Disclaimer: Original characters and universe belong to Sean Akins and Jason DeMarco. Original comic was created by numerous people who scripted, drew, inked, lettered, and edited the entire thing, it is understood, for free. They didn't make a cent off it, and neither will I.
A/N: This marks the last of my Toonami fanfiction adapted from any sort of narrative in the source material. This time around, an especially big thanks is in order for Obsidian Productions on FanFiction and Hat-Man on DeviantArt, whose reviews for "Toonami: Dead or Alive" are more than I ever would have believed. I'm especially thankful to Hat-Man, as he is responsible for having gathered up all the scattered panels from the original "Endgame" comic and arranging them in sequence on his DA page and YouTube account. Not only was that a big help to me, it was awesome for Toonami and any fans who may be interested.
So sit back, grab a can, bottle, or mug, and let me know how this fic compares to the rest. Anyone who thinks the first line sounds familiar gets an appreciative nod. Take heed, it's obscure and very unspecific.
Episode 1: Space is the Place
"Take her up. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's it … keep 'er goin' …" Two Clydes, each clamped to either end of a girder, responded carefully to TOM's directions. Being the size of volleyballs, they kept it aloft using their relatively powerful antigrav cells while TOM made sure everything lined up. Normally, fixes like this weren't necessary on the Absolution, but recent events had placed it under some pretty intense hyperspace strain, warping and damaging more structure than Ghost Planet Industries could pay for. That had been many months ago, and there was still more to be done.
"Right there," TOM said once he was sure that everything was aligned. Hovering watchfully behind the Clyde 50's, a trio of Clyde 52's expressed smiley faces. "Way to go, guys," TOM told the eyeball-shaped 50's. "Take a break." After securing the girder with heavy bolts, he activated his plasma torch and set to welding it firmly in place. This corner of the ship had been sealed up and pumped with oxygen so the heat could do its work, making whiteness flare across this reflective optic visor as the torch lit up. The Clyde 50's, the only two left on the entire ship, departed. This made room for the Clyde 52's—mere bottle cap imitations that couldn't do much more than shift through different emoticons on their face-screens—to crowd in and smile away at TOM as he worked.
"Ah, beat it. You guys are useless."
Their circular screens scrolled over to an angry face, a sad face, and a shocked face, respectively.
"Okay, okay …" he tapped off the plasma torch. "You, uh … you provide an amusing aesthetic to the … uh … variety of established themes Toonami is know for. How's that?" All three Clydes immediately and simultaneously scrolled over to blank faces. TOM ignored them and reactivated the plasma torch to continue welding. When he glanced over a few seconds later, the indignant Clyde 52's had buzzed off to find something else to do.
"I swear, whoever designed those things must've been joking around."
"We broadcast to Earth," Sara pointed out. "And not all of the hosts on this show … meaning none … have expressive, changeable faces. So the Clyde 52's do make sense from a marketing point of view."
"That's no excuse. They want another generation of little helper robots, they should at least give us some that have actual functions. Being cute is not a function. Besides, we've gotten along just fine without putting a pleasant and trustworthy visage on this guy." He thumbed to himself, even though Sara wouldn't see his gesture without a Clyde present.
"I dare you to say we could've afforded better," Sara countered. "With the amount of damage done to the Absolution's structural integrity, our Clyde fund was running pretty dry."
"That was a pain," TOM half-chuckled. They could joke about it now that their lives weren't in peril anymore. "But I still say they're a pretty lame generation of Clyde. Fun, but frankly lame. I mean, they can't even do half the things the 50's can!" He threw his hands out haphazardly, causing the torch to slip out of his big fingers and clatter to the floor.
"You're not exactly Mister Smooth yourself," Sara commented wryly.
"Hey, are we totally forgetting the massive freaking ordeal that put the Absolution in such crummy shape to begin with?" he argued, scooping up the tool and gesticulating with it more carefully this time. "I fought my way through a virus-infected system and came pretty darn close to beating the crap out of a psychotic AI with a god complex. I'm was pretty amazing, and that's not my ego speaking." He went back to the welding.
"Sorry, Tom, but it actually wasn't much different than if you had been playing a total-immersion video game." She maintained a sympathetic tone of voice. "Laws of physics in the cyberverse are very accommodating. If you'd had to do all that in the real world, you would have failed rather quickly."
"Yeah, I guess you're right. Guess that means I'm just a glorified gamer." He didn't say this without some satisfaction.
"If that's how you want to look at it," Sara laughed.
TOM realized he was letting the nozzle of the plasma torch run off the mark and quickly guided it back. "But hey, I'm still more-or-less a badass. Who takes care of all the maintenance and stuff around here?"
Sara whined hesitantly, "Well … You do sufficient work."
"'S'cuse me?" he said with mock-offense, stepping back to consider both his handiwork and Sara's words.
"I recall you grumbling quite a bit the first time you had to do a great deal of repair work when our engines were shut down and our communication was all but shot."
"Oh, yeah," TOM admitted as he remembered himself uttering such complaints as, "Man, this stuff is complicated," and "I don't think I was built for this." Presently, he concluded, "I guess it's easy to think I'm a wizard when there's no one better to match myself against. Still, I'm better at it now."
"You're a regular Han Solo."
TOM turned and strode through the airlock, his flush audio receptors picking up the receding hiss as the gasses were sucked out. A Clyde, the one who'd helped him the most during the hyperspace ordeal, floated up to him with a parcel clamped underneath its body. He'd begun calling this his "Companion Clyde" after finishing (and singing the praises of) Portal. He took the package, which was lumber-shaped and taller than he was by ten inches, awkwardly under his arm and gave the Companion Clyde his tools so it could return them to the utility compartment.
"You probably already know what's in here, since you're basically roommates with my internet ..." he said, reaching the bridge and going through the motions of unpacking his mail, "... but check it out anyway." In the stylistic packing material was a metal staff that bore a T-shaped appendage at the end. Three upward-facing nozzles were built into the appendage, two at either tip, one in the middle. "Pretty sweet, right?"
"Familiar as we are, I never took you for the type to collect cheesy-looking weapons that are made for nothing more than display."
"Yeah, well that's not all. Look, here's the real treat." He activated the contrived weapon, which triggered the manifestation of three fiery blades at the end. Ignited, it resembled a trident. "Again, pretty cool, right?"
"It just looks like a big fork to me," Sara sighed. She glanced curiously at a radar scan of nearby space, but continued mocking the Toonami host. "Can I just pretend to be impressed? Ooo, ahhh."
TOM deactivated the trident and rested it on his shoulder. "What's up?" he asked, indicating the map.
"Oh, it just looked like there was a glitch in the scan. Probably one of those ghost signals."
"Yes. This sector of space has, for a while, been the source of some urban legend about weak distress signals straying about."
"Maybe we should look into it a little if it's a distress signal," TOM recommended.
"It's been going on for years. I'd rather we leave it to people with time and money to waste who actually want to be conspiracy hunters. There's a lot of space here. I'm better off in the company of people who have the time and money to waste on useless weapon replicas … You know, the power supplies on those things are hardly meant to hold out."
"That just makes it safer."
"Are you actually going to use it for something?"
"I can't really think of anything, no. Although maybe I can write my name in the air …"
"Sounds like time and money well invested," Sara said with an eye-roll that none but her could see. "Just to be clear, though, that's about all I'm comfortable seeing you do with it. Don't even get me started on your Starcycle."
"Yeah, yeah, not Bruce Lee; don't worry, Sara, I'm aware." TOM set the trident aside as he assured her. Returning to his seat, he rubbed his chin curiously. "So, back to the Absolution: how are your readings on it?"
"Not as bad as they could be … but still not up to snuff. We still have at least another six-point-eight percent of the structure to replace or it won't be qualified for hyperspace travel for much longer."
TOM sighed. "That's what I was afraid of. 'Cept not with all the technical specs."
"The devil is in the details," Sara chimed. But the inflection dropped at the end of her voice as she glanced again at the radar.
"Hey, a bunch of new games came in the same package as my trident, you wanna—"
TOM jumped to his feet in alarm and looked up through the canopy as a spiked cluster of light popped out of a random point in space. Darting through the vacuum just outside, it skimmed down past the edge of the Absolution on a course toward the ship's underside, making TOM shift his gaze to a live feed on one of the bridge's holographic screens. The outboard camera was aimed at the reactor housing beneath the ship, which glowed with energy that was channeled to the Talon STs. The photon torpedo struck and exploded, lighting up all that energy and completely demolishing the reactor housing with an impact that sent waves of concussive force rippling through every level of the ship. In no time, they reached the bridge and TOM was thrown to the deck.