Inside the disabled alien probe on the dark side of the moon, a shadow limped through its hall as quietly as it could. Although the thick, jagged Teknoman armor that covered the entirety of his body felt as light as a feather, the human within this metallic covering moved ever so slowly. Dagger, once known as Fritz von Braun, hissed in pain and held his armored shoulder. The wounds that he had received in his last battle were beyond repair. Among them, his right eye, which he had previously altered to increase accuracy, was now completely useless
The Teknopods no longer accepted him as one of their own. Worst of all, Omega, the alien commander of this ship, had hatched another nightmare like himself a short while ago. Whoever it was, it would hunt him down and complete the job Slade had not.
Whether Fritz lived or died mattered little. Being as he was, it was more of a blessing to be dead. More than three years ago, he had the privilege to call himself a human, and an ambitious one at that. An ambition that drove him to join the Carter's on their deep space
expedition. Now it was all gone. Stolen and replaced with the cold machinery of a slave. Now, here he was; near death and with his senses for who knew how long.
However; there was one more thing he could do. He could still remember how long it took for candidates of the process to be subverted. Judging by how much time had passed since they were captured, one of the last remaining members of the Argos ship was still not completely changed. If he acted quickly, he could help her escape, warn Slade, and maybe give the Earth an advantage.
A gentle red glow covered his armor and slowly vanished as he looked up to see her still in one of the pods. With his fleeting strength, he limped over to the dais beneath the pod, leaned against the wall and whispered, between breaths, to the person within, "Can you hear me?"
Seeing no response, he looked over the body of what appeared to be a woman in her early twenties, the base of the neck in particular. From what he could see, the control parasite was not yet inserted. If he was right, then she still was capable of thinking for herself
and would be for a while.
His exhaustion began to catch up with him as he leaned against the wall with his forearm and put his head against it to at least catch his breath. He couldn't die now. Not until she was safe.
His activity caused the woman within to stir and awake. Looking to see that her surroundings were different than they were when she had been awake had almost put her into a panic. Yet, she calmed a bit when she saw him standing below her. She put her hands against the seal and whispered, "Fritz? Is that you?"
He looked up in surprise and replied, "Are you all right?"
She smiled a bit sadly, "I've been better. And you?"
Nodding quickly, he continued, "I'm not sure how much longer I have... but I wanted to let you know that Slade's still fighting against Omega."
"How do you know that?" she asked.
Fritz gave her a wry smile, "He did this to me after I nearly beat him. It's almost ironic you have to be practically dying in order to lose the mind control unit."
"Anyway... I may be able to get you out of here," he looked away from the pod and to the various organic wires connecting it to other parts of the ship. "and if I have retained enough of what the aliens gave me," he paused a second to cough, "you need not worry about being incomplete."
"What would I do?"
"Find Slade... tell him about the alien vegetation, and the other teknomen he's about to spawn. I wouldn't be able to make it. It all rests on you now."
She looked at him with melancholy eyes as he pushed himself upright. "Don't worry about me... if I can find the control mechanism in time. All you would have to do is wait it out."
He knew she was about to ask if he didn't, but held her tongue. Having endured this ordeal as long as they did already gave them the answer.
"Just stay alive... please."She nodded once, which satisfied him as he exited as quietly as he entered.
After he had left, she whispered through the liquid, "Good-bye, Fritz."
Though injured, Fritz still had enough power in his worn down crystal to change into his armor. With what little mobility he had left, he floated to the section of the ship which he hoped controlled the metamorphosis process. With a little interference, maybe he could not only help Rapier, but slow down the others from emerging as well. Emerging into the control chamber, Fritz looked towards the cavernous room to the crystals that controlled the process... if he remembered correctly.
Stumbling across the floor, he pulled out his worn out lance and used it as a walking stick to keep his balance. Looking over the nearby control panels with his good eye, he struggled to remember which boards could stop the process safely.
"I would not do that, were I you, Dagger," an ominous voice said behind him.
Fritz whirled around and lost his balance at the projection of Omega. Struggling to keep his fear under control, Fritz shut his eye and closed his mind to the relentless mental assault.
"I assure you, Omega. You'd be hard pressed to think you can eliminate me so easily."
The projection shook its head in dismay, "If you don't think I overheard your conversation with Rapier, you're sorely mistaken."
Breathing heavily, Fritz fell unceremoniously to the ground. "Well... I had a feeling you were... but since I was a tad busy trying to help my friend, I couldn't really care."
Omega stepped forward and muttered, "And yet, you failed to take into account another factor to prevent your attempt."
Fritz was about to ask what when a large shadow loomed over him. He turned and tried to jump out of the way, but a large metallic fist sent him flying into the wall.
"DAGGER SHALL NOT HARM RAPIER!" an artificial voice
Clutching at the area where the blow hit him, he turned to Omega's gaze and snarled, "Looks like you can't even do your own dirty work, Omega. You cowardly farce!"
"Such a pity that you refused your own," Omega said stepping backward casually, letting the shadowy behemoth continue to beat him.
Fritz ducked another swipe and ran towards the doorway. Pulling out his lance, he turned and aimed a projectile towards the panel, hoping it would hit the right spot. Though his aim was true, realization set in when his hand refused to let the shot fire.
He turned to a chuckling Omega as his assailant drew near, "Aren't slave circuits a marvel, Dagger?" He never got a chance to reply as he was hurled into the wall once more. Fritz had no desire to end it this way, but the circuits disabled his mobility and despite being in his armor, he felt the relentless onslaught of the large shadow beating him.
"Farewell, Dagger... or Fritz, if you wish," Omega said with a cordial nod before vanishing.
Fritz looked up to his assailant and felt everything becoming fuzzy as he was lifted up roughly and slung over a metal shoulder as though he were garbage. With one last look at the control panel he sought to destroy, he fell into despair at the realization of his failure.
"I am sorry, Shannon... forgive me."
Back in his throne room, Omega's image appeared in front of the woman Fritz had spoken to a short while before. Looking up, he mentally prodded the young woman awake with mental jolts.
Blinking, she took in her surroundings before her eyes locked with Omega's. He could tell her fear was still preventing her from communicating.It was just as well anyway, since any discourse would be less than ideal for him. Regardless, he had to try.
"I cannot help but wonder... what would a young woman like yourself have been doing at this point in your life? Learning at an academy? Beginning a family of your own?"
He could sense the loathing, as well as the fear, in her gaze. She had nothing to say to him. It surprised him that she resisted as much as she did. She had the potential to become a complete teknoman like Saber and the other three, but her will was surprisingly
stronger than the others.
He was about to return to his chamber when he felt an urge to tell her of Fritz's fate. Yet, as the words were ready to proceed, he stopped. Taking another look towards her, he would have smiled had he the body to do so.
In an instant, he returned to the same control room that Fritz had attempted to disable earlier and mentally telepathically gave orders to the console. With another change of location, he appeared in the incubation chamber of the control parasites that kept the teknomen under control. Searching through the chamber, his eyes finally landed upon the one meant for Rapier.
No sooner had the small membrane covering it broke that it screeched and died, being forced from its incubation early. The Lahdam would not be pleased at such a development, but perhaps a small sacrifice such as this would make his victory worth it.
If not, there would always be contingencies.
Suddenly, his mind felt something disturbing one of the candidates in the throne room. He could sense it... it was a presence he had not felt since... no, it couldn't have been.
Returning to the throne room, he discovered the young woman emerging from her case prematurely. Whatever had appeared had interfered with the transformation process.
Appearing behind her, he noticed that some new information had been uploaded into her memory. Some parts familiar, other parts new. Already, he had an idea as to what happened and who did it. Before he could proceed further, she noticed him and in a fit of panic, escaped. He did not give chase after her. He could not. Nor could any of the others save for Saber. And by the time he would realize what had happened, it would have been too late.
Turning to the shadows behind the recently emptied central pillar, he said, "Wait for Saber to leave, then follow Rapier. But be sure to keep your distance and not let anyone discover your presence."
"YES, LORD OMEGA," said the same artificial voice which belonged to the creature that had killed Fritz.
Returning to his chambers, he was not surprised when he saw Saber noticing Rapier's escape and observations about her premature departure. The young woman's forceful departure from the system would only quicken her demise. Which was unfortunate due to the fact both Slade and Saber held quite a fondness for her.
End of Prologue
It's sad when death happens to characters you like, isn't it? But oh well, it makes you appreciate them all the more. Gunnar's (or Dagger's as he was known in the UK and JPN versions) voice had a certain aristocratic quality to it that I rather liked, so I figured
I could give him a slight homage with this prologue.
Then; normally, the woman mentioned is called Shara in the US/UK versions. However, it seemed to me like it was more of a nickname for an American sounding family, so I gave her the name Shannon.
For those that have seen Teknoman and Tekkaman Blade, you've noticed that I'm blending both shows into this story. Yep, that's right, I'm picking what I want out of them like they were a smorgasboard. :p
The title; is latin for 'crossroads'. And major kudos goes out to Leizel Ann Pugongan for letting me know. She's a fellow author, long time friend, and all-around good egg. :) Also, the spell and grammar check goes out of Nadz, who was kind enough to proof-read it on such short notice.
Moving forward, on the recommendation of a few friends of mine from the FFML Mirc (Gary. Nido; thanks guys.), I am going to adjust the presentation a bit for those that never had the chance to see Teknoman/Tekkaman Blade saga. Kinda clear up the ambiguity between the source and my 'unoriginal' material. :p
Extra side note: You can aquire the UK Teknoman episodes (I am unsure about the US version) through P2P download programs, fansubbed Tekkaman Blade episode 1-37 through a program called Bit Torrent thanks to Liquid Anime, or purchasing Hong Kong DVDs of the entire series.
Let's not forget the request for what you folks at home think. It can't get any worse than it already is. :p
Finally; Teknoman and Tekkaman Blade belongs to Saban and Tatsunoko Productions. I'm merely borrowing them to satisfy my sadistic desires to control people. :p