moments passed in silence.
filtered through the half-open bays doors. A bitter
wind swept through the room, twisting dark ash into
insubstantial pillars and sending it to scatter into
skirling patterns on the flame-blasted floor.
the low hum of an approaching hovership threaded its
way through the howling noise of the cold mountain wind.
Debris rattled with something more than wind, and a
smoke-darkened metal plate slowly slid to the side,
clattering to the floor. A grimy, pale hand reached
out of a shattered glass bubble and pulled a twisted
manual release lever.
Wily tumbled to the ground from his battered war mech
and glared around him.
stood stock still before him, his eyes staring off into
the German roboticist prostrated himself and whimpered.
The words that came from his mouth were barely a whisper,
laden with humiliation and fear.
several minutes he bowed down submissively. The bitter
taste of defeat accompanied the bile that rose in his
throat. He blinked back tears of rage and pressed his
forehead to the floor. How? How had he been defeated?
His plans of a New World Order had shattered like glass,
leaving Dr. Wily bloodying his hands on the shards as
he tried to press them back together.
dreams slipped away on the wind, along with a portion
of his madness.
looked back at the events of the past few weeks and
forced down shame. How could he have possibly committed
such atrocities? How many deaths lay on his conscience?
How could he have turned against his own cousin?
shame hardened into bitterness. If he had not acted
as he had, then the world would have inflicted a greater
catastrophe upon itself. Perhaps now people would finally
wake up and realize that robots were not the solution
to the world's problems, but just another symptom of
a deeper dilemma.
a fleeting, terrible moment, a huge, fanged monster
leaped at him from the shadows, and the scientist cringed,
expecting the worst. However, it too, like his dreams
and ambitions, turned to dust and blew away on the howling
wind. Dr. Wily turned and looked out the bay doors,
at the sea of stars.
after a moment's mournful contemplation did he realize
that Rock still hadn't moved.
* * * *
the center of the inky blackness, a thought surfaced.
expression of existence broadened, took on ego.
light flashed into existence. A name, nearly forgotten
and elusive as a moth.
eyes topped with dark eyebrows and a cloud of snow-white
leaves of a beautiful chrome and wood treeborg, veined
with silicon and rustling slightly in the early autumn
globe of golden fire setting over a huge metropolis,
painting the city in shades of metallic red and yellow,
turning the windows of sundry buildings into breathtaking
lamps of cold fire.
shiny and circular and painful, severing motion cables
and slashing through pale syntheflesh.
huge monster of brass and fire, bathed in the blood
of innocents and raining ruby-colored death onto the
unfortunate blue figure below . . .
the realization came a surge of joy and wild exultation.
Something unexpected and wonderful had happened, and
he was alive! A feeling of freedom, of a heavy, oppressive
weight disappearing suffused him.
blinked and realized that he had been staring straight
ahead for several minutes.
was he alive? His mind swam with questions and probability
matrices. The virus? Where was it? Had the virus hunter
somehow destroyed it?
lit Rock's youthful face.
defying the Second Rule, where the virus had been contained,
the module short-circuited and drove the virus into
the waiting jaws of the virus-hunter program written
by Roll and Dr. Light. Somehow, he had survived!
ran a quick diagnostic on himself. Why had he survived
using both plasma busters--especially when the left
one had been forced into operation only through sheer
force of will? He should have overloaded and deactivated
all circuits--including his memory banks--by committing
such an act.
surprisingly, his operating energy was down to less
than 1%. He blinked and ran a quick energy-trace history
program. What he found amazed him; somehow, the remaining
energy stores reserved for weapons operation had spontaneously
shifted amperage to match the required amount for his
second buster shot!
started in surprise and immediately wished he hadn't
as every warning alarm and alert message he could possibly
generate screamed for attention. He slowly turned his
head and scanned the room for Dr. Wily.
stood the German madman, silhouetted against the night
sky revealed by the half-open bay doors. His wild white
hair blew wispy in the cold breeze that twisted through
the room like an ethereal serpent and twined its way
about the half-melted remains of the golden war mech.
turned a stared at Rock for a moment, his face displaying
a gamut of expressions from hatred to frustration to
sorrow. After a few seconds, seeming to sense that Rock
had awoken, he took a half step backwards.
robot must never harm a human being," he said, voice
tremorous with fear.
felt his anger circuits once again begin to heat, but
he tempered his anger with his exultation at being alive.
The mixed emotions made his voice sound strange to his
ears. "Hearing that from you is the ultimate
irony. Stay right where you are, Wily. I won't warn
you twice." An idle threat, of course, but Dr. Wily
would now have little way to know that, having seen
Rock break the first two Rules of Robotics. The raven-haired
android stood still, waiting to see his adversary's
Dr. Wily knelt on the rubble-strewn floor. His weathered
features chiseled by bitterness and humiliation, he
bowed down in the ancient Japanese style of a peasant
paying respect to his lord. The wrinkled brow touched
the ground and with the palms pressed down on either
hurt to even move closer, Rock stood absolutely still
and let his auto-repair systems do what little they
could for the next several minutes.
the U.N.'s elite strike force arrived, that was how
they found the two enemies.
* * * *
Mears brushed ash from his too-tight uniform and glared
out the window of the hovership. Dr. Wily had been taken
into custody by his troops, to stand trial for war crimes
and a hundred other, less monumental offenses. The so-called
hero Rockman now sat opposite General Mears in the hovership's
he looked more or less human. The slash across his face
that ran from his upper right temple to just above the
bridge of his nose might have been leaking a dark fluid
that smelled of oil rather than blood, and the thing
a the end of his left arm was certainly not organic.
However, if Mears had seen Rockman in civilian clothing,
he might have mistaken him for human.
had not spoken more than a few words since his rescue
a few hours before. When Mears and his troops had arrived,
Rock had merely guided Dr. Wily to the two troops that
had taken custody of him, muttered "Thank you," and
limped into the hovership. Mears felt that it was his
duty to invite the android to the officers' lounge.
comm unit beeped. Mears sat up straight. "Yes?"
we're about to launch the warheads."
took a deep breath. The warheads were nuclear, though
not even so destructive as the type that had ended the
second World War nearly three-quarters of a century
ago. Although there was very little risk of any human
settlements being contaminated, the areas surrounded
Skull Castle would not host life for decades.
hovership shook the slightest bit as two missiles' worth
of weight detached themselves from the hull and rocketed
towards Dr. Wily's fortress. A moment passed, and the
sky lit with a man-made sun. Waves of destruction spread
out around the place where Skull Castle had been only
seconds before, blasting mountain tops into rubble.
A large mushroom cloud slowly rose over the blackened
bones of the mountainside, and Mears could have sworn
that he saw a macabre death's head image in the cloud.
sighed with something that might have been sorrow, or
turned to him. "Well, that's done with." He cleared
his throat and awkwardly continued. "So, how do you
was several moments before the blue-armored figure before
him answered. However, when he did, the expression on
the android's face was so radiant, so full of joy, that
Mears almost believed the word that Rockman said.
sat straighter in the officer's seat and spoke once
more to General Mears.
you very much, Sir, for rescuing me. Now that Dr. Wily
is safe in your custody, I believe I'd like to return
large man shrugged. "I'm sure you would, but this ship
is touching down in Argentina. I'm sure you can make
arrangements from there."
half-smiled. "Oh, that won't be necessary." And before
the General's astonished eyes, the blue-armored robot
hunter disappeared in a line of sapphire flame and light.
* * * *
below the ruins of Skull Castle, unaffected by the nuclear
hell above, something stirred.
might have been a robot. Perhaps it had dragged itself,
always on the brink of death, through a coolant-system
access panel. Perhaps it had, bereft of sight and hearing
and all but the feeble spark of life, laboriously dragged
itself ever deeper into the comforting darkness.
the case, its overworked auto-repair systems had finally
begun to catch up with nearly endless list of demands
that assailed it, and sight returned to the mangled,
legless thing that existed in the lowest depths of what
had once been Skull Castle.
days it sat, letting itself recharge and grow more powerful.
one looked at this thing that may once have been called
Docman, the only thing visible in the otherwise complete
blackness of the now-empty drainage systems would have
been a single crimson eye, burning with hatred like
a small portal to hell.
thoughts drove the thing to keep its all-but-worthless
would destroy the one who had abandoned it to horrible,
it would utterly destroy the one who had maimed it nearly
above, slightly luminescent mist inflicted death and
sterility on the soil and mountains .
in the depths of the earth, a half-living robot dreamed
its dreams of madness and revenge.
* * * *
landed at the outskirts of Tokyo, right around sunset.
the mountains to the west, the sun was a red-gold disk
whose ruby-colored rays touched Rock's face with warm,
invisible fingers. The evening breeze provided a cool,
pleasant contrast as it wafted up from the sea.
no hurry, Rock began to walk. He intended to enjoy his
journey home--every precious second of it. What a precious
gift his life had become! He retracted his helmet into
his skull and let the breeze play with his hair as the
shades of the sky deepened from dark crimson to violet
to indigo and finally to nearly black.
stars had emerged from their daily sleep and now blazed
with unearthly beauty down on the city. Rock gazed fondly
at his home. Neo Tokyo was alight with a thousand different
colors as people celebrated the downfall of Dr. Wily
and the restoration of peace to the world. Rock's brow
creased slightly as he thought of Dr. Wily, but he brushed
the thoughts aside; they could wait until another day.
sea of lights that was the city was a distorted reflection
of the sea of stars above, and Rock marveled at their
twin beauty. The moon had already risen when he finally
began to approach Dr. Light's house.
waiting for him, were the familiar faces: Dr. Light,
and Roll. Snap and his daughters, Bess and Julie. Many
of the workers from the LighTech lab were in attendance
too, and Rock immediately spotted Akira Yamatsu with
his mismatched eyes. Even Dr. Light's storage robot
Eddie stood in expectation.
the crowd spotted him a deafening cheer broke out, and
Rock felt his face muscles almost involuntarily stretch
into a grin. Finally, it was over, and he was among
family and friends: those who cared for him. He leaped
to embrace Roll and Dr. Light, and felt something roll
down his cheek as he crushed his "sister" in a bear
the moon rose even further above the megatropolis of
Neo Tokyo, it illuminated a group of celebrants clustered
around a figure in battered blue armor and wild, sable-hued
hair. Laughter echoed through the surrounding area and
a wave of happiness and relief seemed to spread throughout
Rock was, finally, fully happy and content.
* * * *
Robot War has drawn to a close, with humanity as the
victor and Rockman as its ironic savior.
chaotic domination of Dr. Wily has been ended, and the
world has been restored to peace once more. Pockets
of resistance amongst HSL fanatics still hold out, and
the never-ending battle between order and chaos, between
peace and the forces of destruction, always continues.
humanity has found new champion that stands tall against
the winds of misfortune.
Rockman! For everlasting peace!
This Picture is IRA's, please do not take!
of the Past will never be forgotten, true to the
world, the eight siblings were the first of a new generation of robots. In Memory of
Tim, Jason, Gary, Edward, IRA, and Scott. My sons,
my first creations. The Sinister Six. May they
rest in peace.
~Dr. Tomas Xavior Light