Sorry for the wait, but I'm back and here's the fruit of my semi-hard work.
Chase and the crew of the Nirvana have returned in Vandread: Gunslinger. Second Stage.
"We're hit" Chase yelled after a small barrage of crimson laser impacted the Shogun "Dammit this isn't good Jura let's separate before they get another shot off".
Nodding her head Jura flipped the separation switch and her dread and Nighthawk separated back into two ships.
With the two ships on their own Chase flew to the side providing cover for Jura as she returned to the Nirvana.
"Don't worry Jura we'll protect you" Dita said as Vandread Dita flew by her shooting down several pursuing enemies. "There's no way these things are gonna beat me" Hibiki claimed after they shot down Jura's pursuers.
"What was that?" Chase asked gaping off into the distance "Something flashed out there"
Everyone directed their attention out past the enemy fleet and gasped when they saw the flash before a massive laser tore through the Vandread annihilating its left arm.
"Dita!" Meia gasped as the Vandread hunched over from the impact.
"Meia!" Chase yelled.
Snapping her head back to the front the Dread commander didn't have time to gasp before the same massive laser vaporized her and her Dread before the same happened to Jura.
"Dammit!" Chase yelled narrowly avoiding the same laser only to have a second one arc out from the first and hit him.
His allies gone and devastated debris drifted around him Hibiki growled before watching helplessly as the same barrage of crimson lasers were turned on the Nirvana. Yelling in anger for it to all stop Hibiki clenched his eyes as the Nirvana was destroyed.
Shooting up from his bed Hibiki gasped for air as he stared at the wall of his dark room "What was that?" Placing his hand over his left arm he could feel a small twinge of pain as if he had actually been injured.
Walking into the hangar Hibiki stared up at his Vanguard before remembering the light that consumed everything in his dream "Just what was it" he muttered before hearing someone yawn behind him.
Looking over his shoulder the young pilot saw Dita standing alongside Meia and Jura while Chase was leaning against the wall rubbing his fingers over his eyes as his shirt rested over his shoulder "Already turning into a bad day" Chase yawned as he turned to face Hibiki.
Immediately zeroing in on the scars that covered most of Chase's side and lower stomach "What are you doing up so early?"
"It was trying to communicate with us" Meia began as the three female pilots lowered their heads "Trying to tell us something. Or at least that's how it felt to me".
Surprised Hibiki asked "Are you saying you saw the same thing I did?"
"So you saw it to Mr. Alien?" Dita asked him.
"So we all shared the same dream" Chase began before yawning "I don't like that".
"That's creepy. How can we all have the same dream at the same time its weird" Jura said holding her hand against her head.
"Headache?" Chase asked her looking over to her with closed, tired eyes.
Jura nodded painfully before turning around "Sorry. I'm going back to bed".
"Yeah. I'm headin' back to the sack myself" Chase said with another yawn "I'll think about this later".
Wondering the halls in a half asleep daze Chase was thinking on the dream he shared with the others, but ultimately was more focused on getting some more sleep. Overhearing Dita asking Hibiki when he was going to visit her room Chase stopped mid step and listened from the corner of the hall keeping his eyes closed as he lined his feet together.
After Hibiki and Dita went their separate ways Chase yawned just as Meia walked over to him. "Just another normal day huh?" he yawned.
"I suppose you could say that" Meia replied just as Chase yawned again "You seem a lot more tired than usual today. Did you sleep ok?"
Chase nodded "Yea I did. Only thing is ever since that surviving death's door situation I've been feeling nothing, but fatigue no matter how much I sleep. I'm probably just sick a little I'll go see Duelo about it later".
In the conference room Captain Magno, BC and Gascogne were having a meeting about the current status of their return trip to Mejere.
"We're approximately 90 days from Mejere. As for Operation Harvest, Earth plans to harness our body parts as a new source of organs, our home world and Tarak should realize the threat we're facing".
Mango asked sternly "Understood, but what about the message pods we sent out earlier?"
BC answered "They should've arrived at the two planets by now, but we haven't received any form of confirmation from either Tarak or Mejere".
"It looks like we're getting the cold shoulder" Gascogne added.
The aged pirate leader reassured them "I'm sure they will not ignore the messages we're sending them this time. Once they learn that Earth plans to harvest our reproductive organs".
A screen appeared above the table showing Parfet "Reporting captain".
"Anything to report?" the captain asked.
The engineer nodded "I'm afraid so. The Peksis is acting up again and I can't determine the cause".
"This again?" Magno sighed.
"Its probably just residual side effects from when the Nirvana fused together" BC guessed.
At the prison block of the Nirvana Bart was eating some pills that Tarak used to ensure that their workers had enough energy to get them through more work than any normal person could do otherwise. "Women are weird. At first I believed that they eat a man's internal organs" the blonde helmsman said before looking at the book in Duelo's hand "What's that book you're reading? Any good?"
Duelo smiled as he closed the covers around his thumb and held it up for Bart to see "I found it in the storage room of the pioneer ship."
Reopening the book the young doctor read a small passage to the helmsman "The baby's life starts when the seed, which is the father's sperm, is accepted by the female egg called an ovum. The two of them join together to form a zygote, which in turn develops into a fetus".
Bewildered Bart stared at the doctor "You're really into that stuff?"
Duelo smirked "I find it fascinating".
Hibiki walked into the room and tiredly collapsed onto his bed; both Bart and Duelo wondered what made him so exhausted. "I really don't know why I bother anymore" he muttered.
Offering Hibiki a few Tarak food pills Bart asked him what had him so exhausted to which Hibiki gladly complained about.
Duelo asked "You promised that you would go to Dita's room?"
Hibiki nodded "Yeah, it just came up at the heat of the moment you know?"
"So what's the big deal?" Bart asked "Just go ahead and see her".
"You go and see her!" Hibiki snapped.
The helmsman shook his head as he held his hands up "No way, you were the one who made the promise, pal".
Hibiki grunted "You got to be kidding! Go into to a woman's room? A real man would never do that!"
"Bull…Crap!" Chase said from the doorway.
Looking over to the entrance of the cell Duelo asked "Have you been standing there the whole time?"
Chase nodded "Yes and Hibiki there's a few things you should realize. I know that you and everyone else on Tarak were raised differently than me and other colonies across the galaxy, but it's normal for men and women to be together. Furthermore what a real man would do is keep a promise he made, so stop making excuses, stop being such a wimp and just go see her".
After Chase left Duelo added to the conversation "He has a point. Your other self should've realized that".
The young pilot was having trouble finding the right words to use "It's not that I want to break the promise, but…" growing frustrated he snapped while keeping a blush on his face "Look! If I go in there, what are we going to do when I get there? What are we going to talk about?"
Both Bart and Duelo concurred in unison "Good point".
Finally back in his room Chase sat at the edge of his bed with his head leaning against the wall and his eyes closed as he thought about the dream he had that morning. "There's got to be a reason it showed us that" he thought as he recalled the final moment of the dream up until the Nirvana was destroyed.
Hearing a knock at his bedroom door Chase weakly opened his eyes and got to his feet "It's open".
The door slowly slid open and Barnette was standing in the door way with a small smile on her face.
"Well seeing that smile makes my day look a lot better. Is there something wrong?" the cowboy said as he draped his brown shirt over his shoulder.
"Not really" Barnette replied tilting her head to the side "I…I was just on my way to do some target practice and was wondering if you'd like to join me" she said trying to keep her usual aggressive tone.
Chase gave her a cocky smile before accepting her invitation "Sure I'll meet you there just got something to take care of first".
Turning around Barnette told him not to keep her waiting and left leaving Chase alone in his room.
Putting his shirt on Chase grabbed his light brown vest and placed it over his shirt leaving it open before straightening his hat. "Well let's get on with the day, can't stay in my room all the time" he smiled before leaving.
Making a quick trip to the hangar Chase walked over to his mecha and walked up the ramp and into the cockpit "How ya feelin' buddy?"
The desert colored mecha gave off a subtle cawing sound before quickly falling silent.
"Yeah I know. We still have a long way to go, but I'll tell them eventually. I just wish I didn't have to".
After he finished speaking Chase walked down the ramp and over to Nighthawk's left leg and removed a 5-foot double bolt, electronic locked panel. "Right where I left you" Chase muttered as he reached into the storage space hidden behind the panel and retrieved a preserved 1876 model Winchester rifle.
Holding the butt of the rifle firmly to his shoulder Chase checked the sights before pushing the lever forward and bringing it back several times.
"Still works. Been a while since I last used it, let's hope it can still fire properly" the cowboy said before looking back up to Nighthawk "Well. I'll check on ya later Nighthawk, you be good until then".
Nighthawk remained silent as Chase left the hangar and heading for the shooting gallery.
Stopping just outside the shooting gallery Chase reached for the door's control panel, but froze as he looked down at his hand. A mixed expression of hesitance and fear covered his face for a few seconds before he sighed and closed his eyes.
Pressing the control panel he slowly withdrew his hand from the panel before returning a forced smile to his face and entering the gallery with his rifle resting against his shoulder.
"Sorry to keep you waiting" he said to Barnette just as she loaded a fresh clip into her handgun.
"Took you long enough" the green haired pilot said trying to hide the fact that she was glad Chase showed up.
"Feeling any better Jura?" Chase asked looking over to the back of the shooting gallery.
Jura nodded her head to the side "Yeah. I just can't stop thinking about Ezra".
Chase straightened his line of sight as he stepped onto the circular platform that raised him to the center of the firing line "Her baby's due any day now isn't it?" he asked "Let's hope it's a safe delivery".
Barnette looked over at Chase's rifle and her eyes widened "Is that an 1873 model Winchester?"
"1876, but nice guess" Chase said turning to face her "Did I never mention it?"
Barnette shook her head "Its fine I prefer handguns to rifles, but still it's impressive to see a rifle that old in such good condition".
"Well let's see if keeping it in such good shape has payed off" Chase said before activating the target discs in the back of the gallery.
Quickly removing the safety from the rifle Chase fired immediately taking down one target before pushing the lever handle forward, ejecting the empty shell. Bringing the lever back the rifle clicked as it loaded the next shell in place and Chase fired again.
Both Barnette and Chase shot down target after target keeping mental notes about how many they shot down until only one target was left for both of them.
From the back of the shooting gallery Jura said "You know Barnette. I want to have a baby".
Surprised Barnette missed her last target just as chase shot down his last one. Ejecting the last shell from the rifle Chase turned the safety back on and rested it against his shoulder as he looked over to Barnette who seemed to be in a state of shock.
"What? Do you want me to be the Ohmah?" the green haired pilot yelled.
"No silly" Jura replied "I want to have a baby with one of them men".
"And I'm out" Chase muttered to himself as he turned to leave.
Seeing Chase leave Jura called his name "Chase will…"
"Talk to Hibiki, Jura" Chase called back, cutting her off as the doors closed behind him.
After Chase left Jura looked over to Barnette who still seemed to be in disbelief at what Jura told her "What?" she asked her friend "Just think about it Barnette. I'd be the first woman in Mejere history to have a baby with a man. I'd be hailed as a hero".
Just a few minutes after Chase left the Nirvana's alarm went off announcing the presence of an enemy fleet.
Arriving in the hangar as if he predicted the enemy attack Chase quickly climbed into Nighthawk and activated the mecha's systems "Ready Nighthawk?"
Nighthawk's eyes lit up as it threw its head back and roared before it launched out into space to confront the enemy.
"I've confirmed some kind of life signal" Chase announced looking down at his radar "It's moving slowly I think its some kind of pod".
On the bridge BC looked back at the captain "Do you think someone survived the harvest?"
The captain closed her eyes and groaned "It's possible. There's only one way to find out. All dreads retrieve that pod. Don't fight unless you have to".
Before the other pilots could even launch Chase had already eliminated the first enemy wave and grabbed hold of the escape pod, pulling it toward the Nirvana "Gascogne take this thing off my hands so I can deal with these doggies".
The delivery ship was already just a few miles away from the desert colored mecha "Go ahead and release the pod I'll grab it" Gascogne said through her teeth.
Releasing the pod from his hands chase turned around and turned to Meia "Meia you ready to take these things down?"
The dread leader nodded "Ready when you are Chase".
Meia's dread quickly turned towards Nighthawk and the two fighters fused together forming the Musketeer. The forest green mecha's left arm and unleashed a full auto barrage of green lasers down on the enemy, but most of them evaded the lasers much to Chase and Meia's surprise.
"Looks like you can teach an old dog new tricks" Chase said just after Meia swung the Musketeer's right arm back cutting through a single cube type "They've definitely improved since our last battle".
Far behind them a small group of cube types struck the delivery ship shaking loose the escape pod it was towing.
"The enemy is retreating with the pod" Belvedere cried from the bridge.
"They're ignoring us?" Chase wondered from inside the Musketeer.
Back on the bridge Magno smiled under her cowl "If what's inside that pod is important enough that the enemy is willing to turn its back on us then we simply cannot allow them to have it. Everyone get that pod back at all costs".
"That's what I like to hear. Meia you're on your own. Dita you're with me" Chase said separating from Meia and flying towards Dita.
Dita stopped her dread allowing Chase to combine with her, once the light disappeared and the Celtus was formed Dita watched in silence as the mecha's wires twisted their way around Chase's arms and legs.
"Ready Mr. Cowboy?" she asked.
Chase nodded as he threw his right arm back as if throwing something over his shoulder.
The dark blue mecha mimicked Chase's movements as it threw its right arm back throwing its cloak over its shoulder before its eyes lit up in an ominous green aura.
"Jura, Hibiki get ready to secure that pod" Meia ordered as Chase and Dita sped after the retreating enemy.
"You're not getting away" Chase yelled as he placed his hands together in front of his face in a praying gesture. Waiting a few moments for the Celtus to build its energy Chase launched his hands forward.
The Celtus mirroring the movements of its controller unleashed a triple barred wave of dark energy that easily caught up with the escaping enemy and vaporized them.
"All right we're up" Hibiki cheered as he combined with Jura. Once the Vandread was formed it launched its shields out in a small circle securing the escape pod.
"That's how it's done" Jura said posing as if she was having her picture taken "Am I good or what?"
"Yeah well better late than never" Hibiki grunted just before Jura scooted over to him.
"Listen Hibiki" Jura said before making her tone even more seductive than normal "I want to have a baby. Will you give me what I need?"
"We're in the middle of something right now! We don't have time to talk about stuff like that!" Hibiki yelled in an embarrassed, uncomfortable tone.
"Less yappin' more getting' back to the Nirvana" Chase yelled as the enemy fell back and watched.
"Mr. Cowboy look!" Dita cried as she spotted a new signature on the radar.
"Well well looks like we have a new dance partner" Chase grinned as the new enemy showed itself from behind the enemy lines.
The new enemy seemed like a stingray. Its wings just flapped as it swam through the void of space before attacking.
"As nice as it is to see a new face I'm growing weary of this lets end it" Chase said as he and Dita attacked the new enemy.
The stingray shaped enemy easily swam around the Celtus' energy waves and retaliated with its own fire scoring several hits causing moderate damage.
Both Dita and Chase grunted in pain as their ship was hit "Well that's new" Chase said through clenched teeth before realizing that the stingray was attacking Vandread Jura.
"Kid, Jura get back to the Nirvana" Chase ordered.
"We're trying this thing keeps getting in our way" Jura screamed before the enemy shot out one of the Vandread's discs dispersing the shield.
"Dammit they've got the pod again" Hibiki growled before separating from Jura.
"Dita this is where we separate as well" Chase said before commanding the ship's wires off of him.
After Nighthawk was returned to normal Hibiki and Dita fused together "Let's get 'em" the young dark haired pilot cheered.
The stingray shaped harvest type came back around after several cube types secured the escape pod and immediately open fired on Vandread Dita scoring a massive hit on its left arm.
"Hibiki! Dita!" Meia gasped.
Hibiki grunted painfully "What was that?" Both Dita and Hibiki looked down at the control sphere for the left arm and noticed that it was flashing. The left arm started to deteriorate, turning a dark rust color from its normal blue shade.
"This is just like before" Hibiki thought "Just like in the dream".
Attempting to use the shoulder canons the Vandread moved slightly before the power quickly died out leaving the Vandread defenseless.
"What's going on?" Hibiki yelled.
"This is…just like before" Dita gasped as she frantically tried to control the ship, but to no avail.
"My weapons aren't working on it" Chase yelled after realizing that Nighthawk alone didn't have the firepower to deal with the massive stingray enemy before them "Jura!" he cried.
"Right leave it to me" Jura cheered as she joined with Chase forming the Shogun.
The dark grey mecha had not been seen for sometime. Everyone had almost forgotten about it. Its bulky, humanoid shape gave off an intimidating appearance, the massive sword hanging from its waist and a single shot canon on its back. With an intimidating battle cry the Shogun's eyes lit up in crimson red light before drawing its sword.
Sitting right next to one another Jura looked over her shoulder with a sly smile and a begging expression "You know we are all alone in here".
Chase smiled as he hid his embarrassment "I told you. Talk to Hibiki about that besides there's something a bit more important to focus on".
"Hibiki" Chase yelled through the radio "If I save you again that's another life favor you're gonna owe me, so get ready to clean my clothes when we get back to the ship".
"Not a chance" Hibiki roared as he clenched the controls "Dreams may seem real when you're asleep, but I'm not sleeping now and I refuse to let it end like this. I won't let you tin cans win" he yelled giving the Vandread the power it needed as it sprang back to life.
"Die!" the young pilot roared as he targeted the Stingray with the Vandread's shoulder mounted canons.
The Shogun was right alongside the Vandread as it drew its sword and leaned forward twisting to the left building up force for its swing.
Once the Vandread fired its canons the Shogun swung its sword full force.
With the duel collision from both frontal sides the stingray enemy couldn't resist the power behind the attacks and was destroyed.
"Yeah that's how it's done. How do you like me now Chase?" Hibiki boasted before realizing that the Shogun was no longer next to them.
"Hey kid hurry up or we'll lock you out for the night" Chase called back after the Shogun returned the escape pod to the Nirvana.
In the hangar Meia looked up to Chase and Hibiki just as they got out of their respective fighters "We may have gotten reckless, but we got the job done".
Chase grunted smugly as he walked by her "You say reckless I say fun".
Scoffing at his comment Meia and Hibiki followed Chase to the sub hangar as Parfet overrode the lock to the rescued escape pod and stepped away as it opened.
A cold mist escaped as the pod opened "So it was a cryo pod" Chase thought.
When the mist cleared the crew looked in awe at what was inside.
It was a girl most likely in her early teens with deep, dark blue hair tied into a ponytail. She wore a yellow outfit and had yellow, triangle shaped earrings.
Hibiki was in the back hopping up and down to try and get a look, but quickly gave up and started shoving his way through the rest of crew.
Eventually losing his footing he fell forward and his face landed in the pod. Hibiki immediately pulled out of the pod just as the girl inside opened her eyes.
They were crimson red and then all of a sudden one of her earrings glows and a hologram of a yellow shapeless creature was projected just over her shoulder.
"Did you see that?" Pyoro shrieked from the back.
"What is that?" Hibiki wondered just as the girl began staring at him.
"It's you. You saved me" she said before jumping up into a sitting position and hugging Hibiki in a vice like grip "Thank you, my lord prince!" she cried happily.
Barnette said in an awkward, small annoyed tone "Lord…"
"Prince?" Jura finished just as Chase took his place next to Barnette.
Seeing this strange girl hugging Hibiki made both Dita and Jura jealous as they quickly looked at her with disdain.
Paiway in the back of the crowd giggled "This is definitely getting interesting. A red circle check!"