Nami: *continues running* AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
Eon: GET BACK HERE!!!!!!!!!!!
Emma: *nabs Eon when she runs by*
Forte: *nabs Nami when she runs by*
Emma: That is quite enough! Eon calm down, Axl lives!
Eon: BUT SHE TORTURES MY AXIE-KUN!!!!!
Forte: But he'll get back at Red, trust me, Nami's not that cruel that she'll leave justice undone.
but I'm watching you. *glares at Nami*
Nami: EEP!! *hides behind Axl's still snoozing body*
Forte: He's still asleep?
Emma: Yep, that boy can sleep through nearly everything. Anyway
on with the story.
Chapter 5: Lost Information, Missing Memories
The medical bay of the Maverick Hunters HQ was in mayhem after X and Zero had been retrieved from the Red Alert base. Forty minutes prior to their retrieval, the two had received an electrical charge that Alia believed had overloaded a majority of their primary functions, causing them to begin shutting down.
Lifesaver, HQ's head medic, was jumping between the two warriors along with 10 other nurses, trying to figure out how to get their systems running again before the overload shut down their fusion cores. Wires had been connected to nearly every port on their bodies and were feeding their vitals to the computer, paying special attention to their brainwaves and core pulses (aka heartbeat).
"How are they holding up?" Signas asked as he came into the room with Alia in tow.
"Their motor functions are completely negated. Nerve processors from the shoulders down are not responding. Pulses have slowed since they got here, but are still stable." The head medic replied.
"Good. Do a complete scan of their bodies and systems. We need to find a way to reverse this before we lose them." The commander stated firmly.
The medical reploids did as instructed and soon the schematics of the unconscious hunters were displayed on the screen. Everyone was shocked at the results.
"What the hell is this?" Lifesaver exclaimed. "This is not the kind of damage a normal electrical charge can do. Just what were they attacked by?"
The diagrams of the warriors were covered with navy blue blotches. The only places that were left untouched were the areas surrounding their cores and their heads. And the moving masses were slowly creeping towards the aforementioned areas.
"Lifesaver, what is that?" Alia whispered.
"The charge they were hit with was not an electric-based charge, but a nanite-based one."
"Nanite-based?" Signas questioned.
"Most charges that can shut down a reploid's systems this fast are electric-based in that it is pure electricity and passes through the body, damaging anything it can. But this damage was caused by a nanite-based charge, which is more guided and probably the reason why they were able to contact Alia. Electricity would have knocked them out cold in an instant."
"But how is it possible to have a 'guided' charge?" Alia asked.
"There was a study being done near the end of the sixth uprising that incorporated nanites that could produce their own electricity in small or large bursts, depending on the need. They were being studied for medical purposes. Nanites that could produce their own electric charge were able to shut down and restart systems quickly and efficiently and would be very helpful in delicate procedures on a reploid's body so nothing vital was damaged. One researcher even studied a defensive purpose for them that allowed whoever or whatever had the nanites to decide how to use them, mostly if they were threatened or attacked by another. And, if inserted into a foreign reploid's body, the wielder could decide if the victim would live or die and, if they chose death, whether it would be quickly or painfully slow." The medic explained.
"Do you know who it was and how to reverse this?" the commander inquired.
"The researcher's name was Doctor Toushiro Cossack, he was a researcher on new reploid technologies, including weapons, armors, and healing capabilities. There are rumors that he studied in Giga City for a while, but no hard facts on if he was there or what he was researching if he was. As for the information on reversing this, no one knows. It was said that his lab was completely wiped out along with all his research before the sixth war ended. None of his colleagues knew what he was doing with his nanite defense theories or if he managed to utilize them."
"Well, it seems someone did or else X and Zero wouldn't be like this." Alia stated as she viewed over the data scans.
"Was anyone close to him that might know what to do?" Signas asked.
"Little was known about his personal life. It was said he liked to keep them separate for a variety of reasons, but if anyone did know, then they're probably in hiding seeing as the attack on the doctor's lab was very brutal."
"I don't know. Like I said, he kept his personal life to himself. Maybe Alia could find something." The medic replied.
"I think I did." The navigator stated as she put in a few commands on the console she was at, bring up two black folders over the two diagrams of the hunters. "These were imbedded in the nanites' frequency. We can access some information from the nanites, but we can't control them. The only thing we could do was nab these two folders."
"Open those files and see what they are." Signas commanded with a quick "Yes, Sir." from the navigator, who was quick to open the files. Two green wavelengths popped up, both fluctuating regularly.
"Turning up the sound." The blonde female said.
"Repeat what was done." Came a soft, young male voice. "Mimic what occurred. Doing so will reverse what happened."
The recording repeated over and over until Alia stopped it.
"Repeat? Mimic? What does that mean?" she questioned.
Signas hummed in thought, "Redoing what happened to X and Zero. I believe that is what he's saying, but will it really undo everything?"
Lifesaver sighed, "I usually make sure stuff like this is legit, but right now we don't have the time. If those nanites get any closer to the cores
well, you know what'll happen."
"Sir," called one of the nurses attending to Zero, "We found a very faint handprint on Captain Zero's back. We nearly missed it if we hadn't been looking close enough. It might be the charge's entry point."
Lifesaver examined the red reploid, who was now lying on his stomach, to see that there was, indeed, a hand-mark on his back, nearly invisible against his dark bodysuit. Rushing over to X, the medic gently rolled the blue bomber onto his stomach. Like Zero, he had a faint handprint on his back.
"Of course! Repeat what was done. He means shock them again."
"Again?" Alia questioned.
"Yes, in the same spot and with the same frequency. Repeat and mimic. That's how we reverse this. I need a generator and cables attached to these two ASAP."
"Roger!" came the reply from several medics.
"Are you sure this will work?" Signas asked. (Nami: Stop questioning the medic, people! He knows what he's doing.)
"I'm not completely sure, but we're out of options and nearly out of time. We can only hope for the best." Lifesaver replied.
Once the cables were attached and the generator prepped, Lifesaver had everyone ready themselves for anything.
"Frequency set." "Generator charge synched." "Ready to go, sir" three nurses said from their consoles.
"Please let this work." The medic whispered. "Shock them!"
The generator sparked as electricity streaked through the cables and into the unconscious warriors. Small sparks flew off the cables and from where they attached to the reploids. Then everything was silent.
"Did it wor-"
Alia's question was cut off as large sparks radiated off the two warriors' bodies as both let out loud shrieks of pain. Lights flickered before they blew to pieces. Equipment around the room was sparking from the feedback and the monitors were going haywire before all but the big monitor went black. Just as suddenly as it sparked, everything halted just as quickly.
Once they realized things had calmed down, everyone emerged from their hiding places to access the damage and the condition of the two legends.
"Captain Zero's vitals are strong and normal." Announced one medic.
"Same with Captain X." called another.
"Detach the cables, get the power back to normal, and scan their bodies again. We need to make sure they're clear." Ordered the head medic.
Ten minutes later, once power had been restored, all scans on the reploids were in the green except for one thing: a blackish blue ring was circled their cores.
"Can it be removed?" Signas inquired.
Lifesaver studied the information they were gathering on the rings. "At the moment, I can't tell. But it's not showing any hostility nor is it hurting them in any way. Unless it shows aggressive tendencies, it would be unwise to make an attempt at removing them until we get more details on what they are and their purpose."
"Very well. Everything else checks out?"
"Mobility has been re-established, sensory functions show green, and pulses are strong and stable. All we're waiting for is for them to wake up." The medic stated.
"Alright then. Let them rest and hope for the best is all we can do. If anything happens to put them in danger, notify me immediately."
"Yes, sir." The medic replied as Signas, Alia, and most of the medical team left.
Lifesaver and the few remaining medics rolled the two warriors onto their backs before carrying them and placing them into two of the med-pods in the room. Making sure nothing else needed tending to, the last of the medics left, Lifesaver turning off the lights as he exit the room, leaving only the large monitor on to illuminate the place.
If only he had waited a few more seconds, the head medic would have seen the dark blue rings on the scan flash before bursting into tiny fragments that were absorbed into their cores. The gems on both reploids' heads glowed as a single word escaped their lips.
~The next morning~
The first to wake up was the blue bomber himself. Shifting a bit, emerald eyes cracked open, blinking groggily to clear the blurriness before opening completely. Recognizing the beeps and hums of a med-pod, X tried to remember how he got there, but his thoughts were unclear and muddled. The more he tried, the more his head started to pound, so he let it go for now and filed it away to think on later.
Glancing around, his gaze wandered to his right. There, in another med-pod, lay his partner Zero. The Crimson Devil's face looked peaceful sleeping like he was, but his body was tense, giving away his subconscious anxiety of his conscious' lack of understanding of his situation. A beeping drew the green gaze to the monitor at the side of his pod, which was flashing green before powering down. Several clicks sounded followed by the hiss of the capsule depressurizing as the glass cover opened, allowing its occupant to exit its contents.
Shifting slightly, X slowly pushed himself up into a sitting position in the pod. Just like his thoughts, the blue reploid's movements were sluggish, but he managed to climb out of the pod and steady himself on the side of the capsule. Another beeping drew his attention to the other pod beside him, where the monitor was flashing green like his did earlier.
Stumbling over to his comrade's med-pod, the blue reploid braced himself on its side as the glass cover raised up, releasing the red swordsman from its healing embrace. Hazy green eyes watched carefully as they watched his partner's fleshy lids twitched several times before stopping. Soon enough, bleary icy sapphires opened and connected with the fuzzy emerald gaze of his friend.
"Mornin' Sunshine." X slurred.
"Shuddup." Zero slurred back as he slowly sat up himself.
X supported his friend as he stood up and reoriented himself on the floor.
"Why are we here?"
"I've been trying to remember myself, Z, but my brain's still a bit scrambled. Nothing sticks out except for a few unclear memories."
"I remember going into that Red Alert building, finding that torture room, and then
ow." Zero mumbled as he rubbed his head.
"I remember that, too. The details aren't clear, but I do remember bright verdant eyes, so full of sadness and heartache. Then nothing but excruciating pain and darkness." X replied back.
"That was more than likely the charge's fault." Came a male voice from the doorway.
Emerald and sapphire eyes shifted their focus to the medical reploid that had spoken as he made his way towards the disoriented duo.
"Lifesaver? What's goin' on?" Zero mumbled.
"The two of you were hit by a large electrical charge. Not only did it start shutting down your systems quite rapidly, but it seems to have also affected your short-term memory banks, nearly wiping out any and all events that occurred roughly an hour or two before the shock." The medic explained.
"So that's why everythin's so fushy (fuzzy)." X stated groggily, drawing a chuckle from Lifesaver. "What?"
"Sorry, because most of your systems shut down, they had to reboot everything from the beginning to get your bodies back in order and that includes your thought processors and your voice box, both of which I'm guessing are still slow-acting in both of you?"
Two sluggish nods were his response.
"Don't worry, that will pass. You're also going to be a bit disoriented for a while since your mobility was also negated during the shock. Scans show you guys are clear so you two are free to go when you want. I'll inform the Commander that you're awake. Also, I want to do another scan on you both before you go see him, to make sure your minds are
'unfushy' for your debriefing."
This comment received a glare from a certain blue reploid who decided not to comment.
"So we can leave?" Zero asked as his stomach growled loudly, shortly followed by X's.
"Yep, just be back here after lunch."
"Okay." The two responded before they dashed out of the room, making a beeline for the cafeteria.
~in the cafeteria~
X sat down at an empty table waiting for Zero to join him. The tray in front of him held a larger selection then what he would usually get. His usual breakfast consisted of cereal or eggs, toast, some fruit, and a glass of juice. Today's breakfast, however, included cereal, toast, a bowl of fruit, scrambled eggs, shredded hash browns, two strips of bacon, three sausage links, a slice of ham, two pancakes, a glass of orange juice, and a glass of apple juice.
As the blue reploid pondered why he was more hungry than usual, Zero walked up and sat across from him.
"Yo, X. What'cha thinkin' about?" the blonde asked, rousing the bomber from his thoughts, which prompt said reploid to look at his friend.
"Well, Zero, I was wondering
" he stopped in mid-sentence as he caught sight of Zero's 'breakfast'.
"What?" the swordsman questioned innocently as X's jaw dropped.
On Zero's tray was: a steak omelet, shredded hash browns, a stack of around fifteen pancakes, three types of eggs, six French toast triangles, two types of sausage with a quantity of 3 each, three slices of ham, five strips of bacon, six waffles, three cereal bars, a bowl of cereal, a glass of milk, chocolate milk, apple juice, orange juice, a bowl of fruit, and finally a bowl of sausage gravy and biscuits. (Nami: I got so hungry typing this. XD)
"What?!" Zero asked again, slightly offended out by his friend's staring.
"N-nothing." X finally said. He was tempted to question his partner's large medley of foods, but his own selection wasn't normal for him either.
"I know that look, X. You're wondering why I'm eating so much. The answer is simple: I'm hungry. And by the looks of your own plate, you are, too." The crimson reploid stated, digging into his food.
"I know that, Zero. I'm just wondering why? Why are we more hungry than usual?"
"I'm not the person to ask, buddy. All Lifesaver told us was that most of our systems were completely shut down, and a few other things."
X perked up at Zero's comment, his fork halfway to his mouth with some eggs. Placing the eggs in his mouth, he leaned back in his chair and crossed his left arm over his chest, hooking his hand on the crook of his right elbow. Tapping the fork on his cheek as he chewed, he pondered on what Lifesaver told them earlier.
Cocking an eyebrow at the sudden silence, Zero shrugged before shoving half a waffle in his mouth. His friend would share his thoughts when he was ready. Both were nearly done with their food before the Blue Bomber finally spoke again.
"I think I understand now."
Picking up his glass of orange juice, the swordsman raised an eyebrow. "And?"
Sipping some of his apple juice, X explained, "When reploids are low on energy, we regain it through two methods: food and sleep. But our bodies were nearly completely shut down, so the energy we recovered through sleep was solely devoted to reactivating and stabilizing the shut down systems. The reason we're so hungry is because, even after sleeping, we still need the energy to finish stabilizing the remaining systems and get our bodies back in working order."
"Like how we were still sluggish after coming outta med. bay?" Zero asked, receiving a nod. "Understandable, should we do some basic exercises to make sure everything's back in order?"
"It'd be a good idea, yes. But I'm taking a shower first. Every time I come out of a med-pod, I feel
gross, for lack of a better word." X said with a blush.
Another raised eyebrow from Zero, but he decided not to comment. The cyan reploid could get vicious when embarrassed. "M'k. I'll take one as well when you're done. Ready to head out?"
A nod was his only response as the two disposed of their trash and headed back to their apartment.
~ a few hours later~
After a shower, some workout exercises, another shower, and a scan from Lifesaver, the two S-class hunters were heading to Signas' office for their debriefing.
"Remember anything yet?" Zero asked.
X shook his head, "Not really. Like Lifesaver said, most of our memories from that time were wiped, either that or they were locked. Our best bet would be to tell him what we do remember and go from there."
The blonde nodded, "Sounds good." He said as they entered Signas' office. They saluted their commander who nodded in greetings.
"At ease, men. Glad to see you two up and running again. Lifesaver showed me your clean bill of health, so I'd like to hear exactly how you were put in that condition in the first place."
Zero spoke first, "It was routine, sir. As in protocol, after we eliminated the mavericks outside, we went to investigate the inside for any stragglers. We went to the coordinates Alia provided us with for the energy surge's location. Most of the generator rooms we searched were empty and had been for some time. However, we did find one that had been used recently and quite frequently."
"How so?" Signas asked.
X took over from there. "The room was warm from recent electrical currents and papers were scattered around the floor as if a large gust threw them everywhere. There was also a table in the center of the room that was covered in what Zero confirmed to be
a reploid's blood."
X nodded and took a deep breath before continuing. "That's correct. The room seemed to be equipped to be a make-shift torture room."
Zero continued, "I then heard something that sounded like crying from a container connected to the generator. It was connected to a laptop nearby that X hacked into to open the container. From there, things get sketchy."
"Hmm, Lifesaver made mention of that earlier. What do you remember?"
"I remember a small shadow in the container. It was blindfolded, so I took off the blindfold. Then all I remember is bright green eyes full of sadness and then pain from the shock."
"I remember it was male based on his structure and he was covered in several cuts and bruises, but after that, nothing except pain." Zero finished.
"That's all you remember?"
"Unfortunately yes, sir."
"It's alright. Lifesaver had informed me of some of the things they found while healing you. Apparently, you two nearly died."
This caused the two hunters to snap to attention. "What?"
Signas nodded, "You'll have to ask him for all the details, but to give you a simple version, the shock you received nearly shut down all your systems. If Lifesaver had not worked as fast as he did, you would have died roughly two hours after that shock."
The two reploids were silent as they processed the information. The silence was disturbed by a chuckle from the Crimson Devil himself.
"Looks like I'm gonna have to do something extremely nice for Lifesaver later. He really saved our butts."
Signas and X smiled before the blue bomber said, "Not like dying is something you haven't experienced before, but you always seem to bounce right back afterwards."
This got a smirk from Zero. "Yep, can't keep a badass reploid like me down."
Signas shook his head in amusement. "I guess that means I can't force you two to take a bit of down time, can I?"
"Commander, if you do that, one of two things are gonna happen: 1) Zero's gonna go through every training simulation again within the first day or two of vacation or 2) he's gonna go on a cleaning spree in our apartment, and most likely Alia's as well, like last time." Zero blushed at this because everything X had said, had happened before.
"This is true. Well boys, I'll keep you on the ready list, so be prepared to
"Commander!!" Alia came in shouting.
"What is it, Alia?" Signas demanded, standing up from his previously relaxed sitting position.
"We've picked up a massive spike in maverick activity about thirty miles from where X and Zero were attacked. From the looks of it, they're chasing a small reploid. We can't tell who the reploid is though, but we can assume it's an innocent based on its weak signal."
"Do you have the coordinates?"
"We can teleport our forces within 20 square meters from the maverick signals, but there is a jamming barrier up, so once they go in, they have to get outside the barrier to get in touch with us and get teleported back."
"Alright. X! Zero!" Both reploids stood at attention. "I want you both to go secure that signal and bring it back here safe. But be careful, we don't know the full extent of the situation, so be prepared for anything."
"Yes, sir!" came his response before the two hunters ran with Alia back to the main room and the teleporters.
Eon: Are they going to get Axl now?
Eon: Tell me
NOW! *holds up buster*
Nami: Not in front of the readers. We can go somewhere they can't hear
and I'll tell you a few
Eon: *pauses* You have my attention. *Nami and Eon leave, confusing Emma and Forte*
Forte: I'm not gonna ask.
Axl: Ugh *rolls over*
Emma: He's gonna be sick when he wakes up.
Forte: I'll get a bucket.
Eon: OMG!!! SO CUTE!!!!
Forte: Still not gonna ask.
Emma: R&R people, please and thank you.