Okay, now I managed to get up Chapter 7. It took me a while mainly because of lack of motivation to use the computer in recent days, it was kinda slow these past weeks. Anyways, enjoy the content.
"Captain, wake up."
Talon awoke from his bed to see Epsilon staring at him. The autopilot couldn't express emotions, but Talon could see from his slight shaking that he was excited to tell him something. If it was something that warranted his attention, it must've been important; especially at this time.
"What is it, Epsilon?" Talon asked.
"The autopilot of the Axiom has contacted me." Epsilon answered. "We can return to earth."
"What? This is unexpected."
"We can finally head back home."
Talon sighed. "Yes, we can."
Epsilon moved closer to him. "Something troubling you, sir?"
"No . . . nothing."
"It's him, isn't it?"
"We can't bring him back, Epsilon."
"Isn't it obvious? His past, his orders, the army we built? He doesn't want to bring mankind to a new era, he wants to conquer it. Bringing him back will be our downfall."
"I agree with you one hundred percent, sir."
"Yes sir. He is nothing but a self-serving tyrant. I've learned about his past: What he's done, why he did it. He wants nothing but power, which is why he started the ancient war: to wipe out Buy n' Large, thereby shattering the organization of the nations under its power so he could bring them back up under his control. It was an attempt to establish a worldwide dictatorship."
"I know that Epsilon. I didn't make Captain for nothing. I had to work for it."
"But sir, I looked at his bio-signs earlier to check his condition. His mental stability is deteriorating from the long duration of cryostasis. He's going insane, which makes him too dangerous to have around."
Talon got out of his bed and walked up to Epsilon. He put his hand on the top-left corner of Epsilon's wheel-shaped body and patted him gently.
"Thank you for agreeing with me, Epsilon."
"But what should we do with him, Captain?"
"Keep him in cryostasis. We're not dropping down to his level and becoming monsters like him."
Epsilon went up into the ceiling and vanished. Talon rubbed his eyes, then clapped his hands twice to activate the coffee dispenser.
"To be finally able to return home," he said to himself. "My father always said he wouldn't live to see the day. I didn't believe I would either."
Talon grabbed his cup of coffee and took a small drink. He looked at the captain's list, specifically at the previous captain: Reginald Talon. His father.
"Dad, I'm sorry," he said to the image. "But your orders to bring the Prophet back are too risky. I hope you understand."
Talon turned around to see Keller standing by the elevator. His face was flushed red with anger.
"The Prophet is our savior!" Keller growled. "He will lead us to a new age of prosperity!"
"He will bring nothing but death and despair!" Talon snapped. "I will not allow that!"
"He helped save my family bloodline!"
"And he erased millions of others in the war he started! He is a monster! A soulless beast!"
Keller's face turned even redder. He went up to Talon and got in his face. Their noses almost touched.
"You are wrong, old man." He hissed.
"I'm the Captain of the Atlas, and what I say goes! Now get out of my office!"
Keller opened his mouth as if to say something else, but stopped himself and went for the elevator.
"You will regret this, you old fool." Keller said before the elevator doors closed.
Talon watched the elevator for a while, then turned to the viewscreen to gaze at the stars. He took another drink of his coffee, and then tossed the cup into the nearby garbage chute.
"It's going to get harder with him around." He muttered. "I need a solution to all this."
"Focus. If you miss your target, you're as good as dead."
WALL-E watched from the spectator room as EVE and her sisters fired at practice targets in the simulation room under REX's tutelage. Since it was just practice, the targets were unarmed humanoid blobs running around mindlessly. EVE and her sisters were lined up perfectly, all with their ion cannons drawn and firing at the targets with good accuracy, only missing on occasion. REX paced back and forth behind them, watching their progress.
REX started using some of their free time to train EVE and her sisters in combat tactics. He said that since the probes were the only ones with weapons, they were the only protectors of the Axiom and its crew. Also, EVE asked REX for training because she wanted to be more effective in protecting WALL-E. WALL-E actually took some lessons himself too. Although because he didn't have an ion cannon, REX trained him in stealth and infiltration because he said his small-shape made him harder to see. WALL-E even learned how to use his cutting laser in a combat situation: always go for the eyes.
The combat training also was great because WALL-E got to know more about the sisters, especially their personalities. Neon was a bit hard-headed and rash in thinking, because she had a tendency to take the direct approach in a situation; Angel was more mild-mannered and logical, as she had a tendency to ask questions a lot; Izzy was more shy and isolated, mainly because she didn't speak much; and Vi was very chatty and energetic; as she was always in high spirits and got excited very easily. Their behaviors were diverse, which made WALL-E sometimes think if they were even related to EVE.
"Cease fire!" REX suddenly shouted.
The five probes immediately stopped their barrage and put away their guns. REX moved in front of them and looked at each of them with a straight face. During combat training, REX was completely devoid of emotion and filled with authority. He took the training very seriously.
"You all have good aim, I'll give you that." He said to them. "But that won't mean much if the enemy shoots you first. Stay mobile. Don't ever stand still."
Three blobs suddenly started running towards them. REX pulled out his pistol and, without looking, fired three quick shots at the blobs. They each dropped in a domino-like fashion.
"Okay, let's get a training mission set up." REX continued. "Elise, run combat program A-002003."
"Good choice, Alpha." Elise replied.
The terrain began to change. Instead of the usual computerized grid, the landscape changed into a small desert town with several buildings around 10 to 15 feet high. WALL-E noticed signs of a foreign language and strange looking decor on the buildings.
It wasn't until the first enemy combatant appeared that WALL-E realized what the simulation was. The target was a human figure, dressed in heavy robes and carrying an AK-47 assault rifle. Their training mission was a combat situation against Taliban insurgents in early 21st-century Afghanistan.
Since his brother was ex-military, WALL-E started taking an interest in military history. He spent some of their training sessions reading military records using the Blackwing records to learn about military technology and even past wars. EVE sometimes joined him in reading too. It was very interesting the things REX was involved in during his past life, it made WALL-E respect him even more for doing such noble things.
"Mission enabled," Elise blared. "Neutralize all hostiles and extract the hostage."
Insurgents began pouring out the buildings. Most were using AKs, but WALL-E would see the occasional RPG, AK-74, or other weapons that were used during that time period. There were hundreds of them running around, shouting orders in their native tongue, and taking positions to prepare for the incoming six-robot team.
WALL-E could see the hostage being taken away by three insurgents into a large building that was surrounded by enemy tanks and technicals (vehicles mounted with machineguns). The hostage was a man in a black business suit and sporting a briefcase. In most combat simulations, that was what the hostage usually looked like.
The robot team then began their attack. Angel and Izzy took up firing positions on the nearby rooftops while EVE, Neon, and Vi stayed on the ground level and used the nearby buildings for cover. REX used his enhanced strength to flip over a car and used it as a makeshift barricade.
Soon enough, the action started. WALL-E watched as insurgents fired on REX and the probes, who returned fire using their appropriate weaponry. The insurgents' weapons didn't cause any damage, but if someone was hit, then they were marked "dead" and had to sit out the rest of the fight. If any insurgent was hit, then they dropped to the ground to simulate they were dead, much more realistic than the training blobs that disappeared when they were finished.
EVE and her sisters definitely were learning from REX, and fast. They took orders from REX instantly and were effective in carrying them out. They even developed their own fighting styles:
Angel became the marksman, she tended to keep her distance from the battle and pick off targets using the built-in scope on her cannon. Izzy became the demolitions expert, preferring to blow things up with her cannon at full charge. Neon became a close-quarter expert, as she liked to clear buildings and also had some hand-to-hand combat experience from REX. Vi was more of a gunrunner, she liked to constantly move and outflank the enemy using her speed.
EVE was much different from the rest of them though. She asked for the best training from REX, so he drilled her hard in several different combat tactics. Not only was she the best shot among the sisters, she was also skilled in several different combat specialties, stealth and infiltration being one of her most expert traits. She even did well as a tactical expert as she gave orders when REX wasn't around and could lead her sisters efficiently.
Their battle continued, REX ordered Vi to take flanking maneuvers while he, Neon, and EVE moved up the main road to provide distraction. Angel used her marksman skills to pick off insurgents with RPGs while Izzy leveled buildings that had insurgents deeply rooted within them. Insurgents dropped faster than WALL-E could blink. They were no match for the robots with superior weapons and battle tactics.
REX had said he had thousands of features, and he knew how to demonstrate. Every combat mission, he would show a new ability that served a certain purpose. So far, WALL-E had seen a missile launcher, a grappling hook, breaching charges, and smoke bombs come from his brother.
And he did have another one for this mission: as one insurgent fired a rocket in his direction after he left his car/barricade, REX covered himself in a forcefield and took the rocket full on. When the smoke from the explosion cleared, he didn't even have a scratch.
They started to push forward after the insurgents' numbers dwindled. Vi and Neon flanked through the buildings, clearing them out while REX and EVE moved up the center road. Angel continually repositioned herself to find better sniping positions while Izzy took care of enemy technicals and tanks that left their positions at the hostage building and entered the fray. It was so hard to believe that EVE and her sisters had all gotten so good at learning combat tactics. REX hadn't trained them for very long, but already they were skilled.
After a few more minutes of intense fighting, they got to the target building. REX ordered the girls to set up a breaching maneuver. He, EVE, and Vi took the front entrance, Angel and Izzy took two different side doors, and Neon floated above the building to crash through the roof. REX then pulled out several blinking red objects about the size of Hal from an unknown part of his body and placed them on the corners of the door and went to the side. Breaching charges.
REX's breaching charges were made exactly for that purpose: breaching. They were small explosives that generated a powerful force in a fixed direction. When attached to the door, they would blow inwards, sending the door inside and taking out anyone foolish enough to be in the way.
REX readied the charges by raising his mechanical arm. He pulled out his pistol with his human hand and gestured to EVE and Vi to prepare to breach. They acknowledged him by raising their ion cannons and taking positions on the sides of the door.
Just seconds before REX set off the charges, the viewscreen changed so WALL-E could see inside the building. There were about seventeen insurgents inside, using some of the nearby furniture and walls for cover with the hostage tied up in the farthest corner from the door.
Then, the breach commenced. The front door blew inward, taking out two insurgents, and REX dashed in firing his pistol. EVE and Vi followed after, firing their cannons with incredible precision at the closet targets.
Almost immediately after the breach, Angel and Izzy blew out the side doors and crashed in firing their weapons. A section of the ceiling exploded and Neon flew in through the hole firing at targets as well. It all happened so fast, all of the insurgents didn't even have a chance to fire their weapons.
Angel went to the hostage and cut him free. She and Vi kept the hostage secure while REX relayed their next objective.
"Hostage secured." He said. "Let's move for exfil."
The exfil point was a large clearing about three miles east of their position.
The team moved out of the building and took off for the exfil point. REX took the lead with both his assault rifle arm and pistol drawn. Angel and Vi followed close behind with the hostage while Neon, EVE, and Izzy took the rear.
Insurgents suddenly started pouring out from everywhere in the buildings ahead of the team. They scrambled through the streets and rooftops surrounding the extraction in preparation for the six robots.
REX ordered Angel and Vi to take the hostage into a nearby building and Neon to help guard them. EVE and Izzy followed him as they moved to clear the extraction.
"All out!" REX yelled.
REX then brought out his missile launcher, which was his mechanical arm transforming into four cylindrical tubes that extended into a "+" sign shape. High-velocity energy missiles fired from the tubes at high speed and with twice the power of an EVE ion cannon at full charge. REX had said he had the option of firing the missiles with unguided, locked-on, or remote control, allowing him flexibility in taking out heavy targets with them.
EVE and Izzy took to the skies and rained down fire with their cannons while REX dashed around the outer perimeter, firing missiles at the buildings. Explosions erupted everywhere with buildings crumbling under the extreme force. Insurgents were engulfed by the explosions and disappeared from sight. They didn't stand a chance.
Soon enough, the remaining insurgents retreated and the extraction point was cleared. REX signaled for Neon, Angel, and Vi to bring the hostage to the exfil point.
A green square appeared on the ground, which was the objective marker. When Angel and Vi brought the hostage onto the square, the environment altered back into the usual, empty room.
"Mission complete." Elise chimed in.
"Good work," REX said. "I think that wraps it up for today."
REX usually kept their training sessions short. He said they should enjoy their free time and that they were learning way too fast. WALL-E was actually a little disappointed, he liked the training sessions. He liked learning new things from his brother.
REX then put something to his mouth while EVE and her sisters watched him diligently. WALL-E used his zoom feature to look closer at the object REX was holding. His curiosity overwhelmed him again. The object was about the size of one of REX's fingers and cylinder-shaped with a BnL logo on it.
"Go ahead." REX said. He wasn't looking at anyone when he was talking so that object near his mouth must've been an Axiom communicator. REX was talking to Captain McCrea.
REX then turned to the viewscreen and signaled to WALL-E to come down. WALL-E made his way to the lift and pressed the descend button to make it go down.
Even after seven days of REX being around, WALL-E still couldn't seem to understand him. At times he was joking and extremely friendly, it showed from the irritation he kept causing EVE with pranks and snarky comments. But at other times he would express a kind of rage that made him look like a cold-blooded killer, it certainly showed after his little bout with Auto.
But his anger wouldn't be a concern. WALL-E learned that REX lived by family. Because he was his brother, REX would never turn against him, nor would he turn against anyone who was friends with WALL-E. He could control his anger and knew how to use it in the right circumstances.
As the lift came to a stop, WALL-E stepped out to join the others. EVE gave him an affectionate hug for no general reason, which WALL-E didn't mind.
"That was the Captain." REX said. "He wants us back at the landing zone to help with the decorations."
"Okay." WALL-E replied. The decorations were for a new arrival. The Captain said that they made contact with another starliner and it was on its way to earth with an estimated arrival time of ten days. WALL-E had his trash-cleaning duties replaced by the giant WALL-A bots so he could help set up a welcoming party for the ship's arrival.
McCrea told them that five days ago. There was still five days left.
"C'mon," REX said. "Let's get going."
The group took the teleporter to the main lobby and made their way to the elevator back to surface level. Elise bid them goodbye as they left.
When they got outside, they found several humans and robots moving all over the place. No doubt they were all scrambling around to get work done and to set up the decorations. It was going to be a busy day.
They made their way to an empty landing zone, which the new ship was supposed to land in when it arrived. WALL-E saw Captain McCrea, John, Mary, and the rogues waiting at a large rectangular table set up with several different party favors. Flags, banners, and confetti strings made up some of the decorations.
They walked up to the others and exchanged handshakes, then McCrea spoke.
"I have John and Mary in charge of the decorating right now." He said. "I have something important to do at the Axiom."
"Something to do with the Atlas?" REX asked.
"Yeah. Auto got a communication link with the Atlas and I'm going to speak with the Captain."
"Allright. See ya later."
McCrea then walked off in the direction of the Axiom. WALL-E watched him for a bit until John's voice got his attention.
"Mary's gonna take the girls to do some painting. We're gonna work on clearing the nearby debris and setting up party favors."
"Could do with some labor," REX said. "Always keeps me at ease."
WALL-E eagerly tapped his knuckles together to show that he was willing to work. Ever since that last party, WALL-E started to like celebrations because they were so much fun. And because EVE and REX were helping, it got all the more better.
"WALL-E," EVE said softly to him. "Be good."
WALL-E nodded to her in acknowledgement. She had been getting on him to behave because in the time REX had been around, WALL-E started getting much closer with his brother, sharing his nature of pranks and jokes. EVE didn't like REX's snarky behavior, and she was very irritated when WALL-E started to take on that trait. He did his best to behave from now on.
"C'mon girls." Mary said. "Time to paint."
EVE and her sisters nodded in acknowledgement, then grabbed some paintbrushes and paint cans off the table and started painting on the ground nearby.
"Let's do our part now." REX said to WALL-E.
WALL-E agreed and they got to work. REX focused on clearing the debris in the area while WALL-E grabbed party decorations and placed them in certain places he thought would look appealing.
John walked up to REX. "How come you're not doing any decorating?"
"I'm bad at these sorts of things." REX replied. "You want me to organize something, I'll tell you how to best defend it against an enemy attack. You know, army style."
WALL-E certainly didn't share REX's trait of a bad sense of style. He had plenty of decoration experience due to how he organized his truck using his collection of trinkets. Guess that was really the one thing that set him and REX apart.
They continued working. REX got to clearing out more debris while the rogues assisted WALL-E with setting up the decorations.
Some time went by, then WALL-E noticed that everyone was getting bored as they worked: EVE and her sisters were stroking their paintbrushes lazily across the ground with barely any emphasis. REX was making slow progress getting junk out of the way as he seemed to show no kind of eagerness for work. Everyone else didn't really do much except walk around for a long period after setting up a party favor.
WALL-E then decided to liven things up by playing Put on Your Sunday Clothes on his recorder. Some music was bound to bring everyone's spirits up.
Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at him curiously. They didn't seem to catch on.
But soon after, the rogues began singing the tune with the beeping and buzzing sounds they made. EVE started to hum the tune with her sisters joining in. REX just grinned and got back to working on clearing debris. It was unusual for REX to get quiet during the song, he was actually pretty good at keeping a tune.
Soon enough, everyone got back to work with more enthusiasm. EVE and her sisters started painting the ground in practically a frenzy since they were moving all over the place as they worked. The rogues started to grab several items at a time and dashed around setting them up.
WALL-E smiled to himself. He was very good at making people happy. He made EVE happy, he made REX happy, and he made all of the humans happy.
It was a good day to be him.
"Captain, the link is established."
McCrea straightened his hat as the screen on the Axiom main computer loaded a live video feed to the Atlas. Auto hung behind him and watched with interest. Strange how quickly and easily REX had converted Auto in that fight that erupted five days ago. One minute Auto tried to attack WALL-E again, the next moment REX went off on him, and then Auto was apologizing to WALL-E for his actions. REX certainly got through to Auto.
But REX's outburst concerned McCrea. He knew enough about the military that REX had suffered serious amounts of trauma in the Control Wars. As far as McCrea thought, REX was highly unstable, and given what he's capable of, that made him dangerous.
McCrea pushed the thoughts of REX out of his mind as the computer screen flashed to signify it was linked with the Atlas. A man with a black-colored captain's uniform appeared on the screen.
"Captain Jasper Talon." The man said. "Nice to meet you."
"Benjamin McCrea." McCrea replied. "Nice to meet you too."
Jasper paused for a moment. "So, you're currently on earth?"
"What's it like?"
"Right now, not so well. Trash everywhere, sandstorms blowing every now and then, and the sky is brown."
"But we're currently working on solving that problem. Who knows when the planet will be green again, but someday."
"Your dedication is admirable, Ben. I look forward to working with you when we arrive."
Auto then moved up to the screen. "Excuse me, Captain, but is Epsilon there?"
"Uh . . . sure. Let me get him."
Talon then turned and waved to something off-screen. A few seconds later, a black-colored Auto with a blue center eye came into the scene.
"Auto," Epsilon said. "Good to see you again."
"Same here. I have to ask, is there something bothering you? You sounded strange on the comms earlier."
"It's . . . complicated."
Talon cut in. "What is it Epsilon? I can't have any personal secrets jeopardizing the passengers' safety."
"Sir, it's your problem too."
McCrea was getting curious. "Is there something wrong?"
Talon looked back at McCrea. "I shouldn't tell you now. This is something I should discuss with you face to face. When we arrive, I'll tell you."
"Are you sure?"
"Speaking of arrival," Epsilon jumped in. "We are actually ahead of our scheduled pace. We should arrive within two days."
McCrea blinked in weak surprise. "Well, that's unexpected."
"Same here." Talon said. "Why didn't you tell me this earlier, Epsilon?"
"I had just found out."
It seemed that Talon was a man who liked to stay informed. He didn't like being kept in the dark. McCrea found that inspiring, he could get along with him.
"Well then," McCrea said. "I guess two days is a very short preparation time. We had a welcome home party and all."
Talon chuckled slightly. "We don't need a party. No one on the Atlas ever expects special treatment. They're diligent, hard workers."
Talon then picked up a holo-pad and frowned. "Great. Gonna have to cut this conversation short. I have some important ship inspections to do. You know, usual captain stuff."
"See you soon." McCrea said cheerfully.
The screen faded to black. McCrea rubbed his forehead slightly in anxiety. Now the return of the humans to earth was in the process. Soon enough, their home would be restored.
Auto came up to him. "Sir, that secret of theirs, it concerns me."
"You think it's something dangerous?"
"Not sure. But we should warn the Lieutenant and the Probes just to be careful."
"Good thinking Auto. Send out the Stewards to tell everyone about the accelerated pace and that they don't need to work anymore. I'll inform REX."
"Aye aye, sir."
Auto then moved to the computer screen and pressed several buttons. He started making clicking sounds, which must've meant he was giving the Stewards their orders.
McCrea turned and walked to the elevator. He would tell REX of the issue, but not WALL-E and EVE. REX told McCrea of the training he was offering to them and the sisters, but he didn't want them involved in any kind of danger. It was because of what REX had said once about them:
Those two may have helped save the future of mankind, but here's the difference: they weren't involved in a war. I've been through a lot in my time, and I don't want them to suffer the horrors that I have. I don't want them to fight; not now, not ever.
So from then on if there was anything that might be dangerous, REX would be the first and the only to know.
"They're actually pretty good at art. I'm partially jealous."
WALL-E looked at the intricate paintings EVE and her sisters made on the ground. Three hours into work and already they were finished. Banners, flags, and other decorations hung around buildings and light posts and all the debris was collected into a large pile for the WALL-As to deal with later.
The probes were actually pretty artistic. EVE made a portrait of WALL-E with the words "my hero" over his head, Angel made a green-and-blue colored earth, Neon painted herself and REX holding hands, Vi made several BnL starliners, and Izzy made a plant symbol.
REX sat down next to WALL-E and admired the paintings as well. He chuckled slightly at Neon and EVE's paintings.
"They think too much of us, don't they?" He said.
"Well, you treat EVE with care and I treat Neon with care as well. They have every right to think about us."
REX certainly was right. EVE never stopped giving WALL-E love because of how nice he treated her. WALL-E could never think any less of EVE, which was why he cared for her so much. He loved her too much.
And now there was REX and Neon's relationship. WALL-E was pretty sure they got together through studying how he and EVE bonded together. WALL-E was happy for his brother to find love; it was the best feeling ever.
"But the irritating things about those girls," REX continued. "Is that they go overboard when they try to have fun."
WALL-E certainly agreed with him there. When EVE and her sisters had finished their paintings, they started painting on each other and then it turned into a paintfight. Paint brushes and cans flew everywhere; the probes were changing colors because they had paint constantly being splashed on themselves. When it started to get out of hand, WALL-E and REX jumped in to try and stop the friendly battle, but ended up being covered with paint themselves. WALL-E was a full green color while REX had yellow and blue mixed on his skin and clothes.
After the battle, the five probes were sent to the Repair Ward to get the paint cleaned off. REX and WALL-E were scheduled to be cleaned later, so they were cleaning the mess the girls made.
"Hey WALL-E," REX then said. "Do you ever wonder about how we made it in life?"
Now that REX mentioned it, WALL-E did question about how they got through their lives. All of them had done things they weren't created for.
"I was created to fight a war, you were created to clean up trash, EVE and Neon were created to search for organic life on the planet."
"Yeah, we're all different."
"But . . . family . . . now."
REX turned to WALL-E and smiled. He put his arm around WALL-E and ruffled his head playfully. "That's right, we're a family now. You and I are brothers, EVE and Neon are sisters, and we each have a relationship with them."
"E-vah . . . girlfriend."
"Yeah, EVE's your girlfriend, just like Neon's mine. None of us were supposed to love, but it seemed that we discovered it."
WALL-E put his hand on REX's shoulder to show moral support. REX was coming to understand how love works by what he was saying. He should learn to love. REX had been through so much because of that war he fought. He needed someone in his life.
"General Warren never taught me about love with a girl, but he taught me about family. He said that love for your family is strong, very strong. He had a wife and a daughter and he told me that he would protect them with his life."
REX then pulled WALL-E in for a hug. It felt different than how EVE hugged him, but it still felt nice. It was family love. Love from his brother.
"And because we're family, I'll protect you with my own life. You're my brother."
"REX . . . brother."
REX laughed slightly. WALL-E could understand REX now: he treated his family as his primary directive. Nothing would ever break him away from them.
They parted their hug and then did their special handshake, which was bumping their hands together in a vertical approach, then a horizontal one. It was one of those things that WALL-E could only have with REX. EVE was his true love, but there were some things only a brother could do that he enjoyed.
"C'mon," REX said. "It's our turn to get cleaned up. Can't let the girls hog all of the hot water."
The two brothers started making their way to the Axiom. It was still broad daytime, which meant they were probably going to do more later in the day. Everyone else was gone, off doing their jobs for the day or whatever it was they usually did. Unless something unexpected came up, then they would probably have more work to do.
They eventually arrived at the ship after a few minutes. WALL-E saw several Stewards come out of the exit hatches, looking like they were in a hurry. Stewards were commonly used to deliver messages from the Captain now. WALL-E still didn't like them very much since they attacked EVE back during their space adventure.
One of the Stewards came up to the brothers and brandished a message. "The Atlas will arrive in two days. Cease all current work and prepare for arrival."
REX and WALL-E looked at each other in confusion. The ship being ahead of schedule was certainly an unexpected outcome.
"We can ask the Captain about it later," REX said. "We still gotta get ourselves cleaned."
WALL-E nodded and then they made their way inside the Axiom and towards the Repair Ward. They took one of the large chair transports to save time. WALL-E always thought of the transports as fun. He and EVE used to ride them all the time when they would explore the ship. They were fast, yet safe.
They arrived at the Repair Ward after a few minutes on the transporter. WALL-E and REX stopped off of it and made their way in.
WALL-E had once feared the Repair Ward because of what happened during his first visit. When EVE was actually getting a safe checkup, he thought she was being tortured. That in turn, caused him to panic and accidentally release all of the defective robots.
But he was no longer was afraid of the place. EVE took him there one day when he had a small power disruption, causing him to involuntarily twitch at random moments. The Ward had old records of his schematics and gave him the proper repairs. It was actually kind of relaxing, like a spa.
One of the robotic arms that managed the Ward's patients came up and guided the two to the cleaning division. They arrived at three doors labeled as "shower rooms" and found Izzy, Angel, and Vi waiting by them with no evidence of paint on their bodies. Two of the showers were closed and marked "occupied" on the doors. WALL-E could hear faint giggling coming from behind the doors.
"Tickles." Angel said.
REX cocked his head to the side. "Huh, I didn't know robots could be ticklish."
WALL-E certainly did. When EVE found out one day that he was ticklish in his arm grooves, she liked to dig her fingers into them and wiggle them around, making WALL-E laugh uncontrollably from the tickling sensation. She kept doing that day after day until WALL-E discovered that she was also ticklish in her arm slots and they got into a stalemate. EVE couldn't tickle WALL-E anymore without getting tickled back, so ticklefights were rare.
Soon enough, the doors opened and EVE and Neon came out. They were as white and pristine as ever (with the addition of a sparkly shine). WALL-E couldn't resist gazing at EVE as her natural beauty overtook his eyes. He kept staring at her until REX gave him a light tap on the head with his finger to snap him out of his trance.
"Our turn." REX said comically.
EVE and Neon parted the way so REX and WALL-E could step into the showers. It was actually quite roomy inside the shower room. Nothing but a big empty room with several holes in the walls (probably how the water and soap came out) and several folded metal arms with scrubbers on the ceiling. WALL-E had plenty of moving space, so he didn't feel claustrophobic.
But then, the door closed shut and the shower room began filling with water. Even though WALL-E couldn't drown and was waterproof, the sudden flooding scared him and he started slamming into the door, wanting to get out.
The water drained and the door opened. WALL-E quickly dashed out and right into EVE's arms. She simply smiled and pushed WALL-E back into the shower, this time she went in with him.
"WALL-E," she said. "Come."
The water started to fill up the room again, making WALL-E panic again. But he relaxed when EVE held him in a hug and gave him a gentle spark-kiss.
"WALL-E," she whispered to him. "Relax."
WALL-E diligently obeyed EVE and faced the flooding room with newly gained confidence. The water kept rising until WALL-E and EVE were submerged completely. WALL-E did his best not to panic.
After a few seconds, the water drained and was replaced by a thick foam. The foam engulfed WALL-E almost completely, not touching his eyes so he could still see. He turned to EVE to see her covered in foam as well, save for her visor, and smiling at him.
"Wait." She said.
Soon enough, the scrubbers on the ceiling came down and started brushing against WALL-E. It certainly was tickling. He vibrated uncontrollably as the scrubbers rubbed against him with their soft fibers.
EVE was giggling as the scrubbers worked on her. No doubt it was tickling to her too. Her giggling made WALL-E relax even more; he liked how it sounded when she giggled.
Some time went by, WALL-E noticed the paint was coming off of him and forming a green pool underneath him. He was back to his old color of a rusted yellow.
After a quick wash and a blast of air to dry them off, the shower door opened and WALL-E and EVE stepped out of the shower, fresh and clean. They found REX and Neon waiting for them with no sign of Angel, Izzy, or Vi (they must've left to go do something else). REX was clean as well; his skin and clothes were completely devoid of paint. Neon was nuzzling him gently while probing his head with her fingers.
"I like being dirty," REX said. "But I have to look my best for the lady."
Neon giggled and rested her head on top of REX's, wrapping her arms around his neck. WALL-E often saw it as strange how similar REX and Neon's relationship was from his and EVE's. WALL-E and REX both had that trait of always making EVE and Neon happy because they cared for them.
Well, they were brothers. They should have similarities to compare themselves to each other.
Sure enough, EVE got affectionate as she wrapped her arms around WALL-E and nuzzled him while humming It Only Takes a Moment. She really took a shine to that song.
WALL-E returned the love by wrapping his arms around EVE's waist and giving her a hug. EVE giggled slightly and gave him a loving spark-kiss. WALL-E sighed happily and tucked his head underneath EVE's, relishing in her love. Another day of sharing love with his beloved, another day of having something that he never took for granted.
Another day of the life he enjoyed.
She never realized what love was until she saw her sister experience it. Then it overtook her like a virus, but it didn't hurt her.
Neon grabbed REX by the head with both hands and looked into his eyes. They were green, just like hers (except not as bright). She liked the way he looked at her. It was a look of care and love.
Neon had recently talked to EVE about how love was because her lead sister had more experience with it. EVE said that she was like WALL-E because she fell in love with REX at the start. She couldn't comprehend it, but it still found a way to make her understand.
But then something bothered Neon: although REX was created long before she was, he was created by the brightest of minds. He was still superior to her.
She drooped in shame. She wanted to be better for REX, she wanted to be worth his care.
"Neon," REX said in concern. "What's wrong?"
Neon pointed to herself. "Better . . . for you."
REX stared blankly at her, he wasn't catching on.
She turned away from him and whimpered slightly. "Change . . . better."
But then, Neon felt REX grab her with both hands on the waist. He spun her around with force until she was facing him again.
"No! You know what changing yourself to make others like you is called? Peer pressure. I don't care about fashion, about looks, none of that. What matters is what you are now."
REX took her hands in his. Neon felt a sudden burst of warmth from his touch.
"I love you how you are, Neon. You think you don't deserve me? Wrong, I don't deserve you. You're the best thing that's ever come into my life."
Neon felt an overwhelming urge of love for REX. She didn't have to better for REX because he already thought so much of her. She was everything to him, he just hadn't told her until now.
Neon cried happily and hugged REX tight. This must've been how EVE always felt about WALL-E: she loved him, more than anything else.
"REX," she whispered to him. "I love you."
"I love you too." REX whispered back.
WALL-E and EVE looked at them in adoration. Neon was glad that her sister had found love, because it taught her how to love. It was the best feeling she could ever get.
When REX released her, Neon wanted to show her love in the biggest way possible. She grabbed REX's head with both hands and gave him the biggest spark-kiss she could muster. When she first met REX, she had thought of him as just immature because of his jokes. But he was actually sensitive, he had feelings and was very kind.
REX's response to her kiss certainly proved it. He fell on his rear, his eyes showing no focus whatsoever. It made Neon giggle happily. REX's jokes and goofy nature made her happy, but it was really his devotion to his family that she loved the most.
But what slightly concerned her was REX's anger. He nearly tore Auto to pieces with his bare hands after their "incident." Just how violent could he get?
Neon turned to see WALL-E looking at her. He had a sincere expression, which meant he wanted to tell her something important.
"REX . . . happy." He said, pointing to her. "Please?"
Neon got the hint: WALL-E was asking her to keep REX happy. They were brothers, they cared for each other.
"Promise." She said.
WALL-E nodded to her in gratitude, then EVE floated next to him and took his hand.
REX got back up after getting his bearings together and whistled to get everyone's attention. "EVE, Neon, did you hear about what's going on?"
The two probes shook their heads.
"The Atlas is coming in two days. We were told to stop working and get ready for its arrival."
Neon and EVE looked to each other in surprise. This was unexpected: the new ship being ahead of schedule. Neon was also disappointed, she wanted to do some more painting.
Neon looked back at REX questionably. EVE must've been reading her thoughts, because she spoke her question. "How?"
"I'm not sure. I'll talk to the Captain about it later."
Suddenly, the Axiom's female PA system blared throughout the ship. "Alert, incoming sandstorm in five minutes. Please return to the Axiom for safety."
WALL-E and REX sighed in irritation. "Well," REX said. "So much for going back home."
Neon could feel his disappointment. WALL-E's truck was her home too now. She couldn't be any more grateful for WALL-E and EVE allowing her to live with them and REX.
"Oh well," REX went on. "Gonna have to crash here for tonight."
Everyone nodded in agreement. Although it was only 3:54 (as Neon's clock read out), sandstorms would last for hours. Neon doubted it would clear before night struck.
She grabbed REX's hand with hers. REX returned the hold and gave her a loving smile. It made her blush slightly. That smile of his always made her feel warm inside.
EVE suddenly squealed with an idea. "Date!"
REX cocked his head to the side in interest. "I guess that can work. A nice double date on a luxury ship."
WALL-E looked at EVE in confusion. It seemed that he didn't know what she was talking about. "Date?"
"It's sort of like going out and having fun." REX explained. "But it's mainly about spending time with your girlfriend."
"Oh." WALL-E straightened to show that he understood.
"But what should we do first?" REX turned to Neon. "You and EVE are gonna have to decide, because me and WALL-E are stumped."
Neon let go of REX's hand, EVE did the same with WALL-E and the two probes hovered a short distance away to discuss what they should do for the date.
"Ideas?" Neon asked.
"Um . . . swimming?"
"Nah . . . games?"
"Hmm . . ." EVE tapped her temple with her finger and looked at the ground to show she was thinking. Neon did the same. It was harder than either of them thought to come up with ideas.
Suddenly, EVE bounced up with an idea. "Relaxing!"
Neon had no clue what EVE was getting at. But if her lead sister had an idea, it was usually a good one. So she decided to go with it. "Okay."
The two probes went back to their respective boyfriends and took their hands. Neon followed EVE as her sister led them out of the Repair Ward and in the direction of the entertainment district.
WALL-E would occasionally look back at REX and Neon while EVE pulled him. Neon guessed that he was making sure they were still following. She liked him for being so caring for others. EVE certainly deserved having such a kind being for her lover.
"WALL-E's a great guy," REX said quietly to Neon along the way. "He treats EVE as his highest priority."
Neon smiled in response. "Yes."
"It makes me think, what would WALL-E be like if he was a soldier? What if he fought in the war?"
Neon didn't know how to respond. She couldn't think of WALL-E as a soldier. He was too cute.
"And then I came to a conclusion, he would be the best soldier ever."
Neon looked at REX questionably.
"WALL-E puts others first. He does whatever he can for the ones he cares about. He doesn't care about his own life, he cares about others. Have you seen the videos of what he did for EVE?"
Neon nodded her head. About four days ago, EVE showed Neon and the rest of their sisters her memories of their big adventure. It was so touching how WALL-E treated EVE with such care and love; Angel, Izzy, and Vi actually started crying and wanted their own WALL-Es. They respected him for taking such good care of their sister. The Captain had told them about how WALL-E cared for EVE, but to see how it really happened; it made them respect him even more. They all loved him in a friendly manner. WALL-E was the best robot there was.
REX went on. "When I fought in the war, I tried my best to make sure there were as little casualties as possible. I cared for my friends in the military; they were my only family. WALL-E's just like me, he cares about his family. That's what made us brothers: we care for our families."
Neon felt happy. REX was proud to have WALL-E as a brother. WALL-E always wanted to make those he loved happy, and REX would die to protect the ones he cared about. They always thought more about their loved ones than themselves.
"REX." Neon said. She pointed to herself. "Deserve."
REX smiled. He put his arm around her and gave her a light hug.
"WALL-E," Neon continued. "Deserve . . . EVE."
It was how it should be: EVE deserved to be WALL-E's girl and Neon deserved to be REX's girl. Those two boys have been through a lot in the past and still they're the kindest beings in existence. They should have someone to love. They should have EVE and Neon to love.
"Thanks Neon. "REX said. "I love you."
"I love you." Neon replied. She gave REX a tender spark-kiss. REX closed his eyes and leaned his head into hers. Neon felt warmed by his touch, her senses vibrated from the feel of him.
They continued to follow EVE and WALL-E to whatever EVE wanted to take them for the double date. Eventually they arrived at what Neon recognized as the Axiom luxury simulation center, an entertainment section that could create simulation environments for luxury treatment. While not as advanced as the Blackwing simulation training room, the simulation center could create environments for exploration, entertainment, and especially romance. It was the perfect getaway retreat for a couple (even two couples).
Neon let go of REX's hand and moved forward to EVE to ask her about what she had in mind. While she knew that her lead sister had something good for the date, Neon had taken on REX's specifics-like habit of always knowing the facts. She preferred to stay informed.
"Wait." EVE said. She went towards one of the simulation chambers (as there were twenty overall) with WALL-E in tow and beckoned Neon and REX to follow. WALL-E looked nervous as he was reluctant to go into the chamber, but EVE simply picked him up and went into the chamber with him in her arms. Neon once tried to pick up REX to imitate EVE, but she couldn't do it; REX was too heavy.
But Neon felt REX grab her and lift her into his arms. She happily deactivated her hover systems and allowed REX to carry her into the chamber. She liked it when REX carried her, it showed how much he cared for her when he wouldn't let her move on her own.
It was only just a large empty room, white in color, save for a small screen on the nearest wall with several images of environments to choose from. Neon saw a beach image, a grassy hill, a field of flowers, a rainforest, a beautiful ocean, a peaceful field with a sunset, and many more.
EVE moved up to the screen and beckoned to WALL-E at it after setting him down.
"Choose." EVE said to him.
WALL-E rolled up to the screen and looked curiously through the images. He didn't seem to have much luck finding one he liked, as he would end up browsing through the same images over and over again.
Eventually, WALL-E settled with the beach selection. The empty room began to distort and change color until it became a large beach. Sand was everywhere (with the inclusion of beach towels and chairs lining the beachhead) and a sparkly blue ocean complete with waves glistened in the artificial sunlight.
Neon floated out of REX's arms and took in the scene. The simulator aimed to please. Everything looked and felt so real, even the water made ripples when she ran her finger through it.
REX came over next to Neon and ran his hand through the water. He looked at the artificial ocean with interest.
"Incredibly realistic," REX said. "But still not as good as the training simulator."
Neon agreed. The Blackwing simulator was still better because it could produce enemy combatants as well as hundreds of different environments. But then again, it was created for the purpose of combat training, not luxury enjoyment like the Axiom's simulators. Maybe it was a downgraded version of the Blackwing simulator remade for civilian use.
REX took off his bonnie hat and attached it to a strap on his hip. Neon sometimes was perplexed by that hat, as REX seemed to really like wearing it. He hardly ever took it off.
Neon and REX sat down on a nearby blanket while WALL-E and EVE were playing a friendly game of tag. However, when EVE was "it," she would tackle WALL-E and give him a spark-kiss before dashing away. Even when WALL-E was "it," she would occasionally stop and let WALL-E tag her so she could chase him and give him another spark-kiss. Neon wanted to play too, but she wanted to be with REX more.
"A perfect couple." REX said to Neon. "Your sister and my brother. They love each other so much and they never ever want to be apart."
"EVE," Neon said. "Love."
"Your sister loves WALL-E more than anything, and WALL-E loves her just as much. They should always be together."
"Like . . . us?"
REX looked at Neon and smiled. "Like us."
Neon gently pushed REX on his back and fell on top of him. She gave him a spark-kiss and gently nuzzled his head. REX didn't move as she gave him affection. It was strange, REX always gave the orders in any other situation, but when Neon wanted to give him love, he was completely submissive.
The two bots shifted their heads as they laid down to watch WALL-E and EVE. WALL-E was lying on his back with EVE on top. She leaned her head into his and had one of her hands intertwined with his. WALL-E had his free hand held on EVE's waist while EVE had her free hand resting on the side of WALL-E's torso.
It was so peaceful, Neon wanted to stay here forever. Everyone was feeling the effects of love. It was a spectacular double date.
Neon closed her eyes, enjoying the warm presence of REX and the feeling of his arms around her body. It was a feeling she couldn't comprehend completely, but she enjoyed it. It was the feeling her lead sister always had, and now it was a feeling she had. It was love.
Neon continued to relax in REX's love until she heard a faint chirping sound. She got up and noticed that the sound was coming from REX's pocket.
REX sat up and pulled an Axiom communicator out of his pocket. That meant the Captain was calling him.
"What is it?" REX said into the communicator. He sounded irritated, Neon knew it was because he wanted to enjoy their date some more, she was feeling the same.
REX was silent for a few seconds. "Allright, meet you there."
WALL-E and EVE came over in curiosity to see what was going on.
"REX?" WALL-E asked.
"That was McCrea." REX answered. "He said he needs to talk with me."
Neon felt disappointed. She wanted to be with REX more.
REX turned to her and gave her a loving hug. "I'll be back."
REX then got up and made his way to the exit. When a simulation was active, the exit was a silver door that stood out from everything else.
Neon continued to watch the door after REX went through it. She sighed to herself and trailed off. REX was everything to her, and she was everything to him. Neon liked being with him.
Neon turned to see EVE looking at her with a slight reassuring smile. Her lead sister took her hand and pulled her over to WALL-E, who was building something using the simulated sand.
"Help." EVE said before joining WALL-E to help him in his building project.
Neon thought for a moment, then decided to help with their project too. WALL-E started to direct the girls on what to do with the construction.
Neon started carving some of the sand structures using her fingers. A little hobby could take her mind off of REX being away. He did say he was coming back.
There was all the time in the world to be with REX.
REX made his way to the Lido Deck, partially upset with the urgent call with McCrea.
He was enjoying that time with Neon. He didn't want it to end. That call from McCrea was the last thing he wanted. Just what was it that was so urgent?
As REX got to the Lido Deck, he saw McCrea in the distance conversing with John. He walked up to them, checking to make sure his bonnie hat was strapped securely to the belt strap on his pants. That hat was important because not only was it from General Warren, but it aided him in stealth. In reality, REX's clothes and his mechanical arm could alter their color at his will, but the hat added to the benefit of camouflage. While most of REX's early days of the Control Wars were infantry warfare, he was also engaged in black ops at certain times, and stealth was something he depended on because of that.
REX got to them and shook hands with them. He wasn't in a good mood, so he didn't bother to smile. "What's this about?"
"I was discussing this with John." McCrea replied. "It's about the new ship."
"And why does it concern me?"
"Family safety," said John.
Everyone knew that REX and WALL-E were brothers now. Everyone also knew that EVE and Neon were part of the family too. They were a tight-knit society, so everybody knew everything.
REX perked up. "I'm listening."
McCrea went on. "I talked with the Captain of the Atlas. He seemed like a good person, but he said he had an important secret."
"What is it?"
"I don't know. But Auto and I were talking about it. The Captain sounded pretty serious about it."
"Did he say if he was going to tell you?"
"He said he would tell me once they arrived. But his expression showed something."
REX was getting impatient. Get to the point already. "Which was?"
"I'm not good at reading faces, but he looked like he wasn't sure about telling the secret."
John jumped in. "We think they may have something dangerous."
"Okay," REX needed to be wary. His family's safety depended on it. "When they arrive, I'll do some surveillance and see what they got in the ship."
"No," McCrea said. "We can't have you getting caught. If you do, then they'll think we don't trust them. We can't afford any bad blood."
"I won't get caught."
That was true. REX was a highly skilled assassin and saboteur thanks to General Warren's training. During his military career, he had sabotaged over 200 Syndicate buildings and taken out numerous key figures of the Syndicate army as quietly as a plague. He could practically be a ghost if he put his skills to their full potential.
"REX," McCrea said. "I'm not taking any chances. Don't do it."
REX grimaced slightly. Even though he was friends with McCrea, he didn't take orders from him. He only took orders from Warren.
But it was unnecessary to start something. "Fine."
"But I'll stay on alert. Once the Captain gives you the info, you tell me. Allright?"
If anything would threaten REX's family, it became his business. He promised EVE that he would protect her and WALL-E (Neon was no exception) and he would keep that promise. He loved his family.
REX shook hands with John and McCrea, then bid them goodbye. He would look more into the Atlas issue when the ship arrived. REX wouldn't leave things to chance; he had to stay in control. The more he knew, the better he could make a plan.
REX then started to make his way back to the entertainment simulation. Now it was time to get back to his date. WALL-E, EVE, and Neon were sure to be waiting for him.
Along the way, he stopped by the infant center and looked at the small toddlers that wandered the area while being carefully monitored by a NAN-E nursing bot.
One of the small humans came up and looked at him curiously through the glass wall that separated them. REX got down on one knee and looked back at the young one. The kid's eyes were so wide and brightly colored. He giggled at REX and clapped his hands. REX smiled slightly, the kid was sweet.
"It makes you think, doesn't it?"
REX saw in one of his perimeter cameras Mary standing behind him. He already knew what she was getting on.
"About having kids?"
"But the thing is, we're robots. We can't have kids."
"But still, do you ever think that WALL-E, EVE, or Neon ever want to have kids?"
"I don't know. They don't say anything."
"Would you want to be a father REX?"
REX thought for a moment. Having a kid was something he couldn't train for. It was a "learn as you go" kind of situation, but it was also a big responsibility. General Warren was a father, he knew how it went.
"Maybe, when things slow down."
"So you would be a father?"
"If Neon wants kids, I'll do whatever I can to make it happen. If WALL-E and EVE want kids, same concept."
Mary smiled. "You really care for your family."
REX stood up and turned to her. "More than anything." He said before walking off.
REX wasn't entirely sure about having kids; but if Neon wanted them, he would find a way. If WALL-E and EVE wanted kids, he would find a way. Their opinions mattered more than his.
He continued walking until he got to the entertainment simulators. He scrolled along the chambers until he found the one that WALL-E, EVE, and Neon were in, then he made his way in.
The simulator was still on the beach setting, which meant not much had changed. However, the artificial sunset was coming down in correspondence with the current time: 6:13. There was even a simulated sunset coming into view.
REX walked along the beachhead to where he left the three robots. He noticed a large fort-like structure made completely of sand. He walked over to it and examined it with interest. It had a bit of a military style to its design: five-foot high walls, miniature guard towers on the outside, and even lookout holes in the walls.
REX picked up WALL-E's unique electronic signature coming from within the fort. BnL model robots were made with unique energy signatures for each robot, which affected their performance capabilities (and later, as REX deducted, their personality development). REX had a built-in scanner that allowed him to analyze robotic signatures, and because of that he had the energy signature of every robot he knew memorized for safety precautions.
"This is the BnL military!" REX shouted for fun. "Come out with your hands up!"
WALL-E popped out of the front entrance of the fort and chittered excitedly to REX. He seemed happy that his older brother was back.
"Where are the girls?" REX asked him.
WALL-E just stared at him. REX knew that expression all too well: WALL-E knew where they were, but he wasn't telling.
Soon after, EVE popped out of the sand in a zombie-like fashion. REX was impressed with her hiding skills. She was learning fast.
Then, REX saw in one of his side cameras Neon dashing towards him at full speed. He only had enough time to turn to her before she slammed into him, knocking him on his back.
Neon barraged REX with spark-kisses, keeping a tight grip on his head so he couldn't break out. REX's systems fluctuated from the sparks, but he enjoyed the feeling of it. It was an incredibly pleasant sensation.
After a few seconds, Neon stopped her assault and helped REX up. She giggled madly as REX struggled to regain his senses.
When REX came to, he found WALL-E, EVE, and Neon staring at him curiously. It was obvious they wanted to know about his talk with McCrea.
"McCrea just wanted to tell me about the Captain of the Atlas." REX couldn't bring himself to tell them about the possibly dangerous secret. He didn't want to risk them being in danger. "He said he was a nice person."
The three bots seemed to relax. WALL-E then went up to REX and pulled him into the sand fort. There was nothing inside except for a small tunnel that only WALL-E could fit through.
WALL-E then went into the tunnel and came back out later with two water guns and an inner compartment bulging with water bombs.
"Where did you get those-?"
REX quickly ducked an incoming water bomb thrown by EVE. WALL-E tossed him a water gun before taking cover at the fort's walls. He unloaded his payload of water bombs onto the ground, then started chucking them at EVE and Neon, who were using several beach chairs cleverly put together to form a barricade as cover. They responded with fire from their own water guns and bombs.
It was a waterfight. Boys against girls.
REX handled his water gun in his right hand like it was his pistol, then started taking precision shots with it while using the fort excessively for cover. It wasn't the same as a combat training mission, but it was fun.
WALL-E continued to toss water bombs while firing his own water gun. REX was amazed at WALL-E's throwing accuracy; he hit EVE perfectly with four water bombs and Neon with three.
EVE and Neon started dashing around the fort with great speed while shooting their water guns and bombs. They were learning to stay mobile during a fight, which made REX proud. The girls certainly caught on to his survival training.
REX fired some water shots of his own while also getting hit from returning fire. His combat instincts weren't really kicking in like they did in a training mission or in a real fight. Since it was just water and not bullets or lasers, it didn't feel the same as a battle.
EVE and Neon dashed behind the beach chairs again and started throwing water bombs in a hailstorm fashion. The fort's walls began to erode from the water and were breaking down.
REX crouched low behind the remaining cover and looked at WALL-E. He worked with his brother quite a bit in the combat simulations. They were actually pretty good at knowing what the other would do without saying anything.
One look at each other and they both knew what their next move would be.
They broke cover. REX dashed out firing his water gun and WALL-E followed close behind firing as well.
They flanked around the chairs, REX took the left flank while WALL-E approached from the right. A flank attack from both sides was a perfect move that could temporarily surprise the enemy and allow themselves open for attack.
But then, as REX and WALL-E came around, EVE and Neon burst out, tackling them. EVE took down WALL-E and dug her fingers into his arm grooves, tickling him. Neon knocked REX on his back and came down on him while poking in the sides with her fingers. REX didn't know he was ticklish, but he found himself laughing uncontrollably as a feeling he never felt before came over him. It was too much.
"Stop, stop! No! Okay, I give, I give!"
REX had no choice but to surrender. The girls had won. He always fought to the death in a battle because General Warren told him surrendering was never an option in a war. But this wasn't a war anymore, and REX was completely at the mercy of his girlfriend.
Neon giggled, but she didn't stop. She kept poking his sides with her fingers to continue the assault. REX swore he was going to die of laughter from the feeling he was getting.
REX gathered what strength he had left, then grabbed Neon and brought her down and pinned her into the sand with his body. He dug his knuckles into her arm slots to tickle her back. Neon laughed uncontrollably and tried to bat away REX's hands, but was too weak as she was laughing so hard.
While keeping Neon pinned down, REX turned to WALL-E and EVE to see something similar: EVE was down in the sand on her front with WALL-E on top of her. He had his treads drilled into EVE's arm slots and was revving them continuously to tickle EVE. EVE was laughing extremely hard. She tried to reach for WALL-E, but between her position and her condition, she had no luck.
REX eventually wore out; he let off of Neon and laid down on a nearby blanket. Neon was finished too, as she put herself on top of REX and rested her head on his chest. WALL-E and EVE finished their battle as well as they fell on the ground, EVE wrapped her arms around WALL-E and held him tight as they laid together.
"Fun." Neon whispered to REX.
"Yeah, that was fun." REX replied.
REX put his mechanical arm around Neon and held her close as they enjoyed the now-approaching sunset. This was truly a great day for him.
WALL-E and EVE then came over and perched themselves next to REX and Neon on a nearby blanket. EVE put her hand in WALL-E's and the two stared at the sunset while leaning their heads together.
REX decided to follow suit. He sat up to gaze at the sunset and Neon positioned herself on his lap and stared too while keeping her arms around his neck.
REX enjoyed his new life. No longer was he suffering from the war. He had been through numerous horrors: bullets ringing out every second, screams of people dying followed by eerie silence, bodies lying around, and the fear of dying any second. No more of that. REX was living the life General Warren always wanted him to have. A real life.
He smiled to himself. He had a brother, he found love, and he lived in a society where everyone got along with each other.
He couldn't ask for more, except maybe to spend more time with General Warren.
Their first planned date, and it was a spectacular one.
EVE looked at her left hand. The fingers were intertwined and almost covered by WALL-E's large claws. She could never resist being around him. WALL-E was so much to her, she would always be with him.
The simulated sunset cast a beautiful orange glow in the sky. The light from the sun reflected off of the water on the shoreline, glistening a marvelous sparkle.
WALL-E warbled happily to EVE, then played It Only Takes a Moment on his recorder. The sweet music warmed EVE's heart as it played. She loved that song because it always reminded her of how much WALL-E was to her.
She pulled WALL-E in for a gentle hug. Between the beautiful sunset and the soft music playing, EVE's emotional spikes were going nuts. She wanted to always give WALL-E love, it was the only remedy for her emotional spikes.
Neon must've felt something too. EVE could see in her peripheral vision her sister gently dragging her finger down REX's chest affectionately. One down. EVE thought humorously to herself. Three more to go.
EVE snapped out of her thoughts at WALL-E's voice. He was looking at her curiously, wanting to tell her something.
"Umm . . . EEEVE." WALL-E said with a slight struggle.
EVE was caught off guard. WALL-E finally pronounced her name correctly. Judging from how quickly he said it, he might have been practicing.
But she shook her head at WALL-E. "E-vah."
WALL-E paused for a moment, then nodded. "Okay."
Even though that was her name, EVE didn't like how WALL-E said it. It sounded foreign, like it came from somebody else. She didn't like that at all.
EVE liked "E-vah" better. She had grown used to WALL-E calling her by that, so she would stay with him calling her that. To others, it may seem like mispronunciation; but to EVE, it was a familiar call. When WALL-E said her name, it gave her a sense of comfort. She wouldn't have it any other way.
"WALL-E." EVE said to him.
WALL-E diligently looked at her, immediately focusing all of his attention to her. EVE leaned her head into his and closed her eyes. She kept her arms around WALL-E and refused to let go.
"I love you." She whispered to him.
"I . . . love . . . you." WALL-E immediately replied.
EVE liked how that sounded. What she always thought about WALL-E, it took her almost two weeks to finally say it. She couldn't fathom how joyous it felt.
The song continued to play. EVE found herself humming along to the tune and WALL-E doing the same. She was significantly enjoying this moment and could tell WALL-E was too. It was a moment she wanted to enjoy forever.
EVE felt so much joy from being with WALL-E, but having REX and Neon as part of the family was icing on the cake. REX became brothers with WALL-E and was the dedicated protector of the family. Neon joined in because she fell in love with REX and made EVE not feel undermined in a family that was originally made up mostly of boys.
She continued to give her love to WALL-E as the song concluded while also relishing in the love he returned. A long time ago, everyone here didn't have anyone. EVE and Neon wasted their time either dormant in the Axiom hangar or searching for plants on a desolate earth, WALL-E spent his time compacting trash for a useless directive, and REX was stuck in stasis against his own will. They were all alone; no one to talk to, no one to love.
But now they had each other. A dedicated family of brothers, sisters, and lovers. A true family.
Everything else faded from existence as EVE continued to give WALL-E love. The sweet feel of him in her presence, it was overwhelming.
After what seemed like a long period of time. EVE opened her eyes slightly and saw that it was dark. She checked her clock, 8:29. It was nighttime.
She gently let off of WALL-E and he fell forward on the ground. WALL-E was fast asleep.
"It's cute, isn't it?"
EVE turned to see REX sitting up. Neon was lying down on the blanket they were using, fast asleep. They used their dormant forms when they slept, but it wasn't necessary. They could still sleep even if they weren't in their dormant states.
"Come with me EVE," REX said. "I need to talk with you."
REX got up and walked near the shoreline. EVE followed him curiously. He sounded like it was important. It always troubled EVE when REX was talking about something important, because his military background usually meant something dangerous.
"Remember when I was talking about the Atlas."
"Okay. EVE, this is important. I'm telling you this because you're the most responsible of us. Don't say a word about this to WALL-E or Neon."
"McCrea thinks that the Captain of the Atlas has a secret. Something important."
Again, REX's background had EVE getting an idea. "WALL-E . . . danger?"
"We don't know for sure, but McCrea thinks it may be dangerous. He wants me to be cautious around the Atlas when it arrives."
REX looked at EVE. His expression showed serious concern. "EVE, if it turns out there is something bad, I need you to get WALL-E and find somewhere to hide. I may have trained you to fight, but I don't want any risks. I'll handle everything myself."
"EVE, please. Do this for my brother. The one you love."
EVE paused for a moment. She actually had a secret desire to help REX whenever she could because she respected him for his ferocious protective instincts for his family. That was why she wanted to be trained by him. She wanted to have that ferocious instinct that made REX such a violent fighter, but also an excellent protector.
But with all the brawn that REX had, there were also brains. REX was an excellent tactical strategist and always knew what was best. She obeyed his orders unless the risks outweighed them.
She reached a conclusion. "Okay."
REX turned back to look at the artificial ocean. EVE noticed his face was still in concern. Having known REX for seven days, she knew that when an issue was resolved, he would usually conclude with some joke or snarky comment. But now, he was still silent; something else was on his mind.
"REX?" She asked him.
"N-Nothing. It's nothing."
EVE wasn't backing down that easily. She needed to know everything. "REX . . . tell."
REX sighed in submission. "Allright. Mary came up to me about this earlier and it's been bugging me since. Would you want to have kids with WALL-E?"
EVE stammered in surprise. That was not expected. She did love WALL-E unconditionally, but having kids? It was never something that crossed her mind.
"No, not now. But someday, when things start to slow down, would you?"
"But . . . impossible."
"EVE, yes or no."
EVE pondered for a moment. They say that having children was one part of a relationship and helps bring the couple closer together; and EVE wanted to be as close as possible in her relationship with WALL-E.
So she had her answer. "Yes . . . but . . . how?"
REX smiled slightly. "I'll find a way, EVE. I swear that I'll find a way to make you and WALL-E be able to have children."
EVE believed him. When REX made a promise, he would keep it. REX was a walking one man army, and he was also loyal and caring. He believed in a code of honor, which was to always keep a promise.
But now it was EVE's turn to ask the questions. She pointed to REX, then to Neon. "Kids?"
REX paused for a moment, then dropped his head. "I-I don't know. I wouldn't mind being a father. But the thing is, I'm afraid to ask Neon about it. She might think I'm trying to rush things in our relationship."
EVE felt respect for REX. He admits that he's afraid of certain things. REX said that he was created to be unstoppable, but he also said he wasn't fearless. Fear isn't something that hinders you, but it makes you prepared. REX had said that once during their training. It meant that when they were scared, the adrenaline that flows through them makes them ready for whatever happens next. Fear was essentially a weapon.
She put her hand on his shoulder. "REX."
REX slowly looked up at EVE. He actually looked sad. REX wasn't the tough-guy show he was made out to be. He was emotional, and he wasn't afraid to express his feelings. It made EVE respect him all the more.
She pointed to herself. "Talk . . . Neon." She would talk to her sister about the issue.
REX smiled weakly. "Thank you, EVE. I owe you one."
EVE would always help REX whenever she could. Because he cared so much for WALL-E, EVE saw him as her best friend. REX was a fighting machine designed specifically to fight a war, and he devoted all of that combat potential to protecting his family.
But REX falling in love with Neon made EVE respect him even more. REX cared deeply for Neon because he fell for her, and EVE was happy that he found love. It made him just like WALL-E, which further proved they were brothers.
"I think I already can repay you with an observation," REX nudged her playfully with his elbow. "You look a little bulgy around the edges. Are you gaining weight?"
The joke meant REX was resolved with the issue, but it still annoyed EVE. She smacked him in the head with her arm to express her annoyance. While she respected him for his devotion to his family, she still couldn't stand his jokes.
REX rubbed his head and chuckled slightly. Then he looked at WALL-E and Neon, who were still sleeping, and yawned.
"We should be getting to bed. Between the combat training, the party work, and the waterfight, I'm exhausted."
EVE nodded in agreement. She wasn't sure who got the impression that robots couldn't tired, because that was a myth. Robots could get tired, just not as easily as humans. EVE actually felt a little sleepy too.
She went to WALL-E and gently shook him to wake him up. WALL-E was very drowsy. While he stood up like he normally did, his eyes were half-closed and he was moving very slow. His power charge read out with two bars left.
REX went to Neon and woke her up as well. Neon stood up, but showed that she was tired because she kept on raising and lowering sluggishly on her hover systems.
EVE took WALL-E's hand in hers to guide him. She could tell that he wasn't keeping a good grip on her hand. She felt his fingers sliding around loosely in hers.
REX carried Neon in his arms and led the way to the exit. EVE followed behind with WALL-E. She tried to pick up WALL-E to carry him, but he refused her offer. It seemed he was content on moving on his own.
They made their way out of the simulator and ran into two Stewards who seemed to be waiting for them.
"Please come with us," the Stewards said. "We will escort you to your suite."
REX and EVE exchanged confused glances. Then REX shrugged and went with the Stewards. EVE followed suit. They got onto a chair transporter and rode it to the Axiom passenger suites. EVE was lost. Did the Captain arrange a room for them because of the sandstorm? That was most likely the outcome.
They eventually arrived at the passenger suites, which were several floors of doors lining the walls. There were thousands of them, and most were closed because the humans still stayed at the Axiom. They weren't having much success building shelters outside. EVE was somewhat doubting the recolonizing efforts, because the humans and robots were making barely any progress in their work.
The transporter stopped at a lift and everyone got off. The robot family followed the Stewards to a lift, which took them four levels up.
They continued on until they got to a door marked "VIP" over it. The Stewards took the flanks of the door and waited.
REX opened the door, then stood back so EVE could go in with WALL-E. He followed her in, Neon had her head resting on his chest as he carried her.
"Enjoy your stay," the Stewards said before taking off.
The room certainly was luxury. There were two beds, a separate kitchen area, and a large holographic TV. The walls had a custom space design with stars and even planets on them.
REX went to one of the beds and unraveled the blanket. He set Neon down gently in the bed and tucked her in with the blanket. Neon smiled and stared at REX lovingly while she laid in the bed.
EVE then went to the other bed and prepared to set it up for her and WALL-E to sleep in. She led WALL-E over to the bed and reached for the sheets.
But WALL-E moved ahead of her and grabbed the sheets to unravel it. He motioned for her to get into the bed while he held the blankets out. EVE smiled and obeyed. WALL-E's caring nature always got to her. She could never resist how charming he was when he was doing nice things for her.
EVE sunk into the bed slightly as she laid in it. The bed was extremely soft and comfortable. Even the pillow felt almost like air on her head.
WALL-E gently tucked the blanket around EVE, then got into the bed himself. He tucked himself underneath the covers, then rested his head on the pillow and gazed at EVE adoringly.
EVE shifted herself in his direction and pressed herself against him. The bed was comfortable, but the feel of WALL-E on her was even better. She wouldn't take anything else.
WALL-E warbled softly to EVE, then tucked his head underneath hers. EVE wondered if he liked sleeping here more than his truck. She didn't care where they slept, just so long as WALL-E was with her.
Before she went in for the night, she looked at the others. REX was already fast asleep in the bed with Neon's head leaning against his. It looked like REX wasn't good with the comfy bed, he was moving quite a bit.
EVE couldn't resist a smile. Weeks before, everyone was alone. But now, they had each other. They were a family; they wouldn't ever be separated.
Their lives couldn't get any better.
I'd like to ask any readers a favor: on my profile page is a list of my favorite books. To any that are interested, take a look at them because they helped give me the idea to write this story. To avoid spoilers, I won't tell you why.