The Business of War

Standoff in Alberta!

Scenario F
Deep Impact (C)
Makenshi (RPD)
Wraithman (SA)

Location: Edmonton, CN
SA Troops: 805
RPD Troops: 1010
Wily Troops: 483

The following takes place within 4 hours.




Edmonton, Alberta Canada

"Oh, so I'm going in all alone, eh?" Makenshi stated to the camera bug in his badge.

"Quit your whining," Captain Spiegel, the officer who was specifically in charge of supervising Makenshi retorted. "You have a hell of a lot of SF units with ya."

"Hooray, soul-less bodyguards," the gunslinger muttered out of the Captain's earshot. He looked at the six Special Forces robots surrounding him. Actually, six WAS a hell of a lot.

He was now in Canada, with the RPD troops right behind him. His main objective was to clear the area of SA troops and protect the citizens, but if any renegade robots were in the area he would have to arrest them, using force if they were to resist. Makenshi hoped that it wouldn't come to that and prayed that it was just the RPD, the SA, and maybe Wily's troops.

"Okay, Special Forces!" he barked. "You, you, you..... Er.... Okay, I'm giving you all names so I can communicate with you better." He pointed at each SF unit. "Dan, Russ, Donald, Drew, Erik, and Evan! All of you will respond to your assigned names, understood?"

"Yes sir!" they replied simultaneously.

"Good. Russ, Drew, Erik, and Evan, all of you will take a share of Police bots split up and clean the area of Scissor Army and Dr. Wily infantry. If you find anyone else, including Robot Masters EVEN if they are sided with Wily, you MUST notify me before taking ANY action, got it?"

"Roger!" and with that they left to begin their massacre of SA units.

Makenshi turned to the two remaining SF units. "Dan and Donald, you'll stay with me in case I need help," he ordered.

"Yes sir!"

Spiegel's voice came in through a communicator placed in Makenshi's ear. "Unbelievable... You're actually giving them names?" he asked incredulously.

Makenshi ignored the Watcher. "Alright, everyone, follow me!"

Makenshi's squad mades their way through the city, only to find that they had run right into the middle of a battle. They were now pincer attacked by SA troops on one side, and Wily bots on the other. It was a small skirmish, with only 100 units on each side, while Makenshi's group was at a larger 350 some.

"Charge!" Makenshi commanded.

Makenshi's army began their assault, and with his group outnumbering the small portions of the other armies, the tide was in their favor despite being partially surrounded. Makenshi brandished his Fenrir SM300s and fired upon Sniper Joes. By a mix of luck and skill he landed headshots in every single one. Although some of his bullets missed, he managed to bring a great number of them down. Dan and Donald fire bursts of energy, taking out units in large clusters. Within minutes, the enemy had been vanquished.

Captain Spiegel's voice came through once more. "I must admit that that was impressive aim. But how did you fire all of those shots without reloading?"

"Glad you asked. The bullets are actually produced inside of the gun through a process that makes them lasers that are only partially solid. The cartridges I put inside them are more like batteries to power the process as well as being attributed to create different kinds of bullets, but right now you saw the standard armor-piercing battery. Of course, the cartridges don't last forever, and eventually they'll die, and that's when I reload."

"I've never seen such a thing before. And you made these yourself?"

"Yeah, thanks to taxpayer's money," Makenshi said with a smirk. He turned his attention back to his group. "Okay, let's keep moving."


From an alleyway was the not so familiar form of Aqua Man, or Neolan as his teammates knew him. He watched the battle, impressed at Makenshi's skill. He was on a scouting mission for the rest of the team, who were further back, stationed in a secure warehouse. They were here to conduct a supply raid, and grab any resources they could.

"That guy isn't half bad. Looks kinda like me in human form, too. Okay, the enemy forces are really going at each other, Wily, SA, and RPD. We'd best wait before making our move...Geez, what have I gotten myself into?" he muttered to himself.

Shrugging off his doubts, he retreated further into the alleyway, heading back towards the Cossack bots' base, looking all around to make sure he wasn't being followed.

"No sign of supplies...well, let's see what the others have come up with."


Grenade Man stood on the roof of a building, about 1000 feet away from the conflict.
He watched the battle using his Scanner shades.

"That's not good," Grenade Man commented. His main worry was not the man with the dual pistols, but the onslaught of police bots, who, despite looking hodge-podge, apparently had some powerful weaponry.

Grenade man tapped his ear. "Grenade man, SA, Wily, and RPD forces are in conflict. Heading to vantage point for an ambush."

With that, Grenade Man squatted on the ground, and took a huge leap to the next rooftop. Like most robot masters, Grenade Man was an adept jumper. He continued to jump until right before the ongoing battle. He drew his plasma pistol, and activated the elec baton.

"Grenade in position, awaiting signal." The plasma pistol was just for defense, but just in case. Resources were hard to find, but in the midst of conflict, grabbing a few good parts just may be possible with all the confusion.

Nevertheless, Grenade Man wasn't about to take any chances.

He stayed at a vantage point, with any view of him obstructed by a ventilation duct system, protruding out the roof of the building he was on. It was a typical exhume duct, and his blueish alloy matched it perfectly. There'd be no way that anyone would be able to see him with the naked eye.


Makenshi's group was about to continue, when the gunslinger suddenly felt a chill run down his spine. He had the eerie feeling of being watched, and something unexplainable prompted him to lash out his guns, aiming at a rooftop. However, there was nothing perched atop it. Then, he could have sworn he saw a pale face by the window, but it disappeared. Makenshi shuddered, but quickly gathered his wits. This wasn't the time to get frightened by what he hoped to be his own imagination. By now he had realized that his entire squad was standing completely still because of his distractions. Feeling a bit foolish, he immediately began to lead his troops onward.


Grenade immediately noticed the man aim his guns at a rooftop, near a window. He switched the scanner shades to IV, Then Heat. Nothing.

He then switched it to UV.

Immediately, the shades blacked out, overpowered by something. Grenade forced the shades back to standard view.

Whatever did that had one HELL of a cloak.

... And he didn't like it.


A shadow moved slightly in the temporary DI base. Searchman appeared from it, his hand full with various electronic components. It wasn't much, but everything was good to take in that war.

"Area around : insecure. I suggest we secure the area while two of us go for supplies. AstroChan and Swordman are my suggestions."


Swordman was standing guard in front of the warehouse when he got the message from Searchman that it was his turn to grab some supplies.

"Ah, that pushcart that I left at home would come in handy at this point, but I think I can manage without it." Chris said to himself, then activated his communicator and set it to a private freqency to AstroChan, "Hey Astro, it's our turn to fetch some supplies. Let me know when you're ready."

There was no reply.



Where was she?


Frostman waited in the warehouse, talking to himself as sounds of the ensuing battle raged on outside.

"How in the hell am I supposed to be stealthy? Do I carry a small truck around? Curse this massive body!" he sighed. "I guess I'm the designated tank. They could have at least led some Sniper Joes here so I could crush them."

He lowered his head as he exited the warehouse. He tapped the side of his head, and spoke in a dull tone.

"This is Frostman. No sign of enemy activity in the warehouse. I'll continue my rounds, hoping for some fool to cross my path."

Sliding his finger off the concealed communications device, he sighed, and continued his patrol of the warehouse, lost in his own thoughts as he rounded a corner.


Wraith watched the battle high on the rooftops, shrouded in darkness. His red eyes stared at Makenshi from under his hood. "So I see, Makenshi. You lead your sheep into battle, by all means. However, my dear shepherd, it's best to keep your stock from the deathly grip of the night..."

Wraith flicked his cloak and descended down a set of stairs, looking out a window. "You're not alone here, shepherd. Another side makes it's way for you. Allies of one Cossack no doubt. But do you not think that the wages of this war are somewhat below you as a warrior? Let us not see if your thrist for justice leads you to less hospitable places." His echoing, dark voice quietly fluttered throughout the hallways. He watched as Makenshi continued to shoot the opposing sides down.

Suddenly, Wraith put his hand up to the side of his head. "Yes, my dear General? How my I be of service to you?"

The General's gravely voice flowed from the receiver, "Don't give me that crap while you're in battle! Just find their main players and eliminate them. But don't be afraid to have a little fun with them first. I know that's how you work best. But regardless make sure they're dead."

"Thy Kingdome come, thy Will be done." He said, shutting off the communications. "Let us not see if we cannot get you to stop tending your flock," he said, referring to Makenshi.

And as if he had heard, the gunwielder whipped his guns at Wraith's direction. Wraithman also felt the gaze of another person.

Wraith moved to another vantage point, away from Grenademan's prying eyes. He chuckled to himself, "Such glances. They must have seen a spirit." He peered down at Makenshi again, interested. "The RPD sent one of their best humans, it seems. He put his hand to his ear again. "All units, continue the assault. Do not let them retire for the evening. Make sure both Makenshi and Deep Impact are here when the Darkness comes."

He dropped his hand to his side, looking out over the battlefield. "In that black abyss, that hole in the world, no kind breath stirs." He looked over at Grenade Man, who was still looking for him. "When the sun goes down, then there be monsters." He scoffed and tendrils of darkness enveloped him, pulling him into the comfort and invisibility of the dark.

Wraithman then watched Frost patrol the completely abandoned building from the shadows lining the ceiling. Standing on a beam he chuckled to himself, silently. "He'll soon get his thirst for Violence." He thought. He took a gentle hop backwards, being enveloped by the darkness yet again. When he emerged and the shadowy tendrils slid off his body he was standing in his old lookout point, watching the sky. The sky lit up brilliantly with an orange glow as the sun dipped dangerously low to the horizon. The lights on the street below struggled and finally began flickering on. "Savor thy last moments of the daylight, and thy last moments of peace." He said aloud, mockingly.


Grenade had a bad feeling now. He prepped his pistol, and glanced at the sunset.

"And now it happens." Maha said. "Goodbye, sky, I'll not know when I may see you again."

Grenade stood, saluting the horizon.

"Till we meet again." Grenade said like he was talking to an old friend.
He then knelt down again, as the sun started to disappear. The plasma pistol glowed slightly, being activated.

"And now the shit-storm starts." He commented, looking down at the battle below, waiting for his opportunity to strike.


While Swordman waited for AstroChan's reply, he checked around his area to see if someone was coming towards the warehouse. He sword gave off a dim red glow to help him see if a possible intruder was trying to use the cover of darkness to slip past him.

"Hmm...not yet. No doubt that there will be someone going for us soon, though." Chris muttered quietly.


Makenshi cursed to himself. The Scissor Army seemed to be pressing harder on them, for they were coming it his group in larger waves. He estimated with a groan that it would probably take until after nightfall to finish off all of the Sniper Joes. He didn't see very many of Wily's forces, and presumed that they were no longer a threat now.

Then, someone's voice came from the comm system. Makenshi recognized it belonging to the agent that had talked to him while he was in prison, known more specifically as Lieutenant Vatnick, who was also assigned as Makenshi's Watcher.

"I'm back sir," the Lieutenant said.

"Finally," Spiegel replied. "Keep watch on this guy while I go get some coffee, okay?"

"Yes, sir."

"Funny how you guys get to relax and have coffee while watching me risk my life out here," Makenshi said sardonically. He fired at a couple of Sniper Joes that were aiming at him.

"I have donuts, too. I can save some for you when you get back," Vatnick said.

"What kind?" Makenshi darted around to see a whole mob of Sniper Joes firing at him, but before he can act, Dan jumped in front of him and wiped them all out with a barrage of energy blasts

"Double chocolate."

Makenshi sprinted away from a barrage of bullets "I hate chocolate. Don't you have the usual white frosting with sprinkles?"

"I'm eating the last one."


"Hey, you're talking to-" but Drew's voice interrupted the Lieutenant.

"Sir... I've spotted a large Robot Master apparently patrolling a warehouse. Identified as Frostman of the team Deep Impact. It seems like he's either talking to himself, communicating with someone else, or both."

Vatnick's voice immediately became business-like. "You know what to do, right, Shiken Max?"

"...... Tell me where he is."

"Feeding the location right now, sir."

In the right lens of Makenshi's glasses, a map of the area materialized, pinpointing his current location and the whereabouts of the warehouse. After memorizing his path, he tapped his glasses, and the map disappeared.

"I'm on my way. Do not take any action unless defensively, and stay hidden."

"Yes sir."


An alarm rang in Searchman's left head's ears. He tapped a button at the level of his eyes, and activated his radar mode. Someone was coming their way, and he didn't seem like a friendly being...

"To all units : someone is coming our way. Maha, Neolan, Draconis, prepare for battle."

A small impulse, and his Gatling took back its place on his right arm. He stepped a little out of the warehouse, and hid.

"Greeting commitee : ready."


Wraithman stared at the sun's last fleeting moment until all of it's light was extinguished. He closed his eyes, feeling the darkness fill the entire battlefield. The only light left was the moon's tender glow, and the last remaining safety of the streetlights. He stood at the edge of the building, watching gunfire punctuating Makenshi's position as he and his soldiers dealt with his SA Joes. He flourished his cloak menacingly, saying "Comfort ye, my people; speak ye peace, thus saith our God. Comfort those who sit in darkness, mourning 'neath their sorrow's load. For the glory of the Lord now o'er earth is shed abroad; and all flesh shall see the token that His word is never broken." And with that he disappeared into the tendrils of blackness.

On the street the SA Joes began fighting more defensively, making them harder to kill but less dangerous. As Makenshi continued trying to bring the remainder of them down, a voice echoed through the street. "Hello... Makenshi" As Makenshi turned to see who was speaking, the almost seven foot ghost loomed from the darkness into the streetlights, which began flickering eerily. "One of the more... noteworthy Shepherds the RPD has sent to face us." His scythe gleamed in the flickering light. He raised his head to the sky. "And it seems that Deep Impact has come to reap the bounty of our casualties!" He said, looking in Grenade's general direction. "It mush be hard for a Shepherd to see his flock cannibalized in such a manner."


"Yeah, I see someone coming. Looks like a small group, but I can't tell exactly..." Swordman called out, then heard Wraithman's voice, "Hold on, looks like someone else managed to identify him as 'Makenshi'. Looks like we've got a couple of bad waffles around here. I'll see what's up."

Swordman then rushed as fast as he could to where Makenshi was.


Grenade whispered "Shit." As Wraith looked at him. Grenade switched to U.V, and could tell the lights around him were working normally, and that Wraithman was somehow manipulating the environment.

"Strange." Said Maha, as he switched back to normal. Maha stood up, taking cover behind the vent. He knew his cover was blown, so why stay in hiding?

He yelled. "What shepherd? AS far as I know, he's dead."

He jumped down, not taking any damage being only a few stories up, several feet away from Wraith. "All I am is a wolf looking for a meal."
Maha's pistol was fully charged, and he had readied his flash grenades.


"Well, it seems the reaper himself has graced the world with his presence. I should properly introduce myself. This apocalypse has finally churned out something that interests me."

Frostman lumbers forward a few feet, before using his massive hands to vault off the ground and into the air. He lands a few feet behind Grenademan, and clumsily assumes a defensive stance.

"Well, looks like the fun is about to start. Now all we need is a few drinks, some music, and a pinata."


Makenshi aimed his pistols at Wraithman, but the apparition had already disappeared. He blinked, not sure of what to make of it, but he was alerted by robots approaching him. He identified them as Frostman, Swordman, Grenademan, Searchman, and Aquaman. Tenguman and Clownman were with the RPD, and he didn't know where Astro-chan was, but he was certain that she was coming.

The former Ascendant Android eyed each Robot Master cautiously. "Drew, I might need support here, but only incapacitate. Tell the other troops the same thing," he muttered out of Deep Impact's earshot. He then cleared his throat and spoke in an awkward voice.

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you-"

"You say that when you've actually gotten them in handcuffs, dumbass," came the Lieutenant's voice.

"Okay, fine," Makenshi hissed to the camera bug's audio input. "I'll put you on speaker and you can say it." He then took out his earpierce, clicked a switch, and held it out.

"What the hell do you think you're- Ah, ahem! Frostman, Grenademan, Swordman, Searchman, Aquaman! You are convicted of treason for becoming an enemy of your country, but if you surrender yourself now, you will be cleared of any punishment so long as you work with us and agree to have the Shutdown Code installed. Resist and we will have no choice but to use force!"

"And there you have it," stated Makenshi, clicking the volume down and placing the communicator back into his ear. Then he yelled clearly into the camera bug, "They're giving me donuts for saying this, but Tenguman and Clownman have made the RIGHT decision in joining us. You can follow their example before it's too late!" and he brought his revolvers up aimed them threateningly at the DI. The Robot Masters continued to glare at him unflinchingly.

Things had gone a bit wrong on Neolan's return to the warehouse, as Makenshi had found them and taken a squad of RPD bots with him. Great. With his friends backing him up, though, he was sure they could hold off the warrior. He took upon himself as unofficial and slightly self-declared sorta-leader to answer the RPD bot.

"I empathetically think NO, douchebag."

He pointed his cannon at Makenshi, scowling.

Makenshi found the insult quite scalding but refrained from shooting the intimidating Aquaman. Instead, he replaced the cartridges in his guns, with one cartridge being blue and the other yellow. Once he was finished, he sighed.

"So, I guess it's the same answer for the rest of you?"

"And just as anything we say can be used against us, the main reason we're both in this fight could very easily be used against you." Swordman said, "But at any rate, the chances of you overtaking us vary heavily on whether Mr. Mystery Voice decides to interfere or not. Without such don't look like you stand much of a chance."

Wraithman's sinister chuckle echoed through out the darkness. Black and purple energy swirled about on top of a light post, revealing the hooded villain. "I am, my dear fellows, Wraithman." He fell from the post, landing in the light underneath it. "And I humbly invite you to come with me into the darkness. Into that pit of despair that haunts your souls." The lights flickered and suddenly the ghost was gone, only to be found behind Makenshi. "The realm in which I have come." He said, placing his hands on Makenshi's shoulders. He wheeled around to shoot the specter but he was gone once again.

He appeared again, this time behind the robotic team. "So what is it going to be? Do the Wolves send the Shepherd to God and scatter his flock? Or do you cast your weapons into the unknown? Cossack's ragtag forces offer no haven from the grip of oblivion that awaits. It would be in your best interest to cast aside this foolishness, and find yourselves on the side of righteousness. The General's brutality offers a heaven for us all."

He teleported yet again in order to evade the sights of the weapons focused on him. "So, my friends, what is the choice you shall make?"

His scowl became more profound as he whirled towards the SA robot that had appeared on the scene.

"Same answer I gave to captain pajamas there, except MUCH more offensively meant. Let's assume, for clerical sake, that I insulted your, robothood, while I'm at it."

His cannon left Makenshi and aimed at Wraithman.

Makenshi felt the mysterious intruder's presence quite disturbing, but as long as the cryptically speaking skeleton didn't actually attack, he was fine.

"Not much of a chance, eh?" he replied to Swordman. He looked at Dan and Donald who were static beside him. "Not only do I have two Special Forces units with me..."

Drew dashed from his hiding place and joined the other SF's.

".......Not only do I have THREE Special Forces units with me," he corrected, failing to mention that said units were ordered to tone down their attacks immensely. "But if you want to underestimate me just because I'm a human and you're robots, then go ahead," he finished with a smirk. Inside his mind he wanted to scream to Deep Impact to just run away so that he wouldn't have to fight them, but the sound of Captain Spiegel's voice through the communicator prevented him from doing so.

"Ooh, looks like we get to see some real action here," Spiegel remarked.

Makenshi mouthed a curse to his Watchers. "Anyways, I REALLY don't want to hurt anyone, so this is your last chance. PLEASE turn yourself in?"

Neolan's head turned to Makenshi, and his tone took a much more friendly tone.

"Bless you, mate, I hate fighting as much as you. But we're kinda doing this for a cause, you know. Shame, I'm sure we'd get along if we'd met under different circumstances...But we need to fight, I'm sorry." He was saddened by all this fighting. He hadn't had enough time to see the real fun of this dimension before the war started.

Wraith waved his hand towards Neolan. "You have no need to be concerned with me... now... and your petty insults are as numb to me as arrows are to the armor of a dragon. And I think with time and... insight... you'll change your tone dramatically." He crossed his arms, still standing on the lightpost. "I'm nothing more than an observer from the shadows at the moment. I'll see how this develops." He chuckled sinisterly. He put his hand up to his helmet. "All units, continue your defensive fighting. Keep those... mindless RPD units from breaking combat. I don't want them interfering with this. However, don't mind all of them. I don't want our Shepard dying before the final act." He dropped his hand and faded back into the blackness, chuckling.

Grenade smiled. "And why should I be worried about you?" he said, signing with his left hand, "Cover your eyes in 5." Makenshi may not be able to understand sign language, but the SF would, being robots. The DI would understand this too, as Grenade had taught them in his spare times a few phrases that would be useful in combat. He aimed his flash cannon at Makenshi.

"Have at you... human."

He fired, but not at Makenshi. Instead, he aimed at the ground, creating a huge flash of light, illuminating the area around them... And Wraithman.

"We would pay the Cowardly Reaper no mind if he kept mute..." Swordman said as he planted his sword-arm into the ground and closed his eyes, both to avoid getting blinded and to focus his energy, "Because he's given me some ideas on what to do."

"Shiken, they're going to-" but it was too late.

This was the first time that Makenshi had encountered a team based on the eighth robot rebellion, so he had not known that Grenademan's weapon was the Flash Bomb. The stun grenade caught Makenshi off guard. His special glasses were able to spare his eyesight, but he could still see the "pause effect" imprinted in his retinas. Nevertheless, he dashed to the right and fired one of his pistols. Three bullets missed, but one finally connected with Grenademan's flash cannon. The bullet exploded into an icy mist, covering part of it in a thick sheet of ice.

"Try firing another flash bomb again, I dare ya," Makenshi said.

Meanwhile, Donald Dan, and Drew scampered through the battlefield, firing off weakened shots of plasma.

Wraithman floated out of the air, knocked out of his teleportation by the bright flash of light. His eyes were flickering red and blue, disoriented. He shook hid head, organizing his light processors. His feet stamped against the ground. "A LOVELY trick, Grenade. You've caught my attention." He spun his scythe from it's resting place on his back. He shook his head one more time, trying to shrug off the effects of the flash bang. He waved his hand and all went pitch black.

"All of you are miserable. Searchman, or should I say Hunter? How does it feel.... To be a fake? Hmmhmhmhmmm..."

"And Makenshi..... You have caused so much suffering in this world... Is it even fair for you to remain walking on this earth?"

Makenshi gritted his teeth. "Shut up," he growled, yet he could say nothing else in defense. It was true..... Why was he still alive?

Sword felt Wraith's presence to his right, and he swung his sword in his direction. However, the blade found nothing but the trail of his cloak and then nothingness.

"You play some good mind games, I give you that." Swordman said as he put his sword back into the ground to go back to what he was doing, "But is that all you have, or are your direct attacks about as effective as said arrows?" Then a pillar of fire surrounded Swordman, shielding him from several ice bullets that were fired at him by Makenshi.

From a pression on his visors, Searchman activated back his radar. The SA officer was invisible.

Before switching to another visor, plasma shots flew near his position.

"If this is how you take it..."

Then, he targeted the closest SF unit with his Homing Snipers. Only scratches on its armor.

"Note : attacks are pointless."

Heading back to his hiding spot, he communicated with Frostman.

"Draconis, I need your help. Try to freeze these guys. Then, a strong explosion would be likely to severely damage them."

Ice Wave after Ice Wave pelted the Special Forces units, but they quickly broke free of the encasing ice. Frostman continued firing, holding them back, but not even leaving a scratch. He watched the battle between his comrades and the cloaked scythe wielding robot, wondering why one of the RPD's own had decided to aid his comrades, but not call off this group.

"Dammit, it's like my attacks aren't even hitting them!"

Then the realization hit him. He wasn't fighting any RPD units, they weren't even there. Then what was he attacking? Was that reaper wannabe clouding his mind? Yes, but the presence clouding his mind was all too familiar. He let his guard down long enough for it to affect him. Thinking fast, icy vapor spewed out of his knuckles, coating his fist in ice. He closed his eyes, and punched himself in the face, staggering back a few steps as he cursed, yet praised himself for the pain. It was then that Makenshi began to target him.

"Okay, time to actually be useful," Frostman muttered.

"That's right...." came Wraithman's voice from out of nowhere. "This man is trying to take away those closest to you, your team. So many times have you suffered such losses in your miserable life, and now these tragedies will only be repeated without end...."

"No! I won't let him!" Draconis roared. "I'LL KILL HIM!"

"Oh shit," Makenshi muttered, and he tumbled to the side to avoid an incoming Ice Wave. The frozen behemoth then began charging at him with incredible speed. With nowhere else to run, Makenshi gulped and ran at Frostman head-on.


Makenshi suddenly broke into a slide, passing right between Frostman's legs. Still laying on the ground, Makenshi replaced his blue cartridges with red ones, then fired. The bullets exploded in flames on Frostman's back, but it only seemed to enrage him even more. Makenshi quickly got his feet, only to receive a hook punch in the chest. Normally, a human would have simply been crushed on the spot, but instead Makenshi was sent flying from the impact, finally landing 40 meters away. He gasped for air, clutching the place where he had been clobbered and thanking his shock-absorbent coat. However, Frostman was charging towards him once more.

Drew leaped in front of Makenshi. "I'll take care of this guy!" he yelled. Makenshi nodded and slipped away.

Footsteps seemed to approach Grenade from every direction. Grenade looked around, seeing nothing. He switched the scanner shades to UV. Nothing.

Heat, all blue.

Spectral, nothing in particular.

Eco, And finally something showed up. Apparently, the darkness couldn't stop the flow of electrons in the air, as this actually showed the movement of electrons in the air, creating a blueish representation of what was around Grenade. However, Wraithman must have been using a cloak, as he didn't appear, Not so much as a ripple. Grenade also tried to isolate sound, but it only helped a little, Wraithman distorting his own steps.

Without any other choice, grenade man activated his chest lights. It illuminated the area around him in a 5 foot radius. Not much. The shades replaced the area lighted with the actual view, creating a 60% light, 40% Eco view. Maha readied the now fully charged and combat ready plasma pistol. Wraith was going to regret this.

Grenade saw the flutter of Wraith's long, ragged cloak out of the corner of his eye, making him spin in that direction and pointing his pistol at it. Suddenly, from a completely different direction, the flash of Wraith's scythe flicked into view. The head of the scythe extended from the darkness, as if Wraith was gripping it in the dark by it's butt end. It flicked towards grenade, swinging viciously. It grazed his shoulder pad and sparks flew. It's tip smacked the ground and it retreated towards the darkness. Suddenly it attacked again, this time from a different direction. Grenade continued to pick up nicks and scratches as the scythe whipped out of the darkness at random, and Grenade fired back into the blackness. Suddenly the scythe lashed out with more speed and viciousness than before, slamming into his grenade launcher, piercing it completely, and rendering grenades incapable of leaving the barrel. Wraith dragged Grenademan down by his hooked appendage, twisting Grenade's damage arm behind his back and removing his scythe from it. Wraith loomed closely to Grenade's ear and said, "And so the candle is blown out by the harsh winds." He chuckled lightly, "My optical receptors are still giving me a headache from that, you should be proud." He jammed his fingers into Grenade's wound, inciting more pain. "Pain is the greatest educator, I think..."

He looked up, still grappling Grenade. "I must thank you, Shepherd. It's thanks to you I have this... pristine opportunity... Hmhmhmhm" And with that, the lights in the area began to brighten. However, there was still a thick fog-like darkness about the area, obscuring details and revealing only hazy shapes.

Neolan tried his best to react quickly, but a lot happened in a blur. Gritting his teeth, he froze when he saw Grenade getting crushed by Wraithman.

That bastard..!

Taking a water balloon from his sack, he ran towards the scythe robot, flinging several of his balloons in different directions after firing his cannon at Wraithman. The water balloons covered where he might flee to.

Wraithman laughed and shoved Grenademan forward, providing him perfect cover from Aquaman's canon shots.

Smirking, Aquaman merely angeled his cannon farther up, so that the stream of water soared over Grenademan and towards Wraith.

This was the first time that the skeletal figure had gotten physically involved in the battle. Apparently, he had not liked the flash bomb Grenademan had set off earlier either, destroying the launcher. It was then that Makenshi realized that he had made a mistake in freezing Grenademan's arm cannon.

They needed light....

Makenshi took initiative and fired his other revolver, timing it so that they would hit the Water Balloons when they were around Wraithman. The water from the balloons burst, then surged with electricity, the tendrils connecting with each other and finally hitting Wraithman like a net catching a fish.

Neolan was surprised that the RPD officer had decided to assist him. He threw him a grin and a thumbs up before running forward and starting to drag Grenade away.

Wraithman threw his cloak out in front of him to intercept the rain of heavy electric water. The sound of metal hitting metal, hard, resounded as it drenched Wraith. Though, somehow, his cloak had minimized the damage. He shook his whole body like a broken marionette, assessing the damage to his systems. He figured he was alright, but he decided that perhaps toying with these people and allowing them as much visibility as he did was a mistake. It was soon corrected, as the engulfing blackness blotted out everything, save the faint glimmers of Grenade's chest light, which still only extended five feet from his person.

"Well played." His voice echoed. "You really must forgive me. Your explosives expert forced my hand. But don't worry, I'm here. Heheheheh."

His voice echoed loudly throughout the street. "It is a sick and twisted fate these humans have placed on us. They've tried to cheat God by creating a thinking species of their own. However, their butchery of sentience left them with a race more flawed than even they, as despite the gift of sentience gifted to us, the humans failed to mimic the one defining characteristic of a Creature of God. I speak of a soul. We are forever damned, my friends. Never shall we bask in the glory of Heaven nor shall we burn in the pits of Hell, and forever are we seperated from our true Lord. And so the Lord doth take pity unto our twisted race. Now, rather than taking pity on us, the humans wish to make our lives that much more oppressive! It would seem fair to me that they remove themselves and seek out the heaven predestined for them, and allow their piteous creations to create their own Heaven as best they can. Would you not say so? I do. And if we need to remove them from this Earth ourselves, so be it.... Come, Makenshi... follow your angel of death... follow it to your own paradise... Let us send you to God..."

Makenshi stood his ground, glaring at Wraithman.

"There is no heaven. Heaven is only a deceitful rogue that promises paradise, but when people try to get to there, and even going to such extreme means to get there, they only create the suffering of hell, right here, on this very planet. And even if you robotic tyrants do manage to build your beloved Elysium, I will guarantee you that it will only turn out to be a paradise lost.

"So go ahead, carry out your naive ideals. We humans will fight to the very end for our RIGHT to survive. And I assure you that we aren't going down that easily.

"Also, if you think that robots have no souls... Then answer this... Why do robots laugh? Why do the cry? Why do they get angry? Why are they able to mature and learn things, with each being a unique individual? Why are they capable of the exact same things that humans, who have souls, can do? Just what exactly is this 'soul' you're talking about the seems so important to you? Answer that."

Laying Grenademan a safe distance away, Aqua Man hurried back, and stood in a position close enough to support Makenshi. He had arrived in time to hear Wraithman's pilgrimaging speech, and it sickened him. How could someone justify slaughter with such obvious lies? And what was that bullshit about robots not having souls? Most unlike Neolan, he was beginning to get riled up.

"Listen, pal, your heaven doesn't exist. Frankly, I'd rather be stuck on this earth forever then go to that shithole."

"You SA freaks are slaughtering innocents-people that haven't done anything to you! And you justify it by saying they damned the robot race? We happen to LIKE our existence, thanks. We owe the humans that much for creating us. I think the one who needs to be purged is YOU."

His cannon retracted, and his hand slid out. On both hands openings appeared.

"Enough talk. Let's dance, hoody-man."

Grenade smiled.

He changed the cannon into a hand. The hand, not been used yet, was scratch-less. However, just because his other cannon had been replaced didn't undo it's damages. Grenade hated Wraith, because that was going to be a HELL of a repair bill. He'd also remain silent, so Wraith would lose focus on him for a few seconds.

Grenade would wait for the correct time to fire, as the plasma pistol did create light, but he didn't want Wraith to know that. He'd wait for Wraith to come out first. From the looks of it, wraith wouldn't go after grenade, him thinking that he was incapacitated. He'd learn differently soon enough.

The change process was silent, so unless Wraith was looking at grenade, he wouldn't know about his hand.

Grenade watched as Neolan got ready for battle. He looked at his hand with the plasma pistol in it. "When he comes out, I'm only going to have one shot. I've got to make this count," thought Maha.

"I needed to be purged long ago... Long before my sins reached the level they have..." Wraith said, obviously grief stricken. "I needed to be taken away from this world so very long ago... But then I realized, that after I left this world of suffering a world of NOTHINGNESS awaits me!" His voice began jumping from location to location, randomly. "I was happy once, but those who created me cast that down in a bloody torrent! I was happy, thinking that God would one day take me away from all this... I was naive... Just like you all. Robots don't have souls, but our AIs make us seem like it. We're synthesized. Fake. Puppets. I was dead once. For five years, dead. Until the backup of my mind helped piece the broken fragments together. I remember all five years of that horrible nothingness. I so envy the human's souls... and what a CURSED existence we must live for THEIR exploits!" The levels of rage in Wraith's normally calm voice was unsettling, sending chills down everyone's spines. "What of MY happiness!? What of MY freedom!? I'll never have either, thanks to those wretched organics who so callously gave me existence! They robbed me of EVERYTHING I've held dear! And, to add the salt to my wounds, I am an illegal droid, a built assassin, doomed to die by this very law from birth! God, I spit on thy creations! But I have a window to fix that. I have a chance to at least TRY to make a home for myself. If the RPD's code is passed, I'll be gone... I've sinned far too much... They'll kill me. So easy is it to denounce the evildoer, but so difficult it is to understand him..." A pause settled over the field.

"But you all should know all about that, shouldn't you? You think I am a monster that should be removed? Look at yourselves. Collectively, you've sinned more than even I, who wanders the dark." His rage settled and he chuckled a moment. Suddenly Makenshi felt Wraith's gaze pour over him.

"It grieves me, Makenshi, to remove you. In your deeds... in your words... You remind me of someone... a fellow shepherd, if you will. The person who enlightened me to God's light. And the rest of you need not perish as well. The way I see it, you can either join us and try to build a proper haven with us, or stay, and be forever haunted and persecuted by your creators... But if you insist then yes, let's cease this chatter and cut to the death and destruction General Cutman so craves. I'd be happy to fulfill that craving. Oh, and Grenade. I advise you to aim that pistol elsewhere before you find yourself relieved of that limb as well."

Grenade chuckled. "Are you still blind? It's not even aimed at you."

"Makenshi's right in a way..." Swordman said, "Anything of mortal origin will only be temporary, and something will eventually go wrong. However, let's put it this way...What if someone makes it so that every human, present or future, is outfitted with a device that the enforcers of law can use to kill someone they believe is performing criminal acts? This is pretty much the same thing as what you're trying to promote. And, as like anything, there are ways that it can go wrong. Either someone may be wrongly killed due to a mistake somewhere, or the criminals can figure out how the device works, and either deactivate it or use it against whatever enforcers are pursuing him or her."

The fire pillar ended, and Swordman's armor was emitting a fiery-red glow. Swordman pulled out his sword-arm and pointed it at Wraithman, "As for you, I am quite familiar with the concept of a soul that could not leave this world...I tried convincing one to aid me, but to no success. As for the title of 'evildoer', it is all relative at this point. Whoever supports someone else's side is considered one. But only the end of this war will tell who was on which side. As for now, anyone could be a bad guy...If it's death and destruction you want, well...sorry to keep you waiting, you're next."

Swordman's upper body started spinning, then launched itself from the lower body, going around Makenshi and looping around him a few times without actually hitting him, at a faster than usual speed.

Wraith sighed to himself, slightly amused. "What is right and what is wrong is a purely personal standpoint. The common consensus is what rules the moral codes of society. But, I've given you my thoughts, and I can do no more to persuade you. Regardless, do carry on. I won't stand in the way."

Standing a bit away from the fight, Searchman was switching from visors to visors, trying to spot their common enemy. When finally, he had a small echo. It was moving randomly, but apparently stopped for a few seconds at each position.

He waited a bit, and at the right time ... Now !

The volley of Homing Snipers traced a net of steam in the skies.

"At least one of these things must have hit him."

His hiding spot revealed, Searchman walked closer to Makenshi, still standing at a respectable distance from his companion's sword.

"Makenshi ? I suggest you to delay our arrest. Right now, we have, open quote : A bigger problem on our hands, end of quote."

Makenshi nodded. "Captain?"

There was a pause. "Go ahead," Spiegel replied.

Drew, Donald, and Dan stood stood beside Makenshi and those of the Deep Impact that had gotten near him.

Makenshi could only feel pity for Wraithman. "A long time ago," he suddenly began. "I had also felt the cold touch of death. But what I saw after that, was the city of the dead. There gates that separated me from them, and they were all marching somewhere. Whether it was heaven or infinity, I do not know. But when I tried to join them, they pushed me away, saying that it wasn't my time. And so, I made it back here.

"But the most important thing I saw there.... Was that there were robots and humans, walking alongside eachother, merged into one crowd. Maybe it was all just a hallucination, or maybe that place really did exist, and you had been kicked out so quickly that you had forgotten, but....

"Anyways.... Enough talk. Let's end this."

He replaced the yellow cartridge in one of his guns with a green one, then charged towards Wraith.

Due to the lack of Wraith's electronic, visual, or heat signature the volley of homing missles spread uselessly into the night. Wraith teleported behind the group, evading Makenshi's charge. "So, you've all chosen oblivion over salvation? So be it. I'll happily grant your requests for a quick death! BLACKOUT!" And with that, he raised his hands over his head and all went dark. The sky darkened, the streetlights shorted out, and Grenade's lights were all but extinguished, for he was the only one who could see them in the thick black fog. His voice echoed, "From the dead I have risen to cast thee into it's icy grip. Thy time is now. Do not ask for whom the bell tolls... it tolls for thee..."

Sound had been distorted as well. Voices and footsteps seemed to echo from every direction, including eachothers. They could hear the RPD and SA Joes trying to find eachother in the dark. Unfortunately the Joes under Wraith's command had been trained to fight in this blackness, but it still hampered their combat abilities.

"Searchman..." His voice echoed, "Your Angel of Death awaits."

When the fog came up, Aquaman quickly used silent radio communication to his teammates.

"Just let me get close to him and I can end it."

Neolan switched on his lights, and frowned. All of this fog....They'd need a strong enough wind to blow it away. A shame Alex was with the RPD, considering he was their wind bot.

He settled for starting to scan for Wraithman, moving cautiously, checking his back, sides, above and below at random intervals.

Swordman's upper half returned to its normal position, then the darkness rolled in. "Well, looks like he's trying to pull a Mystia on us." he said, "I guess it's blind fighting with Area-of-Effect attacks for now. I'm not sure how anyone here will react to a sudden berserker rampage...Here goes nothing!" Swordman dashed forward about 20 feet, then stopped, swung his sword around him few times, the slammed it into the ground, causing an explosion with a 5-foot radius around the point where his sword hit the ground.

Wraith laughed as Swordman's blind assault. "Your swordplay is as sharp as your wit, my friend. You'd best be more careful, I'm sure your allies wouldn't appreciate being split in two by their dear friend. But if you think it helps..." Suddenly Wraith's voice came from a very specific direction of Sword's location. "Come at me then!"


Grenade talked into his com system.

"Bad idea, just stay where you are and when he comes to you, use a flame pillar. That should also create light."

"Hmm...I may have another idea." Swordman said, "Hopefully, I can get this going fast enough to..." Swordman then started a spinning slash, starting relatively slowly, but accelerating as time went on. He felt him hit something and stopped. He gazed at the fallen figure, hoping it wasn't an ally, but instead all he saw was something painted pitch black, making it almost perfectly blended with the fog. What was it?

Searchman's audio receptors started picking up the sound of soft footsteps. The seemed to be coming from multiple directions at once. Wraith's mocking chuckle radiated all around the robot. Suddenly, the sound of Wraith's footsteps generalized themselves in a solid direction, giving a general idea of his location (at least to Search)

Immediately noticing the change, Searchman turned his Gatling to what he thought was Wraithman's current spot and opened fire.

"Suggestion : pray for no collateral damage."

Searchman took the bait. Suddenly he felt himself wrestled to the ground from behind. Wraith's scythe found it's way into Search's shoulder joint, severing the delicate circuitry connected to his gun arm and rendering it limp. Wraith leaned close to him and said, "Now now, did you really think I'd just give my location away like that? Tsk tsk tsk. For a man with two heads you're not very observative." With that he began torquing Search's arm, painfully, with sparks flying from the wounded joint.

Wraith stood and flung his scythe, finishing the cut. "This is a very fine weapon." He said, mockingly. With that he tossed the severed limb away, and turned towards Search again, standing at the very edge of Search's personal light radius, intent to relieve Search of more parts.

Grenade man stood up, he didn't know how far away he was from everyone else. He did a quick beacon search, showing he was about 100 feet from Sword, who was about 20 feet away from Search, who was a whopping 150 feet away from Aquaman. Grenade was about 80 feet away from Search. A quick scan would show Search Man's arm dismembered.

That'd mean only one thing.

Then, Grenade had an idea. He geared up for a jump, and jumped on a rooftop. Sure enough, he jumped out in area where the dark matter was of less density. He saw 5 orange circles in the fog. His view wasn't enough to even discern a blob in the circle, just enough to see the circle itself.
He used his active beacon to locates Searchman's, and looked at it. It was flickering, showing signs of active damage. Grenade, compelled to go help, knew it wouldn't matter, because Wraith would expect that. He'd wait.

To have assumed that elite military units were not equipped with flashbangs would have been foolish. And though typical stun grenades cover a small radius, the RPD's definitely didn't fit under 'typical.' After all, far-reaching incapacitants were necessary for hunting down many renegade robots. Drew had thrown three stun grenades in multiple directions, making sure that they would cover the entire area. They were different from a Flash Bombs in that not only does it create a bright light, but it deafens and disturbs the target's sense of balance. Every single fighter on the battlefield was affected, and for five seconds light filtered through the dark fog.

Wraith's eyes practically rolled back into his head as the bright flash ignited the darkness. Suddenly the fog lifted, and everyone in the area knew where the were. Unknown to the group until now, several black painted SA Joes had wondered onto the battlefield as well. Wraith covered his eyes with his arm and backed away from his attack against Search. "How could I have forgotten your dear pets?" He asked out loud, still upset by the flash. The darkness slowly settled back onto the field. It also revealed that the RPD units weren't doing too well against the specially trained SA Joes.
He prepared to drift back into the darkness of the shadows cast by the explosions.

He wouldn't get the chance. In fact, when the darkness faded, and Grenademan saw Wraith, he fired the now about to burst plasma pistol. The ball flew at wraith, hitting him in the arm. The power of the shot totally ripped off the arm, cauterizing it as it went though his alloy.

Grenade now looked at the pistol. It was recharging, but it wouldn't be able to hold a charge like that for the rest of the battle.

He started open firing with the pistol, releasing very small bursts of energy similar to that of a 9mm bullet.

Neolan's reflexes took over and he immediately turned about the spot and fired two blasts of energy from the openings in his hands as he heard Wraith's scream. He also began running forward towards the SA robot.

When Swordman heard Wraithman's scream, he said, "There we go! Now what should be done with this baka..." Swordman then rushed towards Wraithman's location, now that he knew where that was, "Frostman, if he blocks my next move, follow it up!" Swordman called out, then swung his sword-arm downward at Wraithman's head with the flat side of the blade.

Wraith's scream of agony reverberated throughout the street. He flung his cloak around his wounded limb, which was hanging onto this shoulder by a few remaining wires and cords. He pointed an accusing finger at Grenademan. "You'll pay for this!" With that he darted back into the darkness.

Makenshi had heard the horrible cry and shuddered. He had seen the ghoulish robot's arm getting torn off by Grenademan's shot in the brief moment of light, but he was certain that it wasn't over yet. Wraithman still had his other arm intact, and the wound he had received would only enrage him.

"Drew! Throw another stun grenade NOW!" he said, but he almost didn't have to. Wraithman had already taken the bait. By the time Wraithman had reached Drew, Dan had fired his own stun grenade in their direction. Makenshi had ordered his compatriots to stay exactly where they were since the first stun grenade was fired, and it had paid off. The detonation got Wraithman point blank, and Makenshi found that he was only a few feet away from him.

Fighting not to let the vertigo disrupt his aim, Makenshi fired his pistols, now both equipped with ice bullets. Eventually he finally hit Wraithman's feet, freezing them to the ground. The skeletal was shin-deep in ice when his cartridges died. As the darkness closed in once again, Makenshi memorized Wraith's exact location, then swiftly replaced the blue cartridges with gray ones.

Wraithman felt the impact of the bullets lodge themselves into his body, yet he didn't feel any pain. He cursed. Wraith phased from the confines of the ice, clutching his bullet wounds. He leaped up to the building on which Grenade stood.

Makenshi breathed a sigh of relief. He knew that Wraithman had already lost if those bullets had hit him.

The problem, though, was how many people the SA officer would take down before his time was up.

Grenade heard footsteps behind him on the top of the building. He spun around to see Wraith standing menacingly. "An arm for an arm? How poetic." He said. Grenade opened fire, but the lower caliber energy shots bounced harmlessly off of Wraith's scythe blade or glancing off of his energy resistant cloak. Wraith hurled himself at Grenade, his scythe blade spinning in front of him like a buzz saw.

Grenade fired more shots, trying to slow Wraith's assault. But suddenly Wraith faded from the pale moonlight above the blackness. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain in the backs of both knees, and he heard Wraith's scythe be planted in the ground. His fall was stopped by Wraith seizing the hand which Grenade held hit pistol. Wraith glared menacingly at him as the Dark SA Joes marched throughout the blackness.

Grenade smiled as the hand that held the pistol turned into his trump card... A second Grenade rifle.

The flash grenade wouldn't miss from this distance, neither would Grenade be spared it's damage either.

"Checkmate, or simple 45-love?" Grenade commented as wraith looked down the barrel of the rifle. If he even twitched, Grenade would shoot the rifle.

He was built to withstand his weapon. Wraith, however...

Wraith chuckled. "Fair enough" he said. Suddenly Wraith vanished, prompting Grenade to fire. However, the grenade passed harmlessly into the darkness and he toppled down next to his severed legs

Grenade felt a sense of satisfaction. Using his still functional arms, he grabbed his legs and tapped his coms system.

"Grenade here. I've taken too much damage... I've got to bail. See you 4 at the home base."

With that, Grenade transported out.

"I'd applaud you all, but alas, I cannot. However, I do have other tricks..." Suddenly the sound of metal cutting through metal became audible from everywhere. Makenshi became aware that another of his personal units has gone missing, this time Erik. It hit him. Wraith had started hunting down the 'Shepherd's flock' "It'd be best to keep the wolves away, Shepard..." Wraithman said, ominously. "Even wounded ones can bite."

Makenshi had not realized the Russ, Evan, and Erik were also nearby. Apparently, the forces that were fighting in proximity were the only opposing troops remaining in the area. Unfortunately, this didn't help, for the SF units were now sitting ducks in the darkness, and so was he.

Was simply waiting the only thing he could do?

No, he couldn't depend on the "virus" to do everything in time.

"Perhaps it would be more efficient to get rid of the Shepard first, so that the flock would be left unguided," Makenshi stated. And then he bellowed challengingly, "Come and get me!"

Wraith laughed at Makenshi's dare. "The weaker sheep trail behind. Those are the ones that die first..." With that, Evan's last horrifying scream was heard. The unfortunate robot's head rolled towards Makenshi, stopping at his feet. Russ could be heard shooting frantically at something. "Weep not for the fallen." He said, finally finishing off the last of Makenshi's special forces.

All but Dan and Donald had been slain. Makenshi knew that Wraithman was going after them next, but fortunately, they were next to him.

"Have you already forgotten about my little friends?" Makenshi inquired.

Dan and Donald already had their flashbangs prepared. They dropped them both at the same time, ensuring that if Wraith tried to stop them, he could only take down one. Makenshi saw Wraithman raising his scythe over Donald.

"This is for Drew."

And he fired one shot produced by a red cartridge. He had aimed for the head, but he had instead hit Wraithman's shoulder. However, there was still a small explosion from the bullet that almost engulfed Wraithman's face.

"This is for Erik."

One explosive bullet hit Wraithman's leg.

"This is for Evan."

The other leg was shot.

"This is for Russ."

And yet another bullet exploded into Wraithman's remaining arm.

Makenshi knew that this attack wouldn't do any severe damage to Wraithman's structure, but he also knew that being scalded by over 5000 degrees Fahrenheit hurts like hell.

"Dan, Donald, teleport back to base!" he commanded.


"I can take care of myself from here. Just go! NOW!"

The SF units obeyed and disappeared.

Now, the Shepard has protected the remainder of his flock. But what of the Shepherd himself, Makenshi mused.

Wraith seemed to hover in midair like a limp marionette, his burning limbs twitching in pain. His eyes blared bright red, but then he started laughing. "Is this all the pain you can muster? The fires of hell do nothing but purge me clean and steel my resolve. I trust that those shots were to save your remaining flock from the jaws of the wolf." With that he faded back into oblivion, in order to choose his new victim.

Being unnoticed in the recent turn of events, Searchman had hidden back, and was checking the damages from his foolishness.

"Right arm : lost. Attack power decreased by 50%. Homing Snipers : still working."

With his remaining arm, he opened a transmission to the still active Impacters.

"Hunter here. If you see Wraithman again, transfer me IMMEDIATELY his current coordinates. I put an emphase on immediately. Hunter, out."

Clutching his shoulder, he thought back of how easily he has been trapped.

"Add note to self : Never attack where Wraithman wants you to."

"Got it." Swordman said in response to Searchman's transmission, then after closing his end, he said to himself, "He may have a good analogy with wolves and all that, but it's not exactly about wolves and's about four packs of wolves, fighting each other for territory and survival. However, only one pack can remain, even if it consists of two or more packs combining into one...there will only be one Alpha Male. However...the lone wolves, being without assistance, will soon become overpowered and slain."

"I have a pack to run with." Wraith said, confidently. With that the normally quiet Dark Joes that Wraith summoned to their personal battle sprung into action, at least a few of them. Sword man was forced to deflect a few energy projectiles that hurled at him through the darkness, and into the light marched two blacked out SA Joes. They both had busters equiped and their standard sheilds, but their busters demonstrated the ability to draw long, scythe-like blades from the front of their guns. However, swordfighting Sword man wasn't their intention, as they continued firing at thim from the edge of his light. Two were visable, but he could tell a third and maybe fourth lurked just off sight.

Searchman himself was attacked by two more Dark Joes, this time closing in swiftly to deliver a killing blow with their swords. There was no telling how many more Dark Joes had wandered away from the battle with the RPD Units, but the generic SA Joes still fought with them blindly. The last time the battlefeild lit up 6 Dark Joes were on the feild, with 6 more grappling with RPD units.

Whirrrrr...ding! Analysis complete. Wraithman is...there. From analyzing the patterns of the joes, it wasn't hard for a brilliant kid like Neolan to decipher the origin of them.

Gritting his teeth, he stalked through the darkness, until his light found the scythe robot, lurking, unaware of his presence. At this point one would usually let out a roar as they jumped the villain, but that would be stupid. So Neolan did leap at Wraith, but silently.

His hand outstretched slightly, so that he would grab onto the SA robot's head.

As Neolan reached out to touch Wraith, his hand clasped at the nothingness where Wraith should have been. "My eyes are attuned to this darkness, Neolan. I've been able to see you this whole time." He said, coldly. "I am however surprised you were able to find me with only my Dark Troops' starting points as your guide. It is a bitter pain to have much knowledge yet no power."

The Dark Joes still continued their assault on Sword and Search, while Wraith slithered off into the night to decide who the most dangerous member of the group currently is.

Makenshi surveyed his situation. It was amazing that so far he had not received as much damage, despite getting punched by Frostman. He especially would have expected Wraithman to start mauling him by now after he had provoked the SA officer numerous times. So why was he holding back?

Or was he not holding back, and in fact doing the opposite? Overestimating Makenshi for being a human, and thus left it to-

The Sniper Joes fired, their rounds bouncing off of Makenshi's coat. Though the bullets came nowhere near flesh, the gunslinger could still feel the impact of them against his body armor, something akin to a stinging BB gun against bare skin. Whirling around, Makenshi fired at the vague dark figures of the Joes, and they went down.

Frostman, who had long since regained his sense of judgment, spoke.

"You keep mentioning wolves, and sheep, but you yourself are nothing but a sheep with personality. You follow the orders of a psychopath, when you could be the one in charge. Why follow him, when you can be a leader?"

Frostman fired an Ice Wave at one of the Dark Joes, freezing it's feet in place.

"If you know so much, how come you aren't standing over our corpses right now? You're just the scrawny runt of the litter who can't hunt worth shit. You're probably too weak to physically fight, so you go the cowards route, and send others to fight for you. You hide in the shadows, and wait until someone else has incapacitated your op pents, then you take all the glory when you kill them. You were even too much of coward to chase after an opponent you practically dismembered."

"I entrust my knowledge to those who deserve it, Wraithman," said Aquaman. "Not some cigar smoking bureaucrat, or an insane old man, or a senseless murderer. Dr. Cossack is the only one doing the right thing in this whole war."

He angled his hands towards Wraith, scowling at him. "And I might be new around here, but I will fight just as strongly as everyone else. It's a lot of trouble, and I'd rather someone else did it, but I will oppose your army with all my power. Come on, then, try your luck!"

"Remember what you said about arrows and dragons?" Swordman said as he deflected the SA Joes' attacks to the best of his ability, "Those Joes of yours are level 15 archers, at best, where the maximum is 99, and anyone at level 12 or below are considered novices." Swordman then started another spinning slash, this time making a sweep at the Joes.

With that Wraithman sprung into action, taking advantage of Swordman's distraction. Sword didn't notice Wraith literally slide on his back from the shadows, flinging his scythe upward into Sword's spinning upper half. The scythe met it's mark, digging into Sword's chest and moving down as he spun, leaving a huge, gaping, spiral cut on Swords whole torso. Sword's body stopped spinning due to sheer pain, and he adopted a battle stance and attacked the shadowy robot. Wraith leaped to his feet, whirling and warding off Sword's swings with his scythe and cloak. As he spun hsi cloak billowed and folded, obscuring his thin body and making him particularly hard to make contact with. Also his agility and nimbleness were remarkable, especially considering that he was wounded. A few more cuts found their way into Sword's arms and on slash across his face. Sword recovered to find that in Wraith's place a Dark Joe stood, and their leader had evaporated back into the night. That Joe didn't live very long before Sword had diced it to ribbons. But the deep wounds on his torso were painful and debilitating. Wraith knew exactly where to hit to make it hurt.

"A leader's position is too vulnerable." Wraith explained, his voice echoing from every direction, "I have faith in the General's ability to cleanse this world, while I aid him to do so. Our relationship isn't so much master and slave as it is a man with resources and a man with certain talents who happen to share a common goal. As for being a sheep, as you say, I have enough sense to tell whether or not to follow orders. Unless I'm mistaken our Shepard has picked up that talent as well. I too am a shepherd. But even shepherds have hands more powerful than theirs. Besides, I do so respect the General, if for nothing else than his wit and sheer tenacity."

Five minutes had passed since Wraithman had been hit by the gray cartridge bullets. Makenshi smirked.

You only have time for one more card, Wraithman, Makenshi thought to himself. What will you play?

Unknown to Makenshi, Wraith was watching him. "What could he be planning?" Wraith thought to himself. "He can't see me moving or taking any actions, so it must have been something already done... and something only he knows of, as the other's don't seem to share his jovial grin." He thought for a moment. Suddenly his eyes flared open. "Of course!!!!" He thought. He materialized his scythe, still unseen. He drew a deep breath, mentally, and opened the protective covering of his chest plate. He dug his scythe into his defensive components, careful not to damage anything too important. The foreign shells clattered to the ground, along with several spare parts from Wraith's innards, which faded into the blackness upon removal.

He closed his chest plate, panting. He had removed most of the components that controlled his now-useless left arm in order to remove the shells. He finished removing his right arm as well, now that his self-surgery was done. His chest's structural integrity was lesser, now, and his as-of-late-unused buster was now offline, as well as a burning pain in his chest. He couldn't help but chuckle. Never had he been wounded so thoroughly. He deduced that it was enough of trying to scare them. He'd have to move in for the kill. He picked up the shells and flicked them at Search's and Frost's feet, wondering what affect they'd have. He faded to another place afterwards.

But after that, Wraithman could not move any farther. He suddenly buckled over, the burning pain in his chest becoming unbearable. Opening up his armor plating once more, he had a closer look.

He wasn't sure how he had missed it before, but it was there. Vibrating green dots smothered part of his innards, eating away at the last of his vital organs, with the rest already having been devoured.

Wraith clutched at his wounds, the material eating at him beginning to finally die down. His darkness began lifting, revealing his vantage point on top of a building. He was defeated, and he knew it. If only he hadn't toyed with them so much, and just finished them as he was intended. Despite his grievous wounds and sound defeat, he couldn't help but laugh. He had wounded nearly all of them horribly, and the RPD army was in ruins due to their inability to fight back in the dark.

His mocking laugh echoed throughout the streets. "Look not to the sky with hope. Thou time is nigh. Not now, but soon resisters shall be vanquished under the hoof and sword of the General's warhorse." His Dark Joes formed a protective barrier around him, allowing him to tinker with his innards to pull of one last wave of darkness. He was horribly wounded.

"If I am wrong, then all of you save the Shepherd are still doomed, as am I. I'll pray that we meet again." Suddenly a wave of darkness overtook the battlefield again. It lasted for about 10 seconds, and when it passed Wraith and his Dark Joes were gone. Also under the cover, the remaining SA troops had retreated. Wraith's voice still echoed.

"I looked to the sky and saw a pale horse. His hand outstretched he reached for God's green earth, holding a sword in his other. The people began dying, as the name of this rider was Death"

Makenshi breathed a sigh of relief.

Unfortunately, Spiegel didn't allow him to rest for long. "You know what you're supposed to do," the captain reminded.

Makenshi gritted his teeth, then called out, "Now where were we?" to the remaining members of Deep Impact. He knew that once the main threat, Wraithman, was gone, he would have to immediately go back to arresting the lower threat. Reluctantly, he aimed his pistols at the already exhausted and injured robot masters.

"Astro Crash!"

Makenshi whirled around just in time to see the flaming meteors rain down in his direction. Sprinting faster than he had ever gone, he only barely made it past the downpour. He didn't see where Astro-Chan had come from, but when he turned back around, he saw that she along with the others had already made it safely inside the warehouse, firing their weapons at him from the windows. He realized that they were aiming to miss, and he played along by retreating from the fray.


Infirmary, Scissor Army Base

Wraith lounged in the SA medical bay. His broken parts and organs were mended by the machines he himself had designed, offering more comfort than the standard SA repair machines. A cord coming out of a computer was plugged into a port on his head, the top of his skull-like helmet removed. Classical music poured into his head. He chuckled to himself, contently. It did not go according to plan, but it went well for him still.

Several DI members were particularly wounded, and unknown to them the traces of Dark Energy left from his attacks would continue to hurt and burn for a long while, and make repairs somewhat more difficult. Makenshi's special troops had been cut in half. But, more importantly, the RPD and Wily troops in the area were completely wiped out by his specially trained SA troops.

But the thing that Wraith prized most was the psychological effect of his words. His mocking jabs would haunt their minds for some time to come, and Wraith knew very well that doubt was a wonderful mind-killer in war. He continued to lounge and think. He wasn't sure what the lasting effects would be on them, but it didn't matter to him anymore.

He chuckled again, silently hoping to meet Makenshi again before the human died. He's also love to see the rest of DI and their aftermath. He pulled his side table closer to him and removed the pen and paper from the table. He started writing a letter addressed to Makenshi, and at its core, without all of Wraith's poetry and embellishments, it said, "No hard feelings."







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