Tragic Heroes

a Magic Knight Rayearth/Metal Gear crossover

Chapter 16: Game Over

4-28-2004

by Grey

Disclaimer: Solid Snake and Metal Gear are the creation of the gaming genius Hideo Kojima and the property of Konami. Hikaru Shidou and Magic Knight Rayearth are the creation and property of the talented ladies of CLAMP studios.

Special Note: This is it - the final chapter. I've been brainstorming for this fic since I graduated from high school, and I've been working on it for over a year. To those who've been reading this thing since the beginning - namely Dr. Bross and Razor Knight - a big 'thank you' is in order.

*****

The steady hum of the freight elevator as it carried its occupants down resounded in Hikaru's ears. It wasn't particularly loud, but to her, it was positively deafening, cutting her to her very soul. Elevator shafts, infrared beams, mine fields, attack choppers, angst-ridden mercenaries, patrolling guards, the sounds of explosions and gunfire... all these things and more were driving her mad. She had spent several days trekking through Cephiro and not once did this sort of depression set in. But after only a few hours on this base Hikaru felt as if she was going to lose it.

But she couldn't let herself. There was still one thing she and Snake had to do.

She looked up at Snake. If he was going through the same internal fight with insanity, his face sure didn't show it.

Hikaru looked away and stared at the floor, the hum of the elevator still echoing all around her. *Damnit, when's this thing gonna reach the bottom?!* she thought with uncharacteristic edginess.

As if on cue, the elevator stopped and the doors flew open, revealing a long, winding hallway. "Well, let's go," said Snake. Clutching his newly-acquired missile launcher, he ran out of the elavator and down the hall. Hikaru sighed heavily, mentally readying herself for the battle ahead, then ran off after him.

Soon enough, Snake reached the end of the hallway. He quickly took out his security card and slid it through the lock. The door immediately flew open, revealing a sight all too familiar to Snake....

One huge 100 foot by 100 foot platform that was undoubtedly a cargo elevator, and strewn about were stacks of multicolored storage crates. It looked exactly like the room with the cargo elevator where he had brought down Metal Gear Gander a year ago. It was as if God himself was trying to screw with his head, and doing a very good job of it. For a while, he just stood there, staring at a scene that was like a spectre of his tragic past. It wasn't until Hikaru spoke up that he snapped out of it.

"Snake-chan? SNAKE-CHAN?! Are you OK?!" she shouted worriedly. Snake simply shook his head, as if by doing that he could banish those traumatic memories from his mind.

"I'm fine," he answered brusquely. But silently, he added *What a lovely time for my PTSD symptoms to set in.* He couldn't afford to let despair overtake him now, not when he and Hikaru were so close to finishing their job.

And so, they took off. Just like a year ago, there was a huge hallway stretching outward from the elevator platform. And Snake had no doubt that, just like a year ago, his goal was at the end of that long, foreboding hallway.

He was right.

There it was, standing at the end of the hallway: Metal Gear Gander. Cables coming out of the walls were plugged into ports all over its body, and support beams were attached to key points of its upper body. All along, the U.S. government had housed a second prototype here, deep in the Philippines. And once again, terrorists had seized it and planned on using it for their evil deeds. Every time he thought he destroyed the last one, he later learned that a bigger, deadlier version was out there, ready to be used by some madman. Would it ever end? Would he ever be truly free of this demon that had haunted him for so long?

The sight of Metal Gear Gander also filled Hikaru with dread and disgust. *THIS is Gander?!* she thought to herself with a sense of horror. The thing was at least ten stories tall, and it looked infinitely more sophisicated and deadly than the D model she had trashed moments ago. From where she stood, she could easily make out the two machine guns mounted at the front of its upper body, as well as the two cannons concealed on the upper surface. And its arms... she remembered Snake telling her that those were 'rail guns', capable of firing nuclear warheads and having them hit any spot on Earth.

Future was right; with Rayearth's help, it would be so fitting and so easy to wipe out that monstrosity. But without her Mashin....

"You actually FOUGHT a monster like that?!" Hikaru blurted out, finding it hard to believe Snake had once defeated such a powerful weapon. The other two Metal Gear models were one thing, but THIS....

"Yup," said Snake nonchalantly, staring at it attentively. "Fortunately, it looks like it's inoperative right now. So let's take it out before...."

"SOLID SNAKE!!!" bellowed a vehement, wrathful voice, seeming to come out of nowhere. Both Snake and Hikaru recognized the voice instantly. It was Trudy Nolan. "But.... she's dead!" cried Hikaru in a confused voice. "How can she...."

The ominous voice boomed again, cutting Hikaru off. "If you are hearing this recording, then that means you've decimated New Way's entire inner circle. We always knew you might be sent to destroy this last remaining Metal Gear and that you'd kill off all of New Way's leadership to do it. To prepare for that contingency, we've installed an AI into this unit's control systems to be used as a last resort. This way, even in death, we will ensure you never achieve your goal!! PREPARE TO DIE!!!"

And then, Snake heard the all-too-familiar sound of the hulking machine powering up. The support beams noisily detached from its body and receded into the walls, and the cables flew off one by one, the whipping sound they made echoing throughout the hallway. Then parts of Metal Gear began to move. Hikaru could see the frontal machine guns moving around, and a 'mouth' opened at its midsection, billowing hellish flames. (She didn't have to worry about that, but Snake was a different story.) Areas all around its body became illuminated as it powered up. Hikaru couldn't help but look up at the cockpit as Gander was powering up; it looks almost as if two glowing, menacing eyes were opening, looking down upon she and Snake with hatred and comtempt. At that moment, it truly looked like the incarnation of evil that it represented.

*This is it,* Hikaru thought to herself. *We've overcome every other obstacle. Now it's time to wipe this thing out once and for all!* "Ruby Lightning!" she cried out, willing her magic spell to pack as much force as she could muster. Her blast smacked right into Metal Gear Gander's cockpit, but it didn't even react. It just stood there as if nothing had happened. *WHAT?! That was my strongest attack! If that couldn't do anything, then how....*

Hikaru's thoughts were interrupted as she noticed its right leg coming up, and then it took a step forward, its footfall making a loud crash that echoed loudly in her ears.... and her soul. Then its left leg moved forward.

Hikaru quickly turned to Snake, desperation threatening to overtake her. "Snake-chan! My magic's useless! How are we supposed to beat this thing?!"

"One step at a time," he quickly replied as Gander's footstep echoed throughout the hall. If she hadn't known any better, Hikaru would have thought he was trying to be funny.

Snake grabbed Hikaru's arm and took off, away from Metal Gear. "Listen, once it starts moving, it's practically a juggernaut, and we'll have no chance of beating it. But I was able to bring it down last time by planting mines and C4 right under its feet. This time, it'll be easier now that I have backup...."

He didn't have to explain in any more detail - Hikaru got the message loud and clear. Once the two had run far enough away from the advancing mech, Hikaru twirled around and ran back toward it. She let loose with a Flame Arrow spell, hoping to get its attention. It worked. Gander turned to the side slightly and opened its 'mouth' wider, spewing out a cascade of flames as it advanced forward. *Looks like they never bothered to factor in my resistance to fire,* Hikaru thought smugly as the heat from the flames rushed into her, revitalizing her....

And while Hikaru was using herself as a decoy, Snake managed to approach Gander unnoticed, just as it lifted its right leg to take another step. He quickly armed a claymore mine right where its foot was about to come down, and dashed away, Hikaru following suit.

When its right foot came down onto the mine, the explosion rocked the hallway, and Gander even staggered back slightly. Hikaru reached out to 'sense' its right leg to see if the mine had any effect. Sure enough, she could sense small stress fractures forming in its armored frame. A few more mines, and David would once again fell Goliath.

"Hikaru, think fast!" Snake cried out. She turned to face him, and he tossed her two claymores. She deftly caught them and, immediately knowing what to do, ran back towards Gander. Its flamethrower mouth proving again to be useless in stopping her as she ran in and armed another mine as it was about to step forward. This time, it was its left foot that stepped on the mine, but Hikaru sensed the same type of damage in its left leg as well. "About two more mines for each," she thought aloud....

By now, Gander's CPU was beginning to compensate for Snake and Hikaru's tactics and acted accordingly. It ran forward at a faster pace, rapidly closing in on the two.

"Hmmm, it's a bit faster this time," Snake mused as he turned about and ran back towards Gander. It belched fire again, but Snake did a rolling dive and easily got past the flames. And it was a simple matter for Snake to plant another mine in Gander's path and flee before its foot came down, detonating the mine and causing itself more damage. It didn't waste any time moving forward again, but it failed to notice Hikaru was directly underneath, arming another mine. Gander obligingly stepped onto this one too; now both legs had taken damage from two mines apiece.

Now Metal Gear Gander charged forward, faster than Snake thought possible, spraying jets of flame around with wild abandon. It was too dangerous for him to move in and plant another mine, so he decided to simply arm one and toss it backward like a frizbee. Snake's aim was perfect; it landed on the floor without detonating, right under its left foot as it took another step forward.

Hikaru reached out behind her with her mind and sensed that its left leg had taken almost more damage than it could bear. And judging from the sounds behind her, Gander was practically limping along. One more mine under its right foot, and it would be brought down for good!

She decided to take the intiative herself and ran back at Gander, laughing it up on the inside as the flames brushed up harmlessly against her body, eagerly absorbing all the heat. But they did obscure her vision, making it hard to tell where Metal Gear's feet were. Then the flames cleared and she looked up: Gander's right foot was coming right down on her. Acting on a mix of battle instinct and fear, she leaped away just before its foot hit the ground....

And she accidently dropped her mine....

And Metal Gear Gander stepped on where she dropped it....

The resulting explosion knocked Hikaru flat on her back, but she could see clearly in front of her. That last mine going off under its foot had finally done enough damage to its lower body, and it showed. Smaller explosions were going off all over its lower body, and because its badly-damaged legs could no longer support its great mass, Metal Gear began to teeter forward, its forward momentum causing it to fall. For a few seconds, panic overtook Hikaru, and she was unable to move. Eventually though, she got a hold of herself, picking herself up off the ground and running for dear life. But it might have been too late: Metal Gear was falling fast, threatening to crush Hikaru under the weight of its upper body.

But then, out from the flames and resounding explosions, came Snake. Running as fast as he could, he reached out, grabbed Hikaru in his arms and slung her over his shoulder, and continued to run away from the collapsing mech. Snake kept on running, and Hikaru could still hear the sounds of deafening explosions and crashing sounds and the shrieking of metal being twisted and deformed coming from behind her.

Eventually, however, the ear-splitting noises died down and Snake finally stopped running. He put Hikaru down, and then sat down, leaning against crate to rest. Hikaru recognized where they were: back on the big elevator platform from before.

"Damnit Hikaru!" spat Snake, suprising Hikaru with his acid tone. "You got too careless back there! You could've gotten yourself killed!"

Hikaru was in no mood for lectures. "Well excuse me!" she snapped back. "I was just trying to bring that thing down! And, well.... we did! It's finished. Mission accomplished, game over...."

Snake shook his head vehemently. "Not yet we haven't. That was only the beginning." He jerked his thumb backwards, and Hikaru looked to where he was indicating. Situated at the center of the elevator platform was Metal Gear's upper half. Its frontal machine guns were still moving, and its eye-like cockpit lighting was still glowing....

Hikaru just couldn't believe what she was seeing. "IT'S STILL WORKING?!" she cried out in disbelief. As if to punctuate her surprised outcry, the frontal machine guns began to spew bullets everywhere. Once again, Snake managed to save Hikaru's life through his quick actions, reaching out to grab her and pulling her down with him to take cover behind the crate. "This is just crazy," she muttered. "If taking out its legs wasn't enough, how do we finish it off?!!"

"We go for the areas with lighter armor: its weapons. The machine guns, the upper cannons, the module on the back, and the flamethrower," Snake replied calmly, as if this was something he did every day. "But the thing is, those last three aren't vulnerable when closed up. We hit the machine guns to trigger them...."

A clanking mechanical sound from above interrupted Snake's explanation. Hikaru looked up to see two orange conically-shaped machines floating overhead, each one as big as a normal man. "Oh crap, it's got those things again? Screw this," said Snake, taking out his stinger missile launcher. Within seconds, Snake had locked-on to one of the floating machines, and fired off a missile. Snake's missile was right on target and destroyed the floating machine instantly. The other one began to fire some sort of weapon, forcing Snake to take cover.

"I'll get the other one," said Hikaru, firing of her Ruby Lightning spell at the second machine. The spell destroyed it as easily as the stinger missile had disposed of the previous one. But she had stepped out into the open to do so, and Gander opened fire on her now that she had exposed herself. She didn't need Snake to save her a third time though: she had heard the machine guns turning on her and immediately ducked for cover behind a crate. "OK, now how to knock out its weapons...." she began to think aloud.

"Last time, I could trigger the other weapons to fire when I hit the machine guns," Snake shouted out, having heard Hikaru. "First, we take out those upper cannons." With that, Snake ran out from behind cover and toward the grounded Gander. Before it could fire on him, he ran toward its right side and chucked a grenade at its right machine gun. Upon impact, the circular metal plate on its top right side sprang up, as if it was a reflex. It immediately fired off two barrages of three shots each. Hikaru got the message, and fired off her Ruby Lightning spell right before it closed. Her blast hit a split-second before the upper cannon receded and she blew it off completely, leaving a gaping circular hole on the top of Gander's body.

"Let's take out of the other one," said Snake as he ran toward Gander's other side, deftly dodging the machine gun fire it was spewing out everywhere. Hikaru quickly positioned herself so she would have a clear shot once Snake triggered the other upper cannon to open. Soon enough, he had tossed another grenade at Gander's machine guns and the explosion triggered its left cannon to open. Hikaru blew it away before it even fired off a single shot.

"What now?" asked Hikaru, hoping somehow that blowing off its upper cannons was enough.

"Next, there's the missile module on the back," Snake replied flatly.

Hikaru's face immediately fell after hearing what came next. "MISSILE MODULE?!" she cried incredulously. Sure enough, she heard strange sounds coming from behind Metal Gear. She looked up, seeing six missiles being fired straight upward and then angling themselves downward at the two of them. In desperation, she dug into her reserves of stored power and lashed out, hoping to destroy the missiles before they got too close. But she only managed to take out four of them; the remaining two sped toward the ground at full speed, one coming dangerously close to Hikaru. Hikaru desperately dove out of the way, but the explosion still sent her flying, and she landed face-first on the ground.

She immediately picked herself up, only to find Snake standing over her. "You OK?" he asked.

"Yeah, I think so," she replied faintly as she got back on her feet, shaking her head to banish the swirling stars from her vision.

"OK then," Snake said, satisfied that Hikaru was able to get back up. "This time, you hit the machine guns to trigger its other weapons. I'll get in position to take out the module," he said to her, readying another stinger missile. "When I shout 'NOW', blast the guns and I'll fire a missile right into its module." With that, he took off. Soon Hikaru heard the sound of machine gun fire again, and quickly flattened her body behind another crate to avoid the barrage.

After what seemed an eternity, she heard Snake shout out "NOW!" Without hesitation, he jumped out from behind cover and used her Ruby Lightning spell again, blowing its left machine gun clean off. Almost instantly, she heard missiles being fired upward from the back of Metal Gear, but this time she was ready for them. She managed to destroy all six before they could even change their trajectories.

"HIKARU! AGAIN!" she heard Snake cry out. She promptly blew off the other machine gun turret. This time, though, there wer no sounds of multiple missiles being fired - just one big explosion coming from behind Metal Gear, along with a thick cloud of smoke rising from the back. Apparently, Snake destroyed the module with a second stinger missile before it got a chance to fire.

"The machine gun turrets, the upper cannons, the missile module on the back," said Hikaru, reciting out loud the weapons they had destroyed. "All that's left is...." She was cut off by the loud sound of mechanical shutters opening. She turned to see Metal Gear using its last remaining weapon: the flamethrower mouth.

A huge jet of flame surged toward her, but Hikaru didn't even bother trying to dodge it. There was no need, for the flames were essentially food for her. But once Metal Gear had finished its initial flamethrower volley, Hikaru shot her Ruby Lightning spell at its mouth right before it closed. Her blast decimated its mouth piece and fused it shut for good, and her attack caused a chain reaction throughout the entire mech. Explosions went off all around the downed machine, but soon after they had started, it was over. All of its weapons had been put out of commission, and the whole mech was now damaged beyond repair. Metal Gear Gander had been destroyed.

Hikaru just stood there, admiring her and Snake's handiwork. She almost didn't notice Snake walking up beside her. "Not bad, kiddo," he said to her with a smile. "Like I said, this went a lot quicker with backup."

"Thanks, Snake-chan," Hikaru replied gleefully. "So... is this it? Was this all there was to it last time?"

"Well, um, not exactly," Snake admitted warily, having now remembered what happened last time. "But this time I don't think we have to worry about...."

Snake was cut off by a sudden, loud buzzing noise. Then, Hikaru and Snake noticed the eye-like lightings of the cockpit area, now glowing more brightly than ever. Then there was a loud beeping sound, and it sounding as if something on top of Metal Gear had opened up. "What is it now?" Hikaru asked panickingly. "What's going on?"

"No... NO!!" Snake cried out angrily. "They wouldn't, there's NO WAY!!"

All of a sudden, the entire floor villently shook, and Hikaru could feel the platform beginning to slowly move upward. It was as if the elevator platform was beginning to move on its own. "Snake-chan, what's going on?" repeated Hikaru, turning to him. But he was no longer beside her. She looked around frantically, and saw him climbing atop Metal Gear, forcing his way into the cockpit. Hikaru quickly followed him into the cockpit, finding him frantically working the control panels.

"The platform's taking Metal Gear's remains to the surface," said Snake, answering Hikaru's earlier question. "This thing can uplink with armed satellites and launch a nuclear attack from orbit. Those New Way assholes must've put it in as a last resort if we destroyed Metal Gear; they must've reasoned it would give the world a fresh start or some crap like that," he went on, his every word dripping with frustration and rage.

As if to punctuate Snake's explanation, a computerized voice announced: "90 seconds until satellite uplink."

Snake slammed his fists onto the consoles, screaming in frustration. "DAMNIT! They're not shutting down like last time! I can't stop it!!"

"80 seconds until satellite uplink."

"Let me try. Back off," ordered Hikaru. She really didn't even wait for him to move away; she fired off a heat blast at the control panel, incinerating the entire console. "There, that should stop the...."

"70 seconds until satellite uplink."

"What?! That didn't do it?!" Hikaru cried out. She was starting to get extremely nervous. If they couldn't find a way to stop the satellite uplink, millions would die....

"They must've locked the controls. I don't think there's anything we can do," said Snake, sounding dangerously close to admitting defeat.

"60 seconds until satellite uplink."

Hikaru also began to feel hopeless. After all she and Snake went through to stop New Way, they were going to fail at the last minute, and millions of innocent people would be killed because of their failure. No, there HAD to be a way to stop the attack! But if the controls were useless, what could be done? There was only one way to stop the uplink: annihilate Metal Gear completely. But how? It was invulnerable from the outside, and even from the inside, her magic couldn't take it apart fast enough. Her new powers couldn't do it either; she had exhausted too much energy in her most recent battles. Even with the energy she absorbed from Metal Gear's flamethrower....

Wait a minute.... The flamethrower.... Large amounts of fuel would be needed for a flamethrower that big and powerful....

THAT WAS IT!!!!

"50 seconds until satellite uplink."

"SNAKE! Get out of here! I'll finish this!!" she ordered him, and slammed her outstretched hands down on the remains of the control panel. Then she mustered every last bit of energy she had left and focused it downward through the control panel, boring through Metal Gear like a drill from the inside.

"What are you doing?!" shouted Snake, completely clueless as to what Hikaru was trying to do.

"The flamethrower's fuel tank...." Hikaru said in a strained voice. "I'm gonna ignite all that fuel, and take out Metal Gear completely!"

"40 seconds until satellite uplink."

"ARE YOU FRIGGIN' INSANE!!" retorted Snake acidly. "You'll go up with it!!!"

"I DON'T CARE!! If that's what it takes to stop the uplink, SO BE IT!!" Hikaru screamed as she continued to bore through Metal Gear with all she had left. "Now get out of here! At least you'll survive!"

"30 seconds until satellite uplink."

Snake understood Hikaru's logic. But that didn't mean he had to like it. He had seen too many people die right in front of him, and he couldn't bear seeing it happen again. Not to someone like Hikaru, who still had so much to live for....

Seeing no other choice, Snake exited the cockpit and ran as far as he could away from Metal Gear's remains. If Hikaru could really do what she planned, the resulting explosion would be BIG.

"20 seconds until satellite uplink."

Meanwhile, back in the cockpit, the temperature was oppressively hot. The sheer heat resulting from Hikaru's efforts was heating up the cockpit as if it was a furnace. And she had managed to melt away a good deal of the mech from the inside-out, but she still hadn't found the fuel tank for the flamethrower. *No, it's got to be down in the front somewhere! I've got to find it!*

"10 seconds until satellite uplink."

*No.... almost out of time!!* Hikaru thought to herself. *Can't give up.... must find.... no, wait.... THAT MUST BE IT!!!*

In one tremendous burst, she released every last bit of stored heat energy she had into the flamethrower's fuel tank.

And what remained of Metal Gear Gander went up as if a bomb had exploded from the inside. And just in time too; it exploded a few seconds before the elevator platform finally reached the surface, where it would have uplinked with the satellites and caused untold death and destruction.

Pieces of charred, twisted metal and flaming debris flew everywhere. But Snake had managed to open up one of the crates and hide inside it for cover. Once he was certain it was safe, he came out and inspected the scene.

Practically nothing was left of Metal Gear now; it was just a big smoldering piece of scrap metal, fires raging out of control all around it. But Snake also noticed some steam rising as well. Then he noticed that it was still raining, but the clouds had somewhat cleared, and the sunshine was peering through. It was daylight now. And because of what he and Hikaru did at the Sierra Outpost, millions of people would now live to see another day.

But what about Hikaru?

Snake looked back down at the wreckage. There was no way amyone could have survived THAT. She had unthinkingly sacrificed her own life to stop a nuclear attack. Snake couldn't help but admire that kind of sacrifice, that kind of courage....

"What the..." Snake thought out loud, noticing something funny. The flames were dying down, and not because of the rain. As if the flames were being sucked inward....

Then, without warning, a tremendous column of energy shot upward from where Metal Gear Gander once was, sending even more debris flying everywhere. The beam was so massive and so powerful, it dissipated all the clouds overhead.

Snake flung his arms up to shield himself from the bright light and the pieces of debris. When he finally put his arms back down, he couldn't help but to gasp at the impossibility of what he was seeing: Hikaru was standing right where Metal Gear's remains had been, alive and well. Apparently, she had somehow survived, but absorbed so much power that she had to let it all out immediately.

Hikaru staggered forward on rubbery legs, but all the fighting she had done, all that absorbing and rechanneling of heat energy, it all had finall caught up with her. She wobbled and fell flat onto the platform. Snake was immediately by her side, even though he saw Hikaru was still radiating energy. Fortunately for him, his suit provided enough insulation. He bent down and swept her up in his arms. "Hikaru? Hikaru?! Can you hear me?" he asked in desperation, praying to whatever deities who would listen that she would be fine. "Please, answer me. Don't die on me now, kid."

After what seemed yet another eternity, Hikaru began to stir. Her eyes fluttered, and slowly they opened to see Snake looking over her, holding her securely. "S-Snake-chan..." she muttered weakly. "The uplink.... di-did I...."

"Yeah, you stopped it," answered Snake, an uncharacteristically broad smile forming on his face. "You saved us all. You destroyed Metal Gear."

"No. Not me," she said softly, reaching out to grab Snake's hand. She squeezed it tightly. "WE did it." Then she leaned forward to give Snake a big hug.

Snake was so overjoyed that his new friend was still alive, and Hikaru was so satisfied after having stopped Metal Gear Gander for good, that neither of them noticed a bright, white light enveloping to two of them.

---------------------------------------

Hikaru was awakened by the sensation of Hikari licking at her face. Slowly, gingerly, she opened her eyes and picked herself up off the ground. She looked around, noticing she was in a lightly forested area. The last thing she could remember was that she had chased Hikari here, and then...

"Why did I black out?" Hikaru thought out loud. Shaking her head, she decided it wasn't important, but getting to school on time was.

But she felt something funny on her head, as if something was wrapped around it. She reached up and felt a piece of cloth that definitely didn't belong there. She hastily pulled it off, and....

"Huh?!" she blurted out in a confused voice. "What am I doing with a bandana on my head?!"

******************************************

THE END

So long,

Grey