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The Ancestral Trail #34:

Toxis, Poison Predator

Ancestral Trail Covers 34
 Caught in the Grip of the Slime Creature


In the thirty-fourth sector

00010 01100 01111 10111 10011 00111
01001 10110 00101 01110 00101
10001 10101 00001 01100 00010
01100 01111 10111 10011 10010 00101
10100 10101 10010 01110 00111
00101 01110 10100 01100 11001
10100 01111 10111 01001 01110

Blows given equal blows return gently to win


Richard feels nauseous as he slowly opens his eyes, unable to remember where he is for a few moments. Eventually, his memory does return and he hears the familiar sound of Robo performing some kind of scan. Robo declares that Richard is all right and informs the Chosen One that he blacked out because of the Omni Piece. Carbon-based organisms cannot touch it, so Robo offers to carry it and places the glowing item inside a small compartment in the robot's side. Robo then states that they need to leave because without the Keeper,the citadel will collapse.

Pipe City Collapse

The pair quickly rush outside as Richard hears the sound of creaking metal and groaning mortar in the citadel. Outside, the cybercruiser is waiting for them. Richard and Robo hop onto the vehicle and climb into the air as the citadel stirs up a massive dust cloud with its destruction. Richard asks Robo for their next destination, and Robo instructs Richard to follow the toxic river that flows through Pipe City. Richard does so, and as he leaves Pipe City behind he notices the river begin to widen. He also notices the large collections of debris and garbage amidst the slime as the cruiser soars over the green muck.

Eventually, Richard notices a pungent smell and asks Robo what it is, but the stench is so powerful that Robo's sensors cannot analyze it. As the smell becomes worse, Richard sees a city in the distance, and upon flying closer to it, Richard notices that the entire city is charred black, from its buildings to the remnants of trees. Behind this city is a tall tower that seems to have escaped destruction. Richard asks Robo what happened, but Robo is unable to answer. Just then, something begins stirring inside the water beneath the cruiser, and a few moments later a massive creature emerges from the slime.

Toxis emerges

The monster, calling itself Toxis, demands to know who dares defy it before reaching out and plucking the cybercruiser from the air. Richard is forced to remain still as he is examined by the creature, who is disgusted by Richard's cleanliness and holds the cruiser away from its face. Toxis demands to know who Richard is, and Robo answers for him, identifying Richard as the Chosen One, much to Richard's chagrin.

Toxis grabs the cruiser.

Toxis' face flickers with recognition at the name and his disposition suddenly changes from cranky to sickly sweet. Richard asks Toxis what he wants, and Toxis insists he doesn't want anything and nearly lets the cybercruiser go. But he changes his mind and then says that there is one thing that Richard can do for him. Toxis creates a massive hole inside the toxic river and sets the cruiser down inside, along with Richard and Robo. Toxis then starts explaining to Richard what he can do for him.

Richard and Toxis Deal

Toxis explains that there is something inside the giant tower in the nearby city that he wants: a bauble containing a potion. Because Toxis can't leave the river, Richard has to go fetch it for him. Richard promises Toxis that he will retrieve the item; Toxis, to make sure Richard isn't "slowed down," keeps Robo with him as insurance. The poison predator then lifts Richard onto dry land, though not before the Chosen One reads a new binary message from his companion. Richard quickly sets off for the nearby city. On his way, he notices several pools of liquid on the landscape, similar to the alkali pools that had saved him and Robo from the Hydronomizers.

Eventually, Richard reaches the tower. He draws his sword and pokes inside the open doorway as a precaution. He feels his sword cut something like a rope, and suddenly a giant blade snaps into view at about neck-height across the doorway before vanishing into a narrow slit. The trap disarmed, Richard bursts into a run inside the tower and climbs up the spiral staircase that leads to the top. At the tower's peak, he finds himself on a small platform with no parapet and no bauble in sight. He lays on his stomach and leans carefully over the edge; he sees his prize, sitting inside an alcove surrounded by a forcefield and flanked by stone gargoyles.

Getting the potion

As an experiment, he takes his sword and tries to stab the forcefield, but it bounces back at the same force with which he had struck it. Remembering the binary message, Richard attempts a new tactic and slowly slides his hand against the forcefield. He feels his hand slide into the forcefield, which feels like it is burning his hand, but he grits his teeth and carefully grabs the potioin before pulling it out of the forcefield. Wasting no time, he hurries back inside the tower and sprints down the staircase. He hears a loud commotion outside, which is the sound of the four gargoyles coming to life as they shriek in rage of their treasure being stolen.

Gargoyles attack

Outside, Richard rushes through the city back to the slime river, but the gargoyles are beginning to catch up with him. He can see the river up ahead, with Toxis screaming encouragement. Before he can reach the river, however, one of the gargoyles manages to scrape Richard's helment with its poisonous stinger, forcing the Chosen One to take cover underneath a piece of wreckage. As he does, he hears a mighty scream and looks to see Toxis flinging gobs of slime at the gargoyles. As Toxis is distracted with the gargoyles, Richard looks at the vial and formulates a plan inside his head.

Gargoyles trapped

Within moments the gargoyles are encased in green slime and Richard emerges from his hiding place. He heads to the river's edge, where Toxis awaits him eagerly. Toxis demands his prize, but Richard insists Robo and the cruiser are freed first. The monster complies, and Richard tosses the beast the vial. Toxis catches the bauble, opens the stopper, and downs its contents greedily. After finishing the drink, Toxis immediately cackles and starts mocking Richard, stating his master the Evil One will be pleased that it is the Chosen One, of all people, that had freed him from his prison.

Richard doesn't seem surprised, which only makes Toxis laugh the more. He states that the potion was the key to his release, and now he is free to cover the Cyber Dimension in filth and purge it of cleanliness. The massive creature then attempts to pull itself out fo the river, prompting Robo to suggest an evacuation of the area. Richard, however, stands his ground and calmly asks Robo what are the contents of the pools of liquid in the area. Robo scans the pools and comes up with an answer, but has Toxis already figured it out.

The beast screams in rage as he realizes that instead of the potion, he had drunk sodium solution, he had drunk soap, which Richard had placed inside the bottle while Toxis had been distracted by the gargoyles. The solution is already affecting Toxis' body and causing the predator's mechanisms to swirl violently. Toxis tries to cover himself in slime, but it is already too late. Soon the monster transforms into a massive whirlpool, which unexpectedly rises into the air like an inverted hurricane.

Toxis Twister

The slime typhoon grows in strength until the winds begin to suck up Richard, Robo and the cruiser. Richard and Robo try to hang on to something, but the pull of the swirling toxic twister is too strong. But before they are sucked into the massive vortex of green goo, Richard notices that something is pulling them away from the river. At first he thinks Robo has done something, but Rob informs him that a new force has come into play: a worm hole has emerged nearby and is dragging them inside. Robo cannot counter the gravitational pull of the worm hole, and Richard realizes to his horror that the location of the worm hole is where he had emptied the phial of Toxis' potion.

Sucked into worm  hole

Richard and Robo, unable to do anything else, climb onto the cruiser as the worm hole grows until it encompasses everythinig they can see. The sound of the swirling toxic vortex dissipates and the pair are pulled into the hole's center. Richard closes his eyes as he hangs on.


The thirty-fourth issue of The Ancestral Trail starts off with the revelation that the Omni Pieces, the MacGuffins that Richard has to retrieve in the Cyber Dimension, are toxic to the touch for him. This is in stark contrast to the Life Force Pods in the Ancestral World, which helped improve his courage, endurance, and other useful attributes. This toxicity once again reminds me of the theory that this series is a giant metaphor for growing up. If we see the Ancestral World as childhood, then the Cyber Dimension could be seen as the teenage years: in the former, life can be hard but there are those that help you improve and better yourself along the way, but in the latter, such help is much more difficult to come by and can be dangerous if not handled properly.

This issue also ends on a note that highlights just how different the Cyber Dimension is from the Ancestral World. In the Ancestarl World, the entire land is interconnected - while there may be different types of land like snowy mountains and swamplands and rocky craigs, the Cyber Dimension is more of a loose connection of areas that would never work in real life when interconnected. The emergence of the worm hole might explain such disparity in that alternate dimensions could be at play. What fate lies in store for Richard as he is sucked into the deadly gravitational pull of the worm hole?

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