(Continued from previous episode)
The episode opens as Baronessy and Johnny step off the bus, waving a jaunty hand to the now-scarred-for-life bus driver, and the various severed limbs left in their wake. They have not time to discuss their various subway transfer options, when suddenly the Eye-cosahedron-Of-Doom rises over the horizon, blasting everything in its path.
"Oh my goddess!" cries Baronessy, "It's back!"
"You know what that thing is?" shouts Johnny, punching an old lady off her motorcycle, making sure to put her helmet on as he steals it.
"Yes... I know it only too well. It's called an ANGLE... The CEO of a corporate partner of Edger and Darkier's attempted to fuse the DNA of his dead daughter into the biological make-up of an alien discovered in the Marianna trench fifteen years ago. The thing was supposed to become the ultimate biological weapon against the forces of Satan once the rapture had occurred, as foretold in the Book of Revelations. No rapture, no need, so they've been allowed to grow unchecked for the past decade."
"Wow... that is so symbolic of the destruction men wrought in their foolish attempt to deny the non-existence of God... Why is it a pyramid, then?"
"Thanks. I think that's just enough exposition. Now let's us and him fight, eh?"
"You can't fight hi - her. The ANGLE's physiology is absolutely immune to projectile and concussive attacks!"
Johnny kick-starts the motorcycle. "Baronessy, I've never seen anything with an eye that didn't know how to scream."
Meanwhile, back at the law offices of Edger, Darkier, Payne, Payne, Kain & Payne...
Heath Edger, evil lawyer and one of Johnny's ostensible employers, is at his opulent desk playing Freecell when his gorgeous (but somehow...''off'') personal assistant pokes her head into his office.
"Head office for you, Sir," she says in unnaturally sweet tones. "I've patched them through to the Holophone."
"Thanks, Valerie," Edger says. "You're uncanny."
Valerie smiles and withdraws, and Edger punches a button under his desk. The room dims, save for a light at the foot of the Zen waterfall statue on his desk. The light casts the blue-rimmed figure of a cowled, scowling man on the water.
Edger performs an affected bow from his desk chair. "And how may I help the Access-Mundi Corporation tonight?"
The scowl deepens. "Your insincerity is little appreciated, Edger. It's in your best interest to be direct and truthful to me - especially now that your 'friend' has deployed an ANGLE in full view of the public."
Edger almost betrays a little surprise. "I trust our...associate implicitly. If he's deployed such a device, then he must feel it necessary to achieve our goals."
"You promised me stealth, Edger! All of your damned memos assuring subtlety, a light hand!"
"That was only the ideal, sir. Even the best plans rarely survive contact with reality, especially a reality as blunt and idiotic as John Punisher. But make no mistake - we are well on our way to success. Punisher will strike down his...father, and so destroy himself. And then he will be perfect for our purposes."
"For our purposes, Edger."
"Certainly, sir," Edger says cheerfully. "Your purposes. What's the loss of an unholy hybrid construct when you stand to gain the world thereby?"
The scowls seems doubtful. "But what if he's damaged by the ANGLE?"
Edger laughs. "If he can't defeat a tiny sentient biotic weapon - then what good is he?"
"Quite right. You'd had better hope he's good enough. End classified communication. Give my best to Carol and the kids."
"Are you and Alice still coming over on Thursday? It's fondue night!"
"You know it!"
The scene shifts to Johnny and Baronessy pulling up their motorcycle outside of a nondescript warehouse on the outskirts of the city. After pausing to quickly wipe the puppy off of the cycle's tires, Johnny walks forward to key in some numbers on a panel next to a large garage door.
"So where have you taken me, Punisher?"
"Officially, this is a warehouse for the Wevegot Company, a petrochemical refinery and baked goods manufacturer. Unofficially, they're letting me use it for storage."
"Why would they let you do that?"
"Let's just say I 'threatened to kill' the 'company president's family.'"
The door opens to reveal a Humongous Mecha, plastered with various product logos.
"Now what is that, Johnny?"
"That would be EMO-Unit 01... The Electronic Mechanical Organism... and it's our best chance against this ANGLE thing."
"Sexy?" Johnny says hopefully.
"...Sad. Is it meant to be crying?"
"Those are blood ducts. They help drain stomach fluids and brainsplatter from the sensory array in the middle of battle."
A low, mournful hooting reaches the warehouse; the ANGLE comes.
Johnny grins. "Sounds like it's time." Approaching the kneeling form of mecha, he extends the third finger of his right hand and shouts, "EMO One! Eviscerate."
A cold, hoary light suddenly kindles in the mecha's eyes. It turns its ruinous gaze upon Johnny and, in a voice that suggests one hell of an onboard subwoofer, moans "PASS PHRASE SECONDARY?"
"Man will never be free until the last person who disagrees with me is strangled with the entrails of the second-to-last person who disagrees with me."
"IN THE NAME OF PUNISHER, BE YE JOHNNY," EMO-1 intones, and it bows its head nearly to the floor of the warehouse. From its mouth it lowers a sleek black box, a little larger than a casket, which opens a passage through which the glint of spikes can be seen. Johnny begins to enter.
"Johnny!" calls Baronessy. "What's in the box?"
Johnny looks over his shoulder; his grin is wider than ever.
"Pain," he says.
Johnny begins to strap himself on the crucifix that apparently serves as the mecha's control panel.
"As soon as that entryway closes, 108 of these spikes will jut into a series of various non-fatal, if agonizing pressure points on my body. The EMO will then draw from my stoic anguish and suffering to power itself"
"Doesn't that really mess you up afterward?" asks an only slightly concerned Baronessy.
"Surprisingly no... except for two perfectly symmetrical and tragically symbolic stigmata on my hands, I'll still be as Snape fan-art pretty as always... Now just you watch as I sacrifice my personal happiness to ensure the safety of a world that hates and fears me."
EMO-1's doors slowly close. The expected Transformation Sequence does not come.
"Crap... Baronessy, could you go around the back of this thing and pull the starter cord a couple of times? I think I forgot to prime it."
Strangely, once Baronessy pulls the cord, reality goes grainy, and instead of the passable CGI creation, EMO-1 is now clearly a man in a cardboard suit. Similarly the previously floating ANGLE has now grown arm and legs that appear to be covered in flesh colored tights. The two have a intensely cheap looking battle over a now-corrugated landscape, ending after two minutes when Johnny punches the ANGLE'S obvious weak point and body-slams it into a nearby
crowded office park abandoned warehouse district.
(The internet is quick to discover that the scene has been lifted wholesale from Stock Footage of a mediocre mid-90s kaiju series Angry Gaijin Punishes Force Go Team X. Many a Flame War rage as to whether the scene's inclusion was a deep homage-commentary on Japan-US relations (and that anyone who didn't realize so was an idiot), a Dream Sequence indicating Johnny trying to cope with his internal mental break down (and that anyone who didn't realize so was an idiot), or just someone trying to piss anyone who may have otherwise enjoyed the show (and that anyone who didn't realize so was an idiot). Sadly, Word of God is unavailable, as the producer of the episode recently left the country for a tour of tropical islands with vague extradition treaties, carrying a briefcase containing a sum of money suspiciously equal to the fight scene's allocated budget.)
After lying twitching in the cardboard for a few seconds, the ANGLE emits a canned explosion sound effect, then bursts into a shower of sparks and smoke - a learned allusion, according to fanon, to the fate of the Kirishitan under Tokugawa. EMO-1 spins to face the camera and flashes a victory sign as an overdriven guitar wails on the soundtrack.
We then iris-out back to the warehouse as Johnny, slightly dripping with some sort of insulator fluid, dismounts his mecha. For a man just impaled a hundred times, he looks remarkably relaxed.
Baronessy runs to him. "How did you do that?" she says.
Johnny's preoccupied with searching for a dry cigarette in his tattered jacket. "I just kinda punched it in the eye."
"But how?! When I said the ANGLE was immune to concussion, that should have included giant robot fists."
"Maybe." Johnny looks back fondly at EMO-1. "But it sure wasn't immune to the Power of Love."
"I thought your robot was powered by pain."
"Oh, that too." Johnny says as he finally lights on a cigarette and ignites it. "It's a little bit of both."
"It's strong and it's sudden and it's cruel sometimes but it might just save your life."
"You're never going to give me a satisfactory explanation, are you?"
"Nope. Take It to the Forums. Anyways, we need to go introduce my dad to something spikey, pronto."
A voice booms from above, as a man in blue and purple body armor and jet boots descends from the heavens:
"Not so fast, bucko! A NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHES!"
The man pauses to chug from a convenient bottle of Jack Daniels. He then tosses it to Baronessy, who catches it and promptly swoons.
"That was my building you just destroyed! My life's work! The monument to the spirit that was mine!"
Johnny looks momentarily puzzled.
"But I don't think of destroyed buildings!"
The armored man takes a swig from a martini glass that the suit has dispensed.
"Oh, to think what you could have been, Punisher. I, Tony Stroark have dedicated my life to the pursuit of architectural perfection... but now with that building gone, all I have left is the drinking, the billions of dollars in my Swiss bank account, the drinking, the weapons company, the drinking, the supermodels, the drinking, the registration act I'm pushing through congress, the drinking, the hyper-strong tungsten armor, the drinking, the sexual tension with my valet, and the drinking."
The man downs the highball of scotch that he's removed from his chest-plate.
"Talk is cheap. Your brain is your only weapon... except of course, for this laser cannon on my arm." As if in response to the statement, the cannon glows with an cheerful hum (pausing only to shoot a stream of Pina Coladas into Stroark's mouth).
Johnny gives us an expression that's angstier than usual.
"Dammit! Am I ever going to get to kill my friggin' father?"
The scene jump-cuts to the law office of Vladimir Darkier, who, like everyone in this show it seems, has been tracking Punisher's movements on a desk monitor.
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