Categories > Games > Zelda > Gatecrash0 Reviews
Chapter 48: Protest
Chapter 48: Protest
I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.
-Booker T. Washington
Link's knees were bouncing from anxiety, as he watched the buildings and cars pass by on the skyway. This was faster than he had ever gone before, but for some reason it still didn't feel fast enough. The taxi must have had a preset speed limit which he could reach. No matter how many times he pleaded with the robot driver he stated he could not excel the legal limit. If only Link had known how to work the teleporter he wouldn't need to deal with this.
He would have used the vehicle in Mega Man's stable, but after some... failed attempts with that, he had to ask the computer to order him a taxi delivered to his residence. He just hoped Mega Man had enough money to cover the damage he did. They should just use horses if they didn't want things to get damaged. Horses were smarter. A horse would have stopped before it hit a wall.
Then trying to get the taxicab to go where he wanted was as difficult. He apparently didn't understand where 'Mega Man is being held' was. He was a robot, he had a Computer, how could he not know where Mega Man was? It was on all the news feeds, whatever those were. This was like trying to find a way out of a labyrinth with just a torch. He was forced to order the man to activate one of the news channels, so they could listen and find out where Mega Man exactly was. Then the cab driver said that since the area was out of his 'designated driving radius', the trip was going to cost extra. That was little matter to Link. He might as well have been trying to ride a mule up a mountain. So Link was stuck measuring the speed of their journey by the passing structures.
"You're sure this is the fastest we can go?" Link pleaded.
"The current speed is the maximum velocity designated for this skyway, as declared by the Transportation Department-"
"Yeah, yeah," Link interrupted his repeated spiel about how he couldn't go any faster because he wasn't programmed to.
"If you're interested in speed," the driver said, "Try visiting the Enzan Raceway. The Championship Cup racers fight for the glamour-"
"Oh, shut up," Link said. "Turn on the news feed again."
The humanoid torso stopped talking and hit a button on the dashboard. The voice of a man piped through the vehicle with a straight, no-nonsense tone.
"-words of the RAID director, in a press conference a few hours ago."
The voice then switched to a gruffer one.
"And we are completely committed to seeing justice served in this case. Mega Man has always been a thorn in our sides. We hate to say we knew this day would come when our so-called 'purveyor of justice' would finally get his comeuppance. It is time to realize that robots are not artificial people. They are tools made by men, for men. The so-called 'smartness' of these machines is just an illusion created by people like Dr. Wily. They want to turn planet Earth into more metal than dirt."
"That's not true!" Link said. "Mega Man is a-"
The man kept talking though, oblivious of Link's attempts to communicate.
"Hey, I'm talking to you!" Link said angrily.
"Yes?" the cab driver replied.
"Not you. That guy!" he pointed to the dashboard.
"That's a one-way communication, son. You can hear him, he can't hear you."
"Oh." Link, practically out of his seat with anger, slumped back down against the backrest.
"That's why they call 'em broadcasts. They send out the signal from one area, and then all of us pick it up and play it back. Didn't you learn that in school?"
"I never really had a formal education."
The cab driver shrugged, and the anti-robot speaker continued his drivel, to which Link listened closely.
"The real revolution is upon us. Not one deigned by its creator to control robots for the purposes of world domination. Oh, no. This will come from the robots themselves. The next generation is already here. When they can think for themselves, speak for themselves, and now, attack humans for themselves. And any humans who sympathize with them will find themselves on the losing side of the war. For as soon as their opposition is wiped out, all 'natural' intelligent life will be eliminated. And Mega Man is just the beginning. He needs to be eliminated first. As a sign that we, the people of earth, born naturally, are not going to sit here while our world is overrun by these things."
The voice switched again, back to the commanding tone of before.
"That was Crane Funaking, leader of the anti-robot coalition, RAID, in a speech delivered outside his headquarters earlier today. For those of you just joining us, this speech was brought on by the apparent arrest of Mega Man, six-time defender of the world, and robot, who was accused of assaulting citizens in front of precinct thirteen. He is currently being held at the robot detainment facility, at which robots protestors are gathering. Pro-robot organizations are now calling up their members to fill the balance outside the facility. Already several clashes have broken out, but were stopped quickly by police. The Chief Law Enforcement division is now sending out riot squads to stop any uprisings before they happen. As the number of demonstrators outside Mega Man's holding cell increases, we may very well see a riot before very long, said Chief Muggins."
"A riot!" Link said. "I have to get there now!"
"Well, there it is down there." The cab dipped low and peeled off the skyway. The number of cars and modernization of the landscape had dwindled to structures with a maximum of two stories. The hover-cab floated down near the outside of a fenced building, surrounded on the perimeter with chain-mail walls and curly wires at the top. Link pulled the door handle open but it wouldn't budge. The driver turned around and held out his hand. "The price of the trip is 120 units. Please give me your cash card or other currency."
Units? What was a unit? Link thought it was rupees. Roll explained those cards were just replacements for physical money. Well, a rupee was a unit of money. He picked out a selection of red rupees and shoved them in the driver's rubbery hand.
"Hey, what's this?" he exclaimed as Link tried the door again.
"They're the same. A red's worth twenty here still, isn't it? Come on, open the door."
"I cannot accept this as currency."
"Look, that's the last money I have. Just let me out."
"Unless you accept the charges, I will be forced-"
Link wound up his big boot and thrust it at the window. The pane of glass popped open in one piece. He dove out onto the dusty ground, arms first, and rolled to a stop. Leaving the cab driver contemplating what in the world Link had just given him, he sprinted along the fence to a collection of people and vehicles at the entrance.
He ran past the big bulky humans, dressed in black fatigues and helmets with visors that covered their faces.
One of them held out his hand, to which Link skidded to a stop. "Whoa, there, where you going son?"
"Inside," he panted. "Got to... get to... friend."
"All right, the entrance is that way, where those guys are." He helpfully pointed out. Link sped off, overhearing the man say to another. "He's going to get his friend. The fewer of these zealots there are, the better."
"Yeah, bloody 'freedom to demonstrate' amendment," the other said. The rest of the conversation was lost when he went out of earshot.
The Hylian arrived at a section of the fence portioned out and replaced with a metal archway, similar to the one he'd seen at the museum.
"Where's your sign?" said one of the two guards at the gate.
"No sign. Just need to get in there," he breathed.
"Whatever, just step through. Weapons check."
Link punched through the open-air doorway, which immediately sounded an alarm as soon as he breached it. He stopped just under the arc as the soldier on the other side, and two behind him approached.
"All right, hold it," said one of the guards behind him. Link spun to face him. "Whatcha got there? Phazer gun? Tear gas?"
"Here," the one behind him said, pointing to his back. Link feeling the eyes on him, turned around in a battle stance. "Let's see that. Can't believe I missed it."
He withdrew the sword from his scabbard on his back. The hilt was hidden by his long hair, making it easier to misinterpret with a decorative accessory.
"A sword?" he was visibly taken aback by the archaic weapon. "Nah-uh, son, save it for the school play. Give it here."
"I am not giving you my sword."
"And you think I'm gonna let you in there, so you can start chopping off heads? Give it here or we're arrestin' you." He curled his fingers up, motioning for the blade.
"Think again, soldier."
"This is a stun-gun, here," He said, pulling it out of its holster at the hip. The two others did the same. "It's non-lethal, it'll knock you to the ground. And I'm authorized to use it against belligerents who don't comply with the rules. Now give it here."
Link darted his eyes around at his three foes, then smirked. "Stun this."
He whipped around faster than any human reaction could encompass, swiped his blade diagonally across and back once. The guns fell apart in two pieces from the hot metal that went through it. The one soldier blocking the entrance to the facility dropped to his knees. The two others backed away with their hands up.
Link held his sword behind him, concentrating his might. "Here's what I think of your security." Magic might not have worked in this world, but that didn't mean he still couldn't perform the maneuver. Focusing his strength he whipped around in a 360 degree spin, slicing the archway in two. Sparks burst out from the cracks. The upper portion slid off and fell on the ground with a thud. This demonstration finished, he sheathed his sword, hopped over the debris, and ran down to the crowd of people holding signs in front of the one-story rectangular building stranded in the field. "Sorry!" he yelled as he left.
The guards rose up from their cowardly positions slowly and opened their eyes. "Well? Stop him!" one said.
The guard closest to the fray took off after Link. The two others stepped up to their broken security door.
"How did he do that?" one said as he scratched his head, "That was pure titanium."
The other just shrugged.
Link, seeing one of the guards was hot on his trail and speaking into a box as he ran, quickened his pace toward the crowds. Two groups were separated, facing each other, being blocked off by wooden horses and guards with glass shields. For a brief moment, Link thought such a thing, if implementable, would be a fantastic idea. The separation created a convenient walkway for him to reach the door. Unfortunately, the soldiers, apparently having been contacted telepathically by the one pursuing him, broke ranks and two headed toward him. Thinking fast, he disappeared in the sea of bright colors and throngs of upheld signs at the right. He melded well into the mob shouting obscenities at the door. The police, having lost track of him, started muscling through the people. It wasn't as easy for them as it was for Link, who's small size allowed him to dart in and out of the spaces in between. The police only shoved aside those in their way, who were apparently oblivious and stayed as excellent blocks.
Link, utilizing his agility to its max, busted through the masses, guessing what direction was the best to head for. As long as he could see the dead gray of the building ahead of him in the gaps of the mob, he thought he was going in the right direction. Rolling under a tall man's legs, he reoriented himself and hopped onto the steps of the holding facility. Knocking furiously on the door with both fists, he pleaded, "Open up, please, please, please, open up, now, please!" He whipped his head back, seeing the black guards were walking toward him, holding out their weapons.
"Hey, look!" one of the picketers called out, pointing up to Link. "He's breakin' in!"
"Crud," Link muttered. Like a landslide of thick mud they flowed towards the door and up the stairs, swallowing up the police guards. Link saw a vision of an immediate future of pain about to wash over him.
Suddenly, the door opened, sliding up. Link fell forward, but was caught from impact by a pair of arms that grabbed his and pulled him inside. The door nearly cut the heels off his boots as it shut the instant he was in, though he could hear the pounding of the masses threatening to break it down.
"I told you he's a friend of mine," a familiar feminine voice stated. Link looked up at his savior.
"Roll!" he yelled in relief. "You have no idea-"
"How much you owe me. Don't worry. You can make it up later," she winked. She turned to a police guard sitting behind a sectioned off desk near the door, monitors lined up in a row. He was clothed in a different, less threatening uniform without the helmet. He was watching a TV screen showing the situation outside. "How is it?" Roll asked.
"They won't break in. But a riot is about a minute from breaking out, I'd wager."
"Great," she moaned.
"What? What's going on?" Link asked.
Roll held a hand out to the man and said, "This is the captain of the facility. We're keeping an eye outside to see if things get worse."
"Where's Mega Man? I heard he was going to get lynched."
"He's fine. He's still in his holding cell. We figured that was the best place for him now. But he's been released."
"He has?" Link smiled.
"Well, not released," said the captain, "But he's been found in the clear."
Roll continued. "There wasn't enough evidence to hold him. No one got hurt directly by the Mega Man clone. And they have his and my records of where we were during the attack, plus alibis from the plant in New Mexico."
"But we can't let him out of here," the captain said. "Those protestors would tear him apart. They're already set to tear each other apart."
Roll nodded. "We're working on a plan to get those people away from the door so we can get Mega Man out of here."
"Can't he teleport away?"
Roll shook her head. "Tachyon field in a mile radius. It's usually for everyone else's protection so robots don't escape. Kind of ironic that it's for his right now."
"How about a back exit? Is there another way out of here?"
Roll shook her head again.
"Underground? Are there any tunnels? Passageways? Secret trap doors?"
Roll shook her head again.
"How about a disguise?" he pointed at the captain, "Could we dress him up like a guard and escort him out?"
"They'd spot him the instant he comes out with us. People would instantly suspect something. He's got a pretty recognizable robot figure. Hard to disguise those boots."
"Um," Link racked his brain. "Are there any transports going out? Perhaps we could put him in a food barrel and ship him out?"
"Actually," Roll said, "About the only way out is through that door. The other is a fire exit, and that only opens by computer command when there's a fire."
Link grimaced, having his brain drained of immediate ideas.
Roll looked up at the ceiling, as if talking to the building. "This place was designed to keep robots in, not let them out. Robots don't have the same rights as humans, they don't need food delivered daily, they don't need beds or plumbing or open air. They need four strong walls and no possible way to escape unless they're allowed. This place was designed for keeping robots in, not letting them out."
"It sure is," Link scoffed. He turned back outside, listening to the pounding and scuffling grow louder, but farther away.
The captain said, "Looks like the guards have got them off the steps. Thank god for small things."
Link, still glaring warily at the door, said, "Do they even know he's been set free?"
Roll replied, "Would they even listen if we told them? Mob mentality is too strong for us. It's strange. People in masses become stronger and more unwavering in their opinions than they would be alone."
"They're idiots. Zealots," the captain said. "Just following one idiot with enough charisma to make people listen. We wouldn't be where we are if it wasn't for robots."
Link was confused, "But you're the guard of a robot prison?"
"Robot holding facility. Not quite a prison. It's for robots accused of crimes before they stand trial. And just because I run it doesn't mean I believe robots should be eliminated. Those fundamentalists want to go back to eating tree bark. We wouldn't have evolved past making fire if it wasn't for technology. And we won't be able to advance any further if we don't keep developing. Just some people think robots should be kept dumb. They especially set their sights on Mega Man. They think he's too powerful for his own good. All they needed was something like this to set them off."
Link nodded. "I don't understand their problem. This Dr. Wily is the one who they really should be afraid of. And he's just like them. That's why he wants to assert control over all robots. If it wasn't for Mega Man, there'd be someone like Dr. Wily ruling this world right now."
"Right, but if it wasn't for Dr. Wily, there wouldn't be a Mega Man."
"Wait, what?" Link arched his eyebrow.
"Since Dr. Wily created Mega Man-"
"He did what!" Link looked to Roll incredulously. She simply shrugged. "Dr. Wily... created Mega Man?"
"Partially," Roll said meekly, yet confidently. "With Dr. Light as his partner. They also created me. And a handful of other robots that he used for the first robot revolution. The others were of his own design."
"I never knew that," he said.
"I thought you did," Roll said.
Link cast his eyes up to the heavens. He felt like he should have been more shocked, but with all the revelations he'd been exposed to, maybe his sense of surprise was becoming dulled. Perhaps it was the combination of disclosure and unresovable sadness of the situation. Not only did Mega Man have to fight against his fellow robots, he also had to fight against his creator. Much like Ganondorf was the cause of his inauguration. They were more similar than he ever thought. He felt an inexplicable bond with the poor mechanical man down there in that cell. Even more resolutely, he was determined to find some way to help him. No matter what the cost.
Link turned and approached the door. "Open it."
"What?" the captain said.
"Open it. This is the only way we're getting out of here, and there's only one way to make it accessible. Do it."
The captain looked at Roll, who shrugged, having no more notion what he was doing than anyone. He raised his eyebrows and sighed, flicking some switches to unlock the partition.
Link knew what he was doing. He was scared to death, but that wasn't stopping him. It never did before. He knew a hundred people under the influence of their own high horse was more of a threat than ten Ganons. And there was no weapon he had that could defend against a riot if it grew to one.
The door slid up, the commotion of the shouting picketers was near overwhelming. Link immediately stepped out so they could shut the door behind him. Upon the sight of the boy, they thrust their picket signs at him, shouted obscenities, while the guards did their best to hold them back.
"Wait," Link said. "Stop! Stop!" He shouted as best he could over the din, but their voices were so sonorous no one could hear him, even if they wanted to. "Stop! Listen! Listen to me!" he tried again. It appeared the people wanted to shout and a raise a ruckus more than they wanted to listen to someone who possibly knew what was going on.
Seeing no point in trying to contend voice against voice with a hundred people, Link twisted his body to fish a bomb out of his knapsack. He lit it and tossed it way above the heads of the masses. The blue globe spun end over end and exploded at the peak of the launch, looking like a decorative firework. The people stopped their shouting and looked up above, half in fright, half in awe.
In their split-second of silence, Link immediately seized the opportunity to be heard. "Mega Man is innocent!" he shouted. The mob listened to him, stilling their cardboard signs. "He is not guilty. Dr. Wily is. He built a clone of Mega Man and sent it after you. It wasn't even to hurt people, it was just to get them out of the way so he could move his stolen technology."
"So what? He's dangerous!" a crowd man shouted. The masses began murmuring, threatening to explode again.
Link quelched it. "You're dangerous. You can kill people. Mega Man's no more dangerous than you."
"He can't be controlled!" another patron called out. The crowd muttered positive grunts along with this.
"Can you?" Link yelled back. "I know there's no difference between humans and robots. They may have different bodies, but if Mega Man wasn't famous, could you tell him from other humans on the street? When he came to my world, I couldn't tell the difference between him as a man or a machine. He fooled me. He convinced me he was just as good as human by his mannerisms and his personality, and his helping attitude towards others. Even after he tried to explain it to me, I still didn't believe he wasn't real. He's saved your world countless times from oppression by robots, by fighting against his own kind. Because he sees something in you that's worth saving. He's never asked for anything in return but acceptance. And you can't even give him that. No, this is how you repay him. By standing ready with a rope and a branch the moment he makes one mistake. A mistake he didn't even commit! He's been set free, but you won't let him free because you refuse to listen to the truth. He risks his own life for you. Stopping that madman."
"But he always comes back!" an unknown replied.
"He's useless," another said.
"Useless? If he wasn't there in the first place, you'd be dead. Forget whether he comes back or not. Mega Man stops Dr. Wily every time he threatens your world, and just because he's never been able to put him away for good, you'd sacrifice your hero? You'd be defenseless, you realize? Who would take Mega Man's place?" He started pointing to random people in the crowd. "You? Or you? Would you do it? Could you do it? Mega Man is the best because he needs to be. So you can have a future. He's not the one who started this but he's the one who can end it. We all have choices to make, and he chose to give up his choices so you would be free, so you could live in peace. He's locked into his fate, so you could decide your own. You can make your own choice, a choice to live your life the way you want. But he sacrificed his. You might think he doesn't care because he's a robot. But the people around him who appreciate him do care. They're the ones that feel the hurt when you do this. But Mega Man does have a heart. Otherwise, he would never put up with you. If I were treated like this where I come from, I would have abandoned you a long time ago." He paused for a breath. "I wish I could be half the man he is."
He paused for a moment to let that sink into the crowd. With one last poignant line left, he said, "If you want to condemn him, do it for things he's done, not for what he is."
The protestors on both sides kept their eyes straight on Link, for the most part, some of them darted around, some looked at the ground, but no one said a word. That was what astonished Link the most. Up to that point. Then he saw a young boy in the middle of the crowd drop his anti-robot sign angrily on the ground and shove those around him aside so he could leave. Those in his way let him go.
Link was amazed when he saw the people were actually listening to him. After coming from a world where people were so divided, caught in the net of their own misbeliefs about witchcraft, science, and the way things were, he was surprised to find that he had actually made a valid, unarguable point. Link had never successfully persuaded someone at home that their idea was wrong, so he was beside himself with his own disbelief. At the precedence of the boy, a few others dropped their signs and left the crowd. Link was not sure whether they were dejected at being defeated or being proven wrong.
Someone among the mob clapped his hands together once. And then again. Then others started picking up the beat. Soon the clapping evolved into full on applause. Some members started chanting, "Mega! Mega!" faster and faster, a tribute to their hero who they had not seen until their eyes were open. The entire yard in front of the holding facility was abuzz with ovation and chanting "Mega! Mega! Mega!" with fists pumping in the air.
Link, smiling from ear-to-ear, turned around to go back in and tell Roll the good news. But to his surprise, the door was already open, and Roll was standing there with her arm around her brother, who was looking down at the ground sadly.
He perked his head up at hearing the positive sound of the crowd, apparently expecting something different. He stepped out beside Link and the crowd went wild, cheering and rooting for their champion.
"Are we okay?" Mega Man asked.
"Oh, yeah," he smirked. "I think we're good."
He looked once more over the crowd and then back to Link. "Thanks."
"Don't mention it. Just save the world one more time for us." He then told Mega Man everything Dr. Wily had told him, making very sure to precisely disclose all the technical terms he'd tried so hard to remember when the crazy doctor was rattling them off.
"An imbalance collider, a photonic density carrier, and an inverser, hmm. Those don't exactly sell well at the convenience store."
Roll said, "There's probably only three places that have those, and he probably has robot masters there already, if he was audacious enough to tell you his plan."
"And probably the same ones he sent after me," Mega Man said. "We can't let Wily fulfill his plan, so we need to get moving."
"Wait," Roll said. "If they're still using their energy shields then you don't stand a chance against them, no matter what you do."
"Then we'll need someone who fights a bit more physically than myself." He looked hopefully at Link, the same way Link looked at him in Hyrule. "There are three possible places where those pieces of technology exist. One of them is the Ultratech factory. It's currently the biggest technology factory in existence. The other two are the Lasseter Hydroelectric Plant and the space station."
"Space station?" Link asked.
"Uh, it's... I'll explain later." If Link wasn't sure what a planet was, he was going to have a hard time explaining space, and all the following questions therein. "The factory is closest. We'll take a Mach Jet and head there." He turned to his sister. "Roll, contact those places and see what their status is. Let them know what's going on."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," she held out her hand. "If you think I'm just going to stay here and play secretary to you, you're dead wrong."
"Sorry, Roll, it's too dangerous right now. In times before, we knew what Dr. Wily was doing and his pieces were already in place. This time we have the chance to nip him in the bud. But we have no idea how to predict the circumstances."
"You said you weren't going to leave me out now that I'm capable of defending myself."
"Not this time. If it was another time, maybe, but it's not just the danger. We need to keep an eye at the home base to keep tabs on Dr. Wily, see if he does anything, if he fulfills his plan. You'd be the last line of defense."
Roll clenched her hands in anger, suppressing her rage at being lied to. Her silence though, acknowledged her acquiescence to her brother's will.
Mega Man turned back to Link. "Are you ready?"
"Almost? What else do you need?"
"We need to go back home and change my clothes, of course. What else would I quest in?"
Next Chapter: Roll Call