The Bell Tolls - TBT Act 1 - Rise of the Robots

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Description: The parents of the stolen children of the Uri Geller School For The Gifted still do not have answers. The public law enforcement isn't acting fast enough, so one set of parents has hired Bob Richards to investigate. The detective follows a lead to an Oil Refinery outside of Sunshine City, not far from the site where the bus was abandoned. There, he encounters the most dangerous man in the world, who is eager to give Bob an opportunity to live. The catch? He must let him test something. . .


Robert "Bob" Richards sits in a dining room chair. The furniture in the living room is a hodgepodge of whatever furniture was small enough to move: kitchen bar stools, chairs from the dining room table, a recliner, a loveseat, and a sofa sectional. He pulls back the tab on a manila envelope, pulling out several photographs and thumbing through them. A school group photo. Several children on a merry-go-round. A little boy staring intently at a spoon. Another with a ball flying away from her, but her arms aren't in the right position for her to have thrown it.

Several adults resembling the children sit in the living room. Some have tissues. Others sniffle or sob quietly. Bob furrows his brow, continuing through the photos.

"Can you do it, Mr. Richards?" an older gentleman asks. "Can you find them?"

Bob looks up with dreadful seriousness. "Don't worry," he says, his confidence clear in deep baritone. "I'm going to bring them home."



Bob has rented a small motor boat to pursue a lead onto an oil rig off the Pacific Coast. Supposedly it has been out of operation for several years, but signs of life out there imply something sinister is afoot. And so, the boat is presently tied to one of the supports of the refinery, and Bob himself has scaled the ladder onto the main deck. He's maneuvered with surprising stealth for such a large man, and now Bob is face to face with a large cylinder of metal and unknown glass. It hums idly with the sound of machinery, but whatever may be inside remains unseen behind the opaque glass.

"Jackpot," Bob says, looking around before he advances toward the canister to investigate.

As Bob nears the machine, lights slowly start to illuminate all around him as the rest of the machinery nearby starts to come to life. More equipment next to the detective starts to beep menicingly, only for the beeps to eventually slow, then come to a stop as a flashing light upon one of what appears to be a control panel flashes red, then to orange.

~I've been waiting for you to finally arrive, Mister Richards. It's not polite to keep one waiting..~

The voice violently tears into the very fabric of Bob's mind, almost as if there were just a bit more, there is a possiblity the man could be reduced to nothing. Great control is being shown here.

Audible even over the now fully running machinery is the sound of boots heavily thudding across the metallic walkways of the refinery. The shadows still seem to be holding secrets, and eventually they to give way to reveal what they hide.

A rather smooth voice calls out from the shadows, as a large form slowly starts to move from their embrace. The being before the Karate master turned Detective may need no introduction, as the NOL has seen fit to ensure that every man, woman, and child knows who he is with their declaration of war.

"Mister Richards. It's also not very polite to trespass. I do believe that would be against the law, and we both know that law and order must be upheld..."

The lord of Shadaloo continues to move towards Bob, the psion's right hand raising upwards as latches on the cylinder start to pop. A voice suddenly booms out from a nearby speaker.

--"Safety locks disengaged -- Proceeding to startup sequence."--

"Now, most believe me to be a monster.. However, I do wish to change that image.. Tell me Mister Richards. Why have you come?"

Bob rises up with a start as the machinery starts to activate. He looks left, then right, watching as each indicator lights and the gears start to work up. The voice that follows snaps him out his inspection in a flash, however, sending Bob reeling as he clutches his head.

"Hhgh--" It's not so much a word as an exclamation of pain. He reels from the pain, but after steeling himself, pulls his senses back together enough to face Vega. That hat, cape, and unmistakable physique sends Bob into his fighting stance immediately, but only as a defensive measure.

"Vega..." Bob says under his breath. "Sorry, I didn't realize this place was occupied still," Bob attempts the joke, but there's some sincerity in it. Bravado, however, seems absence. Anyone with that sort of bounty is a dangerous piece of work.

"Really?" Bob sounds surprised, "From what little I've heard, you seem like the kind of guy who doesn't worry too much about what other people think." He slides his feet a little further apart, grounding his stance more firmly. "But I'm looking for some kids. Students from the Uri Geller School that went missing on a trip. You wouldn't have any information on that that you're willing to share, would you?"

The hiss of and unlatch of the pod gets Bob's attention, the large man stepping to the side slightly so he can put his back away from not only Vega, but it as well. This does not look good, he thinks to himself.

--"Startup Process complete. Initiating Systems Check -- Complete. Performing final system initiation. Time to completion: sixty seconds."--

The voice from the computer echoes out loudly once more as steam starts to escape from the now broken seal on the cylinder. A large red warning light above the cylinder starts to spin rapidly, yet no alarms can be heard.

"Mister Richards, of course I care what people think. I'm a simple man, who just wants the world to be a better place."

The Dictator's face twists as an unsettling grin starts to form. Of course, as the plus-sized Karate master starts inquiring about the children, it's obvious that Vega knew that there would be gnats flying around soon enough.
%"Why, those children are now receiving a much better education then they were getting from a sham of a psychic. Their parents can be proud knowing that now their progeny will reach the true potential they so richly deserve."

--"Thirty Seconds remain. Please clear of the hatch to prevent accidental injury."--

The grin slowly twists into a sadistic sneer, as Vega now starts to lift from the ground, violet swirls of energy slowly starting to escape his body as the machinery starts to spin into overdrive.

"Mister Richards, unfortunately I am a busy man, there is quite a lot going that requires my attention. I present to you a choice. Test out my new toy. If you manage to overcome it.. well.. I'll allow you to walk out of here with no issues. Do I really have to tell you what will happen if you lose?"

Bob narrows his eyes at the ominous warnings from the cylinder. His eyes linger on it for a moment before drifting back toward Vega.

"...of course," Bob acknowledges, not with sarcasm so much as resignation at the image issue. The kids, of course are a different story.

"If you've got some special schooling for them, their parents might like a say in that..." Bob says, his fists clenching and his stance tightening. "But I imagine you've already got a career path chosen and everything..." The heavyset fighter's voice is low and without the peppy charisma he's known for. He's certainly riled, but he's also not enough of a fool to try and charge someone that high on the NOL's bounty list without a plan.

And the machine keeps making ominous noises. Bob glances to it, and then back to Vega. "I get the feeling that you're not really asking," Bob says, "but if it's my only way out of here, then I guess I've got to fight!"

--"Five. Four. Three. Two. One. All systems are go."--

The front of the cylinder slides towards the ground, only to then swing open like the lid of a box. Massive amounts of vapor surge forth, blocking what lies inside from view until a metalic hand grips the side of the cylinder. From within the vapor, a solid metal body comes into view, which silently steps from the cylinder, turning its attention to the lord of Shadaloo. The robot gives a rather fluid bow to it's master, before turning to face Bob.

-"Activating combat protocols. Loading subroutine Alpha. Subroutine loaded. Unit is now ready for combat."-"

A look of triumph crosses Vega's face as the robotic humanoid now moves towards the Plus Sized Karate Master, only to stop and slide into a rather familiar battle stance. If Bob watches TV and pays attention, he'd realize that this stance is more then just familiar. It's that of the former Emporer of Muay Thai...

COMBATSYS: Cyborg brings its battle systems online.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Cyborg           0/-------/-------|

"Huh? What's this? Some kind of ... fighting robot?" Bob says, taking a step back and tightening his fists. His stance is a slightly strange one; his weight rests on his back foot, with his front foot up and resting on the heel. His fists are balled and his arms are raised slightly, like traditional karate or even boxing.

"So you want to test out this thing, huh? Well, I guess there's no other choice..."

With a short kiai, Bob rushes forward and sweeps out with his right. His hand goes for the Cyborg's wrist, aiming to grab hold and pull the machine forward and off balance. From there, Bob strikes with his left, shooting a palm strike toward the robot's chin. If he succeeds, Bob yo-yo's his mechanical opponent back out of the blow, tugging it forward before hooking his leg behind its and sweeping it off the ground.

COMBATSYS: Bob has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Bob              0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Cyborg

COMBATSYS: Bob successfully hits Cyborg with Quarter Deck.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Bob              0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0           Cyborg

The harsh screech of metal upon metal echoes out loudly as the robotic creation slams into the floor of the oil rig, sparks flying as it slides a few inches from the impact.


The Cyborg quickly rises to its feet, obviously showing that its more advanced then most combots that have come before it, only for it to change its stance once more, this time mimicing the United States Martial Arts champions own stance.

The Cyborg suddenly leaps towards Bob, extending out its right leg as servos start to violently come to life as the very air around it is caught up in a whirlwind of pressure as the machine spins rapidly towards Bob.


COMBATSYS: Bob just-defends Cyborg's Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku!

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Bob              0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0           Cyborg

Bob's eyes narrow as the Cyborg assesses the situation. Those system messages carry with them a sense of foreboding. Perhaps he's expecting chainsaws or jackhammers in short order. Instead, he is met with the signature kick of Ansatsuken.

Bob steps back into a defensive posture, taking the first rotation with his forearm to direct it away from his chin. As he strikes, he redirects the blow, stepping forward. The second kick is met with Bob's crossed palms, the heavy karateka pushing it up and away from himself. This, as it turns out, gives him the room he needs to duck forward, going underneath the airborne Cyborg as it continues to spin.

And Bob, waiting for the Cyborg to finish its spin, then somersaults into a roll, using his body's...unique...shape to his advantage. The roll helps him close the gap, after which he powers up from the Spinner Ball into a strong, well-grounded gut punch.

"First Muay Thai, now karate...that's troubling."

COMBATSYS: Cyborg blocks Bob's Lyonnaise Break.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Bob              0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0           Cyborg

The Cyborg's hands rapidly move to intercept the punch. The impact alone is enough to cause the sound of metal crunching, but there is no visible damage that is discernable from a casual glance.

The stance shifts once more, this time the hands flying forward to latch onto Bob. If successful, the machine's right fist will jackhammer into the karate master multiple times, each strike landing upon the same place on the man's body. Eventually the strikes will stop, and the cyborg will drop down, only to rise rapidly once more, sending a vicious uppercut towards the fat man's jaw.

COMBATSYS: Bob fails to interrupt Cracker Blitz from Cyborg with Giga Jacker.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Bob              0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0           Cyborg

As Bob is grabbed, he repositions. The big man sets his feet solidly and readies a counter-strike, thrusting his big belly forward to try and tackle through the Cyborg's assault and use his mass to his advantage in a devastating bodyslam.

But as he surges, the punches come like a jackhammer of rapid-fire blows. Punch after punch strikes him in the gut in and side, after which the Cyborg rises into a vicious uppercut that drives Bob backward and leaves him staggering away and rubbing his jaw.

"Ugh...not seen that one before. This thing has a lot more tricks than I was expecting."

The moment Bob falls backwards, the mechanical monster doesn't let up the pressure. Leaping backwards, a pod suddenly pops up on each arm revealing hooks inside.

The hooks rocket towards the Detective, seeking to ensare him, the chains if they manage to do just that will tangle the large man up in thick heavy chains upon which the robot will yank violently, pulling Bob right towards him.

Once Bob is close, the chains will rapidly retract, until there is enough tension for the Cyborg to flick them to raise the large man off the ground, and slam him into the ground. It won't end there, as the machine will once more yank upon the chains, and bring Bob overhead, looking to slam him into the metal flooring of the oil rig, before the chains disconnect and unfurl.

COMBATSYS: Bob blocks Cyborg's Combo Grapple.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Bob              0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0           Cyborg

When the chains snap around Bob's arms, the big man is suddenly yanked to his feet in one mighty pull that drags him dangerously close to the automaton. He's lifted in the air and slammed down once only to be lifted up again for a second verse much like the first.

But as Bob impacts the ground a second time, the heavyset karateka brings his weight to bear. He pants his heels and grinds his boots into the surface of the deck to steady himself. He's lifted again, but this time he lands on his feet, enduring the impact like a trooper. He tugs hard on the chains in return, but by then they've withdrawn.

"I'd say weapons seem a little unfair, but you're basically a walking piece of military hardware in the first place!" Bob resumes his stance, working his sore muscles by stepping back and forth. The stretches are followed by a spin into a swift right hook aimed to catch the robot in the jaw and drive it upward.

"But how about this?!"

COMBATSYS: Cyborg endures Bob's Medium Punch.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Bob              0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0           Cyborg

As the fist flies upwards and slams into the jaw of the machine, the cyborg steps backwards almost in a daze. It doesn't fall, nor does the kareteka manage to life it off its equally heavy feet, yet the damage was done. The mechanical nightmare quickly takes a step back, once more to put a bit of space between itself and Bob.

-"Initiating secondary combat protocols. Combat Protocol set Alpha+Beta loaded. Now running."-

Wickedly purple energy springs to life upon the right hand of the Cyborg, forming an orb that could prove to be bad news. The ball is suddenly flung towards Bob like a baseball, seeking to show the man just why Psycho Power is really something to be afraid of.

COMBATSYS: Cyborg successfully hits Bob with Psycho Shot.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Bob              1/-------/=======|=======\-------\1           Cyborg

Bob maintains his stance after striking the machine, using his position to assess what happened. Is it damaged? Wearing down? This isn't the kind of fight Bob is used to it, and that shows. An experienced fighter can read how his opponent is wearing down, but this thing is different. Unnatural.

And armed with Psycho Power.

Bob launches backward with a leap, sliding into a three-point stance as he tries to steady himself. The orb overtakes him before he can react properly. It smashes into his chest like cannon shell that leaves Bob clutching his head as he crashes backward.
%"Ugh..." Bob groans dazedly. He shakes his head several times to clear it enough to move, then rolls to his feet and steadily rises. "That energy--" Bob mutters under his breath. "I can't let it take another shot like that."

And so the big karate fighter surges forward, breaking into a sprint. He accelerates toward the Cyborg with much more speed than his shape seems capable, after which he lunges forward into a sliding kick at the machine's legs.

COMBATSYS: Bob successfully hits Cyborg with Diving Kick.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Bob              1/-----==/=======|=======\===----\1           Cyborg

As Bob comes sliding in for Home base, the Cyborg topples over violently, obviously not quite expecting the response from the Large Karate Man that was given. An unnatural grinding noise comes from deep within the machine, causing it to pause for a few moments.

-"Warning. Structural integrity is below fifty percent... Combat Protocol Alpha-Beta -- Overriding -- Proceeding with program."-

The machine slowly rises up to its feet, turning to face its opponent, the smell of burning oil eminating now from within the machine's body.

Rushing towards Bob, a purple glow suddenly errupts from the machine's feet, as it rapidly drops into a roll, only to spring upwards as it closes the distance, backflipping with its left leg extended outwards, seeking to catch Bob right in the top of his head. If it connects, Bob won't have much time to recover as the machine will continue to use its momentum to deliver another vicious backflip kick once more to the man's head.

COMBATSYS: Bob interrupts Scarlet Terror from Cyborg with Spiral Rocky.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Bob              0/-------/----===|=======\=------\1           Cyborg

Bob's slide comes to a stop, the big fighter planting his hand as a brake. Rolling on that hand, Bob spins around to gain some distance, after which he springs back up to his feet. The robot is still rising as Bob reenters his readied stance, waiting for the next move.

But even so, the follow-up roll is faster than Bob could have anticipated. The machine springs up, going high when Bob was expecting it to go low. Bob hunkers down, bending his knees, but the Cyborg slams hard into his head before rolling onto his shoulder. There's that mid-air shift, and the follow-up comes...

But Bob powers out of his hunch into a spinning, rising uppercut---not with one arm, but both. His whole body corkscrews as he goes, like some sort of...super-sized shoryuken.

The Cyborg flies through the air, only to once more crumple to the ground. Slowly, like a bad Universal Pictures Monster, it starts to once more climb to its feet, sparks flying as it tries to align its functionality.

-"Danger -- System integrity is below 25% -- Critical failure is imminent. Warn -- Override in progress -- Protocols restored. Continuing program."-

The mechanical nightmare slams its fists together, jerkily moving itself into a stance like a world class boxer would use, only to rush towards the large man. It's right arm suddenly swings out as the violet energy once again starts to form upon the fist. The fist is launched towards Bob's face like a savage haymaker, seeking to try and once more even the playing field.

COMBATSYS: Cyborg successfully hits Bob with Heavy Swing.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Bob              0/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1           Cyborg

Bob drops out of the uppercut with enough force to make the ground shake. He lands heavily with a grunt, but his attention never leaves the Cyborg. No, Bob make be a flashy fighter at times, even charismatic when there's an audience and someone he can play off of--but this is life and death, and Bob has a mission to complete. Those children need his help.

"Heh," Bob mutters under his breath. "Didn't take that so well, huh?" He puts one fist forward and draws the other back, opening and closing his fingers to loosen the joints.

But the Cyborg shifts stances again. "Not again--!" Bob gasps, moving to sidestep the incoming punch. Even so, he doesn't move quite fast enough. The haymaker slams heavily into the karateka's cheek, sending spittle across the oil platform as the big blond reels from the impact. He staggers several times before toppling over with a groan.

But he's not done yet. Bob wipes away spit and blood with his forearm, then plants his hands and climbs back up with a shake of his head. Rolling his neck, Bob snaps back into form.

"All right," he says, confidence rising. "If we're testing what this thing can do, let's see how it handles...this!"

Bob lunges forward, then slams his foot down heavily to stop his forward momentum. Instead he pivots, riding that forward lunge into a straightforward power-punch aimed at the machine's jaw with staggering force. As he slams forward, however, he keeps rotating with the force of the punch, riding his momentum into a spin that puts him in low and close. His legs flex and go taut, Bob mustering as much power as he can to shoot from the crouch into a second uppercut---an attempt to pile on the damage from the earlier blow?

COMBATSYS: Bob blitzes into action and acts again!

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Bob              0/-------/-======|=======\==-----\1           Cyborg

COMBATSYS: Cyborg blocks Bob's Fierce Punch.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Bob              0/-------/-======|=======\====---\1           Cyborg

COMBATSYS: Bob successfully hits Cyborg with Spinach Upper.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >                                ]
Bob              1/------=/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Cyborg

Bob is proving to be too much for the Cyborg to handle. Narrowly thrusting its arms forward to guard, the first blow is enough to blow the attempt away, easily allowing Bob to once more viciously uppercut the machine, sending it flying backwards.

-"Danger. Critical failure. Danger. Critical failure. Danger. Critic----."

Slowly, the words come to a stop as the machine starts to power down, unable to move or truly cope with the damage that's been delt to it. Of course. As the mighty karateka stands there, the lord of Shadaloo now makes his way forward.

Waves of Psycho Power fly off the mighty dictator, as a look of pure rage rests upon his face. Looking to Bob, the mightest psion turns and spits on the ground before the Cyborg.

~Go. Let it be known that above all, I am a man of my word Mister Richards, and as you have done as I have asked, I will allow you to leave.~

The words once more violently tear at the minds of all who will hear them. The Shadaloo master growls loudly as he starts to slowly rise into the air.

It's now fairly obvious that Bob may want to take this gesture of good will from Vega.

COMBATSYS: Cyborg takes no action.

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Bob              1/------=/=======|

COMBATSYS: Cyborg has suffered catastrophic damage and fallen offline.

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Bob              1/------=/=======|

As the Cyborg speaks again, Bob twitches, tightening his guard. Each breath he takes is heavy, tired. By the time it powers down, Bob seems practically relieved. It's a terribly brief feeling.

The psychic outburst is humbling; Bob nearly goes down just from the pressure, especially in his current state. It's only through exertion that he manages to keep his footing long enough to look over to Vega.

"'s appreciated," Bob says, unwilling to push his luck. No, he tells himself. Fighting a losing battle is no way to try and help those kids. This is time for a tactical retreat if there's still a chance for one.

He doesn't wait around to see, instead breaking into a jog away from the oil platform, launching toward the railing to leap down to a ladder and make his way back to his rented boat. ...if it's still there.

It's a long swim otherwise.

Log created on 17:44:42 07/03/2018 by Vega, and last modified on 13:18:38 07/11/2018.