The Mean Machine broke. Again.
"Snazza frazza rashin' fashin', stupid machine!" grumbled Muttley as he was busy fixing Mean Machine's engine that was powered by an improvised rocket propellant. The car of the mischievous racer was being maintained inside the headquarters, a heavily modified and fortified warehouse. It resembled less of a warehouse and more of a World War 2 style underground complex. The maintenance took on the ground floor. That was where machines were being tinkered with, although Mean Machine was a common guest. Few of punksters with knowledge of mechanics assisted them.
"This is like fourth time in this week alone! I swear, I am sick of-" grumbled Dastardly as he was fixing the engine. Just when he couldn't get any more frustrated, a certain Elite Boi dropped in to say some few words.
"Just get a new car already, Schlongman!" mocked Fritz while also being genuine about his co-worker's necessary replacement of his car. Not only was Mean Machine basically on life support, it was also draining Daft Capo's budget.
"Fritz, call me that again and I will show you sharpness of my tongue!" threatened Dastardly as he pointed his index finger. However, his threat was met with a laughter.
"Your tongue is as sharp as a ball, but seriously, you really need a new car. This sixties' shit machine can't keep going on forever." Fritz reminded him to get a replacement real soon after he had a laugh. Not an often occurrence that he spoke genuinely to him, the rocket shaped car and its avoidance when it came to retirement annoyed Fritz to no end.
"What, so you can shill Mercedes like you always do?" Dastardly sassed back, knowing Fritz's tendency to elevate cars of that brand. He even had one, a Formula One at that.
"Hahaha, can't blame me. There's a reason why their cars are considered first class." Fritz shrugged in a friendly manner as he couldn't resist to throw a compliment towards his favorite car manufacturer.
"First class won't exactly help me fix my freaking car, ya know." fumed Dastardly, thinking that Fritz would be better off if he actually assisted him in fixing his car instead of constantly taunting him and then treating Mercedes-Benz as the king among car manufacturers.
"Why fix it when you can sell it for scrap, get the dosh and get a new one?" Fritz suggested that he should just say goodbye to the Mean Machine and use that money to get something more modern and respectable.
"Look...First of all, this car has a legacy. Second of all, if it works, it works, no matter how old it is." Dastardly justified his decision to keep personal car, even though its racing debut was back in 1968. The fact that it still ran even to that day was a display of Dastardly's dedication of keeping the car running.
"But it's going to shit itself within a week! What good does it a legacy do when your car is a ticking time bomb?" Fritz argued while pointing out that constant breakdowns were massive flags for a new replacement.
"Fine then! Suggest me a car that isn't Mercedes!" Dastardly let him suggest, just so he could poke fun at him for having bias. Every Elite Boi seemed to have some strong opinions regarding many topics, from trivial to vital ones.
"Hmmmm…..I think you'd like….hmmmm….Ford Mustang?" Fritz scratched his chin before giving him an option of, much to Dastardly's surprise, an American car.
"Mustang? Which one?" Dastardly became legitimately interested, although he wanted to know that Fritz wasn't pulling his leg as he would suggest a dinosaur of a car.
"GT, this generation." answered Fritz, confirming that his help was done in a genuine manner.
"Oh, that's...not a bad choice at all. I'm surprised to see you suggest an American car, Fritz. You're usually Herman level bias when it comes to German cars." noted Dastardly after he accepted Ford Mustang GT as his replacement for Mean Machine. He has lowered his guard, knowing that he could be able to have conversations with him instead of Fischer Fritz constantly taking a dump on him every time they would speak.
"Well, I am from America. Ohio, specifically. Boring as fuck state, I vastly prefer Florida, hence I moved. Just that my father was from Bundesepublik, back when it was split in two." elaborated Fritz, telling him more about his upbringing. Due to his job, Fischer's father, from whom he got his surname from, moved from West Germany to Ohio. He was, funnily enough, working in an automobile industry.
"You never feel like one, to be honest." admitted Dastardly that Fritz's German side was much more apparent than his American one. Fischer Fritz's birthplace was a fact often forgotten by others who know him.
"I just prefer German stuff, you know….from Bundesrepublik onward. Everything before and what came from Deutsche….ahem…."Demokratische" Republik is pure shit though." said Fritz as he made a quotation gesture when mentioning the "democratic" part of East Germany's official name. Even though that nation was long gone, Fritz still had resentment for it, along with his nation's darkest period. For some reason, Dastardly was relieved to hear that at least Fritz had some self constraint.
"At the very least you're not like Herman, who's-" Dastardly was just about to compliment him, an occurrence that normally happens under the blue moon, when another Elite Boi dropped in, the one of a cephalopod king.
"Did somebody say recommendation for cars?" Herman bursted in, already feeling excited that he could begin gushing about automobiles of Italy.
"...Oh brother…." Dastardly rolled with his eyes as he rested his head on his hand, already mentally prepared to listen to highly nationalistic praises of land based vehicles.
"I have picks just for you! Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lancia, Fiat, you name it-" Herman started spitting him suggestions like a machine gun, filled nothing but passion for these Italian brands. However, one of his suggestion immediately caught Herman's attention.
"Hold the phone…..Fiat?! Are you for real, Herman?" Dastardly squinted at him, wondering if the octopus lad was having a laugh. Suddenly, Herman's enthusiasm turned into a full defensive mode, thinking that an Italian car company was being disrespected.
"Do you intend to insult Fiat?" Herman squinted back, performing two kinds of motions: one of a raised eyebrow (octopuses do not have any hair as far as I am aware) and of as a cracked fist, performed by four of his tentacles.
"No, I just want to ask why Fiat?!" repeated Dastardly, only not understanding on why would Herman hold Fiat so highly. To him, Fiat was comparable to something like Toyota: respectable, but not too important.
The answer was received quite shortly afterwards.
"Do you even realize how culturally significant Fiat is? Without Fiat, no ordinary man could drive in Italy! Fiat has truly perfected the concept of "people's car" and it is a prime example of Italian superiority! Sure, Lamborghini and Ferrari are for gods, but Fiat is the one who leads the peasants! Not to mention, Fiat is the one who gave a chance for other car manufacturers to rise, even though their quality pales in comparison to Fiat! By Mama Maria, they even made planes! Planes that truly display the marksmanship of an Italian man! Do you still intend to insult Fiat?" fumed Herman as he fired off multiple typical Italian gestures per second. The mustached racer was flabbergasted by his response, although one thing was unclear for him.
"….Fiat made planes?" asked Dastardly.
"...Yes? You did not know?" Herman calmed down as he did the "raised eyebrow" motion again.
"No, I genuinely did not know. Can you inform about this? For brevity's sake, tell me about one plane that Fiat made." elaborated Dastardly as he requested Herman to inform him about it more, so that the octopus lad could back up his claims.
"Fiat G.91!" Herman gave out an example of an Italian aircraft, the one that had its first flight in late fifties. A fighter-bomber made in collaboration by Fiat Aviazione and Aeritalia, it came out of the NBMR-1 (NATO Basic Military Requirement) program. Herman hesitated to mention planes made through out forties due to him considering that period to be a dark age.
"Oh, that's the one that Luftwaffe had. I like that weird nose Sabre looking thing. Shame it was kind of outdated by the time it came." Fritz raised his finger as he noted that air force of West Germany (Luftwaffe, not to be confused with previous Luftwaffe) also wielded one, although it only came at the age where everything was starting to master the supersonic flight.
"Yes! Although, I must admit….that is not my favorite plane." said Herman as he continued to talk about aviation, redirecting the topic await from his revered company.
"...What? You seethe at me for implied roast of Fiat, yet you say it's not even your favorite?" questioned Dastardly, baffled that he spent so much energy defending Fiat, only for him to say that they're not even in their prime.
"Don't get me wrong, Fiat is an excellent automobile manufacturer….but when it comes to planes, Aermacchi wins. No contest. I mean, can you even compare anything to pure sex that is MB-339?" Herman calmly defended his opinion on the matter, clarifying that each company had mastered building of different kinds of vehicles. Herman's choice of words regarding things he really liked was not met with surprise, they were used to it.
"Which one is that again?" Dastardly scratched his head, not exactly being familiar with jet aircraft as a whole, especially compared to his knowledge regarding pre-war era aircraft.
"Frecce Tricolori!" Herman shouted with all the triumph and pride he had inside his three hearts. He even turned his skin into tricolor of green, white and red. Luckily, Dastardly knew what he was referring to: an Italian aerobatic team, consisting of nine Aermacchi MB-339PAN trainer aircraft that were specialized for them.
"Ooooh! That's….not bad at all, actually! Must admit, you do have a good taste in planes. Even though I am more of a fan of propeller planes, that's a pretty good choice. My personal favorite is Dreidecker, it's just a classic design." Dastardly expressed his opinion, approving Herman's choice since, according to him, was an aesthetically pleasing machine. Although, Dastardly's taste was more old school, perhaps due to his experience with aviation. He even had his own private biplane, to which his father of the same name likely used to a catch a delivery pigeon.
"Ooooh….Frecce….Frecce Tricolori! I hope that once we take the scrub zone, Frecce Tricolori fly over for us! When I think about them, I can only say…...FORZA ITALIA!" boasted Herrman as he performed a motion of slapping his own chest like a gorilla before raising his arm like a revolutionary. Amid his rather passionate speech, so to say, an idea popped up.
"That's actually an awesome idea, my man! We should organize that!" Fritz snapped with his finger as he pointed at his octopus friend with delight. Back when Daft Capo was in Europe, at least some of them (Herman, Rando, Fritz and Dastardly. Tom, Wile and were deployed in Asia), they took a chance to see their performance, along with some other. Funnily enough, seeing them unite over something as Frecce Tricolori made feel Dastardly relieved for a bit.
"Hahaha! That would be great! You know, I like this topic, as long as-OH, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!" Dastardly's relief did not last long when another Elite Boi decided to barge in and join their conversation.
"You fly a biplane." Coyote smugly pulled out a sign, not even wasting a second attacking his mustached driver co-worker.
"Did you really have to show up just to flex at me, Coyote?" Dastardly's mood soured harder than a moldy lemon as he retaliated, rolling his eyes the moment he saw what Coyote had in store for him.
"You fly a biplane. You deserve to get roasted." Coyote just turned his sign to mock him even more. The whole conversation became the usual: attack the Dick as much as possible.
"You don't even fly anymore, you are not qualified to talk." countered Dastardly, bringing up that at the very least he was an active pilot. A fact that Coyote was especially not fond of, although he had secret plans to remedy that.
"By the time you got your hands on that excuse of a flying vehicle that failed to catch a pigeon, I was contributing to the coalition effort to take down the biggest regional threat and the 4th largest military back in 1991, ensuring that every single wingman came out alive." Coyote's smug attitude quickly turned into anger as he thought that Dick Dastardly, who flew and is still flying his own biplane, could equate himself with someone who was not only active through out Operation Desert Storm, but Operation Desert Shield and Southern Watch as well.
"Urghhh, you're bringing up Iraq again! Listen, I do not mean to disrespect your service, but you legitimately only bring it up to dunk on me!" Dastardly backtracked a little so that he wasn't seen as someone disrespecting a military man, but he pointed out that he only mentions his service to him just to belittle him.
"You never ask about it. Besides, I don't think a pilot who drives an aircraft with the top speed of 90 knots can compare to one who flew the triumph of thrust over aerodynamics, a holder of many records through out decadesand was the backbone of NATO for a considerable amount of time?" Coyote still insisted on fighting for the point that as a pilot, Dastardly was an equal.
"...How much shit can fit on a single sign?" Herman pointed at his sign, just wondering not only how can he make one on the fly, but have entire paragraphs written on them.
"You flew the F-4, right?" Fritz decided to switch the topic, since he already knew what exact plane did Coyote fly back in the days of Gulf War. Although in a much more niche role than before, the aforementioned plane served as a major component in coalition effort to make Saddam leave Kuwait once and for all. He remembered not only his service, but how the aforementioned plane was also in Luftwaffe, even though it was a different variant.
"McDonnell Douglas F-4G Wild Weasel, that is correct." Wile E Coyote specified the exact type of Phantom II he flew there, confirming the fact that his task was Supression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD for short, Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses was left for F-16CJ Fighting Falcons.). In other words, radar busting.
"Oh shit, man, you were a Wild Weasel. Damn, you truly have balls of steel. There's a lot of things I would throw my hands at, but I wouldn't fuck with a SAM. Those shits are crazy scary, man." Fritz gave him respect for his service, knowing well that such job is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the whole United States Air Force department.
"Those were the best days of my life. I miss them a lot, really." Coyote boastfully grinned, although he wished he could fly the Phantom once again. Thanks to his high wage at Daft Capo and just being more resourceful about it, he could potentially snatch a private Phantom, so that he could enjoy flying it again.
"….You call being at war best days of your life?" asked Dastardly, not out of bafflement or frustration, but out of concern. Coyote's statement made him genuinely worried about his mental state.
"I hold nothing but pride within myself when I reminiscent every single SAM I busted. Ah, the day where I took out four Fan Songs all within 24 hours was simply the best!" Coyote gave out another sign with a boastful grin on his face as he reminiscent the day where he took out four of those components within a single day, possibly even at once.
"Fan Song? What is that?" piqued Dastardly as such terminology flew over his head. Surface-to-air missile systems were not his field of expertise, although only a few even had proper knowledge of them in the criminal syndicate. In response, Coyote lifted a sign with a picture of it. For some reason, the presence of Fan Song gave Dastardly goosebumps, in a "I feel unsettled by this" way. It reminded him of World War II radars, except it seemed smaller and more mysterious.
"...again, what is that?" asked Dastardly while feeling like Fan Song was going to jump at it. He has been exposed to the world of SAMs thanks to Coyote.
"Track radar of SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air missile system. An essential component for the V-750 two-stage missile to get a lock for the impending interception. Without it, the SA-2 is out of commission." Coyote lifted out a sign that gave a very brief summary on what Fan Song does for SA-2 Guideline (Russian: S-75 Dvina).
"So, you are taking pride in that….must have not been difficult, since you survived the whole thing." said Dastardly, foolishly thinking that because he had stand off munition a la AGM-88C HARM, it was an easy job. He also sneaked in a jab at him, noting how Coyote had an infamous reputation of exploding not just in Daft Capo, but through out his entire life.
"May I remind you that Fan Song must be on in order to be engaged?" Coyote, with a much more serious glare than before, lifted a sign that gave Dastardly a cold reminder on what he did at his job. It took him some time, but Dastardly came to a realization.
"….Are you telling me you have attacked it WHILE it was firing upon you?!" asked Dastardly, once again out of concern. The following Coyote's sign said only one thing:
"….Coyote, y-you're mental. No other words than...that you're mental." responded Dastardly in the only way he could.
"YGBSM forever, baby!" Coyote just lifted another sign that had a cartoony icon of a weasel on it. He pumped his fist, forever sealing his pride as a former Wild Weasel pilot.
"To be fair, that's exactly what Wild Weasels were supposed to do ever since Vietnam. Coyote's not an exception." debated Fritz, speaking out of memories of all the things Coyote shown him every time they had a talk. Considering that was a norm, Coyote's antics were, relatively speaking, expected.
"Fair point, I guess…." sighed Dastardly before he suddenly raised his guard, squinting at other Elite Bois.
"...What?" Coyote gave out a sign, questioning his state of alertness.
"Oh, I thought that one of other Elite Bois will come here just to mock me." Dastardly lowered his guard once he realized that the rule of three did not apply to that moment.
" 's busy with his plan, you know." Fritz pointed out, considering that one factor delayed their operation to do what was on the master of time's mind.
"Good. At least he's out of the line. I don't wanna hear that peacock say anything. At the very least Tom's always quiet, so here's that. Where is he now, though?" Dastardly let out some of his frustration with the blue skinned leader of Elite Bois before asking where the quietest yet one who just recently delivered a blow Hope's peak would take a lot of time to recover. Not just physically, but in a way of morale as well.
"Alleyway, with pigeons." Coyote lift a sign that displayed the exact location of Tom. A red dot was placed on the map, along with a big stop sign, showing that it was dangerous to go there. Not because of Tom, since he was on their side, but because of pigeons.
"Oh right….I am not going into that rabbit hole, since pigeons of Zona Daft Capo are definitely something else for sure." assured Dastardly that he would never look deeper into the dark arts of pigeons. No one but Tom dared anyway.
"He's keeping them satisfied with the forbidden genre so that they don't shit all over Zona and take over our balconies. A well adjusted compromise, I say." said Fritz with crossed arms.
"Yeah, right…" grumbled Dastardly as he rested his head on his arm again.
"Haven't you forgot someone though?" Herman gave him one very unfortunate reminder, at least for him.
"...D'OH! WHY DID YOU HAVE TO MENTION HIM, HERMAN?!" Dastardly started losing his mind over a mere implication of a certain recently ascended Elite Boi. When it was time for him, Dastardly knew what was ahead.
"He's the new one, he should deserve to get a mention." noted Herman as he raised his tentacle like an index finger.
"If I was in charge of Elite Bois, I'd deport him to Albania just like we did with that stupid sponge and his equally moronic starfish bandit. I bet he'd like every single second there!" ranted Dastardly, not unlike the very person he hated the most in the whole syndicate.
"We know." Coyote just lifted a sign with an unamused expression.
"Now excuse me, I have to do obligatory check on him, because he does the craziest things when alone." announced Dastardly as he started walking away from Mean Machine, just to see what nonsense was the implied Elite Boi doing. As he went upstairs, one interruption prevented him from fully leaving the gang at the rocket shaped and propelled car.
"I have one very serious question, Dick." Herman raised his tentacle like an arm.
"Make it quick, Herman." Dastardly allowed him to have a say, but he was not pleased with stalling.
"You know, I never really thought about it, but….why do you have a rocket engine in your car?!" Herman asked out of frustration as according to him, rocket propellant was the last type of gas to use for cars. None of Mean Machine's design choices made sense to him. Fritz and Coyote also gave him a look, curious regarding his decision to have a rocket propelled automobile.
"I will answer that later." Dastardly decided to deal with such question once he's done with obligatory check in. As he started to navigate through the empty and sterile hallways of the headquarters, with walls made out of pure concrete, he gathered his thoughts, just to not lose his mind the moment he would talk to him. He had a particular walk, typical of Daft Capo personnel, that made him seem quite wide and boastful. However, the disgruntled driver was not looking forward to any of this.
After navigating through the labyrinth of hallways, he managed to reach a metallic door. On outside, it was just an ordinary door with a number 1995 on it, but Dastardly knew what was inside. He opened the door, revealing to himself a room with a giant map of Balkan peninsula on it that suspiciously replaced Serbia with a sea. It also had drawn Tomahawks on it, still bombing the location despite being so much that only sea water remained. The map was accompanied with a 1:1 replica of a BGM-109C Tomahawk cruise missile without a booster. The owner deemed it a sacred weapon, thanks to its role in NATO intervention in Yugoslavia. Another object of interest was a movie poster of Borat, placed next to the map. Aside from such decoration, only things that the room had that were of interest were a computer, bed and basic furniture. The inhabitant of the room, Rando Gyroswaggerić, was at that moment browsing the internet while aggressively eating kebab.
"What are you doing right now, Rando? It better not be something insane, like it usually is…." asked Dastardly as he busted in without knocking on the door. He prepared himself for whatever insane answer will his dreaded co-worker give to him.
"I'm watching Indians and Pakistanis duke it out. It's about Kashmir, again." answered Rando with his mouth full as he invited him to take a look, zero shame about the topic he read on.
"...For what purpose are you watchin-" sighed Dastardly with a weary look, only to see what was on the monitor.
It was, lets say, a strongly opinionated comment with grammar of such incorrectness that it would make blind people wince just by feeling it. There were also a lot of laughing and flag emojis.
Truly a lot of them.
"HOLY F-I mean, how can anyone say that without any sense of shame and remorse?!" Dastardly's eyes widened upon seeing the comment, in shock on how anyone could be even capable of saying such things, let alone get positive attention from it.
"I like them, they're honest people. Not sure which side should I pick." commented Rando in a completely calm, yet intrigued tone. He was in a dilemma on who was more "based" between India and Pakistan, although he was leaning more towards the latter.
"This is your definition of honesty?!" Dastardly called him out on it as his level of anger was starting to rise. It was inevitable anyway.
"Like I said, Dick. You are not an honest person unless you want to bomb something into oblivion. I'm pretty sure that even you want to bomb something, even though I know that's me." argued Rando as he lifted his index finger, bringing back a topic that was discussed on a day when Elite Bois arrived.
"I will not stoop to your moral level, you raging nationalist!" retaliated Dastardly as he furiously pointed at him to make him feel some sense of self awareness.
"You better watch your words and think, or else I will do to you things your mind can't even imagine, you chauffeur of hypocrisy!" warned Rando that severe physical harm that he could inflict was an option on the table. Even his voice became rather venomous when he gave out a deterrent for Dastardly to not provoke further. All because he thought Dastardly was going to insult Bosnia.
"It's not about that, it's about how you see those people as role models! Literally everything about your mindset is out of this world!" Dastardly clarified that he had no intentions insulting his homeland, rather to point out that he is so off the knocker that he could potentially be a liability to the whole organization.
"They are examples of defiant rebels who stand up against the two faced bitch that is self-righteousness! They know that those who claim to be the most moral are projecting harder than Serbs! Just take a look at scrub zone, the most dishonest shithole there is in Japan, a country already filled with nothing but dishonesty!" passionately ranted Rando as he kept aggressively juggling his finger. Dastardly really didn't want to argue further with him, so he opted for a point that they both agreed on: Hope's peak was a laughing stock in their opinion.
"….I agree you about Hope's peak and Japan as a whole, but aren't you half Japanese?" Dastardly had to point out that Rando had a Japanese mother.
"I never said I was proud of my Japanese bloodline. It is Bosnia who gives me pride! If I went back in time, I would rather be full Bosnian! We, Bosnians, will lead the world in the right direction, for we are considered the most based nation in the world! Although others, like United Arab Emirates-" Rando continued ranting about a topic that drove the mustached driver off the wall so much that he had no choice than to lose it.
"GAAAAAAAAAAAAAH, ENOUGH! I'VE HAD IT WITH YOU! IF IT WASN'T FOR MY STINKING CAR, I WOULD THROW FISTS AT YOU RIGHT NOW!" roared Dastardly at him as he was walking out of the room.
"You trying to be insolent in my room, you groin named shoe?!" Rando stood up from his chair and started to take off his shoe, just to beat the living daylights out of him. But before he could fully took it off, Dastardly was almost out of the room.
"I AM NOT DEALING WITH YOU ANYMORE! GET LOST!" Dastardly yelled at him for the last time that day before he slammed the door with all the force it had in his arm.
"Eat yourself!" cursed Rando after the mustached driver left before he sat down and returned to reading heated opinions on a geopolitical issue. "Now excuse me, I gotta see what Amir says on this matter.".
After he intentionally distanced himself from the room, he took a deep breath to calm down.
"….that's enough of Rando for like, a week. Maybe a stop to the Irrelevant Zone will cool me down." mumbled Dastardly as he went in direction of the so called "Irrelevant Zone".
The truth was, the Irrelevant Zone was nothing more than an ordinary living room. Possibly the most normal place in the entire headquarters. There was couch, a CRT TV, a DVD player, the usual things. They even had a fridge to feed themselves, although the food was supplied from outside. The basic function for the Irrelevant Zone was keeping people who have nothing to do with current plans of Daft Capo or were to bored to do anything. Few bored punksters occupied the zone, but two of most notable current members of it were the Ultimate Rockstar and Ultimate Rapper, who were just solemnly watching an animated movie together.
Once Dastardly entered the room, he felt relief that nothing crazy was going on in the Irrelevant Zone.
"Ah, you're doing normal things...that's refreshing." Dastardly greeted them with a compliment as he went inside. However, Zapatta and Suifta were not as relaxed as he was, considering they had a beef with Elite Bois.
"What, is that supposed to be an insult?" scoffed Zapatta as he gave a rather frustrated glare towards his superior. Dastardly didn't took it to his heart, since he dealt with worse things before.
"No, not at all at this point. Not at all…" Dastardly shook his head as he approached them. He remained standing still, knowing that these too weren't comfortable with having an Elite Boi nearby.
"Say, what's wrong, Dastardly? You've been visiting this place more, despite being considered relevant?" Suifta lowered her guard down a bit, noting that this Elite Boi has been using Irrelevant Zone to cool down more frequently, to the point it was starting to feel daily.
"There's peace and quiet here, along with sane people." admitted Dastardly, who was already exhausted from shenanigans of others. And he hasn't even fully finished his check ins, since the leader had to be checked too.
"Yeah, I agree, it's actually kind of not bad here if it weren't for….you know. At least Shrek's here. Shrek's been keeping us afloat." confided Zapatta as he pointed at the CRT TV. The current scene was the one when Shrek and Donkey discussed how there's a lot more to ogres than people think. And of course, the ever famous comparison between ogres and onions.
"Good movie. Now I've got a question, because I've never really had a chance before. How were….Hope's peak scru-" Dastardly complimented the movie, being a fan of the Shrek franchise as well before he wanted to give them a question.
"Can you not refer to them like that?" Suifta interrupted him by expressing her distaste towards certain semantics that Daft Capo had.
"Ah, pardon me. Being around with those jerks sure does influence you. So, how were Hope's peak...s...students?" apologized Dastardly as he gave out the question he wanted to be answered in the first place.
"Honestly, I disliked like….two of them? The lanky glasses asshole and the banana bush. Like both of them were pricks? Especially the banana bush, she just lunged at Mikan, it's why I had to call her out on it….other than that, they were mostly decent people. Kaz was a good friend and Mikan…I really regret that I haven't spoken to her more, ya know?" confessed Zapatta, as his ire transformed into sadness when he remembered that he had a chance to talk to the person who he thought was in genuine need for comfort.
"Don't tell me you've fell in love with that...ahem, her." Dastardly squinted at him as his tone was getting a lot more serious. The mustached driver did not appreciate how close did they get to the students. Their job was to spy on them, just like Herman said to them, but they got attached to their enemies.
"Look, I genuinely wanted to help her, she constantly seemed so….sad, really. It was like, her presence was..." sighed Zapatta as he, oddly enough, somberly defended his point, remembering how Mikan's days were not of fortune. A relaxed smile was a rare sight when it came to her and Zapatta wanted her to have more moments like that.
"I getcha, Zapatta. There's a gal that I miss too. Ibuki was her name. We did a rap battle against each other and her beats were pretty great. No wonder she was called the Ultimate Musician...heh…" Suifta patted him on his back, reassuring that she was going through out similar similar feelings. A memory of the rap battle was one she held dearest to her.
However, all the sentimentality was shot down with just one sentence.
"You two are starting to sound like sympathizers.".
"What the hell? You're already throwing accusations at us for making friends with them?!" Zapatta stood up from the couch as he spread his arms in anger.
"I thought you were actually decent, Dastardly...but you're the same as them!" Suifta clenched her fist in response, though she controlled her composure with greater extent than Zapatta did.
"Look, I am speaking for your own good. I get it, but be reminded that does not tolerate any praise directed towards Hope's peak. Figottoni has told you both what happens to those who even think about defecting, right?" warned Dastardly as he put them back on reality once both of them remembered what their bartender friend told them about how betrayal was dealt within company.
"….Oh shit, you're right." Suifta's irises shrunk once she realized how their talk about Hope's peak students put them in danger. They were lucky that it was Dastardly who was in the room, not . If the latter was in, that might have been their last moment.
"Speaking of him, I've unfortunately have to check him as well. I wonder how our plan goes. See ya next time others drive me nuts." Dastardly gave them his regards as he left the room, gently closing the door. As he went, he thought about on how could members of Daft Capo even be friends with Hope's peak students, since their values different so much.
After navigating through the headquarters again, he finally reached the room of the Elite Bois leader. An office where he could brainstorm his plans in peace. Out of formality and because would lose his temper immediately if he didn't knock, he did it. The moment the door was opened, greeted him with an absolute frowning grimace of his sight.
"Be useful or scram, Dick!" were the first words said to the mustached driver that day.
"Lucky for you, I do have something that you might enjoy." Dastardly, already tired from previous interactions, just wanted to assist him, so that the plan could be sped up. Deep down, he was sort of concerned that Hope's peak could prevent their plans from going into motion.
"Is that so? Then convince me." raised his eyebrow, finding it hard to believe that his most disliked Elite Boi could be of use.
"It's about the teacher. Don't think of this as a favor." Dastardly made his replies as concise as possible, so that he could hasten the whole process. Even though he hesitated out of contempt, let him in as they both sat down behind their respective chairs. The master of time sat behind the table, where as Dastardly did the opposite.
"Go on, tell me about the subject that you deem important enough to disrupt my time." told him to spit it out and hurry up. Such was an average interaction with him, unless you earned his respect.
"First, I want to know the progress on your plan. What did you come up with so far?" Dastardly risked it and asked a question first. He didn't expect anything other than raging at him and he was too tired to care.
"Do you really think you have any right to ask first? Hasten your report or begone!" ordered as his patience was withering.
"Look, do you remember when Herman said how that noob acts like a dog to her?" Dastardly reminded him of a certain person that the aforementioned octopus always loses his mind upon mentioning her.
"Yes, we have already established that. It is no use repeating it-" shut him down immediately, but Dastardly still persisted.
"I saw the full extent of it…..urgh…." groaned Dastardly once remembered a sight of Chiaki and Chisa holding hands together. He deemed it abnormal, especially that the student was more or less an adult.
However, he did warrant 's curiosity.
"What exactly do you want me to use that for? raised his eyebrow.
"To accelerate the plan, but I'll get to the point of it. You probably thought it was just a classic example of a teacher's pet, but oh...oh no….you'd be mistaken. That adult womanchild that is the noob, yes, you've heard me right, was not only just holding her hand, but she was acting like she was her mother. I am not making this up, they well all prancing like from a fairy tale. I can't believe that we spend so much time on THESE kind of people, I swear…." Dastardly explained himself in the same "I'm so done" voice as he had ever since he arrived to his office.
"Hmmm…..so what you're saying is that I should make the whole plan more personal? scratched his chin with his heavily mechanized arm as he was, for once in his life, listening to the one he had contempt for.
"To tell you the truth, I only came here to see what are you doing and the progress of the plan, but you would throw me out of the room otherwise. I guess this can be useful for the plan." Dastardly admitted with all honesty he had that he just wanted to know how was the plan going.
Then the grimace on 's face turned into a big shit-eating grin.
"...Oh, I do not like it any time you do that." winced Dastardly as he felt chills every time the leader did such face.
"Hmhmhmhm...I can't believe what I'm going to say, but your report gave me more ways to conduct the plan. Herman previously told me that we almost had a chance to snatch her while she was unconscious, had it not been for that mental defect and that cardboard cutout of a lowlife somehow being on patrol. However, now we can strike with greater force. Not only will I have my satisfaction, but Herman will get his Schadenfreude." chuckled as for once he did not immediately dismiss Dastardly's words, instead actually incorporating his suggestions into his plan.
"Oh right, he was there too. I didn't really notice him." noted Dastardly as he scratched his head.
"Not that you need to. He is as useless as his self worth is!" scoffed , looking forward towards the day where he could verbally destroy the ahoge man.
"Oh boy….that's all I needed to do. I'm just glad that there's progress on the plan." Dastardly stood up from his chair, deciding to leave the blue man alone. His deed was done.
"Your contribution has been, for the first time ever, been useful. Now do as you wish." sent him regards, ending the conversation with Dastardly normally instead of usual "sod off!" that he liked to employ on him.
Dastardly's mood was completely soured just by 's presence alone.
"Tch…..he's only in the leadership position because he got lucky in Signapore…." mumbled Dastardly to himself as he started walking away. On his way, he met a random punkster, who was enjoying a can of beer.
"Ayyo, man. Just saying that the break has started." punkster reminded him that he could take a pause at that moment. Finally, a moment of actual relief for him.
"Ah, thank you. I can get some peace of mind now." smiled Dastardly in a relaxed fashion as he knew where to go.
Exiting through the main door of hideout, which was modified from a warehouse, Dastardly decided to take a stroll through the Zona Daft Capo. From the outside, aside from few stands ran by ridiculously short masked fellas, it blended in with the rest of the city. However, since he was not only a Daft Capo member, but an Elite Boi, he was more or less free of being constantly scammed. Dastardly just enjoyed the view of the city, which was accompanied by great weather. Few clouds resided in the vast sky, gracefully filling it out. The traffic was also relatively normal, not too much going on.
But Dastardly made one tiny mistake: he walked near a certain infamous alleyway.
Suddenly, a pigeon strutted out of the pitch black alley, aggressively bobbing its head. Ominous music of the forbidden genre, originating from Eastern Europe, played in the back of the alleyway, slowly building up for the drop. More pigeons started to walk out of it, all of them having bloodthirsty glares directed towards Dastardly.
"What? W-what's your beef? You have that music, go back!" Dastardly tried to fend them off, but fear started to take over. No one at Zona Daft Capo wanted to feel the wrath of pigeon.
Although, he was spared, for one who could control the fury of pigeons emerged from the shadows.
It was Tom.
Almost as if Tom was suspecting him of something, the feline menace looked at Dastardly with cautious glare.
"What are you looking me like that, Tom? I'm just going for a drink!" explained Dastardly that he had no hidden agendas, that he just wanted some refreshment. Tom kept staring at him, but with a gesture, he ordered pigeons to return to darkness and he did as well.
"For some reason, even though and Rando are the biggest lunatics, but Tom….I shouldn't bother to think….for I already feel it…" thought Dastardly to himself before deciding that it wasn't worth delving into it. He continued his journey to the local bar.
Once he arrived, he gently opened the door, allowing himself to take a step inside Zona Daft Capo's bar. The criminal syndicate seemed to put effort in designing it, as it had a specifically Mediterranean taste of it. Navy blue walls were decorated with art likes of renaissance, as they were particularly inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. Dark wooded tables were in cleaned to exquisite perfection, although it wasn't just the work of janitors. Each Daft Capo member made sure that the bar would remain in a clean state as much as possible. They saw value in the service and they made sure that even non-Daft Capo members could enjoy and have a drink. The one who ran the bar was none other than Figottoni, the Ultimate Bartender.
"Ah. Greetings, Figottoni." Dastardly tipped his hat at the peaceful member of Daft Capo.
"Greetings, Dick Dastardly. What would you like?" said Figottoni as he welcomed him with an offering. Dastardly sat behind the table where the bartender was operating.
"The usual, the friend of all of those who are done with everyone: Whiskey." requested Dastardly, pointing at the aforementioned beverage in the process.
"Understood." nodded Figottoni as he put a glass of small size on the table, pouring whiskey in it. After he filled it, Dastardly thanked him and took a sip, enjoying peace that the bar offered.
Suddenly, the door opened once again, letting another Elite Boi in. He couldn't be seen from a far, since he was of rather small stature.
"Ah, I see you also enjoy a discussion around the drink, Dick." Herman joined him as he sat next to him. The mustached racer only saw him when Herman was on his chair, surprised that he even came there.
"What are you doing here, Herman?" asked Dastardly, sounding rather annoyed by his presence. At the very least, the moment could provide him some needed regathering of thoughts and by extension, resilience from insanity of his peers.
"Just came here to enjoy an activity that good for one's mind, my friend." answered Herman in a shockingly calm yet welcoming voice. It threw Dastardly off guard, he always saw his octopus co-worker as a bombastic and grandiose person.
"As long as you don't go off the knocker, you can be here." Dastardly allowed him to stay as long as he wouldn't rage.
"Hahaha, I see you haven't seen it at all. Allow it to open your eyes." chuckled Herman before he turned towards his bartender friend.
"What would you like, Herman?" asked Figottoni.
"One Latte Machiattio, please!" requested Herman as he raised his tentacle like an arm. Within a minute, he received his three layered caffeine drink, all nicely placed inside the glass.
"I thought you would order alcohol." said Dastardly, a little weirded out that he wouldn't order anything with alcohol percentage in a bar.
"Hahaha, I'm more of a coffee person, if I say so." Herman chuckled again, finding Dastardly's assumptions to be quite amusing. Both of them took a sip of their respective drinks, before the octopus lad initiated a discussion: "Figottoni, I want to ask. When you were at Hope's peak, how as it? As in like, what they allowed and what they opposed?".
"In terms of experience as bartender, it wasn't anything different from here, aside from the fact that I couldn't deal with alcoholic beverages. But you're more curious about their thought, right?" reported Figottoni as he joined their conversation. Since the amount of customers were low that day, he could be free to talk for a long time.
"You know me well, my friend. We are of the same nation after all. I want to know if they truly know what are they fighting for. Have they ever asked themselves why is Hope's peak in our interest?" Herman further piqued, desiring to see a perspective of an insider. There were many questions that Herman had, even being open minded enough that he would engage with his own enemies.
"I have about two assumptions: either penguins persuaded them to join their cause, which I doubt is related to the academy itself, or because they see us as an existential threat." guessed Dastardly, giving out two options regarding his question.
"It could be both. Those who we call Manhattan Boys very likely exploited their situation to their benefit and rallied them. However, Herman, I must note and don't take this as an offense, but our old strategy made their resolve stronger." answered Figottoni with the same amount of stoicism he always had. Unlike two of his friends, he knew that contributions to the syndicate that gave him a chance would be much more beneficial. Deep down, he did miss his friendship with Ultimate Impostor, but that was hidden from everyone.
"You are not wrong, Figottoni. We'd expected them to fall for the bait, but you know how it is with surprise attacks: they only work when the target is, you know, throw off guard. But with them being foretold about us, they pull of the same. If it weren't for Manhattan Boys, we'd already have Hope's peak in our hands just from punksters stationed at Tsurihito Warehouse alone." Herman agreed with the bartender's sentiment
"I do must ask again, if you don't mind: for what purpose do you often anger your enemies? Is it perhaps just for entertainment or is there some kind of strategy regarding it?" Figottoni gave another question, a thing about Herman that always mystified him.
"You know, there is a good reason why I went to college that dealt with psychology. Anger and control of it is a great indicator of how much of a threat a person is. I do not fear a raging bull, but a sniper gives me sleepless nights. Examples of each would be Mondo and Sakura, both from Class 78th. I can run circles around him, mocking him as my heart is content, since I know uncontrollable anger makes one...how should I put it...short sighted. They will cause damage, but they're aiming their arms with no precision. However, I wouldn't dare to fight Sakura, even if one made me the richest person on the planet if I accepted. Sakura is the sniper, she will channel the anger to plot her enemy's downfall with the fury of thousand suns, yet dealt with a manner colder than ice. It is people like her that we should fear, not people like Mondo." explained Herman in a way that completely shocked Dastardly. Any perception he had of octopus was turned on its head. It was all starting to be clear to him.
"No wonder why you always come in first as a bait. It's….actually not bad at all." Dastardly rubbed his chin as he started to understand why exactly does Herman go for such strategy. In a way, it was an intelligence of psychology of their enemies.
"You must know your enemy more than they know themselves. Speaking of that, I shall go back to the original topic. I doubt any of students could justify their cause, where as we can do it with ease. For example, you two know why I have chosen that maid cafe as a target, right?" continued Herman, bringing up another topic to compare their causes. He believed that, even though he provoked them, no one at Hope's peak questioned the true nature of the conflict.
"Because of your strong opposition towards medium called anime. Correct me if I'm wrong." Figottoni gave out an answer.
"Hahaha, that's just the surface of it. You see….I do not actually think that all Japanese animation is bad. Not at all, actually." Herman said a statement that shocked Dastardly once again.
"I'm sorry but what?! You're like the biggest anime hater there is!" stammered Dastardly, sounding like he was promoting Herman's hatred of anime. He didn't like it himself, thinking that everything about anime was too annoying.
"There is a difference between animation and anime after all. In my definition, animation is a hybrid of all arts, an expression of a person that reaches to a level not achieved before. Only interactive media such as video games can surpass animation. Anime, on other hand, is an insult towards the centuries of culture that Japanese artists carefully constructed. No longer wanting to express their thoughts, anime is a sickening indulgence of mankind's worst traits, such as fetishization of trauma. Would you believe me that there's an entire genre dedicated to idealizing heartbreak, among other things? And Japan lets it all slide, for fuck's sake, they promote it and the world buys it. If, somehow, Roman Republic colonized these islands back then, those who produce such content would be shamed, if not executed….and I would like Japan itself to follow their steps. Those people have no good use other than to remind people of worst." elaborated Herman in a similar fashion as he did before: in complete serenity. Yet, burning passion of both extremes could be felt from his words.
"…So that's why you hate anime, but what does the cat maid cafe have to do with it?" further asked Dastardly, not exactly sure how beating up Faris played was a consequence of Herman's belief.
"That cat girl was the reason why Akihabara went from a respectable center of electronics to the root of everything wrong with Japanese culture. To tell you the truth, my initial experience with anime was horrific. I couldn't believe what I was seeing with my eyes, a true insult to all art there is….until I saw a movie that changed my life. Porco Rosso, do you know about it?" continued Herman before he brought up his favorite movie.
"Of course. That's a movie I have frequently watched. I quite enjoy how Miyazaki poured his heart and soul portraying the period of our country defined by my country's transformation into a cautionary tale of how one should never let madmen in power." Figottoni smiled upon hearing the name of it as he spilled his thoughts.
"I feel the same, my friend, but I must mention a scene that truly spoke to me. A scene that made me realized that Japanese could create art comparable to Italy. It was when Porco told Fio about his service through out The Great War. As the scene shifted to the past, it showed us a graceful, yet relentless aerial fight above Adriatic. Amid the fight, Porco was flying above the prairie of clouds, when he suddenly saw his friend Berlini ascend. He called out for his friend, but then...it happened...the scene that has changed me…." Herman started narrating the scene that has forever changed his view like a proper story teller would. One could feel raw emotion from his voice, how much he truly valued works of art like Porco Rosso. As he continued, he revealed the scene that has influenced his entire view.
"Thousands of planes, peacefully joining the eternal sky as Porco saw it all. It truly showed the cost of one of darkest periods the world has ever seen, that all of those people could have had beautiful lives, had they survived. It showed me that, yes….even a place responsible for anime can create something truly masterful. I'm afraid we won't see masterpieces like that anymore, instead we will see nothing but insolence. That is why I believe that Daft Capo will bring a cultural revolution in Japan. At least for me, other Elite Bois might differ." Herman reminiscent of every single detail the scene offered while also revealing the true motive of his plan: to change Japan from inside. He saw conquering Hope's peak as an enabler of his reforms that would transform Japan's society into something he would see more appropriate.
"The paycheck is the best and I get to win races. It's why I'll always be with Daft Capo, even though some people drive me crazy. With few exceptions, I prefer to hang out with punksters than the likes of or Rando. Besides, it's fun to be villain, after all, as long as you acknowledge it and don't act like a stuck up moral snob about it." Dastardly gave out his reason for why he works for the syndicate: it made him rich, yet as it's known, he still wanted more.
"Now that is faulty thinking, Dastardly." cautioned Herman as he raised his tentacle like a finger.
"What? Don't tell me most of Daft Capo thinks of themselves as the good guys…." Dastardly squinted at him, hoping that Herman and rest of Daft Capo wouldn't be one of those guys.
The following response surprised him to the core, to say at least.
"Thinking of morality as a spectrum of black, white and even gray is not a way to approach such subject. Gray is just a bridge to connect two binaries and we both know that seeing things in binaries could only be afforded by computers. Morality consists of many colors, with each person having radically different values of what is right and wrong. For example, some think that humans eating animals can be comparable to murder, where as some consider killing a person of a nation they hate to be civic duty. Failures at life who hold the single gradient view of morality will always suffer, no matter what. But unlike them, Daft Capo is an ultimate triumph against the conventional view of morality. We operate on the major principle of humanity and that is of benefit. An average person will always prioritize benefit over everything, even in places one wouldn't call selfish. In my opinion, there is no such thing as pure selflessness. Even the most altruistic people work by the principle of benefit, even if its just the primal human instinct of desire of social interaction." Herman spoke out of his mind, revealing a side that not many people in Daft Capo, including Elite Bois have seen. So far, only ones who did were Figottoni and the current boss of Daft Capo (not to be confused by , who is just a leader of Elite Bois).
"...You know, I've always considered myself a villain because being the heel is much more fun than a hero, since everyone loves them. Well, in a "love to hate" way. I don't like it when people pity me though, it makes me feel like a joke. And I agree, life feels much better without restraints, although your view on morality is...not what I've seen before." admitted Dastardly that even though he lost a lot, it was all part of the fun. But there was a point of his life when victories started matter for real.
"Don't take it as a dunk, but you've became truly successful once you started valuing benefit over your own perception of morality. It's why you are now a champ, not a heel without a chance of victory." Herman praised him for following the suite.
"Hmm….I guess you are right, Herman. It is true that I used to try to be a cheating heel so much that I got not victories out of it. But ever since I've joined Daft Capo, I've been scoring!" Dastardly pumped his fist from pride he felt for all victories he achieved.
"Hahaha, that's right! You are the prime example of someone overcoming the boundaries of morality. Now, I may as well bring an opposite example: her." Herman took a sip of his coffee before he squinted. He still spoke with a quiet voice, yet mere implication of her incited nothing more than pure anger.
"Oh yeah, that womanchild who holds hands with her own teacher. I question no longer on why do you lose your nuts over it." said Dastardly, understanding why would he would be so mad about it after he saw her hold hands with Chisa.
"Not exactly as you think, Dastardly. There is much more to it." responded Herman in a tone which Dastardly did not expect: furious, but calm.
"Go on. If you can make an entire debate out of anime's impact on culture, then you can do this." Dastardly allowed him to have a say, at the same time being curious about it.
"Pardon me for assumption, but she represents the very thing you oppose, is that correct?" guessed Figottoni.
"That is correct, yes. On a personal level, my opinion has not changed. A sheltered womanchild that thinks she's a hero of her story, yet can't even put any effort in taking care of herself. Her coping mechanism is to make others happy, at the cost of herself, since she knows she's a waste without a future. However, I hate what she represents. This rigid and impractical moral compass of hers should never score a victory against beneficial pragmatism, but it did, a symbolic one at least." Herman explained himself as he took another sip of his drink. Just thinking about her warranted him a furious expression on his face.
"However, a battle won does not mean the conflict has ended." reassured Figottoni, believing that Daft Capo was still in the lead.
"In fact, it will escalate soon. Speaking of that, our break is over." Dastardly noted that the boss of Elite Bois has accelerated creation of their plan.
"Yep, it is. Back to our working hours. I know we get stuff for free here but here's some dosh, Figottoni. You provide good service to the organization." said Herman but before he left, he gave his bartender friend one hundred dollars. Daft Capo members have everything for free in the Zona, that was the rule, but exceptions happen. Herman also forgot about asking him about the rocket engine.
"Thank you, Herman. I appreciate your offering." Figottoni nodded in respect as he took the tip.
"Here, have some of my own. You are pretty chill….and we need more people like you." Dastardly gave him an additional ten dollars, just so Figottoni could have something to supply himself.
"I appreciate your kind gift as well, Dick Dastardly." Figottoni nodded to him as well. Thus, they left the bar. On their way, Tom joined from the dark alleyway as they all returned to the headquarters.
Once back, the trio of a human, cat and an octopus rejoined the duo of a human and a coyote. They all greeted each other as they wondered what was the last point of their conversation. Dastardly remembered
"So, where were-" Dastardly was about to ask, only for remaining two Elite Bois to join in. The man of time had a particularly satisfied grin on his face, where as other was still furiously glaring at the racer.
"Gentlemen, the time has come!" announced that he finished his plan.
"Oh, you came up with the plan?" Dastardly raised his eyebrow.
"Indeed I have! We shall execute it tomorrow!" further added as he lifted his arm like a general leading his men in a charge against the enemy.
"Why not today though?" Fritz pointed out that they still had time for execution of the plan. He doubted anything could prevent them from doing so.
"Let them think they're safe. I know exactly when to strike. Now, come to the briefing!" justified the date with his reasoning being to execute the plan not only when the enemy is least prepared, but also outside of their reach. Only thing needed was a certain location, which could be easily tracked down by the next day. Tom and Wile already began rubbing their hands maliciously while Fritz cracked his knuckles in advance.
"Oh boy…" sighed Dastardly as they all went towards the briefing room, which was the same that was used for adversary analysis. The dark room with a round table. let out a laugh of pure malice as he knew the moment next day came, Hope's peak had nowhere to hide. The first phase of his plan officially began.