Episode 29 - Tekno-Trap Transcribed by Scutter
I had all these really good intentions about getting this episode out quickly... and then I lost my job, had to move house twice, and then got a new job which is now taking up even more time than my old one did...
Um... no promises about when I'll get episode 31 out. Work and study and my pathetic little social life are taking up lots of time lately. I'll try not to make it too long though. By the way, I don't have number 30 on tape, sorry folks, but don't panic, cos it was a crappy episode anyway. You're not missing much.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of Teknoman, or the script, or the plot. This is just a fic-version of an episode I don't own.
The Green Earth continued its journey, travelling from town to town in search of a way to fight the aliens. Coming upon the latest village, the vehicle crossed a wide arched stone bridge over the river into town.
Inside the cabin, Star observed the streets around them. "We must be getting warmer," she noted. "It looks like this place has been attacked recently."
"Yeah, I can still see it smoking," Tina agreed in amazement. "Maybe those rumours were true, that Teknoman Axe has been in the neighbourhood." In their line of work, it paid to keep an ear to the ground, especially when Blade was still searching for another Teknocrystal.
Blade looked at the damage with a more calculating eye. "It's possible they attacked some of the cities around here, but not this one," he said confidently.
"No?" Maggie asked in surprise. "How can you be so sure, Blade?"
"Look around, Maggie," he pointed out. "If a Teknoman had attacked this place there wouldn't be anything left standing." Despite the widespread destruction, most of the buildings had sustained relatively little structural damage.
"Yes," Maggie sighed, leaning close over Blade's shoulder. "You've got a point."
In the driver's seat, Ringo stared stonily out the windscreen without saying anything. Star noticed his unusual silence and asked, "Ringo, are you all right?" Just at that moment, the wheels of the landcruiser hit a particularly rough patch of ground, giving the cabin crew a rough jolt. Was that deliberate, Star wondered, or was it simply that the road had fallen into disrepair? With greater concern she asked again, "Ringo?" But Ringo did not reply.
A short time later, the landcruiser had been secured and Ringo eased one of the jeeps down the loading ramp. "I want to check out those large estates on the far side of town," he told Blade and Maggie, who were waiting beside the landcruiser. Star and Tina had joined him in the jeep. "Maybe we'll get lucky and find a private energy dump," he suggested.
"All right," Blade agreed. "Maggie and I will reconnoitre the city centre and look for survivors. Let's rendezvous back here in two hours," he said, his voice its usual firm tone.
"Right," Star agreed. "Keep on your toes and watch your backs, guys," she warned them, despite already knowing they would be careful. "Whoever's responsible for all this damage might still be around and want to finish what they started." Almost before she had finished speaking, Ringo threw the jeep into gear and accelerated away, without even a wave as a farewell.
Blade watched them go, silent for a moment. "Wish I knew what it was that was bothering Ringo," he mused, as they disappeared.
Maggie looked round at Blade in surprise. To be honest, she had hardly noticed anything was wrong, but she didn't say anything to contradict his concerns.
Heading towards the outskirts of town, Ringo, Star and Tina were racing along the road at speeds just on the optimistic side of safe. Finally, Star decided to speak up.
"Ringo, what's...?" But before she could say any more, the jeep hit a deep pothole, jolting the crew.
"Sorry. Road isn't what it used to be," Ringo interrupted her, neither sounding sorry, nor acknowledging the fact that she had spoken. They continued on, past houses which were clearly abandoned, but otherwise relatively free of damage, until suddenly, the road turned into a dead end. An overturned bus blocked most of the road, combining with a pile of rubble to cut off the path completely. Ringo brought the jeep to a halt and stood up in his seat, surveying the damage.
"Looks like we'll have to take another road," Star concluded after a moment.
"Hey, look! Vereuse Avenue!" Tina spotted a battered street sign lying amongst the rubble. "I've heard that somewhere before. Ringo, isn't Vereuse the street that you grew up on?" Tina blurted out, making Star look round in surprise.
"What?" she asked softly. Suddenly the pieces fell into place in her mind. That would certainly explain Ringo's strange moodiness and silence.
"Hang on!" Ringo called, sitting down and throwing the jeep into reverse. Then, in one of those ridiculous moves that never works in real life, but which cartoons seem to have no trouble with, he sped forward, using the front of the bus as a jump ramp, and they cleared the rubble as Tina and Star clung on tightly.
"Ringo!!" Star cried in protest. They landed with a thud, then took off at the same break-neck speed as before.
Finally, they came to one estate in particular, and Ringo parked the jeep without explanation. He climbed out and stood for a moment in front of the decorative crest on the gate. Star also took note of the crest's design, as it confirmed her suspicions. Suddenly, Ringo took off through the gate and towards the house.
"Wait, Ringo, where are you going?" Tina stood up from her seat.
Beside her, Star also rose to her feet. "Let him go," she said softly. "I think I know where he's headed. At the academy, they always teased him about how he can from such an old, aristocratic family," she explained. "They called him 'Little Lord Fontleroy'. That's his family's crest. I saw it on a letter he got once."
"So this is Ringo's home?" Tina asked in amazement.
"Yes - what's left of it," Star concluded sadly. The entrance way was damaged and what they could see of the garden was clearly overgrown and had been neglected for some time.
Inside the house, Ringo ran from room to room in a desperate search for his family. "Hello? Father?" he called out. Debris littered the rooms; there were cracks in the walls; dust covered every surface. It was clear no one had lived here for some time. In the old sitting room, Ringo looked up and saw a great gaping hole in the roof. His face fell as he realised what had become of his family home. He made his way slowly towards the old mantle piece and picked up a photograph of a young blond girl, worry and sorrow flooding through him. Could it really be that all his friends and family had been killed??
'You won't forget about us, will you, Richard? Now that you're a high flying Space Knight.' Ringo remembered the young woman's voice as clearly as if he had heard it yesterday, and he felt a wave of guilt flow through him. He hadn't forgotten them, but it had been a long time since he had visited. Maybe too long.
Moving on, he stepped into another room, and saw his trophy case against the far wall. But before he reached it, he felt his foot brush against something, and reached down to pick up one of the trophies from where it lay on the floor. The domed object had cracked around the top, but it brought back a flood of memories, none the less.
'The trophy for the most valuable player of the year is awarded to Richard Vereuse', he remembered his old teacher announcing, 'who's last minute goal won the championship for his team.' As he remembered the words, he looked up and saw a picture of himself, and one of his old soccer team hanging on the wall. So many good memories from back then. 'Was it really that long ago?' he thought darkly. Lost in thought, he wandered over to the window and perched himself on the ledge, still staring at the trophy in his hand. He turned and glanced out the window, eyes widening in surprise as he looked down into the yard.
'The pool, of course.' The old family pool was dry, now no more than a concrete hole in the ground. But in a fit of impulsiveness, Ringo stepped back from the window and then launched himself through it, not caring as the glass shattered around him. Given the state of the house, one more broken window wouldn't do any harm. He landed easily, and then crouched down next to the diving board, reaching for a panel hidden in the pool's edge. "The blast shelter. I nearly forgot," he muttered to himself.
But before he could open the panel, a voice demanded from behind him, "Get away from there and put down that trophy, you hooligan. I promise you, I will shoot."
"Okay, okay," Ringo agreed easily, and dropped the trophy.
"Now, on your feet, you..." the voice began to order him, but as Ringo stood up, he also leapt backwards, taking out the dark figure with a practiced kick. But no sooner had the man hit the ground than Ringo realised he knew him.
"My gosh, Barnaby, it's you!" he exclaimed in surprise.
Barnaby was silent for a moment, then he recovered himself enough to speak. "Why, Master Richard. You've come back at last," he murmured, his voice sounding suddenly older and more tired than it had moments ago. His eyes filled with tears and Ringo reached down to help him up.
"I was an idiot not to recognise your voice. Forgive me, old friend," Ringo apologised, thoroughly relieved at seeing someone, at least, still alive and looking after the property.
"Oh, no Sir. It was I who was to blame..." Barnaby began apologising as well, but Ringo wouldn't hear it, and pulled him into an impulsive hug.
"Skip it, Barnaby. I'm just happy you're alive. Hey, I just realised why the house is deserted," Ringo said, feeling much happier now. "Because of me, right? Since you didn't recognise me, you sent everybody to the shelter." He went back to the pool side, opened the panel and entered the access code that he still remembered. The floor of the pool retracted and the blast shelter rose up from deep in the ground. The entrance door rolled upwards, revealing the servants who looked after the house.
"Hello, everyone, it's great to see you again," Ringo greeted them as some of the children rushed forward to welcome him. "But where's my dad?"
"I am sorry, Master Richard," Barnaby spoke up again from behind him. "But your father, the General, is not here. As soon as he learned that an attack was imminent, he ordered all the servants and their children into the shelter while he remained above ground to face the aliens. We haven't seen him since."
"Sounds like father," Ringo said, his voice calm and steady, even as he felt tears prick behind his eyes. He heard his father's voice again in the back of his mind.
'Shed no tears for the man who falls in the line of duty. He's only done what's expected of him, the least you can ask of any soldier.'
"Okay, old man. No tears," Ringo agreed with the memory, staring firmly at the ground until he had control of himself.
Meanwhile, on the far side of the village...
Blade, Maggie and the Teknobot walked purposefully down the street.
"How long have you been tracking it?" Blade asked the teknobot, while Maggie struggled to keep up with their conversation.
"For several minutes," Pegas replied in his mechanical voice. "Purpose and identity unknown, but suspicious. Course and speed analogous to our own. Approximately thirty metres due east."
"Right," Blade acknowledged.
"What are you talking about?" Maggie finally asked, confusion and curiosity getting the better of her. Sometimes Blade just seemed to have a sixth sense that left the rest of them struggling to keep up.
"Time we got a look at them, Pegas," Blade commanded, the undaunted anticipation of battle in his voice.
"Affirmative," Pegas replied.
Blade didn't bother to look round as the teknobot stopped, raised his left arm and fired several shots into the concrete wall alongside the road, which exploded in a pile of dust and rubble.
Having not seen the explosion coming, Maggie covered her ears and ducked. "Oh, no!"
A young man choked his way out of the dust, while Blade leapt into the air, landing neatly behind him, and efficiently restraining him in a headlock.
"Hey, let me go! What's the big idea?" the man yelled frantically.
"Out with it," Blade demanded calmly. "Why have you been following us?"
"I'm sorry. A case of mistaken identity. I thought you were someone else," the man babbled. He'd clearly underestimated this innocent looking pair.
Blade dropped the man on the ground, where he landed with a groan at the rough treatment.
"Who, exactly?" Blade asked, standing over him intimidatingly.
"I though you might be one of that bunch that tore up this town." The man sat up, holding his head, heavy indignation in his voice.
"The aliens?" Blade asked in surprise.
"No, not them. That motorcycle gang, the Hyenas. They're the real monsters, not the aliens."
"You mean human beings did this?" Blade asked in disbelief.
"Yeah, if you can believe it," the man agreed. "As human as you and me."
Elsewhere in the town, the sound of mortar fire again broke the silence, to be followed closely by the roar of engines and the hooting of unruly youths.
"You always said you'd be a teacher, didn't you, Sophia," Ringo said warmly.
"Yes, but our school's a shambles. We have no computers," The young woman replied. "We don't even have books." She and Ringo were leaning against the desk at the front of the school room. Children scattered about the room with nothing much to do. But this was better than wandering the streets in search of entertainment. The soccer ball some of the children were playing with rolled down the isle and landed at Ringo's feet. Without thinking, he flipped it up onto his knee, and began bouncing it, keeping it perfectly steady without any assistance from his hands.
"These are hard times for everybody," he agreed, "but they're toughest on the kids, I guess. Here you go, little guy." He tossed the ball back to the boy who had been chasing it, who caught it, a new look of wonder and adoration in his eyes.
"The main problem is boredom. There's so little for them to do," Sophia continued. "Richard, I wonder..." she said seriously, and Ringo turned to face her. "You used to play soccer. Do you think you could teach them how to play?" she asked earnestly.
"Come on. This is no time for fun and games, Sophia," Ringo objected. "We happen to be in the middle of a war."
"How can I forget," Sophia agreed sadly. "And that's precisely why I think it's so important." She turned back to watch the children, who had gathered in a circle around the boy with the soccer ball, now trying to bounce it on his knee as Ringo had done. "I think there should be more to life than mere survival. Now more than ever they need to have fun. They need to have something to fill their days besides chaos, burnt out homes and brutality." Sophia knew that if she couldn't help some of these children, they could well end up like the Hyenas.
"But where would your playing field be?" Star asked, looking at the practical side of things. "There isn't a patch of ground anywhere in town not covered with debris."
"Yes, I'm afraid that's true," Sophia admitted softly.
Ringo crossed his arms stubbornly, still not happy with the idea. "It's not exactly safe out there," he pointed out.
"Especially with the Hyenas still around. That crazy bunch of animals might return any minute to finish the job they started," Sophia agreed.
"So Blade was right about it not being Teknomen who attacked this town, it was people," Tina said. They had managed to catch up with Maggie and Blade earlier that day, after Ringo had returned from his estate.
"And that's the point. I don't want these children to become like them," Sophia implored them. "I want to give them something besides violence to hang on to. Something good and healthy and pure, and civilised..." she trailed off, staring intently at Ringo.
"Okay, Sophia, you've convinced me." Ringo turned towards her, finally giving up his protests. "We'll set up a playing field on my father's estate. But I'll only do it on one condition," he added, as the soccer ball again landed in his hands.
"Anything, Richard. Just name it," Sophia agreed. Whatever the price, it would be worth it to help the children.
Ringo started to walk away, the soccer ball now balanced on his head. Then he turned back to her with a smirk. "Stop calling me Richard. Nowadays, it's Ringo to my friends."
Sophia smiled at him, tears slowly filling her eyes.
The old shed on the playing field fell with a crash as its supports finally crumbled, giving way to the pressure from the rope that was attached to the jeep nearby.
"We've got a soccer field!" Ringo called, waving his arm in the air, and the children replied with a loud cheer.
"Here." Tina appeared at Ringo's elbow, offering him a water bottle. "I've never seen you sweat before," she joked.
"Thanks Tina." Ringo accepted the bottle. "Now all we need to get things started is a real soccer ball."
"Don't you worry, Ringo," Tina said slyly. "Sophia's taking care of it. I think she's got something special in mind."
Ringo's head snapped up from where he was taking a drink. "Special? What do you mean?" he asked suspiciously.
Back inside the dim school building, Sophia went straight to her office and picked up the soccer ball sitting on her desk. "The ball Richard won the championship with. I've kept it all this time." Holding the ball tightly, she dashed back out of her office, but stopped short in the classroom as hooted calls sounded from near the window.
"Hey, pretty lady," a voice jeered at her. "Wanna come out and play with us?" Sophia's eyes widened in terror, holding the soccer ball in front of her as if it could shield her from the Hyenas.
Back at Ringo's house, a shrill voice could be heard above the roar of engines. "We're ba-ack." The Hyenas raised their signature flags, firing mortars upon the old house. Debris rained down on the group of children near the building.
"What's that?" Ringo spun around in alarm. "Mortar fire?"
"I fear that wretched band of murderers has returned, Master Richard." Barnaby said.
Ringo took off towards the front gate. As he approached it, he heard a voice mocking them.
"Your girlfriend can't play today. I'm afraid she's kinda tied up right now." Indeed she was, lashed to the shaft of one of the Hyena's cannons at the centre of their convoy.
"I give up," Ringo said, surveying the rabble with disdain. "Who are these buzzards?
"Look, they got teacher tied up there," one of the children cried, pointing to where Sophia hung helplessly.
Ringo growled, and then commanded, "Stay back, everybody." He slowly walked towards the gang.
As he approached, the gang jeered at him. "Whatcha gonna do about it, rich boy?"
"Stop, Ringo. Stay back there are too many," Sophia called.
"They outnumber you, Sir," Barnaby agreed.
But Star had more faith in Ringo than the others, muttering to herself only the simple warning, "careful..."
"Listen you pinheads," Ringo snarled at the gang. "Put her down and get off my property."
"Or what?" one of the lackeys asked. "You and that spindly old butler of yours gonna take us on?" The crowd behind him burst into laughter. But suddenly their laughter was silenced as a much more dangerous crowd descended from the sky. The sunlight was blocked out for a moment as a swarm of spidercrabs descended from above.
"Never thought there'd be a day I'd be happy to see a spidercrab," Star said, watching the swarm fly in.
"Most likely they were drawn here by those idiots firing their mortars," Tina agreed.
"Keep an eye on the others," Star ordered, and she turned and ran back towards the house.
"Forget about our little rich boy for now, guys," the leader of the Hyenas ordered. "Get ready to move out." But the order came too late as a spidercrab attacked one of their tanks, and it exploded in a ball of flames, sending the gang scurrying for shelter.
As debris and engine fragments rained down, Star appeared again, driving the jeep out of the estate grounds.
"Hurry, Ringo. I've got your Teknosuit," she called.
The Hyenas began firing mortars again, this time with the spidercrabs as their targets rather than innocent buildings. Not surprisingly, the shells had little effect, other than to irritate the spidercrabs.
One spidercrab was taking a particular interest in Sophia, still bound helplessly to the cannon. "No!" she cried out, turning her face away from the five-eyed monster. Then suddenly, the creature vanished in a whirlwind of blue and green energy.
"Have no fear, the cavalry's here," Ringo called as he descended in the teknosuit. He swung upon the line of spidercrabs, firing with perfect accuracy. "That's it, stand still. It makes my job a whole lot easier," he said, as he continued firing. He ducked out of the way as a spidercrab claw landed perilously close to him, twisting to fire a shot directly upwards before he accelerated backwards away from the battle, colliding with a wall before he managed to regain his balance. When the ground was relatively clear, he finally returned to the young woman tied to the canon shaft. "Sophia, you must be getting tired of hanging around up there." With a well-aimed swipe of his laser, he sliced through the ropes and carefully caught Sophia as she fell limply to the ground. "Gotcha!" he said, and then landed near Star. "Take her, Star. I think she's fainted," He told her, handing over the unconscious woman.
"I've got her," Star replied, as Ringo returned to the battle. But just as he was firing upon the next spidercrab, Barnaby appeared at his side.
"Don't worry, Sir. I've got you covered," he called, firing at the spidercrab, but Ringo knew mere guns would be useless.
"Barnaby, stay out of this," he snapped, stepping between the butler and the spidercrab.
"Take Sophia to the shelter," Star told him, handing Sophia to him.
"Go with him, Star," Ringo ordered. The battle was getting way too heated for anyone without heavy duty armour.
"Time for you to bail out too, Ringo," Star reminded him. "You can't handle them all, and you must be running low on ammo."
"Sorry, but I gotta go the route," Ringo told her quietly. "You know how it is. Like father, like son." Taking the easy way out was not usually Ringo's style, but the news of his father's death was still quite a shock. But as he fired one more shot, a spidercrab rose up, huge and oppressive directly before him. He leapt back in surprise. "On second thought..." he amended his earlier words.
Looking up past the spidercrab, Star's attention was suddenly caught by movement in the sky. "Up there," she cried, as the teknobot sailed across the sky.
"Is it?" Ringo asked, amazed. Blade's timing couldn't have been any better, and he quick set to work, slicing spidercrabs.
"Oh, sure, now you show up," Ringo said sarcastically, as Blade landed beside him. "After I've laid the groundwork."
"Is that what you were doing?" Blade quipped right back. (AN: I just LOVE the way he says that line!!) But there was no more time for idle chatter as both warriors leapt back into the battle.
Much later, after the carnage had been cleared away and the sun was setting, the children were playing soccer on their brand new field."
"Your family had a beautiful home, Ringo," Star quietly consoled him on the far edge of the field. "I'm sorry it's gone. It was awfully nice of you to donate the land to the school. It's great that the kids finally have a place to play."
Out on the field, a miss-timed step sent one of the children tumbling to the ground. "He tripped me!" he complained, as Sophia ran to pick him up.
"Aren't you gonna miss it?" Tina asked, as Ringo stared out across the old estate.
"Nah." Ringo dismissed the thought easily.
"I'm sure your father would be proud." Blade added his own quiet thoughts to the conversation.
"Come on, let's go," Ringo decided suddenly, turning and walking away from the field.
"Wait. What's the rush?" Tina asked in surprise.
"I hate long goodbyes," Ringo stated simply.
"That's good because there's no time to waste." Maggie suddenly arrived in front of them. "I've picked up a distress signal from Sector Blue-tango-twelve describing an attack. It sounds like it could be the Teknoman Axe."
That got everyone's attention instantly, and Blade's previously warm tone turned cold and violent. "Then what are we waiting for?"
Darkness had fallen as the landcruiser once again sped across the countryside, the crew inside feeling much more despondent that they had earlier.
"Just what we needed, another false alarm," Maggie mused. "These wild goose chases are starting to get me a little depressed." It may have seemed strange to an outside observer that they were so eager to face another battle, but in the end, it was the only way they were going to win against the aliens. "How about you Blade?" Maggie asked, always eager to check up on her local hero.
"You could say that, sure," Blade replied, with just a touch of indifference.
"I bet Blade wouldn't be depressed if he were alone with Star on a wild goose chase," Tina teased happily.
"I bet you got that right," Ringo chuckled.
"You are so silly." Maggie stood up from her seat to come to stand in front of Blade. "Sure Star may be good with computers and handy in a fight, but I can give you all of that as well as a perfectly executed souffle, while I don't even think she would know how to boil an egg or make toast." Whether to break up the conversation, or just to make a point, Star ran the landcruiser's front wheels through the nearest pothole, shaking the whole crew, and sending Maggie tumbling into Blade's lap "Oh, come on Star, you knew I was only joking, didn't you?" Maggie asked, slightly peeved. Apparently, jealousy was not something Star did graciously.
"This is no joke. Look up a head everybody," Star snapped, bring their minds back to their mission. "Somebody's sure burning the midnight oil." In the town ahead of them, the entire sky was lit with neon lights, highlighting the rooves of the houses, right through to the hills behind the town.
"Geez. What do you think it is?" Ringo asked.
"A big waste of energy for one thing," was Blade's immediate reply.
"Are they nuts?" Tina asked, eyes wide. "Those spotlights will draw the spidercrabs for sure."
The landcruiser hit another pile of rubble, and Maggie groaned as she was again tossed about the cabin. "Star, what are you trying to do?" she complained loudly.
Once they arrived in the town, the crew parked the landcruiser and headed over to the hotel that was drawing such attention to itself.
"Wow!" Tina exclaimed. "This place is lit up like a giant birthday cake."
"Or a spidercrab invitation," Ringo pointed out cynically.
"Let's go in there and pull the plug," Blade snapped, thoroughly annoyed at the idiots in the hotel.
"Hey, hey. Easy, easy," Ringo calmed his friend as he grabbed Blade's arm, stopping his somewhat reckless move. "Chill out kid. We don't want to go in there half-cocked."
"Ringo's got a good point," Maggie agreed. "Who ever that is in there may not be in the mood to cooperate."
"But it's wrong," Star protested. "Somebody has to stop them."
"Look, maybe we ought to give them a break," Ringo suggested. "Who can blame them for wanting to blow off a little steam?
"Are you saying we should just stand by and do nothing in spite of the danger?" Maggie tried to clarify the crazy idea.
"Let the poor guys have some fun while they can," Ringo said.
"Well, it's certainly not normal procedure." Maggie didn't sound particularly convinced.
Later that night, aboard the Space Knight's landcruiser, the Green Earth...
Star was eating something out of a TV dinner tray that looked like it was made completely of plastic. It was fluorescent green and fluorescent orange, and part of it may have been jello... but then again, it may not. (AN: Don't you just love cartoon graphics?? snerk)
"I can't believe we just left them to carry on like that," she was verbally berating Ringo as she ate. "It's incredibly irresponsible."
"Hey, come on, Star. Gimme a little credit." Ringo smirked at her. "I have a hidden purpose," he explained flippantly.
"Meaning what exactly?" Star demanded angrily.
"Meaning he's got some kind of a plan, right Ringo?" Tina asked innocently.
"A plan. Right," he said, in the kind of voice that suggested maybe it was better they didn't ask.
"Well, let's here it," Tina prompted.
"Listen. All the energy pouring out of that honky tonk café is bound to draw Axe or one of the other Teknomen out of the woodwork," he explained to the crew, sitting around the dinner table. "And when he shows up, we'll be here waiting for him."
"It certainly beats driving around looking for them under every rock," Maggie said thoughtfully, with the beginnings of a grin on her face.
"Exactly. And on top of everything, we save fuel," Ringo pushed his point from every possible angle.
"You're suggesting we use those people as bait?" Star asked, incredulously. In her opinion, it was not Ringo's brightest idea ever, and it bordered on downright lunacy.
"Who cares about that bunch of bums. They deserve what they get," Ringo snarled, quite a different tune from his earlier sympathy with the men.
"You mean we'd be there to intervene before anybody got hurt, isn't that right, Ringo," Tina pointed out deliberately.
"A Teknoman trap. Yeah, it's worth a try," Blade said with enthusiasm, his first contribution to the strange discussion.
"I'm beginning to think we may not be the first to have thought of it," Maggie surmised.
"What is it, Maggie?" Ringo asked, but instead of replying, Maggie spun her chair around the face the computer on the near wall. A keyboard panel flipped out and she began typing in a flurry.
"It just occurred to me that there is a mechanised mortar squad who's base is somewhere right about here." Diagrams and maps flashed rapidly across the computer screen.
"The military? Here?" Tina asked in surprise.
"The computer is showing a ninety man unit posted less than five kilometres to the west of us," Maggie reported her findings.
"You think those voices coming from the café were soldiers?" Star exclaimed.
"They might have had the very same idea we had," Maggie pointed out.
"So they're trying to get the alien's attention," Star realised.
"But they have no idea what they're in for," Blade growled blackly.
"Gee, I take back what I said about them," Ringo sneered. "Those guys aren't bums, they're more like a bunch of suicidal maniacs." Even the Space Knights, even with the help of the teknosuit and a teknoman, sometimes had trouble dealing with a swarm of spidercrabs. Going up against them with conventional military weapons was nothing short of insane.
"Maybe not," Maggie argued. "They might have a carefully worked out plan that we know nothing about. It's possible that by involving ourselves, we run the risk of jeopardising their whole operation."
"Come on, without our help, they won't have a chance." Even Tina had seen enough of battles to know the odds of a military victory.
"Hate to break this up," Star interrupted, "but if those incoming pingers on the monitor mean what I think they mean, the decision's out of our hands." Star's observation was correct. Dozens of spidercrabs had been drawn to the bright lights and were now beginning to descend upon the town in waves.
"Looks like those jugheads got what they were looking for. You're on, Blade," Ringo told the man responsible for their front line defence, who was glaring out the window with clenched teeth and fist.
Down in the town the soldiers were firing rapidly on the spidercrabs. "Keep your fire steady," one of the commanders ordered. And for the moment, it even seemed like they were making progress, spidercrabs being ripped apart in the hail of bullets. "That's it. Eat lead you sucker!"
"Get on the blower and let those morons to leave this to us," Ringo was yelling at Maggie. "Tell them to pull out of there before the whole squad's lost."
"Tell them yourself. Their commander's right here on the vid screen," Maggie informed him.
"Welcome, Space Knights. Join the fun," the military commander invited them eagerly. But then the second screen on the computer flashed up a new threat which showed that the soldiers really had no idea what they were dealing with. The Teknoman Axe was in town.
His teknoaxe swung without stopping, destroying buildings, streets and soldiers alike. A rain of bullets fell around him, but he barely noticed as they bounced off like confetti.
"Who is this guy?" one of the soldiers asked, amazed, even as he continued firing on the towering figure. "Sir, my ammo's having no effect. What do you suggest?" he said into his radio, but Axe replied before his commanding officer had the chance.
"I suggest you prepare to be destroyed."
"I need some back up, Sir. I don't like the looks of this guy," the soldier yelled above his own gun fire, fear and desperation setting in.
"The feeling's mutual, you pathetic little insect," Axe replied, raising his teknoaxe for a devastating blow.
But help was not far away. "Fire!" Maggie cried on-board the landcruiser, and four missiles were launched into the air, exploding next to the teknoman. They caused little damage, but did succeed in distracting him from his target.
Meanwhile, Blade had transformed, and was busy disposing of the spidercrabs. "Blade!" Axe called in greeting, as Blade retrieved his lance from the air.
"I've been looking for you, Axe," Blade declared as they swung into battle, and once again, the surrounding architecture suffered the most damage, as Blade was flung into a nearby tower.
"Unluckily for you, you've found me," Axe replied with supreme confidence. By now, Ringo had activated the teknosuit, and came flying out of the landcruiser to join the battle. "Who's this?" Axe looked up as Ringo arrived.
"Smile!" Ringo called, as he fired his first shot, but Axe dodged the ball of energy easily.
"So you want to be a Teknoman, do you?" he mocked Ringo, and sent a blast of red energy from his teknoaxe flying towards the teknosuit. But before the battle could progress any further, Blade stepped in again, swiping again and again at Axe, driving him further away from Ringo, until a final heavy kick to Axe's armour sent the evil teknoman scurrying from the battle.
"Running away, you coward?" Blade called angrily after him.
"I guess you've have to start looking for me all over again," Axe laughed as he rode away, not at all concerned by Blade's intended insult.
"Axe, come back!" Blade screamed after him.
"Save it Blade. We'll get him next time," Ringo offered, landing beside him and placing a hand on Blade's shoulder.
"When will the next time be, Ringo?" Blade asked in frustration. "How many homes have to be destroyed, cities levelled, lives put in danger in order for me to find another crystal. I'm starting to wonder," he muttered as he surveyed the massive damage the city below them had sustained. "Is all this destruction worth it? Maybe there's a better way."
"If there is we'll find it," Ringo said softly, knowing the consolation wasn't enough, but that it was all he had to offer for the moment.
I like feedback! Feedback is fun!
Ardwynna Morrigu: EIGHT YEARS!!! dies My goodness, I had forgotten it was that long ago that I first saw this series!! Thanks for the review, hope you enjoy this episode.
Chaos6: Still alive, still struggling to make time for this little project. It's great to know the work is appreciated.