The Business of War


Scenario B
Mechanical Maniacs (RPD)
Pharon (RPD)
Koala (SA)
Ringman (W)
Artilleryman (C)

Location: Toronto, Canada (SA)
Max. Cossack Scrap Value: 6230
SA Infantry: 1172
RPD Units: 919
Wily Bots: 169

Monsteropolis' RPD headquarters were hectic before the war, and the madness permeating the halls had only grown since. Officers human and robot alike rushed back and forth and shouted to each other across the room to relay information as it came in from around the world. Heavily armed soldiers marched between their briefing rooms and the teleporters, and medical teams carried injured robots into the repair bays. Everyone there looked like they had the weight of the world on their shoulders, and they probably did.

A blue and grey robot exited one of the many repair chambers along a particularly busy hallway and immediately ran into some co-workers heading the other way. They excused themselves and continued on, but the first robot was shaking with rage. All he wanted to do was bisect the careless medical drones for getting in his way, it was all that could make up for the miserably demeaning day he just had. He couldn't do that though, and remembering that made him sigh as he dropped his head so he was now staring at the oil-stained floor. He moved his hand behind his back to feel the bar hanging off the back of his head. A razor-sharp cleaver used to be attached to the end, but the RPD removed in when he was sentenced to the Robot Rescue Force. He had the Shutdown Code, he had to make himself useful to the RPD, but they decided he wasn't good enough for battle, so they disarmed him and put him to use as a medic instead. It was bad enough that he, Cleaveman, a robot whose sole purpose was cutting enemies to pieces was now forced to put those pieces back together for those same enemies, but today they had him doing that for his most hated foes, the Mechanical Maniacs. Life was not being kind to him.

His shift finally over, he made his way sullenly to the cafeteria, bumping into more rushed officers in the crowded halls along the way. He had to restrain himself not to shove them all out of his way, he didn't know what little harmless things could get himself shut down around these people. When he finally made it to the dining hall, he grabbed a simple energon drink from the cooler and sat down at a table where his partner was already sitting.

The robotic Demon Ninja was looking slightly more relaxed as he swigged his own drink. He noticed Cleaveman's glum mood. "What's your problem now? Did they make you lift Hardman onto the bed by yourself?"

"Oh come on. Don't tell me you're perfectly fine with this deal!" The former Evil Eight member snapped back. "Those bastards we had to save were your enemies too!"

"Eh, I've been working with the government a little longer than you." Boomerang replied casually. "Trust me, you get used to stuff like this. A job's a job."

"Feh! How dare they debase me by making me dress the wounds of that fatass Mech? As soon as he was conscious, he wouldn't stop making fun of me!"

Boomerang rolled his eyes. "Well, you make it easy when you have an attitude like that. Remember, they're the ones that got their asses handed to them. They rely on us to save them now. You oughta be lording it over them."

Cleaveman was defiant. "I don't belong on a medic squad though! If they have to put me to work, it should be on the battlefield!"

"Yeah, I'm sure that'd go great for you. Just like it's going great for your former teammates, like Chimeraman, and Warman, and Spinman, and-"

"Shut up! That doesn't mean I...oh go to hell!" Cleaveman leaned on the table, sulking.

"It's been a pleasure working with you too." Boomerang toasted sarcastically. He was about to take another sip of his drink when he suddenly stopped and darted his eyes to the sides. He was frozen in a state of specially trained ninja awareness for a moment before he ultimately let the feeling melt away.

Cleaveman took note of the dark robot's odd behaviour. "Okay, what's YOUR problem now? Do you think there's an assassin sneaking up behind you to...seppuku you or something?"

"That's not what that word means, and I just sensed that I was being watched..." Boomerang explained with some annoyance.

"Oh, how strange. Maybe it has something to do with the army of Watchers crawling all over this place watching everything we do!?"

"Not them. I know the difference."

"Yeah, sure you do."

A few meters away, an unnoticed figure slipped through the crowd and into the hallway. It was indeed difficult to make it through such a bastion of surveilance undetected, but she was built for stealth, and sneaking was all she could do. It was amazing that in such a crowd she didn't catch anyone's eye. It could have been because they were all too focused on their current tasks, facing forward, no one even thinking to look in her direction, and thus she could use the crowd itself as cover. It took a while, but she finally made it to a much safer hiding spot, a cramped air vent that most averaged-sized robots could never even fit into.

She took a moment to collect herself. She had just recently been thrust into the leadership role and was feeling the pressure in a big way. She couldn't allow herself to cave though; there was too much riding on this mission. It was her unit's only mission now, and if they failed, she would be stuck leading her team into oblivion whether she wanted to or not.

To make matters worse, the entire team wasn't even gathered for this most important of missions. Only seven of them were scattered throughout the compound, laying low in their own strategic hiding spots, as she verified by linking up to their private network now that she was in a safe position herself. The rest weren't able to make it to Megapolis the same way. It was an inconvenient time for the unit to be split up, but if they had complete control over the situation, they wouldn't be there right now. She had faith her errant comrades would find their way back to base eventually, but the rest didn't have time to wait for them.

"Red." She addressed her nearest teammate with her mind's voice. Like many robot teams, they communicated by what seemed like a technological form of selective telepathy. "What's going on in the repair chambers? I couldn't get in."

"Don't worry about that. He's not here." Another female 'voice' answered back. "Guess it wouldn't make much sense to take him for repairs right away anyway."

"Skip here. Nothing in the holding cells either. Sadly, I won't get to blow anything up. I hope you're happy. What about the medics, boss?"

"They didn't mention anything. I think one of them almost noticed me too, so I had to get out of there."

"Did they see you!?" Another member listening cut in.

"Of course not, Jack." She snapped back, somewhat insulted. "What about you? It looks like you're in the middle of the main office."

"I'm out of sight, don't worry. I think someone else ought to get into Crorq's office though. It looks like Amatista's heading in to give her report."

"You can't move from where you are?"

"Not yet. Not without attracting attention. What about you, Black? You're about as close as I am."

"I guess so." Another male voice responded. "It'll be tricky though. There's not much to help my cover along the way..."

"Forget it, I'll go." Their nervous leader decreed. "The vent I'm in can take me right there."

"Alright boss, you'd better hurry though." Jack warned. "Crorq's wandering around confiscating snacks from other people's desks, but he doesn't waste much time with that."

She didn't waste time either. With fluid movement she slid through the vents straight for the head office. She had taken this path a few times before, but never had to worry about being caught and ruining everything with one moment of carelessness. Everything was different now, and it had been less than a day...

She arrived when the private office was still empty. She contemplated waiting there in the vent, but spying on Crorq would be integral to the mission, and she needed to make sure she could hear everything above the roar of the air-spewing ventilation system, so she quickly slid out and made her way under a desk against the wall connecting to the larger office area where Jack was hiding. The gap under the desk allowed a clear view of Crorq's own desk on the other side of the room. If all went well, the same couldn't be applied in reverse.

No sooner was she in place than the office door burst open and Crorq thundered in with an open box of donuts grasped in his claw. He immediately tossed the box on the desk hiding the spy and continued over to his own desk, grumbling all the way. Following shortly behind him was the lighter and less clamorous entrance of Amatista, who saw fit to lean against the second desk, her feet inches from the eyes of the unseen third occupant of the room.

"So all things considered, the mission was a success." Amatista stated, apparently having given most of her report to Crorq outside. "And the remaining Mechs should be more prone to fall in line now that I've made an example out of them."

Crorq nodded, his agreement masking his bitter dislike of the Watcher before him. "Well, down to three with them, but still have the more important ones...better to send them on a smaller scale mission next. I needed someone to go recover the bodies of Tenguman and Clownman. I'll have them sent out on that errand just as soon as we can convince the mayor of that backwards town to let us in."

"Hmph, still have territories in our own backyard we aren't fully respected in?"

"Yes, yes..." Crorq mumbled, sounding only half interested. "So when you shut Snakeman down, was it a hard or soft Shutdown?" he eyed her a little more intently at this point.

Amatista paused, seeming a little embarrassed at this question. "I had no intention of allowing his revival..."

"Of course! Had to show them we were serious! I told them that myself!" Crorq interjected. It seemed he was expecting she took more permanent measures with a hard Shutdown.

Amatista fidgeted a bit. "Yes...but given the circumstances...the chaos going on nearby...I neglected to give him the second hit. It was only a...soft shutdown."

Surprisingly, Crorq was pleased by the answer. "Excellent! Mwa hah! No need to be in a hurry to blank his mind completely!"

Amatista was confused. "Hm? I thought you had no intention of bringing him back online."

"I don't!" Crorq barked. "But I've been thoroughly enjoying digging up dirt on the other parties in this War, and that traitor Snakeman's sure to have seen a lot of juicy secrets with his eyes. I'll have the investigation squad sift through his visual memories to see what Spark Chan and the WRF were really up to in Brussels. It might change those ungrateful Belgians' opinions of their 'great saviors'! Hah!"

"Well, good luck with that." Amatista responded curtly while turning around, leaving. "From what I saw none of them were doing anything that the people could hold against them." She stopped walking at this point and froze, contemplating her last line a little more. After a second she shook her head angrily and walked out of the office a faster.

Crorq watched her leave with a contemptuous expression. As his eyes followed her out, they suddenly shifted downwards and to the side, noticing something. He squinted, trying to get a better look at whatever he spotted. The spy felt like he was staring right at her, she froze still in terror.

Crorq's eyes suddenly went wide. "What the-...What are YOU doing here!? How did you get past security!? This is an outrage!!" He screamed as he stomped over to the desk.

She considered making her escape, but what good would it do? She was spotted, the whole mission was a failure, she'd let everyone down. Maybe they could still work something out though, but she had to get back into the vent. She shifted, ready to make a break for it, but Crorq stopped in front of the desk and rustled something on top of it, she couldn't see what was going on from her position.

"Just as I thought! COCONUT! Who is the INFIDEL that brought coconut donuts into MY headquarters!?" There was a loud gobbling sound, followed by a retching sound. "Bleachh! I HATE coconut!" More gobbling sounds. "Those disgusting flakes have even gotten on the other donuts! They're all ruined!" A few more seconds of gobbling sounds, and then the empty donut box dropped to the ground. "Ugh, investigation team! I want you to find out who is ordering coconut donuts for the building and have them fired! Also, go pick up Snakeman's corpse and have it transferred to the lab. It's in first basement storage at the moment."

She breathed a sigh of relief as Crorq lumbered out of the office to search for more snacks. Alone once again, she wasted no time crawling back into the vent and opening up communication to her team. "Okay, apparently he's in first basement storage. Someone has to get in there and make the break fast. They're about to take him to get his memory wiped."

"Got it, Highness. Made it through the floorboards...Almost there."

"Careful Moe, they're already on their way. Someone get on lookout for him!"

"Mak here, got the hallway covered. It's not as crowded down here so I'll see them coming a mile away."

"Okay, everyone else prepare for extraction. Move into position. Floor one, south entrance..."

Moe's voice came back after his commander finished giving her orders. "I'm in. There's a lot of inactive robots down here, hanging on racks. Damn it's spooky. Looks like more bots are getting shut down than we realize...either that or these are just spare shells. Looks like they're all RPD units."

"Nevermind them! Where's Snakeman?"

"Easy your Majesty, he's right in front of me. He's on the last occupied rack from the front of the room. Their storage system is pretty haphazard, looks like they just pick the nearest hook that's free. On the plus side, that might give me a few more seconds before they find me."

"Well get started then!"

"I am! Just because I'm talking doesn't mean I'm wasting time. I can multitask, y'know."

"Just report the important details, Moe!"

"Yeesh. Well, you won't like it. Manual resynchronization isn't working. The body is completely locked down. We also already know that fiddling with the chip even when he's offline is going to screw us over even more. Looks like he's staying where he is."

"Well...that was to be expected." It was depressing to admit though. Until that point they were running on thin hope. "There's still Plan D though..."

"Aw man...I was really hoping I wouldn't be the one to be picked for Plan D...say Makky, think there's time for us to switch places?"

"Moe, this is serious! Are you prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of the mission?" The commander asked in a grave tone.

"Sure, but stop being so melodramatic..."

There was an uncomfortable pause. Tension was mounting. They were running out of time.

Finally, Moe spoke up again. " worked. I'm hooked up. If this works, we're home free..."

"The investigation team is at the door! They're coming in!"

"I'm almost done..."

"Moe, get out of there!"

"Just a few more seconds!"

A few seconds stretched out to an eternity for the team. They were wavering on the brink of disaster. It all came down to this...


It was almost beyond comprehension. A secret Scissor Army stronghold lay directly underneath the city of Bath, Illinois. What was even more amazing was the fact that Tenguman and Clownman were actually right about it. No one in the Robot Police Department could believe it.

Hardman smiled as he looked on the peaceful, mostly-intact city. Things had gone pretty smoothly in this operation. The discovery of Clownman’s and Tenguman’s remains in shallow graves had prompted yet another investigation into the town (despite it’s mayor’s protests) and a lucky break led them to discover a hidden entrance into a long-forgotten army bunker. Sure enough, just as they had claimed upon reactivation, there was a Joe Construction facility.

“I led the charge as a legion of Scissor Joes came right for us! With my Needle Cannon I blew apart the evil robots and sent their remains scattering! We stepped out of the teleportation chamber and, sure enough, there were more Joes to greet us. Not a problem for the Mechanical Maniacs. Hardman used a Knuckle to destroy the lot of them!

The last time we tore apart a Joe Construction plant there was a ridiculously overpowered fusion reactor underneath to power it. Some of Wily’s guys got to it before we could safely disarm it … there was no trouble like that here! They had more conventional sources of energy and we simply shut it down. From there … we were hunting Joes in the dark.”

Shadowman leaned back in his chair, only half-listening to Needle’s story. After all, he’d lived it … he didn’t need to hear about it. The others in the local bar were leaning close in excitement as she told them of their adventures. Hardman was close to her, a pitcher of beer looking like a small glass in his hands. He sipped at it slowly.

It had been a month since they lost Snakeman. It was a painful loss. In one fell swoop the Robot Police had brought the hammer down while setting them up for their disastrous mission in Brussels. Well, Shadowman considered it disastrous. His bosses felt it went especially well. After all, their mission objectives had been met. Shadowman, however, made a point to check back on the local news and saw many reports of how they blamed the RPD for the entire attack. There were even posters up with Expressman thrusting his fist in the air with the words “the hero of Brussels” underneath in bold letters. There was even a small insurgency bent on driving the RPD out … even though the RPD were the ones doing most of the reconstruction work in the area.

But not all places were like Brussels. Although there was a good amount of frustration directed at the Robot Police Force over territories that were either destroyed or occupied by the Scissor Army, most of the people seemed genuinely supportive of their efforts. It was for this reason that the Mechanical Maniacs had decided to get past their resentment towards Amatista and go on doing their jobs. And, in the end, it looked like they made the right choice.

Cossack’s Citadel had been demolished. And his men seemed to have lost their way long before that even happened. Wily’s robots seemed to actually be doing good, but Shadowman had fought Wily enough times to know that he was 100% insane. The RPD seemed to be the only line of defence for regular human beings. Even if they had absolutely no respect or gratitude.

Needlegal was taking a long time to retell the story (she enjoyed the attention) and Shadowman felt himself leave the friendly atmosphere of the bar. He wandered aimlessly for a while, waving to the occasional greeting, until he found himself face-to-face with Amatista, the Mechanical Maniacs’ watcher.

She looked at him in disgust. “Don’t you have some hero worship to get back to?”

“Don’t you have to watch us at all times?”

Amatista sniffed at the mention of her neglected duties. “Oh, don’t you worry about me. We Watchers have ways of keeping an eye on you things.” Amatista laughed dryly and Shadowman supposed that they must have.

Amatista turned her attention to a human officer as he gave his report.

“No sign of further Scissor Army surveillance,” said the officer.

“Are you sure? You checked everything? I don’t want any unpleasant surprises from those sickos. You’ll recall how they planted those bombs…” Shadowman had heard about that. In every government building (including hospitals and school busses) were well-concealed bombs. They had only found those after Amatista intercepted a signal from the hidden Scissor Army base during their mission.

“Yes, we think we’ve found them all,” said the officer with some strain showing in his voice.

“Keep looking. We can’t afford to take anything for granted.” The officer gave a curt nod and turned away with some impatience. Amatista surveyed the area.

“You things wouldn’t understand. You can be rebuilt as if nothing ever happened,” she said to the ninja as he followed her. “Just look at you! You had your knees shot out, your body crushed and now … barely a scratch. Me, on the other hand …” Amatista fingered a scar on her left hand where Magnetman had put his finger through it. It was a miracle she had any dexterity at all in it. In fact it was a miracle she was still alive, considering the circumstances of some of her missions. Robot zombies, crazed electrical women, insane magnetic monsters …

“You robots walk and talk like you’re human. You’re designed very closely to approximate human beings. And, some,” she remembered how Magnetman had taken off his helmet, “some of you even used to be human (however that’s possible). But true humanity can’t be built. It’s something precious we have to guard.”

Shadowman exhaled. “Yeah, you talk like a scholar, but robot lives don’t mean anything to you.”

Amatista gave a rough grunt. Robot lives … that was an oxymoron.

“You talk that way because it’s in your programming,” said a deep voice from behind. Shadowman turned and Amatista gasped in excitement.

“Senator Keigle!” said Amatista breathlessly. The senator greeted her warmly.

“Amatista! Fighting the good fight, I see.”

Amatista asped. “You know my name?” she asked breathlessly.

“Of course! You’ve been fighting for human rights for years! Trying madly to get the world to see why things like the Shutdown Code were necessary. Sad to say it took the destruction of Los Angeles to finally get me to see the light.” There was a silence there and the Senator looked tired.

“Well, it’s finally passed. And the world’s finally waking up to how dangerous these ‘robot masters’ can be,” said Amatista gesturing at Shadowman. Shadowman scowled at her. Oddly, it was the senator who spoke on his behalf.

“Now, now, don’t be so quick to condemn the lot of them. They do have their uses, although I’m sure even this one can see the need for something like the shutdown code.” Shadowman scoffed at the notion and the senator raised his eyebrows.


Shadowman looked the senator in the eye, “Really, it’s just discrimination, as far as I’m concerned. What’s stopping you from installing the ‘shutdown code’ in regular people? Or anyone you deem a threat?”

The senator nodded. “Yes, I’ve heard that ‘human shutdown’ argument thrown around a lot, but it just isn’t the same. I know you, you know, Shadowman. You’ve faced General Cutman. Iceman Red. Even a bizarre copy of yourself. And now two friends of yours have been turned into weapons of mass destruction. Now tell me: isn’t it about time someone has the power to flip the ‘off switch’ on those problems?”

Shadowman sighed. He had to admit … there was a certain logic to that.

“From your perspective it must seem … horribly unfair,” said the senator, “and I can empathise. However, for the sake of humanity, this is how it has to be. For what it’s worth … thank you for throwing your lot in with humanity.”

The senator left then, leaving Shadowman feeling somewhat taken aback. Amatista followed him closely while Shadowman just watched them go. They seemed to be headed towards an excavation area. This senator … he was nothing like Shadowman thought he’d be.


Artilleryman found himself standing in Astroman and Kalinka’s temporary office at the Deep Impact HQ after having been called by them for a mission. It was a month ago when his original employer, Dr Cossack, was killed by General Cutman.

Technically Artilleryman had become a free agent as a result, but found he was unable to go anywhere since it would go against his pride to ever return to his old master Dr Wily, it just seemed disrespectful to his former employer if he went to offer his services to the men who killed him and if he tried to offer his services to anyone else the RPD would try hunt him and flick the switch on him figuratively speaking.

“So, is there some change in course in my job?” the mercenary asked in a disgruntled tone.

“Straight to the point aren’t you?” the Tech Tyrants leader said, “As you may know, our former comrade Super Koala has defected to the Scissor Army and we’re not really happy about it.”

“Yeah, you ordered me to off the bastard. Heh, that shouldn’t be much of a problem, Koala’s always come off to me as a small fry. Finding him is a bit of a problem ... of course there’s still the matter of my pay…” Artilleryman sneered arrogantly while lighting up a cigar.

“Actually we want you to capture him if possible, and on the subject of your pay… Unfortunately we’ve been having some budget issues and as a result we won’t be able to pay you for a while…”

“Sorry, no money then no job…” the mercenary said before Kalinka slammed her hands on her desk, interrupting him.

“Listen mercenary, it’s been a month and you still haven’t left us. Therefore I have come to the conclusion that you’re basically stuck with us until this whole deal is over. So I suggest you get this job done unless you want to be introduced to the barrel end of my shotgun!” she yelled furiously, much to the surprise of the two robots in the room.

“I suppose we can talk about money some other time.” Artilleryman said, somewhat concerned for his safety now.

“Just find that traitor and bring him back on his knees. If you can’t then I suppose you can kill him. I don’t take well to people who betray us, especially for the likes of the SA.” She finished.

“Well that’s all well and good, but how exactly do I find Super Koala? I can’t really just fly over to Elysium, knock on their door and ask if I can see him for a couple of minutes.”

“Technically, you’re a free agent, you can probably approach the SA and offer your services as a mercenary to them and they’ll believe you allowing you to hopefully get within close quarters with your target. As for where to find our Koala, we just got reports of where he has been sent, but you are probably not going to like the location…”



Artilleryman did not have pleasant memories of the last time he was there but the reports seemed to have stated that Super Koala had arrived at the old Canadian city recently. Of course in order to get close to the target he had to find some sort of way to get into a city that had been occupied by them for months, there would be bound to be a large number of soldiers roaming the place and it would be suicide for him to come in guns a blazing, even if he was designed of destructive purposes.

Sure enough, when he arrived at location he found a number of Scissor Joes around the area that promptly moved to point their rifles at him before he held up his one hand to tell them to cease fire.

“Whoa, whoa… I come in peace ok. For Elysium!” the mercenary said as he approached the SA soldiers, still pointing their weapons at him.

“I have come to offer my services as a mercenary to your cause. Would you please take me to your commanding officer?” he continued.

The Joes looked at each other for a while and then went to talk to their comm. devices before they all seemed to have nodded and then gestured to the former Evil Eight member to follow them while he was still being held at gun point. Unknown to them, however, the mercenary had a large grin hidden underneath his visor.

“Everything is going according to plan.” He thought to himself.

As he approached the city, he was in awe of what he saw. The city had changed drastically since the last time he saw it. Everything was metal, the trees had bits of wires exposed from underneath the bark, buildings appeared to be cold, plain looking metal boxes to house certain parts or supplies and SA Joes were patrolling the streets in vast number.

The city certainly seemed lively, but at the same time it had this feeling of emptiness that made him feel unsettled. Was this the utopia General Cutman envisioned? Was this a sample of what Elysium was going to be?


The now giant monster that was once Super Koala was now leaping from building to building arcoss the city. His new claws and grip kept secure holdings as he looked for his next landing spot, which was an office building. The beast jumped quickly and landed with acrobatic precision. He looked at the dock area, seeing shipping companies being torn down to make room for an Aqua Joe factory.

"This is Koala. Sector 9 is done with the Construction. Factory output is at 60%. We might be going, but we definitely won't be missed." The behemoth said using a SA communicator made for his new size.

Koala recieved another call from an SA Unit, but he ignored it. He was a busy 'man' now that he was working for the Scissor Army. Whatever it was would have to wait.


It wasn’t long before the Mechanical Maniacs found themselves in RPD Headquarter’s meeting room face to face with their boss, Crorq. The contrast to the attitude in Bath was as different as night and day.

“I see you screw-ups managed to get out of bed on time,” said the super computer with scorn.

“Oh, come on!” shouted Needlegal angrily, “We’ve just finished getting repaired after the last mission! You know, those people were pretty grateful to be rid of the Scissor Army.”

“Then they don’t know how badly you’ve screwed up before,” said Crorq sternly. “You will not find gratitude just for doing your jobs from me.”

Needlegal stiffened from that remark. She wanted to scream at the robot. She wanted to yell. She wanted to tear him apart with her Needle Cannon. But she had to restrain herself. No matter how much Crorq pushed her she had to remember that he had her life in his hands now. He hands shook. Crorq seemed to eye her warily, but it was hard to tell.

A panel opened up on Crorq’s body and a taco emerged. Crorq took a bite out of it and resumed the briefing. “Your new mission comes in light of the recent discovery of the Scissor Army base in Bath. It had those pathetic human generals spooked and they’ve finally realised having several Scissor Army strongholds so close to home is a serious threat to us. Rather than move to Europe per my request, they want us to clean house. Mechanical Maniacs, you are charged with mopping up the mess made by your former teammate, Geminiman. Your mission is to wipe out the Scissor Army presence in the Toronto area. I don’t believe there are any humans left alive, but my bleeding heart superiors want you to rescue anyone you can. You will have,” Crorq paused for a moment as he generated a random number, “919 troops consisting of SWAT robots, Neo Officers, and, naturally, Special Forces officers.” Crorq licked the last bits of taco into his mouth as he added, “Oh, and some K-9 units. To find humans, if there are any.”

“Of course there are!” said Amatista while stepping out from a dark corner of the room. “We’ve survived millennia, it’ll take more than some whacked-out Cutman to crush the human spirit! We’ll find any survivors of Geminiman’s attack. It’s our top priority!” Crorq’s display showed an ACII expression of rolling eyes, but only when it was turned away from the watcher. Needlegal then noticed why Amatista remained out of sight.

“What are you doing with Snakeman’s gun?” she demanded. The others stared in disbelief. Slung over Amatista’s shoulder was, indeed, their former teammate’s rifle. Amatista rolled her eyes.

“You people need a long-range attacker. I’m a pretty good shot.”

“That’s Snakeman’s rifle.”

Amatista regarded Needlegal coldly, “It’s nice that you’re programmed to be so sentimental, but now is not the time for it.”

Hardman snickered. “So, ya fin’ly got some sense knocked into ya, eh? Fin’ly stayin’ outta da thick o’ things.”

Amatista blushed. That was a secondary motivation, she had to admit. This time she would stay firmly out of sight, like other Watchers, complete with an invisibility cloak. But she still wanted to take an active part in taking the city of Toronto from the Scissor Army.

Needlegal steadied herself again. She didn’t like Amatista with that rifle and she knew the rest of her team felt the same way. Not only was that Snakeman’s rifle, but it also meant that Amatista could take out any of their friends on another side if she spotted them. And Needlegal knew Amatista would, if given half a chance. Just the thought caused a knot of panic in her stomach. She was unnerved by the Shutdown Code, but Amatista made it so much worse than it had to be. Always looking over her shoulder. Always ready for some arrogant remark. And Needlegal always had to swallow her pride and take it. She was ‘Maniacs leader now … she had to stay focused. Tough. For her team.

Needlegal turned to face Shadowman and Hardman. “Let’s move out.”


Koala was making his way to the air hangar to check if supplies from Elysium would be on schedule when the communicator rang again. He snatched and answered.

"What is it?" He demanded.

"Koala, sir, we have someone who would like to join the Scissor Army."

"Bring him up."

The SA Joe gave the communicator to Artillery Man.

"Oh it's you..." Koala said.

"Hello Koala..." Artillery Man replied in a calm tone.

"What makes you think you can join the SA?"

"Because Cossack croaked. I'm a free agent now."

"... So now you want to mooch off us?"

"No, what ever gave you that idea."

"I overheard some conversations about you being an absolute coward."

"Look who's talking Jack&%^! All you did back at the citadel was whine and scream!" Artillery Man yelled temper running quickly and patience running thin.

"They didn't decide to rescue you and leave you helpless." Koala ignored that last comment

Artillery Man just groaned, that monster had a point.

"I'm behind schedule right now. I should be done in an hour, meet me by sector 12 then."

Koala turned off his communicator and dialed another number.

"Sector 12 security this is Koala, You'll have a visitor."


“An absolute coward…” he thought to himself, “Is that what they think of me? For all the battles I’ve fought for those commie bastards, I had not fled once. They have no right to call me a coward of any sort. I mean I’m practically working for them for free now, they should be a little grateful in having me, I’m not some sort of charity service.”

The video feed switched off and the mercenary turned to look at all the surrounding Scissor Joes still pointing their rifles at him in suspicion.

“Well, you heard the giant koala, take me to Sector 12, it’s not like I know what sector is what thanks to your little redesign of this whole city. Besides, you’ve all been such wonderful hosts.” He sneered at his audience, while lighting up a cigar, as they eventually decided to continue escorting the former Wily bot to his destination.

Artilleryman did not want to be kept waiting but he didn’t really have a choice, if he wanted to trick the SA into letting him join up, he had to play it by their rules, he wasn’t stupid, if he tried to ask his escorts to sent him directly to where Super Koala was then he’d risk blowing his cover. The best he could really do was asking them to speed up.

“Could you hurry it up a bit? I’m not exactly a patient man.” He complained, but the SA Joes didn’t seem to acknowledge his request and they continued to walk at their current pace, there was just something unsettling about the whole scenario though. But he just had to accept it for the meantime.


After a long boring walk through the robotic city, Artilleryman found himself at the arranged meeting place, Sector 12 basically looked just like every other part of the robotic city.

The buildings surrounding the area all looked like tall blocks of metal, some of them had newly-built SA Joes walking out ready to be equipped and others just looked like they were filling space. It was difficult to tell what buildings served what purpose since they all ended up looking similar to each other with now real sign to display what each building was for. It was eerily dull, yet impressive at the same time.

Just then a swarm of SA Joes approached the mercenary and his entourage and proceeded to point their weapons at him, Artlleryman was fed up with the constant times he had been put at gunpoint upon approaching the city, was this some sort of new method of greeting new people the SA had come up with?

"Quite the welcoming party I've been having. I don't suppose you guys have come to tell me your boss will be coming in late." he remarked sarcastically before blowing some smoke into a nearby Joe's face.

"We've been well-informed about your arrival here Artilleryman, Super Koala, will be here shortly. In the meantime I suggest you just wait here and don't cause any funny business, mercenary." an SA Joe spoke to the mercenary.

"Tch, fine by me I suppose. But would you mind, lowering your guns? Not like I'm going to do anything when I'm this surrounded, I'm not stupid, you know."

"That may be, but to be blunt, we do not trust mercenaries. The guns will remain pointed at you." The SA Joe turned away and walked out of earshot before contacting his superior.

"Sir, we now have Artilleryman in Sector 12, what are your orders?"


The old coot was right. The place hardly seem bursting with activity anymore.

Ringman and his forces lay in hiding in the area directly outside of Toronto. It was deserted. People don’t tend to linger around cities captured by the Scissor Army. One of the Ring-Rings approached Ringman and gave him a report.

The city was being evacuated by most of its soldiers. Wily had his eye on the North American continent as it’s where his home base used to be as well as Monsteropolis – home of his ach nemesis. He had numerous spies spread out to let him know when the right time for attack would come. But it’s not the reduced amount of soldiers that drew Wily to Toronto, no. It was the last transmission from a Mousubeil. Artilleryman was here to join the Scissor Army. The Ring-Rings had been scouting him from the air. He looked different, but there was no mistaking him. There seemed no move to attack the Scissor Army as well.

“Eleminate that traitor!” screamed the old scientist, “Eliminate him! First Cossack and now the Scissor Army … I am disgusted! I want you to completely destroy him!”

Ringman sighed. Wily was upset that every single one of his creations turned against him. Of course Ring wasn’t his creation and he came to understand that Artilleryman wasn’t either. But Wily saw him as a traitor and put Ring in the, somewhat ironic, job of disposing of him.

This is gonna be easy. Ringman gave orders to his subordinates. They had Toronto vaguely surrounded. While their numbers were few, he brought Wily’s most powerful minions this time. Giant Mets, Mecha Dragons, a Mad Grinder, and more. This time there’d be no failure. Toronto would belong to Dr. Wily!


"Question him until I arrive" Koala answered along with an order to keep all security parameters on standby just in case things got ugly, "Haste will turn him into waste."

"Yes sir." The SA Joe replied.

The SA Joe turned to Artillery Man.

"What are your plans after being recruited?" The SA Joe asked.

"Heh, just shoot, kill and destroy in Elysium's name of course." Artillery calmly replied.

"Are you a team player?"

"...Depends on how well I'm rewarded."

The questions seemed to keep going on and on, each one more harder than the last, then he couldn't take it.

"Hold on a sec, I got a question for you guys. How come you keep the questions coming at me when I'm already showing you soldiers that I'm prepared to join?" Artillery asked, to give himself some time and calm.

"Because I strongly believe in patience," said Koala from the communicator.


“All Hell’s beginning to break loose over here,” said Needlegal darting a nervous glance around. They had received an alert of an attack by Wily’s forces scant minutes before it happened.

“So, whadda we do boss? Throw down wit ‘em?” asked Hardman.

“No,” said the current leader of the ‘Maniacs. “We stick to the plan. We’ve managed to infiltrate the area deeply using the new Joe ‘disguises’ R&D finished. Right now the fighting’s still far off, so there’s no need to blow our cover right away. The map we downloaded said the central base is the CN Tower. We just have to make it there without being spotted while the rest of our forces spread themselves across the city. It’s still a ways off, but we can make it if we lay low.”

The Mechanical Maniacs walked again in the eerie recreation of Toronto. Legions of Scissor Joes ran right by them without looking twice. And why shouldn’t they? They looked just like ordinary Scissor Joes thanks to the newly completed Scissor Joe disguises. The last time they tried using them, the General’s commander overrode their primary consciousness because of some leftover circuitry. There was no chance of that this time because these bodies were only facsimiles of Scissor Joes. They wouldn’t stand up to scans as easily as their previous disguises, nor did they have powerful Scissor Joe weaponry, but there was no chance of them losing it on the battlefield again. They were free to wander the streets and see the sights. What sights there were to see, anyway.

Each building looked like the last. There were some “stores” that offered upgrades for Scissor Joes, and they were set up to look like human stores. However, it was clear that they were not meant for casual shopping. A Joe stood rigidly at attention behind the stand. Hardman noticed there had been a layer of dust covering everything in the useless “shop” including it’s keeper.

Hardman breathed in the air. There was no trace of carbon fumes, perfumes, food, or anything else. In fact it had a sterilized sort of smell to it. To his right, in the distance, he saw a factory spewing white smoke.

“What’s dat?” he asked over the internal communication line.

“Probably the air purifying system,” replied Shadowman. The General was making good on bringing balance to the world, it seemed. Only there was no life on the streets. With all the Joes fighting at the city borders the Mechanical Maniacs were left completely alone and feeling completely conspicuous. Then they heard something leap overhead. Startled, the ‘Maniacs ran into the first building they could, just in the nick of time. All three braved a look outside.

What appeared to be a gigantic, monstrous koala bear leapt from the top of a building high above them and landed on the side of another. He fell a bit before stopping. Using a massive claw he scratched at the side of his body. And then he quickly leapt again. Very soon he was out of sight.

“Who do you think that was?” said Hardman over the internal line before noticing that the Joe inside the shop had turned his dusty head towards them.

“Elysium awaits!” cried Shadowman while quickly running out of the shop. The others quickly followed.

“That guy rings a bell,” said Needlegal over the internal line as they walked towards the tower. “I don’t know who he is, but I do know he’s headed for the tower. It’s strange ... I thought we had a tally on the various sides in this, but there was no mention of him on the Scissor Army’s roster. So either he’s new or some sort of ‘secret weapon’.”

“What kinda secret weapon is a giant, cybernetic koala bear?” asked Hardman incredulously.

“We’ll probably find out soon enough.”


Ringman surveyed the city while riding the Hot Dog. The giant mechaloid decimated their challenging Scissor Joes with it’s fiery breath and Ringman laughed. These Joes were hopeless!

“Rip ‘em all to shreds!” cried Ringman over the internal line. He thought he saw some Joes sneak away from the battle, but his attention was called elsewhere as their friends decided to destroy the dog’s hind legs.

The Hot Dog gave a yelp of surprise before it fell to the ground. Ringman managed to recover himself quickly and sliced through a few SWAT Joes. But these things were smart. They’d already taken care of his canine companion and were surrounding the robot.

“Surrender!” said a Joe while levelling his gun at him. Ringman narrowed his eyes angrily. If he surrendered he’d be butchered by the General into some sort of monstrosity. He very much liked his mind the way it was. Quietly he summoned some Pipis.

“Alright, guys, I give!”

“You better not make a move,” warned a Joe.

Ringman put his hands in the air. “I won’t. There’s no need to get nasty …”

Ringman cried in pain as the SWAT Joes behind him opened fire. Apparently surrendering did not go unpunished in the Scissor Army.

Ringman held his breath as the Joe in command brought out a pair of evil looking handcuffs.

“Just to make sure,” said the Joe in a toneless voice. Ringman was starting to panic now.

And he would have been done for if not for the timely arrival of the Pipis! Flyign high in the air, they dropped their eggs which bust when it hit the ground freeing hundreds of smaller, similar birds. Ringman did not miss this opportunity. He ran for it. Ringman had bigger fish to fry than some measly Joes. Taking the city was the priority.

Ringman dove into the first building with an entrance and obliterated it’s keeper. He then made his way to one of the computers.

“Intel says the Tower’s command central, but … it doesn’t hurt to check.”


Koala lept from the last building and then landed behind Artillery Man.

"Ah, welcome Artillery." Koala said, with both arms behind his back

Artillery Man turned around, a bit suprised.

"Alright." He thought, in a bad position to perform his job.

"So, you have chosen that you are cut out for the Scissor Army. A very wise decision."

The monster then extended his paw out forward for a handshake. Artillery took it, knowing that the SA Joes would shoot him in the back if he tried anything funny.

Koala's SA communicator went off again. The Marsupial Mammoth turned around and answered it.

"WHAT?" Koala yelled a little bit agitated.

"Sir! Wily's forces are invading!"

Koala sighed. "Where are they at?"

"Sector 19, sir, they're about to break though."

"Get the sector 19 and adjecent sectors boxed-in. Conserve Troop numbers to local patrols."

"Yes sir."

Koala then turned to Artillery again.

"A meaningless scuffle, box-in's will make sure it goes nowhere." He said


Koala then closed his hands implying what a box-in meant.

"Now come," Koala commaned as he jumped over the crowd and went into the tower.

Everyone else quickly followed.


Artilleryman remained close with Super Koala, with so many SA Joes surrounding him, he knew he would not have much of a chance to capture him anytime soon, although with this sudden attack occurring in the city perhaps that would be the best time to take him out and make it look like an accident.

The SA officer and the mercenary entered the tower’s central control. The room was filled with countless security monitors and hundreds of SA Joes monitoring each and every one of them. From what he could tell, there was not a single inch of the city that could not be seen from this tower.

“Are you impressed, Artillery?” the Koala spoke as he stood in the center of the room with a sort of air of superiority which did not seem to fit. “There is nothing the Scissor Army cannot see in this city. You will see that I run a tight ship here. Now, bring up the footage of our attackers.”

A particularly large monitor in the central focal point of the room lit up and showed Ringman and a number of large Wily Bots fighting amongst the local security of the city, while seemingly outnumbered, the Wily Bots he had brought along were big and making up for their numeral disadvantage.

“So Dr Wily thinks he can take this city while we were in the process of leaving? That mad scientist is taking us too lightly.” Koala mumbled before turning to Artilleryman. “This will be a perfect opportunity for you to show the Scissor Army what you are capable of, Artilleryman.”

Artilleryman saw that statement coming a mile away, well it wasn’t like he was capable of taking out Koala now without sustaining major damages in his current situation, the mercenary decided to play along for a bit longer and wait for his next opportunity. “Dr Wily eh, I haven’t had the opportunity to show that old man just how much better I am without him.” He said before putting out his cigar and pulling his targeting visor back down. “I will be expecting a more than generous paycheck after this, you know that?”

“Yes, yes I am well aware for your love for money.” the Koala nodded, “We’ll discuss the terms of your payment after you deal with the enemy.”

The mercenary nodded in agreement and left the central tower command and took to the air. “I can’t screw up this mission. I’ll show them all just what I’m capable of now.”

It was not difficult to find where Sector 19 was; now that he was airborne he could clearly see the events of battle happening below and then flew into their direction.

“I assume you want damage to this city to be kept to a minimum.” Artillery voiced to Koala over his comm. line.

“Yes, this is one of the most developed cities of Elysium. I will not be pleased with any senseless destruction to it.”

“Guess that means I can’t use the big guns then.” Artilleryman replied in a rather snide tone while switching off his Long Tom Cannon mode. He flew in closer to the skirmish and used his targeting visor to lock on to his nearest target and readied his Pyro Cannon.


The Mechanical Maniacs continued to hurry through the deserted streets of Toronto. They met no opposition, but they could hear the sounds of fighting drawing closer.

“General Cutman’s li’l world is pretty damn borin’,” remarked Hardman with some exasperation. “I mean I expect’d somethin’ a bit more creepy, y’know?”

“Wheat do you expect with Joes running the show?” asked Shadowman.

“Yeah, but this is th’ General we’re talkin’ about! I mean, is this really his plan? Turnin’ the whole damn world into some kinda ghost town?” Shadowman and Needlegal mulled it over. There really wasn’t much going on in Toronto. The interiors of the buildings they bothered to look into were repetitive and many were just hollowed out shells, as if no thought had really been given as to why they would even be there in the first place other than some potential need in the future. Did the General plan to populate his new world with more ambitious creations than the Joes? Or was this it?

“It’s certainly clean,” commented Needlegal when she noticed the immaculate streets and sidewalks, “and there’s no clutter or posters nailed to the walls.”

“Come’s wit’ bein’ lifeless,” said Hardman. “This is just so damn boring! I can see why th’ General isn’t in a hurry to get back home. If it’s anythin’ like this place, it’d drive me crazy too.”

Needlegal paused as she got a report from an undercover Officer bot. She then had a resigned look on her face. There was a silence before she said, “Ringman’s on his way to the tower too. I’m taking him down.” Hardman and Shadowman exchanged looks. It had been a month since they learned of how vile the Cossacks truly were. On a previous mission, Needlegal had let Ringman escape. She swore he would not escape a second time. Shadow and Hard sympathised as both had felt for the Cossacks before hearing news of their exploits from Crorq. However, they had a different mission.

“We have t’ take th’ tower, boss,” said Hardman in an attempt to focus their leader. “Our job’s to take th’ city. We have to weed th’ Scissor Army outta North America.”

“We can still do that,” replied Needlegal, “You two take the tower. I’ll take Ringman down a peg or two in the meantime.”

There was a pause. Hard and Shadow exchanged worried looks. Both of them were waiting for their demanding overseer to come in and shut their team mate down.

“If you want to bring Ringman in, go ahead,” said Amatista over internal communication, “So long as the goal is accomplished I don’t care what extras come out of it. But if it isn’t then we’ll know who to blame, won’t we?”

Hardman could almost imagine her smirking. Shutting one of them down would be just as nice as accomplishing their goal to that woman. Hardman had to admit, however, that killing her fellow Pale Riders in battle and getting her hand impaled by Magnetman’s finger probably didn’t make for a very good first impression. Hardman’s reflections on Amatista ground to a halt as the team found themselves flanked by trees on either side. They began walking at a slower pace.

“This part used to house the Convention Center,” said Needlegal breathlessly. The ruins of the structure were still there, along with a statue of Geminiman directly in front of the building. The team made their way towards it and read the inscription on the plaque.

“For one of the first victories in the War against the human scourge the Scissor Army honours its White Knight, Geminiman. Fourth in a series of six.” The statue was cast in silver and shone in the reflected light of the sun. The team was quiet. No words were said, but they all thought of their friends. During the course of the war they had all be reunited at one point or another, always on opposite sides. However, this was the first time they had any sort of interaction with Geminiman. His betrayal hadn’t quite seemed real to them until this very moment. Needlegal fought back tears. She had to remain strong. For the team.

“Come on, we have a city to take,” she said over the internal line. The team walked into the ruins of the Convention Center and into Toronto’s cybernetic jungle. The CN tower was close by and the sounds of fighting were quickly coming their way. Only two of the team looked back to the statue of their friend as they walked away.


Ringman looked up in the sky as one of his Mad Grinders took several blasts of fire to the head and saw Artilleryman speeding around in the air.

“Artilleryman! I have orders from Dr Wily to kill you, traitor!” he yelled out, preparing to throw his Ring Boomerangs.

“Hah, you’re one to talk, Ringman. While you were out being all buddy-buddy with that insane freak of a doctor, your pals and master all went belly up against the might of the SA, must be hard on you knowing the ones that were once so close to you bit the big one and you weren’t there to help.” The mercenary retorted.

Ringman stopped for a moment at the mention of his deceased former teammates, but then quickly regained his composure and threw his rings at the flying robot, “Like I care anymore! I chose to side with Wily, so what happened with Cossack no longer has anything to do with me!”

Artilleryman simply flew away from the ring’s trajectory and fired some shots from his Pyro Cannon. If he could deal with Ringman as well as Super Koala, then surely Kalinka would reward him handsomely for the little added bonus to his mission.

The former Cossack dove out of the way from the fireballs and caught his Ring Boomerangs and continued to yell out to his hunter.

“What about you? It’s only been a month since Cossack died and now you’re all of sudden with the Scissor Army? You seem to turncoat at the drop of a hat!”

“Hey, I only go where the money takes me. As a mercenary it’s only natural that I switch sides frequently, it comes with the job description.” Artilleryman said as he promptly deployed all his long range missiles into the boxed in sector of the robotic city. With such a small surface area to move in and such large robots in the vicinity, the missiles covered almost the entire area and managed to put a dent in a number of the Wily forces.

“Hey, I thought I told you to keep damage to a minimum!” Super Koala’s voice sounded angrily over the comm. line, but Artilleryman brushed it off causally.

“Relax, I’m capable of doing far more damage than that.” He joked before a ring suddenly shot out of the smoke and got embedded in Artilleryman’s chest causing him to lose some altitude. In retaliation, he fired off more shots into the smoke using his targeting visor to pinpoint where Ringman was but still managed to miss.

“The bloody thing is almost useless.” He grunted in slight remembrance of how Geminiman had also dodged his supposedly locked-on shots in their last encounter. Unable to keep himself in the air due to his injury he forced himself to land so he could remove the ring in his chest, but quickly found himself in a bad situation.

The Hot Dogs started to counter attack and set fire to some of the mechanical trees in an effort to burn the mercenary and his surroundings while the damaged Mad Grinder had now turned its attention to him and relentlessly tried to run him down.

Not as good on his feet as he was in the air, Artilleryman tried to dodge the rampaging robots as they began to focus solely on him. He attempted at firing his stun lasers and electro nets at them but they were too big for him to contain properly. However, support soon came in the form of cover fire from the Scissor Joes in the area.

“I’m not impressed with your efforts so far, Artilleryman…” Koala’s voice sounded to the mercenary once again.

While it was tempting to shut off his comm. device, Artillery decided to endure the criticism because in his mind, the response of him defeating Ringman would sound all the better when he would eventually bring it.

He threw away the ring and took to the air again while the SA Joes covered for him with their gunfire. But to his side he had noticed a wayward Joe that didn’t seem to be fighting, rather spying on the battlefield. He decided to brush it off thinking it had little relevance to his mission and went back to trying to shoot down the former Cossack.


"Hmm... The battle is starting to show signs of too much damage, but on the other I was only ordered to overlook withdraw." Koala said to himself, reviewing the crisis at hand, "What would happen if the Wily's forces did breakthough the box-in's? And what about... no scratch that."



"Your orders?"

"I have decided to hurry evacuation. Tell all non combating Joes in all sectors but sector 12 to head for the airports. I want everyone on a plane out of here at the end of the hour." Koala ordered, "Sector 12 Joes will stay here, I want the tower to be locked down and shoot down any Joe that isn't evacuating. It'd be nice to keep this place, but it's really not nessasary, so have the tower and all major facilities on standby for auto-destruct."

Koala checked the computer on his oversized desk and saw everyone was following his orders with minimum casualties. Still, he'd like to just get everyone out of there while it was possible..

"Excellent. Everything is going as planned." The Marsupial Mammoth said to himself as Sector 19 was now within the horizon. He returned his attention to the battle below. Artilleryman was faring well enough, but it would soon be time to show Ringman exactly what he was capable of... Koala opened a window and slung himself outside. He then jumped towards a smaller structure below and landed with a crash. He was on his feet shortly after and made his way to the outskirts of the mechanical forest. Yes, it was high time to end this farce of a battle!


The team heard a report that Ringman had gotten close to the tower’s location from the other side and that was all it took to get Needlegal to run ahead of the rest of the team. Hardman tried calling out to her, but she had already left. Shadowman only sighed.

“Let her go. She can be really stubborn,” said the disguised ninja.

“Yer one ta talk,” replied Hardman.

It wasn’t long until they found themselves watching Ringman’s and Artilleryman’s battle. Artilleryman seemed to be holding back, but Ringman sure wasn’t. Artilleryman dispatched several smaller Wilybots while Ringman tried to get him from behind. The ploy didn’t work. Artilleryman seemed to be saying something, but the ‘Maniacs couldn’t hear it. They also heard something large come their way. The two disguised ‘Maniacs ran for cover as the koala monster they spied earlier crashed through the woods.

“Hey, what gives, Koala?” asked Artilleryman with impatience.

The koala ripped the head off a Hot Dog in two saying, “I’ve decided this is taking much too long. It’s time to give you a hand. I’m disappointed in you, Artillery. You should have been able to handle this yourself.”

Artilleryman grumbled something in response, but the ‘Maniacs were making their way to the tower by then and were taking pains to avoid the battle. Their people were in place. They had snuck in a sizable number of disguised robots over time and this battle just made their job easier.

“So how d’ya figur’ to get in, Shades?” asked Hardman over the internal line.

“The Tower’s locked down tight. I guess we just saunter in through the front door. Time to see how well these things hold up to sensors.”


Needlegal watched the battle from her hidden position. It didn’t seem to be going in Ringman’s favour. She wanted to jump in. To pay Ringman back for making her look like a fool. But it would blow their cover before it was time.

Ringman tried to hit the monstrous koala with a Ring Boomerang, but the Koala deflected it with a metal leaf mounted on his arm. “The General saw fit to let me keep my Leaf Shield, and give me some improvements!”

Ringman looked at the koala in confusion … until things started to get hot. Ringman screamed in pain as he found himself caught on fire. The koala laughed and smacked the Cossack-created robot away with a swipe of his long arm. “You’re pathetic!”

Ringman got to his feet and jumped into a tree. “Yeah? Then why do you look so ugly while I look so good?”

Koala roared and leapt at Ringman. His speed caught Ringman off guard and the red robot was caught in a crushing bear hug. Ringman felt an arm pop out of place as he struggled vainly to get free. The monstrosity fighting him laughed madly. He had never felt like this before. All his doubts and insecurities had been washed clean away thanks to the General. All that was left was the powerful beast he always knew he was. He didn’t even hear Artilleryman load his Long Tom Cannon. Or hear him fire it. Ringman only had a faint inkling that something had gotten worse for him.


Shadowman turned towards the sound of the explosion. Something had happened there. Needlegal radioed in that she was alright. It was time to get moving.

Joes rushed past them, intent on getting to the heart of the explosion. None of them noticed as Hardman and Shadowman walked right into the front door. That is, at least, until the alarms went off.

“Aw, hell,” said Hardman audibly.

All exists were immediately sealed shut with large, thick, metal doors slamming behind them. All Joes immediately turned to them, pointing their busters directly at them. Shadowman didn’t have much time to curse as the Scissor Joes opened fire on the robot masters. He did, however, have something to add to his report. Their disguises, although fine for walking through an unprepared area, did not hold up to standard scans.

Hardman and Shadowman felt bits of themselves fly off as they struggled to fight back.

“C’n we fight back for real or what?!” called Hardman over their internal line. Shadowman was hesitant. They had spent all this time making their way into the city unnoticed. All this time they had gotten past every security checkpoint purely on the basis of how they looked. If they reverted back to their true forms and the Scissor Army heard of it, then … Shadowman flinched as his chest plating was blown off.

“Alright, let’s get serious!” said Shadowman as he discarded his disguise.

“I’m gonna miss bein’ nimble,” said Hardman with some humour as he followed suit. The Joes were stunned after a momentary flash of light revealed their opponents to be none other than Hardman and Shadowman.

“Let’s take these guys apart!”


The smoke cleared. Super Koala’s back was burnt raw. All synth-skin had been burned off and revealed the heavily damaged muscles beneath. Slowly the monster turned, still clenching one, useless arm of Ringman in a claw. Ring thanked whoever was looking out for him that the beast had taken the worst of Artillery’s attack. Koala seemed less pleased.

“What do you think you’re doing!?” screamed Super Koala in rage.

Artilleryman grimed and readied his shoulder mounted cannon. “Damn, I was really hoping my Long Tom woulda finished you both off.” Artilleryman fired a long-lange missle and a stun laser at the pair of robots. They were his weaker weapons, but his cannon needed time to cool off and he had to finish this quickly. Super Koala responded by screaming in rage. Ringman took that moment to sever his broken arm using a Ring Boomerang.

“How dare you?” screamed the monstrous beast while taking damage, “How could you betray me like this!? Those Cossacks don’t give a shit about you!”

Artilleryman sneered and continued to fire. His lesser weapons blew chuncks of metal and seared Koala’s “skin”, but didn’t seem to have much of an effect. “Neither do you! And, besides, I have bills to pay.”

Super Koala roared in frustration. There was an annoying message coming in from the tower, but it wasn’t important. His rage at Artilleryman was all that mattered. Super Koala fired a burst of heat vision at the mercenary. Artillerymen felt the air around him heat up and flew out of the way as fast as he could before things got really bad. He didn’t like the look of things … if that heat vision got to his arm-mounted cannon, it would never cool off and remain unusable. And he definitely needed another shot to finish off Super Koala. It was a joke … he was the Cossack’s big gun and now Super Koala would be his downfall.

“You shoulda joined the Scissor Army, Arty! Of course … you still can! Not that you’ll have much choice in the matter!” Super Koala roared with laughter. He never felt so alive before. The General had burned away all his insecurities … all his worries. He really did offer Elysium, Heaven, to those who followed him. Even if it was painful.

Koala’s heat attack came to an abrupt end as he felt something hard tighten around his neck.

“Did you forget about me, Koala?” Ringman had snuck behind the mammoth beast and used and enlarging / shrinking Trick Ring on him. With the animal distracted by his new target it was easy and now he was slashing him with his sharper rings while continuing to gloat. “Loser! I don’t know why the Scissor Army even took you in.” Koala roared in rage.


Hardman slapped away another Scissor Joe before finally making it to the elevator. “Roomy fit,” said the blue behemoth as he stepped into place. Shadowman pressed the button for the top floor.

“It’s probably made to accommodate guys like Napalmman should they be put in charge here. After all, the General has a penchant for making big guys.” Hardman grunted in agreement. Both robots stopped dead when they heard a small hissing sound.

“Gas,” said Shadowman warily.

“You think it’s … danger’us?” said Hardman warily.

“Well, we don’t have lungs. Although I feel kinda itchy.”

“Should we be worried?”

Shadowman paused and lost a bit of color. Then relaxed and said, “Nah, I think these are made to combat regular robots and humans. Our Transmetal Armour seems to be unaffected.”

The elevator passed a few more floors before the floor was shot with a current of electricity. Powerful surges swept through their bodies before Hardman regained his senses and pulled Shadowman off the floor.

“Thanks for the save,” muttered Shadowman through chattering teeth. Hardman grinned.

“S’a good thing ‘lectricity don’t affect me.”

“Yeah it is.”

After a time the electricity stopped and the elevator slowly ascended more floors. Both Hardman and Shadowman were tense. Beads of sweat were developing on Shadowman’s brow as he stayed, clinging to Hardman’s back. Hardman grinned ruefully. With his thick armour, he felt invincible.

They heard a click first and then felt a hale of gunfire. Hardman was immune to the bullets, but Shadowman quickly took refuge under Hardman’s arms.

“Not a word of this to the others,” said the ninja menacingly. Hardman continued to grin.


Ringman gasped as Super Koala barked out hoarse laughter. He barely had time to jump back before the beast’s claws tore through his chest. If he had stayed in position for a second longer, he would have been cleaved in two. How was this possible? His shrinking ring had been wrapped firmly around Koala’s neck.

Koala explained, “Ya ijit! Think I need to breathe!?” Koala barked out a hoarse laugh and leapt quickly at his new assailant. Ringman grabbed the animal and tossed him into a burning tree. He tried to signal for reinforcements, but Artillery’s blast had damaged the communicator in his helmet. Ringman cursed. How could he coordinate his attack now?? Still, he brought many powerful troops with him and had faith that they’d crush the Scissor Army. Meanwhile Super Koala shot a burst of heat vision at the red robot which he was scorched by with full force.

Artilleryman continued to circle overhead like a vulture. Any moment now his Long Tom would be ready for another shot.


The elevator continued its ascent and Shadowman came out of his impervious log form in a burst of smoke. It wasn’t actually wood, so it wasn’t harmed by the continuous stream of fire emitted by the flamethrowers above.

“You okay,” asked Shadowman to his huge companion.

“Peachy,” said Hardman gruffly. He had actually been impervious to most of these attacks and was feeling quite invulnerable. He grinned from ear to ear. They were almost at the top.

Then the elevator stopped. Hardman and Shadowman looked at each other in suspicion.

Hardman frowned. “Ya don’t think ...” Hard’s sentence remained unfinished as a snap was heard just above them and the elevator began to plummet to the ground far, far below! Inwardly, Shadowman wondered if his old genius chip could have helped him get out of this mess.

“Hang on, Shad, this’ll get rough.” Shadowman looked up and saw Hardman aim a Knuckle at the ceiling.

“Wait, what’re you doing!?”

Hardman responded by shooting a Hard Knuckle at the ceiling. Immediately the lights went out and their cage rocked violently. Hard’s fist returned to his arm and he looked at the hole he made.

“Not big 'nuff yet,” said the behemoth, readying another fist.

“Stop it! You’ll knock the rope off!”

“Not much choice ‘ere, Shad.” Hardman readied his fist. And took aim. All color drained from Shadowman’s face. Would his log mode save him? And what about Hardman? A fall like this, with his weight, would kill him …. Possibly bringing the whole tower down on their heads! Shadowman was going to tell him to stop, but he had no better plan. And the ground was coming to greet them with the speed of one mad with glee. Shadowman closed his eyes. Perhaps Hardman would punch a hole big enough for them to get out of and catapult them to safety all in the little time they had left. However ….

There was a grinding sound. And then … they stopped moving. Shadowman opened his eyes. The lights in the elevator were flickering. The door was trying to open, but Hardman’s previous attack had made that difficult. Hardman needed no coaching he immediately aided the struggling doors in their effort to open and dashed out of there like a madman. Immediately the elevator fell. Shadowman thought he saw something small dart quickly past but was distracted by the loud crash the elevator box made as it finally hit the ground.

Hardman slowly turned to the door. “That was a real stroke a luck right there.” Shadowman just grunted. It sure was. Hardman looked around and spotted a sign.

“Aw, hell, we’re on the third damn floor!”

He had just finished uttering a strong curse before both robots turned towards the sound of running boots.


Ringamn ran through the forest to evade the claws of Super Koala. He had heard this guy was a useless, whiney, nobody. Whoever said that needed to be shot! He ducked as another blast of heat vision threatened to melt his head off. Koala made a strangled roar. He may not need to breathe, but that ring wasn’t helping his vocal processors.

And then there was Artilleryman. Circling high overhead like the vulture he was. Just waiting for a clear shot. But it seemed like he was limited to small arms not … an advantage Ringman would use to his favour. Koala was, just then, right on top of Ringman, clinging to a tree. Thinking quickly, Ring bent down, picked up a clump of soil with his good arm, and threw it into Koala’s eyes as he was careening downwards.

“I’ll kill you, you little bug!” roared the monster. He threw his long arms in a wide circle, blindly trying to get Ringman. Then he tried heat vision. He could smell the forest around him go up in flames, but there was still no Ringman. The little pest had skittered past him. And, in a rage Koala had made things harder on himself. He took deep breaths and clutched the still-shrinking ring that was around his throat with his claws. Or at least he tried to. There was no give on it.

And it was getting very … uncomfortable.

Ringman continued to run as Super Koala struggled. He had shaken one obstacle and it was time to shake the other. Or was it? Ringman paused, hid himself, and looked overhead. There wasn’t anything there. No evil robots … none of his reinforcements either. No birds too. He looked around and noticed that this cybernetic forest was very quiet. It was grown in an amazingly short amount of time and overran the city that used to be in the way. In a way it was beautiful … but it was an eerie kind of beauty. Ringman shook his head.

“It’s not Artilleryman you have to worry about, Ringman.” Ringman quickly turned to the female voice that he suddenly heard. He had heard that voice before! But it was too late, he was pelted by sharp projectiles before having a chance to react.

Needlegal stepped out into the open. She had followed them here unseen. She wasn’t particularly stealthy, but Ringman and Super Koala were so intent on killing each other that nobody noticed her as she followed them. She even dropped the Joe disguise as her normal form was much faster. Needlegal extracted her porcupine armor.

Ringman sneered in disgust. “Damn it, you pigs don’t have any spine, do you? Just … waiting until I was easy picking, weren’t you? Pig!”

Neeldgeal charged at the robot master, intent on ripping him apart with her bare hands. “What do you know about anything! This is for Nonsteropolis, you disgusting, hypocritical monster!”

Ringman dodged the worst of her attack, but he felt his side sliced by her long, sharp needles. He jumped back a little and drew a Ring Boomerang to toss at the cop.

“I didn’t have anything to do with that!” yelled Ringman as he threw his attack at the sharpest of robot masters. She batted it away with a furious barrage of needles, which managed to wound Ringman more than he already was.

“You were there! I saw you! The whole world saw you!”

Ringman parried Needlegal's mace with a ring. Or at least he tried to. It was swatted away by the heavier projectile and Ringman had to suffer another blow. He tried to leap into the trees. The last time Needlegal had let him go. He had to make her see reason!

“That was the Assassins, damn it! I was just … There! I didn’t plan to blow up your headquarters! It just sorta … happened. It’s not my damn fault!”

Needlegal used her Needle Cannon again and chased Ringman as he tried to dodge the attack. “You damn bug! You didn’t stop them either. It’s robots like you who screwed the rest of us! If robots like you weren’t out for only themselves then the shutdown code wouldn’t exist!”

Ringman was dumbstruck. Somehow that was his fault? “And how do you figure that little gem out?” Ringman shot a few rings at Needle for all the good it did him. She didn’t even try to avoid them, they just bounced harmlessly off her armour. Sharp weapons did not affect her.

Needlegal pummelled Ringman into the ground with her bare hands. “If I even believe you, then you didn’t even try to stop those Assassins from destroying the Robot Police Headquarters and because of that thousands of people died!”

Ringman seemed to grit his teeth. He refused to be blamed for that! “I don’t give a damn about that! I’m in this to wipe you fascists off the face of the planet!” Needlegal barked a laugh and punched Ringman again.

“Idiot! Then who’s gonna stop the Scissor Army? Dr. Wily!? He couldn’t even protect his own base!” Ringman didn’t have time to properly rebut these words as Needlegal pounded his face even once more. She was right, Skull Castle was easily obliterated by Magnetman. Wily couldn’t hold on to Brussles. And what he did to Spark Chan was … chilling. Really, it was just as bad as the Shutdown Code. The old coot … Ringman thought he’d jumped ship to join with the winning team, but that old guy was just as bad as the robot police …. And what had he really accomplished by betraying all his friends?

Ringman felt a sharp stab of pain unrelated to Needlegal’s continuing assault. His friends. He heard of Cossack’s death, but he knew his friends were all right. They were the Cossack’s Comrades, after all. They faced a lot together. Really … they were all right. He knew it! He couldn't believe Artilleryman's claims.

Needlegal drew him up. Ringman was battered and broken. With Needlegal’s armor being heavily protected and in good condition she had bested him easily. She brought out her hand cuffs. It was time to correct a mistake. “Ringman. You are under arrest for crimes against humanity,”


Needlegal continued, taking pleasure in his struggle. She forced him to the ground, intending to cuff his arm to his leg, “For aiding and abetting a known criminal. For violating the shutdown code. For homicide. For wanton destruction of property.”

“You can’t be serious!”

“You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

“Wait,” screamed Ringman in a panic, “look, I give, okay? I’ll ... I’ll joint he RPD!

Needlegal stopped her recitation of Ringman’s rights. He could not be serious. Exactly how many ships did Ringman want to jump?

There was a crash. Needlegal turned her head towards the direction of the sound and there he stood. He breathed heavily and seemed to be snarling, but only static came out. The monstrous koala monster was there and he was gripping broken Ring Boomerang halves in each of his hands. He spoke over an open channel because his vocal processors had been damaged.

“Now who’s pathetic?”


Hardman gouged another handhold into the wall and pulled himself up. Thankfully he was built sturdy enough to support his own weight. And the shape of this body wasn’t as “wide” (a polite way of saying “fat”) as his older Transmetal body so climbing was possible. Shadowman was scaling the walls with surprising ease.

“I can’t believe ya climb walls, Shad.”

“I’m a ninja. I can do anything.”

Hardman grunted. Shad had gotten his sense of humour back. That was a good sign. They had managed to beat the platoon of Splitter Joes easily enough and were now scaling the interior of the elevator to get to the uppermost floor of the tower. It was slow, arduous work. For Hardman, anyway. He liked being big an impervious, but at times like these he wished he had Shadowman’s speed. Still, it wasn’t so bad.

Hardman fired up his internal engines once more and shot into the air. Once he reached his apex he immediately grabbed plunged his large fingers into the wall. Hardman grunted and beads of sweat fell down his synth-skin as his full weight cam bearing down on him. He gouged footholds with his legs. Somehow Shadowman appeared ahread of him.

“Can’t do that again fer a bit,” said the behemoth, “how’s our progress?”

“Well, there’s not really floors in this thing. I mean, the third “floor” was just for maintenance, I think. So I just couldn’t tell you. But I think we have to be at least … one fifth of the way to the top. Maybe.”

Hardman sighed. He should have known better to ask.


Needlegal threw her arms up in defence to block a burst of … heat vision? … that the monstrous koala threw at her. Her armour was strong, but it was now painfully hot. Ringman screamed in pain. His defences were ripped to shreds and his internal circuitry had been damaged in that attack.

Super Koala could barely think he was so mad. He didn’t recognize who this …. Person now shooting at him was, but he had bigger fish to fry. He battered her away with a swipe of his mighty clawed hand and turned his attention back to Ringman. He’d damaged him, he was ruining the order of his precious city, and he had to be dealt with.

Ringman tried to back away but Super Koala bounded on him. He grabbed both legs in his claws and broke them apart at the knee. Ringman screamed in agony. His systems were torn apart. His was done for. But, it couldn’t end like this. It just couldn’t!

The monstrous koala then turned his attention to Needlegal. She fired her Needle cannon. To the Koala’s surprise the hurt!

“Back off!” screamed Needlegal madly. She fired more rounds. They hit, and stuck, into the koala-thing’s chest, but it was still advancing on her. It ignored the pain of her attack. Needlegal leapt backwards.

“What the hell are you!?”

As before, it replied over the radio, “I’m Super Koala. Reborn into one of the General’s power commanding officers!”

Super Koala. That struck a memory. “Geez, weren’t you that nice kid?”

“I grew up!” The monstrosity roared over the radio, curled into a ball and shot towards her. Needlegal leapt to the side and grabbed a hold of the thing’s Leaf Shield. She felt a small give.

Super Koala chuckled a bit and turned the Shield around. Needlegal saw what was happening, but there was no time to react. Super Koala smashed her into a tree. Needlegal heard something crack, but she didn’t yield. She continued to twist and pull at the Leaf Shield.

“Stubborn one aincha? Then yer gonna get hurt!” Super Koala hefted her up, prepared his legs and other arm, and then ran like an animal. Needlegal winced as he smashed her against the first tree. She gasped as she tore through the second. The third was particularly large and she knew something inside her had been damaged as there was a sickly popping sound from somewhere inside her.

The fourth tree tore her right shoulder pad off her arm. Her head guard got suck on the fifth, but the koala’s momentum chipped it off. It got stuck again at the seventh, and the mace that lay on the top of her head finally tore from its hinges. She gasped as it remained where it was even as Super Koala continued to surge forward, a mad grin on his face.

She wrenched at the shield on his arm. She felt her neck crack a little as the chain finally lost its slack and broke. But so did something connecting the twisted Leaf Shield to Koala’s arm. He grunted in pain (although only static came out of his damaged vocal circuits) and Needlegal put all of her strength into her arms to further dislodge it. Koala was still moving and decided it was time for a double assault. He fired his heat vision at Needlegal, at close range.

The heat was intense and, at this close range, it melted the top layer of her armour. She could feel the synth skin on her face burn crack, and peel, but it also weakened the arm she was working on for at this close range the Koala’s arm was caught in the blast and it softened. She gasped as she was hit by another tree and finally slammed into a metal wall. They had reached the end of the forest.

But it was that final jolt that gave her the power to finally tear the monstrosity’s Leaf Shield off of its arm. Loud static could be heard from a mile away, but Needlegal deafened herself to it and shoved the Shield against the monster’s face. Louder static this time as his heat vision attack was now painfully redirected back into its own eyes.

Koala roared in pain. That attack damaged his heat vision systems! He couldn’t stop! What flesh was left on his face burned away. And still his heat vision grew hotter. Needlegal could feel her hands burning, but it didn’t matter. Like an oven, the shield contained the worst of the blast and she kept that firmly pressed against the koala’s face.

It was now red hot. Needlegal couldn’t let go of it, even if she wanted to, her hands were now welded into the melting shield. She pressed it into the koala’s face. He was still pressing her into the wall with his body. His arm rose menacingly. She might have redirected the Shield in an attempt to block it, but if she did that then the Koala would be free and his heat vision directed back at her. So the claw hit home on her armoured head.

The sound was awful. The clawed hand was awkwardly trying to hip her head off, but she couldn’t stop what she was doing. Even if she wanted to. The Shield was beginning to fuse into the koala’s face. And still, it was alive. Still it was fighting. Needlegal knew she was in trouble. If that thing didn’t drop, if its heat vision melted a hole in that Shield, she would be dead.

And then both Super Koala and Needlegal were blown by a powerful attack from above! The explosion tore into the damaged koala monster and Needlegal. The wall they were against as well as the nearby trees were blown apart. Fire engulfed the area in a large perimeter. Smoke obscured everything. Needlegal found herself on her back, struggling to keep online. She tried to find their attacker.

Needlegal saw Artilelryman come down from above. She knew he was smiling smugly under that helmet of his. He finally had her.


Shadowman and Hardman finally met their ride.

“Took ya long enough,” grumbled Hardman with annoyance. The Officer Bot just shrugged.

“We had a hard time of finding something capable of lifting your weight in the tower,” explained the officer. As it stood all three robots were standing on a floating platform while still in the damp, dark, elevator shaft. Hardman cracked his knuckles. There were sore from gouging holes in the wall. Shadowman rubbed his shoulders. Scaling things wasn’t easy work.

“Take us up,” said Shadowman noticing the strain the lift was under. It had a limited power supply and he didn’t want to have to catch himself in mid-fall again. The officer bot nodded and immediately the lift shot up the elevator shaft. As soon as they took the CN Tower this battle would be over.


Super Koala was finally down. He had a huge gouge out of his back and lost most of his claws. His Leaf Shield was melted all over his face. He was lying in an odd position, face up. But he was still functioning. They could see him struggling to move with occasional bursts of static.

Needlegal’s hands were gone, melted and broken off in the explosion. Her helmet was blown off her head. Her face was charred, cracked, and her metallic “skull” exposed on about half her face (although not a clean half). Artilleryman gave a small laugh as she got to her shaky feet. The armour on her legs fell off limply, having been too damaged to stay on. She tried to point her Needle Cannons at Artilleryman, but she couldn't hold them steady or even move them above a few centimetres. She bared her teeth. Her head was killing her. She had no options left.

Artilleryman casually readied his Stun Laser. Needlegal’s armour was blown off by the impact of the weapon and she was thrown to the ground. Artilleryman was then readying another weapon.

“I gotta say …. This makes up for being out of the war for this long …” Artilleryman chucked. Needlegal was finally helpless. He had tried for so long and now … things were finally going his way!

Those were exactly his thoughts before his cannon was shot from behind! The impact shattered it at the joint in his shoulder and it was rendered useless. Artilleryman whirled to face his attacker, but saw no one.

“Come out you coward!”

Again a shot rang out. This time it hit his abdomen and Artilleryman grunted in pain. It was clear … Snakeman was out there taking pot shots at him. He glared angrily at Needlegal. And then at Super Koala. He was so close … but dragging that monster into the air would only slow him down. He could take the officer, but Kalinka wouldn’t want her, so what was the point? He wouldn’t get paid!

Another shot rang out. It nicked his helmet. It was now time to go!

“Damn you! Next time I’ll finish you!” A shot rang out again, but Artilelryman was already in the air. He had been so close … so close! But that Snakeman … he was foiled again! But then … this didn’t have to be a total loss, did it?


Shadowman and Hardman tore through the Scissor Joes. They had taken another elevator to the top of the building and were lying in wait. Shots rang out. Hardman’s already tested armour was beginning to buckle.

“We gotta win this fast, Shades!” said the behemoth through gritted teeth. Shadowman agreed. He didn’t need the genius chip to see that. In fact, he didn’t really need the genius chip at all!

Shadowman summoned his giant frog from it’s storage container and it crushed several Scissor Joes when it landed. Shadowman rode it with pride. “You losers don’t have any hope of winning!”

In response to this challenge the Scissor Joes piled on the giant frog. It roared in pain and they all drew their knives and cut into the robotic beast. It needed no order from Shadowman to fire at it’s attackers. It blew apart Joes directly in front of it.

Yes the attack still came. Hardman fired his Hard knuckles at the Scissor Army infantry. Their guide had been destroyed shortly after they got out of the elevator. He grabbed a nearby soldier and ripped off his head. “Shades! Need any help?”

Shadowman’s frog had lost and eye and was being slowly dismantled by the Joes. It struggled, crushed some with it’s tongue and feet, but they swarmed and shot at the rider. “No, I’m pretty good.”

The building became red and sirens screamed in their ears. Someone had activated the auto destruct. Hardman knew he had to act. He opened his chest and blew a path straight through to his former leader. The spiked ball ripped through the horde of Joes and hit Shaodmwan’s frog, damaging it. No real loss since it got rid of many Scissor Joes.

Like a one man army Hardman tore through the masses screaming and punching and sometimes even biting the enemy. Scissor Joes shot at him continuously, and he was beginning to feel it through his battered armour. He finally reached his leader and tore Joes off like ticks. Some were separated from their hands by the force of Hardman’s desire. Shadowman looked at him somewhat shocked. It was a long time since he saw his friend with this kind of gusto.

“Let’s go, Shades! We have a city to save!”

Shadowman gave a rueful smile. “Uh … sorry to break it to you, Hard. But I’m a hologram.”

Hardman’s mouth popped open. Was Shadowman messing with him? But then Shadowman flickered and then dissappeared from the seat of the still-functioning frog. Hardman gaped. He couldn’t believe it. Well … Shadow did say he was good. He must have used the battle as a distraction in order to get into the command room. But then …?

The alarms stopped suddenly. Those few Joes still active froze. Their time had come. The Self Destruct had somehow been averted. But ... then …

Hardman heard Shadowman over the internal line, “I can’t reach Needlegal! And I don’t have the authorization to mobilize our troops!”

“What!? What coulda happened to her!?”

“She’s fine,” said Amatista curtly, but happily. “She’s down, but still active. So you’ve disabled the anti-teleportation shields?”


“Then I’ll initiate directive 66.”


A Scissor Joe ripped apart an inferior Sniper Joe model before laying waste to the Mad Grinder’s head. All was going well. These pitiful numbers meant nothing to the Scissor Army’s well-trained co-ordinated defence of Toronto. Even if they were pulling out, this would remain in the hands of the super genius General Cutman and the visionary Mesmerman. He then concentrated his efforts on the Guts Dozer. It was a more formidable foe than the Mad Grinder, but it too would fall. Reports came in from around the city that all of Wily’s forces were being rounded up and destroyed on sight.

Where were those reports? The Joe touched his helmet and manually adjusted his radio settings. Reports should be coming in. Was he damaged. He looked down.

And saw no more.

Amatista saw it all through her rifle’s scope. Everywhere Robot Police Officers were decloaking and taking the Scissor Army and Wily forces by surprise. Already an anti-teleportation barrier was in place … this time locking those Scissor Army chumps in place! She smiled as she saw those killers destroyed by her robot forces. This was how it really ought to be done.

She took a look at Needlegal now. Still lying broken on the ground. Already officer bots were dispatched to get her to the Technodrome’s repair bay. And to take Super Koala into custody. Yet again Needlegal’s temper got her into trouble. If Amatista had actually been in the battle, directive 66 might not have been initiated. In Brussels she didn’t lead her team effectively and Hardman was left to fend for himself. And their battle in Bath could have gone more smoothly, in Amatista’s opinion, if Needlegal hadn’t let that Scissor Joe bait her into a trap.

Amatista looked at her. She looked so … human. She actually felt something when she tried to shoot Artilleryman down. She had to remember: these were the same monsters who tore apart the Pale Riders as if they were nothing. They had the same regard for human life as these Joes did. Still … it was easy to forget. Sometimes.

The city was in chaos. Scissor Joes who thought they were working alongside robots who were exactly like them were suddenly destroyed by an army of well placed and co-ordinated robot policemen. The tower was taken as were the Joe construction facilities and the power plants. With communications down the Scissor Joes were defenceless. And with such pitiful numbers the Wily forces were repelled efficiently by the Scissor Joes prior to the RPD takeover. It all went like clockwork.


Shadowman followed the heavily damaged Needlegal into the repair bay of the Technodrome. She was being brought in on a stretcher by the Robo Rescue Force, which included Cleaveman. He grumbled under his breath and Shadowman chose to ignore the disgruntled former enemy of his. A worried looking Pharon was there too.

“Did you see him?” asked the former Airman, “did you see my brother? Super Koala?”

Shadowman bristled. “Uh … yeah. He’s being brought in now. R&D will try to restore him to normal, but the General’s modifications aren’t so easy to undo. Frankly, Hyperstorm’s was sort of a … Fluke.”

Pharon didn’t hear much after the word “General.” He had to get to his brother! Pharon ran out of the Technodrome at top speed. He ran past the panel filled walls and RPD officers that littered the halls. He ran past the questioning gaze of Amatista and out the door. He saw the large car outside. Crorq was there along with Brain Bot looking over a monster. It was huge, with long arms and smashed claws. It looked like a mass of ruined metal muscles with bits of charred skin hanging here and there. It had some large metal thing plastered over its face. It looked like it might have had large ears at one point.

Pharon paled. He knew this mangled monstrous menace was his brother. He thought there was someone nearby trying to comfort him, but he couldn’t hear what they were saying. He ran to what used to be his brother. Crorq said something loud and RPD officers looked about in confusion. Pharon put his hand over his brother’s destroyed hand. It twitched a little. And there was some static coming out of his throat.

The RPD officers then hauled the mangled Koala into the van. Pharon followed them. All fight left the former Airman. Whatever happened in the war no longer mattered to him. He was finished.


Ringman awoke in a damp, dark room. The light from above hurt his eyes. He tried to move, but something held him in place. He tried harder, but things just whirred and clicked in his broken limbs. He suddenly hurt. Very much.

“Where am I?” asked Ringman while looking frantically from side to side. Robot body parts were strewn over the ground. There were surgeon’s tables all around with menacing tools placed randomly on them. The place was filthy. It stank of oil and smoke. He was beginning to panic. He saw discarded limbs from robots of various types and sizes. Plans were posted on the walls along with a map with differently coloured dots all over it. Ringman’s heart sank. He knew where he was.

A figure then stepped into the light.

“Greetings, comrade Ringman. It has been a while.”

“Kalinka!?” Ringman had expected the General from the look of the room. But why was he being held like this? “I’m so glad you’re safe!”

“Are you?” Ringman paused. There was something in that tone he didn’t like. The dark room obscured her features, but she was not happy to see him.

“Yeah. I mean … I heard about Dr. Cossack and …. Well –“

“You were worried?” asked Kalinka with mock sweetness. “How kind of you.”

Rebel was getting nervous. Kalinka continued, “I only wish it had compelled you to seek us out when we were attacked by General Cutman and every commanding officer in the Scissor Army.”

“But … you had the rest of the Comrades! I don’t really didn’t need to stay!”

Kalinka said nothing.

“I mean … the RPD’s Shutdown Code had to be fought! Right? Isn’t that the point of Cossack’s rebellion?”

Kalinka didn’t say anything.

“But Wily’s so much better financed than Cossack … was. The chances of him winning was just so much … better.”

The air seemed to press in on Ringman.

“I mean, I don’t want to die! And that’s … well, that’s exactly what happened, right? Cossack died! So, I was right, right? He had the other Comrades anyway!”

He heard Kalinka exhale slowly before speaking, “They are dead, comrade Ringman. All of them.”

Ringman was stunned. “No … it just …. Couldn’t be …”

“And yet it is.” Kalinka stepped into the light now. She was a different woman than he remembered. Tired. Sad. And hard. Hard and cold as winter itself. “You are the last, Ringman. You deserted my father and your fellow Comrades and now you are all that remain.”

Ringman felt cold then. Very, very cold. “I’m sorry,” he said quietly. “I didn’t think … I was just following what the Doctor wanted. I didn’t do anything wrong. I was just doing what he wanted.” Kalinka looked at the ring-based robot with her cold blue eyes. Ringman felt a small hope. “Cossack wanted to end the Shutdown Code. He did, that was why he turned renegade! He wanted –“ Kalinka interrupted him.

“Don’t you dare use my father’s name to justify your actions!” Cold fury was on her face now. But it went away quickly, like footsteps in a cold blizzard. She walked back into the shadows once more. “Ringman, you are familiar with our rather desperate situation, yes? Our need for … scrap?”

Cold, hard fear gripped Ringman’s chest. He looked over and saw something he missed before, when he was panicking. Artilleryman smirking. With a cigarette in his mouth. He was slightly damaged by, what appeared to be bullet holes. Artilleryman fell from Ringman’s attention as he heard a click. That was followed by a whirring sound. Kalinka emerged once more with a shiny tool in hand.

“No,” breathed Ringman, “no I just did what he wanted.” He voiced his objection louder as the tool cut into his metal body. And then he just screamed.



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