Custom Robo: Vehemence
(This is the sequel to Custom Robo Ultimatum, another of my fanfics on this site. Please read that before reading this or be content with being thoroughly confused)
All was quiet in the underground facility, aside from a distant hum of machinery. Fletch, Kip, Jay, and Nick were all asleep, locked in their own rooms supposedly for their safety, according to Ronnie. Fletch had been unsure about Ronnie's reasoning, but agreed nonetheless. As far as he was concerned, Ronnie was the only one any of them could trust at the moment.
In the middle of the night, Fletch heard a set of three knocks on his door. He woke up fairly slowly, wondering if he had really heard it. It came again, and he said "Yes?" loud enough to hear outside the door, not wanting to get out of bed.
A female voice not familiar to him responded, "Can I come in?"
Fletch sat up with a grunt, "Who is it?"
"My name is Lyre. Can I come in? I need to talk to you."
Fletch had not heard the voice before, but there was something familiar about it. "I can't unlock the door, what do you need?"
"Oh, are they all like that?"
"Yes, we were locked in for safety. Sorry." He had already begun to analyze her voice and tone to try and figure out why she suddenly sounded familiar. He had not heard the voice itself before, but the confidence with which she spoke made her sound tomboyish. "What do you need to talk about?" He waited for a few seconds, but there was no response. She was gone.
Fletch racked his mind trying to make a connection. Why did she sound so familiar? Her voice was completely new to him, but the way she spoke, her confidence, her vocal inflections and accents…
Then it hit him like a flash of a strobe-light. Her voice was different, but Lyre's tone was exactly like his own.
((I will iterate again, read Custom Robo: Ultimatum before reading this story! I don't want any reviews telling me to set the scene better!))
Chapter 1: Morning
Ronnie came around in the morning and unlocked all the doors. "Good morning everyone. I trust you all slept well?"
The first thing Fletch noticed was that Ronnie was wearing a navy-blue outfit with a few yellow stripes and a yellow "R" over the heart. Fletch recognized it as the same outfit that Strike and his henchmen had been wearing when they tried to stop them from escaping the Science Facility Dome.
Jay rubbed his eyes, "Given our condition, I'd say that was the best sleep I've ever had."
Fletch looked over at him, "Jay, you told me you don't sleep."
Jay looked back, his hand still rubbing one eye, "I said that?"
Ronnie spoke out again, "You are all welcome to join us for breakfast, then I'll show you around. If you'll please follow me."
Ronnie began guiding them down the hallways. Fletch heard a voice in his head from Jay, "I saw what happened last night. With Lyre and all." Fletch looked over his shoulder. Jay had his hand on Kip's shoulder to merge their powers and communicate.
Fletch thought back, "Who is she?"
Jay responded, "You're going to have to ask Ronnie. She had the most scrambled and scattered thought patterns I've ever seen. I couldn't make anything of her thoughts. But you came to the right conclusion. She was acting just like you would if she was you."
"I'll ask Ronnie if he doesn't get around to that while showing us around." Ronnie pushed open a door, and they all entered a large room with several long tables where no more than a hundred people were already seated and eating or in line for food. The only familiar faces were Wade and Otto. Everyone in the room was wearing the same navy-blue outfits with a yellow stripe that Ronnie was. It must have been the generic outfit for both factions of the syndicate. What apparently set the members apart were their wristbands, just like in Strike's part of the Syndicate. Ronnie was the only one in the room with a red wristband. Wade, Otto, and a few others that Fletch assumed were higher ranked were wearing mint green bands. There were a few other scattered colors, some blue, some silver, and some medium greens, but most of the wristbands in the room were yellow, which Fletch guessed meant no special rank.
Ronnie said to Fletch, Nick, Jay, and Kip, "The line for food is over there. Don't worry about being the only ones here in civilian clothes. You will not be bothered."
"Really?" Jay said as they walked over to the line. He had an idea, in that case.
Fletch, Nick, and Kip got in the back of the line, but Jay quickly cut in line near the front. The Loyalist he had cut in front of put his arms out to the side, and said, "Hey, man, what the heck?"
Kip was there fairly quickly and grabbed Jay by the ear, by which she pulled him out of the line and to the back with them, "I don't think that's what Ronnie meant, Jay," she said to him.
"Well it was worth a try," Jay said, disappointed.
Kip shook her head and said "No, it wasn't."
Once they had gotten their food, they sat down with Ronnie, Wade, Otto, and two other people with mint wristbands that they did not know, one male, one female. As they started on their food, Ronnie was quick to introduce the two other officers. "Fletch, this is Lynx, our systems manager," Ronnie indicated the male Loyalist, who had very dark purple hair that spiked downward and eyeglasses. Lynx bowed his head as he was introduced. "And this is Skyler, our Robo technician." Skyler had longer mint green hair that matched her wristband.
"Nice to meet you all," Skyler said.
The other four would have responded, but their mouths were full. They were all pretty hungry.
Ronnie waited a moment, then saw they were too focused on their food to respond, so he said to Skyler and Lynx, "Well, I guess we don't need to go into too much detail on your jobs here. We'll be stopping by your work zones later. As soon as you're done eating, you can go back to work."
Lynx nodded between bites, "That's the plan."
Skyler was already finished and stood up. "Well, I'll see all of you later on then." She put her tray on a conveyor belt at the end of the room and left to go back to work.
Fletch swallowed and said, "Ronnie, with as much as we are trusting you and working with you, we still have no real knowledge about what is going on. We don't know anything about this syndicate, so before we go around seeing everything, do you think you can give us some basic background on how all this came to be and why this is happening?"
Ronnie nodded and began explaining.
The R-Syndicate was started several years ago. It was created by a small group of lawbreakers of different ages who were all on the run from the police and bounty hunters. Some were even former bounty hunters themselves. We all knew what was going to happen to us if we were caught: The same thing that happened to everyone else. Our memories would be erased and we would be reintroduced into society with a new memory without criminal tendencies.
But the ones who started R-Syndicate had a different opinion than the rest of society about this solution. Rather than having their memory erased, they felt they would be more useful to society if they were able to keep the pain of their guilt and reflect on it to better think their lives through. They had all vowed to not break the law again, the weight of their guilt was hard on them, and they had no desire to add to it even more. That guilt is what would keep them in line, and losing their memory would only eliminate the new line of thought that they had developed. But given the zero-tolerance society we live in now, there was no way they could petition for a pardon. The options for any criminal were to lose their memory or go into hiding and remain on the run as long as they could. There was no idle forgiveness available.
So this said group of individuals decided on a solution. Since their values were not enough to gain forgiveness, they decided they would go into hiding and find a way to seek some form of redemption. So they formed this syndicate as an organization for people seeking redemption for their crimes so that they may move back into society maintaining their morality and keeping themselves within the boundaries of the law by the memory of their past and their willingness to bear that responsibility.
We began small, with three of us as the primary leaders: Myself, Fletch, and Strike. We started gaining more members, and when Ray came to us, we became aware of commanders' unique powers. He was able to tell people what their powers are, and he was a great asset to us. Wade came, and he was a very talented Robo trainer. All our commanders became more talented Robo battlers. We ended up growing very large, and it became problematic. Some of our members had forgotten our central reason for forming. They wanted to take us to a full fledged crime syndicate. We had the numbers, the strength, the organization, and the leadership. That was when we realized we had strayed from our purpose.
Our leadership that was still loyal to our beliefs had to come up with a solution. We decided that the many members who were out of touch with our core beliefs had to be dealt with, and much as we hated to do it, we decided that the best course of action for our safety was to steal the memory erasure device that was used to treat criminals who were caught. We planned to use it on our members that were close to going rogue as it was. However, Slash, who you know as Tyson, was there when we made that decision. He leaked the information to Strike. We had left him out of the meeting because we knew he had changed since the beginning. He seemed to be the one taking charge of the less-resolved of the syndicate.
The night we moved to take the memory erasure device, Strike led a similar mission with the same objective, only he brought many more with him to do it. Fletch was the one we sent to retrieve the device while we dealt with the police, but something must have gone wrong, because by the time we came to rejoin him, the device was gone and so was he. We still don't know what happened. When we returned to our base, we found the members in open war. We did what we could to round up as many of the loyal members as possible, but we knew we couldn't defeat all of the opposition. There were just too many. We withdrew with only about twenty or so of our members.
Apollo, as you know, was our public contact under cover as a Robo repairman and technician, so we came to him and told him what had happened. He allowed us to hide out in his shop while we created a new base. Other members that were loyal to our beliefs and who had escaped separately from the rest came to him as well over the next several days, and our Loyalist faction was formed. We now have around 75 members. I know several loyal members in particular that we have not seen since that one battle, and we fear they may have had their memories erased and converted to Strike's side, or worse.
So since then we have been hidden. Wade, Otto, and myself were able to pass as bounty hunters and we formed Darclaw as a false Bounty Hunting team so that we could be on the surface, looking for recruits. But by now, I believe that our cover in that regard is blown, so there is no need for us to continue our act as bounty hunters. We were very lucky to finally find Fletch through it. We did not recognize him when he came to us, and his name had changed too. Many of the bounties we have claimed were on people that we have given another chance to by allowing them to join us in our quest for redemption, and we have also discovered how to obtain it. However, I will allow Lyre to explain that part when you meet her.
Jay, Fletch, Kip, and Nick had finished their breakfast and were listening when Ronnie concluded. Fletch said, "Uh, I do have one comment regarding that, I've already met Lyre. She came by my room last night and-"
Ronnie finished for him, "And tried to get in?"
Fletch was silent for a moment, then said, "Yes. Who exactly is she?"
Ronnie smiled and stood up, "I'll explain everything about her when we go to meet her. I'll let her do some explaining as well. If you all are done, you can put your dishes over there and we'll be on our way.