|Season 1, Episode 4|
|Air date||July 24, 2014|
Into The Pit
Fatal Light: Part 1
"You know the point of spying on people is to be stealthy, right?"
Tech and Alvono were in a dark series of alleyways at an unusually late hour. While Tech would much rather be sleeping, especially given what happened last time he went out on a late mission, the report of another weapons trading ring sparking up had gotten his interest. Aquadilus had managed to track down the location of an exchange spot, and had sent Tech the coordinates. Currently, he was hiding behind the corner of a building, trying to watch for the criminals while staying quiet.
Alvono, as usual, was not helping.
"Yeah, yeah, I know! Just have a little sympathy for a guy with oddly contructed nasal passages, okay?"
"You don't have nasal passages! You don't even breathe! And even if you could, why would I have any sympathy for someone not only sleeping on the job, but sounding like a grizzly bear having a noise fight with a semi?!"
"Oh, give me a break. This sword is comfortable."
Tech rolled his eyes and turned back to the clearing where the deal was supposed to take place. In the time he had been chewing out Alvono, who was currently fused with the Pyronaut Blade, a tall male figure fully covered in a mechanical suit seemingly made of bronze had made his way into the clearing. He looked around as if he were confused.
"Hey, you think that's one of our guys?" Alvono asked.
"I dunno." Tech replied, narrowing his eyes. "He seems a bit...lost to be one of the perps."
"I say we tackle him anyways."
"Okay, we'll tackle him stealthily."
Suddenly, there was the sound of a laser shot going off as the figure stepped to the side, narrowly dodging the shot.
"Who are you?"
The gruff voice came from the left side of the clearing as a stocky alien carrying a large metal briefcase stepped into view.
"Just someone passing through." The figure replied in a deep, muffled voice.
"Well, unless you pass through quickly, I'm afraid we're going to have a problem here."
"And why would that be?"
Heavy footsteps could be heard coming from the right side of the clearing, as a pair of hunched figures carrying a similar briefcase raced into view, skidding to a sudden stop.
"Hey, bud! We's gots them illegal weapons ya asked for!" One of them said, before noticing the bronze clad figure. "Who's dis chump?" The other asked, gesturing to him.
The stocky alien rubbed its temple in frustration.
"Frank...must I remind you of the first rule of secret dealings?"
"The first rule of secret dealings is to remain secret. You clearly saw there was someone here not specified to be here in our last communication, yet you blurted out your purpose in being here anyways. Now, what are we going to do about this?"
"Uhh...hope this was a prank or somethin' ya set up and go home?"
"No. Now what we do is ensure the lack of witnesses."
"I don'ts follow."
"We leave no trace we were here."
"We dispose of the evidence."
"We make sure the birdy don't sing."
"Ooohh, I gets it now! We's gotta kill him, right?"
"Yes, Frank. Yes we do."
The stocky alien and the hunched aliens all whipped out rather vicious looking laser guns and aimed them at the figure. Before Tech could react, however, the figure suddenly grabbed hold of a sword sheathed on his back and executed a well-timed spin, slicing off the fronts of the guns and causing them to explode in their wielder's faces. He jumped at each of them in rapid succession, kicking them back and knocking them onto the ground. The stocky alien quickly got up and started fleeing the scene.
"Wait!" One of the hunched aliens yelled. "Where are you going?! What about the deal?!"
"Deal's off! Stop being morons and we'll talk!" The stocky alien called back.
The bronze figure turned to face the two hunched aliens and brandished his sword at them. Seeing how much of a bad idea it would be to fight without any weapons, the hunched aliens made the rather wise decision to quickly leave the area, leaving the bronze figure standing alone in the clearing. He sighed and went to sit on a nearby crate, examining his sword.
"I know you're there." He stated, still examining his sword.
"Is he talking to us?" Alvono asked.
"Of course not." Tech responded sarcastically. "He's talking to the other set of people watching him."
Tech slipped the Pyronaut Blade into the sheath on his side and stepped into the clearing.
"Well, look's like I've been caught red-handed."
The figure glanced up at him only momentarily before turning his attention back to his sword.
"You're out a bit late, aren't you?" The figure asked.
"So are you." Tech pointed out.
"Fair enough. I'm still curious as to why you're in some back alley somewhere, and before you point out that I'm here too, I have the excuse of being completely lost. You?"
"I was actually here to try and bust that deal. You know. The one you just ruined."
"Well, excuse me for not being psychic. What's a teen like you doing trying to bust a criminal underground operation, anyways? You one of those teen heroes that seem to be so popular these days?"
"Maybe anti-hero would be a better description, but yes. Besides, I have some past history busting a similar operation. Only happened a few months ago, actually."
"Huh. Well, I have some experience with the whole 'teen hero' thing myself, and my advice is to quit while you're ahead. Nothing but trouble ahead of you."
"Nothing but trouble behind me, either. What's your point?"
Alvono decided to speak up, stretching his head from the Pyronaut Blade's hilt.
"Yeah, I wouldn't worry about this guy. He's got me as an incredibly competent field assistant, after all."
Tech glared down at Alvono.
"Your 'help' has, so far, extended to sleeping and upgrading the Pyronaut Blade. I wouldn't recommend patting yourself on the back too hard, there."
The figure finally stopped examining his sword and stuck it back in it's sheath. He looked up at Tech.
"Well, things are bound to get a lot worse. Take my advice or leave it, but I speak from experience."
The figure stood up and started walking away.
"Hey, hold on." Tech said. "What do you mean, 'you speak from experience?' Vagueness is not exactly a trustworthy personality trait."
The figure stopped and turned around.
"Put it this way: My meddling around caused a lot of people a lot of pain. I don't want any part in a repeat of that."
"Oh. You're that type of hero."
"You know, the kind that goes through some oh-so-tragic series of events that gives them a heroic breakdown and turns them into jaded wanderers that barely ever do anything useful for society."
Tech stared at him, a bit miffed.
"Huh. Most people would take offense to that statement."
"Most people wouldn't make that statement."
There was another moment of silence.
"Who are you, anyway?" The figure asked.
"Who, me? I'm Teknois Neferus Logical, snark knight extraordinare, at your service."
The figure grunted in response, and seemed to drift into thought for a few moments.
"Sort of off topic, but does that Galvanic Mechamorph's name happen to be Alvono?" The figure asked, pointing at the Pyronaut Blade.
"Well, well, it seems that my fame preceeds me." Alvono said smugly. "Maybe I should get paid extra for celebrity service."
This prompted a glare from Tech that set a nearby tumbleweed on fire. Alvono wisely dropped the subject. Tech turned back to the figure.
"Yes, actually. Somewhat unfortunately. Why?"
"Oh, it's nothing. Just keep my advice in mind."
The figure turned and started walking away.
"Hey, hold on second." Tech said.
"What is it?"
"Who exactly are you, anyways?"
The figure paused again.
"Just call me...Igneoux."
Igneoux continued walking down the alley, eventually disappearing into the shadows of the night.
"Man, what was that guy's deal?"
Tech was sitting in his chair in the back of the shop, spinning around slowly as Aquadilus was reading a newspaper and Alvono was sleeping in the Pyronaut Blade. Aquadilus put down the nespaper and looked over at Tech.
"Tech, I'm not sure there was anyone else even there. According to the SpecTrix's readout, the only DNA in the area was yours, Alvono's, and those three gang members."
"Yeah, I know, but he was there! I was talking to him, Alvono was talking to him, and the SpecTrix is not exactly known for being a paradigm of technological perfection!"
"True, but it's fairly close. I will concede that it seemed to be bugging out while you were there, but I restarted the interface and it pretty much fixed itself."
Tech stopped spinning and raised an eyebrow at Aquadilus.
"What kind of 'bugging out'?"
"Well, there were two of your DNA signature. Nothing too significant."
Tech furrowed his brow in thought.
"You sure that was a glitch?"
"Most likely. What are you getting at?"
"Oh, nothing you should be worried about. Just forget it."
Aquadilus's eyes narrowed.
"You're planning something, aren't you?"
Tech smirked in response.
"Since when am I not?"
As Tech walked down the alleyway, moving towards the same clearing from the previous night, he noticed Igneoux sitting on a nearby crate.
"You here to watch the show?"
"I'm here to make sure you don't do anything stupid." Igneoux replied.
Tech walked past Igneoux and got into position, looking into the clearing from behind the corner of the alley.
"Good luck with that."
Igneoux sighed and walked closer to Tech, crouching on the other side of the alley.
"Why do you even care about doing this? Shouldn't you just let the Plumbers handle it?"
"Don't make me laugh." He replied. "Official investigations are practically worthless. They're only good for arresting people and leaving it at that."
"And your method of beating them into submission is so much more efficient?"
"When you're not restricted by the law, you can accomplish a lot more."
There was a long period of silence. As Tech was about to speak up, two hunched figures made their way into the clearing, carrying the same metal briefcase as before. They looked around nervously, eventually calming down after seeing that nobody was there.
"We good dis time?" The one on the left asked.
"Yeah, we's good." The other replied.
"Man, I hopes dis goes a'right. Last ting's we need is another random night roamer messin' up this deal."
"Yeah, about that. Why's the Obsidian Death peoples being so jumpy, anyway? Ain't they usually the ones makin' erryone else jumpy?"
"Proll'y has t'do wit the Xandross incident."
"Yeh. Heard a couple of their goons on Xandross got thrown offa some floatin' platform or sometin'. Splatted like a couple'a eggs, they did."
"Waits a second, why is that a big deals? Ain't they just gonna kills the guy who dids it?"
"They woulda, but they ain't been able to find the perp. 'Course, what's gottem really spooked is who did it."
"Who dids it?"
"Well, dis is justa rumor, but I hear it was a human!"
"Yeh way! Not only dat, but I also heard dis human was just a teenager, not even one of dem fully-grown guys!"
Igneoux shot Tech what was presumably a questioning look beneath his helmet. Tech noticed this and simply shrugged in return. It was the first time he'd heard of this. Tech was about to speak up again, but was again interrupted by the arrival of the stocky alien from the previous night.
"Well, I see you're at least on time this time." The stocky alien said. "Have you checked the perimeter to ensure the lack of anyone that might...interrupt our little meeting?"
"Yeh, we checked. Ain't nobody buggin' us dis time!"
"Good. Then we can continue with the exchange."
"You's gots the moneys?"
The stocky alien opened it's briefcase, revealing stack upon stack of hundred dollar bills.
"I suppose this answers your question?"
"All Earth money?"
The stocky alien closed the briefcase.
"Now, are the weapons all in working order?" It asked.
"Yeh, take a look for yo'self."
The hunched alien carrying the briefcase opened it, revealing a large collection of oddly shaped guns.
"These are the Venoshock V3s, correct?"
"Ya got's that right!" One of the hunched aliens replied. "Enough electric charge to kills a rampaging Tetramand, and a single drop of that there poison mix can kill an entire army of Chimera Sui Genesis in the time it takes you's to say all that!"
"Impressive. I would expect nothing less for such a...hefty price tag."
"We's good to go?"
"Yes, now that everything is in order."
The hunched alien holding the briefcase closed it and handed it to the stocky alien, who in turn gave him his briefcase.
"Pleasure doing business with you." The stocky alien said, before turning around and walking into the alleyway left of the clearing, disappearing from view.
The two hunched aliens both turned and walked out of sight into the alleyway right of the clearing, leaving no trace of the meeting.
Tech carefully made his way into the clearing, making sure there was no one there. Igneoux followed and stopped a few feet away from Tech, looking towards
each of the alleyways leading away from the clearing. Tech paused for a moment to think, then turned left and started down the alley, Igneoux trailing behind.
"I thought you were here to bust the weapon dealers." Igneoux said after a few minutes of walking. "Why are you going this way?"
"Oh, don't worry, I'll get around to the weapon dealers eventually." Tech replied. "I'm simply more concerned at the moment about what the people with the 'kill an entire army' guns are up to."
Tech and Igneoux continued walking in silence until they hit another clearing, with three more alleys connecting to it.
"Well, this is just great." Tech said, looking around the clearing. "What kind of city even plans out buildings like this anyway?"
"Is there some way you can track the alien we're following?" Igneoux asked.
"Maybe." Tech replied, looking at the SpecTrix. He pressed the 'Call' button, bringing up a contacts menu and calling the base. After a few seconds of static, Aquadilus picked up on the other end.
"What is it, Tech?" Aquadilus asked.
"Hey, I was wondering if you could use the SpecTrix's DNA scope to track down the stocky guy that went left out of the clearing."
"Well, I'll see what I can do."
After a few seconds of beeping and clicking, a small map was brought up on the upper left corner of the screen. A flashing green dot showed up towards the right, moving towards a building.
"There we go, one DNA tracker and a map of the area to boot." Aquadilus said, sounding rather bored. "You want fries with that?"
"Gee, try not to sound so enthusiastic about it next time." Tech said, rolling his eyes.
"I would, but believe me when I say that I don't care."
Tech ended the call and zoomed in on the map, making it fill the entire screen.
"Well then, look's like we've got ourselves a tracking device." Tech said. "Follow me!"
"Mine never did that..." Igneoux quietly muttered.
"What was that?"
"This seems oddly familiar."
Tech and Igneoux had followed the tracker for a few minutes, only to be stopped by a brick wall that, according to the map, did not exist.
"Familiar?" Igneoux asked. "How so?"
"Well, this is the same sort of trick the arms dealers used to hide their operations in the city." Tech replied. "Are brick walls really the best way criminals know of to keep things secret?"
Tech started feeling around the wall, pushing at random bricks.
"What are you doing?"
"Checking for pressure points. There's got to be some way in."
Igneoux drew his sword and approached the wall. Examining it for a few seconds, he reached back his sword and slammed it across the wall as hard as he could, slashing it in half and causing it to partially cave in, creating a path through the debris.
"Okay, does nobody around here understand the meaning of stealth?" Tech groaned in frustraion.
"I like his style!" Alvono said, causing Tech to roll his eyes again.
"There's a time for stealth, and there's a time for catching the intergalactic criminal gang that just obtained a large amount of extremely dangerous weaponry." Igneoux said, starting to walk through the debris. "I believe you said something to a similar effect earlier?"
"Not really, but whatever. It's a bit late now."
Tech started following Igneoux through the wall. They emerged in a warehouse that seemed to be completely empty, except for a few forklifts and some crates.
"Okay, now what?" Alvono asked. "Nobody's here."
"Oh, they're here all right." Tech said, looking down at the SpecTrix. "My guess is that they're just underneath us."
"That shouldn't be much of a problem." Igneoux said. "Do you have an alien that can tunnel?"
"Well, Sandrill might be able to..." Tech began, before suddenly pausing and turning to look at Igneoux. "Wait, how did you know I can turn into aliens? I never told you I can turn into aliens."
Tech's confused expression swiftly turned into a glare.
"Hey, I don't have to tell you everything, okay?" Igneoux said indignantly, before suddenly slouching and taking on a more depressed tone. "Besides, I...really don't like talking about my past."
"How do I know I can trust you?!" Tech asked in frustration. "You just show up in the middle of the night in some random alley, apparently already knowing a whole bunch of stuff about me even though we've never even met, and you refuse to tell me anything about yourself! How about that, huh?!"
"Look, I get your apprehension here, but you're either going to have to trust me or just send me away, because I'm not telling you anything."
Tech glared at Igneoux for a few seconds before sighing and turning away.
"Fine, I'll trust you for now."
Tech activated the dial on the SpecTrix.
"But one wrong move and you'll be on the receiving end of whatever I've got on this thing, got it?"
Igneoux simply nodded in response.
Tech transformed into Sandrill and started boring hole in the floor using his drills. It didn't take long to break through the cement floor and the sheetrock ceiling of the lower floors. Tech detransformed and jumped down the hole, quickly followed by Igneoux. They found themselves in a well-lit, empty white hallway with a gray cement floor. At the end of the hallway was a thick metal door with a numberpad next to it. Igneoux started to reach for his sword, but Tech simply stepped up to the numberpad and pressed a few buttons, opening the door.
"See?" He said. "Now wasn't that easy?"
"How did you know the number to put in?" Igneoux asked.
"It's 1-2-3-4. These people don't really seem to 'get' Earth passwords."
The pair continued through the door. From here on, the passageway's walls and ceiling were made of metal, and the floor seemed to be made of an odd rubbery substance that increased traction. They eventually came to a spiraling flight of stairs that led too far down for the eye to see.
"Okay, decision time." Igneoux said. "We either go down the normal way or the fast way."
"What do you mean 'fast way'?" Tech asked.
"I mean we jump down that loop in the middle and you change into something that can lessen the impact somehow."
Tech quickly turned and started walking towards the stairwell, Igneoux close behind.
"I'm guessing that's a 'no', then?" He asked.
"You would be correct." Tech replied. "Screw that."
"What do have against falling hundreds of feet? You've gotta have some form that would make it easy, right?"
"Around six actually, depending on how you count it. Still not springing for it."
"Well, why not?"
"Two reasons: one, there is absolutely no way to drop down a shaft stealthily, and two, I really do not like heights."
"Hold on a second, really? You're afraid of heights? Then how do you fly around?"
"Never have. I teleport."
Igneoux stopped in place.
"You've never flown? Seriously?"
"Well, I've technically gotten off the ground with a few forms, but I try to make sure the only time I fly is if I'm on an airplane."
"Dude, I was zipping around the sky like a hummingbird on speed by the time I was thirteen, and you've never even flown? What is your deal?!"
"Look, I have acrophobia, okay? I can't even get a few feet off the ground without feeling panicked."
There was a moment of silence before Tech turned and started walking down the stairs again. Igneoux stood in place thinking for a few moments before following.
Tech and Igneoux had made their way down the staircase, which took an inordinately long amount of time considering they were moving downwards. Tech was leaning on the handrail trying to catch his breath, while Igneoux looked on in annoyance.
"Are you serious?" Igneoux asked. "We've been going down the whole time. How are you this out of breath?"
"Well...for one thing...I usually use...my alien forms for long distance...transportation." Tech replied, panting heavily. "And on...on top of that, the air down here feels very...*cough* strange. I'm assuming your...helmet is keeping you from...noticing."
"Well, it is approved for use in multiple hazardous enviroments." Igneoux replied. "Let me check the air here."
Igneoux flipped open a panel on his right arm and pressed a few buttons, causing a small beeping sound.
"Let's see...oxygen's normal, nitrogen's normal, carbon dioxide's normal, carbon monoxide's...wait, crap, that can't be good."
"What...what isn't good?"
"Well, it looks like the carbon monoxide level's slowly been climbing as we've been descending. It seem to have taken a sudden jump when we arrived down here. At the moment, it's currently at 3157 ppm, meaning-"
"Meaning that as a human, I'll be dead in less than *cough*...half an hour." Tech noted, reaching for the SpecTrix.
Tech pressed down the dial and transformed into Terminano, prompting an odd look from Igneoux.
"A maintenance droid?" He asked. "Really?"
"Hey, it goes really fast." Tech said. "You know a more useful speedster?"
Tech rolled his eyes. He continued into the passagewayleading away from the staircase, Igneoux walking behind. After a short walk, they came up to another door with a numberpad. Tech punched in the same code, and the door opened, revealing...
...An entire armada of gang members armed with Venoshocks, all wearing gas masks and aiming straight at them. The group parted to make a path for a short, orange alien wearing a labcoat, who stopped in front of Tech and Igneoux, looking them up and down for a moment before speaking.
"I suppose your little 'stealth operation' was rather useless, wasn't it?"
"You really did assume a lot of things, didn't you?"
Tech and Igneoux had been placed in a cell, with an energy field blocking their exit. After a few minutes, the alien in the labcoat had come over and started pacing in front of the bars and speaking to them.
"That we didn't have any extra security, no cameras, no microphones, no sensors of any kind, are you serious? How foolish do you think we are?"
"You really want to know the answer to that?" Tech replied.
"I suppose not. Your answer could not be anything less than insulting. Something I really do wish to know the answer to, however..."
The alien stopped pacing and turned to face them.
"Is how the Plumbers got wind of our little operation, and why exactly they would be so arrogant as to send ONE officer, a Galvan maintenance droid no less, and some hired help to unveil it."
"Actually, we're not associated with the Plumbers." Igneoux said. "We're just doing this on our own."
The alien's eye narrowed.
"Then why does the droid have a Plumber's badge?"
"Technically, it's not a Plumber's badge." Tech pointed out. "First off, the symbol is the Intergalactic Peace Symbol. Second, if you'll notice, one of its ends is slightly wider than the other."
"Is the wideness of any signifigance, or are you simply stalling?"
"Maybe I am. Maybe I'm not. You'll never know." Tech said sarcastically.
The alien started laughing.
"You...are not very knowledgeable on alien species, are you?" The alien asked. "I realize you were hardly being sincere, but it really doesn't work, considering-"
"He's a Psioknight." Igneoux interrupted. "They're known for their speed and mental prowess. Some of their abilities include telekinesis and telepathy."
"Well, I see one of you has done your research." The Psioknight said. "Now, let's talk objectives. What exactly where you-?"
"One second." Tech said. "If you can really read thoughts, then tell me, what is Alvono thinking right now?"
"You mean the Galvanic Mechamorph fused with your blade?" The Psioknight asked. "Actually, there's something odd about him. Everytime I try to read him, I get nothing but static."
"Yeah, that sounds about right." Tech said thoughtfully. "Okay, continue."
"As I was saying..." The Psioknight continued. "What exactly were you hoping to accomplish by entering our facility?"
"Interesting story, actually. See, I was just trying to track down the guys you were buying weapons from, but I noticed how ridiculously overpowered those guns were, and so I though to myself, 'Perhaps we should see what the chaps with the army killing guns are doing first and what not.', so I followed the guy who picked up the weapons all the way back to this building. You know the rest."
"And you?" The Psioknight asked, turning to Igneoux.
"I was just tagging along." He replied.
The Psioknight narrowed it's eye.
"So you are unaware of this facility's purpose, then?"
"Well, it looks like a laboratory of some sort, but other than that, no idea." Tech answered.
"Good. Considering our imminent relocation, I suppose we might be able to solve this without resorting to violence."
Suddenly, the door opened a bulky alien rushed into the room.
"Xr. Nullamor! The giant mutant ant we've been developing is complete! Should we release it upon the town now or later?" The alien asked.
Nullamor paused, eye twitching, and slowly turned to the alien who had just entered the room.
"Dave..." Nullamor said, his voice becoming slow and sinister. "There's a question I have for you that I believe should be answered immediately."
"Uh...what?" Dave responded, looking around nervously.
"Were you juggled as a baby?" Nullamor asked, slowly beginning to approach Dave.
"Uh...No?" Dave answered, backing away.
"Did you drink liquor as an egg?"
"Did you fall off a cliff and land on your head as an infant?"
"Then why...in the name of all that is holy...did you think that barging in here...and blurting out vital information...WAS A GOOD IDEA?!"
Nullamor punctuated this outburst by flinging Dave across the room with telekinesis, knocking him out. He paused for a few seconds, then turned back to Tech and Igneoux as if nothing had happened.
"Well then, gentlemen, I'm afraid a recent...incident has forced my hand on this."
Nullamor walked up to a numberpad next to the cell door and pressed a few buttons, lowering the energy field.
"You're letting us go?" Igneoux asked.
"Not exactly." Nullamor replied. "You see, my staff and I are going to be evacuating the premises with our data, and then releasing our little project into the building. All your methods of escape, on the other hand, have been sealed off, so you're going to be trapped in here with the project."
Nullamor reached into his labcoat and pulled out two sheets of paper, handing one each to Tech and Igneoux.
"On the off chance you happen to survive, it would be most helpful for you to fill out these questionnaires on the project's performance." Nullamor continued. "There's a mailing address on the bottom of the sheet, which should provide you with all the information you need."
Nullamor proceeded to turn and walk out of the room, leaving Tech and Igneoux still sitting in the cell, staring at the forms.
"Good luck!" He called back from in the hallway. "You'll certainly need it!"
Xr. Nullamor had boarded the escape pod, and after ensuring the entirety of the staff had made it on the vessel, he punched in the launch codes, activated cloaking, and ignited the engines, sending the pod through a chute system that shot it up into the air through a port disguised as a chimney.
"Um, sir..." One of the staff members asked nervously. "Are you sure that leaving the project behind was a wise decision?"
"Of course I am." Nullamor responded, checking over the ship's navigation. "We have all the data we need to continue. The project itself is now of little consequence to us."
"But what about the Plumbers? Won't they investigate once it starts attacking people?"
"Yes, but I've already erased all leads tracking back to us, excluding the two little explorers who happened upon our lab. Of course, they'll be dead in a few minutes, so they hardly matter; besides, even if it kills more people than we predicted..."
Nullamor turned to face the scientist who had asked the question.
"...Then we know it's a success."
"So, why do you think these guys were trying to make a giant mutant ant?"
Tech and Igneoux had been examining every inch of the facility, but it appeared that all the exits were sealed tight. Not even Tech's strongest aliens could bust through the walls. (Barring the ones that would take out an entire city block just by attempting to use them.)
"Not sure." Igneoux replied. "Maybe they wanted to use something so common it could be replaced by just leaving food outside for a few minutes."
"That's certainly possible." Tech said. "Say, you think there's an unlock code they left lying around here somewhere?"
"You got any better ideas?"
"Well then, let's go through some paperwork."
They began searching through the various papers that had been left scattered around the lab. It was mostly either test results or complicated equations that were utterly incomprehensible to the average person. After a few minutes, Tech stumbled upon a black folder. Upon opening it, he found some pages taken directly from the internet.
"Hey Igneoux, come take a look at this." Tech said, scanning through the pages.
Igneoux walked over to Tech and looked at the name the research was credited to.
"Dr. Aloysius Animo?" Igneoux asked. "Who's he?"
"I heard about him on the news a while back, actually." Tech replied. "He's known for mutating common animals into giant monstrosities that he uses to commit various crimes."
"That seems like a highly inefficient method of crime."
"Well, to each their own."
Igneoux turned to walk away, but paused for a second and then turned back around.
"Wait a second, didn't Xr. Nullamor mention they were going to be releasing the giant ant? We've searched the entire facility and haven't found a trace of a giant ant or any equipment necessary for creating one."
"Well, it's probably safe to assume they took the equipment with them." Tech said. "As for the ant, I'm stumped. There's really nowhere for it to be, unless..."
Tech looked up at the ceiling and froze. Igneoux, confused at this, followed Tech's gaze up to the ceiling, only to see the ant, which had apparently been lying in wait. Upon seeing that it had been noticed, the ant jumped at them, forcing them to quickly dodge out of the way.
"Oh, of course it's on the ceiling!" Tech yelled. "Why did we never look there?!"
"Because you wouldn't expect anything that large to climb walls?" Igneoux pointed out.
The ant reared back for a moment and then shot it's head forward, blasting a ball of strange liquid towards Tech, who rolled to the side, narrowly avoiding the shot. The liquid hit the metal wall and started sizzling, eating away at it.
"Okay, not normal." Tech said, quickly jumping to his feet. "Since when is ant venom that strong?"
"Since it got mutated into a weapon of mass destruction?"
Tech raced forward and shot the ant with a blast of Eletatis charge. Unfortunately, this did nothing but annoy it, as it snapped it's jaws at Tech, cutting through his right arm like it was butter. Tech jumped back and summoned back the nanobots that made up the now severed arm, reconstructing it.
"Neat trick." Igneoux said. "It must come in hand-y."
Tech whipped his head around to face Igneoux.
"Are you seriously-"
"I hope it isn't too limb-iting."
Tech narrowed his eyes.
"I despise you so much right now."
"Yeah, sure, but we've got bigger problems right now, specifically the one about to chomp you in half."
As if on cue, the ant wrapped it's jaws around Tech's waist and snapped through the metal, making his upper body fall to the ground.
"Okay, this is just getting annoying." Tech said, reconstituting himself.
"Well, do you have any ideas on how to take care of it other than sitting around complaining?"
"Actually, I think I might. How much carbon monoxide is in here?"
"About the same as earlier. Why?"
"If I ignited it, would it be enough to blow us out of this place?"
"Well, I don't think there would be quite enough to bust through the metal."
"And if I made more?"
"Maybe. But how would you do that?"
Tech simply smirked in response and reached for the SpecTrix dial to spin it, eventually slamming it down and transforming into PHAcid. He quickly shot a weak acid at the ant, distracting it and giving him enough time to run across the room and turn to face it.
"What are you doing?" Igneoux asked.
"Well, I'm hoping this ant still uses formic acid in it's venom."
"Okay, I think I know what you're trying to do."
The ant reared back and shot another blob of liquid at Tech, who countered with his own ball of acid. Upon hitting the acid ball, the venom dropped to the ground and started decomposing, leaving behind a strange watery substance. Igneoux checked the gas levels.
"Well, not too significant, but it's doing something, at least." He said.
The ant reared back again, this time a bit longer than usual, then shot an entire stream of venom at Tech, who responded in kind with his own stream of acid.
"You are using sulfuric acid, right?" Igneoux asked.
"Of course!" Tech yelled in response. "Just let me concentrate!"
The ant and Tech were locked in a stalemate for a minute before the ant's stream started to taper off, eventually running dry.
"Okay Igneoux, how's the CO level now?"
"Well, it may or may not work, but it's our best shot at the moment. Go for it!"
Tech dodged out of the way of the ant, which was currently rushing at him and trying to trap him in it's jaws, and turned into Electrolite.
"On the count of three!" He yelled. "One...two...three!"
Tech snapped his fingers, creating a single tiny spark of electricity.
There was a huge explosion of light and sound, then everything went dark.
"Hey! Tech! Wake up! We've got a problem! Tech?! Hey!"
Tech slowly opened his eyes, noticing that he had somehow ended up under a tipped over metal table. Igneoux was crouching down next to him, apparently none the worse for wear.
"Ugh...what happened?" Tech asked groggily. "Did I bust us out of here?"
"No, but you did knock yourself out."
"And the ant?"
"Well, you managed to scare it off."
"Scare it off? Where could it have possibly gone?"
Igneoux responded by simply pointing up at the ceiling. Tech looked and saw a series of jagged holes leading up through the various floors and out into the streets above.
"Great." Tech said, zapping out from under the table. "I can't get us out of here, but some ant can drill straight up through whatever metal this place is made of? Good grief."
"On the bright side, I don't think the ant will live too long."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I think the reason there was so much CO down here was so the ant could breathe."
"Ants don't breathe carbon monoxide."
"Ants also don't chew through solid metal and spit streams of acid."
"Point taken. Maybe they modified it to breathe carbon monoxide as some sort of...bizarre safety measure in case it ever got out of the lab."
"That's what I was thinking. Unfortunately, that plan leaves a lot of loose ends, especially seeing as we're in a major city. All the pollution might give the ant extra time to do a lot of damage before it croaks."
"Which means we better get up there ASAP. Problem is, how?"
"Well, I've got dual grappling hooks installed in my suit. You're going to have to fly up."
"Oh no. No. No, no, nononono, NO. I am NOT flying."
"Well, maybe you could...zap up there or something, I don't know, but this is NOT the time to freak out about heights!"
"Well excuuuuse me, princess, but you can't just wave the magic responsibility wand and make the panic attacks go away. That's not how it works."
"Suit yourself." Igneoux said, turning towards the hole in the ceiling. "As for me, I'm going to make sure that thing doesn't end up killing people."
Igneoux flipped open the panel on his arm and pressed a button, activating a grappling device on each arm. He threw his right arm upward, launching the hook, and began to swing himself up level by level.
Tech leaned against a wall and started talking to himself.
"Okay, think there's gotta be some way out of here that doesn't involve...that."
Tech zapped around the lab, examining it again, but still finding no way out. He returned to the hole in the ceiling and looked up through it, considering his options.
"Okay, let's see...I can't bust out of here without causing major damage to the city, and the only way out is to fly hundreds of feet into the air."
Tech paced around for a few moments.
"There's really no other way out."
He stopped under the hole.
"Okay, I can do this. Just...don't think about it."
He slowly inhaled and exhaled.
"Let's do this."
Tech turned into electricity and shot up into the air.
Igneoux was in the middle of searching for the ant, but was suddenly interrupted by a screaming orb of electricity that flew past him and slammed into the ground. The orb morphed back into Electrolite's humanoid form, revealing Tech, who was currently babbling incoherently.
"Uh, Tech?" Igneoux asked. "Are you okay?"
"Am I dead yet?" Tech mumbled, still laying perfectly still on the ground.
"No, Tech. No you are not."
Tech slowly picked himself off the ground and started examining himself.'
"Huh. Still intact."
"Okay, sarcasm deserved, but I think we have some other priorities at the moment, specifically of the giant mutant ant kind."
"Yeah, I know. Thing is, I have no idea where it went."
"How hard can it possibly be to track down a giant ant?"
"Harder than you'd think."
Suddenly, an explosion could be heard from about a block away. Tech didn't say anything, but he gave Igneoux a look that pretty much summed up everything sarcastic ever written, then zapped away towards the explosion. Igneoux sighed and started running after him.
Upon arriving at the site, the two found the giant ant rampaging through the streets and causing massive destruction. The noise had woken up various people in the neighborhood, some of whom had exited the buldings to investigate.
"It's okay, ladies and gentleman!" Igneoux yelled. "Nothing of interest is happening at the moment!"
"But just in case something is," Tech followed up. "And I'm not saying it is, I would recommend going back inside to avoid the risk of imminent death."
The people simply stared at Tech and Igneoux in confusion.
"Just a suggestion."
At this point, the ant had noticed the peple standing outside their homes, and had aimed at one of them and reared up on it's hind legs. Tech noticed this and zapped in front of the person in question. The ant immediately fired the acid, which was countered by an electricity blast from Tech, who zapped up to the creature and reared back to deliver an electrified punch, knocking the creature back and eliciting an angry screech. The ant shook it's head and started to charge. Tech shot a giant blast of electricity at the ant, which it rammed straight through without stopping and grabbed Tech in it's jaws. Igneoux ran up to it and tried to slash it with his sword, but was knocked away by the ant, who used Tech as a battering ram and slammed straight into him.
Tech tried unleashing a huge amount of electricity, but this again seemed to have no effect other than angering the ant, which began to crush Tech in it's jaws. Tech managed to wriggle an arm free and forcibly rip up the dial of the SpecTrix, then slam it down. Four metal clamps extended from the SpecTrix and latched onto Tech's chest. A blue lightning storm shot from the SpecTrix and enveloped Tech, startling the ant. Igneoux took the opportunity to tackle it, knocking it away a few feet and making it drop Tech.
Tech's body twisted and grew inside the storm, which had started forming metallic armor. After a few seconds, the storm dissipated, leaving the armor pieces floating in midair for a second before slamming into and latching onto Tech's body, which was now a bulky teal form.
"Okay, this is new." Tech said, looking over his new form. "Let's see what it can do!"
Tech shot forwards and hit the ant with an electrified punch, sending it flying into the side of a building. It quickly got back to it's feet and started charging at Tech again. He whipped around and shot a burst of electromagnetism towards two cars, grabbing them and smashing the ant between them, then using them to grab it and hurl it up in the air. While the ant was still ascending, he zapped up into the air and delivered an electric punch to it's head, sending it flying down into the ground, then summoning a huge ball of electricity and slamming it towards the ant.
The electricity collided with the stunned mutant, causing a huge explosion of electricity that swept through the street, blowing away various trash and papers and throwing back Igneoux a good few feet. Once the explosion ended, a large crater had been punched into the ground, at the bottom of which were the charred remains of the ant. Igneoux walked over to examine the remains and whistled.
"That is a seriously impressive chunk of electrical power." He said.
Tech floated zapped back down to the road and looked at the corpse of the ant.
"So...who's going to clean this up?" Tech asked.
Police sirens could be heard in the distance and slowly getting closer to the block they were on.
"Let's let the police handle that." Igneoux said. "After all, it's not like they helped with the whole 'homocidal mutant insect' thing."
At this point, the noise and commotion had finally been enough to wake Alvono from his slumber.
"Ugh...what's going on out there?" He asked groggily. "I'm trying to sleep."
"Speaking of things that haven't been of much help..." Tech said.
Igneoux nodded and the two stood in silence for a few moments, before he turned and satrted walking away.
"Hey, where are you going?" Tech asked.
"I don't know." Igneoux responded. "Somewhere, I guess."
"Right. Wandering type. Anyways, before you head off, there's something I wanted to know."
Igneoux paused for a moment and turned to face Tech.
"What is it? Look, if it's something about my past..."
"No, nothing like that." Tech assured him. "What exactly do you look like under that helmet?"
"Oh, is that it?"
Alvono stretched his head out of the Pyronaut Blade and over Tech's shoulder.
"This should be interesting."
Igneoux flipped open the control panel on his arm and pressed a button. His helmet started folding into the suit.
"So, this 'Igneoux' person is really..." Alvono continued.
Igneoux's helmet finally fully retracted, revealing...
"OH MY GOSH, SOME GUY!" Alvono exclaimed.
"You see?" Igneoux asked. "Nothing special."
"Huh." Tech grunted. "Well, nothing except that hair. Seriously, what's up with the spikes? How do you even keep a hairstyle like that under a helmet?"
"Sports gel, man. That stuff works miracles."
Igneoux turned and started walking away again.
"Well, goodbye to you too." Tech called after him, prompting a simple wave.
After a few moments, Tech walked into a nearby alleyway and detransformed, then leaned against the wall and brought up the SpecTrix menu screen. Alvono turned his head around to look at Tech, who was wearing a smug smirk on his face.
"You know something about Igneoux you're not letting on, don't you?" He asked.
Tech shrugged in response.
"Since when have I not?"
- Frank and Larry
- Mutation Lab (Debut)
- Xr. Nullamor (Debut)
- Giant Mutant Ant
- Tech meets Igneoux for the first time.
- Xr. Nullamor and the Mutation Lab make their first appearance.
- PHAcid is used for the first time.
- Ultimate Electrolite is used for the first time, and is the second Ultimate used overall.