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Thread: Gbagok and Iceman present: The Book of Evil part 2 - The Bells of Doom

  1. #51
    Heroic Warrior gbagok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maczero View Post
    Good stuff!

    A couple of questions:
    1) What reason did the kids have for wearing life monitors?
    2) I'm not a fan of Extendar having mystical origins. He looks like a cyborg to me. Anyway, is his being transformed into Extendar by the Sun Stone canon?
    1) Melaktha insists on his students/assistants wearing them when they are exploring the extensive and potentially dangerous ruins of Eternia. Since they were in the field, he had them wear the devices and it turned out to be a good thing.
    2) The Stone's involvement isn't canon anywhere, but advanced technology often appears like magic to those who don't understand it. Batros being able to manipulate its energies with Nepthu might be a clue about where that could go. I just tend to be a fan of making things sound mystical as much as possible.
    Be sure to read Book of Evil Part 2: The Bells of Doom, only in the He-Man.org Fan Fic & Media forums!
    http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...06#post3094406

  2. #52
    Lightning League Leader kylun flac's Avatar
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    I absolutely loved this chapter!
    I have one nit pick and that was the part where Sybilline reveals herself to He-Man. I felt that was to soon for that character & there are just to many characters to keep track of that most readers might get lost. I feel to many new characters happening all at once feels forced. Other than that terrific story.

    Love where the story is going. Its a nice break from the snake men from the last MYP show (ep.14 needed something before it ). Going forward it needed another story involving Skeletor as a major player again.
    I imagine in the time the Snake men were running a muck Skeletor was putting his plans together. So, this works perfectly. Its good to see now Skeletor as a very powerful & cunning threat.

    I felt this was an episode long awaited by fans, seeing Shokoti in a new 200x story. You really done it justice. Very epic!
    I loved that it played similar to the old Filmation cartoon with Trap-Jaw working with Masque & Melaktha with He-Man. I liked how you fit Extendar, Scare Glow and Illumina. Very nice. I look forward to another exciting chapter of the story.

    p.s. I love that you are telling about time traveling Keldor & giving a little more history on Preternia. I found a lot of that confusing.
    Skeleton-Warriors, Ra-Jar, Spinwit, Rock Golem, Evil Seed, Lord Masque, Prahvus, General Tartaran, Hawke, Slob-Boar, King Agho, Hunga the Harpy, Sh'gora, Masks of Power Demons, Nocturna, Lizzor, Horde Wraiths, Sagitar, Crimson Fury, Lodar, Vizar, Angast, Negator, Melaktha, ABC Giants, Stridor

  3. #53
    Warrior of Evolution 13977's Avatar
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    WOW, best chapter yet! Possibly the best MOTU fiction (fan or other wise) I ever read!

    Your knowledge of all aspect of MOTU continues to amaze me, you include stuff from the most obscure sources and stories which I love.

    I’m loving all the back story and history/mythology your giving, it really fills out the whole MOTU universes like MVC planned to do and even more.

    Loving the The First Elders.
    I see Keclar, Hek-Tor Kur, Neptul, Sharella, Lord Bryon, Zilora, Eldor
    Is that the Faceless one with Havoc staff or maybe his predecessor?
    The Elder with the red hair and tash and the one next to him with green hat are also from UK comics, very nice touch, I’ve always love the UK Elders so I’m so glad you’ve included them.
    I think the one in green next to Eldor is also possibly from the UK comics, from the Twins of Power: The third Sword story? and if he’s who I think it its, he will steal the Sword of the Ancients and I’m guess is the one you’ve called Mah-Tyn in this story.

    Could the Fire Person be Hyperion, father of Pyroah? I don’t think its Helios.

    Not sure who the other five are but one is obviously an Avionian, one a Mintauran and one has Evil Lyn’s staff.

    Love that you used the movie throne room for Central Tower, it looks totally epic!

    I wonder of we’ll see the sword of Doom in this story?

    Great picture of the Ancients. I see Nordor, Light Hope, Procrutus, The All Father, The Goddess, The Dream Mistress. Not sure about the other three.

    Nice appearances by Sybilline and She-La also, looking forward to learning more about them.

    I knew Illumina was coming. Hope we get a picture of her riding Sleetah.

    Love the 200x style, I’m so glad you’ve stuck with it.

    Can’t wait for the next chapter
    Last edited by 13977; August 20, 2012 at 04:36am.
    MOTUC NA Most Wanted: Darius, Kayo, Vizar, Hoove, Lizorr

    Wanted:
    Trade my Red Stone He-Ro Staff for a Green one
    HE-MAN UK Adventure Magazine #26

  4. #54
    Heroic Warrior Clawful94's Avatar
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    This story is so amazing. I love the mystical aspect on the story. Like said before, I am totally happy with Extendar's origin. He has always been one of my favorite characters. I can't wait to see what happens with Theydon. I'm very intrigued about the Elders and the Ancients. Scare Glow is just menacing. I love it. Thanks for all your hard work on this story, I really am enjoying it.

  5. #55
    Lightning League Leader kylun flac's Avatar
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    So, the Council of The Wise was during the time of the Ancients & Keclar was the spoke leader of the council?
    Next Eldor takes on the role of the lead concil member during He-Ro's time?
    So, the council disbanded after He-Ro's death?

    just trying to figure this out when the council started & when it ended. Also who were all of its members.
    Skeleton-Warriors, Ra-Jar, Spinwit, Rock Golem, Evil Seed, Lord Masque, Prahvus, General Tartaran, Hawke, Slob-Boar, King Agho, Hunga the Harpy, Sh'gora, Masks of Power Demons, Nocturna, Lizzor, Horde Wraiths, Sagitar, Crimson Fury, Lodar, Vizar, Angast, Negator, Melaktha, ABC Giants, Stridor

  6. #56
    Warrior of Evolution 13977's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kylun flac View Post
    So, the Council of The Wise was during the time of the Ancients & Keclar was the spoke leader of the council?
    Next Eldor takes on the role of the lead concil member during He-Ro's time?
    So, the council disbanded after He-Ro's death?

    just trying to figure this out when the council started & when it ended. Also who were all of its members.
    In my last post I listed the council members I know but I don't know them all.

    I got this quote from Gbagok's Unofficial Character Bios thread and thought it was quite helpful in understanding the different councils:

    Quote Originally Posted by gbagok View Post
    This comes from MVC’s plans: The Overlords of the Timeless Dimension created Eternia and its universe with the Star Seed. They are basically the God of the He-verse. They created the Ancients to be stewards of their creation and keepers of the Star Seed. The Ancients are also more god-like than mortals however, so they created helpers in the wizards of Preternia (or first elders) who include Keclar and his first council.

    So the hierarchy is:
    1. Overlords
    2. Ancients
    3. First Elders (the UK comics version of the elders basically)*
    4. Council of Wisdom*
    5. Second Council of Elders (King Grayskull’s warriors)


    *Eldor was part group 3 and one of the founders of group 4.
    MOTUC NA Most Wanted: Darius, Kayo, Vizar, Hoove, Lizorr

    Wanted:
    Trade my Red Stone He-Ro Staff for a Green one
    HE-MAN UK Adventure Magazine #26

  7. #57
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    Wow, I dare say you've out done yourself (and that's really saying something, considering). There are few projects I'd stay interested in for so long, but I always eagerly anticipated BOE2, and this really was worth the wait. Love the intro with Keldor journeying through time with the "liche from Snake Mountain" (brilliant!) These ongoing asides add so much to the myth itself, and also serve a great transitional function. They catch the reader up from your previous story as well as carry the story along with a rthymic and deliberate pace. In the hands of a less skilled writer this could easily be jarring, but it works seamlessly here. I always lamented never getting to see the time travel drama fully play out in the original story line, so it's really delightful for me to find it here, especially in a way that adds so much on the story. You're depiction of Batros is amazing. I really like how you took the trans dimensional Avionian route. Great nod to the MYP comic, and yet another example of how you so deftly weave elements from various continuities together. The dialogue between Batros and Nepthu was really well written too. Dialogue is so hard to get write, especially in fantasy, but this is top notch writing here. Extender's new origin took me a little offgaurd. Ive always loved him being a victim of sadistic Horde science, but his connection to the light based powers acts as such a great plot device (particularly in Chapter 3 in Shokoti's Temple ) I can see why you went that way. And speaking of light based powers....Illumina !!!!!!! You characterize her so well, it's just how I imagine she would have been depicted if she'd had her day in the sun back in the 2000x comic (pun intended ) I enjoyed chapter 2, and an always happy to learn more about Marzo. You really succeed in giving his character so much depth. The abduction as a child angle was really riveting, and the dynamic between he and his nephew was almost touching. I got the impression you really meant for him to be sincere when he spoke about reverting his nephew back to childhood as a boone to the boy after regertablly killing his parents, and as some vindication for his own stolen youth. This may be my favorite aspect of all your stories - the way you give all your characters so much dimension. There is no black and white, no real clear cut heroes or villians...you even call the Ancients and Masters own actions into question, while also making the nastiest villain sympathetic. Chapter 3 blew my mind. I agree with the others who said this was the 2000x story we were all waiting for. You create such a poignant atmosphe inside the Temple. I mean really man, chanelling some serious H.P. Lovecraft and Clive Barker there. I think my favorite line would be melkathas response about what they were smelling as they enter the Temple..."very old blood." That was just wicked cool! I loved seeig the Elders, and I really, really hope to learn more about Shokoti's past battles with the "Protectress of Power". What a great moniker! I can see where others are coming from about Sybalines intro seeming rather soon..,there was a lot to digest in part 3, but I still think it works well. I really didn't see that coming either. I hope we see more of the group the first accompanied Masque back in BOE part 1, particularly Karg. Just such good stuff here, thanks a lot. This has been hours of high quality entertainment, far more entertaining than any graphic novels I've bought recently. I can't wait for more!

  8. #58
    Heroic Warrior HordeMonkey's Avatar
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    Wow guys, just finished reading through everything posted so far and man, is it epic!

    Every year of the wait has been worth it and I can't wait to see what else is up your sleeves!

    If I could offer only one tiny tiny bit of advice, it would be to use the word "hurl" instead of "hurtle". "Hurl" meaning "To throw with great force; fling" or "To send with great vigor; thrust". For example: Once something is hurled, it hurtles through the air.

    Sorry, I'm a Grammar Nasty.
    Last edited by HordeMonkey; August 25, 2012 at 06:51am.
    Evil Simian Mechanic of the Horde!

  9. #59
    It says ICEMAN oICEMANo's Avatar
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    Hey guys the next chapter will be along a little later than desired, been battling ANOTHER bout of flu (thanks for nothing Winter!!) and theres a few pieces of art unfinished on my side.
    Sorry!
    NOW DOING CHARACTER ART COMMISSIONS - PM FOR DETAILS
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    The Return to Anwat Gar

  10. #60
    Overseas Trollan Orko-78's Avatar
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    I think it's very worth to wait for. In the meantime, I can get familiar with BOE1's plot and getting through the current BOE2 chapters.
    Alles Orko oder was? - ...'cause Trollans are the best! - She-Raver by conviction...

  11. #61
    Lightning League Leader kylun flac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 13977 View Post
    In my last post I listed the council members I know but I don't know them all.

    I got this quote from Gbagok's Unofficial Character Bios thread and thought it was quite helpful in understanding the different councils:
    Thank you. This was a big help.
    I thought this was the order looking through the character bio's. But needed to be sure.
    Gets confusing since this part of the mythos is not widely mentioned in the story.
    Skeleton-Warriors, Ra-Jar, Spinwit, Rock Golem, Evil Seed, Lord Masque, Prahvus, General Tartaran, Hawke, Slob-Boar, King Agho, Hunga the Harpy, Sh'gora, Masks of Power Demons, Nocturna, Lizzor, Horde Wraiths, Sagitar, Crimson Fury, Lodar, Vizar, Angast, Negator, Melaktha, ABC Giants, Stridor

  12. #62
    Heroic Warrior gbagok's Avatar
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    Chapter Four: The Fastest Draw in the Universe
    After failing to secure the Bell of Doom hidden in the ruins of Al-Baron, a self-conscious Teela leads Fisto, Robot, Mallek, and an old ally of her father’s to the Plains of Perpetua. But the Heroic and Evil Warriors are not the only powers trying to capture the Bells of Doom.

    The Horde scout ship prowls along the edge of the known universe, a single predator alone in a vast night. It’s mighty weapons point aimlessly into the void, unused and cold, while its scanners diligently peruse the cosmos in an on-going but fruitless search. The ship’s crew sit at their stations, alive but almost as atrophied as their warship. The red bat wings of their imperial sigils have become a mockery to them, recalling times of war and action long since passed. All that remains is the search, the object of which most of them cannot even recall.




    Suddenly their instruments come alive. Repta the smaller of the two pilots jumps in a mixture of confusion and surprise. He examines the scanners’ readings, taking time to recall what they were as much as what they said. “There’s a dimensional rift opening,” he says suddenly. His colleague Rackney grunts. That’s the most the large Arachna ever did when Repta--or anyone else for that matter--addressed him, and yet this time it was still a significant response.

    “We should inform Commander Ferros at once,” Repta realizes, to which Rackney affords him another grunt.

    Moments later the commander is on the bridge, his sharp-fingered hands playing against each other eagerly. A thuggish and greedy man, Ferros walks with the slouch of a caged and hungry beast. He has waited a long time for this moment and can barely contain his excitement. “Report,” he barks.

    “Our instruments show that a dimensional anomaly was detected, eh, 33.8 clicks from our current position. The anomaly lasted a duration of--”

    “Is it a portal?”

    Repta and Rackney glance at each other. “Unknown, Commander. If it was, it lasted less than a sssecond. The temporal sssignature sssuggests that it could be...him.”

    Ferros’s eyes widen. “The Starband?! After all this time...do I finally have him?!” Ferros paces the bridge, his officers watching him anxiously. “Yes, yes. Clever, very clever. Perhaps the bird woman did us a favor banishing us into this empty void. If we’ve found it again....yes, that’s it. We’ll be heroes to the Horde! Repta, activate the communicator. Send to Horde World this message: Scout 362 has located Starband signal. Possible pathway through Despondos barrier may be possible. Advise immediate action.”

    “Done, Commander. But what if it’s not the Starband?”

    “It’s him. I can smell him from here. Prepare yourselves,
    men. Hordak himself will congratulate us. We’ve just found Eternia!”

    24 Hours Earlier...

    “Is it on yet?”

    “I think so. I’m getting an image.”

    “There’s no light blinking. Are you--”

    “Rio, just start talking.”

    “Will do. Okay, Starband Marshal’s log number--I don’t remember. The date is Galactic Calendar SD6819.2. This is Rio DeLoredo, Intergalactic Marshal, retired. This will be the first log I have recorded in fifteen years.”

    “Twenty, love.”

    “That long? I must look ancient! Thank you Maybella. That was Ms. Maybella Star, certainly the fairest Marshal I’ve ever met--no offense to High Marshal Lubic. Fif--ahem--twenty years ago I crash landed here in pursuit of the wanted criminal calling himself the Slave Master and his hired hand Blastar. My ship was damaged beyond repair, and so were my interstellar communications. The lovely Maybella Star followed a similar course and managed to arrive in fairly better shape, but her communications were likewise damaged. After a lengthy repairs we think maybe we can transmit this final message to the Starband and hope they don’t lose anymore people looking for us. We’re both alive, and both safe, on an uncharted planet with no spaceports or other connections to Galactic Central. The locals call it Eternia. Yes, that Eternia. I’m not one for legends, but as near as I can tell I’ve found the long lost world at the center of the Universe--the one that no star probe or exploration has ever proved exists. Well the dirt I’m standing on is real enough for me.”



    “Life here is pretty sweet actually. I’ve found myself a corner to call my own and even made friends of the locals. These parts here’re called the Flatlands, not far from the Planes of Pepetua. If you receive this transmission it probably looks like miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles. But trust me, it beats Galactic Central for peace and quiet. Don’t get me wrong now, we’ve had our fair share of skirmishes too, and I’ve incarcerated a number of criminal-types in cooperation of local authorities--all good by the Starband code. I suffered some accidents along the way, had to make some cybernetic enhancements to keep going. But to tell you the truth, this place reminds me so much of my home on Loredo before the fall. I know I sound like a love-sick fool, but this here is the nicest place to be marooned on that I could have imagined. If there’s a paradise waiting for us at the end of life’s walk, I think I may have arrived a little early.”

    “Surely you mean after I arrived.”
    
“Indeed, Maybella! But the name is Rio, not Shirley.”

    “I was waiting for that joke. Wrap it up. Longhorn and Rotar are almost here.”

    “I’m done! I ask the Starband to please not send anyone else looking for us. They’ll only get stuck here too, and they may not like it as much as we do. Also three’s a crowd.”

    In the shadow of her spaceship the Starmule, Maybella Star switches off her holo-recorder and signals a thumbs up to Rio that the device has successfully saved his log. Not far, two friends approach them while driving a herd of cattle. One rides atop a beast, but the other, a cyborg, practically glides along the ground stirring up a cloud of dust in his wake.



    “You’re getting faster than those bull-horns, Rotar,” Rio yells to the cyborg. “We’ll need to send you back for another herd if you keep this up.”

    “Spare me your lame jokes, Rio,” says Rotar good-naturedly, “I’ve been listening to Longhorn’s since Perpetua.” The diminutive warrior Rotar had not long ago been a palace guard of Eternos until one of Skeletor’s attacks left him near death. Only the resourceful Man-At-Arms had saved Rotar’s life, but at the expense of the Eternian’s legs. The transition had been difficult for Rotar, but by now he had started to master his new abilities. Rio glances down at the gyro-cone, the cybernetic implement that had replaced his own severed right hand years prior. He hated it, wanted to clench his own fist again, drive it into the face of the outlaw who had blasted it off, but there was no changing what was. Rotar would have to live with it as Rio did.



    “You boys should play nice,” says Maybella as she punches the mechanism to lower her ship’s boarding ramp. “I’ve got the Mule working again the best it’s been since the day it left the Starband, so I don’t want y’all raining on my nice sunshine.” She carries the holo-recorder inside to transfer Rio’s log into the computer.

    “You people use the strangest slang,” Rotar sighs.

    “I don’t seem to mind it much,” says Longhorn, the large Mintoran rider and owner of the cattle herd. “I find it refreshing compared to the high speak of King Torius and the Masters of Mintora. Even Eternos can be a little formal, don’t you think?” Rotar just scoffs.

    The four friends enjoy a brief reunion, but talk soon turns to the recent troubles on Eternia. Rio and Maybella being in the remote Eternian Flatlands had not heard about the fate of Randor, the missing cities, or the race between He-Man and Skeletor for the hidden Bells of Doom.

    Rio lets out a long whistle of awe. “That’s one bad yarn, Rotar. I can’t believe...whole cities full of people just gone like that? Could it be a more powerful version the Gyve?”

    “What is that,” asks Longhorn.



    “It’s what the Marshals use to detain prisoners,” Maybella explains. “It uses a time and space dimensional compression to--”

    “What all that means is it’s a whole lot bigger on the outside than the inside,” says Rio. “We use it to jail criminals, but I’ve never heard of it being used on something as a big as a city.”

    Rotar explains the locations of the remaining Bells and holds up a holo-pod displaying the coordinates of the nearest Bell buried in the mountains beyond the Flatlands. Rio whistles again. “If there’s one that close, we’d best get a move on before Skeletor’s people get it.”



    “That will hardly matter to you,” says a cold, malevolent voice from over their heads. The four look up to see Rattlor standing on the back of the Mule’s hull with a look of sadistic glee upon his already menacing face. Before the four can react, several Snake Men leap out of hiding in the dirt, quickly surrounding them on all sides. Some of the cattle scream at the sight of the Snake Men and begin to wrangle and back away. Two more Snake Men join Rattlor atop the Mule, the slightly diminutive Kobra Kahn and the equally small Habu.

    Rio’s friends look to him for leadership, but slowly he raises his arms in surrender and signals the others should do the same. “We don’t want trouble, reptile,” he says in a low voice.

    “It’s good to want things,” Rattlor answers him as he leaps down off the Mule. “This vessel will make a good chariot for our divine King Hiss upon his imminent resurrection.” He turns to Habu, who follows him along with Kahn. “Retrieve the holo-compass from the cripple and determine the Bell’s location.” Habu does as he is told, receiving a cold and even stare from Rotar. Habu then examines the device clumsily but fails to reactivate it, prompting Kobra Kahn to snatch it out of his hands and operate it himself.

    “Well,” Rattlor asks, ignoring their exchange.

    “The ship will ssserve us well. The bell is a full 100 metrons away.”

    “And is it the master bell like Habu assured us? It would be a great pity if we have come all this way for nothing but a weak trinket.”

    “It must be,” says Habu quickly. “Jitsu himself is leading the party to find it. He boasted that only he has the honor to retrieve the master bell!”

    Kahn shakes his head, “but we came for more than the bell, general! I promise these people are holding fellow Snake Men who would gladly join our ranks!”

    “Very well. Locate them and then prepare the ship for our departure.” Kahn and several of the others disappear into the Mule while Rattlor remains with their captives. He notices Rio smiling. “And why is a dead man so amused?”



    “I’d heard the big bad Snake Men were back. Folks say you’d been gone for more than an eon, but I always say ‘shoot, them’s snake fellas are always trying to pick at my herds here in the Flatlands. Yessir, the snake men I’ve seen were never much to worry about, good for target practice and all. Of course, I thought maybe them’s just a bunch of inbred cousins to you or something like your pet Kobra there. Not until I saw a big rattle-tail like you did I realize you were pretty much all the same.”

    Rattlor’s eyes widen with hardly contained rage. “Puny infadel! If you did not seek death before, you will be me for it by dusk!”

    “Big talk, fella. But you ain’t killin’ no one.”

    “Oh really? And how does an unarmed, pig-skinned, stinking mammal like you intend to stop me?”

    “Now see, that’s where you’d be wrong again. I may be pig-skinned, I may stink, and I’m pretty sure my mamma bore only mammal kin--” suddenly metal armaments snap out of hiding in his arms and legs and take aim at Rattlor and his warriors. “But, sucker, I’m always armed!”

    “Scramble!” Rattlor yells and leaps behind one of the Mule’s landing legs as Rio Blast opens fire.

    Rotar and the others leap into action as well. Deflecting the Snakemen attempts to counter attack, they try to maneuver their way aboard the Mule. Their efforts prove futile however when Kobra Kahn masters the controls within and bids the ship’s wing cannons to take aim at the Eternians. Maybella Star yells a warning to Rio Blast, who quickly ducks for cover as the ship’s cannons rip apart the flat ground on which he’d been standing. The explosive force sends the cattle into a stampede and just narrowly misses him as he takes cover behind another landing leg.

    “Stop,” a frantic Rattlor yells up at Kahn, “you’ll damage the ship!”

    “She’s worth a lot to you,” Rio yells back at them. He sees Rotar and Maybella Star disappearing around the other side of the Mule’s engines. Still addressing the Snake Men he yells, “Don’t suppose you care for her more than your skins? See I don’t need this ship so much as you do.”

    “You’re bluffing,” Rattlor growls.

    “Try me!” Suddenly Rio feels a hand on his arm and he turns fast with guns raised but stops just short of putting a hole in Longhorn head. After a reproachful glare Rio asks him, “How many snakes did you see?”

    “Five, maybe,” Longhorn guesses.

    “Damn. I’ve heard about Rattlor. He doesn’t mess around. If he’s letting us see five he’s probably got ten still hiding.”

    “Rio, you can’t bluff your way out of this, Rio. I know you can’t lose the Mule but armed or not you can’t repel that kind of fire power.”

    “Don’t suppose you want to make good on that life debt you owe me?”

    Longhorn screws up his face in confusion. “What life debt?”

    “You know, the one I’ve earned like five whole times now. Don’t you’re people say your life is mine once I save your life or some such?”

    Longhorn stares at him. “You have been out in the sun too long smelling your own methane. If anyone’s life belongs to anyone else’s, yours belongs to mine at least twice.”

    “Okay, fine, we’ll agree to disagree.”

    “I’ll agree you are wrong. I also agree to table this nonsense until we have an actual plan.”

    “Yeah, well, I’m working on that. See the rest of my weapons pack is in a crate behind the boarding ramp. If I can get to that, I’d be better matched even against the Mule. Only trouble being I’m on the wrong side of the Snake Men to get it.”

    Longhorn points to the saddle bags that came loose when his steed bolted from the gunfire. “I keep emergencies flares to call for help if I ever run into bandits.”

    Rio stares at him. “I was thinking you had more of a kill-the-bad-guys-real-good-right-now kind of plan, not a wait-around-until-somebody-maybe-saves-our-backsides plan.”

    Longhorn grunts. “Actually I was thinking we could use them as a distraction. I have a remote switch for the flares, but we’re too far out of range here.”

    “Mammal,” Rattlor yells. “I grow weary of you. Run now, and I won’t think about catching you for a whole day. Believe me, that’s more time than I have ever afforded a nuisance like yourself.”

    “I’m honored, rattle-butt.”

    Rattlor, overcome with fury, slams his knuckles into Habu so hard that the smaller Snake Man spins twice before falling to the ground.

    “This stalemate is over,” Rattlor yells to his warriors. “I don’t care how long it takes, I want every mammal within shadow’s fall of this vessel dead!”

    “Wait,” Kobra Kahn yells from the Mule’s embarking ramp. “I have a sssolution, Rattlor.”

    Rio and Longhorn exchange confused glances. Taking caution he peers around the edge of his cover to see Kahn give Rattlor a small round device with a single lens like an eye. Immediately the color drains from his face. “Dammit. They found the Gyve.”
    Last edited by gbagok; September 3, 2012 at 09:53pm.
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    “Maybe Rattlor won’t know how to operate it,” says Longhorn hopefully. Suddenly they hear the device roaring to life and a short burst of light flashes around them. Longhorn shrugs defeatedly while Rio curses under his breath.

    Between the heroes and the Snake Men, several sinister figures now stand, brandishing menacing weapons. Rio immediately recognizes the Slave Master, whose cybernetic face and sharp metal teeth gave him the look of a metal beast beneath his long-brimmed hat. And with him is her gun-for-hire Blastar, an intergalactic gunslinger and former Marshal himself, and the man who had taken Rio’s hand. With them are several Eternians, including a Fight Foe Man named Vakko and his earth-tearing transport the Road Ripper. The others are all Snake Men, including a female brandishing a whip and a very large cyborg that seemed to most interest Kobra Kahn.



    “Blast Attack! You are free,” he says, arms open wide welcomingly. But the cyborg seems disoriented, and when Blast Attack finally focuses on Kahn he lets out a wild scream and lunges at him. Kahn backs away swiftly, narrowly escaping what might have been a death blow, but Rattlor only laughs with satisfaction.

    “Impressive,” Rattlor says. The other newly freed Snake Men and woman appear to recognize him and drop to their knees in supplication. “Rise my siblings,” Rattlor commands. “Only Serpos’s divine providence can explain this turn of fortune! Our forces are returned from the Abyss, and even now we seek the means to free King Hiss from a very different limbo. Soon our empire will return victorious!”

    “I ain’t looking for a sigil to bow under,” snarls Blast Attack finally. His voice is hideous, like twisted metal scraping against rocks. “No Serpos saved me when this sniveling worm you call a Kahn left me for dead.”

    “Then you will be paid for your effort,” Rattlor says quickly . Addressing the other criminals he says, “You’ve spent a long time in this off-worlder’s miniature prison. We offer precious stones and rewards for you help.” The criminals look to each other quizzically, clearly doubtful of Rattlor’s claim. Then one of the Snake Men brings a bag to Rattlor, who scoops up a handful of gemstones as big as gamji melons. As he lets the loot slip back into the bag he says, “Everything you see here to the man who kills the Eternians--starting with that mammal with the guns in his limbs!”

    “Well this certainly changes the landscape,” Rio sighs. He looks to where Longhorn had been and discovers the Mintoran has gone.

    “We don’t want any more troubles here,” Longhorn says from the other side of the Mule’s landing leg. He steps into the open, his arms raised in surrender, and inches closer the the outlaws and Snake Men. The Fighting Foe man begins to laugh maniacally and revs up his Road Ripper’s engine excitedly as Longhorn’s situation grew worse with every step. Rio sees Rotar and Maybella peering out from behind the ship’s starboard leg, and he motions for them to be ready. Everything depends on Longhorn now, and on his plan such as it is.

    But then Rattlor spies the devices in Longhorn hand. “I won’t fall for another trick, Mintoran. Drop what you’re holding or die now!” The ultimatum was insane, Rio thought, as they were sure to kill him either way. Rattlor seems to like breaking his enemies’ will as much as their bodies.

    Obediently Longhorn tosses the transmitter towards the saddle bags and takes cover. The others, expecting an explosive, do the same. They all freeze when the device emits an agitated sound, and for a split second they no-doubt wonder if the device has failed. Then two loud firecrackers burst out of the bags and rush into the air.



    Rotar then dashes out among them, his drill kicking up dirt into a dust cloud to distract the villains. Quick as lightning Rio runs for the crates, passing through the confused huddle of Snake Men and outlaws. He hears Longhorn fighting then sees the Mintoran fall out of the corner of his eye, but Rio can’t stop or he’ll never reach the crates. He’s almost at the ramp when he feels a sharp pain on the back of his head. He goes down hard against the dirt, his vision blurs.

    “Too slow, Rio,” he hears Blastar mutter over him. “What did we used to say back in the Starband about the quick and the dead?” He chuckles to himself. “They don’t tell you there’s nothing like either in the Gyve. You ain’t quick but you ain’t dead. Got no sense of time whatsoever, but I figure I’ve been waiting to put a bullet in you for fifteen years.”



    Suddenly they both hear the unmistakable sound of a neutra-laser gun charging up to fire. “Twenty, deadbeat,” says Maybella Star, leveling her weapon at Blastar’s head. “Get your Blast Pack, Rio,” she says. The world still a blur, Rio moves quickly among the crates nearby.

    The gunslinger smiles coldly. “Now when did a fetching piece of calico like this join the Starband?” Maybella doesn’t respond to his taunt. “You quicker than a snake, lady?” Blastar asks. Maybella understand too late as a whip suddenly wraps around her throat, closing her windpipe. Blastar takes her neutra-laser as the snake woman Boa Whip pulls Maybella close.



    “I have the ship’s pilot, General,” she calls to Rattlor, who emerges from the dust cloud and moves to board the Mule.

    “Bring her and the Mintoran with us! I don’t trust Kahn with the controls. They’ll help or we’ll start massacre the nearest settlement.” Rio sees the Snake Men taking an unconscious Longhorn aboard along with the incapacitated Maybella. Rattlor then turns to Blastar, “Finish off the others and the gems will be yours.”

    Blastar grunts. “I’d do it for free.”

    “Rio is mine” yells Blast Attak. “Him and his kin deserve what I give ‘em! You don’t know what they done to me, Rattlor!”

    Rattlor takes him by the shoulder, pulling him close so that his words are heard clearly. “I hear your pain, brother! Our blood is cold, yet it burns for vengeance like no others’! But your King has need of you now. Leave this one to the fate we have assured and come with us for the glory of Serpos!” Moved by Rattlor’s appeal, Blast Attack follows him, though he affords one more glance after Rio before moving on.

    The rest of the snake men then disappear inside the ship, and the boarding ramp retracts after them, leaving Blastar, Slavemaster, and Vakko alone with the small pile of crates shielding Rio. Rotar tries to charge the outlaws, but Blastar uses Maybella’s nuetra-laser to stun him momentarily.

    “It doesn’t have to hurt, Rio,” says Slavemaster pulling out his own laser guns. “I can’t talk for Blastar or Vakko, but it’s all nothing personal to me. I just want the money--and the guarantee you won’t trouble me again.”



    Rio doesn’t answer and the outlaws’ confidence wavers. The Mule’s engines light up and begins to lift the cruiser off the ground. The force of its take off kicks up more dust and the three outlaws shield their eyes until the cloud clears again. But when the dust settles, Rio emerges fully armed, his blast pack’s weapons leveled at the three.

    “Now boys,” he says, “up to now I’ve been mighty patient. Don’t you think it’s about time you moved along?” Suddenly the Fighting Foe Man Vakko, laughing as if the whole situation is a joke, snatches up the unconscious Rotar and leaps aboard his Road Ripper.

    Slavemaster and Blastar exchange surprised looks. Obviously neither of them considered taking a hostage until now, but they play along with it like everything was planned. “Insurance, Rio,” says Slavemaster. “Follow us and he’s good as dead. Leave us be and we might drop him off somewhere.” With that he joins Vakko on the Road Ripper. Rio is sure he’s lying, Rotar will never survive if they successfully escape with him.

    Blastar is the last to join them. He holds Rio in his cold heartless stare for a little longer, not wanting to abandon the potential showdown as early as events demanded.

    Suddenly something slams against the Road Ripper’s side, pushing it like a pinwheel for half a turn. Rio sees an Attack Track closing in, its cannons firing another shell.
    Last edited by gbagok; September 3, 2012 at 09:49pm.
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  14. #64
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    Blastar holsters his weapons and jumps onto the Road Ripper’s running board. “We ain’t done,” he calls back to Rio. The Ripper tears off with the Attack Track attempting a pursuit. The Ripper is too fast however, and knowing this, Rio runs to better ground and takes aim at the escaping vehicle. Rotar is still captive on the fleeing transport, so Rio targets the ground ahead of the Ripper and fires several blasts to force Vakko to alter his course. The ploy works, and the Ripper comes about in a half circle. Two more blasts from Rio’s weapons drives Vakko in yet another direction, but by now the Fighting Foe Man has become wise to Rio’s efforts. Instead of turning full around, he riers the Ripper into attacking posture with the Attack Track. The move is insane as the Attack Track is bigger, stronger, and more armed, but the Ripper when the Attack Track riders see Rotar held hostage, they’ll move clear. In any event, Rio is ready.



    Just as soon as the Attack Track viers away to allow the Ripper through, its course takes it towards Rio. Vakko, being a malicious cus, naturally steers directly for Rio hoping to shred him in the Ripper’s central wheel, but Rio doesn’t move. The Ripper bears down on him, closer and closer, Vakko’s sadistic laughter becomes audible over the roar of its engine. Then Rio aims his weapons down and fires as he leaps into the air. The blast propels him up and over the head of the Road Ripper and puts him right over Vakko and the unconscious Rotar. Rio is too fast for Slavemaster, who starts to take aim at their new passenger just as one of Rio’s bullets tears across his arm and shatters his cybernetics. Slavemaster screams in agony and unfortunately reaches for his injured arm--causing him to lose his hold on the Ripper and tumble off. His coat catches on the the Ripper’s rear wheel as he falls and in seconds he disappears into the dusty wake with a hard crunching sound. Rio has no time to be horrified as Blastar fires at his head, narrowly missing him and grazing one of the Blast Pack barrels.

    “Make for the ruins, Vakko,” Blastar yells. Rio can only afford a quick glance, but he sees the approaching spires and walls of some ancient but-long-abandoned structure climbing in the horizon. The Ripper charges ahead fast, it will no doubt reach the ruins in seconds, for whatever Blastar thinks that will gain them. Rio is close enough that he grabs the barrel of Blastar’s arm gun before the outlaw can take aim again at his head.

    Suddenly Rotar, pinned under Vakko’s feet, begins to come around. “Where the blazes are we,” he groans.

    “Vacationing, what else,” Rio says just as Blastar knocks him down over the Ripper’s nose. He sees Rotar beneath him and moans, “Don’t suppose you want a lend a hand?”

    Rotar shakes his head clear then locks eyes with Vakko. The wild-eyed Fighting Foe Man screams a war cry and retrieves and axe from a compartment under his piloting chair. He brings it down at Rotar’s head, but is halted by Rotar’s powerful arms. “Something to remember about a cripple, nut job--upper body strength!” He pulls the axe out of Vakko’s hands and buries it in the Ripper’s neck. Sparks explode out of the machine, and Vakko loses control.

    Rotar grabs a hold of Rio. “How about a push,” he says. Rio nods and aiming his guns in the opposite direction fires away. The force propels them off the Ripper and onto Rotar’s Gyron cone. The Ripper lurches onward and topples over just ahead of the ruins and its passengers vanish in the resulting cloud of dust and exhaust.

    As Rotar comes to a hault, he and Rio catch their breath.



    “Rotar,” says Rio.

    “Yeah.”

    “Are you holding me like a newlywed bride.”

    “I...might be.”

    “Oh. You know you can stop that now.”

    With that Rotar lets Rio hit the ground with his backside. Fortunately it’s a short fall, but Rio lets out an annoyed “ow” afterwards.

    “Knock it off you whiner,” Rotar growls.

    Rio winces then looks up at the wrecked Road Ripper. “You think they’re alive?”

    “Do you want to find out,” Rotar asks, to which Rio admits he doesn’t.

    By they time Rio gets to his feet the Attack Track catches up to them. Rio sees its driver is a large robot with surprising armaments of its own. He quickly guesses it to be the famous Roboto, the sentient machine that upgraded itself in Man-At-Arms’s workshop. Rio always figured Duncan would one day make a machine that would do the work for him.



    “Rio,” says a familiar voice. The familiar shape of Fisto climbs out of the transport. “Of all the metal-headed dirt-devils to meet out here,” says Fisto.

    “Yeah I hate seeing you too,” Rio gasps, the wind still not quite back in him. He and Fisto were never particularly friendly, although Rio lied and was actually very relieved to see someone from Eternos in the Attack Track. The other passengers include a young man Rio had never met before, and a young woman he knew instantly.

    “Rotar, I’m so glad you’re okay,” says Captain Teela rushing over to embrace the legless warrior. They had served together in the royal guard of Eternos before Rotar’s accident, and for her Rotar dropped his customary sarcasm. She looks up at Rio and smiles. “I don’t think we’ve had the pleasure.”

    “Rio De Loredo, ma’am,” says Rio with a gentlemanly bow. “Most folks just call me Rio Blast though. Yours in particular.”

    “My what?”

    “Folks. I knew them before the Unrest started, when I first landed here.”

    Teela looks down to Rotar, who clears his throat. To Rio she says, “You mean you knew my mother?”

    Rio laughs. “Shoot girl, you’ve got her eyes!”

    Elsewhere....


    The transport carrying Jitsu and his company of Gar Ruuk commandos glides through the twisting hills at the border of Eternia’s Flatlands and the Plains of Perpetua. Impatiently he consults the navigational device provided by Galen Nycroft, the slippery scientist Skeletor had come to trust. The mere thought of the man responsible for his cybernetic parts fills him with a desire for revenge--not against Nycroft himself, or even Skeletor, but against He-Man and everyone who had delivered Jitsu into this servitude and dependence. He longs to regain the power he had attained ever so briefly in Anwat Gar, for the Emperor’s Jade Throne to be his again!



    But then also, Jitsu remembers his life even earlier, the simple life he once had as a farmer, husband and father. Was that really him? He scarcely recognizes his own memories, so foreign and uncomfortable they have become. Strange, Jitsu finds it that he should remember such things now that the Dragon’s Claw, his original mighty gauntlet had been destroyed. Nycroft said that the power of the Dragon’s Claw had fused with his body thanks to the encounter with the He-Man, yet Jitsu did not feel powerful. He feels cold and alone, like he’d felt when he took the Dragon’s Claw for the first time to fight Anwat Gar’s enemies. He feels like the man who lost everything, the husband and father who came home to find his family slaughtered by the barbarian invaders. These are not the feelings of man connected to the power of the Dragon’s Claw! He looks down at his newly augmented hand. It felt like a stranger, a replacement attack hound that was not yet as dear as the one replaced. He looks at the troops in the transport. They, like him, hail from Anwat Gar, and like him they have come to this future Eternia, a world so alien it might as well be a new planet. And back home, his family still lies where he buried them.

    “Sir, we’re approaching the coordinates,” says one of his troops.

    “What? Oh, yes, good.” Jitsu’s mind refocuses instantly. The transport lands near a collection of ornate stones resting atop a rocky mound. Jitsu leaps ahead of his men and ascends to the stones in an eager stride. The stones seem more like walls to him, remnants of some ancient temple no doubt. But something is wrong. In the middle of the ruins is a dais set up not unlike an altar, a perfect resting place for the Bell and yet it is empty.

    “I see no bell,” Jitsu says with a quiet menace. His troops look confused, and the navigator consults his module again.



    “I don’t understand, sir. This is the location that was recorded in the Tome of Scrollos. Perhaps it is--” he cannot finish as Jitsu snatches him up in his massive hand.

    “Not here?! Yes, I can see that, dolt!” He tosses the trooper back at the transport, producing a not-satisfying-enough cracking sound. Several others rush to help the fallen man while Jitsu begins to demolish what is left of the ruined temple.

    “Sir,” says his lieutenant earnestly, “The Bell could be--”

    “Not here? Yes, I see that!” Jitsu chops another wall in half. “How have I come to this? I commanded armies when these ruins were still new! How did I come to live like a beggar, hoping fortune would honor me with her stingy grace? I tell you this will not suffice! I am no poor man, no dog begging for scraps! I am JITSU!” With those words he chops the dais in half. They all stare at him for a further few moments as he heaves breaths in anger. And then the dias begins to slide down into a shaft. The entire mound shakes, causing Jitsu and his lietenant to run off of it. They see the entire mound give way, leaving in its place a large pit edged with a spiral walkway into the depths below.

    Jitsu smiles then and laughs, “Ha! Send a signal to Skeletor. We’ve located the Bell’s true hiding place.”

    “Send him our thanks as well, mammal,” says a fiendish voice from above. They all look up to see the Starmule bearing down on them, its debarking ramp lowered so that Rattlor and several of his Snake Men can leap down to attack.



    Several Gar Ruuk go down quickly, but most are skilled enough fighters to hold their own even with surprise in their enemies’ favor. One Snake Man does the impossible and actually detonates himself, incinerating two warriors in one flash. Then, horrifically, he pulls himself back together again and continues to attack. Jitsu takes on several Snake Men himself before encountering a traitor from his own following. Habu, the ninja who had followed Jitsu from Anwat Gar, pledged to serve him even after the defeat at Grayskull, now sided with the Snake Men against him.

    Jitsu gasps. “You?!”

    Habu laughs. “I’m a sssnake man, after all, Jitsu. And more than that, I am a ninja. We serve only the highest bidder...and that was no longer you.”

    Habu’s taunt spikes into Jitsu’s core. All the loss, bitterness, and rage that had been stirring within him now welled up to the surface. He cries out in anger and dives into his attack upon the Snake Man. Habu is agile and fast, and his bite promises the deadliest poison, but Jitsu fights him unhindered by fear or caution, instead possessed by the sum of his fury and grief, his injured pride and his heavy heart. In a sudden move he spins and swings down his golden hand directly intersecting Habu with cut as clean as any blade. The Snake Man falls apart at Jitsu’s feet.

    “Very good,” says Rattlor behind Jitsu. “I should thank you for dispatching with that dreg for me. I suppose it would be too lucky if you have a similar grudge against Kobra Kahn.”

    “Worm! I’ll do the same with you!”

    “Oh please. You and I are generals, we know the way of battle is but a game between leaders. Are you a pawn or a player?” Suddenly the rage lifts for Jitsu as he absorbs Rattlor’s words. The Snake Man’s appeal to his rank moves him enough to consider the potential offer. Rattlor sees the idea forming on Jitsu’s face and smiles--as only a Snake Man can. “Good. Tell Skeletor I have the Master Bell. Without it, you don’t stand a chance of reaching your goals. I am, however, willing to bargain.”

    “I’m no messenger! Besides, what could you possibly want?”

    “Snake Mountain. Surrender that, and he may have the Bell.”

    Jitsu considers the terms. A calmness suddenly asserts itself within him, a sense of the leader he had once been returns, and he welcomes it like sunshine following a storm. He quickly scans the battlefield. The Gar Ruuk have taken heavy losses and are now outnumbered, falling back to their ship and it’s dim promise of escape. Where did Rattlor find so many more snake men?

    “Allow us to take our wounded.”

    The Snake Men hiss disdainfully. Rattlor shakes his head. “My men are battle-tired and need sustenance.”

    “Then find rats,” says Jitsu, reaching for his sword. “We do not leave our own to fill the bellies of snakes.” The Snake Men hiss at him and creep forward, but Rattlor commands them to stand down with only a short gesture.

    “You know I could kill you all now and deliver my terms to Skeletor another way.”

    “You could,” Jitsu agrees, “but I will not leave with even half so many warriors if you do.”

    Rattlor laughs. “I like your sort, mammal,” he says finally. “Go then. We await his answer.”

    The Gar Ruuk take up their wounded and withdraw to their transport. Jitsu never turns his back on Rattlor as he joins them, and in seconds the transport is gliding away.

    “Sir,” says Jitsu’s lieutenant, “what you did...”

    “Is nothing. We may have only bought ourselves the time remaining until Skeletor dispatches us for failure.” He looks at the wounded, including the soldier whose helmet was cracked by Jitsu himself.

    “You still saved us,” the lieutenant goes on. “You did it with honor.”

    “Honor?” Jitsu finds the word bitter in his mouth. He looks at the terrain passing by as they fly back to Skeletor. “I wouldn’t recognize it anymore.”
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  15. #65
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    Meanwhile...

    “It’s time we talked,” Teela begins, taking a seat with Rio Blast in the back of the Attack Track. She had both been anticipating and weary of this confrontation. Some part of her screams at her to leave it alone, to not ask such questions. But Teela is tired of being told what to do. She feels Fisto and Mallek’s eyes on her as she begins. “How do you know my mother?”

    Rio for his part was working very hard to appear focused on cleaning his gun barrels. When his silence persists she adds, “My father doesn’t speak of her. He doesn’t claim to know what happened to her. I only know that she loved me very much. Not that I can explain how I know that, I don’t remember her at all. But if you know something--anything--I have to know it too.”

    Rio sighs. “I couldn’t have stepped into a bigger cow pie if I tried. I didn’t know Duncan hadn’t spoken to you about her, Teela. It’s not my place to--”

    “If you finish that sentence I’ll break her arm,” Teela says sullenly.

    He laughs. “I do believe you would. Look, it’s not for me to say what yer pop doesn’t feel ready to share with you. I just thought maybe he had shared...more. I’m sure he has his reasons and knowing him their better ones than I’d have for anything.”

    Teela tries to get over the rush of emotions that little fact stirs up in her. Her father kept things from her. He could have told her about her mother but didn’t. She hadn’t thought of it like that in a while, that he refused to tell her what she so badly wanted to know. Why? Wasn’t she good enough to know the truth? Was it something too horrible, or was there something horrible about herself? She’d once gone all the way to the Crystal Sea to find the lost Oracle to learn the truth, but that had resulted in an empty cave and no answers at all. She didn’t expect Rio Blast to suddenly explain her life to her, but she didn’t want to make it easy for him to keep her in the dark.

    “I don’t even know her name, Rio. I’d like to think he’d want someone to tell me about my mother if he couldn’t.”

    Rio looks uncomfortable. “And...maybe he’d want her to tell you herself.”

    Teela’s eyes widen. “You mean she’s alive? How do you know?”

    “This discussion will have to be suspended for another time,” Roboto states indifferently. “We have arrived at our destination.”

    The Attack Track stops at the edge of the newly created pit in the throng of a mountain pass. The signs of a battle are visible with several blood stains in the sand and a few bits of damaged armor. Teela recognizes the armor as the same as the warriors serving Hexon. Are they too late?



    Teela and Rio Blast proceed with Fisto into the pit while Rotar, Roboto, and Mallek keeping watch topside. The pit levels off after a few hundred feet, becoming more of a shaft leading into Subternia. The path is slippery with moisture, though they cannot hear water flowing or dropping.

    When Teela gets ahead of the others, Rio holds Fisto back. “Malcom, explain this to me. How could Duncan never tell her about her mother?”

    “You should leave it alone, Rio,” says Fisto darkly, pulling his arm free from Rio’s grip. “The girl’s been through enough. If I could remember it I’d tell her, but that’d be different coming from her adopted uncle.”

    “Wait, you don’t know either?”

    “What are you talking about? I don’t remember anything from the Great Unrest. I spent years delirious and ashamed of being a deserter. Took some real faith for Duncan to forgive me, even more for me to forgive myself.”

    Rio shakes his head. “This is messed up. You mean you don’t know that you’re--”

    Suddenly they hear a hissing sound just seconds before five Snake Men leap out of the shadows. Rio lays cover fire for him and Fisto to catch up to Teela, who is already combatting three other Snake Men herself. “I see Rattlor has been dipping back into the Gyve for reinforcements.”



    The Snake Men back them into a chamber filled with crumbling columns marked with illegible ancient writing. Rio Teela imagines they have come into a temple not unlike the ruins where the last bell was hidden, but she sees no sign of a Bell. In the middle of the chamber, Rattlor is waiting for them along with Blast Attack and Longhorn, restrained by Squeeez.

    “We’ve been waiting for you, Mammals. Our friend the Mintoran believed you were smarter than to walk right into a trap, but I knew better.” The Snake Men laugh at the ease with which they cornered the Eternians. But all amusement drops from Rattlor’s tone as he says, “Now tell us where that accursed Bell is located!”

    “Another missing bell,” says Fisto, bewildered.

    Teela nods. “I have yet to actually see one.”

    “Skeletor’s allies obtained one of the bells already,” says Rattlor angrily. “You expect me to believe you don’t have one as well?”

    “Perhaps there is yet another party collecting the bells,” Longhorn suggests weakly. “You can’t think you are the only ones besides the Eternians and the Gar who know about the b--” His voice catches in his throat as Squeeez’s arms tighten around him.



    “But they are the only ones with access to the map,” says Squeeez.

    “That we know of,” says Rattlor, watching Teela and the others carefully. “You really didn’t know the Bell was not here. And neither did Skeletor.” He turns to his warriors, “scan this whole area for clues. Someone else found a way in and has the bell! And signal for Kahn and the others to finish off the Eternians on the surface.”

    Elsewhere...

    Maybella hears Rattlor’s orders to Kobra Kahn from the control board on the Starmule’s bridge. Kahn orders the other Snake Men to the cargo bay so they can deploy when he brings the ship close to the parked Attack Track. Of course he could use the ship’s blaster cannons, but the Snake Men are savage and prefer to kill by hand. She continues to fumble with her bonds. Kahn kept her alive to show him how to work the controls, knowing that they were far beyond his own knowledge. He seemed to fear letting the General know this however, so as far as the other Snake Men knew, she was already dead. Luck that, no one was checking on her. The blade she kept in her gloves was hard to manipulate with her hands tied, but she was almost there.

    Kahn pilots the Mule into view of Rotar and the others, and not quickly enough to avoid a counter attack as the Attack Track and the machine Roboto open fire. Kahn curses at the inconvenience of prey that can fight back and maneuvers the ship so that the bridge is out of their range. He’s a better pilot than Maybella expected, but he cannot stop the ship from grazing the sides of the canyon.

    “Attack,” Kahn yells as he reaches to open the cargo bay doors--and feels Maybella’s boot heel crushing his hand against the board. The Snake Man screams in pain.

    “Not today, fang face,” she says, reaching for her neutra-laser. Kahn’s foot catches her in the stomach, knocking her down and sending the neutra-laser spinning across the floor. A stray shot shatters the bridge window, all but blinding Kahn.

    “You want to spare them a slow death,” Kahn shouts spitefully, reaching for the mechanism he had made her show him for operating the ship’s aft cannons. “Then watch them burn instead!” He punches the switch...and nothing happens. Confused he punches it again.



    “In case you were wondering,” she says, snatching up the neutra-laser and aiming it at him, “that’s actually the inter-dimensional communicator.” She fires and Kahn falls down stunned. She hears the sounds of Boa Whip and the other Snake Men rushing up to her. They burst in to find Kahn unconscious and Maybella aiming the Gyve at them. In a flash and several angry cries, they vanish, imprisoned once more.

    In the Cavern below...

    “Do what you want with the others,” says Blast Attack finally, “but Rio belongs to me!”

    “Later. Your duty is--”

    “Finished, Rattlor! Or do I have to get explosive,” he reaches for a pin on his chest, a move that startles the other Snake Men.

    Teela and Fisto start to move in front of Rio instinctively, but he steps around them. “How about that, Rattlor? The big guy wants me and he’s willing to blow you up to get at me. You’ve gone to a lot of trouble here, and all he thinks about is personal revenge.”

    “I’m tempted to oblige,” says Rattlor, sounding much less confident now. “You’ve been more than a nuisance to me.”

    “What’s he gonna do though,” Rio laughs. “Blow me up real good right here?” Blast Attack nods eagerly, as if any other option was obviously not worth considering. “Take a look around this place, snake boys. The columns are the only things holding that ceiling up. Take those out and you’ll send this whole place down on our heads. I know you snake folks are slippery, and maybe all that won’t just crush you all, but you ain’t digging yourselves out quickly. And meanwhile whoever high-tailed it with the bell will get that much further away.” Rattlor and several of the others look up at the ceiling somewhat nervously, believing Rio’s warning, but Blast Attack hears none of it.

    When Rattlor tries to restrain Blast Attack again, the cyborg swings his heavy arms around and knocks Rattlor of his feet. “No more a’ yer warnings, Rattlor! The Snake Men can swallow their own tails, because this mammal owes me twenty years and I aim to collect!”



    “That’s mighty economic of you, BA,” Rio laughs. “But you seem to forget,” his blast pack snaps over his head with gun barrels aimed at the columns, “I can bring this place down your heads too.” With that his guns spray fire upon the nearest column, shredding it until it cracks and collapses. The cieling groans with the loss of part of its load-baring support. “Teela, get out of here!” Rio yells. She objects, but Fisto grabs her and makes for the exit. “Longhorn, you too,” Rio yells, but he loses sight of the Mintoran in the ensuing melee of bullets and debris.

    The Snake Men scatter, even Rattlor disappears into the darkness, but Blast Attack remains. He charges at Rio, who fires at him to no avail as the bullets spark and scream off of his alloy hide. Blast Attack extends a mechanical axe and brings it down on Rio. The blade narrowly misses the man, but severs the barrels of his pack. Rio’s leg guns fire, breaking cables and gauges on Blast Attack’s leg hydraulics. Another shot from Rio’s arm knocks the axe from his attacker’s hand, but Blast Attack only roars and grabs for Rio’s neck. The two go down in a pile of cybernetic arms and legs, and Rio does all he can to keep the snake man’s fangs away from his face. Another round from his chest gun pushes Blast Attack away several feet, enough for Rio to get up and move back towards the exit. Blast Attack rises and begins to follow when Longhorn appears in his way swinging his own axe. The blade cuts into Blast Attack’s chest and he screams in pain.

    “Get out of there,” Rio yells.

    “You said I owed you a life,” Longhorn calls back.

    “That was a joke! Don’t you dare--”

    “Too late,” Blast Attack snarls, wrenching a jagged shard of metal from his damaged body and plunging it into Longhorn’s chest. Blast Attack laughs at Rio’s useless cries. Longhorn groans. “Hurts, mammal?”

    Longhorn grunts even as Blast Attack twists the shard in his stomach. “I’ve seen you put yourself back together. You think you can detonate down here and not just bury yourself.”

    “It’s worth it to get Rio,” Blast Attack growls.

    “Too bad,” says Longhorn as he holds up Blast Attack’s triggering pin. The cyborg gasps uselessly and then both of them vanish in the resulting explosion. The blast disintegrates the other columns and nocks Rio back, but he scrambles to his feet just as the shaft’s cavern begins its collapse. He rushes up to the spiral stairs just as the last of the tunnel falls in on itself. There, safe from the cave-in, he feels Teela and Fisto helping him up.

    Realizing Longhorn had sacrificed himself, Teela comforts Rio Blast, but her words seem empty. There is nothing anyone can say to comfort Rio, so they climb the spiral stairs in silence. On the surface the sun is shining. Maybella Star has landed the Starmule and joined the others. She waves to Rio, who laughs and starts to run for her.

    Just then the sound of gunfire echoes in the canyon as bullet dance around them. “Rio,” the familiar sound of Blastar’s voice soon follows, “I told you we ain’t done.” The outlaw stands at the edge of the canyon, having chosen not to take the higher ground. “I’ll give you five clicks to draw.”



    “I only need one,” says Rio bitterly.

    “No,” Teela yells running after Rio. “Don’t do this! You can’t go too! Don’t leave me alone now!”

    “Teela’Na,” says Rio.

    “You don’t! I--”

    “No, that’s her name,” he says looking at her finally. “Your mother. Her name was Teela’Na. If I don’t make it, I wanted you to know that much.” With that he steps towards Blastar, the canyon forming a perfect alley for their duel. The last of several ruins is all the cover remaining for either of them. When he gets close enough to see Blastar’s eyes he yells, “You when you were in the Starband, I always wanted to be like you. I thought you were the best. What turned you?”



    Blastar snorts, “Being the best, Rio. Being the best.” They hear a falcon’s cry in the distance. He admires the sound, then says, “Goodbye, Rio.”

    Rio nods. “Goodbye, Blastar.”

    With that both fire. Teela and the others hold their breath. And then Blastar falls. Relieved the others cheer, but then Teela sees Rio slump as well. Maybella runs to him first.

    “Stupid boys with guns,” she says, holding back sobs. She examines the wound in his chest and manages to both laugh and gasp at the same time. “You’re gonna be okay, baby,” she says. “His shot missed anything vital. But you’re...you’re gonna need to go under.”

    “Shoot,” he says weakly, “this ‘all just yer plan to get me in a bed?”

    “In your dreams,” she laughs through her tears.

    Rio gestures for Teela to come closer to him. “Don’t think badly of your folks. Trust your instincts about them. They do love you...very much...” Rio loses consciousness then, and the others help Maybella carry him to the Mule’s medical bay.

    Sometime later Rotar approaches Teela and the others as they being prepping the Attack Track to get underway. “You aren’t giving up then? It sounds like your map is useless.”

    Teela shakes her head, “we can’t give up just for one impasse. If Skeletor has any of the bells, we have to get at least one just so he doesn’t have any.”

    “Don’t suppose you’ll accept some help then,” he asks. Teela smiles and welcomes him to their group.

    She hears the falcon in the distance again and sees the bird flying overhead. Mallek appears at the door of the Attack Track and smiles at her. “You’re not by the way,” he says. Teela gives him a questioning look. “Alone I mean. What you said to Rio back there about being alone. have a lot of people who love you, Teela. You aren’t alone.”

    She rubs a tear out of her eye. “Do I look like I need cheering up that badly?”

    “Only to people who know you, Teela.” Together they board the Attack Track and continue to the nearest bell.

    What new dangers await the Heroic Heroes of the Universe as the quest for the Bells of Doom continue? Don’t miss the next exciting adventure as He-Man and his allies go to the depths of Eternia’s oceans to discover the mystery of the City beneath the Sea...
    Last edited by gbagok; September 4, 2012 at 03:48pm.
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  16. #66
    I need a MOTUC... 2-bad's Avatar
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    What an Awesome read?1 You sure know how to keep a story strong till the very end.

    Loved the designs. If I may ask was Google Sketchup used to design the new Road Ripper & Loving the Wakko character base off it. But all resdesigns are super as expected.
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  17. #67
    Heroic Warrior Cheshire Moon's Avatar
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    Loved this installment, never thought I'd be a fan of Rio's but I really like how you've portrayed him here. LOVE the Bravestarr links, you really make it seem plausible that these shows exist in the same universe. Fun to see the movie transports, Blast Attack and the assortment of fan-snakemen too! Can't wait for the next bit! Keep it up.
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  18. #68
    Heroic Fan ART Mod! JafariStew's Avatar
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    A wonderful installment, both illustration & story-wise! Liked the new characters...
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  19. #69
    Warrior of Evolution 13977's Avatar
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    Good new instalment guys. Loved you using Blastar from the UK comics even though you've made him evil. And having a Mintauran as Rio's sidekick fit really well, I just love him, Longhorn has immediately become one of my favourite characters. Also like Slavemaster, like many other Filmation characters you've made this guy a lot cooler for me now.
    Hope we see Twistoid soon now we've seen Rotar.
    Did I miss a line or did you explain why Rio's hair cut changes between pictures?
    Interesting that Rio knows who Teela's mother is and even more interesting that you teased he knows who her real father is as I didn't think even Man-At Arms knew this?
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  20. #70
    We can choose these? Matthew K's Avatar
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    Good stuff! You guys are actually making me want a Rotar figure now! His characterization is so appealing in this story and I like the way you have added a friendship between him and Rio Blast. I think that's an untapped area of MOTU - just seeing how different lower tier characters interact and how they respond to each other. So much of MOTU is about how the big characters interact with everyone.

    Vakko is a beautiful design. I want a MOTUC version. Did you guys always have him as a fighting Foe Man or did you make him one because he is vehicle themed liked the MOTUC Foe Men set?

  21. #71
    Lightning League Leader kylun flac's Avatar
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    I absolutely loved Rio as a kid. He was a favorite figure of mine that I often imagined as a solo character that would have many of his own adventures,
    I feel you have really gave Rio the justice he deserves.
    Rio is likable, unique, witty & deep everything you would expect in the character. I love how you gave him a past as a space cowboy law man marooned on Eternia. I feel it was fitting that Rio has a group of friends. A big surprise is seeing Rotar among them. I felt Rotar fits well as Rio's side kick along with Longhorn & his lady Maybella. I'm not familiar with Maybella but I like her inclusion as Rio's main squeeze.
    I love that you gave Rio several villains of his own such as Filmation's Slave Master & UK comics Blastar. Must say perfect choice placement.
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  22. #72
    Heroic Warrior HordeMonkey's Avatar
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    Loved the new installment, guys! I'm a fan of Rio's and have been waiting to see gbagok's rendition of him for a while now.

    Good to see a bunch of fan characters included in this chapter! Rotar looks fantastic and his characterisation is fun too.
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  23. #73
    It says ICEMAN oICEMANo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kylun flac View Post
    I'm not familiar with Maybella but I like her inclusion as Rio's main squeeze.
    Quote Originally Posted by HordeMonkey View Post

    Good to see a bunch of fan characters included in this chapter! Rotar looks fantastic and his characterisation is fun too.
    Maybella Star was an entrant to one of RoyalTs contests by orger Laureus.

    Skinss is one of Patreek's creations and Slithor was created by Sllohcin.

    We love to slip in Fan characters (expect a few more )

    Vakko is a beautiful design. I want a MOTUC version. Did you guys always have him as a fighting Foe Man or did you make him one because he is vehicle themed liked the MOTUC Foe Men set?
    I thought he was very cool when Gbagok showed me, I can't speak for him but I think the new Foe Men Classics might have been the inspiration for his Road Ripper motif.
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  24. #74
    Lightning League Leader kylun flac's Avatar
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    Blast Attack was a bit of a surprise. Specially with all the roomers surrounding the possible MYP story continuation with M@A becoming a snake man & building for King Hisss's army. I think it was the star comics had him come through a dimensional gate that Skeletor summoned for new warriors to work for him. If I remember BA was a gift Skeletor gave to King Hisss with the intention of BA taking Hisss out by blowing himself up.
    I love what you guys are doing with the story & the characters. Jitsu, Melaktha, Batros, Clap Champ, Extendar, Rotar & Rio are real stand out characters now. I absolutely love what you have done with Jitsu's character. He was not well liked for me but the way you have interpreted him he is now a favorite of mine. I still cant get over how cool you have made him & his deep conflicting character. In a way he reminds me of Count Marzo & I like that. I like how he sees himself unlike Skeletors other warriors yet he looses his control & is leveraged just like all the others.
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  25. #75
    Heroic Warrior HordeMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oICEMANo View Post
    Maybella Star was an entrant to one of RoyalTs contests by orger Laureus.

    Skinss is one of Patreek's creations and Slithor was created by Sllohcin.

    We love to slip in Fan characters (expect a few more )
    I await their reveals with bated breath! Knowing this community and the countless gems that members have created over the years, the possibilities are mind boggling.

    I too liked Vakko. As much as the FFM figures left me a little cold, I will admit that the concept is starting to grow on me. Right now I'm having visions of a Landshark-themed Fighting Foe Man!
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