Mega Man X and all assorted characters are all copyrighted to Capcom.

This story is copyrighted 2003 by A.R. Carpenter, reproduction of any part of this story in any medium is prohibited, unless with written permission from the author. Measures will be taken against anyone who alters, copies, distributes, or claims authorship. I also reserve the right to hurt you if you do.

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"Looking Back."

By A.R. Carpenter

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Fire crackling merrily within it's metal cage within the hearth, the golden light from the antique lamp spilling it's light upon everlasting data pads of work, Doctor Cain took a nip from his sherry glass and sighed over the ever-endless task of paperwork. It was late at night, curtains drawn to block the moonlight, and yet he pressed onward diligently.

And yet as the hours went by his attention waned, and neither from his old age nor the tediousness of the work. There was a sinking train of thought within his bald spot cranium, one that slowly smothered everything else until he had no choice than to stop, lean back in his chair, and look at the work before him.

He had long since retired from being the CEO of the Maverick Hunter organization, and yet he still continued to work within the Council of Reploid Administration, one of the main advisors for reploid laws and rights. One after another, files referring to reploid laws, rights, Maverick prevention and studies followed on and off his desk at a constant steady pace. He'd seen such work for such a long period it was nothing to him now, and yet, there was that sinking thought.

Ever since the day of the First Uprising he had initially blamed himself and thought over where he went wrong to cause this. True, he found Mega Man X and created reploids, but did he truly drive reploids to mass rebellion and hatred so thick they wished the death of an entire race?

Sigma, at first at least, had set himself up to be a reploid liberator, to free humankind from the tyranny of human oppression. This had been a mix of a wake-up call and a slap in the face for humans as they watched their own creations call them a blight on the planet and violently defect away from them. Even if it was for their own gain at worst, humans did allow reploids into their society and social circles, a unusual and unthought of race of possibly superior beings that caused more than a bit of unease. After all, after being the dominant species of a planet for thousands of years and then having to face the fact a race they created was more advanced than them, was not a comforting thought. Humans were a proud race, and thousands of years of dominance didn't help. It really wasn't unexpected some humans would find the idea of reploids distasteful and act hostile towards them.

The Mavericks said humans bought and sold their own lives, committed them to a purpose that enslaved them, used them for their own gain, and so forth. They said they were perfectly capable of managing their own lives.

But as Cain thought back to the regulations he helped create, he thought - no, knew - that the laws were necessary. Reploids in their own way were proud, learning very quickly they were more advanced in raw intelligence and power, and thus became a bit indignant when a weaker race was ordering them around. In all frankness, they didn't see the big picture. Just because they were born mentally mature and had more intelligence, did not make up for the fact that many of them were barely a few years old. Any human that worked in business or industry had many years of experience behind him, simple experience of how life and other humans worked. Some reploids couldn't see what was holding them back - maturity and experience. After all, if they were smarter, who needed experience? They failed themselves in thinking that way. If anything, the constant rules humans put into place were the same for a parent putting restrictive rules on their children, who did not have the experience to logically function totally on their own. It was doubtless that after a reploid had matured, these laws would no longer be necessary...but many reploids were not willing to wait, unknowing of their true naiveté, like rebellious teenagers.

More so, reploids thought that they were enslaved because they were born for a simple purpose, turned into a human toy. They didn't see that everyone, human or not, were toys of fate. Humans were not the free and un-programmed beings reploids thought they were - humans, in their own right, were just as constrained. Not every human could be a scientist, an artist, a boxer - many chose their career for the simple reason is that they were good at it, and thus they enjoyed it. Even whole families created a business passed through generations, genes passes down through children as they were all inherently good at the same talent. People with powerful bodies were athletes and people with great intellect where scientists - no different to how a strong reploid was a construction worker and a reploid with an advanced CPU was a doctor. You simply couldn't force them to do anything opposite, because that was just the way they were.

Then the Repliforce...Cain couldn't help but sigh at the memory of the once great royal army of endless rows of white soldiers trimmed with gold, red, and black, something definitely to be in awe of. But the pride that made them something to admire and perhaps fear had turned in on them and caused their down fall, as they blindly fought for the hopeless idea that they could govern their own society. The General, first born of the Repliforce, was only eight years old at the time and yet thought he could govern over three hundred thousand reploids? He had no idea what he was in for. Reploids had never been left to make their own decisions, mostly because none of them had enough experience to make important ones. Humans had learned their current democracy and human rights after countless years of trial and error, of corrupt governments and a sea of innocent blood. They fought long and hard to finally find something that worked for everyone and yet, it always wavered every once in a while. Humans had learned from their own mistakes and atrocities - the Repliforce would have only vaguely learned about it in their history lessons after they were created. Genocide and religious holy wars were only empty words to them; it never quite stuck like a human after they learned their own ancestors died because of their beliefs. Even if the Repliforce simply stole the government system the humans had sacrificed so much for and employed it, they would still learn the hard way how difficult it would be to maintain - it was much harder than it looked. The General only knew how to give out orders with no questions asked...not how to benignly and fairly govern a mass of individuals that would undoubtedly squabble despite they were comrades.

Cain knew that if they allowed the Repliforce to have its own country that in only a matter of years it would be in strife, comrades turning on each other as the army would split into different factions warring against the other. It would have never lasted long, and the Repliforce's pride would only cause themselves to tear their utopia to pieces. Only a very long time of many generations would they get it right, like the humans.

The old man knew then that it was not entirely his fault or his race - if anything it was the pride of two powerful races that was causing the problem. Wars started over religion, land, riches ... now it was for the arrogant pride of two different races that caused the conflict. Not all humans were totally accepting or forgiving, and not all reploids were reasonable and tolerant. There was that majority that simply wanted to get along with their lives without wars, but there was always the Mavericks and Maverick Hunters, fighting endlessly until one side was destroyed. A battle to the death.

"Doctor Cain?" Wafted a gentle voice along with two green eyes peeping around the door, snapping the old man out of his thoughts and back into reality.
"Oh, X!" Cain replied lightly with surprise, "Come in, come in! Can't have you in the cold!"
"With all due respect, I've had worse." X chuckled, but nonetheless letting himself in and walking across the red carpet to the desk. He eyed all the data pads flatly, "Still buried in work, I see."
"Tsk, nothing this old coot can handle. What brings you here, X?"
"Just wondering how this old coot was going," X replied cheekily, and dodged a half-hearted swipe with a cane. The blue robot then held out a disk, "Signas wanted this delivered to you, as well."
Cain took the disk resignedly, "Gee, wonder what it could be about." He drawled dryly.
X's eyebrows knitted slightly in slight disapproval, "You know, I worry about you," he admitted, folding his arms, "All these late nights and work. You're getting - "
"Too old?" Cain cut in with a raised eyebrow, "Now, boy, I don't think a young, ageless little soul like you has the right to lecture me on my age."
X scratched the back of his head in shame, "Uh, yeah, I guess not."
"Don't worry. I know my body well. But enough of that." Cain dismissed with a wave of his hand.
"Zero wanted to come too," X assured, "But he's busy with a late-night training session with some rookies."
"I know, only important work could prioritise little social meetings," Cain sighed, sinking into his chair. After a long moment of silence, he turned to X, "May I ask you a question, X?"
"Yeah, sure." X replied, blinking at the question.
Cain rolled the question in his head a bit before saying slowly, "Have you ever looked back on your life and wonder, with the situation your life and the world is in, that maybe you should have done something different?"
"Like wonder if I did something else I could have prevented all this?"
"Yes."
"To be frank, heck yes." X stated strongly. "Like how?"
The robot paused a bit at that, holding his chin for a moment before saying, "Thinking, that if I had done something else, maybe I could have stopped Sigma sooner, or defeat him properly the first time, or perhaps save Zero from his first death, Midi and Techno, Doppler, the Repliforce...I guess anyone can look back and see what they could have done different. Trust me, I've done a lot of that. But I did what felt right at the time - in truth, I followed my head, my gut instinct, and sometimes my heart. I can look back in hindsight and see the flaws, but at the time, I chose the best decision I could make. As long as I learn from that experience, I'll be a bit more the wiser the next time around."
Cain was silent as he digested this, then asked, "Do you regret anything? Being a hunter?"
"Well," X sighed, "Sort of. I regret the Repliforce, Sigma, like I said before, all the things I could have done better. But being a Hunter...no, I don't. Even after all the battles and lost friends, I don't regret signing up. Because I made a difference and protected people, and even if I get battered so badly I can't see straight, if I save one person's life, it's worth it," X now lanced the Doctor with a questioning gaze with his head cocked, "My turn - why all the questions, Cain?"
"I've been thinking," Cain declared quietly, "That maybe if I had something different the world wouldn't be in this state, with Mavericks and human extremists. That if I had the laws different, if I never created Sigma, maybe create reploids."
"And?"
"And..." Cain picked up, "After what you said, I realize that I took the best choices that there was at the time, Sigma seemed a good idea, along with the laws. I regret a lot in my life, but heck - who knew? But there is one thing that I will never regret." X arched his eyebrows curiously, "What's that?"
Cain smiled widely, "Why, finding you, my boy! And repairing Zero. You two are the reploids I'll never regret bringing into the world, and not just because you've saved the world either."
"That's really nice to hear, Cain." X smiled warmly.
The old man slowly rose from his chair, turning off the lights and fireplace with his keypad on his desk, "Come on, X, let's go. I think I've had enough thinking for one night."
With that the blue robot escorted the doctor out the dark room, locking the door behind them and down the hall of the office, leaving behind the thoughts, the worries, and the regrets.

END.
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Author notes! Ahh! Honestly, if you don't wanna read this you can leave now, but I was a woman on a mission when I wrote this, and I'd to express why.

I'm a fan of MMX and Sonic the hedgehog, and in both humans are portrayed as antagonists. I'm okay as having a human being or a group of them being evil - hey, we can be nasty little buttholes if we wanna. However I do, and always have, objected to fanfics that portray our entire race as evil, war mongering weasels. I know that in the past and even now we have been cruel, unfair, bloodthirsty, but darnit, that's not our 'nature'. We can be like that, but not all of us, and it's not our sole nature to be like that. We also have the nature to be pacifists, kind, compassionate, loving. Our race is so amazingly double-edged.

I'm not trying to shove my opinion down your throats - this is my opinion. But heck, people, why do humans write stories that diss their own race? I am proud to be a human being, and I have faith in my own kind to not blow itself off the planet. And if we do, it's only because of a few nasty souls with warheads.

This was also to address the issue of the relations between reploids and humans - there would undoubtedly be hatred and conflict, but the reploids are always the ones complaining about it. Why not racist-yet-not-Maverick reploids, why not the reploids at fault too? What if the humans were being kind and fair but the reploids couldn't see that, just like rebellious teenagers? You've seen them - maybe you're one of them. Your parents seem so unfair, mean, and oppressive, and you can't wait to leave them. But in the future you'll realize they were only looking after you because they created you, looked after you.

We're all fans of MMX - if you met a robot who was like a human mentally in every way, would you only think it as just a machine? Could you insult a machine that would still flinch and cry? Give humanity some credit - it's true we've looked down on other races. Now in this era of political correctness, you can't even act mean to a black person without everyone turning on you. Would we truly be so cruel to not just another species, but something we created, we educated, nurtured maybe? Think about that.

Although, I'll admit that at first reploids wouldn't be treated with complete fairness. But up to the time after the fourth uprising, about over a decade IMHO, things would change.

So this is the other side to the story, where both sides were to blame, where the children were arrogant and the parents controlling, both creating and destroying a relationship between them. And personally, I think this is the way it'd work out.