Chapter 2

"Just got a message from command," Mitch said. "Light wants all hunters to report to base immediately. He claims something big is about to happen. He's going to brief us first as soon as we get there, then together we'll brief the rest of the forces."

"If you ask me," Troy said, "I'd say that he's finally gone off the deep end. I mean Sigma was destroyed a year and a half ago. Since then there hasn't been any maverick activity worth mentioning. I don't see anything 'big' happening any time soon."

"That may be, but you at least owe him the courtesy of hearing what he has to say," Chris replied. "After all, Troy, he did save your life."

"I suppose…" mumbled Troy.

"We should go," Mitch said. "Light isn't going to wait for us all day."

"Right," Chris said. "Let's move."

As the three walked into an empty classroom, they each pressed a button on their watches, and vanished in a flash of light.

They reappeared inside a room that might as well have been the transport room from Star Trek. Stepping off the trans-server, the three headed down the hallway. Stopping at a door that read "Dr. Light" on top of iced glass, Chris knocked three times. "Enter," called a voice from the other side.

Doctor Light looked old even for his age. The years of developing the Reploid project from the ground up had taken its toll on the man. He wore dark sacks under his eyes, had lost about 25 pounds, and now walked with a cane. His beard, which had once glowed a bright white, was now dirty and gray. Chris wondered why the man had never shaved the thing off.

He looked at the three with a solemn look in his eye. "It appears I am the bearer of bad news. It seems our funds have run dry, and we are going to have to shut down operations."

"What!" The three said in unison.

"Let me finish. Without disabled mavericks to pick up and scavenge for parts anymore, production has gone to a standstill. And now that my research grant has run out, we simply cannot afford to continue the Reploid project."

"But what about the mavericks, Doc?" Mitch said. " They get wind of this and it is bye-bye planet."

"I am aware of that, Mitch. That is why you three will still be active. I just can't afford repair costs on the entire maverick hunter forces."

"Ok," Chris quietly spoke. "We understand, don't we team?" He glared at the others, and they reluctantly shook their heads yes. "Now we have to go tell the rest of the forces to go home, right?"

"Correct. Luckily it won't take too long to decommission them. Half of the forces quit after the city assault on Sigma."

"True," Chris said. "And luckily we haven't needed them. Since Sigma was destroyed, there hasn't been much activi……"

He was cut off by the alert siren and the loudspeaker blaring, "All hunter forces to battle stations! The base is under attack!"