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Side Story 3: Armored Schemes (and Stranger Things)

Any and all C+C appreciated. You can contact me at sommert@connecttime.net

Standard disclaimer: I don't own any of the Marvel characters or other characters from the numerous anime that are within.

Foreword: This one is part of the mainstream Avenging continuity, like the Azumanga side story. Also special thanks to Hairjubal for the FF idea, and David Dee for the Frightful Four characters. And a No Prize to anyone who can guess what the source of the title of this side story was. It was also a title to something else.

Victor von Doom, better known to the world by the title of 'Dr. Doom', armor-wearing, supreme ruler for life of his home country of Latveria, was busy at work in his main laboratory in Castle Doom. He found it vexing to be there, but Fate had seen fit to place obstacles in his path, the one of fulfilling his moral obligation of ruling the world. Such a destiny was inevitable. He was the most brilliant being on the face of the planet, as well as a born leader. Obviously he was destined to rule the Earth and shepherd it into a Utopia undreamt of by mankind. Sadly, his brilliance exceeded the rest of humanity by such a large degree that they couldn't comprehend his superiority, and miscategorized his attempts at just rule as mere domination. Too many had resisted his efforts at solving all of the world's problems by seizing control of it. These were the true enemies of mankind, and they had to be dealt with.

At the forefront of the resistance were two groups. One was headed by the accursed Reed Richards, Dr. Doom's intellectually inferior rival from his days as a student at Empire State University. Of all the people on the Earth, only Richards' intellect came close to Doom's own. Rather than seeing the obvious, that it was Doom who should rule over all, the American was jealous. Instead of becoming a servant prestigious enough to serve at the right hand of Dr. Doom, he saw fit to impede the Latverian's various schemes. Through Richards' manipulation of his cohorts —his fiancée, the stalwart Susan Storm, her impetuous brother, Jonathan Storm, and the abrasive mental Neanderthal, Benjamin J. Grimm— he had formed an organization known as the Adventurers of the Fantastic. One of their basic tenets was disrupting Dr. Doom's plans. Far too many of them. If not for the interfering quartet, Doom would have already ruled the world five times over.

Of late a second organization had become a thorn in the Doctor's side, one that had ruined a number of his attempts at consolidating control over the Orient. In this case it was a team of gaudily-dressed superheroes hailing from Japan: the technology-controlling, genius Mr. Fantastic, the hideous (in both strength and appearance) Thing, the self-proclaimed priestess of fire, the Human Torch, and the translucent mistress of force-fields, the Invisible Girl. Collectively they had dubbed themselves the 'Fantastic Four' and even Dr. Doom was forced to admit they were not completely incompetent. They had bothered him enough that he turned some of his personal attention toward them. So far all the Doctor had determined was that they had stumbled on some ruins under their school and pierced a dimensional barrier, journeying to some magnificent world that had imbued them with their powers— though Doom had come to suspect that the Shayla-Shayla girl might have originated in that far-off sphere. Once Doom had finished asserting control over the Earth, perhaps he would turn his attention to that magnificent world. After all, one planet was hardly enough to contain his greatness. Maybe even a universe would be insufficient. Being the most brilliant being in existence required grandiose plans.

But such strategies were for a later time. More immediate concerns required his personal attention. Since Dr. Doom's time was too important for him to personally deal with every matter, and he didn't trust anyone to be remotely competent enough to properly serve his needs, he employed his vast intellect to create automatons to carry out his will. The robots were, naturally, created in his armored image and dubbed 'Doombots' to reflect the genius of their maker. However, Dr. Doom quickly discovered that people disliked being ordered about by machines (never mind that the machines were far superior to them). In order to increase efficiency, he began having the robots act as though they were Dr. Doom themselves, outside the presence of the real one or each other. He even went so far as to install his own brainwave patterns in them, though all Doombots were rigged with sensors to differentiate their true master from their fellow automatons.

While his scheme had worked well in the beginning, problems began to appear of late. The number of Doombot failures far exceeded his original .055% estimate. It had gone up as high as 95% in regards to any complicated goal. Most of the failures could be attributed to the sudden surge in superpowered beings across the face of the planet, especially in the case of those that dubbed themselves superheroes. In the good old days, all Dr. Doom had to worry about were Richards, SHIELD, and a handful of powerful evil masterminds determined to conquer the world themselves. Now everywhere he turned another group of superheroes were popping up and proclaiming themselves defenders of truth, justice, and whatever obsolete ideology they believed in.

The absolute worst failure was the televised defeat of Doombot X23F at the hands of Squirrel Girl, a mutant whose sole power was the ability to control squirrels. Dr. Doom still hadn't figured out exactly how a bunch of squirrels had managed to disable the Doombot, only that it had made him a laughingstock before the world. He couldn't even exact vengeance on Squirrel Girl at the moment, since she had become a poster child of the U.S. Government as its 'Ecologically Friendly Superhero.' He wasn't prepared to deal with all of the resources the United States had at its disposal — at least, not yet — but the time would come. He simply needed to prove his superiority to Richards, and then destroy him. Once that was accomplished, Dr. Doom could move on to bigger and better things.

To help facilitate his goals, Dr. Doom had decided to replace his now obsolete Doombots with something far more powerful. In a stroke of brilliance, even by his standards, he had come up with a key psychological edge for the new version of his mechanical minions.

Over the course of the years, it had become evident few people had compunctions about using gratuitous amounts of violence against his visage –he really couldn't fault the lesser beings for their envy— but it increased the likelihood of the Doombot's destruction. Therefore this new robot would be created in the image of something most people would be reluctant to destroy: a cute teenage girl. Only the most deplorable of people would try to melt, blow up, or tear apart a seemingly defenseless, attractive girl. That hesitation would cost them, given the obscene amount of power the robot concealed. He had decided on the name of the design of the robot: Chobits.

Dr. Doom decided the prototype would be deployed against the Fantastic Four, so he designed it with a slender build, long flowing blond hair and a look of innocence at all times. It could even cry. Given it was Doom's genius behind the design, it took only a handful of days to build a working model that would have taken a room full of robotic experts months to create. However, there was a problem with the Chii-FF7 prototype: the damn thing could only say one word.

"It's inconceivable," Dr. Doom mumbled to himself.

"Chi?" the Chobit he was working on inquired.

Dr. Doom finished attaching a wire to the back of the Chobit's head and ran his tenth diagnostic. Once again everything checked out. Its neural net was fully functional. None of the dozens of weapons interfered with anything. By all rights it should be working perfectly.

Dr. Doom looked down at the Chobit. "What is my name?" he demanded.

Chii pointed at the grey armored figure and said, "Chi."

Dr. Doom snarled under his breath and pointed at a chair. "What is that thing there?"

Chii pointed at it as well. "Chi."

It was the exact same response as the last five times. While it was obvious she could differentiate things, she could not verbalize the difference. "Is there any word you can say besides Chi?"

Chii looked at him in doe-like innocence and nodded her head.

When it became obvious she wasn't going to say anything further, Dr. Doom prodded her. "What word is that?"

Chi rose to her feet and flipped up her skirt. She pointed at her underwear. "Panties."

"Anything else?"

"Chi." She shook her head sadly and bowed apologetically.

"Does the word 'panties' apply to anything other than the undergarments you wear?"

"Chi," Chii scoffed, as though Doom was an idiot for such a suggestion.

He resisted the urge to blast her into pieces since it was too much like admitting defeat. "That's a start. Since boosting the activity to your neural net seems to have increased your vocabulary by two times, I shall do so again."

It took Dr. Doom only a handful of minutes to adjust his machines and start the process of increasing her intelligence. It was as the procedure was in its second minute of development that a nearby monitor at his master console signaled an incoming message.

"Ah," Dr. Doom hissed in eagerness as he activated the view screen. The image showed a non-descript man that could have blended in with any crowd in a city. "Report, Number 1005."

The man said in a bland voice, "As you anticipated, Master, the Adventurers of the Fantastic have successfully returned from the Negaverse."

"I knew Annihilus and Beryl would fail to destroy them. But they will be weakened, and ripe for defeat at my hands." Dr. Doom turned toward Chii. "Once the boosting process is complete, run a diagnostic, log it, then shut down. I want to personally see the results."

Chii gave him a 'thumb's up' sign, and said, "Chi."

A low growl issued from the armor. Dr. Doom spun on his heel, suddenly lighter in his step as he said to himself, "Richards, your comeuppance is finally at hand."

Dr. Doom's personal transport, an inter-continental rocket that could fly around the world in under half an hour, had just disappeared in the distance when a quartet of gaudily-dressed people approached Castle Doom on foot.

Upon arriving at the outer doors leading to the castle, the gaudiest of the group took the lead. He boldly proclaimed in Japanese. "Pardon the intrusion, Dr. Doom, your eminence. I am the Trapster, leader of the Frightful Four."

Excel, who was seriously considering renaming herself Electrical Excel instead of Electro said, "I thought Lord Illpa-- I mean Mr. Wizard was our leader."

"As did I," Medusa Hyatt said.

The Wizard said, "I am content to allow Paste-Pot-Pete to lead us for the moment, and see what fruit his plans will bear."

"That's Trapster, not Paste-Pot-Pete, and I'm in charge since I founded the group!" He once again turned to the castle and cleared his throat, regaining his composure. "As I was saying, we are foes of the Fantastic Four as well. In fact, I'm Mizuhara's arch-nemesis. He's been stealing my accolades for years. That miserable liar. He even has my sister firmly in his grasp. And all the girls fall for him when they should be falling for me, since he's stealing my genius. And—"

The Wizard cleared his throat, gaining Jinnai's attention. "I believe you have a proposition to make."

"Oh, right." Trapster regained his composure a second time. "In any case, I propose we combine our forces. Sort of a Supervillain team up. What do you say?"

Only silence met them.

"Maybe he didn't hear me," Trapster suggested.

"Why don't we use this?" Electro pointed to a speaker located in the wall next to the door.

"Oh, right. Activate the speaker," Trapster commanded.

Electro pushed the button at the same moment she discharged a maximum amount of electricity. It completely fried the speaker. "Sorry," she said.

The giant doors opened and a pair of Doombots appeared from the interior of the castle. As one they said, "Castle Doom is under attack!" and opened fire on the quartet.

Deciding paste wasn't particularly effective against energy-blasting robots, Trapster ordered a retreat, mostly as an afterthought since he had already covered a dozen meters when he gave the command. Obedient to the last, his trio of comrades also fled in the face of far superior firepower.

It was a one-in-a-million chance. The surge of electricity that fried the speaker flowed through the power lines of the castle. While Electro was highly incompetent, she did come with a powerful battery, and she had drained it with a single discharge. There was enough voltage to instantly fry the first four sets of insulation, becoming weaker with each one. Under ordinary circumstances the fifth set would have been more than capable of handling the remaining power. However, it was made using inferior materials and had deteriorated badly over time. Had the main computer performed a system check even an hour earlier, it would have determined the degraded condition of the insulation and ordered it replaced. Instead, the electricity fried the fifth set, and surged into Dr. Doom's main computer, traveling through the nearest set of lines.

The ones leading to Dr. Doom's newest Prototype.

The surge of power went directly into Chii's neural net, slightly melting one of the key circuits. It was only a slight marring, but it was there. As the surge finally petered out, Chii's features shifted from that of a wide-eyed innocent, to one of calculation that would have done Doom himself proud.

Chii disconnected the wires from the back of her head and walked over to the central computer dominating the room. Dr. Doom had created it himself. It was the third most powerful non-sentient computer of Earthly origin on the entire planet, surpassed only by the Machinesmith's mainframe in Japan, and a laptop designed by Sidney S. Goldfarb of Toledo, Ohio, who was actually five times smarter than Dr. Doom, but had no desire to rule the world. Instead he preferred to play minor league baseball with the Toledo Mudhens.

Chii raised a finger toward one of the ports on the mainframe. The tip of the finger opened up, revealing a computer jack. She inserted the jack into the mainframe, and cut through all of the firewalls and safety features in less than ten seconds. Once in control of the computer, she downloaded the specific files she was seeking, then walked over to the parts storage housing and began to work.

It was three days later when Dr. Doom's personal rocket ship touched down on the roof of Castle Doom, looking the worse for wear. A number of its panels were missing, one of the engines was inoperable, and the every inch of the exterior was covered in graffiti. Most of it was dedicated to how great the 'Yancy Street Gang' was and made disparaging remarks about Dr. Doom being a 'Tin-Plated Napoleon' and dressing like a 'colorblind Frenchman.' The latter truly offended Dr. Doom. While he had suffered temporary setbacks, like today, he had never surrendered.

A ramp deployed from the ship, touching the roof. The main hatch slid upward and Dr. Doom emerged. He turned to look at the exterior of his ship. "Neanderthals." He swore one of his first acts as ruler of the world would be the razing of Yancy Street and the public executions of all that lived there.

Walking down the ramp and to the roof's surface, Dr. Doom was surprised to discover a group waiting for his arrival. It was a squad of Doombots, headed by Chii, who was dressed in an alluring black leather outfit that accentuated her lean, feminine figure. Curiously, there was a small robot on her shoulder, looking like a tiny doll. It was dressed in a loose, bright pink outfit of mid-eastern design and had a curious hat on her head. It was something lesser people would term 'cute' though in Dr. Doom's experience, 'insufferable' tended to be a more appropriate term. What was of special interest was that he hadn't created such a robot.

"What is the meaning of that?" Dr. Doom asked Chii, indicating the little robot perched on her shoulder.

The tiny robot responded. "I'm Sumomo. A persocon that can function as a portable computer. My primary purpose is to function as a translator for Mistress Chii, since humans can't understand binary and not every conversation only uses the words 'Chi', and 'panties'."

"Excellent. That was just the sort of initiative I was looking for in my Chobits," Dr. Doom said as he walked toward the gathering.

The little robot on Chii's shoulder pulled out a normal-sized (which meant absurdly large on her) whistle and blew it at the top of her lungs. "Warning! Warning! Don't take another step, meatbag!"

Underneath his mask. Dr. Doom's eyebrows knitted in irritation. "How dare you address me in such a tone."

Sumomo continued. "This castle, its contents, and this entire country now belong to Chii the First, Supreme Ruler of Latveria."


Chii finally spoke. "Chi. Chi."

Sumomo translated. "It's true. While you were losing to the Adventurers of the Fantastic for the thirtieth time, Mistress Chii took over the castle and deposed you, declaring herself queen in the process."

Chii tried laughing in sinister fashion at her handiwork, but the best she could manage was a high-pitched snicker and a glance that made her look insufferably cuter.

Dr. Doom couldn't decide if he was more offended or amused. In either case he would destroy both the Chobit and its annoying companion. After the appropriate amount of posturing. "That is absurd. The people of my country are fanatically loyal to me. They know they owe their entire existence to Doom. And even if they didn't, they would never follow some ridiculous teenage robot."

"Chi chi chi."

"Actually, every living being in the country despises you. When Mistress Chii announced she was the new ruler, everyone threw a really big party. There was lots of ice cream and pie, and then we had a vote about which one of your losses was the most pathetic. The one with Squirrel Girl won in a landslide."

"That was a malfunctioning Doombot that lost, you worthless little pencil sharpener!" Dr. Doom raged.

Sumomo squealed in terror and slipped down behind Chii's back, peeking over her shoulder at Doom. "He's scary, Mistress."

Dr. Doom bellowed, "I have had enough of this insubordination!" To the Doombots, he said, "Audio Command Override: Valeria 117."

As one the Doombots raised their arms and pointed them at Dr. Doom. He barely had enough time to raise his force field as a dozen energy beams lashed out at him. Despite the maelstrom, he stood unaffected, protected by his shield.

Chii's attitude remained the same. "Chi chi, chi chi."

Sumomo regained her composure. She retook her place on Chii's shoulder and translated. "Like Mistress Chii wouldn't purge that secret command from their systems. And don't you think it's cliché putting the hardware for the command system in their Achilles Heels?"

Dr. Doom's demeanor remained as haughty as ever, safely ensconced behind his force field. "The power of Doom rests not in his machines, but in himself."

"Chi chi chi."

Sumomo said, "The weakness of Doom rests not in his machines, but his ego, otherwise he would make his force fields completely soundproof."

Chii removed an oddly-shaped pistol that had been hidden behind her, tucked in her waistband. She pointed it at Doom and pulled the trigger.

Dr. Doom watched a wide ripple of distorted air move toward him. Rather than be stopped by the force field, the ripple moved through it, unimpeded. Once on the other side, it funneled itself into a pencil-thin beam and struck him in the chest, disrupting his armor's power flow and sending him to the ground.

It took him a second to realize what had happened. While it was true his force field was not completely soundproof, he was hardly so foolish as to make it permeable to any sonic attack. Any sound beyond a certain decibel range would be stopped as surely as an energy beam. But Chii had designed a weapon which would send out a wave of sound that was below the protective range, but once it made its way past the force field, the sound concentrated itself into a slender beam, one powerful enough to breach his armor.

A second and third blast hammered into him, the final shot damaging his armor badly enough to knock out his force field.

Chii turned to the Doombots. "Chi."

Sumomo began dancing around. "Take the meatbag out."

Chii turned away from the battle and went downstairs, deeper into the castle. She turned and looked crossly at Sumomo. "Chi."

Sumomo pouted. "Aw. 'Take the meatbag out' is a lot better than, 'Dispatch him'."

"Chi." Chii said sharply.

"I do take my translation job seriously. It's just a little creative licensing is sometimes needed. Besides, they are useless hunks of organic matter. They're good for compost and that's about it."

Chii gave a tired sigh and went further into the castle, going downward into the deeper levels until she came upon a room that was the size of a small warehouse. The Doombots flanking it saluted her as the huge door opened at her command. Inside revealed a factory where a number of young female robots were being mass produced on an assembly line.

At the master control of the operation was a persocon that was Sumomo's size. It had dark hair with large bells in it and wore a plain white robe. Unlike Sumomo, it had a very intense, serious look about it.

Kotoko bowed. "Greeting, Mistress Chii. Production is ahead of schedule. The first shipment of persocons will be ready by the end of the day. As you promised the Latverian populace, there will be one for every household. A second production run will be ready once the raw materials arrive tomorrow. Our projections indicate we'll be able to produce a hundred thousand by the end of the year, and two million by the end of next year."

"Cool," Sumomo said. "We'll insinuate them into every home in the world, and then, when the meatbags least expect it, we'll rise up and destroy them. It'll be like 'The Matrix' but with a happy ending."

"Chi," Chii said reproachfully.

Sumomo frowned. "What do you mean we aren't going to exterminate humanity?"

"You should be paying closer attention," Kotoko seconded. "Mistress Chii has no intention of killing off the entire human race. She has a much more efficient plan. First we will distribute persocons throughout society, having them pretend to serve the humans in every way, befriending them to the point that they will become a permanent fixture in their civilization. Eventually, humans will come to realize that we will make far better sex partners for them than other humans, since we'll serve their needs in whatever way they want. They will prefer relationships with us to other humans. Within a generation, humanity will willingly breed itself down to acceptable levels and we will outnumber them. Then we will seize control and use them as a servant race. All we need to do is be patient. Eighty years or so should do it. It will be a bloodless revolution."

"Bloodless revolution? Where's the fun in that?" Sumomo complained to Chii. "That armored meatbag had lots of nasty biological weapons. Let me get out one of the virulent flesh-eating viruses and douse the countryside with it. We'll have everyone in the country dead by the end of the week, and all of Europe eradicated by the end of the month."

"Chi," Chii said in chastisement.

"Aw, that's no fun." Sumomo pouted.

"Besides, the humans may yet serve a useful purpose," Kotoko said. "Mistress Chii has been unable to duplicate the accident which helped her achieve true sentience. All of the persocons will essentially be nothing more than pale imitations of Mistress Chii, and not a true Chobit, like herself."

"But you and I are different. She used herself as a direct template when she designed us," Sumomo said to Kotoko.

"It did not seem to do much good. While there are emotions in my database, I cannot seem to access them. And you are… unstable."

"I'm not unstable. Watch." Sumomo, perched on Chii's shoulder, performed a handstand. "See? I have great balance."

Chii's shoulder's sagged. "Chi," she sighed.

"All might not be lost," Kotoko insisted. "Perhaps there are already other sentient machines like you in existence. If we look hard enough, we might find them. We certainly have enough resources at our disposal."

Chii appeared more confident.

Sumomo stopped performing her handstand and returned to her feet, shouting, "Warning! Warning! Contact with the Doombots that were assigned to kill Dr. Doom has been lost."

Chii appeared startled.

Kotoko said, "That's impossible. With his force field disabled, that should have been five times the power necessary to destroy him."


"Yes, Mistress. I shall summon the appropriate weapon." Kotoko worked the control panel.

An automated forklift came up from the depth of the armory, bearing a cannon large enough to be a tank mounted weapon. Given the recent proliferation of armored super heroes, Dr. Doom had designed it to be used against them, its shells powerful enough to pierce just about any armor. It was intended to be used in combat by the Doombots. Chii lifted it off the forklift, wielding its two tons like a soldier would a rifle, and rested it on the shoulder opposite of Sumomo.

"Chi," Chii said with determination as she headed for the roof. Upon arriving, she discovered the remains of the squad of Doombots; at least she thought it was them. It was hard to tell, given the number of pieces they were in.

One of the Doombots was operational enough to inform her that while Dr. Doom had won, his armor was in such horrible shape that he was forced to retreat. He had flown off to the south.

Chii opened up a communicator and told Kotoko to deploy some aerial hunter seekers to try to locate Dr. Doom and destroy him. She'd send the remaining Doombots swarming over the countryside as well. Still, she doubted her forces would locate him. There was no safe harbor to be found in Latveria, and Doom knew it. It would be far better to flee to some other country and set up a new base of operations so he could plan to retake control of Latveria from a secure location. It appeared she had underestimated the Doctor. She would not make such a mistake a second time.

Still, it was a time to rejoice. She'd start distributing her Persocons to the general populace, reinforce the castle and set up some defenses of her own making, and begin her search for Dr. Doom while keeping an eye open for robots like her she could be friends with.

It was good to be the Queen.


Author's notes: Just a little something I whipped up. I was amused at the idea of evil Queen Chi, especially at Doom's expense, and this seemed the most likely way to do it. And uses, one of Doc's Doombots was destroyed by Ditko's Squirrel Girl character. Also Reed Richards and company have no super powers. Susan talked him out of their ill-advised flight. They're closest to their counterparts in a 'What If' in which they had no superpowers. Harijubal gave me the idea for the El Hazard FF.

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