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Chapter 3 - What is "Courage?"

...what, you were expecting an answer from me?

<- Chapter 2

Chapter 4 ->                                                                                                                                                                            (As the trio slowly progressed to Stechie's lab, carrying her damaged mechanical body, she starts to recall how she became so small to need it...)

- It's everyone's favorite time again, flashback time! -

(Cut to a normal-sized Stechie in the past, tinkering with her inventions.)

Stechie: So there I was, tinkering with my-oh, the action text already said it...moving on to the good part!

(What appears to be mechanical monstrosity approaches Stechie!)

Stechie: Suddenly, a giant monster made out of my failed experiments and inventions eng...sm...sploded out of nowhere!

Stristan: Wait a minute, you can't just start making up terrible new words!

Stechie: Shut up! We're getting to the good part.

(The monster and Stechie proceed to brawl in a cloud of dust.)

Stechie: He was a persistent bugger, and after a while he went down, but now without taking me with him.

(The monster fires a ray gun at Stechie, causing her to shrink.)

Stechie: Fortunately, it was only set to "shrink," but unfortunately...

Past Stechie: (Observes her new, tiny status) Aw great, what am I supposed to do now? (Leans on something...hairy...) Wait a sec, that better be a wall or spare part I'm leaning on...

(Past Stechie looks back, only to find that she's leaning on the head of a jumping spider her size.)

Past Stechie: (Eyes widen) ...AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!

(Past Stechie runs as fast as her tiny legs will let her. The jumping spider crawls away in confusion.)

- End of flashback -

Sthien: You have spiders in your lab?

Stechie: Well I never bothered to clean the place often. Come to think of it, I never thought they were that terrifying either until that day! After that, Stristan helped me create this new body for me to go around in. And if you're going to ask which I prefer, I honestly like the steel body a little more.

Stristan: And speaking of, looks like we're here.

(The three stand before a somewhat beat-up shack. There seems to be no windows and only a huge door. Also, there appears to be a body leaning on the front wall.)

Sthien: ...dare I ask what that's doing here?

Stechie: Relax, I'm not a murderer. Though I would make a good one. To be honest, I don't even know what that guy's doing here.

(Stristan goes over to check the body, leaving Sthien alone to struggle supporting Stechie's damaged robot body. He observes that the body's lower half is dark red, which eventually transitions into light cyan on his upper body. Opening an eye, Stristan sees nothing but a dark void.)

Stristan: Whoa. It's like this guy's soul got sucked out or something. Kinda like...

(A sudden crash is heard, as Sthien immediately pulls the robot body back up.)

Sthien: S-sorry, it's just the robot body.

Stechie: Hey, are you saying I'm overweight?!

Stristan: (Shrug) I don't know what that has to do with robot bodies...

(Stristan takes the robot body and brings it near the door.)

Stechie: You were about to say something about that body. What was it?

Stristan: Oh yeah, like he just got murdered...by Fear Factory.

Sthien: Fear Factory?

Stechie: Oh yeah, being the little kid you are, you probably don't know. He's a mass murderer who's never been caught since his killing spree 5 years ago. His murders are always at random, but his signature is in his victim's eyes, which are always dark and hollowed out...

Sthien: W-wait a minute. If that body there was really a victim of Fear Factory, could he be...

Stechie: Relax, kid. My shack's the safest place I know. What could possibly be in there?

(As Stristan opens the door, a fox-like animatronic peeks its head out of the door. Stristan then proceeds to slam the door shut.)

Stechie: ...besides the killer robots of mine that we can deal with anyways.

Stristan: Let's just take the basement door.

(Stristan moves to another nearby basement door and moves inside with the robot body, Stechie, and Sthien.)

Animatronic: ...o-o-o-o-oww...

(The basement of Stechie's shack is cluttered with scrap metal, spare parts, and other assorted inventions.)

Stechie: Right, so let's see where we can start...

Stristan: The limbs?

Stechie: Stristan, everyone knows you need a power source before you can work on the frame. And as you can clearly see...

(Stechie opens the robot's core, releasing a lot of smoke and revealing an empty mini-nuclear reactor inside.)

Stristan: I'm surprised that didn't explode while Nowhere Man was beating you down.

Stechie: Same here, maybe we're being protected by some outside force that prevents our untimely death due to lack of foresight at gaping plotholes.

Sthien: What?

Stechie: Nothing. And speaking of power sources, you, Sten!

Sthien: That's Sthien.

Stechie: Whatever. I'm sure there's a capsule of nuclear power somewhere up there. Go get it while Stristan and I start on fixing the rest of the mechanics.

Sthien: Uh, okay. (Heads up)

(Heading up, Sthien enters a maze of even more electronics and scrap parts. The nuclear container is on the far side of the room.)

Sthien: There it is...

(Sthien steadily walks towards the container, but knocks over a glass invention, causing it to fall and shatter.)

Stechie: Hey! Be careful up there, okay?! Just because I keep a lot of junk doesn't mean you have the right to break it!

Stristan: Stechie, do you have to be so hostile at him?

Stechie: Am I really that hostile? Besides, what's the worst that could happen up there besides something breaking because of him?

(Sthien gets close and is about to grab the container, when suddenly something grabs his scarf!)

Sthien: What th-

(As Sthien gets pulled into the room, he starts to hear voices in his head...familiar voices...)

Child-like voice: Sten, Sten. Can't run, can't fight! What good are ya?!

Sthien: Wha-who are you?!

Child-like voice: That's right! You wanna run like the chicken you are?!

Child-like voice: "Chicken?" That's being generous to him! He's more like a scared little cockroach!

Sthien: C-cockroach?!

Child-like voice: That's more like it! You're a cockroach!

(The voices multiply tenfold as Sthien finds himself in a completely dark room, struggling to cope with the voices.)

Voices: Cockroach! Cockroach! Stamp out the cockroach!

Sthien: S-shut up! I am not a roach!

(Sthien swings wildly into the air, but hits nothing. A mechanical arm grabs Sthien and pins him to the wall.)

???: What...do you fear...most?

(Sthien suddenly sees the face of what's grabbing him: it's a completely mechanical mask with hollowed-out eyes, an uncanny human grimace, and a fresh blood stain. Sthien looks around and sees that its arms too are blood-stained and clumsily pieced together with metal. No legs can be seen from it - in its stead is a repulsing device with an entire ring of freely swinging butcher knives chained to it. As Sthien looks into its eyes once again, it pins his other arm down, and he sees a vivid vision...)

Stechie: (Fully repaired, but radiated by a strange light) Look at this guy, Stristan. What a dork, right?

Stristan: (Also strangely radiated) I know, right? Why did we even let this guy in our group again?

Stechie: You're right, for once at least. Hey, Sten!

Stristan: Sthi-

Stechie: Who cares?! Let's get rid of this eyesore already!

Stristan: Normally, my instinct of 3 would disagree, but for once, I think we can work with 2!

(Sthien looks away, only to see the arms of both Stechie and Stristan pinning him down. Fear Factory's ring of knives starts spinning, and Sthien's will to fight begins to drain...)

Child-like voices: Cockroach! Cockroach! Stamp out the cockroach! Cockroach! Cockroach! Stamp out the cockroach!

Sthien: No...I won't die now...I can't...

Fear Factory: Your fear...let me feed on it...

Sthien: I can't...I won't...I'm sorry...

???: Whoa, what?! What are you sorry for?!

Sthien: W-who?-

???: It's me, Stechie. It was taking you a while to get that nuclear container, so we decided to fix my Telepathy Communicator and see what the heck was going on! And don't ask why I have a Telepathy Communicator, like I said, we're protected by outside forces ignorant of plot holes.

Sthien: B-but don't you hate me-

Stechie: Hate you?! Where'd you get that from?! We don't hate you, at least not that much for me...

Stristan: But that's besides the point! When I recruited you into our group, it wasn't because I expected an elitist or just some filler for my obsession with 3. I saw your injuries against Skybomber, I knew you weren't very strong. But after what you did to defeat him, you showed me that you had potential, lots of it, in fact! The truth is, Sthien, we care about you. And that's why I recruited you: so we could help you grow stronger.

Sthien: ...I see. Thank you all.

(Sthien's scarf rapdily produces electrical power, which transfers over to the robot's arms and weakens its grip. Sthien then proceeds to break free, neutralizing the voices and visions.)

Fear Factory: This...this essence...

Sthien: You don't recognize it, huh? It's probably the one thing you fear most as a murderer feeding on fear: courage.

(Sthien wraps his scarf around Fear Factory, binding and paralyzing him as Sthien uppercuts him and unloads a flurry of punches. Sthien then proceeds to punch Fear Factory through the roof, hanging on to his scarf to tail him.)

Sthien: You fear it...because victory goes to the ones with courage! RISING! TYPHOON!

(Sthien simultaneously uppercuts Fear Factory and fiercely pulls his scarf, launching Fear Factory far away from the shack. As Fear Factory flies away, what appears to be souls release from his body. Moments later, a major explosion occurs from the distance.)

Sthien: (Lands back down on the room) Huh. I always seem to get opponents who have the capability of exploding.

Stechie: Hey! You finished up there? We kinda need that container now!

Sthien: Right on it! At least now I have nothing to fear...

(Sthien grabs the nuclear container and starts heading back down to the basement. As he does, the door opens, and the same red-to-cyan stickman from outside heads in, stepping on the disabled animatronic.)

Stickman: I'm terribly sorry, but why am I here? And who are you?

Sthien: Oh, well...just follow me and I can explain later.

(As the two head down, they both see Stechie and Stristan using leftover pipes in attempt to shoo away a giant jumping spider the size of a stickman!)

Stristan: It's a good thing you got here! Now get that container in the robot, hurry!

Stechie: How did that spider grow so big?!

Stickman: ...somehow, this only raises more questions.

Stechie: Shut up and help us already!

                                                                                                                                                                          

(Several Blues and Bluzerker Corps. scientists look in horror as a figure covered in hornets silently stands before Big Blue, who suddenly drops to the ground dead. The figure grabs the corpse and tosses it out of the building.)

???: Perhaps now you know the consequences of opposing me. I'll be taking control of this corporation now. Does anyone else dare stand before me?

(The Blues and scientists proceed to run away.)

???: Just as I thought.

(A Blue approaches the figure.)

Blue: S-s-sir!

???: What?

Blue: W-well, sir, since you're our new leader, we thought it would be appropriate to let you know of our latest situation...

???: Go on...

Blue: Well... (Shows the figure pictures of Stristan, Stechie, and Sthien) We've just lost control of every one of the Radon Fighters in our possession because of these 3. Now that the heroes we've brainwashed have been recovered, these three are our biggest threats at the moment, and so are the heroes they're recovering!

???: I see...if that's the case...

(The figure approaches a door, a close-up to his face reveals that it's the exact same as Stwarm's!)

Stwarm(?): It's time to take care of business...

                                                                                                                                                                          

- End -

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