Mega Man X: The Golden Child

Chapter 1: Daring Rescue

It was about fifteen years after the vanquishing of Epsilon’s Rebellion, and the defeat of Colonel Redips. However, a new group of Mavericks, calling themselves the Red Thunder Faction, had soon threatened humanity. Zero went out into the field to save a small town from Maverick attack. Along with him were Palette, Lifesaver, and Douglas. Palette was using her binoculars to see if there were any threats. They soon found a human woman carrying her young son as she ran. “Who’s that woman?” asked Palette. Zero, who was also looking through his own set of binoculars, looked behind the fleeing people and said, “I don’t know, but those are Mavericks hot on her heels!”

Zero got out his Z-Saber and went down to intercept the Mavericks. Lifesaver, Palette, and Douglas came down to help the two humans. “This way!” said Palette. Zero soon destroyed the Maverick robots and joined the rescue team. They soon went back to Maverick Hunter HQ with rescued humans in tow. X soon came to meet the return and Lifesaver said, “We’ve found these two humans being pursued by Mavericks.” The woman said, “My son and I barely escaped. My husband—the boy’s father—was killed by Mavericks!” Palette touched the woman’s shoulder and said, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear.” Douglas, who was holding on to the young boy, brightened up and jokingly said, “Can we keep them?” “This is not a time for a joke, Douglas,” X replied, “the young lad needs our help!”

Lifesaver tended to the young boy, who was wounded. He soon stirred and came to. “W-where am I?” asked the boy. “You are in Maverick Hunter Headquarters, young man,” replied Lifesaver. The young boy looked and smiled upon X. He said, “I know who you are—for it was one of my family long ago who made you!” X became intrigued by what the lad said. He asked, “What is your name?” The boy, who was about age eight, answered: “Nathan. Nathan T. Light”. X’s eyes grew wide at this answer, for it was Dr. Thomas Light who made Mega Man X, and X was the doctor’s last creation before his passing.

Chapter 2: Light History

“Light?!” X said in astonishment. “Yes,” explained Nathan. “My father was a distant grand-cousin of Dr. Light. And my mom is a distant great niece of Dr. Wily. But I plan to use my talents for good, don’t worry.” Nathan gave a light chuckle. “I have no doubt you’ll use your skills for good,” said Alia, who came in to check on the boy. Signas then pointed at the hard hat thing and said, “What’s that?! A Metool?!”

Nathan turned around and said, “Oh, him. That’s my pet Metool, Met-U. Yes, it’s a play on the human name ‘Matthew’. I made him myself.” “You?!” Alia said in astonishment. “You, a mere child, built a fully-functioning Metool?!” Nathan said, “Yeah, when I was five, I had a nasty illness. I fully recovered, but it would be awhile till my immune system was enough to go out in public. So I spent many a day in solitude reading books and really improving my mind. I even got to the point where I learned to build robots—with a few ‘small changes’. In fact, I even repaired a Reploid one time!”

“Wow!” said Axl, who came in during Nathan’s story, “this kid is a child prodigy! I’d like to see how he can help us out!” X added “Perhaps he can aid in helping Dr. Light’s dream come true—a dream of Reploids and humans coexisting in peace!” Then X thought to himself, “Could he… could he be Dr. Light reborn?!”

Chapter 3: A Gift for Zero

About a month had passed since the Maverick Hunters had saved Nathan Light and his mother. X, Zero, and Axl were about to attend a meeting. Nathan came up to Zero, and Met-U came with him. “Where are you going?” Nathan asked. “We’re having a meeting to discuss our recent battles,” Zero replied. “Yeah, probably grown up stuff,” Nathan sighed, “Come on, Met-U. Let’s check up on that Reploid girl we salvaged and see if she’s finally up and about.” “Reploid girl?!” the other Maverick Hunters said in surprise. They all gathered around Nathan.

“Yeah,” said Nathan, “last week, Met-U and I were exploring some ruins of a weapon made during the previous century. We found the body of a cute Reploid girl.” Zero asked, “What did this girl look like?” Nathan answered, “Lovely brown hair, cute acorn-cap-like hat, nice dress… the label on her dress said ‘Iris’. Maybe it was the company that built her.” “Iris?!” Zero said in shock. He remembered with sorrow how he was forced to fight and destroy Iris in the past, and his sorrow soon became joy. “You found Iris?!” Nathan, not bothering to ask, continued, “Yes. The memory components—and her memories—were still intact! I found out what really caused her to ‘die’ was her fuel source gave out. The body was badly damaged, but still repairable. So Met-U and I brought her to my room—which doubles as my lab—repaired her body, gave her some new clothes and a new coat of paint, and presto—good as new!”

“And I thank him for it,” a female voice said. The hunters looked toward the door. Zero smiled as he saw Iris. Iris had the same hair and hat, but Nathan made for her an Asian-style dress and some sandals. Iris and Zero embraced. “All is forgiven, Zero,” said Iris. “Sigma had put us all up to that meaningless fight.” “I know,” replied Zero, “but what matters is we’re together again.” “Iris,” said Nathan. “I also found the memory components of Colonel and General. Their memory components and memories are still intact, but their bodies were damaged beyond repair. I’m sorry, Iris. I wish I could’ve done more. If I had enough materials, I could build a new body for Colonel. But it would take more materials than at the Hunters’ current disposal before a new General could be built.” X said, “General says it is okay—he says he’s more useful as a computer program.” Zero said, “Iris, how about we find some materials for Nathan to rebuild your brother?” “That is a wonderful idea, Zero!” Iris replied.

Chapter 4: Healing Time’s Wounds

As Zero and Iris went out to gather materials to build a new body for Colonel, X and Alia, with Nathan’s permission, went into his room to find the memory components of General. General’s “spirit” emerged and said, “I have overheard your plans for Colonel. As a way of saying ‘no hard feelings’, I give you permission to upload me into the headquarters’ computer. I shall order whatever remains of Repliforce to combine with the Maverick Hunters. Besides, I believe I am more important to you as a computer program, rather than a giant Reploid.” X and Alia chuckled as they brought the memory components to the computer. Soon, General became part of the software of Maverick Hunter HQ’s computer system. General said, “I’ve contacted the surviving Repliforce agents. They shall be joining you shortly.”

Iris looked about the ruins of long past battle sites, and Zero accompanied her. Soon, they both filled some carts with what they believed to be some sufficient materials for building a new Colonel. “Let’s go home, Zero,” said Iris, “I look forward to be reunited with my brother Colonel.” Zero nodded. Both warped back to Maverick Hunter HQ. Signas, the main leader of the Maverick Hunters besides X, congratulated the two and said, “I shall contact Nathan.” Nathan soon had the materials brought to his room, and his mother gave some moral support. Within a few days, a new Colonel was built. Before the new body came online, Colonel’s spirit said, “I promise, Zero… once I am online again, we will be on friendly terms from now on.” Colonel’s eyes soon opened. Iris hugged her brother. Colonel said, “It is great to be on this plane of existence again. My only embarrassment is being rebuilt by a mere child. A very intelligent child, but a child nonetheless. However, it is good the wounds have healed. We are on friendly terms henceforth, Zero, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some friendly sparring for practice.” Zero chuckled, “I’m up for a good practice swordfight, and Iris can referee and make sure we’re both playing fair!” “Of course!” Iris giggled.

A big celebration soon took place, and General said, “In our spiritual forms, we overheard how talented this young human is. Some Reploids, good and bad alike, have even called this young man a ‘golden child’. And rightly is he called that.” X thought to himself, “I think of him more than a golden child. I think of him as Dr. Light reborn!”

Chapter 5: Gate to History

It was about a month since Nathan rebuilt Iris and Colonel, and reunited Iris with Zero. The only Maverick activity going on at the time were little more than minor skirmishes for the Maverick Hunters to fight off. One fateful afternoon, Iris soon noticed a familiar cave. She then contacted both Zero and Colonel, saying “Something in the cave is giving off a weird signature.” Zero looked at the monitor, as did Lifesaver and some of the other hunters. One hunter said, “That’s where Sigma found Zero before Sigma went Maverick!” Zero then added, “Sigma mentioned that during our ‘disagreement’ with Repliforce.” Colonel added, “Yes, and Iris and I are trying to erase that memory, but cannot.” X said, “I’ll go investigate.” Zero said, “So will I.” Iris said, “I don’t see any serious dangers, so I should join. I might find something important there.”

Alia typed in the coordinates to the cave. They did not realize that this was the laboratory of Dr. Albert Wily, the enemy of Dr. Light. “I keep seeing this place in my dreams,” said Zero, “but I don’t know why.” Iris touched Zero’s shoulder and said, “Perhaps we can find clues to the reason of this place.” A faint glint soon caught Iris’ eye, and she said, “X! Zero! I found something!” The three soon found a CD on it. They took a closer look at it. It read, “Diary of Dr. Albert Wily.” “Wily!” X gasped. “He is the enemy of my creator, Dr. Light!” “Let’s get this to Nathan,” said Zero. “He might find something on here. Besides, I think this may be what gave the weird signature.” X said, “Mission complete. Return to HQ.” Alia’s voice said, “Confirmed. Preparing teleportation.” The trio soon returned to the base… not knowing they have found the key to Zero’s past.

Chapter 6: Nathan Drops the Bombshell

The three returned safely back to Maverick Hunter HQ. Mrs. Light called in Nathan. Nathan said, “I got the call. What is it?” X gave Nathan the CD and said, “This was what gave the strange signature, though it doesn’t seem to be dangerous.” Nathan had a look of surprise. He said, “This is Great-uncle Wily’s diary. I’ll tap into this soon enough. There’s no telling what Great-uncle Wily had schemed in his mad mind.” Douglas provided a laptop with an up-to-date DVD ROM player, and Nathan at once tapped into the disk. He exclaimed, “Wow! This has all of the robots that he co-created with Grand-cousin Light, and the robots he made for himself!” But it was when he opened a particular file, that his face showed fear. “What’s wrong, Nathan?” asked X.

Nathan looked toward Zero, and said, “Um, Zero… I think you should look at this.” Zero came over to Nathan, and he too looked with horror. The entry read:

“October 12, 20XX.

“The time of my death is coming near, but even in the grave, I will seek vengeance on the world who had neglected me. My rival, Dr. Light, had created a new Mega Man for the future. But I have the means to counteract him.

“My final project is DWN Infinity. Codename: Zero.

“This shall be my ultimate revenge on the earth!”

“Dr. Albert Wily.”

“It can’t be,” Zero whispered in terror. At last, his nightmares and all that has happened… it now made sense. Zero was Dr. Wily’s creation. Zero walked off, silent and with much fear, into his chamber. “This explains what happened to Sigma long ago!” said Signas. “So, Zero was the one originally meant to be leader of the Mavericks, but it seems fate had other ideas. It seems destiny had decreed that Zero would be a hero rather than a villain.” Signas then turned to Iris and said, “Iris, I think Zero needs comfort.” Iris nodded and went to Zero’s chamber.

Chapter 7: An Open Heart

Zero sat near his sleep capsule, contemplating what he had just learned. He soon looked and saw Iris enter the chamber. “Zero?” Iris meekly asked. “I-Iris, I don’t know what to…” Zero started to speak. Iris touched Zero’s lips with her finger. “It’s all right. I still love you, Zero. And Layer understands too. She’s not jealous.” But Zero was not in the mood for humor. “Iris,” said Zero, “I cannot believe that I was the one originally planned to be the enemy of X, rather than Sigma. And I shudder to think how things may have turned out if my struggle in Maverick Mode ended differently.”

“Zero, dear,” said Iris. “Sometimes fate has other ideas in mind. Please, Zero… try to pull yourself together. The circumstances of one’s birth or creation don’t matter. It is what an individual does with the gift of life that makes the person who he or she is.” Zero soon began to brighten, and slowly he stood up. “Thank you, Iris,” said Zero. “Thank you for helping me find a new outlook on my existence.” “I did it because I love you, Zero,” said Iris. At that, the two kissed, and they left the HQ.

Signas and X welcomed Zero back, as did Nathan. “If it makes you feel even better,” said Nathan, “I’ve looked through some of the profiles of past Mavericks before they became Maverick, and am perfecting a way to offset the virus and any Maverick tendencies. I’ve perfected an antivirus, and for the new Reploids, I’ve created a chip that helps balance the extra free will. Only the most rebellious and most prone to being Maverick can override the chip, but for the most part, I think of it as a ‘conscience for Reploids’. It may not completely eliminate the Maverick problem, but it can at least make it more manageable.” The Maverick Hunters applauded Nathan, as did his mother.

However, little did anyone know that the Red Thunder Faction was planning its next move. One of the Mavericks, a cheetah named Blade Cheetus, was waiting for nightfall, so that he can start the first phase of the Red Thunder Faction’s master plan.

Chapter 8: Kidnapped

Iris went to awaken Nathan, but when she opened the bedroom door, she gasped to see Nathan missing… and a hole made in the room’s wall. How anyone could not hear the hole being made was not known, but what mattered was that Nathan had vanished. Iris looked down and saw a note, and picked it up. Her eyes widened in horror as she read the note:

“Attention, Maverick Hunters.

“We have the human boy safely with us.

“If you want him back, come and get him! Our eight top warriors are waiting to battle you and test your worthiness to take us on.

“Signed, Scarlet, Leader of the Red Thunder Faction.”

“This isn’t good,” said Iris. She ran out and contacted the rest of the Maverick Hunters. Mrs. Light, Nathan’s mother, also feared for her son’s life. “How could we have not heard the hole?” asked X. Zero replied, “Those Red Thunder Mavericks must be cleverer than we gave them credit for!” Alia got to her monitor and started typing as she said, “The Red Thunder Faction’s headquarters is said to be in a place called ‘Red Thunder Tower.’ I shall try to find its location and, if necessary, hack into security to open it.” Iris added, “In the meantime, I’ll help the Hunters fight the eight Mavericks currently out there.”

A map soon was brought up. Iris explained: “The Eight Mavericks have been located and identified. Blade Cheetus is in the Serengeti, raising trouble for the locals there. Acidic Limon is in the Mayan Ruins, threatening to destroy them with his acid weapon. Drill Turtar is triggering earthquakes and landslides in the Dardanelles. Voltage Koalot is tampering with Sydney, Australia’s power plant. Marine Baskark has planned to have a battle with us in the English Channel. Inferno Dromedare is planning to cause a mega-eruption of the Es Safa volcano in Syria. Frostbite Goatain is in the Alaskan Rocky Mountains, attacking anyone—human or Reploid—who goes near his base. And Storm Dodo is flying his airbase about causing trouble—the airbase’s last known location was above Sicily.”

Chapter 9: Jungle Jaunt

X called Axl to him, and said, “We’ll go after Cheetus first.” The two then warped to the Serengeti. Once in the location, Iris contacted the two, telling them that Cheetus had already scared off some of the nomadic people from the area, and any who have settled near the plain are now in hiding. Thus, only Maverick robots were in the area. Axl replied, “Understood. We’ll keep our eyes open.” X and Axl started shooting at various enemy Metools, hyena robots, bird robots, and any Red Thunder Joes guarding the area.

They soon found a crater ring with large metallic doors. From past experience, X and Axl knew that they had found the base of a Maverick. The two entered and encountered Blade Cheetus, running circles in a personal arena. The sky above provided lighting for the day, and a nice view at night—provided it wasn’t raining. Cheetus soon stopped running and saw the intruders. “Ah, the Maverick Hunters,” chuckled Blade Cheetus. “A pleasure meeting some good rivals. Care for a race or a swordfight? Or both?” X said, “Please, I do not wish to destroy you. I want to settle this peacefully. I implore you to put a stop to the madness!” Cheetus said, “Ooh! Listen to those fancy words!” Cheetus then prepared his weapon, the Speed Blade, and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll make this fight quick, and as painless as I can!”

Cheetus then charged and tried to send some blade slashes toward X, but X deflected them with his X-Buster. Axl then went in with his A-Bullet and shot a few times, dazing him for a bit. Cheetus then did a dashing slash move, similar to Slash Beast from many battles agone. Sometimes, Cheetus would stand still and shoot rapid fire shots that look like razor-sharp spearheads. But eventually, X and Zero destroyed the cheetah Maverick. As he exploded, Cheetus said, “You win the gold!” X and Axl soon returned back to the base with the DNA of Blade Cheetus. X gained the Speed Blade, which looked almost like Slash Beast’s Twin Slasher, except it shot straight in any of four directions. Charged up, it did a crescent-like slash that spun out in a spiral pattern. Zero learned the move Kitetosshin, which meant “slicing dash”. This was a dashing slash move. Axl gained the Razor Rifle, which is most likely what the shots were that Cheetus shot.

Axl decided to take a break from battle, so X brought Zero along as they went to the Mayan Ruins in search of Acidic Limon. Iris said, “Acidic Limon had placed some sort of weather machine here, perhaps to prepare his acid rain to destroy these ruins. Hurry and find this machine—and chances are, Limon might be there as well!” X and Zero soon dashed through the ruins and jungle. They found humanoid robots that acted like Mayan warriors. X shot with the X-Buster, saving the Speed Blade ammo for stronger foes. Zero, however, got a chance to practice the Kitetosshin in the area. Eventually, the pair found the entrance to a temple, and Iris contacted them again. “X! Zero!” said Iris. “The analyzers have picked up the energy reading of the weather machine! Go in there quickly!” The two Hunters went in and saw the device. At once, the two shut down the machine… and it was then that Acidic Limon came in.

A branch came down, and Limon jumped off of it. Zero said, “For a plant, you don’t seem to like nature that much.” Limon gave a snide comment, saying “Yeah, us Mavericks, as you like to call us, don’t like to be enviro-friendly that much. You losers should know that.” X said, “And your personality seems to reflect the fruit you are.” Limon said, “You got me there—even Scarlet, my boss, can barely put up with me. Anyway, let’s get this started.” X and Zero prepared to battle the lemon Maverick. Acidic Limon had acid weapons as his name implied, so X and Zero made it a point to dodge if possible. X prepared the Speed Blade and shot it at him. Limon yelped, “I’m peeling!” This meant this was the right weapon to strike him with. Zero said, “Let me get some hits in!” and used the Kitetosshin on the fruit. Soon, Limon went into Overdrive and made his acid spraying weapon sword-like and did an overhead slash. The two dodged that and made a team attack to destroy the fruit. “Harvest the victory!” Limon yelled as he exploded. The Hunters got the DNA from Limon and returned to the base. X gained the Acid Spray. In normal fire mode, it did a spraying attack, as the name implied. Powered up, it does a natural acid rain shower that damaged only enemies. Zero gained the overhead slash called Ekizan (which meant “fluid slash”). And Axl gained the Acid Shooter; unlike the Acid Spray, it shot blobs of acid, similar to the Acid Burst of Toxic Seahorse, another Maverick of battles long past.

Chapter 10: Thunder, Water, and Fire

As X and Zero return from their first two bouts, Alia approached them, saying “I found Red Thunder Tower, but I need more time to hack into the security core and make it so you can enter.” X replied, “That’s fine, Alia. We’ll try to take care of the remaining Mavericks until then.” Alia smiled, and then returned to her computer. Iris then presented the map to the heroes again. X and Zero selected to go after Drill Turtar next, who was triggering the earthquakes in the Dardanelles. Metools were there, as were some upgraded Degravers and Spikies. There also had been a few Joes that had drill weapons. Alia’s speaker said, “Drill Turtar is somewhere in one of the caverns. Try to find and stop him from triggering any more earthquakes.” “Copy that!” replied Zero. They soon went into the caverns. The occasional tremors caused some minor cave-ins, but there was nothing that well-trained Maverick Hunters could handle.

They soon found the location of Drill Turtar, who was snatching some loosened crystals. “Halt!” Zero called out. Turtar turned around and said, “Ah, Maverick Hunters! I see you found my mine. Even as a Maverick, I believe in the value of a good work ethic, and like X, I usually dislike fighting… but I will fight if I must for the Red Thunder Faction!” X replied, “We can help you change! Please give us a chance!” Drill Turtar said, “My loyalties have been decided. Let us battle!” Drill Turtar prepared his drill weapon, the Spiral Drill, which created a vortex of energy as it spun toward intended targets. Zero whispered to X, “I’ll distract him. Use something to eat through his thick armor.” X knew what to use—the Acid Spray. X nodded, and Zero distracted Turtar with the Ekizan technique, which also did damage. As Zero drew Drill Turtar’s fire, X prepared the Acid Spray and did the damage. Eventually, Turtar cried out, “You win the prize!” as he exploded. The hunters got Turtar’s DNA and returned to base. X received the Spiral Drill. Normal Fire was like the Tornado Fang from Tunnel Rhino, a long since defeated Maverick, but with out the splitting ability. When powered up, it created the energy spiral that Turtar provided to his. Zero gained the technique Iwaheki—the name meant “rock pierce”. It was a downward drilling stab. Axl gained the weapon “Drill Blaster”, which was a mini-rocket launcher that shot drill-like rockets. X and Zero then prepared to go to Sydney’s Power Plant to take on Voltage Koalot.

The power plant in Sydney, Australia, had not been damaged severely, albeit with lights going out from time to time. Besides some Metools and Joes, there were also some electrified Red Thunder made Gabyools in the area. Zero could easily take them out with his Iwaheki. It did not take long for the pair to reach the location of Voltage Koalot. At first, Voltage Koalot seemed to be like a playful soul, laughing and chuckling as he swung from the power reactor’s cables. But the instant he saw the hunters, his personality changed to that of a homicidal maniac. “Ha, ha, ha!” laughed Koalot. “Let’s have a little fun by destroying you two!” Zero said, “Your hijinks come to an end here!” Koalot started throwing electrified discus weapons at the two hunters, and he sometimes curled up into a ball and made himself look like an electrified buzzsaw! The hunters did tag team tactics against the marsupial Reploid. From a distance, X used the Spiral Drill, and it knocked Koalot back a bit. Zero was able to get close to Koalot occasionally, and use Iwaheki as well. The battle soon ended, and Koalot gave one final laugh before he exploded, relinquishing his DNA. X and Zero returned to the base. X gained the Spark Discus. In normal mode, it did an electrified discus shot that went in a wave pattern. Charged up, it sent four discuses at once. Zero gained the move Raikourin. The name meant “lightning wheel”, and it allowed Zero an electrified somersault attack, almost similar to the C-Sword he won way back after the battle with Grizzly Slash. Axl won the weapon Electro Beam, which shot out a wave-like beam of electricity.

Alia still needed time to tap into Red Thunder’s security core, so Zero stayed behind to help Alia (and be with Iris a bit). X took Axl along and they went to the English Channel next, to find Marine Baskark. The two took to some submarine Ride Chasers to pursue Baskark’s giant submarine. They shot at it whenever possible and destroyed any Gulpfurs and Fisherns that emerged. Also, two Utoboros robots had obstructed the path, but X and Axl took those out. Eventually, they entered the submarine and went to locate Marine Baskark. Baskark had sung a sea chantey when he turned to meet X and Axl. “So, the great X is here,” said Baskark. “A pleasure it is to meet you, matey! I, Marine Baskark, admiral of the Red Thunder’s Sea Forces, will be honored to battle ye.” Baskark soon got out his weapon, Marine Harpoon, and began his assault. X and Axl dodged and used their Electrical weapons on Baskark. They had to keep their distance or Baskark would use an upward slash to strike them as well. Axl let loose one last Electro Beam which struck the final blow. “See ye in Davey Jones’ locker!” yelled Baskark as he exploded. With Baskark’s DNA in hand, the hunters returned to the base. X gained the Marine Harpoon. In normal mode, it was a handheld harpoon that swung like Zero’s Saber. Powered up, it created a large wave of water that ran across the floor of the battlefield. Axl gained the Aqua Gusher, which made a crescent-shaped water wave when shot. Zero gained the move Umifuki, which meant “sea geyser”. It was an upward slash, similar to Ryuenjin from the old foe Magma Dragoon, except this was of Water Element.

X and Axl wasted no time going to Es Safa volcano to prevent the mega eruption. Some flamethrower Joes were there to guard the premises, as were some upgraded Morgun units. The pair shot their way past them, and they soon entered a base in the volcano, where Inferno Dromedare had put the finishing touches on his mega eruption device. But he did not have the chance to turn it on, for he saw X and Axl. “Welcome, partners,” said Dromedare, with a drawl reminiscent of the Wild West. “This outlaw is ready to break any rules in the name of the Red Thunder Faction.” Axl said, “Yeah, when you break the rules, you gotta take the consequences!” Dromedare said, “Prepare for the last roundup, pilgrims!” Dromedare then let out his Flame Mines and pulled out his gun—the Molotov Launcher. The two hunters made it a point not to step on the bumps that were the Flame Mines. Axl said, “This one’s on me, X! I’ve got better range!” Axl set to work shooting the Aqua Gusher at Dromedare. Aqua Gusher had more range than the Molotov Launcher, and Dromedare was soon extinguished. “Ride off… into… the sunset…” said Dromedare as he exploded. Axl picked up a piece of Dromedare’s DNA, and the hunters returned home. X gained the Flame Mine weapon. Normal mode had a flaming spike ball that exploded and sent shrapnel about. In powered up mode, it did the same, but the mine and explosion were larger. Axl gained the Molotov Launcher, which had medium range but the flames from the payload erupted in a medium-sized flame geyser. And Zero gained the technique Entsuki, which meant “fiery thrust”. The weapon was similar to Raijingeki in that it was a straight thrust, but this move was a fiery element attack. Now only two Mavericks remained.

Chapter 11: The Lock is Open

X decided to let Axl take Zero, who was eager for some more battle action. X said, “I’ll see if I can help Alia crack the security core’s code.” Axl said, “It’s okay—I’m sure Zero and I can handle it.” The pair went to the Alaskan Rocky Mountains to find Frostbite Goatain, who was stirring up trouble in the area. The two appeared at the entrance of an ice cave. Ray Bits and Metools patrolled the area well, as did some Bat Bones and Ice de Vouxs. There was very little in the matter of security trouble. Therefore it didn’t take long for Zero and Axl to make it to the inner sanctum, where Frostbite Goatain was preparing himself for the next fight. Goatain bleated and said, “So, the Maverick Hunters have found me. I remember the days before my colleagues and I went the Maverick way. And I know these mountains like the back of my hoof. Well, enough reminiscing. Time to get this battle over with!” Goatain got out his ice-element shotgun and started shooting icy projectiles at the two. Axl used his jet boots to hover and launch Molotovs at the goat Maverick. This loosened up Goatain a bit, but he soon got out his boomerang weapon and knocked Axl out of the air. Zero raced up and struck with the Entsuki. This gave Axl an opportunity to shoot one last Molotov at the enemy. “Now I’m but a memory!” moaned Goatain upon his destruction. The pair returned to the base. Zero gained the move Fuyuboshi, which meant “winter star”. It was an ice-element shuriken that was thrown when Zero leapt in the air. Axl gained the Winter Shotgun, which sent out a large blast of ice that could damage or freeze any enemy. X gained the Frost Boomerang. In normal mode, it was an icy boomerang as one expected. Powered up, it was almost like the icy version of Boomer Kuwanger’s Boomerang Cutter, as it made several Frost Boomerangs fly out from him.

Zero and Axl soon went to find Storm Dodo’s Airship above Sicily. They managed to get on board and smash up the airship’s security forces before entering the interior. Only a few Pararoids (albeit giant ones) were inside; apparently, Storm Dodo did not expect anyone to get inside. This was their opportunity to break into the bridge. Dodo made it up to the battle deck, and Zero and Axl gave chase. They soon met him, and Dodo squawked, “How do you like the weather up here? It’s fun to be out in the storms, and even more fun when I make them!” Zero commanded, “Cease and desist all activity here!” Dodo laughed, “Make me, hunter!” Storm Dodo prepared his air attacks to blow the enemies about, but he did not like cold, as he showed when Axl shot at the enemy with the Winter Shotgun. It even froze the bird momentarily. Axl said, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Zero gave a chuckle, and each took turns damaging and freezing Storm Dodo. The pair laughed as they whittled his power down to nothing. Dodo gave one final squawk before exploding. The last of the eight Mavericks fell. Zero and Axl returned to the base. Zero gained the move Ikarikaze (which meant “wrath wind”, and it was an air element Giga Crush technique). Axl gained the Tornado Gun, a somewhat large pistol that shot wind to damage and disorient the enemy. X gained the move Typhoon Force. In normal mode, it created a miniature tornado, similar to Wing Spiral back when he battled The Skiver. Powered up, it created a seriously powerful wind that blew throughout the whole arena!

Once all had returned, Alia contacted them and said, “Team! I’ve unlocked the tower. It is located in the Carpathian Mountains, built over the ruins of what the humans call ‘Dracula’s Castle’. Hurry—we must save Nathan Light at ALL costs!” Iris placed something on Zero, and said, “It’s a special transporter. Brother and I will teleport to your area once you’re close enough to Nathan. We’ll get him out of harm’s way so you can stop the Red Thunder Faction without fear for his safety.” Zero said, “Clever idea, Iris!” Then X, Zero, and Axl soon transported to the Carpathian Mountains to find Red Thunder Tower.

Chapter 12: Red Thunder Tower

The Carpathian Mountains were as treacherous now as they had ever been in days of yore. Armor Joes patrolled the place well, and it would have been suicidal to attempt take them all on, so X, Zero, and Axl decided to be wise and avoid battle unless absolutely necessary. Scarlet saw them coming from her tower, so she alerted her followers. Her second-in-command, Rubius, said, “I shall prepare the Pricobalt. That unit should dispatch them quite nicely.” Scarlet giggled, “Then go to, activate the robot.” Rubius saluted his mistress and left her presence. Meanwhile, Axl had taken out an Armor Joe that had cornered them. Axl looked and said, “I think we’re getting close to the tower entrance.” X said, “Good. The sooner we save Nathan Light, the better.”

“I’m afraid you may have a little bit of difficulty,” said a voice. It was the voice of Rubius. Rubius stood by near the Pricobalt—a cobalt werewolf robot. Rubius explained, “This is Pricobalt. I think he wants to play with you. I should warn you, he tends to play a little bit rough. Play nice.” Rubius warped away, leaving the three Maverick Hunters to fight the lupine threat. X prepared his X-Buster, Zero his Z-Saber, and Axl his A-Bullet. Pricobalt let loose metallic spikes from his back, which the hunters dodged. X and Axl shot at the enemy several times, and Zero weaved through spikes from time to time to get close enough and strike with his saber. Despite a few close calls with the spikes, and with the robot’s claws and fangs, the Maverick Hunters eventually took out the Pricobalt, which gave one final howl as he exploded. The path was cleared to enter the tower.

Chapter 13: Saving Nathan

The Red Thunder Tower gave back memories of the Crimson Palace, which X and his friends went through when battling Red Alert. Only the tower here had a more regal look. Bat Bones, Metools, Gabyools, and some masked Victoroids—which X and Zero had not seen since the Doppler incident—patrolled the halls well. But since there were no Armor Joes in sight, the trio could fight well with not a lot of damage to themselves. Soon, they made their way to the parapets halfway up the tower. Rubius stood there, tightly grasping Nathan’s hand. “So, Maverick Hunters,” said Rubius, “you made it to the tower. What a shame you came this way just to fall at my hand. As for the boy, he will serve my mistress, Scarlet, very well.” “I think not,” said Colonel’s voice. Colonel struck Rubius, causing him to lose his grip on Nathan. Iris gently picked up the child and said, “We’ll take him back to Maverick Hunter HQ. Good luck, you three!” At that, Colonel and Iris teleported away with Nathan. The young boy was safe. Now all that was left was to take out Red Thunder once and for all.

Rubius picked up his javelin and said, “Well, I’ll recapture the boy after dealing with the likes of you!” Alia’s communicator kicked in, and her voice said, “Team! Layer, Palette, and I have scanned Rubius! He’s not fond of shocks, so hit him with electrical weapons!” Axl said, “You heard her! Let’s give him the ultimate shocker!” X prepared the Spark Discus, Zero prepared the Raikourin technique, and Axl got out the Electro Beam. Rubius tried to stab any of them with his javelin. He decided he would be fast enough to not need to throw it, but he would be proven wrong. Whenever he tried to strike Zero, Zero would just leap and use the Raikourin. X and Axl had the projectile weapons of the electrical weapon mix, so they could just shock him from a distance, and move if he got too close. Eventually, Rubius began to short circuit, and as he exploded, the warrior cried, “My mistress! I have failed you!” Once the explosion died down, the trio looked and saw another door open. Scarlet was ready for them. There was no turning back now.

Chapter 14: Fall of Red Thunder

X, Zero, and Axl went through the doors, and saw some crystalline transporters. From past experience, the three knew that it was time for the rematch with the Mavericks. With Blade Cheetus, they were just able to destroy him more speedily with the weapons wrested from Storm Dodo. Otherwise, they used the same tactics they used as before. “That was almost too easy!” laughed Zero. X said, “Yes. We need to conserve our power when possible, for I know that Scarlet will definitely give her all to try to destroy us.” The Maverick Hunters had quickly dispatched the Mavericks for the second time, and soon noticed an elevator. The three got on and rode up to the top of the tower. The top floor looked like a giant gazebo overlooking the mountains. Scarlet stood there. She looked like a very beautiful (albeit voluptuous) humanoid Reploid, almost like some dancer from Arabian Nights, minus the veil (which was rather out of place in the Transylvania area). But the hunters knew she had one serious mean streak. “It is a pleasure to see you, Maverick Hunters!” giggled Scarlet. “You did well against my followers. But I am ready to destroy you easily.” Scarlet got out her rapier and created some energy orbs around her. “Let’s get this started!” she cried.

Alia contacted X and said, “X! Scarlet is scantily clad to prevent overheating, because she can’t take a lot of heat. Use Fire Weapons!” X replied, “Got it!” He then said to Zero and Axl, “You heard Alia! Get your Fire Weapons ready!” Axl dodged an energy orb and hovered to get a good enough shot with the Molotov Launcher. Scarlet shrieked from the burning. X prepared a Flame Mine, and the fiery shrapnel also burned her. Zero took a slight hit from the rapier, but recovered in time to strike with the Entsuki. Despite some minor damage, the three were all able to take out Scarlet, but as she exploded, Scarlet said, “It’s not over yet!” She was right—after Scarlet exploded, the roof and posts of the giant gazebo blew away, and Scarlet returned in a giant succubus form. She threw giant purple flame orbs and sent out dragon-like energy beams to try to strike the hunters. For some reason, there was no weather about in this battle. After a few dodges, Zero got a message from Iris to understand why.

“Zero!” said Iris. “I can see why she chose this time to transform. The weather is calm. It seems Scarlet’s giant succubus form can’t keep balance very well in high winds, and high winds also damage that body! Use the Air weapons!” X and Axl also heard. X said, “Stall her while I charge up!” Axl shot at Scarlet with the Tornado Gun, which damaged her and unbalanced her, causing her to miss an orb shot. Zero then shouted out “Ikarikaze!” as he did his Giga Crush. The wind damaged her even more. Iris’ prediction was even closer to the truth than she though, for Scarlet had received much damage from the wind. X had now charged up his weapon, so he dodged a dragon energy beam and shouted “Typhoon Force!” The final wind attack destroyed Scarlet’s form. Scarlet let out one final yell of pain as she exploded. The three got out of the now abandoned tower. Hopefully the humans can tear it down someday.

The hunters returned to Maverick Hunter HQ. Nathan was safe with his mother, and was recovering quite well. “Well, all’s well that ends well,” said Nathan. “Yes,” replied X, “you deserve a chance at a peaceful life.” Nathan said, “Why don’t you rest up? You’ve had a tough battle there.” Zero and Axl turned around, and Axl said, “Thanks for the rest.” X also turned, looked back, and said, “Yes. Thank you… Dr. Light.” Nathan’s face widened in surprise, but then he smiled. Finally, a brief respite was won. But more years would roll by… and before Nathan himself passed away, he was able to see the first stones placed in the foundation of what would one day be a part of Zero’s destiny. He had seen the beginning of what would one day be… Neo Arcadia.

The End

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