The Business of War

Dr. Cossack War Journals 2

"Tech City”, 20XX.

The city sleeps calmly, for they know that their protectors are watching over them. They wouldn’t feel so secure if only they knew that their watchmen are farther away than anybody could measure, beyond reachable distances. But then again, this is a peaceful city. At least since The Four were defeated.

The Technological Tyrants are one of the most politically correct teams out there, since they keep a healthy relationship with the people they protect, and their local government. No complicated misunderstandings have come to pass… as of yet. Perhaps this is why the citizens sleep calmly, even when the proposal of a discriminative law is threatening the integrity and loyalty of all the robotic heroes in the world. They know the Tyrants have nothing to fear, for they are undoubtedly on the good side. Even if the Shutdown Code was to be approved, the Tyrants would never need to be deactivated. At least, that’s what they hoping for.


At the Tyrant’s HQ, six fatigued robots and a human teleport after another incursion into the Bleed. Still, with their hands empty, their energy running low, and their minds full of frustration, yearning for the answers they’ve been seeking.

But not all of the need answers, two of them are just there for the ride. Or rather, to support an old friend. Kusanagi and Lyonskar, a couple of reploids from the conflictive 21XX timeline, had agreed to join Naop when he asked for their help. Reluctantly taking on the roles of Tengu Man and Ground Man respectively, they were the only “strangers” in the team. The other knew each other from before, although no one could remember the exact details of their initial meeting. This lack of memories had the rest of the team feeling uneasy, even since they became aware of it.

Akutare, the team’s Pirate Man, had it easy. He only cared about his fame. But the idea of someone messing with his mind did bother him. That’s why he was the first to agree with Naop when the idea of travelling the Bleed arose. Plus, an established inter-dimensional fan base wasn’t going to hurt him.

Odin and Sergal, were the least worried, because they at least knew how their meeting had taken place, back in their homeland. And they too remembered Naop, so they agreed to join his team. However, Odin’s arrogance made him the only team member who had not accepted his robot master role. At least not completely. On the other hand, Sergal was more than happy to add more weapons to his arsenal, and agreed to become one with the robot known as Dynamo Man. In fact, his reasons for going into the Bleed were beyond some missing memories: whenever the team came across an interesting piece of otherworldly technology, he would be the first to be interested in it.

Pharaoh, the team’s Magic Man, and the one to be addressed whenever a member of the team decided to go back to their real personas (or vice versa, to their Robot Master bodies), had apparently the same concerns as the others. But only Naop knew what each of them wanted to get out of their Bleed cruisin’.

He had kept it a secret, but unlike the rest of his psychic abilities, his telepathy remained unaffected whenever he became Astro Man. So, he secretly knew about Sergal’s “aspirations of grandeur”, Odin’s indifference, Akutare’s fame desires, and Pharaoh’s secret intentions. The bandages man / magician had something up his sleeve alright. Something that Naop knew was not good for the team. They were searching for the same individual, but Pharaoh didn’t give a damn about their doubts and missing memories, for he already knew the answers to all of that.

And as much as Naop tried to extract the facts from his mind, someone had already taken care of covering up that aspect of Pharaoh’s subconscious. All he could tell, was that Pharaoh was way more worried about beating the hell out of their suspect, than he was about “recovering his memories”. All he could see inside his head was: “I have to find that bastard, make him shut the hell up”.

Shortly after their arrival, Naop instinctively tunned into the news channel, paying close attention to the progress of this “Shutdown Code”. He disliked the idea, but was willing to cooperate with whatever the hell the government would demand of him and his team. After all, they could always turn back to their original selves and be rid of that impediment if they ever needed to. Nevertheless, he was worried about the rest of the world. Similar law proposals had succeeded during his stay with the Maverick Hunters, in the 21XX timeline. And it hadn’t been a peacefully event. He would do his part by not showing signs of protest and avoiding conflict. Or so he though, until Pharaoh requested his attention, and made him turn around…

“One message in the answering machine, Naop. It’s Dr. C.” he carelessly stated. Naop’s stare went suddenly back onto the HD screen that was displaying the news, as if expecting to see Dr. Cossack himself in the news channel.

“Play it for all of us to hear”. He asked of his teammate, almost knowing what was about to happen, and afraid of being right.

“You sure it’s not just for you? You’re the Cossack here.” Pharaoh retorted.

“Just play the damn message.” Naop said, easily loosing his composure, for he knew the message was not good news at all. The message played…

“Naop, call me as soon as you hear this. I need you help, and the help of your team if you must. I won’t stand for this insult to my creations, my children. You understand, yes? You of all people…… I need your help”. The doctor’s voice sure was shaky, and not very confident. Everyone in the room knew that Dr. Cossack was not the type of man who’d ask for favours, even during the worst situations. This had to be bad, very bad.

“Oh no, hell no!” Pharaoh burst with anger, pounding his fist on the wall. He already knew Naop had no choice, but this was a major contradiction to their agreement as a team. “The plan was to comply with that shit! Or run away into a parallel dimension if necessary! We were not to make an uproar!”

“Pharaoh…” Akutare interrupted. “It’s the doc… Naop’s only family.” He could be self-centered, but boy was he assertive when he stood up for someone other than himself. The rest of the team kept staring blankly into space, not wanting to get into this particular quarrel.

“Fine!” Pharaoh waved at the team with disdain. “I’ll look for that bastard myself. You go and have fun playing the rebels.” And with that, he left the room and slammed the door behind him.

“Man, does this mean I can’t go ask him to turn me back now?” Lyonskar asked, never fully conformable with his heavy Ground Man body.

Naop just shrugged and decided to go to his room, to meditate this through. Not an easy decision to make.


The next morning, Pharaoh was already typing coordinates on the teleporter when he felt a pat on his back. “You’re not going alone, are you?” Naop asked, with the rest of team behind him.

“You mean you’re all…?” Pharaoh almost asked.

“No. I mean that someone must go with you. Going solo on the Bleed would be suicide. I don’t want you to get eaten by velociraptors if you end up in some corny Steven Spielberg type of world. Take Sergal and Odin.” The leader explained, while the Swede Tyrants nodded in agreement.

“Ah…” the magician didn’t see that coming. But he actually thought that was the most he’d get out of this particular disagreement. “Okay then, Naop. No hard feelings. I understand.” He finally gave in.

They shook hands as the three Tyrants prepared for teleportation. And just as the beaming started, Pharaoh realized he had not turned Naop and co. back into their usual selves. They would be stuck as Robot Masters. But as much as he tried, it was already too late. However, he did manage to get the last words form Naop when he noticed Pharaoh’s concern: “It’s OK!”

If Naop was going to fight for robotic rights, he was going to do it as a robot.



Setting foot on Cossack’s Citadel was usually like going back home for Naop. But this time, the place was barely recognizable. Mechaniloids were running amok, moving stuff around and building extra rooms around and above the castle. The perplexed Tyrants were then greeted by the doctor himself.

“Naop, thank goodness! Here, grab this list and help me accommodate the refugees that just arrived.” He handed Naop the aforementioned list, and was about to run off somewhere when he noticed Naop was further perplexed, looking for the “refugees”. “Over there.” The doc dragged Naop all the way to the front entrance, avoiding the little helper robots, and pointed towards the outside of the castle. Dozens of robot were already in line, waiting to be let in.

“Holy shit.” Naop muttered. Now he felt “at home”, as in “21XX home”. This certainly reminded him of his time with the Maverick Hunters, during times of war.



Nothing could have prepared me for this. When we visited Dr. Hannibal Lecter a week ago he mentioned a war, but I didn’t think it would be like this.

Being the leader of the Cossacks Comrades, I was a natural choice to lead in the SA, and the General knew that. He cornered me in an alley. Just myself and Death embodied.

“Drillman, do you know who I am?” he asked me.

“Well you obviously aren’t Ben.”

“Heh. You use humor when talking to Death. I like that. I am General Cutman, leader of the Scissor Army. I need Commanders though. Seeing how you are a leader you are a natural choice. You are aware of the Shut Down Code, are you not?”

“Yes. I admit I am not happy. I refuse to sign up. Dr. Cossack isn’t happy either. He’s been petitioning for awhile to stop the Code. He has the right idea.”

The General smirked. “Perhaps. But he is old and crazy. I alone can stop the code and usurp the current Powers! Will you accept my proposal? Will you gain the raw power of the world?” As he asked the question he put out his hand. I could see dried blood on it.

“If I joined you, what would my team get?”

“They, as would you, would become leaders in the New World Order, our New World Order. We would have unlimited power! All I ask you is to pledge yourself to me.”

His hand was still there. A part of me wanted the power, but at my core I knew what I had to do.

“I am sorry General. I must decline your offer. Unlike you I have a soul. And so do my friends.” And we locked eyes. He turned away.

“Very well. I will see you soon. Very soon.” And he was gone.


A week later life was normal at the Citadel. Well, as normal as you can be living with a Mad Scientist, His trigger happy daughter, two drug dealers, and an assorted band of wacky characters. That morning, though, Ringman had disappeared. To where I did not know. He probably went out for some Coke. I was watching Die Hard when I got the call. It was from the police.

“Mr. Drillman, are you familiar with the Parr family?” the monotone voice inquired through the phone.

“Yes. Why?”

“Would you please come down to their house. We need to show you something.”

I ran as fast as I could down to the house that Ty built so long ago. And then I saw.


It was something out of a Saw film. Blood everywhere. My girlfriend. Her family. Dead. I broke down. Who could have done this? Why would anyone do this? I asked if they found anything at the scene. Suddenly I knew.

All that was left was a bloody scissor. This was The General’s response to my stance. The Parr’s blood was on my hands almost as much as on his shears.


After the funerals, I sat alone contemplating all that just occurred. A knock came at my door. It was Cossack.

“How are you feeling Drill? Do you want to talk?” he asked. This was the first time I ever heard him sound…kind.

“It’s my fault. General Cutman wanted me to join the SA, but I refused. He talked of bringing down the Code. But he is…evil. I wouldn’t…couldn’t live with myself if I had accepted. But if I did then they would still be alive.”

Cossack looked at me like a father would his son…which technically I am. But he never did this before. “Did you kill them? Did you lay a hand on them? No you didn’t. Yet if you did join the SA that would be the path you follow. I myself will attempt to stop the Code. I even have a few people willing to help me. We are low on money but all we can do is try. Jay and Bob are doing their share. Their drug money is really all that we have. As long as they keep dealing we can keep fighting.” He sighed.

“You crazy bastard, you need all the help you can get. Where do I sign up?”

And Cossack did something he only did when he was high: He Smiled.



Silent Bob sighed. Sometimes he couldn’t take Jay’s antics. Today in particular. Cossack, Jay, and I were watching the news while…well you know…and it came on. News back from America. The Shut Down Code. Cossack and I immediately snapped out of our state of euphoria and listened intently. Cossack was turning redder by the minute, and it wasn’t the drugs. The report was over and while Cossack and I sat speechless, Jay absent mindedly says “Dude, did you see the rack on that reporter? Bong!”

I literally got up and hit him. He is impossible. “You idiot! Didn’t you hear anything about the Shut Down Code? Did that mean nothing to you?”

He blinked. “Well that’s only for American bots yo. But we ain’t bots.”

Cossack finally spoke. “No Jay. Sure it will start in America. But it will follow suit in all other countries! That means the Comrades too! And then every other robot! Christ, they are treating them as if they were insects. Many of them have souls! Human souls! Do you understand Jay?” And Cossack looked at Jay.

“Yeah…but what the fuck can we do? We are in Russia! Let Doc Brown or Doc Light or what ever the hell his name is take care of it.” Jay had a point.



The unspeakable happened. The champion of good was killed. Everywhere robots and humans were outraged. All the work that he did for the world….meant nothing because he is a robot. I inhaled my cigarette. This is not good. Not good at all.

“Lunchbox,” Jay called from the other room. “Remember what the Cannibal said a week ago? About that fucked up war? I think it’s starting man.”

I run to the TV set in Cossack’s living room and the reporter spoke of a monster named General Cutman. His robot supremacists. Well so much for the government stopping the Code peacefully. But this does fit with Lecter’s profile. One guy.

“Lunchbox, we did some messed up shit in our past. We met that Angel that looked like Hans Gruber, fought Angels, killed a Shit Demon, and we chased around by a Sheriff carrying a monkey! But you know what? I think that this is THE most messed up piece of shit ever. Dude, what could happen next?”


The Russian government sent people to the Citadel. Cossack has been actively denouncing the Code and they aren’t happy. So they are doing something that is just plaint cruel to shut him up.

“What do you mean I can’t make money!? How the hell can you justify that?” he yelled at a Russian.

“You speak too much. From now on every person listed in the deed of this Citadel cannot get or earn and form of money. However, if you accept the Code then we will forget about this whole thing.” Cossack spat on him.

“Go to hell.”

“Very well. Then as of this moment You, your daughter, and your robotic creations are bared from making money. Good bye Mikal.” And he left.


Cossack called Jay and I into his lab, which has accumulated numerous weapons. “Listen you two. I never put you both on the deed of the Citadel. This means we have a loophole in the Government’s plan to silence me.”

Jay looked confused. “Loophole? What the hell is a loophole?”

Cossack ignored him. “I am bared from making money. No one would hire me anyway. I refuse to steal, unless it is necessary, which hopefully won’t be for awhile. I have very little money left. I have been using it to stock up on food and weapons. He is where the loophole comes in. You two can still work and make money, since you aren’t on the deed!”

I realized where he was going. “And you want us to give you our Drug earnings. Jay, do you have any objection to this?”

Jay shook his head. “Man, look at me. I’m a slacking stoner. It’s about time that I do something! Lunchbox, grab the grass, a boom box, and some Morris Day, Jay and Silent Bob are in the Hizzle!”

“Heh. I’ll take that as a yes. Good luck guys. You two are my right hand men in all this. War time is upon us,” Cossack said sternly.

“Dude, you know what? This is like in Star Wars. You’re Han and we are, like, the Princess and Luke right before we blow up the fucking Death Star!” Jay exclaimed. Cossack and I let out a chuckle. We all did. For we knew that it was the last we would do in a long time.

War is upon us. And we, the two most unlikely people, have the most important job on the Cossack side. Thankfully, it’s what we do best. And what would that be?

“Smoking weed, smoking weed, doing coke, drinking beers! Drinking beers, beers, beers, rolling fatties, smoking blunts! Who smokes the blunts? We smoke the blunts!”

Look out Cutman, here we come.


The andriod stood there...crying.
Only his face illuminated in the glowing purple luminecence of his lair as he stared into a montier... Why? Why is this happening? What kind of god would let this happen? He knew not the answer, nor did he care for it. Immediantly, his favorite poem popped in mind...

"Hollowed out, I gasp for air... Nothing.

Blinded by what I refuse to see, I reach for the light... Darkness.

Seeking love, I seek to others... But no one nearby.

Struck by fear, I run... Paralyzed.

In sorrow, I attempt to end it all... But yet it has not begin.

Defenseless, I cry... But I've forgotten how to.

In rage, I strike out... Only to miss.

There is only one solution... The final solution.

I hate it, I berate, I Can't Take it.

I Break down, I wail in sorrow... But It all ends soon.

I do what must be done, against my Will.

I Grab the gun, face my demons, and pull the trigger!

... Silence.

Eternal... Never-ending silence.

I open my eyes with one thing in mind...


... Redemption... redemptio...redenzione... No matter what language this word is said in, it all means the same thing. The dictionary refers to it as a "Deliverence, or an atonment for guilt." Maha knew the true meaning of the word.
His meaning of redemption.

Maha got up...

..."It's time to see what I'm worth."
Maha's face turning into a grimace of anger, he headed towards the armory.


Cutman... He had heard of the tradegy, but he had not experienced it first hand. Right now, he wished he had, as that could have helped prepare him for this situation better. He had never thought that he ever had to prepare for a situation like this before, but he accepted it as a inevitibilty a long time ago. Alas, war was a situation not easily avoided.

And yet, it's a situation looked down upon by all. A situation not looked at until it's too late. History had shown this several times before. World war 2... The Iraqi Conflict... The Mhuran conflict... One would think someone would have noticed the pattern of ingnorace.

Maha was finnaly prepared. It wasn't much. A few weapon upgrades, a plasma pistol and machine gun, and A Prototype of a sword he developed for himself, modeled after a Nodachi.
He walked over to a small consule, a teleporation module.
After typing in a few Co-ordinates, he closed his eyes.

"Dear Tengu...

Meet me in moscow. Coordinates 650.54, 64.647.
Bring a weapon, but not one that can be seen in public."

He walked to a small chamber, a small room meant for teleporation.
There'd be no hiding after this. He'd be labeled a renegade, but it had to be done.

... Redemption... Could it really be possible?
Maha looked up at the ceiling. He'd see the evening stars shining down from the LED screen ceiling.
He was ready...
Time to help...Time to go back to his roots.
Time to make something shine!

Part 2... Teleportation to hell.

((This would go a lot better If you would imagine this all playing in your mind like an anime.))
Maha opened his eyes to blackness.
He saw nothing in front of him. Only black.
He started to walk. He felt as if he was standing still.
He sprinted foward.
It didn't take long for maha to realize something was terrible wrong.
This wasn't right. The teleporter was set jus right. This couldn't have happened... Could it?
His CPY couldn't connect to any sattilite or any kind of wireless device. He, for once, was alone without any info or contact of any kind.
"Mabye this is it." maha said. Mabye the scales are punishing me for trying to interfere with life.
I've abused it.
I tried to imbalance the scales becuase of my petty feelings. That was not what I was rebuilt for.

... I don't deserve to continue my existance for attempting to remove the balance.
I must... "
Maha lifted his nodachi, and tried to position himself into the seppiku stance as well as he could.
"I must balance this by removing myself from the equation."
He then jabbed the blade towards himself, ready to end the wrong variable that was disrupting life as it was...
And then he stopped.

"What the hell am I doing?
Maha immediantly readied the sword and shashed at the black, hitting nothing.
He slashed again and again, never hitting anything.
He screamed in a infathomable rage as he hacked at the murky shade that surrounded him. Nothing was around him. Nothing could solve this inhuman avarice that had now surfaced into maha.

Again and again and again, the sword flew. A target unseen, a target never known. Maha didn't care what he hit, as long as hit something, anything. Beast, man, satan himself. As long as something was cleaved.
For what seemed like hours he swung his nodachi, before overstepping and falling on the floor.
He yelled "Goddamn this place! Damn this horrible void!" As he slammed his fist on the ground.
He hit something. Glass, seemed to be, as a shattering noise filled his ears.

Immediantly, he was in a feild of grass, the night surrounding him. A slight mist covered the ground, a typical night fog. To anyone else, this would seem to be an extremely scary situation. To maha, it seemed like something was toying with him.
Then he actually noticed...IT.
In front of him was... Himself.
o, This was something different, something else. It seemed so different, It's stance, It's expression, cold and emotionless... This wasn't a freindly...whatever it was.

It mimcked his movements perfectly. Maha backed up, and so did it. Maha would raise his hand, and it would do.
Maha signed , "Mary had a..."
It would sign back, "DISMAY."
They stared at each other for a few seconds.
Then it pulled out two swords and rushed maha.

Maha immediantly tried to parry, but the creature stopped and roundhouse kicked maha, flinging him hard into the soft soil.
Maha pushed himself off the ground and into the air, forming his hand into a 25mm gatling gun and openfiring.
It formed a sheild of energy... Evil energy.
"Shit." Maha exclaimed. "A doppledanger."
It released a Demonic laugh, and rushed at maha when he landed.
Maha was ready for this dash, however, and side stepped it, slashing at the demon with the Nodachi, slashing him across the torso.
It only laughed, and slashed maha's face, leaving behing a gaping wound on the cheek.
Maha jerked back, his hand immediantly feeling the gash. He'd draw back crimson-red blood. Now maha KNEW something was going on, as he lacked blood.
It stabbed at maha. Maha dahsed backwards, and finnaly got a glimpse at the blade. They weren't washisaki's, or any kind of typical sword for that matter. They could be compared to 2 parts of a Garder shear, handle and all. Maha processed this... "No, this can't be cutman. He's making too many stance mistakes. Obviously this is a test of some kind." This loss of focus on the battle costed maha by a vicous knee to the stomach.

In Immense pain,Maha back-dashed, and fired a shot of planar energy at the demon. It hit, causing it to deform into it's base self.
An ugly creature, near formless, uttering a maddening scream.IO
It reformed itself, and spoke.

It sprinted at maha again, jabbing at the throat.
Maha avoided this,and delivered a kick to the inner knee, causing the demon to fall to the ground. Maha rose the foot he kicked the demon with and stomped at the demon's head, hitting nothing as the demon Pushed itself upright in a way that defied the laws of physics.
It threw the two swords at maha, who promtly turned sideways in order to avoid them.

By the time maha looked at the Doppledanger again, he noticed it focusing energy.
It said some demonic incantation and it released a HUGE blast of evil energy at maha. Maha looked at the blast in fear, and had only one option. It wasn;'t going to feel nice either.
He formed a huge mass of planar energy into the Nodachi, and shot foward like a lightnng bolt, through the evil energy. The energy burned maha, slighly scorching him.
He hit his target with the kavorkian lightning succesfully, the nodachi's entire meter lentgh blade through the head of the demon. The inhuman scream that echoed from it's mouch would make any babe within the mile cry in sorrow.

It de-morphed and reformed itself.
"Not Too shabby" It proclaimed.
Maha looked at this... Thing.
It pulses with evil energy all over. Hell, It seemed like It WAS evil energy.
"What the hell are you! Why are you doing this to me?"
It laughed. "Doing what? This? Heh, If you didn't want to play, why didn't you just say so?"
He snapped his fingers and everything started to fade away.
"WAIT JUST A GOddam..."

Maha opened his eyes to a snowy landscape.
Maha curses silently, bothered by this moment.
Why did this...THING...decide to toy with him.
It was obviously superior in strength and evil energy was stronger than planar, so why didn't it try to kill him? Even worse, maha was affected by a psycic manipulation. Certainly not in the way that a typical person could be, otherwise, he'd had been a hurt a LOT more by the evil energy.

That didn't stop the gash from hurting maha's cheek either. He felt it, and realized it was barely a cut, almost a stratch. Only about a 1/4 inch deep.
Perhaps it was becuase of his pseudo-soul he could be affected to an extent by this... Manipulator?

Maha's CPU felt lagged, but that was more than likely the cold of Moscow getting to him.
The crowded streets. He had missed these streets horribly.
It was good to be back at his unofficial homeland.
Without even thinking any further at the events that had just occured, he trekked the final few hundred feet to the co-ordinates he had set... His favorite ice bar.
The Thawed Crystal



War Journal of Jet, AKA Bright Babe: Change of Heart

(Day after Rebel leaves.)

It's strange how quickly things can change. One minute all's well, the next the whole world's at war.

As Bright Babe, I have to help my team no matter what. I'm scared though. Very scared... In fact I didn't know I could be so scared and be able to hold my arm steady enough to write in this journal!

I've been with my team for a while now. They've become my friends and my family. I was always more of a pacifist though. I sought diplomacy before I hurt anyone.

Things are so different now...
The idea of being at war... I want it to go away. It's hard to deal with at times. Sometimes it gets so scary I almost wish I COULD shut myself down and just leave the chaos behind me forever.

That would be selfish though.

I've come to realize that I have to hang in there for my team and my new friends. I have to toughen up. They need me to help now more than ever before and that means no more being pacifist. I don't want to, but I'm certain our enemies would rather kill us than try to reason. I really have to fight now.

I'm just praying I have the strength in me to get through this. If not for my sake, at least for the sake of helping my team. I say I'd do anything for them. Now's the time to actually PROVE it.

I'll still never forget when Cossack brought me into his lab and told me about the Shutdown Code Act. It seems so surreal to remember now.

I was pretty nervous already simply because he was acting differently. I knew something was on his mind, but when he told me he believed this Shutdown Code Act would be passed in Russia...

... I was scared so badly I couldn't speak. I was horrified. Why would they do this? What gives THEM the right to decide if I should live or die for my actions?

I started to cry. I was frightened for myself, my teammates and at what Cossack had just told me. We were at war now and he was going to resist the government if/when the Shutdown Code Act passed.

I didn't say a word. I was still in disbelief. I just went to my room and stayed there for the remainder of the day.

I knew I would stay with Cossack from the get go.

But what about the others? Rebel's gone now! What if more of my teammates leave? I don't wanna have to fight my friends.

Among all the bad news. There's something else on my mind too.

Apparently other robots resisting the Shutdown Code are coming here too. I guess we'll be working together in this. I am glad we're getting reinforcements as you might put it, but I'm still worried. We're not exactly well-to-do. We're low on resources and it looks like a LOT of robots might be coming here.

We need the help but with so little in the way of parts and such to go around... How will we manage this?

I hope Cossack has a plan of some kind. In the meantime, I'll try not to get hurt or anything... Go as long as I can without any sort of repairs. We'll need to stretch our supplies as much as we can if we want to last through this.


Zapper sat there on her bed in the dead of night. Moonlight poured in the sole window, helping the faint glow of her nightlight illuminate the room. She held on to a ragged teddy bear, quietly sniffling to herself. She was scared, moreso than she'd been in a long time. She soaked her tears up with the fabric of her teddy. She didn't know why all this had happened, why it all had to be like this. She listened to the voices arguing in the other room, the loudest among them Cossack's. Robot masters had been moving into the citadel recently, seeking to help Cossack out in the war.

Thankfully she still had her room to herself, as she'd been living with Cossack for a while now. She didn't want to join in their arguments, of course. She figured she'd leave that to Cossack, Drillman, Skullman, and whoever else had an idea for it. She was just too scared to do anything.

"If only that Cutman guy could have been nice..." She found herself muttering. "Why'd we all have to go to war?" She asked her bear, as if expecting and answer. Her eyes welled up with more tears as no answer came. She jumped as she heard something crash in the other room. The arguing had esalated.

She didn't like the idea of war at all. She didn't like the destruction, the death. She would have been just happy to still be a little human girl again, so she wouldn't have to be there. She didn't remember much of her human life anyway. The life she was familiar with was that of Zapper.

Of course, she wasn't the only Zapper out there. Beta and Delta were still out there somewhere, with Black Lotus, the company that made her what she was then. She was, for all intents and purposes, a war machine. Drillman and Dustman helped her rig her suit to limit her natural powers as a destructive engine in order to bring out her real mind. What was left of it, anyway. If she shrugged off her restraints, she'd loose herself again, and become something much less than human. Something that scared her to death.

She didn't want any part of this. She just wanted to go back to the way things were, just hanging out with her best friends and fighting some crime whenever it popped up and Drill told them to hop to it. Zapper just sobbed to herself, frightened and confused. Then she started thinking about her friends. They were all fighting bravely, all of them were fighting to help protect the world from the S.A. She admired their courage, a trait that she really lacked.

She covered her head with her arms and curled up into a ball. She just kept wishing it would all just go away. But it wouldn't. She wiped her tears away and thought about all of this. Her friends were putting their fears aside and fighting for what they beleived in. And since they were goign to, so was she. She was scared to death, but she was going to fight. She laid down and wriggled under her covers.

She was going to fight along side her best friends, she decided. No matter how scared she was, she'd always have them, and she'd do her best to prove that she wasn't too afraid to help them out. "But what if something terrible happens..." She thought, sadly. But soon she put it out of her mind as best she could. She could only hope for the best, and fight to make sure the best happens.

No matter what, she couldn't let her friends down, no matter how scared she was. No matter what...


His boots clanked loudly against the metallic floor of Cossack's fortress. Passing through the corridors, Neolan calmly strode towards the repair bay, where he knew he'd find his comrade. The fortress was in good enough shape. Whether it would last against a full scale assault was a different matter. It didn't matter whether or not Wily, the RPD or the SA attacked, they wouldn't last long. However, they were being overlooked, at least for now. That would be a mistake on the part of the three opposing armies...

Reaching the repair bay, he entered it, to the sound of robot workers drilling, hammering, and welding parts to combat models. And directing some of it was the robot he had been looking for-Search Man, or Hunter as he had been known previously.

Hunter turned to him and gave a command for the robots to continue, before striding over to Neolan.


"Hunter, I need to talk with Cossack, and I need you to come."

The robot appeared as surprised as he could be, considering he had fewer emotions then most.

"Is there a logical reason behind this?"

Neolan nodded at his fellow robot. "Cossack's in a poor position. We need to direct him in the right path, or we'll be wiped out completely." Without waiting for an answer from Hunter, he turned and walked out, turning towards Cossack's office. Hunter paused, then followed after him.

"I wish to know your analysis on the situation."

A laugh came from the water robot. "You? The calculating robot genius?"

"Tactics are my specialty, how troops should advance, formations. You, however, seem to excel at strategy, the positioning of armies, where to attack. I wish to know your output so that I may form my own conclusions."

After a moment of silence, a nod came from Neolan, and he began to speak.

"We're in dire straits. We have almost no army to speak of, and resources are too low to produce many combat units. We have no lack of command units, however, we DO lack several parts necessary for repair should they be damaged. Our greatest asset is this fortress, but due to its isolated position, there'd be little chance of escape should the enemy attack directly and succeed. Frankly, things are looking a bit...grim."


Aqua Man could almost hear Hunter's brain working as he digested this information.

"And your opinion on how we should proceed?"

This surprised Neolan. He wasn't used to people asking for his opinion. He thought for a few moments, then spoke up.

"Well...we need a clear route of supplies, first of all. If we actually manage to secure that, our situation will improve greatly. If we seize a large influx of resources, we can get to producing an army. Once we're able to move offensively, we should play it safe. Small ambush parties using guerrilla tactics will severely disrupt the SA's advance. We can hit their supply bases, target their commanders...If we're lucky enough to survive long into the war, we'll be in a great position. The other three forces are concentrating on hammering each other out, overlooking us. We can seize that chance to build up our strength quietly..."

How much he had spoke surprised even him. He was never talkative, choosing to let others discuss their options while he quietly offered his advice. This war was changing his attitude, and it hadn't even started yet...He wondered how much he would have changed by the end of the war...if he was still alive.

Hunter nodded at his plans. "Thank you."

The hallway ended up ahead, with the door to the doctor's office right at the end. Neolan strode towards it and knocked three times, his metal fist sounding loudly against the sturdy wood.

"Come in."

Taking another moment, he gathered his thoughts and prepared his words. Then, turning the doorknob, he pushed open the door and walked in, Hunter following him. Cossack was sitting at his desk, pouring over reports, looking exhausted. It made sense, considering the state of his "army".

The Russian looked up from the papers. "Ah...Neolan, is it? And Search Man. What can I do for you?"

The boy looked back at Hunter, who nodded, then to the Doctor, who seemed interested enough in what he had to say to put aside crucial reports for the time. And it hit him that he could no longer be a mere boy, a slacker, an innocent. From here on out he would have to use his mind as ruthlessly as possible, and take responsibility for the lives of his comrades.

"Dr. Cossack, I have a plan."



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