Foreign Powers

His eyes opened and he stared off into a distant fuzzy darkness. Almost immediately, lights from above flared into being, forcing his eyes to adjust. There was no distant fuzzy darkness after all, only an out-of-focus steel door inches from his face.

"Wh- where am I?" he called out, his own voice startling him! He'd never heard it before, and he decided it was a pleasing sound. He was startled again by a whirring of servomotors, clanking of steel bolts, and grating of long-unused metal on metal.

The steel doors split in the middle at a previously undetected seam and swung outwards.

He was in a simple room, a perfect ten-foot cube. A row of computer terminals was along the wall to his right, and a massive lift-door was set on the wall in front of him. He stepped down from his...coffin? He spun about quickly, examining the steel box he'd stepped out of. It appeared to be a trapezoidal metal structure that had risen out of the floor itself. The short-side of the trapezoid was facing him, and held the two steel doors. The inside was a luxuriously padded surface, completely form-fitted to his body as if he were an appliance fresh from the box! Before he had time to examine it further, the doors swung silently shut, and the box retreated down into the floor, leaving no trace it was ever there.

"WHO AM I?!" He cried suddenly, realizing a horrible truth! He had absolutely no idea who he was! He looked down at his outstretched hands, examining himself. Olive-skinned, wearing some sort of simple coarse white cloth resembling a toga. The toga was sparsely decorated with strange red symbols vaguely resembling an eye on a stick. Lowering his hands to his sides, he turned and approached the computer terminals.

"Greetings, and welcome back, Gemini. Please provide positive confirmation of your identity via subdermal handprint transmission." A soothing female voice called out, seemingly from nowhere. On cue, a book-sized section of wall slid out with a red hand-shaped indentation on the surface. The man slowly, almost fearing the results, laid his hand on the imprint.

"Identity confirmed. Welcome MegaMan Gemini."

"Gemini? Is that who I am?" he said to himself. "Where am I?"

"You are in sub-city Theta Phi. Your purpose for being brought here is kept in classified file 649276B, as is the reason your memory has been erased." "Memory erased?! What? What is this place? Why was I in that coffin?!" Gemini cried, his frustration mounting exponentially.

"The purpose for your confinement here, as well as the location of your memory backup are classified and will not be released to you without prior authorization of Mother. You have been reactivated to deal with the intruder who is now proceeding through level six."

"Ok, OK OOOOKAAY! Enough of this!! What backup?! What authorization?! Whose mother?! What intruder?! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN?!" Gemini screamed!

"Your irrational actions are not conducive to remedying the current problem. Please compose yourself," the computer reprimanded with an infuriating calmness. "The reconfiguration of your confinement capsule is complete. Please re-enter it."

Gemini turned and saw that the coffin-like thing had returned. Jeez, once the kinks got worked out, that sucker was quiet! "Reconfiguration?" he asked.

"Your capsule's stasis and confinement systems have been replaced with an armament retrofit unit. You will be equipped with adequate combat gear to dispose of the intruder," the computer elaborated.

Gemini hesitated, then complied. He figured he'd be able to use the weapons to break free of this apparent prison if need be, and figure out for himself just what was going on.

The steel doors swung noiselessly shut, entombing Gemini in a metal cocoon of absolute darkness and silence. He remained there, growing uneasy with each passing second. Suddenly, purplish lightning coursed around his body! Gemini let out a shout of surprise, expecting agonizing pain to tear through him at any second! But the pain never came. The energy began coalescing closer and closer to his body, forming into a glowing shell, then fading into a suit of armor. The steel doors opened and he stepped out.

"You are now equipped with Class B repulsor armor and dual buster-class forearm guns. You are hereby ordered to use any means necessary to eliminate the intruder," the computer ordered.

Gemini played along. "Roger that." The door on the far end of the room slid upward with a hydraulic whine, and Gemini cautiously walked through.

Victor Blackheart could not believe his fortune. After Grapple had shot him out of the sky, he was certain he was going to die. Even if his ejector seat hadn't malfunctioned, landing in the ocean would have killed him as certainly as remaining in an exploding jet should have. His cybernetic body, torn and blasted from his lost battle, would have shorted out and exploded if the highly conductive seawater got inside. But somehow the jet broke neatly in two when it struck the surface of the water, and the shockwave of the engine assembly exploding several feet above him had propelled his intact cockpit down to the ocean floor.

Victor thought he'd die there as well. He assumed his cockpit canopy would shatter under the force of so much water--the jet was designed for high-atmospheric pressures. Pressures from inside trying to force outward, not the other way around! But the cockpit had held intact. And fate certainly had a plan for him when he slid down a hill on the ocean floor, rolled into an undersea cave, and floated upward to an air pocket.

So there he sat, slumped against the wall of the cave, watching the remnants of his cockpit bubble once again to the ocean floor. He forced his mechanical body to its feet, refusing to give in until there really was no hope. He couldn't believe all this coincidence and luck had happened just so he could rot to death in a cave somewhere!

Logic slapped him in the face.

"I can see!" he growled. "Why is it there is light down here? Nearly a mile deep and I can see!"

Victor rose to his feet, a mechanical screeching coming from his severely damaged cybernetic legs. Grimacing with pain, he staggered off toward the source of the light.

Gemini tested out his equipment. He discovered that his repulsor armor did not have the power required to fire both his buster guns at once, but with a little practice he perfected alternating their shots. By firing right, left, right, left with correct timing, he could compensate for the guns' slow rapid-fire rating. Aside from that, it didn't do much for him besides slow him down and make moving difficult.

"What am I doing?" he mumbled to himself, passing up a few guard robots that were apparently on his side. "How do I get out of here...more importantly, do I want to get out of here?"

He had tried many doors along this hallway, but they all buzzed a warning saying something about how the other side was flooded. Even if he decided he did want to get out, there was probably no way to do it! Even more unsettling was the fact that he recognized so many things in the building, though he couldn't consciously remember seeing them.

Gemini's mind spun with uncertainties. Was he the "good guy" or the "bad guy"? What had he done to deserve his confinement? Why had nobody come looking for him when this "sub-city" had been demolished? Why had the city been demolished? How long was he in stasis?!

He began to grow dizzy from his swimming thoughts, and sunk to one knee. "Go-...gotta get a grip...gotta keep my head," he gasped, sounding more like he was trying to convince himself than anything else.

He took a couple deep breaths, rose to his feet, and continued his patrol.

But what was he patrolling for? Suppose the intruder killed him first...then he'd never figure out what was going on! Well...he was already in prison, how much worse could it get? If he killed the intruder, he'd never find a way out. If the intruder killed him...well, end of story, basically. But if he befriended the intruder...helped him out...maybe he could escape!

"That settles it then," Gemini said under his breath, and glanced at his arm cannons. "I'm busting outta here."

Victor proceeded slowly, though not from any desire to be cautious. His cybernetic legs, still sparking and spewing electricity, were barely functional. He hoped the refractor array still held enough power for him to at least escape. Victor began to get claustrophobic fears of being trapped in an undersea cave, lost and immobile, but quickly banished them to the furthest corner of his mind.

"Idiot...won't get anywhere if you keep thinking like that," he scolded himself under his breath.

Victor had followed the barely lit cave, which proceeded in a straight line until the rocky rough-hewn walls gave way to smoothly structured slate and steel. Obviously an ancient ruin, he thought to himself, but judging from the amount of dust and rust which was abundant in this hall, it had never been found. This was a good sign--Reaverbots, when not serving as guards, doubled as maintenance robots. Poorly maintained tunnels meant no Reaverbots. At least he wouldn't have to fight in his damaged condition!

So he plodded onward, ignoring the pain in his limbs as best he could, hoping he wouldn't encounter any resistance.

Gemini patrolled the length of the corridor, methodically checking each side passage as he went. Most of the doors were non-functional, likely having self-locked due to flooding on the other side. One or two opened into completely empty rooms, devoid of anything save a coating of dust. It was this level of consistency that caused him to eventually tune out, and check the rooms by habit. He never expected to see anyone when he opened any of the doors, and as such was caught completely off guard when the last door in the hall slid open to reveal a hulking man/machine monstrosity that appeared to have come straight from the darkest recesses of hell!

"HOLY CRAP ALMIGHTY!!" he shrieked, leaping backward several feet!

The black thing also stumbled backward, and it was this fact that caused Gemini to realize it was already heavily damaged.

"Wh-who are you?!" he demanded.

" Victor," the mechanical abomination gasped. "And lost."

"Lost? But..." Gemini's mind raced. If this guy was just lost, why would the system order him to be destroyed? Obviously had he obeyed the computer's commands, he'd be in the wrong.

"Nevermind," Gemini said. "C'mon, let's get you out of here."

"A way out? You...know how to escape?" Victor said painfully.

"Not really, but there's one door on this hallway I haven't checked yet, so if there is a way out, that's gonna be it."

Victor said nothing, but motioned for Gemini to lead the way. Sure enough, the final door slid open to reveal some kind of submarine dock. They were in luck--one pod remained! Wordlessly, they both piled into the small but adequate machine, and with knowledge Gemini didn't know he had, he booted up the systems and jettisoned the pod out through an escape tube.

"That was almost too easy," Victor commented.

"Yeah, but hey, I'll take easy over hard any day, ya know?" Gemini replied, tossing a smirk over his shoulder. Victor craned his neck from the back seat, trying to see the control panels, but gave up when the pain of his movement became too intense.

"Looks like you got your ass kicked somethin' fierce!" Gemini laughed, noticing just how bad off Victor was.

"Y...yeah, you could say that. I was flying along when a couple pirates just blew me out of the air. No reason!" Victor said sadly. "I didn't stand a chance."

"Is that how you got underwater?" Victor nodded, then related how his craft had broken up and through the amazing string of coincidences he ended up in the cave. "Hard to believe...someone 'upstairs' must really want me alive!"

"Yeah, no kidding! So what do you do for a living?"

"Well..." Victor paused, choosing his words carefully. "I'm self-employed. I guess you could call me a traveling merchant." "Really? What do you sell?" Gemini asked, intrigued.

"Oh, everything. A little this, a little that, "Victor explained evasively. "But enough about me, what about you? Why were you under there? As I recall, you didn't know how to get out, which indicates you didn't know how you got in!"

"Heh...I honestly don't know. I...uh...must have gotten hit in the head, because I don't remember anything," Gemini half-lied.

Victor suddenly spun about in his seat, looking over his shoulder. "DAMMIT! Gemini, something's on the back of the sub!"

"What?!" Gemini glanced over his shoulders, but Victor's bulk blocked his view. "What is it? I can't see a thing!"

"I'm not sure! It's definitely some kind of Reaverbot! Quick, rise to the surface so we can blow this thing away!" Victor shouted, his fear showing.

Gemini complied, and adjusted the buoyance controls, causing the sub to rise as fast is it could.

"Hurry! It's doing something to the engines!"

Gemini looked around frantically, but realized he could do nothing. His armored hands dug deeply into the padded dashboard of the cockpit as the sub rose. There was nothing he could do but endure the agonizingly long moments as the sub made its way to the surface!

It had been less than a minute from the time Victor spotted their enemy to the time he broke through the surface of the water, but it seemed like hours. Gemini fumbled for the controls, finally unlatching the cockpit and pushing it open!

"Hurry! Get it!" Victor cried, frantically trying to unbuckle himself! Gemini looked around, both buster guns at the ready, but couldn't see anything! "Where'd it go?!" he cried! "I can't see a thing, did we lose it?" Victor finally succeeded in unbuckling himself and moved forward. "No, we didn't lose anything. But you did," he said in a suddenly emotionless voice.

Gemini barely had time to say "Huh?" before a powerful cybernetic arm clobbered him upside the head, sending him flying into the ocean. Struggling against the weight of his armor, he desperately tried to keep himself afloat! "What are you doing?! I can't swim in this! Pull me up!" He cried! "Too bad. This is my ship now. You're just going to have to die now," Victor said, smirking sadistically.

The cockpit closed and the submarine sped off, spraying Gemini with water from the jets.

He paddled frantically for a few more moments, just enough to spin a complete circle and realize there was no land in sight.

Then his arms cramped up and he went down. Miles from shore.

"Roll! Where are you!" Megaman Volnutt laughed as he rounded a pile of rocks. He made his way carefully down the beach, inspecting every possible cover. A slight shuffling of feet behind him....he spun about, bringing his super-soaker to bear!

And took a water-balloon right in the face.

"Agh! Roll, I'll get you for that!" he said with mock anger as he blindly staggered toward the sound of Roll's laughter!

"You may be good underground, but I'm Queen of Waterfights up here!" she said, striking a heroic pose from atop the rock pile.

"EEEEEEEEEE!!!!" a high pitched cry came from behind her as an enormous blast of water knocked her off the rocks to flop unceremoniously into the sand.

"Ha-ha! Good haha shot Data HAHAHAHAH!" Megaman managed to say through his laughter, then fell over in the sand and cracked up.

Roll sat up and spat out some wet sand. "Shoot! I almost won!"

"EEE EEE EEE EEE EEE EEE EEE!" Data cried happily, throwing Megaman's Aqua Blaster down and doing a little victory dance.

After a minute or so, Megaman's laughter died into an occasional chuckle, and Roll was trying to get the sand out of her mouth.

"Hey, Roll. You hungry?" Megaman asked, trying frantically to banish the image of Roll flying through the air on a stream of water.

"PTUI! Yeah, actually I am. PTOO. But I won't be if I...PTOOI...can't get all this sand out of my mouth!"

"EE EEEE E EEEE EE!" Data said.

"Yeah, Data, pizza does sound good!" Megaman said aloud, mostly to translate the monkey's chatter for Roll's benefit.

Roll stood up, brushing the sand off her butt. "Well, should we make it ourselves or order it! I hear Mile-High Pizza has free delivery this week!"

"Hmm," Megaman thought, "We should probably make it ourselves. Those engine upgrades you had in mind are going to cost a lot, so we should save whenever we can."

"Yeah," Roll began, but was interrupted by Data shrieking loudly!

"EEEEEEK!! EKKK EEEEEEEEKKKKKK!" he sputtered, bouncing full-speed towards a distant lump on the beach!

"What is it, Megaman?!" Roll asked, growing nervous.

"I don't know, wait here, I'll go check it out!"

"But...Megaman, you don't have your armor! What if it's trouble!"

Megaman looked down at his swim trunks and sandals, then shrugged. "Run, I guess!"

" careful!" Roll called out, as Megaman had already dashed off.

Megaman joined Data some 300 feet down the beach, stunned to find a body on the sand. It was a man wearing white and gray digger's armor, though it was not apparent if he was alive.

" you think he's...."

Megaman was answered, not by Data, but by a pained groan coming from the man himself! "Data, he's alive!" Megaman moved to help the man, but realized he was way too heavy. The guy was well over 6 feet tall, and in his armor had to weigh several hundred pounds!

"ROLL! COME QUICK! HE'S ALIVE!" he shouted over his shoulder, trying his best to get the man on his feet.

Roll dashed up moments later, helping Megaman. Together they began the slow and exhausting process of dragging the unconscious body back to the Flutter.

Gemini's first conscious realization was that he had somehow survived. Gradually he came awake, though he kept his eyes closed and remained motionless while he examined his surroundings with his other senses. He was on a soft bed, that much he could tell. He felt more than heard a faint drone of engines in the distance, causing everything to vibrate ever so slightly. Whispers! Straining his ears, he listened to the voices.

"Who do you think he is, Megaman?" a young female voice whispered. "I don't know, Roll. I have no idea," a boy, apparently the one named Megaman, replied.

"I wonder how long he was lying there! How'd he get there? I hope he's all right!" Roll whispered back, obviously very worried.

"Shh! You'll wake him up! It's probably best to let him rest"

"It's a bit too late for that," Gemini said, almost startling himself with his voice's sharp contrast to the quiet background. He heard Roll and Megaman jump slightly, and couldn't help but smirk. He opened his eyes and swung around to a sitting position. The two looked pretty much as he'd have guessed from their voices: the girl about 15, thin, and blonde, and the boy also about 15, lanky, and with very messy hair.

"Where am I?" Gemini asked, seeing the pair's hesitance to speak.

"Y--you're on our ship, the Flutter!" Megaman finally managed to get out. "Who are you?"

"Gemini. Beyond that, I do not know." "Amnesia?" Roll asked.

"No, not amnesia.... There's simply nothing there. Now how did I get onboard your 'Flutter'?"

Megaman and Roll exchanged glances briefly. "We found you washed up on the beach! We thought you were a goner when we ran up, but it's good to see you're all right!" Megaman explained, moving over to a footlocker. "You were pretty decked out in battle gear--I hope you don't mind but we put it in this locker for safekeeping."

"No, no that's all right. I'm amazed I drifted that far with all that on in the first place!" Gemini mused, rising to his feet.

Megaman and Roll both followed him with their eyes--neither of them came much past his chest!

"J-just how far out were you, Gemini?" Roll asked.

"Let's just say I couldn't see land when the jackass booted me from the submarine!"

And so they became acquainted. Questions were asked back and forth, many of them repeated, but eventually Gemini and the two teens knew enough. Megaman and Roll were of course shocked to find that Gemini knew absolutely nothing about society, and immediately plopped him in front of the TV to absorb as much as he could. He stayed with them for a few days, helping out here and there, while Megaman worked on teaching him how to get the most out of his combat gear, and Roll teaching him about the world.

"Is that 'Gramps'?" Gemini asked one night, pointing at a portrait on the wall.

"Huh? Oh, that. Yeah, he's off helping an old friend prepare for some massive dig or something," Megaman explained.

"Does he always leave you two alone like this?" Gemini wondered aloud.

"Huh?!" Roll and Megaman said in unison.

" know. Teenage boy and girl alone in the same place for days on end..." but he cut himself off when he noticed the brilliant shade of red Roll was turning--her face nearly matched her clothes!

"Um...I'll just go...swab the weatherdeck...." Gemini finished, tiptoeing out of the room and trying his best to ignore the wide-eyed imaginative look on Megaman's face.

The sleek gray submarine pulled into the boat dock off the coast of Gargoyle Island, not drawing so much as a second glance from the various fishermen and traders going about their daily business.

The sight of the pilot, however, stopped everyone dead in their tracks, and the silence was so thick you could have cut it with a butter knife.

"What are you staring at? Everyone go about their business or I'll crack some heads!" Victor screamed at the people, who were all too happy to comply!

Snarling at them, he plodded his nearly expired cyborg body up the dock and into the business district.

It was difficult moving around without being seen, he realized. Any attempt to blend casually into society was forever lost to him, and he began to regret his long-standing desire to become a cyborg. Just a few days earlier some damn digger named Grapple had mauled him, forcing him to bring his dream to reality. It would figure Grapple was one of those idiot hero types, and Victor quickly found himself the target of a massive manhunt involving both Grapple and the notorious pirate clan, the Bonnes. Victor's own pirate clan had been all but wiped out by the team, and it was all he could do to escape with his life. But Grapple his damn flyer chased him down and shot him out of the sky. His mind wandered back to the underground cave, and was again amazed at how he could have survived so many coincidences! Still, the point was he had survived, and he woul--

"STOP RIGHT THERE!" "Waaa!!!" Victor cried!


Victor slowly spun about, seeing seven police officers aiming their pistols at him!

"Woah! Don't shoot!" Victor said, trying his best to sound weak and unintimidating. "I didn't do anything!"

"Just stay where you are!" a cop shouted.

Victor dredged up his old acting skills and began sobbing. "I'm sorry...I just can't seem to do anything right! First mom dies cuz I couldn't get her to the hospital in time, then dad dies cuz I couldn't shut the grinder off fast enough, then I fall in the grinder, then I take a loan for my hospital bills, then the loanshark comes to kill me when I can't pay and...WAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!" He sputtered and sobbed, sounding as pathetic as humanly possible.

Suddenly, his whole image changed. Instead of being a hulking powerhouse hell-bent on death and destruction, he appeared to be a poor unfortunate soul crammed into a horrific body he hated. His acting had the desired effect--the police lowered their weapons.

"Hey--hey now! Hey, look, the guns are down, ok? We just got a little worked up." The cop tried to console him.

"Everyone says that...everyone always gets worked up at my appearance..." Victor mumbled, sobbing profusely, "But dammit, it's what's in here that counts!" he finished, banging on his metallic chest.

"Ok, just come downtown with us, please. We just have a few questions to ask--some townspeople were concerned, is all." "O--okay. I'll go," Victor sniffled.

The cop put a hand on his shoulder and led him into the back of a paddy wagon, and shut the doors.

"Poor guy," Victor heard the cop mumble. And he grinned. It worked perfectly.

Victor was on the streets again in a few hours--apparently the police knew nothing of his rampage through Liodalas and Kattelox Islands! They asked him general questions about his family, his background, and other such things, all of which he was able to successfully lie about. The police bought it hook, line, and sinker! He was now regarded as a big 'ol teddy bear as opposed to a slavering, murderous grizzly. So he proceeded to seek out the Junk store.

"Pleasure doin' business with ya!" the storeowner said half an hour later. Victor had traded the submarine for a massive haul of spare parts and tools. Over the next few days, he patched his cybernetic body back to perfect condition! He reloaded his weapon attachments, replated his armor, resoldered the connections, and in general redid everything. Finally, his supplies exhausted and his work finished, he marveled at his new body in an old broken mirror he had found. No longer did he look hideous and deformed--now he was an imposing image of power. Fully eight feet tall, his body from the neck down was a sleek jet-black, shiny as a spider's body. He pulled his long black hair back in a ponytail and threw on a pair of sunglasses.

"God damn I kick ass," he growled. Turning toward the city and glaring, he plotted his next moves.

"Are we ready?" Roll's chirping voice came floating from the loudspeaker.

"Yep!" Megaman called into the intercom from the engine room.

"Roger that," Gemini confirmed from the deck.

"Ok, then! Next stop, Gargoyle Island! I hope we find those engine parts we need there!" Roll chattered happily as the Flutter rose from its stationary hover, turned ninety degrees to port, and blasted off to the horizon!

Gemini clutched the railing tightly to avoid being knocked off his feet, but once they reached cruising speed, he was able to move about freely. He was wearing normal street clothes now, as his armor was still being rust-treated down in the R&D room. Fortunately, Roll had made a horrible mistake when buying a set of clothes for Megaman's birthday a few months ago, and they fit Gemini perfectly. He tried to straighten out his shirt a bit, but the whipping winds made it a very futile effort. After enjoying the scenery for a few minutes, he climbed back into the ship, and set off to do some serious TV watching.

Victor strolled down the street, looking like nothing more than an armored digger. He had no fear of being arrested for weapons possession--he had rebuilt his plasma gun, and had concealed it within his right forearm. His left arm remained 'normal', though the motors inside were powerful enough to crush a man's skull as easily as one might squash a grape. His feet, now looking like smoothly polished boots, concealed razor-sharp titanium blades that could snap out at a moment's notice. But the best enhancement as far as he was concerned was the internal layer of waterproof rubber! His first battle in his cybernetic body was a loss, simply because some smart-ass digger got it in his head to douse him with water, shorting out his body. Now, however, he would suffer no such defeat.

"And to prove it," he muttered to himself, "I'll lure him here and kill him!"

He continued on straight, making a beeline towards the police station. People parted to let him pass, staring slack-jawed. Victor smirked--his armor was impressive. After all, he had designed it himself.

Coming up to the one and only precinct on this island, he walked straight into the front doors and stopped in the lobby, arms akimbo.

"May I have your attention please?" He called out.

Silence reigned, all eyes on him. Well that was easy, he thought to himself.

"Anyone in this building who does not wish to die painfully had better leave right now."

Murmuring, confused worrying. A police officer left the front desk and approached Victor.

"Sir, is this some kind of joke? I'm going to have to ask you to come with me," he ordered, his hand resting on his pistol, though it remained holstered.

Victor grinned, then swiftly tore the officer clean in half.

Chaos ensued! People immediately began screaming and running in all directions!

"YEEAAAHHH!!!!" Victor cried, forming his arm cannon, and blasting at everything that moved!

Police officers immediately returned fire, but their bullets simply pinged and bounced off Victor's enhanced armor! Plasma blasts surged out of Victor's weapon arm, shearing off limbs, exploding heads, and burning flesh. Civilians and officers alike were falling left and right, some dead before they hit, others writhing in agonizing death throes. Victor slowly walked through the police station, blasting prisoners, families, office workers, and even a pizza delivery guy, pausing briefly to savor a bite of a sausage and mushroom slice. In less than a minute, the floor was dead. Bodies, limbs, shell casings, and various splatters and pools littered the floor. Victor then turned his weapons on one of the two staircases leading upstairs, shattering the supports, and causing the thing to come crashing down in a heap. Then, turning to the other staircase, he went up to the second floor. The grisly carnage was even easier then, as the people's only escape route was cut off. Three minutes after Victor had walked in the front door, the entire police force lie dead or dying.

Victor wordlessly turned and left.

Gemini's jaw dropped as the newscast interrupted the TV show he was watching.

"NO!" he cried, smashing the coffee table with his fist and leaping to his feet! He stood there, eyes shut, quivering in hatred. All those lives in the police station--they were all on his hands! He recognized Victor, even though the camera had only caught a brief glimpse of him before the cameraman was shot to death. If he had destroyed Victor like the system asked, none of those people would have died!

"Gemini! What is it?!" Megaman cried, bursting in from the kitchen. ""

Megaman also stared at the TV, though his reaction was much calmer. "What happened?"

"Nevermind," he spat, then keyed up the intercom. "Roll, kick this thing into high gear. Get us to Gargoyle Island ASAP!"

"Huh?" Roll's voice came floating back from the speaker.

"NOW!!!" Gemini roared!

"O--okay," Roll replied meekly, obviously hurt by the outburst.

"Gemini! Calm down!" Megaman said starting forward.

Gemini glared at him, then rudely (albeit calmly) brushed Megaman aside and methodically left the living room.

Megaman scratched the back of his head. "Well at least he calmed down...."

"What's he so upset about?" Roll asked over the intercom.

"Someone slaughtered the police force on Gargoyle Island, and I think Gemini knew who did it. He took it pretty bad," Megaman explained.

"Huh?! Slaughtered? You mean..."

"Yeah Roll, I saw it all on TV when Gemini flipped out. Some guy in black armor killed everyone in the building, then shot the camera filming it!"

"Oh no! We've got to help them!" Roll cried, and the ship lurched as the engines went into overdrive.

"I just hope we're not too late," Megaman said to himself, clicking off the intercom.

The TV reporter's neck snapped like a twig beneath Victor's vicelike hand, and the body slumped to the sidewalk.

"Come with me," he ordered the cameraman. It wasn't until after he had slaughtered the first news crew that he realized too late he could use a little publicity.

The cameraman quivered and shook with terror, and wet spot crept from his crotch down his leg. "Yy-y-y-y-y-y-y-yes-s-s-s- s-s-s-s-irr-r-r-r," he stammered.

Victor walked confidently down the street, followed closely by the cameraman. Every time he saw a person, he simply shot and killed them. No questions asked. Be it man or woman, adult or child--the street behind him was strewn with bodies numbering nearly in the hundreds. With the police force decimated nearly instantly, he had absolutely no opposition! A few squad cars had tried to stop him as they responded to the brief and futile distress call from the station, but the pillars of smoke soaring skyward told the grisly tale of their failure.

Victor extended his foot blades and impaled a passing toddler on them, then gunned down the child's mother as her horrified scream betrayed her hiding place.

"W-w-why are you doing this?! Why are you murdering everyone?" the cameraman finally summoned the nerve to ask.

"Because you are filming me, and it serves to inform the public of the extent of my wrath," Victor said, neither slowing his pace nor turning his head.

Victor did stop, however, when a click sounded behind him. The cameraman had stopped taping.

"Do not do that again," Victor warned.

"No! I'd rather die than be part of your sche-GLAACH" the cameraman's retort was cut off abruptly as his chest was splattered across the sidewalk by a point-blank plasma blast!

"Fine," Victor said to the corpse, then picked the camera up and continued on his way.

"We're approaching the island!" Roll's voice came from the Flutter's intercom speakers.

"You ready?" the armored and armed Megaman asked Gemini.

Gemini, also fully armed, did not reply. The twin buster guns that shifted over his arms spoke for him.

"That guy's crazy, so I'm not setting down in the city. You'll have to parachute in!" Roll said over the loudspeaker. "I'm opening the cargo bay doors now!"

Megaman and Gemini staggered a bit from the sudden gush of wind caused by the opening of the cargo bay, then stared down through the opening to the bloody body-strewn street far below.

"," Megaman choked on his words.

"I'm sorry, Megaman," Gemini said suddenly.

"Huh?!" Megaman looked up just in time to see an armored fist slam into his face, blasting him into an unconscious heap on the deck.

Gemini dragged Megaman away from the opening and stuffed him in a locker, to keep him from getting sucked out.

"This is my fight, not yours," Gemini explained, even though Megaman couldn't hear him. Then he leaped out, opening his chute almost immediately.

The children screamed in mortal terror as they watched their teacher's head explode as numerous plasma shots slammed into it. Victor slowly walked in the classroom, then braced it with a steel girder he had picked up along the way. (He was really quite proud of his strength, now!)

On his way to the front of the classroom, he plucked a ten-year-old boy from his desk by the neck and tossed him (though not hard) at the blackboard. The boy bounced off it and hit the floor sobbing. Victor methodically set the camera up on a file cabinet where the whole room was visible.

"Hello everyone. My name is Victor Blackheart, and I have come to kill your children," he said dramatically, imitating a game show host. He grabbed the boy and proceeded to tear off his arms, legs, and head, throwing them at various children in the room. Panic ensued among the children, who began screaming and crying, and frantically scrabbling towards the door.

"You see," Victor screamed over the din of horrified children, "this is what I am capable of. I will begin killing one child every hour until my demands are met. Now my demands will likely take several hours to be met anyway, but hey, a few deaths are better than a lot, eh?"

He laughed sadistically at his own joke.

"Bring me one billion Zenny in assorted unmarked bills, and provide me with an airship," he began, "I think I'll take a couple kids with me when I leave too, so don't think about sabotaging my airship."

Victor hit the stop button on the recorder, ejected the tape, then handed it to a child.

"Be a good girl and deliver this to an adult, ok?" Victor said sweetly. "Or I'll kill your mommy in front of you!"

He then lowered the child out the window with unaccustomed gentleness, and set about his business of guarding his ransom.

"! Megaman!" Roll's voice faded in from oblivion. Megaman slowly rose to his feet, shaking his head to clear it.

"Thank goodness you're all right! I found you stuffed inside that storage locker!" Roll said, her relief obvious.

"Huh? Locker? What?" Megaman was confused, as usual.

"I don't know why he did it, but Gemini konked you right out! I ran down to see what was wrong when I didn't see you follow him out, and saw blood leading to one of the lockers." "Blood?" Megaman winced in pain as he touched his nose--his fingers came away bloody. "Well it's not broken, I can tell that much. But why'd he punch me?"

"I don't know, but he's not showing up on any of our scanning equipment!"

"He must have turned off his tracker. Whose side is he on, anyway, Roll?" Megaman said, exasperated.

"Maybe he wanted to go after Victor alone?" Roll suggested.

"Yeah, that sounds like him," Megaman answered grimly, remembering Victor's reaction to seeing the original news broadcast. "Man, if the guy is as big in real life as he is on TV, Gemini might need some help."

"Be careful, Megaman! He obviously doesn't think he needs any, and who knows what he might do if he finds out you followed!"

Megaman finished wiping off his face with a nearby rag, and grinned. "I'm always careful, Roll!"

Megaman grabbed his Shield Arm from off a table, quickly slung on his parachute, and leaped from the Flutter before Roll could protest.

Gemini released himself from his parachute while he was still a good twenty feet from the ground, but thanks to his armor's shock-absorption system as well as his own thick corded muscles, he landed without effort.

Though the impact was so intense the sidewalk cracked.

Gemini took a moment to affix a weapon to his shoulder mount. He had no idea what it was, but it had been blown out of the Flutter shortly after he jumped. Never one to question good luck, Gemini had been quick to secure a firm hold on it and carry it with as he landed. The thing looked basically like a bazooka, and was so huge it completely blocked his left-hand peripheral vision. Fortunately, as he discovered by accident, his special weapon nodule was on a hinge, and could swing back to a handy position on his back by popping a small catch.

Gemini activated his dual buster guns and stormed off down the street, following the carnage to what he hoped was the source. He had gone no farther than a few blocks before a news broadcast on a store window TV caught his eye.

"..nd this courageous little girl succeeded in escaping this menace, carrying with her a videotape. We cannot show you the carnage on the air, but rest assured the images contained therein will haunt us for the rest of our lives. This mysterious attacker, Victor Blackheart, has demanded the sum of one billion Zenny plus a private airship, or he will kill one of our children every hour until his demands are met. With our local police force decimated earlier today, City Hall has no choice but to give in to their demands, and are currently arranging wire transfers with sympathetic neighboring islands to pay the astronomical ransom. There seem-" Gemini looked away, and blocked the newscast out of his mind. He could not believe he'd been tricked so easily! And how could he let Victor throw him off the sub? If he'd only had his head on straight, none of this would have happened! Those lives were on his hands--he was as guilty for the death of innocents as Victor was!

Gemini finally came aware that in his fury he was actually growling and starting to foam at the mouth! Shaking his head to clear the bothersome emotions, he proceeded toward the only place a small girl would have come from--the elementary school.

Megaman's landing was more graceful, and he touched down perfectly. He released his chute and dashed out from under it before it entangled him.

The odor of death assaulted him.

Megaman gagged in spite of himself. Although he'd certainly seen enough combat to last a lifetime, the smell of charred metal and wire insulation was quite different to the smell of charred flesh and blood. Leaving his Shield Arm by his side, he activated his buster gun, then attempted to cover his nose and mouth with his free hand.

"Megaman, what do you see down there?" Roll's voice came from the communicator inside his helmet.

"It's terrible, Roll," Megaman said after a few moments. "So much...carnage."

"I'm...not picking up any life signs in your area. Try going to the west, there seems to be a little more activity over there."

"Ok. Any sign of Gemini?" "Sorry Megaman, he's still not showing on my radar!"

Megaman heaved a sigh, then ran west in what he hoped was the right direction.

Megaman ran for several blocks before stopping to catch his breath. He couldn't hear a thing! He was apparently right on what was Victor's warpath--and what a fearsome war machine he was! Nothing moved. Cars were blasted and shredded, some burning, right where they had crashed. The only people he could see were lying dead on the ground, still clutching their mortal wounds. Young and old alike, it seemed no one was spared Victor's hellish wrath.

Staring at the bodies of a man and woman clutching their lifeless baby caused Megaman's mind to wander back to Kattelox.

"Carbon reinitialization," Megaman said under his breath. "Is this what it would have been like?"

Megaman shook his head sadly. Was he once a member of a group that would do something so horrible? If so, all the more reason to press onward. Perhaps by stopping the monster responsible for this, he could help atone for the deeds of whatever superiors he answered to.

Victor tore the arms off a small girl, relishing her screams of mortal agony as he watched her bleed to death.

"Man, has it been one hour already?" he asked rhetorically. The children by now had stopped panicking, and for the most part seemed to have withdrawn into themselves.

"If any of these idiots survive they'll be insane for life," he thought to himself, then laughed slightly at the idea.

But then all hell broke loose!

The outside wall suddenly exploded inward, sending chunks of rubble and glass spewing everywhere! Some of the children were struck by flying debris, though none were severely injured.

"What the?!" Victor rose, stunned by what had just happened.

"Everybody out!" a booming voice called from outside. Shaken from their reverie, the children flooded out of the opening as a single screaming mass.

Victor stood still, slack jawed, realizing his billion-Zenny scheme had collapsed as easily as that brick wall. But then his shock turned to rage.


And was stunned to see an armored man walk in, nearly as tall as Victor.

"OH, ALL RIGHT, YOU'RE GONNA huh?" Victor was slack-jawed again. "Gemini?"

"Yep," he said calmly, arms crossed and buster-guns armed.

"How did you survive the ocean?" Victor asked, now no longer enraged, simply curious.

"Same as you," Gemini retorted. "Blind stupid luck. Maybe Luck decided to fix a mistake."

"What mistake?"

"YOU!" Gemini's calm demeanor broke with this last word, and he braced his legs!

Victor assumed a fighting stance, bracing himself for the attack that never came.

"You do realize, idiot, that you're actually supposed to attack when you say something like that?" Victor's voice was dripping with contempt.

"Oh yeah. Silly me. Here, is this better?" in one smooth motion the bazooka-weapon swung from its hidden position on Gemini's back up to his shoulder and launched a ball of red-hot plasma straight at Victor's chest!

Victor gasped in pain, reeling backwards as he tried to recover from the unexpected attack!

"Oh you're worse than dead now, buddy boy!"

Victor hopped up slightly, planted his feet against the wall, and jumped horizontally at Gemini! He flipped in mid-air, catching Gemini in the chest and abdomen with his extended foot claws! They both went sailing out through the broken wall and into the street.

Gemini and Victor rolled away from each other and rose to their feet, neither showing any signs of damage.

"You're a tough nut to crack, aren't you?" Victor commented admiringly.

Gemini replied by pumping off a few dozen buster-shots in his direction. Victor broke into a sidelong run, evading the volley, and returned with a few shots of his own! Gemini lumbered the opposite direction, evading Victor's attack in the same manner. Gemini braced his legs again and launched another plasma blast from his shoulder cannon. Victor leaped towards Gemini, cleared the plasma shot, and slammed down onto Gemini's head and shoulders like a pouncing tiger!

Gemini staggered to the side a bit, choosing to take the hit in exchange for a grip on Victor. Victor struggled to free himself, but Gemini's strength was equal nearly to his own!

"How?" Victor gasped through clenched teeth, "How is it you have such strength?!"

Gemini wordlessly hurled Victor into a lamp post, which buckled as easily as a strand of copper wire. Victor climbed to his feet and with a lightning-fast motion, lobbed the bent post at Gemini.

Gemini fired a few pulses from his buster guns, disintegrating the post before it ever got near. Not missing a beat, Gemini immediately charged Victor down with a war cry that erupted straight from his belly! Victor did not expect such a brash and reckless move, but nevertheless was not caught off guard. He fired a plasma blast from his arm cannon, knowing full well that Gemini could do nothing about it!

Not that he tried. Taking the brunt of the blast squarely on his head, Gemini plowed into Victor, momentum carrying them several feet before crashing into a parked car! Victor swiftly jabbed both feet out, delivering a crushing kick to Gemini's stomach that sent him flying back across the street and into a brick wall with enough force that he actually got stuck for a moment!

Straightening himself, Gemini extracted himself from the hole and dropped down to the pavement. Eyes still on the ground, he noticed a peculiar discoloration taking place on the sidewalk. Then recognition hit him, and his eyes lifted from the shadow just in time to see the thrown car slam him into the ground, pinning him!

Victor's hysterical laughter echoed off the walls of nearby buildings, and he strutted cockily over to Gemini.

Gemini struggled as best he could, but even his superior strength couldn't hope to lift a car off himself! At least not at this angle.

Victor smiled pleasantly to Gemini.

"You should have stayed in the ocean where you belonged," he said in the same manner you might tell a child not to eat candy off the floor.

He raised his plasma cannon, accumulated a full battery of energy, and unleashed the fully charged blast straight onto Gemini's head.

Megaman heard the sounds of combat erupt in the distance, and ran with all the speed he could muster towards the sound! He desperately hoped he'd get to Victor before Gemini did! Megaman didn't know if Gemini was capable of besting Victor in combat, but he didn't know what was worse. If Gemini won, he might not settle for prisoners!

Someone would likely die either way, he realized. Unless he got there first!

So he pushed himself to run harder than he ever had before! He only wished he'd remembered Roll's jet skates before he left.

Megaman rounded a corner, leaped over a crashed car, rolled under a collapsed billboard, and down the block. He cut a sharp left around the next corner and came face to face with Victor.

Just in time to see him kill Gemini.

"NOOOO!!!" Megaman cried, eyes wide with disbelief!

"Oh, you want some too?" Victor asked, firing a blast at Megaman without a moment's hesitation.

The hesitation was Megaman's, and the blast knocked him clear off his feet to land squarely on his back!

Shrugging off the pain, he quickly attached the Shield Arm and optimized his buster gun for power. He raised his Shield Arm just in time to block a second fully charged plasma blast!

Megaman hopped to his feet and immediately began circling Victor, pummeling him with numerous rapid-fire shots. That technique worked exceedingly well against non-intelligent Reaverbots that only fired where you are, not where you're going.

Victor was far from non-intelligent, Megaman realized, as he literally ran straight into another full power plasma shot!

Although they had each done a significant amount of damage to each other, and in spite of the fact Megaman had scored dozens of hits compared to Victor's two, he was still far worse off.

"You've gotta be kidding me. You're the one who wiped out the Bonnes, aren't you?" Victor paused to ask.

"H--huh?" was all Megaman could muster between pants.

"You beat an entire pirate clan, and yet the two of you can't even stop one of me?" Victor broke into hysterical laughter!

Megaman charged Victor down, causing him to laugh even harder! This tiny little kid thought he could actually beat Victor in hand-to-hand?

"You want it, you got it," Victor chuckled, preparing to slam a fist into Megaman's exposed face and crush his skull.

But at the last minute, Megaman activated the Shield Arm. Although the shield didn't do much damage, as a side effect it temporarily inverted gravity for whatever it hit, inevitably causing it to fall over. Victor was no exception, and dropped rather quickly considering his large size.

Megaman took the initiative and ran right by Victor and over to Gemini's body. He crouched behind the car and detached his Powered Buster from Gemini's shoulder mount. It was then he noticed Gemini's skull.

It was shiny steel.

On cue, Gemini's black eyeballs flared with a blood red light, and he spoke in a voice colder than a tomb.

"System reboot complete. Unit designation Purifier second-class Megaman Gemini."

Victor's head popped up from behind the car.

"Hey. What are you guys doing back th--HOLY HELL!" He staggered back, stunned and afraid for the first time in months!

Gemini rose to his feet, hefting the busted car over his head with all the effort of lifting a beach ball, and tossed it aside.

Megaman and Victor both stared in horror as red meat crept over the skull, followed by bare white flesh. The flesh quickly darkened to match Gemini's usual skin color, while at the same time hair sprouted from his head and eyebrows. In mere seconds it was impossible to tell he had ever been shot at all.

"Wh--what?" Megaman gasped.

"Impossible," Victor spat. "This is ludicrous."

Roll's voice pierced Megaman's shock enough to snap him back to reality.

"Megaman! I don't know where it came from! A huge Reaverbot just appeared out of nowhere! The readings are way beyond anything I've ever seen before! Even the 'lowest' energy patterns are too high for my computer to measure!"

Megaman instantly knew where the Reaverbot was.

"Roll. Gemini is the Reaverbot."

Roll did not reply, too shocked to comment.

"Preposterous!" Victor cried, unleashing yet another plasma blast at full charge into Gemini.

Gemini took the blast without a flinch.

"Unidentified unit detected. Exhibiting signs of severe aberrance. Unable to establish contact with main system for guidance. Exercising option number three of the Purifier code of conduct," Gemini said without emotion, as if was reading from a script.

Then he quite simply beat the crap out of Victor.

With ferocity neither Victor nor Megaman had ever before seen, Gemini blasted, punched, pounded, kicked, threw, and slammed Victor's metallic body about like a rag doll! Victor never got a shot in edgewise, as Gemini's reflexes seemed to have been enhanced beyond anything he could match. It was a violent blur of motion, and in seconds, Victor lie on the ground in a sparking, smoking heap.

"" was all Victor could muster before he drifted into unconsciousness.

"Gemini..." Megaman started.

"Unit identified as Megaman Trigger, Purifier first class. How may I be of assistance, sir?"

"Wh..what?!" Megaman blurted.

"How may I be of assi-"

"No! I mean...why? What happened to you?"

Gemini considered this, then answered. "Unknown. System core files indicate this unit has been booted up previously, though no memory files from that operating period remain intact."


"There are several hundred yottabytes of data damaged or corrupt. These files shall be protected and isolated until they can be analyzed by the System." "Yottabyte?" Megaman asked, confused.

"A yottabyte is a 'one' followed by twenty-four 'zeros'. It's more memory than exists in all the computers in the world combined!" Roll exclaimed, though only Megaman could hear her.

Though it took awhile, the truth of the situation finally dawned on Megaman. Gemini was not human. But if all these ancients kept recognizing him as Trigger, did that mean that he wasn't human either? Megaman shook these uncomfortable thoughts from his head.

"What now?" Megaman asked.

"This unit will obey the orders of the highest-ranking Purifier in the vicinity. In this instance, this unit will obey the orders of Megaman Trigger," Gemini said in a near monotone.

"Obey? Um..." Megaman faltered with uncertainty, then reached a decision. "Come with me back to the Flutter. Maybe Roll can figure out what's wrong."

"There is no vehicle with the designation 'Flutter' registered within the System log. There is no unit designated 'Roll' currently authorized to service a damaged unit." "Gemini, you're supposed to obey my orders, right? Well I order you to come with me to the Flutter!" Megaman said sharply.

"This unit cannot carry out orders which go against pre-defined System parameters. This unit must refuse," Gemini replied with equal sharpness.

"Gemini, please! We've got to figure out how to help you!" Megaman pleaded.

The Roll's voice cut in over the communicator. "Megaman, be careful, he's powering up again! I don't like the way this l-"

"This unit is detecting aberrant behavior from first-class Purifier Megaman Trigger. Please desist," Gemini warned, apparently bracing himself for combat!

"Gemini! Calm down! Nobody's going 'aberrant'! This 'System' you're talking about, you don't have to obey it! You're your own person, don't you remember?!"

"Forgive me sir, but I must deactivate you per ordinance 7-0-9," Gemini said coldly, and raised his buster guns.

"Oh boy...."

Twin buster charges sailed by Megaman as he deftly rolled to the side! Megaman came up in a crouch firing off several rounds of his own, which Gemini did not bother to dodge. Gemini immediately replied by firing at Megaman again, who evaded it by a swift vertical leap! However once in the air he was at the mercy of momentum, and was struck by a blast from Gemini's second buster gun! He landed hard on his back but quickly hopped to his feet. Following some gut instinct he dashed sideways, and was thankful that he did as two more buster shots flew harmlessly wide! Megaman began circling Gemini and firing upon him, using the technique that was so effective against the Reaverbots on Kattelox a month earlier. Gemini turned in place, receiving hits from all angles, yet was hardly showing any signs of damage!

"Enough of this!" Gemini bent over and effortlessly hefted a large piece of stone rubble over his head!

Megaman stopped, preparing himself, and rolled sideways as the lump of concrete sailed toward him.

"Gemini, get a grip on yourself!"

"I am no longer subject to your orders, Purifier!" Gemini shouted, barreling towards Megaman with both buster guns blazing! Megaman was unable to recover from his roll in time and was blasted left and right by the incoming fire! Eventually the beating was too much and Megaman flipped backwards, bounced off a fire hydrant, and landed on his belly. Gemini disengaged his cannons and secured a firm grip on Megaman's arm, then started shaking him up and down, slamming him repeatedly against the pavement! Finally, after numerous blows, Gemini hurled Megaman head-over-heels into the side of a nearby building, where he bounced off and crumpled to the ground.

He didn't get up.

"MEGAMAN!!" Roll cried, shaking Megaman from the blackness that tried to consume him. "GET UP, MEGAMAN!"

"Uhh....hh.." he struggled to rise, hearing Gemini's footfalls coming closer and closer.

A powerful black hand suddely flashed out and latched firmly onto Gemini's foot, holding him still!

"What?!" Gemini cried, looking down in shock!

"Get that son of a bitch," Victor growled, utter hatred apparent showing clearly on his twisted and distorted features.

Gemini turned his attention on Victor, kicking him with his free foot and firing his buster guns point-blank into Victor's already damaged body!

Megaman slowly crawled to his feet and picked up the Powered Buster which had earlier been forgotten next to him.

Gemini's attention was completely focused on Victor, and his violent and rapid attacks quickly began to take their toll! Pieces of armor, bolts, and motor pieces flew out of Victor's dying body, but he held on with an unholy fury! Gemini began to panic, then remembered Megaman! He looked up just in time to stare down the barrel of the very weapon he had brought.

"It would appear I have failed," was all he could say.

Then the plasma came forth, erupting from the cannon with enough force to launch Megaman back into the wall he had previously struck! But he did not receive the worst of it. Gemini could only raise his arms and avert his eyes as the fireball struck him! It immediately erupted into an enormous ball of atomic fire, consuming his sense, searing his flesh, and tearing the life from his body! The last thing he saw was Victor's sadistic grin staring up at him a split second before it too was consumed by the blast.

Megaman regained consciousness a few minutes later, and slowly climbed to his feet. He limped over to the crater that had once been Gemini, preparing to see the worst, but nothing could have prepared him for what he saw!

He saw nothing!

"Where'd they go?!" He cried! "Megaman, you're ok!" Roll's elated voice, a welcome sound though it was, aggravated his already pounding headache.

"Yeah, but Gemini and Victor--they're gone!"

"What? Are you sure Megaman?"

"I'm positive, Roll. All I see is a crater! Nobody's there! Roll! What do your sensors show?"

Roll was silent for a moment before answering. "You're right, Megaman... I'm detecting no signs of life or reaverbot energy signatures either. Does that mean..."

"No, Roll. I don't think Gemini's dead. There'd be at least something left if he was," Megaman said, his confusion evident in his tone.

Megaman let the Powered Buster drop to the ground, followed by his butt.

"Why does this kind of stuff always happen to us?" he asked of no one in particular.


Megaman cracked a pair of eggs on the edge of the frying pan, expertly dumped their contents in, and discarded the shells, all with one hand. He leaned back from the stove, looking out into the living room where Roll was moping on the couch. During their entire episode with Gemini, they had missed all the e-mails Gramps had sent them. The ship he was helping construct, the Sulphur Bottom, was coming along nicely, but Roll hadn't been taking the news very well.

"Roll, do you want bacon or sausage with your breakfast?" He called, but received a whimpering moan for an answer. Ok, he thought with a smirk, bacon it is!

His mind wandered back to his final battle with Gemini a week earlier. He'd never killed anyone before, but he strangely felt little remorse. It had been just like fighting Juno, he realized. That same vicious efficiency, that same polite arrogance... Why did they both refer to him as Trigger? That name struck a chord with something deep in his mind, but the harder he thought about it, the harder it became to remember.

Megaman sighed, shaking the entire incident off. It wouldn't do to go around doubting himself, he decided. Besides, they honestly didn't know if he'd survived or not! Shrugging his shoulders, he moved the bacon onto a plate alongside the eggs, and got ready to bring it out to Roll.

"Whatever happened then is done. What I have to do now is focus on the present, and plan for the future," he said to himself. And he had a distinct feeling his life was going to get a lot weirder in the near future.


"So you're saying he's still alive, hmm?"

"Affirmative. Megaman Trigger has, however, become more aberrant than ever. He threatens the entire System with his erratic behavior!" "Not to worry, the major turing point in this whole game is about to come." "But Mistress Yuna, Trigger is far too dangerous to be allowed to wander free! Please, authorize the upgrade!"

"No, Trigger's aberrant actions are not inspired by malfunction, that much I can tell. What I'm interested in is why he's taking such extreme measures against the System. And without even realizing what he's doing!"

"Mother, this unit cannot allow an aberrant to exist. I must fulfill my primary function! Besides, it has become personal..." "I understand, but after your repairs are complete, I want you to enter a stasis field until further notice. I shall release you when this chain of events has played itself out. After I know Trigger's motivation, I shall make a decision on his fate. But until that time, I want no chance he will be opposed by anyone under my command."

"Very well. This unit is, as always, at your complete disposal."

"Thank you. You are dismissed, Gemini."