Twisted StoryArch Masterpiece Theater Presents:

The 5th Lab

An explanation: I didn't get to see the 5th episode(s) when they first came out, but I got a rather garbled play-by-play from my three more fortunate friends. This is how one of them who had just started watching the series told it (all in one breath);

"So, Ed was there, and this creepy upside down guy was whispering all creepy and Lust was like, "make us human, or I'll scratch your brother," and Ed was like "who are you" and Lust was like "We've got everything you need" and there were all these prisoners, and Al was like "urgh" and Envy was like "kick" and there was red stuff flying everywhere and Scar bursts in, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense because he hates Ed, and the Sins kill these guards and run out, and nobody notices them, and it was awesome."

The 5th Lab is his favorite episode.

Given this spotchy description, I pieced together the following version of the 5th Lab, written down here for the first time, to share with you. Lucky you.

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"Y'know, brother, for an old laboratory, this place is kind of prison-dungeon-creepy," Al observed as he and his older brother entered the infamous 5th Lab (conveniently located between the 4th and 6th labs).

"Yeah, that is pretty weird. Oh well, just don't ask me any questions right now. I'm trying to figure out what we're doing here, ok, Al?" No response. Ed looked up. "Al? Where'd you go?" Silence. "Crap. Why does this always happen to me?"

"Because you're blond, and blonds have all the fun," whispered the creepy-upside-down-bear-guy/Nina's-crazy-child-murdering-father, stepping out of the shadows and giving Ed a heart attack. "I'm the creepy-upside-down-bear-guy/Nina's-crazy-child-murdering-father, but you can call me Bob. I'll be your tour guide for the evening, please, follow me."

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Greed tossed the rubber ball at the far wall of his cell. It bounced off it, bounced off the floor, and bounced back into his hand. "9,927."

Toss. Bounce. Bounce. "9,928."

Bounce bounce. "9,929."

Bounce bounce. "9,930."

Somebody must have turned on the old Improbability Drive, because the ground shook, and Greed's prison cell was split open.

"Whoa. Well, 9,930 always has been my lucky number," Greed shrugged, never one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Tears in his eyes, the sin kissed Mr. Snuffleufagus (his bouncy ball and long-time companion) farewell, left him for the next prisoner, then jumped out of his cell, screaming, "JAILBREAK!"

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Al had made a new friend, Jerry the Amazing Talking Armor.

"Nice to meet you Jerry! I'm Alphonse the Possessed Armor!"

"Oh, are you a prisoner, too?"

"Ah..." Al laughed nervously. "I gotta go,"

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The voices in Scar's head told him to go to the 5th Lab. So he did.

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Meanwhile, another group was going for a little picnic at the ever-popular 5th Lab. And who should it be but Lust, Gluttony, some assorted guys from the prison down the block, and a random military official who died a few episodes back and no one noticed, played by Envy.

Gluttony tugged at Lust's dress, which, miraculously, didn't come off. "Lust," he whispered in a alarmed little child-of-the-corn voice. "This is the Bad Place."

Lust shook him off. "Yes, dear, you already pointed that out. HEY!" she snapped at a couple of prisoners who were trying to sneak off. "Get back here!"

"Say, where'd you meet the babe?" leered one of the humans standing closest to Envy, obviously mistaking him for a military official that he was friends with. "Bet she's great sex."

"Ew. With Lust?" shuddered Envy.

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Eventually, herding their captives around got too hectic, so they locked them in the elevator and went to look around.

Lust ran a hand through her hair. "God, what a headache humans are.

"Lust, we're in the Bad Place," Gluttony felt it necessary to remind her.

Here," she handed a set of keys to him. "Why don't you run up to the parking lot and get mommy's 'special' aspirin out of the car?"

Just then, Scar, now somewhat lost, spotted them and walked up to ask for directions. "Excuse me, ma'am, do you—," Lust turned around. Scar gasped. "YOU!"

"You!" gasped Lust.

"You two know each other?" Envy asked, only to be ignored.

"Where did you get that face?" Scar growled.

"What in the hell kind of question is that?" Envy whispered to Gluttony.

Lust wasn't phased by the odd question, though. She rolled her eyes, as sarcastic as ever. "The plastic surgeon's. Where did you get yours, the Day-After-Halloween Sale?"

She turned to go, but Scar couldn't stand to let her have the last word. "Whore!"

Lust snapped back around. "Scarface!"

"You don't have a soul!"

"You don't have a name!"

"I do to! It's... um..."

"Scar isn't a name, you pathetic human."

"Neither is Lust, you worthless abomination."

"All right, that's it," Lust snapped her fingers at Gluttony. "Take care of him." she ordered, exiting with Envy at her heels.

Scar almost laughed at the oversized beanbag chair about to attack him, but laughter isn't really a Scar thing. "Are you really the best defense she has?"

Gluttony punched him in the stomach. "Never mind," wheezed the Ishbalan, doubling over in pain and falling into Greed's cell. "Hey, whose bouncy ball is this?"

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"Envy, stop following me!" Lust snapped. "Go get the prisoners."

"Yes, O wise and powerful leader,"

"And stop the sarcasm."

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The prisoners were having a fairly good time. In fact, they were discovering that there was a celebrity entertainer in their midst, Zolf "Crimson" Kimblee, who was showing off his neat party trick.

"Did you know that humans contain most of the elements required to make fireworks?" he asked with a grin, patting a nearby guy on the shoulder. People loved his "Splody" act.

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Al was looking for either A) his brother, B) and exit, or C) Visitor Information when he ran into Lust, who, of course, was just pleased as punch to see him. The same can't be said for Al.

"Well, well, well, if it isn't little Alphonse."

"Who are you? How- how do you know my name?"

"I know your name because we've been stalking you," the mysterious woman murmured.

Al spun around, foolishly exposing his back. "We?"

"The other homunculi and I, of course."

"... homunculi? But, that's impossible!" sputtered the little boy whose soul was trapped in a spare suit of armor and who was on a quest to find the mythical Philosopher's Stone. Lust would have laughed at the irony of this, but laughter isn't really a Lust thing. "It is impossible for you to be a homunculus," Al told her, or, rather, told the camera, trying to throw in a definition for the viewing audience. "An imitation of human life, perfect except for it's lack of a soul. Thought to be the results of human transmutation."

"Well... You know what? Shut up. I exist if you like it or not, so just shut your big metal trap and follow me."

Al hung back, and Lust speared his arm with a fingernail. "Boy, don't make me get my acrylics on you."

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It was two a.m. at Military Headquarters. So what were Mustang, Hughes, Hawkeye, and Ross doing there?

I'll tell you what they were doing. They were stealing a desk from a rival office for Roy's new apartment.

"Ok, on the count of three, lift!" Hughes ordered. "One, two, three,"

Grunting and huffing, the four burglars inched their way down the hall, slowly turning a corner, and bumping (literally) into Fuhrer Bradley, a vaguely comical Military official who spent much of his time (so far as anyone could tell) bungling around the office making corny jokes.

"Why, hello, everybody!"

Startled and caught red-handed, three of the four dropped the desk, which landed on Roy's foot.

"OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUCH! God damn freaking jargabargadingdong!" the colonel swore unintelligibly under his breath, hoping around on one foot behind his comrades, who were trying to saluting and hide the desk behind them all the while making it look like they hadn't been doing anything wrong.

"Good evening, sir!" the remaining three greeted a little more cheerily than necessary. "What are you doing here this time of night?"

"Actually, I live here most of the time," Bradley shrugged, indicating the blue pajamas he was wearing in place of his uniform. "What are you four doing here?"

Ross and Riza sputtered, but, fortunately, Hughes always had an investigation on the verge of crisis up his sleeve. "The Fifth Lab, sir, we've received semi-reliable intelligence that something big will be going down there tonight, and we thought we would... tell you."

"Of course. We should have torn that thing down years ago, it's always been a magnet for rats and drug addicts." (For reasons that were to come out later in the series, Fuhrer Bradley already knew that Lust, Gluttony, and Envy would be kicking around down there, and he was also probably aware that any place that Lust, Gluttony, and Envy worked on one of their "foolproof" plans in is destined to disappear in a puff of alchemy and police investigation.) "I'll call reinforcements right away."

Hughes, Ross, and Riza looked at each other, hardly daring to believe he had actually bought it. "Maes, you are a genius."

Hughes smiled. "Why, thank you. Hurry up, let's get this desk into my van before he comes back."

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"Whoa!" Ed staggered back in momentary shock, staring around the room he and "Bob" had entered, which was full of what appeared to be giant red lava lamps. "It's well lit! I didn't see that one coming."

"And now, to business," Bob whispered, closing the door behind him. "Do you think that you could make a Philosopher's Stone out of the junk in here? We're trying to clean house."

"Oh, sure. Sounds good," Ed shrugged, getting ready to clap his hands together when, suddenly, Lust and Al entered, Al walking in that paranoid gait of someone who is being held at fingernail point.

"All right, make us a Philosopher's Stone, or I'll scratch your little brother's seal off!"

Ed's obnoxious rebel-against-authority reflex kicked in. "NEVER!"

"You whore!" Bob snapped-whispered. "I was doing just fine on my own! Come on, Edward, I'm sure she's joking... just make the Stone,"

Ed wavered, clearly thinking of getting Al's body back. After all, the Philosopher's Stone was the very thing that they were questing for.

At this critical moment, Envy (still disguised as that dead guy), walked in with Gluttony (who ran to join Lust) and the prisoners... er, what was left of them after Kimblee was done with his act.

"Oh, and, just to make sure that this little experiment works correctly, we have a few extra ingredients for you," Lust smiled brightly. "We got them off death row at the prison."

Ed went pale, pointing at the prisoner's leader, who he obviously knew was dead. "Who the hell are you?"

"That depends. I can be anyone you want me to be," the man smirked, transforming into a scantily clad, spiky haired homunculus of uncertain age and gender. "But, we aren't here to talk about me. Are you going to make that stone on your own, or do I have to taunt you, Pipsqueak?"

Ed went nuts. "Who are you calling so tiny that you want to smush him like a baby ant!"

"Brother," Al started, only to have Gluttony, still traumatized by his brush with 'the Bad Place' comfort himself by taking a huge bite out of Al's leg.

Envy burst into hysterical, insane laughter. "We're threatening your little brother, the one person that you continue to live for, if you don't kill all these people, and all you're worried about is that I called you short?"

"Well, we know where shorty's priorities lie, don't we, now?" drawled Lust.

"Uh, pain?" Al tried to call some attention to himself as Gluttony worked his way up his thigh.

"Shut up, Al," snapped Envy, Lust, Ed, Bob, and a few of the prisoners. Then, in an act of complete random anger, Envy kicked Ed upside the head, knocking the poor boy to the ground.

"Envy," Lust admonished. "You can't hurt him, we need him to make us that stone so we can get souls, remember?"

"But he's whiny and self-righteous and short and blond and he looks like," Envy broke off his list of Ed's faults to kick him again.

"Well, he can't help what he looks like, so stop." Lust ordered. "Now, Edward, let's be reasonable."

"No!" shouted Ed. "You twisted psycho! How can you even suggest that I turn these convicted murderers and pedophiles already on death row for hideous crimes into a Philosopher's Stone that is the very thing I'm looking for? That's sick!"

"Very well," Lust sighed, moving over to what was left of Al. "Gluttony! What are you doing?"

"I— I was hungry," Gluttony whispered. "And we were in the Bad Place, and,"

"Glut," sighed Lust exasperatedly. Envy took advantage of his babysitter's distraction to kick Ed again.

"Envy!" Lust scolded. "You are in so much trouble, young man,"

Afraid of Lust when she got angry, Gluttony took another bite of his favorite comfort food, Al.

"Gluttony!"

Meanwhile, the prisoners were filing out the door.

Scar's superpowers allowed him to know exactly what was going on, despite not being present for most of it, and he used his Arm of Destruction to smash through the wall into the room, destroying the lava lamps and sending red water everywhere. "Get out of here, FullMetal! Your brother needs you!"

"Oh shit," muttered Envy, Lust, and Gluttony, making a break for the exits.

Scar's arrival turned out to be a blessing in disguise for them, because the Military had just sent in a bunch of troops, and a few minutes more, and they would have been caught in an ambush. As it was, they managed to be the ambushers, stealing a couple of ill-fitting uniforms off of the bodies of their victims.

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Juliette Douglas, better known as "That Workaholic Secretary on the Third Floor" was in a bad mood, and she didn't quite know how to communicate that fact to her boss. "Ok, Bradley, do you see that light coming up over that chimney over there?" she asked, pointing.

"You mean the sun?"

"Exactly. Now, can you think of any reason whatsoever that would compel me to be up before sunrise staring at an old laboratory?"

The building exploded, shooting off a series of firework-like sparks, doubtless the result of mixing a bunch of alchemy-related material together and setting it on fire.

"Come on, Julie, that was kinda cool."

"Not cool enough for me to be up at dawn."

They had just fallen silent when three soldiers strode casually out of the inferno: a nondescript man, a well-endowed woman, and a lumpy short object that might have been humanoid. "Good job, soldiers," she smiled encouragingly as they saluted her.

Perfectly aware that the three of them had just failed miserably at their mission, Envy continued to stare straight ahead, like the rest of them. It would be dangerous to call attention to himself, and to Sloth, by confronting her, but he sure would have liked to. "She's mocking us, isn't she?" he whispered to Lust.

"Yup," Lust replied calmly. "Just keep walking."

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As for Ed, he awoke the next day in the hospital, to find Hughes, who had stopped in to check on him after dropping Roy off to get his foot looked at. The first thing he wanted to know of course, was how Al was doing, and Hughes was quick to assure him that his little brother was fine. (This was somewhat untruthful; Al was still alive, but he was half eaten and feeling suicidal. In fact, as Ed and Maes talked, Winry was talking the younger Elric down from the roof.)

"Now, Ed, I'm curious. What exactly happened in that lab?"

Piecing together what he could remember, Ed embarked on a story even more twisted and plot-hole filled than a typical Twisted Storyarch Masterpiece. His verbal skills ended up failing him, and he ended up sketching pictures of the homunculi out on a cocktail napkin that Hughes happened to have in his pocket.

"Lust called this one Envy," he explained, holding up a horrible stick figure of Envy. "I think this is his true form, but he could change,"

"He? That's a guy?" Hughes asked, squinting at Ed's artwork. "But... maybe it's just the way you drew him, but it has breasts and a skirt. Are you sure that it's not a girl?"

"I thought so at first, but he kicked me in the head, and he's wearing that miniskirt, and... and... and, I saw things," the little blond alchemist shuddered, wishing he could claw his eyes out.

Hughes hugged him. "There, there. Just repress it, son, it'll all be ok."

"I want to, believe me, but..." Ed paused for dramatic effect. "I get the feeling that I haven't seen the last of Envy's miniskirt," he said prophetically, just as the music to start the end credits began to roll.

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End of Twisted Storyarch Masterpiece Theater.