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Chapter 9


Tragedy of a Robot Master


All of the many screens and monitors around the room glowed as they showed all the goings on around the Hunter Tower and the city beyond. All that is except one. Matt was using it to play video games. What else could he do? He'd designed the computer equipment to automatically tell him if anything out of the ordinairy was happening around base. The automatic door opened and was followed by the familiar smell of cigarette smoke. "Hey, Chip," came a familiar voice.

"Bobby, put out that cigarette before I'm forced to hurt you," Matt answered, not taking his eyes off the screen.

A lanky blonde man plopped down on the chair beside Matt. "Aw, c'mon, bro. It's just one smoke."

Matt paused his game and glared at his brother. "This is a smoke-free zone and you know it!"

Bobby Baker grinned as he blew a puff of smoke in his brother's face. "And, why is that, Mon Capitan?"

Matt turned back to his game and answered, "Because sufforcating to death isn't a very fun sounding prospect to me."

Suddenly a blue-gloved hand took Bobby's cigarette right out of his mouth. Both brothers spun to face the owner of the hand and found a diminuative figure in blue armor. He coulnd't have been much taller than four feet and seemed to be in his early teens. He was glaring at the cancer stick in his hand with disgust. "Y'know," he mused, "I never did get why some humans spend so much money a year just so they could die early." He crushed the cigarette to dust. "Do you know what kind of crap they put in these things!?"

Bobby stood to his full six foot two height, towering over this kid that offended him. "Hey! Who do you think you are?!"

The armored youth extended his hand. "Name's Mega Man. And you are?"

That brought silence throughout the room. Silence, that is except for an annoying beeping sound comming from Matt's computer equipment. Matt spun in his hoverchair and called up an image of the disturbance. The disturbance was two Reploids, both injured, but the one with the red facemask didn't seem as bad off as the one with the sword replacing his right hand. That one was missing his legs! Plus there was a gaping hole in his chest revealing bare circutry and wires. The two were leaving a trail of black curculatory fluid in their wake.

"Hey!" Mega Man exclaimed. "I know those two!" Then he was caught up in a beam of cyan light and dissapeared.

Matt's jaw set in a straight line. "Bobby, get as many Hunters as you can."

***********


Mega Man landed right in front of the injured Tengu Man and Sword Man. "Well, well, well," he said with a smirk. "If it ain't a couple'a representatives from Fashion Challenged Annonimous!"

"Ha, ha, ha," Tengu Man said sarcastically. "That's so funny I forgot ta laugh. C'mon Mega Man, we've had a hard day."

Five notes. That was the next thing the three robots heard. Five notes played on a flute. Then Protoman was standing next to his brother. "Sure, and we'll be sure ta make it worse."

In a flash of gold light Bass appeared next to his former commerades. "Bass!" Tengu Man cried happily.

"Hi, Tengu." Bass said with a sneer. Then he delivered the finest uppercut Mega Man ever saw. Bass caught the apparently fatally wounded Sword Man and let Tengu Man crash on the ground. "Watch it, Mega Man," Bass sneered. "You're next." Then he teleported away.

Protoman whistled. "Man, what was that all about?"

Mega Man shrugged. "I dunno, but Tengu Man's gettin' up again."

Tengu Man stumbled to his feet, rubbing his jaw. "Ow, dang that hurt!"

Mega Man and Protoman cast each other worried glances as the implications of that sank in. Then they aimed their arm cannons at the Robot Master again. "Woah!" Tengu Man yelped as he raised his hands (or his hand and his dagger at any rate) in the air. "Woahwoahwoahwoah! I ain't here ta fight. I'll go willingly."

The two brothers lowered their arm cannons in confusion. Robot Masters never hesitated to attack either of them, especially Mega Man. "What's goin' on here?" Mega Man whispered to his brother.

Protoman shrugged. "I dunno," he said in immitation of his brother. "But after the past day or two, nothin' really surprises me any more."

"Got that right." Mega Man agreed. He turned to Tengu Man. "All right. We'll let ya in. But remember: one false move and you're scrap! Get it?"

Tengu Man nodded. "Got it."

Mega Man grinned. "Good! Now follow me..."

*************


Later, inside the Hunter Tower, Mega Man, Protoman, X, and Zero listened intently to Bass, Roll, and Dr. Light as they told of their escape from Sigma. When they had finished, Bass turned to Tengu Man. "All right, Bucko, what's your story?" he asked increduloulsly.

Tengu Man was obviously sheepish about the question. "Well, it's true that Sigma turned all us Robot Masters into Mavericks, but like Sword Man, I was struggling with the programming they gave me. When I saw Sword Man take Sigma on, I knew that was what I needed to do. The only thing I was able to do was get him out before Sigma totally finished him off."

Before anyone could question his claims, Dr. Cain entered the room. Judging by his expression, he wasn't bearing good news about Sword Man. "Mega Man," Dr. Cain said solemnly. "He want's to see you."

Mega Man was slightly startled, but he exited the room anyway.

There was hardly any light in the operating room when Mega Man entered; just a small spotlight shining on Sword Man. When Mega Man got closer, he discovered that there was no evidence of the gap in his chest, but he was still dying. "Ah, Mega Man," Sword Man weakly managed to get out. "Come closer." Mega Man slowly stepped up to the operating table. "I have always respected you, you know," Sword Man croaked. "You firmly believed in what you thought was right, and I respect that. Now, I have a gift for you. Something I hope will help you stop the evil being done by Sigma. Take it and remember...." Sword Man could hardly finish his sentence as he took Mega Man's hand and placed it on his blade. A warm, tingling feeling rose up Mega Man's arm and throughout his body as his Variable Weapons System absorbed the Flame Sword. ".....Remember.....never lose your.....integre....ty...." Sword Man closed his eyes and let out a sigh as his soul seemed to leave his body. Mega Man stood there, stunned for a moment. Finally he spun on his heels and left.

"Well," Protoman asked expectantly. "How'd it go?"

Mega Man didn't answer right away. He was almost out the door before he gave his brother a sidelong glance and said, "Sigma's scrap!"