By Gauntlet (Shadowman)
Dr. Wily and Dr. Light - together they could change the world. Both of them were banking on that idea, but in completely different ways. Much to Light's chagrin Wily had reprogrammed several Super Robots in a bid to steal the giant robot he and his rival worked to create in a bid for world domination. Now all the Super Robots have been defeated. Megaman and tag-along Captain N had fought through Dr. Wily's fortress and they had one last robot to scrap. Wily's goal from the onset. Gamma itself.
Megaman and Captain N made their way through Skull Castle with their dogs happily following behind. It seemed like most of the defenses had been destroyed and now things were eerily quiet. Captain N decided to fill the silence with idle conversation.
Captain N: Dr. Wily really outdid himself with that one robot. Why...the way he looked beat up made me think he was really human!
Megaman: Maybe he was really human, at least for that time.
Captain N: H-human robot! Impossible!
Megaman: Not really. It's top secret, but a robot duplicator accident in Dr. Light's lab turned me human before I had to fight in the Second Great Mining War. And you were there when the Warp of Life turned me human on my birthday. Both times were only temporary though. It inspired Dr. Light to find a way to turn robots into humans...and humans into robots. Wily probably stole that device when he stole Gamma and gave it to that imitation Wily back there.
Captain N: A device that can turn humans into robots...? That's unreal!
Megaman: You're right about that. It's real hush-hush. The Galactic Council has labeled it top secret and that's why it's never been reported on the news beam.
Captain N: I'll keep it secret, Megaman. You can count on me.
They continued to journey in a downwards direction and eventually made their way to a large, ominous door. They both knew this was it. Their final opponent was behind this door. Captain N opened his mouth to say something cheesy, but Megaman opened the door before he could. It may have been rude, but this wasn't the time for some cheap gag.
Before them stood the massive spike-lined peacekeeping robot, Gamma. Luckily for them, they were close to the top, on a large platform Wily used as he worked on Gamma. If they weren't Megaman felt sure that the robot could simply crush them with a massive foot. It was the biggest robot Megaman had seen until this point - bigger than even Light's failed Garbageman robot, and doubtlessly twice as deadly. Captain N squinted his eyes to see the top of the robot's massive head.
Captain N: Hey...there's another robot riding that thing!
Before they could continue their conversation the robot driving Gamma began to pump out heavy-seeming plasma projectiles. Captain N and Megaman dodged them expertly, but both were hit as the robot riding Gamma took aim at them and adjusted it's shots to match. It was just like the new Shotman robots they encountered earlier.
Captain N: This is getting us nowhere!
Captain N took aim at the robot as Duke huddled behind him and took fire. His shots were too narrow and missed. Megaman however, saw Kevin's plan and had to admit it was a good one. He just needed a larger weapon that could work on an angle.
Megaman: Take this, you renegade robot!
Megaman chucked a Shadow Blade at the robot riding the larger, impervious robot. It screamed in pain. Megaman grimaced.
Megaman: (thought) Poor robot...but this has to be done!
The small robot rider continued to throw shots at Megaman, but he took what hit him and continued to throw Shadow Blades at the rider until it was destroyed. Neither Megaman nor Captain N had time to cheer however, because immediately after it was destroyed Dr. Wily himself came crashing down on the robot in a large, fortified command unit. Gamma roared to life and rose its huge, spiked hands high.
Dr. Wily: I guess you didn't get my point!
Wily used Gamma to spit out a massive oval shaped energy burst at the Captain. Kevin rolled past it and shot back with his blaster. It had no effect. Wily snickered and shot yet another large burst of energy at both heroes. They managed to evade, but they were breathing heavily.
Captain N: Whoa, this game is getting hot! Too hot!
Captain N looked down from the rafter he was suspended from and saw Gamma's exposed feet. Seeing an opening he fired at them until they glowed red hot. The giant robot began to dance around, shaking the entire complex. Captain N and Megaman tried to keep their equilibrium, hanging on for dear life.
Megaman: Captain N, why on Earth did you do that!?
Captain N: Well...it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Dr. Wily: I'll crush you like insects for that!
Gamma regained its composure and slammed its fist into the scaffolding. With a scream Captain N tumbled off and found himself careening to the hard floor below.
Dr. Wily: (Laughing maniacally) It looks like my peace robot will live up to its name! You'll be broken into pieces, Captain Numbskull!
However, as Kevin approached the floor Megaman forcefully grabbed his arm. Captain N looked up in amazement and saw that his small friend had come to his rescue riding Rush.
Dr. Wily: Curses!
Megaman: Just hang tight, Captain N, I'll put an end to Dr. Wily!
Dr. Wily: I think not! Goodbye, pests!
Wily tried to destroy Megaman using giant energy blasts and the robot's large fists, but on the Rush Jet Megaman was able to dodge easily. Megaman readied a Hard Knuckle and fired...only to see it harmlessly bounce off. Wily sneered and laughed once more, this time scoring a hit on the flying robots.
Captain N: Megaman!
Megaman barely managed to stay on Rush.
Megaman: Sizzling Circuits! There's no weak spot on this thing is there!? It's hard all over! Not even the Hard Knuckle could make a dent in it. But...there has to be a weak spot somewhere ...
Rush dodged a large burst of energy. The dogdroid was panting. Megaman knew he was almost out of energy. When he ran out he'd be sunk. That's when Megaman saw it: the hatch Wily must have used to enter the giant Gamma. It was right on the top of the head. Megaman grimaced. There was only one shot at this. It was directly below him and that meant there really was only one weapon that could possibly work in this situation. But if Gamma wasn't weak against it...Megaman would be crushed. He had to take the risk.
Megaman: Get to safety, Rush!
Megaman jumped off the dog and activated the Top Spin directly over Dr. Wily's entrance hatch. With the momentum gained from Megaman's starting height, he crashed though the giant robot's weak spot and drilled right past the startled mad scientist before crashing into the floor and through the giant robot's head. He tore through important circuitry and power cells. The robot began to smoke. Small explosions rocked Wily's fortress. Megaman exploded from the giant robot's chest area and landed on the main work station platform. He saw the massive peacekeeping robot fall backwards as smoke curled out of its damaged front end. Wily struggled to get out from the top hatch and barely made it as Gamma crashed onto the backside of the room, crumbling the wall behind it.
Dr. Wily landed with a thud. He looked up to see Megaman standing triumphantly before him.
Dr. Wily: I give up, Megaman! It was all a...misunderstanding! I don't know what came over me!
Megaman: Sure, Wily ..
Dr. Wily: Honestly! I didn't -
It was then that Gamma exploded. Skull Castle shook and debris began to fall on the group.
Megaman: What's going on!?
Dr. Wily: (Going Pale) Gamma...he's compromised the structural integrity of Skull Castle! It's collapsing!
Megaman, Captain N: WHAT!?
Captain N and Megaman looked around in a panic as the ceiling began to cave in on them.
Captain N: Megaman, what do we do!?
Megaman: I don't...look out!
Megaman and the rest ran out of the way right as a large amount of rubble fell directly on Dr. Wily. Duke whimpered and Megaman looked on in disbelief. Shortly thereafter rubble fell on Megaman, Captain N, Rush, and Duke, and everything went black. As Megaman dipped into unconsciousness, he could hear a faint teleportation sound.
???: Where's Dr. Wily?...Oh no, too late.
Megaman woke up with Dr. Light and Captain N standing over him. Captain N seemed completely unharmed (as always thanks to his power pad) and Dr. Light had a look of relief on his face.
Megaman: Dr. Light? What's going on?
Dr. Light: Megaman, you've regained consciousness. I found you lying here when I arrived. I wonder who brought you here...
Just then a familiar whistle was heard in the room.
Megaman: (thought) Breakman saved me...
But a strange, almost nostalgic look was on Dr. Light's face. Megaman couldn't help but wonder what his creator was thinking. It looked as if he had a lot to say, but all he could muster was:
Dr. Light: This whistle...It must have been Proto Man!
Dr. Light: Oh! He's um ... would you believe he's your trainer?
Megaman: I'm not an idiot, Dr. Light.
Dr. Light: Come on, Megaman. We have a lot to talk about...Roll too, actually.
Megaman, Roll, Captain N, Duke, and Rush all headed outside.
Megaman: So...I have a brother?
Roll: Another brother...I hope he's not as sexist as this one is!
Megaman: Dr. Wily becoming good...getting Rush...and learning I have a brother...this day is too much!
Dr. Light: Speaking of which, I wonder what got into Dr. Wily? We could have done such good together!
Rush: Something must be...bugging him. Arf Arf Arf!
Megaman, Captain N: Did you say something?
The two turned towards Rush and Duke).
Captain N: Duke! You can talk!
Megaman: No way, that was Rush! (Obviously.)
Rush and Duke nodded at each other and then tackled and licked their respective masters. Dr. Light looked on smiling. After playing a bit with Rush, Megaman looked up at the clouds and remembered Breakman - no, Protoman...and wondered if they would ever meet again...
Far away, back at the ruins of Skull Castle, all was not well. While Megaman slept peacefully at Dr. Light's Lab and the universe was safe now that the Third Great Mining War had been quelled, someone was foraging through the remains of Skull Castle.
???: This is where it starts, the beginning of my defeat. Once I stop them here, I'll rule unopposed!
The rail-thin figure tore through the rubble that blocked the entrance to the now destroyed castle. Gamma wound up being close to the entrance, its massive body lay in ruin, sprawled through two large walls and covered in rubble. The dark figure ignored it and moved on. The figure used sharp, claw-like hands to create handholds in the walls as he climbed up the shaft that led to the giant peacekeeping robot.
???: Such simple destruction. This was a more innocent time, wasn't it? But it couldn't last forever! Gamma! What a ridiculous creation.
The robot continued on upward, tirelessly in search of what he was looking for. He sighed as he found the chamber had fallen below. Still, the teleporters weren't too damaged. He seemed to smile.
???: It'll take time, but I can reactivate this transporter. I can use it to make them mine!
The robot twirled and swept at the figure leaping towards him with his blades.
???: Shadowman!? I can't believe you followed me! You should be dead! How can you even be here!?
Shadowman: It actually took a long time to find you, General. But time's relative isn't it?
General Cutman twitched. He seemed...gleeful. As if he had just received a happy and much appreciated surprise.
General Cutman: Since you went to all the trouble to find me, you must be itching for a fight! Ironic that you'll meet your end here!
General Cutman threw sets of Rolling Cutters at the ninja robot and leapt at him. Answers could wait. He could destroy Shadowman and download the memories from his brain personally.
General Cutman: (while delivering a kick) I had such high hopes for us, Shadowman! But you're a stubborn, stubborn fool!
Shadowman: What, did you think I'd just forget about the war? All those people who were killed thanks to your insanity?
Shadowman threw exploding shuriken at the General. It didn't even slow him down. Shadowman was worried, but maintained his composure. The last time he had faced General Cutman with the intent to kill him he had nearly won. But the General had managed to escape. Shortly after that, just before the war ended, he helped defeat Mesmerman...but even that hadn't killed him. To rub it in he kept in contact with the team, seemingly to guide them. None of them were fooled and they kept on hunting the General. However it was just a clever plan to keep them distracted while he hacked into Magnetman's personality program.
The twisted robot restored Magnetman's memories and personality through months of specific keywords and images because of the open lines of communication. Then made him join a group of old friends, kidnapped and remade into the monstrous Slipstream Angels. Flashgirl and Quick Chan among them being especially painful for the 'Maniacs to fight. The Steel Devil being painful in a completely different way. But they were defeated, as their challengers always were. Secretly, unkown to them all until it was too late, he had also stolen the Time Skimmer. Which was the root cause of their current problems.
General Cutman: Not that I'm not happy to see you...you were always my favorite opponent in this reality. But you should have died in that explosion! Why didn't you die!?
Shadowman: Just lucky, I guess.
Shadowman dodged a rising kick only to be felled by a Topspin-like move. Reeling from the blow, the General pressed his advantage by plunging his cutters deep within Shadowman's circuitry. However, Shadowman countered with his own sharp kunai into the General's side.
Shadowman: Not a whole buncha nanobots anymore, are you?
General Cutman: Nanobots couldn't withstand the time travel process. Even within a time vehicle there's too great of a risk that they'd scatter and be lost in time. Now before you die...
At this the General twisted his blade. Shadowman grunted. His own kunai couldn't be wedged any deeper thanks to the General's dense structure.
General Cutman: Why don't you tell me how you escaped that explosion? I could download it from your mind, but I do enjoy our little chats.
When they had confronted the General personally there was an explosion. The Mechs had managed to defeat the Slipstream Angels when the exact nature of the General's survival dawned on them. Backup bodies. A practice some robots had made use of extensively during the war, the backup process involved a real time transmission of memories to all stored backup bodies. When the main body was destroyed the backup was activated. This provided a seamless transmission of memories and personality from one robot to the next. None of the Mechs were entirely comfortable with the practice and had managed to avoid using such devices themselves. After they found out the truth behind Skull, Centaur, and Toad they were glad they did as the resulting scandal rocked the engineering world.
Still, after figuring out the truth they knew that merely destroying one General Cutman meant absolutely nothing. There could be another...or thousands! All hidden throughout the world. Which was why Shadowman had to stay behind to stop the General. He had to stay behind and sacrifice himself for the sake of the world, to corrupt and stop the download process to any backup bodies, and blow up the current General so this evil could never return. However, the General was sitting in an unrecognisably modified Time Skimmer, so once the other Mechs left he was able to leave shortly before the explosion should have killed Shadowman (the modifications would rip time which would the memories of everyone in the area slightly, so the rest of the Mechs didn't remember the event consistantly). Only ...
Shadowman: I ain't telling you shit, Cutman!
General Cutman: No matter. I'll just remake you! A ninja assassin of my very own!
General Cutman plunged his hands in Shadowman's neck and ripped out wires that controlled his nervous system. Shadowman was now helpless before the maniacal robot.
General Cutman: But that's just the beginning! You know why I'm here...don't you?
Shadowman: You want to reprogram the Mechanical Maniacs before they ever challenge you. Implant a virus that will be passed from member to member thanks to the armor technology we use to recruit new robots, and even humans, into the team.
General Cutman: That's right! You always were clever.
Shadowman: You'll use us as your agents. When we finally defeated you in the war, we were in key positions in the world. This time you'll be there to activate the programming you put into our bodies right now. We'll take everything over. And then you'll step in and take control yourself.
Shadowman: With the other teams reeling from the war a betrayal from us will be completely unexpected. At this point you'll merge with your past counterpart, ready to resume control. Only it won't really be you. Mesmerman planted a seed within you long ago. Slowly you go insane. And then it's Mesmerman who's in charge of you, the Mechs, and the world. From there things just go to hell and can't be stopped. Which is why we stopped you right here.
General Cutman gapes in surprise as Shadowman morphs into Geminiman.
General Cutman: What!? What is this!?
Geminiman: A weird technology called Biometals. With some tweaks it let me disguise myself as Shadowman. We knew you couldn't resist chatting it up with the big boss. You and your freakin' ego. Gave the other me and Shadowman some time to set up this Time Stopper field, which wasn't easy! We needed to see where you'd be so we could put the underground portion of the trap in place, so we actually saw how this went down beforehand. Which was...incredibly disturbing, actually.
General Cutman let Geminiman drop. He knew the crystalline robot couldn't move. He looked around him. He had been so distracted by the fight and the explanation that he failed to notice the swirling light around him. He took aim at machines he could barely see and threw his Rolling Cutter. It stuck in the field. The General grabbed it as hard as he could and pulled. Geminiman laughed and the General released his grip.
General Cutman: You took the Time Skimmer.
Geminiman: We had some help.
A wave of red fire crashed all around them. Even the General could see it. When did it start? He looked around frantically. There was no escape! He couldn't die like this! Where was the glory!? Where was the victory!?
General Cutman: When are we!?
Geminiman: There's a large disaster here in the future. A robot named Sigma declares his war on humanity by decimating a city with WMDs. Enough to destroy this field and us with it.
General Cutman gripped his head. Checkmate! But his plan was perfect! But...he was going to lose because of Mesmerman again!? And now it's over before it even begins!? He heard his Rolling Cutter fall. He saw the machines break, as if in slow motion. He could tell that they were designed to mimic Flashman's Time Stopper. Except that they were made to have it set for a specific area. It couldn't last for very long, could it? But long enough to place them in a modified Time Skimmer (or, perhaps the field itself could be sent into the future?) and teleport them to a disaster large enough to ensure his destruction. General Cutman screamed as the field collapsed and time resumed around them. It seemed to act as a vacuum, drawing the explosion into it as time sped back up. The General and Geminiman were incinerated. The General could only scream for more answers. He had to know how he was defeated so easily. But the answers would never come...
Shadowman: It was actually Quint.
Shadowman: Can you believe it?
Geminiman: Yeah, he's a time cop now, though he still really sucks at fighting. If it weren't for that guy we'd be evil little minions of Mesmerman about now.
Snakeman: Just to get this straight...it was Quint who saved the universe from General Cutman and Mesmerman?
Shadowman: Well, we did the hard work.
Geminiman: I did the hard work.
Shadowman: What, it wasn't hard to stealthily set up four rods in just the right position, trying to remain unnoticed by an evil genius?
Geminiman: I was there to help you, remember? And I had to pretend to be you too since that screwball seems to like chatting it up with our fearless leader.
Shadowman: But if you were disguised as me, doesn't that count as me still?
Geminiman: I don't think it does!
Needlegal: But, then...that still doesn't answer the question!
Shadowman: What question?
Needlegal: What you were doing this whole time! You told us the entire story of the 'Maniacs, including things you can't possibly know -
Shadowman: I have my ways!
Needlegal: But you still didn't answer the damned question!
Geminiman: Isn't it obvious? It was Quint! He might be a time cop now, but he's still the same old Quint.
Shadowman: The loser sent us years later than he should have! It's been about 15 years for you, but only, maybe, one for us.
Geminiman: When we returned we had to get all of your armors back and find out what the hell was going on with Middleman! Then we had to track you all down. It's not easy being stranded by a time traveler!
Magnetman: This was an incredibly roundabout way of answering the question!
Shadowman: What do you mean?
Magnetman: I mean you didn't have to tell us your life story just to answer what you've been doing for the last 15 years!
Geminiman:...would you have believed us if we had just told you the truth without giving out all the details?
Shadowman: Well, getting back to the story, unbeknownst to us, Sparkman -
Spark Chan: No. Just stop right there.
Spark Chan: We don't really need to hear the details about how the first Spark was still active enough to save himself and the rest of you.
Shadowman: Aw. Are you sure? I so rarely get to tell anyone these stories.
Snakeman: Well, I guess things turned out all right...
Needlegal: And we learned something too.
Topman: We did? The story went on for so long that I must have missed the lesson.
Needlegal: We learned that you should never trust a mad scientist. All of that trouble started because Dr. Light trusted Dr. Wily. If he had just learned his lesson all of their trouble would never have happened. In fact, don't trust anyone at all! Captain N had the Nintendo Power subscription so he would have known from the start how it was all going to end, but he didn't divulge anything except the weakness order, and subtly at that. That jerk clearly cared more about showing off his skills in the "game" than preventing carnage and mayhem.
Hardman: 'Course if Light hadn't a' trust'd Wily we'd ne'r be a team!
Needlegal: Yeah, but I don't think we'd ever trust a mad scientist after this, do you?
Hardman: Maybe we should!
Needlegal: NO! No we shouldn't!
Hardman: Jus' sayin' that th' first time it led to us and we saved the world.
Needlegal: Ohh...! Stop arguing with my morals!
Shadowman: Are you sure you don't want me to go on with my story?
Topman: Well, until Protoman stops being pointlessly mysterious, we are...The Mechanical Maniacs!
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