The Business of War

A War of Souls

Scenario G
Makenshi (RPD)
Cossacks Comrades (C)
SparkChan (W)

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Max. Cossack Scrap Value: 2969
SA Infantry: 1136
RPD Units: 1084
Wily Bots: 860

“Any sign of them yet?”

Drillman and the other Comrades are situated near the top of the Town Hall tower in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, awaiting the approaching Scissor army. Cossack had received an SOS from this location warning of an impending SA attack, and so the Comrades were sent to fight off the approaching army, but upon their arrival, all has been silent.

"No, I don't see anyone yet, Drill." Jet says from the east end of the tower, everyone is watching a different direction, hoping to be able to spot any encroaching army before they arrive.

Drill shakes his head "I don't like this one bit." After a dangerously close-to-home battle in St. Petersburg against Mysteryman, the Comrades have been on edge, concerned that such an attack may have merely been the beginning. "This smells like a trap."

The entire town is sort of a throwback to medieval days. The place is full of very old buildings that are many hundreds of years old, yet they are marvelously well kept up. The whole thing is such a serene image of tranquility. It’s a bloody shame that this quaint little town will soon be a war zone.

“I just don’t get what the Scissor Army would ever want with a place like this.” Pharaoh speaks up. “There just doesn’t seem to be any strategic value to them taking this city.”

“Bingo.” Zymeth exclaims. “And that’s what worries us.”

Diveman lights up a cig. “Well, all we can do fer now is keep an eye out. At least if those Scissor punks show up we’ll be ready for them.”

“Let’s hope this was a false alarm.” Brightbabe speaks up again. “I’d hate to see this town be destroyed.”

Jade nods, “You’re right about that. It does have a charming atmosphere to it.”

“I know what you mean.” Dust says, “But I don’t think the good General and his guys will be here to sightsee. Just wish I knew what they were here for.”

The Comrades return to watching the horizon. For better or for worse, they’ll get their answers soon.



"Sir, Beta Company is ready to move out on your command."

Mesmerman's grinning face turned, overlooking the thousand Scissor Joes that stood at ready attention. Their lives his to play with and sacrifice. Loyal, unthinking, well trained automatons. The perfect soldiers, really. And in largers numbers than any commander in any engagement could ask for.

And yet...

"Not today," Mesmerman shook his head.

The leading Joe cocked his head to the side in confusion. His arm was decorated with both the SA insignia and the dual chevron over star design that marked him as a field commander, one of the higher ranking Joes that took to the field. An able coordinator, this particular Joe had proven his effectiveness to Mesmerman before, having been the prison warden of sorts in Hong Kong, and before that he had led a small force of Joes inside Monsteropolis into a human recreation center, something that was called a 'health club' and had turned the name into a sick joke.

Mesmerman had, of course, taken an immediate liking to him, even if his actions were unintentional.

But today, the Joe looked at Mesmerman. "Sir, the General has ordered us to mobilize against the forces based in Russia."

Mesmerman giggled. "I have... a different idea in mind."

The Joe stopped and processed this before coming to a conclusion. It snapped to attention once more. "Sir, what are your orders, sir?"

The white pieces waved a hand dismissively. "Why don't you and your boys... go play in Berlin?" he grinned. "You shall be close by if I need you, but you can pursue a different goal for me."

The Joe simply stood there for a moment and then nodded. "Sir, yes sir!" he barked, turning to the 999 behind him. "You heard the commander. Move out!"

Mesmerman watched them all file out of the room before returning to his own thoughts. He looked down at the map below him again. Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a rather quaint little village full of tasty history, authentically old buildings, and, currently, thanks to a little trick he'd picked up with some help from Thaddeus Tilman, occupied by one of Russia's finer combat units: Cossack's Comerades.

It was true. General Cutman HAD ordered Mesmerman and his detatchment of Joes to move in on a Russian city, almost purely to make the disadvantaged Cossack forces sweat, but this... this was a MUCH better idea.

By drawing the Comerades out of Russia, and then distracting them for an amount of time, Mesmerman would be granting the SA forces invading the various parts of Russia a boon, keeping one of the few nearly full remaining Megaman Teams in the war busy enough that they could do nothing to aid their mother country until, hopefully, the battles were already decided.

But to do that effectively, Mesmerman decided early on that he couldn't use standard Joes. No matter how well coordinated the SA forces seemed, the other armies always seemed, against all odds, to come out on top unless something massive threw the tide in favor of the SA. In Rome, that had been Mesmerman's Siege Joes.

All of that accounted for, Mesmerman stood up straight and made the decision. "The only thing the Comerades shall fight today... is ME." he giggled.

Instantaneous travel had its advantages. Teleportation was a wonderful thing when no countermeasures were in place, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber was about as far from shielded as you could ever want. Add that to the fact that he'd been here, two days earlier, preparing for this action. Mesmerman grinned as he touched down on the rolling grass outside of the village. His virtual form manifested inside the city almost immediately, seeking out the lonely basement where'd he'd placed the phantom S.O.S. generator.

The city had been evacuated weeks ago. When Berlin had been utterly demolished, much of Germany had been abanddoned in favor of Switzerland, New Zealand, or even Monsteropolis. Mesmerman couldn't say he understood WHY they wanted to move to those places, because it wasn't like they were safer, but an empty city had made this plan a much more viable course of action.

His spiralled hands ticked the off switch on the S.O.S. generator and hit the on switch on another piece of machinery. It began to hum menacingly, and a quick glance into the air with his robotic self confirmed the sky looked smudged, like the poor application of a Photoshop filter.

"The stage is set..." Mesmerman smiled. His virtual self dissipated back into harmless light, reforming in full nearby his robotic self. "Now to bring the players forward."

"Hey... am I the only one seeing this?" Pharaohman asked his fellow teammates.

"Crap," Dustman grunted. "Teleportation shield."

"Well, that answers the 'trap' question," Drillman sighed. "It looks like the shield stops near the edge of the city. We should get going while the getting is good."

"And leave all of this behind for the Scissor Army to claim?" Brightbabe asked, a small amount of shock in her voice.

"Doesn't do us any good to stay if we're outnumbered, outgunned, and screwed," Diveman told her.

"We don't have time to mess around," Drillman told the rest of them. "We need to leave, now, before something REALLY bad happens."

"I was kind of expecting... y'know, an attack or something," Diveman said, looking around from thier vantage point. "There isn't a Joe in sight."

"Let's go," Drillman repeated himself, leading them all off the tower and toward the edge of town. He didn't like this one bit. First, the S.O.S. for no apparent reason other than this was a ghost town, and now a sudden teleportation shield. There was no way this wasn't some kind of trap.

They reached the fringes of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and Drillman swore when he saw that the shield extended for about a mile beyond, over a large grassy field. A grassy field with a single occupant.

"Who's that?" Pharaohman asked, pointing at the solitary figure that was walking toward them.

Drillman opened his mouth to speak, but the newcomer cut him off. "I am Mesmerman," it chuckled, "and I'll be your opponent today."

Diveman actually laughed out loud. "You think you can take all of us on? That's rich, smiley."

Mesmerman's robotic form smiled. "I've learned a lot of things as this War has raged on. I've learned that, sometimes, tactics don't matter. Strategy and planning just can't compete. No, my friends, I have found that there is something even greater than the most complicated military maneuvering."

The Comerades began to spread out, ready to strike if Mesmerman tried anything, but the robot with the tentacles coming out of his back just kept talking. "Only two things matter in any engagement with the enemy: Force in as great a concentration as you can manage, and style. And in a pinch, style can slide. In any battle, there is a level of force against which no tactics can succeed, and all I have to do is keep hammering away at you until you all eventually fall."

"You're gonna be hard pressed to do that all by your lonesome, creepy," Dievman grinned.

Storm clouds rolled into the sky above as Mesmerman looked at him, a smile on his face that unsettled even Diveman. "It's true. Alone, I am somewhat weak. But, in numbers..."

A beam of light shot down through the clouds, through the teleportation shield, and landed beside Mesmerman. The form that resulted from the teleportation grinned at them all, hefting a Scissor Joe plasma rifle. "In numbers, I am VERY effective."

"TWO of you?" Drillman asked incredulously, "AND you can go through teleportation shields?"

"One way sheilds are a wonderful invention," the Mesmermen said in unison. Another beam of light delivered a third Mesmerman onto the field, and they all shared a laugh. "Many of them are designed to allow people to go out without allowing people in. I simply reversed its use. Now I can come in," they laughed, punctuating their statement as a fourth Mesmerman arrived, "and you can't go out!"

The Comerades began to back away, shock and realization registering on their features. "Guys?" Brightbabe said shakily, "I think we should run now..."

More beams of light began to fall from the sky, like rain. Slowly at first, and then with increased speed, adding more and more of Mesmerman's robotic forms to the field. They all began to laugh as one being and the white monstrosity materialized in the dark air above them all, hefting his blood red scythe.

"You can all have your finely crafted plans," he chuckled, "give me the sledgehammer to hit you in the face with any day!"

With a tremendous cry, over a thousand identical robots charged into Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

The Comerades dashed back into the city, hell on their very heels. They stopped only to cath their breath at the base of the Town Hall tower.

"Now what the hell do we do?" Toadgal asked, exasperated.

Drillman's reply was lost in a blinding flash of light. The assembled Comerades cried out in surprise, trying to shield their eyes from the all-encompassing flash. Diveman was the first to recover.

"Holy..." the rest of the expletive died on his lips as he looked up. Fifteen statue-like figures stood among them, radiating danger and unstoppable power. Massive cannons that made up their left arms hummed to life as the faceless heads of the new monstrosities looked down upon the Russian team.

"SIEGE JOES!" Drillman shouted, recognizing them from the horror stories the Cosmic Gladiators had related to him from the fight in Rome. Each of these oversized machines sported thick armor, a heavy plasma weapon capable of melting concrete, some sort of 'jump' ability he'd only gotten fuzzy details on, and a keen tactical mind focused on teamwork. Almost perfect, deadly behemoths. And they were outnumbered by these things by more than two to one.

There was no other option.

"SCATTER!" Drillman shouted, catching sight of Skullman jumping up and away from the sudden crowd, barely avoiding a hissing stream of plasma that cut deeply into the building behind them. Shuddering thumps followed by treacherously quiet hissing noises signaled the Siege Joes firing their busters, the area around them turning to slag as the Comerades beat a frantic retreat in any direction that presented itself.

Mesmerman's virtual form, the Terror of Perception, floated down from above, a smile pasted, as always, to his features. One of the Siege Joes turned to him and saluted.

"Sir, primary objective accomplished. Fighting unit designated 'Cossack's Comerades' suffering from loss of unit cohesion. Enemy forces are split and retreating."

"Excellent work, S-186. Hold position here until I call for you."

"Sir, what will you be doing in the meantime?" S-186 asked. Mesmerman had forgotten that the process of being wired into a Siege Joe made the standard SA Joe a little more bold.

"Why, what I do best!" he chuckled as over a thousand copies of his robotic form began to flood their way through the small city. "I shall be inviting them all to... play in my world."

His laughter rang out in fresh waves as the Siege Joes prepared for anything.

"Sir, it appears we have a situation. The RPD has arrived. And to make matters worse Spark Chan is on the other side of town," S-186 commed in.

"Hmm...leave the RPD to me. As for Spark Chan...let her be unless she comes too close...I want to have time to play with my new toys..." Mesmer whispered.



The RPD made their way through town, with Makenshi in the center along with his three SF bodyguards. You would have been at the front leading the group, but Crorq had stubbornly ordered them to not follow Makenshi's command due to him being "an incompetent infidel who continuously wastes our most expensive units as if they were disposable toothbrushes." Now, a couple standard SF units were leading the squadron. Makenshi only shrugged. At least he was able to give his bodyguards some... upgrades. Then they would be able to last much longer.

They had come to investigate an SOS signal, but not a soul was in sight. Was it a false alarm, or a trap?

Vatnick's voice came in to confirm the latter. "There's a teleportation shield, and a battle's taking place not far from here that's star"

"Great," Makenshi muttered.

The leader ordered everyone to scatter into groups to meet and combat these new fighters. Makenshi and his bodyguards were split up, with only a few standard police bots and K-9's at his side. Nothing had happened yet, so what was this lingering sense of dread he felt?



Drill looked everywhere. He couldn’t find any of his teammates. What he could see, however, is these damn Mesmer Clones. He starts to attack them one by one. Each kill gets him even angrier.

“Come out you Coward! Just because you are Cutman’s bitch doesn’t mean that you are above me! FIGHT ME!!!!” He roared. He startled himself by just how angry he was.

A tap on the shoulder. That’s all it was. He turned around and saw the grinning fool. “How could I refuse a request like that?” And the world disappeared.



The Mesmer body in front of him toppled over as Skull’s scythe relieved it of its upper torso. He turned and fled, nearly panicking in the other direction trying to loose the other Mesmermen on his tail. None of his guile or trickery would help him against a man who can read minds. He was at far too much of a disadvantage, and here he was sitting away from the group. Only moments ago he and Toad decided to look for other units in the area. He knew that Sparkchan was somewhere, and he knew that he could use her compassion to aid him.

He spun around another corner, realizing that he couldn’t hide and that he needed to find Zapper very quickly. He ran into another room in the building, still trying to loose his pursuers. Suddenly, from a locker to his left, came a huge crash. He raised his arms up in an attempt to raise his Skull Barrier, but the Mesmerman body that flew from was quicker on the draw. A cord wrapped around his ankle, yanking him off his feet, and in the air several more swung at his helpless form.



Dustman dove around a street corner to avoid incoming fire. He cursed under his breath as a stream of plasma reduced a wall to rubble. An ambush had practically been waiting for anyone foolish enough to show up when the Cossack’s Comrades had arrived. An army of robots came out of nowhere forcing everyone to scatter. While running from one of these mechanized monsters, Sean had unfortunately learned that the things were armed to the teeth. Sean swore once more as he tried activating his radio and only received static when trying to communicate. The Scissor Army certainly came prepared.

After running down street after street, Sean noticed he had just reached a dead end. For the third time that day he silently swore because his enemy had succeeded in trapping him; in such a closed space there was little doubt about whether Dustman would be gunned down. Overpowered and outmaneuvered, the robot master turned around hoping to possibly force his way through the alleyway. However as soon as he turned around to face his opponent head on, something hit Dustman from behind and he immediately blacked out.



BB couldn't believe what was happening. Not only was her team horribly outnumbered by hundreds of Mesmer clones, but now there were Siege Joes to worry about too!

Needless to say, BB was terrified as she tried to dispose of as many clones as she could. She was in a fix though. Her teammates were nowhere to be seen. Her slow firing buster arm put her at a greater disadvantage than the others as far as offense goes, though she did have Flash Stopper. She wouldn't use it now though, she'd save it for when she's stuck.

BB had to try and get away from them and find her team mates! She had to try and help them if she could! She suddenly heard Dive's voice over her Com link.

"A barn?" she thought as she quickly looked around.

There it was! It wasn't too far off! Maybe she could reach it in time to help Dive! So she took off for it.

.....Suddenly, just when she was about half way there, a brilliant light flashed on both sides of her. BB was startled badly as she held her arms up to block the light. She then looked in horror when she saw what had happened.

Two siege joes had teleported to her location and were both eying her with their weapons drawn standing less than 5 ft from her. BB let out a frightened scream and took off running in the opposite direction from sheer panic. As if things couldn't get worse, they began to give chase and were firing at her.

It was obvious BB couldn't outrun these things as they were slowly gaining on her and the shots became harder and harder to dodge. She even got grazed by a couple. She was at a complete loss of what to do.... until she remembered her light bulb of course. In less than a split second her light bulb burst to life lighting the entire region and stunning the joes long enough for her to run away.

BB ducked behind a small building just in time for the attack to wear off. As BB hid there to try and catch her breath, she quickly looked around when she thought she heard something back there with her.

Just as she turned around again 8 long cable arms wrapped themselves around her body and everything went completely dark.



A Pharaoh Shot incinerates about another half dozen Mesmerman puppets down on the street. Jade quickly ducks back into the window he fired out of. He peers out and sees another puppet that witnesses the blast start towards the building he’s in, but its head is demolished by the Curse of the King laser from his headdress. Jade now looks for another vantage point to charge another shot.

“Not too bad, if I do say so myself.” Pharaoh commends himself as he slips through the room and up the stairs to the roof. From here, he’ll hop to another building before the drones see him, and snipe a few more of them off. He opens the door to the roof access, and finds Mesmerman’s grinning visage looking right back at him! Startled, Pharaoh raises his buster, but he’s too late as a pair of cables immediately snaps towards him, and all goes black…



When Dustman awoke there was not a standing building in sight. Mechanical corpses littered the street composing of Wily and RPD forces. Some parts of the city were ablaze, but the flames were dying down. Sean looked on with shock wondering how this all happened and how long he had been out when suddenly Mesmerman appeared behind him.

“Oh, good,” Mesmerman said brandishing Malus Messis. “My last toy has finally awoken. I was worried that my soldiers had killed you. I’m getting a little bored since my other five playthings broke.”

Dustman immediately tried firing off a dust crusher that Mesmerman batted aside with his scythe.

“You still have some hope and aggression in you. That’s good. Maybe it will last longer than it did in your friends,” mocked Mesmerman. “Come, I’ll show you my handywork.”

Mesmerman charged forward and swung Malus Messis at Sean. Dustman tried moving out of the way but Mesmerman was too fast and impaled the robot master on his weapon. Howling in pain Dustman now had the scythe sticking through his chest and was lifted up in the air as Mesmerman raised his hand and began to walk through the destroyed streets.

“You Cossack bots aren’t enough a challenge. Half of you are barely held together and almost all of those working for Cossack still lack upgraded armor. You are almost not worth killing, but only almost,” said a grinning Mesmerman. “The only problem is that all of you morons seem to be filled with that annoying thing called hope. I absolutely hate the stuff; it lacks logic and seems to overpower the more sensible fear. It is such a shame that you missed me crushing the hope out of all of your team mates, I really wish I had the time to personally destroy the dreams of each and every one of Dr. Cossack’s soldiers. However I’m on a schedule. I think the corpses of Dr. Cossack’s own robot masters being dropped on the Citadel’s doorstep will do a nice job of spreading fear, don’t you?”

Mesmerman reached his designation and stopped. He grinned with that crazy smile of his as he lowered his scythe and with his free hand twisted Dustman’s head to ensure the whole scene was taken in.

Zymeth was the first one to be seen since his corpse was at Mesmerman’s feet. A scythe, identical to the one Dustman was currently attached to, had been struck through his head nailing it to the ground. Skullman’s face was filled with horror and his mouth was still open, he was silenced mid-scream. His whole body was covered with holes and by the position of his limbs it looked like Zymeth had tried crawling away only to be finished off.

“He was the last to be killed since it took longer for his anger to die down and be replaced with terror. By the time he tried fleeing instead of fighting he was too damaged to run properly and immediately toppled over,” Mesmerman explained.

Sean shouted, “You bastard!”

Dustman’s vacuum activated as he tried to move his head against Mesmerman’s hand. He also raised his buster and began to fire when Mesmerman spun his scythe and flung Dustman up into the air. Mesmerman threw Malus Messis up into the air as the robot master flew. Another instantly appeared in Mesmerman’s hand and he threw scythe after scythe into the scythe. After causing a twelve Malus Messis to materialize, Mesmerman simply turned the weapon and caught Sean on the blade once more. His vacuum had been slashed apart and his buster had been sliced off. Deep gashes and holes covered his entire body.

“You’re already losing your temper?” Mesmerman asked. “You are too hotheaded. Just wait until you’ve seen all of your friends.”

With that Mesmerman once again twisted Sean’s head to show the remains of Zapper. ToadGirl body was backed against the wall and it was covered in deep gashes that seemed to be only an inch each apart. Mesmerman moved himself and Dustman closer and grabbed at an area in between gashes and pulled it out. He then pushed it back in pace with his sick grin once again upon his face. Zapper had been cut into thin sliced and like Zymeth she died while screaming.

Before moving on, Mesmerman decided to see how Dustman was doing. The vacuum-based robot master was futilely struggling to free himself from the scythe. He tried activating his weapon and was met with the sound of hissing air to announce his failure to not only himself but Mesmerman as well. Mesmerman’s sadistic smile grew bigger as he moved onto his next victim.

Diveman’s remains were scattered on the ground. Unlike the other two robot masters, Geoff had been torn to pieces. His torso had been blown apart from the inside; Dustman guessed that Mesmerman forced his explosives to go off before being launched. The remains of Diveman’s face had his mouth wide open just like the other two.

The next corpse that Mesmerman proudly displayed was Pharaohman’s. After examining the body it was clear that some sort of sick humor existed inside the holographic robot. The power core, cooling unit, and a few other pieces had been carefully taken out without being damaged and placed on small stone pillars. However Jade’s seat of consciousness, his robotic mind, had been smashed against the ground and been shattered into hundreds of pieces. His face, despite his body being less torn apart than the others, had a mouth still open and eyes wide with terror.

Drillman had been pierced to the wall; the leader of the CC was the second to fall. Three scythes held AM in place, one for each hand and one for both feet. There was also a gash on his side as well. Mesmerman’s twisted sense of humor had once again shown its hideous head. Drillman’s mouth was open wide with a scream and there was a deep hole between his eyes since unlike a human Drillman needed more damage to die.

BrightBabe was the final corpse to be displayed. Her bulb was shattered and the body was on top of the broken glass. It looked like Jet had fallen over and only begun to get up when she had been killed. Several gashes were shown in her armor, Mesmerman only cut deep enough to destroy everything vital. Her face once again had the mouth open, but not as wide as the others; Jet had only begun to scream when she died.

“I unfortunately didn’t get to have as much fun with her,” Mesmerman sighed with his grin for a few seconds disappearing. “I had to make sure she wouldn’t try to stop time and let everyone get away. I made sure to make up for it by enjoying Drillman’s and Pharaohman’s deaths as much as I could.”

Dustman glared at Mesmerman as he once again struggled to free himself causing Mesmerman’s smile to return.

“And now it’s your turn,” Mesmerman said. “This has been such an enjoyable experience. I’ll have to make sure to hunt Ringman down and show him my artwork.”

Mesmerman flung the battered Dustman off his scythe and onto a nearby wall. Dustman slowly got up, almost falling down once more since his legs were so badly damaged.

“This can’t be true,” Dustman said as he staggered onto his feet. "They can't be dead. You won't get away with this!"

Mesmerman spun his weapon and tossed it back and forth between his hands as he slowly walked forward.

“Don’t worry. You’ll join them soon,” Mesmerman mocked.

Mesmerman lifted his weapon above his head and prepared to strike. Grinning one last time, Mesmerman swung Malus Messis down at Dustman.

“This can't be true, there is no way you could of killed them all! They wouldn't of let you, I won't let you!” Sean shouted as he quickly brought both his mangled arms up to block the blow. "I'll tear you apart with my own hands if I have to, but I won't let you win!"

To both of their surprise, Sean caught the blade. Dustman was now the one to smile as realization dawned on him. The catch proved everything.

“It isn’t true is it?” Dustman asked as he yanked the scythe out of Mesmerman’s hands and through it aside. “It is all in my head isn’t it?”

“How?!” Mesmerman demanded. “You were beaten, you had given up!”

“You need to work on believability,” explained Sean as his armor repaired itself. “My friends would never let you torture them to death and give you your sick pleasure. You underestimate us too much; I don’t think any of us would go down without a fight. I was shocked and disturbed too much to rationalize, but as soon as I tried to block your attack and fight back despite being nearly destroyed I realized they would of all done the same. I knew the fight was hopeless and you'd already taken down my weapons, yet I prepared to fight. How could I believe that the rest wouldn't do the same? Scary? Dear god, yes. Believable? No.”

“Not bad,” Mesmerman said. “I guess I should have acted sooner, before you had time to rationalize things. The offer we gave your leader still stands and it stands for all of you. You’re skills would be much more-”

“I don’t care what you say right now,” Sean interrupted. “There is no way I’d ever work for such manipulating, scheming, evil bastards like you and the general.”



“Wake up, Jade…” An unsettling voice rings through the monarch’s ears, “It’s time for us to have some fun together!”

“Mesmerman…” Jade’s eyes snap open. Looking around he finds himself on the roof of the building, bound in place by a series of energy rings. Jade struggles against the powerful bonds, but they seem to be remarkably durable.

“Aw, don’t tell me you want to leave already.” Mesmerman’s evil image floats in front of him. “The show’s just about to start, and you have a front row seat!”

“That’s fantastic.” Pharaoh replies with mock enthusiasm. “And what kind of ‘show’ is that, Chuckles?”

“Why would I tell you now and spoil the plot?” Mesmerman laughs in his usual disturbing tone. “For my first trick, I’ll need a volunteer from the audience. How about this charming young lady?”

Mes reaches back behind Jade with one of his cable-like arms and drops a badly beaten Brightbabe at his feet.

“Jet!” Jade cries out.

“I’m sorry Jade…” Jet stammers.

“Mesmerman!! What are you doing?!” Jade’s furious inquiry is probably pointless, as he thinks he knows precisely what that sicko Mesmerman has in mind; he just doesn’t want to admit it.

The high-ranking CO shrugs, as much as a body like his can shrug, anyway. “Well, I was planning to saw her in half, but that’s boring. It’s over too quickly.” He summons his scythe, Malus Messis, from out of thin air. “I like having fun with my victims, see? So I thought I’d just wing it.”

With that, Mesmer brings down the pointed tip of his scythe, stabbing Jet in the arm, who lets out a painful scream.

“Jet!!” Pharaoh screeches, still straining against the rings holding him in place.

Mesmerman simply cackles once more as he stabs her again, with another agonizing scream the result. “Ah, I never tire of those screams, like beautiful music…” His grin fixes on Jade once more. “What’s the matter? You don’t seem to be enjoying my little show.”

Jade lunges at Mesmerman, but is again stopped by his binds. “Damn it, you want a show?! I’ll give you a show as soon as I get out of here!!”

“Yes, yes. I’m just shaking over here.” Unimpressed, Mesmer continues to stab Jet over and over again. “All of your friends are going to meet the same fate as her. And you’re going to watch every agonizing moment of it!”

Jade cringes as Bright’s screams continue to fill his ears. “Dammit, do what you want with me! Just leave her and the others alone!!”

Mesmerman looks up for a moment from his grisly handiwork. “My dear Pharaoh. You speak as if you were in some kind of bargaining position.”

He goes back to his torture, Pharaohman continuing to struggle vainly to escape. “Tsk, tsk.” Mesmerman speaks again. “Poor girl, she’s probably wondering why you aren’t doing anything to save her. Hm, some friend you are.”

Jade starts fighting back tears, “S… Stop it!!”

Mes ignores him and continues. But suddenly… the screams stop.

Jade goes pale. “J… Jet…?”

The CO grabs Bright by the head and picks her up. “Aww, I broke her. Oh well, I always did play rough with my toys!! Kyahahahahahahaha!!!”

With that, Mesmer brings he scythe around, severing her head from her body. He looks over at Jade, who’s completely numb, completely speechless. That lifeless grin never looked so evil. “Heads up!!” He tosses Jet’s lifeless head at Pharaoh’s feet. Her lightbulb shatters on the ground as Mes is laughing manically at his own tasteless pun.

Jade, meanwhile can’t strop trembling, with a combination of sorrow, and pure, unmatched hatred. “Mesmerman… Mark my words… When I get out of here… I’M GONNA…”

“YOU’RE GONNA ‘WHAT’???” Mesmerman’s usually playful and haphazard tone of voice suddenly turns dead serious. “Kill me?!?” He floats directly up to Jade, that single eye gazes straight into his, burning a path to his heart. “You think you’re the only one who’s tried?? The Maniacs couldn’t beat me. Wily’s Warriors couldn’t beat me. Drastic Measures couldn’t beat me. AND YOU THINK YOU CAN?!? That must be some ego you’ve got on you! You’re a powerful fighter, I’ll give you that much. But the truth is, you’re powerless to save the people you care about from me. Heh, I know you’re the type who wants to save the damsel in distress. But face it, chivalry is dead!”

His voice returns to normal. “And speaking of which…” Another cable hand comes into view, holding Zapper up by the hair, “Lookie what I found!! Let’s have another sing-along!!”

Toadgal struggles against his grip. “Jade… Help me…” She gasps.

Mes cackles madly as he stabs her with his Malus Messis. “Sorry, my dear. He can’t help you! He’s too weak to save you!”

“Mesmerman…” Jade stammers. “Damn it… I…”

That’s right, little Pharaoh! Hate me!! Despise me!! In the end, that’s all you can do!!

“What…?!?” Pharaoh’s eyes open wide. He starts to realize just what’s going on.

“Why couldn’t I see it before?” Jade says to himself.

“Mesmerman fuels himself off negative emotions. Anger, fear, aggression. The Dark Side of the Force are they… Dammit, this is no time to be quoting Star Wars!”

Jade closes his eyes and tries to focus.

“I have to concentrate… Think back to the most important teachings of a Red Mage… The harmony between light and darkness… The two are perpetually cast as mortal enemies but in fact they were meant to coexist in harmony… One who relies on the darkness is eventually consumed by it… The same goes for the light…”

Mes meanwhile, continues his sadistic game with Zapper, in much the same way as Jet. “What’s wrong, Jade? Have you given up? You don’t want to save your pretty little friend anymore?”

“The key is to find the balance…”

“Light and darkness… are ONE!!”

Jade’s eyes snap open with a newfound clarity in them. It’s clear to him now that he’s trapped in Mesmerman’s own little nightmare world, a place where the SA officer had planned to take control of his mind, casting him into an abyss of hatred and despair. A shimmering aura srurrounds Pharaoh as he casts off his shackles that had previously bound him as Mesmerman simply cocks his head.

“Now how did y…”

He never finishes that sentence before the Pharaoh Beam melts his static face off. Jade suddenly finds himself in an unfamiliar part of the city. The lifeless body of a Mesmerman puppet lies in pieces next to him; Mes’s true form has apparently migrated elsewhere.

“I’m powerless, huh?” Pharaohman growls to the husk before him, tearing the cables from around his head, “That sadistic freak and his scissor-headed boyfriend are wrong about that one. DEAD wrong.” He looks around, and sees a swath of dead Joes before him. "Huh?" He seems puzzled, "These are RPD Joes... Does this mean... Mesmerman had control of my body as well?! If that's the case, I'd better find the others, and quick before something awful happens..." With that he hurries off to find the others.



"...Huh? What happened? How'd it get so dark out?" she wondered as she got up to stand.

Indeed, it was completely dark where ever she was. It was very unsettling too. She was just waiting for something else to happen now. As if anticipating her curiosity, the room lit up to reveal it was a theater of some kind. There was something very odd about it though. There were only two seats....

"How strange. What kind of theater is this? Where am I?" she wondered extremely confused as to what was going on.

"This is an Imax theater." a voice answered from behind. "Come. Have a seat."

"What? I can't! I have to find my team!"

"Just sit down." The voice said again.

Obviously annoyed, but scared of angering whoever the voice was coming from, she sat down in one of the seats and the lights began to dim. As she watched the screen she noticed someone had just appeared in the seat next to her.

"Mesmerman!" she cried out.

"Well this was planned on rather short notice." He replied as he offered her what appeared to be popcorn.

"No Mesmerman! I've got to help my team!" BB yelled back as she jumped from her chair to leave. She was just about to reach the exit when she suddenly felt herself lifted off the ground and pulled back to her seat.

"Oh no, my dear. I paid for these tickets, after all, so we really should watch the show together!" Mesemerman said as BB was now held in the seat by his 8 cables.

"Let me go! Please let me go!" she cried as she struggled to free herself to no avail.

"Shhhh. The movie's about to start." He replied.

BB was on the verge of tears as she looked up at the screen to see.....

"Me?" she asked confused.

"Why yes! This is the premier screening of my latest psychological thriller, Agent of Justice!"

"What?" she pondered as she looked up to see herself begin attacking RPD troops. A look of horror appeared on her face as she watched them being brutally beaten up and destroyed. "What IS this!? What's going on!?!" she yelled out struggling against the cables.

"Well here we see you take care of these useless RPD troops. They got what they deserved for making slaves of us. Good riddance." he said as BB attacked a group of troops with Flash Stopper only to blast them one by one with her buster.

"How horrible!!!"she exclaimed fighting back tears.

"You should be greatful, Jet. I've chosen to use you to cleanse this place of such sinful creatures as them." Mesmer stated as he ate some more popcorn and turned back to the movie.

"How can you enjoy this?! This is terrible!! Let me go!!!" she said as she struggled against her restraints again.

"Awww... You don't like my movie? You haven't even seen the best part!" Mesmer replied as he gestured towards the screen.

BB was absolutely mortified as she saw Drill appear on the screen.

"What are you doing? What are you gonna do!?' she asked beginning to panic even more.

"Watch." he ordered in a somewhat unsettling tone. With that he used one of his cables to forcefully turn BBs head to face the screen again.

Tears began streaming down her face as she saw what happened next. She used Flash Stopper against Drillman before he could react and began charging up her buster arm!

"Oh no! Drillman!!" she shrieked as she watched herself attack him by blasting him square in the face. The shot went clean through his head causing him to slump to the ground in a lifeless heap.

BB was mortified as she cried for her friend. "How could you!?!" she asked angrily.

"Quite easily actually. He certainly had it coming for all the sins he's responsible for." Mesmerman said rather cheerfully as he watched the screen.

BB suddenly went completely pale when she saw that another comrade had appeared. This time, it was Zapper!

"OH NO! DON'T! PLEASE DON'T!!" she pleaded. But just as Zapper was about to use Rain Flush on screen, BB activated Flash Stopper again preventing it's use.

"Stop it!!! " BB screamed as she cried harder than ever. Only to see herself attack Zapper like she did Drillman.

"And ruin the show? Hardly." Mesmer said a bit annoyed.

The movie continued to roll and BB could do nothing to stop it. All she could do was cry as she watched dozens of RPD troops be destroyed by the Mesmer clones while she used Flash Stopper to freeze the RPD in place while they were fired upon by the clones.

BB was in serious trouble. All she could do was watch.



Makenshi's squad wandered throughout the city, but they had not encountered any signs of battle yet, until they came across Drillman.

Something was wrong though. Behind him was a sinister figure that resembled an impossible object. Cables sprouted from its back and were latched onto Drillman's neck. The thing had a static and unsettling grin, and the added silence made things ever more uncomfortable.

"AM...?" Makenshi asked, and Drill responded by firing drill bombs at him!

Makenshi narrowly dodged the explosive drills, but more were on their way towards him, aimed at the ground to detonate at his feet! He ran madly, jumping into the air to avoid the explosions. He tried to remember which cartridges were in his pistols. One was standard, and the other was ice, right? He fired his left gun at the ground. It made a normal-looking hole. Then he aimed his right gun at Drill and fired. His drill launcher was instantly encased in a sheet of ice. Makenshi fired at the other drill launcher, then at Drill's feet, temporarilly immobilizing him.

Now what? Makenshi wondered. Whatever the thing behind Drill was, he was evidently controlling him. It was staring right at him, with the exact same expression it had from the beginning. Then, the troops that had accompanied Makenshi began to attack Drill.

There was a brilliant flash of light, and everyone was frozen in place. Beside Drillman appeared Brightbabe, with another of the freaky white figures behind her, cables extending into her neck. She raised her buster and shot at the RPD troops, taking them out mercilessly in a flurry of plasma. They all fell helplessly to the ground, and yet Makenshi was still standing. She had spared him for some reason.

Then, the two impossible figures seized their captives and fled, leaving Makenshi completely alone.

"Come in, lieutenant!" Makenshi yelled in a frenzy.

"I'm right here," he replied via communicator. "You're far away from everyone else, and there's hundreds of those things between them and you. There's also moving patches in the town that the satellite can not access. I reckon those things in Alaska are paying a visit as well."

Makenshi cursed. "Beeson, what's the status of my bodyguards?"

A female voice answered him. "They're fine. They're with the standard Special Forces, but they're pretty much on the other side of town."

"I see. I just hope I can regroup with SOMEONE," Makenshi muttered.


Jade had been watching the event unfold from afar. Makenshi was alone, apparently communicating with someone, and Drill and Bright, controlled by Mesmer, had split up. "Trying to free Jet alone would be suicide," Jade said to himself. "I'll have to go after AM first," and he dashed off in pursuit of his leader.



Drill came to in what seemed to be the Citadel. He looked around and lo and behold it was his room. Could this all have been a dream?

He got up and walked outside. Then it hit him. That was no dream. Outside of the Citadel were the bodies of his teammates, even Rebel. Upon further examination there were other faces…faces from the past. Drill started crying. He recognized them. Keba, Sergal, Shadowy, Err, The Original Diveman, Kalinka, Jay, Bob, Dr. Cossack, The Parrs, and various other faces of friends current and long gone. Why? Why are these here? Who did this?

“Kyahahahahahahaha!!!!! Do you like my doll house?” a voice asked the crying robot. He knew who it was.

“You Sonova…WHAT DID YOU DO?” Drill yelled at the floating Puzzle.

“I just got my dollies and will play ‘Gauntlet’s Dream House.’ You give me too much credit though…I had help. Be it from, what did you call him? ‘The One Who I am a Bitch too?’ or even yourself,” He cackled.

“Me…? You LIE!!!!”

“Kyhehe…it’s your fault that the Parrs are dead, YOUR fault for Shadowy’s death, YOUR Fault for Err’s, YOUR fault for The Original Diveman! You have so much blood on your hands…” He sneered “Aw…is the little baby gonna cry? It’s alright, I can share.”

Drill shot at him. Now he was really pissed. “HOW DARE YOU! You are just…TOYING with me! Toying…”

Holy shit, he thought, he IS toying with me…This can’t be real…It must be an illusion like Mystery…But how do I get out?

While he was thinking to himself, Mesmer suddenly got serious. “You are just as guilty as I. Had you been stronger your team might be alive right now. You weren’t there for them. You weren’t there for Diveman. You weren’t there for the Parrs! You don’t deserve to lead! You came on a throne of blood! Ah…the sheer thought of it makes me tingle with excitement.”

He picked up a random corpse. “I wanna play a game. Let’s play…Catch…” Howling with laughter, he threw the corpse of Rebel at Drill. Drill stood there and just let it hit him.

“It’s not real. Tranquility. Peace. Transformers…Tranquility. Peace. Transformers,” He continued this Mantra while he was pelted with the various corpses of friends and family.

“You’re no fun. Accept it. You have lost…All your Comrades are dead, The SA has conquered the Planet, and Chaos reigns. Ain’t it special?” he asked.

Suddenly the world stopped. The next thing he could see is Jade, ripping out these cables.

“Am I back now?” Drill asked his friend. He nodded.

“He…used you. Like a puppet. You attacked a human officer…” Jade stammered.

Drill pressed a button on his right drill. The Drill split in two and from the gap a beam of light sprung out. “I am gonna kill that bastard…and with that I’ll prove that I am a good leader. I swear it! You hear me? You will pay for the deaths that you caused me to re experience. You will PAY!!!!




Dustman then prepared to attack Mesmerman when there was a burst of light. Everything began to vanish into the whiteness and Sean closed his eyes. When he opened them again, he was inside a damaged building with Drillman and Pharaohman.

“We were wondering when you’d wake up,” Jade said as Dustman got to his feet.

Dustman quickly asked, “Where are the other others?”

“Not awake yet,” AM explained and gestured towards the dormant bodies of the rest of the team.

“Anything we can do for them?” Sean asked concerned.

“Yeah,” Pharaohman answered. “Hope they are smarter than you.”

Just then a pharaoh shot hit Dustman in the stomach and he fell backwards on to the ground.

“After we realized our nightmares were simply nightmares, Mesmerman offered us all a second chance. Turns out those realms were just a test to see if our minds would be worth anything for the SA . We weren’t foolish enough to waste it. The Scissor Army is too powerful, human kind will soon be extinct. Why suffer when we can have freedom in Elysium?” Drillman said and leaned down towards Dustman’s head with his drills spinning. “Any last words, old friend?”

“Yeah,” Sean said and activated his vacuum. “Mesmerman, what makes you think I’ll fall for this? It has to be one of the most unlikely scenarios that I can imagine.”

Dustman fired off a dust crusher that blasted Drillman’s head off. The robot body fell backwards and then vanished. Pharaohman then warped into Mesmerman.

“I didn’t think this world would, but perhaps the next will last a little longer,” Mesmerman explained. “Even if I succeed in tricking you, your friends will break you free eventually. I need to break your will and shatter your mind. I’m going to create world after world and keep you in them for varying lengths, some more believable than others. Anytime you come close to beating me or sometimes at random, I’ll change realities. Expect to find yourself breaking free and escaping time after time because I’m not letting you go. Then when you either win for real or your friends free you, you will always doubt whether or not it’s another illusion. You’re perception of reality is about to be destroyed.”

“Quick question, are you in my mind or am I in yours?” Sean asked. “Or do you even know?”

Before Mesmerman could answer dust from the ground in the fake world rose and began to swirl around Mesmerman as Dustman turned around and started walking away from Mesmerman.

“I’m leaving this time, I'm not letting you try again,” Sean said as he closed his eyes.

Sean opened them a second later and found himself holding Drillman above the ground with his hands. His vacuum was also currently active and taking in dust to attack with. Pharaohman was reading a pharaoh shot for a Mesmerman clone that had just collapsed. Dustman quickly dropped Drillman and turned off his vacuum while Jade shot at the dead robot just incase.

“Sorry,” Dustman said.

“Not your fault,” Drillman replied.

Pharaohman gestured to go and said, “We need to free the others soon. Who knows what Mesmerman is forcing them to live through."

Dustman looked around and saw the remains of several RPD robots.

“We need to teach Mesmerman that our bodies and minds aren’t his play things,” AM added angrily.

"I'm not sure if we can," responded Sean. "He almost beat me and I doubt he'll be easier next time. We need to hurry; I'm not sure how much longer everyone can last if they haven't escaped yet."



“By Super Chaos’s unblinkin’ red eye!” Dive cursed as he scrambled through the field. There was no good fuckin’ reason why the Comrades were still here. They shoulda bailed as soon as they saw the town was empty. Hell, they should’ve known better than wander off to some Bavarian Sticksville that obviously had no friggin’ strategic value whatsoever. But with the damage done there, they might as well take out Mesmer in a blaze of glory.

“Easier said then done,” Dive mused to himself. One of the Mesmermen in front of him flung its blood-red scythe at the bulky submarine, but Dive quickly hit the dirt, just as the scythe sailed over him and skewered a Mesmerman coming up behind him. Before he could catch his breath, another Mesmerman raised its Malus Messis over Dive’s head. As the Mesmerman swung down, Dive quickly tumbled into an earthy culvert and retaliated with a barrage of Dive missiles, but it was hardly the Mesmer knock-off. As he lobbed a Dive Mine at a cadre of Mesmermen, Dive ran through, and subsequently ruled out all the options his frenzied mind could think of.

“Keep fighting, too damn many of ‘em. Call for help, no one’s coming. Run, they’re blocking the way,” Dive watched in horror as Mesmer-knock-offs tackled Pharaoh and Drill and shoved their cords in their noggins, taking control of ‘em. Now they were in serious trouble. Dive cursed his luck, but o’ the corner of his eye, he spotted a barn a few hundred yards in the other direction. It wasn’t much, but there weren’t many Mesmermen blocking the way, and it’d give ‘em a little time to whip up a gameplan.

“Yo! There’s a way out! Follow my lead!” Dive shouted over the com as he got up and sprinted towards the barn. A Mesmerman dropped in front of him, grinnin’ like the village idiot, but Dive shot it in the face with a dive missile as he ran by. But the barn almost seemed to get farther away as he charged towards it.

Ya not welcome at home, ya know. Dive growled to himself as he ignored the twang of self-doubt. He didn’t have time for that crap right now. He turned to fire several dive missiles at some of the Mesmermen pursuing him. As the Mesmermen crumbled, Dive noticed that none of the comrades were following him.

“Guys, make for the barn! What’s the hold up?” Dive asked frantically as another Mesmerman dropped on top of him. Angry, Dive Man slugged the grinning bastard in the face, sending freak sprawling on the ground like a sack of potatoes. Before it could recover, Dive Man crushed its head beneath his boot. Several more Mesmermen tried to halt Dive’s desperate retreat to the barn. But by some miracle, he was able to blast them outta the way with dive missiles, and he made it in the barn, relatively unscathed. Leaning against the door, Dive gave himself a couple seconds to collect his thoughts and wait for his buddies to catch up. But after several seconds, he was still alone in the barn.

“Where the hell are you guys?!” Dive shouted over the com. No answer. He waited several more minutes, but no one showed. Not even a Mesmerman.

They’ve left ya to die, big guy. Dive growled again at the thought.

“No they didn’t!” Dive scolded. “Mesmerman must’ve gotten to ‘em!” Not that it mattered. Whether his pals gave ‘im the slip or not, Dive Man was the only one left now. He’d never make it outta the barrier now. He was a dead man. Or a Mesmer Ass Puppet, not that was any better. Terrific. Suddenly, dozens upon dozens of Mesmermen leapt through the windows, brandishing their scythes, along with…RPD SWAT Joes? What were they doin’ with Mesmerman? Just as Dive was about to open fire, he noticed an open trapdoor a few feet away from him.

“Why the hell didn’t I see that before?” Dive asked, bewildered. A Mesmer slashed Dive Man in the gut as he made a beeline for the trapdoor, but he ignored the pain and sprinted down its wooden steps. A small part of the stairwell was dimly lit by a single incandescent bulb. The rest of it was cast into inky darkness. Dive pulled the lighter out of his coat pocket and lit up, as he pressed on. From what little light his lighter provided, he could see that stairwell seemed to go on forever, and the walls seemed to be draped in…plastic? As Dive continued down the stairs, he noticed the wooden steps were inexplicably replaced by metal ones, and the plastic-draped walls replaced by corroded steel. He could also hear metallic wails, scraping and screeching echoing throughout the stairwell, louder and louder as he descended. Surprised, Dive cast a glance behind him to see if anyone was followin’, ready to blow ‘em to hell. But there was no one there. Not even a single Mesmerman. Frownin’, Dive Man pressed on, but now he was startin’ to wonder what the hell what he got himself into. After descendin’ for what felt like hours, Dive Man came to a corroded metal door. As he reached for the door knob, he plainly heard what sounded like a deep, throaty, demonic growl. Frightened, Dive Man jerked his hand back. What the fuck was down here? Dive Man was about to beat feet out of Satan's stairwell, until he realized that there'd be countless Mesmermen and Siege Joes waitin' for him outside. Unnerved, Dive Man slowly opened the door and cautiously entered the room.

“…Oh my god…” was all Dive Man could say when he entered the basement. The room was the size of a football field, with rust-covered walls, and shadows reaching as far as the ceiling. The floor beneath Dive’s feet was rust-red metal grating suspended over a seemingly bottomless chasm. The room was filled with robots, with most of their metallic hide peeled off, being dragged around on barbed-wire-like leashes by humans. Or at least what looked like humans. Their skin looked like rancid cream, and their bone-white clothes were smeared with god-knows what. Their hair looked more like dark flaps of flesh hanging down from the back of their faceless heads. Some of the robots on their leashes looked frighteningly familiar and had filthy RPD badges nailed onto their shoulders. One, vaguely resembling a skinned Shadow Man with a toothy maw spannin’ his whole face, was on all fours and pounced on another robot, tearin’ it apart limb from limb like a mad dog. Another human was dangling a robot resemblin’ a mangled, twisted Needlegal over the edge of the abyss and was jerking her up and down like a yo-yo. And she was smiling all the while. SMILING! A bulky robot that looked too much like a scarred, and poorly stitched-up Hard Man crawled towards another human with a chewed-up robot resembling Dust Man in his mouth and dropped it at his master’s feet, looking up hopefully. The spectacle made Dive Man want to throw up.

Not a pretty sight, is it? Dive Man didn’t try to ignore his self-doubt this time. How could the people Dive used to call his friends cope with themselves doing this? And how could any sane robot gave up their freewill, let alone, ENJOY it? Suddenly, takin’ his chances with all the Mesmermen and Siege Joes in the world didn’t sound like a bad idea. Dive turned to go out the way he came, but the door was gone, and was replaced by a smooth, blank, corroded wall. When Dive turned around, he saw that the Shadow-freak and Hard-freak were crawlin’ towards him, their fangs bared.

“It’s you or me, ol’ pals!” Dive Man spat frantically as he blasted the two with dive missiles. Surprisingly, the two monstrosities collapsed to the ground and curled up into balls. Dive Man suddenly felt a sharp, stabbin’ pain in the back of neck, turned to face a cacklin’ Needlegal, her head rapidly wavin’ around as though she were convulsin’. Angry, he grabbed Needlegal, and holdin’ her like a batterin’ ram, sprinted towards the other end of the room, skewerin’ any of the sadistic humans dumb enough to get in his way. When he got to the other end of the torture chamber, he snapped Needle Gal’s neck and sprinted through the door.

The next room had dark orange-yellowish walls, with a catwalk suspended a couple feet above the ground by a few rust-red steel cables. The room had the texture of cold metal, but pulsated, almost though it was alive. It could very well have been since he could hear gurglin' and slurpin' coming from every corner of the room. Dive could also see what looked like growths and lesions along the walls. The aroma of rotting meat and sulfur permeated every corner as he walked towards the back of the room along the catwalk. As creeped out as he was, Dive found the stomach to slowly edge along the catwalk. Where else could he go? When he got to the other end of the room, Dive’s heart fell to floor. He could see the comrades kneeling before a boxy, mound pulsatin’ metal-flesh growin’ out of the walls with spindly arms, surrounded by mounds chewed-up pieces of flesh and bone. The creature had an RPD badge on its right side, and was screeching incoherently as it attached leashes to the rest of the Comrades’ necks, all of whom looked as though they were at peace. That they were safe.

Don’t act surprised. Ya know they’d bail on ya when the stakes got high. It’s what the Mechs n’ everyone else will do if they haven’t already. That’s what Dive had always believed ever since Ring disappeared. But for some reason, a part of him never thought his closest pals would actually do it. Dive Man couldn’t help but turn away in disgust and betrayal. Only to come face-to-face with Ring Man. He was now decked in a tattered, fleshy apron and black boots. Rings of various shapes and sizes were juttin' in and out of his body in all directions. One of his arms was sliced off, leaving a greasy stump with an open gash down the middle. His squirming, lump-shaped head was covered with burlap with silver metal rings tightly wrapped around it.

Why wouldn’t they? The Comrades only stuck with ya ‘cause things have been going their way so far. The voice in Dive’s head told him as Ring Man tossed several ring boomerangs at Dive Man. And now that the heat’s on, and the SA’s bearin’ down on them, they’re showin’ their true colors.

Dive Man hissed in frustration as he tried to dodge the boomerangs. He wanted to ignore the voice in his noggin, but it was gettin' too loud now.

“What are ya gettin’ at?” Dive snarled as the rings cut into his shoulder.

Maybe it’s time ya found someone who ya can count on. The voice reasoned. Dive shrugged indifferently, then blasted Ring Man with a salvo of dive missiles.

“Like who?” Dive asked flatly as he pummeled his former ally. “I hate Wily. I HATE the RPD. And I fuckin’ HATE the SA!”

So you’d rather put your life and freedom in the hands of people you know can’t trust? The voice in his head answered, louder than before. At the same time, Ring Man kicked Dive Man off him and sliced at his gut with his rings.

“Where else can I go?” Dive growled as he kicked Rebel in the head. Then it hit him. “Never mind. Lemme guess…Elysium?”

You’re a sharp one! The voice congratulated. Dive Man simply sneered at the offer as he threw Rebel to the ground.

“I outgrew Never Never Land when I was…what…? Nine? Maybe ten?”

What do you mean? The voice asked, mocking indignation. Your freedom’s guaranteed there. That’s what you wanted, isn’t it? The voice asked as Rebel quickly sprung to his feet.

“Get with the program,” Dive Man scoffed as he fired another dive missile at Ring. “The SA’s Happyworld Land could never exist.” The blast slowed Ring Man down, but the ring master leapt into the air and countered with several ring boomerangs. “Not that it matters. My freedom was never at stake until the SA stepped in,” Dive Man bitterly reasoned. “Yer sayin’ I should be GRATEFUL for this mess they got me into?!”

What are you talking about? The SA didn’t mean to put your freedom in jeopardy. Honest. It’s not their fault that humans don’t trust their own toys. The voice answered. Dive Man tumbled back as the rings sliced some of the cables suspendin’ the catwalk.

“Golly, whoda thought the Shutdown Act would be such a hot-button issue after slaughterin’ a couple cities?” Dive was gettin’ impatient with this naggin’ voice in his head. What part of, “I don’t want to be in the SA,” did it not understand?! And why was it gettin’ louder all the time? Growling, he took some of frustration out Ring with another barrage of dive missiles. However, it was hardly slowing him down.

You’re not one to talk about slaughtering humans. And you honestly think the world can go back to what it was? You’re better off trying to make a make a new world. Dive Man grimaced. In his gut, he knew that even if the SA was blasted into the Stone Age, their damage was done. Odds are, humans would never take their eyes off of another robot after all the blood they’ve spilled. That HE spilled. But he couldn’t believe that killin’ all humans for some childish cause would make it any better.

“Okay,” Dive conceded, tryin’ not to sound weak. “Ya got a point there. But let’s say Elysium comes to be. What guarantee do I have that some other asshole won’t come along and threaten my freedom again?” Shrugging off the damage he took, Ring Freak tornado-kicked Dive Man, sprawling him out on the ground.

Relax. The General will to see that. The voice reassured. Trust me, he wants NOTHING to happen to Elysium. Dive Man smiled at that. That put all his uncertainties to rest. He knew where he stood clear as day.

“…And yer logic comes full circle,” Dive Man replied smugly as he picked himself up.

What? What do you mean? The confused voice asked, sounding weaker all of a sudden.

”Cuts won’t let ANYTHING happen to his Elysium, eh?” Dive reiterated as he uppercutted Rebel. “Sounds to me like he gonna run the whole show,”

That’s not what-

“Shut up. That’s what it boils down to,” Dive Man interrupted as he forcefully tackled Ring Man. “…And havin’ one guy rule the globe ain’t my idea of freedom,” Dive proclaimed as he ripped Ring’s mask off, revealing the surprised face of Mesmerman.

“Man, ya guys SUCK at mind games,” Dive boasted as he forcefully head-butted the puzzle-robot. He then picked up the dazed Mesmerman and tossed him into Monster Crorq’s gapin’ mouth. Dive Man felt like a million bucks as he lit up a cig and watched the screeching gluttonous mound of flesh messily devour the puppet-master. He came head-to-head with his own personal demons, commanded by Mesmerman himself, and even that wasn’t enough to bring him down. What else was could the SA throw at him? Pleased with himself, Dive Man adjusted his jacket and turned to leave the room…only to come face to face with a laughing Mesmerman. Or rather his head. The freak’s head was now growin’ out of the wall like some tumor, grinnin’ like the frickin' Joker.

“That’s funny!” Mesmerman giggled. “You honestly thought that slob would do me in? Don’t you know who that came from?” Dive growled in exasperation.

“Kid, it’s over,” Dive snarled. “I’m out of the SA. Deal with it,” To prove his point, Dive Man obliterated the head in a flurry of dive missiles. But another Mesmerman simply appeared and chuckled at Dive’s resistance.

“With all that juicy and sweet hatred and contempt in your heart? Not likely,” Mesmer explained. “I was happy asking you to join us, politely. But now…Now I’m bored. ” As if on cue, the catwalk collapsed, sending Dive plummeting into the spongy mass beneath him. Dive Man watched in horror as the fleshy mass started engulfing him. Another Mesmerman head emerged from the floor next to him, smiling.

“Welcome home, Dive Man,”

“No! I can’t-!” Dive struggled vainly to break free of his fleshy prison, but it wouldn’t give. The flesh slurped its way up Dive Man’s legs.

“Shh. Shh. Shhh.” The Mesmermen whispered. “You won’t miss your freedom that much.” The clammy flesh had crept up to Dive Man’s chest as he weakly struggled. He tried to grab onto the catwalk, but it simply broke off in his hand as grabbed on.

“No!” Dive shouted. “I…I don’t wanna to turn on my friends!!” Mesmerman simply shook his heads.

“They’ve already turned on you, Dive. You know that. Don’t be silly,” Mesmer scoffed. Dive Man shook his head.

“No they haven’t,” Dive Man shot back. “None of what’s happening here is real. They haven’t turned on me.” Suddenly, the flesh started creeping slower as Dive had his epiphany. “They haven’t done nothin’ to me. I shouldn’t take this war out on ‘em,” Dive Man gasped weakly. The Mesmermen looked at Dive Man thoughtfully.

“But how do you know you can keep trusting them?” Mesmerman asked, inquisitively.

“…I don’t,” Dive Man replied as the flesh reached his neck. The Mesmermen said nothing and simply rolled their eyes in disgust. Then the world went black…


When Dive Man came to, he found himself in some warehouse back in the city, with a splitting headache. Countless deactivated RPD Joes, and a couple K-9 units lay in pieces all around him, including one Mesmerman, with a scythe protruding from its body, and cables ripped off. Dive realized that it must’ve been seized control of him while he was makin' his mad run for the barn. Growlin’ with rage, Dive Man fired a salvo of Dive Missiles at the wounded puzzle.

“Ya wanna talk ‘bout loyalties?…” Dive snarled. “…Let’s talk. You oughta keep yer eye on the General,” The Mesmerman drone said nothing as it drew a blood-red scythe. “Didja know, when yer hubby was startin’ his first war, he tried to turn on Ice Man Red, his own freakin’ bro?” The drone said nothing and simply flung its scythe at Dive Man. “Almos’ pulled it off, too,” Dive continued smugly as he ducked under the flying blade. “An’ if Cold Cuts can give that freak a run for his money, then a bad acid trip like you ain’t got a prayer,” Dive Man concluded as tossed a few dive mines at the puppet. “Puts yer partnership in perspective, don’t it? ” Dive Man asked the Mesmerman was blown into countless pieces. Exhausted, Dive Man slumped against the wall, and took a swig of Russian Maalox. He hoped like hell he didn’t have to go through THAT again.

“Mind games, gotta hate ‘em,” Dive sighed as he lit up a cigarette. He felt like crap that he’d been givin’ his buddies this much guff all this time. They were fightin’ alongside him for the same thing he was, and how did he pay ‘em back? By dubbin’ ‘em traitors outta sheer paranoid resentment. What a swell guy, he was. Sighing, Dive Man turned and looked out the window, hoping to get a better idea where he was.

“Ah, fuck me,” Dive lamented as he spotted a Mesmer-controlled Skull Man marchin’ down the street, brutally slashin’ RPD officers with his scythe.

“Hang on, buddy,” Dive reassured, as he took another swig from his flask. “I’m comin’ for ya!”



He hit the ground hard, but no longer felt the monster’s wires. He slowly raised to his feet and noticed that everything had taken a bizarre and surreal tone. The building had decayed and taken in a hideous blood and rust color scheme. He raced out of the building to find himself in the middle of a town square. On the ground he saw a silver cross, the one that Katrina had given him so long ago. He felt his neck, and realized the necklace wasn’t there anymore. Cautiously, he inched towards the object, unwilling to part with it.

Suddenly, chains decorated with spikes launched from the ground, wrapping around his forearms and shins. The spikes dug into him and held him in place, and he let out a short yelp of pain. However, his painful grimace turned to a glare of spite as Mesmerman himself came into view. The white fiend clapped, “Too predictable, Skull.” He picked up his prized possession and looked at it, curiously. “My question is why you would put so much value in such a thing. I mean, come on! How OBVIOUS did the trap need to be?” Mesmer giggled.

“Don’t toy with me…” Skull said, spitefully and ominously. Mesmer leapt forward, stopping just inches from Skull’s face. The skeletal robot didn’t budge an inch and continued to ignore the pain in his limbs. Mesmer swatted his helmet from his head, revealing his pale face to the light of day for the first time in several weeks.

“You think you’re pretty clever don’t you!?” Mesmer asked, amused. “Thinking you can pull us around like puppets. I don’t think the General would be too happy about it, really… but don’t worry, that’ll be our little secret! Heeheeheehee!” Skull didn’t respond, and only glared at him. “You’re welcome.” Mesmer continued, grinning.

Mesmer picked out one of the stitches holding Skull’s otherwise undamaged face together, and began slowly pulling it out. Skull grimaced somewhat, but not enough to signal the level of discomfort Mesmerman was trying to achieve. “You’ve got a pretty good pain tolerance, Skull. I’ll give you that.”

“Not everyone has had to experience burning to death.” Skull spat back. Mesmer grinned.

“True that. But I know your body isn’t the thing that hurts you, Vincent.” Skull’s eyes widened slightly at the mention of his real name. Mesmer grinned at the response he got. He held up the silver cross in front of his face and said, “It’s your poor, poor lover’s death that eats at you, isn’t it?” Vincent rattled his chains harshly, trying to escape, but as he struggled the spikes dug deeper into his arm. Blood somehow trickled from the wounds as final proof that this wasn’t real. Skull braced himself for what was to come.

Mesmer said, “Well lucky for you I’m going to give you another chance. Another chance to save your dear Katrina from the flames, so don’t screw up this time!” He spun around, flourishing his coat, and snapped, causing an entire building to fall down like a stage set. Inside it was a platform, and at the top a wooden pole. Katrina, her exact image, was once again chained to it. Kindling was strewn around her feet, no doubt laced with oil as well.

“Katrina…” Skull sputtered.

She called out to him, “Vincent!” This was soon followed by Mesmer’s childish giggling.

“Look, Vince, all you have to do is go up there and get her. Just unchain her, and then everything’ll be JUST… PEACHY!!! Of course, that’s assuming that you’re strong enough to get her. You already failed at life once, heheheheh.” Mesmer snapped again, causing the fire to be lit.

He knew this was all fake, but his mind still raced and screamed as if it were real. She began crying out to him more as the flames began to approach her, and Skull flung himself forward only to be held back by the chains. The spikes dug into him more, causing more blood to run down his body. He couldn’t break them.

“C’mon, champ. You’re a general! You can do it!” Mesmer encouraged. The flames began licking at Katrina’s body, and she began screaming. Skull continued to struggle against the chains, only to have them continue to hold him down. This went on for several minutes as her body was soon wreathed in flames. Skull’s body couldn’t take much more of the pain the spikes induced.

“HEHEHEHEE! You can’t do it can you? You know why!? You’re not strong enough! You’re not good enough! AH HAHAHAHAA!” Mesmer mocked. At any other moment, Skull would have simply become angry or even laughed back, sarcastically, but he could feel his soul being torn in two. “If you were stronger, I’d bet she wouldn’t be screaming bloody murder right now would she!?”

Skull dropped to his knees, defeated. He was still leaning forward, the chains being the only thing keeping him upright. He tried to drown out Mesmer’s taunts, and the screams of his beloved. Between shrieks of agony she’d cry out his name, begging to be rescued. But he wasn’t strong enough. Tears started rolling down his face.

“Awww…” Mesmer said, mockingly. “Hurts doesn’t it? Sucks being so useless doesn’t it?” Skull grimaced in anger. “It’s not like she’d love you anymore anyway. Not after what you’ve made yourself become over the years, oh Murderer King. You do great work though, I’ve always been a bit of a fan.”

Many more moments passed. Fifteen minutes which seemed to be fifteen years passed until her dying shrieks ended. Vincent refused to look up from the patch of ground in front of him. His heart seemed so heavy he couldn’t stand. His whole body become prone to twitches and minor convulsions out of sheer madness and sorrow. Mesmer giggled as he pranced over to her charred corpse, freeing it from its confines. He posed with is as if about to waltz. “I do have to say, Vince, you have excellent taste in women! HAHAAHA! I prefer mine more… medium rare… HEHEEHEHEHEEE!”

Mesmer plopped her corpse down in front of him, right into his field of vision. Skull almost vomited on sight, and tears welled back up in his eyes. “You normally don’t think so much of a corpse! It’s pretty nasty when it’s a loved one, eh? Heheh.” Skull stared at her broken and blackened body. “See what you’ve caused? Your king would have never done this if she wasn’t involved with you! If you weren’t so pathetic you could have saved her! So this is you’re fault then!”

The reddened eyes of his lover slowly turned to face him. Skull just stared back in horror. “This isn’t your only issue is it? You’re DADDY beat and hurt you. You’re KING tried to get you killed off. You’re GOD abandoned you! Has it not sunk in yet!?”

Vincent felt his left arm be yanked back. He spun and saw a visage of a man with his throat slit, and long black hair just like Vincent’s. He had taken up the chain. His other arm was yanked back too, this one by an elderly figure with a crown and a deep impalement wound. Katrina’s body slowly sat up and held out an accusing finger towards her former lover. Mesmer giggled and made a gesture. “Funny thing is that you’ve killed all of these people! Your father out of madness and desperation. Your king out of lust for power and revenge. And of course, your lover out of weakness and worthlessness! Not to mention all of your innocent victims!”

People began appearing out of the fog, all of them brutally wounded. They marched towards Skull’s current location. But the homage to his past victims took a far backseat to the corpse of his lover. She continued to point at him with her charred hand. “Y-you… you promised…” She choked.

“No…” Skull responded.

“Yo-you promised that… n-nothing w-w-would happ-pen to m-me…” She continued. Skull just choked on his tears. “Y-you l-lied…” She accused. “Th-this is your fault!”

Skull grimaced as the other two pulled on his chains, stretching his arms and piercing him with the spikes. She continued to wail at him, accusingly while Mesmer laughed hysterically in the background. He began screaming in horror. He tried to grab his head in pain but the chains held him down. He closed his eyes. He felt his mind slipping as his heart was torn in two. The pain was unbearable to him. In his mind he thrashed and screamed, groping at the darkness. He tried to lash out at Mesmer, but the chains would not budge. It was a rancid concoction of hate, anger, sorrow, guilt, and despair that welled up in him as he continued to try to writhe.


Skull felt himself hit the floor. Now free, he proceeded to squirm and writhe while he screamed and clutched his head. A hand reached out for him, but he intercepted it and flung it aside. After the toppling noise stopped, he curled into a ball on his side, still clutching at his throbbing head. He retreated into his own mind, trying to escape the hell of the world.

Moments passed, and finally he heard a voice reaching out to him. “Skull..?” It was gruff and deep, yet concerned. Skull recognized is as Diveman. He slowly looked up and peered out of his helmet. He was in the same general area, but the destruction from scythe swings and plasma bullets around him proved that Mesmer’s body-controlling methods worked. He looked wearily up at Dive, who towered over him. “Skull..?” He asked again. “Are you…. Um… you?” Skull nodded and collapsed on the ground, limp. He felt drained and powerless. His breathing was heavy and labored, a natural reaction from his human past.

He said, proudly, "I, believe it or not, took out that Mesmerman that was controlling your sorry ass. Wasn't easy, 'specially considering that I had to dodge YOU constantly. But I pulled it off before you could wreck too much havoc." Skull put his hands over his eyes, trying to shake off the torment.

Diveman looked down at his right arm, which had a decent-sized crumple in it. He said, “After I killed off that Mesmer freak’s body, ya just started screamin’ and flailin’ around. You’re damn strong when you’re freakin’ out; I tried to shake ya out of it but you just tossed me.” Skull looked down but Dive just gave him a sympathetic glance. Skull looked at Dive’s arm. It looked overtly damaged, but it was actually only a thin surface wound. It looked more uncomfortable than it really was, and Skull grinned slightly beneath his helmet, his sadistic nature returning to him.

“Sorry.” Skull chuckled, weakly.

Dive grinned and said, “No sweat. I didn’t get hurt too bad. Let’s get the hell out of here before more of those freaks show up. You okay to fight? Or walk even?” Skull hesitated, his muscle equivalents not wanting to respond. Finally he forced himself to get to his feet. His body had suffered relatively little damage.

“Yeah I’m alright…” He said. Dive had never seen him so broken.

"You sure? Mesmer must've put you through 'is own personal little hell, eh?"

"No, he just brought mine to life..." Skull said, dismally. They both were silent for a moment before Skull said, “We have to find Toad.” trying to mask his painful state of mind.

“Ya lost her!?” Dive asked, surprised. “Well we better find her before she’s caught.” Skull nodded. "Let's go find the others first. You might not be the only sorry ass 'round here that needs rescuing." Dive added, trying to lighten the mood somewhat. With that the two raced off.



“How did I get here..?” Toad wondered, looking around her own darkened bedroom. The last thing she remembered was inspecting a group of Mesmermen she had used Rain Flush on, only to realize one wasn’t quite deactivated. He startled her by jumping up, and then she was there in bed. She huddled down in her blankets. At first she didn’t pay much mind to looking like a six-year-old version of herself. Somehow the fairly drastic decrease of size didn’t bring much attention to her. She always viewed herself in a fairly child-like way anyway.

Rain pattered against her window in her dark room. Her nightlight wasn’t working for some reason too. She whined quietly to herself and turned on her side, scared, only to see the huge grin of Mesmerman inches from her face. She screamed and backed up, thinking about hiding under her covers to escape the madman. Mesmer giggled hysterically and sat up as well. “What’s wrong, Zapper? Afraid of the dark?” She nodded, scared still. Mesmer let out a mock sympathetic “Awwww… That’s adorable. But when next to you no one has the right to call ME childish anymore! Heheheheh!”

Zapper hid her head under her covers and felt Mesmerman get up and walk over to her door. She peeked out as he opened it revealing the dark hallway outside. “I know you’re afraid of a lot of other things, too, Zapper.” Her closet door slowly started opening. “Including yourself.” Mesmer piped in, amused.

A tall figure took a step out of the closet. It was wearing a white straitjacket-like outfit and a blank metal helmet over its head from the nose up. It looked just like Zapper, only taller and thinner. Its left arm was mechanical and rusty, ending in a three-fingered claw. Its white clothes and hair were also lightly spattered in blood. It grinned, showing off its pointed and crooked teeth from the only exposed part of her face. “Zapper G” was written across its helmet. It just stared at a horrified little girl despite its eyes being hidden.

“This is the you that those men created when they brought you back.” Mesmer explained. He pulled a mirror out of nowhere and showed it to Zapper. “THAT is what is left of the you you once were. Of course, you don’t remember much of who you were do you?” Zapper continued to stare at her monstrous self as it slowly shambled over to her. She screamed and leapt from her bed as it neared her. She ran past a laughing Mesmer and stopped at her doorway, unwilling to go into the dark hallway. She turned around and looked. Her monster self was slowly turning around, and several pairs each of shadowy hands, claws, and tentacles started slowly crawling from beneath her bed, along with several large insects.

She screamed again and ran into the dark hallway, panicking. Tried to run to one of her friend’s rooms, only to find all of their doors locked. She continued to run until she saw a familiar, white, spherical figure. Her eyes lit up as she neared Blizzardman, throwing her arms around his leg. “Reg! She cried in her now-child-like voice, “I’m so scared! Please help me…” Blizzard turned and just stared down at her. She looked up, confused. “Blizzard? Love..?” She asked.

“I could never love you.” Blizzard said, coldly. He crossed his arms, ignoring her. Tears welled up in her eyes.

“I… I don’t understand…” She sputtered, but Blizzard continued to ignore her. She looked behind her, seeing Zapper G and a group of monsters coming down the hallway. Crying, she fled as fast as her little legs could carry her. She found herself in the kitchen and hid in one of the lower cabinets. She closed the door behind her, still crying and confused. She covered her mouth with her hands as she saw Mesmer staring back at her, sharing her hiding spot.

“Come one now, Zapper. You’re a big girl now, you can’t be afraid of the boogey man anymore, heheheheh.” Tears just welled up in her eyes. “And you wonder why Blizzard couldn’t possibly love you. Half of you is stuck in childhood while the other’s a blood-crazed monster. HEHEHEEHEH! You’d better calm down or else you’ll wet yourself, child.” Zapper looked down, slightly ashamed. Mesmer hesitated a moment before giggling to himself, “Well, you better not let that slow you down then. They’ll find you for sure here.”

A crash was heard in the room, signaling that the monsters had entered it. Zapper gasped and bolted out of the cabinet, running away from the monsters. Mesmer laughed at her as she ran, calling out, “If you think they’re scare NOW, you don’t want to know what they’ll do to you if they CATCH YOU! Ah hahahahahahaha!”

Zapper rand down the hallway, tears streaming and her legs starting to give out. She started seeing images of her imaginary friends every so often, only they were twisted and scary. She ran into the den, where the other Comrades were lounging. She ran over to them and flung herself around Brightbabe. “Bright Bright!” She cried, but not response came from the RM. She looked at her, confused. None of her friends seemed to be able to see her.

“They can’t see or here you, Zapper.” Mesmer said, “They’ve brainwashed themselves to ignore the little child that you are. It’s been taken so far you’re practically non-existent to them! HAHAHA!” The monsters came into the room after her. She started running again, only to trip and fall on her face. The monster version of herself grinned widely as she stomped over to her, but Zapper crawled away frantically. She saw a monster version of Blizzardman and several of her imaginary friends now in the crowd. The Comrades suddenly were gone, leaving her all alone with the monsters.

She ran into a dark room and locked the door behind her. She slid to the ground, a sobbing mess. She covered her head with her hands, trying to justify the dark by closing her eyes. She had never been so scared in her whole life. She heard Blizzard’s distorted voice saying, “Zapper, sweetie… come on out….” She just held herself and cried for what seemed like hours.

Zapper screamed as the door bent inwards from the impact of Blizzard smashing the door. Mr. Ashford, a common delusion friend for her, reached into the room, trying to get her. She screamed and hid herself in a corner. Suddenly the door flew open, exposing her. Tentacles snaked across the ground towards her and wrapped around her ankle. Her monster self pushed Blizzard aside to watch. The tentacle dragged her crying body towards a writhing mass of creatures. As she approached, a huge amount of claws and hands reached out for her. She screamed as loud as she could until suddenly a blinding light overtook her. She sat up, realizing that she was back where she was before falling into her nightmare world.

Zymeth stood over her, kicking a Mesmerman off the blade of his scythe as Dive stood behind him. She instantly jumped up and flung her arms around him, crying. “Oh Zy…” She sobbed. Zymeth patted her back and rocked her, gently.

“There there…” He said, still not quite recovered from his own brush with Mesmer’s world. “It wasn’t real. I know it was scary, but it wasn’t real.” Zapper didn’t pay that too much mind. She was heavily traumatized from her experience. Zymeth continued trying to console her. “Are you gonna be okay, Zapper?” She shook her head no, still crying.

“We need to find the others, Zap.” Geoff piped in, trying to focus her. “The others might need our help.”

“C’mon, Zapper…” Zymeth said. “We’ll go get the others, then you can go home and wait for Blizzard. How’s that sound?” Zapper seemed to ignore the question. Her already loose grip on reality had been shattered, practically. She was in absolutely no shape to accomplish anything. Skull and Dive nodded. “Zap, I’m going to give you over to Dive, okay?” Zapper nodded weakly.

Skull let her go and she flung her arms around Dive. He picked her up and shifted her to his one slightly damaged arm, carrying her like a small child while she was curled up. She was shaking badly, even being cradled like that. “It’s gonna be okay, Zap…” Dive said, assuringly. As the two others started running off with her still in Dive’s arm, she just shut her eyes and pretended she was back home. She couldn’t fall asleep, especially with Skull and Dive killing Mesmers and avoiding Siege Joes. She just hoped that soon everything would be just okay, and that she could go home to see Blizzard again. She was still afraid that something was going to get her, or something would make her be alone again. She could only hope for the best, since she was too shaken to do much else…



AM, Jade, and Sean searched everywhere for their teammates. All they could see was the corpses of the RPD. But a figure appeared in the horizon...

"Drill, it's that officer you attacked before. What should we do?" Pharaoh asked Drill.

"Hmm...I want to apoligize. However be on guard. If I did attack him then he will be pissed at me," he ordered. And thus he walked to the staggering officer.


The Cossack's Comrades... Makenshi thought. He was relieved to see that none of the Mesmermen were cable raping them from behind. He looked at the RPD corpses strewn about and frowned. "You did this, didn't you...."

"You dont understand! It was Mesmerman! He's here! He attacked us all and used us as Puppets! In fact he still has our friends captive. For any damage we did under his control, we are sorry but we have to go now," and with that the Comrades started to walk away.

"Ahem, do I have to remind you every time?" Spiegel suddenly said.

Goddamnit, Spiegel.


The Comrades continued to walk.

Makenshi sighed. "I said WAIT," he said in a more demanding tone, and he cocked his pistols and aimed them at the Comrades. They stopped, and turned around slowly. "Even if you were under the influence of someone else, the fact remains that you slaughtered our forces, attacked an officer, which is me, by the way, and the fact that you're renegades. You're all under arrest," he finally said, forcing out the words.

There was no way out of it. There was no primary threat around for him to ally with the Comrades against. He had to fight them.

And then, a bright light appeared. Something seized Makenshi and ran off with him. He struggled, trying to fight off his assailant, but cables reached out and engulfed him, putting him into darkness.

Back at RPD headquarters, Vatnick and Spiegel had lost Makenshi's signal. His bug and tracker had been completely disrupted. "Shiken! Shiken!" Spiegel yelled, but his words did not bring him back. Vatnick clenched his teeth in silence as the Captain slammed his fists down onto the console. "Damn it, Max, if you die on me, I swear......"



Dive looked over at the miraculous sight that was Zymeth and Zapper. This is the cold blooded murderer? Cradling Zapper?! Well, he couldn't blame the girl. She went through hell and back. Yet she should be out of this by now...but he himself was too exhausted to protest.

Over the horizon three figures appeared. Dive sighed. He knew this would happen.

"Sorry ta interrupt the love session but we have a problem. It appears we have company," and he pointed to the three looming figures.

"I don't think Zapper can fight. You have to do this alone..." Zymeth replied.


"Dive, is that you?" a voice cried out. Suddenly it made sense. The Comrades were reunited.

"Thank God it's you. We have Zapper down, with Zymeth taking care of her. Where's Jet?" Dive asked.

Sean looked puzzled. "She's not with you?"

"Aw Shit. If she ain't with you or me then she's..."

"With me," a too familiar voice whispered. And with that familiar voice came two familiar faces...



==SPECIAL FORCES (Makenshi)==

Shiken Max was a man unlike any Dan had ever encountered before.

He had been operating for a long time and was commanded by many humans. Each of them treated him at the value that he was manufactured to be: a machine, which is a tool to assist mankind in doing work, and nothing more. Humans are above machines, and it is his duty to put them above his own safety.

Yet, this Shiken Max, he estimated, had the same behavioral actions towards him like the actions he would have for a human being.

Dan's logic circuits worked hard to try to comprehend this, but he still could not understand. His memory banks recalled Shiken along with Doctor Beeson upgrading the three SF units. As he worked on them, Dan had sensed that Shiken expressed an abnormal amount of valuing them. They were all fully aware of their new capabilities and purposes, and now was the time to test them out...

Dan's mind drifted to other events. In the medical bay, the human had queried, "What do you think of me? Am I a good person?" What did it mean? He had no basis to determine whether he was "good" or not, and he was not even provided with a definition of what the expectations were to be defined as "good."

He was traveling alongside his cohorts, which included SF-13 and SF-59, or as Shiken labeled them, Donald and Tyler. He wondered if they were thinking the same thing he was thinking.

Then, before him were towering, tank-like figures. Dan identified them as Siege Joes, hostile and an S-class threat. There were eight of them. Eight Siege Joes, eight Special Forces units.

The battle began immediately. The Special Forces scrambled to dodge the streams of plasma from the Siege Joes and returned fire with blasts of energy from their hands. Tyler sent out rectangular fields of energy, but they dissolved instantly upon contact with the Siege Joe's weapons. "Shields are useless for defensive purposes. Offensive stance necessary for more efficient performance," Tyler deducted. More shields appeared, which then flew forth and slammed into the Siege Joes. It slowed them down a bit, and Donald took advantage of this with his enhanced speed, dashing around the enemy and blasting them with a barrage of rapid-fire charge shots.

Dan felt an incredible amount of energy well up within his hands, more than he had ever been able to charge, and he finally released it on a Siege Joe. However, the Siege Joe short-jumped, and the enormous blast sped off into nowhere. The Siege Joe appeared right behind Dan and delivered a punch with its pain-inducing spiked fists. Dan threw up his arms to block, sliding back from the impact, and the behemoths began to fist-fight. Several Siege Joes attempted to use this opportunity to attack Dan from behind, but some of the standard SF units got in the way and battled with them instead. Dan's improved armor was faring better than normal withstanding the Siege Joe's powerful blows, but he was still getting dents with each hit. He ducked just in time as the Siege Joe decided to point its cannon where his head was and fire. A kamikaze move, Dan thought. A successful hit from such close quarters would have severely damaged the Siege Joe just from the radiation and splash damage.

Dan's right fist began to glow with a blinding amount of energy, and as he continued to charge it he rammed into the Siege Joe's stomach with his shoulder, being careful not to hit any of the spikes that decorated the monstrosity's armor. The Siege Joe only budged by a few feet, but that was all the time he needed. His fist was completely charged up, and he released it in a devastating punch aimed at the Siege Joe's torso. He didn't expect his fist to tear right through the armor, gruesomely impaling the Sniper Joe that was operating inside it. A second Siege Joe came from behind and fired its cannon, but Dan whirled around and stuck out his arm with the corpse still hanging from it, using it as a shield from the burning plasma. However, it was starting to melt through, and Dan had no time to run away.

Luckily, Tyler came to the rescue, smashing his shields from three directions into the Joe. It whirled about confused, until Donald came in and pelted him with his machine-gun like blasts. The three SF units then ganged up on the hapless Joe, effectively taking it down.

The three bodyguards looked around and saw that their compatriots weren't faring as well. Three standard SF units had already been melted into a shapeless mess, though they did manage to take down one Siege Joe. It was 5 against 5 now.

The Special Forces prevailed, but barely. The remaining two standard units had fallen, and Dan, Donald, and Tyler were by themselves. However, with their combined teamwork they supported eachother, evening the tables once more to 3 versus 3.

However, the Siege Joes began jumping around like crazy, using an effective hit-and-run strategy, letting out only a burst of their plasma cannons before disappearing. The attacks then acted more like regular plasma shots, but they still had their burning effect on the SF units armors. Donald did his best to dodge the shots, as some of his defensive capabilities were compromised for his speed, Tyler tried futilely to raise shields, and Dan, who was the slowest, was getting hit the most.

Then, he realized that the Siege Joes were jumping in the same pattern. They would appear simultaneously, firing off three weakened bursts of plasma, then disappear to repeat the process. This took exactly 1.253 seconds each time. His armor was looking worse for wear, but it was time to end this.

.5, .6, .7, .8, .9, 1, now.

He closed his optical sensors and released the flash grenade, detonating right when the Siege Joes came back from a jump. They were caught by surprise, and while he wasn't sure it blinded them, it certainly had its disorienting effects on them, for they were firing wildly and missing.

If Dan had had a mouth, he would have smiled. Charging up his fists he shot mighty blasts of energy that tore through one of the Siege Joes. He began to prepare another attack, but he realized that the last two Joes were gone. He turned, scanning the entire area, anticipating them to jump out of nowhere and attack, but they didn't. Through his communicator, there was static, and Doctor Beeson's voice eventually filtered through it.

"Just..g...... through. Whoa! What happened to you guys? Your vital signs don't look to great...." she said.

"Siege Joes were jamming the communications. They have felled all but I, SF-13, and SF-59," Dan replied. "Two of them escaped."

"Siege Joes!" the doctor exclaimed incredulously. "No doubt the ones that ran away are seeking reinforcements. You must report back to headquarters before anything else happens!"

"We must assist Shiken Max," Donald insisted. "It is our primary objective."

"Shiken is fine. He would rather you not die from looking for him. Report back to base. That's an order."

The SF units hesitated for a moment. Then, they finally said, "Understood."


Makenshi awoke in a daze. Staggering up, he found himself in emptiness, surrounded only by the eternity of pitch black. Yet he could clearly see himself as if there was light.


He turned around and his eyes widened in disbelief.

It can't be...

Before him was a female robot. She had an angelic white armor, her helmet bearing a red cross decorated with a pair of tiny wings. She was exactly as he had remembered her, with her long, flowing blond hair, her serene smile, and those eyes that-

"Makenshi... Why did you kill me?"


The area from her nose down to her stomach split open, revealing rows of gruesome, sharp teeth. With sickening spurts tentacles burst out of her back, and her legs decayed into a bubbling mass of indistinct faces groaning in agony.

The girl continued to mutate until she became an unrecognizable monstrosity the size of a house. All that was left of her were those eyes, gazing down at Makenshi with sadness.

"Why did you kill me?" she repeated, reaching for him with bloody talons, and her enormous jaw seemed to take a life of its own, giving a low, bloodcurdling roar.

His eyes locked onto hers. He allowed himself to be seized by the tentacles, and without struggle he was slowly lifted into the air and pulled in towards the gaping maw.

Then, involuntarily, he pulled out a pistol. Some force was controlling his arm, and he tried to resist it, but to no avail. His arm shook violently as the gun fixated itself on the girl's forehead. He screamed in frustration, fighting for dominance over his own arm, its veins popping out from the strain. With each passing second his index finger inched closer to the trigger, until it was barely touching it. He couldn't give up.... and yet, he had no choice but to admit defeat.

"I always loved you," he said.

His eyes never left hers, and the unseen force made him fire.

One shot was all it took. Her monstrous form evaporated into sparkling globes of light that floated away into nothingness. Her original form fell from its place and she landed softly on her side, blood trickling from her mouth. Makenshi ran up to her and knelt down. He had to touch her, to see if she wasn't just a mere illusion. His hand softly brushed against her face, feeling the smooth synthetic skin. It felt real enough. Her eyes were shimmering, and artificial tears trailed from them. He wiped them away and was surprised to find that the liquid was as cold as ice. That's when he noticed. Her face was the same... and yet different. Her smile didn't retain the sincerity and warmness it had always had. No, it was a mocking smirk.

"How dare you... You've gone and killed me again," she said coldly.

And she too vaporized into specks of light. Makenshi doubled over and wept.

And then Vulcan appeared. He was donned in his original Star armor, but the color scheme was darker, and his face was completely hidden in pitch black. The former leader of the Ascendant Androids approached Makenshi, and without warning, smashed his fist into Makenshi's face. The impact caused Makenshi to fly back and land sprawled on the ground with a loud thud. "Son of a bitch," Vulcan spat. "You cared more about her than your own team. We fell apart because of you, asshole. Just shows you didn't give jack-shit about us."

That's not true.., Makenshi thought, but before the words could come out Vulcan was already gone. Instead, Gravityman was in his place. Like Starman, his armor was also darker. The red Android gave a sharp kick in the ribs, causing Makenshi to roll over a few yards. "Myah! Why did you have to leave us?!" Johnny cried furiously.

And one by one, his former teammates appeared and vanished, heartlessly bashing him each time.


Brandon, as Stoneman, sat on top of Makenshi, the crushing weight of the Android's body suffocating him. "It's all your fault that we had to go through so much hell," he said gruffly.

I'm sorry...

Crys brought her foot down on Makenshi's skull, smothering it. "It's all your fault that so many people died," she rebuked in disgust.

I was...

Nick lifted Makenshi from the ground, grabbing him by the collar. The former wearer of the Charge armor looked up at him, his face full of anger. "Hell, Darkman was more of a hero than you were," and he tossed him aside like a rag doll.

Darkman.... Yeah, you're right.

Before he could land, Gyroman shoulder-tackled him in midair. "We were better off never finding you!" the green Android growled.


Napalmman came from above, brutally slamming Makenshi back into the ground. "Heh, that was one more burden off our shoulders when you left!" Matt sneered.

I bet it did...

All of the Androids materialized and circled around him, ruthlessly beating and jeering at him. He was ready to die. He WANTED to die. He just couldn't take it anymore...

"Meh, you're no fun."

Then, they backed away, revealing Mesmerman who had been watching the scene the whole time. "You have quite the colorful story behind you," the puzzle-like phantom remarked, "and I would have just let you drown in your despair, but that would be too boring. Instead, while we wait for your friend to come, I'll personally see to having you give me..... entertainment..." and he brandished several scythes, floating around him and spinning rapidly.

"Or..." Makenshi huffed, getting to his feet, "I can kill you and get the hell out of this acid trip."

Mesmerman began to laugh so uncontrollably that it took minutes for him to finally catch his breath. "Do you really think you have what it takes?! Get with the times! Without your precious Wave armor you are POWERLESS against me!" and his scythes whirred forth, slicing Vulcan, Johnny, Brandon, Crys, Nick, Tommy, and Matt into halves. Their bodies silently crumpled and piled on top of eachother.


"What's the matter? A minute ago they were beating you senseless, telling how much they HATED you. I was just doing you a favor!" Mesmer taunted.

"I've had enough," Makenshi growled. "I'll-" but he didn't get to finish his sentence, as a scythe flew right through his torso. He experienced pain like he had never felt before, the pain of being sliced in half, yet his body was still intact for every single cell in his body to feel it.

"See? Right then I could have severed the only link left that binds your mind to your body, but I chose not too. But that means that I can kill you again... and again.... and again.... and again..." he repeated, slicing across Makenshi each time. "Oh, I know you want this to end. I know you want to die and stay dead, but that's entirely up to me, and I've decided this is much more fun! I could do this forever!"


During Makenshi's short visit at Dr. Light's hideout, he, Crys, and Nick had been conversing through passing notes to avoid the bug hidden in his coat, which could then only pick up sound.

"Yeah, that's what happened to me," Makenshi said, and then he whispered, "I'm with the RPD as well." On a piece of paper he wrote, So will you do it?

Crys and Nick hesitated, but they finally nodded.

"Alright, you've had your time to chat. Now go. Now," Spiegel ordered.

"Well.... I... have to go now," Makenshi announced. "But.. it was nice seeing you two again."

"Already? But...."

"Sorry..... But I promise I'll come back. And we can have a drink and talk as much as we want."

And I'll bring back our armors, too, Makenshi added in pen.

Crys nodded with a smile, though her eyes were marked with sadness.

"You'd better keep that promise!" she called to him. Then she impulsively scribbled:

Just make it back alive.

"I will.... Bye, Crys..... See ya, Nick."


I've gotta get outta here... I WILL get out of here!

Mesmerman threw another of his scythes, only for it to be deflected. Puzzled, he looked to see that Makenshi was holding a sword. It was long and wide, colored a solid white with a blue striped indent running down the middle. "What the... Where did that thing come from?"

Makenshi gazed at the blade with a grin. "Man am I glad to find you here," he said to it as if it was an old friend.

Mesmer, still confused yet unperturbed by Makenshi's new weapon, he sent his scythes in for the kill once more. Makenshi gave the sword a flick and the indent changed from blue to yellow, and he swung upward, leaving behind a trail of large stars that deflected the scythes. The sword went back to blue and he drove it into the ground. A wave of water gushed forth, enveloping the scythes and manipulating them so that they began to slash at their own master. Mesmerman jumped, twisting through the air to dodge the blades, but one managed to slice through his arm.

"What the hell is this?!" a bewildered Mesmerman demanded. "The Star Crash? The Water Wave? How are you able to use them?!"

"It's my determination.... to fulfill a promise I made to my friends," Makenshi answered. Then, with amazing speed that matched Chargeman's, he dashed towards Mesmer. The sword turned teal and large droplets of liquid flowed from the hilt and ran along the underside of the blade. With a wide slash, the drops were flung off of the blade, transforming into Crystal Eyes that Mesmer blocked just in time with his scythes.

Mesmerman retaliated with a Messor Tempestas. Five scythes came from all directions. With a click Makenshi split his sword in two, one turning green and the other brown. The brown half whirled around him, while he manually used the green one to parry the multiple Mallus Messis. Eventually they faded away, and Makenshi threw his green blade at Mesmer with all his might, causing it to spin rapidly until it was just a circular blur. The phantom robot knocked it away, only for the other blade to be flung at him, colliding into him with blunt force. Both blades ricocheted back to their master, and Makenshi recombined them.

Mesmer prepared for another attack but found that he was unable to move. Makenshi's sword was red. Gravity Hold.

Makenshi slowly strode over to the now bound Mesmerman. Then, something in front of him began to rise from the ground.

They might have been human once. But now they were just a pale mass of intertwining bodies, surrounding Makenshi and seizing his feet.

"Well look-y here, it's all the people you've killed," Mesmerman remarked, and he floated into the air to avoid the dead, who were multiplying in numbers until there was a sea of them.

They began to pile on top of eachother, engulfing Makenshi with their cold touch of death. Makenshi raised his sword, pointing it at Mesmer. It turned purple and the large gun barrel emerged from the middle and out of the tip. A Napalm Bomb flew out of the barrel, heading straight for Mesmerman....

And it suddenly vaporized into dust, along with Makenshi's sword.

"Hehehehe... Let me make one thing clear before you leave," Mesmer said . "This is MY world. Anything that happens in this world is under MY jurisdiction. Whether you get to pull a fancy sword out of your ass is entirely up to me, and I only gave it to you for shits and giggles." He gazed down and relished at the sight of Makenshi's shocked face. "My, my, you thought you were in control, didn't you? Sometimes toying with people is far too simple! Oh, and I think all those people you've murdered have some business with you..."

By then the sea of the dead had climbed up to Makenshi's neck. What looked like a child let out a groan and clutched Makenshi's face. Others groped about around him, and he was completely covered by them, save for a sliver of air that gave a view of Mesmer's impossible, grinning face.

"Goodbye, Shiken Max."

And all was black.


"My dear Comrades, your friend here is the best toy I have had in a long time. She is so powerful. I think I'm gonna keep her," Mesmer cooed. All the Comrades save Zapper stood up and pointed their weapons at Mesmer.

"You Sonovabitch! Let her go!" Dive yelled. All the Comrades cocked their weapons.

"Zapper, I'm taking this bastard out. He's dead!" Zymeth told his counterpart. She weakly nodded.

"Kyehehehe ah will you attack me and risk hurting her?" Mesmer taunted. "Bright, show them your little trick. I think they will like it."

Bright fired a Flash Stopper at the group. They were blinded by the light. Drill tunneled underground to escape the light. He popped his head up just in time to see Jet fire off multiple shots. One hit him. He slumped down to the ground.

Zapper saw the violence and cried even harder. She couldn't take it anymore. She attempted to pull a Rain Flush but Jet shot her.

"Kyehehehe so this is Cossack's special force? If you are his best then capturing Cossack will be easy," he chuckled.

"What do you mean? What do you want with Cossack?" Dust inquired as he dodged a shot by Jet.

"The General has declared Cossack to be a threat. I don't see why though. He has decreed that we go and capture him," Mesmer told the group.

Skull lunged at Mesmer and was met with a blast from Jet's buster. Dive shot off multiple missiles, but they were all met by buster fire.

"Give up. You are no match for me and my toy. Your leader has already fallen. You all are already dead. Surrender now and I swear your deaths will be quick and painless..." but he was cut off. The connection between Jet and himself was shattered. The cable was destroyed.

It was Drillman! He had pretended to play dead. Using the Comrades as distractions, he had attached one last Drill Bomb at the primary cable.

"You have destroyed my toy! No fair! SIEGE JOES, assemble!" Mesmer cried out.

Jet was struggling to get up. The movie...was it real. Then she saw the injured Comrades.

"NO! What have I done?" she cried.

Dive saw the girl come to. "Pull yourself together! Cause a distraction! We need 'ta get the hell outa here! We are no match for these guys!"

Bright nodded weakly. "FLASH STOPPER MAXIMUM POWER!!!!" And she concentrated all her power into blinding Mesmerman. "ARGH! YOU WITCH!" he cried.

"Comrades, retreat...we need to get home! Cossack is in trouble!" Drill ordered. And the Comrades retreated, with Dive carrying Jet and Zapper.

"This ain't gonna be pretty."



Mesmerman grinned, as if he could accomplish anything else, as he watched the Comerades flee. Brightbabe had been fun to play with, all said and done, but keeping her never really entered into his plans. After all, he had enouh toys to play with.

Still... maybe next time, he'd make an effort to take over Flashman if he had the opportunity. A good idea to keep in mind.

Well over half of the bodies he'd sent into the city were still active, albeit somewhat bored. None of the Siege Joes had actually even been damaged, except the one that had, unfortunately, been torn apart. Still, its remains were here, salvagable. It could be rebuilt, although it would take some time for that to actually happen. At least Cossack's rats hadn't gotten their hands on it. Too busy running away.

Mesmerman looked out over the city with an all-seeing eye. Not a bad day's work. The mental torture inflicted on the Comerades would no doubt haunt them for days to come. Maybe even weeks or months, in some cases.

There was no doubt that the city was won by the Scissor Army this day, but why remain here? A small town that served no purpose but for its capacity to lure in his prey.

One of the remaining Siege Joes stepped up beside him. "Sir, the field of battle is ours. Your orders?"

Mesmerman grinned, one of his bodies turning the teleportation shield off while a large number of the rest of him began to evacuate the city. "Burn it," he giggled. "All of it."



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