CAUTION: This story's plot is linear. If you like mysteries, then this is not for you. You were warned.
Megas XLR and the Touhou Project are the properties of their respective owners and copyright holders. Creative liberties have been taken at certain points, so tread cautiously and don't get stepped on. This story isn't terribly long; I wanted it to be the equivalent of a one-hour special as opposed to a multi-episode saga.
Read, enjoy, and wonder whether I got enough sleep when I wrote this.
Tewi sat on the roof at Eientei, staring up at the moon. It was barely over a month ago when the night that some had called "Imperishable" had taken place. Now for an entirely different reason from what had transpired, she felt that it would be due to the moon once again that their lives were about to be enlivened.
She stared at the faint twinkles of light surrounding the moon, instinctively knowing that they were not stars and wondering what was going on up there. Something wasn't right about all of this...
A minute later, Tewi's eyes widened in shock as it happened. Was it some sort of trick? A complex prank of the type that she'd pull on Reisen? ... No, she told herself. It's worse. Much worse. This is no trick or illusion... this is very real!
Jumping off the roof, she flew indoors to search for the first Lunarian she could find. It was unusual behavior for her to act this way, but even she knew the potential repercussions: the long-lasting night had been due in part to a misunderstanding, but this next incident would be a disaster.
Outside the Scarlet Devil Mansion, Meiling maintained a silent vigil. Even at this time of night, when Gensokyo's humans would be asleep (and thus, no risk of Marisa barging in uninvited), there was no lack of potential intruders; fairies and immature youkai alike would occasionally try to bypass the gates. Her track record had been good thus far, and she wanted to keep it that way.
Still, she had her limits. She needed to sleep every now and then, if only to give her mind a rest, and the time for her to do so was fast approaching. She'd give it another ten minutes or so before taking a catnap, she decided.
Stretching a bit, Meiling stared up at the sky... and paused. Her eyes weren't playing tricks on her, weren't they? What just... did that just... ... Finally, giving up, she allowed her eyes to bulge and her mouth to drop open.
Meiling was fully acquainted with Remilia's strengths and weaknesses, and knew that they were connected in some way to the moon. She also knew bad omens when she saw them, and this one qualified. High-jumping over the gate, she charged towards the Mansion's front door in the hopes that Sakuya or Remilia were somewhere nearby.
Youkai or not, Alice wasn't known for keeping odd hours. Tonight, though, she couldn't stay asleep; some leftover nightmares from the recent tag-team fight against Mokou, she supposed. She and Marisa had learned a bit of her history from the schoolteacher Keine after the dust had settled, and what she heard agitated her inwardly even as she remained calm outwardly. Some of Marisa's comments were borderline insensitive, not helping things much at all.
Alice wanted to return to bed and get some much desired rest, but on top of the nightmares she was feeling an odd sense of foreboding. She walked to a window and sat down near it, trying to remember why she had agreed to that trial of guts anyway...
Something caught her eye. She squinted up at the sky, examining what was sprinkled around the moon. She didn't know what had happened, but at least she understood what that foreboding feeling was about. She needed to tell someone about this before her nerves made her do something rash.
Five minutes later she was away from her home and airborne, flying as fast as she could. 'Two heads are better than one', as the expression went, so maybe Marisa would be of some assistance in figuring this mystery out.
Of all the things that could've happened... such a rare thing indeed.
"Are you alright? Is something wrong?"
I recall something that a talking dog once told me. It fits this situation perfectly...
"Is the border in danger? ...Didn't you sleep long enough? ...Did someone call you old? ...Yukari-sama, please answer me!"
Ignoring Ran's increasingly frazzled questions, Yukari stared up at the moon. This was so far beyond the realm of possibility that it wasn't even funny. Should I say it? ...Or shall I not?...
"Is it because of Chen? ...Have I done something wrong? ...Should I find a rolled-up newspaper and smack myself on the back of the head with it?- - -"
The shikigami fell silent. Yukari slowly raised a hand, pointing at the distant circle of the moon. "Look carefully. Tell me what you see."
Ran obligingly stared upwards... and froze. Her pupils shrunk, her hands clenched, and all nine tails stood straight out like exclamation marks. Her jaw opened and closed repeatedly as her mind tried to connect a fragmented sentence together.
Tewi's emergency message was delivered straight to Kaguya and Eirin, steamrolling their peaceful conversation. Likewise, Meiling had informed Sakuya of what she had seen without letting the maid inquire why she wasn't on duty. Alice had to smack Marisa awake with one of her dolls, but the discovery she voiced made the "Ordinary Magician" sit up and listen without further hassle. And Ran's shellshocked mind had finally recovered enough for her to speak.
"Something just blasted a hole in the moon!"
It was then that Yukari decided to say what was on her mind. "I would not have predicted this."
By: Curtis Wildcat
An undetermined time later on the lunar surface, Megas stood back as Coop observed his work. The task was long, dull and annoying, but the moon was as intact as it was going to get. There was nothing left over from the disaster-causing battle with the Glorft.
"So," Coop said as Megas dusted off its hands, "does that work for you?"
In the back seat, Kiva gave the area a once-over. "It'll do," she decided. "Hopefully, the chaotic weather patterns on Earth will settle down soon, if they haven't already."
"Good." The gearhead smiled in satisfaction, wiping off his brow. "Means there's enough time to fly home and catch the start of The Rogue Wrestler trilogy."
"Nah." From his usual spot next to Coop, Jamie waved it off. "I'd bet you anything that we'll get caught in a situation that could've been avoided if we'd just gone home earlier."
Kiva brought up her holographic console and entered some commands into it. "The sensors aren't picking up anything..." She frowned as she thought of Coop's track record. Where he and Megas were involved, just about any dumb thing could happen. "...but we'd better be careful, just to make sure- - -"
A young yet strong feminine voice interrupted Kiva's advice. "Attention, unidentified mech!"
A thick energy burst shot past, the proximity of it forcing Megas back a step and jostling its occupants. A giant robot, this one gray, skinny and vaguely rabbit-shaped, had appeared seemingly out of thin air. It lowered the massive gun that its right arm had transformed into and spoke again, the mouthpiece mimicking the words of the pilot. "On behalf of the Lunar Defense Corps, I am here to deliver a warning. Leave now, impure ones, or we shall take action!"
"..." Jamie looked at Kiva's startled reflection in the rearview mirror. "Like I was saying..."
"Yorihime, are you sure that sending her out alone was a good idea?"
"Quite certain. The alien race that arrived caught us off guard, building their base almost on top of our civilization... it is just as well that they couldn't detect us. While I am thankful to that Earth mech's pilot for forcing them to flee, the fact remains that it caused a lot of unneeded destruction."
"In the best case scenario, she drives off the mech and gets some much-needed battle experience. In the worst case, we gather some quality intelligence on our foe. There has to be a reason why they are able to field this vehicle when the rest of their equipment is primitive by comparison."
"...All right, sister. I'll trust your judgment." Toyohime Watatsuki, one of the co-leaders of the Defense Corps, smiled. "So, you want to have a peach while we wait? There's no better way to pass the time."
Yorihime shook her head, a thin smile of her own taking form. "I'd rather watch my figure for a while, if you don't mind," she answered, settling in to watch the altercation.
It took a few extra seconds for Coop to respond. "The Lunar..."
"...Defense Corps?" Kiva finished. "Since when was there a sentient race on the moon?"
"And where were these guys when the Glorft were trying to crash this place into the earth?" Jamie wanted to know. "It's not like they made any big secret of it."
"I will say this only once more, earthers," the enemy pilot warned. "Make yourself scarce, or else I will not be responsible for what happens next."
Kiva turned away from the displays she had been manipulating. "May as well leave them be, Coop. Our job here is done."
"Wait, hold on. Are you saying that you don't want to know who these guys are?" Coop inquired.
"Who knows what's going on in their mind," added Jamie. "Or whether they're even from the moon at all."
"...Wait. Aren't you usually the one who suggests running away from the enemy?"
Jamie shrugged and smiled. "We've been through a lot of weird stuff up 'til now. I guess I'm starting to get callouses."
"Look, can we just go now?" Kiva insisted, becoming irritated at the slackers' stubbornness. "Who or what they are is none of our business."
Coop smiled confidently. "Come on, this won't take long. Just a few questions, and then we can go home. Maybe if we just ask politely, they'll- - -WHOA!"
Another energy blast from the rabbit mech neccessitated a need to dodge; Megas followed through on that need and jerked to the left, letting the blast pass by harmlessly. Again the trio had to hang on until things settled down; notably, Jamie was cowering at how close the shot had come to hitting the car. So much for callouses.
There was no further time for pondering. The Lunarian robot morphed its gun arm into a large, curved sword and charged; Megas's engines roared as Coop met the enemy halfway.
The sisters were already talking to themselves as the battle began. From where they had been monitoring the situation, they were able to catch everything that the Earthers had been saying. So the enemy aliens had wanted to use their home to destroy the world beneath them? The Lunarians had a negative opinion of Earth as a whole, but they never wanted to see harm brought to it. It would've been a great stroke of irony had the aliens actually succeeded... The sisters' indecisiveness had almost cost them gravely.
Not this time, they decided. If all went well, this enemy would never bother them again, one way or the other (points were allotted to the redheaded Earthling, though; at least someone was thinking straight). And if those "Glorft" ever dared to show their faces on the moon again, the Lunarians would be waiting in full force.
Megas raised both its hands, catching the enemy's sword in-between them. Metal creaked as the Lunarian attempted to free her weapon, but the prototype held fast.
Recovering from his cowardice briefly, Jamie was treated to an up-close view of the rabbit mech's face. There was a black horizontal visor across its face where the eyes should've been. Barely visible behind that visor was...
"What?" Coop acknowledged him even as Megas amped up the power, slamming the mech's sword into the ground and giving him a free punch at the robot's torso. "You see something, Jamie?"
"Yeah," Jamie said, raising an eyebrow as the mecha-rabbit staggered backwards from the hit. "There's a cute girl with rabbit ears piloting that thing."
Kiva almost facepalmed. "Why do you two always have to attract the weird ones?"
Coop shrugged and pushed a combination of buttons on his joystick. Megas responded, four beam cannons popping out of its shoulders and peppering the opponent with a volley of energy. "Beats me... hey, get back here! Did I say you could go?" he shouted as the enemy robot went evasive. He chased after it and continued firing, most of his missed shots either flying off into space or splashing against an unseen barrier.
From the start, the outcome was never in doubt. The rabbit-mech (dubbed the Guardsman by its designers) was a fine piece of equipment, boasting an unlikely combination of incredibly dense armor, high agility and speed, and a wide array of assorted bells and whistles in case those couldn't save it. But its pilot was a novice, only beginning to fully understand the power at her command, and- - -like the rest of the Defense Corps, sans their bosses- - -had a massive cowardly streak. Against a video game freak who saw Megas as the world's biggest toy, she would've been better off obeying her instincts and asking for Yorihime's assistance instead of standing her ground.
Five minutes after the confrontation began, it was just about over. The Guardsman's armor was damaged in places where Megas's fists and energy beams had finally struck, its forehead was cracked, and the sparking wires at its right shoulder showed where Coop had opted to rip out the arm and use it as a makeshift club (and depriving the mech of a sizable portion of firepower). Electricity crackled along the armor as the pilot struggled to keep the Guardsman upright.
While not escaping undamaged- - -the scorches and bits of melted armor across its torso and legs a testament to the enemy's aim- - -Megas itself was in much better condition.
An image of Megas's oversized controller appeared on the Guardsman's viewscreen. "Look, lady, are we about finished? I just have a few questions I want to ask before I leave. I don't want to miss my movies."
The pilot frowned severely, not liking the idea of answering anything that he'd want to ask. She briefly glanced at one of her displays; the Guardsman's power core was flickering, and if she didn't shut the whole thing down soon it was liable to go critical. Some of the lights had turned red, confirming as much. "Is that a joke?" she spat. "Why should I tell you anything? Leave us alone!"
Another display flickered. "Don't let your pride get the best of you, Kyla," a voice spoke over the transmission.
"...!" The Lunar rabbit sat upright. "Lady Yorihime!"
"After some deliberation, we agree that it is permissible to answer their questions if it means that they won't disturb us again," a smiling Toyohime said, edging next to Yorihime into the camera's view. "Just use your own discretion and don't tell them anything classified, as per regulations."
"With all due respect, masters, I'm going to have to leave my Guardsman," Kyla informed them, an edge in her voice. "My reactor won't last much longer. Any longer than two minutes, and..."
"I understand," Toyohime said, solemn. "Is your ETB still operational?"
Kyla checked a still-functional display. "Yes, Lady Toyohime."
"Then use it, and quickly." The capital's co-guardian straightened. "I stand ready to receive you and the impure ones. Earthlings, stand by for translocation."
It'll be close, but I think I can manage it. "As ordered."
The fat Earthling was quick to protest to this. "Hey. I'm not sure what's going on, but I don't have time to sit around and chat. You're sure we can't just talk out here?"
Kyla was already at work, powering up the Guardsman's Emergency Transporter Boundary and selecting both herself and the Earthlings as targets. ...He seriously can't put the facts together? I guess my friends were right; impurity rots the brain. "Quite certain. Now stand still a moment and let me handle this. This won't hurt a bit."
"Famous last words," the other male human snarked. The female in the back seat frowned and folded her arms, but didn't object.
A slot in the rabbit-mech's damaged forehead opened, revealing a translucent blue crystal shard. It glowed brightly as the Lunarian technology kicked into high gear. On-screen, Toyohime held her hands out from her sides and called upon her abilities, providing the ETB with a suitable beacon.
Perhaps the pounding it had taken from Megas had jarred something loose... which wasn't unlikely, since the Guardsman's head had been repeatedly bludgeoned by its own arm... or maybe there was simply a high chaos factor involved. Either way, something was starting to go wrong. Kyla frantically manipulated the controls, becoming increasingly alarmed. "Why now? Why now, of all times?"
"What is it?" Yorihime asked worriedly.
"It's not picking you up!" Kyla yelled, urgency entering her voice when she realized that the mech's reactor was flickering more quickly. The rest of the lights in the cockpit blinked red, and an alarm started buzzing. "Something in the ETB has been disconnected! It's trying to grab a signal far beyond its projected range!"
The implications of this sunk quickly into the sisters' minds. "Kyla, clear out, now!" barked Yorihime, her fists tightening.
"Yes, ma'am!" The moon rabbit pulled an emergency lever, opening the back of the Guardsman's head and launching herself out of it in the same motion. The nearby barrier shimmered as she passed through it, reaching relative safety.
Kiva recognized the signs of a potential disaster well enough. "When that mech explodes, it'll catch us in the blast! Coop, get us out of here!"
Coop reacted with the reflexes of a seasoned gamer. Flipping Megas around, he gunned the engines and tore off towards Earth in a blaze of blue and orange, the acceleration pushing everyone into their seats.
Jamie was the first to notice what was happening. He thought at first that his vision was clouding up, but it turned out to be a bluish tinge creeping across the side windows and windshield. "Um, guys?"
"Yeah? What is it?"
"Is that this translocation thing they were going on about?"
They were still in Megas, they were travelling at high speed, and they were about to be teleported. The often-ignored laws of physics were about to get their sweet revenge.
The blue light ensnared Megas, wrapping itself around the futuristic mech until it was fully enclosed. In a bright and wondrous flash that echoed the Guardsman's disproportionate explosion behind them, the stolen prototype vanished from Lunarian airspace.
"I am sorry, Lady Yorihime, Lady Toyohime. I realize that you wanted to indulge their curiosity, but- - -"
"Don't worry about it too much, Kyla." Toyohime sat down, helping herself to a peach. "It was partially our fault for asking that of you on the spur of the moment."
"In any event, while unintentional, the enemy has departed. While part of me believes that they don't have any designs on our home, for its sake I am still relieved that they opted not to stick around." The normally serious Yorihime winked at the nervous Lunar rabbit, dispelling some of her unease, and dismissed her.
"Something that bothers me a little is that other boundary manipulator that the ETB discovered," Toyohime told her sister once Kyla was out of earshot. "Is it who I think it is...?"
"Call it a hunch," Yorihime said, smiling enigmatically, "but I think our visitors are about to make things a bit problematic for our old adversary. My only regret is that we cannot be there to see for ourselves; finishing their repair work and recovering what is left of the Guardsman takes priority."
"I think I may have a snack after all, Toyohime. Pass one of those to me, please."
And so another day went by on the moon.