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The Improbability Drive (or Drives, as revealed in Madness Aggregation) is a device featured in Madness Combat which bends and breaks the confines of reality, causing all sorts of mayhem and confusion. It is a reference to the Infinite Improbability Drive used in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but unlike its counterpart, the device is not a form of propulsion. Featured in Madness Avenger, Antipathy, Consternation, and Inundation, the Drive has been one of the key elements to the Madness plot; its numerous effects carry over from episode to episode.
List of Improbability Drives
The Sheriff's Improbability DriveThe Sheriff's Improbability Drive is a simple device in appearance, but complex and dangerous in function. First appearing in Madness Combat 3: Avenger and later in Madness Combat 6: Antipathy, the Drive appears as a single gray terminal with a screen and a red button labeled "Improbability Drive". It was later commandeered by Tricky the Clown, who used the Drive to achieve a state of near omnipotence.
In Madness Combat 9: Aggregation, it is revealed that this Improbability Drive is the "secondary" Drive. However, it appears that Krinkels has since gone back on this fact, stating that the "secondary/secret" Drive listed on Deimos' PDA is actually stored within the Auditor's corporeal form (see "Secret Drive" below).
Primary Improbability DriveThe Auditor's drive, the Primary Improbability Drive, is more complicated, and arguably more powerful, than the Sheriff's Drive. It appears in Madness Combat 7: Consternation and Madness Combat 8: Inundation as a small terminal consisting almost entirely of a screen, along with a small grey box labeled "Improbability Management" and laptop computer attached to it. In contrast to the Sheriff's Drive, which affected all of reality indiscriminately, specific commands can be imputed into the Auditor's Drive via the laptop, such as "infecting" specific people or the augmentation of 1337 agents into l33t agents in Madness Combat 6.5. This Drive was destroyed in Madness Combat 8: Inundation, causing the state of improbability over reality which lasted since Madness Avenger to be dispelled and normality to be restored.
In Madness Combat 9: Aggregation, it is revealed that this Improbability Drive is the "primary" Drive (see "Secret Drive" below). The destruction of the primary Drive causes normality to be restored, although the secondary Drive is still operational.
Portable Improbability DriveThe Portable Improbability Drive is a small device capable of projecting the effects of improbability onto a single individual. Tricky uses it to transform into a large, flaming monster in Madness Combat 6: Antipathy, where the device is housed in his "brain cavity." After Hank damages the Drive with a shotgun, Tricky places the Drive in the care of two A.T.P. engineers, who try to repair it. This has the side effect of reducing the Drive's effects, namely reducing the size of Tricky's monster form back down to that of a normal human. The Drive is destroyed by Jesus. It is also known as the "remote" Improbability Drive, as seen in the ending of MC7, in the Auditor's computer. Possibly the Auditor could control it, although this is unlikely, as Tricky used to be working for the Auditor but later quit, becoming a sadistic, psychotic clown with his own quest. The Drive makes cameo appearances in Madness Inundation and Madness Aggregation.
The Secondary Drive
In Madness Combat 9: Aggregation, Deimos takes out a PDA that reveals there are three Improbability Drives: the "Primary" Drive, destroyed during Madness Combat 8: Inundation, the Portable "Mini" Drive destroyed in Madness Combat 7: Consternation, and a "Secondary" or "Secret" Drive that remained active up to the end of Madness Combat 10: Abrogation. Exactly what and where this last Drive is has been difficult to discern.
At first it was simply assumed that the Sheriff's Drive (see above) was the Secondary Drive, as Hank failed to deactivate or destroy it in Madness Combat 6: Antipathy. However, shortly after the release of Madness Combat 10: Abrogation, Krinkels posted a "note of clarification" on the Madness Combat forums, stating that the Secondary/Secret Drive was "inside the Auditor", hence the source of the Auditor's powers and the reason Tricky's corpse destroyed him. What this means for the Sheriff's Drive is unclear; some believe the Auditor's Drive and the Sheriff's Drive are the same Drive, just rebuilt, which could be an explanation for why it looks different in Madness Combat 6: Antipathy, though this carries its own logical problems.
The Drive first appeared in Madness Avenger, roughly halfway through the animation. At the time, the Sheriff was watching Hank through a security camera. Becoming concerned after watching his foe slaughter the room's occupants, the sheriff pressed the button which activated the Drive for the first time. Apparently this was in the hope that the distorted world would eventually kill off Hank, but this would not be so.
The Drive appeared a second time in Madness Antipathy. Apparently it was moved to a building used for A.A.H.W training, the Drive was probably Hank's target for the episode. When he finally reached the control panel, he found that the button was taped down by Tricky, indicating that Hank wanted to turn it off while Tricky thought otherwise; the Drive is the source of his power. Before he could deactivate it, Hank was thrown away by a train which literally came out of a building in Madness Combat 5.5 and ran right through where he was standing.
The Drive appeared briefly in Madness 6.5, where the Auditor was using it to see the status of the major characters. He uses it to upgrade the 1337 agents into their state in Madness Antipathy, and probably upgrades them again in Madness Consternation.
The Improbability Drive made another appearance in Madness Consternation, this time as a smaller "Portable Improbability Drive" found inside Tricky's head. The drive was damaged when Hank shot Tricky with a shotgun. At the end, a two A.T.P engineers were seen attempting to fix the drive, but were killed when Jesus destroyed it.
In Madness Inundation, the drive is seen to currently being controlled by the Auditor. It has formed from a basic control panel with a button into a full program, as seen on a computer screen in front of the Auditor. The program takes on an almost DOS appearance, and appears to be much more complex, able to perform specific commands by typing in codes. It is used to "infect" Jesus (with what is never stated; it may even be something unique to the Drive), which makes him randomly vomit large amounts of blood - too much for a normal human to survive.
In Madness Aggregation, the portable drive Tricky used is briefly seen destroyed, and Deimos has a handheld monitor of all the drives, and it says that the primary and portable ones are destroyed, but a third, secret one (probably the Sheriff's drive) is still active.
The Improbability Drive's effects
The Improbability Drive has done plenty of damage to the fabric of reality in the world of Madness Combat, some things less prevalent than others. However, these effects are continually growing in number as the series expands.
One of the most profound effects it has had is in essentially "turning off the sun". In Madness Combat 3: Avenger, just after the Drive's activation, the sun grew a body and attempted to kill Hank. It was unsuccessful, however, and was beaten senseless by the streetsign. However, when the sun died, the light shining in the background quickly dimmed to black, delving the world in darkness. This darkness has been present in the proceeding episodes.
On a side note, a red light resembling a sun began to show on the dark horizon in Madness Combat 5: Depredation, and in Madness Combat 6: Antipathy this glow had illuminated the horizon completely. In Madness Combat 7: Consternation the red light illuminates the whole sky. Whether or not this is an effect of the Drive is still unknown.
Another extreme effect is that it (for lack of a better term) "super-powered" Tricky, making him an incredibly deadly opponent.
The effects begin to show in episode 5 Madness Depredation in which Tricky became "empowered" by the Drive. Shortly after he was killed once again, the text "REALITY COMPROMISED. THE CLOWN HAS BEEN ENGAGED" appeared and Tricky began to shake violently. He also showed incredible strength and agility, as noted by his execution of both Hank and Jesus.
In Madness Antipathy, Tricky also summoned a train and a building from the sky, both filled with l33t Agents intent only on stopping Hank.
The Drive also consistently registered Tricky's death as "Wrong" or "Invalid", and revived him in progressively more dangerous forms. Hank managed to kill him at the end of Madness Depredation by removing the top half of his head during which he lost an immense amount of blood and a portion of his brain but his seemingly lifeless body sprung back up almost instantly and slaughtered Hank. At the end of Madness Antipathy he was shot over 15 times and thrown off of a cliff, but the Drive revived him and seemingly incorporated itself into Tricky's new demon form (Despite having a separate form as well, for reasons unknown).
It's possible that the Drive was using Tricky as a "conductor" to alter reality, as in 6.5 the Auditor's terminal notes Tricky as a "Conductor" who is altering reality, this may simply be a reference to the train in Madness Combat 6. This theory is supported by the fact that Tricky seemed to alter reality without imputing commands or having the drive in his physical form, at least until Madness Combat 7.
The Drive has caused many minor, but humorous, things to happen, some of which have no relevance to anything at all.
The marshmallow and other diversions
The giant marshmallow seen in Marsh-Mellow-Madness was seen falling from the sky in Avenger after the Drive had been activated. It crushed several people when it hit the ground and was the surface on which Tricky was impaled on. In this same period it was 'raining' sperm whales (a reference to "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) and other marshmallows in the background.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy references
There were several further references to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy besides for the Drive itself.
In Madness Avenger it caused sperm whales to fall from the sky along with the giant marshmallow; their silhouettes could be seen in the background. These whales came from an incident in the book in which the Drive changed two approaching cruise missiles into a a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias which fell several thousand feet to the ground below.
Another reference is in the form of a building which fell from the sky and crushed Sanford and Deimos in a car in Madness Depredation. This was a reference to the "Flying Party" in the book series, as evident by the lights and dancing seen through the structure's windows.
There were several other oddities in Madness such as walls that came out of nowhere and incidents in which the laws of physics were broken.
In Madness Avenger, immediately after the Drive's activation, the room in which Hank was became cut in two when a welding spot appeared on the wall and sliced off the left half, causing it to plummet into an abyss. In the same room, people coming out of the door (which at this point opens by sliding down from the ceiling into the floor, as opposed to sliding up from the floor into the ceiling) to the right were flying in all directions out of the opening, one ricocheting off of Hank's weapon and slamming into the ceiling head first. Later on in the animation, walls suddenly appeared out of nowhere at one point and closed Hank off in a box.
In Madness Depredation, just prior to the appearance of Tricky, the warning sign came out of the ground and shot off to the side, tearing a rift through the ground as it went. Tricky and two 1337 agents actually came out of this chasm before reality was "compromised".
In Madness Antipathy, when Hank was attempting to turn the Drive off, the building housing the panel simply disappeared and a line of railroad tracks took its place. Not soon afterwards a train carrying l33t agents with Tricky as the engineer screamed down the rails, throwing Hank off to the side.
In Madness Consternation, after Hank had been revived by Tricky, several buildings fell from the sky which were filled with l33t agents.
In Madness Combat 5.5, it causes the sky to turn a static-red color, and made some buildings crack in places. Later on, when Sanford and Deimos got out of the Flying Party, the building shrunk to about a foot long and went back into the sky with Tricky riding in it. Then another building fell out of the sky and the tracks to Tricky's train appeared in front of them, and Tricky's train came crashing through.
In Madness Combat 6.5, the Auditor used it to create a burst of light that enhanced all of the 1337 agents and changed their glasses to a dark red hue. No odd effect other than the sky changing appeared further than this.