THE GUARDIAN'S TRIAL
by: Curtis Wildcat
Megaman Zero 2 and all the characters within belong to Capcom, with the exception of this one guy. Who is it? Read on and see for yourself. Reviews are appreciated.
The chamber quickly filled itself with water. Zero prepared himself, knowing exactly who was coming and wishing it wasn't happening. Somewhere ahead of him was Elpizo, who'd entered the base looking for who-knows-what; the hero had a job to do, and he didn't have time to deal with this.
Like it or not, it happened anyway. A panel nearby opened up ahead of him, and one of the former guardians of X swam over to meet him. "...It's you," Zero acknowledged hesitantly.
"So nice to see you again, Zero," Fairy Leviathan greeted him. "So, I take it you're chasing after that ex-citizen, Elpizo, are you?"
"That's correct," Zero said. "Float aside. I don't have time for games."
"Games? All I want is to fight you," Leviathan stated, smiling. "Is that so much to ask?"
"Apparently, yes," Zero said flatly. "Go away before you regret it."
"I've never for a minute regretted our past battles," Leviathan disagreed, still smiling. "But still, once I finish with you, I need to take care of that miscreant back there. I hope you're not too disappointed."
"Actually, I'm ecstatic."
"Sort of hard to tell with that look you always have on your face. Anyway..." Leviathan pointed her staff at him. "Get ready, Ze---"
Knock, knock, knock.
Both opponents turned to view the source of the knock: a previously hidden door, the size more appropriate for humans than machines. Leviathan regarded the door for a moment. "Who's at the door?" she shouted.
"I'm with the Neo Arcadian Mailing Service," a voice---human, from the sound of it---declared through the door. "I have a package for one Fairy Leviathan. Could someone sign for it, please?"
Leviathan faced Zero, suspecting a trap. "...A human? What's a human doing at an Antarctic base?"
Zero shrugged. "What does it matter? Are you going to get it, or not?"
Leviathan looked first at the door, and then at Zero. On the one hand, I really want to fight Zero. Defeating and retiring him's my goal, and I get a real kick out of fighting him, anyway.
On the other hand, if it's a human and not a reploid, maybe I should get the door. Most people with the Resistance are reploids; the only human in that system I know of is that Ciel person. It should be safe to get the door...not that they can hurt me, or anything.
But...I really want to fight Zero! This is important to me!
Still...maybe I have an obligation to answer that door...it could be important, too...
But...Zero!...and that former citizen!...
...What about the door? Neo Arcadia's future could depend on this!...
Zero looked on as Leviathan wrestled with indecision. One of his eyebrows arched beneath his helmet. I wasn't expecting this...
The internal argument continued. Zero...or the door? Zero...door...
"Hello?" the voice at the door asked again. "Is anyone coming?"
Leviathan looked once more at Zero, who had deactivated his Z-Saber and waited for her to make up her mind. Throwing up her hands in defeat, she flipped a nearby lever and began draining the room of water. Once the room was empty, she marched over to the door in a huff and threw it open.
Sure enough, it was a human; the man was wearing a heavy coat and fuzzy hat with the logo of the Neo Arcadian Mailing Service. There was a small, broad package sitting on the ground; the label on it read the guardian's name in block letters and gave the base's address, leaving no doubt as to whom the package was for. The delivery person was holding a pen and a clipboard in one hand. "Are you Mrs. Leviathan?" the person asked, adjusting his fogged-over glasses.
"I am," the reploid said, annoyed. "Who wants to know?"
"This package came for you. I have a few things I want for you to fill out, and then it's yours."
"Well, I remember paying over two-hundred dollars---plus a few energy crystals---a few months ago for something, but it never came. Is this what it is?" Leviathan asked skeptically.
"Hey, I just deliver these things. I don't ask questions, miss."
Rolling her eyes, Leviathan asked one more question. "How'd you get this far into the base?"
"I came in through the service door. Those Pantheon things you have at the door saw me and let me in."
The reploid paused for a moment in the middle of another thought, then stopped. "I need to remember that's there. Fine; I'll sign for it."
Later, after figuring out a way to carry the bulky box with one hand and her staff in the other, Leviathan allowed the deliveryman to exit the base. When she turned around, she noticed that Zero had decided to skedaddle while her back was turned. She would've slapped her forehead out of irritation, but she remembered that she didn't want to drop the box. Instead, she faced the wall and banged her head against it a few times, hitting a switch as she did so.
Shortly afterward, Leviathan teleported back to her quarters in Neo Arcadia. Setting her staff aside, she tore open the box and its protective packaging, setting the materials within on the floor.
This is lost technology...this recording and playback device hasn't been used in centuries. It's a wonder that it's still intact enough to use. Leviathan then picked up the various unopened cartridges that came with the package. These tapes and discs...they contain media and information that have been lost to the ages. No one, human or reploid, have considered such things to be an option. The era we live in leaves no time, and no one thinks of it. However, Harpuia wanted to see if they still existed, so here's proof that they do.
I wonder what's contained on them?
Briefly looking over the instruction manual, she set about deciphering its contents and setting up the playback device.
Time: A full day later
Harpuia stared disbelievingly at Fefnir. "What do you mean, she hasn't left her quarters?"
"I don't like it either," the fight-crazed robot answered. "Zero and the Resistance are messing things up again, and she refuses to leave that room. What's with her?"
Harpuia tried to calm down, succeeding after just a bit. "Twenty-four hours straight without so much as recharging...as a former guardian, it's not like her to be so reclusive. Let's try to get her out of there."
After walking through a set of passageways, they arrived at a door labeled "Leviathan" in blue letters. Harpuia looked past his shoulder at Fefnir, who just shrugged. Sighing, the green-armored reploid knocked on the door.
"...What's the password?" Leviathan's voice asked.
"'Password'?" Harpuia asked incredulously. "You know it's us. Let us in."
"...How do I know it's not someone else...like Zero? He's the one that makes it two hard for three guardians to get anywhere they've been be-four. That's a negative, so check back for further developments. Swordfish."
"...The blazes?" Fefnir exclaimed, his tone just as confused as Harpuia's.
"...Swordfish?" Harpuia couldn't think of anything better to say.
The door opened, revealing Leviathan. The ex-guardian had a somewhat quirky smile. "You're the first person to guess the correct password. I was hoping I wouldn't need to draw the line, if only it didn't need erased again."
"Quit your nonsense," Fefnir barked. "Zero's caught that Elpizo guy, but he could come back at anytime. We need to decide on something!"
"Your proposition is pretty good, but let's make one thing understood," Leviathan said softly, still smiling. "Whatever it is, I'm against it."
Harpuia exchanged a puzzled look with Fefnir, then saw something flickering on the viewscreen. On it, the monochrome image of a mustached human remained frozen in time.
"Well?" Fefnir asked. "Do we drag her away and drop her in the repair bay, or what?"
"I've got to stay here," Leviathan said, "but there's no reason why you two shouldn't leave until this thing blows over."
"Leave her be," Harpuia decided. "If she's not out by midnight, we'll cut the power and schedule a mechanic's appointment."
With that decided, the two of them turned and left.
Fefnir had been right. Without the delay provided by a battle against Leviathan, Zero had been able to catch up with Elpizo before he left. When the rogue Resistance leader tried to escape, he found his efforts impeded by an energy field that Leviathan's frustrated actions had activated. In spite of the lengthy battle that followed, Zero was able to subdue and capture Elpizo, baby Cyber Elves and all. Afterwards, he slipped out the back of the building and escaped.
Unaware of the crisis that had been averted, Leviathan had forgone powering down in favor of 'examining' the different discs and tapes that had been delivered. The VCR/DVD player had been running almost constantly, but she didn't care. As far as she was concerned, entertainment from centuries past was like a treasure trove to her.
But as her conversation with the two surviving guardians showed, the lack of sleep had taken it.
When Harpuia returned at midnight after cutting power to Leviathan's quarters, he found the aquatic reploid powered down. Her closed eyes were still facing the viewscreen, a remote control remaining in her hand. Harpuia had to pry it loose before he could drag her out.
Before he left he looked down at the scattered boxes on the floor, wondering for a moment who "Groucho" was before deciding he was better off not knowing.
This is my fault. There'd been a Marx Brothers movie marathon on television recently, and I'd been thinking about the Megaman Zero video game series the past few weeks. The two of them mixed together in my mind, and...this happened.
Some of Leviathan's lines in the latter part of the fic are altered Groucho Marx quotes; the rest was ad-libbed. The altered quotes are all from the movie Horse Feathers, if you're interested in that sort of thing.
This was a spur of the moment thing. I did all this inside of six hours, and I'll be back on my other story tomorrow. As it was, I wanted to get this idea out of the way before it escaped me. I hope those who read it got at least a moment's amusement out of it.