The Business of War

Cossacks Comrades: The Mesmer Plot

Pharaoh and Bright hurry down the winding hallways of the Citadel, looking to meet up with Drill and the others. “He must still be in the basement digging the tunnel.” BB says as they make another turn. Out of the dark corner of the hallway, Jade notices a glint of something about to lash out at them.

“Look out!” He pushes Jet out of the way, and next thing he knows, he finds himself in an empty room without windows or doors, its walls appearing as a swirling vortex of colors. Jade isn't too taken aback by this though. This feeling... He's felt it before... in Rothenburg. Sure enough, before Jade even calls him out, the twisted form of Mesmerman appears before him.

"You..." Pharaoh's eyes narrow as he lifts his buster. He hasn't easily forgotten what he did to him and his friends back in Rothenburg; the horrible things he showed them. He hoped for a chance to pay him back, and it appears that now he has precisely that. But… “Dammit… this isn’t good. I barely have any power left after using it all on Gravityman… How can I take on Mesmerman by myself like this…?”

Mesmer seems to have other plans though. He holds his hands up casually, indicating he has no wish to cause problems... yet. "Now, now. I assure you I have no intention of starting a fight, my friend. I simply want to talk to you."


"Oh? About what?" Drillman asks the form of Mesmer in front of him. Unbeknownst to Jade, Mes has tracked down the other Comrades as well. As they now know, he’s perfectly capable of being in more than one place at once, and is currently speaking to everyone simultaneously.

"Well, I'm sure you're already aware..." The CO continues. "The General has breached your precious Citadel as we speak. And to be quite frank, your little band of rebels doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of ever stopping him. He has the brains, the resources, and the firepower to crush all of you. Even if Dr. Cossack finds a way to escape his wrath temporarily, he will be left too crippled to pose any remaining threat to him, and he can be easily hunted down and disposed of."


"Why are you telling me this?" Dust asks.

"Is it not obvious?" Mesmerman giggles. "I wish to offer you a solution to all of this."


"You want me to join the Scissor Army, right? Well forget it!!" Jade hisses as he glares at Mesmer. "You may be right; we may be outclassed; we may be outgunned. But if I'm gonna die, then so be it! The Comrades are my friends, and I'll be damned before I betray them! You go tell Cutman to eat shit and choke."

Mesmerman just laughs once more. "That's why I like you, Jade. You're a spirited individual, and you're loyal to a fault. But I assure you, my plan for you isn't so one-dimensional as becoming one of the General's little toy soldiers."


"Just cut the bull, Pinocchio. What th’ hell you want?" Dive inquires through his gritted teeth.

"The General plans to kill Dr. Cossack. Of this I'm sure you are aware. I can take him, and his daughter if need be, somewhere out of his reach, where they will be perfectly safe. Along with you and the other Comrades. All I ask in return are a few small... favors."


"What kind of "favors"?" Jet asks, hesitantly. She hates to admit it, but she's a little intrigued by all of this. What is this guy's angle?

"Simply that you remain under my care, until I say you may leave. See, I wish to fake Cossack's death along with the rest of you. I can't make the General believe you're all dead if you come out of hiding right way, am I right?"


Skullman’s eyes go wide, as his slowly lowers his buster, that he’s also had pointed at Mesmer. "What are you saying? Why are you deceiving Cutman? What’s in this for you?!"

Mesmerman shrugs. “Why, I plan to destroy the General, of course.”


Drill listens intently now. Is he serious?! Or is this just one of his little head games?

"Think about it; what if the General wins this war? What if his cherished "Elysium" becomes a reality? What good does that do me? I couldn't survive in a world where there are no humans to torment; and everyone is a mindless slave to General Cutman! I LIVE off the suffering of others! That is why my own survival depends on his failure just as much as yours does."


“What about Regulus…? Can he come too?” Toad quietly asks, silent up until now.

“I’m afraid that won’t be possible, my dear.” Mesmer shakes his head in mock pity. “I have to be as covert about this kind of operation as possible. Besides, if I were to take any more than I had to, then everyone’s going to want in on it too.”

“I see…” Zapper hangs her head. Does she have to choose between her friends and the man she loves? If she asked the other Comrades, surely they would say they’d want her to leave with Regulus… But can she just abandon them?


Sean is silent for a moment, as he takes this all in. "I hate to say it, but you're making a lot of sense. But what about Cossack and Kalinka? Do you intend to use them for your sustenance as well?"

"I promise I will not. In fact, I plan on allowing them to use this time to upgrade you all to make you much more powerful than before, and to put you in a better position for when I finally unseat the General from his delusional throne. I will provide all the materials you need, of course. Actually, I will interact with you all as little as possible… I don't want to blow my cover too soon, after all."


"I see. But how do I know I can trust you?" Jade asks.

Mesmerman just grins widely as he delivers a blunt answer. "How can you afford not to? Besides, you know as well as I that the General has you under his thumb. I would have no need for such an elaborate set-up if that were the case. And the truth of the matter is; I've grown rather fond of you Comrades, and I would be quite honored if you would help me rid this world of that wretched General Cutman. At any rate, I've seen already how strong your feelings are for them, and know this; you can't protect them if you're dead."


"Jus' where you plan on takin' us to?" Dive asks.

"To the old space station Eden. I've fixed it up nice just for you. But you didn't hear that from me. Of course we shan’t call it that. I’ll think of something later…" Mesmer chortles.


"Hm. How soon does this grand scheme of yours play out?" Drill asks.

"Believe me, you'll know when it's time. I'll see to that. So, do we have a deal?"


Jade ponders this for a moment. This obviously is not a decision to be made lightly. But on the other hand, what alternative is there? Watch his friends die? Get turned into an SA death machine and kill them all himself?


“Your offer is… intriguing.” Skull murmurs as he crosses his arms. “Let me think about it.”


BB closes her eyes. “I suppose we don’t have much of a choice, do we? Can I talk to the others about it?”


“I… I just don’t know…” Zapper whispers.

“Take your time thinking about it… Just don’t take too long; your little escape tunnel diversion won’t keep the General fooled for long. Oh, and this goes without saying, but do NOT speak a word of this conversation to ANYONE but the other Comrades. Trust me, I’ll know if you leak this out, and if you do, I’ll see to it that you beg for Death’s sweet embrace before I’m done with you. And with that, I'll see you later. Try to stay alive 'til then!" Mesmer's laugh echoes throughout his little pocket dimension.


Jade finds himself back in the Citadel. He looks around, but Mes is nowhere in sight. Jet is looking around, equally confused.

“Did you just…”

Jade simply nods in response.

“What should we do?”

“I don’t know if we have any choice but to trust him for the time being.” Jade shakes his head. “I know it’s a gamble, but right now it’s the best one we have. Let’s go talk to AM about it. I’m sure Mes has talked to the others also.”

BB nods as they continue to the basement. Pharaoh don’t know what else to think either. They may have just made a deal with the Devil, but deep inside, he knows that there can’t be light without darkness…


The Cossacks Comrades moved forward into the tunnel. Drill looked back at the little trickle of blood left on the ground behind them. He knew it had to happen soon.

“It’s a good thing you left that blood friends!” came a voice too familiar to the Comrades. Mesmerman appeared in the tunnel, right beside Dr. Cossack, who looked frightened beyond belief.

“You! So Cutman sent you here to kill me? I won’t go without a fight,” Cossack bravely told the Robot Puzzle. He started laughing like a maniac.

Wiping a fake tear from his eye, he turned to the Comrades. “Kyehehehe you didn’t tell him? So rich! I am not your angel of death Cossack, I’m your angel of Mercy!” he howled. Cossack looked tot Drillman.

“He isn’t lying Doc. He has offered us a safe haven for the time being, a place for us to get repairs,” the leader told the master.

“Basically we’re positively fucked if we stay, or a chance of getting’ fucked if we go. It’s ta best choice Cossack,” said Dive.

“It’s true! I will take you to my home…you can call it Mesmer World in conversation if you wish! I will stage your deaths, though. That way there will be no suspicion!” he said. And out of nowhere he produced eight robotic figures, one of all the Comrades, one of Cossack, and one of Skullman.

“Oh, dear me, it seems I won’t need this one after all. Wraithman spoiled my fun. Oh well, I guess I have to erase his memories about my little offer to him. Hmm?” he looked at Toad, looking devastated, “What’s wrong my sweet?”

She looked him in the eye. “I…I want to go back with Regulus. I owe it to him…” she murmered. Dive hit her in the back of the head.

“You idiot! If you go back, you’ll be dead!” he told her. “Dumb bimbo…”

“He’s quite right you know. The General will be here ANY SECOND! If you go back, you WILL die! Alright, any other questions before we go?” Mesmer asked. Dust raised his hand.

“What about Zymeth? Couldn’t you get him from Wraith…” he started but was cut off.

“SORRY! Can’t do that. If I do, then there will be suspicion. And suspicion is BAD! Hence why his memories are going bye bye! Any other questions?” Mesmer asked. Now it was Cossack’s turn.

“What about these duplicates? Cutman is not an idiot…” he was cut of by Mesmer quite quickly.

“When I probed your minds a while back I basically got a hold of your memories. I imputed them into these robotic bodies. Basically they are clones….but not really! You were the problem Mr. Cossack. I found a nice dead doctor upstairs and shaped him into your likeness. Thank god for Mysterio. If not for him I would have had to do work! Now no more questions you lot! I already brought your tools and supplies to ‘Mesmer World.’ There is food, drink, Mc Donalds (With no Sit In Tax!), and TV monitors to view the news or whatever you Russians watch nowadays!” he laughed. He turned on his robotic Comrades and sent them down the tunnel.

“Alright, now when I say ‘One, Two, Three Peppermint Tree’ you will be at Eden…er ‘Mesmer World!’” he announced. The Comrades braced themselves. They were not prepared for the event.

“One, two, three, PEPPERMINT TREE!!!!!!”

And as they left, the blood left behind is noticed by the eyes of the General.


Mesmer’s place was as good as it gets. He wasn’t lying when he talked about TV and food. But the best thing was a lab where the Doctor kept busy. His goal was to upgrade his team to optimum efficiency. He decided to start on Drillman.

Dr. Cossack looked at the tools brought for his use. He noticed that one of them was a screwdriver Kalinka bought him for father’s day last year. He smiled when he thought of her. He never showed it, but he loved her so much. He watched the television every day in hopes to catch a glimpse of Kalinka. None yet,

Drill walked in at that moment. “Hey doc, how are you feeling? Do you need any food?” Cossack shook his head. Drill has always been there for him. Cleaning up any mistakes he made over the years.

“No need for anything right now…except quite possibly you. I want you to look at these tools I have here. Mesmer gave us my tools and some extra materials. This includes materials that rival that of Transmetal Armor. It’s time for an upgrade. Got any ideas in mind?” he asked.

Drill looked amazed. Often he had wondered how he has survived this long without one. He thought about it…

“Can it come in Sith?”


“Well Drillman, I think we are done here. Three long days and success at last. How do you feel?” Cossack asked the waking robot.

Drill stood up and walked to a mirror. If he had a jaw, it would drop. Drills covered his body. His shoulders were drills, his knee’s had drills, his feet were drills. His chest had a control box on it, like Darth Vader. In fact, his body was fashioned after him. There was even a cape! He opened up the box and took out a locket. It was the one Vi gave him for his birthday. He closed it and put it back.

“Doc…this is great! I feel like a new robot!” Drill exclaimed. He moved around a little, like a man trying on shoes for the first time.

“Yes, I knew you would like it. Everything is as you wanted it. The box, the cape, the compartment in the back of your head, and of course your Lightsaber. Now I added one little trick. You are a Transformer now. You can transform into a giant drill at your whim, hence the extra drill parts. Give it a try,” the doctor nudged.

Drill shrugged his shoulders and yelled “Transform!” Just as the words left his vocal processor, his cape moved up into his back and all the drills came together. The pieces formed a giant drill nearly the size of a human.

“Well, what do think?” the doctor asked.

“Just…Prime!” Drill exclaimed happily. Cossack laughed. He liked seeing his work happy.

“Excellent. Now send in the next ‘victim.’ Let’s see if we can get you all nice and spiffy.”


After some time Cossack upgraded not only Drillman, but Diveman too. Now he had his eyes set on Dustman

. "Ah, so that was what was wrong with your vocabulator," Dr. Cossack said holding a small crystal shard in his right hand. "I just finished installing a new one. Must be great to finally talk again."

"Thanks, I have no idea how Silent Bob manages being quiet," Sean replied. "However is there a reason you haven't bothered replacing anything else?"

"Ah, that," Dr. Cossack answered with a grin. "I've been working on some upgrades for you. I figure no point in fixing a part that will so soon be replaced. Have any suggestions?"

“Uh,” Dustman said rather puzzled. “Never really thought of what I’d want for upgrades. I guess I’d want two hands.”

“Wait, all you have for the moment is that you want two hands?” Dr. Cossack asked rather shocked.

“Yeah,” Dustman answered scratching his head with his remaining arm. “Also no real point in replacing the buster since I hardly ever used the thing.”

Dr. Cossack just stared for a few seconds in shock.

“Okay, there must be something you can think of that would be handy in battle,” said a perplexed Dr. Cossack.

“Well, I guess improving firepower and maneuverability would be good,” Sean replied deep in thought. “Also might want some extra vacuums. Slicing weaponry can practically destroy my main attack and practically everyone carries swords with them.”

“That’s something I guess,” Dr. Cossack sighed. “Before you shutdown is there anything else you want? Any change you want to make?”

“Well, there is one thing that I’ve wanted,” Dustman said while looking at the floor. “But it’s rather silly and kind of stupid. Not really worth the trouble.”

“Don’t worry. What is it?” Dr. Cossack asked.

Sean smiled and answered, “I never really thought red suited me, I’ve kind of always hated the red eyes.”

Dr. Cossack stared quite shocked again for a few seconds before bursting out into laughter. Dustman chuckled to himself a little before shutting down.


Sean opened his eyes slowly and waited a few seconds before starting to get up. He always felt tired before he got up even though as a robot he didn’t need any sleep. It was one of the many behaviors Dustman attributed to his former human life. He immediately looked down at his body and grinned.

“Not, bad,” Dustman announced while examining his arms. “Simple design, but very effective. The cords are a rather large weak point, but it’s a necessary risk. The added wrist mounted vacs it?”

“Not at all,” Dr. Cossack answered. “Though they are the most notable. Look down at your feet.”

“Ah, I see. These should work quite nicely,” replied Dustman as he balanced on one foot in order to observe the other. “Might not seem like much but this makes a total of five vacs now. Also since they are on the bottom of my feet, I could use bursts of air to increase speed.”

Sean paused for a second before continuing.

“And if I use blasts of air from my feet and hands in combination with punches and kicks… Yes, that should definitely help with melee abilities,” added Sean. “Anything I’ve missed?”

“Well, I did change your eye color as well,” Dr. Cossack answered with a grin. “Hope green is okay.”

“Green’s fine,” Sean replied. “I think the Scissor Army is in for a big surprise.”

“Excellent! Can you send Jade in? I think it is his turn.”


“There, I think that ought to do it, Pharaohman. How do you feel?”

“A million times better, Dr. Cossack. Thanks.”

The doctor had taken the time to repair much of the damage from Jade’s previous battle with Gravityman as well as install his share of upgrades.

“I have to give Mesmerman credit,” Cossack exclaims, “His facilities here are incredible. I’ve enhanced the Pharaoh Shot’s power tremendously. It’s not only even hotter, but you can charge it even bigger than before as well.”

Pharaoh holds his hand out as a familiar pink-orange orb gathers in it. Focusing slightly harder, the color turns a searing blue-white. “Hey, cool.” Jade says as he puts both hands around it. “How much can I goose this thing up?”

“Don’t you dare!” Cossack cries out. “You’ll blow us all out of orbit! Trust me, it’s powerful.”

“I know. I was just teasing.” Jade laughs. He takes a closer look at the armor, noting the eye designs in the shoulders, knees, and hands. “Hey, I like the new look.”

“Those eyes are more than decoration.” The doctor explains. “There’s a smaller version of your Pharaoh Beam in each of them. Firing them all at once can be a powerful attack and can take your opponent by surprise as well. Oh, and here’s your sword back. I modified the metal allowing it to take more of the power you channel through it.”

Pharaoh takes the sword. “Awesome. Thanks a lot.”

Cossack laughs. “Don’t thank me yet. We’re not out of this ordeal; far from it. By the way, could you go and fetch Brightbabe for me? I'm ready to start on her now."



The Comrades had been staying in Mesmer's place for a while now. BB was still rather shook up. She was upset about the war, what happened to the citadel, and the fact that the Comrades were the only ones taken to Mesmer's home. The rest of their allies were on their own now.

"I hope they'll be ok..." She thought as she quietly sat in the room Mesmer set her up with. Jet was finally feeling sleepy enough for a nap for the first time in a couple days now. Just as she got situated to fall asleep though, she heard a knock at the bedroom door.

"Jet? Are you there?" Jade asked as he knocked a couple more times.

Jet just climbed out of bed and answered the door.

"Hi Jade." she said as she rubbed her eyes a bit. "Did you need....Whoa! Jade! You look great!"

"Heheh. Thanks. Cossack wants you to meet him in the lab now."

"He does?..... Am I in trouble or something?" The nervous RM asked her teammate.

"Oh no, BB. Just head down and see him. Cossack just wants to talk with ya. Trust me. It's nothing bad." Jade replied trying to ease her concern a bit. She always did assume the worst unless told otherwise afterall...

"Oh... Ok. Thanks Pharaoh." She answered finally as she headed off to find her creator, Dr. Cossack.


Dr. Cossack was cleaning up some tools on the workbench when Jet softly knocked at the door. Just barely audible.

"Ahhhh. Come in Jet. Don't be shy." the doctor said as the door slowly opened.

"Ummm.... You wanted to see me Dr. Cossack?" she asked in a slightly nervous tone.

"Yes I did Jet. Come on in and have a seat on the workbench." he said as he finished cleaning off the last of his tools and put it aside with the rest of them.

"BB?" He began," I've noticed you seem reliant on your Flash Stopper to do maximum damage with your buster."

"It takes a little while to fire, and I have trouble getting more than a hit or two without freezing the bad guys in place first." She answered.

"I see. (Guess I missed that one...) Can you think of anything else you'd want to do differently as far as your armor is concerned?" He asked.

"I don't really know...." she replied weakly as she thought a moment. "Nothing really comes to mind except my buster arm."

"Then I'll have to see what else I come up with for your new upgrades then." he said.

"Ok Dr. Cossack. That's fine with me if it's fine with....Wait. Upgrades?" She asked surprised.

"Yes dear girl. You're next for some much needed enhancements to your design. It'll take me a while, but it'll be worth it". He said placing a hand on her shoulder.

"I need to deactivate you while I work though, ok? You won't feel anything. I promise."

"Well ok.... I trust you." BB said finally as Dr. Cossack opened a panel on the back of her head and used a pen to hold a button down.

After about 3 seconds or so, BB closed her eyes and gently began to slouch over as she was deactivated. Dr. Cossack laid her across the workbench and then he set to work.


About 3-4 days went by and Dr. Cossack was finished except to awaken her now. With pen in hand, he pushed in the same button as before and a few mechanical sounding noises were heard before BB opened her eyes and sat up on the workspace a bit groggily.

"Welcome back." Cossack joked with her a little. "How are you feeling?"

"I feel kinda different. But I'm ok." She answered.

"Wonderful! Because you're completely finished." He said smiling. "Have a look and tell me how you like it." He said while cheerfully gesturing to a mirror set up in the lab.

BB somewhat nervously approached the mirror to take a look at Cossack's handiwork. She began to smile widely as she got her first look at her new armor.

She looked very different, but the same at the same time. Her figure hadn't changed, but she had a lot of enhancements added to her and a completely new buster arm was added. In fact it retracted into another hand now. "Oh wow!" was all she could manage at the discovery of something so useful.

She continued looking and noticed she had LED panels on her forearms, shins, and a small light near her neck and on the gray band around her stomach. She was quite pleased, when one more thing came into view. She noticed two long cords trailing off the back of her head that looked similar to pigtails. They each had a spike at the end as well.

"What do these do?" she asked curiously.

"Those allow you to channel electricity through them should you jab an enemy with them. They also hold energy for your Flash Stopper. The more energy stored in the cords, the longer Flash Stopper lasts for." He explained.

"Wow! That's really neat! Thank you Dr. Cossack!" she exclaimed happily.

"So I'll assume you like what you see then?" he asked her.

"Oh yes! Very much so!" she replied as she threw her arms around her creator. "Thank you again!"

With that. BB was about to head out the door, but Cossack quickly made a request of her first.

"BB? Could you send in my next patient for me, please?" he asked.

"Sure thing!" she said as she happily wandered off to find the next one in line.


“Keep it down over there!” Dive snarled at BB as he chilled in fronta the TV. She was still the in lab, which was rooms ‘way from the livin’ room area, but Dive could hear ‘em plain as day. Just a part o’ Dive’s kickass new transmetal get-up. Designed ta give ‘im an edge in deep-sea environments, Dive’s hearin’ had been kicked up by a shitload. He could hear a fuckin’ fly fart.

But that wasn’ even the coolest upgrade. Dive now had dive missile racks mounted on ‘is shoulders ‘n his legs. N’ the ol’ cannon in his chest was kicked up ta a gattlin’ gun. It couldn’ fire homin’ missiles, but the other racks sure as shit could. He spent ten or fifteen minutes, jus’ openin’ ‘em up and checkin’ ‘em out. He even had “torpedo tubes” mounted on ‘is legs, so that he can blast baddies layin’ prone, or while he was floatin’ in the drink.

Takin’ a page outta bossman’s playbook, Diveman opted for the Transformer route. He could now turn into a sub while he was underwater. It was designed ta replace the stupid, happy-go-pukey torpedo rush he’d been stuck with since he signed on.

He also had some mighty sweet harpoons mounted on his wrists. He could use ‘em to pin some sucker, then blast ‘im inta oblivion while he was down. He could even use the harpoons for some Batman grapple-gun shit should the need come up.

All and all, Diveman was a pig in shit. He spent the past few minutes in fronta the boob tube, pilin’ down some damn fine scoth, absently futzin’ with his upgrades. He just found the perfect thing ta test his harpoons on. BB had a feline flea taxi that Mesmer was nice ‘nuff to bring ta his humble abode. Including her fuzzy, playtower thing. Takin’ aim, Dive fired a harpoon an inch or so in fronta the surprised hairball’s face as she climbed up ta the top. With a jerk, n’ a startled meow, he reeled his harpoon in, yankin’ the tower out from under tha furbag’s feet. He spent a good minute or so laughin’ at the mange monkey as she looked all ‘round, tryin’ to figure out what hit her.

“Hey! What’d you do to Autumn?” BB asked as she ran in the room with Sean.

“I didn’ do nuthin’!” Dive replied, mockin’ shock n’ surprise. Dust however, was busy lookin’ at the TV as though he just saw a rat.

“Dive, how long has this been on?” Dust asked, mighty concerned. Dive shot him a puzzled look.

“What are ya talkin’ ‘bout?” Dive asked. Dust simply jus’ pointed at the TV. Crorq was front ‘n center, addressin’ a buncha reporters at some press conference.

What’s that dickhead want? Dive listened as the drama queen yammered on ‘bout how the Cossackers were terrorists, child molesters, ‘n all sorts o’ fun stuff ‘cause RPD was stupid ‘nuff ta get their headquarters at Nonsteropolis waxed. By Zapper’s mushy roundboy no less. It couldn' get much more pathetic than this. BB n’ Sean seemed kinda shocked by it, though. 'Specially since Ring was mixed up in that.

Then Crorq went to bellyache on how Skull apparently butchered some retard watchers back in Pyongyang n’ ripped their hands off. BB looked on aghast as Sean turned ‘way in disgust. Dive simply shrugged indifferently. This was pretty creative, but nuthin’ new on Skull’s part. Though it certainly explained why Dust was so freaked out after he n’ Skull ran their little errand. But who was Crorq tryin’ ta kid? It’d be worse only if Skull did that ta someone else. Dive simply snorted smugly at the two dumbass Cossackers fer getting’ ‘emselves caught as he reached for ‘nother bottle o’ Scotch.

However, his smile faded when he saw Crorq play a third little SNUH film. Quality weren’t too sharp, but he could tell it was from St. Petersburg. Namely, the Aleksandra Bridge.

“Ah, fuck me…” Dive hissed as he watched ‘imself blow that dumbass, sappy family ta smithereens in fronta the whole wide world. BB n’ Sean were givin’ Dive the stinkeye as he threw up his arms innocently.

“Didn' see 'em. Accidents happen,” Dive apologized nonchalantly. Dust wasn’ amused as he switched on his com.

“Guys? You all need to come to the living room. Now.”


Toad stayed in her room ever since she arrived in Mesmer’s place. She felt horrible for leaving Regulus alone, but she had to stick with her team.

It is your fault. Regulus probably hates you know.

Lately the poor girl has been hearing voices in her head, even louder then she usually does.

“Why would he hate me?” she asked the voice.

You abandoned him. You are a failure. He will never love you again.

“T…that’s not true! He will always love me…and I him!”

Suddenly she head Dust’s voice ring out. “Guys, you all need to come to the living room. Now.” She figured she should go too. Maybe getting out would help her after all.

It won’t.

“Shut up!”


“Just what were you thinking?!” Pops bitched in the crowded livin’ room. Everyone on the CC who counted was watchin’ or directin’ the little drama Crorq brought inta their home-away-from-home. Jade, Sean, n’ a ragged Cossack were standin’ in front o’ Dive, scowlin’ at him. Zap was in a corner, bawlin’ her eyes out as BB knelt down, whisperin’ warm n’ fuzzy shit in her ear. Bossman was standin’ behind the three stooges, with a calm, thoughtful look on his mug.

“Tell ya what ya do…” Dive scowled defiantly, pilin’ down some Russian Maalox. “Watch a buncha psychos slaughter cities atta time fer no good reason. Then marvel as some jumpy milk suckers piss ‘emselves, blame all o’ robotkind fer this mess, n’ rob us o’ our freewill. Then watch as all the fellas ya thought were yer pals turn their backs on ya n’ leave ya to twist in the wind. N’ see how many yuks ya got,”

“Yeah, this war has been hard on all of us…” Dust concurred. “I understand that you’ve been hurt. But that doesn’t give the right to take anyone’s life over it! You honestly think you’re the only one who’s been hurt by this war?!

If you’d get past your own suffering, you’d see that we’ve all been making tough sacrifices too. But unlike you, we’re not taking it out on the wrong people! I can’t believe you were serious back in St. Petersburg!” Dust preached. Dive couldn’ believe what he was fuckin’ hearin’. These douchebags were talkin’ to him like some spoiled teen princess or sumthin’! He knew damn well what his pals were goin’ through. Couldn’ they see what he was goin’ through?

“We’ve been playin’ good guys for these ungrateful fuckwads fer years,” Dive snarled as he piled down some Russian Maalox. “Then Gauntlet n’ his tards get ‘emselves in trouble, n’ humanity turns on us at the drop o’ a fuckin’ hat. If my friendship n’ my ball-breakin’ meant that little to ‘em, then they can kiss my ass! Y’all got no fuckin’ idea what I’ve been givin’ up ta help keep y’all afloat!” The Three Stooges shot Dive a scornful look as Dust n’ Pharaoh took a step forward. They weren’ getting’ it.

“Well thanks,” Pharaoh chided. “In a way, you’ve done more damage to us then the SA ever could,” Dive simply rolled his eyes.

“Look, he was only trying to help,” Drill commented calmly. “If it hadn’t been for him-“

“-We wouldn’t be wanted fugitives!” Dust interrupted pointedly. “We were trying to show humanity that even though we’re outlaws, we could be trusted.

Thanks to you Reg and Skull, we’ve been branded as ruthless terrorists instead! Some people think we’re just as bad as the Scissor Army!!” Dive slammed his flask down n’ stood up, shootin’ Dust a bitter, resentful look. He was treadin’ on real dangerous ground now.

“Yer dead fuckin’ wrong on that. Ya can’ even begin ta fathom…” Dive countered resentfully. Dust simply angrily sighed.

“Sorry Sean, but that’s kind of a stretch,” Drill concurred. Dive subtly shot Bossman a smile. Normally he’d hate ta see other folks fightin’ his fights. But Bossman seemed to understand what was goin’ through Dive’s mind. Looks like his heart-ta-heart was payin’ off.

“How?! Don’t you understand what you’ve done?!” Pharaoh angrily lamented, not even flinchin’. “We were trying to show everyone that we were on the same side! We might’ve even proved that the Shutdown Act isn’t necessary. That’ll never happen, now!” Dive felt his heart fall to tha floor. Were these pricks serious?! Did they honestly think they had anythin’ in common with RPD or the payin’ public?!

“Waitaminute. Ya actually wanted to kiss n’ make-up with these dickheads?!” Dive asked in disbelief, hopin’ he misunderstood. “The same assholes who left us to rot while they ran ‘round, livin’ the good life n’ playin’ tha good guys like this ain’t their fault?!”

“It’s been our hope all this time, Dive,” BB added, soundin’ kinda cheesed off as she consoled Zap.

“And we actually thought we were making progress back in St. Petersburg. Nice going, jerk!” BB added. Now he was pissed. Not only were his pals missin’ his point, they were gettin’ stary-eyed n’ mushy over a few stupid slobs on a bridge. In his anger, Dive chucked the flask BB got ‘im at her, hittin’ her square in her shiny new bulb.

“It wasn’ mine,” Dive growled. “Ya honestly think we can make things right with RPD over a cup o’ tea?! It’s too late fer that!! It always has been!!” Now Cossack had stepped forward, puttin’ a bony finger on Dive’s chest.

“That’s enough,” Pops chewed out, clearly eager to end this. “You can carry on and act like the victim all you want. But underneath it all, you’re filled with hatred, bitterness, and contempt and I won’t have that.

So, I’ll make this simple: If you can’t figure out how to get past your pain and act like a human being again, then there’s no place for you here.” Dive was unimpressed by the bullshit ultimatum ‘n simply shoved Pop’s finger to one side.

“That’s not gonna solve a fuckin’ thing,” Dive countered scornfully. “No one’s not gonna give a good goddamn that ya gave me the boot. RPD’ll still fry ya first chance they get. Y’all will just be a man short when they come get ya. Assumin’ SA doesn’ skin ya alive first.” The Three Stooges didn’ have nuthin’ ta say to that. Fer several seconds, Dive n’ the three stooges just stared each other down, their eyes narrowed. Drill stepped between them holdin’ his arms up.

“Come on, this war’s already cost us two of our friends. We can’t afford to lose a third. And I don’t want to see any of our friends out for our blood,” Drill pleaded. Dive just folded his arms confidently as the Three Stooges kept givin’ him the stinkeye. But he knew they got nuthin’ on him. ‘N they knew it too as Pops backed off. A few seconds later, Dust ‘n Pharaoh followed suit.

“Fuck this,” Dive growled, lightin’ up a cig. “Ya don’t get it. Y’all jus’ don’. Fuckin’. Get it!” Dive snarled as he shoved Pops out of the way.

“I’ll be in my bunk!” Dive shouted as he stormed past BB n’ Zap, shootin’ BB a scowl as he went by.

“N’ if I hear so much as a knock at my fuckin’ door, I’ll shove alla yer heads up yer asses! Kapeesh?!” Dive added as he slammed the door.


“Oh no…this can’t be true!” she cried to herself. When she was called to the meeting, she spotted the most horrible news on the television. Dive was a murderer…and so was Regulus. How can this be? How could Reg have killed all those people?

What will you do now?

“I…I…” she stammered. During the fight between Dive and the others, she stayed relatively quiet. In the midst of the fighting, Drill moved over to her.

“Are you okay Zap? You don’t look well at all. I know this is difficult for you but…” he started, but was cut off by Zapper latching on to him. She cried. Drill retracted his drill and replaced it with a hand. He patter her head.

“There there…there there. You just have to be strong. Strong for us. Strong for Blizzard. Strong for yourself. Now all of this fighting is no place for you now. Go over to the doctor. He will give you a nice new upgrade. Okay?” he asked. Zapper always trusted him more then the other Comrades, even more so then Jet or Zymeth. She nodded and went to visit the doctor.


Later, back in his room, Jade picks up a book on the Red arts that he had found in Mesmer’s library. It’s incredible how well-traveled the guy is. He reads for a few minutes before his mind begins to wander.

“Cossack hit the nail on the head… We’re not even close to being home free yet. In fact, it feels like we’re farther than we ever were before.”

The Comrades had seen Crorq’s stunning news report implicating some of their closest allies in some extremely unscrupulous actions against the RPD. First one being Blizzard and Tomahawk’s involvement in the bombing in Nonsteropolis. Can this be true?? There’s no reason for the RPD to shift blame away from the Scissor Army. On top of that, the video showed Ring entering the building as well. Was he involved too? Where does he stand in all this? What were these guys thinking?

Well, actually Jade has an idea what they were thinking. It’s true that the RPD is full of scumbags, full of people who see robots (and even partially cybernetic humans, like Jade) as subhumans that should be only mindless slaves. No question, many of them are no better than General Cutman and the SA. But they’re not ALL like that. No doubt that building was full of just ordinary people, trying to make a living like everyone else, who were senselessly annihilated that day.

Poor Zapper. It’s hard to tell what she’s making of all this. But she’s been very quiet and distraught since the Comrades arrived here; a far departure from her cheerful, bubbly self. Now she finds out Regulus was responsible for the murder of countless innocent people. The poor girl’s gotta be going through hell right now. Though Jade wonders for a moment is she knew about it already.

And that’s not all. The videos also showed Zymeth defiling the bodies of the RPD in Pyongyang, skinning a watcher's hands and using them to hack the shutdown console. That one wasn't such a surprise; Dust had already talked about the whole event, saying it was easilly the most disgusting thing he's ever done; and that's saying something for a guy who's powers are built around trash. As for Zymeth, it even said he tried to sell a body to science... Jade couldn't help but laugh at the notion. He thought Skull was kidding, but he actually went and tried it. You never can tell what he's thinking with that morbid sense of humor of his. Now he’s been turned into the Scissor Army’s puppet. Did Wraith truly take him against his will? Or was this what Zymeth had secretly wanted all along?

And the worst was yet to come. The final kick in the pants came with the footage of Diveman blowing away a bunch of helpless civilians in St. Petersburg. Needless to say, when the other Comrades saw that, things were not pretty. Sean berated him mercilessly, along with plenty of harsh words from Jade and Cossack, and even a few from Jet. In retaliation, Dive swore a lot and there were plenty of threats of physical violence. Zapper just sat quietly off to the side, sobbing. Drill tried to be the peacemaker, trying to break the whole thing up. He seemed the least bothered by all this. Jade wonders if Geoff told him about it earlier. He wonders why AM didn’t say anything to the rest of them, but it’s understandably a hard issue to address.

Afterwards, Dive stormed off to his room, sitting in “time out”, probably pissed off at everyone. “HE’s mad at US?!” Jade thinks to himself. The Comrades fought hard in St. Petersburg, not only to defend their motherland, but to show the RPD stationed there that they were all on the same side. Maybe some people would eventually be convinced that even though they weren’t complying with the Shutdown Code, they were still the good guys. Maybe they could convince those in power that the Shutdown Code isn’t necessary after all.

Now, thanks to the combined efforts of all these guys, that’s not gonna happen. Now, in the eyes of the RPD, including guys like the Maniacs and Drastic Measures, the Cossack faction is no different from Wily or perhaps even the Scissor Army.

They probably didn’t intend it this way… But they’ve made things a hell of a lot harder for the rest of the Comrades. And now the group is more divided than ever. For now though, all Jade can do is wait, anxiously anticipating the approaching storm.


Dive wasn’ sorry one bit. His “murder” stopped the Scissor Army from ownin’ St. Petersburg. Did RPD realize that? Or how ‘bout St. Petersburg’s indignant residents? Or his own fuckin’ teammates?! Did any of these sanctimonious pricks realize that?! When yer fightin’ a war ‘gainst someone who fights dirty, ya gotta get dirty with ‘em, n’ Dive knew it.

Ya knew they’d do this, big guy. Dive growled at the familiar voice in his head.

“Fuck off, Mesmer. Not in the mood,”

C’mon! Ya can say it. Ya backed the wrong horse. the voice cooed.

“Shaddap…” Diveman growled as he piled down more Russian maalox.

Ah, don’t be so glum! You did the right thing! It’s not their fault they can’t appreciate that. Mesmer chuckled in Dive’s noggin as the rust crept down his walls. Dive simply growled as he took another swig of Russian Maalox. Didn’t Mesmerman have anythin’ better ta do?

And I want to help you.

“Fer the last time, I’m not gonna be yer ass-puppet!” Dive shouted, annoyed at Picasso’s persistence.

Who said anything about that? I’m on your side, good buddy! This drama’s quite delicious, but it simply won’t do. I can’t have my secret weapons destroy each other before they destroy Cutman, can I? Diveman slammed down his flask again. He could see where Dr. Seuss was goin’ with this.

“Somehow, I don’t find that reassurin’” Dive sneered as he lit up a cig.

You should…Mesmer answered, mockin’ indignation. You’re the only one who’s making sense. The rest of those mouth-breathers want to keep seeing this war they want to. They don’t understand this war the way you do. Or what you’ve sacrificed to understand it. Don’t you think it’s time they did? Diveman frowned. He knew damn well firsthand, that Mesmerman was a mind-fucker. He wasn’ pep-talkin’ Diveman outta the goodness o’ his heart. There was somethin’ he wanted, ‘n he wanted ta use Dive ta get it.

But hey, maybe he ‘n Mesmer were after the same thing. Dive knew that even with their tweaks, the CC’d never stand a chance ‘gaisnt Cold Cuts if they were at each other’s throats. N’ Picasso really would have jackshit to show for his schemin’ if this feud kept up.

“What’d you have in mind…?” Dive asked hesitantly as he pocketed what was left of his Russian Maalox.

Attaboy! Mesmer congratulated. Tune into Channel 249. I “Tivoed” something just for you. I think it’ll help get the rest of the team onboard just fine. Dive smiled, whatever it was, he knew it was good.

I’ll be here if you need some…crowd control. Mesmer offered. Dive’s smile quickly faded as he realized what the Acid Trip was playin’ at.

“Just the Tivo’s fine,” Dive thanked pointedly.

You’re the boss. Mesmer retracted. Suddenly, Dive felt the presence in ‘is noggin vanish like a fart in the wind. Crackin’ his knuckles, he strolled out to tha livin’ room. Luckily, the room was completely empty; Dive guessed everyone else had holed up n’ wait fer the storm ta blow over. As he switched the boob tube on again, he saw Zap prancin’ ‘round outside in some sleek armor. L’il Kermit musta gotten her tweak while he was talkin’ things over with Mesmer. At first, she looked like a pig in shit, but then she started yellin’ ‘n screamin’ at somethin’. Even though there was nuthin’ in an earshot.

“Damnit, Mesmer,” Dive cursed as he sprinted outside. Zap was curled up in a ball, mutterin’ random crap. Puttin’ on his best concerned face, he knelt down ‘n put his hand on her shoulder.

“Who the hell are ya talkin’ to?”


Toad moved around in her new armor. She was slicker then ever before. In addition to her new grenade launchers, she had gained an increased Jumping ability. She really liked it. She went outside and jumped around like a child on a trampoline.

You are pathetic. You are such a baby.

“B…be quiet!” she yelled.

“Who ta hell are you talking to?” asked a voice. It was Diveman.

Zapper jumped again. She was not expecting that. “Oh…hi Dive…”

Dive took a swig of Russian Maalox. “So you are talking ta me? Most everyone is avoidin me. Can’t blame em eh?”

Zapper looked at Diveman. She secretly found humor in most of what Dive did, but this situation didn't amuse her.

Perhaps he is doing the right thing.

"Uh...well...I..." she stammered. Dive grabbed his head.

"What is it bimbo? You and Jet are a lot alike. You both need ta wisen up, and become stronger," he flat out told her.

You know he's right.

"Dive...why did you do it? Why did you kill them?" she asked. Dive looked to her eyes and expected to find disapointment. Instead he found couriosity.

"We are at war kid. I do what I gotta do. Same with Snowman. He has his reasons. I take it that is why you are askin me? he inquired. She nodded. "Kid, you have been through a crap load. However, sometimes you gotta look foward in order ta grow. Comprende?"

She thought for a moment. "Yeah. Yeah your right."

Dive smiled. He wished it would be this easy to get Bright to do the same. "I'll see you around kid. I got thinkin to do." And with that he left the girl alone. Well not really.

He hates you.

Zapper thought for a second, and concentrated hard enough. She pictured the voice. She pictured herself destroying the voice. "No. I hate you. Dive is right. I need to be strong. For Reg. For my team. For myself." And with that Toad went into the woods of Mesmer World, to face her fears and become a more mature woman.


After pep-talkin' Zap, Diveman watched the “Tivoed” news report dozens o’ times now. He didn’ speak German or Belgian or whatever, so he couldn’ understand a word it was sayin’. But he could see what was goin’ on clear as day. Off in Brussels, Wily n’ his A-Team wannabes had apparently fended off a whole legion o’ SA Joes n’ saved the day. Bully for ‘em. Things were goin’ hunkey dorey…’til the do-right RPD rolled on in. The Mechs, ‘n some masked broad wieldin’ some jeweled IUD rode on in on their high horses n’ started bustin’ up the city’s saviors. The locals were understandably pissed ta see these fuckers send a perfectly nice utopia down the fuckin’ tubes, ‘n some o’ ‘em even rioted. N’ to top it off, Magnetman floated on in ‘n wiped the city off the fuckin’ map without even blinkin’. Literally. Outta sight.

Sure, it wasn’ the Alliance’s fault the town got smoked. But it pretty much proved what Diveman knew all along’ bout that the RPD. ‘N the rest o’ the team was gonna know it, too.

“Hey guys, family meetin’ in the livin’ room. Be there or be square!” Dive coolly announced in the com as he opened a can of Duff. Seconds later, the rest o’ the gang ‘n Cossack slinked into the livin’ room, most o’ ‘em lookin’ at Dive like he carved a swastika in his forehead.

“What do you want, Dive?” Pharaoh curtly asked as he hovered to the right o’ BB n’ Zap. Dive simply rose from the couch as he took a heavy swig of Russian Maalox. After cappin’ ‘n pockettin’ his flask, Dive sighed heavily as he tried ta get his thoughts together. Showtime...

“It was fer ya guys,” Dive began heavily. Dust simply shot him a blank look. “Well, not at first. It started out as sheer self-preservation. But after Mesmer struck us in Kroutland, all I ever wanted ta do was help ya guys. I was wilin’ ta do anythin’…ANYTHIN’ to help y’all survive. Yer my family. Always be. N’ tha bes’ way ta help I figured, was ta throw my sense o’ right ‘n wrong out da window. Hell, it was more than that. I was willin’ ta throw away yer friendship if I thought it’d give ya an extra edge.

‘N it has. Don’ tell me it hasn’. How da ya think we won in St. Petersburg? Or how I nailed not one, but two Androids? Face it. Hard ta win ‘gainst someone who don’ play by the rules. Jus’ ask Cold Cuts. ‘Sides, what was RPD gonna do? Shut us down twice?

I knew ya woulda frown on this. But I was hopin’ n’ prayin’ ya guys’d see I was makin’ the ultimate sacrifice fer ya guys. This ain’t the kinda shit ya throw away lightly. At least it shouldn’. Parta me was even hopin’ y’all would follow suit. But when ya didn’, I lost it.

Truthfully, I don’ care if ya forgive me. That’s up ta ya. Jus’ tell me ya catch my drift,” For several minutes, the team said jack shit as they let all this sink in. Few o’ ‘em like Bossman ‘n Zap looked like they got the picture. Even Dust ‘n Pop looked a smidge less cheesed off, but far from bein’ A-OK.

“You never had to do any of that for us,” Dust explained. “Just fighting by our side was enough,” Pops nodded as he stepped forward.

“The Scissor Army may not have any morals. But that’s why we must keep ours. It’s what separates us from them,” Pops philosophized, his shoulders saggin’.

“But what difference does it make? If I come back now and help stop the SA, I’d still be seen as a terrorist, my message lost and reviled,” Pops whined, hangin’ his head. “And to tell the truth, if even my own children are willing to do what you did, I’m not sure if it was the right message, myself.” Some o’ the CCers had the same tuckered out, wishy-washy look Pops had. Dive simply smiled a reassurin’ smile as he reached fer the remote.

“Cheer up, Pops. Ya did the right thing. ‘Sides, this brings me ta my next point,” Dive explained as he rewound the news report. “’Member when ya said that we ‘n RPD were on the same side, ‘n that we were as bad as the SA? Think again,” Dive replied as he started up the report from the beginnin’. For the next few minutes, the team didn’ say a peep as they watched in horror as the clusterfuck in Brussels play out. Once Emo Magnet wiped the burg off the map, Dive stopped the tape. Zap, BB, Bossman, ‘n even Jade looked mighty appalled at the whole scene. Sean ‘n Cossack still looked disturbed, but not as shook up as the resta the group.

“They were safe…They were happy…” Zap mouthed in disbelief. “Why would RPD…our friends do that?”

“Don’t forget, this is Wily we’re dealing with,” Pops noted. “Trust me, he never does anything out of the goodness of his heart. It’s obvious he was conquering the city. He was just being very subtle about it,”

“I wish it ended better, but the city’s better off not being under Wily’s thumb,” Sean chimed in.

“No shit. But read between the lines,” Dive rebutted as he lit a cig. “Fer all intents n’ purposes, Wily was holdin’ the whole city hostage. N’ the townsfolk couldn’ be happier. The worst kinda hostage there is.

If RPD cared ‘bout those losers, they woulda played it cool. ‘Stead, they jus’ rode on in like they owned the joint. Kinda like they were invadin’ it, eh? Wily coulda jus’ said ‘Fuck it, if I can’ have it, no one can,’ n’ at any time, nuke the burg. ‘Specially if it meant axein’ his ol’ pals, the Mechs,” The group stared at Dive aghast as this new knowledge came to light. Obviously, these dumbasses didn’ think o’ that.

“’N let’s say we were the ones who bailed Brussels out. Ya honestly think RPD’d be palsy-walsy with us?” No one had nuthin’ ta say ta that. They were startin’ to see the big picture. Dive smiled as he popped in the tape o’ Crorq’s press conference.

“Here’s Exhibit B!” Dive explained as he fast forwarded to the part where he blew the bridge up. “Look at ‘em all. They’re all look like they saw Bambi’s ma get shot. ‘Cept him!” Dive snarled, pointin’ at Crorq. “He’s happy as a fuckin’ clam! He doesn’ give a flyin’ fuck that l’il Timmy croaked any more than I did,” The CC n’ Pops watched tha boob tube intently. Even Sean hadta admit, Crorq seemed kinda chipper when he broke the news o’ Dive’s homicide.

“Are you saying RPD is just out for more power?” Jade asked disbelievingly.

“We gotta winner!” Dive congratulated, ignorin’ some mighty skeptical looks. “Even if we put a cap in tha SA, the RPD got no reason to can the Shutdown Act. Hell, they’d be in a better position ta enforce it! They were pushin’ fer this even ‘fore we knew ‘bout the war. Didja forget? We were never on the same side. Not even fer a minute. These dickwads jus’ wanna reshape the world inta somethin’ they’re happy with,”

“Now you’re talking about Cutman and Elysium,” Dust interjected flatly.

“The SA too,” Dive agreed. “Look me in tha eye ‘n tell me that a world runnin’ on this Shutdown crap ain’t any different from Cold Cuts’s Elysium. Massive, global wide armies that both wanna world where nobody's beatin' the piss outta each other. And to get that, they bend good folks like us ta their will. ‘N if ya ain’t with ‘em, they’ll rip ya a new one. They sell it differently, but it’s tha same damn world. A world that’s been made better. Only difference is: SA takes lives, RPD takes away any reason fer livin’.

I ain’t buyin’ that. I don’ wanna force my idea o’ a better world on nobody. I aim ta misbehave. N’ that’s what’ll always separate me from the SA. Same goes ta every boy n’ gal here,”

“…I don’t want the RPD or the SA to boss the world around,” Toad chimed in innocently. Dive looked out at the audience ‘n saw what he hoped that his pals were as eager n’ chipper as they looked.

“Sounds great. As long as your idea of misbehaving doesn’t involve any more cold-blooded murders,” said Dust. Dive simply smiled ‘n waved ‘is hand dismissively.

“Those days are behind me, buddy,” Dive assured. “Any more killin’, n’ I’d be shittin’ n’ eattin’ outta the same pot.

N' I dunno ‘bout y’all, but it ain’t ‘nuff to fight fer our freedom. We gotta fight fer everyone else’s too. ‘N we gotta make ‘em want it,”

“Don’t forget that a lot of people think we’re terrorists,” Dust reminded.

“If fuckin’ Wily can get folks on his side, I’m sure we can manage jus’ fine,” Dive countered. “N’ this is the only way we can keep our freedom fer good. Lord knows no one else gives a hog’s hair ‘bout the innocent saps. There are millions o’ fine ways we can live n’ die. N’ I ain’t gonna let RPD or the SA decide ours’.” Dive concluded. “Think it over.”

After he was done yammerin’, Dive strolled off ta his bunk ‘n shut the door. He stretched out on his cot ‘n pulled a cig outta his coat pocket. No matter what they thought, he was pleased with ‘imself. He opened up his heart fer everyone ta see, ‘n tried ta clean up the mess he made. Did he reach any o’ ‘em? Did he remind ‘em that they were still the good guys in all this? Either way, he was gonna fight to the bitter end. He jus’ hoped he wasn’ fightin’ war this alone.


As Dive heads back to his quarters, the rest of the team remains in the living room, sitting in quiet contemplation. After a few minutes, Jade breaks the silence.

"Y'know, I really can't argue with the guy."

"Maybe, but it still doesn't justify what he did in St. Petersburg." Sean speaks up.

"I'm not saying what he did there was right." Jade shrugs. "But I think that he's confirmed what I've come to suspect all along."

"You mean about the RPD?" Jet asks.

"Yeah. I don't think that they're the saviors of humanity they're trying to present themselves as. I'm not sure anymore that we're really on the same side as them. The way they moved into Brussels, they seemed more to me like occupiers than liberators."

Drill shakes his head. "But... these are the Mech's we're talking about. Would they really fight for that kind of cause?"

"They've sold their souls to the RPD now." Pharaoh replies. "They've allowed themselves to be intimidated into becoming their own personal lapdogs. The RPD says "jump", they say "how high?". I don't want to fight them either, but now that Crorq's little newsflash has gone public, I'm not sure it can be avoided now."

"So... what about Regulus? Do you think he knew this all along?" Zapper finally speaks up.

"Who can say?" Jade tries to be reassuring, but it's probably to little effect. "I don't think blowing up that entire building was the right answer to all of this, but I think I can at least understand where those guys are coming from now."

"I just so confused." BB shakes her head. "I don't even know what the right thing to do is anymore. Here we are, indebted to Mesmerman, who by all means should be our enemy... Is Dive right? ARE we still the good guys??"

"I don't know who else there is." Jade says. "I can't believe Wily's the good guy, it's not the RPD, it sure as hell isn't the Scissor Army. That just leaves us. I can't tell you what to think of all this, I can't just sit back and let any of these guys impose their will on us or the rest of the world."

"I think we're all in agreement there." Dustman scowls. "But I sure don't want to see Dive go on any more killing sprees "for great justice" or any such crap."

"I doubt it." Dr. Cossack chimes in. "He told us before that he wouldn't. Now Diveman may be a lot of things, but he's not a liar. In fact, he's a little TOO honest at times."

The others nod in agreement.


It has been a month since the Comrades were brought to Mesmer's land. There had been bickering. There had been struggles. However, in the end they came together like the family they were.

Their new Transmetal Armor, generously provided by both Dr. Cossack and Mesmerman, has been trained and ready for combat. Each Comrade has trained to their physical peek. It was time.

"Would everyone meet in the living room? I have much to tell!" the voice of Mesmerman rang. Every Comrade got up and went to the living room for Mesmer's pep talk.

"Ah here you all are. You are ready...ready to stop the General. He...appears to be on to me in some way. He is noticing my absences. That is not good. So I have decided to move the plan up a little bit. It is time we must part. Now I have been keeping up with your little friends...your little boyfriend has defected to rage for your death," he told the crowd, Zapper in particular.

"Skullman, however, is beyond saving. His human side...the man once known as Zymeth has been killed. All that remains is the killing machine known as Skullman. Oh, your daughter has taken charge of the Cossack faction it seems Doc," this time to Cossack.

He looked puzzled. " can see into our base? Why didn't you tell this to Cutman?" Mesmer laughed,

"Now where would be the fun in that? Remember: You guys are my Secret Weapon. You can take down the General. is the plan."

The Comrades all leaned in intently. "We are going to reveal ourselves to the Cossack Faction within in a few days. The Tech Tyrants and Regulus' rag tag band of pals are set to appear in Kalingrad. You will "help" the others secretly. You know, give them certain advantages. I will also make it easier for you guys. I will try to persuade the other Cossack Members to meet up with you. Maybe I can reunite the Cosmic Gladiators....Oh well!" he chuckled.

Drill stepped up. "And what will you do?" he asked.

"You see I will go around and show various images of the CC, giving the Cossack faction certain...advantages. Any questions?" he asked around. Jet raised her hand. "Yes Bright my dear?"

"Why are you helping the Cossack faction so much? And why us?" she asked.

"Ugh didn't I tell this to you this? I have grown attached to you all. I looked into your minds oh so long ago and saw that potential. Greater then most of the Robot Masters. And since you guys are 'Cossackers' I will help them by association. And I just don't want Cutman to win. No humans means no Mesmerman. And we can't have that. Our time has come! Now pack your things...we are leaving our Eden. Oh one more thing..."he started.

"Oh great! Wha' else more could he wan'?" Dive groaned.

"If you tell ANYONE where I live I will kill you. I do not care if you tell how you 'survived' but you speak, I'll kill. Comprende?" And he looked around, seeing no signs of defiance.

"Now then, let's get you out of here. We have a war to finish."


"So this is it...." Jet thought as she gathered the last of her things.

She didn't bring much at all. In fact, it all fit in a backpack Mesmer was letting her use. She was mostly robotic, so it wasn't like she needed clothes or anything. Though she did manage to get a small blanket inside along with a few extra parts and other odds and ends a robot would want to have handy. Just in case. She didn't know what was going to happen.

She was about to shove her stuffed rabbit inside and leave, but she took a quick glance in the mirror and stopped a moment. As she faced the mirror, her gaze drifted down to the floor.

"I know I did well training with the others..." she thought to herself, "But... Am I really ready for this? Can I really do this?" she wondered as she looked up again. True. She was a lot more powerful now that her armor was upgraded, but she was still scared. What if she messes up? What if she lets her team down?

All sorts of thoughts like that were bumping around inside her mind as she stared in the mirror. As impressive as her new armor was, would it really be enough to help turn the tides? BB always did have a rather negative view of herself. The thought of failure wasn't helping either. Even after what Mesmer said, she still had her doubts as to how much use she would be.

Try as she did to stop it, she couldn't help but tear up a little. This was IT. Whether she was ready or not, her team needed her. Shaking her head in an attempt to break the train of thought she had gotten into, she put her rabbit in the backpack and headed out.

"Whatever happens, I'll do my best for my team!" she thought to herself as she wiped away more tears. Though she was trying to remain positive, she was still scared. It was obvious too as she headed out to meet the others.

She was about to enter the room where her team was waiting when she had to pause a moment. After a moment's thought, she pulled the rabbit from her bag. He always did help her feel better, even if his fur was coming off in a few places and stained in others. She could feel tears forming again as she hugged him.

"Here goes nothing Bun..." she whispered as she quietly entered the room to meet her friends.


Jade took one last look out into space. The time spent here in Eden felt like years. He's not sure just what to expect once they make their return. All he does know is that they have a powerful new enemy in the RPD. He wonders about the others in the Cossack faction. Mesmerman said that the majority of them made it out okay, but he wonders what they would think if they found out about what happened. Would they understand? Or would they see the Comrades as traitors who left them for dead?

And then there's Zymeth. No longer the person he was, a mindless puppet of the General's now inhabits Skullman's body. There was little doubt that he would be sent after them as well. That's just the kind of guy Cutman is.

Then Jade's mind turns to Kalinka. So much has happened to her in a short time as well. It sounds as though she's become a lot stronger as well. It would be near impossible not to. "Hold out for just a little longer, okay?" He says to himself. "Look out, RPD; Look out Scissor Army. You're all in for a big surprise..."


Dive cursed himself fer not bringin’ extra luggage as he tore the kitchen ta shreds, fer every drop of booze in the house. Even after he “borrowed” some space in the team’s luggage n’ hid a flask or two in BB’s rabbit, there was still a helluva lot o’ sauce fer Dive to pack. Dive hated ta admit it, but Dr. Seuss had kickass taste in booze, whether it was real or not. He’d already nabbed all the Russian Maalox, Pirate Sauce, n’ Irish Alka-Seltzer. The wine, brandy n’ bourbon he pitched, mostly at BB’s furball.

As Dive cleaned the house out, his thoughts turned back ta all the fun they had in Mesmer’s shitty little clubhouse. Namely the team meltdown he caused ‘n averted. He never meant ta hurt ‘em with his dirty tricks in St. Petersburg ‘n Izheavsk. Hell, he thought…he knew he was helpin’. N’ it nearly tore ‘em apart fer no good reason.

But it wasn’ enuff ta break ‘em. As retarded as mushy as it sounded, the team’s bond was too strong fer that kinda crap. Thanks ta Dive (n’ o’ all people, Crorq) the team pushed through that horseshit, ‘n they stronger fer it. They were all on tha same wavelength n’ had the same goal. Nuthin’ could drive ‘em apart like this anymore.

Still, Sean seemed kinda wrapped ‘round the axle. But there was only so much Dive could do fer ‘im. At least Pompous Pilot wasn’ givin’ him the death sentence anymore. N’ with Dive’s insight, Dust at leas’ knew why he was dead-ass wrong. N’ fer his sake, Dive hoped Dust could wrap his head ‘round that.

He also hoped that Space Balls n’ the rest o’ the squatters weren’ gettin’ theis panties in a twist over St. Petersburg. This’d be long fuckin’ comeback if he had to go through the same song ‘n dance over ‘n over again. ‘Sides, it’s not like they hadda say in this. The team still wants him 'round, at least fer the heavy liftin'. N' if those fuckers didin' like it, they can go cryin' to RPD or Light, or some other hand-holdin' sonuvabitch. At least Dive'd have a reason ta shoot 'em.

But fer everyone's sake, Dive figured he oughta keep the slaughterin’ down a little. Or at least keep it down ta a harmless maimin’ like with Pirate, Frost, ‘n Neptune. 'Cuz it wasn’ easy getting’ their trust back, ‘n Dive doubted he could pull it off ‘gain. But no matter how much anyone bitches, Skull, Ring, ‘n anyone on RPD or SA were gonna die. No ifs, ands, or buts. They all wanted ta make the world better, or ditched the CC when the goin’ got ruff, ‘n they were gonna fry for it.

After Dive polished off a bottle o’ Irish Alka-Seltzer, Dive got down on his knees. N’ fer the first time in the war, he prayed.

“God, I ain’ a prayin’ man, but…stay the hell outta our way, asshole!! Ya bitch this up fer me, even a little, I’m gonna personally shove yer omniscient head up yer omnipotent ass!! Kapeesh?!” N’ without ‘nother word, Dive pulled a smoke outta his jacket n' pitched the empty bottle at BB’s cat. Elysium, Shutdown acts…It was all gonna end here n’ now. No one was gonna make the world better.


In her room, Zapper looked at her mirror. She had gathered what little possessions she had and was about to leave when she noticed it. She needed to face herself one last time.

So, back again? I must say I thought we would never talk again.

She imagined that her reflection was talking to her. "Actually, I just wanted to let you know that I have grown. You can't scare me anymore," she smiled.

My, my, my that was bold of you. Of course it's not me who you have to face. Your murderous boyfriend for starters.

"Nope. I know I can deal with it. Heh. Well, I have to go. Goodbye forever. With my new look comes a brand new Zapper. Thank you Mesmer. You helped me more then you could know," she said. And with that she went to the door.

But wait! I...need you! I...

She looked back one final time. "But I don't need you."

And with that she closed the door, not looking back.


Sean quickly started sorting through everything he had created or gathered while in Mesmer's domain. Mostly it was just designs and research notes that had been taken as he kept his mind busy, but there was also huge amounts of sketches he doodled when he got distracted or bored. Everything was either being shoved in a duffel bag or a trashcan as he hurried through his work, scanning a page after to page to see if there was anything useful on it. Unfortunately most of his work had only found dead ends, but every now and then there was a gem amongst the junk that brought a smile to Dustman's face.

Things had been tough, but they were pulling through fine and were coming back stronger than ever. Everyone on the team had devoted at least a couple of hours to training in their new armor so not only did they now have greater power but they knew how to use it. Being in isolation helped the team to bond better and even overcome scandals that tried to destroy them. He knew the six would stand strong against whatever came next.

Finally having finished collecting anything of value from his room, Dustman zipped up the duffel bag and slung it over his shoulder. As he was in the doorway, he noticed how odd the room looked. It was too clean, the only time it had been cleaner was when Mesmerman first gave the room to him. He frowned and then grinned as he walked back to the overfilled trashcan. He was about to kick it over, but then turned back to the door and sighed. It seemed a bit wrong to vandalize the room before he left.

Mesmerman was a crazed lunatic and an evil bastard, but he had been a surprisingly good host.


Drill walked outside before returning to his room to pick up his valuables. After his upgrade, he had roamed the land, training to reach his maximum potential. His skills with his saber improved rapidly, but his real surprise was his transforming technology.

"Well I admit, I was not expecting this at all. The drill mode is perfect and the new look is great...but at what cost? This was just a bonus in a horrible War. Everyone thinks that we are dead, and we are considered traitors..." he started. But then he stopped.

He recollected the arguments with Dive and all of their reactions. Dive was right. The RPD really was just as bad as the SA. If that meant being a traitor to them, then he felt okay.

"You know, Screw the RPD and their little world. I am a champion for peace. Returning from the dead to smite my enemies. I'm like...Obi-Wan Kenobi or some other person who returned from the dead to save the world. I am all ready...and I think they are too."

Not all of his training was alone. There were group training sessions as well. Together the group even managed to overcome their weaknesses to each other to a degree. And the two most surprising members of the group were Jet and Zapper, who seemed to overcome a lot of their fears in this short time.

"Drill, are you ready?" a voice asked. Drill turned around and there was the Doctor, a bag in his arm.

"I just need to pick up a few things in my room. I was just...thinking about our time here," he sighed.

"This was a most difficult ordeal for us all, but it was the right choice. I just wish that Kalinka was here. I will do my best to become a good father to her from now on. I swear it. Come on, I'll help you with your things."

The two went into Drill's room and picked up his bag, filled with a few novelty items and some pictures, and went into the living room where the others came out. Mesmer gathered them all together.

"Well are you ready to return? Good. Let us make our stand. KYHAHAHA! Now say it with me everybody: One, Two Three..." he started.

"Is this friggin' necessary?" Dive asked. Mesmer paused for a moment and smiled.

"Nope." And suddenly they were on their way back to the world of war.

To bring about peace.



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