Masters of Doom Episode 3: Stay on Task
AND THERE CAME A DAY, A DAY UNLIKE ANY OTHER. A DAY WHEN FOUR VILLAINS CAME TOGETHER TO DESTROY E.G.G ONCE AND FOR ALL. ON THAT DAY, THE MASTERS OF DOOM WERE BORN.
Previously, on Masters of Doom
The Masters of Doom, all upset because of their embarrassing loss to E.G.G, decided to go their separate ways. But things on their own weren't quite as glamorous as they remembered. The group came back together, and continued their quest to stop E.G.G once and for all!
Click here to read Masters of Doom Episode 2: Divided
-Stay on Task-
Julian sat slumped on the couch, flipping through the channels on the T.V. Ailemara was sitting with her arms leaned on the bar, sipping a beer. Cylus was playing Angry Birds on Wally’s iPhone, and Wally was watching over his shoulder.
“This is stupid!” Cylus exclaimed.
“No, you just suck at it! Aim at the bunker.” Wally replied.
“I thought I was supposed to hit the pigs!”
“Well, you knock the bunker down and that’s what kills the pigs.”
“Why use environmental damage when I can just go in for the kill?”
“Because you can’t! You’re a bird!”
“Agh! He keeps falling short!”
“Then pull the launcher back farther!”
“I am! Don’t you see me pulling!” He launched his bird and overshot the bunker, just to receive a giant ‘Game Over’ message on the screen. “What the @#$&! How is it over?”
“You lost. Now the pigs are laughing at you.”
“They dare!” He crushed the iPhone in his palm. “Where is your laughter now pigs?”
“Dude! That was my phone!”
“Not anymore it isn’t.”
“Err… Come here!” Wally tackled Cylus and they began to roll around on the floor. Julian sighed and turned up the T.V.
“Will ya’ll shut up please.” He said, leaning in. “I’m tryin’ to watch.”
“What is this?” Ailemara asked, disgusted.
“Girls Gone Wild.” Julian replied. “Now shush up. Tatiana’s about to come on.”
“Now I know the meaning of the Earth phrase ‘men are pigs’.”
“Pigs!” Cylus shouted, punching Wally off of him. “I will destroy all pigs!”
“What have I done?” Wally asked, burying his face in his hands.
“Hey group!” Harry happily exclaimed, walking into the room and grabbing Ailemara’s beer.
“Hey, that’s mine!” She cried as Harry sipped it.
“Mine now.” He said, smiling. Ailemara rolled her eyes and went back for another one.
“Can we help you Osborn?” Julian asked.
“Dad wants to see you guys.” He said. “In his office.” Julian sighed and turned off the T.V.
“Can’t just get a day, can I?” He mumbled. The four villains followed Harry up the stairs and into the office of Norman Osborn.
“Greetings.” Norman said.
“What you want Osborn?” Julian asked.
“Well, Mr. Woodfin, I would just like to point out how inadequate you all have been in completing your tasks.”
“We know.” Wally complained.
“You remind us every day.” Cylus added.
“Well, I finally came upon the conclusion that to better perform your tasks, you’ll need a taskmaster.” Norman stood up and opened a door behind his desk. “Luckily, I happen to know one of the best.” Just then, the Taskmaster stepped through the door, arms folded.
“Alright then.” Taskmaster said. “Where do we start?”
“AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!” Harry screamed, hiding behind Ailemara.
“Harry!” Norman growled. “Get a hold of yourself. You are embarrassing me.”
“D-d-dad! That’s the Taskmaster!” Harry screamed, pointing.
“And?” Norman impatiently asked.
“He tried to kill me not that long ago!” Harry cried.
“Don’t worry kid.” Taskmaster said. “Contract’s up. No use in killing you if I’m not getting paid.”
“There you have it.” Norman said. “Now, if we could get back to the matter at hand.”
“Ohh…” Harry nervously groaned.
“The Taskmaster is going train all of you to be faster, stronger, and better than you ever could be.”
“No way!” Cylus objected. “I am a trained Syndicate elite, who achieved the revered title of Grand Master! I don’t need training from some two bit in a hood with a sword.”
“You wanna put your money where your mouth is?” Taskmaster asked, stepping up to him.
“Gladly.” Cylus growled, getting in Taskmaster’s face. Taskmaster laughed.
“Well this oughta be fun.” He said.
* * *
A spare room in the secret Oscorp factory had been transformed into a training room. Complete with weights, punching bags, practice weapons, and a giant mat in the middle of the floor. Julian, Ailemara, and Wally, all in training gear, sat on the bleachers. Norman and Harry sat next to them as Cylus walked onto the mat, where Taskmaster was waiting. Taskmaster took off his hood and cape so that only his mask remained.
“Alright big shot.” He said. “Show me your moves. And please, don’t insult me by holding back.” Cylus smiled.
“Might want to find us another taskmaster Norman.” Cylus said, as he rushed forward. “Because I’m about to break this one!” He swung three times at Taskmaster, who blocked each one, then he did a side flip and kicked Taskmaster to the ground with both feet. Taskmaster stood up.
“Not bad…” He said.
“Shut up and fight!” Cylus yelled. He jumped up and hooked Taskmaster’s neck in his arm, then rolled over the Taskmaster, flipped him, and slammed him into the ground.
“Ooooohhhhh!” Julian and Wally shouted.
“Kick his @$$ Cylus!” Ailemara cheered. Taskmaster stood up.
“I’m slightly impressed.” He said. Cylus gritted his teeth together.
“Well get ready to be fully impressed!” He spun around and slammed his palm into Taskmaster’s chest. Taskmaster staggered back as Cylus kicked him, spun around and kicked him again, then spun back around kicked him one last time, launching him into the wall.
“Yeah!” Ailemara shouted.
“Woohoo!” Wally screamed.
“You da man!” Julian yelled.
“Thank you! Thank you!” Cylus boasted. Harry snorted.
“Guess Taskmaster wasn’t as tough as he let on.” He said. “Maybe that’s why I was able to beat him last time.”
“You?” Norman asked.
“Don’t kid me.” He continued to watch as Harry frowned. Everyone continued to hoot and holler when Taskmaster stood up.
“Hey.” He called. Cylus turned. “Do I look like I’m finished?” Cylus laughed.
“You wanna get the %$&# beat out of you again?” He asked.
“No.” Taskmaster growled. “This time, I win.” Cylus laughed.
“Well bring it on!” He rushed at Taskmaster and was about to strike when Taskmaster suddenly punched him three times, then did a side flip and kicked Cylus to the ground with both feet.
“Gah!” Cylus screamed as he rolled.
“Ouch.” Julian said.
“Wait a minute,” Wally paused. “That move looked familiar…” As Cylus was getting up, Taskmaster jumped up and hooked his neck in his arm, then rolled over Cylus, flipped him, and slammed him into the ground.
“AAAHHHH!!!” Cylus screamed in pain.
“He’s doing what Cylus just did!” Ailemara observed. Cylus looked up at Taskmaster, horrified.
“Those moves…” He coughed. “Take years of practice to learn and execute perfectly… and the style... Clearly Syndicate in origin! Who… Who taught how to do that!”
“You did.” Taskmaster replied, as he slammed his palm into Cylus’s chest, kicked him, spun around and kicked him again, then spun back around kicked him one last time, knocking Cylus out cold. Taskmaster put his hands behind his back and began pacing. “If you can’t beat yourself, you can’t beat anyone else.” He announced to the room. “Taskmaster lesson number one: Know yourself better than your opponent. Know your own strengths and weaknesses, and especially know how to stop anyone from using your own moves against you.” Everyone silently listened to Taskmaster, having nothing to say after Cylus’s embarrassing loss.
“Now then,” Taskmaster called. “Who’s next?”
* * *
Wally slid across the mat and crashed into the wall.
“Ooooowwww…” He whined, holding his head.
“You’re joking right?” Taskmaster asked.
“What’s that supposed to mean!” Wally shouted.
“I hit you once. Very gently if I might add.”
“I thought you were supposed to use my moves against me!”
“Flailing your arms and screaming is not attacking. You don’t even have moves worth memorizing. Unfortunately for me, I’ll remember them anyways due to my photographic memory and reflexes.” Wally took out a mini gyro.
“How about this!” He shouted, throwing it. Taskmaster quickly knocked it back to Wally with his sword. Wally jumped up. “No! No! N-” The mini gyro exploded and Wally was frozen in a coat of ice.
“Wally!” Ailemara cried, rushing to thaw him out.
“Pathetic!” Taskmaster growled. “Give me a real fight!”
* * *
Ailemara tied her hair back as Taskmaster stretched left and right.
“Hope you got what it takes green girl.” Taskmaster said.
“I happen to be a Skrull, which, if you didn’t know, is a proud race of warriors.” She assumed a fighting stance. “You stand no chance!” She charged and unleashed a furious combo on Taskmaster. She kicked him twice, spun and elbowed him in the face, twisted and tripped him, then punched him across the mat as he was falling. Taskmaster stood up as Ailemara smiled. “Try copying that human.” She smirked. Taskmaster looked up at Norman.
“Slow learners, huh Osborn?” He said. Taskmaster charged and unleashed a furious combo on Ailemara. He kicked her twice, spun and elbowed her in the face, twisted and tripped her, then punched her across the mat as she was falling.
“Gah!” She screamed as she rolled into the wall. She sat up angrily. “Grrr… HAAAA!!!” She formed a fireball on her hands and launched it at Taskmaster. He took his shield off of his back and blocked it, then he threw it at lightning speed. It soared across the room, and as she was turning to run, it hit Ailemara in the back. “Gyah!” She cried as she rolled to the ground.
“Saw Cap beat you with that one.” He said to her. “Which means you haven’t improved since then, which is sad ‘cause it was months ago.” He kicked her off of the mat. “Next!”
* * *
Julian rolled his shoulders, as Taskmaster cracked his knuckles.
“Ready to get your butt handed to ya?” He asked. Julian laughed.
“You about to get beat Tasky.” Julian taunted. Taskmaster shrugged.
“If you say so.” He stood, ready to fight, but looked to see Julian standing there as well.
“Your move.” Julian said. Taskmaster laughed.
“Well, you’re learning!” He said happily. “Good.” He rushed at Julian and kicked. Julian jumped back and swung but Taskmaster blocked it. Julian jumped back, waiting.
“Single attack, waiting for me to strike,” Taskmaster deduced. “That’s pretty smart kid. But you’re gonna have to beat me somehow and that’s not the answer.”
“I know. I just gotta do somethin’ you’ll never expect!” Julian then charged full speed ahead, only to catch the Taskmaster’s fist in his gut. “Gahk!” Julian choked as all the wind was knocked out of him.
“Wow, you were right.” Taskmaster said. “I wasn’t expecting that. And by that, I mean the stupidest follow up move in the history of combat. Ever.” He kicked Julian to the ground and turned to Norman. “They’re unteachable Osborn!”
“Why don’t you call it a day Taskmaster?” Norman said. “I need to talk to my team.” Taskmaster nodded and walked into other room as Julian slowly stood up and joined the rest of the Masters of Doom on the bleachers. Norman paced back and forth. “Unbelievable. I invite a revered super criminal here to show him just what you people are made of, and you disappoint me on every level imaginable.”
“We tried Mr. Osborn!” Wally complained. “But he keeps copying our moves!”
“Bet he couldn’t take us all on at once!” Julian said.
“Yeah! If we gang up him, we’ll be sure to win!” Ailemara agreed.
“Can’t copy four people at the same time.” Cylus stated.
“Fools!” Norman shouted. “You can’t lean on each other for support every time something gets too tough to handle alone!”
“I thought we were supposed to be working as a team!” Julian objected.
“Yes. But say Iron Man kills Ailemara, or Wally falls off of a cliff. Are you prepared to handle whatever threat you’re facing without your teammates?”
“Why do I get thrown off a cliff…” Wally mumbled.
“Of course I am!” Julian shouted at Norman. “Taskmaster’s a punk, I could take anybody else by myself!”
“Is that so?” Norman asked. “Tell me Julian, in the two fights you’ve lost with E.G.G, how were you fighting?”
“Were you fighting together? Or were you each fighting your own battles?”
“Holy crap!” Ailemara shouted. “That’s it, isn’t it? Every time we fight them, they split us up!”
“And we don’t have what it takes to hold our own in one-on-one duels…” Wally said.
“Exactly.” Norman confirmed. “So, until you finally decide to fight as a team, you need to learn to defend yourselves separately. Then maybe, and I mean maybe, you may stand a chance.” Cylus snorted.
“Yeah, sure. I guess that’s a good idea.” He reluctantly agreed.
“Now, we’re picking this up tomorrow.” Norman declared, leaving the room. “I expect you all to actually try this time.”
“Oh, we’ll try alright.” Julian said quietly. “You can bet on it.”
* * *
The four villains had retired to their shared bunker, complete with four beds and a full bathroom. Julian was brushing his teeth, Cylus was doing his nightly push-ups, Ailemara sat in her bed, brushing her hair, and Wally was browsing the web for a new phone.
“We weren’t really that bad, were we?” Ailemara asked no one in general.
“We sucked.” Cylus replied, focusing on his push-ups.
“I fink we did awight.” Julian mumbled through his toothbrush.
“Ugh, why does the 3G coverage plan cost $50 extra!” Wally complained, oblivious to the conversation behind him.
“Let’s all agree to give 110 percent tomorrow!” Ailemara exclaimed. “That should please Norman, even if we still fail!”
“I ain’t worried about pleasin’ Osborn.” Julian said, having spit his water out.
“Neither am I.” Cylus concurred, moving on to curl-ups.
“Aw, the Limited Diamond Blue Edition is sold out!” Wally cried.
“All I’m saying is…”
“YYYYYAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!” Ailemara was abruptly cut short by a blood curling scream from the halls, causing everyone to jump.
“What the heck was that?” Cylus asked.
“Well let’s not sit here and do nothing!” Ailemara ordered, rushing out of the room, followed by the boys. They ran down the halls and suddenly stopped short.
“Aw man…” Julian said. Norman Osborn lay on the ground, bleeding, in front of their feet. Ailemara got down next to him and propped his head up on her knees.
“Norman, are you okay?” She asked.
“What happened?” Cylus asked. Norman groaned in pain, then grabbed Ailemara’s shoulder.
“Save… my… son…” He managed, then he fell limp.
“Harry’s in trouble?” Wally asked.
“YYYYYYAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!” The scream came again, louder this time.
“Taskmaster.” Julian said. “He’s probably trying to tie up loose ends with Osborn Jr.”
“Finishing the job…” Cylus stated.
“We need to find him.” Ailemara said.
“This place is huge, they could be anywhere!” Cylus noted.
“Fan out.” Julian said. “We find Taskmaster, and take him out.”
“Um, shouldn’t we stick together?” Wally asked, concerned.
“Osborn wanted us to fly solo, so that’s what we’re gonna do.” Julian declared. “I sprung you three for a reason. You each was kickin’ it good on your own. Show me you still got what it takes.” They all nodded and broke off.
* * *
Wally crept quietly down the dark halls.
“Well this isn’t at all unsettling…” He said to himself. Suddenly Taskmaster pushed through a closet and rushed Wally into a wall. “Gah!” Wally screamed. Taskmaster took out his sword.
“Lights out Gyro Man.” He said, raising it.
“No!” Wally cried, crawling under Taskmaster and scooting back. Taskmaster laughed as he approached Wally.
“You’re the most predictable of all.” He said. “Do you really think you can beat me?”
“Kinda…” Wally said, taking out a mini gyro.
“You tried that already.”
“Right, but did I try this!” He took out two handfuls of mini gyros and threw them everywhere at once. Taskmaster’s shoulders slumped.
“Oh sh-” They all went off, each causing fire, ice, electricity, vortexes, force fields, everything. “GYAH!” Taskmaster screamed as he blew through the wall.
“Booyah!” Wally shouted, taking off.
* * *
Ailemara slowly made her way down a separate hallway.
“Harry? Can you hear me?” She called.
“Your boyfriend’s got guts.” Taskmaster’s voice echoed in response. Ailemara quickly spun around. “Let’s see if you’ve got ‘em too.” Taskmaster dropped from the ceiling. “After all, I’ve always wanted to dissect an alien.”
“HA!” Ailemara screamed, shooting multiple fireballs at him. Taskmaster took out his shield and blocked each of them.
“You never learn, do you?” He back flipped and threw his shield.
“Actually…” Ailemara said as she ducked under it. It bounced off of the wall and as it was about to hit her in the back, she phased. She shield flew directly through her and slammed into Taskmaster.
“Gah!” He shouted, as he was launched into the next room. Ailemara smirked.
“I do.” She rushed down the halls and continued her search for Harry.
* * *
Cylus peeked into a door, then closed it.
“Come on Osborn, where are you?” He asked, checking another door.
“Hey, Syndicate Grandstander.” Taskmaster said, coming out of the shadows. “Or whatever you call yourself.”
“It was Grand Master.” Cylus angrily corrected. “Now it’s Gravity Master.”
“Grand, Gravity, blah, blah, blah. You still go down easy.” Cylus assumed a fighting stance. “Oh, that’s it! Teach me more of those Syndicate moves!”
“I got one for you.” Cylus replied. He ran forward and punched Taskmaster with both fists. Taskmaster stumbled back as Cylus kicked with both legs, the jumped, spun in the air, and kicked Taskmaster across the face. Taskmaster stood and smiled.
“My turn.” He said. He ran forward and punched Cylus with both fists, but Cylus blocked both of them. “Gah!” Taskmaster shouted, as he kicked with both legs only for Cylus to bring his knees up and block each one. “Grr…” Taskmaster growled as he jumped, spun in the air, and came in for the kick only for Cylus to catch his legs and twist him the other way.
“Whoa!” Taskmaster screamed as he hit the ground. He sat up and rubbed his head as Cylus approached. “How’d you do that?” He asked.
“Those are the moves Syndicate instructors use on first level students.” Cylus replied. “The first moves they teach them how to counter.” Taskmaster laughed.
“Clever.” He said, as he threw down a smoke pellet and was gone.
* * *
Julian kicked a door open to find Harry chained to a chair.
“Can’t leave you Osborn’s alone for five seconds…” He mumbled.
“No, Julian, it’s a trap!” Harry shouted.
“What you mean it’s a…” Suddenly Julian was snapped up by a rope and suspended upside down from the ceiling. “…Trap.” Julian began to pull at the rope when Taskmaster walked in. He laughed at Julian.
“Good thing your team didn’t follow the leader.” He said. “They would have hit the other traps. Although I am impressed you guys separated. Actually, everyone on your team has surprised me tonight. Except for you, of course. You fell right into my trap.”
“So what Tasky? You think you can ice me? You got the stones to step up and do it!” Julian shouted, struggling to get free. Taskmaster took out his sword and made his way towards Julian.
“You’re in no position to patronize me.” He said. “But don’t worry. I’ll tell your team you had a nice, painless, deeeeeeeeaaaayyyyyyyaaaaaa!!!!!” Taskmaster screamed as he was snapped up by a rope and suspended upside down from the ceiling. “What? No! But how!”
“You said you had a photographic memory.” Julian said, grabbing Taskmaster’s dropped sword and cutting himself free. “So, since you felt all nice and confident knowing where your little traps were, I kicked one a little to the left. Face it Tasky, you got played.”
“Huh, well, I guess you’re right.” He replied. “I’m man enough to know when I’ve lost. But the funny thing is, the joke’s still on you.”
“Say what now?” Just then Harry stood up from the chair, dropping the chains and Norman entered the room with a towel wiping off fake blood. The other Masters of Doom entered the room.
“What’s going on?” Ailemara asked.
“This was all a test.” Norman said, as Taskmaster finally freed himself and stood behind Norman. “And I’m pleased, and somewhat surprised to say, that you passed.”
“So Harry was never in trouble?” Wally asked.
“Nope!” Harry happily replied. “A-Okay!”
“Grah.” Cylus growled as he turned and stormed out of the room.
“That’s low Osborn.” Julian said. “Why play us like that?”
“Because it occurred to me that your failure earlier today was a matter of the wrong circumstances. In order for you to function well as individuals, I had to separate you, give you an objective, and put you against someone that knew your moves and more. You all proved you could work alone before this team was formed; I just had to be sure you still could. And you can. I am quite pleased.” Norman turned and left, followed by Harry.
“I really hate that guy.” Wally said.
“Can’t argue though,” Taskmaster said. “The guy gets results.”
“Indeed.” Ailemara replied.
“You gonna be here much longer?” Julian asked.
“Nah, I got better stuff to do.” Taskmaster said, sheathing his sword and putting his shield on back. “I’ll see you has-beens later.” He turned to leave then stopped. “Oh, and remember, always stay on task.”
“Right.” Julian said. “We’ll be sure to keep that in mind.” Taskmaster nodded and left.
“Well, I’m going to bed.” Wally declared.
“Not without me you aren’t!” Ailemara replied, hopping onto his back. “Commence the back ride of pigs!”
“PIIIIIIIIIIIIGS!!!!!” Cylus shouted from down the hall. Julian face palmed as Wally gave Ailemara a piggyback ride to the room, and the Master of Doom all got a well-deserved good night’s sleep.
See you next week!
That's all! Tune in next week for more exciting adventures from E.G.G, and the Masters of Doom!