The Business of War

The Strongest

“It was a pleasure working with the RPD, Crorq.” Blizzard lied through his ventilation slits. “My only regret was that I was not strong enough to keep harm from coming to Officer Garmel. I feel that it was a failure on my part.”

“Well, you should be, INFIDEL!” Crorq retorted. The two robots were sharing a reluctant handshake. Of all the Cossacks, Blizzard was pretty high on his list of robots he wanted to shut down. “But, you’ve done your job. Now remove yourself from my magnificent presence, at once!”

“Of course, Crorq.” Blizzard made for the door. He stopped in the doorway. “Oh, by the way, even if you believe those phony things Mysteryman spread around about the Nonsterpolis bombing, I want you to know that I’ve taken it upon myself to make sure that city gets back up on its feet. They’ve been hit the hardest out of anyone in this war, and someone needs to make sure that the reconstruction process goes along without a hitch.”

“I’ll be watching you, you INFIDEL! When you make a mistake, I’LL BE THERE!”

“Yeah, yeah. Later, chief.” Blizzard waved briskly and walked out.

“I can’t BELIEVE I’m letting that, that INFIDEL walk away when I KNOW he’s guilty!” Crorq muttered to himself. He reached down to grab a donut, only to find that his donuts were gone.



“You look like you’ve been working hard.” Blizzardman said to a tired-looking RPD officer as he plopped a box of donuts on his desk. “That deserves a treat if you ask me.”

Blizzardman walked through the sliding doors of RPD HQ. The war was over. It was finally over, but what was a luxury helicopter doing in front of the RPD HQ?

A tired-looking man in a black suit stepped out of the chopper. He had rings under his eyes and it looked like he’d collapse if he had to do anything more strenuous than walk and chew bubble-gum at the same time. It was then that Blizzardman noticed the Cyrillic on the side of the chopper. What was a Russian aircraft doing parked in front of the US-stationed RPD HQ?

“Interpol Agent Blizzardman of the Armored Assassins division for robot-related affairs, I presume?”

“Recently re-instated.” Blizzardman replied. “What’s the problem?”

“I’d like you to come with me, Blizzardman.” The man replied. “We have a lot of things to discuss.”

“Can’t you say that all here?” Blizzardman asked. “I need to get back to my base.”

“I don’t think you’d appreciate a public place for this type of meeting, Mr. Blizzardman, or should I say, ‘Blue Fox’?”

“What?!” Blizzardman took a step back.

How the hell did he know?

“Quickly, please.” The tired man said as he walked to the helicopter’s open door. “I’m on a schedule myself.”

Blizzardman grudgingly followed.

What’s going on?


“My name is Vladimir Yeltsin, and I am an undercover agent for the FSB.” The tired-looking man explained. “I’ve been trailing you for a while, Blizzardman. You see, our great mother Russia has been very interested in its most powerful weapon. We created the armor that you wear right now. That makes you our responsibility.”

Blizzardman shifted in his seat a bit. “Killing me won’t do you a bit of good, Mr. Fox. I have already relayed my intelligence to back home. They are expecting a safe return for me. You wouldn’t want that return to jeopardized, now would you?”

“Who said I was going to do such a thing?” Blizzardman replied.

“I’ve followed you closer than you might suspect.” Vladimir smiled grimly. He reached into his jacket. “Oh, and I’m glad to hear your lovely woman is safe. You looked so upset over losing her.”

Blizzardman stopped himself from jumping up and flipping the table over in a fit of rage, but only barely. Instead, cooled air rolled from his vents as he gazed at Vladimir.

“I have here a chip with the exact coordinates of your Canada-based HQ. I followed you there while you were burying what you thought was your loved one.”

The room was starting to chill. Blizzardman was furious. His emotions had gotten him into trouble again. First when he trashed Plantman, allowing Wily to repair him and insert that chip, now Vladimir knew his exact location because he had gone home to bury a corpse that wasn’t even really Zapper’s.

“The infamous Blue Fox would be quite a capture indeed, don’t you agree?” Vladimir asked.

Blizzardman clenched his fists. He couldn’t believe he had allowed his emotions to make him so sloppy. This was precisely why he tried so hard to keep them in check.

“Of course,” Vladimir continued, causing Blizzardman to jerk his head up. “We realize exactly how much of the global economy Blue Fox represents, and suddenly removing such a deep-rooted trader in the global exchange would plunge the world into financial chaos. Why, we even did some research and found out that many of Russia’s own military weapons suppliers get their resources from you one way or the other. It seems you get around a lot, Mr. Fox.”

“Then you have another reason for coming here. I know your government doesn’t want to have a global depression on their hands.” Blizzardman asked, irritated by Vladimir’s droning.

“Because I wanted to give this to you, Mr. Fox.” Vladimir said, handing the chip to Blizzardman. “I’m the only one who knows the coordinates and that microchip is the only other Russian-owned piece of machinery sharing that knowledge. It’s all yours, a gift, from our Mother Russia.”

“With love?” Blizzard said sarcastically.

“More like… interest…” Vladimir corrected. “You see, you lead the Armored Assassins, Interpol’s most powerful agents.”

“You want favors in exchange for this, don’t you?”

“You catch on quickly. You see, with the war over, Crorq will inevitably have to relinquish his emergency powers. Soon everything will be restored to the old way of running things where the big countries bully the smaller countries. It’s about the strong getting the pot of gold and the weak getting nothing at all.”

“And if I don’t help you with this?”

“I know a lot of things about you, Mr. Fox.” Vladimir continued. “Only a few others in the FSB know these things as well, and in exchange for your cooperation, we are going to take these secrets with us to the grave. You see, information is a powerful thing, so long as you keep it scarce. And you’ve done a very good job at keeping your secrets well-hidden, and Russia thanks you for that. A little job here and there is all we ask and in return, this’ll stay our little secret, ok?”

“Do I have much of a choice?” Blizzardman replied.

“Well, I’d get into a philosophical debate over the fine distinction between choices and alternatives, but this is a meeting about business, so we’ll keep the talk on subject.” He pulled out a cell phone. “This is a special one-way cell phone that we’ll use to get in touch with you.” Vladimir continued. “Keep it on you at all times since we might need your services at any time.”

The chopper began to descend. Blizzardman looked out the window to see the Cossack camp below. Vladimir pointed to an assortment of roses.

“For the Missis.” He said.

“We’re not married.” Blizzard replied.

“I merely assumed. My apologies. Have a good day, Mr. Fox. Enjoy the post-war party.”


The latest Cossack camp was playing host to a celebration of their victory. They had been pardoned and hailed as heroes, something most of them never expected from this war. A majority of the people who fought alongside Cossack had done so selflessly, aiding the very people that sought to oppress them. Parked in the camp was the Flying Fortress to serve as a more suitable home than the cots and various other makeshift bedding afforded for the remaining camp members. While he hadn’t really done any major damage to the Cossackers, Blizzardman had intended to at one point, and he felt it necessary to mend the error of his ways.

“Blizzardman.” The RM in question turned to face the person who was talking to him, only to find two people. Well, sort of…

“Searchman, it’s nice to see you again.” Blizzard replied.

“My subconscious functional record tells me that shortly after the fall of the Citadel, my memory was copied. The person who brought me in was Tomahawkman, do you know anything about this?”

“T. Hawk copied your mind at my request.” Blizzardman replied.

“Is there a logical explanation for this action?” Searchman prodded.

“I found your programming… interesting.” Blizzardman replied.

“What do you mean?” Hunter was wondering how his machine-like personality could interest anyone, but then again, Blizzardman was the black sheep (so-to-speak) of the Cossack faction.

“I did some digging around on everyone in the Cossack faction, but you don’t seem too surprised, do you?” Blizzard said, noting the lack of shock that Blizzard would put his own teammates under a magnifying glass. “I found out that your AI hails from the future, supposedly. I had to find this out for myself, and after taking a look at your AI, you are indeed quite rare in this world. I fancy my technology ahead of our time, and even I had to do some tinkering to figure out what made you tick, but your AI had that evil energy problem. It’s corrupted parts of your programming down to the core. I’m sure that at some point, you were a perfect robot, but I’m afraid you’ve been flawed by Mesmerman’s twisted energy.”

“That’s all you did? Research my AI?” Hunter inquired.

“Actually, no.” Blizzardman replied. “You see, I intend to improve upon the design by purging the system of the code tainted by the evil energy.”

“Can’t you just solve the problem with my original AI?” Searchman replied.

“I’m afraid not. You see, if I were to do that, you would cease to exist as you know yourself. I can only delete the infected parts and rewrite the code itself, making adjustments as I see fit. AI is a very delicate thing, just like the mind of a human. If I worked on your mind and modeled it as I see fit, why, I’d be no different from Mesmerman.”

“That is true…” Hunter replied.

“But, I do intend to bring back the perfection that was once Hunter through purging the duplicate AI of evil energy, creating an ultimate brother robot, perfection achieved through your own design. So, in effect, the mind you once had will be recreated in another robot.”

“I see…” Hunter was somewhat flattered at all the interest Blizzard seemed to have taken in him.

“It will take a while, but you’ll see in time.” Blizzard assured him.

Searchman nodded his heads, and the two shook hands before Searchman left Blizzard on the deck of the Fortress, overlooking the rest of the party.

Blizzard knew that his actions had cost many people their lives, but in the end, he was one of the “good guys.” Someone needed to show the RPD that when someone tries to put a leash around a grizzly bear, the bear won’t like it. He’d done just that.

Plantman walked up behind him and leaned on the railing of the Fortress next to his leader.

“Hey, Fox.” Plantman greeted.

“Hello, Raven.” Regulus replied.

“So the war’s finally over…” Plant mused.

“Yes, Comrade, we can go home now.” Blizzard replied.

The two remained silent for a while. Blizzard finally spoke up. “You know, I’ve been a little worried about you, Plant.” He said.

“Why?” Raven replied.

“Because you don’t know your own limits.” Blizzard explained. “You keep laughing in the face of danger, and while that’s admirable in a warrior, someday it will get you killed. You need to realize that without your power, you’re one of us…”

“… you’re right…” Plant admitted. He’d spent most of the war under the impression he couldn’t be touched, and then after the Citadel fell, he’d started to feel his own sense of mortality. Before the fight he had with Blizzardman, he was sure he was going to have to go easy on him, and Blizzard nearly caved his skull in for that. Then there was that Marine. Just thinking about him made his eye socket hurt. He clenched his fist in anger at his own weakness.

“Something wrong, Comrade?” Blizzard asked.

“It’s just that I really wanted to show that bastard Cutman my power, show him who was greater. I’m sure-“

“Cutman would have killed you without trying.” Blizzard interrupted. “Especially if it was a one-on-one fight you were looking for. We all would have died. He was a superior model to all of us…”

Plantman hung his head a little. “But,” Blizzard continued. “We were stronger in the end.”

“How do you figure that?” Plant asked.

“I’ll let you in on a little secret, Raven.” Blizzardman said. “There’s a law that every living creature on this world abides by, and that is that in the end, it is the strong who survive in this world while the weak die.”

“But, Cutman-“ Blizzard cut him off.

“Cutman died. That in of itself is proof that we’re stronger, because in the end we’re still alive. Being powerful is only a small part of strength. Part of being strong is knowing which battles you can and cannot win. General Cutman overestimated his strength, and in the end, it cost him his life.”

“I think I see what you’re getting at.” Raven replied.

“Then I hope you manage to apply that. After all,” Blizzard turned to face Raven. “If this war has taught me anything, it’s that all of you are important to me as my fellow teammates, and I’m going to make sure that what happened to me as a leader during this war never happens again.”

Plantman was a little set aback by this. Blizzardman cared about them? He always came off as cold and ruthless, well, except for when it came to Zapper. Plantman had never seen this side of Blizzardman before. Maybe there was a great leader to him after all.

“T. Hawk! What are you doing up? Shouldn’t you be getting some rest?” Blizzard walked past Plant to see the gunslinger.

“Heh, you think a little sand-blasting and some SnM from that Crystal bitch is gonna put me down for the count?” T. Hawk smirked. “Man, Blizz, you’re dumber than you look.”

“Hey, I sign your checks!” Blizzard grabbed him and gave him a playful noogie.

“Ow- Hey! I’m not THAT much better!” Regdar protested as Blizzard laughed. Flameman walked up to the group.

“Hey, Blizzard? Did you know we had a lamp shade in the Flying Fortress?” He asked.

“No, did you?” Blizzardman looked puzzled.

“No, but I think Enigma has, since he’s wearing it on his head and balancing on his spear while juggling Mettool helmets and singing the Armored Assassins theme song.” Flame replied.

“We don’t have a theme song.” Blizzard said.

“We do now.” Flame shook his head.

Blizzard shrugged. “Let’s go watch, maybe he’ll fall and hit his head.”

“That’s the Blizzard I know!” T. Hawk laughed as he, Plant, Blizzard, and Flame all walked down to the Fortress bar together.



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