Date: April 25, 2014
In a world with no humans, a group of animal shinobi faces a bizarre construct.
"What If? Critter Character - Mecha-Spider"
Countryside [Land of Grass]
Terror in the Land of Grass! A gigantic construct of some sort has appeared, stomping through the countryside. It's most easily described as a huge mechanical spider, with legs composed of a complicated conglomeration of metal bars and various doo-dads placed liberally throughout, and a heavily-armored command hub sitting in the middle. Nobody knows where it came from, who is inside, or what its purpose is, but it's been harvesting the crops of the nation as it stalks across the land, leaving barren fields and looming starvation. This calls for NINJA ACTION!
And ninja action there shall be, as there chanced to be some shinobi near enough to heed the call to stop this monstrosity before it reaches heavily populated areas. One such figure arrives on a hilltop nearby, shrouded in a monk-like cloak. The figure reaches up to pull back his hood, revealing the wizened features of…AN ORANGUTAN! Sousa purses his lips shrewdly as he observes the clanking spider, though some would probably find the expression comical. "Quite an impressive feat of engineering. The most obvious question, of course, is what the power source is."
"Ugh.. You monkeys sure like to hear yourselves talk." A voice would say, seeming to come from all around the monk-like orangutan. He doesn't have to put forth much effort into finding the source because it reveals itself rather quickly after speaking. Grass parts as the four legged creature in a slate grey vest and dark blue leg warmers steps forth from their depths, revealing the sharp features of a… Melanistic Leopard (i.e Black Panther >.>)! Rise doesn't stop treading until she stands next to the ape. Albeit, she does so grudgingly considering the ape had the best spot for seeing their main target.
"Mmrrn… Any idea on how to stop that thing Monkey-san?" She asks, shuddering a little in distaste. Of all the animals they had to team her up with…
A head sprouts from between the orangutan's legs, pushing his monk-like cloak up (though not revealingly so), the snout and bulging eyes of a virescent gecko poking from beneath the scratchy fabric.
"The most obvious question wondered is why."
A fat tongue deftly slips out and licks two rotund, tumescent eyes.
"Definitely metal work. Masterful, too. I'd have to assume opposable thumbs. Make you jealous, Orangu-san?"
The gecko titters, and pulls himself from beneath the hem of the large ape, though remaining quadrupedal, a utility belt slung long across his body, a ratty pair of shirts and what could pass as a shirt buttoned haphazardly. Hae's tail swishes slowly through the air, occasionally slapping into those standing too close.
"Ape, technically," Sousa notes absently. "An unimportant distinction in your mind, perhaps, but I imagine you'd find it irksome if I referred to all quadrupedal hunting mammals as 'dog'. You may use 'primate' if you wish to be generic yet accurate." Sousa glances down at Hae when he speaks up. "Hmm, that demonstrates the differences in our thought processes and priorities. You might make a good diplomat."
Sousa clasps his hands together. "A number of ideas for stopping that mechanism do come to mind…use projectile attacks powerful enough to destroy the joints of its legs, create terrain that it would be unable to traverse, construct an equally grandiose mechanism to combat it…however, paring down the possibilities for practical considerations of what is within our capabilities to accomplish within an acceptable time-frame, the most efficacious-seeming solution is simple: pick a leg, start climbing, reach the central structure, and find a way inside." Sousa points down to the field underneath the spider, where a long hose from the mecha's belly is sucking up grain. "If either of you feel that climbing a metal structure of that sort will be outside the best usage of your strengths, you might also do something to harry that harvester. That will hopefully distract the operators, at least." Sousa starts running down the hill toward the nearest spider leg.
Rise ears flickers at the sound of the new voice. She gives the gecko a sidelong glance, studying her fellow shinobi. She snorts derisively, obviously unimpressed. A guttural growl emanates from her being at Sousa's 'long winded' wish to be called something else. Rise comes close to outright bearing her teeth as well, but restrains the urge for the time being to listen to the ape's plan.
"Alright primate, ape, monkey, whatever!" She exclaims as she took off after Sousa. "As much as I'd like the challenge of climbing it, I'll run distractions while you two clamor up its back. Just don't go expect'n me to get it lurch around conveniently for yer climb." She states. And even though she could easily outstrip the ape in terms of speed, Rise would await confirmation on the plan before branching away from the others to try and grab its attentions first. Taunting it with words on the go at first to see if there's some kind of intelligence behind it, then using more aggressive means. +.+
"Mmm, precisely, precisely."
Hae's tongue dashes out to again clean his eyes, blacks orbs like watery planets only just coming to breathe life into being. But everyone is gone already. The gecko's scales glimmer in the sun, gleaming every time the reptile twists or turns, spitting rainbows to nowhere. The tip of his tail - an almost purple - swaggers in the emptiness now surrounding the shinobi, his comrades racing from their perch to assault the mechanized beast. Hae hadn't exactly followed Sousa's proposal, though he was aware of how well he climbed, and that part had been easy enough to understand. Perhaps, though, there were no operators. Could it be that metal bore its own mind? It's own desire? That it would ravage the world were it but to escape its immobile sentience; perhaps it had finally found a way.
Hae finally stands, rising on his feet, though unsteadily, his tail laid out behind him for balance. His hands - giants gobs of sticky skin - stumble together, eventually arriving at some preassigned point, and there comes, in a fat puff of smoke, another Hae, and one more again. The now three geckos depart the hill, wiggling their swift way down, coming upon the beast so abruptly it seems, and then up, working their way as best could be to Sousa's orders: climb the legs, find the operator.
The giant metal construct does indeed seem to have some reaction to Rise's appearance and goading. It halts briefly in its stride, a fact which Sousa takes advantage of to begin his ascent. Then a voice booms down from the central core, quite obviously amplified and distorted. "WE DO NOT FEAR YOU, CAT! WE WILL DO AS WE PLEASE FROM NOW ON! ALL WHO STAND IN OUR WAY WILL BE CRUSHED!" With that, the hose turns toward Rise. Up close, it's evident that it has circular saw attachments for cutting up the wheat stalks before sucking them in. No doubt it could do some serious damage to kitty flesh, too.
Climbing the spider's legs is no jungle gym romp either. Many of the doo-dads littered around the interlocking metal bars turn out to be defensive mechanisms. Sousa, Hae, and his clones are attacked by flamethrowers, jabbing electrical forks, and swinging saw blades as they make their way upward. Sousa swings around his chosen leg, employing all four limbs to grasp the bars and occasionally even pulling himself straight through the structure. "This almost seems designed as an obstacle course," he muses to himself. e.e
Inside, now that she had the behemoth of destruction facing her, her spirit was quaking at the sight. Despite her fear, Rise laughs, and keeps on laughing even after the weapon is brought to the fore. Whoever's piloting it or can see the event play out would call her utterly mad perhaps. And — in a way — perhaps she has gone bonkers. Still, if her taunting and laughter was enough to making the controller lose his cool and attack without forethought, then it would matter little what others thought; only that the impromptu plan worked! Sort of.
"Go ahead and try ya sardines!" She jest one last time before running a wide circle about the giant, hoping to lead him from any nearby populations. To add a bit more incentive for the mecha spider, Rise would abruptly alter her course at times, weaving around its attacks and legs to further confusing the critter before popping out on the other side of the creature.
The clones are not up to the obstacle challenge (as clones never seem to be; is it their ineluctable demise that makes them fearlessly dumb?), crumbling away into nothing, adding more pebbles and dirt to the land being currently razed. Hae himself - scrambling away from an eruption of flame - loses the end of his tail to an errant saw-blade in his blindside.
The gecko seems otherwise unperturbed, however, continuing his climb as best he can manage up the mechanical leg. Climbing, climbing, climbing still, his sticky footpads clinging to the metal, almost, almost, almost up to the- ZAP!
The electric fork shivers Hae right off his climb, the gecko collapsing to the earth, shaken, though not stirred. Yet there is nary a moment to move before the huge hulking elephant trunk sucking up all the cut grain hovers its way over Hae.
But even his words are sucked up, pulling gecko and grain up and up and up…
"SARDINES!?!?" the booming voice cries, managing to get some shrillness into it despite the deepening effect of whatever speaker they're using. "THAT DOESN'T EVEN MAKE SENSE, THEY LIVE UNDERWATER! WE'RE — " The voice suddenly cuts off, as though somebody reached over and switched off the system. The hose stops chasing Rise and goes back to harvesting, but weaponry on the spider's belly swings into action, firing shuriken down at her.
Sousa finally gets past the leg and onto the exterior of the mecha's central body. He stops to pat down a flaming part of his robe, then looks around. "If they were sensible in their design, they would make it nearly impossible to gain entry from the outside without inside assistance," he mutters. "Considering the playground I just went through, though, they may be overconfident in the protection height affords them." e.e Sousa clambers along the hull, looking for a door or at least a weak spot.
Meanwhile, through sheer luck (both in not being sliced up by the hose's saw attachments and in the fact that the grain isn't sent to a furnace or something) Hae ends up being the first to actually infiltrate the steel beast. After banging through a series of pipes he comes to rest in a vertical grain repository. One wall of this repository is made of glass, doubtless to make it easy to gauge how full it is from the outside, but it also makes it possible for Hae to see out. What he sees is a bustling command room full of hamsters, some of them working controls for the mecha, but the majority either running on wheels or taking a break from doing so and snacking on the grain as it sifts down and out at the bottom of the repository. Well, great! Now Hae just has to bust out somehow and start causing some havoc!
If Rise had the time she might've stopped to recount the great war against the sardine clans of the hidden mist and her own. Granted, her recollection of it was sketchy at best, but her father was there so… 'Focus Rise!' Her subconscious scream could not have been timed more perfectly, because seconds later the dark coated panther is forced to duck just avoid some of the shuriken. More soon follow it, resulting in her doing more running around then actually distracting the hulking monstrosity from its mission.
"Tch! That does it!" She slides to a stop, then rebounds back towards the creature against its weapon fire. Some manage to nick her during the mad charge back for it, but none would slow her down. She endure getting beaten senseless or enduring carrying all those boulders day and out for nothing after all! Once she was in position to scan its legs for some type of weak point — a hose or… some type of convenient whatcha-ma-do-hicky that looked awfully important AND within decent reach of a good pounch, Rise would accelerate rapidly. "Leopard Style: Lightspeed Blitz!" Light seems to gather about Rise as she goes. The brighter it gets, the faster she moves! In time, she even seems to disappear to most eyes and senses, only to reappear passing by her target, leaving an afterimage her wake retracing her attack on the joint.
Husked together with mounds and mounds of grain, Hae remains motionless as his tremendous eyes, pressed against the glass to see through the grain, scan the thriving room full of hamsters.
"Hamsters. Why'd it have to be hamsters?"
The gecko shivers, shuffling some of the grain in the process. Those large eyes look upwards: up and up the ceiling seems to go. A slim smile (for how could a gecko smile but otherwise?) pulls his repitilian lips wide. Hae reaches, as surreptitiously as a lizard can, into the utility belt coiled around his shoulder, and pulls several tags from a pouch. He plants the mass of tags on the floor around the intake hose. Then clambering up the glass, sticky fingers leaving no grease as he swifts his way up to the ceiling, the grain slithering with each step taken, upside down now on the ceiling, clear to see. Hae drops one padded hand, folding it up save for a single finger. The explosive paper tags spark, and begin to burn.
*SSSSS-BOOM!!!* There is a shattering of glass and a rattling of seeds as the repository is breached and the grain begins to flow out. The hamsters all squeak in alarm and most of them run over to see what happened. "Hey, back to your stations! Let the emergency response squad handle it!" shouts one of them. Of course, it isn't long before claws are pointed up in Hae's direction, and shuriken and the like are soon to follow.
Fortunately, the focus on Hae does at least help Sousa in his infiltration. Sure enough, he found a hatch near the bottom of the lateral side with a simple wheel opening mechanism, no security lock. After opening it and swinging inside, Sousa creeps over to one of the pilots and puts him out with a few kung-fu pokes. Hmmm, now how best to sabotage this contraption…
Hae's diversion also helps out Rise. With so many hamsters momentarily leaving their controls and power wheels, the spider-mech suddenly slows in its movements, and its defense mechanisms cease functioning. Rise's blitz strikes one of the lowest leg joints, resulting in a deep crack…but not a full break. Until, that is, the spider lifts the other legs on that side, placing a dangerous bulk of its weight on that foot. Sousa always did like interesting applications of physics. ;) The metal screams in protest before tearing apart at the joint, and the whole contraption comes crashing down.
Shortly after the crash, hatches open on all sides of the central body, and dazed hamsters pull themselves out…to where Rise is waiting. Gulp. Kitty. ._.;
Rise slides along the ground for a few meters due to her own momentum, but eventually slows to a stop. She turns to admire her work, but the screeching sound of the metal grating on metal forces her to cover her ears with both forepaws. If not for the loose bolt falling on her head, she might've ended up crushed as well! Thankfully, luck is on her side, and continues to be during her mad dash out from underneath the behemoth.
Some time later she finds herself stalking around controllers of the mechanized monster, keeping them pinned in close together and watching them solely for any other hidden tricks up their sleeves. She did NOT do this because she was having a hard time deciding who to eat first…. even if the drool slipping from the side of her jowls and the smiles she gives seem to say otherwise. Darn chubby goodies… >.>
"So, who's the delect—er-leader of your little operation here?" She asks plainly.
The metal contraption stumbles and falls, kicking up mounds of dirt and dust, spewing grain every which way with a crushing collapse of steel and glass. Rise rounds up the hamsters as they scurry from their steel abode. Hae eventually climbs from the metallic rubble - slowly, gingerly now - his tail some inches shorter, yet still not bleeding. One of his eyes is slightly lowered as he peers at the rounded-up hamsters.
"Eat 'em! Eat them all! Disgusting, furry, squealing little prairie farts."
Hae climbs further from the wreckage, saddling himself onto the ground, seeming instantly relieved. His tongue comes out and licks gingerly over his sore eye.
"I hate hamsters…"
Sousa leaves the capture of the hamsters to the other nin, finding the mecha's inner workings to be more interesting. "Fascinating," he says, spinning one of the power wheels with his hand. "They found a means to turn their species' greatest survival asset, running speed and endurance, into an offensive capability."
Outside, an older-looking hamster with long, whispy fur and a patch over one eye stands up and gives Rise a defiant scowl. "I'M the leader! I'M the one who gave these simpering tubs of lard a way to stand up and be a force to be reckoned with! And I'll do it again! Mark my words, the days of hamsters being fat fluffy hors d'oeuvres for any arrogant fool lucky enough to be born with fangs and claws are OVER! We'll be back, and we'll stomp every last predator in this world until — OOF!" Sousa came out of the mecha at that moment and gave the hamster general a hefty boot to his stubby tail, sending him sprawling in front of his troops. "Kitty, din-din," Sousa remarks, then turns and heads on his way.
*REMAINING FOOTAGE CUT FOR EXCESSIVE CARNAGE*