Alright, I’ve been playing around with this one for a couple of years now. As much as I love the idea of video game to movie adaptations, Hollywood has been surprisingly stupid in their attempts to make this a reality. Just think Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter, and Double Dragon. Clearly I don’t have the assets necessary to make my own versions…oh if only it were so. Instead, I’ve played around with the idea of making graphic novel remakes or short novelettes of these classic video game scenarios.
The whole point behind all of this is simply this. These are the stories that wowed me as a kid. Stories like in the Legend of Zelda series, the Castlevania series, the Final Fantasy series, and other stand-alone titles as in Rygar, Karnov, Ghosts and Goblins, etc. My desire is to share these stories with my own children. Hollywood and television have let me down. There are some halfway decent graphic novels out there, but I don’t want to wait around when I could just re-write the stories myself in my own words. So, without further ado, here is a sample of my own version of the Megaman storyline…Zoot!
This is the story of Zoot, a janitor and lab assistant to Dr. Zane Aurora. Dr. Aurora designs and researches robot-beings to aid humanity. He calls them help-bots. His rival is Professor James Sly. Because of their expertise, the two have teamed together on a mysterious government project. Up until recently the men have managed to put aside their differences. But lately there’s been a tension in the air. As they near completion, both have become paranoid that one will outdo the other. Dr. Aurora has been so secretive in fact, that Zoot still has no idea what it is they’re working on. But all that is about to change…
The lab stunk of burning metal. Everywhere, small fires blazed, feeding on broken cables and other debris. Smoke hung heavy, lurking around the large room like passersby gaping at some horrific accident.
Zoot tried to sit up, but intense pain flared up his right arm. He dared not look. Instead, he concentrated on the lab. ‘What just happened?’ he thought. There had been an explosion. No, multiple explosions. It was difficult to see. Something acrid in the air stung at his eyes.
And yet, it didn’t take much to see that each of their eight incubation chambers were now vacant. Someone or something had managed to shatter the glass shielding protecting the chambers, an impressive feat. “That glass was like a foot thick!” Zoot gasped in amazement.
Night crept at the edge of his vision. He felt his head grow light. Before he could pass out, he saw Dr. Aurora rushing in. It was enough. Zoot let the sleep take him, a smile crossing his lips. Everything was alright. Dr. Aurora was here. He would fix everything. Blackness.
* * *
Zoot awoke just where he expected. He breathed in the familiar odor of antiseptics and cleaning agents. The lights in the infirmary were at their usual glaring brightness. Dr. Aurora stood over him, his face grim.
“Glad to see you survived,” he said. There was a smile in the older man’s voice, but it never touched his face.
“What happened?” Zoot groaned as he leaned up and swung his legs off the side of the medic cot.
“Something very serious,” Dr. Aurora replied. “But first, let’s talk about your arm.”
“My arm? Why, what’s wrong with my arm?” Zoot had hardly noticed the cast on his right hand. Now it stuck out like a white hippo. It was heavy and enormous, consuming most of his forearm. “Hey, what happened?”
“My deepest apologies,” Dr. Aurora said in a sincerely humble tone. “But your hand was lost in the chaos following the…accident.” Anger filled his gaze for a moment, but the man quickly regained control and continued. “Perhaps I acted rashly, but you were losing so much blood.”
Zoot was growing nervous. “Doctor, what did you do to me?”
For the first time in the two years they’d been working together, Zoot saw fear in the old man’s eyes. “I did what I had to. In order to cauterize the wound, to stop the flow of blood.” There were tears in Dr. Aurora’s eyes now. “James will be happy now, blast him. I made my first weapon.”
In response, the man began peeling back the wrappings from Zoot’s arm. Odd, but it didn’t feel like his hand was gone. He could even feel his fingers. He wiggled them just to be sure. There was a deafening explosion as something bright shot out of the wrappings and exploded into the far wall.
“What was that?!” Zoot jerked backward, nearly falling over the back side of the cot. To his surprise, Dr. Aurora was actually laughing.
“I’m sorry,” the man apologized as he helped him to his feet. “I’m just so glad to see it works.”
“What works?! What is that thing?” Zoot couldn’t keep from yelling. He didn’t wait for an answer though. Instead, he pulled away the last of the cloth from his arm. Except, there was no arm now.
Zoot’s jaw felt like it would hit the floor. Somehow, there was a silver cannon attached where his hand should be. “I don’t get it. What is this thing?” he asked in awe.
“Tell me you’re not angry with me,” Dr. Aurora pleaded. “I had to act quickly to save your life.”
“Angry?” Zoot replied, almost as if in a daze. He admired the cannon closer now, a grin slowly stretching his cheeks. “Angry? I’ve got a gun for a hand now? This is gonna’ be AWESOME!!!” He squeezed his ‘fingers’ again and another blast of energy shot out of the cannon. Zoot whooped with joy.
Most of the worry left Dr. Aurora’s eyes as he watched the boy’s celebration. At least that part was over. He had been almost certain Zoot would take the news well. And still, there was more to tell. There was worse news. Perhaps the boy could sense it, for all too quickly he quieted down.
“Doctor, what happened to the lab? Where are all the machines?”
The man’s voice was shaky. “Stolen Zoot. They’ve all been stolen, I’m afraid.”
The boy was dumbfounded. “Stolen? But by who? Or what? Nothing could break through that shielding.”
Dr. Aurora shook his head woefully. “But something did, my boy. Something big. Something powerful. And it’s stolen the help-bots.”
“But what for?” the boy couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “They’re just robots. Why would anyone want them that badly?”
“I can’t be sure, but I believe it has something to do with the project James and I were working on.”
“James,” Zoot considered it. “Could he have done this?”
The old man laughed the suggestion aside. “Professor Sly and I have always had our differences, it’s true. But whoever did this must have been using advanced technology. James just isn’t capable of this level of destruction.”
“Then who is?” Zoot was getting emotional now. He just couldn’t believe anyone would destroy an entire lab for something as trivial as help-bots. “I know!” he beamed. “Let’s check the surveillance cameras.”
Dr. Aurora reached for his arm before he could race off. “Hold up a minute boy,” he said. “Don’t waste your energy. Everything in the lab was destroyed…including the cameras.” Zoot looked glum. “However,” the man continued, “if you’d really like to help out, I do have a proposition for you.”
The boy gave him a serious look. “Doctor, I’ve spent the last two years working for you. You’ve become like family to me. Of course I’ll do anything I can to help out. I know how much this research means to you.”
There was a brief uncomfortable silence while the older man considered what he was about to say. “There is a way to track down the help-bots,” he replied carefully. “Each robot receives its instructions via a tiny satellite transponder. Though the lab is destroyed, I could still ping the transponder to get a fix on its location.”
Zoot’s eyebrows shot up. “Then we’d know exactly where your help-bots are and who took them! Let’s do it now before they get too far away!”
“Patience my boy,” the older man cautioned. “You need to know what it is you’re getting into before you go rushing off to your death. There’s a good chance that whoever took these robots won’t be so inclined to just hand them over without a fight.”
The boy was ogling his arm cannon again. “Somehow sir, I just don’t think that’s gonna’ be a problem.”
Dr. Aurora laughed. “While I like your spirit, I want to do everything in my power to increase your chance of success. After all, these are my help-bots you’re going after.” The man began heading for the infirmary door. “Follow me, Zoot. The arm cannon was just the beginning of what I have in store for you.”