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Megaman Legends: Love Heist
Legends Arc Four: Wild Heart
By Traingham

[ Episode Twenty-One: Rekindle Me ]

The explosion erupted somewhere from within the deep recesses of Roll's subconscious. It was held back at the seams of total awareness by the haze that flooded her mind—up until the point at which she set down the plate of pancakes that she had been gingerly maintaining by her fingertips onto the dusty tool bench of her workshop with such delicacy that it may as well have dispersed in a puff a smoke at the slightest exhalation on her part, and the immediate impulse to repeatedly slam her head against the nearest flat surface could not have been more arresting when it came smashing through her stupor. To catch up the undoubtedly curious, omnipresent observer, Megaman had presented the brilliant engineer with a plate of the golden brown griddle cakes when she had simply accepted the warm plate, directed a blank stare at said pancakes with a subdued "Oh wow" and promptly locked herself in the safe confines of her workshop without another word to him.

The blonde engineer could not blame the blue hero for being so profoundly confused at her reaction; pancakes were, after all, a notable comfort food for her so the idea of Roll responding to being presented with them with anything other than childlike jubilance after being deprived of them for so long was a definite cause for concern. Roll, therefore, was rightly vexed with herself since even she had not anticipated such an about face in her emotional output; for her spirits to be brought so low by what could have been interpreted as the first sign of normal days returning clearly indicated something was unresolved.

"Maybe he had a point after all..." She thought back to her last heart to heart with her grandfather before she had all but shut the door on him as a confiding figure to turn to, which had been something of more than an occasional instance after her best friend had become stranded on Elysium. Barrel had explained to her— in the respectful frankness of one adult to another—that she was the one person holding the family back from moving toward a healthy recovery and she in turn had accused him of lacking any genuine consideration for Megaman's overall condition before tuning him out completely. Thinking back on their last conversation she could only feel disappointment in herself for being so willfully ignorant of how smoothly her friend was transitioning in his recovery; this was perhaps a more difficult pill to swallow as a result.

What made this weight that much heavier on her was how little she contributed toward Megaman's return to form since he woke from his catatonic state. Her mother, Matilda, was far more supportive of the young man's desire to be an active digger again, which was noticeably the only possibility that ever excited him anymore ever since his last visit to Kattelox, and that he made it a regular part of his day to visit her mother at the hospital indicated that they were likely bonding as a result of that positive support, maybe even receiving mutual help through each others company.

It then occurred to the young Caskett that she was, indeed, the only member of the family failing to settle back into the groove of things. Megaman was returning to his usual productive self, Matilda was making substantial progress toward becoming a functional member of society and was due to leave the hospital in a week, and all Roll had furthered herself in was the art of brooding. She was even grating on her own nerves now.

"And really, what am I doing to stop him?" Roll was, of course, referring to Megaman's extended visits at the hospital. The visitation log book did have the proof of his signature, and the staff were familiar enough with the spunky teenager that he could not be accused of lying when he announced his departure for the hospital upon taking his leave of the Flutter in the morning, however, his talks with Matilda were not always so long that he would get back in the afternoon—no, he was up to other devices; the sort that Roll had gone out of her way to actively sabotage. She had done everything from dismantling her stock of weapons to sabotaging Megaman's buster cannon (The one with that damned Bonne insignia proudly plastered over the barrel) so that he would be forced to retire from his clandestine visits to the Yosyonke ruins at the outskirts of town, however, he simply made do without her inventions (the Yosyonke ruins weren't that tough) and as for the buster cannon, the junk shop owner appeared to have been more than savvy enough to help Megaman work out the kinks she had inflicted on the sly, and he certainly was not spared any dirty looks from her end for his services to her blue companion. That said, she never went out of her way to stand guard at the entrance to simply catch him in the act. Perhaps it was guilt that stayed her hand...that, and the extra zenny that would mysteriously become available to them on shopping visits went a long way, which brought the matter full circle to the pancakes sitting on Roll's workbench.

"Maybe I'm just being stubborn..." Roll hesitantly reached for her wrench, staying her hand with reluctance when her finger made contact with the cold surface of the tool that she had at times considered to be an extension of her own flesh and soul. The blonde engineer could not recall any long stretch of time in which she did not find herself grasping a tool in hand, not like the last agonizing month when she basically swore off the very notion of stepping foot into her workshop. There was nothing in life that she could derive such happiness and fulfillment from as working alongside Megaman—providing him support not just as a spotter but through her inventions and technical know how. When she resolved an issue for her friend or acted on her bursts of inspiration she felt pride; she felt alive, and the absence of those opportunities that allowed her to flex her muscles naturally depressed her.

Gripping the wrench in hand, Roll held it up to the light with an air of mysticism, regarding the deceptively simple tool while she savored the weight of it in her firm grip. With this she had reclaimed a portion of herself and with it back she felt like an idiot for ever thinking that she could live without it. Returning her sights to the plate of pancakes she came to a decision.

"Normal can't be so bad."

• [ |MML: LOVE HEIST |] •

"Mnm." Matilda slipped the forked utensil from her mouth, savoring the marriage of buttery richness and maple sweetness that caressed her long deprived tastebuds like a tender lover coming ashore after a long journey at sea. Swallowing gratefully from the bottom of her heart, Matilda came to the silent realization that the hospital food she had been consuming up until now lacked a distinctive warmth that her body had been subconsciously aching for since she had been admitted to the city of seemingly eternal snowfall. She directed her attention to the young gentleman with his back to the wall beside her, frankly impressed (though it was certainly not the first time) that these were the results of his handiwork.

"Goodness, Megaman." Matilda reigned in her appetite long enough to express her appreciation toward the troubled young digger before she could finish inhaling her plate of pancakes. "With the way you spoil me on your visits, these nurses are going to have to throw me out the front door of this hospital or I might milk this for all it's worth." Matilda waited for a reaction from him, reluctantly lowering her fork to rest on her plate when her small jest appeared to have slipped past his notice. Megaman's focus was directed toward a corner of the room where in he may have been witnessing a short drama playing out between two quarreling flies, or he was caught somewhere within his own. Matilda suppressed a sigh before making the hesitant decision of reaching out and dragging him out of it. "Hey, not to violate your private bubble in this deeply introspective moment, but…"

Megaman turned toward the direction of her voice with a dreamy expression, eyes gaining focus the longer he stared until—"What?" The question came absently.

"Huh? Oh, I was actually conversing with the wall." Matilda wrinkled her nose at his response, knocking lightly against the wall she was leaning on. "Takes more than sweet words to keep a guy engaged nowadays, but walls—they've a stalwart reputation for being unconditional listeners."

Mistaking her teasing for a genuine complaint, the young man scrambled out of his daze to apologize for his bad display of manners. "Sorry, sorry. I don't usually blank out like that—I swear!" The blue bomber nearly bowed his head to the elder Caskett, straightening his posture as he did to appear more respectable to her. "Lately it's just been so easy to get caught up in this mess I've piled up in here." He confessed, gesturing to his forehead.

"You've got Roll on your mind, hmm?" Matilda pried, leaning over ever so slightly with a perked ear.

Disturbed by her spot on assumption, Megaman edged away with a wince. "Well, yeah, actually. I didn't think I was that transparent."

"Admittedly, it's not exactly a shot in the dark, you know." She wagged her fork at him before laying it to rest on her plate again. She set the dish down on the windowsill beside her and mounted her attack, "You get this distinctive sort of look in your eyes whenever you have my daughter running through your head. Any girl can spot that look on a guy as expressive as you are."

At that moment Megaman maintained a hand over his eyes like a visor to obscure them from her. "No way! It's not like that!" He felt himself coming apart under her pointed gaze. "I mean..." He timidly met her eyes again. "...you're not serious, right?"

Matilda held back an answer to his distress, leaving him to hang on her coming response with a straight face, but for only so long before her mask dropped and a stifled laugh pushed through her pressed lips. "Pfft! Too easy."

Megaman slumped his posture in defeat upon the realization that he had taken for a ride by her...yet again. "I drop your guard for a second..." He grumbled with all the grace of a fellow that had fallen for the same pitfall far too many times not to feel ashamed for the lack of foresight.

"Aw, don't be bitter." Matilda consoled him with two light pats on the shoulder. "What'd she do that has you all wrapped up in your head this time?"

Sparing her a dirty look, Megaman composed himself before he spoke. "It's more like what I did. I might've messed up this morning." Had he taken the moment to glance her face when he said that, the flash of apprehension would not have slipped past his notice. "I mean, I guess I should've known that doing it would be considered moving too fast for her, but..."

"...But?" Matilda helped him along expectantly, unaware that in her desire to fully understand the vague context of the situation his words were weaving, her body language was becoming dangerously tense–maybe even aggressive.

In the end Megaman was willing to share one vital piece of information. "Pancakes."

The steadily building dread that had been encroaching on her lazy morning up to that liberating anti climax had immediately fallen away like a weight cut from a taut rope. Now all that was left in its absence was clouded curiosity. "Pancakes?" She stole a glance at her plate of the aforementioned griddle cakes, quirking a brow inquisitively. "Does Roll not like pancakes? Is that the issue here, or are we playing the noun game?"

"No." Megaman answered her, without a lick of amusement on his handsome face. "She loves my pancakes! Even on her worst mornings, like, you know, whenever she's like—" Megaman stopped in his explanation to do his best impression of Roll during her particularly unsociable weeks that would strike at seemingly coordinated intervals. "All I'd need to do to brighten her day is surprise her with a fresh short stack—maybe throw in a couple of eggs and two links if I thought she'd want a little something extra on the side, right?"

Matilda shrugged her shoulder with a few nods. "Yeah, why not?"

"And Roll's been kind of quiet lately." He continued, lowering his voice somewhat as he did, perhaps on the likelihood of Roll strolling through the door of the hospital room unannounced at any moment. "Before, when I'd just woken up from that mess on the colony, Roll wouldn't leave me alone unless I locked a door between us, but that changed around Saturday. I asked her about it." He notified Matilda preemptively before she could question the degree of is concern regarding the matter of her daughter's mood. "I asked her if anything was up, but she'd just kinda smile and tell me not to worry about it."

"So, then what happened this morning with the pancakes?"

"I whipped up a batch when I woke up this morning thinking that maybe surprising her with breakfast would do the trick. It never failed me before."

"But it failed this time." Matilda finished his thought for him.

He nodded dejectedly, responding with a half hearted, "You'd think I handed her grits instead."

The implication of the statement left Matilda almost bewildered. "She doesn't like grits?" She inquired in a near whisper. Perhaps she might have been trying to lift his spirits with a little light hearted aside, he couldn't be sure but he humored her with a reply.

"She hates them." He whispered back, feeling slightly better for playing along.

"That's crazy." She nearly scoffed. "She's crazy."

"I know. She doesn't even try to fix them."

"Mix in a little butter; maybe some cheese..." The elder Caskett started off, mumbling something to herself about cholesterol and nano machines before seemingly settling on something with a casual shrug.

"A sunny side egg, or slices of breakfast sausage..." Megaman contributed his own suggestions on the very serious matter of grit modification.

"Delicious." They capped off the discussion as one.

"What I'm saying is, " Megaman brought his conversation partner back to full focus before the subject strayed too far off the path, "I've spent all my life by Roll's side, and as embarrassing as it is to admit it, I've never actually put the effort into knowing anyone else just as well. I know what makes her smile, what makes her cry, her favorite foods, the silly ideas that she's too embarrassed to share with everyone else." And darker, more intimate details thanks to his clandestine perusal of her diary on more than one occasion—though the blue hero had the sense not to include that in front of Matilda because the deeper, primordial instincts inside of him suggested possible horrible outcomes to the timeline. "Roll is the greatest friend I've ever had, and I just know I'll never meet anyone else like her for as long as I live—I can't imagine a life without her friendship."

Hearing his declaration struck Matilda with mixed feelings, and the majority of those left her more concerned than not. While she could not deny that what she had just been made privy to was a most heartfelt confession of a true friendship, Megaman's admittance to emotionally investing himself toward Roll to such a degree was almost a direct echo of the sentiments that Roll had aired to her while she was in the earlier stages of her recovery—not quite responsive, but soaking the words spoken to her like a sponge. It was made quite apparent to Matilda that the life these two teenagers had been leading up to this point did not afford them the leisure time to form true companions outside of each other.

"Okay, before you get sad again, just hear me out." Matilda jumped in before he could bow his head as the dipping of his chin appeared ever so imminent. "You might have neglected some vital details."

"Like what? What do you mean?"

"The pancakes."


"What do the pancakes mean? You said that you messed up by giving her the pancakes, but you never explained why the pancakes were a mistake. Would crepes have made a difference?"

"I don't know how to explain this easily…" Megaman appeared sheepish, running one hand over the side of his head where his fingers intertwined with his thick locks and remained there. When the words came to him he raised his eyes to meet Matilda, and he explained, "Well, Roll is pretty smart. It's hard to get things past her—sometimes I feel like she just lets me get away with things to let me feel clever."

That the word 'pancakes' were not included in that opening line made her brace for another long explanation. "…Right."

"And since I've gotten back I've been kinda anxious to get things moving again—you know, with digging, that is. The thing is, Roll's been against the whole idea, telling me that its too soon to be thinking about stuff like that, especially since 'I have so much on my plate'." He placed quotations at the end of his sentence, coming off as a little annoyed. "I wasn't getting anywhere with the direct approach, so I tried being a lot less obvious with my suggestions. It didn't work. Things went in another direction anyway…" He crossed his arms. "Time passed and Roll sort of stopped "sticking around" in our conversations. I couldn't shake the feeling that maybe she was shutting me out. I figured the best way to get through to her would have been to remind her of the good ole' days."

That piqued Matilda's interest. "The good days?"

"Before we ran into that mess with Mistress Sera." Forget the fact that he was the direct reason for her becoming a problem in the first place, since he was the person that technically staged and followed through with her prison break, but that would have been volunteering information where it clearly was not required.

"And pancakes were the good days?"

"Things were more relaxed before we got word about the Forbidden Island. I'm not going to pretend it was all smooth sailing, but the problems we'd come across felt pretty straight forward most times."Matilda shook off the nauseating dip in her stomach at his casual mention of that place. "On the weeks that we were really stocked up on groceries I would cook breakfast in the morning."

"Sounds nice."

"Sure, but I don't think Roll took the gesture too well, which is probably why she shut the door in my face after I handed her the pancakes…" Megaman leaned all of his weight against the wall, eyes directed toward the ceiling. "But…eh, I don't know…" He shook his head in defeat. "And maybe I'm just not trying hard enough to really look at the bigger picture here, but…digging is important to me." It took about a second for him to internally process what he had just said. Megaman flinched upright, and when he turned to regard Matilda he appeared quite apologetic. "I really need to learn to get a handle over my dumb mouth."

"No. No…" She held up a hand reassuringly. "Tell me. Why is it important?" Matilda did a commendable job of masking the wound in her heart that his words reopened, amidst other things that came pouring through. If he was searching for someone to help him look beyond his commitment to digging then he could do far better than to depend on her as his rock. As much as she desired to convince herself that what she felt in regard to the decisions that brought her to the Forbidden Island was remorse, there remained another side of herself that wanted to scream that her ambitions were not wrong, regardless of the unfortunate consequences that resulted of them.

"I owe everything I love about my life to digging." Megaman answered honestly. "Roll and gramps can depend on me to help out with the expenses of the Flutter and other things like groceries because of the digs I go on. I've met so many interesting people, and I've probably visited more places in the past two years than most people on the planet do in their lifetime." He turned to lean against the windowsill, looking toward something beyond the clouds above the eternally snowing city of Yosyonke. "Digging has its dangers—I know that as much as any other licensed person that's explored one of the thousands of ruins on this planet, but me ending up on Elysium had nothing to do with me being a digger. You could walk any other person in my boots and their lives would have gone in another direction, because I'm pretty sure that there is no one else on the planet with my kind of..." He paused a beat to grasp elusive word that could effectively express his perspective of the situation, and when he happened upon it he delivered the word with subdued resentment. "...inheritance. No one else on this planet could possibly say that they're walking around in the body of the person that made an enemy of Mistress Sera."

"And do you blame him for those circumstances?" She clarified her inquiry with, "Trigger, I mean."

"Oh, him?" The young hero replied as though he fully anticipated this question, but he did appear pensive regarding the subject. "It's a difficult question to answer, or—well, no, that's not it. If I blame Trigger then that'd be the same as saying that everything I've done would be his fault, right?"

"I suppose it would, wouldn't it?"

"Let's not give him too much credit." Megaman said wryly. "Every decision I've made, or struggle I've had to put up with in my life before that mess on Elysium—that's all me."

"Fine, but you mentioned an inheritance. Why even suggest that unless you felt that the problems you've had to concern yourself with up to and beyond meeting mistress Sera is his fault?"

A sigh escaped him. "I guess what really grinds me is that I'm stuck on something else entirely…" And he was grateful for Matilda's tact in not immediately following up to his pause with a request to elaborate because he feared how his response would come off without some careful consideration of his words.


Tron was about three vendor stalls in from the entrance before she could be bothered to take notice of the accumulating dust balls rolling over the soles of her pink, platform heels like the residual foam of waves against the immovable rock face. There was a faint twitch at the left corner of her upper lip—a checked display of condemnation for the less than welcoming state of her present surroundings, and she had to wonder to herself why she felt so far removed from where she stood now when this all just should have been business as usual for a sky faring villainess like herself. Visiting an illicitly active junk barge to swindle some vendors out of their prized commodities was a practice that the young pirate was certainly no stranger to, as her lifestyle didn't exactly afford her the luxury of ordering premium aircraft parts from a well established aviation manufacturer. That would have required an exorbitant amount of zenny that her purse was much too tight to accommodate, a legal address and I.D that her particular means of amassing money could never afford her in the eyes of the law, and a humbleness that Tron's habitually unrestrained ego simply made her incapable of surrendering herself to. She would never admit to needing the money, nor sit comfortably with the idea of taking to the skies with an engine that did not have her fingerprints planted over every inch of its custom crafted guts.

Finding wrecked, premium aircraft parts, however, was a different matter entirely for Tron. Aside from wanting to find a way to break out of her enduring funk—courtesy of a combination of Roll Caskett's personally orchestrated crash landing of her ship and some unresolved frustration toward the aloofness of a certain blue hero—the young engineer and robot architect of the Bonne family wanted to test the validity of an intuition she had been harboring since Sera's staged attack on Sulphur Bottom almost a year prior. Dedicating her undivided focus on the rescue and recovery of Megaman for such a long stretch of time robbed her of the opportunity to scavenge for parts of the massive airship that were blown off in the heat of the relentless attack; an opportunity that other pirates likely either stumbled upon in their travels during the period that she was hard at work with Roll on a rescue shuttle, or had the foresight to act on when the coast was clear of any intervention from Bleucher's personal security division. Tron already considered the elapsed time since then and how that would affect the availability of such scavenged discoveries, but she placed her bets on the savvy and greed of those scavengers. If those pirates truly understood what was in their possession then she was confident that they would put those parts up at a high price, and if they were greedy then their market fee was likely unrealistic enough to turn off most prospective buyers.

"Baboooooooo." Bon Bonne's announcement came in a crackle from the two way radio at her waist, which drew the attention of a few suspicious side glances from the other patrons of the barge. Her little brother had already spotted a specified part on the list at one of the stalls and was going to move in with Teisel to start haggling.

She was lagging behind.

"Wake up." Tron chastened herself to action and stepped further into the den of browsing pirates, weaving past colorful looking men and women bearing crew insignias that she either knew or never laid eyes upon; some of whom she caught stealing glances at her back as she passed them, many of those glances quite the opposite of friendly or particularly tasteful. If they weren't wearing worn digger armor or some patch work of their own design, they wore gaudy outfits to stand apart from one another in the market place, with the captains being the biggest offenders in their silent bid to outdo one another. Tron, herself, always went for function over fashion when it came to her usual apparel (which, unknowing to her, became the look she owned in the eyes of other pirates ), but considering the outfits Teisel occasionally donned when his green digging armor wasn't required for a days work, she figured that level of flamboyance came with the territory.

She took cursory glances at the stalls she passed, making sure to avoid prolonged eye contact with any of the clapping or hollering vendors leaning up against their wares to reach out to any passerby akin to crocodiles trying to snatch food off the shoreline, and as Tron passed them all she was reminded of more than a few reasons as to why she did not make a habit of doing this. If she heard the words "Look here, pretty girl" hollered into her ear from one of those snapping piranhas one more time, she was going to bop someone in the nose, which may have been the reason why the next vendor that called her attention actually succeeded in halting her business stride.

"You're that Bonne girl." The masculine voice called to her smugly, and when the lovely pirate turned her head to attention she wasn't sure why the vendor chose to take that tone with her—spoke as if his ability to attach her name to her face set him apart from all the others in the raucous marketplace, and that the smirk on his face that reflected from her eyes was made all the more significant for the fact. He was relatively older than her; a tanned male of perhaps late twenty years sporting brown, almond shaped eyes with black bags betraying the sleep deprivation of a seasoned dream chaser, a bald head wrapped in a cerulean bandanna commonly seen as an accessory in scorching hot climates, an angular face with a square chin that was peppered with stubble, and a lean upper body bare for her eyes to witness because the audacious vest he bothered to throw on for seemingly decorum alone was perhaps a size too small to clasp shut.

"Hm?" Tron didn't bother to mask how unaffected she was by the vendor's familiarity of her. Mixing it up with the likes of Lex Loathe and loud mouths like Glyde ensured that the debts and misadventures of the Bonne family (hers, in particular) were known to pirates that cared not to repeat the same mistakes they did. "I know you?" She crossed her arms, not expecting to gain much from this exchange, but the minuscule hope that she might be able to get something out of him regarding the possible availability of her sought after parts stayed her restless feet.

Taking no offense to the question, in fact, even smiling, he replied, "I'd be doing my job too well if even you knew my face. Nah, I'm not that good, but you on the other hand…" He pointed at the metallic, grinning skull emblem on her chest. "You're kind of a celebrity, aren't you?"

Tron's lips scrunched slightly at what felt like a powder keg of a loaded question in a barge filled with zenny hungry scoundrels. She needed to play this cool. "Outgun and run the fuzz enough times and you're bound to get called that eventually, yeah?"

"Of course, of course." The merchant nodded reasonably. "But even the best of us don't manage to get off an island with the mother of all refractors hanging off the crane of a boat for all to see—"

Tron felt the need to cut in, "Uh, hey, just a second—"

He spoke over her, "—And to top it off, manage to fight off five other fully manned pirate crews on the way to cashing in on that prize, by the skin of your teeth! That's the stuff of legends right there! I mean, you could retire from pirating after pulling off that unimaginable feat at any age and they'd still induct you into the hall of fame!"

"Well, this ain't the type of profession where outliers are celebrated for their 'achievements"…you know?" Neither was it the kind that had its own official hall of fame, but Tron left him no opportunity to reply to that, instead looking to veer the conversation in another direction before those dirty looks from earlier actually began to amount to something more pressing. "You know what, though? You look like a guy with a few stories to his name! I mean, something tells me that you don't come dressed like that to work unless you want to start a conversation about it, bad boy."

"I actually don't get that very much." The merchant responded coolly, in the first departure from what Tron had assumed was his natural open and sociable disposition. She must have knocked him off his game with that inquiry.

"Well, unlike most shoppers, you'll find that I'm a girl about the details." Tron lied, figuring that opting herself in as a shopper would butter him up enough to make him budge in her direction.

"Okay." He didn't appear to be absolutely sold on her act, but he wasn't exactly pushing back. "I'm from Saul Kada island. Ever been there?"

"Nah, but I'm going to guess it was a pretty hot place." Tron went the route of ignorance. "Cause of the clothes, I mean." She gestured to his outfit politely. "Would you recommend it as a vacation spot?"

"Kimotoma city used to attract a lot of tourists, since you ask. Diggers used to refer to it as the flame forged oasis."

His use of the past tense made Tron self conscious. "Used to?" Though not nearly enough to give up on the act.

"About a year ago some pirates decided they wanted to raid the city for everything—well, everything but the toilet paper."

"But the toilet paper?"

The merchant cracked a smile. "At least they weren't barbarians, huh?" He then broke out into spontaneous laughter at the humorous nature of the raid, and Tron might have taken the opportunity to join in after relaxing from her defensive stance (reflexive) if not for the fact that he abruptly went stone faced and grumbled, "Then some blue kid chased off the pirates, but not without the cost of having everything they took get thrown at him in the ensuing battle."

"Those guys sound like they suck."

"A lot of the city's most priceless and expensive artifacts were included alongside the objects the pirates used to try and repel the kid. By the time those pirates gave up, everything was in pieces, so the city was a lot less glamorous after the fact. Not as many tourists came after word spread of that incident, so it got harder to make money at the stalls in the flea market."

"So here you are?" Tron concluded for him.

"Here I am." He echoed her. "Making money off of the problem."

She raised an eyebrow tentatively. "For revenge?"

"Eh, I don't know anymore." He replied after a slow shrug. "I've been at this too long to be angry, and it's not like I was in the city the day it happened, so I don't have any faces to be bitter toward." He made a waving motion with his left hand as if to fan away the past. "Forget about it. I'm not about to try and scare off a customer."


"And what a special customer at that!" The Saul Kada merchant's tune changed so smoothly that Tron almost jumped into the pushing stream of walking pirates at her back. Having recovered his game face, he was already attempting to push a sale. "For as long as I've rented this stall, I don't think I've ever seen you around here." He wagged a finger at her knowingly, his head bowed low with a chuckle. "Can't be a coincidence that you've come now!"

His attitude piqued her interest. "Whaddya mean?" She glanced around for a hanging banner or a propped up chalk board with a sales announcement and found nothing of the sort. " I never figured this place did events."

"No need to be coy, sister. You're not the only person in search of new gear to solve the problem."

"The problem?" The specificity made Tron fold her arms inquisitively. "What are you—"

"Come now—the problem. I'm talking about the problem." He cut her off, still under the impression that she was feigning ignorance for the sake of her own pride.

Irritated by his insistence, Tron scrunched her face and shook a hand at him. "Details, man. I need 'em!"

His loud response made her legs wobble a moment. "The blue digger!" And the cry itself roused an angry clamor from pirates in the crowd that happened to pick it out amidst the noise of sales being made. Immediately Tron's ears were treated to what sounded like a gaggle of curses, insults, suspicions, and outright superstitions about "the blue digger". At first it came from around her general area, until those shoppers that surrounded the general area got word of "the blue digger" and then they were talking about it. The wave of talk eventually reached the very ends of the market until it sounded as though there was a fire somewhere within the barge and people could not be bothered to do anything but argue about it.

'What the fu—' Tron's expression could not clearly convey the level of bewilderment that was coming over her, standing at ground zero of the cry. The two way radio at her waist crackled with the sound of Teisel's concerned voice. He was asking if Megaman had somehow tracked their location and come aboard, but his questions could not penetrate the noise that surrounded Tron from every direction.

Tron snapped back into focus. "Hey!" She cried to the merchant over the noise, both hands planted on the counter of the stall to lean over to him.

"Whaaaat?" The merchant leaned over to understand her. "I can't hear you!"

"Do you mean "Megaman"?!" She asked, leaning even harder.

"Mega who?" He seemed to be at a loss. "Mega what?" Tron may as well have been speaking a different language.

"The blue digger!" Tron's face was flushed with frustration now. "Who is he?!"

"He?" The merchant leaned back for dramatic effect. "No, no, no! The digger is a woman!"

"A wha—" Tron felt a hand clamp around her arm and she was pulled away from the merchant's stall. She was weaved through arguing pirates, pressed through between tightly gathered bodies and jerked here and there a fair way before she could finally cry out, "Who the hell?" She looked to the owner of the hand and wrenched herself free with a cry of, "May?!"

With a toss of her short, wild hair; curls framing her face like tendrils of flames, May whipped around to face Tron in her usual suit of ornate, green digging armor. She brought a hand to the side of her mouth in preparation for a haughty laugh, but stopped short upon reassessing the situation in real time. "Yes, it's me. You didn't honestly think the Archhalo authorities could keep me down and out, did you?"

"But if you're here, then..." Tron's tense body language spoke for her and May was quick to address her trepidation.

"That goofball Glyde isn't here." She placed her fellow pirate at ease. "We split up after breaking out back at the island. I don't plan on collaborating with him for a while. Not while he still has plans of dragging me into his dumb feud with you and Teisel." She beckoned Tron away from the crowd. "Let's distance ourselves from the mob though, huh?"

Tron opted for standing still. "And why should I follow you anywhere?" She squinted her eyes at the other young woman suspiciously. "How do I know you don't have some bird bots waiting back there to gag me and tie me up?" She directed an accusing finger at May. "Glyde or not, you weren't exactly protesting when he had us tied up, and tossed Megaman into that vault!"

"Because I need to us to be on good terms to get what I want." May answered her bluntly. "I wouldn't want to ruin that by giving you a reason to dislike me."

Tron crossed her arms uncooperatively. "And after that crap you pulled back at Archhalo?" She cocked her head, unconvinced. "You figure that isn't a good enough reason for me to already dislike you?"

"Hey, I didn't tie you guys up for any perverted schemes. That was all Glyde!" The other girl argued. "I had a good thing robbing the banks at Archhalo, and I wasn't about to let your crew muscle in on that. Glyde is the one who made it personal!" May raised a finger. "Speaking of which..." she trailed off.

Tron decided to take the bait. "What?"

"I spied your two brothers making the rounds a little while ago, and I see you, but I don't see him. Is he watching your airship at the docks?" Her tone made it clear that that would have been the preferable set up for whatever she had planned.

Tron could only offer May a few confused blinks before the pieces fell so clearly into place that she was almost disappointed. Figures that May would take an interest in the blue hero after that display he put on for her in Archhalo. "You mean Megaman."

"Megaman?" May echoed Tron with a queer grin, grumbling under her breath, "That can't be his real name."

Tron could feel the familiar tug of jealousy in her chest and the desire to reach in and be rid of it forever could not be stronger. That the very idea of this girl wanting a piece of Megaman could so easily stir these troubling emotions again after she had resolved to bury them made Tron's face twitch like she wanted to be rid of her own skin. "And what, might I ask, has got you so concerned about his whereabouts?"

"So then he is on the ship, right?" May made to turn on her heel and be off, but—

"We split ways at Bohemia island." Tron's grin mirrored that of the skull emblem on her chest, finding some satisfaction to dashing the other girl's hopes. "You won't find him at the docks."

May deflated at that information. "Dammit." She then perked up at a particular detail. "Oh, so you two were temporary partners? Then that would make him a hired gun, wouldn't it? That'll make things a hell of a lot easier!"

"You wanna hire him?"

"That guy tore the cannon clean off my mech, and took out our bird bots in their machines like it was just another day at the office. Of course I want to hire him." May replied matter of factly, seeing her loss to the blue hero as something less to be bitter about and more of something to exploit to her benefit. "Have you been keeping up?" She asked rhetorically, waving to the crowd of riled up pirates. "There's a lady targeting any pirate that gets near those newly surfaced ruins! She became active sometime after that insane dome explosion at Bohemia island aired on the local news."

"A lady in blue digging armor?"

"That's right, blue digging armor—" May caught herself mid sentence and regarded Tron curiously. "You know, the survivors of her attacks say that she does it all alone. She hasn't hit any of the more established pirate crews so far, so we're not talking gunships and mechs just yet, but the odds have never been in her favor from what I've heard over the grapevine."

Tron could already see where she was taking this. "You mean like Megaman, right?"

May snapped her fingers affirmatively with a cry of, "Well, I'm not crazy to make that comparison, am I? You have a guy like that in blue armor pulling off the sort of crazy stunts that she's reportedly pulled off twice and you're not thinking there's a connection?"

"No...I get where you're coming from." Tron wanted to pass it off as some bizarre coincidence. Connecting two individuals solely because of their similar preference in armor color was elementary level reasoning, but then the sort of reaction that this blue woman was eliciting from the entire barge alone was so haunting. Tron's uphill battles against Megaman on Kattelox were some of the most infuriating moments in her pirating career—nights of sleep were lost on those days just trying to make sense of how one teenager kept on consistently wrecking her entire operation with nothing save his wits and some slapped together weaponry. Looking back on that misery, the sight of so many pirate crews gathered in one place panicking over this one woman just as she had in that particular period of her life was nothing short of cathartic. If not for the knowledge that powerful beings like mistress Sera and Yuna existed, with direct ties to Megaman, Tron's suspension of disbelief would have been too limited to consider that perhaps this new face could be another player in that ongoing story. "So then, who the hell is this lady, and why is she only making herself a problem now?"

Then came an unexpected fear.

"Is she here for Megaman too?"


Digging was a humbling profession by nature. Any individual could venture into the deep underworld of any of the ruins on Terra for even a short time and the truth of their relative place in the world would come to light regardless of their time on the planet or their walk in life. To be a digger was to understand that there was always a mystery to remain unsolved, that there was a foe to stay undefeated, that there was always a path fated to be untrodden, and that all in life was not promised or handed to you. In other words, it did not help to be cocky, so Megaman Volnutt took this moment—standing in the darkness, with only the occasionally flickering cone shaped beam of illumination emitting from his shoulder mounted flashlight to reveal the way before him—to ask himself at what point did he cross the line into stupid? Was it when he decided he was fine walking into the ruins without a spotter, or was it when he noticed that the abandoned Yosyonke mines were unusually dark on this particular afternoon, yet decided to venture forth anyway?

"Where did they go?" Megaman was sure not to query in too loud a voice. While he found it troubling that the usual reaverbots were nowhere to be seen, he did not want to give his location away to any that may have been purposely keeping concealed in the dark. Still, he was no stranger to the layout of the abandoned mines or the mechanical denizens that inhabited it (For as long as the Flutter remained stationed at Yosyonke, he had made a habit of return visits to the mines). The young digger was also aware that reaverbots were, surprisingly, creatures of habit and that their territorial behavior could be faithfully anticipated with enough encounters to provide the needed experience. To think 'The zakobons are slacking off today' when he was three chambers into their territory and not a single one had yet to intercept his path was less misguided and more properly paranoid.

"Maybe the lack of power might explain in?" He tried to make sense of their uncharacteristic absence. "Reaverbots don't schedule a curfew, do they?" It came from his mouth as a half joke as he stepped further into the chamber. He shook his head at the silly thought. "Of course not. These psychos don't know the meaning of sleep."

The door at the end of the chamber, like the others that had come before it, did not open at the proximity of his presence. "I'm beginning to miss the guest service in this place." Megaman dug his fingers into the impressions carved into the two metal doors and pulled away. "If they're not open at all times of the day, why not post a schedule?" The doors parted with a labored creak and he slipped his hands into the newly formed gap to push them open the rest of the way—then he was on the alert again, buster cannon at the ready with his back to the nearby wall.


His buster arm dropped at his side with a defeated flop. "Are the reaverbots evolving, because if this is their new way of making intruders feel unwelcome…" He swept the beam from his flashlight from one side of the chamber to the other, finding vacancy. "…they might actually be onto something."

Megaman listened for a noise to carry back to him on the wind that whistled through the mines, thinking that for all of the stillness that surrounded him, the idea that he was alone should have been absurd. The reaverbots were always active. Even in ancient cities that were left underground to the ages, untouched by man for perhaps generations, reaverbots remained alert and prepped for murder on the one in a million chance (Speaking from experience, of course.) that a treasure hunter somehow found the key to unearthing an entrance.

"So come out..." he whispered into the vacuous darkness. "...I know you're out there." He left his position against the wall and moved forward, buster cannon trained ahead against the void, but each step began to feel more pointless and hollow the closer he came to the next door. Before he could reach the other side of the chamber his feet came to a stand still and he sighed.

"When did I get this desperate for trouble?" He dropped his buster arm at his side again. "I'm not even here for refractors anymore. I'm just here to shoot something."

When he left Matilda earlier she seemed worried for him. As perhaps the only other person on the planet that could relate to his body snatching experience, he thought he could confide in the veteran digger about his insecurities regarding this "Trigger" that had been running around in his body and maybe get some relief in realizing that he was not alone with those disconcerting feelings. Matilda, however, felt differently about Yuna. Instead of regarding the gentle mother unit as an intruder at the controls while the owner was indisposed (as he did), she thought of her time in dormancy as an opportunity for reflection while a wiser pilot steered the course.

"Mistress Yuna didn't parade around with her name though." Having gotten all caught up after Roll and Barrel's well intentioned visit to Kattelox, the blue digger's general idea of Trigger had become closely married to the Archhalo Island news recording that Mayor Amelia had kindly hosted a viewing of for him in her home. Any passing thought or mention of the purifier ( a recurring topic in his conversations with Matilda) would always be accompanied with the subconscious recollection of seeing Trigger fighting off those pirates in his body with unnatural finesse; dancing through bullets and other means of opposition with the sort of confidence that brought to mind the word "professional". The surrealism of taking in that revelation remained as fresh in his mind as the initial moment it trampled over his grounded conceptions regarding his relationship to his body, and it burdened him with a new feeling that he did not want the people closest to him to associate with his character. There was, however, the nagging little detail that at the time of the events captured in the news coverage, Trigger had already been in cahoots with the infamous Tron Bonne (According to the maid Shelke, Tron was Trigger's ride off of Kattelox island to begin with), and had assuredly still been maintaining a partnership with the lovely pirate when the Flutter crew finally caught up with him at Bohemia island (A detail that Barrel made a passing mention of in one of their conversations). Now, the way he felt about that felt far more natural to him.

Megaman had questions. His history with Tron, while not terribly extensive despite her generally familiar attitude toward him, made the scenario of how Trigger and Tron's partnership came to be very interesting to ponder. The lovely pirate had attempted to recruit him into the Bonne family before and had been met with rejection, to which she did not respond favorably—It ended with the missiles and buster cannon fire that had come to define their exchanges. This either meant that Tron had approached Trigger in Kattelox with a completely different offer in mind, or that the purifier simply did not care to consider her pirating background. What made things really interesting, however, was that the residents of Archhalo island hailed Trigger (The title used was "Blue hero") as a hero on the news, which meant that his stop at the island with Tron involved no mischief at all.

"But those bird-bots mean Glyde was involved." Megaman surmised, recalling his prior encounters with the foppish pirate. After being ditched by the Bonnes during that train scuffle they had, Megaman could guess at some harsh feelings being a possible root cause. "Was that just a coincidence, or did Tron specifically ask for him to come with her to settle a score?" He shook his head. "Nope. That's not very Tron-like, but Glyde being there means that she definitely picked a fight with him, and if Trigger joined the fight on her side then that means they were working together." And confirming this to himself out loud made him frown, because it made his chest tighten up.

He was jealous.

Now the reason Megaman frowned at this feeling had less to do with imagining Trigger and Tron forging a camaraderie behind his back—in a sense—and more to do with how ethically awkward it would be for him to acknowledge that the idea of Tron Bonne taking a liking to someone else bothered him. That would mean acknowledging an interest in the lovely pirate that would require a relationship extending past running into each other on a dig and debating on whether a gun fight would need to break out or not. It would mean wanting to spend more time with a young woman that has shown him, on more than one occasion, that the value of zenny outweighed the value she placed in the safety and happiness of others.

"That can't be okay." Megaman took that jealousy and shoved it into the waiting arms of his conscience, to smother it and bury it within the depths of his subconscious so as to be revisited at some other inopportune time. "I can't be getting jealous about someone like Tron. What am I going to do, become a pirate for her? I mean, the property damage..." His eyes glazed over as he reviewed the costs he repaid on Kattelox and Pokte. "The property damage."

There was also the other issue.

"And I'm sure Roll wouldn't appreciate becoming a pirate either." Though it would be pressed to some other time that Megaman would actually understand what the other issue was. It was not now. The first noise to ever issue from the mines since he ventured within ensured that now would not be the time to revise that thought into something more insightful.

"Did I just…" Megaman raised his buster cannon at the unopened door just ahead of him, brows furrowed with confusion at the noise that came from behind it. Maybe all of this silence was getting to him, but whatever it was sounded almost phonetic. "…did I just hear someone?" He edged forward and pressed his ear against the cold surface of one of the doors and waited. For what felt like the most agonizingly long time there was nothing save for the whistling of wind, until—

"Is someone there?" Came a leveled voice from the other end.

Receiving that question Megaman went to work at the door straight away, and when both doors were parted to form a passage into the next long hallway his body froze stock still at the entrance. The first thing that drew his attention in the illuminated cone of his flashlight was the motionless form of a zakobon that was seemingly staring dead ahead at him, but then it fell over like a toppled buoy and his attention was stolen toward something at the edges of the light. It was a vaguely humanoid outline. Megaman shifted the beam of light to identify the motionless silhouette that stood over the fallen zakobon and was met with a slender, translucent form that hunched against the ceiling like a fully grown adult squeezing through a child's playhouse. There was the imitation of feet, the imitation of legs; of a torso and two arms, and a craning neck attached to what could have been a head, but it was most definitely not carved of flesh and bone. There was nothing present within the slender mass to indicate what was allowing it to maintain its humanoid shape, but at the head there was an identifiable form—a red eye that was undeniably reaver-like.

Megaman's voice nearly failed him in the presence of such an alien existence. "Never seen one like you before." He could feel the eye peering at him. "But I've definitely seen bigger." He tried to fight back the pounding in his chest with brave words, but there was a tension to this stare down that felt different from the usual reaverbot stare. This thing was studying him.

Then it began to speak to him in a vaguely female, metallic voice. "Reploid registration number acquired: Trigger Model X, Second Generation 00XT20."


"Wait between last contact was prolonged, Dreamer." The slender reaver-like being finally advanced down the hallway toward him. "Welcome ba—" A plasma shot to center mass interrupted the reaver in its advance for a moment. It observed the smoke expelling from Megaman's recently fired buster cannon and, identifying the origin of the shot, advanced forward again with aggression. Rapid flashes of buster fire cracked at the blackness of the dimly lit tunnel, and then eventually pitch darkness.

How inconsiderate of them to decide upon the title "Mother unit", Yuna would think to herself on days such as this one. The universe that surrounded them was so old and vast, teeming with variables that were either undiscovered, or purposely controlled to serve the ends of some fellow or unfathomable being traveling the black expanse of the cosmos, with intentions indeterminable by some mortally engineered algorithm or seer given prophecy. Mankind should have understood this fact better than any other existence given their extensive history with trial and misfortune, yet the ilk of that very existence, a far flung generation tempered on the discoveries of their progenitors saw fit in their arrogance to burden their expectations on the shoulders of beings molded by their own fallible hands and deem them "Mother".

The Flutter was far at her back now. Yuna had been on the search for her sister for almost three weeks and it was away from the company of the carbons on that humble vessel, and in the solitude of her own thoughts that she once again found herself undeserving of her title "Mother unit". She could play the part of the wise and endearing presence among such young humanoids; soothe their worries with stories crafted on her years of observation of societal behavior and stare down procedurally caused problems with the confidence of a seasoned player in a long running game, but in her own head with her own doubts and fears Yuna remained just the same newly commissioned unit on a colony filled with "ancients" that she was the moment she stepped out of her stasis pod for the first time in the presence of her overseers. That it was almost three weeks into her search and she was still putting off the inevitable was proof of that.

She knew where Sera was. There was only one place on the planet that her sister had any real tie to. Whether Sera desired it or not, she would eventually find herself there in search of stability.

It was a fine act that Yuna put on for Roll and the others on the ship. The blonde engineer's prying about her feelings for Trigger before the finality that Sera's departure signaled had already started making it difficult for the mother unit to maintain her composure, but when Roll had brought it up again after the fact, Yuna could no longer keep with the act. She decided it was time to leave, and when Megaman attempted to stop her she lashed out on impulse and tried to tidy up the mistake with encouraging words about "family", but the moment she was free of the Flutter she had embarked on a fruitless search. Naturally it was difficult to find a person when you were deliberately avoiding a meeting, and Yuna had two centuries of practice in holding off pleasantries with Sera. This time, however, she was being held to a deadline.

The Forbidden island was present on the edge of the horizon now, and gradually expanding within Yuna's view as she closed the distance. Her heart was pounding. "Time isn't on my side anymore." She smiled bittersweetly. "If only I'd been more careful. If only…" She bit her lip to stifle the horrible thought before she could put it to words.

If only Sera had stayed locked in that prison.

This, of course, was not the first time that Yuna found herself chasing after her sister. This was not the first time that Sera had gone off without a word because of something relating to Trigger. What lied at the end of the search the first time deeply affected Yuna's life forever, and in a way she was still suffering for it. She lost her dearest friend; lost a home, and lost any semblance of the beautiful life she had treasured before then. Elysium had gone to ruin and when the dust settled and Terra presented her with a second life, she made a decision: EDEN could never be allowed to reactivate. Elysium had become a glorified coffin housing a dead civilization floating in space and the mother unit had intended to keep it that way while she spent out the rest of her life on Terra. The only person that could disrupt that new life was Sera. Yuna knew that if she ever succumbed to the temptation and released Sera from her imprisonment the first thing her sister would do is devise a way to reactivate EDEN, or at the very least attempt to, and what would she do then? Sera had proven to be in possession of a fiercely one track mind; her unending harassment of Trigger on the colony and the state of Terra after she personally hunted him down to avenge The Master was an unyielding testament to the fact. If Yuna were to be forced into the position of stopping Sera she knew it would end with one of them being put down, so with a heavy heart she resolved never to release her sister, and with the advent of digger exploration as the carbons advanced their civilizations, that eventually became guard duty.

That went on for more years than Yuna could bear to keep track of and if Gatz had not been around to keep her sane she might have totally cracked—until finally a couple of diggers managed to brave the barrier that surrounded the Forbidden island and got themselves horribly wounded. The man would survive with a few permanent scars, but the woman was, by all accounts, a smear in the snow after the crash landing and would need to be reconstructed into an identifiably humanoid form. Good thing the carbons were made of much sturdier stuff than the original humans or she would have been beyond the saving grace of Yuna's nano machines. Of course, it turned out that it was not as simple as just injecting her cells into the tissue of the woman's body; she would have to direct the process from the dying digger's brain to get a clear reference of what was to be reconstructed otherwise the woman would be recreated in her own image, which was something Yuna had not believed feasible until closer examination and experimentation revealed that the carbons were actually not all that different from reploids. Transferring her consciousness was entirely possible, and when the transfer was complete and Yuna saw her true body lying in the snow with that peaceful look of slumber, on that face that had always stared back at her in the reflective surfaces of Elysium, it was a truly transcendental moment.

Goodbye Mistress Yuna. Hello Matilda Caskett.

"It was a farce." The snow covered mountains of the Forbidden island were like crooked claws grasping out to her flying form from below when Sera's signal pinged on her mental radar like a guiding beacon for her landing, and as Yuna had predicted, the origin point of the signal was at the imprisonment site. It was concerning then, when Yuna touched down on the powdery surface of the glacier where the signal was being emitted and her sister was nowhere to be seen. She called out for Sera at the center of the white void that stretched for miles in every direction and did not even produce an echo.

"You have to be here." Yuna squinted her eyes into the blinding white, searching for a contrast. "It says you're right here." She spoke to herself, walking around the vicinity of the signal like a hound picking up a scent. She stopped as something occurred to her. "But how long have you been here?" The mother unit went to work on removing the top snow from the surface beneath her feet at an instant. "Being dramatic, aren't we?" Yuna spoke between each handful. "Are you trying to hide from me?" A small crater gradually formed around her, becoming more pronounced the longer she kept at it. "Well, you're not," Her strokes got wilder, "very good at it!"

How long was she going to be at this?

"Sera?!" Yuna startled herself with the sudden panic in her voice. "Come on. Where are you?"

Was this her idea of digging her own grave?

"Oh, Ciel." Yuna mouthed the closest thing to a prayer that had ever sprung to her mind. She stopped focusing her digging on one spot and expanded her search area. "Sera. This…this is ridiculous! Where are—" She grasped at a tuft of frozen, green hair. Yuna threw her entire upper body into the snow, and scooped up Sera's body into her arms, cradling her furiously.

Sera was cold and pale in her arms, but all the same she opened her eyes and stared up at Yuna in pregnant silence. If it was not a matter of disorientation then perhaps Sera initially just stared because she was shocked to have been discovered by her sister, however, when she did form the words Yuna could barely restrain herself from strangling her when it was a paltry, "You came after me?"

"Of course I came after you!" Yuna chided, clutching the other girl tightly. "What did you think I was going to do the moment I realized you disappeared?"

"I'm sorry."

Yuna froze at the sound of Sera's voice, suddenly so small.

"I'm sorry." Sera repeated and Yuna released her death grip around her sister to get a good look at her face. Her eyes were red with the telltale of tears forming at the corners. "I failed again."

Yuna bit her lip to reign in a whimper from escaping at what she knew she was about to hear. "Sera." Yuna stopped to clear her throat and continued, "Listen to me. I think you've already beaten yourself up enough. I mean…" She tried to smile. "Look at you! Burying yourself down here like you're some kind of meerkat."

"I let him kill himself." Sera mewled, her bottom lip trembling between every other word. "I let him kill himself because of my arrogance. I thought I had it all under control. I thought that I could reason with him. I thought that maybe he would trust me, but I forgot my place."

"Forgot your place?"

"It hurts, Yuna." Sera reached up with a shivering hand and tapped the side of her head with a trembling finger. "It doesn't make any sense, and yet it persistently hounds me. It mocks me. I know its futile to feel this way, but I keep on revisiting these feelings—these 'what ifs'."

"Sera!" Yuna attempted to get a word in edgewise, but her sister kept rambling.

"I only wish I could take it back, Yuna." Sera nearly pleaded. "I wish we could return to Elysium and do it all over again. I wish I understood then what I do now."

"Understood what?"

Sera sniffled.

Yuna asked again. "Understood what, Sera?"

"That I wanted more from Trigger." Sera closed her eyes from shame.

"Wanted more what?" Yuna pressed her. "I don't understand. You loved The Master, didn't you? You envied Trigger because of his friendship with The Master didn't you? Don't tell me that you loved him, Sera. What you put him through..."

[[ Trigger stands over the crumpled body of Juno, buster cannon pressed to the injured maverick's head as Sera persistently presses him to retire him. ]]

"What you did to him...couldn't be farther from love."

"I never intended for it to happen." Sera admitted.

Yuna's lips pressed into a straight line and she sniffled, no longer able to hold her tears back. "I don't even know why I'm bothered by this." She averted her gaze from Sera, glaring briefly at a spot on the snow before her eyes softened. "No. No, I understand why I'm bothered by this, but I hate that I am this way. I could have done it at any time. I could have searched the planet for Trigger at any time, but…"

[[ Alia slams her fist into the ground harder and sloppier with each cry of "No, no, no".]]

"There was no one left to stand in my way. Not the council, not his partner, not…not even you."

[[ Trigger and Yuna sit side by side on the ledge of a building. Yuna kicks her legs back and forth, looking down at the street below with a shade of red on her cheeks. Trigger stares ahead at the artificial sun in the horizon. ]]

"But I told myself that I didn't deserve it!" Yuna screamed angrily, getting a flinch from Sera. "I thought that if Trigger knew what I had done—if Trigger saw me for the person I truly was—if, if he knew what I was willing to do just to maintain my happiness, he would hate me. So I denied myself every opportunity to seek him out as some sort of penance, and for a while I convinced myself that I was fine with living that way, but then he just shows up! He shows up and not only does he release you, but he isn't even himself!"

"I'm sorry."

"Stop apologizing!" Yuna scolded her sister. "I'm finally done with it! I'm tired of living this way! I punished myself and in return I received nothing! Even when Trigger came back I just allowed things to happen without me because I felt I had no right to act on my feelings, but now it doesn't even matter!" Her chest was heaving. "He's dead." Her voice fell to a whisper. "He's dead and its my fault. I should have stepped in when it counted most."

Yuna hung her head, the tears from her cheeks dripping on Sera's face. "I deserve this."

Elysium Memoirs: The end of Elysium

"Council member Wily is requesting entrance, mistress Yuna." Gatz informed her from his post beside the door of her room. A surveillance feed displayed in a small window on her desk proved this to be true, showing the council member standing in the hallway outside of her door. He seemed tense.

How inconsiderate of them to decide upon the title "Mother unit", Yuna would think to herself on days such as this one. At some point in the middle of the night they had mobilized, marching down the streets of the colony toward the Reploid district; squads of servitor units marching in single file like disciplined soldiers searching for a battlefield. Reportedly, when those servitors reached the reploid district they began to open fire at every reploid that crossed within their sights. Nobody could say why this started happening. Accusations were being thrown by Claire and Rebecca at Wily, however, no one was listening or paying any mind to their aired suspicions while gunfire filled the streets and edged closer to the main city district with every passing hour. Thomas had gone out with Veronica and a personal entourage of guards to possibly deescalate the conflict and as of yet had not returned. Cain was still not responding to any summons to the council chambers since the fighting began, and Wily was just outside Yuna's door demanding a solution.

If the plan had been to silence the entire reploid population overnight somehow then the situation was becoming dire. As technologically superior and advanced as the servitors were, their firepower did not result in the absolute domination that their leader had been anticipating. Years of service as hunters and the inherent knowledge passed down to the reploids through the Gemini program was ensuring that for every other reploid life that was claimed by the servitors there were casualties on their end as well, and with Nero and Alia leading their units into the district to defend against the threat to their fellow reploids the body count on the servitors end were ramping up considerably. If this was going to turn in the servitors favor they were going to need a Mother unit to support them.

Which was why Wily was outside her door demanding entrance. Gatz, always the faithful attendant that he was, was not going to allow Wily in unless Yuna gave him her permission, so he waited on her with his arms crossed.

Yuna, for her part, sat at her desk with her gaze pointed to the ceiling in contemplation. She turned a deaf ear to Wily's demands, to the muffled explosions outside her window; even the ticking of old style clock on her desk.

Right now Yuna was coming to a decision.

"Mistress Yuna, council member Wily appears to be growing impatient." Gatz updated her politely. "I fear he will turn to severe measures if you continue to ignore him. Might I advise—"

"Let him enter."

To be Continued...