U-DO

Chapter 10

"Our shields won't last much longer!" Matthew shouted over all the ruckus.

Elsa was taking heavy damage from the constant pounding of the E.S. that insisted on attacking them. Elsa's retaliation had done absolutely nothing to the E.S., however.

"Damn it, we have to do something," Jr. said in frustration. His mind was frantically searching for a solution and the only one that sounded the most plausible was deploying the A.G.W.S.

The large E.S. struck again and the crew had to take care to keep their balance.

"Little Master, someone is trying to breach the hatch!" Matthew informed as a warning popped up on the screen.

"Who is it?"

"I'll pull it up on the screen-you're not going to believe this."

A large image of Ziggy forcing his way through the hatch was seen as clear as day. Jr. stared in complete disbelief.

"What does he think he's doing?" Shion cried out.

"Well, he's always been rather sacrificial…" Jr. thought out loud.

"Jr.!" MOMO said in horror, "Do something, he's going to get himself hurt."

The moment when Ziggy lost all of his bearings was finally here, Jr. thought to himself.

"Put me on the speakers," Jr. said to Matthew.

"Alright, Little Master," he said automatically. A moment passed before he gave Jr. the go ahead.

"Look, old man, you have to pull yourself together. What do you possibly hope to do going out in the middle of all of this?"

Ziggy stopped his activity for a few moments as he heard the voice.

"Think about what you're doing," Jr. said.

"I know exactly what I'm doing. I appreciate your concern. Tell, MOMO, not to worry."

Jr. was taken aback-he seemed quite lucid and certain of what he was about to do. "What are you about to do?"

"It's too difficult to explain at this moment. The Elsa doesn't have much more time-and I don't either."

Before anyone could respond or for MOMO to cut into the conversation, Ziggy used his electric energy to shatter the camera.

"Ziggy! Don't go! Whatever you think you have to do, please don't do it!"

Ziggy heard MOMO's shrill voice coming from the speaker that he couldn't at this point discover its location, but it didn't matter either way. He ignored her pleading voice knowing that there was no way around what he had to do. Suddenly, the entire ship went dark.

On the bridge, everyone moved in closer to one another.

"Everyone, stay close," chaos warned.

Everything had gotten unnervingly quiet and they felt the need to hold hands as the silence dragged on. Jr. held MOMO close as if she was in danger of disappearing. KOS-MOS stood apart from the group however as she looked out into the starry sky beyond.

"Save us, Ziggy," KOS-MOS said quietly as bright blue eyes stared outside.

Suddenly, a blinding light overtook them all and it was as if they had all been transported to a heavenly realm. Everyone covered their eyes in a futile attempt to protect them from the light, but chaos and KOS-MOS looked on knowingly. chaos turned to KOS-MOS and she acknowledged him with a nod. Then she walked towards the door and exited the bridge.

/Z

"Is he alright?" Shion asked at once as soon as she saw them

After the light had disappeared, the E.S. was nowhere to be seen and KOS-MOS had mysteriously vanished. Shion, chaos, MOMO and Jr. had quickly exited the bridge only to find KOS-MOS and Ziggy walking towards them. He leaned heavily onto the android-something that Shion would never thought she would see.

"His vitals appear to be at sufficient levels. Though his system is down 74%, he should survive if he receives treatment soon."

"I'll be fine," Ziggy clarified to the others.

"Ziggy!" MOMO shouted enthusiastically as she ran to him and wrapped her arms around him, "I'm just glad…you're okay."

MOMO looked up at him and saw to her relief that his eyes were back to normal. Those same cerulean eyes gazed down at her with all its enigma intact. As usual, his face showed little emotion, but somehow she knew that he was just as happy to see her.

He couldn't support himself so KOS-MOS had to escort him to the maintenance room below.

"Hold on one minute, old man," Jr. called from behind. KOS-MOS and Ziggy stopped their progress, "What happened back there with the…light?"

Ziggy was silent for a moment longer than usual before he answered, "Jr.…" he started, but Shion interrupted.

"Leave him alone, Jr. It's been a long day. I think it would be best to let him have time to himself."

Ziggy looked over at her when she said this and he received a half-smile from her.

"Oh, I get it, taking sides now-I see," Jr. said in good humor when he noticed the exchange. He wanted to say more to them but thought better of it. After watching them disappear around the corner, he made his way back to the bridge. Shion and chaos followed in suit.

MOMO stood in the hall alone debating with herself whether she should go with Ziggy or head to the bridge with everyone else. She decided on the former and ran down the corridor towards the cyborg, but stopped when she heard their voices. She immediately picked up on Ziggy's voice first and then KOS-MOS's. Curiously, she wondered what exactly they would be talking about.

"You are surprised," KOS-MOS stated to Ziggy.

"Yes, it's not often an android such as you thanks a cyborg."

"I suppose it is improbable, but sometimes the situation allows. Elsa would have faced certain destruction had you not intervened."

MOMO waited for Ziggy to respond, but a silence fail upon the conversation until KOS-MOS spoke once again.

"I realize that what was done cannot be explained by logic alone."

"I wasn't looking for an explanation, but perhaps some reassurance that I won't have to go through something like this again."

"No one could provide such a thing. Current technological advances do not allow for that."

MOMO heard their voices fading into the elevator, but she decided not to follow. KOS-MOS seemed to have everything under control in any case. She wasn't needed at this point. Besides, she felt as if she would be intruding on something personal. In all her time she had been around KOS-MOS, she had not heard her talk so much and especially when Shion was absent. After a moment, she ran down the hall to the bridge with the others.

The elevator had just then reached the bottom and the two stepped out of the confined space. They quietly made their way to the maintenance room and soon KOS-MOS was at the control panel tapping various codes into the screen. Ziggy sat with his eyes closed on the chair listening consciously to the tapping of buttons. He had gone through the same procedure so many times that he knew exactly how it was supposed to sound and how many buttons should be pressed.

"Ziggy," KOS-MOS began suddenly. The name sounded odd when she said it which easily caught his attention, "How does it feel…to be a cyborg?" Her fingers continued to move, but she received no answer. "You are not forced to answer." KOS-MOS continued attempting to sound disarming.

"There isn't a simple answer to your question, KOS-MOS."

"Could you perhaps summarize? Or maybe-" her fingers paused for the first time before she continued, "One word. If you could use one word to answer the question, what would it be?"

Still with his eyes closed, he contemplated for a moment until the perfect word came to mind, "Nothing."

"Nothing?"

"I feel…nothing."

Her mind went over the answer thoroughly before she nodded slowly. Then she continued on in silence and Ziggy had no inclination to say anything else.

KOS-MOS was quite efficient with his maintenance and in less time than usual she was finished. He opened his eyes upon reaching the end of it. KOS-MOS looked towards him then.

"The Elsa has docked onto the Kukai Foundation," she informed the other, "Do you wish to stay here?"

"Well, I don't have much to do at this moment-I think I will accompany you."

They both exited the room and proceeded to the elevator. In a different time under different circumstances, they might have held hands. Instead, the two mechanized beings sufficed with a simple glance at one another.

END