The Business of War

Live and Let Die

Scenario H
Loner Squad (Pharon (WW), Nox (?), Makenshi (AA- Non-RM), Tenguman (DI), Clownman (DI), Jack Vulcan (Starman) (AA), Hyper Storm H (7M))(RPD)
Seven Mercenaries (SA)
Mysteryman (SA)
Mr.Whiz (W)
Gila Gladiators (W)

Location: Cape Canaveral, USA (SA)
Max. Cossack Scrap Value: 6248
SA Infantry: 1906
RPD Units: 1393
Wily Bots: 207

"Go!" Captain Spiegel yelled into his radio, and miles away over a thousand troops charged forth to meet the Scissor Army. He turned back to his subordinates: Vulcan, Nox, and of course, Makenshi. "Well well, aren't we a ragtag group here? Alright, if all goes according to plan, we should be able to head in there with few difficulties."

"What are we doing anyway?" Vulcan inquired.

"Can't you pay attention, robot?!" Spiegel barked. Immediately he looked down and cleared his throat, speaking more calmly. "The Scissor Army's defenses have gathered around the perimeter of a former NASA launchpad here. We don't know what they're planning to do with it, but it's not gonna be good. Right now all of our forces are charging the other side, forcing the SA to concentrate there. With that diversion in place, we're going to sneak in to infiltrate the control room. Got it?" The robot nodded. "Good."

Spiegel turned his attention to Makenshi. He was about to say something, but immediately he closed his mouth and turned the other way.

Vulcan walked up to Makenshi. "So.... you still haven't told me why you were trying to hide your identity from me."

Makenshi shrugged. "Just in case you wouldn't get in deep shit if I did anything stupid."

"Is that all?"

"Well, yeah, pretty much."

Starman sighed. "Alright... Well, now that that mess is cleared up, whatever it was... And now that you're Waveman.... Well... You wanna help me rebuild the Ascendant Androids.... the REAL Ascendant Androids?"

With his helmet it was impossible to see Makenshi's grin. "Why would I say no?"

The two robots shook hands.

"Let's go!" Spiegel shouted. "The decoy's probably been found already!"

Vulcan and Makenshi nodded to each other and ran off to rejoin their group.


Not far from Cape Canaveral's launchpad, Mysteryman and the Mercs were discussing on their plan of actions.

"Don't worry, Mystery. We'll take care of those who will try and attack us."

"There's something I want to know, Quint." asked the illusion master. "Why did you request to assist me ? It's not like I couldn't take on the RPD on my own, especially with such numbers !"

"I never thought that, comrade." replied the Megaman look-alike. "I would just feel safer if we had full control over space."

Ballade nodded. "The Great Zodiac's down. Baïkonour's and Kourou's bases are out of commission."

"And we want to make sure no one will try to fight the Marauder on its own domain." completed Quint. "We do not appreciate competition, as well."

An emergency signal rang through the base. "RPD force approaching ! RPD force approaching !"

Quint nodded to his colleague, and the Mercs rushed off to intercept the attackers.

Though Mysteryman was slightly annoyed by the presence of another Officer, he enjoyed having a good ally at his side. And an alliance was reciprocal...

He turned to his guardsmen - Scissor Joes with his own color-scheme. "Let's head to the security center. Something tells me this assault is merely a masquerade... And I know that kind of stuff."


As Vulcan and Makenshi ran to meet with the small reconnaissance group, they were met by Nox, who had slowed his pace in order to let them catch up.

"So," Nox said, after they had caught up to him, "it appears you two had some catching up to do. Judging from how close you ran to each other and how you aren't looking away from each other, I would assume things went well."

"Is it really any of your business man? Why do you care about what we do anyway?" Vulcan replied defensively.

"It just seems that you two weren't really friends when I last saw you, yet you were part of the same team, a team that has been robbed from you by the Scissor Army. If you would allow it, I would be glad to assist you in winning your identities back."

Makenshi shook his head negatively. ", who are you again?"


"Nox, right. This is sort of a personal thing we are doing here, and I'd rather get that thing calling himself Waveman on my own."

"I understand. Perhaps I will help out in some other way. But Waveman is not here right now, so we must keep our focus on that launchpad. Come, I am sure captain Spiegel is becoming irate that we are slowing down."

On that note, Nox picked his pace up again. Vulcan and Makenshi followed, walking on a path far outside of the combat zone as to not draw attention to themselves. As if out of thin air, Nox pulled out a short metal staff, his weapon against the forces that were sure to come at them.


Tengu and Clown had been humiliated over and over again. Now, they had been demoted to “bait”. Their group was nothing but a decoy.

As they approached the southern access to the NASA complex, they were surprised to see no one was there to greet them. As they walked past the entrance’s gates, they noticed the surveillance cameras and destroyed them immediately. They had probably been spotted, but it didn’t matter much. After all, that was their intention…

“Freeze!” A group of Scissor Joes suddenly appeared above them, and from all sides. Some were standing atop the gates, and some were travelling in hovering vehicles. All of them were pointing their guns at them. There was no alternative but to fight.

Their men, immediately aimed their own guns at the SA, and the tension grew as they all stayed silent for a few seconds. But it didn’t take long for the SA leader to order his men to open fire at the intruders.

With the shooting underway, Tengu and Clown were smart enough to quickly get out of the way. Using their respective abilities, they made short work of the three hovering vehicles. After some tornado holds, they had all crashed on the ground, allowing Clown to finish them off with his thunder claw.

“Well, that was easy.” Tengu admitted, seeing that only a few of their men were down. But Clown tapped his shoulder. He turned around to see at least a hundred SA Joes heading their way, from inside the complex. “Shucks…”

“Don’t worry, let’s just stick to the plan”. ClownMan reminded him with resignation. He was quite depressed about the fact that they weren’t supposed to fight.

“Right… time to fall back, guys!” Tengu ordered their men, and they began retreating outside the complex. The SA Joes gave chase…


“Status report.” MysteryMan demanded to the custom Joe beside him.

“Well, our troops are faring well against the enemy. The Seven Mercenaries might not even have to fight. The only inconvenient so far, is their CO and a group of Special Forces units.” The green and purple colored Joe replied.

“Show me!” MysteryMan was irritated to hear about such nuisance, as insignificant as it was. The screens of the control room showed images of the front gates that lead directly to the launch pad. The armies were battling there, and both sides were sustaining heavy damage. "Tell our men to back off this instant, I need soem room!"

The Joe issued orders to the army below, and the RPD seemd taken back by their change of strategy. But soon, Mystery spotted the cause for their limited success: the SF units. Focusing, his whole body started glowing with a purplish hue…


After a few seconds, the screens displayed a completely different scenario. The RPD had been nearly whipped out from the NASA launch pad. Apparently, three space shuttles had fallen from the sky, crashing on the ground and taking hundreds of RPD bots with them. The SF units included. Some SA Joes were destroyed along the way, but it was nothing to worry about.

Mystery and his henchman chuckled. Their enemy was down to just a few hundreds. Five hundred tops. They noted Quint turning around to face the surveillance system, and giving Mystery a thumbs up. This was going to be easier than it looked…


Hyper Storm managed to get back on his feet. What had previously been a group of his personal SF bodyguards was now reduced to a pile of smouldering scrap. The remains of the fallen space shuttle were barely a couple dozen feet away. Him being alive was nothing short of a miracle.

When he reincorporated, he found the SA army standing still much to his surprise. His remaining men were too dumbfounded and were far from regaining a decent formation. The lines of SA Joes stepped aside for a group of COs to walk forward.

The seven - now six – mercenaries were walking towards him. Apparently, they wanted to confront him on their own, without any help from their army. In spite of that, things weren’t particularly on the bright side for him…


“I can’t believe this is it!” Mystery exclaimed.

“You are absolutely right, boss!” the Joe responded. “The chief of security has reported that a group of RPD officers tried to infiltrate the facilities from the southern entrance. They were overwhelmed by our numbers and decided to retreat. Some of our men are currently chasing them down.”

“What?” the master of illusions was infuriated once again. “Just as I suspected. Who is in charge of this masquerade?”

“Reports indicate that RPD TenguMan and ClownMan are leading this assault.” The screens now continuously displayed the moment when Tengu and Clown disposed of the security cameras.

“Those retards?!” Mystery couldn’t believe this insult. “They should have been kicked out of the damned RPD by now!”

“What’s on your mind, boss?” the Joe asked inquisitively.

“This isn’t right.” Mystery admitted. “With such an important asset at stake here, you’d figure they send a whole team of competent COs to recover this launch pad. Have our men hunt them down, and keep an eye on the operation.” Mystery walked towards the exit.

“And what about you, boss? Where are you headed?”

“Don’t you worry. I’ll be back in no time. I just want to take the necessary precautions, in case they’re up to something else…”


The Mercs were surrounding their latest member - and runaway. Their weapons weren't drawn out, but something in their postures made clear they wouldn't hesitate to use them on their teammate.

Quint took his rapier, and raised the blade toward the boar-like Merc.

"Officer Hyper Storm ! The Scissor Army Martial Court found you guilty of the following crimes :
In Madrid, your inconsiderate actions against Hardman caused the failure of our mission !
You collaborated with the RPD, a force that includes former Ascendant Android Starman !
You twice fought the forces of the General Cutman, in Lisbon and Niagara Falls !
"You have been sentenced to death by summary execution ! However, should you agree to join back our ranks, it shall be reduced to a seance of discipline.
What is your decision ?"

Hyper Storm was struck by the words of his leader. How could one become that insane ? After all their defeats, they still accepted to follow that mass murderer ? He shook his head, and yelled : "I'm gonna crush some sense into you, Hunter !"

He charged the green Megaman look-alike, but a purple blurr, followed by a series of detonations, stopped him. Ballade was now in front of him, ready to fight.

"Officer Ballade shall execute the sentence !" claimed Quint. "We're not to step in - except if the situation calls for it."

The Megaman Killer spoke up : "That mess ... Madrid ... Murmansk ... It's because I didn't anticipate your foolish move. This error will be repaired now !"

She charged, and dodged the Surging Gusts thrown by her teammate. When he ran at her, she jumped back, throwing Crackers to keep him back.

They were staring at each other, each one waiting for the other to strike, with the remaining Mercs silently watching them. A clicking came from Ballade's armors, as parts of her upper body moved and switched.

She readied herself, and fired a volley of highly-powered Crackers. Hyper Storm quickly set a Storm Wall to deflect them, but they were coming from everywhere, as Ballade was jumping all around him, looking for a breach in his defense.

Finally, a Cracker hit him on the back. Hyper Storm then felt the Killer landing on his back. More clicking noises came, and the enxt second his armor was vibrating in pain.

Ballade was focusing on delivering sonic attacks, a tactic that worked well on Barrageman. She punched and punched, occasionnally throwing Crackers in to damage Hyper Storm's systems, as he couldn't fight back.
Finally, she delivered a final blow on his enck, which paralyzed the juggernaut.

Ballade appeared back in Hyper Storm's vision, and her armor came back to its former shape. She only muttered those words :

"Consider this as a punishment for your recklesness."

Then, he blacked out.

The remaining Mercs came closer, debating on what they should do with Hyper Storm. Finally, they agreed on something.

"The opportunity could never happen again." stated Buster Rod.

Ballade nodded. "We must take advantage of it."

"We will teach him the lesson for good." stated Quint. "That his place is in the Scissor Army, no matter what he thinks of it."

The Captain opened his communication channel : "Mysteryman, the main RPD force has been stopped. The Mercs will retreat and I'll send someone to protect the place with you. Quint, over." In the meantime, Punk and Mega Water set teleportation relays on their comrade's body.

Quint then turned to the last Merc. "Enker, go back and assist Mysteryman just in case. Your Mirror Buster could come in handy in the defense of the control room." The spear-wielding killer nodded.

The Seven Mercenaries, minus their spearman, teleported back on the Marauder, taking the battered body of Hyper Storm with them. It could take weeks before Magnus made it back to its post as an Officer, but they could wait ...

With a final look at the spot his teammates occupied seconds ago, Enker ran off for his next mission.


It was surprisingly easy for Makenshi, Vulcan, and Nox to reach the launch pad complex. They had not run into any of the SA guards at all. The decoy seemed to work well. Perhaps too well.

Makenshi caught a reflection of himself in a large glass window. His armor was many different shades of blue and green, and the humongous weapon he wielded was far too large in proportion to himself, though he carried it with ease as if it were a stick.

He was Waveman now. A robot with the Shutdown Code installed in him. His helmet covered his entire human face, and he wondered if he would ever see it again....

The window fell apart as Vulcan sliced a hole into it. He, Makenshi, and Nox entered the facility. It, too, was devoid of guards, as far as they could see at least.

"Stay alert.... I sense that we're not alone," Nox warned.

"They could be waiting in the control room," Spiegel speculated via radio.

Nox was right. As they entered a large room they encountered Mr. Whiz.

"Damn those Gila Gladiators.... They're too slow...." the anti-Quickman mumbled.


Mr. Whiz turned around and jumped in surprise.

"You guys go on ahead, I'll catch up with you later," Makenshi said. Vulcan and Nox nodded and ran passed, leaving him alone with the Wilybot.

"Hey now, I'm not here to cause any trouble, so can we just call a truce and part ways?" Mr. Whiz asked.

"Sorry, but I think you ARE up to something. Wily would have no reason to be interested in a launch pad unless-" but Makenshi was cut short as he jumped to dodge an anti-Quick boomerang. Makenshi swung his massive spear-like weapon downward, and the enormous head suddenly detached from its perch connected by a chain, bouncing off of the ground and flying towards Mr. Whiz. The Wilybot began to dash around the room with the anchor-sized spear head bouncing off the walls in pursuit. The head kept going faster and faster, but Mr. Whiz timed his next jump and hopped right on top of it as it was flying in Makenshi's direction and firing a boomerang. It hit the blue robot square in the chest but Waveman quickly recovered and swung his chain-spear in circles until Mr. Whiz finally soared off of it. The anti-Quickman "landed" on the wall and pushed off, hurling another anti-Quick boomerang. Makenshi was prepared this time and strafed to the side. His spear head retracted back into its pole and he attempted to slam it into his opponent, but Mr. Whiz grabbed the underside of it and slid past firing a boomerang at Waveman's back. Scrambling to his feet, the Wilybot charged Wave, but Makenshi unexpectedly flew upwards, catching him by surprise and almost running into the wall. However, Mr. Whiz did not have time to react as the spear head smashed into his noggin. Not only did it hurt like hell, but he was now almost shin deep in concrete. He struggled in vain to free himself and watched helplessly as Makenshi approached him, expecting the worst.

"Stay here," Makenshi suddenly said, and with that he dashed off to rejoin his group.

Mr. Whiz looked back down at his predicament. "Well, this sucks," he muttered.


Nox and Vulcan were alerted by the clatter of boots from a large group of SA Joes and their gunfire. The two ran as fast as they could, Starman turning around ocassionally to put up his shield. Ahead of them was a fork. Vulcan knew from the map of the complex that the two paths both led to the control room. "Split up!" he yelled, and they each took a different path. The SA Joes divided themselves to cover both paths.


Mysteryman approached the innards of the launch pad complex, surrounded by a small group of his custom Scissor Joes. The lack of commanding officers on the battlefield made him a little uneasy, but he was still largely confident that things were going to go their way. With his troops boasting superior firepower combined with his tactics, the RPD would be repelled in a short time. Wily's forces would also fall if they hadn't already. The main thought on Mysteryman's mind was to find and stop any parties that might have slipped past the SA's main forces.

He and the SA Joes stopped in an emergency bunker somewhere off the normal routes. Mysteryman motioned to the Joes to seal the bunker shut, allowing him to remain in a quiet state. He needed that quiet to allow his power to work to its fullest; the officers might have been able to keep from being seen, but their fears, their worries would be as loud as a scream to him.

Turning his focus inward, Mysteryman cleared his mind and opened himself to the thoughts of others. After a couple of minutes, fear began to broadcast itself into his mind, the collective of the RPD forces, the Wilybots, and even his own Scissor Army soldiers. But the ordinary Joes were of no interest to him; their thoughts sounded the same, and he had dealt with enough of them to know the patterns of their thoughts, what some might term as an "aura".

In the chaos of the battle, he could feel a few distinct thoughts and fears. These were more complex and layered than the Joes; they were the thoughts of the commanding officers. From what he could feel, Mysteryman knew they had split up and were going in different directions. He guessed there were about four or five of them, mixed human and robot team. With a little more time, he would be able to identify them more accurately, but it was a good start. One in particular, however, seemed new, unfamiliar to him. Mysteryman theorized that this was a new recruit, taken in by the RPD to help them minimize losses. Either way, he had them now. It was just a matter of putting their own fears to use.

While keeping his focus on the officers, Mysteryman signaled to his soldiers inside the complex to gather at specific locations ahead of the officers. Now, it was time to put his gifts to work for Elysium.


Nox moved swiftly through the hallways, attempting to keep the SA Joes off of his back while he attempted to find Vulcan and the others. He had learned about the enemies of the Scissor Army during his month of RPD duty along with ways to deal with them, but most of them involved teamwork. Summoning Tempest would only slow him down, and time was of the essence.

Finally stopping at a corner, Nox produced a piece of chalk and quickly drew a marking on the ground. Circle for a transmutation spell, square to indicate an earth element, V-shaped line representing a blade. Nox placed the tip of his staff into the center and his other hand on the edge, he focused on the circle, giving it the necessary amount of energy to activate the circle. As if drawing out a sword from the stone, Nox pulled his staff up from the ground, resulting in a sharpened stone blade on its tip. A crude dagger, but suitable to help him cut out of a tight spot.

Nox continued working his way forward, creeping past the Joes patrolling the halls. Weighing on his mind was how he could get back to the group without giving himself away. On one hand, he was doing well. But on the other hand, he could get caught and end up becoming a pawn for the Scissor Army. That was even if they had any use for him...he could be dead in a matter of seconds if they found him. The possibilities for Nox seemed infinite, almost...

He stopped short. In front of him was an ordinary man, seemingly in his thirties, standing there not noticing Nox's presence, or even the chaos in the area. Nox approached him cautiously, wary of any traps that might have been set for him. But nothing seemed to bother the man. He just stood there, gazing at the wall like something was happening in front of him.

In a moment, his gaze shifted upward, following some invisible line Nox could not see. In another second, the man turned and began to run in fear. Nox tried to move out of the way, only to be shoved aside. So it wasn't an illusion... or was it?

Nox got his answer quickly, as more people seemed to appear instantly. But is wasn't long before they started running too. Finally, Nox began to hear a rumble, followed by the sound of screaming. It was a familiar scream...oh God, Nox thought to himself. Not again. Please let it not be that.

Nox was not able to complete his thought, as he was instantly swept back by a chorus of cries, people swept up in the force of the oncoming shockwave. But this was not any shockwave. No, this was the explosion that had shook Nox to his core, made him so sick to his stomach that he wanted to die. This was what had set the Shutdown Code into motion, the very event that had made the Maniacs into fallen heroes.

Nox could see the wreckage of Los Angeles, fresh from the explosion that had claimed so many lives. Surprisingly, he had walked into it relatively intact. But it wasn't the city that struck him, as much as the millions of misplaced people, who had suddenly died without any warning. It was their terror, their fear that drove him crazy. It was the curse of being an empath like he was, such large displacements of life or energy would come into his mind no matter how far away.

But this was different. It has to be a trick, he just knew it. He recalled that one of the Scissor Army officers present here was Mysteryman, a master of illusions. Illusions were a common form of magic practiced by Magi, often to distract or deceive ordinary people or even other Magi. Nox tried to remember how he was taught to deal with illusions by ignoring them no matter how violent. Nox attempted to steel himself, and began to walk towards the end of the empty street in hopes of catching his path.

After only a few more steps though, the screaming became more vivid and the visions became clearer. Nox felt himself slowing down, as something hindered his movement; no mattered how Nox tried to ignore it, he could not speed up. Attempting to find the source of the resistance, Nox looked around him. He was shocked to find that he was being held at his feet by a group of corpses, flesh burned and parts missing due to the explosion. These were real bodies really holding him back, not just some typical illusions. Nox could barely hold himself up. Despite trying to slash away at them with his stone dagger, they simply crawled onto him even faster.

No...Nox would not let himself be stopped by something so unreal! He was a Mage, not a normal human! These were not real; bodies could not come back to life no matter how much magic was used. Nox decided he had to fight it, he had to purge himself of these thoughts! Nothing could stop him now, not when he had friends and people who he needed to save!

It then came to Nox, an enlightenment about his situation. He remembered something he had read about Mysteryman, something he had kept in the back of his mind until now. Mysteryman could use illusions, but he needed fear , and most of all, he needed to be able to see the thoughts of his targets. That's why these were so familiar to Nox, they were his fears. And he had made a big mistake by keeping his mind open to such thoughts. He could do something, but he needed to get back.

Nox immediately turned his dagger to his feet, cutting off the edge of his cloak to free himself. After running a distance away from the bodies, he decided to try a new technique he had read about. Facing the bodies, he drew out two symbols on his hands. He aimed at the ground beneath them, letting his hands glow with the light of Mana running through him. Small pieces of the earth rose up like teeth, the precursor of something fierce. Nox then closed his hands tight, forming a series of small sets of sharp, bear-trap like formations of earth. Bodies became trapped in the jaws, screaming to be let loose. Nox smiled under his mask, as with one final force of energy, he forced a large set of spikes from the earth to enclose the bodies, impaling them with rock.

Looking satisfied, Nox collapsed to his knees due to the large strain from such a powerful technique. In a matter of moments, the dismal-looking LA street began to melt back into the hallway of the shuttle complex, looking worse for wear due to the earth practically swallowing the hallway where Nox had just been. Nox set himself up against a wall to catch his breath. After about ten or fifteen more minutes, Nox walked away to rejoin the group, having faced down his fear once again.


Instead of his compatriots, Makenshi found Enker. Or rather, Enker found him. He barely jumped out of the way as a javelin almost pinned him and exploded in a shower of plasma.

Makenshi turned to face his assailant and fired his Iormungandr and the Rockman Killer strafed to the side to dodge the giant spear head and dashed forward, brandishing his spear. However, the spear head bounded back and its chain extension wrapped around Enker. Makenshi ran up and jump-kicked the Mercenary in the face, then unraveled the chains and reconnected the spear head, smashing it into Enker. The SA officer flew back and slammed into the wall before slumping to the ground. However, Waveman instinctively turned to meet weapons with a second Enker, as well as three other Enkers behind him.

"What the hell?!"

"Heheheh, you're outnumbered here," the Enker he was dueling said with a sneer.

Makenshi responded by knocking away Enker's spear and smashing Iormungandr into his skull. Then Makenshi decided enough was enough as two more Enkers filed into the room and he ran like hell, doing his best to dodge the exploding javelins that were being thrown at him. There was a stairway ahead leading to the basement, and he scaled each set of steps in one leap. It appeared that they were in the guts of the complex, with tanks, pipes, and generators all over the place. A javelin pierced one of the tanks and detonated, causing a deluge of water to spray into the air.

Perfect, Makenshi thought.

The water began to warp and twist in the air as Makenshi gained control of it. It then shot forth like bullets, forming large spikes aimed at the Enkers. Many of the Enkers were impaled by the spikes and fell, and only one remained, blocking the water with his force field.

This was the real deal.

Enker had already dashed forth and he met Makenshi spear to spear. They began to duel, each trying to deflect the other's weapon to make an opening. Enker dealt his blows quickly and landed a couple blunt blows to Makenshi. They were swift yet painful and Makenshi winced each time he was hit.

"You put up an impressive fight, but your skills are still inferior to mine," Enker mocked.

"Yeah, well, my stick is still bigger than your stick," Makenshi retorted, narrowly cloud parrying a thrust aimed at his heart and swinging Iormungandr at Enker's head. The Rockman Killer ducked and thrust his spear upward and Makenshi kicked it up into the air. Enker leaped into the air and swung down with all his might to bat away the giant spear head that was fired at him.

Makenshi continued to combat Enker using Iormungandr like a chain whip, keeping his distance from the Mercenary's spear but close enough to discourage the use of his exploding javelins. He wanted nothing to do with them now. Then, the spear head wrapped itself around Enker's weapon and he gave a sharp tug, sending it flying out of his opponent's hands. He was about to proceed bashing his enemy when a shrill laugh echoed throughout the room.

"Kyahahahaha! Over here, fake me!"

Makenshi couldn't believe it. It could only be Scissor Wave. But what was he doing here? He turned around and sure enough, his watery evil counterpart stood before him laughing like a lunatic.

By the time Makenshi remembered Enker's javelins it was too late. He turned his attention back to Enker but one of the javelins was already hurled at him with such force that it impaled his shoulder and almost went all the way out the other end. Makenshi yelped in surprise and agony but he reflexively clutched the javelin and tore it out.

Scissor Wave stopped his chortling. "Hey, what are you doing with tha-" And in an instant the javelin was thrown at him and he was showered with plasma. Makenshi was within the radius of damage as well and screamed as it scorched his armor. There was another detonation and the ceiling collapsed on Makenshi. He tried to stagger out of the way but he slipped and before he knew it his legs were immobilized in a pile of rubble.

On the other side Enker chuckled. He was about to search through the debris and finish his opponent off when Quint suddenly contacted him. "Enker, I'm afraid we need your assistance. Get back to us immediately."

Enker frowned. "Yes, Captain," he replied reluctantly. He quickly threw a javelin at the ceiling to add more rubble to the pile and ran off.


"Captain! Our forces aren't faring too well especially since they've already captured our commander!"

"Damn it!" Spiegel shouted into the radio. "They got Hyper Storm?"

"Unfortunately, yes, sir! I'm afraid we won't even be able to reach the launchpad! We're outnumbered and they're taking us out faster than we can get them!"

"The control doesn't seem to be attainable either...." Spiegel muttered. He had no choice left. Reluctantly, he switched channels to all of the COs. "Alright, robots and Nox, we won't be able to get this launchpad, so Clown and Tengu, you know what to do. And don't forget to delete the blueprints!"

"Damn you Mysteryman, you play a solid defense for a single person," Nox growled.

"These illusions are pissing the hell outta me," Vulcan grumbled.

"Alright! We get to do something!" Clownman exclaimed.

"Dash, close the connection!" Tengu scolded.

"Oh, right."

"I'm still tied up here!" Makenshi shouted.

"I have faith that all of you can get the hell outta here. Now hurry up!" Spiegel commanded.

Makenshi was panting heavily. There was no way he could get out of this...

Then, there was the clatter of footsteps, and the wall beside him collapsed as Vulcan burst through.

"There you are," Starman said to the trapped Waveman.

"No, I'm right here." a second Waveman said, stepping out from the shadows. "That guy's an illusion! Remember that time when we..."

An Icarus revolver smashed into the second Waveman's face and the gun went off, firing an Explosion round that detonated deep within his skull. The illusion-disguised SA Joe fell.

"Shut the fuck up, Waveman," the first Waveman said.

"Why do you still carry those around? I thought your hands were too large for them?" Vulcan inquired.

Makenshi patted his second revolver holstered by his waist. "I just like showing them off," he stated.

Starman rolled his eyes and sliced away at the debris that pinned Makenshi. Soon he was free, and after retrieving his giant spear and the pistol that he threw, he ran off along with Vulcan. As they made their way through the complex, Makenshi failed to notice that in the room where he had fought Mr. Whiz, two deep, foot-sized holes were all that remained.


Mysteryman chuckled. The RPD was retreating. It was all too easy. Nox and company had been a challenge, but that's what made it so fun.

The appearance of Tenguman and Clownman on one of the monitors caught his attention. What the hell were they still doing here? "I need a squad to take down two buffoons in the east wing," Mysteryman casually communicated to his troops. The two RPD bots were already on their way out but it was too late. Within minutes a horde of Joes had surrounded them. Tengu flew up and fired some Tornado Holds while Clownman took the Joes head on, but more and more Joes kept coming. The RPD bots were not holding well and eventually they decided to make a mad dash away from their attackers. Mysteryman laughed. "Let them go! I'll relish in the fact that they'll be punished for their incompetence!"

"Sir it looks like they've planted a bomb. It looks like they tried to hide it from sight."

"What?! Disarm it!" Mysteryman demanded nervously.

"Of course, sir. There's still approximately 6 minutes until it detonates."

Mysteryman calmed down a little. "Scour the area for any more!"

"Yes sir!"

Mysteryman chuckled. What a sneaky plan! The RPD wanted to make sure the Scissor Army didn't secure the launch pad at all costs! They even went so far as to attempt to blow up the control room if they couldn't win it back! Such a devious plan! And they almost had him too! Once he had seen them retreat he had been ready to sit back and bask in his own glory for a mission accomplished. Even if there were any more bombs the SA Joes certainly had the training and equipment to detect and disarm them.

After ten minutes, a Joe radioed in. "We've searched the entire complex and found none, sir."

That was fast. "Double check the place," Mysteryman ordered. His gaze turned to another set of monitors displaying various places of the actual launch pad. This space pad was very important, General Cutman had said. Wouldn't he be pleased to find out that Mysteryman had safely secured it for him!

Suddenly, someone's face appeared on one of the screens. Sticking his tongue out and flashing both middle fingers was Mr. Whiz. Then, the robot forcefully turned the camera. There, with the timer at 40 seconds, was a time bomb. Then he was gone in a blur.

The whole world seemed to collapse before Mysteryman. How could this be?! How did that damn robot evade his attention? The RPD! Those bastards were distracting him! If only...

"Everyone to the launch pad! There's a bomb there!" Mysteryman screamed into the radio even though he knew it was futile. There was no way they could get there and disarm it within 30 seconds.

The monitor displays went from a fiery yellow to white static, and the SA officer knew that all that remained would be the bare foundations of the launch pad.

Mysteryman's mind raced desperately. It was gone. The all-important launch pad the General had entrusted him with was gone. But they could always rebuild it. They could build more. They could build as many as they wanted to! Because the blue prints were definitely somewhere on the hard drive....

Mystery dashed to the computer and searched through the files. However, when he attempted to access the blue prints, a message appeared in large red letters.


Tenguman and Clownman had had their revenge.


The Gila Gladiators wandered through Cape Canaveral. Their forces had been unorganised and had suffered devastation. They’d lost track of Whiz. Luckily none of the Scissor Army cared to fight them. And that was just what they wanted. Well …. Most of them.

“We should be fighting!” said Blademan in frustration. “We’ve gotten through worse odds than this.”

“And get roasted in the meantime,” said Voltman weakly. He had not forgotten their disastrous battle against the Ascendant Androids.

Blademan tried to rally his troops. “We came through in resuing Wave Girl! We can do this, guy!” Blade shook his fists to emphasize the point. The other Gladiators remained unmotivated. Truly, this had been a long and hard war. Blademan didn’t want to admit it, but even he felt chilled when he thought of what Wraithman did to them … but Wraithman wasn’t here.

“Look guys …. Wily is counting on us …” Blademan trailed off. None of them needed to say it. They all knew what Wily had done to Spark Chan. None of them liked it. Was it worth fighting for that madman when he turned against them like that? He was worse tham the Robot Police Force with their Shutdown Code!

“You!” said a voice from behind them. The Gladiators looked around in fear and confusion. Was it Wraithman, coming back to get them? Or some other Scissor Army monstrosity. “You who dare mock us,” the voice continued. No, it was definitely not Wraithman. Still, the Gladiators remained tense. That tone was not friendly.

“What do you want?” cried Bitgirl, half threatening, half hysterically. All around them came snickering laughs.

“Only what is ours,” said the same voice, “Only what is ours.”

“Well, we don’t have anything of yours, so get lost!” shouted Sharkman angrily. Still, he made no move to draw his weapon. He wanted to avoid trouble if possible. Again came the derisive laughter.

“Look at ‘em. They look so scared,” said a different voice, mad with glee.

“Aw, we shouldn’t do this, you guys,” said another.

“What once was lost is right now found ... Gila Gladiators,” said the first voice, “but you already knew that. Didn’t you?”

“Show yourself, coward!” shouted Blademan angrily. If they were going to be crucified or torn apart, or shot at he wanted to see who was doing it! No more games!

Immediately a flame ignited in the dark. It came from the end of a large arm attachment. The igniter of the flame casually walked forward. The Gladiators gasped. He wore red armour and a long, burnt leather jacket. His head was cocked to one side. They couldn’t tell what his expression was through that helmet of his and it’s blue visor, but it seemed he was laughing at them. Despite the slightly different appearance … they knew this person.

“It can’t be! I’m Torchman!” said Zaneroth moving to the front of the group. This was met with even more snickering from around the Gladiators. There was crunching sounds … whoever had surrounded them was circling them. Like sharks.

“Aw, we shouldn’t fight them,” said another voice, “We should be friends! We’re all in the same boat … right?”

“Wrong!” said this other Torchman. “We have suffered disgrace after disgrace … humiliation after humiliation … and now … this. We have been copied enough!”

“Who the Hell are you supposed to be!?” said Sonicman angrily.

“I’m calling you out, ‘Torchman.’ You must fight me!” said the other Torchman pointing his Torch Arm at his counterpart.

Zaneroth stepped backwards. And then forwards.

“Torch, what are you doing!?” said Wavegirl as she grabbed Zaneroth’s arm protectively. Zaneroth put his hand over hers.

“We’ve had enough running. I will deal with this impostor.”

Blademan stepped to the side of his friend, “We will deal with this impostor together!”

More derisive laughter from the shadows. Torchman #2 chuckled, “How like cowards to hide behind each other when they’re in trouble. How unlike the true Megaman PC team! If you desire a full confrontation, I will happily oblige …”

“No!” yelled Zaneroth in fear, “no, leave the others out of it. It’s me you want, right? Well, let’s settle this, then. But be warned, other Torchman … I’m a brilliant strategist and master fighter. In fact, there’s a portion of my blood within this metal body and it grants me small amounts of magical –“Torchman’s speech was rudely cut short as his doppelganger shot a burst of flame at him. Oilman reflexively jumped back and Wavegirl doused the flames with her Water Shooter.

Zaneroth turned to thank his team mate, but he was jumped on by the jacket-wearing Torchman. Wavegirl screamed, but the ground was blown before the team’s eyes. After the dust cleared a huge Sharkman-like robot loomed before them. It was larger than their Sharkman. It’s teeth gleamed in what little light there was. And it spoke, “Now, now. Let’s let the Torchmen handle this, eh?”

The leather-clad Torchman dragged his other to the center of a relatively clear area. He then used his Torch Arm to create walls of flame to keep the fight contained. “One shall stand … one shall fall!” said the Torchman loudly. Zaneroth got to his feet. This other version of him had left himself wide open. Knowing fire-based attacks were useless, he ran straight at his doppelganger.

Somehow the other Torchman knew he was coming. He grabbed him and threw him to the ground. Then he used his Torch Arm to sear a hole into his back. Zaneroth squirmed. This leather-clad Torchman’s Torch Arm was much more powerful than his own was. And he didn’t stop talking, “I know all about you, you pathetic would-be-me. You’re some loser named ‘Zaneroth’ who fancies himself connected to the world. But, in reality, you’ve done little during this whole war.”

Zaneroth angrily threw his double off him and shot his Torch Arm at him. The other Torchman just laughed and took it. There was snickering all around. Zaneroth chanced a look behind him. Where were his friends? He continued to pelt this other Torchman with fire. If he kept him talking, perhaps some opportunity would present itself. “And what have you been doing?”

Torchman (the other one) laughed more. “Wouldn’t you like to know, faker.” He then leapt high into the air. Zaneroth sidestepped him, but this other Torchman was faster than he was. And he continued to pelt him with fire. It was frustrating! He wasn’t really hurt by it, but it was insulting. How dare some nobody come at him from out of nowhere!

“Why not just give up?” continued the other Torchman, “You have no hope left. Your pathetic flame is nothing compared to mine. For only I have the right and the privilege to be me! While you are too pathetic and stupid to even hope to be me in all the nine worlds there are!”

“What are you babbling about!?” screamed Zaneroth angrily. He tried to fight the other Torchman physically, but he seemed to dodge with ease. He seemed to be taking this as some sort of joke!

“I’m babbling about fate,” said the other Torch seriously, “and how it connects us. For, if you never existed, would this confrontation happen? I think not. And, yet, your existence shows that someone out there is set to besmirch our good name. It seems that there is some plot- yes, I see it clearly now – there is a plot to get us all!”

“No, there isn’t!” said a voice impatiently. Zaneroth noted with a growing anger that this mockery of him ignored the voice.

“A plot to cast our uniqueness in doubt! A plot to further shove us down! Is it not enough that those Mechs seek to destroy us!? And yet every hero is confronted by twisted duplicates of themselves. Is it not the way of the Force to face the Dark Side and overcome it!?”

Zaneroth tried to distract this mad Torchman by blowing away the floor around him, but he wasn’t buying it. He seemed lost in his own ranting.

“Did not Bizarro Shadowman, Iceman Red, and even Torchman Blue seek to destroy all humanity? They did! And those adventures cemented them into the hearts and minds of all the world! And now I face my own nemesis – again! – and – again! – I am thrust into the mild world of confusion and doubt! Is this the way I could have turned out!? Doubting my place in the world? Doubting my very existence?”

Zaneroth couldn’t take it anymore. “Shut up!”

Torchman did not, “I think, therefore I am! I am, therefore I do! I will never be turned into the self-doubting whiner that these Gladiators are purported to be! I will not be turned into Waveman!”


“I am Torchman!” Zaneroth felt a sharp pain as his doppelganger screamed them out. He looked down. There was a wide and deep gouge in his stomach.

“But … I don’t have a sword.”

Torchman hefted his curved blade to his face. It was lit of fire instantly. “That is because I am Torchman. And you … don’t exist anymore.” Torchman plunged his sword deep inside of a surprised Zaneroth. “It’s time the Sinister Six chose a side.”


The large Sharkman monstrosity was called off, much to the Gladiator’s surprise. He just dove underground as if it was water. They stood there for a few moments. Was the a trap? The wall of flame before them hid the battle within. There was shouting. And screaming.

“Let’s go, guys!” said Blademan nudging Wave Girl forward. She nodded and doused the flames before them. They ran inside the ring of fire and to their friend.

Wavegirl gasped at the remains of Torchman. He had been chopped up and lit on fire. His head had been chopped in half. A surprised expression was frozen on his dead face. Bit girl shook. Again, one of them died horribly. This could have been any one of them.

Oilman knelt beside his friends and picked up the pieces. “We can rebuild him, right? We … we always come back.” Blademan nodded. He looked to his team. They all looked sick. Wave girls looked about ready to cry. Again. She just wasn’t the same since Wraith left her to rot in that tomb.

Blademan began a rousing speech, “Team, we - !” He looked around. None of them seemed to want to hear it and Blademan didn’t really want to finish it. This entire campaign had been a colossal failure since day one. “We’re done.”

His team looked at him in surprise. Blademan continued, “We’ll just hide out somewhere and ... we’re done here. Gather up Torchman. We’ll just … lie low.” Blademan hung his head down low. This other PC team wanted to see action in War? Let them. The Gila Gladiators were done.



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