Author's Note: Yes, I know I'm late... I blame schoolwork. You should, too. Apparently, they don't kid around when you take two classes that have the letters "AP" in them...
However, I also come bearing some really freakin' awesome news. If you haven't checked the offical Super Smash Bros. Brawl site (called the "Super Smash Bros. Dojo!!", 'cuz Fanfiction hates links) in about a week, do so right now and go look at the characters section. Seriously, go do it now. Just leave this fic minimized or something and go do it.
Back yet? Good. Now that you have probably peed your pants with excitement, you can now fully enjoy this next chapter. Oh, and try to catch the really lame Star Wars/Final Fantasy cameo while you're at it.
"But I just don't get it... Who is Captain Syrup?"
Wario ignored Charmy's question as he continued to storm through Dr. Crygor's lab, grabbing as many things that, according to Wario, "looked really painful" as he could.
"Let's see here..." Wario thought out loud to himself, investigating some of the more peculiar inventions Dr. Crygor had lying around, "Yo, Crygor! Besides your spandex collection, what do ya have here that can cause unbearable pain, endless suffering, and otherwise violates the Eight Amendment?"
"You hate Captain Syrup that much?" the bumble bee inquired.
"Captain Syrup? I'm looking for stuff to use on you," Wario sneered, "Now, for Syrup, I'm looking for something that not only violates the Eight Amendment, but maims it, rips it into a million pieces, and takes a whiz on its mangled corpse."
There was a pause as Charmy thought over what Wario had said.
"... What's the Eight Amendment?"
Wario promptly tossed a random gear that was lying on a workbench at Charmy as a reply.
"Hey! Careful!" Crygor pleaded, "That's a very special piece of equipment!"
"Uh... It's a gear..." Wario deadpanned, "Now, get over it and help me find something useful around here, or is the only thing you make is 'no sense'?"
"While I would hate to break up such a spirited argument," Espio interrupted, the tone in his voice obviously implying that he wouldn't, "I do believe you should answer Charmy's question for us."
"Yeah!" Vector concurred, "Who's Captain Syrup? She sounds like someone you know..."
Wario turned and glared at the Chaotix trio.
"Okay, look: I'm only gonna explain this once, so shut up and listen up!" Wario began, "Captain Syrup is the leader of the Brown Sugar Pirates, a bunch of losers who make goombas look intelligent. A few years back, they tried to run off with a gold statue of Princess Peach, so I set out to... ahem... 'rescue' it."
"With the intention of charging a ransom to have it returned, I bet..." Espio murmured.
"Hey, who's telling the story here: me or you? Anyway, so I set off on an epic quest of monumental proportions to recover the statue and, along the way, decided to pick up a little 'hazard pay' from those pirates as well. Needless to say, I don't think she took it well when I handed her butt to her on a silver platter and ran off with the loot, so she's been trying to reclaim my treasure ever since! I stole it fair and square from her, dang it! And she keeps thinking that she can just waltz in and steal it back!"
"And now she went and dragged us into this mess as well!" Vector added, "She's gotta have Knuckles... And she probably has Nack and Rouge as well!"
Wario gave the crocodile a mocking round of applause.
"Great job, genius! I coulda told ya that one! Now, are we just gonna sit around and state the obvious, or are we gonna go smash some heads in!?"
At that moment, Penny and Mike came running into the room.
"Grandpa!" Penny shouted, "The ship's all set!"
"Yeah!" Mike agreed, "The F.A.R.T.'s ready to rock and roll!"
There was an awkward silence shared by all.
"The... Fart?..." Espio repeated, his eye visibly twitching.
"The Fortified Aquatic Reconnaissance Transport," Dr. Crygor explained, "with it, we will be able to embark on our search-and-rescue mission to engage in the Brown Sugar Pirates and save your friend. I originally designed it for more passive, exploratory missions, so it isn't exactly battle-worthy, but I'm 98.7654321 percent sure that... perhaps it... might not be... completely destroyed in a battle... on a good day... maybe."
Charmy simply blurted out what was most likely on everybody's mind.
"We're so screwed."
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?"
"Look, aren't you a little old to be doing this?"
Fang, who was currently lying down on his cell bench with his hat covering his face, just let out a small chuckle.
"Yeah, but it's worth it to get you upset."
The guard opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out. Instead, he simply let out an aggravated growl and marched over to check up on Rouge, who was currently leaning right up against the cell door.
"And you... Heh heh... How are you enjoying yourself?" the guard snickered.
"Not so good," Rouge replied, voice dripping with sarcasm, "usually when I go on a cruise, I get a personal masseuse."
The sentinel quickly shoved his spear in between the cell bars, causing Rouge to have to swiftly lean back to avoid getting skewered in the face.
"Keep talking and I'll give you acupuncture, landlubber."
"Hmm, I wasn't aware you knew your pampering techniques. You hiding something?"
The guard turned red in the face before quickly turning away and striding over to Knuckles. He was still sitting on his bench sulking, so the guard leaned his head into the cage and sneered at him.
"And are you gonna chastise me, you dreadlocked scally---"
In a red blur, Knuckles had leaped off the bench, ran up to the guard, and decked him in the face, sending him flying into the cell bars on the other side of the room.
"No, I'd rather let my fists do the talkin'!" Knuckles retorted, glaring daggers at the downed guard.
"Ugh... That's it..." the sentinel gasped, "My shift's now officially over... Hey, Biggs! Get down here and take my place, will ya?"
Getting up and holding his now-bloody nose, the guard marched up the stairs leading out of the room and onto the deck. He was soon replaced by another guard, who looked at the three prisoners skeptically.
"Okay... Which one of you punched Wedge?"
Fang and Rouge both pointed at Knuckles.
"Hey!" Knuckles shouted, "He deserved it!"
The new guard just sighed.
"You better knock it off, or the Captain'll keelhaul you for a month!"
Knuckles rolled his eyes.
"Please, like anyone could force me down there!"
"Syrup could 'attack you from behind' again..." Nack suggested.
"Shut it, weasel boy."
The echidna turned his attention back to the guard, only to find him already sitting on a barrel, fast asleep.
"Hmph... Some guard..."
Knuckles went back to his bench and sat down, once more sulking to himself in the corner. Rouge, meanwhile, walked over and glanced out the porthole window onto the blue ocean beyond.
"I hope Wario and those Chaotix boys found that note..." Rouge sighed, "I hate to admit it, but I don't think I can get out of this one alone..."
Rouge didn't need to fear, for at that very moment, Wario, the Chaotix and Dr. Crygor (Penny and Mike stayed behind as "land support") were sailing on the good S.S. F.A.R.T. in a desperate attempt to save Knuckles from his fate and, according to Wario, to beat Captain Syrup into next Tuesday.
"I still can't believe we're riding on a ship called the Fart..." Charmy moaned.
"Yeah, well, at least it looks nice, so shut up," Wario retorted, "better than the previous ship I had the displeasure of riding on, anyway..."
The F.A.R.T., thankfully, was a lot better built than Dr. Crygor's previous statements implied. It looked a lot like a yacht, but equipped more for research and exploration than for pleasure cruises, with radars, satellites, and antenna coming out the wazoo on it. It was also, as the first letter in the acronym implied, well fortified: it was built out of metal and rivets more commonly seen on battleships than anything else. Furthermore, it moved rather quickly, practically skipping across the water as it went rather than blast through it. However, if it could be faulted for anything, it was lack of offensive power. There was not a single weapon onboard.
"So Doc, how long until we reach this Captain Syrup?" Vector asked, leaning over Crygor's shoulder as he piloted the ship.
"According to the very incredible accurateness of my undeniably well-engineered devices, the S.S. Teacup will come into view in approximately one hour!"
Vector remained silent for a minute.
"Face it, everyone names their ships something really stupid around here..." Wario bluntly stated, "I could probably eat a bowl of alphabet soup and poop out a better name for some of these floating tin pans..."
Turning away from the duo, Wario made his way over to the back of the ship, where Espio was currently resting, deep in thought.
"Yo, needle-nose, whatcha doin'?" Wario grunted.
"Meditating," came his one-word reply.
Espio let out a disgruntled sigh and turned to look at Wario directly.
"I'm trying to get in an appropriate mindset before we set off into battle," he elaborated, "or, at least, that was what I was doing before you showed up."
"Oh, don't mind me," Wario mockingly apologized, "you keep sitting there doing nothing while I try and figure out how the heck we're gonna put up a fight when Crygor over there forgot to put so much as a popgun on this tugboat. Shesh, do you ninjas ever actually do anything? All you ever do is sit around and do your crazy Zen-yoga-chi thing. Whatever happened to... ya know... fighting? Or is that just something they do in the movies?"
The next thing Wario knew, he was up against a wall, Espio holding him by the front of his collar, and a ninja star imbedded in the wall two inches away from his face.
"Don't. Mock. My. Abilities." Espio hissed, emphasizing each and every word, "Or I swear that next time it won't be just your huge ego that I break."
The chameleon pulled the star out of the wall, let go of Wario, and walked off, leaving the anti-hero crumpled on the floor gasping for air.
"What the... Good grief..." Wario moaned, slowly getting up, "So was that part of your ninja training, or did you learn that from someone who actually knew how to fight?"
Another star came whizzing at Wario, flew right between his legs, and pinned the inside of his pant legs against the wall again.
"I'll aim higher next time," Espio's voice warned, although the chameleon himself couldn't be seen anywhere.
"Dang stupid ninja freak..." Wario grumbled as he tried to free himself, but the ninja star kept him firmly in place, "Hey! Someone give me a hand here! Grr... I hate you all..."
About fifty minutes later (and after Wario finally managed to free himself from Espio's ninja star), everyone had gathered at the front of the board, spying ahead for any signs of the S.S. Teacup. At the same time, the Chaotix were discussing ways they could go about rescuing Knuckles.
"I could sneak in there invisible and rescue him," Espio offered.
"That is very true!" Crygor agreed, "However, I do believe this ship would not be able to mimic such actions, leaving us at the most part most very, very open during your escapade!"
"Why don't you just feed me more sugar?" Charmy suggested, his eyes lighting up.
"What are you, crazy!?" Vector cried, "Once was enough!"
"Wait... You gave that kid sugar?" Wario asked, "What kind of limited mental capacity did you have to be in to give that brat sugar!?"
"Look, can we not talk about it?" the crocodile insisted, "Besides, I don't hear you offering any brilliant ideas."
"I say we let Espio do his thing and go in there all by himself. If we don't get the convenience of being rid of that psychotic lizard..."
"... Chameleon..." Espio corrected.
"Chameleon, whatever... At least we'll be able to be witness of one of the most epic fights mankind has ever seen!"
"Uh... What epic fight?" Charmy inquired, raising an eyebrow.
Wario just sighed before pointing out at the ocean blue.
"Pirates..." he then pointed at Espio, "Ninja... It's freakin' pirates vs. ninjas here! Haven't you guys ever been on a message board!?"
"Oh... Forget it..." Wario grumbled, "Noobs..."
Suddenly, a loud beeping sound began resonating in the air. Immediately, Dr. Crygor ran over to the radar and took a look at it.
"Ah ha!" he exclaimed, "We are approaching the S.S. Teacup now! Everyone, battle positions! We must prepare ourselves for the imminent rescue of your echidna friend!"
Although no one was quite sure what the battle positions were on a ship without weapons, Wario and the Chaotix quickly began getting into fighting positions. Crygor, meanwhile, took his position for the fight: locking himself in the bathroom. Regardless, everyone else was getting ready for an assault on Captain Syrup's ship to save Knuckles.
However, what no one noticed was that, on the radar, there was another ship that was rapidly approaching both of them...
"ALL HANDS ON DECK!!! ENEMY SHIP SIGHTED AND COMING UP FAST!!!"
Knuckles looked up. Rouge gasped. Fang practically leaped from his prone position on his bench to his feet. The guard woke up with a yelp and quickly fell off his barrel with an amusing "THUMP!" There was a huge commotion going on above them, with the heavy sounds of footsteps constantly being emitted from the deck above.
"Huh? What's goin' on?" Knuckles wondered out loud.
"Sounds like they spotted someone and wanna blow the tar outta 'em to me," Fang deducted.
Rouge, meanwhile, took another look out her porthole. This time, she could easily see a small ship quickly gaining on the S.S. Teacup. With a little squinting, she could even make out its occupants: Wario, Vector, Espio, and Charmy!
"Ah ha! I knew it!" Rouge cheered, "Those guys came to rescue us!"
"Wha... We're being attacked!?" the guard sputtered, "Wah! I gotta get up on the deck! Wait, wait for me!!!"
In a panic, the poor, confused sentinel began running around the room in a dither, trying to find the staircase leading up to the deck. During his reaction, he happened to run right in front of Knuckles' cell.
Bad move on his part.
The echidna quickly reached out, grabbed the guard by his shirt and abruptly pulled him against the bars on the cell. With a loud "CLANG!", he was once again asleep, albeit in a more... sudden manner than before.
With the sentinel now lying unconscious before him, Knuckles stuck his hand out again and was able to grab the ring of keys that hung from the guard's waist. It was only a matter of a few moments before he managed to jam the right key into the lock on his door and open it, freeing himself from the cell.
"Ha! Thanks for the keys, buddy!" Knuckles chuckled as he stepped over the body.
"Hey, Knuckles..." Rouge cooed, "You wouldn't mind letting me out of this cell, would you?"
The echidna thought for a moment before grunting and running up the stairs.
"Forget it!" he shouted back down as he ascended, "You were the one who got us in the mess in the first place!"
"Hmph, stupid echidna..." Rouge sneered, "That's no way to treat a lady!"
"And he didn't even think about helping me out..." Fang groaned, "What am I, chopped liver?"
Rouge ignored Nack and let out an annoyed sigh. She'd find her way out, and when she did, she was gonna teach that Knucklehead a lesson!
By the time Knuckles had gotten on deck, Wario and the Chaotix were already onboard, fighting off attackers left and right. Charmy was the first to notice him.
"Hey! Knuckles! You're alive!" Charmy called out before immediately flying over to him, "Look! We came all this way to rescue you! Pretty cool, huh?"
Knuckles responded by swatting the bee aside and punching a pirate that had been right behind him, trying to take advantage of the distraction to land a cheap shot on Charmy.
"Less talking, more fighting!" Knuckles yelled as he quickly ran off to fight more foes.
Upon seeing the echidna in the fray, Wario took his turn to "welcome him back".
"What the heck!?" the anti-hero sputtered, "You mean we went though all this trouble of rescuing you and you managed to get out by yourself!?"
In frustration, Wario picked up a hapless pirate and threw him right at Knuckles. He counterattacked by punching the living projectile in midair, sending him rocketing back and smacking Wario right in the face.
"For the record, it was the chaos you guys caused that let me escape!" the echidna corrected, "I was going to thank you, but if you treat me like that, forget it!"
"Oh, quit your blabbering and get in the boat, furball! We came for you and that's already more than I normally risk my neck for!"
"We can't go yet!" Knuckles insisted, "Captain Syrup has the Emerald Star! She got it when she captured Rouge! We can't leave without that!"
"What the... Oh right! That thing! We've been playing run-around for so dang long, I completely forgot that's what we were after in the freakin' first place! For the love of... GAH!"
While he was ranting, Wario failed to notice that one of the goons had sneaked up behind him. As a result, the pirate simply took a hard swing at Wario with his spear, knocking him to the ground. Knuckles immediately ran over to try and help him, but at least five more troops appeared and quickly surrounded him. Elsewhere, the Chaotix also found themselves outnumbered and forced to surrender. Despite their best efforts, everyone had been captured.
The group was eventually brought together in the center of the deck, with at least twenty pirates surrounding them on all sides, preventing them from making a move. There was a dead silence among all; no one dared speak a single word.
Except Wario, of course.
"Well, I guess that proves pirates are better than ninjas, then," he whispered to Espio.
The chameleon made no response.
Suddenly, the doors to the captain's quarters opened, and out stepped the female pirate herself: Captain Syrup.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't my old friend Wario..." she snickered, barely containing her excitement as she walked up until she was inches away from Wario's face, "This little stunt of yours was certainly less successful than they have been in the past, hmm?"
"Well, you can thank these bozos here," he replied, motioning to the Chaotix, "they were cramping my style."
She looked over the side of the ship, spying the F.A.R.T. docked right below.
"I take it you didn't manage to bring all my treasure back to me in that pathetic thing..."
"Well, the original intent was to beat the snot out of you and run off with your hostages as well as any new loot you got, but again, these guys..."
The captain just let out a little chuckle before giving a signal to some of her underlings, who immediately responded and ran below deck.
"Well, I'm sure you remember the note I gave you... About what would happen if you didn't return my stuff to me..."
The guards returned, this time with Rouge and Fang in tow. They tried to struggle against them while throwing out a few insults, but it was no use and they were quickly brought before Syrup.
"Now, I suppose the first thing I'll do is blow that measly ship of yours out of the water. Second..."
She lashed out and grabbed Rouge and then put a cutlass to her throat. The bat continued to struggle, but with a sword at her neck, there was little she could do.
"... I'll skin all your furry friends alive, right before your eyes."
There was a particularly noticeable glare of rage in Knuckles' eyes, but Wario ignored it and continued to banter with his rival.
"Okay, first off, bimbo, these guys aren't my friends. I hate their guts, in fact. But secondly," he got into a fighting position again, no matter how futile it seemed, "I hate you even more, so I'm not about to let you have your moment of glory, even if it does mean having to let these idiots live."
"Heh, heh... Try me," Syrup invited, applying more pressure on Rouge's throat, "I can kill her before you make a single move."
However, something happened then that no one was expecting: A cannonball hit the ship, causing it to rock violently and sending everyone sprawling.
"Huh!? What the..." Captain Syrup gasped, glaring right at Wario, "What's going on!? What did you do!? Send for backup!? Or does that little tugboat of yours do more than I thought!?"
"Me? Backup? Ha!" Wario snorted, "I don't need no stinkin' backup! And besides... Come on, look at that ship... The closest thing that boat's got to a weapon is a Wii Zapper for the TV below deck. You think I did this?"
As everyone struggled to get back up onto their feet, Wario and Syrup both looked out to see where the cannonball came from.
What they saw shocked them.
On the opposite side of the S.S. Teacup was a huge battleship. It was made of titanium and was armed to the teeth with turrets, cannons, and flamethrowers. Although it seemed to be powered by engines rather than wind, there was still a huge mast that hung a giant skull-and-crossbones... Except that the skull looked robotic and the crossbones were made up of two wrenches. Standing on the bow of the ship was a rather obese and very much robotic pirate, who glared at everyone below him with a sinister glare.
"Yar! There they be, boys!" he hollered in a full-blown pirate accent, "You know what you're all lookin' for, so get down there and retrieve it so we can send this ship to Davy Jones' Locker! Then they will know the true horror of the terrible Captain Whisker!"