The Business of War

The Old Citadel Part 3

Scenario A
The SA vs the Cossack Faction

Location: Cossack's Citadel, Northern Russia

"My, he's a tenacious one..." Buster Rod smiled to himself. Sword took a few more swings at him, they were strong hits, but nothing too hard to push away. The Impacter went for a thrust, but Buster Rod jumped and landed on top of his opponent's blade.

"Gutsy move, son." the monkey quipped. He quickly jumped forward over Swordman's head and somersaulted in the air with his staff out, hitting Swordman in the back. His floating upper section wobbled forward before it righted itself back up.

"Little bugger's quicker than I thought..." Sword thought. The two of them turned around to face each other once again. "You gonna fight me like a man or what?" He tried to goad Buster Rod.

"The ends justify the means, sir knight." Buster Rod replied. They both charged towards each other and their weapons clashed. The two were shoving at each other, trying to push the other down, but their respective strengths were so close that neither seemed to be gaining anything against the other. Swordman let up on his push so Buster Rod would fall forward. The simian caught himself on his hands, but not before Swordman took a quick swing to lop his right leg off halfway up the thigh.

"AAGH! DAMMIT!" Buster Rod screamed in agony at his dismemberment. He shakily stood up on his attached foot, propping the other side with his staff.

"So, you ready to accept your defeat?" Swordman inquired of the Officer.

"Heh, heheh...heheheheheh...haaahahahaaaa!!! Ooooooohh, far from it..." His eyes gleamed red as he maniacally laughed. Sitting down, he took the staff in hand, and started to thrust it up his bad leg. He created a horrifying sound out of his mouth during the process, a mixture of painful screaming and demented laughter. When he was finished, Buster Rod stood up on his makeshift leg, and looked into Swordman's eyes.

"I've still got more if you want it." He told the blade-armed Robot Master.

"You freaking psychopath!"

"Did you expect any less?"

Once again they took another rush at each other. Swordman took a running swing, and luckily it hit Buster Rod's new leg, tripping him over on his back.

"You die here." Sword held up his sword in a downward position, ready to thrust it into his opponent. But...

"NNGAAAAH!" Suddenly a blinding flash caught Swordman off guard. As he attempted to blindly stab his opponent, Buster Rod had got off the ground and was fumbling around him. Swordman's eyes were recovering enough to see that there was nothing on the ground. Where did he go?

"Hey Errol Flynn! Over here." Swordman turned his head towards the voice beside him to meet another flash, this time right in his face. As Swordman was reeling back, Buster Rod doubled his fists together and smashed into the top of Sword's pelvis, harming his anti-gravity device. He smashed the device a few more times until it eventually broke, making Sword's heavy upper section fall to the ground with a great thud.

"...You jackass..."

"Yeah, don't you know it?" Buster Rod stabbed through Swordman's chest with his bo staff leg, incapacitating the brave fighter. He pulled the staff out of his downed opponent and started running back towards his team mates.


Artilleryman flew off and the raging Chargeman chased after him. Grenademan and Dustman were now left along against the injured CrystalGirl.

"You know, I like these odds a lot better," Grenademan said with a grin.

"Bastards," CrystalGirl muttered. "I'll tear you apart!"

The remaining fragments of crystals flew out at Grenademan and Dustman as the two frantically dove out of the way. They both managed to succeed in evading the razor sharp edges, but the gemstones changed direction after they passed the two robots and returned to CrystalGirl at full speed. This time the pair were not as lucky, both found themselves receiving deep gashes throughout their body.

"You know what?" Maha asked angrily. "I am so sick of getting cut to pieces by these pieces of jewelry! This bitch dies now!"

Grenademan rapidly threw explosive after explosive at CrystalGirl. The SA officer was immediately put on the defensive as all her remaining crystals were being used to block the explosions. Dustman joined in and fired his Dust Crushers as quickly as he could, but his slow vacuum could not keep up with Grenademan’s rage. The gemstones were slowly being broken apart into smaller pieces as the grenades made impact and some of the smallest fragments were sent flying towards Grenademan and Dustman. These tiny, but sharp crystals were becoming harder and harder to dodge and easily managed to cut through the armor of Cossack's forces. However with all the bursts of flames and smoke from the grenades, CrystalGirl was having difficulty aiming.

The gap between the fighters began to close and CrystalGirl smiled realizing in close combat she would have the advantage. One crystal was soon sent flying into Dustman’s right knee, where it remained and twisted around in order to completely destroy his mobility. The vacuum based robot quickly toppled over as he tried to yank the precious stone out of his leg. Grenademan however moved in even closer as he launched one explosive after the other. There was eventually less than a foot difference between the two fighters. CrystalGirl grinned and closed the gap even more, moving in personally for a final blow. Several of her gems quickly gathered around her hand, allowing one well placed punch to tear through Grenademan’s chest. Grenademan grimaced and attempted to free himself, but CrystalGirl twisted her wrist causing her diamond sharp fist to dig deeper in the armor.

"Idiot," CrystalGirl mocked. "Did you have a death wish?"

"No, I didn't really want to die," Maha answered. "But I'm not afraid of dying for a worthy cause."

Just then Grenademan grinned and looked at his hands. CrystalGirl glanced down as well and immediately attempted to pull back. A huge burst of fire erupted from between the two opponents. Maha had used all his remaining ammo in a suicidal attack against CrystalGirl.

When the flames died down, CrystalGirl and Grenademan fell. CrystalGirl’s armor had been destroyed by the explosion; the extreme heat twisted the metal and stained what remained black. Grenademan faired even worse against his own weaponry. With all the gashes and holes in his armor, the fires had no trouble entering and tearing him apart. Both combatants were now out of the battle.

Dustman with one last tug removed the crystal from his leg. Without CrystalGirl to control it anymore, the gemstone proved much easier to remove. The Robot Master limped over to his ally and sat down.

"Good job, Grenademan," Sean said despite knowing that his friend could no longer hear him. "Personally I thought you had just gone berserk, would of never guessed there was a method to your madness. Now all that’s left is to take care of Chargeman and get us back to the Citadel."

The Robot Master laughed to himself for a second.

"Yeah, like either of those two is going to be easy. I mean, you are at best unconscious and I can only limp at the moment. Besides, Chargeman’s armor we both know is too strong and we can't attempt blowing him up like you did with CrystalGirl either," Dustman thought out loud. "With a furnace hot enough to make ash that burns through armor there would bound to be some nasty side effects if we find an explosive powerful enough to tear through Chargeman. Artilleryman and I aren't even in that good of a shape at the moment either. We really need some sort of edge..."

An idea suddenly came to Dustman. The Robot Master quickly looked down at his now useless right leg and all the crystals and bits of armor scattered across the ground. He quickly activated his radio and contacted Artilleryman.

"Hey, Artillery? I have a plan." Dustman said.


Artilleryman's voice was barely audible over the intercom thanks to Chargeman’s roaring. "Hey, I could use some help the Super Chief!"

"Ya already got Blizzard over there, Artie." Diveman countered. "What more could ya want?"

"Blizzard? You mean that huge Russian guy?" Artillery asked. "I haven't seen him since this party started. Don't know what's in that flask of yours, buddy."

"Sonuva..." Diveman checked his com link. "AA Blizzard. Yo, Snowcone! Ya hear me, Frosty?! Answer me, dammit!"

No response.

"Hmph. Saw that one comin’"

Diveman put his hand up to the communications receiver again.

"CC Toad Gal. Toad? Zap?"


Blizzardman carried Toadgal in his right arm and their possessions in his left. Zapper's com link beeped. Without thinking, Zapper picked up.

"Yeah?" She asked before realizing she wasn't supposed to answer.

Blizzardman looked down at her. She knew he wouldn't let her go back and fight. Not in the condition she was in now. All he wanted was to keep any harm from coming to her, even if it meant abandoning his friends.

"Sorry, Dive," she said. "I'm kinda busy right now..."

Toadgal cut the communication. "Reg... what if they die?" She asked, a tear forming in the corner of her eye.

"They wanted to stay, Zapper... it's their decision..." Blizzard said, gazing into her eyes. "Please don't ask me to take you back. If you die... I might as well be dead, too..."

"Okay..." Zapper relented. "I hope they all make it out okay..."

"I hope so too, love, I hope so, too..."

A plasma shot stopped Blizzard in mid-step. "Ahh... young love..." A snide voice sighed. "How is it that an oaf such as yourself has the love of such a woman, whereas my beloved refuses to return the affection I lavish upon her?"

The source of the shot walked into plain view. "Gemini..." Blizzardman growled.

"Fleeing? What a cowardly way to protect your lady!" Gemini drew his heated sword and pointed it at the Russian. He noticed the wounds Zapper had accumulated from the fight with Spade. "And you've failed to protect her as well. Perhaps she'd be in better hands were she to join the glorious General..." The White Knight's sinister grin replaced his indignant stare as a manic chuckle passed his mouth.

Blizzardman looked around as the knight began to close distance. He saw a fairly large rock to his right.

"Hold on, Zapper." He said.

Blizzardman leapt to the boulder and kicked it towards Gemini with startling accuracy. The White Knight saw the attack and put up his shield, however, allowing the rock to smash against the sturdy shield. "Such brutish tactics, you're hardly worth-"

Gemini was cut short as he caught a face-full of snow. He wiped the cold precipitation from his face and looked around. Blizzardman had whipped up a snowstorm while he blocked the rock. He glanced back and forth. Finally, he caught a glimpse of his prey as it ran through the woods.

"So, your crude display was merely to catch me off my guard for a more refined tactic! Well done, but I'm afraid it won't help." Gemini's crazed laughter echoed through the woods as he began closing distance with Blizzardman.

Blizzardman ran as fast as he could. Just as the knight was within eyesight, Blizzardman saw that the forest led to a ledge. He stopped. The ledge was about a six foot drop onto a steep incline. Gemini caught up with him.

"Any last words, you dishonorable coward?" The White Knight laughed maniacally.

Blizzardman looked back. "Yes," He said. "This is some nice powder."

With that, the Russian jumped off the ledge and his retractable skis shot out from his boots. Geminiman rushed to the edge and watched the ex-ski instructor Robot Master pick up speed while dodging trees and rocks with ease.

"Come back and face death with honor!" Gemini shouted, firing off plasma rounds as Blizzardman quickly faded out of sight. He growled and reach for his com link, but then hesitated. "Do I really want to call for backup and tell them I allowed two Cossackers to escape?" Gemini thought to himself. "Grrr, he's not worth the trouble..." He turned and then stroked his face. "How does a giant walking snowball have such a lovely lady to call his own when a far more attractive soul such as myself retires to a lonely home?"

Enker simply beckoned back at Slashman. "It's not worth my time to walk over there." He said in an almost bored tone.

The clawed robot was taken back by the insult, but he didn't show it. He only smiled. "Well, then. If you won't make the first strike, I'll cut you down to size myself!"

"No! Slash, he wants you to-" Centaur tried to warn him, but Slashman was already on the attack.

The wolverine leapt at the Mercenary, lashing out with a devastating combo attack. Just as he lashed out, however, Enker pole-vaulted into the air using his spear, slamming his foot down on Slashman's back. Slashman cried out in pain while the Mercenary laughed.

"You see? Why should I have to walk over there to kill you?" He spat.

"Oh, no. Slash!" Centaur aimed her buster.

"Heheheheh, are you sure about that, sweetheart?" Enker readied his mirror buster.

Zapper shot her spread shot, but the attack sailed past Enker, slamming into the wall and breaking into a shower of plasma fire.

"Why that little-" Enker saw the plasma coming from behind and performed a back flip over the incoming projectile.

Once Slashman was no longer pinned, he leapt up and dashed in close to Enker.

"That spear is worthless in close-range." He said with a growl.

Enker didn't even bother to answer him as he retracted the spear, it was much smaller now, and capable of being used in close combat. Enker parried a slash attack and sank his fist into Slashman's gut.

"Ever get tired of being wrong?" Enker said calmly.

The Mercenary attempted to stab him, but Slashman was nimble and jumped up just in time to avoid the spear thrust. Enker lobbed the spear at the airborne foe. The spear passed through the target, but no scream was heard and Enker didn't see any damage. His radar beeped, cueing him in their presence. Zapper and Slash were off to his far right. He had struck an after-image.

"That's a wonderful trick, Slash." He said with a light chuckle.

"That wasn't me." Slashman said, looking up at Zapper. She had used her accelerator to nab Slashman out of the air before the spear struck him.

"You're welcome." Zapper smiled. "Let's kick this guy's butt."

Slashman smiled back. "Agreed. Let's show him how it's done!"

The two Robot Masters dashed towards the Rockman Killer. Enker drew his spear. He timed their approach and leapt between the two. Now he extended his spear, tripping Zapper up and making Slashman leap over the pole. Enker lunged at Zapper's mid-section, but Slashman caught the spear by interlocking his claws to make scissors, causing enough friction to stop the blade. Zapper got up and attempted to run Enker over, but the Mercenary rolled to the side and attempted to run her through again with his spear. This time, Zapper caught the pole as it passed by her side, grabbing the length of the pole with her arm and cradling it like it was a lance. She followed the forward motion of Enker's attack by slamming her free elbow into his face. Enker landed on the ground, rolling on the floor and holding his nose.

"GAAH! I'll show you!" He shouted.

Enker pulled out a plasma spear. The tip glowed with superheated energy.

"I'LL HACK YOU TO PIECES!!!" The Mercenary screamed.

Zapper materialized a naginata. She nodded to Slashman, who nodded in return. The two ran at the infuriated spear-wielder. He ran the plasma tip in a short arc in front of him, kicking up small splash of liquid metal. The two Robot Masters were momentarily distracted, and that was all Enker needed. He shot through the two attackers, slamming the butt of his spear into Slashman's chin, sending him sprawling into the wall. He attempted to eviscerate the mythological Robot Master, but she was able to see it in time and escaped with a mild gash on her side. She swung her naginata at Enker, who nimbly evaded the attack, jumping to the ceiling and launching himself from the surface, attempting to sink the red-hot point into her chest. Slashman slammed into him, however, stopping the attack. Slashman attempted to swipe his face off his skull, but Enker defended with his spear. After stopping the attack, Enker kicked Slashman in the gut, forcing the wolverine off of him and allowing him to handspring to a standing position. The two Robot Masters rush him, wildly swinging their blades as Enker blocked and evaded the vicious steel onslaught. Enker stuck his spear into the ground and used it as a pole to hold on to as he kicked off of Slashman's face and struck Zapper in the stomach with a devastating kick. He held on to the pole and flipped back to Slashman, landing an axe-kick to his head, slamming the wolverine to the ground. He picked up the downed Robot Master and swung him across the room. The agile Slashman stuck the landing after being thrown as Enker pulled his plasma spear out of the ground to counter the naginata swipe from CentaurGirl’s. The two fighters swung viciously at each other with their mid-ranged weapons. Zapper performed a brutal overhead strike which Enker promptly dodged by jumping up as she swung, landing on the back of her head and front-flipping off her head into a perfect landing several yards away from her. Slashman had just gotten back to the fight.

"Certainly you must realize by now that the Scissor Army is invincible!" Enker laughed. "Why don't you just join them?"

"Because we're above scum like that!" Slashman shouted, dashing at Enker.

Enker simply laughed and mounted his spear against the oncoming foe. Suddenly, Zapper appeared at his side, naginata drawn, ready to slash him in half.

"Damn her accelerator!" He said, breaking off the attack.

Both Robot Masters swung at once, but Enker dropped to the floor on his back as the attacks barely missed his head. Now he leapt up into the air.

"Now you will both-" Enker was cut off in mid-sentence as Zapper reared up, goring him with the horn on her helmet.

"ACK!" He gurgled. "You-you... little... DIE!"

Enker thrust his spear into Zapper's chest. Zapper screamed in pain as the searing heat melted through her armor and ravaged her circuitry. She took her helmet off, leaving it imbedded into te ceiling where she had nailed Enker. Enker frantically tried to remove the horn as Slashman shot a goo bomb onto the ceiling, allowing him to stick to the ceiling right where Enker was nailed. He jumped into his own goo bomb, the sticky substance adhering him to the ceiling. He glared at the trapped Mercenary, who shot a glance back at him.

"You can't stop us. We'll just come back every time." Enker taunted.

"Sure, your buddies might," said Slashman, "but I have news for you, Enks. You won't."

Within seconds, Enker clattered to the ground in eight different pieces. Slashman pulled Zapper's helmet out of the ceiling and kicked himself out of his goo bomb. He walked over to Zapper, who had pulled the plasma spearhead out of her chest. She clutched her wound.

"Are you ok?" Slashman asked, worried.

Zapper gave him the thumbs-up. "Yeah." She smiled. "He missed my power-core just barely..."

"Close call." Slash said. "Here's you helmet." He said, handing her the headpiece.

Zapper brushing her long, beautiful white hair back and placed the helmet back on her head.


Once Dustman explained his plan to Artilleryman, the mercenary smiled and turned around to fly back to the battlefield. Chargeman continued running straight ahead for a few seconds before quickly changing changed direction.

“Not a bad plan,” Artilleryman said he began to charge his particle cannon. “Try to avoid getting flattened.”

“Don’t worry. Just lead Chargeman and fire if necessary. I’ll handle the rest,” Dustman replied.

Sean saw the massive Chargeman run towards him before he could make out Artilleryman flying in front of the locomotive. Dustman sighed and began aiming his vacuum straight ahead. Perhaps if Chargeman was not so full of rage or if General Cutman had given the battering ram more intelligence the giant would of found something wrong. The field was empty except for Dustman and the inactive bodies of Grenademan and CrystalGirl.

Chargeman increased his speed when he noticed the unmoving Dustman in his path. “Just a little more,” Dustman muttered as the distance between him and Chargeman lessened. The superheated soot was beginning to get closer and closer to burning his armor.

As soon as the black ash landed within a foot away from his feet, Dustman checked his aim and closed his eyes. Sean then fired the most destructive Dust Crusher he had ever made. All the fragmented crystals had been used along with most of the metal shards rather than the normal, harmless dust. A storm of sharp, jagged pieces of metal and gems tore into Chargeman’s legs; one of Dustman’s attacks had finally succeeded in piercing the tough armor of the crazed train.

Chargeman staggered backwards and Artilleryman quickly opened fire on his opponent’s wounds. The charged particle beam tore into Chargeman’s already weakened knees. The giant toppled to the earth causing the surrounding area to shake. Upon hitting the ground, the locomotive flailed as he desperately struggled to rise and found that he could not. Chargeman roared in rage as he squirmed on the ground

“Nice job. I don’t think the hell train is too happy about it though,” Artilleryman said. “The Scissor Army has been so kind to share their weaponry with us today.”

Artilleryman waited for a reaction and when none came he began to look for Dustman. He found Sean not too far away lying on the ground. While the attack was extremely effective, it was not without side effects. Dustman was weak to cutting weapons like Ringman’s attacks and the area most sensitive was his vacuum. Sean practically tore himself apart from the inside out to make that attack and the nuclear ash that had fallen afterwards did not help matters. His vacuum had been shredded to pieces and damaged beyond repair or recognition. Both of Dustman’s shoulders were now practically destroyed and his previously damaged right arm was gone. His left eye was destroyed along with part of the surrounding area and his right eye was half close. The previous damage to the rest of his body had been worsened by the heat of the ash.

“Come on, wake up,” Artilleryman said as he shook Dustman’s body. “I need you to get up; I can’t drag both you and Grenademan back to the Citadel.”

Sean’s right eye opened the rest of the way and he struggled to his feet once Artilleryman let go. He opened his mouth to speak but no words came out. Instead Dustman coughed violently and almost fell back to the ground.

“Are you okay?” Artilleryman asked.

Dustman shook his head.

Artilleryman paused for a second and then asked, “Can you at least walk?”

Dustman hesitated and then took a step forward, dragging his right leg behind his left. He then nodded.

“Good, we better hurry back to the Citadel before Chargeman manages to wiggle over to us or calls for help,” Artilleryman said gesturing to the squirming Chargeman.

Dustman started to move, but then stopped and pointed at Grenademan.

Artilleryman sighed, “Don’t worry, I’ll carry him. You just worry about walking.”


Skull took a few shots from atop the wall at a semi-distracted Spade, trying to get his attention off of the more wounded members of Cossack’s faction he was staring at. Spade stumbled behind his stolen vehicle, narrowly avoiding Skull’s shots. The plan worked as Spade teleported from behind the van to its front, lobbing an energy ball at Skull and laughing childishly. Skull activated his barrier, deflecting the shot.

Spade laughed and threw down a smoke bomb, disappearing. Skull crouched behind a low wall, waiting for Spade’s next move. The crazed jester appeared suddenly, standing on top of the wall Skull was taking cover behind. “HERRO!” Spade shouted as Skull jumped away from him firing more shots from his buster. Spade nimbly dodged each one, closing distance with Skull with his wrist blades drawn.

“C’mon, don’t you want to duke it out? I’m itching to fight with my Daniel Boon hat!” He shouted, gesturing towards the Pluto fur hat on his head.

“It’s just sheer bliss being you, isn’t it?” Skull asked, whipping his scythe from behind his back.

“Not so much lately…” Spade said, sadly, “Working with Killjoy is no fun at all…”

“Well, someone has to keep the pure, unadulterated madness in check, don’t they?” Skull replied, readying for one of Spade’s surprise attacks.

“Madness!?” Spade spat. Skull could see where this was going a mile away, but somehow Spade still caught him off guard with the sheer lunacy of his upcoming attack. “THIS IS SPARTA!!!” And as predicted, Spade kicked Skull right in the chest, causing him to tumble backwards.

Spade laughed manically while Skull started to get up, stunned by the fact that he actually got hit. “Wait…” Spade mused, “This is RUSSIA. I messed that up… Okay, come back over here, we need to try that again.” Skull began walking towards him as if to humor him, but suddenly lunged at the performer. He cocked his scythe back, ready to swing.

Spade raised his wrist blades up in defense, ready to block and counter attack. But Skull’s swing went low, imbedding itself in the floor in front of him. Spade reacted too late this time, as Skull propelled himself forward from the stationary weapon, returning Spade’s previous kick with even more force. Spade lunged backwards from the wall, falling and being imbedded face-first into the exact same spot in the snow that Blizzard had launched him into earlier.

Skull shook his head and chuckled to himself. He decided that it was a good thing that Spade played around so much. His thoughts were interrupted as Drill’s voice blared over his com link. “Skull! Get back to the basement ASAP! I’ll see you there.”

Skull put a hand to the side of his helmet. “Fair enough. I’m on my way.” He said. He jumped from the wall and made a mad dash towards the Citadel, rushing inside. He skidded to a halt in the hallway to round a corner. He took a few steps to get a run going again but suddenly a huge flash of metal flicked out in front of him. He ground to a halt and it flashed again. This time he realized it was a scythe blade.

Suddenly Zymeth realized he was standing on top of a grate. His eyes widened with the insight and he began to leap when suddenly the same flash sprang up to his left, and then his right. The four slashes made a perfect square, which began tumbling into the bowls of the Citadel. Skull pulled off his jump before the sliced section of the floor fell, but he felt a pair of hands grab him by the ankles, pulling him into the dark section of the Citadel.

The hands disappeared and he landed about 15 feed down, on top of a walkway. He looked around the long, wide corridor, finding it to be full of pipes that carried water to and from the various rooms of the Citadel. He looked up at the hole in the ceiling, only to see it become shrouded by blackness.

“Wraithman…” Skull muttered under his breath, activating the light that emanated from the gem on his chest. The only sounds at first were the vague dripping from the various pipes, and the occasional sound of an explosion from the real battle. But the sound of footsteps walking on the grated walkway began to echo, and Skull readied his scythe. He put a hand up to his helmet. "Drill-" He began, but was cut off by a horrific static sound.

"Hello, Vincent." Wraith said, emerging casually from the shadows. Skull only glared in return. “I’m so glad I caught you before something… terrible happened. I’d be quite distraught if something happened to my dearest younger brother.”

“You’re brother’s gone, Wraith.” Skull snapped back.

“Don’t talk such nonsense.” Wraith responded, waving offhandedly. “You’re just rather confused ever since your dark energy transfusion, when you inherited that man’s memories. You’re still the brother I’ve grown to care about.”

Skull chuckled in response. “Well I STILL can’t remember a damn moment we shared as brothers, if that’s the case. So what the hell are you doing here?”

Wraith looked around the room. “I’ve actually frequented this very spot many times, without the knowledge of its residents. You’re all so interesting to listen to.” Wraith looked back at Skull, who was beginning to become annoyed by Wraith dodging his question. “Hm. I’m here to save you from your foolishness, Vincent. To take you to the winning side, whether you see it fit or not. I would have thought that you of all people would have seen that.”

Skull laughed, “Well you’re going to have to drag me there kicking and screaming, bro.”

Wraith chuckled, “Well, if that is your request, it can be arranged quite easily.” Wraith lunged at Skull, his scythe spinning. Skull met it with his own, locking their blades together. Wraith yanked back and swung again, forcing Skull on the defensive. Wraith’s speed and agility made him hard to keep up with, but Skull’s sheer martial weapon prowess kept him together. Again and again their scythes clashed in the dark. Skull leapt over Wraith’s head, aiming his buster down and showering the demon with rapid-fire plasma bullets.

Wraith easily warded them away with his cloak, returning fire with black and purple fire-like shots as the white-clad brother hit the ground. Skull deflected them all with his Skull Barrier, but Wraith suddenly closed distance again, flourishing his scythe. Skullmanaged to throw an elbow into Wraith’s jaw as he swung, but Wraith didn’t recoil as dramatically as Skull had hoped.

Wraith let go of his scythe and grabbed his brother’s arm, twisting it and sending him spinning towards the pipes below. Skull stuck the landing and Wraith materialized from the ground in front of him, his scythe soon following. The two spun and lashed out at each other, cutting a few pipes in the process. Steam poured from one of them as they locked blades again, the foundations of the Citadel being shaken with yet another explosion.

“Can you not see you are doomed here?” Wraith asked, coldly. “I am offering you an easy escape. Even your treachery will be overlooked.”

Skull glared, “I can find my own way out of this.” Skull reached inside his cloak, extracting a normally unseen dagger that he had stripped from an SA Joe before. He tried to stab the tall robot in the leg, but his wrist was caught by Wraith's free hand. Skull kicked Wraith in the gut, causing him to stumble backwards slightly and allowing Skull to leap backwards, trying to put some distance in between him and his brother. But Wraith lunged forward again.

Skull began to swing upwards with his weapon only to feel a sharp pain in his left leg. He looked down to see that his own knife was lodged into his calf. Wraith’s charge had masked the fact that he had thrown Skull's knife at him before, as to keep his eyes on himself rather than the projectile. Skull cursed under his breath. Despite having no real facial features outside his yes, he could see Wraith sneering at him. He tried to swing his scythe up again, but Wraith danced backwards and responded with his own attack.

Skull stumbled backwards, trying to ignore the pain in his leg. He sliced at Wraith again, cutting through several pipes in the process and water began spewing from the incisions. Wraith batted Skull's weapon aside with his own and delivered a few more slices that Skull attempted to dodge, leaving him with several gashes on his body. Skull could feel the fatigue begin to wear into his system from the wounds. Skull continued to collect wounds, completely outclassed by Wraith.

As their weapons swung more cuts entered the pipes, allowing more water to exit them. Wraith rammed the butt of his scythe into Skull's stomach, followed by a deep cut to both his upper legs. Skull swung again but Wraith spun to the side, slamming the butt end of his scythe into Skull yet again. This time he felt the weapon enter his gut and exit his spine. The pole kept going, pinning him to a wall and puncturing the pipe that was behind him. Skull struggled against his impalement, a combination of water and dark hydraulics fluid leaking from his open wound.

"Brother..." Wraith began. "All of this could have been avoided if-" Wraith was cut off as Skull raised his buster in another attempt to shoot him. Wraith yanked the knife out of his leg and stabbed it into his forearm, inciting another holler of pain from his brother. "Why must you continue to fight against your best interests?"

Skull just looked up, glaring. "You can go to Hell, Wraith..." His right eye was twitching, manically.

"Sadly, neither of us can..." Wraith said, surprisingly compassionately. He let go of his scythe, leaving his wounded brother hanging there. "Our destinies are forever intertwined, cemented by the very darkness in which we dwell. You'll thank me for this someday soon, Vincent..." Wraith said.

"I very well doubt-" Skull began, but was cut off when more static blared into his ear from his com link. Wraith took that moment to kick the top end of his scythe, sending the pole deeper into the wall behind Skull. The blade made contact with him, finally, cutting deeply into his chest. Skull twitched for a moment before passing out, finally, along with his light.

"I promise..." Wraith added to his previous statement. He touched the side of Skull's helmet, using his darkness particles to channel the sound to his own ears. He allowed the transmission to reach him.

"Zymeth?" Drill asked, concerned, "Are you there? Can you hear me!?"

Wraith used a similar method to carry his own voice into the transceiver. "I'm afraid Vincent cannot answer you, Anime Master."

"Wraith!?" AM shouted back. "What happened? What did you do!?"

"It's quite rude to shout over the phone like that." Wraith chastised, "But I must apologize that you'll not have the opportunity to bid him your final farewells. Rather, you'll regret having that opportunity once you see him again, I'm sure." With that Wraith hung up.

He put his hand to his own helmet. "A thousand apologies, my General, but my task is complete. I think you'll find my personal victory quite rewarding." Before Cutman had a chance to answer, Wraith cut off his com link again. He yanked his scythe out of the wall, allowing Skull to fall to the ground.

Wraith began chuckling to himself. He had won, yet again. The artificial blackness of the room crept from the walls, surrounding and condensing around his form and his brother's. The black mass moved down the corridor like a great, black snake, creeping out of a small hole in the ceiling a short trip down. The blackness slithered from the opening and into the open, moving across the snow away from the battle. Eventually the shadows collected into a single, swirling mass and dissipated like smoke in a strong wind, revealing both figures to be gone.


Blizzard went quickly to his room. He packed all his worldly possessions together, including a picture of Zapper and himself. He sighed. He didn't really want to retreat, but he had to get her out of here. If anything happened to her, he would never forgive himself.


Toadgal paused as she got her things. She was torn. She wanted to stay with her love, but the Comrades saved her. They took her in even when she attacked them. She picked up her teddy bear, her favorite possession. How many a time had she clutched it while laying on her bed.

Thoughts of Bright Babe filled her head. She considered Bright to be her best friend, with the war bringing them together. Of all the people, she would miss her the most. And of course Zymeth, possibly her oldest friend. Her teammate. She hoped he would be okay.

She gathered all her things and decided to look outside. Her home was being destroyed. She wanted one more look before she fled. And she would not be alone.


Blizzard finished packing and went to Zapper's room. Surprisingly she wasn't there. He picked up his com link and punched in her code.

"CC Toadgal, where are you?!" he called in. Static filled his ears. Then finally a quivering voice answered.

"Reg...Listen...something came up. I need to go with the Comrades just for a little while longer. I need to talk to them. I assure you...I'll be fine. I will meet up with you at Zymeth's old hideout. I swear to you love...I will see you soon," she radioed in. Blizzard felt a twisted feeling in his chest area.

"Zapper, what happened?! What is going on?! I won't lose you!" he cried.

"Reg...This needs to be done. I will meet you there. I promise you. I love you."

Blizzard felt his heart shatter a little bit. " you too Zap. I will see you there."


Artilleryman, Dustman, and the inactive Grenademan managed to make it back to the Citadel intact. Every few minutes Artilleryman dropped Maha's body and flew off to scout for SA officers ahead to ensure the group's safety. They often had to walk out of their way to avoid encountering the enemy, but more walking was better than any more fighting. The group could not survive another battle. Eventually they found themselves relatively safe behind the Citadel walls once more.

It didn't take long to find Dr. Cossack and the rest who would be escaping to the tunnels. They were finishing off a few last minute preparations in the basement when Dustman entered followed by Artilleryman who was still dragging Grenademan’s corpse.

"Good Lord!" Dr. Cossack said as he saw the three enter. "What happened?"

Dustman futilely tried to explain the situation with hand gestures. The only results of Sean’s attempt at sign language were some laughs from Artilleryman and looks of confusion from the rest of the group.

"We ran into Chargeman, CrystalGirl, and Geminiman. The clone was toasted and fled and CrystalGirl was defeated by Grenademan here suicide bombing her," Artilleryman explained finally dropping Grenademan’s body. "Dustman then used the crystals scattering the battlefield and my weaponry to kneecap Chargeman and leave the hell train squirming on the ground. Dustman took a lot of damage earlier and his attack on Chargeman had some rather nasty side effects. One of the things that got wrecked was Dustman’s voice box, or at least I assume that’s why he isn't saying anything."

"Good work, but I'm afraid I don't have time to do any repairs before we leave. We have little time left. The best I can offer you Dustman when we exit underground is a shoulder to lean on," Dr. Cossack replied. "Drillman, please quickly contact the members of Grenademan’s team about his current condition."

Drill nodded and activated his communicator. Dr. Cossack turned around to finish his final preparation to leave when Dustman tapped him on his shoulder to get his attention. Dustman then drew an 'S' in the air with his hand followed by a '|.' He then proceeded to point at Artilleryman.

"You think I should pay him now?" Dr. Cossack asked.

Dustman quickly nodded in response. Dr. Cossack sighed and ran off. He was back in only a few seconds with an envelope for Artilleryman.

"Thanks," Artilleryman said as he took his payment. "I hope I'll be able to continue working for you guys after this."

"So do I," Dr. Cossack replied.


“What’s going on back there?” GroundMan asked the people behind him. He was leading the group through the underground passage, while Drew was watching their backs.

“It seems old Vladimir isn’t feeling too well…” an old Russian woman replied.

“That guy again?!” Ground exclaimed. The group of five lab coats, was also quite puzzled at their comrade’s unusual attitude. “What’s the problem Drew?” he asked Dr. Cossack’s old pal, who was going back in order to check on Chevchenko.

The guy was crouching on a corner, covering his face with both hands. What the group didn’t know was that Chevchenko had died several minutes ago, and this guy was actually an impostor sent by Mysteryman. “Captain, I don’t have much time.” He tried speaking into his communicator a low as he could, in order to avoid suspicions. “I have to tell you about Cossack, he’s escaping through an underground passage!” just then, Drew was getting too near fro him to continue talking, so he turned off his com unit.

“What is it this time, Dr. Chevchenko?” Drew questioned.

“Hrm… nothing, nothing.” The impostor faked. “That damned stomach ache, I thought I was going to throw up, honest!”

Drew sighed, and guided the “Russian scientist” back into the group…


Astroman wasn’t much of a swimmer, but he had managed to reach the shore. And so did TenguMan, who was also panting next to him, coughing up some water. “Where’s AstroChan?” the TT leader asked his teammate, who just pointed at the lake, where her motionless body was floating face down, thanks to the orb that served as her lower body.

“Dammit!” Astro cursed.

“But that’s not our biggest problem, boss…” Tengu pointed at the opposite direction, where two giant Mysterymen where standing, one was double the size of the first one.

The SA officer laughed audibly again, both of them did, as they approached the duo. On their way, one of their feet almost crushes Jupiter completely, which made Koala scream further and crawl away from them. “What are you doing, you coward?! Take him to safety!” Astro tried ordering freaked out marsupial, but he didn’t care to listen.

“Get ready boss, here it comes!” Tengu took flight, foreseeing Mystery’s attack, but when Astro tried to do the same, he found out that his anti-gravitational system had been put out of commission. His attempts to levitate were in vain, and soon, a kick from one of the giants impacted him head-on. This sent him flying alright… right back into the lake.

“Naop!” TenguMan realized the situation a tad too late, and rushed to try and help his leader.

“It’s useless Tyrant, accept your defeat!” both MysteryMen threatened in unison.

“To you? Never!” with all his strength, Tengu caused a powerful gust of wind with the help of his blade, but was only manage to slow them down a bit. It was enough time to pick both AstroMen from the lake and take them all the way across.

Once on the ground, he tried to slap them awake, but only AstroChan seemed to respond right away. It seemed that his leader was out for the count. After coughing up some water, AstroChan regained her senses. “Wha-what happened?”

“Nevermind!” Tengu had no time to explain. “I need you to look after him and wait here!” The girl could do nothing but nod in agreement as Tengu jetted off to the other side of the lake.

As he approached his enemies, the Mysterymen laughed at his pathetic attempt of what seemed to be a frontal assault. But instead of attacking, TenguMan flew right through them, in order to get behind them. He had taken a risk, he didn’t know if Mystery would “become” holographic, but fortunately for him, it worked.

When the perplexed Mysterymen turned around, he saw TenguMan picking up the injured Jupiter and approaching Koala shortly after. The Tech Tyrant extended his hand in front of Koala. “Come with me, if you want to live.”

“Are you out of you mind?!” Koala backed away. “Get the hell away from me, you will get us killed!”

With a slight tint of anger in his face, Tengu decided to leave the coward marsupial behind and go join the AstroMen.

Both Mysterymen watched idly as the aerial robot passed by, unwilling to give chase. “I hope you realize how pathetic you performed in this battle.” The giants spoke. “Fortunately for you, my presence is required somewhere else. So I will let you go so you can live to remember the humiliation. And please, give my regards to that stupid psychic when he wakes up. I’d love to see his infuriated face when you tell him, but I guess it was not meant to be.”

Tengu tried hard to ignore the maniac, but he couldn’t help to notice when the giants vanished. Instead, the sole figure of Mysteryman, was now heading for the Citadel. The Tyrant was also able to see Koala crawling up to Mystery and pulling at his cloak, begging for a chance to join him. The SA officer limited himself to strike the traitor on the back of his neck, leaving him unconscious and lifting him off the ground. With Koala under his arm, Mysteryman vanished with a cloud of purple smoke.

“TT: PirateMan!” TenguMan called out. “What’s your situation.”

“Everything’s gone to hell. They’ve invaded the Citadel!” PirateMan replied through the com link.

“What?! It can’t be... what about Cossack?” It seemed things couldn’t get any worse.

“You should ask Drillman about that... the plans changed, they’re getting Cossack out through a secret passage. I’m headed for Ground’s group, right now it seem’s like our only channce to escape.” PirateMan tried to sum it up as best as he could.

“Aku, we’re already outside the teleportation perimiter. Tell me when you get to Lyon and well meet out here. I’d offer you more help, but my hands are kinda full right now...” he was carrying Astroman, while AstroChan carried Jupiter.



Mysteryman stood atop the Citadel, contemplating the battlefield, still with the motionless Koala under his arm. His deliriums of grandeur never ended, and right now, he was having the most glorious moment in his entire robotic life. The man that created him, only to reject him and deem him as a failure, would meet his end that day. And on top of that, he had finally defeated his sworn enemy. He was at peace, inspite of the chaos ensuing beneath him inside the Russian Citadel.

He had answered his call, only to find out the single piece of information that would clear his name, and regain his honor within the ranks of the Scisor Army. His spy, had confirmed Cossack’s escape plan, and now, he was seconds away from making the General’s day. It didn’t matter if he hadn’t brought any of the Tyrant’s heads with him.

Without rushing, taking his time to enjoy the moment, he pressed the button of his com. unit. “General Cutman, I have some information for you...”


Drill looked to his motley crew. He seemed a little confident for reasons known only to him.

"Team, remember the plan I told you earlier? Are you all ready?" Drill asked the team. They all turned a shade of red. They had not wanted to talk about it. They had discussed it in secret when Sean arrived, badly injured with a shot vocal capacitor.

"I don' know, Fearless Leader. I think it may be a tad risky," Dive stated.

"This is our last stand for the Doctor. I'm willing to give up my life, Dive. You give me a rough time a lot, and you know…it prepared me, I think," Jet stammered. Dive smiled.

"Well, that's swell kid. Where's Phantom of the Opera and little Kermit? Shouln' they be here too?" Dive asked.

Drill looked terrible. " him. I don't know what he did to him...but he got him. And I think Zapper's –“

"Right here."

The Comrades jumped. It was Zapper herself, and she seemed rather frightened. "I'm sorry I'm late...but I had an..." she started. Drill cut her off.

"I can guess exactly what happened. All that matters is that you're here. But still, we lost Skull..." he limited. Zapper gasped.

"Well...that's just prime. But Drill, was it wise to split up?" Jet inquired. "They could need our help."

Pharaoh turned to his companion. "Listen, they have protection. More then enough. Besides, if this goes like we expect, they are better off."

Bright Babe looked around the tunnel, lit only by the emergency flood lights. Even in this dim light, she spotted something strange on the ground.

“Hey…Is this…blood?”, she asked, crouching down for a better look. “What the…?”

The other Comrades leaned down for a closer look, then turned to the only person down there capable of bleeding.

“Dr Cossack, are you alright?”, Drill pressed.

“It’s…a minor scratch.”, he claimed, revealing a tear on his white lab coat, with a trickle of blood running down his arm. “It’s a minor injury from the tunnel collapse.”

Toad Gal bent down, ripping part of the doctor’s long lab coat at the bottom. Before he could question her, she was tying the strip of fabric across his arm, stopping the blood flow.

“Can’t have you bleeding to death down here, can we?”, she weakly smiled.

“No…I guess not.”, he half heartedly smirked back. “We must make haste, though.”

“Right. Let’s get the hell outta here.”, Dive agreed.

The group forged ahead, with BB looking down at the blood splatter for a few more seconds before finally jogging to catch up with her friends.


It was getting close to crunch time and the hunt for Cossack was still on. The now-six-man “orange peel” figured everyone was already either occupied outside, hiding, or tending to whatever wounds they may have acquired. Probably even a combination of those options. Punk was just about to comment on the relative lack of resistance when a powerful voice echoed through the room. "Hold!"

It was Knightman. The medieval-styled Robot Master set his gaze upon the Scissor Army forces that were gathered before him.

"Heh... Good to know not everyone around here resorts to sneak attacks," Mega Water quipped.

Knightman ignored the remark and fixed an unearthly glare on Punk. He hadn't forgotten what had happened at Murmansk and even if Blizzardman had been restored, the actions were still unforgivable. If not for the presence of the others, he would finish off the red Mercenary for good.

Punk tensed at the unspoken challenge, remembering the unbridled brutality of the knight. Even Mega Water, who was absent from the carnage, was slightly intimidated. Ballade, on the other hand, turned to the General.

"With your permission..."

"No. Your talents will be better used elsewhere. Mega Water, you take care of him," the General replied. Ballade bowed her head in acknowledgement.

"M-me?" Mega Water stammered.

There was no answer. The group had already begun to leave without him.

"Heh, give 'im hell," Punk said over his shoulder.

Soon it was just the two of them, staring each other down. It didn't take long for Knightman to begin the attack, charging into his kappa-like foe.

"Holy...!" Mega Water yelped as he leapt out of the way of the charge, then followed up with a powerful stream of water, which splashed uselessly against the knight's shield. "Why me...?" he groaned.


"Hmm... It would appear as though a member of Cossack's faction wishes to lend our army his services."

Sedulus observed the rambling Frostman as he muttered to a Wraithman who had long since left the battle. Frost was apparently wandering about the confines of the Citadel, seemingly unaware of anything. Sedulus turned to his commanding officer, General Cutman.

"General Cutman. Cossack faction member Frostman wishes to join our side." Sedulus remarked with his constant soft smile.

"You know the rules." Was all the General replied with.

"Scissor Army Officer Mesmerman, this is Scissor Army Officer Sedulus. I wish to inform you that there is a former Cossack Robot Master waiting to be picked up near the entrance to the underground network." Sedulus reported.

"Oh, a new toy for me." Mesmer remarked. "It would appear as though my new toys seem to be some sort of ice-cube or another as of late. Perhaps your creator will be my next new toy, Sedulus." Mesmer giggled slightly.

The General was pleased. He wished everyone else would report to him so diligently. The group reached a hallway with a thickly reinforced steel door.

"By my architectural calculations and judging from the power output from this room, I am led to believe that this is the control room." Sedulus remarked.

"Well, let's knock and let ourselves in." Punk said. "Old man Cossack must be in there."

"No." Cutman said sternly. Punk immediately put his fist down. "I know Sergei is smarter than that. You'd only fall into a trap."

"If I may interject, General..." Sedulus interrupted. "Perhaps a suitable idea for this situation would be to turn the trap around on them. I am an expert on every single programming language known in the field, and I assisted my creator, Blizzardman, in keeping the lengthy computer code involved in running the Floating Fortress. If I have approximately one minute and 37 seconds, I will no doubt be able to hack into the main defense systems of the Citadel and turn their own weaponry against them."

"Make it so." The General commanded.


"Oh, we could have sent PUNK to deal with the armored tank, but nooo! Let's pick on the waterboy." Mega Water groaned as he rolled out of the way of a mace shot.

"Stop whining and embrace your fate." The armored war machine said sternly.

Knightman’s relentless assault continued as Mega Water desperately tried to dodge as many of the shots as he could. He was used to being deployed in places where there was already water. He had heard that Wave burst a waterline in the Citadel, but apparently they had already shut off the source to avoid flooding. Water dodged a mace shot that crashed right through a wall, creating a massive hole. Knightman retracted the mace and swung it at the Mercenary again. This time, he swung it in a massive arc around himself. Mega dodged the mace shot the first time around, but he didn't expect Knight to keep the momentum going for another pass. The mace slammed right into his right hip. He heard a sickening tear as the joints were crushed and torn out of place, crippling him.

Mega Water fell to the floor, writhing in pain as Knightman laughed and retracted the massive steel ball. "Now I'll crush you once and for all." He said, stomping slowly towards the fallen Merc. He wanted to take his time. If he couldn't kill Punk, he'd make sure his teammates knew pain.

"Oh, man. I'm done for..." Mega Water thought. Then he noticed the water he had shot earlier as Knightman walked through it, leaving the puddle behind him.

"Here goes nothing!" Mega Water shouted as he directed the water in a concentrated column, slamming Knightman square in the back with a pressurized blast, knocking him off his feet and slamming him into the floor face down.

Mega Water couldn't believe it. "Holy crap! I did it!" He shouted.

His jaw nearly unbolted and fell to the floor when he heard Knightman growl and begin to pick himself up.

"No, no, no..." Mega mumbled to himself.

Knightman was pushing himself up from the floor. He looked up at Mega Water. His normally white eyes were now glowing blood red. "I'LL CRUSH YOU!" He roared, picking himself up. He began to stomp over to Mega, taking slightly less time between steps this time.

Mega fumbled with his com link. "Anyone care to help me?" He looked at Knightman as the stone floor cracked under each furious step as he stomped over to him. "...Please?"

"Scissor Army Officer Spade, this is Scissor Army Officer Sedulus. I require your assistance posthaste."

"Awww..." Spade was just about to go hassle a fleeing Pirateman when he received the request. "Just give me five more minutes, PLEEEEASE?"

"Scissor Army General Cutman demands your assistance at the control room at once. I will send you the coordinates now." Sedulus cut communications.

"Awww! He's a killjoy!" Spade kicked the side of the vehicle he had hijacked. Then he got an idea.


"Damn, you're heavy." Pirateman groaned as he hauled Neptune across the battlefield.

Pirate heard insane laughter in the distance accompanied by the roar of an engine. He looked towards the source of the sound, his eyes growing wide. "OH NO!!" He shouted.

"WOOHOO!" Spade whooped, still wearing the Daniel Boon coon skin cap. "Remember some place in Texas that I forgot!"

Pirateman dodged out of the way as the vehicle slammed into a wall of rubble. Pirate looked back to the stolen buggy, realizing that the driver was gone.

"And that's why you should buckle up, kiddos." A voice behind Pirate said, giggling to himself.

Pirateman heard a distinct, "YOINK!" as he turned around, finding nothing but purple smoke. He felt his head.

"Wave's crown!" He shouted. "He stole it! Wait a second." Pirate thought for a moment. "Why should I be upset? I could have died..." He looked at the vehicle, then at Neptune's heavy body he'd been lugging around. "What an obnoxious little gift..." Pirate thought.


Sedulus was diligently working on the blast door control panel to the main control room as Spade slowly crept up to him.

"SURPRISE!" Spade yelled out, shooting streamers into the air and tossing confetti everywhere.

Sedulus remained unaffected by the sudden display.

"YOU ARE NO FUN!!!" Spade shouted, irritated that Sedulus didn't even jump. He had been trying to startle him ever since he got teamed up with him, but the killjoy never even flinched. "Look what I got!" Spade took off his Boon hat and dramatically nested Waveman’s crown on his head. "Crazy clown's crown! Try and say THAT five times fast!"

"If you are quite done with your childish horseplay, I must insist that you exercise your capacity to bring your vocal functions to a low whisper, as the occupants within this room may overhear your intense shouting, thus defeating the purpose of our mission." Sedulus scolded, although still cheerful in his delivery.

"Alright, you killjoy..." Spade switched the crown back to his Pluto-skin hat.


"I wish we would see some action!" Ivan slammed his right fist into his open left palm. Ever since the Special Forces unit had been reprogrammed by Regulus, he'd been itching to fight for Cossack's cause.

Just then, the door opened, and Drill stood there. "Ivan!" He called. "We need you."

Ivan stomped over to Drillman. "What is it, Comrade Drill?" He asked.

"Oh, the Comrades decided to stay in the control room and keep the Citadel from falling, you go knock some heads together." Drill said as he stepped inside the control room.

"But what about the doctor?" Ivan asked. "He must be protected! He's the spirit of our cause!"

"Oh, I'll make sure to make a jack-in-the-box out of him or something. AAAAAHAHAHA!!!!!!!" Drillman started to laugh maniacally.

Before Ivan could react, Drill slammed the button on the other side and the door slammed shut, locking Ivan out. Ivan tried mashing the key code, but the locks had been changed. "Dammit!" He began pounding on the doors with his massive fists.

Dark Moon was starting to think something was up. "You're not Drillman." He said.

"CORRRECT!" Drillman faded away, revealing a grinning Spade. "Would you care to try 'Pointing out the Obvious' for 800?"

Dark Moon didn't bother responding and instead formed himself into dozens of cubes which he proceeded to launch at Spade. Spade nimbly dodged the bodily projectiles, jumping around and shouting, "WOOHOO! WOOHOO!" in his best Daffy Duck imitation. Dark Moon reformed and stretched an arm at Spade, who leapt to the side and lopped the limb off as it rushed past him.

"Looks like you could use a hand." Spade giggled as a rim shot emanated from an unseen drummer.

Spade was about to lung at Dark Moon when the limb he had severed turned into a block which slammed him in the back of the head. "Oooouch." Spade said. "Why would you do that?" Spade had produced a blue crayon from nowhere and doodled a teardrop on his mask.

"To make you cry." Dark Moon said.

"And why would you do that?" Spade started sniffing.

"To make me laugh." Dark Moon finished.

Spade started heaving like he was about to cry, then he instantly cheered up, passing his hand over his face and wiping the crayon off while plastering a grin on the mask. "HEY! That reminds me of this neato invention I just made! I call it, 'Emo Grass.'" He got uncomfortably close to Dark Moon, shoving a clump of sod into his face. "It cuts itself!" Spade laughed with the "audience."

Sedulus watched the battle, unknown to the Yellow Devil variant. He was using a probe to mask his presence in the control room. Meanwhile, Ivan was losing his patience.

"Grrr... TAKE THIS!" Ivan began to blast the heavily reinforced steel doors, weakening their structure even more than his blows.

Spade looked at the door, it was beginning to soften under the intense plasma shots. "Err... Seddy-boy, the big guy wants in REAL bad."

Dark Moon looked around. "Who are you talking to?" He said.

"Oops..." Spade cupped his hand over his mouth. "Sorry about that, Sedulus."

"Sedulus?" Dark Moon asked. He figured it was just another ploy of Spade's as he lunged at Spade again.

Ivan finally managed to burst through the doors, showering the fight with plasma bolts as he ran through. Spade passed a hand over his face revealing a visage of shock and amazement.

"Mother..." He said weakly.

Before Spade could make a move Ivan had already plowed into him with a shoulder rush, slamming Spade all the way across the room and denting him into a wall. Ivan aimed his buster at Spade, only to have a laser hit his wrist. Against his massive armor, it only stung a little, but it was enough to direct his attention. Spade and Dark Moon continued to fight as Ivan stared down the new foe.

"I'm afraid I must interfere." Sedulus said in a friendly tone.

Ivan fired a plasma shot at Sedulus, but he disappeared, appearing on the other side of him, punishing the newcomer Cossacker with a laser to the back.

"I'm over here." He corrected. "Defend yourself."

Ivan shot another blast, only to have Sedulus warp above him, hitting him with another blast. Ivan began to growl in frustration. If only he could hit him.

"Your combat style is flawed." Sedulus observed. "You cannot keep up with me. Now would be a good time to surrender, as the General has charged us with the ability to take prisoners, unless, of course, you feel that you may be able to deactivate me."

Ivan started fired a plasma shot, then another shot behind him quickly, turning around to see if Sedulus had teleported behind him.

"I would not use the same tactical maneuver twice, I'm afraid." Sedulus said calmly. "Are you ready?"

Ivan began to fire rapid shots of plasma from his buster. Sedulus would teleport from each one as the shot neared him, hitting Ivan with a laser as punishment. Sedulus's lasers didn't do much damage, but he was consistent in his aim. Each shot hit a previous mark, and soon the Special Forces unit was beginning to take minimal damage. Nothing to be concerned over, but now he'd have to spend some time getting it repaired later.

"Stop teleporting!" Ivan shouted.

"I'm afraid that would jeopardize my combat ability, as you would no longer be at a disadvantage in this battle. I only have a 4% chance of beating you in traditional combat, as my design was not built for full-scale combat." Sedulus remarked.

Ivan clenched his fist. This was getting old.

"However, as it stands now, this battle is over." Sedulus disappeared, revealing one of his probes.

The defense weaponry of the control room pointed at Ivan and Dark Moon. Spade even stopped flitting around the room like a loon and looked at the turrets. "WAY TO GO, SEDULUS! We win!" Applause showered the killjoy from thin air.

The real Sedulus now materialized before them at the control panel, he had his hands on the keypad. "Your defense systems are easy to reroute. I was able to reconfigure them ahead of schedule." He checked his internal clock: fourteen minutes and 57 seconds remaining until the Napalm Nuke would be launched.

"General Cutman, this is SA Officer Sedulus. I have hacked into the main defenses." Sedulus reported over his com link.

"Good." The General said. "Now find Cossack. Don't bother with anyone else. Bring in your remaining probes if you have to."

"But General," Sedulus cautioned. "If I indeed pull in the remaining 24 probes, then the security around the Citadel will-"

"Cossack is in here. I know it." Cutman interrupted. "None of these scrap heaps matter. If they can escape, let them. I want Cossack. Find him."

"I will do as you have commanded, General Cutman." Sedulus cut the communication.

"You think these turrets can stop us?" Ivan shouted.

"No. I admit that the presence of the turrets only increase our odds of success to 68%. I will require further assistance." Sedulus pressed a few buttons and a steel clanging noise began to ring out from the hallway. The sound grew louder and louder until at last Cossack's wall-walker entered the room, scurrying up to the ceiling. "This brings our chances to 75%, and I am waiting on my remaining probes to assist me in combat."

Spade used the distraction of the dialog to teleport to Dark Moon. "Put'r there, pal!" He high-fived Dark Moon, electrocuting him with an obnoxious joy-buzzer he had on his ring finger. The electric current disabled Dark Moon for a while, allowing him to slump a bit.

Ivan responded with a powerful shot from his blaster, causing Spade to forfeit his attack on Dark Moon. Sedulus activated the turrets, and the fight continued, much more heavily swayed in the Scissor Army’s favor. Ivan and Dark Moon were having trouble with the auto-turrets and the wall-walker while trying to deal with Sedulus and Spade. It was hard to ignore the crazed jester, but as soon as they tried to deal solely with him, Sedulus would have open access to their weak points with all the Citadel weaponry.

Then the crystal probes began to filter in. Sedulus began to become even more active, firing his own, more potent laser into the probes and charging them. Sedulus's own lasers did more damage than the probe shots, and each probe could hold one charged laser. The fight was starting to grow hopeless even for the ever-optimistic Ivan.

"We need to get out of here!" Dark Moon said. "The control room is too heavily armed!"

"Agreed, Comrade. Let's go!" Ivan said.

Dark Moon concentrated all his mass into one enormous fist, slamming through a wall in the control room and making an escape route for the fleeing team.

"Awwww..." Spade said, disappointed. "Why do they always run?"


Knightman’s stomping grew even closer, and the Assassin was already swinging his mace. In a desperate act, Mega Water set himself on his left leg, outstretched his hands and formed a water shield the exact moment Knightman was to hit him.
The mace stopped, and a little variation in pressure threw it back. But Knightman was ready for it; his mace flew in a descending circle and went through the shield, hitting Mega Water in the torso.

The aquatic Merc flew away, and crashed in a wall. As he fell to the ground, he saw Knightman charging back. He inadvertently closed his eyes, and waited for his death.


After a few seconds, realizing his body was still whole, he opened his eyes, and saw a miracle : Cossack's castle was rebelling against its residents !
Knightman was assaulted by various security drones, and weapons hidden in the walls revealed themselves and opened fire. After a few hits in the back, he was forced to retreat, not without a final glare at the Merc, meaning We'll finish this next time.

Suddenly, the intercom was activated and a voice several people were already familiar with shouted over the intercom.

"Helloooo! Is this thingymabob working?" The sound of Spade slamming the microphone on the counter rang throughout the Citadel. "Ok. Attention everyone! May I have your attention PLEASE?!" There was a brief silence. "Do I have everyone's attention? This is an extremely important announcement, I have something URGENT to communicate... Hugbies, that is all."

Spade's laughter rang over the intercom until a wrestling noise could be heard, followed by Spade whining before the static shut down, signaling the intercom had been turned off.

Mega Water was about to send a witty remark at his opponent, but retracted. Only winners could afford themselves to gloat over their foes.

He set his hands on the ground, and created a water column. Standing on the top of it, he rushed out of the Citadel, to a place where he could safely watch at the firework show.

Maybe he'd be able to gloat over Knightman, then.


"My mic..." Spade had his sad face on.

"I've indulged in your childish fanatics for quite some time now, Spade, but the intercom system is not a toy. We have an objective here, and once we have fulfilled the mission, you may do as you wish with the intercom system."

Spade crossed his arms and pouted, floating upside down beside Sedulus. Even though he didn't have a tongue, he made a sound like he was blowing raspberries at the killjoy. "You've got a girly-face!" He shot back at him.

Sedulus turned around. "Hmm?" He looked Spade over. "Your waste-to-hip ratio is higher than mine. That's a rather feminine trait."

Spade suddenly hit the ground, standing up straight and looking down. "Awww..." He groaned.


“Someone’s coming!” Drew shouted from the back of the group leaded by GroundMan.

“Is it Pirate?” Ground asked.

“I don’t know yet, I can only hear footsteps. Let’s hide!” the scientists, Drew and GroundMan took cover in one of the tunnel’s openings. It seemed Cossack liked to plan ahead. Throughout the tunnels, there were similar gaps in the walls.

Soon, the tattered PirateMan passed by, not noticing the people hidden. He was too busy trying to keep Neptune in one piece as he carried him. “Hey Aku!” GroundMan reappeared in the tunnel once he confirmed his friend’s presence. Startled, PirateMan tuned around with his arm cannon readied.

“Oh! It’s you guys!” he was relieved. “You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to get here. The security systems have turned against us! Every turret and every trap…”

“You mean they’ve taken the control room already?” Drew asked, quite worried. “They could have seen you get into the tunnel with the security cameras!”

“I know that!” PirateMan confessed. “But I had no choice! And, there’s something suspicious about all of it… some psycho was babbling through the loudspeakers, but no one sent a CO after me. Only the gun turrets and mechaniloid traps were set. If they saw me get here, they didn’t seem to care.”

“Could it mean…?” Drew began questioning.

“Don’t even think about it.” GroundMan suggested. “Let’s just have faith in Cossack’s Comrades.” The group resumed their progress through the tunnel, now with a quicker pace, just in case they were being followed. If that was the case, Dr. Périphérique had the holographic device ready. But if what Pirate said was true, there would be no need for it.

As the people sprinted towards the end of the tunnel, Dr. Chevchenko approached Drew. “Excuse me, son…” he addressed him. “Where exactly are we headed? After we get out of this darned tunnel, that is.”

Annoyed, Drew frowned and looked at the man. “You really are going senile, old man. We’ve already discussed the plan thoroughly, so I don’t have time to answer your questions. Just move!” everybody was tired of having to deal with the guy.

The spy cursed under his breath, his inquiry for more information had failed. He would have to keep up the charade a little longer…


“TT: PirateMan, do you copy?” Tengu issued the voice command.

“I’m here Kusa. I’m with Lyon’s group already.” The Pirate replied.

“I’m glad to hear that. Tell me your approximate escape route, so I can meet you when you come back to the surface.” Tengu and AstroChan were flying low, in order to avoid detection by the SA goons guarding the perimeter. Fortunately, what was left of the foliage was enough cover for them.

“Good thing you asked… we’re in fact headed for the south-eastern portion of the woods. You should look for a clearing there, although the exit should be hard to spot. Cossack must have done a good job at hiding it.” Pirate explained.

“Understood. TenguMan out.” The airborne robots kept going for the east, hoping that nothing else, apart from pine trees, would stand in their way. And after a couple of minutes, they reached the aforementioned clearing.

After gently dropping Astroman and Jupiter on the ground, AstroChan started removing the snow from the ground, trying to find the passage’s exit.

“There’s no point in doing that, girl. They’ll come out eventually…” Tengu knew how stressing the situation was for her, probably, but he never used to encourage that kind of anxious behaviour. She was in fact worn out, and all she wanted was to get out of there, so she was getting impatient.

As if on cue, the sound of rusted metal was heard from behind them. One by one, people were coming out of the nearby bushes. Once they were all outside, GroundMan greeted his teammate. “It’s a shame we have to abandon our ‘ship’ like this… but there is no alternative. Where is Naop?”

Tengu man pointed at the spot where they had left their injured comrades, but only Jupiter was there. Soon, they noticed that Astroman was approaching them, levitating erratically and almost falling to the ground a couple of times. His head was a lot more flat, the orb that served as his lower body was cracked open, and he could only move one arm.

“Naop! Are you ok?” Pirate was the first to ask, and go lend a shoulder for his leader.

“Who is that fucker?!” Astroman asked, quite infuriated. It seemed his patience had run out from his battle with Mystery, and he didn’t care to watch his language. He was pointing menacingly at Dr. Chevchenko.

“What do you mean, Naop?” Ground was confused. “It’s Chevchenko!”

“No he isn’t.” he stated bluntly.

By now, the spy had gotten anxious from the killer look that Astro was giving him. Backing away some, he then proceeded to make a run for it. He didn’t know how, but his cover had been blown.

This confused the rest of the group, but they didn’t have much time to ponder, since Astro’s metallic orbs came rushing at blinding speed and squashed the escapee’s head at full force, before he was able to get any further. Surprised by the unexpected turn of events, the group turned at Astro, some of the humans already taking him for a murderer. “What have you done?!” Périphérique shouted.

“Look closer, gramps.” Astro suggested the man, and the group as whole.

The scientists approached the almost decapitated body of Chevchenko, only to find a Scissor Joe’s body instead. “How did you…?” one of them asked.

“Don’t ask.” Astro didn’t feel like explaining his telepathic abilities, which had been kept a secret.

“We’re gonna have a talk after we get out of here.” Tengu warned his leader.

“Speaking of which, can you drop the bullshit already and get us out of here?” Astro’s patience grew thinner. “And by the way, where the hell is the rest, where is Cossack?”

This was certainly going to piss him off, but GroundMan had no choice but to explain. After hearing it, Astro’s body was trembling so much that PirateMan had to get away from him. “CC: DRILLMAN!” he shouted out. “What the hell is going on, man?”

“Naop? What’s the problem?” Drill replied.

“You decided to take Cossack on your own? What’s your status? How far away are you from escaping?” he asked all the questions he could think of. On top of almost being pummelled to death, he was now worried sick about the one man they were supposed to be protecting.

“Look, I have no time for this! Our hands are full at the moment.” Drill responded.

Astro was quiet for a second. He realized his attitude was not helping anyone. He settled down, and accepted the fact with resignation. “Just… Just be careful Drill. We found one of their spies was impersonating Chevchenko. They might know where you are.”

“Roger that. We’ll be alert.” The CC leader responded.

Astro dropped to the ground, looking blankly into the sky. “Beam us up Scotty… we should settle in DI’s base and keep an eye for whoever manages to get out of the anti-teleportation field.”

“Understood…” Ground had no objection. “DI: Searchman, do you copy?” but no answer came his way. After trying a couple of times, he gave up and looked at AstroChan.

“Don’t worry. Everything was prepared before hand.” She was painfully considering the fact that Hunter had not made it out alive. “Our base should be ready to take us all in.”

“Right.” Ground issued some commands into his com unit, and soon, the group was engulfed in light. DI’s base was in fact ready to teleport them in. The escape had been a success… for them, at least.


With a brisk, all business stride, the skeletal figure marched through the hallways of the stone-made Citadel, exploring parts he presumed were not usually visited by its human inhabitants, given the layers of dust and neglect obvious throughout.

These were hallways lit by basic flood lights in the narrow lower levels of the fortress-like building, and the most likely place of exit for the fleeing family. His exhaust forming visible clouds that escaped through his many openings in his mouth area, Cutman’s eyes peered into the darkness, the hallways stretching on for hundreds of yards in multiple directions.

Behind him, his dwindling entourage grew restless.

“There’s way too many hiding places down here.”, lamented Punk. “It’s gonna take us hours to find ‘em at this rate!”

“We don’t have hours.”, the General replied simply. “We have…twelve minutes, fifty-two seconds.”

“General…Perhaps its time to think about leaving without confirming a Cossack kill?”, Ballade suggested, somewhat meekly.

Cutman brought his fingers to his chin thoughtfully, noticeably twitching while doing so, which he seemed oblivious to. He seemed to stare beyond the pair of fidgeting Mercenaries.

“You two…Head upwards. Check any rooms we’ve passed on our way here. Do not evacuate until the last possible second.”

“Sir, what about yourself?”, Punk inquired, seriously concerned.

“The rats are down here, of that I’m certain. Logically speaking, this is the only way out for them.”, he informed quietly while turning around towards the long stretch of hallway.

“How…How do you know?”

Cutman bent down to look at something at his feet. “I’m well acquainted with Cossack’s layout.”, his memory recalling the time he spent in another world studying Dr Light’s personal files.

“You are?! If that’s true, then why did we have to look for this place for all of those weeks? Why didn’t we just come here from the start? We could have saved alotta time!”, Punk argued.

“All valid points.”, the sheared monster answered with machine-born coldness. “Cossack has been the one wild card throughout this entire campaign. I needed to know what he had up his sleeve, and to do that, I needed to delay his death.”

“Sir, I still don’t understand…”, Ballade frowned.

“Don’t worry. You needn’t worry about doing so.”, he attempted to comfort, still with the quiet storm in his voice. He brought his twitching fingers to his nasal passages, inhaling dramatically, sniffing it as though he were a wine connoisseur sampling the aroma of a fine Chardonnay. “Our ‘red friend’ has played out all of his cards already…disappointingly. I overestimated his abilities, and that’s all there is to it.”

“You thought Cossack had some sort of trump card in the works?”, Punk questioned.

“A lesson, my creation: always assume your enemies are one step ahead of you. That is how you yourself stay ahead of them.”, Cutman reasoned. He displayed his fingers to his two cohorts.

“Blood.”, Ballade named the substance on them.

“And it hasn’t had a chance to coagulate yet. It had an initial temperature of sixty-seven degrees- still warm, indicating that is no more than a few minutes old. Given the direction of the splatter, it came from a human traveling approximately seven miles an hour down this very hallway.

There’s a Cold War-era bomb shelter at the end of this hallway, with an escape hatch leading towards the outside. From there, it would be a mere three hundred yards to the outer stretches of the grid, enabling their escape to anywhere in the world.”

“Sir! We must hurry then!”, Punk urged.

“No need, my boy.”, the skull-faced creature lectured coolly, eying the ceiling. Beyond a normal human’s ability to comprehend such speed, Cutman slashed at the corner of the hallway, severing several power lines, and plunging the hall into darkness. “Both bomb shelter doors should be electronically controlled. Sans electricity, their escape is hopelessly delayed.

But I could always be wrong. You two…Return to the surface and continue the search for as long as possible. I’ll deal with whatever the situation may be down here.”

“Understood, my commander!”, Ballade saluted, somewhat confused by her latest master’s cunning and his strange thought process. But now wasn’t the time to question him. Or ever.

Punk and Ballade exited deftly, leaving the General alone in the darkness and quiet. Fear didn’t affect him in the slightest, and the sound of metal sliding against metal was heard as he drew his shears slowly, his metallic footsteps lurking down the hallway methodically.


Aided by the ever-handy Flash Stopper, Drillman was hard at work on the ten-inch-thick steel door at the end of an otherwise dark passageway. Sparks flew in every-which direction, as his drills suffered against the unforgiving metal barrier- they were designed for soft Earth excavation, rather than heavy steel work. Still, he persevered because he had to. So much was riding on his efforts.

“Guys! I broke through!”, he proclaimed, exhaustion apparent through his elation.

“Keep going!”, Dr Cossack urged, himself drenched in sweat. He and the other Comrades were in an unfortunate position down here. Ordinarily, he could have Pharaohman or Diveman use their firepower to blast down the heavy door. However, with the tight area they were in (only eight feet in width, and just as tall, forcing Dive to hunch slightly) the back blast would kill the humans near their effects. Doubling back down the hallway didn’t seem like a wise option, either.

The power failure seemed to be intentional. This was an emergency sector of the Citadel, powered by a separate power source from the upper levels. Even with the upper half being decimated and no doubt left in blackout itself, the bottom levels should have survived longer than this. This was something…deliberate.

The group remained tight around the safety of BB’s glow, the darkness beyond was threatening to eat them entirely if they moved. Even beyond the noise of Drillman’s signature and Dustman helping to keep the metal shavings from being a factor, something else rang out from the dark far down the hallway. It was yet another metal cry.

Mikhail Cossack’s stomach tightened.

Pharaoh jerked at Drillman’s shoulder slightly, interrupting his work. Far too distant from breaking through enough to escape, it seemed needless to continue with the work.

Bright Babe looked up and out, using her buster as a flashlight to peer out into the dark beyond. It was clear from the erratic bouncing of the light that she was far more nervous than she wanted to let on.

There, about twenty five feet away, he made no effort to hide himself.

And Dr Cossack’s stomach overwhelmed him, forcing him to double over from the fear in his tired mind.

“Sergei.”, the skull-faced being called out, using Dr Cossack’s middle name instead of his first- something only his closest friends used. “You look awful. Troubled…are we?”

“Leave us alone!”, BB demanded. “You have no right to kill us!”

Cutman looked at his wrist, making a mental note of the time he had- a mere nine minutes to wrap things up. What a shame- he had such a speech in mind for Cossack’s end. Oh well…A deadline’s a deadline.

“As much as I’d love to engage you in my favorite debate, my dear, time is of the essence. I’m afraid its all business now.”

The weary Comrades gathered before the beleaguered Cossack, ready to defend him with their very lives. Knowing this, Cutman sauntered forth to fulfill their wishes.


Napalmman had stayed amazingly patient as he watched the action unfold for the past few minutes, screening the countryside for any escapees, but coming up empty handed thus far.

Suddenly, another alert sounded off within his mind, this time reminding him of the time.

“Thirty seconds…”, he uttered. “And still no sign of the General.”

Napalmman’s Howitzer slid into place, the barrel extending slightly for that extra bit of accuracy, and a trajectory reading popping into his view, automatically deducing the correct angle for him. It was as easy as just pulling the trigger now.

But without the General…Should he really go through with it?

Fifteen seconds. Out of the corner of his eye he could see several of the other SA Officers begin to prepare themselves in little ways, getting distance between themselves and who ever they were fighting at the time.

“Ready when you are…”, Crystal’s voice filled his receiver.

“Yeah.”, he returned.

Five seconds.

Ah…Dammit. Hope you got out of there…sir.

The cannon on his back barked, the concussion actually visible from the barrel as the shell took the sky. Snow all around the death tank was cleared away from nearly twenty feet all around from just the firing of the terrible weapon.

And off atop the Citadel itself, he spotted him. Standing high atop the top most part, he apparently awaited the shell’s descent as it hung high above, looming overhead.

Napalmman’s vision zoomed to maximum.

With the weathered red flag behind him, General Cutman stood atop the pointed dome that decorated the center of the Citadel, holding his prize as he enjoyed his bloody display of power.

For a mere second, he held Dr Cossack’s severed head high as the Napalm Nuke descended achingly slowly, and then casually tossed the useless cranium down below, his message already clear.

The shell hit the Citadel with blinding force at that instant, making it impossible to tell who had escaped and who didn’t. Napalmman failed to see if Cutman had teleported in time, though he assumed he escaped successfully.

Even from his vantage point hundreds of yards away, Napalmman was clobbered with giant stone debris from the ancient fortress, instantly decimated by the sub-atomic weapon of mass destruction.

When the initial fire died down, and the eye-searing blaze ceased enough, Napalmman leered at the smoldering site. There was no mistaking it- Dr Cossack’s Citadel had been wiped clean off of the face of the Earth, leaving only a burning husk as its only mark. A structure that survived centuries and countless shifts in power…gone.

Napalmman didn’t bother to get close to it to further examine his handiwork. He stayed a few more minutes to think a bit more about what it meant to him.

This was a glimpse of Elysium. The uncaring sweep of an arm over the chessboard this world had become. Decades, centuries, millennia…All of it would be cleared away for a new history to surface, and he was helping to usher it in.

This was an…honor.

“Goddamn…”, he whispered to himself. “That’s beautiful.”



Blyka's Door
E-Can Factory
MM BN Chrono X
MM PC Website
Protodude's RM Corner
Reploid Research Lavatory
RM AMV Station
RM EXE Online
RM:Perfect Memories
Sprites INC