First Dig: Chapters 1-2

"Finally! Done at last!" he exclaimed, wiping an oily glove over his forehead, streaking his skin with dark black marks. After taking a step back, he grinned as he looked over his crimson-colored creation. Separated within seven different pieces, it was a powerful suit of armor. "Oh, wait… now I need a refractor to power the thing. Where can I get one?" he asked himself, shaking his head. Stepping out from his place within the confines of the old city, but near the gate leading to the downtown area of Kattlelox City. Taking a quick look around, he shut the door tightly behind him, locking it and putting the key in his pants' pocket, before running to the nearby gate, slipping back into the confines of safety. Other than to visit what was left of the Main Gate, or to go to the Power Plant, no one visited the old city now, especially with those feral dogs that had settled in there.

"Hey Rick! Where have you been, your late to work!" yelled a kid, from across the street. The kid then ran over to him, while Rick suppressed a laugh. "Well, go get to working, Rick, you know you have to." Rick couldn't help it, and he began laughing loudly at the kid, his short brown hair falling in front of his eyes. "Alan… I have the day off today." He managed to say, as he grinning at the kid, who tripped over his own feet and slowly picked himself up, holding his head. "Oh…"

"Well, Alan, I'll see ya later. I've got a few things to do today." With that, Rick ran off toward the southern gate, and into Apple Market, heading for the Junk Store. "Hey, do you guys still have that large blue refractor?" he asked the couple who stood behind the counter. "Yeah, you're lucky, we still have it. Nearly had it bought from us, too, about an hour ago" replied the woman behind the counter, as her husband went to get the refractor in question. "Let me guess, Rick, you've finished with your Digging equipment finally?"

"That's right. All I need is the refractor to power it, and then I can test my equipment." Rick said, smiling as the refractor was brought into view. "How much will I be paying for it?" he asked, looking back to the woman behind the counter. "Well, it'll be 5000 zenny. Half off, 'cause you worked here for us for so long." She smiled, and Rick pulled out his zenny for her, counting off 5000 from his credit chips. "Here you are, then. Take this, too." She said, handing Rick a small barrel-type item, with a red plus on its back. "An energy bottle? Thank you!" he grinned, taking the refractor and the bottle and slipping them into his backpack. "You're welcome, kid. Now, I want to see you in your equipment when you go digging, we'll wait for ya by the ruin outside of Apple Market, okay?" The man behind the counter said, beginning to close up shop. "Take the cart over there, and the tarp, so you can cover up your surprise, okay?"

"Will do, and thanks! I'll meet ya out there!" Rick exclaimed, running out of the shop and all the way back to the gate to the old city, passing by traffic, kids, and two women who chat near the mailbox everyday. Finally reaching the door to the building, he goes in quickly, dragging the hover cart behind him, and goes about putting all the equipment onto it, slipping the tarp over all 7 pieces before magnetically clamping it onto the cart, keeping the tarp in place. "There… This ought to surprise 'em!" and with that, he set the energy bottle and the refractor onto the cart, next to the armor beneath the tar, and begins running back to Apple Market. He remembered back about 4 years ago, when the kid in blue armor had arrived in town. He, his sister and his grandfather had been rather nice people, he found out. Whenever Mega Man wasn't out on a Dig, he was busy defeating pirates. When he could, Rick would follow them around, to see and learn as much as he could. He'd even met Roll once, when she was busy fixing up the van. "That was fun," he smiled to himself, remembering when they'd finally gotten it up and running, as he waved goodbye to Roll when she left, going off towards City hall when she heard that Mega Man had defeated the Pirates there.

Of course, after that it wasn't much fun, since his apartment had been destroyed in the fighting downtown, thanks to that huge spider 'bot. He'd been forced to stay with his cousin up in Uptown until the place had been fixed. Uptown was great, but rather boring, until he watched the lake battle between Mega Man and those pirates again. That was when Rick decided to become a Digger, and he began working in the Junk Shop. He had a real aptitude for design and electronics, the owners soon found, as he had been working on several projects at once. When a few experienced and powerful Diggers showed up at the Junk shop door one time, during the time when the Sub Gates had been opened, they had sold the owner a few reaverbots from the Sub Gates. They were deactivated, but mostly intact. In fact, Rick managed to put one of them together, after immobilizing its weapon systems and its ability to move around. He learned a lot about electronic systems and AI, too.

Mega Man influenced even Rick's suit of armor. Though not the same color, it was about the same size, and was easily small enough to fit almost anywhere Mega Man had. It was skin-tight, however, and Rick didn't have quite as much control with it, yet. Mega Man looked as if his armor was actually his skin, he remembered, while his armor definitely went on over clothes. "Still, I might give him a run for his money sometime" he thought, making his way past the kids who were playing in the Apple Market area, heading to the southern gate quickly. "Here we go!" and with that, he pushed the gate's door open, and he dragged the cart into the clearing with him, and over to the dig site, where the couple in charge of the Junk Store were waiting.

"So, this is what you did with those Reaverbots a while back?" the man said, looking at the pile covered by the tarp on the cart. "That's right!" and Rick undid the magnetic clamps, and the two gasped in surprise at the armor that was laying within the cart, as Rick rolled up the tarp. "With a functioning AI speaking system, two total weapon systems, an auto-mapping feature on the left arm, a reinforced exoskeleton for enhanced maneuverability, and the same type of armor those reaverbots had, I think I should be able to do well as a Digger." He smiled, and then grinned, opening a panel in the chest of the armor, and inserting the refractor, he shut the panel again. "I call it Nova, thanks to its colors." He began, putting the chest armor on, and then the helmet, leg pieces, and then the arm pieces. As soon as all the pieces were attached, a voice, female, rang out softly. "Nova power armor AI version 1 operating at 20% capacity. Weapons are at default safety mode. Auto-mapping feature is on. Visor shielding is not operational at this time."

The two shop owners were staring in shock. "I… I've never seen anything like that! Or heard anything like that, either!" the woman said. She was the old-time digger, too, and not her husband, who had spotted for her. "I know, I made it with my own designs. Nova, please activate transmission scrambler." The light in the middle of the chest armor glowed softly as the armor complied. "Transmission scrambler program on. No transmissions may be sent to or received by this unit." The voice from the armor replied. "Now, I don't have to worry at all about losing control of Nova here." Rick said, stretching a bit to get a feel for the limits of his new suit of armor. "Hmm… It looks as if I'll have to change some of the layout of the interior… it's a bit stiff to move. Still, it works!" he grinned, and tried doing a tuck and roll, to the side, and to his amazement, it worked out perfectly. The couple clapped and smiled.

"Well, Rick, looks like you're ready for your first dig. You may not have a spotter, but one isn't really needed for this first ruin. After all, almost everyone has been in here, and the reaverbots are easy to destroy with the right weapons. And you have the right weapons, from the looks of it." The woman smiled lightly, walking over to give him a pat on the shoulder, a small metallic thud ringing out from the pat. "Remember, this is a test dig for yourself, so don't go in too far, or get into much trouble. You don't want to damage your Nova permanently." Rick nodded at her comment, and tried jumping. The Leg coils worked perfectly, thanks to having taken them off from a Large Sharukurusu that one of the diggers brought back years ago, from the Sub Gate. "Thanks!" he said, landing carefully, and on his feet, no less, grinning at how well the shock absorbers were working. "I'll go in after a few more tests, and then, after about 10 minutes, I'll come back to the surface, okay?" he began running in place, letting the hydraulic system of the legs moving, getting its gears and servos into readiness. "Nova, power up Weapon System one."

"Acknowledged. Weapon System One is now initialized." The armor replied, as the Energy Vulcan Cannons on his shoulders came to life. The couple who owned the Junk Store stepped away, even as Rick turned toward the ruins of the old gate. Nothing had ever torn them down except for specialized robots that were run by operators. Taking note of the buttons he had in his right hand, where the firing mechanism for the EVC system was, he pressed it suddenly. Bursts of yellow energy flowed from the weapon outlets, and although a silencer and several layers of sound shielding muffled the system, the sound was still a little loud to him. The weapons had no impact on the Ruins of the old gate, other than a few chips flying off from it at the attack. He began stepping backwards slowly, only to find the guns turn off after the first step. "Good, the safety mechanism is active." He said, looking to the other two. "Nova, power down Weapon System One." The armor complied, and the yellow glow within the cannons was halted as they were powered down.

"Looks like you're ready. I wouldn't suggest that system though, when you enter this ruin, though. The guns aren't accurate against small targets, and I doubt you want to be defeated by a bunch of Mirumijee." The man said. He knows what he's talking about, Rick thought. After all, he was cornered by a bunch of them back when Mega Man first came to Kattlelox, from what he'd heard. "Look in every opening in the walls that you find. There might be money or refractors hidden away in there. Also, the reaverbots leave refractor shards on the ground when you defeat them; pick them up, they might be small, but they're still worth money. If you get into trouble, run away. You'll be much more likely to survive that way." The woman said, and Rick nodded at her words. "Thanks for the advice. I'll be back soon!" and with that, Rick strode over to the ruin, and inside the doorway, climbing down the ladder, and into the ruins.

As soon as he landed at the bottom of the ladder, he spoke, turning to look around the small chamber. A doorway in front of him, a hallway to the left, he noticed, and he turned to the hallway, deciding to start down that way. "Activate Weapon System Two, Nova" he said, and the cannon on his left arm enveloped his left hand's metallic glove, a soft yellow glow emitting from within the small barrel. "Weapon System Two now activated. Auto Mapping features online" the voice said, and Rick smiled. This was going perfectly so far, he thought. With that, he took his first steps, keeping them into a slow run, which kept the sound low, toward the hallway. Suddenly, a buzzer-type sound emitted from his right arm, and the small light on it, underneath the energy bar of his armor, turned from green to red instantly. "Guess that means there's a reaverbot or two active somewhere close" He mumbled, looking around carefully… and then he noticed the ledge off to the left of his stance. Stepping back to the right and turning to face them, he noticed what type they were.

Zakoben, he thought, just as one came into view, and then another alongside it. Suddenly, the popped up and onto their backs, a hole opening up in the middle of their bodies. "Weapon System One online now!" he told Nova, and the shoulder cannons became active as Rick pushed the triggers, both cannons flaring to life as streams of energy bullets slashed through the bombs as they were launched, and straight into the Zakoben. Two hits each, he noticed, was all it took to destroy them, as they burst into flames before exploding quickly, a few multi-colored Refractor shards falling off the ledge and onto his part of the floor. Depressing the triggers, he walked over to the shards, and picked them up easily. His armor spoke as he picked up the last one, which were inserted into his right arm's armor, where the approximate worth was determined by the armor. "100 zenny" it told him, and he smiled. "So far, so good." He whispered, turning back to face down the corridor, and begins walking down it once again. A Zakoben appeared just as the buzzing sound on his arm went off, and a few bombs were launched his way.

"Damn!" he thought, wincing as he was pushed back from the force of the attack. While it didn't do much damage, according to the energy meter on his arm he glanced at, it did rattle him. His right hand, however, squeezed into a fist, which made his fingers press into the triggers for the Vulcan cannons. "Take this!" and at that, the guns flared to life, a long, steady stream of energy slamming into the Zakoben for a second and then past as it blew up instantly. Releasing the trigger, no shards were found after the explosion, although a second Zakoben 'bot zoomed out from around the corner. Instinctively, Rick raised his left arm, and fired with his buster gun at the bot. It took about six shots, he noticed, before it too blew up. Running toward the exploding reaverbot, he picked up the shards as they fell, running into the dead end in the corridor before another Zakoben noticed him.

Hey, a hole in the wall! He thought, and smiled, looking into it, and finds a large amount of Zenny, which was instantly scooped up and examined by his right arm's sensors. "2500 zenny" Nova said, and Rick grinned. "About time to get back to the surface, I think." He said to himself, even as a Zakoben turned the corner, facing him. Both froze for a second, before Rick pulled the trigger on his right hand, blasting the reaverbot away with the Vulcan guns. Then, all was quiet again as the trigger was depressed once more, and the red light on his left arm turned back to green. There were no refractors from that 'bot either, he noticed, as he retraced his steps back to the ladder, and then with heavy steps, began his ascent up to the surface.

As he reached the surface, the two shop owners were still there, laughing and smiling at the state of his armor- scratched, smoking slightly, but otherwise undamaged. Rick joined them in their laughter, grinning. "So, that's a dig? I'm glad I spent the last two years preparing!" he exclaimed, before blinking once as he remembered something. "Nova, power down all weapon systems." The glow from all the cannons diminished until they were gone entirely. "Acknowledged. All weapon systems down to safety levels. Power is at 15% of full capacity. Suggest re-energizing the refractor as soon as possible" the AI said, before going silent once again.

"Well, you heard the AI. Mind if I power the refractor up in your shop?" Rick said, laughing lightly. The two just nodded, and waved at him to follow them. Rick did as they wanted, walking into Apple Market after them, grinning at the people who recognized him, even with the armor on. Most of them had known he'd been busy the last few years on several projects, but not one had seen any of them. "Hey Rick, that's some great armor!" one of the kids said, coming up to walk alongside him. "Thanks. Now you know what I've been working on the past couple years." What he left unsaid, however, was anything on the other two projects he'd been working on.

"Rick, it'll take a while to fully recharge that refractor. Why not get some rest until then?" the woman said, looking back to him as he took off the armor itself, setting it on another cart that the husband carted to the refractor recharger behind the counter. "It'll be about two hours, I think. Go get some rest or something, Rick." The man said, turning back to work at the counter. "The charging is free, but would you like to buy a buster part? You might want to make it more powerful or have a farther range, ya know."

"Good idea… Let's see what we have here, and then I'll decide, okay?" Rick replied, and looks through his credit chips for the refractors he had. "Let's see… Turbo Charger, a Rapid Fire unit… Range Booster, Power Raiser… Sniper and Buster Units! Let me see, here, how much for both?" he asked politely, though he knew it would cut deeply into what he had just maid in the Dig. "1200 zenny" the woman said, giving him a rather small discount. "Done!" he said, handing over the credit chip, and she deducted the amount from it for him. "Just set them next to the armor for me, please. I'll be back in two hours for it, okay?" he said, and the couple nodded, as he turned and left the store, and headed back toward the old city.

Along the way, however, he found a strange girl, around 17, he thought, in an argument with the local design genius. Walking closer, interested in this argument, he listened to the two for a few minutes. Strangely, the girl seemed to hold her ground with the designer, and the conversation turned sharply toward the fighting a few years ago.

Chapter 2: Mechanic and the Shadow Nova

"Look, I'm telling ya lady, there aren't anymore remains from the fighting that took place 2 years ago! They got carted off and were recycled into who knows what!" the genius exclaimed, growing irritable over this entire conversation. "And I say, there was so much wreckage that not all of it could've been carted off and completely recycled by now!" the girl said, stubbornly. "Look, all I want to know is where they carted it off to, and how I can get the parts that I need!" In response, the resident genius just turned around and left ignoring the girl's pleading. "Great… now I don't know where to go to get the parts!" she began to stomp away, shaking her head.

"Excuse me, miss… But perhaps I can be of some help for you." Rick said, speaking up. She turned around to face him, a smile lighting up her features slowly. "You better not be just saying that, kid. I need to get a medium sized yellow refractor, as well as the refractor energy assembly itself." Rick just nodded, and grinned slightly… wondering if he could trust her with the secret of his own secret stockpile of parts and refractors. "I do happen to have such an assembly and refractor, but the refractor is badly drained of energy at this moment… It would need to be recharged soon." He said to her.

"That's great! I can fix up my airship and be on my way, thanks to you!" she exclaimed, giving Rick a hug in her excitement. Rick simply blushed, and gently tried to let himself out of her arms. "Miss, I have to get a promise from you first…I have to know if you can keep my secret to yourself." Rick whispered to her, and she stepped back, hands clutching at each other behind her back, and she nodded in return. "Sure!" she said. "Your secret is safe with me."

"Alright then, let's go. It's not too far off." And with that, he took her hand, and rushed off in the direction of the old gate, where they could cross over into the old city. "Once in this part of the city, follow close. There are wild animals in this part of the city." He said to her, warning her before opening the door. She nodded, and as he ran across the way, she followed, running inside the door of one of the old buildings as he opened it, and he followed her in. "Amazing!" she gasped, looking around the room.

This building had been spared destruction by the Pirates rampaging, huge robot known as Bruno back when Mega Man was visiting the island. Right after that, Rick had begun constructing his lab here. Reconstructed with the then fresh materials, the first floor room and its basement had been reinforced, and then strengthened. Several broken down Draches, which had been left by the Bonnes when they were forced off of the island, were among the ruins of the Bruno Robot. Salvaging as many parts as were possible, Rick managed to get them into his new lab while construction crews reconstructed the older buildings. By the present time, however, several powerful computers, diagnostic machines, Refractor chargers, and a small bed were easily within sight. A spiraling staircase led down below, to a much larger area that could be seen below.

"Welcome to my lab, miss, where no others have visited before. Here, I have two projects going on. Now, to find your replacement parts… follow me, please." He smiled to her, and led her by hand to the stairs, even as she gazed about in wonder. "How did you manage to put this place together?" she asked, turning her gaze to her new friend. "Well, it mostly trial and error, but after 2 years or so, I try not to expand any more." He explained, as they came to the basement level. A somewhat small airship could be seen, partly suspended in the air as it rested on 4 sets of braces, keeping it in place. Another bank of computers, a large chest of tools, and a mechanical hand upon a large arm was to be seen along the wall. In one corner, labeled parts could be found, which was where Rick was walking. "There's a set of refractors along the wall that you can choose from. They're all fairly low on energy though. Not even my rechargers can fill them entirely." He said, and smiled, getting a decent sized refractor port from the shelf.

"Well, here we are, one refractor port for your use, miss." He smiled, walking over to the refractor set, where one large red, one large blue, and a set of five medium sized refractors sat, as the girl looked at them. "Please, call me Melissa." She responded, picking up one of the yellow refractors. "This one will do. Again, thank you very much." She smiled to him, giving Rick another hug. "I will call you Melissa, only if you call me Rick, alright?" he grinned, returning the hug carefully.

"I'll do that, Rick. But, what can I do to repay you? Things like this would cost thousands of zenny in any junk store." She said, stepping back, setting the refractor upon a desk that was nearby. "Do you need help with anything? I'm willing to help out in any way that I can." She smiles warmly, looking up at the airship still under construction. "I'm pretty good with machines… I'm a mechanic, actually. I would be glad to help you with your airship, if you need it."

"That would be great! I'm a better designer than I am a Mechanic, myself. As far as I have gotten, I need to set the engines in place, as well as reinforce the wings. After that, it'll be time to furnish the insides and get the bay ready, before I can attempt a take off." He grinned. "But, I'm afraid that it would probably take more time than you have, Melissa. After all, welding a reinforcement brace for the wings, and installing the engines will take almost the whole day."

"Well, Rick, I'm traveling alone, actually, so I have all the time in the world." She said, grinning at him. "Anyway, it isn't everyday I get to help build an airship. It'll be fun!" Rick laughed at that, and nodded. "Well Melissa, I guess now is as good a time as any. Shall we start on the engine first?" she nods, and they walk over to the engine mount. Melissa gasped at the size of the gap there, and turned to look at the engine itself, suspended by cables nearby. "That's one of the largest engines I've ever seen for a craft this size. Are you sure the ship can take the thrust that that thing is going to give out, Rick?"

"I'm fairly certain it will… of course, I made it with a two stage acceleration system in mind. One for cruising speeds, one for an extreme burst of speed, or afterburner, if you will. It is faster than most other airships at cruising speeds, and I can get out of the way of any weapons fire with the afterburner." He grinned. "I managed to save two engines that were once in the Draches that the Bonne Pirates used. Combined with several sets of stabilizers and a smaller, brand new engine, I managed to get the system operational… now, I just need to install it in the ship." Melissa nodded, and smiled. "After this, I may need to try the same thing with my airship. I've had a few encounters with pirates a while back."

"Well, I'll be happy to give you a copy of the plans after we're done, Melissa." He said, walking over to the cable controls, and pressing a button that made the engine slowly slide back toward the engine mount within the airship. "Alright… slowly, careful now… that's it…" she said, as the engine slid into the airship, sparks flying slightly as the metal casings of the engine were slid into their mounts. "There… a few more inches and…" a dull thud could be heard as the back of the engine core touched the casing within the airship. "Melissa, I'm going to go inside and attach the wiring… there are tools out here, if you would like to hook up the outer frame." Rick said, walking over to the open bay ramp, and into the ship. "Okay Rick, I'll see ya in a few minutes!" she said, as Rick disappeared into the ship.

Taking a left, and climbing a ladder, Rick came up to the large casing for the main engine- the secondary engines and its thruster cluster had already been installed much earlier. "Now… time to wire it in," he said, and he walks over to the open side of the casing, where he begins to attach wires and weld things into each other. He smiled as he heard bolts and screws firmly pushing the engine the rest of the way into the ship as Melissa tightened them into the frame. "There we go, all wired in," Rick whispered to himself, after going around the entire casing, and wiring everything into the right places. Picking up a certain tool, he goes around and bolts the insides of the engine casing into place, which helps to finish the entire engine installation procedure. Grinning, he turned back to the ladder, and made his way down into the small cargo bay area, where Melissa was standing, looking around quietly.

"Hey, thanks, Melissa. Now, all we need to do is test the tilt-wing thruster mechanism. Of course, if that works, I can test the airship itself." Rick said, stretching a bit, waving at Melissa to follow him as he headed toward the cockpit. After a small walk down the corridor, which led to a ladder, he climbs the ladder, with Melissa behind him, and then he opens the door marked with a 'C' on it. "Welcome to the cockpit, Melissa. Sorry, there's not much room. I wasn't able to completely triple the size from the Servbots the Bonne's used to pilot the ships most of the time. At least I managed to get two seats up here, and everything is in reach." Two seats set up and forward of the small space behind them, with the view screen right in front. Computer consoles set up between the chairs, and along the wall. Other than that, very little could fit into the small room.

"Nice… A little stuffy in here, but it's nice." Melissa said, looking from the small room and back to Rick. "Thanks. I've been working on making this room a bit more useful and efficient lately, and with the controls where they are, I think, I've gotten it down." Rick replied, walking over and sitting in the seat on the left. A joystick, a few buttons, a lever or two, and button covered in a small glass casing that was latched down provided most of the space-taking items. A radar screen and a small computer monitor to the right of the seat provides the ship with a way to keep track of other ships as well as a map of the known world.


Chapters 3-4

Chapter Three: Pirate Mayhem

“Master Teasel, I’m picking up a signal from one of our Draches,” a high pitched, slightly whiny voice said over to the man in green, sitting in a chair just behind and above the robot. “A Drache, hmm? Which one? I don’t remember sending any of you Servbots out to explore or anything. What number is it?” a much more mature voice asked, and footsteps could be heard on the metallic surface of the floor as the gray haired, green armor wearing figure named Teasel came forward to look over the Servbot’s shoulder. Servbot #21, who was sitting at the screen, punched up the number of the craft. “Drache number zero-zero-five, Master Teasel. But, according to our logs, that craft was destroyed by Mega Man on Kattlelox Island two years ago.”

“Hmm… it seems that someone must have found one of our Draches, and put it back together,” Teasel mused. “Alright, it’s time to visit Kattlelox Island again. We’ll get that Drache back, and deal with the person who put it back together. If we’re lucky, there will be lots of things we can get from the Island now, especially since that Blue Boy is off on another Dig!” Teasel’s laughter filled the bridge area, and could be heard even outside the ship as the large ship, with the words Gesellchaft II etched on the side began a slow, leisurely turn, heading back toward the Island where the Bonnes had first met Mega Man. “Full speed to Kattlelox Island! There’ll be no one to stop us this time!”

Tron appeared on the bridge as Teasel laughed maniacally. “Teasel, what’s going on? I was working on a new robot, and then everything gets knocked all over the place because we’re changing direction suddenly!” she went from a nice tone of voice to yelling by the end of her sentence, fairly annoyed at this newfound problem. “Come on, give us some time to get ready for a change of direction here, this Gesellchaft isn’t as stable as the old one yet, ya know!” she sighed and shook her head a bit, hands on her hips as she looked back up to her big brother. “I guess this means we aren’t going after Mega Man, huh?”

“That’s right Tron, and for a good reason,” Teasel began. “One of our old Draches has been reactivated on Kattlelox Island, and I think it’s time we actually made money instead of losing it in battle with that blue boy!” Teasel laughed a bit as Tron looked thoughtful for a moment, and then gave a quick nod and a grin. “Alright, Teasel! Good idea! We’ll go back to Kattlelox, raze the city, and then steal everything of value! Just like old times! I’ll have everything ready by the time we get there!” she exclaimed, and ran back to the mecha bay, to finish up and get things ready. “Number 21, how long will it take for us to intercept the Drache?” Teasel asked, as he sat back down in his chair. “We will intercept him in about 5 hours, at full speed, Master Teasel.”

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Rick was walking back out of Apple Market, wearing his full suit of red and gray power armor, except with his helmet in hand. Soon, he caught up to Melissa, who was sitting on the ramp that led into the Shadow Nova. “Melissa, I’m glad you didn’t leave.” Rick smiled, and then grinned widely, as he saw the expression on her face when she saw the armor. “Wow… so, you’re a Digger, and not a Mechanic or Designer, Rick?” she asked, standing up to look at his armor. “That’s right… I’m a Digger as of about 3 hours ago, actually. This is my powered armor suit, which I call Nova. It has two fully functioning weapon systems, jump coils, a strengthened exoskeleton, and some of the hardest armor this side of one of this Island’s Sub-Gates.” He laughed a little bit, and then nodded to her. “Oh yes, the thruster plans… Hold on a second,” and he walked up the ramp and over to a nearby computer console, pulling up the plans and then copying them into a data disk, then ejected it as he walked back over to her.

“Here you are, Melissa. This has all the details you might need to replicate this system. If you ever figure out a way to enhance and better it, let me know. Extra speed is always a good thing, I think.” He grinned, handing the disk to her. Melissa took it, and tucked the disk into one of her pockets. “Well, Rick, I guess I’ll be seeing ya sometime later,” she exclaimed, smiling at him as she clasped her hands together behind her back. “It was great meeting you, and it was great to work on your airship, too.”

Rick watched as she ran up and into her airship, and smiled, waving to her as she started it up, stepping back as her ship ascended into the sky. “Well, I guess it’s just you and me now, Nova,” he commented, before turning to go back up the ramp. “Computer, close Ramp door. Begin take off sequence.” He said, loudly enough for the computer system to understand his commands. “Acknowledged. Please return to the cockpit for your safety,” it replied, just as Rick went, rung by rung, up the ladder. Then he opened the door and entered the cockpit as the ship slowly ascended as well, thrusters flaring as he slipped into his pilot’s seat, and then buckled himself up in the seat as he took the lever in hand, the wings now fully in their normal, horizontal position. Slowly pushing the lever forward with his left hand, he took control of the control stick as he began to move forward, and away from the island.

Well, I may as well go to Nino Island, Rick thought. Have to get this airship registered, and that’s the best place to do so. “Computer, set auto-nav course for Nino Island. Estimate time at full cruising speed until arrival.” He said to the computer, and the ship slowly turned to face the direction he needed to go in. “Estimated time to Nino Island is ten hours, and twenty-one minutes, at full cruising speed.” The computer replied, and Rick nodded, setting the lever all the way forward with his left hand, which makes the ship increase in speed.

----

“Miss Tron, the Drache we have been tracking has begun to turn towards us,” the same Servbot said. “When will we intercept the Drache?” Tron asked, looking from the chair her brother had left over half an hour ago, to go get some rest. “We will have contact with the Drache in about 45 minutes, Miss Tron.” The same whiny voice replied, looking back to its master. “However, the Drache seems much faster than the normal Draches, Miss Tron. I think someone must have changed its engine somehow.” Tron looked thoughtful at that, and then nodded once, quickly. A fist went into the palm of her other hand, and she smiled. “Well, if the person who is flying it can improve that Drache, then they can improve ours, too! It won’t cost us a thing either!”

“Yes ma’am!” each and every Servbot on the bridge area said. Tron pushed a button, and the intercom crackled to life. “This is Tron. Prepare for battle! We have 45 minutes before we make contact with our target! Get all weapons and Draches ready! We won’t lose this time!” she exclaimed, and a resounding cheer could be heard resonating through the decks of the ship, and a loud, echoing “Baboo!” could also be heard, even as Tron turned off the intercom. “I’ll be working on my robot, the Fokker Falcon. Let me know the minute we have reached the Drache, okay? If you mess up this time, I’m going to use you to guide my missiles again!” She exclaimed, hopping out of the chair, and out the door to go back to the Mecha Hangar. “Oh no!” all five Servbots on the Bridge said loudly, wincing even as they kept straight on their course.

----

“Computer, confirm the object on radar is there.” Rick said. He now had his helmet on, which was linked with the computer system on his ship now. “Confirmed. Large airship moving at 600 miles per hour is heading straight toward this ship. Recommend keeping out of weapons range. Visual Sight has not yet been established.” The computer spoke out loud to him, in the cockpit. “Computer, identify class of vessel, and possible armaments.”

“Airship is Class A, large enough to carry its own ships within it. It may have a particle blaster, four or six Vulcan guns upon turrets, and two rocket launchers.” The computer replied, and Rick felt a cold chill run through him. “Estimated time before contact?” he asked, weighing his options carefully. Turn and run, continue on in case they were friendly, or perhaps circle wide around them. “Estimated time at current speed is 30 minutes,” it replied. “However, if speed was reduced by half, it would take 45 minutes to contact.”

Rick nodded, and cut his ships speed by half. “Inform me when we are five minutes away from contact, Computer.” He said, and stepped away from the controls, his auto-nav keeping the ship on course. “Acknowledged” it replied, even as Rick went over to the center area of the deck, and looked up at the retractable gun above his head. A single, long barrel could be seen, though it was part of the ceiling at this angle. Pushing a button in the wall, the gun slid up and popped out of the small hatch on the top of the ship, a plate of armor settling back into place over the hole. He then reached up, and began fixing the wiring, which he had never completed beforehand, and got to work.

----

“How close are we now?” said the female voice, into the wrist communicator she had. It only worked inside the Gesellchaft II, but it was helpful for times like now, when she was working on a project. “We are less than 10 minutes away, Miss Tron. We have a visual on the Drache, but it does not look much like one of our Draches, Miss Tron.” The voice on the other end replied. Servbot #28, she thought, from the sound of his voice. “Number 28, prepare the front cannons and the turreted Vulcan guns. I want to see this Drache on my monitor in here, too, and hurry it up, we’re almost within range!” she exclaimed, and grinned, seeing the monitor in her robot come to life. Roll was wrong, she thought. You can create something fully usable and safe from spare parts, and still save lots of money! Then she got a good sight at the airship, and blinked in surprise. “That looks like about two or three of our Draches put together!” she said to herself, and then she grinned. “All Servbots to their stations! This is not a Drill, repeat, this is not a Drill!” a high pitched voice on the intercom said, and as Tron looked out the view screen, she could see the Servbots scrambling into positions, either at turret guns or within their own Draches.

“Teasel, Bomb, are you two ready?” Tron asked, getting both of her brothers on her screen, instead of the other airship. “Yes Tron, I’m on the Bridge. I’ll be directing the fight from here, and Bomb is ready in his new ship, if he needs to be sent out for the battle.” Teasel responded, to which Bomb Bonne had only to add, “Baboo!” Tron nodded, and grinned once again. “Good! Let’s try to capture that ship in one piece, it’ll be worth a lot if we sell it!” Teasel and Tron both laughed at that comment. “We are now less than 5 minutes away from the Drache,” Servbot #21’s voice could be heard as he made the announcement.

----

“We are now 5 minutes to the target. Markings on the airship register it as the Gesellchaft II.” The computer said flatly, and Rick blinked in surprise- he knew that name. “Damn it… the Bonnes? Why do I have to run into them on my first flight!” he sighed, and then hurried back into the cockpit. Taking his place in the pilot’s seat, he lifted the gun trigger covering, and then he pushed a button, which produced a trigger in the handle, for his index finger to pull. His left hand moved to rest on the lever which controlled the Shadow Nova’s acceleration, and he quickly punched it forward, moving the ship back up to full speed. The main thrusters flared to a bright blue brilliance as the ship flashed forward. “Prepare afterburner maneuver.” He said, waiting now only on the Bonnes… and suddenly, the front part of the ship opened wide.

Out came several Draches, he noticed, the same kinds he had salvaged before. Rick laughed, he knew from experience that their armor was flimsy, and much weaker than his own ship’s armor. Pressing a small button on the side of the accelerator lever, a lock on sight appeared upon the HUD. “Computer, open a channel to them.” He said, just as a snotty voice came over his speakers.

“To the person flying that airship, prepare to be boarded! Or else, we will destroy your ship! Huahahahaha!” the voice laughed, and Rick winced at the annoying sound. “Nice try, but if I remember correctly, you destroyed my house a few years ago. Now, I’m going to give you and your Servbots until the count of 10 to get away from me… Or else.” Rick said, a serious tone in his voice. “Kid, I don’t think you know what you’re talking about! We’re the Bonnes! No one battles us and wins!” the voice spoke up, almost whining again.

“Yeah, right. No one except Mega Man Volnut that is, right?” Rick laughed, and he heard multiple thuds onto a metallic surface. “Ouch, that sounds like it had to hurt!” Rick commented, even as he could hear the speaker get to his feet. “That’s it kid, no more Mr. Nice Pirate! Prepare to be blown out of the sky!” Teasel yelled, about to go crazy as this kid reminded him of his family’s past failures. “All ships, attack him! Shoot him out of the sky!”

“You’re welcome to try!” Rick countered, and with his lock on system, set the turreted gun’s sights on the nearest Drache. “All too easy,” he commented, as he pushed the top button on the control stick, and two shots slammed out of the top mounted cannon and into the Drache, leaving it smoking as it fell from the sky. Resetting the lock on, Rick turned to follow a Drache that was flying off to his right. Switching to Vulcan Guns, he began firing the quad guns in rapid bursts, easily dusting the Drache in a furious melee of energy bullets. “Are you pirates done, or are ya thirsty for more?” he taunted, continuing on to lock onto another Drache, who was firing at him. Feeling the ship shudder twice in response to the Vulcan gun energy slamming into its armor, Rick grinned, and then tapped the top button three times, sending cannon fire into the Drache, the third hit causing it to simply explode and evaporate in mid air.

Soon, there were three Servbots falling toward the ocean with their parachutes, and the other three Draches headed back toward the Gesellchaft II. “You haven’t won yet, kid!” said a slightly high pitched voice, but he knew it wasn’t a Servbot that spoke now, as a new ship flew out from behind the large airship. It was an orange color, and it looked like a bird more than an airship, he noticed. But, as it fired a large amount of rockets, Rick knew that he better fight back quickly. Slamming his thumb onto the cannon button, a steady stream poured from it, even as the rockets came in at him. One by one, his cannon fire destroyed the rockets, and one or two shots even seemed to hit the large, flying craft that was heading towards him. “Not bad…” the female’s voice commented. “But not good enough!” she exclaimed, flying over his ship, not thinking he could fire at her from that angle. “Perhaps… perhaps not,” he responded, his thumb tapping on the cannon button again, blasting at her mech as she began to rain Vulcan gun energy at his ship. “Activate Afterburner, now!” he exclaimed, and he was slammed into his seat as the sudden burst of speed kicked in. The gunshots went wide, as a collective “What!” could be heard from both English speaking Bonnes.

----

“How’d he do that?” Teasel yelled, slamming both fists onto the console on his chair. The Gesellchaft II was out of range of the fighting, as much for its safety as it was for Tron’s. Having a large ship like this one would severely limit Tron’s mobility, as well as giving her the chance that, if she missed, her own fire might hit the ship! This Drache that wasn’t really a Drache was beginning to annoy him, too. That pilot had already taken out three of his Draches, and now it was faring well against even Tron’s own mech! “Master Teasel, the signal coming from that airship is now gone. It must have been destroyed from the few hits our Draches had on it,” one of the Servbots said.

“Tron, we’re taking too much damage in our reserves! Think you can finish him?” Teasel asked, even as she watched the strange airship pull away from her, and then climb higher, to her altitude, even as it turned towards her. “I don’t know, Teasel. This guy seems to have a few tricks up his sleeve. Ack!” and she quickly moved out of the way of a quad vulcan gun attack, spinning her mech into a dive as the airship approached, much faster than she would have thought possible for such a small ship. Her own Fokker Falcon shuddered a little, taking a little bit of damage from the attack as a few shots grazed its armor. “Teasel, I think we better fall back and regroup!” she exclaimed, heading toward the Gesellchaft II, even as the airship shot past her, overhead. “Agreed. Bomb, go after that airship, and distract him so Tron can get away!” Teasel said, and Tron headed back to the ship, turning the turret-like cockpit so that she faced the airship that had evaded her. “He’s good…” she whispered to herself.

“Baboo!” was all that could be heard before the youngest of the Bonne’s took off, heading toward Rick’s airship with only some long-range guns to distract him. Which easily happened, since Bomb kept his pattern simple to avoid, but hard to get a shot off at. At the same time, Tron'’ mech reached the ship, and disappeared within. “All right, Bomb, good work! Now, get back to the ship, and we’ll get outta here!” the little kid heard Teasel say. “Baboo,” Bomb responded, and left the airship’s gun range while it turned back to face them, flying toward the Gesellchaft as fast as he could.

----

“You won’t get away with this, kid. Next time, we’ll be ready for you. When that time comes, you’ll be blown out of the sky! Huahahahaha!” Teasel began laughing like crazy, as they pulled away from his ship, and Rick sighed softly, shaking his head. Nothing left to say, he turned off the communication’s channel, and kept the afterburners on, soon out of the Bonne’s range as he continued back toward Nino Island.

“What a day.”

Chapter Four: Clear skies and Bombing Waters

"Now, this is much better!" Rick exclaimed, stretching out on the deck of the airship. With the turret cannon retracted, and the ship only going at ¼ cruising speed, he felt a bit of relaxation was needed, especially after the battle with the Bonnes. After setting the ship onto autopilot, he proceeded up the ladder that was within the cockpit area, and up onto the top deck, to get some fresh air. Now, he held onto the railing of the ship he had set up there for such a time as now. His eyes closed as he feels the wind rush past his face, and through his hair- he couldn't feel it on the rest of his body thanks to his armor he had on, while his helmet he had left on the co-pilot's seat below. His boots were magnetically clamped to the deck, to help keep him in place as he stood there.

"Not a cloud in the sky, the Bonnes at least an hour behind me… This is a good time to relax, for now." He whispered to himself, laughing into the wind. The battle with the Bonnes was a not-so-distant memory, but he still relaxed easily. His eyes opened, as he looks around the surrounding sea and sky… a few clouds here and there, no gulls in sight, and no ships on the water. It seemed almost too quiet, except for the constant rumbling of the oversized engines and thrusters behind him. Then, of course, there was the whistling of the air as his ship rushed through it.

Rick couldn't help but to think there was something wrong. Though he'd never been flying in an airship on his own before, there was something definitely unnerving about traveling on your own. "This can't be right," he said out loud, to no one in particular but himself. Maybe it was the fact that he didn't have anyone to fly with, or maybe it was the fact that he was lonely, but something was bugging… and he couldn't figure out what. What he didn't know, either, was the blip that was closing in, on the radar screen… under his field of vision.

----

A red light came active on the large, single eye of the robot as its sensors picked up something flying above the ocean. The word Charybdis was etched in on its sides in some strange language, and it began to move slowly toward the surface of the ocean, stalking its newfound prey. A single large, metal gray spike crested the water, the ocean parting around the spike as the shadow of its body was vaguely visible along the top of the water. The body itself was a light sea green, but it also had metallic portions upon it as well. It looked much like a snake, but it had what seemed to be wings, or fins, along its sides to help keep it afloat easier. Of course, no one was watching, least of all the human in the airship, it seemed.

The single occupant inside looked up and into his view-screen and grinned slightly. "I've got you now!" it said in a high-pitched voice, as it flipped several switches on the console in front of it. Along all 8 segmented sections of the swimming snake 'bot, small turreted guns came out and began blasting away at the unsuspecting ship above. "You won't get away from us this time!" it said to itself as the bolts of yellow Vulcan energy was fired quickly overhead. The sheer volume of firepower being poured into the sky made a targeting system unnecessary… and too expensive, too.

---- Rick opened up the hatch to get below, and into the airship, as he thought he saw a signal flare go up fairly close to his ship. "What in the world?" he muttered, and he stopped, stepped back up onto the deck, and stumbled, skidding into the railing as the ship shuddered. That was no flare… it was a Vulcan energy shot, and it hit the ship, he thought, eyes going wide as he winces a bit, having hit the rail with mostly his armor, but the back of his neck hit as well. "Damn!" he exclaimed, staggering to his feet as he slowly made his way back to the hatch, and dove inside… the hatch closed behind him, even as he hit the metal floor with a resounding thud, almost landing head first.

"Ow…" he muttered, picking himself up as he shakes his head, quickly opening the door into the cockpit as the ship shuddered again, and he could hear something very, very troubling- his engine was sputtering. "Shit. Computer, activate engine repair sequence!" he yelled, jumping into the pilot seat and punching the throttle forward, causing the engine to stop sputtering and fall back to its original routine. "Thank goodness for safety bypasses" he muttered, rather glad that he had installed a redundant energy flow system into the engine housing. Looking around, he couldn't see anything above or around the ship, even with the radar. "Below…" he whispered and he winced slightly as another shot hit. His ship was now moving about half speed, even with the redundant system in place, thanks to the damage.

Taking the Control stick in hand, he maneuvered out of the way, and began climbing further into the atmosphere at high speeds. The armor, now dented, blackened and smoking from the Vulcan fire that had flashed at him from below the ship, now burned a slight reddish hue at the sudden incline, and the whole ship shuddered again. "Damn it…" he muttered, and fought to keep the nose up, even as he could tell that he needed to land, and soon. "Computer, how long until we can reach Nino Island?" Rick asked, gritting his teeth as he managed to keep the ship stable in the air for now.

"Estimated time between our current position and Nino Island is three hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds." The computer responded, and Rick sighed. "I can't hold this thing aloft that long…" he muttered, and blinked, noticing a large blip on the radar moving toward his position fast. "Oh no… please no, it can't be, not now!" he cried, shaking his head, and uncovering the turret cannon button, even as he realized what was happening. He had thought he had a large enough head start to not have to worry about them for at least a few hours longer, but no such luck- they were here.

----

"Great work, #2! You slowed him down! He doesn't have any choice now but to surrender to us!" said that loud, mature, and slightly annoying voice over a private channel. "Master Teasel, that airship has begun to slow down a lot. We can overtake his position in less than 5 minutes," a whiny voice said, from the console of to Teasel's left. Teasel began laughing, and then looked to Tron, who was standing off to his right, next to his chair. "That was a great idea, Tron, to use our Snake sub to disable his engines! Now, we can take his ship and deal with that annoyance once and for all!"

"That's right Teasel, but make sure we get the kid alive. With his help, I'm sure we can make our forces much more powerful than ever before, and then we can take Kattlelox easily! After that, we can take Ryship Island, Manda Island, and so on… The way he managed to modify his ship like that, he must have figured out how we can improve our own! If not, well, we at least get to sell his ship, right?" She raised the back of her hand to the side of mouth, and laughed evilly at that thought. There was more to it, she knew. The fact that some nobody had managed to best her own designs like this angered her. It wasn't Mega Man, or even that girl Roll that helped him out. This was just some kid from an island they were defeated on years ago, and now he was making a mockery of her family! "I'll make him pay!" she whispered to herself, even as she turned to head out the hatch, back to the launch bay for her Fokker Falcon, which she had repaired already. "Just for embarrassing me, I'll lock him in the torture room for two weeks!"

"Hey Teasel, while I'm out, order some pizza, 'kay?" Tron yelled back into the bridge, and Teasel shook his head. "Oh, all right!" he said, in that slightly annoyed tone of voice. Here he was, about to finally capture the kid who had humiliated them less than two hours ago, and Tron wants pizza! Teasel sighed… and shrugged, picking up the phone that was on his chair, and pressed Speed Dial #5. Teasel sighed again, wondering why Tron had to make it so that the Servbots all used actual food to replenish their energy. She had told him once before when he asked about that and her answer was because food was cheaper than refractors. "Ain't that the truth," he muttered, while the phone was dialing, just before the person on the other end picked up. "Hello, High Fly Pizza?" he spoke into the phone, and began ordering pizza for the 43 people on board.

----

Servbot #2, on the other hand, was still on the intercom as Teasel ordered the pizza. "Yes, a large pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and onions… make that 5 of those, and then a dozen large Canadian bacon and pineapple pizzas… finally, a half dozen large pizzas with the works, minus sardines." Teasel's voice came over the intercom. The Servbot winced and flailed its arms around wildly. "Master Teasel, come pick me up!" its whiny voice rang out, even as the intercom died off. Then, its trademark, whining yell could be heard even by Tron who passed by overhead in the Fokker Falcon. "Oh, no!"

----

Rick, on the other hand, had his hands full with keeping the ship upright without having to worry about the approaching Fokker Falcon. Then, the speaker came to life as a somewhat familiar voice filled the small cockpit. "Well kid, it's the end of the line for you! The nearest island is at least two hours away, and from the damage you've taken, I doubt you have half that time left in the air! Ha!" her laughter made him winced, even as another shudder rained down along his ship. "Surrender, and we'll let you live, and you can be my slave!" she cried out to him, all the while grinning as she gripped the talons of her mech onto the top of the Shadow Nova. "Power down your weapons, or else I will tear this hunk of a Drache pile to pieces!"

"Not much of choice, have I?" he spoke, after turning on his microphone for her to hear him on her end. A short laugh could be heard, in agreement to his assessment. "Well then… I surrender." He said softly, even as he began to grin slightly, moving his fingers over to the tilt-thruster button, and pressed it easily. Servos could be heard, and he grabbed his helmet from the other seat, slipping it on quickly. "Computer, lock all hatches except the top hatch as soon as I reach the top deck," he said quickly, locking the chinstrap on his helmet into place under, where else, his chin. "Acknowledged," the computer said, as he nodded in response.

"Nova, bring weapon systems one and two online." He said, slapping the boosters into his buster gun quickly, and he stepped over to the ladder. Starting to climb, he reached up, and opened the hatch, letting himself out of the ship and then he closed the hatch behind him. As he stood to face the cockpit of the mechanical falcon keeping his ship aloft and trying to drag it back to where it came from, he put a hand onto the side of his helmet, where his hearing receptors were. Pressing a small button on the left side of the helmet, a tinted visor slid down and over his face, obscuring his facial features from Tron's view.

"Nova, patch into the Shadow Nova's computer system, and let me know the extent of the damage." Rick said simply, as the Head's Up Display (HUD) came to life on his visor. He whistled softly, and laughed, as he walked to the tail, and carefully, after clicking the magnetic boots to on, made his way to the now barely working engine. Finding the panel he was looking for, thanks to the damage display on his visor, he reached to his left arm and pressed a button, causing his buster gun to form. He changes its output to a low yield beam, he opens the panel, and then blasts into the wiring with that gentle beam. The heat in return melds the wiring that connected the two secondary cables between the engine and refractor together, and Rick waits for a moment. Then grins, as he listens to the dull roar of the engine flare back to life.

"Perfect! Shadow Nova Computer, begin ascent!" he yelled out, as he flipped the panel back into place, looking back up at Tron's Falcon mech, and grins. If she could see my face now, wouldn't she be surprised, he thought. Then, as he stepped back along the deck, he began to lose his balance as the Shadow Nova actually began ascending thanks to the tilt thrusters being in the vertical position.

----

"What is he doing?" Tron asks herself, watching her captive as he blasted away at something inside of his ship, near the engine. "Is he trying to blow us both up?" she asked herself in a panic, before noticing how light the beam from his gun was. "No… he's doing something, though. The buster looks a lot like Mega Man's, too…" she mumbled to herself, and then suddenly got lurched backwards, nearly tearing off the tail fin of the kid's airship at the sudden increase in speed. "Tricky little devil," she whispered, finally realizing the kid's plan as she unlatched the metal talons from his ship

"What's going on here!" Teasel yelled at the Servbots in the bridge, demanding to know how that surprising increase in speed happened. The Gesellchaft II had been almost on top of the ship when its engines suddenly flared to life. However, what really surprised them was when that same ship began ascending, right into their path! "Hard to starboard, hard to starboard! Hurry up, you Servbots!" Teasel screamed, as the giant ship slowly turned, and the much smaller red and gray ship barely missed them. "How'd he do that!" he yelled once again.

Deeper in the Gesellchaft II, Bomb was playing when the craft suddenly tilted to the starboard. He suddenly went flying into the wall, the shell shaped like a wrecking ball with the human inside getting a rather large dent in it. His eyes were spiraling as his shell got knocked about the room like a ping pong ball. "Ba, Babooooo…" could be heard throughout the ship, even as several Servbots went to try and help. "Master Bomb, are you all right?" several voices said at once, even as their pupils went extremely small. A hushed "Oh no!" was heard as the dented shell of Bomb Bonne rammed straight into the Servbots that went to help, knocking them all over the room like a Bowling Ball does when it bowls a strike.

----

"Nova, initiate autopilot on the Shadow Nova! Deactivate Nova weapon systems!" Rick gasped, his magnetic boots losing their grip as the small ship was shoved this way and that, from the sheer closeness of his ship and the Bonne's. Suddenly, he screamed, tripping up and over the railing of his own ship, one hand lashing out to grab hold of the railing. He was just barely able to hold on with that right hand, his left hand still encased by a cannon. "Help me!" he yelled, unaware that the radio within his helmet was on, and that anyone within a 5 mile radius would hear him thanks to that. The emergency beacon, a powerful transmitting device he had installed in the armor, which would only activate when he said those two words, became active. The signal went out for many miles around, but none would be there in time to help him, he thought. This was the Bonne's move, he thought. Checkmate… I've lost.