Just as Zero rushed forward, Eagleed took to the air, dodging Zero's blade.
"Axl! Marino! Get Horneck out of here! I'll handle Eagleed!" declared Zero.
"Just do it, Axl! That's an order!" yelled Zero.
"Axl, let's get moving here!" yelled Marino.
She had one of Horneck's arms over her shoulders. Axl quickly strode over and took the insect Reploid's other arm and put it over his shoulder. The two then took Horneck inside the radio tower's control room, ready to send him back the headquarters.
"Marino, you head back with Horneck. I'm going to go and help Zero-sempai!" said Axl as he activated the teleporter.
"Why do you get to go back and fight? I want in on the action!" exclaimed the pink ninja.
"But someone needs to make sure Horneck gets to headquarters safely and you don't know how to work the teleporter controls," said Axl with a smirk.
"Just set the damn coordinates!"
Quickly typing in the coordinates, Axl activated the teleporter. Marino then dragged Horneck to the platform and vanished in the light. Once she was gone, Axl deactivated the machine.
"Hold on, Zero-sempai."
Back with Zero, he was having a hard time battling against Storm Eagleed.
'What the hell? How is Eagleed so strong now? I know he was never an easy opponent, but he's much stronger than I remember!' thought Zero, panting from exertion.
Before Zero could react, Eagleed dive-bombed towards the Crimson Hunter. Just as Eagleed was about to connect, he was bombarded with a hail of bullets from above.
"Ha! Take that, you overgrown turkey!"
"Axl! What the hell are you doing? Didn't I tell you to get out of here?" yelled Zero, glaring at the boy.
"But Zero-sempai! You said to get Horneck out danger and he is! I came back to help!" explained Axl.
Zero was about to reprimand the boy, but his voice was caught in his throat when he watched Axl get slammed into the wall by Eagleed's Storm Tornado.
Eagleed flew at great speeds towards Axl, ready to finish him off. With as much speed as he could, Zero dashed towards the two, hoping to intercept the raptor Reploid. Unfortunately, Zero's speed was nowhere near Eagleed's level.
'Damn it! I'm not going to make it!'
A large laser beam blasted from above, hitting Eagleed dead center and sending the former Hunter crashing into the ground. Zero stopped in his tracks, surprised by the events that just happened.
"Oi, Zero! You okay?"
Zero looked up to see Steel Massimo, a large heavily armored Reploid that he, X, and Axl met back in Giga City.
"Massimo? What are you doing here?" questioned Zero.
"When Marino returned with Horneck, X sent me here as backup," explained the gentile giant.
'Probably a good thing too,' thought Zero as he went over to Eagleed's fallen form. "Oi, Massimo! Get over here and carry Eagleed back to HQ! I'm going to retrieve Axl."
The gentle giant did as he was told and hoisted the raptor Reploid onto his shoulder. Zero scaled the wall and took the unconscious Axl out of the hole he was stuck in.
"Stupid kid," sighed Zero. "You're going to make Cinnamon worry to death over you."
Back at Maverick Hunter Headquarters, everyone was waiting for Zero and the others to return. When Marino returned earlier with the damaged Horneck, everyone became worried for the team's safety out there.
"What's taking them so long?" questioned Pallette, worried about Axl.
"Just stay patient, Pallette. I'm sure they'll be back soon," said Signas.
Not soon after Signas said that did the transporter spring to life. When the light faded, Zero and the others stood there.
"We need to get these two to the medical wing and fast!" yelled Zero as he and Massimo ran pass everyone.
X was shocked to see whom Massimo was carrying to the medical wing. He needed to find out how Eagleed was alive and Zero was the one to give him the answers.
After dropping off Axl and Eagleed, Zero headed back to the control room to give his report. Before he left, he told Massimo to stay and make sure the head medic, Lifesaver, didn't try anything funny with Eagleed, as Lifesaver has been known to be paranoid. Upon entering the control room, he wasn't surprised to be bombarded with questions, but was surprised that Pallette was the first to do so.
"Is Axl okay?" she questioned, a worried look on her face. Zero was about to tell her off for not thinking of all who were injured, but realized she didn't know entirely who Eagleed was, so he couldn't be too upset.
"He's fine. He's in the medical wing and Cinnamon is looking after him," replied Zero, keeping his cool. Of course, that cool was starting to heat as Pallette ran passed him towards the medical wing. His eye started to twitch. "Stupid girl. Any chance we can replace her?"
"Stay focused, Zero. How is Eagleed alive?" questioned X.
Zero told of what happened when they got there. About Zain, Geemel, and even Berkana. X was surprised to hear that Zain and Geemel were alive and when heard that Berkana was alive as well, he paled and shuddered.
"Figured you wouldn't like that," said Zero, shaking his head.
Before X or anyone else could say anything, the monitor started to beep, signifying an incoming message. When the message was opened, X paled even further when he saw that it was from Berkana.
"Hello, Maverick Hunters!" greeted the witch Reploid.
"How did you get this number?" demanded Signas, a none too happy look upon his face.
"I have my ways," said Berkana in a nonchalant way. She then turned to X with a smile on her face and started to look him up and down. "Hello, my precious X. My, my, you haven't changed a bit after all these years."
X blushed a little from Berkana's words, while Zero couldn't help but snicker at his friend's discomfort. Both of the Maverick Hunters' attention was then grabbed by the sound of a low growl. They turned to the source to see that the growl came from Alia, who looked ready to kill as she glared at Berkana.
'I know I shouldn't, but this is just too funny to pass up,' thought Zero. "What do you want, Berkana? Trying to jump X's bones again like you did last time?"
X gave his friend a look that said, 'what the hell are you doing?' He was starting to wonder if Zero had lost his mind…or suicidal, judging by the murderous look Alia had.
"That is part of it," admitted Berkana without shame. "Once I accomplish in taking over the world and become its new queen, X shall become my new king."
"And what makes you think you'll succeed?" demanded Alia, glaring at the evil blonde. Berkana glared right back.
"As I told Zero, others from the past have also been revived. Minus Eagleed, as he has been defeated unfortunately, there are seven other Mavericks that wish to get their hands on you Hunters. Along with them, you already know of myself, Zain and Geemel, but there are four others who have also been revived."
"Who are they, Berkana?" demanded X.
"Now that would ruin the surprise, my precious X," smiled Berkana. "You'll just have to find out for yourself."
With that, Berkana cut off the connection.
"This is bad. We need to find out who is part of Berkana's army so we know what we are dealing with," said Signas. "Were we able to at least find out where her base of operations is through the communication?"
"No sir. Berkana must have anticipated that we might have traced her, so she seemed to have put up firewalls to block any attempts," said Layer.
"Damn. I guess the only thing we can do now then is wait," growled Zero as he clenched his fist.
"In the meantime, X, I want you to head down to the medical wing see how Eagleed is doing. We need to determine how his mind is right now and if it is stable, there is a chance he can be reestablished as a Maverick Hunter," said Signas. X and Zero's eyes widened at this piece of information.
"You mean that, Signas?" questioned X.
"It has been widely known that Eagleed was the only one from the first Maverick War who unwillingly joined Sigma. He only joined due to losing to Sigma in a fight. As far as I'm concerned, Eagleed always has been and always will be a Maverick Hunter," explained Signas. "Now get going!"
X quickly took off, happy to know that his old friend will be returning to duty soon. Just as X left, Alia also stood up and went after X.
"Alia, where are you going?" questioned Signas.
"I need to speak with X about something!" she called back. It was silent for a bit after Alia left until Zero let out a chuckle.
"Methinks a lover's quarrel is about to happen," laughed Zero.
Signas could only facepalm at this.
After she talked with the Maverick Hunters, Berkana sauntered off to the throne room of her base where the other members of her army were waiting.
"You contacted the Hunters?" asked a male voice. Berkana turned to the source to find a male Reploid sitting in her throne.
"Yes I did. Now, why are you sitting there? Last I recalled, I am the queen and leader of our little group," said Berkana, none to pleased with her associate. He let out a little laugh.
"Do not worry, Berkana. You are still the leader, but until you get X as your king and I get what I want, I figured I take the role of king for now," smirked the mysterious Reploid.
"Kekeke! You're just asking for trouble, aren't you?" laughed Geemel.
"It might be best if keep quiet, Geemel," spoke a tall noble sounding Reploid.
"Take your own damn advice!" yelled Geemel.
"Quiet, the both of you," said a spooky Reploid who looked like a reaper. "This all seems wrong. Why am I alive? I should have remained dead!"
"Silence, peasant! Keep in mind that Lumine was the one who brought us all back, so whatever he had planned for us is now lost. Given this second chance, we can extract our revenge on the Maverick Hunters for what they did to us!" declared Berkana.
"Then why not go after Sigma instead? He's the one who used us!" shouted the reaper-like Reploid.
"Sigma is dead. He died for good along with Lumine," said Zain.
"It seems that Sigma was the first to be revived by Lumine," said the Reploid in the throne. "It was more or less a test for Lumine to see if he could revive Reploid who are dead. Sigma had in actuality died during the Seventh Maverick War."
"It still seems foolish to do this," said the reaper Reploid.
"Foolish as it may be, some of us have unfinished business with the Maverick Hunters. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to brush up on my sword skills. It has been a while since I last fought," said the noble Reploid as he left.
Zain and Geemel also took the chance to leave, wanting to brush up on their skills. They would not allow X to defeat them again.
"Anymore complaints, peasant?"
"…No, Berkana," growled the reaper Reploid.
"Then be gone with you!"
The Reaper Reploid left, not wanting to be in the same room as the witch. This left Berkana alone with the mysterious Reploid.
"Tell me, Berkana. Do you honestly think you will get X as your king?"
"Yes. X will be mine and no one will stand in my way. Not even you!"
"Now, now. I may want to kill X, not only because he was the one to kill me, but also because he has something I want, but I can set that all aside for our little deal."
The witch Reploid left the throne room without another word, leaving the mysterious Reploid to give off a smirk.
"It was foolish to bring Eagleed here. He should have been exterminated as he is a Maverick!"
Down at the medical wing, the head medical Reploid, Lifesaver, was complaining on how he had to treat Eagleed. While he was taking care of Eagleed, a worried Cinnamon was healing up Axl. As she was doing that, she spoke up about what Lifesaver said.
"But, Lifesaver-san, there has to be a reason why Zero-san brought Eagleed-san here. Maybe he's a friend like Horneck-san is!" said the little nurse Reploid as she glanced over to the already patched up Horneck, who was resting on the far side of the room.
"Hn. Horneck also should have been exterminated. He went Maverick during the Third Maverick War!" growled Lifesaver.
"If you were smart, Lifesaver, you'd keep your mouth shut!" growled a voice.
Entering the room was Dragoon, followed by Marino and Massimo, both of which were standing outside the door.
"Why are all of you in here? Get out so I can continue my work!" ordered Lifesaver, glaring at the three.
"Not a chance. I don't trust you, so I'm going to make sure you heal them up right," said Dragoon as he sat in a chair that was up against the wall.
Lifesaver muttered profanities to himself as he went back to work on Eagleed. Not soon after all of the commotion happened, Axl started to stir.
"Ugh, what happened? It feels like I got hit with a jet," groaned Axl as he sat up and rubbed his head.
"Axl-kun! Your awake!" exclaimed a cheerful Cinnamon as she hugged Axl close to her.
"Let him go right now!"
Everyone turned to the door to see Pallette standing there, glaring at Cinnamon. Marino could only let out a small sigh. When Cinnamon hugged Axl, she smiled at how happy the little nurse was. Now the moment was ruined when Pallette barged into the room.
"Pallette…" started Axl, but was interrupted by the navigator.
"I come here to check up on you, Axl, and I find you getting all touchy feely with her!"
"What are you talking about? Touchy feely?" questioned Axl. He was becoming very confused.
"It's nothing, Axl," said Marino as she let out an annoyed sigh. She then glared at Pallette. "As you can see, Axl is fine so why don't you leave?"
"You can't tell me what to do!" yelled the green navigator as she glared back at the pink ninja.
"No she can't, but I can," said a voice that made Pallette flinch. She turned around only to come face to face with X, who narrowed his eyes at her. "Leave, Pallette. This is the medical wing and the patients need peace and quiet."
Casting one last glare towards Cinnamon, Pallette took her leave. Glad that the tension in the air was gone, Axl let out sigh of relief.
"Man, I'm glad that's over. What got into Pallette anyway?"
Everyone but Cinnamon, who also had no idea what was going on, sweatdropped at that. They couldn't believe Axl couldn't see what was right in front of him.
"It's nothing, Axl," said X. He then turned to Lifesaver. "How is Eagleed doing?"
"…He should make a full recovery. Whatever the enemy was using to control him seems to be gone and he should be back to normal."
"That's good. Signas had planned to have Eagleed reestablished as a Maverick Hunter," explained X.
Lifesaver paused at that for a second before he continued the healing process on Eagleed. The action wasn't lost on X and Dragoon. The two shared a look before Dragoon gave a nod, signifying to X that he'll keep an eye on Lifesaver to make sure he didn't do anything funny. With that settled, X took his leave. Just as he was about to walk down the hall, a voice called out to him.
The blue Maverick Hunter turned to see Alia walking towards him.
TO BE CONTINUED
Thus ends the first little story arc. Sorry it took so long, but I couldn't figure out how to continue this chapter until now.
As you can see, Eagleed was defeated and rescued from Berkana's control and will be able to become a Hunter again. That is if Lifesaver doesn't screw it up. With Alia at the end, what she has to say to X will be next chapter as the next story arc involves her, X, and someone from Alia's past.