-Zero's Dilemma-

The maverick hunter known as Zero was a combat oriented fighting machine, leaving most of the negotiations to his partners, X and Axl, this day however, he was on his own in the field.

*Static*

"Zero, can you hear me?" a voice buzzed in the crimson warrior's ear.

"Loud and clear Layer," Zero replied while surveying his surroundings.

"Alright, the facility ahead is holding the converter module from RayTech Laboratories in the deeper areas," Layer informed.

"Gotcha," the Hunter slowly made his way towards the facility, "recovering stolen tech isn't really our thing y'know."

"Yes, but RayTech is one of our suppliers/sponsors so we don't have much of a say," the purple haired navigator consoled the warrior.

"I hate bureaucracy," Zero groaned as he ambushed a Maverick sentry guard.

*Crackle*

A buzzing sound echoed subtly in the air as an opposing mechanical figure was split in half.

"Why do they even bother?" Layer sighed.

"Dunno," the red warrior shrugged, "still, it keeps me awake."

"*Sigh* This is gonna take some time huh?" the purple haired navigator whined.

"Looks like it," Zero said as he entered the main door, "get some rest, I'll just buzz you when I get lost."

"Very funny Zero," Layer said with snark.

"I'm serious, if Mavericks didn't put elaborate floor design and traps, I'd have cleaned them all out a long, long time ago," the red warrior complained, "Heck, if X and Axl didn't partner up with me back in the Elevator Incident, I'd still be stuck in that Gravity Lab."

"Not buying it," the Navigator teased.

"Suit yourself, " Zero surrendered, "couldn't have made it this far without you either."

"..."

"Layer?" the Hunter paused as he prepared to smash two Mavericks, head first, to one another.

"Thanks," the purple-haired woman blushed, but she was thankful that Zero could only hear her voice.

"Thought I lost connection back there," Zero joked as he resumed bashing both Mavericks' heads into one another.

"You're not getting rid of me that easily," the woman tried to keep calm.

"Not really trying for that one," the red warrior smiled.

"!" Layer gazed at a newly opened screen, "Zero!"

"Whoa, little to loud," the Hunter grabbed his helmet by the receiver of his comm unit, "what is it?"

"The doors from the floor above you are being sealed, you won't be able to get in," the Navigator warned.

"Not good," Zero started dashing towards the supposed entrance.

The Hunter only made it in time to see the door close, after multiple sabre slashes, Zero concluded that the seal was unbreakable.

"They have really gotten better with level design," the red warrior complained.

"I'm going to send you some support," the purple-haired woman informed the Hunter.

"We can't exactly have an airstrike in here right?" Zero contemplated.

"Not what I meant," Layer clarified.

"Okay?" the Hunter shot a confused look.

"Just stay in place for a few minutes while a get a lock on your coordinates," the Navigator ordered.

"Got it," the red Hunter replied as he began to sit.

...3 minutes later...

*Footsteps*

...1 minute later...

*Marching*

"Layer?" Zero asked for his Navigator's attention.

"I'm almost done Zero," the woman said as she continued typing in data.

"Can you tell me exactly what this facility was holding besides the converter module?" the red warrior was worried.

"Let me see," the Navigator began scanning through some old files, "it was used as the storage site for the decommissioned Repliforce, why do you ask?"

"Well, I think they aren't so decommissioned anymore," the Hunter replied.

As Zero turned his gaze, the Hunter found hundreds of eyes, vengeful eyes gazing straight at him. He remembered quite well, Zero knew the design, the emblem, and one familiar face in the crowd.

"Zero..." a unique Reploid stood in front of the crowd.

"Zero I've got a lock," Layer informed him, "assistance will arrive momentarily."

"Roger that," Zero sent mentally.

"It has been so long!" the Reploid continued.

"Yeah, it has," the red warrior replied, "Captain."

"So glad you remember because tonight, Repliforce is gonna take you down!" the Captain roared.

The joint Repliforce units cheered on their leader.

"We don't have to do this!" the Hunter explained,"Repliforce was being manipulated by Sigma, General even gave his life to stop the Final Weapon!"

"Even so," the Captain answered, "our code of honor won't allow us to leave things as is."

"Everyone, Sigma is gone, you have no more Mavericks to fight," Zero tried negotiating, "we can have you join the Maverick Hunters to wipe your slates clean."

The soldiers were silent, some were contemplating the offer, others were waiting for their comrades' reply.

"All right," Captain replied, "those of you who wish to join the Hunters, lay down your weapons and walk away, we won't hold it against you."

A little under half of the units dropped their weapons and quietly left the facility, planning to march towards Hunter HQ as a sign of their solidarity.

"Captain..." the red warrior hesitated.

"All units," the Repliforce officer raised his hand, "CHAAARGE!"

All the remaining Repliforce soldiers made a dash for the lone opponent and began firing in perfectly choreographed synchronicity, putting pressure on the master swordsman.

"RAAAH!" Zero charged those who fought with powered armor at close range.

*Swoosh*

One armor fell, the soldier inside took his sidearm and jumped out, guns blazing.

*Buzz*

The soldier fell quickly to the ground.

*Boom*

A mortar shell exploded near Zero's feet.

*Daka-daka-daka*

Machine gun fire followed the mortar sounds.

*Snap*

The hunter broke another soldier's neck.

*Crackle*

A swift saber strike to a grenadier who got too far.

*Pop*

A shoryuuken propelled a gunner's head up high.

"You can't keep this up forever Zero!" the Captain yelled as he fired his bazooka.

"Boy, I'm just giving you guys a chance to surrender whenever you want to," the Hunter boasted,"if I was planning on taking you down, this would have ended a long time back."

"Hmph," Captain smirked, "that so?"

Energy beams headed straight for Zero, but the agile warrior evaded them all, too narrow for his comfort though.

"!" Zero gazed at the source of the shots.

A ride armor corps armed with energy blades and cannons with missiles on the side.

"Storm Owl's advanced unit that was supposed to be released a week after you and X finished him," Captain explained.

*Swoosh*

An energy cannon was cut apart while firing, causing an explosion that destroyed the Ride and damaged two of its comrades.

*Dent*

A fist-shaped mark appeared in another Ride's torso, destroying both Ride and pilot.

"What..." Captain stood flabbergasted.

"...was that?" Zero finished the Captain's sentence with a slight smile knowing who attacked the Rides, "Although it pains me to fight you guys, I won't hesitate to strike you down."

"And neither will I," a feminine voice spoke after downing a unit with a glaive.

"You think both of you can take down all of us?" Captain spat out, "Think Again!"

A commander type Ride Armor was deployed from the shadows, armed with cannons, blades(energy and solid), grenades, missiles, a chest-mounted laser, high speed flight ability and leather seats for comfort.

"..." Hunter and Navigator stood back to back, surrounded by the units who rallied under their leader.

"Unison attack?" Layer asked with a small grin.

"..." Zero nodded with another smile.

Both swords were drawn...

*Swoosh*

*Swipe*

*Clang*

*Boom*

...And the battle was over.

End Chapter 1.