Triple M: Legend of the Chosen One

Discussion in 'Archives' started by Destiny's Force, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    (Note from author: After some prodding from a friend of mine (You know who you are ;) ), I decided to go ahead and post this series here. The following is/was my first fanfiction that I had ever written. My writing style may seem a bit different here because of that. It's far from complete and since I'm still working on the other stories, I'm most likely not going to be writing much on this. Keep in mind that I've revised this twice and I don't feel like going back over it again. Updates will be extremely easy for awhile as I have a quarter of this story already written up. However, once I reach where I stopped, updates will be far and few between.

    Another note: This is not KH-based. It is, however, VERY loosely based on the Mega Man series. So yes, it's not technically an Original Work. Think of it as an "Alternate Universe" piece. There'll be references every now and then to the series, but the main characters and "final bosses" were created by me. If something doesn't seem to make sense, go ahead and tell me so I know what to fix. However, most of the questions will be answered later in the story.

    And finally, instead of chapters and sub-chapters, I refer to sections as "Episodes" and "Acts." Think of it as an anime/manga type thing.

    Just so I don't leave any readers completely in the dark, here's the first half of Episode 1.

    So, without further ado, here is the unedited story of my alter-ego...enjoy. ;) )

    Episode 0, Act 1: "The End?"

    Chronographic Period: 23XX
    Combat Log: Final Entry

    ...can't believe this is it...*BZAP*...body's torn to pieces...
    ...hard to process...imminent shutdown..."
    ...tranferring all databanks...*FZZT*...remote base...
    ...Robot Masters...Elementals...HIM...
    ...won't go out without...*KRRSSH*..."Independent Determination Chip"...
    ...Roll...Dr. Light...*BZZINK*...where did you go?...
    ...Upload Successful...Initiate Self-Destruct...
    ...Light...Ultima...Memories...Forgive me...

    Episode 1, Act 1: "Prologue..."

    The Legend of the Forgotten Hero.
    An excerpt from the "History of Ultima" by Professor McMann.

    Before the Era of Technorganics, my great-ancestor Dr. Thomas Xavier Light had succeeded in creating the "Independent Determination" Chip or I.D. Chip for short, which when installed, would give any humanoid cyborg the ability to think, learn and grow based on its environment. In layman's terms, it would give the humanoid the ability to evolve. It was a breakthrough in the scientific world. Unfortunately, he was only able to create two chips before his murder, an Alpha version and the Beta version. The Alpha version was stolen, copied and installed into other humanoids with unique powers of destruction. As it was the prototype, it had many glitches. A faulty chip, the cyborgs that were installed had no moral sense of right and wrong and as a result they ran amok, causing chaos, evil and ultimately, driving the human race to the brink of extinction. The Beta and final version was created many years ahead of its time and was eventually installed into one humanoid without that flaw. He rose up against the opposition, triggering the outbreak of the Robot Wars. This humanoid was the counter to every opposition that attempted to destroy humanity. The War went on for decades until finally, he sacrificed himself to end the war once and for all.

    Knowing that his destruction was inevitable, he had asked the surviving humans to remove the chip from his remains and to keep it safe. He had said that the I.D. chip contained not just his data, but the very essence of his soul. The people respected his request. When the hero had finally left the face of the earth, they made sure to give his soul to the last living descendant of the era, who was sworn never to use it as long as he lived.

    Years passed, generation after generation was told the exact same story until the name of the hero vanished into the fabric of time. Because of his countless efforts to save the human race, technology prospered. However, the legend was almost forgotten. It is said that the evil that had almost destroyed the human race is still out there, hibernating, biding its time, regaining its strength, until one day it will show up again to finish what it had started. And at that time, the true hero of legend will return to fulfill his or her destiny...

    Episode 1, Act 2: "Unexpected..."

    Data File Retrieved...
    Accessing Data File...
    Data Entry #3260

    Ever since I had become a single father, I vowed for my daughter, Rebecca, to grow up to her full potential. However being the world's only expert in Biotechnorganics, people would assume I would never have time for her. They would be wrong. I always found time for her while she was growing up. She would even help me with some of my research. She was a quiet one, but she did make friends easily. She was extremely smart and ended up taking advanced classes at the local academy. Whenever I had a problem, she usually was there to inspire me and give me new insights. The locals always said that she had my youthful curiosity. However, she looked like the spitting image of her mother. Shiny brown hair, inquisitive green eyes and cute dimples that appeared whenever she smiled. I miss her mother everyday, but I know that part of her spirit lives within her.

    Then that day came.

    I was attempting to analyze the I.D. chip that I had been given by my great-grandparents a long time ago. Rebecca, who was then 6 years old, was busy playing out back near the woods. I had attempted to install the I.D. chip in various humanoids but with no success. About ten minutes later, she came running in, crying, carrying a bundle of blankets. Alarmed, I asked her what had happened. She told me that she was just attacked by "big, scary robots" that almost hurt her. She started to run, but they surrounded her blocking her escape. Suddenly a figure in black appeared out of nowhere and protected her. From what she saw, the stranger held a long, transparent weapon in one hand and a shiny, silvery ball in the other. After exchanging words and threats he quickly destroyed them. Before she could say anything, the stranger handed her the bundle and faded into the shadows.

    To my utmost horror, inside the blankets was an infant, cut up and bleeding, breathing shallow breaths, not even enough air to cry. Working quickly, Rebecca and I attempted to revive him. None of the usual methods seemed to work. Not knowing what else to do, I used my last resort, an experimental procedure that combined both technology and biological engineering. Out of the four times I've done it, it had only succeeded once. I prayed that it would work.

    And to my amazement, the procedure was a success. The infant was breathing normally, its heartbeat was strong. However, I had to replace certain organs and limbs with artificial ones. Fortunately, I had been able to create the artificial ones with breakthrough technology that not only worked flawlessly, it would increase his physical and mental development tenfold! Also it was virtually impossible to see any differences from the real thing. However, to regulate normal human functions, I had to install a cranial support system that connected to his neural pathways inside the brain.

    Glad that he was finally safe and healthy, I went back to work on the chip, only to discover that in my rush that I had installed it into the infant's support system! What was even more surprising was that it had actually installed successfully! There was no way to remove the chip without killing the boy, so I was forced to leave it.

    The next problem was what to do with him. Rebecca started to say that she had always wanted a brother. So I agreed that until we could find his parents, that we would legally adopt him.

    "But what should we name him?" I asked her. She thought for a moment. Then with a huge grin on her face, she replied that the baby's name would be...

    Episode 1, Act 3: "Beginnings..."


    "Wha...?" 15-year old Michael McMann shook his head. He'd been daydreaming again. And in the shower of all places!

    "Michael! You've been in there for almost half an hour!" his father shouted through the closed door. "Hurry up!" Cursing himself for being in there that long, he quickly turned off the water, stepped out onto the plush bathroom rug and wrapped a large, fluffy blue towel around his waist. He couldn't shake off what he had just thought about. He had fantasized that he was a noble warrior engaged to the most gorgeous girl who was really a princess in disguise. He sighed.

    'Face it, dude.' he thought. 'Ain't gonna happen in this lifetime.'

    He had just spent the past few hours training in an area of the lab that was created for holographic simulations. The Prof always joked that the "Danger Room" and "Holodeck" could never compare to the technology. Michael never knew what his father was talking about, so he just smiled and let it go. The training area was just one part of the laboratory in which the Professor worked. Various machines and gadgets were neatly organized around the room. The Professor's research was too important to be careless about. Artificial organs and limbs were in one corner. Research materials and the numerous displays were off in another. An operating table was on a side of the room, where Michael would usually spend every few months to make sure that his body's system was functional and in working order.

    Michael's hazel-colored eyes glanced at the face in the mirror as he massaged his sore muscles, attempting to get blood to flow naturally. If anyone saw him, they'd think he was some attractive, innocent-looking wallflower. He had never felt totally comfortable in social settings, so he spent his free time by himself training his mind and body. The fashion sense wasn't bad, pretty much wearing all-blue outfits. Whenever asked why this was, he always shrugged and replied that he always felt like wearing blue. His jet-black hair always seemed to have this natural tendency to appear wind-swept as if he was one of those people who flew around daily.

    Michael was about to put his shirt on when he realized he'd forgotten to bring his clothes inside the bathroom. After drying himself off, he wrapped a towel around his ripped, better-than-average body and came downstairs looking for the Professor. His feet thumped down the steps, trying to figure out where his father went. Passing through the living room he yelled, "Hey Doc! Where are you?" Instead of calling the Professor "Dad", he liked to call him "Doc" mainly for the fact that he never felt comfortable calling him anything else. Even after being raised with loving care by the only biotechnorganic expert in the world, he still considered the Prof his adoptive guardian.

    "Michael? Where are you, son?" Of course, the Professor still considered Michael his son and treated him that way as well. Living in a three story, 10,000 acre research facility always had the downside of nobody being able to find each other. Even though he was semi-rich, the Prof could never remember to install an intercom system in the entire building. No other humans lived in that house. Cleaning and maintenance was provided by A.I. technology that the Professor created in his spare time. But he made sure to treat them as humanely as possible.

    "I'm in the living room!" Michael replied. "You know where my clothes are?"

    "In the laundry area! For goodness sake Michael, we have company!"

    "Company?" This he didn't yell out, but said to himself in a normal voice. That's when he felt a presence behind him. Turning around slowly, he found himself face to face with a beautiful teenage girl. She blushed at the sight of his muscular form; her blonde hair draped over her bare shoulders. He looked her over, just as he knew she was doing the same with her icy blue eyes. She looked around 5'4" wearing a pink tanktop where he could almost see the outline of her bra underneath. She wore cut-off shorts, hiking boots and was carrying a blue gym bag. After a few awkward moments, Michael said the first thing that came to mind. "Nice rack," he said. The girl's expression quickly changed from dreamy lust to a hard disgusted look. "I meant bag!" Michael yelled panicking. "I meant to say nice bag! Not rack. Not that you don't have a nice..."

    "And hello to you too," she interrupted with a questionable glare. Before anything else got out of hand, Professor McMann finally walked in.

    "Ah, Rachel! I've seen you met my son Michael." Rachel raised an eyebrow in confused skepticism.

    "Wait. This is Michael? The younger brother?"

    Michael grinned at the look of confusion on her face. "Oh, I get it. Rebecca said that she was an older sister. I guess you were expecting some innocent-eyed, immature ten-year old, huh?"

    Rachel nodded. "Was she..."

    "No, she wasn't lying," he started. "Technically, I'm younger than her. But..."

    The Professor cut him off. "Before you say any more, Michael," he glared at him with a stern tone in his voice, "put some clothes on first!"

    (So, what do you think?)
  2. Dmaster Traverse Town Homebody

    Nov 22, 2007
    In mah imagination~
    good but confusing... don't get the data retrieval thing... though i'm tired so don't bother explaining it...
  3. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 1, Act 4: "Promises..."

    Her name was Rachel Roneca and she couldn't believe what she was experiencing right now. She was hanging out with Michael McMann, the only son of the world-renowned Professor McMann. She had stopped by because she was new to the neighborhood and she had met Rebecca McMann in her self-defense class, who invited her over. She was stunned to meet Michael, especially seeing him in a towel of all things! Since Rebecca couldn't be found, Michael had offered to show her around. Now here she was, her arms around his tightly formed abdominals on the latest technological breakthrough of a vehicle, a real life hoverboard!

    "So, Rach, what do you think so far?" Michael yelled over the wind as they blazed through the air.

    "This is awesome!" Rachel replied. "I didn't know fully-functional hoverboards existed yet!"

    "This is just a prototype! Model number three-point-two-six-hundred!" At this point, 1,000 feet in the air, the hoverboard slowed its speed so they didn't have to yell. "I call it 'Rush'."


    "I don't know." he said with a shrug. "When I saw it with its metallic red paint, that was the first name that came to me."

    "So where are we heading?" she asked. Michael gave her a slow smile.

    "It's a surprise." Rachel closed her eyes, feeling the nice pleasant breeze flow across her face. Even though she knew that she wasn't going to fall, she had that tiny twinge of fear of actually being up that high. The sun was just beginning to set over the horizon seemingly melting from view. "I've always wanted to know what if would feel like to fly. I mean, up here, the view is spectacular!" She opened her eyes and looked at Michael. "Okay, you were about to tell me about the whole family thing."

    "Oh yeah, that." He proceeds to explain about the whole being found left for dead and the miracle life-saving operation. Then he told her about one of the side effects: it made him age at twice the rate of a normal human being.

    "So, you're like 15 now?"

    "Pretty much. I've been taking advanced classes that would allow me to learn at the rate of my aging."

    "Are you still aging, though?" Rachel asked, slightly afraid that this guy might become an old man before she even hit 21.

    "Nah. My body's pretty much stabilized. I'm aging at the normal rate." Rachel gave a mental sigh of relief. "We're here." Rush began its calm descent over a secluded spot just within the border of Ultima what seemed to be some type of ancient ruins. Plant life and shrubbery grew like wildflowers, but insects were strangely absent.

    "Where are we?"

    "I call it the 'Twilight Dawn'. I come here whenever I want to just get away from the world. You know, give me some alone time." With the last rays of sunlight fading in the distance, stars started to poke through the fabric of the night sky. "Nobody seems to know this place even exists because it's so far out of reach and seems to be only accessible by air." Michael helped Rachel down from the hoverboard.

    "So are you seeing anyone?" Michael asked suddenly.

    "What?" Rachel was taken off guard by the question. "Why? What's it to you?" she replied warily.

    Michael shrugged. "I...It was the first thing that came to mind," he said lamely.

    Rachel rolled her eyes. "If you must know, yes I am."

    "Oh." There was awkward silence as they started to walk through the peaceful environment. "I see."

    "His name's Zack...Zack Powers." Michael's face changed from disappointment to barely restrained disgust.

    "Powers..." he muttered under his breath.

    Rachel gave him a curious look. "I take it you know him."

    He was about to say something, but thought better to keep his opinions to himself. "Yeah, I know him. So, long have you been guys been dating?"

    "I only moved here a few days ago. So far, Zack and Rebecca are the only ones who've talked to me so far." Rachel looks at the setting sun, its rays just barely visible from view. "You know, it was pretty nice of you offering to show me around. From what I've been hearing about you, I'd have thought that you wouldn't have any free time being the son of the famous Professor and all." Michael's eyes widened at the comment. He sighed.

    "To be honest, I haven't been out that much," he muttered. "I've been basically spending the past few years cooped up in the lab most of the time. And if I'm not at the lab, I'm usually at the school. With all the advanced classes and such, I don't exactly have that many friends."

    "Oh," was all she could think of. Rachel couldn't help feeling some pity toward him. "Why'd you ask me if I was seeing anyone?"

    "Uh...guess I was just wondering out loud." More awkward silence. "So, what brings you to this part of the world?"

    Rachel groaned at the question. "I don't know. I just needed some space from my family, so I moved out. I heard the academy here was one of the best on the planet. So, here I am." Her eyes felt somehow drawn to his face by unconscious thought. After a few seconds, Michael tilted his head to the side in puzzlement.

    "What?" he asked, feeling a little awkward. "Is there something on my face?"

    Not realizing that she was staring, she quickly looked away and shook her head. "No, it's just remind me of someone I once knew a long time ago."

    "Really? Who?"

    Rachel shrugged. "I don't know, but there's something familiar about you. I just can't put my finger on it." Nightfall was upon them and the full moon lit up the ruins like a huge spotlight. "Hey, look!" she exclaimed, pointing toward the sky. "A shooting star!" The couple stopped in front of what looked like a huge altar.

    "Promises..." Michael muttered. Rachel looked back at him.

    "Promises?" she repeated. Michael grinned bashfully, looking down at his feet.

    "You might think this is silly. But when I was growing up, I used to stand in front of this altar and make up stories about these ruins." He half-closed his eyes in remembrance. "One of them was that this altar was created by dreams and promises that came true. Anyone who states a wish while the moon is full is supposed to be granted that wish sometime in the future." Rachel gave Michael an amused smirk.

    "You're right, that does sound a bit silly." She looked back at the altar. "On the other hand that's kinda romantic in a way too."

    Michael's head popped up in surprise. "You think so?"

    Rachel suddenly leapt up to the front of the altar and twirled around to look at Michael. "Alright, why not?" she said enthusiastically. Michael didn't know how to respond to that as he didn't know what she was talking about.

    "The moon's full. And I don't see any reason not to make a wish," she clarified. "If it works, it works. If not, oh well." Rachel turned back toward the altar and raised her hands and head to the sky. "I wish that I'll find my soul mate before I turn 21!" she yells to the open air. She lowers her hands after a few seconds and jumps back to Michael. "Okay! Your turn!" Michael stares at Rachel, stunned by her actions. When he didn't move, she grabbed his arm and whipped his body toward the altar. "Come on, I made a wish. Now it's your turn!"

    Michael gave an uncertain glance at Rachel before swiftly looking toward the sky. "Uh...I wish..." he whispered silently. Then realizing that this was the first time a girl had shown any interest in him at all, he decided that now wasn't a time to be talking in a meek and quiet state. With a clear, strong voice he cried, "I wish that I will finally know my past someday!"

    As he makes his way back to her, she lets out a small laugh. "You know, it'd be hilarious if either of those wishes came true." Then her eyes widened as an idea struck. "Hey! What do you say we make a promise. In six years, when we're both 21, if either of our wishes come true, we come back here and make another wish. What do you say?" Rachel asks with a coy grin.

    Michael smiled back at her, taking her hand in his. "It's a date. I mean, a promise."
  4. Forever Love Life Without Limits

    Jul 18, 2007
    Shaping my life.
    ZOMG. You put it up.

    YES. I love this story. DF, you have once again amazed me with your skills. I don't know how you do it. The story is going very well so far and I can't wait to read more. ;)
  5. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 1, Act 5: "Turning Point..."

    "You've been awfully quiet, bro," Rebecca said, interrupting Michael's thoughts.

    "Huh?" When he wasn't training at the research center on campus, 15-year old Michael McMann spent his free time at the food court cafeteria. Being part-biotechnorganic (and the only one that he knew existed), he somehow had this uncomfortable feeling hanging around other people. As a result, he usually sat by himself or with Rebecca in a far corner, watching the people go on with their daily lives and struggles. Today, however he felt slightly more content than he had ever been in a long time. His mind kept drifting back to his meeting with Rachel last week.

    "What, you thinking naughty thoughts again?" Rebecca teased. Michael shot her a dirty glare.

    "What is it with you and always assuming I'm sort of pervert?" Rebecca looked up from her mocha latte and raised an eyebrow.

    "Oh please," Rebecca said rolling her eyes, "like I haven't seen you checking out Rachel every time she's around." True, Michael had felt some type of spark between them. It had been the first time a girl (besides his sister) had ever wanted to hang out with him. It wasn't like he could help himself; his eyes just happened to automatically follow her.

    While Michael struggled to come up with a retort, Rebecca suddenly said, "Looks like something's going on over there." Michael glanced in the direction she was looking at. Indeed, a large crowd of people were huddled around some type of commotion.

    "Leave me alone!" cried an unmistakable voice.

    "That's sounds like Rachel!" Rebecca said jumping to her feet. Before Michael could stop her, she dashed into the crowd. Seeing no other alternative, he reluctantly got up and followed her. Pushing through the people as polite but firmly as he could, Michael finally caught up to Rebecca who was struggling to find a way to see above or around a few roadblocks. Due to her short stature, she could only assume what was going on. Michael, however had a better view than she did. And sure enough, there was no mistaking that blonde hair.

    "It's over, you jerk!" Rachel yelled. "I'm not your personal slave!" Michael realized she was arguing with a tall, muscle-bound guy with flaming-red hair.

    "Powers..." Michael growled under his breath. He remembered that Rachel had told him she was going out with Zack the week before. Michael was about to warn her of his eccentric personality and background but thought it wasn't his place to tell her. Now he was regretting it.

    "Look, blondie," Zack sneered, "you don't dump me! No one dumps Zacharias Powers!" He reaches for her shoulder.

    "Why isn't anyone helping her?" Rebecca wondered out loud. But they already knew the answer. Zack was one of the people that no one messed with because of a few unfortunate points:

    a.) He was royalty from another country, so he had diplomatic immunity.
    b.) He was rich, spoiled and ruthless with limitless resources at his disposal to blackmail people with.
    c.) He had personal FBI, CIA & Area 51 training in combat, so no one wanted to risk being beat up.

    However, these points weren't enough to save him from what happened next. To everyone's amazement, Rachel grabbed Zack's outreached hand, pulled him in and planted a sharp knee to the solar plexus. Zack doubled over in a mixture of pain and surprise as she used his momentum to dig an elbow into the back of his skull. Before Zack knew it, his field of vision suddenly filled with the image of Rachel's right boot followed by a thunderous sharp pain that sent him reeling. Then like a puppet whose strings were cut, he collapsed like a rag doll.

    "I told you to back off, you idiot," Rachel said with a toss of her naturally blonde hair. The crowd applauded with surprise and agreement. No one had ever dared to challenge Zack before. She leaned over to grab the purse that she threw aside before the fight. However, the battle wasn't over. While her back was turned the enraged ex-boyfriend quietly got to his feet and pounced like a hungry tiger. He caught the back of Rachel's head and slammed it straight into the edge of a table. Adding insult to injury, he backhanded her face with a loud SMACK!

    The spectators stood in shock as Rachel hit the floor, tears streaming involuntarily from her face. "How do you like that, byatch!" Zack crowed triumphantly. Michael couldn't take it anymore.

    "That's enough, Powers," he said in a strong, steady voice. Everyone was stunned to see the usually reserved Michael McMann actually coming out and speaking his mind. Especially Michael. 'Where'd that come from?' he thought. Zack was a little taken back by his outburst but quickly recovered.

    "Well, well. If it isn't the 'Blue Blazer' himself. What, you have something you want to say to me?" Michael stands in front of Rachel in a defensive pose.

    "Just what are you trying to prove anyway?" he asked with a menacing stare. "That you like hitting girls?" While Michael and Zack were busy with the stereotypical hero/villain dialogue, Rebecca took the opportunity to push through the crowd and check on Rachel.

    "What I do with my problems is none of your business, loser." He cracks his knuckles almost gleefully. "You got a death wish or something?" Michael knew Zack was trying to lure him into a fight. But his fear of the risk of hurting others overrode his desire for justice.

    "J-just leave her alone," was all he could stutter out. Michael was internally cursing himself for showing such weakness before his opponent. Zack wasted no time rubbing that point into his face.

    "What're you gonna do? Stutter me into submission?" he taunted. Before Michael could react, Zack closed the distance between them and delivered a brick-like uppercut into Michael's jaw. Michael's neck snapped backward; his body instinctively tried to maintain its balance. Zack followed through by crouching down, spun on the ball of his foot, whirled around and swept Michael's legs out from underneath. The crowd gasped in horror as the self-proclaimed "Blue Blazer" skull cracked on linoleum. Michael's face was etched with pain. He could feel a dull throbbing tempo course through his nervous system straight to his brain.

    However, Zack wasn't finished yet. Using his uncanny muscular strength, he gripped Michael by the neck and yanked his body into the air like a rag doll. Then with the intensity of a weightlifter raising 30 tons, Zack heaved Michael's form overhead and flung him headfirst into the Mexican condiment counter, smashing numerous bottles of hot sauce. The impact seemed to knock Michael into an unconscious heap.

    As Michael lay there with bottle shards in his hair and hot sauce running down his face and into his mouth, Zack stood over him with a triumphant glare. "See what happens if you try playing the hero, you blue dweeb?" he gloated. "You should've stayed out of it and minded your own business." He turned and walked over to Rachel, who was still reeling from the impact of her head meeting the edge of the table. Rebecca partly shielded Rachel with her arm staring daggers at the obnoxious redhead. Zack squatted down in front of them and shook his head in disappointment. "And that's why you don't dump royalty, wench," he growled. "You wait until I'm done with you first."

    Rebecca was about to retort, but a slight movement caught her eye. Michael's eyes seemed to be darting rapidly back and forth underneath his eyelids. His muscles started twitching and convulsing sporadically. Like the Undertaker rising from a KO, Michael's body sat up with surprising speed. Zack hadn't seemed to notice as he said, "What's the matter, squirt? Scared?"

    Rebecca looked him straight into the eyes of the antagonist. "No, but you should be," she said flashing him an unnerving smile that made Zack's smug expression waver.

    " bell..." Michael's voice rang out.

    "What?" Zack's head whipped around and saw Michael on his feet, swaying back and forth. He stood there red-faced with bloodshot eyes, hot sauce smeared over his face.

    "Ah din't hear no bell..." Michael said, his words slurring around in his mouth. To everyone's amazement, he got into a feeble-looking fighting stance and beckoned Zack. "Donth thing it, thust bwing ith."

    "Oh, so now you want to fight," Zack says cracking his knuckles. "Glutton for punishment, eh?" He rushed toward the seemingly oblivious Michael, his arm arched back.

    Zack's fist rocketed toward Michael's face at bone-crunching velocity. Surprisingly, Michael turned his head with the punch, the blow glancing harmlessly off his cheek. Like a rotating door, he spun on the ball of his foot and landed a smart backhand to the back of Zack's head.

    "What kind of fighting style is that?" Rachel thought, trying to ignore the painful throbbing that kept shooting through her nervous system. Rebecca stared at Michael open-mouthed and wide-eyed. Rachel looked at her in confusion. "I take it you know what's going on." Rebecca nodded.

    "Drunken boxing," Rebecca replied. Indeed, Michael's wrists kept a constant rotating motion around each other; his posture seemed to be limber and flexible and his body had that mesmerizing rocking motion. "That's strange, though."


    "This isn't his usual fighting style. He usually uses Jeet Kun Do." Rebecca shrugs her shoulders. "I have no idea where this is coming from."

    As the fight continued on it became painfully obvious that Zack was starting to become desperate. Punch after punch was deflected again and again. The force of each blow was cushioned or nullified by the erratic movements of Michael. A sharp knee to the solar plexus resulted in a miss as Michael jumped backwards to avoid it. A roundhouse kick whizzed by his ear when his body swayed to the side, backward then straight upward like an inflatable punching bag.

    "Damn it! Hold still!" Zack roared. Michael let out a drunken giggle.

    "Watuh, watuh, evweeweh an' not a dwob do dwink..." The irrelevant comment seemed to spur Zack's anger even further. Zack kept lunging at Michael who kept dodging with the agility of a bullfighter. With each pass, Michael kept smacking the back of his opponent's head with two fingers chanting, "Wan moah theeng." Pretty soon, it seemed that Zack was doing more damage to himself than to Michael.

    After what seemed like numerous breathtaking hours, it was finally the endgame. Pure rage and frustration etched on his face and movement, Zack leapt at Michael in one desperate attempt to finally take him down. Michael's spine arched backward like a slinky toy, shoving the red-head upward and backward in the precarious position. Zack only had a split-second to blink before he realized his momentum was taking him straight into a...

    CRASH! The spectators looked through the shattered hole in the plate-glass window to see the form of the terrifying Zacharias Powers, crumpled into a little ball groaning in pain.

    Now that the battle was finally over, several of the onlookers finally helped Rebecca get Rachel on her feet. The rest were finally calling an ambulance, calling up their friends or transmitting the entire fight to the Net.

    "Can't believe he stood up for me like that." Rachel said, her arm draped around Rebecca's neck. Michael's sister raised an eyebrow.

    "Well, you're the first girl that he's ever actually talked to besides me," she replied. "He was either attempting to be chivalrous or was just showing off." Michael stood rooted to the spot, his head bowed forward, muscles trembling and lips quivering. It was obvious that Michael was drunk, (of what, they didn't know) so Rachel didn't know if he would be able to understand the gratitude she was about to give him.

    And then the fateful moment happened. Michael's unstable form fell forward; his hands automatically shot outward to steady himself. Unfortunately for him, they happened to grasp a couple of things at chest level. Michael's mind cleared up long enough to realize was he was grabbing onto. "Wha...?"

    Rachel's face transformed into pure anger. In that instant, all pain was forgotten. "You pervert!" Rachel shrieked. Before anyone could stop her, she grabbed Michael's arm, judo-flipped him over her shoulder, and launched him straight through another plate-glass window.

    "That's it," Rachel thought, still blushing furiously from being personally violated, "I'm swearing off dating from now on."
  6. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 2, Act 1: "The True..."

    3 years later...

    The city of Ultima was a bustling central point for all ways of life. Despite the growing economy it was still a small city, but a flourishing one. Ultima had a variety of shops and had a good-sized mega mall. Because of the fallout of the Robot Wars, the entire city (just like every other town) was protected with many security measures, including an impenetrable barrier that protected the town in an energy dome.

    Unlike most cities, there was only one school: The Ultima Academy of Futuristic Learning. Its reputation of its friendly atmosphere, the enormous shopping center/food court, and its unnaturally clean and kept landscape had students constantly trying to enroll only to be put on a two-year minimum waiting list. The research center where Michael and his family lived sat along the eastern coast of the campus. Students and classes took place on the first floor in the west wing away from the living areas and the R & D area.

    Michael was now a content, healthy 18-year old young adult. His father was still a world-renowned researcher. Michael's social life hadn't greatly increased but his confidence in being around others had greatly improved since he met Rachel. After their meeting, Michael was inspired to start training with more intensity than ever before. Along with the accelerated aging a few years ago, he also had the temporary ability of accelerated learning. Taking advantage of this, he became well-trained in hand-to-hand combat ranging from Jeet Kun Do to Drunken Boxing. He was also skilled with various weapons, but out of all of them he liked using a sword. Despite all his training, he still didn't like to fight if he could help it.

    Another side effect from his operation was that his body was permanently equipped with solar cell reserves that took in sunlight and stored it into limitless storage areas to maintain his body's system. The solar energy seemed to increase his natural abilities of speed, stamina, strength and agility. However, like the half-human he was, his body needed upgrades every few months giving him new abilities, such as faster brain processing speed and quicker reflexes.

    Unfortunately, even with all the upgrades in his body, there were times when he would become a total klutz. This was due to the fact that because of the incident that had happened three years earlier. The hot sauce ended up leaving a permanent effect on the I.D. chip in his head, causing it to glitch occasionally and he'd have a hard time controlling his motor functions.

    His sister Rebecca had been busy following the steps of the Professor, almost exceeding in both knowledge and research. The Professor couldn't have been more proud. She happened to be the mature and moral guidance to Michael. She constantly had to remind him of events that he forgot, like when a test was coming up or if he needed a scheduled upgrade. She was still sort of kid-like in appearance, but her friends and family knew better. Due to being the bookworm she was, she ended up having to wear glasses.

    Unlike Michael who hardly had a social life, she was a bit more outgoing and friendlier to people. In her spare time, she not only studied hard, but she practiced the very ancient art of white magic from old books that were given by her late grandmother.

    Her interest in the supernatural properties of magic caused her to create her first invention: a watch-shaped portable encyclopedic database. What was supposed to happen was that it would release a silent vibrating jolt whenever a supernatural entity was within her proximity. Then it would automatically scan, record and process the history and synopsis in holographic format for viewing. Unfortunately, it seemed to always give her false alarms. Although it never seemed to function properly, she was determined to make it work.

    She was also skilled in using a staff as a weapon, although she never needed to use it (Unless someone called her Becky).

    And Rachel...she had become an amazing young adult. Her long, blonde hair seemed to shimmer when she walked. Her tight body was drop-dead gorgeous and with good reason too. She had been spending the past few years improving her flexibility, strength and speed. Like Michael, she had become well-trained in certain weapons.

    She happened to be one of the smartest people at the local academy, so she had both beauty and brains. She lived in an apartment by herself, but in close distance to both the school and the McManns. She rarely saw Michael over the years except through Rebecca, so it was difficult to get a read on his personality. Guys at the local academy would berate her with date invitations. The girls were mostly jealous of her. However, any guy that tried to date her were almost immediately dumped due to them trying to make a move too early. True to her word though, she never went out on "official dates." The ones who did manage to get more than five minutes into their quality time with her usually ended up setting off her short temper.

    Michael had no memory of what happened in the incident three years ago. After Rebecca filled him in, he tried to apologize to Rachel. Unfortunately for him through mishaps and pure coincidences, whenever those two were together, Michael ended up somehow looking like a pervert to Rachel. Whether it was tripping and accidentally grabbing her in the wrong places to steady himself or unwittingly tearing off a piece of her outfit because something got caught, it usually ended up with Michael getting smacked into orbit. Strangely, Michael healed extremely quickly in those circumstances so there was never any permanent damage. They never brought up the promise that they made to each other although neither would forget it. Despite the way the pair acted toward each other, everyone around them knew that they had some sort of special spark between them.

    "Michael!" Michael's face jerked up out of his pillow. Even after three years, he still had the habit of oversleeping.

    "What?" he mumbled sleepily. He flipped over on his mattress and saw Rebecca standing in the middle of the doorframe of his room.

    "Did you forget already? We're supposed to be going to the beach today!" That got Michael out of bed real quick!

    "Oh yeah! The beach!" He couldn't believe he forgotten. They had been planning this for weeks, due to the fact that none of them had ever been there before. "Surfing, sunshine..."

    "Yeah," Rebecca said with a sly tone, "and you finally get to see Rachel in a bikini!" Michael reddened a little. "Ha! Made you blush!"

    Michael was about to deny it, but then realized what time it was. "When were we supposed to meet them again?" Rebecca glanced at her watch.

    "About five minutes ago." Michael started to panic when Rebecca said, "Chill, bro. They knew you were going to oversleep so they wanted to meet at Rachel's."

    "Oh." Michael relaxed a bit. After a few seconds, he bounded up out of bed and shoved Rebecca out of the room. "Do you mind? I need to get ready!" And with that, he slammed the door.

    Rebecca crossed her arms and sighed. "He's hopeless. After all these years it's still hard to believe I'm the older sister."
  7. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 2, Act 2: "The Mission..."

    "And just where do you two think you're going?" the Prof asked just as Michael and Rebecca were about to head out the door.

    "We're leaving for the beach," Rebecca called from the doorway. "We'll call you when we get there." Rebecca waves and leaves.

    Michael turns to leave as well when the Prof said, "Actually, Michael, I need you to run an errand for me." Michael stops in the doorway pursing his lips in annoyance.

    "Couldn't it wait until I get back?" he asks. "We've been planning this trip for weeks now."

    The Prof shakes his head. "Unfortunately, no. This is really important." Michael sighed. They'd been planning this trip for weeks, but he knew the Prof wouldn't ask him to go if it wasn't important. Every now and then, Michael was asked to play "go-fer" and "errand boy", due to the fact that not only was he faster in getting things done, but usually there was the fact that usually the errand WAS important and couldn't be put off later.

    "If that's the case, I need to tell the others." he grumbled.

    "Of course, but please hurry. This can't wait." Michael runs out the door, disappointed that he'd have to put his plans on hold. Fortunately, Rachel's apartment wasn't that far off. Unfortunately, it looked like his problems had just started.

    "Get out of the way, you spaz!" Rebecca was saying. Sensing she was in trouble, Michael quickened his pace to find Rebecca staring down a tall figure with flaming-red hair and a smug expression.

    "Of all the people that I wasn't expecting." Michael sighed. "What are you doing here, Powers?" Zack Powers was loitering in front of the apartment building blocking Rebecca's way.

    "That's none of your business, loser." he sneered. "But now that you're here..." He grinned, cracking his knuckles. Michael took a deep breath.

    "Look, can we do this some other time?" he said in a weary voice. "I've got things to do."

    "Yeah, back off creep." Rebecca injected. Zack put his face inches from Rebecca's defiant expression with a menacing glare.

    "And if I don't, you little rugrat?" he growled.

    "Then you answer to me!" A huge, burly guy wearing mirrored sunglasses and a ten-gallon hat burst open the apartment's door, tightening his black motorcycle gloves. His name was Duke Masters, an old acquaintance of the McManns. Michael had met Duke a couple of years ago in the neon metropolis known as Electro City. Duke was a lone street fighter that had left his family when he was 13 due to personal issues. Through a series of events, Michael was able to convince Duke to return to his family. Nowadays, Duke ended up working at his family’s farm as a web designer for their business, “Master’s Inc.†which specialized in food condiments and country remix music.

    Zack's expression changed from smugness to uncertainty.

    "Back off, Masters! This doesn't concern you!" Duke cricked his neck one way. And then the other.

    "Messing with my friends concerns me a great deal." Duke got right into Zack's face the same way Zack was doing to Rebecca earlier. "Now you going to leave peacefully or are we gonna rumble?"

    Zack took a step back, knowing he was outgunned. "Alright, I'm going." He turned to leave. Right before walking out of sight, he called over his shoulder, "You got lucky, McMann. Next time, you leave your bodyguards out of this." Michael was about to retort, but he was already gone.

    "Thanks, Duke. That might've turned ugly." Michael said, greeting him with the usual handshake.

    "No prob, dude. That's what friends are for." Duke replied. "But why are you guys late?"

    "Take a wild guess." Rebecca said, rolling her eyes. "So is Rachel ready?"

    "Actually, she's still in the shower. She should be done any minute now."

    They headed inside Rachel's small apartment. The apartment consisted of a large room that held the living, dining and kitchen areas which was connected by a hallway to the bedroom. There wasn't that much furniture, just a few chairs, a couch and a dining room table. Various pictures of classical art hung on one side of the wall, personal photos hung out on the other.

    "You seem troubled, dude." Duke says as he helps himself to a bottle of water from the fridge. "What's up?"

    Michael shook his head. "The Prof,†was all he said. Duke didn’t need any clarification. He was well aware of Professor McMann’s errands.

    “So, how’s the family farm doing?†Rebecca asked Duke. He gave her a pretentious smile.

    “It couldn’t be any better! The ‘rents just created this new recipe for their salsa. Decided to add sliced jalapeños in the secret recipe.â€

    “Jalapeños?†Rebecca echoed. “In salsa?â€

    “Yup. Appealing toward the spicy food market!

    Michael let out a huff of impatience. "What's taking her so long?" he grumbles, staring at his watch.

    "You know how some people lose track of time in the shower," Rebecca smirked. After a couple more minutes, Michael leapt to his feet.

    "I can't take this anymore." Before anyone could stop him, Michael ran around the corner towards the hallway to Rachel's bedroom. Duke and Rebecca gave each other a knowing look that said, "Here we go again."

    Michael came up to Rachel's door and knocked. "Rach, you ready?"

    “Don’t come in!†Rachel’s muffled voice called out incoherently.

    “What?†Without waiting for a reply, he pushed the unlocked door open and walked in. “Did you say, ‘Come…’â€

    Michael froze in mid-sentence as the door flew revealing Rachel in the middle of putting her bra on. Rachel's eyes widened in horror and embarrassment. In a rush of anger, she raised her fist.

    "You pervert!" she shrieked. KRAKOW! Her punch connected with Michael's jaw, sending his body recoiling off the walls of the corridor until he landed on the couch with a crash.

    Rebecca smiled ruefully. "You never learn, do you?"

    "Is it my fault her door wasn't shut?" Michael replies, rubbing the side of his face. "Times like these, I'm glad my jaw's shatterproof."
  8. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 2, Act 3: "Old Enemies Arise..."

    After Michael explained the situation, the others agreed that going without him wouldn't have been the same, so they volunteered to keep him company. The errand seemed simple. The Prof was busy working with the city to install a new teleportation system. However, a crucial part that was supposed to be delivered from Blizzard Lake never showed up. He wanted Michael to head over there and check what the deal was. Yes, the errand seemed simple. All he had to do was zip over there, grab the package and return. It was only a few miles away from Ultima. What could possibly go wrong?

    Blizzard Lake was an actual lake that froze over. It used to be called Winter Lake a millennia ago, but history has it that a great evil was unleashed and a great battle fought. The result was the temperature dropped to below absolute zero conditions making the town uninhabitable for centuries. Eventually with the fallout of the wars, technology advances were able to create a biofield around the area, allowing the icy cold temperature to be regulated enough for the place to become livable.

    It had been a while since Michael last came because he didn't have much reason to travel outside the city except on errands. As the group arrived through the security checkpoint, they noticed an instant change in temperature the moment they stepped foot into the town. "You know, I'm amazed on how comfortable the temperature is around here." Rachel commented as they parked their hoverboards in the docking area.

    "It's the temperature regulator biofield that surrounds this town." Michael explained. "It's set to 80 degrees, although it's below sub-zero temperatures outside."

    "Huh. Nice to know." Despite the temperature change, snow still drifted along the breezes and icicles glistened among the ledges of the buildings. It was as if it was Christmas season all over again. "Is that the place?" Rachel pointed toward a newly renovated building that had the words, "ZX Legends Superstore."

    "Yeah. Looks a bit different since I last saw it." Michael says staring at the big neon display.

    "Well, what are we waiting for?" Rachel says impatiently. "Are we going inside or would you rather stare at the outside of the building all day?"

    The store was actually part of one of the oldest retail chains in the world, but was always stocked with the most advanced and updated technology on the planet. Displays of new power tools and bionic parts were neatly stocked from end to end. Holographic displays of new products were seen around the store that followed shoppers like pop-up ads. Food was the only item that was absent from the shelves. The employees were mainly friendly humanoid-type robots that were eager to help anyone that asked. As the group passed by a big, igloo-like robot that was being used to advertise for new ice makers, Michael did an involuntary double-take. He stared at it, lost in thought. The robot towered at around 16 feet hunched over like an ape. Huge purple hands created a makeshift barrier around the display. "I swear I've seen this before." he thought.

    "Hey Michael, what's the holdup?" Michael shook off the daze that he was in. The robot display remained motionless. Yet he couldn't help getting a bad feeling from it as if it held a dangerous secret.

    "Dude, you okay?" Duke asked. "You look like you've just seen a ghost."

    "Huh? Oh, it's nothing," Michael says as he pulled his gaze away from the display. "Listen, you don't really need to come with me. You guys could..." Before he could finish his sentence, the others split in their own separate directions. "...never mind." he finished.

    Michael walked up to the Customer Services counter and for the next few minutes, he had to fill out some digital forms before the representative could finally bring out the part. Its box was wrapped in shimmery gold foil. The salesperson warned that it was extremely fragile, so not to jar it around so much. "I'm just curious, why wasn't the part delivered to Ultima?" he asked.

    The clerk scanned through the records. "It says here that the order was supposed to be delivered, but it got cancelled at the last moment."

    "Cancelled?" Michael repeated. "Why would it have been cancelled?" He reached for the package, but before he could grab it...

    "Hya huh huh!" A giant robot mitt burst into view, snatching the package just inches from Michael's outstretched hands. Michael spun around and found himself being towered over by the same igloo-shaped robot that he had just passed. "Me knew Blue Boy would show if me wait enough!" the robot chuckled in a deep, ******ed voice.

    "Um, use English genius?" Michael mocked. The igloo-bot held the box up to its non-existent ears and started to shake it. "Hey! That's mine, you jerk!" Michael shouts clenching his fists.

    "Me remember puny Blue Boy blow me up before! Now Frost Man will crush you!" It tosses the package into the air, raised its giant fists and swings a megaton of force straight at Michael's head.
  9. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 2, Act 4: "Unlocked..."

    "Frost Man? Blue Boy?" was all that Michael could think right before instinctively dodging a seismic hammerblow to the noggin. "Look, I don't know who you think I am, but trying to kill me isn't exactly the best way to make friends." Then he notices the package descending to earth. "Ah crap!" He makes a diving leap of faith.

    "You no get away!" Frost Man says swinging his fist in Michael's path. Michael twists his body into a corkscrew, nabs the package in mid-air and smashes into a shelf full of pots and pans. Unfortunately, while the "Blue Boy" was stunned, the behemoth snatches the package back. Customers were in a state of hysterical panic, screaming, yelling, practically shoving each other for the exit. Rachel, Duke and Rebecca hearing the commotion rushed to Michael's aid.

    "Who in blue blazes is the walking fridge?" Duke asked, tightening his gloves as he spoke. Then in pure kamikaze style, Duke leapt at the opposition and swung his fist into the steel-plated armor. "The bigger they are..." Duke began. Unfortunately, Duke might have been strong, but not strong enough to smash through six inches of thick reinforced metal. Flesh met steel with a sickening crack. He gripped his battered hand in pain. "Gah! That smarts!"

    "Puny human!" Frost Man wrapped one of its gigantic hands around Duke's torso and hurled him, sending him smashing into a panel behind the Customer Service counter.

    "Duke!" Rachel cried. "Are you alright?"

    "Thank you and come again..." Duke murmured right before fainting.

    "Where's the security force when you need them?" Rachel wondered. The clerk peeked over the counter muttering something about 'the darn cowboy' destroyed the security matrix. "Wonderful. Guess it's up to us then."

    Knowing better than to attack the monster bare-handed, Rebecca pulled out a silver baton. Michael was about to ask what she was doing until the "baton" expanded into a telescopic staff. Rebecca grinned. "Just a little science project." She twirled her staff a few times, then started whacking and thwacking Frost Man in every area that she could hit. Unfortunately, none of the attacks could get through as Frost Man cradled the box in one hand and blocking her attacks with the other.

    "No!" Michael yelled. "He has the package! You might destroy it!"

    "Why does he have it?" Rebecca shouts back as she rolls under the cyborg's swinging fist. "I'm open to suggestions!" In response, Rachel pulled out what appeared to be a thin, silver cylinder around the size of a hand weight. With a flick of her thumb, a neon-pink strand of energy snaked out of one end, spilling onto the floor.

    "Oh, come on! An energy whip?!" Michael exclaimed in disbelief. "Where the...why do you...?"

    Rachel smirked. "Just a little something that Rebecca cooked up." She turned to face her opponent. "Fine, if we can't beat him up, let's slice him in half!" She cracked the whip once and swung it, nicking Frost Man.

    "Ow! Dat hurt!" the monstrosity roared, uncurling from his turtle position. He leaped into the air and attempted to flatten the would-be heroes. The entire building shook from the seismic impact, merchandise flying off the shelves.

    "Man, I really don't like this one bit." Michael thought. "The training simulations were nothing like this. What am I supposed to do?" He quickly scanned the area for a makeshift weapon he could use. Rachel leapt up onto one of the metal shelves, raised the whip over her head and...

    "Ice Wave!" Frost Man smashes the floor causing shards of ice to jut up from the ground. The wave split into rapid moving smaller waves freezing anything it touched. Customers and employees alike had their feet frozen to the ground upon contact. Rachel tries to change her trajectory while in mid-air, but part of the wave makes contact with her leg, instantly encasing her feet into ice blocks before she hit the ground with a dull thud.

    "Rachel!" Michael yelled. Rachel grit her teeth as she felt ice-cold numbness rush through her entire body effectively paralyzing her.

    "D-d-don't w-w-orry ab-b-bout m-m-me!" She growled through chattering teeth. "Hel-l-p-p Reb-b-bec-c-ca!" After that, her mind seemed to completely freeze up from hypothermia, forcing her eyes to close.

    "Hang on, girl!" Rebecca shouts. She dashes forward, twirling the baton over her head and attempts to chip at Rachel's ankle restraints, but Frost Man blocked her path.

    "Me crush puny human!" Frost Man cradled his bounty in one hand while swinging his free one, knocking Rebecca's staff out of her hands. Rebecca makes a motion to escape, but the robot's humongous girth prevented her from getting clear.

    "Michael! Help!" she cried helplessly. There was nowhere to run and nothing to protect her.

    Michael snapped out of his daze and quickly recovered Rebecca's staff. "Eat this, ice box!" He swung the metal baton as hard as he could at Frost Man's back. CLANG! Tremors vibrated traveled along the staff causing Michael to start shaking almost comically from the impact. Frost Man turned slowly to face the distraction, forgetting the girl he had just cornered. As the staff slipped from his fingers, Michael felt his entire head enveloped by the robot's free hand before he could recover.

    "Smooshy, smooshy!" Frost Man cackled. As his skull was slowly getting crushed like a vise, Michael slid his fingers in and attempted to force his way out, but to no avail. He felt his strength start to fade from his blood flow being cut off to his brain. Time seemed to slow down as he felt his mind and heart starting to race out of control. A powerful emotion rose up within him. It wasn't fear that flooded his thoughts, but pure rage! Michael tightened his fingers into fists as an unexplainable power welled up through him. He knew that he had no hope of causing any dents in this guys armor without a weapon, but rational thought left him and pure instinct overwhelmed his mind. Only one word echoed in his mind, "Fight."

    Duke was unconscious. Rebecca was weaponless. And Rachel was.... In a burst of unrestrained fury, Michael focused all his rage and power into his fists. Frost Man stopped crushing long enough to notice that his opponent seemed to spasm with increasing intensity as if he were having a seizure. A warrior's cry erupted from Michael's throat as he arched back his energy-channeled fist and...

    "Plasma Cannon Punch!" In one swift motion, Michael's fist ripped through Frost Man's wrist, forcing the robot's grip to release his prisoner.

    "Gwah?!" Michael's action of disconnecting his hand from his body had Frost Man stunned momentarily leaving himself wide open. As Michael landed smoothly on the ground, he crouched down and leapt forward as if his legs were coiled springs. Running on pure instinct and momentum, Michael's fist tore a hole straight through the armor as easily as a hot knife slicing through butter. When he pulled it out, he made sure to grab the package as well. The big robot didn't know what hit him.

    "Uaargh!" was it's final death cry before completely shutting down, sparks and debris flying as it fell to earth with a sickening crunch. Rebecca took the opportunity to grab her staff, leap over the counter and revive Duke with a minor healing spell.

    "Guh..." Duke moaned rubbing the back of his head. "What happened?" Still running on adrenaline, Michael crashed open Rachel's ankle holds with one stomp. The action was hardly necessary for with Frost Man's defeat, the ice was quickly melting by itself. Rachel was shivering so badly that her body instinctively grabbed the nearest source of heat it could get its hands on: Michael.

    "You okay?" Michael asked quietly hugging her close. After a few seconds, Rachel's mind started to function again as she realized what she was doing.

    She quickly shoved Michael away from her. "Thanks, but don't get any funny ideas."

    "'re welcome," Michael replied, confused. His mind started to return to reality, the adrenaline draining out of his system. "What just happened?" he thought, realizing that he had just punched through thick layers of metal without harming himself. "I've never been able to do that before."

    "Ahem..." the store clerk coughed. "Who's going to be paying for all the damage?" Duke, Rachel and Rebecca backed away slowly from Michael. He couldn't believe his ears.

    "Are you serious?! We just saved the store from being totally obliterated by the huge freakin' robot! Don't you guys have insurance?" Before he could get a response, an extremely loud siren pierced the air. "What the..."


    "What in the world is a 64-15?" Duke asked no one in particular. Michael and Rachel shrugged, but Rebecca's face hardened into a dark expression.

    "It means," Rebecca said grimly, "that if they don't get that breach fixed, this entire city will become a frozen ghost town."
  10. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 2, Act 5: "Absolute Zero..."

    "We should go see what we can do to help out." Rebecca said.

    "What?" Rachel interjected. "We got what we came for. Let's just let the security forces deal with it."

    Duke, however, was uncertain. "I don't know. I'm gonna have to go with Becky on this one. I mean, don't you think it's strange that after this rampaging robot goes berserk on us that a disaster like this occurs? Not to mention the fact that security didn't appear with all the commotion going on. I say that whatever's responsible for all of this is messing with the generator right now."

    Duke flashed a warm smile at Rebecca. She in turn thwacks him in the back of the head with her staff. "Don't ever call me Becky," she growled.

    Rachel gives an exasperated sigh. She turns to Michael for support. "What do you think, Michael? Go home or stay and investigate?" However, Michael was barely listening as he was still staring at Frost Man's deactivated corpse.

    "'Frost Man.' Why does that name sound familiar?" he mutters to himself.

    "Yo! Earth to Michael!" Rachel starts to prod him with her elbow. "What's your call?" Michael snapped out of his thoughts.

    "I say we go." Michael replies.

    "Go home or go see what's up?"

    "The second choice," he clarifies. Rachel rolls her eyes.

    "Alright, fine. Let's go see whose butt we have to kick next." she says pocketing her weapon.

    "Before I forget..." Michael hands the package back to the clerk. "Could you hold onto this for a little bit longer, please?"

    The employee shrugged. "I don't see why not. Just make sure you come back for it."

    Michael and the others headed out, but Rebecca (being the researcher that she was) stayed behind for a couple of minutes to examine the remains of Frost Man. She opened up the skull plate and was shocked to see a familiar looking chip in its head. "No way. An Alpha Version I.D. chip?" She removed it carefully and placed it in a tiny plastic bag that was lying around, stuffing it carefully in her pocket. "I'm going to have to check on this later." She quickly brushed off the ice and dust off her clothes and ran to join the others.

    "What kept you?" Michael asked as Rebecca caught up with them.

    "I'll tell you later. We've got more important things to worry about." The group didn't have to ask directions for the generator. All they had to do was follow the trail of frozen bodies.

    "Hey, you." Michael stopped in his tracks. "Yeah, you. The boy in blue." Michael turned to see a tall figure casually leaning against an ice block. His entire body was covered by a tattered brown cloak; his face overshadowed by the cloak's hood.

    Before Michael could react, the stranger flung a silver cylindrical object at him. Michael easily caught it with one hand. "What..."

    "You looked like you needed a weapon." And with that, his form dissolved into the shadows right before Michael's eyes. Michael stood holding the object, dumbfounded.

    "Who was that weirdo?" Michael wondered, staring at the empty spot that the figure had just recently occupied.

    "Michael!" Rachel yelled impatiently. "What's the holdup?" Michael broke his gaze and noticed that the others were already a good distance ahead.

    "Did you..." Michael began, but stopped himself. "Never mind." He quickly pocketed the object and caught up with the others. The trail led them to a factory building at the far end of town. The building was unnervingly vacant. "Shouldn't there be at least some workers or people around?" A trail of frozen ice led the group to the stairwell.

    "Well," Rebecca says glancing at the staircase, "I guess the only way to go is up."

    The generator itself was surrounded by catwalk grating located on the roof of the building. The scene that was taking place was not a welcome sight. The commotion taking place in front of the machine's control panel looked to be a one-sided battle. Security left and right were using every display of force against the intruder. Unfortunately, not a single shot came even close. Similar to the Ice Wave attack, the uninvited figure blasted shots of concentrated ice turning anything it touched into living ice sculptures.

    "Stop right there!" Rebecca yelled. Now that they were closer, they could make out the intruder was some type of mythical creature. Its upper body was humanoid in shape; the face seemed to be concealed by a scuba mask; horns grew from the temples and the back of its skull. A dorsal fin seemed to erupt from between its shoulder blades; the fingers were webbed like an amphibian. Its bottom half was a long fish-type tail as thick as a girl's waist completely made of organic ice crystals.

    "A mer-creature?" Michael wondered. "I thought they were some sort of fairy tale."

    Suddenly Rebecca's watch started vibrating. "What the..." The face blinked a few times before popping open a holographic display. "Whoa, cool! It actually works!"

    "What's it say?" Rebecca clears her throat and starts quoting from the text.

    * * *
    Hydro Striker
    Guardian Elemental of Water
    Species: Mer-creature
    Weapon: Ice Trident
    Thought to be a myth, Hydro is one of the most feared creatures in mythical Atlantis. A mercenary for hire who works for the one that summons him. Has the ability to freeze and shape water molecules in close proximity. Due to its unstable form, he works best in sub-zero temperatures.
    Weakness: Heat
    * * *

    "Great, all we've got to do is offer a tropical vacation and we're home free," Rachel sighed.

    "Do you have any idea how old that joke is?" Michael asked. Before Rachel could retort, Hydro spoke.

    "Was wondering when you four would show up." the creature growled. "My employer told me you were coming."


    "He said all I had to do was to tamper with this here generator and you would come running like horses to water."

    Duke snorted. "Whatever, dude. You could've just paged us," he said as he tightened his gloves.

    "You've got some nerve threatening the lives of all these innocent people just to get to us." Michael spat in disgust.

    "And you've got some nerve trying to play hero, little boy." Hydro retorted.

    "Boy?" Michael repeated, feeling insulted. "What you talking 'bout, tiny?" he says in a deep voice to the sea creature towering over him.

    Rebecca rolls her eyes. "Yeah, nice comeback, genius," she says sarcastically.

    "Oh, like you could've come up with something better to ol' fish breath here?" Michael snapped, jerking his thumb toward the enemy.

    "Shut up!" Hydro shouted. "I'll tell you what, hand over the package and I'll be on my way."

    "After what you've done, there's no chance in hell that I'd give it to you!" Michael replied angrily. "Besides, I don't even have it."

    The monstrosity chuckled. "Well then," he growled with a menacing stare, "how about we make hell freeze over, shall we?" Hydro materialized a trident from the water molecules in the air, spun it around a few times and went into a fighting stance. "You've got ten minutes. After that, no matter what happens, the system destabilizes and this city will experience a nuclear winter all over again." Rachel and Rebecca had their weapons at the ready. Duke, however, was a little unsure of how to fight against a trident armed opponent.

    Michael, on the other hand, had no fear at the moment and made the first move. "Hyaaaaa!" He blitzed forward as he attempted to channel energy into his fist again. Unfortunately, the moment his knuckles were in close proximity, he felt his hand become instantly numb. The sudden change in feeling slowed Michael long enough to be whacked away by the trident. "Ugh...what was that?" Michael groaned. He blew on his fist, attempting to regain some feeling. "It's as if he's got this sub-zero temperature field surrounding his body. Close-range attacks aren't even going to touch him."

    Duke cracked his knuckles in frustration. "I guess I'm kinda useless in this fight. If I can't even touch him..."

    "Wait a minute." Michael glanced at Duke. "You know how to hack computers, right?"

    "Of course. Why do you think I'm the chief web developer for my family's home page?" Then it dawns on him. "Oh, I get it! Just keep him away from the control panel!" Duke bolted toward the generator's control panel and started blasting through the program's firewalls.

    Meanwhile, Rachel and Rebecca were doing their best trying to get through Hydro Striker's defenses. Rebecca swung her staff in an upward arc deflecting an attempt to stab her. She twirled around and attempted a smashing overhead strike, but was easily blocked. Rachel took the opportunity to wrap her whip around the trident. She pulled hoping to get him to fall off balance. To her surprise, Hydro gripped the energy whip with one hand and tugged, forcing her to fly straight toward him. He slashed his trident, leaving some huge rips in Rachel's outfit. Then like a yo-yo, he flung Rachel right into Rebecca's path. Rebecca attempted to duck, but her face took the full impact snapping her neck back. Michael made a diving tackle softening Rachel's landing.

    Rebecca massaged the back of her neck and glared at the creature. She hastily leapt to her feet. "Eat this!" Rebecca chanted quickly and aimed her staff at the enemy. "Angelus Lux Lucis!" A bright white beam of light shot out of the tip and struck the trident with an intense force, causing it to crack and shatter into tiny pieces. The blow made a considerable amount of damage, but it ended up making him angry.

    "Insolent fool! You think you're the only one with powers?" He clapped his hands together and started to charge up his energy. Pieces of snow and ice started to cloud wispily around his focus point.

    "Don't let him get that spell off!" Rebecca warned. Rachel jumped to her feet (accidentally stepping on Michael in the process), swung her whip over her head and bound the monster's wrists together. Unfortunately, that seemed to force the spell to charge even faster.

    Rachel realized her mistake and tried unwrapping her whip around its target, but it was stuck tight. "It won'!" Rebecca grabbed Rachel around the waist and together tried to pull. Unfortunately, they took too long.

    "Absolute Zero!" Icy sharp gales and unbearable freezing cold emanated from the attack. The wind came in sudden gusts like solid sheets of pins slapping against the skin. Everyone who was still conscious started going into shock, their bodies unable to handle the instant drop in temperature. Rachel, Duke and Rebecca couldn't stay awake any longer and collapsed. Michael fought to stay awake, but he could feel the cold slowing down all his body's vital functions. His arms were already starting to lose their mobility. Struggling to stay on his feet, his internal metabolism was starting to kick in, but the arctic freeze was almost overwhelming.

    "Just keep moving. Just keep moving," he told himself. His eyes narrowed keeping focus on the target. "But what can I do? There's only five minutes left." He went and smacked himself in the head to get his adrenaline flowing. "Come on, think!" he willed himself. Then he remembered. He pulled out the cylindrical object he had acquired earlier. "He said it was a weapon. Maybe..." He gripped it tightly and started swinging it around. He banged it, tapped it, even smacked it against his thigh. After a few unsuccessful attempts, he realized he had to twist it.

    BVZZZSH! A beam of intense white light burst out of one end. "A Laser Saber?!" Michael exclaimed. "Alright!" His elation increased even more when he realized that the saber seemed to radiate its own heat, warming up his entire body and negating the effects of the attack. He twirled it around a few times to get the feel of his new weapon. Then going into his ready stance, he started to focus his energies into the sword like he did with his fist. "Time to heat things up."
  11. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 2, Act 6: "Elementals..."

    "What?!†Hydro Striker was stunned at the sight of Michael standing on his two feet, seemingly undisturbed by the cold. “You should be a frozen popsicle by now!â€

    “Please, Striker," Michael said confidently. "Did you really believe those little snowflakes would stop me?†In response, water molecules crystallized in Hydro's hand to form another trident.

    “What do you say to this?†he chuckled, brandishing his weapon. Michael shrugged.

    “It wouldn’t have been much of a fight if you weren’t using that stupid trident,†he replied calmly. The sea creature smirked.

    “Then how about this?†Hydro Striker summons a SECOND trident in his other hand.

    “Okay, I was wrong. It’s not that stupid.†The howling wind became silent as the two combatants stared each other down, tightening their grips on their weapons, waiting for the other to make the first move. Then Michael remembered the time limit. He leaps into the air and goes for an overhead strike.

    Hydro parries the blow with one trident and attempts to stab Michael with the other. The young swordsman instinctively twists his body, the trident grazing his side. He uses his momentum to cartwheel over the skewering object and away from his enemy before charging in again. Michael’s entire world became blows and counterblows. Michael strikes with his sword relentlessly but he failed to find an opening. Finally the creature broke the stalemate by sweeping Michael’s feet with his tail.

    The moment Michael hit the grating, Hydro Striker sinks his trident into the catwalk, pinning Michael’s sword arm. He points the other tridents tongs at Michael’s vulnerable neck.

    “Pathetic. Even with that silly flashlight of yours, you still couldn’t beat me.†Hydro gloats. “You know, after your corpse freezes, maybe I’ll just entertain myself by shattering your friends here. In fact, I think I’ll start with that blonde chick with the pretty whip…â€

    The rage and fury that had faded bubbled up inside Michael with a vengeance. Untapped strength forced itself through his veins. With his opponent’s guard down, he tossed his Saber to his free hand and in one swift motion, smashed through both tridents’ heads and severed both of Hydro’s wrists. The demon let out a bloodcurdling screech as Absolute Zero’s effects immediately halted, thawing the victims from their frozen positions.

    Hydro Striker looked into Michael's piercing eyes with fear. "No, you weren’t supposed to...†The blade wielder pushed off with his hands back onto his feet.

    "Monster, you will pay for what you've done to these people," Michael growled in a voice filled with ruthless aggression. "Your existence in this world has ended!" He channeled all his anger into the Laser Saber.

    Rachel, who had just woken up from her frozen slumber couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Michael, what are you…â€

    "Taste my blade, demon!" Michael rocked back his sword, and in one swift fluid movement...

    "Whirling Blade Attack!" His charged up blade flashed around his body multiple times dicing Hydro before anyone could blink. In five short seconds, it was over. The body of Hydro Striker crumbled into dust leaving behind a floating blue energy orb of light.

    "Huh?" Something about the orb seemed strangely familiar to Michael, but he couldn't figure it out. The mysterious sphere hovered serenely for a few seconds before zipping straight into Michael’s body. A blinding flash of light engulfed everyone's vision and then it was gone.

    "Michael?" Rachel called out, concerned. After a few tense seconds, Michael's eyes snapped back into focus as the rage of battle drained out of his system once again.

    "Duke? Did you disarm it?" Duke shook the cobwebs out of his head and checked the machinery.

    "No need. Looks like when you destroyed our 'friend' here, the system came back online by itself." Michael nodded in acceptance then turned to the girls who were just starting to feel blood flow into their limbs again.

    "Beca, Rach, you two alright?" Michael took a step forward and his foot hit a patch of ice, causing him to lose his balance. As he fell forward, he instinctively reached out to steady himself. Unfortunately, his hand happened to grip Rachel's left...

    "You pervert!" KAPOW! Rachel's fist connected with Michael's face, sending him flying.

    "I'm assuming that means you're okay." Duke said, stifling a laugh.

    "There's just no hope for that boy." Rebecca sighed, brushing off some leftover ice from her shoulder.

    Unbeknownst to the others, the cloaked figure was watching them from afar. In one hand he held a sword that gleamed with mysterious transparency. In the other, he held an orb of light that shimmered with a metallic silverish color.

    "Not bad, Michael. But you've got a long way to go before reaching your true potential. It's seems like almost yesterday that you were just a toddler." The enigma looked up toward the cloudless blue sky. "Looks like I picked the right one after all." And with a flutter of his cloak, he rocketed toward the sky in a blur of motion.


    "My liege, I'm sorry to report that Hydro Striker of Blizzard Lake was destroyed."

    "What?! That's impossible! He's an Elemental incarnate! No one's supposed to be able to destroy an Elemental!"

    "That's just it, his body was destroyed, but the Elemental seems to have been absorbed."

    "Absorbed? By who?"

    "A teenage male. Michael McMann."

    "McMann, huh? Well, as long as we have the plans, he can have the Elementals for all I care. Hydro Striker did manage to transmit the plans, right?"

    "Yes, my liege."

    "Excellent. At least this phase in the plan is running smoothly. But, just in case..."
  12. Destined Working for WDW

    May 6, 2007
    Lost in the Rockies
    Excellent story DF, Rebecca is making more and more sense to me, and it's helping with the writers block haha. Keep it up.
  13. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 2, Act 7: "The Night Before..."

    By the time Michael and the others finished helping the city any way they could, it was already late in the afternoon. Duke had spent the most part of the day upgrading the generator’s firewall so the situation would never happen again. Rebecca and Rachel were busy helping repair any damage and rescuing any survivors. Michael, however, was busy trying to figure out why the whole thing happened in the first place. After making sure the machinery was running glitch-free and receiving many thanks from the city's inhabitants, Michael and the others finally returned to Ultima. Fortunately, the package was miraculously undamaged and the Prof was pleased.

    "Thank you! With this molecular stabilizer, the new teleportation system will be up and running within the next 24 hours!" he chuckled with glee. Then he noticed the disappointed looks on the group’s faces. “I’m sorry that I interfered with your weekend plans, but I really appreciate this!â€

    “Don’t worry, Professor,†Rachel said understandably, “We can always head to Clearwater Beach tomorrow.â€

    "Yeah, good things come to those who wait!" Rebecca added.

    "Where'd you get that from, a cereal box?" Michael thought.

    And so, the group decided that they would postpone the trip for the next day. After everyone said their goodbyes, each of them turned in for the night.


    Dear Diary:

    Today we were planning to go to the beach. Unfortunately, Michael ended up doing an errand for his father which took all day. Being the friends that we are, Duke, Rebecca and I accompanied him to the 'Winter Wonderland', Blizzard Lake. And get this: we were attacked by a rampaging refrigerator and some freaky water snake! I have to admit, it gave me a chance to put my training to good use, but ultimately it was Michael that ended up saving us all.

    What scared me, though, was that when Michael fought, he seemed to become ruthless and merciless as if he were possessed by a raging demon or something. I’ve known him for three years now and he's always disliked violence. It's just not like him to go berserk the way he did.

    Why do I feel so concerned for that dork? Granted, Michael seems to have become more mature and dependable these days. And he’s also gotten a little cuter too. But once a pervert, always a pervert. He's Rebecca's brother, a friend. Nothing more. But that promise...I wonder if he still remembers? A lot can happen in three years. What could've happened to him that would cause him to act like that?


    Rebecca was spending the night analyzing the I.D. chip that she found earlier. “It’s not possible. An Alpha version I.D. chip? These things were supposed to have been destroyed when the Robot Wars ended. How in the world did that robot manage to be installed with one of these?â€

    Her fingers were a blur as she typed at her keyboard furiously. “Maybe if I input the data from its programming and cross-reference it with any previous versions of it, then maybe…†When the results came in, she stared at the screen in disbelief. “No way. According to this piece of datum, this I.D. chip is the exact same one that was used over a millennia ago! Does that mean that robot we fought was over a thousand years old?â€

    She removed her glasses and rubbed her temples in frustration. “Who in this century could’ve done something like this? They would not only have to have deep knowledge of the Robot Wars, but they’d also need the original schematics on every robot and cyborg that ever existed in that era!â€

    Rebecca rubbed some sleepiness from her eyes, but couldn’t hold back a yawn. She glanced at the clock. “It’s that time already? I guess the mysteries of the universe will have to wait until later. We’re not even sure if that Hydro Striker was in any way related to the Frost Man incident.†She stifled another yawn. “Ugh. Maybe I should get some sleep. It’s been a long day and besides,†she says turning off the lab’s lights, “I don’t want Michael waking up before I do.â€


    Those who didn’t know Duke would be probably expecting him to be worrying about the day’s events and having a hard time sleeping. Those who did know Duke would be expecting him to be living by the “Out of sight, out of mind†way of life. The latter would be correct. Duke snored the night away; his hat hanging on his bedpost. Of course, heavy sleeper that he was, he could always be counted on to wake up on time.


    Michael wasn't asleep or tired. In fact, he felt the adrenaline from the day’s events keeping him wide awake. So, instead of wasting time in his room, he grabbed his Laser Saber and returned to the holographic training simulator to let off some energy. The young adult activated a favorite program of his: “Medieval Quests.†The program instantaneously booted up immersing Michael into a coliseum arena, complete with audience and fire-breathing dragon.

    “Computer: Activate SubCon Program,†Michael commanded. A virtual partner started to materialize next to Michael. The “SubCon Program†was something that Michael programmed a few years back. No one knew about its existence, not even Rebecca or the Professor. The computer created a virtual link between the I.D. chip implanted in Michael’s head and its holographic matrix and formed a being that echoed his subconscious thoughts. This way, Michael had company he could talk to that not only understood him in ways that no one ever could, but also would act like his moral conscience as well.

    A wire frame shaped itself into human form; layers of organs, muscles and skin overlapped on top of each other until the “SubCon Program†looked exactly like a real human companion. Uploading some final data fragments, Michael waited patiently for his subconscious to finish constructing. The person that stood in front of him took the form of a cute, blonde teenager around Rebecca’s age. Her eyes fluttered open revealing bright, confident emerald irises.

    “Virtual uplink complete. SubCon Program: Roll Control online.†She welcomed him with a perky smile. “Hi again, Mikey!†she greeted in a sweet, innocent voice. “Hope you’ve been doing okay!†A stainless steel sword materialized in her hand. Michael activated his Laser Saber and turned toward the dragon. The beast burst out an earth-shattering roar. Michael and Roll ran forward with their weapons at the ready. Because it was a simulated environment, Michael had given himself physically enhanced abilities that he wouldn’t have been able to do in the real world. When he leaped into the air, instead of the usual five feet, he caught some real air time topping out around fifty feet.

    “So what’s on your mind, Mike?†Roll asked cheerfully as she dodged a swiping claw.

    “Those attackers at Blizzard Lake,†he began, deflecting some flying debris with his sword, “they said they met me before.â€

    “Maybe you remind them of someone from their past lives?†Roll suggested.

    Michael stabbed his Saber in the dragon’s midsection, causing it to storm and rage with pain. “I don’t know why but I’ve got this strange feeling of familiarity from them as well.†He somersaulted over a fireball that whizzed dangerously by his head. “And how did I use those attacks? I’ve never even heard of them before and yet I was able to perform them flawlessly.â€

    “You never know, it could all be in your subconscious.â€

    “That’s just it, though. If I do know these techniques, wouldn’t you know about it? You are my subconscious made real after all.â€

    Roll pondered that thought for a moment. “I’ll admit, ever since that fight with Frost Man, there’s been a section in your I.D. chip that seems to have been unlocked that I don’t remember seeing before.â€

    “An anomaly?†Michael asked, slashing the dragon’s eye. Roll shrugged.

    “Maybe, but it’s going to take some time to scan and defragment.â€

    “Alright, but do you know what the deal was with that orb of light? Do you think it has anything to do with that attack Hydro Striker used?â€

    “You mean was it Hydro’s power source? Most likely.â€

    “What was it called again? Absolute Zero…†The moment those two words left his mouth, huge white clouds swirled around his hands and snow wildly blasted everywhere. In just a few short seconds, the entire area was completely frozen over. The only ones unaffected were Michael and Roll. "What the...?!" Michael cried. He looked down at his palms.

    A pulsating blue glow radiated from his hands. "The same color as the orb." Roll stated. “I guess I was right.â€

    "No way.†Michael said disbelievingly. “I acquired his attack? But how?"

    “Don’t know what to tell you, Mikey. Your guess is good as mine.†Michael looked around at the icy landscape.

    “Well, I guess it’s kind of pointless to continue this simulation seeing as the dragon’siving ice sculpture.†Roll nodded.

    “By the way," she asked with a coy smile, "how’s it going with Rachel?†Michael raised an eyebrow.

    “Computer: Shut Down and End Programs.†Roll winked at Michael before fading back into data. Michael sighed. “I’m going to need a long, warm shower. Then I have to figure out how to control that attack.â€
  14. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 3, Act 1: "Problems..."

    When Rebecca woke up the next morning, she was surprised and shocked that Michael was downstairs eating breakfast with the TV on low volume. "You actually got up before me? That's a first."

    "Actually, I couldn't sleep last night." Michael replied. "There was too much adrenaline that I needed to work off."

    "You were up all night?" Rebecca exclaimed. "That's not exactly healthy for your system."

    "I know, but I think we might have to cancel the beach trip again." he said grimly.

    "What?" Rebecca wondered. "Why?" In response, Michael turned up the volume on the news report he was just watching.

    "In case you're just joining us," the newscaster reported, "there have been reports of suspicious activity at Ultima's Clearwater Beach. Police have closed the beach down until further investigations can be made." Michael put the TV on mute as Rebecca shook her head in disappointment.

    "So, what are we supposed to do then?" she asked. Michael shrugged. As he put away his dishes, he happened to notice a note that the Prof had left tacked to the fridge. He glanced at Rebecca.

    "We could go see the unveiling of the new teleportation systems. They're supposed to have the grand opening today."

    Rebecca nodded thoughtfully. "Well, I can't think of anything else at the moment."

    "Alright, we better tell Rachel and Duke the change in plans." Michael said.

    "Actually, you talk to Duke, I'll call Rachel. She might still be mad at you for grabbing her yesterday."

    Michael stared in disbelief. "I apologized, didn't I?"

    "Well, she still thinks you're a klutz and a pervert. You know with that internal gyroscopic automatic balance system installed in your legs, I thought you'd be a bit more stable."

    "Hey, blame it all on the stupid I.D. chip; it glitches at the worst possible times. But I guess you're right. I don’t want to be smacked this early in the morning."


    The opening of the teleportation center was as much a carnival as it was a grand opening. Booths, carnival games and rides scattered across the area. The main attraction was the lined-up teleportation booths throughout the vicinity. The booths themselves were wide enough to fit as many as twenty people. Tourists and travelers alike were lining up for a chance to try out the teleportation process.

    "Wow!" Rachel exclaimed. "It's been a while since I've been to a carnival!"

    "Speak for yourself." Duke agreed. "I've never had time to go to one."

    "Have you seen the Doc, Beca?" Michael asked. Rebecca pointed over toward one of the teleportation booths.

    "Last I checked, he was doing a systems check over there."

    “Hey, what do you think about that one?†Rachel motioned toward a new booth that didn’t have a line yet. “Let’s check it out!â€

    “You guys go ahead.†Michael said. “I need to talk with the Doc for a few minutes. I’ll catch up with you guys later.†While the others went ahead and mingled, Michael found the Prof staring intently at one of the numerous holographic displays.

    "Hey, Doc." Michael greeted. The Professor jumped.

    "Oh! You surprised me Michael! One of these days I hope you'll start calling me Dad," he said with a grin.

    "Unlikely." Michael smirked.

    "Actually, I'm glad you came. I had something I wanted to give you." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pentagon-shaped medal. Michael raised an eyebrow.

    "What’s this, a 'Superman' crest?" Indeed, it looked like it was a flat piece of metal in the shape of the Superman insignia, except instead of an 'S', it had the letter 'M' emblazoned over it. Instead of the usual yellow and red, it seemed to be made of ruby and gold.

    "It's a little something that I was working on as a side project. I call it the 'Mega Gem'."

    "The 'Mega Gem'?†Michael repeated. “What kinda cheesy name is that?"

    "I liked how it was a palindrome. Anyway, think of that little item as a Swiss Army Knife. It's got plenty of functions such as tracking capabilities and a universal translator!"

    "Like I really need something like that," Michael commented.

    "One of its greatest functions is the transporter callback. Anyone in contact with it can use it to automatically teleport to the nearest teleportation point no matter where you are in the world. It's voice activated so the person just needs to say the destination and you're there!"

    "Huh. That should come in handy sometime." Michael said, turning the Gem over in his hand. "This has got to be gold-plated."

    "Wrong! Since I only planned to create only one in the first place, I made it out of pure gold and ruby." Michael's jaw dropped.

    "Are you saying that this little trinket is worth millions?" The Prof nodded.

    "That's why I need you to keep a tight grip on that thing. Don't let it out of your possession."

    "So what do you want me to do with it exactly?†Michael asks, pocketing the Mega Gem.

    The Prof thought for a few seconds. "I'd rather you not mention it unless you really need to. Anyway, you should..."

    The screen that the Prof was working on started to crackle and glitch. "What in blazes?!" One by one the teleport booths seemed to fizzle out all over the area as if their energies were being drained.

    "Doc! What's going on?" The Prof replied by typing with extreme speed and accuracy.

    "It looks as if someone hacked the system! If I can..." As quickly as it started, the teleporters came back online as if nothing happened. "Huh. Everything's back to normal working conditions. I wonder..."

    That's when Rebecca came running. "Dad! Rachel and Duke were in one of the teleport booths when that power surge came through!"

    "Figures. We try to do something fun and this happens," Michael says sarcastically. The Prof glared at Michael, silently telling him now was not the time to be making jokes.

    "Which booth were they in?"

    "I think it was 'Hover Castle'."

    "'Hover Castle'? I was afraid of that."

    “Why's that?†Rebecca asks. However, Michael stamped his foot in impatience.

    "Who cares? Let's go rescue them already!" Michael turned to leave, but the Prof grabbed his arm.

    "Don't be reckless. This is too dangerous. Let the security force handle this."

    "Doc, no offense, but security isn't exactly as reliable as it used to be. Besides, we handled Blizzard Lake. Beca and I can take care of ourselves."

    "Why? What happened at Blizzard Lake?" Michael glanced at Rebecca.

    "You mean you didn't tell him what happened?" Over the next few minutes, they explained and described the entire trip.

    "What?! You were attacked?" With each passing moment, the Prof's expression became more and more serious. When Michael got to the part about the orb of light, the Prof's eyes widened.

    "Did you say that you absorbed it into your system?" He started to stroke his beard in thought. "No, it can't be..." Michael and Rebecca exchanged a look.

    "Dad, is there something you're not telling us?" Rebecca asked. The Professor considered telling them at the moment, then pushed that idea away.

    "I'll get back to you on that. Right now we need you two to get to Hover Castle. And Michael," he added, "don't forget what I said."
  15. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 3, Act 2: "Plot Thickens..."

    The teleportation process was slightly nerve-racking for Michael.

    "I'm not sure I like the idea of my molecules flowing through a data stream." Michael said as he and Rebecca stood in the teleportation booth.

    "Don't worry, I assure you it's completely safe." The Prof said.

    "Come on, you dork." Rebecca teased. "You're not afraid of heights, but you're scared of teleportation?"

    "I'm not scared," Michael said unconvincingly. "I'm just concerned how my system's going to react."

    "Like I said, don't worry. As long as you have what I gave you, you'll be fine."

    "What? What'd you give him?" Rebecca asked. Before she could get an answer, her entire body dissolved into the data stream. Michael didn't know what to expect. One second, he could see the Prof input commands into the control panel. Next thing he knew, his entire vision dissolved into oblivion. All his senses were totally shut down, yet he could still sense movement as his molecules hurtled toward their destination. In what seemed like minutes, he felt his body rematerialize and solidify. He blinked a few times to refocus his vision. From what he could see, it seemed he had teleported into some type of castle courtyard.

    "Wow, nice." was all Michael could say. He started forward, but quickly realized he was slightly disoriented from the trip. As a result, he tripped over a fallen log and fell flat on his face. Fortunately, his face ended up hitting something soft to cushion his fall. He placed his hand on the soft, spongy object to help himself up. Only then did he realize, not what, but who he was grabbing.

    "Gah!" Michael leapt to his feet, closed his eyes and braced himself to be smacked by Rachel as usual. After a few seconds, he slowly opened one eye to find that Rachel was still lying unconscious. Michael let out a sigh of relief right before he felt Rebecca smack him on the back of the head. "What was that for?" he asked rubbing the back of his head.

    "Since Rachel wasn't awake to hit you, I figured someone should." Rebecca replied. She nodded toward the fallen log that he had tripped over. The “log†turned out to be none other than Duke. "Looks like they've both been knocked out." Despite her small frame, she easily hoisted Duke's tall, muscular body over her shoulder. "Take Rachel and hopefully there's a place nearby where they can recover."


    "Aw! He's so tiny! Who is he?"

    "Your future husband."

    "What?! I'm supposed to marry him? Why? I'm, like, five years older than him!"

    "Now, dear. It's our family tradition. The next male to be born is destined to become the next guardian of justice. And you as a princess are bound by law to marry him when you turn 21."

    "The law is stupid! What if I don't want to be a princess? Why can't I be normal like other kids?"

    "You can't run away from who you are...Rachel."


    "Rachel? Rachel!" Rachel's eyes fluttered open and found herself face-to-face with one of the cutest-looking guys she had ever seen.

    "You're kinda cute." she muttered sleepily.

    "Uh, Rach? It's me, Michael." Rachel mentally slapped herself awake. Her eyes began to focus again and saw that she was indeed looking at Michael. She noticed that she was lying in a four-poster bed residing in what looked like an old-fashioned castle chamber. "You awake yet?"

    Rachel yawned and stretched her limbs. Her mind started to race as questions flooded her mind. "Where are we? What's going on? What happened?"

    "Relax." Michael said, waving her questions aside. "There was a teleportation accident that sent you and Duke here to Hover Castle. Beca and I were able to follow and found you two unconscious. We carried you around, looking for help until some friendly castle guards scored us a couple of rooms. Beca did her magic thing and healed you. It's been at least half an hour since then."

    "Where are the others?" she asked, stifling a yawn.

    "Duke was able to recover faster than you, so he and Beca are up and exploring the castle right now." Something just occurred to Rachel.

    "Have you been with me this entire time?" Michael nodded. Rachel bit her upper lip in admiration. "That's so sweet of you."

    She was about to give him a hug, a totally un-Rachel like action, when Michael quickly averted his gaze. "What's wrong?" She looked down and realized that the only article of clothing she was wearing was a robe and that the belt had become loosened slightly revealing her chest. Any thoughts of gratitude were quickly replaced with embarrassment and fury. "" Michael backed away slowly.

    "Rach, I swear!" he exclaimed, trying not to look at her, but failing. "I didn't see anything!" But she wasn't having any of that.

    "You pervert!" she roared. KABLAM! Her fist blasted Michael causing his body to form a human-shaped crack embedded into the wall.

    After she found her clothes folded at the edge of the bed, she went to the bathroom, quickly washed up and changed, then proceeded to peel Michael out of his artificial crevice. Just then a couple of castle guards entered the room. "Doesn't anyone knock anymore?" Rachel asked annoyed.

    "Your presence is required in the throne room." Rachel grabbed Michael by the arm and started to drag his limp body with her.

    "Come on, Michael!" she growled through gritted teeth.
  16. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 3, Act 3: "Sacrifice..."

    "You think Rachel's okay with Michael?" Duke asked Rebecca. They were busy touring the castle. Their definition of touring, though, meant sneaking around behind the guards' backs. Rebecca gave him a sidelong glance.

    "If I know those two, Michael somehow got Rachel angry again so she's going to be smacking him right about..." There was a huge explosion that reverberated throughout the castle. "" Duke raised an eyebrow.

    "Okay, so what have we learned so far?" There was this air of suspicion that got Rebecca curious. Although the people seemed friendly enough, they seemed to be extremely tight-lipped about information. She decided to drag Duke with her around the castle to gather information about the area. Hence, the sneaking around. Rebecca activated her data watch. Duke raised the other eyebrow.

    "Hey, it couldn't hurt to do some research." She scrolled down the information.

    * * *
    Hover Castle:

    Back in the time of kingdoms and dragons, this castle was one of many floating fortresses that were scattered throughout the land. However, due to time's effects, the castles' hovering functions ceased and caused many people's untimely deaths. This castle's the last of its kind and is currently residing over one of the widest and hottest deserts in the world. If the castle were to ever stop functioning, it would fall through the atmosphere, burning anyone and everyone that resides in it.
    * * *

    Duke winced. "Well that's a comforting thought." They quietly snuck toward down the corridor to the room where Rachel and Michael were supposed to be. However, after getting by the guards they found the room to be mysteriously empty.

    "Where did they go?" Rebecca growled in frustration.

    Duke shrugged. "Maybe they're waiting for us at the teleportation point."

    Rebecca nodded in agreement. "You got a point." Using amazing stealth and distraction skills, they were able to make their way back to the courtyard. Nothing and nobody seemed to be around except...

    "Rachel!" Rachel's badly bruised form was sprawled out right next to the teleportation point. Duke propped her up against a tree, while Rebecca chanted another white magic spell to remove the throbbing pain from her body. After giving her a few minutes to recover, Rachel was able to talk again.

    "They've got Michael."

    "Who's got Michael?" Rebecca asked. Rachel had a dark loathing look in her eyes.

    "Queen Ariel. She's the one that summoned us to the throne room where an ambush was waiting for us. Michael and I fought them off as best as we could, but the sheer numbers overpowered us. I don't know where the king is though."

    "Wait a minute. You said you were in the throne room. So how'd you get all the way out here?" Rebecca wondered. Rachel reached into her vest pocket and pulled out a pentagon-shaped object.

    "All I know is that we were getting beat pretty badly by the numbers game. We were down for the count and Michael tossed this thing to me, yelled "Hover Castle", and next thing I knew, I was out here." She looked at it curiously. "You have any idea what it is, Rebecca?" Rebecca stared at the object for a minute. Then a look of realization washed over her face.

    "The Mega Gem," she whispered.

    "The what?"

    "It was something my dad was working on in his spare time, but I didn't think he actually finished it."

    Duke took the Gem and stared at it curiously. "What's so special about this hunk of metal?"

    "Well for starters, that 'hunk of metal' is made of pure gold and ruby."

    "WHAT?!" Rachel and Duke turned it over and looked at the details more closely.

    "I'm guessing that Dad was able to install the teleportation callback function. That's how you escaped." Rachel's eyes narrowed.

    "Are you telling me that dork sacrificed himself to save me?" Rachel asked quietly, her expression unreadable.

    Rebecca nodded. "Hard to believe he cares for you that much."

    Her blank look was quickly replaced with a look of ferocity. "I'm not some damsel that needs to be saved!" she snapped. "How dare he try and be a hero! I never asked for his help and like hell I'm going to be indebted to him!" Rachel jammed the Gem back into her pocket, whipped out her weapon and stomped back inside the castle. "When I get my hands on that blockhead, I'm going to kill him!" Duke and Rebecca were stunned.

    "Sometimes that girl can be scary." Rebecca said taking out her staff.

    Duke tightened his gloves and gulped. "Remind me never to tick her off. I don't want to end up like Michael and become a punching bag as well."
  17. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 3, Act 4: "Jailbait..."

    "Well, I must say that plan was executed quite nicely."

    "What'd you expect? It was my plan after all."

    "I must thank you for reviving my spirit into this artificial vessel. I never would've thought to be summoned again."

    "As long as we both get what we want. You get the castle. I get the schematics for the hovering technology. Fortunately, Hydro was able to scan the biofield generator before being destroyed."

    "Yes, I'm amazed that his sacrifice actually did some good for once. I'm curious, though. What exactly are you planning to do with both biofield and hover schematics?"

    "That's none of your concern. Just know that when this is all over, a great evil will rise again. As promised, you may do what you will with the boy.â€

    “Worry not, my prince.â€

    “I must be off. My contact at Booster Canyon is waiting.â€


    Many guards and unconscious thugs later, Rachel and the others were able to find their way to the holding cells. It was one huge corridor that held chambers from end to end. Compared to the rest of the castle, the area looked more modern with its shiny, white metallic paint job than the usual brick and mortar style. There were no bars on the cells. Instead they consisted of an opaque material that was darkened to keep anyone from seeing in or out. To the side of each cell was an electronic numeric keypad. The guard's station was to the left of the entrance.

    "Michael, you jerk!" Rachel cried out. "Where are you?"

    Rebecca points toward the door at the end of the hallway. "Maybe he's behind the door that says 'Solitary Confinement'."

    The group starts to head toward the cell when Rachel stops suddenly. “No way. This is all too easy. There should be some expendable guards or laser traps or something.â€

    “You worry too much,†Duke laughs. He dashes toward the door.

    “Air Shooter!†A great blast of wind knocks Duke off his feet. A big blue hulking robot stepped out of the shadows, blocking the way. Its body seemed to be made up of a gigantic fan with arms, legs and no neck. The fan's propeller was constantly moving at a blurring speed. It didn't seem to have a mouth and yet it was able to speak quite clearly.

    “I knew this was too freakin' easy.†Rachel growled, weapon at the ready.

    “How the hell did I miss something that big?†Duke said rubbing his aching backside.

    “I am Air Man, Robot Master of the Second Generation Unit.â€

    “A Robot Master?†Rebecca repeats. “You mean you're from the Robot Wars?â€

    Air Man chuckled. “I see you know your history. I've been personally rebuilt and have been ordered to destroy all intruders of this castle.â€

    “Less talk, more action!†Rachel shouted, bounding forward. She snapped her whip, denting the robot's high-polish finish, following it up with a spinning heel kick into the midsection. “Get out of our way, you...†she spat, finishing the sentence with a string of curse words that aren't in any English dictionary this century. She continued alternating between her whip, powerful kicks and verbal abuse as Duke and Rebecca stared dumbfounded.

    “Um, you think we should help her?†Duke asked.

    Rebecca shrugged. “Don't know, she looks like she's got a lot of tension that she's got to work off.â€

    After a few more combination kicks, Air Man had enough. He grabbed Rachel's leg in mid-strike, went into a giant swing and blasted her point-blank with the giant fan in his chest. Her body rebounded off one of the cell's walls, but was far from done.

    Rebecca pole-vaulted behind the robot’s back, landing in front of the keypad. She raised her weapon, intending to smash the control panel, but the movement took too long. Air Man swung around, grabbed the end of her staff and yanked it out of her hands.

    Duke charged in. Learning from experience, he had made sure to reinforce his gloves with brass knuckles earlier that morning. “Eat my fist!†he cried.

    “I don't have a mouth, idiot,†the robot replied as it threw Rebecca's staff like a javelin at his attacker’s head. Duke was forced to dive forward to avoid the incoming projectile as the weapon speared through his hat. His momentum carried him straight into Air Man’s fist, shattering his treasured mirror shades and his nose's cartilage.

    Rachel pulled Rebecca’s staff out of Duke’s ten-gallon hat and jumped back into the fray. Wrapping her whip's energy beam around the staff, she swung the combination of weapons, cracking it against the robot's head. In retaliation, Air Man fired his Air Shooter, hurling a trio of mini-tornadoes at her. Rachel was forced to leap backward, but not before the attack tore bits and pieces off of her outfit. With the robot's back turned, Rebecca used the full brunt of her body to tackle the machine’s legs sending him crashing to the floor.

    Duke ignored the blood gushing from his face, brushed away the shards of glass from his eyes and hobbled back toward the group. Rachel straddled Air Man, the stick and the energy streamer still in her hands.

    “Get off of me! Air Sh...â€

    “Shut up, already!†Rachel shouted angrily, jamming the weapons in between the propeller blades. Duke plunged his hands into Air Man’s body and broke off each blade, rendering his weapon useless. Rebecca pulled out her staff from the robot’s innards, while Rachel hoisted him to its feet.

    Rachel was about to finish it with one last kick, but Duke got to him first. “This freak's mine!†Using his second wind, Duke jackknifed Air Man into the air. “That’s the second hat this week!†There was a moment of silence as Duke kept the cyborg suspended in the air. Then with a great rush of force, the bloody faced cowboy piledrived Air Man's head straight into the concrete floor with a sickening crunch.

    “Damn it, Duke! I had him!†Rachel complained in frustration. Duke wiped the bloody snot off his face with his forearm.

    “I owed him. You can make fun of my charming good looks, but you never mess with my wardrobe.†He bent over to pick up the holey hat and jammed it back on his head.

    “Oh please, you're so full of it.†Rebecca said. She started chanting a spell to stop Duke's gushing blood.

    “I've been meaning to ask,†Duke started. “Where exactly did you learn your magic?†Rebecca was about to answer, but Rachel cut her off.

    “We've got more important things to worry about!†She was about to bust open the control panel with the handle of her whip when Duke grabbed her arm.

    “Maybe we should try using the door handle first.†Rachel looked at him as if he were crazy.

    “In case you hadn’t noticed, these doors are completely smooth and solid with no cracks or gaps anywhere. What makes you think...?†Instead of answering, Duke slid his fingertips along the surface of the door until he found a nearly invisible sliding panel embedded. He calmly slid the panel open, reached in and pulled. The door quietly glided open, leaving Rachel and Rebecca stunned.

    “How'd you do that?†Rebecca asked. Duke grinned.

    “Trade secret,†was all he said. As they made their way in, they found the room contained nothing more than a cot, a sink, a toilet and a mirror. Despite that fact, the room was surprisingly clean and hygienic. The only occupant in the cell was a person curled up on the cot with his back toward them.

    “Michael?†Rachel whispered uncertainly. The figure didn't respond. “Michael!†she repeated annoyed. She stomped toward the cot and flipped the body over, revealing an elderly grey-bearded senior. The man was still soundly asleep.

    “I don't get it,†Rachel said as they left the cell. “If Michael's not there, then where the hell is he?â€

    “You think they put him in the castle's torture chamber?†Duke asked. “I mean a medieval castle like this has to have one, right?â€

    “I don't think so. What information could they possibly gain from him?†Rebecca reasoned. Before anyone else could reply, they head a flushing sound coming from the guard's station. “Oh man, you think the guards are back?†she whispered extending her staff. They quietly surrounded the doorframe of the station, ready to hit the next person that came through the door. After a few moments of tension, the door flew open. The trio blitzed the unsuspecting figure and started to pummel him. It took a couple of seconds to realize that he wasn't fighting back.

    “What in the world was that for?!†came the familiar voice.

    “Michael?!†Michael massaged the top of his head.

    “What, did you forget what I looked like already?†Michael said with a grin. “What took you so long?†Rachel stomped toward him and got him into a headlock.

    "'What took you so long?' We bust our butts through waves of security forces to rescue you and all you can say is 'What took you so long?'" She tightened her hold. "You’ve worried these two out of their minds! Why haven't you escaped yet, you moron?!"

    "Ack...air..." After a few more seconds, Rachel released him from her chokehold. "Well, when I teleported you out to safety, I played possum and let them carry me to Solitary Confinement. The prisoner over there is actually the king of Hover Castle, but was thrown in here when that fake queen threw him and the castle staff into these holding cells. As of right now, the entire castle is filled with lifeless automatons. They're just a bunch of walking, talking machines.â€

    “That still doesn't explain how and why you didn’t escape.†Rebecca said.

    Michael gave a nervous chuckle. “Actually that's a funny story. I got out of the cell okay using the ol’ distract the guards bit, but then…â€

    “Then what?†Rachel prodded, keeping the slow burn of anger out of her voice.

    “That’s when this morning's breakfast caught up to me and I needed to take a porcelain cruise.â€

    “Let me get this straight. While we were busy fighting that…thing,†Rachel enunciated, jerking her thumb toward Air Man's deactivated corpse, “you were in the bathroom, tangoing with the toilet?â€

    “Um, yeah. Pretty much.†Michael answered lamely. Rachel struggled to keep from strangling Michael again. She failed.

    “Why I oughta...†Her hands reached for Michael’s throat and would've succeeded if Rebecca and Duke hadn’t held her back.

    “Geez, what's with her today?†Michael asked.

    “Bro,†Rebecca said as she kept a tight grip on one of Rachel's arms, “you can't possibly be that dense.â€

    “Huh? What'd I do now?â€

    Rebecca sighed. “I was wrong. You really are clueless.â€


    It took a few minutes for Rachel to calm down, which by that time the group decided to act like the good Samaritans they were expected to be and beat the bloody pulp out of the Queen. Rebecca made sure to grab the I.D. chip from Air Man to analyze later. Surprisingly, there was no opposition whatsoever. As they made their way to the throne room, Duke filled Michael in on the details of the past couple of hours.

    “So that's what happened to your face.†Michael commented. “I think the Doc might be able to fix it when we get back.†Then he noticed Rachel’s tattered clothing. “Rach, your skirt...â€

    “Don't even say it,†she growled. Then she remembered. "By the way..." She reached into her vest pocket and tossed Michael the Mega Gem. "Can't believe you'd be so careless to leave it laying around."

    "What? But I..."

    "Just shut up and quit staring." Unfortunately, when Michael turned his gaze away, he absentmindedly stumbled over a discarded canister, causing him to snag and rip off the remains of her skirt. Michael couldn't help but stare at her exposed...

    “Pink...cotton...†he stuttered.

    “You pervert!†Rachel swings for Michael’s head, but he bends over to take a closer look at the canister. Her momentum carries her punch right over Michael and into Duke’s already sore face. KABLAM! Duke smashes into a brick wall, leaving another human crevice in the castle.

    "Hey look! I found my Saber!" Michael exclaimed, gripping the canister that he had just tripped over. “I lost it when they were carrying me to the holding cells.â€

    "Damn, girl!" Duke groans as he painfully removes himself from the wall. "Lay off the caffeine!"

    "Oops! Sorry Duke!" she apologized. Rebecca picks up the leftover rags of Rachel's skirt.

    "Did you still want this?" Rachel takes it from her outstretched hand and quickly ties the remaining cloth around her waist.

    "Guess I'll have to take the beach wrap look for now."

    After Rebecca healed Duke the best she could, the group finally found their way to the throne room. The moment all four of them were inside, the majestic looking doors quickly slammed shut behind them followed by the sound of many locks being activated in all the doors.

    "So, I guess that outdated pile of moving parts couldn't break your fighting spirit." Queen Ariel stood at the far end of the throne room across from the adventurers. "Looks like I'll have to deal with you impudent brats myself!" A dark aura started to emanate around her. A huge rumbling shook throughout the castle when they realized that the throne room's ceiling was retracting revealing the open skies! A pair of black metallic wings burst out of Ariel's shoulder blades that started to lift her into the air.

    "She's a harpy!" Michael realized.

    "Now the real fun starts!" Ariel cackled. Michael and the others braced themselves for what was sure to be another fight for their lives.
  18. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 3, Act 5: "Nimbus Wave..."

    * * *
    Queen Ariel Glydes
    Guardian Elemental of Air
    Species: Harpy
    Weapon: Steel Wing
    Queen of the harpies, Ariel is quite vain and egotistical. Although her wings are made of metal, they are hollow, allowing her to hover or glide with ease. The wingspan can be used as a protective shield, but she must sacrifice her ability of flight to maintain it.
    Weakness: Shatter
    * * *

    "Shatter?" Michael repeated. "What the heck is that supposed to mean?"

    "You know, she'd probably be attractive if it weren't for the fact that she's going to claw my brains out." Duke muttered.

    "You dare enter the queen's chambers uninvited?â€

    “Listen, you royal pain-in-the-neck,†Rachel spat, “if you think we’re going to forgive you for trying to toss me and Michael to the dungeons, I've got two words for you.â€

    “You forget that I am master of this castle and that you intruded upon my non-existent hospitality. I will forgive your acts of treason if you swear allegiance and bow down to me.†Rachel was about to retort but Michael didn't seem to have any fight in him at all. He deactivated his Laser Saber and started to kneel down.

    “Michael? What are you doing?†Rachel asks, keeping the Queen in her peripheral vision.

    Michael got down on one knee, hands behind his back. “She's right Rach,†he says, his eyes cast downward. “We can't fight her. I don't think I'd be able to live with myself if I killed a girl.â€

    “Are you freakin' serious?!†Rachel shouted, unaware that Duke read Michael's hand signs and was subtly getting into position. “You decide now of all times to get chivalrous?â€

    “Silence!†Queen Ariel barked. “It seems I've misjudged this boy's human nature. So, you will serve me beyond reasonable doubt?†she asks descending back toward the ground.

    “If your majesty will grant me one humble request,†Michael says as he laces his hands together in front of him as if praying.

    “You are in no position to be asking requests. But this should be amusing,†the monster chuckled quietly. “Fine, what is your so-called request?â€

    Michael took a deep breath before answering. “Rot in hell. Duke, now!†Duke leapfrogged over Michael’s head, landed on his outstretched palms and was rocketed into the air.

    “Comin' at ya!†Duke arched back his fist and delivered a glancing first strike. Ariel staggered backward, stunned. Rebecca blitzed straight in with her staff, jabbing the harpy in the stomach and following it up with an overhead smash with the other end.

    Enraged by being fooled by the oldest trick in the book, the Queen kicked Rebecca with her talons, pushing off into the air. “You fools! How dare you touch me with your filthy human flesh!†She flaps her wings to gain altitude.

    "What's the matter, afraid to fight face-to-face?" Rachel mocked as she ran forward. Ariel responded to this by dive-bombing toward her. Their eyes locked onto each other, daring the other to do their worst. It was as if two trains were barreling at one another at full speed; nothing would stop them. In a matter of seconds, the harpy left a huge gash across Rachel's right cheek with her steel-sharp wings. At the exact same moment, Rachel had swung her whip into Ariel's path. Unfortunately, her aim went wild and she ended up the loser in the exchange. The blond bombshell's hand flew to the side of her face. "You'll pay for that, wench," she growled.

    Rebecca used her staff to pole vault into a flying kick, but was easily deflected by Ariel's metal wings. "Your attacks are no match for the almighty..." the Harpy started droning. While the monstrosity kept up the usual villain monologue, Michael started to focus on charging a Plasma Cannon Punch.

    “It's just like Frost Man and Hydro Striker,†he told himself. “Just gotta find the rage within.†He closed his eyes and concentrated, blocking out all sounds and distractions around him.

    Duke ran into close quarters and almost had another punch connect, but she used her long silver wingspan to shield from his attack. Duke started to pummel the barrier, trying to find some ***** in the armor that would allow him to gain an advantage. “Quit turtling!†he snarled in frustration.

    While Duke was keeping Ariel busy, Rebecca snuck up from behind and brought down her staff on the harpy's head. Unfortunately, the Queen ducked low enough for the weapon to smack right into Duke's face. Unable to take any more abuse to his visage, the computer hacking cowboy went into a dead faint.

    “You all are worthless! How Hydro Striker fell to you is completely mind-boggling!†Ariel backflips over Rebecca and lands a devastating heel kick to her shoulder blade before taking off into the air. Beca’s right arm went numb as her nerve-endings were temporarily shocked from the blow.

    Rachel, who was extremely ticked from being slashed across the face and wasting her time in the god-forsaken castle, snapped her whip, wrapping it around the monster's leg. She tried to use her weight to keep Ariel from flying out of range. “Michael, what's taking you so long?â€

    “Focus, focus, focus…†he kept chanting like a mantra to himself. Eventually, he felt the rush of energy emanating from his right fist. “About time,†Michael said opening his eyes. He rushed toward the enemy, knuckles at the ready. Rachel pulled as hard as she could, forcing Ariel into range. Michael leapt into the air, arched back his arm…

    “Plasma Cannon Punch!†His fist blazed toward its target as the demon instinctively folded her wings to defend herself. The attack successfully punched a hole through the metallic shield causing major damage to the enemy. As Michael landed on his feet, he was shocked to see that Ariel was still flying.

    "Enough playing," Ariel growled as she slowly takes to the sky. Rachel struggled to keep anchored to the ground, but her feet couldn,t maintain contact. As Rachel found herself being pulled upward, Michael grabbed her legs attempting to force her back down.

    “I never realized your legs were so silky soft.†Michael burst out saying. Rachel responded by kicking Michael in the face with her heel causing him to almost lose his grip. “I was kidding!†he added, resulting in another kick to the face. “Hey! Did you want me to let you go?!"

    “So this is what tug-of-war feels like,†Rachel thought straining to keep a tight grip on her weapon as her body started to stretch. Maintaining her altitude, the harpy begins to chant.

    "No! It's just like Hydro Striker!" Rebecca cries still gripping her arm. "Don't let her get that spell off!"

    “Let go of my legs!†Rachel shouted down to Michael. “I think I can reach her!†He didn't argue and let go of his grip. Rachel swung like a pendulum as she attempted to pull herself up to the monster, but she had a hard time climbing up her own energy beam without getting shocked. Michael ran toward Duke's unconscious body and started to slap his cheeks trying to revive him.

    "Almost there!" Rachel struggled to reach Ariel, her fingertips almost touching the clawed talon. But by then...

    "Nimbus Wave!" The entire group found themselves being blasted up into the sky by freakishly strong winds. With no control of their momentum, they were easy targets for the harpy. Rachel got a claw to the stomach and a crack to the back of the head. Manipulated by the wind, Rebecca's body slammed into Duke's before the two found themselves slammed into the concrete floor. Michael attempted to get his bearings in the air, but being tossed around like a rag doll disoriented his view. It wasn't until a few moments later that he felt himself getting rammed from behind. Next thing he knew, he found himself in complete freefall and realized that he had been blasted clear from the castle.

    The building quickly shrank from view above him. Below him was sand dunes as far as the eye could see. His mind raced, his entire body was pumped full of adrenaline. And yet...a strange calm seemed to overtake his senses, allowing his mind to clear.

    “Why am I feeling calm all of a sudden? Have I lost it?†Michael shook his head. "No way, there’s got to ba way out of this. There's always a way. Sure, I can't fly. But...†Michael quickly ran through his options in his mind. He had none. “Oh shnap, I'm going to die.â€
  19. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 3, Act 6: "History Repeats..."

    Duke finally came to, not that it helped much. When Duke opened his eyes, he felt a tremendous pressure that immobilized his body. Queen Ariel was manipulating her mastery of air by pinning the group to the ground with great strong winds. Rebecca lifted her staff as best as she could and aimed.

    "Angelus Lux Lucis!" The beam of white light shot out of the end of her staff. However, the winds altered her aim dramatically and her vision was slightly blurred due to the impact with the floor. The monster cackled as the attack was fired wildly, not even close to its target. Duke attempted to push himself up with his massive biceps, but although his body was muscular beyond belief, his endurance and stamina were something to be desired. His arms gave way and he hit the floor again.

    Rachel was struggling to stay on her feet. All she could think about was the image of Michael's body being propelled out of the castle and falling to his death. She mustered as much of her energy as she could, fighting against the blazing gales that were keeping her in a kneeling position. Despite the rage and frustration flowing through her, she couldn't summon the strength to stand up. Rachel's legs collapsed; her knees hit the concrete floor with a thud. "Can't...move..." she croaked. "Michael..."


    Michael was mildly surprised to find that he was not panicking at all. "It's like falling through darkness," he thought serenely as he felt the atmosphere rush past his body. “I just feel so tired all of a sudden.†His eyes started to flutter closed, his mind starting to black out. “There’s nothing I can do…â€


    ...Robot Masters...

    ...won't go out without...​
    ...Roll...Dr. Light...Protoman...Zero...​

    ...Memories beyond...

    ...My true name is...


    Michael’s eyes flew open. “What in the world was that?†However, his thought processing seemed to become much clearer. Something occurred to him. “Duh! I’ll just use the Gem’s Teleportation Callback to transport back to the castle!†He gripped the Gem in his pocket and started to shout “Hover Castleâ€, but stopped.

    “Wait, what am I thinking? It’ll take too long to get from the teleportation point to the throne room." Something was nagging in the back of his mind. Something that he should’ve remembered. "What was it the Doc said? Something about this being a Swiss Army Knife?†He removed the Gem from his pocket and began looking through its functions. "'Universal Translator', 'Bio-scanner', 'Voice Journal', 'Teleportation Callback', 'Hoverboard Emergency Beacon', 'Audio Player'...wait! 'Hoverboard Emergency Beacon?'" Michael shrugged. "Worth a shot."

    “Let’s see, ‘Instructions: To use the Hoverboard Emergency Beacon, just call out the hoverboard’s registered name into the unit. Depending on distance and maximum speed, there may be lag time between activating the beacon and the hoverboard’s auto-pilot to function.’ That’s it? Why didn’t it just say, ‘Voice Activated’?â€

    He activated the function by calling out "Rush!" The Mega Gem started flashing brightly like a signal beacon. “I hope this works.†By this time, the castle was almost a speck in the sky and Michael could almost see the individual grains of sand below him. His skin started to redden from the overwhelming heat that radiated from the incoming sand dunes. "Come on, come on," he muttered impatiently.


    Meanwhile, Queen Ariel increased the force of the winds, effectively stopping oxygen from reaching human lungs. She hadn't moved from her spot in the sky, an easy target if any of them had the energy left to attack.

    "Can't...breathe..." Rebecca's brain was starting to shut down from the lack of oxygen. The others were in similar positions, desperately gasping for air.

    “Pitiful humans,†the harpy crowed. “You see how your worthless bodies take for granted the very air around you? You come in my royal chamber and attack the ruler of the skies? The queen of the heavens? The master of atmosphere? It will satisfy me greatly to see your faces the moment your lungs finally collapse.â€

    Rachel’s vision swam from asphyxiation. She felt herself becoming calm and peaceful. Her muscles relaxed and the energy whip clattered to the floor.

    No one expected what happened next.

    A red and blue form roared out of nowhere, leaving a brilliant gash mark across Queen Ariel’s wingspan. The attack instantly ceased giving the group a chance to gulp in much needed oxygen.

    "What?" the harpy cries in shock. "You dare attack me?"

    “Oh, I dare,†Michael laughs, “I definitely dare! Let’s settle this in a dogfight, shall we?†Enraged, the monster lunges at the young swordsman. Michael speeds across the sky, Laser Saber at the ready. Like Rachel did before, Michael and Queen Ariel rushed toward each other, neither of them backing down. In a matter of seconds, Michael rushed past his target with a giant swing of his sword as Ariel swiped with a flurry of wing.

    There was a moment of silence as both combatants waited for the other to show signs of being damaged. The monster yelled out in pain first. Rush was maneuvered around as Michael got ready to strike again.

    “No…†she whispered, “I will not be defeated!†She starts to charge up another Nimbus Wave. Michael tosses his Laser Saber into an unknown point in the air and aims his arms at his target. Rush streaks toward the demon like crimson lightning.

    "Slow on the draw, lousy on the execution!" Michael says with a grin. He makes a flying leap off the hoverboard and manages to grasp the silvery, metallic wings.

    "Absolute Zero!" The others were stunned as a gigantic storm of ice shards and hail formed out of his hands, effectively freezing and shattering her wings.

    "Noooo! What!" she cried as the cold started to slow down her body.

    "Time to face obliteration, hag!" Michael cried with the fire burning in his eyes. In one smooth motion, he spins in mid-air, grabs his Saber and barrels down on the sitting duck.

    "Force Breaker!" With lightning-fast speed and unstoppable ferocity of adrenaline, the sword burst into a purplish flame and sliced Ariel neatly in half. Michael deactivated his Laser Saber, nimbly landed on his feet, backflipped into a finishing pose and stared at the suspended form, ready to attack again. Queen Ariel's form crumbled into nothingness leaving behind another orb of light, this time glowing a cloudy white. Before anyone could react, the orb zoomed toward Michael. On impact, the blinding light engulfed the group before fading away. The next sound everyone heard was the castle's doors becoming unlocked.

    "Dude, are you okay?" Duke asked taking deep clean breaths. Michael stood silent for a moment, his expression implying he was struggling from some kind of internal conflict. After a few seconds, he shook his head clearing his thoughts.

    "Yeah, I'm cool." he responded. "Come on, let's get the prisoners out." Michael started heading for the holding cells but Rebecca blocked him with her staff.

    "No, you're not okay. First of all," Rebecca began with a concerned look, "how'd you use Hydro Striker's attack like that?"

    Michael shrugged. "I don't know, I just thought of using it and I did."

    "Don't give us that." Rachel snapped. "You’ve been kinda acting strange ever since yesterday. What’s up with you?"

    "Well, what do you want me to say?" Michael asked impatiently. "I'm not sure what happened." He didn’t want to mention the experience he had while in freefall. Then with an afterthought, "If it'll make you guys feel better, how about Beca does a maintenance scan on me when we get back?" No one could find a reason not to, so after agreeing, they finally freed the captives. Michael sent Rush home on auto-pilot and everything was back to normal.

    Well, as normal as a flying castle can get...

    "So you've finally banished that demon!" King Jacob Lexington the Third (King Jay for short) was extremely grateful that the castle was finally liberated. The quartet was now in the newly refurbished throne room, King Jay sitting on his royal throne. "This is terrific news! Everyone owes you their lives. If you have any requests, we'll do everything in our power to give it to you." Duke was getting hungry and was thinking of asking for a banquet. Rebecca was contemplating with the idea of being a princess for a day. Rachel just wanted to go home. And Michael...

    "Your majesty," Michael asked with a firm tone of respect, "all we request is information. When exactly did all this happen?â€

    "Well, that is a mystery unto itself. The real queen had died years before. The hovering system keeping this castle afloat had been acting strangely and no one in the castle could figure out the problem. That’s when a young man named Zacharias Powers…â€

    “What?!†they shouted in unison. “Zack was here?â€

    The king raised an eyebrow. “I take it you know him. Anyway, Mr. Powers happened to be in the area and offered his help. He seemed to fix the system before leaving. Shortly after, this castle was attacked and ransacked by Queen Ariel and her minions. We’ve been prisoners ever since.â€

    "How exactly did he get here in the first place?†Rebecca inquired. “The teleportation systems weren’t active until just recently.â€

    “Teleportation system?†he repeated. “It’s finally up and running?†Michael and the others explained about their teleportation accident. "I see. The Professor’s always been a little absent-minded. Luckily none of you came to harm from it. But we seem to be getting ahead of ourselves. I don’t remember you four mentioning your names."

    "Forgive us, your highness." Rebecca apologized. "My name's Rebecca McMann. I'm the daughter of the Professor."

    "Oh yes, the gifted successor. I've heard about you before."

    Duke stepped forward, looking out of place with his broken frames and holey hat. "I'm Duke Masters."

    "Masters?" the king repeated. "Your name sounds familiar, but I can't quite place it."

    "'s a common name." Duke quickly said as he stepped back. Michael gave Duke a questioning look, but Duke chose to ignore it.

    Then it was Rachel’s turn. "I am Rachel Roneca."

    "Yes, yes." the king replied. "Your family’s been a close acquaintance with ours."

    "Oh..." Rachel giggled nervously. Michael was about to ask how, but the king started looking at him.

    "And who might you be, young warrior?" Michael got on one knee and bowed.

    "My name is Michael McMann. I'm the son of the Professor."

    The king stroked his chin. "I don't recall the Professor having a son."

    "I'm adopted." Michael explained.

    "Oh, then never mind."

    "Did Zack ask for anything after he fixed the hovering mechanism?" Rebecca asked.

    King Jay leaned on his armrest lost in thought. "Now that you mention it, I don't recall him asking for anything in return."

    "I see." Michael rolled his shoulders, stretching out his deltoid muscles. "In that case, we request nothing else."

    "Really? I never expected such humble requests. Are you sure there is nothing else you need?"

    Rebecca and Duke were about to say something, but Rachel stopped them. "Forgive us, your highness. But we really need to head back now."

    "Ah. I understand completely. Very well then." Duke and Rebecca gave her a dirty look which she completely ignored.

    After saying their goodbyes and farewells, the group heads out back to the teleportation point.

    “Hey, Rach,†Michael began, “what exactly did the king mean when he said your family was an acquaintance?â€

    Rachel gives him a hard stare. “I don’t want to talk about it,†was all she said.

    The teleportation center seemed to have calmed down when they materialized back in Ultima. The Professor was extremely glad to see them.

    "Thank goodness! I thought for a moment you wouldn't be able to come back!"

    Rebecca hugs her father. "Don't worry, we're safe."

    "I checked the system and indeed someone had hacked past the security measures.†He gestures towards a few maintenance crew members inspecting the booths. “I've spent the past few hours making sure that won't happen again."

    "Good," Michael said. "I've had enough adventuring for one day."

    Rebecca raised an eyebrow. "Not to mention we've got school tomorrow."

    "Has it really been only the weekend?†Duke wonders out loud. “It seemed a whole lot longer."

    "Whatever." Rachel says fingering a hole in her shirt. "I've got to get home and get out of this outfit. Too much wear and tear."

    "I don't know, Rach," Michael said checking her out, "I kinda like the look." Rachel's face reddened, glaring at him with a fiery look in her eyes.

    "Of course you would, you jerk!" And with that, Rachel socked Michael in an upward spiral sending him into a far-off junk pile.

    The Professor chuckled. "Ah, youth. How I miss it."
  20. Destiny's Force Mess with the best, lose like the rest...

    Apr 16, 2007
    With Amber <3
    Episode 3, Act 7: "Dreams..."

    "Well, this is interesting." Rebecca said, staring intently at the scanner. As promised, Michael let Rebecca scan his body's system for anything suspicious as soon as they got back home. Now there he was lying on the operating table with his shirt off.

    "What? What do you see, Beca?"

    "Your body functions are all normal, but what's interesting is your brain."

    "What else is new?" Rebecca glared at him. Michael rolled his eyes in response. "Sorry," he apologized. "So, what do ya see?"

    "Well, your brain's functions are all normal as well, but the I.D. chip in your head seems to have picked up a few unknown anomalies that weren't there since your previous scan."

    “Oh yeah, I already knew about that,†Michael says offhandedly. Rebecca looked at him questionably.

    “What do you mean you already knew that? Last time I checked, you didn’t have a self-scanning capability.â€

    Michael props himself up with his elbows, shaking his head impatiently. “Never mind. So are these anomalies like viruses? Are they going to mess me up somehow?"

    "No, they don't seem to be harming your system. But a couple of them seem to activate when your adrenaline level reaches a certain point.†Her hand subconsciously combed her hair back. "From what I can tell, all these supernatural abilities and attacks you've been able to generate are dependent on your emotional state."

    "Great, what am I, the 'Incredible Hulk'?"

    Rebecca bites back a retort. “No comment.â€

    There was a moment of awkward silence aside from the computer beeping and lights fizzing. Michael sat up fully and pulled down his shirt letting out a deep, thoughtful sigh.

    "It's hard to believe that it's been almost ten years."

    "Yeah, ten years," Rebecca agreed, not taking her eyes off the screen, "and you're already 18. And yet, I'm still the older sister."

    Michael chuckled suddenly. "You know what's funny?" Rebecca looked at Michael. "I'm kinda jealous of you."

    "Huh?" Rebecca's peered at him over her glasses. "Why?"

    "I don't know. I guess it's the fact that you have a goal and a dream to strive for. In a few years you'll graduate from the academy and one day take over the Doc's position. But me? I don't know where my future's leading." Michael's shoulders sagged. "And worst of all, I've never even had a girlfriend yet."

    Rebecca rolled her eyes. "You are so totally dense sometimes."


    "Duh, what about Rachel?"

    Michael raised an eyebrow. "What about her?"

    "Isn't it obvious?" Rebecca smirks. "She is totally into you."

    Michael stares at her with a stony expression. "Don't play me like that." he said quietly.

    Rebecca's smirk disappeared replaced with a look of concern. "But it's true."

    Michael's eyes narrowed. "If she likes me so much, she's got a funny way of showing it."

    "Michael, she's just..." Rebecca started to say, but she didn't know how to finish the sentence. Without another word, Michael leaves the lab and heads to his room. She silently watches him leave, worried if she had somehow unknowingly damaged Michael and Rachel's relationship. That's when the scanner beeped indicating that its full-system diagnostic was complete. She read the results curiously. Her eyebrow raised in thought. "Elementals?"


    Rachel massaged her sore muscles as she let the shower's hot running water soothe her battle-driven body.

    "Man, what a day. First that whole business with the teleporter, then all the rest of that crap. I mean, we risk our lives to rescue the idiot and find he just..." She shudders. "What was the whole point of all that?" She lathered up her bath sponge and started to scrub. Her expression softens.

    "That was a pretty decent thing that Michael did. First, he watches over me while I was unconscious, and then instead of teleporting himself out of harms way, he sacrifices himself to save me instead." She giggles at the thought. "I guess he has the makings of a gentleman after all.†She extended her arms over her head, feeling her spine and back relax into the stretch.

    “I mean it's not like I hate him or anything. I just thought that after three years, he'd have matured a bit more.†She frowns. "Any what the hell is with that whole invulnerability bit? I keep smacking him at least once everytime I see him and yet there's never a bruise on him. And he never complains.†She turns off the water, grabs her towel and starts drying herself off. “Either he’s a glutton for punishment or he gets off on seeing me angry at him.â€

    "Then there's that dream I had earlier. I haven't told anyone about my family's history and their customs. Especially," she shuddered at the thought, "the prearranged marriage. I mean, that promise I made with Michael...†She sighed.

    “I guess I'm lucky to have friends like them and all, but would they treat me differently if they knew?" Rachel puts on a fluffy pink bathrobe and wraps the towel around her hair.

    "So many questions and no answers whatsoever,†she says getting her outfits ready for the next day. “I bet Michael doesn’t have to deal with these type of questions, the lucky jerk.â€


    Michael lay on his bed, looking out at the crescent moon through the skylight. “Frost Man, Air Man, Hydro Striker, Queen Ariel...†he muttered to himself. “What’s the connection? And those memories...what were they about? They seemed so familiar, but I can’t remember.â€

    Out of all the images that were whizzing around in his head, one of them in particular seemed to stand out from the rest. He remembered a humanoid form around his height and build covered head to toe with blue metallic body armor. The most distinguishing part was the right forearm. It was encased in a metal cylindrical canister that seemed to pulsate with energy.

    Michael tossed and turned on his mattress trying desperately to get some sleep. 'My true name...' What was that supposed to mean?†He exhales slowly. “Come to think of it, what’s my real name? I know it’s not Michael McMann, that’s for sure.†He crosses his arms pondering at what Rebecca had said.

    “Could Rachel really be interested in me? I mean, I like her and all, but why would she like me back? To her, I'm just some perverted guy that she happens to know through Rebecca.†He turns and looks at the clock with eyes wide open. “Yeah, right. Out of all the guys she could ever want,what chance do I have of going out with her?â€