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The Hunt Ends

"Ching chong wa!"

"KWONG FONG TZU CHOWNIMA!!"

Rainsford shook his head at the people they passed. "Is there anyone in here who speaks English?"

Bob gave him a 'What the hell' look.

"I meant besides you two."

Bobby opened a door at a house. "Well, this is China. People here speak Chinese. CHOWNIMA, MAN!"

They went into the house. It looked like any other, at least in China. There was no air conditioning, and for a moment Rainsford wished he was still in



Zaroff's house. He had gotten a bit used to the convenience, even if he was there less than a day, and against his will. All that changed, however, when they opened a



hatch on the bottom and went to the basement.

Rainsford almost fell over. "CHOWNIMA--I mean..."

Bobby pointed and laughed. "China's growing on you, white man." He switched on the lights. "This is our basement."

Robot parts, wires, and a lot of empty soda cans littered the floor. The lights flickered a bit, and in the back was Barnaclebutt, still in ship mode. And still



no aircon.

"How did he get back here?" Rainsford asked.

Bob took out a blowtorch. "Same way he always does. He goes down the Tien Shien Fong Cong Ching Ching Go Han tunnel from the dock to our



house."

Rainsford shook his head. "You have all this and no aircon."

"Nope!" Bob said. "We have all this BECAUSE we have no aircon. No money, you know?"

"Yeah...I think I want to go home now. This is way too many potential explosions for my liking." Rainsford started to go to the door.

"No airport," Bobby said, "because a failed experiment blew up the main sewer line leading there. And the smell just drove everyone away. They're still



working on it."

"And they let you have this robot?" Rainsford asked.

"Of course!" Bob said. "Why do you think Russia hasn't taken over yet?"

"Ah, diplomacy..."



Rainsford may have thought giant robots were strange, but they were about to look perfectly normal. Ship-Trap island just trapped another ship. And



though there was no more danger of hunting the sailor, the sailor was not the one being hunted. And the hunt was not to take life, but to give it.

One lone man stepped out. His dark skin seemed African, and he stepped forward. "Abandoned. How sad." As far as he could see, hear, and feel, all the



humans had left the island. He sat for a moment, just meditating. "Set course for the Marianas." He boarded the ship again.



Rainsford, attempting to diffuse the awkwardness, approached Barnaclebutt. "Uh, hi, Barnaclebutt."

The ship transformed right in the basement. "Call me BB, white man."

"Why?" Rainsford asked.

"Because he has a stupid name!" Bob laughed.

"Why are you laughing?" Barnaclebutt asked. "The same thing applies to you, little faggot!" Everyone, even Bob, laughed at that one. In the corner,



Bobby continued to work, even while laughing.

"Hey," Barnaclebutt said, "Bobby. Don't blow up the sewer line to our house again."



"Lower the anchor." the African man in strange clothing said. Not tribal clothing, however. He seemed civilized, but the clothes he wore were simply not



normal. He sat in a meditating position again and chanted strange words.

"I swear, I heard him say rooster di--" The crewmember who had spoken glowed red and flew off the ship into the water, screaming. Underwater, there



was another red glow, from the opposite side of the ship. The glowing objects rose up. Chunks of rusted metal and wounded flesh floated onto the deck of the ship



and ceased to glow. The African man stood up.

"Now, it begins." He formed a glowing red circle around the mess and chanted. "Ah blah zimblab flagwab cragdab blappapzu blah blah." The body of



flesh re-formed, with some of the metal parts attaching to hold it together. The eyes and mouth emitted the red glow. "Blagdabdab flaggahhk." The glow shot into the



sky and stopped.



Rainsford looked at Bob. "How did he learn to reason?"

Bob shook his head. "He didn't. I don't know, we built a fully functional robot, stood it in the back yard. It was controlled with a cockpit like Zaroff's.



Then big rock from space came in and CHOWNIMA! The cockpit twisted and turned into a face. Then it looked at the docks and copied a ship. As in turned into



it."

"That's...wow. That's...so...impossible."

"Eh. I don't care if you believe me. You see him here, right?"



The body of flesh and metal stood on its feet. For a moment, it just stared. And then...

"AAAARGH-HYAAAAAR!" It drew a sword from its back and jumped on the African man.

"Get off me, General. That is no way to thank someone who resurrected you."

The General came to his senses. "You..the hunt..shotgun...robots...my robot. Where is my robot?"

"It keeps you alive now. Runs your injured areas. You were in the ocean for three days. Now, in my day, a man knew how to introduce himself. But I



suppose manners went out with ships that don't turn into mechanical freaks."

"I am General Zaroff. Huntsman, warrior, and former pilot of Sheltershock."

"Ah. I was hoping for you to tell me something I did not already know. You may call me Blood. Brother Blood."

"And what purpose is served by resurrecting me with your voodoo bull--"

"Voodoo? That's such a rude way of describing it."

"Spare me, you bootlicking excuse for a gentleman! Tell me the truth!"

"I brought you back because you are the only one who can kill Chongfongkwong--"

"Call them Bob and Bobby. I know them well."

"Yes. Where I live, I have various supplies, hidden underground. We can use these. You know how to build a robot...and I know how to give it the ability



to reason."



Rainsford shook his head. "I'll believe you when I see the rock. Where is it?"

"It was big, red, and glowy." Bob said. "But we don't have it."

Bobby cut in. "The rock was stolen while we were on vacation. There was no trace of the man who did it. Black man, people say. And they thought he



was with us. Crazy people, ching chong wa!"



Africa. A poor land full of insects, poverty, and starvation. Wild animals roamed the plains. The surface, at least, was like this. Underground, however, a



metal base accessible only by a trapdoor hidden by a pile of grass and defended by a Malay mancatcher was there.

"I do like your idea of defense." Zaroff commented.

"I try to preserve some of the best traditions." Blood said. "This way, to the spare parts. I trust you have great knowledge in this field."

"I studied it when I was injured in my youth, a time when I could not hunt."

"And I studied some words of wisdom. An English approximation would be...start building it now."

Zaroff got to work. "It must be deadly. Bring me only your finest, most precise weapons. Less bang, more accuracy."



Bobby worked, studying some parts. "And then I put this here...and..." The assembly blew up in his face.

"What was THAT?!" Rainsford yelled.

"Perfection. I needed that to happen." He continued to work mysteriously on something, recording his findings on a blueprint.



Blood was a strange name for someone who was expelling just that. Brother Blood cut himself in the arm and allowed the wound to drip on a piece of



red stone. "Now you, Zaroff."

"How uncivilized." Zaroff said sarcastically. In truth, he didn't care as he dropped some of his own blood on. He placed the stone into the chest of the



robot and sealed it off. Finally, he flipped a switch on the wall. The switch exploded, and the robot roared to life.

Brother Blood watched as their creation stood upright. "It only needs a name."

However, it was the robot that spoke in response. "Call me Deathstroke...and direct me so I can prove my name's worth."

Zaroff pulled out a picture. Deathstroke's eyes glowed in the near-darkness of the room.



Rainsford looked out the window, thinking of returning home. "Stuck here in China surrounded by crazy mechanics. What a great way to spend my life."

Bob laughed. "Yep. Especially when you have a houseguest who you're allowing to stick around because he's homeless, even though he complains all the



time. You'll get back to America eventually."

"Probably soon." Bobby said, emerging from the basement. "I'm putting the finishing touches on--"

An explosion sounded outside. "Come out, Bob and Bobby. No need to put your hands up. It won't help."

"Someone's going on a rampage!" Bob grabbed an M-4 and a paper clip.

"Why does he want us?! Hell, how does he know us? I never heard that guy in my life!" Bobby grabbed a machine gun and rushed out with Bob.

Rainsford quickly jumped on them from behind, getting them out of the way of a small projectile.

"How did you see that?!" Bob asked.

"Sharp eyes?" Rainsford pulled them out of the way again, before the projectile, a small pencil-sized object, detonated and blew their house apart. "Wait,



is that C-4?!"

"C-4 is so primitive." The voice said again. They looked up to see its source, a giant robot. An African man was visible in the distance.

"Destroy them all. They know too much." Brother Blood ordered.

Deathstroke deployed a spiked flail and demolished the house in a single swing, spinning as he did it. "So they know where you got your powers."

"Of course," Blood said. "I stole them from their backyard."

"ACTIVATION CODE CHOWNIMA!"

A gigantic robot burst out of the basement and kicked Deathstroke in the gut. "CHOWNIMA, FOOL!" Barnaclebutt swung his sword and cut the chain



of the flail.

Zaroff said something into a microphone, and Deathstroke flipped over Barnaclebutt. He showered him in needles, which detonated after he landed.



Barnaclebutt yelled in pain as 25% of his body mass was blown up completely. He rolled to the side.

"BB!" Rainsford rushed to the giant robot as Bob and Bobby fired in vain at Zaroff and Brother Blood.

"WHERE ARE THE SNIPERS?!"

"IN THE BASEMENT!"

"WE DON'T HAVE A BASEMENT ANYMORE!"

"THEN TAKE COVER!"

Deathstroke jumped and landed on Barnaclebutt, grabbing his stomach area with his toes and tearing it out as he walked towards Bob and Bobby. "So



this is what Zaroff meant by hunting. It's very entertaining, I have to say."

Rainsford attempted to get Barnaclebutt to fire, but the giant warrior could say nothing. His eyes flickered and shut off. "Bob! Bobby! Chownima!"

Zaroff laughed from the top of a building. "Do you even know what that means, Rainsford?!"

Bobby fired on Deathstroke, all the way to the last bullet-which bounced off harmlessly. "Argh! Bob! Gimme a gun!"

"Here!" Bob tossed him a pistol.

"Wha-Bob! This gun's empty!"

"Wait, what?! Ching chong--"

Deathstroke swung his fist at all three humans. Rainsford ducked, Bob fired the last of his bullets, and Bobby threw the empty pistol. It did nothing, and



Bob grabbed Bobby. He pulled him aside, but as they ran, Zaroff sniped Bobby in the foot. Both of them fell, but because Bobby was behind Bob, he was in the path



of the fist.

"WA?!" Bob rolled over and looked at Bobby. "No!"

Bobby's legs had been destroyed entirely, and his body spun slowly to a halt on the ground. His face was disfigured by the road burn all over it. "Bob..."

"I tried to--"

"I know. Take this."

"Wha- but that's yours--"

"CHOWNIMA, BOB! If you're going to fail so badly you get me killed, at least follow my death wish! Take this blueprint," he managed to hand Bob a



paper from his pocket, "retreat, fix BB, and--"

Deathstroke's foot came crashing down on Bobby. "There will be no wish. Only death." He deployed multiple guns, but a bullet pierced his crotch.



"RAAAAGH!" He fell over backwards, narrowly missing Barnaclebutt and Rainsford, who was holding up Barnaclebutt's arm with a gun deployed.

"Let's go!"

Bob threw a rock at Blood and opened an area in BB's chest. "Control override! Activation code Saobi!"

"I'm guessing that's another swear word!" Rainsford yelled as Bob dragged him in. Bob managed to control BB's remaining functional systems to get them



in an BB's watertight hatch so they wouldn't drown, and down into the ocean by making him fire a bazooka--without releasing the missile.

"We could really do with some flight." Rainsford said.

"Considering these blueprints," Bob said, "that's entirely possible. Come on. We have some diving suits in here. He's a ship, so he had some undersea



equipment."



"You let them ESCAPE!" Blood yelled at Zaroff.

"Calm yourself, Brother! Sometimes this is part of the hunt's enjoyment! Let the prey live a little longer, for fun!"

"The hunt's enjoyment got you KILLED, fool! I demand a proper explanation!"

"Fine. Deathstroke is not designed for water combat. He turns into a TANK."

Blood shook his head. "Draw them out with a rampage, BEFORE they can use their new knowledge against us!"

Deathstroke began to tear down buildings, blast people, and get a lot of attention. He let the news cameras get a glimpse of him before blowing them up,



just so Rainsford and Bob could see with Barnaclebutt's systems. The Chinese military drove in with tanks and fired on him. "Graah!" He produced a smokescreen



and transformed, blending in with the other tanks when the smoke cleared. He used the limited visibility of the tanks to get into position, transform, pick some off, and



transform again until their numbers were diminished to the point he could take them down without strategy. He blew up the remaining tanks and moved on.

"Get to Russia," Zaroff ordered. "I want to see how my former home would like to see us now. Continue the rampage there."

Deathstroke transformed and drove off.



Bob swum around in his diving suit, removing parts from Barnaclebutt and communicating to Rainsford by radio. "We received a TV wave from the



sattellite network."

"Ignore it. They're drawing us out. If we go now, we can't save anyone when we're dead. We have to get back up to fighting condition." Rainsford just



watched. "Why are you removing parts?"

"Following the blueprints," Bob answered, "like I should be. Then again, you're smart enough for that. You remove the parts, and I'll work on the injuries."



He gave Rainsford the blueprint and went to the head to start repairs.



The Russian soldiers didn't do any better than the Chinese against Deathstroke. Troops were being demolished all over, and planes were shot down with



deadly precision.

"I thought the Chinese agreed not to attack us!"

"That is not Chinese! FIRE!" The troops attacked all the way to the end.



Zaroff and Blood watched the carnage from inside Deathstroke. "Tell me, Blood, do you speak Russian?"

"Hmm. Frishtekof!" the African man called down to the Russian troops.

"Blood...you suck."



Rainsford finished removing the necessary parts, as Bob salvaged them for repairs. "We're gonna need a lot more materials."

"Yeah, my homeboy in Israel has some he can ship over with a private jet."

"So, call him up!"

Bob finished the repairs. "A few parts, and a way to jump start BB. All right..." He called with the phone built into his diving suit. "Wha--CRAP!"

"What's wrong?"

"He has this weeklong prayer ritual and he said he can't help!"

Rainsford cut into the call, using their underwater radio communication. "Look!" He yelled at the Jewish man through the phone. "There is a giant evil killer



robot rampaging through China and Russia, taking hundreds of lives! Now if you really want to do good things in the name of God, you get on your private jet and



BRING THOSE SUPPLIES!"

Bob, who had hung up his phone communicator to avoid an awkward moment, asked, "What did he say?"

"He was speechless for ten seconds then said he'll be at the coast of China in an hour as long as Deathstroke stays in Russia while he does."

"Let's go up then..." Bob led the way, using the repaired arm and leg functions on Barnaclebutt, combined with the air stored in his chest area for people



to go inside for protection to swim the giant robot up with them in it. Rainsford sent a picture of the blueprint to the Jew so he could send the right parts.



"They're not responding to the rampage, Zaroff."

"Patience. For the time being, I suggest we attack the capital. It would be a nice convenience, to rule my home country!"

Deathstroke began to march, unresisted by the fearful people, to the capital.



"We have to work fast. Most of these parts are designed to put themselves together, but we have to switch them on." Bob unloaded items from boxes.

"They've been roaming free for 24 hours. Of course we have to work fast." Rainsford did the same, and they switched the parts on. With magnetism,



motors, and energy, all the parts flew together and formed around the basic skeletal form of Barnaclebutt, giving him an repaired body.

The gigantic robot's eyes flickered to life. "I'm...alive?"

"We couldn't just leave you, now could we?" Bob smiled at Barnaclebutt.

"YEAH! CHOWNIMA!" Rainsford yelled.

"Ok, that's enough of that." Bob whispered the meaning of the word to Rainsford, who immediately stopped saying it. "Now, let's fly over to Russia!"

"Fly?" Barnaclebutt stood up, a lot bigger than before. "Wait...my body is...differently colored."

Bob got into the leg hatch with Rainsford, and up to the chest with the elevator. "Yep. Transform and rise up!"

Barnaclebutt transformed and flew off, this time a fighter jet.



Deathstroke took down the last of the section of the Russian military meant to protect the government. "Now...all clear." He deployed a gigantic shotgun



to finish off the czar and his company.

A missile flew in, knocking Deathstroke out of the way and making him shoot a nearby mountain. Even a bullet of the size he fired couldn't do anything



against that. "Yeah. For us."

"Barnaclebutt?!" Deathstroke stood. "I killed you!"

"I got better."

"Actually," Rainsford said, "that name doesn't really fit anymore, does it? I say we call him Aerion Prime."

"Sounds good!" Bob said.

"You really have a thing for renaming people, don't you Rainsford?" Aerion pulled out a jet engine and used it as a gatling gun, firing on Deathstroke.

The bullets bounced off, and Deathstroke knocked him down. "You're able to stand against me now, but nowhere near ready to actually win!"



Deathstroke drove a spear through Aerion's shoulder.

Aerion put back his jet engine and used it to fly, grabbing Deathstroke as he went up, then dropping him on a sharp mountain peak. "There's an old saying



about using your surroundings."

Deathstroke got off, scratched but not injured, and shot Aerion to the ground with a bazooka. "There's another about celebrating early!" He stomped on



his chest, trying to tear in and kill the humans protected by his armor.

"He's trying to break in!" Bob yelled.

"Come to think of it, that's a good strategy! Don't let him do it!" Rainsford said to Aerion.

Aerion grabbed Deathstroke's leg and pulled it to the side, tripping him and removing the pressure from his chest. Then, he transformed his wings into



swords and stabbed Deathstroke's.

"Minor wound. You didn't even pierce the armor!" Deathstroke deployed his own sword and whacked Aerion's aside, then stood and backed up a little



to regain his balance.

Aerion shot a missile from his foot, then stood while the explosion distracted Deathstroke. He launched into a barrage of slashes, with each one blocked



by Deathstroke.

"You're very fast, jet. Not fast enough." Deathstroke made a false slash at Aerion's head, then changed direction and stabbed him in the leg as he tried to



block.

Zaroff laughed from inside. "You have no advantage now, Rainsford! My robot can reason just as much as yours!"

Aerion backed up, firing every last rocket from his bazooka at Deathstroke. The explosions knocked off some armor, but nothing vital. He didn't even fall



over.

"Fools. Three people are monitoring you! We can all see through Deathstroke's eyes and control his actions! Our blood runs through the same alien stone



that gives him his mind!" Brother Blood jeered at Aerion and his company.

"Wait..." Rainsford thought. "We have to get to them to defeat Deathstroke! They're the source of his power! Without them, he can't even move!"

Aerion continued to slash while shooting his shoulder guns, but eventually his shoulder guns were cut off, and he was blasted back. "I know your moves,"



Zaroff said. "I know your tactics, and your weaknesses! You have more power, but you have learned nothing!"

Bob got an idea. "It's time to do something insane, Aerion. Insert that there and go!"

Aerion put his sword into his empty bazooka and fired. With the force of the shot, the sword knocked Deathstroke's out of his hand and stabbed his



chest. The wound was not deep, but the blade had entered the chamber where Zaroff and Brother Blood were positioned. "That sounded so wrong!"

Deathstroke deployed a grenade. "No more playful hunting, Zaroff! Die, Prime!"

Aerion charged with his sword, but the grenade got him right in the face. His faceplate was shattered, and he fell to the ground. Deathstroke jumped on



him. "Rape, Deathstroke?" Aerion asked sarcastically. "That's just wrong."

"RAAAAAAAAAAAH!" Deathstroke angrily roared in Aerion's face and started to punch him repeatedly. Using the distraction of rage, Aerion grabbed



the sword in Deathstroke's chest and held it still.

"Hold still or the blade will tear open your chest!"

"I don't CARE! MY VITALS AREN'T THERE BECAUSE IT'S HOLLOW FOR THE HUMANS!" Deathstroke raised both fists, getting up to smash



Aerion's face...

Aerion used the widened gap in Deathstroke's chest created by all the jerking around with a sword in it to stick his other sword in the same gap. He



pulled each sword in opposite directions, causing Zaroff and Blood to fall out, and Deathstroke to feel tremendous pain.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRGH! RAT! DIE!" Deathstroke collapsed, clawing and crawling at Aerion. He tore parts off, brutally trying to kill him.

Bob and Rainsford jumped out of Aerion as he was being destroyed and landed on the ground with guns. "ATTACK!" Bob yelled, shooting down Blood.



Rainsford shot Zaroff, who blocked with a piece of metal that had fallen from Deathstroke. Zaroff charged with his improvised shield, safe from the



bullets, and slashed at Rainsford. Bob grabbed his arm to stop the slash, and Rainsford shot him in the hand.

Rainsford picked up the sword as Zaroff panicked. "The hunt ends." Rainsford stabbed Zaroff in the face, and Bob shot Blood again to be sure he was



dead. With his sources of life, the donors of the blood giving him his mind, Deathstroke lost most of his intelligence, reduced to a lumbering beast. In his confusion, a



blade came forth and pierced him through the face. Aerion stood up, holding the sword, and ripped it out, along with Deathstroke's head and spine.

"I think we owe these Russians an explanation." Aerion said.

"Right." Rainsford stepped forward to greet them. "Do svidanya?"

"White man. That means goodbye." Bob said.

"Wha--uh, ok. Let's just go then, let the press sort it out."

Aerion flew Rainsford back to his home in America, with Bob following to live with Rainsford. He had given Rainsford shelter when he was homeless.



Now it was time for Rainsford to return the favor.

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