The Death Stinger had been defeated. The world was allowed to know that. However, they would not know what happened afterward. They would not know about the Dark Kaiser, Gunther Prozen. They would not know about the Ultimate Deathsaurer. And they would not know about Zoid Eve.
The reason for this was simple; they could not risk its discovery. Those who witnessed Zoid Eve and the Deathsaurer were told to keep quiet. Revealing the events of that day to anyone would be considered high treason, punishable by death. Its existence and location were covered up by the Guylos and Helic militaries, and were only known to those few who participated in the battle. The civilian residents of Zi could not know Zoid Eve existed, or the world would face destruction.
Both the Guylos Empire and the Helic Republic faced heavy losses, both civilian and military, that fateful day. But it would not happen again. Evopolis was buried, along with the corpse that was the Ultimate Deathsaurer.
The next matter was rebuilding. New Helic City was in ruins, along with most of the Helic Republic. The Empire suffered much fewer, though still extensive, losses. It would take years to rebuild.
But the most important matter, in Van's opinion, was Raven's trial. Nobody trusted him, save for Van. He didn't know why, but Raven seemed… different, somehow. To Van's surprise, Raven did not fight when the MPs arrived and clapped handcuffs around his wrist. He simply walked, quietly, as they led him to the Gustav, specifically customized for the purpose of transporting Raven to prison.
The world feared and hated him, and who could blame them? He had killed thousands. But something had changed him. Something had caused him to lose his thirst for blood.
He was taken to a military prison in Guygalos, to be held until his trial. The other prisoners were terrified of him, and avoided him like the plague.
Van went to visit him. He was led to a small room with thick walls, which looked to Van like it was meant for executions.
There was a small table at the center of the room, with a chair on either side. Van noticed one was bolted to the floor. He did not have time to wonder why, as Raven was walked in through one of two doors that led into the room, and was cuffed to the chair.
Van sat down, not exactly sure what to say. "Why are you here?" Raven asked. He did not sound angry, but genuinely confused.
"I needed to talk to you about your trial. It's only two weeks away, and Colonel Shubaltz suggested a compromise." Van replied.
"A compromise?" Raven scoffed. "Nobody would agree to any compromise concerning me. The world wants me dead, Van. That's all there is to it."
Van had expected a response like that. "Not everyone wants you dead, Raven. Believe it or not, many people want you out of prison and in action, for many reasons." Van stopped for a moment to see what effect this would have on Raven. Raven did not speak, and his face revealed nothing.
Van continued slowly, "Colonels Shubaltz and Herman have both agreed that you will be cleared of all charges on the condition that you serve in the Guardian Force."
Raven spoke again, with an undercurrent of anger in his voice, "So they want me to work for them. What a surprise. And if I say no, I get a death sentence. How considerate."
"It's not like that, Raven. They aren't forcing anything on you. They're offering you freedom. That's a big deal."
"I'm weighing my options."
"Don't be like that."
"What should I be like, Van? I'm facing a death sentence which I rightly deserve, and I'm being offered freedom by the people who put me here in the first place! You're telling me to either work for you or get gassed in front of a million people. What do you want me to say?" Raven said, incredibly angry now.
"I want you to accept the offer."
"Listen, Van. One way or another, the Guardian Force is going to kill me one way or another, whether it is an execution, a failed mission, or a shot in the back of my head. I don't see why—"
"Reese has already agreed."
This caught Raven off guard. "What?"
"You heard me," Van said. "Reese was already approached, and she accepted the offer."
Raven was shocked. Not because Reese had accepted, but because Van had expected him to care—and because he found that he actually did. "Reese accepted? When?"
"About a month ago. It was a lot easier to contact her, though. Do you have any idea how much security you need?"
"Don't change the subject. Why does the Guardian Force want me working for them?"
With this, Van fell silent. The answer was kept secret, even among the Guardian Force. It was a dangerous subject, and Van had hoped Raven wouldn't ask about it. He spoke just one word, a name they both knew all too well. "Ambient."
Raven did not believe what he was hearing. Ambient should have died along with Hiltz and the Deathsaurer! He couldn't be alive. It wasn't possible.
Ambient. That name stuck in Raven's head, until long after Van left. Ambient, the red organoid. Ambient, Hiltz's partner in his bloody rampage. Ambient, the organoid that killed Raven's parents.
Raven and the Guardian Force came to an agreement. Raven would serve with Van, the only pilot he truly respected. He would not take orders from him. They would be considered equals in rank. Anyone Van could command, Raven could too. That was fine by the Guardian Force.
In truth, Raven didn't care about the terms. He didn't care who he served, or who served him. He didn't care who had to die.. All he cared about was Ambient.
Once again, Raven was out for blood.