Disclaimer: I've said it several times before: Guyver belongs to Yoshiki Takaya. I am not Yoshiki Takaya. However, I have at least partial ownership of Sayuri, Hikari, Akane and Yukari. Partial, because if anyone wants to pick this idea up and run with it, I'll be happy to let them.
Dual Life Refraction.
The whirring of helicopter blades was more clearly audible to the passengers of this particular helicopter than was intended by its design, but as those onboard the helicopter possessed greater than human senses, that couldn't really be helped. Four of the five passengers were sitting back in their seats; hands folded neatly in their laps, staring forward at nothing in particular. Obedient soldiers to their cause.
Imakarum Mirabilis crossed her legs at the ankles and stared out the window of the helicopter. She had been ordered to come here, to support Lord Fried'rich van Purg'stall in his duties within Chronos' Japanese branch. However, her duties would also include dealing with the Guyvers if either of them had the temerity to show up.
When the helicopter with her and her Zoanoid aides landed on the rooftop helipad of Cloud Gate, Imakarum stepped out and smiled as she felt the wind in her hair. It was good of Lord Alkanphel to have given her this second chance at life; she was thankful to him as well as being in his debt. And to repay that debt, she would serve her Lord to the end of her life.
The doors opened, and Imakarum waited until the four Zoanoids had left the transport before she herself left the helicopter.
Imakarum, having been given strict orders from Lord Alkanphel to assist Lord Purg'stall with the management of the Japanese Section, rose from his seat and left the helicopter that had brought him to Chronos' Cloud Gate. He could sense Lord Purg'stall waiting for him on top of the skyscraper, but oddly there seemed to be another Zoalord waiting with him. Perhaps Lord Shin?
Imakarum continued forward, wanting to speak to Lord Purg'stall so that he could receive his orders and take his place in the service of Lord Alkanphel. Hearing his own name spoken, Imakarum hurried his stride and crossed the roof in half the time it would have taken him at his original pace.
"I have come here as ordered, Lord-"
When he saw the other Zoalord, a Zoalord who was most definitely not Lord Shin, Imakarum used half of his top ground speed to reach the location of both Lord Purg'stall and the unknown other Zoalord. The first thing he noticed was that the other Zoalord seemed to be wearing his clothes. And, as if that wasn't strange enough, Lord Purg'stall was apparently speaking with this strange new Zoalord as if they were old friends.
They could have been, Imakarum knew, but he still though it was strange that this new Zoalord was wearing his clothes.
"You understand your duties then, Imakarum?"
"You haven't explained my duties yet, Lord Purg'stall," Imakarum informed the silver-haired Zoalord.
The eyes of both Zoalords turned toward him, and Imakarum noticed that the other Zoalord was wearing a visor much like his own. Imakarum wondered for a moment what this new Zoalord's role within Chronos was. Had Lord Alkanphel made him for a certain purpose?
"Imakarum? But then-" Lord Purg'stall looked from Imakarum to the other Zoalord who was standing in front of him.
What Imakarum was more immediately focused on, however, was the reaction of the other Zoalord. And more than that, his appearance. Not only was this new Zoalord wearing his uniform, but his face and body looked almost exactly like his own!
The bones of this new Zoalord's face were slightly finer-looking than his own, and the body slightly more slender, but those were where the physical dissimilarities all ended.
-Lord Purg'stall, did Lord Alkanphel- did Dr. Balkus... Have I been cloned?-
For the first time in his long life, Fried'rich van Purg'stall was completely at a loss. Standing on his right was Imakarum Mirabilis, the thirteenth Zoalord to be created and the twelfth Zoalord in Chronos' hierarchy, and on his left was... Imakarum Mirabilis, the thirteenth Zoalord to be created and the twelfth Zoalord in Chronos' hierarchy. The only, in fact the most obvious, difference between them was that the Imakarum standing on his left was female, while the Imakarum on his right was male.
It was all very confusing.
Now with Lord and Lady Imakarum staring at one another, each seemingly trying to determine if the other was real, Fried'rich felt that it would be an ideal time to find out what was going on. He had been speaking with Lady Imakarum, speaking to her as if she was his subordinate. It had in fact been Lord Imakarum that had been sent to Cloud Gate as his subordinate, had it not?
Fried'rich remembered Lord Imakarum Mirabilis; a Zoalord that had been recreated from the body of the Proto-Zoalord Masaki Murakami to replace the traitor Richard Guyot. Still the fact remained that Fried'rich could also recall, with perfect clarity, Lady Imakarum Mirabilis; a Zoalord that had been recreated from the body of the Proto-Zoalord Sayuri Murakami to replace the traitor Regina Guyot. Two sets of memories, both as clear as the other.
Richard and Regina Guyot; two Zoalords who had both held the position of Twelfth in the hierarchy of the Twelve Chronos Overlords. That was just not possible.
The mental image of Richard Guyot was very clear; a tall tanned blond man with a powerfully built physique. Unfortunately, the mental image of Regina Guyot was also very clear; a tall tanned blonde woman of Amazonian proportions. Rubbing his temples to stave off an impending headache, Fried'rich looked back up at Lord and Lady Imakarum.
They had both removed the others' visor, and were now staring into the others' eyes.
"Imakarum! Both of you, come with me."
Lord and Lady Imakarum both turned, staring at him for a moment before they bowed and followed him without a word. Leading them back to his helicopter, Fried'rich mulled over just what he was going to tell the other Overlords.
It would be an interesting conversation, no doubt.
The Celestial Hall had been filled nearly to capacity when the three Zoalords arrived. Fried'rich was not looking forward to explaining his actions to either Lord Alkanphel or Dr. Balkus, however the issue of Lord and Lady Imakarum could not be left unresolved. Pushing open the doors to the Celestial Hall, Fried'rich caught sight of Lord Jearvill Bun Hiyern. It would be interesting to note his reaction to the situation.
"Ah, Lady Imakarum. Always a pleasure to behold such beauty," Lord Hiyern said, bowing slightly so that he could take the hand of the female Twelfth Zoalord and kiss the back.
"Ah, Lord Purg'stall, how nice of you to-"
This was the point when Lord Hiyern noticed the other Imakarum. Lord Imakarum. Lord Hiyern stopped, he blinked, than looked back at Lady Imakarum.
"Well now, this is an interesting situation."
-Yes, my Lord?-
-How may I serve you, Lord Alkanphel?-
Alkanphel shifted his gaze from his last female child to his last male child. It was odd, the way that he could perfectly recall ordering Masaki Murakami to be reprocessed while at the same time he could recall ordering the reprocessing of Sayuri. Neither memory included the other, and yet somehow both of his newest children stood before him now.
Alkanphel could remember Hamilcal stating that he would never trust a man with power that was second only to Alkanphel's own; could remember Hamilcal selecting a wealthy young heiress to become his Twelfth Zoalord. Of course, Hamilcal's suspicions had returned severalfold once he had found that the woman who had become Chronos' Twelfth Zoalord had in fact poisoned her own older brother to become the sole heiress to her family's wealth. Someone who would do that was not to be trusted lightly.
He could also recall Hamilcal informing him of the selection of Richard Guyot to become the Twelfth Zoalord. This was all very strange.
Hamilcal seemed as shocked by this new development as Alkanphel himself was, but his old friend was outwardly perfectly calm. Hamilcal was searching Chronos' database; looking for the records of the latest Zoalord processing. Alkanphel stepped forward to watch over the progress of his Second Zoalord. What he saw was not at all what he had been expecting.
There were two records pertaining to the creation of Imakarum Mirabilis; one which stated that Masaki Murakami had been reprocessed, and the other stating that it had been Sayuri Murakami. Alkanphel watched as Hamilcal proceeded to make sure that the records could be verified. Both of them turned out to be valid.
-What is this!-
-Calm yourself, Hamilcal. Perhaps this could be made to work in our favor.-
-I suppose you would be right about that.-
Alkanphel turned his gaze back to his two Twelfth Zoalords. Walking up to his newest children, Alkanphel was unsurprised when they both bowed to him.
"Imakarum," Alkanphel said, focusing his eyes on the male Twelfth Zoalord.
"Hikari," Alkanphel pronounced, shifting his gaze to the female.
"My Lord?" Sayuri looked confused.
"I think it would be best if you took another name. To avoid confusion, you understand?"
"Yes, my Lord. I understand."
Alkanphel reached out and gently touched the shoulder of the newly renamed Hikari Mirabilis. -I am certain that you will find a place for yourself here, Sayuri.-
-Yes, my Lord. Thank you.-
"Yes, Lord Alkanphel?"
"Take Imakarum and Hikari and return to Cloud Gate."
"Yes, Lord Alkanphel."
Alkanphel nodded as the three Zoalords left the Celestial Hall. This would most assuredly prove interesting.
Standing on the rooftop of one of the skyscrapers surrounding Cloud Gate, four Guyvers stood watch.
"Nothing seems to be happening," the female Guyver III said, staring boredly at the towering Chronos building in front of them.
"Well, if anything had happened, I think we would have missed it with how preoccupied we were," The male Guyver III said, his tone of voice slightly clipped.
Sho, standing next to his own female counterpart Yukari, silently agreed with Agito. When Akane and Yukari had appeared; literally appeared out of thin air, the first thing that Sho had thought was that Chronos had created another pair of look-alike Zoanoids. Something like what Aptom had been before the Lost Number had become their ally.
He and Agito had attacked without any hesitation.
Of course, the fact that the other two Guyvers had done the exact same thing hadn't made a very good impression on them at all. Sho had faced off against Yukari, though he hadn't known her name at that point; he hadn't even known that she was a girl. Agito had attacked Akane with more ferocity and skill than Sho had found himself using against Yukari.
But then, Akane had also attacked with surprising speed and ferocity. She had matched Agito move for move, always seeming to be able to predict whatever action he was going to take. Yukari had been that way, too, now that Sho thought about it.
He'd ended up grappling with her, and that was when he'd finally noticed that Yukari had had a Control Medal. Once he'd recognized that for what it was, he had tried to contact her over the telepathic link that all Guyvers shared. When she had responded, more than that when she had revealed herself to be a girl, Sho had nearly fallen out of the sky in shock.
Here was another Guyver, another Guyver I, and she was a girl. Once the two of them had managed to talk down Agito and Akane, things had gotten a little calmer. Stories had been exchanged, and the four of them had decided to work together. Both Akane and Agito had been in favor of the idea. Four Guyvers against a single Zoalord...
"I suppose you'd be right about that," Akane Makashima said indifferently.
"Back to the matter at hand, then," Agito said. "As Akane most likely knows already, there is only one Zoalord stationed in the Japan Section: Fried'rich van Purg'stall. It should prove quite simple for the four of us to deal with him."
"Especially considering the fact that we now possess two Gigantics," Akane stated, folding her arms and staring at the imposing Chronos building. She was already imagining it as rubble on the ground.
"Yukari and I will transform into Gigantic and draw the attention to us."
"Good. Akane and I will deal with Purg'stall."
"Try not to attract too much attention, you two."
"Yes, Akane," Yukari said, nodding at her Guyver III.
As Akane and Agito leapt off the roof, Sho and Yukari each called on their respective Gigantic. The large cocoons, taller than either of them, appeared behind them and immediately opened up to reveal the armor of the Gigantic Guyver. Both sets of enhanced Guyver armor locked shut around their hosts, venting excess air as they powered up.
The two Guyver Gigantics soared through the air toward Cloud Gate, causing more than a few people on the ground to look up in surprise.
Inside Cloud Gate, however, it was a different story.
"It seems like the one who battled Neo Zektor has returned with reinforcements," Fried'rich said, staring at the two identical figures on the viewing screen.
Standing just behind him, Imakarum and Hikari Mirabilis watched impassively.
A virtual army of flight-type Zoanoids were coming at them as they flew toward Cloud Gate. Sho and Yukari reacted quickly to the onslaught, firing their Head Beams at the swarming Zoanoids. Sho extended the huge Vibration Blade on his left arm, slicing open the advancing ranks of Zoanoids before they could do him any harm.
Yukari fired her Head Beams into the mass of bird- and insectlike Zoanoids, killing them before they could even reach her. At the same time, both of them spotted the Vamores. Just as the legions of Vamores started firing their bio-lasers at them. Snapping open the covers of their sonic emitters, Sho and Yukari fired into the mass of bio-blaster type Zoanoids.
The overlapping sonic waves, just enough out of sync that they added power and range to each other, blasted the ranks of Vamore into scattered chunks of falling flesh. The wall of Cloud Gate was also blasted in by the high-frequency sound waves. The two Gigantic Guyvers entered through the hole that they had made.
The Chronos troops inside the building stared in mute shock at the two Gigantic Guyvers inside their building, but only for a few seconds. Then, the army of Hyper Zoanoids that had been stationed at Cloud Gate for this kind of occasion transformed and moved to confront the two Gigantics. Sho and Yukari both drew back their fists, and using the Gigantic power-punch they made quick work of the Hyper Zoanoids in front of them.
+What is it, Makashima+
+Akane and I have located the Zoalord. Both of you, come quickly+
+We're on our way, Agito.+
Shedding their Gigantic armors, Yukari and Sho looked for a quick escape rout. Sho spotted an air vent and, nodding to Yukari so she'd follow his lead, tore of the cover and both Guyvers slipped inside. The space inside the vent was larger than Yukari had been expecting; the fin at the top of the Guyver's head didn't even scrape across the ceiling of the vent. Not that Yukari wasn't grateful for the lack of excess noise, she just found the situation a bit strange.
Finally reaching the end of the vent shaft, Sho flew out of it and up the larger, empty shaft with Yukari close behind him. They met up with Agito and Akane in another room, and the four Guyvers proceeded to slaughter their way through the Zoanoids guarding the upper levels.
Once all of the Zoanoids were gone, a task which was accomplished much faster and more easily than any of the four Guyvers had been expecting, they found themselves staring at a flight of stairs that ended at a closed door. Akane and Agito walked quickly up the stairs, while Sho and Yukari hung back and looked around, wondering where the rest of the Zoanoid guards were.
If this was the most important part of Cloud Gate, the place where the Zoalord resided, then why weren't there more Zoanoids guarding it? Sho could sense that there was a Zoalord - wait, two of them - behind the door that they were closing in on. As the door slid open in front of them, Sho saw the interior of the room for the first time.
As well as the two Zoalords standing at the huge bay window at the far end of it.
-They've arrived at last,- Imakarum pronounced.
-Yes, all of them.-
Though he still found it extremely odd to be dealing with someone who was essentially a female version of himself, Imakarum was grateful to have her with him now. Now that he could sense the four Guyvers standing behind them.
"Which one of you is Purg'stall?" he heard Agito Makashima demand.
"His Excellency has left."
"What!" Akane Makashima, the female Guyver III, shouted.
"My companion and I have just installed ourselves and already you come to visit us," Imakarum rested his hand on Hikari's right shoulder. "Perhaps this was truly meant to be."
"Yes, this meeting does have the feeling of destiny about it," Imakarum could see Hikari smiling as she said this.
After being reunited with old friends, who wouldn't smile? Imakarum himself was smiling at the thought of taking Sho back under his wing; it would be just like old times. Imakarum had no doubt that Hikari's thoughts followed the same lines as his; they were of a kind, after all.
"It has been a while," Imakarum turned to look his old friend in the face for the first time since they had been forcibly separated at Mt. Minakami. "Sho."
"I'm so glad to see you again, Yukari," Hikari said. "As my companion said, it has been too long."
Imakarum turned to fully address Sho, and he could hear Hikari doing the same. His smile became warmer and more pronounced as he heard the confusion in the voices of both versions of Guyver I. They were just children; they had never deserved to be forced into this brutal and futile battle. Lord Alkanphel understood that they were simply misguided.
Makashima and his plural were the ones that deserved to die.
"That's impossible!" Agito strove to deny the truth in front of him. Typical. "You are both dead!"
"From the information that my counterpart and I have shared, both of us were dead for a time."
"Yes," Makashima's plural said, sounding shaken. "You were killed by Guyot, at Mt. Minakami."
"Since speaking with my companion, I have learned that - beyond the circumstances of our deaths - we share many similarities," Hikari said. "We were both returned to life by Alkanphel, the glorious leader of Chronos."
"We are both the Thirteenth Zoalord," Imakarum said, again marveling at the circumstances that had brought their groups together. "Created to replace the traitor Guyot."
"Sayuri-mama?" Guyver I asked, sounding lost and alone.
"Come here, Yukari-chan," Hikari spread her arms. Inviting, welcoming.
As Yukari stepped forward, Imakarum smiled warmly. She would be much happier; much safer, working within Chronos.
Sho stared almost mindlessly forward, most of his attention focused on the - the Zoalord - that wore the face of Mr. Murakami. It couldn't be him, it just couldn't, but it looked so much like him. Sho almost didn't notice Yukari walking up next to him, or the way that she passed him by and headed for the Zoalords standing in front of him.
"Don't be stupid, Yukari," Akane Makashima hissed. "Regardless of what she looks like, that is not the woman you knew."
"You were always too much of a pessimist, Guyver III. Can't you just accept the fact that I've returned? I missed Yukari; I couldn't just stay away."
+Yukari. Yukari, listen to me. That- that's not her. You told me what Ms. Murakami was like. You told me that she was just like Mr. Murakami. Mr. Murakami would have never worked for Chronos.+
+But, Sho... look, it is her+ Yukari said, sounding not like she wanted to believe that but like she needed to believe it. +It's Sayuri-mama. She's not dead.+
Sho, who could already feel his own heart breaking at the thought of Mr. Murakami fighting on Chronos' side, could just imagine how Yukari felt. Mr. Murakami had been a very close friend of his, but from what Yukari had said, she and Ms. Murakami had been almost family.
+Yukari, please just listen to me. Sayuri died, she died at Mt. Minakami. This isn't her. It isn't.+
Sho, while he was trying to convince Yukari, was also trying to convince himself of the exact same thing. But it was hard; Mr. Murakami was standing right in front of him, smiling and holding out his hand. Ms. Murakami was holding out her arms, wearing an expression that Sho could only describe as 'motherly'.
"With how things have been going, mankind is doomed to extinction," Mr. Murakami said.
"The only hope that this world has is to unite under the leadership of Chronos," Ms. Murakami said. "You understand, don't you Yukari? Things will be so much better once Chronos takes control. Just think about it: no more hunger, no more war. This world will become a paradise."
"Why don't you join us?"
"You should both know that that's never going to happen," Agito snapped. "Either the two of you have been brainwashed, or there's someone controlling you. Murakami would have never spoken like this in the past."
"It's true," Sho said, his voice becoming stronger as he tried to convince himself and Yukari. "Mr. Murakami, both of you hated Chronos so much that you were willing to risk your lives to fight them! Wake up!"
"Please, wake up," Yukari pleaded.
"You two are the ones who should wake up," Ms. Murakami said, sounding disappointed. "Lord Alkanphel is the only one who truly deserves to rule this world."
"Lord Alkanphel is this planet's salvation," Mr. Murakami said forcefully. "He is a god!"
"He is not," Sho said bitterly.
"He's murdered countless thousands of people," Yukari said, her grip on Sho's hand no longer so desperately tight. "He turns them into monsters and he manipulates their minds any way he wants."
"He's not anyone's salvation!" Sho and Yukari said together. "He's more like the devil!"
"How tragic that you refuse to see the nobility of our goals," Ms. Murakami said, letting her arms fall back to her sides.
"I suppose then that we have no choice but to force you to see the truth," Mr. Murakami said, and Sho could sense the power gathering between his hands.
As he gathered his energy and fired a massive Gravity Bullet, Imakarum sensed Hikari using her Incision Wave to drive the last of the Guyvers out of Cloud Gate. Nodding to Hikari, Imakarum flew out to face Guyvers I and III. Both sets of them.
He saw the two Guyver Is lying in a crater on the street, moving fitfully as they tried to recover from their fall.
-I wish we didn't have to do this,- Hikari said.
-I know,- Imakarum said, hovering over the prone bodies of Sho and Yukari. -But we have no other options. They must be made to see the truth; or destroyed if they refuse to do so.-
-I know that this is hard on you, Lady Hikari. If you would prefer to deal with Makashima and his plural, I'll understand your reasons.-
-Thank you, Lord Imakarum.-
Out of the corner of his eye, Imakarum saw Hikari fly off.
-Good hunting, my Lady.-
-Thank you, my Lord.-
"The both of you have been a thorn in Chronos' side for a very long time now; but neither of you are as strong as I thought," Imakarum stated, as he advanced on the still-prone Guyvers. "Or, perhaps neither of you wish to use your full power because you're facing us?"
Imakarum sensed something, some powerful force approaching his position. He leaped backwards to avoid three powerful bursts of bio-laserfire.
-Hikari? You're keeping Guyver III busy, aren't you?-
-Yes, I am. Why?-
-Did you send out any of our other soldiers?-
-No. Why do you ask?-
-I was just attacked,- Imakarum said, looking up at something that appeared to be a Hyper Zoanoid.
"This one belongs to me! I'm not letting you kill him!" The maybe-Zoanoid snarled, holding Sho and Yukari under his arms. He apparently hadn't noticed yet that there were two of them.
"Aptom, is that you?" Sho asked, sounding tired and beaten.
"Aptom? You're the one that Dr. Balkus has been so interested in."
-What is it, Imakarum?-
-Aptom has arrived.-
-You're kidding me. Aptom? We've been ordered to capture him; what shall we do?-
-I'll pursue. You just make sure that Makashima and his plural aren't in a position to help. Aptom has Sho and Yukari with him; I'll deal with them.-
"You were a Lost Number before; made merely to be capable of mimicking the forms of other Zoanoids," Imakarum raised his right hand, feeling his power gather at that point. "You've become something more now though, haven't you? This is the perfect opportunity for me to deal with you once and for all!"
Lord Alkanphel had told him, and most likely Hikari as well, about how he had dealt with the Lost Unit. Imakarum fired his Incision Wave, the attack ripping through the air and tearing off one of Aptom's wings and one of his legs. The former Lost Unit fired a volley of bio-missiles at him. Imakarum raised his forcefield, allowing Aptom's missiles to detonate against it.
The falling debris obscured his vision for a few seconds, and when they settled Imakarum smirked. His senses alerted him to something fast coming in his general direction, and Imakarum turned slightly, just as one of the Guyver IIIs went crashing into the side of the building. The other Guyver III attempted to attack Hikari from behind, but she turned quickly and stomped the Dark Guyver out of the air.
-How are things at your end of the battle, my Lord?-
-They could be going smoother, my Lady. I trust that you have been having an easier time of things than I have.-
-Given the fact that I've only been facing two enemies, I think that that would be true.-
Imakarum watched as Hikari grabbed the wrist of the Dark Guyver just behind her and used it to slam Guyver III face-first into the other Guyver III. One of the Guyver IIIs recovered more quickly than the other, however.
The recovered Guyver III fired the Pressure Cannon directly at Hikari's face. She dodged backward just in time to keep from having her own head torn off, but Imakarum saw her visor shatter into sparkling shards.
-I'm all right,- his female counterpart said, letting her long black bangs fall over her eyes. -It just stung me a little.-
-You're bleeding, though.-
-Yes, I know that.-
"I suppose one of you was bound to hit me sooner or later, what with how hard you were trying," Hikari said, as two drops of blood fell from opposite sides of her chin. "However, you might not like what you see."
Hikari brushed her bangs away from her eyes, and Imakarum removed his visor and tossed it away. If they were going to end this game, then Imakarum would see to it that that the game was ended permanently.
"Their eyes! Look at their eyes!"
"Zoalord transform!" Imakarum and Hikari shouted as one.
As he felt his own body changing into his larger battleform, Imakarum could sense Hikari undergoing the same changes. For a moment he wondered if the physical similarities between them would extend even to their battleforms. Then, Imakarum realized that he would find out shortly if that was the case.
The light cleared, and Imakarum saw Hikari's form. It was indeed a close resemblance to his own, as Hikari's human form was. The only differences were the marginally more slender build and the slightest roundness in the female Zoalord's chest. Even the number and location of Gravity Points was the same.
"For our master, Lord Alkanphel; all of Chronos' enemies shall be annihilated!" Hikari shouted.
Sho felt like his heart was being squeezed; like he couldn't breathe.
"Why?" Sho asked, shaking as he looked at the two Zoalords in front of him. "Why are we being forced to fight you?"
"You- you were our friend," Yukari said. "You were the one who taught us what it meant to fight Chronos; what the consequences would be if we didn't."
"Are you done?" Ms. Murakami asked, sounding indifferent.
"I would say they are," Mr. Murakami hissed.
A barrage of power bolts, from both Zoalords, destroyed the roof where they were standing and hurled all four Guyvers and Aptom onto the building next to the one that had been destroyed.