The Business of War

Rematch in Alaska

Scenario H
Fatal Five (W)
Makenshi (RPD)
Jack Vulcan (RPD)

Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Max. Cossack Scrap Value: 5,200
SA Infantry: 1,858
RPD Units: 1,176
Wily Bots: 578

My name is Makenshi, real name: Shiken Max, original Waveman of the now "disbanded" Ascendant Androids. I refuse to acknowledge those mindless machines in the Scissor Army that occupy the current armors by our team name.

Jack Vulcan was appointed the leader of the team sometime after we were formed. It's been a looooong time since I've seen him, and now I was working with him on a mission in Anchorage, Alaska.

Due to... past events, my poor ex-leader won't be able to recognize me. The only things he has been told about me was that I was a felon with genocidal tendencies, serving my life in prison until I was released to assist the RPD in the war. Actually, I was needed in trying to figure out how General Cutman's mind works, but so far I haven't gotten anything for them.

It's cold. I'm wearing a long black coat with blue stripes along the sleeves and sides. It's actually lightweight body armor in disguise, but it's also insulated to protect me from extremely low temperatures. Same deal with my pants and the boots I'm wearing. It didn't do much for my face though. I would have worn a helmet or something, but that hinders my aim a bit, and winter hats just aren't fashionable. Yeah, even in war I still nagging feeling of looking good.

As Starman and I trudge through the snow, I glance over at him. He had certainly changed. Insomnia was painted all over his face, and I could barely recognize his attire as the Starman armor.

He looked at me and glared. I instantly darted my gaze ahead. Guess I haven't made a good first impression.


We didn't talk for the rest of our walk until we came to the RPD station. The officers there greeted us, then took us around to a hangar. There two vehicles awaited us.

"The two of you know how to ride these, no?" the officer asked Vulcan and I.

"Yeah," the two of us confirmed.


These vehicles were state of the art snow mobiles. Of course, they were suited with the RPD's neat combative technology. It could "jump," it was armed with plasma busters, and if it encountered any type of terrain other than snow it would automatically hover off of the ground. When it was on snow, however, it could rip through the landscape at 90 miles per hour.

Through my communicator Lieutenant Vatnick reminded me of what was going on. There was a fierce battle going on not too far from here against the Scissor Army, and the officers that were leading the battle had been injured, so we were sent in as a replacement as well as a tiny reinforcement. He then fed me a map of the area.

I looked at the red dot that resembled the battle, then looked at something nearby. It was the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, a pipe that ran all the way down Alaska, carrying a resource that was extremely important for the United State's economy. A long time ago, a drunk man had shot the pipe, causing 2500 gallons of oil to be lost. It was also prone to international attack, but since then the pipeline was reinforced.

The two points were awfully close to each other.


The Great North. A bad place for vacation, and an even worse one for living. Luckily, we wouldn't have to spend the whole day here - if our mission goes fine.
I'm Riff, leader of the Fatal Five - designed to eliminate the Seven Mercenaries. Our current mission is to secure the north of the Alaska-US pipeline against the SA, and taking maps in order to prepare a derivation, so that Wily's forces never get low on fuel.

We've been teleported at the extreme north of the pipeline, in hope the SA nor the RPD would detect us. But apparently, some of my teammates actually wanted company...

"It's freezing like a black hole here ! Why did you accept that mission, you loser ? You know very well my systems are fragile !"

Warpman. Our resident complainer. Whatever I do, it's wrong in his eyes.

"No one knows how long this war will last, Warpy. That's why we were sent to secure that pipeline. Besides, we can test your new batteries without Wily out of the way, right ?"

He nodded and remained silent. Good.

"Here's what we'll do : we'll go along the pipeline and eliminate anything the SA will oppose us. We'll try to avoid fights with the RPD or" I smirked "Cossack's valiant heroes."

The five of us moved out, escorted by a group of snow-camoed Joes, Penguin bombs and other various robots.
I hoped everything would go fine...


I wonder how long he's gonna keep this up.

As Shiken communicated with his superiors, I stood a few yards away from him, smoking a cigarette. It did me some sufficient good, helping to keep my body warm in the freezing December climate of Alaska. His exchange is not what bothers me, it is more how he thinks I'm so oblivious.

I know that Shiken Max is really Makenshi. It's a loose anagram, but it's pretty easy to decipher, more so when Max is verbally identical to his old nickname. It's why I've been leering at him so much today. I don't mean to appear intimidating, but it's hard when I'm as tired as I am these days. I'm sure I would be pretty uncomfortable hanging around with my current self back in the day... yeah, back in the day it was to the bitter end...

I yearn for my old friendships. I keep denying myself the truth, but I miss waking up to the company of the old gang. I hid the armors so we could reform, but it was always hurtful to consider replacing people like Crys and Stryker. It's just not in me to throw away my happiness for petty ideals. Yet here I am, in the company of my former colleague, but he doesn't seek my companionship. It's frustrating, but I doubt he goes without reason.

All will be revealed in time, but I guess we're still slipping away...


We were only 40 meters away from the battlefield. I accelerated my vehicle, and the two of us dashed... right off a cliff.

It wasn't that high, only about 30 feet in the air, and I was pretty confident on landing this thing. Before me, I saw the Scissor Army and RPD already deep in a fierce battle. Vulcan and I landed smoothly, then split up to have our own places to kick some ass.

The trigger for the plasma cannon was located on the handles where brakes would be on a bike. I held down on both triggers and burning plasma shots roared through the tundra, ripping into the armors of the Sniper Joes. Ahead of me, a couple of them lined up to form a wall and began firing.

Now, even though my armor is able to absorb plasma, it still burns like hell. I'd also have to be sure that they don't shoot down my precious snow mobile. Thus, I knew that I'd have to make some evasive maneuvers.

I only went faster, then yanked a cord placed inside the snow mobile. It "jumped" in the air, and as I soared over the wall of Joes I didn't hesitate to pull one of Fenrirs out and fire at them. As the snow mobile plopped back onto the ground I swerved back and saw that I had only taken one down. I turned once more to avoid gunfire, and the force got me into a continuous spin while I slid across the ice, grabbing a handle with one hand for balance and firing my Fenrir with the other every a Joe came in sight.

Once I finally stopped spinning, I decided to put my pistol away and go back to the plasma cannon, speeding along and taking out every Joe I saw. I reckoned there were about 200 of them, which really wasn't that many considering that this was their entire force.

Or at least, their entire force that was sighted.


An incoming transmission rings through my ears. Apparently, intel at the Castle has some news for us.

"Fatal Five, do you read me ? A large Scissor Army group has been spotted at Anchorage, where the current RPD Fprces are located.
-Sweet ! That'll keep them busy while we do our job !
-However ... A stronger SA reading comes from a section of the pipeline miles under your current one. Head there now and stop them."

These SA commanders do know how to plan attacks. Were it now for the loss of my humanity, I could join them.

"If we all move together, we won't be able to make it in time. Karasû, Staccato, take the Penguin Bombs and hurry up there. lento, Warpman and I will come later on for the finishing. Can I count on you ?
-No evil is a problem for he who has will. I won't fail you, sir Riff.
-I'll do my best.
-Remember, the RPD is our ally today. And," I glared at Warpman, "no friendly fire as long as the SA posses a threat."

And my comrades dashed off. Shortly following them with the Joes and the remaining automatons, I hope they'll still be in one piece when we arrive there...


RPD Headquarters

Lieutenant Vatnick observed the battle via satellite feed on an enormous screen. The RPD was winning, but something wasn't right.

The battle was close the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which was a fundamental part of the US economy. So wouldn't the SA be targeting it? They were that close to it...

He looked at the number of SA Joes on the field. There really weren't that many. He knew that the Scissor Army would definitely want to go after the pipeline, but why did they send such a small amount of troops?


Oh, no.

Vatnick cursed himself for not realizing it any sooner. He typed in the coordinates of the pipeline's station above where the skirmish was taking place. Nothing, save for the fifty or so RPD troops patrolling the area.

He checked the next station up. Nothing.

Finally, when he got to the eigth station, a know twisted in his stomach. There had to be over 500 of them, marching, no, RUNNING way past the teleportation barrier, only a couple hundred feet away from the pipeline. There would only be sixty RPD troops to meet them.


Anchorage, Alaska

The Scissor Army was putting up a fierce battle. In such small and dwindling numbers they were still making a big scene. I was shot once or twice, and the burn was twofold compared to previous hits. At last, our 500 troops had almost wiped them all out.

Then, Vatnick's voice came on. "Get your troops to beam over to PS5 NOW! There are about 800 SA troops about to storm the pipeline!"

"WHAT?!" I yelled incredulously.


Damn it, this wasn't good! "200 troops stay and finish the enemy, everyone else needs to teleport over to PS5 immediately! The station is under attack! I repeat, the station is under attack!" I ordered via my com system to all of the units. I saw most of the RPD beam out and drove my snow mobile over to Vulcan. "We gotta go!"

"Yeah... I heard ya the first time, Sheeken."

"It's pronounced SHY-ken."


There was no time to think about our awkward exchange of words, and we used our portable teleporters to beam out. God, I hope we make it in time.


Staccato and Karasû were speeding ahead of their "squad", both of them keeping silent. The knight-bot was checking his blades for the last time, while his raven-based colleague was mumbling a few words as he prepared his spells.
After a few minutes at this speed, they finally had the Scissor Army batallion in sight. They stopped, waiting for the smaller bots to gather, and then charged.
The two Fatalists were fighting together, one summoning a shield to protect the other, and the other blocking an attack intended for his comrade. The drones were fighting as a single swarm, attacking and retreating immediately, and taking advantage of every weak point in the SA's line.
Hopefully, they could fight like this until their leader and comrades showed up...


The battle commenced the moment we teleported at the point. They hit us hard, and were armed with explosives. I managed to take down a whole flock of the Joes before they hit me with one of their bombs. I went soaring through the air and the snow mobile practically shattered. I had to rely on my own limited mobility now.

Thank goodness for SF units. There were 12 of them, all of them that were supposed to guard 12 stations of the pipeline. Four of them served as my bodyguards, allowing me to do my job while they blasted the hell out of the Scissor Army.

Vulcan's snow mobile was down too. He was not too far from me, firing his Star Arrows and assisted by four SF units as well. Of the last four, two were already down, and the other two were right in front of a wall. Behind that wall was the pipe, and they served as the last line of defense, making sure no one got near it.

We were winning... but we were also sustaining some heavy losses. Our standard units were struggling to resist getting slaughtered, and the SA's bombs just kept detonating. I don't know where they were coming from, but there was one that was dangerously close to the pipeline.

Finally, I saw beams of light shoot into the sky by the dozens. The SA had retreated.

Relieved, I sat down in the snow, catching my breath. "Damage assessment," I requested to my Watchers.

"332 standard units remaining, 4 Special Forces units down, 8 remaining," came Spiegel's voice.

That was actually impressive. Those SA Joes had been beating the hell out of us all day.

"And if you haven't noticed, we've had some special guests assisting us," Vatnick added.

"Oh God, you guys AGAIN?" I heard Vulcan groan. I turned to him and saw him facing two robots with Penguin Bombs. They were with Wily.

"I was hoping that seeing as we had the same interests to protect, we would avoid a fight with the RPD," Staccato stated.

"Thanks for the help, but you know what it's like with the RPD," Vulcan said blankly. "It's all just business." And he trained his bow on the Fatalist.

I got up and aimed my pistols at Karasû. The two Fatalists assumed a fighting stance, and the RPD raised their weapons at them. This wouldn't last long.

All was silent. An icy wind screeched through the battlefield, and the earth seemed to stop moving. Who would play the next card?

Vatnick's sudden outburst made me jump. "The other side of the pipeline!" his voice blared through my ear piece. I heard the hundreds of tiny electric echoes around me, meaning that he had managed to convey the message to the entire army.

Instantly ignoring Wily's forces, the RPD turned and hopped up the short wall and over the pipeline. Vulcan and I followed, and what I saw nearly made my heart stop beating.

Everything happened so fast. A fresh unit of SA Joes. Almost three times as many as us, charging towards our already diminished force. Vulcan stood right next to me to fight side by side. We were at the front lines, facing the hordes of Joes that were closing in on us. As we waited for them to get within shooting distance, he spoke. "You know, I figured now would be the time to say this, but you remind of someone. He was a good man..."

"Heh, that doesn't sound like me at all," I replied. There was an explosion. The Scissor Army had brought their bombs back.

"You know, you can always back out of this if you want to," Vulcan said.

"Nah, I think I'll stay. Maybe then I might be able to accomplish SOMETHING in my life."

"The man you remind me of managed to accomplish many things."

"Yeah, you can stop talking about 'this man' now."

With the SF units at our backs, we both let out a battlecry and charged.

Everything seemed hopeless, and yet..... I DID feel some sense of accomplishment.


The three of us finally arrived at the battlefield to see Karasû and Staccato intact. They had some bruises from the previous fights, but they still looked OK.

"So, what are the news ?
-Mylord, the first traitorous attack of the ennemy has been stopped, but another wave just came and charged the other side of the pipeline.
-And Vulcan's with them.
-You see ? That's a good raison to high-tail and get back home safely !
-Lento will stay. Coward Warpman will be covered with shame by Dr Wily."

Ouch. It's not every time Lento would make such a mean comment.

"You think I'm a coward ? I could stop these guys all on my own !
-Care to leave us some work, Warpy ? I don't like to waste my trips, after all.
-Grm ... Alright.
-Okay. Lento, you slow these guys on the left wing down, and our Joes will shoot'em to death.
-Order recieved. Attack in process.
-Warpman, warp around and bomb every weakspot. "Stop" anything that could be in Lento's range.
-Karasû, take the Penguin Bombs and attack the right wing.
-As you wish.
-Staccato and I will give a little support to our RPD friends."

With this, we headed to our respective portions of the battlefield. Warpman was doing well so far, but in case his battery overloaded, he was as good as dead.
Staccato and I charged through the Joes, forcing me to use my stock of missiles. Vulcan had an ... exasperated look on his face, but said nothing more as we focused on our common ennemy.


They were targeting our Special Forces first. It would have been safer to actually stay AWAY from them. Police bots did their best to guard them, but the SA Joes only shot through them or blew them all up. It was a brutal fight, and the SA brought down 6 SF units within minutes.

Thankfully, those that had fallen managed to take down dozens more with them, and about a third of the SA's forces were vanquished. There were still about 550 left, though. The bombs that seemed to come out of nowhere were ripping us apart, and the RPD almost had to wade through their own sea of corpses.

By then, it was 50 to 537. The two remaining SF units were destroyed. I knew that Vulcan and I were next, so we retreated to the back. Suddenly, Vulcan gave me a hard shove, and I flew to the ground behind him. He then raised his shields, and I understood. If I had stayed near him I would have been burnt to a crisp by his Star Crash and he wouldn't have been able to protect us from the gun fire.

But we couldn't hold on to the defensive for long. The SA was spreading out to get around our tiny group and target the pipeline. Not good at all.

And then, in came Wily's forces.

I had completely forgotten about them since we just up and abandoned them, but for once I was glad the old man had sent his lackeys to assist us. There was a little over 500 of them, plus the Fatal Five, and the RPD accepted them graciously. 550 vs 550. The tables were even now.

I was impressed by the Fatal Five's abilities. Lento fired these spheres that appeared to slow down the SA Joes until they couldn't move at all, where the standard Joes would simply shoot down their evil and improved counterparts by the dozen. Warpman teleported all around the battlefield, detonating his own bombs and catching the SA by surprise every time. Karasû commanded the Penguin Bombs and raven soldiers effectively, heading right into enemy lines and darting about like annoying oversized mosquitoes, providing enough of a distraction for others to shoot them down. Staccato, Riff, Vulcan and I stayed together, supporting eachother and nailing the enemy. Swords, missiles, arrows, and bullets. Quite the interesting combination.

Finally, it was almost over. The SA's survivors from the first wave were beamed back in and tried an attack from the other side once more, but thankfully Vatnick was a step ahead of them and warned us beforehand. Wily's forces were split up to defend both sides, and Warpman, Karasû, and Lento went to the other side of the pipeline. It was a tough battle, but we prevailed.

By the end there were only a 100 Wily troops left, 50 on each side. They did a sweep of the area to finish off the SA's numbers, which were even fewer.

"Good job, Shiken," Spiegel commended. "The pipeline's been secured."

"Yeah.... By the way, I still haven't gotten those donuts," I said jokingly. Afterwards I took the time to examine my injuries. My armor was a bit scorched, and lifting up my shirt I saw that I had received some first and second degree burns from getting shot at. Ouch.


"Wait," Spiegel said. "There's some.... ing...... both sides!" There was static, making only a few of his words audible. "....thing's..... ing... communi..... too."

"What?" was all I could say, but I was only met with static. I had lost communication with my superiors. From the jumbled words I had heard, apparently something was coming for us from both sides of the pipeline that was jamming our signals.

And I saw it. It was a large, towering robot with armor that made it look tank-like. The monstrosity looked a little scratched up, as if it had come right out of another battle. It raised a menacing cannon and fired.

Staccato, Riff, Vulcan and I jumped out of the way just in time as a stream of burning plasma seared through the air. The stream did not follow us, but was instead trained on the wall. It began to burn through, reaching for the pipe...

Vulcan activated his Star Crash, jumping in front of the plasma beam. He seemed to be struggling though, and I didn't hesitate to fill my pistols with ice cartridges and fire at the robot's cannon. It disrupted the flow of plasma somewhat, enough for Vulcan's force field to be able to resist it. By the time the robot's cannon was completely encased in ice I was out of bullets. It was still firing its buster though, at a charge low enough not to fry itself from the inside but enough to thaw the ice. Staccato came in and slashed with his foils, but the robot parried with its arms and gave the Fatalist a solid punch, sending him reeling back a few feet. Riff fired his missiles, and thankfully they did some damage, although not much.


The three Fatalists were nearly done cleansing the remnants of the SA force when they heard a loud step.
It was a robot of an unknown design, taller than Lento and carrying nearly twice as much an arsenal. And it was coming at them.
Its cannon raised and fired, showering the remaining Wily drones with plasma and destroying them instantly.

Warpman quickly teleported around him, in order to use his regular "Warp Bomb" trick.
The first and second bomb detonated in the monstrosity's back, slightly damaging him, but it fired at Warpman right when he warped in and shot his third bomb.
The plasma shower and the bomb's detonation turned the prototype Wily-bot's arm to smithereens, and the backfire fried his batteries, which triggered an instant teleportation to the Castle. One Fatalist down.

Karasû then raised his arms, and began a small dance and chant. He grabbed his staff and slammed it on the ground, and the earth began to open, the crater growing larger as it rushed to the behemoth's position. It seemed like it had lost its equilibrium, but he jumped in a swift way that completely contrasted with its stucture As it landed, it shot at the raven-bot, but he barely dodged the burning projectile, as one of his wings got melted.

"Slow Charge, companion ! Now !"

Lento's head jerked up. He aimed at its "counterpart", and it got completely trapped in the "slow field". losing no time, the green Wily Bot charged at him, firing from all his weapon systems, and drawing out his chainsaw blade.
His melee weapon ripped through the black armor, but even with slow reflexes, the SA robot was a foridable opponent. And the "slow field" would soon wear off...


Explosion rounds and missiles detonated upon impact of the robot's thick armor, but they didn't seem to do much except piss the thing off. By then its cannon had completely thawed.

Vulcan took Engetsu and leaped high into the air. The tank-like robot took note of this and aimed its buster at Starman. However, the RPD officer swung down his beam saber, meeting the stream of plasma and splitting it in two. Sparks flew everywhere, splashing against Vulcan's armor but not doing much damage. What I feared was what would happen if Engetsu succumbed to the heat of the plasma flamethrower.

Fortunately, that didn't happen, and he closed in on the robot. The robot retaliated by retreating and blocking Engetsu with its buster arm, then swinging it to whack Vulcan back. Vulcan seemingly ricocheted off of the robot, though he recovered and whipped out his Bolt Action pistol, firing at the robot's cannon.

I put yellow cartridges in my Fenrirs and began targeting the cannon as well. Upon being hit the robot's buster began to crackle, getting damaged from my Volt bullets. Riff fired more of his missiles, also homing in on the buster, and Staccato finished with a mighty swipe of his blades that lodged into the cannon before pulling them back out and retreating.

By now the buster looked seriously beat up. I doubted that the robot could use its weapon, and it suddenly disappeared. I thought that it had run away, but I was sadly mistaken.

I guess it somehow knew that my vulnerable was already protected, so it instead gave me a heavy punch in the back where my spine was. I flew forward a couple meters and crumpled into the soft snow. Being face first in ice was really nothing compared to the pain I felt where I was hit. I knew that I shouldn't move or any potential damage to the spine would be worsened. I had no choice but to teleport back to safety.

I regret having to leave people behind, but there was no choice. I could only hope that the others would finish the job.


My breath wisped into the cold air as I hunched over, my right hand stabbing Engetsu into the ground before me. Shiken had disappeared without a word, which meant any teleportation barriers had been knocked out. I could retreat at any moment, but as usual, I remained stubborn to the bitter end.

I stood back up, crimson rushing down my forehead, into the lens of my goggles. I wiped the fluids away with my fist, still gripped on my sword. I reached to my backside with my free hand and pulled out Bolt Action - dagger configuration.

The Sniper Joes rallied around me. The monstrosity in front of me, the rumored "Siege Joe" had fallen just minutes beforehand. It was a final attempt on the part of the SA's troops. To retreat now would just be a drag. War is a grisly game, but it provides the rush and excitement that I have longed for.

And so I crossed my blades together, plasma on plasma thundering with energy. My injuries were nothing. I could still take these fools down. It was the end of the line.


15 minutes had passed, the Scissor Army was through with this battle. My blades retracted back into their hilts. I sheathed them both and fell onto my knees.... I felt alive.

I chuckled, almost ignoring the communications single. I switched it on and spoke with my superiors. Shiken was fine. The Fatalists had managed to hold down their unspoken end of the bargain and have since retreated. Victory was ours.

It occurred to me that I should teleport back to HQ, but I instead chose to spare five more minutes, so a cigarette now burned, the butt pressed against my lips, meeting with weary breath. Fuck me up the ass and call me grandma if I was wrong: Shiken is Makenshi. I had no doubt about it.

As the sun began to set, I took a seat upon the corpse of a SA Joe. I was unsure of the possibilities of such a thing happening where I was, but I welcomed the thought of finally seeing the northern lights. I reached into a compartment on my belt. Not for another cigarette, but for a more unusual treat...

A pile of sunflower seed shells began to pile up beside me, resting snuggly in the cracked lens of an SA Joe's optics. I smiled, numbly comforted with the companionship of an old friend.

"He hasn't changed a bit..."



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