Hello, and thank you for reading my story! I hope you enjoy my take on how Zero came to be a good guy, and how he and X came to trust and deeply bond with one another. I will forewarn you that I enjoy X/Zero shounen-ai, but I will do my best to make it seem realistic if I do slip that in.
Characters herein are the sole property of Capcom, and are borrowed here for entertainment purposes only!
X, a Class B officer of the 17th unit, paced erratically in the command center, with worry frozen in his features. This case was supposed to have been textbook: a lone Reploid going berserk, and a team of well-trained Reploid Police then dispatched to neutralize it as cleanly and safely as possible. Instead, the case turned out to be unexpectedly costly. This beserk Reploid, or "Maverick" as society was beginning to call them, had made their jobs easier—or so it seemed—by holing itself up in a warehouse far from any residential zones. Or maybe it originated there. Whatever the case, X did not care so long as the threat was destroyed and no more of his friends came to harm.
Garma had been one of their best. X could not believe that one day he would wake up one day and hear he had been slain. And not just slain—his entire unit wiped out, as if they were rookies fresh out of training. His ignoble defeat was a severe blow to his and their forces' morale, and it would take tremendous time and effort to recover. Upon viewing Garma's burnt and broken remains, Sigma had taken his sword to hunt down the responsible Maverick personally. X, always one to wear his heart on his sleeve, had impeded Sigma with respectful but vehement protestations, pleading for him to be wise and not put himself in danger for vengeance's sake. However, Sigma pulled rank as a Class S officer and categorically dismissed him, with cold blood apparent in his eyes.
As X watched Sigma depart from headquarters that morning, he feared for the Commander's safety, but also for the existence of the Police itself. The Reploid Police was one of many anti-Maverick organizations that benefitted from the support of the public. If the famous Sigma were to fall in battle, it would be a victory for Mavericks everywhere, and would spoil further the humans' faith in Reploids, as well as inflame distrust among the Maverick counterforce as well. Without that unity opposing the Maverick phenomenon, their pursuit of peace would inevitably fail. Now the day waned, and no indication of his progress or potential lack thereof had been reported.
"Signal inbound from Camelback Storage Outpost! It's Commander Sigma!"
X looked up sharply at the news, and rushed over to the communications console. Many other officers also left their post at the announcement and surrounded the operator at the console, and so X pressed as close as he could to listen within the boisterous crowd. As they clamored with anticipation, the operator pressed a finger to her ear, saying "Acknowledged Commander. We will have medical staff on standby. Dr. Cain? Roger. HQ out."
She then turned around and announced, "Commander Sigma has neutralized the Maverick at point CSO-5!"
The crowd around the console cheered wildly. "I knew he could do it!" and "That's our Commander!" were shouted back and forth. X was relieved himself, but his worry had not yet dissipated—the mention of Dr. Cain confused him, and thus found himself dreading the details. Compared to his reploid cohorts, X both appreciated and lamented his unusually powerful intuition.
Curious as well, X pushed to the front of the crowd and asked "Anything else?"
The operator, coming down from her own excitement, said "He didn't give any more details than that, except that he needs medical attention. He also requested we fetch Dr. Cain, but again, he didn't elaborate there either. We ought to just be glad he's back."
"Thank you," X said. He then pushed his way out of the crowd of his celebrating comrades. He had to investigate his doubts, and to do so he would need to speak with Dr. Cain.
Dr. Cain was the first living thing X had ever known. While the Doctor was not the one who created him, he was the one who discovered him, and who undid the seal on his stasis capsule. News spread rapidly among humans about the "more human than human" robot, who could think and act for itself. The sensation resulted in Dr. Cain's name and expertise earning indisputable reverence.
Regardless of his fame, however, Dr. Cain was truly taken by X, a discovery he deemed "the ultimate testament to human genius." Dr. Cain took care of him and educated him, and both had formed a bond of mutual respect that carried on since the day of X's awakening. During that time, X had allowed Dr. Cain to study his engineering under a grant from the World Federation, and from his research Dr. Cain was able to create Sigma.
Deemed a historic success, the Federation bought Dr. Cain's plans and ordered them to be replicated in mass production, and thus the "Reploid" race was born. Sigma was truly a marvel, and his magnetic and honorable persona earned him most of the fame and recognition as being the "first." Sigma also possessed vastly improved battle specs over X, and thus X's name lost its leverage in the world except for with one human, the one Dr. Cain.
Unfortunately, the indisputable fact that Reploids could randomly go berserk and harm others crippled the spirit of Dr. Cain, who had no intention whatsoever of introducing to the world a race of potential ticking time bombs. He blamed himself, thinking that his research was not good enough, despite having admitted that there were features revealed in X that could not be analyzed and therefore was irreproducible in the first generation of Reploids. Dr. Cain supported the formation of the various Reploid Police precincts to protect the innocent from his "children," but because of his remorse, Dr. Cain retired and secluded himself in a private home away from the city. X tried to keep regular contact with him, but the increasing frequency of Maverick outbreaks made it difficult.
Nonetheless, X was determined, and in his quarters he sent a call on a private channel bound for Dr. Cain's residence. The automated operator patched him through, and Dr. Cain flashed onto X's viewscreen.
"Ah! X! What a surprise! Long time no see," Dr. Cain greeted.
"Yes, I'm sorry for not calling more often," X replied.
"Don't be," Dr. Cain said. "I know things have been busy on your end."
"They sure have, Doctor. How are you holding up?"
"Oh, these old bones feel older everyday." Dr. Cain coughed as if to emphasize. "But they still have some vitality in them yet."
"Glad to hear it."
Dr. Cain smiled, but then said, "So, this isn't just a pleasure call, is it? You're probably still on duty. What can I do for you, X?"
X sighed, wishing they didn't have to rush into business so soon, but the reason for his call bubbled to the forefront of his priorities.
"I heard Sigma requested that you come in, and although it may be none of my business, I wanted to find out why," X asked.
"Oh," Dr. Cain said. "Yes, he has. In fact I was just now preparing some equipment to bring over. I'm not surprised you haven't heard the details. Sigma was critically damaged by an unusual Maverick, and so they need me to repair his more complex systems."
"That's not all, is it?" X asked after a telling pause. He could tell Dr. Cain was starting to become a little anxious, for his body language did nothing to veil his thoughts.
"X, I think it's better if you come see it in person. In fact, I do want you there. Sometimes even I don't know what Sigma is thinking."
X's brow furrowed, thoroughly confused by Dr. Cain's uncertainty. "Where?" he asked.
"Headquarters, Research Lab 44. I'll give your access code temporary clearance. And keep your wits about you, X. I'll see you this evening."
"Yes, Doctor. Goodbye," X said. The viewscreen flickered off. X sat down on the corner his maintenance bed, trying his best for a moment to figure out what was going on. Unable to develop a mote of a decent hypothesis, X gave up and left his quarters to continue his duty until that evening.