New Megaman Battle Network
A complete reimagining of the universe and stories of Megaman Battle Network.
Story 4: After The Fall
Chapter 4: Execution
"To whoever is seeing this message, I have a request."
The face of Zero spoke to the room in general, as X and the other Navis watched on, the young boy James at his side. Everyone else had seen the message already; it had been broadcasted to all frequencies at once not long ago, and the group was replaying it for the blue Navi's benefit. X watched with a stern look in his eye, as James trembled with fear next to him; everyone in the world knew the face he was watching now.
"My spies have told me that the Navi named X escaped from a Junker convoy not too long ago... and he escaped with a young boy, at that." X noticed that Zero didn't seem very fazed by the fact that there were still humans alive on the planet; with the amount of control he had, he must have been aware already.
"I want this human brought to be, immediately. I need him for certain... purposes. Humans have a few uses in our world these days." James huddled by the blue Navi's leg, not having any desire to go see Zero, as the evil being continued on.
"I have secured a drop-off point where the boy will be brought... as well as an incentive for you to bring him back in a timely manner." . Zero stepped back and motioned behind him, and the camera shifted, to reveal two trembling adult Navis, bound and gagged in chairs. "I found these two around Iota City, searching for a lost child." X had no idea who these adults were, but as soon as James saw the two figures, he suddenly dashed toward the screen.
"No! Mom! Dad!" he cried out; the blue Navi quickly reached down to restrain him, holding his arms, as Zero's image continued.
"You are to leave immediately and head for a point one mile south of Iota City." A map suddenly appeared next to him on the screen, and X studied it carefully. "You are going to bring the boy and no one else. If you don't arrive by 9 p.m. tonight, his parents die." The map switched off. "I have no patience for insolence." Zero's image disappeared from the monitor.
Everyone turned to stare at the blue Navi, who's gaze was still fixed on the blank monitor; James still fought weakly against his arms, tears streaming down his face.
"You can't go, X! It's obviously a trap!" Joltman, the yellow-and-black electric Navi, was arguing in the main control room, along with X, Ezekiel, and others. James was resting in the blue Navi's bedroom, still shaking and upset.
"Of course it's a trap, I'm not stupid," X replied. "He wants me, not the boy. As soon as I arrive, he's going to have a dozen of his men jump me. I don't know why he's even bothering with this facade."
"So... so you're not going, right?"
The blue Navi sighed. "If I don't, what's going to happen? You know how much power he wields. He's just going to try something like this again and again, until he forces me to come to him on his own terms. More people are just going to die."
He stood up from the wall he was leaning against, as the others watched on. "There's nothing I can do about it. The only thing I can do is go now, and make sure that James survives, at least."
"Your mind is made up, then." Ezekiel's eyes followed X as he made his way back toward his bedroom.
"If I'm lucky, maybe I can put a scar on Zero's smug face before they take me down." He entered his bedroom, going to get James, ready to take the long walk to his demise.
Two hours later, X and James were walking through the outskirts of Iota City, on their way to Zero's meeting point. The Navi was checking his map every so often to make sure they were on the right course, as the young boy occasionally glanced up at X, nervously.
"Um... Mr. X?"
X looked down at James. "Hm?"
"When... when we get there, what's going to happen? What'll happen to me?"
"Well, we're going to meet your parents there." The Navi thought to himself what a good story would be. "Your parents are going to know what to do when they have you back. I'll deal with Zero."
James nodded, not entirely sold. "Am I gonna see you again?"
"You... no, you probably won't." He turned around to face the young boy, kneeling down. "Look... whatever happens in this place, I need you to be brave, for yourself and your parents. Don't be afraid."
X's suddenly serious tone troubled James. "Am I gonna be ok?"
"You're going to be fine. Everyone is going to be fine." The Navi tried to put on his most sincere face, but James could see some of the truth in X's eyes. He swallowed hard and nodded; he was still scared for his safety, but he knew that the Navi was right about being brave. He tried to push his fear away, wanting to be a brave boy for his parents.
X eventually stood back up and started walking again. He knew full well he was lying, that he was marching to his death, but there was no use worrying the young boy. Besides, it wouldn't be so bad; after years of torment, his nightmares would finally come to an end.
Another hour later, the two finally arrived at the point Zero had ordered; it was a small open-air arena that had been abandoned some time ago, where sports events used to occur. There was a small amount of noise coming from inside, which X suspected belonged to Zero's men; there was more than one of them, certainly, and probably a dozen at least. They both wandered around until they found an entrance, and upon walking through a corridor to the main sporting area, they found two familiar-looking adults tied up to a couple of chairs.
"Mom! Dad!" James ran forward to embrace them, as they breathed sighs of relief, while their faces still showed worry. X knew they were right to worry; this area was anything but safe, and he was fairly certain Zero was not about to show up to begin negotiations.
"I'm sorry I ran so far off while playing!" James clung tightly to his mother, trying to hold back tears, as the Navi walked forward to undo their binds. He took out a sword and started sawing away carefully at the ropes that held the boy's mother to the chair, while his eyes glanced around the arena. He could see glimpses of Navis encircling the group, hidden in the rafters, ready to pounce any moment; there were at least two dozen around. X grinned inwardly for a moment; at the least, Zero thought he was a dangerous threat.
Just as the mother's hands came free, one of the Navis gave a signal, and they all leapt forward at once, weapons out and ready to strike. X watched the group fall, as if in slow motion; he could see many of them were jumping in his direction, eager to be the one to cut him down and receive praise from their master. His eyes widened, however, when he saw red Navis on the opposite side of the arena leaping directly toward James and his family, blades extended.
He cursed himself for not realizing it sooner. What made him think that Zero would give this family a chance to leave alive? X had been so concerned with his own fate that his brain had completely skipped over what would happen to James and his parents. Still seeing everything in slow motion, he dashed forward to their defense; if he was going to die here, he was going to go down fighting, defending the helpless, like a proper hero. It would be a poetic death.
He got right in front of the three Navis, all of which were in the middle of swinging their blades toward his head. He extended his blade forward into the first of them, just as everything went white.
As the white flash began to recede, X began to wonder which of his former bodies he would have as he ascended to whatever happened to him next. His mind turned to the idea of seeing his family again, joining his parents and his brother, whom he hadn't seen in years. The thought put him into a peaceful, serene state of mind, and he felt tension leaving his body. It wasn't for several moments that he realized he was still standing perfectly still in a silent arena.
He looked forward, a bit puzzled at the lack of chaos around him. His sword was squarely impaled on the Navi in front of him, who remained completely motionless, his face not even showing shock at being stabbed. X did a double take when he realized the Navis on either side were also motionless. He quickly took a look around, and found all of the Navis in the building frozen in place, being controlled by some mysterious force.
"Wh... what the..." X muttered aloud.
What are you waiting for? he heard a faraway, female voice speak. He jumped and looked around quickly, seeing nobody the voice could belong to.
"Who's that? Where are you?"
X, this is your chance, the voice replied, seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere; it wasn't the voice of anyone he recognized. You need to take out those enemies while you have the opportunity, before they can hurt you!
He glanced around again, seeing the Navis in various states of attack; most of them were immediately surrounding him, while others were a bit further out in the arena. He withdrew his sword from the Navi in front of him, then swung it forward, cutting the Navi in half; he could see the two halves were separated, but they still hung in the air, suspended. That Navi was going to be in for a rough landing.
He slowly backed away, then turned his attention toward the Navis near him, using his sword to move their weapons and bisect them, damaging them beyond repair. He walked around the area, taking out every enemy he could spot, before his mind turned back to the voice. He had no idea who this person was, or how they would have the ability to control so many Navis at once.
As he wandered around, he glanced back at the three humans in the middle of the arena, and blinked when he saw they were frozen just as still as the Navis. Confused and goggling, he looked down toward their feet, and saw a dust cloud stubbornly holding its place in the air. He quickly realized that it wasn't the Navis that were stopped, it was everything.
"But..." X tried to find words to express his incredulity. He didn't know how such a miracle was possible, until he recalled the voice he seemed to be hearing in his head. His mind quickly came to the conclusion he was still refusing to believe.
"You did this, didn't you? You stopped all of them somehow. You've... you've stopped time."
Yes, I did, the voice replied. It was hardly going to be a fair fight otherwise.
"Then you must be the one they talk about," X responded. "The Chronologist..."
That is the name they have given me, yes.
X thought this over, still in disbelief, as he resumed walking around and cutting through the various enemy Navis. "Well, why do you care about me, then? Why did you save my life?"
I've been watching you for quite some time, X, the Chronologist answered. You have an important role to play in determining the fate of this world. Your destiny is much bigger than being a warrior for this Ezekiel. I'm just helping you to achieve it.
"Well, what am I supposed to be doing exactly?" he answered, incredulous, as he removed his sword from the abdomen of another foe. "The world's gone to hell already, what sort of saving am I supposed to do?"
Look at what's happening to you right now, X. Do you really think there's anything that's impossible anymore?
He frowned and looked around the room. She was right; this shouldn't be possible, it was supposed to be just a fairy tale, but here it was all the same. Part of him wanted to hope that there was something to her words, but the years had beaten much of his hope out of him by now. He didn't reply, cutting down the final red Navi instead, as the Chronologist continued.
In a minute, time will start again. There aren't any more Navis on the way, but you should escort James and his family home if you want to see them return safely, just in case. I'll make sure you'll have plenty of time to return to your base.
X looked back toward the humans, who were still huddled together in fear, frozen at the moment of realizing the attackers wee here; he nodded briefly, and she continued.
You'll be hearing from me again, X. Take care of yourself, in the meantime.
"Wait, are you leaving?" X looked around, as if trying to see the Chronologist still, then looked up at the sky. The voice did not respond, and he realized he was alone again.
He was broken out of a brief reverie by the sound of screaming, as well as the sound of bodies tumbling to the ground. He quickly turned around to see all the Navis lying in pieces on the floor, destroyed by his blade, and the humans in the center of the arena were looking around in shock and confusion. He walked back over to them, to finish untying their bonds, as their faces turned to him.
"What happened?" the father replied. "These Navis..." He glanced at X warily. "Did you... destroy them? How could you move that fast?"
"Special technique," X mumbled, freeing up his bonds with his sword. "Comes in handy at a time like this." Soon both of James's parents were free, and the three quickly embraced each other, shaking with fear but relieved all the same.
The blue Navi watched them for a moment before putting his sword away. "Where do the three of you live? I can return you to your home, make sure nobody hurts you."
The family all stood up at once, moving over to him as they told him where they resided; X nodded in response and started to lead them away. His mind was reeling with what he had just experienced, and what implications this would have for him and the rebellion. As the four walked out of the arena and back toward the human dwelling, he wondered if he could possibly tell the others what had just happened to him.