The Let's Play Archive

Mother 3

by Maple Leaf

Part 24: Chapter 19

This update brought to you by Megas XLR.

Lucas didn't really know what to expect as soon as they entered the Chimera Lab. Since the area immediately outside was crawling with half this-and-that's and the chimeras reached as far out as Sunshine Forest on one end and the Unknown Valley on the other, he figured that the building where most of them were created to begin with would be absolutely crawling with them, full nearly to the point of bursting with a mishmash of creatures never intended.

The truth so far was pretty boring, in comparison.

"Hey, you two!" a Pigmask called to his side, getting his attention. "Are you two the new part-timers that we hired yesterday?"

It was almost a little annoying with how back-and-forth their misconceptions about him were getting. If they were going to confuse him with someone, they could at least be consistent about it. He was all ready to play the part of 'commander' again and now he's been demoted to some fresh part-timer. "Yes," he replied all the same.

"Okay, cool. The front door is on lockdown right now.

The theatre is just through this door, here. Go on through to the back, and change your clothes to something more sensible for the workplace." It extended a gloved hand, open wide. "It's good to have you aboard!"

Lucas could appreciate some politeness, regardless of who he was pretending to be. "Thank you," he answered, shaking the man's hand, and he showed himself into the theatre.

A place like this having a mini-theatre was a bit of a surprise, but he didn't think twice about it. Between creating bloodthirsty chimeras all hours of the day, he could imagine that sometimes they just needed to relax with a good show.

Backstage was cramped, containing a trashcan; some janitorial supplies; a stinky hamper filled with sweaty, dirty clothes; a trio of lockers; and no room for anything else. One of the lockers was left ajar, and, sneaking a peak as they walked by, had a pair of unused Pigmask helmets hanging on their hooks.

He nearly walked right past them when he doubled back. Since he was 'working' there, he probably should have had his own locker, and this might have been what the earlier Pigmask meant by changing clothes. And nobody was using them anyway, so...

It was a little big on him: the peepholes for his eyes were too far apart, meant for someone larger, and his helmet rattled with his step and spun with his head when he turned. Boney's helmet, at least, seemed to fit him just as well as it had before. He doubted there was a uniform his size anywhere, so hopefully, just a helmet would have to do.

The room just past backstage looked to be some kind of furnace, or septic room, of some kind...

...followed by a compact and high-tech rec room...

...which was followed by some kind of study room, filled nearly to the brim with bookshelves stocking everything anybody could possibly need to know about zoology...

...which finally led into the meat of the laboratory. Just beyond the door from the study was another Pigmask, looking up and down the corridor for something, its eyes eventually falling on Lucas and Boney. "Perfect timing," it said casually, before running a hand over Lucas's helmet, feeling it wobble under his touch. "Didn't they have a helmet more your size?"

"Uh, no sir, none that I could find," he answered, keeping up his charade.

"Well, whatever, it shouldn't be terribly important for now. But what we need you to do really is.

Some monkeys have gone missing, and we need to find them as quick as we can!"

There was an undeniable urgency in its voice, just like the person he had talked to through the device in his pocket. "We have every possible exit on lockdown, so we know they're still in here somewhere. Being monkeys, they're really spry and slippery, so we've had our work cut out for us.

It left the corridor, going deeper into the laboratory to resume the search. The small hall they were in was a dead end; it had one other door leading into a break room, which already had two Pigmasks in it, looking under the tables and behind the vending machines. And mounted on the far upper wall of the corridor was a peculiar machine...

It just sat there, moving back and forth steadily, its single glass eye roving over every inch of the floor. It was kind of unsettling to look at.

Just as they left the corridor to begin their search for the missing monkeys, he and Boney saw something as amusing as it was strange. A fully-grown man, if a little short, hiding in a trash can as he sprinted full-tilt down the hall away from them.

He didn't pursue the man, though: he was here because the Pigmasks needed a monkey in order to retrieve one of the Magypsy Needles, and he needed to beat them to the punch. Whatever antics happened in the Chimera Lab were beside the point.

Finding his way about the Chimera Lab was the tricky part, though. Many of the doors were unmarked and oblique about what they had contained. The first room had a number of mechanical instruments, along with a constantly moving treadmill built directly into the floor. What anything had to do with anything (besides, maybe, physical fitness) was above his head.

The next room had some liquids of varying colours, textures, and viscosities inside tiny glass tubes, surrounded by books and devices designed for who-knows-what. Some of them looked like the fruit drinks he sometimes bought when he had the cash - they were very delicious and worth every penny. When the liquids began to fizzle and steam as he approached, though, they weren't worth the risk, no matter how tasty.

The room directly across had a very plain sign on it: it was the familiar sign posted anywhere where there was a hot-spring nearby. It had been a while since he had a chance to enjoy the dip in one of their relaxing waters. Justifying himself by looking for the monkeys, in case they just happened to be in there, he gleefully gave the room a look.

He happened to slip in the tub while he was looking and he took his time getting out.

Moving forward with their search, the next door wasn't a room, but an elevator, hooked up to the first and third floors. He ignored it for now, deciding to make sure he checked everything thoroughly before moving on. He could tell that if he wasn't careful, he could easily get lost in the building.

The next room, like the first two, was just another puzzle he couldn't hope to solve. An enormous pink machine surrounded on all sides by a number of power tools he recalled seeing the likes of at uncle Bronson's house the few times he visited. Wires hung out carelessly from the far wall panels, and a pair of tanks, frozen cold to the touch, rested nearby. But still no monkeys.

Just as he left the room, he bumped into another Pigmask, searching tirelessly for the monkeys as well. At first they said nothing; the Pigmask looked disoriented, spinning about in place once before stopping again in front of Lucas.

"Man," it sighed, dropping its shoulders in defeat, "I can't make heads or tails of this place. I feel like I've been running laps. You have any luck, kid?"

Lucas turned around looking down the hallway he had been weaving in and out from. "Not really," he answered. "I just...I'm a part-timer, and I was only hired yesterday, so, you know..."

"Oh, you're a newbie, huh?" It asked, already reaching for one of the pouches on its belt. "You should have told someone. They would have set you up with a map right away. You can have mine, though; I clearly can't make heads or tails of it."

Lucas was thankful, but at the same time...just how many maps was he expected to hold?

"I've always had a little trouble reading maps, no matter how simple they might be, especially for a building like this one." The Pigmask resumed his search, walking into the next room. "And if I really need another one, I'll just head back for it."

Judging by the map, at least, there wasn't a lot of places the monkeys could hide on the third floor. With the Pigmask off on its own work, he entered the next room.

Compared to the very heavy-duty feel of the other rooms, this one seemed particularly tame. Just a number of devices sitting in the back corners, with the far wall practically painted with complex mathematical formulas and codes. Standing out like a sore thumb was a tall, metal device in another corner underneath another of those constantly moving wall-mounted things, and on the other side...a parrot. It looked familiar, but he couldn't place it anywhere until he heard it speak.

The only place in all of Tazmily that had a parrot was old man Scamp's cabin, and only he had the mouth to teach his pet parrot such a foul mouth. But...what was she doing there? In a building that specialized in disassembling animals and putting them back together with other animals, he suddenly felt very nervous for her.

Going back into the corridor and following after the Pigmask, they went into the last room on the floor. It was stocked with fossils of all manner of animals, from a mighty Drago to a tiny mouse.

Most of the specimens in the room, though, were from chimeras. Cattlesnakes, ostrelephants, and cactus wolves lined the walls of the trophy room in particular. He wondered exactly how the Pigmasks could have gotten them in the first place: the chimeras were introduced three years ago, which wasn't nearly enough time for a body to die and decompose into a fossil naturally...wasn't it?

Perhaps most chilling of the skeletons, though, was a decidedly human one sitting in the corner. He couldn't tell if it was real or fake, but the plaque describing it implied the former, even if in jest.

According to their map, there was only one room just south of them, so they checked that out first. The room they walked into was absolutely filled to the brim with all sorts of animals and specimens, all sealed into individual vials and preserved in formaldehyde, the liquid glowing a sickly green. It was all he had to not immediately lose the lunch he had eaten on the green train right there.

Heading in the other direction, the second room was much like the first: a number of animals dotted the room densely, standing on pedestals with helpful signs and plaques nearby describing their names and their traits. Unlike the fossils of the first room, these ones were fully stitched and stuffed, looking almost exactly like they were found in the wild.

They looked so real, it was as if any of them could have come alive at any moment and get the drop on them both. But his fears were unfounded.

The last room of the second floor was like the formaldehyde room: lining the walls and the tables were more specimens in jars, only this time the jars simply contained their brains, rather than their entire bodies.

Lucas grunted in disgust at having to see these sights in such quick succession. They were all very necessary for the projects the Pigmasks were committing, but the chimeras shouldn't ever have existed to begin with.

He took a quick glance around the room, not wanting to stay for any longer than they could have, and turned around when he saw nothing. But just as he spun, out of the corner of his limited vision, he saw a quick flash of brown. It snapped suddenly, like some kind of whip, before pulling back away, away out sight. It could have been his eyes playing tricks on him, he knew, but still, better to be safe than sorry.

As he approached, he could definitely hear a few quiet, nervous yips of some kind of animal from behind the table. He slowed his pace down to a tip-toe, trying to be discreet about approach whatever was behind the table - but they were watching him, and once he got a little too close for their comfort, they immediately bolted around the other side of the table, slipping past them both and making for the door.

He and Boney gave chase, running back out the door and through the stuffed specimen room, in hot pursuit of the two monkeys. He spun his head, scanning the room quickly, looking for the two runaways, and when he was certain they hadn't hidden among the stuffed animals on display, he and Boney ran into the next room...

...a little too precariously.

The Almost-Mecha Lion's gears and joints audibly strained and whirred as they tried to straighten out, doing its hardest to keep its balance and stand upright. Getting complacent, Lucas stepped forward, ready to try another PK Flash to hopefully numb its body once more and get it to stay still, but as soon as he made a step forward, the lion found its second wind, getting back up and returning to an attack stance.

Lucas wasn't ready for it; before he could react, the Almost-Mecha Lion took a couple of intimidating steps forward itself, pushing him and Boney back against the wall, before it made a leap, claws extended and fangs bared, ready to gnash them apart easily.

Lucas held up his arms, bracing himself for the impact, readying another PSI Lifeup, when...

...he and Boney were saved at the last minute by a spry Clayman backed by two other Pigmasks, arriving just in time to knock the lion out for certain.

"Are you okay, cute part-timer?!" asked one of the arriving Pigmasks in a panic, looking over Lucas and Boney. They were pretty beaten up, from the looks of his clothes and the dents in their helmets, but they were both standing and moving as if they were totally fine.

Lucas stuttered a bit, trying to compose himself after that close call. "Y-yeah," he managed to utter, keeping his eyes on the Almost Mecha-Lion as the Claymen busily went to work. He didn't know if the monkeys had slipped past the Pigmasks and the lion, and in the excitement, he forgot to ask.

The two arriving Pigmasks quickly tended to him and Boney, administering all manners of first-aid and checking for any broken or dislodged bones. Aside from the occasional stiffness in their arms and legs, he and Boney past their medical test easily, getting a surprised reaction from the Pigmasks; they believed him to be some kind of martial-arts expert, the way how he had no serious wounds on him at all after fighting one of their berserk chimeras. All the while, the Claymen quickly tied up the lion and hefted it out of the room, returning without it a short while later, leaving its fate up in the air.

"How many are left?" one of the four asked, once everything was under control.

"Just the one, now," another answered.

"That's the one." It turned to Lucas. "Hey, part-timer. You been here long enough to know what we're talking about?"

Lucas thought about it. They were probably looking for escaped chimeras, but of all the ones he ran into, he never came across one that was 'red with a huge mouth'. "No," he answered shortly after.

The other Pigmasks looked to each other, yet said nothing. Whatever was running around the Chimera Lab was clearly spooking them all into silence. "That thing means serious trouble," one of them said to break the silence, only to be followed by more.

"Yeah," said another. Lucas looked around the circle, expecting one of them to fill him in on the details, but none of them said anything. One would occasionally look to another, and one would scuff the sole of his boot across the floor in nervousness, but they all knew what everyone else was thinking, and they all knew the direness of the scenario.

"Um," Lucas finally said, breaking the awkward silence once more. Before he could ask what the big deal was, the one closest to him suddenly cut him off.

"You," another stuttered, looking to the first, almost shocked. "You want us to lock it in here with us? With no other place to run?"

"Better in here than out there," it answered deftly. "If that thing gets out, it could very well..." It didn't finish the thought, apparently the very idea too gruesome to imagine coherently. "Just do it, and watch yourselves, alright? We don't need anybody turning into any beastie's lunch." Without another word and a quake in each of their steps, the other three slowly and quietly left the room, as if they were marching to their own executions. The Claymen loyally followed.

Once he and the Pigmask were alone in the room, it turned around, bending down to meet him in the eye - even though he still couldn't see through the blackness shrouding his eyes behind the eyeholes. "Hey, cute part-timer. About the chimeras.

One that's way more dangerous than the one you saw just now." It leaned forward, deepening its tone. "The monkeys managed to unlock some of the cages for the chimeras we had downstairs, and one of them was...this thing. If, at any point while you're looking for those monkeys, you happen to run across a large, red chimera with a massive jaw and dagger-like teeth with itty-bitty wings..." It reached forward, grasping both sides of Lucas's helmet, making sure the boy's focus was on it. "You run."

Lucas didn't reply; the message was crystal clear as it was. "I saw how you handled the Almost-Mecha Lion. You're some kind of fighting master and you have some skills I've never even seen before, but none of that matters. Nothing can beat this thing. It'll brush off anything you hit it with. If it finds you, it will not stop until it has you. Run. Away." Lucas was beginning to get a little scared of this thing already - the Pigmask just sounded so deadly serious about it. "We don't call it the 'Ultimate Chimera' for nothing. If you see it, duck into a room, or out into the hallway, or whatever you need to do; a door is usually enough to slow it down enough to get away, but you must never, ever get caught." The Pigmask dropped its hands, letting go of Lucas. "Do you understand?"

"I understand," he replied quickly, his voice breaking. He had been warning not to go near things or places before, but this...

"Good." It straightened back up. " can't say I never warned you." And with that, it left the room, off in search for the monkeys once more.

Lucas looked to Boney, his hands practically quivering in fright, and he hadn't even seen the thing, yet. Boney, of course, barely showed any sign of understanding any of it, and he just stood there loyally, his tongue lolling out as he panted. He wasn't worried about Boney being oblivious, though; he was just worried about running into the thing.

They couldn't just sit there and wait for the monkeys to find them, though. They still had to get to them before the Pigmasks could. Taking a deep breath, he finally left the fossil room.

Once he stepped out of the room, as if it was just waiting for him to show himself, they both heard a deafening roar shake the very walls of the building. It seemed to come from everywhere all at once; it rattled the door on its hinges and he could feel the bloody yell creep up his legs. The incredible roar lasted for far too long; even after it was long over, he could still hear it cycle endlessly in his ears, the sound so vivid he could already envision the monster right in front of him.

He brought his hands up and below his mask, clamping them over his mouth as he did his best to not scream in fright. All of a sudden, he felt so cold in his fingers and toes, and he could feel every hair on his body quickly stand on end. Boney didn't take it any easier: the first thing he did was lay flat on his stomach in submission, hoping that whatever made the fierce bellow wouldn't hurt him if he simply stayed low and let it be the alpha. Boney shook almost violently in sheer terror, unable to keep himself calm as he shivered, his eyes wide and focused straight ahead, looking out for whatever had just made that sound.

To make matters worse, once the initial roar finally stopped, he heard oinks. The signature grunt of the Pigmask. At first, just one or two oinks splitting the sudden silence, but quickly, far too quickly, more and more began to join, in some kind of tuneless, soulless orchestra. He could imagine so many Pigmasks getting together and trying to rush the Ultimate Chimera all at once. They got higher in pitch and denser in number until all he could hear were oinks, sounding as though they were coming from immediately downstairs - and then another roar. The same roar, just as loud and just as fierce, cutting off all the oinks at a single time. There were some squeals of fear and pain, just barely audible over the foundation-shaking howl, until everything just stopped once again. The air was as quiet as the moment he entered the building, broken occasionally by a heavy stomp of something walking across the hard steel floor.

Thump. Thump. Lucas couldn't tell where the footsteps were coming from. The Ultimate Chimera could have been on the floor above them, or the floor below them; it could have been in the room just to his left, or it could have been outside. He had absolutely no way of telling. "C-" he stuttered, bringing his own shaking hand down to Boney, patting his dog on the back, trying to gather up enough courage for the both of them. "Come on, Boney," he barely managed to say, most of it coming out in whispers. "We...we have to find those...monkeys."

Boney whimpered and whined, looking up to Lucas. It was difficult to tell through the mask, but he knew his dog was definitely giving him that 'do we have to?' look he was so good at. Remarkably, though, Boney pulled himself to his feet, ready to go whenever his master was. It took Lucas a bit more time to gather the courage to perform the same feat. Thump. Thump. He was gripping onto the badge Nippolyte had given him tightly, hoping that it still had some good luck left to give.

Cautiously, yet as quickly as his feet would allow him, they resumed their search for the monkeys. They retraced their steps, checking into each room once again, knowing that they could have dashed into any room they had already visited, so they needed to look again. This time, knowing that whatever that thing was that made that noise was roaming the halls, they took their time checking the room thoroughly before risking jumping back out and looking again.

As they made it halfway down the corridor, taking far longer in each room than they needed to before progressing, they passed the elevator. Sitting in front of it was a trashcan Lucas didn't recall seeing the first time through - and no wonder; sitting in it was the old man that he saw sprinting down the hall earlier.

He leaned over its edge, looking into the pail. The old man looked up at Lucas, realizing he had been caught, but also recognizing that Lucas was new to the facility.

I've been forced to conduct...experiments that I'm not fond of, for a certain man." It was difficult to hear the man speak over the constant thunderous steps of the Ultimate Chimera coming straight out of the walls. "I was commissioned to make that Chimera we're all wetting ourselves over."

Thump. Thump. "Good job, I guess," Lucas said wearily, constantly looking over his shoulder, half-expecting Boney to be replaced by whatever the Ultimate Chimera was. "Aren't you gonna...hide someplace better?"

"There is no 'someplace better', lad," Andonuts replied simply. "In a room or in a hallway - inside or outside - if the Ultimate Chimera finds you, there is no hope. My garbage can is as good a place as any."

Unrelated to the Chimera, even. I just plain don't want to be found, so if you don't mind?" Andonuts quickly squatted back down, out of sight from everything else. "You've got more guts than a bloated rhinocerocket, kid," he said before silencing himself again. Thump. Thump.

Lucas left Andonuts to his trashcan; though he didn't see the logic in hiding in the middle of the hallway, that was his problem to worry about. He had himself and his dog to look after, and some monkeys to catch. Still shaking violently, they both continued down the hall.

It was only one body, but it was one way too many. Checking every room as they continued down the hall, their last destination before having to go down a floor was the break room.

Unlike the one in the hallway, the two bodies laying limp and broken on the cool floor were still breathing. Thump. Thump. Their helmets had been punctured with a series of impossible teeth, and their suits had been ripped open with razor-sharp claws, but they were not dead. Sitting in the far corner of the break room was another Pigmask, heaving heavily, out of breath, from having to lug its two injured comrades to safety.

Lucas decided it would be less risky to take the main stairs down to the first floor by cutting through the library and the rec room down to the mini-theatre and starting back there. The Ultimate Chimera was probably wandering around the main halls, he reasoned, so going back the way he came seemed like a safe-enough bet.

The library was easy-going enough. Thump. Thump. There were no bodies strewn about and the doors didn't look like they were tampered with. Cautiously, he reached for the door leading into the rec room, stepping onto the floor-

It apparently didn't hear them enter. Lucas and Boney both stopped dead in their tracks, their hearts beating in their skulls, watching the incredible beast make its movements. It thumped about, almost clueless, trying to get itself down the stairs and further into the Chimera Lab, but it didn't seem like it was used to its own size and eyesight. It lumbered forward slowly, edging its way carefully down the steps, unaware of the fresh meat right behind it.

Lucas didn't have a view of its front. All he saw was an giant crimson body, perhaps all skin and no fur, with a long, whip-like tail shaped into a spade at its very tip. It had a pair of small, purple wings on its back, far too small for practical flight or even gliding, although they flexed with each step, probably helping it balance. Its head, as well as he could see it from his angle, was enormous - it should have been far too large for its body. He was, at the very least, thankful that he couldn't see its teeth from his position.

The oddest things about the Ultimate Chimera were that it had a large, gray button on its back, positioned snugly between its wings, and a simple yellow canary bird perched atop its head, occasionally bending down to peck at its skin. If it even felt the little bird at all, it wasn't showing it.

Slowly and carefully, the Ultimate Chimera trudged down the steps, cautious to not suddenly slip and fall down their flight. Lucas and Boney, at the same time, turned back around and left the rec room and into the library, deciding that the main stairs were, in fact, the safer option. As quietly as he could, he closed the door behind them, quickly dashing out of the room towards the lower hallway. Now that he knew where it was, he had a small head-start on the first floor to look for the monkeys. Thump. Thump.

He started his search on the ground floor with the first room he found at the very end of the hallway. In it were four large, glass cages, arranged in a square, each containing a different chimera. A parental kangashark; another ostrelephant; and one he had never seen before, called an 'einswine' according to its plaque. Each cage listed a number followed by the sign for Dragon Points; a price-tag, he guessed, each of them asking for several millions worth of Dragon Points.

The last one was fairly enigmatic. What was a 'PORKY' and what happened to the other seven?

They did a quick lap around the room, looking all over for the monkeys. The chimeras began to get a little rattled with their quick and erratic movement, but he and Boney were safe with the chimeras locked behind the glass. When they were done, they ran out, quickly making for the next room. Thump. Thump. The Ultimate Chimera could have caught up with them now, for all they knew.

A small meeting room, it looked like. There were some papers and full coffee mugs strewn about on the table, and some lab coats hanging on a rack in the corner. There was a whiteboard in another that Lucas nearly skipped entirely until he noticed it had the words 'Ultimate Chimera' on it, and decided it might be better to read it.

It just...stopped there. Thump. Thump. The whiteboard wound up telling him what he already knew. They left the room in a hurry, desperate to keep whatever head-start they still had on the Ultimate Chimera before it caught up with them on the ground floor.

The next room was some kind of presentation room, equipped with a projector on top of a table with five surrounding chairs, along with a podium in the corner. On the far walls were more diagrams and illustrations of things he couldn't begin to understand. The projector was running when he stepped in, showing a picture of...

Cowering in the corner of the room, next to the podium, was another Pigmask, having the idea curl itself into a ball and simply wait out the Ultimate Chimera, hoping that someone would catch it before it managed to get to him.

Still no luck on the monkeys, however. Thump. Thump. Lucas was beginning to become desperate; the Ultimate Chimera had somehow slipped past them both and wiggled its way into the rec room, so he couldn't assume that it wasn't quick on its feet. For all he knew, with the way the walls kept shaking with each of its footsteps, it could have squeezed its way into the lobby by now and was just two doors away from him and Boney.

The next door opened into the lobby, coincidentally - thankfully, though, it wasn't anywhere in sight, but the way he could still hear the thumping of its footsteps made him always believe that it could have just been behind the next door. Where could those monkeys have run off to?

Just as he made for the next room to search, there was a commotion at the end of the hallway opposite from where he had started. Pigmasks of all colours began to emerge from the back room, all of them carrying large hand cannons of some kind. He and Boney dashed into the next room, hoping they had managed to avoid getting seen by the others and being corralled into joining their suicide mission to recapture the Ultimate Chimera. They marched right past the door they had leapt into, and into the lobby, probably aiming for the mini-theatre. Thump. Thump. "Move it, move it!" he heard one of them shout to the others.

They were all oinking the familiar Pigmask oink as they went - just like the last time he had heard them. As their oinking had began to reach the same crescendo they had last time, Lucas knelt down to hug Boney close when the Ultimate Chimera let out another of its massive roars.

It might have just been his perception - his senses all rattling in his head when the Chimera bellowed its cry once more - but it looked to him like everything was practically dancing on the spot from the sheer force of the roar, the powerful vibration knocking everything out of their place. He fell to his knees and Boney fell to his stomach, their ears ringing and their eyes shaking from the loud blast, as, like last time, the final thing they heard was the weak and injured cries from the Pigmasks as their second attempt to sedate it had failed. Thump. Thump.

It was difficult to stand back up, there nerves as shot as they were. At any moment, with no opposition, that thing could come wandering down the hall and right into them. It apparently knew how to open doors. There was no place safe from the Ultimate Chimera.

The room they were in looked like some kind of...he didn't know what. More chemicals on shelves in jars and vials, more desks and chairs, but a set of operating tables that weren't quite shaped for a human to lie on.

Lucas opened the door to leave the room, but he took his time: he slowly creaked it open, looking back and forth, watching to see if the Ultimate Chimera was waiting anywhere nearby for them. Thump. Thump. But the coast was clear; quickly, he and Boney dashed out of the room, Lucas slamming the door behind him, as they made for the last room to search, barring the third floor. It was only accessible via elevator, from the looks of his map, so it wasn't likely that they made it up there. It was a good place to hide from the Ultimate Chimera, at least.

The temperature dropped sharply in the last room. It had an operating table at the very centre, though unlike the other two, it was so large it couldn't even hold a Drago much less a normal animal. And it was surrounded by some tools very unsuited for medical work: massive cranes, huge pliers, handsaws, and at least one incredible circular saw surrounded the table, facing in, ready to go to work on whatever unfortunate soul happened to get strapped in.

A blue Pigmask was standing guard next to one of the three other doors in the room. "New guy!" it whispered venomously, trying to get Lucas to shoo. "Go find your own hiding spot!"

"You can have it," he whispered back. "I'm just looking...for those monkeys." He shivered and his breath was uneven, although he didn't know whether it was from the sudden cold or from having heard and seen and having to run from that beast. "Did you see them?" Thump. Thump.

On the one hand, he was relieved that the Pigmask hadn't captured the monkeys and he'd have another problem on his plate. But on the other... "Why didn't you grab them?"

"Hey, you want to handle two panicky monkeys all with that thing running around, you be my guest."

Spurred into action, knowing that they had to be close, Lucas took him up on that offer. "I'm getting those monkeys," he said simply, "and you can keep your hiding spot."

"Good deal," it replied, stepping aside for Lucas to open the door. It was another elevator, only it had just one button, for going into the basement. It was a short ride down.

It looked to be some kind of small refugee camp for some of the Pigmasks and the scientists that chose to run from the Ultimate Chimera rather than try and recapture it. Immediately after stepping off the elevator, he saw two large cages: one containing some smaller red animal he had never seen before, cowering in the corner of its cage, visibly shaking and audibly whimpering with each thump-thumping of the Ultimate Chimera above - and the second cage was empty, its door wide open.

Lucas was silent. With each step the Ultimate Chimera made, the dust would shake off from the tiled ceiling above, rumbling underneath its titanic weight. He felt like the other animal in its cage: terrified and nearly immobile. But he was still determined. There was only one other path going farther into the basement, so the monkeys must have been further inside.

Suddenly, the heat began to rise, and the lights turned dark-red, implying a sense of danger in the immediate area. All was quiet, though: even the sounds of the Ultimate Chimera's footsteps were beginning to dull the more he went in. But it offered him no solace: after all, there was only one way out.

The next room held two more cages, containing chimeras he had never seen before. One of them had a walrus's head and an ape's body; and the other...was some kind of enormous armadillo. There was nothing more to the room: no second exit; no other cages; no other feature. If the monkeys really were underground there with him, they had to be in the room.

Luckily enough for both of them, there they were, poorly concealing themselves behind the far cage. Lucas stopped once they were in his sight once again, getting Boney to stay behind him. He didn't want them to run off again; if they would just go with him, they just needed to weave around the Ultimate Chimera, and then they could make a dash for the front door and hopefully that would be the end of that.

He recognized one of them. It looked a little different - older and a bit more grisly. But it still wore the same collar from three years ago, and the resemblance was still uncanny. It was that monkey he had saved with Kumatora and Wess, by getting the adult Drago to flatten the tank that had been chasing them. He stepped forward very slowly, and carefully, arduously, raised his hand, reaching out to the monkeys, searching his memory for its name. He knew Kumatora told him its name - or, at least, the name it was given - back at Club Titiboo, but he just couldn't recall it. It was something delicious. Pasta...? Soda...?

They obviously didn't recognize him at all: the moment he got a little too close for their comfort, they hopped away, scaling the metal bars of the cages swiftly and dancing across them, leaping out of his reach. "Wait!" he called, but they didn't listen, running for the door and out of the room.

He dashed after them, running back into the first red room and into the room with the two other cages. One of the Pigmasks taking shelter there was pounding on the elevator's single button, trying to call it back, but no use. "Those damn monkeys!" it cursed, punching the button one final time, and the door opened, revealing an empty cabin.

He and Boney rushed past the Pigmask, getting into the cabin. They waited a moment for the other Pigmask to join them, but it didn't: with one look, it turned back around and sat down, wanting nothing to do with the upstairs. Thump. Thump.

Lucas could understand why. He didn't even get a good look at the Ultimate Chimera's front, and just from the way it sounded and the way it moved, he was absolutely petrified of it. He could hardly believe he was pressing the button to take the elevator back upstairs.

What greeted him weren't the monkeys, as he was sincerely hoping, but another body. Three so far. Like the others, its suit was ripped and torn all over its suit, and punctured in its helmet deeply by a tooth pattern that made no sense.

But the body also meant something else: the Ultimate Chimera was in the room recently. How recently, he couldn't know, but he wasn't gone for terribly long; it couldn't have been too far. There were four doors in the room, two of them he hadn't entered yet, but going by his map - his hands so jittery and excited that he could hardly hold it steady in front of him - they were both dead-ends. The monkeys had to have gone through one of the other three: he picked the south door first, hoping that he was lucky enough to find them there. Thump. Thump.

That wasn't the case, and for good reason: the temperature dropped very sharply the moment he opened the door. It was an enormous freezer, the chill pumped into the room by a pair of tall machines standing on both ends of the room. There were four tubes, each frosting over on the inside, robbing him of most of his vision into their contents, but the centerpiece of the room was much more pronounced.

If the Ultimate Chimera was as small as it was compared to the Drago, then...what would they make with the Drago...? He didn't harp on the thought; he had enough terrors to worry about.

Still, he checked the room over, just to be sure - and the longer he was away from the Ultimate Chimera, the better. He didn't find the monkeys, but someone was clearly in a bit of a hurry when they left the room, and had dropped something valuable, and quite dangerous, in their haste.

In case he ever ran into the beast might come in handy. They left the room before they froze as solid as the Drago.

The last place to check before they had to brave the hallways of the Chimera Lab once more was just north of the large operating table. He just hoped that the monkeys were smart enough to hide in places that the Ultimate Chimera wasn't as likely to get into. But, he did find it in the rec room, so it was just like Andonuts had said:

There was no running from it.

It was busy eating something from straight off the shelf, its enormous jaw snapping away at some of the bags stacked in there. Its tail was seemingly wagging in delight. But as soon as Lucas saw it, the Ultimate Chimera saw Lucas.

"Back!" he yelled to Boney, pushing his dog away and pulling the door closed tightly behind him. He was hyperventilating; the same cold he felt earlier crept into his digits and traveled farther up his limbs, knowing that the invincible, unstoppable, insatiable killing machine that they had been running from for the past twenty minutes was right behind that door. Boney knew it too: he laid back on his stomach, whining a constant, high-pitched whine, looking at the door, knowing that the Ultimate Chimera was just behind it. There was no lock on their side of the door; all he could do was pull it shut, hoping, praying, that the closed door was enough to stop it.

And for the moment, it was.

Dumbstruck and scared witless, Lucas stood there, watching the door bulge on its hinges rather than turn around and run. The Ultimate Chimera slammed into the door again and again, pausing a moment, and, with another of those bone-rattling roars, resumed its charges with a renewed vigour. After the second charge from its second wind, the door began to creak and crack; if the latch didn't give way first, the doorframe itself was.

Once the walls began to splinter, Lucas snapped back to reality, remembering what their best option for encountering the Ultimate Chimera was. "Run, Boney!" he hollered as he turned, making for the door going into the laboratory's hallway, his dog close behind.

Just beyond the door were the monkeys. They heaved and gasped for breath, tired from their constant running from the Pigmasks and from the Ultimate Chimera just two rooms away. Lucas saw that they were there, but he didn't realize it - after seeing that thing so close and pound away at the door to get at him, the only thing he was concerned with was running away.

The monkeys realized that he was standing right behind him, and immediately dashed off, for the opposite end of the corridor towards the chimera cages. At that moment, he wasn't too concerned for the monkeys as he was over himself; the Ultimate Chimera had ripped apart the first door and was already pounding on the second, fervent to get to its new meat. More than halfway down the hallway, he thought to make it into the lobby and try to find a hiding spot for himself in the mini-theatre, when they heard a terrible rip as the second door hiding the Ultimate Chimera finally heaved under its pressure.

Lucas didn't think - he didn't rationalize or strategize. At the sight of that incredible creature barrelling down the hallway towards them, its rowed fangs shining and its grotesque tongue flapping in its open mouth as it ran full-tilt towards them, he couldn't think. He could barely see straight. He simply turned around and ran.

Ignoring the stairs, he and Boney sprinted into the chimera cage room, desperate for a place to hide. It was a dead-end, and there was no clear was to open the cages and hide themselves in it with whatever other chimera happened to be trapped inside. The monkeys were hiding in the back corner, behind the ostrelephant cage, trembling in their own fear, knowing that there was no place left to hide from the Pigmasks.

Thump. Thump. The Ultimate Chimera let out one more roar, scaring Lucas and Boney into turning around. The sheer power and ferocity behind its yell made no difference whether it was in the same room or in a different building. But there it was, staring them both down.

Each step it took forward caused him and Boney to take two back. Its head - and a good chuck of its body - was jaw: just an enormous jaw-line that went from just above its chin to its ribs, and it sported an incredible row of teeth the entire way. It opened its mouth, panting from the run. An unearthly mix of saliva, blood, and various meat-stuffs littered its mouth and its gums, companioned by a comparatively thin, long and wide floppy pink tongue. Its eyes were just yellow: no iris or pupil to them, as far as he could see.

The ostrelephant and the einswine took what little cover they could in their cages, backing themselves up as far away as they could from the Ultimate Chimera as it strode past them. Lucas and Boney followed their example, but they quickly ran out of room to retreat to: their backs were to the concrete wall as that thing kept walking forward.

It gave another mighty roar, intimidating them further. He could smell its foul breath, coated in a number of smells and flavours he didn't care to imagine, and he could feel bits of its spit fling from its jaw and splat onto his clothes in its bellow.

It dove forward, its mouth agape, intent on swallowing them both whole.

He couldn't believe they had just managed to pull off such a quick trick, but at least he and Boney were still alive. He hadn't even realized they had lost their helmets; it had all happened so quickly. His heart was beating in his throat, watching that thing irritably turn around and eye them back down again.

It gave another blood-curdling roar, and this time, he didn't have the helmet to protect its spit from his hair. With the exit to their backs, they immediately turned around and made a break for it. The Ultimate Chimera wasn't far behind, tromping after its prey as soon as they left.


Salsa took a step forward, away from the safety of their hiding spot. They had managed to evade the Pigmask capture, and becoming the Ultimate Chimera's next snack, but the moment the helmet came off on that human, he had a rush of memories flood him all at once. "I know that human," he said.

"You know who?" asked his girlfriend.

"That human," he repeated. "It was...gosh, it was many stars ago, now. was back..."

"It was back when I was with that Fassad thing, and you were here with the Pigmasks."

His girlfriend stepped forward. "Is he a bad guy? He was wearing one of their faces..."

"No way, Dip. That human rescued me from Fassad. It and Princess and Geezer. It's definitely a friend. Definitely." The loud stomping of the Ultimate Chimera stopped suddenly. "And it's in trouble, just like we were back then." He turned to Dip, looking at her pleadingly. "Stay here, and don't move until you hear the Ultimate Chimera leave. If I don't come back, take the exit we found earlier and run as far away as you can."

"What are you thinking, Salsa?" she asked. He turned around, dashing after the human and the Ultimate Chimera without an answer, hearing her call his name behind him as he ran.


They made it halfway down the corridor, the Ultimate Chimera hot on their heels, before they had to stop. The front door was just a turn away, but the door was closed; if they took the time to open it, they would most assuredly be caught in its teeth. The whirled around, facing their predator once more as it drew closer. He knew he was told not to fight it, that it was invincible and unstoppable - and even though he never saw it fight, he believed it. But there was no running from it. He tried to focus, to build up a decent PK Love attack to use, but watching those teeth drip with blood from its earlier meals made it hard to concentrate.

Another, lighter pair of footsteps came rushing up from behind them, but he didn't dare take his eyes off the Ultimate Chimera for a second. "Kid!" he heard someone say. It sounded like Andonuts.

He didn't answer, still keeping his eyes on the crimson beast in front of him, still trying to focus his PSI for anything at all, but he was constantly failing. The more thunderous steps it took forward, the more his concentration was crushed. Fighting it was suicide, but trying to press the button on his back - as he recalled seeing one there in the rec room - was even more absurd. "Use the dog as bait!" Andonuts yelled - causing Boney to suddenly yip in fright, which caused Lucas to jump, which broke his focus again.

Having enough of all the distractions, the Ultimate Chimera roared once more. Lucas could feel his PSI dance on his fingertips - he could feel its energy arc in his palms and he could sense the wash of power through his body as he tried to drum up anything - but, as his heart continued to pound its way up his throat and into his ears, he could never grip onto any trick he already knew.

His eyes widened and his breathing quickened as it approached. He and Boney could turn back around and try to sprint away, but trying to use his PSI for anything and the fright of seeing it so close again, he was having a million thoughts at once and couldn't grasp any of them soundly.

The Ultimate Chimera made a few more steps forward, and suddenly leapt forward, its maw wide open again. Lucas didn't think to try and dash underneath it again and in an instant -

-the Ultimate Chimera flopped to the ground limply, its mouth closed, its breathing halted. It went as stiff as a statue as it slid across the hard floor, carried forward by its momentum until finally stopped just short of the meeting room. The canary on its head simply fell down with it, landing on its side just in front of the head, and finally, it was all over. The Ultimate Chimera laid to rest on the ground floor of the Chimera Lab.

It took Lucas a moment to register what had just happened. The Ultimate Chimera had jumped at them, its mouth wide open - he could see down its throat, and all the squishy muscles that shook and wriggled with its fearsome roar - and it had suddenly just stopped. Everything was silent between him, Boney, and Andonuts, for the most reeling moment of his life. His fingers and hands refused to move for a while, still recoiling from the fright.

The monkey stood next to the Ultimate Chimera, looking at the beast with its own uncertainty. Pressing the button as Andonuts said looked like it worked so far, but it was still difficult to believe. Just like turning off a light. That was it?

Andonuts, however, seemed comfortable enough with the Ultimate Chimera subdued. "Oh," he said simply as he stepped out of his garbage can.

Lucas's beating heart began to calm, and the feeling began to return to his entire body, very slowly. "The Ultimate Chimera is down, and the Pigmask occupation here has been weakened. Now's a good time to get running, wouldn't you say?" Lucas didn't reply. "I think I'll take this opportunity to leave the military, and devote my life to making all things happy. It's about time I used my skills for something less revolting, for once in my life." He turned to Boney, patting him calmly on the head.

Boney didn't think very highly of Andonuts.

"I'm sorry," he apologized. "I didn't mean anything by the 'bait' thing. I was just caught up in the moment. Water under the bridge?"

Boney wasn't the forgiving type, at least not right away. Serious or not, Boney gave chase, intent on giving Andonuts a feel of what it was like being the 'bait' for the hideous monster.

A second monkey came running out of the far room, quickly joining the first. Lucas looked over the Ultimate Chimera, confident that it was indeed 'off' but still apprehensive.

He looked at the collared monkey, and it looked to him; he felt that they both recognized each other from the event three years ago, and as he studied to worn, dirty blue collar around its neck, he suddenly remembered its name. "Salsa," he said, and the monkey yipped happily. ", Salsa," he breathed. He still hadn't weaned all the excitement from his system.

Boney came back, apparently having his fill of chasing around Andonuts, and barked to the trio to follow. Lucas was more than happy to oblige; they turned and left the Ultimate Chimera in the hall. He had what he came for, and he was more than willing to put the Chimera Lab behind him.

's quite a bit longer than after I woke up to make this post-update post. I got distracted. It's been a thing of a day.

Anyway, to kick it off, there's no new music. There's only actually supposed to be the one song, the Chimera Lab, in the entire update, but the "beware" thing I recorded was too atmospheric not to include. There's another "song" when Lucas is face-to-face with the Ultimate Chimera, but it's just a variation of the Shepard Tone with the heartbeat sound an enemy makes when they're asleep going really, really fast. It would have been awesome if I could record it, but it'd be difficult because of all the background noise happening at the same time.

For actual content, we're starting just before we actually enter the Chimera Lab (or just after you leave it, whichever). Go west, and you'll come across the Murasaki Hot Spring, in case you want to freshen up or grind a little before you enter the building.

There's something magical waiting for you at this hotspring in particular, though:

This friendly hen will gladly lay an egg for you if you just give her the word. She'll lay as many as you want, for all the fresh eggs you could possibly need. We already know what we can do with eggs if you keep them, so she's basically giving you free money, if you can stand the wait it takes to mature the chicks into chickens. Alternatively and conveniently, there's a hot spring just around the corner, if you want to turn all those eggs into 100 HP-per-pop healing items.

Not a bad item, particularly at this early stage, but with normal grinding, you'll definitely have Lifeup Beta, so it's already outclassed. Still, might be worth getting two or three.

Salsa will still have all the items you left him with, and, amusingly, it'll remember the last Monkey Trick you used with him so his menu will default to that skill. His level and his stats are all unchanged after three years, so he's still as awful a fighter as ever. You'll be with him for all of five minutes, though, and he's still a loveable chimp, so he's tolerable.

I fought one battle before this, and he leveled up. I thought he was just due for one at the end of his chapter. But then I fought exactly one more, and he leveled up again. He's even more overshadowed by Lucas and Boney if you fought the Black Beanling at least once, but still, only five minutes. And he's main purpose with your team isn't even combat, so these fights aren't for him.

(Monkey Mimic is an awesome attack now that he's unessential, though. A horseantula used Offense Up and then charged at a prepped Salsa; Salsa took mortal damage but he dealt 200 HP in response. Jeez!)

North from the hot-spring are wild einswines. They have no particularly noteable features, although they have a 10% chance of dropping a Magical Tart, which recovers PP. PP recovery items are very rare, so if you need to drop an HP recovery item for one, do it.

Speaking of Magic Tarts,

Incidentally, this mountain we're at the base of holds Club Titiboo at its very top. There's no way to climb up it, though; you have to take the ropeway. Not that there's anything there for us anymore. Nor is there anything for us outside of the Chimera Lab now.

Well...almost. I apparently walked right past this on my way up.

We're not quite done with the Chimera Lab, actually, so let's head on back inside. In the lobby is a shady researcher, peddling his..."medicines" to anyone with the cash to afford them.

Offense and defense sprays boost the offense or defense of whatever character you use it on, making them just as effective as their PSI counterparts because buffs and debuffs are static and independant of any stat. The real prizes here are the enemy bufferizers/wimperizers. Using the former on an enemy will doubles all of that enemy's stats, from offense and defense to HP. It will also double the enemy's experience payout, so if you grab a handful of these and go fight the Black Beanling a few times,'ll pretty much be immortal.

On the other side is a normal vending machine, peddling the normal wares. Pork stew for 120 DP restores 100 HP, but you can get that same amount in items for free just outside. Notably, it does sell a better weapon for Lucas, so it's worth a look.

To the left of him are the bathrooms. The male bathroom has a save frog, which is highly redundant since a save frog is already hopping around in the lobby, and the bathroom frog can't hand you DP.

Don't try to enter the female bathroom.

For your own safety.

If you investigate the projector in the projection room, it'll display a creature you've never met before. With the Ultimate Chimera gone, there will be a scientist there who will tell you exactly what they are.

Anybody know where I can download that font? I'm gonna need it soon Also, that Pigmask apparently just really likes hiding in that one spot, regardless of the threat.

Further inside the Chimera Lab, if you inspect some of the shelves in the rooms, you might get a message saying that "there's some kind of chemical up top, but it's too high to reach". Heights aren't an issue with Salsa.

This first one is on the first floor, in the left room next to the elevator. Your reward is an Offense spray. I think there are two more left to find in the lab.

She goes on to say that not even we could hope to stand up to it. We'll see about that

This room is the second to the left from the rightmost staircase. These two cabinets have the last of what we're looking for. The one on the left has a bug spray and the one on the right has a defense spray.

While we're in the room, examine the microscope in the bottom left hand corner, you get butterflies!

Or rather, just the one butterfly. These things may show up occasionally in dungeons and the like, and they restore 30 or so PP every time you get it. Not a tremendous amount but it's still better than nothing, and it's free.

Head back into the fossil room and talk to the only guy there.

He gives you an Enemy Bufferizer.

One last thing about the Ultimate Chimera. It may look menacing, and if it runs into you, it's a definite game-over, no negotiations, but it's actually kind of difficult to get caught by it. It can only run as fast as you walk (outside of cutscenes, natch), and its hitbox is tiny.

It's also not very bright.

I'm pretty sure that's it!

Oh yeah.

Y-Hat posted:

Also making an appearance in the lab is that magazine that you find in EarthBound in the ruined house, about the guy who goes down the highway at 85 mph.?

Huh, really?

Well, would you look at that.