Master of Machine

The admiral doesn't own Armored Core or Naruto, they are the property of From Software and Kishimoto respectively

Please read and review. The author commands

Naruto was elated. He had finally gotten out of the forest of death and the sometimes deadly preliminaries. Now, he could just sit back and enjoy some ramen. Then it hit him, what was in that cave he saw when running back to fight that snake freak. For him, curiosity killed the cat, not the fox. He doubled back toward the forest in an orange blur. He went in and nodded to the jonin on duty, allowing himself to be inspected for genjutsu and a quick blood sample to determine identity. Several hours later, his identity was confirmed. Naruto gave the guards a friendly wave which was returned. Soon, he was on his way to the place where he felled the giant serpent. The trees flew by in a haze of green. He came to the battleground. The snake guts were still there and the place stunk to high heaven. He looked around and saw his footprints and followed them. He jogged across the forest floor. Then he saw it.

There was a huge cave hidden in the bowels of a tree. The roots shadowed the entrance looming over him. It made him feel so minuscule in comparison. It was breathtaking. Naruto took out a kunai and began to hack through the dense foliage surrounding the cave mouth. Roots and vines fell before the blade, but Naruto was sweating by the end. He was finally able to explore the thing. Naruto crept forward, ears listening for any threats. There was a metal door in front of him. Naruto shrugged and twisted the wheel like opening device. He was greeted by stale air and the smell of grease and... was that ozone. The bright eyed blonde was greeted by an interesting sight. There was a drab grey room. More of a cement and steel box, but that was beside the point. Naruto stepped through another hatch and saw that he was standing on an elevated balcony. He looked around and saw spartan metal malls and large halogen floodlights. All in all, it was built like a bunker. The lights were mostly off, but small red emergency light strips dotted the railing and wall. Naruto could barely see his hand in front of his face in the dim red light.

He began to walk along the path of the walkway. The he saw an open door and stepped into a room. The room was fairly drab, but it had a soft twin bed in one corner. Their was a nightstand with a faucet and a small desk in another corner. A sliding door revealed a small shower and another revealed a closet recessed into the wall. He then prodded around the apparently abandoned facility. This revealed a mess room, an office, and a record room; however, he wasn't even finished with the inspection. There was a small infirmary with a mechanical tower-like thing standing unobtrusively next to the bed.

Naruto then saw a lever lying outside the office and thought, "What the hell, I might as well do it." The boy then flipped the switch. With an audible pop, a series of lights turned on after years of inactivity. Dust incinerating from the heat left a cloying burnt smell in the place. He turned around and now understood what the facility was for. In the center of the lowered area was a huge manlike thing. It was no summon, that was certain. The thing was a seven meter tall humanoid. It had no recognizable origin nor had Naruto seen anything remotely resembling it in any records. It seemed somewhat blocky with an angular headpiece. The paint had flaked off, leaving a gunmetal grey exterior. The thing had all sorts of tubes connected to it from various towers. There was a tower positioned over the back of thing, this metal man.

Naruto whipped his head around and began to look around for he heard a hiss and a snap somewhere in the area. Suddenly, a cool feminine voice came over the speaker nearest to him. The voice said, "Don't worry. Everything will be fine. I'll explain the rest of tommorow. We will have much to discuss." Naruto powered down the facility and left more confused and curious than when he first entered. He knew he would be back tommorow.

Naruto felt the air. Night had fallen, how had he been there. He checked out with the guards on shift and went to his apartment. Naruto halfheartedly made himself a cup of instant ramen and, after doing the usual routine of personal hygiene, went to bed. He couldn't sleep. Thoughts of the metal man plagued his mind. Eventually exhaustion set in and he fell into a dreamless slumber.

Naruto awoke and ran to the forest again. He wasn't too worried about breakfast because he had seen a bunch of MRE's in the mess. After getting through the checkpoint, he was off, sprinting into the bowels of the forest. The light dappled the floor in an interplay of light and shadow, but he wasn't paying attention to that. His only fixation was getting answers about that place. He came to the entrance and entered feeling proud of himself. Then he realized something, anyone could easily figure out that someone was here. Naruto thought, "I think I'll bring some netting with me to disguise the entrance next time, unless there is some in the facility." He shrugged and opened the hatch. He walked onto the walkway after opening the second hatch. He again pulled down the switch and lights illuminated the once dark complex. The voice came again, "Please refrain from turning off the facility. I'd prefer it if you put it on idle, the selection in the middle. Now that we're all here, lets go into the rec room." Naruto followed these instructions, but kept his eyes scanning the area while his hand slipped subconsciously near a kunai.

He entered the rec room and plopped down on a couch. Suddenly he heard a pop-hiss from the cylindrical device and saw an image appear. This image was in the shape of a woman in a loose dress with short hair that seemed to be made of bluish light. Naruto jumped back and pulled out the kunai he had kept his hand near. The figure laughed and said, "Now, now, Lets put away the weapons. I would like to talk with you." At this, he hesitantly put the kunai in its holder and made a gesture for the figure to speak.

"I believe an introduction is now in order. My name is Hailey. I'm an AI. This stands for 'Artificial Intelligence.' This means I am a computer program that simulates the human brain through a series of numbers that form matrices that are able to expand upon themselves and adapt to new situations much like a person. It also means I have 'feelings.' I operate this facility-"

Naruto cut her off and deadpanned, "I'm not that stupid."

Hailey paused for a minute at his comment and continued with her speech. "-and take care of the AC inside. Before you ask, I'll explain this to you right now. Despite what you backwards people on this continent may think, an AC, the thing you saw outside, is not a monster or a metal man. An AC is a system of mechanical parts connected by a series of universal joints. These parts that compose the frame are heads, torsos known as cores, legs, and arms. Inside are several other important parts: generators which power the unit, radiators which keep it from overheating itself, boosters that allow the maneuverability which makes AC's so deadly, and various things that are dispensed from the core, collectively known as inside parts.

AC stands for Armored Core because the machines are used as weapons. Due to this role, there are several external hardpoints for weapons on the back, hands, and shoulders. Things attached to the shoulder points are called extensions and have their own separate list of parts. Arm and back units also have unique lists of parts for their points. Arm weapons are grasped in the hand and because of this have a great amount of flexibility in loadout choices. This facility is accommodations for an AC and its pilot, also known as a Raven.

My mission here is to find a suitable pilot for the AC and instruct them in its operation. After which, I am to be that person's operator. You, my young friend, are the lucky person who gets that chance."

Naruto, with his head filled with images of himself piloting a giant robot, yelled, "I'll do it, datteybayo!"