8:30 A.M. The Next Morning, Goodvibe Syndicate War Room
Goodvibe kept refreshing the interface page; he refused to believe what he witnessed. "I can't… This can't… I don't… How could…" He asked dumbly to nobody in particular. "A fully functional, planet-sized superweapon and bleeding-edge intergalactic symbol of my power... One of only two that were built... weapons that would cause even the Neo-Spacian to submit… How can it just be gone that easily?!" Goodvibe seethed, his Energy spiking each time he tensed his old tycoon stood an even 6'0", and was a wiry 170 pounds soaking wet. But to the petrified henchmen he vented in front of, he may as well have been a titan throwing a tantrum before crippled ants. Not that they didn't understand; a conqueror's vessel worth at least 2 trillion dollars had just been erased as if it meant absolutely nothing to the culprit.
And Goodvibe knew exactly who the culprits were. "Those little shits want to play those kinds of games, do they?!" Goodvibe seethed. "Alright, kids. Let's play!" Goodvibe said in anger, as he began to set some coordinates. That is, until one Commander General Ristar spoke up.
"Before you give those orders, Warwick…" Goodvibe whirled around, facing the speaker with a glare that indicated what was wrong with how he was addressed. Qilin and Synturo both were not perturbed, and CG Ristar seemed to be emboldened at the fact that Goodvibe was clearly listening to him due to his reaction. "I want you to consider that, even if they are kids, just one of their little 'toys' has the power to casually blow-up what until now was an impervious, planet-sized, mobile fortress that had enough firepower and defensive weaponry to match any Galatican or Neo-Spacian armada, and that could supply and garrison a force at least 1 billion strong. It really should go without saying, but we cannot fight these kids the conventional way." CG Ristar eloquently informed.
"I will not be vexed and made a fool of by children! I refuse to believe these children have costed me this much money and set my plans back this far! I want them both delivered to me alive, so that I can personally teach them some manners first." Goodvibe seethed; to anyone else but the three men in front of him, his wrath was to be avoided as though it was the wrath of God himself.
"Perhaps this reaction is what the children are counting on? After all, I founded the Mujin Dynasty and began making conquests to my cause around the age of 16. By the time of my 19th birthday, I had installed two puppet governments loyal to the Mujin crown. In many cases, my adversaries made the exact mistake you are about to make. Don't let one disaster propagate more." Synturo wisely advised. Goodvibe took a few breaths, and Qilin used this opportunity to speak even more wisdom to the leader of the Goodvibe Syndicate.
"Not only this, but consider that the two children knew to target this specific galactic fortress. The one that you were planning to use against them and their efforts. In terms of strategic genius and tactical wisdom, they may well be a match for the Elven Grand Priestess or the High Shamans of the Changeling Kingdoms. It disgusts me that we are now being made to acquiesce our immediate plans and actions to a pair of schoolchildren; I for one would prefer to never answer before a child. But the time for indignation and ultimately retribution will come after we have the children before us and have scored the final victory."
Goodvibe seethed, before turning to face his direct subordinates. "My tacticians and strategists! NOW!" Goodvibe commanded; though he was about 77 years old, his voice carried when he needed to. He didn't even summon any Mental Energy to do so, either. In less than a minute, the requested strategists and tacticians stood before Goodvibe and his three most trusted allies. In another 5 minutes, everything was properly laid out and the battle plans drawn up. Qilin, Synturo and Ristar all swore Goodvibe had been planning this all along; he wondered how many of his original plans were skewered and unfeasible now that one of his weapons against the Neo-Spacian Empress's armadas was destroyed.
"Mr. Goodvibe, if I may…" One of his strategists said cautiously. Goodvibe's fist clenched, for he knew he was about to receive bad news. However, he also remembered why he hired them in the first place. "Go ahead. But this better be good." He said. The strategist gulped. "Well… sir… At this very moment, Remington Steele and some of his security are going to meet with Jonathan Pryor to discuss a business deal." He informed. Upon hearing this, Goodvibe's fist relaxed and a slow, ruthless smile spread across his face.
"At this very moment? And he's meeting with Remington Steele?" Goodvibe asked, becoming more and more optimistic. Ristar blinked. "But… Steele can't possibly-" And Goodvibe interrupts him. "-Hope to come out of this deal with the advantage given the situation?" He finished. Goodvibe chuckled darkly. "Of course he can't. After all, any amatuer office peon would seize this opportunity while he could, and that's just what Jonny T here is doing." Goodvibe said.
"Watch, and learn." He said, as he signaled for the strategist to activate the surveillance monitor.
This same time, SteeleTech Southern HQ
"Good morning, everyone. Have we all had our morning coffee?" Jonny greeted as he walked in. He walked in alone, and this was only highlighted by the fact that Remington Steele's entire paralegal team turned and glowered at him. He resisted the urge to laugh in contempt, as it was clear everyone present had most definitely already read the terms drawn up by his son. He sat down, clearly unintimidated.
"It is exactly as you said, Mr. Steele." Who Jonny knew was Steele's chief financial officer said. "I had no doubt of that, Ms. Smith." Steele said. "And are you surprised, given the circumstances?" Jonny asked. Steele's fist clenched. "What you are doing is barely legal, Jonny. In fact, in most states I'd say your terms are outright extortion." He seethed, to which Jonny shrugged.
"Based on what has been discovered, you and your regional superintendent Victor Zhelezo would know only too much about extortion and criminal practices. Iosif Zhelezo is a known made-man of the Slavic Mafia, but with the evidence turned over to the police we now also know that his brother Victor was his inside man. Not only has he bailed older brother dearest out of prison numerous times using company funds, but he has also allowed Steele Defense weapons, and manpower, to be used for undocumented purposes. Rather, previously, undocumented purposes." Jonny explained. The paralegals and lawyers at the table blinked; though they refused to let the cracks show, it was clear that they'd have an uphill battle if this did end up in court.
"I fired Victor Zhelezo once I found out about his illegal activities." Steele informed. And now Jonny laughs outright; Steele and Smith both had heard former MMA star's laugh before, and this one was a bit… different.
"Ah hahaha!" Jonny laughed; for some reason, this mocking, taunting laugh just sounded wrong in his voice, but no one present had too long to think about this. "Yes. 10 whole years after the first incident where he used over 200,000 dollars to cover his brother's actions, and diverted an entire squad of security agents without authorization. 10 whole years of that being a regular action that Victor Zhelezo would take in periodic intervals. Not to mention the numerous caches of weapons and military equipment that went unaccounted for in this time, yet 'mysteriously' turned up in the hands of Slavic Mafia enforcers. If no one else knew, why didn't your Chief Financial Officer know of these costly actions?" Now the jeers and angered mutters become audible, as Steele narrowed his eyes.
"This will never stick in court. I had nothing to do with the criminal activities of Iosif, Victor or the Slavic Mafia. And, to my knowledge, neither did anyone else in my company." Steele continued to declare, clearly losing patience with his cocky business adversary. "Oh, I think we all know that's a lie. Iosif and Victor both are already squealing. Not just to the cops, but to one Elizabeth Vega."
If Jonny had taken a massive bowel movement in the champagne bucket at this moment, that would have been better received than mentioning the primary trustee of not only McCloud Holdings, but also the entire Vega Fortune as well. Steele was stunned in abject horror. "Major, if you've learned nothing else from your service in the U.S Army, you should have learned that if the government and those who pull the strings decide you're a problem, then they will have you handled. It's either my terms, or Vega's terms. As a matter of fact, given how big an issue the FBI sees the Slavic Mafia, who is to say that dear old Uncle Sam won't just freeze your domestic assets outright once the Zhelezo brothers turn over all they have? That accounts for at least a third of your fortune right there, rich boy." Jonny explained.
Steele was clearly fast approaching his limit. "Watch it, Pryor." Steele warned. Jonny rolled his eyes; one wondered if he completely overestimated his safety right now. However, as soon as he did, Steele's vision seemed to start swimming; static glitched into his eyesight for just a moment. "What's the matter? I know you're upset by that, but consider what I'm asking for to be the lesser of two evils. After all, just imagine what Vega would ask of you; you wouldn't want all of your father's hard work to be squandered now, would you?" As soon as Steele heard those words, the static that entered his vision cleared up entirely. In what seemed like one motion, he jumped clear over the discussion table and grabbed ahold of Jonny.
"You show up with a veiled extortion, use Vega's name to threaten me, and then talk of my father? You damned…" Steele raised his fist, but once again his vision began to swim. "You… You… Wha-?" Steele's fist shook, as his legs wobbled. Smith and the rest of the paralegal jumped to their feet at seeing Steele back away, barely able to keep his balance. "Remy?" Smith called out in concern.
And here, the dark, mocking laugh returns. "You think I'd be crazy enough to meet a multi-billionaire with his own private security force and ties to international NGO superpowers without some kind of assurance?" Jonny said, his voice warbling and being distorted. It wasn't just Steele's delirium; a small swarm of mite-like drones began to coalesce around the owner of Pryor Hardware. "By now, you all are getting a glimpse of just what my new model of Nanodroids are capable of. Consider them the white-collar workers and software engineers of my automaton force. How do you like them?" Jonny said, as Steele continued to sway and groan from delirium. He gave a signal, and when he did Smith and the rest of the paralegals ducked for cover.
As soon as they did, shots rang out, and crashed right through Jonny's head and chest. However, if the sudden violence wasn't horrifying and disturbing enough to the paralegals, then the fact that the bullets didn't so much as phase Jonny certainly did it as he gave a snarky look to Steele. "So much for peaceful negotiations." Jonny quipped, before he immediately set upon the staggering Steele with solid, stiff punches that rattled his brain even further.
Before Steele could fall over, Jonny pulled him into a suplex onto the table that caused it to cave in, prompting the hiding paralegals to scurry away like ants who had their colony disturbed. As soon as Steele saw Ms. Smith exited the room, he promptly returned an uppercut that knocked Jonny clear off his feet and threw the remaining half of the table at him as he recovered. Jonny was knocked onto his back, which allowed Steele to conjure up a mass of Steel Energy into a massive block of pure metal. He dropped it right on Jonny's skull, and then fired a bolt of Magnet Energy for good measure, causing an EMP-like explosion when it hit.
Steele seemed to breathe a little easier upon seeing this. However, a few moments later, Steele's pupils constricted upon seeing 'Jonny's silhouette being reformed by the aforementioned Nanodroids from the ground up. Especially as once 'Jonny' was reformed, he looked more like the Android that had led the most recent apprehension of Iosif Zhelezo. All doubts confirmed, Steele did his best to get back into a fighting stance.
But he couldn't get ready soon enough; the now-revealed Cero immediately closed the distance using his elbows as guides. The upwards elbow to Steele's chin once again jarred his brain, as the Nanodroid amalgamation continued to wail on him relentlessly. It was here that one could see just how similarly to the former MMA fighter this automaton's combat style was.
It was also here that Steele promptly capitalized on an exact mistake Jonny would have made, and seizing his chance he slugged the shorter metal-man as hard as he could muster. The two punches from Steele was enough to give him some distance, but he was still feeling the effects of his neurons being tampered with from earlier. Unable to follow up, Steele had to stop and catch his breath. Which was exactly enough time for Cero to set his jaw back into place and configure his hands into the circular saws.
Steele jumped back to his feet to dodge the initial swipe, and then just barely avoided the spinning, serrated edges. Finally, Cero managed to lead Steele into ducking one particularly telegraphed swipe, and Remy mentally cursed himself for falling right for one of Jonny T's famous tricks in the split second he had before Cero's knee collided with his face. Steele hit the ground, and this time could not recover before Cero made it to his downed opponent.
In one motion, Cero configured his left hand into a sledgehammer, and brought it down hard on Steele's head. Debris splashed each and every time the Pryor automaton literally hammered Steele's skull. After the third time, Cero used that same hand to hold Steele up, as he turned his right hand into a drill and attempted to run the trust fund warrior through.
However, Steele caught the drill with an energized hand and caused it to short out entirely. Now it was Cero's pupils that constricted in shock and fright, as Steele fired Magnet energy beams from his eyes to melt Cero's left hand from his face. Cero screamed in agony, and as such was unable to block Steele's next punch. A punch he pooled all of his Energy reserves into; a punch that, upon connecting with the side of Cero's skull, caused the entire top floor of SteeleTech HQ to explode.
Steele himself was ricocheted out of the building entirely, falling to the city below. He was out of reach of the regenerating Cero; on this day, Remington Steele escaped.