Good evening Sports fans, and welcome to this, the final battle of the fourth ZOOFIGHTS tournament.
Last time... on Zoofights IV
When last we saw the two beasts scheduled to fight on Sunday for the grand prize, the armoured Prussian rhino Dred Zeppelin had just reversed WW2 on the British rocket-trilobite, Overlord. Meanwhile, Post-apocalyptic war machine Ned Killy proved to be the most brutal force in the ocean, smacking the hapless Polynesian whaleborg, Tangaloa, around like a little girl.
And somewhere out there, Elohim, the insectile titan that annihilated the rest of the loser's league, waits.
But how did we get here? The first of May seems only a short while ago, with its rockets and revelers and fountains of whiskey all over the place. But since then we've seen sixteen fighting creatures from every corner of time smash each other to pieces again and again in the name of money, mob rule and patriotic fervour.
Eight beasts emerged from the first round in one piece and were patched up to fight again, from dinosaurs in the armour of ancient China to a bunch of snakes welded to a dump truck. They proceeded to batter each other once more, until 4 remained, then 2 - Ned Killy and Dred Zeppelin.
And for every victory, there was a loser. What to do with those who had failed to achieve anything, those who lost in the first round?
Private contractors were brought in to fix those who had prematurely been slain: Atom Plc worked hard to rehabilitate an enigmatic crowd favorite, The Walrus, and accidentally introduce a crowd pleaser in the form of a penguin wearing sunglasses and holding a shotgun.
From the ranks of these second chancers, four emerged to do battle in a royal rumble. Three were true underdogs, the steroid-ruined Wrasslopod, the peculiar Shaolin Yeti, and the Walrus. Once considered broken and nothing more than a cohort of misfit toys, they were bolstered by the entrance of crowd favorite Wolfbike, a part wolf, part motorcycle with a truly Epicurean world view. But in the end they were shattered by the near-Godly Elohim - a creature formed from the union of an Inquisition-built centipede and a newly metamorphosed Queen from a distant alien hive world.
Now, the two main league finalists have one fight ahead of them before one can be proclaimed champion, and Elohim is still lurking in the wings. To make matters worse, something large and cephalopod and from the future is lurking in the Atmosphere of Jupiter, and seems unlikely to remain an observer for long.
Ladies and gentlemen, there will be no Babbage machines and no zombies, no demonic priests, and probably only a few swans this time. This year, a champion will emerge through brawling, and beating, and brutality. This year, there will be only one King of Beasts.
Tonight we'll be bringing you cogwheels, meat and explosions in dizzying portions as two disastrously augmented brutes go at each other in a no holds barred, electr-
SHIT, WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT? DID ANYONE ELSE HEAR THAT?...
As the sun's cold light washes over the storms of Jupiter, Elohim manifests in all his terrible glory.
creeping with oscillating rainbows of horrible light, the insect messiah spreads his foul arms as if in greeting, and swings his head to gaze through the windows of the Stockbridge & Barrington memorial space station.
With a piercing screech that knifes through the minds of every man, woman and brute aboard, the moth titan begins to preach his senseless message.
Then, as he flaps his great velvety wings in slow sweeps over the station, the miracles start...
Eyes bleed, stigmata open, people's boots turn gold, water turns to blood and whiskey to slightly better whiskey as Elohim's unholy Miracle Rays play over the station's face, glaring through windows and precipitating alternately hideous and wonderful events.
The implacable hybrid announces that it is become the Alpha and Omega, Lord and God. A new era has dawned, that of the arthropod savior.
Accept his love - and psychic brain eggs - or be destroyed.
A colossal thunderhead of black cloud surges from Jupiter's upper atmosphere, breaking off Elohim's psychic assault in a radioactive hurricane.
In the wake of the sleeting radiation, a mass of vast, whipping tentacles burst from the tip of the cloud promontory, spreading to embrace the station and its insectile attacker.
Gas streams from the tendrils as they unfold, and a gaping maw looms in the raging storm. Squadrons of cuttlefish, squid and other networked cephalopods swarm from the beast's maw, and flood towards the station.
Seanet has arrived...
The cuttlefish arrive first, slamming in at 5G acceleration with psychic blades projecting from their tentacles.
Elohim puts up a vicious defense, scything down the first wave with incinerating blasts of unholy light.
But it is not long before Seanet, still brooding in the city-sized thunderhead, sends forth a champion...
A towering Control Squid, of the type that faced down Psynoceros in Round 2, glides out from the arms of its lurking parent to assault the centipede saviour.
Lashing out with monstrous strength bred for hard labour in the jovian depths, the cephalopod ensnares Elohim in its arms and engages it in a devastating exchange of telekinetic energy...
As the battle rages outside, fanfares sound over the damage alert klaxons in the dome of the main arena - for the Zoofights final is beginning.
The competitors rear on great columns, lit by the weirding light of the heavenly battle beyond the thunderdome.
In the corridors, lounges and dungeons of the station, haggard patrons from a thousand era drink themselves into a stupor and watch their monitor screens, even as the walls shake under the impact of vast tentacles.
Not able to contain their rage any longer, the two finalists thrust forward into battle before the starting pistol has even been raised.
To the baying of ten thousand drunk and desperate men on the brink of armageddon, the brutes collide heavily and begin a shoving match in the sky, more intent on showing their raw power than causing severe damage.
Rockets thunder and engines whine to full capacity as the two war machines jostle and shunt under the arena dome, plunging dangerously close to the crowd.
As they slam repeatedly into each other, each trying to drive their opponent into a steel wall, Dred Zepp's chimp servants begin leaping onto the back of their antipodean antagonist.
With wicked hands and lunging wrenches, the insidious simians begin stripping armour plate from Ned Killy's back and buggering around with his screaming ion engines...
But Ned Killy isn't going to get done in that easily by a bunch of chimps.
Making a bonecrushing turn at full reverse thrust, Killy spins like a sixpence, sending the chimps hurtling away to slam into the crowd at the speed of meat.
Dred Zep, his reactions amped up by barrels of pharmaceutical grade crank and wired into a zoofull of brains, brakes mightily and makes a great sweeping skid through the air to face his opponent as he spins.
The pair continue to circle wildly, sizing up the perfect moment for attack, as the wall of the arena looms ever closer...
Looks like they're headed for the bar...
Ned Killy makes a stand before the main window of the bar, but is caught off guard by a massive psychically-enhanced lunge from Dred Zepp's horn.
The patrons of the bar (that's you, motherfuckers!) dive for cover as the image on their monitor screens bursts into horrifying reality....
The embattled Devilfish crashes across the floor of the bar, smashing into the serving counter in an explosion of broken glass and fine spirits.
As the station heaves and lurches under monstrous blows from outside, high rollers, time gods and war heroes hide under tables and crouch behind pillars with whatever bottles they can get their hands on, and the hulking form of Dred Zepp looms in the doorway...
In the carnage that ensues with the two brutes tearing seven shades of shit out of each other in the bar, the tension of Elohim's assault explodes in an orgy of whiskey-fuelled violence.
Bad blood, bad debts and and bad drawings erupt into a sea of flying fists, smashed furniture and spilt booze, and the sound of shouts of rage and breaking glass contends with the roaring of the finalists' mighty engines in the enclosed space.
The wave of mayhem spreads out into the rest of the station, much of which is now without power and gravity in the ongoing struggle between celestial moth and abyssal squid...
With a horrendous groan of shearing steel, a huge tentacle slams down through the roof of the bar and between the two opponents, opening up a great chasm and collapsing the floor.
The warring monsters are dragged down with the thundering appendage, deep into the cavernous engine rooms of the station.
Momentarily stunned, the beasts plummet in darkness...
Meanwhile, down in the dark, Ned Killy has sinously made his way into the shadows, where he waits in ambush for the rumbling bulk of his ironclad adversary.
A blue, crackling glow from the rhino's horn reflects off giant boiler tanks in the gloom as he forges on, hungry to trample his fishy foe into paste...
But Ned Killy is not the waiting type. Roaring as he revs up his engines, he bursts from the shadows in a wall of gunfire, blasting the Rhino with everything he has in a full frontal attack.
The two beasts close and the onslaught intensifies, munitions cooking out in the intense heat. Below, in the tangled industrial jungle of the boiler decks, station security fend off onrushing cuttlefish, and psychic blasts wreck machinery...
With a colossal expenditure of force, the two beasts collide, sending fountains of sparks and scrap iron slashing through the foundry-hot air.
Powered by Dred Zepp's superior momentum, they cannon through a bulkhead wall, and into the brutal green glow of the station's central power core...
WHERE BISONCORE WATCHES OVER THEM
Meanwhile, out in space, debris tumbles and frozen blood shatters on burnt steel, as the fighting reaches a conclusion.
Exhausted, battered and ragged, Elohim is siezed by Seanet's miles-long tentacles, and begins to be dragged slowly down into the maelstrom of storm gas...
As the crumpled God sturs in gusts of psychotropic moth dust, the great beak howls a wordless song of triumph. Soon, it will be unopposed...
As the moth messiah is tugged down into the reaches of the atmosphere, it summons one last volley of spiritual power and screams in a wail that cuts through twelve dimensions.
Unable to accept defeat, but too weak to escape Seanet's grasp , Elohim focusses its wrath, engulfing the gas giant in holy light as it creates matter from nothing in the planet's core until it is so dense that it undergoes fusion.
LET THERE BE LIGHT.
With a terrible dual-note howl and an eye-searing burst of protons, Elohim and Seanet are incinerated, and Jupiter ignites into a new star. The Zoofights station is rocked by the huge pulse of energy, taking out its remaining engines.
With no stabilisers, the increased mass of the solar system's new second sun begins to drag the space station towards a firey doom...
Warning claxons blare inside the core as the two fighters pause in their struggle, looking each other in the eye. Surely their contest is irrelevant in the face of certain doom?
As Dred Zepp reels from the blow of Ned Killy's brutal girder swipe, the rampant dunkleosteus takes a giant run up and charges straight for the larger beast's side.
Before the behemoth can react, the toothy terror has opened up the armour on its underbelly with the last of the charge in its lasers, exposing flesh.
With a squeak of rusty steel and a wet ripping sound, Ned Killy glides into the war machine's interior...
ion drive turned to 11, purge initiated
KO! Ned Killy wins the tournament. But it's not over by a long chalk...
But maybe it's not time to start celebrating just yet...
Old man gravity cares not for the outcome of mortal sports, and the station is spiralling down towards the new Jovian photosphere, breaking apart as she goes.
With no power, a leaking atmosphere, and massive structural damage, it would seem that all Ned Killy and the surviving patrons have left to look forward to is fiery annihilation...
Deep in the bowels of the dying station, the triumphant Ned Killy feasts on the wreckage of his defeated enemy, gorging himself on iron and gristle alike.
Lit by the flickering glow of burning wreckage, he is content to feast, sinking into the fleeting primal peace of his tiny, well-fed mind as death approaches.
But somewhere close by, something has other ideas. Ejected from the explosion of Dred Zepp, an ancient arcade machine, battered from its journeys through time, hums into life.
Hidden inside Dred Zepp last night by a mysterious man in a grey coat, and now activated by the raging tesla energy of the final attack, NEW ZEALAND STORY flickers into awareness...
Rise fwom your grave.
The pixellated, spectral form of the walrus leans out of the screen, and takes a grim look around the room.
Locking eyes on the gnashing ghoul in the next room, he recognises a deep emnity borne in nuclear fire...
But this is no time to settle long-dead antipodean rivalries.
The shade of Once Were Walrus can't remember much, but it knows that the creature responsible for the nuclear war behind both it and Ned Killy's twisted origins is dead, consumed in the fiery birth of a new star.
At the realisation of Seanet's death, the Walrus finds peace, and uses its limited strength to lean out of the machine, and hammer home the CORE EJECT lever.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to get out of here.
In a moment not remotely ripped off from Star Trek, the glowing heart of the BisonCore is shot out into the glare of Jupiter's fires, roaring nobly all the way.
It detonates at the brink of the inferno, igniting a mind-shattering shockwave that blasts the wreckage of the Stockbridge & Barrington memorial space station far into the new star's orbit.
Ned Killy, sated on meat and hatched with scars, cruises on the nuclear wind beside the wreck of the Zoofights Bar, revelling in the title of...
KING OF BEASTS
Ladies and gentlemen, that was zoofights 4. I thank you, and I thank the amazing people who squandered the last six weeks drawing pictures with me.
Now let's drink.
Picture - THE MUG