The only mercy that follows is that, because Arion Jekel doesn’t know about the class, they are spared from being partakers of his horrible mental torment.  Everyone else, however, is cast into a world of nightmares as each System Guard is faced with their darkest fears and regrets.  For some, it’s fears they’ve had to overcome each time Arion Jekel has shown his face.  For others, it is a new terror they’ve yet to move past.  Whatever this case, these illusions are anything but fake.  You see, not only can Arion Jekel bring one’s fear and regret to life, but he does so in a way that will either cause a thought to defect or will simply slay them, with the illusion taking strength from the victim’s anguish.  If the subject overcomes their trial, they will still have to best it in combat.  Jekel is even able to raise the dead, good or evil, as part of the power of regret and trauma is to recall old thoughts from long ago.

    It is not hard to understand, then, why several across the various storyboards represented here defect to the side of evil due to their psychological beating.  Those who survive this ordeal are then left to face their twisted companions.  That is when things worsen.  As the last of the phobias and heartaches are past, the next phase in Jekel’s standard Bedlam routine takes place.  “Ersatz,” is the one word he says.

    That is when an army of mime marionettes litter the System to fight our friends.  Their captain is the real Arion Jekel, a taller, more humanoid looking puppet mime whose translucence gives him a ghastly appearance in the dark.  He shall handle Astro Bomber.  However, it is not too long before James Scott and A.J. Scar are able to help their leader while Missy, Amy Scott, EMJ and Jaqueline Scar all hover around Keb, their mentor Fiona and Fiona’s severely traumatized daughter Fifi.  The battle has been long and ugly, but the resolve of the team is as admirable as ever, with them finally able to narrow the fight down to the main mime.  That is, however, when his favorite part takes place.  Jekel can control every form of technology in the System, including fighters with cybernetics in their heritage, like the Ancyro.  This means the Scotts, Fiona, Buck Shiloh and all his from SBX, the machines from SBXII, and many more are all now under Jekel’s control.  The Scars are able to avoid this due to their history with and immunity to Arion.  Fiona’s daughter Fifi, for some reason, has resisted this, just as she did the first time the fiend showed his ugly face.

    That is when AB remembers it all clearly.  “We’ve faced this strategy before.  We can remember fighting him, but he somehow causes us to forget how we fight him each time, so that we fall into the same trap before we can realize what’s about to happen.”

    Holding an injured Keb, Missy tearfully calls out to AB, “Ant, your sister…Cici.”

    Tightening his fist, AB replies, “I know.  She’s defected as well due to her cyborg nature.  I told her to use her Infinite powers to change her construction, but I guess she forgot after the last fight with Jekel.  I can’t be too angry with her…except…I now remember what I had to do last time…and I don’t want to do it to her again.”

    What AB is referring to is the fact that even if he vanquishes Arion Jekel, this will result in all the technology he now controls being deactivated, including the cybernetic warriors.  Last time this happened, Astro was able to use a time device to undo the damage.  That scale of restoration was enough to break the device, which since has been repaired.  This is the entire System.  Ant hates to do it, but he has no choice.  “Sir, due to the elevation in severity from the previous request, I am asking for one more action of your jurisdiction.”

    Astro Bomber is wanting the System Director to intervene once again.  This is, after all, a fight between the author and his nightmare.  After evaluating the situation, the author agrees to lay aside the storytelling long enough to tend to his imagination for what he hopes is one more time in this fight.  Thus, he makes sure to take no chances.  Arion Jekel is destroyed and purged from all the technology.  The System is rid of all traces of the evil associated with today’s horror.  Those that defected specifically due to his torture are restored, since this is a special case.  Having done this, the author steps back once again.

    “Is it finally over?” asks a desperate Grace.

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