Admiral Silver's laboratory
"I don't care. Keep trying to find them. Both if you can, but either one works."
"That's an order, ensign. Is that clear?"
"...yes, ma'am." The ensign left the lab as Silver turned back to her task.
"Jeez, chill down."
Silver paused and turned to her companion. "Jay..."
"Why is finding those two so important, anyway? Didn't you say they left years ago? You don't even know if they're alive, and even if they are, it doesn't seem like they have any interest in being involved with you anymore."
"...they're definitely alive. and the reason they left is since long over. I don't know if any of them would come back by their own will, but... after all, they are both mercenaries. We've hired them before, they know we pay well."
"Yeah... right." Jay rolled her eyes.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"I can tell just by looking at you that this is about something else. This isn't just a matter about a single mission."
"Isn't that so?"
"So, of course I want to see them again! What's wrong with that? He's my best friend, and she's... a kind of friend I never had before. But they're also the best pair of fighters I have ever known. Let's just say that I'd prefer if the mission I had in mind wasn't handled by-"
"Oh, cut it. I get it, I get it. Now let's concentrate on-"
"Incoming message for Admiral Silver. Incoming message for Admiral Silver."
"...I give up. If you really need me, poke me or something..." Jay popped in a pair of earphones and put her acoustic earmuffs on top, effectively shutting out every sound around her.
"Admiral Silver here."
"Good day, Admiral. This is Alia. Do you have a moment to spare?"
"There's a few things to report, actually. First of all, X is wondering if it's OK that our guest pays a visit to your laboratory tomorrow? She seemed interested in developments we are making..."
"Of course, that's no problem."
"Thanks. Moving on, there's a package for you here. We're currently running a routine security scan on it, should be done in ten minutes or so."
"Oh great, it's gotta be those materials I was waiting for! I'll make sure to get 'em picked up. Was there anything more?"
"Yeah, one more thing. We just received word from Colonel Metro - he has finished his mission and is returning. We will teleport him in within two hours."
"At last... y'know, when he arrives, tell him to grab my package and come over here a soon as possible. I have... further work for him."
"Affirmative, Admiral. Alia out!"
"Things are coming together nicely... now if we could only locate bro." Silver sunk back into her chair and rolled it up to her desk, grabbing a folder from a shelf on the way. Picking up a pen, she opened it up and looked at some papers. "Guess I'll send him to check this out... he deserves an easy mission."
"She called me a geek, said that she never wanted to see me again and left. So there I stood... soaking wet with no cash, and to top it off, a parking ticket."
"So what does that make? The third?"
"Women! Nothing but trouble, I tell ya!" Yosh downed the last of his beer and placed his empty glass on the table. "Another round?"
"Nah, nothing more for me. I should get back, mom's probably waiting." Atos finished his drink as well and stood up.
"That actually sounds like a good idea. I should try to get some sleep, even though I have tomorrow morning off." Yosh paid for their drinks and walked out the bar together with Atos. "Better luck next time, mate!" He gave him a pat on the back and smiled.
"Yeah... thanks for the drink and for listening."
They parted ways, Atos taking the corridor towards the laboratory area, talking a little to himself. "I think I'll leave out... certain details when mom asks." He sighed and produced a photograph from his wallet. "Dad... I wish you could tell me what the hell I'm doing wrong." Putting it back, he looked up at the ceiling. "But I know it's not your fault." Heading down the corridor towards the exit, he saw X and a white female reploid he did not recognize talking.
"...and I think that'll conclude the tour today - tomorrow we'll continue with the labs and sickbay. We have prepared a room for you."
"I appreciate it."
"Good evening, sir." Atos passed them.
"Oh, Atos. We have an important guest here you may want to meet. She's the leader of the Jakob's Ladder project, and has expressed interest in a cooperation..."
"Pleased to meet you. I'm Atos." He stretched out his hand towards the female reploid.
"Lumine. Pleased to meet you." Shaking his hand, she smiled at him. "Are you a part of the hunters too?"
"Yeah, I'm an engineer... not very experienced yet, but I'm getting there. My mom is teaching me the stuff."
"Your mother, huh?"
"Yeah, maybe you've met her... Admiral Silver? Tall, grey skin, white hair..."
"No, not yet, but we're paying her lab a visit tomorrow."
"Oh, really? I may see you there, then. Bye for now!"
"Goodbye." As Atos continued down the corridor, Lumine turned to X. "Mother?"
Going out and heading towards the engineering block, Atos looked up in the sky. "The full moon is romantic, isn't it...? I seriously thought tonight would work out. Guess I just don't have a hand with women, after all." Looking out over the lawn, he saw two people sharing a kiss. He took another glance at the moon as he approached the doors. "...now you're just fucking with me." Swinging them open, he entered the mostly empty corridor. Turning towards Silver's lab, he spotted Metro walking towards him from the other end of the corridor. "Yo, Met!"
"Oh, hey Atos. Good evening, what's up?"
"Nothing much..." They met up and turned into the path leading to Silver's lab. "Just got rejected. Again."
"Girl problems? You, of all people?"
"The general female opinion of me seems to be that I'm good-looking, but a downright boring conversationalist and not much of a gentleman. Maybe I'm trying too hard."
"Can't really say I haven't experienced it myself... but I don't think I'm the man to give you dating advice."
"Really. Are you heading for mom's lab too?"
"Yeah, was told to get this thing to her..." Metro held up the package. "Any idea what it is?"
"Probably more components for her latest project. She's been chasing parts for it all over. Not really sure what it's supposed to be, though. Obviously a weapon, the way she's been acting about it, but..."
"Y'know, I haven't seen you for quite a while. Long mission?"
"Pah, you don't know half of it! Was told it'd probably take three-four months, tops. I was stuck out there for over a damn YEAR. I could rant about it for hours, but I'll spare you the details... what made it even worse is that it apparently was the leftovers from the mission Snex disapp- uh, sorry, maybe I shouldn't..."
"It's fine. I don't mind."
"Right... well, nevermind. Though it would have been damned nice of him to finish what he was told to do before disappearing without a trace. Everyone seems to have taken a liking to shoveling everything he was supposed to do on ME."
"No surprise, is it? You're quite alike him in several ways, so people expect you to be able to do what he did."
"Ah well... at least it's better than being sent out together with him."
Reaching their goal, Atos knocked on the door. As it opened, they were greeted by Silver, screwdrivers in left hand, pens in right, labcoat with various tools in the pockets, plus protective goggles in the forehead. "...hi, mom."
"Oh, Atos, Metro, do come in! Can you hold on, I'm right in the middle of something here..." She went into another room of the lab as Atos and Metro went in and sat down.
"Were she always this busy?" Metro put the package on the desk.
"Lately, yes. She's in here almost all the time nowadays."
In the few minutes they waited, all sorts of stuff seemed to go on - sounds of soldering, welding, electrical charges, hammers striking iron, sparks lighting up the doorway...
"It's alive!" Silver walked out to where they were waiting and removed her goggles.
"...do I really want to know?" Metro looked in disbelief first at Silver, then at the door, and then Silver again.
"Not really. I'm not telling anyway. You got my package?"
"Yeah, sure, here..." Silver grabbed the package from Metro, went over and put it on her desk and picked up the folder she had marked earlier. She then turned to Atos.
"I didn't expect you to be back so early... did anything happen?"
"...let's just say that certain things never change."
"Again, huh? They don't know what they're-"
"-missing. I know, mom... look, I'm pretty shot, can we please talk tomorrow? I kinda want to hit the sack."
"Well, sure. I still have quite some work to do, I may sleep here... let's meet for breakfast, shall we?"
"Works for me. Eight thirty, mess hall?"
"Sounds good. Good night, dear." Giving Atos a hug before he left, she turned back to Metro. "As for you..."
"Am I going to like this?"
"Look, you don't have much of a choice. Here." Putting the folder down and opening it up to a map, she pointed to a location northwest of HQ, labeled SPACE COMMUNICATIONS CENTER. "Even if we don't really make a lot of use of the data from there, we need you to check out why this place has gone completely silent, and to get it to respond again. It could just be the landslides that have damaged vital parts, but it seems weird that that would cause a total blackout. You leave tomorrow at eleven."
"Oh, please! I just came home from that eternal-"
"Believe me, there'll be none of that this time. There was never any teleport station there since teleport signals could disturb the equipment, but it's not that long of a journey with jeep, and you only need two days there... we need you to check that it continues running smoothly if you get it back online. You'll be back within a few days, and I promise you a break after that." She closed the folder and handed it over to him. "All details on the systems within, you'll be reporting to me through Alia."
"...yes, ma'am..." Reluctantly grabbing the folder, he stood up. "Was that all?"
"Yes, that was all. And thanks for bringing the package."
"What is that, anyway?"
Silver turned to Metro and smiled. "Secret!"
A few hundred miles outside of Maverickhunters airspace
"Yes, sir, everything is prepared. We will strike when you give the signal. Sir, yes sir. Owl out." Storm Owl terminated the conversation and went up to the main deck. "Finally, I can get my revenge on those bloody bastards..." He prepared for taking another tour of the ship, double-checking the state of everything for the third time. "Ride armours ready for deployment, laser cannons online, missile systems- huh?" Spotting something at the control panel of the missiles, Owl hurried up to it. "I'll be... where the hell did THIS come from?" Inspecting the yellow piece of fabric, an explosion was heard elsewhere. "Hn? What in the name of... there's not supposed to be anyone else on this ship!" Going back to the main deck, a sound was heard from the communication room. Going down to it, he was met with the communication system completely destroyed. "What, what, whaaaat? Who DID this?"
"That... would be me."
"Hn?" Owl turned around, spotting a red and gray robot standing atop the staircase. "How'd you get up here!"
"I... had my means." Lifting his buster, Blues fired a few shots down towards Storm Owl.
"That won't do!" Putting up a barrier, Owl set full speed towards Blues, who ran to the side. Getting out in the open, Blues stood a small distance away from him. "I ask again. How'd you get here, and why are you here? Don't tell me... you're a hunter?"
"No, not really. But you'd be largely correct about why I'm here."
"You intend to take me on, in my own element, on my own home arena? HA! The line between bravery and foolishness is very thin, and I'd say you've taken quite a step over it!"
"I've never been much for playing along with the odds."
"If you want to rush to your death, be my guest!" Firing off a tornado projectile towards Blues, Owl activated his barrier and set full speed again. Blues raised his shield and started charging up his buster. Owl suddenly stopped and flew upwards, shooting something towards Blues. As it landed by his feet, a tornado suddenly grew under him and shot him up in the air. Soon he was eye level with Owl.
"Hello there." Raising his buster and shooting the charge at Owl, the recoil sent Blues flying a bit backwards. Owl took no apparent damage, but it seemed as if his barrier had weakened. "A significantly powerful shot should... but how would I..."
"Not enough!" Owl pointed his arm towards Blues and started shooting a series of energy beams at him. Blues rolled to the side and fired off two semi-charged shots towards Owl, who put up a new barrier just before they hit. "You won't be able to penetrate this!"
"It can't be impossible..." Shooting a series of bullets at Owl, Blues ran behind a wall. "Somehow..."
"And don't think you can hide, either!" Another tornado carried Blues up into the air, Owl raising his arm at point-blank range.
"N-no..." Blues quickly charged up his buster and fired off a shot to the side, but it was not enough - his left leg took the full force of the tornado Owl had fired off, ripping it off completely. He tumbled as he landed and tried to regain balance.
"Feh. Next time, you're mine!" Owl had his barrier completely up, and set himself on direct collision course with Blues. "Take THIS!"
"Damnit..." Blues raised his shield as much as he could towards Owl and fired off some uncharged buster shots. But to no avail - Owl rammed him, shattering his shield and sending him flying into a metal crate. He started breathing heavily.
"And now for the final!" Owl once again let Blues take to the air, flew above him and with his barrier on full force rammed him straight downwards. Blues crashed right through the deck of the ship. "Below here is a spike trap... so long, fool." Owl returned to the control room, resuming his checkup of things. The weapons, the ride armours, the flight path. As he came back to the main deck, he looked at the hole Blues had created earlier. "To think that he actually believed himself to have a chance."
"Apparently... I still... have one..."
"What the-" Owl turned around, spotting Blues standing at a higher platform. "How in the world-"
"I... don't know..." He was noticeably fatigued, barely able to stand on his single remaining leg. "But when I... fell... I saw a... blue light... and the next moment... my power cell..." He raised his right arm, in buster form, into the air. It seemed bigger than usual, and was glowing intensely. "All my power... everything... seems to be... channelled to my buster..."
"I'll just have to kill you again!" Owl put up his barrier at max and started flying towards Blues.
"This shot... is probably... going to destroy myself as well..." Blues jumped. He aimed right at Owl. The instant before they were about to collide, he released the shot.
The power was unimaginable coming from a standard buster. Owl had no chance - the blast seemingly just went right through his barrier. He was completely obliderated, very little of him remained and fell to the ground.
Blues was not able to handle the power either. His buster exploded from firing the shot, severing his entire arm below the elbow. The recoil made him fly at high speed into the wall behind him, then crashing into the deck. He managed to get up to half-sitting position against the wall. He felt his power waning, energy visibly leaking out through his right arm.
"Seems as if... this is it..." He smiled as he lost consciousness.
Admiral Silver's laboratory
"And that's pretty much it. Any other questions on our current projects?"
"No, that was quite informative. Thank you for the trip, Admiral Silver." Lumine and Silver shook hands before Lumine and X left the lab. Silver closed the door and went over to Jay.
"So, do you think you can increase the energy output?"
"Doubtful right now... I'd have to get a custom cell for that. I may be able to amplify by twenty, perhaps twentyfive percent... but I wouldn't recommend it." Jay looked up from the rifle prototype she was designing. "Increasing the rate of fire should be no big problem though."
"We don't have much time left, they want that thing in two days." Silver was looking over the blueprints, making notes.
"Hmm..." Jay put down her tools and removed her protective glasses. "I'm gonna need some stuff. And a break." She stood up and looked over at Atos, who was filling in some papers. "Hey, kid."
"You tag along and help me carry some things." She turned her eyes to Silver again. "You look over the coils, something's not right with them."
"Right." Silver sat down and put on her own protective glasses as Atos went over to them.
"Alright. See you in a few." Jay and Atos left the lab as Silver started working on the rifle herself. "She did it like that? Would work better if..." Changing some parts around, she was at work for about 20 minutes. Jay and Atos still hadn't returned. "That's more like it." Leaning back in the chair, she took a glance at the time. "Met should be away by now." Rolling the chair up to another desk, she pushed a few buttons and grabbed the microphone.
"Oh, Admiral. Good day to you."
"I assume Metro got away as scheduled?"
"Indeed, he reported leaving just ten minutes ago. Didn't want the provided transport, he took his own ride chaser."
"Sounds just like him. Kinda thought he'd do that, actually. Anyway, any other news?"
"Not really. We have received that order of chasers... twelve dragon and forty-eight falcon.
"Ooh, dragons? I've always wanted to try one of those out."
"I've driven one myself once, they're- please hold, I'm getting a teleport request here..."
On the other side of the line, Silver heard a few button presses and signals followed by the sound of someone teleporting in.
Then an explosion.
Then more teleports.
Then a body hitting the ground, very close to the microphone.
"Alia? Can you hear me? ALIA!" Silver screamed into the microphone on her end. There was silence on the other side for a short while, then another explosion. Sounds of fighting. "Please reply! Alia!" A few minutes passed before someone replied.
"Admiral Silver?" The voice on the other line was not the one of Alia.
"...Layer? Is that you? What happened?"
"Listen closely... we've been attacked. Someone or... something teleported in and blew out the lights and some panels, then disappeared. Following that, mavericks started teleporting in... the mainframe and several other systems has been destroyed, but not before we managed to run a security protocol which makes it impossible to teleport in... and out."
"...attack? What is this... how are you holding out?"
"Pallette has called for backup, and we're holding them off alright for now... we only have emergency weapons, but we should be fine until the backup arrives. We have battle training too, you know... and many of the ones that teleported in ran off elsewhere. We got transmissions from other stations, but everything went silent just moments before it broke loose here... I'm suspecting a full-scale attack."
"What... what happened to Alia?" The sound of a saber and a body part hitting the ground was heard on the other end.
"Alia... Alia is dead. She was damaged in the initial explosion, and whatever that was that teleported in finished her off with a single shot to the head..."
"Alia... dead?" Silver repeated the words in disbelief. Running to the door and looking out in the corridor, she heard sounds of fighting growing in both directions. Two mavericks rounded the corner and made their way right towards her, but they were fried before long. Throwing off her protective glasses and lab coat, grabbing her swords and attaching them to her belt, she returned to the microphone. "I'll be there as soon as I can!"
"No, Admiral... we have backup headed this way already. Your skills are probably of more use... elsewhere."
"Alright, but whe-" Silver became dead silent mid-sentence and just dropped the microphone. As she grabbed Ares and ran off, only a single thought went through her head.
"What the..." Jay and Atos, as well as several other hunters, simply stared at the scene before them. On the floor, there were two helmets. One blue and one white.
"X and Lumine's helmets, indeed... but I'm more concerned about..." Jay looked at the wall. There, above the helmets, was a big Σ written in blood.
"Hopefully not, but prepare for the worst."
"We should get back to mom..."
"The storage building is just down the corridor and across the yard. Let's pick up the parts first."
Just then, a small squad of hunters approached. "Everyone move along, we're investigating this. If you happen to know anything, please let us know."
"'scuse me, soldier." As most of the other people left, Jay tapped the man who had spoken on the shoulder.
"I saw both of them, about... ten minutes ago? They left Admiral Silver's lab, don't know where they were headed."
"I see." He grabbed a notepad and started writing. "Did you notice something-" Elsewhere in the building, an explosion was heard.
"...oh, now what..." She looked the way they had come from, and then back to the man. "No, I don't know anything else at all." She turned back to Atos. "Alright - I have a bad feeling about this." She grabbed his arm and started running towards the door.
"No. Look - if there's really anything dangerous going on, there's troops stationed everywhere to take care of it. Running back now wouldn't do any good, probably the opposite, as we'd be far more likely to run into trouble. The storage room should be a fairly safe place, so we're probably better off staying in there. Silver can take care of herself, she's much more of a skilled fighter than the both of us together. I don't even have the..." She swallowed the final line as they exited the main building. As they entered the storage, another explosion was heard in the distance. "Let's see..." Looking over the list beside the door to find out where what they were looking for was, a strange sound was faintly heard from within the room.
"What was that?" Atos looked around, but couldn't spot anything. "I don't like this."
"Probably nothing. Shelf 12, section B. In other words, this way." Jay started traversing the room, when the noise was heard again, this time more clearly. "Oh, what the fuck now." She started turning back to Atos who was still standing at the door. "Hey, kid, shouldn't there be- oh, I see you've already found them. Toss one my way."
From behind a wall panel close to the door, Atos had produced two emergency pistols. He threw one to Jay and gripped the other one tightly. "I'm concerned about mom... I want to get back fast."
"I know I said this'd be a safe place, but now you're making me uneasy. You're right, we should get back, but let's get the parts." Getting to the appropriate shelf, Jay opened a box and looked at the contents within. "Yep, this is it. Hold." She handed two boxes to Atos and was about to grab one herself when the sound was heard one more time, and now it sounded like it was right next to them. Atos dropped both boxes and started looking around with the pistol stretched out.
"You're not pointing that at ME, are you?" Atos' pistol was knocked out of his hand as a lanky green robot with a circular head appeared right between them.
"What in the name of-" Jay fired off a shot towards it, but it disappeared, making the sound they heard before. Jay grabbed Atos' pistol which had landed right beside her, and dashed towards the robot who had appeared a bit away. "Kid, run away!" Shooting a series of shots, the robot disappeared yet again.
"And you were so close, too." The robot was standing right behind Jay, who stopped dead. She quickly turned around and lifted the pistols, but was knocked to the ground before she could do anything. "But I hope you don't think that such tricks actually works on number six in the 8th squad... the one and only Optic Sunflower!"
North of the northeastern corner of Maverickhunters Headquarters
Atop a cliff
"So... it has started."
"Quite something to return to, after all these years... I wasn't sure I'd see this place again." Two figures dressed in dark robes were witnessing the growing chaos.
"Everything comes together in the end, in one way or another..."
"You've become weird lately, sixboy."
"You think?" 666 lit a cigarette and looked out over the headquarters. "I gave a significant part of my life to this place... time to lend them my strength again, it seems."
"Hmph." They both jumped down the cliff, landing just outside the fence.
"So... where to now?"
"I'm heading for the training facilities. I believe I saw something strange that way."
"Guess I'll go for the refugee camp, then. I know I saw something strange that way."
"So be it. Good hunting." 666 leaped over the fence in front of them.
"...indeed, sixboy. Good hunting." Shiva started running to the right, staying at the perimeter. As she scaled the fence just outside the refugee area, she noticed frozen spots on the ground and hunters who seemingly had just broken to pieces. Getting to the hill overlooking the camp, the ground was covered in snow. Mavericks were fighting a squad of hunters protecting the refugees, but there were more of them than the hunters could handle. "Seems like the boys need some help." Shiva pulled a gun and dashed up to the next group of mavericks. Firing off a few shots, they shattered shortly after leaving the barrel - leading to a cascade of high-speed shrapnel hitting the targets. She grabbed two copper rods on her back with her right hand, flipping one over to make a single rod out of them. Charging up a load of stasis, she ran towards another bunch of mavericks. Giving them both a stasis discharge and a beating, soon they were all out cold.
"I see there's at least someone knowing how to do it right around here. It's too bad, but then you have to die."
Shiva turned around as an ice crystal came flying at her at high speed. Avoiding it, she saw a large figure approaching her. "You're the one commanding these punks? I'll take you on." She holstered her gun, threw her robe away and stretched her right arm with the copper rod backwards. "You look like you're the cause of all this snow."
With her full figure now revealed, one could see that she had changed since she last set foot on HQ grounds. She had cut her hair short, leaving enough for a topknot with a metallic feather as an ornament. Her old spear was gone, replaced by one totalling 150 centimeters, able to be folded in the middle. On her left hip was a gun holster. Just above this holster, on the left side of the abdomen, a significant scar from what seemed to be a large cut was visible. On the inside of her right thigh, a single word had been tattooed - reading 'ETERNITY'.
"Smart girl. Had you appeared five minutes later, the entire camp there would be covered in snow. But I guess I'll have to use my current reserves on you first... whoever you are."
"Name's Shiva... and just what are you?"
"Member of the 8th squad, number four. Avalanche Yeti. Since I doubt you'll go quietly, let's do this."
"I am an Eternal. We live to fight!" Shiva was spinning the rod in her hand as she ran towards Yeti. He took a series of hits followed by a stasis charge, but appeared unfazed.
"Seems like you can withstand more than I thought."
"I'm protected by a layer of ice. True..." The sound of something breaking was heard from Yeti. "...the force of your attack shattered it, but that does not matter!" Holding his right hand to his chest, he seemed to shimmer for a moment. "As long as I have power left, I can renew it as many times I want!" He let a series of ice crystals fly towards Shiva, who rolled to the side.
"Ice, huh..." Shiva held the rod out horizontally in front of her. "Ice can't really be cut with a naked blade..."
"However, that doesn't mean..." She moved her arm slowly to the right, soon holding it stretched to that side. "...that such a blade won't give me an advantage. Coper, mark two..." She did a fast move with her arm, now having it stretched backwards. From the end of the copper rod that was pointing right, a curved blade about 50 centimeters in length was protruding. It seemed to be made of copper as well. "...Naginata form."
"Hmph. As if that's gonna make any difference."
"We'll see." Charging up shaft and blade with a stasis field, she started dashing again. Yeti started moving as well, seemingly faster than his body size would allow. Shiva jumped up in the air, pointing the blade towards Yeti as she started going down. Yeti replied by creating a thicker layer of ice around his arm and blocking the stab. Shiva unloaded her entire stasis charge throughout the weapon, prompting Yeti to move backwards.
"That stung. How..."
"The blade is designed so my charges can be unloaded at the smallest point... concentrating it significantly."
"Seems as if you have a few tricks up your sleeve. Very well..." Yeti raised his arms upwards, firing off a large number of ice projectiles. "Blizzard." At the next moment, icicles started showering the area.
"Cute." Shiva held Coper above her head and started spinning it as she tried to back out of the blizzard.
"Not enough." Yeti pointed his arm towards Shiva. "Icicle." A larger icicle was sent flying right towards her.
"Oh, you gotta be..." Shiva made an attempt to get out of the way, but it was faster than she thought. It pierced her left leg, making her fall to the ground and get hit by a series of the falling icicles. Supporting herself with Coper, she pulled out the large icicle and got to her feet.
"I'm impressed." He raised both arms, pointing at her. "How about two icicles?"
"You double up..." Shiva grabbed Coper tightly in her right hand and held it in front of her, with the blade pointing to her right. "...I double up." Quickly pulling the weapon to her right side, another curved blade appeared on the other end, the curve being the other direction. "Double naginata form." Holding it out in front of her again, she started spinning it around. "I'm not done by a long shot."
"Very well, then." Yeti fired off two icicles, both slightly bigger than the last one. They quickly closed in on Shiva, but were thrown to the sides when they collided with Coper. "Impossible..."
"Haaaah!" She quickly approached and made some very fast moves towards Yeti. His ice shield shattered and two cuts appeared on his chest. "I don't know the meaning of the word 'impossible'."
"Seems as if I have underestimated you... no choice, then. I was saving this for later, but you have to die!" Yeti turned to Shiva and stretched his arms out to the sides. Some hatches opened along them, as well as some on his torso. He crossed his arms over his chest.
"I won't let you!" Shiva started spinning her weapon again and took a few steps towards Yeti.
"Sure." Yeti lashed out with his arms forwards, and suddenly a great amount of snow and ice started rushing from his arms and body. "Avalanche!"
(Almost) Corridor F-26
"Out of my way!" Silver was rushing down the corridors. She had checked two possible storages already, but no sign of anything. They had both left their communication devices in the lab. As she rounded a corner, she saw that the corridor down had been blocked. "What's the meaning of this?"
"Oh, good day, Admiral. We are currently investigating things here..."
"I need to... did a woman and a young man pass here?"
"Yes, about fifteen minutes ago. Got some information from the woman."
"Do you know where they went?"
"Let's see... they were talking about picking up things..."
"I knew it... they went to the storage building across from here, didn't they? Did you ever see them return?"
"Now that you mention it..."
"Oh, for the love of..." Silver jumped over the barricade, knocking the hunter over in the process.
"Sorry... I'm in a hurry!" She rushed to the door leading outside, swinging it open. There was fighting all around. She fried a maverick with a lightning burst and approached the storage building. Holding Ares in both hands, she kicked the door open. "HEY!"
Silence. Darkness. The lights were completely out and the light switch didn't work.
Looking around, she started walking into the room. The door closed behind her as she heard a sound. She turned around, Ares lifted, but saw nothing. Then the sound again. Turning on her night vision, she half-ran into the room, looking down the shelves.
Then the room was flooded with light. She turned her night vision off and shook her head. As she could see again, she saw three people further into the room.
One of them was lying on the ground.
Another was standing up with pistol in hand, bleeding, about to be attacked by the third.
Silver raised Ares and aimed a shot at the tallest of the three. As she let it fly, her target disappeared.
"Of course I already knew you were here."
"Wha-" Letting go of Ares with one hand and grabbing Longinus, she took a swing in the direction of the voice. But it was gone again.
"You know, you could hurt someone by waving those things around."
"Mom!" Atos had noticed Silver, and was running towards her.
"Hmph." Sunflower disappeared again, and appeared right behind Atos.
"Atos! Down!" He ducked as Silver let an electric charge fly towards Sunflower, who was hit slightly before disappearing and reappearing behind Silver again. She dashed towards Atos, avoiding a punch.
"Mom..." Atos, on his knees, raised the pistol and shot two shots over Silver's head, prompting Sunflower to halt another strike. Silver dropped Ares and half-crouched in front of him.
"Are you alright?"
Atos coughed. "Yeah..." He looked at Jay. "Comparatively..."
"Oh no, that one is still quite alive. It's no fun killing them too fast." Sunflower was standing behind Silver, towering over them.
"Oh, for the..." Silver threw another electric charge, but Sunflower was now standing a bit away from them. "Alright. You're really starting to piss me off." Silver stood up and activated Longinus' electric blade. "Atos, take Jay and get out of here. I'll take care of greenie."
"...alright..." Atos started moving towards Jay.
"I'll have you know that my name is Optic Sunflower, of the 8th squad. Rank number six."
"Silver of the Maverickhunters. Rank..." Silver dashed with Longinus poised to strike. As she approached, Sunflower teleported again - just to find herself looking down an electric blade. Silver was standing with Longinus in her right hand, pointing it out over her right shoulder. She threw a glance at Sunflower with a smile on her face. "...Admiral!"
"Well, this is sure peculiar." Despite the sun almost being in zenith, around the main training building, it was fairly dark. The closer 666 got, the darker it seemed to become. There were dead hunters around the zone, most of them being in two pieces. "Whatever's around here..." He opened the doors to the building, staring into complete darkness. "Well, well, well." Entering the hall, he did not see anything whatsoever.
"I'll assume you're the cause of this strange darkness."
"Indeed I am... welcome to Pitch Black, my realm!"
"And you would be... who, exactly?"
"The deadliest member of the 8th squad... Dark Mantis."
"I'll further guess you're the one who slashed up all those guys outside."
"That is indeed so."
"Neat job. Those cuts were next to perfect."
"You seem to know a thing or two about cuts. So... what side are you on?"
"If anything, theirs, I guess."
"Too bad. Then I have to take your life."
"Fine. Let's do this." 666 spat his cig to the ground and crushed it with his heel, removed his robe and activated his claws.
Had it been possible to see anything, one would have noticed 666 had changed as well during his abscence. The left part of his head ornament was broken. The lower left metal plate on his torso had disappeared. Koe was nowhere to be seen, instead a gun holster had been put where the sword once was attached to the belt. At his left shoulder, however, the hilt of another saber could be found. On the back of his neck, there was a word written - 'ETERNITY'. His forearms seemed slightly larger than they once were, and the forehead protector on his right arm was not there. Instead, only a plain white piece of cloth was tied around it.
Tying this white band around his head, he looked in the direction the enemy seemingly was in. The sound of something sweeping through the air was heard - followed by 666 barely managing to avoid a slashing attack from his opponent. "Seems like you know what you're doing."
"The same could be said about you. I shall tell you that dragging the battle out will be of no advantage to you. The darkness is constantly changing in intensity, so your eyes will never adapt to it."
"Oh, so." 666 rushed towards the place he heard Mantis speak from, slashing with his claws. However, Mantis easily dodged it and gave 666 a kick in his back. Stumbling forwards but keeping his balance, 666 put his hand on Nightmare but quickly drew it back again. "No... that'd be..." Hearing another sweeping sound, 666 rolled to the side, seeing a purple flash at where he had been standing. Walking back to the spot, he could feel the edges of a large cut in the floor. "Damnit."
"And why don't you use those swords of yours?"
"That's just what you want me to do, isn't it? In this darkness, for me, they'd do nothing but make my position glaringly obvious... as I understand it, your seeing isn't perfect here either..."
"You know the ways of battle, it seems."
"I like to think so." Following those words, 666 performed a flying kick in the direction he believed Mantis currently was in. Taken by surprise by the initiative, Mantis attempted to dodge, but was hit.
"Clever." Mantis seemed to disappear as 666 turned around. "But, you know... I've robbed you of your most important sense. In the long run, you won't be able to keep this up."
"What's so funny?"
"That's what you think? You think I can't win because I cannot see anything? Without my eyesight, I just have to substitute with my other senses... but I wouldn't even need those to defeat you."
"So confident, are we?"
"I'm ready to prove it... I shall close off my remaining senses, one by one... 666 closed his eyes and faced downwards. "First to go... smell. Second, taste. Third... hearing." Moving his hands up to the hilts of his sabers, he felt as if he was standing in a nothingness. "And, finally... touch." Supposedly completely closed off from reality, 666 did not move. It seemed as if he didn't even breathe.
"You're insane. Don't think any sixth sense will save you! Regret in hell!" Mantis, who was perched on the wall in front of 666, produced two large purple blades and dived towards him. With him coming slashing down, 666 opened his eyes.
Red, purple and yellow lights clashed, and pieces of a body hit the floor.
The ground was completely covered in snow. The only anomaly was a purple hand sticking out of it, twitching.
"Not dead yet, huh...?" Yeti walked over to Shiva's left hand and grabbed it in his own right. He pulled her upper body out of the snow, her legs and right arm still hanging down in the white. Her body was twitching, her eyes were closed but she was still breathing. "I've had worse opponents." Pointing his left palm towards her torso, he started shaping an icicle.
Then he felt a stinging pain in his chest.
"Never... let your... guard down..." Shiva had opened her eyes and thrusted Coper's blade right through Yeti, combined with a stasis charge.
"You... bitch!" She slashed upwards, giving Yeti a large cut from his chest to left shoulder. The pain made him drop her. "But you're weakened..." He put his hand to the wound, freezing it. "Far more than I am." He recreated his ice shield as Shiva looked at him.
"I've seen... through you already..."
"As if!" He shot a series of icicles towards her, but she swiftly dodged them and approached him. She made a rapid series of stabs towards his torso, shattering his shield, and then aimed a powerful stab towards his head. However, Yeti managed to narrowly avoid it. Shiva was now standing eye to eye with Yeti, Coper pointing past his head, her right hand being right beside his neck. He put his right hand on her left shoulder. "You fought well, but this is the end..."
"Oh, so?" Shiva flicked her right hand slightly, then drew it towards herself.
Yeti's head flew off his shoulders, landing a short distance away as his beheaded body fell to the ground. Shiva stood with her eyes closed, Coper in her right hand, stretched out behind her. From the back end, the blade was protruding straight out. From the front end, the blade was now pointing to the left.
"Coper, mark two..." She opened her eyes. "Scythe form." Flipping the blade back and then making both blades retract into the rod, she folded it in two again and put it on her back. "Phew, that was harder than I thought..." She shook her head to get some snow out of her hair. Traversing the white ground, she retrieved her robe and put it back on. Looking out over what just had been her battlefield, she kneeled down. "We fight to win..." She started walking away as she heard a sound behind her. The next instant, she felt a tight grip on her right wrist followed by a sensation of cold. Turning around, she saw Yeti's headless body holding onto her. "How the-"
"Hah hah hah! What's that about not letting your guard down? My head and body are separate units! My body can move as long as my head is intact!" The voice came from Yeti's head a short distance away.
"I'll freeze you up good!" Her right arm had already begun freezing right through. Her hand was completely turned to ice, and it was rapidly spreading up her arm, having already reached her elbow.
"Oh no, you..." With her left hand, she grabbed Coper and flipped it out to single scythe form in an instant. "...don't!" With a spin, she severed her right arm just below the shoulder. Some blood and other fluids started leaking out as her arm fell to the ground and shattered.
"What... to think that you..."
"It's a small sacrifice!" She flipped the other blade out as well. "Double scythe form." With a series of spinning slashes, she cut Yeti's body into several small chunks. She then went over to his head and kneeled down beside it. "You're still alive, aren't you?"
"...indeed I am..."
"You're amazingly persistent, but... time for you to go down..." She stood up, folded Coper back and put it on her back. Drawing her gun, she kicked Yeti's head up in the air and aimed.
"You're not going to-"
"And we win... to live!" She fired two shots. The first bullet turned into shrapnel inside his head, the other one did so right in front of his face. As the head fell down, Shiva gave it a hard kick, shattering it completely. "And that's the... end of that..." Holstering her gun, she put her left hand to what was left of her right arm. "Guess I'd better... get this checked..." Stappling a bit, she started walking in the direction of the main buildings.
"There you are!" Silver slashed towards what seemed to be thin air with Longinus, but Sunflower appeared in the very spot just in time for the cut to connect. "I know your pattern now. You can't teleport around as freely as you would like me to think."
"Interesting. Seems like you deserve that rank of yours." She disappeared again, avoiding an electric bolt from Silver.
"I won't let you..." She started pelting a spot close to the wall with small electrical beams. Sunflower appeared amidst them, being thrown back by the attack. "...take away everything I've lived for..."
Suflower regained her balance and dodged behind a crate. Moments later, the crate shattered, a glowing energy grid in the shape of a sphere flying through it and towards Silver. She easily dodged it by only leaning to the side.
"Was that supposed to do anything?" She charged up electricity in her left arm as Sunflower held up her hands, a new grid sphere forming between them.
"In fact..." Silver heard a sound behind her, turning around only to see the first sphere headed right for her. "It was."
She unleashed her electrical charge towards the sphere, but it was unaffected. Just as she intended to jump out of the way, she felt something hit her back. Right after, the first sphere hit her in the stomach. Both disappeared with an energy surge, Silver trapped in the middle of them. She fell to her knees with some energy burn scars. "Argh..."
"Do not think you have figured me out yet. I have several more cards to play."
"So it seems..." Breathing heavily, Silver used Ares as support to get up. Sunflower was gone again. Silver raised her rifle, shooting a few rounds which were just shy of hitting Sunflower as she reappeared.
"And now!" Sunflower created three of the grid spheres, letting them fly in different directions. They rebounded when hitting the walls, the ceiling or the floor.
"That explains it..." Taking aim with Ares, she tried shooting the spheres, but they didn't even shudder. For every bounce, they seemed to pick up in speed. "Damnit..."
"We are not even close to being done." Sunflower held her arms out to the sides, following which green energy beams started appearing. They came from seemingly nowhere, lasting for a few seconds before disappearing.
"What the..." Taking great care to avoid them, Silver ran towards Sunflower, attacking without pause. Managing to hit her with a shot after a teleport, the green beams only became more and more plentiful. Silver just avoided taking a full frontal hit from one, following which Sunflower took a leap up on a crate. All the beams disappeared.
"I do believe it is time for the grand show to start! I cannot waste any more time with you, so you will be the first victim!"
"What the hell are you talking about?" She pointed Ares right at Sunflower, who held her hand stretched towards Silver. Three thin red beams were projected, approaching each other. They came together at Silver's chest. Sunflower made a motion with her hand. Silver, feeling something dangerous was about to happen, made a rapid leap backwards.
In front of her eyes, a huge light blue energy beam came striking down, piercing the roof and making a huge burn mark in the ground.
"Wh-wh-wh-" Staring in disbelief at the mark, Silver gripped her rifle and sword tightly.
"The sun reached zenith, meaning the final weapon became ready to fire. You have no way of escaping now."
"We'll... see about that..." The red beams closed in on her again, this time locking onto her arm. Shortly thereafter, another beam struck. Silver managed to just dodge it, but was so close she could feel the heat as it struck. "At least... it seems..."
"Hm? Did you say anything?"
"I said I've figured out you have to lock on to the target for every beam, even if the target is the same..."
"Of course. Letting the final weapon fire on its own would be... unwise."
"So if I kill you..." The locking beams appeared again, Silver starting to run away from them. "...it'll stop..."
"Kill me, you say..." The beams closed in on Silver, who managed to duck behind a shelf. As she rolled to the side, the shelf was completely reduced to ashes from the following beam. "I believe you will find that a tad difficult."
"That thing's potent... maybe I can't run forever..."
"Indeed you can't." Quickly locking onto Silver, another beam struck. Somehow, she managed to back out of the way.
"...no choice, then... I'm sorry, Atos..." Tossing Ares aside, Silver gripped Longinus in both hands. She started charging it up as Sunflower prepared to lock on again. Sparks flying from both her and the blade, Silver ran straight towards Sunflower, right through the locking beams. Just as they seemingly had their target, Sunflower disappeared. Silver instantly stopped and made a leap to the left, holding Longinus in front of her. Striking Sunflower in the chest, she fell down to the ground. Silver thrusted Longinus down as far as she could, piercing the ground.
"Fool! Don't you-"
"It doesn't matter! You'll go down with me!" Silver was channeling lots of electricity through the blade to hold Sunflower down. "Goodbye..."
She suddenly felt someone grab her, trying to pull her away.
Being pulled, she rolled over to the side, her left hand still in a tight grip on the hilt. The beam struck down at where she just had been, her arm caught in the impact.
"AAAAAAH!" Instinctively trying to pull it towards her body, there was literally nothing left of her left arm, her sword or her opponent. Only some burnt chunks resembling coal.
"Mom..." Atos kneeled down beside her as the whole room started to shudder. Suddenly, the lights disappeared, the only light source now being the sun from the holes in the roof.
"Didn't I say... to get out..."
"We tried... but the door was... wasn't there!" He looked back at where he had been, Jay sitting against the wall, still unconcious. "It's there again..."
"I..." She was breathing heavily, sparks flying from the remaining stub of her left arm. Just as the door opened with a group of hunters entering, she lost conciousness.
A few dozen miles northeast of Maverickhunters Headquarters
The bottom of a canyon
"So this is really it..." Blues stared up at the cliff side, pieces of the ship jammed in cracks everywhere. "It's over..." He coughed. He couldn't speak, barely able to whisper. "But it's... as well..." Taking a glance down at his body, it was in a sorry state. His left leg and right arm were gone, and pieces of his shattered shield had lodged themselves in his torso. Can't feel anything from the waist down... can barely move my arm. He had no way of making his presence known. Noticeably struggling, he moved his hand up to his face and grabbed his shades. "Don't need... these anymore... can hardly see a thing even without..." Removing them, he looked up at them for a few moments. Lowering his arm, the shades were lying in his palm. "...the sun..." Using what little strength he had left, he crushed the shades in his fist. "This era doesn't... need me anymore... maverick as I am..." Looking up at the sun straight above him, he stretched his arm towards it. "Rock... Roll... your brother is... c-coming..." Blues closed his eyes for the last time, his arm falling to the side.
And thus, the last of the Light robots had passed away. Number DRN-00, given the name of Blues. The first completely self-aware battle robot, the prototype of an entire generation. He had been fighting for longer than anyone - he was put into action decades before the Maverick wars, and lost everything in one fell swoop when it struck. Deciding to not lay down his arms and accept that fate, he kept fighting. However, it became apparent to him early on that he would not be able to stand his ground against this new kind of enemy. He disappeared from the front line, his continued survival not being confirmed for years. He had trained himself into a warrior of the new age - one that would be able to defeat any kind of foe. He never told anyone what actually happened during those years. He had technically turned maverick, but not by infection. Many of his circuits had suffered irreversible damage, and his programming no longer had any restrictions - but he never lost his self-control.
The only legacy he had passed on was a weapon he had once wielded. He would be remembered only by a handful of people. His body would not be found for several decades, a landslide making the canyon his final grave only mere hours after his death. But his spirit would live on through one of the true comrades he had made in the new era...
North of Maverickhunters Headquarters
Desolate area, a road further to the north
"Daughter of great scientists... genetically enhanced... cyborg implants... helped my sister construct some advanced devices... and likewise..." Kay slammed the engine panel shut. "I STILL can't get this goddamned piece of shit to run." Wiping some sweat off her forehead, she dropped the screwdriver into her pocket. She had gone through most about everything twice, and while there didn't seem to be any problem, the motorcycle just wouldn't start.
Northwest of Maverickhunters Headquarters
En route to the communications center
Metro was approaching his destination with Phoenix. He had lost radio contact with headquarters, but didn't think much of it, chalking it up to some error or maintenance. Truth be told, he was kinda happy with the silence. He knew what his mission was, and was resolved to finish it as fast as possible and get back for his break.
"Always me, is it..." He took a drink from a water bottle. "So stupidly hot..." Grumbling to himself, he saw his goal up in the distance. "Finally."
The space communications center hadn't been manned for years. The facility had been abandoned after the war, and the Maverickhunters decided to make use of it. It had originally been staffed, but had been put on automation when it was deemed to not produce enough valuable data to be worth keeping up, and had been largely a failure. But even so, it couldn't just be left alone when it stopped transmitting data completely, and none of the instruments could be communicated with at all.
But something was off. When he came closer, he saw movements. "The hell... it was supposed to be completely unstaffed..." He grabbed a pair of binoculars and zoomed into the center. On the roof of the main building was a number of shapes, most distinctly a large, purple shape with what appeared to be a glass dome on top. They appeared to be erecting something. "Don't tell me... the one time I'm glad I've lost Navigator contact, I end up wanting it back... I'm sure Layer could identify that for me." He put the binoculars back in Phoenix' storage compartment and started traveling west. If he'd approach head on, they'd notice him. There was, however, a cliff on the north side of the center, which could possibly be used to sneak in unnoticed.
North of Maverickhunters Headquarters
Desolate area, en route to Maverickhunters Headquarters
"about same time as below I think"
He walked in the direction of the headquarters, carrying her charred corpse in his arms. One of his long pink ears was gone, only a burned stump left. He had lost it in the battle with the fire robot. He did not understand why things had turned out this way... he could have prevented this. Protected her. He could have stayed behind, and fought... but she had told him to leave, that she had the situation under control. He trusted her, so he left... but when the flames erupted behind him, he rushed back. He found a sea of fire, which he dived into to find her. There were a few survivors of the smaller robots, which he promptly smashed. But for her, it was too late. He was the only one to hear her last words, as she died in his arms from her injuries. He picked her up and started walking, slowly... he had to bring her somewhere, somewhere with people... somewhere she could get a proper burial. Somewhere, where he could find her sister. There was only one such place.
He felt as if he had lost a family member, a sibling. He cursed himself for not having stayed behind... but she did not want him to stay. Was it perhaps not that he did not protect her, but the other way around? Did she know that a casualty was inevitable to stop the enemy, and so sent him away... to protect him?
However it was, there was only one person who had ever known those answers.
And now she was dead.
Southwest of Maverickhunters Headquarters
"This will shake them up, oh yes..." The large maverick prepared the missile barrage targeting the Maverickhunters Headquarters. It was to be used right before the final step of the assault. He had not recieved any news of what had happened to the squad.
"Is this what the higher level mavericks of today have been reduced to? And what's that about 'new generation Reploids'?"
Bamboo Pandamonium turned around, seeing the Ride Armour and its pilot.
Vile was standing in his Goliath-class Ride Armour, left foot lifted up on the front and left arm resting on the knee.
"What are you doing here?"
"It's not as much a question of what I am doing here, as it is a question of what I will be doing here..."
"And what would that be?"
Vile did not reply. He simply raised his right hand up to his shoulder-mounted cannon and hit a button. A shot was fired, just passing by Pandamonium's head.
"Why... why are you..."
Vile let a few more shots fly, but Pandamonium dodged.
"Why are you siding with the Hunters? Do you not wish for their demise as well?"
"I don't side with the hunters..." Vile fell back into his seat and started charging in Pandamonium's direction. "I just side against you!"
Pandamonium, surprisingly swift for his large frame, sidestepped the approach of the Goliath.
Silver opened her eyes. Her body was aching all over, especially her right arm. She was bandaged all over.
I'm alive... she reflected back on her actions. She was ready to die for Atos... he would surely have been killed if she hadn't defeated her opponent.
But in the end, he had been the one to save her life... if he had left like she told him to do, she wouldn't have been so fortunate. Maybe it was fate...
"Huh?" There was only one person who'd call her that. Sure enough, looking over to her left, Shiva was lying on the hospital bed next to hers. "Sh-shiva?"
"Took you long enough to notice."
"You... what are you... when did you come back? Is bro with you?"
"Well, he was... don't know where he is now. We split up when we came here."
"So what did you... why are you here?"
"Here in sickbay, or HERE here?"
"Well... call it instinct. Sixboy said that something was wrong, and insisted on at least checking things out... turns out he was right. When we came here, the attack had already started. As for your other question, this." Shiva raised the bandaged stump that was once her right arm.
"...you too, huh?" Silver rolled over slightly to show Shiva her left. Her stump was numb, and connected to some cables and tubes.
“What did you..."
“Fight with someone calling himself Yeti... I had to cut off the arm myself. You?"
“Battle... with a Sunflower. My arm, my sword and my opponent were all burnt to crisps by a huge energy beam..."
“Sisters in arms, then?" Shiva smiled and stretched out her left arm towards Silver, who grabbed her hand in her right.
“Right on." They shook and let go. “So when are you-"
“SHIIIIVAAAAA!" An all too familiar scream was heard. Shiva closed her eyes and smiled.
“Figured she'd find out I was here sooner or later... it's been a while, after all..." Pallette came rushing into sickbay, being stopped by Lifesavor.
“What do you think you're doing?"
“But... but... I want to-"
“We're seriously busy here! More injured are coming in all the time!"
“I just want to see my-"
“We can't have people running around here!"
“Sigh... alright, you have ten minutes. Don't get in anybody's way."
“Thanks!" Pallette speeded in.
“AND NO RUNNING!" Irritation could be heard in his voice.
“...sure..." She slowed down, walking over to Shiva's bed. She was noticeably holding back tears when she approached and sat down on a chair beside the bed. Putting her arms and head on Shiva's stomach, she couldn't hold back
anymore and started crying. “Shiiivaaaa!"
Shiva put her hand on Pallette's head. “There, there... I'm here now."
“I thought... you... I..."
"I promise... I'm never going to leave you again, not until the day I..." She swallowed the final word of the sentence.
Pallette raised her head and grabbed Shiva's hand. "I have so many things to tell you..."
"So do I... cutie." Being called by that nickname for the first time in many years, Pallette almost burst into tears again. "But we can talk about that when I come home. Speaking of which..." Shiva looked around, spotting Livesavor not too far away, seemingly not busy. "Hey, doc!"
He went over to them. "What?"
"When can I leave?"
"Tomorrow, probably. We've patched up your leg and done all that can be done with your arm stump, and the minor injuries you've already started healing quite well yourself, but we need to keep you over the night and check your status in the morning before we can give a final say on that." He looked at Silver. "As for you, you've got severe second-degree energy burns, and it seems as if your body still hasn't registered the lost arm, and so there's an energy leak going on there... you'll have to stay for a few days, and the prosthesis won't be ready until next week.
"As it turns out, due to your unorthodox construction, we won't be able to use any of the robotic arms we have without cutting into your shoulder a fair bit, and with the leak, we've determined any such operation would be unsafe. The machine you're currently connected to provides you with vital fluids and makes the energy you were leaking return to your power cell. Basically, we have to get a custom arm for you that'll do that, and it requires some detail work." His eyes turned back to Shiva. "And you still don't want a new one, I take it?"
"No... the left is enough. I have another idea..."
"...wait, what?" Pallette looked confused at Shiva as Lifesavor left them.
"I said that the left arm is enough for me. Only having one arm is just... a very minor problem."
"Minor? How can you say that? You lost your right arm! Why aren't you going to replace-"
"Because I can't."
"I cannot replace it, for I did not lose it. I traded it."
"What's that supposed to-"
"I sacrificed my right arm to ensure victory in a battle. Replacing it would be... disrespectful to the dead."
"That's my resolve, as a warrior, as a mercenary and as an Eternal..."
"Well, yeah... see this?" Shiva put a finger to the tattoo on her right thigh. "It's to show I'm a part of the Eternals. You know the various government-sponsored forces? Basically military?"
“Let's just say we're the force they don't talk about."
“You're employed by the-"
“No, not exactly... we are paid to always be ready to be called for... an erasing."
“Believe me when I say that the less I talk about it, the better for all parties involved. One of the commonly accepted things about the Eraser Signal is that it's not actually meant to be used..."
Silver looked at her. “...that bad?"
There were a few moments of slightly awkward silence before Shiva spoke up again.
"So, how's Snex?"
More awkward silence.
"First General Snex is... gone."
"Gone? I'm sorry... what happened? Bomb malfunction?"
"No, he's... gone. As in... gone."
"You mean... gone?"
"Disappeared on a mission... shortly after you and triple had left. Everything seemed normal, he was reporting back normally... then, suddenly, the reporting stopped. We never heard anything from him... we inspected the area closely, tried everything... but there was no sign of him anywhere.
South of Maverickhunters Headquarters
Just below that cliff
666 looked at the shell that was lying beside him. Robotic. Looked like some sort of fossil. Seemed to have some sort of... energy burn. Yeah. "Well, well, well..." He started making his way up. Peering over the edge, there was a figure there. Green, blue and gray getup. Eyepatch over the left eye. Long brown hair.
"Well, what do we have here." The figure watched as 666 got up and lit a cigarette. "If it isn't my brother-in-law. Sort of."
"Snex." 666 went up to him and held out the pack of cigarettes. "Cig?"
"Thanks." Snex grabbed a cigarette, 666 lighting it for him. "Did you..."
"No problems... but what are you doing here? Returning after all this time?"
"You know it's imperative that the Hunters do not know about me. That's why I can only keep in touch with you... because you are no Hunter. And I don't like you."
"Mutual feeling there."
"But that's the reason I can trust you. You're a lowlife, a mercenary... but you don't lie."
"Breaking contract would go against my policy. You paid me, I keep quiet."
"I paid you a token sum of ten credits and wrote a fake employer's name on a piece of paper for you to do something you said you would have done anyway."
"Principles." He took a puff on the cigarette. "By the way... were you able to get..."
Snex tossed him a small bag. "Wasn't easy, but there you go."
"Appreciate it. How's the eye?"
"Getting there... can almost distinguish shapes with it now. I'm just glad I ha
The middle of it
23:45 (three days later)
"So you return at last."
"Of course... even though I believe nothing has changed."
"Oh, but it has."
"What do you mean?"
"You are carrying the weight of yet another life... which you did not when we last met."
"You mean this, huh...?" 666 grabbed Sunset's hilt from his left shoulder. "I knew it... I felt that Blues had passed on." He put it back in the holder but kept his grip on it.
"Very well, then." Hailius pulled out his sword from the sand.
"Same as always..." 666 grabbed onto Nightmare with his right hand and shifted his weight. "Ready when you are!"
"Attack in any way you wish." 666 dashed towards Hailius. A red and a yellow light suddenly flashed, then 666 stood behind Hailius with his swords sheathed. He was completely unscathed. Between the two was a piece of brown cloth, cut off from Hailius' robe.
"Just as I thought..." 666 turned around and put a cigarette in his mouth. "I still don't stand the shadow of a chance against you." He lit the cigarette and looked up in the air.
"But you managed to cut my robe, did you not?"
"Pah... you let me do that. You completely parried my attack, deliberately made me cut a piece of your robe and you still didn't inflict any damage whatsoever on me. It's a world of difference..."
"Do not be so sure... keep walking, and one day you can go further than the one who stands still at the end of a road..."
"Don't be ridiculous... I could train for a hundred years, and still not be able to surpass you."
"Everything in this world will end... either it is ended by the hand of man, or it just runs out of time... I am not eternal."
"I may be an Eternal... but that does not mean I will be around for eternity. It's only a name. I'm pretty sure you've been around for far longer than I have, and will continue to be so for long after I bite it..." 666 started walking forwards, passing Hailius.
"Before you part, let me ask you... do you believe in destiny?"
666 stopped, right next to Hailius. "In fact... I do. But I also believe it is up to every person to shape their own destiny..."
"Keep those words with you... the wheels have started turning in a curious direction, after that which took place a number of days ago..."
Events in something that doesn't even resemble chronological order anymore
- X and Lumine visits Silver's lab, shortly thereafter they both disappear. Only their helmets are found, and the greek letter sigma written in blood on the wall.
- Metro goes off to the complex, discovers mavericks there.
- Jay goes away to grab some parts, bringing Atos to help carrying stuff. Silver talks to Alia about Metro having left. During the conversation, explosion happens - mavericks teleport in, Alia is killed. Layer and Palette manages to defend the teleporter room, many systems are destroyed but not before they have managed to run a protocol making it impossible to teleport in to or out from HQ. Silver runs off looking for Atos, who finds himself together with Jay face to face with Optic Sunflower in a storage room.
- 666 and Shiva witness the beginning of the attack from atop a cliff, and runs down. Splitting up, 666 heads to the training facilities while Shiva goes for the refugee area. Narration follows Shiva as she enters a snowy area, kills some lesser mavericks and then encounters Avalanche Yeti about to attack the refugees.
- Kay, being outside the HQ, sees something suspicious and discovers the true mastermind behind the activities - Lumine. She implies in conversation that she's in league with at least Renilo - talking about a reaper. Kay, only armed with a screwdriver, takes her on. As Lumine is about to unleash Paradise Lost on Kay, she retorts using her robot controller, and short-circuits Lumine.
- Silver reaches the storage room. Jay is unconscious, and Sunflower is about to attack Atos. Telling Atos to grab Jay and get out, Silver angrily assaults Sunflower. Sunflower, using her short-range instant teleporting, toys with Silver who manages to get a few hits in. Sunflower decides to kick it up a notch (BAM!) when her ultimate weapon gets in position (12:00) - a huge satellite-controlled laser beam, that when activated targets whatever has been scanned. Silver finally manages to pin Sunflower to the ground by thrusting Longinus into her chest as a laser beam homes in, saying that she'll at least take Sunflower with her. Just as the laser beam is about to hit, Atos drags her away, but she still holds onto Longinus with her left arm. The laser beam fries Sunflower, Longinus and Silver's arm completely. Silver and Jay are brought to sickbay.
- In a forest not too far away from HQ, Bamboo Pandamonium is arming rockets to target the HQ. Vile appears and challenges Pandamonium, acting on his own. After a lengthy battle, Pandamonium is burned to death.
- Metro discovers his enemy: Gigabolt Man-O-War. Proving to be a worthy adversary, Man-O-War is able of cancelling most of the plasma Metro sends flying at him. The battle is taken to the air, and in the end Metro sacrifices Phoenix, crashing it right into Man-O-War who is blown the fuck up.
- 666, knowing the presence of someone, enters a pitch black room, and is introduced to his enemy - Dark Mantis. 666 defends himself nicely without ever seeing his opponent. Mantis claims that in the long run, 666 cannot win without his most important sense. 666 answers by grabbing Nightmare and Sunset in their holders and closing off his four remaining senses - in the order of smell, taste, hearing and touch. As Mantis performs his coup de grace, 666 whips out Nightmare and Sunset at the last possible moment, cutting Mantis into pieces. After activating his other senses one by one, and seeing his now defeated enemy for the first time, 666 explains that he did not use a sixth sense but rather a zeroth sense - instinct - to win.
- Kay is walking through a cliff area, dragging a robot corpse behind her. Her left arm has been reduced to a fleshy mess. Seeing Gravity Antonion and his huge army of antoids, she devises a plan - calling up Jay, Silver answers as Jay is still out cold. Kay explains she will not be coming back. She confronts Antonion, luring him into the remains of a vehicle. Appearing cornered, Kay calmly explains that everything has gone as she intended, that hunters are not afraid of dying and that she learned a trick from one of Antonion's friends she met earlier. Throwing Lumine's upper body to the ground, Antonion realizes he's been tricked. Kay uses a robot remote control to make Burn Rooster crash through the roof. A fire enhanced Paradise Lost is triggered, killing Kay, Rooster, Antonion and 80-90% of the antoids.
- Earthrock Trilobyte prepares a landslide from the cliff 666 and Shiva had descended from. Suddenly, an explosion is heard, and Trilobyte has little to no time to react before he is killed. His shell tumbles down the cliff, later to be discovered by 666.
- The fight between Shiva and Avalance Yeti concludes. After trading blows, Shiva beheads and then skewers Yeti with naginata form Coper, sending a big stasis load through him. Leaving him for dead, he grabs onto Shiva's right arm and starts freezing it. She quickly whips out Coper in schythe form and severs her own arm above the freezing point, making it fall to the ground and shatter. Yeti is killed.
- 666 discovers Trilobyte's shell, and scales the cliff to find his "brother-in-law" - Snex. Snex explains that the hunters must not know he is still alive, and that he is trying to prevent a disaster - refering to a "storm" event a number of years back being only a sample of what might happen. They both leave in different directions.
- Shiva and Silver in Silver's lab, talking about various shit. Shiva explains that 666 has probably gone off to "challenge fate - again". Silver is contacted over the radio - X has been found, implied to have been brought back by Vile. Lumine being the villain is revealed. Silver leaves. Shiva goes to find "someone else" (Pallette).
- Jay sits on the roof, sad about the death of her sister. Atos talks to her. Romance is seriously, completely and definitely NOT implied in any way.
- Nighttime in a desert, 666 encounters Hailius. After a short conversation in which Halius mentions that 666 is now carrying another life (Sunset = Blues), they attack each other. Both come out of it unharmed, but a piece of Hailius' cloth is cut. 666 knows that he still does not stand the shadow of a chance against Hailius. Hailius implies that one day 666 will surpass him, an idea 666 rejects.
666, changes - left part of head ornament is broken off. One of the metal plates on his torso is gone. The forehead protector is completely gone, replaced by a plain white headband tied around the arm. Koe is gone, Sunset can be found on 666' left shoulder. Where Koe was on the belt there is now a gun holster holding a modified Desert Eagle - model #36, the bullets have a thin brittle casing and a core of liquid nitrogen. The casing on his wrists, just below the palm, are a little bigger on the underside, with holes very close to the wrists. These are the anchor points for the Flying Blades - inside the casing, inside 666' entire arm, there's a titanium chain - at the anchor points, Nightmare and Sunset can be attached to the chains, allowing them to be thrown but still attached. Inside the arm, going from the wrist to the shoulder where the other end of the chain is locked, there is five arm lengths of chain - the fifth of which obviously can never leave the arm. So the range is increased by four arm lengths. He wears a dark robe when he first is seen. He has the word "ETERNITY" written on the back of his neck.
Shiva, changes - Hair cut short, a topknot.
word "ETERNITY" tattooed on the inside of her right thigh
modified Desert Eagle - model #29, firing bullets that shatter shortly after being fired leading to a barrage of shrapnel.
Coper Mark 2 - A slightly thicker rod than Coper, about 1,5 meters in length, can be folded in the middle. Has a ~50 cm curved blade, which is sharp on both sides, inside each end, which can be put straight out (naginata form) or flipped out on the side (scythe form). The blades on the two sides can be activated independently from each other, and are turned different ways. In double scythe form the blades go in different directions, and in double naginata form the curves are opposite ways.
1 - Gigabolt Man-O-War
2 - Earthrock Trilobyte
3 - Bamboo Pandamonium
4 - Avalanche Yeti
5 - Burn Rooster
6 - Optic Sunflower
7 - Gravity Antonion
8 - Dark Mantis
Folk som dör:
Unseen bonds - the decisive battles of three comrades (Brave Heart)
True colours - a fearless sacrifice
The sisters' requiem - let's meet again in the afterlife (Over the Distance)
That which was lost - turning eyes toward tomorrow (This Land/King of Pride Rock)