Prompt 23: Tower Block

"Mutate this Gangryn, build that Gangryn, restore power to the whole damn wrecked ship, Gangryn!" the small mutant inventor known as Gangryn muttered under his breath as he crawled through a small access tube. "What does Dread Wing think I am - a miracle worker? That's what he'll need if he ever expects Warnado to fly again."

Gangryn stopped by the relay ports he needed to reconnect. When the ship had crashed after their last attempt at flight and subsequent battle with Airlandis, most of the magma tubes had burst, flooding untold compartments and relays with molten rock. Gangryn had put all of Dread Wing's army under his command to work chipping away at the now-cooled and solidified stone. After they finished the grunt work, Gangryn and his team of newly-drafted Dramen slave engineers followed up with the delicate technical work. It wasn't as though one could trust the beautiful mechanics of the ship to the base minds of those...brutes that Dread Wing normally employed.

The inventor hadn't particularly liked Nocturna, but he had to admit to missing the only source of semi-intelligent conversation in Dread Wing's domain. Gangryn felt surrounded by fools, his true genius never appreciated. Often, Gangryn wondered if he would have been better truly accepting the sanctuary he had been offered by Airlandis. Had he not been so terrified of Dread Wing he... Well, the fact was he was terrified of the mutant king, and Gangryn knew he didn't have the mettle to challenge Dread. He was not strong, cunning, and crafty like Nocturna. Dread Wing would crush Gangryn like a toad if he smelled the slightest hint of treachery.

Gangryn was still furious about his beautiful machine known as the Brain Slave being destroyed by Dread Wing and the Dragon Flyz. It had been his greatest achievement - entry into both the human and dragon mind. It was a feat that he knew not even the humans had accomplished. The Brain Slave had also been Gangryn's one true opportunity to unseat Dread Wing. He daydreamed momentarily of liquefying the beast's brain with a mere thought, and chuckled at the notion.

Gangryn's thin fingers worked swiftly and soon the connection was back in place, the magma flowing like honey through the tubes, bringing heat and power to this section of the ship.

"Only a few hundred more relays to go," Gangryn grumbled to himself, picking up his tool kit and heading to the next station.

His massive worry now was the engines. Per his research, Gangryn found the engines had been pulverized into oblivion when the ship had crashed. And unless Gangryn was quite mistaken, he didn't see a large supply of warship engines lying around for the taking. Fryte was on a mission to locate pre-Cataclysmic relics that might be used as substitutes, but Gangryn wasn't holding his breath that the daft mutant's search would prove a success.

Gangryn had designed a few backup engines in the (likely) event that Fryte found nothing. However, even he was less than thrilled about attempting to use untested designs for such a crucial plan. Dread Wing felt no such qualms though, so Gangryn had set another team with the unenviable task of fabricating and installing his engines. No telling whether or not they would survive a trip through the Warp Winds, however.

Gangryn emerged from the access tube onto a platform overlooking the central shaft of Warnado. Gremwings buzzed all around, and Gangryn reminded himself that he was close to the Corridor of Blood (an altogether unpleasant place). No, he had little desire to become the lunch of his carnivorous gremwing creations (though he made a mental note to toss them a slave soon).

A Dark Dramen shoved Gangryn aside as he brushed by him on the platform. Despite his high rank as one of Dread Wing's high lieutenants, Gangryn got little if any respect from the common soldiers that the mutant lord commanded. It used to make him furious, but these days Gangryn hardly cared; the brutes were far too stupid to understand his genius, and would sadly always remain so. He almost pitied them. Almost.

It was days later when Fryte returned to Warnado telling wild tales of a strange pair that he had fought far past the reaches of Dread Wing's territory, barely escaping with his life. Gangryn didn't much care whether Fryte lived or died, but he was delighted for once to be proven wrong, as the mutant had towed back a fine pair of rocket boosters. Yes, Gangryn believed these would do quite nicely at replacing some of the damaged engines. He would still have to use his improvised designs, but at least now the inventor was confident they could make it through the Warp Winds again.

Dread Wing threw a grand feast that night for Fryte's return. Well, look who became the favored child with Nocturna gone. Gangryn was expected to attend, of course, though he hated such events. They were a waste of his one precious resource: time.

All during the reconstruction process, Gangryn had secretly been working on getting the Brain Slave back up and running. He had learned much from the initial prototype: for one, he was genetically coding this model to respond only to him. There would be no risk of Dread Wing abusing his beautiful machine again. Second, he was building it into an armor suit. Mobility would be key, rather than being confined to a chair like before.

And he had increased the power tenfold. The female dragonator Apex had formidable mental powers, both telepathic and telekinetic, but next to him her abilities would look like the cheap amusements that Dread Wing threw at his soldiers. Oh yes, he would enjoy wiping her mind more than anything.

His only problem with the suit was powering it. The original Brain Slave had taken massive amounts of energy and was hooked up directly to Warnado's fission engine. Trying to miniaturize that technology had proven most unsuccessful (as those unfortunate test subjects had proven quite adequately). Which brought Gangryn back to the amber crystals.

Somehow, it always seemed to come back to the amber crystals. He had spent the better part of his career searching for the secrets of the amber, only to have every lead come to a dead end (and often with rather explosive results). But if Gangryn ever wanted to make his Brain Slave armor operational, he would have to solve the secrets of the amber. If only he could get his claws on one of Airlandis' portable generators! The floating city rarely sent out colonization attempts any more, however, and those had always proven to be the best method by which to acquire the technology.

The speeches droned on at the feast, punctuated by harsh laughter and vile dancing by the slaves. Gangryn nursed a small cup of blood wine, though most of his "peers" were already quite drunk and pawing at the slave women like animals.

Fearing he would go completely mad if he stayed another moment, Gangryn excused himself from the table and started making his way to the door. Quite unfortunately, Fryte blocked the exit before he could make his escape.

"Where you going, little inventor," the grotesque mutant barked. "You dishonor me by leaving party!"

"You would have to have honor in order to be dishonored, Fryte," Gangryn lashed back. Feeling in his pocket, Gangryn was comforted to have his electro-spanner still there. He could easily dispatch a drunken Fryte if necessary with it.

Fryte's massive arm scratched his ugly head as he no doubt puzzled Gangryn's reply in his tiny brain, but by that point Gangryn had moved past him and into the hallway.

Away from the din of the revelry, Gangryn decided that Fryte would make an excellent first test subject for the powers of the Brain Slave armor. Gangryn smiled and adjusted his goggles to see in the gloom. Yes, destroying what little brain Fryte had would make an excellent first test indeed.