By Erico


"Flight 2455 to Chicago O'Hare International is now boarding…" Droned the feminine computer voice. The mumbling masses of people pushed their way about the Tokyo International Airport, none of them really paying attention to the others as they walked along.

It was that anonymity that one person in particular found relief in. No one stopped and stared, and the few glances she received were only to confirm that other people would not run into her.

She traveled light…she had rarely needed many things in her life.

What she remembered, anyway.

She smiled somewhat, thinking that in the fateful First Maverick Uprising years ago, this airport had been the target of a Maverick General called Storm Eagle. Times had changed. The hallways were filled to the brim, noisy and impersonal.

The woman tucked her hands back into the pockets of her long blue coat. It was light and airy, yet still was composed of materials that could hold in body heat in extreme cold. Her wandering fingers quickly found an object in her coat pocket, one that seemed to restore warmth and clarity to her muddled mind. She held onto it tightly.

She seemed to walk in a daze as she approached her plane's gate. The metal detector had been of some surprise, but once she revealed she was with the Maverick Hunters and a reploid…the guards let her pass. If anything, Tokyo was a little more open and unbiased about reploids. She had to admit that was one thing she would miss.

"Tickets, please." The female reploid looked up from her downcast gaze, brushing back a few strands of flaxen hair that had fallen out from her coat's hood and pushed themselves over her eyes. A uniformed flight attendant managed a weak smile and held out her hand.

The blue coated reploid dug into her other pocket and calmly removed her ticket…one way, paid in full from the account card of Julius Kinnian Horn.

That man…indeed, he was a reploid she felt comfortable calling a man…was generous as he was amiable and flighty. She would repay him some day for his gift.

The attendant checked the ticket with dulled eyes, probably because of a long shift, then smiled weakly again and handed it back. Bowing over in a traditional Japanese fashion, she gave out another blah statement.

"Thank you for flying Tokyo Air." The reploid smiled back, then placing the ticket back in her coat pocket, calmly walked down the tunnel in front of her and boarded the plane.

She had been assured to have both seats to herself on this flight. She needed a lot of time to think, and the trip to Chicago would clear it up somewhat.

At least her first location was confirmed. Denver, Colorado in the United States. It was there that Bastion, Zero, and their joint Strike Unit had found her. If there was any answers to be found, she would have to start there.

Finally, she found her seat. Falling back into it with no effort of grace, she shut her eyes for a moment before peering out the window.

All of Tokyo fell under her gaze, bright as a gem in the night sky with its dazzling flourescents. A tinge of sadness and remorse flowed through her.

Of what she was leaving behind for this crazy journey. Still, it was a journey she had to take.

Her left hand found the weighty object in her pocket again. This time, she fished it out.

It was a fine pure silver locket, with gold trim. It was a small oval with a simple clicking hinge. She snapped it open. Inside was a picture…

Of Bastion. Her love.

Bristol shut her eyes to try and stop the tears that threatened to fall into her lap, clutching the locket against her chest.

"Bastion…" She whispered softly. The mention of his name, and this locket would keep her going more than anything. She had to return to him.

Perhaps that was what made the most difference for Bristol.

"Please…wait for me." Bristol said in a shuddering ragged breath. Finally, she opened her eyes and shut the locket, placing it back in her pocket.

She leaned back against her seat, extending the headrest and reclining it slightly.

The night outside soon swallowed her, leaving Bristol in stasis mode for the next hour.

But she dreamed…

Dreamed of her glitched past…

But more so of her future. Hand in hand, dressed in a slim white gown of silk…

Walking down a long aisle. With Bastion.

It was a good dream.

And a good person deserved those.

The curtain falls once more on the heroes of 21XX. And in the short timespan of a month, everything has changed. The rules, the players, and the teams.

Assumptions long held to be truths have crumbled as new world events shape the future to come, and the beliefs of the past.

Were the Mavericks truly defeated in the Fifth Uprising? Perhaps. It was only the incredible luck and ruthlessness of one Maverick that saved the horrific revolution from forever being destroyed.

But was it for the best? What if the Mavericks truly HAD been put out of the limelight? What if there was nothing but The Maverick Hunters, URFAWP, and the GDC with its ruthless anti-reploid member Emilius Cristoph?

History would have changed. The Hunters would be considered Mavericks themselves for standing up against the blatant injustice of Cristoph's Ultimatum, and perhaps all reploids on earth would be destroyed.

The age of robots might have ended…save for the Mavericks.

Perhaps they're a counterbalance, in a way. Checks and equalizers always exists. Protons, electrons, light and dark, black and white…good and evil.

Without one side, the other crumbles.

But one way or another, drastic change has befallen the world players. Sigma lurks somewhere in one of his hidden bases, clacking his metallic fingers together and hatching a new plot. Cristoph is dead, victim at last to a Maverick Rebellion. Wycost and Bristol wander the earth, her for her past, and he for her, and a penance he must pay.

The figureheads remain in place. The chessboard is redrawn, and only the knights and rooks have taken leave in some way or another.

But where did it all begin? One month ago? One year ago? Or even before that?

It began with assumptions, and it shall end because of assumptions.

Assumptions about power. About life. About fate.

But as far as the Hunters, the main performing group in the epic play before the audience are concerned, their assumptions are a bit more localized.

They concern Mavericks. What form the Virus takes. What a Maverick looks like. Assumptions that have all been proven wrong…

Especially with one detail, one that resounds throughout the world like a giant tuning fork in a room of glass. That assumption has been proven wrong, and now the entire world must pay for it.

For you see…that assumption…

Was The Sound of Mavericks.