Categories > Games > Zelda > Gatecrash0 Reviews
Chapter 36: Getting There is Half the Fun
Chapter 36: Getting There is Half the Fun
Mega Man continually tried to access Beat, but received no response. Each unpleasant buzz indicating the inability to make a connection raised Mega Man's alarm levels.
Fervently, he typed commands into the computer. "We need to get to Antarctica now!" Link was a bit taken aback by his intensity, but kept quiet. The outline of the frozen continent in the world projection faded from blue to red. Somehow, a tachyon field had just been erected, preventing Mega Man from automatically teleporting there and saving the day. And the robot knew just who to blame.
He pounded his fist lightly on the table. "And Wily just brought up a tachyon field. Fantastic." He hit some more buttons and the screen went black. "I'm going to have to do this the hard way." He stood up and started to run off into the hallway.
"Wait, where are you going?" Link said, trailing along.
"I have to get my arm cannon. Then I'm going down there and getting Roll."
"Hold on. I'm coming with you."
"No, you can't. Wily's robots undoubtedly know about her location, now that one's spotted her. Time is of the essence. I can't have a human slowing me down. I'm sorry."
Link was perturbed now. "If you think I'm going to let you go off on some adventure without me, you're sadly mistaken. Especially in this world. I'm going with you whether you like it or not."
"You would be placed in too great a danger."
"Danger? You're talking to me about danger?" Mega Man hit the control for the elevator and they dropped down to the lab.
"These aren't the kind of enemies you're used to. They're robots, like me. They won't yield to a simple sword. They're made of metal, not magic."
"If you're talking about that thing in the basement, that was just cause it caught me by surprise. I have more skills than just swinging a sword around. At least it would be useful to have another set of eyes around. Besides, you're the one responsible for bringing me here. You have to take me along."
Mega Man did not follow Link's logic of responsibility. "You're the one who jumped through the portal."
"I didn't have a choice."
"Nonetheless, I didn't bring you here."
"Look, don't you think you owe me more then making me sit here in your house with nothing to do, when there's a great big world out there I could explore. When it came to going out in Hyrule, I asked you to come along. Don't you think you should do the same for me?"
"That was because I had special skills to offer you. Sorry to say, there's not much here you can do."
"Well, you'll never know that until we see, won't we? I've got plenty. I've got the hookshot, a magic boomerang, fire and ice rods."
"I told you, there is no magic in this world. Those devices won't work here."
This was really frustrating Link. The doors opened and Mega Man exited. Link, racking his brain to try and convince him to be brought along, followed at his feet. "If you don't bring me along, then I'm going to go out and explore on my own." Mega Man looked back at him with a questioning look. "You know I will. There's nothing I love more than exploring. And what better place could there be to do that but here, in a world I've never seen before?"
Mega Man pondered this. He could lock him in the house, using the security measures. That would keep him from getting in trouble. On the other hand, leaving him here could be perilous. They were plenty of ways for a stranger in a strange land to get hurt even on the simplest tools. The first law stated that he couldn't allow a human to come to harm through action or inaction. Maybe it would be better to bring him along where he could keep an eye on him.
"Very well, but you must stay close to me at all times and follow my instructions."
"No problem," Link ceded. He didn't know the territory well, so a guide would be nice. Mega Man started off towards the elevator. "So how long is it going to take to get there?"
"Near instantaneous. Configuring the coordinates will merely take a few minutes."
"We're teleporting? But I thought you just said Wily put up a tacky-yon thing."
"We're going to have to teleport just outside the field and run there." Like he had done so many times before. "I know where Roll's exact location is. Getting there will just be the problem."
"That seems kind of inefficient."
Mega Man turned around and glared at him, stopping Link in his tracks. "You have a better way?"
"Well, don't you have any waterways?"
"No. Antarctica is a frozen desert."
"If only this was the Dark World, I could call on the magical rooster."
"Just forget it. What about vehicles? Can't you just transport to a vehicle? That might be faster."
Mega Man pondered this. He had already considered taking Rush, but the dog wouldn't have enough power to make it even a quarter of the distance. But if he could get to another base and grab a transport scout, or some similar vehicle, and zoom to Roll's coordinates... He did some quick calculations and figured there would be a chance of being faster, especially with Link coming along. The 'X' factor was in being able to get a vehicle there.
It was worth a try though. Mega Man took him to a room with a large panel set on a desk and turned it on. From behind, Link watched him access the portal to the Computer. Several words appeared on the screen and an avatar's face came on, different than the one he'd seen before.
"McMurdo Base, Reno speaking."
"This is Mega Man."
"Oh! Yes, what can I do for you?"
"I need a two-person transport vehicle sent to twenty-three degrees forty-three minutes south, eleven degrees three minutes west. Do you have anything available?"
"Well... lemme see." The man in the screen looked down at a clipboard and then some other documents around him. "I think you're in luck. We have an exploratory crew a couple kilometers from that location. All robots. They took a metonicle RJ down there. No battle armaments, just transportation."
"I can have it sent to that location by remote if you want?"
"Yes, please do so. I'm in a hurry."
"Is it Dr. Wily?"
"Possibly." Mega Man secretly thought, when isn't it? "I'm going to be teleporting to that location shortly.
"Okay, we'll have it sent at top-speed. Our robos can wait a little while."
"Thank you. Mega Man out." The screen blanked-out.
Link smirked. "Wait, so there's a crew out there? And they're just leaving them there?"
Mega Man stood up and walked away, Link following. "They're robots. They're built to withstand the cold, and they only do what they're ordered to. If they're ordered to wait, they wait."
The Hylian was surprised when they ended up back in the lab. He expected to come out in some kind of stable for transportation to Antarctica. Then he remembered the deal with the arm cannon.
Mega Man spent a moment looking through supplies and closets for his arm cannon. "Aha," he exclaimed upon its discovery. He took out the blue cylindrical device and examined it. It was a mark one blaster, about half as powerful as his current one, with no charge option and a version 1.0 weapon copy feature. Dr. Light probably kept it just for emergencies. He took the weapon to an operating table and set it down, picking out some tools from the drawer underneath.
"Does... um... does it take a long time to put on?" Link asked, glancing nervously from the table to his hands.
"No. I just need to sever the connections and reconnect this new one."
Mega Man internally severed network ties to his peripheral as he swept the tools needed over his arm to disconnect it from his hardware. With a yank he pulled off the device and set it aside.
"Yikes," Link uttered on seeing his forearm detach, "You can just remove it like that?" It was like chopping off his arm and putting it back on.
"Yes," Mega Man responded.
"Doesn't that hurt?"
"I don't feel pain in the conventional sense. I can sense there has been something removed from my body. But there's no 'alarm system' like there is in humans because it was done deliberately."
"So it doesn't hurt."
"Not really." Mega Man picked up the new cannon and hooked it into his stubbed elbow.
"I have a question," Link said, as if he hadn't needed permission for all the others he'd posed. "Why did you need to ask Dr. Light for permission to put this on?"
While he reconnected and configured the plug-and-play arm cannon, he said, "Just like I can't self-terminate, I also can't self-upgrade. It's another restriction put on robots. If robots could improve themselves, they could take it too far and become vastly dangerous. Today's A.I. doesn't have the ability to think creatively like that, but it's more precautionary. Besides, this is really more of a downgrade."
Link contemplated the meaning of this, thinking back to his comment some time ago about slavery. If robots couldn't improve themselves, they could never evolve to how they wanted. It was a way of the programmers to keep their control over them.
The hardware connections fitted, and Mega Man performed a quick diagnostic on the blaster. 'Downgrade' was an understatement. It would take some time to get used to having this lesser-developed weapon instead of his Mega Buster.
"All right. Now we have to get you prepared. Let's see." Mega Man rummaged through drawers and cabinets until he found what he was looking for. "Aha. This should do it." He held up an rectangular black box with a waist-strap around it.
"Here, you'll want to put this on."
"What is it?"
"A thermal shield. It'll protect you against the cold."
"Really? I've been in the ice palace. It's pretty cold there."
"Antarctica is located on the bottom of the world. The average temperature currently is negative ten to negative thirty degrees Celsius."
"...Is that cold?"
"With wind speed, it could freeze you in a matter of minutes."
"Ah-huh. Maybe I will wear this."
"Don't turn it on until we get there. I'm not sure of what its battery life is."
"How long it will last."
"Uh, this thing won't conk out on me right in the middle of a fight will it."
"It's not a shield in the conventional sense, like that." He pointed to the scarred metal on Link's back. "It just projects a globular energy bubble that encapsulates warm air and recirculates it."
"Okay," Link nodded and smiled.
"We're set. Let's get to the teleporter."
Mega Man led Link down some halls and down one level further to the large room set up for teleportation. There were two great big cylinders surrounding a large pad in the middle.
Link whistled in awe. "This is pretty snazzy. You must use this all the time. It would be pretty handy if you could teleport anywhere in the land with no restrictions."
"Actually, only advanced robots and machines have the ability to self-teleport anywhere," Mega Man replied as he sat next to a console, turning on the power and reconfiguring the system. "They're the only ones who can handle the circuitry and power requirements to do so. Everyone else uses a machine like this. But only the wealthy can afford a personal one. There are public ones available."
"I see. So... everyone has to use a teleporter if they want to get somewhere."
"They don't have to. Actually, very few humans use teleportation because of their distrust of the complexity involved and the way it makes them feel afterward. There are plenty of transportational vehicles, both public and private, and they're much cheaper."
"The way it makes them feel?"
"They often get sick to their stomach."
"Oh, I'm no stranger to teleporting," he replied boldly. It's not like he didn't get nauseous a few times flying over the golden realm only holding onto a bird's foot. But he had frequently shifted in and out of the Dark World and the Light World in his quests. He had felt no sensations during that, just the sight of the world around him shifting. "Well, then what do you use it for?"
"Cargo, usually. This one, actually we use more for waste disposal."
"Ah... that would explain the smell."
Mega Man punched some last buttons into the console and stood up. "We should be set up now. I'm gonna hate to see our electric bill though."
"Nothing. Can you stand on the pad there?"
"No problem." Link stepped onto the crystal platform between the intimidating power transfunctioners. "Should I turn on my shield yet?"
"Not yet." Mega Man continued at the terminal then stood up and stepped onto the platform next to Link. "Many humans report having feelings of anxiety during their first teleportation."
"Oh, please. It's not like I've never teleported before. When I was-"
Link ceased to speak because the cells holding his vocal chords were no longer cohesive. He felt like his brain was crammed into a can. An intense feeling of claustrophobia ran through his cold blood. Thoughts were no longer processing, just pure blind primitive emotion. He wasn't sure whether his eyes were open or not, but he could see amazing colors and pictures rushing towards him.
All of this was over in an instant. The teleportation replaced the gray metal chamber with a land of white and sky of black. The air was crisp and cold. Snowflakes fluttered around him.
Mega Man looked around at his location. "Hmm, this looks right. Our coordinates match our surroundings. There should be a minimum margin of error. How'd it go?" Mega Man tapped his friend on the shoulder.
Link turned around and threw up.
Mega Man casually stepped back from the fountaining stomach contents so as not to mess himself and give Link personal space. The warm vomit ate threw the ground layer of packed snow like acid and warm, pungent steam rose.
When he was finished, Link wiped his mouth and looked up. "Urrgh... that wasn't fun..." he panted.
"I've never seen teleporting sickness that severe before."
"Neither have I," he said as he spit into the snow and held his cramping stomach.
"Our vehicle should be here shortly."
"Goody." He stood back up and a crisp wind hit him. "Ah, jeez, it is cold." He stepped away from his newly produced pile and looked at the snow encrusting his boots as he walked forward, looking around the new area. The darkened sky looked like they were in a very small area that expanded endlessly.
"You can turn on your shield now."
"How do I do that?"
"Press the button on the square box."
Link pressed the button on the square buckle. A bubble rapidly expanded outward and enveloped him head to toe. Link darted his head around looking at it. The temperature gradually returned to comfortable as the cold air was warmed up. Looking at the belt, the display read 70, which was probably some measure of the temperature. The hero pushed his fingers outside the sphere, discovering that the warming only resided in the boundaries of the clear globe. Now this really was an ingenious device. If you could regulate the temperature of your environment in a shield, you could go anywhere. You could dive into a volcano.
"This is fantastic," he said as he moved around. The bubble moved with him like a hamster ball. He looked out into the nearly black landscape. "Look at all the snow. It goes on forever."
"Our ride's here."
Link stopped jumping into the fluffy powder and looked up. A light in the distance was rushing towards them. The light grew bigger, until Link could see it was some sort of big rounded metal bird coming towards him. A rushing of wind accompanied the elongated, but spherical aircraft as it fired its retro rockets to come down to a safe landing in front of them.
"Whoa," Link said. "Is that it?"
"It is," he said as he approached the vessel. Tapping on the panel next to the door he opened the door. "Come on in.".
Link looked around and entered the tiny room. Making a mobile room was pretty amazing, he thought as he stepped onto the carpet. Two seats connected to the ground in front of the front window. Link took the one not occupied by Mega Man and gazed at all the read-outs and controls on the panel in front of him. Everything was written in a strange language.
Mega Man shut the entrance door and locked it. "An RJ-202 metonicle," he mused to himself. He hit some more buttons. "Do you see that strap behind the chair?"
Link looked behind him. Two black leather straps connected in a V to a metal tab hung over the back of the chair. "Yes."
"Pull it over your head and connect it to the buckle under your seat."
Link felt under the chair for a 'buckle' and pulled up a similar strap with a flat metal cube with a slot. He connected the two at his chest and realized the straps were meant to keep him secure in the chair, but still fairly free to move about. "What's this for?" he asked for clarity.
"A securing device. We'll be moving at a high velocity so this will keep you from flying about."
"Oh," Link replied with tremors in his voice.
"Better hold on." Mega Man said as he pulled out the control stick. Link could feel himself sinking back in his seat and gravity trying to pull him downward. The front window changed from half ground to full night sky, with snow falling directly onto them. He no longer felt the sensation of solid ground beneath him.
"Uhhh..." Link found the best thing to hold onto was the armrests, so he gripped those with his fingers. "Where did the ground go?"
"Ready ... Launch!"
Link wasn't sure what happened immediately after Mega Man said that word. At one point he was in the tiny room, and then the chair was sucking him in. It felt like all his organs were being pressed into his back in a powerful invisible wind he couldn't feel.
Slowly, adjusting to the pressure, he opened his eyes that felt like they were going roll backwards. The window in the front showed the landscape below rushing behind him. "Wwwwwwhhhhhaaaaaatttttt..."
"Hang on. We might hit some turbulence."
"Mmmmmmmmgggggaaaaa..." Link mumbled, trying to open his mouth amid the gravity forced on it. The ground was getting hazier and hazier, more and more distant. The vehicle began to vibrate fiercely.
"Too much pressure," Mega Man explained. "This craft was meant for ground-level excursions."
"Sssssstttttoooopppp..." Link could feel his heart about to rip out of his chest. Cold sweat beaded on his forehead.
"Can't stop. We're taking a triangular approach. Much faster than cruising along the surface. I just hope this thing can take it. We're almost at the apex though."
"Rrrrrrrrggggggg..." The front window's display started to change from misted over sky to darker blue. As the pressure on his body began to lift, he took gasping amounts of air. "Wha-... what was that..." he struggled. "Where-"
"Oh, you might be feeling some after-effects of the g-forces. Looks like we went a little under mach-one."
"Mock-one? That was... so fast."
"Changing pitch and yaw to 321 mark 34. And... set."
The hovercraft tilted downward, until it felt like he was going to be poured out of the craft, crashing through the front window. The entire window showed white, lit by the lights on their vehicle.
"What... what's going on?"
Mega Man pushed the control stick downward and the craft dropped like a rock. Link felt his stomach lurch into his throat. If that strap wasn't keeping him in, he would have hit the ceiling. It seemed like he was floating above his seat.
"YAAAAAAAAAAAR!" Link screamed.
Mega Man swept the control stick down and the craft swooped above the landscape just before it hit. He decelerated the craft so they were able to scan the land before them at a slower pace.
Link held his hand up to his chest, feeling it pounding. He wiped the sweat off his forehead and rubbed his aching, cramped stomach.
"I'm sorry I had to do that without preparation, but we didn't have the time. I didn't realize you weren't used to such high speeds. We should be reaching Roll's last known coordinates soon."
Link's eyes traveled up and down with the rushing snowscape below. "Uh... uh-huh... whatever."
Suddenly, an alarm in the craft sounded. "Now what?" Link asked.
"We're being fired on."
"We're being fired on. A ground turret. Wily must have armaments deployed already. Hidden in the snow." He gripped tighter onto the control stick. "Hang on to something."
The craft suddenly dipped sharply to Link's side. The gravity shifted to the side door as Link resisted falling through it. The landscape filled up the window he was pressed against. "AAAAAHHHH!" he screamed. He tried to force himself up to the chair to avoid touching the window for fear he would break it and fall out.
Laser blasts fired up in the front and side windows. Mega Man gritted his teeth as he pulled the craft out of a spin, narrowly dodging an energy blast that went right across the ship's nose.
"Can't keep this up forever," he muttered as Link continued screaming in terror. He'd have thought with a zippy craft like this it would have better evasive maneuvers, but it had been flying a long time. Its parts were not meant for this sort of high-speed endurance.
As if in omen to his thoughts, a plasma burst neatly cut vertically up through the turbine pipe at the back of the craft. The robot watched with trepidation as the engine output levels began steadily dropping. Smoke billowing out the back of the craft started to fill up the windshield.
"Hang on," Mega Man shouted above the craft's violent vibration.
"What do you think I'm doing?"
The direction of the winds caught the little vehicle in a spin, rotating it around like a helicopter as it sharply lost altitude, plummeting at increasing speed. Mega Man hit the retro rockets as the craft dipped lower to the ground. The vehicle bounced once from the reverse in inertia, but it was only temporary, Mega Man knew. They were going to crash.
"AAAAAAAH!" Link continued.
Mega Man did everything he could to soften the blow. The plasma blasts flying at them stopped as they reached critical altitude. "Hang on!" Mega Man repeated as he braced himself for the blow. Link shut his eyes in terror.
The spinning craft made impact with the snow. The two passengers' seat belts kept them in their seats as they recoiled up and down. Link kept springing back and forth, hitting the secure armrests of the chair, bruising his sides. The world spun quickly in the front window like an amusement ride. The snow and centrifugal force did all they could to soften the crash. Mega Man thanked his lucky stars that the craft didn't explode.
Eventually the motion of the craft slowed down and rotated to a final swing, hissing as it rested, jerking the two back slightly from the forward inertia.
"Oooh," Link groaned. "I don't feel so good."
Mega Man did a check on himself and found nothing had been injured. A quick visual check on Link said the same about him.
"What a ride that was," Link continued.
"You can unbuckle your seatbelt now. We've landed."
"No kidding." Link fiddled around with the buckle for a moment, trying to pull apart the straps when he hit the button on the metal square, freeing him. "Ow, that smarts."
"You okay?" Mega Man asked.
"I feel like someone just put my body through a laundry."
"We should get out of here," Mega Man said as he dug under his seat. "Might be robots coming for us soon. And this vehicle might explode."
"You won't hear any complaints from me."
Wily's guard robots would have undoubtedly seen their crash, but maybe not know the landing site exactly, depending on where they and their radars were. If luck was on their side, they'd be able to find Roll and get out quickly.
The door automatically opened for Mega Man, hinging outward like a latch and jumped out into the snow. Link, still unaffected due to his thermal shield, jumped down behind him. Black smoke was puffing out from the back of the craft. No doubt it would be seen by attackers fairly soon.
"All right, now we've got to find your sister," Link said.
"Right. She should be near this location."
They trotted off into the snowy landscape in a spiral pattern, their eyes moving back and forth. The emergency floodlight from their craft eventually faded out and soon Link and Mega Man were walking in near pitch black, if not for the full moon and wide canopy of stars. Mega Man would, of course, pick-up Roll's presence before Link because of his attuned sensors.
Link, however, was doing a better job at keeping up with Mega Man's run than he thought. All that training in the fields of Hyrule must have had an effect on him. He followed diligently, trudging through the swampy snow. It was like running in cold sand, but easier. That didn't stop Link from wishing he had his pegasus boots on. Too much of this would be murder on his calves after long.
Mega Man's electrical light refraction vision picked up a body's outline in the snow. "I see Roll," Mega Man said and started heading off into a westerly direction. Link looked left and right as they ran but spotted nothing but blackness. Fortunately, it looked like their attackers hadn't found them yet.
Mega Man suddenly skidded to a stop and bent down into the snow. He dusted off the form of a body in the snow and lifted her up. "Roll? Roll can you hear me?" He inspected her body for any signs of battle damage.
Mega Man hoisted Roll to his shoulder. Her blond ponytail swung back and forth like a pendulum with her stiff arms flung out like she was flying.
"How is she?" Link asked.
"Can't tell. I can't teleport her out of here. We need to get to some shelter so I can find out what's wrong."
Link dug into his bag and pulled out his lantern. "This'll do the trick." He ignited it.
Or he tried to. For some reason the rotten thing wouldn't start up. He had plenty of magic power, he drank a potion before they left for Kakariko village and hadn't used any magic since. The lantern's bulb remained gray and unlit. "Maybe I won't be doing the trick," he said tried a few more times. Maybe Mega Man was right, magic didn't exist here.
"Never mind that, let's get to the metonicle."
Link put back the lantern. "Did you say the research base was close by?"
"Yes, but-" Mega Man was about to say the craft was closer, but it was meant for three people and the thermal shield he'd given Link may not have that much battery life. Plus the fact that he had no idea if the craft could be repaired. The base may have been farther, but it would likely have the resources they needed. Plus the inhabiting humans would help them. "Actually, that's a good idea. Let's go."
No sooner did they say that then a plasma shot buried itself in the ground below Link's boots. He nearly fell back into the snow in surprise. Mega Man looked up to the hill to see three guard joes rushing toward them from a far hill.
Next Chapter: Strategic Retreat