- Issue #85 – The Ballad of Bad Lass
- Issue #86 – Those Not Forgotten
- Issue #87 – Descendants… In Space
- Issue #88 – Tome of Battle
- Issue #89 – All That Glitters
- Issue #90 – Just Us Sidekicks
- Issue #91 – Rock and Roll Lifestyle
- Descendants Special #8 – The Heart of Rock ‘N Roll
- Issue #92 – Homage
- Issue #93 – Day of Recovery
- Issue #94 – The Knight, The Witch and the Gadgeteer (FaerieQuest Part 1)
- Issue #95 – Into The Woods (FaerieQuest Part 2)
Homage (Part 5)
“Hahahaha!” Gun Nut gesticulated wildly as it watched Juniper tumble across the ground, smoke rising from the scorch marks on her suit. “You Sentinels should know better’n ta bring fist to a gun fight, lil’ lady!” it taunted.
Juniper managed to rolls to her knees and lever herself up with a fist to the ground. As she shook her head to clear it, she got a look of her friends fighting off the Feathered Fiends as they tried to gang up on them.
“You know what?” she asked, almost too quietly for Gun Nut to hear, “You’re right.” Sucking in a long breath of recycled air from inside her helmet, she shouted, “Everyone, it’s time for the Arsenal!”
“Right!” The other chorused.
Once again, it was Warrick who started off the sequence. Ducking under the punch of a Feathered Fiend, he caught its arm and pulled, throwing it over his hip and into the second, which was coming at him from the side. With his attacked clear for a moment, he raised his hands. “Super Arsenal, power up! Super Hammer!”
A flash of white light appeared between his hands and expanded into the form of a hammer styled to resembled the foot of an enormous rhinoceros. The moment it was fully formed, he swung it down, striking the ground and releasing a wave of force that bowled over both Feathered Fiends.
Being the sole member of the team who wasn’t an expert (or even more than a novice) in any martial arts, Callie had only one skill at hand to combat the low level troops of the Hermetic Empire: she was few fast on her feet. As three Fiends closed around her to pummel her, she ducked and dodged, weaving her away past punches kicks and slams while barely letting a feather touch her.
When the call for the Arsenal went out though, she reversed her course, putting herself directly in the middle of the three while shouting, “Super Spear!” A bolt of yellow light extended from her hands, becoming a six-foot spear with a long, narrow head that broadened at the end in the same manner of her signature beast. Even as the spear formed, she thrust the blade into one Fiend, then drew it back to slam another with the butt before finally flourishing the spear in a spin that hit the last monster a half dozen times. In seconds, the trio lay at her feet.
“Super Ax!” Ray had been handily battling the Fiends before, but when a blue ax with a double-crescent blade with a sharp edge but blunt tips mirroring the horns of a brontotherium appeared in his hands, the slim chance they had to defeat him disappeared.
Josh, whose training usually required a sword, still danced among the Feathered Fiends with fluid grace, delivering strikes when the opportunity arose. “Super Blade!”
Jagged black energy erupted from his hand, becoming a sword that was serrated on both sides. The same grace he’d used earlier became a whirlwind of destruction as he took down the monsters attacking him in turn.
“Super Slashers!” Juniper called, forcing herself to her feet. Red light filled her fists and became a pair of red metal daggers in the shapes of terror bird feathers.
“What do you think you’re gonna do with those, kid?” Gun Nut scoffed, “Butter bread? Ain’t no one told you never ta’ bring a knife to a gun fight?”
Juniper smiled even though her helmet hid it. “Not a gun, but close. Super Sentinels, bring ’em together!” With that, she leapt back into formation with her friends.
“I don’t like the sound of that,” said Gun Nut, “Let’s say… naw.” He opened fire with his revolver arm, peppering the Sentinels with explosions that sent them flying apart, their attempt to combine weapons interrupted.
Callie groaned and got up on her hands and knees. “That’s a first. The monsters usually just stare at use like idiots while we do that.”
Gun Nut cackled again. “Aw, now you know t’ain’t nice ta’ speak ill o’ the destroyed. ‘Specially since I’m gonna send ya’ll ta join ’em.”
“Is his accent getting more thick every time he speaks?” asked Josh. Whatever answers he might have gotten was interrupted by the sound of a loud Spanish guitar flourish that somehow managed to cut through the din of the battle.
“Whut?” Gun Nut turned toward the sound only to be met with a half dozen rapid fire slashes that erupted into fiery explosions all across his body. He was thrown back and forced to roll into a crouching position by the force as a golden blur sprang away from him.
Said blur resolved into yet another spandex-clad warrior, only this one was markedly different from the other Super Sentinels. For one, the golden spandex-esque armor was supplemented by an ornate, yet slim black-on-gold breastplate with the image of a dragon stamped on the center. The biker-style helmet was molded to look like the mouth of a dragon, but was also topped by a flat-brimmed hat the evoked Zorro. In their hands, the new Sentinel cradled an acoustic guitar plated with gold with a pair of crescent blades that turned the guitar into a literal ax.
“The Lone Gold Sentinel.” Juniper whispered in a reverent tone. “I wonder what convinced him to come help us this time?”
Ray was the first completely on his feet. “No idea, but I’m glad he’s here.”
Turning so the neck of the guitar was pointed at Gun Nut, the Lone Gold Sentinel raised their strumming arm in a classic rocker pose before simultaneously bringing that hand down across the strings and dropping into a crouch.
A riot of yellow light exploded from the guitar, spiraling in some places, lancing out directly in others, all vectors closing on the Gun Nut.
“Now look here, how’re you even supposed ta rock with an acoustic gee-tar?” was all he got out before the light converged on him, ending his one-monster rally for the Second Amendment in a series of explosions and yellow smoke.
Surveying their handiwork, the Lone Gold Sentinel rose and gave a flourishing gesture to the other Sentinels, indicating that Pawn Scum was all theirs.
Pawn Scum let out an annoyed sound. “You think it’ll be so easy? I’ve got more friends than that!” He pulled a toaster out of his body and went to toss it down.
“But not enough time!” Warrick crowed. Having taken a page out of Gun Nut’s playbook, the Sentinels had assembled a ballista from their weapons: the hammer and ax (with it’s blades re-oriented into a different angle) forming the body and the spear, blade and daggers forming a bolt complete with a brutal head and dagger-formed fletching.
Before the words were out of Warrick’s mouth, the Sentinels were focusing their powers into the weapon, the feedback in the transmetamorphic field causing an explosion of colored smoke behind them at the same moment the ballista bolt glowed and launched itself like a railgun round.
Very, very far away; in a grand castle on the moon; a figure in gaudy armor that looked to have been inspired by a Ren Faire—and not the knights, the peasant woman dresses—complete with a white ruff, surveyed the situation at Seraph Copse through a telescope.
Part of him lamented the imprecision of his conjured realities. He’d imagined that he’d have been in a badass body of exposed muscle with a metal exoskeleton and an intimidating visor. Maybe a staff with an ‘H’ on top.
But such was life. At least he didn’t have a headache yet.
That might change soon though, as his Pawn Scum monster looked like it was in danger.
“Not done yet though,” he muttered. Then he held out his arm and loudly demanded, “Arucard, to me!” With a flutter of wings and sable feathers, a huge, black bird lit on his arm. It looked at him and let loose an expectant caw.
Hermes (because of course it was Hermes) raised his bird-bearing arm. “You know what to do: make my monster grow!”
Arucard made a croaking sound and extended his wings, which burst into black and yellow fire. Flapping his incendiary wings once, the great bird took off from his master’s arm and headed for Earth, flying through the void as easily as open sky.
Back in Seraph Copse, the ballista bolt pierced Pawn Scum through, leaving a hole in its torso the size of a volley ball that glowed an angry orange. The monster stumbled backward, struggling impressively to remain standing.
His efforts were rewarded when a bird made of black and gold light came screaming down from on high and plunged into his rapidly-failing body. The ground shook as power from the Bird of Hermes infused Pawn Scum, causing his form to contort and expand, growing to fifty feet tall.
The Sentinels staggered back, fighting against the trembling ground to keep their feet. Juniper stared up at the towering monster and knew exactly what was required of her and her team. Hitting the switch on her belt that connected her to Anansi, she declared, “We need the Ancient Beast Mechs and the Superior Mech, now!”
If anything, the ground shook even worse as five gigantic robots, each in the shape of the Sentinels’ signature beasts stormed onto the waterfront. Even as they arrived, they began to transform.
First was Warrick’s Indricothere Mech, whose hip joints reconfigured and legs bent until it was standing on its hind legs. Its barrel-shaped body extended, adding to its height while its long neck retracted into the body as the whole structure lifted off into the air.
Next, Ray’s Brontotherium Mech charged into the space beneath it. With surprising care and speed, it lowered itself until its belly and chin were on the ground, then its legs folded into its body, it’s tail flipped up over its back, revealing twin cavities beneath it, and then the entire body rose with the machine’s neck forming a hinge. Finally, the body split into two, resembling a pair of boots that the Indricothere Mech’s legs lowered into. Steam jetted from the joints as the connection was made.
The Andrewsarchus Mech leapt into the air and split in half, it’s legs folding in while articulated fingers emerged from compartments in its throat. Both halves, not clearly robotic arms, connected to the shorter arms of the transformed Indricothere Mech, which performed a couple of chops, punches and kicks with its new limbs.
Behind them, the Terror Bird and Ornithocheirus Mechs approached, the latter flying above the former. the Ornithocheirus Mech’s neck and torso flipped up, leaving an open cavity between its wings that the Terror Bird Mech leapt up into. More steam billowed as the combined and the Terror Bird Mech transformed.
Its long legs extended straight down while its neck curled back, exposing the chest, which split open to reveal a sculpted face that resembled a human with a mask covering the bottom half of their face.
The now-assembled head rose into the air and then settled down into the cavity vacated by the retracted head and neck of the Indricothere Mech, the Terror Bird Mech’s legs slotting into place with another burst of steam. The Ornithocheirus Mech’s wings tilted and extended, forming an impressive headdress for the giant robot, whose eyes lit up upon final integration of its component parts.
All five of the Super Sentinels were swept up in a teleportation beam and sent into the now-complete Superior Mech’s bridge. As another overload in the transmetamorphic field release one more gargantuan explosion behind the Superior Mech, it struck a powerful pose.
Juniper, standing at the center of the bridge, mimicked the pose and then directed the Superior Mech to point at Pawn Scum. “Now guys, let’s scrub this Pawn Scum!”
Back in his moon palace, Hermes grit his teeth. “I honestly forgot how… punny these shows are. No matter, I think I know how to win this. I’ll just make Pawn Scum grow again! I wonder why the originals never thought of this! Arucard!”
Instead of a caw like he expected, Hermes’s demand was answered with what sounded like a muffled sonic boom. The whole palace vibrated as blue light briefly flooded the room.
Hermes raised an eyebrow. “Hmm? That sounded almost like… oh no..”
“Oh yes.” stated JC triumphantly. Behind him, a portal of brilliantly-glowing concentric rings disgorged the last of Lisa, Shade’s Apprentice, Teen Machine and Lady D, all still in their reality-warped costumes.
“Check out what I found in the pockets of my costume.” JC brandished a device that was a little bit larger than a palmtop computer with a face made up of glowing circuitry. Its made a ‘ping’ sound as it was presented. “It detects cosmic entities, it opens teleportation portals, and it plays music… weird alien music, but… yeah, anyway I’m keeping it after we kick your ass. And by that…”
He manipulated the box and with the noise of a few more sonic booms, more ring-portals appeared, “… I mean all of us—even the people you didn’t invite to play with you yet.”
Hermes goggled at them for a moment. Suddenly his little super anthology was turning out to instead be a story with a converging branches structure. “Ooo, I think I’m getting a headache.”