Categories > Games > Zelda > Gatecrash0 Reviews
Chapter 7: Chiseled and Grizzled
Roll pounded away at the wall as fast as she could, her arms going like an old car engine piston. Her energy source was pumping out well beyond her tolerance levels. The entire wall of the vault had become a ruin of cracked cement like it had been half-eaten away.
Roll looked back at Dr. Light as her fists kept pounding. He had slumped over to his side, cuddled against the wall. His complexion had a slight blue tinge emerging.
Roll stopped her fists short of the wall. "Oh, no, Dr. Light, please..." She dashed over to his fallen form and gently pushed him back upright. His eyes were closed, and his skin was clammy. Roll's eyes widened with fear. "Come on, come back to me." She gently shook him, trying to wake him up. Her panic mode set in. She had to find a way to circulate some air in the room fast. If not, there was the risk of asphyxiation or brain damage, and possibly death. Quickly, she jumped up to the tiny vent at the top of the cubic room, trying to see if there was anything down there. There was nothing. She couldn't take out the light implanted in the ceiling, or rip through the door or dig a hole or anything. Punching through the wall still had hours to go before she could make progress. Roll held her hands to her head in frustration. "Oh god!" she exclaimed, her voice wavering like an upset teenage girl. It was utterly hopeless.
She raced back to Dr. Light's side, looking up at him from her knees. "Oh, god, I'm sorry, Dr. Light, I can't get you out of here. I can't think of any way to get you out of here. You're going to die and it's all my fault. I led you down here, and we got locked in, and I'm so sorry. Please forgive me." Roll closed her eyes and put her arms around Light's body, pulling him close to her. "I don't know if you can hear me now, but..."
Roll's arm touched the outside of one of Light's pockets in his lab coat. The object inside suddenly made a faint humming sound, undetectable to any human ear. It felt like a large pen with a handle. The girl robot dug into the lab coat pocket and pulled it out. The object was black and had a colored level indicator slowly charging up.
Delightedly, she held it up into the light. A plasma cutter! It was a device used for cutting hard metals with precision. At its fullest charge, surely it would be able to cut through a concrete wall. Roll immediately hit the button for full charge and pointed it at the wall. Once it hit the mark, a beam of white light shot out of the end and hit the wall. Carefully she traced a circle around the point where she had already made a spider-web of cracks, calculating exactly where the weakest points were so as to make a hole big enough for a human to fit through. As soon as she completed the cut-out she shut off the tool, rushed forward, and shoulder-slammed the slice of wall in as hard as she could. She could feel the grinding of the stone as she pushed forward even more, quickly switching to her hands, trying to use the initial inertia to carry the slab out. Chunks of white stone crumbled off the outline. She dug her feet into the ground, giving her better traction, reinforcing her determination. Finally, the rock fell back and collapsed. She could feel a rush of air enter the room as the piece of wall dropped out. She ran back over to Dr. Light. Roll put her ear to his chest, he was still breathing, but shallowly. "Dr. Light? Dr. Light? Can you hear me?"
Dr. Light's eyes fluttered open. He groaned weakly.
Roll continued. "I've broken through the wall. I'm going to get you out of here. Keep breathing."
She helped Dr. Light up to his feet. He was pretty conscious now, but his muscles were jelly, yielding to Roll's actions. She put his arm around her shoulder and led him to the wall.
"I'll go through first and then pull you in," she said. Dr. Light barely nodded in response.
Still holding onto him, she stepped through the portal and gently tugged Dr. Light along with her. Roll was right about her house plans. This area of the mansion had been hollowed out to allow for airflow. They were in a tight crawlspace facing a metal ventilation shaft that blocked their path. It was essentially a slight extension to the vault, with nowhere else to go.
"I think we can open up this panel of the vent shaft and get through it," Roll pointed out as she touched the metal.
"Oh my god, Roll, your hands."
Roll looked down at her hands. The dermal layer had been completely worn down from the ends of her fingers to halfway down her palm. Her metal endoskeleton could be seen, shiny bionic fingers partially covered in shreds of rubbery skin.
"Oops, guess I punched a little hard."
"Are you okay?"
"I'm in no pain. We can get it repaired after this fiasco."
"That dermal layer is a protection against wear and tear on your parts, exposure to air for very long is rather dangerous. Your system has to be as dust free as possible."
"We can't worry about that now." Roll approached the side panel of the ventilation shaft and tore off a side section like a roll of paper. Light cringed at the shrieking sound of metal.
Roll peeked into the shaft. "According to my plans, the closest path to the outside is this way." She started crawling into shaft, then shifted around on her knees to help Dr. Light in.
"Oh my goodness. I've never gone through the house like this before. I can't believe the ventilation shafts are this big."
"I think they need to be for a house of this size."
The two began crawling through the metal tunnel on hands and knees. Roll kept on the heel of her hands to avoid dust getting into her system. Dr. Light, having regained much of his strength, crawled close behind her. He sneezed once in a while from the grime.
"Roll, listen, can you hear anything?" he said.
"I can hear us crawling through the ventilation shaft."
"No, I mean above us, in the mansion? I can't hear anyone in the house at all."
Roll perked up her ears like a cat. "I hear nothing either."
"Perhaps they've left?" Light remarked hopefully.
"We still need to get out of here as soon as possible and alert the authorities, if they haven't already been notified from the massive explosion."
Roll and Dr. Light traveled along the ventilation shaft uneventfully for some time, listening for signs of activity above them. Neither of them thought the robot masters would be searching through the ventilation systems for them. In fact, neither of them had any idea what Wily was planning. He had never attacked Dr. Light directly, he had always sought world domination. For some reason, Wily had little grudge against Dr. Light despite his creation of Mega Man.
Dr. Light passed over a grate below him. "Roll, wait, here." He wouldn't have seen it if he hadn't been looking down as he crawled.
"Down here, can we go into this room?"
Roll circled around clumsily, hard to do in a tiny tunnel, and looked down the vent where Light was looking. There was a grimy, industrial room below with green brick walls and a gray factory floor. All she could see was a table and a cabinet from her vantage point. "What is it?"
"It's one of my old labs. I use it for storage now."
"I think we can slip down there. Crawl back, please," Roll commanded.
Light shuffled his heavy frame backwards. Roll pried off the grate with her fingernails and tore up the opening to make enough room for someone to pass through. She made sure to split the sides of the hole downward so Dr. Light wouldn't cut himself. Roll poured herself out of the hole headfirst, grabbed onto the edge of the vent, and uncurled herself until she was upright, like a gymnast. It was quick drop to the ground from there. She outstretched her arms to the ceiling and saw Dr. Light trying to come down feet first, his short little legs dangling in the air.
"Little help, please."
"Stop flailing your legs, Dr. Light."
"How much ground is left?"
"You'll be fine, just keep sliding out," Roll said as she tried to get a hold of Dr. Light's kicking legs. "Come on."
"Okay, here I go."
Dr. Light's pudgy body slowly shifted out of the ventilation tunnel like a melted marshmallow through a pipe. Roll deftly caught him as his center of balance came down and set him on the ground.
"Ah, thank you, Roll," Dr. Light said as he brushed himself off. "My lab coat will need some laundering though."
"I'll get right on it," Roll said compliantly.
"No, no, not right now. That's all right." Light scratched his nose, walked over to the cabinet, and pulled out a cardboard box. "Sit on the table, Roll, I'll take care of your hands."
Roll did as she was told. Dr. Light dug through the box and found what looked like a pair of gloves, but they were the same material and color of Roll's skin.
"I think these are from your model," he said as he came over. Light cleaned off the tattered skin remaining, trimming it down to the wrists where the gloves would meet. He fit the gloves over Roll's skeletal hands. "Good," he said when he saw they fit. He did the same to the other hand. "Now that laser welder has to be somewhere around here. Help me look for it."
Roll jumped off the table and went to the left side of the room to rifle through boxes while Dr. Light went to the right. Most of the boxes contained circuit boards, miscellaneous electronic equipment, defunct technology, and other things that couldn't be identified by anyone else but Dr. Light. She pulled off box after box from the pile into another pile. Until she came across one marked 'Roll - Upgrade'.
Immediately she tore open the top and looked inside. Her eyes widened at the objects lying within. Several strength enhancing components, a small, tapered cannon-like object, a strange visor like helmet with green and yellow trim, and those were just the identifiable parts.
"Dr. Light, what's this?" she asked like a child asking her father.
The rotund doctor crossed the room and looked over Roll's shoulder. "Oh, dear. I had completely forgotten about that," he said disappointingly.
"What is it?"
"Well, when I first upgraded your brother, I made a second set of parts for you, as a spare, in case... in case your brother ever..." He paused and coughed to clear his throat. "You have virtually the same systems, so it was quite easy to do, but once Wily kept coming back and back, I couldn't bear the thought of that happening to you, having the responsibility of saving the world again and again, constantly putting your life at risk. So I stored them down here. And forgot about them."
Roll looked up at Dr. Light, her yellow ponytail snapping back. "Dr. Light, I need these."
"Roll, I can't..."
"We don't know where Rock is or if he made it out. If we get topside we might be surrounded by robots, and we'll have no way to defend ourselves. I need these upgrades. Please?"
"No, Roll, I can't do that to you. I can't, in good conscience, allow you to take this. Your brother does it because he has a strong sense of justice. You can't imagine what a burden it is-"
"Rock asked for the burden," Roll said. Dr. Light paused, speechless. "Why can't you do the same for me?"
Dr. Light looked up and away, lost in thought. Roll waited eagerly for his answer, gazing up at him with large, blue eyes. He scratched the back of his head and said, "Well, all the parenting books say you're supposed to treat siblings the same."
"Yay!" Roll jumped up and hugged her creator. "Thank you so much, Dr. Light."
Light hugged her back. "All right, let's find the laser welder first, get your hands back on, and then... we'll start upgrading."
"Hrummm..." Grizzled Jack shifted his square jaw around, clicking it out of place as he grinded his teeth. He had three days worth of stubble, a furred cap, and wide crazy eyes that seemed illuminated in the dark. His face was coated in a thick layer of dirt and he slowly moved the axe in his hand up and down in a dawdling chopping motion. His gray sweater was stained with dark red and brown streaks and blotches.
The two stared at Jack with scared eyes, Mega Man still in the odd position of cradling Link. Jack stepped into the room, first walking to the center and then circling around to face them, never pivoting, like a buzzard circling his prey. The two felt very small and vulnerable as Jack cast a huge sunset shadow over them.
"Well, ain't you two's funny lookin'," he snarled.
"Are you Grizzled Jack?" Link asked.
"Well, don't that beat all. Y'all done heard of me. That's exactly the way I DON'T LIKE IT." He lunged in close to their faces, his head seeming to swell up to enormous size as his eyes bugged out.
"Well," he continued. "I don't reckon you seem to be from around these here parts," Jack said as he looked Mega Man up and down. "Where you from, boy?"
"He's from outside Hyrule," Link quickly interrupted before Mega Man would start running his mouth. "Very far. Island somewhere."
"Is that so? Must have a lot of sharp corners in that there country." Jack said as he knocked on his helmet. "What's it called?"
"A helmet," Mega Man said.
"Your homeland! Boy, you sass me again, I'll take my belt to you." He grunted under his breath deeply. "You've all done worn out yer welcomes, so iffen you must be blind er jest damn stupid, yer seen the signs out there that I DON'T LIKE VISITORS!"
He switched his axe to the both hands to show that he meant business.
"Wait, wait, wait," Link said holding his hand in front of him. "We just wanted some information. We know you used to be part of the thieves' guild."
Jack stopped his axe short of thrusting forward. "Information? You... you wanna know about me?"
"Sure... I mean, yes!"
"Well..." Jack scratched his head under his cap. "Can't say I've had visitors before wantin' to know about me. Hrummm..." Jack scratched his chin as he looked up, lost in thought. "All right, sournds good. But first, we'll have some dinna. I've been starvin' all day. And get up off the floor. You two look likes you was in love or something."
Link and Mega Man stood up, Link still favoring his injured leg, as Jack pulled out a dead animal carcass from his backpack and held it up by the tail. "Here, I caught this in the woods, cook it up." He plopped the fuzzy animal on the ground in front of them with a hefty grunt. It was about three feet long with a fat and round body, marked by light-orange and black stripes.
"Cook this up out back. There be a fire pit enna spit out thar already."
Link and Mega Man looked at each other. The corpse smelled horribly musky like it had been dead and sitting in that backpack all day. Link shrugged and moved to pick up the carcass.
"Not YOU! You..." Jack pointed at Mega Man, who returned an innocent gaze. "You," he pointed at Link, "I'm-a gonna tell my story to."
"Yer the one who wanted the information, dintcha? Let yer friend thar cook the meal."
Mega Man protested, "But I-"
Mega Man cautiously picked up the heavy animal body over his shoulder and trudged out of the cabin's front door. Going through his database looking for how to cook an animal, he walked around back and used his night vision to look for a "fire pit". There was no hole where fire was coming out, but there was an area of ground saturated with ash and twigs. That would be an ideal spot for cooking an animal carcass. Above the area were two sticks propped up, holding up another stick placed horizontally.
Mega Man looked from the structure to the bloated cadaver, not quite sure how a trio of sticks could be made into a cooking device. In his time, all food was automatically prepared, freeze-dried into a compact slab, and placed in storage until someone wanted to eat. He knew people were forced to hunt and gather for food in history, but never learned the details of what they did after the hunting and gathering. In fact, he had never made a meal himself. He never needed to eat, and it was Roll's job to prepare meals.
Mega Man knelt before the ashed circle on the ground. The first step would be in creating a fire, and that would need some wood. Ah, an idea came to Mega Man. The sticks were simply placed there in preparation of needing wood. He plucked them out of the ground and laid them down. Gripping two, he began rubbing them together at super-human speed, his arms blurring blue. A thin wisp of smoke started wafting from the point of contact and soon a yellow spark ignited the wood. The robot waved his hand over the small flicker to keep it oxygenated, then brought the other wood closer to the conflagration. The wood was thick, but the fire wouldn't last long. Mega Man pulled up the animal carcass and held it close to the fire with his two hands, slowly rotating it to provide an even heating.
"Perfect," he said to himself.
Meanwhile, Grizzled Jack gingerly stepped over to his table, avoiding his own traps and making creaks in the floor. Sitting in his homemade chair he fetched a flint stone in his pocket and lit the candle on the table. "Come over here and sit up a spell," he made a 'come here' gesture with his hand. "Just plop yourself right... oh," Jack trailed off as he realized he had no chairs anywhere for Link. "Well, never mind that then."
Link kneeled on the ground next to Jack, making him slightly shorter than the woodsman. Jack picked up the pile of paper on the desk.
He said, "This here is me manifesto."
"That's a manifesto?"
"Yup, plan to send it in to the Hyrule Board of Publicworthy Items. They best publish it or else. Explains the whole thing right on down the line. Every conspiracial plot, every explanation for everything. Did you know that the King himself knows about the disappearance of cows from the farm fields down south at the ranch. They say there's people from another world out there, far away that fly in big dish-like ships and take our cows. They think it's crazy! But it ain't crazy, tis the truth! Ah've seen it."
"Uh-huh, right," Link said, trying to feign belief as best he could.
"And another thing. The water in Kakariko Pond? Well, you can better believe I ain't drinking it. They put... secret potions in there. You know what they are?"
"It's a secret chemical they've been developing down in the castle dungeon. You drink it, and you become as weak and docile as a kitten. They placate you!"
"So if you don't drink the pond water, what do you drink?"
"I squeeze the juices out of every vegetable I grow meself and every animal I done hunted. Save it up, use it for rationing."
This time Link couldn't repress his disgust as he stuck his tongue out, "Blagh."
"That's good tastin', I'll tell ya whut. You ain't asked me the question yet."
"The question you should have been asking me from the start!"
"Uhhh... what was that question?"
"Why is the kingdom of Hyrule doing this to all its citizens?"
Link nodded in acknowledgement. Grizzled Jack stared at him with his crazy eyes. Link looked around. It seemed like Jack was waiting for him to say something. "Um... why is the kingdom of Hyrule doing this to all its citizens?"
"To control them! To keep the panic down. They're going to revolutionize society. They're going to bring forth a system to keep track of every man, woman, and child. It's all a principle of the sociological evidence we see today. The ideology of modern topicalism. The autonomous collective will enforce this philosophy and society will succumb to its advances. It's all here in chapter one." He picked up the first page. "The pre-industrial society in which we live, the physical duresses placed on the working man resulting in classification of the class struggle fall into 42 categories. Category the first-"
"Uh," Link hastily interrupted. "Is there anything in there about your time in the thieves' guild... perhaps?"
"Eh? Oh. Lemme see here..." Jack rustled through his pages, tearing through paper heedless of the organization. "Uhhh, Resolutions of the Technological Age, no...the Sophistication of the Organization-Dependent, no... forgive me, it's still a bit unfinished. Wait, maybe in here about the Strategy of Choosers Under the Beggar System. The moral code of our society demands that the working man must place a burden of his time. The oversocialization leads to poor self-esteem. This psychological manifestation of the self, heretofore known as the 'I', is a direct-"
"What about your experience in the thieves' guild. Like, when did you retire? Maybe something about Blind the Thief. I'm sure that would be a publicworthy item."
"Blind the Thief? Feh, that lowlife couldn't steal an apple from a tree. After he disappeared, I stayed up here and the whole gang moved down south to the desert valley. Never seen 'em since and don't care to."
Link's eyes lightened up as he finally got the information he wanted. "Ah."
"Now where was I? The thought and behavior tracts generate a feeling of self-shamedness, a spiral of shame, if you will, that can... have..." Jack trailed off as his eyes became blank, staring at the doorway. Link turned and saw Mega Man there holding the now cooked animal.
"I believe it's been cooked thoroughly enough," he said as he held up the smoking carcass with both hands. The fur had been left on during the cooking, giving it a horrid smell and a charred outer shell. Its organs had also not been removed, meaning the body had bloated up and bubbled and oozed over the cracks in the flesh
"You... you... you... You didn't clean it or gut it or skin it even! I spent three days hunting that thing!" His voice rose with each description until it shook the cabin.
"I'm sorry, I didn't know how to cook-"
Grizzled Jack jumped from the table, overturning it, making a loud crash. "YOU'VE WASTED THREE DAYS WORTH OF MAH FOOD! GET OUT!"
Link hunkered down to avoid the flying table and made a beeline for the door. Mega Man stood there dumbfounded, still holding the steaming animal, until Link grabbed his shoulder and pulled him with, making him drop the carcass. Jack began throwing a tantrum, flailing his arms and legs, kicking and hitting anything that was in range - the wall, the table. Both Mega Man and Link looked up at the ceiling where the blades began clinking together faster and faster from the action under them. The candle spilled on the ground rolled next to a dry piece of uprooted wood, starting it on fire. The flames spread quickly over the dry wooded cabin.
"Time to go," Link said hastily. Grizzled Jack continued screaming and bellowing like an angry bear as the two heroes hotfooted it out of the house.
Next Chapter: Side Quest