Pisto-gauntlets were metallic gloves, first developed by the Genius Mechron to equip close-combat drones. Quicksave’s own weapons looked like gauntlets with a hydraulic piston-powered ram built upon them. The mechanism pushed the ram forward, knocking back the enemy upon smashing; the courier even improved upon the original design by adding an electrical shock effect to the mix, for double the pain.
“They are pisto-gauntlets, but they aren’t any pisto-gauntlets,” Ryan boasted at Luigi, as he put his gloves on and showed them off. “I call them The Fisty Brothers because they fist people to oblivion. Everyone is afraid of nuclear bombs, but these? These are the real A-bombs.”
Only Grunt 2 laughed, proving that he alone had a future. Luigi looked at Ryan’s gauntlets, then at Zanbato. “Zan, I don’t know on which planet this guy lives, but it’s clearly not ours.”
“They say madness is a pit,” Ryan replied cheerfully, hands on his waist. “They’re wrong. Madness is a rollercoaster.”
“I kinda like him,” Zanbato told Luigi, as the other grunts helped add their crates to the existing pile. “He’s funny.”
“You like weird people, period.” Luigi shrugged, raising his sweater’s sleeve to reveal a watch. “Anytime now…”
The waters near the pier grew agitated, the trio looking over the edge. Three strange, spherical bathyspheres emerged from the waves, each large enough to house many within their confines. The machines lacked any form of cables, unlike old bathysphere models, and instead seemed powered by small helixes. Their reinforced glass door opened, but Ryan couldn’t see any controls or buttons inside.
Ryan gasped, instantly recognizing the rubbish design. “That’s Len’s stuff!”
“Hey!” Luigi shouted as the courier summarily pushed him out of the way to observe the machines better.
It barely took a few glances for Ryan to confirm his hypothesis. He could recognize her work among thousands; the fondness for an outdated, steampunk technology made viable again; the ruggedness of the design, with beauty sacrificed on the altar of barbaric efficiency; the crimson paint, her favorite, dulled by the sea.
The sight of the bathysphere awakened old emotions in Ryan, long-buried beneath the apathy and boredom. Nostalgia, joy, longing… and even hope.
Finally, after years of fruitless search, Ryan was finally on the right track. His days of solitude would soon be over.
He knew this mission would further his main quest!
“Len…” Ryan struggled to avoid having a flashback, turning to Zanbato and pleading like a child. “Where did you find it?! Please, please, please!”
“I dunno,” Zanbato replied. “Vulcan’s division takes care of the tech, not ours. We just transport and manage the supplies.”
“I’m not even sure we even own these machines,” Luigi said, dusting his clothes and bringing out a phone. He started typing as grunts threw the crates in the bathyspheres, perhaps sending a signal to someone else. “Just help us put the supplies inside and I’ll tell you afterward. It’s getting cold, and it ain’t safe here.”
Speaking of cold.
Now that Ryan thought of it, it seemed to be getting chillier by the second. Unnaturally so.
Zanbato noticed it too, and immediately braced himself for an attack. A swirling sword of solid crimson light appeared in his hands, the perfect replica of a katana. “They’re here,” he said, the grunts immediately raising their machine guns.
Ryan looked around and quickly noticed them coming from the north.
A distant figure froze the sea as he skated on it, creating a bridge of ice as he advanced. Ryan immediately recognized Ghoul, although instead of a hoodie, the geriatric disaster had covered his body in sheets of ice, forming a layered armor. His body released a cloud of white mist, making it difficult to clearly distinguish him.
Another figure flew behind Ghoul, although floating might have been a better term. The second Genome wore a black hazmat suit and gas mask, giving them a spooky vibe. Their gauntlets unleashed streams of compressed air, allowing them to move on the sea. In short, a living Chernobyl holiday ad.
“Ghoul and Sarin,” Zanbato recognized the two. “Maybe more.”
“I’ll take care of them,” Ryan said, eager to continue his main quest without interruptions. “You can continue with the manual work.”
“You want to take them on alone?” Zanbato asked, a bit concerned. “You’re sure? They’re killers.”
Aw, he cared! Ryan raised a thumb up and walked up north towards the stony beach and the supertanker. He almost slipped on the oiled stones, caught himself, and then glanced at the sea. The two Genomes clearly aimed for the pier and the bathysphere, perhaps having been forewarned.
Then Ghoul noticed Ryan, who mimicked a home run with an invisible bat.
Like how a bull challenged a matador, the Psycho instantly veered off course, much to his companion’s surprise. He charged at Ryan with murder on his mind.
“You motherBLEEPer!” Ghoul screamed over the sea, the stone beach mimicking the arctic as he came closer. A dozen ice shards formed from the moisture around the Psycho, while he said so many insults that Ryan’s mind automatically censored him. “You BLEEP, I’m going to BLEEP your skull and BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP with my BLEEP!”
That wasn’t child friendly. That wasn’t child friendly at all.
“You grew back your teeth?” Ryan noticed. “You must have drunk a lot of milk.”
Ghoul responded by leaping on the beach, unleashing a hundred ice knives at Ryan at the same time. Apparently, he no longer played baseball but throwing knives. The courier answered the challenge.
Ryan stopped time, brought out the knives hidden under his trenchcoat, aimed, and threw. When time resumed, Ghoul’s projectiles were deflected by Ryan’s own; most ice shards hit a warehouse behind, missing their targets, while a throwing knife found its way to the Psycho’s unprotected eye.