Cossack's Comrades

Cossack's Comrades Season 1: Epilogue 18

“Cookies!”
By Avi (Pharaoh Woman)

(Scene: Cossack’s Citadel. The living room. It is currently occupied by two robots whose motifs are anything but “living.”)

Skull Man: …

Pharaoh Woman: …so… um…

Skull Man: …Yes?

Pharaoh Woman: …Err, which is to say, GREETINGS, fellow denizen of the dead… people… place! How fares your adjustment to the realm of the living?

Skull Man: I am a machine designed for combat purposes. There is no “adjustment,” for that is all I have ever known.

Pharaoh Woman: It’s always about combat with you… n-not that that’s a bad thing, but like… you know, there’s so much more! The gods have afforded us a new life, and we would be remiss not to… you know, live!

Skull Man: Define “living.”

Pharaoh Woman: Living… um, like, the state of not being dead. Or, you know, the state of not standing in one place while you wait for like, bad things to happen in order for you to smite the wicked into the fiery pit and other such rot.

Skull Man: You wish for action? Very well. Let us begin a training simulation.

Pharaoh Woman: A-again? No! Err, no, sorry, um, I uh… I mean, let’s go out and experience life in my kingdom! Mingle with the common folk, take in the sights, and experience all the wondrous… stuff… of wonderment!

Skull Man: You are suggesting we patrol the town? This is acceptable.

(The two undead robots trek a ways from the citadel, with Skull following Pharaoh’s aimless wandering for countless hours. They soon wind up in the small Russian town of… um, Vavshukovskaya, whose name might or might not have come from an online town name generator just now.)

Pharaoh Woman: Welcome to Vavsk…shuksvits…skofdfka… whatever it’s called! It is truly a pillar of our glorious kingdom, responsible for such importanty-kinda necessities as, um…

(She looks around the vicinity. There are little more than trees and half-paved roads.)

Pharaoh Woman: …as our… trees and highways…? HEY, THEY’RE IMPORTANT AND STUFF.

Skull Man: No activity, criminal or otherwise, has been detected. Let us patrol the next sector.

Pharaoh Woman: *spots something amidst the trees* W-WAIT! Hidden in the depths of the expansive jungle, lurks treasure unfound! Behold, the grand banquet hall, where kings and their majestic steeds dine upon the fruit of the mighty phoenix!

(…it’s a KFC.)

Skull Man: It’s a fast food facility. A refueling station for the Robot Chief of Police.

Pharaoh Woman: Are you so unmoved by the legend of the phoenix?! Oh, in great famines untold, the populace was starved beyond, you know, like, being like all bony… LIKE YOU! They were on the verge of death, but then it came – the mighty bird!

Skull Man: …

Pharaoh Woman: The phoenix knew what it had to do. Engulfing itself in the flames of a thousand suns, it turned itself into a grand buffet! Its flesh nourished the human race, saving it from the brink of extinction… but fret not for this majestic beast’s sacrifice, for it will one day be reborn from the ashes!

Skull Man: I do not crave chicken.

Pharaoh Woman: W-w-WHAT?! You DARE compare the great phoenix to the common farm fowl?! After… after its… valiant sacrifice… *sniff* you… YOU’RE SO COLD!

Skull Man: …However, I find the scents emitted from this other facility to give me “pleasure.”

(Skull Man was standing in front of a relatively modest-looking log building. On it, a sign read “Avalon Bakery.”)

Pharaoh Woman: *takes a whiff* Heavens be! Such a divine scent! Let us grace this blessed abode with our presences!

***

(Scene: Avalon Bakery. Sweet, confectionary treats line every corner – everything from cookies, to cakes, to pies, to bread – BREAD IS DELICIOUS, SHUT UP. The owner, Sierra K. Avalon, stood visibly in the back, viciously rolling dough like there was no tomorrow. She was a tall, middle-aged woman with blond hair. Oh, and only one eye.)

Random Customer: So, uh… how did you lose that eye anyway?

Sierra: Well dearie, you know how I just LOVE to keep all the happy faces of the world well fed? It’s compulsive, I admit, like, SERIOUSLY! Oh man, so there I was at the duck pond, with all the cute little ducks and their fuzzy little ducklings, ohmygosh, I HAD TO FEED THEM!

Random Customer: So… you fed them your eye?

Sierra: Well, YEAH. I mean like, you know those dispenser things at duck ponds and other places with animals? The ones that charge a quarter? I didn’t have a quarter! The machine didn’t offer change for a hundred, which was all I had – no, I didn’t have only a hundred, I mean all the bills I had were hundreds. Oh yes, muggers were definitely after me, of course, but I have SKILLS, so I fed THEIR eyes to the ducks as well!

Random Customer: In that case, why didn’t you just feed the ducks only the muggers’ eyes?

Sierra: Um… hah. Got me there, hun!

Random Customer: Ha ha ha ha! That one was pretty crazy, although as far as these “how I lost my eye” stories go, I still think I like the one with the steamroller and the squeegee the best.

Sierra: Oh, yes. That one’s a classic! Although, I am quite partial to the bubble plastic one myself. Take care!

(As the one customer leaves, two more enter.)

Skull Man: …

Pharaoh Woman: Hello and good tidings to the legions of the living! My associate and I—

Sierra: My GOD! The walking dead are upon us… *turns to Skull Man* …never have I seen such grievous starvation! Just look at those bones, LOOK AT THEM! The poor thing could use some meat on said bones!

(She leaps up over the counter, carrying a jar full of cookies. Before anyone can figure out what’s going on, the entire jar is being poured straight into Skull Man’s mouth.)

Pharaoh Woman: EEP, w-what are you doing?!

Skull Man: *finishes all the cookies* Ah. These cookies are most gratifying.

Pharaoh Woman: Did he… almost show emotion?!

Sierra: This man may live yet! And you… *turns to Pharaoh* …you’re a mummy, right? Mummies are like zombies, and zombies eat brains, yeah? Unfortunately, we don’t have any brains here.

Teenage Girl: Got that right.

Sierra: Calista, dear. Can you bring the zombie lady some of the brain-shaped cookies?

Calista: Yes, mother.

Sierra: But really, I shouldn’t be encouraging the consumption of brains. I know for myself how delicious they are, but really, you can’t be having the same thing all the time. You gotta have a balanced diet of cake, cookies, fruit, cake, cookies, and more cookies!

Calista: *arrives with the brain cookies* Aaaand here you are. Mom’s been saving these in the event of a “zombie apocalypse.” Enjoy!

Pharaoh Woman: *takes a cookie, and consumes it with GUSTO* …great stars and heavens above! The sheer yummy-licious-ness transcends all mortal boundaries! O Empress and Crown Princess of Cookiedom, you are at one with, um, What’s Her Face, ancient goddess of confectionary goodness!

Skull Man: Oddly enough, there is certain validity in that statement.

Sierra: Awww, hehe, thank you dearies, I try my best! Know what? Here. *she places a large platter overflowing with cookies in front of the two robots* Since you two have, I’m sure, been wallowing in your graves for centuries, you must be BEYOND hungry. So, take it all! It’s on the house!

Pharaoh Woman: Your benevolence knows no bounds! As queen, I will see you knighted! *begins to pig out*

Skull Man: We are most thankful. *eats discretely*

Calista: Um, Mom? I know being generous is great and everything, but… we’re still a small, struggling business, remember?

Sierra: Pffft, not for long. Haven’t you seen all the new customers coming in? Never underestimate the power of word of mouth… and of course, our new, “special mix.”

Calista: True, but I still don’t like the way you say “special mix.” If you’re not going to tell anyone else your secret ingredient, couldn’t you at least tell me? *whispering* Because I am still under the assumption that it’s drugs…

Pharaoh Woman: *eating* OH, YES!! I have been whisked away from this earthly plane, to the heavens above, and back again! With every bite, I can feel my mortal blood pumping once more!

Sierra: Look, Cali! Do you not see the life returning to these once-dead husks?! *randomly pulls out a rubber Richard Nixon mask, and stuffs it on Skull Man’s head* See?! Slowly but steadily, he is regaining his skin!

Skull Man: …

Sierra: Go on, play along. Say something Nixon would say!

Skull Man: Nixon is dead, and is therefore incapable of speech.

Sierra: …okay, I’ll take it. See, Cali? I’ve done it! He’s alive! ALIIIIIIIVE! MWA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAH!

Sierra: …my dramatic thunder crash, please?

Calista: Um… bang-da-bang-crash-crash-rumble.

Sierra: Not buying it, sweetie. Until you learn how to control the weather for real, I have no daughter!

Calista: Heh. Still working on it, mother.

Sierra: Thatta girl!

Pharaoh Woman: O great cookie empress, impart unto the princess your culinary tact, so that she may accomplish such feats and more! I mean… *holds up a cookie… which appears to be glowing brightly* …to make it shine not so unlike Ra’s very sun disk, takes like, you know, otherworldly talent and such!

Sierra: !! …um…

Skull Man: And this cookie appears to have sprouted tentacles.

(Said tentacles squirm around.)

Pharaoh Woman: T-tentacles…

Calista: Tentacles?!

Sierra: …Oh, hah hah hah! Those two cookies you have aren’t quite ready for production yet, dunno how I mixed the prototype batch in with the completely and totally normal ones! *takes the glowing and tentacled cookies, and eats them both*

Calista: M-Mom, that…

Sierra: COMPLETELY harmless! The only thing wrong with them is that they should have the gummy tentacles AND glow, not one or the other! Really, the kids are gonna LOVE this stuff; but I can’t have anyone trying their mitts on an unfinished product. Business stuff and all that. Now if you’ll excuse me… *disappears into the staff restroom*

Pharaoh Woman: Errrm… will she be alright?

Skull Man: She is in remarkable shape for her age and profession. I predict an early death due to reckless self-endangerment.

Pharaoh Woman: N-not in front of her kid, please!

Calista: You know… in spite of all the crazy things she’s done, she’s a survivor. Flying a helicopter with one eye, skydiving out of said helicopter without a parachute… and then, there were the odd jobs she took to help keep the bakery open. Namely, bounty hunting and that weird science experiment…

Skull Man: Science experiment? I am intrigued.

Calista: She had… something done to her brain.

Pharaoh Woman: And that’s why she’s so… you know…

Calista: Crazy? Unhinged? Actually, according to Dad, she was always like that… which was really why she went through with the experiment to begin with. This was back when I was a baby, so I dunno what it involved exactly; but it has something to do with all machines and stuff in there. And controlling other machines with her brainwaves or something, supposedly.

Skull Man: Such technology applied to a human is exceedingly unorthodox.

Calista: You’re telling me… yet she did it to keep the bakery open. For someone who’s bad with money, she’d kill to have it… at least for this place. We’ve been going on over twenty years now, and we’ve only managed to stay around due to all the crazy working risks she takes.

Pharaoh Woman: Really? But look at this place! Such crowds, such activity… this truly grand… food-type place is clearly a hit amongst the peasantry and nobility alike!

Calista: This is all because of her new secret ingredient, evidently. Suddenly, everything is infinitely more delicious than before, with the apparent side-effect of… well… glowing and tentacles…

Skull Man: *turns to Pharaoh* This requires further investigation.

Pharaoh Woman: *nods* Fair Princess Avalon. Please allow us to take the remainder of these cookies back to our palace!

Calista: Sure thing, I guess. None of the others seem mutated, but…

(Pharaoh sets a small sum of money down on the counter in front of Calista.)

Pharaoh Woman: Erm… maybe this will help keep Mom out of trouble. I would tap into the royal treasury, but my vizier always says “no” and she carries around a shotgun, so…

Calista: *accepting the money* Heh. My humblest thanks… I mean it. Have a nice day!

***

(Scene: Much later, in Kalinka Cossack’s lab. The cookies Skull and Pharaoh had brought back are now individually concealed in glass cylinders.)

Toad Man: Trap them if you must, but one day, right when you least expect it, those cookies will be MINE! ALL MINE!! RAAAAARGH!!!

Skull Man: What is the word, Doctor?

Kalinka: Readings indicate that trans-dimensional matter is indeed present in the cookies, albeit in small doses. It is likely most paranormal effects were negated when the batter was baked, thereby allowing for safe consumption—

Toad Man: That means I can eat them now?!

Kalinka: *listlessly cocks her shotgun and points it at Toad Man* …however, any casual oversight on the baker’s part may well bring great risks. Whether too much of the “secret ingredient” was added, or not baked long enough, mistakes are bound to happen. Hence, the alleged tentacle incident.

Drill Man: Clearly, we’re going to need to investigate this “Avalon Bakery.” Pfft, cookies, huh? More like a means to brainwash hapless customers into her freakish little cult!

Ring Man: I’ve done some research on the bakery and its owner. However, middle-aged human woman or not, she is not one to be taken lightly.

Pharaoh Woman: But like, she seemed so nice and stuff! If not a little, how you say, a little off…

Ring Man: If the accounts I scrounged up are to be believed, that’s what makes her so dangerous. Have I mentioned that she moonlights as a bounty hunter? Supposedly, she lulls her enemies with the clueless, bumbling mom act, before cutting them apart with a remote blade weapon… which they say she controls with her mind.

Drill Man: I see. You sure know an awful lot about our so-called “baker,” John. An AWFUL lot.

Ring Man: I am not “in cahoots” with the baker, if that’s what you’re thinking. These are merely reports I found, which may even be greatly exaggerated.

Dive Man: Eh, whatev’s. Let’s just blast this shanty little cookie shop to smithereens and be done with it.

Pharaoh Woman: NO! L-let us negotiate with the grand cookie empress, y’know, like, all peaceful-like and stuff, and…

Dive Man: What would ya know ‘bout peace and not killing innocents and the like, Stinky? The way ya leave mutilated mouse carcasses lyin’ round for me to step on…

Bright Babe: I believe those were from my cat, Autumn.

Pharaoh Woman: O attendant to the great deity Autumn, I appreciate your benevolence, but as divine attendant, you mustn’t sully the good name of the exalted one! I… I was the one who caught those mice!

Bright Babe: …and you need to stop playing martyr for my cat. Okay?

Dust Man: I am left to ponder how that cat is still around, ignoring Pharaoh’s claims to its immortality. Perhaps a form of cryostasis came into play, or advances in technology we missed out on during our own stasis allowed for cats to live longer than they—

Skull Man: Every irrelevant dialog brings the bakery closer to its closing time.

(Everybody shuts up and leaves for the bakery. Well, all except for ONE.)

Toad Man: Mwee hee hee hee… *slinks into the shadows*

(Moments pass. Kalinka remains in the lab, hard at work analyzing the nature of the cookies. Soon, she finds the need to get up – only to step on the remains of what used to be a mouse.)

Kalinka: EEK! Ew, disgusting! Damn that cat! That’s it! Out of the lab! OUT!

(Kalinka chases Autumn the Cat towards the door, and down the halls. By the time the cat was at the other end of the citadel, Kalinka returns to the lab… only to find that all of the cookies had disappeared.)

Kalinka: Oh, for the love of God… TOAD MAAAAN!!!

(Outside)

Toad Man: *running while holding his hat, which appears to be completely stuffed with contents, tightly over his head* Little did any of them know, it was ME who left all those tasty, tasty mice on the floor! Bwa ha ha haaaa!

***

(Scene: Avalon Bakery. Sierra and Calista stand in the kitchen.)

Sierra: So I mean, like, WOW. I know we’ve been doing good business, but we’ve never been completely eaten out of EVERYTHING. These cookies baking in the oven right now; you know, after we sell them, we’ll have to close up shop early…

Calista: Well, this is because we have to feed a large family. A VERY large family…

(In the main room of the facility, tables are set up for customers who wish to eat in. Each chair now seats a member of a particularly large family. A family of Metools…)

Metool #1: MMM! This cake is the best!

Metool #2: And the pies! And the bread! But especially the COOKIES!

Met Daddy: Oh ho ho ho! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it, kids! You’ve earned it!

Metool #3: Hee hee! After being trapped in that mine, building machines that build armies, and then having to tunnel all the way out of the mountain… nothing can possibly be better than this place!

Metool #4: Yeah… Daddy, you promise to spare the human’s life… right?

Met Daddy: If her confections make you all this happy, then yes; she will be an exception to the rule. That is, under the condition she continues baking for my children…

Sierra: *entering* Oh, hey, it’ll be about five more minutes ‘till the cookies are out of the oven. Of course, these are the last ones I’ll be able to sell today, seeing as how you all ate my ingredients… not that I’m complaining, *takes out a wad of cash, and gives it a long, slow kiss* yes, my love… let’s run away together and, errrm, I mean… yeah, you’ll have to come back tomorrow if you want more.

Met Daddy: So be it. But I expect you then to have enough for ALL of my children, AND our extended family.

Metool #5: Yeah! We also have talking factory and mining equipment and a talking soda machine and stuff working for us! All the oppressed masses looking for freedom, equality, and COOKIES!

Metool #6: Our mechaniloid cousins work hard to help produce more brothers and sisters for us all!

Sierra: *rolls her eye* Weeeeeeell uh, okay, I ain’t judging. All walks of life are welcome here, I say.

(Cossack’s Comrades enter the bakery.)

Drill Man: Of all the… Met Daddy?! HAH, I knew there was something fishy about this place! *whirrs drills*

Met Daddy: Oh great, it’s you. Listen, can’t you just leave me and my children to enjoy our cookies in peace?

Drill Man: “Enjoy your cookies?” More like plot the overthrow of mainstream society as we know it, all to institute a mechaniloid regime!

Met Daddy: …Look, even a social visionary needs his downtime. Just ignore them, kids!

Bright Babe: Strange as it may seem, it doesn’t look like Met Daddy is up to anything malicious… right now.

Ring Man: Indeed… we’ll deal with him later. Right now, our baker has some things to answer to.

Sierra: Look, if you MUST know about the eye, let’s just say that I lost the ball while mini-golfing, and was forced to use the next best thing. Seriously, why do they put large bodies of water in mini-golf courses, it’s like they’re BEGGING for more than one ball to get lost in there. I mean, one ball and both of my husband’s eyes later, I had to use mine; and even then, my score was WAY over par. I mean, GOD, the things these places do to weasel you out of your money.

Drill Man: …this woman is completely INSANE. *turns to Met Daddy* You’re off the hook FOR NOW. There’s an even greater threat in our midsts…

Dust Man: Why yes, this is most certain. Never have I seen one person prattle on so ceaselessly; be it as a diversion to distract us from whatever operation she might be hiding, or as an eccentric means of customer interaction. Whatever the case may be, she talks too much, drawing out what should be single sentences to extreme lengths. She could have just said, “I used it as a golf ball,” but instead had to give us her whole life story. Talk about tiresome!

Ring Man: So, Ms. Avalon. We’ve received reports of your cookies displaying rather unusual qualities, including and I quote: “glowing and tentacles.”

Sierra: Look, hun, we get a lot of stoners here. Said that my cookies go great with their dope. Not that I’m encouraging the use of such substances; quite the opposite, in fact! But the point is, they see things.

Skull Man: I am certain you claimed for them to be part of a “prototype batch.”

Sierra: Well, uh… Hey, it’s YOU! The dead guy! And you’re still wearing the Nixon mask!

Skull Man: Until it proves a hindrance in combat, I see no need for its removal. Now tell us what you put in those cookies or else.

Sierra: Flour, sugar, love and sunshine, unicorn souls, eggs, vanilla extract… the usual fare. However, the trick to making them as delicious as they are comes in baking them for just the right… shit, the oven! *runs into the kitchen* Calista, you were supposed to be watching it!

(All attention turns towards the kitchen in the back. No one can see what goes on within, but what can be seen – and heard – from in front of the counter raises more than a few eyebrows. The vicinity begins to glow in cool blue, then hot pink, to neon yellow and back again, all the while something that can only be described as a faint, discordant harmony begins to ring through everyone’s ears.)

Met Daddy: …interesting.

Bright Babe: Ulp… I don’t think I want to eat from here…!

Drill Man: So it begins…

Sierra: *comes out of the kitchen* Erm, sorry folks! My daughter was supposed to be watching the oven, but instead she was busy TEXTING. Ugh, why, it’s socialization without any of the socialization! Like my friend Walter. He always gets drunk, and sends me texts complaining about my hygiene… seriously, if I smell bad or whatever, why couldn’t he just SAY it? You know, using his vocal chords?

Dive Man: Sounds like my kinda guy, and a true servant of God. But what’s textin’ got ta do with all the glowy shit?

Sierra: …smartphones. What can’t they do these days? Heh… point is, the last batch of cookies got burned, so now we gotta close up shop. Sorry for the inconvenience, but be sure to stop by tomorrow!

(As Sierra retreats behind the counter, steel doors slam down and barricade the kitchen. A sign reading “sorry, we’re closed!” adorns each one.)

Toad Man: …It’s as if this place was designed to keep ME out. NO FAIR!!! I didn’t get anything to eat! *clutches his hat over his head some more* I demand a refund, damn it!

Dust Man: But you didn’t even pay any… never mind, it’s pointless. For now, it looks like we’ll have to put our investigation on hold. We’d have to completely blow up the place in order to get past this overcompensating barricade, and that would only lead us into deep trouble as far as the law is concerned. And as a unit of the Robot Police, it is our duty to represent the law, and…

Pharaoh Woman: …bring DIVINE JUSTICE to all desecraters of the law?

(She turns to the metools, who are quietly leaving the bakery one-by-one.)

Drill Man: Hrmm. We have some flies to swat, but someone needs to keep an eye on this place. The “baker” can’t stay in there all night. Flippy! Stand guard and keep an eye out!

Toad Man: Huh? Me? Your loss. I doubt you weaklings would be able to defeat the metools without MY awesome powers. But hey, if I can get my mitts on those burnt cookies… mwee hee hee hee…

Drill Man: *to the rest of the team* Look, just go with it. However it goes, food motivates him. If he gets kidnapped, Kalinka can track him to the “baker’s” secret lair. You KNOW she has one.

Skull Man: And if he dies, a study of his remains shall yield further insight into the baker’s methods.

Dive Man: Whatever, let’s just kick some metool ass!

***

(Scene: moments later, outside the bakery. Explosions rock the vicinity.)

Met Daddy: *swinging his giant pickaxe* What part of “I only wanted to take my children out for cookies” don’t you understand?!

Skull Man: *standing motionless, blocking the axe with his force field of skulls* That does little to understate your greater intentions. *leaps back, firing projectiles*

Met Daddy: What are YOUR intentions, I should ask? Don’t think I haven’t noticed the absence of your little frog!

Ring Man: You mean Toad Man, our weakest member?

Met Daddy: … *stops fighting, and buries his eyes under his helmet* …don’t think I have forgotten what happened back in the mine.

( ~ FLASHBACK ~ )

(Scene: A mine. The autodestruct timer counts down. Met Daddy is desperate, and the Comrades have him on the ropes. But all of a sudden, the robot masters are drawn upwards, plastered motionlessly to a magnet crane.)

Met Daddy: *witnesses his foes being trapped* …Huh? What in the… shouldn’t you be in the shelter?!

Magnet Crane: Sorry, I’ve been hiding here the whole time… knew you’d need my help.

Met Daddy: But… the auto-destruct… it can’t be cancelled… you’re not made of mettanium; you’ll be crushed!

Magnet Crane: Heh. Better that than a world without a Mettopia…

Met Daddy: …

Magnet Crane: I’d otherwise be scrapped anyway. Our dream must be made a reality, no matter the cost. I shall stay with you until the end!

Met Daddy: I… thank you… my beloved child… *retreats under his helmet*

(Suddenly, a vicious torrent of acid rain tears through the room! The magnet crane collapses into a heap of rust, as the Comrades are dropped to the ground.

Toad Man, who had been kidnapped by Met Daddy earlier, managed to pull off his rain dance, despite being bound and gagged.)

Toad Man: *clumsily dancing around* Mrrrrrrm!

( ~ END FLASHBACK ~ )

Met Daddy: …she was the best of us. And yet, that wretched FROG rendered her sacrifice meaningless!

Dive Man: That piece o’ junk was a girl?

Met Daddy: *twitches* Grrr… children! Find that frog! Magnet Crane shall be avenged!

(Scene: Behind the bakery.)

Toad Man: Soooo, I’m on lookout duty. Which basically means I get to do nothing. HELL YES! I love being a lazyass! *plops down on said rear end, and pulls a cookie out from under his hat*

Metool #1: There he is!

Toad Man: !! *jumps, sending all the cookies tucked away in his hat cascading to the ground*

Metool #2: And he has COOKIES!

Toad Man: What’s this? You wish to challenge ME, the great Flippy Toad? You weaklings are better off picking on my teammates, ‘cause after all, you don’t stand a GHOST of a chance against me. I’m more powerful than all of them put to—

(Dozens upon dozens of metools tackle Toad Man to the ground, gnawing away at both him and his relinquished cookies.)

Pharaoh Woman: *rushing onto the scene* HALT, vile denizens of the… bad… place! Release our “friend,” or be bathed in the heavenly light of a thousand blazing constellations!

(They won’t relent. As such, Pharaoh unleashes a barrage of fireballs upon metool, cookie, and Toad Man alike.)

Pharaoh Woman: May the darkness of Set forever cradle your tainted souls!

Toad Man: Nooooo… my cookies…

(Smoke emanates from the burned cookies. But it was no ordinary smoke. It shone in rapidly changing neon hues, all the while emitting an unidentifiable buzzing noise that grew louder and louder. White ooze began to flood the ground in the midst of it all.)

Pharaoh Woman: This… um… what IS this foul witchcraft?!

Bright Babe: This is just like when the bakery closed…

Ring Man: Hmm… the heat of the Pharaoh Shot… and the cookies… yes, this is EXACTLY like how the baker’s daughter burned the cookies! When exposed to excessive heat, apparently, THIS happens…

Bright Babe: Everyone, get back!

(In the midst of the cookie chaos, a myriad of appendages – all made of cookie dough – extended forth from the smoke. They oozed sizzling drops of melted chocolate, which burned through the ground like acid. Soon, it emerged as an ungodly monster… no, an abomination! For it was not blue and fuzzy, and definitely not friendly!)

Cookie Abomination:UUUURRRRKREEEEEEE HEEEE HEEEEEHAUGHAAAAAAAHHHH *slowly advances towards Pharaoh*

Pharaoh Woman: …?! I… I am not being punished for my mortal insolence, um, am I? AM I?!

Cookie Abomination:EEEUUUUURRRRGGGHHHHHAAAA

(The abomination begins to warp the very fabric of reality, as all of space around it distorts and fades to black. These dimensional tears inch ever more in Pharaoh’s direction.)

Pharaoh Woman: O great beast, err, um… DESECRATER TO THE THRONE! YEAH! Suffer the consequences of invoking the undead queen’s wrath!

(The abomination makes its charge for Pharaoh, who promptly proceeds towards the small metool army. As she deftly dodges the advances of met and cookie-thing alike, the former adversaries soon find themselves being drawn into the black holes created by the latter.)

Met Daddy: CHILDREN! Grrr… this thing shall be pulverized like any other insolent human! *raises his pickaxe*

Cookie Abomination:*draws Met Daddy’s pickaxe towards its form, dislodging it from his grip* UUUUUURRRRIIIIEEEEEEEYAAAAAAOOORRRR *the axe melds with the abomination, causing it to sprout pickaxe-shaped chocolate chips… of DEATH*

Drill Man: Pharaoh, keep leading it to the enemy! *to himself* But once they’re gone, how will we deal with the “it” in question?

(More mets are absorbed by “it.” With each kill, it grows and grows, contorting into an ever more grotesque form…)

Met Daddy: *backing away* No… my dream of Mettopia… where machines live free of human oppression… IT CANNOT END HERE! IT… CAN… *begins levitating above the ground* NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Cookie Abomination:IOOORRREEEEPAAAACH *wraps each of its appendages around Met Daddy, and even grows a few new ones for that very purpose* KIIIAYEEEZERKRAAAAAW *opens what one can only assume is its “mouth,” drawing Met Daddy ever closer*

Drill Man: Its attention has been redirected! Everyone, RETREAT!

(The Comrades rush a safe distance away from the spectacle, seeking out refuge in the woods. Once safe, they watched the abomination slowly force Met Daddy into its mouth-like orifice. Just like that, the machinations of their hard-hatted foe would forever be put to an end… if the thing hadn’t completely stopped in its tracks.)

Met Daddy: …huh? Am I…?

Cookie Abomination: …

Bright Babe: What caused it to… oh, NO!

Toad Man: *eating the cookie abomination from behind* OH MY GOD! This thing is the tastiest killer monster I’ve ever tried! *voraciously gnaws at it even more*

Met Daddy: *breaks free of the cookie appendages, which now crumble helplessly to the earth* HA! A machine world will yet live on!

Skull Man: Toad Man saved our enemy’s life. At this point, he does little to earn even the status of “living shield.” This fills me with “seething rage.”

Drill Man: FLIPPY!!! YOU TRAITOR!!! *whirrs drills in Toad Man’s face*

Ring Man: Well, at least it isn’t me being blamed this—

Drill Man: You set him up to this, didn’t you?! Tried to get us all killed, and served up as Avalon Bakery’s next special, HUH?!

Ring Man: Whatever, man. Besides, your logic is unsound. Met Daddy isn’t much of a threat at this point, having lost both his weapon and a large chunk of his forces.

Met Daddy: Grrrr… but rest assured, I will be back, with the full extent of my forces!

Smoke Machine: *appears from behind a bush* Later, suckers! *covers the entire area in a blinding fog*

Dust Man: *attempts to draw the fog into his vacuum* This stuff is too thick to contain, and no doubt too thick for Bright’s lightbulb to shine through as well. I’m afraid we must concede to the fact that we lost him…

(The fog soon clears, and Met Daddy is nowhere to be seen. What can be seen, however, are the broken, smoldering remains of many metools in addition to the talking smoke machine.)

Toad Man: *in the air, sporting glowing angel wings, while holding Met Daddy up with one hand* How you like them apples?

All: …

....

....

All: …WHAT.

Toad Man: Oh yeah, eating the cookie monster gave me superpowers.

Met Daddy: But… but…

Toad Man: BYE! *throws Met Daddy into the sky, where he disappears with a twinkle*

Drill Man: He… he… he’s going to be back. Why couldn’t you have just killed him here and now?!

Toad Man: *descending to the ground* Nah, too lazy. Besides, I have some unfinished business here… *eyes the remains of the cookie abomination*

Skull Man: If consuming that entity grants heightened powers, imagine such in the hands of somebody competent. *proceeds to eat some of the cookie abomination*

Toad Man: HEY NO FAIR!!! LEARN TO SHARE!!! *extends his palm, and from it releases a mighty blast of pure rainbow energy! It completely destroys the rest of the cookie abomination* There, now NO ONE gets any!

All: …

Pharaoh Woman: …Errrrrm… while I’m sure many of us are like, no doubt confused by well, EVERYTHING… weren’t we, uh… supposed to, like, scout out the baker?

***

(Scene: In front of the bakery)

Ring Man: *inspecting the ground with a magnifying glass* No new footprints here. The baker must still be inside.

Toad Man: This is boring! Get on with it!

Dust Man: Well, if you had only done your job, which according to all indicators, involves being situated on your fat tush – which is what you do best, might I add, maybe we—

Toad Man: Um, hello?! You’re talking to the man who saved all your worthless lives, all out of the goodness of my heart, and not even a “thank you?” AUGH! That does it! I’m my own hero from here on out! *flies away with a blinding streak*

Dive Man: Like hell ya are! *fires missiles in his direction… because Toad is now too fast, they wind up sailing into a random building instead* …eh, no one’s gonna miss that KFC.

Pharaoh Woman: Immortal phoenix… will rise again… *sighs* …my people. Let us not fret in regards to these disastrous events, for we have our trump card. For our own Skull Man, too, has consumed the power-bestowing monster husk… BEHOLD!

Skull Man: … *now has two heads, both of them Richard Nixon*

Pharaoh Woman: For he as well has obtained the infinite might of the divine… wait. Um… he DOES have super sparkly awesome powers… r-right?

Skull Man: It appears the recipe’s effects aren’t always that of augmented power, but rather, they are completely spontaneous. Concern yourself not about me, for I am designed to adapt to any tactical situation.

Bright Babe: It’s good to hear some optimism coming from you! Maybe you can use that second head of yours to, you know, maybe… Search for the baker?

Skull Man: Additional heads do not always work that way. I am not detecting the addition of a duplicate CPU. It is a second head and nothing more.

Drill Man: This worries me. Between monsters, godlike powers and useless second heads, who knows what else this recipe is capable of? I no longer care what anyone says… I’m digging inside, and we’re putting an end to it!

Dust Man: But as upholders of the law—

Drill Man: As an upholder of the law, I have the right to break through the floor of a super villain lair! Comrades, secure the perimeter. Once I unlock the barricade from inside, we charge!

(The team forms a circle around the bakery. Drill Man tunnels beneath the earth.)

***

(Scene: Avalon Bakery’s kitchen. Now it’s a smoldering war zone.)

Calista: *covered in cookie dough* M-mom, this… just… what… but…

Sierra: *standing above the hacked-up remains of yet another Cookie Abomination, holding a large butcher’s knife* You’re wondering why I didn’t just use my usual weapon? Yeah, didn’t want to get dough in it, could jam up the rotors, you know?

Calista: NO!! I mean… WHY did the cookies turn into a monster?! If you had just told me what’s in this new ingredient of yours, I would have paid more attention to the oven… seriously, a MONSTER?!

Sierra: What, don’t like monsters? Good, because you really shouldn’t eat it. I ate one once and umm, yeeeeeah I should really come clean about that “skiing accident” last month.

Calista: Mom, what aren’t you telling me?

Sierra: …I had to spend that time cooking up a cure for the giant, singing, firework-shooting, purple foot that was growing out of my back.

Calista: …

Sierra: Dear, I know I make up a lot of stuff, but… I WISH I were making this up.

Calista: …why did I agree to work with you again?

(Sierra turns away, slowly to make her way over to what used to be the kitchen sink. She drops the butcher’s knife safely out of reach before turning back to face Calista, wearing a frown. She approaches her daughter, cradling her in a gentle embrace.)

Sierra: Calista. There’s a reason I’m not telling you anything. That’s because I don’t want you facing any consequences should I be caught.

Calista: What do you mean?

Sierra: Well, okay, I suppose giant pits of alien goo are a bit of a legal gray area, but you’ve seen just now how dangerous the stuff can be when not prepared properly…

Calista: M-mom, WHAT did you put in those cookies?!

Sierra: Some kind of alien goo, I told you, but that’s beside the point.

Calista: You don’t know what your secret ingredient even is?!

Sierra: Whatever it is, once I tasted it, I KNEW this would finally be our ticket to moo-lah-ville. All not only to keep us in business, but also… for your father.

Calista: I… I see. To afford that doctor without having to close shop and remain homeless for the rest of our lives… The three of us…

Sierra: Yes. Now you understand the method to my madness. But if you are uncomfortable rolling dough containing otherworldly forces beyond all mortal comprehension, I won’t at all hold it against you if you want to quit.

Calista: Mom… tell me no more. I… I’m staying.

(The two embrace.)

Sierra: Th… thank you, Cali. But right now, I… I want you to head for somewhere safe.

Calista: ?

Sierra: Those robots from before? They’re with the RPD. They clearly suspect something, and I’d rather not have you roped into things.

Calista: But—

(Sierra opens one of the kitchen cabinets, revealing a pair of jetpacks and flight suits. She takes them out, tossing one of each to Calista.)

Sierra: I mean it. Next room, the skylights. All those flying lessons you didn’t want to do are about to pay off!

***

(Time passes. Soon, a crack forms in the kitchen floor. And then, in an instant, Drill Man bursts into the kitchen.)

Drill Man: And here we are – the “baker’s” secret lair… *spots the remains of the Cookie Abomination* Hmmm… *radios in to the team* Cookie Abomination #2 spotted, dead. It looks like the baker was quick to cover up her actions, but not quick enough. This one seems smaller, though…

Ring Man: *radio* Hm… I suppose it makes sense. The daughter baked the cookies for too long, but the heat couldn’t have been as intense as the Pharaoh Shot.

Drill Man: You WOULD know that… hm. I had better collect this and bring it back to Kalinka’s lab, before it falls into the wrong—

(Sierra enters the kitchen, carrying a giant broom and a garbage bag. She is now wearing a neon green flight suit.)

Sierra: Huh? Oh, sorry, we’re currently closed. Please come back tomorrow, valued customer! *sweeps the Cookie Abomination into the trash bag*

Drill Man: Hello again, Ms. Avalon… interesting getup.

Sierra: *sweeping* Oh, my janitor jumpsuit? Why thank you!

Drill Man: I don’t know of any janitors who dress so brightly and wear helmets. And on your back… is that a jetpack?

Sierra: Well, duh! Gotta clean the ceiling somehow.

Drill Man: If by “clean the ceiling” you mean FLY OFF TO YOUR SECRET LAB…! *points a drill at Sierra* Release that monster corpse at once, or else!

Sierra: *swings the trash bag over her shoulder* It truly touches me to see you so interested in one of our fine products; so much to the point of breaking in after business hours for a free sample, but yeeeeeeeeeeah you gotta come back tomorrow, babe.

Drill Man: There won’t be a tomorrow for you if you don’t drop the bag and come with me!

Sierra: We look forward to your continued patronage! *begins to blast off*

Drill Man: I warned you! *fires a Drill Bomb*

Sierra: *pulls out a giant ladle, and uses it to deflect the projectile* Well, if you want to play that way… *thwacks Drill Man with the ladle*

Drill Man: …Am I supposed to say “ouch?” Scream in pain, maybe?

Sierra: That’s odd. Normally the SUPER SPOON brings them to their knees! Maybe I need to try harder… *strikes him even harder* OUCH! My wriiiiiist!

Drill Man: Ma’am. I’m a robot. Made out of metal. Designed to sustain the pressure of being underground.

Sierra: In that case, maybe I should try… *tosses away the “super spoon,” and takes out… a fork* …FOUR-PRONGED DEATH! *tries to stab Drill Man*

Drill Man: Oh no, my paint job. Look, you’ve had your fun, now it’s time for you to –

(CRAAAAACK. It happens in an instant. Before he could finish his thought, Drill’s back was to the floor… and everything below his torso was on the opposite end of the kitchen!)

Drill Man: GAAAAAAH!!! How… how did you…!!

(A propeller blade-like device soars about the perimeter. Sierra soon catches it by the handle in its center.)

Sierra: Yeah, sorry about that, hun. Truly, I am… but I gotta do what I gotta do, yanno? I can’t afford to close up shop right now, you see.

(Drill attempts to hoist himself up from the floor. After turning himself onto his chest, he props himself up with one hand, and arms a Drill Bomb at Sierra in the other. Before he can fire, however, Sierra’s weapon twists into a mode resembling a pair of hedge trimmers. The two blades surround Drill’s arm, poised to snip it right off.)

Sierra: Look, dear, you don’t want to make the repair process even more grueling than it’s already going to be. I mean it. Save yourself – and others – the trouble!

Drill Man: *retracts his weapon* Grrrr… hold me prisoner if you must, VILLAIN. But don’t think you’re going to get away with this…

Sierra: Hold you prisoner? I wasn’t going to… wait. That’s a BRILLIANT idea! Better than just leaving you here to blab about everything you’ve seen, huh. Thanks for the suggestion, Mr. Red Dental Tool person! Phew, the trouble I could have gotten into otherwise… *begins to tie Drill Man up*

***

(Scene: Outside the bakery)

Dust Man: It’s been a long time. Do you think he lifted the barricade yet? Because I’d expect he would radio us if he did. But what if he simply forgot? The radio part, I mean. It would be a simple human mistake – a “robot” mistake if one must split hairs, but we cannot deny that the flaws of the human psyche carry over onto us, man’s mechanical replicates of itself. So should we radio him and remind him to remind us in the future, provided he didn’t lift the barricade yet?

Ring Man: Considering we just sat through one of your wordy dialogues and he STILL hasn’t shown any signs of action, I’m worried something might be wrong…

(On cue, the bakery doors swing open. Sierra rushes out with Drill Man, bound and gagged.)

Pharaoh Woman: Drill? Lacking body parts?! Oh, cruel mercy! The statuesque image of the cookie empress, SHATTERED before my very eyes!

Sierra: … *activates her jetpack, dragging Drill up into the air*

Dust Man: Get back here! *activates his vacuum*

Sierra: *slows down tremendously… until she throws a giant, stale donut directly into the vacuum, completely clogging it*

Dust Man: Gah! This makes no sense! A donut typically has a hole in it, thereby allowing at least a small amount of air intake! Not enough to be effective mind you, but this is still bothersome!

Dive Man: *fires missiles at Sierra*

Bright Babe: Geoff! Do you want to hit Drill?!

Dive Man: Meh, he can be repaired.

(Sierra weaves past the missiles, causing them to miss anyway. They hit yet another building.)

Dive Man: Oh well, no one’s gonna miss that preschool.

Bright Babe: GEOFF!!

Dive Man: Huh? Ya still go to preschool or somethin’? Thought ya were Kindergarten AT LEAST.

Pharaoh Woman: Enough, for this ends here! Spirits of wind, grant to me the gift of flight! *levitates above the ground… no higher than four feet* …um, guys? P-please? If-if it’s not too much?

(By now, Sierra and Drill Man have vanished into the distance.)

Skull Man: We must concede to the fact that our unit lacks a flight-capable robot master… save for Toad Man in his current state.

Pharaoh Woman: And he deserted his people! VILE SCUM! But like, uh, we can, you know, like, track him down, right? Don’t we all have tracking devices?

Ring Man: We do, and… wait. What if Drill Man allowed himself to be captured?

Dust Man: I… think you are on to something! Infiltration is his specialty, after all. Maybe the baker will store him in a warehouse or wherever it is she keeps her ingredients. That way, we may be able to find whatever dimensional anomaly she puts in the cookies and put a stop to it…

Ring Man: Precisely. Team, we have little time to waste. To Kalinka’s lab!

(They flee the scene.)

***

(Scene: Some random city.)

Plum: And thus is the scene here today in Gulliburg. The bank robbery has been foiled, at the cost of half the city block…

Toad Man: *dancing in the wreckage* WOO-HOO! GO ME! GO ME! GO ME!

Plum: I am about to catch up with the superpowered vigilante responsible for this mess. *holds mic up to Toad Man* …are you proud of yourself?

Toad Man: Hell YES! The rich billionaire whose money I got back? He gave me a penny! Suh-WEET!

Plum: But the rest of the money you secured is only worth a fraction of the expenses in damage you caused just now. What do you have to say about this?

Toad Man: *takes mic* Hey, everybody watching out there! Want to be an awesome superhero like me?! Of course you do, and because I am so GENEROUS, I’ll tell you all how I got my powers!

Plum: …I’m actually interested…

Toad Man: See, there’s this place called Avalon bakery, yes? Apparently their cookies are made with some kinda interdimmensional matter, I dunno, but the point is, if you burn them, they turn into a monster, and if you eat the monster, you can gain superpowers like me!

Plum: *taking the mic back* I guess I’ll have to be making a stop at this Avalon Bakery first thing tomorrow. After last week’s color-changing squirrel incident and the deflating traffic lights the week before, this sounds just as plausible as anything… heh. Finally, the news will be talking about ME, and uh… errr, GOOD NIGHT EVERYBODY!

Citizen #1: I’ll have to try some of those cookies…

Citizen #2: ME TOO!

Citizen #3: We’ll all have to try some! And not forget to burn them first!

Toad Man: With all of you soon to become heroes, crime will be a thing of the past… and I’ll never have to work another day in my life… Flippy, you are a genius!

***

TO BE CONTINUED…

Cossack's Comrades

AM as Drill Man          Sean as Dust Man          Geoff as Dive Man

Jet as Bright Babe       Hunter as Skull Man

John as Ring Man       Avi as Pharaoh Woman       Flippy as Toad Man

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