The story so far: Pete Robinson was just another self-sufficient, lackadaisical otaku until one day, a red comet fell from the sky which turned out to be the super-powered paragon of justice and all-around busybody, the Crimson Ranger. Pete is conned by the dying Crimson Ranger into taking the Red One Changer and taking on the mantle of the Crimson Ranger. Just as Pete reluctantly agrees to take the badge, a fabulously beautiful costumed vigilante who calls herself Miss Vanity, appeared from out of nowhere seeking the badge. Pete reluctantly chooses to transform into the Crimson Ranger for no apparent reason. Although the battle is desperate, Pete's unyielding defense forces Miss Vanity to retreat and regroup. Pete collapses shortly afterwards only to be awoken by the spirit of the original Crimson Ranger who now resides in his head as a twin-tailed 13 year-old Japanese schoolgirl named Giselle Orchardwither. Sometime after his initial encounter with Miss Vanity and the Minions of Wrath, Pete gets complacent about safeguarding his secret identity and he finds Miss Vanity decked out on his couch as he comes home to his apartment. Miss Vanity agrees not to harm him as long as he takes her out on a date, an offer that Pete cannot refuse. Nevertheless, despite the circumstances surrounding the event, Pete ends up enjoying the date and Miss Vanity, who wanted to be called Vivian during the date, reveals her secret identity to Pete just as their date ends on a very familiar place.
This is the story of Pete Robinson. The "Mr. Average Otaku Guy" who became the Paragon of Justice: Crimson Ranger.
Pete Robinson: Pete is the epitome of average. The only notable thing about his character is that he is a video game and anime otaku and he loves to spend his meager salary importing weird things from Japan. Despite his hobbies, Pete is the type of person who does not hold strong beliefs and would rather go with the flow and avoid conflict if possible. Pete works as an employee at Games R' Go.
Sheryl Harrison: A good friend of Pete who works as a manager at the hobby shop that Pete hangs out in. She has a very nerdy appearance and wears dark-rimmed glasses and has frizzy hair that looks quite reminiscent of overcooked spaghetti. Sheryl can be a bit of a control freak and likes to keep her shop nice and tidy. Lately, she has taken an interest in a comic book known as "The Adventures of Black Trojan"
Primela Rosenkreuz: Pete's co-worker who serves as the secretary of Games R' Go. A young woman with a model-like appearance that matches her trans-atlantic accent when she speaks. Most people wonder why she sticks to such a mundane job when she could easily be mistaken for a fashion model or actress. She seems to be on good terms with Pete.
Giselle Orchardwither: The original Crimson Ranger who currently only exists in Pete's head. She takes the form of a 13 year-old twin-tailed Japanese schoolgirl with a snarky personality. Possesses supreme mastery of the pwnage powers of the Crimson Ranger.
Miss Vanity: A beautiful super-powered vigilante who wields an elegant broadsword. She seems to value fashion and beauty above all else, even going as far as to avoid a battle if it might result in a broken nail. She has since revealed her secret identity to Pete Robinson – a secret that only the two of them may ever know.
Baphomet: A self-proclaimed protector of animal rights who is a master of stealth. He wears a horned goat's mask and appears to be a master of mixed martial arts – even going so far as to defeat an opponent who has been tainted with the light of RAGE using a triangle choke.
Wrath: The interstellar warlord and conqueror of worlds and ultimate ragequitter who is currently targeting Earth. Possesses an army of one-hit kill underlings who serve no useful purpose other than target practice for heroes of justice. He can also use the light of RAGE in order to invoke a human being's pent-up anger and use this potential in order to transform them into a super-powered monster of the week. Upon defeat, a person who has fallen into RAGE transforms back into human form unharmed.
Episode 6: Murder Mystery at The Arcade
Somewhere in the middle of nowhere USA, Pete Robinson was inside the local Timezone arcade center in his neighborhood playing a casual game of Streetfighter IV – and sucking badly at it.
"So, Pete…" an annoyingly cute voice said from inside of Pete's head.
This voice was, of course, none other than Giselle Orchardwither, the original Crimson Ranger who now only exists as a 13 year-old schoolgirl inside of Pete's head.
"What is it, Giselle? Can't you see I'm trying to get my FADC's goin?"
"Spare me the gamer mumbo-jumbo, Pete. I just want to talk about Miss Vanity."
"What's there to talk about? You were there the whole time, weren't you?"
"No, you! Don't you remember that I was watching fuzzy reruns of old anime somewhere in the back of your mind?"
"Oh yeah, now I remember. Also, this 'little girl inside my mind' thing is getting kinda creepy, if you know what I mean?"
"Never mind that for now. Don't you think you should be a little bit more cautious around her? I mean, it's not like you're in a dating relationship or anything, although you did go on that date under duress."
"For a little girl, you sure know some big words, Giselle."
"Stop trying to change the subject!" Giselle Orchardwither cried out emphatically in an annoyingly cute voice.
"Well, I happen to believe that Vivian is an honorable young lady and that she wouldn't betray our mutual alliance."
"You two have one of those now? Seriously? I mean, you just went on that one date because she was bored enough to stalk you to your own apartment. Seriously, that woman creeps me out – besides, you're not even that cute."
Giselle Orchardwither's last statement pierced Pete Robinson's, sensitive, lonely otaku heart like a 22LR from a Blackwidow fired at point blank range.
"Harsh words! You hurt my poor, lonely otaku heart!"
"Now look at it this way, Pete." Giselle Orchardwither kept on talking, totally oblivious to Pete's complaints.
"We know that she works for Wrath, or at least, she did work for Wrath at some point because she tried to steal the Red One Changer from you when you first met. We also know that she's not a cold-blooded killer, at least. In fact, I don't believe she's killed anyone since we first met her – not that I can say the same for you."
"What are you talking about? I've never killed anyone. All I've been doing is transforming the Minions of Wrath back into human beings by defeating them in battle."
"Hah! Not likely, Pete. Remember when you faced off against Iron Gearbox? You recklessly fired off one of your strongest weapons, the Crimson Death Ray, at him, which he then proceeded to sidestep effortlessly. The beam then penetrated straight into several buildings behind him spaghettifying everything in its path – including the hundred or so tenants in the first floor of all those said buildings."
Suddenly, a dawning realization came over Pete Robinson. Thus, did he learn the fateful truth that people die if they are killed.
"Anyway, that's beside the point here, Pete. We were talking about what we know so far about Miss Vanity. We also know that she seems to have a thing for you…, therefore, she must have really bad eyesight."
"Wait a second, how did you arrive at the 'bad eyesight' conclusion?"
"She's wearing contact lenses all the time, and granted that it might be more of a fashion statement than anything else, she also likes you, doesn't she?"
"Harsh words, yet again! My poor, sensitive, lonely otaku heart."
"Stop interrupting, Pete! This is serious business here. To continue, Miss Vanity somehow found out who you are. Now it's not much of a surprise since you've been pretty lenient about safeguarding it. Unfortunately, it also makes narrowing down Miss Vanity's secret identity much trickier."
"Why bother? I already know who she is?"
"So… we must use deductive methods in order to… wait… WHAT!"
"You remember when she and I went out on a date?"
"How could I forget? I remember it like it was just last Tuesday… which incidentally, it was! Duh!"
"Anyway… listen." Pete took out a Dictaphone and played back the recording.
"What is so unbelievable about it, Dah-link? A girl in my rather unique line of work does get lonely, you know. It's not like I'm asking you to marry me or anything like that. I just want you to take me out on a date. Just a single date – today, and like I promised you… you shall know…"
"Oookay… so I guess she made good on her promise and revealed her secret identity to you while I was away? As a side note, that is seriously creepy, Pete. Do you carry that thing around with you all the time?"
"Yes and yes. I was carrying it around just in case some cute girl made a promise to me but decided to back out of it later. This way, I can use the recording as a bargaining chip and hold her on her honor."
"Seriously? Do you always think that far ahead?"
"Not really. I just saw it in some hentai game that I was playing and thought it would be a good idea. Bought it for like $25 off of DealExtreme."
"Okay, so who is she?"
"What's with that sheepish, obviously forced laugh? Tell me who she is already, or I'll just fish it out of your head anyway. Don't you remember that I literally exist only in your head?"
"Sorry, but it's confidential info. I promised Vivian that I wouldn't tell anyone – not even any nonexistent 13 year-old twin-tailed Japanese schoolgirls who only exist inside my head."
"Yech! Vivian, he says. You asked for it, Pete. Now… let me just help myself to that piece of info inside your head… what? What the eff!"
"Something the matter, Giselle?" An evil glint shined in Pete Robinson's eyes.
"The data is effin encrypted!"
"Oh my! How inconvenient for you."
"Meh, forget it. You're gonna let your guard down one of these days and I won't miss that chance to find out her secret identity."
Feeling triumphant, Pete Robinson simply ignored Giselle Orchardwither's whining and walked over to the Blazblue arcade machine where a familiar looking figure wearing a goat mask was spamming chain revolver in the game and getting away with it against a total noob. The figure was none other than Baphomet, the vigilante who was a self-proclaimed protector of animal rights and LGBT equality who had helped Pete defeat Iron Gear not too long ago by using a triangle chokehold and tearing the villain's head straight off of his body.
Of course, Baphomet was unaware the Pete Robinson was actually the Crimson Ranger. Pete tapped him lightly on the shoulder.
"Umm… mister… don't you think you look a bit out of place here?"
Baphomet replied in a deep, throaty voice which was obviously forced.
"Hello, Pete Robinson… also known as the Crimson Ranger. What are you talking about? My costume blends in quite naturally with my environment."
"Huh? Er… yeah, whatever, man."
"Don't try to hide it from me, kid. I know everything. I'm Baphomet!" He replied in a deep throaty voice.
"Um… excuse me." Pete Robinson was a master at evading an uncomfortable conversation.
"Pete! He knows! He knows!" Giselle Orchardwither suddenly shouted in an annoyingly cute voice from within Pete's head.
Pete ignored Giselle's rants and made his way to the other side of the Blazblue machine which was actually on linked vs mode where he saw some guy wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and a long cape with a top hat.
"Hmm… maybe Baphomet was right. He does fit in with this crowd."
Suddenly, the stranger in the Guy Fawkes mask started shouting in a loud, booming voice as if he had an amplifier built into the mask from the inside – which was quite likely.
"Damn dat Chain Revolver spam! I saw that coming! I tell ya! They don't make arcade machines like they used to. There's like a minimum of 30 milliseconds of lag in these newfangled LED monitors. My inputs don't register on-screen until it's too late to block!"
"Oh my gawd! Pete… this person is…"
"Yeah, Giselle? This person is?"
"Umm… well… just watch."
Without warning, the masked stranger just went up and left the machine without finishing his game.
"Huh? Now why did he do that? Granted, he was losing by a wide margin, but still… that's no reason to… oh no… Giselle… you don't mean…"
"Yes! Exactly, Pete Robinson! This person is the conqueror of worlds and ultimate ragequitter, Wrath!"
Wrath headed into the Men's Room leaving Pete Robinson to gawk at his now helpless Ragna who was being mercilessly chain revolver spammed by Noel, controlled by Baphomet on the other side.
"Pete, you need to follow him, quickly!"
"Into the Men's Room, Giselle? Really? Anyway, I have more important things to do."
Pete sat down in front of the Blazblue machine and took contol of Ragna who was already beaten to within an inch of his lifebar. Even chip damage would have killed him at that point. Pete Robinson closed his eyes for a tiny microsecond. Time seemed to slow down as he meditated and dug down deep into his memories – specifically, last Tuesday when Miss Vanity proceeded to hand him his ass in the same game.
Suddenly, his eyes flung wide open and he executed a flawless BnB combo that ended with an Astral Finish taking out Noel for the win.
"Hrmph! Well, struck. Crimson Ranger." Baphomet called out with a deep, throaty voice from the other side.
A high-pitched scream tore throughout the Arcade Center coming from the comfort rooms. Pete and Baphomet nodded at each other and quickly sprung into action and ran towards the direction where the scream came from. The arcade center was fairly large and it seemed as if they were the only two people who had heard the screaming.
Pete was surprised to see that his posh co-worker was the one who had caused the commotion.
"Pete, dah-ling! I'm so glad you're here! I was… I was coming out of the powder room when suddenly… I saw that!"
Pete and Baphomet turned to where she was pointing and saw a shocking sight.
Just inside the doorway to the Men's Room, Wrath, the conqueror of worlds and ultimate ragequitter was lying on a pool of his own blood in a fetal position – dead!
"Hey! How convenient!" Giselle Orchardwither declared happily. Fortunately, Pete was the only one who could hear the little girl's annoyingly cute voice inside his head.
"Nobody move! This is a crime scene!" Baphomet shouted in a deep, throaty voice.
"Oh… it's nothing Pete, dah-ling. Looks like I just stepped on some pieces of glass."
"Anyway, I guess we'd better find out who the victim is."
"It's Wrath, of course. Who else did you think it was, Pete?" Giselle Orchardwither declared happily once again.
Ignoring the little girl inside of his head, Pete reached out for Wrath's Guy Fawkes mask, but before his hand could make contact…
"Don't do it, Crimson Ranger. He might have knockout gas installed inside that mask of his or even some self-destruct mechanism." Said Baphomet.
Pete quickly retracted his hand.
"Now then, this looks like a pretty simple case here. The victim is a cosplayer in a Guy Fawkes mask. Judging from the crime scene, he was most likely killed with a blunt trauma to the head by some hard object."Baphomet said authoritatively.
"Such as?" Pete inquired?
"Like those shards of glass… in fact, why don't we pick them up."
"B-but! That could be relevant evidence. We can't just touch it by ourselves. We need to preserve the crime scene as much as possible."
"Pete is right, strange Dah-ling in a tasteful horned goat mask."
"W-what? Don't scare me like that, Dah-ling!"
"If we leave this crime scene as is, we may never get a chance to find out who the murderer is. No! We must investigate by ourselves right now."
Pete did an epic facepalm despite the apparent gravity of the situation.
"Oh brother…" Giselle Orchardwither said. To which, Pete could only nod in agreement.
"Now… there are only two possible suspects here…" Declared Baphomet.
"And those two suspects would be?" Pete raised his left eyebrow in anticipation of the eventual response.
"You, Crimson Ranger! As well as you, miss…"
"Primela… Primela Rosenkreuz! Furthermore, dah-ling, why are the two of us your main suspects?"
"It is a simple process of deduction, my dear Primela."
"Obviously, you are suspect because you were found first at the scene of the crime. It was also your scream that directed my attention towards this incident, leading me to suspect that you did it in order to create an alibi for yourself. As for the Crimson Ranger, he was also found at the scene of the crime together with you. My theory is that he is your accomplice in perpetrating this dastardly crime."
"Wait a second! I can understand if you'd peg Primela down as a suspect, but I was playing at the Blazblue machine with you, remember?"
"Your defense is weak, Crimson Ranger. I was at the other side of the arcade machine and there was no way I could confirm if it was you or not behind that machine."
"You even said 'well struck, Crimson Ranger' yourself!"
"Even if I did… that doesn't mean I could be certain that it was really you on the other side of that machine."
"Umm… Pete, I don't think you can reason with this guy." Giselle Orchardwither stated the obvious.
"Moving on, I have strong suspicion to believe that you, Miss Primela Rosenkreuz, actually performed the dastardly deed."
"Dah-ling! Are you saying that I am a criminal! That is preposterous! Pete, do something."
"Look, Baphomet. As a fellow superhero, I can assure you that Primela isn't a murderer. I can vouch for her character."
"Hah! I see you are protecting your accomplice, Crimson Ranger. Unfortunately, I have all the evidence I need to convict her!"
"Oh?" Pete scratched his chin while thinking.
Baphomet pointed at Primela Rosenkreuz in a grandiose manner.
"First of all, the victim was found lying in a fetal position in a pool of his own blood. It can be easily surmised that he was struck from behind with a heavy object leading to severe head trauma. The primary suspect apparently found him inside the Men's Room from her current position. Note where she is standing right now."
Primela Rosenkreuz was standing within inches from the doorway.
"From that position, she could have easily swung at the victim with the murder weapon."
"Wait! Wait! You're getting ahead of yourself, here, Baphomet. What murder weapon?" Pete interrupted.
"So impatient, Crimson Ranger. Let me finish. The victim is actually standing on top of the murder weapon."
Beneath Primela's feet, there were several large chunks of glass which were dripping with bright, tomato-red blood.
Baphomet picked them up one by one and proceeded to reassemble them like a puzzle piece.
"Don't just stand there, you two! Help me out!"
"Well, I never…" Primela complained.
"Sigh… I guess I have to go through with this."
After about 30 minutes, the three had reassembled what was apparently the "murder weapon." There were some missing pieces, but it was definitely the shape of a bottle with most of its shards painted in bright, tomato-red blood.
"TAKE THAT! This is the decisive evidence. The suspect, Primela Rosenkreuz was first sighted standing right on top of these glass shards. Therefore, there can only be one conclusion… she is the murderer!" Baphomet said in his usual throaty voice.
He then took out a pair of handcuffs and closed in to slap them on Primela's wrists.
"I'm not a murderer! Oh Pete! Save me! Save me!" Primela cried out like some token damsel in distress in a pseudo murder mystery that was going nowhere fast."
"What is it now, Crimson Ranger? You should be glad that my deductive reasoning eventually proved that you had nothing to do with all this."
"Primela is not a murderer and I can prove it… with evidence?"
"Oh really? Hmph! This is a total waste of time, but fine then. I shall humor you. Go ahead… show me proof that Primela Rosenkreuz is not a murderer."
"Are you sure you know what you're doing, Pete?"
"Ugh… you had to ask, Giselle." Beads of perspiration streamed down Pete's head and flowed straight down to his chin like a fountain."
Pete showed Baphomet the only piece of evidence that they had, the bloodstained bottle which was used as the murder weapon.
He then thrust the bottle at the nostrils of Baphomet's goat mask.
"Just do it!"
"Sniff! Sniff! Why… this is…"
"Ketchup! Exactly! This is just a broken ketchup bottle. There's no blood on it. Therefore, it could not have been used to kill the victim!"
"Aggh!" Baphomet shook his head in disbelief, but he quickly recovered.
"Fine then, you may have proven that this ketchup bottle was not the murder weapon, but it does not change the fact that the suspect was the only person who could have had any chance to kill the victim before he was found dead."
"OBJECTION! That statement contradicts what you said about me being a suspect earlier!"
"I see no contradiction in my statements."
"I don't!" Baphomet shook his head haughtily.
"Ugh… nevermind." A huge sweatdrop formed on Pete Robinson's head. Obviously, Baphomet would simply deny any contradictory statements he may have made during the course of the investigation – he was just that kind of person.
"So, Crimson Ranger… it seems you are out of ammo. Or… can you still prove that the suspect was not the only person who had the chance to commit the murder without incriminating yourself in the process."
"Go ahead then… show me proof that Primela Rosenkreuz was not the only person around who could have committed the murder."
"TAKE THAT!" Pete Robinson pointed to something that was apparently behind Baphomet.
"Primela… let's make a run for it while he's distracted." Pete whispered into Primela's ear.
"A capital suggestion dah-ling! Let's go!"
But try as they might, Pete and Primela could not move their legs. They were paralyzed.
"Hah! I thought you might try something like that, Crimson Ranger. Unfortunately for you, I sprayed the crime scene with paralysis gas when we got here. It should be taking effect right about now."
"Good job, hero." Said Giselle Orchardwither.
"Well, that was entertaining, but I'm afraid I shall have to take you into custody, Miss Rosenkreuz."
"What now, Crimson Ranger? Do you still have any complaints after I've proven that your girlfriend here is indeed the murder?"
"Listen, you! You haven't proven anything. Your evidence is all circumstantial and holds no water in a court of law."
"Your constant denial of her guilt more than proves that she is indeed the guilty party. Furthermore, we are not in court, Mr. Crimson Ranger."
"Well then… how about if I show you proof that she couldn't have killed the victim at all?"
"I don't see how you can do that seeing as you can't move, but go ahead… show me proof that the suspect could not have killed the victim at all."
"Er… go on?"
"I can't move…"
"Hahaha! Exactly! How can you present evidence without moving?"
"TAKE THAT! My evidence is the crime scene itself. I'd like to direct your attention to the pool of blood that the victim was lying on, Mr. Baphomet."
"Hmph! It's just a pool of blood. What is there to see?"
"Not very sharp, are you? Try smelling that pool of blood."
"What? Sniff! Sniff! … It's also ketchup!"
"TAKE THAT! There's your proof that the suspect could not have killed the victim at all. He was lying on a pool of ketchup all the time… furthermore…"
Baphomet shook headbanged his goat mask in frustration.
"The victim isn't dead and is in fact standing right next to you and shuddering while trying to stifle a laugh."
"Oh my, dah-ling."
As Pete had said, Wrath was standing right next to Baphomet, trying to stifle a laugh and very much alive.
"TROLOLOLOL! Everything went JUST AS PLANNED! That was extremely entertaining! You buffoons kept up that charade for so long. I just used the old ketchup as blood trick, broke the bottle myself and played dead. No one even tried to take a pulse or check for other vital signs. Oh you fools amuse me so!"
Suddenly, Baphomet attacked Wrath with a roundhouse kick to the head, but Wrath skillfully caught his foot with his hand and threw him across the room knocking the vigilante unconscious.
"So, Pete Robinson… AKA Crimson Ranger… are you going to transform and fight me now or do I have to force you to take out your Red One Changer?"
"This is it, Pete… the final battle… are you ready?"
"Not really, Giselle… but… sigh… might as well."
"What's with that 'I dun really care' attitude?"
And thus… the stage was set for the epic final battle between the conqueror of worlds and ultimate ragequitter, Wrath and the paragon of justice, Crimson Ranger!
To be continued… See you in the next episode!
Next Episode Preview: Pete Robinson plays Tetris Battle online and is about to win an epic battle versus a skillful player when suddenly, the player disconnects only to reconnect moments later under username Wrath with the following message, "Trololol! I raqequitz j00!" Meanwhile, at Games r' Go, the employees are having a beauty contest but Primela Rosenkreuz is voted to be disqualified by the other women for being unfairly beautiful. Sheryl Harrison is pleased to discover that they're making an anime adaptation of The Adventures of Black Trojan after season 3 of Tomodachi no Mahou is canceled – much to Pete's dismay. Unfortunately, Studio Deen is the studio behind the production.