Part Two

Striking Back


by Matt Slater


      His feet hit the cold metal floors, as his teleportation came to an end.  He slipped out of his black leather jacket, carefully examining the large burn hole in the back.

      He could still feel the sting of Riff's music.  He easily eliminated the one called Megaman for an indefinite period of time.  It wasn't long before Megaman's brother, Riff, made himself known.

      And it was Wily's fault.

      "What do you want, goat-boy?" Pak barely suppressed his rage.  In one tussle, he had lost his glasses, his jacket, and the ability to protect himself from any harm.  All due to Wiley's attention-grabbing hologram.

      "You are very stressed, Pak." Wily avoided the question.  "Why don't you sit down?"

      "Sit down, 'eh?" Pak's eyes narrowed at the short man.  "I take it that means you don't have my money?"

      Wily scoffed.  "Six million is a lot to ask for, especially when Captain N isn't in Videoland anymore."

      "I'm not leaving without my payment."

      "And I'm not paying you without Captain N out of my hair forever."

      "I don't do cross dimensional jobs, Wily.  Which looks like we need to alter the deal a little."

      "Fine.  Six million for the remaining N Team members."

      "Ten."  Pak's remark almost sent Wily to the floor.  As it was, the scientist's jaw hung enough to allow the Orient Express to pass through. 

      "You realize, without that glove, you're just plain ol' Douglas Piedmont, would be Game Master."

      "Yeah," Pak sneered.  "But I got the glove.  Which means I'm Pak."

Wily grunted in an animalistic manner.  It was a trait that earned him the name goat-boy while in the presence of Pak.  "Fine.  Ten million.  But it's going to be difficult, so I better give you something."  Wily reached into a cabinet and retrieved a large black, mechanical box.  "This device will double the damage your glove can inf--" Pak snatched the device from Wily's hands.

      "It will, huh?" Pak looked at the device and viciously threw it against the wall.  Not to Pak's surprise, it stayed right where it made contact.  "You tried to wipe out years of data and weapons with a disguised electro-magnet." He turned from the wall to the goat-boy  "Wily, you ungrateful piece of sh--"

      "Doctor Wily!" Cuts Man rushed into the lab.

      "What is it, Cuts Man?"

      "The N Team!  They've sent us a message!"

      "A message?  What does it say?"

      Gutsman entered, tossing the body of Snake Man on the cold floor.

      "Quite a bit." Pak frowned.


      "Did you need to do that?" Mike Vincent asked the temporary Mega Man, Riff.  The remaining N Team members, Simon Belmont, Kid Icarus, Gameboy, Romeo, Julius, and Stacey were seated at a large conference table, with three seats left vacant.  "I mean it was probably just a surveillance mission."

      "Yeah I suppose.  But I hate snakes."

      "I respect your beliefs." Stacey commended.  "I hope you killed him a lot."

      "On the other hand, Wily's probably gonna be majorly pissed at me now.  Bad enough I had Pak on my case."

      "Well don't worry.  I have a plan." Mike announced.

      Riff cocked his head one side.  "Oh really, what is it?"

      Mike lowered his head.  "I dunno, that's as far as I got."

      A collective groan was heard from the room.

      "Hey, I'm working on it!"  Mike shook his head.  "This leader stuff is hard."

      Riff eyed each member of the room.  "New leader?"

      "YES!" came the unanimous reply.



      "Cool."  Suddenly, Riff's demeanor changed.  "I got a bit o' bad news for us, then."  He waited a few seconds before continuing.  "Looks like we're gonna get our butts sued."

      "WHAT?" Mike asked, tensing.  "Why?"

Riff examined the skull of the young man.  "Dude, you got this big freakin' vein right there that's ready to bust outta ya forehead."  A few giggles were heard.     "Well, here's the deal.  The Videoland Tecmodome has an outstanding contract with 'the Video Game Masters.'"

      "Our band?" Stacey questioned.

      "The same.  Apparently the band was scheduled to play one additional concert."

      "I'm getting tired of playing a concert every week, though."

      "And I'm sure they hate listening.  The officials of Tecmoland know Kevin and Lana aren't here, but still say someone must play tonight."  Riff waited for new complaints.  "No suggestions?  Fine.  Mike, Stacey and I'll take the concert.  The other part can be filled in by a droid."

      "What about us?" Romeo probed.  "What do we do during all this?"

      "You're security.  I'll be out in the open.  Pak'll love that."

      "If he knows." Mike added.

      "He knows.  Trust me, he knows."  Again, Riff paused.  "We'll set up now. if we can get innocents out of the way ahead of time, I'd like to do that."

      "Then why am I on stage?" Mike asked.

      "Human shield."

      "I see," The resident game master sank into his chair.


      Riff eyed the crowds of the stadium, searching for Pak in any shape or form. He turned to the drummer, Mike Vincent.  "I don't see 'im."

      "You sound depressed," Mike announced from behind the equipment.  "What's up?"

      "I hate waiting.  Y'know me, always jumping into the fire.  It's so slow it's -- unsettling." 

      An idea popped into Mike's head.  "You set this up on purpose, didn't you?  You want Pak to find you."

      "Would you rather wait for him to ambush _us_?"

      Mike shook his head.

      "Then we do things my way for now." Riff inhaled deeply.  "Time to get this over with."  Riff walked to the microphone. 

      "Uhm, Riff, about your musical selection..."


      "Well, we normally play the theme from a video game or something."

      "I don't play games, and in case you haven't noticed I'm not an actual member of the band."

      "Okay, good point."

      "Then it's settled.  Ready?"  Mike nodded as Riff spoke into the mic. "Ladies and Gentlemen, Kevin Keene and Princess Lana couldn't be here tonight."  A few 'awws' and 'boos' were sent forth.  "Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Riff.  My friends and I will be ensuring you get your money's worth out of this concert."

      "Go home, butt-munch!" came from the crowd.

      "I do strongly believe that your favorites will return home soon---"

      "You're an idiot, Riff---"

      "SHUT UP!" Riff leaned off the stage, staring at the heckler from a nameless video game.  "I'll kick your ass!"  The no name punk instantly melded into the crowd.  "Mike," he said, off of the microphone, "count us off."

      Mike clunked his drumsticks together.  "One, two, one two three four..."

Riff immediately took the mic.



            C'mon, Pretty Baby,

            Put your little hand in mine.

            Feet are shakin' on the dance floor,

            Everybody's doin' fine.


            Don't waste another minute,

            Step into the light.

            C'mon, and dance with me, tonight


            Tell your Momma that we're leavin',

            Tell your Daddy that we're gone.

            Tell everyone in Philadelphia,

            There's a party goin' on.


            So move a little closer,

            Lemme hold ya tight,

            C'mon, and dance with me, tonight!


      As Riff made magic with his guitar, none of the N Teamsters working security noticed PAK drift in.  He slipped in unnoticed, working his way forward in the crowd that had erupted. 

      A brown denim vest took the place of his leather jacket.  His hair was tightly pulled back as not to interfere with his peripheral vision, and his sunglasses were almost identical to his previous pair had the width not been extended on the lenses. 


            C'mon... there's a party goin' on,

            C'mon... we'll be rockin' till dawn,

            C'mon... lemme sweep ya off ya feet,

            C'mon pretty baby won't ya dance with me.


            Tell your Momma that we're leavin

            Tell your Daddy that we're gone.

            Tell everyone in Philadelphia,

            There's a party goin' on.


            So move a little closer,

            Lemme hold ya tight,


            C'mon, and dance with me, tonight!


      Pak began programming his glove.  As quickly as he could think, he pressed the code of invincibility.  Up.  Up.  Down.  Down.  Left.  Right.  B.  A.  B. A.  Finally, ENTER.  A brief blue light stemmed from within the bounty hunter, confirming the results.


            C'mon, pretty baby!


      Carefully Pak raised his arm.


            C'mon, pretty darlin'!


            So move a little closer,

            Lemme hold ya tight,


            C'mon, and dance with me tonight!


      Not one second after the song had finished, Riff dodged a fireball that had appeared out of nowhere.

      "Your dance card's full, boy!"

      "Oh great," Riff spat.  "I didn't actually expect my plan to work."

      "Uhmmm," Mike climbed from behind his drums.  "I guess this is where that human shield comes into play?"

      Riff gave Mike a look of disbelief.  "Dude, sit yo ass down."  Mike promptly followed orders.  "Keene aint here, Pak.  Go home, pour yourself a nice glass of Bosco.."

      "..Maybe that's why you never get to sleep," Mike chuckled.

      Riff shrugged in a 'could-be' kind of way. 

      "I don't need Keene.  I get my money bringing the rest of you in."

      Romeo aimed his remote from one of the rafters.  "I think I can nail 'im."

      "But you might hit somebody else!" Kid countered.  "I think he purposely went into the crowd so we cant' shoot back.  He's got brainsicus."

      "Y'know I never get used to that suffix of a speech impediment you have.  But you're right.  He's smart."

      Riff carefully aimed his musical weapon.

      "What're you gonna do, Robot?" Pak asked.  "You can't shoot me.  You might hit.." Pak motioned to the crowd.  "..them."

      A devilish smile crept over Riff's lips.  He titled the microphone stand towards him.  "Ladies and Gentlemen, the mosh pit is now open."

      "Oh crap.." Pak was soon consumed by the thrashing masses that were the crowd.

      "That should keep 'im busy," Riff commented. 

      "Till we do what?" Mike asked.  He received no answer.  "Riff?"


      "Mom?" Kevin swung open the front door of his Northridge home.  "Mom?  I'm home."  Nothing but silence filled the halls.  "Hmph, she must be out."

      "You're not seriously just gonna sit here until Pak forgets about you, are you?" Rick folded his arms.  "It's not what you normally do."

      "I've never had bounty hunter come after me before.  Besides, Mike and Riff can take care of things."

      "I hope so," Lana added.  "A kingdom is difficult to run.  Good thing a lot of my decrees are typed, Xeroxed and posted in refueling stations."  Kevin shot her one of those 'you-have-got-to-be-kidding' looks.  "Well, you reach the most influential people that way.  Does your ruler do things like that?"

      "No, usually interns."  Lana looked perplexed at Kevin's remark.  He advised it'd be best to ignore it.  "Anyway, if the guys have problems I'm sure they'll handle 'em sensibly."


      "Oh, we're in it now..." Mike choked. 

      The crowd of pit-goers had dissipated, and Pak would be out in the open had it not been for one factor.

      "Shoot me, and you shoot her!" Pak held a female concert goer in with one hand, and aimed the gloved hand towards Riff.  His weapon began to glow with power.  "And you don't have the jam to do it."

      Riff clenched his teeth, listening in his mind, over and over again, to what he had just been told.  Unexpectedly, he plucked at one of the strings on his instrument.  A small dart of energy leapt from the guitar and hit the girl square in the shoulder.  She fell to the ground, unconscious.

      Riff smiled.  "Y'want some peanut butter with that jam?"

      "You---" Pak looked at the slumped girl before his feet.  "You-- You killed my hostage."  He glared at his latest peeve.  "YOU KILLED MY HOSTAGE!"

Riff shrugged.  "Deal."

      "Umm, Riff," Mike spoke up, stepping out from behind his drums.  "We've never done that sort of stuff."

      The newest addition to the Right family spoke in a low whisper.  "Don't worry, just a concussion dart.  She'll wake up in two minutes."

      "Okay.  If you say so."

      "Nothin' to hide behind, Pak.  Why don't you run along and update your playbook?"

      "That's the first sensible thought you've had, boy."  Pak quickly teleported out.  Mike stood dumbfounded.

      "How does he keep doing that?"

      "Jump-coupling with a magnetic charge." Riff answered.


      Riff huffed, as if the term was common knowledge.  "He's blinking."

      "Oh, neat." Mike smiled.  "How come we can't do that?"

      Riff attached his guitar to a magnetized plate on his back.  "Cuz we don't have a pocket teleporter that responds to brainwaves.  Or at least that's my best guess."  Riff flipped up a plate on his left forearm.  "Pop?"

      [Go ahead, Riff.] Doctor Right replied over the comlink. 

      "Status report on project: piss 'im off even more."


      Riff huffed.  "Is it ready?"

      [Oh... yes, it's completed.]

      "Great, see ya in five."  Riff jumped off of the stage and made his way through the crowd.

      "Hey!" Mike called.  "Where d'ya think you're going?"

      "Bird watching."


To Be Continued...