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Chapter 4


Mindless Slugfest


Dr. Doppler grinned evilly. He was watching two monitors; one showing the block where X and his friends were being ambushed by the half of the Maverick army led by Double, the other showing the Hunter base, where Vile was leading the other half. "They don't stand a chance!" he thought to himself.

"Hey, what's goin' on here?!" a voice suddenly asked. Doppler groaned, shut off the monitors, and turned to face his challenger. It was Bass, followed closely by Doppler's nemesis, Dr. Wily.

"What were you doing?" Wily asked with suspicion in his voice.

Doppler scowled. "None o' your business!" Then he saw the hovering platform following Wily and Bass. On top of it was something huge covered with a large sheet. "What is that?"

Wily grinned. "Sigma's body," he replied smugly. "Now call him up!"

Dr. Doppler grumbled incoherently, but he called up the image of the Maverick leader anyway. "Have you finished it?" Sigma asked even though he knew the answer.

"Of course," Wily grinned as he hooked various wires and cables from the computer equipment to the robot under the sheet.

Before Wily could say more, though, one of Bass' now-familiar Time-portals appeared and flying through it came two figures. "Right on time," Bass smirked as he checked his internal chronometer.

Wily didn't even think to ask about his curious statement. He could only stare at the people on the floor. Of course, he recognized them both. "Xavier, what are you and your housekeeper doing here?" he had to ask.

"Because I invited them," Sigma's voice answered directly behind him. Wily spun to see a green and grey robot wearing a flowing red cape grinning at him; or rather at the two "guests" on the floor. "Welcome!" the robot boomed. "I've been expecting you!"

*******


The Mavericks had X and his friends totally surrounded. The seven robots had their backs against each other as they formed a rough circle. Protoman had his Proto Shield off his back and in a defensive position as he, Mega Man, and X formed their arm cannons and began charging up their own versions of the Mega Buster. Zero and Colonel each had a Beam Saber in their hands as they glared at the Mavericks. Iris wasn't armed, but she was in a stance that indicated that she was a master at hand to hand combat. Rush was next to his master as he growled at the evil Reploids.

"Yep," Zero muttered to himself. "This is a problem."

"No, really?" X said with a mocking tone in his voice. "What was your first clue?"

Mega Man grinned. "That's probably what I would have said," he thought to himself.

Colonel spoke up. "Why haven't they attacked us yet?!?!"

A new voice startled them all by saying, "Because I haven't ordered them to yet!" Everyone spun to face the new voice. "Jello Man" stepped out from the crowed and strolled to the little group as if he had all day. X glared at him and his eyes began to glow with a red light. Jello Man looked at X as if he was meeting an old friend that he hadn't seen in years. "X, what a pleasant surprise to see you again!"

X gave Double an almost evil grin. "Pleasure's all yours...JELLO MAN!"

The wide smile on Double's face seemed to tighten slightly. "Really, X. I would have thought that name calling was beneath you." X answered by blasting Double full in the face with a fully charged X Buster shot, knocking the Maverick to the ground. Double got to his feet with a scowl openly showing on his face. "Get them," he growled through clenched teeth. Then he added, "But X is mine!"

Like a giant wave, the Mavericks, along with their hundreds and hundreds of robot drones, rushed toward the small group of robots. They were careful to leave X alone.

Double formed an energy blade from a slot in his wrist, much like Zero's Beam Saber, but X knew about these avoided them easily. After a few seconds of dodging his adversary's wild slashes, X found an opening and blasted him. Double fell to the ground screaming as smoke rose from his side where X shot him. He rose from the ground with an evil grin on his face. "You've gotten to be an even better fighter than before, X," he said with leering in his voice. "But so have I!" Suddenly he thrust both hands forward, palms out, and a huge laser beam erupted from both hands. X wasn't expecting this attack because Double didn't have it last time he battled him, so he caught the beams full in the chest. He landed with a clang, smoke rising from his chest. Almost as a reflex action, he ran a systems check. No major damage had been cased. "But, dang that hurt!" X thought as he stumbled to his feet. "Puts me in just the right mood to take this creep down and out!" X then leaped into the fray.

Colonel and Zero were doing okay for themselves. Most of the Mavericks attacked them in particular, but they had their backs to each other and managed to keep a small circle around them free of Maverick Masters, but the Mavericks just shot their weapons at the two. "Watch it!!" Zero cried as he deflected a Boomerang-shaped weapon with his saber. "That thing's sharp!" Then he tapped the side of his helmet. "Hey Doc Cain!" he yelled into his communicator. "We've been attacked by Mavericks an' we need reinforcements, NOW!!!"

Zero heard Dr. Cain's voice emanate from a set of miniature speakers inside his helmet. "I can't, Zero! We've been attacked as well, and it's taking every last Hunter we've got to fend them of!"

"Crap!"

Mega Man and Protoman did okay at first and managed to stay together, but then they got separated in the chaos and the only ally in Mega Man's line of sight was Rush. "Crap!" he exclaimed as he narrowly avoided plasma blasts from several Moth Bots at once. "This fight would be a lot easier without these drones AND the humanoids!" That gave him an idea. Mega Man turned to his dog and commanded, "Rush Jet!"

Rush was surrounded by an aura of energy for a second. When the energy faded, he had been remodeled into a Jet Board. Mega Man hopped on and Rush activated his thrusters, flying into the air. Mega Man steered Rush by leaning, much like you would on a skate board. "Yeeeee-Haah!" he shouted as he blasted the drones with his arm cannon. "This is a blast!"

However much fun Mega Man was having, his brother was having more. "C'mon!" he taunted a robot designed after a monkey and one based on a catfish. "C'mon! Whatsamatter? Can't handle it?!" Protoman leaped into the air and shot his arm cannon at the advancing robots.

"That's it!" Volt Catfish screamed. He built up an electric charge in the electrodes on his back and fired it off as a lighting bolt at his adversary.

Protoman blocked it easily with his shield and replied, "Nice try, but you're gonna have ta do better than that if ya wanna win a cewpie doll!" He finished his statement by sweep kicking the monkey and sending a fully charged blast of plasma energy in Volt Catfish's face, throwing him backwards. When the two Mavericks got up they found that Protoman had disappeared.

X wasn't having much luck. True, Double hadn't hit him since he threw out that first beam, but X hadn't been able to do anything to Double either, and X was beginning to tire out. "Had enough, X?" Double taunted, without a hint of the exhaustion X was feeling.

"Not...in this...lifetime....bucko!" X gasped. Then he leaped high into the air and shot his X Buster at Double. Double dodged the blast and threw two small globs of slime to the ground. X was already in the air and couldn't change his direction, so he landed right in the slime. He tried to lift a foot, and he couldn't move it at all. He was stuck tight!

"So long, X!" Double sneered. Then he stuck his hands out and they began to glow. "Wish I could say it was nice knowing you, but...well, it hasn't."

` X wasn't listening. He was concentrating on something else. "Mega Armor Model Four, Cannon B," he thought and schematics for a new suit of armor appeared in the corner of his vision. Then he yelled out loud, "Engage!" Suddenly X was surrounded by energy. Double just stared in shock at the blinding flash of light that surrounded his adversary. When the light died down, X was standing before Double with a smug grin on his face. The slime at his feet was gone and X was wearing an entirely new suit of armor. His boots, chest piece, armbands, and helmet were white, and they were totally re-designed. "Ready to try again?" he asked.

"Absolutely," Double replied, trying to hide the nervousness he felt. Then they were at it again.

Zero was doing his best to fend off the group of Mavericks with Colonel when he saw what appeared to be a flame off the corner of his eye. "Yow!" he yelped as he leaped out of the way. He spun around to find one of the strangest looking robots he'd ever seen. He was humanoid, but he was split into two halves--his legs and torso and his upper body were separated--and his right hand was replaced by a huge sword blade. Zero remembered seeing him at the robot museum. This guy was Sword Man!

Meanwhile, Protoman had been fighting off two flame-based robots modeled after and elephant and a horse, when a sudden explosion took him from behind. He spun around and gasped in shock. The robot standing before him was purple and, instead of being based on an animal, he appeared to have been built out of a giant hand grenade! "Remember me?" Grenade Man smirked.

Mega Man had been fighting off the robotic moths when he was almost blown off Rush by a powerful gust of wind. He looked around and found himself facing two Mavericks--one based after and eagle and the other based after an owl. Both had arm cannons and they were aiming at Mega Man. "Not yet!" a voice came from behind Mega Man suddenly. "I want a shot at him, first!" Mega Man spun to see his attacker and nearly fell off Rush by himself. The robot was humanoid, and instead of using wings to fly, he had a jet pack. One hand was replaced with a tri-blade dagger and his face was completely covered by a red face mask and helmet. Mega Man finally managed to ask, "Tengu Man, what're YOU doing here?!"

Storm Eagle, Storm Owl, and Tengu Man attacked Mega Man at once. Mega Man managed to steer out of the way of the robots, but he didn't know how he'd be able to do so for long. Storm Eagle fired off a large tornado from his arm cannon that, for some reason, was visible. Even so, Mega Man barely managed to dodge it. However, it did give him an idea. He flew down between the two birds and taunted the eagle. "Hey, you!"

Storm Eagle gave him a confused expression and asked, "What, me?"

Mega Man grinned. "That's right. I'm talkin' ta YOU! You wanna piece of me? I'm givin' you a free shot!" Meanwhile, Storm Owl was silently trying to sneak up on him. "C'mon!" Mega Man continued. "You CHICKEN?!"

"That's it! No one ever calls Storm Eagle a chicken!" Storm Eagle was furious and not thinking rationally. Before he even realized it he let loose one of his Storm Tornados at Mega Man. Mega Man got Rush to fly straight up and the tornado hit Storm Owl square in the chest. He went flying through the skyscraper behind him and crashed out the other side. When he hit the ground he didn't get up again.

"Nice shot!" Mega Man exclaimed as he flew straight at Storm Eagle and bounced the Rush Jet off the top of his head. With a startled "Squawk!" Storm Eagle careened to the ground and was lost in the crowd. Mega Man turned to Tengu Man. "Okay, that just leaves you and me!" he said with a grin.

Spark Mandrill and Volt Catfish had lost their original target and they decided to take their anger out on something unarmed. In this instance that something was Iris. However, though she was unarmed, she was far from helpless. Spark Mandrill dashed forward with his fist thrust forward in his infamous "Dash Punch" but Iris ducked under the huge hand and delivered a driving blow to his gut. Volt Catfish watched in disbelief as the small female Reploid beat Spark Mandrill severely with such speed that she was a blur. Finally Spark Mandrill fell backwards, un, and Iris glared at Volt Catfish, who ran away from her as quickly as he could.

Suddenly, a resounding crash sounded behind her and she spun around to find that Storm Eagle pick himself up from a particularly nasty fall. He wasn't looking at her, though. He was looking at Zero--who was so caught up in his battle with Sword Man that he didn't even notice. With an evil grin, the bird man pointed his arm cannon at Zero--only to feel a sharp pain in his shoulder have his gun arm go limp. He spun around to find Iris grinning at him. "You!!" he hissed.

Iris' grin grew broader. "Up, me!" she replied. Then she beat him just as fast as she beat Spark Mandrill.

From his perch on the Rush Jet, Mega Man smiled as Tengu Man landed headfirst in a garbage can and start rolling down the street--mowing down any Maverick in his path. "Well, that was fun," he thought to himself, just as a small plasma blast from a moth hit him. "Now to get to the business at hand..."

Zero and Sword Man were evenly matched as far as skill with a blade went, but Sword Man had an advantage in size (not to mention that his legs could attack Zero in the back), and he was wearing Zero down. "That's it! I've had enough!" Zero cried. Then he yelled "Rangoon!" at the top of his lungs and leaped high into the air. His Beam Saber blade had become a blade of fire, and he struck his adversary right in the chest. Sword Man's top half went bouncing along the ground and got lost in the crowd as Zero stood triumphantly.

"Zero!" Iris cried happily. "You beat 'im!!"

"Of course," Zero replied with a grin. "Y'know, I thought these guys had hundreds of drones with 'em. So why haven't they attacked. Just as he said that a Robo Moth tried to attack him but was disintegrated by plasma blast. Zero looked up and noticed Mega Man fly by on Rush. He gave him a salute with his arm cannon as he flew by, followed by an entire group of Moths.

Zero and Iris both spun on their heels as they heard a "BOOM!" and a scream. Then, Protoman flew over several Maverick heads and landed at their feet. "Boy," he muttered, "Those Flash Bombs pack a punch huh..." then he fell to unconsciousness.

Mega Man looked back and noticed all the Moths chasing him. "Perfect," he thought. "Changing from Mega Buster to Mega Beam...NOW!" Mega Man felt a slight tingling in his arm cannon before letting loose a huge beam of plasma that took out every Moth in his path. "YES!! Now to help the others..." With that Mega Man flew to his group of friends.

At that exact moment X let loose a plasma blast that was bigger than he was, knocking Double back at least five feet. Then the crystal on X's chest began to glow. The glow spread throughout his entire body until he seemed to be as bright as the sun. Then he hopped slightly and with a scream of "Nova Strike!" he released the energy and flew right into Double's chest. And he had to admit that he never felt such a glorious sense of release before.

Mega Man had no sooner landed among his friends when a blinding flash and scream of pain came from where he knew X and Double were fighting. One of the Mavericks screamed, "He killed Double!" Another yelled "Retreat!"

The Mavericks started to teleport out of the battlefield and, in seconds, the only robots left were Mega Man, his friends, and Double. Now that the adrenaline (or Robotic equivalent thereof) stopped flowing, X fell to his knees and his armor disappeared to reveal his classic blue armor. Double, his chest bleeding and burning, looked over at X. "Well....You....got me...." Without even realizing it, Double morphed into the little yellow Rookie X had met at Maverick Hunter HQ. "I guess that's....what happens when....you turn against....your idol...huh, X......." Then he closed his eyes, never to open them again.

Silence prevailed for a second. Then Mega Man walked over to X. "You okay?" he asked.

"Sure," X replied.

"Where'd you get that armor?" Mega Man had to ask.

X grinned. "Dr. Light left it for me." He didn't go into any more detail.

Mega Man backed off and let Zero kneel next to his friend. "Are you sure you're all right?" Zero asked in concern.

"I'm fine already! Just a little worn out," X insisted.

They continued talking, but Mega Man didn't hear them. He had a strange feeling; as if there was something wrong. He turned around and looked for whatever would give him such a feeling. At first he didn't find it. But then he spotted it. Something green was peeking out from behind a building. Then that something came out in full view. It was a robot with green and blue armor. Instead of legs, he had a spherical hovering mechanism that took up the space from the waist down. Mega Man recognized him instantly. Astro Man! "Everybody! Duck and cover!" Mega Man ran over to the group and dragged X off his knees and under a car with him.

Protoman had just barely awakened and he turned to see the Robot Master after Mega Man's warning before he grabbed Iris' hand and led her under a semi truck, followed by Colonel.

Zero was never one to hide from danger. Instead he drew his Beam Saber and spun to face his new enemy. "That's the threat?" he thought with a smirk. Then, with a war cry, he leaped to the air, planning to slice the robot in half. Astro Man saw him coming and spread his arms out wide and shouted, "Astro Crush!"

Just before Zero got within striking distance, something struck him in the chest sending him hurtling toward the ground. No sooner did he hit the ground than he flipped to his feet and looked around. Flaming meteors were raining all around him, exploding as they hit the ground. Zero then decided that running was maybe a good idea and tried to get away. A meteor struck him square in the back and Zero fell forward. Zero tried to get up but couldn't get any further than his hands and knees. "Come on..." he mentally cursed, "come..." Before he could even finish his thought, a meteor struck him in the head, instantly sending him to the blackness of unconsciousness.