Author's Note: When Volfogg moved into my headspace, he brought his team in with him. And they've been tearing through my brain like two-year-olds on sugar. Eventually, they gave me this plot bunny. No slashy material between GunDober and GunGlue, through there are mentions of HyoRyu/EnRyu, and, yes, Volfogg/Mamoru.
Disclaimer: I do not own GaoGaiGar, as much as I'd love to. Or at least I'd love to own Volfogg 3
More Than Words
Ever since Mamoru had first met Volfogg and his team, he'd been curious about the GunMachines. In their vehicle forms they worked with any of the GGG members, though they usually hung around with Volfogg. Never once had either of them ever spoken a word; he wasn't even sure if they could. Mamoru had also noted that no one ever really talked to them, besides Volfogg himself.
Thoughtfully, he commented on that, and the lean shape next to him stirred.
"I had noticed that," Volfogg replied, shifting under the bedcovers. One tanned hand combed through short but spiky purple hair. "GunDober and GunGlue were built with basic AI programming, not as complex as myself or the Ryu twins. But they've since evolved from that; they're much more intelligent than anyone thinks they are. The fact that they have no vocal circuitry with which to form words is what allows those impressions to remain. No one talks to them because no one believes they can understand."
Mamoru made a face, sidling closer to his life partner. "It's time that changed."
The brunette watched the pair, watching them watch the other GGG members. No one spoke to them unless to give them an order. Their faceplates and optic visors betrayed nothing, but Mamoru could see GunGlue's rotors wilting, and GunDober's shoulders drooped. Volfogg scowled at the other GGG members, though they didn't even notice. Mamoru quickly noticed that the two communicated through their own language, a combination of body language and what sounds they could make. GunGlue and GunDober "talked" with chirps and electronic sounds, and gestures. Volfogg could understand them just fine, and Mamoru was quickly picking their language up.
He didn't get a chance to actually talk to them until some time later.
The Orbit Base was hosting members of GGG branches from all over the world. The bay where the mechs usually gathered was full of people. HyoRyu and EnRyu sat side-by-side at one end, and Mamoru sat on a high catwalk, watching the sea of people below. His gaze was caught by a flash of purple; his lover in human form, standing with Guy and Chief Taiga. Blue eyes lifted to meet his green for the briefest of moments. Volfogg flashed him a smile before returning his attention to the sea of people all around him. Mamoru sighed to himself.
The soft whine of servos and hydraulics caught his attention, and the brunette looked up to see GunGlue perched on the catwalk a few feet away, looking down. The helicopter mech's rotors whirred once, then stilled. Mamoru looked at him for a moment, then sidled closer.
"What do you think of all this?" he asked conversationally, indicating the proceedings below.
GunGlue looked up in surprise. His visor flashed in a blink, and his rotors whirred again. Tilting his head, he let out a curious chirp.
Mamoru smiled. "Yes, I'm talking to you." He waved at the crowd below. "What do you think of all this?"
The GunMachine blinked, then lowered his head and did an amazingly accurate imitation of a snore. Mamou laughed and patted white metal.
"You and me both," he told the mech.
Though GunGlue had no visible features, but Mamoru got the distinct impression that he was smiling. The mech made a rhythmic chirping sound that was clearly a laugh, and his rotors took on a position that indicated how happy he was that someone was finally talking to him. Mamoru leaned against GunGlue's arm, watching the sea of humanity below and keeping up a conversation with the copter. Practice with his life partner allowed him to understand when the mech was saying without much of a problem, and he could even use the same mech language, at least as far as the body language was concerned.
Later, after all the people were gone, GunDober returned from wherever he'd been hiding. He found his brother sprawled out on his berth, rotors whirring happily.
The motorcycle mech's visor flickered in a blink. ::What's gotten into you?::
GunGlue was clearly overjoyed about something. ::He talked to me. He actually talked to me::
The other mech's engine revved in surprise. ::Who did?::
::Volfogg's life mate.:: Gunglue's rotors whirred again. ::He found me up on the catwalk and talked to me for over an hour. Talked to me instead of at me. He even asked my opinion and waited for my answer.::
::He understood what you were saying?:: GunDober blinked.
::He understood me. And he even can speak part of our language!:: GunGlue was almost rising off the berth, his rotors were going so fast.
GunDober settled onto his own berth. ::This I have to see.::
The next day, GunDober watched the purple-haired human mech and his life partner walk in. Volfogg nodded to them, making his way over. Once they were close enough, GunDober greeted them in the language he and GunGlue shared, and almost fell over when Mamoru responded in kind. GunGlue chirped a smug "I told you so", then flicked his rotors at Mamoru. The brunette smiled up at him.
"What's going on over here?" Sergeant Hyuuma walked over.
"Just saying hello to GunGlue and GunDober," Mamoru replied. GunGlue chirped a cheerful affirmative, cutting off whatever Hyuuma had been about to say.
The tactical planner looked up at the copter. "What was that?"
"He confirmed that we were chatting," Volfogg replied. GunGlue nodded.
"He..." Hyuuma stared up at GunGlue.
"I did tell you that they were much more intelligent than you gave them credit for," the purple-haired human mech pointed out. "They have their own language, half verbal and half body language, a language Mamoru has dubbed 'gun-speak'. Both of us are fluent in it, so we can converse with these two, and understand their responses."
"Then why haven't they said anything?" Hyuuma demanded.
GunGlue's rotors twitched irritably, and he fired something off in rapid gun-speak. GunDober blinked at his brother. Mamoru stroked GunGlue's arm soothingly.
"He says that you neglected to give them voices, so they've had to make do with what they have," Mamoru translated, then tilted his head as GunDober added a comment of his own. "GunDober says that they've tried to talk to you, but no one ever listened."
The helicopter mech's rotors were still twitching. Mamoru stroked his arm, his body language calm, until the GunMachine cooled down. Volfogg watched, smiling slightly. GunDober looked down at him, then chirped and clicked a question. The brunette had to latch onto GunGlue's arm to keep from falling over laughing. Volfogg sighed.
"Someone had to ask eventually," Mamoru managed to get out, green eyes bright with amusement. He looked up at GunDober. "He's housebroken but not domesticated, and never leave him in a kitchen unsupervised."
Hyuuma blinked, then glanced at Volfogg. "Are you that bad?"
"He's the only person I know who's managed to make water catch fire, and neither of us has a clue how," Mamoru explained, still holding onto GunGlue. "After that, I banned him from the kitchen." He chuckled. "The incredible ninja, who can sneak into any place and hack into anything, actually does have something he can't do."
"And I'm never going to hear the end of it," Volfogg sighed.
Hyuuma chuckled, then looked up at the GunMachines again. "This will take some getting used to..."
The copter's rotors whirred, and he clicked something. Hyuuma looked at Mamoru.
"He said that if you break the control stick one more time during a flight, he'll eject you from his cockpit," the brunette translated. "Everything in his cockpit is part of him, and when you break things, it hurts him."
The green-haired tactical planner's eyes widened. "I wasn't aware of that. My apologies, GunGlue."
The copter gazed down at him for a moment, then chirped in a way that clearly said "make sure it doesn't happen again" before nodding. GunDober made a comment of his own, and GunGlue swatted him upside the head. Mamoru chuckled.
As the days passed, the rest of GGG finally got it through their heads that the two GunMachines were highly intelligent. Mostly because Mamoru made a point of talking to them directly, and would keep a conversation running for hours. The fact the both GunGlue and GunDober understood and responded was clear evidence that they were more then the humans had assumed. The fact that, after some prodding to GGG's higher-ups on Mamoru's part, the GunMachines made use of their free time to play indicated that they had distinct personalities. Their creators were stunned.
"They weren't programmed like that!" One stared at the pair.
"But they were programmed to combine with Volfogg, and he is a fully developed AI," Liger Shishioh pointed out. "Because they were lesser AIs, so to speak, it was necessary for Volfogg to connect to their processors when combined, so he could control their movements. It's not unreasonable that there was a crossover of some of his program codes to them, thus adding in the advanced program that gave them heightened intelligence and personality."
There was a resounding crash from inside the bay. Several of the humans jumped, then dashed over to see what was going on.
GunGlue sat on the floor, looking sheepish. Mamoru, grinning hugely, hovered nearby. Volfogg, in mech form, was flat on his chest on the ground, blinking and trying to look neutral while clearly fighting back a smile, while GunDober, looking thoroughly pleased with himself, perched on the purple mech's back. Across the room, EnRyu leaned sideways on a mech-sized chair, watching.
"They were playing with me until Volfogg and Mamoru walked in," the red mech commented. "As soon as they saw that Volfogg was in mech form, they pounced on him."
"And they managed to pin him." Mamoru grinned, settling on GunGlue's shoulder. "That's a first."
GunDober puffed up as much as a mech could. Mamoru laughed at him.
"They certainly love to play." Chief Taiga blinked at the dents and paint scuffs all over the floor.
"At this level of development they're like children," Mamoru commented from his perch on GunGlue's shoulder. "If you let them down to Earth now and then there'd be fewer dents and more grass stains. And a lot less noise."
"Then, by all means, take them down there to play."
Fortunately, the home Mamoru and Volfogg shared was somewhat isolated, overlooking a field near the shore. The GunMachines took full advantage of that field, playing pounce-and-wrestle for hours, chirping happily. By the time they used up their energy, the sun was setting, and the pair were as much green as they were white and black. Both of them gave the distinct impression of wearing full audial-to-audial grins despite their face masks and optic shields.
"And you wondered why I had a shed the size of a small barn built," Mamoru commented to Volfogg as he shooed the two GunMachines in to get their fuel and some sleep. They were curled up into a heap of white, green, and black with tires and rotors as soon as they had their fuel, and out like a light moments later. "It's handy for stashing motorcycles, helicopters, and the occasional police car."
Volfogg snorted. "I much prefer being inside the house, thanks." He looked the shed over and had to admit that it had been built with the GunMachines in mind. Strong enough to hold them and keep anyone else from getting in, roomy enough for them to have some space to move around. Not that anyone with any ounce of sense would try to sneak up on the GunMachines; it had been proven that startling either one usually resulted in drawn weapons. They had been built to fight.
The next morning found the pair out and about before Mamoru and Volfogg. A pile of mech-sized brushes and cloths lay in a neat pile, and the pair's armor gleamed white and black and purple, showing not a single grass stain. The two Gun Robots lounged in the grass, letting the sun dry their armor. Both looked up as their team leader and his life mate appeared, Volfogg's normally spiky hair even spikier than usual. He combed his fingers through it as he nodded to them, and Mamoru called "good morning" in gun-speak. The brothers responded in kind, then went back to their sun-bathing. One or the other made the sound Mamoru had jokingly called a "mecha snore".
After a week or so, it became necessary to outfit the shed as a minor base for the GunMachines, as they preferred to spend their time there. They had room to play, GunDober had empty roads he could race on, and GunGlue had plenty of open sky. They made it clear they hated being cooped up. When it was agreed to let them stay on Earth, both were very relieved.
"Mamoru can sense anything alien that gets anywhere within his range, and his powers have only gotten stronger," Kosuke Entouji pointed out, looking up from his console. "Besides, Volfogg is there." He shrugged slightly, having reminded himself that he'd more or less turned over "managing" Volfogg to Mamoru, though it was still up to Entouji to give the ninja mech his assignments. "They will be fine."
"True enough." Chief Taiga nodded. "Then they can stay on Earth, as long as they still assist us when needed."
"They have no problem with that," Mamoru commented as he walked in. "I think they are mildly claustrophobic, or at least that's how they seem. Or it might just be because a flyer needs the sky, and a bike needs the road."
"They told you that?" Liger raised an eyebrow.
Green eyes narrowed. "They can communicate just fine. You've just never bothered to listen. Try being around them for a while, and then try telling me they don't have personalities."
Turning his back on them, Mamoru left in a huff.
For a month, everything was fine. The GunMachines stayed on Earth unless they were needed at the Orbit Base for something, and even then they spent as little time there as possible. They spent their free time playing, lounging, and developing their personalities. Volfogg encouraged them to learn; it made them a more effective combiner.
Then another alien machine appeared.
Some time into the battle, GunGlue disappeared. No one knew where he was, but they knew the machine had never gotten hold of him. When the battle finally ended, Volfogg, GunDober, and the Ryu twins began searching through the rubble. Mamoru, in Purification mode, circled over the ruins, looking for anything that could possibly indicate where GunGlue was.
Finally, on one pass, he heard something and circled around, dropping lower. The faint sound became a whimper of pain, and it was coming from underneath one of the piles of rubble. Landing, Mamoru picked his way over to the pile, looking through the debris. He saw the gleam of green optics, and heard GunGlue's soft cry of pain before he actually saw the heli-mech, pinned under the rubble. From the looks of things, his rotors were crushed, and there was no sign of intact metal where his legs should be.
"GunGlue!" Mamoru stared at the GunMachine for a moment, then looked around to see who was closest. The only mech in sight was GunDober, digging frantically through the ruins, trying to find his brother. "GunDober! GunDober, over here!"
The other Gun Robot looked up, startled, then spotted Mamoru waving frantically and scrambled over. The bike mech let out a worried whine, falling to his knees.
Mamoru pointed into the rubble. "He's buried under there, under too much rubble for you to dig him out. I'll stay with GunGlue; you go get help!"
GunDober nodded, then was up and running, bolting through the rubble as fast as he could go. Mamoru crawled into the twisted mess, managing to get up next to the heli-mech's helm. Pain-filled optics fixed on him. Leaning against the side of his helm, Mamoru stroked the white metal and murmured reassurances, using his powers to soothe the mech's pain. GunGlue shivered, but not from Mamoru's touch. His legs were most likely crushed; he was in a great deal of pain.
Volfogg was surveying the battlefield, running scans to try and determine GunGlue's position, when GunDober came scrambling over, chirping wildly, clearly in distress. He grabbed Volfogg's arm and tugged on it, then darted over to EnRyu and did the same. His body language made it quite clear that he wanted them to follow him, and NOW. Engine almost wailing, he ran from one to the other, trying to get them to follow.
"What's he saying?" EnRyu finally asked, looking over at Volfogg.
The purple mech frowned slightly, trying to pick out the Gun Robot's words. "He says... he says Mamoru found GunGlue!" he translated. "He's buried under too much rubble for GunDober to move; that's why he's trying to get you to follow him. GunGlue is badly hurt and needs help!"
HyoRyu and EnRyu instantly sprang off, following GunDober. Volfogg reacted immediately as they dashed past him, bounding up onto HyoRyu's shoulders and clinging, riding instead of scrambling over the rubble himself. The larger mechs, though he hated to admit it, had better footing than he did in that kind of debris. HyoRyu gave him an amused look, but otherwise made no comment about being used as a perch. The ninja mech hopped off as the larger mech skidded to a halt beside the pile of ruins GunDober was hovering over. The GunRobot pointed, and then they could hear GunGlue's muffled whimper of pain.
"I'm here!" Green light flared through an opening in the debris. "With GunGlue! You can chew me out for this later, Volfogg; just get GunGlue out of here! I think his legs are completely crushed!"
The Ryu twins immediately began moving the rubble, making sure that it remained stable at all times. From inside, Mamoru helped by using his powers to create a barrier. GunGlue flinched several times as the rubble shifted over him, letting out a shriek at one point. Mamoru flinched with him, leaning against the heli-mech's helm and murmuring to him soothingly. Volfogg crouched down to look under the rubble, spotting his life mate taking shelter against GunGlue's cheek, stroking the metal, trying his best to keep the pinned robot calm. GunGlue was shivering with pain, doing his very best not to move and make his injuries any worse than they already were. Mamoru managed to keep him calm and still long enough for HyoRyu and EnRyu to move the last pieces of rubble.
GunGlue lay stretched out on his front, his rotor blades twisted and mangled. From the hips down his legs were shattered and crushed, barely even there. The Gun Robot let out a sigh of relief as the weight lifted off, then whimpered as the pain hit him again. Mamoru pressed himself against GunGlue's cheek, using his powers to take the pain away while EnRyu carefully picked the wounded mech up. The humans all winced when they saw the extent of GunGlue's injuries.
"Repairs will take a while. but GunGlue will be fine," Kazuo Ushiyama reported, looking up from the scans. "He's still in a lot of pain, but it's not as bad as it could have been."
GunDober let out a huge sigh of relief, his whole frame drooping. He dragged himself over to his berth, collapsing onto it and promptly passing out. Volfogg smiled slightly at the dormant GunMachine, then returned his attention to GunGlue. Movement caught his eye, and he looked down as Liger walked over to Mamoru.
"I apologize for doubting them," the scientist told Mamoru. "After what happened today, I can no longer deny that the GunMachines have minds and personalities all their own, and that they can communicate in their own way."
Mamoru nodded. "I'm not the one you have to apologize to. When they wake up, tell them. And it would be a good idea for you to remember that there's more to communication that just words." He looked up at GunGlue and his brother GunDober. "More than words."
Yes, yes, I know, another weird ending. Not my fault; blame the plot bunny for running off and leaving this hanging.