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AATAFOVS / Punishment

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Season 3, Episode 12. Preceded by Noisy Valley, followed by Mo' Mecha, Mo' Problems.

Old-timey piano music plays as the Vamp Benders, all wearing five-gallon hats and boots with spurs (even Fluffykins - but not Sue, who is instead wearing a very nice dress and has an umbrella on the end of her dumbbell) swing open the double-doors to a saloon. There's a quick pan around the bar, showing someone playing the piano and various townsfolk sitting around wooden tables drinking out of glass mugs with the Pepsi logo on them.


Sue: So why are we dressed like this?
Nerdly: According to my calculations, we need to blend in with the locals in order to succeed. ...I did mention my pioneering research on Social Reception Probability Mathematics, right?
Sue: No, I meant, why didn't Krystal have to-
Solo: Hey, barkeep, a round of sodas for my team here!

In the background the bartender - an overweight man with a thick mustache - starts to pour some soda for the Benders.

Sue: I'm just saying, I really don't like heels and-
Krystal: Tell Me Again what we're doing in this backwater? I miss The City, but I guess as long as I still get to wear leather...

Solo and Nerdly blink. In the background, the bartender's just about done filling up the glass soda mugs, and is emphatically moving very slowly to bring them to the team.

Solo: Where's that soda? I need something for a Spit Take.
Avatar: As You Know, Krystal, E.R.U. just sent us an important message about a mechanical church, and-

The camera shifts focus to the bartender, who drops the mugs, which loudly shatter on the floor. There's a quick shot of the entire bar turning to face the Benders, some people dive beneath the table, and the piano player stops, the music cutting off with an inexplicable Record Needle Scratch.

Solo: Man, I really needed that caffeine.
Barkeep: Please don't hurt us! Just take the money!

After some confusion, it's cleared up that the Bartender assumed the benders work for Doc Vatican, who has been terrorizing the town with his Mechano-Popes in order to fund his schemes to take over religion.

Krystal: Take over religion? That sounds-
Avatar: What a terrible threat!
Nerdly: Indeed. I've seen the designs for Mechano-Popes; just one is a serious problem. If he has a whole army...
Barkeep: They should be coming through now - that's why we assumed you were with them! Listen, you need to hide or else-

A clanking sound is heard from outside. The Bender spins around to face it.

Avatar: Or else what? What's going to-huh?

When the team turns around, the bartender is gone. Then they look around and see the entire tavern is now empty save for them.

Sue: So since no one's around, we don't have to blend in or whatever, right? So can I PLEASE get out-

The saloon doors fly off the hinges as the Mechano-Pope pushes them open. The team looks upon its eight-foot metallic frame in terror: flowing robes with circuitry engraved on them! A giant, sharply angled and menacing hat! And a twisted mockery of a pastoral staff!

The team's jaws collectively drop. The robot starts slowly walking towards the team. Sue charges the thing, but is swatted aside effortlessly. Solo raises a sidearm, but the Mechano-Pope is a quicker draw with its staff, which emits a laser that blasts it out of his hands. Fluffykins attempts a mental attack, but, well, it's a robot. Krystal jumps over and slashes at it several times, to no effect. We cut to a shot of Sue trying to get to her feet, wobbling, only to be bowled over by Krystal.

Sue: Damnit!

Avatar has been working on assembling a weapon out of a barstool, but as the robot nears him he's only half-way done with the contraption, which still mostly looks like a barstool. He raises it anyway, and pushes a button...which causes the seat to fly at the robot. It bounces off the thing's frame, and it looks unimpressed, with its blank robotic expression...and then the upper half of its body explodes, smoldering.

Everyone stares at Avatar in awe, but he demurs and points towards the saloon's entrance...and the smoke clears, revealing Johnny W. Punisher, who has just taken it out in one shot from his BFG. He gives the team a smirk and tips his hat.

Opening credits.

After the opening credits, the Vamp Benders are standing and staring at the massive bounty hunter before them. He just shakes his head.

Johnny: Tryin' to take out a Mechano-Pope like that's just gonna get you killed. Go home, kids.
Sue: Kids? Excuse me!? We are experienced, trans-dimensional adventurers, and-
Johnny: Yeah, yeah, lookin' real experienced in that dress sweetheart.


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