By Gauntlet (Shadowman)
(Deep underground the multi-faceted city of Monsteropolis the Mechanical Maniacs continue to rebuild their lives...)
Needlegal: Annnnnnnnnd done! I've regained access to my Twitter account!
Magnetman: Isn't there something more important you should have been doing!?
Needlegal: Oh? Like what?
Magnetman: Like...going on patrol!
Needlegal: We don't do that anymore, remember? Unless Crorq feels like punishing us.
Magnetman: This idleness is killing me.
Needlegal: What about you? Didn't you become some sort of businessman? Is that something you can really just give up to pursure a life as a robot? Why aren't you running this business of yours?
Magnetman: ...wait, you still think I'm a businessman?
Magnetman: (Laughs loudly) That was just a cover! Very good cover (and I still have some assets under that name), but I was never a real businessman. I mean, I do have investments here and there, but mostly I've been keeping to myself. Hell, I managed to move all my worldy possessions here already.
Needlegal: Hm. I don't know how I've gone this long without knowing that.
Hardman: Yeah, Needs. Gotta pay atenshun.
Needlegal: And you need to keep practising proper diction! Did you always have that thick accent?
Hardman: Y'bet I did!
Needlegal: I just seem to remember you talking normally for a long, long time...
Hardman: Well, I didn't.
Brain Bot: (Over the Mech's internal radio) The...do I really have to say it?
Crorq: (Muffled and distant) YES YOU HAVE TO SAY IT!
Brain Bot: *sigh* The all powerful Crorq requests -
Crorq: (Still distant) DEMANDS!
Brain Bot: ...Demands you come to the Technodrome's briefing area.
Brain Bot: Immediately. (There is an audible click as Brain Bot hangs up.)
Hardman: Geez, another meeting with th' big yella cheese. What ruhdiculous assignment d'ya suppose he's got in store fer us now?
Magnetman: Anything will beat just sitting on our hands doing nothing! Let's go.
(The Mechanical Maniacs head towards the briefing room (which used to be exclusively theirs, but since the RPD rebuilt it they claimed at least half, in part as reparations for damage during their last few adventures and another part as the cost of managing to move and refurbish it). There they are greeted by a new horror...)
Topman: What the freakin' hell!?
Spark Chan: Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse ....
(The Mechanical Maniacs stare in disbelief as they see Crorq in the process of being cleaned and polished by a mortified Brain Bot. There are several buckets of dirty water (with remnants of various meals Crorq had consumed) and different bottles of cleaners and polishers littering the area around the super computer.)
Crorq: Greetings, Mechanical Maniacs!
Snakeman: You're getting yourself polished!?
Crorq: Indeed. The RPD knows that a polished and cleaned police chief is a respected police chief!
Brain Bot: I was built to help establish security using my heightened intelligence. I'm...really quite brilliant....
Crorq: And you are fulfilling your role well, Brain Bot. For my shiny hide will cow all resistance to my - erm - the RPD's will.
Spark Chan: But ... right here in front of us!? Isn't this something bots usually do in the privacy of their rooms or in the cleaning area!?
Crorq: I deem that a useless waste of time. I'm a busy computer. Unless...this is bothering you? (Crorq's digital expression seems full of mirth.)
Spark Chan: I suppose not.
Snakeman: Well it sure as hell bothers -
Crorq: YOU'RE FIRED FOR YOUR INSOLENCE! MECHANICAL MANIACS, PREPARE ANOTHER RECRUITMENT DRIVE!
Snakeman: Uh, no no no! You didn't let me finish! I was about to say it sure as hell bothers me...uh...that I didn't think of the idea first! Brain Bot should have to clean all of us while we wait. Uh...sir.
(Brain Bot shoots Snake a horrified look).
Crorq: (amused by Snakeman's save) Consider that just one perk of being boss. No, Brain Bot's maintenance work over the RPD's super computer - ME - takes precedence over your own petty and trite desires. Heh heh heh.
Snakeman: (thought) If I had anything to go back to...
Shadowman: So what's up, Crorq?
Crorq: We have a very serious problem on our hands, Mechs. You've just been given clearance to deal with at least one stage of the problem.
Hardman: This dat "seemin'ly insuhmoun'able" problem Gaduhham tol' us -
Crorq: Damn your inferior vocal processor! Remain silent until the meeting is over. Trying to understand your speech patterns causes me pain.
Hardman: *mumble grumble*
Crorq: How am I supposed to know what that legless automaton told you? I'm a genius not a mind reader. But, giving the logic of the situation, yes. It probably is.
Needlegal: So what's the problem and how do we fit into it?
Crorq: The problem is uprooting the various Scissor Army facilities around the world. And in this case, one in particular.
Magnetman: Wait, you haven't found them all yet? The war was 15 years ago!
Crorq: Indeed! But those accursed rebels hid their facilities well. And, although General Cutman did us the favor of deactivating his entire army to spite his floating rival Mesmerman, some cells were reactivated during his brief return. Fidning them before was difficult, but now new ones are springing up. They are ineffecient...certainly the Scissor Army isn't what it once was. But we've encountered some scant but persistant resistance at places around the globe. And now we are picking up strange phenomena around a point we're relatively certain is a major Scissor Army base. New or old, it's difficult to tell, but it's up to you to go in there and shut it down.
Topman: Gee, just us? Aren't you gonna send the Sinister Six in too to "supervise" us?
Snakeman: (Smacks Top over the head.) Shut up, Top!
Crorq: A brilliant idea, Mech. Sadly, they are unavailable right now.
(Elsewhere, the Sinister Six are "hard at work" in a car stationed beside a major highway.)
Oilman: All these files open to us and none are interesting. I go to the trouble of making my reports entertaining to read. You'd think other officers would have the same courtesy.
Bitman: WOAH! That car was goin' pretty fast. Should we, you know, go after him?
Oilman, Bitman: Bwa hah hah hah hah!
Oilman: Oh, that was priceless.
(Back at the 'drome...)
Crorq: This meeting is over. The co-ordinates are being sent to you now. So be off with you.
(The Maniacs stand and leave the scene, glad to be away from Crorq's cleaning. They quickly teleport to their destination: the ruined city of Nonsteropolis. Still deserted since the war ended.)
Needlegal: Creepy. You think they'd have rebuilt this place by now.
Spark Chan: It's not so easy to rebuild an entire city, hun. Sadly, there was just too much damage.
Shadowman: Crorq didn't give us too much to go on. The "industrial district" is a pretty big place. The damn facility could be anywhere.
(Geminiman looks troubled and wanders towards the north end of the city.)
Geminiman: It's funny, but...I get the impression it's somewhere this way.
Snakeman: Something you remember from your time in the Scissor Army, Gem?
Geminiman: Must be, but I can't really remember it very well. This place seems very familiar though.
Topman: Lead the way, shiny!
(The Mechanical Maniacs follow Gemini for a time. They walk for two blocks when memory begins to tug at Magnetman...)
Magnetman: You know, I think I remember this place too. You're right, Gem. There's something here.
???: You bet yer ass there's something here!
(The Maniacs give a start, but don't have enough time to react as the ground below them explodes. They cough and blink as the dust clears...)
Needlegal: It looks like our info and Crorq's intelligence was right on the money. It's none other than the Ascendant Androids*. Howya doin', fellas?
(*The Megaman 5 team, twisted by the evil genius General Cutman. The team is comprised of Napalmman, Waveman, Crystalgirl, Gyroman, Gravityman, and Stoneman. Starman was never involved and Chargeman is not among the group present.)
(The smoke clears quickly as Gyroman activates his fan and throws propeller blades at Needlegal and Topman. Both dodge expertly.)
Gyroman: Better than you'll be in a few minutes, kids!
Napalman: Hit 'em hard, maggots!
Stoneman: Raaaaargh! (Stoneman lunges at Hardman who sends a knuckle his way...only to see Stoneman break apart and dodge the attack easily.)
Hardman: Damn! It figures he'd get some new tricks.
Crystalgirl: Why not join us, Gemini? Together we can turn this entire world into a beautiful crystalline paradise.
Geminiman: Not a bad ambition...but I fear your heart is too ugly for me to deem you worthy partner.
Shadowman: Yer watching too much anime, Gemini! URK!
(Shadowman reels backwards as he's hit by one of Naplaman's missiles. He crashes to the ground, his head spinning.)
Napalmman: That'll teach you not to pay attention to the enemy at your rear, maggot! And here I thought you were supposed to be good. But it turns out yer nothing but an overhyped, candyassed, smartass!
(Gravityman shifts gravity and causes the Maniacs to topple to the ground.)
Gravityman: Heee hee hee! There's no standing up to meeee!
Topman: (Sent sprawling out of his spin and flying to the ground.) No kidding! Where's Chargeman when you need him?
Waveman: That asshole went out of control one too many times so we left him in the trash heap where he belongs.
Waveman: What's rude is dropping in uninvited and tresspassin' on private property.
Crystalgirl: You said it, Wave. Let's teach these bad boys some manners.
(A barrage of crystals hit the Manaics and Waveman fires his harpoon at Hardman. The team grunts as they're hit from all sides.)
Needlegal: (Moaning in pain) I can't take much more, guys.
Snakeman: Really? Because those shots weren't so bad.
Crystalgirl: Weren't so bad!?
Gyroman: Woah - ho! You gonna take that, Crys?
Crystalgirl: Not on your life!
(Crystal prepares another round, but squeals and dodges another Hard Knuckle as Hardman recovers rapidly from the last assault.)
Hardman: Come on, guys, I know you c'n do better 'n dat.
(Hardman launches himself into the air and prepares to crush Napalmman with his bulk. But the large robot is faster than he looks and avoids the blast. Gyroman attacks with his propeller, but it shatters without moving the large blue robot.)
Hardman: Bwa hah hah, yer pr'pell'r trick...hey, where're you goin? 'Least let me finish my quip!
(But Gyroman has turned his attention to Needlegal who dodges his attacks easily. Stoneman whirls to take out Shadowman who barely manages to dodge the boulders that are thrown at him.
Shadowman: (Thinking) That first attack really got me. I don't know how Hardman can just laugh these guys off. They -
(Shadowman has no more time to think as he's hit by another small missile. He has just enough time to wonder why this doesn't hurt as much as the last attack when he's sent flying by one of Stoneman's large boulders.)
Waveman: Nice one!
(Snakeman and Topman are still kept off balance by Gravity's manipulative forces. They crash into the building and the floor.)
Gravityman: Hee hee hee! What fun!
(Meanwhile Waveman toys with Hardman and the big robot tries - and fails - to hit the slippery robot master.)
Waveman: Can't fight whatcha can't hit.
Hardman: Right back atcha, pard'. Frankly I'm surprised I ain't fightn' Stoneman. I usu'ly fight th' big guys...s'in my contract.
Waveman: Oh well, guess you'll just have to fight me. Or try to!
(Waveman laughingly avoids another Hard Knuckle, but stops short when he sees what its rebound trajectory is. Gravityman eyes widen in surprise as he's hit by the large projectile. The large robot is sent crashing to the ground. Waveman whirls as Hardman launches himself into the air right in front of the shocked robot.)
Hardman: You guys may like yer games, but I'm gunna break dem rules.
(Hardman latches onto Gyroman who was too caught up in his attack on Spark Chan to realize he was in danger.)
Napalmman: Rally, you maggots! Rally!
(Stoneman continues to attack Shadowman - moving mush faster than a robot of his size has a right too. Meanwhile Needlegal is hit by one of Napalman's shots sending her sprawling onto the ground. The Anrdoids cannot stop Hardman as he crushes Gyroman into the ground.)
Hardman: Woop. I like fightn' brawny guys more, but...there ain't none here is there?
(Hardman looks down and isn't surprised to see Gyroman shimmer out of existence. The entire Androids team staggers in pain and they all dissolve, save for Waveman, who is now out of his watery coccoon and is staggering backwards, clutching at his head.)
Snakeman: (While shaking his head) What is goin ...?
Hardman: Just watch. (He levels his arm at Waveman.)
Waveman: Oh no you don't!
(The Maniacs find it hard to move.)
Geminiman: Gravityman's power!
Snakeman: He's disappearing!
(The ground shifts and spins, but Hardman isn't fooled and he fires his Hard Knuckle at the retreating robot as he fades away. It hits squarely in his back and there's an explosion as Waveman is blown to pieces. But, the pieces on the ground bear no resemblance to the aquatic robot master.)
Spark Chan: It's...Nightmare Top? It...it must have been him the whole time.
Topman: Okay, I'm seriously creeped out right now.
Spark Chan: But how did you know?
Hardman: You guys were too busy to think, but the "Androids" were avoidin' me like th' plague. It struck me as odd dat Stoneman wuz the guy who went after th' boss. After all, like I said t' "Wave", the big guys always go fer me. What wuz also weird wuz how none o' their attacks really hurt me. And I mean, at all. I ain't Superman, Napalmman coulda done some damage, but it didn't hurt. An' then I looked at who was th' most hurt in th' fight.
Needlegal: Me and Shadow.
Hardman: Dat's right.
Needlegal: But Nightmare Top can warp reality. He could take any of us on with his powers.
Hardman: Can he? We saw some crazy shit, but...he wuz Geminiman and Topman combined, not Geminiman, Topman, an' God. I think he was always just smoke an' mirrors. Just making the ol' Gemini Laser and Top Spin. I guess he can also split up, or else I might never have even hit th' guy, but if ya think about it...
Shadowman: It makes sense. Yeah, I can see what he was up to. Even Gravityman's power...he was just altering our perceptions. Every time we crashed into a building it was probably just us being hit by a Gemini Laser.
Hardman: Right, as wuz Crystalgal's flurry o' crystals, who didn't hurt Snake much, but cut Needle down t' size.
(Topman bends down and examines the remains of his lost doppelganger.)
Topman: Just look at the poor guy. His face...this is more than just damage done by your attack; Nightmare Top was remade by General Cutman!
Snakeman: Probably a failure, though.
Topman: A failure?
Snakeman: Sure. Once we saw through his trick, he was easy to beat. What other Scissor Army robot was that way? Come on. We still have to find that base.
Hardman: "We", hunh?
(Topman hesitates and looks into the dead eyes of his double. The expression looked slack and dull.)
Topman: (Thinking) Just when we think it's all over, we find another one of General Cutman's little surprises.
Spark Chan: Don't let it get ya down, hun.
Shadowman: Yeah, all of our evil doppelgangers have to bite the dust sooner or later. At least now we know what happened to him.
Topman: Poor guy...
(The team then leaves the mangled remains behind and enters the base...)
(The corridors are lines with thick dusk and the mangled remains of robots everywhere.)
Snakeman: This is really creeping me out. What's with all the dust?
Needlegal: Yeah, the reports said this was a hotspot of Scissor Army activity, but all I'm seeing is an old, abandoned base.
Magnetman: Not quite. Although there's thick dust everywhere, the remains seem quite fresh.
Needlegal: So, there was a recent battle in this old base...
Artilleryman: Looks that way, doesn't it?
Artilleryman: What, what? Something spooking ya? Heh...
(Needlegal takes aim at Artillery and fires her cannon at the robot. He narrowly misses getting skewered.)
Artilleryman: WOAH! What's with the ruckus? I'm not here to fight you guys.
Shadowman: Needlegal, cool your jets!
(Artilleryman flies down the hall cursing loudly.)
Needlegal: That guy means nothing but trouble. Let's follow him!
Needlegal: He may not be looking for a fight, but that doesn't mean he's on our side. We can't trust him.
(Needlegal runs off.)
Topman: Geminiman, are you okay?
Geminiman: Yeah, but...what the hell is going on here?
Shadowman: Something's definitely not right. Be on your guard.
Snakeman: What about Needle?
Shadowman: ...For her own good, we have to take her down.
Xelloss: That's the spirit!
Topman: Now this is beginning to make sense!
Hardman: It's been years with no word and now you show up? What's yer game, Xel?
Xelloss: Heh, I have no obligation to tell you anything.
Topman: Damn that Xelloss. I really was hoping we'd seen the last of him.
Hardman: Yeah, no such luck. Dis a game changer, boss?
Topman: Where'd everybody go?
(The other Maniacs race down the hall after Needlegal.)
Magnetman: I think we've lost Hardman and Top.
Shadowman: What!? God damn it.
Snakeman: They aren't answering their comms.
Shadowman: I think they're being scrambled. It's clear we've been lured here. This is nothing more than a trap!
Magnetman: A trap? For us?
Magnetman: How could they possibly know it would be us who'd come here? It could have been anyone. The Sterling Sentinels, the Sinister Six, or even some unknown group of robots...or even humans!
Shadowman: ...No, I think this is definitely a trap meant for -
(At that moment Omniman crashes into Shadowman sending him flying into the next room. Artilleryman flies in from behind the group and blasts the lot of them with a shot from his Long Tom.)
Spark Chan: That was no illusion.
Omniman: It seems like you fell for my clever ruse, Mechs.
Shadowman: AH HAH! I TOLD YOU SO!
Magnetman: No way!
Artilleryman: Sorry, guys. The RPD pays well, but sometimes old grudges die hard.
Snakeman: You're gonna be in deep shit after all this is over!
Artilleryman: Of course...that's only if you live to tell the tale.
Omniman: Heh heh heh...
Needlegal: I lost him. I can't believe it. I can't even see his trail! Wait, something's going on...
(Needlegal hears the sounds of battle in the distance.)
Needlegal: Damn it, he doubled back!
(Needlegal turns around and races toward the sounds. She can hear metal grinding and the sounds of Spark Chan's Spark Shots frying synth skin).
Needlegal: Hang on guys, help is on the...way...
(Needlegal arrives to find most of the team in complete disarray.)
Needlegal: Shadow! Who did this!?
Shadowman: Artillery and Omni snuck up on us...
Needlegal: What!? Omniman? You're joking.
Shadowman: No! It's no joke. Something is seriously wrong here. This is a trap.
Needlegal: We need backup! I'll call in the Sentinels if they're available.
(Needlegal tries her comm, but it doesn't work.)
Spark Chan: It's no good, hunny. We've gotta go on and find whoever's behind all this. Omniman couldn't have cooked all this up on his own.
Needlegal: You're the only one still functional? But we just can't leave you guys here. What if Arty and Omni come back?
Geminiman: We'll manage milady. For now I urge you both to press forward while we repair ourselves.
(Needlegal and Spark Chan both nod and press forward...)
Spark Chan: Shadow thinks this is a trap.
Needlegal: He's a pretty paranoid guy. But he may very well be right. So far we've been split up and picked off. And by Omni and Arty of all people!
Spark Chan: They were really something! I could hardly believe they were the same guys we fought just a little while ago.
Topman: (From a distance) Sparks? Is that you?
Spark Chan: Tops!
Needlegal: Hey, hold on! This could be some kinda trick.
Hardman: (While getting closer) Hey guys, we have somethin' important t'tell you! This is all a...trap...
(Hardman and Top stop and stare at the two girls in disbelief.)
Spark Chan: What?
Hardman: (while raising his fist) Don't ya dare move ya bastard.
Topman: Back away slowly, Needle.
Spark Chan: Hard...Top...you're scaring me.
Needlegal: Guys what has gotten into -
Hardman: It's frakin' Mesmerman!
Hardman: Don' move ... he has his ten'cles right inta ya. Jus' don' move.
Topman: Hardy, boy ... you're scaring me. Hey, don't point your fist at me!
(Topman spins and deflects the Hard Knuckle Hardman shoots right into Spark Chan.)
(Spark Chan shrieks, but her voice drops in pitch as the illusion fades. Her body warps and distorts before the eyes of the Mechanical Maniacs revealing her to be the true body of Mesmerman. Several of his tentacles have detached thanks to Hardman's attack, the small robot shivers and screams in pain.)
Needlegal: Woah! It's him! When did he get us?
Hardman: Dat jerk has been messin' around with our heads again! All these bad guys...they're just him! It's all him an' his damned mindgames! I figgered he had to be around when you started shootin' at th' darkness and ran off, Needle.
Needlegal: None of you guys saw Artilleryman back there?
Topman: No, and I'm guessing Hard and I were the only ones that saw Xellos after that. The others seemed to react with us, but next thing we knew they were gone, so that must have been an illusion too.
Mesmerman: Hardy? Why did you hit me? Aren't we friends?
Hardman: Y'sick freak!
(Hardman readies another Knuckle and fires a shot at the white robot, hitting it directly. It shrieks again, but then starts giggling uncontrollably.)
Mesmerman: Oh ... oh, yes! Yes you're right! I'm not Spark Chan at all! I'm Mesmerman! Of course I am!
Mesmerman: (While morphing into his larger holographic form) I'd like to thank you for jogging my memory. I haven't been quite the same since ... well, you know. But now that all of you have got me going again, I think I'll repay the kindness by making you slaughter one another!
(The Mechs suddennly feel an urge to kill as Mesmerman invades their mind. But this time, they find the will to resist and push back.)
Mesmerman: Hey, wait. This isn't funny. Why is this ... so hard?
Hardman: C'mon, man. How many times didja think y'could play mind games with us before we caught on to yer tricks? Now dat we know th' game, we're fightin' back!
Mesmerman: That isn't ... possible. At this range you should all be putty in my hands ...
(Mesmerman reels as Topman delivers a swift kick to his head.)
Topman: Maybe you're just not the bot you used to be, Mesmer!
Mesmerman: Clearly not, since I'm stuck in Middleman's inadequate body! I thought I could use the various spares here and simply transfer my essence into a shiny new body, but somehow I just can't unglue myself from this - oh my, there I go talking too much!
(Mesmerman throws his scythe, but it glitches and goes right through Topman.)
Hardman: Yer not hot stuff anymore, sugar!
(Hardman punches Mesmerman straight through a wall and follows it with a Hard Press against the grinning robot. The grinning puppet begins to fade before a startled Hardman.)
Mesmerman: As much as it galls me to admit it, you're right, Mech. My damage far exceeds my original estimation. But don't worry. I'll get better. And I'll be back.
Hardman: Wait, what?
Needlegal: He's gone. That was just his hologram. Damn it, we fell for the oldest trick in his book! The real Mesmerman escaped.
Topman: We can still ctach him if we hurry up. Let's go, guys! Now that old tall and ugly is gone, so's the atmosphere. That thick coating of dust is gone and this place is a lot less complicated than he made it look.
(The team split up without seeing a white body slip under a grate in a dark corner. In a few hours the remaining Mechanical Maniacs realize Mesmerman has gotten away again and return to the Technodrome for repairs...)
Snakeman: Well, I guess things turned out all right...
Magnetman: We didn't catch the bot who made me a mindless, ruthless killer. What defines "all right" in this scenario?
Magnetman: Nothing. Yeah, I didn't think so.
Needlegal: Now, hold on. We learned something.
Geminiman: (Glumly) Such as?
Needlegal: Mesmerman's not as all-powerful as he was in the War. No more multiple bodies; if we destroy his true form he's toast. And he can't effortlessly mess with our heads anymore. So we don't have to worry about him popping in and making us into mass murderers on a whim.
Geminiman: Well, there's always that.
Hardman: I'll rest easier once we recycle him inta soda cans.
Topman: Well, until that happens, we are...The Mechanical Maniacs!
|Classi Cal as .....||
|Raijin as .....||
|Psycho Magnet as .....||
|Hadrian Howell as .....||
|Nightmare as .....||
|Lennon as .....||
|Kenta (Kassidy) Eigen as .....||
|Gauntlet as .....||