Note: Zoids is the latest addition to my anime addiction, and I owe it all to Vega and the Berserk Fury. It'd be cooler if the series had lasted longer, but oh well. Enjoy.

Summary: Upon their passing, Vega & the Berserk Fury are recruited by an elite group of fighters.

All Death's Children

"So, who wins this one?" Brad asked.

Leon stroked his chin, thinking. "I'll say Bit & Liger."

Brad chuckled. "Care to place some money on that?"

"You betting against your own teammate?"

"You've obviously forgotten how good the kid is."

"No, I haven't," Leon replied. "I just think Bit's better with his Zoid. He and Liger won the first battle."

"If you mean the Royal Cup, both of them had been weakened by other fighters. This time, it's truly one on one." Brad smirked. "Anyway, my money's on the King."

* * * * *

"Buster Slash!"

The Liger Schneider leaped forward, its blades extended and charged.

The Berserk Fury's thrusters fired, forcing it out of the way just in time.

"You'll have to do better than that, Bit!" Vega laughed. "Fury, whip 'em!"

The Berserk Fury's tail whipped out, slamming the Liger Schneider to the ground. Then the T-Rex-like Zoid sprinted away and turned, ready for more.

"Man, he's gotten faster!" Bit muttered, shaking his head. "But we beat them once, and we can do it again. Let's go, partner!"

The Liger Schneider roared in agreement and got up, ready to continue the battle.

"Good. He still wants to fight. It's time, Fury." Vega brushed the dark tresses away from his face and smiled. "Lock down and prepare to fire all three cannons."

The Berserk Fury spread its large legs, activating the clamps in its feet. The gaping jaw lowered, revealing the cannon in its mouth. The shoulder-mounted drills opened up, exposing the other two cannons. The Ultimate X Zoid began to vibrate as it collected energy for its most powerful attack.

"He's going to use the Triple Charged Particle Cannon Assault!" Bit looked worried, but only for a moment. "Guess we'll have to stop him before he gets the chance. Go, Schneider!"

As the Liger Schneider raced forward, Vega's left hand hovered over the shield command, ready to raise it the instant the cannons ceased firing. The right rested on the cannon control. "Here comes my best shot, Bit. Let's see how you and the Liger handle it." He began to fire.

Suddenly, a chill went down Vega's spine, and he paused, uncertain of what to do. Then he smiled slightly. "Adjust the cannons and fire, Fury."

Bit held in a gasp as the Berserk Fury fired all three cannons. It was nothing he hadn't seen before, of course, but seeing those royal violet beams of destruction never failed to take his breath away. Then he started in shock as the beams screamed past the Liger Schneider, just barely scorching the Zoid's surface.

Vega was arguably the best Zoid pilot in existence. He didn't miss. The one time he had, the Berserk Fury had been the one fighting, not Vega, and Bit defeated them for the Royal Cup. So either Vega was no longer controlling his Zoid, or he was throwing the battle. The latter was impossible. Vega's fondest dream was to face Bit & Liger a second time. He would never throw a fight against them.

So then he was prolonging the battle. The little ace wanted this to go on for some time. Bit would not disappoint.

The Liger Schneider leaped at the Berserk Fury, roaring in anticipation. But in the middle of the leap, a loud, ominous sound echoed in Bit's ears. It was not Liger's roar, but the sound of the Berserk Fury's clamps releasing. He didn't realize why until it was too late to stop.

The Berserk Fury lowered its head, then snapped it up in the equivalent of a perfect uppercut. But the sudden movement brought the cockpit directly in line with Liger's charged blades.

Bit only had time to glance down at the window on his comlink. The last thing he saw was a mysterious smile on Vega's face before the impact.

If the Berserk Fury's powerful shield had been up, the Liger's blades would've been snapped in two. Instead, the blades met the unprotected cockpit like a hot knife through so much butter. There was a horrible rending of metal and shattering of glass.

The Berserk Fury wavered on its feet once the Liger Schneider had fallen back, and then the T-Rex-like Zoid collapsed to the ground for the second time in its brief but incredible career.

"VEGA!" Bit screamed, panic in his voice. "SPEAK TO ME! SAY SOMETHING!"

"Good work, Fury," a soft voice whispered through the comlink. "Good wo..."

Bit didn't know if the comlink or Vega had failed, but just then, he didn't care. With a speed formerly unknown to him, he leaped from his cockpit and hit the ground running, yelling his friend and rival's name all the while.

The Berserk Fury's cockpit, or more specifically, the remains of it, was a complete mess. But in the center of the wreck, trapped between two hunks of metal, was a pale arm in a torn black sleeve.

"Liger, get over here!" Bit called. "I need your help!"

With the greatest care, Liger pried the cockpit open, revealing Vega's bloody, broken body. Amazingly enough, he was still conscious, despite the pain that should've sent him into shock long ago.

Bit carefully extracted the boy from the wreck, tears streaming down his face. "Dammit, Vega! What were you thinking, pulling a stunt like that?! Why didn't you use the shield?!"

Vega slowly and painfully opened his eyes, a strange smile on his face. "It was my time, Bit."

"What are you saying?! You're going to die because of me, and I-"

"No," Vega whispered, weakly shaking his head. "It was an honor to die in battle with you, Bit Cloud, but never think my blood is on your hands. My actions are my own."

"It didn't have to be this way," Bit muttered. "It shouldn't have been this way..."

Vega reached up and placed a surprisingly steady hand on Bit's shoulder. "It was meant to be this way. This is my destiny, Bit. And you..." He paused to cough, and a thin trail of blood escaping the corner of his mouth. "You and Liger are the greatest pilot and Zoid team I've ever had the pleasure of fighting."

"Tell me why," Bit rasped, his voice leaving him. "Tell me why you did this!"

Vega closed his eyes. "I have to go, Bit. Please...tell Sarah I love her, and that she is my mother in every...way that..." His hand fell from Bit's shoulder, hanging limply at his side.

Bit's bottom lip trembled as he stared at the body in his arms, trying to understand just why Vega had chosen this day, this moment, and this way to die. The answers did not come, and neither did the inner peace he'd experienced after his last battle with Vega.

Liger's soft growl broke the silence, and Bit looked up to see Shadowfox and the Red Blade Liger racing toward them. With tears in his eyes and a heavy heart, Bit Cloud cradled Vega's body close to his chest and whispered into the dark hair, "Long live the King."

* * * * *

The word of Vega's death spread like wildfire among the Zoid teams. Within a day, everyone that had anything to do with Zoids knew about the terrible loss.

The Zoid Battle Commission acted swiftly. Despite his strong ties to the Backdraft organization, they declared that Vega Obscura was to be remembered as the finest Zoid pilot to ever enter a battle (as well as the runner-up for the Royal Cup). The Royal Cup Tournament itself was renamed the Vega Obscura Memorial Tournament, and the stretch of land where he died was preserved as a national monument. The Berserk Fury itself was entombed in stone and set up as a statue near the site.

Then came the funeral.

* * * * *

"I only knew Vega for a short time, but from the moment we first met, I knew he was special." Bit paused to collect himself. "After competing in the Royal Cup, we made a deal with Brad and Leon to have our own tournament every year. No fame, no fortune, no money. Just four pilots and their Zoids, battling the way they were meant to. This was the first year,'s what brought us all here today."

Bit sighed and went on. "It seems almost silly to say this now, but I thought of Vega as the little brother I always wanted. I think that's the way he would want me to remember him. I guess that's it." He stepped away from the podium and placed a single rose inside Vega's coffin. "Long live the King. Seeya someday, little buddy."

* * * * *

Sarah stared down at the pale face, wondering why. Why had Vega done this? Why had he wanted to die? Why had he wanted to leave her?

"It's the worst thing in the world, isn't it?" Bit asked.


"Not knowing."

Sarah closed her eyes and sighed. "Yes. It is."

"You blame yourself, don't you?"

"Well, yes. I'm the one who pushed him so hard to be the best."

Bit shook his head. "Vega liked being the best."

"And now he's dead because you were better."

"That's not true, Sarah. What happened out there was no accident. Vega knew it could happen. He didn't try to stop it. In fact, I've got a feeling that he wanted it. But he proved to me that he was the best, not me. I could never have done anything"

"What?" Sarah asked.

"So brave. To arrange my own death and not fear it at all. I've never had that kind of courage, and maybe I never will."

"But...Vega loved life. He would never..."

"He did," Bit replied. "You saw the body and the wrecked Zoid. And you yourself designed the Berserk Fury's defense systems. You know the only way the cockpit alone could take that kind of damage was if there hadn't been a shield up, and if the pilot hadn't wanted to live. And there is no way Vega Obscura could lose like that unless he wanted to."

Tears ran down Sarah's cheeks as she looked away. "Why are you telling me this?!"

"Because," Bit said, taking her hands in his own. "I want you to know the truth about what happened out there." He pressed something into her hands, squeezing them tightly. "Now you will."

"What is this?" she asked, looking down.

"I always keep a hidden camera on me when I battle. Just in case. Finally came in handy. It's all there."

"Bit...I don't...know what to say..."

"Say that if you need anything, you'll call me. Say that you won't keep blaming yourself for this. Say that you'll watch this tape...because Vega wants you to."

"Would want me to," she corrected.

Bit frowned. "WANTS you to," he insisted.

"I...fine. I'll do that. Thank you, Bit."

"Thank him yourself," Bit replied as he turned away, "someday."