A/N: Take heed, dear reader: this takes place in the early days of the Hyperforce. Early days, as in "six months after they joined up."
Hence, the old Mandarin is in this. Hoorah! He's so much fun to write with.
I consider this oneshot to be...Well, sort of an "explanation." Gibson is a bit of a perfectionist. Perhaps this is why.
I appreciate any constructive criticism you have. Or just any old reviews. This IS a oneshot, so don't go telling me to "update soon" because there won't BE any updates.
Let the record show that I do not own "Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!" Let the record also show that I don't own any television program. Or anything else...
Antauri wasn't himself. Mandarin glared back at the black cyborg in disgust. How could he, of all monkeys, betray them? He just stood there - his ghost claws activated and a portentous atmosphere the only thing breaking the silence. Behind him was the human villain they'd been tasked with capturing. The human typed apathetically on his computers, allowing his drones and Antauri to take care of them. So self-assured that he would win.
But the human didn't really matter, did he?
Antauri had been manipulating them the whole time. Antauri pretended he was fighting against his true master. Antauri had pitched in the idea of this ambush. Antauri had acknowledged the human's summons and stood by him. The plan was clever, but highly unanticipated. Why hadn't the team seen it?! It was obvious! Gibson...Why hadn't he said something? Gibson had been working alongside Antauri the whole time, helping him to execute his plan. Maybe they were in cohoots. But when Mandarin looked back at their scientist, he saw only pure shock. Shock that was reflected in every face.
Mandarin couldn't believe that he'd been brushing against a traitor. He snarled at the thought and poised his energy sword.
'I don't believe it,' whispered Nova. Louder: 'Antauri wouldn't do this! Maybe he's being controlled!'
'No, this isn't brainwashing,' Mandarin growled.
'I admit that I find this a...painfully unexpected turn of events,' said Gibson.
'He probably just wants to take over so he can control the amusement park and hog all the rides!' Otto expertly concluded.
Sprx only showed his rage by taking out his magnets.
'You will not succeed, Antauri,' frowned Mandarin.
'We will see if that is true in a minute,' Antauri said.
The team leader spat on the ground, causing Nova to retreat to a safe distance. 'You four take care of that pitiful human and his drones. Antauri's mine!'
'But Mandarin!' said Gibson. 'You against Antauri?! Logically speaking, he has the advantage! His claws disrupt electricity and your sword is powered by it. As such, Antauri has the capability to ultimately defeat -'
'Shut up and do it. Hyperforce GO!'
Everyone minus Gibson sprang into action. He sensed him lingering, his mouth open in a silent plea to consider his calculations. But Mandarin apparently made his intentions clear, and the wordless discussion ended with a cry of "Proton Scalpel!"
Mandarin turned his attention back to Antauri. This was a duel he'd been waiting for. Gibson was incorrect. Their respective weapons were evenly matched, however Mandarin had the advantage. He, an experienced soldier, retained the upper hand. He and Antauri circled each other. Antauri's face was surprisingly blank for the duration of the frighteningly tense silence. Then, the air snapped.
A bolt of blue lightning extended from his blade and struck where Antauri had been moments before. Mandarin charged, engaging him in close-combat. Antauri effortlessly dived over his sword strikes, but he couldn't dodge the shield. Antauri balanced on it. The blade jerked upwards. Antauri cried out in surprise and did a back-flip to avoid fatal injury.
Mandarin tossed his sword. Antauri dusk, the electric blade narrowly missing the horn on his helmet. The weapon spun around - taking out many drones - and return to its owner's hand in a perfect example of the boomerang effect. That's when Antauri shot a long-range Claw Disruptor attack. Mandarin's shield sparked. He was forced to tossed off the glove. Growling, he parried Antauri's incoming attack. Antauri twisted and pinned him against the wall. Their eyes met.
It was very distinct. There was no mistaking it. Antauri slowly nodded, then gestured towards the human. The others had been so preoccupied, not one attack had hit him. Mandarin relaxed, allowing the act to proceed.
There was a small explosion. Mandarin found himself pinned to the ground, Antauri with a claw raised - supposedly ready to kill. He never got time to react. Gibson, from the far side of the arena, leapt towards them and tackled the black simian. They tumbled away into a cloud of smoke. Mandarin raised his sword and set his eyes on the human.
A familiar tingling sensation crawled through his body, like bolts of electricity. Every muscle tensed and his eyes glowed vivid red in the sheer excitement of the battle. Mandarin sprung up onto the human's perfect, blocking the latter's view of his computer screens. Sweat ran down the man's cheek. Mandarin grinned darkly, raised his sword, and did a wild turn. He dived into the computers, leaving behind sparks from its exposed inards.
There was a calculated three second pause before the computer exploded. Mandarin used the force of the detonation to fly halfway across the arena. He telepathically lowered himself to the ground, landing flawlessly on his feet. At the same time, the man dropped, unconscious, directly in front of him.
One by one, his team reappeared. Antauri was the first, along with Gibson - who was running a finger along the rim of his helmet in puzzlement. Otto followed, a saw torn off. (He promptly ignored the others and scavenged the wreckage for his missing parts.) Nova was next, anxiously glancing at Antauri but not saying anything. Sprx pushed aside a deactivated drone and took his place by Mandarin. He drew both magnets and aimed.
'Wait, Sprx,' directed Mandarin. 'Antauri, why didn't you tell us that this was your plan the entire time? Is it so difficult for you tell us when you have such brilliant ideas?!'
'...I believed that the act would be more convincing if I was the only one doing the acting,' explained Antauri in a calm voice. 'I also foresaw that someone...' (He glanced at Otto.) '...might unintentionally alert the human to my plan.'
The rest of the monkeys, minus Mandarin and Gibson, blinked in shock in confusion.
'There is logic in that,' said Gibson.
An unpleasant feeling materialized somewhere inside of Mandarin. Annoyance or jealousy?
It didn't matter.
'Listen to me, all of you!' Mandarin shouted. 'You come up with a plan that may be a breakthrough, you inform me. That's an order, unless you want to be torn to bits! As for our performance today -'
'Performance?' Sprx laughed coldly. 'What are we, circus monkeys?'
'Oh!' exclaimed Otto. 'I love the circus.'
'I meant how we executed this!' said Mandarin. 'We need to work on avoiding damage to the city when in battle.' He indicated the mess, including beheaded drones. 'Also...who is guarding the villain? Look at him! He may be unconscious, but what if he wasn't? It's our duty to protect the city, not to let the villains get away!...Even if the humans are too lazy to do it themselves.'
Mandarin scanned them individually. Antauri and Nova both showed signs of protest. Gibson, Sprx, and Otto fixed him with guiltless, however submissive, expressions. He was grateful that the majority were loyalists.
'Mr. Gibson,' said Mandarin. 'Come with me. We're taking the human. The rest of you get back to the Super Robot.'
Gibson seemed very reluctant to be alone with him. But Antauri gave him a reassuring nod, before Otto, Sprx, and Nova took off with him. They were long gone by the time he and Mandarin secured the unresponsive human and lifted him up.
They flew in silence. Mandarin's mind raced with rage, so powerful that his course had to be corrected twice by Gibson. Each time, a fresh way of scalding annoyance hit him.
'...Is...Is something wrong?' Gibson asked after a while.
'Two mistakes in one fight, Mr. Gibson,' said Mandarin. He was surprised to find that his voice was composed, but with a familiar icy edge to it. 'That isn't acceptable. If you want to be the team's scientist, I expect your judgement to always be correct, be it in a mere chemistry experiment or in battle. Antauri may be my right hand, but I consider you to be my left. Your evaluations have always been reliable. That is why I must keep you from making mistakes. There is no room for them in our world.'
By now, they were relieved of escorting the human. They harshly dropped him twelve feet to the ground, nearby some of Otto's cop drones. Mandarin blocked out the noise of cheering humans. He lead Gibson back into the air.
'Mistake number one, you suggested that I am incapable of defeating Antauri in battle,' he said.
'Calculating the possibilites, plus your advantages and disadvantages, it is most likely that -'
'But you refrain from pointing that out...especially in front of the others,' said Mandarin. 'I am the leader, Gibson. I have to maintain a certain image. It's been a year since the Hyperforce was created. You should've learned that by now. I cannot afford to appear weak to the rest. The others have also seemed to grasp this concept, even Otto. I never knew you could be so slow to the idea.'
Gibson's face fell.
'Mistake number two, you attacked Antauri. It was an obvious set-up. You should've taken note of how we were trying to avoid harming each other, in order to surprise the human when the time came. If Antauri had really betrayed us, I would've died with honour back there. I have always known that I would die in battle. Perhaps it would've been my time. I don't want you to try and evade fate in that manner, again.'
'Are you telling me not to try and save my team mates when they're in danger?!'
'In my case, yes. I don't require assistance. I'd rather die...Hal, I can't protect you from anything. You have to look out for yourself in this matter. No mistakes. Everything you do must be right, any which way, or else somebody might pay the ultimate price. Do you understand?'
His mouth opened. Gibson shut it and looked away. Very quietly: 'Yes, sir.'
Mandarin glared towards the Super Robot, perched on the far side of the sea. Home. 'Let's go.'
Gibson lagged behind the entire way.