Categories > Games > Zelda > Gatecrash0 Reviews
Chapter 56: Rocket Man
Chapter 56: Rocket Man
"T-minus ten minutes till liftoff," came the male voice from the intercom. The large red digital numbers above the front window flipped to 10:00 and counted backwards from there. "You boys strapped in tight?"
"Just about," Mega Man responded to the bodiless person. He was standing over Link's chair, hooking in his cross-straps back to his chair, while Link reclined in his throne. The iron thresh of the fabric would keep him safe and sound for the flight. Link felt like he was a hay bale being strapped to a cart.
"Does it really need to be this tight?" the Hylian asked.
"Yes," the robot responded firmly. After he was done securing Link in his chair he laid down in his reclining seat and fastened his own harness.
"If you guys are sitting down, we're going to fasten the line now."
"Go ahead," Mega Man called out as he finished with one of his bands.
The device in which they were sitting began to hum and vibrate. It also began to rock back slowly, like his chair was reclining. Then a small sense of panic set in, as it felt like he was reclining too far than was comfortable. He felt like he was about to turn upside down.
"Uh, Mega Man..."
"This is normal, just rotating the craft up."
From Link's very secured and barely movable head, the ground shown in the windshield was slowly disappearing, being swallowed by a blue sky that enveloped the screen. A thick gray line divided it in two, tapering and disappearing off into the atmosphere.
The voice said, "We're attaching you to the tether now... Warming up the localized imbalance reverser... Systems reporting green for tension strength for the wheelmotor... And the quantum oscillators under you are good to go, they're quantifying at .08... Pentagate status... Starting up the ambient flux matrix in hexacutter mode... And the weather is maintaining at 75 degrees and clear. Looks like it's going to be a smooth ride for you boys today."
"Good," Link said nervously. The only thing he understood was the part about the weather. He was starting to feel like he was in a tin-can of death. None of the other mediums of transportation he'd been in so far needed this much equipment, or needed a whole giant complex of buildings just to launch from, or this much protocol, or these straps.
"Just get us up there quickly," Mega Man said. "The situation could be dangerous." All he wanted was to get up there as fast as possible. Contacting them ahead of time was the smartest thing he did. The good people at NASA/DSMA had speedily prepared as much as they could before they arrived. There was a slight argument about Link's lack of training for adapting to space, but they didn't have time for that. Mega Man was banking on his ability to learn fast. Space travel was safe, but it was no walk in the park. Why did Roll go up there? Taking on Wily's robots on the safety of Earth was bad enough, but in the isolation of space? Where, if you were stuck for help, it could be days before any got to you? Mega Man cursed her lack of planning and foresight. She just wanted to help? She might have hurt them more than she could realize. She might have known about Wily from all his experiences, but that was no foundation to know what those robots were like in battle circumstances. Wily was crafty and creative and he could come up with anything for a given situation. And he had no idea if Roll's upgrades were even capable of defending against his onslaught.
With the radiation interfering with signals, he couldn't open a personal communication between the two of them. And the station wasn't responding to any ground-to-station frequencies. Anything could be happening right now, and it was taking all his resolve not to fly into a panic about the fate of his sister. He had to keep his cool and calm demeanor in front of Link, who was probably terrified of being thrust into space, a vastly foreign concept to him.
The clock turned past the 7:00 mark. "Do you have any more questions about space? Or the station?" Mega Man turned his head to Link and asked from his supine position. The man on the intercom was droning on more about equipment checks to ground control.
"Yeah, sure, no problem," he replied calmly. "It's like a castle in the clouds."
"Well, actually, its above the clouds. And there's a tether attaching it to Earth. And that's what we're in right now. Like a space elevator."
"No, no, I get that." Link waved his hand dismissively. Or at least he tried to, as his wrist was strapped to the armrest.
"It's going to go really fast. You know that right."
"Yes, yes, it's fine."
Mega Man was overly concerned about him. His business was learning about new environments. His friend had explained to him that space was what you see at night, after the bright light of the sun had gone down and you could see it. It was where all the stars were, and it was vast! Vast, vast, vast. Infinitely vast. Link couldn't even get his mind around how big space was. And there was no air up there, so they needed airtight metal 'shuttles' and accommodations to survive up there. No biggie. This wasn't anything he couldn't wrap his mind around. Wait until he told the astrologers back home, though.
The craft he was in now wasn't any different either. In fact, it felt a lot like the car they had taken in the Antarctic. Maybe a little bigger, and more industrial. And he was facing up. But he wasn't worried, it was just a new experience. Nothing really new. Except for 'G's'. He didn't know what those where but Mega Man said he was going to be feeling a lot of them. Must have been something like particles in space. Could be interesting. Maybe they'd power him up.
Mega Man looked from Link back up to the screen, listening to the messages from ground control and watching the countdown clock tick down the seconds, approaching the two-minute mark. Hopefully, after this they could grab the final piece Wily needed and stop his plans, but it was unlikely. That doctor always had a way of getting the elements he wanted and leaving his trash behind to give him a headache. Fortunately, Mega Man always had a way of stopping him before it was too late. He could only hope that would be the case this time. This was the last chance.
"Ready to activate the launch matrix. You guys ready?"
"Good to go," Mega Man said, giving a thumbs-up to no one in particular.
"We're all green down here. Activating the primary system start-up for launch." The multitude of lights on the control panel in front of them, most of which were red, randomly started to turn to yellow gradually, and then to blue, as the man ticked off parameters and said they were 'go'.
"Pumping the primer now."
Some gauges and meters began to fluctuate, steadily increasing the light indicators from red to green. Link had no idea what any of these meant, but he hadn't known what anything meant since he got here.
Suddenly, a slow vibration started to reverberate in the hull, startling Link. He twisted his head back and forth, looking around as the countdown clock moved past one minute. He looked pleadingly at Mega Man, whose eyes were shut, as if he was trying to sleep. Link swallowed and tried to relax, looking up at the shaking sky.
"Still going well. Oxygen levels, maintaining. Hull pressure stable. Launch matrix activated. Oscillators to full."
The vibration continued as normal. Link was alert, but not scared. This was certainly a big procedure just to go to space.
"Guidance system aligned. Mark: T-minus ten seconds and counting."
The feeling of dread ran cold in Link's veins as he knew something was about to happen in ten seconds, but no idea what.
"Five, four, three, two, one. Propulsion running. Launch commit."
The countdown clock reached zero and started counting back up. But other than that, nothing was happening. The vibration suddenly died. Dead silence. They hadn't moved. Was it working?
"Is this working?" Link said to Mega Man. "There aren't any problems?"
"Yes, everything's fine."
"It's going to go really fast. I'd suggest you shut your eyes."
If this was going really fast into space, this was easy. "Aw, it's fine. I actually think I'm getting used to these fast-EEERGGKKK!"
Link suddenly felt himself being pressed into the back of his chair like a pancake. The capsule they were in shot off like a rocket up the length of the tether. A thunderous noise masked Link's screams of terror. He couldn't hear anything, even as he yelled at Mega Man to stop the car. He couldn't even breathe. It felt like there was an anvil on his chest. He had to consciously concentrate on breathing, on moving his chest up and down. Out of the slits of his eyes he saw white patches of fog passing through them at breakneck speeds. The sky faded from blue to a pallid wall of white. All he could concentrate on was the immense, unseen pressure on his body.
They punched through the wall of white and into a darker blue. Link's trembling head slowly turned toward Mega Man, who was simply watching the atmosphere pass by, calmly and quietly. Link had tears in his eyes and snot dripping out of his nose. His teeth were grinding together and he slowly brought back his neck around to look up at the screen.
The blue suddenly faded into black. Millions upon millions of stars floated in front of his eyes, and he could see a gray dot attached to the tether they were heading towards. He'd never seen where the border was. It just suddenly went from day to night. The vibration was also receding, and he could hear himself think again. He could breathe again. A peculiar peaceful sensation washed over the panic that he had felt before.
"What happened?" Link said.
"We're about halfway there," Mega Man responded.
"Halfway there? When did I pass out?"
"Pass out? You didn't pass out."
"It's night, didn't I pass out?"
"It's not night, it's space."
"I thought you said it was hundreds of kilometers away!"
"It was. And now we're halfway there."
Link looked out in wonderment at the quickly approaching space station.
"I told you it was fast," Mega Man said.
Link nodded in astonishment. "The ride's so smooth now."
"We're pulling further and further out of the planet's gravity. Inertia is doing the rest now."
It was true, they did seem to be gliding on the tether like a zipline. Link was finally calm enough now to appreciate the infinite immensity that space was. This was what the night was really like. How much more was out here? How many more worlds could there be?
"Retro thrusters firing," the computerized voice of the capsule said.
"What's that mean?" Link asked.
"Slowing down. We're approaching the station."
Indeed, they did appear to be slowing down. The station was becoming larger and larger in view now. It appeared just like the picture Mega Man showed him. There was a large metal circle floating around a vaguely cylindrical tower. Spokes attached to the halo like a wheel. And it just kept getting bigger and bigger as they moved closer, its growing size astonishing Link.
His eyes widened as it almost seemed like they were going to crash into the station, but by looking at the tether, he knew they weren't going to. They passed under the gigantic rotating halo, which Link followed as it passed overhead. Mega Man gave a small smile at Link's child-like fascination.
They slid along the tether, arcing up and under the circle and to the bottom of the cylinder. It was almost as big as a building, but it seemed like they were crawling towards it.
"Going kinda slow?" Link asked.
"Don't want to fall off the tether and tumble into space."
The Computer said, "Approaching Space Station. Please remain in seats until further notice is given."
The capsule finally came to a complete stop, apparently under the bottom of the station. Nothing happened for a while yet though. Some lights flickered between yellow and blue.
"Airlock connecting... airlock connected... pressurizing chambers... complete. Releasing safety belts."
The straps holding Link and Mega Man simultaneously and spontaneously released. Link was surprised for a second, then followed Mega Man's lead and stood up.
The robot stood behind the seats and looked up at the ceiling. A door panel opened up and a ladder dropped down into the capsule. The two of them climbed up, past a vertical hallway, and entered a hub room in between two hallways.
This was interesting. Things looked even more advanced than in other industrial buildings he'd seen, but wasn't too different in essence to the factories or plants that were numerous on his world. Just a bit more constrictive.
Mega Man approached a large viewscreen in the hub. It was a computer terminal, and someone had accessed it recently. Interesting. Could have been Roll. He pulled up an information feed and downloaded all the pertinent information that had happened after Roll's arrival. Nothing major had occurred. At least no explosions or fissures that he was looking for.
He looked on the motion sensors, scanning for Wily's minor robots. There were surprisingly few, mostly away from the center of the station. Maybe Roll had taken them all out already. There was nothing too unusual, except for on the hub deck. There seemed to some activity up there. Something larger than normal. Worth checking out. He changed from motion sensors to the nearest surveillance camera.
"Aw, no, not again."
He could see the yellow devil traipsing around the deck malevolently, his one red eye staring forward. It was almost as if it was looking for something. The camera kept targeted on him as he passed by, whirring its servos.
Suddenly, the cyclops stopped in its tracks. It whipped around with its giant meaty hand and crashed into the camera, wiping it off the wall like a bug. The image on the monitor turned to black.
"We've got to get up there now," Mega Man said, and pulled on Link's tunic toward the elevator. They speedily headed up the lift and exited onto the hub deck. This was a big circular corridor, walled off in the middle. They looked to the left and right cautiously as they poked their heads out into the area. No activity. Link drew his sword, Mega Man his arm cannon, and they emerged.
They heard a sudden roar from the left and darted towards it. Two giant yellow boulders flew around the corner, speeding like comets.
"Duck!" Mega Man yelled and dropped to the floor. Link saw two more coming at him in a pair. The Hylian weaved back and forth, barely avoiding their trajectory. He could feel the wind as they rushed by. Mega Man grabbed him by the tunic and dragged him back down. The boulders passed overhead, accompanied by a flock of others.
"What in blazes is that?" Link asked. "Robots?"
"One robot. He has the ability to split into parts. Very dangerous! Jump!"
One of the rocks was skidding on the floor, intending to bowl them over. They leapt over the projectile, then returned to a crouching stance as more dashed in the air.
Mega Man turned around as soon as the onslaught let up, and Link did the same. The pile of boulders that had collected formed into a gelatinous yellow hulk, with a single red eye.
"It's only vulnerable point is the eye," Mega Man instructed, putting on his ferocity and fell back to a more strategic position.
"No problem with that," Link said as he pulled out his bow and arrow. He'd encountered many one-eyed monsters, especially in the Dark World, and it looked like things weren't different here. With his arrow nocked he fired a shot straight into his red orb. The metal point of the arrow clinked off and fell away.
In response, the robot's eye flashed white and a laser fired down at Link. He jumped out of the way, just in the nick of time and the light scorched at his feet.
"Aggh, my boots are on fire!" Link yelped and danced out of the line of fire. Mega Man stepped up and leapt in the air, firing three shots straight at the eye. The plasma was absorbed fully, but the monster made no reaction. It took a huge step forward and backhanded Mega Man against the wall. As the little robot fell down, he tried to figure out why the rock monster wasn't feeling his shots. It was upgraded and he was downgraded. It was probably going to take more shots than normal to defeat this gargantuan.
The yellow devil picked up Mega Man with two bulky fingers and flung him down the hallway. He skidded along the ground like a doll.
Link dropped back into the sight of the monster. "Eat ice!" he said and thrust his ice rod at it. Nothing happened. The cyclops returned fire with a laser blast from its eye. Link instinctively brought out his shield and held it in front of him. The laser collided with the shield and shattered it into so many pieces it might as well have been vaporized. Link was left holding not much more than a flimsy armguard among a thin sheet of smoke.
The cyclops brought down his fist like a hammer, Link rolled out of the way, barely avoiding being crushed into jelly. With a last ditch effort, he took his sword in his hand, taking a breath to pray, and threw it like a javelin at the red glowing eye. The monster simply waved the blade away with its fingers before it even came close to hitting. It clanged behind the yellow devil, far out of reach.
"Uh, Mega Man," Link called out as he dropped back and helped his dizzy and prone friend off the floor. "I think we need to call in reinforcements."
"We are the reinforcements," Mega Man uttered as he stood up on one knee and swayed side-to-side as Link worked to steady him.
The yellow devil picked up its huge feet and plunged them into the ground, moving ever closer to the cowering pair. With each step closer, the height of the monster seemed to increase as its shadow enveloped the two.
It suddenly stopped and slowly twisted its head/body mass to the left. Link and Mega Man furrowed their brows at this odd behavior, until they realized what it was looking at. Behind him was a picture window looking out into space. The yellow devil turned around and thump, thump, thumped toward the window.
"What's it doing?" Link asked.
"Stop him!" Mega Man said, freeing himself of Link's help and standing on his own. "He's going to break the window. If he does that, we'll be sucked out into space!"
Link and Mega Man sprinted toward the retreating back of the cyclops robot. His huge girth was taking up most of the hallway, and Mega Man couldn't find a way around him. Link picked up his sword and started clanging it against the back of his leg to no avail. Mega Man futily fired his plasma cannon at his backside. The shots bounced off harmlessly. It was getting closer and closer to the window.
It stopped its ascent as it reached the portal and wound up its gigantic fist ready to make a giant thrust through the transparent material. Mega Man and Link redoubled their ineffective efforts, desperate to do something to distract him from what he was about to do.
Just as the rock monster reached the apex of his punch, the ceiling burst open and Roll dropped down onto the yellow devil. She wrapped her legs around the top of its blobby head and rode him like a bronco, holding onto it with one hand and a jagged sword-like shard of metal in her other, high above her head. The cyclops released his fist and sluggishly flailed its limbs trying to grab the insect on its head, but its arms were too thick to bend that far and reach her successfully.
"Stay away from my brother!"
She plunged the metal shard at an arc, down into the cyclops eye with super-robot strength. The crystal shattered, spitting out bits of broken vermilion on the ground, and red and yellow sparks flowed out like blood. The yellow devil thrashed its arms desperately. If it could scream in agony, it would have. The frantic flogging shook Roll off of her perch and she collapsed on the ground at Mega Man and Link's feet. Her brother immediately crouched down to help her.
"I did it, Rock," she said weakly through half-closed eyes.
Link watched the yellow devil toss and tumble about, trying to compensate for its broken eye. Parts of its liquid litanium armor became goopy and began dripping off its body, liquefying on the floor. As it picked up its left leg, part of it stuck in the floor and tore away from the rest of the body. Without stability, it leaned backward, little by little, falling away. When it crashed on the ground the liquid metal splashed up like a huge drop of milk and thinned out to the consistency of water. What was left of the yellow devil seeped through the cracks of the floor and laid at rest.
Link turned his attention back to Roll. Mega Man had his arms around her shoulders, trying to help her. "Roll, are you all right?"
"Yes," she whispered. "But my energy... so low... so sorry... I thought-"
"Don't worry, don't worry. We can get you some energy, there's plenty on the station. We can you get you some energy."
"I got rid of the robots."
"Yeah, you did good, Roll... you did good." Mega Man hugged her shoulder tightly, bringing her across his knees. Her eyes closed and she slept soundly.
It wasn't long before Mega Man found the energy capsule he needed for Roll by destroying a weak robot. Mega Man explained, while on the hunt for such a thing, that sometimes when robots were destroyed, they could leave behind their power cores if they were damaged in such a way to leave them intact. Sometimes it was just the inner core. If they were fortunate, sometimes they left the entire nucleus which yielded four to five times as much power. But the power cores contained directly usable energy that robots, like Mega Man and Roll, could plug into their internal reaction system and power it up if it was low. Like robot food.
Once Mega Man delivered it to Roll, she was right as rain and good to go again. Link realized that the near instantaneous reaction was similar to a red potion in his universe. Although he kept the remark to himself, he appreciated seeing one of the parallels of their two worlds.
Once the trio was ready, they headed up to the control deck, the central command of the station. Mega Man had his arm cannon out and ready as the lift doors open, with Link and Roll at his sides. Not a soul was there though.
"Interesting," he remarked. The three stepped out onto the deck, their eyes scanning the computer stations and consoles for human life. There was a large picture window stretching from ceiling to floor and wrapping around nearly half the hemispherical control center. The small window dome at the top of the command deck was also clear and gave a view of the space above and ahead. But not a soul was around and only the quiet bleeping of computers killed the silence. "This gets eerier and eerier."
"No time to worry about that, we've got to fix the station's orbit," Roll said.
Mega Man nodded and moved up to the pilot's console near the head of the deck. Link and Roll looked over his shoulder, watching him zip through screens and command lines, trying to access the engine control.
"The engines were fired at 2217, by unknown user."
"Must've been Wily," Roll said. "Can you fix it?"
"Trying. I need to calculate trajectory, mass, current gravity, lots of variables."
"Well, come on, Rock, it's not rocket science," Roll said glibly. Her brother smirked briefly and focused on the console in front of him.
Mega Man's fingers flashed between screen and keyboard interface as he racked his computerized brain trying to figure out how to bring the space station back in orbit. No one had ever trained him for operating a space station, but you could be an expert on anything if you just used logic. The difficulty lay in the projecting calculations, and if he could take care of that, he would be home free.
Suddenly the screen switched to a red flashing light with the words 'ACCESS DENIED'.
"Wha-?" Link said.
"It's protected. Access to the engine control is encoded. I knew there would be a lock." He slammed his fist on the metal panel to accentuate his anger. "Cracking." Mega Man set to work, trying to decode the password using backdoor means. This meant going under the covers of the operating system, which was no easy task for a schema of this magnitude.
"Double lock?" Mega Man wondered out loud. He'd discovered something unusual.
"I'm on it," Roll said and took control of the console two away from Mega Man. She began proceeding down the same screens as Mega Man, trying to look under the hood for the way in. The brother and sister team worked in tandem, accessing and manipulating the memory registers to create a path in, while Link looked between their flashing screens. They were concentrating so hard on interacting with the screen they barely noticed he was there watching.
"Fifty percent," Mega Man said.
"Almost there," Roll said.
"I'm under the database code control. Nearly..."
"Enter code 2456224687. I got it!"
"Me too," Mega Man said. "Activate in three, two, one, mark!"
Both Roll and Mega Man pressed buttons simultaneously, whatever they were. A rumbling was heard deep with in the bowels of the station, accompanied by the vocal message 'firing thrusters'.
"Yes!" Link yelled out.
Mega Man let out a sigh. "That was tense," Roll said, somehow delighted to be in the thick of dangerous times.
"Yeah, no kidding," her brother replied. "That was weird, a double encryption. You'd need to have two people to just to access it. How did Wily get around that to fire the thrusters to get it out of orbit in the first place? He couldn't do it by himself."
"Probably with me," came a voice from behind.
The three of them turned around and looked at the elevator door. Standing just outside the doors there was a robot master, covered in a light blue crystalline armor set over his black body suit. Four melded long gems protruded from the brow of his helmet, splaying back like a star.
"Or should I say... us," he said as he stepped back in a battle stance and a gleam swiped over his armor.
A sparkle on his helmet grew brighter, like a star, until it exploded outward in a flash of light. Link, Mega Man, and the others closed their eyes and turned away for the briefest of moments as they were blinded. When they looked back, they saw two of the same robot, one spacing itself out from his brother and readying itself to fight.
Next Chapter: What Goes Up...