Author's Note: This is a crossover! It is also my first foray into the realm of J-Decker, fic-wise. So apologies in advance if the J-Decker crew seem OOC. Also, any human character names mentioned for J-Decker are most likely inaccurate, since I haven't been able to find a character list, and I've been trying to pick their names out of the raw episodes. The only one I've gotten from an "official" source is the name of the police chief, the guy in the grey suit with the weird hairstyle: Saejima Jyuuzou. Though I'll most likely end up calling him just "Chief". Any help with other names would be appreciated. (Though I did find out that Shadowmaru's name means "Shadow Circle", oddly enough.)
I've had this plot bunny gnawing on me for a while; I've just been ironing out plot details. Finally, the bunny has coughed up enough material to actually start typing it. As I said, this fic will be a crossover, between my GGG fics, the Metamorphosis Saga (the "Change of Perspective" fic series I've been writing) and Brave Police J-Decker.
Disclaimer: I do not own GaoGaiGar or J-Decker. Volfogg's human form and the GunMachines' own language are mine, though.
When Worlds Collide
There had been no activity for the last couple of weeks. No alien machines had turned up, and those shadowy organizations that opposed the Gutsy Galaxy Guard had been laying low for quite some time. It was beginning to make the commanders and mechs of GGG nervous. They'd learned the hard way that prolonged periods of calm usually meant all hell was going to break loose. The longer the calm period, the worse the inevitable trouble would be.
"That's what I would call 'paranoia'," someone commented.
"I believe the quote goes, 'I may be paranoid, but that doesn't mean you're not out to get me,'" was the response from overhead, and a blue mech looked down at the speaker. "It is experience. Periods of calm like this give our enemies time to regroup, to come up with something new."
"I really do not like this quiet." Chief Taiga glared at the main screen.
"Mamoru says he doesn't sense anything, though he is getting what he refers to as a 'bad feeling,'" Entouji commented from his station. "He senses that something is going to happen, but he doesn't know what. And he says that Volfogg is wound up tighter than a harpstring."
"That in itself is a pretty good indication that something is going to happen," Taiga mused. "It isn't at all easy to make Volfogg that nervous."
"Using Volfogg's nerves as a warning sign?" Hyuuma raised an eyebrow.
"Even you have to admit that, since becoming human, he's developed a very good set of instincts," Ushiyama pointed out. "When he gets a bad feeling, he's not often wrong. And when both he and Mamoru get a bad feeling..."
Two days later, the calmness was broken.
It was another alien machine, this one quite vicious. Mamoru only had to take one look to know that this machine was one of the type they'd been seeing more and more of lately; it didn't have an actual core, or at least not a living core. It was a pure machine, driven by its programming, with no real will behind it. And it was a nasty one. Cornering it proved difficult until it apparently decided that it was time to emerge. When it did, it was huge, having absorbed enough material to tower over even the combined GGG robots.
Guy resisted the temptation to cover his receivers as a rather inventive curse came across the open commline. "Dare I ask where he learned that particular phrase?"
"I have no idea," Mamoru answered. "Just be glad you don't understand Gun-speak; those two are just as bad."
The Evoluder glanced toward the blur of white and purple that was Big Volfogg, the rotor blades on his left arm a blur as he sliced the machine's multiple limbs apart. A flash of green could be seen from that direction as well; Mamoru, trying to keep out of the way while not straying very far from the large ninja mech. No wonder Big Volfogg was getting annoyed enough to start cursing under his breath, and that would explain why he was going after the flailing limbs.
"Ul-Tech full burst!" ChoRyuJin unleashed a barrage of energy beams into the machine's side. Howling electronically, it turned on the red and blue mech. ChoRyuJin had to scramble to get out of the way. On the other side of the thing, metal shattered as Big Volfogg took the opportunity to turn his DaiKaiten Madan on the machine. Shrieking, it thrashed wildly. Guy had to dodge a massive limb, skittering backward while looking for an opening.
"BROKEN MAGNUM!" GaoGaiGar launched his attack.
"GUY!" Mamoru yelled.
The alien machine had begun to turn when the attack hit, punching right through the armor. But instead of going through the computer core of the thing, it missed and punctured the power core, the engine of the beast. The return of the Broken Magnum smashed right through another bank of machinery. Something sizzled loudly as the energies from both wounds began to interact.
"Oh hell!" Guy scrambled to get as far away from the thing as he could, catching a glimpse of ChoRyuJin hauling fender in yet another direction. Turning his head, the Evoluder looked for the blur of purple and white. When he finally spotted the ninja mech, he hissed a few choice phrases of his own.
Big Volfogg was still too close to the machine. He was already moving, splitting into three mechs and scattering. Mamoru clung to a purple shoulder, pressed against the side of his partner's neck. The Intelligence mechs were doing their best to get out of range before anything else happened.
But they weren't fast enough.
An eye-searing flash of light burst out from inside the machine, engulfing Volfogg, his team, and Mamoru. When the flash spots finally faded from Guy's vision, there was no sign of the four. But neither was there any wreckage. They were simply... gone. Moments later, the gutted alien machine exploded.
There was absolute silence on the commlines for a long moment. Then ChoRyuJin started tearing through the rubble, looking for any sign of the missing mechs and Mamoru.
"They... they can't be..."
"They aren't dead!" Guy hissed. "They can't be!" GaoGaiGar's hands fisted. "We will find them!"
Mamoru came to with a headache. It took him a moment to get his bearings and remember what happened. The alien machine's internals had caused some kind of reaction, and then there had been a flash of blinding light and the sensation of being flung along a tunnel. He had caught glimpses of two other shapes, black and white, before a second flash had nearly blinded him.
A soft groan in his ear reminded him of who else had been involved.
Volfogg had been in his mech form when that blinding light had engulfed them. Now he was in his human form, something Mamoru was grateful for since his life partner had ended up sprawled across the brunette's back. Had he still been in his mech form Mamoru might have been crushed under his weight.
"Vol?" he asked unsteadily, blinking.
The response was an incomprehensible mumble, then a few choice phrases, which told the green-eyed young man that his life mate was nursing a mean headache of his own. The lean body across his back stirred, though it was more twitching than actual movement. Mamoru managed to turn his head enough to look at the purple-haired human mech, seeing half-closed, dazed blue eyes and a streak of red through purple hair.
"Vol!" The brunette shifted as much as he could, trying to coax some response out of his lover. Finally, blue eyes turned to meet his green, some of the haze clearing from them.
"'Oru," Volfogg rasped, blinking owlishly. "Augh, my head."
"Can you move?" Mamoru asked.
"Been trying... my body doesn't want to cooperate." The taller man made another attempt to get up, but didn't get very far.
The brunette watched him for a moment, then slowly, carefully pushed himself to all fours, turning to wrap his arms around the disoriented human mech. He carefully examined his partner for injury, finding only a few ugly-looking bruises and the minor cut that had streaked purple hair with sticky red. "I think you're just in shock, love... You should be fine soon." He looked around, realizing for the first time that they were in smallish space under what appeared to be a pile of rubble. "How the heck are we going to get out of here...?"
Volfogg had no response for that. He stayed still, leaning against his life partner, eyes half closed as he worked through the remaining haze clouding his thoughts. There was silence for a long moment, and then Mamoru's head came up as he heard a very familiar sound. The sound of swearing in the language of the GunMachines. It took a moment for him to identify the voice.
There was a moment of silence, and then a chirp, and the rubble overhead shifted slightly. A gap appeared, and it was quickly filled with bright green.
"We're here!" Mamoru waved to the Gun Robot.
GunGlue chittered, then began moving the rubble. Mamoru watched as the hole widened, holding his mate close. It took a few minutes, but finally the hole was large enough for GunGlue to reach in and gently lift them out. By then Volfogg was coherent enough to sit up, and the haze had finally cleared from blue eyes. Mamoru touched his shoulder lightly, then looked up at GunGlue, spotting GunDober as the tiger-helmed mech leaned over his brother's shoulder.
The bike-mech chirped and chittered a question. Mamoru nodded. "I'm fine. Vol is going to have some interesting bruises, though, and he already has a pretty bad headache."
"I'll survive." Volfogg shook his head slightly. "How about you two?"
Both replied that they were fine. Then Mamoru noticed that GunGlue's rotor blades had gotten mangled, pointing that out to the heli-mech. GunGlue's optic shield flickered in a blink, then he looked over his shoulder at the damaged blades. He clearly hadn't noticed that they'd been damaged.
"We'll find someone to fix them." Mamoru patted GunGlue's arm. He was about to say more when GunDober let out a warning rumble, and Volfogg stiffened. The brunette looked from the Gun Robot to his lover, then followed their gazes, spotting a large blue and white mech standing there eyeing them. "Oh..."
For the Brave Police, it had been a relatively normal day. Another criminal arrested, another destructive machine destroyed before it had done any more damage. The team was surveying the damage when there was a blinding flash from nearby. Humans and mechs blinked flash spots from their eyes.
"What the hell was that?" Power Joe wondered.
"I have no idea." Dumpson shrugged.
"I'm going to check it out." Deckerd turned in that direction, changing to his police car form. Yuuta climbed into the driver's seat, and Deckerd pulled away. He eased down the road, cautiously heading toward where that bright light had come from.
"What do you think it could have been?" Yuuta asked, looking at the steering wheel.
"I don't know." Deckerd slowed down slightly as he made a turn, then stopped to let Yuuta out. Changing back to his robot form, he walked forward, his gun out and ready. A dozen different scenarios ran through his head, each worse than the last. Perhaps they hadn't completely defeated their last opponent...
Slowly, Deckerd looked around the corner.
What he saw was not what he expected. Next to a pile of debris from the last battle were two relatively small robots; small in relation to most of the robots the Brave Police tangled with, anyway. These two weren't much taller than most of the BP robots, colored in black and white, with streaks of purple. Both had what appeared to be police vehicle-style lights on their shoulders. One, currently kneeling on the ground and fishing through the rubble, had the rotors of a helicopter on its back, and its helm had the wings and head of a hawk. The other, standing behind the first, had motorcycle tires attached to its legs, and its helm was shaped like a tiger's head. Neither had any visible facial features, having green optic shields and face masks instead of two optic sensors, an olfactory sensor, and a mouth. Both were completely intent on what the hawk-helmed one was doing.
"What are they doing?" Yuuta wondered.
A moment later, the hawk-helmed robot lifted two humans from under the rubble, holding them in its palm. One was a brunette, the other appeared to have purple hair. The one with the purple hair seemed disoriented, though not incapacitated. Deckerd listened as the tiger-helmed mech made a series of electronic sounds, chirps and chitters and whirring sounds. The two humans could obviously understand what the robot was saying; they answered in ways that clearly indicated that. The brunette was clearly concerned about the hawk-helmed one when he noticed the crushed rotor blades. Then the tiger-helmed one realized they were being watched, and all eyes turned in Deckerd's direction.
The black and white robots tensed, the hawk-helmed one moving to shield the two humans in its hand. With its rotors crushed, it couldn't take off, and the other was clearly not willing to leave the first behind. The tiger-helmed one got between Deckerd and the other robot, taking on a defensive stance and making a growling sound. Deckerd promptly aimed his gun at the strange robot.
"Stop!" The brunette jumped to his feet, holding out his hands while the purple-haired one pushed himself up, looking a bit shaky but otherwise well. "He's only protecting us; don't hurt him!"
Deckerd's optics narrowed as he regarded the strange robot. The tiger-helmed robot didn't move an inch, keeping his own body between the policemech and the hawk-helmed robot. He made no move to attack; his entire posture was defensive, not offensive.
Heavy footsteps announced the arrival of the build team, Duke, and Gun-Max. They fanned out behind Deckerd, all aiming at the strangers. The tiger-helmed robot tensed, growling again, though he still didn't move. The hawk-helmed robot cupped his hands protectively around the two humans.
"You're presenting yourselves as threats; is it any wonder he's reacting like this?" The brunette jumped off the hawk-helmed robot's hand onto the tiger-helmed one's back. The one with the crushed rotors let out an alarmed whistle as the young man scaled the robot's armor with the ease of long practice, coming up over his shoulder to stand on his protruding chestplate, spreading his arms and glaring at the Brave Police. "If he meant to strike he would have already! We don't want any trouble! So just put the weapons away!"
Deckerd eyed the tiger-helmed robot. "You don't intend to attack?"
The robot shook his head emphatically, letting out a series of whirs and electronic hisses, yowls, and growl-like sounds. The brunette tilted his head, clearly listening.
"He says he's just defending us," the young man said finally. "You pointed weapons at us, and he reacted defensively. To get at us you'd have to shoot through him."
McCrane tilted his head slightly. "He says?"
"GunDober and GunGlue can't communicate in words," was the sharp response; it was apparently a touchy subject. "They have their own language. You won't be able to understand them. We can, and we translate for them."
The hawk-helmed mech nodded, making an affirmative-sounding chirp.
Shadowmaru appeared then, out of nowhere as usual. His sudden appearance startled Deckerd and some of the others, getting startled curses from Dumpson and a yelp from Drillboy. The strangers should have been startled as well, but, strangely enough, they weren't. The tiger-helmed robot made an amused-sounding snort while the hawk-helmed mech looked around him, body language expressing curiousity. The purple-haired man shook his head, rolling his eyes, and the brunette muttered something under his breath.
"Strange," McCrane murmured. "Clearly they are used to people doing that."
The helicopter robot's mangled rotors twitched, and he flinched, letting out a low whine that clearly indicated pain. The purple-haired man spoke softly to the robot.
"What did you say their names were?" Gun-Max asked abruptly.
"This one is GunDober, and his brother, the helicopter, is GunGlue," was the response. "The Gun Robot brothers."
"Gun Robots?" The green and white mech tilted his head.
GunDober snorted, straightening. He tapped one of the two tubes mounted just under his chestplate, tubes that, at second glance, looked more like gun barrels than anything else. The brunette swatted the side of his helm gently, and the mech managed to give him a hurt look despite lacking facial features.
The members of the Brave Police exchanged glances. They needed to get more out of these strangers, and this was not a good place to do it. Shadowmaru in particular wanted to know why they hadn't been surprised by his sudden appearance.
Deckerd looked back at the four. "You're coming with us."
"GunGlue can't fly until his rotors are repaired, and his only alt mode is a helicopter," the brunette informed him.
McCrane and Deckerd looked at Dumpson, who grumbled but agreed to carry the black-white-purple mech in the bucket of his dump truck form. The purple-haired man watched the mech climb into the bucket and settle himself, then climbed into Dumpson's cab. GunDober put the brunette down, then stepped onto a clear section of road and changed into a sleek motorcycle, his chestplate the front end of the bike, while his arms folded into the sides and his torso and legs formed the rest of the vehicle. There were police lights on both sides, but no police markings of any kind. That vehicle form had been designed for speed. The two gun barrels were still mounted on the front, just under the nose of the bike.
The brunette mounted the bike, and GunDober eased forward, next to Dumpson. The bike's engine purred, hinting at just how much power lurked under that black and white armor. The green-eyed young man fished out a helmet, putting it on and looking at Deckerd.
The blue robot blinked, then changed to his police car form and let Yuuta climb into the driver's seat. The other members of the build team transformed to their vehicle modes, lining up while Drillboy, in his drill jet form, circled overhead. Shadowmaru leaned down to give the purple-haired man a long look through Dumpson's windshield. Clear, brilliant blue eyes met green optics without flinching. The two looked at each other for a long moment, and Shadowmaru's optics flickered slightly. For some reason that man gave him a weird feeling. Almost as if the large mech were recognizing another of his type.
Finally, Shadowmaru stepped back, changing to his jet mode and taking to the air.
It was an odd procession back to Brave Police Headquarters, with the motorcycle right on Deckerd's fender and the hawk-helmed mech riding in Dumpson's bucket. What was just as interesting was what wasn't heard: the brunette extracting from Deckerd a promise to have GunGlue's rotor blades repaired. Finding himself being verbally backed into a corner, Deckerd sighed and gave in, radioing ahead and telling the repair team to prepare for a helicopter robot with a crushed set of rotors.
"Helicopter? But we don't have a helicopter..."
"Well, you're going to repair one."
The repair crew stared as GunGlue got out of Dumpson's bucket, stretching slightly, then flinching visibly as his crushed rotors reminded him of their presence. The heli-mech was shooed over to the repair area and settled as comfortably as a mech made up of odd angles (namely, the helicopter cockpit and front end making up his chestplate) could get. A moment later the repair techs were swarming over the damaged blades.
Once begun, the repairs didn't take overly long. The two Gun Robots and the two humans were taken to an interview room. GunGlue and GunDober sat by the wall, arms crossed, watching. The two humans settled into chairs, as close together as they could get.
Before Yuuta could say anything, Shadowmaru pounced. He wanted to know just who that purple-haired man was and why he gave him such a weird feeling.
Volfogg regarded the dark purple mech out of narrowed eyes, not liking the demanding attitude. Next to him, Mamoru rolled his eyes. The human mech looked at him for a moment, reading the look in his mate's eyes. His lips quirked in a slight smile, then he turned back to Shadowmaru.
"Your name," the dark purple mech repeated, green optics narrowing.
"You want my name?" Volfogg crossed his arms over his chest. "Fine. Volfogg Amami."
That actually was his full name; after becoming human and being formally introduced to the Amami family, the human mech had been thoroughly adopted into the family. Ai Amami had insisted that he had the right to claim their surname as his own, and apparently the rest of GGG agreed with her. It had been officially added as his surname. Not that he'd really objected.
"Volfogg," Yuuta repeated, turning the curious name over on his tongue. "An odd name."
"My name." Blue eyes were level. "I answer to no other."
Mamoru snorted. Volfogg did answer to a few more, but never in public.
Shadowmaru looked at the brunette. "And you?"
"Mamoru Amami," was the response.
Several pairs of optics flickered in a blink. "You share the same last name... yet you look nothing alike."
"We're not blood relatives," Mamoru replied. "Though we are family." His fingers twined with Volfogg's. The ring he wore flashed slightly. Unnoticed, its twin glinted on Volfogg's other hand.
Encouraged by his success at getting something out of the pair, Shadowmaru continued to question them. This time, though, Volfogg neatly turned the tables on him. Shadowmaru never got another straight answer out of him. Instead, the six-changer found himself being led in verbal circles, forced to fish for answers, and then being led in another direction entirely. From all appearances, Volfogg was enjoying messing with the large mech's head, while Shadowmaru got more and more frustrated.
The rest of the Brave Police just sat and stared. If any of them had tried something like this, Shadowmaru would have swatted them. But this purple-haired man was baiting the ninja mech to great effect, and not even batting an eyelash at the fact that he was facing a twenty-foot multi-ton robot.
Power Joe looked at Shadowmaru for a long moment. Curious, he eased over and picked at the metal covering where Shadowmaru's audial receivers were. The metal plate came loose, and a jet of steam promptly shot out. The yellow power shovel pried off the metal cover on the other side and sat back, watching steam literally shooting out of Shadowmaru's audials. The two Gun Robots promptly and completely cracked up, making a chirp-laughing sound.
Not long after, Shadowmaru gave up, storming out of the room, the proverbial thunderstorm raging over his head. The rest of the Brave Police sat there in silence until the door was closed and Shadowmaru out of earshot, then broke down laughing. By the time Yuuta got himself under control, his sides hurt, and Drillboy was complaining that his undercarriage was sore from laughing so hard.
"You enjoyed that way too much," Mamoru playfully accused his lover.
"His attitude irritates me," Volfogg responded. "He needed to have his ego deflated somewhat."
"And one thing you're good at is deflating egos." Mamoru chuckled. He wrapped an arm around Volfogg's shoulders, embracing him gently.
Other members of the Brave Police took turns asking a few questions. The pair were more forthcoming, though they remained deliberately vague on certain details. When they were vague about something, no amount of prodding could get them to spill whatever it was they were hiding. Finally, as the sun sank below the horizon, the Brave Police had to concede defeat. They showed Mamoru and Volfogg to a guest room, where they would spend the night.
Elsewhere, buried under the pile of rubble Mamoru and Volfogg had been fished out of, something stirred. It was nothing of organic origin, not even hailing from this universe. It was the core circuitry of the machine that the GGG Mobile Unit had been fighting, the machine that had transported the Intelligence team and Mamoru to their current location. It had been caught in the reaction caused by its own innards and transported there as well. When Volfogg and Mamoru had been retrieved by GunGlue and GunDober, it had lain there, dormant and unnoticed.
Now, it awoke.
The core program considered the data it had gathered. Stretching out thin tendrils, feelers, the machine began pulling pieces of metallic debris into itself. Building a new body.
Lights flickered on and all all across the core unit. It was gathering strength, preparing to rise and wreak havoc on this new world. But it wasn't ready yet.
Red lights flashed once more, then dimmed. Soon, soon, it would be strong enough. And this time there would be no one to stop it.
At the GGG Orbit Base, there was a crowd standing around Professor Liger's console as both he and Entouji worked feverishly on the data that had been gathered during the battle. Both were hard at work analyzing the energy burst that had caused Volfogg, Mamoru, and the GunMachines to disappear. Pretty much everyone there had a soft spot where the brunette was concerned, and Entouji had always been close to the ninja mech.
"Aha!" Liger leaned forward, the light from the monitor turning his pink-dyed hair an odd shade of purple. "I was right! That was no shockwave that hit them."
"Then what was it?" Guy wanted to know.
"Its energy reading is similar to the Zonder designated EI-25, the SeaDart Robo," Entouji replied.
"That was the one that could cross between alternate dimensions." Guy pondered that for a moment. Then his eyes went wide. "Wait a moment! If the energy reading are nearly the same, then it's entirely possible that Mamoru and the others were transported to another dimension! They're still alive!"
There was a resounding cheer at that. Everyone was relieved that their comrades and friends were alive.
"Now we just have to find out how to find the dimension they're in, and use the Pliers to get there," Liger pointed out.
"Get right on it," Taiga told them. "We must find them, and bring them home."
Liger and Entouji nodded in unison, turning back to their screens. Their fingers flew across the keyboards, eyes fixed on their screens. They ignored the crowd around them, not noticing as they began to disperse. Everyone else was relieved that their missing comrades were still alive, though it would take a lot of work to get them home.
Guy turned toward the starscape, looking out at the points of light that speckled the darkness. 'Hold on Volfogg, Mamoru, GunGlue, GunDober. We'll find you and bring you home. I promise.'
In the other dimension, Mamoru and Volfogg played the part of normal humans. They had been listed as visitors, handlers of the Gun Robots (much to the amusement of GunDober and GunGlue), and were doing their best to keep their real natures secret. Fortunately, Volfogg didn't get any ill effects or edginess in spending prolonged periods in his human form (though he did if he was in mech for for a prolonged period of time due to the resulting sensory deprivation), so he was fine with it. Mamoru had no reason to reveal himself, so he kept his alien nature hidden.
Shadowmaru was still lurking around, though the pair were adept in avoiding him, and he didn't bother the GunMachines due to the language barrier. Volfogg amused himself by messing with the other ninja's head at every opportunity, driving Shadowmaru right up the wall and through the roof. Shadowmaru was starting to get the hint that it was his attitude that was rubbing the purple-haired man the wrong way, so he could start to change that. The purple-haired man also proved his own skill at disappearing into the shadows and then appearing out of nowhere, managing to startle Shadowmaru into jumping the first time he did it.
"I guess that's what you get for trying the same trick on him," Duke chuckled.
Green optics glared down at the purple-haired human. Calm blue eyes looked back. Then the slim man adjusted his jacket and walked casually away, vanishing from sight.
"I kinda like that guy," Gun-Max commented.
"Even though he's poked a few holes in your ego, too?" If Power Joe could have raised an eyebrow, he would have.
Hidden under the city streets, the machine core sensed the energy spikes and flares of battle aboveground. Warnings flashed through the CPU. It was still too soon; it had not yet finished building its new body. But that was irrelevant. It had no choice. There was danger, and that meant it had to move.
It started the preparations.
There were two more days of peace before the next enemy of the Brave Police surfaced, and the group went to handle the latest nasty creation of an evil mind. There was one fierce fight before the thing was blown up and the criminal in question arrested.
"They're not bad," Volfogg commented, watching from atop a roof some distance away.
Mamoru chuckled, nodding his agreement. Then, suddenly, he stiffened, eyes widening as his short chocolate hair flashed green. A familiar feeling exploded into his senses.
"One of the machines came with us! It's rising!"
"They won't be able to handle it..."
The brunette was already moving, energy wings spreading out behind him as he took to the air, making a beeline for where that sense of alienness was coming from. GunGlue picked Volfogg up, carrying him to a rooftop closer to the battle before circling over after Mamoru.
J-Decker was watching the police van driving away, listening to the others bantering, when the ground trembled underfoot. Silence fell as the other mechs felt it, and heads turned to look for the source. There was nothing in sight, but the tremors were getting stronger.
"Uhm... what was that?" Yuuta looked around nervously.
"I don't know..."
The ground heaved underfoot. The mechs staggered, fighting to regain their balance as the road shattered. Something rose up from underground, leting out an electronic shriek as it broke the surface. Purple optic sensors blazed.
"What in the world is that?!"
The machine looked like a bad cross between a huge insect and an octopus, with several long, thick legs and many tentacles around a central body. The head was tube-shaped, the mouth circular, lined with rows of sharklike teeth. It didn't appear to be anything any human could build, its body appearing to be made up of metal debris and junk all stuck together and formed into the desired shape.
Purple optics glared down at them. Then it struck.
"Damnit!" J-Decker grabbed for his gun, firing back. The shots bounced off what looked like some kind of shield surrounding the machine. It growled electronically, then lashed out. The large mech tried to dodge, but the thing was fast, and it swatted him right out of the air.
"J-Decker!" Shadowmaru dashed forward, launching his throwing stars. They too only bounced off the shield, as did the shots from Super Build Tiger and Duke Fire.
The massive machine let out an electronic roar, then unleased a shockwave blast, swatting mechs left and right. Shadowmaru was slammed right into a building, dropping to the ground in a heap. Duke Fire crashed and rolled, and Gun-Max Armor landed on him a moment later. The two lay in a stunned heap. Super Build Tiger hit the ground and skidded, ending up a block away and not moving.
"Guys!" Yuuta cried out.
The machine advanced on them, the ground shuddering at its step. Its front limbs lifted, ready to come crashing down on the sprawled robots...
There was a sudden flash of green, and the machine stopped. Startled mechs turned to stare.
It was the brunette visitor, Mamoru. He hung suspended in mid-air, his entire body glowing green and surrounded by a green corona. Both hands were outstretched, and his lips were pulled back from his teeth. His eyes were fixed on the machine. Four pairs of translucent wings stretched out from his back, like the wings of a fairy. The pure power he was radiating had halted the machine in its tracks.
"I... will... not... let... you... pass!" Mamoru gritted his teeth. His aura increased in intensity, forcing the machine to back away. It howled and shrieked, fighting to get past him.
In a thunder of rotors, GunGlue swept past overhead, his brother right on his tail. They blew past to either side of Mamoru, pulling up and tensing. The tubes mounted under their chestplates cut loose with the staccato thunder of machine guns, and the hail of bullets created bright flashes against the barrier.
"It's shielded!" Mamoru yelled to them, and they sheared off with identical whistles. The brunette turned his head. "Volfogg!"
Shadowmaru had struggled to his knees when he heard that, and his head came up. Catching a blur of movement from the corner of his optic, he turned his head just as the purple-haired man landed on his shoulder, using him as a springboard to launch himself back into the air. In mid-leap, his body shifted and blurred strangely, unfolding and becoming something else.
When he landed, he wasn't human anymore.
The six-changer froze, optics going as wide as they possibly could. His jaw worked silently for a moment, finally just dropping as he stared at what the purple-haired man had become.
The other mech hit the ground running, making the transition from human to machine without breaking stride. His armor was a lighter shade of purple than Shadowmaru's, with white on the backs of his lower legs and along his inner forearms. What wasn't purple or white was a grey so dark it was practically black. He was obviously slightly taller than Shadowmaru was, and just as obviously bulkier of build. There were tires in shins and elbows, and a lightbar on his back; his alt mode was clearly a police car of some variety. Red marked the front of his lower legs and forehead. Both shoulders and the front of his helm bore a golden four-point star, like a shuriken. His upper chest and shoulders bore a meshlike pattern as well, and his optics were on the more pink end of the red color scale.
"What... how...?" Duke Fire's words stuttered as he stared at the strange mech.
"Wasn't... wasn't he a human?" Gun-Max Armor stared, optics wide behind his visor.
"But... that's impossible!" If J-Decker's mouth had been visible his jaw would be dropping right to the ground. Super Build Tiger just stared.
The lighter purple mech neatly dodged a flailing limb, launching off the ground. He was a blur of movement as he bounced off a building, rebounding to slam both feet into the machine's face. He hit the shield, but the impact had the desired effect, driving the machine backward a few more steps and making it recoil. Volfogg pushed off, backflipping and landing in a crouch. Barely had he landed when the two GunMachines simultaneously sent the request for combination.
"You don't have to ask me twice!" Volfogg launched himself into the air. "Sanmiitai!"
The two GunMachines circled in, GunDober to his right and GunGlue to his left. All three transformed together.
Shadowmaru struggled to his feet, staring, only to end up landing hard on his rear as the three suddenly transformed. The two GunMachines didn't change to their vehicle modes, however. What they became was partly vehicle; the front end of the motorcycle and the cockpit of the helicopter. It took a moment for Shadowmaru to note the presence of a fisted hand below GunGlue's rotor blades, and his optics went even wider as he realized that the Gun Robot had turned into an arm and shoulder.
Between the two Gun Robots hovered a sleek white police car. A moment later it unfolded, the back unfolding to form legs while the hood folded down, revealing the head. The torso rotated, and then the Gun Robots connected. After a moment, the complete mech touched down again.
He was twice as tall as Volfogg alone had been. Pink-red optics glowed over a facemask, and his forehead bore a glittering green stone. His main body was purple and grey, the lower legs and arms white. On his left forearm were the helicopter rotors, while GunDober's tires were folded against the right forearm. On his chest was the police car lightbar. His body was bulkier than Volfogg's, though it didn't seem to hinder him any.
"I'm ready!" the combined mech called, looking up at the young man hovering overhead. "Get out of the line of fire!"
"It's all yours, Big Volfogg!" Mamoru scooted out of the way, dropping the barrier he'd been holding as he did so.
The machine drew itself up, glaring down at its new enemy. He glared back, then launched into the air.
The police lights activated, sending out visible energy waves. The massive machine's barrier flickered, then faded out of existance. It shrieked in electronic fury, its massive head coming down, jaws agape and ready to bite down. Huge legs shattered asphault as it charged forward, intent on tearing this enemy apart.
Big Volfogg darted out of the way at the last moment, twisting in mid-air to bring his right arm around. He unleashed a quick burst of machine gun fire, paused to assess the damage, then flexed his arm as a faint but audible chink sound signalled GunDober switching his ammunition from regular rounds to GGG's special brand of armor-piercing. As the machine swung around toward him again, he straightened his arm.
"4000 Magnum!" He opened fire. Metal shattered under the barrage, spraying fluid across the ground. One purple optic shattered, and the response was an electronic shriek of pain. The machine lurched away from him, tentacles flailing wildly in his direction. Big Volfogg let out a grunt as one connected, cracking across his shoulder. Then more rose, arching over to surround him, trying to pin him. The mech raised his left arm.
Duke Fire struggled to rise, optics fixed on the sight of the other mech being surrounded by metallic tentacles. "We have to... help..."
"Can't... move..." J-Decker tried to push himself up.
Pieces of tentacles few in all directions as Mirror Coat rotor blades went through them like a hot knife through butter. Big Volfogg spun in a circle, those blades scything through tentacles, and the machine shrieked again. The large mech pushed away from it, darting around thrashing tentacles and limbs.
An energy beam speared out from the machine's back, aiming right at the stunned J-Decker. The white mech still couldn't move; there was no way he could dodge that shot. He could only watch it coming, about to take his head off...
There was a flash of purple and white, and Big Volfogg was suddenly between him and the shot. "Mirror Coating!" His frame was suddenly covered in a highly reflective coating, making him difficult to look at. Big Volfogg twisted at a precise angle, so that the shot his his leg and bounced off the mirroring, straight up. From there it hit his lower back and was reflected back, this time back toward its origin. The machine made a high-pitched electronic scream as its own shot punctured its armor, and fluids sprayed out.
From the side, Mamoru fired an energy beam, searing down the machine's side and crippling a limb. The fanged, damaged head turned in his direction, trying to reach and devour him.
"Oh no you don't!" Big Volfogg launched himself at it, optics glowing. "DaiKaiten Madan!"
The mech suddenly went into a dizzying spin, his frame once again coated with that reflective surface. Once he was closer to the writhing machine, he unleashed a full barrage of mirror particles, like glittering silvery knives. Armor shattered under the assault, spraying out in all directions. The machine's shrieks reached a new, earsplitting pitch, and it struck out toward Big Volfogg with one massive, needle-pointed leg. If that limb connected, Big Volfogg would be skewered.
"Look out!" Super Build Tiger yelled, managing to rise to all fours.
Seconds before the limb made contact, the spinning blur that was Big Volfogg split into three, streaks of light scattering in three directions with a cry of "Chou Bunshin Sappou!" One streak of light took on the outline of a bird of prey before fading out to reveal GunGlue. The second took on the form of a tiger, becoming GunDober. The third, heading straight up, showed the outline of a wolf before fading to reveal Volfogg himself.
The two GunMachines struck from opposite sides, pouring barrages of machine gun fire into the writhing, shrieking machine. Volfogg dodged another tentacle, optics narrowing.
"Silver Moon!" He suddenly held a golden blade, like a boomerang. It lit up with the Mirror Coating, looking sharp enough to cut light. A fluid, well-practiced snap of his wrist launched the glittering blade at the enemy machine, cutting a line down its side and severing two limbs. The machine lurched sideways, smashing the side of its head against a building before correcting and lashing out with its surviving weapons. Volfogg blurred with speed as he vacated the area he'd occupied moments before, bouncing off the side of a building and catching his returning blade in one hand. Instead of landing on the ground, he came down atop a flagpole, perfectly balanced. A second blade appeared in his other hand.
"Where did those come from?" Gun-Max Armor gawked.
"The same place Shadowmaru's swords come from, apparently," Yuuta commented through an open comm line. "Out of nowhere." The teal-haired boy was staring at the three fighting mechs with jaw hanging open and his eyes as wide as they could go.
Volfogg brought both blades up over his head. "Silver Cross!" The blades connected, forming a huge shuriken. The Mirror Coating turned it glittering silver, reflecting light off its blades. With a roar, Volfogg threw the weapon, and all eyes tracked its flight as it flashed across the distance. The oversized throwing star smashed into the thrashing machine's side and cut right through, punching back out the other side. The machine reared back, screaming, and the GunMachines promptly caught it in a vicious crossfire. Fountains of sparks erupted through the rents torn in its armor. Another limb broke off, landing in a heap.
GunGlue and GunDober circled toward Volfogg, who launched off the flagpole he'd been balanced on. All three blazed silver, reconnecting into Big Volfogg. They had just completed the combination when the machine lashed out, swatting him right out of the air. Big Volfogg crashed into a building, but was in the air again moments later. Volfogg himself was a bit dazed from the impact, but the GunMachines, the other two parts of the combined A.I., were not, and they took up the slack. GunDober changed his ammunition again, then opened fire.
Some time after the rest of GGG had become aware that the GunMachines were fully intelligent, GunDober had wondered out loud why the Ryu twins and GaoGaiGar had gotten the Ul-Tech upgrades, but he and GunGlue hadn't. He had pointed out that not all enemies could be badly damaged by bullets, whether conventional or GGG's special armor-piercing rounds. Volfogg had agreed with him, so the Gun Robot brothers had gotten the upgrades. It was that upgrade that GunDober chose to use now, firing energy beams from the four gun barrels instead of solid projectiles. The energy rounds ripped into the machine, tearing parts of it off and littering the street with debris. That held it long enough for Volfogg to shake off the disorientation and rejoin the merged A.I.
"Time to finish this! DaiKaiten DaiMadan!"
Once again Big Volfogg turned into a spinning blur of movement. This time, however, he didn't unleash the barrage of mirror particles. Instead, he physically smashed into the machine, entering right under the head and tearing down the thing's body, erupting out near the back end. When the Mirror Coating faded from his frame, it revealed that he was undamaged.
For a long moment, the machine was frozen, reared back in mid-strike, jaws agape and dripping its own fluids. Big Volfogg had plowed right through the central core, destroying it as he went through. The remaining purple optic flickered, then went out, and then the massive body toppled over. It came down with a ground-shaking crash and exploded, the shockwave shattering windows and setting off car alarms for blocks.
Once the initial blasts of fire and debris had subsided somewhat, Mamoru came out from where he'd been lurking, using his powers to make sure the central core had been completely destroyed. He didn't want the thing to regenerate again.
There was complete silence from the Brave Police as they stared at the shattered ruins of the machine that they had been incapable of damaging. None of them could find a single thing to say as they gawked. Finally, after a good five minutes of staring, J-Decker shook his head and looked around for Big Volfogg.
Big Volfogg had already separated back into three mechs, and they hadn't gone far. GunDober and GunGlue stood nearby, flanking the flagpole their team leader had settled atop. Volfogg balanced neatly atop the flagpole, arms crossed over his chest and Mamoru standing on his shoulder, gazing down at them with calm pink-red optics.
Shadowmaru struggled to his feet, holding his damaged arm, not taking his optics off the other mech. Volfogg's head turned slightly to meet his gaze, and a tiny smile flitted across the taller mech's features. The six-changer gawked up at him, completely stunned. Now he knew what the purple-haired man had been hiding, and he could hardly believe it. A man who could become a machine... and a clearly ninja machine.
"How is he doing that?" Dumpson's voice came from Super Build Tiger, and the large mech pointed to the flagpole.
"Vol is a master of perching," Mamoru commented from his mech's shoulder. "Phone towers, Ferris wheels, lampposts, flagpoles, the occasional wall... he could probably perch on a car antenna if he put his mind to it."
Gun-Max looked at Shadowmaru. "Why don't you do that?"
"His ego probably makes him too top-heavy," Volfogg commented casually.
The six-changer couldn't even bring himself to be offended by the remark.
Yuuta finally came out, walking over to stand next to J-Decker. The boy looked up at Volfogg, then at the GunMachines. "A team..."
"That would be the major difference between Vol and Shadowmaru," Mamoru told Yuuta. "Shadowmaru thinks in terms of 'I', while Volfogg thinks in terms of 'we'. He's been part of a team since he was activated, and leads his team. So he takes the whole group into account. As opposed to Shadowmaru, who is by nature a loner. Thus, of the two Volfogg is the stronger for it."
GunDober looked around, making a whirring sound as he noted the humans coming to stare at them. Volfogg looked at the tiger-helmed mech, then replied with a rumbling whir of his own. GunDober nodded, then turned into a motorcycle and sped off. GunGlue followed suit, rising into the air and swerving out of sight. Mamoru lifted off Volfogg's shoulder, allowing the purple mech to leave the flagpole, landing neatly in a crouch.
"System Change!" Volfogg promptly became a sleek, unmarked white police car, his driver's door opening. Mamoru climbed in, and the door closed. The vehicle pulled away, easing out onto the open road. His frame shimmered briefly with the Mirror Coating, and then he vanished from sight.
"Wha... How did he do that?!" Yuuta stared.
"Clearly he has some form of cloaking technology," McCrane commented from inside Super Build Tiger. "Something to do with reflection, perhaps?"
Finally, the robots of the Brave Police were able to pick themselves up and return to base, leaving the crews to take care of the cleanup. All of them needed repairs. The whole time he was being worked on, Shadowmaru remained silent, deep in thought. He had seen another ninja robot in action, and had seen just what kind of teamwork existed between the larger mech and the Gun Robots. Now he could see just what a functioning team could do, the value of teamwork.
"He's quiet," the chief of the Brave Police, Jyuuzou Saejima, commented, leaning on Yuuta's desk and looking up at Shadowmaru. The dark purple mech had an expression of deep thought on his face, leaning back in his chair.
"I think he just got his nose rubbed in the value of good teamwork," Yuuta replied. "That other mech, Volfogg, and the Gun Robots... they are a team, and they work together flawlessly. Shadowmaru is a loner, and it's not easy for him to ask for help. Volfogg is stronger than Shadowmaru is for that reason."
"And because I have had more experience than he," a voice commented out of thin air.
Deckerd almost jumped out of his armor with surprise. The four members of the build team literally jumped out of their chairs with yelps of surprise. Gun-Max barely managed to keep from falling over, and Duke jumped. Shadowmaru was so startled that he jumped halfway across the room, almost tripping over Drillboy. All eyes whipped around, trying to locate the speaker.
Part of the wall rippled. Then Volfogg faded into view, leaning casually against the wall, arms folded over his chest. Mamoru sat on his shoulder, one hand on the side of the purple mech's helm. A moment later, GunGlue and GunDober walked in, flanking their commander.
"How did you do that?" Yuuta stared.
"It's called Holographic Camouflage," Volfogg answered. "A function of my built-in Mirror Coating. I can bend light around my body, thus becoming invisible. A very useful ability, especially when it comes to tracking enemies and hiding."
"Tracking and hiding?" Dumpson frowned slightly at him. "You are clearly a fighter..."
"He was originally built as an intelligence gatherer," Mamoru interrupted casually. "The jump to active combatant he made all on his own. Their combined form Big Volfogg is a combat model, though separately all three are formidable."
The Brave Police robots settled back into their chairs. "This begs for more explanation... And please don't leave anything out this time."
Volfogg shrugged one shoulder slightly, settling himself comfortably against the wall. Mamoru leaned against the side of his helm, reaching up to gently rub the metal under the mech's right optic, and the purple helm tilted slightly toward him. The brunette chuckled softly, obeying the unspoken request to continue stroking, smiling up at his companion.
"Where are you from?" Duke wanted to know. "Clearly you're not from around here."
"No, we aren't." Mamoru considered what he wanted to say, then told them about the dimensional rip caused by the machine exploding. He described how he and the Intelligence team had gotten caught in it, and transported to where Deckerd had found them.
"So... you're from another reality?" Yuuta blinked.
"That is correct." Volfogg's optics were calm, and he was leaning into Mamoru's hand, clearly enjoying the touch.
"Just what is between you two?" Deckerd wanted to know, noticing how Volfogg leaned into Mamoru's hand.
"I've known Volfogg since I was nine," the brunette replied. "He was assigned as my guardian at first. Then we became close friends. And now... now he's so much more. Much more than we ever thought possible."
"Explain," Shadowmaru requested.
The brunette gave him a look, then explained how he and the large mech had met and how their relationship had developed. It had been he who had looked after and helped Volfogg after the ninja mech had first become human, and their relationship had grown even deeper. It was clear to everyone that they were far, far more than just friends, closer even than Deckerd and Yuuta. Power Joe commented on that.
"You have no idea," Volfogg murmured. He pushed away from the wall, walking over to the desk shared by Shadowmaru and Gun-Max. Mamoru slid down his arm onto the desk, moving out of the way as the large mech hopped neatly onto the desk. The moment he touched down he changed to his human form, choosing to arrange his armor as jeans, boots, shirt, and a leather jacket. Smiling slightly up at the stunned mechs, he extended his hand to show the ring he wore. The brunette took his hand, showing his own ring, twin to the one Volfogg had.
"Wha... wha?!" Saejima stared.
"Mamoru is my life partner," Volfogg replied calmly. "That's one of the reasons I bear his surname... well, that and the fact that his family adopted me the minute they realized just what is between us."
"Volfogg is your..." Duke stared at Mamoru.
"Significant other, my better half, my lover... call him what you will, they're all right." Mamoru slid his arm around the human mech's waist.
There was complete silence as the mechs and humans digested that. They had suspected that there was something between Mamoru and Volfogg, but this was not what they had expected at all. Very close friends and partners in arms they had expected, like Deckerd and Yuuta, but lovers and life partners... never had the thought ever crossed their minds.
"But... he began as a robot?" Duke asked finally.
"His robotic form is his true form," Mamoru replied. "He began his life as a robot. Though now he spends most of his time in human form; when he changes back to robot he suffers from accute sensory deprivation. By now he's as much human as he is machine, maybe even more so."
"How... how long have you two..." Shadowmaru's voice trailed off.
"How long have we been together?" Mamoru smiled. "Vol has been living with me since he first became human. It took about a year for him to realize that his feelings for me had changed, become deeper. My feelings for him had changed years before, but he was still a mech and I was human, so I kept it to myself."
"I was still new to human feelings, so it took me a while to understand how I felt," Volfogg commented, leaning against his life partner. "Once I did, I pursued it all the way. We had a few awkward moments, but that only brought us closer together."
"Awkward like when my parents encountered him for the first time." Mamoru snorted. "Mom freaked him out but good, though later he learned that she only looks mean; she's really harmless. Not long after she adopted him into the family. Now he gets fussed over, just like everyone else." He gently ruffled soft purple hair. "I still say what he did to Hana wasn't very subtle."
Volfogg shrugged fluidly. "It got the point across. You're mine." Blue eyes flashed possessively.
Deckerd blinked. "Hana?"
"A childhood friend of mine," Mamoru explained. "She had a crush on me. After Vol and I became lovers, he had to get the point across that I was taken. He did so by sprawling across my lap in front of her. Not very subtle, but effective."
The blue and white mech blinked again, then changed the subject slightly, remembering that Mamoru had mentioned other mechs. He asked about them and got a fairly detailed description of two pairs of twin brother robots, a sound robot with two forms and two different personalities, a huge, stubborn orange robot, and the black robot named GaoGaiGar, all the members of the Strongest Brave Robo Corps.
"It would be interesting to meet these robots," McCrane mused.
"You will be meeting GaoGaiGar, at least," Volfogg informed him. "Once they find out just where we are, he will be using the Dimension Pliers to reach us. And GaoGaiGar is even bigger than Big Volfogg is."
The members of the Brave Police exchanged glances, then resumed the interrogation, asking questions about Volfogg himself, about Mamoru and the Gun Robot twins, about the rest of the Gutsy Galaxy Guard and what they did. It came as something of a shock to highlight yet another difference between Shadowmaru and Volfogg. While Shadowmaru had been built as a crime-fighting robot, Volfogg had been part of a war. He was far more experienced than Shadowmaru, and he had more than a few other tricks up his sleeve.
"Projection Beam?" Drillboy repeated, looking at Volfogg curiously.
"It's a built-in hologram projector," Volfogg explained. "I normally use it in conjunction with my Fog Gas, to project multiple images of myself in the fog, or to project images of other people or objects. We've found many creative uses for it over the years. I also carry mobile hologram projectors for use in creating decoys. Many a Zonder, piloted enemy mech, and alien machine has fallen for my decoys."
"Your blades are your primary weapons?" Shadowmaru asked.
Volfogg nodded. "My boomerangs, yes. Separately, they are highly effective when used properly, and when the Mirror Coating is applied to them, they are even more dangerous. Combined, they form the even more powerful Silver Cross. You saw how effective that attack is."
"More effective than Shadowmaru's throwing stars," the drill jet mech commented. "His tend to bounce."
Shadowmaru glowered at Drillboy, then looked at the purple-haired human mech again. "You have no other projectile weapons? Even I have a gun."
GunDober made a clearing-his-throat kind of sound, then whirred, beeped, clicked, and chirped out a sentence. Volfogg smiled slightly.
"He says to tell you that he's my guns," the human mech translated, and GunDober puffed up as much as a mech could. "He and GunGlue were originally built as my weapons, but they have evolved far past that. They are intelligent mechs in their own right, though they still take a great deal of pride in what they were originally meant to be."
The interrogation continued for hours, until Mamoru finally put his foot down, pointing out the late hour. Reluctantly, the other mechs let up on the questioning. Volfogg and Mamoru returned to the rooms they had been assigned.
The blue-eyed human mech stripped off his shirt, tossing it over a chair with a sigh. "I don't know about you, love, but I could use a shower." Blue eyes looked sidelong at Mamoru before Volfogg trotted toward said shower.
Mamoru stood still for a long moment, then grinned and went after him.
"We got it!"
Other members of the GGG team jumped at the cry from the area occupied by Liger and Entouji. Heads turned toward the two, watching as Liger did his own version of a victory dance. Entouji was grinning hugely as he regarded his own computer screens.
"You found the location of the dimension they were transported to?" Guy rushed over, looking over their shoulders.
"We did." Entouji nodded.
"Now we just have to program the coordinates into the Pliers, and you'll be good to go." Liger pounced on his console, putting the relevant information on a disk. Then he grabbed his hoverboard and took off, heading for the hangar where the mechs were. Guy followed at a run. By the time he reached the bay, Liger was already working on the Pliers, getting them ready to go.
"You'll have to open the breach in the same place it originally did," the pink-haired professor said as he worked, looking over at Guy.
The Evoluder nodded. "How soon will the Pliers be ready?"
"This won't take long."
"When they are ready, we will launch," Taiga said over the comm. "Guy, take HyoRyu and EnRyu with you, just in case."
The twin mechs were already itching to go and find their comrades. They were already combined into ChoRyuJin, the red and blue mech shifting his weight from foot to foot as he watched Liger at work.
"And... done!" Liger hit the last key. "They're ready!"
Within half an hour, GaoGaiGar and ChoRyuJin were on Earth, standing where the last battle had taken place. GaoGaiGar was already connected to the Pliers, and ChoRyuJin was right behind him. The rest of the GGG team was lurking nearby, keeping a close eye on the proceedings.
"Let's do this!" GaoGaiGar's optics flashed. "Dimension Plier!"
It was just past mid-day in the other universe, and the interrogation had picked up right where it had left off. The Brave Police mechs and humans were fascinated by the level of technology that had created the Ryu twins, the GunMachine twins, Volfogg, and all the others. Shadowmaru was most interested in Volfogg's abilities and skills, and hoped to some day reach that level himself.
They were right in the middle of it when thye alarms started going off.
"Energy spike!" was the report. "Right where Deckerd found you four!"
"And that should be our comrades." Volfogg rose to his feet, shifting back to his mech form. "Let's go!"
The Brave Police, somehow, managed to arrive before Volfogg and his team. Changing back to their robot forms, they stared.
Standing in the middle of the roar was a massive robot, over 90 feet tall, mostly black in color. On its chest was a lion's head, the mane spread out to either side of the open-jawed head. Both knees bore mean-looking drills, and its forearms were banded with red. Red optics blazed over a mask shaped so that it looked like fangs. The helm bore a gold crest, flanking a glittering green stone, like the one in Big Volfogg's forehead. The wings of a stealth jet spread out to either side from its back. The armor on its shoulders appeared to be made from a bullet train. Red vents flanked the masked jaw, and red tipped the jet wings. The upper legs and torso were white, though most of the robot's armor was black. The design of the helm and mask gave it a fierce, intimidating appearance.
Behind it were three smaller robots, orange in color, clearly not meant for battle. Those were probably the tool robots Volfogg had mentioned, the three components of the Dimension Pliers. They were wisely keeping out of the way, not wanting to get caught in any potential crossfire.
Another robot appeared, almost as tall as the black mech. This one was half red and half blue, with a Mirror Coating chestplate, a ladder on the red side, and a crane on the right. Both forearms bore guns, and, from Volfogg and Mamoru's descriptions, the crane and ladder doubled as rifles. It too had a green stone in its helm, and the armor of its shoulders looked like the cabs of large trucks. Falling into a ready stance, the robot held the crane and ladder as tonfas, optics flashing.
The black robot advanced a step, optics fixing on the Brave Police. "You! Where are our friends?" The voice carried an audible edge.
Deckerd fumbled for an answer, but before he could say anything a streak of purple dropped out of nowhere, landing on the black robot's shoulder. Volfogg kept his balance with ease, crouching on the larger mech's shoulder and resting his arms on his thighs. "We're right here, and we're fine, Guy. So calm down. They meant no harm to us, or to you."
The black helm jerked around. "Volfogg!"
The ninja mech smiled slightly. "In the armor."
Two streaks of black and white neatly distracted ChoRyuJin by dropping out of the air to cling to his shoulders, chittering in unison. The red and blue mech looked from one to the other, relaxing. "GunGlue! GunDober!"
Mamoru flew into sight. "GaoGaiGar!"
The black robot's head turned. "Mamoru!" The tension eased out of the robot's frame, and he straightened. "You four are all right?"
"We're fine." Mamoru landed on Volfogg's shoulder. "No one hurt us, Guy. Any damage that was taken from the transfer, like GunGlue's rotor blades, was repaired by these guys." He nodded toward the other group of mechs. "Members of the Strongest Brave Robo Corps, we introduce to you the mecha of the Brave Police. Deckerd, McCrane, Dumpson, Power Joe, Drillboy, Duke, Gun-Max, and Shadowmaru, and Deckerd's human partner, Yuuta. Brave Police, this big black mech is GaoGaiGar, piloted by Evoluder Guy. Those three are the Dimension Pliers, and the other big guy is ChoRyuJin, the combined form of HyoRyu and EnRyu."
The two groups regarded each other. Then ChoRyuJin stepped forward, the GunMachines abandoning ship at once. "Symmetrical Out!" Red and Blue split apart, becoming two separate mechs, almost identical in build. The blue one's helm was crested with a snowflake design, his crane sloped to the right, and there was a sensor on the right side of his helm. His chestplate had a dial on the right side. The other one, the red one, had a flame symbol on his helm, his ladder slanted to the left, and the dial and sensor were on the left sides of his helm and chestplate. The blue mech, HyoRyu, regarded the Brave Police with calm curiousity, while the red one tilted his head to the side.
EnRyu pointed at Shadowmaru. "Hey, he looks like..."
"He's a ninja robot," Volfogg confirmed. "Though not on my level, and I have plenty of tricks he doesn't. Plus a lot more experience. Maybe in time he might appraoch the level of experience I have... though he'll have to get over his ego first."
"Shadowmaru is not a team player, though he is learning," Mamoru added. "Vol made a point of poking holes in his pride at every opportunity, and he saw the whole ninja team working as one when the machine that sent us here -- it was pulled through, too, by the way -- broke the surface and went on the attack. Hopefully a few things stuck. How much remains to be seen, though."
Guy actually chuckled while EnRyu snorted, grinning as he regarded the bristling Shadowmaru. "Like Rai and Fuu the first time we met them?"
"Worse," Mamoru replied. "They were just trained differently; they were young and needed to get used to working with others, thinking for themselves. Shadowmaru has a bit of an arrogant streak, and he thinks of himself too much... he doesn't think of the team much at all unless forced to. He has to get over that and start thinking in terms of the whole group. It's thinking that way that makes Vol and the twins as strong as they are."
"A lesson well learned, and not one we intend to let Shadowmaru forget anytime soon," Deckerd commented, earning a snarl from the dark purple mech. "Even he has admitted that he wants to rise to that skill level... though if you ask him he'd deny it."
"Hmph!" Shadowmaru turned his back on the others, indignation in every line of him.
"If you keep doing that you'll never get anywhere near my level, and you'll always be the odd one out," Volfogg commented casually, and the rest could almost see Shadowmaru deflate like a popped bubble.
EnRyu laughed. HyoRyu smiled slightly, allowing himself a chuckle. Guy shook his head slightly.
"Well, it was a pleasure meeting you, but we cannot hang around," the Evoluder said finally. "There are a great many worried people back on our side of the breach, so we have to go back."
"We thank you for keeping an eye on our comrades," HyoRyu added, tilting his head as GunDober hopped back onto his shoulder. EnRyu grinned as GunGlue took up a perch on the red mech's shoulder.
McCrane smiled. "A more unusual pair we've never met. We needed the shaking up, though, and watching their team dynamics was good for us. Now we know how a true team should function; we have a goal to work toward."
"And with luck, you will reach it." Guy waited as Volfogg sat on his shoulder, placing one hand on the ninja mech's leg for stability, while Mamoru clung to a purple helm.
The Brave Police mechs fanned out into a line, raising their right hands in a salute. Volfogg and the GunMachines returned it, while Mamoru waved. Then the GGG mechs turned, reentering the still-open hole between dimensions. As soon as they were through, it closed behind them.
Deckerd and the others watched until it was gone, lowering their hands. "Well, they're gone."
"It was nice meeting them, though," Duke commented. "We learned much from them."
"Though applying those lessons will still take time," Gun-Max pointed out.
"Though it will be worth it." McCrane smiled.
They looked once more toward where the breach had been, then turned and headed back toward their base.
At the Orbit Base, Volfogg, the GunMachine twins, and Mamoru had been givena thorough checkup. Volfogg had gotten checkups in both of his forms, since injuries could and did carry over from one to the other. Finally, they were given a clean bill of health and returned to Earth for some rest before a full debriefing. GunDober and GunGlue settled into their small base (a specially-built and heavily upgraded building behind the home shared by Volfogg and Mamoru), got their fuel, and curled up into a ball of black and white, rotors and tires, and were promptly out like lights. Mamoru watched their optic shields dim as they settled into recharge, smiling slightly as he went back into the house.
"The twins are fine," he told Volfogg as he slid into the bed beside his life partner, curling up against the taller man. "They're already asleep."
Volfogg settled against him, wrapping his arms around his chocolate-haired companion. "Getting some sleep sounds like a good idea to me..." He yawned. "I doubt the others will leave us alone until they've gotten every little detail out of us."
"Probably not." Mamoru echoed the yawn, resting his head on his mate's chest and closing his eyes. He was asleep in seconds. The human mech smiled slightly, then followed suit.
Shadowmaru sat on the roof of the Brave Police building, looking out over the city. He was deep in thought, not really registering what he was seeing. And he had a lot to think about.
It had been an incredible shock to meet another ninja robot, and an older one, as well. It had been an even bigger shock to learn that said older ninja robot didn't operate alone, like Shadowmaru had learned to. Volfogg had been part of a larger team, and he led his own team, a team that worked together flawlessly. A team that knew each other's strengths and weaknesses and took them into account, and became a whole that was much greater than the sum of its parts.
The dark purple mech's optics refocused, and he smiled slightly to himself. Perhaps there was something to this teamwork thing after all...
And that is that! This is officially the longest non-TF fic I have typed, 18 pages long. And it was fun to write, too. For once the plot bunny hung around right to the end of the fic, which was a nice change. I hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.