“The Book Signing ... of DOOM !”
“Philosophy fight ! Former colleagues broken apart by the Law !“
By Hunter (Skull Man)
(Happy days have been lacking in the Comrades' house after the announcement of the Maniacs' "betrayal"*. At least, one of them has material to talk about...)
*See Mechanical Maniacs Series 8, Issue #13 for details ! - Savant Skull.
Drill Man : I should have known ! From the very beginning, they were planning a move against Crorq !
Gunker : Drilling Comrade to be doing the same before.
Drill Man : Well, yes, but mine would have worked ! At least, if someone hadn't sabotaged the explosive lobster...
Ring Man : It was it or me ! Why did you feel the need to graft Black Hole Bombs on a lobster ?
Dust Man : It seems the idea was to have Crorq consumed from the inside. But I suppose the idea would have better worked if the bomb was inside the lobster. However, had it been put in a shaker, the only casualty would have been an underling. Maybe having nanobombs injected in Crorq's meals would do the trick ?
Drill Man : Anyway. If someone here so much as talks friendly to a Wily-bot, it's off to prison for him. Except for John.
Ring Man : Huh. How nice.
Drill Man : Hey, I already know you're in league with them. That way, I can track you down when you make your reports, and catch them all in one fell swoop.
Ring Man : ... Okay.
Dive Man : *barging in* Mail's up. *throws a pile of leaflets at Flippy*
Toad Man : Yay, toasts ! *starts eating them*
Dive Man : And here's th' rest ! *throws letters at everyone*
Nastenkà : *dodges a letter* Is it too hard to ask for one normal breakfast here ?
Bright Babe : You get used to it. Besides, he had some issues to settle with the Maniacs. And now, with them on the run, he doesn't know when he'll find them again.
Nastenkà : Ah.
Skull Man : *stops the letters with a Skull Shield, grabs one for him* Hm. This should provide adequate relief to everyone, by an order of 5.3 points. Lento sent us mail.
Pharaoh Woman : The chronicler from the Kingdom of Murmansk ? I wonder what he wrote. His report on the Great War against Scissors was moving.
Dive Man : *brightens up* If we're in fer annuver chapter of Warpy goin' offline at th' worst time, I'm game !
Skull Man : *pulls 12 tickets out of the enveloppe* He invited us all to the press conference about his latest book, "Zen and the art of Metool maintenance". I helped proofread it.
Bright Babe : That explains your various comments about removing punctuation when we were stopping the flood of Langoliers.
Drill Man : Hah ! It's a set-up ! The former Wily-Bots will help the newest recruits, and have us all ambushed there !
Ring Man : So, you're not going ?
Drill Man : That's what they'd want ! I'm off to prepare my costume !
Kalinka : Over-1, I suppose you'll stay here ? Social events aren't really your thing.
Over-1 : What, and miss the face of the staff when they realize they'll have to handle Geoff, AM and Flippy ? If I didn't know better, I'd say Lento is eviler than Wily !
(Elsewhere, other people had a different opinion on Lento and Wily...)
"Runner" : So. They're still around.
"Fan" : So ? They joined the RPD before our return. Even the Doc doesn't care about them, and you know how he is about "traitors".
"Bomber" : I ... care ...
"Multiplier" : Oh no, you don't. Doc says you're not stable enough. And you never fought them.
"Bomber" : They humiliated me once. And ... then will come ... the real price.
"Fan" : The Comrades ? Now, things get interesting. I'll call the guys.
"Runner" : *as Bomber and Fan walk away* Think we should warn them, for old time's sake ?
"Multiplier" : Bah. They can handle themselves, and much as I hate to admit it, they proved it in the last years. I'd rather keep an eye on their upcoming guests...
(Moscow, in a convention hall...)
Riff : You know, Lento, I've always supported you in your various hobbies.
Lento : Unit Lento thanks you for it.
Riff : I've proofread part of your work, helped you deal with an agent, and I don't mind at all. I just like to see my teammates do what they like.
Warpman : If that were true, you'd give me free access to Special Forces-grade generators again.
Riff : Quiet, you. *to Lento* I appreciate that you want us to share an important moment of your life with us.
Staccato : We doth feel honoured, brother.
Riff : But holding the conference here ? I ... I just can't stop thinking about what will go wrong !
Karasû : You never suffered this kind of stress when we held a conference for "Riding a Robot Shark to Safety : How a team of Wily-Bots survived the War".
Warpman : Yeah, and you'd think some people would see our heads on a spike for "Fatalists : the Wily Wars from Genesis to aftermath, as experienced by a late-born Wily-Bot". The Chief had our death notes already filled out, for Wily's sake !
Riff : Maybe, but we held them in Murmansk. I know the place like the microchips in my hand ! But here, there are so many factors that can change !
Karasû : Do relax, sir. You don't want to turn out like Drill Man, do you ?
Riff : That, too ! I respect you enjoying a relationship with Skull Man. It's the kind of thing that build a trust between two Teams, and Light knows we need that. But inviting the whole Team ?!
Lento : It was only polite. Besides, unit Lento thinks it will make the event fun.
Riff : Fun ? You want me to skip a drive cycle for fun ?! I-
Drill Man : *barging in the room* You Wily-Bots better keep your hands where I see them !
Riff : (And there we go.)
Skull Man : Lento. I suppose I should feel pleasure.
Lento : Unit Lento is happy to see you all.
Toad Man : *starts eating a carpet* Hmm ... It's plushilicious.
Lento : Mostly.
Kalinka : M. Lento ? It's been a while since I've last seen you.
Lento : Good evening, Dr. Cossack, Over-1. Did you enjoy my writings ?
Over-1 : Fine, fine. You still need to tell me about that time in the Bleed. For reference.
Warpman : Hey, if this isn't big, ugly and wet !
Dive Man : Hell. Didn't know they built Junk Man's uglier brother. *fist bumps with Warpman* So, where can a bot get a drink around here ?
Warpman : Not started yet. But they have a fancy cigar room.
Dive Man : Bah. What's th' point of smokin' if ya can't blow it in people's faces ? ... I'll grab a dozen fer th' night.
Staccato : *kneels before Avi* Your presence honours us all, your Majesty.
Pharaoh Woman : Rise, my noble knight of the Golden Fleece ! How fares the Kingdom of Murmansk, and its wool factories ?
Staccato : They have an unexpected high production, your Highness.
Pharaoh Woman : Ah ! All the better for trading with our Kingdom of the Russian Nile ! Now, let us commemorate the writings of your esteemed colleague ! ... You, like him, right ? He's not the ... you know, the jerk one ?
Ring Man : *looking at the duo* Does he realize that Avi is a bit delusional ?
Karasû : Eh, he found someone who appreciates his medieval style. Besides, that's one less strong personality to handle.
Bright Babe : *stares at Flippy* I understand that.
Nastenkà : I don't know who I should protect here : Kalinka, or all the other guests.
Gunker : Is not important question. Night to be filled with fun. And random mayhem.
Riff : (Keep cool, keep cool.) So ! Everyone, please. If you were to follow me to the next room, we'll start the conference.
Drill Man : I'll keep a personal eye on Lento. Who knows what kind of person will try to talk to him tonight ...
Lento : Who indeed.
Drill Man : Secret informants, for starters !
Riff : (Lento, you will owe me BIG time in the upcoming weeks.)
(And such, did the conference start.)
Riff : So, welcome everyone to the press release of "Zen and the art of Metool maintenance" ! Anyone has any questions ?
Drill Man : *raises hands*
Riff : Anyone not employed by the RPD has any questions ?
Drill Man : *keeps his hands raised*
Journalist : *raises hand* I have a question. I read through the pre-release copy, and wanted to know if the protagonist's life as a Metool repairbot was based on your own.
Drill Man : What, so you'd track him down and get the badly repaired Metools to sue him ? Tell us the truth !
Journalist : What ? That's ludicrous !
Drill Man : Which makes your plan all the likelier to work. But I saw through your game !
Lento : A-hem. Part of Unit Lento's work at Wily's Fortress, indeed, included regular maintenance on Metools and other units. The other Fatalists can back me up on this.
Warpman : Oh, yes. Little buggers like to play hide and blast-your-face at every opportunity. Old Umber Hulk here had a way with them, I'd guess.
Staccato : Indeed. He observed the cunning foe for a while, matched its rhythm, and grabbed it in a blur of metal !
Riff : Next question ?
Toad Man : *raises hand* I'm hungry !
Riff : What did I say about ... oh yeah, right. You're not paid. Dinner is after the questions.
Toad Man : I have a question !
Riff : No, the questions are not over yet !
Toad Man : Oh. *keeps his hands raised*
Riff : Look, I'll tell you when to go.
Toad Man : Okay. *keeps his hands raised*
Skull Man : *knocks Flippy out* Proceed.
Newsbot : *raises hand* How much of the philosophy described in the book matches your view on life ?
Drill Man : Ooooh. You want to know how his mind works, and break him later on. Very sneaky. But it couldn't get past ME !!
Karasû : *as AM keeps on ranting* (Now I get why he invited the Comrades. By the time they're done with their antics, he has an answer ready to go.)
Lento : Well, Unit Lento's life has some key differences with the protagonist's, and a different outlook on life, but he and I share some key points : take pride in your work, but do not let yourself get consumed by it. And enjoy the present moment.
Henry : *through comm* Hey, Riff, catering is ready on my side. We can start the buffet whenever you want.
Riff : *looking at the scene* Thanks, pal. Surprisingly, having the Comrades in here helped me.
Drill Man : What do you mean, "a press card" ? This is just a cover-up for a worldwide maffia led by the Swiss Gnomes !
Henry : Huh.
(And then, the buffet. Many will weep tears.)
Dive Man : One beer per person ? What's this, Soviet Russia ?
Henry : Look guys, I want to keep the place whole as much as possible. We have to pay for repairs, and the RPD doesn't cover us this time.
Warpman : And here I thought you were our friend. You wound me, Henry.
Toad Man : Guys guys guys ! I have a solution ! Follow me !
(In another corner of the room...)
Reporter : ... and I said to him, "Chief, the last time the Midnight Star wrote an article about an author, it was Bigfoot's autobiography." And he replies "It's not about what we publish, it's about what you can write when you go to another paper. Besides, you want a free trip to Moscow or not ?". Good guy.
Journalist : Yeah, all my colleagues said the same. The Midnight Star might write kooky stuff, but they care about their employees' careers.
Dive Man : Outta the way ! *shoves the guests away* Anyway, what's yer plan, Froggo ?
Toad Man : Since it's one beer per person, you have to be other persons ! *slaps something hairy on Warpman's face, and gives Dive Man a small piece of cardboard*
Dive Man : ... I'm ta be "Divearooni Manssman".
Warpman : And you put a dead gerbil on my chin.
Toad Man : ... Oh no ! Now I know that fake beards are tasty ! Wait, that's a good thing.
Warpman : Change of plans. We bully your colleagues into getting beers for us.
Dive Man : Ya read my mind. Let's begin with a frog...
(Later in the night...)
Guest : M. Lento ?
Lento : Yes ?
Guest : Hello, longtime fan of your work. Would you mind signing my copy of your books ?
Lento : Sure.
Dive Man : Hold on ! *grabs the guest* Did ya pay th' signing fees ?
Guest : What ?
Dive Man : Get me a beer, and Slowpoke here will sign yer word sandwich.
Guest : No !
Dive Man : I accept alternate payments. Like my fist in yer ugly mug.
Guest : ... Which beer do you want, sir ?
Dive Man : Anything that'd make a man blind !
Drill Man : *as he comes back* Oh no you won't ! Use only THIS pen ! *shoves a pen right near the guest's eye*
Guest : W-w-w ...
Drill Man : I've seen it happen already... You want to steal his fingerprints and frame him for your crimes, eh ? NOT ON MY WATCH !
Lento : *sighs, grabs the book and signs and draws with his own pen* Unit Lento added your portrait.
Guest : Th-Thanks. *looks at the picture* Wow. It's so good, I could use it on my ID card !
Lento : Maybe you should stop harassing the guests.
Drill Man : And have them sneak an EMP in your face ? We need you to track the other Wily-Bots.
Dive Man : 'Sides, they'll remember the night they were bullied into buying a beer to the RPD's second-biggest asshole. Of course, if ya prefer lil'Froggy by yer side...
Lento : You stay with me.
? : And right as well you should !
(An explosion destroys the floor, and out of it come a flood of mechanoids of various sizes !)
Crash Man : Alright, guys, put your hands or arm extensions where we can see them, and no one will get hurt.
Kalinka : The Wily Underground ? Why attack us now ?
Riff : I see the Second Rebellion unit, and a horde of mechanoids. We can handle that and protecting the guests.
? : But ... they're not ... alone.
(In a flash, the unseen voice's owner grabs Kalinka, and puts a wrist-mounted shooter to her temple.)
Ballade : The Comrades move ... and the Cossack bloodline is ended.
Kalinka : *starts pulling a mechanical wire from her wristband*
Ballade : No hacking. My trigger mechanism ... is set to prime itself ... if I am tampered with.
Kalinka : Very well. *drops the wire*
Ballade : Better.
Riff : Lento, Warpman, protocol H-5.
Warpman : On it, fearless leader.
Ballade : Wait. I brought ... an old friend. If you don't ... mind ?
Heat Man : *walks in, carrying a chainsaw* I still don't see why you had me carving the floor by hand, when Metal Man is built for this.
Fatal Five : *stare at Heat Man, and drop in fear* No !
Karasû : It's Ben ! They got Ben back as Heat Man !
Heat Man : What ?
Staccato : The chainsaw ! My mind doth scream at the memories !
Heat Man : What ?
Air Man : *kicks Heat Man in the ankle*
Heat Man : Oh ! Uhm, yeah, it's me, Ben, and I'm, er, pissed off. Yeah. *waves his chainsaw* So stay here, and I, might, not kill you ?
Fatal Five : *whimper*
Wood Man : (I can't believe that worked.)
Bubble Man : (Tell me about it.)
(Soon, all the guests were rounded up and held as hostages.)
Dive Man : Remind me why we play along.
Ring Man : If we don't, they kill Kalinka and all the humans.
Dive Man : Yeah, so ?
Bright Babe : Geoff ! It's only our job to do ! And Kalinka is basically family !
Dive Man : Meh. I was invited t' this party - so, off duty. And 'sides, lil' girl can take care of herself.
Kalinka : *held at gunpoint by Sniper Joes* If I had a nickel for every time this happened to me ... Alright, what are your revendications this time ?
Crash Man and Quick Man : *stare at each other*
Crash Man : We ... never got up to that point. Ballade here came up with the plan.
Kalinka : Looks like Wily didn't give Doc Robot lessons on building brains. So, Ballade. Are you the same one who tried to kill my dad, the Comrades and me over and over again ?
Ballade : Yes. I will not ... accept ... further attempts to delay.
Kalinka : Just making sure. Everyone seems to switch personnalities and memories every month when it comes to Robot Masters. Anyway. My dad is dead, so did Wily, as well as you, and I literally brought the Comrades back to life. What I mean is, all your grudges are with people, or versions of people, that are dead and gone. Why don't you bury the hatchet ?
Ballade : ... I ... Revenge ... I clung to life for revenge. I must still prove ... I am better than the Comrades.
Kalinka : So, what about the Fatal Five ?
Ballade : When those ... mockeries ... of the Killers were around, they stood in our way. I can't prove it, but I feel it. They shall pay, too.
Heatman : *revs his chainsaw* (I feel stupid doing this.)
Airman : (Keep at it. You wanna go fifteen on nine ?)
Fatal Five : *whimper in fear*
Heatman : (Guess not.)
Henry : *to Over-1* This is ridiculous.
Over-1 : Not that I disagree, but what particular point do you focus on ?
Henry : The Fatalists. They're just quivering in fear, because of someone doing a fake Ben impression. And a bad one, at that.
Gunker : Was Zippo robot as terrifying as Murmansk four-tiny-and-one-medium comrades imply it ?
Henry : Oh, absolutely. I wish I could show it to them, but ... Hang on. I've got an idea. It's risky, but ... *whispers*
Over-1 : Hmm. If you think you can do it.
Henry : Here goes. *cleans his throat* Hey, Ben ! Remember me ?
Heatman : Huh ? Oh, sure, the bartender-guy.
Henry : How about I mix you up your favourite, for old time's sake ? To celebrate us all being on the winning side ?
Airman : Wait. You're working with the RPD now, right ? Do you really think we're that gullible ?
Henry : Hey, I'm just a Joe. Besides, I know who has thirteen RPD officers ready to be thrown to the junkyard. It's only logic !
Flashman : Sounds legit.
Heatman : Alright, let the bartender do his drink.
(And so, a drink was made and served.)
Heatman : Oh, nice. *sips from it* Oh, is that unleaded ? Great !
Riff : *raises his head* Wait a second... Ben only took full-lead oil in his drink.
Warpman : Yes ! He always wanted to get back at baby seals, thought they had too nice a thing going on.
Karasû : We have been played from the beginning, haven't we ?
Heatman : *suddenly realizes he's about to be jumped by five Robot Masters* Welp, this has been fun. RUN AWAY ! *throws his chainsaw away*
Metalman : No ! Remember the pl- *catches the chainsaw with his head* AAAAIIIIEEEE !!! *head falls off*
Heatman : Oops.
Staccato : This is oddly reminiscent of the olden times. ... Oh, no.
(A storm gathers around the building. A chanting can be heard...)
? : RAB ... ME ... RAB ...
Ring Man : What ?
Drill Man : Don't pretend you didn't expect this ! All of the events in this day so far led to our destruction by your weapon !
Ring Man : Oh ? What weapon ?
Drill Man : An energy storm generator, of course !
Skull Man : John's presence here is detriment to his survival and involvement in this supposed conspiracy.
Drill Man : Bah, he has a back-up body somewhere.
Ring Man : Why - Wait, that sounds actually reasonable for once.
(Thunder strikes, and some shape seems to solidify in the center of the room !)
Ballade : It's ... familiar ?
Riff : Uh-oh.
(A yellow and red, constantly shifting silhouette, stares at all present, and then seems to focus on ...)
Metal Man : Why me ?
Pharaoh Woman : It's an omen ! The avatar of Seth in his thunder god aspect ! ... I think ?
"RAB" : *staring at Metalman* ... RAB ... ME ... RAB ...
Metal Man : If anyone has an idea, I'd like to hear it right now !
Ballade : The hostages. They're ... more important.
Metal Man : I'm the one taken hostage by Living Lightning here !
Riff : We have an idea, but I don't think you'll like it.
Metal Man : Anything to get that thing to stop being around me !
Warpman : *grins evilly* Anything ?
Metal Man : YES !
Warpman : Here goes ! *fires a Crash Bomb at Metalman, causing him to explode*
"RAB" : *slows down to collect Metal Man's pieces, revealing...*
Fatal Five & Ballade : Mr. Whiz ?!
Quick Man : Who ?
Karasû : He was from before your time.
Riff : *to Heat Man* You should remember, "Ben". He was the Wily's Warriors' unofficial ninth member.
Staccato : A ceaseless taskmaster assigned to the duty of repairing Metal Man.
Warpman : Oh, and a part-time crossdresser !
Heat Man : ... Nope. Doesn't ring a bell.
Lento : ... You never were Ben to begin with.
Karasû : *rolls his eyes*
Heat Man : *to Ballade and the unexploded Dream Team* See ? I told you guys this plan was stupid.
Riff : Warpman ?
Warpman : Protocol H-5, coming right up !
(In a split second, the human hostages vanished from the room !)
Ballade : !
(A shot rings out, and a Ballade Cracker hits ... empty air ?)
Warpman : Gotta love that tr- *falls backward*
Lento : *catches Warpman* Unit Lento is primed to fire at will. *refills Warpman's battery with a spare E-Tank*
Drill Man : Don't worry, Fatalists, we have some catching up to do with John's partners ! Isn't that right, traitor ?
Ring Man : *sighs* I'll never get a break.
Mr Whiz : Wwwait ! I nnnnneeeed to tttllkk.
Riff : Anything for you, Whiz.
Mr Whiz : I don't remmmmmmmmmber much ... I was in a llllab ? And Bbballade was-was-was there ?
Dust Man : You - you were Experiment XV-88-1 ! You were given speed-enhancing Energon, and disappeared !*
* back in Epilogue 6 of the new series, faithful reader ! - Sapient Skull.
Mr Whiz : Yy-yesyes ... But I want to kkkkknnnow, where is W-W-Wily ? And the true Warriors ? Where are my teammates ?!
Karasû : Actually ... That is, well ...Sadly, there is no easy way to say it. Warpman, please be blunt.
Warpman : Wily kicked it, the Warriors died and disappeared, and Doc Robot is running the show underground in his memory.
Mr Whiz : Alright. Ssso, we beat the ComComComrades together, and go back home together, right ?
Riff : That's another whole problem. You see, with Wily dead, we didn't have much to go to. We already had a lifetime of hiding underground.
Henry : *walks in from the previously hostage-filled corner* So we got back to Murmansk. The people there loved us.
Lento : So one thing led to another, and units Fatal Five joined the RPD.
Mr Whiz : You ... Affter all that hhhhhhhs happennnnnnd ... You work for CrCrCrorrrqq ?
Warpman : We all respected the Doc, sure, but ... Whiz, did you really see yourself battling the law for 20 years and more ? Doc lost before we were built. We were supposed to help him win, and see where it led him. Bass ? The Evil Eight ? His Defence Force ?
Henry : Much as I enjoyed serving drinks to the bad guys, I can't really have a good business if it's trashed every other month.
Riff : Besides, Crorq is actually harmless. Just kneel at the right time, and you're virtually free to do whatever you want.
Ballade : You ... traitors. Come with us ... Whiz. We, at least ... haven't lost the way.
Staccato : No, Whiz. All that is left of Wily's dream is Doc Robot and a horde of sycophants. At least, we are improving the world by our actions.
Riff : I know we haven't always seen eye to eye, or talked much for that matter, but I think you'd find a good place among us. Hey, even Warpman is happy here !
Warpman : Sure, use the misanthropic curmudgeon as an argument. I've never heard that one before...
Riff : But, if you prefer to go with the Wily Underground ... I won't stop you. In the end, we're all Wily-Bots...
Drill Man : Traitor !
Riff : ... and we all follow Wily's vision : a world where his accomplishments are respected for their true worth. We do it by working along society ; they do it by trying to lead it. What is your choice ?
Mr Whiz : I ... I need to ththhthhink.
Ballade : Hah. He rejected your offer, traitor.
Mr Whiz : I ddddidn't say what I chose yet. *runs away from the building*
Dive Man : So, it's the nine of ye fightin' th' RPD Fifteen. Wanna try us ?
Ballade : *readies his launchers* Bring it on.
(Meanwhile, at the Moscow RPD Central...)
Kalinka : Is everyone safe and accounted for ?
Guests : *chattering and looking around, confused*
Nastenkà : And of course, Warpman left Over-1 and Gunker to fight Wily-Bots, while I'm stuck here missing all the fun.
Kalinka : Well, to be fair, you are designed to be my bodyguard. And suppose they set up an ambush here ?
Nastenkà : I hate it when you're right. *to the crowd* Alright ! I have with me the list of the guests and crew. I will read through it, and everyone named speaks up ! Anyone trying to mess up, I hear the cells are cozy this time of the year !
Kalinka : I suppose you could work on your diplomacy.
Nastenkà : Hey, you said it yourself, I'm just your bodyguard. *to the crowd* Guest list, first name : Patrick Aaronson !
(After a few uneventful yet essential minutes...)
Nastenkà : Last name on the catering list and we're good : Henry Wily !
Crew : *silent*
Nastenkà : Huh, that's a family name I never expected to see again.
Kalinka : Hold on. Isn't that ... ? *points at an RPD Officer* Could you bring me up a civil registry of Murmansk bars ?
Nastenkà : I see where you're going. What, you think Henry got himself naturalized as Wily's son ?
Kalinka : Apparently the bureaucracy for ownership of drinking establishments is not in favor of robots yet. *said RPD Officer brings back a USB drive* Oh, thanks. Now, let's see ... Ah, I was right.
Nastenkà : I must see that. "Henry's New Hideout. 51, Prokoviev Street. Owner : Henry Wily". Huh. So, legally, our family names are all Cossack ?
Kalinka : If needed, yes.
Nastenkà : And if filiation is determined by original construction, would that make the Comrades your brothers and sisters ? Or is it by reconstruction, making them your children ? ... Would it mean Flippy is your brother or your son ?
Kalinka : ... Both concepts disgust me. Anyway ! Henry is not here, meaning he's ... there ... stuck in the battle ...
Nastenkà : ...
Kalinka : *activates comm* Kalinka to AM ! Do you read me ?
Drill Man : *through comm* AM here. What's the issue ? Warpman teleported you straight in Wily-bot territory ?
Kalinka : No, it's about Henry ! He's still with you, and could get hit in the crossfire !
Drill Man : Oh, that's all ? I'll patch him to you.
Henry : *through comm* Dr Cossack, right ? Henry speaking.
Kalinka : You weren't evacuated with the hostages. Are you all right ?
Henry : Oh, Warpman wanted me for a family reunion. And don't worry, I can handle myself in a battle. Which is ... over, actually. Turns out that the RPD really hates it when a criminal pretends to be one of their former members. Or it's pent-up feelings of agression towards Ben. Both seem equally valid.
Kalinka : Ah. Truth be told, we were scared for you, Mr Wily.
Henry : ... Please don't mention that to the Fatal Five. They'd go and buy me a fake doctorate to put on the counter. Henry, out.
Nastenkà : So, he's safe ?
Kalinka : Yes, and we have a Christmas present ready for him.
Nastenkà : Alright everyone, the area is clear ! We can all return to the conference in an orderly manner !
(At the end of the night...)
Bright Babe : Sorry the meeting went awry, Lento.
Lento : Not a problem. Unit Lento is used to problems coming from his former life. Unit thinks you and your colleagues know similar issues. *looks at the bar, where Dive Man is downing bottle after bottle with Warpman*
Bright Babe : We all get by.
Newsbot : *walking to Lento* Sir, could I have a word ?
Drill Man : *stepping in* I'll let you know that this attack was NOT a publicity stunt, nor an attempt to garner sympathy and then strike at the heart of the RPD ! Believe me, I'd know if it was !
Lento : Unit Lento apologizes for the endeavour. Please contact my agent to talk about the compensation.
Newsbot : What compensation ? The RPD did its job, and no one was hurt. I just wanted to thank you and your team.
Lento : Oh. Uh. Thanks. See with my leader for this. *waves to Riff*
Riff : What's the matter ?
Bright Babe : *as Riff talks with the newsbot* I see why you guys joined the RPD. I don't remember Wily being that grateful.
Lento : No reason for him to do it. We were just doing our jobs. Neither is Crorq, come to think of it.
Bright Babe : Heh. So ... About Mr Whiz ? Where do you think he'll go ?
Lento : Unit Lento isn't sure. But whether we fight along or against him, unit thinks we can leave that for tomorrow.
Bright Babe : Truer words have never been spoken. Care for a drink before the next Wily-bot attack ?
Lento : Lead the way.
(And so, another story ends. But will Ballade have his revenge ? What side will Mr Whiz choose ? How many reviews of Lento's new book will have a title in the style of "Last night a writer saved my life (and his book was good/meh, too)" ?
Maybe we shall see another time...)
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