|Season 2, Episode 7|
|Air date||October 16th, 2015|
Rise of Gamma: Part 2
Duel of the Greats is the seventh episode of Tech 10: Rebooted's second season, and the nineteenth episode overall.
Tech, Moranna and Napoleon were in Tech’s back office, as usual. Aquadilus was reading his daily newspaper, and Alvono was napping inside the Pyronaut Blade. All in all, it appeared to be a relatively normal day.
“So, what’s on today’s agenda?” Napoleon asked. “Fighting the Obsidian Death? Doing more research? Setting up a laser on the moon?”
“No, no, and no.” Tech replied. “Granted, the last one has some merit, but still. Today, I need to do some training.”
“With who?” Moranna asked.
“What do you mean, with who? I don’t need to train with anyone!”
“Then how are you supposed to learn the most effective ways to apply your forms?”
“Who would I even train with?! It’s not like there’s someone out there with my specific alien set!”
“Maybe not, but I’m willing to bet that there’s someone with a very similar set.” Aquadilus interrupted.
“Igneoux, you moron.”
“Who’s Igneoux?” Napoleon asked.
“Some alternate version of me that lives in this timeline now.” Tech explained. “Don’t really know much about him other than that.”
“That sounds pretty convenient.” Moranna said.
“Problem is, one thing we do know about him is that his transformation matrix doesn’t work anymore.”
“So what? He’s still got the experience.” Aquadilus pointed out. “It’s not like you have any better options.”
“I guess not.” Tech grumbled. “Fine, just look up where he is.”
“How are you going to do that?” Moranna asked.
“The SpecTrix has a DNA Tracker built into it. We just need to find the DNA signal that matches me that isn’t me.”
“So Igneoux is you from another timeline?” Napoleon repeated.
“Yeah, we just established that.” Tech replied.
“Boy, ain’t that some foreshadowing.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Well, I met an Igneoux once too.”
“I don’t think it was the same one, though.” Napoleon scratched his head. “The one I met was a twenty-something samurai that helped me fight demons and save a magic realm from hordes of monsters.”
Tech gave him a blank stare.
“I have no idea how to respond to that.”
“I can do magic!”
“...Good for you.”
With a green flash, Tech, Moranna, and Napoleon appeared at the entrance of grungy alleyway. Near the end of the alleyway, Igneoux sat, clad in his usual bronze armor and polishing his dual-pronged sword. As the three approached him, he looked up from his blade.
“Been a while.” Igneoux remarked. “Who are your friends?”
“’Friends’ might be a bit strong.” Tech replied. “These are Moranna Ceres and Napoleon Eldridge.” He gestured to each of them respectively.
“Pleasure to meet you.”
“Man, does every Igneoux have a sword, or is that just a coincidence?” Napoleon commented.
“My Igneoux didn’t. He had a hoverboard.”
“Anyways, what’s up?” Igneoux asked Tech. “I’m assuming you’re not here for small talk.”
“Aquadilus says I need training, and he thinks you’re the best person for the job.” Tech explained.
“Well, we probably have similar alien sets, so I guess that makes sense. Not sure how useful I’ll be without actual access to my aliens, but I’ll see what I can do.”
“Great.” Tech pulled up the SpecTrix. “We can head back to base and-”
Tech was interrupted by a beeping noise from the SpecTrix, which was quickly followed by Aquadilus calling.
“Oh, for the love of...” Tech pressed the ‘Accept Call’ button. “What is it, Aquadilus?”
“We have a caller for you. Decidedly less evil than the last person who did this, but still someone you should probably avoid pissing off.”
“Is it Kroz?”
“Fine, put him on.”
There was a quick crackling noise as Aquadilus switched lines.
“Hey, this is Tech.”
“Hello, Logical.” Kroz’s voice sounded from the other end of the line. “I have a request.”
“If this is another call to go off-planet, I’m gonna have to shut that down right now.”
“I can assure you, it is not.”
“I believe we should have a rematch.”
“In our last battle, we tied.” Kroz explained. “However, I was somewhat overconfident in my underestimation of you, and you were much less experienced. Having been able to defeat Dethrouge, I expect that you’ve become a much stronger fighter.”
“I don’t know.” Tech replied. “We’ve sort of got other stuff to deal with at the moment.”
“I think it’s a good idea.” Igneoux interjected.
“If you want me to train you, I need a general idea of where you’re at. A duel with someone else is a good way to demonstrate that.”
“Igneoux has a point.” Moranna agreed. “A one-on-one fight is a pretty effective measurement of where you stand.”
“I just wanna see stuff blow up.” Napoleon said.
“Okay, okay, fine!” Tech snapped. “Alright Kroz, you’re on. Where are we fighting?”
“I’ve selected a somewhat more dynamic environment than the desert of our last battle. I’ll send you the coordinates. What time would you like the duel to take place?”
“Let’s just get this over with, man. Would a couple of hours from now work?”
“Of course. I expect to see you there.”
There was a click on the other end of the line as Kroz hung up.
“Not what I was planning on doing with my day.” Tech grumbled.
“See, this is why I never plan out my day.” Napoleon said. “Something or another usually ends up happening.”
“Like fighting monster hordes?”
“That Eldridge kid confuses me.” Igneoux quietly remarked to Tech.
“He confuses everybody.” Tech shrugged. “Could probably kick us all into next week if he wanted, though, so I don’t question it.”
A couple of hours later, Tech, Moranna, Napoleon, and Igneoux had arrived on a flat, grassy mountaintop next to a ravine in a green flash of teleportation.
“See, you have it easy.” Igneoux said. “My Ultimatrix couldn’t do any fancy stuff like that, so I had to just fly all over the place.”
“You know, you’re pretty much the only person I’ve ever heard complain about self-propelled flight.” Tech replied. “My life ain’t all happiness and rainbows either, you know. More like guns and roses.”
“What’s with all the pop-culture references? Pretty much all you’re doing is dating your quips.”
“I do what I want, and if what I want is to make crappy pop-cultural references, then by god, I’m going to do it!”
Before Igneoux could respond, a low rumble crept up on the area, shaking the ground. Above them, a large warship uncloaked, with a hatch on its side opening. Out of the hatch leapt Warlord Kroz, who landed on the ground with a thud, kicking up a small cloud of dirt.
“I hope you haven’t been waiting long.” He remarked, brushing himself off.
“Nah, we just got here.”
Kroz turned his head to Tech’s companions.
“I see you’ve assembled something of a team since our last encounter.”
“Yeah, but they’re just here to watch.”
“You three may want to take cover during the fight.” Kroz advised. “We will likely be doing significant damage to the landscape.”
“No worries!” Napoleon replied, casually summoning his shield construct. “This baby’s harder than diamond!”
Kroz turned back to Tech, who had his arms folded.
“Are you ready?”
“As I’ll ever be.” Tech replied, transforming into Overtide. “Let’s do this!”
Tech and Kroz both backed away from each other and assumed battle stances. The other three backed away from the scene and took shelter behind Napoleon’s shield.
After a few moments of tension, Kroz made the first move, launching his fist towards Tech at high speed. Tech quickly formed a ball of ice in front of the blow, which shattered the ice into a fine mist that clouded the area. Due to Overtide’s composition, Kroz was unable to sense where he was, leaving him wide open.
The sound of ice and water flowing sounded from his right, giving away Tech’s location. Kroz quickly lunged forward with another punch, catching Tech off guard and knocking him back. While Tech was stunned, Kroz continued punching, slamming his fists into Tech’s body in a barrage of blows.
As he was about to land another strike, the mist began coalescing around his arm, quickly freezing it in place and making it go numb. Before he could react, the remaining mist coalesced around the rest of his body, completely icing him over. Tech swiftly recovered and summoned a torrent of ice and water around his body, creating a drill shape. He then tackled Warlord Kroz, shattering his body into pieces and sending his core flying.
He turned the ice back into water and forced it into the earth, carrying the particles of Kroz’s body with it. After a few seconds, however, the particles forced their way up from the ground anyways and flowed towards Kroz’s core, reforming his body.
“A unique strategy, but an Emotispecter’s body is made of more persistent material than that.” He remarked.
“Good point.” Tech replied. “Looks like you could use a bit of a blow-dry though.”
Tech transformed into Terminano and lunged at Kroz, this time using the Eletatis Charge to speed up his movements. Initially running straight towards him, he changed direction mid-second as Kroz was about to strike, dodging the blow and speeding by him fast enough to pull apart some of Kroz’s body in his wake.
Kroz reformed his body and took off after Tech, moving surprisingly quickly. Tech veered off to the side, running off the top of the mountain and onto its side, moving along the cliffside at high speed and using the Eletatis Charge to attach every step to the rock. Kroz flew after him and punched the side of the cliff, cracking the rock and dislodging the chunk of stone Tech was running on.
As he fell to the bottom of the ravine, Tech slammed on the SpecTrix dial, transforming into Sandrill. He changed himself into a thin stream of sand with a drill at the end and bored into the earth as he made impact, quickly digging underground. Kroz hovered in place, watching carefully for any movements. Spotting a small patch of earth beginning to shift, he swiftly tore a chunk of rock from the cliff face and hurled it downwards.
Tech bored up from underneath the ground and coalesced into his humanoid form. He caught sight of the boulder flying towards him and quickly stepped to the side, narrowly avoiding being hit.
“Ha! Missed!” He gloated.
“...Really?” Kroz replied.
Tech’s eyes widened in realization as a crashing sound came from behind him, prompting him to turn around. The boulder had bounced off the cliffside behind him, losing a few chunks in the process, and almost immediately smashed straight into his face, knocking him over. Kroz took the opportunity to divebomb Tech fist-first, hitting him so hard that the ground beneath him split open.
Tech quickly recovered and melted into sand, sliding into the crack in the ground. After a few seconds, a green flash came from the crack, followed by a suspicious red glow and wave of heat. Kroz quickly jumped back from the crack, narrowly avoiding being hit by a stream of lava. The crack exploded outwards, allowing Tech as Magmator to jump out of it.
He threw up his arms and shot out streams of lava, spinning them around his head until they formed a spherical shape with a small opening that led to a hollow center. Before Kroz could react, he transformed back into Overtide and replaced the stream of lava with water, cooling the sphere into solid rock. One of the water streams switched directions, flowing through the opening in the rock and filling the boulder’s center. The opening was swiftly sealed up by Tech transforming the water into ice.
Tech used his water streams to hurl the boulder at Kroz, who prepared to dodge. A few feet before it made impact, however, Tech quickly clenched his fist, transforming the water in the center of the already-brittle rock into ice, expanding it and creating enough pressure for the rock to explode, sending shards and chunks of stone flying in all directions. Kroz dodged as many as possible, but ended up getting struck in the core by a stray chunk, dazing him momentarily.
Tech took the opportunity to transform into Terminano again and rush Kroz, unleashing an unbelievably fast flurry of punches. Temporarily unable to disperse thanks to the blow to his core, Kroz bore the full brunt of the attack rush, which eventually ended with one last decisive punch that sent him flying into the cliffside.
Up on the top of the mountain, Moranna, Napoleon, and Igneoux had moved out from behind the shield construct, and were intently watching the fight.
“What are your thoughts so far?” Moranna asked.
“Well, he’s better than I was at his age, but not by a whole lot.” Igneoux replied. “His strategies are admittedly pretty unique, but he keeps leaving himself open, especially with his constant form changes. I get the feeling that this Warlord Kroz he’s fighting has been holding back.”
“Well, he can apparently kill anything with a nervous system using a single punch, so that’s probably a fair assumption.” Napoleon remarked.
“Actually, the only forms Tech has been using don’t have nervous systems, rendering a large chunk of an Emotispecter’s ability set practically useless.” Moranna pointed out. “He’s not very good with resource management during a fight, but his on-the-spot thinking is fairly decent.”
“Point taken, but that resource management is practically half the fight in the first place.” Igneoux said. “He runs out of things to take advantage of, he loses, simple as tha-hold on, what’s he doing?”
Moranna and Napoleon followed Igneoux’s gaze towards Tech, who had jumped back a few feet and detransformed, using his narrow time frame before Kroz recovered to pull up the SpecTrix’s inventory. As he grabbed a small bottle, its content unidentifiable from their viewpoint, Kroz pulled himself up and advanced towards him. Tech turned to face Kroz, putting the bottle behind his back and opening it. While he was turning, a sharp glimmer momentarily glared off the bottle’s contents.
“...Oh my god, he was serious.” Moranna breathed, her eyes widening in disbelief.
“Serious about what?” Igneoux asked.
Back at the bottom of the ravine, Kroz dusted himself off.
“I have to admit some confusion here.” Kroz said. “Why would you take the short window of free time you had to assume a weaker form?”
“Because, for all awesome might of the forms within the SpecTrix, there’s one specific asset of human culture that they could never replicate in all its deviousness!” Tech replied.
“And what would that be?”
Tech whipped the bottle out from behind his back and shook it at Kroz, creating a cloud of tiny, colored, shimmering dust that went everywhere, more than a fair amount getting in Kroz’s eyes.
“GLITTER!” He yelled triumphantly.
“You have got to be kidding me.” Igneoux rubbed the bridge of his nose.
“I can’t believe he actually went through with that.” Moranna remarked. “I don’t know whether to be annoyed at his stupidity or gaze in awe at the vast gulf of idiocy that went into the making of this decision.”
Tech swiftly transformed into Golurth and stomped on the ground, shooting him up into the air on a pillar of earth. Once he reached the top of the ravine, he leapt off the tower, causing it to crumble, and performed a rather impressive belly flop directly onto Kroz.
“What is this, the WWE?!” Igneoux said. “What is he even doing?!”
“Winning, by the looks of it.” Napoleon replied.
After a few moments, Kroz recovered, grabbing Tech and hurling him away as he got up from the ground. Before Tech could react, he flew over and began smashing his fists into Tech in an attack rush, causing chunks of earth to go flying. He reared back one last time to deliver a more powerful blow, but was interrupted by Tech, who punched him away.
“You can’t stun an Animam Creari.” Tech explained. “Trust me, I’ve tried.”
“Perhaps not, but I can still whittle you down.” Kroz replied.
“Then let’s try something different, shall we?”
Tech spun the SpecTrix dial and pressed down on it, transforming into Fearoid. Kroz raised an eyebrow at this.
“You expect to defeat me using my own species?” He asked quizzically. “I have to point out that I’m a great deal more experienced than you in this particular regard.”
“Well, yeah, if I were fighting you as just a normal Leader-Class Emotispecter, that’d be true.” Tech moved his hand over the SpecTrix dial. “But...”
Tech slammed down on the dial, causing a green wave to explode across his body. The particles making up his form buzzed around, rearranging themselves and creating a swirling red mass. After a few moments, the particles suddenly converged, reforming into a body that was swiftly equipped with heavy armor pieces. This new form had a darker color, with no discernible core and only two eyes.
“...That’s not really what I had planned.” Tech finished.
“An evolved Emotispecter.” Igneoux remarked. “Never thought of that myself, though I have to admit my circumstances were wildly different.”
“He doesn’t even know how to use the standard form.” Moranna said. “In what way did he think this was a good idea?”
Down in the ravine, Kroz and Tech were both standing motionless in place, waiting for the other to make a move. After a few tense moments, Kroz lunged at Tech, who managed to sidestep out of the way and grab Kroz as he passed, slamming him into the ground. He tried to get up, but swiftly found himself being grabbed by the leg and slammed around into whatever surface Tech could find, dazing him.
Tech took the opportunity to hurl Kroz up and dropkick him, smashing him into the nearby cliffside with so much force that it created a rockslide, trapping him underneath the rubble. Tech smirked and turned away.
“Reason number one I never tried that.” Igneoux sighed. “The whole bloodlust aspect can get extremely overbearing.”
Underneath the rubble, Kroz began to stir, though just barely. He had never been beaten this badly before, though considering that an opponent of this caliber had never existed before, one could forgive him on that point. He had tried using his neural manipulation abilities, but they didn’t seem to have had any effect, and Tech’s evolved form was far too fast in its response time to land any proper hits.
His body seemed drained of energy, unable to keep fighting. As he was about to drift back into slumber, he suddenly remembered the words of those who had raised him. Those who, to the rest of the universe, could not possibly still be alive. Yet they were.
“You will not know your strength,” They had repeated to him countless times. “until you know your weakness.”
“But I have no weakness.” He had protested, all those years ago. “Nobody can defeat me!”
“The universe is a large place, young one!” They had chided him in response. “It is your duty to find your better, and to learn from the experience of fighting them!”
His fingers began to twitch, signaling the start of his energy returning.
“Then, and only then, will you be ready to restore these lost souls to their former glory!”
“But why?” He had asked. “How would being defeated help me become stronger?”
“It is not the defeat itself that will allow you to grow. It will be the way you carry on in the face of that defeat that gives you strength!”
A strange new energy began pulsing through Kroz’s body, something that seemed to both rejuvenate and change him. He felt stronger than ever, his eyes snapping open and then narrowing in focus.
It was time to end this.
Kroz exploded out of the rubble, causing a shower of debris to strike Tech, who turned to find an entirely new opponent awaiting him, one whose form seemed to match his own.
“So, this is what the elders meant.” Kroz remarked, looking over his new body. “Certainly took long enough.”
“Hold on a second, since when can you evolve?!” Tech snapped in disbelief.
“Since now, I suppose.” Kroz replied. “Though I must admit a certain level of confusion myself.”
At the top of the mountain, Igneoux, Moranna, and Napoleon all looked on with varying levels of shock.
“Can Emotispecters usually evolve themselves in this timeline?” Igneoux asked. “Is that a thing?”
“No, it’s not.” Moranna replied. “I have no idea how this is even possible.”
“Well, to be fair, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen something evolve itself without a machine.” Napoleon said. “Prelude totally did that too.”
“Yeah, still trying to figure that one out.”
Back at the bottom of the ravine, Tech and Kroz once again faced each other, this time with a new sense of determination.
“You ready to do this?” Tech asked.
“This will be our final battle.” Kroz replied. “I’ve prepared for a situation such as this my whole life.”
“Is that a yes?”
After a few seconds, Tech and Kroz rushed each other at the same time, each landing a hit directly on the others head. Though both had to take time to recover, they swiftly lunged again, this time with both of them slamming into each others bodies with a flurry of punches.
They both ended their attack rushes by pulling back, ready for one last, decisive punch. Each attempting to launch their attacks first, they ended up smashing their blows into each others heads at the same time, resulting in a cross-counter that sent them both flying into opposite clffsides.
Beaten and bruised, they both took longer than usual to pull themselves up, pausing in place to catch their breath, glaring at each other the whole time. After a few moments of this, they launched towards each other, each one preparing their final blow. They collided in midair, but had lunged so quickly that they kept going, each landing on their feet on the opposite side they had started from.
The atmosphere could be cut with a knife as the three at the top of the mountain watched on. They could all tell that the final blow had been dealt, but to whom, it was not yet clear. Tech and Kroz themselves stood perfectly still. After a few moments, they shifted...
And both collapsed.
Tech was automatically devolved by the SpecTrix, with Kroz losing his evolution as well. Igneoux, Moranna, and Napoleon rushed down to the bottom of the ravine as quickly as possible, checking on the two combatants.
“They’re both alive.” Moranna confirmed. “They just beat the crap out of each other.”
“I’ve never seen anything like it!” Igneoux remarked. “Well, not in real life, at any rate. A cross-punch finisher that leaves both opponents down for the count? It’s incredible!”
“Ugh...” Tech began to stir. “I feel like I got hit by a train.”
“You might as well have.” Kroz replied, beginning to wake up as well. “Of course, the feeling is mutual.”
“So, what?” Napoleon asked. “Is it a tie?”
“I suppose it is.” Kroz said, slowly picking himself up. “History repeats.”
“History needs to learn proper story formatting.” Tech groaned, detransforming. “Talk about uninspired.”
“Well, uninspired or not, I have to thank both it and you, Logical.” Kroz offered Tech a hand. “I believe this part of my journey is complete.”
“Wait, so the whole reason you were going around, fighting people and conquering planets was to unlock your super mode?” Tech asked, accepting Kroz’s help to stand up. “Seems kinda overcomplicated.”
“It was hardly my idea, believe me.”
“So, Igneoux, what’s your whole input on this?” Tech asked.
“...Training starts tomorrow.” Igneoux replied. “Lots of it. I mean...just...lots.”
“Well, thanks...I think.”
“I’m going to head out.” Kroz said. “I have much work to do.”
“I guess that figures.” Tech replied. “Well, good luck doing...whatever it is you do, I dunno.”
Kroz nodded and flew off, boarding his warship and taking off to parts unknown.
“As for me, I am going to go back to the shop and try to figure out what the hell just happened.”
“You know, I feel like all this weird stuff is connected somehow.” Napoleon commented. “Like there’s something we’re just...missing.”
“And that’s why we’re going to figure it out.” Tech said. “Come on, try and keep up.”
While Tech and Napoleon spoke, with Moranna quietly shaking her head on the sidelines, Igneoux stared up into the heavens.
‘There’s a lot going on we don’t understand.’ He thought to himself. ‘Somehow, I have a bad feeling about this.’