stay engaged. Yet, the drilling noise remained as loud as ever, accompanied with the sound of metal being ground down and stripped away.
“Yo, Erik!”, the unofficial leader of the Comrades yelled out. “Looks like my gut feeling was right!”
“Wish your gut knew when it should work faster!”, Gutsman wryly countered.
“You ready to bring “Ugmo” here down?”
“The hell with you insects!”, Chargeman suddenly bellowed out from beneath the thick metal plates that formed what you could questionably call his face. Grinding to a sudden halt, he sunk his foot deep into the ground, shaking both heroes to the point of nearly falling completely off his darkened frame.
He batted at Drillman with a massive fist, the wind of each missed blow nearly enough by itself to bowl over the vermilion-hued android. Drillman kept his position by sinking a drill into the fresh gap he had created in the seam between Chargeman’s torso and head, as he lacked any sort of neck. Not particularly capable of feeling much of anything, Chargeman continued to swipe at Drillman, finally reaching far enough to smack off the bothersome assailant with murderous force.
Drillman crashed onto the cement below, as they had just barely moved onto the city’s limits before forcing the renegade transporter to his abrupt halt. Gutsman let go of his position at last to continue work on Chargeman’s large legs, which had been finally shown signs of damage from Erik’s previous attempts to weaken them. This time, however, Chargeman was more than a little annoyed by Gutsman’s actions against him, and refused to stay still and ignore the pest. He drove a meteor-like fist into the earth, sandwedging Gutsman between the impact of a titanium armored hand and the ground itself.
Chargeman laughed in a slow, deliberately sinister tone as he crushed the famed robot under his fist, giving it a few extra turns for good measure. He kept his fist planted firmly into the crater he had created, just to keep up the tremendous pressure. It was much to his surprise when his own arm began moving back towards him against his will.
“The hell? I crushed you like a tick! Die right!”, he ordered as he surged his strength once again, forcing his hand downward slightly. The opposing force of Gutsman continued however, and would not be wavered. Erik managed to tighten his grasp on the airplane-tire-sized fist, causing Chargeman’s elbow to buckle at the force. Rearing back for a second punch, Chargeman was rocked by a sudden blast from the back of his head, as Drillman detonated a Drill Bomb he had planted there just before he was knocked off down.
Chargeman stumbled back, tipping over a few cars that were still attached to his permanent hitch and causing the Earth to tremble. Gutsman never loosened his grip on the massive hand, and instead yanked it backwards against Chargeman’s own momentum, tearing it from it’s seams, causing gallons of half-used oil to gush onto the ground, staining it deep red.
By this time, Drill had managed to properly recover from the hit he had taken, and ran to Gutsman’s side. Watching Chargeman howl in anger and pain from the loss of his limb, an idea came to mind. He leapt straight at the lumbering giant, leaving Erik standing there, jaw ajar, at the seemingly suicidal attack.
“Get back here! He’ll kill you!”, he pleaded.
Instead, he saw the true intent of the dive, as Drillman plunged himself directly into the open wound and used it as an entrance point into the massive body of the beast. More oil and shrapnel was hurled out of the socket as the burrowing android buried himself further and further into the body of his foe, against Chargeman’s protests of course. Chargeman tried everything to try and vacate the dreaded invader from his very being, even tearing the remainder of his own arm off in hopes of catching Drillman within and squashing him in a convenient burial package.
That proved to be a vain sacrifice, as Drillman worked very fast and was well within Chargeman’s torso by the time the remainder of the ravaged limb was shorn off. Oil bubbled and spewed from the many wielding seams on Chargeman’s torso, as the pressure within built itself up. It even escaped via Chargeman’s eye sockets, exploding one in a flurry of polymer glass. His last words were incomprehensible thanks to the bubbling substance constricting and crushing his digital voice unit. One no doubt could bank on them not being too friendly, however.
Finally, the husk of the great mammoth mecha toppled over a few moments after he was dead, and Drillman exploded, triumphantly, from the chest cavity in a grim and savage display of flying debris and a shower of makeshift blood. He was huffing madly from having to hold his breath during the time inside, as well as the furious movements, but seemed in good health. At least in as good a state of condition as an android could be in, in any case.
Just then, a very worried looking BrightBabe and ToadGirl arrived from the back of the train, further horrified that Chargeman had indeed been toppled.
“Oh no…We’re too late!”, exclaimed Keba.
“Did I miss something here?”, Erik asked, confused and ignorant of what was found on the convoy only minutes before. “We came here to beat the bad guy, stop the train, and get rid of whatever it was carrying. From the looks of it, we’re two thirds of the way there. What’s not to like?”
“The fact that this train is loaded with tons of chemical weapons that could poison every last human on the planet if we just blew it up. We were hoping we could have just rode this thing to the coast and simply pushed it into the ocean for the time being. Instead we’re here in…Ohio? Oh great, we’re hundreds of miles from the ocean! What the hell can we do now?”
“Go North. Maybe we can dump it into one of the Great Lakes instead!”, Zapper rationalized.
“Oh yeah! But…How do we get it there? I don’t think even Erik could push this thing for that long…”
“Maybe…We won’t have to move it. I think I’ve got a plan in mind…”, Drillman said, his attitude picking up. “Yeah…Leave it to me!”