Series 8 Issue #3 - May the Force Be With You


(It's the morning in Monsteropolis. People are going to work every which way. Construction has started up again and above it all Crorq looks down on the people. Accompanied by Shakeman, Crorq gazes out onto the city he has sworn to protect and crunches down on the last of his tuna fish salad shake, it's contents dripping from his mouth as he works his "jaw" ...)

Crorq: Look at them, Shakeman. How like ants they are.

Shakeman: Ants?? Where? I can't get ants in my blender. (Shakeman looks around nervously.)

Crorq: (making a dismissive grunt) No, not real ants. I speak of the figurative ants down below. The little people living their little lives with their small hopes and ambitions.

Shakeman: Oh. Uh ... I don't think it's very nice to call them ants.

Crorq: I once ruled over them, you know. I once ruled over most of the world.

Shakeman: Really?

Crorq: When I was first ... "enlisted" into the RPD I felt disgraced. I, the mighty Crorq, the supercomputer forced into servitude! My vast intelligence not used for conquest, but for the menial tasks associated with the robot police department. Chained, disarmed, and broken, I was at my lowest point. And then it all changed. The Shutdown Code was implemented throughout the world and General Cutman attacked humanity.

Crorq: That's when it happened, Shakeman. I realized that my life here was no punishment, but a gift! The wretched humans had given me what I always fought for and their fear of the Scissor Army pushed me to greater heights! I had absolute command over all I surveyed! Truly that was a golden age. I miss those days.

Shakeman: But, wait ... didn't you have the shutdown code installed too?

Crorq: (snorts) Yes, but what of it? Who would dare to shut me down? The Galactic Council and all the world's leaders had left the planet, hiding in space somewhere. The world only had one person to turn to - me. Meanwhile I could shut any robot down that I chose. You have no idea how great those times were, Shakeman. No idea,

Shakeman: But that was a long time ago, boss.

Crorq: Yes. Over 15 years ago. And now ... peones like Brain Bot and the Sinister Six dare to shoot at me. The Galactic Council and even the lowly mayor of Monsteropolis dare berate me over perceived slights! How dare they? Would any of the council face General Cutman in combat? Would Brain Bot, the Mayor, or any one of them!? NO! I faced him - ME!! I am the one who faced him, I am the one who safeguarded the entire world, it was I - not they - who saved us all.

Shakeman: But the world's safe now, sir. Aren't you happy?

Crorq: ... I want my golden age back, Shakeman.

Shakeman: Is there anything I can do, sir?

Crorq: Heh, you wouldn't happen to have a power shake, would you?

Shakeman: As it happens... (whispering) keep it on the down-low, but I do have a performance enhancing shake. But don't tell anyone!

Crorq: Oh for - (Crorq pushes Shakeman off the ledge).

(Later, in the medical area...)

Shakeman: He tossed me off the roof!! I - I offered him a shake and he tossed me off the roof! Who does that!?

Spark Chan: Yeah, I know. It almost happened to me once.

Shakeman: He - he shattered my blender! My BLENDER! Without that just who am I?

Spark Chan: You'll get a new one.

Splash Woman: Life with Crorq is rarely pleasant. Just hang in there, Shake.

Concreteman: What got him riled up this time?

Spark Chan: All he keeps saying is that he offered Crorq a shake and nothing more.

Concreteman: Sometimes I miss Brain Bot. At least he could tell us what he did to piss off the boss.

(Elsewhere, the new Mechs continue to adjust to life in the RPD...)

Magnetman: Cheer up, man.

Hardman: Cheer up? Hah. I go on a suicide mission and I still can't rest.

Magnetman: Yeah, I heard about that.

Magmaman: We did too.

(Magmaman and Pharaohman round a corner.)

Magnetman: Hey, pardners. What's up?

Pharaohman: "What's up...?"

Magmaman: What's up is our new "friend" beside you.

Hardman: Oh here we go.

Pharaohman: We Cossacks have been talking and, while we're glad to be rid of the former Hardman, we're none to pleased with having a Scissor Army washout hanging around the place just waiting to level it.

Magnetman: He's not going to level anything.

Hardman: You know, the thought's crossed my mind.

Magnetman: You will NOT level the place.

Magmaman: I heard you used to be one of us - a fire using type. Now you're just brute force. That's gotta hurt.

Hardman: Not as much as your face will in about ten seconds.

Magnetman: Now, we're all on the same team, guys.

Pharaohman: Scissor Army here is on his own team!

Hardman: Got that right, relic!

Pharaohman: You're just a wet match, washout!

Hardman: What was that!?

Magnetman: (drives Hardman back using his power) CHILL OUT!

Hardman: ARRRGH!

Magmaman: Don't protect this guy!

Magnetman: I'll protect him when he needs it. What's wrong with you? We're all on the same team here - the RPD! Crorq put this guy on our team and we just gotta live with it.

Pharaohman: But if he wasn't around, Crorq would just put someone else on the team, wouldn't he?

Needlegal: (rounding a corner) Uh, guys? What's going on here?

Magmaman: Nothing. Pharaoh?

Pharaohman: ...watch your back, washout.

(Pharaoh and Magma walk away).

Magnetman: They think they're real hard cases, don't they?

Needlegal: *sigh* Cossack's Creations have held a grudge against us ever since Top accidentally killed their creator.

Hardman: Whiners.

Magnetman: You think you're a real hard case too, don'tcha?

Hardman: Whatever. Still, seeing those fire guys gives me an idea or two ...

(Later, the Mechs convene in the meeting room, waiting on Crorq to brief them on their new mission...)

Hardman: So I was thinkin' ... how about a "fiery Hard Press" attack?

Shadowman: What?

Hardman: You know ... as a special attack. Whadya think?

Shadowman: The Hard Press is already pretty powerful. I don't see how adding in flames would help. Wouldn't that just make collateral damage? I mean ... what if we fought in the woods or something?

Hardman: Right, right. Alright, I get that. How about ... a Flaming Hard Fire Fist!

Topman: That's just perfect.

Needlegal: You really want to use that combination of words?

Snakeman: What are you guys, 12?

Hardman: How about if I just set the top of my head on fire - Fireman style? How about that?

Topman: What's wrong with just being Hardman?

Hardman: Seeing Magma and Pharaoh made me realize what I've been missing here. Fire. I've always been the fire guy! Being the strong guy just seems wrong.

Magnetman: Whiner.

Needlegal: (snickers)

Hardman: What was that!?

Crorq: (entering the room, idly tossing a Chicken McNugget into his mouth as he walks towards the assembled group) It is I, CRORQ the LIMITLESS! Kneel before me, but only after you have brought me TRIBUTE!!

Hardman: "Tribute"? What the heck is he talking about?

Policebot: (Quickly enters the room and hands Crorq a box of chicken.) Here you are, sir!

(Crorq, while still holding onto the box of McMuggets, grabs a hold of the chicken and tosses a few into his mouth. He chews for a bit and then his screens flash red with anger.)

Crorq: IIIINFIDEL! These have bones....BONES! Crorq has demanded bone-LESS, you useless underling! Your tribute is not worthy! (Crorq whips the bucket of chicken at the Policebot who scurries away.)

Topman: Oh you've gotta be kidding me.

Needlegal: Really? Really!?

Magnetman: Waoh! That was ...

Crorq: Settle down now children, settle down.

Magnetman: You know, boss, calling us "children" doesn't exactly encourage the 'ol team spirit -

Crorq: SILENCE! (Crorq throws a Chicken McNugget, covered in barbecue sauce, at Magnetman. It bounces off his helmet.)

Magnetman: I ... can't believe you just did that.

Hardman: Whiner.

Magnetman: Why you -!

Shadowman: Later guys, let's just try to make this meeting as short as possible.

Crorq: Yes, shut up the both of you. This bickering makes my circuits hurt. Now, for the first thing on our agenda -

Hardman: Here we go.

Crorq: Did you remember anything yet, Hardman?

Magnetman: "Remember anything?"

Spark Chan: He used to be Magma Dragoon of the X-Force. Crorq's been bugging him to remember anything about the timeline he was from before coming here.

Magnetman: ... the timeline he was from?

Hardman: Yeah, I'm from a possible future, but it doesn't even freakin' matter because I don't have anything useful to tell you. You weren't there, big yellow! I was never a history major, I have no damned clue about what happened to you! I told you a million freakin' times!

Crorq: Grrrrrrr, but you HAVE to remember something!

Hardman: I remember plenty! It's not like anyone in this era was still around.

Crorq: Surely, you must know something of the technology of the era -

Hardman: Come on, man, have you spoken to me? I couldn't tell you how to build a toaster. I break stuff!

Crorq: But -

Hardman: Look, if Sparks here didn't tell you anything what makes you think I can?

Crorq: Eh? What?

Spark Chan: Oh no! Don't you dare drag me into this! I swear I'll kill you if you drag me into this!

Magnetman: Wait, hold on. I'm lost here.

Spark Chan: Stay lost.

Hardman: Sparks was also Web Spider on the X-Force.

Crorq: What!?

Magnetman: Wait, hold on there, I thought she was just Spark Chan!

Snakeman: Well, no. She's Spark Chan now, but she was originally a flimsy prototype of Forte made by Doctor Wily -

Crorq: I knew about that already! (Crorq stomps his foot) I want to know where this future business came in!

Hardman: She was on my team in the same destroyed future timeline I was in.

Crorq: Why did nobody tell me about this!?

Topman: It was never really relevant ... it's not like she was the technical member on the team.

Crorq: You people ... I went to all the trouble of bringing "Ben" here back online for his knowledge of the future when I ALREADY HAD access to the same knowledge! From someone I already crushed under my boot heel!?

Spark Chan: Hey! I'm not -

Crorq: SIIIIIIIIIILLLLEEEEENCE!!!!!!!!!

Spark Chan: grrrrrr....

Crorq: Everybody out! Spark, Hard ... you two stay. We're having a long, LONG chat about future events.

Hardman: The timeline was destroyed!

Crorq: OUT!

(The Mechs, except for Sparks and Hard head out...)

Snakeman: I guess the meeting was cancelled?

Magnetman: Never mind that! Since when was Sparks a prototype of Forte? And why was she on a team in the future!?

Shadowman: I'm not too clear on how she got on the X-Force myself actually. Some things I just take on faith.

Magnetman: Do I have to know anything more about you?

Shadowman: You mean other than being a robot of alien manufacture repurposed by the government and then by Dr. Wily for reconnaissance and assassination purposes? Not at all.

Magnetman: Am I the only one here who's just a robot?

(Tornadoman approaches the team)

Tornadoman: Hello there, fellow law enforcement officers!

Shadowman: *sigh* Hello, Tornado.

Tornadoman: What evil has the chief sent you on now?

Shadowman: No evil, Tornado.

Tornadoman: Because I'm available for a classic super hero team up!

Shadowman: I know you are, Tornado.

Tornadoman: Because we are both heroes of justice! And if there is one thing -

Shadowman: Uh, Tornado? Is there something you want?

Tornadoman: Actually, I just noticed a small bug in my weapons systems and I wanted to see if you had a similar bug.

Shadowman: No, I don't have a damned bug in my systems.

Tornadoman: I think some villain could have snuck in and stole my powers. Blizzard has had similar problems. I think this is a classic case of super heroes losing their powers in a great test of will.

Shadowman: We're all fine, Tornado. You just have a bug.

Tornadoman: But if you could just check.

Shadowman: Look, we're all tired here, man. Can't this -

(Just them Hardman comes crashing through Crorq's office wall and into Hornetman's desk.)

Hornetman: My chia pet! All that time and energy WASTED!

Crorq: HOW DARE YOU!?

Magnetman: What in the blue blazes is going on?

Hardman: Just being my charming self.

Spark Chan: Look, we can't help it if you're just not around! 100 years is a long freakin' time!

Crorq: I'll show you a long time! It'll be a long time before all the king's horses and all the king's men put Hardman back together again!

Spark Chan: Woah!

Magnetman: Chief you can't do that!

Crorq: I can do anything I like! FACE PLASMA POWERED ANNIHILATION!!!

(Crorq's gun flares brightly and then shuts off with an audible click.)

Crorq: Eh? What?

(Most of the Policebots in the building shut down and then start back up again with a whir of electronics buzzing to life.)

Topman: That can't be good ...

(The Policebots begin to attack the unaffected robots in the building, including the robot masters.)

Tornadoman: By Dr. Light's beard! The robots are going crazy!

Snakeman: This seems very familiar...

Crorq: Stop this immediately! I command you! I COMMAND -

(Crorq is brought down by several police robots.)

Magnetman: Everyone, settle down!

Shadowman: Clearly this has got out of hand. Retreat and - AGH!

(Shadow is brought down by several blasts.)

Needlegal: We gotta get outta here and bring these guys down later. Let's move, people!

Magnetman: But what about Shadow and the chief?

Needlegal: We have to get ourselves out first! Clear a way out!

(Needlegal aims her cannons and fires ... to no effect!)

Needlegal: Dammit!

Hardman: It's a good thing plain 'ol punches still work. (Hard pounds two Policebots and clears a way for the rest of the team.)

Tornadoman: Avenge meeeeee-*

Snakeman: They got Tornado.

Spark Chan: Well ... good.

(The Robot Masters make their way out of the building, but in the end only a handful manage to make it out. They make it to a rarely used police safe house across town as Monsteropolis searches for them. Hardman comes back after an extended time securing the area...)

Needlegal: Did you cover yourself in gasoline!?

Hardman: What? No. No! I just refueled and it got ... a little messy.

Needlegal: You refueled with gasoline!? What are you an old car?

Hardman: Whatever. The area's secure, guys. Unless you want to keep on talkin' about my smell?

Snakeman: "the area's secure" ... Damn it. I can't believe it's come to this already.

Magnetman: Believe it, pard. We gotta lie low and figure out who's behind all this.

Pharaohman: This reeks of that filth Wily.

Needlegal: Top, Sparks, and Shadow have been captured. Gemini's still out on his case, any luck getting a hold of him?

Magnetman: No such luck, ma'am.

Hornetman: Tornado, Magma, and Splash are captured. The rest of my guys are containing the situation.

Needlegal: Have we heard from anyone on World's Strongest?

Pharaohman: No. Drill saw most of them being led into the main building by Policebots. "World's Strongest" indeed.

Magnetman: I think Plant is still on his Occupy Megalopolis kick today, but I haven't been able to get a hold of him. And I think whoever took HQ is blocking communications.

Pharaohman: Cossack's Creations have been captured save for Drillman and I. Drill is keeping an eye on things at headquarters leaving me in charge.

Hardman: Woah, you!? Who died and made you king?

Pharaohman: Funny. But out of all of us I have the tactical mind necessary to lead our forces.

Hardman: Well, that mind can go -

Magnetman: Ease up there, Benjy. No need to get riled up.

Hardman: B-b-Benjy!?

Hornetman: My hornet-senses are tingling...er...that is I'm picking up significant radio signals. It looks like the power plant, a communication's satellite, and the airport have also been compromised.

Pharaohman: Not eight, eh? I think it's safe to assume there'll be another four locations compromised after we clear these first ones.

Needlegal: You have no idea that'll happen!

Pharaohman: Green one! Have you got the antivirus ready?

Snakeman: "The green one" has a name. Just putting the finishing touches on it. The program was pretty basic, but I haven't really tested it yet.

Pharaohman: No matter. We must free the city from this crisis immediately. Let's install the program and be off.

Needlegal: I say we go in groups. It'll go faster that way.

Pharaohman: An excellent notion. If only not to have the washout at my rear.

Hardman: What!? I'm not doin' nothin' to your rear!

Needlegal: *snicker*

Pharaohman: What are you ...? No, never mind. Hornet, you're with me. We'll meet up with Drill at headquarters and liberate the place together. A concentration of our forces will enable victory at a key location.

Hardman: Dibs on space!

Magnetman: I'm with Hardy Boy. Let's mess the place up, pardner!

Hardman: Damn it, I don't need a baby sitter.

Needlegal: I'll take the power plant, I guess.

Snakeman: Then I guess I'm stuck with the airport. Not really my forte, but I'll deal.

Pharaohman: Good. Then we're off. Try not to fail us all, Mechs.

(The teams all teleport to their respective areas. Hardman and Magnetman arrive at the communications satellite. They make their way through the defences with relative ease...)

Hardman: So, who do you think the boss is in this place?

Magnetman: I dunno, pard. Depends if it's a greenhorn or not.

(Hard pounds a Joe into the ground.)

Hardman: I'll bet it's Astroman. Astroman or Starman.

Magnetman: Nobody's heard of those guys in years.

Hardman: Nobody's heard of the Mechs in years too until they came back, or so I've heard. All the old guys are coming outta the woodwork.

(Magnetman spins around and destroys a Metool as it came too close to Hardman.)

Magnetman: True enough.

Hardman: You don't suppose the Warriors are still around somewhere, do you? I looked up the Six, but they're in the wind. Just as well with how things ended, I guess.

Magnetman: (Still looks at Hard while shooting at Fleas with his guns) So what if they are? You ain't thinking of jumping ship on us are you?

Hardman: (Insincerely) No! Of course not.

Magnetman: Good.

Hardman: I love all the pointless rules and regulations I have to ignore as a member of the RPD. And working for a bloated yellow windball is my idea of a party.

Magnetman: That "bloated yellow windball" brought you back when everyone else gave up on you.

(Hardman tears into several flying enemies he didn't recognise.)

Hardman: If I ever catch him a dark alley I'll show him how grateful I am.

Magnetman: Yer an angry cuss, aintcha?

(Hardman tears the boss gates open as they start to go up.)

Hardman: (grins) Always.

(The two enter the boss chamber.)

...

Magnetman: Is something supposed to happen?

(At that moment Needlegal contacts the two on the phone in their helmets.)

Needlegal: Heads up, people! We're up against the Wily Rescue Force! Keep your guard up!

(Magnet and Hard are pushed to the floor as two Multimen land right on top of them.)

Multiman: That's the Wily Return Force now. And it looks like I get to greet the newbies. Perfect!

*****

(Needlegal dodges a barrage of shots as Expressman clings to the wall.)

Expressman: The name's the Wily Return Force now, babe.

Needlegal: I guess the last name didn't pan out, did it?

(Expressman launches himself from the wall and pounds Needle into the ground.)

Expressman: Shut up!

Needlegal: (Shoots her cannon at Expressman who dodges easily) It's true isn't it? Don't get your panties in a bunch just because you couldn't hack it.

Expressman: You know, I never actually had anything against you Mechs - (Expressman punctuates this by shooting repeatedly as Needlegal barely manages to roll away) - but you are crossing a line!

Needlegal: Cry me a river, purple rain.

(Expressman is hit by some of Needlegal's rapid fire as he tries to run her down.)

Expressman: Right. It's personal, then.

(Snakeman dodges an explosion as the plane he's hidden behind goes up thanks to several large, explosive blasts from an airborne Barrageman.)

Barrageman: Your attempt at levity does not compute. Unit Barrageman lacks humor programming.

Snakeman: (firing at Barrageman) Yeah, i got that, thanks.

(Snakeman dashes forwards as Barrageman makes a sudden dive for him.)

Barrageman: Resistance is useless. You are alone. Exposed. And without your rifle. There is no victory for you.

Snakeman: I ditched the rifle, okay? I'm a techie guy now.

Barrageman: Unit Barrageman is protected against your "techie" attacks.

Snakeman: (presses a hand against his forehead as another attempt to hack into Barrageman's mainframe is fought back.) Yeah, I gathered that.

(Snakeman leaps onto a jet and launches himself at Barrageman, but Barrage knocks him away with a swipe of his "hand" and follows it up by slamming Snakeman into the ground. The green robot barely manages to slither aside as another round of concussive shots eat at where he was. Snakeman takes the opportunity to lay on pot shots at the large Robot Master.)

Snakeman: Yeah! Take that!

(Barrageman turns around and starts firing again as Snakeman dodges.)

Snakeman: Damn it, that had to hurt a little bit, didn't it!? This just isn't my day.

(Needlegal scores several hits wit her cannon as Expressman comes in for another punch.)

Needlegal: So what's with the name change, guys? I mean, obviously you didn't live up to the old one, but your new one doesn't make any sense.

Expressman: (while firing) It makes a lot of damned sense! Wily's coming back. And we're here to get the world ready.

Needlegal: (after whirling and using her headdress as a mace against Expressman) Denial's not just a river in Egypt, I guess. We've all seen the body.

Expressman: Yeah, we've seen the body, but so what? The big man's come back time and time again. And he'll be back this time too!

Needlegal: Uh-huh. Uh-oh -

(Expressman grabs her mace and pulls her towards him, delivering several blows in the process.)

Expressman: Yer damn right he will!

(Meanwhile, Magnetman continues to gun down Multimen while Hardman continues to grapple with the ones Magnet misses.)

Hardman: (Running while totally on fire) HOOOO HAA!!!! HARD ATOMIC FIRE, BITCHES!

Magnetman: That idiot did douse himself in gas!

Hardman: (Firing a Hard Knuckle) HADOKEN!!!

(It completely misses Multiman. Any of him.)

Hardman: Dammit ... With all these flames I can't friggin' see! What the hell!? I could see as Heatman.

Magnetman: I figure Heatman was actually designed to handle flames.

Hardman: Geez, how long does it take this stuff to burn off?

Multiman: What the freakin' hell is this!?

Hardman: Multi, I know we were never close, but I'd consider it a personal favor if you lay down and died.

Multiman: "Never close"? That's a funny way of saying we've never met. I know you're a different robot from the one I've fought with before. What happened to the last guy? Those Sinister Six losers finally do something right?

(Hardman launches the Multi he's facing into the air by using both Knuckles at once (targeting him by using the sound of his voice). The Multi crashes through a wall and when Hard's Knuckles return, that Multiman does not. However, another is close behind and the fist fight continues almost without a pause.)

Hardman: I know you're mostly hollow, but I didn't realize that extended to your head. Don't recognise my voice? It's me! Ben! I used to be Heatman from the Wily's Warriors? We met in passing a couple times during fun night at Skull Castle.

Multiman: Ben from Wily's Warriors? But that was years ago. Before the doctor kicked the bucket.

Hardman: Yeah, I've been out of that loop.

Multiman: And the last time anyone saw you, you joined the Scissor Army as a psychotic nuclear-addicted weapon of mass destruction! You blew up the Skull Satellite in an attempt to kill our creator!

Hardman: Strictly speaking, Wily wasn't MY creator -

Multiman: You damned traitor! I'll kill you!

Hardman: Aw, crap.

(The Multimen pile on Hardman despite the flames and Magnet turns in stunned disbelief.)

Magnetman: Woah! What'd you say to him, partner!?

Hardman: Just being my charming self. A little help here would be nice.

Multiman: RRRRRAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

(Ben fires his Knuckles blindly and manages to hit a Multiman. But the Multiman catches it and goes flying off - through the roof and away.)

Hardman: Hey! I need those!

(The Multimen continue to pound at Hardman.)

Magnetman: Hang on there, Benji, help's at hand! (Magnetman puts away Multimen even faster using his magnetism to make the bullets fly in and out of the various Multimen.)

Hardman: I'm armless, but not harmless! FIRE STORM!!

(Hardman opens his chest and fires a spiked ball- which catches fire immediately since it's also doused in gas - in a random direction - which is fine since he's surrounded by Multimen. One of them catches it in his chest, however, and flies off with it.)

Hardman: H-hey!! Dammit, this never happened to me as Fireman. GET OFFA ME!

(The Multimen grab onto Hardman and fly upwards, taking the massive robot with them!)

Magnetman: HARD! (Magnetman finishes off the rest of the group as he hears a loud sound from a nearby room followed by an explosion. He launches himself upward to see a ruined teleporter and no trace of the robots.)

Magnetman: Dang.

(Elsewhere, Needlegal counters Expressman's speed with her own rapid fire weapon. Expressman dodges, but the injuries continue to mount.)

Expressman: Damn it, damn it, damn it!

Needlegal: You're getting rust, Express. Maybe you need Oilman to lube you up.

Expressman: Wh-what!?

(Expressman and Needlegal trade shots, but Needlegal's armored body shows its resiliency as Expressman's lighter form continues to suffer damage.)

Expressman: D-damn it. Years away and I have to face the one Mech I'm specifically weak to!? This is not happening to me!

Needlegal: I'm afraid you've reached your expiry date, American Express.

Expressman: SHUT UP!

(Enraged, Expressman runs straight towards Needlegal - and into her spiked fist. Expressman staggers back, stunned and Needlegal reached behind her back and whips a pair of Stasis Cuffs onto the stunned robot master.)

Needlegal: You're under arrest. You have the right to remain silent.

Expressman: (weakly) Damn it.

(Snakeman recoils as he's finally hit by one of Barrageman's large blasts.

Snakeman: Ahhhh!

(Snakeman curls up as Barrageman continues to hit him, flying off at a distance.)

Barrageman: Unit Snakeman has nowhere left to hide. Unit Snakeman, ready yourself for - errk!

(Barrageman jerks to one side and his thrusters sputter.)

Snakeman: Heh, finally...

(Barrageman jerks back and forth as small explosions rock his large body.)

Barrageman: Error! Error! Does not compute!

Snakeman: You have a lot of exposed joints in your design, big guy. A lot of places something small can slither in and cause a lot of damage.

Barrageman: Like a worm!

Snakeman: Like a - a what!? Hey, a guy wearing a gigantic snake costume is right in front of you and your mind goes to "worm"!?

Barrageman: Error! So close to victory. Error. Cannon target hostile!

Snakeman: Obviously. Who needs a rifle anyway?

Barrageman: Execute escape protocol!

(Barrageman teleports away.)

Snakeman: Hey! No fair! I have to rebuild my snakes personally!

(Hours later, the team regroups, minus Pharaoh, Hornet, and Hardman.)

Needlegal: I guess They didn't make it.

Magnetman: You don't suppose they bit the big one, do you?

Needlegal: No. No, with Doc Robot emulating Wily's MO he's likely to keep them around until they're reprogrammed.

Snakeman: But it's just the three of us now. Meanwhile, Barrage and Multiman got away!

Magnetman: I don't think Multi will cause a ruckus. He looked pretty beat up when he ran off. Even a guy like that's gotta take a break. And you said Barrage needs some time in the shop before he's ready to get up in the saddle again.

Snakeman: Well, okay, but it's still just the three of us against Doc Robot and a whole slew of robot police. Maybe we can trade Expressman for one of them and even the odds.

Needlegal: No way! We've fought against these guys for years - that jerk's staying in custody! The cells at the court house can keep him contained until this nonsense has been cleared up and then it's right to robot prison for that guy.

Snakeman: Well that's just fantastic. And how do you suppose we get our friends back with just the three of us?

Needlegal: As it happens, I have a plan.

****

(Meanwhile, Doc Robot stands ready at the RPD's conference hall on the upper levels of their headquarters. The captured Robot Masters and Crorq are all helplessly shackled in hastily constructed containment units. All save Crorq and the newest captives are unconscious.)

Pharaohman: You won't ... get away ... with ... (Pharaoh slips into unconsciousness.)

Doc Robot: Like I haven't heard that before.

Crorq: Then let me say it again! You won't get away with this you blistering boob!

Doc Robot: Whatever. Is the traitor secured?

Multiman: (while checking the restraints on Hardman) Yep.

Hardman: As grateful as I am for you guys putting me out, I am so kicking yer ass when I get loose.

Crorq: Yes! For the glory of me!

Hardman: Shut up!

Doc Robot: Neither of you traitors will be free and soon you will be unconscious. just like the others.

Hardman: (While beginning to feel the hibernation program contained within Doc Robot's cuffs shutting down his systems) I'm ornery. I REFUSE to go to sleep! Hell, if a guy like Crorq can resist it, this program must not be much of anything.

Crorq: Well, I wouldn't say that. They're using a heavily modified RPD program I designed, so naturally I already knew how to counteract it. But a lesser intelligence like yourself ...

Hardman: Shut up!

Multiman: Doc, I gotta head back to base for repairs, I'm beat.

Doc Robot: Yes, yes. Go back for repairs. I'll tell you all about it when this is over.

Multiman: You sure you wanna wait here? Barrage is licking his wounds and they actually got Express!

Doc Robot: We'll get him back after I crush the remaining traitors.

Multiman: Well ... you're the boss, boss. (the Multimen teleport out.)

Crorq: I don't see what it is you hope to accomplish here. Even if, by some miracle, you actually succeed in capturing the remainder of my forces, it will do you no good. Wily's dead! Dead as a doornail. Deader than disco! D-E-A-D! DEAD!

Doc Robot: Master will return!

Crorq: He won't. I saw the body myself.

Doc Robot: Master will return! And when he does we will have the world waiting for him.

Hardman: It's sad that you can't escape your stupidly simplistic programming.

Doc Robot: What's sad is your fate, traitor! I will allow most of the other robot masters to retain their personality components, but not you! You attempted to kill Master! And you, like the others of your generation have stood against me personally for too long. When you finally succumb to the hibernation program I am resetting you to your factory defaults and installing a clean personality program.

Hardman: Wh-what!? You're ... you're going to lobotomize me!?

Crorq: Ho ho ho. I thought you wanted sweet oblivion. Not that I can blame them with your bad attitude. Who would want you as you are? You are impossible to work with. Even your memories have turned out to be a frustrating, useless, waste!

Doc Robot: I'm resetting you as well.

Crorq: WHAT!? Why??

(Both Doc Robot and Hardman just stare at Crorq for a few moments.)

Crorq: No one comprehends the depths of my intelligence.

(Alarms sound as the manipulated Policebots start emptying the room.)

Doc Robot: They're here! They're here! Oh goody goody! Doc Robot will make Master proud!

(Hardman and Crorq hear explosions in the distance and Doc Robot hops up and down in his pod with barely contained glee.)

Hardman: What's goin' on?

Crorq: Evidently your comrades have decided to attack the base head-on. A stupid decision that will get the both of us killed.

Doc Robot: Oh, they're coming! I thought that the guards may be too much, but ... they're really coming here fast. Oh boy! Just what are they doing to get here so -

(The door to the room explodes outward and a slew of Firebots storm in with axes and hoses.)

Firebot: For the municipality!

Firebot: Government robots stick together!

Doc Robot: What!?

Needlegal: There they are! Free them!

Crorq: Oh ho! Calling the fire department?

Magnetman: We deputized them so we could take on these varmits.

Crorq: Hm. Will this be taken out of my budget or the firefighters'?

Doc Robot: It was supposed to just be all of you! How could you call for help!? Megaman never called for help!

Needlegal: Actually, I believe it was Megaman himself that said "there's only one thing you do when you can't trust the police department -- call the fire department!"

Snakeman: Didn't he spout that dumb one-liner while busting a fire hydrant on renegade police bots?

Needlegal: Yeah, but a good idea is a good idea.

Doc Robot: No fair! No fair!

Snakeman: Fair shmair! We never fight fair if we can avoid it.

Doc Robot: No. This is against the rules and I won't let it happen.

(Snakeman's snakes disable more Policebots as he takes a shot at Doc Robot, who is bobbing and weaving in his pod.)

Snakeman: And what'll you do, exactly?

Doc Robot: Patience, patience...

Magnetman: Who cares, just gun him down.

(Magnetman's bullets follow Doc Robot, but are suddenly driven away into a wall. Magnetman only has time to blink as Doc Robot shoots a bolt of electricity at him!)

Magnetman: WOAH! What in tarnation?

Doc Robot: Hee hee hee! Thunder Strike! And ...

(Doc Robot flashes behind Snakeman and lets loose with a volley of solar bullets.)

Doc Robot: Time Stopper!

(At that moment the Firebots all jerk their heads towards the west, as if they've heard something startling. Then they all make their way to the exits.)

Needlegal: Hey! I didn't say anyone could leave!

Firebot: Sorry, ma'am, but duty calls.

Doc Robot: They are Firebots, after all. All it takes is a random fire elsewhere and their primary program takes over.

Needlegal: CRAP!

Snakeman: Oh no.

Doc Robot: Oh, yes!

(Doc Robot's pod unleashes a Tengu Blade and the Maniacs dodge...only to be pounded by the debris stirred up by the Tornado Hold's effect.)

Needlegal: Everyone, together!

(Needlegal takes aim at Doc Robot, but is hit by a Gemini Laser from behind.)

Doc Robot: It's been a long time. I guess you forgot I can even copy your powers.

Snakeman: Or the powers of our original models, anyway.

Magnetman: Dang it, this guy is as squirrely as a -

(Magnetman is caught by another Gemini Laser and falls to the ground.)

Hardman: G-guys ... I gotta .. (Hardman struggles against his bonds, but the sleep program has almost completely taken a hold of him.)

Doc Robot: Yipee! After so long ... I've won. FOR THE GLORY OF WILY!

(Doc Robot's pod is then hit by gunfire.)

Doc Robot: Eh?

(He tries to evade, but damage to his pod mounts as shots target him from all directions.)

Policebot: Doc Robot, you are under arrest!

Doc Robot: What? No!! No fair! I reprogrammed you all!

Crorq: And I reprogrammed them right back.

(Crorq is helped out of his bonds and makes his way to the battlefield.)

Doc Robot: What!? But how!?

Crorq: Your puny mind could never achieve Crorq's level of GENIUS!

(Crorq lets loose with his own cannon and hits the startled Doc Robot squarely, sending him flying backwards.)

Crorq: Taste the power of the Chicken Buster!

Magnetman: The WHAT!?

Snakeman: Good grief. I'd rather not know.

Needlegal: Focus on Doc Robot! Someone get our people loose.

Doc Robot: (While firing a Napalm Bomb at a group of Policebots, but finding no relief from the volley of gunfire) Not fair, not fair! This should have been a one-on-one fight and now all of you are ganging up on me!

Crorq: And yet you did not account for my superior skill. For that ... DIE!

Doc Robot: No!

(In a flash Doc Robot teleports away, leaving the group behind. Without Doc Robot to fight the Policebots free the captured Robot Masters and Crorq quickly reboots the systems of each one, waking them up.)

Shadowman: I can't believe it. I was captured. ME!!!

Topman: Yeah, I know how you feel.

Shadowman: No, everyone can expect someone like you to be captured, but I'm the sneaky one! And the leader! How can I get captured?

Topman: What!?

Spark Chan: Let's just be glad we're ... um ... what's that smell?

Hardman: Heya, guys. I hear the Policebots are throwing a party to celebrate beating Doc Robot.

Spark Chan: Yes, well .. they are, but ...

Topman: What did you do to yourself?

Hardman: Nothing! Let's get going already. I could eat a whole school bus of newbie Policebots!

(The Mechs begin to make their way to the dining hall, but Needlegal stops Hardman.)

Needlegal: No, no, not you, Hard.

Hardman: What?

Needlegal: You STINK! I'm not having you around until you go to the car wash down the street and clean up.

Hardman: But .... awwww. Well ... it could be worse.

Magnetman: Don't worry there, good buddy, you'll have your friend Magnetman to keep you company!

Hardman: Dammit!

(As Magnet and Hard exit, who else but Gemini should enter in with a captured stranger.)

Geminiman: Don't worry, everyone, help's at hand!

...

Geminiman: I missed the whole thing, didn't I?

Spark Chan: Yes. Yes you did.

Ha'Khael: You have made a baleful mistake, shining one. A terrible vengeance will be wrought upon you and yours!

Topman: Whatever.

(Geminiman gets some stray Policebots to take Ha'Khael to a cell.)

Ha'Khael: Your insolence only brings doom closer.

Topman: And I'm sure it'll be reaaaaaaaal interesting too.

Geminiman: So what exactly is going on here? Why does everyone look like they went two rounds with Chargeman?

(The team relates the story to Geminiman.)

Geminiman: Oh, wow. Doc Robot sure seems to be taking the loss of Wily hard.

Spark Chan: I feel kinda sorry for him.

Geminiman: And it sure is convenient that Crorq managed to overcome the virus in time to save you lot from permanent injury.

Shadowman: I'm a big fan of convenience. It's about time stale cheese helped out if you asked me.

Snakeman: Well, I guess things turned out all right...

Needlegal: Yeah, and we learned something too....

Geminiman: I'll say. After the adventure I've just had I'll never look at things quite the same way again. I think I've learned that -

Needlegal: Gemini, if you don't stop talking I'll be forced to hit you! I hate being interrupted.

Geminiman: Yikes!

Needlegal: We learned -

Spark Chan: About the law of averages. Crorq's been breathing down our necks for so long it was only a matter of time before he helped us out. I think we learned -

Needlegal: So help me God, Sparks, you'll learn a new definition of PAIN if you don't let me finish!

Geminiman: I think you're being awfully rude here, Needle.

Shadowman: Right. I think the law of averages is a perfectly good moral.

Needlegal: It's not my moral goddamn it! NOW SHUT UP!

...

Needlegal: We learned that sometimes -

Policebot: Stop him! He's getting away!

(Ha'Khael runs through the group of Mechs and the Policebots knock them down chasing after him.)

Ha'Khael: Remember this day! There will be reckoning! Remember me!

Needlegal: Oh that is freakin' it! GET OVER HERE YOU LOSER!

Spark Chan: Kinda testy isn't she?

Snakeman: Well, being beat up by Doc Robot and saved by Crorq made me throw up in my mouth a little.

Geminiman: Isn't anyone interested in hearing about my epic solo adventure?

Shadowman: No.

Topman: Well, until we find out who this Ha'Khael person really is, we are ... The Mechanical Maniacs!

The End

Cast:

Classi Cal as .....
Spark Chan
Raijin as .....
Snakeman
Psycho Magnet as .....
Needlegal
Ben as .....
Hardman
    Nightmare as .....
Topman
Lennon as .....
Geminiman
Sheriff (Kassidy) Mags as .....
Magnetman
Gauntlet as .....
Shadowman

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