This idea has been manifesting in my head for at least two weeks now, and I'd like to vent it. Especially since I know the beginning and end, but not the middle. Anyway, this fic is starting at episode 42 ("Raven") of Zoids Classic/Chaotic Century. And we are just going to pretend that Raven never gets a ride with that old man in the Gustav. Other than that, I've tried to get any scripted events down word for word. Trust me, I watched the episode a couple of times before writing this fic.
I do not own Zoids. All related characters, storylines and trademarks belong to their respective companies.
I'll Pity You When You're Gone
--------------------------One: The Tragedy Of Life
Harsh sand blew across the desert with tearing force. There was nothing to break the wind, so it flew unabated and unhindered. The sand hills wavered in the intense heat; like a sea of air above the ground. And through this ocean of heat, staggered a man.
He trudged in a straight line, barely changing his pace whether he was walking up a hill or down a pit. The wind tore at his clothes and face, yet he made no move to shield his eyes from the onslaught. Anyone who chanced upon him would think him a poor fool on a persistent journey. But this wasn't true, for Raven had no destination. He didn't know why he walked; he just did.
Behind his dead eyes, Raven's mind was just as dead. There were no conscious thoughts, no feelings of hope or despair or loneliness. There was nothing, only a fog as deep and dense as water. He didn't observe anything around him, not knowingly. On an obscure level, he knew he wasn't dead. He knew that he lived, breathed and moved. He knew it, but he also didn't know it. The part of him that functioned was sub-conscious; the survival instincts most basic that are the force of life.
His step faltered suddenly, and unable to compensate quickly enough Raven crashed to the ground. Lying there, breathing in the sand, he felt no compulsion to get up again. Ashen hair covered his face from the burning sun; he wasn't going to move again.
But then his lungs rebelled at the sand being inhaled. Coughing violently, he was forced up onto his knees. Involuntarily he wrapped one arm across his torso, and flung the other out into the sand as he heaved. Sparks of pain shot up his arm, his savagely scarred palm scratching against the grains.
The coughing got rougher and harder, as another being crossed the plains towards him. Raven dimly heard steps coming closer. Distinctive mechanical steps. His subconscious came into play then as it did when he encountered something abnormal. It forced him to stop coughing, though it could not halt the violent shaking in his body. For some moments Raven just sucked in long haggard breaths.
The mechanized footfalls halted.
Still gasping, Raven lifted his head to look upwards. Shadow stood five metres away, staring at him with sky blue eyes that burned in his black frame. The organoid did nothing else; just looked.
Raven planted his other hand on the ground and pushed himself up. Beneath the choking fog, his instincts harried him to keep going. He managed to get to his feet. Swaying a little, his blank gaze had returned to the ground. The organoid still watched; he could feel him watching. Pulling his eyes up once more, he looked at Shadow – shimmering in the heat - with no interest. Something on the horizon behind Shadow drew his attention.
A dark huddle of shapes, with lines too sharp and straight to be natural.
Without a word, Raven began walking in the base's direction. Shadow swiveled his long neck to gaze after his wayward companion, then followed in his wake.
"Someone's stolen a Gordos!"
"Security force to the west side, repeat, to the west side!"
The Republican forces scattered wildly as a blast erupted from the Zoid hangar. Heat waves flew outwards, burning through the dirt and dust. Once it had died down the men took the first opportunity they had to reach their Gunsnipers.
As soon as their snouts had emerged from the building, Raven fired again. Missiles impacted the walls and ground, and occasionally Zoids. He didn't care. He wasn't making the choices now.
His hands on the control pads suddenly pulled back then across together. More missiles shot out of the Gordos, homing in on a Redler that had previously escaped the bombardment. The subconscious thoughts warned that any escaping Zoid was a hazard. Therefore. . .
"It's just one Zoid!" cried a man from his Gunsniper, desperately swinging around to aim at the hijacked Gordos. "Why can't we handle it?"
"Are you kidding? Have you seen that thing?"
Any reply the soldier might have made was silenced when Shadow ripped through the middle of his Zoid, instantly killing both man and machine. Shadow emerged out the other side as the Zoid collapsed to the floor. Watching only for a second, the organoid tilted his head back towards Raven.
From the cockpit of the Gordos Raven numbly acknowledged the organoids' contribution to the massacre. He shifted his gaze to the left, seeing and not seeing the last of the soldiers preparing to fire in one final showdown.
His hands pulled back, then across.
A deafening explosion rent the air, closely following the intense white blast that had given it birth. The ground itself rumbled, buildings and pillars crashing down around the destroyed base. Gripping the controls tightly, Raven didn't bother to shut his eyes against the blinding light. The Gordos rattled and shook.
And then the night fell silent.
His numb fingers relaxed out of their strangle hold on the controls. All around the battered Gordos fires burned and raged in what had once been an army base. Now it was a collection of rubble and scarred buildings, a graveyard for the hundreds of soldiers and Zoids that were unlucky enough to call this place their home.
The orange cockpit hatch jumped open, and Raven felt the immense heat blast his skin. He caught sight of Shadow flitting past to land a few metres away. The organoids' bright blue eyes, so out of place in its darkened metal face, stared up at the Gordos unit. Raven saw, but didn't react for a while.
Flipping his right hand over, he looked at his palm. The scar was bleeding again. It always did, whenever he found himself piloting a Zoid. It didn't occur to him to bandage it.
He pushed himself up out of the seat then jumped to the ground. His knees almost buckled when he impacted, but he managed not to fall. Behind him, the telltale groans from the wrecked Zoid magnified as it began to topple over. Hearing the crash, but not truly listening, Raven started walking again. He passed by Shadow without even looking at him, if indeed he'd noticed him at all.
Staring dully at the ground, he didn't know where he was going. There was no plan for him; he went wherever his feet directed him. The mechanical footsteps started up behind him again.
He stopped then. There was a wall. Looking up, he saw it was a building that was still fairly intact. Somewhere in his mind, below the fog, where his instincts and war knowledge lay, he knew it was a food hall. This seemed to mean something, as he immediately reached for the doorknob in front of him. His fingers weren't cooperating though, so he switched hands, leaving blood on the handle.
Pushing the door open he was met with the sight of tables, chairs, and artificial light. This was so foreign to what he was used to that it didn't make any kind of sense for a few moments. Slowly he understood once more, and entered. The edges of benches and chairs seemed oddly blurred, but he didn't give that any thought. Whenever he came onto an army base things seemed indistinct. The first time he'd noticed that, a vague feeling of unease had arisen. But the instincts just put it down to fatigue: people who were overly tired often hallucinated or experienced foggy vision. So he never thought about it any more. He didn't think about anything anymore.
Raven crossed the floor to the other side of the deserted hall, where a small kitchenette had been set into the wall. Pots and pans were scattered across the benchtop as though someone had thought of washing them but were interrupted. Which they probably had been.
He began opening the cupboards below the bench, one after the other, and not shutting them when he was done. Empty. Empty. Empty. Turning quickly, he spotted a sink with several cups and plates near it. A sense of urgency came over him, and he snatched up one of the glasses. Filling it to the brim with tap water, he drank it down almost as fast as it had filled, and plunged it back under the stream of water.
He went on in this way for five glasses, until finally he started feeling sick. Dropping the cup, he braced himself against the cool tabletop and breathed. Normally he wouldn't do this. Either he had no will to, or the other part of him regulated what he did.
But sometimes needs wouldn't be ignored.
Pushing himself away from the bench again, Raven went to the overhead storage cupboards. There were no other places here to store things in that he hadn't checked. Reaching up, he pulled the cupboard door open and flung his hand in. He fumbled around blindly, unable to lift his head to see what he was doing. He didn't rightly know himself.
There wasn't anything there. Frantic now, he pushed his arm in further, still searching. Still, nothing. Strange gasping sobs started coming from somewhere, and Raven belatedly realized it was him. He was about to give up, just lie down and die, when his hand hit something that wasn't a wooden panel. Snatching it up, he yanked his arm back out of the cupboard and brought it closer to his face.
It was a carrot.
Raven stared at it, still breathing hard. Suddenly he felt very tired. Somehow he made his way back around the kitchen benches to one of the larger tables meant for lunches and dinners. Collapsing into a seat, he absently bit into the carrot. He couldn't think anymore. Even instincts seemed too much. And sometimes it wasn't enough. But on those rare occasions when he tried, he couldn't do anything but bring back one memory. A memory of pain and fear and burning. And screaming.
His vision was blurring further, and starting to fade out at the edges. He felt himself, as though from far away, start to slide forward on his arms onto the table. He shouldn't sleep here. He shouldn't. They'd come soon. . . come and find what he had done. . . he couldn't sleep here. . .
Looking out over the fires and chaos, Shadow flicked his tail once. There was no wind tonight, so the fires would not be fed and would soon die down. But not for a while.
Growling a bit, the organoid turned and went to the doorway where Raven had been before. He wasn't there now. Shadow ducked his head down slightly and snorted. He didn't like not being able to see where the boy was. Something might go wrong. Shadow had found it hard to get a response out of Raven. And he wasn't looking out for his own safety or well being anymore. Only Shadow did that.
Shadow bent his spiked head down to enter the doorway. Coming through he noticed signs that this was a human meal place. They always ate together in one spot. At least in the places he went they did.
It took only a second to spot Raven. The Zoid pilot had his head buried in his arms on the table in front of him where he sat. It gave the effect of making him look all the more darker, without the stark contrast of his pale skin to balance him. Shadow tilted his head. Judging by the steady - if slightly weak – breathing, Raven was asleep. Or unconscious. There didn't seem to be much difference these days. More often he would pass out than fall asleep, though the result was the same. Shadow made his way over, his metal feet making loud echoing noises around the empty hall. Trying to be quiet was not something the organoid was good at.
Gently, Shadow nudged Raven with his nose. The only response he got was a sharper burst of breath from somewhere underneath Raven's charcoal hair. Definitely asleep.
Shadow straightened and made his way back to the entrance clearly marked by the dancing flames beyond it. He took three steps outside, then settled back on his haunches. Much as he wanted his companion to sleep, army forces where never far behind them. So he waited and watched, ready.
OK, so there's chapter 1. Of course I'm not doing EVERYTHING in canon, I had to change some parts or it would be like reading a script, wouldn't it? If you noticed anything off, like bad grammar or spelling, please let me know. It might be intentional, or it might be something I missed. And if I've gotten any Zoids names wrong, I BEG YOU to tell me that! It's damned near impossible to look up this stuff, I'm going by what I think they should be spelled like.
Until next chapter then.