Von Grun's Redemption
- Story Arc
- Visit Ouroborus to Flashback to this story
- Issue 8
- Vernon von Grun (Grandville)
- An issue of 'Mad Science Weekly'
- 45 - 50
- Mission #7: Zenflower, Hero (Longbow)
Get Vernon to pull himself together and get back to doing evil!
Oh, Dread Tomax. It's good to see you, I guess. I'm sorry, it's just that this string of failures is weighing heavily on me. I had dreamed of watching the world, you know, tremble before my scientific genius and stuff. But all of these failures! Mad scientist? Pah! I should be happy if they'll even employ me as a mad shop teacher after this! I had the help of one of the most powerful villains in the world, and I what do I have to show for it? Oh, where on the graph do 'Loser' and 'Wanna-be' meet? *sniff* That's right! x = Vernon von Grun!
You'll still work with me, Dread Tomax? Even after all that's gone wrong? Then I will pull myself together! If I'm to be a mad scientist, then I have to act like one, and the first rule of science whether sane or mad is to examine the evidence, Dread Tomax. I need you to return to Eden, and find out what's going on. There may be some Longbow in the area, they may know something.
Instanced Outdoor [Eden] @ Grandville
Eden feels differents this time. And the distinctive uniforms of Freedom Corp might explain what's going on.
Mission Complete: The captured scientist will surely tell you what you need to learn.
Those scientists you found told me a great deal, but they were rescued by Blue Steel before I could learn enough. It seems that the Devouring Earth have become more docile after my devices went off, exactly the opposite effect as I had wanted! The heroes have no idea why it's happening, but they're more than happy to see it occur. and what's worse, the heroes are taking the opportunity to recover previously devoured people, and attempt to transform them back with captured Rikti biotechnology! They're using my evil plans to use their science to do good! And I WILL NOT tolerate that!
For a brief moment I thought I was done with science, but this lights the three-foot tall Bunsen burner flame of madness! It heats the crucible of science within me, and the noxious vapors that issue forth are nothing less than the poison fumes of MAD SCIENCE!
Laugh with me!
AAAH - HAH - HAH - HAH - HAH - HAAAAH!
Subdue in-fighting Devouring Earth specimens
Those fool scientists did not tell me all I needed to know before they were rescued, but at least we did learn that the heroes of Paragon City know nothing. However, there may be another place we can seek for clues. I have heard reports that the Devouring Earth in St. Martial have been seen fighting among themselves! Such a thing should be impossible, but study of the bodies could yield impressive results. I'll need you to return to St. Martial and subdue a nest of Devouring Earth where some of this infighting is occurring.
I have the point marked here. Just subdue all of them, that should be fine. Oh, and take this. It's my last batch of Tranquilizer darts. You just might need them.
While it's good to see Vernon back to his old self, something about this whole mess seems off. Like there was an element you don't know about yet.
Mission Complete: You managed to subdue all of the creatures. But it was kind of weird.
It will take some time to analyze the creatures. Something must have gone awry when the growth bomb went off, but what? I can only hope that nothing goes disastrously wrong before I have a chance to figure out what has happened.
Investigate Devouring Earth attack on Arachnos base
Dread Tomax, Something has gone disastrously wrong! The Devouring Earth have started attacking Arachnos bases! If they've been infected by my Force of the Earth mutagen, this could all lead right back to me, er, us! Oh, who could have anticipated such a turn of events could come to pass when I began playing with an intricate and alien eco-system and the semi-intelligent monstrosities that dwelled within it? I have learned of one such base already under attack. You must investigate it!
The base is most likely already lost, but if you can recover the base commander and shut down the computer system, that should help to mitigate the loss. If the commander falls in combat, though, it could be bad...
In the meantime, I will continue examining the creatures you collected previously. If they have been infected by my Force of the Earth mutagen, then this will all be my fault. Oddly, I find that thought at once horrifying and pleasing. Part of the fun of Mad Science is when it goes horribly awry, after all!
Oh, and take this, my last Vial of Bees with you! I'm certain you'll find some use for the little terrors!
Arachnos Base @ St. Martial
You've helped Vernon von Grun get pretty close to being a mad scientist, and this is one of the classic moments: When things go horribly awry.
Objective: You have deactivated one of the computers.
Mission Complete: You got the base commander out and shut down the computers.
You bring good news just in time! My suspicions were correct. These Devouring Earth have all been infected with my Force of the Earth mutant mutagenic bacteria. Unfortunately, several other Arachnos scientists have also uncovered this fact. I fear we will be meeting with Arbiter Daos very, very soon.
Help Vernon undo the terrors he has wrought, after talking to Arbiter Daos
Well, it looks like the cursed gaze of responsibility for the destruction I have wrought has been turned upon us by no less than Arbiter Daos himself! A Night Widow delivered an 'invitation' to a meeting with him. However, Daos wishes to speak to you first, no doubt to get separate stories from us. And I was SO CLOSE! I had just learned that Crey industries have captured an organelle of the Hamidon, the creature that spawns the Devouring Earth! That thing could tell me what I wish to know, and allow me to undo my tragic mistakes! And now I must spend all my time preparing my case for Arbiter Daos! But wait! There may yet be time! That is, if you are still willing to help, Dread Tomax?
First, you must speak to Daos, there is no avoiding that grim task. Then, while Daos interrogates me, you will enter the Crey Compound here on Grandville, and find that Organelle. I will use that information to find a way to undo all that I have done!
But first, take these, my last Creeper Seeds. Use them well!
We've been watching you help out Vernon von Grun, Dread Tomax. In fact, we've had our eye on him for a while now. Von Grun is a genius, alright. He's also reckless, immoral, obsessed, and likely a danger to everyone around him. In other words, a perfect mad scientist candidate. We've been wondering when he'd finally make his big break, and it looks like what he needed was some professional help. A pro-level villain, I mean. Like you.
I'm not upset about the base. A base here or there is a small price to pay for good mad science. Why do you think we keep Dr. Aeon around? That guy's a complete loon, but if you need to power a city by tapping into an entombed demon, you can't let sanity stop you. And organizations like ours always need more mad scientists. Sure, we've got Aeon and Weaver-1, and even Grillo when he really gets into it. But compare that to the Council: Nosferatu, Vandal, Arakhn, Burkholder, even Requiem dabbles in mad science sometimes. And don't even get me started on Nemesis! We need more mad scientists if we're to keep up, and we've been hoping that von Grun would make the leap. It looks like he will, thanks to your help.
Now, I have to interrogate him to see how well he rants under pressure. In the meantime, you should check out that Hamidon organelle the Crey have.
You'll have to find the Organelle, and you should probably eliminate the base manager while you're at it. No reason to go half-way.
Objective: You learned something
The moment you approached the container with the organelle in it, an alien, but strangely human mind touched yours:
'I am the Hamidon. Through this small piece of my greater being, I contact you. I know of you. You have helped to disrupt the balance of the Devouring Earth, my Devouring Earth. In the chaos of the false-growthtime, as a blindness you caused gripped me, there came another. A human, who in the unnatural individuality of mankind calls herself 'Zenflower', appeared. She had been tutored by the Spirit of the Wood, and used this knowledge. She drank of the Unclean Will-of-the-Earth, and mastered it. And even now she seeks to tame the Devouring Earth! Stop her! Or else the heroes will have powerful new allies, and we all shall lose.'
Mission Complete: You defeated the commander and learned from the Hamidon
Amazing! Mental contact with Hamidon Parsalima, the mad genius who became the Hamidon and created the Devouring Earth! Did you get a sample? No, wait, must stay focused. The important thing is that we can not allow the heroes to gain by this. If this 'Zenflower' succeeds in domesticating the Devouring Earth, it will be a disaster for all the evil in the world. And if there is anything mad scientists CAN NOT abide, it is the forces of good profiting from his plans! I will not allow it!
Fortunately, my interrogation went well. It seems that while Arbiter Daos is concerned, he has no concrete evidence. Indeed, Daos suspects NOTHING of my genius! Or of my true plans to RULE the WORLD!
Laugh with me!
RAAH - HA - HA - HA - HA - HAAAAA!
I don't know if you've noticed but I've been trying a couple different styles of evil laugh. It's hard to pick the right one.
Help Vernon clean out his lab
I am very close to putting an end to this heroic usurpation of my mad scientific genius, but a problem has occurred. Something has re-awoken many of the Devouring Earth specimens I had you capture, and now they're running riot in my own lab! They could well destroy my work if they are left unchecked. Dread Tomax, you must help me to subdue the beasts in my lab or else all will be lost.
You'll have to defeat all of the beasts, as well as recover 3 pieces of my work for safe keeping. As you know, I work for Operative Grillo on the Fury project. So, it, ah, isn't just my lab. There are other people there, and they are sort of my co-workers, so it might be good if you could get them out too. I may be mad, but I did just order some boxes of spiderling-scout candy from one of their daughters and I'll never get them if all of my co-workers are devoured.
How many dull hours did Vernon spend here, inventing mad plans while he spent his life in day-to-day drudgery?
Objective: You got part of the project
Objective: You got part of the project
Objective: You got part of the project
Mission Complete: You saved Vernon's lab
You have done well. My lab is saved, and now it is time to complete my work. My mad genius has been mis-used by the hated heroes of Paragon City and this 'Zenflower' creature. It is time now to restore the unnatural balance and bring about her doom! And you, my ally, you shall be the one who carries forth the blazing torch of my scientific glory to burn away the false hopes of those who cling to the out-dated ways and morals of the old order!
Defeat Zenflower and free the Devouring Earth from her control
It has all built up to this moment, Dread Tomax! Zenflower has been seen in Eden, asserting her control over the Devouring Earth in their own den! Control that she has usurped from me! Power that should be rightfully mine! And Zenflower is powerful, in fact she may soon have the alliance of the entire Devouring Earth if she is not stopped. Therefore, now must be the moment that we stop her! Make whatever dark pacts and shadowy alliances you must to bring along as many cronies as you can. Now is the time for the final battle: Mad Science versus Mutant Nature!
Defeat Zenflower. She cannot be allowed to consolidate her hold over the Devouring Earth. Even though it may return them to the control of the Hamidon, that's better than having them be used to help mankind for the good of all!
You have seen me through many things, Dread Tomax. From my early trials to the moment of my ultimate victory was cruelly snatched away, and finally to this! Now is the time to end this tale of mad science gone awry by defeating she who would use my evil work for good. Many mad scientists would have quit long ago, but my long years as a mere lab assistant have taught me diligence. And after this mistake has been wiped away, I think all that I have learned working with you will also serve me well.
Oh, and take this. It is my final formulation of the Force of the Earth. Use it, and it will cause such confusion among your foes from conflicting empathic impulses that they will not be able to tell friend from foe.
Eden, probably for the last time. Zenflower is out there, and this time you're not going back until she's been defeated.
Blessed with the powers on nature, the young heroine Zenflower fights those who would hurt or misuse nature for their own evil ends.
Mission Complete: You defeated Zenflower
I saw the news. Zenflower is down and the Devouring Earth are returning to their old ways. But that's barely important now. Dread Tomax, look! I just got it in the mail. It's my card. My union of scientific evil card! The papers have been signed by Grillo and Dr. Creed, and everyone! I did it! Thanks to you I did it! I'm no longer Vernon von Grun, mere lab assistant, I am now Vernon von Grun, Mad Scientist! I couldn't have done it without you, Dread Tomax! Now, there's so much to do! I'll have to give my 2 week notice in the traditional fashion by attempting to build a killer robot or evil demi-human clone, of course, and there'll be setting up a lab. Oh, and I'll need some twisted assistants, must give back to the community. And a master plan to RULE the WORLD! But I couldn't have done it without you! There's so much to do, but thank you, Dread Tomax, thank you! You've made my mad dreams of making science run amok finally come true! I'll never forget you, and the world will never forgive you!
Souvenir: An issue of 'Mad Science Weekly'
The cover story of this long-running magazine for demented inventors and mad scientists is all about the top up-and-coming mad scientists and how they made it into the big leagues. And pictured on the cover in mid-rant is someone you know very well indeed, Victor von Grun, the man you helped make his break in the world of mad science through a little caper you remember as:
Von Grun's Redemption
When you spoke to Vernon von Grun again, he was in shambles. The constant failures had nearly ruined his self-confidence. You slapped him back into shape, and got him to pull himself together. The first step was to determine what had gone wrong when the growth bombs finally did go off. Why had the Devouring Earth not over-run Paragon City? You returned to Eden to find out, only to discover that some of the Devouring Earth had lost their hostility to the city's heroes! Much to his mounting horror, it seemed that Vernon's plans had ended up helping the people of Paragon City!
But that wasn't all! Devouring Earth had been seen fighting each other, something that had never happened before. Fearing the worst, Vernon sent you to subdue one of these nests of in-fighting Devouring Earth so that he could examine them.
Before Vernon could finish his examination, you learned that an Arachnos base had been over-run by Devouring Earth! Vernon quickly realized that if the attacking creatures showed signs of infection with his own Force of the Earth mutant mutagen it could all lead back to him. You went in to salvage what you could of the situation. When you returned, Vernon had learned that the in-fighting creatures had been infected by his mutagen, and so had the ones you had just faced. Unfortunately, other Arachnos scientists had also discovered Vernon's involvement.
Arbiter Daos called for you, and you suspected the worst. Vernon wasn't through yet, and told you that Crey had captured a Hamidon Organelle and were holding it at their main facility. If you survived the interview with Daos, you were to investigate this in the hope it would reveal what had gone wrong with Vernon's plan. It turned out that you didn't need to worry about Arbiter Daos. He was actually quite glad you were helping Vernon von Grun, and explained that Arachnos felt it needed more mad scientists like von Grun to keep up with other villain groups like the Council. As he prepared to see how well Vernon ranted under pressure, you checked out the Crey base. The Organelle was there, and as you examined it the strange being's mind touched your own. You learned that the Hamidon's control of the Devouring Earth was being usurped by a young heroine called Zenflower, and that her influence was behind the changes in their behavior. This news really got Vernon fired up.
Vernon was close to perfecting a counter-agent to his own work when the Devouring Earth attacked the lab where he worked. You managed to salvage his work, and even save some of his co-workers.
Vernon had realized that the only way to set things right was to break Zenflower's control over the Devouring Earth directly before she could permanently cement it. It would probably allow the Hamidon to take control again, but anything was better than having the Devouring Earth used for the good of all mankind and have it be Vernon's fault. Armed with Vernon's latest effort, a version of his Force of the Earth mutagenic bacteria that could sow confusion in your enemies, you returned to Eden one last time. Despite her haiku-filled banter, you were able to defeat the nature princess and end her control over the Devouring Earth's alien ecology.
When you returned, Vernon had just gotten the letter he'd waited his whole life for. The Mad Scientists of the world had finally offered him his credentials. Lowly lab assistant Vernon von Grun was now a full-fledged Mad Scientist. He thanked you for all your help, and began to work on all the things he'd need to one day RULE the WORLD!
You saw this magazine a little later. Vernon's already considered one of the rising mad scientists in his field. And every time you hear about him wreaking terror on the unsuspecting citizens of the Earth, you can take a moment and think how you knew him back then.