SALVATION LOST
Written by Star
Volume One: Chapter Seven
"Round One"

The scene was heartbreaking; Pegas who'd meant so much to so many people lay in pieces. Having been there from the beginning, Honda found it incredibly sad that Rebin was not here. Honda felt it was wrong that so many of those who'd witnessed the explosion hadn't helped create Pegas. He sat where Pegas once stood whole with slumped, defeated shoulders.

The once glittering shards of D-boy's crystal lay scattered, dull and forever lost.

.o0o.

"Suave Sumner isn't up for a challenge?" Freeman jested.

"Don't throw chicken in my face, Heinrik." Dave replied smoothly. "That may've worked when we were young and er…"

"Stupid?" Freeman offered.

This tête-à-tête had been an ongoing thorn in both men's sides for weeks. Freeman was anxious to have Dave in the study and knew his decision was being delayed by the grey moral issues. The stalemate had lasted longer than Freeman would normally tolerate, however Dave was an old friend and brilliant in his field. The neurosurgeon, too, understood the delicacy with which his decision would need to be made; understanding too, that the consequence of doing nothing was achieving nothing.

"I just can't help but question the ethics of this; would I be involved in something like this before the invasion?" Dave mused grimly. "You know as well as I, that I wouldn't."

"Is murder, murder, when war's declared?" Freeman asked.

"What price victory, my old friend, if in the process we become as cold, as cruel, as deadly as our foe?" Dave sighed.

.o0o.

I have given you a gift, brother…

D-boy's skin shivered in protest as he stood before Omega, now expelled from his prison and watching the last of his prison's innards oozing to the floor. Months of twisted nightmares and distorted memories had eaten away at his incessant compulsion, his hope that he could do what was necessary to end this war. D-boy stared at his hands as he analysed his first moments of freedom, something he'd desired for so long but paid an incredibly high price to attain. The repayment of this impossible debt left a bitter, bitter taste in his mouth…

Then, left him feeling utterly numb.

.o0o.

In the end it was Milly who broke the stalemate between Freeman and Sumner. She'd borne the weight of the added responsibilities well but today's task was testing her resilience. Milly was on the verge of tears as she stammered her apologies to the now silent room and was grateful when Freeman asked her no questions. The pair remained silent as they hurried along the unusually quiet corridors; Milly was breathless from her attempts to keep pace with Freeman's long, hurried strides.

No sound passed his lips, firm, thin and turning white as he gazed at the deathly quiet room that had an infamous reputation for its noise. Freeman's equally infamous façade hid the pain of his wailing heart as he acknowledged the dull remains of D-boy's shattered crystal, scattered amongst the ruins of Pegas.

oOo

"Now ya know how to handle our girls, respect 'em on your first date or you'll answer to me!"

"YES SIR!"

Slightly taken aback at the chorus of acknowledgement, Noal grinned and dismissed his new team. It had been years since he'd instructed and he was surprised to discover that he'd actually missed it – much better than getting your ass handed to you everyday – he supposed. It had been months since Noal had flown into battle inside the cockpit of a Sol, but he was itching for it. His blood had been boiling ever since Freeman showed him the footage Pegas had captured and was eager to take back a bit of ground for the Earth, even if some considered it an abandoned piece of dirt. Sure, he was babysitting a bunch of brats barely old enough to shave, sure his knee hurt like hell when confined for too long in his Sol but at least he would be contributing.

Freeman trusted him to take control of the battlefield, Noal silently promised one hell of a battle.

oOo

"Nothing was salvageable?"

"The crystal is completely useless without D-boy." Freeman sighed. "His crystal has no brilliance, it's dead and Pegas is gone." The silence lingered for a longer time, the pale woman with intense turquoise eyes allowed Freeman the moment he needed.

"I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed research," Freeman sighed. "But, I can't ignore my responsibilities with the Space Knights."

"I'm sorry that Dave won't commit, but hasn't that always been his problem?"

"Be reasonable, Leigh." Freeman grinned. "Whatever the decisions in his personal life, Dave's a consummate professional." He chortled, falling silent as their eyes met.

"Much like us, I assume." The silence lingered, a foul, sour zest settling between them, much like the many years since their last conversation. Freeman, the stalwart Commander of the Space Knights who with a mere gaze could unsettle the cockiest and confident of all, suddenly appeared very human to her. Here was a man shouldering great responsibility, she knew, biting her lip to chastise her selfish remark.

"How soon can you arrange my transport?"

.o0o.

"No parasite to dull your mind, why do you stand there in a stupor?"

Try as he might, he just couldn't imagine that it was Kengo beneath all that dark armour, the Devil with whom he'd sold his soul. D-boy forced his mind to accept the predicament just as he accepted the clothes that materialised before him. It felt oddly comforting to wear the remnants of his uniform again, although he wondered where Omega had sourced them from.

"Perhaps you should ask Shinya?" Omega suggested.

D-boy started to say something but thought better of it. It was unsettling how Omega could pierce his thoughts, another reminder of his deal with the Devil. Pushing his dark, fatalistic thoughts aside, D-boy reminded himself of why he'd signed on the dotted line and allowed himself a brief moment to picture her face…

oOo

No matter how ardently he'd tried, it was difficult to avoid her in such close quarters. It had been years since Shinya had the luxury to consider the consequences of his actions because Radam's goal could justify any means necessary to ensure success. How easy it was to bend Radam's will in blind fury, the same mindless insanity that drove him to attack the woman who represented his brother in absentia. Shinya was sure that the reason was clear to him then, but now he found it difficult to remember how he'd justified his actions in the weeks following Aki's capture.

"I'm just here to get a drink," He mumbled.

Aki cursed her carelessness as she bumped into Shinya. She'd seen him weak and vulnerable recently but it was not enough to make her forget what he'd put her through. She moved aside stiffly, allowing him to pass into the kitchenette. Aki was desperate for news on D-boy and her friendship with Hun Rii not withstanding; there were no doubts as to where older woman's loyalties lay. Aki was petrified that Shinya would perform his Jekyll and Hyde act if she dared to utter D-boy's name and moved around the bench to put some distance between them before rallying what little courage she could muster.

"Hun Rii won't tell me anything," She started, watching him carefully and was relieved that he hadn't turned on her furiously. "I deserve to know what's happened to him."

Shinya put his cup down calmly and turned to regard her.

"In the very least, you owe me the truth." She continued, her voice low. His appearance was so similar to D-boy's, it was confronting that something once so comforting and familiar was now a catalyst for painful, vivid memories. Aki knew D-boy well enough to read his body language and was utterly dismayed to discover another resemblance between the twins as she determined that Shinya was close to a sulk.

"He's alive." Shinya replied as the ghostly image of his crystal glowed faintly on his forehead.

oOo

Freeman chose to keep Pegas' apparent self-destruction from Noal, determining that the news would do little more than distract him in battle. Turn the page and another chapter unfolds, Freeman thought tiredly. Noal's small squad, hopefully the first of many, was sailing into uncharted waters; an attack without Tekkaman Blade. The chosen battleground might've seemed insignificant to the untrained eye, but it was a possible escape route to Freeman's. It was a nagging feeling that he'd initially dismissed as paranoia, but Freeman wanted to avoid the uncertainty that the Space Knights encountered when their desert base was destroyed. His first choice was Australia as it was isolated and bountiful. Pre-invasion, the Australian population was significantly lower than other countries with its resources and Radam's threat was therefore greatly reduced. Logistically however, Freeman determined it would be a nightmare. The destination could wait, the exit strategy could not.

"No bogies so far, Chief." Noal reported. Shaking his musings away, Freeman acknowledged Noal and wished him good hunting.

oOo

"Nothing hides in this landscape," Noal reminded the team before giving the order to proceed. It was their job to secure the western quadrant with a small force while reserves waited to launch a surprise volley in case the scouts had been inaccurate in their estimates. Noal allowed his thoughts to stray momentarily to the monster who commanded Radam, then to Balzac, Aki and D-boy. A blip on his radar brought him back to reality and he was proud to see his squad falling into attack formation without an order issued. Now his radar was going wild and he caressed the trigger lovingly.

"Come on ya bastards, show your face!" He growled.

Show their face they did, with Tekkaman Sword leading the charge.

oOo

Shinya walked the deathly quiet walk to Omega's throne room. It was nothing like he envisioned a throne room to be, but that was what he and his fallen Tekkamen had dubbed the room that housed the warlord. Shinya had stopped speculating as to the reasons behind Omega's summons; his thoughts were now focussed inward, judging both his decisions and actions. This was nothing new to him as Shinya had always been one to look within himself for answers…at least he had been before his Radam reconditioning. Regardless, he was drained mentally and tired of the constant confusion that accompanied an interaction with Aki. Shinya secretly hoped Omega would order him to some little patch of dirt on Earth and recover. This was a revelation in itself; had his obsession with Takaya subsided?

The thought disturbed him and he shook his head gently as if to exorcise it from his mind; an audience with Omega demanded nothing extraneous in mind or body. Had he not been distracted on his way in, Shinya might've detected something amiss.

Shinya had less than a second to register a dangerous pair of green eyes, burning through the darkness and glaring murderously at him. Whatever conciliatory thoughts he may have entertained abandoned him as D-boy's fist connected with his jaw.

To be continued in: Chapter Eight – ROUND TWO

AUTHOR'S NOTE

Pop-culture reference: 'Back to the Future?' Marty always jumped at the opportunity to prove himself a man whenever someone called him 'chicken'

DISCLAIMER

The author does not claim to own Tekkaman Blade, Tekkaman Blade II or Teknoman – they are the property of Tatsunoko. The author does claim the Salvation Lost concept, deviating from the original series and all original characters created henceforth. Please do not borrow any characters or ideas without my permission…or I'll unleash sugar-crazed Chibi's to track you down.