Previously:

"Farewell, legendary scrap metal."


Chapter 6

Reminisce of the past

System recovery... Electronic alphabets flashed in front of Zero's eyes. Technique...Giga...

"Rakuhoha!" Zero slammed her fist into the sandy ground, exploding a glowing dome around her, sending bodies of zombies flying away with the sheer force of the energy waves spread from the dome. Zero stood in the middle of the ruins of the scattered bodies, pulling her right fist from the sand.

"What?" Anubis faded out into a cloud of sand and faded back in, letting one of the energy waves passed through him during the interval. "Im...Impossible!"

"What...is this...power?" Zero stared at her own hands. "System recovery techniques?"

"Grr! Taking me as a fool..." Anubis growled, waving his staff at Zero. "Looks like killing you is too small a price to pay! I'll incinerate you, resurrect you, and make you my personal slave!"

"Tch!" Zero gritted her teeth and readied her saber. "Your taste in keeping minions sucks."

"Silence!" Anubis waved his staff, summoning dozens of sand pillar, which sped from around Zero, all at once. "These insults are getting too far!"

Zero ignited her boost thrusters and sped towards one of the pillars. Without a single hesitation, she dug one of her boots into the pillar and started running up the length of the sand pillar. On the instant of reaching the tip of the pillar, she kicked off just before the sandy spikes and ignited the boost thrusters again, leaping just less than an inch above the rest of pillars.

Impatient, Anubis gripped his staff tighter and howled, summoning more zombie reploids from the sand, just below the falling Zero.

"Shit!" Zero pulled her buster out and aimed at the zombies, firing away. However, the number proved too much even for her rapid firing.

"Fire!" Suddenly, torrent of bullets hit Anubis from the back, destabilizing the reploid and send him crashing into the ground.

"What?" Zero spun around after landing on the sand, dodging the lunge of the slow machines. "Who-"

"Zero! Get him!" one of the scouts yelled, lowering his smoking rifle. "Now's the chance!"

Zero slapped the handle of her saber into the barrel of the buster. "Thanks!" she said as she ran to the fallen reploid, at the same time dodging more mindless lunge of the zombies.

"Who's the other insolence one now?" Anubis slowly rose from the sand and howled.

"Checkmate..." he looked up to see the point of Zero's fully-charged buster right in front of his face. "King of Destruction." Zero squeezed the trigger, releasing the full-charged shot which incinerated the entire head of the Egyptian reploid.

The zombie reploids around Zero stopped at their mid-lunge and started falling back to the sand in pieces. Zero noticed the power generator in the defeated reploid started to sparkle wildly. "Oh crap!" she gasped and sprinted as fast as possible away. "Get down! He's gonna blow!"

"Holy!" the other reploids yelped and crouched as low as possible in the sand. "Zero!"

Zero took a deep breath and leaped. The body of Anubis exploded, sending a strong wave of compressed air outwards spherically. Zero catch a glance of the explosion before the shock wave slammed into her back, throwing her further than her intended leap.

"Okay! I've got you!" one of the scouts stood up and held his arm out, bracing for the impact. Seconds later, Zero's body slammed into his, dragging the both of them off the ground and into the sand.

"Whoa whoa whoa!" the other scouts rushed to the fallen two, attempting to help them up. "You two all right?"

"Ow..." the scout who caught Zero groaned. "Wasn't expecting that kind of weight..."

"What is that suppose to mean?" Zero huffed and pushed herself off from the scout underneath her.

The scouts snickered among themselves when they caught the meaning of Zero's words as the female reploid strolled to the survivors, de-materialising her helmet on the way. "Is everyone all right?"

"Yes!" a reploid walked up to her, with a sling holding his arm. "Thank you so much for responding to our request and coming to our rescue.

"Can everyone walk?" Zero asked, looking at the group of injured reploid behind him.

"There's one with a broken leg." the reploid turned to the group. "Beside that, the rest only suffered minor scratches and such."

"Good." Zero brushed a few strands of hair away from her face as her communicator rang. She pressed a button on the communicator and placed it into her ear. "This is Zero."

"Zero!" Ciel's voice rang out of the communicator, almost forcing Zero to pulled it away from her ear with a wince. "Is everything all right?"

"Yes, Ciel." Zero resisted the urge to sigh. "The survivors are fine. We are coming back to base now."

"Gotcha, Zero." Ciel chirped. "I'll station the medics at the gate."

"Roger that." Zero clicked the communicator shut and turned to the scouts, who were already helping the survivors onto their feet. "We're going back!"

"Okay!" the scouts replied in unison.


Neo Arcadia Headquarters

"A~h!" Fefnir groaned as she finished reading the reports and dropped it on her desk. "That arrogant idiot. Getting himself killed."

"Isn't he like someone?" a voice came from her door.

"What do you want, Levi?" Fefnir resisted the urge to growl.

"Oh nothing, really." a petite reploid donned on a light blue cloak walked through the door and approached Fefnir's desk, her high-heels clicking on the floor. "I'm just here to see your frustrated face."

"Leviathan, you're not helping here." Fefnir grumbled. "Now I feel like Harpuia."

"Oh no!" Leviathan mocked surprised. "Our cheeky little Fefnir is turning serious! It's the end of the world!" she started giggling softly.

"Oh shut up!" The red reploid grinned and flicked Leviathan's forehead, forcing a small squeal from the smaller reploid. "Harpuia is just paranoid over the new reploid the resistance have."

"Really?" Leviathan rubbed the sore spot on her forehead, pouting. "I heard that the new reploid is pretty strong."

"Right." Fefnir huffed and crossed her arms. "Like I'd believe that." she muttered calmly, despite her fist clenching tightly under her arms

Leviathan stuck her tongue out at Fefnir. "Thick-headed bull."

"What was that?" Fefnir twitched at the words.

"I said you're a thick-headed bull." Leviathan repeated, sticking her tongue out.

"If I'm a thick-headed bull." Fefnir growled, swinging her fist at Leviathan's face. "Then you're just plain thick-skinned."

"What?" Leviathan squealed in shock. "That's really insulting!"

"You started it." Fefnir smirked. "I'm just returning the favour."

"Meanie!" Leviathan pulled her halberd from under her cloak and started attacking Fefnir.

"Oh yeah?" the red reploid pulled an arm-buster out. "Then I'll show you just how mean I can get."

A shocking explosion rocked the entire headquarters. Harpuia clenched her fists to the point that her arms were trembling from the pressure, trying very hard to hold her anger in. "Fefnir...Leviathan..." she walk out of her office, shadow cast over her eyes, and armed with twin energy blades, ready to deal with her anger management. Any soldier that saw her quickly cowered away, in fear their safety.


Resistance Base

"And that concludes the reports received from one of the survivors." Colbor ended his speech.

"Great." Zero ran a hand through her hair. "Now we know that Neo Arcadia is planning to launch a large scale attack on our base." she groaned as she pushed herself off the wall where she leaned on.

"Yes."Ciel stood up from her chair. "And we'll probably need your help again, Zero."

"Guess I've not much of a choice." Zero sighed and stretched a little. "I'll help as much as I can."

"Thank you, Zero." Ciel smiled. "That's it for the briefing today. Dismiss." the soldiers of the resistance began to disperse from the room.

"Zero." the female reploid stopped on her track at the door. "Cerveau told me that he has completed a new weapon for you, and he would like you to have a look at it." Ciel smiled slightly.

"Will do." Zero smiled and exited the room, heading towards the generator control room.


Resistance Base – Engine Room

"You call for me, Cerveau?" Zero asked as the door opened, slightly startling the engineer. "I was told that you've completed a new weapon for me."

"Why Zero, you came just in time." he passed a hand-sized ceramic cylinder to the female reploid. "Take a look at this."

"This is the new weapon?" Zero inspected the cylinder suspiciously.

"Yes." Cerveau smiled, as the cylinder suddenly elongated with a jerk, badly startling the female reploid. "I dub this the Triple Rod."

"Triple Rod?" Zero spun the staff in her hands, testing weight of the new weapon. "It's just nice for the weight."

"After scanning the interior of your Z-sabre, I've copied the data required for your combat basis." Cerveau took the rod and spun it in his hands, then twirled the shaft of the rod around his neck, finally gripping it tightly with both of his hands and whipped the tip pointing at Zero. "It requires some techniques, but I'm sure that you'll be able to handle it."

Zero watch in awe. "Cerveau, are you a combat reploid as well?"

"No." Cerveau grinned, retracting the rod into the small cylinder again and tossed it at Zero, who caught it from mid-air. "As a lead engineer, I was programmed to prevent any top-secret data from being stolen, or robbed from me. So a set of combat moves was programmed into me."

"Say Cerveau." Zero smirked slightly. "Let's have a spar?"

"Nope!" Cerveau flatly rejected. "I'm busy, and Ciel will kill me if I get myself damaged."

"Tch!" Zero's expression dropped immediately. "Spoilsport." she stomped out of the engine room.

"Pfft." Cerveau chuckled under his breath, walking back to his workstation. "Cheeky lass."


Days later, Commander's briefing room

"As of today's briefing, we'll commence our attack on the nearest energy factory." Ciel said as she pulled out several snapshots of a building on the screen. "We have to occupy it or our energy supply will reach critical rate very soon."

"But I thought we still have more than enough energy supply." Colbor said, standing from his seat. "The last time I checked, we can still last for several years."

"When is the last time you checked?" Ciel asked him, a little miffed.

"Erm...a couple of years ago?" Colbor scratched his cheek and went back down to his seat. "Sorry..."

Ciel sighed and went back to her briefing. "If we could use the abandoned factory as our own, we can generate energy for ourselves." she began to frown lightly. "But there's a guard, which proves too strong for us to fight and gain control of the factory."

"Wait!" Colbor stood up again. "You can't mean..."

"Yes, that factory." Ciel finished for him. "Zero." she turned to the reploid dozing off on her seat, who shot up immediately as a respond. "Will you take down the guard for us?" Ciel continued her question.

"What?" Colbor yelled. "Nonono! She can't! The guard is strong enough to even keep the Guardians away until now! Zero will be killed!"

"I can do it." Zero simply said, standing from her seat. "If it benefits all of you."

"What? Not you too!" Colbor groaned.

"That's good, Zero. We'll begin mission in 1400 hours."

"Roger that." Zero just smiled her usual smirk and exited the room, along with the rest of the reploid soldiers.

"Is it me or is she being happier than usual?" Colbor asked Ciel when the soldier filed out of the room.

"Well, Cerveau did made a new weapon for her." Ciel replied, tidying the files on the desk. "And she tested it out for the past few days."

"Oh?" Colbor scratched his head. "And what does it have to do with her mood?"

"Who knows..." Ciel collected her files and entered her room, which was on the other side of the command briefing room, the door hissing shut.

"And you're acting weird as well..." Colbor sighed and exited the room, preparing for the upcoming mission.


"This is it." Zero glanced up at the factory, her helmet materialising in her hand. "The factory we're ordered to occupy."

"Yeah..." Colbor walked up from behind Zero. "This factory had been abandoned for decades."

"Decades huh..." Zero stared at the building. Suddenly, something caught her attention. "Colbor, come here for a moment."

"Yeah?" Colbor walked up to her. "What is it?"

"Did you see that air ventilator?" Zero pointed at the wire mesh at one side of the building.

"Yeah." Colbor blinked in curiosity. "What about it?"

"I'll head up there and enter through the ventilator." Zero surveyed her surrounding, lining a route to the side of the building. "You'll start the distraction once I get in."

"But-!"

"I trust you, buddy." Zero smirked and put on her helmet. "See you inside." She turned and sprinted off, jumping onto containers and slowly climbed up along the side of the walls of the factory.

"Hey! Zero!" Colbor yelled after her. "Damn that girl!" he hammered his fist into the broken pillar beside him, cracking the cement deeply.

"Sir, orders please." a soldier asked.

"Prepare to wreck havoc." Colbor sighed. "We'll serve as a distraction for Zero."

"Understood!"


A spider shaped mechaniloid moved along the ceiling, it's visor scanning around for any possible threat. Suddenly, it heard a cracking sound. Before a reaction kicked in, the ventilation cover it clung onto gave way, sending the mechaniloid and the cover smashing into the ground. The mechaniloid struggled to stand up with the cover on it's back when a pair of boots dropped onto it, smashing it's head in, shutting down the machine.

"Okay, coast clear." Zero said as the alarm blared. "Maybe not." she took off running towards the deeper part of the factory.

Intruder alert! Security level code Red. Shutting off the inner facility. I repeat...

"Uh oh..." Zero sped up as she caught sight of a heavy metal shutter lowering slowly towards the ground. Seeing the shutter was already halfway closed, Zero leaned forward and ignited her thrust booster, speeding off at her limit and under the closing shutter. Just seconds before the ignition ends, Zero kicked off the ground and leaped forward, and landed just beyond the closed shutter. "That was close." Zero pushed herself off the ground and dusted herself.

"Zero! Do you read me? Zero!" Colbor's voice rang out from the transmitter.

"I hear you loud and clear." Zero replied. "I've breached the shutter."

"Hello? Zero? I repeat! Do you read me?"

"Colbor?" Zero felt something amiss. "I can hear you loud and clear." she tapped at her helmet. "Hello?"

"Shit!" Zero heard Colbor's voice growing anxious. "They blocked off the communication from inside!"

"Colbor! I can hear you!" Zero yelled. However, the respond she received ended up in static. "Hello? What's going on!" more static. "Not good." Zero growled and clicked off the transmitter. "They've jammed the signal." she began walking down the hallway.


"Zero! Zero, come in!" Ciel yelled into the transmitter, hearing only fuzzy static in return. "Zero!"

"Ciel, the signal is being jammed from the inside." Colbor's voice rang out. "And the shutter is down. We can't get to her."

"We have to!" Ciel almost screamed into the transmitter. "She may be fighting enemies in there that she may not be able to handle!"

"Ciel, calm down." Colbor said, making sure to emphasise his words. "She's the Zero. She can handle it."

"But...but..."

"Ciel, I know you're worried about her." Colbor continued. "But you must have faith on her."

"I get it..." Ciel slowly sank into her seat. "I can't help but still worry..."


"This place is quiet." Zero hopped onto the top of a small pile of wood planks, held up by hovering, but unmoved mechaniloids. "Too quiet." she muttered to herself.

Looking up, Zero saw a ladder hanging from another level above. Jumping into the air and using the thrust booster to push herself even higher, Zero barely caught the last ring of the ladder, just as the mechaniloid she stood on seconds ago started sparkling and fell towards the endless dark void beneath.

"What the?" Zero glanced back down at the darkness. "Just how deep was this factory built?" she mumbled to herself as she hauled her body up the ladder rings. "I've got to be careful."

Finally reaching the top of the ladder, Zero caught sight of a gigantic shutter gate at the end of the hallway, lit only by an eerie green glow from either side of the wall. "This must be it." she walked up to the gate.

Suddenly, her body began to move by itself, as if beckoned by an unseen force. She found herself walking towards a corner of the gate, where a control panel stood. Her right hand found its way to the screen of the control panel, where a scanning laser ran up the length of her palm.

Welcome, Rei. A loud mechanical voice echoed from the control panel. It has been a long time.

"Rei?" Zero raised an eyebrow. "Who's that?"

May I ask, what is your business here? The voice asked, as if ignoring Zero's question.

"Erm.." Zero glanced around, trying to think of an answer. "Is this place currently used by anyone?"

So you want to use this factory for something? The voice asked again. I'm sorry, but you will have to speak to the chief guard for the permission. The gate hissed as it slowly opened a path.

"Chief guard?" Zero scratched the back of her helmet. "What is all this about?"

If it isn't Rei. Another voice, an elderly, but still mechanical, echoed deeply from within the gate. What brings you here to my humble factory?

"The chief guard?" Zero stepped through the gate, ignoring the hissing sound as it close behind her. "Do I know you?"

My, it's only been a century. A large disc-like machine was hovering vertically above the ground, with eight rods protruding from the side. And you've forgotten about me?

"I'm sorry..." Zero flushed in embarrassment.

Well, never mind. The machine levitated towards Zero slowly. I doubt you are here only to have a chat with me.

"Well..." Zero gulped from the looming of the approaching machine. "A group of my friends and I need the factory for their energy supply."

Oh? And why should I give it to them?

"Come on." Zero whined, hoping that her pout can help her gain approval. "Just a little help?"

No. The original X specifically ordered that no one touch the energy supply of this factory. The machine replied grimly. Not even you, Rei.

"Who is this Rei you're talking about?" Zero asked out of curiosity.

That will be you. The machine replied. Why? Do you not remember who you are? Or are you using Rei's identity? The tone changed from gentle to stern.

"What? No!" Zero stepped back. "I didn't use anyone's identity!"

What a blunder! The machine ignored Zero as the rods from its side morphed into heads of mechanical dragons. Why did I not find out earlier? One of the heads lunged at Zero.

"Whoa!" the reploid dodged the jaws, hopping back from the machine. "Wait! Listen to me!"

Intruder alert! Mechanical voices echoed throughout the room. Commencing termination! Two more heads lunged at Zero, who dodged the attacks narrowly.

"Chief!" Zero bounced further away from the machine. "Listen!"

Silence! Two heads with reddish armour plating opened their jaws at Zero. The reploid's eyes widened as she dashed away, just out of a pair of flames spewed at the space where she stood moments ago.

"I'm serious!" Zero cried, dodging another head lunge. "I don't want to hurt you."

Disappear! A ball of electrical pulse slammed into Zero, stunning her with electricity. Zero bit into her lips, refusing to even grunt from the pain. Then, the pain was gone as the electricity faded. Zero barely had time to defend herself when a heavy metallic snout slammed into her body, throwing her against the wall.

"Ow..." Zero coughed a little, pushing herself off the crater in the wall. "He's serious on killing me." she ignited her thrust booster and jumped away just before another dragon head slammed itself into the crater.

Maverick. The word stopped Zero on her track. What are you doing with Zero's image? The voice demanded.

"I was told that I'm Zero." the reploid said, honestly. A set of jaws latched itself around Zero's body, holding her tightly as it lifted her off the ground, to the level of the disk.

Zero never forgets her comrades. The voice echoed from the centre of the disk, as a circular shutter opened, revealing a turquoise gem within it. You, don't know who I am.

"Then who is Rei?" Zero asked, desperate to know the answer. "Who is this Rei you're mistaking me of?"

You have no need to know of that name.

A blast of electricity from the jaws almost set a scream from the reploid. Zero bit into her lips, as her circuit sparkled from power overload. Warning, power overload. Warning, power overload. Zero's vision flashed red as words began to appear in them.

"Shit..." the reploid felt her body going numb, as if her systems were shutting down. "I..." She muster her strength, pulling out her sabre, and stabbed the ignited blade into the head which was holding her.

Immediately, the electricity faded as the jaws released Zero and followed her drop, the neck of the dragon detaching itself from the disk. The disk started spinning, stopping where its empty slot faced the ceiling. Seconds later, a similar coloured rod, lowered by an mechanical arm, attached itself onto the disk and morphed into the dragon head.

Zero pushed herself off the ground, shaking her head to clear the blurred vision. She looked up and dodged just in time, as head found itself lodged into the place where she last stood.

"He's not going to listen to me." the reploid muttered to herself as she dodged a electrical pulse. "Looks like I don't have a choice."

MAVERICK! All of the eight dragon heads roared at Zero. You will die for stepping into this restricted area. What do you have to say for yourself?

"Yes." Zero gripped her sabre tightly, pointing the tip of the blade at the disk. "I am Zero."


It's been a long time. Sorry I haven't been updating a lot recently. I'm having a cooperate project with a buddy of my, Dreamer91, on the story Magicus Academy. Anyway, hope you enjoyed this chapter! XD

Preview:

"Do you...remember the place...where we first met?"

"What?"