Techs What I Done

Aardvark123

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#21
Oh, absolutely! I'd never lie about the legendary GSO flagship.

Faceplanting turret lol.
That is quite often a problem. One of them fell on Crafty Mike once while he was sunbathing, giving him four broken ribs and a severe hernia. He has never entirely forgiven Team Venture.
 

Aardvark123

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#23
~Fast-turning Hawkeye turret "Little Wrecker"~

Little Wrecker.png

The Little Wrecker has two MK-3 battleship cannons, and can point them towards anything nearby in a matter of seconds thanks to its fast-acting Venture anchor. Despite its small frame, the Little Wrecker packs a tremendous punch and can endure a surprising amount of damage. Just one of them is enough to safeguard an advance base or mining outpost, and four or five together should be pretty much invincible.

Its armour was ergonomically sculpted not by priestesses who bathe in mermaids' tears but by mermaids who bathe in strawberry jam and condition their hair with WD-40, because "life's too short to bathe in mushroom soup".

Size: Medium-small.
Weight: Medium.
Turn Rate: Fast.
Armament: Two MK-3 battleship cannons, two cruise missiles, four AKIRA railguns, a handful of small arms.
Defences: Aggregated carbon nano-rod armour angled to deflect bullets.
Special Abilities: None.
Weaknesses: Batteries don't last long overnight.

~Defensive Hawkeye gun installation "Dark Praetorian"~

Dark Praetorian.png

The Dark Praetorian is the next evolution in turret technology. Although it lacks the turn rate and devastating straight-line firepower of the Little Wrecker, its 360-degree weaponry and weeks-long battery life make it a force to be reckoned with. The Dark Praetorian can hurl cruise missiles and HG-1 cannon shells at anything in front of it, Seeker missiles and a veritable maelstrom of bullets at anything else. Surrounding it is futile. Trying to dodge its fire is futile. Trying to endure its barrage is futile. Sniping it from afar will probably work. And if that wasn't enough, it can drive when unanchored, albeit slowly.

The same mermaids as before were responsible for the Dark Praetorian's hull, but instead of ergonomically sculpting it, they just doodled a few pictures on a napkin. Then they asked for some scones and cream so they could properly enjoy their bath. The first tests were a roaring success; seven pirate techs and one lost bin lorry fell to its barrage in the first hour, then a Venture raiding party went down without breaking a single one of its blocks. The finest minds in the galaxy were at a loss as to how the Dark Praetorian could keep powering its shields, until they realised it had solar panels tucked away in its chassis. Funny how that works.

Size: Medium-large.
Weight: Heavy.
Turn Rate: Slow.
Armament: Four cruise missiles, one HG-1 heavy cannon turret, eight Seeker missile pods, dozens of small arms.
Defences: Angled carbon nano-aggregate rod thingy whatsits. Yep.
Special Abilities: Can unanchor itself to wander around.
Weaknesses: None.

~Nomadic Hawkeye gatherer tank "Gote"~

Gote.png

One can only assume the mermaids who named this thing had inhaled too many fumes while they were doing their hair (with WD-40). I am informed by a reliable source that it was supposed to be known as the "goat", but... Eh...

Anyway, the Gote is the ultimate solution for any Hawkeye license-holder who wants to raze a few forests. Its small collection and processing setup can quickly refine, burn and sell resource chunks on the go, although its main purpose is to run rings around slow techs and pelt them with missiles. Its cannon and four miniguns make it quite useful for frontal attacks, too.

Size: Medium-large.
Weight: Heavy.
Speed: Average.
Agility: Not teriffic.
Armament: Four miniguns, one HG-1 cannon turret, five front-facing rotary mortars, four sideways-facing Seeker missile pods, a selection of small arms.
Defences: Sturdy hull.
Special Abilities: Can boost its speed with powerful jet engines and process resources while moving.
Weaknesses: It's ugly as sin. I mean, I only put it here so I could continue with the mermaid jokes...
 

Aardvark123

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#24
~Compact block- and resource-retrieval tech "Tidy Truck"~

Tidy Truck.png

The Tidy Truck was designed for one purpose: Cleaning up around a busy outpost. It boasts three GeoCorp collectors for gathering scattered resource chunks, one high-powered block magnet for gathering scattered blocks and a chassis-mounted booster rocket for dragging the blocks up steep hills. Tidy Trucks work best as support for a small fleet of techs, retrieving the shattered bodies of enemy techs while the rest of the fleet keeps on fighting and mining. It can be used as a mining tech at a pinch. While definitely not built for combat, it can defend itself against minor threats with its missile launcher.

A tech designer named Aardvark123 built the Tidy Truck when he noticed his testing area filling up with discarded parts and resource chunks. Its cute, compact design and ability to work in all environments made the design a firm favourite among untidy people.

Size: Medium.
Weight: Medium-heavy.
Speed: Slow-ish.
Agility: Pretty good.
Armament: One GSO missile launcher, four eight-barrel mini-mortars, two three-pound cannons.
Capacity: 120 resource chunks.
Defences: Sturdy titanite hull.
Special Abilities: A powerful rocket boost.
Weaknesses: Lacks shielding and repair bubbles. Cab is right at the front.

~High-capacity resource- and block-retrieval tech "The Cleaner"~

The Cleaner.png

When a Tidy Truck simply won't cut it, The Cleaner is the tech for you. Its three GeoCorp block magnets can hold several tonnes worth of downed enemies, and its two Scotty HC collectors are enough for all the trees knocked down during the preceding scuffle. Boasting two missile launchers and two Megaton cannons, The Cleaner can protect itself from anything that sneaks up on it during a clean-up operation, although it lacks the survivability for routine combat use.

Aardvark123 built a prototype The Cleaner with rubbish turning and no side-mounted railings, which served him well until it was blown up by pirates. The design was revisited by Casey DeAglet, a Venture license-holder who loved to go against the status quo. She lost every race she entered with the all-new Cleaner, except for a land-vehicles-only mudflat crossing, but she's happy enough.

Size: Very large.
Weight: Very heavy.
Speed: Slow.
Agility: Decent enough.
Armament: Two Megaton cannons, two GSO missile launchers.
Capacity: 320 resource chunks.
Defences: Sturdy titanite hull.
Special Abilities: Rocket boost.
Weaknesses: No shielding or repair bubbles. The cab is right at the front. The fuel tanks are exposed. Um, yeah...

~Massive, incredibly powerful clean-up tech "Mighty Maid"~

Mighty Maid.png

For the sorts of people who tend to leave vast piles of blocks around the place, there can be only one solution: the Mighty Maid, the last word in big, powerful techs with a lot of block magnets. The Mighty Maid has an incredible block capacity and can cross almost any terrain, even when laden down with stuff. Its repair bubbles and shock-proof armour allow it to survive up to a small amount of damage, and its twin Big Bertha naval guns are enough to defeat most threats. Its chassis-mounted rockets can take it up to eighty miles per hour over flat ground.

Note, however, that it may actually be called "Veteran Maid" in the snapshot.

The first design for the Mighty Maid was found in Casey DeAglet's diary by an industrious but misguided Hawkeye spy. When Casey found him, he panicked and shot her in the foot, leaving her hospitalised for the rest of the year. Casey's friends at Venture vowed to make her dream into a reality and scrounged together enough GeoCorp blocks to build the Mighty Maid. She proved invaluable for cleaning up all the forests smashed down by power-sliding racers.

Size: Immense.
Weight: Immense.
Speed: Slow.
Agility: Pretty good.
Armament: Two Big Berthas, four GSO missile launchers, a selection of small Hawkeye guns.
Capacity: 320 resource chunks.
Defences: Sturdy titanite hull, heavy shock plating.
Special Abilities: A powerful rocket boost.
Weaknesses: No shielding.
 

Aardvark123

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#25
~Slightly impractical harvester "Hammerhead"~

Hammerhead.png

The Hammerhead is a slow and steady workhorse designed to harvest stuff in rough terrain. Its plasma cutters can melt through rocks in seconds, leaving the high-mounted Scotty HC collectors to feebly paw at the resource chunks far below. Its weapons are sufficient for light combat duties; the Hammerhead can blow up weak enemies, but its lack of shielding leaves it unable to take much punishment.

A Swedish prospector built the Hammerhead fairly late in his carreer. He was forced to retire after suffering a complete nervous breakdown induced by hours of tedious work, moving resource chunk after resource chunk into the collectors by hand.

Size: Large.
Weight: Very heavy.
Speed: Slow.
Agility: Decent.
Armament: Two HG-1 cannon turrets, two Monster mortars, two Hawkeye miniguns, two ZEUS laser turrets, several small arms.
Capacity: 360 resource chunks in theory, about a hundred in practice.
Defences: Sturdy titanite hull.
Special Abilities: None, really.
Weaknesses: Cab is right at the front. The collectors on the top can barely summon up the strength to lift a single resource chunk off the ground.
 

Aardvark123

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#26
~High-speed nomadic fighter-harvester "Diamond Dust"~

Diamond Dust.png

If you want to live fast but also for a reasonably long time, Diamond Dust is the tech for you. It can speed across the plains and crawl up the steepest hills, snatching resources on the go to recharge its shields and earn some extra dosh. Four Hawkeye cruise missiles give it enough of a punch to blow up enemy techs from a safe distance, with a couple of plasma flamethrowers for a little extra punch up close. It can turn on the spot, too.

Size: Medium.
Weight: Medium.
Speed: Fast.
Agility: Excellent.
Armament: Four Hawkeye cruise missiles, two plasma flamethrowers.
Defences: High-density angled plumbite armour.
Special Abilities: Mobile resource collection, refinement, burning and selling.
Weaknesses: No noticeable ones.

A privateer named Phil made Diamond Dust for a bet. His rival Helga bet him a Megaton cannon that he couldn't build a motorbike with integrated resource processing tech, so Phil decided to stretch the definition of "motorbike" to its limit. Helga quite rightly pointed out that Diamond Dust had four wheels, so Phil blew up all her best techs and stole everything she owned. He hopped aboard the still-pristine Diamond Dust, put on his sunglasses and roared off into the sunset.

Helga vowed to rebuild her fleet from the ground up and wreak her revenge. She had nothing left but a Foreman GPR cab and three Venture T-brackets, but the fire inside her heart could never be quenched. She was going to do such a number on Phil he wouldn't even know what hit him.

TO BE CONTINUED...
 

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#27
~Stocky little combat tech "Scoopy Scrapper"~

Scoopy Scrapper.png

With two Megaton cannons, a Gigaton cannon and a scoop, the Scoopy Scrapper has everything it needs to flip an enemy tech on its head and blast it senseless. In theory. Its front-facing cannons and mini-mortars can tear through the exposed underbelly of a helpless flipped tech. Assuming it can actually summon the strength to flip anything. The Scoopy Scrapper's powerful booster jet gives it enough speed to charge towards an enemy tech and flip it with impunity! In theory.

Size: Medium-large.
Weight: Heavy.
Speed: Slow.
Agility: Pretty decent.
Armament: Two Megaton cannons, one Gigaton cannon, one scoop, two eight-barrel mini-mortars, dozens of three-pound cannons.
Defences: Sturdy titanite hull, with shock plating on the sides. Compressed plumbite armour on the turret.
Special Abilities: Powerful rocket boost, flipping capabilities.
Weaknesses: The repair bubble doesn't cover the scoop. Also, scoops are useless. I didn't even get the achievement when I finally managed to flip something with it...

The Scoopy Scrapper was built by a prospector named Helga, in order to seek revenge on her rival Phil. Its compact design was easy on her limited funds, but packed enough of a punch for her to demolish all the pirates who came to take advantage of her. Once she'd built up enough spare parts that she could bounce back from a defeat, Helga began her hunt.

Helga took a cheeky tech-selfie right next to Phil's formidable Diamond Dust while he was taking a nap, but her efforts to flip the tech only succeeded in waking him up. Phil blew the Scoopy Scrapper sky-high. Helga swallowed her pride and gave her tech's design a bit of a rethink:

~Vastly more effective assault tech "Drill Demon"~

Drill Demon.png

Size: Medium-large.
Weight: Heavy.
Speed: Slow.
Agility: Pretty decent.
Armament: Two Megaton cannons, one Gigaton cannon, two eight-barrel mini-mortars, dozens of three-pound cannons, two diamond drills.
Defences: Sturdy titanite hull, with shock plating on the sides. Compressed plumbite armour on the turret.
Special Abilities: Powerful rocket boost.
Weaknesses: All gone!

Helga rode boldly to war, only to find that Phil had gone to ground in his invincible mountain fortress. Not even two diamond drills and a Gigaton cannon were going to be enough to break her inside, so she decided to get creative.

TO BE CONTINUED...
 

Aardvark123

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#28


High in the mountains, the dastardly Phil had constructed an invincible fortress from all his ill-gotten gains. (Of course, "ill-gotten" is relative in a game that's all about blowing up techs to steal their blocks, but still.) Laden with cannons and missile launchers, with enough firepower to level anything unfortunate enough to wander past it, the Spire of Eternity was beyond anything Helga had seen. Phil had surrounded it with powerful Aegisentinel wall-turrets, lethal Aeroplane Reapers to keep the skies clear and countless small turrets laden with battleship cannons. Gaining access was not going to be easy.

~Spire of Eternity Main Building~

Size: Huge.
Weight: Immense.
Armament: Eight Gigaton cannons, twenty-odd Megaton cannons, four MK-3 battleship cannons, twelve GSO missile launchers, eight Cluster missile launchers, sixteen cruise missiles, sixteen Seeker missiles, eight angled plasma cutters.
Defences: High-grade titanite walls with industrial shock plating, multi-layered outer shielding, comprehensive repair bubble cover, angled plumbite roof plating, shock-proof walls around resource sanctum.
Special Abilities: Comrehensive crafting and scrapping, two long-range charger arrays.
Capacity: 360 resource chunks.
Weaknesses: HA!

Helga was not going to give up after waiting so long for her revenge. She took to the skies in her newly-constructed stealth assault tech and descended upon the Spire of Eternity like an avenging angel.

~Short-range attack tech with wings as black as the night and cherry-red lips that whisper of eldritch secrets "Scorpion Witch"~

Scorpion Witch.png

Size: Medium-small.
Weight: Medium.
Ground Speed: Fast.
Ground Agility: Decent enough.
Airspeed: Fast.
Air Agility: Kind of sluggish, but looks wicked.
Armament: Two cruise missiles, two Bayonet shotguns, two repeater rifles, two burst guns.
Defences: Aggregated carbon nano-rod armour on the front end.
Special Abilities: None.
Weaknesses: Rear fins constantly drag on the ground, causing minor damage.



The Scorpion Witch could pass as a fast-moving storm cloud long enough for one pass. Helga stared down in awe as she jetted over the Spire of Eternity. She could probably take out some of the Aeroplane Reapers if she shot them from the side, but the Aegisentinels and Hawkeye turrets would be free to pelt her with missiles, to say nothing of the base. If she landed on one of the hills and summoned a mortar tank, she might be able to do some damage before Phil noticed-

"Unidentified aeroplane, you are flying over privately-owned land. You are ordered to touch down immediately and surrender your tech."

The transmission made Helga jump, but her startlement was replaced almost immediately by rage. She grabbed her communicator and shouted into it. "If you want my tech, come and get her, you big bully! I've had it up to here with you!"

"Helga?!" Phil seemed surprised. "But I-I thought you were dead! I blew your Drill Demon to smithereens!"

"You-? You tried to-?!" Helga was furious. "Stealing techs may be wrong, but killing people is against galactic law! Get ready, Phil! I'll show you!"



Diamond Dust roared out of the east gate and opened fire. Helga wove between the missiles, threw the Scorpion Witch into a steep dive and unleashed two missiles of her own. She let out a whoop of joy as Diamond Dust turned into a pile of flashing red blocks.

She wasn't out of the woods yet, though. The Spire of Eternity and its turrets let rip as Helga pulled up and soared into the air.



Shells and Missiles exploded around the Scorpion Witch, buffeting Helga like a leaf in a hurricane. A cruise missile struck the right wing, and it was all over.



The impact slammed Helga against the floor of the cockpit. With stars swirling in front of her eyes, she crawled out of the wreckage and trudged back to her meagre base.



Although she hadn't won the day, Helga had struck a blow against Phil's forces. He could build another Diamond Dust easily, but it wouldn't be the same, would it? It would never feel as safe, as invincible as before. Helga had shown him his techs weren't invincible, and she was going to demonstrate that fact to him again and again.

Helga's base was meagre for a reason. All of her stuff, every resource chunk and spare block buck, had been put into a tech that could give even the Spire of Eternity a run for its money. The Diamondbreaker, her pride and joy, was complete, and now Helga knew exactly what she was up against.

TO BE CONTINUED...
 

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NotExactlyHero

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#34
Well I appreciate you having a sense of humor about it, I honestly didn't mean (if I did) to step on your toes. Seems like whatever I do I always manage to in one way or another.
I'm a cube. I don't have toes.

Yeah to be honest I was quite surprised by how similar @Aardvark123 and me made our tech pages. I mean, I kinda expected to be yakked at for "copying" him. But I hope we're all cool. After all, we have the best Tech pages on the forum!!(Excluding me. All my builds are just squares...)
And I was being serious when I said great minds think alike. Y'all have great minds!
 

Aardvark123

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#36
~Anti-air turret "Aeroplane Reaper"~

Aeroplane Reaper.png

The Aeroplane Reaper is one of Phil's favourite creations. Bursting with surface-to-air missiles and a powerful anti-air cannon, it has enough power to destroy anything that might fly over the Spire of Eternity. Poor, poor Helga...

Size: Medium-large.
Weight: Heavy.
Armament: Eight upwards-facing cruise missiles, four GSO missile launchers, one anti-air cannon.
Defences: Thick angled titanite armour.
Special Abilities: None.
Weaknesses: Vulnerable to attack from the ground.

~Gun-laden wall "Aegisentinel"~

Aegisentinel.png

The Aegisentinel is a new take on an old design from the frontiers, with extra missiles and larger shields. A bank of Megaton cannons provides enough firepower to deter most enemies, and stronger techs will struggle to punch through the wall before it can do serious damage to them.

Size: Large.
Weight: Heavy.
Armament: Five Megaton cannons, two GSO missile launchers, four Seeker missile pods, four angled plasma cutters.
Defences: Compressed plumbite plating.
Special Abilities: None.
Weaknesses: Vulnerable to attack from the side and the rear.

~Helga's boring workhorse "Imogen"~

Imogen.png

While primarily a harvester, Imogen's two Rapid cannons and bank of mortars give her enough power to deal with minor threats. Running away from more severe ones is also no problem. Helga built Imogen primarily as a workhorse, but has grown very fond of the little tech to the point where she'd probably die of a broken heart if Phil blew her up.

Size: Medium.
Weight: Medium.
Speed: Fairly fast.
Agility: Pretty good.
Armament: Two Rapid cannons, four repeater rifles, two three-pound cannons, four small Hawkeye mortars, ten Hailfire rifles, two angled plasma cutters.
Defences: Plumbite hull plating.
Special Abilities: None.
Weaknesses: Low battery capacity.
 

Aardvark123

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#37
~Kind of underwhelming super-vehicle "Titanite Slug"~

Titanite Slug.png

The Titanite Slug is a manoeuvreable, low-powered attack vehicle with the ability to jump, run down enemy combatants and endure as many as three or four good hits, or more if you're playing as Tarma. Its single Megaton cannon can inflict serious damage, but lacks the necessary punch to wear down powerful techs. A pair of miniguns give it a wide arc of fire and the potential to inflict withering damage. Its true strength lies not in DPS, of which it has precious little, but in the ability to leap over helpless enemies, scramble up steep hills and get the best possible firing angle. And really, isn't fighting huge, missile-toting enemies in a helpless little tank the closest one can get to an authentic Metal Slug experience?

The Titanite Slug was supposed to be what made the GSO relevant once more, but its designers hit an immediate snag when they found themselves buying up dozens of Hawkeye and Venture parts at a sizeable markup. They hit another snag when a whole bunch of Titanite Slugs were stolen by Hawkeye commandos and reverse-engineered as a part of their rocket-powered lawnchair programme.

Size: Medium.
Weight: Medium.
Speed: Decent enough.
Agility: Excellent turning and solid performance on hills.
Armament: One Megaton cannon, two Hawkeye auto-cannons.
Defences: Angled plumbite plating.
Special Abilities: Can jump with chassis-mounted rockets. Please note that lateral movement during the jump is only down to the vehicle's momentum.
Weaknesses: Not many weapons.
 

Aardvark123

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#38
The sun rose over the deserted highlands where Helga had set up shop. For the first time, its rays glinted off the wings of Helga's mighty Diamondbreaker.



Months of work had gone into the Diamondbreaker. Thousands of resources, millions of block bucks, hundreds of blocks donated by other people driven to ruin by Phil. Helga had never dared to show the Diamondbreaker off before, only working on its snapshot under cover of night with a CAD programme by Payload Studios. But now, all that was about to change.

None of Helga's friends had dared to go near Phil's territory, but they'd given her a spiffy Hawkeye flight suit the night before. Helga was surprised to find herself crying as she slipped into the warm bullet-proof trousers. Her first flight suit had been a present from a man she no longer knew, another victim of rampant greed and ruthless conquest.

Helga took one last look at her base, her three redoubtable turrets and that eight-wheeled wonder Imogen. She steeled her nerves and clambered aboard the Diamondbreaker.



Once she'd ploughed through a few forests and mended the wings, Helga managed to take off. The Diamondbreaker felt heavy in the air, but it flew well enough over the mountains. Blast craters and forlorn piles of blocks passed beneath her as Helga soared towards the Spire of Eternity.

"Well, well! Back for more, are you?" A familiar, hated face crackled into view on Helga's console. "Nice little tech, there. It might even be enough to beat my grandad's tractor..."

Helga scowled. "That's right, Phil. I'm here to make you pay for everything you've done."

"You, make me pay?! Ooh, I'm sooooo scared!" sneered Phil. "You're not going to beat me this time, goat-brains. Not after all the times you humiliated me."

"The... The times I humiliated...?" Helga shook her head. "Go boil an egg, Phil!" she roared, punching the "fire everything" button. The Diamondbreaker shook as its dozens of weapons came to life.



Explosions rocked the Spire of Eternity. Blocks flashed red, then green, then red again as more shells and missiles tore at the walls. Helga cried out in triumph as she pulled the Diamondbreaker into a steep turn for a second pass.

The Spire of Eternity fought back.



Missiles swarmed after the Diamondbreaker even as Helga gunned the engine to escape them. A cruise missile struck one of the engines, sending shards of wing tumbling to the rocky slopes below.

"You can't win, you know." Phil seemed perfectly calm, even as Helga blasted the roof of his tower. "Must be a nice change for you."

"And just what do you mean by that?" growled Helga.

"Nice change from our childhood. You always used to beat me, Helga, you swine! Every video game, every sport, you humiliated me! It drove me up the wall!" ranted Phil.

"Wh-what?!" cried Helga. "Phil, you beat me at wrestling more times than not! And you were always the best at platform games!"

"Uh..." A blush spread over Phil's cheeks. "That... That means nothing! You took every chance you got to rub it in, how much better you were than me, how much everyone loved you and hated me!"

"I..." Helga fell silent. Long-forgotten memories flooded into her mind. Lazy summer evenings learning how to beat Metal Slug 26 at Phil's house, showing him how it was done in Street Fighter 52.5, running around the park while he tried to keep up... She'd also been the best at International Shipping Simulator, hadn't she? And at football, tennis, laser cricket... Wouldn't anyone have been jealous?

Then Helga remembered the tantrums, the screams of rage, the baseless accusations of cheating whenever she won, the gloating whenever Phil won. Helga had just ignored it, much like Phil's parents did. She assumed he'd grown out of it. And then, when she ranked so much higher at the GSO academy, Phil waited until graduation to kick her in the face and call her every name in existence. She'd partied all night long and forgotten about it. Years later, when she offered him a friendly bet, he had cheated, stolen everything she owned and set himself up as the new king of evil.

A sharp jolt snapped Helga out of her reminiscence. Four missiles had struck the Diamondbreaker. Her craft had taken too much damage already. Helga knew she had to put an end to the Spire of Eternity before she ran out of luck.



"What's the matter, Helga?" laughed Phil, who still hadn't ended the call. "Don't you wish you had your cheat codes now?"

Rage flooded up from Helga's heart. "I never cheated, Phil. I NEVER CHEATED! Take this!"



Helga just had time to see Phil's eyes go wide before the Diamondbreaker ploughed into the tower.
 

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#39
The Spire of Eternity lay in ruins.



Phil's heart was hammering in his chest. The yellow titanite wall of the control room had seemed so secure, but now it was rent asunder mere inches away from him. Ever so slowly and carefully, Phil tapped on the sparking control panel until the mainframe managed to print out a damage report. It was two words: "We're doomed.".

The Spire of Eternity was still shaking as batteries exploded and blocks tumbled to the ground. The magnetic field that held it together had lost too much power during the crash, and it was only a matter of time until the whole tower collapsed. Steeling himself, Phil leapt through the hole in the wall and thumped down among Diamondbreaker debris.

Had he done it? Or more accurately, had Helga done it. Phil began gingerly poking around in the wreckage, ignoring the base that was crumbling around him, until at last he shunted aside the broken windscreen and uncovered the terrible truth.

Helga was long gone.



As soon as her escape craft touched down, Helga set to work packing up her base.



She knew Phil would come after her, and she wasn't about to make it easy for him. Helga piled all her resources onto Imogen, stuffed her bags into the back of the cab and tore away into the desert.



If Phil ever managed to rebuild his empire and find her, Helga was going to be ready for him.