It was as average of a day as any for Boxmore industries, a robotic minion producing facility run by Boxman. Although his many children doubted it would be just him running the show alone much longer. They were very happy with how things were changing though.
One young orange robot, Shannon, walked through the halls of the factory they called home, on her way to their father's office after being called to appear there. The villainous robotic girl got worried whenever this happened, since it usually meant a scolding from their father for failing another assault.
But there was no anger to his summon's this time, and instead of calling out for the specific family members who'd been sent for the attack on their rivals at Lakewood Plaza, and failed again. Boxman had asked that everyone showed up to his office immediately over the factory wide speaker system.
Shannon didn't like having to go alone. She hadn't a choice this time either. She loved her dad, but he was still somebody to fear, despite his profound happiness of recent times. All of his evil children expected that joy to become permanent soon enough.
"Stupid Raymond and Darrell… running out on me like that while everyone else is out on other jobs," Shannon grumbled to herself. Her brothers both bailed on her after the announcement for everybody to gather in their creators office rung out, and most of the family had been sent out on long term personal assignments already. She was the only one that was left.
"I am Jethro," oh, and Jethro too, who greeted his sister upon meeting with her in the hall, both continuing their walk to Boxman's office.
"Yeah, yeah, good evening to you too, Jethro," Shannon half-heartedly greeted her brother, Jethro was the weakest in their family, yet had a lot more resourcefulness to him than he let on. Even if his speech circuit was severely lacking, everybody understood him pretty well. That didn't change the fact he essentially was a training dummy for target practice to most villains who bought him or most heroes that fought him.
"I am Jethro," Jethro quirked, rolling casually along on his treads beside her.
"No, Darrell and Raymond wussed out," Shannon answered to the whereabouts of their other brothers. Things became quiet between them as they approached their father's office doors. The orange robot knew it fell to her to handle talking to Boxman. They stepped through the doors, letting them close behind both of them "Daddy? We're here," she meekly spoke up.
"Shannon, Jethro, where are the others?" the familiar round man they gladly called father sat behind his desk. His robotic children were relieved to find him not so mad, he looked more disheartened than angry.
"E-everyone is on special assignments, daddy, remember? Raymond and Darrell had something come up, so they had to run out…" Shannon answered as they stepped up to his desk, begrudgingly covering for their siblings absences knowing she could hold it over their heads later. Boxman may not be angry, yet there was clear concern lingering in the atmosphere of the room.
"Oh, graahhh! The one time when business is going great is when I need everybody the most!" Boxman banged an open palm on his desk, startling his children momentarily. After a brief pause, Jethro rolled up onto the desk with his strangely highly versatile treads.
"I am Jethro," the trash can on wheels asked if there was something wrong with their family business again, impressing investors was practically their second jobs, like most of them were out doing right now.
"I'm sorry… I need to ask you two to do a favor for me," Boxman came out and said it straight forwardly. It was surreal whenever their dad asked them to do something rather than ordered it.
"What's wrong, daddy?" Shannon asked, trying to withhold herself. She could tell he was acting more worried than anything.
"It's Professor Venomous… I assume you've noticed he hasn't been around lately," Boxman commented. The teenage robot wanted to initially say the opposite, but upon checking her memories, she couldn't recall Boxmore Industries' secondary owner being around at all recently for nearly a month now.
"Oh… did you have a fight with him, daddy?" Shannon tried to ask, since it was far beyond blatant how close her father was with the Professor. It got to the point that Darrell had called Venomous dad on accident a few times too. Not that he ever paid it any mind. They didn't expect it to be long before he really did become their second parent.
"I am Jethro," Jethro offered his dad a tissue, only to get swept off the desk in retort. Boxman was unhappy to see the two acting sympathetic so fast.
"No, we've been great, but… I've had zero contact with him for a month now. In fact, nobody has. I've asked every last business contact I had to my name, and nothing has turned up," Boxman continued explaining to his children. Shannon and Jethro looked to one another, starting to catch onto what it was their dad wanted them to do.
"You want us to go to his base?" Shannon guessed, helping Jethro back up when realizing he was stuck on his side rolling in circles. Professor Venomous had a base of his own. It was not the most elaborate of villain lairs, though it had a highly lethal security system to deter any other villains from getting dumb ideas of robbing the place. "What about Fink? Haven't you tried calling her?"
"I tried everything… I'm asking you two to go see if everything is alright," Boxman begged. None of his children liked seeing their father upset, hearing that both Professor Venomous and his daughter were both unresponsive for a month did nothing other than make them far more worried.
"I am Jethro," Jethro agreed without hesitation.
"Of course we'll go for you, daddy," Shannon nodded. The two of them got pulled into a tight hug by their creator.
"Thank you! I'll make sure you get special presents for doing this," Boxman declared. Hearing that made his daughter ecstatic. though it apparently overloaded Jethro's emotional circuitry with joy, because he exploded in his father's arms, covering the front of his family members with black soot as well as subsequently dampening the mood.
"Oh… I'll, uh… go pick up Jethro from the reassembly line, we'll let you know what happens!" Shannon hurried off, not wanting to deal with their father's possible anger at being blown up again.
"I just hope I'm overreacting…" Boxman mumbled to himself before he went to fetch the broom to clean up Jethro's scrap bits.
"I am Jethro," Jethro asked a question. They currently sat inside a rather small crate. The tiny blue robot was fine in the confined space, though his sister looked more annoyed.
"No, Jethro… If the professor's security systems are up then large things will get blasted out of the air," Shannon reminded her brother. They couldn't get a direct landing on Boxmore Industries' secondary owners base. They had to just land as close as they could and walk from there.
"I am Jethro," Jethro asked a second question.
"Try not to worry about how many times we'll get rebooted today," the orange robot responded, leaning back. Both of them felt the sudden jarring of being launched from Boxmore Industries' Crate Cannon, sending them flying through the air.
After five minutes of freefalling, the Boxmore crate rolled a short while before it crashed hard into something, they tumbled and landed with a splash.
After another moment, Shannon shook off the dizziness, retracting her hand into her wrist and letting one of her many buzzsaws pop out in trade. Normally the crates would open on their own. This time it was stuck closed. After making several cuts through the thick wood, Shannon was able to kick it apart.
"I am Jethro," Jethro rolled out. They were stuck in a creek of a park under a large rock.
"Guess that's why we don't fire without checking terrain coordinates…" Shannon grumbled. They still had quite some walking to do now. She just picked up her brother and hopped out of the crate's remains, continuing along without any care for the mess they left behind.
Things were quiet as they continued their approach to Professor Venomous's base. They were in another area of the city of Neutral Zone. The sun was beginning to set. The orange tint of lights was displaying a certain beauty to the area.
"Hey, Jethro, can I ask you something?" Shannon spoke up, wanting to break the silence as they kept on their approach to their dad's boyfriend's base, approaching a more rural area.
"I am Jethro," Jethro assured she could, after making a bad joke about her having just asked a question already. His sibling ignored the bad comedy.
"Are you happy with Professor Venomous and Fink? I mean… the idea of them joining our family. Are you okay with that?" Shannon asked without hesitation. Their family seemed divided. On one hand, they all were glad their father was happier than he ever had been. The only other times Boxman had been this happy was whenever he created a new robotic child.
The reason everybody was divided on the other hand, however, was because of how it might affect Boxmore Industries as a whole. Darrell was happy with it since he made up with Fink. Raymond didn't care either way. Mikayla still disliked Venomous a lot due to her natural animal instincts. Ernesto kept his opinion quiet, so nobody really knew it.
"I am Jethro," the trashcan on treads kept rolling along after his reply.
"Yeah… that makes two of us…" Shannon agreed with her brother. They were worried about losing their dad. They might be worrying over nothing, simple jealousy, yet by getting a new parent and another sister to their family, it would be a jarring change for them to adapt with. Silence came back for them from there.
After another short amount of walking, they arrived at the front gates. The large home was in the distance, that doubled as a villain's lair. Professor Venomous had to rebuild his base with Fink after their last one got destroyed in an incident. They had down scaled it since they spent so much time at Boxmore Industries now that it was really unnecessary.
"I am Jethro," Jethro pointed out that there were no lights on, that they could see from here. Shannon got another saw out, putting it in between the gate and beginning to cut through at full force, ignoring the heavy sparks flying everywhere as she cut the bolts holding it closed apart.
"Alright, we're in," the teenage robot shoved the gate open. When she attempted to step inside, she suddenly got blasted back by a net of electricity, knocking her flat on her back. Shannon coughed. Jethro treaded over to his sister while smoke came off her nearly overcooked circuits.
"I am Jethro," Jethro commented that they had already hit the first security measure. An invisible electric wall that would shock anybody who tried to walk past the gate.
"A warning a few seconds earlier would've been nice, Jethro…" Shannon whined, already hating this assignment from their father. She watched as her robotic sibling rolled to the front gate, opening the small compartment in his upper chest.
He threw out several small nuts and bolts. The electric wall caught them all, beginning to super-conduct like an over sized bug zapper. After a pretty light show, the electricity suddenly dispersed in a violent burst.
"What'd you do?" Shannon interrogated her brother, amazed by that. She saw the burnt tiny bits of junk leftover on the ground.
"I am Jethro," Jethro explained. He had simply fired copper and silver bits from inside himself to overload the electricity. Not like he needed every tiny part to operate fully, or minimally in his case.
"Again, a few seconds earlier would've been nice," the orange robot repeated. She cautiously stepped through, relieved when she did not get another lethal zapping. The Boxmore bots started approaching Venomous's base.
They were very relieved to discover that there were no other active traps after that electric wall. They doubted much more was needed otherwise. Shannon knocked on the large pair of front double doors, as they waited, there was no response.
"I am Jethro," Jethro suggested to his sister. The buzzsaw loaded robot rolled her eyes.
"Yeah, like it'll be unlocked after… oh…" Shannon did as he suggested, and the door simply swung open. She followed Jethro inside. They could barely see anything, given the ever increasing darkness.
Shannon tried to turn on the nearby light switch, but nothing happened after several flicks. "How can a giant electric barrier be working yet not the lights inside?" she felt a lot more annoyed for some reason. She turned on her own eye lights. In view, the whole lair was almost sparkling with cleanliness.
"I am Jethro," Jethro commented, continuing along.
"Yeah… you search here. I'll go check out the other side of the house," Shannon wondered why the tiny blue bot was the one leading things today. She didn't question it though. She simply went off to investigate a different area.
"Professor Venomous! Fink? Either of you around?" Shannon called out, going from room to room, so far finding nothing. When she got to the kitchen, the young robot didn't think anything was off in here at first, until she began to investigate further.
She opened the refrigerator. There was simply nothing. Each cabinet was emptier than the last as well. Almost like someone had cleaned every inch of Professor Venomous's base to sell it. "Huh… why's there no food?"
"I am Jethro," Jethro entered the kitchen.
"Yeah. No luck here either," Shannon replied to her brother. For sure, somebody had been in this lair, but the lack of power and running water, if Jethro was to be believed by what he discovered, implied the exact opposite.
Suddenly, without any warning, Shannon felt something jump on her back.
"What the-?!" the orange robot got slammed head first into a nearby cabinet, getting knocked to the floor from the heavy daze. Jethro had no time to react before getting drop kicked into the open refrigerator, causing the door to close with him inside with how hard he crashed into it.
"Get outta here for your own's sakes, you stupid thieves-! Oh… it's just you…" a familiar higher pitched voice caught Shannon's attention. She rolled over to see an all too familiar long-haired green rat, who looked exhausted in every sense of the word.
"Fink! Thank goodness we found you!" Shannon hugged the small mouse, not paying the whole assault any attention since it was nothing unusual for Venomous's number one minion.
"Get off of me!" Fink shoved Boxman's daughter off of her, panting like she had burned up all her energy in that surprise attack. For a while, there was silence, only broken by the familiar backfire from a bad exhaust engine.
"I am Jethro," Jethro forced the refrigerator back open, only to clatter out onto the floor like a bad wind-up toy, getting back on his treads after another moment of fumbling around.
"Hmph," the young girl crossed her arms, ignoring the complaint from the two.
"What happened to you? You look really bad. Where's the professor?" Shannon requested. The pink glove wearing mouse held a decent amount of hurt in her eyes at the mention of Venomous.
"Boss is… I dunno… He's supposed to be back soon…" Fink whimpered. That usual hateful expression began to turn to sadness. The robotic siblings looked to each other in concern. Shannon got up out of the floor, picking up Fink into her arms to let her rest a little, since it appeared to be taking the last of her energy to even stay awake, let alone standing straight.
"It's okay, Fink. When's he supposed to be back?" Shannon asked, feeling relieved that Venomous would not be gone for much longer. One less thing for Boxman to worry about. However the query seemed to be the final straw to the young minions currently unexpectedly fragile mental state.
"Thr… three weeks ago… Boss left and never came back!" Fink began to bawl, burying her face into Shannon's chest. The orange robot felt awkward. This was miles out of character for Fink, so much so that it scared the robots. She had no experience with consoling anyone this young beyond Darrell either.
"I am Jethro," Jethro advised, wishing he could help, but without arms, he couldn't really console their young associate.
"Yeah, we should head home and tell daddy what happened," Shannon agreed. Fink was latched onto her as she cried away, despite her best efforts to try and hold back failing miserably. The two leaving without investigating Professor Venomous's base further. They hoped Boxman would be able to help, though his robotic children hated to know they had to tell their father that his fears were correct.