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Verti-Cal and Horizont-Al (Cal and Al respectively for short) are among the craziest beings in the multiverse. When they first appeared, they were notorious for their fun-loving ways. In the Zone from which they hail, practically every law of physics is discarded. Being the only known inhabitants of their home zone, and with god-like abilities in there, they can make virtually anything happen, and do so for fun. After Operation: EndGame, the two blamed each other over whose fault it was for allowing their zone to nearly be destroyed, thus leading to a devastating war. Since then, they were arrested by the Zone Cops for endangering other realities and imprisoned in the Zone Jail, where they gained the acquaintance of Scourge the Hedgehog. In the course of the riot caused by the Destructix's jailbreak, Scourge used Al & Cal to his advantage by devastating the prison, only to abandon them once the Zone Cops contained the situation.
Sonic's bad day was beginning when he attempted to grab an unusual cluster of Magic Rings, and was catapulted into their zone by a hidden spring pad. He encountered Verti-Cal and Horizont-Al while trying to figure out his location and orientation. Initially thinking they were Dr. Ivo Robotnik's cronies, Sonic had an incredibly tough time keeping up with them as they kept letting their reality go wonky. Realizing this misunderstanding, Sonic fell out of the Zone, and landed back in the Great Forest, where Antoine found him and asked him "What's up?" Al and Cal watched Sonic angrily chase Antoine for asking that question at such a lousy time. (StH: #2)
It didn't help that according to an explanation of Al and Cal's zone, there are no real laws of physics. There is no up, no down, and no telling how that curveball will curve. Despite this annoying fact, Al and Cal provided enormous help by disrupting a virtual reality created by Robotnik to imprison the Knothole Freedom Fighters and allowing Sonic to take control, thwarting Robotnik's schemes. When Sonic went on a freakish journey guided by the Ancient Walkers, Sonic thought of Al and Cal's ditsy dimension. (StH: #4, #16, #35)
Gods of War
Following Operation: EndGame, the Ultimate Annihilator caused numerous effects to happen to numerous zones. Al and Cal were nearly destroyed when their zone was reduced to near-nothingness, but they survived and restored their zone. Unfortunately, they blamed each other for allowing this to occur, and had become warmongers out to destroy each other. When Sonic and Tails were accidentally sucked into this zone, Verti-Cal and Horizont-Al decided to let them decide the outcome of the war. Horizont-Al brainwashed Tails, while Verti-Cal enslaved Sonic. With their pawns now outfitted with armor borrowing design elements of their current forms, Verti-Cal and Horizont-Al let their minions duke it out. Tails had superior fighting skills, but Sonic stopped Tails's tails with his staff, and nearly killed Tails, had they not both chosen that moment to snap out of it. Sonic and Tails tried to talk some sense into Verti-Cal and Horizont-Al, and the two thought briefly about the idea of becoming friends again, but nixed that idea. Sonic and Tails managed to flee from the zone leaving the outcome unknown. (StH: #59)
Al and Cal's fighting did not go without consequences. They eventually began damaging other zones besides theirs which forced the Zone Cops to arrest them. Outfitted with Control Collars that negated their powers and reverted them back to their original forms, Al and Cal were imprisoned in the No Zone's Zone Jail and were beat up often by the other inmates. Some relief came when Scourge was brought in, as they found him being beaten more than themselves, and tried to befriend him as compensation. Al and Cal attempted to help his view on his downfall by pointing out how they had been gods, while Scourge had just been a king in his own zone, but their efforts were rudely rebuffed. (SU: #29)
Despite these setbacks, Al & Cal did not give up, and persisted in trying to endear themselves to Scourge by sharing their meals and keeping him company in the prison's otherwise harsh environment. This changed slightly once the Destructix, Scourge's former associates, arrived in jail, as they scared Al & Cal off except when they could catch him alone. A few days after this, Al & Cal were receiving one of their usual beatings from Jeffrey St. Croix, until Scourge intervened and attacked him. Al & Cal at first thought their time with Scourge was finally paying off, but he causally dismissed it, saying he just wanted to get back at his old gang rival. Fiona Fox jumped in soon after to remind Scourge of his place though, which allowed St. Croix to turn his attention back to the two imps, much to their dismay. (SU: #29, #30, #31)That same evening, the Destructix released all the prisoners and altered the gravity to start a riot, and before they knew what happened, Al & Cal were snatched up by Predator Hawk who then deposited them in front of Scourge. Fearful of what would happen to themselves, the two listened as Scourge pointed out their past kindnesses to him, and his decision to let them get revenge like he was doing. Their desperate protests went unheeded though as Sergeant Simian broke off their Control Collars, causing the shocking reversion back to their powerful demigod forms. Filled with pent up rage, Al & Cal went on a devastating rampage throughout the cell blocks, firing at prisoners and Zone Cops alike in their desire to get back at the "inferiors" that tormented them. However, the Warden soon managed to put a halt to their warpath by targeting them with F.O.E. Inhibitors, which brought them back down to their diminutive statures. Back in control of themselves but helpless, Al & Cal then turned to Scourge, begging him to rescue them, but he cruelly abandoned the two to save himself and fled through a Warp Ring with the Destructix, leaving their fate within the prison unknown. (SU: #31, #32)
In their natural state, Al and Cal are benevolent and kind, if zany. The pair were the best of friends, and had few if any worries. While apparently not the type to interfere in the affairs of other zones, they have helped Sonic in the past. However, following the Ultimate Annihilator's effects on their zone, the pair became warlike and suspicious of each other, taking every opportunity to feud. With their powers suppressed by Control Collars or F.O.E. Inhibitors, they acted much more like their old whimsical selves, perhaps and indication that the Ultimate Annihilator affected their minds as well as their bodies.
Al and Cal have demonstrated incredible reality-warping and mental abilities, to the point where they were able to interfere with a computer simulation created in Sonic's mind by Doctor Robotonik. Sadly, they can also use this power more negatively, as when they took control of Sonic and Tails and forced the pair to fight each other. However, their powers do have some limits, as Sonic and Tails were able to free themselves from the pair's control. Additionally, the Zone Cops have been able to suppress their powers with their technology. Al and Cal can also unleash powerful blasts of energy.
- Horizont-Al and Verti-Cal's names obviously come from the directions horizontal and vertical.
- Al and Cal have been compared to Superman villain Mister Mxyzptlk, a reality warping being from another dimension who dresses in outlandish clothes.
Verti-Cal and Horizont-Al both originally appeared as diminutive human like creatures. Both are completely bald in their comics appearances, with no visible hair except for their eyebrows. The cover of StH #59, however, did show Cal with a long gathering of hair sticking up from the top of his head, while Al was seen with a small amount of blond hair parted down the middle in similar fashion to Antoine D'Coolette. Following their transformation, of course, both of them became mechanical in appearance, and both wore Zone Jail jumpsuits and control collars during their time as inmates.
Cal is the taller and skinnier of the pair, and in natural form wore a tall hat with red and white stripes, a green band, and a yellow brim. He also wore a magenta shirt with purple cuffs and collar, with arrows pointing up and down on it. The ensemble was completed by green, orange, and yellow striped pants and a pair of boots: the right boot is purple and the left magenta. In his robotic form, he is a tall, spindly being with spiked armor and laser cannons for hands. His eyes are covered by a blue visor resembling googles, and in place of feet, his legs meet together at a wheel in similar fashion to a unicycle.
Al is shorter and and chubbier-looking that Cal, and wears a short green and yellow striped hat with a magenta brim. He has a shirt similar to Cal's, but it is purple with magenta lining and has arrows pointing left and right. He wears striped pants as well, but all the stripes on his outfit go side to side while Cal's are all vertical. Like Cal he also wears one magenta boot and one purple boot, but his purple boot is on his left foot while the magenta is on his right. As a robot, he appears as a squat, almost disc-like being with large red eyes, short stubby feet, and laser cannons on top of his head.