Disclaimer: Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go! and all characters and events related to them are not mine; they are property of Jetix Animation Concepts and Ciro Nieli.
In Response to Chapter Fourteen's Reviews…
NoRatCat: Yes, I felt linking the past with the present was essential to the story, so I thought the best way to do that was advising Jiro on what mistakes not to make.
jinmay-4-ever: I'm excited that you're excited!
chuchi-chan: Well, I'm writing this story by permission of another fan who originally came up with the idea, though she's told me a lot that what I've written is far better than what she would have. Sorry if this stole your ideas. But I'm glad you like it.
Emerald Shapeshifter 777: Oh, you guys have to stop showering me with flattery, even if it is true. But I'm glad you're all enjoying this.
monkyluvr: You know, your excitement about my stories kind of remind me of another author here: Crystal Persian. Except she would type her reviews in all caps like she was squealing with thrill. Sorry to say I'm not planning on a sequel, but I am planning on opening an RP at a forum that'll follow this story soon. And I will continue writing on my Hayley Cometra series before too long.
4Evermonkeyfan: Don't worry about lagging behind in reviewing. I know you've been busy. I doubt there's anyone here who isn't from time to time, especially in the time span in which I've been typing this. Whew, this is the longest story I've ever written…
And to everyone else who reviewed, thank you very much for your support!
"Easy, Jiro," Mandarin gently advised, staying behind the boy on the starboard (right) side of the Brain Scrambler. "Easy. Keep flight orientation at the steady level."
"I'm trying," the ten-year-old grunted as he straightened the jerk that had startled him. "But the wind is up today, and it's hard. And my arms hurt."
Sprx leaned over from his position behind Jiro and to the port (left) side, then grinned softly. "Your grip is too tight," he chuckled lightly. "Relax. Keep your hands on the controls, your fingers on the buttons, but don't waste precious muscle power outside of battle unless you need to make a turn or keep the ship steady. Its works better in the long run."
"Why are we in the Brain Scrambler, anyway? I thought Dad said I was going to train in the Torso Tank."
Mandarin smiled. "Avionic tactics are almost identical on both ships, but training in the Torso Tank would require the entire Super Robot to disengage and disassemble. But the Brain Scrambler and the Fist Rockets can detach while the Super Robot is still docked. That makes it more convenient for everyone else."
Jiro felt another jerk, waking up his attention as he began to straighten the ship. He found it easier as he did because he had done as Sprx instructed; he relaxed his arms in those few seconds that Mandarin was talking, and the rest made it smoother.
Sprx had noticed the smile of realization on Jiro's face and grinned proudly. "You're doing great, Kid."
The boy hesitated. "Sprx, can I ask you a question?"
"Sure, Kid. What's up?"
Jiro paused again. "That is. Why do you keep calling me 'Kid'?"
Sprx blinked in surprise. "Well…you are a kid."
"Yeah, but that's not the point. You used to give Dad that nickname. And now you're using it to refer to me."
With a shrug, Sprx began to reply, "Well, your dad said he's not a kid anymore…"
"But that's not the point, Sprx," Jiro interrupted, looking at him.
"Jiro, don't stray your sight from the monitors," Mandarin quickly told him.
The boy quickly looked at the monitor in front of him and immediately made a turn. It was a smooth enough and wide enough to turn to avoid crashing into a skyscraper without the sudden jerk of movement. When Jiro was clear of obstacles and had ascended a little to avoid more, he turned his attention back to Sprx again. "The point is, when you first called me that, I noticed Dad looked a little upset. I think it made him feel like I was taking his place."
The Red Monkey hesitated, realizing what Jiro meant. "Oh, yeah… I guess I did do that, didn't I? Huh, well, I sometimes have a tendency to do that: say something that'll offend people without realizing it."
"You think it'll be all right with you if you keep Dad's nickname and give me something else?" Jiro asked.
"Well, sure, but what would you like me to call you?"
Jiro thought about it for a couple of minutes, then smiled. "How about Buddy?"
"As long as you don't expect me to call you that, too," Mandarin replied.
All three of them laughed at the joke.
At the Super Robot, the usual goings-on that had long been silent within those sacred walls began again.
In the Sick Bay, Gibson had entered to replace the medical books that he had kept here in the past for references. This was his third trip doing so, and he was somewhat surprised to find someone else in the Sick Bay, reading one of those he had brought before.
The Purple Robot Monkey looked up from the book and began to close it shyly. "Oh, Gibson. I'm sorry. I was just in here to familiarize myself with the equipment, and when I saw this book—"
"No, Myst, it's all right," Gibson politely interrupted. "I apologize for disturbing you. Please, continue reading if you wish. I won't be in here long."
Slowly, Myst smiled in reply and reopened the book, spending a couple of seconds finding the place she had left off.
"May I inquire something of you?" Gibson asked.
"Yes, of course," she replied.
He hesitated, not sure if the topic was going to be disturbing for her. "I have spent last night thinking about the four of you. And as I thought, my thoughts reflected on your names. How did Brainiac come up with a name like Myst?"
She slowly lowered the book, but the expression on her face wasn't a disturbed one. In fact, she looked a little impassive. "Actually, the name he gave me is Mystique. I'm sure Nova told you about the time I almost broke through his programming after we fought? There were a couple other times before hand when I became close to breaking through, and the first time I broke through was when he was giving me my name. He was so surprised that he had stopped in mid-sentence; all that came out was 'Myst' when he meant to say 'Mystique'. For a long while, I wouldn't believe when he told me my real name."
"How quite queer," Gibson commented.
"True," Myst replied. "I don't think much of the name Mystique, but if others call me that, I'll answer to it."
Gibson hummed in thought as he walked to the bookshelf he was filling. He pulled a chair in front of it since he had already filled the bottom shelves and would rather not waste precious fuel from his rocketpack. He took the books, one by one, and gently placed them onto one of the higher shelves.
When he was done with his first armload, he jumped off to get his second armload. But the jump made a slight tremor that shook the last book he put up. It trembled and fell, landing on his tail. It was a slightly heavy book, and the unexpected weight on his sensitive tail made him screech.
Myst immediately looked up and closed the book she was reading. She ran up to him and removed the book. Then, and how surprised Gibson was, she gingerly picked up his tail and examined it. "Well, the metal protected the mechanical tip of your tail, but you've got some bruises showing up already," she said as she pushed back the blue strands of fur to reveal some purple patches on his skin. "I'll have to grab some ice cubes in a bag and…"
Then she suddenly realized what she was doing and released his tail. "Sorry! I didn't mean to—"
"Don't worry about it," Gibson interrupted. "I hadn't realized you are so well versed in medical practices."
A bright red color flushed all over her cheeks. "I prefer healing over hurting."
"Well, what I meant, Myst, was that Nova didn't seem so keen on medical practices."
Myst then smiled, her blush disappearing. "Well, the four of us are not your clones any more than Jiro is Chiro's. We have our differences that set us apart. That is why Brainiac called us your replicas."
Gibson nodded in understanding.
Myst began edging towards the door. "Well, I'd better go get that ice."
Otto hummed happily as he looked around his old workshop. Though there was nothing in here now since Chiro had given everything to the museum, he could just close his eyes and remember where every invention, complete or not, and where every tool and toolbox lay. A good majority of those inventions were gadgets that no one had ever seen. Yes, even though he himself had not seen them yet after fifteen years, he remembered every one and each of their purposes…
The Green Monkey screeched and jumped, then turned around as someone snickered.
"Oh, Espina, don't scare me like that," he panted, putting a hand on his chest where his heart was.
"Sorry," she gasped, the kind of gasp made when someone is trying to keep from laughing even more.
Otto pouted slightly when some spurts of laughter exploded from her, but soon she managed to calm herself down.
"Actually, Otto, I was hoping I could find you here," she stated. "I wanted to ask your permission to use something that belonged to you."
"Well, sure, Espina," he grinned in reply, already forgetting that she had scared him just moments ago. "What is it?"
Otto scratched his head. "Huh? What do you need a workshop for? Are you handy with tools?"
But Espina shook her head. "Nope. I want a big space to put together a greenhouse."
Confused again, he looked down at his green fur.
She giggled and continued, "No, no, not a green house. A greenhouse. A place where you raise flowers and plants."
"See, I'd really like a big space so I can keep a variety of things. I've heard about aromatherapy and cooking with herbs and stuff like that, and I've always loved plants."
Otto hummed in thought. "How could you have loved plants? Your whole life was spent on a planet that had basically nothing but metal."
Espina's smile faded a little, though not completely. "Well, yeah…I guess that's true. But maybe that's the reason why I love plants so much. Even if I hadn't been his slave, life there would have been pretty dull since the four of us were the only things with real color."
"Oh, never thought of it that way," Otto admitted.
Her smile returned to its full length. "So it's all right with you?"
"Well, of course it's all right! The Super Robot's your home now! … Just make sure you take real good care of it."
Espina snickered. "No problem."
"Oh, sorry, Bruno," Nova said when she saw he didn't get up after knocking him down. She offered him her hand, which he accepted and allowed her to pull him back to his feet. "I didn't hit you hard, did I?"
"No, no, it was just unexpected, that's all," the Brown Monkey replied as he gently rubbed his hip. "I never expected you to pack that kind of punch."
Nova chuckled at the joke. "Maybe we should take a brief break."
The two sighed as they sat near the wall opposite of the colored elevators and relaxed.
"Bruno, I'd like to tell you something," Nova suddenly said after a couple of minutes of serene silence.
Curious, Bruno looked over at her. Nova considered her words carefully; she, like everyone else on the first Monkey Team, knew that this was a delicate subject for the second Monkey Team.
"That little speech you made yesterday was really inspiring. You know, about how you and the other three felt about fighting Brainiac. I never would've thought you were…created from Otto's blueprints."
"Well, what makes you say that?" Bruno asked.
"Well, Otto can be inspiring, but he never did anything inspiring in a leader-like tone like you did."
Bruno shrugged. "I guess you don't need a leader-like personality to inspire others. … Hey, Nova, you're the last team's third in command, aren't you?"
"Yep, I am."
"Just curious: how did the team's only female get that position? … Not that I have anything against females…"
Nova chuckled. "No offense taken. I guess all I did was keep a cool head while Sprx and Gibson…they were arguing over the command position when both Chiro and Antauri were out of action…they were butting heads a lot."
"You kept a cool head?" Bruno repeated. "I thought you were the one with the power of fire."
She giggled again. "You've got Otto's sense of humor, though."
He smiled in reply. "One needs to have a sense of humor to lift others up when they feel down. Laughter is a good medicine, after all."
"The best," Nova agreed. "Well, shall we spar again?"
"Sure. I can handle a little cramp in my side."
Antauri floated down the hallways, making his way to the kitchen to help Chiro and Jinmay with making lunch, when he found Tempest leaning against one of the walls. The Gray Monkey's cyan blue eyes were closed, his arms were folded in front of his chest, one leg was crossed in front of the other, and he had a frown on his face.
"Tempest," he softly called his name, hoping not to startle him. "Are you all right?"
Slowly, Tempest opened his eyes and looked at the Silver Monkey. "Yes, I'm fine," he answered quietly. "I was just thinking."
Antauri slowly nodded, the kind of nod one would give when not satisfied with an answer.
Tempest groaned lightly, then silently hoped Antauri didn't hear the groan. He uncrossed his leg and stood straight. "Antauri, are you certain about this? We are trusting our fate to a young boy we barely know. Logically speaking, a young boy cannot carry the fate of an entire world on his shoulders."
Antauri gave a small sigh. "I once had my doubts about Chiro's abilities," he admitted. "Chiro had weaknesses that could easily be exploited, and in some cases, they were exploited. In those cases, they had wounded his thoughts and emotions so deeply that he believed, for a few moments, that he couldn't trust them anymore."
Tempest stood in silence. This didn't sound very reassuring to him.
Then, Antauri cracked a small smile. "But when Chiro discovered that he wasn't alone, that he had us supporting him and backing him up, he found the fate of an entire world easier to bear on his shoulders. He may have been our Chosen One, but he couldn't do everything alone. He needed us.
"In the same way, Tempest, Jiro can't do everything by himself. He needs you to support him, to back him up, and most importantly, to help him realize that he is not alone. He needs you, Espina, Bruno, Myst, and Mandarin."
Tempest sighed. "I'm not sure. Brainiac is a force to be reckoned with."
"I never said that he wasn't," Antauri replied. "The Skeleton King was also a force to be reckoned with. We have suffered our hardships. And I am certain that each of you will suffer your own hardships. But that is the interesting thing about working as a team.
"Look at it this way, Tempest: a string by itself doesn't support whatever it is holding very well, and when it weakens, the weight it supports causes it to break. But a rope consisting of several strings that are intertwined and braided together is much stronger than a string by itself, and when one string weakens, the other strings work together to keep it from breaking."
The expression on Tempest's face brightened a little. It wasn't very much, but this metaphor made sense to him. And he was right. Jiro can accomplish the impossible with the proper help. After all, the very same ten-year-old boy reawakened Mandarin's goodness and reawakened their own souls.
Lunch was interrupted when the alarm rang. Normally, only six needed to respond to this and find out the cause. But this time, with the new team adjusting to their new routines, a total of thirteen came down those elevators and looked at the main monitor.
"Report," Jiro ordered.
Mandarin typed on the keyboard, magnifying the image. "It looks like a small army of mechanized soldiers departing from Ranger Seven and en route to Shuggazoom City."
"Drones," Bruno said grimly.
"What?" a confused Jinmay asked.
"He's right," Espina replied. "I recognize the design. Definitely Brainiac's Drone soldiers."
"We have to be careful around them," Myst warned. "They're bad enough by themselves, but they can combine into more powerful fighting machines!"
"They sound pleasant…" Jiro sarcastically remarked.
"Oh, yeah, they are," Tempest agreed with his own sarcasm.
Mandarin looked up at Jiro. "What are your orders?"
Jiro sighed and looked at the monitor, staring at the Drones fast approaching. He then looked up at his father.
Chiro was a little surprised at seeing the look in Jiro's green eyes. He wondered if his Monkey Team saw the same look in his eyes as he was now seeing in his son's.
"You guys better strap yourselves in," Jiro told his father.
Chiro grinned and nodded, motioning for everyone to get into their command chairs.
Jiro then regarded his team. "Monkeys, Mobilize!"
With five nods from his team, Jiro led them to the elevators. From right to left, the order they entered and shot into their cockpits was Mandarin, Bruno, Jiro, Espina, Myst, and Tempest.
It felt a little awkward for the first Monkey Team when the speakers activated to announce the individual cockpits being manned as, one by one, they prepared for battle.
"Foot Crusher Cruiser Six, go!" Myst shouted from Nova's vehicle.
"Foot Crusher Cruiser Five, go!" Bruno's voice came from Otto's.
"Fist Rocket Four, go!" said Espina from Gibson's cockpit.
"Fist Rocket Three, go!" Tempest announced from Sprx's.
"Brain Scrambler Pilot Two, go!" Mandarin shouted.
"Torso Tank Driver One, go!" exclaimed Jiro. "Super…"
A feeling of pride swelled within Chiro and the Monkey Team. Fifteen years after the War Between the Living and the Dead, the war against evil has resumed, and a new age has begun.