28th February 2005, 12:05 PM #16
As soon as Rock stepped out of the teleporter, he noticed Roll at the side of the room. "Roll, what's happened?" Rock asked worriedly.
"It's Blues," she said, "His morale is in pretty bad shape. While you were gone, we got a message from another group of survivors."
Rock was confused. "Then why is he feeling bad?"
"His wife wasn't with them."
Rock was stunned. "His wife?" He asked in disbelief.
"I know," said Roll, "He never told Auto or I he was married either. The first thing he asked them was if she was with them, and they said they had never seen anyone like her." Roll paused to stop herself from shedding a tear. "I could just hear his heart break."
"I know the feeling," Rock muttered, the memory of Dawn flashing across his mind again. "Where is he now?"
"He's in his quarters. Auto's trying to talk with him, but I doubt he's going to get anywhere," said Roll with pity.
Suddenly, an idea came together in Rock's head. "Roll, can you still talk with that other band of survivors?"
"Yeah," said Roll, "why?"
"Nevermind why," Rock said quickly, walking past Roll and out of the room.
Roll rolled her eyes. "What's with everyone today?" She muttered under her breath, following Rock out of the room.
As soon as Rock sat down by the desk and had his headset on, Roll flicked the switch to the radio on, and a crackling noise filled Rock's ears. "Hello?" A voice asked from the other end.
"Hi," said Rock, "You wouldn't know anyone in your group by the name of Dawn, would you?"
Rock looked sideways to see the look of connfusion on Roll's face. "Dawn," The voice muttered. "No, there isn't a Dawn here."
"Are you sure?" Rock asked. "She's got blonde hair, maybe five-foot-six, um," Rock paused to dig up his scattered memories, "green eyes, looks maybe, er, one hundred pounds. Have you seen her?"
"Sorry, I haven't."
Rock sagged. "Thanks anyway," He muttered before taking off his headset.
"Dawn?" Roll asked as soon as Rock put down the headset, "Who's Dawn?"
Rock sighed silently to himself. "An old friend of mine," he muttered.
Roll pulled up a nearby chair and sat down beside Rock. "That's who Marie reminds you of, isn't she?"
Rock nodded. "I wish I knew if she were still alive," he muttered.
Roll put her hand on Rock's shoulder. "The most you can do is have faith," she said.
"Or I can destroy Masterframe," said Rock. "Where's Auto? You said he was with Blues, right?"
"Yeah," said Roll as Rock stood up, "Why?"
"I'm going to take out another target."
Rock found himself at the heavy iron doors of the gigantic building within a flash. Quickly taking cover behind a small heap of discarded scrap metal, Rock held the side of his helmet close to his ear. "Roll, can you still hear me?"
"Loud and clear, Rock."
Rock peeked over the scrap heap at the building in front of him. "So this is the sub-zero storage hold," Rock muttered, looking at the giant doors.
"This is it," said Roll. "Are you sure that attacking it without any warming device is a good idea?"
"Don't worry about me, Roll," said Rock, looking at his arm cannon, "I've got some 'fire' power."
Rock heard Roll groan. "Just be careful, all right?"
"I'll try my best," said Rock, standing up. Locking his sights at the doors and charging his arm cannon, Rock said, "Time to paint this place red-hot!"
Rock unleashed the massive charge of energy upon the doors, blowing them wide off their hinges. Rock wasted no time at all in dashing through the doors, firing his cannon at anything that moved across his path. The large, dim room was anything but cold, a fact that Rock noticed as soon as soon as he found himself leaping over all sorts of crates and boxes, demolishing every piece of machinery in his path. Spotting another shutter directly ahead of him, Rock willed his feet to give him a short burst forward, sending him speeding at the shutters. He came to a screeching halt, only inches away from the heavy shutter as it quickly slid upwards, letting Rock slip underneath.
Rock was met with a bitter cold, and as soon as he turned around, the shutter slammed down once more, sealing him inside. Quickly wrapping his arms around him, Rock wished he was back in the incineration plant as he looked at the room around him.
Icicles dangled from the wide vent tubes that ran along the high ceiling, and frost covered the walls and floors. Hundreds of boxes, containers, and crates lined the walls, blanketed in a sheet of ice. As soon as Rock took a step forward, he slipped on the icy floor, narrowly managing to keep on his feet. Seeing nothing but a straight path ahead of him, Rock grit his teeth in the face of the bitter cold and pushed himself forward, gliding on the icy floors.
The instant he crossed the threshold to a long corridor, Rock heard the familiar buzz of airborne drones swarming from behind him. Gaining as much speed as he could on the slick floor, Rock quickly spun around, sliding backwards on his heels as he let loose a furious storm of cannon fire at the swarm behind him. The small, bat-like robots that chased after him were shot down in flames, crashing to the ground as more and more of them rushed in on Rock. Rock kept his arm cannon blasting away, shooting down messes of the drones as their number steadily grew, quickly gaining ground on Rock. Rock steadily began losing momentum, and bit by bit, Rock found himself quickly slowing down. Just as Rock spun himself around to gain more velocity, a large crate that blocked his path caught him unable to stop, sending Rock crashing into and spilling over the crate and onto the floor on his face. As Rock still skidded along the icy floor, he tossed himself over onto his back, locking hs eyes on the quickly approaching swarm of drones, and let his cannon run wild. Suddenly, a flash of metal zoomed past his eyes, and a heavy crash filled the air. Rock lifted his head to find himself skidding away from a closed shutter, with the sounds of hundreds of drones smashing into it on the other side. Rock snickered cruelly to himself, still skidding along on his back in the oddly quiet room.
Suddenly, Rock slid headfirst into something tall and sturdy, halting him immediately with a jolt down hs spine. Rock looked up, and saw the face of a stocky, blue-armored robot staring back down at him. "Slipping in for a visit, are we?" The Virtuloid asked with a hissing voice.
Rock scrambled back to his feet, and almost fell down again. The blue Virtuloid snickered quietly, watching Rock try to keep his footing on the sleek ice. "So I suppose you're the dreaded Blue Bomber," he said as Rock finally found his balance.
"And you're Chill, aren't you?" Rock guessed.
"Bravo," said the Virtuloid, "How'd you know?"
Rock rolled his eyes. "Ground ran an ore mine, Lightning ran a power plant, Hydro ran a waterfall dam; I've got you guys all figured out."
"Strong and clever," said Chill, "Shame that I've got to destroy you."
Rock's footing slipped again, nimbly able to keep himself standing. "Bring it on."
Chill suddenly bolted off his feet, gliding above the icy surface at Rock with full speed ahead, planting his shoulder into Rock's chest. Rock was sent spinning on the ice, struggling to keep himself standing as Chill came to a sharp halt on the other side of the room, quickly spinning around to aim the cannon-like adaptation on his arm at Rock. With a flash, a short, wide sheet of ice sprouted out of Chill's arm, sharp and pointy like a small sword. Chill locked his eyes on the sprawling Rock, waiting for him to regain his footing. As soon as Rock managed to stand steady on the ice, Chill bolted forward again, whipping his shoulder across his chest at Rock, slashing his icy sword into Rock's left shoulder. Rock yelped as he fell to the floor, grabbing his wounded shoulder as Chill came to another smooth stop. Chill quietly chuckled as he watched Rock slowly climb back up to his feet, clutching his aching arm. Rock gasped when he saw frost begin to gather around the gash, feeling a freezing numbness begin to slowly spread through his arm. Before Rock knew it, Chill had charged at him again, swiftly dragging his blade across Rock's chest. Rock weezed and collapsed to the floor again, immediately feeling a stinging cold seep into his body. "If you think that hurts now," Chill laughed, "In a few minutes you won't feel a thing."
Rock winced and hunched over onto his knees, gritting his teeth to bear the numbing cold spreading through his body. Just as Chill wound back his arm to slash at Rock again, Rock lashed his arm cannon out at Chill, unleashing a massive blast of flames. Chill nimbly weaved to his right, almost avoiding the firey assault. The flames licked Chill's left arm, leaving a scorched streak on his armor. Chill winced and cradled his wound, with Rock finding an ounce of warmth from his cannon's flamethrower. Rock quickly clambered back to his feet again, and unleashed another massive stream of flames at Chill again. Bearing the stinging in his arm, Chill dove to his side, letting Rock's flamethrower blast into the icy walls, scorching them totally black as Rock's flamethrower chased Chill around the room. As Rock kept pumping out the stream of fire after Chill, he felt his frosty, frozen wounds begin to slightly warm, once again feeling movement in his left arm.
Suddenly, his cannon coughed and sputtered, and the massive torrent of flames suddenly shut off. Rock breathed tiredly, feeling the energy from his flamethrower completely deplete. Chill came to a screeching halt, quickly looking around the charred room. Without another word, Chill charged at the defenseless Rock again, slashing his icy blade wildly. Rock quickly floored himself, narrowly avoiding Chill's slash. It was only when Chill sharply pivoted on his heel again that Rock noticed the two small vents on Chill's chest, and a gentle breeze was slowly being sucked inside. And with a sudden yell, Chill's vents blew out a vicious gale, blowing Rock clean off of his feet, pinning him against the wall with the violent, bitterly cold current. Rock tried to move his limbs, but the fierce wind kept them anchored to the wall, his armor steadily frosting over. Chill slowly advanced on him, keeping the vicious wind blasting upon him as ice began to form around Rock's body, freezing him to the wall. As soon as Rock's whole body was covered in a thin sheet of ice, Chill quietly laughed. "Let's see how long you last," Chill snickered, willing his chest vents to close.
Rock struggled in vain to power himself out of the icy casket, but the thick icy casing kept him firmly in place. Rock's wounds began to freeze much more quickly, stabbing him with a freezing pain as it spread through him again. As his insides froze and his vison hazed, Rock willed his cannon to give even just a spurt of flames. Nothing came, and Rock continued to freeze against the wall. Rock held what was left of his breath, and forced his body to shoot his flamethrower. A slight tremble shook within the casing, and Chill was suddenly stunned. Pushing himself to go further, Rock mentally screamed at himself to fire his flamethrower, and he immediately felt his armor begin to heat. A sharp crack echoed all over the room, quickly followed by many more. Chill hastily opened his vents again, blasting more icy chills upon Rock's casing. Even with Chill's wind vents blasting as savagely as he could get them to go, Rock's icy prison suddenly shattered into millions of tiny pieces, falling to slush upon the ground. Rock aimed his flamethrower at Chill before his feet even hit the ground, unleashing a blast of flames at Chill again. As soon as Chill dove out of the way, Rock willed his weapon formats to switch, and quickly shot forth a blast of water at Chill's feet. The water froze upon contact with Chill's armor, fusing Chill and his legs to the floor. Chill struggled and fought to break himself free, but another fierce blast of water from Rock's cannon coated his body, freezing him solid. "Thanks for the idea," said Rock, knowing that Chill was glaring angrily back at him. Placing his cannon to the side of Chill's frozen head, Rock willed his flamethrower to activate again, and a short blast of flames quickly charred Chill's head black. Rock planted his hand on Chill's blackened shoulders, feeling his system immediately download Chill's weapon program.
"Get ready to warp me out soon, Roll," said Rock, holding the side of his helmet to his ear, "I'm gonna' give this place one hot remodelling."
5th March 2005, 12:51 PM #17
Auto had just finished stitching up Rock's knees when Rock finally looked down at the stitches. "So, what's this you've put in me?" Rock asked.
"Those," said Auto, tossing his surgical tools into the sink behind him, "are manual-charge speed boosters."
"Manual-charge speed boosters?" Rock asked, sitting up on the operating table, "what're those?"
"Those microchips I've put in your knees," said Auto, following Rock's stare on his stitches, "they collect electrical charge put out by your knee muscles when you move them," he said. "And because I redesigned your nervous system to send complex information back and forth from the brain, once those chargers have collected enough energy, you can release it on will when doing your air dash, and that'll propell you forward at a very high speed."
"You've got too much time on your hands," Rock muttered.
"Hey, a genious has gotta' keep himself busy."
Rock looked back at his knees. "Any catches?"
"A few, yes," Auto murmured. "For one, the chargers lose colelcted energy quickly, so if you want to build up enough power for the boosters to work, your best chance at doing that is running in a straight line without stopping."
"And second, you can't use the speed boost, starshooter, or any of the Virtuliod weapons you've picked up twice at a time. Your nervous system would collapse with that amount of stress.
"So you're saying I can't use my weapons when I've got the booster?"
"I can't remove your weapons system, that's embedded into your internal programming now. Just don't use both at the same time, okay?"
Rock nodded. "Anything else?"
"I've already taken the liberty to disable the starshooter jump to install the speed boosters. I can't let you go with both of those active, either. It's either one or the other, Rock."
Rock thought for a while. "I think I'll stick with the boosters," he said at length, "just to try them out."
"You're the boss," Auto hummed, handing Rock his helmet from the counter beside the operating table. "Ready to go out again?"
Rock swung his feet over the side of the table, and dropped onto the floor. "Only one more target to go, may as well take it out now."
Rock appeared with a flash in the middle of the dense forest, quickly hiding behind a tree as he looked at the giant, looming towers in the wide clearing before him. "So, that's the weather monitoring station, huh?" Rock asked.
"That's it, Rock," came Roll's voice in his helmet. "The best way to destroy all the towers is to find the main power silo in one of them and destroy it."
"No doubt there's another Virtuloid guarding it," Rock muttered. Morphing his hand into a cannon barrel again, Rock charged his cannon and said, "Sit tight, Roll. This may take a while."
A shattering blast of plasma energy blew a wide hole into the side of the tower, with Rock leaping inside seconds later. The first and only thing that met Rock's eyes was a tall, spiralling stairway, which he wasted no time in running up when the familiar hum of flying drones filled the air. Out of the corner of his eye, Rock spotted the first pack of cloud-like drones hovering down the stairs towards him. Letting his cannon blast wildly, Rock managed to shoot down three of the floating clouds before the rest of the pack shot forth an array of electrical sparks, making Rock dance on the spot as he weaved in and out of the hailstorm of tiny lightnng bolts. Sucking in a deep breath, Rock dove underneath the drones and further up the stairs, clumsily rolling back up to his feet behind them. Charging up his arm cannon again, Rock unleashed a dazzling blast of energy loose at the cloud drones, scorching whatever drones it did not incinerate. The remaining five drones shot more electric sparks at him, forcing him to skip backwards up the stairs as he unleashed the fury of his cannon, firing and firing so feverishly that it made his vison spin. With another giant charged blast, the last of the drones finally fell, and Rock was suddenly aware of the sun shining upon him. He had already reached the top of the long and winding staircase, perched atop a small open-air lookout with a small metal-beam bridge connecting the one tower to another. Taking a good look around, Rock found there were only three of the gothic towers, and concluded that the main silo must be in either of the other two. After another quick lookout for more drones, Rock ventured off of the lookout, and stepped foot onto the first step of the bridge. A whining creak from beneath him sent a shiver up Rock's spine. Rock placed his other foot as gingerly as he could on the other step, finding it to be as sturdy as he could have hoped. Step after careful step, Rock made it four steps across the bridge when his fears subsided.
Suddenly, the first step of the bridge cracked, folded, and plummeted to the ground below. The second step followed suit, as did the third, and the fourth began to fracture underneath his feet. With a panicked yelp, Rock made the decison to dash quickly across the bridge to the other side as the bridge creaked and yawned, beginning to slowly tip down. Rock's wide strides quickly became giant leaps as the bridge frowned, despearte to plant his foot onto the cracking steps before they broke apart. Just as Rock was only a few meters away from the other tower, the bridge suddenly lurched downward, swinging towards the side of the tower. Rock grabbed the first step that met his eyes, hanging on for dear life as the bridge slammed into the tower, almost shaking loose Rock's grip on the steps. Rock struggled to pull himself up, trying to carry his heavy armor as well. Just as the step snapped, Rock's hand shot up to grasp the one above, saving himself from a long fall. Rock's mind was awhirr with solutions, one thought being that, should he fall, he could always use his water cannon power cushion his landing. A glance down at the ground far below made what remained of his stomach knot, and he quickly dismissed the idea just as the step he clung to began to crack. He could not use his ice power, that would only make the steps shatter underneath his weight. Nor could he use the flamefthrower to weld the steps together again, the intense heat would surley burn his hands. Rock struggled to put his hands on the step above when the step he held on to suddenly gave away, forcing him to pick any of his weapons at random. Ground's drill suddely protruded from his cannon, which Rock quickly sunk deep into the wall. The bridge above moaned and creaked loudly, and with a series of snaps, it plummeted down beside him. Rock gave a quiet sigh of relief as he grabbed onto the drill lodged into the wall, planting another drill just above him as he climbed to the top of the tower. Rock pulled himself up and over the edge, looking at the one door in the middle of the tower's roof, likely leading down to the base. Hoping he would find the main reactor down below, Rock hastily shot the door off of its hinges, and stepped into the pitch-black darkness.
As soon as the darkness had engulfed him, Rock felt the floor suddenly pull away out from underneath him. It was a thankfully short fall, letting Rock land comfortably on his feet. Everything around him was so pitch-black that Rock could not even see the tip of his nose. He could hear a machine's gears grinding and moving around him, sending a nervous shiver through his body. Rock coiled his knees and readied his arm cannon, preparing himself for the worst.
A sudden flash of light shot down at his feet, making Rock bolt to his side as a crack of thunder boomed around the room. A vicious gale of wind suddenly blasted upon him, feeling a heavy patter of rain storm around the room. Rock dodged another crack of lightning, with the brief flash illuminating the room long enough for Rock to catch a glimpse of a bright red square on the wall before everything went dark again. Switching his weapons system to Ground's drills again, Rock made a mental visual note to himself, keeping his mind focused on that one spot amidst the darkness. The wind intensified, beginning to blow Rock around the room. As another blast of lightning flashed only inches from his face, Rock aimed his cannon at the square on the wall, and shot out a drill. Ground's drill made a sharp cracking sound, and the room fell silent again. More lightning bolts zapped around his feet, with Rock narrowly managing to weave his body around them. Another flash of lightning revealed to Rock another bright red square on the wall. Rock quickly fired off another drill, plunging it deep into the square before the darkness reigned again. A blast of lightning struck his foot suddenly, sending Rock spilling to the floor with a yelp. Another bright red square on the wall caught the corner of his eye from the flash, and just before another bolt could strike him in the back, Rock shot out his arm cannon and fired another drill into the darkness.
The room suddenly began to tremble, and the ceiling lights slowly lit up. The wind and rain stopped, and Rock was thankful to have a firm footing again. A tall, hulking piece of machinery built into the wall fell over and collapsed at his feet, revealing a passage to the outside. Rock stepped over the fallen machine and onto the outside, only to find another bridge leading to the last tower. "That must be where the core is," Rock muttered to himself, dashing over the bridge. Just like the other bridge, the metal steps cracked and fell as soon as Rock stepped on them, yet Rock was always a step ahead of the crumbling stairway.
The sudden familiar hum filled the air before Rock could make it a quarter of the way across the collapsing bridge, and another swarm of cloud-like drones spilled out of the top of the last tower, descending on Rock like a violent stormcloud. As Rock dashed along the creaky bridge, he aimed him cannon upwards and fired shot after shot of plasma energy into the massive fog of drones, only managing to shoot down two or three at a time as the cloud drones quickly came upon him. Realizing he would be quickly engulfed by the pesky drones on a collapsing bridge, Rock charged his cannon, and made it halfway across before the swarm surrounded him. Rock unleashed his charged blast, blowing a hole in the middle of the legions. Tiny electric sparks zapped his sides with every four or five drones he shot down around him, making it a chore to ensure his footing on the falling bridge. And just as the bridge began to creak and tip downward, Rock let a fully charged blast into the swarm again, leaping through the hole in the swarm it created, double-jumping in the air to land safely on the other tower. Without thinking, Rock switched to Lightning's weapon, and unleashed a loud crack of lightning upon the chasing drones behind him. Whatever the lightning bolt did not destroy, it sent the rest of the cloud drones into a short-circuited frenzy, driving them mindlessly into the side of the tower above Rock's head. The drones plowed through the tower and out of the other side, slowly diving to the ground as Rock watched them crash into the forest below. Using Ground's drill weapon as stepping stones in the side of the tower again, Rock climbed up into the hole the drones had created, and slipped inside of the dark interior of the tower. The lack of a floor made Rock flatten himself against the wall, letting his wall-clinging system allow himself to slowy slide down along the wall, hoping not to run into another storm-generating machine.
As soon as a floor met his feet, the sound of another iron shutter pulled out from underneath him, dropping him into the well-lit chamber below. Landing on his feet, the first thing that met his eyes was a slim humanoid figure, flexing a pair of metal wings on its back. "So, you're the blue bomber everyone's talking about?" he asked Rock, still flexing his wings.
Rock immediately aimed his cannon at the Virtuloid in front of him. "That's me," he said. "And you are, let me guess, Wind."
"Storm," replied the Virtuloid, arching his wings.
Rock sighed inwardly to himself. "Close enough," he muttered under his breath. "But what really matters is that you and these towers have got to go."
Storm spread his wings, and gently rose up into the air with slow flaps of his broad wings. "Let's see you try, groundling," Storm taunted, aiming an arm cannon at Rock from the air, "Eat this!"
With that, a violent blast of wind shot from Storm's arm cannon, blasting upon Rock so fiercely that it knocked him down onto the floor. As soon as Rock stumbled back to his feet, Storm swooped down, ramming his helmet into Rock's nose, flooring him again as Storm ascended to the other side of the chamber again. Rock tumbled head over heels to adeptly roll over onto his feet, whirling around to fire a flurry of cannon shots at the airborne Virtuloid. Storm simply folded his wings around himself, with Rock's plasma blasts bouncing off the armor plates like pebbles. Storm laughed mockingly as Rock began to break a weary sweat. "Giving up already?" Storm jeered, unfolding his wings.
Rock willed his weapons system to switch to Ground's drills, aimed his cannon at Storm again, and said, "Try laughing at these."
Rock willed to fire, but nothing came out. A smirky grin ran across Storm's face. "Is that all?"
Rock tried to fire again, and still no response. Rock switched back to Lightning's electricity, and let loose a massive crack of electricity at Storm. Storm quickly wrapped his wings around him again as soon as the thunder from Rock's cannon roared, feeling the blast of the lightning bolt smash upon his armor plates, the bolt dissipating upon contact. "Shit!" Rock snarled under his breath, beginning to feel frustrated.
Storm landed on the ground again, flexing his shaking, stiff wings, much more annoyed than injured. "Fighting me with those pathetic weapons won't get you anywhere," Storm sneered, aiming his arm cannon at Rock again. Knowing that Storm was ready to unleash another wind blast, Rock put as much charge in his cannon as quickly as he could before he fired it at Storm's chest. Storm's left wing quickly flapped over his body, deflecting Rock's shot with ease. "Have a nice trip."
With that, Storm's arm cannon let another dizzying gale loose, bowling Rock backwards and slamming him against the chamber wall. And with a short hop into the air, Storm spread his wings and dove at Rock, ready to crush Rock between himself and the wall. Rock's scrambled vison snapped clear in time to see Storm speeding towards him, and without any other idea in mind, Rock switched his weapons system to the one weapon he had not used yet.
The thick blade of jagged ice sprouted from Rock's arm cannon swiftly enough for Rock to springboard off the wall, and meet the charging Storm with a quick slash. Rock landed quietly on his feet, hearing Storm crash into the wall with a clumsy thump. As Storm began to moan, Rock looked back at his enemy to see a wide gash in his shoulder, a thin crust of ice beginning to frost over it. "Hey Storm!" Rock jeered, "I think I've just found your weakness!"
Storm sneered angrily under his breath, stretching his wings and flying back up to the ceiling. "You can't slash at what you can't touch," Storm retorted, aiming his cannon at Rock again, unleashing another blast of wind upon Rock. Rock quickly jammed Chill's sword into the floor, anchoring himself in place as the short gale roared past him. And as soon as Rock caught the blank stare of shock on Storm's face, Rock leapt up, double-jumped in the air, winding back his shoulder and taking a vicious swing at Storm's right wing. The ice blade tore through and iced over the middle of his wing, quickly becoming more and more immobile. Storm yelped and lurched to the ground, struggling to keep himself aloft as Rock landed below. Knowing he had the advantage, Rock leapt at the wall, rebounded himself upwards, and took another slash at Storm's left wing. This was enough to freeze Storm's wings entirely, sending Storm crashing to the floor.
As Rock landed, he swivelled himself around and took an agressive charge straight for Storm, winding back his shoulder for another icy slash. Rock had forgotten about Storm's wind blasts, something he remembered the instant that Storm quickly shot out his arm cannon and unleashed another violent gale upon him. Rock was floored clumsily onto his back, skidding along the floor as Storm dragged himself back to his feet. When Rock had picked himself up, he realized that Storm could still spread his wings enough to send his body gliding into his chest, crushing Rock against the wall. Rock gagged and weezed, gasping for air as Storm stepped back, letting Rock drop the the floor. "This one's going for your head," Storm snarled, jabbing the barrel of his cannon into Rock's cheek, pinning Rock's head against the wall. Barely finding the strength to weild up his arms, Rock squeezed his eyes shut and waited for the end.
A second went by, and nothing happened.
Storm quickly glanced at his shoulder, and his jaw dropped once he saw the icy frost had spread from his wing and ran along his arm, seeping into his cannon. He was aware of the sudden chill that tickled his insides, and he shook his arm cannon feverishly, trying to break the ice inside apart. Sucking up whatever little wind he had left in him, Rock wobbled to one knee, and sprung forward at Storm, thrusting his ice blade straight for Storm's chest. The icy sword plunged through Storm's body, sticking out from his back as a thin layer of frost began to cover his body. "Cheater," Storm whined weakly as he began to ice over.
"Loser," Rock sneered back as Storm's frozen body became still. Placing his hand on Storm's forehead, Rock felt his arm tingle with the weapons download, tickling the nerves on his toes and fingertips. When the tingle subsided, Rock disengaged Chill's blade from his system, snapping off the base of the blade from his cannon with a quick jerk from his arm. "Hey Roll," Rock said into his helmet, "There's going to be some fireworks tonight."
21st March 2005, 12:54 PM #18
As soon as Rock appeared back into the shelter, he was immediately greeted with Roll's smiling face. "Rock, you're... you're incredible!" She gushed.
If Rock's heartbeat could go over a single beat per minute, he would have blushed. "Thanks, Roll," he said sheepishly, stepping out of the coffin-like teleporter machine and taking off his helmet. Roll immediately threw her arms around Rock's shoulders, completely ignoring the stench from Rock's sweat-matted hair. Rock kept his hands off Roll, immediately remembering Dawn and feeling compelling sense of faithfulness. "Where's Blues?" Rock asked. "He knows that I've taken out all six targets, right?"
Roll released him, and kept smiling. "He does," she said, "and he's waiting for you in the briefing room."
Blues' usual solemn face was now hard as a stone. He kept looking at Rock as he spoke in a commanding tone so forceful and stern that, for a moment, Rock thought he was a completely different person. "And now that you've dismantled their main operations," Blues continued on with his briefing, "Now's the best chance we have to take the fight to Masterframe itself, and end this whole ordeal for good." Auto rubbed his hands together in eager anticipation. Roll rested her head in her hand on the table, wearing a dreamy, watery smile, staring into space. Although Blues was fully aware of their lack of participation, he did not let himself care, focusing all his attention on Rock. "Now let me make this clear, Rock," Blues ordered, "there will be no allowances for careless mistakes or failures from this point on. Is that clear?"
"Crystal," Rock murmured.
"Good. We already know the location of the Virtuloid HQ, and that's where we're sending you. Just like your last missons, we need you to level the place completely. But there's a catch."
"What?" Rock asked.
"We don't know exactly where Masterframe is located. If there's any information that can tell us where it is, it will be in the Virtuloid base. That's why we're sending you there in three sub-missons."
"Sub-missons? Like what?"
"Your first objective is to find and destroy their teleporation matrix systems. That way, all Virtuloids will no longer be able to teleport to or from Virtuloid HQ. Your second misson will be to find, interrogate, and destroy only if necessary, this Alpha character. Based on those conversations you've had with Marie, whoever this Alpha is, he must be a very important figure to the Virtuloids. With the matrixes destroyed and Alpha dealt with, you should have no problem in destroying the base, but not before you collect the information on Masterframe's whereabouts. That is your third misson. Any questions?"
"None," said Rock. "So, I guess I'm going on misson number one right away?"
Blues nodded. "Godspeed, Rock."
Rock appeared with a flash in a tight, dark alley. Taking a quick peek out into the streets, Rock's eyes bugged when he saw the ruination around him. What used to be towering buildings and endless streets were now heaps of rubble lying on a wasteland. Wreckage and scrap was strewn about as far as he could see, chilling him to the bone. Pulling himself back into the shadows of the alley, Rock pressed the side of his helmet closer to his ear and whispered, "Roll, is this what's happened to the whole planet?"
"As far as we know, yes," Roll replied. "Directly north of you is Virtuloid HQ, and up at the peak of the tallest tower is the teleportation matrixes. Can you see it from where you are?"
Rock peeked out from around the corner of the alley, laying eyes on the gigantic spires of a heavily fortified stronghold, not even ten meters away. "Yeah, I see it," said Rock, hiding in the alley again.
"You'll need to find your own way up there," said Roll, "and you'd better do it quick. This is the only time of day when most if not all Virtuloids are away hunting, so this is the best chance of leveling the place we'll ever get."
"Got it," said Rock, morphing his hand into a cannon and stepping out of the alley, "here I go."
The voice from behind him nearly made Rock jump out of his skin. Quickly whirling around, Rock's arm formed into a cannon, aiming it in the face of the Virtuloid behind him. "Marie?" Rock stammered, watching Marie yelp with surprise.
Rock lowered his cannon, and let it fall to his side. "Sorry," Marie wheezed, trying to calm herself down, "did I startle you?"
"Yeah, a bit," Rock muttered, forming his hand again. "Are you heading back to HQ too?"
Marie shrugged. "May as well," she said, "Everyone else is looking for the blue bomber."
Shit, Rock thought to himself, Now I might wind up killing her too.
"Marie, why aren't you out there helping too?" Rock asked. "That is part of your duty, isn't it?"
"Just taking a short break to recharge little," said Marie, "My power reserves are running a little low."
Rock breathed a sigh of relief. "Shall we go together?" He asked playfully, hooking his arm towards Marie.
Marie laughed, and pushed Rock's arm straight again. "We're still on duty, you clown," she said with a smile, walking to the giant gates of the stronghold with Rock close behind.
Rock's own smile soon turned to a jaw dropped from dismay, upon seeing a tall archway in the middle of the gates, complete with sensory modules, cameras, and various detectors of all sorts lining the threshold. Rock stared at the ground, ready to morph his hand into his cannon and let the carnage begin at any moment. Marie stepped underneath the arch, passing without hindrance. Rock set a steady foot through the threshold, clenched his fist, and moved the rest of him through.
Nothing happened. Rock stopped, halting Marie in her tracks. "Why'd you stop?" She asked innocently.
Rock looked around the courtyard, eventually spotting a slender Virtuloid leaned up against the wall beside him, reading a book of some sort. The Virtuloid looked up from the pages, gave Rock a little nod hello, and went back to reading. "Wasn't sure what that thing was for," Rock muttered quietly under his breath, catching up to Marie.
"The carbon-dioxide detectors?" Marie snorted, "we've got those all over the HQ."
Before Rock could reply, he suddenly remembered that breathing converted oxygen into carbon-dioxide. And he was also reminded that he no longer needed to breathe. "Yeah, I knew that," Rock murmured sheepishly, "I haven't been here in ages."
"But you took Lightning back here, right?"
"I- I handed him off to someone else on the way," said Rock quickly. Then, he added, "I wanted to see if I could still catch the blue bomber."
"Oh," Marie shrugged. Rock and Marie stepped through the doors of the towering stronghold, and into the sprawling lobby inside. Rock had never seen such gothic beauty in his life, even if the tiles on the floor and stucco walls and ceilings looked a little odd. "Well anyway," said Marie, heading towards one of the many doorways in the lobby, "it was nice to see you again," she said.
As soon as Marie vanished down one of the many corridors, Rock morphed his hand into his cannon, clenched his teeth, and muttered, "And I hope I don't see you in here again, either." With that, he charged his cannon with as much power as he could, and dashed down the first hallway that caught his eye.
As Rock ran down the winding corridors, he could hear the hum of approaching patrol drones come his way. Not feeling like standing around to attract attention, Rock kept on charging through the hall, powering up his arm cannon. At the first sight of the floating drones, Rock unleashed the pent-up energy, plowing a hole through the approaching swarm. As more and more flocked in from all sides, Rock decided to try out his newest weapon. Switching weapons format, Rock activated Storm's weapon drive. Aiming his cannon at the thick fog of buzzing drones speeding towards him, Rock fired his cannon, letting loose a mighty blast of wind. The violent gale blew the drones and swept them back, sending them colliding into the walls, ceiling, floor, and even each other. Blast after blast of windstorms, Rock had completely cleared the hallways of the flying robots, also leaving the corridor in a mess as well.
At the end of the hall was an elevator, which Rock entered by shooting the door apart. Before he could press any button, the elevator car moved upwards on its own, and after a minute of steady ascent, the car came to a halt, and the doors before him opened. The sight of a gigantic, open room was the first thing that met him, with a brightly glowing light source sitting atop a group of pilliars. Soon, another swarm of airborne drones swooped down upon him from the ceiling. Leaping out of the elevator car, Rock kept his weapon set on Storm's wind blasts, shooting gusts and gales left and right around him. From electric bursts to energy blasts, the drones were relentless in their attacks, chasing Rock around the circular room in one giant swarm. Knowing he would be running forever, Rock abruptly turned on his heel, leapt into the middle of the swarm, switched to Chill's ice sword, and slashed away wildly into the heart of his aggressors. Landing roughly on the other side, Rock switched weapons format again, and let Burn's flamethrower lick the rest of the drones with flames. The room finally fell silent, and Rock immediately focused his attention on the bright light in the middle of the room. "Roll, there's a bright light on some kind of set of columns here," He said, "Is this the matrix?"
"That's it, Rock," Roll cheered, "destroy it!"
"No need to state the obvious," Rock smirked, switching back to his normal cannon and cahrging it up to full power. Once his cannon could hold no more enrgy, Rock unleashed it all with a roar upon the brightness. With a piercing whine and a shattering boom that floored Rock, the room suddenly fell dark, lit only by small, dim lights lining the ceiling. "Done," said Rock, "Now how do I get out of here?"
"Sorry, I don't have any data on their HQ," said Roll, "You'll have to find your own way out."
Rock looked around the dim room, and found what looked to be another one of the heavy metal shutters. Walking towards it, the shutter opened when he neared, and Rock quickly crossed under before it came rushing down again. On the other side, Rock stood stunned, amazed at what he saw before him.
The gaping pit before him seemed to have no end. Taking a peek below, Rock saw that the bottom of the chasm was lined with hundreds of thousands of large, sharp spikes, each looking a deadly as they did painful. A droning hum filled the air, and Rock noticed a block hovering in front of his face, floating right above the pit. Almost as suddenly as it appeared, the block vanished, and another appeared behind it. That soon vanished and another tok its place. "I get it," Rock murmured aloud to himself, "It's like the blocks from the incineraion plant." Rock waited for the first block to reappear, and leapt upon it as soon as it did. Rock took a leap forward, landing on the next block as it materialized. Hopping from block to vanishing block. Rock took a guess and leapt forward, and as he began to fall, he realized he made a mistake.
Rock double-jumped upwards, lucky to land on another block. Before he could jump off again, that block vanished too, leaving Rock scrambling to leap in mid-air onto another block. As soon as he landed, Rock leapt forward on impulse, hearing the sound of a block forming on the other side. Air-jumping backwards, Rock landed on the block just before it disappeared, managing to bolt off it and land on another. A string of blocks appeared before him, forming a crude bridge, stretching towards the other side of the pit. Taking his cahnces, Rock leapt onto the first block, and dashed across the rest. Looking behind him, Rock could see the blocks he crossed over vanishing quickly. Wehn Rock looked back ahead of him, he yelped when he saw another line of blocks appear above the bridge, threatening to block his path and leave him to fall into the spike pit below. Rock dashed once more and dropped to his hips, skidding along the block bridge and underneath the block ceiling. He bolted to his feet as soon as he was out the other side and sprung into the air, lucky to land on a newly-formed block. And just when he saw the edge of the platform on the other side, the block beneath his feet vanished. Rock air-jumped again, flying over the long gap between him and the platform.
Rock sailed through the air, watching the spikes pass below him, and over the edge of the platform. As soon as Rock landed on the solid floor, he collapsed to his hands and knees, thankful to be able to stand again. The last block disappeared, and all Rock was left with was the platform he stood on and the iron shutter on the wall in front of him. Taking a deep breath, Rock approached the shutter, and it flew up to let him pass.
The room inside was pitch black. Before Rock could turn back, the heavy shutter crashed down behind him, sealing him in the room. Rock squinted into the darkness, able to make out the walls and ceiling around him. As he ventured into the middle of the darkness, he heard a rumbling from above, and he felt the floor begin to tremble. And with a sudden roar, the ceiling collapsed with a crash, and a giant streak of yellow dropped down with such a heavy thud that it nearly shook Rock off his feet. The monsterous blob of yellow that towered above him quickly sprouted two small legs, two massive arms, and a piercing single red eye in the middle. The yellow monster took a single glance at Rock before shooting a quick energy blast straight at him from its eye. Rock nimbly dashed above the floor, dodging underneath the shot and charging his cannon. Rock unleashed a massive blast at the midsection of the monster, only to have it completely absorbed into the monster's skin, creating no more than a few ripples in the beast's gelatainous body. Rock came to a screeching halt, amazed at the yellow monster's invulnerability. The beast's body began to shake and wobble, and Rock watched as the yellow monster's body began to divide into pieces.
Suddenly, what was once the foot of the monster came sliding towards him, coming close to smashing into Rock's shins had he not leapt to the air in time. The knees of the monster came flying through the air at him, whirring past his face. The hips, hands, arms, everything came flying at him, with Rock dancing and jumping all over trying to avoid them. When the last bit of the yellow blob had flown past him, Rock followed it with his eyes behind him, and his jaw dropped when he saw that the beast had reformed on the other side of the room. As the yellow monster opened its eye again, Rock charged his cannon, and decided to aim for the eye, the only wide open target he could find at a glance. The blob's eye fired its energy shot, with Rock sliding underneath, popping back up to his feet, and firing his fully charged blast into the monster's eye. The blob responded with a piercing shriek, and the eye recessed into the blob before the body began to divide again. Hand, shoulder, and everything else of the jellylike monster's body flew at him again. Rock leapt over the feet, slid under a knee, dashed beside the stomach, and sprung over the hips, only to have the elbow of the monster come flying right into his face. As Rock was sent tumbling down, the other knee came speeding towards him, smacking him in the small of his back. Rock hit the ground hard, moaning as he picked himself up again. By the time he was at his knees, a shot from the blob's eye hit him in the back, knocking him back up to his feet. Rock spun himself around and fired off a semi-charged blast from his cannon, only seconds too late before the eye sunk back into the malleable blob's body, leaving Rock's shot to sink inside harmlessly. The blob began to divide again, and Rock readied himself to slide under the pieces once more.
Instead of the pieces flying though the air, the beast's body suddenly collapsed into a tidal wave of yellow, completely catching Rock by surprise, knocking him down immediately. As the yellow monster reassembled itself on the other side of the room, Rock recollected his senses quickly enough to spring up, whirl around, and blast another shot into the blob's eye. The monster wailed again, splitting up and rushing to the other side of the room again. Jumping, sliding, and dashing this way and that, Rock weaved between the flying blob bits and charged his cannon to the highest charge it could handle. As soon as the yellow monster eormd behind him, Rock shot out his cannon, aimed it right for the middle of the eye, and unleashed the roaring blast of energy inside his arm. The blast hit the monster's eye dead center, and the beast froze. After a short silence, the blob's arm creaked, moaned, and fell off at the shoulder, hitting the ground with a watery thud. The other arm was quick to follow, and the rest of the blob gushed into a giant puddle of thick slime. Rock leaned up against the other wall, taking a deep breath and trying to steady his racing heart.
Suddenly, the slime puddle roared and surged upwards, forming a badly deformed arm and eye, reaching up and slamming down at Rock, missing by a few feet. The floor collapsed, and Rock yelped as he and the yellow blob plummeted into the darkness below.
6th April 2005, 07:11 PM #19
When Rock came to, the smell of soot and ash invaded his nostrils like a blowtorch. The instant he opened his eyes, all he could see was nothing but black all around him, and suffocating smog hung in the air. Coughing and hacking, Rock saw the charred, burnt remains of the yellow monster lying all around the dark room, lit only by the hole in the high ceiling above him. Rock groaned and rubbed his head, feeling the fumes from the ashes beginning to give him a headache. Stumbling through the darkness, Rock was surprised to find the remains of the familiar iron shutters on the wall, charred and cracked. Rock pushed the shutter, crumbling in a heap of burnt scrap and revealing a flash of light from the outside. Rock covered his eyes and stepped out, dropping out of the doorway and to the floor below. The giant room before him lay in ruin, with garbage and scrap metal covering the floors and walls, like a bomb had gone off seconds before, leaving a gigantic crater in the middle of the floor. Bodies of Virtuloids lay everywhere scattered amongst flaming wreckage and shrapnel. Rock looked to his left and saw a large sign lying broken on the ground reading, "DANGER: High Air Pressure Network." Rock looked back over his shoulder at the closed shutter. "That blob must've been quite explosive," he muttered before dashing out of the room.
The long gaping corridor before him stretched ahead for as far as he could see. Deciding that now would be a good time to try out Auto's speed boosters, Rock sprinted down the hall, gaining speed with each stride. Before Rock knew it, he as running at double the speed he could have ever remembered reaching, and just as he was a few meter away from a sharp left turn in the hallway, a rumbling in his knees quickly elevated to what felt like an explosion, and Rock was suddenly swept off of his feet, careening in midair around the corner and darting through the adjacent corridor like a spear. Rock's joyride was interrupted by the sight of quickly approaching floating drones, their eyeball-like bodies beginning to swarm towards him. Rock readied his cannon as soon as he saw them, charging it to full power before unleashing it into their ranks.
The cannon blast pierced a hole in the cloud of drones, with Rock zooming though it as they reformed and chased after him. Spinning around in midair, Rock charged his cannon again and let out blast after blast at the flying eyeball robots, shooting only a few down before they began to gain ground on him, with more and more starting to appear from seemingly out of nowhere to replace the ones he destroyed. Just as the chasing drones were about to touch his feet, a flash of metal shot down from in front of him, slamming down and cutting the corridor in two, separating him from the drones. The sounds of hundreds of the eyeball robots crashing into the iron shutter were welcome sounds for Rock, feeling his knees begin to stop trembling. Before he knew it, Rock was decreasing in speed, and was stumbling onto his feet in seconds, coming to a clumsy halt right in front of another shutter. Rocks looked back at the iron shutter behind him, and then at the shutter in front. "Nowhere else to go," Rock muttered, placing his hand on the shutter and watching it shoot up as he trekked underneath.
The shutter came down behind him, trapping Rock inside a small room. A large, capsule-like machine stood at the far end of the circular room, just big enough to hold someone inside of it. The furniture looked like someone had thrown them against the walls, intentionally trying to clear up an open space. As Rock cautiously ventured towards the large chamber, a deep voice from behind him said, "I've been expecting you."
Rock whirled around to see a tall, all gold-clad figure standing behind him, holding a massive metal sword slung over his shoulder, even larger than he himself. "You-" Rock stammered, "You must be Alpha!"
"You've been quite the thorn in my side, bomber," Alpha sneered. He swung his sword off of his shoulder, standing it on its wide tip on the floor. "Wrecking our facilities and destroying my officers- I know what you're up to."
"Then I guess you're not going to tell me where Masterframe is, are you?"
Alpha brushed his fiery red hair out of the way of his dark visor that covered his eyes. "The only thing I will tell you," he said as he wound his arms back, poised to strike with his massive blade, "is that your fight ends here."
Rock wasted no time in shooting a quick blast from his cannon at Alpha's chest. With a single swing of his sword, Alpha skillfully deflected Rock's shot off, sending it crashing harmlessly into the wall beside him. Alpha bolted off of his feet, charging at Rock and taking a wild vertical slash. Rock was a split second away from having his arm chopped off had he not weaved to his right when he did, leaving Alpha's massive sword to plunge into the ground. Alpha jerked on his sword twice before he was able to free it, giving Rock enough time to unload a charge into Alpha's chest. The semi-charged blast was only enough to make Alpha flinch, his golden armor not even showing so much as a blemish. Alpha slashed at Rock again, chasing him around the room with wild swings. Rock switched his weapons format to the first that came to mind, held his right-hand cannon out and fired. A thick blade of ice sprouted from his barrel, stopping Alpha's heavy sword. Alpha snarled at the thought of having a much more dangerous weapon being wielded against him, while Rock breathed a silent sigh of relief. Quickly stepping backwards, Alpha distanced himself from Rock, slung his sword over his shoulder again, and glared at Rock's stolen weapon. "So you can steal abilities," Alpha mused.
"So? What of it?" Rock sneered back.
"I just find it amusing that you're forced to rely on our own weapons to destroy us. Without us, you'd never survive."
"Hey, all's fair in love and war," said Rock with a snappy grin, "Now are you going to tell me about Masterframe, or do I have to beat that information out of you?"
Alpha arched his arm and readied his sword. "Come see if you can."
With that, Rock and Alpha charged each other, with both of their respective slashes stopping dead in the air against the other blade. Rock wound his arm back again and slashed violently at Alpha's chest, missing by only inches as Alpha nimbly leapt back, returning Rock's swipe with a strike of his own. Alpha's massive sword combined with his overpowering strength easily knocked Rock's arm to the side as it struck Rock's ice sword, leaving Rock's front wide open for an attack. Alpha took his chance and thrust his giant sword like a spear at Rock's belly. Purely on instinct, Rock swerved to his left, avoiding Alpha's attack. The weight of Alpha's sword carried him stumbling forward, leaving Rock with the opportunity to strike. Rock wound his arm back again, placed a mental target on Alpha's back, and took a wild slash. Chill's blade whipped across Alpha's back, tearing a frosty gash in Alpha's armor. Alpha yelped and arched his back, feeling chills run through his body as he struggled to recover from the shock of being struck from behind. "Too slow!" Rock taunted. Alpha only swiveled around, slashing viciously at Rock, again knocking Rock's arm to the side. Before Rock could recover, Alpha had already regained his balance, had wound back his arms, and swung with all the strength he has at Rock's chest. Just as Rock could control his arm again, Alpha's sword came slashing into Rock's right shoulder.
Rock gasped and yelped in unison when Alpha's sword cut into his armor. Whatever flesh was left in Rock's shoulder to begin with was torn immediately, starting to bleed profusely. Rock clutched his shoulder and winced, feeling a paralyzing numbness seize his whole arm. "So, the rumors were true," Alpha mused and Rock struggled to cope with his agony, "you are part human after all." Rock did not reply; he only let his right arm dangle limp as his hand replaced Chill’s blade again. Grimacing and bearing the pain shooting through his arm, Rock's left hand sunk into his forearm, and a new ice sword sprouted out again in its place. As soon as Rock took a defensive stance, Alpha charged forward and swung his sword with a reckless abandon upon Rock's. Rock's blade was knocked aside again, and Alpha again tried to skewer Rock through his gut. Rock managed to sidestep Alpha again, which was exactly what Alpha was expecting. Instead of following through with his thrust, Alpha spun around and wildly flung his sword across Rock's injured shoulder, slicing open another deep gash that sprayed the room red. As Rock howled in agony, Alpha stepped back, prepared to strike again, and swung.
Through the crippling pain that ran though his shoulder, Rock somehow found the foresight to skip backwards, narrowly avoiding the edge of Alpha's sword tearing into his chest. And without wasting a second, Rock raised his left arm high and slashed downwards violently upon Alpha. The icy blade had gut a gash into Alpha's wrist, beginning to frost over immediately. Within seconds, Alpha's hand was completely frozen solid, leaving him struggling to hold up his heady sword with just one arm. Not waiting for the pain in his shoulder to worsen, Rock slashed at Alpha's wrist again, cutting deep and leaving crusts of ice in the wounds, freezing Alpha's arm completely. Alpha roared in surprised horror, too occupied with the freezing sensation running though his body to notice Rock stooping low, stabbing Chill's blade into Alpha's left thigh. Alpha screeched as he fell to his right knee, powerless enough to allow Rock to yank out the ice blade from his leg and swiftly plunge it into Alpha's chest.
All that Alpha could manage to do before his insides began to freeze up in a bitter cold was moan quietly before Rock withdrew Chill's sword from his body, collapsing face-first on the floor. "Now, tell me about Masterframe," Rock ordered, deactivating Chill's sword.
"You think you can destroy Masterframe?" Alpha weakly sneered. "You may have killed me, but you don't stand a chance if you try to destroy it."
"And why not?" Rock asked.
Alpha turned his head, and a rusty creaking echoed through the room. "Through that door," he said, looking at another iron shutter, "is my personal database. Once you see what Masterfrme is," Alpha paused to snicker, "you'll have your second thoughts about attacking it."
"What do you mean?"
Alpha sneered. "See for yourself, why don't you?" he dared. "But before you do, do you see that chamber over there?"
Rock glanced at the slim cylinder again. "Yeah?"
"That's an auto-repair machine," Alpha wheezed. "If you plan on attacking Masterframe, then trust me, you'll need it."
"How so?" Rock asked, getting irritated.
Alpha was silent and still. Dead.
The ripping pain in Rock's shoulder worsened, and he could bear it no longer. Rock walked to the small chamber, slid open the lightweight door, and steeped inside the hollow interior. As soon as the door slid shut again, Rock's body was met with an intense electrical charge. Every nerve and circuit in his body trembled and felt like they had caught fire. Almost as suddenly as it had began, the current stopped, and Rock was left stunned silent as the chamber door automatically slip open again. The first thing Rock felt as he stepped out of the chamber in a daze was the pain in his shoulder completely gone. He raised his arm and looked at where Alpha had lacerated him, and found not so much as a scratch on his armor. His fingertips still tingled as a small yet oddly soothing electrical charge still ran through his body. Rock could not believe what had just happened- he had never felt so refreshed and healthy in his short memory. Stepping over Alpha's body and heading towards the shutter, Rock took a deep breath as the shutter flew open, stepping over the threshold, and hearing the shutter slam down behind him
10th April 2005, 07:56 PM #20
Rock pushed through the heavy iron doors, still feeling the soothing electric charge running though his body. "Rock, is the CD still intact?" Roll's voice asked him through his helmet.
Rock slid his hand underneath his chest armor, and pulled out the small, slim case. "It's still in one piece," he said, walking down the dim hallway towards the metal shutter at the end. "The computer that's got Masterframe's info is just behind that shutter in front of me. Are you sure you can still beam me out of there?"
"Auto says everything's fine," said Roll, "Just get that data downloaded and we'll pull you out."
Rock breathed a heavy sigh of relief. "About time I had an easy misson," He muttered, juggling the disc case as he approached the shutter. The shutter flew up, Rock crossed into the small, dull room ahead, and the shutter came crashing down again. There was only one small running computer sitting on a small desk in the far corner of the room, complete with a small chair. Rock plopped into the seat, fed the disc into the CPU, and began searching anything on Masterframe. After a minute, Rock found what he was looking for. "Roll, I've found where Masterframe is," he said, "I'll have all the data copied in no time."
"That's good to hear," Roll sighed. "As soon as you get back, we'll start planning f- oh shit, Rock! Hurry!" Roll suddenly screamed.
"What?" Rock gasped, bolting off the chair. "Roll, what's happened?"
"Marie!" Roll screamed back. "She's headed right for you, Rock!"
Rock pounded on the keyboard, wishing for the download to go faster. "Almost done," Rock breathed, "How much time do I have?"
"Try fifteen seconds!"
"Shit!" Rock cursed, just as the disc ejected from the CPU. Rock fumbled with the case, accidentally dropping it in his hurry. He snatched the case up off the floor, and plugged the disc back inside just as the heavy shutter flew up again.
Marie now stood in the room, frozen on the spot with a stare set on the disc in Rock's hands. "Rock, what are you doing?" Marie asked.
The blank stare of surprise in Marie's eyes told Rock that his charade was up. "I-" Rock stammered, "I'm stealing the data on Masterframe."
"All this time," Marie muttered, "you were working for the humans!"
"No, Marie," Rock muttered back, "I am human."
The shutter behind Marie came slamming down again. The look of disgust on Marie's face told Rock all he needed to hear. "But- you just walked past the CO2 scanners! You can't be human! You just can't!"
"I don't need to breathe."
Marie was stunned silent. Rock took a deep breath.
"From what I was told, I died over four years ago, and a pack of human survivors built this armor and my weapons into me, modelled after the old Megamen designs. You've probably figured it out now, but it was me behind the attack on the factory. I destroyed the ore mines, the power plant, the dam, everything. I destroyed anything and anyone that stood in my way."
"I can't believe it," Marie murmured. "You killed them all. And you just used me for information, didn't you?"
Rock hung his head, and sighed deeply. "I did."
Marie's right hand clenched into a fist, and her left morphed into a cannon. "You low-life, disgusting fleshbag," Marie hissed. "I'm going to rip you apart."
Rock quickly snuck the disc case underneath his back armor. He readied his own cannon, and glared back at Marie. "I don't want to fight you," Rock said, "If I could level half of his building, I c-"
A quick blast from Marie's cannon cut Rock off as he dove to his right, letting the blast demolish the computer. Rock knew the talking was over, and he returned Marie's shot with a blast of his own. Marie skillfully leapt over Rock's shot, bolting off of her feet as soon as she hit the ground, flying through the air with a speeding kick that smacked Rock in the middle of his chin. Rock was floored immediately, landing clumsily on his back before rolling back to his feet. Marie kept her cannon aimed at Rock's head, watching Rock pick himself up. "Don't try to imtimidate me," Marie snarled. "Did you assume I was just another pile of bolts?"
"The thought had crossed my mind," Rock muttered, rubbing his swollen bottom lip. Rock switched his weapon format to Lightning's system, and pointed his cannon back at Marie. Without a word more, Rock unleased a crack of thunder from his cannon, forcing Marie to jump backwards, startled by the dazzling bolt of lightning. "Lightning, Ground, Chill, I've stolen all their weapons too. Still want to fight?"
Marie said nothing; she only fired another quick blast at Rock, shooting herself ahead as well. Rock leapt over the blast with ease, but was again caught with Marie's stiff kick to his jaw. Rock was knocked onto his back again, using his body's inertia to roll himself back up to his feet. As Marie charged in on him again, Rock switched weapon formatsm shot his cannon up at Marie, and unleashed a roaring fireball at her face. Marie yelped and jumped back, startled long enough for Rock to change weapons again, giving Marie a quick zap from Lightning's weapon. As Marie stood there stunned and shaking, Rock switched back to his normal cannon, And began charging his cannnon to full power. Before he could release the blast, Marie's body had recovered from the paralyzing strike, kicking her foot up at Rock's chin again. With a nimble leap backwards, Rock dodged Marie's attack, firing his cannon into her chest. The roaring energy surge blew Marie backwards, sending her crashing to to floor. As soon as she stumbled back to her feet, Rock shot another quick blast into her shoulder. Marie collapsed onto her knee. "Okay, stop it, Rock!" She wheezed, placing her hand on her chest.
Rock stood still, watching Marie huff heavily. Rock cautiously walked over towards her, and said, "I didn't want to hurt you, bu-"
The sudden flash of energy that shot from Marie's cannon would have hit Rock square in the chest, had he not slid on the floor underneath the blast. "Damn!" Marie cursed, springing back to her feet.
"You-!" Rock blurted out, glaring angrily at Marie.
As Marie leapt back to her feet, Rock sent an evergy blast crashing into her chest, followed by a torrent of water. Marie was sent head over heels onto the floor again, soaking wet and starting to tremble. As Rock approached her again, Marie bolted back up, throwing a wild kick at Rock's face. Rock dodged underneath her foot with ease, jamming his cannon into her side and unleashing another blast of water into her ribs, sending her skidding across the room on her face, stopping when she hit the wall on the other side. Again Marie collapsed, falling over onto her face. "Ow, please stop!" she begged, propping herself up onto her hands and knees. "Okay, you win, alright?"
Rock glared at her doubtfully. "You're not just going to try and cheapshot me again, are you?" Rock growled.
"No, I'm really hurt," Marie moaned, cradling her side across her stomach. "You've really damaged me very badly this time."
Marie began to tremble, and Rock found himself believing her. "You've seen the repair pod in Alpha's office, right?" Rock asked. Marie nodded. "If we can yet you out of this room," Rock began, letting his mind wander, "then I'm sure it's got enough charge left in it to-"
Another shot roared from Marie's cannon as his mind snapped back on track, clipping the edge of Rock's shoulder armor as he slid to the floor again. "Dammit," Marie hissed, "Why won't you stay still?"
Rock felt his blood start to boil. "All right, Marie, now you're pissing me off," Rock hissed.
Marie was back to her feet in a flash, firing off cannon shots wildly with reckless abandon. Rock tried his best to weave between and dodge the blasts, but the sheer number of speeding energy bolts were too much for him to handle. After being hit by six shots to his chest, Rock stumbled over onto his back as the last of the shots zoomed over him. Rock propped himself onto his knee, just to have Marie rush in on him again and plant her heel onto his nose. Rock was knocked over his head and onto his stomach to the floor, feeling a wide trail of blood leaking from his nostrils. As he groggily picked himself up, his head was spinning too much to see Marie aim her cannon straight for the middle of his chest and firing. The blast plowed into Rock's collar, sending him reeling backwards as Marie dove forward, thrashing her leg out at his jaw and connecting with another violent kick. Rock felt his teeth crack against each other as he crashed onto his side, spitting out a tooth. As Marie wound back her leg to kick Rock in the gut, Rock shot his cannon up and blasted out a bolt of lightning, stunning Marie in place again. As Marie struggled to move against the paralysing surge running through her body, Rock found the time to pick himself up, and recollect his scrambled senses. By the time he had put his head back on order, he felt a sharp pain shoot though his shoulder. As Rock stumbled to keep his balance, he saw Marie retract and prime her leg again for another kick, setting her sights on Rock's head. Marie struck, with Rock throwing his arm up just in time to hook Marie's foot above his shoulder. Marie squeaked with surprise as she hopped on one foot, too surprised by having her leg caught to notice that Rock was already charging his cannon. Without a single word, Rock shoved the barrel of his fully charged cannon into Marie's chest again, unleashing its fury directly into her.
Marie landed hard on her back, followed by a sharp shriek. Marie rolled over onto her side, trembling and convulsing, struggling to get up on her knees. "Rock, I can't take any more," Marie moaned, coughing in between her groaning. "I give up... just stop, please?"
Rock snorted. "You think I'm stupid enough to buy that again?" Rock snarled, starting to charge his arm cannon.
"No! Please!" Marie begged, holding her hand out at Rock, as if trying to protect herself. "I can't take any more! You'll kill me!"
"Where have I heard that before?" Rock hissed, feeling his cannon approach full power.
"Rock!" Marie begged, "I'm not lying this time! I swear! I can't take any more damage!"
"Damage this!" Rock roared, thrusting his cannon forward and unleashing a massive energy blast at Marie's chest. The giant blast tore a hole through Marie's body, spewing gears and pistons out the other side. Marie fell with a limp thud onto her back, and lay motionless.
Rock kept his cannon aimed at Maire's torso, half-expecting to hear more of her pleading. A minute passed with absolute silence, and then another, and then Rock realised had happened. "Marie!" Rock gasped, dashing to her side.
Rock knelt down at her shoulders and cradled her head in his arm. Rock could see her struggle to keep her eyes open, and a weak smile was strewn across her face. "I don't blame you for not believing me," Marie whispered weakly, "I would have done the same... thing."
As Marie's hair dangled between Rock's fingers, he could not help but imagining Dawn in Marie's place, feeling like he had lost another friend. "I should have listened," Rock muttered under his breath, running his fingers through Marie's hair under her head.
Rock kept stroking Marie's hair as Marie wheezed, trying to comfort her as she lay dying. "Rock," Marie asked, "You weren't just using me for information, were you?"
Rock stroked Marie's hair some more. "No," he said at length, "I wasn't."
"Why?" Marie asked again, "Why did you say I was cute?"
"You," Rock murmured, taking a deep breath, "you remind me of someone. Someone I knew a long time ago."
Marie sighed uneasily. "Another human?" She wheezed. Rock nodded. "What was... her name?"
"Dawn," Rock replied blankly.
Marie weakly chuckled. "That's ironic, Rock," she grinned, "my name's really not Marie."
"It isn't?" Rock asked.
"No, Marie is just what everyone calls me."
Rock bit his tongue. "Then what is your real name?"
Marie closed her eyes, took a deep sigh, and whispered, "Eve."
Marie's body loosened, and Rock felt Marie's head like a dead weight on his arm. He held her to his chest and sobbed.
19th April 2005, 10:08 PM #21
The instant Rock appeared back inside the teleporter chamber, Rock was met by Blues and Auto standing before him. Rock trudged out of the teleporter, his thick black hair dangling limp from hung head. "Id the CD still in one piece?" Blues asked.
Rock said nothing. He only swatted Blues aside and stormed towards Auto. Picking the disc out from undeneath his armor, Rock jabbed the case into Auto's chest and growled, "Find where Masterframe is."
Auto was stunned silent. Blues was till trying to come to terms with Rock shoving him. Blues gave a quick nod to Auto, and Auto nodded back before rushing out of the room. As Rock began to follow, Blues barked, "Hold it, Rock."
"Hold yourself," Rock sneered, leaving the room.
As Rock left for the control room, he met Roll in the hallway. "Rock, I heard what happened," She said as sympathetically as she could, "and I th-"
Rock stormed past her too, not even looking up. When he caught up with Auto at the main computer, Blues was right behind him. "What do you think you're doing, Rock?" Blues scolded.
Rock ignored Blues, and looked over Auto's shoulder. "A building east of the HQ," Rock muttered to himself. "Auto, warp me there."
Blues clamped his hand on Rock's shoulder, and forcefully spun him around. "Answer me," Blues ordered, sticking his nose into Rock's face.
Rock glared at Blues."I'm destroying Masterframe. Now."
"No, you won't," Blues replied. "You'll take out Masterframe when I give you the order. Understand?"
Rock smacked Blues' hand off of his shoulder. "I told you, I'm destroying Masterfame now."
Roll had slipped into the room, quickly joining Auto. "You'll do what I say, when I say," Blues barked back. "I know what happened back there, but now's not the time to dwell on it. You're in no condition, physical or emotional, to go out and fight again. Everything we've accomplished so far will be wasted if we lose you-"
"So I'm a tool. Is that it?"
Blues fell silent. "You think my body was a tool for four-eyes to do his Frankenstien experiment on? Why didn't you just build a robot of your own?"
"We had neither the resources nor the time, Rock," Blues barked back. "It would have taken another year to buil-"
"You're fine for six years in this fucking bunker and you can't take another? You'd rather play God and bring me back into a world where everything I've known and loved is gone and use me like your own little weapon? Well here's news for you, Napoleon, I'm taking charge now. Auto, get the teleporer ready."
Auto remained frozen to his seat.
As Auto steadily rose off the chair, Blues ordered, "Rock, get a grip."
Rock snarled, and jammed the barrel of his cannon into Blues' face. Roll shrieked as Auto dove to the floor. Blues looked sideways at Auto. "Auto, do what he says," Blues said calmly. Auto hastily scrambled back to his feet and scurried out of the room, with Roll close behind. "You want to go? Fine. Just reconsider what you're doing first."
"Out of my way," Rock snarled, ignoring Blues and shoving him out of his path.
As Rock entered the teleporter room, he saw that Auto had already prepared the machine. Without looking back, Rock climbed the steps leading to the inside of the casket-like machine, stepped inside, and was gone in a flash.
Rock appeared with a flash at the gigantic metal doors of the towering, cube-like building in front of him. The surrounding area was a dry and barren wasteland of clay and rock, and directly above of the cubical shelter ran an elevated highway, supported by tall columns and stretched as far into the distance as Rock could see. Hatred still ran like a fire through his veins; the thought of being used as a mere pawn mixed with the loss of the only being that reminded him of his lost love Dawn fuelled his burning rage and fighting spirit. In a fit of rage, Rock took off his helmet, reached inside, and tore out a big handful of wires. When nothing but static hummed in his ears when he put it back on, he was grateful to have severed all contact with those whom he felt had played him like a fiddle. Rock kicked the doors open, stepping inside the dark and oddly spacious building without a second thought. The small lights that hung from the lofty ceiling gave the features of the square room an eerie illumination, reflecting off the hundreds of small whirring machines and computers packed away on the side. The overhead lights ran in a straight line, leading up towards the tallest machine of them all- a hulking heap of metal that towered all the way to the ceiling. What looked like tubes of some kind laced either edge on the right and left sides around the middle, and two gigantic structures stood from the bottom. From all that Rock could assume, they were nothing more than two supports to hold the gigantic machine upright. As soon as Rock stepped towards the feet of the machine, a slow and booming voice from the ceiling asked"The blue bomber himself has come"
"That's me all right" Rock sneered. "And you're Masterframe"
"Then prepare to be destroyed" Rock snarled, charging his cannon and firing off a fully developed blast at the heart of the machine. The cannon shot bounced harmlessly off of the hulking machine, and Masterframe appeared to be completely unharmed. "No, bomber" Masterframe boomed"You will be destroyed."
"Hey look, it's our pal, the bomber"
The sudden taunt from behind him made Rock whirl around, and his jaw dropped. Standing behind him were Ground, Lightning, Hydro, Burn, Chill, and Storm, the six Virtuloids that he had sworn he had destroyed. "Wha- how" Was all Rock could manage to blurt out.
"Easy" said Lightning calmly"We're just one of the few lucky Virtuloids to have backup bodies for ourselves."
"B-backup bodies" Rock stammered.
"Enough talk" Ground sneered"let's just kill him already"
"Hold on" Masterframe boomed. A small panel on Rock's eye-level opened up from Masterframe's surface, and a glowing sphere of light popped out, dropping to the floor and rolling to Rock's feet. "I require some entertainment. Bomber, I sense that your body is damaged. Touch the sphere. It will restore your power."
Rock looked doubtingly at the glowing ball before him, and then back at the six Virtuloids eyeing him murderously. Taking a deep breath, Rock reached out and plunged his hand into the sphere. Like Alpha's chamber had done before, Rock felt a jolt of electricity run through his body upon contact with the gaseous ball. Before he knew it, the current had stopped shooting though him, leaving him feeling refreshed and recharged, with the cuts and bruises on his skin fully healed without so much as a scar. "Now can we kill him" Hydro whined.
Masterframe's deep chuckling echoed around the room like rolling thunder. "Bon appetite."
Suddenly, Storm cut in front of his allies and spread his wings wide, blocking the other Virtuloids. "I'll take him. You guys can have what's left."
"Sure" Burn muttered.
"Go for it" Chill added.
The rest of the Virtuloids stepped back and Storm marched forward, wrapping his metal wings around his slim body. Recalling how he had destroyed Storm's original body, Rock switched weapons format and sprouted Chill's blade out of his right cannon. Storm grimaced at the sight of the icy blade again, and spread his wings open. "You think you can defeat me like that again" Storm taunted, stretching his wings back"Let's see you try to get close enough"
With that, Storm snapped his wings forward, blowing an intense gust of wind at Rock. Rock instinctively shielded his face with his arms, and Storm took to the air and zoomed towards Rock. Storm's body smashed full-force into Rock's chest, flattening Rock on the floor in a heartbeat. Storm spread his wings and glided upwards as Rock rolled back on his feet, taking a wild, futile swing at Storm with Chill's ice sword and missing completely. As Storm swooped in to ram Rock again, Rock boldly stood in place, watching Storm dive directly at him. At the last second before impact, Rock bucked himself backwards, stabbing upwards with the icy blade as Storm zoomed overhead. Storm’s chest just barely clipped Rock’s forehead, while Chill’s sword grazed Storm’s thigh and plunged deep into his knee. Storm screeched and crashed clumsily onto the floor, coming to a skidding halt at the feet of the other Virtuloids. Avoiding the disapproving glares of his comrades, Storm hopped up to his right leg, his left immobilized from the knee down, coated in a thin covering of ice already. Without saying a word, Storm flapped his wings and rose into the air, aiming the barrel of his cannon at Rock and firing. The whirlwind blasted so fiercely upon Rock that it blew him head over heels, scrambling his vision long enough for Storm to bolt downwards and bury his head deep into Rock’s gut. Rock wheezed and gasped, rolling around on the floor and cradling his stomach, struggling to breathe. Storm looped around in the air above, circling vertically before deciding the dive in once more. Suddenly remembering that he no longer needed to breathe, Rock’s body found a burst of renewed energy, nullifying the frantic spasms of his abdominals, letting Rock focus himself long enough to register the image of Storm shooting straight for him like a spear again. Rock kicked his legs and flung his arms forward, flipping himself up to his feet and thrusting out his ice sword as Storm smashed into him. Storm landed with a limp thump on top of Rock as the two hit the floor, suddenly aware of the freezing pain in the middle of his torso. Storm looked down to his chest as saw Rock’s arm firmly embedded into his body, with Chill’s sword sticking out of his back. Storm mumbled and whined under his breath as a paralyzing cold consumed him, soon nothing more than a metal Popsicle. Rock wearily rose to his feet, with Storm’s body still attached to his arm. With a mere thought, Rock’s ice sword ejected from his wrist, replaced with his normal hand again as Storm’s body fell like a broken doll to the ground. “So,” Rock asked the group of Virtuloids behind him, “who’s next?”
There was a minute of motionless silence before Chill eventually stepped forward. “You’ll disgrace my favorite weapon no longer,” he sneered, sprouting an ice sword of his own out of his arm cannon.
Ground suddenly trudged forward and joined Chill’s side. “I’ll make sure you kill him,” he growled.
“I don’t need any help,” Chill said curtly.
“That’s what Storm thought,” said Burn quickly.
Chill glanced uneasily at Storm’s icy coffin. “On second thought,” Chill muttered, “thanks for the offer, Ground.”
Rock’s heartbeat doubled in speed. The thought of fighting both Chill and Ground at once did not settle well with him. “No problem, Chill,” said Ground, spinning the augers that he carried instead of hands eagerly, “Now let’s kill him!”
Rock weaved to his right, avoiding the thrust of Ground’s drill, leaning over forward enough to avoid Chill’s slashing ice sword. Rock tumbled to the floor and left a wide gap between himself and the Virtuloids, morphing his own cannon into Burn’s flamethrower. Chill was immediately frozen in place with fear, while Ground charged in on Rock undeterred. Bursts of flames shot from Rock’s cannon, only bouncing off of Ground’s armor like harmless clouds. Ground lunged forward, driving his shoulder into Rock’s chest, bowling Rock over like a tin can. Rock landed with the wind driven out of him again, trying his best to ignore his instinctual stomach reflexes as Ground thrust his drill-hand at Rock’s face. Rock rolled to his left, narrowly avoiding the tip and watching it plunge into the floor only inches away from his head. Ground tore the auger out and speared it down again, just missing Rock as he rolled back to his right. Again and again, Ground jabbed his drills at Rock, only to hit nothing but floor tiles every time. Suddenly, Rock stuck out his arm cannon as Ground jabbed again, catching Ground’s drill inside the barrel of his cannon. Snickering as he switched weapons format, Rock blasted a vicious gale of wind from his cannon, blowing out Ground’s arm with such force that it sent him sailing upwards, landing with a heavy thud at Chill’s feet. As soon as Rock propped himself up onto his knee, he saw Chill charging at him, ice sword wound over his shoulder. The vicious slash that Chill took at Rock left him no time to react, cutting a gash into his chest armor. As a freezing cold seeped into his body, Rock switched back to Burn’s flamethrower, and just as Chill moved in to strike again, Rock unleashed a flash of fire at Chill’s face. Chill screeched and skidded to a halt when the flames licked his body, darting backwards as Ground trudged back to his feet. With a full head of steam, Rock blasted another gale at Ground, suddenly feeling the air go deathly cold. With the memory of his last fight with Chill still fresh in his memory, Rock immediately dropped to the ground, feeling an intense blast of freezing air rush over him. A surprised yelp echoed over the room, and to Rock’s delight, Ground was now fully encased in an immobilising block of ice. Chill could only give a dismayed cry at his mistake before Rock leapt back to his feet and shot another blast of flames at him, driving Chill back, rubbing his scorched arms. With Chill nursing his burn, Rock hurriedly charged his cannon to full power, and unleashed a turbulent blast of power into Ground’s face. Ground’s neck broke like a twig with an icy snap, and both body and skull hit the floor together. In the same heartbeat, Rock lashed his cannon out to his side, halting Chill barrel-to-nose in his aborted ambush. And with the sound of flames gurgling deep within Rock’s cannon, Chill could only find the resolve to mutter, “Oh shit.”
The flash of flames that erupted from Rock’s cannon engulfed Chill’s head and shoulders, and his lifeless body dropped to the floor.
Hydro, Lightning, and Burn stared at the bodies of their fallen allies, each refusing o believe what they saw. “This guy’s good,” Lightning muttered.
“But look how damaged he is,” Hydro said, pointing at the frosty laceration in Rock’s chest, “There’s no way he could fight off all three of us at once.”
Rock began to break a cold sweat over the hot beads that already streamed down his face.
“It’s cowardly,” Burn muttered, “but what the hell.”
Rock wheezed and placed his hand over the icy tear in his armor, struggling to keep his knees from bucking out from underneath him. Realising that no amount of begging or swift talk would be able to get them to fight fairly, Rock morphed his cannon to Lightning’s thunderbolt and held his breath. “Just bring it already.”
Hydro charged directly forwards while Burn and Lightning flanked Rock’s left and right. Rock fired out a blast of lightning at Hydro as Lightning and Burn vanished from the corners of his eyes. The thunderbolt hit Hydro dead in the chest, just as a searing flash of flames blasted onto his left arm. Hydro and Rock hit the ground together, Hydro stunned and twitching while Rock was still able to spring back to his feet from his knees. Rock whirled around and lashed his cannon around blindly, shooting another lightning bolt in Burn’s direction. The blast hit Burn on his shoulder, spinning him around and tumbling to the floor. Almost as soon as Burn dropped, Rock felt a violent jolt run through his body, hearing Lightning chuckling cruelly from behind. Rock tried his best to control the frantic trembling of his surge-induced paralysed limbs, watching Burn and Hydro stumble back to their feet.
“I wanna’ finish him off!” Hydro whined, “Stand aside!”
“Don’t blow a valve,” Lightning sneered, “He’s mine.”
“Great,” Rock muttered inwardly, “They’re fighting over who gets to kill me now.”
“I wanna’!” Hydro insisted.
“No, we’ll charge in together,” Burn spoke up. “You two can have what’s left of him after.”
“Fine,” Hydro grumbled. Lightning shrugged once and nodded.
Without a word more, the three Virtuloids bolted off of their feet, rushing in on Rock. Thinking on the spot, Rock whirled around and fired one of Ground’s drills and Lightning’s chest. Rock saw Lightning yelp as he was pinned to the floor by the tip of the drill skewered through his shoulder before Burn and Hydro rammed their shoulders into Rock’s back. Rock stumbled forwards, switching to Lightning’s weapon as he whirled around and yelled, “I dare you, Hydro!”
Hydro roared and rushed in, despite Burn’s cried of, “No Hydro! Stop!” The instant that Hydro was within a swinging distance from Rock, Rock threw and electric-charged fist into Hydro’s chin, paralysing him stiff upon contact. As soon as Burn took aim with his flamethrower, Rock swung out his cannon arm and met Burn with a blast of Hydro’s water onto his chest. Steam rose with a hiss from Burn’s armor, and he dropped onto one knee wheezing heavily, like a human would at the start of a heart attack. With Lightning and Hydro still incapacitated, Rock proceeded to douse Burn with a torrent of Hydro’s water, ignoring Burn’s steadily fading cries of agony as the room began to fog up like a sauna. When Burn’s wails fell silent, Rock halted his showering, finding Burn lying motionless on the floor- his once bright red armor now a sickly shade of grey.
Before Rock could catch a breath, another jolt of electricity ran up his spine, freezing him in place as Lightning, now freed from Ground’s drill, dragged himself up to his feet and charged in on Rock. Just before Lightning could slap his electrifying palm on the back of Rock’s neck, the electric shock running through Rock’s body dissipated as quickly as it had come, letting Rock whirl around and flash the tip of another drill in Lightning’s face. Lightning yelped and came to a skidding halt, terrified of the electricity-sapping auger, coming within inches of the tip. Rock snickered, spun the drill, and plunged it deep into Lightning’s gut. As the current of electricity began to leech from Lightning’s body to Rock’s, Rock blindly swung his free arm out to the side, grabbing the freshly recovered Hydro by the face. The sheer amount of electric power that surged through Lightning’s body passed harmlessly through Rock’s copycat weapons system like a cable, directing all of Lightning’s massive bodily voltage right into Hydro. Lightning slumped lifelessly onto Rock’s arm as the last of his power was sapped, while Hydro gave a high-pitched screech before his limbs exploded violently. Rock released what remained of Hydro and ejected Ground’s drill from his cannon, leaving both Lightning’s and Hydro’s bodies collapsing to the floor.
Rock hunched over, resting his elbows on his knees and wheezing deeply, doubting that his system could handle any more damage before it would fatally overload. When he could finally manage to calm himself down, Rock spun around and looked up at Masterframe’s hulking figure before him. “Too bad they couldn’t kill me,” Rock sneered, “because now it’s your turn to be destroyed.”
Rock locked his eyes on the middle of Masterframe, packing away all the charge he could in his arm cannon before releasing it all in one brilliant flash. The gigantic blast hit Masterframe’s surface, and Rock’s jaw dropped when he watched the blast bounce off harmlessly, ricocheting into the ceiling and demolishing an entire quarter of it. Masterframe’s booming snicker filled the room again. “You should have listened to Alpha, foolish human,” Masterframe roared. “You’ve seen the beauty side of me, now come and see the beast.”
With that, the floor began to rumble so violently that it tripped Rock onto the floor. The numerous tubes that Rock had noticed earlier on Masterframe’s structure suddenly pulled out on one end on a will of their own, and it was then Rock realised that they were not tubes of any kind.
They were a full set of fingers, and they belonged to two massive hands.
Rock crawled away backwards, watching in awe and disbelief, as Masterframe seemed to unfold, like a humanoid figure sitting up from a chair. And when Masterframe’s body began to stand, it was only then that Rock realised what Masterframe truly was. The two gigantic pillars had been nothing more than Masterframe’s feet and shins, and Masterframe itself had been sitting comfortably upon a gigantic throne. Masterframe’s head broke through what remained of the ceiling, raining large chunks of debris upon Rock, scrambling left and right to avoid being crushed underneath the collapsing ceiling. As the last debris fell and the glowing rays of light from the setting sun outside filled the cubical building, Rock spotted a slim chamber by the wall; almost identical to the one Auto had built, labelled with a simple exit sign. Not willing to wait and be crushed underfoot by the gigantic metal monster that now towered high above him, Rock dashed full speed into the chamber, and he vanished in a flash.
22nd April 2005, 10:36 AM #22
With a flash of light, Rock found himself basking in the glow of the sunset, crouched upon a smooth steel surface. Standing up and gazing around, he discovered that he was at the top of the elevated highway that he had seen earlier, positioned safely on the thin sidewalk that ran along the edges of the broad road. Aching all over and feeling like he could fall apart at any moment, Rock switched to Lightning’s weapon system, trudged over to a nearby lamppost, and smashed his fist through. The resulting surge of power that coursed through his body felt nothing less than heavenly, supercharging his depleted power reserves which more than made up for whatever physical damage he still carried. Rock marveled at how well his body had accepted the electric charge with Lightning’s electricity harnessing ability in action. Fully recovered and refreshed, Rock’s thoughts immediately turned to Masterframe as a deep rumbling echoed through the air from behind, and the highway began to tremble.
Rock spun around to see Masterframe’s gigantic body standing tall above the wreckage of his shelter, his piercing yellow eyes locking on to Rock as his stocky, massive body trudged towards him. Instinctively, Rock turned on his heel and ran for his life, suddenly wishing he had not torn out the communicator module from his helmet. He looked over his shoulder as he ran, watching Masterframe slowly march behind him, his long strides quickly catching up to Rock in not even a minute. Striding alongside the highway beside Rock, Masterframe’s waist met the highway on the level, leaving Rock looking like an insect scurrying atop a kitchen counter. Masterframe’s cold-looking eyes remained locked on Rock, set upon a wide, featureless dark blue face that matched the rest of his smooth dark blue armor plating. Boling as fast as he could, Rock narrowly managed to dart to safety as Masterframe’s open palm came down, trying to crush Rock underneath and demolishing a section of the highway instead. Whirling around and running backwards, Rock packed away all the charge he could into his arm cannon, and unleashed it all in one titanic blast straight between Masterframe’s eyes. The blast bounced off of Masterframe’s face harmlessly, not even leaving so much as a mark. With all other ideas exhausted, Rock took aim as Masterframe raised his gigantic arm once more, and opened fire. The blasts bounced off of Masterframe as ineffectively as they had before, and Rock barely found time enough to dart out of the way of Masterframe’s slamming hand, obliterating another section of roadway. When Rock was expecting another attempted squashing from Masterframe, he looked over his shoulder to see Masterframe’s eerie yellow eyes light up in an unsettling glow instead. And without any warning, two gigantic beams shot from Masterframe’s eyes, missing Rock by only a few inches as another hole was blown into the road.
Knowing that he could not keep running forever, Rock whirled around and decided to try his extra weapons. Switching to Ground’s drills, Rock kept running backwards and aimed at Masterframe’s face again, opening fire and launching a pair of drills into Masterframe’s forehead. Just like his cannon shots before, Ground’s drills bounced harmlessly off of Masterframe’s armor. “Fuck!” Rock screamed, switching to Storm’s whirlwind as Masterframe raised his giant arm again. Rock unleashed a violent blast of wind at Masterframe’s head, hoping it would throw him off balance and topple him. The gale did little more than annoy Masterframe and the hand came down regardless, smashing more of the road to rubble. Frustrated, Rock switched to Burn’s flamethrower, and before Masterframe could raise his arm again, Rock blasted a rush of flames onto Masterframe’s fingers. Masterframe roared and quickly withdrew his hand, leaving pools of melted metal splattering all over the highway. The armor on his hand had liquefied, revealing the inner skeleton-like structure underneath. With little other than impulse running his body now, Rock ran to the edge of the highway and got as close to Masterframe’s body as he could, unleashing another blast of fire at Masterframe’s midsection. Masterframe roared again as his stomach armor melted away, winding back his arm and swinging blindly in front of him. Rock was in no position to dodge, and quickly found himself winded and sailing along the road in the air after a brutal smack to his entire body. After the rough landing thoroughly scrambled his senses, Rock decided that Burn’s weapon was just not practical to keep using against Masterframe.
As Masterframe approached him again, Rock got up on one knee, switched weapons format, and shot out a torrent of water at Masterframe’s head. The water splashed pathetically against Masterframe’s face, leaving Rock feeling foolish for ever considering to try Hydro’s weapon. Switching to Lightning’s weapon, Rock took aim at Masterframe’s face again and prepared to fire between Masterframe’s eyes. Suddenly, Masterframe’s eyes lit up again, and two blazing beams of energy plowed into Rock’s chest. Rock was knocked head-over-heels by the searing blast, conveniently coming to a stop on his feet again, letting him spring out of the way of Masterframe’s hand coming down upon him again, demolishing more highway in his wake. As soon as Masterframe raised his hand again, Rock blasted a lightning bolt directly into Masterframe’s face, dead between the eyes.
Masterframe reeled back, bellowing in agony as his hands flew to his face. “Gotcha’ now!” Rock jeered, smirking as he aimed between Masterframe’s fingers and fired off another electric blast. The lightning struck Masterframe’s forehead, driving another roar from the metal giant. With one hand covering his face, Masterframe swept his other arm blindly along the highway, hoping to swat Rock away like a fly. Leaping once and then double-jumping in midair again, Rock easily cleared Masterframe’s zooming arm, shooting another lightning bolt into Masterframe’s jaw. Again, Masterframe howled and lashed out at Rock, leaving just enough room between his arm and the highway for Rock to slide underneath, pop back up to his feet, and send another lightning bolt at Masterframe’s head. And that was all Masterframe’s face could handle.
With a single ear-shattering shriek, Masterframe covered his head with his arm as a loud muffled boom roared through the air, followed by what sounded like breaking glass. Thousands of tiny metal shards rained upon Rock, littering the highway with Masterframe’s crumbling face. Rock just stood there in stunned silence, watching more and more of Masterframe’s facial armor shredded and fell to the ground. Just as suddenly as the disruption began, everything fell still and silent, with neither Rock nor Masterframe showing any signs of life. Muffled hissing came from Masterframe’s obscured face, and Rock steadied his arm upon Masterframe’s forehead, preparing himself for the worst.
And the worst came when Masterframe’s arms flew up, revealing a skull-like face underneath what remained of his shattered facial armor, glaring wildly at Rock with a pair of reddened, almost bloodshot-looking eyes. Rock was so transfixed with shock and horror that he barely snapped out of his rapture in time to double-jump into the air, avoiding Masterframe’s arms smashing into each other, trying to crush Rock like a trash compactor. Rock landed skillfully on Masterframe’s wrists, firing another lightning bolt into Masterframe’s forehead. The bolt bounced off of Masterframe’s skull like a harmless pebble to a tank, and Masterframe roared with a booming, half-crazed laugh. Rock fired again, getting the same ineffective result as the air filled with Masterframe’s mocking laughter.
Suddenly, the laughing stopped. Masterframe parted his hands, dropping Rock back on the highway, and raised his arms high, placing a mental target lock on Rock’s head. And with a mighty roar, Masterframe brought both arms down, smashing his forearms into the highway like clubs, completely obliterating the road underneath. Rock managed to vacate the spot before it’s ruination, watching as Masterframe threw up his arms again, and hurling his right down upon Rock, missing him by a meter as Rock ran for his life again. Masterframe’s left and right arms came down on the highway one after another, chasing Rock as he bolted down the sidewalk, bashing up the highway like a pair of sledgehammers to a xylophone. With this new single-minded fury, Masterframe was much more occupied on putting every ounce of his power into smashing the highway than keeping up with Rock, letting Rock widen the gap between the two as he whirled around and began to run backwards again. Rock switched his weapon format back to Ground’s drills, firing without restraint into Masterframe’s cheek. The drills bounced off of Masterframe’s bare skull again, only infuriating Masterframe further. Deciding that staying as far away from the bezerk machine as possible, Rock excluded Burn’s flamethrower and Chill’s ice sword from his list of options as he switched to Hydro’s water cannon again, and took aim at Masterframe’s face once more.
Suddenly, Masterframe’s closest arm to Rock swung and lashed outwards, smacking Rock like a freight train to a frog. Rock was sent shooting along the highway again, landing with a violent crash on a sharp turn of the highway, coming to a skidding halt and nearly falling off the edge. Scrambling back to his feet, his jaw dropped when he saw Masterframe charging at him, showing no sign of stopping any time soon. Rock bolted again, watching Masterframe slowly close in as he stampeded towards him. With nothing but a straight stretch of road ahead of him, Rock put every ounce of strength he had left in him into his legs, feeling the boosters in his knees begin to charge and vibrate within him. And as soon as Masterframe was almost within an arm’s reach of the highway, Rock felt the boosters explode with a rush of power, lifting him up into the air and propelling him along the highway. Masterframe’s wide body leapt upwards, landing with an Earth-shaking crash upon the highway, demolishing it instantly. The highway shook violently, and a section ahead of Rock abruptly broke free and shot up as his section stooped low, threatening to smack him dead in the forehead. Rock flipped himself around and kicked his legs in front of him, trying to kill the booster’s charge before the highway killed him instead of Masterframe. His knees wobbled and trembled, and the boosters shut off as suddenly as they had activated, leaving Rock flying forwards on momentum alone into the broken section ahead. Ducking his head low, Rock managed to snare the edges of the uplifted highway with his hands, stopping himself immediately. Rock pulled himself up and over the broken section, wheezing as he looked over his shoulder to see Masterframe pick himself up again, lock his eyes on Rock again, and come charging once more. Rock breathed heavily. “I can’t outrun him forever,” he muttered, standing up straight and aiming his arm cannon at Masterframe’s face, “You want to kill me, Masterframe?” Rock roared as the metal titan closed in on him again, “Come and try!” As Masterframe raised his arm to throw a clubbing forearm smash upon Rock and the highway, Rock held his ground and shot a torrent of water at Masterframe’s exposed skull, ready to bolt out of Masterframe’s way.
As soon as Hydro’s water blasted upon Masterframe’s face, Masterframe gave an agonized roar, the likes of which Rock had never heard before. Masterframe stumbled and collapsed to one knee, causing his arm to fly far over Rock’s head and destroy the highway far from Rock’s position. Before Masterframe could rise back to both feet, Rock stood on the edge of the highway again, blasting another torrent of water at Masterframe’s skull. Masterframe howled as the water leaked underneath his armor, corroding his internal circuitry. Rock kept a constant stream of water blasting upon Masterframe, watching as the giant pushed himself back to his feet, raised both arms, and brought them both down upon Rock. Rock darted away to safety, keeping his aim on Masterframe’s face. Double-jumping over the gap in the ruined highway, Rock ran futher down the road until he was at a comfortable distance from Masterframe. Rock then perched himself on the edge of the highway again, and blasted Masterframe’s bare face with more water. Screeching wildly as his systems began to go haywire, Masterframe flailed his arms like windmills, demolishing everything in his path as he took blinded swings at anything around him, spinning in circles and stumbling around madly. Holding his breath and steadying his racing heart, Rock closed one eye and lined up his arm cannon with his other eye, carefully aiming another water blast at Masterframe’s face. And when Masterframe finally turned to face Rock, Rock locked his aim upon Masterframe’s right eye, and fired.
The result was fatal. Masterframe’s panic suddenly stopped, and the metallic monster froze up. Those once wild and fiery eyes were now cold and dull, and Masterframe did not even begin to twitch. Suddenly, a fire erupted from Masterframe’s left shoulder, and with a brilliant flash of flames, an explosion from Masterframe’s body severed the arm completely, leaving it to drop lifelessly to the ground with a booming thud. Hisses, crackles, and small blasts now filled the twilight air, as Masterframe’s body began to fall to pieces. “Yes!” Rock cheered, watching the once-mighty Masterframe fall to his feet, “Who’s the man now?” Rock pumped his fists into the air, celebrating not because this was the end of Masterframe’s reign of terror, but simply because he was still alive. “Can you hear me?” Rock yelled into the sky over the rumble of the collapsing Masterframe, “I’m king of the world! Nothing- and I mean nothing, is ever going to destroy me!”
Masterframe’s right elbow exploded on Rock’s last words, blowing his right shoulder onto the highway. The highway was suddenly a catapult, and the highway snapped like a twig, launching Rock into the air. The sudden unfortunate turn of events left Rock so surprised that all he could manage to do as he fell from the sky was scream.
Rock tried to double-jump after he hit the peak of his flight. It barely even held him aloft for a millisecond. He plummeted down to the ground, wishing that he still had Auto’s starshooter installed. As he gained velocity and plunged downwards at a lethal speed, Rock clamped his eyes shut, and waited for the rocky ground below to split him apart.
Rock kept them shut for longer than he had expected. Something was wrapped around his waist. Something was flying him forwards instead of downwards. Rock opened his eyes and saw the ground below shrinking. Something was pulling him back up. Rock craned his neck around, took a glance at the figure behind him and gasped, “Blues!”
“Good to see you too, Rock,” Blues said, tightening his grip on Rock’s waist.
The two glided onto an unharmed section of the demolished highway, with Rock quickly breaking free of Blues’ grasp and collapsing face-first onto the steel surface. Blues reached behind his back, and flipped off the switch to the metal backpack he carried. “How did you-“ Rock stammered, still trying to collect himself, “How did you do that?”
“Antigravity generator,” Blues said calmly, holding up the metal box that was once strapped around his shoulders. “One of Auto’s inventions. He really wanted you to use this.”
“How did you know I was here?” Rock breathed weakly.
“How could we have missed you?” said Blues quickly, looking at the obliterated highway.
Rock let out a long and heavy sigh. “Blues, I’m sorry. I take back what I said abou-“
“Leave it, Rock,” said Blues. “I understand.” Blues walked towards the edge of the highway, peering over the edge and digging into his trench coat pocket, pulling out a small radio. “Everything’s clear Roll. Let’s start cleaning up the mess we’ve made.”
The rubble was lifted, and all he saw was the blinding sunlight and a human hand extended towards him, offering to help him back to his feet. The Reploid took Blues' hand, and Blues pulled him up, meeting eye-to-eye. "Thanks," said the Reploid, cradling his damaged shoulder.
"The repair station is over there," said Blues, pointing over the Reploid's shoulder.
Auto, with saudering needle in hand, repaired the circuits inside a Reploid’s wrist, while sitting beside him was another Reploid, dabbing a dampened cotton swab at a bruise on a young lady’s shoulder. Roll and two much larger Reploids heaved on a sturdy chain, pulling a ruined hovercar out of the pile of rubble that was once the elevated highway. Roll wiped the sweat off of her forehead, and one of the Reploids offered her a hand towel. “Rock, aren’t you going to help?” She asked.
Rock still sat silent and motionless on a large concrete block lodged deep into the ground, staring at the wasteland around him. “Nah, I’ll let you guys clean up after me.”
“Something up, Rock?” Auto asked, sitting down beside Rock.
“You brought me back and gave me a new body to fight a war, right?” Rock asked.
“Well, now that the war’s over, what am I going to do now?”
“You could always settle down and get a job,” Roll joked.
“Very funny,” Rock chuckled, “But I don’t think that the world is ready for the zombie next door yet.”
“Well, it’ll take awhile,” said Auto, “but pretty soon, everything will be back to normal. We can even rebuild the Reploids that were destroyed during the war.”
“Really?” Rock asked.
“Sure I can,” said Auto, “I’m going to rebuild Alpha as soon as soon as we can find him.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Good,” said Rock, standing up, “I’ve made up my mind.”
“Made up your mind?” Blues asked from over Rock’s shoulder, “About what?”
“Auto, when you rebuild Marie, tell her I said hi, okay?” said Rock.
“Why? Where are you going?” Auto asked.
“I know this is going to sound crazy,” said Rock, “but if I want my memory back, I’ve got to travel around a lot to jar it. But most importantly, there’s still someone I want to find.”
“Who?” Roll asked, “Dawn?”
“Rock, she may not even be alive,” said Blues. “And even if she is, who knows where she could be.”
“I know,” said Rock, “and I really don’t care. If she’s out there, and if she’s still alive, I’ll find her.”
“That’s so sweet,” said Roll, rubbing her eye. “Then I hope you find her, Rock.”
“So that’s it, huh? Just wreck our yard and run away, eh?” Said Auto, nudging Rock playfully in the ribs.
“Basically, yeah,” said Rock with a smile, “I’m taking a long vacation, starting now.”
As Rock turned to leave, Blues said, “You’ll be coming back, I assume?”
“Yeah, maybe,” Rock shrugged, “Who knows.”
They exchanged their goodbyes, and Rock wandered off, eventually vanishing beyond the horizon…
k fic over go away now
22nd April 2005, 11:27 AM #23
27th April 2005, 05:08 PM #24
i really enjoyed it! i hope you'll do a sequel!