think it was probably Vajurila who said it best back
before the liberation: 'If all else fails, fry the
bastards. Irregulars might be tough, but run enough
electricity through even Sigma himself, and he'll light
up like a Christmas Tree.' Wise words, spoken by
a wise repliroid. So fear not, Dr. Doppler; even if
I have to waste all my energy blasting those Hunters
for you, it'll be done. Nobody likes being electrocuted."
Namazarus (Volt Catfish), directly following the revolt
of Doppler Town
had been difficult, and hard to reconcile at first.
Walken heaved a nervous sigh, his shattered nerves frayed.
The leader of the HSL had gambled with his life; and
it had very nearly cost him. If the rest of the League
ever found out about this, he would be lynched in a
Walken had special ordered the robot to be built in
secret by the remnants of the New Frankish Empire quite
some time ago. It was supposed to be illegal, but the
nations that had been France, Italy and Spain were still
poor from reparations, even after all these years. James
Walken was, among other things, rich. No sensible roboticist
would turn down millions of dollars, even if it were
for a job that was highly illegal.
Walken knew, if the man were starving.
so James Walken had contracted Dr. Benoit Fitzgerald
to build a robotic duplicate of the HSL's founder.
course, it wasn't a robot in the truest sense--it was
entirely remote-control operated. That was how james
Walken excused the sin to himself. Of course, robots
were evil, and using a robot to bring about the downfall
of robots was just an example of how evil always planted
the seed of its own defeat, even as its black tree grew.
ever questioned, that was how James Walken would answer.
truth, he was still--in his heart--a paranoiac who had
never felt safe after watching the brutal death of his
father decades ago. After Dr. Wily's frequent outbursts,
Walken had abandoned Skull Castle in secret, leaving
behind a remote-controlled robotic duplicate of himself.
duplicate which had cost him over ten million dollars.
duplicate for which the brilliant French roboticist
had later been put to death by the HSL for manufacturing.
duplicate which had just been utterly destroyed by some thing that wore the guise of Juan Iago. James
Walken's fury rose at the gall of it. That Dr. Wily
should try to assassinate him! He, James Walken,
was far more fit to live than the antichrist who ruled
what the hell had that thing been?
shivered uncontrollably. Were it not for his cautious
nature, that might have been him that suffered a fatal
plasma wound. Walken tried not to imagine how it would
feel to be disemboweled by a blast so powerful that
his viscera would be vaporized instantly upon contact.
was the time to act.
had already spoken to Juan since the incident, and the
pair had decided to storm Skull Castle. Even now, the
mass of the Human Supremacy League would be gathering
just out of range of Skull Castle's radar-detection
system. Within a week--if that--Wily and his demon-robots
would be dead along with Rockman.
in his state of semi-shock, James Walken was arrogant
enough to let a nasty smile form on his now-pasty features.
Yes, soon Wily and all other obstructions to Walken's
supremacy would be dead.
James Walken would rule the world.
* * * *
narrowed her eyes and inspected herself in the mirror.
was as if the armor had been custom-tailored for her.
Taking a few experimental steps, she saw that the light
blue body glove seemed to move with her skin, so that
no folds or creases reflected any light. As for the
titanium-mesh armor underneath the body glove, it was
weighty without being heavy enough to slow Monique down
in a potentially fatal situation.
turned towards Juan Iago, who--at the moment--was the
picture of impatience.
it work?" Juan asked.
to," the assassin replied noncommittally. "But this,"
she indicated the egg-shaped sheath which covered her
hand and the laser blaster she held in it, "will take
some getting used to."
used to it quickly then," the second-in-command for
the HSL snorted. "You've got less than an hour before
your reign of terror begins, 'Rockman.'"
allowed herself a sardonic grin. "Whose idea was this,
lowered his voice and shifted nervous eyes back and
forth, as if trying to avoid any unwanted attention.
"Actually, I think it was Dr. Wily's idea, but our grand
exalted leader has convinced himself that it was his
idea to begin with."
assassin snorted. "Typical. All you religious fanatics
are the same."
straightened with a hurt and angry look in his eye.
"Fanatics? Please remember whom your addressing, Ms.
Jansen. I am your employer, and second-in-command
of the largest operative army in the world at this time."
I," Monique replied, "am capable of gutting you from
this distance without so much as a blink of my eye,
so don't get any ideas into that self-righteous head
of yours. Besides," she added, "religious fanatics always
have the best pay."
think it's time you got going," Juan snapped. "Take
this," he handed her a teleporter, "and go to New Denver.
Kill any humans you find there." Observing no reaction
from Monique, he continued. "After that, you go to Croatia.
can remember my orders after the first dozen reminders,"
Monique answered. Then, looking suspiciously at the
teleporter, "Are you sure this thing's safe? I know
you're paying me a lot, but--"
safe," Juan assured her. "Believe me, there's nothing
that could go wrong."
rolled her eyes before she disappeared in a flash of
white light. "Oh, sure."
stood still, breathing in the ionized air for a few
moments. Of course, the teleporter was just as likely
to kill her as to work, but neither way particularly
mattered to the Brazilian guerrilla. After the attempt
on Walken's life, Juan understood that it was paramount
to launch as many attacks against Rockman as possible
so that the main force of the HSL could storm Skull
Castle while Rockman was busy with diversions.
besides, he reflected, framing Rockman for the death
of hundreds of innocents would be a fitting irony.
grinned wolfishly and then turned to his work. Explosives
were his specialty, and there would be great need for
them at the siege of Skull Castle.
* * * *
Rock muttered. "That hurts."
complaining, and watch your mouth," Bess ordered with
matronly authority as she helped Roll graft replacement
skin to Rock's body. "I think it was silly of you to
fight a robot that could do this to you anyway."
stifled a grin, despite his grim turn of mind. Snap's
ten-year-old daughter had taken her job as honorary
nurse very seriously. Roll, after her initial reaction
of amusement, could see no harm in letting the child
help place strips of adhesive skin on Rock's charred
body. After all, his frame had long since lost most
of its heat, so there was no way the child could burn
Roll said, "you look like you're doing pretty well."
She managed a smile as she added, "At least, except
for your skin."
Rock answered curtly.
up," Bess said, "Dr. Light thinks he might have found
a way to neutr . . . neu . . . neuter the virus!"
had to bite his tongue to keep from laughing. "I think
you mean neutralize," he said, "But the news is appreciated."
Casting a look at Roll, he suggested, "Why don't you
go and see how your dad is doing?"
bubbled Bess, and she bounced out of the room.
a few moments of silence, Rock asked, "Is it true? Has
Dr. Light . . ."
made a gesture halfway between a shrug and a nod. "He
said that to Bess, but I'm really not sure if he was
just trying to be optimistic or not. He's been locked
up all this morning trying to devise an anti-virus that
will help, but the only product I've observed so far
is lots of muted swearing from his room."
. . ." Rock flexed his right arm, testing the feel of
his new syntheflesh. "Only one more General to defeat."
He made a fist. "I wonder what Wily has done to Edward."
didn't answer; it was a rhetorical question, as she
her throat, she asked, "So, did you get anything from--"
Rock answered, "Yes. I'll just recharge while you install
the chip." He proffered the data chip between his index
and middle fingers.
accepted the chip and removed a small, hand-held computer
module from her pocket. Rock looked on, semi-interested,
as she inserted the chip into the top of the small device.
His sibling stared critically at the small screen for
a moment before nodding curtly and removing the chip.
couldn't help himself. "What is that?"
a chip-analyzer," Roll answered as she turned towards
her work table. "I thought that maybe if I modified
my little computer to tell me how compatible a chip's
infonet structure is with your brain, then it'd save
me time on adjustments."
idea," Rock said admiringly. "So what'd it tell you?"
the Firestorm weapon should basically give you the ability
to shoot a sphere of fire about the size of your head.
You won't get a wall of flame, I'm afraid, but you should
be temporarily shielded from any attacks."
gave her brother a look of mock-annoyance. "I thought
you were going to recharge."
I guess so." Rock lay back and closed his eyes. "Well,
let me know when you're done. I have a feeling that
this next job is going to be pure hell . . . as if the
last one wasn't."
Roll grunted noncommittally. "Well, get some rest, hero.
I have some work to do on you, and there's not much
momentary light mood evaporated as he pondered the truth
of Roll's statement. He was beginning to feel the effects
of the virus again; it was a constant reminder of his
newly inflicted mortality.
dreams," Roll said.
Rock switched into recharge mode, he wondered whether
she had been serious or joking.
* * * *
giggling bounced off the plated walls of the double-shielded
chamber. The echoes found one another and twisted together
to create an effect that was at once grimly comical
and unsettling. Added to the initial giggling came peals
of laughter, each tinged with irrationality and craziness
more than the last. The twisted overtones of the laughter
were enough to drive a mortal to insanity just by listening
realizing that made the androbot laugh even harder.
Dr. Light would have been amazed to see one of his creations
laughing with such human gusto. However, he would have
quickly tired of the discovery in favor of finding a
way to escape the manic giggling.
in the next one!" Elecman managed to gasp between chuckles.
black-armored androbot flexed crimson-gloved hands and
savored the moment of anticipation. His "throne room"
as he had dubbed it, perched atop the massive World
Energy Plant, and as a result, all of his visitors or
victims were made to climb a long ladder to reach him.
Their entrance to his chamber was more often than not
of course, was of the utmost amusement to the renegade
a moment, robotic hands roughly shoved a cowering human
up through the floor entrance to Elecman's throne room.
The pitiful man looked to be in his late thirties, and
was covered with grime and mud. Perhaps this was one
of the captured escapees, Elecman mused.
broken Croation, Elecman spoke. "What is your name,
name?" The man seemed taken aback to be addressed in
his own language.
fell on his back in gales of laughter. "Lord, what fools
these mortals be!" he gasped. Then, as suddenly as it
had begun, the laughter stopped, and Elecman was on
his feet, lightning fast. Within half a breath, he was
standing directly before the terrified man, holding
a crackling ball of energy in his hands.
name, human! Now!" All mirth had fled from his voice.
the man stuttered.
Elecman rolled the name around in his mind. "Yuri. Heh
heh. Ha ha ha!"
what to think of this insane robot who laughed at everthing,
Yuri took a nervous half-step backwards.
move!" Elecman snarled, his angry voice echoing across
stopped dead in his tracks.
Elecman walked towards his prey. "Do you know what they
used to call me?" he asked. Receiving no answer from
the man, he continued. "My name used to be Icarus. Now,
if you can tell me who Icarus was, and why I got that
name, I'll give you a sporting chance at life. How does
that sound, human?"
nodded miserably. "Well. That sounds well, master."
Elecman clapped his hands together in glee. "Master,
is it? I like that. Ha ha ha! Yes, indeed. I like that
very much, human. Did you know that you are the first
out of all those--" he gestured to a pile of corpses,
barely recognizable for their burned states, "--to call
cast a derisive look upon the man. "What's this drivel
you're spouting, worm?"
Master? Icarus is a Greek name, isn't it?" Yuri shook
with near-hysterical fear.
was a moment of deadly silence, in which the Croatian
swore he could hear his heartbeats echoing off of the
walls. Then Elecman burst out in another peal of laughter.
Yes, absolutely! Oh, you're good, Yuri. Now, Yuri--"
the androbot paused momentarily. "I may call
you Yuri, mayen't I?" Not waiting for a response, he
continued. "Now, Yuri . . . tell me who Icarus was."
Yuri shook. "Ah, he made wings of feathers and wax and
flew away from prison?"
he lived to tell the tale?"
Master." Yuri quivered.
nodded. "Very good. Very good, Yuri." He took a few
steps closer. "But I was speaking of Icarus, not Daedelus."
blood ran cold.
try," Elecman chuckled, and released millions of volts
and amperes' worth of electricity into the hapless man.
Keeping a firm grip on the body, Elecman began to giggle
as it jiggled around with the force of all the energy
coursing through it. Soon, the body began to smoke,
and the head burst into flames.
to control his mirth any longer, Elecman collapsed to
the floor in helpless gales of laughter. "Woo hoo hoo!
Heh. Did you see him dance?! Ha! You should have seen
the look on his face!" He prattled to nobody for a few
more seconds before making several mad leaps into the
air and calling down the shaft.
in the next one!"
* * * *
decoy." Dr. Wily clenched his fists until his nails
bit red crescents into his oil-grimed palms. "That idiot?
How could he have the foresight?"
shifted uncomfortably. "I do not know. I only tell you
believe you," Wily snapped, with a dismissive wave of
his hand. "Well, we'd better get ready."
Docman, still in his holographic cloak of Juan Iago,
displayed a confused expression, in hopes that Dr. Wily
would notice and congratulate him once again on a job
German roboticist didn't even notice. With a frown,
he answered, "Yes, get ready. Prepare. You should understand
that." Without giving his creation time to respond to
the jibe, Wily explained. "I'm sure now that fool Walken
will try to attack me. And the way Rock--" he spat the
name with such fury-laden hate that Docman took an involuntary
step backwards, "--is on the verge of toppling my last
siege, then?" Docman dropped his holographic cloak and
looked in earnest at his god-creator.
however, made no answer. He stared at something unseen
in the corner before finally shivering, despite the
heat in the nether chambers of Skull Castle. With snake-quick
movements, Dr. Wily gripped a concealed laser pistol
and blasted away a nearby section of the wall.
in his eyes, he turned to Docman. "Do something!" the
mad scientist pleaded.
adjusted his photoreceptor intake to include all wavelengths
of light, and stared dutifully at the place where Dr.
Wily had loosed a laser blast. Nothing appeared to him
but the infrared glow of the still-hot wall fragments
on the ground.
against me too!" Dr. Wily screamed, leveling the pistol
at Docman's head.
dropped to the floor at Wily's feet and groveled. "No,
Master. Please, don't kill--"
it was already over. Wily looked incredulously down
at Docman for several long moments. After a near eternity
of silence, Docman's aural receptors picked up the barely
audible whisper of his creator. "What have I done?"
a daze, Dr. Wily walked out of the room. His right arm,
hanging slack at his side, still gripped the laser pistol.
Frightened, but unwilling to leave his master, Docman
followed. Hoping to avoid another outburst, he stayed
in the shadows as he followed, using his holographic
abilities to blend more easily.
minutes passed while Docman stealthily pursued his "father"
through the nightmarish honeycomb-maze of Skull Castle's
lower levels. And when he finally deemed it safe to
approach Wily more closely, the German scientist vanished
with the telltale line of white fire from a teleporter.
Docman swore violently and turned back. There was no
telling where Dr. Wily had gone now. He was beginning
to wonder of Dr. Wily's already crippled sanity would
hold out long enough command the siege, or if he, Docman,
would need to take over.
the androbot had tear ducts, he would have wept.
* * * *
Wily appeared in the seat of his giant mech. here, in
his ultimate creation, was the only place he felt safe
now. Despite the fact that his Skull Castle was one
of the best fortresses in the world, and that perched
in the Andes, it was incredibly defensible, it wasn't
enough. Despite the fact that he was guarded by his
miraculous cyclops robot and Docman, and even that half-finished
robot in the sewer system, and that he had over a thousand
robot soldiers in the castle, it wasn't enough.
Wily was the most powerful man in the world at the moment.
With over nine different Skull Castles spread out across
the globe, each in ultra-secret locations and virtually
impossible to find, even for those who knew where to
look, he controlled the best-defended military installations
on the planet.
it wasn't enough.
here, in the glass bubble-encased cockpit of his massive
war mech, floating lazily a few meters above the ground,
did Dr. Wily feel even the slightest bit secure. Here,
the visions did not come to him. Here, he was in charge
of the world.
feeling very foolish, Dr. Wily looked at himself, dressed
in a dirty lab coat and streaked all over with dirt,
grease, oil, sweat and tears. Here he was, cowering
like a little child in his fortress, when he should
all, Rock would be dead within a day and a half, and
James Walken would be nothing but an insect throwing
himself impotently against the impregnable walls of
Skull Castle. With the world's hero gone and the only
man who might challenge him close enough to kill at
his leisure, Dr. Wily would have nothing to stand in
began to chuckle.
he began to laugh.
when he realized that he would finally be able to banish
the visions, he broke into full scale guffaws.
a glass bubble in the lowest depths of Skull Castle,
a vision of madness giggled to himself.
outside, the rain abated.
* * * *
Rock awoke, his internal chronometer warned him that
he had only thirty seven hours and 16 minutes left in
life before the virus ended everything. The sensors
in his back had slightly overloaded, and the surplus
energy returned to his main CPU as pain signals that
were singly minute, but collectively irritating.
the android snapped as he sat up. "I've got 37 hours
to live, and I just woke up with a backache." He glared
at anything and everything in the lab room that would
have his anger before standing and inspecting himself.
up the weapons submenu in his brain, he noticed that
there were two new additions. Besides his plasma buster,
the rolling cutter, hyper bombs and ice slasher, there
were now firestorm and magnet beam.
beam?" he mused aloud.
not finished yet," Dr. Light answered from the back
of the room. Rock turned so he could see his creator-father.
The white-bearded man shook his head. "We've got most
of it transferred into your system, but there's a crucial
piece that we don't have yet."
does it do?" Rock asked.
should use a strong magnetic field to pull trace amounts
of iron out of anything nearby and create a small levitating
platform," Dr. Light answered. "We've got everything
working, but the only electromagnetic super-conductive
coil we had disappeared with Roll's armor, and the local
power plant is understandably reluctant to part with
Any word yet on Roll's armor?" Rock asked.
Light's expression turned grim, the corners of his eyes
becoming pinched. "As a matter of fact, yes. It's bad.
Very bad. I was thinking not to even tell you yet, but
I suppose you'll have to know anyway."
experienced the robotic equivalent of feeling a large
stone settle in his stomach.
What is it?"
me," Light instructed. "Take a look for yourself."
his apprehension circuits already firing repeatedly
and his anxiety relays working overtime, Rock followed
his creator, trying to ignore the millions of grim hypotheses
that sprang to mind. He was equally unsuccessful with
been all over the holovid since just after you went
into recharge mode," Dr. Light said. Gesturing angrily
towards the living room, he stopped to let Rock complete
the journey himself.
glared apprehensively at the three-dimensional display
that hung in the middle of the living room. Smoke drifted
across the remote camera's lens, partially obscuring
the events transpiring before in a film of darkness,
and a large, dark something was blocking the lower left
hand corner of the screen. Now and again, flashes of
light could be seen in the far distance, accompanied
by muffled shrieks.
anger circuits heating, Rock realized that the dark
shape obscuring the left corner of the display was a
blackened human arm; the radius and ulna poked grimly
out of heat-crisped flesh. The cameraman, Rock presumed.
Since the grisly third world war, it was not an uncommon
practice for news stations to keep broadcasting from
operational cameras, though their operators had been
killed. The practice disgusted Rock.
is this?" Rock demanded, turning to Dr. Light.
Dr. Light answered. "Just outside the World Power Plant."
the hell is Wily doing?" Rock slammed his titanium fist
into an open palm. "Does he think I won't try to stop
him if he destroys the place first?"
than that, I'm afraid." Snap stood from his previously
unnoticed place on the couch. Rock smiled wanly at his
friend, but was unable to muster the enthusiasm for
a proper welcome in the face of such destruction.
do you mean, 'worse'?"
cleared his throat. "It's you."
Rock's eyes went wide.
not you," Light clarified, stepping into the room and
placing a hand on his "son's" shoulder. "It seems that
Dr. Wily has created a duplicate of you."
impossible!" Rock snapped, angry at the situation. "He
hasn't had the time!"
don't know how long he's been working on it," Dr. Light
countered, "But if you have your doubts, let me show
you." He raised his voice. "Back three minutes."
the holovid filled with static for a moment while it
accessed the data it had replayed three minutes previously.
The image fizzed and stretched across the holographic
"cube" of its playing field for a moment before settling
down to its replay.
is Susan Holmgrem reporting live from the World Power
Plant," a willowy figure in purple said into a microphone.
Rock recognized her immediately. Susan Holmgrem was
a British journalist who was known for her innate ability
to find a dangerous situation, get embroiled in it,
and then live to report about it. The android felt his
anxiety circuits heat.
the heroic crusade against evil by Megaman," she said,
"we are standing on the last stronghold of outlaw Dr.
William Wily's power. The World Power Plant here in
central Croatia--" a map appeared in the corner of the
screen, detailing the area, "--is held by a renegade
Robot Master calling itself 'Elecman.' Early reports
indicate hundreds dead personally at the hands of this
line of blue fire appeared several meters behind the
emergency power generator upgraded itself to standby
status as his anxiety circuits began to overheat. Dr.
Light and Snap could both hear him half-whisper a single
figure garbed in pale blue stalked quickly towards the
camera. Raising an egg-shaped weapon on the end of its
arm, it loosed a blast of energy. Susan Holmgrem had
barely a split second to turn, not realizing that her
own death was upon her.
bit back the impulse to close his eyes as the British
reporter dissolved before the screen in an intense flare
of light that blanked the holovid display for a moment.
When the image was restored, there was no trace of her.
shit." It was the cameraman's voice. The camera angle
skewed and twisted crazily as the cameraman turned to
run for his life. Rock knew it would be of no avail.
For a few agonizing seconds, no sound of pursuit could
without warning, the sound of plasma crackling through
the air and a barely perceptible "umph" heralded the
demise of the cameraman. The camera crashed to the ground,
filling the screen with static for a moment, before
the picture was restored.
stared bleakly at a vision of . . .
pictured with damning clarity on the screen, was Rock's
armor, Rock's helmet, and even his own face. Hawk-blue
eyes stared directly back at their twins on the other
side of the screen.
frame." Rock commanded, shaken.
Light stepped forward. "You see," he said, "Wily has
sent 'you' to destroy. What he hopes to accomplish isn't
exactly certain, but it's my guess that he's trying
to rob the people of their hope."
happened in New Denver, too," Snap continued the thought
where the roboticist had left off. "With their 'savior'
suddenly against them, the populace has nothing to hope
for, and Dr. Wily will have a much easier time destroying
times 50," Rock snapped, ignoring both humans. "Coordinates
85,67,1456 to 786,900,3095." He glared at the holographic
cube, before turning swiftly to Dr. Light an Snap. "There!
Do you see it?"
men looked blankly at the seemingly meaningless zoomed-in
portion of the screen. Dr. Light suddenly hissed sharply.
holographic emitter!" he exclaimed, recognizing the
tiny array of lights, barely visible at the top of "Rockman's"
face. He furrowed his brow. "But why?"
grunted. "I don't get it. If Wily is such a genius,
why didn't he just build a robot to look like you instead
of using a hologram cloaker?"
he didn't have the time," Dr. Light suggested.
it's not a robot," Rock countered. Both Snap and Dr.
Light turned to look at him. "What if this isn't Dr.
purpose--?" Snap didn't bother to finish the question.
paced to the end of the room. "You said that an HSL
terrorist stole Roll's armor." It was a statement, not
a question. "What if this is purely an HSL plot? That
could be an assassin in Roll's armor!"
Light frowned. "I don't see why the League would be
destroying Dr. Wily's base. That seems counterproductive."
smiled grimly. "Methinks there be trouble in paradise,"
he said. "It makes sense that the bloody League would
turn on Dr. Wily once it was obvious that he was losin'.
The HSL is probably makin' trouble for him as we speak."
eyes widened--a human response he hadn't even realized
he'd picked up. "If that's true, then Dr. Wily's life
is in danger! We have to find him fast!"
to let the League kill 'im," Snap muttered darkly.
shook his head. "One madman killing another madman isn't
right," Dr. Light answered. "I'll start working on some
way to pinpoint Dr. Wily's location. You get to Croatia
and liberate that power plant. Be careful of that impostor.
He may still be there, and if he's human, you can't--"
know," Rock answered curtly. "Wish me luck."
in the room spoke as the android activated his telporter.
Rock wondered grimly if his last day and a half of life
would be spent in battle.
shielded his eyes against the too-bright glare of the
blue-white teleport beam.
hours and 59 minutes.
* * * *
morning haze misted the air.
spire-like structure of the World Power Plant towered
over the city of Keliva. Outlined in shades of pale
azure and grey by the early morning sky, the large,
cylindrical building appeared as a giant, pole-like
Christmas Tree. A myriad of lights flashed within, visible
only as specks of luminance from the outside. Multicolored
electrical discharges from broken power couplings lit
up entire floors of the otherwise grimly dark structure.
Now and then, the beacon light atop the tower flashed
at seemingly random intervals.
few people who had not fled the city or been exterminated
by the renegade robots awoke silently. Acting out of
the past few days' habit, they armed themselves with
whatever weapons were close to hand. On the fringes
of the city, the people switched the safety off of their
pistols, charged up their small laser guns, and readied
their supplies of grenades and heavy guns.
one remembered the threat of the city's self-proclaimed
master, Elecman. Holding aloft a barely recognizable
stump of a human skeleton, he had proclaimed from his
throne room atop the tower to everybody watching the
holocaust that he intended to wipe out all pockets of
resistance in the city.
hope from the defeat of Dr. Wily's other five generals
by Rockman, the people had risen up against Elecman
the previous night . . .
to be met by Rockman himself, who incinerated half of
the militia intent on taking back its freedom by force.
Those few who survived the encounter had fled in panic
and terror. Was it possible that their savior had turned
renegade as well? As the dreaded news spread like wildfire
throughout the city's remaining inhabitants, the spark
of hope was extinguished, and the people prepared themselves
on this early morning, the sentinels were surprised
to see a line of blue energy descend upon the Power
Plant itself, and not into the city proper . . .
* * * *
Rock arrived, with only thirty four hours left to live,
he was surprised to find himself in the main structure
of the Power Plant itself. Unlike the rest of the Robot
Masters Rock had faced, Elecman apparently feared no
intrusion by an outside force.
sure whether to interpret the information as a good
sign or a bad sign, Rock shook his head. Despite the
lack of a magnetic field preventing teleportation to
the tower itself, the climb up would be no picnic, and
the electromagnetic fields generated by the power plant
itself made it highly dangerous--if not flat impossible--to
teleport within the tower.
gritted his teeth as a wave of pain washed over him.
The virus was establishing a firmer grip on his system,
and had begun to break past the barrier placed by Dr.
Light and Roll. He would have to move quickly in this
area, or risk falling prey to the almost certainly lethal
effects of the virus.
Dr. Wily and the HSL, the android turned his crystalline
blue eyes up to take in his surroundings. He was at
the bottom of a burned-out Power Induction tube, he
surmised. The World Power Plant was built in such a
way that fifteen of these colossal tubes surrounded
the tower's base and extended thousands of feet into
ten feet or so, an access platform jutted out of the
cylindrical wall. Rock squinted, trying in vain to see
the top of the shaft. Despite adding a little power
to augment his vision, Rock could still only see the
access ladders and platforms extending upwards for hundreds
of feet. There was no telling where the shaft emerged
a deep breath to fuel his fusion generator, Rock decided
that the best course of action would be to simply climb
out of the Power Induction shaft so that he could get
a sense of where Edward was. Undoubtedly, the atomic
energy androbot would be at the top of the tower, which
would mean grueling hours of climbing.
Rock reminded himself bleakly, that he could not afford
right," he snapped, "Then stop wasting time!"
quickest route would be the direct one, so Rock leaped
up to the nearest access platform.
he was knocked off of his feet and almost back down
to the floor by a multidirection sensor 'bot which patrolled
at his own carelessness and having lost operating energy
already, Rock deftly switched to Rolling Cutter and
disposed of the sentry robot in a flash of light. More
cautiously, he took an experimental leap upwards to
see if a sentry 'bot guarded the next platform.
enough, Rock's aural sensors could detect the supersonic
whine of a sensor 'bot's small engine running. As his
head cleared the shelf, the sensor 'bot accelerated
towards him, stopping at the edge, as if it were confused.
to destroy it before it could send an alert signal to
Edward, Rock loosed another Rolling Cutter. As he fell
back to the first platform, he could hear the snick-snick and muted explosion that signified success.
it went for several stories. Rock felt himself slipping
into the rhythm of the jump-fire-jump pattern quickly,
so he conserved time by pondering which weapon in his
small arsenal would do the most damage to the enemy
he would face at the top of the tower.
normal plasma buster would suffice in a pinch, Rock
supposed. However, Edward had been built to hold large
amounts of energy within himself, and thus was double-shielded
against energy discharges. While enough plasma bullets
would eventually take the atomic energy androbot down,
Rock did not look forward to the long and arduous process
of the battle.
Bombs, while useful, would detonate too slowly; Edward
had always been fast, and Rock assumed that, if anything,
he would be faster now. Besides that, Edward was an
excellent jumper, and simple calculations indicated
that he could leap out of harm's way long before the
bomb exploded. So Bombman's weapon was out.
the super-strength he had "acquired" after defeating
Gutsman would most likely prove suicidal. Rock briefly
entertained the idea of merely rushing his adversary
and tearing him apart limb from limb, but he knew that
doing so would take too long; a few well-placed electrical
discharges by Edward would end Rock quickly.
Ice Slasher might prove useful, Rock mused as he disposed
of another sentry 'bot and leaped to its abandoned platform.
Synthesized water inside the circuits of an electrical-energy
storage robot would probably prove disastrous. However,
after a moment, Rock dismissed the idea. Ice, no matter
how strong, would probably fail to penetrate the double-shielding
of Edward’s core generator.
. . . that left Firestorm and Rolling Cutter.
have you seen the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man, the Muffin
was abruptly torn from his analysis by an unnaturally
high-pitched voice. Whirling around to face the possible
threat, Rock was partly dismayed and partly relieved
when he saw nothing.
voice spoke again, and Rock traced it to its source;
a large speakerphone several stories up in an observation
bay, meant to be used by overseers who supervised repairs
to the Power Induction shaft while it was dormant.
I must take the A train," the voice singsonged. Rock
recognized it now, though it was changed by a strange
overtone that he could not quite place. It was Edward
who spoke. Rock hastened his ascent of the tower, barely
pausing as several broken power couplings sprang to
life, blasting bolts of energy into the air.
and avoiding the tracking sensor robots and the rhythmic
electrical discharges of broken power couplings, Rock
made his way to the top of the shaft.
at least, was what he intended.
to the top of the Induction shaft Rock took a short
rest to let his leg hydraulics cool down. It was then
that he noticed that from this point upwards, nearly
all of the service platforms had been blasted apart.
The only way up was a rickety access ladder that had
been badly damaged by plasma burns and laser fire.
my old friend. Is that you?" Rock froze at the mention
of his name by his adversary.
do you want?" Rock demanded as he grabbed the first
rung of the ladder. He grimaced as the whole structure
shook. This was likely to break under a human's weight,
let alone a titanium armored android!
it is you!" the voice cackled, and then broke into gales
of laughter. Had Rock been human, he would have shivered
at the disturbing sound, overlaid with the voice of
madness. "Marvelous, just marvelous!" Edward’s voice
began to grate against Rock's aural sensors. "Well,
are you in the mood for a game?"
game," Rock spat as he continued up the ladder. "And
just what did you have in mind?"
who intrudes on Elecman's domain," said the voice, "must
escape the gleaming tunnel of death." The latter part
was said with such a melodramatic flair that Rock rolled
Tunnel of Death," he muttered. "Sounds great."
glad you feel that way," Elecman replied from the speakerphone.
"It makes the chase so much more fun. If you survive,
I'll see you at the top, Rock!"
circuitry's screwed," Rock said under his breath.
had been so intent on climbing the ladder and his short
conversation with Elecman that the android didn't notice
the pale green orb at first.
his right, a green sphere slowly descended, its anti-gravity
engine slowly thrumming. Rock snapped his head up in
alarm as it came closer.
in . . ."
two long shafts sprouted from either end of the sphere,
each with a photoreceptive "eye" on the end. And just
as quickly, with no warning, two bolts of electricity
blasted from the apparatus.
swore as both bolts of energy slammed into him, causing
him to lose his grip and fall several meters before
once again establishing a firm grip on the rungs of
the ladder, which shuddered dangerously at the sudden
application of stress to its structure.
quick aim as the thing descended up him again, Rock
loosed several plasma bursts and watched with grim satisfaction
as it exploded into a million pieces in midair. However,
he had little time to enjoy his short victory. Looking
up, he saw several more of the green orbs descending
his courage and hastening up the ladder, he methodically
destroyed the remaining robots. Once at the top of the
ladder, he found himself standing on a small but sturdy
platform. Several meters above him and to the right
was another platform, and beyond that, another. After
that, he could see daylight filtering down through a
hole in the ceiling.
he could see no way to reach either platform.
doubled over as his entire system flooded with pain
signals. The virus was making itself felt again, and
this time, more clearly. Like a living thing crawling
in his head, Rock could feel the disruptive program
corroding the hasty defenses thrown up by Dr. Light
and Roll, and knew that it was only a matter of time
before the virus won.
energy and gritting his teeth, Rock released a low-level
electrical shock into his brain. It would hurt like
hell, but it wouldn't endanger his existence, so the
Second Law would still allow him to act.
a scream like that of a wounded animal, Rock rolled
onto his side. The electrical energy coursed through
his brain, destroying small, non-essential nodes and
circuits. His pain circuits began to overheat, and Rock
suddenly realized that if he didn't do anything to control
the charge, his brain would overload, and he would suffer
human terms, the pain would drive him to insanity.
his teeth until they literally spat sparks, Rock, by
sheer force of android will, batted down the pain until
it was within manageable levels. However, the effort
left him spent and gasping on his side. All systems
screamed for energy from his already overtaxed fusion
unit. As emergency power strove to compensate, Rock's
nonessential functions shut down. Sight, hearing and
speech were all sacrificed for a short time so that
he could continue to live.
minutes passed while Rock writhed on the ground.
after what seemed like an eternity Rock could stand,
and his vision began to flicker back on, with lines
of static running across the world for a few seconds.
System functions returned to normal, and Rock knew that
he had beaten back the virus for a little while longer.
"Now that was amusing!" Elecman's voice floated up
from below, where the speaker was situated. "What's
the matter Rock? Feeling sick?" The Robot Master giggled
helplessly at his own joke.
wasting breath to reply, Rock turned to survey his surroundings
Elecman continued, I think it's time to activate the
Gleaming Tunnel of Death. I'll even give you a sporting
felt a strong electrical current, but could not discern
sudden clarity, he looked down . . .
. . and at the bottom story, hazy with distance, he
saw every electrical wire, power coupling and open circuit
flare to life. Electricity blasted across the Power
Induction shaft in lethal arcs, lighting up the entire
structure in a white-hot spider's web of death.
the next story's circuits flared to life.
was headed towards Rock.
have exactly one minute to escape the shaft before you
get roasted," Elecman said gleefully. "Don't disappoint
vainly for an avenue of escape, though he had already
searched, Rock cursed inwardly.
his head, as if in answer to his prayers, came a familiar
a hiss and a bass sound so deep in was almost subsonic,
Rock watched a block appear in midair. Once again, his
sensors went crazy trying to figure it out; it looked
as if it were made of glass and quartzite with steel
laced into the structure. This type, though, was different
than the kind he had encountered in New Shirewick. Instead
of being transparent, it looked like a piece of brass.
pausing to praise good fortune, Rock gathered his legs
under him and leaped as high as he could, landing with
jarring impact in the block. Was this Elecman's "sporting
chance"? Rock leaped immediately as another block appeared
to his right, and, without hesitation, continued to
the solid ledge on the wall.
strange snapping sound permeated by an ultra-low growl
alerted Rock to the fact that the web of energy had
almost reached his position. He had, at best, maybe
a half of a minute remaining to him.
climbing the nearest access ladder to the next story
up, Rock could see a ladder several meters away. It
was out of jumping distance, even if he had the time
to properly gauge his power and make a perfect jump.
his auto-trajectory calculator confirmed that he could
never make a horizontal leap of that distance from a
base of Rock's feet began to tingle through his titanium
boots, and he knew time was running out.
of nowhere, a block materialized with its distinctive voomph sound.
immediately stepped on to it, and then to the next once
waiting to see if another would appear, Rock jumped
and caught the bottom rung of the ladder. He pulled
himself hastily hand-over-hand to the top and out into
the fresh air. Quickly, he rolled to the side and ran
as quickly as he could away from the hole from where
he had emerged.
seconds after he did so, a massive pillar of electricity
blasted out, catching on anything metal nearby. The
ground itself crackled menacingly with the almost living
presence of electrical current, and Rock hurriedly moved
away from it, lest he be caught in the backlash.
a few moments to make sure that he was now safe, Rock
proceeded back to the lip of the shaft. On the surface,
the huge cylindrical shape of the tower itself was tangent
to the circular opening of the shaft. From there, Rock
would have to climb up the side, over the long drop
he had just emerged from until he reached a point at
which he could get inside the actual tower itself.
no point in wasting time, the blue-armored android swung
himself onto the nearest escape ladder and climbed up.
It was not long before he reached the first ledge, and
found himself staring straight into a long, deep shaft
like the one from which he had just emerged.
drop from where he stood was easily almost half a mile,
which was more than sufficient to kill him if he were
to lose his balance. Far below, in the distance-misted
depths of the shaft, Rock's optical sensors could detect
electrical discharges like the ones he had already encountered.
was not the lethal drop that held his attention, however.
held Rock's gaze were six blocks, floating in the middle
of the air in seemingly random order. With no support
visible to any range of light that Rock was capable
of detecting, they were a mystery. However, no matter
how strange they were, they seemed to be the only way
across to the access ladder that hung several meters
away and led further up the tower.
than ponder the enigma, Rock took a short jump and landed
on the nearest of the floating blocks. It didn't so
much as budge under his weight, and Rock suppressed
his curiosity. Measuring carefully, he leaped again,
and soon found himself on the block below the ladder.
back, Rock found his mystery solved. On the side of
the wall he had just left was a large electromagnetic
apparatus that held the blocks in place in mid-air.
It was a design often used in large buildings, as a
precaution against entire floors collapsing.
jumped and grabbed hold of the ladder.
the next several floors, Rock found himself repeating
the same action over and over; climb the ladder, avoid
the live wires, and keep climbing. After the fifteenth
such story, he arrived at a small landing covered with
rubble. Rock recognized it; it was the entrance to the
large electromagnetic portion of the plant, that was
usually comprised of several hundred electromagnetic
inspiration struck Rock, and he lifted the two large
boulders blocking the main entrance and flung them over
the side of the building. If he could find a super-conductive
EM coil, maybe he'd be able to perform an emergency
surgery on himself and get the Magnet Beam working.
enough, several loose super-conductive EM coils littered
the ground. Finding one that was in good repair, Rock
picked it up and moved back out of the broken room.
Sitting cross-legged and acutely aware of how little
time had had to complete this operation, Rock concentrated.
was like shifting his hand into plasma-buster configuration.
He concentrated and focused the energy from his matter-synthesis
module in his upper arm. Soon, the armor melted away,
revealing his circuitry underneath, and the small space
left open for the EM coil.
quickly placed the coil inside, secured the necessary
wires, and let the hole in his arm close. To make sure
that his system was still functioning, he ran a few
quick self-diagnostics. Aside from the virus eating
at his sanity and functionality, he seemed to be in
perfect working order, Rock thought wryly.
quite trusting the diagnostic, Rock manually switched
from weapon to weapon, to make sure that he was still
capable of using his fully array of weapons. From silver
and green to silver and grey to gold and crimson to
silver and blue to silver and brown, and back to his
normal colors, his armor shifted as he activated each
he snorted. "Maybe I should've been 'Rainbow Man' instead
aside his small jest, he continued up the tower . .
* * * *
found it," Dr. Light said, rubbing his temples.
looked up from her work on Rock's next enhancement.
Light gestured to a red glowing dot on the holographic
globe that floated in the air before him. "I found Dr.
Wily's fortress. It's in the Andes Mountains."
Yes!" Snap crowed from behind. He had become something
of a fixture in the Light household for the past few
days, turning away reporters, going on errands to buy
components, etc.. Roll had declared the Australian a
Godsend. "Now Rockman can go trash Dr. Wily!"
he can't," Roll corrected. "He can trash Dr. Wily's
guardians. If he hurts Dr. Wily, his own programming
will kill him." She said it with such stark bleakness
that Snap took a step back.
didn't mean that he should--"
conversation stopped at Dr. Light's curse.
is it?" Roll and Snap asked in unison, moving towards
Light punched a few controls, and a section of the globe
enlarged itself until it was holographic image of Skull
Castle. "This is from one of our video satellites,"
Dr. Light explained. "The damn thing would have been
impossible to find without Roll's suggestion of analyzing
the control chips from the neutralized Robot Masters."
lowered her head, accepting the compliment. "So what's
Dr. Light pointed to a dark line outside of the fortress.
first, Roll thought it was a cloud. But as she looked
closer, a numbness gripped her circuits. "It's a siege,"
she said. "The HSL is trying to besiege Wily's castle?!"
like that," Snap conceded.
crazy! They'll be torn to ribbons by the robots! Wily
won't have any compunctions about--" Roll stopped in
mid-rant as a small golden speck detached itself from
the fortress and floated towards the army camped outside.
warning, several white-hot bursts of plasma blasted
from the golden speck. The hologram image was too fuzzy
for Roll to clearly discern the details, but the effect
was immediate. Several anti-aircraft missiles launched
from the ground, intent on their target; the golden
Wily," Roll realized as she augmented her vision. "Dr.
Wily is in that flying machine!"
voiced no concern for his safety; after all, the missiles
seemed hardly a threat. His gold-brass colored mech
dispensed each of them with well-aimed plasma shots
before any of the missiles could score a hit.
Light shook his head. "Wily's going to kill them all
unless somebody can stop this madness."
Roll said acerbically. "Somebody. I just hope
Rock is up to it. This virus-guard," she held up a newly-completed
chip, "will help repel the virus, but it won't destroy
shook his head. "It just don't seem fair," he muttered.
isn't," Roll answered.
* * * *
LighTech trash compactor robot took another hop towards
ground literally shook with the impact of the titanic
robot's descent, and cracks appeared in the structure
of the long platform upon which Rock stood. Calculating
quickly, Rock realized to his dismay that it would only
take another two jumps by the robot to dislodge the
already weakened infrastructure of the tower's eighty-fifth
story floor and send Rock tumbling to his almost certain
to go around the robot would take too much time; already
Rock had wasted another precious hour of life in jumping,
blasting and ducking his way through the twisted maze
of rubble and live wires that comprised the remains
of the World Power Plant. Although thankfully there
had been no further dialogue between himself and Elecman,
Rock's anxiety relays still threatened to overload his
emotions circuit board.
a direct charge towards the robot would give Rock the
ghost of a chance he needed to arrive to do battle with
Elecman with enough energy to properly function. Although
trash-compacting 'bots were doggedly single-minded in
their tasks, it was easy to outsmart them, so Rock was
fairly sure that if he got too close to the machine
for its optical sensors to detect him, then it would
forget about him.
course, he reminded himself curtly, there was always
the chance that Dr. Wily or one of his robotic assistants
had modified this particular robot to be able to sense
object below its line of sight. In that case, a direct
charge would be highly foolish, if not openly suicidal.
time for debates," he growled to himself.
sound, the trash-compactor robot took another leap towards
Rock, this time flying high up in the air before beginning
its inexorable descent.
Rock rolled and jumped to his feet as fast as he could
in an attempt to reach the access ladder to the next
story up. His calculations had supposed that the robot
would jump as it had already been jumping, and had not
accounted for the possibility of the extremely high
jump it made now.
trash compactor smashed to the floor. Its descent was
accompanied by a thunderclap-loud crack, which Rock
knew to be the main support beams for the already gutted
level. His internal laser-gyroscope indicated a swift
tilt in the floor's angle, he could see with dream-like
slowness that the entire floor was turning at a forty-five
degree angle, dumping the hapless trash-compactor 'bot
off the edge.
leaped as high as he could, with what little force he
could muster from pushing against the falling floor.
Gritting his teeth, he extended his left arm as far
as he could . . .
grabbed the ledge of the next story's outer wall with
his titanium-gloved fingertips. Rock breathed a quick
sigh of relief, followed by a wry smile at how human
his reaction had been. First he was swearing, then dreaming,
and now sighing with relief.
the past week, he had become more human-like than he
would have ever imagined possible within his short lifetime.
However, he reflected darkly, if the war and tragedy
he had been forced to participate in had been the price
of such humanity, he would gladly have gone without
philosophizing, you fool.
shook himself out of his train of thought and pulled
himself up to and over the edge of the floor. He was
now on the eighty-sixth floor of the tower; the final
one before the spire of the tower, at the top of which
Elecman surely resided.
Weapons check," he muttered to himself as he headed
for the locked double-doors that opened into the stairwell
leading to the top of the spire. He ran a quick diagnostic
of himself to make sure that the virus hadn't penetrated
any important systems, and then checked to make sure
that his matter-synthesis unit had enough operation
energy to be able to function properly.
inwardly, he found that the virus had corrupted some
of the molecular-structure synthesis node in his module.
While all auto-repair systems were working full time
on the problem as their top priority, Rock was still
doubtful that he'd be able to use either the Rolling
Cutter or the Ice Slasher for several minutes.
he couldn't afford to wait for those minutes.
few quick blasts from his plasma buster opened the door
to the stairwell, and Rock was faced with another problem.
While it was obvious that there once had been
stairs leading up the fifteen story shaft, it was just
as obvious that they had been destroyed.
a single, long ladder led up to the observation room
at the apex of the tower.
as Rock had suspected there would be, several broken
power couplings spat deadly electrical bolts across
the gap which he would need to ascend. Well, nobody
had ever promised Rock that any of this would be easy.
enjoyable," he muttered to himself as he began his climb.
managed to negotiate the long shaft without sustaining
any hits, but he had come close to being hit by the
flashing ribbons of energy so many times that his emergency-energy
reactor had nearly short circuited in trying to supply
him with extra power.
human terms, his nerves were shot.
grinned bitterly. Yes, he surely had become very
several deep breaths and making sure that he was as
ready as he could be, Rock pushed open the hatch that
led to the observation room.
he was lifted off his feet and thrown several meters
backwards by a powerful electric surge. Rock crashed
to the ground in front of two large boulder-like pieces
of rubble. His emergency systems all screamed for attention
and extra power, and Rock knew without checking that
his energy operating meter would read at down to one-third
ha ha ha ha ha!" You should have seen the look on your
face!" Rock jumped to his feet and dodged between the
boulders, ignoring his complaining hydraulics. Elecman's
taunt rang across the room and echoed across the double-shielded
walls. "I wish I had a camera!"
wasting breath on a reply, Rock hunkered down. That
blast had been enough to nearly overload all of his
systems; he would have to be extremely cautious now.
His matter-synthesis module was still nearly a minute
way from being completely repaired, and the process
had been retarded by the damage he had just sustained.
the matter Rock?" Elecman's voice snapped, suddenly
angry. "Don't you want to come out and play? If it's
hide-and-seek you want, I'll be happy to oblige you!"
for a view of his adversary, Rock batted down panic
as the black-and-crimson armored androbot leaped into
the air and loosed several blasts of energy in Rock's
direction. Rock only caught a glimpse between the boulders
of Elecman, his face half-obscured by the lightning
bolt eyemask he wore.
energy bolts hit the boulders, and Rock dropped and
rolled to avoid the shards of stone which exploded next
to him, scattering in all directions. Taking advantage
of the momentary cover the cloud of dust provided him.
Rock shot several quick plasma bursts in the general
direction he calculated Elecman to be.
few grunts and a thudding sound indicated that at least
a few had connected.
the cloud cleared, Rock found himself leaping--almost
out of what he would have called instinct in a human.
No sooner did his feet leave the ground than a sizzling
bolt of lightning hissed past the place he had just
occupied. Tendrils of electricity reached out and snapped
at his boots. If Rock hadn't already been in the air,
he would have jumped.
said Elecman in a totally deadpan voice, "Was foolish."
landed, tensed and ready for battle. Elecman stood several
meters away from him, apparently unscathed, but obviously
annoyed. "I don't know what you pulled on the rest of
the Generals to defeat them," Elecman mused, "but it
will avail you nothing here. This is my kingdom!"
insane," Rock spat, and shot several more plasma bursts
in an arc. Elecman leaped high in the air, easily avoiding
all but the highest-aimed of the plasma bullets. Noiselessly,
he retaliated with coruscating ropes of burning energy.
nothing between himself and the bolts to draw the charge
away, Rock leaped as high as he could and hoped for
the best. The sensation-overload in his foot circuits
alerted him to the fact that although he had avoided
the brunt of the attack, a few more close calls like
that would be his end.
is it?" Elecman landed and grinned like a mad hare.
"Yes, I suppose it looks that way to you. It certainly
did to them." He gestured around the room, and what
Rock had at first taken to be just black scorch marks
on the floor turned out to be--upon closer inspection--bones
blackened by heat and fire.
been taking lessons from Fireman," Rock said, trying
to sound noncommittal. "But he died just as easily as
as easy as you think perhaps," Elecman chortled. With
several acrobatic leaps interspersed with a quick succession
of bolt-fire, he crowed. "You see? I can fly!"
busy dodging the shots and trying desperately to keep
ahead of the pattern, managed to score a few good hits
on the Robot Master before Elecman landed once again,
immediately shooting off another round of electric death.
raven-haired android dropped to the floor and was relieved
to hear the soft ping that indicated that his
matter synthesis module was repaired. Switching to the
Rolling Cutter, he smirked. If he could get two or three
of these lodged in Elecman's system, the energy would
surely overload him.
hurled the first one without warning.
fell to his knees and screeched with inhuman rage as
the first of the circular scissors-blades slashed deep
into his torso. The lightning he had been about to release
upon Rock turned back on him, attracted by the extra
metal. The renegade Robot Master twitched involuntarily
as the energy coursed through his system, overloading
several unimportant subsystems.
"You--you hurt me!" Elecman's eyes narrowed. "Now you're
had already fired off another Rolling Cutter, and succeeded
in striking his enemy again before Elecman could fully
rise to his feet. Overconfident, he stepped closer,
sure that the next hit would be the finishing blow.
a roar of anger, Elecman sprang forward and toppled
Rock. Sitting on the blue-armored android's chest, he
raised his hands in the air. "Never screw with the King
of the World!" he hissed.
subsonic hiss proclaimed the arrival of another
Rolling Cutter in Rock's hand. Before Elecman could
release his electricity into Rock's frame, the Robot
Hunter slashed upwards, cutting off Elecman's hands.
fell backwards, looking with horror at his maimed arms.
out the moment for the sake of those who had died at
this mad-robot's hands, Rock summoned another blade.
"The problem with having wings," he said quietly, "is
that they can be clipped."
last word hung on the air long after he had overloaded
and exploded. His torso flew across the room as his
lower body disintegrated. Rock took several deep breaths
to recharge. That had been too close.
approached the blasted torso of Elecman, whose head
had been torn off as is flew past an up-jutting steel
beam that had been dislodged from the ceiling during
the fight. Feeling like a grave robber, Rock rooted
around in the torso until he found the main control
unit and removed the Control Chip.
hours left," Rock muttered quietly.
looked a final time at his dead enemy--once his best
friend among the Robot Masters--and frowned. Sorrow
swept through him: a bleak, cold wind that he could
almost literally feel inside. This was no way to live.
it was better than dying.
Rock muttered. A few weeks ago, he would have referred
to it as deactivation.
the last of the Robot Masters defeated, Rock knew he
could finally rest for a few days. Dr. Wily would be
hiding from the authorities now that his power was all
but broken, and Dr. Light could destroy the virus which
the thought around in his head, Rock almost smiled.
He could live a normal life now.
hawk-eyed android disappeared in a line of blue-white
to League--Chapter 10