Hey guys, a new chapter! And it didn't take me a year to write, thank god. We're getting real close to the end here guys, only three more real chapters left! This chapter isn't nearly as action packed as the last one, but I can assure you Chapter 13 will be a very important one when it comes out. This should hopefully be an even smaller wait, as I have been working on it on the side for a while now. But until that comes out, here is Chapter 12.
Cogs © Disney
Pearl, Val, Taffy, Trevor, Sketch, and Victor are mine
Roxy and Sadie/Butcher belong to PoweroftheWol
Winky belongs to Winky Dizzypop/ lalalei2001
Edumacated, King Lollipop Rockenwoof, and Cyborg are owned by their creators of the same screen names on TTC Fourms.
And Your Enemies Closer
A figurative pin could be heard dropping in the tense silence that filled the room. Little Taffy had her eyes on the large Sellbot, and was not taking them off for even a second. Despite what the fan club and Thunerroni had told her about Sellbot being safe, she by no means felt it. As for the Vice President, he looked just as nervous as she felt in their proximity. After all, the last time either of them had seen eye to eye, they had both lost one. It was Valerie who finally broke the stillness.
"Um, I know things between you two aren't on the best terms, but shouldn't we get this meeting started?"
"That'd be a good idea…if the other Bosses were here," said Taffy, a hint of suspicion in her tone, "Where are they, V.P.?"
"Unfortunately, they can't show up in person. If they were to leave their Headquarters right now, Mc'Cogsworth might suspect something…"
"And you just expect me to believe that?"
"If you'll give me a moment, I was getting to that!"
He turned towards the large screen over to his right and typed something. The screen flickered to life; one side showed the image of the C.F.O and the other side the C.J. The Lawbot spoke first.
"We're ready to begin then, V.P.?"
The Vice President nodded. He turned towards the group of Toons behind him and sighed, "I know this is an unorthodox meeting, especially for you Miss Taffy, and what I'm about to ask is going to sound even more strange to you," he paused to collect his thoughts, "We are in need of you and your friend's help…"
Taffy blinked, "What?"
"You heard me."
"Yeah, I did, but…why do three house sized robots need help from us Toons? It's not like you can't handle yourselves."
The C.F.O. piped up, "Under any other circumstance, yes, but there's a bit of an issue with our Boss. Perhaps you've met him?" Taffy didn't respond, so the Cashbot continued, "Yes, he is smaller than us, but he a threat and abomination to our kind."
"I still don't understand how someone an eighth your size could possibly have you all shaking in your treads. One of you could easily run him over if you got enough speed going!"
Sketch snorted at Little Taffy's comment, "Not if they got hit by one of those shock blasts he was firing at us. Unless you forgot about those…" he looked over at the bosses, "I take it that's a large part of the issue?"
"Yes…I'm still recovering from the other day…" said the Chief Justice, "He's violated one of our laws. He slaughtered three of our own…just because they failed a mission. His authority should have become null and void. But he's completely out of control. I'm lucky he and that maniac of his didn't cause me more damage."
The Vice President gave him a look of sympathy before turning back to the others, "Now do you understand why he has to be stopped?"
Most of the fan club nodded in agreement, but Taffy stood her ground, "Okay, sure. So that electricity is lethal to you. That's not our problem…"
The large Sellbot sighed and rubbed the area where his temples would be, "In case you haven't noticed Miss Taffy, it is your home he's attacking right now. But perhaps I haven't offered enough proof to you yet how dangerous Mc'Cogsworth is. Foreman!"
A Skelecog fiddling with something across the room looked up, "Sir?"
"Hook my hard drive up to the monitor. Access my internal memory and bring up the one labeled IMS05-11-2003:6338464," said the Sellbot. He looked over at the assembled Toons again, "I apologize in advance if this is disturbing to any of you, but its time someone else knew what I saw…"
The Vice President disengaged his supports so the Foreman could reach his hard drive hatch. Little Taffy looked on, foot tapping, "We don't have time for this. Pearl is still waiting for us…"
"Taffy, relax. He wouldn't want to show us this unless he thought it was important. Pearl's a strong Toon…she'll be okay," said Thunderroni.
"You don't sound so sure."
Thunderroni's small smile wavered, "I'm holding it together as best I can, cut me some slack. You're not the one who just had their girlfriend captured…"
Taffy's eyes softened, "At least we know she's not a robot…" replied the feline.
Prince Thunderroni patted her on the shoulder and looked over at the fan club. They were quietly whispering amongst themselves. About what, the duck didn't care to listen in on. Then he noticed their other companion was off to the side looking at something in his wallet. He'd been stern all this time, focused on getting to the bottom of something, until now. Whatever he was looking at had softened his expression quite a bit. Thunderroni nudged Taffy in the arm and directed her attention to him, "Who's that dog that came along with us again?"
Taffy wracked her brain for a moment before she replied, "I think I heard Pearl say his name was Sketch…why does that sound familiar to me?"
Before Taffy was able to get an answer, the Vice President cleared his throat. Everyone's attention was drawn to the large computer monitor as the Sellbot's memory began to play out for everyone to see.
Pearl groaned, her head lolling to the side as she felt herself return to consciousness. She made to move her arm to rub her throbbing temple but found it securely strapped down to something. This notion brought her foggy mind to full awareness and she began to squirm in her seat. Try as she might, the restraints were too tight to slip a hand out.
Someone giggled off to the side, and Pearl strained her neck to see who it was. Her eyes receded inside her skull when she saw it was the deranged Toon Cog that had once been her cousin. Sarah was accompanied by another Toon Cog who looked equally as unstable, except she was a red bear. The latter giggled again, "Looks like the little kitty finally woke up! Good thing too, I was getting bored!"
"Maybe she'd like to play a little game…I know sooo many that involve duck tape and forks!" Sarah added.
Pearl gulped, "Whatever game you're up to playing, I want no part of it!" She said, struggling against the restraints on her wrists.
"Oh don't worry Miss Pearl they won't be playing any games with you. I will…" said the large Bossbot over by what looked like a workbench. His comment resulted in disappointed cries from the red Toon Cog.
She gulped, "On second thought, I fancy my chances with them a lot more…" Pearl said, her face contorting into something akin to shock.
"Yeah, come on! How come you get to tear apart the big kitty and I don't get anyone to play with?!" Butcher said, her voice whining.
Pearl frowned at her comment and looked over at the workbench where Mc'Cogsworth stood. There lay an unconscious Trevor, his shoulder still sparking from where she had shot him. The Bossbot had him opened up like a car hood and was digging around inside the mechanisms that had been hidden before. A moment later he removed what appeared to be a computer chip, "Because Mr. Trevor has served his purpose. Ms. Pearl here however might still be useful to my cause…" he said looking over in the pink feline's direction.
Needless to say, she didn't fancy that idea one bit. Pearl tried to wiggle an arm free of the restraint, but found it too secure. When she looked up from the cuff, it was because Mc'Cogsworth's large shadow blocking out the light. He was holding two electrodes in his hands.
"I have a very good feeling that I'm really not going to like where this is going…" she gulped. The Bossbot grinned as he attached the electrodes. Everything shortly after became a hazy mess in Pearl's mind
The sound of tortured screaming filled the room as the group of Toons and other two Cog Bosses watched in silent horror as they witnessed what the Vice President had. President Mc'Cogsworth severing the head of a Toon with his bare hands; it's blood spraying everywhere.
'What have you done?!'
'Now V.P.…I know this probably disturbing for you to see…'
'Disturbing is an understatement! This is downright barbaric and appalling! Even if they are our enemies how could you do such a thing to a Toon?!'
'It's what I was programmed for…eradicating Toons.'
'Who would program you for something so horrendous?!'
'That is my business, V.P.'
The Chief Justice looked absolutely appalled, "That disgusting monster…V.P. I had no idea you were harboring this for so long…"
The Vice President looked over at the faces of his audience and realized he had gotten the message across. He nodded at the Foreman and the Skelecog stopped the playback. The large Cog sighed and looked at the disturbed Toons, "Now do you understand?"
"Oh I understand," said Little Taffy, "I understand that you must be crazy to think we'd go up against that killing machine!"
The Vice President flinched, but stood his ground, "This is why we need your help!"
"Forget it! If you think I'm going to risk my head, you can count me out!" She looked over at Thunderroni and the fan club, "I suggest you all do the same." Taffy turned and made to leave. The fan club and Prince Thunderroni were just as frightened by what they had seen, and would have turned to follow if someone else hadn't spoken up.
"If none of them want to, then I will…" said Sketch stepping forward.
Little Taffy stopped mid stride and turned to look at the red dog, "Are you out of your mind? Did you see what he did to that Toon?!"
Sketch nodded, "I did. But even if the odds are stacked against us, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. Correct me if I'm wrong Little Taffy, but didn't you once do that for our home?"
Taffy frowned and looked away, "I guess I did…but that Toon's long gone now," she said.
"And they call you the Hero of Toontown…" he snorted, "I've seen less experienced Toons show more valor in the face of such odds…"
"You know what? I've been through a lot the last few hours. I don't need to add you bad mouthing me to the list!"
Sketch turned on her and growled, "The last few hours? Come back and talk to me when you've got a few more years under your belt," he said before looking back at the Vice President, "My offer still stands."
Before the Sellbot could answer, Toontown's acclaimed hero chimed in again, "Why are you so insistent on going up against that psychopath?!"
Without looking, he answered, "Because I believe answers I've been searching for the past few years are in that Head Quarters. And nothing aside from death is going to keep me from getting them…"
The Bosses and other Toons in the room gave a look of sympathy. Little Taffy looked taken aback, "You know you might just get your wish if you go back there," she said.
"Well aware of it. But at this point, I'm willing to do anything, whatever the cost. I've waited too long in the dark to just let this opportunity pass by."
Taffy looked down at the floor, guilt creeping up on her for giving up so easily. It wasn't something she did on a regular basis, so why had she done so now? Sketch was quiet a moment before turning back to them, "But you know…doing this on my own will be a lot harder than if I have everyone's help," He said with a small smile.
Little Taffy wanted to believe him. That going in on the Cog Bosses' plan would work, but something in her still held her back. She looked at the ground, unable to stomach her hesitance. Sketch was right; she was no hero. She had let everyone down: Pearl, the Cog Bosses, and all of Toontown. Little Taffy was brought out of her thoughts when someone pushed past her and walked over to Sketch.
"You know Little Taffy, you didn't do what you did by yourself last time," Valerie said looking back at the feline, "You had a team to help you out."
"She's right you know," Roxy added, joining beside Sketch and Valerie, "You're not alone in this. We're all here to help and ready to go."
"You guys, I…I don't want you to…"
"Regardless of what you want, there are Toons out there that need us. One in particular that needs me…"said Thunderroni as he joined the ranks.
Ed, Winky, Cyborg, and Rockenwoof all joined by the others, looking at Little Taffy with expectant eyes. That's when it hit her. The spark she'd felt when Toontown had been in danger before, and she, Pearl and Thunderroni had done what some might consider the impossible. But Pearl wasn't here this time. She was the one who needed rescue. It was time to return a long overdue favor. Little Taffy smiled and stepped forward.
"Alright Vice President…let's hear this plan of yours."
"In order for this to work, we're going to need everyone in perfect synchronization. I've got here the structural blue prints of Bossbot Headquarters. We've identified the areas that will be most effective for this task, which I've marked in white for you all."
Little Taffy looked around the hallway and found it to be empty before she continued. Valerie and Thunderroni were quietly following behind and keeping a lookout. So far, they hadn't been detected and appeared to just be normal Toon Cogs. The feline self-consciously scratched at the collar of her shirt. Never did she think she'd be wearing one of these ugly things again, but then helping out the other Cog Bosses wasn't something she thought she would ever do either.
"You will go in three groups to place the charges at these key locations-"
"Wait…charges? As in, explosives? Isn't that…a little dangerous?"
"Why do you think we're sending in Toons?"
"What about the Bossbots? Surely they don't deserve this, right?"
A Micromanager sauntered by and frowned at the three disguised Toons but kept walking. Little Taffy sighed with relief before the group carried on. Taffy stopped them again after a moment to make sure there were no other Cogs loitering about before pulling out the blueprints.
"We'll do our best to get them out before the detonator is set off. But only after the charges are set and you have contacted us to let us know. We'll then proceed to get as many Bossbots out before Miss Taffy flips the switch."
"Alright, it looks like one of the locations is still a ways up the hall, while a second is over here down this short hallway. That will leave at least five more. So I say we split up to cover these areas faster and to avoid detection," said Taffy. She looked into the faces of Valerie and Prince Thunderroni. Both nodded, albeit somewhat skeptically, before going their separate ways.
"What happens if we get caught? I mean, we're kind of outnumbered here…"
"V.P., what do we do if one of us is captured?"
"I was getting to that. If one of you is somehow detected, then activate this small device. It will send out a signal to us. If something goes wrong with the plan, then rest assured we will intervene on your behalf."
"Good to know…"
Little Taffy looked around once more before taking out a small cluster of dynamite with a radio receiver attached to it. She quickly attached it to the designated location and hurried on down the hall to the next location. After a moment she stopped to check the map again for the room's location. It was labeled: Boiler Room 5. Tucking the map back away into hammer space, Taffy walked hurried to her next destination. The door soon loomed in sight, and the feline quickly closed the distance. As her hand grabbed the door knob, something was jabbed into the mid of her back.
"That's far enough."
Raising her hands up, she did her best to keep the edge out of her voice, "I'm just the next guard, what are you doing?"
The Toon Cog laughed, "President Mc'Cogsworth said no one, not even us, are allowed in there. If you were really a Toon Cog, you'd have known that."
Taffy cursed under her breath. She felt the barrel of the ray gun press harder into her back, "Start walking, kitty," said the Toon Cog.
Reluctantly, she started forward, "And where are we going, pray tell?"
"Oh, I think you know…"
At the sound of harsh, mechanical laughter, Taffy's ears went flat against her head. She stood before Mc'Cogworth's desk, glaring at him, the barrel of the ray gun still at her back. He quieted a moment later, "And here I thought you had a tad more intelligence then this. Yet, here you are. Just what were you hoping to accomplish snooping around disguised as a Toon Cog?"
When she didn't answer him, the Bossbot continued, "Whatever it was is irrelevant now. You obviously have a death wish coming back here unprepared. But I'll be more than happy to oblige you that request."
Taffy's heart skipped, remembering the memory the Vice President had shown her. What would he do? Would it be quick and painless? No…Mc'Cogsworth didn't seem like he was that merciful. Surely he would draw out her suffering. Make it as painful as possible. Make her beg for death. He spoke, "Take Miss Taffy down to the Cell Blocks. Have her thrown in Cell 616." Any other time, Taffy would have been relieved to hear she was simply being detained in a cage. But there was something very unnerving about the way the Cog was smiling at her as she was led away.