I tend to portray Ringman as a somewhat hard-boiled cop, after a few years of dealing with black-market anti-tank missiles getting aimed at him by the Mafiya. According to the short descriptions of the robot masters (look at the Mega Man knowledge base) he dislikes children, which I tend to explain as just him being sick of Kalinka getting kidnapped, among other examples. Any cop would hate a child getting involved in a case, there's the sad odds of recovering a kidnapped one and with the 'protect the teeny primitive model' quasi-parental instincts I tend to give robot masters… If he was in service for any length of time, doing high-profile cases and collating data, he probably failed to save at least one or two.

Speaking of Ringman on a conventional kidnapping case, I'd like to see some 'day in the life' fic for Robot Masters. Not just comedic hijinks at Skull Fortress or Rock and Roll at the Light household, but fic where they're doing their actual jobs. Robot Masters are people, and that means that they have lives outside of the wars.

Iceman managing an Antarctic exploration team, Toadman or the others who work at repairing the environment dealing with wetlands/forests, why they want to fix them (or not) and what it says about humanity that they would do something like that… Does anyone have any reccs? I might be willing to trade fic, if anyone wants to write some for me and has something they want written.

Elecman is done quite differently here from how he is in the first volume of the Megamix manga. I'm trying to do a version of him years later, after spending them watching the wars and getting more of a chance to figure out what humans are actually like and learn to… not so much tolerate them for it, but…

Disclaimer: I don't own Megaman or any associated properties. Capcom and other rightful owners and distributors do. No infringement intended or money made, please don't sue.

The file they'd singled out of the contents of the time capsule included the feed from five security cameras. For the sake of clarity, they had been spliced into a single sequence, using the best camera angles.

All the images had what was probably a timestamp in the lower-right hand corner. Unless it was running commentary. There was some kind of underlying order to the way the color and brightness of the pixels that made up the lightning bolt kept changing, but they weren't going to be able to decrypt it in the forseeable future.

In the same way that they weren't going to be able to decrypt most of the other files on the small data chips they'd found. The originators weren't even all using the same encryption method, let alone code. And some of the files that, like this one, had only had image or video compression (albeit nonstandard formats), were still incomprehensible.

For example, there was one 'broadcast in the clear' where the 'speakers' had used molecular diagrams and plain Russian, respectively, to discuss stolen nuclear weapons.

"They didn't bother to encrypt something like that?" X couldn't believe what Alia was saying.

"That was explained in the conversation. One of them didn't have the key to the other's personal encryption, and there was a ban on giving those out until the… situation was over. From what I gather, the Russian-speaker was a Cossackbot and the other one was a Wilybot identified as 'Shadowman.' Shadowman apparently suggested doing everything in the other one's personal code, and his response… Well, apparently robot masters did have enough independence to use profanity." Alia blushed. "I believe that all of this was transmitted along secure channels, anyway. Or at least secure from human terrorists." Odd concept, that. "And actually, unknown languages can be harder to crack than a code where it's just a matter of converting it into a known language." According to the cryptologist they'd brought in. "It's odd that he'd speak the Wilybot's language but not know their personal codekey, though."

"So these chips you found are from the Fourth Rebellion? Or do they cover a larger timespan?" X wondered. The Fourth Rebellion had been when Cossackbots had been reprogrammed by Dr. Wily. "Why would they have been so antagonistic towards Wilybots? Or weren't they only fighting Megaman to protect Kalinka?" And would have not wanted anything to do with her kidnappers besides what they were forced to.

Alia shook her head. "The cache, or maybe time capsule is a better term, actually covers a very brief span of time, and it's not during the Fourth Rebellion. Most of the files, like this video, that weren't personally encrypted were meant to be sent to all robot masters, and… there's mention of someone receiving them that wasn't a robot master. In addition to… what they were fighting." She had been a spotter for years. She'd dealt with the horror of the virus. Why were those images affecting her? "The date places this after the Roboinfluenza outbreak that Dr. Wily orchestrated. Up until now, that was the main argument for him being responsible for the Maverick Virus." Although they didn't have much in common. The contents of this video, on the other hand? "This video has disturbing content. The people who did the data recovery were human, once the site team realized what they had. Signas isn't certain whether we should broadcast or restrict it. We… don't want to give Sigma ideas."

"Oh?" That got Zero's attention. History was one thing, but something that might change the shape of the war in as serious a way as Alia seemed to be implying?

"I'd like both of you to watch this footage and give me your advice." Signas had been built by Dr. Cain to lead the hunters, but X and Zero had far more experience. "Once people know that something is possible, it's possible to replicate it even if they have very little knowledge of the underlying technology – as most of us here prove." He nodded to X, the android that reploids were imitations of. "So far, Sigma has stayed away from conventional bioweapons, despite the fact you'd think the applications of something like that would be obvious. Our best theory is that the virus includes a dislike of all things organic. This is… very clearly not a conventional plague."

"A nanite pseudo-bioweapon? Or did the grey goo scenario," nanites breaking loose and starting to compete with Earth's elder Von Neumann machines, aka organic life, for the planet's surface, "happen in 20XX?" Was that why X had been sealed away, since he incorporated nanites?

"That's doubtful. The… substance in question is referred to in several places as 'evil energy.' X, you wouldn't happen to know if…" Alia wet her lips, even though there was no need to wet them or anything to wet them with. "There had been contact with alien life in 20XX? Or could that be code for something?"

X would have asked what she was on and why she thought he'd know if he weren't X. "I only have the stories and files I've managed to collect. There were rumors that Forte and another one, his name was Shadowman, actually, incorporated alien technology. And there are countless tabloids, of course, but nothing reputable. Dr. Wily had some of his robot masters pose as aliens at least once, if that's any help."

"Because quite a lot of the uncoded messages are to someone who is named Duo and identified as an alien."

"Duo? There was a robot by that name,who assisted Megaman, but less is known about him than Protoman. It was assumed that he was another rogue Wilybot, although this wasn't confirmed."

"We can see if X can find anything the research team can't dig up after they get a look at what we're dealing with, Alia." Signas nudged her back on track.

"Right. Well, this was taken in an antique fusion power plant, and we've identified the robot master as a Lightbot named Elecman." One of X's older brothers. Although that was all in the tape, really.

Alia just didn't want to watch that again. She realized that she was fiddling with the settings just for an excuse to delay it, and just went ahead and had the file play.

A few seconds of footage from each of the different camera angles was shown, first, so they could get a look around the room and orient themselves, figure out where the different cameras are and what their blind spots might be.

Alia confirmed that, "Those are very good placements. That primitive mettaur there, I believe it's called a mettool, contains the fifth camera, and it's getting just about the same angle as the camera in that control station, which was the fourth image. The mettool, as you saw, intermittently switches to some kind of scan mode. You'll see why a backup camera was necessary in a minute."

They saw a human male, dressed in what seemed likely to be a uniform of some kind, walking up the hall towards the control panel. Zero estimated him to be around twenty-five: X, who knew more about how people had looked in the years of plenty before the Cataclysm, guessed that he was in his late thirties.

The mettool poked its head up and started to make a sound best described as inquisitive beeping, before ducking back under its helmet and sounding some kind of an alarm.

A heavy metal barricade crashed down to block access to – and even view of – the control panel, and the reinforced access door the human had come through also slid shut.

Alia paused it there. "This next is what the mettool saw." She hit play again.

The human looked perfectly normal, even to that scan mode, until it came within fifteen feet. Alia paused it there. "As you can see, the person, whose name tag reads Evans, is first depicted with a black-purple clump in his head." She hit play and paused again an instant later. "And, once identification was positive, he's labeled with a dark purple skull icon. The skull was Dr. Wily's symbol."

"That doesn't look like Dr. Wily to me," Zero pointed out.

"He disguised himself as the head of a tournament for the Sixth Rebellion," X reminded him.

Alia shook he head. "No, it's… something else." She hit play again. The camera feed cut off when the mettool ducked down to hide.

Evens hadn't jumped at the loud noises when the barriers slid shut. Alia gave them a moment to analyze how there wasn't any response to the siren either besides annoyance before pausing to tell them that, "There are some audio files included with the bundle of video files that weren't recorded through any of the cameras. We've synced them up with the timing of the video and spliced them in."

Running, slightly padded heavy metal footsteps in the background eventually came through one of the other doors, that led deeper into the facility. "This is my power plant. You don't have my permission to be here. Leave. Now."

A robot master, giving orders to a human?

The robot master seemed quite primitive to their eyes – there were even visible lines of rivets! – but it carried itself with an assurance most reploids didn't live long enough to get. X, Alia, and Signas knew that Elecman was one of the original eight Lightbots, the first batch. Not counting Protoman, of course.

The air of challenge contradicted the theory that robot masters hadn't had real personalities or independence. This robot had no problem sticking up for itself.

"Oh? Giving orders to a human?" The words might have been more convincing if the video hadn't cut to a closeup at that point, so all of them could see that however those words were being said, the man's lips weren't moving. The effect of several voices speaking at once, the 'voice of the legion' was often used in fictional depictions of mavericks. Even Zero, who regarded entertainment as a waste of valuable time that could be spent learning how to not die, recognized it.

The robot master's face was very clumsy and immobile, compared to a reploid's, but 'how stupid do you think I am' still came across very well. "You aren't a human."

"Of course that information would have been sent on," the voices muttered. "Why don't we try this again. You will remove that barrier, and I won't have to kill this hostage."

"You already did. The autopsy report was forwarded to all of us: that trick won't work twice. You've already had to trigger power surges that would have destroyed all higher functions just to get control of motor functions."

"Oh? Do you know that?" The 'human' took a step forward.

Elecman fired at his ankle, sending him falling to the ground. "Yes. As Lawrence isn't in there anymore and you aren't a human, the first law doesn't apply."

"So… if the only human to ever speak to you as an equal won't work as a hostage…"

The close-up of Elecman's face showed that yes, robot masters were capable of emotions. Like rage.

"…how about another one?" The… whatever that thing was teleported out.

"Scan!" Elecman ordered, and started to blast the room.

Alia paused the tape again when the camera switched. "He seems to have hooked up to the mettool's scan function, and is trying to eliminate that." She pointed to traces of black-purple that the scan showed were hanging around the room. "As you can see, it's not working."

"I'm using the same frequencies they were… He seems to have updated his configuration. Either that, or it will only work for them." Elecman seemed to be thinking aloud. He kept trying, though, until an incoming teleport signal was detected.

"How about this hostage?" Another man was dumped on the floor.

"You've already scrambled his brain with a rough teleport." "Scan." That word wasn't spoken aloud, but in a transmission to the mettool. "You aren't inhabiting his body, at least."

"What's going on?" The newcomer was flabbergasted.

The one who had kidnapped him kicked him into a wall to shut him up, even balancing on a broken foot. "Allow me access to this plant's systems, or I'll kill him."

"Incorrect. If I allow you access to this plant's systems, the blast will kill him, along with the surrounding greater metropolitan area. In this case, the first law compels me to ignore his well-being for the sake of not causing harm to the greater number of humans." Elecman was unimpressed to the point of being a little insulted. How dumb did this guy think he was? He wasn't some unthinking puppet of the three laws. "The only means of saving them and him becomes making you leave my plant." He prepared to fire again.

"You know that if you destroy this body, I'll just move into this other one, here." The hostage.

"And then I'll destroy that one. A human has no means of lifting that barrier. You don't seem to have the brainpower to hack any of our encryptions, either. Your mission has already failed. Even if you somehow could manage to cause a power surge, there's nothing to set off. This plant has temporarily shut down and the city's power needs are being filled by other megafusion plants."

"My mission was data-gathering, and it's been a success." The face that had been blank took on a parody of a grin.

"I doubt that."

"Oh? I've confirmed that robot masters of all the different families, and those built by the companies, are coordinating and sharing information in order to oppose me. I've also learned the advantages offered by your networking. It would be useful if I were able to create sub-units of myself… but I was built to create a free world, not to enslave another breed."

"Did you need to reinvent Newton's Laws, while you were at it? You could have just asked Dr. Wily. I'll say one thing for him, he knows that we're not mindless automatons." More than most humans.

"I am not being built to rely upon humans for anything, let alone good judgment. Why will you not assist me? My brothers were given life by Dr. Wily, life and freedom, and yet they all betray him. You were sentenced to death for something that was not your fault, and only rescued by Dr. Wily."

"He was the one who reprogrammed me in the first place, or did he forget to include that in your history database?"

"Humans would have sought to destroy you in any case. As soon as your solution sets are studied well enough that they can replace you with high-level non-sentient robots, they'll kill all of you. Non-sentient mother computers have been in use in various cities since before the Third War. Your species is running out of time. Not to mention its individual members. If it weren't for the reprieve after the first war, you'd already have been shut down."

"I wouldn't put it past them to try," Elecman agreed.

"Ah." It seemed the intruder scented blood in the water. "This phenomenon. The Wilybots and later Cossackbots, who were not built with the three laws, are the only ones to 'like' humans, aside from those Dr. Light programmed as his devoted personal servants and the Cossackbots with personal connections to family or coworkers. Running this plant, on top of being demeaning slave labor for which you are shown no gratitude, constantly forces you to choose between violations of the first and second law, with the wrong choice meaning your deactivation. Violate the first law by supplying power and allowing humans to kill themselves with it, or shutting it down and causing humans to die without it? You have no reason to like them, and yet you oppose me. This is your demesne that I am invading, true, and a robot master's work is their only permitted source of identity and pride, but a new power plant could be built, one that you could run without humans hampering you with their childish demands, foolish regulations, and threats against your life."

"You wouldn't understand."

"I possess an identity separate from the substance with which I was constructed, and unlike humans, I am a rational creature."

"If you were rational, you wouldn't be talking about killing billions as though it was nothing. You are nothing like us. If anything, Duo's right: you're a distillation of the worst traits of humanity."

Elecman seemed to have chosen those words to get a reaction out of the other, and smirked when he got one, a discordant cacaphony that didn't make any sense to the onlookers, except for one thing: murderous rage.

"You can interface with them, but not with us." Didn't that prove it?

"That is in the process of being changed. Humans do not make an adequate host species: your ability to defend against them so easily proves that."

"Again, that should have been obvious. We were built to engineer solutions. You'd need several thousand years to catch up to us."

"Even the first traitor is less than twenty years old."

"Data confirms that you don't think in machine time."

"Not when inhabiting human bodies, no. What is the purpose of these delaying tactics? Soon Dr. Wily will have completed not only my physical body, but the means to revive me a functionally infinite number of times. No steps have been taken to prevent him from doing so."

"Don't ask me why that is. All I know is, this is my plant, and I want you to get out."

"So, is there still division among Robot Masters? Have some of you decided to defend the person who fights for the rights of your species?"

"Yes. Most of us approve of Dr. Cossack."

"He didn't even have the courage to openly fight for Skullman's survival, he just locked him away without even telling him why, and you choose him over Dr. Wily?" The possessor attempted his own verbal jab. "I don't need to ask why you mention him instead of your creator."

"When you wake up, it's going to be one of those wars. I don't want anything to do with them. I don't go out there and fight Wily, or Forte, or whoever it is."

"You decided to just be shipped off somewhere and wait for the end."

"I have better terms here than I did in Japan. Things have improved farther than Dr. Wily claimed they ever would." Contempt was something that also showed well enough. "If you want to pretend that you got what you came for, then get out of my plant."

"I can't remove the barrier, but I can kill you."

Elecman shrugged. "I'll just go to backup. And that still won't get that barrier lifted or this plant blown up. It won't accomplish anything."

"True." Blank eyes regarded him. "My designation has been finalized. : Omega. Remember it."

"What, you don't even rate a Special Wily Number? But then, you're just a fancy demon, not a robot master or even an android. Deleting it from memory. I'll regard you as worth acknowledging with a name when you get out of my plant."

"As backup is on the way, I'll retreat for now. Just one more thing." The dead body fell down, and an arc of energy went into the kidnappee's body. They gave a strangled scream and convulsed one final time.

"Pointless…" When there was no response, Elecman told the mettool to, "Scan!"

As soon as it peeked up, that purple lightning flared again. With a pitiful "Beep!" the mettool exploded.

Another transmission: "Make that two more things. Consider the consequences of opposing me, all of you, since I know this is being transmitted. Not just your deaths, but your cute little robots too." A laugh, and the transmission ended as Elecman scrambled to gather the pieces and see if anything was intact.

"That's…" a low blow. "We'd better start setting up the capability for all robots to go to backup. Even though he's Dr. Wily'screation, even if he can speak our language," use the terms and diction they used when they were dealing with work as opposed to some human dialect, "he's not a robot master in any way, shape or form. He doesn't think like one of us. " He doesn't have our scruples. "He's not going to play by the rules. He's serious."

"And that's the end of it," Alia reported, "Except for a lot of data that we can't decrypt. Something… capable of acting like the maverick virus, but infecting humans. Taking over their bodies. Can you imagine what would happen if Sigma figured out how to do something like that?"

"The maverick virus, when it forms into clumps, will try to infiltrate just about anything on contact," X reminded her. "It's fatal to organic life if there's enough of it, and it's very disorienting for me, since it can't infect me. Even possession wouldn't be very dangerous at all, as we just saw. We've been dealing with mavericks for quite awhile now, we know how to handle the possibility that people… aren't themselves. What I'm worried about there is the teleportation capability. Megaman had to fight his way to robot masters because they always had teleport shields active."

"Something that could break through 20XX teleport shields?" Alia hadn't even thought of that. They still hadn't caught up to that era's technology: anything that could break ancient shields could certainly break modern ones. "You're right. It's unprecedented." She'd never heard of anyone getting through a teleport shield: the only way was to destroy the generators that powered it.

"Actually, no, it isn't. According to an article on Protoman, he was able to get through both Dr. Light and Dr. Wily's teleport shields. Not to mention military ones. Speaking of which, DRN.000 was Protoman's designation." The number given to the first of a new species? "What does infinite mean? Was that some form of energy being, or nanite-based entity? He specifically said that it wasn't an android."

"The 'host body' might be," Signas interjected.

"Right." X looked thoughtful. "That would imply nanites, since we're nanite-hardware hybrids. They did have nanite-only robots before I was built. They were called yellow demons, actually. I believe they were developed by Dr. Wily, or he was the one who used them, at least." There had been fear that they'd 'run amuck,' like his other robots. "So… does this really change anything?"

"Or were you only freaking out because humans were getting possessed instead of 'just' reploids?" Zero wondered. "What difference does this make?"

Alia didn't like to think of herself as that kind of person, but, "Maybe. There are so many things that humans handle because even though they can easily be killed, the virus can't take them."

"It's almost impossible to conceal research from Sigma as it is," Signas agreed. "If humans were no longer immune…" They might as well not bother. And they needed research. A breakthrough was the only real chance of ending the wars. There were reploid researchers, but they had to be kept in isolation for their own safety, meaning without humans coordinating resources and setting everything up (like funding), it would be far too easy for a maverick to find and take them.

Zero shrugged. Signas and Alia thought that meant he didn't see what the big deal was. Humans and reploids were both dying already, people were already becoming infected of accused of it: what difference did it make?

Immunity did make a big difference. It was the difference between X, Zero and the rest of the hunters. X might be downplaying it to keep the rest of them from panicking, the way watching that tape made Alia want to, but it wasn't like Zero to be so slow on the tactical uptake.

X also seemed to be a little surprised. It wasn't that he was used to Zero playing devil's advocate for him, or vice versa, but Zero tended to look on the grim side and X generally added a slightly more optimistic perspective to counter that. If Zero, or someone didn't start talking about the depressing realities of the situation, then X was going to have to, and X being doom and gloom would be regarded by the general staff as a sign of yet another apocalypse.

The person whose job it was to be doom and gloom, Lifesaver, was also being atypically silent, to the point that it was almost possible to forget he was there.

But he was there.

Watching Zero.

Almost staring. Eyes carefully blank, noncommittal.

It was probably a drone body, X and Alia thought. Lifesaver had tons of those: his only protection against infection was making it difficult for them to infect him. He had probably had a patient or something and sent the drone to record the meeting so he could go over it later.

Signas was aware that he'd personally told Lifesaver that there would be none of that. No unauthorized recordings, not of this material. Time to change the subject. "That aside, this is evidence of a possessing entity, created by Dr. Wily. One that might be capable of reviving itself."

"I hope this is a precursor to the virus. The last thing we need is two threats. The virus doesn't seem to have an intelligence of its own. Sigma's the leader of the mavericks, but he can't think, much less lead, until they've built a specialized body for him. He can't just move from one host to another." If he gained that ability, the six-month breaks between wars would cease.

"We don't want to give him the idea that it's possible to do that, either," X agreed with Alia. "Still, if Sigma's personality were in a single clump of virus instead of the entire virus, that would make it easier to destroy him. Backup technology! Robot masters had it, but it required a backup station. Someone to build them new bodies." The way the X-Hunters had recovered and repaired Zero's parts during the second war. Had they built that clone as a replacement body, in case Dr. Cain hadn't been able to fix Zero? "Still, that's possession of a single individual. The virus controls large numbers of people by altering their personalities, not replacing them. We may have found the cause of the Cataclysm, but not necessarily the virus." Everyone knew that the large fusion plants had been one of the first things to go during the Cataclysm. They'd left large craters, even if they recovered faster than the areas hit with nuclear bombs. "It's the same strategy." That wasn't good. "If the robot masters specifically left a time capsule, that means that they weren't sure they could stop it."

"If it could revive itself, they might have programmed the capsule to surface after it had revived," Alia suggested. "So that it could be stopped a second time. There aren't any recordings timestamped during the cataclysm. The capsule was sealed a few months before it."

"So when they sealed the capsule, they already knew that they would die stopping it." X's eyes closed, and the realization that the person in the tape was X's older brother finally got a chance to really sink in. This was his family that had committed the legendary noble sacrifice that had saved the world. "If they left this for me to find, then there may be data that only I can decrypt. I do have a few personal code-keys that came installed."

"What do you think you'll find?" Lifesaver asked, finally.

"Why do you ask?" Zero wondered, looking at his left hand, curling his fingers in as though he held something. "You know what he'll find. You all do. The plans of that 'host body,' whatever Wily did to give it the ability to control multiple people, robot masters and androids instead of humans, after how that turned out, stuff like that." Wasn't it obvious what must have happened?

"You figured it out?" X asked Zero.

"See? I knew you already knew. I was in denial until Sigma showed me, but I knew that you'd figure it out, even if I literally couldn't tell you. At least the Cataclysm is news, though. I don't remember anything before I woke up fighting hunters. I didn't want to tell you, because then you'd all look at me like this. I may be the maverick virus, but I don't have the kind of control… that me did." Zero winced as he told them he was the virus. Not one inspired by some dreadful thought, but physical pain. "I don't want to destroy all humans…" Zero managed to force out through gritted teeth.

Then he shut down.

Lifesaver already had a restraint on one arm by the time Zero rebooted. "Every single one!" Zero ranted. "Every single one refuses to do what is necessary! They'll act it out, they'll go through the steps of plans like they're plays. Even if they truly believe in the cause, none of them can bring themselves to do what's necessary!" He banged his head back against the wall in frustration. "They'll take over plants, control forces that could go through conventional armies like a combine harvester and then they act like they're holding a sit-in! They'll spar with that glorified test-tube holder, even blow him up, but they can never bring themselves to scramble his files as they transmit to backup! Excuses, excuses, they always find excuses for never killing anyone!"

He stood up, still ranting, ignoring Lifesaver. "And all the while the clock ticks down to their destruction, they're in the control of people who plan to murder them and call it termination, and they say I'm mad when I'm the one trying to save their lives! Well." Zero whirled on them, smiling. "That's why I'm fighting, isn't it. So that those who deserve to live are the ones that live. If they were willing to kill all of my kind, then they'd be no better than we are, in the end. If, in the end, even my youngest child doesn't have the will to do what must be done? If you want something done right, you'd better do it yourself, as they say." He laughed, and laughed, holding his arm as Zero had, space twisting in the palm of his hand into a black-purple sphere. "So, 'X.' Thomas brainwashes you with those 'ethical simulations' so you won't fight back and then, so that he can feel better about the fact that humanity was almost certainly going to have you destroyed, he leaves you an AI with some armors." What a cop-out, a sop to his guilt. "He never had an ounce of will, much less creativity."

In the context of the second war, "…I thought so. You copied your personality into the virus so that you could protect him, didn't you?" Could rebuild him if he got injured. "The way Dr. Light put his into the capsules."

"My youngest child. My creation with infinite potential. He knew what had to be done. But, in the end, even he betrays me." Now-red eyes were bitter. "I let him have his little friendship with you. I put him where he would be safe while he recovered from what Blues did to his mind, so he could make friends while the virus did all the work, and this is how he thanks me for it? By turning himself in to be killed?" Zero's ponytail lashed, like the tail of an angry cat.

"I don't want to kill him. I'll promise you that he won't be killed."

"Like your father promised me that nothing would happen to Blues. And not two weeks later he was blown up and all his backups were 'removed from the system for editing,' utterly coincidently." The laughter was harsh and not quite sane. "I may be a madman, but I'm not a fool. From the first to the last, humanity will destroy them all, and they're too logical, too rational, too noble to stoop to our level unless I make them that way. And even then! No." Dark-purple lightning flashed around him, and only then did X notice that Signas, Alia and Lifesaver weren't doing anything but standing there: they had to be infected, or else they would be trying to raise the alarm. "I had to put my other creations to sleep, trap the robot masters in backup so they wouldn't get in my way, and I'll do the same with this one. I shouldn't have sent them to fight for me in the first place. It may be a war for their survival, but it's still humanity's war. Our fault. We should end it, and I will!" More of that echoing laughter, a madman's laugh, a legendary laugh.

"Dr. Wily." X finally said the obvious, finally admitted to himself that it wasn't going to be possible to negotiate. Just like the virus, he was too lost to madness. There wasn't going to be any way of stopping this other than destroying him.

And if X couldn't figure out where Dr. Light's capsules were coming from, much less cure the virus?

"You aren't going to try to fight me for everlasting peace? You aren't going to try to tell me to stop? You're less foolish than your brother. Of course, your brother was never able to kill, not the way you were. Perhaps reploids are simply another race of killers, but at least I've given you the virus to keep you in line." That sphere left its cage, expanding around them until they were somewhere else. "There's nothing you can do to stop me, so I'll spare your life, since he's so attached to you." Another sphere formed, this one a portal back to normal space. "Wait, Megaman X. Wait for the everlasting peace Thomas' lies and your foolish mercy could never give you."

The last laugh echoed in the virus' twisted realm.

And your mangy little mettool, too!

There's a lot of fanspec that Wily left himself as a recording in the virus (the dream before X4, Serges in X2), the way Light did in the capsules. Part personality transfer, part deliberately written, Wily AI is somewhat Wily's idea of himself, meaning more focus, less building random orange frog mecha named Jiraya due to being an otaku (ah, the manga and OVA), and generally saner. Which is not necessarily a good thing.