Disclaimer: I own nothing! Megaman/Rockman X belongs to Capcom!
Authors Notes: the following takes place between Megaman X6 and Megaman X7, under the assumption that Zero sealing himself at the end of Megaman X6 actually took place after Megaman X7&8, thus erasing the plot hole generated by Zero's presence in Megaman X7 and later on in Megaman X8. If anyone feels offended by this, I promise it wasn't on purpose!
PS: 'cookies' for anyone who can name the reference made in this story, as well as the game it's from, which is also owned by Capcom! (Second disclaimer)
CSI: Maverick Hunter
Zero was a proud warrior, a mighty reploid. Many of the most powerful of Mavericks had stood powerless to him, and yet, here he stood in a scenario in which he found himself not in the least bit happy. Next to him stood an almost equally disappointed X, who was also a reploid with immeasurable abilities. Both sat in a rather brightly colored ballroom, covered with yellows and pinks and the occasional hint of white as well as a dark red carpet. Perhaps the situation would be more bearable however, if they were not tied to their seats, each with a buster magnum held only inches away from their skull. Despite the situation however, this was not the source of Zero's current annoyance. Perhaps the chains being used to confine him to his seat were to tight, or maybe it was the insult of a top class hunter being captured by only a small group of normal humans armed with only small weapons such as the previously mentioned magnum, and the fact that he had no armor or weapons on his own person… or maybe it was the fact that he was wearing a dress and make-up, next to an unarmed X in a tuxedo. I knew this wouldn't work. Zero thought to himself frustratingly.
12 hours ago
"Men, I have some interesting news." Signas, a high ranking member of the Maverick hunters stood before X and Zero in the highly advanced maverick hunter base. All three hunters stood in full armor, X in a dark blue piece of thick armor thinning out only at the joints to allow movement, Zero in a similar armor, only red with white highlights and vice versa in other places, as well as a long blond pony tail coming out through the back of his helmet, and Signas in a slightly bulkier suit of black armor complete with a hat that could be compared to a police officers.
"Is Sigma on the move again?" X's face changed to a look of interrogative worry. Sigma, possibly the most evil of all Mavericks, was not only strong, but his data contained a powerful virus, guaranteed to make even the purest reploid become a maverick.
Signas flinched at X's mention of Sigma, but quickly regained his composure "No, nothing like that, thankfully. Apparently with all that's been happening and human society managing to get back on it's feet, criminal law enforcement has become under managed, so some hunters are being assigned to duty on the regular police force."
"So why are you telling us?" Zero asked nonchalantly. "We're probably going to be needed for any mavericks that might show up, and there are plenty lower class hunters that can go."
"Not necessarily." Signas looked down to a file he was holding. "In the recent incident with Gate and the Nightmare we lost the majority of our officers, so in the absence of anyone less important, you two, will go and work on a case for the recently reestablished Los Angeles police department. It seems there's a smuggling ring giving them some trouble and it's having a heavy effect on the local economy, not to mention the reconstruction process of the city itself."
Zero leaned against a wall and began spinning his Z-saber in his fingers. "So you just want us to go in there find the smuggling ring, and take them in to the station?"
Signas shook his head. "Sorry but it's not gonna be that simple. These guys have done a fairly good job at keeping themselves and their operations concealed. Under the current legal system we can't arrest them unless we find some cold hard evidence. In short, we want you to go undercover. Join the ring and get some evidence, or catch them in the act."
Zero coughed. "uh, yeah, I don't know if you've noticed this but the way our armor looks, we can't very well go under cover."
A sly and evil looking grin crossed Signas' face. "whoever said your going in armor?"
X shivered. "I don't like the way your looking at us." He concluded.
"oh it's nothing," Signas shrugged. "by the way, which one of you is skinnier?"
X's face suddenly turned defensive. "Hey! I've been working out a lot! You don't have to rub it in!"
"I'll take that to say that it's you." Signas gave Zero a once over. "Yes I do think it will work."
"what will work?" Zero was starting to not like the angle that the conversation was turning to.
Signas' grin returned. "Well you see, intelligence provided to us by the police already on the case tells us that there's going to be a meeting of the smugglers tonight. And that could very well be your ticket to getting the evidence you need. You see, two of the members have been captured and interrogated, and since the faces and voices of the smugglers are kept disguised during the video communications that they've had, you should be able to get in as those two members."
Zero nodded. "So I take it this is supposed to be the first face to face meeting they've had."
"Not only that," Signas confirmed, "but this is also their first meeting involving every member, so you'll need to make this one count."
"That doesn't sound so bad." Zero said. "What are our names supposed to be?"
Signas looked back down to his file. "Every member of the group has a codename, each of which is also the name of a bird. X will be going in as Crow, and Zero will be going in as Swan. We'll be warping you to Los Angelis with the Trans server in two minutes, so you'd better get down there."
X nodded and began walking to the command center Tran's server, but Zero stayed behind. "Signas." He began. "Why did you ask which one of us was skinnier?"
Again, that evil grin crossed Signas' face. "You'll find out when you get there." Both hunters now stood in the Trans server. "Prepare to warp!" Signas shouted. "Count down! T minus five! Four! Three! Two! One!" for a split second the ground around X and Zero glowed, then when the light disappeared, nothing was there. Signas chuckled again and looked back down to his file.
Name: Romia Jenkin
Details: Member of the smuggling ring in Los Angelis, with the code name swan.
Zero is gonna be so ticked off. Signas thought with a smile.
Meanwhile, in the Los Angelis Police Department
"You have got to be freaking kidding me." Zero was reluctant to part ways with his Z-saber and buster arm on a typical occasion but especially here. "Your saying you want us to go in there completely unarmed, were they could probably give us a run for our money with weapons."
The two hunters now stood with Detective David Sanderson, a rugged man in a blue police force uniform. "It's the only way that you'll be able to get in without a fuss." Detective Sanderson replied. "All members are required to go in without any weapons and to leave any body guards outside. You'll be going in disguised as Crow and Swan. And collect the evidence you need. You'll also need to take off that armor. It may look good to you reploids, but to us humans, it looks ridiculous."
"Alright then." X brought his hands up to his head and removed his helmet to reveal a mess of black hair that had never been styled in his life.
Zero was a bit more reluctant to take off his helmet, but when X pulled out the, "your not man enough" comment, Zero similarly brought his hands up to his head, as he grinded his teeth together, and removed his red and white helmet.
X's jaw dropped. When he looked at Zero's ponytail, he considered it a, 'sign of a warrior' thing, like Sampson, however when Zero removed his helmet, X lost any bit of respect that he had for Zero as a man whatsoever. Zero's hair dropped from his helmet down to his waist, in front of and behind his shoulders, it was a golden blonde even more notable now than it would had been, and it looked amazingly clean and well taken care of.
The amazing thing though, was not how much hair Zero had, but how it made him look like a girl. So much so in fact, that X concluded, had Zero been a girl, he'd have fallen in love with him right there and then. Even looking at the rest of Zero's body, there were two round gems on his chest that X thought would have fooled him if Zero said they were supposed to be for breasts. A similar reaction occurred in Detective Sanderson. By now, everyone was blushing, including the unfortunate hunter in red.
"What are you looking at?" Zeros' face had turned a dark shade of red that could have either made him look angry or embarrassed, but either way, the damage had been done. After this display of cuteness, X began to overheat, as steam poured out of his ears, and the poor Detective Sanderson began to suffer from a nosebleed.
"I do believe Signas was right in that memo he sent me." Detective Sanderson whispered to himself as he held a tissue up to his nose and took a cup of water from a nearby office cooler to pour onto X.
"Right about what!" once again, Zero was beginning to dislike the turn that the conversation was taking.
"Your disguises for the meeting of the smuggling ring tonight," Detective Sanderson began, "are actually very expensive, 'special occasion', kind of cloths, since the meeting is being held under the guise of a masquerade ball, once again, to keep the identities of members secret to prevent one member from ratting out another."
By now, X had managed to regain control of himself. "So what's that got to do with what Signas said?" His words were still somewhat slurred.
"It's probably easier to show you than to explain." Detective Sanderson had now made a complete recovery from his little episode. "We've prepared separate dressing rooms for you, as well as a few tailors and some other people to teach you ballroom etiquette. By the time the mission is underway, you'll be able to look, talk, and feel dignified, even if only for tonight."
With that, X and Zero both shrugged, and went into the separate doors specified by Detective Sanderson.
After the "briefing".
T-minus ten minutes to mission departure
X stood outside a black limousine a block away from the Los Angelis Police Department in a black, sharp looking tuxedo waiting for Zero. The first several hours had been spent replacing numerous weapon parts on his body, with less conspicuous ordinary arm and leg parts, designed to be the average thickness of human limbs. Anything else in those moments had been spent learning proper manners, which he had memorized quickly (he was a robot after all), and learning how to ballroom dance, which was rather difficult, seeing as his job normally required reflex, not rhythm. After another short session of putting on his tuxedo, and applying cologne, the last hour had been spent fixing his now straight and wet down hair. The only other part of the costume he needed to put on was a black, symmetrical mask, designed to look like a set of six crows feathers.
X looked down to the golden watch on his wrist, now unable to check the time on his heads up display which had been removed to prevent any unwanted reactions from tracking devices. "Where is Zero?" he asked himself. "We have to leave in eight minutes."
As X continued his pointless monologue, he brought his mask up to his face again. The formerly blue reploid sighed, and was just about ready to go into the station and pull Zero out himself, when someone else rounded the corner he was standing near. Now in front of him stood a blond beauty, wearing an astounding dress, a shade to light to be red, yet to dark to be pink. She wore a pair of sparkling gold earrings and her lovely conditioned hair fell down to her waist. Her cheeks and eyelashes were perfectly highlighted through a masterful application of make-up. X simply stared, and said, "Wow."
This one remark however, earned X a slap on the face. "What was that for?" X cried now holding his hand over the mark on his left cheek.
"One more word and I'll rip your arms and legs out of their sockets, and then I'll tear out one of your eyes so you can watch me shove them down your throat."
This confused X, until the truth dawned on him. This 'she' was a 'he' and this 'he', was Zero. At this point, X broke out laughing hysterically. Zero was of course, flaming red.
The next thing X felt was a high heel shoe to the face, and then, darkness.
X drowsily opened his eyes. He was in the limousine provided to him by detective Sanderson, sitting across from the detective himself. Beside X, sat the ever beautiful Zero.
"What happened…" X rubbed his throbbing head.
Detective Sanderson laughed. "Zero got angry and kicked you in the face. You were out cold for about twenty minutes." X now noticed that the detective was wearing a suit of combat armor and had a buster rifle.
"What's with your getup?" X had now recovered from his 'little nap'.
"He's supposed to be our body guard." A high pitch voice said. X started swinging his head, looking for the source of the voice when his jaw dropped. The voice had come from Zeros' mouth.
"What in the world happened to your voice?" X thought he may have still been unconscious and dreaming.
"Apparently my voice was to deep to be Swan." Zero replied in his newly acquired feminine voice, evidently annoyed by the turn of events.
"So I take it that Swan is a woman." X pondered this newfound knowledge. "That explains a lot." His mind flashed back to Signas' sly grin, and the question about the hunters' girth. It all made sense now. Zero was the skinnier hunter, which made him more applicable to be Swan.
Zero broke into X's thoughts. "So how are we supposed to find evidence? If none of the members personally know each other then they're probably not likely to bring anything incriminating."
"That is an excellent question." Detective Sanderson reached into a pocket beneath his seat in the limousine. He pulled out to round objects. "Your right in saying you won't find any evidence, so you'll want to get the information you need through the actual testimony of these guys. These may look like ordinary balls, but one of them is actually a non-metallic microphone, and the other is a small piece of software capable of holding up to one-and-twenty hours of audio recording. You'll use these to record them talking about the smuggling operations."
"Alright, that's all fine and dandy, but how do we sneak those into the meeting." Zero brought up an excellent point.
Detective Sanderson grinned. "Isn't it obvious?" he looked down to Zero's flat chest. "They did give you a bra for a reason."
For what seemed like the tenth time that day. Zero turned red with fury. "No. No. No. Just no. You've made me disarm, you've stripped me of my armor, you made me wear a dress and make-up, and you even made my voice jump an octave and a half, but you are not going to make me use fake boobs!" There was an awkward silence.
Detective Sanderson finally broke the ice. "They aren't fake boobs, they're a hidden microphone and recorder. Besides, there's another function they have too, although this one is best kept to the users ears only." X watched as detective Sanderson leaned over and whispered something in Zero's ear, and continued to watch as Zero's eyes went wide.
"You've got to be kidding me." Zero's high voice was no longer angry per say, more creeped out.
"I guarantee you I'm serious." Detective Sanderson leaned back into his chair. "From this you can tell why these things are so vital to the operation, so please just put them in your bra. It's the only place where they won't be discovered."
Zero seemed to ponder this. "Fine!" He shouted reluctantly, and in two minutes, not only did Zero look beautiful, but his figure was now even more feminine than the dress and make-up let on to believe. All that was left was for Zero to put on his mask. It was identical to X's but white, with longer feathers so that they reached the wearers ears, rather than just covering the face.
X similarly put on his mask, then paused. "Zero, what did he tell you?"
X had expected Zero's face to turn a deep shade of red, but instead was treated to a coat of white. "I don't want to talk about it." Zero replied rather simply.
"Alright, we're here!" Detective Sanderson alerted them. "Let's get this show on the road."
Gatewater Hotel Ballroom
X and Zero had been successful in entering the ballroom which had been reserved for the, 'exclusive party', they were to attend. X had picked up a pamphlet. "Hey Swan, looks like this building and the one next door has some history behind it. Looks like there was a murder committed in the other building by a guest at the hotel, and his accomplice also stayed in that room to report someone else as to doing the crime. Seems this bellboy's testimony was vital in putting the killer behind bars." X pointed at a picture of a rather fancy looking man with a caption that read, 'the bellboy that served the murder's accomplice iced coffee!'
Zero was half listening. "Don't forget that were here to meet the other members Crow." They now needed to keep up the act in order to make sure that they wouldn't be found out, a job which would be easily completed by Detective Sanderson, who had already been left in the limo to not look suspicious, seeing as no one else was permitted to leave body guards outside due to a change in plan and the known capture member Flamingo by the police, which gave everyone a reason to call as little attention to themselves as possible, but certain high ranking members were now given the privilege to carry small arms by each of the doors in case someone got to nosy, or a member got too uppity.
Their plan was simple. X would casually look around the ballroom, supposedly observing the art, whilst in actuality, looking for adequate escape routes in case things got hairy, While Zero would chat it up with other guest.
X wandered off undisturbed, making cheesy remarks about the craftsmanship of a cheap piece of art, while Zero began talking with the few female members of the Smuggling Ring. They all easily told Zero what he needed to know. From this, Zero could tell that they were probably wives to other members of the group, seeing as they were each taking pride in another individuals work.
Zero now had to talk to the seven separate male members of the ring. The first few, like the others Zero had interrogated so far, easily opened up to him and talked about their participation in the ring. The next one however, was quite a great deal more careful. His mask consisted of brown feathers and had rings around the eyes, thus suggesting that his codename was Owl.
"So may I know how your benefiting from this operation we are all partaking in?" Zero asked the man in the brown mask from behind. All the other members had been anxious to answer his question, why wouldn't this one be.
"Please refer to me as Owl, and I prefer not to talk about business matters with those outside my own organization."
Darn. He was smart. Zero tried to formulate a new method of getting the information out of him. "May I ask why not?" Zero quickly ran any ideas through his head that might work.
Owl turned around. "Simply because…" Owl looked down to the rather beautiful figure of Zero, and blushed something terrible.
It was then that an amazing idea hit Zero. Maybe those ballroom dance lessons wouldn't go to waste after all.
Zero took a single step closer to Owl. and looked up at him. "Simply, because?"
Owl's face turned an even darker shade of red. "S-S-Simply Because many outside contacts can p-p-prove themselves to be untrustworthy." The stutter in Owl's voice was evident.
"Then will you trust me if I become your partner in this next dance?" Zero now seemed to have the advantage. "After all, partners have a much easier time trusting each other than anyone else."
In mere moments, Owl found himself waltzing with possibly the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
"So now will you tell me why your participating in this operation?" Zero asked as they sidestepped down the carpet.
Owl's will had now been battered and bruised. He could no longer withhold the answer that this beautiful young woman sought. "My company specializes in making efficient mechanaloids. By smuggling in the necessary parts to do so, we're saving a fortune."
Zero finished his waltz with Owl, then proceeded to collect information for the next half hour from the remaining four members, using similar methods. After having gathered all of the information he needed, he rendezvoused with X.
X whispered to Zero, "Did you get everyone's story?"
"Yes, now we should be able to leave." Zero was anxious to get his body back to its original shape.
The two maverick hunters neared the doors when they were met with the intimidating sight of two men, each pointing their small arms at X and Zero respectively.
"Leaving so soon?" Zero and X turned their heads to see Owl. "Don't think I haven't figured out what you're up to. I must say though it took me a while." Owl looked rather proud of himself. "I don't know how you have been recording us Swan, but rest assured, whatever device you may have been using will be found and confiscated.
"How did you know?" Zero was sure he hadn't done anything to tip off the smugglers of his actions.
"Quite simple really." Owl began doing motions with his hands as he spoke. "I first noticed when I heard someone talking to the ladies over at the table behind mine, about how they were benefiting from the smuggling. At first I thought nothing of it, but then when you came to me I decided not to answer you, and yet you managed to ensnare me, and trick me into telling my secrets." He swung his fists' "That's not something I can let you live knowing, yet, at the same time, I can't bring myself to execute such a divine creation." Owl brought his hands to the air in a sort of 'Why me god?' motion. "So, I have decided to keep you prisoner, until I can find out what to do with you. And don't even think about using that ventilation shaft Crow. I've already spoken with the hotel manager. He's turned on the air-conditioning, thus blocking any escape route through the vents." X and Zero gave him blank stairs.
"You two!" Owl pointed at the door guards. Take the chains of that figurine, use them to tie these two up!" In a mere two minutes, a frustrated Zero in a dress, sat next to a displeased X in a Tuxedo, each with a buster magnum pointed at their head.
I knew this wouldn't work, Zero thought to himself. That guy may be a few marbles short of a full set, but he's still smart. Then again, maybe…
"X," Zero was whispering out the side of his mouth. "Was the escape route you found really through the air vents, or was it somewhere else?"
X replied grimly. "Unfortunately it was. I couldn't find any other plausible exits."
Zero could have cried right then and there were he not a reploid. The only way for him to escape this ordeal would be if he used… that.
Zero mentally face palmed. Pull yourself together! Even if I wanted to use it, there's no way I can activate it now. Zero was half disappointed half relieved.
X ran every scenario through his head that he could. How are we supposed to escape? We can't use the air vents, and as we are we certainly can't fight our way to the doors. If only Sanderson had given us a proper way of calling for help! X looked down to the chains that were being used to keep them confined. They let me keep some of my strength based functions, so I might be able to break these chains, but they had to make Zero look slender, so he won't be able to follow me. X considered this, and made his decision.
It was a risky gambit, but there was no other choice. X would break the chains, and try to use his reploid strength and speed to make it to the door. Seeing as he was unarmed against six men each with a buster magnum, his chances were slim. But maybe, if he could 'borrow' his captor's weapon, he might have a chance.
It's now or never. X prepared himself to shatter the chains. He formulated where to jump first to get a weapon, and the best route to the door. Unfortunately, he failed to notice the new member entering with a rather large buster rifle.
X's arms flew to his sides as the chains shattered, he reached behind himself, and threw the man behind him over his head, and jumped forward to grab the unconscious mans buster, he turned to the door, only to see the large weapon being held by a muscular, armored man, standing right in front of the only exit.
The new member fired his rifle at the ground near X's feet, causing the hunters footing to explode. X flew to his right, back towards the still confined Zero, and did a tuck and roll to avoid any damage from an impact with the floor. This, as a bonus, caused him to roll over the second magnum holding guard, standing next to Zero. He now stood in a combat ready stance, a deadly man fifteen feet away from him. An unconscious man beneath him, and a man in a dress next to him.
X fired two shots from his magnum at the man holding the rifle, but to his dismay, the man must have been wearing thick armor beneath his cloths.
"Drop your weapon or I blast you both into eternity." The man with the rifle was quite forceful in his words.
"X." Zero whispered. "Do what he says."
X had no idea why Zero was wanting to give into their demands, but did so anyhow.
"Now get back down in your chair." The man with the rifle gestured his head towards the seat X had been in.
"What now Zero?" X whispered back to his feminine friend.
"S…ze…st." Zero look down like he was pouting.
"What?" X was now talking at normal volume.
"I said… s…my…..st." Zero looked even more annoyed now.
"I can't hear a word your saying." X was now starting to look annoyed.
"I said, SQUEEZE MY CHEST!"
There was a deep silence in the ballroom. X looked taken aback.
"Well what are you waiting for!" Zero said in a rather loud whisper.
X began to stutter. "I-i-it's improper to do such a thing to a woma-"
"I'm a guy!" Zero said loud enough to sound angry, but not so much so to be heard by the other people in the ballroom.
"But-," X tried to justify himself.
"Remember what I said about tearing off your arms." Zero now looked like a homicidal maniac wanting to kill X.
The poor hunter in a tuxedo now realized there was no way out of the ordeal. X closed his eyes, reached in front of him and squeezed the two balls on Zero's chest. Zero looked as if he could die of embarrassment.
"Hey!" The man with a rifle was now furious. "How about you do what I say before you decide you want to have a moment with each other! Now get in the chair!"
X quickly sat down in his seat. The armored man now took an iron bar from one of the sculptures and bent it around X's arm several times. "Alright everyone!" he shouted. "Carry on! We'll get this guy taken care of when we finish up!"
X and Zero were again left confined in their chairs. X was confused. Why did Zero want me to squeeze his chest? The easiest way to figure out would be to ask, so X gathered up his courage and asked. "Hey Zero, why did you w-"
The wall next to them suddenly blew open, blowing out X's ears and sending both his and Zero's chairs tumbling. A storm of armored police members each carrying buster rifles flowed into the ballroom, followed by Detective Sanderson. "I told you you'd have to use it Zero." The detective smiled. "The only way to prevent the tracking devices in the microphone and recorder from going off accidentally was to put them somewhere where no one would touch them unless given permission, and activating them was as simple as squeezing the devices."
"Yeah that's great and all, but it would be even better if you could move X" X's chair had fallen in a position that put his head inside of Zero's dress, and once again, he was beginning to overheat."
Post Mission, two hours
"Aw man it fells good to be in my old armor again." The two hunters stood with detective Sanderson back at the police department. Zero had now regained his original manliness, by shredding the dress and accessories he had been wearing into a million pieces with a series of deadly swipes from his Z-Saber. It goes without saying that he had also regained his old voice.
"I'm just glad to get out of that tuxedo." X rubbed his shoulder. "that thing was chaffing something awful."
Detective Sanderson now walked in, having just finished changing back into his police force uniform. "Well you two." Detective Sanderson began, "I'd like to thank you on the behalf of the LAPD, yadda yadda yadda," The detective opened and closed his hand for sarcasm. "If there's anything we can do for you two though, don't hesitate to ask."
"Well unless you can find a way for me to maim Signas for making me dress up like that, I don't know what we could ask for." There was no hint of Sarcasm in Zero's voice.
"Well I don't know about maiming him," Detective Sanderson began, but maybe…"
Two Days later
"Ugh… What happened?" Signas woke up in what appeared to be his office in the hunter base. A quick look at the clock showed that it was about five minutes before the beginning of the day. The last thing Signas could remember was going out for a drink with X and Zero after work. To the officers disappointment, Zero did not give a major reaction to the mission he had given him. Zero referred to it as a harmless joke, and invited Signas and X for a little summit. I must have come gotten drunk then came back here and passed out in my office.
The other hunters would be arriving soon, so he began to make his way to the command center. As he walked through the hallway, he saw the hunters best navigator Alia walking down the opposite direction as him. "Good morning Alia." He said politely.
"Good mor-" Alia looked up at Signas from the file she was reading, and her face instantly turned as white as a sheet. "-ning." She completed after a long pause.
"Is there something wrong?" Signas was now curious. If one of his subordinates was in distress, it was his responsibility to make sure they could still pull their weight at work.
"No sir, it's just…" Alia looked down to the floor. "I never realized you were in to that sort of thing." She quickly walked away.
It was then, that Signas noticed his reflection in the metallic wall of the hunter base, where he saw himself wearing a pink dress, jewelry, and make-up.