Crash Bandicoot Infinity: Bakunin Boogaloo Chapter 1: Prologue Cortex: “Dr. Gin…” A couple of seconds pass with no reply. Perhaps a higher pitch was required. Cortex: ”Dr. Gin!!” This time a voice answered back. N.Gin: “Sorry if I kept you waiting Dr. Cortex. I was busy with a certain problem that needed my direct attention.” A small man appeared from around the corner. He stood out from the normal medical & scientific staff in the labs. Not only due of his short stature but because of the miniature rocket lodged in his cranium. But by some miracle the device had not killed him either by an explosion or internal damage. Cortex: “Regardless It is time to review the animals before they are shipped out.” Neo began leading the way towards a door on the other side of the room with the portly engineer keeping up the pace. N.Gin: “The correct term is Uplifts...” Cortex: “They’re animals doctor.” The scientist remarked with a cold matter of fact tone. Cortex: “Nothing will ever change that. Despite the gift of sentience that we have bestowed upon them. You'd think they'd be more grateful for the opportunity to live meaningful lives. Instead of the problems they give us daily.” He finished his speech just as the door opened. Inside there were large cages with armed personnel on each side. The cages contained animals of varying states of genetic tampering waiting to be given final inspection. N.Gin: "Looks like we have higher than average deliveries going out today." A small chuckle emanated from the short human. N.Gin: "Heh heh..won't our customers be pleased with our glorious work! Whoa!" The Doctor uttered as he came back into focus with his mental facilities in correct gear. N.Gin: "I blacked out again. Neo, did I say something that I'm going to regret?" The change in his enthusiasm & sudden raise in his voice was not uncharacteristic for N.Gin. Ever since he survived the accident that buried a missile into his head the engineer had occasional bouts of split-personality. Times where he would suddenly change character without warning. N.Gin would always black out when these shifts happened not remembering anything that he said or did during those times. Waking up just as suddenly realizing that he lost control of himself. Howbeit, these changes where not easily viable or noticeable unless one spent time around the doctor & knew him on a personal level. Most people who came across him thought the man was mad, brain damaged or just pulling everybody's leg. Due to these blackouts the rocket-headed engineer remained couped up inside the labs and refused to venture outside of them. Too embarrassed to face people in the mental state he was cursed to be in. However he still got along with Cortex & N.Brio due to their professional friendship & their understanding nature. They treated him normally despite his off the wall verbal quips & crazy sounding speeches. Spoiler: N.Gin's alternate personality voice Cortex: "No." The scientist uttered once again in a "matter of fact" tone but this time it was softer than before. Cortex: ”You just mentioned how pleased you were with this new batch of Uplifts & that our customers would be pleased with our work." N.Gin: "Thank goodness." Relief washed over N.Gin’s pale face. N.Gin: “For a second there I was worried I had put my foot in my mouth. Again." Cortex: "You know me & Brio have always treated you with the same amount of respect as before. Now lets concentrate on reviewing these creatures." The first cage contained a purple quadruped dragon with golden-yellow horns and underbelly. Spoiler: Spyro Cortex: “A dragon?” The short balding scientist cocked his eyebrow at the sight. N.Gin: “Looks rather tiny to me. Maybe someone wanted a pet then decided that a lizard or normal reptile wouldn’t cut it..” Cortex: “Whatever the reason..” Neo muttered while he carefully observed the small creature. Cortex: “It does not concern me. As long as this beast..” Which stood to face the scientist with a glare & it’s wings spread open to make itself seem bigger. It’s face held a look of defiance yet it was calm & collected. Not angry or hostile yet apprehensive. Cortex: “..meets the criteria & standards that our customers have come to expect, that is all that matters.” Nodding his head as a sign of approval for the lab hands to take the dragon to be shipped to the customer. As the cage is being carried off, Cortex continued to speak. Cortex: “Though I am puzzled that this thing exists. The last time me & Brio worked on elevating a reptile it was two Komodo Dragons from the same clutch of eggs. We sent them off to their buyer but they ran off soon after arriving.“ N.Gin: “Your point is?” Cortex: “Me and Brio came to an agreement. Well, I made him promise not to dabble in reptiles since those Dragons were the last of a line of continual reptilian Uplift failures.” Using the term Uplift for N.Gin’s sake. The Rockethead engineer was a stickler at times in using correct terminology. Cortex: “Now it seems he has been going behind my back in his experimentation.“ Sighing as he finished the sentence. Cortex: “Brio was always one who couldn’t leave a problem or an error alone. I suppose he aloud me to see this success of his work. Most likely to convince me that all the kinks have been ironed out of the process.“ Cortex continued to move forward until he caught a glimpse of the cage at the end of the row. Cortex: “What is that?” He march over to make sure his intuitive guess was correct. N.Gin: “What? What is...” The engineer words & body stopped upon seeing what resided inside the cage Cortex was scrutinizing. Cortex: “It is exactly what it looks like.” There sitting down on it’s haunches was something that should not exist. A beast consisting of both mammal & reptilian dna. Cold & warm blood combined together in an unholy union. Cortex: “The mad genius went behind my back and did this.” After staring at the cage’s occupant Neo turned to N.Gin. Cortex: “Doctor I’ll leave the judging of these animals to your discretion.” N.Gin: “What?!” Cortex: “I have an important conversation to engage in. You have done this before don’t worry. I trust your judgment in this matter. After you finish you are free to go home if you so wish.” N.Gin: “Uh..thank you?” The man uttered as his friend walked away & out the doorway of the evaluation chamber. Cortex just kept walking while pondering how he was going to confront his old childhood friend. Unlike Mr. Rockethead, Brio was in Cortex’s life from his first days of Bakunin’s school system. He and Brio were sought out for their minds & sent to Madame Amberly’s school for gifted children. There the two met, formed a strong bond with each other, & had their minds honed into capable scientists fit for the Black Labs. Both men had endured rocky times when one of them didn’t particularly like the other for one reason or another. But overall their partnership, platonically & professionally, remained solid. Brio was even the best man at Cortex’s wedding. Ah yes, that was a wonderful day almost as wonderful as… Nina: “Dad!!” Hearing the parental moniker snapped Cortex out of his thoughts & immeadently turned to where the voice came from. He was greeted with the sight of a young 12 year old girl rushing past the commotion of the lab to get to his current position. Cortex: “Nina!!” The father shouted back with a voice that exclaimed glee. Cortex: “How is my darling little girl?” Embracing her as he finished his sentence. Nina: “I’m not so little anymore Dad.” Cortex: “Now now, a parent has every right to refer to their children as little in a loving way.” Giving her a kiss on the forehead. Cortex: “How has your day been?” Nina: “Ok. Could have been better. As soon as I noticed that you were getting off from work I rushed over here…” Cortex: “Nina what have I told you about leaving your quarters in the la…” Nina: “It is boring in there at times Papa.” Cortex: “Heh, you still switch up my paternal moniker. Even when you were just able to talk…” Nina: “Dad…” Cortex: “You’re right I’m sorry.” Nina: “Anyway, I went over to Uncle Brio’s lab and spent some time in there.” Nina’s admission reminded Neo of the coming verbal conflict with he would have with the good Doctor. Cortex: “I hope both he and you were careful…” Nina: “Dad, Brio always is careful. It’s that N.Trophy fellow you should be worried about.” Cortex: “Regardless. He & you both know how much your safety means to me.” Nina: “Dad, I went to Uncle Brio’s so that he could perform a check up on Coco.” Cortex: “Oh..” Cortex blurted out as he tilted his head down towards the small critter in his daughter’s arms. Cortex: “And how is Coco doing?” He affectionately petted the female bandicoot like cat with his left hand. Nina: “She is fine. Brio said she is in good health.” Cortex: “I’m happy to hear that my dear.” Nina: “So…now that you caught up on what I was doing are you clocking out for…” Cortex: “Not yet sweetie.” He said with frown. Cortex: “I just have one more thing left to take care of regarding your uncle.” Nina: “Oh. You mean the one with the male bandicoot?” Cortex: “Male bandicoot?” Nina: “Ya. Brio said he was going to be in the Evolvo-Ray room if you asked for him.” Cortex: “I take it the male bandicoot is with him.” Nina: “I guess so.” Cortex: “Very well, I’ll meet up with him in the Evolvo-Ray room then.” Planting a kiss on his daughter’s forehead once again after he finished speaking. Cortex: “Wait just a little bit longer for me. I shouldn’t be too long.” Nina: “Ok dad. You & uncle Brio take care.” Cortex: “Don’t worry my dear we will.“ Waving goodbye as Nina headed into Cortex’s office. Cortex continued his trek except now he had a new destination. The Evolvo-Ray room. This chamber held the secret to Cortex’s enterprise of making the best Uplifts money could buy. At least that what their best customer, a Mr. Ebenezer Von Clutch from Haqqislam, kept telling them. The Evolvo-Ray was created by Brio soon after the two buys graduated from Madame Emberly’s School for Gifted Children. Brio had kept the notes & sketches he penned secret from everyone except for Neo. A smart idea in the kind of environment that Emberly’s perpetrated. However, when the invention was perfected Brio asked Neo to claim that he was the creator of the device. To this day Neo doesn’t know for sure why Brio did this but he suspected that his friend’s low esteem & fear of ridicule might have played a part. Thanks to his name attached to Brio’s invention Cortex was able to procure one of the Black Labs by being backed through wealthy benefactors. He didn’t care where the money came from as long they were willing to give him the means to clothe & feed his family. Family…it was hard to imagine that at one time he had… N.Brio: “N..N..Neo!!” For a second time that day, Cortex was jarred from his thoughts by a voice he was familiar with. N.Brio: “C..c..come in! I’m just about to g..get started.” Cortex’s stuttering friend disappeared through a door on his left into the lab which housed the equipment for the “Evolvo-Ray”. After mulling other which words he’d use to open the conversation Neo entered the small sized room & shut the door behind him. Inside the lab there was a rotating operating table with an anthro strapped down on it. Apparently the animal had been given a new human bipedal body and it was still getting used to this new form. The creature struggled in an effort to loosen the bonds but to no avail. After awhile it gave up struggling & began to tapping it’s finger on the table as seemingly thinking about a next course of action. This didn’t last long as the marsupial’s concentration was broken due to it’s sudden fascination with the tapping appendage. Cortex shook his head at the display. Clearly this creature wasn’t the smartest animal by any means. Cortex: “Brio we need to talk.” N.Brio: “Oh? Wh..What for?” Cortex: “It has come to my attention that you’ve been experimenting behind my back in areas that we discussed we should not indulge our scientific curiosity.” In the background the operating table began to tilt upwards. Raising the head of the marsupial to a near upright position facing a screen where a series of pictures & film was being played. This was the “Evolvo-Ray” of Brio’s making. Not an actual ray that zapped the animals with human intelligence but instead a codeword, a moniker, in order to throw competitors or thieves off. Instead it is a form of indoctrination or mind programing that along with the common Uplift procedures replaced the animal’s former mentality with a completely new one. A personality more in line with what the customer wanted. Now the marsupial was going through this process to turn it into something or someone different. Once the male bandicoot’s eyes locked onto the screen he suddenly felt compelled to watch. All thoughts faded away as the animal entered a trance-like state of mind allowing the subliminal information to enter his mind unabated. The Evolvo-Ray process had begun. N.Brio: “Uh…Which c..curiosity are you r..referring to?” Cortex: “Reptilians Brio. We agreed to not dabble in that area after failure after failure…” N.Brio: “The last o..ones were successful…” Cortex: “If by successful you mean how the Komodo Brothers basically played us. They plotted their escape since the moment they could think for themselves. When their shipment canister was opened on Bourak they didn’t just make a break for it. After surveying their surroundings and lulling their owner and the staff under his command into thinking they were accepting their new home then they escaped. In quite a fashion if the reports were to be believed.” N.Brio: “I t..think I’ve managed to understand h..how to fully break the r..reptile mind.” Cortex: “So you decided to add mammal dna to the equation. As a placeholder until you could figure it out.” N.Brio: “You s..seem to already know w..what happened.” Cortex: “I didn’t at first but I had a revelation when you said you managed to break the reptile mind. That hybrid in the cargo bay…Crocodile &…” Motioning to Brio with his hand to fill in the blank. N.Brio: “Dingo.” The scientist spoke plainly. Cortex: “A dingo? Dingo & Crocodile dna?” N.Brio: “D..Dingodile. I thought it was a great name.” Cortex: “Well Dingodile, if that is what you want to call it, looks far more dangerous than any other reptile uplift that has been churned out by us. I rather have the Komodo Twins being sent out instead of that thing!” N.Brio: “It is a m..m..marvlou..us scientific…” Cortex: “It looks like it is going to rip somebody’s head off!” Neo made appoint in raising his voice to drive his point home. Cortex: “That thing doesn’t..it should not be allowed to leave! Luckily I put N.Gin in charge of determining which creatures will be sent out to their buyers and those that will be recycled.” N.Brio: “Y..you put N.G..Gin in charge?” The short bald man spit out in shock. N.Brio: “You couldn’t have p..put a worse p..person in c..charge of that t..task. Especial..ly if you wanted to send b..back Dingodile.” Cortex: “Have a little faith in N.Gin Brio…” N.Brio: “Y..You sh..should have a lit..t..tle more faith in me d..dear friend.” Making sure to emphasize friend as he said it. Cortex: “Then don’t secretly go behind my back and…” Cortex was cut off suddenly when the sliding lab door opened. Lab Assistant: “Dr. Brio, Dr. Cortex…” A tall lanky lab assistant poked in his head from right side of the opening. Lab Assistant: “Dr. Tropy has been held up in his lab for a couple of days now.” Cortex: “So? He’s done that before.” Lab Assistant: “But not like this. He usually communicates for meals to be brought to his door. Which he hasn’t done for days. Plus no one has seen hide nor hair of him. Including the hallway cameras.” Cortex: “I see. That does sound strange.” N.Brio: “I’ll go ch..check up on him.” Brio volunteered. N.Brio: “He’ll probably an..answer when I make my pre..e..esence known.” Though he was conveniently using the distraction to remove himself from the discussion he and Cortex were having, It looked as though the conversation had started heading south. Brio didn’t wish nor feel like arguing with Neo over a subject he felt his friend was wrong in. Cortex: “Alright fine. I’ll keep watch here until you come back.” N.Brio: “Just let the procedure run it’s c..course Cortex. Any inp..p..puts are not req..quired.” Cortex: “Relax Brio. I won’t touch your work.” And with that said N.Brio left the lab with the assistant following behind as the door closed once again. Cortex: “Now all I have to do is wait.“ The doctor mumbled to himself. As the minutes passed Cortex was getting anxious. He told his daughter Nina that he wouldn’t be long and now he had been standing here watching an animal for…15 or so minutes? That was too long as far as Neo was concerned. How long did it take to check to see if Tropy was ok? That’s it, he was going to contact Brio and tell find someone else babysit the…”BOOM” An exposition erupted from the wall directly behind Cortex filling him across the lab nearly hitting the wall on the other side. After a few seconds Neo was able to compose himself and turn around to see the damage. He was astounded to see a massive hole near where he was standing seconds ago. The exposition had ripped the equipment resting against it to shreds. A good portion of the “Evolve-Ray” was damaged. But what Cortex was more concerned about was how a bomb got into the ajundant lab next door? Could a saboteur infiltrator been sent to assassinate the head scientists and steal their secrets? Before these thoughts could be mulled over the warning sirens went off sending the workers into a panic. The blaring sound reminded Cortex of his daughter who was hopefully in their shared personal quarters. He needed to reach there and escort her out until the Taskmasters arrived. Rushing out towards the sliding door Cortex didn’t bother checking the operating table as he left. Who cares about that animal? It is most likely dead or injured from the nearby explosion. He had Nina to worry about. Though If Cortex did bother checking he would have seen a now groggy confused marsupial. The explosion had cut the power in the room and in the process opened the electronic restraints that held the Uplift down on the table. Now the Bandicoot was able to walk out of the room if it could manage to stand. Fortunately for it regaining balance and vision clarity didn’t take that long. As the bandicoot wondered out the open door it peered over to the right it saw Cortex rushing down the hallway in his lab coat. Not knowing where it was or what was going on the marsupial followed Neo or at least kept him in it’s sight. The doctor was running like a madman franticly trying to reach wherever Nina was in the shortest time possible. He didn’t have to run for much longer. Nina: “Dad! Dad!” Cortex: “Nina!” Father & daughter both rushed into each other. Neo latched onto Nina afraid that if he let go he’d lose her. Cortex: “That goodness you are alright my sweet child.” Nina: “Dad!” The near 13 year old girl struggled in her father’s grasp. Nina: “I can’t find Coco!“ Cortex: “What?!” Nina: “She jumped out of my arms when the sirens went off. I’ve been searching for her…” Cortex: “You can’t do that now! We need to get to safety! Forget about Coco!” Nina: “I’m not leaving her Dad!” Now struggling even harder to escape her father’s grasp. Nina: “Something bad might happen to her!” Managing to escape from her father’s hold Nina started to run back the way she came. Only for Neo to grab one of his daughter’s arms and prevent her from accomplishing this. Cortex: “Absolutely not!!” He screamed at the top of his lungs to be heard over the sirens. Cortex: “We are leaving this place!! Until it is deemed safe to come back I forbid you from searching for Coco in this place!!” Nina: “No! I must find her!” Cortex: “Who knows what creatures are let loose?! Rooming about acting on instinct?! What do you think will happen if you run into one of these…?!” The angry parent was interrupted by a rapid tap on his shoulder. Already fed up at his daughter’s obstinate attitude in placing priority on funding a stupid animal over her own safety Neo spun around. His visibly angry features were greeted by a bipedal bandicoot around a head taller than himself. Cortex proceeded to scream in terror. Cortex: “AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!” Which then frightened the Bandicoot causing it to lunge backwards, flail it’s arms in an effort to make itself more intimidating, while screaming in terror at the Human in front of it. Bandicoot: “AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!” To her credit Nina kept her mouth shut trying not to scream herself. This was partly due to her being surprised to see a large anthro Bandicoot standing a few feet away from her. Reminder her of a humanized Coco except of the opposite sex. In the midst of this screaming bout a new sound caused the two males to clam up. A deep deadly growl that sent shivers up and down their spines. Realizing that something dangerous was hiding nearby the Bandicoot sprung into action. Making a bolt past the two humans who watched him run off ahead of them. Seemingly leaving them to fend against the creature who made that noise. Until it stopped, did a complete u-turn, running back to where it came from to grab a hold of Nina’s free arm before continuing to get the hell out of dodge. Cortex had no intentions of letting go of his daughter. Where Nina went he was going to be right beside her. Regardless of who was pulling her along. Which resulted in him being dragged along with his daughter. This spectacle didn’t last for long as the frantic bandicoot ended up running into someone. N.Gin: “Oof! Hey! Watch where you are…!” The rockethead scientist’s angered face & personality quickly changes upon seeing his boss. N.Gin: “Dr Cortex! You’re ok! How did you…?” Cortex: “N.Gin we don’t have time! There is a monstrous thing chasing…N.Gin!” Grabbing the short man by the collar of his lab coat. N.Gin: “Ye..Yes doctor?” Cortex: “What happened to the animals that I entrusted you to inspect? What were the verdicts that you gave?“ N.Gin: “The lab is in a state of red alert and you want to know about that? This very instant?!“ Cortex: “N.Gin!” Shaking the engineer by his coat. Cortex: “What was your decision?!” N.Gin: “A..After careful consideration I decided…to pass them…” Cortex: “You did what?!!!” Neo yelled and violently shook N.Gin upon hearing this. N.Gin: “ Y..You put me in ch..charge…” Cortex: “A mistake I will never make again!!” Bandicoot: “Whoa!! Whoa!! Whoa!! Whoa!!” Nina: “Dad! Its behind us!” Neo quickly turned around to see the creation that Brio had dubbed Dingodile coming straight towards them. Except it wasn’t rushing towards them. Instead taking it’s sweet time closing the distance between itself and both of the Cortexs. Neo whipped his head back around to stare angrily into N. Gin face. Cortex: “Because of you passing that creature…!” Pointing at the hybrid beast that was slowly moving towards them. Cortex: “It was able to get out when it should have been destroyed!!” N.Gin: “My decision is not the reason that specimen was able to escape confinement! What I was going to say before you interrupted me was that I decided to pass them all except for that beast!!” Suddenly a large guttural growing hiss came forth from the hybrid’s mouth. When Neo turned back to look at it, Dingodile had already begun to pick up speed. Starting on it’s bipedal canine legs before switching to running on all fours to propel itself to greater speed. Nina let out a small surprised yelp as the bandicoot took her hand and made another mad dash. Seeing this Neo pushed N.Gin a couple of feet in front of him and ran after his daughter. As the crocodile headed beast rushed towards him N.Gin didn’t scream, he simply got up and ran straight ahead. Hoping beyond hope that he could out run the monster trailing behind him. Cortex: “Stop! You stupid Bandicoot! Give me back my daughter!” Cortex’s yelling drew Dingodile’s attention from the easy prey that was N.Gin. Halting it’s sprinting gait and causing it to look down the path where Neo went. The scientist sprinting as fast as he could to catch up with the Bandicoot and his daughter. Returning it’s gaze to view N.Gin, who was desperately rushing down the lab corridor, Dingodile decided that one prey was not as enticing as the prospect of three. Putting N.Gin far from it’s mind the predator turned it’s attention back to where the Cortexs had run. Only to find that he could not see them anymore. Oh well, it didn’t matter. He would be able to track the three of them down once he’d pick up their scent. The thrill of the hunt was more important to the intelligent feral beast. The longer it lasted the more satisfying the undertaking would be in it’s eyes. Moving at a steady pace that displayed it’s assured confidence of success, Dingodile pushed forward. Looking ahead to where the chase would take it and fantasizing about the gory conclusion.