Professor Martin Torque is the antagonist of the Talespin episode, "From Here to Machinery". He is an anthropomorphic dog businessman who is bent on driving pilots out of business by replacing them with highly advanced robots called the Auto Aviators.
Professor Torque is first seen asking Louie about who are the best pilots: the Freelancers or Shere Khan's pilots. His question is answered when Baloo comes flying with style to Louie's club.
When Louie wants to introduce Baloo to the Professor, the Professor disappears and is seen outside writing down something on a piece of paper. In the morning, he tries to seemingly steal Baloo's plane with the help of a robot pilot he created until Baloo manages to stop him. The Professor asks what does he want and just when Baloo is about to answer, he's interrupted by Rebecca, who reveals that the Professor actually rented Baloo's plane for a large amount of money to test his new invention: the Auto Aviator. After a little discussion, Baloo owes Martin Torque an apology for the misunderstanding, but the Professor ignores him. When noticing the Profesor fixing his invention, Baloo admires his "gadget" but the Professor simply states that the robot actually represents the future of aviation, as he programs it to be obedient and efficient, and never deviate from its flight plan.
Just as Baloo is starting to like this robot by giving it a pat on the back, he gets electrocuted by it. The Professor explains that the robot has an auto-defense system that repulses any interference to sense hostile attempts. When Baloo reveals that he added some "alterations" to his plane, the Professor asks him like what. Baloo actually tricked the Professor and the robot into pressing the "good" blue button, which whacks the Professor on the head a few times, and not the red one.
Torque then vows that when his test is over, he'll see who's clever. After testing the plane for an hour, Baloo gets a bit envious when Kit suggests that the robot can fly well. Then, some reporters arrive and the Professor introduces Baloo to the press. The Professor starts okay by complimenting him until he ridicules him by saying that his robot is much better than the "pilot of the past." The Professor continues explaining about his robot's programming, though Baloo objects to this by questioning the robot's capacity to handle more extreme more extreme situations like heavy storms and the Air Pirates. Torque then retaliates by calling Baloo and his kind of pilots as a bunch of "dinosaurs.... decaying, defective, and defunct." Offended by this comment, Baloo gives Torque a punch on the left eye and it goes down on the news.
Shere Khan sees the papers and refers to Baloo as a crude individual during a meeting with Torque, who refers to Baloo as a mindless idiot and that his test is complete and his machine is perfect. Torque offers to mass-produce dozens of Auto Aviators for Khan to drive pilots out of work to make more money, but Khan states he "hasn't said he'd buy anything" and that Baloo may be correct concerning his robot not being able to handle all the situations. The Professor asks if he's going to believe that 'barnstormer', to which Khan assures him that there must be a test between his robot pilot and a real pilot and if the robot won, he might consider buying thousands of them.
Taking the opportunity, the Professor leaves and vows to build a better pilot and to destroy Baloo as well. When Rebecca is expecting an important visit from an important client, the Professor beats her to it, which upsets her very much. Then, Baloo challenges Torque's robot to a contest for the future of aviation. As a result, the winner will be the best pilot. The contest is a race in which the pilots should fly to Tundra City and back to Cape Suzette with the cargo.
At the end of the race, Baloo loses due to sleeping a little and fuel shortage. A triumphant Torque takes the opportunity to publicly sign a deal with Khan, who buys the Professor's robots. As a result, shipping companies are grounded and pilots are out of work, even Khan's own pilots are down in the dumps. Though it seems to Torque that he has finally achieved in his goal, the infamous Air Pirates leader Don Karnage is impressed with what he sees in the papers. Knowing these robot pilots never deviate from their flight programming, Karnage and the Air Pirates plan to use this as an advantage to put their piracy skills to good work by hijacking Khan's plane during their toast of their success.
Torque is next seen drinking a toast with a soda pop with Shere Khan on their plane. But then, their celebration is disturbed when Don Karnage speaks to them on the radio about intercepting, shooting, and looting their plane with his men. As the Air Pirates start to shoot down Khan's plane, Khan asks Torque to instruct his robot to change course and evade the Air Pirates, but the robot is unwilling to deviate as it is programmed not to. Torque tries to take over, only to get electrocuted instead by its auto defense system. Unimpressed with the robot's imperfect results and Torque's incapability to control it, Khan orders Torque to call for help. Intercepting a radio signal, Torque cowardly calls for help until Khan throws him aside and calmly explains the situation to the public, promising a huge reward for assistance against the Air Pirates in Mount Berzeka. Luckily, Baloo and his friends are able to get the message and decide to come to the rescue. With that in mind, Baloo orders his friends to ride their plane over Shere Khan's plane so that he can climb down on a rope ladder.
Torque tries countless times to make his robot change course but to no avail, and Khan is beginning to lose his patience. When they hear a knock on the door, the Professor thinks it's the Air Pirates until he is smashed by the door and Baloo enters instead after having his friends to evade the Pirates. Offering his assistance, Baloo destroys the robot with a bottle of soda pop, much to the Professor's protest and dismay. An angry Torque tries to assault Baloo for destroying his robot, but Khan stops him and tells him to be quiet while allowing Baloo to take control of the plane. After Baloo manages to successfully evade the Air Pirates, Khan compliments Baloo for a job well done before turning his rage towards Torque for his failure and deceit. However, being a sincere gentleman despite his intimidating behavior, Khan offers a mere solution: he will give Torque back all his useless robots in return for his money. Khan then opens the door and holds the Professor out; asking him how does that sound truthfully and Torque cowardly admits it sounds fair. In the end, the Auto Aviators are declared defunct and all pilots (including Khan's very own pilots) are told to report back to work, much to their delight. As such, Torque is made a penniless salesman in the country Thembria, trying to selling his robots (renamed as the Mechano Maids) at a train stop during a cold blizzard.
|The Jungle Book Villains|