Ah, another chapter coming your way, people! This one was particularly fun to write.
Oh, and despite the end of this chapter, more is coming! Read, review, enjoy, and stay tuned!
Even thought her fists were quite tiny and insignificant when compared to such a massive creature, Sergeant Calhoun still could not help but at least attempt to break free. After all, her programming dictated that she could face Cy-Bugs and the like head on without so much as a shudder, so a giant ape shouldn't be this much of a problem for her.
"No way I'm going down like some two-bid damsel in distress! Now let go of me so I can properly thank you for making this entire night a complete headache!" she demanded, but George ignored her pleas as he continued to scale the side of the building.
Every time he grabbed hold of another series of windowsills in an effort to pull himself, concrete crumbled from the side of the building. It seemed like it could come down at any moment.
Not used to being completed ignored, the Sergeant just kept on struggling, even though in the back of her mind she was sure her efforts were completely in vain.
Now all she could do was wonder how Felix could possibly get her out of this predicament...
The trademark noise of his jumping, along with the sound of sparks flying as Ulala hitched a ride on the back of the grinding Beat, marked the approach of Felix and his allies. Up ahead, right near the top of the building, the gigantic George seemed to be unaware that he was even be followed in the first place. All the better for him, Felix thought.
His mind was so focused, so intent on saving his date. This was so different, Felix realized, despite the fact that this giant ape seemed to be following Ralph's usual pattern: destroy something, move a bit, destroy something, and then move a bit more. The only difference was that this monster was faster than Ralph, and had a prize Felix could not afford to lose.
When Felix did a regular day of his game, there was no thrill really, since he knew that it would usually end the same way. Most of the time, he'd come out victorious, or if the player was bad, the building would come down, but he'd fix it in a jiffy afterward.
This time, however, there was actually something at stake. This time, Felix couldn't just telegraph the outcome.
But as he watched the ape finally make it to the top of the building, Felix and and his allies in hot pursuit, Felix knew that whatever the outcome, he would make sure with everything in his power that Sergeant Calhoun came out of this safe.
Felix's eyes narrowed as he, Beat and Ulala approached the roof. His big moment was almost upon him.
When George finally stopped, he seemed almost bored all of a sudden, sitting down and taking in the view of the surrounding cityscape that had yet to be destroyed. Sergeant Calhoun could only wonder what his player was possibly up to, but these wandering thoughts were little compared to the problem at the present.
She vaguely remembered Rampage, and that was through hearsay and the like. Hero's Duty hadn't been around for all that long, and in game terms, her self-contained universe was young and relatively ignorant to the accomplishments of all the various gaming legends that had come and gone in Litwak's Arcade.
But there was one thing she did remember, and that was the fact that in Rampage, the monsters didn't just destroy buildings. They had a particular taste for people, and in her trapped state, she knew she was probably next on the menu.
Though she would never admit it to a soul, a icy spike of fear cut right through her heart as she watched the monstrous ape bare his canines, looking down hungrily at his prize. As the monster's maw opened, the blond-haired soldier could only wonder what her last words to Felix would possibly be, if he had been around to hear them.
But perhaps she would still get that chance, because even Sergeant Calhoun couldn't help but light up as she watched a blur speed right by George's face, denying him his prize. There was a loud fizzing noise, and as Beat skidded to a stop, with Ulala quickly dismounting from him, the skater looked on in satisfaction at his handiwork.
"And that is how it's done! Enjoy the taste of graffiti soul, King Kong." he taunted as George used his free hand to claw at the white alien-shaped design now covering his face. The pain he was in was undeniable, as the liquid stung his eyes and nose, but even in his agony he seemed to refuse to let his prize be free.
But Felix still saw his chance, and with George distracted, he did the only thing he knew how to do.
He charged, hammer in hand, even as the Sergeant's eyes widened in a mixture of shock and fear.
"No! Don't be a hero! I'm not going to watch you turn into an appetizer!" she pleaded, something which seemed a bit out of place coming from her. But Felix ignored her, and it was when he was only a few feet from George's titanic body when the ape managed to crack its eyes open and realize just what was going on.
There was a massive smacking shound as Felix was hit head on by George's free hand, his hammer flying backwards into the air after making only the slightest impact.
"Felix!" the Sergeant screamed, her mind suddenly playing every doomsday scenario it could concoct. She began to blame herself for everything, and painful memories of Brad, and all the anguish she had been unable to prevent, began to resurface.
But Beat was quick to catch Felix as he skidded on the ground, eventually stopping just inches away from his hammer. As the skater helped him up, Felix smiled through a few broken teeth as he held up his hammer triumphantly.
"Got him." he remarked, and to Sergeant Calhoun's utter surprise, the grip on her began to loosen. As they all watched in wonder, George began to shrink at an alarming rate, eventually scaling down to the size of a young man. This same young man, who stood holding Sergeant Calhoun in his arms, was not only completely naked, but seemingly grateful.
"I...I'm human again! You fixed me! You actually fi-"
He never got the chance to finish his sentence, because all it took was one satisfying right hook to put him down. Having knocked him out cold, the Sergeant stretched her arms and hugged herself, relishing in freedom once again.
But before she knew it, Felix had already fixed his broken teeth, and had taken her by hand, the look on his face beyond concerned.
"Are you alright, ma'am? Please forgive us for not coming sooner..." Felix told her apologetically, before taking a quick glance at the unconscious George and suddenly smiling.
"...but, Golly, you really did a fine job of taking care of the situation."
Sergeant Calhoun glanced over at Beat and Ulala, who seemed content staying at a distance and letting her and Felix have their alone time. When she looked down at Felix again, he was still holding onto her hand and still smiling. His hands were particularly warm. They made the Sergeant feel calm and comfortable.
"Thank you, Felix." she said to him, before leaning down and giving him a peck on the lips. She smiled in satisfaction at the lovestruck expression her kiss caused, almost to the point where she wanted to chuckle when she saw 8-bit hearts floating in his eyes. But she knew better, and kept to her causal demeanor.
"Wow. Thank you ma'am. That was...oh, that was heavenly." Felix said, a dreamy look on his face.
"I'd appreciate if you started calling me Tamora. Frankly I'm sick of this "Ms. Calhoun" and "Ma'am" business. But don't get too comfy with names, or you'll regret it." she warned, reminding Felix of the predicament he had put them all in, and effectively snapping him out of his lovestruck state.
He glanced back at the the two Sega characters still waiting patiently, and then put on a sorrowful expression as he addressed his date.
"Oh, gosh, I'm sorry for all this. Why don't I just...why don't I just take you home and we can forget all about this. I can tell you're just being awful polite, even though I know you just got put through a whole lot of trouble."
Strangely, Sergeant Calhoun just smiled back at him as an idea came to her.
"The night's still young. But why don't you let me decide where we go this time? You know, so we don't accidentally end up in Resident Evil or something. Not that I couldn't handle that, of course."
"Yes, yes!" Felix replied, clearly happy that somehow, she still wanted to continue their night. "We'll go wherever you please, ma-, I mean...Tamora."
Meanwhile, Beat had slipped right past her and Felix, having picked up the unconscious George and putting him over his shoulder.
"You think you two can take it from here?" the blue hero asked Beat, only to receive a grin from the skater in response.
"No worries. We'll help Flo out with the restaurant, and hopefully this guy doesn't wake up any time soon." Beat remarked.
Sergeant Calhoun chuckled. "Trust me. He won't."
Out of all the places he imagined Sergeant Tamora Calhoun choosing, Spaceport 9, located in the heart of Sega's Space Channel 9, was definitely one of the last places on the list.
But here they were, alone together in a quaint room that gave them a beautiful view of the star ocean beyond. The vastness of space was something very new to Felix, and just watching nebulae and all their fantastic colors was a wonder he probably would never forget. Even the teal and blue walls of this room were pleasant to look at, and just the idea of space being so close to them, even if this space was just a part of the game, still put Felix in awe.
But even the grandness of the cosmos could be more awe-inspiring than the Sergeant herself. Felix found himself apologizing again to her before he even knew what he was saying.
"Listen, you don't have to be polite anymore. I'm not going to get all hurt if you tell me just want to go home. I'm sure it's been a heavy night for you, after all..."
The Sergeant looked back at him, her posture so casual as she leaned back on the concave silver chair. "Would you like to go home? It sounds like you would. I can't imagine why though. I'm perfectly fine."
Felix's expression changed in an instant when he realized her satisfaction, and he waved his hands in an attempt to retract his statement. "Oh no, I'm just peach perfect! This is great. Wonderful, actually. I'm just a loony over here. Forget what I said!"
The sound of the game's soundtrack seemed to come in right on cue, and upon realizing the situation in front of him, Felix was at a loss of words. It looked like Sergeant Calhoun was actually enjoying the pleasant view of space outside, surprisingly.
Now was his moment to strike, and to make use of the favor he'd asked for earlier in the day.
"You know, this is a pretty sweet song, now that I listen to it again." he remarked.
The Sergeant continued to gaze out into space, watching the beautiful nebulae expand and contract. "Yes...I suppose it is."
"So it makes wonder. You think you'd like to dance? With me?"
Now he had Sergeant Calhoun's attention. She stood up finally, hands on her hips. "Dance? That's not really my thing. And how would that work anyway? I don't mean to offend, but you're a bit..."
Felix held a hand up in an attempt to interrupt her. "Look, I know what you're going to say, but please, I'm asking you to trust me on this one. If you'd just close your eyes, then I can show exactly how it would work."
After a few seconds of thinking, which felt like an eternity to Felix, the Sergeant seemed ready to give him a chance. This couldn't help but surprise Felix, of course, considering how many times he'd proven himself to her already.
"Alright. You win for now." she told him, closing her eyes. Felix smiled in delight, and reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the red and white mushroom that a dear friend had let him borrow for such an occasion as this one.
"Yes. I think I do." he whispered to himself, before popping the mushroom into his mouth.
8-bit pinging accompanied the noise of something growing, and to Sergeant Calhoun's surprise, she felt a hand take hers and actually lift it up to it up past her waist. Unable to remain in the dark, she opened her eyes, which were greeted by the sight of a much taller and more proportional Felix.
He was still clad in his dashing blue suit and still smiling. Now it was Sergeant Calhoun who was at a loss for words.
Of course, she had no idea the effects of this were only temporary. But to Felix, that didn't really matter. He knew he had all the time he needed.
"So, Tamora," he began, his voice so confident and almost suave, despite the accent, "Can I ask a dynamite gal like yourself if I might have this dance?"
Now completely caught under his spell, Sergeant Calhoun nodded as Felix took her other hand in his.
Suddenly, the music wasn't so annoying to her after all. And with the backdrop of the cosmic ocean, and Felix with her, the Sergeant couldn't help but feel a strange warmth in her chest. With every step, and every time she looked at Felix's face, her heart seemed to only beat faster.
Was this love? She could only wonder. And even as she danced and danced, finding herself caught in the magic of the music, the idea of being in love worried her.
Because she knew that if this was indeed love, she also knew for a fact that there would be no gun or weapon in existence able to defeat it.
Yeah, before anyone asks, I am a huge fan of Space Channel 5, Jet Set Radio and Rampage. :D