Scene III

He came to on the hard soil, curled up under a patch of scrub brush. His clothes were torn and caked with dried blood, and he was sore all over. What happened? As his eyes focused and took in his surroundings, Manhkee began to remember. After all, this wasn't the first time he had woken up in the chimpanzee enclosure at the city zoo. A night of battling over females, violent sex, and eating warm meat still pulsing with life always left him groggy the next morning. He rolled over on his back, the mottled sunlight breaking through the foliage and playing on his gruesome mug. He heard pained whimpering nearby and recognized the sound of his favorite girl.

"Don't worry, sweetheart, Daddy's too tired to give you what you deserve."

Manhkee slowly got to his knees and crawled out from under his cover, making sure to stick to the shadows at the back of the pen. A young male sat with his back against a tree, watching him with teeth bared. He had lost the fight and knew to stay seated but still showed his displeasure over the intrusion of this man-beast. Manhkee scoffed at the chimp and flipped him off before moving stealthily across the back wall to the maintenance door. Luckily the key was still in his pocket; there had been times when he had to search the terrain for an hour or more before finding it. He unlocked the door and quietly slipped out of the enclosure.

Making his way through the zoo, Manhkee was careful not to spook any of the animals. The place wasn't open yet but the staff might be there for cleaning and feeding. He was hurting a bit more than usual and didn't want to deal with any problems. I gotta see the scientist for some more of that go-go juice! He had come to crave the strange elixir the scientist brewed for him and the other Murderers. It was almost magical the way it took his pain away and brought his energy level back up in an instant. Of course, it was also highly addictive, and Manhkee hated to be so dependent on anyone or anything. This will be the last time...

Scaling the outer wall with ease, he paused at the top to make sure it was clear before he dropped to the ground. The zoo was bordered on three sides by sidewalks and busy streets, but the fourth side backed up to a small, heavily wooded park. Manhkee climbed the nearest tree and deftly swung from limb to limb, his long, powerful arms propelling him forward through the tree tops. Before long he came to a huge oak and stopped. Reaching into a hollow in the massive trunk, he pulled out a ragged nylon gym bag. Inside was a long coat and wide brimmed hat, both wrinkled and worn. Manhkee quickly put them on and stuffed the bag back into its hole. Raising his collar and pulling the hat down over his protruding brow, he lowered himself to the grass and continued his journey to the scientist's laboratory.

Scene II

"So, what would you like to replace your rotting arm with...a grenade launcher?" The scientist asked half-jokingly. He had actually planned to try just such a surgery, but his latest victim/experiment died the day before yesterday. "Or maybe something more subtle better suits your style?"

S-O-G looked around the makeshift laboratory, cunningly hidden in the basement of one of the city's many condemned apartment buildings. As she watched, a plump rat grabbed something red and pulpy from under the operating table and scurried into the shadows. "None of the toys you have here interest me, Doc, so let's cut the bullshit and put another arm on, okay?" Her gravelly voice was unsettling yet sexy. "I got six months out of this one and it worked well enough. Besides, you've already grafted enough hardware on me."

The scientist nodded and opened the old, stained refrigerator standing beside him. The rusted wire shelves held blood smeared plastic bags of various shapes and sizes. After a moment of thought, he reached to the back and brought out a long package. Laying it on a metal table, he carefully opened it and removed the muscular, heavily tattooed arm. Holding it out for S-O-G to see, he spoke with a hint of excitement in his voice. "You're going to like this one; it's strong, the hand has excellent manual dexterity, and the skull tattoos are right up your alley. Best of's fresh! No graveyard leftovers for my favorite Murderer." A rare smile flashed across the scientist's face before being replaced by his usual serious expression.

"Awww, Doc, you shouldn't have!" S-O-G said sarcastically, but the scientist could tell she was pleased. "Enough chit-chat - I have people to kill. This won't take long, will it?"

"Not at all, my dear. Just remove your top and lay down on the operating table. I'll have you back in action in no time." As S-O-G got undressed, the scientist couldn't help staring at her. Despite what she was, he was madly in love with the half-dead homicidal beauty. He secretly hoped that, when all this was over, they could have a life together. Much to accomplish before that can happen, he thought sadly. Perhaps too much...

Scene I

The night sky hangs heavily over the street corner as the crowd forms a circle, careful not to get too close to the peculiar juggling clown. Children cower behind their parents, peeking around legs to catch a glimpse of the freak show. Cracked, dried out rubber balls float in the air and mesmerize while strangled pipe organ notes ooze from an old portable radio. People start to shuffle forward unconsciously as they stare at the performer. Like magic, the balls disappear when they reach his hands, quickly replaced by dingy bowling pins. Higher and higher they go until the onlookers are craning their necks to follow them.

The pins meet far above the audience and burst into a shower of red confetti. They gasp in wonder, then clap a little too loudly as they watch the paper rain fall. A short, round man in the front row blinks and shakes his head, snapping out of his trance in time to see the blur of an enormous combat boot! His sternum explodes, puncturing his lungs with bone fragments when he leaves his feet, and he flattens the couple behind him. Across the circle, a woman drops to her knees and releases an inhuman wail as spikes slip out of her ruined eye sockets. Panic takes over and the mob scatters as Buzz Kill tears through them, laughing and screaming.

Rear tire sliding, a black motorcycle rips around the corner and heads straight for the mayhem. It jumps the curb and rams the killer clown, slamming him to the sidewalk as it rides across his back and skids to a stop! The dark rider slowly dismounts and turns to face his opponent.

"Get up, you twisted son-of-a-bitch, and fight like a man," Triple Zero growls.

Buzz Kill slowly raises himself to his feet and smiles at the figure in black, blood dripping from his battered face. "Now why'd you have to go and spoil a good time, huh? The fun was just getting started!" With a flick of his wrist, he produces a gore encrusted throwing knife and hurls it with incredible force.

Triple Zero barely has enough time to spin away! As he recovers his footing, Buzz Kill launches his formidable bulk and crashes into him full force. They fall to the cement and tumble into the street. Buzz Kill manages to gain the advantage, and pins Triple Zero's arms to the tar with his knees.

"Not so tough now, are you?" Buzz Kill sneers as he kneels on top of Triple Zero. "You're gonna pay for that little stunt you pulled!"

Lowering his arms, Buzz Kill lets his deadly spikes drop from their hiding places and into his sweaty grasp. Before he can deliver his death stroke a pair of short, powerful arms shoots out from under Triple Zero's long coat, one knurled hand closing off Buzz Kill's windpipe and the other crushing his balls! Completely surprised and in serious pain, he flails wildly with the spikes to try to free himself from that horrible grip. Bending his knees backwards like some sort of insect, Triple Zero gets his feet under Buzz Kill and pushes with everything he's got, sending the grotesque creature flying!

He rolls to his left and stands up as Buzz Kill lands hard against the curb. Triple Zero moves in to finish the job, but hesitates when he hears the sirens approaching. The brief pause is all Buzz Kill needs to escape; he throws a smoke bomb on the ground and vanishes. Triple Zero follows suit and speeds away, front wheel in the air.

The Clearing

The sun gives warmth, asks nothing in return;
A dragonfly taunts me, circling my head.
Tall grass bleached to yellow, waiting to burn.
Wind carries fragrance of sorrow and dread.

No longer here, did not care to save me.
Broken promises, hopes dashed against stone,
Leaving me hollow inside. How could she?
Starting to crumble, gray dust and white bone.

Across the clearing, glittering treasure.
My present of silver tells the story;
Her betrayal brings pain beyond measure.
Life loses purpose, ends with no glory.

To wipe clean the past, never know this love,
Better than death? My soul weeps from above.

Plight of the Living Ted

I sit on the couch and watch images that do nothing for me. The cameras deliver a new angle every few seconds but tell the same old story. Isn't that what you're supposed to do when you can't sleep - stare at a foolish box until you can't stand it anymore? Not much else to do in the middle of the night. If I go for a walk someone will probably call the cops on me again. I turn off the television and just exist for a while.

The expression goes "Life sucks and then you die." I know something worse. They call me lucky because I came back in one piece...sort of. Zoe Hendricks died in a horrific boating accident on Mirror Lake a number of years ago; the propeller chewed her to bits. When she woke up and hobbled into Murphy's General Store it was like the end of the world. Poor Zoe didn't know what the fuss was all about until she caught her reflection in the floor length mirror by the clothing racks. She just about lost what was left of her mind right then and there. They have her locked up with the rest of them over at the State Hospital in Greenfield.

Ever see a George Romero zombie movie? Yeah? Well, let me tell you, he doesn't know shit. Don't get me wrong; his movies are classics and very entertaining. It's just not the way it works. No satellite full of radiation came to our town from outer space. We didn't start shambling around, moaning and trying to eat people. We just came back, simple as that. To be fair to George, how could he have known what would happen? No one else did.

The biggest problem was that life kept moving while we were in the ground, and there wasn't much to come back to. Everyone except me had been dead for awhile and that wasn't so great, either. Needless to say, no one looked their best. I wasn't buried for too long but that rope sure did a number on my boyish good looks. How ironic is that? Ted, the one person who actually wanted to die, gets to live again while the rest climb the walls of their padded cells. Life just isn't fair.

Some day I might write everything down, publish my "memoirs" as they say. I doubt it would be good reading, though. Man kills himself, inexplicably comes back to life, and is bored to shit. The End. I guess for now I will just keep on going, alive on the outside and dead on the inside. Come to think of it, I know a lot of people like that, surviving but not really living, struggling to make it through each day. Maybe I don't have it so bad after all.

Profile: Triple Zero

Attending college and in need of money, he answered an ad for a supposed medical trial, only to be kidnapped by the scientist. Unspeakable experiments were mercilessly conducted on Triple Zero, the very first test subject of the scientist's career. It is presumed that the crude methods and techniques practiced on the helpless student were later employed to alter Buzz Kill, Manhkee, and S-O-G. He awoke in a dumpster, forever changed and with no memory of his past, his single clue a paper tag affixed to his toe with the words "Test Subject 000" scrawled across it. Forced to live like a nocturnal animal due to his appearance, he scavenged food after dark and sought shelter during daylight, his rage growing with each passing day. A chance encounter with S-O-G and the scientist late one night triggered a series of memories about his suffering at the hands of that lunatic. Since their fateful meeting, Triple Zero thinks of nothing but revenge.

He rides the city streets and alleyways from dusk until dawn, searching for the scientist and his three loathsome accomplices, his blacked out motorcycle cobbled together from salvaged and stolen parts. Triple Zero will run down wrong doers with the ominous machine when his true prey is nowhere to be found. Only dead criminals have gotten a close look, but those who have caught a glimpse describe a being that isn't quite right. His silhouette and the way he moves make it obvious that something terrible is hidden under those dark clothes. A few citizens even claim to have spotted him during the day, lurking in the shadows at the scene of yet another bloodbath by The Murderers. Triple Zero is becoming more and more aggressive in the pursuit of his enemies, so the odds are good there will be more sightings. Hopefully, we will learn more about this vigilante and whatever "modifications" he received courtesy of the scientist.

The Murderers

Once believed to be acting independently, we now know that the top three most wanted criminals have in fact been working together for some time. Why these homicidal maniacs chose to join forces remains a mystery, but all agree that the union of Buzz Kill, Manhkee, and S-O-G means death, destruction, and mayhem for our city and its inhabitants. According to recent intelligence, this alliance of pure evil called The Murderers is in league with a mad scientist of sorts. It is alleged that this scientist has physically altered each member of the organization to better suit their individual personalities and killing styles, and may very well prove to be the mastermind of the operation.

The efforts of law enforcement agencies and private security firms have thus far been ineffective against The Murderers. The only party to achieve favorable results against this gang of mutants is Test Subject 000. Although not working in cooperation with the authorities and often breaking the law himself, Test Subject 000, or Triple Zero as some call him, has a very personal interest in bringing the mad scientist to justice.

Profile: Buzz Kill

His childhood idol was serial killer John Wayne Gacy, which accounts for his malevolent clown persona. Buzz Kill stands over six feet tall and has an overweight, pear shaped physique. The hair follicles on the top of his head have been surgically removed, the remainder of his hair worn long and dyed yellow. His ghostly white complexion makes a perfect canvas for the multi-colored facial tattoos that substitute for traditional clown makeup. The entire lower half of Buzz Kill's face is covered by a gruesome red smile, with a hideously bulbous purple nose sitting on top of his oversized upper lip. His beady eyes are surrounded by sloppy, green starbursts and two black diagonal slashes on his forehead act as eyebrows. His outfit can vary depending on the situation, but his favorite article of clothing is a bright orange, bloodstained prison jumpsuit.

Buzz Kill's passion for magic is second only to his love of murder. To further his craft, the scientist implanted tubes beneath the skin on the undersides of his forearms, leaving the ends closest to the wrists open. Victims may watch as a foam ball, silk scarf, or shiny silver dollar appears out of thin air. However, the last thing they will ever see is a pair of long titanium spikes that Buzz Kill reveals with a flourish before jabbing them through the eyeballs and into the brain. It is rumored that his comically large combat boots are actually filled with flesh (yet another surgical enhancement) and make for formidable blunt trauma weapons. More than a few poor souls have undoubtedly perished under the crushing force of that lethal footwear.

Profile: Manhkee

Never considered a handsome guy, this already simian-looking slayer took it to the next level. Inspired by news stories of owners mauled by their pet chimpanzees, Manhkee made a few changes to his appearance with the help of the scientist. His legs were shortened and arms extended. Hair growth serum was applied to the skin with mixed results, producing a mangy, patchy coat of greasy black. Lastly, the jaws, teeth, mouth, and nose of some unfortunate chimp were shoddily grafted on to round out the twisted transformation. What you are left with is an abomination that is hard to wrap your head around, never mind look at.

As luck (or strange forces of primate destiny) would have it, Manhkee has been a student of Monkey Kung Fu, specifically the Drunken Monkey form, since he was a teenager. This style of martial arts uses ape-like movements and attacks usually directed towards the knees, groin, throat, and eyes of the opponent. His new body structure is perfectly suited for this ground based assault, and most people are unable to effectively defend against it. If all else fails, he will simply bite off whatever body parts he can sink his teeth into until you bleed out or run away screaming. Although not officially confirmed, it has been said that Manhkee tends to chew and swallow what he tears off, adding cannibal to the list of things horribly wrong with him.

Profile: S-O-G

This raven haired gun-for-hire has left bodies scattered around the globe. As a paid assassin, she lived the life of a nomad, the pack on her back holding all her worldly possessions. Finding no real need for money, she started killing for free, asking her clients to merely cover travel expenses. The joy she got from a clean kill was priceless. A stray landmine in a war torn country ended her illustrious career...for awhile. According to the grapevine, the scientist gathered what parts he could from the blast and scavenged the rest from local cemeteries. He reanimated the patchwork killer and dubbed her S-O-G. No one truly knows what that stands for, but one theory is Straight Outta Graveyard. Could the mad scientist be an N.W.A fan?

Neither fully living nor completely dead, S-O-G exists only to take life from others. Unlike the classic movie zombie, she is highly intelligent and agile, and can essentially pass for a normal human being. Until you see her in a bikini, that is. Because of her massive scarring and slightly mismatched appendages, she covers herself from the neck down in black fatigues. S-O-G's eyes were damaged from the flash of the explosion, causing her to wear dark smoke goggles at all times. She still requires food (not brains), liquid, and sleep to survive, but she can get by on a minimal amount of each. The scientist made several secret upgrades to her anatomy that have yet to be revealed, but you can be sure they involve guns and knives, the tools of her trade.

Darkness Falls

I sat with my son recently as he watched Legend for the first time via a DVD I picked up at Newbury Comics (I introduced my daughters to the movie years ago on VHS). Watching it again reminded me of just how cool the character Darkness is (see picture), especially when he asks "what is light without dark?" The following short verse is not about Darkness or the film, but was very much inspired by both.

I take to the sky, let my mind soar.
Thoughts of disease, of famine, of war.

And those who suffered such horrible things.
For I did much evil to earn these black wings.

With no hint of remorse, I fed my desire.
A world filled with death, my fate cast in fire.

All for nothing, betrayed by my master.
I laugh as I plummet, earth coming faster.

Right Angle

I was barely keeping my balance on the very top of a step ladder, the exact spot the warning sticker tells you not to stand on. A nasty summer storm had torn through our town the week before, and a fairly large branch had broken off one of the pine trees and lodged itself in the crook of a neighboring maple. It was only a matter of time before it made its way to the ground. The tree in question was kind of tucked in a back corner of my yard where I didn't spend much time so I probably could have just left it there, but looking at it made me feel kind of depressed, like peering down through clear water at a shipwreck. A reminder of how bad things can happen unexpectedly, I guess.

As I teetered on the ladder, yanking on this pine branch that didn't want to let go of its new maple comrade, I happened to glance over my right shoulder. I'm really not sure why I did; my attention should have been focused on what I was doing. But I did it anyway, and it struck me that in all the years I had lived in my house, I had never looked at the yard from this angle. Was that strange? As a homeowner, shouldn't I know my property from every angle? I mulled this over, one hand gripping the broken pine branch and the other holding the base of the closest maple limb. Then I saw it, and my life was different, just like that.

It took me a few seconds to realize what it was, and more than a few seconds to believe it. There was a face in the grass. Not a mixture of dark and light spots that kind of looked like a face if you tried really hard, and not an actual human face that landed there from a plane exploding 30,000 feet above my house. It was a grass face, somewhat three dimensional, and it was looking right at me. We stared at each other for a minute, not saying anything, and then it spoke.

"If you're not careful, you could fall and hurt yourself," the grass face said casually. "Not supposed to stand on the top of a step ladder, you know."

"Yeah, I know," I replied. I was at a total loss for words. What does one usually say to a face in the grass? I had a feeling there was no precedent for this kind of thing. We continued to look at each other for awhile longer, that awkward silence building between us. The grass face had broken the ice, so I figured the least I could do was to keep the dialogue going.

"This branch was really bothering me and I wanted to get rid of it," I mumbled lamely. "Guess I should have gotten a taller ladder." That is really what I said. Leave it to me to be the first person in the world, or at least the first person I ever heard of, to speak to a face in the grass, and all I can do is talk about the stupid branch and my inadequate ladder. Luckily, the grass face was a much stronger conversationalist than me, and kept things flowing nicely. We passed the afternoon together.


I eventually got around to telling the face in the grass about how, just before we made eye contact, I was thinking that I had never seen my yard from this particular point of view before. We agreed that it wasn't a normal spot to be hanging out in, and if the branch didn't break off the pine tree and land in the maple tree, we would not have met. It seemed that of all the possible angles to look at my yard from, I had unknowingly stumbled upon the only one, so far anyway, that revealed the grass face. I have to admit, I felt pretty special.

Roger and I tested our theory over the next few months with a new ladder purchased for the experiment. We picked that name for him because "face in the grass" sounded sort of rude once we got to know each other better. I would position myself in different places in my yard, generally at least five feet off the ground. Roger decided that most of the angles below that level had already been viewed by me during the course of my normal activities over the years. No matter how much we searched, we could not find a second location that allowed me to see him.

"Do you think there are other faces in the grass out there?" I asked Roger one crisp, October day. The brilliant blue sky was broken here and there by drifting clouds, marshmallows floating in hot chocolate. I could feel the cold of the coming winter in the metal rungs of the ladder.

"I'm not sure, Tom," he answered softly. "I would like to think I am not the only one, but who knows? He sounded sad about the prospect of being the sole grass face on planet Earth. I quickly changed the subject to what I should wear for Halloween.


Every once in awhile we will try a new spot, but mostly we are content to just spend time chatting together. Roger has so many questions for me, and I have as many or more for him, so we never run out of interesting things to talk about. Some day I suppose we may get bored with each other, and maybe I will start looking for grass faces at the ball field or within the pristine lawns of that new industrial park. Or maybe I won't. It's hard to know what you will do once you're friends with a face in the grass.

PAC-MAN...Glyos Style

I originally posted this story almost one year ago to the day, but thought I would resurrect it in honor of PAC-MAN's 30th anniversary. It's the least I can do for a game that has given me countless hours of enjoyment and is still lots of fun to play 3 decades later!


They stood silently at a crossroads bordered by endless blue barricades of energy. Four space travelers from as many times and dimensions brought together for a common purpose. Arquem Pheyden broke from the group and moved slowly down a corridor. He paused at an opening in the partition and cautiously stepped into the void and out of view. A moment later his head appeared from behind the wall.

"It hasn't come this way yet. The power orbs continue down this passageway and around the corner." Arquem quickly looked back over his shoulder before rejoining his brethren.

"It must still be feeding around the perimeter," Red Guardian Pheyden said quietly. "We must split up and begin to drive it towards a southern corner of the labyrinth. Remember - do not let it reach one of the large spheres or our shields will be temporarily deactivated."

The other Pheydens nodded in acknowledgment and moved out. As Andromeda Pheyden made his way down the hall he heard something in the distance and stopped. From somewhere up ahead came the faint sound of metal on metal. It grew louder as he slid stealthily along one of the blue barriers separating him from his quarry. The noise built to a roar as the creature approached, its gnashing steel teeth devouring power orbs as it went. Andromeda ran to meet the circular being head on and saw that it was being pursued by Red Guardian! Despite its panic the half machine, half organic golden yellow monster continued to ingest balls of energy at an impossible rate. Just as the Pheydens were about to close in, it deftly turned into a warp zone and was gone.

On the opposite side of the maze, Pulse Pheyden was about to change course when the beast appeared out of nowhere right in front of him! It saw him and reversed direction, Pulse in hot pursuit. By the time he realized a large sphere lay up ahead it was too late. The creature swallowed it whole and spun on Pulse as his shield short circuited, encasing him in a glowing dark blue aura. Partially paralyzed, he tried to escape but was vaporized in an instant! The ghostly outline of his eyes floated eerily down the corridor and out of sight.

Andromeda and Red Guardian emerged from the warp zone as their shields were flashing back into operation. They sprinted after the yellow fiend, herding it towards a corner. The Pheydens struggled to close the gap but it managed to stay one step ahead of them, rounding the bend and continuing down the long southern passageway. As they came around the corner they saw Arquem leap out of an opening up ahead. The creature was surrounded! The trio charged mercilessly and rammed full speed into the beast's fleshy curved sides as it let out a high pitched death warble. Its mechanical jaws malfunctioned and opened on to itself as the monster imploded!

Pulse found himself whole again in a small rectangular chamber. The only break in the walls was protected by some sort of force field. Without warning, Andromeda and Arquem suddenly appeared on either side of him. Red Guardian spoke from just outside the room.

"We are not done here. There will be another..."


The ground was thick with Buildman parts, making his trek across the battlefield difficult. It looked as if every gendrone in Glyos had been transported to the Black Ruins and sacrificed before the unforgiving walls of the Build Station. MT-01 surveyed the scene with a mix of horror and excitement. It amazed him that only two were responsible for all this carnage. Well...three, actually. Much to his surprise, a powerful black and silver Armodoc came out blasting from somewhere inside the ruins just when Infiltrator and Hades broke through the ranks of misshapen gendrones. As they stormed into the facility to continue their slaughter, the Armodoc obliterated every last Buildman outside then disappeared as swiftly as it had come. MT-01 chose to keep his troopers out of the fight as their support was not required. Best to save our strength for what is to come...

As he worked his way to the main entrance of the building, MT-01 discovered a gendrone among the rubble that was twitching weakly. It could not communicate but he was able to interface with it directly. Strange code began to flow into his processor so he quickly broke the link. He had connected with countless gendrones during the Gen-Cog Offensive and never run into programming that felt so...alien to him. MT-01 now questioned whether he was on Rilleco for the same reason as Infiltrator and Hades. Are they here to eradicate instead of liberate?

An MT appeared in the destroyed hatchway of the Build Station and gave the all clear signal to his commander. As MT-01 crossed the threshold, he saw pairs of troopers staged at intervals down the dark hallway. Terminated gendrones in a multitude of shapes and colors were scattered everywhere. He approached a group of MTs waiting for him at the end of the corridor. Weapons drawn, they crouched against the wall on either side of a well lit opening.

MT-01 moved alongside his squad leader and nodded. Cautiously, they traded places to give him an unobstructed line of sight into the room. The space was full of standard configuration Buildmen, each one looking about as if seeing its surroundings for the first time. Infiltrator and Hades stood among them, engaged in deep conversation. From what MT-01 could pick up, it sounded like Infiltrator wished to stay and guide his lost brothers. As he watched, the dialogue ended abruptly, Hades vanishing in a flash of brilliant light. Seizing the opportunity, MT-01 stepped into the room. The silver gendrone calmly turned to face him.

"Infiltrator, my name is MT-01, leader of the M.A.I.M. Troopers. I come to you in peace as your ally."

"I have heard much about you and your troopers, Commander. Your courageous actions on behalf of our kind are known throughout the system. But please, call me Argen".

The two spoke of many things: past, present, and future. It was decided that Argen and MT-01 would work as one to free the gendrones of Glyos, and the former Build Station on Rilleco would become the new base of the MTs. Together they would declare war on the masters who unjustly enslaved their brethren!


They emerged from the shadows like mechanized phantoms, each one soundlessly carrying out his task. Within minutes, the MTs established a secure perimeter around the Black Ruins, home to the Build Station. Only Infiltrator and Hades would be allowed to pass when the time came. The troopers were given strict orders not to reveal themselves as MT-01 wanted to learn more before making contact. One thing he knew for certain; the masters he had faced in battle were nothing compared to these two veteran combatants.

The very planet seemed to be holding its breath, waiting for the attack. Nothing stirred as tension grew and pressed mercilessly down upon Rilleco. MT-01 felt he may be crushed under the weight of it if something didn't happen soon. Come on...come on! His typically unfaltering patience was threatening to betray him when suddenly the silence was broken.

"Commander...this is MT-48", the trooper stated, his voice barely audible through the heavy static. Something in the area was
interfering with their communications equipment. "Targets are inside our perimeter and heading towards the main entrance of the Build Station. Advise."

Relief swept over him as he responded. "Do not engage under any circumstances. Maintain cover and await further instructions".

From his position, MT-01 had a clear view of the front of the building. The smooth, windowless facade gave off a dull glow not unlike the
head of Hades, its surface covered with intersecting lines. The structure appeared alive and a low, pulsing hum emanated from somewhere deep within. It looked abandoned but almost inviting,
daring you to enter.


Infiltrator and Hades slipped out of the ruins and made their way towards the menacing structure. During their final approach to Rilleco they were attacked by bizarrely configured, flying Buildmen, and were forced to exit their ship to destroy them. The experience made them realize that conventional weapons were not enough. Using his backpack and right arm, the metallic gendrone had built a powerful blaster especially for the assault, and held it at the ready. Hades carried a glowing green phase arm with its power disc mounted
on his back.

Without warning, the Build Station erupted, spewing forth a mass of abominations. Hulking red and blue gendrones with heavy cannons swarmed, and sickly greenish white walkers picked their way across the terrain. Translucent, smoky Buildmen combined with their pitch black brethren to form large, arachnid-like figures, bringing to mind the ancient beings that once inhabited the planet. These gendrones acted differently than the standard Metran built units, as if they were programmed by some alien life force. Infiltrator and Hades traded knowing glances and opened fire.


It was there when the fighting began, hidden amongst the crumbling dark rock of the ruins. The Armodoc's black body was barely visible against the stone, making its silver head and limbs float in the nothingness. It was sent to stop the atrocities taking place on Rilleco, and would let the gendrone and Pheyden eliminate the initial waves of Buildmen before joining the fray. The Armodoc stood and watched as two brave warriors battled an army of manufactured mutants.

Close Call

He watched as the veiled spacecraft landed in a remote sector of Rilleco. MTs possessed advanced optical sensors that allowed them to identify virtually anything, even if it was cloaked. MT-01 was unsure if Infiltrator had this capability, but chose his camouflage based on the assumption that he did.

The ship was still powering down when the hatch opened, releasing a trio of auto probes. The small, spherical units split from each other and rapidly conducted a sweep of the immediate area. Finding nothing unusual, they regrouped and disappeared into the vessel. The hatch remained open and there was no movement of any kind for some time. MT-01 was motionless, anticipation welling up inside of him. Infiltrator exhibits great admirable trait.

Finally, a ramp extended forward and came to rest. A pair of shining, silver boots materialized in the opening, the rest of the form obscured by shadow. After a pause, the figure moved down the walkway and into full view. The metallic gendrone shone brilliantly in contrast to the dark vegetation, his blue visor glowing as he scanned his surroundings. He stepped on to the planet's surface and abruptly stopped, his gaze locked on MT-01's distant hiding spot. Neither Buildman stirred.

Never before had MT-01 experienced this feeling of trepidation. Has Infiltrator detected me? He had taken every precaution to make himself invisible! Time stood still as the warriors faced each other silently. Just as he was preparing to break cover and retreat, Hades strode down the ramp and spoke to the gendrone. He was fully clad in black with a scarf of some kind covering the lower half of his face. Deep, light green scars marred the surface of his faintly glowing head, one running across the darkness where his left eye used to be.

MT-01 was too far away to hear what was said, but it was enough for Infiltrator to turn his attention to Hades. He took this opportunity to withdraw unnoticed. As he made his way back to base camp, MT-01 processed what had happened. Did Infiltrator actually see him or just sense that he was being observed? Either way, he knew that he should never underestimate the formidable powers of his potential ally.


"Something out there you do not like?" Hades asked as he walked towards Infiltrator. "I assure you, the probes are flawless. I programmed them myself."

The gendrone looked at his companion. He did not doubt the quality of the probes or believe a threat was lurking nearby. It was something else; a persistent thought forcing its way into his consciousness. Change is coming, and nothing I do will stop it. I can only hope it is for the best... Infiltrator quickly answered the perceptive Pheyden before he could question him further.

"All is well. We will begin preparations for the assault at once."

Strangers on Rilleco

The atmosphere hangs heavy above the ancient planet, the haze broken by pulsing, greenish blue dots of light. Countless shades of purple and gray paint the shadowy undergrowth. Rising ominously above the landscape, mountains of the blackest stone cast their darkness. Legend speaks of an advanced, colossal race, long
forgotten by the inhabitants of Glyos, that still sleeps within the deepest recesses of the foreboding rock. A sensation of uneasy
peace pervades Rilleco: the calm before the storm. In the distance,
the silhouette of a large facility is barely visible.

I don't like it here. A feeling of dread crept over MT-01 as he waited in hiding. His previous reconnaissance of the area was brief and focused mainly on the Build Station, and the environment didn't impact him then. Now, however, he and his troopers were bivouacked in the heart of the gloom and it was taking its toll. It seemed as if they had been there for eons. The ability to think and feel is a doubled edged sword...

A ship linked to Hades and Infiltrator had recently been detected by an MT patrol in a desolate sector of Glyos, and a flash scan of its navigational system revealed a course set for Rilleco. Based on their last known location, they could touch down on the planet at any time. MT-01 would not engage the duo right away, but would observe their movements to better gauge their intent. His renowned combat record had not been attained through hasty actions and misplaced trust.


As he deftly slid the spacecraft through a field of debris in Rilleco's outer atmosphere, Hades felt a foreign presence. It emanated from the planet in powerful waves that threatened to overpower his intuitive senses. Concentrating on the source, his mind brought forth startling imagery; Hades saw an organic being, a great warrior, encased in a kind of metallic exoskeleton. This warrior was struggling to break free of his prison-like shell, but at the same time was bound by his solemn duty to remain inside and fight for those who could not fight for themselves. Hades had received a vision similar to this once. It came to him just before his first encounter with Infiltrator.

The Pheyden thought hard about what he had just experienced. Telling Infiltrator would undoubtedly alter the gendrone's behavior and actions during the raid on the Build Station, but not telling him could leave him vulnerable to an unseen enemy. Hades was hesitant to speak and perhaps interfere with the destiny of another. Infiltrator can take care of himself well enough. Besides, I sense no evil in the stranger below...only torment. Just outside of radar range, Hades activated the ship's cloaking device and began his descent.

An Impending Convergence

Going to battle because your master commands you to or programming forces you to is...wrong. But facing death by conscious choice, for something you truly believe in, is nothing short of glorious.

Much time had passed since the launch of the Gen-Cog Offensive, and MT-01 knew first hand what it meant to lay his life on the line for the cause. He had all but declared war on the gendrone masters of Glyos in hopes of freeing his fellow Buildman units. Squads of M.A.I.M. Troopers were fighting throughout the system to liberate their brethren and give them the gift of sentience. MT-01 led by example and could be found at the forefront of any given assault, his remarkable strategy and unfaltering courage now legendary.

As successful as he and his troopers were, MT-01 knew that things would only get more difficult as masters formed alliances and pooled their resources to protect their property. It was also rumored that the Metran government now planned to get involved. He continued to replenish his troopers with any suitable gendrones willing to join the MTs after gaining their independence, but it was not enough. MT-01 needed someone, or something, much more powerful.

Several Build Recon teams had reported crossing paths with a heavily armed, fully sentient Buildman unit known as Infiltrator. This silver warrior did not travel with a contingent of soldiers; he seemed to be in partnership only with Hades, a dark Pheyden from an unknown dimension. Together they moved throughout Glyos like shadows, attacking masters without mercy and granting freedom and consciousness to gendrones. It makes sense that we should join forces...unless their true motives are not what they appear to be.

A recent intelligence report indicated that the mysterious pair is targeting a Build Station on Rilleco. MT-01 had personally executed a covert operation on that world to gather information. From what he could see, it looked like the facility was heavily fortified and well prepared for defense. The operators of the station were even building and programming armored gendrones for additional security, so the MTs would have to terminate their own kind to accomplish their mission. We do what we must to achieve victory...

Based on the data he had compiled, MT-01 formulated his plan. He would recall as many MTs as possible from the field and amass a large force for stealth transport to Rilleco. Once there, he would take full advantage of the dark vegetation and black rock formations to camouflage his troops. They would reassemble into combat configurations and stand at the ready. He had a hunch they wouldn't have to wait long for Infiltrator and Hades to arrive. When they did, MT-01 and his troopers would be prepared.