Chapter 41: The Door (Deleted Scene)

((This chapter did not seem absolutely necessary to the progression of the story, and upon reading it a day after completing it, it didn't seem very exciting, so I decided to remove it from the story. It takes place in the instance between the current chapters 40 and 41))

Fletch of course, had not even known if any of this would work. He had no way of knowing the outcome of attempting to combine their powers and hack into an object that had no mind, no computer system, and no thought process. For all he knew, he could be dead or something like that. Fortunately his sensation of falling smoothed out into a feeling of floating. He started to regain his vision again. He was looking down and something was coming up at him.

His vision and thought processes were both clearing as the object came closer. By the time he was completely recovered, he could make out that the object was a metallic holoseum, and he was not falling or accelerating, but simply floating down to it. He was able to land with a bend of the knees and a small clank. He looked down at himself, and he was in his Robo, but for some reason it felt different. He couldn't tell what it was, but for some unknown reason, it felt more real. It was a hard feeling to describe. The virtual Robo battles he had fought in before were realistic, but they still had a sense of being digital. Now, though, it felt somehow very, very real.

He had no weapons, but he also had no opponent. The holoseum he had landed in was completely made of a grayish, non-reflecting metal. There were no barriers or obstacles, but the wall he was facing looked identical to the door they were trying to get through. Fletch knew what he had to do and summoned a weapon to his hand. He selected the Plasma Blast gun he had copied from Ray in his last fight, considering it his most powerful weapon.

He pointed it at the door and held down the trigger to charge up a shot as a bomb, then let it fire. The shot made a blinding explosion on impact, but when it cleared, the door was still there, unmarked. Fletch tried again, routing all his excess power through his weapon to make it as powerful as it could be and charged it a bit longer, then let it fire. The explosion was even larger and the resulting shockwave knocked Fletch off his feet. Fletch looked back up at the door as the smoke settled from the explosion, but the door was still untouched as if nothing had even hit it. There weren't even scorch marks.

He got up and walked over to it. He tapped it with his hand, it seemed real enough. Then he heard a scuttling of metal on metal behind him, and judging by the distance, he didn't have time to look. He moved his head to the right just as something large and blunt slammed into the door where his head had been. Fletch, without even looking, positioned his gun upside-down over his right shoulder, pointing back and a little to the left, and fired the powerful gun.

Fletch heard the attacker get hit and back away, so he stood up and turned, equipping his Stun Bomb in his left hand. He could not identify what had attacked him. It was some metallic Robo that did not appear to have any facial features nor equipped weapons. "Who are you?" Fletch asked in a raised voice, which echoed in the holoseum. The opposing Robo did not answer. It only held a defensive position, as if waiting for Fletch to make a move.

He should have expected this. The door wasn't just a hunk of metal, it had a computer system inside it, which included a security program to prevent it from being opened from remote external access. And in this artificial holoseum, that program took the form of an autonomous Robo. So it was not aggressive, it was only defending the door.

Fletch looked at the door, and noticed that it was dented where the security Robo had hit it. So the door could be damaged, and apparently this wasn't a particularly smart program since it had let itself damage the door it was there to protect.

The Robo was still not moving, which provided an easy target for Fletch. He just pointed his Plasma Blast gun, charged it as a bomb, and let it fly at the Robo. The Security Robo made mo move to dodge or block and was struck directly by the blast, but just as a cloud of smoke appeared, the Robo lunged at Fletch, seemingly unscathed. Fletch, surprised as he was, was still controlled by his instinct, and fell backwards, taking his feet off the ground. As the Robo passed over him, he alternated a kick with each of his feet, knocking it away. Fletch landed on his back and rolled over to a prone position, facing the recovering Security Robo, and fired his Stun Bomb at it.

The Security Robo was engulfed in smoke, and Fletch pushed himself up to a standing position again. As the smoke cleared, though, the Security Robo was still exactly where it had been standing, against posing defensively. It had not even been knocked away by the bomb. Fletch concluded that his current weapons were useless, and switched them out. This Robo may not have been very smart or aggressive, but it could sure take a beating.

Fletch equipped the weapon Tyson had used against him: Wyrm, a well-known Illegal weapon. Fletch fired it, releasing multiple energy-based dragon heads that roared as they homed in on the Security Robo. As soon as the first one hit, though, the Robo lunged at Fletch again through all the other shots, but was not moved or even damaged by any of them. Fletch was again surprised, but still able to react. He slammed his left fist straight down on the attacking Robo, then kicked it as it was hit downward. It was knocked back and sprawled a bit, then recovered and took its defensive stance again.

The something occurred to Fletch. His weapons were not damaging it, but his physical attacks were at least moving it. He switched out the Wyrm for his Streamshot, his needler. Maybe this Security Robo was resistant to energy based attacks, but could be damaged by physical strikes. Since the Streamshot was armor-piercing, it would fire physical rounds, rather than energy-based shots.

Fletch fired his weapon at the Robo, and this time, it did not attack when it was hit. Instead, it started writhing. Being a computer program, it was not used to physical attacks, so it was very vulnerable to them. Jagged punctures started appearing in the Robo's armor. Fletch equipped Ray's Plasma Blast gun to his other hand and stopped firing. He moved over to the flailing Robo and held it still with his foot, then put the tip of the Plasma Blast gun into one of the pierces that had been made and fired. The powerful shot fried all of its internal robotics, leaving only the remainder of the outer shell where it was, empty and lifeless.

Having solved the problem of how to defeat this Robo, Fletch now had the solution to breaking the door open. He fired his Streamshot at it, sweeping his aim vertically to cut a slice down the center. Once that was done, he unequipped both of his weapons and approached the door. He put his hands in the punctures, routed his energy to his arms, and pried it open forcefully. As soon as the opening was big enough to enter, everything went blurry and then black, and he entered a state of unconsciousness.