Desperate times call for desperate measures. And lots of guns. Don't forget those guns.
OH GAWD THIS CHAPTER IS SO BLOODY LATE!!! LIKE A MONTH LATE!! AHHHHHH!!! *dies*
Agh. Sorry. My brain kinda died in the middle there. But here it is at long last! And almost totally action! YAY!!!!
*sweatdrop* okay, okay, it may not be 31 pages, put it's 22 without the formatting (my computer's weird) but that's still big. Hurrah for longness!
Lots of humor here, so this is more of a humor/action chapter. Think of it as like a `Attack The Enemy Musai' episode. Funnies and bravery
I attempted to write a bit from Shute's point of view. He says some silly things, but he's really determined, imaginative, observant and quick thinking. And it's so fun to read the part because he's a cute kid doing all this serious stuff. The time with the force has changed him a lot (compare Shute from episode one to Shute at the end of the first season) but he keeps his happy, accepting attitude. I love Shute. Just not when some others write him badly (probably no one who reads this; a few peeps in my anime club are sort of into SD Gundam, but aren't good enough to even frequent the boards... Ick.. My mind's convulsing in pain from the bad fanfiction… thank the lord none of it's online…)
Laugh at my weird speech. My dad uses all the weird curses (Lord of Light! Instead of OH MY GOD!!!!) So I pick it all up… laugh at my nerdness.
If you see a star or another little marker, it's probably a bit of humor or something else that needs explaining. Refer to the A/N for the explanation. There are a few inside jokes that I say (I'm notorious irl for saying some cryptic jokes and comparing things to other things you may not have heard of.)
DISCLAIMER: Me no own. You no sue. Bless your cotton socks.
Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7
6. Plunge into Entropy
“This is the KITSUNE to Noir Base, can you read me?” SilverBellsAbove said into her comm. link. They had taken off a while ago, and everything was going as planned. The Fangirls had decided the battery to be the SDGManiac home base, and had named it Noir Base, or Black Base, in honor of Neotopia's Blanc Base. 112573KITSUNE was the name of SilverBellsAbove's plane, and she had been piloting it to perfection so far.
This is Noir base, Charon speaking. How's things up in the wild blue yonder?
“All is well- hey, do we have to use all the regulation stuff when speaking? This really isn't official business.” She nodded. They were currently traveling at a very, very fast speed, faster than the speed of sound. Technology has its wonders, doesn't it?
No, you do not.
“Thanks. I'll tell you when something happens. Over and out.”
Bakunetsumaru nodded from a passenger seat, “What is the plan?”
SilverBellsAbove shrugged. “Actually, it's a little up in the air, no pun intended, right now. Depends how things go. IN speaking of that, I gotta have visual link with my escort.”
She flipped a few intimidating-looking switches on the control board, and while she did that, Shute looked boredly out the window. The reddish, four-winged smear that was the SX RAGE could dimly be seen through the heavy cloudcover. The clouds were thick far higher up than normal; what strange weather!
“M'kay, permanent communication pipeline is in place,” SBA nodded.
A monitor to the left came on with TDAT-CrystalDragon in her aviator's goggles inside the cockpit of the other plane. “Heya. How are you guys faring up here?”
“Just…” Graye gulped, “Fine.”
Zero looked at her oddly. “Milady, what troubles thou?”
Now that they thought of it, Graye did look a little pale and stressed. “It's okay, we won't fall, we won't fall, everything is peeerrfectly fine, not falling…” she mumbled.
Captain blinked. “Your behavioral pattern and tone of speech indicate a problem. What is the trouble?”
Shute shook his head. “Graye, are you afraid of heights?”
Graye crossed her eyes and frowned. “No, I'm not!” and then in a much more timid tone of voice “I'm scared of falling.”
“You are basophobic,” Captain observed.
SilverBellsAbove gave a hearty laugh. “Hey, don't worry. No way in heck are we going to fall- and if we do, I promise you it's intentional.”
“Gee,” Graye gulped, “Thanks a lot; falling on purpose is waaay less scary than falling by accident.”
Baku patted Graye on the back. “Do not be afraid; I understand.”
“Thy would feel empathy,” Zero grinned, “You are afeared of ghosts of all things!”
Baku paled a bit. “Do not speak of that!”
“Bakunetsumaru the pansy…”
“At least I'm not effeminate, flower boy!”
Graye was about to scold them, but a terrible roar erupted from the cockpit and SilverBellsAbove gave a feral glare “THERE IS NO FIGHTING ON MY PLANE, IT'S ENOUGH OF A JOB FLYING THIS THING WITHOUT NONSENSE!! I SWEAR, IF THERE IS ANY MORE OF THIS GOBBLEDEGOOK, I WILL EJECT THE OFFENDING PARTY!!!”
She turned in a huff and TDAT-CrystalDragon gave a smile.
“Guests of honor got your goat?”
“Oh, don't be such a downer. Sometimes you've got a pretty large stick up your butt.”
“No I don't. I just want to keep the atmosphere in here at least SLIGHTLY on the brink of decency.”
“Well, then you kind of brought it over the edge into `indecent' right there, girl.”
“Darnit; I hadn't thought of that.”
Shute gave a whimper. “Is it just me, or did she sound exactly like Commander Sazabi back there?”
“It is just you, Shute,” Captain commented, “The harmonics and voice key only matched 89 percent.”
SBA rolled her eyes from the cockpit, “Whatever it is that makes me sound like Sazabi when I blow up, I got from my dad.”
Zero blinked. “What?”
“Take Sazabi, turn him into a human in all his pissed-off higher-than-thou glory and make him have a kid with an evil Sayla, and you get yours truly. I have NO sympathy for the trio; I had to go through the same kind of mess with daddy dearest.”
TDAT-CrystalDragon rolled her eyes. “I've met your dad, and so has Melady. He's not THAT bad.”
“You haven't seen him when he's not being diplomatic. That and it's not a good sign when Melady says he reminds him of her `unpaid, overprotective babysitter COUGHSazabiCOUGH'.”
TDAT-CrystalDragon yawned as if she really wasn't paying attention. “Yeah, that's true.”
“Approaching destination,” the onboard computer informed and SilverBellsAbove nodded.
“Okay. Slowing the jet to conventional speeds,” she muttered and turned a few knobs on the imposing console. The 112573KITSUNE rose up over the clouds to remain out of enemy sight, slowing to a speed that maneuvering was possible at.
The monitors flashed red and the computer also informed, “Scanners detect hostile units approaching at a velocity of 70 mph.”
“Show the front viewscreen.”
A large monitor flicked on to the sight of a huge host of small aerial drones, weapons aimed.
“Lord of Light!” SBA cursed “TDAT-CrystalDragon! We've got work to do!”
Her escort merely blinked uninterestedly, “Huh?”
“Quit watching The Day After Tomorrow on your onboard computer! We're under attack!”
“We are?” She yawned and then looked off to her right. “Oh CRAP! We are!”
Captain gave a worried look. “Are we in danger of neutralization?”
“Not if I can say anything about it.” SBA frowned and input some more commands into the daunting-looking controls. Padded bars came over the chests of everyone inside. “Fastening crew safety harnesses. This is your pilot speaking, we are cruising a safe altitude, with relatively low turbulence. I ask you not to move about the cabin, for if you look to your left, right, and in every bloody direction there is a hostile party engaging us in combat. Please keep all arms, legs, heads, genitals or anything else you consider detachable inside your harness. Parachutes are under the seats and your seat can double as a flotation device if we are really screwed. Thank you for flying the Handbasket Express*. Have a nice day.”
Graye sighed and went slack in her seat in fear. “Willnotfallwillnotfallwillnotfallwillnotfall…”
“Ready to do our thing?” TDAT-CrystalDragon grinned.
SBA shook her head, input a command, and dual joysticks rose from where a panel was. A few targeting screens appeared and the brown-haired pilot gave a rather nasty chuckle, “Now I am. Let's go for it.”
The two forces collided, zako drones firing beam weapons. SBA was sent on pins and needles, working her joysticks furiously to dodge the maelstrom of shots. In the midst of the chaos, she sent a single bomb pulse at a cluster of drones, exploding at least twenty with one shot.
“YEEHHHAAAAAH!!!” TDAT-CrystalDragon whooped, bandanna (which was against regulations to be on her uniform, I might add) waving. The SX RAGE in all its fiery-colored, four-winged glory burst from the cloudcover below and performed a barrel roll maneuver while firing rockets, taking out at least a HUNDRED. It was clear that she liked her job. “Man, these guys are cannon fodder. Can't even anticipate THAT maneuver.”
SBA nodded, performing an aerial tactic herself to doge all the shots (which involved turning upside-down for a second) “Yeah. Though this makes me think it's a little… too easy.”
“Quit being such a worrywart!” TDAT-CrystalDragon grinned and flew straight into a cloud of drones. The Gundam Force didn't see how she did it, but somehow she made them all explode.
Shute was about to say something but SBA rolled her eyes behind her pair of flight goggles. “It's better not to ask. You really don't want to know.”
“Okay then…” the boy frowned, but then he looked out the window to see that the drones had vanished. “Huh?! They're gone!”
The computer gave a beep again, “Hostile targets have been routed.”
Shute blinked, “Well that's weird. Why would the Dark Axis-”
“Enemy battleship approaching from below cloudcover.”
“Oh- that's why,” the boy ended, and gave a gulp as an enormous ship, not unlike a massive version of the Komusai emerged out of the clouds, red eye glaring.
SBA cursed, “What- DOG OF A DEAD DOG'S DOG! WE HAVE TO FIGHT THAT?! I've never seen a MONSTER like that before!!” and then gave something that sounded suspiciously like an obscenity.
“Just GREAT. That thing's huge!” TDAT-CrystalDragon said, and then added, “I feel like Spyro.”
“If we want in, we have to scrap it. Let's move,” SBA nodded, cooling down. The two planes started to circle around the large, hovering enemy craft.
A fuzzy transmission came in over the commlink. “KILLKILLKILLKILLGRRAHHHH!!”
Seven missiles launched at the SX RAGE and were avoided. “Is that all this thing has?!” the fighter pilot poked.
SBA doubled around avoiding the laser pulses that the large ship was throwing out like no tomorrow, and gave a startled yell “MOVE! Those missiles are following you!”
TDAT-CrystalDragon yelped in surprise and then dodged again, “Heat seekers! Just my luck! This is like something from one of my fanfics!”
“And that surprises you?” SBA scowled, observed the situation and said, “Hold on and distract it. I'll give you a way to get rid of those.”
The pilot of she SX RAGE initiated booster rockets to keep outrunning the missiles and dodging the shots at the same time. The four wings were a red and orange blur. “How are you going to do that?! That thing won't give me enough leeway to roll and explode the darn things! And the missiles are repulsed away from the big ship! I can't make them crash into it!”
SilverBellsAbove gave a resolute look. “Wait and see. I'm going to borrow a move I saw somewhere.” She then pulled back on both levers and activated boosters. The plane shot upwards at an incredible speed, the wake left in air unbalancing the zako ship. The Force was now high above the field of combat.
“What are you planning?” Zero asked their pilot.
SBA grinned, “Master Combo.”
She pulled a small switch and the wings folded in close to the body of the plane, streamlining it to a bullet with two stabilizing `fins'. The edges of the folded wings burst into heat and light due to booster rockets, not exerting force but scorching heat, enough to melt gundanium like butter.
“PREPARE TO DIE- DRAGON BRIGADE STYLE!**” SBA roared and the plane's nose dipped into a dive, aimed at the enemy ship. The whole plane seemed to rotate like a drill, spinning into a deadly weapon. The booster rockets behind the ship flared out and increased the momentum to a tremendous scale. Everyone (except Captain) screamed, but they were all eclipsed by the cry of the girl in the seat next to the Blazing Samurai.
Graye gave a shriek of terror and held on to Bakunetsumaru for dear life, white as a sheet “WE'RE FALLING!!! AAAA!!!! I'M GONNA DIE!!!!!!!”
“Nah,” SBA informed, “This cabin is G-force treated. You'd be sick at most. Besides, I won't let us crash. I'm better at my job than that.”
At that instant the 112573KITSUNE struck the enemy ship with a crushing blow. The heat and momentum pierced the gundanium shell and drilled right through. At the last second, before reaching an area that was detectable to Dark Axis scanners, the wings snapped open and it was popped up cloudside, widening the gap and returning the state of the plane to normal.
“Neat! Where'd you learn that one!?” TDAT-CrystalDragon commended, still dodging the heat seeking missiles.
Her bunkmate sighed and said, “Star Ocean Till The End Of Time. Now, the hole, remember!”
There was a gaping, sparking hole in the enemy ship, but it was not destroyed. Certainly disabled but not destroyed.
“I get it!” TDAT-CrystalDragon laughed and flew straight through the hole. The missiles were still repulsed by their ship of origin. Thus, they were attracted to each other, exploding in a fiery boom. “Now to return the favor!”
The SX RAGE doubled around, dodging the irregular blasts of the zako ship and flew straight at it.
“Launching missiles!” its pilot laughed and many projectiles flew at the already cracked casing of the huge red eye. It shattered in a wonderful, rumbling explosion and the ship sank under the clouds again. Subsequently a deafening detonation was heard from below as it was destroyed. The fighter jet caught up with the transport and SBA gave a heavy sigh.
“Phew, the army's not even seen that kind of ship before. That was like the Komusai on crack,” the brunette pilot wheezed in relief.
The blonde winked, “Nothing we couldn't handle.”
“We can handle anything!”
“Darn straight. It's a miracle we didn't get hit.”
“Please, those flying dweebs couldn't hit the broad side of the Magnamusai.”
“Objective point reached.”
“We're there!” Shute whooped, “That was some amazing flying you two! I don't think even Guneagle could pull that off!”
Both pilots blushed bright red. “Eh…” SBA muttered.
“We're just doing what we do best!”
And they pulled into a smooth landing.
“Thank you for riding the Handbasket Express.”
“So where do we go from here?” Graye stumbled, a little woozy. SBA and TDAT-CrystalDragon had landed in a hidden alcove and cloaked the ships to scanners, so the Dark Axis troops wouldn't notice them.
During that time, they had been able to tap into Dark Axis communications a bit thanks to Melady's work. It seemed that there was a reward for all of their heads, especially Captain, Shute, and Graye. The teenage girl was interested to see that her bounty description relied mostly on her eye color and her jacket. The Zako soldiers were not very thorough.
Maybe that was why she was especially glad the SDGFManiac council had supplied her with an army uniform, though it was white with purple cuffs. TDAT-CrystalDragon had told her that it was the uniform for one in `special operations', whatever that meant. She was happy when she got black boots to replace her worn-out sneakers and black gloves to protect her hands, though. SilverBellsAbove had told her that all of it was practically guaranteed never to stain, even though it was white. All Graye had replied with was the sentiments that she felt like a Gundam now and that she was glad her purple scarf matched. Before the flight the Force had changed back into their clothes from their arrival, and they all felt infinitely more comfortable.
Shute reached the top of the little hill and pointed, “There!”
The Force walked up and looked on, except one.
“HEY! Crystal, quit hugging your plane and get up here!” SBA barked.
CrystalDragon gave her beloved SX RAGE a farewell and trotted up the hill. “If the Zakos so much as TOUCH my baby, I'll kill them.”
Captain blinked. “You are that devoted to your plane?”
CrystalDragon blew a kiss at her beloved RAGE.
They all sweatdropped.
“Hey,” Shute asked, “Is that where we're supposed to go?” he said as he pointed out to the desolate landscape.
As with New York, building ruins, rubble, trash and glass littered the ground. Here and there a neon sign could be seen in shambles, bringing no light at all to the dark clouded sky. Not far off, a extremely tall building sat, spiked with red horns, indicating it the base of operations of the Dark Axis on this planet. A stony hand poked out of the wreckage some ways to their right, and Shute groaned at the sight of the petrified human. Blasts of thunder echoed in the air as a cold, dismal wind whispered through the frozen streets. Not even the soft cover of snow could soften the sight that the group of gundams and humans saw and the delicate flakes gently falling could not mask the foul air that permeated the plain.
SBA looked at the sight grimly. “Viva Las Vegas.”
“WHAT?!” Graye burst. “THIS mess is what used to be Vegas?! Why didn't the government tell someone?! What about the people that were trapped here?! Why didn't we hear about them?!”
TDAT-CrystalDragon shook her head, “They said the people were `evacuated' to a place without communications. This is what really happened. The Stratosphere Casino,” the pilot informed and pointed at the 110 story building in the distance, “is now the Dark Axis base of operations.”
Bakunetsumaru looked confused. “What is a `casino'?”
Graye turned to him with an explanatory look. “It's a gambling building. Las Vegas had a lot of gambling, actually. Tons of people used to come here; it was a really big tourist attraction. But now it's just a bunch of ruins, I guess.”
“What an utterly bleak sight,” Zero sighed as they started to trudge.
Captain gave a serious stare at the tall building and said monotonously, “This mission is infiltration; surprise is key in fulfilling our objective, correct?”
SBA nodded, “Yeah. If we see a zako, we have to kill it or it'll report where we are.” They were getting close to the building now, an expanse about 30 feet in radius of clear brown land all around the skyscraper.
Shute skated along in the mixture of snow and dust from blasted concrete. “Does the army know about this?”
“Nope,” TDAT CrystalDragon frowned. “The army thinks we're going on a reconnaissance mission. No knowledge of the SDGFManiacs.”
A noise came from around the bend and everyone dived behind a pile of wrecked slot machines.
“Negative, zako!” a soldier exclaimed as he emerged from behind a ticket booth, “No one here!”
The other soldier, one of the sentries gave the zako equivalent of a frown. “I swear I heard something, zako…ZAKO!”
The first one blinked and turned to the second one, “Zako?”
“Footprints, zako zako!”
It was true. Seven pairs of footprints were clearly scuffed into the dirt, leading to the team's hiding place.
SBA turned to TDAT-CrystalDragon. “Rock paper scissors?”
Shute blinked. “They're gonna find us, and you're playing rock paper scissors?”
“Gundam Force, and Graye too, we're gonna take these two out, so just sit back and relax,” TDAT informed. “Shoot.” She put and they offered their hands.
“I win.” SilverBellsAbove grinned and leapt out from the rubble in an echoing ring of metal. She sprang in a terrific leap, so swiftly she seemed to fly at the two Zakos, who were paralyzed by shock and fear.
Only Captain saw what happened in that less than split second. And that was because he could slow down and replay things. Before most of them could blink, a noise like a small thunderclap crackled and the pair was a pile of smoking scrap.
SBA stood a few feet beyond the carnage, a hand held slightly above her head. From that hand trailed a long, snaking silvered whip, keenedged, electrified and tipped with a pair of long razor blades. The middle was held in a gloved hand while the rest spiraled around the girl and settled to the ground at her feet dramatically.
TDAT-CrystalDragon rolled her eyes, “What a showoff.” And the group stepped out from the cover. “OI! That's not standard issue! You stole that from the armory, didn't you?”
“I didn't STEAL it. It's mine. It was just confiscated, remember? So it's not stealing.”
The blonde pilot offered, “Yeah, sure, whatever.” And then froze as they were spotted by the main part of the patrol, their sound attracting the guards. A small circle of Zakos advanced to the two pilots, who were at he head of the group. The others had no time to react; they were advanced on too fast to allow for sword summoning or even rifle aiming.
“Your turn,” SBA offered.
CrystalDragon grinned, pulled a small black gun that looked like a water pistol and replied with, “Don't mind if I do.”
The soldiers formed a tight circle around TDAT-CrystalDragon, but before any of them could fire a single shot the girl spun in a graceful circle, blasting the mechas with a spray of blisteringly cold liquid. As her enemies were frozen to the spot, the blonde pilot delivered a roundhouse kick that lived up to its name, effectively shattering every single one of her targets into frozen shards.
“Those aren't standard issue either. Where did you ever get both foot and hand gravity cuffs and a freeze blaster?” SBA commented dryly, and her teammate whistled innocently.
“Uh… I `liberated' them. You know that the dang battle of Kingston fried my stuff.”
Bakunetsumaru drew his katanas, and Zero summoned his shield and buster sword. Captain drew his rifle, and Graye made a pass with her plasma pike.
“Your prowess is admirable, but look to the enemy; don't be caught off guard!” the latter scolded, and the two turned to the front, and jumped.
While they were near the entrance to the building, the way was blocked by nearly a hundred advancing Zako soldiers, guns raised and at the ready.
“Dog of a…” SBA quietly started to curse, moving into a ready position with her whip, cracking it ominously.
Crystal frowned. “Well, so much for stealth. We can't take all of these.”
“Captain,” Bakunetsumaru asked, “What are the chances of an individual remaining undetected or at least surviving inside a stronghold such as that?”
Bakunetsumaru nodded. “We are to separate, and then rejoin when we have what we need.”
“Okay.” Graye nodded “let's do this.”
They all charged through into the combat and through the front doors. “Scatter!” Captain ordered, and they all ran off into opposite directions, the Zako horde having to split up to chase them all. CrystalDragon was running alongside Shute for a second, and she took that second to toss a black object to the boy on in-lines.
“Wha?!” The boy stumbled as he caught it and saw what it was. “A laser gun?!”
The pilot gave a grim look. “That pistol saved my life at the battle of Kingston, you'd better take care of it! I know it'll come in handy!” she said and ran off to the side, leaving Shute to skate all by his lonesome through the echoing dark halls of the renovated casino.
What was I doing?!
I know Captain said to split up, but here I was, all by myself, in the middle of the Dark Axis base in this world.
Kinda brings back memories of one of my first adventures… except this time I'm not looking for solvent.
Great. What then?
I looked around the hall I was skating down, and saw a stairwell. It was dark, damp, and kinda dumpy looking.
It was a start.
Grinding down it, I came out to a kind of weird sight. Just around the corner was a conveyor belt with very large boxes in it, traveling slowly along down the center of the room, parallel to the walls. At the other side of the room there was a Zako guard, watching the room carefully, its line of sight passing just over the boxes. A little ways along the line, the conveyor belt entered a wall just as the room turned around a bend.
In other words, it would be hard to get by without being seen. The room was spacious, so if he could see me, he'd get a clean shot at me before I could go anywhere. And if I did escape, I couldn't stop him from calling the every Zako in the building to the scene. Maybe he wouldn't hit me if those boxes got in his way.
I dropped to my knees as quietly as I could and waited. A box approached from the left, and I crawled up to it, right beside it. The box was longer than me crouched down, so it hid me from his sight. Careful not to make noise or travel faster or slower than the box, I crawled right beside it, at one point passing right under the nose (if Zakos have noses) of the guard. Inside my head I was cheering at my brilliant idea. Hah, take that Cobramaru.
As the box disappeared inside the wall, I scrambled back up to my feet and peeked around the bend. No one was there, only a little alcove, some electronics and some doors to the left and right. The one to the right was open. Someone just hadn't bothered to shut it, I think. Dunno. I skated out into the little square room thing, but then was struck by something I saw behind me a little. I turned around and then gaped. My eyes must've been as big as saucers!
I kinda didn't figure out that the wall the boxes were passing into was an x-ray machine until then. Or something like an x-ray. Anyway, I saw something like a scan of what was in the boxes.
People. The scanned bones of humans showed up on the large screen, bunched up in a tight huddle. They must have drugged them or put them to sleep or something, because there was no screaming, none of them moved at all, save the little bit with their chests rising and falling. I think that meant they were breathing, so they were alive. But what would the Dark Axis want with live humans?
I tapped my foot in confusion a little and there was an alarm. Right then, I noted that I just stepped through a laser security beam. Oops.
Right before I heard the yells, I glanced at the two doors. I didn't know which one to take! There was kinda no time for eeny meeny miney moe them…
Not giving the other a chance, I ducked inside the left one, expecting it to be a hall that I could run down to safety. When I saw the small, thankfully deserted, six by six room almost totally lined with monitors and electronics, it kinda hit me that I had just run into a room marked `conveyor control room' without bothering to read the sign. Doh'!
Ah well. I had to make the most of it. All the Zakos passed by outside, convinced that I had opened the choice to the right and ran down that way. Stupid Zakos. As soon as they were gone, I slowly skated to the door I hade just came through to go out again…
My skate snagged on a little bit of scuffed linoleum and I tripped and fell.
“OUCH!” I moaned as I got up and looked at the ground where I fell in anger.
The floor was covered by scuffmarks, as if someone took some sandpaper and had a sandpaper party with the floor. Wait, that would be kind of weird…
Nevermind. All the scuffing was coming from a bookcase-like shelf of computer disks, metal and very heavy looking. But unlike the bottom of the chair that was bolted down (I noticed that when I fell flat on my face) it was not.
“Weird… I wonder…” I mumbled as I tried to shove it out of the way. It didn't budge. “Wha?! C'mon!” I frowned and braced myself and pushed my hardest. Zakos weigh a lot more than I do, so they probably have no problem with this kind of thing.
Flipping out my phone, I activated the boost on my skates and tried again. This time the bookcase slid with a grinding sound to the left, and I was left gasping. That thing must have weighed at least a ton!
At the spot where the shelf was, there was a doorway. Cheering at my wonderful find, I turned the handle, grateful that it wasn't locked and no one had noticed me yet. Behind the doorway there was another stairway going down, much deeper than the one before it. I retracted my skates (can't go down stairs without railways with skates on) and ran the flight of steps until I came to the end.
At that `end' there was a large underground room with few things in it. But that made the ones that were there were way more important. There was another door out the back, but it looked to be securely locked. No way out that way.
In the center there was… well… it's hard to describe. I think the best way to say it was a `bubble'. Yeah. There was a glasslike, half dome `bubble' in the middle of the room. Inside, like bugs caught under a cup, were the Dark Axis trio, all staring at me like I just took my pants off and danced a dance. Okay, let's not think about that last idea. Please. Don't. I mean it.
One of them, Zapper Zaku was yelling at me. It was kind of muffled, and I couldn't understand what he was saying. But I could tell it was angry, surprised, and was that… relieved? Weird.
If he sounded `relieved' (well sorta, I don't know how `relived' any of them could every be to see me) then they probably weren't going to hurt me. I mean, right now they didn't have those collars on. Hey, if they needed shock collars to want to attack us, and were locked up in the bubble, then maybe they weren't with the bad guys. There was that chance. It's not like the Dark Axis would bother to set up a trap for me all the way here in a secret room, right?
I tapped the glass stuff. Solid, no way I could get through by myself. I spied a bench in the corner and an idea started to brew in my head. I love that feeling.
Taking a loose bit of rubble on the floor, I marked an `X' on the glass and went over to the bench. Thankfully it wasn't too heavy, and I could lift it. It was sort of hard, but that didn't stop me! I am a part of the SDG, after all!
Running as fast as I could, I rammed the bench into the `x' and the glass shattered in a sound like a big wineglass breaking. I dropped the heavy bench in a huff, but the trio was still staring at me.
“Gah… little human make glass go boom!” Dom commented in a way that was probably smarter than it sounded.
“What are you doing here, brat?” Grappler poked and looked at me with that intimidating red eye of his.
I gulped. This would be a very `cool' thing to tell the team.
-3RD PERSON POV-
Grappler blinked in surprise. “What are you doing here, brat?”
“Uh… not getting caught, and I just saw you guys… and figured that if you were locked up the rest of the Dark Axis doesn't like you very much,” Shute stammered and then offered, “Enemy of my enemy is my friend, right? I think?”
Zapper looked at the boy in question. He had never really been this close without trying to kill him, so he took the second to poke him and say, “Ew, soft.”
“Hey…” Shute frowned. “That's not nice.”
Grappler poked him too and offered, “Hello? Dark Axis? We don't DO nice. Ick... gross. You're all squashy. Yuck.”
“Uh, I'll only let you guys get out of here if you promise to help us!” Shute demanded and tried to look serious, but failed.
The red Zako rolled his eye and put, “Sure, sure, whatever. Anything's better than rusting in this pit with that crazy purple brat.”
“Fuh, CRAZY!” Dom agreed, his arms waving about to support his accusation.
“Okay. I'll do this too. I can't let you two morons go on and screw up.” Grappler sighed and turned to Shute, poking him with a clawed hand, “But I'm not leaving without my weapons.”
“My BOOMS!” Destroyer frowned. “Booms are in armory!”
Shute nodded and smiled. “Okay. If we get in trouble, it would help if you guys could do something.”
“The armory's up through that door, got that human?” Zapper Zaku pointed to the locked door.
“But we can't get through it! It's locked!” the human frowned, but he was kind of happy inside. In their weird way the trio could sort of be kind of nice. Somehow.
“Out of the way, you idiots.” Gouf glared and went over to the door. Sliding his claw inside the crack of the door, he somehow tweaked the mechanism, and in a click the door swung open to a short stairwell going up. “And they said that I couldn't do much damage with this thing still on…”
Shute smiled and cheered, “Yay, good job! You did it! Let's go!” and ran up the stairs, followed by two of the mechas.
Grappler Gouf stood there for a second in shock and mumbled, “Did he just… compliment me?!”
The dash to the armory was quick and hurried, alerting no guards. The two Zakos flanking the armory were taken out by punches from Zapper and Dom, and the room was scoured for the trio's weapons.
Of course there was a problem with that.
Alert! Alert! Intruders identified in section D, armory!
“Darnit!” Zapper barked as he grabbed his machine gun. Zakos flooded the room, guns at the ready. They didn't even care that they were going to fire on their `allies'.
Gouf drew his sword and flared at all the soldiers, “You want some?!”
The room exploded into chaos, a whirlwind of bullets, axes, swords, guns and violence. A single soldier burst out of the fray, weapon in hand, and charged Shute.
The boy tried to step backwards, but he tripped on a mecha corpse and was soon trying to escape in futility, the soldier's weapon raised to end him. Most of the soldiers were gone now, killed by the trio's hands. But they were still busy, and why would THEY want to help a human?
Captain was not here to save him. Zero was not here to save him. Bakunetsumaru was not here to save him. All he had was himself.
The gun tucked into his shorts pocket almost seemed to fly from its place on its own accord and to the boy's hand. A single shot rung loud and clear in the room and a Zako scream, the last one to echo in the room ripped through the air as the offending mecha was blasted off the boy.
And the Dark Axis trio stared. And stared. And stared. This was the equivalent of the world blowing up for them. Shute, the `cheerleader brat' shot something. Sound the clarions and let loose the hounds of doom. What IS the world coming to?
“This is just so wrong,” Zapper groaned as the group of four ran out of the room, armed and dangerous, looking for a way out.
Motley crew indeed.
“Guys?” Shute mumbled as he saw a familiar group on the other side of the hangar bay. “GUYS!” he yelled as he ran up to them and hugged Captain.
“Shute!” Captain exclaimed, hugged back briefly and then pulled the boy off him, “Where were you?!”
The boy gave a sheepish look. “Getting backup…”
“Those villains?!” Zero spat in distrust, “Why would they ever wish to aid us?!”
“Look,” Zapper put harshly, “They locked us up and put shock collars on us. Do you REALLY think we want to help them?! They're insane!”
Gouf rolled his eye and glared. “We're not buddies, but as far as I'm concerned even you guys are better than this pit.”
The last member of the trio said nothing, but nodded vigorously.
“Thy opinion must be rather low for your choice to be rational… unless it's completely nonsensical as you villains have a tendency to be,” Zero put bleakly, floating about two inches off the ground.
“If ANY of you scum dare to betray us…” Baku hissed, “You shall taste my blade.”
Graye shrugged and said, “It wouldn't be the first time. C'mon. We have some info, not much, but some. Let's blow this place before it blows us, if you know what I mean.”
Shute nodded too, “Yeah. I don't want to shoot any more! One was scary enough!”
“You engaged in a firefight, Shute?!” Captain said, an alarmed expression ringing in his cobalt eyes.
The boy shook his head sadly, “Yeah. If I didn't I wouldn't be here right now.”
Captain gave something akin to a smile of recognition. “I am very proud of you, Shute.”
Graye ruffed the boy's hair. “The shot round `round the world, probably. Okay, enough stalling. Let's jet.”
A bubbly voice erupted from the rafters, “Nope, nope! This won't do at all!” and immediately Captain, Zero, Bakunetsumaru and the Dark Axis trio were drawn forcefully to the ground.
“What the?! I can't move!” Zapper yowled.
Dom cried, “Me... can't... reach... booms..”
“Captain!” Shute gasped, “Please get off of me! Ow!”
While the gundam was lighter due to being in human form, he was still pinning Shute against his will. “I'm sorry Shute. I cannot fulfill that command.”
A small lavender shape jumped down from above, causing a distinct shockwave on ground level. Soon a pink eye was grinning at them all. Specifically, she wagged a finger at the trio on the ground. “Ah, what naughty boys you've been! You three are supposed to be in a time out!”
Grappler's head creaked to glower at Slayer Edge. “You little brazen…”
“Now, now, You know I'm not made of bronze.” The childish zako pouted, “But no, none of this will do! None of are you will make it out alive!”
“Heh…” a sole voice from behind chuckled, straightening up from the shockwave that had ran a tremor through the floor. The tone was angry but somehow collected, the kind of tone that made everyone plastered to the floor silent. “You're going to have to go through me first!”
“Wha?!” Slayer Edge exclaimed and turned around.
There, standing slightly peeved with plasma pike drawn was Graye. And she meant business. Her mouth was upturned in a slightly cautious but still confident smile. Her eyes reflected as silver as her steel blade, keenedged and dangerous.
“Let them go,” she demanded, making a pass with her weapon. “We can do this the easy way or the hard way. Your pick.”
Slayer Edge giggled something incoherent and her hand scythes were drawn in a blur. “But what fun would surrendering be?” she bubbled as she struck like a snake.
“The hard way, then.” Graye frowned and struggled to block the lighting fast strikes. It was clear that the mecha was designed to eliminate humans. Graye couldn't keep up!
The butt of one of the scythes met with Graye's torso and she was blasted back a few feet. The girl gritted her teeth, but not a peep escaped her as the pain laced through her chest. The blunt end of the other one connected with the girl's head, but thankfully no crack of breaking skull was heard. Still no sound was uttered as the pain set forth.
“Oh come on!” Slayer Edge pouted, “Scream! It's more fun for me when they scream!”
Graye got up, spat out a blood where she bit her cheek to keep herself from screaming and smiled. “Well that's not much motivation for me to scream, now is it?”
“Why you!” the little Zako cursed. “You cocky little bit of cytoplasm!” she screamed as she rushed her prey again, who smiled, focused and parried her blows.
Just as the plasma pike grazed Slayer Edge's head Graye put out, “Didn't know you had that in your vocabulary. Kudos for studying the dictionary! You're well on your way to rescuing your dismal little intellect!”
The mecha was about to retort when an echoing explosion sounded by the near wall, and a spray of concrete dust and metal shards blasted out into a cloud.
“HEY YOU!” a voice yelled in wrath.
Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared. “Who, me?” Slayer Edge blinked, her pink eye staring in confusion.
“YEAH, YOU!!!” the voice barked again, and stepped out of the dust cloud. A black jacket with a red stripe on it fluttered slightly in the breeze as blonde locks settled into their proper position.
Graye raised an eyebrow.
“Uh… what're you doing here, human?” the lavender mecha blinked.
The incensed blonde girl pointed a finger. “The name's Melady, not `human'. And you're not going to forget it anytime soon, you mechanical brat!”
Out of seemingly nowhere, a pair of humongous rocket launchers materialized and were soon mounted on her shoulders. The trio looked at her in awe.
Graye stabbed a dry thumb in Melady's direction. “That's why.”
“You pint sized piece of garbage! Don't EVER hurt my trio!!!” the angry fangirl roared, and fired the rocket launchers, engulfing the entire room in huge blazing explosions. Apparently she didn't care who might be hurt in the process, but thankfully no missiles hit the Force or the trio.
“AGH!” the lavender Zako squeaked as the smoke cleared, only to see Melady grinning a wicked smile, flamethrower in hand.
A huge plume of fire erupted from the weapon and the small remote clipped onto Slayer Edge's belt melting into a metallic puddle. The magnetic force holding down most of the people in the room was released with a crack. While the Zako was made of gundanium and did not melt, she screamed, “AAAHH!! THAT'S HOT!!! CAN'T SEE! CAN'T SEE!! NOT FAIR!!”
“WERE YOU FAIR TO MY TRIO?! SHUT UP YOU VILE BIT OF METAL!!!” the enraged Dark Axis fan yelled in fury and rammed with the butt of the flamethrower, causing her target to wobble and stumble backward.
Slayer Edge was teetering on the edge of a ventilation shaft in the floor. “Wah! Whoah!”
Melady blew gently.
The Zako fell down the shaft in a series of echoing crashes. Melady laughed a wonderfully evil laugh as everyone plastered to the ground got up in a creak.
“Ouch…” Shute moaned.
“I'm sorry Shute,” Captain frowned as he brushed his uniform off.
Zero and Bakunetsumaru sighed in relief that their enemy was gone.
Melady stared at the trio with sparkles in her eyes.
Zapper sweatdropped and blinked. “What're you looking at, human?”
The fangirl hugged the trio tightly, somehow finding happiness in the cold metal of their bodies. “YES! YOU GUYS ROCK!”
The trio looked extremely confused.
“Hey Melady,” Graye sighed, “How'd you get here anyway?”
The girl was about to say something witty when a slightly boyish voice laughed from the open hangar opening of the docking bay. “Hitched a ride with a Zako patrol and then used the hoverboard in her pocket to zoom up here, probably. We're on the sixtieth floor.”
“By Mana SilverBellsAbove! You managed to attend the rendezvous! You implied there would be difficulties in flying your machine close to the stonghold!” Zero exclaimed in surprise.
“Nothing I can't handle. Ride's leavin' you guys, so unless you want to be stuck here, I'd get in if I were you.” The pilot grinned and a gangplank extended from the passenger door to the floor of the docking bay. Silent and exhausted, everyone boarded without a word. Before they could even take off, Graye was asleep on Bakunetsumaru's shoulder and Shute was lying across Captain's lap, snoring. A quiet flight above cloudline under cover of darkness and paved by moonlight was assured as the sun set, the only illumination in the dark and thunder wrought world. Melady was chatting with the trio softly, attempting to catch them up on the situation. Bakunetsumaru eventually dozed off himself, leaning on the girl who had chosen him as a comfy spot. The only one left really idle was Zero, staring out the window and wishing he could fly this high. They all were very tired from their escapade, and felt like resting. After all, adventures aren't easy things, you know.
-FIVE MINUTES LATER-
The hangar bay was quiet, the last rays of sunlight fading from the horizon.
Slayer Edge managed to haul herself up and out of the ventilation shaft, exhausted and slightly charred.
“Owies…” she moaned.
A small, gray object just about the size and shape of a large lemon settled a foot away. The Zako's pink eye wound up to look straight ahead at a loud whirring and rumbling that startled her as it started suddenly, jarring all trains of thought.
“A present from the Water Titan just for you! Sucker!” TDAT Crystal-Dragon grinned as the cockpit closed and she blasted out into the sky, away from the grenade.
“Today Just isn't my day. No fair.”
* Have you ever heard the expression `to hell in a handbasket'? well, the nickname given to the tansport/escort team of Crystal and I is `the Handbasket Express' because we have a… knack of coming out on top in situations that you're sure will send us down under in a heartbeat.
** In a game I play called Star Ocean Till the End of Time, there's an move the Dragon Knights pull called `master combo', and it's very similar to the maneuver I write about. Sorry if this casues confusion, it's just what I would say.
The dark axis trio's currently WTFing a lot. Wonder why?
Melady, I tried to do you the best I could, but aside from a few rants I've never heard you be really pissed, so I tried my best to do the `I hate you, I'll kill you, jerk' act without saying the `B word' Eheh, It was fun. Writing evil people is fun. You're fun. Yay.
The next chapter may be a little delayed too because I'm currently working on another shiny… a pic of Graye for Mediaminer! Please bear with me, this is my second time using photoshop for this kind of thing so if it stinks don't kill me… yeah. The lineart was a product of a drooling session over Melady's work… I love you, doubt I could be as good, but I'll try. Yay!
Till next time, peeps!
Chief Haro calls
Another fangirl meeting
Spilling of guts
And I don't know what else because the plot bunnies REFUSE TO BREED UNTIL I FINISH THE ART!! ARGH!!! *dies*
Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7