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Chapter 51: Robot Fighting Time
Chapter 51: Robot Fighting Time
Mega Man's eyes filled with darkness as the entryway door slid back behind him, palling him in shadow, section by section. This was a passageway he had become all too familiar with - a long dark hallway, with only one locked way in and one locked way out. And there was only one, invariable thing waiting for him at the end of the hall. He usually knew who was waiting for him behind it.
When he got separated from Link, he'd tried everything to get back to him. He'd tried pushing his way, finding alternate routes, failsafing the lock, setting up an interface with the computer, none of it worked. He had no idea if Link was dead or alive by this point, but he imagined he was still trapped in that room, waiting for release. Thinking Link would be safe as long as he stayed there, he pressed on. He hadn't meant to come so far into the factory as to make contact with its boss, but it was the only available route to him. As soon as Mega Man was done disinfecting the plant from the rebel robots, and its associated master, he would be able to go back and fetch his Hylian friend. He was just going to have to sit tight until then.
Mega Man had never showed hesitation when entering the room of a robot master, and showed even less now. The faster he took care of this, the better. How exactly he was going to do that was beyond him. He had no master weapons and a substandard arm cannon with no charge. The odds of him winning were slim and none.
The door in front of him peeled up, section by section, flooding the passageway with light from some unknown source, revealing the large, square, empty room Mega Man had been expecting. The metallic sheen of the rest of the factory gleamed off the walls. This was where he always found the heart of the problem. In a metal box, housing a dangerous enemy.
As the door slid behind him, Mega Man slowly scanned the perimeter of the room for the robot master he knew had to be watching him. Sometimes they dropped down from the ceiling, sometimes they came out of the shrouding darkness, sometimes they teleported in. But there always was one. "Come out already. I know you're there," he said grimly.
"No patience, Rock. Your humanity lessens each time you take on our forces."
"Don't call me that. My name is Mega Man." He couldn't recognize the voice, but it was being piped in from some other location.
"Hmph, Dr. Wily calls you 'Rock', not 'Mega Man'. He says that there's nothing 'mega' about you. Of course, there are a few other choice items he calls you."
A red blur dropped down from above at the other end of the room, surprising Mega Man, though he did not show it. The blur landed on his feet and uncurled, stretching to his full form. His body looked similar to Mega Man's design, except his color scheme was red & black, and his crimson helmet covered all his head except for a slit in the middle, with a red crescent crest scowling his eyes at the forehead.
"Magnet Man." Mega Man announced. "Of course, only you would be able to resist the magneton waves from a photonic density carrier without getting your pathways scrambled."
"Well, I had a little help," he shrugged with fake humility. "But I'm glad you came to me first. I'll be the first robot to ever defeat you one on one."
"What makes you so certain of that? I took you on once, and annihilated you. You're just a carbon copy of an inferior robot past its time."
"Ah, ah," he waggled his finger, with one hand on his hip, "A carbon copy of an inferior robot with an impenetrable energy shield."
Damn, Mega Man had forgotten about that part. So it no longer mattered if his arm cannon was substandard and empty, it was useless anyway.
"I don't know how you expect to defeat me," Magnet Man said. "This will be Dr. Wily's finest hour."
"Sorry, Magnet Man. Don't think I'll fold that quickly. I'm made of sterner stuff than that."
"Your one weapon is useless," Magnet Man said incredulously. "What do you expect to do?"
"Let's find out." Mega Man backed up, putting weight on his back leg and readying his arm cannon.
"Very well." Magnet Man scowled and bounded into the air like a jolt of lightning. Mega Man knew Magnet Man couldn't jump that far that fast, he was propelling himself up using the magnetics of the metal in the room. Just when it looked like he was going to reach the ceiling he stopped in mid air and fired two magnet missiles out of his arm.
Mega Man's eyes widened as they came crashing down towards him at super speeds, large magnets being propelled by detonation missiles. He twisted his body over, lifting his feet up off the ground as if he was going over a high bar. One zipped just over him and the other grazed his back. He could feel the zinging red heat of the propulsion jet brush against his armor.
Instinctively he fired off three shots from his plasma cannon. They streamed towards Magnet Man and hit true, but hit an energy forcefield an inch before they would have crashed into his torso. That light shield was definitely still in place.
"Anything else you want to try?" Magnet Man laughed as he came down. "Maybe I can find you some rocks to throw."
"Once again, your magnetic personality shines through." He fired three shots in rapid succession, aiming precisely for the torso. Magnet Man stood there and absorbed them. Even a concentrated blast couldn't get through. Magnet Man jumped over as Mega Man dodged his furious attacks. He had to try and think of some other way of killing him. Last time, Magnet Man had proven vulnerable to both the shadow blade and the spark shot, but he had neither of those weapons. Fantastic.
The red robot fired a series of three point blank missiles, jolting Mega Man back against the wall, his power supply reduced severely. "You're making this far too easy, Rock. You may not be a man, but you can at least die like one."
He fired another magnet missile, which Mega Man rolled along the floor to avoid before it became attracted to the wall and exploded. This was getting him nowhere fast. He couldn't avoid those homing attacks forever, and he had no offensive maneuvers. He couldn't make this a long drawn out battle, he had to make Magnet Man's defeat hard and fast.
"Come back here." Magnet Man flexed his arms and activated his Magnet Draw. Waves of air pulsated around him and the walls of the room shook, as if they were going to unseal.
Mega Man knew what was coming and tried to get up, but Wily's robot was too fast for him. He lost his balance and collapsed on his stomach. Immediately, his body was dragged along the ground, being pulled into the magnetic waves. Mega Man dug his fingers into the metal floor, trying to find something to grasp but falling. Small indentations turned into lines in the metal plating as he was pulled towards Magnet Man's harmful body. Peelings of scrap metal started curling up from his clutching. He was never going to win at this rate. This was what Link was supposed to be for. What would he do in this situation? Close combat was his specialty. Maybe he would pull out one of his tools like the hookshot or...
Magnet Man gave one final pull to his Magnet Draw and cut it off. Mega Man's tensioned body relaxed and he scrambled to his feet to face his enemy. He hoped this would work.
The red robot bounded again in the air and fired two missiles. Mega Man saw them coming straight down to him and honed his eyes. This had to be pinhole precise. He ducked under the first one just as it was about to make his head explode. He leaned back to the left and plucked the second one out of the air like a butterfly just as it soared by. He caught it by the magnetic end and grasped it firmly, struggling to keep it from propelling away.
Magnet Man, bewildered, dropped back to the ground as Mega Man hid the missile behind him and disabled the rocket with his tool-using skills. Moving at blurring speeds, he disassembled the missile part away from the magnet, leaving the horseshoe shape and explosive separate. Then he bent the horseshoe a bit, pulling the ends apart from each other so it was more of a 'V' shape than a 'U'.
"What in the world was that?" the enemy asked.
Mega Man whipped around and slung the magnet in a sweeping motion with his arm. The V-shaped magnet hovered in the air like a boomerang and flew towards Magnet Man's head. It nearly knocked his neck off his shoulders, then it flew back into Mega Man. He bounded up, caught it and threw again in one smooth motion. Before Magnet Man had time to react and realize what was going on, the boomerang smacked him again, up under the chin, then soared away. Mega Man caught it and threw again.
This time Magnet Man caught it in mid-air and smirked. His smirk only lasted a fifth of a second though, as Mega Man dashed up and gave him a robot uppercut, then two hard hook punches to the ribs. Mega Man wailed on his metal casing mercilessly, and the physically weaker Magnet Man rebounded from each blow, though it had little effect on his power levels. He could sit there and take punches all day, but the embarrassment of being caught off guard was too much. He reversed the polarity on his magnet draw and propelled Mega Man outward. As if he was hit himself, Mega Man flew away into the air and landed in a heap halfway across the room.
Magnet Man strided towards his foe. "You insolent little fool! Now you die!"
Mega Man collected himself and stood up. "Could you wait about five more seconds?"
"Five-?" He saw Mega Man mouthing a countdown. Four. Three.
Magnet Man felt a bump under his chest plate near his core reactor. Something flashing, ticking. Like the detonator to one of his missiles.
Just as he grabbed it, he saw Mega Man mouth 'zero'. His eyes widened and the explosive went off, causing a chain reaction in his power source and blasting Magnet Man apart in a shower of sparks and energy crystals, along with metal scraps.
Mega Man covered his eyes from the short blast. As usual, there was nothing recognizable left but a few shards of red armor. He searched through the junk circuitry for a certain recognizable translucent red board. As soon as he found it, surrounded by frayed wires and singed ends, he picked it up and admired it.
"One for me. None for you," he said as he opened his arm cannon and inserted the circuit board into one of his eight empty slots.
The hissing noise of pressurized air accompanied Roll as she emerged into the space station side of the airlock, as if signaling the beginning of the action. She'd arrived at an intersection of gray metal hallways, at which a large computer terminal stood. No sign of enemy robots or humans so far. She held her pistol up into the air, close to her body, ready for action.
The main system of the station was apparently operational. At least enough that she didn't need to hack into it to let herself in. She thought that might have been a bit unusual, expecting robots to disable all means of the humans getting any help up here. In fact, there were no blaring red klaxons sounding, indicating a red alert. Perhaps it had been downgraded. Maybe there was no robot invasion, and Roll had just made a mistake.
Or perhaps not. Until the situation was determined, she had to be ready for battle. She hit the button on her helmet to bring up her visor and it slid in front of her eyes, bathing everything in a green hue. Data about the environment began flooding the corners of her field of vision.
She stepped onto the echoing metal grating and approached the computer terminal ahead of her. The green and black interface spoke of futuristic computer technology, the finest possible for a space station of this caliber. The first thing she had to do was discover her environment. She brought up a map of the station and cross-referenced it with environment variables. Everything looked to be in order. The air supply and life support systems were still functioning at 100. Not that she needed them, but that told her humans could still be alive, if some had escaped or went into hiding. Gravity was still on at 1G, equivalent to Earth. Inertial dampeners fine. No hull breaches, no signs of forced entry. So far, except for the eerie emptiness, she couldn't tell there had been an attack by Dr. Wily at all. She accessed the communications console and opened hailing frequencies.
No one picked up, after waiting a full five minutes. She then tried a scan for life signs. The computer spit back that the scanner was not functional. Interesting. Graphic sensor? Also broken. She held out hopes that the crew was still alive and input a query about the status of what Wily wanted in the first place, the inverser.
The computer replied that it had no data on the inverser, nor could it look for it. This was becoming quite the mystery, she thought as she rubbed her forehead. On a whim, she consulted the command log of changes to the system since Wily's alleged attack. A human would never have been able to analyze the numberless lines that appeared on the screen, but Roll read at a fast pace. Something about the geo-targeting orbit combined with the thruster log conflicted badly. Coalescing the data, she was able to bring up a graphic representation of the orbit of the space station.
And it told her it had broken orbit, and would be inescapably plummet to Earth in a matter of hours.
Time was of the essence now, but she retained her confidence that she could do it. No problem. There was still time to change the orbit of the station back to normal. She studied the map and found the quickest route up to the command center at the top of the station, opposite where she currently was. The most direct route was up and through, although she had no way of knowing if robots had blocked off or were guarding any sections she needed access to. If they were, she'd just have to engage in battle. No problem. A simple 'sweep and destroy' for any enemy robots, and assist any humans on the way. A mission even a rookie marine could handle, which she certainly was better than.
She turned away from the computer and headed into the nearest elevator. It took her up several floors at her command, about halfway up through the station. When the doors opened, she emerged with her pistol ready, drawing it back and forth for any signs of enemies. Nothing. She cautiously treaded down the hall and was midway through when a yellow robot with large, comical white eyes and a spring bottom suddenly turned a corner and bounced toward her.
Instantly, vital statistics flooded her visor, pointing out the robot's composition, power source, energy output, strong points, and weak points. With just the tiniest utterance of a shriek of surprise she held out her pistol and fired in a flash. The purple laser beam hit the mark and evaporated the robot in a yellow implosion.
Ha, Roll thought, that wasn't hard at all. My first Wily robot killed. Down in one shot. I wonder if they're all that easy.
Roll, keeping her eyes double peeled for other spring-loaded robots, made her way down the corridor, and opened the door.
That was no problem at all, she kept thinking to herself. That should prove I'm capable of anything Rock is. Boy, if he could have seen that he'd have no choice but to make me his partner. We'd complement each other so well. He's got the experience, and I've got the skill.
The door opened to a large circular room, the center walled off. This was the hub of the station, and its very center, where it led off to the spokes of the station's facilities. So far, no robots here either. She moved around the large curving hallway, making her way to her destination, still beaming.
We could be the dynamic duo, /she continued thinking, /fighting crime and evil all over the world. He'd no longer have to be the lone wolf. He could have back-up. Double the fighting power. They could call us the Mega Squad. They-
Her thoughts were interrupted by a sudden thunderous boom that shook the floor, nearly toppling her. She dashed her head side to side to try and find its source. Then she heard a rush of air behind her and quickly turned around.
She was immediately smacked supine on the floor by some yellow blur that had collided with her face. The impact knocked her silly, distorting the visor on her head. She groaned to pull herself up and adjusted her eyeshade. Another yellow object zoomed toward her. She fell back against the floor with her arms at her sides, trying to become as flat as possible, and the boulder rushed over her head. Several other yellow spheres flew over her like a flock of birds.
After they passed, she uprighted herself, and turned to see where they were going. They disappeared around the curve of the roundabout, and Roll leapt up and followed them around the corner.
The yellow globules were collecting into a bigger pile around a mound of gelatinous yellow goo, growing bigger and bigger with each chunk of mass absorbed. Then it sprouted legs, pushing itself off the ground, and extended two thick arms out of its corpulent body. And one glowing red eye in the center.
Next Chapter: The Weakest Link