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Chapter 46: Meeting the Enemy
Chapter 46: Meeting the Enemy
Mega Man commanded the door to open and it did. It had been a long journey back from the New Mexico power plant, even despite using the teleporter. They discussed as they navigated through the lab.
"It's impossible," Roll declared. "Dr. Wily has never been able to successfully make a Rock clone. Not one that didn't need a holographic projector."
"Wait, what's a holographic projector?" Link asked.
Mega Man said, "It's a stationary machine, kind of like the holo-tv. It's needed for producing holograms... or ghosts. It's just a cover-up. A cloak, like an invisibility shield. Wily has done it before. In his first takeover, he fooled me with a clone of myself, using doc technology. That's sort of a process where robot dupes are made with similar appearances and similar technology, but no A.I. He had all the same weapons as I did, and it was a tough battle, but I prevailed, obviously. He was essentially trying a confusion tactic, and it was a good one too. He later revealed doc technology to the world to convince us that he had returned to sanity and reformed."
"Yes," Roll said, "The world was quite thankful, and then they sure felt like idiots when he fooled them all."
"Then in his third takeover, he tried it again. This time though, he made three mes. And he had this device to teleport them around, to keep me guessing which one was the vulnerable one. The other two were just ghosts, but I couldn't tell which plasma blast was coming from the real one, because they all shot at the same time."
"Sounds tricky," Link said.
"It was. I had to shoot them all to see which one was absorbing the blasts and which ones were reflecting it. It was a battle of timing and avoidance. But he needed that machine there to produce the images of myself. Those aren't transportable. So I don't know how Dr. Wily could make a clone of myself."
"So he couldn't use the doc technology to do it?" Link said.
"No, he still needs a holographic emitter, and those aren't transportable. Not only that, but a hologram can't be invisible at the same time. So it can't be a hologram. The only other answer is that he's built a copy of me, with the same information and intelligence. But he's never done that before, why do it now?"
The three presented themselves in front of the large elevator and entered when the doors opened.
"What if it switched holograms in mid-flight," Link said. "From invisible to you."
"It wouldn't have happened the way you described it."
"So he has made a duplicate of you," Roll said. "It's not like it's difficult."
"Then why hasn't Wily done it before?" Link asked. "Why hasn't he created an entire army of his own Mega Mans, er, men."
"Well, the thing is, he's not the strongest robot out there," Roll said.
"Yeah, I was built for tool using, not battle," Mega Man agreed.
"So, it's better for Wily to build a robot intended for battle," Roll said.
"Despite the fact that you beat him every time?" Link asked.
Mega Man shrugged. "What can I say? He's a madman. The very definition of insanity is repeating an action over and over and expecting to get different results."
"He might have Mega Man's body, but not his brains," Roll said. "Dr. Wily was always more centered on the hardware aspect of robotics. Dr. Light was an expert on the software. There's no way Dr. Wily could simply make another Mega Man exactly. All he knew was the physical specifications."
The elevator doors opened and deposited them onto the living floor. They started walking down the hall into the main area.
"All right," Link acquiesced, "So we know Dr. Wily has a Mega Man clone. And he's using it to steal the thing needed to complete his plans."
"But that also doesn't make sense either. My design is not meant for stealth or thieving. So why would Wily make a Mega Man clone? What would he use it for?"
A pleasant tone sounded around them.
"What was that?" Link asked. Mega Man turned the corner and attended to the flashing computer screen sitting on a table.
"The doorbell," Roll said.
"What's a doorbell?"
"A push button at a door that gives a ringing signal that someone is there."
"Oh," Link uttered. "We just knock."
Mega Man accessed the camera feed in front of the door to see who it was. "It's the police!" Mega Man said.
Roll heard the urgency in Rock's voice, but didn't understand it. Mega Man had relations with the police, often collaborating with them for the purposes of finding Dr. Wily, or to testify against him. He'd even been there earlier, why was he so concerned now?
"What's going on?" she asked.
"They're armed," Mega Man said as he dutifully went to the door. Two heavily armored gray robots, holding body-length shields were standing in front of the doorway, blocking a human in a blue uniform who Link guessed was part of law enforcement.
"Mega Man! I... didn't expect... ahem. Mega Man, we're here to place you under arrest. Don't give us any trouble, or we'll be forced to take drastic measures."
"What? Why? What's the problem?" Roll said as she immediately came to Rock's side, holding her hands in plea.
"I take it you haven't looked at the news feed lately."
The two robots and one Hylian gave each other quizzical expressions. Link, the closest, picked up the remote and pressed the power button, aiming it at the rectangle on the wall. A vivid picture flicked on, showing shaky two-dimensional footage of a city, with people scattering around. A blue robot was bouncing up and down and firing plasma blasts wildly. The shaky view zoomed in and unblurred to reveal Mega Man scaring away the civilians. A voice-over described the scene.
"-say that Mega Man was seen in the third precinct, firing wildly at humans and destroying public property. In what is an apparently unprovoked attack, many witnesses have reported injuries and property damage-"
The three looked stunned at what they were seeing. Obviously, the three of them were with Mega Man the entire time so it had to be Wily's clone.
"This is a fake!" Roll declared. "It's obvious. Rock would never do something like this." She turned back to the policeman. "There's a clone out there made by Dr. Wily. He's the one responsible."
Link piped up. "How can this be happening there, when you're here."
"Recorded broadcast," Mega Man said calmly.
"We have no choice," the policeman said. "We came here expecting Dr. Light, but if you're here, we have no choice but to arrest you and take you in, as you are the prime suspect. If you resist, we will use maximum force on you, which may result in permanent damage to your system."
"Dr. Light is currently incapacitated. He's in the hospital."
"In that case, we will definitely have to detain you until Dr. Light can be notified."
"This is ludicrous," Link shouted. "We know there's a fake Mega Man out there. Doesn't he have a reputation here? It would make no sense for him to suddenly go haywire and then come back here casually."
"It doesn't matter," Mega Man said, much to Link's surprise. He hadn't any idea why he was defending his arrest. "I'm their only lead right now, even if there is a second me. Plus with Dr. Light gone, my master is currently unable to issue me commands, and that gives me potential to be a rogue."
The officer seemed to hunker back behind his robot guards. "And by law you are required to be immobilized and taken to a holding facility."
Roll was stricken with a sudden pang of fear. Would Rock try to resist? He could take out the robots with no problem, but if he harmed that human, that would be it for him. He would be destroyed without a moment's hesitation, labeled as a rogue robot. If Rock tried something, they might discover the lack of proper programming within him, and then the rest of the world would, and take him down.
Rock, though, bowed his head in deference. "It's all right, I'll come quietly. I only request that I am not powered down or deactivated until Dr. Light is informed and can get together a sufficient defense for me."
"That's up to the courts to decide. But you won't be turned off, just immobilized."
Mega Man turned to his sister. "I'm sure this is just a misunderstanding. We'll get it cleared up before too long." I hope, Mega Man silently added. "It's not like it's the first time one of our own has been falsely accused."
The policeman picked up a round circle with a small box. "I have to place this on you."
The officer fastened the circle around Mega Man's neck and pressed a button on the box. He felt the immobilizer's effects immediately, reducing his input commands to only respond to basic human orders such as 'move forward' and 'answer questions'. It was more meant to suppress his A.I. and decision-making.
"I'm coming with you," Roll said. "You hear? I'm coming with."
Mega Man slowly nodded.
"Fine," the officer said. "Mega Man, move forward."
"Link!" Roll called out as her brother started his zombie-like movement out the door. The Hylian was still watching the news feed. "I'm going with Mega Man. I'll contact Dr. Light as soon as I know he's safe."
Link nodded, "I'll stay here and see what I can learn."
Roll nodded back and closed the door behind her. Once again, Link was left alone in this house, though now it was less strange than when he entered it. He kept watching the lady behind the desk tell him what had transpired in the 'third precinct' some time ago. He listened intently, never saying a word. Having nothing else new to report, the discussion turned to overbearing analyses by robot sociologists about what this meant for the future of robotics, and going on about the laws, and whether Mega Man had grown too dangerous to be allowed to live. Link, although angered by these jumps to conclusions, pushed it aside and tried to think about how this attack related to the current situation.
Link estimated it had been several hours since his encounter in the tunnel. He had no idea how fast robots could move, but he imagined, since they were mechanical men, they could move pretty fast, even if they weren't teleporting. Faster than the fastest animals he'd seen. It was possible he could have been anywhere in the world from the time he got away.
They went back to the captured video of Mega Man, jumping and spinning around, firing his shots wildly. Link had been on the receiving end of those shots. He knew their deadly accuracy. Something wasn't mixing here. The Mega Man clone was purposefully not trying to hurt people, but why? They were scattering around, running madly away from the geyser of plasma power. The video ended with Mega Man was heading to the left, and they repeated it from beginning to end again. He didn't even look like he was trying. The zoom-in on the robot's face gave him a blank countenance, like he didn't care what he was doing. In the museum, Mega Man had said that it could have been a 'dumb' robot, one controlled remotely by another. He also said, using doc technology, robots could be duplicated with the same appearance, but no intelligence. It seemed like this robot didn't have a lot of personality, at least as far as robots went. Just a mindless battle machine.
The news report came back on and started over, repeating the same story as if he hadn't listened before. She was telling the story beginning to end, saying that Mega Man had emerged from the subway to the surface and suddenly started firing wildly into the crowd, causing mass chaos. No one had seen exactly where he had originated from, but started firing while underground, driving people up to the surface, following them, and then disappearing again in a teleport.
The word underground suddenly caught Link's ear. There were others afterward that were unrecognizable. Mega Man wasn't here to give him a definition though. "Computer?"
A pleasant beep. "Please input command or query."
"What is a 'subway'?"
"Several definitions found. Definition one. An underground way such as a passage under a street. Definition two. A usually electric underground railway."
That was what he was missing. The Mega man clone wasn't trying to kill people. He was trying to get them out of the way. He was trying to get them out of the 'subway', so he could use the railway tracks to transport the conduit coil without being interfered with. Discrediting Mega Man wasn't Wily's plan. It was just a pleasant side effect.
Suddenly, the video image flickered from interference. White lines streaked across, ruining the picture. The words of the woman became disjointed and staticky.
"Hello? Hello?" he called out, trying to get her attention again.
The picture turned to dense snow, and then a blue screen with the words 'VIDEO 1'. Link jerked his head back in surprise. Then the words 'COMMUNICATION STREAMING' appeared at the bottom. The image of a gray-haired old man suddenly filled up the rectangle. His yellowish eyes gleamed in a way that offset Link's comfort. The wild hair sprouting out the sides of his head, along with his thick mustache, completed the picture.
"Ha, ha, ha, ha," he cackled in glee. "So, Dr. Light. How do you like my..." His expression of delight changed to confusion. "You're not Dr. Light," he uttered, partially as a question.
"No, I'm Link. Who are you?"
The old man pressed his liver-spotted forehead to the screen, looking left and right in the room, as if he was trying to punch through to look around. "Where's Dr. Light?"
"He's in the hospital."
"The hospital? What happened to him?"
"Not sure. I think he was injured."
"Is Roll there?"
"Well, who are you, the butler?"
"No!" Link declared, a little offended.
"Does Dr. Light know you're in his house?"
"Yes, I'm a friend of Mega Man. What do you care? Who are you?"
"I'm Dr. Wily," he said, pressing his palm to his chest proudly.
"Really?" Link thought of how much uglier in person he was. "You're Dr. Wily?" he said as he crossed his arms defiantly. He sure didn't look so tough.
"The one and only. If you would be so kind as to leave a message for Dr. Light telling him how I'm about to finally complete my plans to take over the world and to dare Mega Man to try and stop me."
"Well, I don't think Mega Man will be stopping much of anything lately. Some law enforcement just came to take him away."
Dr. Wily again blinked in confusion. "Really? That fast, huh?" He sat back a bit from the screen and stroked his mustache contemplatively. "Ha, ha, yes, how do you like my newest creation. I figured if I had to have someone to do my dirty work, why not him? Quite ingenious, don't you think?"
"Not really. Doesn't seem like anything new for you. You've made Mega Man clones before."
Dr. Wily sputtered at this impudence from a stranger. "What do you know of what I've done you... you... renaissance fair reject!"
Link, not knowing what a renaissance fair was, neglected to comment on the insult.
Dr. Wily continued. "This Mega Man clone is the real thing. A perfect specification of all his circuitry, a fresh start. And I've changed his A.I. to my specifications, the way it should have been. Now he obeys my orders, he does my bidding, and he won't let little humans stand in his way. He won't be wandering willy-nilly where he wants. Nothing can stop him." He sat back a bit from the screen. "I'd hoped to keep my little secret until the final confrontation, but when he damaged his light cloak, I had to speed up the revelation that Mega Man's not so alone in the world anymore."
"Er, yes... he damaged it," Link mumbled and rolled his eyes.
"He even has an energy shield. So even if Mega Man could manage to hit him, his shots would be useless, ha, ha, ha. So now he truly has no hope of defeating me. I will rule the world."
"Uh-huh. So is there a point to all this, or do you just like to hear the sound of your own voice?"
Dr. Wily gritted his teeth and leaned menacingly closer to the screen. "Just tell Dr. Light or Mega Man or whoever's there that's of any significance that I'm in the process of obtaining the last three elements to complete Dr. Selkirk's vision. A vision of a robot's power combined with the spirit of a human. It will be glorious. All I need now are an imbalance collider, a photonic density carrier, and an inverser. Then I'll have the ultimate power of a robot in my hands. I'll convert the entire world to robots."
"Seems like the world's already full of robots. Not sure what difference you're going to make."
"Bah, humans are a poor race. They fight each other over petty things, they foolishly believe in myths just to make themselves feel better. They are weak minds in bodies they don't deserve. Robots are the superior species now. I'll eliminate the humans' flaws by placing them in robot bodies. Then I'll have power over all of them."
Dr. Wily looked stunned at Link's defiance, his eyes going wide and his jaw dropping. Link smirked at his expression. Apparently, Wily was used to people fearing him in this world. But Link wasn't from this world, and had no reason to be scared of an eccentric old man.
"You impudent fool," he said calmly and pointed at Link. "I'll teach you some respect. I had originally meant this for Light and his ilk, but now you'll get to enjoy it. Experience the wrath of Dr. Wily."
Link rolled his eyes as the scientist hit a button on the console in front of him below the screen. His visage disappeared and the house was filled with a harmonic whirring noise coming from all sides. Link darted his head around to try and find the source, but it was everywhere, he couldn't get a lock on it.
Some sort of green air was starting to surround him, making everything hazy. He sniffed the air, but it was odorless. He looked up and saw that it was more concentrated in the ceiling, probably being pumped out from there.
The last thing he remembered was standing up.
Next Chapter: Dream Sequence