Bait and Betrayal Title: Bait and Betrayal
Author: Greywolf Lupous
Notes: This is a fic I started over two years ago, and sort of haven't attended to. Reading over it, it's not as bad as I originally thought. ^^; Incomplete at the moment, but hopefully that will change. This sort of sets up the plot for a fic I hope to start writing, based on a Megaman RPG I play in. No Mary Sues, no love interests, and only a temporary cliff hangar. If you like it, please review. All flames will be deposited in the trash, where they belong.

Human emotions are controlled by neuro-chemicals, translated by the brain, and put into action by the same unit. No one really knew how reploids felt, not even by Dr. Cain, the man who had engineered them. Perhaps the true creator of them, Dr. Light, knew. Since they emulated human life, it was proposed that they were caused by a similar method.

Of course there were bigger things to be worried about by the Maverick Hunters than just simply what caused their emotions. In the past few weeks, the number of Maverick attacks had multiplied. Another rising concern of these attacks was that there was no motive. Usually there was some point of them, an important person or reploid to annihilate, or key information to be stolen.

These attacks were almost suicide missions for the Mavericks, no backup arrived to help them out, just small groups that began shooting wildly until a Hunter arrived to stop them. To add to this, many reploids had begun to drop out of the Maverick Hunter program. Just last week, the leader of the fifth unit, a respectable reploid by the name of Folic, had resigned from his position and left the Hunters altogether. Most of his unit had followed his lead.

The leader of the 00th unit sighed and glanced around the darkened streets. To make up for the lack of recruits, all of the units had to be rescheduled for patrol. The member of his unit that had been assigned to patrol this night had asked Zero to fill in due to sickness.

He had of course agreed, being friends with all of the members of his unit. What had bugged him about it was, HOW did a reploid get sick. Suspicion pecked at him, making the crimson Hunter wonder what caused his emotions, so that he could shut them off.

The outer section of downtown was always quiet, in fact, Zero couldn't remember the last time a Maverick had attacked there. He made a final sweep of Twenty-second Avenue and clicked on the communicator on his wrist.

"This is Zero, anyone still awake over there?"

X yawned and turned on the receiving end, "Barely, so how are things going out there?"

"Quiet, as if that's a surprise… how did they get you as the receptionist?"

"Uhh, because I'm a nice guy like that… yeah…"

Zero's chuckled produced some static over the receiver, "I'll ask about it when I get back. I've just got to check the South sector and I'll be done. Check in with you in an hour."

X sighed and recorded in the log, "I'll be here."

Zero chuckled and shut off his communicator. X always had been the unpredictable one, and a bit too gullible at times. He wondered what story some rookie had told him that got him in that position. Slowly he made his way into the Southern sector of the outer rim, in a somewhat better mood.

As he was scanning the Southern sector, the same quiet uneasiness crept over him. He darted his eyes from left to right. A loud screech came from the alley to his right, and he literally leapt into the air, whirling to face the most ferocious, scariest, most demonic looking… alley cat.

Zero straightened his posture, and tried to look indignantly down at it. It purred and rubbed up against his leg. A smile crept to his face and he bent down, rubbing the cat between its ears. He looked up into the shadows of the alley, making out lurking form in the darkness, and reached for the hilt of his beam sabre. A loud roar came from the alley, and something lunged out at him, knocking him on his back. The inactivated sabre clattered across the pavement.

Zero snarled and kicked his attackers off of his chest. He sat up and leapt back, scooping his up his sabre in one swift movement. Catching his breath he swiveled on his foot, searching for his attacker. He spotted the dazed reploid picking himself up, and charged. He landed on its chest, holding the sword precariously at the other's throat. The downed maverick glared up at his opponent.

Zero pressed the blade closer towards the neck, "Where are the rest of them? Tell them to come out or you're history."

The maverick below him laughed harshly and gazed at Zero in amusement, "In the long run, it won't matter at all!"

The Maverick Hunter felt a queasy sensation and looked up around him. His heart sank as several more Mavericks emerged from the darkness. Shit… this was a setup if there ever was one. Somehow he had to let X know of his situation. Glancing up at the catwalk he saw his chance.

Zero pulled his sabre from his attackers neck and stepped off him. As the Maverick arose, he swung his blade, severing the reploid in two. The remaining Mavericks took this as their cue and charged in. Zero crouched down low and leapt as high as he could, leaving the reploids to crash into each other. He swung himself up onto the catwalk and activated his communicator.

X stared at the wall blankly, trying to remember how he had been talked into this. He made a mental note to hurt the offending parties once he did. Zero had once told him along the lines of "too gullible at times," he was beginning to believe it.

The radio crackled as someone tried to call in, "This is Maverick Hunter Zero Omega. Requesting backup for an attack in the southern sector, area 2-A."

X nearly leapt out of his chair and grabbed the receiver, "I hear ya Zero, just hang on in there, I'm sending a squad your way right now."

"Great, I'll see if I can hold them off until you --" the signal suddenly cut out.

X blinked and tapped his mic, "Zero, you there?"

Zero hissed in pain and rolled to the side as more shots flew at him. The bozos that had first charged him had knocked themselves out upon impact. Several more seemed to arrive out of nowhere to help. One of their stray shots had been lucky enough to hit his communicator.

He cursed and drug himself to his feet, dashing down the street. More Mavericks were arriving by the minute. He must be close to the base for them to get here that fast. There was no way he was going to take them out himself. He just hoped he could stall them long enough for backup to arrive.

He felt a sharp pain the back of his head and spiraled towards the ground, the pain from the impact still lingering. He met the ground hard and pushed himself up to his feet, gazing around. This tactic wasn't working. He bunched his legs up, trying to plan out the next phase of his attack. Loud, methodical steps boomed from the darkness. Zero slowly turned around, wondering what else he was going to be put up against. A massive reploid stood there, the light from the street lamps glinting off his armor. The Hunter tensed, gripping his sabre and glaring up at his new opponent.

The maverick lunged forward, a blade emerging from his hand. Zero met the blade with his own, the force of the maverick's lunge knocked him to his back. He smiled and forced his blade down on Zero's, shoving them both precariously near his face. Zero gritted his teeth and shoved back with all the strength he could muster. The blades inched slightly away from his face.

Zero brought his foot up and kicked his attack in the side repeatedly, trying to knock him off. The massive robot caught the foot with his free hand and tried to shove it back. The Hunter clenched his teeth in pain, and forced everything he had through his sword, knocking the huge brute off of him. Breathing heavily, both reploids rose to their feet, glaring at each other. The maverick charged in at Zero, preparing for a vertical swipe. Reacting quickly, the Hunter dove to the side, bringing his sabre into a slash at the torso.

The sabre sliced clear through its victim, a trail of vital fluid splatting against the ground. With the giant downed, the rest of the Mavericks charged in at Zero. Unable to defend all fronts, the blows rained against him. Tiredly, Zero spun around, deflecting a blow. If his backup didn't arrive soon, he was going to pass out from exhaustion, if not just shut off from the damage raining down on him.

A charged blast to his back knocked him down to the pavement, the reploid equivalent of pain rushed through him. He tried to shove himself back to his feet, but his arms failed him halfway through the attempt.

All at once the rain of blows stopped, and he could feel himself being pulled to his feet. He blinked and tried to focus. Slowly everything cleared, and he recognized the ebony reploid standing in front of him.

"Raven?" he sputtered, "aren't you sick or something?"

Raven just smirked at him and stretched her bird like wings. He glanced at the two reploids holding him up, both were of the mavericks attacking him.

Zero began to put the pieces together. The convenience of him having to fill in for her shift, then him getting attacked in the most inactive section of town. If she had gone maverick and planned out this much of an ambushed, what else did she know… and what was she up to.

A sick feeling settled into Zero's stomach when he began to think about his backup, which should be there soon. There could be more forces of mavericks waiting in the area, outnumbering the small squad of Hunters. There was no way he could warn them.

He looked up at Raven, hate burning in his eyes, "I'm disgusted with you. I thought you were better than them."

"Oh please," she yawned at the injured Hunter, "you'd think I actually care."

Zero snorted in reply, his glare increasing. There was no way out of this for him. He was too damaged and exhausted to fight his way free. He was at the mercy of his former ally and friend.

TO BE *gasp* CONTINUED...