Fifteen Years Ago
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Mickey Mouse was sitting in a chair behind his desk. He had an expression of deep concern on his face. His arms were folded and lying in front of him. This was Flippy's office, but back in those days, it belonged to Mickey. Through the window came the warm light of the sunset. It filled the room with a soft, golden glow.
"Please come forward and take a seat, Mr. Gearloose."
Gyro nervously walked forward to the other chair and sat down like he was told.
There was a pause while Mickey seemed to be struggling with his words. "I'm truly sorry about this," he said, "but I'm going to have to do something. Have you seen what's been going on out there?"
"Uh... yes, sir," Gyro answered nervously, "the toons are becoming restless."
"Yes," Mickey said sadly, "and I don't know what to do about it. I've tried everything I could think of, but I'm afraid I only have one choice left." He looked at Gyro, but the other didn't respond, so he continued. "I have to leave Toontown."
Gyro jumped out of his seat. "But sir, you can't go, especially not at a time like this! Toontown needs you now more than ever!"
"Does it? How do you know it's not my fault they're this way?" Mickey stood up and walked over to look out his window. The light illuminated his solemn face. "I think that they're somehow angry at me for something. Despite the legendary leadership skills they say I have, I simply can't fix a problem as severe as this. So, I'm going to leave Mr. Flippy in charge."
"Flippy? I'm not sure he'll be able to handle it."
"Well, I for one certainly cannot handle it," he said miserably. "I thought that since you were known for being such a genius, you might have a better plan in mind."
Gyro's eyes widened. "I... don't have any idea," he said. Though, in reality, he had a small idea of something to do.
"Well then, I hope I'll see you again someday," Mickey said. "I think I'll be making movies at my studio back home if you need me."
"Yes, sir," Gyro said, standing up to let the president of Toontown walk by. He followed him out the door, and without another word, Mickey walked out into the streets, where the clouds in the sky were turning a beautiful shade of orange in the sunset. Gyro stood at the door until Mickey had disappeared out of sight.
Gyro had never seen such contention among toons before. If one were to ask another to do a favor, the other toon would answer "I'm too busy," or "why me?" or even resort to violence. Their tooniness was all but gone. They had nothing good to do. They had no incentive to work, and they became lazy and dislikable. They didn't even look like toons anymore. Their society was falling apart, and only something big, something extreme, would have the power needed to fix it.
If anyone could correct this mess, he knew it was he. He traveled home to his garage lab and got the required tools. And he brought his little helper, plenty of supplies, and a spaceship he had built. The sky turned red as night began to fall. He was so angry with everything. He felt dark, cold, and empty. His body tightened, and then he felt a click inside himself. Now he didn't feel like a toon anymore. His eyes darkened. They looked cold, metallic, and evil. They were the same eyes that every toon would learn to fear. They were glaring down from the top of every building. They were the eyes of the cog.
Boldly, he piloted his ship. It took off into the sky, and he navigated it where he knew he was meant to go. He went to the other side of the world where he could be all alone, the only place he wouldn't be disturbed. He landed on the ground that the toons had first stepped on when they left Earth.
It was the abandoned city. He quickly came across to the building he was looking for. It had a large set of rusty double doors, and he dragged them open. Nobody was there so he set up his lab. He was going to be there for a long time. Just like Mickey, he knew he was a prominent figure who had disappeared unexpectedly. Someone was bound to come looking for him eventually.
Many weeks seemed to pass in just a few seconds as Evina witnessed how Gyro created the president. When he was finally finished, he stood back and examined it in awe. It was magnificent. For the last few weeks, he had put all the energy of his life into that machine, so there was a chance it could have a life of its own.
But before he got a chance to test it, he saw something approaching on his radar. Someone had come looking for him, maybe Scrooge, because he had recently invested a lot of money in Gyro's inventions. Unfortunately, Gyro just spent everything he had on building the giant robot. He couldn't let himself be seen, so he hid in the shadows.
After a loud bang from the door closing, Scrooge was inside and slowly walked forward. "Gyro?" he called out.
The inventor silently watched everything that Scrooge did, and when the duck looked inside the robot's foot, it came to life. It was a success.
Scrooge fell unconscious. The robot scooped him up and locked him up in a cage.
The new creation turned to its creator and spoke with a terrible voice. "What are your orders, master?"
"Well, what do you feel like doing?" Gyro asked his machine.
"I feel like conquering Toontown," it replied.
"Good!" he smiled. "Now, how do you plan to do it?"
The robot thought about it for a long time. "The most logical way would be a corporation," it announced.
"Hmmm, what a novel idea," Gyro remarked. "Do you want to start your business now?"
"Go to the machine and create a masterpiece," the master ordered. The president obeyed, and a blank robot soon emerged from the machine. The president shaped the face and designed the clothes.
"That looks great. Tell me who it is?"
"This would be... the chairman of the corporation," it answered.
"What will you name it?"
The robot thought for a long time. "William Gears," it answered. "I will give it the proper programming."
"That sounds like an excellent idea," Gyro said. He sat down in one of his chairs and watched what was happening. The chairman was soon functioning properly.
"I am William Gears," the chairman announced. "I want to work."
"Hello there," Gyro said, "I am Mr. Gearloose, your master."
"It is a pleasure to meet you," the chairman replied.
"Are you ready to build a great nation?"
"Yes, sir," answered the chairman. He walked over to the machine and started building more cogs. Hundreds emerged in all shapes and sizes.
When the chairman was finished with the cogs, the master stood up and paced around the room to inspect them. "Not bad," he said. "I think you should organize them."
The chairman organized the robots by primary function. Each group of cog types got a different suit color and title. "Sellbots, Cashbots, Lawbots, Bossbots, Servicebots, Newsbots..." The chairman named all the groups of cogs. "It would be most logical if we created multiple copies of each robot."
"I agree," the master said. "I want you to conquer Toontown and do everything you can to halt or slow down their progress."
The chairman nodded. "I will not fail you, master."
"You are to call yourselves the Confederation of Gearloose, or C.O.G. for short."
"I will remember these robots as 'cogs' in your honor, sir."
"Thank you," Gyro said. "That is very nice of you." He turned to the larger one. "I now appoint you the president of this confederation."
"Thank you, master," the president said. "I will conquer."
"Great. Now, about this corporation," Gyro continued.
"It will be... Cogs Incorporated," the chairman proclaimed.
"That sounds great! Are you going to have anyone to help you?"
"Yes, a C.E.O. must preside over Cogs Inc.," the chairman answered. He went over to a Bossbot and put his hand on its back. "This one will do," he said.
"Ok then, make it ready. While you're doing that, I suggest that you, Mr. President, should set up a stronger government."
The chairman and the president worked. The C.E.O. and the Chief Justice were made.
"I am your father," the chairman told the new and improved Bossbot.
"Hello, father, I am Robert Gears," the C.E.O. spoke.
"Please choose some other cogs to help you lead Cog's Inc," the chairman ordered.
"I will," the C.E.O. answered. After choosing a Cashbot and a Sellbot, he went to work on upgrading them to a higher level. The Vice President and the C.F.O. were created.
Everything seemed to be running smoothly. Gyro was really happy, and he believed there was a chance that this plan could actually work. An invasion of fierce robots ought to do what he wanted them to do.
"Are you all ready to conquer Toontown?" the master asked.
"Yes," the president said.
"Great. Take this communication device and contact me only in an emergency. Do not reveal my identity to anyone. Oh, and one more thing, make sure that the toon in the cage doesn't remember any of this."
"Yes, master," the President said as Gyro headed for the spaceship.
The little helper was squeaking with rage. Its lightbulb head was flickering. It couldn't believe what Gyro had just done.
"Don't worry so much," he told the little robot. "This should have the effect I want. This should be a wakeup call for the toons."
"Go!" the president ordered, and the cogs flew away. The spaceship rose up into the stratosphere, watching the millions of little cogs soar like a swarm of silvery insects on their way to wreak havoc in Toontown. His confidence faded as he began to question the ethics and the probability of success.
The little helper appeared sad and confused. It looked up to Gyro, the one it thought it trusted. The metallic eyes were so unfamiliar.
"Oh, I was just thinking, we should go on a little trip to Earth. Ok, maybe it will be a very long trip. I have some of Mickey's movies with me. Maybe after all this time, they would like to see them. It's going to be quite a journey, but it should give them enough time for this to work. I anticipate things will be better when we return. The toons should learn to work together to keep the cogs under control."
He swallowed back fear, and a sick feeling came to his stomach. He thought of Scrooge, a good friend he had just betrayed. He thought of Mickey far away and unable to help the toons fight. He thought of his son whom he left at home with a memory blocking device. He might never see any of them again. If the plan failed, the consequences would be too awful to imagine.
"I hope I wasn't too extreme. My anger and frustration with the toons have made me like one of those cogs. I've shared that dark feeling, and now it's come to life. It's like a sentient disease inside of me. I don't feel anything like a toon anymore! I know one day I'll have to take responsibility for the awful chaos I've unleashed on Toontown."
The scene faded, and Evina came rushing very fast back to the present, back to his body. He pulled himself out of Gyro's mind, appearing once again in the huge room. Everything that he had seen was gone now. All of that was completely destroyed here, but old Gyro was still sitting nearby.
"So, as you see," Gyro said, "you and I both had that change inside us. We felt the anger. It made us immune to almost any damage, including dip, which works only on toons. Dip damage never heals, but the hole in your arm disappeared really quickly. You just had a little toon left in you. In fact, I'm surprised that the cogs tried to use dip. They must've been even smarter than I thought. Though the use of a rocket is the oldest trick in the book."
"You don't get it, do you?" Evina shouted.
"What do you mean?" the older one asked.
"A group of toons came in here with me. They were my friends, but now they have all been dipped!"
"Scrooge McDuck and Harry Oldman have also been dipped!"
"I, uh... oh dear," he gasped. "But my plan worked. The toons are getting along with each other. You said so yourself!"
"THAT DOESN'T MATTER!" Evina screamed. "None of the pain and death and destruction that all of Toontown has experienced would have happened if you didn't create that monster! How could you be so cruel and heartless!?"
"I had to," Gyro shot back boldly, raising his blaster to Evina. "I thought you of all people would know what it feels like, to have that darkness completely fill your body. I did what had to be done!"
Evina also found a sadness blaster within reach, and he pointed it at his father.
After staring nervously at each other for a minute, Gyro spoke. "This is silly. We both know we can't harm each other so we'll have to get along." Both of them lowered their guns. Even Evina knew that what he said was true.
"I want to offer you my sincerest apology," Gyro said. "I only wanted to help. I didn't want it to end this way!" Tears began to fill his eyes, and then Evina suddenly hugged him. The embrace was one of forgiveness, sadness, and love.
"I'm glad that I have a toon that still cares for me," the old chicken continued. "I'm so proud to have you as a son. You've truly saved us all."
Evina still felt slightly awkward hugging someone that he had never remembered meeting before. They were supposed to be enemies, but they had something in common that he couldn't deny. They were from the same family, and they understood each other's pains. They had something inside them that nobody else in the world had, this mysterious disease of the cog.
Evina felt very tired since he had last woken up from bed at four in the morning. A lot had happened since then. He defeated the president, his friends were dipped, and he found his long-lost traitor of a father.
"I understand everything," Evina said. "I know why you had to do it. But now your eyes, the evil eyes, are on the top of every cog building."
"So, I've noticed," Gyro said. "But they're not like that anymore."
Evina sighed, looking into the eyes of Gyro Gearloose. They still looked dark, dull, and gray. They were heavy and sad. They were the eyes of a pathetic, old chicken who was scared and full of regrets. He had changed the colorful world of Toontown into an evil, gray nation of robots.
"We need to go up on the roof," he said.
Although Evina didn't know what he was talking about, he followed Gyro to his spaceship. He sat with the door open and his legs hanging out. Then they slowly rose through the ceiling and up higher and higher to the surface. They landed on what remained of the roof of the capitol building. Evina hopped out and saw the amazing view.
Above the building, there was a beautiful sight of the city. A warm wind was blowing. Evina could feel it on his black suit, reminding him of the times he spent alone. Now they could see all of Cogtropolis glimmering in the colorful sunset. The clouds were orange like the ones on the day that Gyro left Toontown.
It was unusually silent. Every single cog in the world was destroyed, but Evina didn't really feel too bad for them. After all, for most of them, it was the first time that they had ever felt the joy of laughter. They had never really experienced something quite like that before. The conquering of Toontown was all because they were following orders.
He had mixed emotions of happiness and sadness. A normal toon wouldn't be able to handle the feelings that Evina had experienced that day, but he wasn't a normal toon. He began to cry of happiness and grief. If only the other toons could see this, he thought. If only they could hear the truth, and see the beauty, and feel the happiness of our reunion. If only we could be heroes together. If only they could forgive me.
Gyro looked out at his nation with wonder. He had started this all, and even though it had caused terrible things, it still shined brilliantly.
"I just don't understand this one thing," Evina said. "How could this possibly make the toons better? How could this make them work together?"
"I've been thinking about that for a long time," Gyro replied, "and then I found the answer. The toons didn't have the resistance and pain to understand happiness. They needed something difficult to wake them up from their ignorance. Once I felt the anger and the emptiness, I knew this is what it would take. Sometimes things need to be broken down in order to be built up."
Evina thought about his words, and they began to make sense. Just like muscles, almost everything needs resistance to grow and become strong. "You truly are a genius," he told him. "I just wish the other toons could be here to see this...." He thought about it sadly for a minute, but then he thought of the strangest idea.
"What it is?" Gyro asked in response to Evina suddenly jumping up.
Evina seemed to ignore everything else. A moment of genius had struck. "I... I think I know what to do! The toons can experience this!" Evina pulled the giant pencil out of his pocket.
Gyro's eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw it. The pencil was perfectly sharpened and embossed with the name Walt Disney in golden letters.
"Before he was dipped, Scrooge told me that nothing is impossible," Evina said, "and I believe him."
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