"Paprika!" a young girl shouted, conveying horror, panic, and sorrow in her single cry. Her face was badly burned, and the once pretty dress she wore was still partially alight. "I can't find Paprika!"
The Kattolox city market was burning down around her, and there was no way out. Citizens helplessly beat upon the gates in a futile attempt to escape the rapidly approaching flames, not knowing why the automatic doors wouldn't open. Up above, a high pitched whine signified another bombing pass. The explosives fell like rain on the glass roof, shattering it and raining razor sharp shards on the civilians below. Next to the child screaming for her lost dog, a piece of glass the length of a football pierced into an older man's skull, collapsing him on the ground while still more screamed out in pain as the glass cut into their flesh.
The attack had come with almost no warning. By the time that anyone had noticed Glyde's airships on the horizon, the first four battalions of Bird-bots had already infiltrated the city from all directions. They'd set fire to everything in their path, and what they didn't burn they simply blew up. Behind this front line offense, more of the insidious robots had barricaded the exits with their sheer numbers and mowed down anyone who came near. The others focused on destroying the giant refractor generators in the east block, and thus permanently locking all the city gates. The entire operation was completed before the first airship's shadow fell over city hall. And that's when the true destruction began.
"Paprikaaaaa!" the shriek repeated, even more desperately than the first. This time though, the cry was punctuated by a large explosion at the gate that threw several people back against the market walls. At first, the brown smoke was still too thick around her to see what had happened. But as the dust was sucked out the now open gateway, a familiar figure clad in blue digger's armor became recognizable amid the smog.
"Look, it's that young digger!" a member of the crow shouted, and the cheer was taken up by a few others who remembered the young man who had rescued them from annihilation a scant three years ago. But for the most part, the civilians ran past their savior into the clearing beyond the gate without a look back. Except for one traumatized young girl.
"Megaman, I lost Paprika! There were explosions and fire and she ran off and I can't- I can't…" the words dissolved into sobs once again, and it took a moment for the child to compose herself enough to speak. "Please get her out safely!"
"Don't worry, I will. But you've gotta get out of here right now!" came the muffled reply from underneath the digger's gas-mask, which had been hastily equipped before entering the market. The arm that wasn't holding the mega buster then gently nudged the girl out of the way, so that the more important crisis could be dealt with.
Once the market was emptied of the living, the blue-clad digger dashed down the market streets with arm cannon held high. Banners once emblazoned with the word "Apple" were falling down in tatters all around, landing on the scattered corpses like sheets in a morgue. The remains of an older woman could be seen behind the desk of the bakery, her skin resembling burnt pastry crust. And then there was the man kneeling down on his knees, so many glass cuts along his body that he'd simply bled to death. The digger tried to ignore all this, but it was much too hard. Pulling the trigger and busting down the next gate was easier.
Another flood of citizens emerged, but much fewer than before. As a third batch of napalm and other explosives fell on the city, one could guess why. Charging the mega buster once again, Kattolox's liberator jumped through the gate and prepared for a fierce fire fight with the Bird-bots that littered the city.
"Keke! It's Megaman; he's already here!" one of the mechanical ducks warned it's brethren, taking their attention off the stragglers that they had been picking off.
"It's too late for him, squawk! He'll burn along with the city. Fire at will, kekeke!" another answered, training it's miniature bazooka on the blue figure that stood out among the fiery red flames. It fired, along with ten others who'd never dealt with Megaman in the past. Those that knew better were already attempting to escape by wing.
Specialized spring boots ensured that all of the incoming rockets passed harmlessly below the digger when the time to jump had come. Then the mega buster fired it's own report, a charge shot that smacked into the lead Bird-bots face and promptly exploded, taking out two more in close proximity. A quick bursts of three buster shots took out another before it even had the chance to think of reloading, and a tossed grenade took out a group of three that'd tried taking refuge in the doorway of a house.
The next volley of bazooka fire came, but many of the robots never lived long enough to see if their shots made impact or not. None did, but the mega buster's aim was much more accurate. Trigger firmly depressed, a stream of constant fire emerged from the arm cannon which decimated many a Bird-bot. Seeing that a full frontal assault was suicide, many of the robots decided to take flight and escape to the other sectors of town. All stragglers were shot dead, and many others never made it over the gates before they too had felt the sting of the buster and fell to the ground in a heap.
"Is anyone still here?!" the blue armored digger shouted to the deserted streets. The collapsing of rubble was the only reply, and it was now time to decide the next move. E block, the "Old City" as it was sometimes referred to, had likely been decimated by the destruction of the generators that'd previously powered the city gates as well as the Main-Gate ruins. There couldn't have been any survivors in that area, so that only left W block and N block. Readying another charge shot, the rescue campaign moved westward.
W block, otherwise known as "Uptown", had been generally regarded as the most beautiful of all the sectors. The landscaping provided ample room for trees and grass-growth, while ceramic white buildings five stories high paid testament to how far humanity had come. Neither of these two distinguishing characteristics had survived the sky pirate's attack.
"Squawk! The blue boy is back for more!" came the response to the gate being blasted down just like the previous two that'd gotten in the furious digger's way. The line of Bird-bots that faced the entrance almost immediately came under buster fire, and the whole lot of them would have been obliterated within seconds if standing still and firing had been the only part of their plan. But when their opponent heard the releasing of gas from a nozzle, the clever ploy became apparent.
"Burn, baby, burn! Kekeke!" the flame-thrower wielding Bird-bot cackled as the gas was lit and their arch-enemy disappeared in a gout of flame. Waves of indescribable heat passed through the armor, melting it in areas and melding with the flesh underneath. Not able to completely contain the scream of pain that had escaped unwillingly, the digger ran out of the jet of fire and proceeded to roll on the ground in an attempt to put out the fire that had engulfed the armored suit.
The Bird-bots didn't make things any easier, firing at the defenseless figure as it tumbled on the ground. Explosions soon littered the ground, but no rocket ever quite hit the intended target. One came dangerously close however, and sent the prone warrior flying four feet in the air, at which point the flames had abated enough to make standing up a possibility. It's trigger squeezed with nearly enough force to snap it in half, the arm cannon annihilated the foes with extreme prejudice.
"Mercy! Squawk! Mercy, Megaman!" the Bird-bot that had nearly immolated the digger begged, dropping it's weapon and attempting to fly away before it received a reply. It's wings were clipped unceremoniously by mega buster fire, and it hit the ground with explosive results.
"I don't see anyone left here at all! Did you show any mercy to them?!" the digger shouted at the scattered remains of the bird shaped robot. When the gate had been blown, no one had come out; a quick look around the premise showed exactly why.
The Bird-bots had piled the bunt remains of their victims on the RKO television station's grass field.
The final gate blew up as easily as the last three had, but this time the digger held no illusions that survivors would rush out. The sound of napalm striking the ground for the fifth time that day cemented this particularly cold fact. Nursing only a faint and quickly ebbing hope, the blue clad combatant headed for the mayor's residence.
Bird-bots flew out of the way, not bothering to engage their enemy in battle. They knew they had already won; their nemesis just had not yet realized it. The police station had taken the brunt of the bombings, it seemed, which had precluded any help that the armed forces could have supplied. The other buildings hadn't gotten off much easier, and smoking craters filled with chemical flames littered the ground. City Hall was all but un-recognizable, and the lone fighter nearly collapsed in despair upon laying eyes on it.
Then a smaller objected became apparent, laying just a ways off from the entrance to the demolished white building. Knowing what it surely had to be, but still having to satisfy that sick sense of curiosity that'd taken hold, the digger slowly walked over to where Paprika laid in a broken heap. The still warm body, whether warm because she had recently died or because of the abundance of nearby heat, was picked up gingerly with one armored left hand and a now bare right hand as well. Leaving the discarded mega buster lying on the grass, the digger held the pup delicately and stroked the head that would never move voluntarily again. There was another batch of explosions from behind the two of them, but no more screams to accompany it.
That was when Glyde's flagship began to descend. It differed from the lesser aircraft in that it was shaped like a buzzard or a hawk, unlike the duck shaped crafts that the Bird-bots flew. It was painted a dark azure, and overall had been designed with aesthetic rather than dynamic purposes in mind.. Angry blue eyes stared up at the ship as it descended right in front of the digger, and the gas-mask was thrown off violently. The shipped stopped only a few feet from the ground, and then the side hatch slowly began to raise dramatically. Glyde's face peeked around the corner of the door almost comically, looking surprised to see that his foe was still alive.
"You murderer! You're a pirate, your supposed to rob people! Since when did genocide become part of the game too?!" the voice was even higher pitched than normal, most likely due to anger. The sky pirate refused to change his ridiculous expression, let alone answer, and that possibly angered the digger more than anything else could have. "Answer me, you bastard!"
Glyde's face just continued to stare at the digger's own. Then his head reared back, as if preparing to spit in the digger's face. Finally, it shot forward again.
There had barely been enough time to dodge the skull.
Faster than the digger's mind could process these events, someone began to pilot the flagship back into the sky, presumably with the rest of Glyde's body aboard. Then it shot off like an arrow, ruffling the unfeeling fur on Paprika's back as it flew into the blood-red sunset. Glyde's unseeing eyes seemed to track it as it disappeared.
Slowly, ever so slowly, a lone thought entered the digger's mind. The dog. Paprika. Paprika needed to be returned to her owner. The little girl will be upset if she doesn't see her dog. She'll think something happened to her. But won't that girl be happy when she sees her pup running up to her, tail wagging excitedly? Won't they all be, the people that the heroic Megaman saved? Won't they?!
Before long, the digger's legs had carried the rest of it's body back to the entrance of the town, with no input from the conscious mind. And there were all the rescued people, waiting to greet Megaman and thank him. Sure, they weren't in perfect shape. A few of them had strange red holes on their skin, others looked like they may have been in the sun too long, and some may have had their body parts strewn across the…..
That was when the digger finally collapsed on the ground, the dog falling from quivering hands. Uncontrollable sobbing came next, and did not abate for several minutes. It was hard to breath, and the smoke that covered the clearing was suffocating; suddenly the need to take off the constraining helmet became too much to bear.
The helmet slid off, revealing the short blond hair that might never grown back to it's original length. She placed it in front of her, and looked in the blank space that Megaman's face should have filled.
"I'm so sorry, Megaman! I tried so hard, but I just couldn't…." Roll Caskett broke down in tears once more, beating the grass with her frail fist. "I couldn't save anyone!"
Authors Notes: Thus begins the (unofficial) tale of Legends 3. Obviously, not much makes sense at this point. But don't worry, you'll find out what happened in the year's time between the beginning of this story and the end of Megaman Legends 2 in no time. Heck, the second chapter is already uploaded. Read it and you'll get a better understanding of what the story is, for sure.
Also, if you're worried that this whole thing is a 'doom and gloom' dark-fic, then in the almighty words of Judas Priest, "You've got another thing comin'!" Like I said, just read the next chapter. And any chapters that I upload after that, as well. In fact, just spend the rest of your life reading my fan fictions; it's not like you have anything better to do!
Readers Corner: This is the place where I formally recognize, or apologize, to everyone who has reviewed the previous chapter(s). In other words, anyone who reviews this chapter will make it into chapter two's Readers Corner, and so on until the story is done. Or until I get really, really drunk and delete all the files on my computer in a rum induced stupor.
Long live America! Read and review!