Series 9 Issue #31 - By Any Other Name


Torchman is in the bar, ranting and raving about everything and anything. What time of day is it? What day of the week? It doesn't mater. Torchman can be counted to rant and rave any time or day. But let's say it's a Tuesday. Things rarely happen on a Tuesday.

Torchman:   At long last!  The power of the Mighty Numbers shall soon be ours!  And the Underground, the World, and reality itself shall acknowledge us as the one and only Mega Man 3 Team!!  All shall know!  All shall be aware! 

Bitman:  Yeah!!

Torchman:   Our names shall echo in the annals of history with other such great ones!  Alexander the Great!  Julius Caesar!  Torchman!  All shall know me and fear me as the one and ONLY Torchman, greatest of all robot Masters!

Oilman:  And the rest of us too, right?

Torchman:   Oh, most truly, they shall know you although people may be somewhat confused as to your identities as your names have been cruelly usurped by others - but no matter!  Confused though the masses shall be they shall know you above all others anyway, but they shall know me most of all for although we are all great and mighty I am the greatest of all!  I!  TORCHMAN!  Breaker of Mechs and scourge of all evil!  Feared through the land and the hero of everyone everywhere!  I, TORCHMAN, shall lead us into final victory and such a victory it shall be.  Our control of the might of the Mighty Numbers shall propel us into greatness!

Blademan:  You tell him, Torch!

Torchman:   We have learned much from the Mighty Number 0, who is clearly the future of robotkind as we know it!  The future has come!  The future is here!  The future is US!!  And we shall go back to the future for the future is now and that means WE ARE THE FUTURE RIGHT NOW!  

Waveman: (whispers) Have we really made that much progress with Ray?

Oilman:  ...We got her to stop ad-libbing her roars.

Waveman:  That's progress, right? 

Oilman: ...It's not a step backwards...

(Despite his team's mutterings, Torchman's fists ignite as he holds a ball of fire in his hands.)

Torchman:   Behold!  The might of the Mighty Numbers unleashed!!   You are the first to witness this bold new era as it unfolds.  BE PREPARED FAITHFUL SERVANT FOR THY TIME IS NIGH!!!!

Walkman:  You do realize nobody's listening to you, right? 

Torchman:   You ignoring the tomes of history as they are being written before you??

Heatman:  And how. 

Napalmman:  Alright.  I already got a fucking migraine!  (Turns to PC Waveman)  If you don't get that rambling spaz to put a filter on that hole in his face, I'm going to stuff something in it for you! 

Waveman:  ...Uh, that came out wrong, right?  

Napalmman:  It came out EXACTLY like I wanted it to!!

Waveman: (gulp) Ew.

Topman:  Okay, before Napalmman contemplates taking his pants off, I should tell you the rest of the Mechs found something special, just for you, Torch.

Torchman:   Oh, did you?  You vile Mech!  Always plotting!  Always scheming!  Always ready to stab a friend in the back!  What is wrong with people such as you!?  Is the world not enough for you!?  That is why you are HERE!  But it is just and right you are here with all whom you have betrayed!  One day you shall see your final comeuppance!  And on that day, I shall be there and I shall laugh the final laugh of the just as I tower over your prone bodies like great Atlas over Heracles after he let the sky fall upon his shoulders!

Walkman:  Great, you've triggered him.

Topman:  I'm sorry.

Torchman:   APOLOGIES SHALL NOT HELP YOU NOW!

Blademan:  Yeah!  It's too late for apologies now, Mech!

Topman:  Aw, crap.

Walkman:  Hey!  NO fighting in the bar!  Outside!

Torchman:   Yes, fair barkeep, we shall saunter outside.  Unless .... Do you fear me, Mech?

Topman:  Oh, God.

Sharkman:  CHICKEN! 

(Sharkman and Blademan squawk like chickens before the embarrassed Topman.)

Bass:  YEAH!  This is what I'm talking about!  FIGHT!  FIGHT!  FIGHT!

Walkman:  OUTSIDE!

(Everyone goes outside to watch the fight except for Walkman who has seen this all too often. Torchman and Topman circle each other as the crowd gets excited.)

Bass:  HAW!  Go get 'im!

Piano:  Just stay away from me.

Torchman:   You shall rue the day you crossed my path, Mech!

Topman:  I already do.

Torchman:   Then the great Torchman has already won!

(The crowd gathers as the other Mechs arrive at the scene, along with an unfamiliar, stoic-looking red robot covered in flames.)

???:  Eh?

Topman:  Finally.  What took you so long?

Sparkman:  He didn't think this was worth his time.

???:  But I do now.

Needlegal:  This is exactly what we were talking about.  He always does this.

Bitman:  (notices the Mechs and the new arrival) Who the hell is this clown?!

Magnetman:  We gotta admit, we didn' know this fella was 'round either.  'Til jus' now, anyway.  But Shadow heard rumors.  Snake tracked him down.  'N Needle sweet talked him into comin' along with us, jus' fer you, ol' pal.

Hardman:  And I said it couldn't be done and we were wasting our time.

Geminiman: Thank you for reminding of us of your Herculean contribution.

Hardman:  (shrugs) Seemed like the biggest one at the time.

Blademan:  Who cares?!  Turn him to slag, Torchie!

???:  "Torchie"? 

Torchman:   WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS INTRUSION!?  ARE YOU SO CRAVEN THAT YOU WOULD INTRUDE UPON MY DUEL!?

Topman:  We're not dueling.

Bitman:  Because Torchman's already won.

???:  Then the rumors are true!  You are the one calling himself "Torchman"!

Torchman:   FOR I AM TORCHMAN!

???:  I don't know who you are or where you come from, but I am Torchman!  The one TRUE Torchman!

The Sinister Six:  WHAT!?

Waveman:  HAW!

Torchman:   LIES!  FILTHY LIES!  WHY DO YOU LIE!?

Torchman 11:  I do not lie.

Shadowman:  From the way you always go on, I -

Needlegal:  We.  The team.

Shadowman:  That's what I said.  We guessed you hadn't heard about him.  The real Torchman. 

Snakeman:  Yeah. Wave, Oil, and Blade aren't the only ones who were replaced. 

Waveman:  I KNOW!  Why does everyone only pick on me???

Torchman:   This is nonsense.  You are nonsense!  WHO ARE YOU!?

Torchman 11:  I am the practitioner of Torchjutsu, master of the Fists of Flame - Torchman!

Torchman:   NO!!!!  I am Torchman - THE ONE TRUE TORCHMAN!!!   There can be no other Torchman than I!

Oilman:  Now, that's just not true.  Look, there's another Oilman.  He's actually hilarious.

Blademan:  And there's another Blademan!  I mean ... it's alright!  Who cares?! 

Waveman:  That's all well and good for you, but my name's being ruined by this emo, but still delicious-looking blubberbutt over here!

Waveman:  HEY!

Torchman:   I care not for any of that - I am Torchman!  Me!  The one and only! You are no more than a cheap and craven copy!

Torchman 11:  That is clearly not the case.  I don't know who you think you are, but stay out of my way and we'll get along just fine.

Torchman:   Oh, we'll get along "just fine" all right.  And I shall indeed be "out of your way" as you wish.  BUT IT SHALL BE BECAUSE YOU LIE IN A SMOULERING HEAP OF MOLTEN SLAG!

Torchman 11:  Oh?

Torchman:   INDEED!  My name is my BIRTHRIGHT!

Waveman:  You can get a new birthright.  You guys kept insisting I be "Waterman" for so long. How's the name "Blazeman" sound?

Sharkman:  Yo!  420 Blazeman! You gotta be Blazeman, dood, you just gotta be!  It's SICK!

Torchman:   I AM NOT BLAZEMAN, I AM TORCHMAN THE ONE AND ONLY!!!  I shall stand no other FALSE Torchmen before me!!

Bitman: Heh, howsabout Blastman?

Torchman 11: It would be wise not to attempt to infringe upon the name of my more hot-headed compatriot. He is not as forgiving as I.

Torchman:  There's a Blastman now too? IT DOESN'T MATTER BECAUSE I WOULD NEVER RELINQUISH THE MANTLE THAT I WORKED SO HARD CULTIVATE! NOR WOULD I EVER LET THE FLAMES OF TORCHMAN BE VIOLATED IN THE HANDS OF ONE UNWORTHY!

Torchman 11: I think you will find I have accredited myself more than enough for the likes of you. My skill is acknowledged the world over.

Torchman:  Your boasts are meaningless, for you will never prove even remotely worthy next to the might of ME! THE ONE TRUE TORCHMAN!

(Losing the last shred of his restraint, Torchman Classic begins to unload a flurry of fireballs at the new and improved flavor. Torchman Eleven calmly ignites his fists to parry the projectiles while standing his ground. The spectators cheer even as deflected embers spray into them.)

Bass: Yes! This is what I'm talking about! Why doesn't this place do more street fights?

Multiman: Nobody tell Doc Robot. It goes against his goals for Underground unity.

Torchman:  Grrr! You think you can just swat away the flames of the true Torchman? Your dim star will be swallowed up by my red giant! YOU HAVE STOLEN MY NAME AND YOU SHALL GIVE IT BACK! Give back my Robot Master name! GIVE IT BACK!

(Torchman rushes up to Torchman with his Torch Arm ablaze and slashes wildly at him. Torchman in turn blocks and parries with his burning fists.)

Hardman: (Taking a deep breath.) Ahhhh, smell that scorching metal. This kind of fire action is making me kinda nostalgic.

Shadowman: You during your Fireman and Heatman days, right?

Hardman: (Shadow-boxing) C'mon, you know I'm thinking about X-Force! Shooting fire from a distance is all well and good, but nothing quite matches the thrill and the surge of power from pairing martial arts with your own burning body!

Torchman 11: This farce has gone far enough. Enjinkyaku! (He does a burning spin kick that knocks the other Torchman backwards.)

Hardman: Yeah! I used to have a move something like that! It's pretty useful, huh?

Torchman 11: Shakunetsu! (He begins hurling two-handed fireballs from his surging fists at Torchman as he scrambles to regain his footing.)

Hardman: That's just like one of my signature moves too! It's... a lot like it, actually.

Torchman 11: Fall, upstart! ENKOUKYAKU! (Torchman 11 leaps into the air and his foot becomes enshrouded in a dragonhead-shaped flame as he divekicks the bewildered Torchman PC into the ground.)

Hardman: What! Hold on, that IS one of my moves! This jackass is cribbing Magma Dragoon's style! Calling it "Torchjutsu" and everything. What nerve! He IS a craven ripoff!

Shadowman: How would he know anything about Magma Dragoon? You're talking about an erased future timeline. He couldn't have possibly knowingly ripped you off.

Torchman 11: Shouryuken!

Hardman: Come ON! This ain't a coincidence.  He's ripping me off!

Topman: Well, if we had to compare dates to determine who had it first, we would have to rule that YOU ripped HIM off.

Hardman: Oh, don't you dare joke about that.

Needlegal: Just saying, this probably isn't the kind of thing that's worth fighting.

Hardman: That's what you think! Everyone needs to know who the real dragon kicker is around here!

Snakeman: May I remind you we brought in this guy to make fun of Torchman for exactly that kind of behavior?

Hardman: My beef is nothing like his.

Torchman:  EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW WHO THE REAL FLAME THROWER IS AROUND HERE!

Hardman: Shut up.

Torchman 11: Your tenacity is impressive, but I am afraid that is all there is. (Jumps into the air above Torchman)

Torchman:  You will never defeat me or force me to surrender! I would sooner -

Torchman 11: KAZANRETSUZAN! (He slams his fist down onto Torchman like a meteor and a blinding pillar of fire erupts from the ground beneath them, piercing towards the upper levels of the city.

Sinister Six: WHOA!

(When the smoke clears, the new Torchman stands with his back turned above the unconscious body of his opponent.)

Torchman 11: It is finished. This one has been spared.  But see to it that he no longer insists to bring offense upon me or my name. (He begins to walk away.)

(The spectators cheer and everyone soon disperses, but the Sinister Six chase after Torchman and block his path.)

Blademan: Hold it right there, buddy!

Bitman: Dat wuz OUR leader you just pounded into the dirt!

Torchman 11: Yes. And?

Oilman: It was awesome!

Sharkman: YAH! Dood, where'd you learn to move like that? Never seen a robot with such flashy kicks!

Torchman 11: I have dedicated my life to developing my style specially to focus and direct my unique power.

Hardman: (From a short distance away, being pulled back by the other Mechs.) Oh, REAL unique!

Blademan: I've got power I can barely contain too! Can you show me how that works?

Bitman: No way! Youse gotta show ME how ta throw punches so they can shatter the earth, I'm already halfway there!

Waveman: You're so cooool.

Torchman 11: Hmph, if you all believe you are up to the task, then anything is possible.  Come with me, I shall guide you in the ways of Torchjutsu!

Bitman:  Uh, we're actually wanted felons ...

Torchman 11:  I care nothing about that.  If you have the will, I have the way.

Waveman:  YAH!  I have the will!

Blademan:  Yo, you coming, Torchie?!

(But Torchman is nowhere to be seen.)

Blademan:  Dang!  You don't think he... ?!

Oilman:  Aw, let the man sulk.  He's not the only one who's had to deal with this.

Waveman:  RIGHT!?  Torchman ... more like ... Mopeman!

Torchman 11:  Come, my disciples.  Together we shall push you to the limits of your power.

(As the other Sinister Six members go with their new Torchman, their former leader wanders aimlessly within the labyrinthine corridors of the Underground.)

Torchman:   I can't fathom it.  Someone hotter than I, the mighty .... No.  I'm not Torchman anymore, am I?  That name was taken - stolen away!  But if I am not Torchman then who am I? Perhaps the taking is the key.  And if that be the case ...

(There's a polite knock on the Chibi Six's door.)

Bombman:  Can somebody get that?  Someone's at the door!

(There's a rumble of footsteps as Gutsman hurries down to the living room.)

Gutsman:  What was that?  There's a something at the door!?

Bombman:  There's someONE at the door. But I suppose it could be a someTHING. 

Gutsman:  A SomeONE I can handle.  But a someTHING.... That could spell trouble.

Bombman:  Well, I'm watching TV, so I don't want no trouble.

Gutsman:  Neither do I.

Bombman:  Then maybe neither of us should answer the door.

(Elecman bursts into the room.)

Elecman:  WHO WAS AT THE DOOR!?

Bombman:  Someone.

Gutsman:  But also, maybe, a something, and probably, trouble.

Elecman:  Oh goodie!  I LOVE somethings, someones, and trouble!  I'll let it in!

Bombman:  NO!  I'm watching the telly.  And I do not want a something or trouble as I -

(The door busts inwards and an impatient Torchman explodes in a fury.)

Torchman:   You DARE To keep me waiting!?  I, your newest teammate!?

Elecman, Bombman, Gutsman:  WHAT!?

TorchmanFireman:   I am the one TRUE FIREMAN!  The newest member of your Sinister Six!

Gutsman:  You ain't Fireman!  You look nothing like him.

Elecman:  And we're the Chibi Six!

Bombman:  AND YOU BROKE OUR DOOR DOWN!  IT WUZ OUR DOOR AND YOU BROKE IT YOU DANG VARMINT!

Gutsman:  YER A VARMINT!?

TorchmanFireman:   I am no "varmint" as you put it I AM FIREMAN!!!

(By now Fireman, Cutsman, and Iceman all arrive on the scene.)

Fireman?:  Says who!?

Cutsman:  What's all the commotion!?

Gutsman:  A varmint.  And I think he was a critter too, a long time ago.

Iceman:  Great.  Another fire guy.  I think ... oh, I think I'm melting again!

Elecman:  I'm seeing double.  TWO FIREMANS!?

Fireman?:  I am the Fireman.

TorchmanFireman:   No, I am Fireman!

Fireman?:  Says who!?

TorchmanFireman:   Says network translators, I think.  Frankly I'm unsure why some would think our names interchangeable, but I shall embrace it!  My new identity!  Now and forever I AM FIREMAN OF THE SINISTER SIX!!!

Cutsman:  Actually, we're the Chibi Six!

TorchmanFireman:   That is a terrible name.

Cutsman:  It's our name!  I picked it because it sounds like something the kids could enjoy.

Fireman?:  And Fireman's MY name.

TorchmanFireman:   No.  No, you can be Blazeman!

Iceman: (To "Blazeman") Would it be possible for you to stop being so hot, Blazeman?  Fireman was always mean to me, but maybe you'll be nicer.

("Blazeman" shoots fireballs at Iceman, covering his friend in flames.)

Iceman:  GYAHHHH!  I'm melting!  You're just as mean as Fireman, Blazeman!

Fireman?:  I am Fireman!

TorchmanFireman:   No, I am Fireman and, from now on, this is the NEW Sinister Six!

Elecman:  Maybe he is Fireman.

Fireman?: WHAT!?

Elecman:  He just seems so sure he's Fireman.  What if you're wrong?  What if he's been Fireman this whole time and you really are Blazeman.

Fireman?:  I - NO!  No I really am Fireman!

Gutsman:  But are you sure you're Fireman?

Fireman?:  I am 100% sure I am Fireman.

(Fireman hesitates as he sees his friends stare at him and withers somewhat under Torchman's glare.)

Fireman?:  Make that 90 ... or 80% sure that I am, in fact, myself.

TorchmanFireman:   That's not certain at all.

Bombman:  I'll say!

Cutsman:  Maybe if you were younger I'd welcome you aboard, but right now we have all the Firemen we need.  Like ... a LOT younger.  Unless .... You wouldn't mind to being remodelled, would you?  Maybe let your cute face show?

TorchmanFireman:   I need no remodelling; my current form is the greatest form there is!  My Transmetal armor is the finest form of power one could hope to achieve!  I am a blazing star set in the heavens to guide those towards their destiny!  I shine like a fiery inferno on the horizon, burning away all I touch.  SEE ME AND FEAR ME!  I.  AM.  TORCHMAN!

...

Bombman:  I guess that settles it.

Fireman:  See?  I told you so.

Cutsman:  And if he's not willing to work with me I don't see why he's any better than the Fireman we already have.

Torchman:   Wait.

Gutsman:  Bye.

Elecman:  Let's go out for ice cream.

Iceman:  Oh goodie.  I could use a creamcicle.  I'm so hot.  So, so hot.

Cutsman:  And I love giving ice cream to good little kids.  Unless Iceman wouldn't mind being remodelled?

(The Six leave a sputtering Torchman and head out for ice cream.)

Torchman:  I suppose trying to be Fireman is just not for me.  I must be my true self.  But who is my true self?  Where has that man gone to?  I must retrace my steps.  Go back to my roots.  Back to where it all started.

(Later, in the sewers just below the streets of Monsteropolis...)

Torchman:  Fellow sewer workers, rejoice!  For your comrade, captain, your guiding star, your brother at arms has returned to shed his light of justice on the darkness that dwells within these foul catacombs, that crushes the hopes and dreams of a lesser man, a lesser robot but not the pioneer, the guiding star, who brought this connected this city together with his own two hands!!  Are you all ready to follow my shining example to glory, victory and eutrophication!

Sonicman: That's the longest run-on sentence I've heard in my life.  Tell me you didn't rehearse that.

Toxman: ...Look, buddy.  I'm glad you saw the help wanted ad.  But whatever it was you just said, we just need a guy to work the 8-4 shift.  You want the job or not?

Torchman:  You are quite welcome, my good sir!  Fear not!  Things are about to turn around for all of us!  For the mighty Torchman has returned to lead from the dreary pits of squalor to the pages of victory and heroism!

Sonicman: ...Yeah, thank you for reminding me my job sucks.

Torchman:  Now go forth, my fellow welders, my brethren!  Shine your light, my light onto this city and lead this city to a new tomorrow, a better-

Toxman: Hey, pal.  I don't know who you think is running this outfit, but you ain't the foreman here.  That's me.  

Torchman:  You?? Ha!  Last we met, you were following the light of my leadership!

Toxman: Yeah, I remember ya.  Last time I let ya call the shots down here, I got shot five times by a punk kid in blue panties, ya bum!  And also, ya quit!  That makes ya low man on totem pole, round here!

Torchman:  Well, surely my comrade-at-arms, Sonicman can vouch for my character!

Sonicman: I was an "auxiliary member", and I quit your team for a reason*. 

(*See Series 2, Issue #12 It's a party in my mouth - and everyone's invited!)

Torchman:   A lack of vision.

Sonicman:  YOU WERE LEADING US TO NOWHERE AND LATER ON YOU LET ME AND MINE GET EATEN BY ZOMBIE BIZARROS!  The other PC boys might be willing to go back to kissing your ass, but I'm not. You're lucky I'm giving you this shot at goin' straight.  As it is I have to twist the paperwork into knots and convince everyone you're from "Beta Unknown" or something.  Dunno why I'm trying with you, though.

Torchman:  Sonicman!! After all we've been through together, the tribulations we suffered-

Sonicman:  You're going to be suffering that and more, if you don't get your butt down to Bachman and King Street and get some pipes welded. Or you can shine your light of justice in the unemployment line!

Torchman:  I am your leader!!  You cannot talk to me in such a tone!

Toxman: He's got seven years over you, so yeah, he can.  You heard the man!  Get to work!!

(Toxman and the other workers get back to doing their own thing, ignoring Torchman. He quietly seethes indignantly as Sonicman impatiently motions him to follow him.  Muttering under his breath, he reluctantly does so.  Half an hour later...)

Torchman:   Back!  Back you foul vermin!!  You savages!

Gatorduck:  Hissss!!  Raggghhh!!

Flytrap:  Hraakkkk!! 

(Torchman frantically waves his Torch Arm at various mutants and monsters dwelling in the labyrinthine sewers.)

Sonicman:  Enjoying the local wildlife, old pal?  You'd be amazed at all the weird crap people flush down here.  And what it does to the critters down there! (points to Gatorduck) Toxman once said that used to be a little blonde girl named Virginia!

Torchman:   This is a disgrace!  An outrage!  An indignation!  I should be the one shining the light of prosperity and plenty on our downtrodden guild!  Not working a like a common dreg!  It's like using the heat of the sun to heat up your two-day old burrito!!

Sonicman:  Well, the heat of the sun needs to haul its butt back over King and Bachman!  Those pipes you welded were for shit!  Which I wound up covered in thanks to your botched up weld job!

Torchman:   They were done properly!  Perhaps it was you who are mistaken!!

Sonicman:  Me?!

Torchman:  If you inspected them more carefully, you would've seen they were done with care and precision of the king's finest jewelers, and the heat of a million Promethean flames!!

Sonicman:  Oh, I got a real good look at them when they burst and covered me with all the shit from here to Kauffman St! 

Torchman:   But you, my closest ally here-

Sonicman:  GO BACK AND DO IT FUCKING RIGHT THIS TIME!!

(Sonicman angrily points towards the mis-welded pipes.  Torchman ruefully glares at Sonicman as he heads back in their direction.  But as he goes...)

Flytrap:  HRAAAKK!!! (snaps at Torchman)

Torchman:   Argghhh!!

(As Torchman burns the plant monster, a fish monster comes behind and clobbers him, running past him!)

Fishman:  Gloooob!  Gloooobb!!

Torchman:   YOU FILTHY LITTLE-!

Sonicman:  Oh, you think they're bad?!  Wait 'til Toadman shuffles on down here!  He busts out of the robot asylum all the time.  And no prizes for guessing who gets the pleasure of dealing with him!

Torchman:   Surely, someone who deserves a fate crueller burning in a million Pompeiis-

Sonicman:  Oh, I'm sure glad you put it like that.  Because that's a job for the rookies!

Toadman:  Buddybuddybuuudddiess!!!

(As if on cue, Toadman suddenly leaps out of the sludgy depths, covered in filth, foul, and who knows what else, hopping towards Sonicman and Torchman.)

Sonicman: Don't worry, you got this!  I'm on break! (Departs.)

Torchman:   What could a foul beast from the lowest depths of Tartarus and the Styx possibly want with a man-god-child who has graced the sewers with his presence?!

Toadman:  Looking for a date, bro!  You know any hot babes you can hook me up with?

Torchman:   I know nothing and will do nothing of the kind!!

Toadman:  Oh, come on!  You gotta know at least one cutie!  Shucks, I know one, but she won't answer my e-mails, voicemails, love letters, and serenades.  But if she sees me with another girl, that'll make her jealous and realize what I catch I am!  So, who do you got?  Anyone ages 67-89, the fatter, saggier and smellier the better!  Now come on!

Torchman:   I do NOT know any women like that!  Nor would I ever let you have any!  Torchman is the light to a newer, better, prosperous tomorrow!  Not a matchmaker for an arrogant, slimy little amphibian!! 

Toadman:  Torchman?  The Torchman?

Torchman:   Yes!  YES!!

Toadman:   The blazing star set in the heavens to guide those towards their destiny?!  Who shines like a fiery inferno on the horizon, burning away all he touches?!

Torchman:   You know my gospel well, my friend!  At last!  Somebody who recognizes the living legend, the living embodiment of Odysseus, Gilgamesh, and Hercules, forged and descended from the golden heavens!  For my legend, my fury, and justice shines too brightly for the world to ignore forever!!

Toadman:  You're fatter than I thought you'd be.  Hey, do a fire hadouken for me! 

Torchman:  ...Since I am as gracious and forgiving as I am powerful and inspiring, I will pretend you did not address me in such a way.  Now behold my glory in all its wonder!

(Torchman spins around, unleashes a fireball from his Torch Arm and drops to one knee, his still burning Torch Arm igniting the air around him.)

Toadman:  No, no, no.  Not that!  That's lame old fireball!  My but shoots those when I have enough Thai ginger beef!

Torchman:   ...My mind did NOT need that image.

Toadman:  And now you got it.  But he, you know what I'm talking about!  Shakunetsu!  Or maybe an Enjinkyakyu!  Or that sweetass fire dive kick you always do!!  Or how about that badass fire pillar thingie!! Those are the bomb!!

....

....

....

Torchman:   YOU ARE THINKING OF THE WRONG TORCHMAN, YOU IGNORANT SLIME COVERED BUFFOON!

Toadman:  I'm thinking of the rad Torchman.  Not the smelly wannabe who says he's Torchman one minute and the Fireman from Chibi Six the next.  I mean, how much of a poser can you be? 

Torchman:   .....!!!!

(Torchman explodes with rage as he charges toward Toadman, his Torch Arm burning brighter than ever!)

Torchman:   I'LL TEACH YOU WHO TRUE LEGEND IS, EVEN IF I HAVE TO BEAT IT INTO YOUR THICK, IMPENETRABLE SKULL!!

(Torchman swings at Toadman, who casually hops out of the way.  The momentum carries Torchman into the very pipes he welded earlier, as his arm melts through them.  A deluge of waste, sewage, and God-knows what else rushes out, racing down the tunnel.)

Toxman:  TORCHMAN!!

Sonicman:  If that flash flood didn't wash you out to sea, I'm gonna hang your ass out to dry!!

Toadman:  Ooh, you really did it this time!!

Torchman:  I did nothing but be true to myself!  True to the name TORCHMAN!

Toadman:  I dunno what kinda guy you think has that name, but the Torchman I know ain't a hotheaded jerk who can't even hold down a job mopping the sewers.

Torchman:   YOU DARE!?

(Torchman fires powered-up Torch Arms all over the place.)

Toadman:  WHOA!

Torchman:   I can't believe the indignity of this!  Clearly the seeds of my future are not planted in my past for my past is nothing but a streaming pile of shit!  I cannot go back to the bot I once was, this much is clear to me.  Leave this foul work for the Sonic and Tox men of the world - it has no place in my life! 

Sonicman:  Well GOOD!  Glad you feel that way - YOU'RE FIRED!

Torchman:   YOU CANNOT FIRE TORCHMAN! 

Toadman:  YOU'RE NOT TORCHMAN!

(Torchman explodes in rage, sending Sonic, Toad, and Tox flying.)

Torchman:   I KNOW!!!!!

(Torchman looks around in a daze.)

???:   I .... I know.

(Torchman? is led out of the sewers and, after a long shower, finds himself in the last place he expected with a most unexpected friend...)

???:   I can't believe I'm in here.

Toadman:  I know!  Someone always puts me here too.  The Cossacks, Toxman, the tadpole who tells me to lick things...

???:   I think ... I think Sonicman may have been correct to bring us here.  It feels almost right.

Toadman:  You'll like it.  The walls are like pillows.  Big, fluffy, pillows.

???:   I ... is this how far I have sunk?  Surely the noble Torchman is above such a place?  But, then, I am not he, am I?

(And soon...)

???:   All my life I have been so sure of myself.  Who I am.  My true place in this wretched world.  But now .... Who am I if I am not myself?  Where do I turn now that I am bereft of my past and present?

Hypno Woman:  You poor soul.  This has really hit you hard, huh?

???:   Indeed.  I just cannot fathom this.  Sure, Waveman is replaceable.  While he is a worthy companion, one can see room for improvement.  And Oilman seems not to mind his own doppelganger.  Even Blade is content with his fate.  But, surely I... ?  But no.  No, I am ... I am ... who am I without my sense of self?

Hypno Woman:  ... And how would you describe yourself?

???:   A hero!  A hero surrounded by enemies.  None know how I suffer!  Even when I try to do good, somehow fate seems bent against me, tearing me away first as a Robot Master of the one, true, Mega Man 3, once more as a part of the true Sinister Six, then as an enforcer of the law, and now as the one, true Torchman!  Is it my fate?

Hypno Woman:  Sounds like a hard life.

???:   IT IS!  I lived in a junkyard for years!  A JUNKYARD!  What does that say about me!?  People are quick to embrace those fools, the Mechanical Maniacs with their false smiles and shrewd ways, but even after proving ourselves, my and my Sinister Six were cast into the Wily Underground after faithfully serving the Robot Police force for over 15 years! 

Hypno Woman: Oh my!  Really?

???:   TRULY!  And now I am forced to stand shoulder to shoulder with those vile Mechs - it's DISGUSTING!  And I am hunted on all quarters for no reason!  I even had to defend myself against Megaman - killing him in the process.

Hypno Woman:  That was you?

???:   Indeed.  And who should claim credit?  Those loathsome Mechs!  I tell you ... my life is one filled with trials and injustices.  It just piles on and on!  And now I am no longer even myself!?  Where does one go if one does not even know who he is anymore!?

...

Hypno Woman:  Have you thought of this as, perhaps, a good thing?

???:   A "GOOD THING!?"

Hypno Woman:  It sounds like you've been a lot.  You've let yourself be defined for so long, but this can be a chance at a new start.  A new lease on life.  A chance to let all the things that used to bother you go once and for all. 

???:   A new life?  A new start?  Surely not as a sewer worker - that life is not for me!

Hypno Woman:  Torchman worked in the sewers, right?  But if you're not Torchman, you can be anyone you want, right? 

???:  I ... I never thought of it that way.

Hypno Woman:  I can help, if you'll let me.  Just relax. Look at my little glitters.  Let them fill you up and make all pesky those thoughts of yours disappear.

(Days later, Torchman is nowhere to be found.  Still rumors persist and the other members of the Sinister Six don't give up.  Until one day...)

Geminiman:  Yes, you're right.  This lavender candle is beautiful in color and scent.  Many thanks!

(The crystalline Robot Master walks out of the small shop within the Wily Underground, leaving a content shopkeeper behind him.)

???:  And you?

Clownman:  Yeah, these'll help me relax.  I mean, sometimes you've just gotta!  It's hard being "on" all the time. 

???:  Yeah.

Heatman:  I just like burning things.  Sometimes small flames are nice too.  You can sit at home and just stare at them without Woodman yelling at you since you caught him on fire. 

???:  (wistfully) Hah hah hah, I know just how it is. 

(The other customers exit the happy shop and that's when Oilman puts his foot in the closing door.)

???:  I'm sorry, but the shop is closed, friend.

Oilman:  We aren't your friends.  We're more than that.  We're you're teammates!

???:  Teammates?  No, I don't think so.

Bitman:  What is this?  What are youse playing at, Torchman?

???:  Torchman?  No.  Not anymore.  I'm just Kaz ... no, not even him.  Just call me Matt. 

Blademan:  Matt!?

Matt:  Yeah, Matt. 

Sharkman:  What have you been smoking, Blazeman?

Matt:  I'm not smoking anything, Shark.  I'm Matt.  I run a small scented candle shop now. 

Waveman:  What, seriously?  You don't want to be Blazeman or something?

Sharkman:  Dood!  If you're gonna be someone new, be Blazeman!

Bitman:  He ain't no Blazeman, he's Torchman!  The REAL Torchman!

Matt:  I'm not Torchman, I'm Matt!  I don't obsess about the Mechanical Maniacs or proving myself.  I don't live in a junkyard or work in the sewers.  I don't lead a team (which all of you left, by the way) -

Blademan:  We didn't leave, you snuck off!

Waveman:  That's right, Blazeman.  We just wanted to see what Torchman had to teach us since he's so cool and all.

Oilman:  Wave -

Waveman:  What?  He doesn't care about the other Torchman.

Matt:  No, I don't.  I've made my peace with that.  But ... I'm glad to know you guys didn't just quit on me.  I ... I thought ...

Bitman:  We did not quit.  We've been freakin' kidnapped is what!

Matt:  What?

Blademan:  You've gotta help us! That other Torchman, he's intense!  Too intense!

Sharkman:  He took away my weed, Dawg!  Who the fuck does that!?  "Clear the mind, clear the body" he says, but he takes away the thing that makes that easier!? Out of his freakin' mind, yo! 

Bitman:  He wakes us up before dawn!  And "no petty crimes" he says.  What the fuck is dat!?  Who is this guy and who does he think he is getting into my business like that!?  An' he just laughs it all off like it wuz nuthin'!

Oilman:  The guy just will not leave me alone!  It's just one exercise after another!  Sure, I wanted to get lessons from him, but there is such a thing as too much!  Every facet of life is NOT training!  That is bullshit!  Just let me watch television once and a while!  I make oil, I make smog, I do NOT need to think up endless attacks and uses for my oil!  What I have is enough!

Waveman:  And he's so ... so positive!  He just keeps telling me to cheer up!  That things are always going to get better!  I can't stand it!  But he REFUSES to let me quit!  He just keeps talking about my potential!  I can't stand it!

Blademan:  He keeps on trying to get me to fight like that other Blademan - it's freakin' getting on my nerves!  Endless training!  Just one stupid, worthless, test after another!  He keeps telling me "wax on, wax off", what is that even accomplishing!?  I went there to learn how to fight, not to do endless chores!  If he needed housework done he shoulda got a fembot or something - Blademan does not do housework!

Sharkman:  We need ya, Dawg!  You've gotta kick that fake Torchman's ass and get us outta there!

Matt:  Sharkman... I ... No.  No!  That is not who I am!

Sharkman:  But -

Matt:  I'm happy here, Shark.  No more wild plans, no delusions of grandeur.  I run a simple business.  And I'm getting good at it! Maybe ... maybe you can learn something from this new Torchman. 

....

Bitman:  BULLSHIT!

(Bitman explodes with electricity, firing it at the intricate displays.  Wax melts and wicks catch aflame.)

Oilman:  Oh, I agree.  WAKE UP!

(Oilman uses his Oil Stream to spread the flames, sending the entire shop into a blaze.)

Matt: NOOOOOOOOO!  NO, MY SHOP!  MY NEW LIFE!

Bitman:  This "new life" ain't you! 

(In a flash of flame, Matt is transformed into the fiery Robot Master -  Torchman!)

Torchman:   I tried so hard to move on!  And you've destroyed it all!

(Torchman attacks with flames hotter than any he's generated before.)

Torchman:  My life!  My life was small and good and happy and -

(Torchman's flames are doused as Waveman uses his Water Shooter to cool the hot head off.)

Waveman:  And it was a damned lie.  You're Torchman!  You're insufferable, but inspiring!  You won't let anything stop you.  Not facts, not reason.  So why should this other Torchman mean anything to you?

Torchman:   Waveman...

Waveman:  Torch, you've gotta snap out of this funk.  Remember who you are!  You're Torchman!  And if there's another guy who says he's Torchman you know what you've gotta do.

Torchman:  You .... Yes.  YES!  You're right!  I'm not Matt.  I'm not some candle shop owner.  Yes, my life has burdens.  But they are MY burdens.  It is my burden and my GLORY to be the ONE TRUE TORCHMAN! 

Bitman: YEAH!

Torchman:   ONWARD!  Take me into the belly of the beast.  I shall confront the imposter and wrest my name from his cold, dead hands!

Sharkman:  So ... just so we're clear, you are not going to be Blazeman?

(The Sinister Six lead Torchman on a hike through the woods far outside the city limits of Monsteropolis.)

Torchman:  This is where the usurper makes his home? We've been walking for hours. Wouldn't it have been faster to teleport there?

Blademan: Yeah! That's what we've been saying!

Oilman: Torchman doesn't allow teleportation signals to or from his dojo. He insists the journey on foot keeps us in tune with the earth and builds leg strength.

Sharkman: It's BULLSHIT! It's miles from a convenience store or a Wendy's... How can anyone live like this, Dood!?

(They crest a hill to find a quaint log cabin in the middle of a clearing next to a babbling brook. Torchman 11 sits in a lotus pose in the middle of the adjoining rock garden. His eyes are closed in meditation, yet he is instantly aware of the Sinister Six's presence.)

Torchman 11: Students! Where have you been? I sense the stone blocks you were to carry across the valley are still where they started on the other side of the ravine.

Bitman: Screw yer blocks! None of us are Blockman!

Torchman 11: No, that would be my other compatriot. I am confused. Did you not pledge to submit your all into building your strength and character towards its ultimate expression?

Waveman: We may not have been totally clear on the "submit your all" part.

Blademan: You never said it would be... y'know, hard!

Torchman 11: That was one of the first things I said. I said it would it be harder than anything you had ever experienced in your life. You all confidently proclaimed you could handle it.

Blademan: Yeah, but you didn't say it would REALLY be harder than anything we'd ever experienced!

Waveman: We've been through some hard stuff. Like our battle against Chimeraman in the war...

Oilman: Or our ordeal in the Cyberworld on an impossible scavenger hunt for Crorq...

Sharkman: Or when my dealer changed his number without telling me and I had to go a whole WEEK with an empty stash! A WEEK, DOOD!  AND YOU'RE MAKING ME WAIT LONGER!! WTF?!

Bitman: So anyway, we quit.

Torchman 11: Why did you not tell me of your misgivings sooner?

Waveman: Because you're scary and we didn't want you to be mad at us?

Torchman 11: I am not mad, I am just disappointed. Very well then, if you truly wish to abandon the path of Torchjutsu, I will not ask you to commit to more training.

(The Sinister Six let out a collective sigh of relief, except Torch, who rolls his eyes in disgust.)

Torchman 11: I will not ask, but DEMAND you commit to even harsher training than before!

Sinister Six: WHA!?

Torchman 11: It is my fault for going too easy on you all that you feel you can abandon your ultimate goals so easily. I am so used to enthusiastically pushing myself to my limits that I mistakenly presumed others shared my ardor. Clearly, I have as much to learn of being a sensei as have you all to learn from me.

Blademan: Damn it! Maybe he's right!

Bitman: Giving up ain't like us.

Waveman: Someone that cool must know what he's talking about...

Torchman:  ENOUGH! You can steal my name, you can shame me in front of my peers, you can poison the minds of my teammates, you can torture them with your useless exercises, and you can try to make me jealous of your fancy house, but I will NOT, MUST NOT stand for your greatest insult. I WILL NOT forgive you for stealing. My. NAME! The time has come to exact proper retribution!

Torchman 11: Oh, it's you. I thought I made myself clear. I care not for your use of MY name, but if you seek to challenge me for it, it will only bring you more pain.

Torchman:  I do not need to challenge you for the name of Torchman. It is mine through and through. I am myself and fully realized and my identity can never be stolen from me as I am. It is not for the name, but for the honor of the name that I challenge you! It is because my name can never be stolen that I will punish you for stealing my name!

Torchman 11: You... seem to be going in circles.

Oilman: Yeah, he does that.

Torchman:  I will be going in circles around YOU! (Torchman leaps from the top of the hill and rains fire shots down on Torchman.)

Torchman 11: (Backflips out of his meditation position and ignites his hands to block the attack once he's on his feet.) If we must do this again, I will not go so easy on you this time.

Torchman:  (Lands behind Torchman while streaming his flamethrower into his backside.) I ask for no concessions of power, only your concession of identity!

Torchman 11: I have no need to concede a battle I have no chance of losing! Enjinkyaku!

(The two combatants trade blows and dodge and weave around each other at increasing levels of speed and intensity. Streaks of flame from their stray attacks rain out over the clearing. Soon, even Torchman's dojo is burning, though its owner pays no heed as he becomes engrossed in the fight.)

Sharkman: Sheeez! This getting wild! Torchie's doin' better than last time, somehow!

Oilman: He seems to be more confident in his movements. Or is his conviction starting to rattle the new guy?

Blademan: I'm not sure who to root for!

Sharkman: Easy. Torchman. LoL.

Bitman: Our Torch, fer sure. I wanna go back to bein' lazy.

Torchman 11: (Both clashing in the air.) You may be a worthy rival yet. Enkoukyaku!

Torchman:  (Avoiding the burning kick in the air by firing his Torch Arm to the side in a way that thrusts himself out of the way.) Pity I cannot acknowledge the same! I-GO-KICK-YOU! (Torch spins in mid-air and kicks Torchman as he passes by.)

Torchman 11: How can this be!?

Torchman:  Ten magic kicks at you!! (throws exactly one (explosive) kick.)  Ink Yo Yahoos!! (fires one shot from his Torch Arm.)

Torchman 11:  What?!  (takes the attacks head-on) Those are not the names of my attacks!   But if you study under me, you can yet master your true potential!

Torchman:   The only one who needs to believe in my true potential is you!!  What a she wah gibbon jive shin o suck konda!!   

(Torchman is suddenly wreathed in scorching flames!  Their heat drives all but the newer Torchman back!)  

Torchman 11:  What power!  What potential!  Never have I seen anything like it before!!  

Torchman:   It was always there!  You only had to open your dead, unseeing eyes to see it!  What a she octopussy go sodaku!  

Bitman:  Since when could boss do all this shit?!  

Oilman:  These are all old moves he's always had.  He's just shouting random shit on top of it.

(Still burning, Torchman raises his fists.)  

Torchman:   In a way I must thank you.  You have clarified my purpose.  My place in this world.  And now I will show you that you are not the only one who can steal a name!   

Torchman 11:  That pose... you can't mean - !  

Torchman:   I can!  BEWARE MY POWER!  FEEL MY FIERY FISTS OF FLAME!  

(Torchman throws a punch with his Torch Arm and unleashes a gigantic fireball at the robot who shares his name.  Stunned by the passion diected towards him and the ferocity of the attack, the newer Torchman is blown back and Torchman roars in triumph.)

Torchman:   Feel that, imposter!?  I HAVE MADE YOUR POWER MY OWN!  FOR THAT IS THE WAY OF THE ONE TRUE TORCHMAN!!!!

Waveman:  Unbelievable!

Oilman:  (sigh) "Unbelievable" is right.

Torchman:   Come, my companions.  Let us be off. 

Torchman 11:  Wait!  Your training! 

Torchman:   I shall see to their training now.  They are my friends and my responsibility. 

Torchman 11:  You ... yes, you're right!  I should have seen it before.  Your power is different from before.  Under you I truly think these bots will grow into their ideal selves.

Torchman:   Yes, my power truly is great.  It's a shame I cannot say the same about your power.

Torchman 11:  What!?

Torchman:   Enough of this farce, let us be off.

Blademan:  Smell ya later, "teach!"

(And so, right back where we started off...)

Torchman:   And so, with my name secured I can once against say that I AM TORCHMAN!  NOW AND FOREVER!

Geminiman:  But what about my order of candles?

Torchman:   The man who took your order is gone!  Matt is no more - he died on a fiery pyre.  There is only I!  ONLY TORCHMAN!

Walkman:  That's a crying shame.  I thought you finally turned your life around. All of you.

Torchman: Only the lost need their lives turned around, barkeep.  But I am not lost, I am found!  I - the leader of the Sinister Six! I, master of Torchjitsu!  I, keeper of the flame!  The steadfast!  The just!  The righteous!   I - the ORIGINAL, TRUE Torchman!

Sharkman:  (high as a kite) YEAH!  BOYZ we are back in bizznezz!  HAW!  Nobody can stop us!

Oilman:  Least of all, facts.

Torchman:   Facts?  What is a fact, but a statement many agree to?  I master facts and mold them, and call them my own!  We have let distractions distract us, but we shall not any longer!  We are refocused!  Reforged!  We know who we are and we are GREAT!  They may steal our names BUT THEY CANNOT STEAL OUR FREEDOM!

Walkman:  You just may be worse now than you were before all this started.

(Elsewhere, the Mechs are standing in front of a smoldering warzone that used to be their apartment.)

Shadowman:  ...This is your fault by the way, Hardman.

Hardman: Somebody had to show that "Torchman" that there could be only one fiery martial artist!  And since none of you guys were backing me up, I had to take care of business myself! 

Topman:  I think we all knew just to stay out of it.

Magnetman:  Yeah, pard.  You were riled up over nuthin'.  He toldja he weren't no Magma Dragoon wannabe himself.  Why didncha just listen to him?

Hardman:  Well, some pals you guys turned out to be!

Snakeman: ...Well, everything turned out okay.

Shadowman: Okay?!  There's a smoldering hole where our apartment used to be!  Again!

Needlegal:  But at least we learned something.

Hardman:  Debatable.  But go on.

Needlegal:  We learned that just because you share the same attack style with somebody else, you don't need to reinvent yourself just to prove you're your own person.  And BLOW UP OUR APARTMENT IN THE PROCESS!!

Sparkman:  It's not like a fiery martial arts dude is that original in the first place.  No need to be so protective of it.

Hardman:  Oh yeah?  What if somebody else passed himself as some hotshot electric engineer-bounty hunter?

Needlegal: That's ridiculous.  Anyone out there who wants to copy Spark would be making an ass out of themselves.

Sparkman:  You tell him, sister!

Needlegal:  Because you make an ass out of yourself all the time.

Sparkman:  Says the pinhead who closes out adventures spouting shit she reads from fortune cookies!!

Shadowman:  Needle, if that's where you're getting these nuggets of wisdom from, I'm going to find your stash and level it with hellfire.

Topman:  Well, until somebody steals Bitman's name and Leon's identity, we are...THE MECHANICAL MANIACS!!

The End

Cast:

Leon as .....
Sparkman
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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