Here is the first in a line of stories based on Atari 2600 games. I plan to upload the complete story on AtariAge. I've been playing Atari games since I was 12. I find it easy to make stories for, because they're primitive and can be interpreted as anything. But mostly, I read the manuals for the games to get the closest to them.
This story follows the Robot Force, a team of robots who travel through space saving the day (like the Guardians of the Galaxy.) The leader is Captain TOM, a parody of TOM from Toonami (more specifically TOM 5), and RUBY is also from Toonami (though she's non-canonical now.) DAN is an original character. You can see their personalities displayed throughout the story.
Worm War I: Chapter 1, The Battle BeginsDark space. Almost no one dares to enter here, at least not humans. Who knows what evil lurks in the galaxy? Aliens are all around you, ready to strike... double agents with a twisted sense of morality.
However, there is one regular runner of the cosmos that venture into these unknown areas. A group, actually.
These are the Robot Force.
The spaceship Wingman zoomed into the vast blackness, traveling approximately 90 miles per hour. Not many roller coasters could reach that speed, let alone a car itself. Traversing the empty void, planets scarce in this region, the crew didn't mind being bored.
Because this crew weren't your "Star Trek" type of stern. They were party animals.
A robot painted a deep jet black had one hand on the yokel, and another hand on his hip. His eyes were non-existent, as in that area of his "face" was instead a glassy visor, reminiscent of Ray-Bans. "Fantasy" by Aldo Nova blared through the Sony Walkman hooked up to the Wingman's speakers. The booming rock music pleased a robot colored a lighter shade of blue, with a head slanted downwards like a backwards baseball cap yet the same Ray-Ban replacement for eyes, who was glancing downwards at his handheld device, perhaps displaying the planetary traffic or some other form of navigation. A female robot, looking like the black one yet with a pink and red color scheme, was sitting at a terminal somewhere near the back of the ship, scrambled codes flashing all around the screen. Suddenly, she jumped to a start when she realized something, after carefully relating words to numbers and vice-versa, as the decoded message dominated the screen.
"Captain TOM!" the girl shouted, over to the front of the ship.
Captain TOM turned around and gave a petulant sigh. "What is it, RUBY?" he moped.
"I've found a transmission from a planet named Teriyaki! An invasion is happening!"
"...yeah, okay. You know I'd rather chill and cruise the space-ways than save people. Pick up some alien babes. You know, fun stuff."
"TOM, this is serious! These people are in great danger, and you value laziness over heroics?"
"We're only here to document the galaxy. That's why Dr. Activision sent us into space. Heroics are just a byproduct."
The blue robot perked his head up from the handheld upon hearing Captain TOM display such dumbness.
"Okay, let me get this straight, TOM," he said, "lives are on the line, and you choose to purposefully ignore them in favor of hedonism."
"Who cares about saving the world, Commander DAN?" Captain TOM said. "It's just hard work and a ****ing burden on my life. Once you step foot in the ring, there's no going back."
"Your mind has been manipulated by the media. There's nothing to space than just stars and comets. Try as you might, you are NEVER going to look like a badass. As I always say, the media is the enemy of the people."
"So, what, Starship 2000 isn't Hugh Hefner's House of Hoes like they advertise themselves?"
"JUST GET TO TERIYAKI, CAPTAIN TOM!!" RUBY and DAN shouted simultaneously. Captain TOM gave out a depressed yawn.
"All right, fine. But you better leave me alone after this." He turned over to the automatic navigation system, and in a most deadpan voice, "Clara, set the course for Teriyaki."
Meanwhile, on the planet of Teriyaki, trouble was brewing. Teriyaki was sort of "neon Asian," with a Shinto flair and Edo period loveliness. Citizens wore kimonos, there was a chain of gas stations called "Pagoda" that literally looked like a pagoda, and true to form, delicious, delicious teriyaki was served in every restaurant (the best being Matsuri Bar.) But danger lurked in a high mountain overseeing the main city, where a strange saucer had crash-landed a few days earlier.
A hissing voice that echoed with demonic reverb said, "Jewelee, are we ready to attack now?"
This inquiry was followed by a similar-sounding voice, but feminine in gender, whispering "Yes we are. Our sticky slime will trap ALL the Teriyakians in place. We'll storm the Feudal Shiro and overthrow the emperor. Nothing will ever stop us. NOTHING!" She began an evil laugh.
The voices belonged to giant, sentient worms, looking like prehistoric creatures with a modern-day twist. The male was green with a peach underside, and Jewelee was magenta with a black underside. Their sharp teeth could rival vampires', gnashing at anything and everything (omnivorous.) And of course, a pore on their undersides could produce a slimy, sticky secretion, which was almost like Crazy Glue in that there was no escape once you were caught in it.
From the corner of his eye, the male spotted something landing far away in the city.
"Jewelee, there's something coming," he said. "Seems like a... spaceship!"
"Fire up the computer and see what it says, Ponch."
"Of course, my dear." Ponch slithered to the base they'd made in the mountain cavern, where a large supercomputer the likes of ones from the 1950s resided. Slamming his body into the large button on one of the panels, the computer analyzed the data being sent to its systems. Then, at the sound of a tone, it showcased information about the newcomer to the planet.
"Ah," Ponch said. "It is indeed a spaceship. It's called the Wingman."
"Interesting," Jewelee said. "Tell me more."
Ponch slammed onto another button on the panel, and up on the screen came profiles of the Robot Force.
"Says they're lead by robots. TOM, the Captain. DAN, the Commander. RUBY... she doesn't have a title, but she's still brave." A pause, then "TOM seems like a fine specimen. It says he's in the right mindset to be a captain, but he has a bad case of his ego. Stubborn, too."
Jewelee chuckled. "He will be a perfect asset to us."
The Wingman touched down on the runway in the Teriyaki Spaceport. Captain TOM exited the spaceship first, trying to look as badass as he could. Following him was RUBY, watchfully patrolling the area for signs of an invasion. Finally, Commander DAN stomped downwards, fed up with Captain TOM. He shook the black bot, trying to get his attention.
"Here's another problem, TOM: You are too caught up in your looks," DAN said.
"No, I'm not," TOM snapped at DAN. "Now shut up and act natural, or else the invaders will see us."
"You have no idea what you're saying, do you, TOM?" RUBY asked, before TOM shot her a glare that made her change her mind about calling him out.
"OK, RUBY, do you have any idea where the invaders are located?"
"The report said they were somewhere in a mountain. Before you ask me for any specifics, I don't know where."
"Fine by me," said Captain TOM. He cracked his knuckles. "Okay, guys. Let's go get those sons of bitches."
"That's the spirit," said Commander DAN. And immediately, the bots rolled out.
A few minutes later, the Robot Force were in the main stretch of Teriyaki's major city, Sukiyaki. Aliens wearing Japanese headdresses greeted the trio.
"Hello, visitors!" one said. She had blue skin, darker than Commander DAN's color, and they were wearing a purple kimono adorned with roses.
"Yo," Captain TOM said, in his best "cool" voice. "I'm Captain TOM from the Robot Force. We came here since an invasion is going on."
"Oh, that!" the alien said. "Listen. We caught sight of a giant saucer crashing into one of our mountains. Ever since then, every night, giant worms have been pillaging our city. See those blocks?" The alien pointed to enormous monoliths standing in the city, blocking major tourist attractions. The trio turned round and surveyed the sight. "Those have been set up by the worms. Somehow, you've got to stop them. Have you fought aliens in the past?"
"Of course we have," said Captain TOM. "We stopped some loony from stealing the Rajah stone on the planet Evonar."
"Great!" said the alien. "You'll be perfect for the job." She began to wave goodbye, but Captain TOM stopped as Commander DAN and RUBY were walking off.
"By the way, you look totally hot. Have any idea where the nearest club is? I'd like to chill with some Japanese aliens," he said. The alien blushed, but Captain TOM continued "Unless it's blocked by those worm weirdos..." He scoffed, then waved goodbye back as he followed DAN and RUBY, who were angrily glaring at him.
Captain TOM led his crew throughout the streets of Teriyaki, humming half-heartedly to himself, as he really wanted to get the job over with and go have some fun.
Kind of young, kind of wow, Teriyaki. Kind of free, kind of now, Teriyaki.
Meanwhile, Commander DAN and RUBY were fiercely insistent on finding the worms and kicking their tail ends. They continued down the lighted roads, as the fronts that lined the path died down. No one would go beyond this point, in fear of getting kidnapped by gang members, drug dealers, or worse.
And Captain TOM didn't know what he was in for.
He turned to his comrades and gave a frustrated sigh. "Seriously, guys, I don't see any worms here."
"They come out at night," said RUBY. "And it's sunset now!" She pointed to the magenta and orange sky. "See?"
TOM hung his head low. "All right, we'll wait until the sun sets; but I'm telling you, they might have--"
Suddenly, a strange probe descended from the sky. Commander DAN and RUBY looked up and saw it, rotating like a gear, as a green light flickered on from its bottom and bathed Captain TOM.
The duo pointed, admonishing "Captain TOM! Look!"
Captain TOM jerked his head up, but it was too late to run. He was frozen in fear as the green light raised him off the ground with its mysterious magnetic power. TOM began to scream for help as he was dragged up into the sunset sky, away from his crew.
"DAN! RUBY! HELP ME!!" he shouted. Commander DAN and RUBY tried running after the probe, down the vacant streets, but stopped at a steep cliff, where the probe shot up into the air and into the mountains in the distance.
"Crap! TOM's been abducted!" Commander DAN said.
"This is what he gets for being such a jerk," RUBY said.
"Yeah, who knows if he's going to rescue himself? We must help him!" said DAN.
Meanwhile, Captain TOM was panicking, not daring to look down, as he very much was afraid of heights. He couldn't believe he, the leader, had to be the one to get captured. Why couldn't it be RUBY? In video games like "Donkey Kong," the girl was always the one in distress. Why the dude, the tubular dude? Not enough time to think, as he was being carried superfast into the mountains above.
Where's my jetpack? If only I had it, I could attempt to break free from this light... Captain TOM loved to soar around in his jetpack back on Earth, before the space missions. He rarely got a chance to use it anymore. And this would've been a great situation to use it.
Eventually, the probe descended on the mountain range. Captain TOM was thankful not to be in the air anymore, but now he had a new problem: he was stranded nearly a hundred feet above Teriyaki, and his friends. How was he going to get down? Besides walking down the mountain trail, which would be very, very tiring for his poor feet, which had done a lot of walking already.
Just as he was about to think of ways to escape, something got on him. Something very wet and sticky. The next thing he know, he was unable to move, covered in a gross, greenish-white fluid. It was almost like rusting; which one was worse he couldn't decide, right now, at least.
"Ewwww!" he shouted. "What is this? Mucus?"
Then he heard it. A slithery voice unlike anything he'd heard before.
"Surrender now, little Captain TOM," it said. "For we have you in our power now."
TOM gasped as Ponch inched his way over to him, baring his fangs. Normal worms weren't even supposed to move that fast! What was going on?
"What the hell do you want from me?!" Captain TOM demanded, terrified. "Who ARE you?!"
"I am Ponch, a worm from the planet Polychaete. Me and my brethren have been horrified at the way people universally treat worms. They try to exterminate them and consider them 'pests.' Well, say no more, galaxy. You are going to get what's coming for you."
Jewelee slithered out, followed by another, nasty-looking worm. Looking down at Captain TOM like the Council of Elders at Zod, Non, and Ursa, they savored the moment of seeing their prey in complete terror. TOM was twitching, his body immobilized by the slime.
There's three of them now?
"And we will use you to do it," said Ponch menacingly. He and the other worms closed in on Captain TOM, circling their target, enjoying the last few moments of his existence... or at least, his current self. Then, suddenly, they lunged in on him and bit him viciously with their sharp fangs.
A burst of pain shot through Captain TOM's nerves, as he felt the bites sinking in his metallic skin. He was in so much agony that he couldn't open his mouth to scream. How he wished he were back with Commander DAN and RUBY. Had his insolent behavior really gotten him in this much trouble?
Then, he began to feel very, very weird inside. Almost like his legs were melting, dissolving, into one. He looked down and saw his black legs becoming a shade of lime green, and twisting into a tail, as he dropped down to the ground, unable to break the fall. His arms retracted into their sides as he hyperventilated and started flailing around, in so much pain he could barely think. He felt his back lower and curve, and his mind started instantly panicking, terrified of what was happening to him. His neck began to retract into his body, as his head mutated into a pointier, skinnier, linear one with facial features. There wasn't a mirror to showcase these changes, but TOM knew very well that he had a mouth now. And the only thing he could do with this newfound mouth was scream in horror, as his captors laughed wickedly. As his transformation completed, his mood began to change; he was suddenly gripped with a ravenous urge to kill. His old self's last thoughts were trying to hold back this change in personality, but there was nothing he could do as the evilness murdered what was once Captain TOM in his mind.
Ponch laughed. "Now, with Captain TOM on our side, we will conquer Teriyaki... then the world!" Everyone in the mountain laughed, including Captain TOM.
"Yes," he hissed in a harsh tone reminiscent of vocal fry. With the newly-transformed TOM on the worms' side, there would be seemingly no way for the planet of Teriyaki to win.