The Chronometal Wars
The Red Story
-Mekel the Healer-
Part 2 of 2

Brick is back in bed.

It all felt like one gigantic flash of action and death... but he's finally back. The Panic, Heroesbane only lasted a few short days, yet almost all of the world's heroes were killed. To make matters worse, it was all a plot to simply give Cranston a compatible hero to test his Shira on. All of this death, all of this suffering...

All for such a simple test. If Brisbaine was telling the truth, then even as a test, Shira Starfire could have actually destroyed the world... were it not for Butch's ultimate sacrifice, it could have happened. Brick sighs and lies down to get more comfortable. His bones are still screaming out in pain, but with all these casts it doesn't really hurt as much anymore.

Mekel walks back into the room, but to Brick's surprise; he's not dressed as a doctor. He's wearing a suit not much unlike Brick's own military suit. Accented with dark blue and black colorations. He looks a lot more serious today than when he was here last.

"Mekel?" – "Oh, Brick. You're awake. I thought the anesthetic would keep you down for hours." – "It's hard to sleep when all you can see when you close your eyes are enemies barreling down on you..." Brick states, looking Mekel up and down once more.

"Your clothing... it's military, isn't it?" – "Yes. I've rejoined after everything that happened." Brick sits back up. "You... were a member of the Military?" – "Yes... in fact I even worked close with Brisbaine. I left a long time ago and swore never to come back... but after everything that went down, I know I'm needed now more than ever. Not just as a doctor... but as a spiritual warrior." Brick smiles. "I can respect that... but, it doesn't really answer why you're here."

Mekel smiles as a new person enters the room. It's Dexter, to Brick's surprise.

"Oh... Dexter..." Brick states. "Brick." Dexter says just as flatly. Dexter walks into the back of the room to the curtain and flips it open. Olga is there, as always, still with such a far away look in her eye.

"Did you do what I told you to?" Dexter asks, looking over to the Militarized Mekel. "Yes, but unfortunately, I think this is all I can do for her. I'm moving out very soon. This is my last action as a freelance doctor." – "I understand." Dexter says, looking behind Olga to her back.

To Brick's surprise as he eavesdrops, there are several mechanical parts imbedded in her back with a large socket going right into her spine. Dexter takes a cylinder out and shows it to Mekel.

"Keep in mind... this is NOT a soul. This is merely... a temporary bonding agent to 'emulate' the soul that was present in her before. I can replicate more of these in my lab as the years go by, but as far as I can see, without someone truly sacrificing their own souls... she will never truly recover." Mekel nods, sadly. "Thank you, Dexter..." He says as Dexter slips the cylinder into Olga's spine, hearing it click into place and close up.

Olga's face doesn't change. "It could take... years for it to take any real effect. But the isolated tests in my lab that I conducted during my free time show very high chance of success." Dexter says, distracted. He looks at Olga, who doesn't look back. "See you... tomorrow." He says, walking out of the room. Mekel stays with Olga, checking her pulse and pupils to make sure everything is still normal.

Dexter leaves the room, leaving Mekel and Brick.

"Everything looks fine." Mekel says, moving the curtain back over her. "So... you're leaving?" – "Unfortunately, yes. Another doctor will be with you soon to see how you're feeling." He says, nearing the door outward, but turning his head back around to look at Brick once more.

"Good bye, Brick." He says, closing the door. Brick sighs and settles back in; trying to get some more sleep.

However, he can hear people talking in the hallway...

"I don't need to stay in... I just need a checkup..." She insists, but is being pushed along by a lady doctor. "No buts, Bubbles. You got to get into a bed and we will look at you shortly. There's a bed in this room, we're a little packed at the moment so I hope you don't mind sharing a room." – "Not at all..." Bubbles states, walking into the door. She notices someone sleeping in a bed, and another still guised in a curtain.

She looks at the nearby empty bed as the lady doctor comes back in. "Get into your underwear and we'll begin." – "I keep telling you, I don't really need to be here... can't you just LOOK at it?" – "Look, the longer you complain, the longer you're going to be here." Bubbles groans and takes her clothes off and sits on the bed. The doctor nears her and looks at her arm socket with various doctor's tools.

"Just as I thought. You were right to come here." She says, reaching for something in her bag. "Is it infected?" – "It's a minor infection, yes. Your friend Dexter was able to cauterize it well enough, but without any real medical attention, it was only a matter of time." She says, writing something onto a piece of paper. "I'm going to write you a prescription for some antibiotics." – "Great, cool. Can I go now?" She says in a rush. "No, there's a good deal of dead tissue here that will need some attention in a few minutes." – "Minutes? Why not now?" – "All of the operating rooms are occupied. One should be cleared shortly. Get comfortable, I'll be back soon." She says, leaving the room and closing the door behind her.

Bubbles sighs and lays back onto the bed, lost in thought. The person in the bed yawns and wakes up, smacking his lips and looking up to see who the new person it.

The man raises his eyebrow.

"Bubbles...?" – "Brick? What are you... oh, wait... haha." Bubbles says to herself before rolling her eyes. "What?" – "Nothing, it's just that Dexter recommended this place to me. Figures." – "Dexter, huh? How is he doing, by the way?" – "Wasn't he just here?" – "Yeah... but he was very distant. Didn't say more than a single word to me." Bubbles looks out the window.

"Yeah... we're all taking Blossom's death kind of hard." Brick's eyes go wide. "Oh... right... Blossom's... dead..." Bubbles nods. Brick looks back at his lap. Bubbles looks over and looks Brick up and down. He's not wearing a shirt and is sitting in his bed with a pained expression on his face. His body is so bruised and battered...

"Buttercup told me something before I came here. Something about you." – "Oh yeah? Anything good?" Brick chuckles. "Yes, actually... she told me that you had gone hero, possibly even saved the world." – "I wouldn't go that far, if I failed, you guys definitely would have been able to clean it up." Bubbles giggles a small bit and sits up not much unlike Brick is right now, still in her underwear.

"Maybe... but I was doing something at the time." – "The press conference?" Bubbles nods. "Yes. It went well, until it was canceled near the end when a giant flash erupted in the sky. I wasn't sure what to make of it. I was so sure you were..." She says, diverting her eyes, but Brick follows up- "Dead. Yeah, I get that a lot. Truth is, I was the only one of my brothers who survived. I think Boomer's still alive somewhere... but I'm not sure." – "I'm... sorry to hear that." Bubbles says.

The doctor re-enters the room. "Bubbles, your room is ready." – "Actually, can you give us a minute?" The doctor raises her eyebrow. "Sure... It will be ready again in about half an hour." She says, closing the door.

"I heard about what happened with Starfire." She says. After a short pause, Brick nods. "Yeah... she was another person who died in my arms." He says, raising his hands up and looking at them. Bubbles notices he has a robot hand, and remembers that Blossom actually cut it off during the Second War.

Why did this all have to happen...?

Brick closes his hands and his eyes. "I like to think that my actions had worth, that all that I did these past few days had meaning... but I can't. When I wanted to save the people, I let them die... all of them." He says, dropping his hands and sighing.

Bubbles continues to look at him as he hands his head dejectedly.

"Do you have anywhere to go?" She asks, causing him to look up. "Huh? What do you mean?" – "After you get out of this hospital... do you have a place to, you know... live?" He shakes his head. "No, I don't. I was thinking of staying here for a while. A couple days of inaction would make me feel wonders better... but after that, I don't know..." He says. Bubbles however, quickly picks the topic back up.

"You can stay at my place." She says, almost blushing, but not diverting her eyes. "Your... place?" She nods. "Are you sure? I mean... that would be weird. We were enemies not too long ago." – "You're not my enemy anymore, Brick. I know that. You're a person who fought to save many people during all of this. Just like... Blossom did. Yes, I'm sure, Brick." Brick smiles, but diverts his eyes, embarrassed.

"Th-Thanks... I would like that, Bubbles." – "Oh, I almost forgot." Bubbles says, getting up to look in her clothes pocket. She takes out a note. "Dexter told me if I saw anyone I knew here, to give them this. He was obviously just being cryptic and mentioning you. Here." She says, walking over and handing Brick the note. He reads it.

To Brick.
If you are going to stay in the hero business, I salute you. I however, am leaving it along with my fiancée. Mekel can no longer take care of and hide Olga, so I need to ask you to do it. I'm sorry to ask you such a burden, but if I were to keep her, the hero's call may creep into my household... and I can't have that anymore. The time you saw me last will likely be the last time for about a year... should you accept.

I will show up yearly to provide her a new soul-emulator, but that's really all I can do. I know this is a lot to ask, but I promised an old friend I wouldn't let any harm come to her... and I'm afraid I can no longer protect her anymore. I'm asking you as a friend, can you please do this?


Brick smiles. "Since when were we 'friends' Dexter? Whatever." He says, crumpling the note. "What did it say?" Bubbles asks, now sitting back in her bed.

"You invited me to your house... right? Any chance you could make room for two?" – "Who?" Brick looks over to the curtained bed. He stands up, still in a small amount of pain and walks over, flipping it open. Bubbles instantly recognizes who it is and nods.

"I see..." She says. "Yes, she can come, too. It's going to be lonely at my house without that many people, anyway." – "Well she doesn't make great conversation." Brick says, putting his hand on her shoulder.

To his surprise, Olga actually looks over at him and into his eyes. "Brick...?" She says very faintly. Brick's eyes go wide. Did... Did Olga just talk?!

Author's Notes: And that was the end of the Red Story, for real this time. One of the few times I ever ended a story without a giant action scene, as the action was graciously spread throughout the main story. The final parts were mostly made to set up for the next story in the Chronology, The Black War. Big shoutout to Havoc/Sanpee for the inspiration to make this story in the first place.

The next story to be posted will be another "character focused" one called THE ETERNAL WATCHER, championing Otto, but not OUR Otto. If you paid attention to the main story enough, you may have noticed that multiple Ottos, at least 3, were mentioned.