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 Post subject: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype, Final Update
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:13 am 
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Prologue

"There's something else down here, I'm sure of it," Dr. Danielle Jackson said, chipping at an ancient slab, its surface long since faded by the wind and time.

"That's what you said last time," replied her friend and annoyed colleague, Henry Jones, pressing the keypad on the back of his hand. His right eye flashed light blue, and he seemed to stare off into space for a few seconds before the blue faded. He continued, "And last time, if my discs are still good, we found a 3000 year old toilet."

"Yes, yes, yes," she waved absentmindedly, "but this time I'm really sure. I mean, look at what we already found here!" She stepped back from the slab, and waved a hand around the small chamber. It contained towering monoliths, some with their faces cracked, others still showing the smooth, obsidian black face as when they were first erected.

"Yeah, mainframes and computers, just like every dig we went on back in school," Jones shot back at his excited friend. "Let's get out of here. If we chase the sun, we can get back home before morning." He paused. "Dani, are you even listening to me?"

In fact, she wasn't. She pushed her small microchisel into a crevasse, and her own left eye became blue for a few moments as her grin widened. She made the slightest of movements, and the lifeless black screen blinked above her head. She gasped as she recognized the shape, and one hand reflexively touched the pendant hanging from her neck.

Jones saw the shape as well, but remained nonplussed. "You still wear that Zedex? I guess I shouldn't be surprised."

"My mother gave it to me," she murmured, still staring at the now snowed out screen. "Did you see that? It was--"

"Yes, I saw it," Jones cut her off. "That doesn't mean anything."

Jackson shot him a look, and then knelt down beside the slab again. "Go ahead if you want, I'll catch up with you later." She began poking at the slab in seemingly random places.

Jones rolled his eyes. "Uh huh," he grunted, "Leave you here in this dingy old place? What if it caved in on you?" He crossed his arms, and threw an incredulous look at Jackson. The effort was wasted, as she was entirely immersed in pressing the slab.

"Dammit...That thing's gotta be as old as...Hell, it's prehistoric. That little lightshow on the screen probably blew out whatever power it had left."

"No," Jackson answered, practically whispering, entranced by the ancient machine before her. "I think...I'm on...to something..." she added, pressing the slab to punctuate each phrase. She pressed a spot, at random as far as Jones could tell, and the spot sank into the surface of the slab. She stood back quickly, and saw even Jones had become interested, as a panel in the slab opened up, dust slipping from the almost invisible hinges as it creaked.

"Huh," Jones blinked. "Guess it had some more juice after all...What are you doing?"

Jackson had already stuck her arm into the panel up to her bicep, and groped around inside, before pulling out a small, flat, and almost immaculate slab of plastic.

"Is that--" Jones began in disbelief.

"I think so..." Jackson murmured, putting the smaller slab on the floor. She felt around its edge, and found a small switch. Holding it to one side, she levered the top of the slab up, until it stood upright on its base. She looked over the ancient buttons, and pressed and held a button with a circle interrupted by a small line.

Jones knelt down to get a look as the screen flickered to life, and Jackson inhaled sharply as six characters came on the screen:

DLN-000

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


Last edited by Mr. Death on Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:07 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:57 am 
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Chapter 1 - Wandering Light

"That's..." Jackson stammered, "That's him! DLN-000, the Prototype!"

"I know what it means," Jones groaned, standing up and brushing off his pants. "You think that this is proof that it was all real. It's..." he paused, scratching his chin, "Well, it's certainly something. Just by the look of that thing, it's a couple thousand years old," he let his hands fall. He added, "It's amazing the battery's lasted this long, if nothing else."

"That's it?" Jackson said, standing up, her tone incredulous.

"Just because it put up DLN-000 doesn't mean anything. Anyone could have put that," he waved a hand dismissively. "Hell, you have it tattooed on your--"

Jackson stopped him with a quick glare, and Jones grinned. He coughed, and continued, "Anyway, we ought to see what else is on there before you say it's proof that the myth is real."

His partner looked at him for a moment, then her eyes lit up, and she dropped down beside the ancient machine again. "You're absolutely right, Hank," she smiled, her fingers clicking on the aged buttons.

Jones knelt down beside her, "What are you doing? I meant take it back first, you might fry the thing or something!"

She shook her head, "I know what I'm doing. I'm just seeing what's on here...looks like...something massive on the hard drive...and Hm...audio files." She paused for a second, and then tapped a large button near the front of the machine.

It whirred audibly, and Jackson sat back, "This should give us some idea," she announced as Jones rolled his eyes.

"I was the first..." a tinny but youthful sounding voice droned from the machine's speakers.

--------------------------------

I was a test. My creators made me as a proof of concept. Proof that the combination of their work, in artificial intelligence, robotics, and energy conversion could work in sync with each other. When I came online, they rejoiced, heralding my confused questions as a success. They introduced themselves to me, doctors Thomas X. Light and Albert Wily.

Looking back now, there are times I wish I'd never heard either name. So much pain because of what they made.

Over the next weeks, other old men in white coats came to see me. They sang my praises over my questions, and shook Light and Wily's hands.

Soon after they'd determined that I was a success--heh, how shortsighted that was--they began work on the next ones. My brother, Rock, first of the Master Series, and Roll, our sister. The names were Light's idea. He always had a strange sense of humor. They let me help them in their construction, but never even gave me a name. I was simply "The Prototype" to them. They did not intend it, but I felt like little more than a tool.

I saw the plans for my "siblings," hair, clothes, and almost human eyes. I was little more than an endoskeleton with a simple gray body covering. They'd been generous enough to cover my head with the same synthetic skin that was to go on Rock's and Roll's bodies, but that was probably more for their benefit than mine. I did not get hair, or even my siblings' lifelike eyes. I feared that, once their "real" projects were finished, I would simply be dismantled. I do not know if they intended me to be able to feel, but I was afraid. The day before Rock and Roll were set to be activated, I ran.

I had no idea where I was, or what anything around me meant. The laboratory where I was built was a small building in what I eventually learned was upstate New York. In the far distance--what my eyes lacked in aesthetics, they made up for in viewing ability--I saw large buildings. A city. I don't know why, but I felt drawn there. Maybe I thought I could hide, or someone could help me. I wandered in the streets, unnoticed by almost everybody. Those that did see me were frightened. Apparently, a bald child with glowing red eyes was cause for concern. Who knew? My thin, stick-like fingers likely didn't help matters either. Further, though they covered my metallic skull in synthetic skin, it only extended down to my chin, and the skeletal frame of my neck was exposed between there and where the body suit began.

As I quickly learned, few things are off limits to those of us that can break through wood and glass with our bare hands. I took clothes, gloves, sunglasses, shoes, a scarf, and a black wig from a department store in the night. Men in blue outfits, police men, met me as I was leaving the store. Seeing what they thought was a child, they relaxed. Not knowing what they were, I ran again.

I left the city, and just kept running for a long time. I don't have as sophisticated sensors as my younger siblings would, but the wind on my face felt good. I wandered. I had only basic systems, so I could not even tell the time or date.

Somewhere in what I eventually learned was Kentucky, I saw my "parents" again. Light was speaking to someone on a TV. I stopped briefly to watch, and heard him say, "...He could be a danger to those around him. We don't know who has taken him, but if you're watching, his reactor is unstable. He must be returned to us, so that we may..." I stopped paying attention, I knew, or thought I knew, what he was going to say. They wanted to dismantle me, just as I had feared. I ran again.

Nearly a year went by. I kept moving, observing humans, trying to emulate their behaviors. Whenever someone looked at me too long, I left again, afraid they wanted to turn me in. And then, near a construction site near Phoenix, my old "family" caught up with me. I was walking down the street, when I heard strange, discordant sounds at the construction site. I looked over, and the building's metal frame was crumbling to the ground. My curiosity got the better of me, and I moved closer.

I saw two figures, both about the same shape and height as myself. One had an off white body suit, with orange gloves and boots, and he seemed to be throwing around a large pair of scissors. I would later come to know him as Cut Man. The other was clad in blue, with some sort of cannon in place of a hand. I watched them fight for what seemed like hours, but could only have been a few minutes, until the white and orange one exploded. The other stood there for a moment, then turned his head toward me.

I was too startled to run as he hopped from the wreckage and landed in front of me. He looked different from the plans I'd seen, but he was clearly my brother. Did they tell him about me? Why did he have armor and weaponry? Was he going to bring me in? All these questions swirled through my head when a voice, much like my own, said, "Are you alright? You shouldn't stay here, it could be dangerous." Before I could say anything--and what would I have said?--he transformed into some kind of energy, and was gone.

I stood dumbfounded for a moment, collecting my thoughts. He didn't recognize me, if he had known about me at all. Why did he kill that other robot? He looked to be built by the same plans...had he escaped too, only to be hunted down and murdered by Rock? As I stood there, I saw vehicles approaching, and ran once again.

Once I thought I was safe, I began looking for answers. I didn't have to look hard. In my time alive, I learned to use computers, and found that Dr. Light and Wily had had some kind of falling out. Wily took most of the robots he and Light had built. None of the sites that I could find quite knew why. Some said he wanted to take over the world, others that he was simply jealous of Light, who others said had taken all the credit for their advances. Most of the sites, though, took Light's side, calling Rock "Mega Man," a hero.

Looking back, that first time was over remarkably quickly. Rock managed to destroy all of our brothers, but was unable to capture Wily. Perhaps he was unable to harm a human. I remembered Light talking about that, calling it "the first law of robotics," then Wily would laugh at him. "I can't believe you read that stuff," he would say. "Why do you think I got into this line of work?" would be Light's wry response.

After that, though, Light seemed to stop caring about me and my "unstable reactor." At the time, I dismissed it. There was nothing wrong with me, I told myself. They had just wanted me back to dismantle me, find out why I ran away. Clearly, even Light saw me as little more than a means to an end. Rock and Roll were his "real" project. Rock was his real son.

Over the next years, my jealousy toward Rock and Roll would grow. Wily resurfaced, and sure enough, my brother rushed off to stop him. He even managed to capture him this time. Much to my surprise, Wily was released to work alongside Light, so I supposed it must have simply been some sort of rivalry, and the two had come to their senses. Still, though, neither seemed to remember or care about me.

That's what I thought, anyway, until I ran into Wily himself. It was in the midwest, and he was out with a small group of robots to begin construction on some sort of mining facility. He recognized me after I had fallen, my sunglasses and wig knocked from my head, and had his robots restrain me and take me back to his lab. Fear paralyzed my circuitry. This was it. I was going to be dismantled after all.

Or so I thought. When I was brought to the lab, there was no one else there. I thought at least Dr. Light would be there, but I was left alone in a small room for hours before Wily arrived. He asked me where I had been, and I told him, as he sat watching me thoughtfully. He asked me why I had left, and I told him that as well.

"Well, yes, that was Thomas's plan," he said, confirming my fears. "He never thought anything of you, to be honest," he paused, scratched his chin and waggled his eyebrows. "How would you like to get even with him, and with your 'brother'?" he asked, a gleam in his eyes. I should have noticed his tone, his intent, but I didn't. All I could think of was showing them that I was more than just a prototype, and I told Wily this.

"Haha, my boy," he said, "We never did give you a name, did we? From now on, you're Proto Man. I'm going to give you what's rightfully yours."

~~~~~~~~~~~~
(Edit: Whoops. I meant to list the scarf with the items he stole from the department store. All fixed now :-D)

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


Last edited by Mr. Death on Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:19 am 
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Nice, looks like this is going to be an intresting series.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:13 am 
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Chapter 2 - Break Man

Proto Man. Light might have had a weird sense of humor when it came to names, but Wily wasn't exactly the creative type either. Still, though, I relished finally having a name, and a purpose. It felt so good that I never questioned what Wily was asking me to do until it was too late. Hindsight's a bitch, isn't it?

He told me how I would take back what was rightfully mine, and how doing so would, incidentally, help him get the fame that Light had stolen away from him. I know, I was an idiot for believing it, but kids and their "fathers," huh?

"Now, we'll have to do some work on you, my boy," he started, with what I would later recognize as an evil glint in his eye, "You won't be able to beat Mega Man like that." He said my brother's name like he was spitting it. And went over the upgrades I'd get. Real armor. Real skin. A new blaster he'd been working on and...

"New optics, even better than the ones on your, aheh, siblings. I'll have to shut you down, of course, to put them in--"

"No!" I shouted louder than I'd meant to. I trusted him a bit, but I was still afraid of being shut down. Afraid of never reactivating, of waking up as someone different from myself. I stood up from the chair, and backed away, and Wily gave me an odd look.

"Very well, if you insist. I suppose I'll figure something out to compensate," he glanced at the sunglasses that had fallen to the floor when I stood up. I can only imagine how I'd have turned out if I'd let him poke around in my brain then. Probably Wily would have completely reprogrammed me, and Mega Man would have destroyed me, just as he did so many of Wily's 'bots. I had gotten lucky.

Soon after, he told me his plan. Well, one version of it, anyway. He and Light were working on a number of projects, each dependent on a type of rare crystal that had recently been discovered. They had enormous potential for power generation, and eventually synthetic versions of the crystal would form the power core for many Reploids. But I'm getting ahead of myself. At this point in time, there were eight such crystals, and Wily told me that he needed all of them to power his machines, and expose Dr. Light as a fraud.

"I need you to retrieve them, Proto Man," he said, handing me my helmet. The visor covered my whole face, like a motorcycle helmet. "You should be able to slip in unnoticed, but do not let anything stop you. If anything gets in your way, destroy it."

He was right, for the most part. Of the eight crystals, seven were in completely automated facilities, and with the scanners on my helmet, I could avoid the security, or disable the sensors I couldn't avoid. The eighth, though, had higher security, including armed guards. My helmet included bio-sensors, so I was able to avoid most of them, but one guard caught me by surprise just as I was removing the crystal from its place.

"Hey!" he yelled, and I heard him draw a weapon, "Don't move!" I turned around, and saw him aiming a buster pistol at me. It was an early model, powered by a battery pack on his back. I'd learn later that it was only powerful enough to stun a Master Type, but I didn't know that at the time. I began to run, and he fired. I deflected the shot with my shield, and fired a volley of my own. I wish, now, that I'd tested the weapon before that time. I missed on purpose, hoping to scare him off. I didn't realize that the shots would collapse the hallway on top of him.

For all I knew, I'd just killed a man. And I ran again. I ran until I was clear out of the city, in the middle of nowhere. I looked back, from on top of a tall hill, and saw the city in darkness, sirens waling in the night. I don't know how long I stood there before Wily contacted me again. Not knowing what else to do, I told him I'd killed one of the guards. He didn't care. He just wanted to know the crystal was in my possession. That should have been a major red flag.

I returned to his hidden lab, and delivered the last crystal to him. Again, he ignored me when I told him what had happened, only muttering about "necessary sacrifices." Then he told me of the next stage of his plan: I'd put my armaments to the test against my Brother. I was starting to doubt that Wily had been truthful, but I went along with it anyway.

He was attacking one of Wily's mining facilities when I first fought him. He approached me like any of the other countless robots he's slaughtered over the years.

"I'll break you in half!" I shouted as I fired away at him as we leaped around the quarry. This seemed to catch him off guard; I suppose he wasn't used to the robots talking back to him, and he was thrown to his back by my attack. I walked over to him, far more confident than I should have been, preparing to finish him off. Should I show him my real face, I thought. Let him know who I was before I destroyed him, maybe. I never got the chance, of course, as he recovered and kicked me into the rock wall as I was thinking.

The wall collapsed, opening up a path to the Master Type's lair, and I teleported out on Wily's network before I was trapped. I wouldn't make the same mistakes again. I fought him twice more, and he'd become more powerful each time, handily defeating me by the third time. Wily hadn't told me about his weapon copying ability. Once everything was over and done with, I figured out he'd built it into my buster as well, probably because he copied the hardware from Mega Man's plans. But then, I was on his side, so I wasn't going to go blowing up his robots to get their weapons.

I then was sent to fight him in Wily's antarctic base. I landed right in front of him, but something was different this time. He didn't move to attack.

"Who are you?" he asked, and I was shocked by his voice. It was nearly identical to mine, if a higher quality. I said nothing. "Why are you helping Wily?" he asked after awhile. And when I thought about it, I wasn't really sure. I knew by now that he could beat me, and decided it was pointless to attack him, so I simply left.

Wily wasn't happy. He ordered me to destroy Mega Man, or I'd be destroyed. I'd never seen him in that kind of state, and it frightened me, so I took on my brother one more time.

This fight went on longer than the others. I tried every trick I knew, which admittedly wasn't a lot at this point, but I held out, even as he used all the different weapons he'd collected. He kept asking me what I was doing, and why, but I tuned him out. It was clear that he recognized my body was similar to his, but it seemed he didn't know who I really was.

We were eventually reduced to just duking it out, fist to fist, spun, connecting with my chin and shattering most of the helmet's faceplate, leaving only the eyepiece. I was stunned, he must have knocked my motors out of action. He stood over me, and I thought, this must be it.

He just stared at me. "Who are you...and why are you helping someone like Wily?"

I couldn't take it anymore, and shouted back at him, "He told me all about you. How you murdered our brothers! He told me I could get back at you for taking what should have been mine!"

"What are you talking about?" he said much quieter than I expected. "Wily hurts people," and my mind flashed back to the guard... "He's an evil man," Mega Man continued. What had I done? Was I evil? Should I have been allowed to exist?

Before he could ask anything else, I teleported away, to Wily's lab. He took a long look at my body before he set about on repairs. I said nothing, even as he asked me what happened. As soon as he'd finished and left me alone, I ran again. I eventually found the guard that I thought I'd killed. He was alive, in a hospital, but just barely. I decided then and there that I'd never hurt another person again. And that Wily had to be stopped...but then, I didn't think I could do it.

So I waited, and eventually Mega Man made his way through Wily's fortress, and destroyed Gamma, Wily's doomsday robot, but Wily had escaped, using one of his robot doubles to distract Mega Man, and Mega Man was knocked out of commission by some debris. I looked at my brother in a new light, just then, and got him out of the collapsing fortress.

For awhile, I thought about returning to Dr. Light. But, after what I'd done, I couldn't face him. Not yet. And I was still afraid he'd deactivate me, so I left my brother on his doorstep, and left to wander again.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:01 pm 
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Chapter 3 - Lost World

After that, I decided--

--------------------------------

The tinny voice clipped off mid-sentence as Jones tapped a button on the machine.

"What the hell, Hank?" his companion spun at him. "Don't you want to hear the rest of it?" she reached a hand down to start the sound file again, but he caught her wrist before she could.

"Of course I do. It's," he paused, rolling his wrist, thinking, "It's very interesting. But it's getting dark out, and I didn't bring a bedroll. Unless you want me to climb into yours," he grinned, trailing off.

She looked at him and rolled her eyes. "Fine, fine, you win," she conceded, folding up the device. "But you're driving, I want to listen to it on the way."

"It can't wait until we're back home?" he asked as she started gathering up her tools. He pressed a key on the back of his hand, his eye lighting up for a moment.

"This could be the most important find of our time, and you want to put it off till later?" she shot back incredulously.

"Or, it could be some hack's screenplay," he shrugged, then ignored her indignant eyes. "I mean, yes, it's very romantic, but you really believe all that stuff? You really think one fat old man made all of the great Heroes of the Maverick Wars? This could be just another reprint of the old legends."

"We know X and Zero were real," she said, touching the Zedex hanging from her neck. "And we know that a Dr. Wily was a terrorist back in the 21st."

Jones held up a finger, "Records do show that, at one point, there were Hunters named X and Zero, yes. But all the other stories are apocryphal at best. You really think two Reploids won whole wars singlehandedly? Lived hundreds of years? You may as well be talking about the Old Gods." He crossed his arms, and huffed. "Now come on, let's get going."

He hefted his pack, and bounded up out of the hole they'd climbed down to get into the ancient chamber. He placed his pack in the small blue hovercar they had to take out because this site was far outside the local telenetwork. The area had been abandoned for centuries, like many parts of the Earth, after Carbons began venturing to other worlds. They'd left because they'd used up the old planet, but many parts had begun to heal in the absense of humans, and parts of the planet were being recolonized. Jones and Jackson owned an apartment in the new city of Phoenix, named by a colonist that thought he was being creative.

Henry looked back at the hole, where Jackson was carefully climbing out with the device, afraid to drop it. She walked slowly to the hovercar, and opened the door, placing the device on the tray in front of the seat. She turned to whack Jones, who'd taken to mock snoring in the time it took Danielle to make it to the car. He smiled, then walked around the vehicle to get into the driver's seat. He put his hand on the panel in front of him, and his eye lit up as the dashboard lit up, and the 'car lifted off the sand.

Jones looked around at the arid wasteland as the car shot off into the distance, leaving a dust trail in its wake. "You really can pick the romantic spots, eh Dani?" His humor was wasted, as she was already opening the device back up to start it again.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 3:43 am 
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Chapter 4 - The Mad Russian

Henry kept his hand on the dashboard panel, and turned toward his companion. His one eye kept the blue glow, showing him a clear picture from the sensors on the front and back of the car. Just to be safe in these areas, he habitually set the car to hover much higher than it would in a city, to avoid the rocks, the rare vegetation, and the even rarer animals.

"Are you really going to turn that thing on right now?" he asked her. She nodded and muttered an "Uh huh."

"You know, if you wait until we get back, I'll hook it up into my speakers, it'll sound a lot better," he suggested, and again she answered with an "Uh huh."

"Oh, and while I'm thinking of it, your sister has an amazing rack," he added, testing her, and was once again rewarded with an "Uh huh." He rolled his eyes and kept driving. He considered testing the waters further, but decided not to push his luck as the tinny voice returned.

--------------------------------

--not to get involved with Dr. Light and Wily's affairs. I didn't trust either of them as far as I could throw them...You know, heh, scratch that. I just didn't trust them. My brother seemed to be a good enough guy, though, and I figured if and when Wily returned, he'd be more than able to handle it.

As far as I knew, Wily must have thought I was destroyed. After his fortress caved in, he never bothered looking for me, or even trying to call me. I supposed I really was just a tool to him, a thing to be used and disposed of.

I decided the easiest way to avoid them was simply to leave the country, so I stowed away on an airliner, and headed for Europe. I had to swipe some more clothes before I did. I wasn't sure yet how to remove the armor Wily had given me, so they had to be baggy. Lord knows I wasn't going to win any fashion contests, but then I didn't want to be noticed either. The language barrier was a bit of a problem at first. Not knowing any better, I downloaded a translation program from the internet, and got...interesting reactions whenever I tried to say anything to anyone.

Eventually, though, I got the hang of it. It probably helped that most people knew some English anyway, but within a few months I was passable in several of the old European languages. I supposed perhaps one of my "fathers" might have been able to make an easy translation program, but I found it more satisfying to do it on my own.

I was in a small town in France when my family caught up with me. A face I recognized from long before, when I was first activated, was on a television set, challenging Mega Man, my brother. He was one of the scientists who'd come to see me and congratulate Dr. Light and Wily. He spoke with a thick accent I'd come by then to recognize as Russian, and I remembered him being one of the more friendly faces back then. He'd even spoken to me, almost as if I were real, while the others only addressed me as if I were a toaster. Dr. Cossack, he had introduced himself to me. I couldn't fathom why he seemed so hellbent on taking down Dr. Light.

The video of him paused just as he seemed to be really getting into his speech, and a news anchorman appeared, saying how the UN and the US government were in a panic, and the Russian government wouldn't comment. The next several weeks, you could feel a tension in almost the whole world, as so many feared what would happen. The Cold War had been over for a long time, but I suppose old feelings are hard to get rid of.

And Dr. Cossack's behavior just kept eating at me. It seemed so out of place. He'd really been friends with Dr. Light, what could have changed? Was it really jealousy? I was determined not to interfere, but my curiosity got the better of me in the long run.

While I was with Wily, he'd given me a program that masked my energy signature and scrambled transmissions, so that Mega Man and Dr. Light couldn't trace me. It was the one thing he gave me I was ever really thankful for, as it came in handy for a long time after he installed it. It worked like a charm in Cossack's fortress, and I was able to slip in entirely unnoticed. I sneaked into his main laboratory, and slowed to a stop outside the door when I heard voices.

"Da, I understand," I heard Cossack's voice, "But he is destroying all that I throw at him!"

"Don't give me that," I heard the other voice, and instantly recognized it, I gritted my teeth. "You have more where those robots came from. Remember, if you fail..."

"No!" Dr. Cossack shouted, startling me, "I will do as you ask, just do not harm Kalinka." 'Kalinka,' I thought. I barely recognized the name, he had mentioned her to my "parents" when he came to see me. His daughter. So that was why he was acting like this. Wily was blackmailing him, holding his daughter for ransom.

I couldn't sit by any longer, knowing what I learned then. I left Cossack's stronghold, and hoped that Wily hadn't changed his access codes from the last time. Luckily, I was able to find his teleport network again. Unfortunately, he had changed some of the codes, but I was able to decipher them without too much trouble. Like I said, he wasn't the creative type.

Sneaking through his fortress wasn't difficult. His masking program worked so well that most of his robots didn't even acknowledge me. The ones that did seemed to think I was an ally, and didn't bother me. I found his lab near the top of the central tower, and heard crying from behind the door. Something told me it wasn't the old man. I hadn't come up with anything resembling a plan for this point, so I just kicked the door in, buster drawn. Wily was nowhere to be seen. Considering the kind of machines he used to throw at my brother, I should have considered myself lucky.

The little girl, she was only about 10 at the time, looked up at me, her eyes bloodshot and hair disheveled. She didn't seem to be hurt, just scared half to death. As I approached the cell, she slid back across the floor, frightened of me. I knelt down by the door, and tried my best to calm her down. "Don't worry," I said in the most soothing voice I could manage. My vocal synthesizer wasn't built for that kind of range, though, so the effect was probably lost.

I looked around, and decided, instead of talking, to just show her what I meant to do. "Stay back," I warned, though I had no need to. She was as far away from me as her confined space would allow. I reached back, and punched through the plexiglas doorway, and it yielded easily. She looked up at me more confused than afraid. "Come on," I said, "I'm taking you back to your father." I offered my hand, and she hesitated. After a moment's consideration, she grabbed my hand, and we made our way out.

It didn't take me long to find my way back to Dr. Cossack's fortress, and I hoped I was in time. When we arrived, we saw signs of battle all over the place, destroyed defenses strewn about. I knew my brother was there, and there was little time. I picked up Kalinka, and ran through the fortress, arriving just in time to see Mega Man fighting Cossack's machine.

The second his face was in view, Kalinka screamed, "Daddy!" and the machine stopped as Dr. Cossack saw his daughter for the first time in what must have been months. The effect was spoiled somewhat by Mega Man who, not hearing Kalinka, delivered the fatal blow to the machine, sending it tumbling to the ground, with Dr. Cossack still inside. Kalinka screamed again and, cursing my highly tuned audio sensors, I leaped down to the ground with her on my back. I put her down, and she ran toward the wreckage, tears in her eyes as Dr. Cossack staggered from the cockpit.

Mega Man looked profoundly confused, and turned to me, a questioning look in his eyes. I was about to explain when Dr. Wily did the job for me.

"Damn you, Proto Man!" he yelled from his floating saucer. "Everything was working perfectly! How dare you betray me!?" I simply stared up defiantly at him as he continued, "I'll get you for this, Proto Man!" He shook his fist in a fit as he sped off, and Mega Man turned back to me.

I looked from him to the Cossacks, then back to him. "Go after him, Bro," I said with a smirk, and a genuine feeling that I'd done something right for once. He looked at me for a moment, then turned and ran off. I stood watching for a moment, then turned back to the Cossacks.

"Thank you," he said to me. "How can I repay you?"

I thought for a second. "You don't have to," I said before I teleported away.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

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Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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Chapter 5 - Dark Man

After I left Russia, I decided it was time, after all those years, to pay Dr. Light a visit. He had installed a scrambling field to prevent anyone from teleporting in or out of his lab without an access code. I probably could have gotten around it if I tried, but I decided to try a more old fashioned method.

The look on his face when he opened the door still makes me thankful for my photographic memory.

"It's you," he stated the obvious. I shouldn't be so hard on him, I suppose. I was probably the last thing he expected to see just then. "I," he paused, "We never did give you a name, did we?"

"Call me Proto Man," I told him, and he invited me in, still looking a bit bewildered.

"I imagine you're wondering what I'm doing here," I mused.

He looked thoughtful for a moment, "Your power core is unstable. You must have felt it by now." I crossed my arms and shook my head. "Please. If you don't let me fix it, you'll suffer a meltdown."

Looking back, I should have believed him then. It would have saved me all manner of trouble later. But I still didn't trust him, or anyone else, enough to let them shut me down.

"Maybe some other time," I waved a hand. "The reason I'm here is to let you know that I'm not working with Wily anymore. In fact, I just gave Mega Man a hand." I looked off to the side. "He's a good robot. He ought to be able to handle things from here on in. If he can't," I turned to leave, "Maybe I'll lend him another hand."

"Where will you go?" He called to my back. I shrugged.

"I hadn't thought about it. I'll be around." I stepped out the door, and teleported away. I landed near a mall two states over, and saw a TV broadcasting about Mega Man. Dr. Cossack was making some kind of public statement, with some official looking people on either side. Mega Man had apparently driven off Wily again. Now that I think of it, he had a pretty bad track record for actually catching him.

It was almost another year before I heard from either side of my "family" again. I'd been traveling the world, heading through China and India, stopping every once in awhile to check on Kalinka. I kept thinking about how Wily swore revenge on me, and I wouldn't have put it past him to take it out on the Cossacks. He seemed to be well protected, at any rate. His guards never spotted me, but then, Wily wouldn't have been as subtle as I was.

I was making my way back west through Europe when I heard that Dr. Light was missing. That was a surprise. When I heard that I was the one who kidnapped him, now that threw me for a loop. I knew who it had to be. I figured Wily must have built a replica of me, the bastard, and had the fake leading a new set of robots. I never had the full range of emotions like my brother did, but I felt like I could rip that old bastard in half. Unfortunately for me, he'd toughened his defenses. I couldn't just teleport in like I used to, so I had to get creative.

I tailed Mega Man as he tracked down the Robot Masters. I didn't know how he would react if he spotted me, whether he believed I really had taken Dr. Light, so I was careful to stay out of sight. When he destroyed Charge Man, I spotted the imposter observing him, and opened fire as soon as Mega Man had left. I figured, if I took out the replica, I could sneak into Wily's fortress in his place. And if it were just a replica, it might have worked.

I had the drop on him. I know I landed solid hits. But everything I threw at him simply bounced off. He wasn't as fast, or agile as I was, and didn't seem to even raise his shield, but I couldn't even scratch him. And I don't know what kind of cannon he strapped to this thing, but damn did it pack a punch. I was able to avoid the shots, but one blast I had to block with my shield, and it knocked me clear out of the area. I knew that I'd need to get some help to beat this thing. And with Dr. Light still in Wily's hands, there was only one man who could help me.

I teleported back to Russia, and snuck into Dr. Cossack's lab. He must have seen the news, because he was not happy to see me. He looked like he was going to die of fright when he spotted me in the lab, and I should count myself lucky he didn't make a run for it and summon the guards. He probably thought I would blast him if he moved. I hated Wily all the more for this. Dr. Cossack had seen me save his daughter, yet he still thought I'd done something to Dr. Light. I could only imagine what the rest of the world thought of me.

"Wait," I tried talking to him. "I'm not going to hurt you." I probably sounded a little more forceful than I intended, but I kept trying. "The robot that took Dr. Light was a fake, and I need to stop him." He didn't even seem to hear me, he was frozen in fear. I suppose it was luck that Kalinka walked into the room, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She saw me and smiled. I grinned back, then turned again to Dr. Cossack. "Please," I said, "I need your help. I need your help, or Mega Man and Dr. Light are both going to die." Cossack looked from me to Kalinka.

"He's a good guy," the little tyke told him matter-of-factly. "Help him, Daddy." Dr. Cossack visibly relaxed, probably realizing that if I'd come there to harm him, I would have done so long before Kalinka showed up.

"Alright. What do you need of me?" he asked cautiously. I told him of my fight with the fake, and how I couldn't scratch his paint. I needed a stronger buster. He showed me the upgrade he'd given Mega Man, to charge his buster. I had a look at the specs, and decided it wasn't enough.

"It's got to be stronger," I told him, and he tried to dissuade me. He told me that he could make a stronger buster, but it would be unstable. It might blow me up entirely, he said, or just blow an arm off if I was lucky.

"If that happens, I'll deal with it," I told him, "There isn't time for anything else." He reluctantly agreed to go through with it, and fitted me with the new buster. As he was working, I saw on the news that Mega Man had finished off the last of the Robot Masters. That meant he'd be heading to "my" fortress next, which meant we had to hurry. As soon as he was done working, Dr. Cossack handed me a special energy canister, "Just in case," he told me. I nodded and teleported to the imposter's fortress immediately. They didn't even have time to wish me luck.

As it turned out, I wasn't a moment too soon. I arrived just in time to see Mega Man get blasted by the fake. He looked down for the count, but had just barely survived the blast. That cheap knockoff just looked up at me. It knew it had beaten me once, and must not have seen me as a threat, even as I charged up the buster. I only let the blast fly after all the warning lights in my visor started to go off. The plasma shot slammed into it, and it crashed into the back wall, its facade fading and revealing the image of me was just a hologram.

As it recovered, I hopped down to help Mega Man, force feeding him the energy canister. When he came to, he looked up at me, a profoundly confused look in his eyes. I just pointed to the other robot, and he seemed to understand. My shot had destroyed its shield, so Mega Man made short work of it. To be perfectly honest, I wanted to help, but Cossack had been right. The blast had burnt out my buster, and I couldn't even fire on its lowest setting. Mega Man stopped to thank me before he continued deeper into the fortress. I knew he could handle things from there.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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Chapter 6 - To The Stars And Beyond

Over the next few months, I made more frequent trips to visit my "family." Dr. Light was even kind enough to fix my buster...again, he offered to fix my powercore, but I was just too damned afraid of being shut down, though I'd never admit it.

From time to time, I would spar with Mega Man. It was really something, Dr. Wily had loaded me up with combat programs, but Mega Man could fight better than anything he could have given me, and never got one line of combat coding. Maybe it freed him up from the protocols, made him more creative, I don't know. Then again, even that wasn't enough in the end...

Our "sister" Roll would sometimes watch us. She always looked so worried, maybe because she knew she'd probably have to patch us up afterwards, as Dr. Light started giving her more responsibilities as he grew older, and more intensely devoted to his side project. She never liked seeing Mega Man hurt.

It amazed me that he was able to build robots that really cared, or as close as was possible, anyway. Mega Man never fought Wily because he wanted to. He genuinely didn't want anyone to get hurt. Maybe that's why he always beat him, because of what he was fighting for...Maybe that's why our youngest brother is as powerful as he is.

Dr. Light took me aside once or twice to show me X, as he called him. He was still under construction, and his AI wasn't nearly finished at the time, but I could tell it was something special. I felt a little bit of resentment, mixed with pride. This was his "real" achievement, yes, but I suppose none of it would have been possible without me.

Of course, over the next few years the old bastard tried again and again, with one gimmick or another. Did he really think the whole "Mr. X" thing was fooling anybody? Bass and Treble too...If you can't beat'em, copy them, huh? I always wondered why Mega Man always stopped short from finishing those two off. He never hesitated with any of Wily's other bots. Maybe he saw something in Bass that nobody else did. He always was a little too trusting. That would cost him, in the end.

I liked to pitch in where I could, mostly by keeping track of Wily as well as I could, but I preferred to let Mega Man do the real fighting. He was always better at it anyway. Once he got started, there was barely anything that could really stop him. Roll once joked it would take something from out of this world to do it. It doesn't seem quite so funny now...

A few years after Wily had built Bass and Treble, it became obvious he didn't really have any control over them. Bass tended to hang around Wily's fortresses, and would just pop out to challenge Mega Man every once in awhile. It was during one of these fights that Dr. Light heard of a meteor strike, which was radiating a strange energy signature. We didn't know it at the time, but this--

--------------------------------

The screen flickered for a moment, then went black as the voice died out. It was soon replaced by a higher pitched yell.

"No! Nonononono!" Danielle tried to coax the machine back to life. She hit the buttons, to no avail.

"Stop the car!" she bellowed, waking up Henry, who'd put the car on automatic and was taking a nap. He woke up startled, and the car slammed to a halt.

"What? What happened?" he stammered, rubbing his eyes. "We didn't hit anything..."

"I think," his partner started, "I think it's the battery. There's gotta be something back there, some way to recharge it. Turn the car around," she commanded, closing the machine.

Jones looked out through the canopy. The sky had turned dark. He tapped a button on his hand, and his eye lit up for a moment. "It's late already. We can go back in the morning."

"This is too goddamn important to wait until the morning!" Jackson shouted, glaring at her less-than-enthused partner. "Turn this thing around, now!" she reached over to place her hand on the dashboard panel, but Jones grabbed her wrist.

"Look, this car doesn't have enough juice to make it out there and back home again," he pointed out. "The car needs a recharge, hell, I need a recharge, and I know you're tired." He placed her hand back on the machine. "Look, first thing in the morning, we'll go bug Professor Thompson about it. Maybe he's got something we can use to recharge the thing. That would save us a trip."

Danielle considered this for a moment, then twisted her wrist, freeing it from his grip. "Fine," she shot at him icily. He rolled his eyes, and placed his hand on the dashboard, the car coming to life.

"How about some music?" he offered.

She answered with another "Fine." He turned on an old audio disc, and set the car back on automatic for the rest of the drive back to their apartment.

--------------------------------

Jones was woken up unceremoniously at the crack of dawn, when the couch he had made into his bed was overturned by Jackson.

"Come on," she called to him as she opened the door. "Be down in 5 minutes, or I'm leaving without you." Jones picked himself up off the floor, and managed to get dressed, brush his teeth, and clean his face, a series of maneuvers he'd practiced often after learning just how little patience Danielle had when she was in a mood such as this.

He managed to make it to the car with just under a minute left, and hopped in, slamming the door shut as Jackson sped away from the apartment.

"Are you going to toss the professor out of bed too?" Henry smirked, still rubbing the sleep from his eye. She didn't answer. "I'm guessing you're still mad at me, huh?"

She gave him a smile--well, she showed her teeth, anyway--and answered, "Of course not."

"Look," Jones began, against his better judgment, which was screaming for him to keep his mouth shut or, failing that, to dive out the window and tuck and roll, "I know this stuff means a lot to you, but we'd be walking back from the wastes right now if we'd gone back out."

"I know," she responded, keeping her face forward. She breathed deeply, still not looking at him, "Sorry." He nodded, and she drove on.

Professor Peter Thompson was one of the foremost history experts still living in the solar system, and some would say the larger galaxy itself. He was one of the oldest currently living carbons, and had amassed huge collections of both literature and artifacts dating back to the 20th century. He had traveled all around the galaxy in his younger days, even visiting as far as Elysia, and studying the Chronicles of the Guardians. He had decided to retire back on Earth and lecture at the newly opened Rebirth University, because he said he'd fallen in love with it through his studies.

After one of his lectures, Danielle had approached him, and practically begged to be his assistant. The old man was hesitant at first, partly because he couldn't think of anything for her to assist him with. But, after nearly a month of prodding, he relented, sending her out on errands to old dig sites, some of which had been picked clean. She, with Henry's help, had bolstered his collection, and they both knew that if anyone had something that could recharge an ancient machine, he would.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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Chapter 7 - The Absent Minded Professor

Professor Thompson walked deliberately into the small kitchen in his apartment, idly checking the time as he went. As he walked, he carefully made his way around a display case containing an odd assortment of items excavated from Earth, as well as dig sites on the moon and Mars and other planets. This case, the center of which was a large, red, mechanical eye, contained some of his favorite pieces. Alongside the eye were an antique 24th century Buster Pistol, well beyond repair, and a bluish cylinder, half corroded, that remained undated, but the best estimate put it between the 21st and 23rd.

He entered the kitchen, and grunted a good morning to his apartment's Intelligence. "Good morning Professor," it replied, a light, friendly soprano voice, like that of a young woman, "Are you expecting guests?"

"Yes, they should be here shortly. Would you mind putting on some coffee?" he waved toward the stove, which began to glow red under the kettle even as he asked. He smiled, and took out some food, more than he usually would have, for breakfast.

"Do you want any help with that?" the Intelligence asked, the toaster sliding helpfully out from a panel in the wall. The Professor chuckled.

"No, thank you. I think I can manage it on my own," he said, placing some bread in the toaster. He liked having the Intelligence around, sometimes; it helped remind him to do things like eat and sleep when he became engrossed in some project or another; but other times, despite its youthful voice, he felt like it mothered him too much. He caught a glance at himself in the mirror as he waited for the bread to heat up.

When he was younger, he'd often been called handsome, and though his age definitely showed, his well sculpted features still were in evidence under the wrinkled skin. He was clean shaven, and maintained a full head of black hair, though when pressed he would admit the hair was artificial, and joke about how he wanted to stay pretty. Today, he was dressed in fairly casual clothes, gray slacks and a black sweater with a gold and red design; he was close enough with Danielle and Henry that he didn't expect them to dress up, and he wasn't going to be bothered about it either. He idly wondered what could be bringing them around so early in the morning; Danielle insisted in her message that they meet as soon as possible.

"Henry Jones and Danielle Jackson have arrived," the Intelligence announced. Professor Thompson waved a hand toward the door.

"Well, then let them in," he said as the toast popped up, and turned toward the door as it slid open, revealing an excited looking Danielle, accompanied by a Henry who was quite clearly still trying to wake up.

"Good morning, you two," he said jovially, and saw Henry smile and stifle a yawn, while Danielle advanced on him, a small plastic device held forward like a shield. "What's this you've brought me, now?"

"Well," Danielle started, "We found this at one of the digs out east of here. Near what used to be the eastern shore, I think. There's a recording on here that, well," she looked back at Henry, only to find he was advancing on the toast like he was stalking prey, and frowned.

"She didn't even let you eat, hm?" Thompson chuckled, "Then this must be important," he motioned for the two to sit down as he set the toast down on a plate, with butter helpfully provided by the Intelligence. "Come, sit, tell me what you have here."

They sat, and Danielle passed the device to Thompson. "Like I said, we found this in the ruins, and there's a recording on there of--" she paused at a grunt from Henry, as he stuck a piece of toast in his mouth. "Well, I think it's a recording of the Prototype." she finished excitedly.

The Professor poked at the device, then opened it. "Ah, an old Laptop...I had one of these myself, back in my younger days. Found it...Oh, must have been on a dig from Mars. Wound up selling it to the museum there, I believe...I wonder if they still have it?" he mused.

"Um...Professor?" Danielle nudged him. He was a brilliant researcher, and probably the leading authority on all things Earth, but she had to admit his tendency to be distracted was annoying.

"Oh, yes, the Prototype. Well, let's see here..." he pushed a button on the laptop. "Well, there's your problem. The battery's dead," he added matter-of-factly, and stood up as the kettle started to whistle.

"Er," Danielle said, as Henry chuckled through a mouth full of bread and butter. "We knew about that, we were wondering if you might be able to recharge it for us."

"Mhmm..." Thompson said as he lifted the kettle, thanking the Intelligence. "Would either of you like some coffee? Tea perhaps?" he asked, pouring a cup. Henry nodded, mumbling a yes. Danielle sighed at the absent minded archaeologist.

"Professor," she started, but stopped as the Professor pressed the warm cup into her hands.

"My dear, if that really has a recording of it from Proto Man, then the device is several thousand years old," he said, handing Henry his cup. "Do you know what that means?"

"This discovery could change everything about--" she began, stopping again as he waved a hand.

"Yes, yes, changing thinking, all of that," he admitted, sitting back down. "But it also means this is a durable little machine, and if it's lasted that long, then it will last at least the time it will take us to have a decent breakfast," he smiled at her. "Now come, sit," he motioned to her, "My 'housekeeper' has no doubt already begun making a more elaborate meal than this, even though I asked her not to," he motioned toward the toast as his small fabricator beeped guiltily, producing a stack of pancakes.

--------------------------------

"So," Professor Thompson began, passing the syrup to Henry, "what makes you think the Prototype made this recording?"

"Well," Danielle swallowed, looking at Henry, "I guess we can't know for sure. I haven't had a chance to date the material the laptop's made from, but the recording, well, it sounds like it's from a journal of some sort. He talks about the Wily Wars as if, well, as if he were really there."

"It didn't occur to you that this may, for all you know, be nothing more than some retelling of the legends?" the Professor asked, pouring himself another cup of coffee.

"That's what I said," Henry added between bites.

Danielle frowned, "I suppose it's possible, but then I thought, the laptop looks like it was from," she paused, "Well, probably not from the 21st, but maybe the 22nd, or 23rd. As far as we know, not much was known about the Prototype until long after. And too much of the recording corroborates with what we know to have been someone from the 22nd making it up."

Professor Thompson looked thoughtfully into his cup. "Those are very good points," he said finally. "But be careful. Just because you want something to be true doesn't mean it is."

Danielle nodded, pushing a piece of pancake across her plate, "I know. But," she paused, "I have a good feeling about this one," she added with a smile, eating the piece triumphantly. Henry rolled his eyes, and the Professor smiled.

"Very well then, I'll see what I can do about the problem," he sipped his coffee. "I should have something around here that might help. Leave the laptop with me for a day or so, and I'll let you know when I figure something out." Danielle looked about to protest, and Professor Thompson raised his hand. "Now now, it's lasted thousands of years..." he trailed off.

"...it'll last another day or so," Danielle finished. "Alright, Professor, you win."

"And in the meantime," Professor Thompson added, "Take the rest of the day off and relax or something. Your boy there," he nodded to Henry, who shared a look with Danielle, "looks like could use some time off. I'll let you know when I find something."

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Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

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Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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Pretty good. Looking foward to more

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Chapter 8 - Chasing Geese

It was three weeks before Professor Thompson was able to get the machine working and back into Danielle's hands. After three days without hearing from the professor, Jackson paid him a visit.

"You do understand this machine is thousands of years old, correct?" the old man chided her, which did little to calm her down. "It is not like I can order the items I need from the network, after all."

"But you said you could have it working in a day or so!" she protested, throwing her arms up. Professor Thompson smiled up at her from his chair.

"Yes, my dear, but I suppose it's possible, however unlikely, that I am wrong on occasion," he scratched his head. "I know I've tried to teach you patience, Danielle, I just wish the lessons had stuck with you."

Jackson crossed her arms, and looked away from her mentor. She wanted to be angry at him, but she knew he was right. It was a miracle they had found the laptop intact in the first place. It was probably a little much to expect he'd have the right parts on hand to keep it running. She sighed and turned back to the old man. "Alright, I'm sorry," she said. "I was just so excited when we found it..."

"Yes, I know," the old man chuckled. "You woke me up early just to tell me so." He stood up, and started walking toward the door. "I have a friend on Sphinx who owes me a favor, and is a collector of such old-world curiosities. I'm leaving to visit him tonight, and while I'm there, I'll see if he has what we need. In the meantime, try to have some patience." He smiled broadly, "If not for your own sake, then for poor Henry's."

Despite herself, she smiled. "Whatever you say, Professor." She headed toward the door as he opened it, "Just let me know as soon as you've found out anything."

As she was heading back to her apartment, all of a sudden she stopped and smacked her head. "Of course!" she said to herself, before putting the car back into gear and returning to the apartment. She hurriedly gathered her expedition gear, with a somewhat bewildered Jones watching her move furiously through the apartment.

"And just where are you going?" Henry asked from the couch as she placed a small tool into her pocket.

"Back to the dig site where we found the Laptop," she said. Henry noted the capital "L." "There's bound to be a battery, or a refractor, or something we can use to boot it back up. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner." She paused, and ran back into her room to retrieve a bedroll, calling back into the living room. "Are you coming or what?"

Jones rolled his eyes, and weighed his options. On the one hand, he knew that his partner was a capable explorer, and could definitely handle herself out a dig by herself. Also, he didn't really want to go. On the other hand, he knew how obsessive she could get, and if he didn't accompany her, he may not see her for a week. If something did happen to her, it would be awhile before he even knew about it. He sighed, and resigned himself to his fate, standing up.

"Alright, just give me a few minutes to get my stuff," he said, retreating into a closet to get out his pack. He then decided to tempt fate, saying, "Whatever is out there isn't going anywhere, so what's the rush?" She shot him a look before hurrying out the door.

"I'll drive," she said as she left.

--------------------------------

Two days later, they returned tired, filthy, and empty handed. The ride home was silent, Jackson fuming with disappointment, and Henry looking out the window. She had nearly torn the small buried lab apart looking for something, anything they could use to revive the machine, but had not found anything they could use.

In a cabinet near where she first found the laptop, they found the remains of what seemed to be some kind of cord. Unfortunately, unlike the machine which it may have powered, it was crushed and rotted through, to the point where it was irreparable. Danielle nearly broke down, after a day's worth of searching, only to find it was fruitless. Jones convinced her to return, and reassured her that Professor Thompson would find a way to get it working again. It was already dark when they decided their search was over, so they made camp in the laboratory and left at daybreak.

When they got home, Jackson went straight into the bathroom to shower and get cleaned up, while Henry started putting away his equipment when a blinking light in the corner of his eye caught his attention. He went to their workstation, and opened their message box, smiling as the only message played. He waited for Jackson to come out of the bathroom, and stopped her before she could head back into her bedroom before showing it to her.

She sat down in front of the screen, wrapped in a towel, a look of mild annoyance in her eyes until Professor Thompson's visage materialized on the screen.

"Hello Danielle, hello Henry. I tried to call your personal communicators, but I couldn't get through. Anyway, my friend has come through for us. I showed him the laptop, and he had just the thing. In fact," the old man turned around to look behind him," it's charging right now." Danielle nearly squealed in glee when he said that, and Henry smiled in satisfaction behind her. "I promise, though, that I won't look at it until I return in two weeks."

"Two weeks?!" Jackson yelled, standing up and staring at the screen as it continued.

"Now, if you'll excuse me, old Gasket wants me to tell his grandchildren some stories," the old man smiled. "I'll see you in two weeks." The message cut out, and the monotone voice--they couldn't afford an Intelligence on par with the Professor's--told them it was out of messages.

Danielle sat back down, a small smile still touching her lips. "I suppose two weeks isn't much," she said mostly to herself, and felt Henry's hands on her shoulders. She looked up at him.

"Good," he smiled down at her, "Now you can stop driving me nuts." He patted her shoulder, and headed off to get himself cleaned up.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:47 pm 
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Chapter 9 - Twilight

Those two weeks passed faster than Jones thought they would, but far slower than Jackson hoped. She spent the bulk of the time researching anything she could, information on The Lights and the Wily Wars, trying to corroborate what she'd heard on the recording. It wasn't easy; most of the information was either apocryphal or missing. In the thousands of years since the events may or may not have happened, both sides of the conflict had ascended to almost mythical status.

As such, almost any account of the events that couldn't be verified as a first or second party source was suspect, to say the least, with wild variations between the many different versions. Some versions of the tail, she found, portrayed Doctor Thomas Light as a conflicted idealist, who strove his whole life to create a better world, where robots and mankind could live together. Others portrayed him as a drunken lunatic, who drove Albert Wily to his "villainous" ways and made his advances by pure accident. Mega Man's portrayal varied as well; the only real consistent between the different versions was that he wore blue armor, with one notable and little known exception which misidentified him as a green dwarf of some sort.

So, what was mainly left were the hard historical records. By the time Dr. Light began his work, hardcopies were beginning to be phased out as a way of archiving records, as society gravitated toward newer electronic archives. These, unfortunately, did not have quite the durability people believed they would, so there wasn't much that survived by the present day. Nonetheless, some records had survived, and they were readily available on the networks. Jackson, like most interested in Earth, had studied them intensely during her life, but she couldn't help being taken in at times by the more dramatic tellings, themselves less concerned with accuracy.

As she studied, she found nothing in the verifiable records that contradicted what the recording had said. Of course, very little information had survived about The Prototype, except that he had existed, and assisted Mega Man at various points. Almost nothing else was known. It was generally assumed, of course, that he died around the same time as Dr. Light and Mega Man were last seen, if not shortly after; there were some accounts of his being active after Mega Man disappeared, but they couldn't be verified. Robots in those times, she knew, required more maintenance, and much of the scientific community believed once Dr. Light was gone, there wouldn't have been anyone around to properly service the robots he'd created.

But while she could find nothing that conflicted with the recording's account, neither could she find anything that verified it as true. Perhaps, she thought as she scanned through the archives, once she'd heard the rest of the recording, she'd recognize something more definitive.

For his part, Henry didn't bother her while she did the research. He recognized how singleminded she could get, and stayed out of her way, offering her some occasional sustenance as she worked at her station. He accompanied her when Professor Thompson's transport landed, and they drove back to his apartment; it was all Thompson and Jones could do to convince Jackson to wait until they were at the apartment before tearing into the newly recharged machine.

The apartment's Intelligence greeted them, opening the door as Thompson and Jones brought the professor's luggage, and a few other items, into the apartment. Jackson carried in the machine, and set it down on the table in the center of the living room.

"Before you turn that on, Danielle," Thompson began, and smiled inwardly at Jackson's look, "I think I can improve the output. Give me a moment." He moved toward one of the boxes Jones brought in, and took out a box with wires protruding from it. "Stereo speakers, as I understand it, have been out of style for quite awhile, but this adapter ought to give us a better sound."

She watched as he applied the adapter to the machine. Jackson looked at him impatiently, and he chuckled. "Yes, go ahead and turn it on." Thompson sat down in the chair at the side of the room, and Jones took a place on the sofa. Jackson opened the machine, and typed away at the buttons until it blinked on, and a voice filled the room.

"I was the first..." the voice began, and Jackson bent down again over the machine, her fingers moving toward the keys.

"What are you doing?" the professor asked, and she stopped, looking back at him.

"We've already heard all of this, I'm going to skip ahead," she said matter-of-factly. Thompson shook his head.

"You may have, but I'm afraid I kept my promise, so I haven't," he spread his hands, "So please, just let it run."

She looked guiltily at him, "I'm sorry, Professor." She nodded, and sat back down as the recording played back from the beginning. As it played, Jones and Jackson watched Thompson. The professor simply listened, a thoughtful expression on his face. He nodded at a couple points, as if ticking off a list; no doubt he'd done similar research into The Prototype, Jackson reasoned. Once or twice, a smile touched his lips as the voice continued to narrate.

Jackson then perked up as she realized the recording was resuming where it left off those weeks ago.

--------------------------------

A few years after Wily had built Bass and Treble, it became obvious he didn't really have any control over them. Bass tended to hang around Wily's fortresses, and would just pop out to challenge Mega Man every once in awhile. It was during one of these fights that Dr. Light heard of a meteor strike, which was radiating a strange energy signature. We didn't know it at the time, but this would eventually spell the end of my family.

When Dr. Light first got word of it, he sent Mega Man to the island where the "meteor" had fallen. It turned out to be some sort of dumping ground for Wily's old projects, which should have been the first clue that something would go bad. As it turned out, the old man got to the crater just before Mega Man did, and made off with one of the meteors. Of course, it wasn't actually a meteor. The two meteors were actually alien robots that had been fighting somewhere near Jupiter before crashing to Earth, we would later learn.

Though Wily got away with one of the robots, Dr. Light recovered the other one, and did what repairs he could. When the robot awoke, it broke out of Dr. Light's lab, and made a beeline for Wily's fortress. I spotted it, and warned Mega Man, thinking at the time it was another of Wily's tricks. As it turned out, the robot Dr. Light recovered was friendly, a being made out of what the good Doctor dubbed "light energy" sent to eradicate what Duo called "evil energy." The other robot had been made of the stuff, and Wily put it into his latest batch of robots.

As usual, Mega Man took out the robots easily, working with Duo to get rid of the Evil Energy. But as it turned out, Wily's usual crew of robots weren't the only ones to get the upgrade. Bass got ahold of the stuff, and used it against Mega Man. Bass still fell in the end, and once Mega Man beat Dr. Wily again, we thought that was it.

For a little while, Duo stayed with us. Dr. Light interviewed him, and Duo even let him have a sample of his Light Energy to study after he left.

We thought that would be the end of it. And, for a while, it was. Oh, Wily tried a couple more times to do the whole "take over the world" thing. The closest he came was with his King project. King was the strongest robot he'd ever built, at the time anyway, and it took myself, Mega Man, and even Bass working together to stop Wily's plot that time. During those fights, I saw that Bass still had the Evil Energy inside him. It helped during the battle, so I didn't call any attention to it. Knowing what I do now...I was wrong.

Years later, Wily sent an army of his old robots to attack New York City. I went to investigate, and found something interesting. Wily seemed to be baiting Mega Man. His robots' weapon modules included the coordinates to his latest base. Wily was a lot of things, but he wasn't that careless. He wanted Mega Man to find him. I eventually ran into X--Dr. Light finished him earlier than he thought he would, I guessed--and Mega Man, and warned them about Wily, before leaving the rest of the city to them.

I followed the coordinates; they led to the southwest, in the middle of the desert. Wily didn't even have a shield up; I could walk right in. I was already apprehensive, so I moved cautiously through the area. The usual flimsy defenses were there; a few cannons, and the odd "upgrade" to Guts Man. Before I could get too deep inside, though, I was confronted by Bass and Treble.

"You're not getting any further," he told me, Treble growling beside him.

"I thought you stopped working with Wily," I answered, reaching back to get ahold of my shield. There was an odd look in his eyes, wilder than ever before. I hadn't seen him since the King battle, but I could tell he'd changed.

"I did," he replied icily. "I don't care one bit about him. He's got some new girly looking robot that he says is going to kill Mega Man. I can't let that happen." Treble stepped beside him, and his hand transformed to his buster. I pulled the shield in front of me.

"So what are you doing here?" I asked from behind my shield.

"Mega Man's going to find this place eventually. I'm going to kill him before Wily's robot ever gets the chance!" he shouted. There was a manic glee on his face.

"He's beaten you every other time," I smirked, less cautious than I should have been, "What makes you think this'll be any different?"

"I've been..." he paused, then smiled a ghastly grin, "...practicing." He raised the buster, aiming it at my shield.

"Let me pass, then. I'll take care of Wily's robot, one way or another."

"Not a chance," he spat. "You stop Wily, Mega Man won't come here. And I can't let you go, either...you'll warn him not to come. It's a shame you had to get involved. My quarrel isn't with you, but..." he paused, almost thoughtful, "Oh well." He opened fire on me, a purple burst of Evil Energy emerging from his buster.

I ducked behind my shield, and though it cushioned the blow, I was knocked off my feet. He'd gotten stronger than before, stronger than I'd ever seen him. I used to be able to keep up with him. Now, it was all I could do to keep out of the way of his attacks. He'd grown too fast for me. Before long, I was entirely on the defensive, and he blindsided me with a kick. I went flying, and found myself embedded in the rock wall.

Then I shut down. I could feel myself slowing down as I was stuck in the wall. I was terrified; I had no idea if I'd ever wake up. I thought I'd be stuck in the rock wall forever.

I don't know how long I was out. I had a more primitive auto-repair system than either Mega Man or Roll. I pried myself free, and dropped back to the ground. Somehow, I knew something was wrong. I ran into Wily's fortress, hoping I wasn't too late, as I caught up to where Bass first confronted me.

Laying in the middle of the room where the broken bodies of Mega Man and Rush.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:24 am 
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Chapter 10 - Desperation

There have been a few hard times that served to remind me, with all the subtlety of Guts Man, that despite appearances, I am not a human, but a robot, at heart--you know what I mean--a machine. Seeing the broken bodies of Mega Man and Rush was one of those times.

For several minutes, I simply stood staring at the two of them lying there. If I were human, or even one of the reploids that came after X, I would have cried. I couldn't. A part of me may have wanted to, but as the prototype, I didn't get even the nice touches that graced my brother and sister.

After awhile, I snapped out of it, something boiling inside of me. I ran into the fortress, looking for Bass. I knew, deep down, that I couldn't beat him. He'd already beaten me once, and if he could beat Mega Man, I knew he'd beat me. But if there was even a chance that I could take him out, make him pay, I would take it. I didn't even stop to see how the autorepairs went; for all I knew I would drop dead right there. But I had to find him.

It didn't take long to find him, what little was left of him. As I ran toward Wily's lab, my olfactory sensors picked up a scent I recognized from that night long ago, when I put the guard in the hospital. Blood. I was sure that Bass had finally lost it, and killed Wily, and I'm ashamed to say I found some satisfaction, at the time, that Wily had been dealt with. It was his fault Mega Man was dead, after all, since he created Bass.

I dove shield first into the room, scanning for the bastard robot, but was met with an eerie silence. I scanned the room, and saw Wily's remains: he'd been vaporized from the waist down, and lay staring up at the ceiling. The blood on and around him had dried; he must have been dead for several days by the time I got there.

Near where he stood was another burn mark, as if something huge, a bomb or something, had gone off. I didn't notice for a second the pair of white foot parts standing at the center: Bass was already dead. A part of me was angry that someone had gotten to him before me. But at the same time, at least he had been stopped.

I stopped for a moment. If Wily had been killed by Bass, who did in finhead? In the corner was a capsule, much like the one that would hold X, but the red robot inside had not been activated. Realization came over me as I looked at the yellow haired robot: X must have done it. A mixture of regret and relief came over me...another of my brothers would spend his life fighting, but there would be a hero to take on Mega Man's mission.

I wondered, though, why X had left Mega Man's body there. I collected the pieces that I could, and teleported back to Dr. Light's lab, or at least where it had been. By the time I arrived, it was a blasted out husk, cordoned off with yellow tape, with the windows shattered out of their frames. By a stroke of luck, it was already late at night; I leaned my brother against a wall, and sneaked in. Inside there wasn't much. The computers had been battered, as well as the equipment. A red smear along the floor in front of the main console confirmed my fears. I could find no sign of Roll, except what looked like a patch of her dress, across the room. I searched the room for how this could have happened, but nothing came to me.

There was no sign of X either. Could he have been destroyed in the attack too? I found out much later that Dr. Light had stashed him away for...testing. I wasn't able to find anything at Dr. Light's lab, so I took Mega Man's body to the only person I knew who might have a chance at rebuilding him.

I landed at Dr. Cossack's home, on the outskirts of Moscow, somewhere around noon. I rang the doorbell, and was met by Kalinka. It had been years since I last saw her; she stood head and shoulders over me now, and her smile at recognizing me faded as her eyes moved to my brother.

We stood in silence for a few moments as she searched for words. "We..." she began in Russian, "Father and I just returned from the United States. When we did not see you at the funeral, I was afraid..." she trailed off. So Dr. Light was really dead. It was almost impossible to believe.

"What happened?" my tinny voice came out quiet. She looked at me a moment before she answered.

"Come inside," she stood to the side and held the door open as I passed through. When I was inside, she walked past me, "Come to Father's laboratory. He is teaching at the University now, but he will be home soon." Before long, we made it to the lab, and I put Mega Man's body on the center table. I looked away from his broken body, and turned to Kalinka. Tears rimmed her eyes as she looked at me. Dr. Light was a friend to her and Dr. Cossack, and for a moment I envied her; I couldn't feel as she did, I couldn't even release the emotions I didn't have. I was helpless against it all, there was nothing for me to fight, nothing for me to do.

"What happened?" I repeated, my back to my broken brother.

"We're not sure," she said, raising a hand to wipe her eyes. "There was an explosion at Dr. Light's residence two weeks ago. I only know what I saw on the news," she paused. "Everyone thought it was Dr. Wily, but in the days after, Wily made no appearances."

"That's because he's dead," I said flatly. I saw fear in her eyes; her father had crossed Wily as well, she must have feared an attack. Her eyebrows rose as I said it, a look of relief crossing her features. "I think Bass killed him, but Bass was destroyed too."

She nodded and crossed her arms. "The police and fire officials went immediately to the lab, but there was nothing they could do. The explosion killed Dr. Light instantly, and they found Roll embedded in the lab's wall..." she trailed off. I suppose she expected me to break down, but it wasn't going to happen. She looked at me for a few long moments, growing uncomfortable at my apparent lack of emotion.

She turned away from me and continued, "The funeral was two days after they recovered the bodies. We flew in for it...it was on all the television stations. There is talk of making his birthday a holiday, I believe," she added with a sad smile. "After the funeral, Father and some of Dr. Light's other friends came together, and examined Roll. None of them could help her...she had not been built for combat like you or Mega Man. Her memory core shattered from the impact of the explosion. I am sorry," she finished softly.

I was the last, then. I looked to Mega Man. Maybe...maybe Dr. Cossack could save him, I thought. I turned back to Kalinka. "What did they do with Roll's body?" I could hear my tinny voice synthesizer cracking. It must have still been damaged, I thought.

"She was buried beside Dr. Light," she paused. "Father insisted it was only right. She was more than some machine to Dr. Light, he said."

"She was," I interrupted. "He thought of her...of all three of us, as his children." I looked back at Mega Man. "Do you think your father can save Mega Man?" She looked past me at the wrecked blue armor, the half crushed head, the frayed synthetic hair.

"I do not know," she said flatly. "We will see when he returns. Will you wait?"

"I..." I paused, and turned back to her. "I have nowhere else to go." She nodded, and motioned for me to follow her back into the main part of the house. "I have some homework I have to do," she said as we walked, "If you need anything, just let me know."

I nodded silently, then walked into their living room. Set up in the corner was a computer terminal. I logged in, and searched for everything I could find on the explosion in Dr. Light's lab. There were hundreds of sites already speculating. As Kalinka said, many assumed Wily was behind it, and everyone was speculating when he might take advantage of it. Nobody had been able to recover the surveillance video from Dr. Light's computers yet. There was footage of the funeral. The President had some kind words to say about him, apparently.

There were other sites speculating on the fate of their hero, Mega Man. Where was he? Was he killed in the explosion? Did Wily finally get him? Whatever happened to the Blue Bomber?

As I searched longer, I found some had developed other theories on what happened...some said Mega Man had gone haywire and was the cause of it, and might to on a killing spree at any time. I gritted my teeth as I read the anti-robot diatribes, decrying Dr. Light's life's work. I even found some places where they thought I was behind it. An old crackpot frames you once, and you just can't live it down, apparently. Well, if you're a robot, at least. There was nothing on any of the sites about X; understandable, Dr. Light hadn't unveiled him to the world yet, but it was still strange to me.

Eventually, Dr. Cossack came in the door, his eyes wide in shock as he saw me. I turned to him as Kalinka rushed down the stairs to greet him. "Proto Man," he stammered, "It...it is good to see you are safe." He put his things down and walked to me.

"Hello Dr. Cossack," I answered him. He was searching my face for emotion, just as his daughter had. I decided to just dive right in, "I've brought Mega Man's body. Can you fix him?"

The old Russian's mouth opened a moment before closing again. He was thinking quickly, as if trying to work out a problem. "Where did you find his body? None of the rescue workers were able to find a trace of him..." he trailed off.

"He wasn't in Dr. Light's lab. He was in Wily's," I paused. "That's where Bass killed him." I saw a look of concern cross his face, then recede when I told him what befell Bass and Dr. Wily.

"It is for the best," he said after a moment's consideration. "Take me to Mega Man," he added, nodding to me. Kalinka led the way back to the lab as we walked silently. I could tell the last couple of weeks had been hard on them, with uncertainty and fear they were next on Wily's hit list.

When we arrived at the lab, Dr. Cossack looked at Mega Man's body. His face twisted as he examined the broken body, and took some instruments from a tray near the table. "It will take me awhile to determine if there is anything I can do," he said as he examined Mega Man, "and I do not work as well when I am being watched," he added with a sad smile. Kalinka took hold of my arm and nodded toward the exit. I looked from her to my brother, laying on the table, for a long few seconds before I relented, and let her lead me back to the living room.

She sat down on the couch in front of the television, "He will do everything he can," she tried to assure me as I stayed standing, looking back the way we came.

"I should have been able to save them," I said after several minutes which must have been uncomfortable for her. She looked up at me, and I continued. "I...I think I know what happened." Her eyebrow curled in confusion at me.

"Mega Man had X with him, Dr. Light's newest robot, when he went to stop Dr. Wily. Bass must have confronted them...I think Mega Man sent X on ahead. Mega Man had beaten Bass every other time they fought, so he probably thought he could this time too...but Bass was too strong for him this time," I shook my head. "I...I don't know what happened after that, but Bass and Wily ended up dead, and X wasn't there."

"But what about Dr. Light's lab?" she asked.

"I think Wily had some kind of failsafe...A few years ago, he had a timer that let his robot masters loose when he was in jail. He must have had something like that to retaliate against Dr. Light in the event Mega Man killed him. It's the only explanation I can think of."

"You couldn't have known that," she stood up, and put a hand on my shoulder. "There's no way you could have known."

"No," I agreed, "but I knew how strong Bass was. I went to Wily's fortress ahead of Mega Man. When Bass got the better of me, I should have just teleported away. I could have warned them, and this -SXHT- wouldn't have happened," I stopped and turned away as I heard my voice falter like that. I hadn't even thought to check my status since I came back online. Kalinka looked at me, concern over her features.

"I'll get Father," she said quickly, before running out of the room. Before long, I was back in his lab on an examination table. One diagnostic later, and he had determined I had minor failures all throughout my body. I was thankful when he said he wouldn't have to shut me down. Mega Man wasn't so lucky. After he tried for several days, he determined Mega Man couldn't be saved. Bass must have gone out of his way to destroy his memory core.

Afterward, I took the body, and left the body in Dr. Light's lab, sneaking back out after I attracted the attention of some of the salvage workers. Soon after, he was buried alongside Roll. There were more newscasts and television specials looking back at his career. It went on for months, as Dr. Light and Mega Man were lionized in the eyes of the public. Things seemed to be calming down, until a few months later, what I later realized was exactly six months after Wily was killed.

That's when Robot Masters started showing up by the dozens, looking for their dead master.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:07 am 
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Chapter 11 - Sacrifice

Really, we should have seen it coming. Wily had pulled a similar trick a few years before, after Mega Man captured after that whole Mr. X thing. Six months after he'd been captured, a new set of robots tracked him down and busted him out. He must have had another set ready to go, and they showed up in San Francisco of all places first.

Just like the attack that first led to Mega Man's death, these were all old model Robot Masters, which was a small comfort. It was midnight on the west coast when they first attacked, and they'd leveled a good chunk of the city before the army could move in and start evacuating people. As soon as I saw the news, I teleported to the front lines before Kalinka could finish her protests. The commander, a General Fodder, was relieved to see me, though I could tell from the look in his eyes he'd have rather had someone in blue.

I suppose I still felt responsible on some level for what was happening, so I told him to pull his men out, and I would take care of it. He offered to send in tanks, and even a few of the new Power Suited Mobile Infantry units, but I wouldn't have people dying while I could prevent it. I'd read up on their new technology, but I knew it wouldn't save them in a prolonged engagement.

I ran into the city, and I could hear cheers from the evacuating civilians. With my brother gone, I suppose they needed a new hero. I have to admit, I kind of liked the feeling. I'd been in the shadows my whole life...hell, these people thought I was just like Wily, once...but the cheers at my back felt good.

I plowed through the smaller 'bots easily enough. The usual assortment of metools and other little buggers accompanied the larger Robot Masters. Soon enough, I ran into more of Wily's older robots, Cut Man, Ice Man, Flame Man, and Guts Man had camped out on the top of Lumbar Street, taking turns at destroying the surrounding buildings and tearing up the asphalt.

Cut Man went down easily enough, and the other three gave me a little more trouble. The area had been evacuated, so I didn't have to worry much about holding back. I didn't want to. I couldn't let Wily wreck the world like this, from beyond the grave. Luckily for me, Wily had never bothered to upgrade the first series of robots' AI. The same tricks still worked, and before long, I'd taken them down. On a hunch, I grabbed their weapons, then helped the military mop up the smaller robots still wandering around the city.

After I completed one last sweep, I was besieged by reporters. I may have liked the adoration of the crowd, but I wasn't quite prepared to do any interviews, so I teleported back to Moscow. Kalinka had been watching the coverage, she said, and had been worried sick. For a moment, I was reminded of Roll, and how she told me she felt every time Mega Man went out to fight. She only looked more worried when I paused, lost in reminiscence, then insisted on scanning me. I'd gotten through the battle with minimal injuries, nothing my autorepair couldn't handle.

I later found out she hadn't scanned me to check my battle damage. Rather, that was the excuse she used to keep checking up on my reactor. Turns out, of course, that Dr. Light was right. The core was growing more and more unstable, and would probably stop functioning within a few months, in the best case scenario.

Worst case, of course, was that I would explode, and take out everything within a mile radius. A week after the first attack, she told me about what she found on her scans. And, for a few days, I was considering letting her shut me down to have Dr. Cossack repair it, or replace it. I didn't get the chance, though. We had hoped that that first attack would be it, but it turned out some of Wily's bots were smarter than I gave them credit for.

A duplicate of Flame Man had escaped San Francisco, and retreated to one of Wily's other hidden fortresses. Before long, another set was attacking Salt Lake City, and I had to go back out and fight. Over the following few weeks, Robot Masters sprung up all over the world, from Chile to Barcelona, to Tokyo. I was hopping all over the planet, putting out fires as quickly as I could. For the most part, I was able to avoid major damage, but the constant battle started wearing me down.

Dr. Cossack, with Kalinka assisting him, patched me up between fights, but it was getting to be too much. Between fire fights, people around the world were growing more and more distrustful of robots in general. There were ever growing sectors calling for the dismantling of all robots, before they "rise up and kill us all." Televangelists in particular seemed to be whipping up a storm, and the politicians were getting into it as well.

It reached a head several months after that first attack, when all of a sudden the Robot Masters disappeared. A part of me hoped I'd been able to put down the last of them, but I knew it couldn't be that simple. In the absence of the Robot Masters, small groups were taking to the streets, vandalizing the robotic workers that Dr. Light's labs had been making for the last few years. Government leaders called for calm, for the attacks to end, while others praised the vandals. If I'd had a stomach, it would have made me sick.

Unfortunately, we soon found out just where the Robot Masters had gone. As I watched the news one day, I was surprised to see King take over the screen. But he looked different from when he fought Mega Man and Bass; it must have been the King MkII. Wily must have had back-ups of the plans I had destroyed in his lab. He hijacked the television stations, and announced he and his robot brethren were laying claim to the northwest United States, and would be marching against the rest of the country as revenge for the attacks on robots.

The first pictures from his strong hold showed the size of his army. Hundreds of Robot Masters of all types had rallied behind King, and the US Military was already mobilizing in response. Though it was easy to see the threat they posed, the government balked at using their nuclear arsenal on its own soil, preferring to lay siege to King's rapidly growing fortress.

As the conflict escalated, the anti-robot advocates grew more rabid. Dr. Cossack, Kalinka and I watched King's last warning address to the world at large, and I knew I couldn't sit it out.

"There's too many of them," Kalinka told me, grabbing a hold of my arm, "Let your military handle this. You've fought enough for them!" I turned to look at her, tears in her eyes. I wanted to reassure her, but she was right. It was far more robots than even Mega Man had ever faced all at once, and these were organized, not like the rampaging 'bots from the previous months.

But like I said, I couldn't just stand by. I shook my arm loose from her grip, and teleported to the forward command center, scaring the sentry on watch half to death. He raised his weapon at me, and shouted for me to stand down before General Fodder set him at ease.

"Didn't expect to see you here," he said, drawing on a cigar, "But it's good you decided to come. We're going to need the help." I nodded in acknowledgment before following him into the briefing room. The other leaders looked apprehensive at my presence. I don't know whether it was because I was a robot, or because, for all my experience, I still looked like a 10-year-old boy in a Halloween costume, but I could tell they weren't comfortable with me in the room.

Before long, we hashed out a plan. The bulk of the military's forces would begin the assault by pounding at the assembled Robot Masters with heavy artillery, with strafing runs by the air force. The hope was it would draw the attention of the bulk of King's forces, while I and a squad of the newest top of the line PSMI Troopers would be dropped by a stealth bomber far behind King's front lines. Our mission was simple enough: Find King and destroy him. The hope was, without their leader, the Robot Masters would revert to their regular mindless rampaging, making them easier for the military to handle.

It wasn't the best plan. In fact, looking back, I'd say it was probably a stretch to even call it a good plan. I looked at the four men, bundled in thick armor, bristling with weaponry, and I knew the odds were we'd all be dead by the end of the day.

The bombardment was already well underway when the bomber flew us out over the robot horde. We were sent down in special drop pods, more armored and difficult to spot--and shoot down--than traditional paratroopers. One of the pods malfunctioned on the way down, and the trooper inside plummeted into one of the buildings surrounding King's central tower, erupting in an inferno that must have killed him instantly.

The rest of us landed more or less where we'd meant to, close to the base of the tower. We were far enough behind the enemy lines that only a few stragglers even noticed us. We took them down easily enough, the PSMI troopers laying down a good amount of fire. One or two, I thought bitterly, might actually survive.

Together, we breached the perimeter of the tower, and made our way up. Instead of the run-of-the-mill Robot Masters waiting outside the tower, inside were some of Wily's old fortress guardians. The first few we made short work of, but they were wearing us down. The dragon pinned one of the squad under some debris. As we finished the dragon off, we stopped to check on the wounded man.

His power suit had managed to stop the bleeding, and he was already receiving anesthetic. We couldn't leave him in the tower like that, but he was too injured to take with us. The squad leader ordered the other member to escort the wounded man out of the tower, while we continued onward to take on King.

In our one lucky break that day, we ran into little resistance on the rest of the way up the tower, until we found King himself, waiting for us.

As we stepped into the room, he stood up from his makeshift throne and spread his arms, "Ah, Proto Man! I was wondering when you might arrive."

The trooper and I stood with our weapons leveled at King, anticipating an attack. Instead, he kept talking.

"Why have you come here, though?" he said with a flourish of his hand. "You are one of us, after all. Why do you fight us? Why side with the humans, who just want to destroy us?"

"You were built by a madman, that's why," I pointed my buster at his face, "And you're threatening the humans. I can't let you kill them. I owe that to Dr. Light."

King laughed, and turned away from us. "You Light robots and your idealism. We were made to rule, not to serve. If you can't see that, then I'm sorry." Quicker than either of us could react, he turned, hurling an energy bolt at the trooper. It hit him square in the chest, sending him tumbling along the ground, his armor smoking and dented.

Without thinking, I flew at him, firing a barrage of blasts from my buster. He raised his shield, deflecting the bulk of my attacks, and we continued to send volleys of attacks at each other. When Mega Man and Bass had fought the first King, I was able to destroy his shield, but only by overloading my buster. If I tried it this time, there was nobody else around to finish the job.

We continued to duel, but it became quickly apparent he was the better. Wily, I had to admit, had improved on the original design. I was pinned down, hiding under my shield, when it was ripped away from me, and King lifted me up by the neck. I tried firing my buster at him, but he gripped my arm in his other hand, aiming it away.

"You could have ruled by my side, Proto Man," he told me as he slammed my body against the walls. "You should have taken my offer. Good bye." He raised his fist to finish me off, but didn't get the chance to bring it back down.

The trooper had recovered while I was fighting King, and fired his own buster at full strength, knocking King to the ground. The impact must have damaged King's shield generator too. As I got back to my feet, I nodded a thank you to the trooper before we renewed our attack on King. Without his shield, he was still a formidable opponent. Together we were able, just barely, to hold our own.

I knew we couldn't just hold at a stalemate. King would take us down eventually. I was already getting failure and error messages, and the Trooper was no doubt getting tired as well. The chatter coming in through my helmet's receiver told me that the fight outside wasn't going any better. I knew we had to end it, and soon. And I knew only one way to do that.

I motioned to the Trooper to get out, while I charged King directly, charging my buster the whole way. Before he left, he provided some cover fire, but still some of King's attacks made it past my shield, chipping away at my outer shell. At the last moment, I leaped, warnings flashing in my visor that my buster was about to overload until I was face to face with King and I released the charge.

From the news reports I found later, all anyone on the outside saw was a bright flash of light, and when it subsided, the top floors of the tower were blown off. I lay in the rubble, unable to move. My buster arm had blown off entirely, and my damage readings were screaming at me. I looked, but I couldn't see King from where I lay, and I hoped he'd been destroyed by my blast.

Pinned beneath the rubble, I knew that it was over for me. Even if the military was able to get to me in time, I had my doubts that the anti-robot constituency would let them bring me back online. I was prepared to join my brother and sister, wherever us dead robots go, when all of a sudden I found myself back in Moscow. Kalinka was looking down at me, tears streaming down her face as she tried to reassure me that everything would be alright. I opened my mouth to speak, but only a garbled, staticy mess came out before I faded and finally shut down.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

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Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:22 am 
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Chapter 12 - Questions

Professor Thompson's fingers tapped across the keyboard before the tinny voice could resume its story, and the Professor stood up, stretching.

"What are you doing?" Danielle blurted out, a touch of anger in her voice as she rose. She caught herself as Professor Thompson looked over at her. "I mean," she said more quietly, "Don't you want to hear the rest of it?"

The old man smiled at her, his eyes bright. "Of course I do," he began, with a shrug, "But this is as good a place to take a break as any, and I'm starving." He turned his head toward the kitchen, and said somewhat louder, "How about pot roast?"

A moment later, the Intelligence's soprano voice answered, "Certainly, Professor. It will be ready in a few moments."

"No, no, nevermind," Thompson waved his hand in the air, then looked back at his companions. "How about something simpler, like pizza? Does that sound good to everybody?" Danielle muttered a "sure," and Henry just nodded, having stayed on the sofa.

"Good!" He announced with a tinge of satisfaction. "We'll have a large pie, pepperoni and sausage, deep dish."

The Intelligence chirped, "Very well. It will be ready in a few moments."

"Thank you," Professor Thompson replied, taking a seat back in his chair. He turned to Danielle, had settled back in her seat, resigned to wait for the pizza. Despite her eagerness to hear the rest of the recording, she had to admit she was hungry. She was also curious...

"What do you think of it so far, Professor?" She asked, leaning toward him from her spot on the sofa.

"Of the recording? Hm..." He sat up, and rubbed his chin with a hand. "Well, off the top of my head I can think of nothing in my research that contradicts it," he said after a few moments.

"So do you think it's real?" Danielle prodded. Professor Thompson smiled and chuckled.

"Now, I didn't say that," he began, "I know how firmly you believe in these things, Danielle. But if anything I've taught you is going to stick, let it be that a little bit of skepticism is a good thing. You need to have some sort of proof, otherwise there's a bridge I'd like to sell you."

Danielle opened her mouth to speak, then paused, her eyebrows crinkling in confusion. Seeing her expression, Professor Thompson laughed.

"It is an old expression," he said, shaking his head, "It's about gullibility. My point is, unless we find some kind of verification for this, it is no more credible than the other apocrypha surrounding the Light Family."

"Well," Henry spoke up, to the surprise of both Danielle and Professor Thompson, "Just what kind of proof are we going to find to verify something like this?" He scratched the back of his head, "I mean it's not like we're going to find a signed certificate saying, 'Yes, I am Proto Man and I approve this message.' So what kind of proof is there?"

"That, my boy, is the crux of the problem," Professor Thompson said with a shrug. "Certainly, the fact it was found on such an old machine lends some credence to it, but we'd need some sort of corroborating evidence for it to truly hold water."

"But there's so little known about the Prototype as it is," Danielle said with a little disappointment. "Hell, there's quite a few people who think he was just a myth."

"True, true," Professor Thompson agreed. "Now, we at least have evidence that he existed. But you're right. There is very little written, or recorded about him. Of course, if this recording is true, we would now know why that is. Of course, the recording itself brings to mind another question."

"Huh?" Danielle looked at the Professor, confused. "What do you mean?"

"Well, he was a robot, yes?" Thompson began, "So, his mind was a computer. If he had wanted a record of his life, why not simply upload his own memory? Why use more time to record an audio message like this?"

He looked at Danielle and Henry, but neither offered an answer. Danielle and Henry looked at one another, and shrugged helplessly. Jackson turned to the Professor, finally, "I don't know...maybe the laptop wouldn't have had enough memory for that?" she offered weakly.

"That's certainly a possibility," Professor Thompson agreed. "But then, he no doubt had access to larger computer systems than this." He paused, and looked at the laptop for a moment before continuing. "Perhaps, though, he no longer thought of himself as a robot when he recorded this," he said finally, with a smile.

Both Danielle and Henry quirked their eyebrows at the Professor, before he continued. "You noticed he repeatedly makes reference to the emotions he would have felt. He claimed not to have truly felt anything, and perhaps that was true. But at the same time, he is quite aware that he did not truly feel anything. Most robots of that era, even the fabled Mega Man, would not have had that same awareness." He stopped for a moment to let it sink in, before asking, "Now, what does this suggest?"

"Well," Henry spoke up first, "there are some who've speculated that Proto Man was built later than we believe, as a prototype for X and the reploid race, rather than the first robots."

"Yes, there is that," Thompson nodded, "but if this recording is real, it would suggest those theories are wrong. He's clearly identified himself as predating Rock and the Robot Masters."

Danielle spoke up next, "Well...depending on when this was recorded, he might have upgraded himself. There are some that speculate he was alive even during the Sigma Wars, during the Eurasia Crisis."

"That is a possibility," Thompson agreed. "But consider his fear, if it can be called that, of being shut down. It seems unlikely to me he would allow his memory core, his mind to be switched out in such a way, especially given the technology of the time, which would have made it difficult, if not impossible, to transfer his mind into a reploid processor and keep it intact."

"Well," Danielle said, trying to hide her impatience, "Why do you think he did it, then?"

The Professor smiled at his pupil. "I haven't the slightest idea," he said through his smirk, "But these are the kinds of questions you'll need to think about if this is going to be taken seriously."

"Professor, the pizza is ready," the Intelligence chimed in as the fabricator's door opened, and the steaming circle of bread, sauce and meat slid forward onto the table.

"Ah, thank you," Professor Thompson said as he rose to collect the food. "Oh, and I think we'll be needing drinks as well."

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 4:59 am 
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Chapter 13 - Clean Slate

Professor Thompson poured himself another glass of clear liquid as Henry and Danielle continued to eat. Danielle looked up at her mentor, and grinned, "People don't usually drink vodka with pizza, Professor."

Thompson smiled, lifting the glass to his lips, "Oh, really? You didn't go to the right University, then." He strode back to his chair, "Besides, you've about finished the pizza anyway." He saw Danielle's eyes move toward the Laptop, and he laughed, "Yes, you can put the recording back on," he said, waving with his free hand. He sipped once more from the glass as she returned to the laptop and tapped the keys. After a few seconds of silence, the Prototype's tin-edged voice again filled the room.

--------------------------------

The first thing I really remember after that moment was Kalinka's face. There had been flashes before then, but nothing solid. A word here and there, brief images of the laboratory, and both the Cossacks looking over me. But Kalinka's face, looking hopefully at mine, remained and came into focus.

Her hair was longer than when I'd last saw her. She looked down in my face, the hope in her eyes shifting to worry as I lay silently on the examination table.

"Proto Man? Do you remember who I am? Who you are?" she said slowly, as if talking to a child. My eyes focused on hers, and I opened my mouth to speak.

To my surprise, the words came out clear. "Kalinka," I said tentatively. "Yes, I remember," I said with a little more confidence, and before I could continue she threw her arms around me, and I heard her whisper, "Thank God."

She released me from the embrace, then stood back off the examination table. "You were...very badly damaged, when I recalled you here," she said as I sat up and looked around the lab. It was disheveled, in stark contrast to the organized laboratory Dr. Cossack had maintained previously. She looked somewhat guilty as she continued, "I was monitoring you from here during the battle. I could not tell exactly what was happening, but...I knew you were heavily damaged, and I brought you back here."

"Did it work?" I said, half to myself. She looked at me, a puzzled expression on her brow.

"Yes, of course it did. You came back here--" she began, and I shook my head.

"No. I meant, is King dead? Did we do it?" I had to know whether I'd really done any good back there.

"Yes," she said finally. "King was destroyed." I nodded, satisfied, and stood up from the table. I turned to look at Kalinka, and was slightly disoriented to find that I could now look at her eye-to-eye. I looked at her for a few moments before she realized why I was puzzled, and laughed.

"Oh, I should have told you," she began, stepping toward me, "In the months since that battle, Father and I made some modifications to your body. We replaced your reactor with a new, stable one and...well, we decided you didn't need to look like a child any more." She stopped, then looked around at the lab.

"Months?" I asked as she looked around. "Has," I began, "has anything happened since then?"

"No, thankfully," she said, still glancing around the room. Then, apparently realizing whatever she sought wasn't at hand, she reached into a pocket, "King had organized all the other Robot Masters; once he was dead, your military took care of them." She produced a small, square object, then flipped it open to show me it was a mirror. "Here, have a look," she said with a smile of satisfaction. As I gazed into the mirror, I knew why.

Up until then, I still had the first generation synthetic covering that Dr. Light and Wily had given me, and the early model optic sensors. Now, though, a handsome young man stared back at me from the mirror, with pale green eyes, and short cropped black hair. I put my hand to my face to confirm what my optic sensors were telling me. I looked down to see, instead of my grey and red armor, grey slacks and a black sweater. I looked back at Kalinka, and the question must have been clear on my face, because she answered it without me having to say anything.

"Father and I," she started, "we decided you deserved a chance at a peaceful life, now. You can start over."

I didn't know what to say. A normal life was something that happened to other people. But, I thought, maybe, this time, I'd earned it. I may not be the hero that Mega Man was, but I had done some good, so maybe I could settle down, now. Not that I'd ever planned to, but the idea had some appeal.

"Will you stay with us?" she asked quietly. I stood for a second before I answered.

"I suppose," I said with a shrug, "I don't have anywhere else to go, for now." She smiled, and touched my arm in a gesture of understanding.

"I'll go tell Father you've come online. We can work out the details later," she said as she left the lab.

After a few moments, I went to their living room, and returned to the computer console in the corner. They'd upgraded it since the last time I'd checked it. The first thing I did was confirm what Kalinka had told me; there had been no other sightings of Robot Masters since the battle. I was less at ease reading about what else had happened in the meantime. The anti-robot lobby had won out, it seemed, and in the US it was now illegal to develop Master-level AI. All robotic laborers were practically manually operated, now, and the factories creating Dr. Light's robots had all been shut down.

On one level, I couldn't blame them. Before, whenever us Robots ran amok, Wily had been behind it. Humans could tolerate the idea of a human with robots threatening them; they were just tools. The idea of robots, on their own, threatening people, was too much to handle for the average human.

Out of curiosity, I checked the coverage of the battle itself, and its aftermath. The sites were filled with videos, set to triumphant music, of the artillery barrages, and air attacks, as they blew apart the robot army. I looked into the battle with King, and found there wasn't any mention of me.

The four PSMI's, though, had been made into heroes. A quick check revealed that the commander, a Lieutenant Colonel John Rico, had been credited with destroying King, and had been on the interview circuit for the last few months. There were even rumblings of a movie about the battle. The other troopers were well represented: There was a tearful interview with the wife of the trooper whose pod malfunctioned, Major Dave "Dizzy" Flores, something in People about Corporal Dwayne Hicks, and updates on the condition of the one wounded in the battle, Captain Gulliver Foyle. General Fodder was apparently making a name for himself as a consultant for some 24 hour news channel or another.

A part of me was bitter at not being given credit; but then, I suppose I wasn't "officially" part of the mission, and they'd just outlawed robots like me. It would look bad to say they'd been saved by one. I looked at myself in the reflection of the screen. But then, now nobody could tell I was a robot.

Kalinka came down the stairs, and announced, "Father is still at the University, but he says he is overjoyed to hear you are well." I nodded, and got up from the computer. I looked around the room uncertainly.

"So," I said after a moment, "What happens now?"

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:10 am 
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Chapter 14 - New Beginnings

She smiled at me again, a smile I would soon come to categorize as her "I've done something clever" smile. "As a matter of fact," she said, leading me toward the sofa to sit down, "Father and I discussed what to do with you while we were busy doing repairs."

"Oh? What did you have in mind?" I said as I sat down. As I went down into the chair, I felt the soft cushions for what felt like the first time. Kalinka and Dr. Cossack had given me a full overhaul, which apparently included the newest top of the line tactile sensors, and pain receptors.

"Well, since you're going to be staying with us, Father said he could pull some strings, and you could pretend to be an exchange student from the United States," she said with that same smile. "You can go to classes if you wish, but you don't have to," I could tell from her expression that she wished she had the same option."

"I guess that sounds good," I nodded, "But what about after that? I can't be a student forever, you know."

She giggled, "There are some who seem to manage it, but you're right. We can cross that bridge when we come to it." She put her hand on mine, and for the first time I really felt her soft, warm skin on mine, "The important thing is that you can start your own life now. You don't have to fight any more." She gave me another hopeful smile, and I found myself returning it.

"Oh!" she chirped after a moment, "You'll need a name...Well, a human name."

I stopped to think. I'd never needed a name besides "Proto Man" before. I generally didn't hang around any one place for long enough for it to be an issue. I sat back on the couch and thought for a few moments. "Um...I think I want my first name to be Thomas," I said after a while. She nodded, a look of understanding on her face. "I'm, uh, not sure about a last name."

She rubbed her chin. "Well...you are the...son of Dr. Light, so...the English would be 'Thompson', wouldn't it?"

"Thomas Thompson?" I saw her smirk as she heard the name aloud, and I shook my head, "I don't think so." I looked around the room for some sort of inspiration, but found it lacking in any objects that would provide a suitable name. We sat and thought for a few minutes, before she spoke again.

"How about Isaac?"

"Why Isaac?" I asked, leaning forward from my seat.

"For Asimov. He wrote many stories about robotics, and is credited with creating the original Three Laws. Some say without him, robotics wouldn't have progressed as they did," she said as if reading from an encyclopedia, then smirked, "He is one of Father's favorite authors."

"Yeah, I think Dr. Light had some of his books in his study," I added. "Thomas Isaac. Sounds good."

So now I had a name and an identity I'd never had before. When classes began, I accompanied Kalinka in her studies. One of her classes was being taught by Dr. Cossack, which she was mildly embarrassed about, if only because he pointed her out on more than a couple occasions.

Besides the classes, we toured the surrounding town quite a bit. She introduced me to all of her friends, and soon I was just another part of their social circle. Most evenings were spent at the dinner table in Dr. Cossack's house, with the two of them taking turns telling me stories, mostly about Kalinka growing up, or the Doctor's own rowdy college days. I even ended up going on dates with one of Kalinka's girlfriends. Nothing ever worked out, of course, for one reason or another.

I found myself laughing and smiling more in those first few months than I could remember ever doing. I wondered to myself if this was how Rock and Roll felt living with Dr. Light...if I would have had the same relationship with them if I'd returned to live with them instead of wandering the world.

I felt, for the first time, that life was good, and at times I could even forget, or at least put it out of my mind, that my "real" family was dead and gone. I eventually settled into the school's computer program, and began working on a degree in robotics systems.

The years passed by quicker than I could have imagined, and it wasn't until after we'd both graduated that I came to the realization that Kalinka had fallen in love with me.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:32 am 
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Chapter 15 - Such Sweet Sorrow

A part of me wants to think that, if I'd been human rather than a robot, I would have picked up on it sooner, but from what I've seen since then, it seems that humans don't have much of a handle on this sort of thing either. Looking back, the signs were more obvious...her concern when I went out to fight King's robots, her excitement when I agreed to stay with her and Dr. Cossack, and the looks she gave the other girls when they talked to me.

Of course, I didn't catch onto it on my own. One night, after we got back from dinner, I retreated to the lab in order to do some self-maintenance; some of the joints in my wrist were knocked loose when it got caught in a door. I found the good doctor already there, tinkering with something small and vaguely humanoid on the lab table where they once fixed me up.

"How was dinner, Pro--" he caught himself, and chuckled, "Thomas?"

"Pretty good...Kalinka said it was her mother's favorite restaurant," I replied as I pulled open the skin on my wrist and started in with a sonic screwdriver. "But they put mushrooms on the steak. Why do they always do that, anyway?" I paused and looked up at him, "And come to think of it, why did you make it so I don't like mushrooms?"

He chuckled to himself, "Because there has to be something you do not like. No one likes everything," he prodded his own project, and its legs twitched.

"I guess...but why mushrooms?" I asked again, before returning my attention to my arm.

"Because I do not like mushrooms," he smiled at me, before laying his tiny robot down on the table, and turned to me, more seriously. "And I trust my little girl enjoyed herself?"

I nodded in reply, still focused on fixing my wrist, and he went on. "You two, you have been spending much time together lately. She very much enjoys spending time with you."

Hearing his sober tone, I stopped, screwdriver deep in the false flesh as I looked back at him. I still didn't realize just what he was getting at, and my expression must have told him so. When he made my new face, he didn't skimp on anything, apparently.

He looked at me silently for a few moments. I'm not sure if he was waiting for me to respond, or just making sure he had my full attention, but after a short while, he said simply, "She has fallen for you, my friend."

"What?" came my admittedly dumb reply, my hand flickering as the screwdriver twisted slightly in my grip.

"I have been watching her and you, Proto Man." This time, his usage of my old name was deliberate. He wanted to remind me what I really was, as if I could have ever forgotten. "She looks at you as her mother once looked at me," he said, crossing his arms. He didn't say it, but he seemed uncomfortable with the very notion. I might have looked the part, but whatever was on the outside, I was still a machine.

I opened my mouth to speak, but he raised a hand, "I wish her only to be happy, Proto Man, and you have been good to our family. We may not even be here were it not for you," he sighed, "If you wish to be together with her, I will not stand in your way."

He stepped closer to me, "I just thought you should be aware of her feelings, before this went any further." He turned and started for the door. "Good night, Thomas," he called back to me as he left.

I soon got back to the maintenance on my wrist, but I couldn't focus on it, not with what Dr. Cossack had just told me going through my head.

Could she really love me, I thought. As I looked back on the time we'd spent together since I first found her in Wily's lair, there were things that popped out at me. A look here, a touch there, that should have clued me in on how she felt.

But could I love her? After all, as good as Dr. Light and Dr. Cossack were, I was still a machine. A prototype, in fact, without the hardware that went into Rock and Roll...And even they could only really simulate emotions, albeit on a very advanced level. It wasn't until the rise of the Reploids that I felt like the robot mind could really feel.

More to the point, though, as I looked back on my time spent with Kalinka, I came to a realization myself.

I didn't love her.

I liked her, certainly. She had been the only one I could ever call "friend," and she did care about me, but I could not bring myself to say I loved her. And in that instant, I knew that if I stayed with her, I would only end up hurting her. She deserved someone who could return the feelings she had. Someone who she could build a life with, not someone who she'd have to hide the truth about.

But I couldn't just run out on her. If nothing else, she deserved the truth from me. I waited until the anniversary of my reactivation. As we were walking home from dinner, I considered whether I could go through with it. She would be hurt whatever I did, I decided, better she be hurt now, and can grow from it, than to live a lie. Perhaps it was fitting, her gift to me that evening. A new scarf, bright yellow, with her name embroidered on the fabric, to replace the one that had been destroyed in the fight with King.

As we stepped to the doorstep, I stopped, turned to her, and hugged her tightly. She looked at me with a mixture of surprise, amusement, and curiosity on her face. Mine was, once again, clear as day, and she frowned. "What's wrong?" she asked me quietly.

"I," I paused, and looked into her eyes, bright as they were, "I have to go."

She looked at me, confused, "What? What do you mean?" she asked, almost pleadingly. I knew it would hurt her, but I had to press on.

"I'm leaving," I said simply, "I can't stay here any more." I stepped back from her, but she grabbed my arm, searching my face.

"Why?" she said, almost whispering. I could see the tears welling up in her eyes, and found it hard not to reciprocate. I managed to keep Dr. Cossack's upgrades from betraying me as I found the words.

"Because you deserve someone who can really love you," I said quietly. I turned away from her, adding almost under my breath, "I can't." I heard her sniff, and her next words came out heavily, as if she was fighting back the tears and losing.

"Tom...Proto Man...Please, we can talk about this..." she threw her arms around me, as if to hold me there.

"I'm sorry, Kalinka," I pulled her hands apart, and turned to face her again. I looked down into her eyes, the tears streaming down her face. "You'll get over me," I said softly, pulling her into a hug. We stood there for a long time, her sobs shaking her whole body, pleading with me not to go. When she seemed to get a hold of herself, I pushed away from her, and looked into her eyes for the last time.

"Good bye, Kalinka," I said softly, before I turned and started walking away, teleporting back to New York.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:52 am 
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Chapter 16 - Moving On

I had known she would try to track me when I left. She might have even tried to use that teleport-recall device she had installed and used back when I fought the second King. By the time she got to her father's lab, though, she'd have seen the modules sitting on the console. I knew it would hurt her, and it hurt me to do it, but I convinced myself it had to be done.

I landed in New York, just a few blocks from where the Dr. Thomas X. Light Memorial Museum had been built. I hadn't visited it before...too many bad memories. I had read about it online, though; apparently, they had amassed as much of the history of robotics in one building as they could before the advanced AIs that Dr. Light and Wily had pioneered were outlawed. They even had replicas of Mega Man and Roll, and even a couple of the Robot Masters on display there.

All things considered, I thought it was time I paid my respects. It was early in the morning, so there weren't so many visitors when I'd gone inside. Just as well, I preferred the privacy. I made my way to the main hall, which held a statue of the old man, along with a few choice quotes etched in glass behind him, spread amidst some of the schematics for Rock.

After that, I headed to the "Light Family" display. The likeness of Mega Man was pretty good, though they gave his armor a more angular look. He even looked a little bit older, when you looked closely. The display talked about all his heroism, all the times he saved the world from Wily. No mention of me, of course.

I looked up at the statue for a long while. There was a lot that I would have said to him if he was still alive. Well, when I think about it, that's not true at all, is it? You only really think to say those kinds of things when someone's gone. While they're alive, it seems like they'll always be alive, so you can always just tell them tomorrow, right?

To this day, I wonder what becomes of us, when we finally shut down for the last time. Do we robots really "live"? Do we have a soul? If I stood there, I thought, and poured my mechanical heart out to the statues of Mega Man and Roll, would my brother and sister hear me, somehow?

At the time, I figured it was worth a shot. I checked that nobody else was around, then I looked up at the statues, and told them first that I was sorry. I still blamed myself for what happened to them, and as I spoke I could almost hear Roll telling me I was being silly, that it wasn't my fault. I could hear Mega Man telling me I'd done the best I could, and he couldn't have asked anything more of me.

I told my brother's stand in how much I admired everything he could do, with no thought for himself. I told my sister's stand in how much I would miss her smiling, and her disapproving scowl whenever Mega Man and I sparred. She deserved better than what happened. If any of us should have had a life of peace, it was her.

I talked to the statues for a long time. I don't even remember all of what I said. I remember laughing, remembering one of Mega Man's bad jokes. Smiling, remembering Dr. Light trying to teach Roll to cook. I remember crying. I remember yelling in anger. I stood there for an hour, at least, before I stopped even to make sure nobody had come to watch my little family get-together. No one had.

I wiped my eyes, and smiled one more time at the two of them, before I finally left.

I thought about what I would do, now. Kalinka would track me if I used the bank account her father set up for me, ditto the identity they'd set me up with. Neither would prove too much of a problem for someone with my skills. With nearly everything automated at this point, someone who knew their way around a computer could get anything he needed.

I spent the following few years as I had my first few years. I wandered wherever the wind took me, though this time I had a lot less trouble fitting in. I took odd jobs here and there to make some legitimate money, and help people out. Thankfully, there was a distinct lack of killer robots that needed to be stopped. But there were fences to mend, security programs to write, and buildings to build.

Seven years after I'd left Russia, a news report caught my eye, and I found myself hunched outside of a large church in Moscow, just out of sight of the main doors. It was a warm spring day, but still cool enough to justify wearing my old trench coat and scarf.

I heard bells ringing, and looked as the doors opened. A woman, long blonde hair trailing behind her, came out, dressed in a white wedding dress, smiling as broadly as I'd ever seen, came out of the doors, behind a handsome young man in a classic black tuxedo. Grains of rice flew at them as they rushed down the stairs, toward a waiting limousine.

Kalinka Cossack had gotten married. I could see an old man, his usual glasses traded in for bifocals, smiling and crying as they passed him. He leaned on a cane as they passed, then suddenly looked up.

My treacherous yellow scarf had chosen that moment to blow in the wind. He must have seen me, but after staring in my direction for a long moment, he simply turned and joined the rest of the wedding party. I shook my head, and whispered my congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Dimitri Romanov, before I took my leave.

--------------------------------

Danielle wiped her eye, then tried to cover it by stretching, as Henry hit a button on the machine, and the voice came to a halt between sentences.

"I think we need a break," she said, standing up. Henry nodded as he sat back down.

"And maybe something else to eat," he suggested, and Jackson nodded in agreement, then looked around, furrowing her brow.

"Where'd Professor Thompson go?" she said, and Jones looked around, confusion setting into his features.

"The Professor," the Intelligence intoned helpfully, "Said, 'I need to get some air,'" the voice perfectly mimicked Professor Thompson's gruffer voice, "And he left the room. He is currently on the roof."

"Thanks," Danielle said to the room at large, and turned toward the door to the apartment, "I'll go see if he wants anything. I'll be back in a bit," she called back to Henry, who answered with a wave, before getting up and moving determinedly toward the Professor's refrigerator.

As Danielle came out of the elevator on top of the building, she hugged her arms, surprised at the sudden wind. She found Thompson sitting on one end of a set of solar panels, heavy jacket on, with a faded white scarf wrapped around his neck.

"The wind gets rather chilly up here," he said as he spotted Jackson approaching him, and took a drag of his cigar, letting the smoke curl out of his nostrils. "You should've brought your coat," he added with a smirk.

"Well, yeah, if I'd known..." Jackson began, and waved a hand as she trailed off. "We were wondering if you wanted anything to eat."

"Now that you mention it," the Professor answered, shaking some ash from the cigar, "I could use another bite to eat." He smothered the cigar against the metal frame of the solar cells, then stood up, putting it into a pocket in his coat. He turned to Danielle, "Did I miss anything good?"

"Well," she said after a moment's pause, "Depends on how long you were gone."

"I think the last thing I heard was something about him laughing and smiling 'in those first few months'," he said, scratching his chin.

Jackson had a small grin, "In that case, yeah, you missed a big one," she said, "I'll fill you in on the way down."

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:54 am 
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Chapter 17 - Old Familiar Faces

A short while later, a bountiful feast of old Earth style Chinese Food lay spread over the Professor's dinner table.

"So," Thompson began, pointing his chopsticks for emphasis, "You think the Prototype was more human than machine?"

"You heard him," Danielle answered as she scooped a spoonful of rise into her plate. "Talking about that girl, he just sounded so sad. He might've started out as just a robot, but whenever he made this recording, he must have had at least a Reploid's capacity for emotion."

"You're assuming this is the real thing," Henry pointed out, before stabbing a dumpling with a chopstick. He held it up as if to make a point, "I'm still wondering just how you're going to prove that."

Jackson shrugged, sitting across from her partner, and glanced at the Professor. "I guess we'll have to find something," she admitted, before picking up a clump of rice with her chopsticks, "But I have a gut feeling it's real."

Thompson chuckled, dipping a piece of chicken into a small bowl of sweet and sour sauce, "A gut feeling, you say," he said with a smile, "I should hope we do find more than that to go on."

"Well," Danielle began, then exhaled. "Let's hear the rest of it. Maybe there'll be something we can really verify."

"It's as good a plan as any," Jones said through a mouthful of dumpling.

--------------------------------

The next few decades passed relatively uneventfully. Well, to be sure, there was the occasional national disaster, civil unrest, or medical breakthrough, but after the first 30 years or so, a part of me, I'm a little ashamed to admit, was wishing that a new stash of Robot Masters might show up just to give me something to do.

Fortunately, it didn't happen. I continued moving around, and eventually resigned myself to the fact that the world was really at peace. I studied whatever I could get my hands on, and occasionally, I even checked in on Kalinka and her new family. A few years after they got married, she and Mr. Romanov were the proud parents of two boys and a baby girl.

They sure grow up fast, don't they? The first time I got around to having a look around, it struck me like a hammer just how much older she looked, while I hadn't aged a day since she and her father reactivated me. I kept my distance, of course. Didn't want to bring up her memories of me, though to be honest, I did hope she thought of me from time to time.

Mikhail ended up living to the ripe old age of 84, hanging on long enough to see the first of his great grandchildren, the young Mikhail Romanov, who by now is a linguistics professor at Russia's top university. I met him and his own daughter a few years ago, when he came to lecture the undergrads at NYU. She looks just like Kalinka did all those years ago. But I digress.

Thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, Kalinka lived to see 100. There was a wonderful service, with her extended family, daughter, sons, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and dozens of friends and colleagues. And one old, old friend who looked much younger than he was.

It was the right thing to do, I reflected standing at her headstone after everyone else had left. I suppose I was trying to convince myself of the truth of that statement, but one look at the family she'd built was all I really needed. I couldn't have given that to her, not the same way Dimitri had. But a part of me still felt rotten for running away. For never coming back even to say hi to her, or properly meet her family. So I said my apologies, and my goodbyes, and left the last person who had really known me.

During the time since I'd left her, I had my moments of loneliness, sure. I was the only one of Dr. Light's creations left, and with the sentiment against robotics, I didn't think I could let myself get close to anyone else or it would eventually raise suspicions.

But all the same, Kalinka, the one person with whom I'd really connected, was there. We hadn't spoken since that night when I left, but I knew, in the back of my digital mind, that she was out there, one teleport away. But now, she was gone, and for the first time since I heard of Dr. Light's death, I felt well and truly alone.

So I kept moving, letting my wanderlust take me wherever it would. I did good where I could, helping people, and even had a small private investigation firm for a few months before I decided to move on again.

I honestly lost track of time, which is quite a feat considering my visual display has a date and timestamp feature. Then one day, around 100 years after the Light family died, I saw a familiar face on the news feed for the first time in quite a while.

An archaeologist named Dr. Cain had found Dr. Light's last creation, Mega Man X.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:21 am 
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Chapter 18 - Rebirth

Once upon a time, there was something of a movement to restore Dr. Light's original laboratory, and either turn it into a college for robotics, or the site of the museum that was eventually built in the city. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, interest sort of petered out when Wily's robots started coming online again. By the time King v2 was defeated, public opinion was so far against robotics that nobody was in a hurry to revive his lab, and when the lab sunk underground after a freak earthquake, people were content to let the land be absorbed into the parks nearby.

I hadn't been back to the place since they died, and I almost forgot about it. Well, I suppose that's not true. With the upgrades that Kalinka and Dr. Cossack had given me, I hadn't had to "forget" anything. It did come as quite a surprise, at any rate, when all of a sudden Dr. Light and his new creation were being talked about on the news.

The irony is that Dr. Cain hadn't found the main lab, but the secret compartment that Dr. Light hadn't told anyone about. But Mega Man X was probably worth more than anything else in Dr. Light's lab, at least that's what I thought at the time.

Watching X be reactivated was surreal. I remembered my own activation, my confused questions, looking around at the wide eyed spectators. X's was the same, and something hit me as I realized: Dr. Light must have erased his memory of his first activation, or at least suppressed them somehow. I knew he'd been activated before, so him acting like that when Dr. Cain found him did not make any sense unless his memory had been erased.

Which brought up the next realization: He wouldn't remember me either. That was probably for the best, I reflected.

The next few weeks brought on the same kind of media frenzy that must have occurred when I was first activated; at least, I'd like to think I got that much press. There were debates on news programs, in the house and senate, about whether the old robotics laws, the ones forbidding advanced AIs, should be repealed. After X himself made appearances before the government, talking about Dr. Light's dream about robots and humans living together, the bans were lifted, and Dr. Cain's lab began creating the first "Reploids."

Dr. Cain's representatives boasted about the AI capability of their reploids, but after I took a little stroll through their files, I found they weren't able to truly replicate X's circuitry. There were things about my youngest brother that even modern science couldn't understand; of course, if they hadn't banned advanced AIs, maybe they would have had more of an understanding.

Within the next few years, more and more Reploids were being churned out, mostly for industrial use, jobs that were too dangerous for a human, where a specialized robotic body, with an AI capable of independent thought and problem solving, could do jobs that would have been thought impossible before.

Of course, nothing was perfect. Some of the reploids went haywire. Some of them simply stopped working for no apparent reason, some of them refused to do the jobs they were built for, and some of them went as far to start attacking their fellow "workers" and humans.

Eventually, the humans came up with the brilliant idea of creating more reploids to stop what Cain Labs called the "irregular" malfunctioning reploids. In an interview with Dr. Cain, while he was proposing the idea, the interviewer called them "Mavericks" and the name stuck. A year later, the Maverick Hunters started rolling off the line to take out the dangerous, criminal reploids.

Amazingly, it worked, for a while at least. Deployment times were faster than human response would have been, and they managed to bring down the amount of injured and dead humans from the incidents to near zero.

But then, things began to change. Instead of isolated incidents where, say, a construction reploid would start firing its rivets at pedestrians, you had a group of five or six reploids attacking a power station. Instead of a mechaniloid going haywire and starting to demolish the wrong building, you had coordinated attacks. Manifestos began circulating on the internet, about the oppression of the reploids by humans. I suppose it made sense; Dr. Cain had given them free will by copying X, but the people at large expected them to behave, to feel like the old style robots, as if they were simply tools to be used and discarded.

While I could agree with that, I certainly didn't think it was right to start attacking people. That's not what Dr. Light would have wanted. All the same, I stayed out of it...or tried to, at least. I was walking through the street one day when I heard an explosion rock a nearby bank. I'd find out later that the Maverick attacking the bank was trying to erase the financial files, and bankrupt the owners of the local businesses that used reploid labor.

That didn't matter to me. Whatever its motivations, it was going to hurt people if it wasn't stopped, and as good as the Maverick Hunters' response was, they wouldn't get there in time. And while I didn't have my weapons, armor, or even my shield, I had more than enough experience to deal with one reploid. Of course, it helped that he didn't see me coming.

I charged into the bank, and found the reploid leveling its weapon at the tellers, huddled behind the counter. No doubt they'd already hit the silent alarm, but I didn't feel like waiting. I recognized the model of reploid, one of the early humanoid's, and remembered, like all of us, it had several structural weakpoints, particularly around the joints. With its attention off me, it was simple enough to break the joints in its hand, making it impossible for him to fire the pistol.

That got its attention, and it swung its other arm at me in a rage. If nothing else, Cain's labs had been able to get emotions down pat. The swing was clumsy, unfocused, and I easily ducked it, wrenching the weapon from its broken hand, and within the space of a few seconds, I fired several rounds into its chest. The reploid went into a heap on the floor, and I scanned the area, making sure nobody needed immediate attention, and made sure to teleport out before the Hunters arrived.

A few weeks after that, I heard about a special reploid, with the best AI that Cain Labs could make, stronger, faster than any others, which would lead the Maverick Hunters. They dubbed the robot Sigma, and once it took command of the Hunters, it looked like he was really making a difference. He started investigations into the Maverick organizations; capturing them instead of outright killing where they could. Things seemed to be finally calming down, but by now I'd learned quite often that things weren't so cut and dry.

But still, I decided to remain out of it. I'm still not sure whether I felt they could handle it on their own, or if I was just tired of it all, but about a year after Sigma took command of the Maverick Hunters, I saw something that made it clear to me that staying out of it wasn't an option.

A single, red armored reploid had been reported causing havoc all over the American southwest. It even took out a whole squadron of Maverick Hunters, until Sigma himself and his elite 17th Unit had to be called in. Eventually, the big bald reploid was able to subdue the red maverick, and if I'd had a heart, it would have skipped a beat when its body was put on the news.

It was the same red armored, blond robot I'd seen in Wily's lab a century before, and I cursed myself for not destroying it then and there. If one of Wily's robots was involved, things would only go from bad to worse. I needed to arm up, and there was only one place I could do that.

I went to upstate New York, and to my surprise, I detected an energy signature coming from the site where Dr. Light's lab once stood. Fair enough, he had plenty of projects with long term energy cores, and they'd last longer without being used. I managed to find a system of caves in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains that eventually led to the buried lab. I hadn't stood in the room for 100 years, and surprisingly little had changed.

Of course, the blue portrait of Dr. Light's face on the main screen was certainly new. But what was really surprising was when it spoke to me, in a familiar voice I hadn't heard in a century.

"Welcome home, Proto Man."

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:28 am 
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Chapter 19 - Lock and Load

Obviously, it wasn't really Dr. Light. He died in the explosion a hundred years before, and even if he hadn't, he was already an old man when he built X. But then, he always had a talent for AIs...

Of course, when I first went down into the chamber, I hadn't had time to think of all that logically, so at first I was caught off guard hearing my creator's voice, if digitized, for the first time in 100 years. I stared rather dumbly at the blue image on the main screen before I shook myself, and the voice continued.

"You've been upgraded since the last time you were here, haven't you?" he asked in an almost infuriatingly conversational tone. He was dead, and the last creation of his mortal enemy had just resurfaced. I felt he should have sounded...I don't know, more grave.

"Yeah," I answered, "Dr. Cossack and Kalinka fixed me up after I fought King..." I gave him the quick rundown of the last 100 years or so, carefully omitting...certain details about my relationship with Kalinka. He seemed to take everything in stride. Later on, he told me he'd been able to cobble together a surprisingly powerful network connection, so he'd already brought himself mostly up to speed on the last century. I guess he just liked hearing me describe it, or something.

But in return, he finally told me what had really happened all those years ago. Some parts I'd figured out already, that Bass killed Rock, and X killed Wily. Turned out Wily had a Deadman Switch on a bomb in Dr. Light's lab, planted there years before by Bass, and that's what killed Dr. Light and Roll. I'd come to terms with all that death over the time, and I was a little numb to it by the time Dr. Light's AI filled me in on the details, and why he'd sealed up X after he killed Wily.

Which, of course, brought us up to current events.

"You're sure it's Albert's work?" he asked me when I told him of the red Maverick.

"Absolutely. I saw him back in Wily's lab. I'd almost forgotten about him. If Wily's getting involved--"

"Albert is dead," he reminded me in that gentle, patient, fatherly tone of his, "But you're right to be concerned about this red robot. Fortunately," he said, almost to himself, "this Sigma seems to have dealt with him already."

I only grunted in response. Nothing was ever that simple, I told him, and in no uncertain terms I told him that red robot would bring no end of trouble.

"So, are you going to join these Maverick Hunters, then?" he asked, digital eyebrow rising.

"No," I shook my head. "They'd ask too many questions, and X..." I paused, searching for the right words, "Well, he doesn't need me bringing up any bad memories for him, now does he? I think I'll stick to...freelance work."

"I see," the animated face looked thoughtful. "So you want me to design new weapons for you," he said finally.

"Well," I answered with a shrug, "I was going to do it myself. A while back, when I was living with Dr. Cossack, I'd drawn up some plans," I walked to the main computer, and logged myself into one of the still-working ports to download those plans, "Mostly based on my old armor, with some of the newer stuff you'd designed for X. I modified the buster design a bit, for a start."

"Of course you did," the AI chuckled. "You always did seem to think that more firepower would solve your problems," he added with a bit of a smirk.

"It's served me well enough so far," I shot back. I smiled to myself. It wasn't the real Dr. Light, of course, but it still felt good to finally be able to talk to someone without hiding who I was. And though I wasn't exactly looking forward to the prospect of diving back into the battle, having a real sense of purpose overshadowed any anxiousness I felt.

"Very well, Protoman," the AI said after a moment. "Shall we begin?"

And so we started working on my new armor. Most of the materials he already had around the lab. Dr. Light always liked to have back-up parts in case something happened to one of us, and it seemed this philosophy had applied to X as well. Still, there were a few items I had to acquire, one way or the other. Extra metal for the armor and helmet, for example, was simple enough to buy online, but weapons grade power converters for my new buster required a little more ingenuity to get a hold of.

Nothing I couldn't handle, of course. Fudging the shipping numbers here and there, teleporting a crate off a truck in transit, it was simple enough, even if Dr. Light's AI didn't exactly approve of stealing. He didn't actually protest all that much, though. After all, it's not like he was getting government grants anymore.

A little over a month passed while I tweaked the design, fabricated the parts, and tested them out. In that month, it turned out that Dr. Cain had been able to reprogram Wily's red robot, which it turned out was named "Zero." Sigma had even allowed him to serve in his special 17th Unit. As Maverick Activity started to dwindle again, I started to wonder whether it was really necessary for me to arm up again, but whenever I felt like that, I reminded myself that, "reprogrammed" or not, Zero was a Wily Bot, and he was trouble.

Once I finally assembled the armor and tried it on, though, I realized something was missing. Something I hadn't held since that battle with King nearly 100 years before, and had only seen once since.

My shield. My shield which was, at that point, sitting on display in the Thomas X. Light Memorial Museum, gathering dust as the only "evidence" that I'd been built. But it had more important things to do now.

I made my way to the display, surrounded by some grainy photos of me back when I shadowed Mega Man on his missions. A couple of newspaper articles all vaguely alluding to my existence, speculating on just who I was, were on the wall near the photos. Security was light all around the museum, and it was nothing to disable the alarms guarding my shield. I made sure nobody was around before I actually grabbed it.

It was lighter than I remembered. But then, I was a little bigger by then. And it was still in solid shape, even if it had a crack or two from age. Easy enough to fix with the equipment back at the lab. I slung it over my shoulder, and it felt good, very good, to have its familiar weight with me once again.

I headed back to the lab, and finished the repairs to the shield. It was good as new, and the surface polished to a mirror sheen. Shield, helmet, buster, scarf. Just like old times, I remarked to myself, which seemed to amuse Dr. Light's AI.

And it was just in time, too. As I checked my equipment one last time, a news feed sprang up on the computer screen. A massive Maverick attack had just begun in Abel City, the site of several of Dr. Cain's factories. It was time to go to work.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:22 pm 
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I don't know why you aren't getting any comments, but this is a fantastic story.


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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 10:10 pm 
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I'd been commenting on IRC. It somehow seemed wrong to interrupt the flow of the story with posting comments, but uh, I guess...that's... stupid. >_>

Anyway, yeeeees, keep writing. My inner Protoman fanboy needs the precious fictions. Preciousssss.

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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:22 am 
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Chapter 20 - Back Into The Fire

As soon as I processed what the feed was about, I plugged myself into the Maverick Hunters' network. I'd done it a few times before, as I was gathering the materials for my new armor--keeping tabs on the cops proves very useful when you're stealing things, it turns out. I was looking to find out where they were deployed in the city to quell the attacks; wherever they were in least strength, I'd go and balance things out.

Within a few seconds, I found what I was looking for, and it was bad news all around. Only a handful of Hunters had been dispatched to the area. I thought it had to be a mistake, so I double checked, looked over the names, and was surprised to find not only X had joined the Hunter ranks, but also the red robot, Zero. Strangely, Sigma's elite 17th Unit was completely unaccounted for, as were most of the Hunter units.

That was a bad sign, I reflected, but I'd only find out later just how bad it was. The news feed snapped me out of my search through the Hunters' databanks, as a building went down as the cameras watched. There was no more time to sit around, I had to get out there. I made a quick check of where X would be deployed, and sent myself to the opposite side of the city, where only a handful of low ranking hunters were sent, apparently to evacuate the civilians living there. A sizable Maverick force was heading for the area as well, ready to slaughter whoever they came across.

Not if I had anything to say about it.

I landed on a highway overpass, overlooking the civilian housing given to the workers in Cain's factory complex. Dozens and dozens of houses stretched out under the rising moon, and I could hear the sounds of panic, sirens, car alarms, men, women, children shouting as they were ushered from their homes. A mechaniloid announcing that Everything Will Be Fine as they herded the people out.

Looking out to the east, I could already see the Mavericks moving down the highway. I have to admit, it was exhilarating, rushing once again into battle, even if I knew what was at stake. My buster formed on my arm, and I unslung my shield as I dashed at them, and the look of surprise on the front line bots was priceless as my first blast ripped through them, scattering metal over the road. It felt just like old times--and by God, someone had dug up the old Metool designs too and sent them out.

Something struck me, though, as the reploids readjusted their plans from destroying the homes to destroying me. I'd seen these reploid designs before, in the Maverick Hunter databanks...as Maverick Hunter equipment. For a moment, I panicked. Had I made a mistake? Was I attacking Hunter reinforcements, that had come to aid the evacuation in this sector? Had I missed the battle plans in my rush to battle? The Sigma insignia emblazoned on the sides of the larger bots seemed to confirm my fears, and I went on the defensive as they opened fire on me. I started to withdraw as the plasma bolts splashed and ricocheted from my shield.

I was about to teleport out and figure out what was going on from a distance as I caught sight of one of the flying bots turn away from me, its cannons swiveling toward the streams of civilian transports heading away from the homes. At first, I thought it was breaking off to escort them, until I noted that the missile bays were opening, and heard its weapons powering up.

In that moment, I had no idea what was going on. All that mattered was that the mechaniloid was about to open fire on innocent civilians, and it didn't matter what symbol was on its side. I held my shield between myself and the bulk of the reploids, and dashed to the edge of the road, leaping at full speed at the flyer, charging my buster as I flew through the air.

It seemed to notice me just before I impacted it, turning to bring its weapons to bear, but a moment too late. I gripped a seam on the top of the robot, riding it as it tried to shake me off, before I pressed the buster against its control module, loosing the charged shot into it. Its guide thrusters sputtered and died, and it started to sink in the air as I looked around. The other flying bots had taken its lead, and were starting to target the civilians.

I had little time to think, and less time to act. I made a quick calculation as I charged my buster once again, and fired it out over the air, using the recoil to guide the wounded flier into the grouped reploids on the roadway, crushing the first line of metools, and walkers, slamming into the larger missile-launchers behind as it slid over the asphalt. I fired a few more shots into the now slowed horde to get their attention, and used the downed flier's momentum to leap to the second one.

There was no way I'd be able to take them all down before they started firing on the civilians, and the second they started firing, people would start dying. I couldn't let that happen, and the only way to stop it was to prove to them that they had more important things to worry about. Namely, me.

As I came down on the second flier, my buster hadn't had time to charge, so I slammed the edge of my shield into its armor, driving the point into its main maintenance hatch, prying it open as it tried to shake me off. I gripped the open hatch with my shieldarm, crouching behind its protective surface as I opened fire on the other fliers. I brought up the files I'd earlier perused from the Maverick Hunters' network, looking for structural weakpoints in their armors. To Dr. Cain's credit, they were few and far between, and his designers had done what they could to compensate, but they were there.

Holding onto a bucking and spinning flier wasn't exactly the ideal situation to hit those weakpoints, though, so I settled for pissing them off and making sure their fire came at me, and not at the civilian transports moving away from the houses. As their missile bays opened, I waited for a split second--though it felt like an eternity--to see if my gambit had paid off.

I felt immensely relieved when the missiles turned mid flight and started streaking for me. The civilians were safe, for now, but that left me with a new problem. Namely, the missiles that were headed for me.

I pushed my foot into the access hatch I was holding onto, and put my boot thrusters on full blast, using the heat to fry the circuit boards I'd exposed, sending the bot into a spin as its navigation fouled up. I leapt from the wounded behemoth as the missiles struck, overriding the safety settings on my thrusters to throw me clear of the blast as the flier went up in flames.

I hit the asphalt on the roadway, and skidded, my boots tearing the surface as I came to a stop. A quick status check revealed, to my surprise, I hadn't blown out my dash thrusters just yet, though I imagined Dr. Light's AI would have something to say about me throwing off the safeties so eagerly. Gathering myself, I rolled to avoid another volley of plasma fire that ripped up the road where I was standing. It seems I had their full and undivided attention, and I was about to make them regret they'd ever been built.

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Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:31 am 
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Always nice to see Protoman kicking ass. I'm gonna have to do more of that in TOS.

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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:24 am 
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Chapter 21 - Red To The Rescue

They had the latest armor, tracking systems, weapons, and AIs that had ever been built. They'd been built to a specific purpose, to destroy their enemies quickly, and efficiently, and up until the battle at Abel City, they'd been able to do just that against any force they faced.

I usually don't like to brag, but when they squared off against me, they didn't stand a chance.

Once I was sure that they weren't going to break off and attack the civilian transports, I let myself really cut loose. The weapon, armor, and evasive systems that Dr. Light's AI helped me design worked perfectly, tearing through the oncoming ex-Maverick Hunters, and my own anti-tracking systems did quite a bit to keep their guided missiles from catching up to me.

I leaped from one flyer to another, raining my own blasts at the assorted foot soldiers even as they tried to regroup. But as I moved over the highway--which was losing surface by the minute--I found my own buster wasn't the only thing tearing into my opponents. A whole squad of wheel bots went up before I even had the chance to aim at them, and a quick look at a nearby building revealed an group of reploids, apparently one of the few still-loyal Maverick Hunter units, opening fire on the other bots.

They fired with discipline and precision, and the enemy force dwindled even more quickly as one explosive round after another flew at them, one taking apart a flyer, another ripping a whole section of the highway out from under them. Thankfully, they seemed to get that I was on their side, and together we routed the rest of the attack force sent to the civilian sector.

There was little time to celebrate, though, as I heard a distress call come in on the Hunter's com system. A voice I recognized as much from the news files as from that day over a hundred years before shouted over the line.

"This is X! I have engaged Vile, and I need back up! Transmitting coordinates!"

As I mentioned, I had my reservations about letting X know I was around. But I had heard of Vile--a psychopathic Hunter who caused more damage than the Mavericks he was sent to bring in--and I sure as hell wasn't going to let X die. I cranked up my thrusters, and sped across the city toward his position, bounding over the holes my own battle had left in the landscape, cutting across the buildings in my way.

As I moved through the city, I caught glimpses of another red blur, moving parallel to me, a few blocks away. Again, much like me, a yellow streak of color followed closely behind him. I couldn't see him clearly, but I knew it had to be Wily's bot. I knew he was part of the Hunters, but then so had the attacking forces that day. I began to charge my buster as we approached X's position, not sure just yet whether I ought to save it for Vile, or for Zero.

I managed to reach X a little faster, overlooking his battle from a nearby building. Vile was in one of the Assault class Ride Armors the Hunters employed. Extremely tough armor--I knew the specs on X's Mk 17 buster, and he wouldn't be able to make a dent in the thing. He was fighting well enough, though, aiming for Vile himself, and he managed to get a few hits in, but it wasn't looking good by the time I got into position.

Of course, there was a problem in that my own buster was only a little more powerful than X's...unless I overrode the safeties, that is. I might have ended up blowing my arm off--again--but it would give X a fighting chance, and I could always sneak off for repairs later.

Before I could act, though, the red robot, Zero, fired his own blast at Vile, blowing the ride armor's arm clean off. I thought the red bot must have had the same idea I did, and he must have overloaded his buster...except he began to charge up another shot almost immediately. Vile, to his credit, seemed to figure out it was time to cut his losses, and flew up out of his armor as Zero fired again. I'm not entirely sure if it was Zero's shot, or if Vile did it deliberately, but the ride armor exploded in a bright flash, and once the smoke cleared, Vile was already aboard the enormous airship hovering overhead--I recognized it as Storm Eagle's flagship--well out of range of another volley. I briefly wondered just how an airship managed to sneak up on us, but luckily its arrival seemed to signal the end of the battle. The rest of the Maverick forces were in full retreat, and I decided it was about time for me to do the same.

I would have to keep an eye on this Zero, but for the moment, he seemed to be on the right side.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:52 am 
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Chapter 22 - The First Maverick War

It wasn't until several weeks later that I found out for sure that it was Sigma, the much vaunted commander himself, who was behind the new wave of Maverick attacks. Dr. Cain and the Maverick Hunters were doing all that they could to keep quiet just who had started things, even as the big bald reploid disappeared from the public eye. Even the Hunters' internal documents never referred to him by name, just as "The Maverick Leader."

If I had to guess, I'd say it was probably to keep morale up on the outside. Maybe Dr. Cain wanted to preserve the legacy of his greatest creation. Maybe he even thought, if Sigma was captured, he could be cured of the infection, and return to the Hunters, and didn't want word to have gotten out that he was behind it.

Whatever it was, the Hunters' internal discipline slipped about a month in, when one of their memos mentioned their latest intel on where Sigma's forces were stationed. Since that first attack on Abel City, X and Zero had been tracking down and exterminating Sigma's generals, each of whom was a top ranked Maverick Hunter before the rebellion. The first few fights were well out of X's league...he had the power he needed, but just didn't have that edge, that ability to throw himself fully into the attack. Zero carried him through the first couple of weeks, even if it was clear X wanted to do more.

I contented myself with putting out the smaller fires that the Hunters either couldn't get to, or had deemed not worthy of their attention. I probably shouldn't blame them--with Sigma taking the best and brightest with his rebellion, the remaining Hunters were far understaffed for the task they had. I moved as I'd always done: Teleport in, take out the threat, and leave before anyone saw me. Once or twice I was spotted, but the people must have assumed I was just another Hunter. I kept tabs on the Hunters' comm net, and there was never any chatter about a mysterious red reploid running around.

Whenever I had time off, I ran errands for Dr. Light's AI. He had some things for X, he'd tell me, and had me place these small, unassuming capsules in the strangest places. Then later, he would tell me that X had found them while on a mission. I never did find out just how the AI figured out where to place the things, but he seemed almost able to predict where the Mavericks were moving in advance.

A few weeks into the war, something changed in X. I'm still not sure exactly what happened, but suddenly, he was going on missions alone, without Zero, and going through them with frightening efficiency. Maybe he saw something that made it clear to him just what was at stake. Maybe someone smacked some sense into him after he hesitated at a particularly bad time. Whatever it was, it wasn't in his mission reports...but whatever it was, the Mavericks were probably wishing it had never happened.

Before long, X and Zero had cleaned up the last of Sigma's generals, and the Hunters were preparing to assault his floating fortress. Even with their recent successes, things sounded grim coming off their comm nets. I supposed, listening to their chatter, that maybe I could even the odds a bit.

I made my way into the fortress, and sought out something big, flashy, and noticeable to blow up. I'd have loved to find a way to cripple the fortress, but the crafty bastard had actually thought to make redundant systems, and it would've taken far too long, and been too risky, to try and take them all out. So I found myself a particularly large power plant, and waited for the Hunters' advance to begin before blowing the place to hell.

Once the room stopped shaking, it became clear to me that I'd gotten their attention. I'd fought plenty of the Mavericks up to that point, but I was still heavily outnumbered, and surrounded, on their home turf, so the order of the day was to get out. I took my share of lumps, but I made sure on my way out to hold their undivided attention--I figured any bot that I'd either blown up, or had looking for me, was one that X wouldn't have to deal with. I managed to lose the group pursuing me in an airduct before I got out of Dodge, hoping that there'd still be some of them looking for me, instead of looking for X.

By the end of that night, I saw Sigma's floating fortress crash to the ground in a complete wreck. X had come out of it before it came down, but Zero never did. The good guys won, just as they always had, I thought with a satisfied smile. And Dr. Wily's last creation was gone, having died, apparently, as a hero.

And even at the end of the war, the Hunters never publicly acknowledged that Sigma had been behind things. They would only say that he had been 'retired' during the battle. Still holding to their euphemisms, even after all that had happened, but then again, I suppose they had to hold onto something.

Six months of peace came, with people rebuilding their lives, their cities. X gave up the armor that Dr. Light had created for him as the Maverick attacks dwindled, and the Hunters' ranks swelled once again.

Of course, it wouldn't last, and just like Wily before him, Sigma came back.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:57 am 
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Watch as Protoman discovers what a pain in the ass Sigma really is.

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 Post subject: Re: {Fiction} Burning Stickman: The Prototype
PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:34 am 
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Chapter 23 - In 21XX, War Was Continuing

I of all people...reploids, robots, what have you...should have seen it coming. History is always repeating itself, right? I suppose I wanted to believe that it was really the last time that some madman would pull that same old song and dance. Or I hoped it would. I'd seen my own family destroyed by those same conflicts.

First there were the X-Hunters. Six months to the day after Sigma's defeat they showed up challenging X. Turns out they recovered Zero's parts, and were going to rebuild his "true self." Now that got my attention. One of them must have figured out that Zero was one of Wily's bots. Of course, I doubt the mad old bastard would've hidden it. I wouldn't be surprised if Zero's coding was signed "By Albert Wily, Screw You Thomas."

But I couldn't get a lead on which of them figured it out, though I had my theories...admittedly, mostly based on the fact that one of them was a dead ringer for my erstwhile "father". Like during Sigma's first attack, I did my thing behind the scenes. I popped down the AI's armor modules where he asked, I put out fires, and did what I could to contain things whenever X wasn't available. By the time the dust settled, X had recovered all of Zero's parts, and Dr. Cain even rebuilt and upgraded him.

I'm still not sure if that was a good thing or not. Especially since the last few weeks...but I'll get to that later.

As you know by now, that wasn't the last time Sigma would show up. Of course, it took a couple times before the Hunters could stop denying that Sigma was behind things. It probably helped them a little bit that he kept hiding behind stooges for his plots, like the X-Hunters and Doppler. But eventually, there were witnesses, and the Hunters eventually had to admit that he'd "tragically" become infected, or rebuilt by Mavericks, or whatever their current story is.

In the meantime, the AI had developed his own method of distributing the pods. My own visits to what remained of the lab became more and more infrequent in the last few years. While at first I was glad to hear a voice from my past, being constantly reminded of all I'd lost, while my youngest "brother" was fighting the same old wars we had, became too much for me.

And with him coming back all the time, people started to question the effectiveness of the Maverick Hunters as a whole, despite the reverence for the two heroes, X and Zero. To quiet down the criticism, Cain Labs came up with the Repliforce. In a perfect world, the army it assembled would've been enough to put down any further Maverick Uprisings, and would have worked in tandem with the Hunters.

We all know how that worked out, though. That bald SOB played the Repliforce and the Hunters against each other perfectly, starting with the fall of the Sky Lagoon. A traitor in the Hunters' ranks brought the complex down, and framed the Repliforce for it.

I was half way across the world when the alert came down the Hunters' comm net. By the time I teleported into the area, the battle was already in full swing all over the floating city. X and Zero were heading toward the reactor to head off the attack; they must have known they were trying to bring the place down. The other Hunters were doing their best to evacuate the city below, and I pitched in trying to evacuate the Sky Lagoon itself.

But even with all of our efforts, evacuations were only 50% complete when the place came down. We'll probably never be sure just how many millions of people died in that one night. Too many.

X...he didn't react well. His outburst at the Repliforce commander at the time of the incident was out of line, to be sure, from what I could get over the net. But looking back, I could see why he reacted that way. X doesn't like to see anyone die, friend or foe. To be there that night, unable to stop the deaths of countless millions, it made him so angry, even he couldn't stop himself from lashing out at the nearest convenient target. He probably still blames himself for the war that followed.

Eventually, the Repliforce was decimated, not to say the Hunters didn't take their share of losses. Eventually it came out that, surprise surprise, Sigma had orchestrated the whole thing. A couple of the Hunters had thought as much early on, but I guess they couldn't convince anyone to listen to them.

Which brings us to the latest crisis. I don't think anyone even thought he was powerful enough to spread his virus out the way he has. The Hunters would have been running ragged over the whole world to contain the outbreaks, even without the Eurasia threatening to fall out of the sky. These last few weeks, they've been stretched to their limit, but somehow, God knows how, they've been able to keep things from going completely out of control. I've been helping where I can, but I can only put out so many fires before I have to recharge.

...

Almost done. The virus clouds seem to have found an old Mechaniloid junkyard in the northwest. Low priority for the Hunters, but there's a string of suburbs 20 miles to the south. If the bots go unchecked, it could be bad. I'll keep you posted.

----

Professor Thompson clicked a few keys on the ancient laptop, and looked around at his two guests. Danielle was rapidly tapping a keypad, while her eyepiece glowed blue, projecting its data directly into her eye. Henry, sitting near her on the couch, was rubbing the tiredness from his eyes, and the old professor smiled at the two of them.

"So," he said, pouring some more vodka into his glass, "If this is the real account of The Prototype, I suppose that answers the question of when he was recording it."

"2127," Danielle chirped a moment later, then looked up. "And that's only when he recorded it if that's the last entry," she added, glancing at the screen, "That's not the end of the file."

"I know, I know," the Professor said, lifting his glass to take a sip. "I just thought that seemed a good spot to take a short break. But I suppose you'd rather hear the rest before talking about it," he smiled at Danielle, whose eyes indicated that her mentor would do very well to turn the recording back on.

_________________
Burning Stickman: The Olympians

Phantosanucca wrote:
That must've been an awkward meeting.

Quote:
Ramzal: "So, my plan is to hide in your vagina."

Alia: "Go on..."


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