The sequel to 
"The Quiet Shadows"
Kia Purity

Note: This takes place after X5 and I haven't quite played the game yet, so, this will be a bit sporky. =P I'll be relying on some friends who have played it already to help me out with this sequel!  If you haven't played MMX5 yet, GO AND GET IT! (And I should do the same too! O_o;;;;)
Okay, it turns out that X6 has the basic same plot, so consider this sequel as an "Alternative Universe". Gah, I didn't know they were making X6. @_@;;;;;; (Now that I do, I'm gonna get the game after I get X5 =E)

(X, Zero, Doctor Cain, and pretty much any references to MMX are copyrighted by Capcom. Damaru, Fruit Tree, Pine Tree, Zexandra, Seth, Kassi and any one else who doesn't sound MMX-ish belong to me. =P) 

    So much had gone by for the figure who was encased in the sleeping pod, it was depressing that she wasn't aware of what had happened over the years that she was sealed away.  The computer beeped on the wall and the seal dissolved away, sending her falling to the floor.  She coughed to regain some oxygen which immediately ran through her system, into her special breathing system acting in the place of lungs.
    She struggled to open her eyes and blinked at the odd lighting as she fought to stand up.  She looked at her surroundings and figured that she was in some kind of place... like a hospital.
    Her mind was different... it echoed that of a frightened young girl who didn't know where she was.  Puzzled, she looked at her body and wondered how she could be in a body different from what she was used to.
    "Mommy? Daddy? Berry? Perry? Where are you...? I remember... this man... he hurt me... is this a hospital?"
A red haired male walked in the room, wearing one of his dark blue suits with a silk black shirt.  He froze and looked at the young woman.
    "You woke up?"
    "Yeah... it's so cold... why is it so cold... where's Berry and Perry? Are they alright?"  She shivered slightly, looking for a blanket to wrap around her body which was clothed in a t-shirt and shorts. "Why did I get big? I'm only a little girl..."
    Seth instantly realized that Damaru had reverted to her previous state when he performed the memory wipe, so everything was restarting, quite literally.  She had acted the exact same way when he started her internal machine, waking her up for the first time in her new body.
    "Kristis, your parents... are um... somewhere in heaven."
    "...oh." She looked down, sniffling. "What about Berry and Perry? Are they there?"
    "No, they're alive. They're with my older sister, she's taking good care of them."
    "Oh. Well, can I go visit them? Pretty please?"
    "Well, I suppose, you can when I get you some fresh clothes. They're right next door... My sisters, Zexandra and Kassandra and I all share this same building. It's like one huge apartment, you know?"
    "Yeah... what's your name?"
    "Seth Pepper. I've given you a new name so the bad man won't come after you anymore. That's why you look different... from now on, you'll be Damaru Yuuwaku."
    "Oh... that's a pretty name." Damaru mused to herself. "I like it. Thanks, Seth."
    Seth made a mental note to himself to at least restore some memory to her but he was too mortified at the thought of screwing up and giving her a memory of the time when she was Damasu... that would certainly scar her for life and it made him miserable by thinking about it.  He didn't want to think about how badly he had screwed up on forgetting to install Anti-Sigma virus program in her.
    Also, he didn't want to have his butt kicked by Damaru if she found out what happened to Zero... no, indeed!  Plus, it didn't help that Zexandra was throwing a fit for having withdrew Fruit and Pine from the headquarters.  He flinched at the memory and knew Zexandra was kicking herself around because she had failed in her mission to help out humanity.
    Damaru walked over to another pod and stared at her reploid armor and the D-Sabre. "Hey, Seth, what's this?"
    Seth snapped out of his thoughts and stared. "Huh?"
    "This... it looks like a bodysuit... but the legs are so big."
    "Oh! That's your armor... it'll protect your body from being damaged."
    "Oh, okay." Damaru smiled brightly and looked at the keypad on the wall. "Hmm..." She suddenly tapped in the code and blinked in surprise. "Hey, how'd I do that..."
    Seth's face froze in horror. "..." He shook his head and muttered to himself while Damaru decided to put on the body suit, giggling.
    "This is so cool! I can't wait to show this to my cousins! Boy, will they be surprised!"
    Seth smacked his head as Damaru attached the D-Sabre to her waist.  She seemed surprised when Seth handed her a black cloak with a layer of silver on the inside.
    "Take this... if you're going outside."
    "Oh, thanks..."

    "Zex-sama... stop kicking yourself around!" Fruit flailed her arms around as crashing sounds could be heard while Pine grimaced.
    Somehow, Fruit smacked Pine too hard and he went crashing through the open window as Fruit turned around and sweatdropped instantly.
    "ERP!! I'm sorry, Pine! I didn't mean to!"
    "Ow..." Pine mumbled while hanging onto the ledge as Zexandra walked in the room and glanced at the window while muttering something about paying for damage.  Certainly, Fruit had become accident-prone over the years and she idly pondered to herself as how she could be able to alter Fruit's programming to remove the accident-prone function.
    Pine and Fruit froze at the voice as Damaru bounded into the room, all bubbly and cheerful.  Pine secretly wished he could jump out of the window this minute because he was not believing what he was seeing.  Fruit only face faulted while Damaru spun around.
    "Isn't my armor pretty? How do you like it? Hey, Berry, you look so cool with that hair of yours. Perry! You look so spiffy in that outfit!"
    "Damaru... you woke up?"
    "Yup! It was kind of cold when I woke up, but I'm all better now!"
    Zexandra made a mental note to herself to smack Seth around for waking Damaru too early... and making her sound worse than Fruit!  It dawned on her that she was acting this way because of the memory wipe... certainly, the serious programming hadn't kicked in yet.
    "Oh, Damaru..." Zexandra called out. "How are you doing?"
    "Alright! I suppose ya must be Zexandra... it's so nice to meet you! Thank you for taking care of my cousins!"
    "Anytime... Damaru Yuuwaku, activate your programming."
    "Program activated." Damaru's voice became monotone once she stopped moving. "Personality Programming code required."
    "Code accepted, Damaru Yuuwaku Personality Alpha activated."
    "Shut down the program."
    "Program deactivated." Damaru snapped out of the momentary trace and rubbed her head. "What happened?"
    "Just that I switched your programming. You were acting too much like your old self with some of Fruit's programming."
    Damaru stared at Zexandra in horror and screamed, sending Seth crashing through the door.
    "What happened!? Are you alright?"
    "I'm fine, Seth." Damaru rolled her eyes. "Why... did you have to give me that programming?"
    "Um, shit! I forgot."
    Seth was pelted by a brick as Zexandra crossed her arms. "You forget too much."
    Zexandra turned around and hit the button on the wall, revealing a screen, featuring Dr. Cain's face.
    "I have a request to ask of you, Ms. Pepper."
    "Go ahead, Cain."
    "Could you send Fruit and Pine over here for a search mission? Apparently, Zero's body has gone missing."
    "Zero..." Damaru mumbled as she rubbed her head again. "Why does that name sound so familiar."
    Dr. Cain blinked once the camera caught Damaru from the back. "She's awake? I thought..."
    "Her memory is erased so it's unlikely the other side will ever wake up. She's coming along too... although, I don't want to send her, but she's close to Zero, so it'll be easy for her to find him."
    "Alright. I suppose they will be coming by plane, then?"
    "As usual. It is necessary for them to blend with civilians."
    The screen faded as Zexandra smiled. "Well! You three have a job to do. Get ready and oh, yes, don't forget to pack your toothbrushes and fresh underwear."
    Damaru, Pine, and Fruit sweatdropped while Seth removed the brick from his face and mumbled something about an evil older sister with a brick fetish which earned him yet another brick to the face.

    Damaru stared out of the window and sighed loudly. "Zero... only if I knew who you were."  She played around with her purple hair which had been let loose as Pine was busy reading a book as Fruit stared at the ceiling, mumbling about how wonderful first class service was.
    Damaru shut off the noise all around and decided to rest a bit because in a way, she felt that she was severely depressed as if something had been stolen from her but she didn't know what it was.

    "Don't kill me... mister... I have so much to live for!"
    "Sorry, kiddo. You're a human. You have to die."
    "No! NO!"

    Damaru flinched slightly in her sleep as Fruit glanced over at her worriedly. "She seems to be having a nightmare..."

    "And ho--MMFPH!?" For some odd reason, Zero planted his lips on Damaru's, muffling her... unfortunately, that wasn't enough to muffle her for the door suddenly opened.  Zero and Damaru stared up in shock to see X, Doctor Cain and Fruit Tree.

    Oddly though, Damaru's face seemed to be smirking slightly. "Then again, I dunno... she's really confusing."

    "I kidnapped him. Tee! You won't believe how easy it was... I'll free him once you agree to give into the Sigma Virus."
    "...Sigma Virus?"
    "Didn't you know? The maverick chip you picked up... once scratched, the reploid is infected... and a perfect host for Sigma."
    Damaru's face turned pale in horror. "Sigma?... no, I'm not infected with the virus... you have to be kidding me."
    "Tell me the times you got really violent, didn't you?"
    "...Only time..."
    "When you were trying to kill Zero? Maverick eyes are everywhere, Damaru." Dark Iris cackled. "You didn't  know? We've had a Maverick along your group for a while. However, I won't reveal his name... but you, are going to be a part of the army! There's no denying your true maverick nature. You always wanted to kill, didn't you?"
    "..." Damaru dropped her head. "Yes."
    "Ah! The Sigma Virus has waken up the fury within you once again. Come with me..."

    "NO! I won't! I won't! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Damaru yelled while sobbing loudly as Fruit leaped up and shook Damaru.
    "Wake up! Wake up!"
    "...Huh... oh... Fruit... I had a scary felt like flashbacks..."
    "Don't worry, it's the result of the deep sleep you were in. It'll pass."
    "Miss, is everything alright?" The flight attendant looked over at them. "Should I get something...?"
    "Oh, it's alright. It was just a bad nightmare, don't worry about it. I have it under control. It's just that she's had a bad experience a long time ago and it's bothering her now."
    "Thanks for the save." Damaru looked down, obviously embarrassed as the attendant left. "I didn't think I would just break down like that... and defy my programming at the same time."
    "You're so close to a human." Fruit giggled. "That's why our programming is different from reploids. Plus, Zex told me the most neatest thing about our bodies!"
    "We can reproduce easily with humans! We're a major step up from common reploids!"
    Damaru stared at Fruit and blinked in shock while the feeling in her gut was twisting up as it would in a normal human's.  Suddenly, she realized that Fruit was right about that... her body seemed to have changed from the previous form.
    "Did I get upgraded when I was in deep sleep?"
    "Yup! We all got upgraded... soon, we'll be totally human. Can't you believe that?"
    "...I know I can't... because I still feel like I'm fighting with something inside."
    Damasu? Fruit thought to herself and sighed sadly, knowing the answer already.  Damasu must be fighting to overcome Damaru's body just to get another taste of freedom and a chance to destroy the world.  Maybe the memory wipe was a good thing because Damaru wasn't aware of the virus but Fruit shuddered with worry about what Damaru had dreamt of.
    "Damaru, tell me... what did you see?"
    "Oh... um... it's sorta hard."
    "But try to tell me anyway, maybe I can explain it?"
    "Um, well... I was this little girl with auburn hair... I was looking up at this reploid in red... he had blonde hair... and he killed me."
    Fruit closed her eyes and sighed.  Zero... it wasn't his fault that he was unstoppable as a maverick. It was a programming error... or a screw up... I don't know.
"Oh, then... it changed... really weird, the same red reploid kissed me... and I remember the door opening. This human doctor, this blue reploid and you... you guys were staring at me and him..."
    "HEH! That did really happen... you were mad at Zero."
    "Oh, so the red reploid's called Zero...?"
    "Yeah. Go on with your dream."
    "Okay... this one freaky looking woman told me that I was infected with the Sigma Virus."
    "Hmm. I don't think that happened." Fruit smiled. "Sometimes dreams are odd... like, they take events from the past and mix it up with some things that just don't make sense."
    "Well, thanks. Now I understand better... in fact, it makes me feel so much better." Damaru sighed happily and curled up in her seat while Fruit grimaced again.
    "Psst, does it hurt having to lie to her?" Pine muttered under his breath, glancing over at Damaru and back at Fruit who was trying to hide her nerve that was popping out of her forehead. "I mean, it's going to be damningly impossible to keep this from her. Sooner or later, Damasu will wake up and chaos will ensue."
    "Yes, you're right, but, at least I'm trying to expand the time limit. I'm sure Damaru didn't know she was infected until someone told her and Damasu just surfaced."
    "Hrmph. But still... I'm just trying to be rational. You have to look at the negative side of things--- wait, no, you never do." He smacked his forehead, still annoyed. "You always have to look at the positive side, even if it almost never happens."
    "Stop that."
    Damaru rolled her eyes and sighed to herself, trying to search the rest of her swiss-cheese memory in hopes of gathering what could possibly contain Zero in it.  Finding only few references, she frowned slightly and exhaled softly while shutting her eyes close and concentrated on reading the data from the memories.

    "X! Zero! Get yer rear ends in this room right now!" Dr. Cain bellowed over the loudspeaker. "Got three new reploids for you to meet!"
    Pine blinked and looked around the room, slightly nervously while Fruit seemed to be slipping into one of her insane modes by commenting on the cute reploids in sight.  Damaru shook her head at her cousins and grumbled at them for not maintaining their emotions and keeping them in check.
    "So what's your name?" Dr. Cain glanced at Damaru, noting the way she behaved.
    "Damaru Yuuwaku."
    "Ah... and the two?"
    "Fruit Tree and Pine Tree. Pine is the one in green."
    Damaru turned slowly over to the sound of metallic steps coming from the doorway.  Her eyes fell upon the reploid in red and the image slowly burned into the data banks.
    "Huh... so that's why you yelled for us?"
    "Where's X?"
    "HERE!" X dashed in the room and rubbed off the sweat drop. "Sorry about being late. A maverick wouldn't really stop talking."
    "EHEHEHE! HEWOO!" Fruit sang in a high-pitched tone that shattered the glass in the room as Dr. Cain picked up a loudspeaker.

    "..." Damaru sweat dropped at the memory and clunked her head against the chair in despair.  She idly cursed mentally as she tried to search through the remains of the data banks, unable to find any trace of any old memories.  Her curiosity rose immediately as she realized that the memories had been purged from her system.  Why had it been purged?  Who had done it?  Too many questions blared at her from all directions until she realized one thing from within... perhaps if she found Zero, her questions would be answered at once.
    "Damaru? You alright?"
    "Yes... Fruit. I'm more determined than ever to find Zero."
    "He has the answers to my questions..."
    "What kind of questions?"
    "Mmmph." Damaru frowned and rubbed her head. "I can't quite remember them all at this moment... maybe I need another nap."

    "Now, we must get the place cleared up for they're returning." Dr. Cain turned off the loudspeaker and frowned to himself as he paced around the office.
    The computer in the office was barely repaired from the misadventures with the Sigma virus.  It still bore the dents in the surface caused by Dr. Cain beating the chip off and attempting to purge the system of the virus.  Only thing on its display was the data running through the system, doing a search of the perimeter of the Maverick Hunters Headquarters.  The screen still seemed to be empty except for the three reploids walking towards the building in their causal outfits.
    "Hmm. They're here. X? X!!!!!!!" Dr. Cain bellowed over the loudspeaker. "X! WHERE ARE YOU!?! GET OVER HERE!"

    X yelped and crashed to the floor as he stood up, rubbing his head. "Man, he's getting louder every day..."
He scampered to the office as Dr. Cain tapped the computer with his cane as he turned around to face X.
    "No Zero so far?"
    "None. Um, I don't want to give up on the search, you know... but it seems that Zero is getting to be impossible to find."
    "He'd have been easier to find if he didn't die in the first place... for now, we have to assume that he's dead."
    "Whoa, wait..."
    "I know this is hard for you to think about it... but..."
    X sighed loudly and sat down on the chair as the door opened and he leaped back to his feet.  He instantly expected to see his old friend Zero walking in and laughing about how he didn't mean to disappear like that.  Simply like he was only on a brief vacation from all the chaos that had occurred lately.
    No, it wasn't Zero who walked in... but... Fruit Tree!  X's mouth hit the ground with a loud clang in shock as he realized that Dr. Cain had called the reploids back for extra assistance.
    "HI! How's everything been lately?" X was almost glad that Fruit sounded so cheery but yet, he could tell that she wasn't exactly in one of her loony moods. "Oh, wait, let me guess... no such luck?"
    "Yeah... you're right. ... Damaru?"
    Damaru walked into the room as Pine followed, carrying the luggage as much as he could... even carrying a sack in his mouth.
    "Huh? Oh, hello."
    X blinked slowly to register the fact that he was actually witnessing Damaru standing right in front of him... with some emotions.  Then realization struck him like lightening echoing through out his data banks as he accessed the memories of incidents with Damaru and Damasu around Zero.  Of course, it was perfect... Damaru could easily find Zero... but... X could tell that there was something very different about Damaru.
    He grabbed Fruit's arm and dragged her out into the hall and whispered to her. "I assume you brought Damaru here to act as diving rod for Zero...?"
    "Basically, yeah."
    "Who decided to wake her up?"
    "No one, she woke up on her own."
    "I don't know..." Fruit peered back in the room to watch Damaru yawn. "Huh, it's odd... she's getting so tired lately... I wonder if it's because of the recent upgrade."
    "What upgrade?"
    "Well, Damaru, Pine, and I have been upgraded to somewhat a level closer to human."
    "Well, yes, that's true..."
    "Huh... odd..." X rubbed his chin. "'sides, I'll just help you guys get settled in your rooms."
    "Thanks." Fruit smiled slightly and walked back, grabbing her bags from Pine's hands. "Dr. Cain, the keys?"
    Dr. Cain shrugged and handed each key to the three as he examined his report while Pine muttered and complained about having to carry Damaru's luggage.
    "Pine, don't worry, I'll just take my things... I'm so sorry to have troubled you."
    "Er, oh, sorry... I didn't mean to complain that much, Damaru."
    "Never mind that, I'll just grab a real quick nap."

    She calmly walked to her room without any emotions as she placed the suitcase on the bed.  She started the orderly process of placing her clothes in the dresser.  Finally, she placed the reploid armor in the closet and shoved the suit cases on the top shelf.  Feeling a bit weak, she changed into her night gown and slid under the blankets to drift off to what she hoped to be a dreamless sleep... but for someone else, it was a perfect chance for control.
Her eyes twitched slightly under the lids as she slowly stirred, curling up into a tight ball.
    A hand slowly crept under the thin blanket, over her chest, pulling her body close to his.
"Zero...?" She whispered softly under her breath, totally unaware that she was talking in her sleep. "Is that you?"
    "Yes...I've missed you so much. I know it's been a while since we've been in this kind of position."
"What position...?"
    "You know what I mean." He slowly placed himself on top of Damaru, kissing her on the lips. "I love you and it nearly broke my heart when you were put into deep sleep. The pain almost killed me instantly and it was so hard to fight, but I tried my best."
"Oh..." Damaru's eyes were still closed, but in a way, she could see Zero's blue eyes, staring at her, sadly.  She moved her hand to his head and ran it through his silky blonde hair. "I'm so sorry... I didn't mean to leave you like that. Whatever happened... I can't remember..."
    "It's alright. It was only because of that final battle against Sigma." He started to kiss her again, but with more passion this time. "Mmm... I'm surprised you were able to gather your wits and control that Damasu persona before she took over."
"Damasu? Oh..." Damaru sighed while running her hands down his back, feeling every trace of muscles. "I'm just so glad to be with you again."
    "I feel the same way too." Once again, he took her into his embrace, kissing her deeply.
Her body responded back, seemingly like she was hugging the thin kissing... with her lips puckered, making it seem such an awkward and a ridiculous sight.  Her eyes shot wide open once she realized that the kiss didn't connect as she fell out of the bed, letting loose a loud yelp.
    "The hell!?" She stood up angrily while having difficult adjusting her breathing pattern. "What was that...?"
    "Damaru, tch. You're strong, but yet, you're completely lost." Damasu sneered angrily. "You can't be this way! Zero depends on your ability to function as a reploid!"
"Who are you...?"
    "My god, your memories were sealed... sheesh, I'll make it easy on you. I'm your evil side, the maverick persona Damasu."
"That's not right." She shook her head as purple locks went flying everywhere. "You don't exist, you're only a figment of my imagination!"
    "A reploid doesn't imagine. You are getting closer to becoming human. This is going to make it incredibly difficult for me to even take over. Yes, I am nothing more... than a voice in your head. But, I have different agendas."
"Which are?"
    "Zero. I desire to see him again."
"I'm not surprised. You did lust after him, didn't you?"
    "You too. You can't deny the fact that you tried to kiss him in the illusion I created. Damaru, you have no choice but to seek him out! You can't just let his parts be used for evil! You must stop the traitor! He is still here!"
"Traitor... oh, that's right... we never found out who he was..."
    "For now, I leave you with silence. I broke down the seal on your memories so you should have fun remembering. It's so nice that Fruit Tree had to lie to you."
"..." Damaru bit her lips trying to keep herself from crying. "She was trying to protect me from you..."
    Silence.  Damaru sighed and looked at the bed, wondering about the illusion earlier as her simulated heart started to race suddenly at the thought.  She realized that she could never bottle up her emotions for they were the only thing bringing her from machine to human.

    "Coffee, please." Pine Tree sighed as the reploid female nodded and went off to fetch the coffee.  He glanced at the paper that was taped to the wall, declaring a week of sanity. "Sanity, shmanity! It's not going to take long for the sanity to be broken."
    He looked down the hall, expecting Fruit Tree to be riding on her little cherry-red cart.  Nothing appeared as he blinked in total shock and glanced at the steaming cup of coffee in front of him.
    "Pine, dear, I don't know why you're drinking coffee when you could have a lovely sip of oil."
    "I guess it's just because I'm getting so used to mingling with humans... it's worn off on me."
    "I think it's cute." The female batted her eyelashes at him, causing Pine's face to turn bright red. "You're so cute when you blush."
    "Thanks..." He barely choked out the word. "Minerva, can I ask you a favor?"
    "Why is it Sanity Week?"
    "Oh, your sister taped the paper to the wall."
    "I've heard interesting stories about her when you guys were here the last time. How she managed to get every male reploids except for you to nosebleed. I bet that had to be a messy clean-up job."
    "Not really, I have robots working for me, actually. I pay them nicely for the job though."
    "I see. By the way, I'd like to meet you sometime when my shift ends."
    "Sure, where would you like to go?"
    "Mmm... maybe the movies. I heard they had a great movie out and it's praised so well."
    "Alright, we'll go then." Pine Tree barely registered it in his mind as a date. "Well, I must be going, see you later... same place, hmm..."
    "About seven o'clock at night."
    Pine Tree thanked Minerva for the coffee and walked over to the strategy room, sipping the coffee.  He still hadn't registered it in his  mind yet that he had done an action akin to a human male asking a female out on a date.  He sat at the desk, still sipping the mug as Fruit Tree walked besides Pine and exhaled.
    "So I see... Pine fluff Minerva?"
    SPOOOOOOOOOOO! Pine spat out the coffee and started to choke and gasp for air as he fell out of his chair while Fruit giggled weakly.
    "Sorry, Pine."
    "There is no sanity week, is there?"
    "Well, there is a sanity week, but it's next week."
    "What is it now?" Dr. Cain walked in the room. "...what's this brown puddle? Coffee?"
    "Uhm, yeah, I was drinking it UNTIL Fruit scared me."
    "Where's the clean up crew?"
    "Er... right... CLEAN UP CREW!"

    Damaru was wearing her clothes instead of her reploid armor, still disturbed from the dream last night.  She looked up and saw the blonde ponytail and ran after it, alas, it was only one of the female reploids that was helping out.  Damaru closed her eyes, leaned against the wall, sliding down.  Her emotions were scarring her heart and the memories made it all the worse.  Her tears flowed before she could stop them as she slammed her hands over her eyes.  In a way, she made a sound like someone who had been in love but... lost the person who she loved.
    "Zero... why... why did you have to go and get yourself killed!? WHY? I know your duty was to fight... but why did you allow death to take you away? WHY?"
    Damasu looked down at Damaru and sighing, feeling sorry for her. "The emotions are painful, aren't they? Isn't that why you want to be rid of them in the first place?"
    "Yes... yes... but I can't... close them up... I'll always remember the emotions..."
    "Well, didn't you remember anything from last night?! I told you that Zero's still out there! Maybe not dead, but have you noticed how many times Sigma returns from the dead! If Sigma can do that, why not Zero!? Death is NOT eternal, but we can decide when and what time we want to die!"
    "..." Damasu exhaled as Damaru's anger came loose. "Yes, he killed you, Kristis Collins... but... he also created Damaru Yuuwaku in that process... then Damasu Yuuwaku. Damaru, even though, he caused your death, he caused your second life... and in that way, you grew faster than you did as a child. You are a young woman, capable of anything now! You're very close to being a human, so why are you trying to call it quits?"
    "What do you know about being a human?"
    "I may be the only maverick to admit it, but... humans have hope. They're different... and they don't need to be destroyed or enslaved."
    "That sounds just out of character, coming from you. You're the maverick side."
    "Yes, I am, but... I don't have to be evil all the time! I'm just the side who's trying to get you to wake up and fight. Come on, Damaru. Let's go."
    "Okay, Damasu." Damaru stood up, staring at Damasu. "What do I do now?"
    "Wipe the tears off your face and put on your reploid armor and blend in, girl."

    "You know, where is Damaru?" Fruit glanced around the room then back at Pine and Doctor Cain. "I hope she didn't go--"
    "Damnit!" Doctor Cain yelled. "Everyone, out and get ready!"  He scurried over to the main computer showing several red blips of Mavericks. However, the blips seemed to be numerous as he sweatdropped.
    "That can't be right! Thirty mavericks?! That's more than what we have in this unit..." Pine muttered. "I'll find X!" He dashed out of the room with Fruit close behind.
    "I would like to know why the reploids keep turning maverick... and why Sigma keeps returning. I have a really bad feeling about this. I'm more than certain that there's someone behind this whole thing."
    "Don't you think it's the time to let everyone know now?"
"Hm? I'd advise against it... but the situation is getting worse. It was bad enough that almost everyone turned maverick..."
    "Yes, I understand. My rival is at it again. He never seems to stop."

    "FRUIT BOMB!" Fruit pulled out a rather large pineapple bomb and hurled it at a maverick.
    It crashed into his head, knocking him over as a small explosion appeared.  However, the maverick got back up and looked insanely furious.  She sweatdropped and threw another bomb... and another... just until she was down to her last bomb.  Nothing was stopping THESE mavericks!  Their weapons were totally useless and everything was starting to look rather grim.
    "Shit!" Pine cursed boldly as he realized that unless a miracle of some sort happened, they would be all in deep trouble.
    X screamed out the orders to retreat back in the building.  That order couldn't be obeyed because they were trapped!  The reploids started to panic.  Being scared is not a very pleasant emotion, after all, it tends to render the person immobile and somehow, gives off the sense of helplessness.
    "Your weapons are useless against us! We are not like you." The leader mocked. "We are 100% mavericks. We've always been this way. Never been good at all! Now, let's see if you can try to get rid us. We will crush humanity and the reploids unless they pledge to me, Whirlwind Eagle."
    That word shot out of nowhere as Whirlwind Eagle swirled around, furious at the negative response.  His eyes widened in shock as lighting shot through the sky, casting light on the familiar reploid.  The black hair twirled in the breeze along with the dark blue ribbon as the purple sabre lighted up her face.  Her dark purple eyes narrowed and she leapt down while raising the sabre above her head for a strike.
    The ground charred once Whirlwind Eagle dodged at the sudden attack, although, he had barely the time.  He started to sweat again, knowing this reploid in front of him was Damasu Yuuwaku.  But HOW?  He was told that she was sealed away along with the reploid named Damaru.
    "Damasu...?" He croaked. "You can't be alive!"
    His shock was akin to everyone's shock... really, none of them expected Damasu to return... so suddenly.  Had the safeguards failed? Wait a minute... what's this...?  She threw back her head, laughing as she slowly reverted to Damaru.
    The mavericks were too spooked by the sudden change as they started to step back but Whirlwind Eagle was very furious.  He did not like being tricked by mere illusions and thusly, charged at Damaru with all his might.
    The weapons clashed against each other as Fruit stood up, blinking slowly.  She exhaled and pulled out a fruit bomb... a rather large pineapple shaped one.
    "Huh?" She turned around at X. "Why?"
    "Let them fight this out. I want to see if Damaru can really beat him. I'm really curious to as the illusion."
    "I don't think it was..." Pine shook his head. "It was definitely Damasu. If I'm right, the two persona have joined forces... but this is not normal. I'll have to talk to her later..."
    Whirlwind Eagle flew over their heads and crumbled into a brick wall. He scowled and flapped his wings, glaring down at Damaru. "You failed to inflict damage on me, but you are a worthy opponent. I'll be back later... if you ever decide to upgrade and take care of those nasty wounds." He laughed out loud as Damaru groaned from the bleeding wound on her left shoulder.
    The reploids rushed to her, concerned for her health... although, X was very shocked at the wound.  The blood wasn't even oil... it was human blood. Pieces of living tissues could be seen moving around on the metal bones.  One of the reploids gagged and fell over to... ahem... expel some excessive oil from his system, known to us as humans as to... throwing up.

    "What the hell is this!?" X glared at both Fruit and Pine. "How...? I don't understand it!"
    "You know with the discovery of the reploid DNA..." Fruit stared at the ceiling, trying to avoid the eye contact. "Zexandra was experimenting with our DNA from our corpses. So, our old DNA is merging with the reploid DNA and growing over everything."
    "And it's not done yet." Pine sighed. "We're still in the process of growing tissues at the spine. Apparently, Damaru has progressed faster than we have."
    X exhaled loudly. "This process is making you three... human? Still, that is a concern because... ... ..." he was at a loss for words and blinked.
    "You're just worried that if we became fully human again that we would die fighting the mavericks and that'd cause the reploids some grief?"
    "That too... and... um... the fact that you three will be a much easier target for the mavericks."
    "Mavericks, my butt. They're cowards." Fruit spat and flailed her arms. "They didn't even stay when Damasu showed up!"
    "But still... we couldn't harm them at all... that means we need to get our upgrades. Soon."
    The door opened as the girl who had a heavy bandage on her left shoulder stumbled in. "I'm not going to give up on this."
    "It's too dangerous!"
    "No, it's not, X. Nothing is too dangerous for me. I'm only half-way there." She narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms. "I'm not going to give up until I find Zero. I refuse to let myself be placed on the sidelines. After all, we're here because of me. I'm the only hope of ever finding Zero. Right? RIGHT?"
    They all looked at the ground, unsure of how to answer Damaru.  It's true that she's right because of that... but they were quiet because they had not told her about the lack of her memory.  Now that she knew all about her memories, it was getting difficult to be sure if she was going to flip out and enter maverick mode.
    "You see." Fruit sweatdropped. "I'm sorry about not telling you... I should've know better... when I saw Damasu there. I was really scared because I thought for sure that we were all going to die."
    "Oh. Please. Like I would do that." Damasu scoffed as everyone were taken aback at the sudden change. "I don't care for more deaths. I... I understand now. I've taken my freedom for granted... and I have formed an alliance with Damaru. We'll deal with the nasty battles and um, I knew all about the new mavericks."
    "Yes, I knew about the plans... I saw this old man with scruffy hair, bending over the plans.  I saw... the blue prints for Zero tacked to the walls." She looked very distant as her form reverted to that of a lighter shade as tears began flowing down her cheek.  She dropped to her knees as her hands shot up to her face to prevent the oncoming tsunami of sorrow.
    "Wait a minute..." X went to Damaru's side. "Are you alright?" Damasu knows more than she's telling us... that man... her description of him... sounds really vague, but yet... sounds familiar. Damnit...!  I should've seen this coming... Sigma must've had dispatched his maverick cronies to get Zero's parts. That means Zero must be in the process of being rebuilt... only if we knew where to start!  He sighed and helped her back to her feet. "You should get some rest... your body must be wearing out."
    "Yeah... thank you." With that, the door slammed shut as Fruit looked positively spooked at that.
    She tilted her head as Pine blurted out. "WHAT THE HELL. We didn't see that coming!"
    "Obviously, we never thought to wake up Damasu and ask her. Even if we did, would we have gotten the results?" She remarked while Pine fumed over the fact that he was oblivious to the solution that she stated earlier. "If we're lucky, we can stop the new mavericks... only if we had the resources to stop Sigma for once and all. He keeps coming back... as if someone's rebuilding him over and over. Who could do this kind of thing?"

    In an empty, dark hall, a person was journeying to the room at the very end.  What was there, the person didn't  know... but it leaded to a room... a big room.  The hand reached the console besides the door on the wall.  It required either a keycard or a series of numbers.  Quickly, the person tapped the numbers as the console itself hummed after the numbers were entered.  The doors slowly opened to reveal a room full of empty tubes and parts of unknown origin were scattered all over the room.  In the very center, there was a large table with pieces and such of a human-like creature, but yet, made out of machine.
    "I never thought I'd live to see the day that I had to rebuild my own creation... how is it that he suddenly changed...?"
    The hands reached out to the remains and started re-attaching some parts while adding new ones at the same time.  The computer behind him started beeping with lines of programming flashing across the screen as he moved the wire into place to attach to the brain of the humanoid.  Soon after, everything appeared on the screen as the hands tapped on the keyboard.
    The memories were accessed by someone else for the first time.
    "Hmm... so...! That blue robot is Light's creation, alright... but it's not the same one as before. I should've known that he was working on it at the same time. Oh yes... I remember those three children... obviously, some super-scientist had converted them to reploids. Quite interesting. I never thought a human child could go from a reploid to being infected with the Sigma virus and turning into a maverick. What delightful irony! Perhaps, I should meet those scientists one day... but I shall not appear. Just yet. It's not the time."
    The being smiled slowly and turned to the reploid on the table as a voice echoed through the room.
    "Is he ready for stage two?"
    "Yes, he is. Soon, we will have humanity under our control."
    "I must thank you for the countless times you have built me a body to endure in. Your help has been more than enough for me to get stronger with every fight."

    "What?" Fruit blinked as she stared at the monitor. "Are you serious about that, Kassi...?"
    The lesser known third one of the Pepper Triplets sighed and ran her hand through her short-cut red hair. "Yeah, Zex and Seth have been bickering over armor upgrades. Once they finally stop, we'll be on our way. I'm just coming along to keep the two from bricking each other."
    "Anyway, we'll be ready... Damaru's still injured from the hit she took."
    Seth shoved Kassi aside and glared at the monitor. "IS SHE ALRIGHT?!"
    That resulted in an immediate facefault from Fruit, Dr. Cain, and X in the background. "Uh, yeah, she's ok..."
    "Hrm! Well, how far is she in being converted back to a human?"
    "Fifty-five point five percent."
    "That's very accurate of you, Fruit. Never knew you had a thing for numbers."
    "I'm useful when I want to be."
    "...Zex shouldn't have programmed you."
    That resulted in Zexandra smashing Seth's face against the monitor. "AHEM! Fruit, how far are you and Pine along in the conversion?"
    "I'm in the range of twenty-two percent... Pine's a bit farther than I am... somewhere in the thirty percent area."
    "That's pretty slow compared to Damaru. I wonder why she's going so fast..." Seth remarked. "It does seem weird... after all, there's Damasu to consider."
    "Maybe that's why she's very fast in that. Damasu has allied with Damaru."
    "What!?" The triplets yelped at the same time.
    "Yeah, I'm surprised... myself. I hope Damasu... doesn't try to attempt to betray us. Somehow, I have a feeling that she won't... that she's very sincere... but I have doubts. Is that normal for me...?" Fruit stared at her creator's face, searching for answers.
    "I suppose so." Zexandra sighed in defeat. "We'll be there in a bit with the supplies for the upgrades... make sure no one gets in trouble, alright?"
    The monitor faded to black as Fruit turned around and looked at Dr. Cain who was busy working on figuring out what to do with the current situation.  He seemed to be very deep into examining every pieces and bits of data until he could find out what it was that he was missing.
    "Dr. Caiiiiiiiin?"
    "What is it, Fruit?" He said, not looking up from the pile. "If it's important, just tell me."
    "Zex-sama's gonna come here an' help everyone with the upgrades!"
    "That's good. She's intelligent."
    "Along with Seth."
    "...That's bad. He's dumb."
    "Along with Kassi too."
    "...not sure who she is, but let's hope she's alright."
    "Of course she is! She's the mediator whenever Zex an' Seth get into one of their brick-fights!"
    "...I hope they don't start a brick fight here... otherwise, the building wouldn't be able to survive much longer with them around."
    "I'm sure they wouldn't 'cause Kassi took away their bricks."
    "Good. Have you checked up on Damaru yet...?"
    "Not really, but thanks for reminding me!" Fruit hopped out of the war room, heading into the direction of the med room where Damaru was still asleep.

    Lifesaver looked up from the chart. "Oh, hello, Fruit. I thought you weren't working today...?"
    "I'm just checking up on my cousin. How is she?"
    "She's resting well... nothing seems to be wrong with her. Although, I must admit it's odd to see such a change in a reploid."
    Fruit giggled softly and sighed. "I agree. Talk to you later." She waved as she opened the door to the room as there was a slight shadow shifting back and forth.
    She blinked. The shadow didn't move. Odd. Fruit walked over to the chair and sat in it.  She looked at Damaru's face and exhaled.
    "I just don't know how you can pull it off. You're so serious... yet, you're aching inside. I've noticed it. You have so much conflict within you... yet, you and Damasu unite. How? What keeps you going...? Even though you know Zero's simply gone...? How can you just stand the pain? You're stronger than I thought. That's right... 'cause you're the oldest one... you have to set an example for us... especially since we were kids too."
    "Oh! I'm sorry... I didn't mean to wake you up."
    "It's alright... what you said... was the truth."
    "I see..."
    "But I'm not sure myself... either. Inside, it feels like I know Zero will return, no matter what..."
    "Hey, you know what?" Fruit tried to smile but it came out as slightly instead of her usual grin. "Our creators are coming here... to upgrade our armors!"
    "...? So we'll be able to finally deal with the mavericks then...?"
    "Hmm. Count me in."
    "Woah! What about your shoulder...?"
    "I'll live. Nothing has stopped me before. Nothing." Damaru whispered. "Not even my death as a child."
    Fruit somehow couldn't shake the queasy feeling that curled up in her stomach after she left the room.  She sighed and thought about Damaru's whisperings again.  Still, she was right... all of their deaths hadn't stopped them from being able to live again.  Had they ever been really to heaven?
    "Heaven..." Fruit whispered, slowly realizing that she never really experienced heaven... just a state of limbo.  Like, there wasn't anything there... just so empty and dark... their souls simply had re-attached to the new reploid bodies... as if nothing had happened.  Silently, she wondered if Zexandra had a hand in this... after all, she had contacts with several gods.  Perhaps.

    "..." Kristis looked up in the sky... seemingly waiting for something... or someone.  She was sitting in the flower field just few miles from her cabin.  Her parents had moved to the cabin from the city in fear... of the robots taking over.  It was rumored that Mega Man was killed... but yet, no one could confirm it because the body was never found.  However, the stories of robots conquering everything was far from Kristis' mind for she was too busy being a young child... trying to live a happy childhood.
    Somehow, she knew her parents were afraid, but she didn't dare to question as to why they were afraid.  How odd... adults being scared... wasn't it supposed to be the child who had fears? Hmm, emotions could never come easily to Kristis, no matter what.  She could only put on the illusion of being happy, but yet, she wanted to be happy so badly, she would even cry.
    Her hand brushed by a purple flower as she  gasped at its beauty.  She longed to pluck it out of the ground, but wouldn't that be... destroying its beauty? She sighed as she sat down on a small patch of grass as not to ruin the other flowers.  She wished to be tall and beautiful like the purple flower... to be strong, yet, to show gentleness.  A noise rumbled across the stream as she turned her head and stood up.
    A reploid had stumbled into the forest and fell down against the tree.  Her first instinct was to run, but she was intensely drawn to the reploid and she didn't even know why.
    She walked out of the field then stopped.  She turned around and knelt down to pluck one of the pink flowers.  That purple flower should be left intact.  Kristis made her journey across the small rocks in the stream.  The blonde reploid looked up and didn't even register her.  He realized it was a human girl... but yet, she seemed to be very innocent.  A part of him didn't want to harm her... even if she was a human.
    "Hello... I'm Kristis. What's your name...?"
    "It's nice to meet you. Oh, here's a present for you."
    Zero blinked and accepted the flower without a word.  He stared at it for a long time and back at Kristis, realizing that the child had no idea of who he was.  It was odd... he was feeling pangs of warnings to tell him not to rip her into pieces.
    "...thank you."
    "You're welcome... I'd like to sit and talk with you some more, but I must be going. My parents are expecting me back at any minute. I have chores to do... it's just so weird living out in the middle of nowhere. Bye Zero!"

    The purple eyes glared at the ceiling as Damaru hopped out of her bed, panting and gasping.  That memory had suddenly surfaced.  She knew his name... just why couldn't she really register it when she saw him again as a reploid?
    The shadow whirled underneath her and slid up against the wall, crossing her arms. "That memory was hidden so deep... I could barely manage to loosen it.  I guess... it's because of how you died that it forced the memory to plunge within your soul... almost like you wanted to forget him."
The bitter feeling rose in the back of Damaru's throat, making her wince.  It was hard getting used to the fluids that were starting to develop from the conversion progress.  However, she knew Damasu's logic was true... that her soul had endured too much pain and shoved the memory away.
    "I need... some time to myself..."
    "You have so many more memories. Isn't it ironic... even as a child, you had a crush on Zero... and that hasn't changed... even after he killed you... your feelings have remained the same. Well. You asked for some emotions and you got it."
Damaru scowled at the shadow as she slinked out of the med bay and walked down the dark hallway.  She didn't care to want to hear anymore of what Damasu was saying.  She glanced around herself and resumed walking in despite of the fact that she was starting to hear noises all around herself.
    Damaru whirled around very fast as she saw a person dart by. "...! Is it the traitor... of course... we never found the traitor..." She broke into a run towards the person who was trying to hide frantically without success.  Her speed picked up as she plunged into the air and crashed into the person.
    "...why are you attacking me...?"
    "Yeah, I got back late from my date."
    "Oh... I'm sorry about that."
    "It's alright. You've been jumpy lately, Damaru."
    "Just some memories. That's all. Nothing more. You better get your butt in bed before Fruit scolds you for sleep deprivation."
    "You should do the same... after all, you're more human than I am."
    "Whatever." Damaru exhaled as Pine shrugged.

    "Are you ready...?"
    "Yes." Damaru stared at her creator in the eyes, emotionlessly. "I'm ready for the upgrade."
    "Despite the fact you have injuries...?"
    "I'm alright. They've healed."
    Seth didn't look exactly comfortable with wanting to set the process for the upgrade but he opened the door as Damaru stepped.
    Once the door closed, the liquid flooded in the tank as she automatically trigged the mechanism to allow her to detect oxygen in the liquid and breathe more easily.  Her eyes stared at Seth and closed as he tapped in several commands in the computer to begin the upgrade.  Her armor was set up in the tank next to hers... but yet, it was flooded in a much different liquid.

    Kristis blinked and looked up with alarm.  The cabin was on fire! Her parents! She screamed and started to run while her cousins could barely catch up with her.  She screeched to a stop at the front door as she started to cry.  A figure walked out of the fire.
    "Zero! What happened...?"
    Something was wrong.  Zero's eyes were much different from the time she had seen him... his eyes were so gentle.  This time, his eyes reflected some kind of insanity that terrified her to the point of wanting to run for once... and never look back.
    "Kristis! He's a maverick!"
    Kristis whirled around to see what Perry had said.  Maverick... that word.  She turned around and stared up as tears exploded, flowing down her cheeks.
    "No... please...don't! You're my friend!"
    "You're a human. You have to die. Sorry." The tone was very creepy, yet, the word of sorry seemed to be what he could say.
    "Why? Why, Zero? I'm your friend... I'm your friend... don't you know me, Kris?"
    His eyes only reflected madness as Kristis screamed out in pain.  She looked down at the gaping hole in her chest and she stared up.
    "Zero... why do you hate me so much...?"
    She started to fell to the ground but he grabbed her.  In a very uncanny gesture, he hugged her lifeless body and a hint of a tear could be seen on the edge of his eye.  He didn't even seem to do anything but placed her body on the ground and dropped the purple flower on her.  That purple flower she had sworn to leave alone.

    Seth fell out of his chair, staring at Damaru who had started to glow with an insane amount of light.  Her eyes turned white as she screamed again while the bubbles flew out of her mouth as the liquid turned red.
    "Damaru...?" Seth started to panic and shut down the computer.  "Damaru!"
    The tank drained as the door opened, revealing the said reploid.  Her eyes were still white as she started to break out in cold sweat.
    "Shit! She's in shock!" He ran forward to try to check her pulse.

    "Hmmm... he doesn't seem to be responding lately." The scruffy-haired man muttered as he moved around the reploid. "His eyes have suddenly turned white... I wonder if I need to jump-start him again... or if he'll eventually snap out of it."
    "He's no use if he's going to be dead like that."
    "He's not dead... he's just not doing anything."
    "Huh?" The man looked back at the reploid.  "Flower...? What the heck?"
    "Purple flower... girl in blue... dark blue... same person... purple hair. Like purple flower."
    "So, now he's broken."
    "Quiet. There IS some meaning to this... but what?"

    "Damaru! Wake up!" Fruit applied the paddles again as Lifesaver shouted the exact charges. "Come on..."
    Her body thudded from the charges as Seth started to bawl in the background while X, Pine, Dr. Cain, and Kassi were very shocked.
    However, Zexandra was working on the machine to see what had gone wrong in the process.
    "KRIS!" She tried again. "Please... you're the strong one... don't give up!"
    "This is odd, her body registers the loss of blood and a stab wound in the chest."
    "WHAT?!" Seth stood up really fast and got dizzy.  He crashed to the floor soon afterwards and instantly recovered. "That's impossible... she can't just simply imitate the wounds!"
    Damaru's eyes turned purple as she sat up really fast, gasping for air.
    "EEEEEE!" Fruit shrieked and hugged Damaru. "Kris! You scared me! Kris...?"
    She was still coughing and she put a hand on her mouth to stop the coughs.  When she removed the hand, there was blood on it.  "I... I.... I'm alive?"
    "Yeah... you worried us so much."
    "That's a relief." Lifesaver smiled as he scanned Damaru. "Wow. This is amazing, you're just at 80 percent."
    Everyone stared. A major jump in the conversion?!
    "80 percent...? What happened to the other parts...?"
    "They simply merged with the human DNA and formed new parts. Basically, there's other things still to be converted."
    "Oh." She looked down on the floor. "My heart... is it human?"
    "Partially. It could be because it didn't finish forming that you went into shock."
    "I see."
    Pine sighed and sat next to Damaru. "You had Seth bawling."
    "I did?" She looked at Seth who was very much red-eyed from bawling.  He sniffed loudly. "Oh, sorry, Seth-sama."
    "It's ok... you're alive... that's important." He blew his nose into the handkerchief while Kassi patted him.
    "Sake?" Dr. Cain handed Seth a small glass of sake. "It'll help."
    "Thank you!" He chugged sake and instantly went down.
    "And chugging it doesn't help."
    Zexandra walked into the room and scoffed at Seth's passed out form on the floor. "Anyway, the machine's working just fine. Damaru, your armor is fully upgraded and ready for you to wear. Also, Fruit, you're next in the upgrading process once I clean the tank of blood."
    Fruit sweatdropped immediately at the mention of blood. She had seen too much of it in the past and didn't want to see it again. "Um, just let Pine go. I have other things to do!"  
    "Pine. You."
    Pine shot a dirty look at Fruit before having his butt dragged by Zexandra to the tank.  He simply sighed and resigned to the fact that he was going to have interesting flashbacks.

    It seemed so windy to the young boy who was sitting underneath his favorite tree.  He let out a little huff of sigh as he dropped his book and stared up at the sky through the pine needles.  Each needles seemed to be intersecting with each other, creating a pattern which the sky could peek back through at the boy.
    He blinked and got to his feet, whirling around as the wind blew the book open.  The pages raced to one end to the other as it stopped in very middle of the book.
    The picture that was on the page facing the young boy showed someone slightly older than him... in a blue armor.
    "Hmm? What's this? Oh, this is a robot... I wonder why his feet are so big. What kind of a name is Mega Man...?"
    "Hello, Perry."
    "AAAH!" The book flew out of his hands and landed on the girl's head.  "Jeez... who is it..."
    "Erk. Why'd it get all dark so fast? I can't see... AH! HELP ME!"
    Perry narrowed his eyes and snatched the book off his older sister's head. "Stop playing around."
    "Hehehe. Seriously. You act too mature for your age." Berry wrinkled her nose and shook her jaw-length blonde hair loose from a ponytail.  She pointed her index finger out and pressed it to Perry's forehead, "You shouldn't try to grow up too fast. Just like, take your time."
    "..." He brushed away the finger. "You're always so childish for an older sister!"
    "Okay, that's the pot calling the kettle black."
    "What?! That made no sense..."
    "We're children, of course. So, what did you expect?"
    Berry only stared and flailed her arms. "You gotta stop reading the books! You know that our parents forbid the books. They don't want us to think all about the bad stuff in the city. That's one of the reasons why we moved!"
    "... it is...?"
    "Yeah. The robot wars have gotten so bad to the point where we just can't really stay in the city any longer. I heard my father complaining about a new robot... apparently, it's a red one."
    "Protoman's not new."
    "...not him! Someone else!"
    "Only newest one I remember is... Bass."
    "I dunno..."
    "Berry! Perry! COME HERE!"  Kristis yelled out as she waved her arms. "Come and look at this pond! It's so cool!"

    "... he fell asleep." Zexandra sweatdropped as she checked back on Pine.  She walked up to the tank and tapped on the glass. "Hello?"
    The way Pine was sleeping, anyone would have felt guilty for trying to wake him up, but Zexandra had to control her emotions.  After all, they were running out of time.  Upgrading was very essential to the ability to defeat the new wave of mavericks.
    Bubbles floated up as Pine opened his eyes. "Huh? What? Where...?"
    "Hello, Pine. Sorry to wake you up, but, it looks like your armor isn't completed with the upgrades. Your body is just a bit done..."
    "Oh. Thanks."
    "No need to."
    He sighed and closed his eyes as his neon green hair floated around his face.  Mysteriously, though, the hair had grown a bit more since the last time he was in his old armor.

    "Kristis...! How could you do this? Why'd you have to just go ahead and kill her?"  Perry could feel nothing but anger and fear.  The emotions were so conflicting for a young child who was just starting to realize the details of death... and how cold and ugly it was.
    Berry only had a blank look on her face, still not understanding the death of her cousin.  It was as if she had shut down from the sight.  Her lips formed the words to a song, but no sounds came out.
    He grabbed a stick and started to edge towards Zero. "I'm gonna fight you! I bet you're the new robot... you have to be created by Dr. Wily! I know it!"
    That name snapped Berry back to reality.  Of course... that man who was famous for starting the robot wars.  This maverick in front of them... the newest creation!
    "..." Zero glared at Perry. "Are you that ready for your death?"
    "No! I'll avenge my cousin!"
    "So strong..." He screamed as the blood spattered all over Zero's body. "...yet... so weak. That is your fate."  He withdrew his Z-Sabre as the lifeless body fell down to the ground.

    "Yes, Zexandra?"
    "You're crying...? What's wrong?"
    Wiping his eyes, sighed and stared into the distance. "Just that I was reliving my death. I was so naive back then... to think I could take on Zero and save myself and my sister."
    "I see." The machine beeped as the water drained out of the tube. "Don't catch a cold."  She promptly threw a towel at Pine as the door opened with a hum.
    "Thanks."  He wrapped the towel around himself, not noticing that his hair was all the way to the floor.  However, he did notice Zexandra's funny look. "What?"
    "Your hair grew."
    "About seven feet."
    "...THE HELL!?" He grabbed his hair and stared at the flowing beauty of neon green color.  "This isn't normal!"
    "The upgrade sure did mess with your body... just a bit. I wouldn't worry about. Just keep it pulled back. You'll be a good Zero decoy."
    "I feel so ... appreciated."
    "Just letting ya know!"

    However, the reactions that Pine got were very interesting:
    Fruit could only giggle and eventually, she wound up on the floor, clutching her stomach.
    Damaru could only be able to stare and stare until there was a hole in the wall.  
    Dr. Cain simply said nothing.
    Seth and Kassi weren't even paying attention.
    X was more than little disturbed by the resemblance... well, slightly.
    "You people." Pine muttered. "I'm going to find a pair of scissors and cut my hair! This is DRIVING me insane... I don't need this bulk!"
    "Wait! We might need that hair." Dr. Cain finally spoke up. "You would make a great Zero Decoy."
    Pine looked very dejected with a blue spot on his forehead. "Somehow, I feel like I'm going to be abused more than usual."
    "I don't think I'm comfortable with this idea, sir." X exhaled. "What if Pine gets shot because of this?"
    "He won't... we'll be fast enough."
    "Like hell, Cain."
    "I'm serious! Zexandra and Seth were kind enough to help me get everyone upgraded."
    "...I suppose I have to run around like a chicken with the head cut off, looking for Light's capsules? Come on. You can't just expect me to find my upgrades on my own."
    "Hrm, I have a surprise for you. You'll get it later."
    "WHAT?" X flailed his arms. "YOU WHAT?!"
    Zexandra sighed as she grabbed Fruit by her shoulder. "You. Upgrade now."
    "Pine didn't freak out like Damaru. So there's no need to worry."

    The door closed as Fruit sighed and shrieked from the cold liquid rushing in. "This is kind of chilly..."
    "You'll live. It's just going to upgrade your body while I work on your armor."
    "Whee! Time for the fun flashbacks!"
    "Fruit, sometimes you frighten me."

    "Hmmm! So, what's this pond all about? Does it have beautiful princes on white horses?" Berry sighed and twirled around.
    Kristis and Perry looked slightly frightened as the three walked over to the pond.
    "Oh, pond, please tell me what you see...!"  She picked up a rock and dropped it in the rippling water.
    It churned slightly as the reflections of the children were instantly aged along with several changes in appearance.
    "Oh wow! You're right, it IS cool!"
    "Yeah, Berry. It seems to show the future or something. How did my hair get to be purple...? It's so pretty."
    "I grew really fast... hey, Kristis, can you show us more?" Perry looked at her as she muttered.
    "Uh, yeah, lemme try... oh, pond, please tell me your destiny!"
    The water rippled again and everything returned normal... only the water was slightly darker.
    "That's weird..."
    "Maybe we shouldn't ask it too many questions."
    "Perry! We only asked two..."
    "What if there's a limit of questions per day...?"
    "So many conclusions." Perry muttered as he stretched. "Hey, we should just get back... after all, they're probably worried about us."
    Smoke twirled up into the sky... just above the trees that were surrounding them.  The three gasped as Berry declared, "Something must be burning."
    "No... it can't be... the cabin's on fire! MOMMY! DADDY!"  Kristis' scream wailed through the forest as the three children ran towards the smoke, uncertain of their destiny about to unfold.

    "Hey, Zex?"
    "Hm? What is it?"
    "Oh, nothing, just letting you know that I'm alive!"
    "That's good... still not done yet."
    Zexandra sighed and went back to working on the armor, adding new parts and removing the old ones that were starting to rust.

    After watching her brother fall down in front of her, Berry stared up at Zero.  "Why are you doing this?"  She couldn't stop but smile weakly. "Was it because you were programmed to?"
    "No, I have a free will... humanity shouldn't be allowed to exist... but... what are these emotions? They're ripping me... apart..."
    "Don't worry. Everything will be fine. I won't fight you. I know I can't because I don't have the ability to."
    Berry dropped to her knees and closed her eyes and took a deep breath.  Pain came along with it as she fell down, bleeding out of the gaping hole in her stomach.
    "I'll probably see you again... and everyone. I hope you change your mind about humanity. You have good in you... I know it."  After her words, she closed her eyes for what she hoped to be a long rest.
    Instead, she felt as if she was drifting into a state of limbo along with her brother and her cousin.  She could sense them confused and hurt over their deaths.  Oddly though, she was happy about it because she knew something else.
    As if she saw her future in a dream... as a young woman with intensely hot pink hair, being able to enjoy the flavors of life.

    "Everyone, we meet again."
    Everyone whirled around and stared at Fruit, surprised by her appearance.  Her hair had been pulled up and held back by a ribbon as she chuckled softly.
    "Isn't that right, Kris? Perry? That we would meet again... even after our deaths?"
    "So morbid of you to say it... but, you turned out to be right."
    "Yeah... we've been always together. Our destiny is still unfolding, even to this moment!"
    Damaru's right eyebrow twitched as she turned around and stared at the monitor.
    "Huh? Did I say something bad?"
    "It's just that you speak of death so casually! It was painful... for me... to be killed by someone who I had a crush on."
    "Wow, Damaru, you admit it." Damasu spun around from the monitor. "We're going to do this right. We'll draw the mavericks out and make them suffer."
    Fruit and Pine sweatdropped at Damasu's desire to kill mavericks.  Wait, wasn't Damasu a maverick?  Why is she speaking this way...?  It just seemed to be totally out of character for someone like her.
    "I'm going to find Zero."
    "And what are you going to do to him?" Pine muttered.
    "Damaru and Zero make babies, that's what."
    Fruit's jaw hit the floor in shock.  "HEY! That's my line!" She sputtered and flailed at Damasu. "How dare you steal my line, Maverick!"
    "I'm offended."
    "Now then..." Pine separated the two. "Shall we start planning or what?"
    "Hmm... hmmm. Hmm. Hmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm."
    Everyone stared at the humming in the background as Damaru snapped back to normal. "What is that noise...?"
    "Oh, just a call for me!" Dr. Cain whistled. "Let me take it in another room."
    "...Dr. Cain has a secret female admirer?" Fruit yelped and ducked as the cane flew over her head. "That wasn't wise, sir! Don't you need anything to walk with?"
    "The cane is just for show, Fruit." He muttered and walked into another room.
    "Fruit. You fruit." Pine scowled.
    After several insults were exchanged back and forth (mostly between Zexandra and Seth), everyone finally got settled at the table.  Zexandra promptly pulled out a big blueprint and spread it onto the table.
    "Alia knows of these plans. She will be able to guide everyone through this central building where the mavericks should be located."
    "...where did you get the plans?"
    "I had Pine and Minerva out on a mission to search for the buildings.  Sadly though, they found it too easily, Seth."
    "What, there was a sign that said "Maverick Headquarters"?!"
    "...yes." Pine blushed brightly. "It was right in front of us, actually."
    "Now then, Damaru will enter the building. Hopefully, this is the right one."
    "I bet it's a decoy." Seth scowled and got bricked.
    "The stakes are too high for it to be a decoy! Now, shush, idiot brother."
    "So I'm going to be the first one to sweep this...?"
    "Then everyone else will follow, do you understand?"
    "You're putting her at risk!" Seth jumped from his seat. "I won't let you put her at risk. She's nearly died several times, don't do this."
    "...what are you worried about?"
    "Seth, I can do this... don't panic. Please."
    "... I can't." He bolted out of the room as Dr. Cain walked in, slightly miffed as to what happened.
    He stared at Seth's retreating figure for several moments then coughed.  Glancing around the room, seeing if everyone were prepared for this bout of news.  Knowing everyone, they would be caught off guard, but that'd be too predictable.  He grabbed his cane from where it was impaled on the wall and leaned on it for a moment.
    "Everyone. I have an announcement to make."  Everyone looked up at his aging face.  "Please, I'd like you to welcome..."
    The door opened with a slight creak to it and a merry-looking figure stepped in.  His features could be mistaken for Santa Claus, although, he laughed softly.
    "Hello everyone."
    "Dr. Light, I think you've scared them half to death."
    "Oh, sorry."
    X stared straight ahead.  This could be the first time he quite literally turned very pale in his life.  He blinked.  Dr. Light... in person, not a hologram.  He blinked again.
    "Dr... Light...? Is that you...?"
    "Yes, it is."
    "But... I'm confused... how?"
    "It's a rather long story... but I can explain really quick."

    "Dr. Wily, you've done it again." Dr. Light sighed, not caring if he should scowl at his rival or not.
    The other scientist grumbled back at him. "Excuse me. I wasn't aware that he would simply go berserk from the emotional overload.  Ever since those three kids were murdered... it screwed him up."
    "Correction, your programming screwed him up. Even before those children died! Your robot took out all the robots."
    "What about your special... Mega Man X?!"
    Dr. Light stared at Dr. Wily. "Do you really think I would tell you? I've learned not to trust you after all these years."
    He scoffed and looked out of the small window.  "You finally learned."
    "Don't you even have a fail-safe program for your robot?!"
    "Now to think of it, I do!"  Dr. Wily spun around and slammed a button on the console.

    Somewhere, Zero screamed as the W flashed on his forehead.  He crashed to the ground as Sigma stared at the robot, stunned by what just had happened.
    "...My god... what was that?"
    Sigma slowly touched the scars on his face from the battle and shuddered.  "Never thought that thing was so capable of murder."

    "Now, he's out of commission, at least for the time being!"
    "How do we know that for sure?"
    "We walk outside, of course!"
    "...that's not very smart."

    "And everything went downhill after that.  Dr. Wily was the first one to leave.  I never saw him again after this, but, I found Dr. Cain.  He explained to me about the situation so I helped him in secret.  I'm sorry about the deception."
    "I understand." X sighed and looked at the floor.  "So Dr. Wily is dead?"
    "It seems so... but I feel as if something is bothering me."
    "Well, Zero is missing... and we all have to get him back before something bad happens."
    "I know of the situation. I'll try to help out as much as possible, but my resources are limited."
    "I see."
    Fruit, Pine, and Damaru just stared, a bit surprised at seeing Dr. Light for the first time.  They had never spoken up because they knew the special bond between the creator and robot.   However, Pine felt that he should say something of vital importance.
    "Dr. Light...?"
    "The three children you spoke of... uhm..."
    "You're one of them?"
    "How did you know?"
    Dr. Light chuckled softly and walked over to Pine.  "I heard of the reconstruction. Truly, Zexandra and Seth are the greatest pioneers in that field. I have great respect for my fellow scientists as well as for the robots."
    "We're more than just robots..." Fruit whispered. "We're partially human."
    "..." Damaru exhaled, feeling a slight pang of guilt.  She had been so aloof towards Seth even when he worried about her.  She had just brushed him off like dust that meant nothing.  "I'll be back."

    On the roof, amongst several bottles of sake, there remained Seth in a drunken stupor.  He sighed and took another swig of sake.
    "The world sucks. I suck. You had a good reason to disinherit me, father. I'll never be anyone. Zex deserves the fortune more than I do. Hell, even my creation hates me! Aw, I'm just such an idiot."
    "Don't say that."
    "I'll say anything I want to!"
    A nerve popped out of Damaru's head as she narrowed her eyes.  "Seth. Put down that sake. Get your butt off the roof. Go straight to the coffee machine and get some sleep!" She barked out the orders at her creator.
    "What? Oh, come on! Can't I have a little fun? You know, my life sucks!"
    "Even if it sucks, it's no reason to get drunk."
    "Oh well! Maybe I'll drink myself to death."
    Damaru twitched rather violently and grabbed Seth. "Do you not care about my feelings? If you die, what will happen to me? Damnit, you're the one who created me."
    "Yes, you created a reliable reploid!"
    "With a split personality from the damned Sigma virus."
    "I barely have a split personality. It's more of a transformation state."
    Seth stared at Damaru with glassy eyes. "Really? Gosh, you look pretty."
    "You're drunk as a skunk."
    "Ooh, that pole's pretty." SLAP! "Ow!"
    "There. You, go and sober up. NOW!"
    "Yes, ma'am!"
    Damaru sighed at Seth's retreating figure. "I come here and try to tell you that I'm proud that you created me. You have such a low self-esteem... sheesh. Time for some chaos... soon enough."

    "Okay, is everyone in position?" Alia called out through the headset communicator. "Fruit, Pine, Damaru, and X... ready?"
    "Ready!" X pulled on his ultra armor upgrade.  "Everything's working great."
    "In position!" Fruit bounced besides X on a rooftop, blowing bubbles.
    Pine glanced at the door and at Damaru. "Everything's set."
    "In five seconds!" Alia glanced at the clock on her console. "Five..."
    "ONE!!" Damaru sliced the door opened, and charged into the building.  "What the...?"
    "Alia, it's empty..." Pine muttered into the communicator and was suddenly shoved out. "The hell...?!"
    Right before his eyes, there was a flash of fire along with the shockwave, sending him flying backwards.  The building collapsed within itself with a fierce roar.  The smoke exploded out from all the concrete grinding and smashing each other upon impact.
    "What was that, Pine!?" X yelled down at the communicator. "Are you alright?"
    "Yeah... I'm fine. Dust hasn't gotten into my system. Damaru must've seen the bomb and kicked me out here."
    "Shit... she must be dead."
    "No, she can't be! X, she's stronger than that!"
    "In any case, we've lost our only chance of finding Zero..." X slammed his face into his hands. "And a life too. I should accept the responsibility of this."
    "Woah, wait! You're NOT taking the blame!"
    "Yes, I am, Fruit. I asked for you three to come here... because we worked so well together."
    "Hey, guys... stop bickering. I found something."
    "What is it, Alia?"
    "It appears that there's a maverick running away from the scene. Pine! You follow!"
    "Right! X, come here!"
    X leapt down from the roof as Fruit followed along.  The three were about to take off once Alia barked out another set of orders.
    "Seth wishes for Fruit to stay behind and go through the wreck. Pine, you are to help too. X will deal with the mavericks on his own!"
    "That's what he said, I'm sorry."
    "I see."

    X dashed through the area, following the map with the light blinking on it.  "You there... wait... aren't you the..."
    "Yes, I am. What about it?"
    "Why are you working for them?
    "Why should I tell you?"
    "Because it's important!"
    "Get out of my business!"
    X crashed against the ground from the bomb and stared in disgust. "Just how can you work for the low-lives? They want to destroy humanity!"
    "Get back here...!" He leapt after the fleeing figure but he stopped cold in his tracks. "..."
    The maverick grinned and stared at X with blood-thirsty eyes.  "Hello... Megaman... X."
    Zero cackled and leapt into the air as his light blonde-grey hair flared.  He spun around as the Z-Sabre smacked X in the side... hard.
    "So, how does it feel to be left for dead? My own best friend betrayed me!"
    "You were turning maverick again..."
    "So what? You're a lousy friend."  He rose the Z-Sabre for the final hit.  "I'll enjoy seeing your destruction as I have witnessed many others before you! Megaman... Roll... Protoman... they were all amusing toys."
    "You killed them...? Why?"
    "I was built to destroy Dr. Light and his silly creations... so my true creator can take over the world and rule it with an iron fist."
    X sweatdropped at the cliché of that statement. "Zero, I never thought you would stoop so low as to stealing other villains' lines and re-using them for something worse."
    "You're no fun."  Zero drove the blade past X's cheek, slicing a part of flesh off. "I'd like to toy with you before I finally kill you, but I have so much more to attend to. For now, you'll live to witness this and... besides, I have another toy I want to deal with."
    He turned around and picked up Damaru.  "I never thought she'd survive that bomb, but she's strong... unlike you."  With that final slap of insult, Zero teleported away.

    "...What... The... F..." Zexandra slammed her hand on Seth's mouth to censor the last part of the word.
    "Oh dear. This is worse than I thought." Dr. Cain muttered as Dr. Light sighed with defeat. "Zero has been rebuilt and reprogrammed."
    X's face was darkened with anger, rage, and all other negative emotions while Pine looked as if he was in pain.  Fruit didn't display any emotions which was very highly unusual for her.
    "Dr. Cain... you know, the whole Sigma Virus incident?"
    "Yes, what about it, Fruit?"
    "Um, well, you see... I knew where the chip came from.  I was out earlier that day and I saw Minerva talking to a communicator.  I was like, 'Hey, what's up...?'.  She looked very surprised and ran away.  I should've mentioned this sooner, but I didn't think she was the type to do this."
    "Looks like it's going to be a double rescue mission." Alia countered. "We'll have to stop Zero somehow."
    "No, he'll have to die... as much as I hate to say it, but... Zero made me promise him that if he turns maverick... that I have to end his life for once and all." X trembled slightly as if he was on the edge of crying. "I don't know if I can try to keep the promise again. As much as I want to try... I'm not sure if I can go on with these emotions... they're painful."
    "It'll be alright." Dr. Light patted X's back softly. "You just have to take it slowly."

    Damaru tried to focus on her surrounding and saw that she was tied up.  Her arms were held by chains that hung from the ceiling and her legs were held in place from the cuffs that were anchored to the floor.  All of her armor pieces were missing as well as her D-Sabre.
    "So, the little girl's awake."
    Her eyes flared with sheer anger as she huffed and stared up at Sigma's grinning face.
    "I think the girl's upset now. Don't tease her too much... I want to have all the fun."
    "Yes, Zero." Sigma scowled a bit. "I'm still upset from my last encounter with her. Don't you remember?"
    Damaru coughed up a bit of blood and stared back angrily at Sigma. "Whatever you're doing to me, it's not going to work, scar-boy. You'll never get it."
    "Blood? How interesting. You're converting."
    She tried to yank at the chains but found that her strength was too drained to do anything.  Refueling was necessary for her as her stomach grumbled.
    "Not just converting... but... more human than I'd like in a reploid."
    "Why don't you just shut up and go back to being dead as a door nail?"
    "I'll never give up." Sigma sneered as he whipped his cape behind him, exiting the room.  "Have fun, Zero!"
    This was the side of Zero that Damaru had seen only once and didn't expect to see again.  He leapt out of the chair in an instant and shoved his face into hers.
    "Don't you remember this room... Damasu?"
    Damaru glanced around the room and idly recalled the moment where the position was reversed.  Now she understood how he had suffered when she was Damasu.  Irony is just so cruel in the moments of despair.
    "Now then." He tossed his helmet on the table.  "Tell me why I should spare your life."
    "Good grief, I have to beg for my life again? You jerk."
    "Yes, you have to beg as many times as you would like. I enjoy hearing your pleas... it gets my blood, ahem, oil flowing."
    "Just kill me. Get it over with."
    Zero's eyes widened. "You want your death to be that quick? What's wrong with you...? I thought you wanted to grow old...?"
    "Ah well, what's fun in growing old when I can stay young forever. Just drive the Z-Sabre through my heart. Just like the last time. Until I bleed."
    "No. I won't." The dark blue eyes flared to blue. "Not again. I won't kill..."
    Damaru sweatdropped.  The split personality bit is just getting... old.  Only this maverick part of Zero doesn't have a name. Wait, I should call him minus zero or something. Okay, I'm getting as inane as Fruit.
Zero put his hands around Damaru's face. "You're too innocent for this. You shouldn't even have been brought back as a reploid... even if it was the only way.  You have to suffer through so many deaths."
    "I don't care. They're only mavericks... I was releasing my anger through their deaths."
    "Just remember, they were once good. Unlike them, I was once evil... I'll always be evil."
    "NO! THAT'S NOT THE CASE!" Damasu yelled out of nowhere. "No one has to stay the way they don't want to be! So please... please... don't force yourself to resign to your fate. I changed sides!"
    "You only changed sides because Damaru's in change instead of you."
    "Even so... why?"
    Zero's eyes turned dark blue and slapped Damasu across the face.  "Don't ask. Just suffer."  His hand reached up to the ribbon in her hair and tore it to pieces. "You're not even supposed to exist."
    "So you wanted to draw me out so I could suffer? Not only I suffer, Damaru suffers too! Even the little Kristis suffers too!"
    Another slap, this time, cutting her cheek, leaving a fresh spray of blood on his hand.
    "Mmm... blood." He licked it off his fingers. "How much I missed the taste of your blood. Even for a young girl, there was something about your blood. Now... I can't decide if I want you dead or alive. Damn, I'll have to flip a coin."
    Damaru shut her eyes and prayed for sanctuary within.

    "Good news, everyone!" Alia jumped up. "We've got an solid location on Damaru! The tracking device is in her bodysuit... so it should be around in this area."
    "You know, that's the building right behind us." Fruit pointed out at the map.  "Whaddya know. Now we don't have to run around a lot till we find it."
    "So you meant to tell us that it was behind us the whole time?" Signas walked into the room with a scowl on his face. "Who failed to report this?!"
    Everyone looked at each other for blame.
    "Never mind. I'll assemble an army... the scientists... just stay on the sidelines... just in case. X, you're wounded, but get yourself fixed up for this assault."
    "Alright, sir."
    "Now, Pine and Fruit. The objective for you two is to infiltrate the building and pose as uhm, say... Zero and X."
    They stared at Signas like he was on some sort of crack.
    "Just do it."
    "Yes, sir!"
    "I'll get the blueprints of the building, sir!" Alia waved and went back to working on the computer.

    "Had enough?"
    "I think I've bled enough for... ten bottles for you to drink. As... Fruit puts it. KINKY."
    "What? It's the right word... ugh." Damaru rolled her eyes. "Sick from... lack of food."
    "So, you depend on food, after all." He snapped his fingers as the chains released Damaru.  "How does it feel being the weak one?"
    "It sucks, thank you."
    Zero walked over to her and yanked her head back by her hair.  His eyes narrowed as she whimpered in pain.  "You're being very submissive, aren't you? That's just no fun. It's better when you're angry."
    "Screw you."
    "That's better!" He let go of her hair as her hand ran up to the patch where the pain was throbbing. "You're getting human every minute.  Minerva has been letting everyone know of the conversion.  It's interesting that you're so far ahead... is it because of me? I'm flattered."
    Damaru glanced around for her armor.  "Where did you put it...?"
    "I'm not going to let you escape that easily. Your armor and weapon are... of course, put away.  I'll be back."
    She moaned softly as he made his exit.  Eventually, she found herself staring at the small puddles of blood scattered around where she was suspended in mid-air.  Never before, she had felt so weak from the loss of blood.  Even when she was losing oil... she didn't feel this weak.
    "I'm amazed that he didn't even try to mess with your mind like I did with him."
"I am too... for some reason, he wants to punish me so much, but yet... he doesn't want to kill me."
    "That boy is a mess. I know! There'll be something that can paralyze him.  You just have to become Kristis again.  It's not hard...! I can use my illusions."
"Really...? What if it doesn't stop him?"

    "X, are you feeling alright?"
    "No, Signas. I'm feeling even worse."
    "Because of what happened? Is it because you feel that you didn't keep your promise?"
    "How did--... never mind."
    "The matter at hand is stopping Sigma and whoever else."
    "How do you know if it's Sigma?"
    "I concluded," Signas exhaled. "From the previous games."
    X fell off the repair table with a WTHUMP!
    "What? Did the fourth wall break again?"
    "'s your fault, Signas."  X scowled.  "Soon, the authoress herself will show up."
    "I bet she won't."
    "You're on."
    "How much?"
    "Twenty bucks."

    Carrying a tray of food and fresh clothes, Minerva opened the door.  "..."  She stared at the puddle of blood on the floor and Damasu curled up in the corner, crying.  "This is really depressing. To see a strong maverick reduced to this."
    "Go away."
    "No need to be so negative. I'm only trying to help you out. This is a bit... cruel."
    "Why should you care. You're working for the bad guys. Why should you feel sorry for me? I'm your enemy. You've been working for them. All this time... and you don't even give a shit about Pine."
    Minerva's eyes widened with fury. "How can you say that I don't care about Pine?! That's so cruel! I've had a crush on him since that day. It made me want to quit really fast! I hated my job... we weren't getting anywhere. I was offered a chance to maybe, get the change done faster."
    "You're so pathetic. Just thinking that all the wars would stop if you compromised with the enemy. Stupid."
    "..." She turned her head. "I was hoping that talking to them would help."
    "Talking doesn't help. You made sure that I fought that particular maverick with the chip. That chip... with the Sigma Virus. You KNEW I didn't have any resistance to it! You're the traitor. The true traitor."
    "So what if I did? I had to prove that I could turn you to maverick..."
    "You're conflicting yourself. First, you wanted to talk the enemy out of the war. Now, you're helping them. There's something missing from this big picture. Why don't you tell me?"
    "...What reason do I have to tell you!?"
    Damasu sighed and looked into Minerva's eyes. "Trust me. If I know the reason why you decided to be a maverick, I'll tell you mine."
    She sighed at Damasu's challenge and retorted. "I felt that nothing was being done... that it took too long for everything to get done. I... wanted to make the hunters notice and do something!"  Minerva gnawed on her lips. "And... that... I'm an incomplete. Dr Wily built me but... never finished me. I was simply discarded and Dr. Cain found me... and finished me."
    "So then, when you decided to join the mavericks, you met your half-creator? Everything went downhill after that, didn't it?"
    She looked back up at Damasu. "You have everything figured out."
    "Just some excellent observation skills!" Damasu groaned in pain. "Hunger really hurts... are you sure the food's not poisoned?"
    "I'm not that evil. I'm not a true maverick... I'm just still a reploid. So you have nothing to worry about."
    Damaru took the food and wolfed it down happily while Minerva sweatdropped.  She handed the plate back to Minerva and sighed.
    "You're welcome, and here's a fresh set of clothes... your body suit looks very damaged, I'll have to repair it."
    "Does Sigma know you're so nice?"
    "I don't think so."
    The door closed behind Damaru as she stared at the purple dress.  "This color... like the flower...?"  She pulled it over her body, slowly as not to make any contact with her bruises and cuts.

    "Eesh, this feels weird." Pine twitched. "I feel like I'm going to be mauled by Damasu."
    "You think this feel weird? TRY this small helmet!"
    Signas sighed loudly at the two twitching reploids. "Ok, everyone in position?"
    "Ready!" Fruit and Pine both muttered. "Set!"
    "GO!" Alia yelled over the headphone set. "Take this entrance and act casually!"
    Pine walked over to the entrance and muttered in the communicator. "This is Zero, I have captured Mega Man X."
    The door opened as Fruit looked at Pine with a very ODD look on her face.
    "Think they'll fall for it?"
    "I hope so."
    They walked inside as the mavericks shuffled aside to allow them a path.  Fruit looked all over to see if Minerva was anywhere in sight as they were being led to the elevator.  The elevator doors opened to reveal Zero.  Everyone froze as Zero stared at Pine and Fruit.
    "Heh. You two? Come to save Kristis?" He grinned. "You two'll never succeed."
    "Oh shit." Pine spat. "And I wasted my time trying to look like you!"
    "Admirable look, though, but neon green isn't my color."
    "Pine!" Minerva gasped from behind Zero. "What are you doing here?"
    "Minerva..." There was a look of pain in those pine-colored eyes.  "Why?"
    "Uhm." Fruit glanced and caught sight of the scruffy-haired man. "...OOHSHIT! PINE! IT'S HIM!"
    Pine turned around and stared. "...who?"
    "Haven't you ever heard of Dr. Wily?" Zero smirked. "Just greet my creator!"
    Dr. Wily raised an eyebrow. "So, these are the two others...? Where's the first one?"
    "Ah, just somewhere in the building!"
    Fruit GLARED at Pine. "What? Don't you even remember anything about Dr. Wily?"
    "I do! But.. it's just that... he's slightly more bald now."
    "WHAT! I never lost any of my hair!" The doctor flailed his arms. "YOU TWO! Take 'em away, mavericks!"
    "Yes, sir!"
    Minerva stared in horror as the two were being dragged away. "Pine... I'm so sorry..."

    "The hell?" Alia glared.  "We lost communication the minute this man talked."
    "I should've known." Dr. Light shook his head. "He did this... again. It's starting all over again."
    "It's going to be up to X. Now..." Signas sighed and looked at X. "Are you ready for this?"
    "Yes. I'm going to have to attack from the rooftop. Get me the blue prints, Alia!"
    X raced towards the door to the stairs, thinking to himself. Everyone's in trouble... because of this! So much pressure... so much stress. It's important that I end all of this soon. No more repeats of the Robot Wars... even though it's... just reploids against mavericks. Still the same war! I'm going to need my ultimate armor.
He stopped and turned around to the vault. "I'm armorin' up. Just you wait. I'm going to end all of this... so everyone can live peacefully."
    The hand reached out to touch the breast plate of the white armor as it shimmered, slowly appearing on X's body, overlapping his regular armor.  His buster was also upgraded in the process with a longer charge time.  After few moments of pause, he stared at the empty stand and walked out of the vault, closing the door behind him.

    "...?" Damaru looked up and jumped to her feet, running to the steel doors, banging on them. "Hello! Is anyone out there!? Come on... don't leave me in this silence!"
    The door opened with a slam, throwing her backwards with force.  Zero narrowed his eyes as he looked at her.
    "Your cousins just tried to save you. They failed."
    "Fruit! Pine! What have you done with them!?"
    "They're somewhere else. They'll be fine. You, however..."
    "Jeez. Not now. I'm not going to take anymore of this!" Damaru ran towards a wall and jumped over Zero's head. "I'm going to get out of this...!"
    When her body met with the exit, she bounced off of it and crashed to the ground.  She groaned in pain from the force field and glared at Zero who chuckled.
    "Amusing. No matter what, you'll be here forever."
    "I refuse to be your whipping girl!"
    "Even if you refuse, you will be."
    Damasu instantly took over before Zero could react and pummeled him to the ground.  She sat on his stomach and scowled, "What makes you THINK I'll be submissive? You've pissed me off big time."
    "Good... because this will be all more enjoyable for me."
    "What the... what are you trying to pull on me!?"
    "Nothing. Just the truth. You did want this..." He grabbed her wrists, twisting her around until she was below him.  Their faces almost touched as he taunted her. "Didn't you? You wanted me so badly back then. Have you changed too?"
    "Zero... I haven't changed. Why would you WANT to screw!? This doesn't even make sense!"
    "It does, Damasu. We're both mavericks."

    Whirlwind Eagle stared at the room as the door slammed shut. "How can he even think of doing this at a time like this!? What an idiot... nothing's changed..."
    "What do you mean...?"
    "I want to know."
    "It's just that Zero's having fun with Damasu. Again. He's too obsessed with wanting to put her in pain."
    "Oh no..."
    "Nothing! Just a comment. Nothing more!" She ran off as Whirlwind Eagle snorted.
    "That girl's just too friendly."

    X finally reached the roof and stared over at the next rooftop.  "This is it. Alia, I'm going in!"  He ran towards one end then turned around and dashed to the point where he would get a better boost at jumping over the ledge.  X went flying over the huge gap as a thought suddenly occurred to him.
    He can fly.
    There was no need to jump.
    After that thought processed, he landed on the next roof and sweatdropped abruptly. "Alia, I made it!"
    "You're on the wrong roof. It's over there and um, you need to fly."
    This was going to take a long time for him to fly towards that tower.  Wait, just before, it was the same size as the Maverick Hunters Headquarters' building.  Since when did it grow that tall?!  His eyes gazed over the impossibly tall tower.
    "Alia, can you tell me what is going on, exactly?"
    "It seems that Sigma's power is what is making the tower grow. The tower's made out of... energy! Once you destroy Sigma, it'll fall apart. Better get the hostages out of it first before you start fighting Sigma."
    "Alright. Got anything?"
    "None, but..."
    "I suspect that some rooms may be trapped, so be careful!"
    "Thank you, Alia!" X stared up ahead at the tower and felt power surging around within the ultimate armor.  He focused all of the power towards the flying ability. "I'm coming!"
    He felt himself being thrust into the sky at 90 miles per hour, but still, he wasn't there yet!  The top had to be the first place to assault.  The power started to increase, pushing him slightly beyond 120 miles per hour.  He shot through the clouds and directed himself towards the roof.  He landed softly and looked at the door, leading down to the rest of the floors.
    "Alia! I made it!"
    "Good, let's see... I think there will be eight maverick guarding each ten floors, so be really careful!"
    X frowned and opened the door and stared at the long, winding staircase.  He sighed in disbelief as he started running down, wishing for an elevator.

    "Shit, how do we get out?" Fruit grumbled while staring at the depressing black bars of their cage.  She turned her head to watch Pine pace back and forth. "Pine?"
    "I don't know how, but... I don't have any bright ideas." He scowled as he formed a sharp needle and cut his hair short. "There. That should stop annoying me."
    A guard crashed to the ground as the two stared at the reploid standing there in a black and silver armor.  The yellow eyes glanced back and forth.  His dark green with blue streaks hair was cropped short at his neck with long bangs hanging over his eyes.  The bottom of the bangs were floating between his collar bones and mid-chest.
     "I felt something evil in the sewers and came here."  The reploid said, firmly.  He swung his trident and slashed at the door, shattering it to pieces. "X's on his way here."
    "How come we weren't told about you...?"
    "I was created by Zexandra. We're a special design... called Pepper Mark 2.5. I was created first as a prototype. My name is Dochuu."
    "Sure, come late in this story." Fruit complained. "You know, you should've been introduced earlier, but no, the writer's too lazy."
    Dochuu sweatdropped at Fruit. "What was that?"
    "Nothing. Just ranting. Now, let's go and save Damaru from being ravaged... I think."
    "Does Damaru EVEN want to be saved from being ravaged?" Pine eyed Fruit. "Especially since it's Zero?"
    "What if it was Sigma."
    "Damasu would have killed him."
    "Good point."
    Dochuu shook his head and led the reploids to the service elevator. "This way. It leads to the 50th floor."
    "... the tower's that tall?"
    "No, it's even taller than that, Fruit. In fact, it's starting to build all way into the space... we must go now."

    X froze and stared at the Maverick that was below him, grinning.  The maverick was tall and lean, resembling a praying mantis.
    "What. A big bug?"
    "You'll regret the words! I'm Lightening Mantis!"
    Electricity crackled all around him as X let out a big sigh.  This seemed to be quite tedious and this was the only FIRST maverick he had encountered.  He'd have to go through seven more mavericks and two mid-bosses as stated in the games.  To follow the rules to the exact dot just sucked.
    He muttered and slid down the railing as he shot at the mantis' back.  To his amazement, that was what caused the electricity to stop at once as the mantis screeched.  In few seconds, it exploded in spheres as if it had been thrown upon a traditional Mega Man spike.
    X's body glowed as he felt the power of Lightening Beam course through his buster.  He wiped away what seemed to be sweat off his forehead.
    "One down. Seven more."
    He resumed sliding down the railing, finding that it made him go by the floors easily and muttered to himself.  It seemed that he kept doing things the hard way.  Woe was him, but that was only because Sigma's eternal tower sucked.
X accidentally slipped off the railing and rammed into a surprised maverick.
    "Oops! Sorry--oh. Shit."
    "!)(*#)(!@##@!" The maverick glared at X, bristling with rage.
    "Oh, well, state your name and prepare to fall upon a Mega Man spike!"
    "...Tsunami Catfish!" Tsunami Catfish dropped a small pack and sped downstairs as X peered in amazement.
    This was a first! He managed to scare off the maverick without the help of Fruit Tree.  Somewhere, he imagined Fruit Tree wailing about the cute mavericks fleeing from her and shuddered.  He grabbed the package and once again, felt the same type of power coursing through his body and into his buster.  It seemed to be the power of Tsunami Fury as he looked down.
    "Now... six more!"
    X hopped back on the railing and let his grip on it loosen in order to allow himself slide.

    "Ok, got your weapons?" Dochuu turned his head to look at the reploids.  They were all armed and ready. "Good. Let's go then."
    "Wait." Pine said.  He took a long and a good look at Dochuu. "You haven't explained enough. I want to know about you."
    "Yeah, you've been so mysterious... and all that stuff about Pepper Mark 2.5!"
    "If I told you, you wouldn't believe me and claim me to be a maverick."
    "Why would we do that?!" Fruit hopped up and down. "You know the last name!"
    "That is true. I am Evan Pepper... Kassandra's son."
    Fruit and Pine looked very stunned at that.  Heck, they didn't even know Kassi had a son. Sure, they did know that Kassi's husband died, but of the child, they knew nothing of.
    "I know. I died when I was three. A car came out of nowhere and hit me... broke almost every bones in my body and caused my ribs to pierce my lungs and heart. Instant death. I was resurrected by my aunt using the design. When I heard of the three children who died, but different death. It was how young they were. It drove me insane and I went into hiding because I couldn't simply bear the thought of so many children like me who died from so many things. You two were one of these three, aren't you?"
    "Yeah, that's right." Fruit wrinkled her nose.  She felt a strong sense of bond with Dochuu because of the way they had lived and died at such a young age.  That bond could prove to be strong, but then. Fruit suddenly found herself wondering about how Dochuu felt about meeting his death. "Hey. This may be a bit morbid. How did you greet death...?"
    Pine gawked at Fruit for that question as Dochuu laughed bitterly. "I never saw it. It took me by surprise."
    "Oh, I see. Well, it's 'cause I greeted it while Pine fought it. Damaru just simply begged. Kind of weird, huh?"
    "You do have a point there."
    "Can we just... save Damaru already? I mean, come on." Pine scowled. "We're wasting our time. Sigma is probably getting powerful!"
    The trio sighed and went back to their path towards the huge room just down the hall.

    Damaru slowly stood up, breathing heavily. "You're going to have to stay knocked out..." She wiped the sweat away from her forehead and thanked silently that she was able to use the power of illusion.
    She turned towards the door and hit the panel, releasing the lock.  Her objective for now was the room that contained her armor and weapon.  Time to suit up and cause nasty damage to the mavericks.  Upon reaching the room, her fingers tapped on the panel rapidly.
    The panel beeped as the door opened and she rushed into the room.  Hmm, the new bodysuit was set aside the armor, so Minerva made good on her promise.  She took the time to change into her bodysuit and the armor.  Damaru grabbed the sabre, running out of the room.  She flickered her communicator on the panel of the guard on her right arm.
    "Fruit! Pine! I'm out."
    "Damaru!? What about Zero...?"
    "For now, he's sleeping. He won't go after anyone now. Where are you?"
    "The 50th floor... close to Sigma's room."
    "Hey, wait... it's too risky!"
    "I know, but X's on his way... he'll be here soon."
    "Oh, alright... just take care."
    "Thanks! Did you and Zero make babies?"
    "Eek. I'm out!"
    Damaru hissed at the communicator and headed for the staircase.  She fumed silently to herself about her cousin being weird on her.  No time to grumble... better to get focused on the mission that was lying ahead of her.  As her hand touched the railing, she was grabbed from behind.  The familiar green beam appeared across her face, just an inch away from her nose.
    "Nice trick."
    "Zero... I thought you were out."
    "Down, yes, but not out. I'm coming with you." He released her suddenly as Damaru spun around, blinking. "Yeah, I got my red armor back."
    "Well, isn't that nice." Her voice dripped with sarcasm. "Zero, whatever the hell happened to you?!"
    "Oh, just some reprogramming. I got over it." He flashed her a peace sign which was replied by a scowl. "For now, we're going to beat Sigma and Wily!"
    "Aren't you even scared about going up against your creator?"
    "Eh, nah, not really. He needs his butt kicked around some more."
    " know, after realizing Wily created you, I suddenly appreciate Seth more than before."
    "What's that supposed to mean?"
    "That Seth's actually competent..." Damaru muttered under her breath.
    Zero seemed to be lost in his thoughts as he looked at her. "Damaru... I have a question for you."
    "Yeah, what is it?"
    "What exactly happened?"
    "I don't know what you mean..."
    "Did we really have...?"
    "I don't think so. You were probably dreaming, that's all."

    X wondered why the little droid actually showed up again.  That very same droid who stuck its middle finger at him the last time.  That said droid was now floating in orbit thanks to a well placed punt by X.
    "X, what's going on right now?" Alia called out through the communicator.
    "Nothing much. Just that ... there was a very rude tiny maverick..."
    "I'm almost afraid to ask."
    "Well, to put it rather bluntly, Sigma's not the only one who dies and comes back. I think we'll be seeing more of that mini-maverick... soon."
    Alia sweatdropped as Signas muttered in the background while Douglas was hard at work fixing up some parts to a super-cannon. "Well, we have a little back up plan... not that I doubt you. Douglas' working on a cannon that'll hopefully neutralize the building and maybe Sigma."
    "Ok! Let me know when it's done!"
    X looked up as Kia Purity slid by, screaming something about having Mega Man X5 and X6.
    "Signas... you owe me. The authoress just ran by."
    "WHAT?! HOW?"
    "She controls this universe." X sweatdropped at the communicator.
    "Fine, I'll give you the money when you get back." The communicator muttered back at X. "Just don't do a victory dance."
    "I couldn't do it anyway. I have to stand really still so Kia can miss me."
    "Who said I liked you, X?" Kia Purity stuck her tongue out. "Zero's hot."
    X sweatdropped again.
    "'sides, you're popular too!" The authoress promptly ran out of sight, muttering something about Capcom being on crack.
    "...who gave her the license to be insane?" The man in blue shook his head as he started on his journey to defeat the maverick and gain their weapons, a part of the process to build up the necessary strength against Sigma.
    He turned and ran into the final hallway leading to Sigma's room as he wondered to himself.  Would he be able to beat Sigma this time?

    Dochuu glanced around. "We're almost there."
    "Good! I'm sick of the building's height!"
    "Oh, hey X!" Pine waved to X as he ran up to them.
    "You guys alright?"
    "Definitely." Fruit nodded. "OH! Have you met Dochuu?"
    "Briefly." He answered as he went over to the door, inspecting it while everyone sweatdropped. "Hmm. Doesn't seem to be locked."
    "Probably a trap." Pine glowered. "In any case, we can't go until Damaru gets here."
    "Hellooooo, Pine." Pine fell over once Damaru appeared out of nowhere with Zero. "What were you saying then?"
    Fruit eyed Zero. "You sure he's not evil?"
    "Positive." She wrinkled her nose as she glanced at Dochuu. "Who's he?"
    "Looooooong story." Fruit whined. "Better yet, bug Kassi about him."
    "Kassi created him?"
    "You could say that in a way..."
    "Oh, so he's Kassi's son, then? The first prototype?"
    " did..."
    "Simple, I looked at the files." Fruit, Pine, X, and Zero STARED at Damaru. "Hey, when you have too much time, you'll understand! I was just nosing around the files."
    "And how did you do that...?" X muttered. "Wait, don't tell me. Your creator was too busy ducking the bricks?"
    "Well, yes."
    The door clicked with a beep as Dochuu stood up.  He turned around and nodded to the others. "We're going inside. Come on."
    Soon, they regrouped in front of the open door, leading into a dark hallway.  It was so dark to the point where Fruit had to whine for a flashlight. Unfortunately, no one had any or the ability to create light except... X used a bit of the power he had acquired from a previous maverick.
    "Well, let's get on with it."
    X had to be in front while Dochuu remained in the back and everyone else were basically clustered in the middle.  The hallway started to narrow to the point where they had to walk into a single file until they reached what seemed to be a rather large area in front of the second door.
    X tried to open the door. Locked.  He sighed and tried again. Nothing.  Pine went over to X and tried to help. Locked still. Zero sighed and pressed in the code. The door opened.  Pine and X just stared at Zero who sweatdropped while laughing nervously.
    "This is it. The conclusion to this whole thing." Damaru muttered through her clenched teeth.
    "Um, assuming it'll be THE conclusion... you know how much of a whore Sigma is."
    "...riiiight, Fruit."
    The reploids entered the room as Sigma whirled around, staring down at the arrivals.  His menacing tone echoed throughout the room. "Fools! Do you know that defeating me is useless? I cannot be beaten permanently!"
    "Yeah, yeah, we know." X waved his hand. "Tell us something new."
    Dr. Wily stared at Zero. "HEY! YOU! Get here!"
    "Bite me."
    Zero stuck his tongue out as X burst out the can of whoop-ass charged up in his buster, firing off several shoots at Sigma.  Sigma seemed to be slightly unfazed by the attack... except that the last one knocked him over.  He roared and started to grow in size... to the point where his head was just above the ceiling.
    "I'm not going to have a toilet on my head this time!"
    Kia Purity casually came by and stuck a golden toilet on Sigma's head and fled promptly.  Sigma GROWLED with rage at the authoress for the toilet.  He tore it off his head, smashing it against the disappearing black hole and glared down at the reploids who were NOT even laughing.
    They were actually ready to fight.
    This wasn't looking too good for Sigma. "Wily! Do something!"  He screamed at the top of his lungs at the scientist hiding behind the computers.
    A powered up buster blast knocked Sigma down as Zero leapt towards with his sabre extended.  In a series of swipes of fury, he managed to keep Sigma from getting up to attack.  All Sigma could do at this point was to defend himself from the reploids.  This was starting to tick him off as Zero rose his sabre.
    The sound of "YARGH!" came from Damaru as she tried to fend off the mavericks that appeared out of nowhere.
    Distracted by the sound, Sigma was able to get into a free hit and punched Zero hard.  The red reploid crashed against the wall and crumbled to the ground, slightly stunned.

    Pine let loose a series of pine needles at Tsunami Catfish as Fruit hurled her pineapple bombs at the other mavericks in the background.  The bombs exploded, sending up a storm of dust, clouding everything all around the four reploids.
    "Watch your back!" Dochuu warned as he gripped his trident. "The enemies might use this to their advantage."
    "If they can, then we can too!" Damasu surged out of the smoke and spun her sabre, trying to impale Whirlwind Eagle who dodged. "Hey! Stand still, you quack!"
    It quickly became a network of frenzied clashing with each other as Dochuu's eyes suddenly glowed with intensity.  He started to scream in pain, falling to his knees as the back of his armor started to shift uneasily.
    A pair of black dragon wings tore out of the armor as he spun the trident, instantly taking out Inferno Leopard in just one swipe.  He turned around to Lightening Mantis who almost had a perfect jump attack on him.  Except if his pinchers hadn't been cut off by the trident's beams.

    X wasn't very happy to see his best friend get tossed aside as if he was a mere doll.  He started to tap within the ultimate armor for the necessary strength.  The strength flowed through him like blood throughout his system.  He pointed the glowing buster at Sigma's torso and yelled something unintelligible.
    Sigma gasped and coughed up some oil as he staggered back from the impact.  The shot had actually placed a large hole in the torso as he fell down.
    Before X could walk up to the body... wires and tubes shot out and wrapped around Sigma's body.  A single tube knocked X away from the transform sequence that was taking place within the artificial cocoon.  The tubes and wires tightened until it cracked from a pair of huge fists as Sigma emerged, looking horribly deformed.
    It seemed that the upgrade wasn't complete because Fruit had accidentally tossed one of the bombs onto the computer.  Wily was trying unsuccessful to put the fire out with his lab jacket.  He ground his teeth and shook his fist at the reploid with hot pink hair.
    "'s nice that you know my name, Dr. Wily."
    A quite interesting exchange of insults went on between the two as X tried to deal with Sigma's horrible appearance.  Not this wasn't normal, but, Sigma looked like he came straight out of a B type horror movie... or a bad sci-fi movie.  At least it wasn't a porno movie.
    Sigma cackled evilly as he sent one of his tentacles at X, just barely missing him.  X was sweat dropping from the sight of the tentacles and how crude they looked.  Several tentacles charged in his direction as he chose to fire at them instead of dodging.  The tentacles went down rather easily as he attempted to charge up more of his buster.  Unfortunately, it seemed like there were too many tentacles to deal with.  Even worse, each tentacle that he shot off reformed into two tentacles.

    "I really hope they get through this safely." Alia sighed as she rested her head in her hands.
    "Have you been able to attempt communication with them?" Signas asked, hopeful. "Or...?"
    "In a sense, yes..." She tapped few keys.
    Suddenly, the audio came online and they could hear what was going on in the battle.
    "Oh dear... it's begun. I wonder if..." Her hand moved up to her headset as she touched the microphone. "X? Damaru? Pine? Fruit? Anyone?"
    "Fruit here!"
    "What's the battle status?"
    "Mavericks have been dealt with, but we're getting out butts kicked by a tentacled monster!"
    "...tentacled monster?"
    "She means Sigma." Damasu growled. "What we're doing isn't even having any effect!"
    "Perhaps..." Signas crossed his arms. "It would require a large bomb to be delivered internally? Everyone, is there a hole that you can use?"

    Fruit peered at Sigma from a safe distance. "Well, there's his nostrils, ears, mouth... and his butt... I don't think any of us want to give him rectal exams."
    "That's NOT what I meant!"
    "You're the nurse." Pine and Damasu safely whisked away from Fruit.
    "Heeey, that's not funny, Pine."
    "Then again, there's that hole in his chest from X?" Dochuu remarked quietly. "You know, it's still there."
    "OF COURSE." X grabbed a large watermelon bomb from Fruit's hands. "Hey, Sigma!"
    Sigma roared and tried to catch X with his tentacles, but X was simply too fast for him.  He leaped and pitched the bomb into the hole in Sigma's body.
    Suddenly, Sigma screeched as the bomb went off.  His body instantly exploded into pieces as the tentacles curled away from the reploids and laid to a rest in a corner.
    Wily screamed while tearing a bit of his hair out. "YOU FOOLS! THE BUILDING'S GOING TO COLLAPSE ANY SECOND!"
    The building started to whine uneasily... soon, everything was unraveling as the reploids took this time to teleport out... except for Pine.
    "Wait! Aren't you coming?" Dochuu yelled at Pine.
    "I have to find Minerva!"
    "I'm staying behind too. I gotta see if Zero's alright! Pine and I will group back in the lobby and get out."
    "Alright..." X blinked. "Please take care."
    "We will." Pine said as everyone else teleported away.
    Wily had escaped through his standard escape pod.  He wasn't going to let a drawback stop this. Not at all.
Pine ran off towards the stairs as Damaru ran towards to where Zero was.  She shoved the tentacles off Zero's body and hoisted him over her shoulder.
    "You alright?"
    "Good... oh shit..."
    The floor broke along with the ceiling, sending them two down for a free fall along with the rubble.  Damaru wished to herself that they would live through this.  She started to activate her teleportation coordinates as a large piece of ceiling slammed into her arm.  Damaru screamed in pain as the computer in her arm shattered along with the arm guard.

    "Minerva!" The echo of Pine's voice surged throughout the darkened hallways. "Minerva! Where are you...?"
    "I'm here..." She wobbled and fell into Pine's arms.  Her forehead seemed to have been streaked with oil. "Pine... is it you?"
    "Yes, it is. Are you alright?"
    "I think... I got hit by some rubble... what's happening?"
    "Sigma's been defeated. The building's falling apart."
    "So... does that mean I'm in trouble?"
    "Nah, I'll defend you... if necessary." Pine smiled and picked up Minerva. "I'm just a nice guy that way."
    "You forgive me...?"
    "Yes. I just couldn't stay mad at you."
    Minerva smiled and closed her eyes while Pine kicked down the door to the lobby, expecting Damaru and Zero there.  Alarm hit his spine as he realized that the ceiling was coming down. HARD.  Pine made a bold attempt and broke the doors down while shielding Minerva.
    The building had finally came down from its eternal journey to the sky.

    Everyone were gathered outside of the Maverick Hunters Headquarters as Pine ran towards them with Minerva still in his arms.
    "Where's Damaru?"
    "And Zero?"
    "I have no idea!... maybe they made it..."
    "Or maybe they didn't." Signas closed his eyes, sighing. "That weight of the building would have crushed them for sure."
    The pile of rubble flew upwards, dissolving into dust as a shadowy figure cackled.  There were those... same tentacles!  X's eyes widened with horror.
    The figure chucked, brushing the dust off his newly acquired body. "Not quite... just a combination of something worse."  The body of Zero grinned back at the crowd. "It's a nice day for dying isn't it?"
    "NOT QUITE!" Damasu tore through the tentacles with her sabre. "THE HELL ARE YOU DOING TO ZERO, YOU FREAK!? Let him go, Sigma!"
    "Dear... Damasu. You didn't see this one coming? Dr. Wily implanted something in this reploid in case if I were to suddenly lose my body. I'm neither Sigma... nor Zero. I am the ULTIMATE MAVERICK."
    "...really." X twitched. He had no choice anymore... it was sorely up to him to destroy Ultimate Maverick. Stress instantly attacked him with thoughts and worries.  He knew his best friend was still in that body, but was Zero still Zero? Or was it just Maverick Zero?
    X ran up to Ultimate with his buster charged as Damasu spun around and shoved X away.  X yelped as he got shoved away and jumped back to his feet.  He simply stared at Damasu as she turned her back on him.
    "Damasu... why?"
    "To undo the damage I did... I will end this. The whole thing dies with me. You don't need to die, X. You have more to live for than I do."
    "WHAT?!" Seth yelled, flailing his arms. "You're not going to do anything!"
    "I've made up my mind."
    Damasu rose her arms as the illusion of fire swept around the two fighters, blocking them off from everyone else.  She grabbed her sabre and charged towards Ultimate.
    The two seemed to be evenly matched in skills except for a little disadvantage.  Damaru's left arm was injured.  Not to mention her still-healing left shoulder.  Ultimate grabbed her arm and cruelly squeezed it, enjoying her cries of pain.  Each squeeze brought him delight as she coughed up some blood.  Her body started to spasm as she took this only and last opportunity.
    Her sabre went into the very heart of the being known as Ultimate Maverick.  However, she didn't except the Z-Sabre to be driven into her own chest.  Her eyes flooded with tears as she fell towards Zero's body with her arms outstretched.
    That was when Damasu whispered her last words. "Forgive me...".  Then everything went white.

    The days that followed the final battle, everything at Maverick Hunters Headquarters was normal again. Almost.  Fruit was checking up on the patients in the room as Lifesavor smiled at her.
    "Fruit, she's awake."
    Fruit ran into the room and looked at the girl lying in the bed. "Thank god... I thought we were going to lose you."
    "Berry..." Damaru muttered weakly. "I feel so... different."
    "That's because... you're a human."
    "A human...? I changed..?! Fully human?"
    "Yeah..." Fruit sighed and sat on the chair next to Damaru. "It's amazing, isn't it? I never thought that battle would do something to you."
    "Yeah. It's kind of sad. I miss Damasu already." She chuckled. "Weird... isn't it? To miss that voice in your head...?"
    "I suppose so... hey, Pine and Minerva are still together."
    "Huh. Not surprising. So what's the other news?"
    "Alright, you were in a coma for almost a week."
    "Oh, that's nice. Anything else?"
    "Zero's alive."
    "I thought I killed him..."
    "Nope! You actually hit the part where Sigma was hiding in. That little computer's pieces by now. I saw it myself when Lifesavor had to remove it. Oh, by the way, he's been asking about you."
    Damaru smiled. "I'll talk to him soon."

    "Hi." Zero was sitting on the roof as he turned around. "How was the coma?"
    "Restless, I suppose." Damaru sat down next to him, carefully adjusting the skirt of her lavender sundress. "Well. Here I am."
    "The sunset's so beautiful, isn't it?"
    "Yeah, it is... um... Zero..."
    "I'm going to quit."
    "WHAT?! You can't..."
    "I'm sorry, but since... I'm a human now."
    "...I see. Um, will you still come here every now and then?"
    "Maybe. I'll have to see what life has in store for me."
    "Who knows...?" Zero turned around to smile at her, but blinked as she got up to walk towards to the door. "Hey! Wait a minute... You're leaving right now?"
    "Yeah, I'm going back to America."
    "Kristis..." He sighed and grabbed her into an embrace. "I hope everything goes well for you."
    "Same here." She slowly squirmed out of his embrace and turned to the door.
    "This flower..." He pulled out a book and opened it to reveal a slightly blood-stained purple flower. "I wanted to let you have the flower, but I don't know why I suddenly took it back. I suppose you'll have it now. I apologize for the blood."
    "That's alright. It's only my blood. Thank you... bye...."
    Zero shut his eyes as the door closed while the wind shifted through his blonde hair.  "I suppose I'll have to visit Iris' grave again... long overdue."

The End.

Artwork for this sequel:

[Damaru bleeding] This is an actual scene from this fic :P
[Damaru's armor upgrade] Damaru's new armor! :D
[Pine Tree's armor upgrade] PT looks ultra tough... plus, his hair is longer o.O
[Fruit Tree's armor upgrade] FT is just soooo different! She's very serious and mature in this piccie. o.O;
[Topless Pine part one!] I'm just so evil. >:D PT doesn't have anything on!
[Topless Pine part two!] Once again... v.v
[This is just morbid] I must be insane for drawing a Maverick Zero hugging a rather dead Kristis. @_@
[Fruit being serious] She looks oddly better this way.
[Damaru glowing] I'm not sure how to describe this, really.
[Damasu crying] It's really disturbing how a maverick can just cry.
[Damasu crying again] Everyone just loves how Damasu's purple highlights look. o.O It's really beautiful.
[Damasu blurred] Everything around her is blurred except for her face.
[Curiosity] Black/white pic of Kristis looking across the stream
[Reflections] This is an actual scene. o_O; I don't know what I was on when I drew that pic.
[Cover] This picture works as the cover for this fanfic =D
[Damaru in a dress] This is the dress Minerva gave to Damaru =P

Fan art!

By Ryco:
[Fruit Tree] I like this spiffy pic of FT just happy and bouncing around. XD
[FT, PT, and DY] Battle pic! =P Ryco's very talented =D

By Fred The Met:
[Psycho Zero] This was drawn on an oekaki. O.o; this'd be when Zero's gonna kill poor Kris. XP
[Damaru] I forgot to add this one. :3

By Ancient
[Pine Tree in capsule, having flashbacks] OH MY GOD. THIS IS SO GORGEOUS. o____o