Series 5 Issue #9 - Snakeman is Framed!

(It's another day at the Mechanical Maniacs headquarters in the Ark. Conditions are a little cloudy. All is well and the team is stewing in their ship planning their next move.)

Needlegal: So what's our next move?

Magnetman: At the rate our funds are going, our next move is to the abandoned warehouse on Industrial Accident Road.

Shadowman: I thought there weren't any abandoned warehouses left to move into.

Magnetman: This one just came onto the market. It seems the previous owners abandoned it.

Geminiman: ...Hence, "abandoned warehouse".

Magnetman: Yeah, makes sense. Anyway, it looks like they had to leave because of some kind of industrial accident.

Needlegal: Hence, "Abandoned Warehouse" on "Industrial Accident Road"

Magnetman: The entire building is filled with thick yellow smoke that the environmental authorities have deemed too dangerous to vent into the open atmosphere, but as long as we're robots and we wear gas-masks, we should be perfectly safe living there.

Hardman: Cool! Thick smoke! What's the name of that game you play where people hide in the dark and you have to grope around looking for them?

Sparkman: Hide-and-Go-Seek?

Hardman: No, this game had a cooler name.

Needlegal: I don't care, nobody's going to be groping me in thick smoke.

Hardman: Wha? No, that's not what I said, I-

Needlegal: Why would we have to move anyway? It's not like we owe rent on this place.

Shadowman: No, but it turns out we can sell it in installments for extra cash. Since we don't have to fly it, I've been making some good cash from the engine components.

Snakeman: I thought this place looked smaller than usual while outside.

Shadowman: Ah, you're back.

Geminiman: He was gone?

Snakeman: It was my job to get groceries...why was that again?

Shadowman: Because you're cheap and would make the most efficient purchases. So what did you get?

Snakeman: Fifty bulk boxes of Crispy Rice, a hundred packages of noodles, and a hundred boxes of microwave lasagne. That's breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next two weeks.

Shadowman: Well, it was a good plan in theory.

Needlegal: Is Top out somewhere too? I notice he's been unusually silent so far.

Sparkman: He's watching TV.

Magnetman: Sounds like a good idea. Shall we join him?

(And so the team heads into the living-room...or wherever the hell you'd put a TV in the Ark.)

Snakeman: Whatcha watchin'?

Topman: The news.

Hardman: Nothing good on?

Topman: Oh, this is very good. Check it out, they're very conveniently starting the story over again.

Reporter: For those of you who just walked into the living-room...or wherever the hell you keep your TV...A daring and destructive robbery took place at the Megalopolis Bank's main branch earlier today. The culprit was apparently a single man who managed to sneak into the vault undetected. When he was caught by security, he used a powerful weapon to fight his way out. The explosions caused by the assault demolished the bank and allowed the suspect to escape in the commotion. Police are on the lookout for a man that looks exactly like Snakeman of the Mechanical Maniacs.

(the reporter is handed a bulletin)

Reporter: This just in, The police have decided to actually look for Snakeman of the Mechanical Maniacs.

Snakeman: Oh crap...

Shadowman: Ugh, we can't catch a break.

Snakeman: This happens a lot?

Shadowman: Our enemies framing us? Yeah, we're pretty familar with that. They're probably targeting you since you're the new guy and have not yet earned the public's trust like the rest of us have.

Needlegal: What did we ever do to earn the public's trust?

Geminiman: Aw, come on. Most of what we do is fairly acceptable. Granted, the selling alcohol to children thing was bad, but that was all Snake's idea anyway.

Topman: First you sell your predeccessor up the river, then you get some kids drunk, and now you're robbing banks? You're a bad egg pal. Maybe you're the one holding us back.

Snakeman: but...but I...buh...

Needlegal: He's just kidding around.

Sparkman: Yeah, we know you'd never do anything like that. Now let's go track down the real killer!

Magnetman: bank robber.

Sparkman: Whatever, the penalty's the same.

Snakeman: Wait...what? If I get caught I'll be tried as a murderer?

Topman: I'm sure your other charges would add up. If that's all the stuff you've done since joining us, I can only imagine what you've been up to before coming under our shining influence.

Shadowman: Don't worry, we won't let anybody lock you up. Now, we're going to have to lock you in the basement until we clear your name.

Geminiman: This is a spaceship, it doesn't have a basement.

Shadowman: You know what I mean. Stick him in stasis or something.

Snakeman: Uh...I don't know...Maybe I should just come forward.

Shadowman: That's very noble. Throw him in the hole, Hardman.

(And so, after a short struggle, Snakeman was confined to the Ark's brig. The rest of the Maniacs set out to find the real culprit.)

Sparkman: So you see officer, you're after the wrong guy.

Magnetman: I think we've made our point.

Officer: Well, all you said to me was that "Snakeman's innocent", you didn't give any reasons or anything.

Geminiman: How about the fact that we get framed a lot? Remember we were framed for another bank robbery just a few months ago.

Officer: Yeah, Snakeman was convicted for that one.

Geminiman: Uh...but that was a different Snakeman.

Officer: I understand where you're coming from, but we've gone over all the evidence, and there's only one person it could have been. It had to be Snakeman.

Topman: Oh yeah? What about YOUR reasons?

Officer: Suspect was wearing green armour, with a snake-tail extending from the back of the helmet. Mouth covered by some kind of mask, Arm Cannon shaped like snake. Fired snake-shaped missiles that crawled along the ground and walls before exploding. Suspect had the ability to camouflage into his surroundings. While firing his weapon, he was heard to shout out 'Search Snake!' and occasionally 'For I Am Snakeman!'"

Topman: Yep, that sounds about right.

Geminiman: This is going nowhere. We gotta hit the usual suspects.

(And so the team tracked down the Demonic Nine.)

Torchman: Ow! Why did you hit me?

Geminiman: Standard procedure. Next. *Hits Oilman*

Oilman: Ow!

Shadowman: Come on, we know you guys robbed that bank this morning and made it look like Snakeman. You're always trying to defame us so you can be the one true Mega Man 3 team.

Torchman: Granted. However, we have an alibi. This morning we were too busy trying to defame the Sinister Six so we could be the one true Sinister Six.

Blademan: Yep, that's how it works. Monday-to-Wednesday we scheme against the S6, Thursday-Saturday we scheme against you guys.

Elecman: Their story checks out. That's why we're fighting them right now.

Sparkman: Ah, that could explain it.

Torchman: Will there be anything else? Or can we get back to work?

Shadowman: Alright, I guess you're clear. Have fun.

Cutman: Will do!

(And so the S6 and D9 return to their battle and the Mechs return to their search.)

Needlegal: Who's next?

Shadowman: Hmm, those guys were our top suspects. Unfortunately, the next likely culprit would have to be...them.

Needlegal: Are they still a problem?

Shadowman: Only one way to find out.

(And so the Maniacs track down...them.)

Him: Why am I the first person you always suspect for everything?

Shadowman: Actually, we went to the Demonic Nine first.

Him: Oh...I guess I should feel good about that...I guess...

Shadowman: Alright, just fess up. I know you did it.

Him:...Uh...Yeah, I did it!

Shadowman: really?!, I just haven't done much in a while...alright, I haven't done anything in a while...

Needlegal: I think he's on the level, you know he'd be gloating about anything he pulled off in one way or another.

Shadowman: Yeah, good point. Alright you, I guess you're clear.

Him: Thanks for thinking of me though.

(And so they head to the scene of the crime to look for clues.)

Topman: Must every narrative interlude in this story begin with "And So"?

(And so what other ideas do you have?)

Shadowman: Every sign of damage here points to Snakeman, that's helpful.

Geminiman: Sure is. It's probably the work of Wily. Who else could make an exact replica of Snakeman and his powers?

Hardman: Technically anybody. Considering all we've seen in alternate dimensions, evil twins, bizarro rays, mirror phenomena...hell, if the evidence pointed to Shadowman, we'd never know where to begin.

Geminiman: Yeah, well Wily's closest.

(They go to Skull Castle)

Wily: You know my rule. I never rebuild robots more than twice. If they get blown up in the field, I rebuild them to guard my castle. If they get blown up guarding my castle, I rebuild them to keep me company. At that point they usually leave and form their own team, lousy ingrates, I don't know why I even bother.

Sparkman: So you definitely had nothing to do with the robbery this morning? Can you back that up?

Wily: You'd think if I brought them back to life enough times, they'd be so thankful they'd follow me anywhere, but ohhh no. It's always "your plans are stupid, you just try the same things over and over again." Do they really think they can do any better on their own?

Magnetman: Uh...Dr.Wily?

Wily: I could just keep rebuilding those jerks endlessly, but then there'd just be a gigantic army of robots who have no respect for my genius. At least after they're just built they don't have those rebellious thoughts in their head. That's why all my newer robots are going to have a program that deletes all their memories that are more than five minutes old. That'll keep their minds on thier business.

Shadowman: Aren't you worried about them forgetting their orders right after you give them?

Wily: Hell, I don't know why I give them personalities in the first place. Nice, obedient zombies, that's what I need. That gives me an idea...Zombieman! Oh, I have to get to the drawing board!

Geminiman:...uh...let's just go.

(The Mechanical Maniacs question the rest of the rogues gallery to no avail. Eventually, they return to the Ark, bring Snakeman out of stasis, and hold a meeting in the room with the TV in it.)

Shadowman: Well, I've gone over all the evidence, and there's only one person it could have been. It had to be Snakeman.

Maniacs: Huh!?

Snakeman: I don't recall ever saying I didn't do it. In fact, I offered to come forward. But nooo, you guys had to throw me in stasis and spend the day investigating for nothing.

Shadowman: You actually did it!? Why?

Snakeman:'s the thing. I'm new here and all, and I didn't want to be a clueless n00b. I've spent the last few days reading up on the team history, and from what I've read so far, I gathered we were an evil secret organization bent on ruling the world.

Topman: How much did you read?

Snakeman: I got up to the part where you guys had resurrected Gamma and burst into the UN Headquarters and made your megalomaniacal demands. How did that turn out, anyway?

Geminiman: *sigh* Do we have Gamma now?

Snakeman: Uh...not that I know of...

Needlegal: And do we rule the world now?

Snakeman: it didn't turn out well, did it?

Shadowman: No. That was about three years ago. We've been good-guy super heroes ever since.

Snakeman: Oh.

Hardman: We haven't been doing anything evil since you joined, didn't that tip you off?

Snakeman: I thought maybe it was a cover...Anyway, I know now. I kinda gathered what I did was wrong when you guys weren't congratulating me after seeing the news report.

Shadowman: Well, now that that's all cleared up, let's get down to what's really important. Where's the money?

Snakeman: Don't worry, I'll return it when I turn myself in tomorrow.

Shadowman: Woah woah woah, we're good guys, not saints. Here's what we do, take ten percent of the cash and plant it on HexLaser and blame the whole thing on him. Since he's already convicted, it won't do any harm.

Needlegal: Oh brother, and we wonder where Snake got the idea we were evil.

Geminiman: How could HexLaser do it if he was in jail?

Shadowman: Snake-robot powers, camouflage, teleportation, magic, you know, stuff the authorities won't understand and therefore take our word on it. It'll look like HexLaser already spent 90% of the money.

Magnetman: On what?

Shadowman: I dunno, plant something expensive-looking on him along with the money. The rest of the money is aaall ours!

Snakeman: I love this team!

(And soooo, the next day, the team watches the news.)

Reporter: The culprit of yesterday's bank-robbery was determined to be HexLaser, former Snakeman of the Mechanical Maniacs. He was found in his prison-cell with the remainder of the stolen money and his sole acquisition since stealing the money, a bottle of rare, vintage, French Wine.

Hardman: *sniff* That wine's been in my family for generations. Why did it have to be the wine?

Topman: Because it was the most expensive-looking thing we had in this place, amazingly enough.

Reporter: The bottle was empty, but HexLaser adamantly denied drinking it. He also denied ever leaving his cell to commit the crime. Everything he has said has been dismissed as the lies of a criminal.

Hardman: Well, the legacy will always live on inside me. *urp*

Snakeman: Well, I guess things turned out all right...

Magnetman: For you, I guess...

Needlegal: And we learned something too...

Shadowman: Lots of things. That we shouldn't jump to conclusions either good or bad? That even though we're good guys we can get away with being bad every now and then? Two wrongs make a right? The only one that's really good at cheating around here is me? Am I close on any of these counts?

Needlegal: *sigh* Unfortunately, any of those could work, yes. Also, one can get sick of eating the same things for breakfast lunch and dinner over and over agin really quickly.

Snakeman: It's only been one day! We haven't even gotten to the second round of microwave Lasagne yet.

Needlegal: One serving of that stuff was enough, thanks. Now I'm going to take the money we ripped off and go buy some real food.

Topman: Well, until Needlegal robs a bank behind our backs and uses the money to buy a year's worth supply of Kraft Dinner, we are.....The Mechanical Maniacs!

The End


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