created by: Bob Gerkin (artist) and Steve Gerkin (writer)
Warped labs is located in Philadelphia, PA, in an alternate present day reality where the space race between the USA and the USSR progressed much differently, among other things. In this reality humanity is more than thirty years into its colonization of space, with cities on the Moon, Mars, several moons around Saturn and colonies on dozens of planets throughout the Galaxy. Yet with their advancement in technology and space travel they haven’t cured every disease, they haven’t fed every mouth, they haven’t educated every mind, nor have they ended every war. The people in this alternate present day reality aren’t perfect.
Warped Labs is co-owned and operated by the physicists Dr. Wallace Warped and Dr. Amanda Carson. Their counterparts are Glitch (a malfunctioning robotic assistant) and Suzi-Q (a portable quantum computing AI). Dr. Warped is also an engineer and a guitar player. He has an on again/ off again band with ex-girlfriend and fellow scientist, Tauri Centauri, called “Paradox”. His greatest invention is a string instrument that ,when played, can influence the tiny strings that make up all matter in the Universe and manipulate that matter into any form he chooses, depending on what he plays and how he plays it. He calls it the G.U.I.T.A.R. squared, or the Gadget (that) Unfolds In To A Ready (to play) Guitar, User Intuitive Transmutator And Rocket (pack).
Work as a freelance physicist isn’t very profitable for Dr. Warped considering the reputation he earned during his years at Apex Labs (working in the basement and having to share space with the janitorial department), where he met Amanda, and his friend, Henry Evans (now the owner/operator of Moon Spinner Interstellar Transport). But by Building the Creative Optical Matter Imaging Constructor (C.O.M.I.C.), a device that takes the information it’s given and generates an internet web comic chronicle of the gang’s adventures, the Doc is hoping to make a little extra money from the advertising revenue along with having a commercial ad for his scientific services filmed for TV. Meanwhile, Amanda is getting frustrated with the Doc’s poor business sense and budgeting and decides to start looking for a new job. But her long time association with Dr. Warped has her career at a dead stop, so she takes her friend Stephanie’s previous offer of help in getting her a job interview with Universal Tech.
While doing the Doc a favor by returning a repaired satellite to a quarrelsome sector in space, his friends Henry and Vic call the Lab for help. They’ve been shot down while orbiting their destination, the Planet Feudos in the Rayzenkayn Star System. The Doc must call on Julie Takaya, the one person he owes the least money to, for help getting to Feudos to save his friends.
But while waiting for Julie to reach Earth, Philadelphia is attacked by a Scrobot. Yes. A Scrobot. A killing machine over a hundred feet tall heading for the heart of the city, destroying everything in its path, and Dr. Warped is called on to stop it. The ensuing battle destroys roads, cars, parks, buildings; you name it, before reaching the Ben Franklin Bridge where they do the most damage of all.
Julie arrives moments after the battle in her starship, the Blu-Byrd 4. With Henry and Vic needing their help there’s no time to waste. DW and Glitch leave Amanda and Suzi-Q on the Ben Franklin Bridge with a smoking Scrobot, Amanda’s newly flattened car and emergency vehicles approaching the scene.
Able to sneak through the planet’s orbiting security network, the Blu-Byrd 4 enters the atmosphere and quickly finds itself in a dogfight over an abandoned metropolis with three Feudos Attack Fighters. One fighter is destroyed and the remaining two flee, leaving the Blu-Byrd 4 to follow Henry’s beacon right to an army of Scrobots. Yes, an army of Scrobots. After landing to retrieve Henry and Vic, the gang is surrounded by the two Feudos Attack Fighters and their back-up. Dr. Warped tries to explain things to the security officers, but they’re arrested and taken to Chief Pettifog, the man who hired Dr. Warped for the security satellite network repair.
Dr. Warped discovers he was an unknowing accomplice in an upcoming attack on the people of Feudos by their sister planet Fracas, just another stage in a long running war. Pettifog denies any involvement in the Scrobot attack on Philadelphia despite having a memorial park full of them. He claims those responsible for the attack could be any one of the many clients he sold the technology to.
Chief Pettifog hurries the gang to their starships, asking them to take another prisoner named Mavenn with them off world and to the nearest space station. Feudos is about to get attacked by a fleet of Super Scrobots.
Starlight Station 317 is a deep space chain of stations that have everything a deep space traveler can want or need, though this far out into the Universe there aren’t many human-friendly aliens or eating establishments. But Dr. Warped needs to pay Julie so she can get back to work, and Henry so he can get the Moon Spinner fixed and to do that the Doc needs to find an ATM. And besides, the Doc can’t wait to get home to his Hero’s welcome for saving the City. Mavenn is now free, but has no idea what to do next with the fate of friends on Feudos uncertain. Glitch demands payback as well for the past several months of the Doc’s piggybank robbing.
While everyone is waiting for the Moon Spinner to get fixed, Glitch wanders off and loses his head, Dr. Warped angers a human-hating alien behemoth and an APB is broadcast on the public video screens. Dr. Warped and the others have suddenly become fugitives wanted by the authorities and have to get off the station quick.
On Dr. Warped’s return to Earth there is no Hero’s welcome waiting and none planned. The police want to question him about his involvement in the Scrobot attack. He turns himself in willingly but they tell him his alibi is full of holes. They’re accusing him of a publicity stunt gone wrong, for no motive other than to make money. The Doc is released on bail and told not to leave the city while a committee investigates.
During his own late night investigation the Doc and Suzi-Q find clues that challenge the facts being reported. But when the Doc calls the detective to tell him what he’s found all he gets are ‘misleading an investigation’ and ‘trespassing’ added to his list of charges. The next day the committee concludes its investigation and releases it to the press. The committee calls for Dr. Warped’s immediate arrest. Amanda has decided not to quit, feeling she owes it to the Doc to help him clear his name, having helped her do the same a couple of years back.
Then the Doc comes face to face with the strange man who’s been following him around to discover that he is an older version of himself from the future. The older Dr. Warped explains that some as yet unknown culprit has used time travel to alter events making The Doc the fall guy for the Scrobot attack instead of the Hero he should’ve been for saving the city. The present Doc agrees to the Future Doc’s plan to change things back, against the warnings of his friends, who find the future Doc’s story (and cheap, fake beard) difficult to believe. He can’t leave the city, but the present Doc’s reasoning is that if they succeed in changing things back, he’ll have nothing to answer for on his return. The only alternative is to wait for the police to arrest him.
But Dr. Warped’s friends were right. It was a trap. Our Villain makes it clear he isn’t the brains behind the plot, just a player. All he knows is that he’s supposed to get Dr. Warped out of the way long enough for things to move forward and to get the G.U.I.T.A.R. squared from him. He fails to get the G.U.I.T.A.R. squared but succeeds in banishing the gang to an unknown part of the Galaxy after disabling the Moon Spinner’s operating system with a virus, allowing the ship to drift through a worm hole generated by the Villain’s escape ship.
The Moon Spinner crashes on an unknown planet. There, Dr. Warped and the gang find a civilization of robots who call their world ‘Zero One’ and until today believed they were the only life that it existed in the Universe. Most of the robots live in a single large city connected to a network, like a hive mind. A smaller group of robots who have disconnected from the network live in the mountains. It is Calsus (among others) from the mountain group who saw the Moon Spinner crash and came to their aide.
While wandering the main city Dr.Warped, Amanda and Henry discover the robots are actually a terraforming project by Apex Labs lost in space shortly after its launch over ten years ago and never found. Somehow the project malfunctioned after finding its way here because the robots have no idea of their true function. No robot but Keldir, that is. Keldir is the control unit for the network and the first unit off the terraforming module’s assembly line. Keldir accesses the Moon Spinner’s hard drive to download its star charts and information on Earth, his new target. He plans to take his army there and seize control. But due to Keldir’s lack of foresight and Glitch’s surprisingly heroic acts, Dr. Warped and the others leave Zero One and head home.
The Moon Spinner isn’t on the black top of the Philadelphia Spaceport more than two minutes before being surrounded by squad cars and news crews. Dr. Warped is under arrest. During the preliminary hearing it seemed as though the Doc was going to trial, but at the last minute the evidence needed to clear him arrived and he was free again.
Though Dr. Warped has been proven innocent of any wrong doing, he has yet to discover who is responsible for the plot, or why.
© Copyright 2012-2015 Bob Gerkin
Powered by the Creative Optical Matter Imaging Constructor from Warped Labs.