Epilogue: Never Give Up

Blues Light looked up at the ancient stone castle before him and whistled-not his favorite tune, but just a simple noise of amazement. "I swear, every time I come here this place gets bigger." He made sure to be seen by one of the security robots as soon as possible; once they recognized him, they wouldn't consider him a possible threat. Walking along to the east wall, he looked up at a tree. "Yup… still looks as sound as ever." Many people who had been surprised by Blues' mysterious entrances and uncanny ability to get inside closely guarded places without being noticed had simply forgotten to take into account nearby foliage and a truly amazing skill at climbing up it in mere seconds-a survival trait developed by Blues during his years in the African Congo. Quickly reaching the walltop, he scurried over it and into the castle's courtyard, which he hurdled to reach the top of one of the towers. Sidling up next to a window in the side of the large central tower, he did not let look in or let any part of himself be seen. Instead, he simply knocked on it, then whistled his tune. A moment later, he heard the countersign; the next line in the more extended version. Smiling, he left the tower and jumped back onto the walls, slipping into the shadows at a certain spot along the east side and waiting. After several minutes, a short figure walked up to him. It was Kalinka, wearing a dark red robe over her nightgown. Something yellow flickered at her neck, and looking closer, Blues saw that she was wearing the yellow scarf he had given her in Moscow shortly before the Rebellion had begun.

"Blues?" She whispered. "Where are you?"

"Right here." Blues stepped out of the shadows. "Signal still works as good as ever, I see."

"Of course it does." Kalinka smirked slightly. "Did you really think I'd forget it?"

"No, not really." The eldest son of Light admitted. "Anyways, I know we saw each other after my brother whupped Wily, but we never really got a chance to talk by ourselves, so I figured I'd pop by again before I headed off on my travels once more." To Kalinka's credit, she recovered from her surprise faster than Rock had upon hearing that same news.

"So, what far-off place are you headed to as the lone explorer this time?" She teased him gently. "The Caribbean? The Valley of the Kings? Antarctica?"

"I haven't really decided yet." Blues shrugged. "I figure I'll just go wherever the wind takes me… that's what I usually tend to do in the end anyways. But don't worry; I told my family I'd be calling and visiting more often than I did in the past couple years, and that goes for you and yours too. I'll be staying in touch."

"I'm… glad." Kalinka smiled. "That makes me feel better, knowing that… happy."

"I thought it might." Blues smiled. "Speaking of my family… how did you get along with them while they were staying here? Rock's pretty easygoing, but my sister's not the easiest person in the world to get along with…"

"We were arguing for a while, yes." Kalinka admitted. "But in the end, we became friends. I'd like to see her again sometime… all of them. Go visit them in Tokyo."

"We could probably arrange that." Blues nodded. "How about Rush and Eddie, then? Did THEY behave?"

"Mostly." Kalinka giggled. "There was one incident with the toaster, though… my father used some language I didn't even know people his age KNEW…"

"Hey, the doc's not THAT old." Blues chuckled. "And besides, age doesn't mean nothing… my dad knows some phrases that might even turn Roll's head, although he'd sooner set fire to his own beard than actually use them. The toaster, though… what the heck did the toaster do?"

"Explode." Kalinka informed him with a straight face. Blues groaned.

"Remind me to forward some suggestions to the family about the use of a rolled-up newspaper regarding those two… three now, I suppose, since Beat's joined them. Boy, will that be fun."

"Yes…" Kalinka nodded. "Probably a good idea. But… a trip to Tokyo, you said?"

"Yeah, next time I come back here I'll talk with your dad about it." Blues promised. "There's all kinds of stuff there to show you… we can even go see Mr. X's Robot Museum. I've been once already, but it'll be great going again… it's really cool, believe me."

"I'll look forward to it." Kalinka smiled again, then let it drop. A few more moment passed, with the two of them looking at the Siberian landscape outside the walls. "Blues… the arguments I had with Roll… they were about you."

"Oh?" Blues remarked. She nodded.

"About… if you were really the one behind this."

"I guessed as much." Blues admitted. "I… don't blame Roll, or any of them, for being taken in, Kalinka… it was a really skilled swindle. It wasn't their fault they fell for it."

"I know that now." Kalinka whispered. "But Blues…" He turned to look at her again.

"Yeah?"

"I never gave up on you…" The Russian girl told him. "Even at the end… I never did."

"…I know." Blues murmured. "I knew… you wouldn't. That was one of the things that helped me keep going… even when it got toughest. I knew you'd still believe in me."

"I always will." Kalinka promised. "No matter what happens."

"I know that too." Blues agreed. "And I'll always be there for you… remember that, Kalinka. Always. This will never happen again… I'll never LET this happen again. From now on, whenever you need me… I'll be there. Period. Always. No matter what."

"Thank you, Blues." Kalinka smiled once more. "Thank you."

"It's simple truth… and yet, a lot of the time that's what's worth the most." Blues stretched. "I'll be off, then… I'll see you soon." Kalinka nodded, and before he knew it, darted in to plant a quick kiss on his cheek. Waving, she darted off into the castle's interior. Rubbing his cheek, Blues looked over at Pharaoh Man, who was leaning against the wall further on, hidden in the shadows. The Egyptian-themed Robot Master's eyebrows were raised. Blues growled. "What?"

"I didn't say anything." Pharaoh Man replied, turning and leaving as well. Blues glowered after him, then chuckled, and then laughed, deep and happy. He was still laughing as he climbed down the tree and set off across the Siberian wilderness outside the castle walls, a wanderer once more… but not one without a home. Never again. He had family, he had friends… he had others… and no matter what happened, no matter where he went… THEY would always be there for HIM, too.

What more could a brother want?

Author's Note

And so it's over. My sixth Novelization, the fifth Mega Man game, and my third combination of both. I could say it sounds like more work than it really is, but I'd be full of it; it may not be lifting heavy crates at the local grocery store (I've done it, so I can compare from experience), but this still ain't easy. Not if you want it to come out good, anyways. But judging from the responses I've been getting, it's still good enough to keep you all happy. If so, I've done my job (although that won't stop me from complaining about needing a raise, and this is a completely nonprofit gig. I might even be operating at a loss if you count the occasional soda I have to buy for my editor to get him to do his job). While YOU occasionally need a verbal beating to do yours.-Interfering Editor Another one in the bag, who knows how many more to go.

Legalities and Thank Yous

Right, get the obligatory stuff out of the way first. Mega Man 5 and everything related to it are copyright Capcom. I make no claims to them whateosever; HOWEVER, this Novelization itself and anything I came up with on my own ARE mine. So don't get any bright ideas about ripping them off, or when I find out (and I will), I'll rip YOU a new one. No, not in the literal physical way. In the hey-look-my-dad's-a-judge way.
Now for something nicer; the thank-yous. First off, for the four fellas I still consider, even now, the four pillars of the Mega Man writing community. Red Draco, Malegrim, Jemode, and my own mentor and teacher in the biz, Erico. They're all in my favorites on this very website except for Jetmode (Okay, Jetmode's there but it's only the first few chapters), so to those of you out there in TV land who haven't read all of their stuff, do so. Trust me, it's well worth the time.

The next round of thank-yous goes to my oldest, bestest buddies on the Internet, goofballs who have somehow tolerated my conversation for more than four years now (or is it five? Damn, I AM getting old). To the Ethereal Ferret, Mr. Chimpo, Lark, and Chibi Schala. I doubt any of you will ever read this, but thanks all the same (And Ferret, tell the Ratdog he still owes me five bucks from poker night!). In addition to those, of course, is my brother DS, AKA Super Fantistico Eddie Tore Man. WHAT?-Spittake Editor I likely wouldn't be in business without him, folks, so he deserves it. Who knows, one of these days I might put up HIS e-mail address here and encourage everybody to send thank-yous just to tick him off. I'll Murder Ya!-Enraged Editor And finally, for all the good (kinda) folks at Snipe Hunt, formerly Hazard Labs, whose URL I've given up attempting to post in these. As usual, just for being you and keeping me humble.

I Get Letters!

I'll tell you right out, nothing makes me happier than seeing a shiny new letter or review from a happy fan (well, except maybe for grape soda, occasionally mixed with a Russian beverage I'm technically still a month away from being able to drink legally. But that's beside the point). The best ones, to me, are the ones that ask intelligent questions about important things. A lot of the time, those are answered by the end, but occasionally one isn't or just needs clarification.

Looking back now, though, it seems on this one I didn't really get any of those. So this really didn't need a separate section after all. Oops. Uh… ha ha ha ha ha!

Why Doc Man?

This, I think, was the biggest "change" from the original game. Oh, I could go on and on about similarities in armor color and structural design and permanent right-arm cannons and hologram use, but let's be honest here. Doc Man and Dark Man were NOT designed to be one and the same by Inafune. So… why did I do it that way?

It wasn't an easy call, let me tell you. There were several reasons not to do so; it might be overusing the character, it might change him too much, it might not have any reason for being that way. So, in order to justify the action of doing so to myself… I had to answer all of those. He had to be different enough to be interesting, but not so different as to be a completely new character under Doc Man's name. Above all, he had to be necessary… there had to be reasons for doing it that way, reasons that tied into the rest of BAB's plot, and the ongoing plot continuing into future Novelizations. And on top of that… if I was going to bring him back one more time, I had a duty to resolve his character, once and for all. To bring him back again in such an important role would be to elevate him beyond just a temp villain… he would have to be fully developed, far beyond what he was in MM3.

And in the end, I think I achieved all of those goals. First as Dark Man without his memories and the balancing "insane Proto Man", and then at the end as Doc Man with his brain repaired, he was a different bird from the complete whackjob of ROTF; but the progression was natural and explained, and you could see that he was indeed the same guy with the screwed-up everything from way back then. He was necessary; clearing Blues' name may not have been that easy, or even reasonably possible, had Dark Man just been another Robot Master. He helped clarify Mega's mind on certain issues as well, and had a bunch of other less important purposes that would take me all day to list. And perhaps most importantly of all… something he said is going to have a BIG role in Novelizations from now on. Most of you probably know what specific line that is; to those who don't, wait and find out. And the character was resolved; with his mind repaired and memory restored, he was able to look at his life objectively and realize the mistakes he had made. As one reviewer noted, I tried to make him peaceful, even serene, once the fight was over. And in the end, he left the world of the living for the last time under his own power, with that smile on his face being straight from the heart.

Am I absolutely certain I made the right choice, sticking Doc Man in here? No, and I don't think I ever will be. Life's not that easy. Am I happy with the way things turned out? THAT one's a yes. I am. And for better or for worse, it's done now. It's up, and reader response seems to be positive… so maybe I did make the right call.

Self-Musing Crap-Diddly-Ap

Looking back on BAB… I'm not really sure what to say. I think, overall, it was a success… and as I always hope for, a step up from my previous work, BOF. And yet… more than any others before, often while actually writing it, I'd get an air of "I could be doing this better." I could never place exactly what it was, infuriatingly; it just seemed not good enough. This seemed to crop up in the middle chapters, the eight Robot Masters, more than the beginning or the end. And yet, I never did manage to figure just what exactly it was out. Facing up to one's own limitations, I suppose; I've still got a long way to go as a writer before I make it to professional. I DO want to get there, eventually, but I want to take my time and make sure I'm ready first.

So if I'm not going pro just yet (like THAT'S a surprise), what is next for me? Longtime readers of mine probably guess that it's going to be something I've never done before, before I go on to Mega Man 6 in the one following that. They're absolutely correct. Zelda fans rejoice; this next one's for you, back in the old days of the SNES. I'll give you a Link to the Past, punk. Good luck trying not to piss off the fan boys.-Suicidal Editor After that, MM6... And after THAT? Who knows. There is one thing, though, that I do have to check up on now that this is completed… a certain offer from a friend, made several months back. I asked to wait until I was done with this, and see if he still wanted to ask me again… and now it's that time. Depending on how that turns out… in some time, you may be seeing something completely different from ANYTHING I've done before. Maybe. As for the Zelda… it'll be out by the end of the month. Hope you enjoy it when it comes.

I know I will.

Magus523, November 7 2005