Saturday, March 20, 2010


The Ancestral Trail #32: Husasan, Silicon Samurai

Duel of Doom with an Android Warrior


In the thirty-second sector

01100 01001 01011 00101 00001
00011 01000 01001 01100 01100
00101 10011 10100 01000 00101
10011 00001 01101 10101 10010
00001 01001 01000 00001 10011
01111 01110 00101 10111 00101
00001 01011 01110 00101 10011 10011

Like Achilles the samurai has one weakness

Richard watches in horror as the small robot with the chainsaw arms approaches Robo, the teeth of the chainsaw starting to spin rapidly. But the robot reaches past Robo and picks up a piece of metal near Robo's head. The robot's diamond-tipped blades slice through the metal with ease, and the machine then turns around and heads back in the direction it came with its prize.

Richard quietly asks Robo what that machine was, and Robo answers that it is a metal-collecting machine called a dakom. Unfortunately Robo doesn't lower the volume of his voice and the retreating dakom turns around and finally notices the two newcomers. The dakom suddenly fires a laser at Robo, striking his torso and knocking him on his side. Frantically Richard and Robo turn and flee from the dakom, scrambling over the scrap as the dakom purses them and continues firing its lasers.

Richard spots what looks like a service hatch and orders his friend toward it. Just then a much brighter flash of light erupts and when Richard turns he sees that the dakom has been destroyed - Robo had fired his own laser and turned the dakom into scrap. With the dakom out of the way, Richard approaches the hatch and grabs the rusted handles. Robo advises that more dakoms are approaching, which makes Richard tug harder. The service hatch then suddenly pops free and he climbs inside.

Robo squeezes inside as well and Richard closes the door. Robo then fires a beam of light at the door. At first thinking it's his laser, Richard quickly realizes that Robo is actually welding the hatch shut to ensure the other dakoms don't get through. With the dakom threat over, Richard gets his bearings in the large room they have just entered. As he does, he becomes aware of a sound inside, signalling that they are not alone within the dark chamber.

He looks for the source of the sound and his heart sinks when he sees it. Standing not too far away from them is a menacing figure wielding a giant sword and wearing metallic armor. Robo immediately scans the creature and identifies it as Husasan, silicon samurai. Robo also informs Richard that the samurai, currently standing still, is scanning Richard for possible weaknesses.

Richard realizes that he is trapped between Husasan and the dakoms, and before he can weigh the lesser of two evils, Husasan charges straight for him. The samurai stands near Richard and swings his massive sword at the Chosen One. Richard tries to dodge, but the force of the wind alone is enough to knock Richard off his feet. In desperation, Richard rolls along the ground to avoid the blade striking him.

Husasan's sword misses Richard in a hailstorm of sparks. Robo then attemps to attack Husasan by firing his laser, but the laser does no damage to the samurai's armor. Husasan turns his attention to Robo, whose binary panel suddenly outputs a message. Richard quickly translates it, thinks the riddle through, and abruptly realizes the answer. He orders Robo to fire at Husasan's ankle, but Robo is too busy avoiding the samurai's attacks to do so. A forcefield erected by Robo is protecting him from Husasan's blows, but it becomes clear the samurai will get through eventually.

Realizing he had to intervene, Richard takes his sword and swings it at Husasan's back. The sword does little more than bounce off the samurai, who turns to Richard further enraged. Richard takes the chance to scan both of Husasan's ankles and spots what he is looking for: what appears to be some kind of switch on Husasan's right ankle. But he has no chance to attack this weak spot as Husasan starts swinging his blade at Richard. Despite blocking each of the samurai's attacks, Richard recognizes Husasan's superior strength.

Husasan suddenly uses his gloved hand to slap Richard and send him flying through the air. The Chosen One lands on his back but cannot get up before Husasan looms over him and places a boot over his throat, gleefully gloating over his inferior opponent. But Richard is now closer to his adversary's ankle. As Husasan raises his sword into the air, Richard takes his blade and pushes it hard into the switch on Husasan's heel. The samurai speaks for the first time by screaming in agony.

Cracks appear in Husasan's armor as the silicon samurai begins breaking up. Richard squirms from underneath Husasan's boot and tells Robo to withdraw, though Robo reminds his companion to withdraw his sword from Husasan's heel. Richard nods and retrieves his blade as the samurai evaporates into an armor shell. As Richard and his friend flee the decaying Husasan, a ghostly voice could be heard from the remains: "Do not enter the library. Danger." Richard asks what Husasan means, but Robo has no sufficient data to properly respond.

The pair enter a dimly lit tunnel and follow it, noting some foul-smelling green slime. The light grows even dimmer, prompting Richard to ask Robo for some light. The robot responds by shining a torch from one of its panels. Inside the tunnel, Richard can finally see a series of strange paintings of faces on the well. The paintings are sad and sorrowful and their faces seem to follow Richard as he walks past. Suddenly one face speaks up with an other-worldly voice, pleading for the Chosen One to go back.

Richard, shocked, asks the painting who it is. The painting identifies itself as a fragment of light, an echo in time, and again pleas for Richard to turn around. Frightened, Richard instead hurries further down the tunnel. The rest of the paintings come to life and whisper hauntingly to Richard. Eventually the companions reach the end of the tunnel - a pair of metallic doors, which Richard pushes open. Inside, he finds himself ina massive gallery enveloped in blue light.

On the walls were hundreds of glissening glass spheres stacks in numerous piles. Robo indicates that they are in the Library that Husasan had warned them about. Before Richard could ask for clarification, he hears a sobbing sound and realizes it is coming from the glass spheres. He picks up one of the spheres and is amazed to see a human face inside. The face inside speaks to Richard, asking for help.

Richard asks what's going on, and the person inside says that he has been trapped for an eternity by Husasan, who uses him and his fellow trapped beings as his energy source. Richard shrugs and throws the ball to the floor, breaking it and releasing a cloud of smoke. From the smoke steps a human-like figure in the form of a small beautiful child clad in white. The boy introuces himself as Peter in an angelic voice. He informs Richard that he and his friends are floating beings that existed before the Big Bang, and that Husasan has been using them to fuel his power since the beginning of time. Peter, knowing Richard is the Chosen One, pleas for him to break the rest of the spheres.

A chorus of cries erupts from the other spheres as they ask Richard to free them as well. Richard obliges and starts smashing the spheres at a fast rate. Smoke fills the room as more human shapes emerge, and they also help freeing all the captives. Within a short while, all of the glass spheres have been broken.

Richard begins noticing something is wrong when he realizes the smoke smells of rotten egs. Suddenly, a cruel laughter is heard and Richard knows that somethiing is wrong. The angelic form of Peter suddenly emerges and he scoffs at the Chosen One being a fool. There is a flash of light, and the beautiful Peter is replaced with a far more rotten appearance clad in black.

Richard demands to know what is going on, and the new Peter smiles, exposing his rotting teeth. Mentioning the irony of the Chosen One freeing them, Peter informs Richard that they are the remnants of everything evil on the universe, the residue of every cruel act performed in every world and dimension, the echo of everything bad. As thanks for freeing them, Richard will now receive the ultimate reward: becoming one of them. The room fills with smoke once more, and the multitude of figures melt together and congeal into a giant skull-like apparition. The skull orders the Chosen One to approach it.


The thirty-second issue of The Ancestral Trail is one of the more interesting issues, in my opinion, and it doesn't have much to do with the monster on the cover, Husasan. It actually has a lot to do with the Atomizers*, the creatures that Richard set free inside the Library. These beings are the remnants of every evil act ever performed in the universe and across all dimensions, and I would love it if there had been some further exploration of these monsters. I also find it interesting that Husasan, who appears to be an evil robot initially, was actually guarding the Atomizers and warned Richard not to approach the Library. Despite his enjoyment in trying to kill Richard, Husasan was performing a noble deed in his guarding of the evil beings. Why was Husasan guarding the Library? Did he really use the Atomizers for fuel, or did he guard the Library solely out of some pre-programmed duty?

Another plot-thread left hanging are the paintings inside the narrow corridor before the Library. Who were these paintings, and what was their purpose? Since they warned Richard to go away from the Library, they obviously were not in league with the Atomizers. Could these paintings, like the Atomizers being residue of evil acts, similarly be the resudies of good acts? If so, why did they appear as sad, sorrowful paintings?

Finally, an interesting thing to point out about this issue is the front cover artwork of Husasan. In all of the previous issues, the artwork used on the front cover always appeared in some shape or form inside the issue itself. In this case, Husasan's cover portrait appears nowhere inside the issue. In fact, the cover portrait looks noticeably different from the issue artwork (notice how cover Husasan has green eyes, while the issue Husasan doesn't). My guess is that the cover artwork was some kind of temporary or test artwork that ended up not being used inside the issue but was selected as the cover picture because none of the issue artwork really worked for the cover artwork.

*The name "Atomizers" comes from the trading card that features these creatures on the face. In the issue, these beings do not have a formal name (and still don't in the next issue), so the card makers had to come up with some kind of name for them. While Atomizers sounds like a peculiar title for creatures considered to be the residue of evil throughout the universe, it will be better explained in the next issue.

Go to # 33 - Terraforma, Environmorpher

Saturday, March 06, 2010


The Ancestral Trail #31: Holotron, Dynamic Deceiver

Battle of Wits with a Shape Shifter


In the thirty-first sector

00110 01001 01110 00100 10100
01000 00101 10100 10010 10101
10100 01000 10100 01000 00001
10100 01100 01001 00101 10011
00010 00101 01000 01001 01110
00100 10100 01000 00101 01100
01001 00111 01000 10100

Find the truth that lies behind the light

Richard watches in horror as the plastic fires below threaten to engulf him and his hovering friend Robo. A sudden explosion sends shards of plastic careening toward the two companions prompting Richard to plead for his friend to do something. Robo reacts, and before the two of them are consumed by fire, a large oval-shaped forcefield surrounds Richard and Robo. Within moments all light is blotted out as the molten plastic solidifies around the forcefield and creates a protective shell.

Richard waits for the exploding sounds to die outside the shell while Robo guides the forcefield to a safe landing spot. When Richard feels the coast is clear, he takes his blade and hacks a hole at the shell, quickly creating an exit for the duo. Outside, the red beauty of the plastic desert has become a desolate wasteland of charred remains. A few moments later, Richard sees the cyber cruiser land beside them, which Robo montonously attributes to remote control. Soon the Chosen One and Robo are flying away from Mortex's desert on the cruiser.

After a while, Richard sees some strange objects in the sky heading straight for the cruiser: a collection of flying cubes. Robo identifies them as cuboids and claims that they're harmless, but Richard quickly disagrees and points out that colliding with one could damage the cruiser. Robo agrees and adjusts his diagnosis.

Suddenly, one of the cuboids knocks Robo off the cruiser and sends the robot flying into the flock of squares. Realizing he couldn't help Robo and knowing he could be struck next, Richard quickly makes the decision to land the cruiser. He dives out of the cuboids cloud and lands on the ground below. When he lands, he is amazed to find that the landscape resembles that of neon-like vector graphics.

As he scans the surrounding land, he notices something in the distance heading toward him. As the object gets closer, Richard discovers that the thing looks exactly like him, with armor, helmet, weapon, and all. The figure moves and stands directly in front of Richard in silence. Richard draws his sword as a precaution, but the mysterious figure does the same.

Richard demands the figure identify himself, and the figure calls himself "Richard, the Chosen One" in a voice identical to Richard's. When Richard asks if this is a joke, the imposter laughs. Angry, Richard lunges for his double, but the fake reacts by exploding in a flash of blue light and beginning to shimmer. The air fills with electricity as Richard hesitates and watches as his duplicate transforms from a human into the form of a giant robotic lizard.

The lizard hisses and reintroduces himself, this time as Holotron. The lizard threatens Richard, but the Chosen One indicates he is not afraid. Holotron laughs cruelly and uses his massive tail to swat at Richard and send him flying. Upon landing, Richard quickly realizes he has no means of defeating Holotron and tries making a dash for the cruiser, willing to take his chances in the sky.

But Holotron cuts the Chosen One off and taunts Richard before the air grows full of static and another transformation comes over the lizard. Within moments Holotron's lizard form is replaced by that of a giant robotic eagle, which launches itself into the air. Richard quickly leaps onto the cruiser and heads into the skies, but Holotron is in hot pursuit

It becomes very clear that Holotron, despite his size, is taunting Richard. The shapeshifter easily keeps pace with the cybercruiser and flies nimbly around the fleeing Richard. The Chosen One desperately wishes Robo and his binary panel were nearby, but the robot is nowhere to be seen. But then Richard notices something about Holotron's current form: though the eagle's body is fully tansformed the wings appear unfinished and looking like the neon grid landscape.

Richard wonders if Holotron might actually be an illusion. He pulls the cruiser to a near halt and faces the eagle, who taunts Richard. Richard responds that he believes Holotron is not real, which sends the eagle into a surprised and terrified roar. Richard stands his ground, which prompts the massive eagle to fly down and pick up a giant neon boulder. Holotron hurls the boulder at Richard, who stands his ground despite feeling his knees shake. The boulder passes through Richard harmlessly, which confirms his idea.

Holotron suddenly begins to shrink in size and its fully formed eagle body shrivel into dust. The amazingly starts pleading with Richard to let him live as tears stream down his eyes. Richard, feeling a twinge of sympathy, asks how he can do so. Holotron pleads for Richard to believe in him, but it's too late: Holotron abruptly vanishes. Below, the neon grid landscape also changes, revealing a beautiful purple world.

As Richard admires the newly seen world, he hears a familiar metallic voice behind him. Robo had been beside Richard on the cruiser all the time, but Holotron had hidden him from Richard's view. Eager to be on their way, Richard pushes the cybercruiser forward. After a long while, as the skies begin to darken, the cruiser starts to approach a ribbon of tall mountains. Robo says the mountains reach into the cyber stratosphere, making going over them impossible. They would have to find a way through them.

The companions make their way through and beside several jagged peaks and hillocks until Richard spots something. It appears to be a door of some kind, but nothing like any door Richard has ever seen. The door's edge is lined with rows of teeth-like spikes, and around the floor of the door are remains of countless robots. Richard wisely suggests they find another entrance through the mountains, a suggestion with which Robo agrees.

Richard comments that he doesn't wish to see what's inside that door, but Robo suddenly says that it's imperative that they do find a way inside, claiming that an Omni piece located there. Reluctantly, Richard lands the cruiser near the healp of destroyed rbbots and disembarks, wondering of there is another way inside. Robo begins to emit several pulses that Richard recognizes as radar, and eventually, the robot finds something.

Robo directs Richard to a large circular panel in the ground, a secret entrance. Robo uses his lasers to cut the panel off, showing a deep and dark tunnel. Robo commands the Chosen One to enter it, which Richard does. The two find themselves sliding down the cold and clammy chute.

Their journey abruptly ends upon landing in a pool of icy cold liquid. Disgusted, Richard waits for his eyes to adjust to the light before he sees that they've landed in some kind of robot scrapyard. Both he and Robo were almost completely immersed in the chilling liquid. Suddenly, Richard hears the sound of something approaching and instructs his companion to keep quiet.

Moments later, a small robot appears. Its appearance is fairly unremarkable except for one detail: for arms, the robot has a paiar of diamond-tipped chainsaws, obviously used to cut up robot components. The robot makes its way toward Robo.


For the thirty-first volume of The Ancestral Trail, Richard and his companion Robo begin the main fetch quest of the second half of the series, which is collecting the currently mysterious Omni pieces. The first half of the series had the Life Force Pods and the guardians as the MacGuffins, and now it's the Omni pieces that Richard must find in order to return home. Will these strange pieces perform some kind of helpful side-effect, similar to how the pods bestowed Richard with improved stamina and courage, or will there be something darker in store for our hero?

If it wasn't clear before, it should be clear by now that the Cyber World is very different than the Ancestral World, in more ways than one. While the Ancestral World could be considered one enormous world (the series included a giant map to prove as much), the Cyber World is far more disjointed. A lot of the areas that Richard arrives in don't appear connected to any of the previous ones, which can likely be attributed to his method of travel primarily being the cybercruiser. In a way, this disconnected world makes it far more deadly than the Ancestral World, as a rapidly changing landscape will always keep Richard forever guessing as to the next threat.

Go to #32 - Husasan, Silicon Samurai

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?