haxx0rgunman's little-noticed observation

haxx0r gunman was woken up perhaps too early one morning by the familiar beeping of his meterometer. Upon picking up, he could see a single text message blinking on the screen.

▀etaMantis is on Insecticon 5.

haxx0r gunman thought that either his cyber-eyes or the meterometer itself had to be malfunctioning. Then, of course, he remembered that all of his instruments of destruction and vengeance were all in perfect working order. But is this message one of the truths I so desperately seek? Or is it another defiler's wretched lie?

▀etaMantis was one of CWAL's most revered and elite Administrators, feared almost as much as haxx0r gunman himself. Then again, haxx0r gunman had delt with Administrators before. As always, there seems but one way to confirm or deny this riddle from beyond. Taking his 2x haxx0rgun in hand, he walked out of his small life-support chamber and headed out towards the astro-garage where his ever faithful, albeit due to programming, starcruiser waited.

Meanwhile, on Insecticon 5, the heinous ▀etaMantis sat on his mecha-throne, a wicked smile playing upon his face. "So, the bishop has taken the bait, and now moves forward, just as a loyal pawn. Only his reach is much farther than a pawns, and he is tricky with his diagonals. But I am wary of them, and he'll not capture me!"

The seemingly crazed Administrator spoke to no one in particular, the nearest people were the guards posted outside the room and it was doubtful that they heard anything. Yet still he spoke, on and on, of battles lost and won, of better times, and of worse. When he finally finished, he fell asleep in his mecha-throne, content.

In the depths of space, the oWnD 1 was already speeding towards the eventual destination of Insecticon 5. However, it would be a few hours still before he reached it, and he occupied his time by thinking of the last time he and the infamous ▀etaMantis had butted heads. He was almost surprised to recall that he hadn't seen the Administrator since . . .

. . . Zaire, 1945. haxx0r gunman was lying in the bushes outside the complex he had been sent to infiltrate. It was a mission for his entire platoon, but it was all left upon his shoulders, by uncaring and mysterious command officers. Back then, haxx0r gunman had been naive, naive to the point of believing that the U.S. government was still looking out for his best interests. He'd soon see just how untrue that belief would prove. But for the moment, he had to find a way into this top secret jungle installation.

Technological restrictments of the time kept him from having cyber-eyes, but he had a pair of binoculars, and they were adequate. For now. He spotted movement by the main gate.

Closer examination showed a sole military officer from some unknown army heading in. haxx0r gunman recognized him from the briefing, General ▀etaMantis of the Zairean Liberation Army, a force that would, over time, become the huge interplanetary empire that was CWAL. Knowing that it might be his only chance, haxx0r gunman rushed the General, and within moments had his haxx0rgun to the man's back.

"Turn around, slowly. Unless you find today to be a good day to die."

▀etaMantis turned, a look of hatred and venom upon his face. "Who the hell are you? You don't think there's anyway one man alone could infiltrate our walls, hostage or no."

haxx0r gunman laughed, his heart not frozen over just yet. "Perhaps you think today is a good day to die then, eh?"

"Fang!" The general called out sharply, and a previously-unseen figure jumped from the roof. He wore a long brown trenchcoat, and had several deep-looking cuts across his bare chest. His long black hair was slicked back and tied in a pony tail, and he had what haxx0r gunman later described as a "devil's beard." He landed directly in front of haxx0r gunman, and seemed about to attack, when a Navy SEAL team burst through the surrounding jungle and opened fire. The one called Fang drew a large knife from his belt and incredibly began deflecting bullets somehow. In the resulting chaos, both haxx0r gunman and ▀etaMantis disappeared, both into the building as it later turned out, but that was the last haxx0r gunman had ever seen of ▀etaMantis, not to mention Fang.

haxx0r gunman's thoughts were interrupted by the mechanical voice of the oWnD 1. "Attention, haxx0r gunman, we are now engaging standard orbit of the planet Insecticon 5 and awaiting further instructions."

"Computer, we're going planetside. I want you to dock at the CWAL Citadel in Hive City."

"Warning, the odds of surviving such a direct encounter are 7025 to 1."
haxx0r gunman gave a cold stare to the computer's video receptor. "Never tell me the odds."

Obligated to obey, the computer docked the ship at the citadel, and haxx0r gunman hit the metasteel floor running, 2x haxx0rbolts flying left and right.

Within an hour, the entire regiment stationed within the fortress was wiped out. But haxx0r gunman had not yet found ▀etaMantis, and there was only one room he had not entered. He walked in with little reguard for life in general. Just as he expected, haxx0r gunman found Beta-Mantis sitting in his mecha-throne. There was just one problem.

He was already dead. His mouth was frozen in a smile.