Girl Genius
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Girl Genius

Beast

The Beast is a living sapient train built by Agatha's grandfather Saturnus Heterodyne. It is the eponymous antagonist of The Beast of the Rails.

Description[]

As described by the Corbettite Monk Brother Ulm, The Beast is "capricious, ravenous and proud", traits which it apparently shares with its late creator. Additionally, the train longs to roam the world at its leisure, sampling whatever catches its interest in the process. All of that said, and despite threats to the contrary, in Heterodyne terms it is surprisingly restrained in its intentional direct attacks against defenseless organic life.

When first encountered, the train moves like a snake without the need for rails, can burrow through the ground, and rear the upper part of its body into the air. It powers itself by devouring (at a minimum) coal, oil, metal and wood, but actions performed implied that metal is its preferred meal, and it is aided in this hunt by an ability to drag in all types of metallic items (notably including non-ferrous material) via powerful magnetism . Said material is stored in the form of additional "cars" attached to its rear, which can be voluntarily re-absorbed and re-configured to grant itself additional "facial" features ex: four extra eyes, or even form new front "arms". Inside the head car (best described as the face of The Beast) rests a small spherical object that serves as its mind. This state of affairs changes, as described below.

History[]

Upon being created, the Beast was given by Saturnus to the Corbettites to use on their railway network. Unfortunately, conflict erupted between the two: as noted, the Beast preferred to roam freely, instead of being a "stupid" train/slave running on roundabout paths and obeying boring fiddly little schedules set up by an order of obsessive rule-abiding monks. Then there was the Beast's ravenous and proud nature, causing the monks extreme difficulty talking it into only consuming the fuel it needed rather than chowing down on intriguing bits of scenery. This difference of opinion finally came to a head, and the monks tricked the Beast with promises of coal to trap it inside a vault deep below their Depot Fortress of St. Szpac.

Release and Defeat[]

The Beast appears in the comic when Auntie whats-her-name arranges events so that she (and incidentally Agatha and Co.) are admitted into St. Szpac, allowing her to gain unauthorized access to the Beast's vault. (Though it's a near-certainty that the Beast is not her intended target, and releasing it gets her unceremoniously and lethally swatted aside.) Once free, the Beast begins gleefully rampaging through the fortress in search of revenge on the monks and/or food to devour, seeking especially metal. When confronted by the newly-arrived Martellus/Tweedle/Squashy while destroying the fortress's kitchen, it nearly kills him by pulling in his prosthetic hand; upon meeting Agatha it expresses interest in the fact that she claims the Heterodyne name, and is willing to talk to her, but, unlike Castle Heterodyne, it ultimately refuses to believe that she is a member of the family and shows no inclination to obey her commands.

Using manual magnetic field shapers Agatha, and the Corbettites stop the Beast, for a few moments, but ultimately it is able to shrug off the combined assaults of Agatha, Tweedle, the Monks, and even magnetism expert Count Wolkerstorfer. It finally takes a swarm-attack by Krosp's newly-acquired and metal-free army of Swartzwalders to stop the Beast from moving. The Fortress's resident clank Humongulus also assists, allowing the Beast to be separated from its fuel/extra cars, and its cab ripped open, apparently by magnetism [1], giving Brother Ulm access to its brain, which he yanks from its socket, resulting in an explosion.

Rebirth and Service in Paris[]

BetterYet

Meet the new beast…

Agatha then sets out to make amends , helping the Monks finish construction on a sparky new super-train. As this new vehicle heads to Paris, it is revealed its controlling intellect is a transferred Brother Ulm, with the Beast's new incarnation unwillingly brought along as a powerless instructor/back-seat driver.

As seen to the right, this version of the Beast is a roughly baseball-sized sphere (cf. Queenie) with two arms, one glowing central eye and a smokestack. There is no confirmation that the object brother Ulm pulled out moments prior to his death and this new body of the Beast's are the same, though along with their similar size, a gold pattern covering the anterior superior caudal (where the hair would be) appears on both objects.

Agatha disconnects the Beast from the Ulm-train before entering Paris, and (evidently) gives it a pair of legs. The now-mobile Beast accompanies her into the city without observed protest and can be seen watching an amusing marionette show and then working on some sort of diagram or equation with a similar-sized piece of Castle Heterodyne's mind which Agatha also acquires. The two mini-clanks also help crack into Van Rijn's Hermitorium inside the Immortal Library, and, during the chaotic ascension of Colette Voltaire as the new Mistress of Paris, the Beast operates a commandeered Child-Catching Clank. In the process of the latter, it publicly (if somewhat incidentally) acknowledges Agatha as its mistress.

To Albion and Beyond[]

It (and the mini-Castle) accompany Agatha on to England, where they all move into the undersea dome of the Queen's Society. There, the two bots end up imprisoned by one Doctor Compoculous, who bribes the Beast into non-escaping by letting it run/wreak havoc on a model-train setup. Agatha finally appears on the scene and sends the duo to collect her Wasp-Eater, as she explores the center of the resident Sparky Conspiracy.

Everyone eventually flees the self-destructing dome, and return to Londinium proper. After some research, Our Heroes proceed to Big Rat Island, where Agatha sends the Beast and Castle bots exploring. They eventually find their way to where the local Queen-powering "Flame" spews mysteriously from the earth, and proactively decide to repair the decayed infrastructure which channels it to the rest of the island's long-dormant Sparky machines, including the resident Mirror. They create a small army of helper Dingbots, and are successful in their goal, resulting in, among other things, the Mirror's full reactivation.

Homecoming[]

Agatha and Co. eventually return to Mechanicsburg and work to remove the time-freeze covering the city, with the mini-Castle and the Beast again assisting. While doing so, the two of them discuss their differing viewpoints on the world, with the Castle noting it was present when the Beast was created, and offering the opinion that the Beast subsequently spent too much time with the Corbettites, and so is no longer fully in tune with the traditional Heterodyne ethos.==References==

  1. Although the damage inflicted by Humongulus when he grabs the Beast after rising from the elevator shaft may have played a role as well.
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