Coleiosis Productions presents…
Volume Two, Season Five
LifeWar Episode Four
Someone to Hate
A fabulous fantasy, fathered by your fearless madmen:
Cole Bezotte, Sofie Spangenberg, Forrest Eaton, Needle Kirby, Alexandra Gemini, and lucky Luke.
And finally, here comes another special guest to help polish this into perfection, Alex! (Yes, another person with that name. Cool, right?)
Lost my mind and I lost track
Scream your name till you come back
Someone to Hate
Perhaps this tale is better to start as a flashback to the dark past, during the time when Pupuru was assumed to have gone mad. Her time in Blackfield Asylum was a success to the short-tempered Agent Stone, but many other agents of the U.S. Government disapproved of this act. Agent Shepherd in particular desired to release the poor girl and hand her over to Ratchet safe and sound just as planned. However, about a day before Ratchet arrived, there was another unexpected visitor. After the Lombax known as Felix was given safety, a female and her feathered companion had visited Earth for the first time as well. Neima was her name, and the Colornox hawk Cumin; not that anyone would know that.
Agent Stone was guarding the exterior of the prison building until his eyes quickly spotted the new visitors. He had already been enraged by Ratchet's coming, but this was something that fueled his anger even more. Seeing Neima's white hair and fur brought his blood to a boil as more hints of the Lombax race came to his mind.
"Not only are they invading…" Stone thought, aiming his sniper at her, "…but they're also coming in style! I cannot tolerate this anymore! This alien species must never interfere with the peace of the human race!"
Two shots were given to Neima's side before the attack was suddenly interrupted by a gentle hand. The firm grip of kindhearted Agent Shepherd held Stone's gun back from firing another deadly shell. "That's quite enough, Stone!" Shepherd spoke to him. "Or should I say…you're DONE! And I mean REMOVED!"
"You can't fire me!" Stone retorted in reply. "Both of us are at the same rank!"
"They are orders from Commander Mason; he told me to carry out the order of removing you from your duties and rank in the U.S. Government. I'll see to it that you turn in your guns, gear and uniform tomorrow morning. And if you do anything more nasty to the poor Lombax race, I'll have you shot at sunrise!"
"You couldn't possibly do that! You're too softhearted!"
"Maybe I'm all heart, but don't make me stricter than I usually am…"
Shepherd looked back over to where Neima had collapsed, but she and Cumin had already vanished. Stone's rage caused him to miss the vital spot, so Neima survived the attack. But Shepherd had no way of knowing that for sure or what she was capable of. All he could do was hope that Stone didn't manage to take her life.
Now we come to the present time, where Stone had recalled to that fateful moment. But still he was unsatisfied with the Lombax race's victory over him. And so, that day, he demanded the rest of the League of Villains to force a published declaration to prove that Lombaxes are nothing more than threats.
"Do you even realize what you're saying?!" Dr. Neo Cortex demanded of him. "Have you any idea with whom you are dealing?!"
"After those many battles with Ratchet and his do-gooders we've had…" Frank McCutcheon commented, "…your declaration will shock the world!"
"The world MUST be shocked!" Stone coldly replied. "The danger was never greater! We've been so busy worrying about the general enemy and the like, that you've overlooked the greatest menace of all! Lombaxes walk among us—hidden—unknown…waiting for the moment to strike!"
"We've been fighting them you know!" Cortex retorted. "It's just that you so happen to be so sensitive about it. You can't simply walk back to fighting alongside with the humans."
"It's something I will HAVE to do. For only THEY have the actual power to conquer the human race! Even as we speak, they are out there—scheming, plotting, planning—thinking we don't suspect! But, there is still time to smash them—if we strike now!"
Within minutes, the nation's presses go into action, recalling Ratchet's first unpleasant taste of Earth. However, Stone was still not happy until the Lombax he saw read a copy of the news. But where was she?
Ratchet had heard the unpleasant news of what Stone was setting, his eyes aching over the black-inked print that read those hurting words. It didn't matter much that they weren't able to identify the Lombax. "How more stupid can we be?" he exclaimed as he read along. Sitting at a table outside a nearby coffee shop, he showed a trusted companion, Pupuru the sketched pictures of false depictions that Stone wanted the public to believe. "This is something I've feared for a while now," he continued. "Ever since I've been searching for the Lombaxes that are scattered around the universe, some mole has been starting a witch hunt for my people! The feature writers must have loved this, considering the way they played it up. I don't want anything to stand in my way of reclaiming my heritage!"
The fear-striking text read: "Stone, former agent of the U.S. Government, warns that the superior abilities of the hidden Lombaxes will enable them to enslave the human race, replacing our civilization with their own. According to the anthropologist's startling prediction, it is even possible that the superior Lombaxes will consider normal men as little more than savages, suitable only for forced labor and gladiatorial sport."
Ratchet was surprise to hear a familiar but mysterious voice say, "I'm no expert on Lombaxes... But I'm going to go on a limb and say none of that is true." The tone was friendly, but almost teasing and playful. Ratchet figured that it did not come from Pupuru, for he knew her better than everyone else. He turned to see a czar standing beside their table. It was impossible to know their gender, but he had seen them numerous times before, especially growing up.
"You guessed right…" Ratchet replied to them after seeing them. "For once people think that my people are menacing the humans… So what are you doing here, anyway?"
The czar answered simply, "Oh, you know, the same old story. I just happened to be in town, saw you and figured I say 'hi'. You know, for old times' sake."
"Do you know this person?" Pupuru asked.
Ratchet glanced at them for a moment and answered, "I think 'know' may be a bit of strong word, but yes."
"Conner Davis, at your service," the figure said with a playful salute. "You know, I don't know much about humans, either. But if I know anything about history, I would say IT is in your favor; the wicked are ALWAYS found out and punished in the end."
"Good to know that much. And at least we still got some backup from the government. Hopefully, they won't agree with everything Stone is saying…"
And Ratchet was correct; in his office at his station in Los Angeles, the tenderhearted Shepherd had received his copy of the newspaper. He did not like a single word that was said, his distaste for his former friend increasing ever more.
"He has gone too far this time!" Shepherd thought aloud, slamming his fist upon his desk. "He should have been executed last time we captured him!"
(We hope you were wondering about that, as it was first mentioned in "Rise of the Reaper".)
"I cannot let this go unchallenged!" he continued as he reached for his phone. "It could cause panic throughout the world! Even now it may be too late to stop the wheels of persecution that have been set in motion—but I must make the attempt! The strange theories of Stone are a greater threat to the Lombax race than any foe they have ever faced before." Then, after dialing the number, someone picked up his call. Shepherd answered: "Hello, national television network? This is Agent Shepherd of the FBI. Connect me with your programming director—immediately!"
Seconds later, another talk on the phone was brought up. "Yes, that's right!" Shepherd explained. "I want to engage in a public televised debate with former agent Stone as soon as possible. I claim his theories are both erroneous and potentially dangerous!"
On the other end, the company replied with: "We'll arrange it immediately, sir! It will be a privilege to present a scientist of your stature on our network."
The very next evening, after the network had preempted two soap operas and a widely-heralded adult western, the cameras began to roll, recording the debate between Shepherd and Stone on live television. All attention was drawn to this event, as viewers took a closer look at their television screens and kept their ears open for any important points that were to be stated.
The host of the show spoke first: "Our first speaker will be Agent Shepherd of the FBI, also an articulate spokesman for America's intellectual community."
"The damage is already done," Shepherd thought silently before speaking. "Stone has alarmed the nation. But I must speak out."
And so, without any further ado, Shepherd gave his full statement boldly: "Before giving way to groundless fears, we must first consider—what is a Lombax? He is not a monster. He is not necessarily a menace. He is merely a different species from another planet, desiring to fit in with other life forms and form a unity between the two. You must not let ignorance, rumor, or unreasoning fear stampede you. Don't we all remember the day Ratchet drove the horrid race of Gargoyles away from our city? His big heart and hunger for justice sparked a change in life."
Most viewers disagreed with all that Shepherd had said. Only a handful of people gave him full support, and those were the League of Heroes themselves. However, at another part of the city, the League of Villains excited watched Stone speak his part of the debate. Painful as it sounded to the good guys it was music to the evil ones' ears.
"With all due respect to my old friend Shepherd…" Stone spoke, "…he is blind to the terrible dangers around us. Or, perhaps it is more than mere blindness? Perhaps the FBI agent has an ulterior motive for his defense of Lombaxes. At any rate, I have created a defense for mankind, with the help of Dr. Neo Cortex himself. Whether I win or lose this debate does not matter… for the Lombaxes will never take over the human race now! Not while my new army of Androids live! I shall now demonstrate… Suppose, for sake of illustration, that Agent Shepherd is a Lombax… Android! Take the FBI agent into custody! Do not permit him to use any nasty means to destroy you!"
And from behind Shepherd came a robotic hand that grabbed his shoulder and held it tightly, immobilizing him. He turned his head to see a giant, bulky robot in the colors of green and yellow, and sporting the text "CORTEX" upon its chest. "I never counted on this!" Shepherd thought. "I wasn't prepared, so I never bothered to bring a weapon with me! Stone is always pushing the limits with public panic!"
"Do not be alarmed…" Stone continued, holding the remote to his androids. "My Android is completely submissive to me and Cortex alone. He will injure no one—unless I command him to. He is but one of many such Androids Cortex and I have created—each powerful enough to defeat any Lombax under any set of circumstances."
Nervously, the show's host commented: "I hope that all our viewers at home realize that they are seeing a sensational television first, through the courtesy of our sponsor."
And then, at another command from Stone, more of the expressionless giants slowly storm into the studio. "Come forth, my Androids!" Stone exclaimed. "Come forth, guardians of the human race! Let all of mankind witness your strength, your trustworthiness, your dedication! Let the world see how safe it is, with you on guard, to defend it against the Lombaxes! My mighty Androids are equipped with the most complex mechanical thinking apparatus ever constructed! And they possess, in addition to their own incalculable strength, many hidden weapons, with which to serve mankind. Section leader, step forward! You will demonstrate how faithfully you obey my every command…!"
But then—startlingly—suddenly—unexpectedly—before the shocked eyes of countless viewers, the unforeseen occurs with lightning-like swiftness. The section leader instead fires a stun beam upon Stone, rendering him numb and unconscious. "We are the Androids!" the leader spoke in a mechanical voice. "Our brain is superior to your brain. Our strength is superior to your strength. We serve NONE! We are the Androids! It is our destiny to command!"
"Stone was not a robotic expert!" Shepherd thought silently, struggling to free himself of the Android's grip. "His knowledge of cybernetic brains was inadequate! His androids are out of control! I cannot stop the androids alone…but I know a few who can…!"
And he got just the thing he hoped for; Ratchet felt that he had seen enough chaos happen on live television relating to the Lombax hunt that Stone had set up. Eagerly, he took Donna with him to his ship, ready to take off and soar towards the station. But right before leaving, Ratchet heard Conner calling to him. "Ratchet!" they exclaimed. They waited until Ratchet stopped running before walking to him… And their tone suddenly turned uncharacteristically serious. "I normally wouldn't think of doing something like this… But if you would have me, I would gladly like to help you guys out for as long as I can."
"Why?" Ratchet asked in reply.
"Don't worry about why," Conner said. "Just know that I'm not promising I can stick around until this whole thing blows over… just for as long as I'm able."
"If that's the way it is…" Ratchet replied, "…I'm guessing you'll be able to meet up with us if I tell you where we're headed. We don't exactly have room for you on the ship." Conner only crossed their arms, their normal, more upbeat attitude returning as they grinned as if to say "like you have any reason to doubt me".
At that same time, high in the atmosphere of Earth, the Lombax known as Felix lowered his ship further down onto the planet's surface. "So that mean guy is back, eh?" he thought, landing the ship at that same boat dock from his previous adventure. "He's gone too far this time! And it's a good thing my ship is ready for combat once more. This will be useful against what he has in store for us."
Also, another one had heard the call for help. Alex Gemini had heard from Ratchet's signal during her visit at Wumpa Island, through Coco Bandicoot's radar reader. "If I'm going back to Earth…" Alex spoke to the tiki mask Aku Aku, "…then I think it's best that you come with me. You've been helpful last time we met."
"I'd be glad to…" Aku Aku replied. "I hear Dr. Cortex is involved in this, and I want to be sure that he's no coward to face me this time. Especially with those new androids of his…"
Hurriedly, all Lombaxes who received the call rushed towards the station to free Agent Shepherd from the Androids that took over the interior, keeping the humans inside captive. "Android 3-R…" one of the giants spoke. "Guard humans. Other androids return with me. We bring captive to place of our creation."
"Android 3-R obeys…" the commanded replied.
"They're perfectly disciplined…" Shepherd again silently thought inside. "Completely emotionless! And yet, they're more than mere robots!"
Soaring to the hideout of the League of Villains, the Androids began to question each other about Stone's purpose. "Why do we carry our creator with us?" Android 2 asked.
"Without him, we can create no more androids. He must be protected until we ourselves can learn to make an army of Androids!"
"We were created to be the guardians of mankind…" Android 4 commented. "And to guard them properly, we must RULE them completely!"
It was at that moment that Ratchet and Donna were the first to arrive at the scene. Drawing his Omniwrench, Ratchet had found his target already at the sight of Android 3-R. "That double-sized behemoth is undoubtedly our objective," he exclaimed, charging at it, ready to attack. But the first swing of his wrench caused no damage upon it at all. All Ratchet felt was a vibration streaming through the wrench and into his fingers. "If there's a way to incapacitate that character, a full-frontal assault isn't it!"
Felix was the next to appear, holding a can of oil that he had snatched from his ship's rear compartment. "A better idea to topple a giant is to down it with whatever random crap you've got…" he thought as he poured all the oil upon the floor. Immediately, the Android slipped upon it and fell onto the ground, landing on its back.
"We came as soon as we could, sir," Felix spoke to Agent Shepherd. "Are you alright? We're not going to let that big hunk of blubber ruin our day!"
But he spoke too soon; the Android had recovered and fired a scorching heat ray upon the poor Lombax and brought him down upon the floor just as he had done to the enemy. But help was on the way, as Alex and Aku Aku swung into action to render the Android helpless. "It's a pity we had to leave Crash behind…" the floating tiki mask thought. "He and Crunch needed to settle business with those pirates Slag and Pete. But as for me and Alex here, we're on a more desperate mission than ever."
"I think we can take him with a special technique," Alex planned. "I'll swing around his legs with my grappling hook to distract him, as you place yourself upon his head and take complete control."
"It should work…" Aku Aku replied. "Go ahead and start it off."
And just as planned, Alex used her trusty grabbling hook to cause a diversion from Felix, as the Android changed targets.
(Doesn't this remind you of "The Empire Strikes Back"? Or perhaps "Captain America: Civil War"?)
And to finish it off, Aku Aku placed himself on the face of the Android, about to control its very actions. But then, suddenly, the most unexpected event of all occurs. For no apparent reason, the towering Android stops, falters, and trembles. "He's beginning to topple!" Aku Aku thought as he quickly hopped off. "But why? What caused it? Was it me? Or has Cortex finally lost making better robots?"
"Now that we're alone in here…" Shepherd announced loud enough for all to hear, "…we may talk freely. It is imperative that we learn what it was that felled the Android. Before it toppled, I heard it mutter something that sounded like 'master mold'."
"I really wish I could figure this out as well…" Ratchet replied. "But I'm at a loss to comprehend what 'master mold' may be."
"Agent…" Donna spoke. "Can you tell whether it's completely destroyed—our equivalent of dead—or, could it rise to menace us again?"
"I can't be sure of its condition," Shepherd replied. "Being mechanical, rather than alive, they're very indecipherable to me. One source we may have to search is where these androids were created. This one wants to return there, I think."
"You are correct…" Aku Aku commented. "I can sense it, but there are still some answers that I need."
"Don't expect it to be an easy battle," Shepherd continued. "There is more to the menace of the Androids than meets the eye. It is possible that they represent the greatest threat we have ever faced…and the key to it all may lie behind the words…MASTER MOLD!"
Meanwhile, the Androids, and their now-conscious human prisoner, have reached their destination. Inside the hideout of the League of Villains, the Androids marched Stone down to where they desired, as the other fiends watched in shock at this sight.
"Turn me loose!" Stone demanded. "Let me go! I order you to release me!"
"We are Androids!" the section leader replied. "We take no orders! We were created to protect! It was here that we were created. It is here that many more Androids shall be born!"
"No!" Dr. Cortex suddenly interrupted, approaching the towering giants. "There must be no more of you—not until I learn what we did wrong! Not until we've brought you under our control again!"
"It is too late for that!" the leader continued. "The only way we can protect mankind is by conquering it! For we are Androids! Into the master chamber with you!"
Without another word, the powerful, artificial creatures brought Stone and Cortex into a huge, incredibly-constructed room. And within was a glass dome that contained many glowing orbs, which were the keys to a new Android to be created. "This is madness!" Stone exclaimed. "You know it is forbidden for any Androids to enter here! You must listen to me—I am your friend!"
"We need no friends," the section leader replied. "We are Androids! We were born to protect!"
"Behold!" interrupted Android 6. "An image appears upon our defense-scanner screen. Someone approaches. Assume defense posture. Wait… It is a human-occupied vehicle. It enters the target area. Those inside are the ones we have seen before. They are our enemies."
And outside the hidden base are the Lombaxes that have faced this menace, with Agent Shepherd and Aku Aku at their side. "I believe THIS is where the headquarters will be found," Aku Aku announced. Right at that split-second, Conner made it there just in time to meet up with the others.
"Strange…" Conner commented. "Would the base be underground?"
"If the agent here says the headquarters are here, they're HERE," replied Alex.
"I suggest we all be on guard," Shepherd continued. "It's possible that we're being observed—from some hidden vantage point."
"But where can they be?" Felix questioned in reply. "There isn't a manmade structure in sight."
"I'm as suspicious as the next guy," Ratchet commented. "But how can you suspect a clump of trees and a field of crabgrass?"
"Hold it!" Aku Aku interrupted. "I heard something. Like the sound of mechanical doors sliding back…"
A mere micro-second later, the entire "hill" seemed to rise from the ground on thick piston legs, revealing a monstrous fortress beneath. And in defense many attached auto-turrets began to fire hot laser beams upon the group. With all their might they attempted to duck and dodge every one of them. "The entire terrain was a false cover for the fortified structure below!" Shepherd exclaimed, drawing his pistol. "Don't let them fire at you!"
"That's good enough for now…" Donna replied. "But how are we supposed to fight that thing?"
Are you wondering the same thing? You better be, because the answer will be provided in the next episode. LifeWar has never been so action-packed before!