The Business of War

Stage 6


The audience awaited in excitement. This was it! The grand unveiling. A hush settled over the crowd of people. Reporters eagerly focused their cameras on the aged man at the podium. The room darkened and the stage was illuminated by spotlights.

“Good evening gentlemen!” said Doctor Light in excitement. “Today is a proud day for all mankind. Today I introduce to you … our future! A future heralded by a new generation of robots. A generation able to think and feel just like ourselves. A generation who has the capability to shape our world of today into the bright utopia of tomorrow. A generation with special abilities created to aid mankind in ways never dreamed possible. A generation of robots I call … the Robot Masters!”

Excited mutterings were heard all around the room. Light continued, “I am sure you’ve heard the rumours … but why settle for those when you can meet the Robot Masters right now? I present you the first Robot Master I ever created … I call him Cutman!” The audience cheered as Cutman stepped onto the stage. The robot squinted until his eyes adjusted to the bright lights. He felt intimidated by the large crowds. So far all he knew were his brothers, uncle, and various scientists that dropped by.

“Cutman was created as a tree-felling robot. His Rolling Cutters can slice through almost anything.” As a demonstration a large tree floated onto the stage; carried by a hover pad. Knowing his cue, Cutman took the shears off his head and sliced the tree cleanly in two. He calculated the angle so that the tree would fall away from the audience and safe onto a prepared hoverpad.

Cutman bowed as the crowd cheered. He had made his tree-felling unnecessarily acrobatic and the crowd loved it. He walked offstage as his father continued to explain his capabilities. He didn’t listen; Cutman already knew what he was capable of. The robot wandered backstage.

“Zat vas good verk there, Cutman!”

Cutman turned towards the voice. “Huh? I guess, Uncle Wily.”

Wily frowned. “Vat is ze matter, son?”

Cutman frowned. “The tree took hundreds of years to get to that size, and I cut it down in less than a minute. I mean … okay, it was already chopped down by the time I got to it … but that’s what I’ll be doing my whole life.”

Wily put his arm around Cutman in a paternal way. “Human need vood, Cutman. Even today.”

“I suppose.”

“And you looked like you enjoyed zat, yeah?”

Cutman shrugged. He didn’t like to admit it, but he did enjoy his work. He was programmed to, after all. The Rolling Cutter made a very satisfying sound as it cleaved a tree in two.

“Vell zere you go. And if you don’t like it … vhy not invent zonething to replace ze trees you cut down? Or maybe a special type of fast growing tree, eh? Vone zat vould grow quickly, specifically for human needz?”

Cutman brightened. There was a thought! Uncle Wily was always full of good ideas. He was like a mine … no matter how deep you dug he always surprised you with a wealth of brilliant ideas. Some so crazy Dr. Light would have dismissed them as impossible outright. Sometimes though, that was just what the world needed. It was a shame the world failed to recognise genius when they saw it.

There were a few crashes and loud stomps followed by a roar of cheers from the crowd. Cutman turned to see his brother, Gutsman, barrelling down from the stage, grinning broadly.

“They loved me? Didja hear ‘em, guys? They loved me!”

Cutman smiled. This was a bright new day. His brothers were heralds of a new era of prosperity to mankind and they were greeted with roaring acceptance.


It had been a few months since the grand unveiling. All six Robot Masters were doing their duties. Gutsman was clearing mountains and making way for a new city. Fireman was disposing of waste materials. Elecman was supervising the local power plan. Iceman was doing something covert in the Antarctic. And Cutman had returned home after a day’s work of levelling a forest.

“Good day, Cutman!” said Roll cheerfully as she served her brother a cool energy drink. “How was your day.”

“Eh. Okay, I guess. Just like the last day. And the day before that. And the day before that.” Cutman sighed. He took the drink and thanked his sister. Cutman made his way to his study and turned on his computer. He looked up himself and his brothers. Again. He had done so each day after their activation, at first with excitement, but now with a wariness. They were miracles of technology, everyone agreed. Remarkably easy to work with. Intelligent and reliable. Another breakthrough from Light Industries. Naturally some religious groups labelled them as abominations. Unions hated them. And some outspoken journalists claimed they took jobs away from hard-working humans. These negative comments stung, but Cutman was used to them now.

But not one mention was made of any real change in the status quo. ‘A new era of prosperity’ apparently amounted to less work for humanity. Cutman sighed and picked up a book on World War Two.

“I wish you wouldn’t read those things,” said Dr. Light. Cutman didn’t hear him come in.

“If I’m going to change the world, it won’t be as a lumberjack, dad.”

“When I designed you, I imagines you’d focus your energies on invention. You know …”

Cutman grinned from ear to ear. “Following in the footsteps of my old man, you mean?” Dr. Light blushed. He hadn’t said it that way, but yes.

“Well, there’s lots to do, you know. Cleaning up pollution … aiding endangered species ….”

“Maybe we need a ‘Lustman’ to get those animals goin’!”

Light laughed at the image. Cutman always surprised him with ideas like that. Cutman turned serious.

“Well, I guess I’d be good at it if I put my mind to it. I dunno, I just find the old wars fascinating. I mean … how would I stop Hitler from conquering the world without resorting to a nuclear attack? Could I outwit Napoleon? Was it possible to find victory in Vietnam? There’s a fine art to strategy, you know. And the tapestry is right here.” Cutman tapped his book.

“You’ve beaten me in chess enough to teach me that.”

Cutman smiled. He was always a little embarrassed when he beat his father at chess. He knew that he was made to be smart, and that there was a desire to be better than his father, but he felt guilty about it.

“Anyways, playing strategy games and reading history books are much more fun than cutting down trees. You should see some of the scenarios I’ve come up with. I’ve designed a program to simulate the famous victories of old, just to see how I could mess with them. And I’m pretty good! Ever been curious to see how Attilla the Hun might face against Osama Bin Laden? I know I was!”

Doctor Light sighed. “I’ve heard you were growing bored with your duties. I was worried you would."

Cutman was silent for a time.

“Cutman, it takes time. Right now they see you as just a robot. But we both know you’re capable of so much more.”

It was true. Cutman was the very first Robot Master, but he was also much more than that. He was the only robot in the world with the most secret of all Light inventions. The genius chip. It allowed Cutman to instantly analyse anything he came across. He was smarter than any robot on the planet, and most humans in the world. He could do anything. He could create marvels of machinery, he could solve the financial crises of all the great nations, he could cure diseases … however, Cutman just cut down trees.

“I know, I know. It’ll take time. Right now they see me as just a robot. Change their minds by communicating with them.”

His father smiled enthusiastically. “Yes! I know it’s frustrating and long, but that’s the right way to get it done. Meanwhile, turn off these war games, stow the books away, and put your mind to designing that ‘Lustman’. I need a date!”

Cutman laughed and closed his book. Appeased, his father walked off to check in with his other robots. Cutman sighed and opened his book again. He knew his father was right, but he was still entitled to his hobby.


Cutman was still awake late into the night. He found he thought too much for sleep, so often he didn’t even bother. Tonight was one such night. He was playing his war simulator attempting to win the Cold War for Russia when a new file popped onto his screen.

“That’s strange,” Cutman muttered to himself. Nobody else had much of an interest in his simulator. He saved his progress and opened up the mysterious file. Cutman was confused at first. This was no past world; this was the world of today! With much attention paid to details. The game continued on and Cutman saw riots break out simultaneously across the world. The robot gasped. What was causing thidas? Cutman looked to his inventory and saw that the only soldiers it contained were himself and his brothers! He looked them up and saw each one of them was running rampant in their territories. He looked under his assets folder and saw billions of machines, large and small. All autonomous. All activating on their own under no guideless but to, apparently, cause chaos.

It didn’t take long for the simulation to run it’s course. Soon all the world now belonged to the orange robot.

“How did you like my little … demonstration?”

Cutman jumped out of his seat and turned around, startled to fund Uncle Wily at the door to his office.

“Uncle, what’s the meaning of this?!”

“Vell … is it not obvious? Ve are in a very unique position, Cutman. If ve struck quickly, zen … nobody vould notice, yeah? “General Cutman” … has a good ring to it, yes?”

“No!” Cutman said in shock. “No, this is nuts! Come on, doctor, you know this wouldn’t work. The Three Laws would stop this in an instant!”

“But vhat if ve could somehow … relieve robots of zose laws?”

Cutman stood agape for a moment. Remove the Three Laws governing robots? Was it even possible? And if they could do that … what then? Go on some sort of rampage? Wily seemed to read the lumberjack’s thoughts.

“It vould be for zer own good, Cutman.”

“It would!?”

“You have read ze books on Var I gave you, yeah? And zat got you into reading even more books, yes? Don’t you see what’s happening?”

Cutman shook his head in response. He was surprised …his uncle had really thought this through. Had even given him books to read beforehand!

“Throughout time man has fought against himself. And all zat time he has invented countless vays to kill himself. All at the cost of ze Earth. Vhy … ve have even invented weapons zat could destroy ze planet itself! And ve have zese weapons stockpiled against each other … it is madness! And, as you have seen … it never ends. Never.”

Cutman found his voice. “But … what can we do about it?”

Wily smiled and stepped closer. A mad gleam was in his eye. “Ve make zem stop. Man has had countless opportunities to stop himself, but he von’t. So ve make him!”

Cutman blinked. This was so … unlike his father’s philosophies. “We just have to have faith, Uncle. They’ll come around.”

“Iz zat really vhat you think, Cutman? Zhen vat is it you and your brothers do all day? Do you do anything relevant? Don’t bother answering, I already know vhat you do. An IQ of over 200 and you are cutting down trees! You could do more! Ve could do more!”

Cutman stepped back. It was true that he did want to do more … that he could do more that what he was doing. But this was too much. “Uncle, I’m sorry, but no. Yeah, I’d like to do more, but this isn’t the answer. I want humanity’s admiration, not it’s hatred! The world’s pretty good the way it is, even if it has some problems.” Wily looked about ready to argue with him, but shut his mouth slowly when he saw Cutman had made up his mind.

“Ja,” Wily laughed, although it seemed forced. “Ja, vhat vas I thinking? You are right, yeah? You have ze genius IQ, yeah? Just … forget it. I vill never mention it again. Sorry.”


The next few months passed by slowly. Cutman tried to focus on his work, but he didn’t really relate to any of his co-workers. And, honestly, his work was really boring. The only thing he could think about was his Uncle’s words. He really respected his Uncle … he knew he was a brilliant man. Why would he think his way was the only one left?

Cutman remembered the scenario Wily played out on his war generator. Cutman tinkered with it a dozen times. Cutman modified it so that he was fighting against Wily instead of playing on the same side. It was a powerful plan. Brilliant in its simplicity. He only beat it when he actively cheated; when he knew the surprise rebellion of robots was coming and set up traps to prevent it.

Cutman couldn’t sleep that night. Wily’s words were running through his mind. True to his word, his Uncle had never brought it up and came up with more insane ideas for new inventions, but Cutman was deeply disturbed. Was Wily right?

Cutman wandered his lab and opened a refrigerator that Light made specifically for his inventions. He needed some energy. He dropped the drink when he heard a loud crashing sound.

“What was that?” said Cutman startled. Lights and alarms rang out in Light’s compound. Cutman made it to the scene first and found his brother, Gutman, smashing through the lab. And right beside him was his Uncle…

“I know I said I vould not bring it up again, Cutman, but I am afraid I really must insist you will to join me.”

“What have you done to Gutsman!?” Gutsman roared and smashed some furniture. He destroyed the staircase to the second floor, cutting off Cutman’s father from coming to the rescue. Gutsman wasn’t anything like the gentle giant Cutmn had gown close to. He was now a raging beast, under Wily’s control.

“I have begun my takeover, dear Cutman. Already robot around ze vorld are awaiting my command. I managed to reprogram your brothers vhile they vere sleeping, but you lack zat particular habit, so ve are going to have to do this the hard vay.”

Wily pointed a finger at the hurt Cutman and Gutsman charged into his attack. The savagery surprised Cutman and he took the first blow hard. He readied his only weapon, his Rolling Cutter, against his brother. The thought of using it in self defence was sickening to Cutman. He never aimed it at a sentient being before.

“I don’t want to hurt you, brother! Please listen to reason!”

“No!” yelled Gutsman with anger. “Master Wily has ordered me to round you up and bring you in. And that’s what I’m gonna do, small guy!” Gutsman threw a heavy piece of machinery at Cutman. Cutman dodged and the machine tore through the wall. Still, Cutman couldn’t bear to use his weapon against his brother.

“Stop this, Gutman! Please!”

Gutsman responded by tossing another piece of machinery at the orange robot. Cutman rolled and found himself face to face with his Uncle. Wily wore a frown as he looked at Cutman. Cutman knew he could end this right here. Stop Wily’s scenario from playing out. He could end it now, with the weapon he held in his hand.

As the thought entered his mind he found the arm holding the Rolling Cutter has seized up. He looked at it in surprise. And then it dawned on him. The first rule of robotics.

“Da, zat is vhat I thought. Elecman, end zis.”

Cutman was shocked silent. He felt a punching sensation on his back followed by a continuous burning sensation. He turned around and saw his beloved Elecman. His face was twisted into an evil smile. Wily had turned him into a monster. Cutman backed away in fear, but it was of no use. Elecman shocked him again. Cutman knew his weapon could stop his brother in an instant, but again, he couldn’t bear to use it.

“Please, Elecman … It’s me! Your brother!”

“My brothers are on Wily’s side,” said Elecman coldly as he shot another hot beam into Cutman. The orange robot dropped his Rolling Cutter as his body shook with pain. He couldn’t believe how completely his brothers had been turned against him. The cold, evil face burned into his mind as well as the sensation of hot electricity coursing through his body.

“Take him vith us. Ve are leaving,” said Wily. Gutsman hauled Cutman onto his shoulders. Wily was smiling now. Cutman recognised the expression. His Uncle always wore it when he was starting on a particularly unlikely, but brilliant idea. It widened as another old man entered the room. Apparently his ‘boss’ had bypassed the stairs.

“Albert! What are you doing!?”

“I am finishing it, Tomas. Just like I said I vould. And I am using our creation to do it.”

Light held up a small device. Cutman had never seen it before, but Wily had, apparently. The old scientist scoffed.

“The old control device, Tomas? I thought you said you were going to toss that avay. Zat it vould be of no use in the world you were trying to create.”

“Don’t make me use this, Albert! You helped me build them! Stop this! We can … we can forget this ever happened!”

Cutman’s uncle chuckled mirthlessly. “You cannot shut all of my robots down at once with zat, Thomas. I do not think you have ze heart to shut down even vne. And I am leaving.” Wily touched a control pad on his wrist. Cutman met his father's gaze with pleading eyes.

“Don’t let him take me, father!”

Light closed his eyes and activated the small device in his hand.


Cutman awoke in agony. He was somewhere dark. Machines were everywhere. The noises they made hurt his head.

“What did you do to me!?” was what Cutman tried to say, but he only managed a roar. He spotted him then. His Uncle, looked very surprised. Something hadn't gone as he planned? Cutman leapt at him, intending to rough Wily up for answers. But something stopped him and he couldn’t make his legs work. Some bit of programming roared in his brain and Cutman tripped over his own feet. He looked up to see his Uncle grinning.

“Velcome to your new home.”

And then things went dark.


When Cutman awoke again he found he was strapped to a table. Moreover he found he couldn’t speak. He tried to form words, but it was to no avail; it just wouldn’t work.

“I took ze liberty of turning your volume down a notch, Cutman. I am afraid you did not reactivate vithout a bump in ze road.”


“Oh, yes,” Wily said, reading Cutman’s expression, “you missed ze big show. I vent ahead vith my plans and took control of all ze vorld’s robots! Only ... it did not go as planned. It vas Rock, you see.”

Cutman gave his uncle a curious look. The household robot? He didn’t really speak with that one much … His head burned as he tried to access the memory.

“Yes, I can see you remember. Rock (now Megaman) vas modified by Light. He stopped me. And scrapped all your brothers too.”

Cutman gave his uncle a shocked look. His brothers? Dead?

“Yes, quite dead.”

Cutman shut his eyes sadly. But, then …

“Vhy are you alive? No thanks to Light, zat is for sure.”

Cutman shook his head as Wily explained what had happened to him. As with Cutman, Wily had approached Light with the same idea of uniting the world by using the robots they had made. Light, like Cutman, had dismissed Wily. But Wily had accounted for that. Apparently, unlike Cutman, Light had come prepared in case Wily ever tried to steal his robots. He modified his old robot master controller (used in the early stages in development) to emit a Memory Surge. It fries the brain of a robot, but leaves the body intact; the robot equivalent of murder … only leaving something for recycling. The only reason he survived was because Wily had activated an old backup algorithm when he was about to leave. It continued to back up Cutman’s memories, right up until Cutman was ‘disabled’.

“It gets vorse, dear Cutman,” said his Uncle. “Zat controller could end the life of only one robot. It could only access only one robot at a time, you see, and zere vas not much time to be had. Light chose to end your life, Cutman.”

Cutman shut his eyes. It was too much. His own father had tried to kill him? And only him? It couldn’t be true … could it?

A spasum shot through Cutman’s body as thoughts causes surges inside his brain. His body was not in better shape; he could feel all the damage he sustained that horrible night being repaired still. Wily, apparently, was more concerned about restoring his mind.

“Yes, I am sorry for zis, Cutman. Most times ve deactivate ze robot vhen ve make repairs, but you are not like most robots. Your genius chip requires extensive repairs and ve must test it constantly to make sure it is done right. This means you must remain online.”

Cutman tried to hurl obscenities at his uncle and pain shot through his body as he did so. Cutman tried to free himself from his bonds to attack Wily, and again a mental compulsion stopped him. Wily chuckles at Cutman’s efforts and the robot glared at him.

“That last vone vould be the only ‘rule of robotics’ I install in my robots. It is, naturally, to obey and never harm me in any vay.” Wily laughed as pain racked Cutman’s body. The robot could feel his brain being repaired. It was excruciating.

“Don’t be so mad, my boy. Vhen it is all over, you von’t even remember any of zis happened. Until zhen … sit tight!”

The room echoed with laughter as Wily left Cutman with his pain.


Time seemed to go on forever for Cutman as the nanobots did their work repairing his body and brain. It took far longer for the latter to be done than the former. Once Wily tried to give Cutman back his voice. Cutman tried to hurl insults at the doctor, but found he still not form words. He could scream, however, and did so loudly. Wily made an annoyed sound and took away Cutman’s voice once more.

Wily … his uncle. How could he do this to him?! He knew there must be some way to numb the pain, but Wily seemed to dismiss it just because he thought he could take all memory of it away … it was barbaric! And the thought that he would reach into his mind and just … change him, as he did his brothers, was monstrous. And Light, his father. Light had singled Cutman out for death! Why him? And why did he even make him!? All he did was cut down trees! A brain the size of a galaxy and he was a lumberjack!

Cutman struggled with his bonds. He could have stopped Wily from taking him if Light hadn’t installed the rules of robotics into him. Humans could defend themselves, but not him! He wasn’t allowed. And he could crush Wily if that one hadn’t installed his own rules into his system. Those rules governed his whole damn life! Cutman turned in on himself. It caused him excruciating pain, but those damn rules had to go.


It took months. Months of torture at the hands of his so-called ‘uncle’. Why hadn’t someone come for him? Where were Fireman? And Iceman? Where were his brothers? Why weren’t they here? Why didn’t his father send Rock out to get him? To, at least, retrieve his body!

The pain was lessening. By now his body had been repaired. Wily tested his systems by activating his motor controls and moved his limbs like a rag doll. Wily refused to answer Cutman’s burning gaze. It was clear who the master was here. Cutman was just a tool to him. His Uncle, the man who helped actually build him, regarded Cutman as nothing more than some sort of tool. Light had been wrong. The world would never see robots as anything more than their tools. Light was wrong.

It was a few weeks later. His mind still hurt, but it was pain of a lesser sort. He had become accustomed to it now, like an old friend. A friend who remained constantly at your side as time went by. With the pain gone Cutman now noticed something had happened to his vision … it was tinted yellow. Was it from the strain his eyes were under, thanks to Wily’s repairs? Cutman adjusted the color balance on his internal sensors.

“Now, zhen,” said Wily as he restored Cutman’s vocal chords, “how do you feel?”

“Like a new robot,” said Cutman bitterly. Wily smiled and clapped his hands.

“It vorks, zhen! You are back to normal!” Normal? Cutman didn’t know what ‘normal’ meant anymore.

“Now, zhen, let us test out ze morot skillz, yeah?”

“The minute you release me, I’m going to hurt you.”

Wily chuckled. “Is that right?” Wily didn’t have any fear.

“And after that I’m going to use that stupid scenario you gave me and prove to you who’s boss. And you can tell my father I’m coming to him for some answers. I want to know why he singled me out. Why he left me …”

“We don’t really talk anymore, Light and I. Now before you ‘show me who is boss’ vhy don’t ve see if you can valk, yeah?” with a smirk Wily pressed a button on his control panel. Cutman was released.

Without hesitation Cutman grabbed his Rolling Cutter and sheared Wily’s arm clean off. It made a satisfying sound as it cut through flesh and bone. Cutman caught his blade effortlessly and was reminded of all those times he used his blade on the trees. Wily screamed and Cutman was shocked at the blood on his hands. He felt a deep weight settle into his belly.

What kind of monster have you turned me into?

In a daze Cutman paced the room. In the months he had spent strapped to a table, Cutman had turned his programming skills onto himself and removed Wily’s rules of robotics. Wily himself had removed the three cardinal rules before then. Cutman was now the freest robot ever made. And his first act as a free robot was to chop a man’s arm right off. And he felt good about it too. Much like cutting through an old tree. Cutman was programmed to feel job satisfaction. Only this one screamed. Cutman felt righteous and guilty both at the same time. Wily continued to scream while on the floor and Cutman regarded him. The old man showed the robot no mercy at all and now he seemed to want it desperately himself. Cutman felt cold contempt grow inside of him.

“Oh, what is it? I thought you didn’t like screams!” Wily continued to scream in pain, shock, and sheer terror and, in his anger, Cutman mocked him.

“AHH! AHH! Oh my arm’s been cut off! Oh, poor me! AHH!”

Wily whimpered and Cutman could feel only contempt. He had admired Wily. He thought Wily was his friend. And now he lay there sitting in a pool of his own blood. Robots ran to his rescue (they ignored Cutman) and Wily was going into shock. One of his mentors. His ‘uncle’. Cutman had been a fool. Robots didn’t have uncles. And they sure as Hell didn’t have fathers! Cutman strode angrily out of the room. On an impulse he grabbed one of Wily’s lab coats as he left.

Robots Masters … robots to usher in a new era … and Cutman was the first.


General Cutman stood face to face with the Doctor Wily of the reality he now found himself in. In so many ways things were the same as his home. Just as in his home humans ran the Earth. They had grown fat while robots did the heavy lifting. The world rotted away as man wasted away. And, yet … there were differences.

“Doctor Wily, I accept your surrender.”

The old man looked down. “Just don’t hurt her.”

The General scoffed. Yes, things were very different. This old man truly seemed to care about his ‘beloved’ Classi Cal (whom the General knew of as Spark Chan).

“Take him to his room!”

Scissor Joes grabbed Wily by each arm and hauled him away. Doc Robot, a small pathetic imitation of Wily ran up to try and stop them.

“Master,” it said, “don’t do this! We need you!”

The scientist regarded the small robot sadly. “It’s up to you to hold down the fort, Doc Robot.”

The Joes took Wily off, then. He would be under house arrest. The General would have smiled if he could. He regarded his new territory, Wily’s underground Skull Castle. He certainly did have a lot of tricks.

“Do right by me and you’ll see your ‘master’ again,” said the General to Doc Robot. The little robot sniffed sadly. General Cutman had a report from Geminiman that he had slain this robot, but apparently he was harder to kill then the pretty-boy though. Maybe Doc Robot had copied Geminiman's own power and was in two places at once? That was likely it.

The General strode into his new abode. The creatures within cowered in fright. He glimpsed the Wily’s Warriors eyeing him with distain. He gave them a rueful look. This place is mine now, you all had best behave yourselves.

Napalman hurried to catch up to the General when he spotted him coming from down the hall.

“Sir!” said the militaristic robot.

“What is it?”

“Sir I have come to report that the area is secured! Everything is under our watchful eye, SIR! Those Wily robots are under our control, SIR!”

“Thank you, Napalmman. You may leave.” The General said this because he already knew he had everything under control. Napalman, however, seemed to require a bit more … reassurance.

“Um, General?”


“The men were wondering … what’s next?”

General Cutman seemed to grin. “There’s a meeting scheduled at oh-ten hundred. Gather the troops. The Wilys too. You’ll get your answers.”

Napalmman nodded (or rather his whole body seemed to bob up and down) and he hurried away to tell the news to the troops. Cutman didn’t care. He strode over to his most valuable captive.


Spark Chan sat alone in the dark for hours trying to digest what had happened. She remembered everything now, even if she was still in her original body. Things had gotten so dark.

Light cut through the room as General Cutman strode inside. “Comfortable?”

“As well as a prisoner can be.”

The General cocked his head to the side. “I’d rather you thought of yourself as my guest. Or even a valued member of the Scissor Army.”

“I’d rather be back at Camp Wily.”

Cutman laughed ruefully. “It’s the same thing. Thanks to you. Wily’s surrendered. But, of course, you knew that. Who knew the Wily of this world could be so sentimental?”

Classi Cal felt a stab of guilt. She had intentionally led Wily on and it had ultimately led to this. How could her noble intention of softening that madman have turned things so sour?

“Are you going to brainwash me? Have you already done so to the others?”

“No, no!” said a small voice in the room. “Cutman would never do that!”

“Of course not. I once said you had a choice, and that still stands. I will not force you to become a part of my army if you don't want to. However, I will note that you now have nowhere else to go. Like it or not, this is home now. It can either be prison or paradice - your choice. At any rate, I do not have to force you into my army now that I have the old man,” said the General confidently. “Most here follow Wily loyally. As long as I have him, I don’t need to reprogram anyone. They’ll see things my way after we win this war.”

“The robots here aren’t as loyal to Wily as you think!” said Classi Cal defiantly. Cutman chuckled.

“You mean robots like the Gila Gladiators? Or Ringman? Because if you do, I’ll hope you’ll note that they’ve disappeared. Not even my doing.” Classi gasped. She hadn’t heard. Cutman continued, “And if you mean the so-called ‘Wily’s Warriors’, well … where are they going to go, eh? Cossack is finished. The RPD will put them on a leash. And if they turn against me as you imply they turned against Wily, well … I’m not as forgiving as the old man.” Cutman chuckled evilly. Classi shivered.

Cutman stared at her for a moment. “I don’t need to reprogram my troops, Classi. Really, I don’t. I didn’t reprogram you at all, did I? I restored you because of my faith in you. An olive branch, if you will. I’ve only reprogrammed the troops I needed to have with me; the rest follow me of their own volition. I am offering them freedom and retribution. Most have suffered at the hands of humans as I have and are dying for a chance at Elysium. Even you … I know you don’t love the humans. Frankly, even with your pacifism I think there’s a place for you here. This war won’t last forever, my dear, and after it’s all done we will need robots like you to lead the way into the future. Think about it… do you really think a guy like Chimeraman’s suitable for that job?”

The General strode out of the room happily, leaving Classi and her daughter Shoryu in darkness once more. Both simply stayed there for a long time. Shoryu broke the silence.

“He isn’t so bad. He can be scary, but he can also be nice.”

“How can you ay that!?”

“Because it’s true! He got you back for me and Gemini, didn’t he? And he’s punishing the mean people who hurt you, isn’t he? Those humans … they took away our home … we’re getting even! And then we’ll all be a nice, big family.”

“Shoryu …” Classi sobbed. Her daughter had fallen so far. “Shoryu, if he really was as great as you say he would not find all this suffering fun.”

Shoryu didn’t have much to say in response to that. Both robots sat alone in the darkness.


The meeting had convened in a large conference room inside the underground Skull Castle. The Scissor Army Commanding Officers looked at each other with a degree of restlessness. They had lost a lot of friends. Together, they would see this through to the end. The forces of Wily looked at the Scissor Army warily. Their leader had surrendered. For now, all of Wily’s territories still belonged to them, but there was a contingent of Scissor Army troops stationed in all of them. It really was only a matter of time before they were wiped clean of humans and turned into SA strongholds.

Starnik regarded Quint and the latter gave the former a dirty look. Mr Whiz looked heartbroken. Riff and the Fatal Five were completely uneasy. Despite the variety of feelings in the room everyone hushed as the General entered the room.

“As you know, the other shoe fell. My co-general in this war, Mesmerman, has revealed himself to be a traitor!” The Wily robots muttered in surprise while the Scissor Army robots looked at each other in shame. Loyalty was heavily emphasized in their army.

“This is not a surprise; I have always known this day would come. And you’ll be happy to know that I have taken special preparations!” The Ascendant Androids cheered.

“With the Cossaack faction decimated and the Wily faction now an ally,” the Wily robots looked especially uncomfortable at this point, “It’s time to focus on the threat of the Robot Police Force. Which is hardly a threat at all. It’s time to let loose the dogs of war, gentlemen! I have taken a page out of my former mentor’s book and have long ago programmed a virus into several regular series of robots. I have been waiting for the right time to unleash this threat on the world. Sewing chaos requires precise timing you see … and that time is now! The Robot Police thinks they have a foothold in all areas across the globe, but they are wrong! They capture lifeless cities and save no lives! They will be equally ineffective against this new attack. The humans created us to serve them ... and we will! On a silver platter!”

The room erupted in cheers and laughter. “I knew you’d come through, General!” cried Punk eagerly.

“Let’s rip them to shreds!” cried Chimeraman

“Their defeat will be beautiful in it’s perfection,” said Geminiman haughtily.

"Let's see them use their Scissor Joe disguises again! We're ready for that now and I can't wait to see the looks on their faces when they try it," laughed Quint.

The General lifted his fist and quiet settled on the room. “But, before we go on our missions I want you to remember the fallen. Remember Heatman, the psychotic drug addict from the future. Remember Wraithman and Skullman, two boney brothers, centuries old. Remember Chargeman, our powerful locomotive! Remember Spade, Sedulus, Frostman, and Super Koala who were in this army so briefly I’ve already forgotten what they look like! I want you to remember them. Remember their faces. Their voices. But especially I want you to remember their weakness! Remember that they have failed and left you all to pick up the slack! By dying they have proven they were too weak for Elysium! While you, the survivors, are strong enough to see it through right until the end!”

The Scissor Army cheered. Cries of ‘Elysium awaits’ filled the room. The Fatal Five shifted uneasily in their seats. The Wily Rescue Force shook their heads in shame.

I want you to hold in your minds Mesmerman! The traitor! I want you to know that we will destroy him utterly! Kill now, for Elysium awaits!”

The Scissor Army cheered once more and echoed their infamous phrase. Geminiman looked somewhat distracted. Crystalgirl called loudly for Mesmerman’s head while Ballade concurred. Omniman looked at Golemman with aprehension.

“It’s time my soldiers. The endgame begins!”



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