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|Quint the Historian||
Posted: Jun 29 2009, 08:41 PM
Have you seen me?
Member No.: 49
Joined: January-30 06
I'll start off with just a tease, the Prologue. It's just a lot of broad set up to refresh people's memories of what's happened in the world, both in Official Canon and my contribution.
Unlike MMXTUH, I hope to be going to a lot of places for this story, instead of being stuck at Hunter HQ, and I plan to use a nice block of Original Character, though X, Zero and Axel are still the main characters in the story. Hopefully, Chapter 1 will be up by July 1, though it'll probably be a short chapter.
* * * * * * *
At the turn of the century Dr. Thaddeus Cain discovered the destroyed lab of the legendary robot designer, Dr. Thomas Light. Inside, Dr. Cain unearthed the old doctor’s magnum opus, and the culmination of more than decade of robot engineering, a being known simply as “X.” To Dr. Cain’s discovery, X, an artificial lifeform, possessed an A.I. unlike anyone had seen before. From the original blue prints sprung a fountain of new Reploids, replicas of X, which would change the flow of Earth history.
As the Reploid population boomed, a terrible dilemma arose: a madness which spread like contagion. A peacekeeping force was created to hunt and slay Reploid gone berserk, the Maverick Hunters. So, for the first decade of Reploid history on Earth, the Maverick Hunters engaged in a ceaseless battle to subdue the virus and eliminate its herald, an Alpha Maverick named “Sigma.”
But, by the start of the second decade, the struggle had changed, and so had the arena they fought in. The Maverick’s actions had caused catastrophic damage to the Earth, forcing most humans underground, into domed cities, flying metropolises, or outer space, while Reploids began their effort to restore the planet. Mavericks, now more widespread than ever, banded together into an almost immutable force calling itself, “The Deliberation Army.”
Emboldened by a rallying cry to revolutionize the world, the Maverick/Hunter conflict exploded into the first great Reploid war, “The Lightning War.” Eleven years have passed since Dr. Cain discovered the blue armored Reploid who would go on to save humanity and Reploid-kind time and time again. X was imbued by his creator with an incomparable A.I., and the freedom to choose his own destiny, alas the world has its own plans for X.
|Quint the Historian||
Posted: Jul 1 2009, 11:08 PM
Have you seen me?
Member No.: 49
Joined: January-30 06
You know, when I promised to post this on July 1st, I thought we were on June 24th.
* * * * * * * *
Maverick Hunter HQ, the Throne of Justice, for the last four years has garnered the reputation as the nexus of Hunter power. It was undefeatable during the Fall of Sigma, and impregnable during the Lightning War. Some of the world’s most renowned Hunters mark their residence on the island at the Hive, the massive collective of reploid quarters. At the top of the Tower, a small skyscraper and the command center of all units in the sector, is the seat of Signas, the one reploid to hold that office longer than any other. Beneath him, in rank but not in status, is the humble office of X, leader of the Elite 17th Unit.
This day, Megaman X was returning from his three weeks of leave after his most recent brush with the schemes of the Deliberation Army. A high ranking Hunter had secretly gone Maverick, allied with the band of irregular reploids, and nearly positioned himself the leader of RepliForce. The disgraced general was retired and Signas had covered up his crimes; as a result, the famous Maverick Hunter was forced to challenge his view of the ongoing struggle. Where do we draw the line, where the cost of peace and order become criminal?
On his first day back, the blue reploid couldn’t shake the question from his mind, though he hadn’t stepped off the elevator yet. As much as he tried the past pair of weeks, the question gnawed at the back of his mind. Every scenario he envisioned, no matter how victorious, the means to an end left a sickening pain in his digital soul. Still, he had more pressing matters to attend to.
The lift opened to the 29th floor. While he expected to be greeted by Pallet, his overworked personal assistant, instead a short male reploid stood in her place. “Good morning, Colonel,” the blonde Reploid welcomed him. His hair was short and combed back, and so brilliant it almost appeared white. With ink black eyes that shone like finely polished onyx lodged in his exquisite soft facial features. He wore a white coat, trimmed with gold, opened to a dark red shirt underneath, and white pants and boots. Reploids have always been remarkably handsome, however this young Reploid was designed to be, what the girls down in the lab would call, “cute.”
“Yes, good morning,” Colonel X replied, he extended him hand “and you are?”
“Pleased to meet you,” he shook hands with the Hunter, “My name is Leo, and I’m Signas’ new twenty-first secretary. The commander would like to personally welcome you back, and speak with you forthwith. ”
X didn’t bother to step off the elevator, instead Leo joined him for the trip up. The twenty-first secretary served as Signas’ personal assistant, tasked with reviewing the reports of all nineteen units in this sector, the offices of which were located in the twenty-eight floors below. The Tower is a massive information center, all data from around the sector flows from the outer reaches to the top of the Tower. As such, the vacancy for a twenty-first secretary is quickly filled. Three weeks ago, Signas’ past secretary was murdered.
When they stepped on to the 30th floor, a girl, also dressed in white, handed Leo a slate filled with information, and then slinked away into the pool of other secretaries. The platinum blonde reploid tucked the report under his arm, he and X continued to the den of the Hunter Saint, Signas.
As they entered, the Commander-in-Chief was in a call at his polished metal desk. Their leader spotted his visitor, “Goodbye” he whispered to the other side, and quickly stood up. “Welcome back, Colonel.”
“It’s good to be back, sir.” X saluted.
“At ease,” Signas ordered, then with a wave of his wrist he bid his assistant to leave.
Something made X uneasy. Something he tried to push farthest from his mind. I shouldn’t start jumping at shadows, he told himself. But, when you think there’s something wrong, all the words have double meaning. It would be impossible for everything to be connected. He had to hear what Signas had to say.
The Hunter Saint offered X a seat. The two reploids had mutual respect for one another, the current and a former leader of the Maverick Hunters, Signas made special exceptions for X when it came to the chain of command, and spoke with him candidly.
“X, undoubtedly, you’ve wondered why we used the methods that we used,” he began, “I assure you, the decision was not an easy one. As Commander, I’m charged with the safety of over a million Hunters. But, my soul…”
“What are you saying?” X interrupted.
Indeed, Signas could sense his own rambling. It is a difficult task for a superior officer to admit his own short comings to one lower in rank. Signas valued the input of the blue reploid, but he could not let the opinions of a lower officer undermine his decision making. After a second to gather his thoughts he continued.
“General Go has left a space open on the Big 5. There’s no current leader in the 5th Unit, so no one would object if you filled in the space.”
“For the 5th Unit?” the blue reploid was puzzled.
“No, as General of the 17th Unit. You’ll be on the board and have a voice in the direction this sector is going.” It was the best course of action Signas could envision. There could be no telling how X would react to the modern workings of the Maverick Hunters, but the famous Hunter would at least keep them honest. “It’s saddled with different responsibilities, so it means less time in real battle, but you’ll still impact the Hunters in a different way. Maybe, even, a better way.”
Is this all part of a plan? X wondered for an instant, before pushing the paranoia out of his mind. In fact, it might be exactly the opportunity he was looking for. Unless, that’s what they want me to think. – Out, damned spot! He cursed the darkness. From Signas’ inner circle, he would be in the ideal spot, short of Signas’ seat itself, to monitor the Hunters. Nay, the world, and snuff out the invisible hand.
On his feet, saluting, the blue reploid responded, “I wholeheartedly accept this promotion, sir.”
“Excellent.” The Hunter Saint smiled “I’ll finalize your promotion by this evening.”
The year is 21XX, and fall is in full effect at the Throne of Justice. Outside the Tower, the colors of the forest have changed, and a new layer of soft white snow is drizzled over the peaks of the mountain ridge. The world of reploids is changing; whistling wind plucks leaves from the trees and scatters them wherever it may blow. Those who do not grip tightly of their own self-worth will be tossed by greater forces. On the morning of his first day since his return, the famous Maverick Hunter decided to grab hold of his own destiny, and the fate of reploid-kind will be determine by his strength.
* * * * * * * *
Please excuse the awkward way I introduced Leo.
Next chapter up, hopefully next thursday.
EDIT: Next Thursday.
|Quint the Historian||
Posted: Oct 24 2009, 02:32 PM
Have you seen me?
Member No.: 49
Joined: January-30 06
Yeah, I know. Months late. A mix of problems and writer's block. But, every time I take a break, I think of something to add, which makes it better.
On the one hand, I don't like this chapter, since it's a lot of reminder exposition, but I feel I really brought it together in the end. I mean that I really hate that I'm still basically dealing with the aftermath of what happened in the last story. But, I'm really happy of how I wrapped it up.
* * * * * * * * *
Three weeks ago, after the investigation into General Go, Maverick Hunter X stumbled onto a new Maverick operation. Held against his will, a new group calling itself the “Ghost Council” threatened the blue reploid to stay out of their business. He pushed the matter aside during his break; mounting an investigation from Dr. Cain’s mansion would prove fruitless without the resources of from Hunter HQ. He’d have to wait until returning. But, with his immanent promotion, he decided to delay his search by one more day to better view the scarred land from atop the mountain.
Several slates were piled on X’s desk awaiting his return. The famous hunter poured over the reports of his soldiers from the past few weeks. Scanning them quickly, momentarily he pulled his eyes from the orange on black script and considered where to begin. Blocking Go’s vie for control of Repliforce had garnered their attention. He recalled hearing the Maverick General speaking with the “Maverick Ghost,” a stealthy assassin whose presence was linked to half-a-dozen crime scenes. Go, the Ghost, the Council, and the Deliberation Army, might all be the same group. He pondered. But, why expose themselves to me?
“Colonel!” his intercom chirped, it was Pallet, “Colonel Zero is on his way up!”
“Thank you,” he spoke into the microphone. X locked his curiosity away for one more day, less the Council should follow through on their threats. He shouldn’t tell anyone until he has enough information. For a second his thoughts turned to his poor secretary, perhaps with his new promotion he might be able give Pallet her old job back.
The door to his office slid open and the red reploid stepped in. He greeted his friend with a casual, “Hey,” as he approached his desk. “You’re back.”
Even if he did try to push the lingering dread to the back of his mind, the blue reploid could not shy away from the truth. He lied to his closest friend as best he could, detailing subtle moments of paleo-anthropology, how the sharpening of blades was the spark that would lead man to one day build complex A.I.s like the two of them. Zero’s had a passion for the senses, going on about the clues that hint at the quality of a gin’s ingredients, like it was a lost, unappreciated art form, and an almond-shrimp dish from Neo-Metropolis that tasted like, “a mom’s love.”
Zero took a seat as he and his friend caught up. The red reploid had been at another base for the last two weeks, fighting a band of Mavericks. The Eight-Forked Snake, what they had been dubbed by the rookie Hunters, made their nest in an abandoned oil rig from a century before. Abnormal weather conditions had made the already unreliable teleporters useless. Such a peculiar case called for a special team from across multiple units to terminate them, including one of the Nine.
The Nine are the highest ranking members of the 5th Unit, previously under the command of disgraced General Go. Following the most recent incident, after being screened for traces of the Maverick virus, the Nine were allowed to return to duty claiming to have no recollection of being under Go’s mind-controlling influence. However, Zero informed X, the group is under observation. After the death of their leader, the top members of the 5th Unit began a hurried drive for new members. Shrewd as he was, retired General Go had honed the Hunters of the 5th Unit into a lean operating force of only 500 soldiers, vastly bellow the allotted 75,000 members. As such, the Nine were now expanding their numbers, calling in thousands of Hunters from across the three other sectors.
“But, what really raises an eyebrow is Go’s body,” Zero added.
Very rarely do reploids leave a body behind when they expire. But the peculiar way Go died preserved his chassis. Despite being cleared by the Science Unit, the Nine keeping the remains of their fallen leader was cause for suspicion.
Changing the subject, the red reploid cut to the heart of the matter, “So, what in the hell made Signas promote you?”
- - - - - - - -
There was a short ceremony that evening. Zero and a handful of members of the 17th and 0 Units attended. Photojournalists documented the event for the Hunter News page, and normal news outlets alike, taking statements from the crowd. It wasn’t normal to make a media circus of a Hunter being promoted, however a public address had already been scheduled, so the Hunter Saint had integrated X’s promotion as part of his plans to exemplify his unwavering resolve to halt the advance of Maverick forces.
Finally, the new morning came. The Big Five report to Signas on a daily basis to update the Commander-in-Chief on their unit’s operation. To welcome their new member into the circle, there would be a scheduled meeting that morning. General X arrived at the 30th floor of the Tower and met his two new colleagues. He had met them both before, but not as equals.
Sitting to his right was General Mach Hawk of the 7th “Air Calvary” Unit. Mach Hawk is a rare type among the Hunters, being a Grade-A, Hunter Class , Animaloid, meaning that he was specifically engineered to be a Commanding Officer. Like most Animaloids, he was very tall at an even 7 feet, with green wings and matching armor.
Across from X was General Atom of the 1st “Dragoon” Unit. Atom had started in the Maverick Hunters as a volunteer during the first Rise of Sigma, working under Zero even before X had met his closest friend. He, X, Zero and, formerly, Go were model Hunters pictured in enlistment posters. While not amongst the strongest soldiers in the organization, this Cain Class, former civilian model, Reploid attain the highest rank by his dedication and leadership skills. Atom had short, untamed hair that shot in every direction like black, wild grass. His eyes were an ordinary shade of blue, made more fetching by his healthy tone, and dark blue armor underneath the black coat of a General.
General Yamato was currently on leave, and Admiral Hex was cooperating with another sector, Signas would explain. The new Sky Fortress, Skyweb, was nearing its completion. The Hunters had been caught unprepared during the Lightning War, a mobile stronghold could have turned the tides of battle and saved many soldiers. General Atom reported an alarming drop in new members for the 1st unit. The Dragoon Unit is the unit of veteran Hunters, members who have served for more than one year; which meant too many rookies were dying as a mix of naiveté and Maverick ferocity.
“The lull from the war is ending,” Mach Hawk had a stern and grizzled voice to match his attitude, hard as rock, “Now’s the time to get better equipped.”
With no better time to speak, X brought up his main concern. He did not join Signas circle to hear about things every Hunter already knew. “What about the Soul Eraser Weapons?”
Raw Force Metal was discovered to destroy synaptic data in a reploids brain. Unknown to the regular Hunter population, thousands of Soul Eraser Bullets were put into production, and during the last incident a batch of them were missing. Signas and the Big Five has sanctioned their creation.
“It’s an unfortunate measure,” Mach Hawk admitted, “but the Mavs don’t pull any punches. They’re the ones who weaponized Soul Erasure technology in the first place. And if they had the chance, they’d put a bullet in every Hunter that got in their way.”
“I’m still against the whole thing,” General Atom confessed. Indeed, the most senior Hunter of group was the only one firmly against their creation. The biggest proponents had been retired Admiral Walrundo and ex-General Go. Force Metal has been a hazard of the battle field since its discovery.
“Soul Erasure is wrong, no matter how you try to justify it.”
“We can call them Raw Force Metal Bullets, “Mach Hawk retorted.
“I am not,” X emphasized, “arguing about semantics.”
“Aren’t you?” Signas had thought long and hard about the implications of secret weapons. “For all the research that has been done, we’re not certain what’s called a ‘Reploid Soul’ really is the spirit of a reploid. What we call ‘resurection’ can easily be called Reploid Cloning. For all we know, the real Zero died ten years ago!” The Commander-in-Chief was now standing; the three others did the same.
“We can be revived. But, if you’re so worried about a person’s soul, how can you justify plucking them from the hereafter without their consent? ”
X had seldom pondered what happened to Zero on his frequent trips to the other side. Zero had sacrificed himself to save his life. His strong sense of loyalty compelled X to brave many battles for his fallen friend. Now, he shuttered to think it might have been a mistake. “Sir,” X started but Signas cut him off.
Signas stepped out from the head of the table, and stopped besides General Atom. The discussion was becoming heated, if he approached X it would be confrontational. “We can’t claim morality when we’re in the business of killing. We Hunters have sworn an oath to protect reploids and humans from dangerous Mavericks. What are we doing if after ten years, we’re no closer to stamping out their menace.”
General Atom crossed his arms defensively, “If we start carrying Soul Erasers, then everybody is going to carry Soul Erasers,” he sounded so sure and honest. Dr. Cain had warned X of the nearly the same thing, “Which gets us back to what Mach Hawk was saying.”
Maverick Hunter X, for that moment, felt the weight of his role as the progenitor of the reploid race. Dr. Light had created him with the potential to choose his own way of life. Even if his own path had been so dismal, and that his replicants were completely separate from himself, he had a dream for all of reploid-kind. “I know what you’re saying. Humans get only one chance at life, and it shouldn’t be any different for reploids, Maverick or not. It sure would make the war easier. But, Reploids aren’t human. It’s not a fine line between life and death. So, as a society, we have to reinterpret what it means to live and die.”
Signas paused for a moment. This was precisely the reason he had added the famous hunter to the group. “A noble pursuit, General X. But, here is neither the time nor the place for that discussion.” X wished to rebut, but Signas continued, “However, in light of the missing weapons, we will suspend this discussion. A task force will be put together, charged with recovering the S.E. hardware. Until we are sure that the S.E.s are liberated from enemy hands, the production of more raw Force Metal ammunition will be suspended.”
It wasn’t the definitive answer X had been searching for, but it was enough to put part of his conscious at ease. He gave a quick and dignified nod to his Commander-in-Chief to display his compliance. That discussion could wait for another day. Signas gave a few more words to clear the air before dismissing the three officers.
The morning of his first day he had tussled with one of his goals and made a decisive step towards victory. Indeed his peers had not been obstacles, set about to hinder him in every way. An honest confession had struck a chord not just with Signas but General Hawk, X could tell. His confidence renewed, the warrior-philosopher geared for his most important task yet. The Ghost Council may claim to be everywhere, but not in the hearts of honest people.
* * * * * * * *
Next chapter, I really start. The main story finally kicks in.
Also, I'll rename this "Maverick Hunters: The Untold Chapters." when I finally post it on FFnet. What I have in mind for later makes it a misnomer to call it "Megaman X."