The Adventures of the RPGC Task Force!
Issue 10: The Catgirl District
THE SATURDAY AFTER THE TASK FORCE-MOBILE'S DEBUT...
GG Crono was grabbing a Pepsi out of the fridge when Mabat entered. "Did you hear about Galloway's surprise birthday party?" whispered Mabat.
"Huh?" said GG Crono.
"Look, demigod and I are planning to throw him a nice, big bash," said Mabatsekker. "I- I mean, we, just need you to take him out for a few hours, while we fix things up. And bring Pierson with you, will you?"
GG Crono nodded and made his way into the quarters. Meanwhile, demigod drifted into the kitchen for some oatmeal cookies. "Hey, demigod," whispered Mabat, "would you mind going on a scavanger hunt for me?"
"...That sounds strangely suspicious," said demigod, "so yes." Mabatsekker handed him a list, and the strange cloaked being was out the door. Meanwhile, GG Crono and Pierson led an unwilling Galloway out the door, and Mabat smiled evilly. Everything was going according to plan, as long as they didn't untangle his web of deceptions...
The door immediately opened, four very angry Task Force members standing on the other side (although it was always hard to tell with demigod). "Uh...hi, guys?" stammered Mabat.
"GG Crono doesn't keep a secret," said Galloway. "You know my birthday was months ago."
"Well...gee, time sure does fly, ha ha?" said Mabat.
"This list is a grocery list," said demigod. "And the only place to find these items is in the most crime-ridden store in the most crime-ridden area of town."
"Hey..there's a good explanation for all of this..." said Mabat.
The four betrayed Task Forcers marched towards the panicing blue mage. "Spill it, blue boy!" said GG Crono.
"Uh, you see...I invited my girlfried over for dinner," said Mabat. "I needed you guys out of the bunker for a few hours, so-"
"Why'd you need us gone for your girlfriend?" said Pierson. "Is she against sexy superheroes for some reason?"
"...Uh, I was sent off too," said Galloway.
Suddenly, there was a ringing at the door. The still-open doorway revealing a blue-haired, female, bio-engineered anthromorphic feline-type newman, holding a small bowl. "Maxim, is this a bad time?" she said.
Galloway sniggered at Mabat's name, until the blue mage snapped his neck. "Uh...no, of course not, Kat-Chi." He pushed his way past the Task Force and hugged the catgirl, while Pierson and GG Crono helped a ressurected Galloway snap his neck back to normal.
A FEW HOURS LATER...
Mabatsekker and Kat-Chi were sitting in Mabat's quarters, while the rest of the Task Force was cleaning up after dinner. Having crashed their private little meal, and smashed half of the food over the blue mage's head and taunted him with the fact that you can't learn to cook by being hit by food, the least they could do was clean up the spaghetti sauce, Mabat's nosebleeds, and the leftover pieces of stale french bread. GG Crono and demigod worked on cleaning the dining area, while Galloway and Pierson did the dishes.
"...You know, Kat-Chi is one damn fine gal," said Pierson.
"Agreed," said GG Crono. "Then again, catgirls seemingly hold an almost hypnotic trance over men of all races, except maybe ogres and Dennis Millers. What about you guys?"
"There is something about her that makes me uneasy," said demigod, "but it is not from lust. It is...something more unsettling."
Galloway, meanwhile, remained silent, scraping dried crab salad off the plates. Pierson gave him a slight nudge. "You're awfully silent today. What's up?"
"Not much," said Galloway. "I just...don't find her attractive. At all."
A record seemed to scratch, as everyone stared in blind confusion. "...Is that...even possible?" asked GG Crono.
"I just...don't hold catgirls in the same regard," said Galloway. "Since when was that a crime?"
"It's not a crime, it's just...not possible!" said Pierson. He threw the cup he was holding to the ground; fortunately, it was plastic, so it didn't shatter. "Catgirls are the epitome of sexuality, the very thing for which all men strive for! Ever hear of the Great Catgirl Wars?"
"You mean the wars over catgirls that resulted in all catgirls living in RPGC being segregated into the Catgirl District?" said Galloway. "Yeah, it's a real species rights tragedy, but I still don't see why-"
"Are you not human?" said GG Crono.
"No," said both Galloway and demigod.
"...Well, that's the end of my argument," said GG Crono.
Galloway finished the last of his plates, and stacked them on the dish rack to dry. "All right, just keep quiet about this, okay guys? The last thing I need is a very angry blue mage after me."
"Sure, no prob," said Pierson. He finished the last of the pots, placed it on the second dish rack, and turned towards the corridor. "HEY! GALLOWAY SAID YOUR GIRLFRIEND'S UGLY!"
Within two seconds, Mabatsekker was in the kitchen, lifting Galloway by the throat, the saiyan unable to muster any of his strength against his former ally. Realizing the joke had gone a little too far, the other three Task Force members tried to pull Mabat back, but his grip held firm...
MEANWHILE, IN THE CATGIRL DISTRICT...
A young catgirl walked down the dark streets, her fur a whitish color with brown stripes, her eyes crystal blue, her clothes consisting of a flowing dress. As she neared a dark alley, an enormous, muscular arm grabbed her by the head and pulled her in. Her muffled screams continued for a few seconds, and then went silent.
A FEW MINUTES LATER, BACK AT THE TASK FORCE HQ...
Mabatsekker sat on the couch, holding an ice pack against his face. Galloway continued to apologize to both him and the nearby Kat-Chi, who merely eyed him coldly. Pierson and GG Crono having managed to calm everyone down to a degree, the Task Force took their seats around the big-ass computer, in the room that seemed to change shape and size whenever it was convenient at the time.
Galloway finally broke the silence. "Look, I'm sorry I used a few too many ki blasts to the face."
"A FEW too many?" muffled Mabat. "You shot me with twenty-three of those goddamn things!"
"You could have killed Maxim!" said Kat-Chi.
"ANYWAY," said Pierson, "what brings you around here, Kat?"
"Well, it's been lonely back in Finland, ever since Maxim left for RPGC," said Kat-Chi. "He called a few weeks ago to say he joined some superhero group, and told me to come visit so he could find a place to stay here."
"That's the gist of it," muffled Mabat. "So, can she stay here for now?"
The smile on the Task Force's faces were immediately replaced by frowns. "Uh...as horrible as the law is, it IS the law," said GG Crono. "She has to stay at the Catgirl District."
"Come on!" muffled Mabat. "It's just for tonight! We're gonna go looking for a pad tomorrow."
"During Catbeing Appreciation Week?" said Pierson. "The most catalicious time of the year? You'll barely be able to make it down the street!"
"...Actually, I have an idea," said Galloway. Kat-Chi's eyes narrowed. "And it doesn't involve hurting your boyfriend in any way." The catgirl breathed a sigh of relief. "Alright, Pierson, get on the phone with Starstorm. GG Crono, make sure the Task Force-Mobile has a full tank. demigod, go down to the Catgirl District and scout things out; we need the exact locations of apartment buildings, hotels, anything with a vacancy. Mabat, you just get healed. I'm going to go plot Pierson's horrible murder."
EARLY THE NEXT MORNING...
The entire Task Force (plus Kat-Chi) was gathered in the meeting room, with Galloway standing in front of the table, a map of the Catgirl District and the surrounding areas unfolded. "Alright, lady and gentlemen," said Galloway, "as we know, today is the beginning of Catbeing Appreciation Week, the most catalicious time of the year. Our mission is to make our way into the Catgirl District, locate some housing for our lovebirds, and get out in one piece."
"Uh...we know that already," said GG Crono.
Galloway promptly pulled out a nailgun and shot his partner in the shin. As GG Crono crumpled in absolute agony, Galloway continued. "demigod managed to locate the still-empty apartments." He pulled out a red pen and circled several small sections of the district, with several being clumped around the middle. "We only have one shot at this, so we'll have to hit the most concentrated area possible; in this case, the very center of the district."
"And how do you intend to do that?" asked Mabat.
"Simple, really," said Galloway. "Starstorm happens to be in charge of the Catbeing Appreciation Week Kickoff Parade, which makes its way from the main square in uptown RPGCity, through the main street in the Catgirl District, and then down to the harbor, where the parade disbands. He was all too happy to let us enter the Task Force-Mobile into the parade."
"WHAT?!" said Pierson. "We worked so hard on that car, and we're just parading it around?"
"It's part of the plan," said Galloway. While we parade around in the vehicle, a menangorie of rose-petalled catgirls placed on top, Mabatsekker, Kat-Chi and myself will sit in the back, with Pierson taking the wheel and GG Crono and demigod in the passanger's seats. Starstorm is willing to stand in an alley right next to the target, thereby giving me something to home in on when I teleport. When the time's right, I teleport the two lovebirds to Star, and he takes it from there."
"And what about the murders?" asked demigod.
"You mean the Catgirl Murders, the nefarious serial killings aimed at culling catgirls from the world?" said Galloway. "I'm pretty sure they aren't anything to be worried about. Well, let's go!"
MUCH LATER, AT THE CATBEING APPRECIATION WEEK KICKOFF PARADE...
The Task Force-Mobile slowly coasted along the crowded streets of the catgirl district, the occupants all smashed together inside. Galloway continually looked out the only uncovered window, staring at the vast crowds outside. "Strange," he said, "there are hardly any catpeople out there."
"Well, they make up a much smaller percentage of the population," said Pierson. "Perhaps they're just mixed into the crowd?"
"I don't like this," said Mabat. "Something feels terribly wrong."
"I know," said Galloway. "This many people shouldn't fit into a Volkswagon. Did anyone alter the laws of physics when I wasn't looking?" Mabat and Kat-Chi looked at each other, and then rolled their eyes at their partner's stupidity. "In any case, we're nearing the insertion point. Grab on and hold for dear life."
The two put their hands on Galloway's shoulders, and he raised two fingers to his forehead, teleporting all three out of the Task Force-Mobile.
A SECOND LATER...
The three rematerialized just above a waiting Starstorm; within seconds, gravity set in for Mabat and Kat-Chi, sending them falling on top of the hapless catman. Galloway, meanwhile, continued to float overhead, smiling at the little display.
MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE TASK FORCE-MOBILE...
"Do you think this will really work?" said GG Crono.
"I doubt it," said demigod.
"Agreed," said Pierson. "Still, this IS a nice diversion from the usual world saving. Let's all pray nothing happens to stop this beautiful day."
Suddenly, there was a loud, pulsating bang from outside, followed by the sound of screaming and panicing. All three quickly climbed out of the vehicle, and saw that the parade had come to a complete halt, thanks to two members of the catgirl marching band being shot dead. Another shot followed, barely missing a third victim. Everyone quickly ran for cover as the shots continued, and the Task Force tried to figure out where the bullets were coming from...
MEANWHILE, INSIDE ONE OF THE APARTMENTS...
Mabat and Kat-Chi, oblivious to the carnage outside, looked around the small apartment, its bare wooden floor barely holding together due to the termite damage, the walls cracked and filled with asbestos, the furniture looking and smelling like a brocolli salesman had eaten his entire supply, sat on the furniture for several consecutive days, and finally died and was not found for weeks later. "This...certainly isn't it," said Kat-Chi.
"This is the third apartment so far!" said Mabat. "Aren't there any building codes around here?"
Suddenly, a crowd of people came running through the halls, screaming and crying for dear life. Now snapped out of their pad-shopping daze, the two heard the continued sound of gunfire from outside...and realized they were close.
MEANWHILE, OUTSIDE THE BUILDING...
Galloway was munching on a corn dog, waiting for paramedics to arrive to pick up Starstorm, when he heard the gunfire. He looked down the street, and saw the Task Force trying to proceed through a regular search, but being held down by the crowd. Cursing his luck, he ran inside the building to fetch Mabat, only to be caught in a massive crowd himself.
A FEW MINUTES LATER...
Now back inside their bulletproof Task Force-Mobile, the three continued to search via binoculars for any sign of the gunman. However, there was nothing to be seen in all directions...
That is, until GG Crono pointed towards a flashing light on the roof of an office building. "I can't see it, but I think that's it!" he shouted. The three jumped from the vehicle and started towards the building.
MEANWHILE, INSIDE THE APARTMENT BUILDING...
Galloway finally pushed his way to the apartment, where Mabat and Kat-Chi were searching for the gunman. Both remained oblivious to Galloway's presence until he puked from the smell of the room. "God, this place sucks!"
"Tell me about it," said Mabat. He pointed his binoculars towards a nearby office building, and saw a hatted figure with a long tube of metal. "I think I found our gunman!" he shouted. "Come on, let's go!"
"I'll go ahead!" said Galloway. "You guys join up with the rest!" With that, he jumped out the window and flew towards the building. Mabat grabbed Kat-Chi and jumped from the building, landing with an injury-less thud on the sidewalk below. The two joined up with the rest of the Task Force, who slowly worked their way up the building.
MEANWHILE, ON THE ROOFTOP...
Galloway landed right behind the gunman, who was too busy looking for another victim to notice the saiyan behind him. It would have remained that way, had Galloway not slid his foot when trying to sneak behind him. The gunman quickly whirred around and threw a hunting knife into Galloway's side, spearing him in the weak point in his armor.
The gunman was a thin man, with an aged face and receding hairline beneath his cap. His gun was a standard hunting rifle, outfitted with a taped-on scope; this guy was obviously another random killer. His face twisted into an evil sneer. "Ah, the Cat-loving RPGC task force! How nice of you to come!"
Galloway groaned under the pain of his wound. "Who the hell are you?"
"None of your business," said the gunman.
Suddenly, another shot rang out, ricocheting off some concrete right next to Galloway. To his horror, he realized why the gunman was so successful; not only did they have the element of surprise, but there were two of them! He moved to pull the knife out and subdue his target, but a feeling of weakness quickly began to overtake him. "I see your feeling the poison," said the gunman. "It made those catgirls suffer REAL good! Let's see what it does to a hero!"
Suddenly, the door to the roof was slammed open, and the rest of the Task Force emerged, along with Kat-Chi. "Alright, you bastard!" shouted Mabat, striking the most insultingly cheesy pose imaginable. "The RPGC Task Force has come to bring your evil madness to an abrupt end! IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE AND GOODNESS!"
"...That's the worst thing I...ever heard," coughed Galloway.
"Kat-Chi, help Galloway," said Mabat. "The rest of you guys, come with me! We have some butt to kick!"
The gunman reached for his rifle, but demigod blasted the weapon away with a blast of purple energy. Another series of gunshots emerged from across the street, but GG Crono managed to dodge the attacks, while Pierson managed to subdue their current target with a quick chop to the gut. Kat-Chi, meanwhile, managed to give Galloway an all-purpose antidote, which quickly brought him back into shape.
"Alright!" said Mabat. "Where's the other gunman?"
The gunman spat in Mabat's face. "I'll never tell you, cat-lover!"
"I'll look for him," said the still-wounded Galloway. "You guys look like you have everything under control." With that, he wearily flew off, slowly making his way towards the opposite street. Within minutes, he was lost in the buildings.
"Talk! NOW!" said Pierson.
"I'm not talking!" said the gunman.
"Why the hell were you killing catgirls anyway?" asked GG Crono.
The gunman looked with disgust at Kat-Chi. The girl saw nothing but pure hate in his eyes. "Because these...freaks are treated like royalty, just because they had cat ears and a tail! Because these freaks nearly caused the complete distruction of this world! Because these bitches must feel pain and-"
Mabat threw the gunman to the floor in disgust. "I've heard enough. Are you and your partner working alone?"
A very audible series of gunshots emerged from across the street, followed by a soft, strangely sickening crack. Galloway suddenly teleported onto the roof, holding the other gunman, his head flailing randomly on his body. It didn't take long for everyone to realize what had happened, especially the remaining gunman. "We have a warehouse, down at 1001 Catgirl Lane! Please, don't let those animals near me!"
Mabat knocked the gunman unconscious, and made his way to Galloway, who dumped the lifeless body. He was obviously not pleased. "What...happened?"
"Two things," said Galloway. "First, he decided to reveal his evil schemes, explaining much of their evil racist plot. Second, he tried to shoot me. Several times. I went for the neck, and-"
"If he had not done that," said demigod, "the gunman may have managed to hit one of us. We were all standing very motionless up here; we were obvious targets."
"That doesn't-" said Mabat.
"We have bigger problems," said GG Crono. "Let's go." GG Crono, demigod, Pierson, and Kat-Chi made their way down, leaving only Mabat and Galloway on the roof.
"What kind of hero are you?" asked Mabat.
Galloway simply walked by him. "One that will kill if absolutely necessary, blue mage. That's all you need to know."
AT THE ANTI-CATBEING'S LITTLE-USED WAREHOUSE...
Mabatsekker and GG Crono snuck in through a window on the crumbling building's second floor, whille Galloway and demgiod worked through the first floor, and demigod snuck from underground. Being the first to get inside, Mabat and GG hid behind some boxes and watched a large gathering of men, running the gauntlet from short and bony to huge and hulking, gather around a spot in the very center of the warehouse. The men were talking in a hushed voice, but it was obvious they had captured someone else, and had no idea their plans for the streets were in ruins.
Meanwhile, Galloway and Pierson hid behind some barrels of industrial waste, careful not to let their movements be observed, or let the evil liquid burn through their hapless flesh. They could hear the men plainly, but many of them were obviously sickly in some way, their voices wavery and almost impossible to decypher.
"I say we kill them now!" said one.
"No!" said a booming voice. "We're gonna wait for the boys on the street to get back! It's not often we get a kid!" The Task Forcers felt something in their stomach begin to give way, but dared not attack yet; they still needed some way to close in without being noticed...
"What of this monster's mother?" said another.
One of them started grunting something. "I suppose we're due for a good rape," said another booming voice. The churning in their stomach grew ever more severe; they needed a plan, NOW!
As if in answer to their prayers, a manhole directly beneath one of the thugs erupted, sending him flying into the rafters. The racist goons were distracted as demigod leaped from the sewers into the warehouse, ready for battle. Seizing their chance, Galloway and Pierson moved into battle, while Mabat and GG Crono prepared for a rescue operation.
One of the hulking goons singled out demigod, and charged forward with a large iron rod. The cloaked figrue, however, grabbed the rod in mid-lunge and fired a purple energy blast right into the fool's upper chest, knocking him out cold. Two of the lower thugs singled out Pierson, and charged him with knives and brass knuckles, but in their haste forgot to check what was directly BEHIND the Task Forcer. Once Pierson had jumped out of the way, they crashed head-long into a bunch of crates filled with stone bricks. Another hulking figure singled out Galloway, and tried to force the saiyan down with his massive body. Galloway, however, powered up a Kaioken times 3 and threw the figure effortlessly over his shoulder, knocking him out for the count.
Meanwhile, Mabat and GG Crono worked their way to a pair of chairs, previously hidden by the gathering. Two catgirls, one an adult and the other a child no older then ten, were tied, gagged, and unconscious. While GG Crono worked to cut their ropes, Mabat was attacked by the same figure that had been sent into the rafters. Rather than waste precious energy, Mabat inhaled a deep breath and, upon exhaling, let lose a torrent of cold that froze his unfortunate opponent to his spot.
With their battle concluded, the hostages freed, and the Catbeing Appreciation Week freed from terrorism once again, the Task Force went to their usual looting, searching for any important clues or information, as well as any other hostages.
A FEW HOURS LATER, AT "MAXIM'S" NEW PAD...
Galloway and GG Crono finished bringing in the last of the boxes, while Kat-Chi joined Mabat on their new balcony. The new apartment was especially nice compared to the rest of the Catgirl District, although still substandard by any other average. The sun was beginning to set, and Pierson and demigod were busy getting some chinese for dinner. The festivities slowly returned to the streets, although in a far more cautious here.
"Do you know who they were?" asked Kat-Chi.
"Veterans from the Catgirl Wars," said Mabat. "Apparantly, they thought if they couldn't have you guys, nobody would." He closed his eyes. "To think someone could hate that way..."
"Unbelievable, isn't it?" said Galloway, taking a seat on the worn couch.
"Quiet," growled Mabat. "I still think we should-"
"Give him another chance," said Kat-Chi. "Face it, if you heard what those...monsters were up to, killing people just because of their species, plotting to rape a mother and kill her child, do you think you would have reacted differently?"
"...I guess not," said Mabat. "All right, I guess I won't hold his major faults against him. Besides, this might be good for him."
"And what about you?" asked Kat-Chi. "Will you continue with the Task Force?"
"Of course," said Mabat. "And with you closer than ever, living in an underground bunker with a bunch of crazies won't seem as lonely."
As Pierson and demigod returned with the chinese, Mabat and Kat-Chi continued to stare out at the streets. This was a slum, all right, but for a brief moment, it seemed like home. They were now in their own little world, free from Galloway and demigod both going for the Peking Duck, free from GG Crono choking on the egg rolls, free from Pierson's fortune cookie displaying a horrible future. Perhaps things were finally looking up...
BACK AT THE WAREHOUSE...
The building continued to burn, as the man in black watched from the distance. Now satisfied that nobody was getting out of their alive, he reached to call his bosses...only to feel a blade run through his back and all the way to the other side. With his last movements, he looked at his killer, and saw only the face of the mythological Darkness Beckones, staring emotionlessly at him.
THE END OF ISSUE 10
Issue 11: Ultimate Robot Squad Z!
JAPAN, TWO WEEKS LATER...
"Godzilla is attacking Tokyo again!"
"Ultraman has gone berserk!"
"Aliens are invading using giant monsters!"
"Americans are stealing our animation style!"
"Demons have emerged from the ocean's depths and are destroying Osaka!"
"WE'RE ALL DOOMED!"
As things happen, in the decades following World War II, Japan became the target for all manners of monstrosities, alien invaders, and evil futuristic dictators. At the same time, however, numerous superheroes had emerged to battle these villains, and thus kept Japan, and the world, safe from harm...except for the Tokyo Tower, and about 45% of Japan's total land mass. It has now gotten to the point where Japan is so saturated with heroes and giant mecha that there's simply no room for a new group to break into the market. And with that exposition complete, it's time to meet the latest group of heroes...
IN A HIDDEN MILITARY RESEARCH BASE UNDERNEATH THE SEA OF JAPAN...
Five teenagers, spanning the distance from thirteen to seventeen, sat on a catwalk next to a giant, Optimus Prime-esque robot head, with was attached to a hidden body. All five were drinking beer, despite being very much underage, and their eyes were downcast and depressed. Finally, the sixteen-year-old boy spoke. "This sucks!"
"Damn Gamera taking our last kill," said the fat foreign fourteen-year-old.
"We've been at this for five months!" said the token perky thirteen-year-old girl. "When will the Harbinger Zeta manage to destroy evil!"
"Come on, guys!" said the happy-go-lucky fifteen-year-old. "Let's sing a happy song to get us through-"
"Shut up," said the angsty seventeen-year-old.
Suddenly, a voice shouted from below. "HEY! Come down here! We have a mission!"
A FEW MINUTES LATER...
The five teenagers entered a large, computer-filled room, where a bent-over ancient man with liver spots and a long white beard and grandfather glasses was working on a large terminal. On the big screen, it showed a series of images of flying saucers entering the world's atmosphere. "There's an alien invasion setting down! Get out there!"
"Why bother?" asked the sixteen-year-old. "Some other group's gonna-"
"It's in NORTH AMERICA, Akira!" shouted the old man. "Last I checked, this area didn't have any heroes! Defeat this threat, and you kids could be on the way to the BIG TIME!"
AN HOUR LATER...
The last of the UFOs lay a burning heap on the mountainside, the others either utterly destroyed or fled. Galloway and GG Crono finished rounding up the last of the green-skinned invaders, while Mabat, Pierson and demigod quickly worked with the nice folks of Area 51 to sneak the alien technology away. Once everything was cleaned up, the five regathered at the center of the destruction.
"Well, that wasn't bad for a first invasion," said GG Crono.
"At least there won't be another one for a while," said Galloway.
As if in response, a giant robotic foot slammed down on Galloway, completely crushing him and propelling the other four away.
The giant foot belonged to an enormous mecha, roughly the size of the Empire State Building. It was a mishmash of festive colors, with Optimus Prime for a head. A voice boomed over the head, shouting something in Japanese. Desperate to get the foot off his companion, Pierson raised up a megaphone. "Hello? Giant robot? Can you please get off our team mate?"
Another bunch of Japanese words followed, and the robot's left arm shifted into the form of a giant cannon. GG Crono snatched the megaphone. "For the love of God, we don't speak Japanese! Does anyone in there know English?"
The cannon began to take aim at the party. "Well...done in by a giant robot," said Mabat. "It's only too bad I will never be able to learn that giant gun skill."
Suddenly, there was an enormous flash of light, followed by the robot's right foot slowly being lifted. From beneath, Galloway, now a Super Saiyan, continued to struggle with the twelve metric tons of body mass. Finally, after a struggle for the ages, he threw back the robot, sending it falling to the ground in an earth-shattering thud. Its gun went off in mid-air, sending a shot into the retreating alien spaceships, completely vaporizing them.
At first, there was absolutely no movement on the field; even the wind seemed to vanish completely. Finally, a doorway opened on top of the robot's head, and five Japanese teenagers crawled out, dressed in Power Rangers-esque jumpsuits and carrying phaser-like weapons. They turned to the Task Force, shouted something in Japanese, and fired their weapons. Laughably pathetic lasers flew at the Task Force, who easily managed to dodge them.
"Why are you attacking us?" asked demigod.
The teenagers looked amongst themselves for a few minutes, then back at the Task Force. "Your english will not fool us, aliens!" said the leader. "Especially you, saiyan!"
"I'm not an evil alien!" said Galloway. "I'm an American!"
"Can't make up your mind?" said another.
"We're not aliens!" said GG Crono. "We're the RPGC Task Force! We beat the alien invasion back BEFORE you got here!"
The five looked amongst each other. "But...that is impossible," said the leader. "How can you defeat aliens without a giant robot?"
"We're superheroes, duh!" said Pierson.
"Superheroes?" said the girl.
All five turned to the girl's voice...and were dumstruck at her physically impossible D-cup breasts. Only demigod seemed unfazed. "We learned about the invasion from the CIA, and managed to intercept and destroy it before they could even land."
"You...mean..." said the leader.
"Cheer up!" said Galloway, finally powering down to normal. "We thank you for your obvious concern for the welfare of our island earth. How about some dinner while you're in the neighborhood?"
A FEW HOURS LATER...
The Ultimate Robot Squad Z returned to their giant robot, satisfied with their dinner but cursing their infinite lack of luck. "Damnit!" shouted Akira. "Now what are we going to do, Hideo?"
"Hell if I know," said the angsty one. "Any ideas, Akane?"
"Nope!" said the impossibly-busty one. "How about you, Takeshi?"
"Not a thing!" said the happy-go-lucky one. "And you, Billy?"
"Durrrrr, nope! I like pizza!" said the fat foreigner.
Akira looked back at the countryside, and suddenly had an idea. An incredible, awful, horrid idea. "I think I know how we can get our name out there..."
THE NEXT MORNING...
The entire Task Force was awakened by the ever-ringing sound of the TroubAlert. Rushing to the computer, they saw Akira staring desperately towards them on the monitor. "Task Force! We require help! Someone has hijacked our robot and is preparing to use it to crush Chicago!"
"You REALLY should use the Club," said GG Crono.
"We'll be right there," said Galloway. He turned off the monitor. "QUICK! To the Task Force-Mobile!"
AN HOUR LATER...
The Task Force-Mobile arrived at the spot the robot landed the day before...only to see it still lying motionless. There was no sign of the Ultimate Robot Squad Z anywhere, not even the device they used to call the TasK Force. The Task Force stepped out of their car and started to survey the area, but found no trace of anyone touching the area in the last several hours. "Something's seriously wrong here," said Pierson.
Suddenly, a long stand filled with small robotic cannons rose from the ground and fired a green gas. Within seconds, the entire Force was unconscious, now at the mercy of the Ultimate Robot Squad Z...
SOME TIME LATER...
Mabat awoke to find himself hanging upside down, his arms and legs shackled to a metal frame. The rest of the Task Force was chained next to him, all still unconscious. The Ultimate Robot Squad Z were nowhere to be found, but the sheer amount of technology in the room, accompanied by the gears and wires hanging from the walls, revealed their location: inside the giant robot.
He struggled with the chains, but they were both locked to and magnetically sealed to the frame. The rest of the Task Force struggled as well, but they were hopelessly trapped. Whatever the URSZ had planned for them, they were now doomed...
MEANWHILE, IN JAPAN...
Godzilla was slammed to the ground by a tackling slam from Gaos. The force of the impact sent Godzillas flame breath flying far into the air. The blast struck the side of the giant robot, which sent it into a brief talespin, but it quickly regained flight path.
MEANWHILE, INSIDE THE GIANT ROBOT...
The brief blast was strong enough to take out the magnets, allowing Mabat, Galloway and demigod to snap free. Once they were back on their feet, they released Pierson and GG Crono, grabbed their nearby gear, and climbed up a nearby ladder through a long shaft, hoping to find a way off this giant death trap.
When they opened the top of the door, they saw their unfortunate location: the robot's head, looking like something ripped straight out of the Power Rangers. The Ultimate Robot Squad Z were busy working on several control panels, completely oblivious to the Task Force. As the Force climbed out, however, demigod's foot scrapped against the metal, causing the URSZ to turn in alarm.
Akira shouted something in Japanese, and Akane entered a series of commands on her console. Takeshi pulled a small handle from his belt and pressed a switch, causing a blue beam of energy to emerge. Billy charged blindly forward, but Pierson took him out with a knee to the chin. Hideo raised a laser gun and fired, but Mabat easily dodged the blast and rushed the man to the ground.
Akira raised two laser pistols and took dual shots and demigod. The cloaked being was hit head-on, but was almost completely unfazed, easily walking to the leader and knocking him against his own metal seat. Galloway fired a small ki blast as Takeshi, knocking him into the recovering Akira. Akane tried to raise her own laser pistol, but GG Crono knocked her out with the flat of his blade.
Pierson and Galloway quickly looked at the console; fortunately, everything was in plain enough Engrish. "All right, looks like the thing's locked on an autopilot," said Pierson. "If we leave now, these guys should be all right."
"Agreed," said GG Crono. "Can we get going, please? I kinda have this thing about being inside a giant robot."
SEVERAL HOURS LATER, AFTER RETRIEVING THE TASK FORCE-MOBILE...
The Task Force returned to their little bunker in the hills, ready to celebrate their first victory over another superhero group. Now, it seemed, nothing would be ready to drive them apart...
THE END OF ISSUE 11
Issue 12: The Price of Power (Family Matters Part 1)
A DARK VOID...
"How is this possible?"
"How can one of our own betray us?"
"I did what I had to. You are-"
"He must be destroyed at once!"
BACK IN THE RPGC TASK FORCE HQ...
demigod awoke with a start, barely able to stop his heavy breathing. He looked around in confusion for several minutes, before finally realizng he was still in his room. Pulling himself from his bed, he threw on his cloak, his body contorting almost instantly to fill the garment, and walked out of the room and down the nearby corridor, to find GG Crono, Pierson and Mabat crowding around the meeting table, empty plates and silverware in front of them.
"...Have I missed something?" asked demigod.
"It's Galloway's turn to cook dinner," grumbled Pierson. "He's been in that damn kitchen for over two hours!"
"So far he's burned half of the crap in the fridge, and a third of the stuff in the pantry!" said Mabat. "And now the crap-for-brains won't even let us get a bowel of cereal!"
Suddeny, Galloway came rushing from the kitchen, pushing a small metal cart covered by a white cloth. He was wearing a burnt white apron, and a chef's hat with a small flame on one corner. "Gentlemen and gentlemen," he said, "I give you...DINNER!" He threw back the cloth...
FIVE MINUTES LATER...
Once they were finished with their cereal, and Galloway had sworn to learn how to cook before even attempting such a thing next time, the Task Force got back to business. "The first item on the agenda: forming a reserve Task Force," began Galloway.
"Sounds like a good idea," said Mabat. "However, are we limited to already licensed heroes, or do we have the power to license others?"
"We have to submit a profile of candidates to the UN," said Galloway. "Once there, they will finish the licensing process."
"Doesn't sound too hard," said Pierson. "Hopefully Wilfredo will be willing to help."
"I'll ask him after the meeting is over," said GG Crono.
"Good," said Galloway. "Either way, Mabat, can you head up the interview process? You're the most experienced superhero at this table, after all."
"I don't see why I can't," said Mabat.
"Okay, that brings us to item two," said Galloway. "We recently got a commission to add some renovations to the bunker. Any suggestions?"
"We could add some defenses around the perimeter," said Pierson. "A few peepholes, maybe some remote turrets, the usual."
"How about improving the garage?" asked GG Crono. "The new stuff for the Task Force-mobile is coming in, and we need to make sure we can accomidate our supermobile."
"Agreed," said Mabat. "And how about some catgirl porn?"
"I...don't think porn is covered under 'improving the bunker,'" said Galloway. "I was thinking about installing a landing pad, so we can move the Flying Bunker over."
"Why not just hold off until next week's meeting?" asked Pierson.
"Agreed," said Galloway. "Alright, that brings us to item three. Has anyone learned anything about the perpetrator of the drug ring from a month ago?"
demigod, who had remained silent throughout the entire meeting, suddenly sprang up in his chair. All four stared at him strangely. "I...do not know anything else. I do not think we have learned anything!"
"...You knew something," said GG Crono. "Didn't you say he was 'like a brother' or something like that?"
"It matters not," said demigod.
"Yes it does!" said Pierson. "This guy tried to poison a bunch of school children! He killed several of them, nearly killed GG Crono, Weiila and myself, and almost slaughtered the Task Force and the RPGCPD! WHO IS HE?!"
demigod grabbed Pierson by the throat almost instantly, lifting him high into the air. "It...Matters...NOT!!!"
The other three Task Forcers managed to push demigod and Pierson apart, the latter quickly massaging his throat. "That's enough, both of you!" said Mabat. "Pierson, don't egg demigod on like that. demigod, you're going to have to spill eventually, and PLEASE try not to strangle fellow Task Force members."
"Everyone, PLEASE get back to your seats!" shouted Galloway. Everyone returned to their seats, and the meeting resumed. "I can see things are getting a bit hectic right now. I suggest that we suspend the remaining agenda until next week. This meeting is adjourned!"
A FEW HOURS LATER...
Galloway had just finished cleaning the last of the dishes he had ruined when he heard the computer's alarm flashing. The rest of the Task Force had gone on patrol, leaving only him to wipe his hands of suds and activate the console. On the other side, through waves of static, scratching and poor tracking, he saw his brother's face. "...How'd you get this number?" he asked.
Gemini's response was heavily fragmented and crackled. "Br....trouble...RPGC....danger fro...dem...."
"Hold on!" shouted Galloway. "Let me try to fix the tracking!" He fiddled with some dials, and finally removed most of the scratching from the audio, but the screen was still practically unviewable and the dialogue was still jumpy, staticy, and distorted. "Now, try it again!"
"Brother, I'm...serious trouble...RPGC...is in danger from...go...Send help!"
Finally realizing what was going on, Galloway inserted a small PDA device into a port on the computer. "All right, just input your approximate location and quadrants."
There was a series of beepings, and a large amount of information was entered into the PDA. Galloway pulled the device out, and the image on the monitor vanished. "Well, that's that. Now to get some help."
MEANWHILE, AT WILFREDO MARTINEZ'S HOUSE...
Wil's dinner table was covered with ancient books, scrolls, and granola bars, all yellowed and dusted with age. Wil himself, also dusted from age, leaned over the countless texts, his mind focused on study and writing something down in his notebook. His attention wasn't broken until his long-tortured wall came crashing down.
Galloway emerged from the rubble, coughing from the dust and debris. "Wil, you need to answer your damn phone!"
"...I really should just stop patching that wall," sighed Wil.
Galloway took a seat across from Wil. "I need your help. My brother just called about some trouble, and-"
"He didn't take my advice, did he?" asked Wil.
"I don't know, the communicae had a lot of interferance," said Galloway. He handed Wil the PDA. "He did manage to send me his quadrants. Maybe you know where this is?"
Wil looked at the data, and then at a large map at one end of the table. He quickly nodded in acknowledgement. "I see...he's at Iona."
"He's at...what?" asked Galloway.
"Iona," said Wil. "It's an extremely magically-adapt world, not terribly far from here. It houses one of the multiverse's most famous magic schools."
"And...how is this bad?" asked Galloway.
"I went there to study just after I started my travels," said Wil. "Unfortunately, I could never get into the school to begin with. It's women only."
"So, he didn't make it into the academy," said Galloway. "What else?"
Wil hung his head. "It's...a little worse than that. About a hundred years before I arrived, an evil entity tried to attack Iona. Naturally, they resisted, and did a pretty damn good job of it, but the entity unleashed some sort of plague on the world. The male population was affected the most; only fifteen percent of it remained, as compared to the eighty percent survival rate for the women. The entity was eventually drawn away to other worlds, and-"
"I think I get it," said Galloway. "The point is, he's in trouble, and I need help getting around...Iona, or whatever stupid name it has. Care to come with?"
"...Yeah, sure," said Wil. "Beats the heck out of dealing with filling out reserves. May God have mercy on Mabatsekker's soul."
MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE TASK FORCE HQ...
demigod sat in his room, his body curled into a meditative position. His mind began to attune itself into the very essence of the universe, tapping into the very foundations that created reality. Perhaps this "enlightnement" crap was true...
Suddenly, he felt something jerk his mind. He could see nothing but a bright light, and several shadowy figures standing in front. They were all humanoid, but with strange shapes and figures. His consciousness stood in cold silence for several seconds, before the silence was finally broken. "Remember us?"
"Do you know why we are here?"
"You want me to come back."
"Exactly. Return nicely, and we will forgive your infractions."
"Why do you refuse? You cannot deny what you are."
"A god! A being of pure power amongst mortals! They are yours to take, to control, to bend to your will alone! And you foolishly spend your time trying to HELP them? To SAVE them? What point is there in these actions?"
"I do not expect you to understand-"
"Good, because we do not. Nevertheless, you are our brother. You are to return here at once."
"Then you damn your allies. If you do not return, we will strike your current world next. We will bathe the earth in mortal blood, until you finally give yourself over to us. If that fails, perhaps we shall destroy another, and another, and-"
"ENOUGH! I have had enough of your evil!"
"OUR evil? What of yours? Remember their screams? The tortured screams of a world dying because of-"
"Remember our offer. You have twenty-four of your hours before we plunge this world into an orgy of death."
With that, demigod's consciousness was suddenly thrusted back into his body, and he simply stared straight ahead, contemplating his position.
THE NEXT DAY, AT THE TASK FORCE HQ...
"And so Wilfredo and I are going to leave for a while."
The rest of the Task Force stared in confusion at Galloway, their hands still clasped tightly on the table. Wil, meanwhile, remained seated in a corner of the room. "Uh...can you repeat that?" asked GG Crono.
"I repeated it FIFTEEN TIMES!" said Galloway. "The reason I called you four here is because I need to chose a replacement leader for my absence. Whoever it is has to be strong, decisive, charismatic; in other words, everything I'm not. At the same time, they must be weak enough for me to snap in two in case of a rebellion. That's why Pierson is to be team leader while we're gone."
A massive grin emerged from Pierson's mouth, threatening to swallow his entire face. GG Crono and Mabat watched with growing jealousy and resentment, while demigod seemed generally uninterested. Pierson's moment of sheer bliss ended when Galloway dropped a towering pile of documents in front of him; so much so, that the pile seemed to actually be growing as time passed. "This is just the stuff due today," said Galloway.
"Wh- Wh- What the hell is that?" stammered Pierson.
"All the stuff we need to send back to the UN," said Galloway. "You know, budget forecasts, mission statements, requests for additional funding, and full biographies of every member sent to every member nation of the UN, coupled with several handwritten copies for legal purposes." Pierson began to sob uncontrollably. Galloway laid his hand on his shoulder. "There there, my friend. It won't be so bad. It'll just swallow up all your free time, leaving you unable to have anything resembling a social life."
"I'll take care of the Task Force-mobile," said GG Crono. "How hard can installing components into a high-tech Volkswagon be?"
"...Very," sobbed Pierson.
"I can still handle the reserves," said Mabat. "Even without Wil, it shouldn't be too hard." Wil let out a very loud, very evil laugh at this comment.
"Then I'll leave everything in your capable hands," said Galloway. "Remember, no meals after 8:30, look both ways when crossing the street, and give Glenton a good kick in the rump for me!" With that, Galloway and Wil threw on their travel capes/cloaks and stepped through the broom closet/dimensional portal, and vanished completely.
Everything was silent for a few seconds...and then the kegger began.
MEANWHILE, IN A DISTANT DIMENSION...
Galloway and Wil landed with a thud into a thick jungle. The ground was a light brown color, soft and mossy to the touch. The plant life consisted of very large trees and plants, consisting of a spectrum of different colors. There were the sounds of roars and chirping, but no visible sign of any animal life. The two dusted themselves off and took in their surroundings. "Looks like we made it," said Wil.
"Made it WHERE?" asked Galloway.
"Iona," said Wil. "About a third of the planet is covered with jungle like this. At least we didn't land in the middle of a heard of Breai; imagine the body count then!"
"...I'll just pretend I know what you're talking about," said Galloway.
"If they're holding Gemini anywhere," said Wil. "It'll probably be in one of the penal colonies. We'll just have to check each one until we hit the right one."
MEANWHILE, AT THE TASK FORCE HQ...
demigod watched his three companions gorge themselves on cheap beer and old porn mags, things he could no longer enjoy. As he did so, his thoughts continued to return to the warning of his "brothers." They would not delay to invade this dimension if need be, and would not hesitate to kill every living being across every planet if they had to. Even if Galloway and Wil were there, and a sufficent force of recruits could be built up, they would have no chance of victory against such unbeatable foes.
Finally, he realized he had only one choice left. He approached the table, raising his voice for attention. Over the cheerful shouting, however, he was barely a whisper. Something in the being finally snapped; he grabbed a keg of beer and tore it in half with his bare claws, sending the precious brown liquid pouring everywhere. The other three stopped enjoying themselves and stared in shock at what had just happened.
"...I have an announcement to make," said demigod. "I'm leaving RPGC."
Once again, the three looked on in total shock. "Why?" stammered GG Crono.
"I cannot explain," said demigod. "I wish it could have ended differently, but...I must go." He raised his hands, and a portal appeared behind the demigod. Nodding a final farewell, he stepped through the portal, and vanished without a trace.
MANY, MANY HOURS LATER...
Galloway and Wil continued to trudge through the jungle, cursing themelves for forgetting a proper machete, and for Galloway's failure to bring his katana, as well as Wil's inability to use any magic on the plantlife without destroying the entire jungle. Finally, they managed to march their way to a ledge overlooking a small valley. Unlike the rest of the jungle, the valley's grass was a familiar green for a change, a welcome sight to the two. With night fast approaching, the two jumped down to set up a camp.
As Galloway was gathering firewood, Wil looked at his old maps. "Something's seriously wrong," he said. "We should be at the first penal colony by now."
Galloway dumped several small dry branches on the grass. "Is it possible the place has changed since you last came here? Or perhaps we teleported into the wrong spot?"
"That's not possible!" said Wil. "We were exact! And if the colonies were shut down, wouldn't there by some structures left?"
Suddenly, a loud roar emerged from the jungle overhead. The two cautiously looked straight up, and saw an enormous creature leap from the very ledge they were standing upon and landed right in front of them. It was a huge, lizard-like monstrosity, the top of its head level with Wil's eyes. Its skin was greenish-yellow, and several spikes covered its back, all dripping with fresh blood. It roared once again, and charged forward...
MEANWHILE, IN ANOTHER DIMENSION...
demigod found himself in complete darkness. "I have returned."
The same voices from his dream responded. "The prodigal son has returned to face judgment."
"You refused to see the truth about mortals."
"You followed those mortals, using your powers to aid them in the wrong ways."
"They need guidance. We are the ones that will provide this guidance."
"Do you understand?"
"Good. You will be watched very closely, but will otherwise be free once again. Welcome, brother. Welcome back to godhood."
MEANWHILE, BACK AT IONA...
Galloway and Wil quickly rolled out of the way of the beast, hoping to send it crashing into the rock wall, but unfortunately it managed to flip around and face the group once again. "...Any ideas?" asked Galloway.
"I think these things have a soft underbelly," said Wil. "Just flip him over; I can deal with the rest."
Galloway nodded, and waited for the creature to finish roaring and charge. As it did so, he ducked underneath its head, powered up a Kaioken times 3 and slammed the creature and the neck. The force was powerful enough to send the creature flipping into the air, crashing onto its back on its return visit. Wil followed this by using an Ice spell, causing a frozen stalagtite to form in mid-air and stab into the creature's belly. By pure luck, the attack struck it in the heart, killing it within seconds.
The two were just recovering themselves when they saw three other lizard-creatures emerging from the far end of the valley. They prepared for more combat, but to their surprise there were figures riding the creatures on their backs, which were actually spikeless. The riders were all female, and were also covered from head to toe with various robes, bandages, and hunting gear. The first, wearing a more ornate golden robe, dismounted her ride and approached the two.
"Erm...hello," mumbled Wilfredo. Galloway looked curiously at Wil's reaction.
"Who are you?" said the woman, her voice revealing a sense of dignity and regality. "How do you know magic?"
"Well...you see..." mumbled Wil.
"We're from another dimension," said Galloway. "We're looking for one of our own. He was trapped here several days ago, we estimate."
The woman's eyes locked onto Galloway, and Wil began a silent prayer for his companion's life. After several tense, silent minutes, the eyes softened. "You must be d Galloway, brother of JFGemini. We knew of your arrival for some time."
"You know where my brother is?" asked Galloway.
"Of course," said the woman. "He is at my residence, back in the capital. We will take you there, of course." She looked heavily at Wil. "But I warn you, he HAS told us about his former master. If he so much as utters the first word of a...'pick-up line,' the citizens will be picking his remains out of soup for years." She raised a knife to the mage's throat. "UNDERSTAND?!"
Wil gurgled a reply, and the two climbed onto the back of the other two mounts. The three lizards were turned around admist several strange, alien cries, and the three began their quick trek out of the jungle, and into a series of desert plains. After an hour of travelling, the three reached the outskirts of a massive city, its fortress walls glistening with grey concrete, its architecture completely alien and yet familiar. The three passed through a side gateway, and were quickly inside a large garden, right next to a large, twisted residence of some kind.
Everyone quickly disembarked, and the five slipped through a small side door and into a living room of some kind, looking like something out of a twisted Victorean aristocratic mindset. The woman's two companions quickly vanished from view, while the woman, Galloway and Wil sat.
"...Okay, why is Gemini here?" asked Galloway.
"He came here after learning about the universtiy," said the woman. "Of course, it is for women only, but his travelling device was destroyed by one of those beasts from the jungle, and he didn't know the right spell to travel between worlds."
"I knew I forgot to give him something," grumbled Wil.
"So...I decided to let him stay here," said the woman. "Now that you're here, I'm sure that he will gladly return home. Which is fortunate, as-"
Suddenly, Gemini descended down a nearby flight of stairs, staff in one hand and a large book in the other. Both brothers jumped at each other and entered a tight embrace, although in Galloway's case it was more like trying to choke his brother to death. At last, it seemed, everything was going right...
MEANWHILE, IN ANOTHER DIMENSION...
"So it's settled then. Iona will be the next to fall."
"Yes, and why not let our...brother lead the attack?"
THE END OF ISSUE 11
TO BE CONTINUED!!!!!!1!!!