[A/N]: So this is an old story that I've had written down for a while. I just never really got around to posting it since there wasn't much motivation to. But some people have expressed interest in it, so I decided to post one chapter of it on Tumblr and it got some good reception, so it gets to come here too.
The basic idea was that I wanted to rewrite the Tribe anime based on the idea that it wasn't forced to rush to an ending. It had a lot of interesting concepts that didn't really get to pan out so well: the idea of the final boss Orihime disguising herself as a reliable yet ambiguous ally at the beginning, the idea of Hyde and Gori appearing as reoccurring rivals and instigators after the OOParts for their own selfish reasons, Subaru having to deal with the fact that the enemies have two of the OOParts while he only has one, and whatever the hell they were planning to do with Solo. I mean wow. Solo actually being a threat and having skills to back up that "OOOH TERRIFYING RIVAL" that really wasn't held up too well in the second game. I mean. He did better in the third game. But in the second game he was kind of a boring paste foil (even if I do love the little sucker to bits, I have to admit that.)
RAMBLING ON. sorry. Anyways, I wanted to rewrite Tribe anime. So keep in mind, this will be different from my usual Ryuusei stories because:
-I'm sticking to the anime's plot and characterization. No sudden game input here, even if I do abhor the flanderization of some characters in there.
-I'm exploring, however, with the idea of the OOParts having a consciousness that was blatantly shown in the game and hinted at in the anime-their consciousness is more pronounced here and so helps lead the plot in a more expanded direction.
-Yes, I am using the basic plotline of the Tribe anime as well, down to constant the constant rewriting to focus on villains as opposed to main characters-I just hope to extend and expand on it, and hopefully take the same plot in a different direction here.
Yes, this is the first chapter, even if the episode count is weird. I'm starting from Episode 8-the turning point, in my mind, where you can actually see how rushed the story starts to get with the whole "how to master the Sword of Berserk in One Minute!" a la sword in the stone reference here.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy!
Episode 008 – The Sword's Trial!
Fear. Subaru had felt it many times before.
The first time he became Rockman. The first time he had fought an FM-ian. The time that he heard those cruel words from Cygnus about War-Rock and his father and had his world torn apart. Fighting Andromeda and finding his attacks brushed aside, even those of the Star Force.
Somehow, all that seemed insignificant to the experience of completely losing control of his body. At least with the other times, he'd been helpless through some weakness of his body and mind. But now, he was helpless beyond his own control, his body being dragged about despite his fevered protests to stop.
He tried to let go of the sword, but his right hand was stuck to the blade's handle in an iron grip as if it had been glued on, and he even found it necessary to sometimes intuitively grab on with War-Rock's head as well lest his right arm get wrenched out of its socket. What was Berserk doing?
He wasn't able to think much further, as he suddenly found himself steered away from the battle and dragged out of the pyramid at a rapid pace. It was all he could do to keep up with the sword and not trip up.
"Subaru! It'll be painful if we crash into that!" Subaru looked up, and saw with horror that the sword was running straight towards a large stone construct at high speed.
"Subaru, I'm releasing the Denpa-Henkan!"
"O-Okay!" Suddenly, he found himself no longer being pulled forward while in the middle of a stride, and Subaru fell forward of his own momentum, coughing up sand as he pushed himself to his feet.
"War-Rock?" His only response was pained groaning, and his fear increased further as he looked at the Star Carrier's screen, watching it be marred by static as the AMian inside continued to struggle with pain.
Phantom Black, Berserk, all was forgotten as he dialed Amachi-san, begging him to perform a scan on War-Rock to see what was wrong with him. The results did nothing to soothe him. War-Rock feeling exhaustion? War-Rock having to fight with this sword on his own without rest? And to not tell him…
"It's my own fault, so I have to deal with it. Like that fish bone that got caught in your throat."
"Don't compare those circumstances, they're not the same…" Before he could say any more, War-Rock stiffened, and for a moment, Subaru thought he was trying to change the topic of conversation. "What's wrong, War-Rock?"
"He's coming!" Before Subaru could question what War-Rock meant, a bright purple flash of light engulfed his vision, Burai appearing on top of the pyramid Rockman had burst out of several minutes prior. What a time for such an enemy to show up, when they were both exhausted and worried…
However, Burai certainly had no compunctions on waiting for them to finish worrying, and a last second Denpa-Henkan was the only thing that saved them. The way the battle had gone, however, they might as well not have. Burai overpowered them at every turn, and they were forced to be on the defensive right from the beginning of the fight.
When Burai started pulling out Battle Cards, they didn't stand a chance. A single attack sent Rockman into unconsciousness.
Subaru opened his eyes. All he could see was darkness. Where was he? Where was War-Rock? Had Burai gotten to him? Was he alright? Looking around frantically got him no answers until a small circle of light opened at his feet.
Kneeling down to look in it, he was horrified by what he saw. It was an image of him, still as Rockman, utterly unconscious. War-Rock was forcefully dragging his body about in a futile attempt to keep him safe, but it did little-if anything it only made things even worse by prompting Burai to attack him with more Battle Cards to subdue the attempt to rise.
"War-Rock…War-Rock!" Subaru cried out in horror, before wondering: was this really happening? If so, how? Where was he if that was the case, where could he be while still watching his own body being dragged about right before his eyes?
"Inside your mind," a deep voice rumbled, startling the boy. Again, looking around got him nothing, even when the circle of light disappeared, plunging him into darkness once more.
"My…my mind…?" Subaru eventually asked. This place…being his mind? Impossible…it was so bare, so desolate…
"Yes…that is the simplest answer. The true answer is that you are trapped in a state of mental suspension…we have severed your consciousness from all contact with the outside world."
At those words Subaru recoiled in horror, instinctively standing up and stepping a few steps back.
"What?! Why? Who are you?"
"We are the tribe of Berserk." There was heat behind him, and Subaru jumped away, transfixed by the glowing golden pillar of light that had suddenly appeared behind him.
"And now…" Suddenly, Subaru found himself surrounded by more identical pillars, their spacing and position giving off the illusion of bars in a cage.
"…we take your body."
Immediately, Subaru's face contorted into an expression of horror.
The pillars of light almost seemed to bristle with anger as they crackled with electricity. Subaru could see indistinct faces swirling within the light, all contorted into shapeless masses of pain and agony and rage, and he could almost hear their screams as the top of the pillars change shaped to resemble something…a helmet with a sword? It almost looked like his own helmet and sword when Rockman channeled Berserk's power…
"Our tribe should never have been destroyed!" the lights hissed. "Now that our dormant consciousness has been reawakened, we can be restored to our rightful place as the rulers of all! The tribe of Berserk will be reborn!"
"I don't understand!" Subaru cried. "What do you need my body for? Why have you been pushing us around like this? What do we have to do with your being reborn?!"
"You…" A pause, as the lights stopped bristling, coming closer. "You are a useful conduit of our power. Your body is young and malleable, but strong. When fused, these qualities are only enhanced. Your body is strangely receptive to our waves: even when we do not give it willingly, you are able to instinctively access a portion of our massive power and wield it successfully. You are strong. You will be the perfect host.
"We have waited for this moment, when you and your partner's minds are linked and your bodies fused, yet so physically and mentally overwhelmed and in such a desperate situation that you have no choice but to use our power! The first time we tried, you came to much too quickly for us to gain a hold…it is only a proof of your strength and mental fortitude.
"However, even with that strength, you can only last so long…do not waste it fighting us. Give in. Use our power. Become one with us and become the ultimate being, able to revive our lands and restore our people! If you do not, then your partner will…"
As if to remind him that there was no time, the circle of light appeared at Subaru's feet once more. He saw War-Rock forcing Rockman's body to stand again and again, and slowly, he clenched his fists.
"You…why are you putting him through this? Either getting him killed by Burai or losing his mind to you, becoming some kind of empty host…why? Why won't you simply work with us, let us channel your power willingly? It would benefit everyone…"
"It would not. Our power, willingly wielded by one not of Mu? Scandalous! It must not stand. You must be assimilated into our being. We must control your body with no complications or resistance. Stop these pointless inquiries. You are not to be spared. We will not let you move freely, now that we have you here. Submit."
"You…" Subaru growled, his tightened fists now shaking. "Submitting War-Rock to all this, just for your selfish desires? I won't let you!"
Subaru started forward, but found his progress hindered as something grabbed his wrist. It felt white hot, and he cried out as it burned into his skin. Turning, he saw a rope of light snared around his wrist, connecting to one of the pillars of light.
"You don't have a choice!"
More pillars extended identical thick strands, esnaring his other arms, his legs, his neck, waist and mouth in some intricate web. It felt like he was being pulled in so many different directions all at once that he couldn't move, even as the light closed in on him from all sides.
Then the pillars converged, all light melding into a single column of electricity…and all Subaru knew was pain.
Subaru felt white-hot lighting coursing through his body. Already, he felt his limbs going numb. At the corner of his mind, he felt a burning sensation, almost akin to a slowly building headache. They…at this rate, his consciousness really would be burned to nothing. And then, they'd get War-Rock…
War-Rock! Berserk had said their minds were linked in this state, and that was what would allow Berserk to get to them both…but didn't that mean that they could get to each other as well? He really wasn't cut off from everything like they had claimed!
Subaru fought through the pain, trying to move his numbed body. Even as he felt the pressure building in his head as the light tried to reduce him to nothing, he took away all focus on defending himself and focused instead on trying to connect with War-Rock the only way he could think of.
"War-Rock…War-Rock! Can you hear me? Are you still there? Are you alright? If you are, answer, please!"
He heard nothing but the wails and screams that were immersed into the very light itself. They threatened to overwhelm him, to drown out his own words in their angry diatribe, but…no matter. He forced his arm to move, raising his Star Carrier slowly, painfully.
They were connected, always. And the way they did, the reason they were so close now…the only real way to call to him…he knew it now. It came to him clearly in a burst of sudden insight, and he would have wondered at him not figuring it out before if he wasn't so focused on getting it out now.
"Denpa-Henkan! Hoshikawa Subaru, On Air!"
There was nothing. Only white-hot pain and screams and that burning sensation threatening to erase him completely.
Then there was a flash of green light that cut through the yellow haze. A cooling sensation ran through his body before it was engulfed in a warm, familiar energy, and Rockman emerged from the green light, easily breaking apart the overwhelming force that had come so close to eliminating him. He fell to one knee panting, but let out a relieved smile and turned to the head that was now occupying his right hand.
"War-Rock…thank goodness you're alright!"
"Would I ever not be?" Subaru could have spoken about ten minutes ago, but now wasn't the time for that. "But we'd better hurry kiddo or your body ain't gonna fare so well!"
"Right! Battle Card, Sword!" He didn't question how this worked, how he could pull up Battle Cards so easily, what this all meant, how he was even able to transform when this was just something going on in his mind, all he knew was that Berserk was trying to wipe both of them out and that naturally, they would fight back together, just as they always had.
Rockman rushed forward at the broken up fragments of light as each of them reformed into the same sparking pillars from before. One slice broke up several of them. Another reduced those broken up slivers to nothing but faint sparks of electricity.
"No…how?!" came the angry cries of Berserk as the copies continued to disappear. "Our power…our power cannot be surpassed by that of a single warrior!"
"We aren't just one warrior!" Rockman cried as he destroyed more and more copies, ironically brightening the mindscape with every pillar of light destroyed. By the time most of the copies were gone, the landscape was revealed to be a starry sky embedded with bright stars and colorful planets.
"Battle Card, MopLance!" A wide swipe of the large pole impaled the few remaining copies and destroyed them. The original pillar was cornered next to the mental construct of Earth, and before Berserk could flee, Rockman had War-Rock's head aimed directly at them, charged Rockbuster at the ready.
"Rockman exists because there are two of us! Our combined strength, the power of our bond, means that we can fight back against any threat!"
"If you say that it is merely numbers that has allowed you to triumph, then your logic is flawed!" hissed Berserk. "We are the entire tribe! Our numbers, not to mention the superiority of our race, and th power of the OOPart…it should be no problem against a mere human child and a foreign Denpa body!"
"There may be more of you…" Rockman admitted. "But you aren't truly united. I heard your voices."
A look of pity crossed his face. "There was nothing but screaming. It wasn't unity. It was chaos. Every single voice, angry about something, wanting something, and yet doing nothing but screaming at each other…it was terrible. How could you all live like this for so long? How could you expect to accomplish anything when all of you were doing nothing but yelling at each other?"
The OOPart was silent.
"You don't need to do this, Berserk. You can work with us too, you know. This way, we can all be happy. You can channel your power through us, and we can protect ourselves against Burai and anyone else who is after the power of Mu…we don't need all this extra trouble.
There was a moment of silence.
"You…are the victor," Berserk eventually admitted. "You could have chosen to dispel us like you did with our copies, taken our power completely for yourselves, but instead you would take mercy on us, allow us to share our power instead….why would you show us mercy after what we have done?"
"Working together will allow us to achieve our full potential. To be truly united…if you know that, you wouldn't need to resort to such measures."
"…Very well." The light-like entity seemed to almost bow as Rockman lowered the Rockbuster. "We will allow you to use the power of Tribe On."
"Yes…behold, the true power of the Berserk Tribe!"
Suddenly, a blinding light emitted from Berserk's body, and Rockman found himself covering his eyes as his whole mindscape was engulfed in it.
Burai was not surprised that Rockman's body had given out. That strange Denpa lifeform that had been fueling the Denpa-Henkan had been propelling the body on its own for a surprising amount of time. The only thing even remotely surprising about it was how abruptly it had happened. One moment, the being had been raring to go, struggling to keep Rockman's body upright; and the very next the body had crumpled to the ground, as if it had given up. IT was unnatural, and for a few moments, Burai hung back, expecting a trap.
Rockman's body only continued to lay motionless like a puppet with its strings cut, however, so Burai began to approach.
It was strange. There wasn't even any pules of energy as a reaction, much unlike the last time he had cornered Rockman like this. No matter. As long as he held the Sword of Berserk, Rockman should be considered a threat, pitifully weak as he was. Burai raised his sword up, then brought it down for the final blow.
Then suddenly, a dreadfully familiar light burst from Rockman's body, and Burai stepped back, witnessing yet again the power of Berserk.
A surprising development, but not unplanned. Rockman was weak. He could stand up to the likes of Yeti Blizzard and Phantom Black, but not soundly defeat them without the OOPart. He could barely keep up with Burai himself, as much effort as he made. There was no way he could properly access the OOPart's power. The last time they had fought, Rockman's consciousness had been overwhelmed and he had been channeling the power sluggishly, moving slowly and ponderously and merely only able to get the better of Burai by surprise. It would merely be the same performance.
Or so Burai thought.
Rockman was fully conscious as the power coursed through his body, and actually moved faster than before. Instead of desperately dodging Burai's attacks, Rockman countered them with an ease that almost seemed natural. His reflexes were lightning-quick, and his reactions were borderline instinctual: it was if he had been imbued with a proper warrior's fighting spirit. It was rare for Burai to find himself on the defensive, but indeed he did find himself struggling to defend against Rockman's onslaught of attacks.
"He mastered the Sword of Berserk…!" Burai panted out in the midst of a heated exchange between swords. The next moment, a vicious backhanded slice cut his sword in two, and Burai realized he had no chance now, not at this time.
"Thunder Slash!" Before Burai had time to react, Rockman had lashed out with the sword yet again, and the overwhelming blast of energy that resulted from it blasted Burai backwards and forced him to flee.
Rockman had never felt such power-not even when using the Star Force. What a relief it was, to use it so freely, not to have the feeling of cumbersome, heavy armor weighing him down like the previous times he had used this form. It was new, exhilarating, and simply amazing.
"This power…" he murmured to himself. "This is the power of Tribe On?"
"Indeed," boomed the voice of the OOpart, startling him. "This is yet a fraction of the power that we wield. Any more, and your fragile body and mind would be overwhelmed. This portion of our power is yours to wield as you see fit…a payment for you sparing our lives."
"If that is all you need us for, we suggest not wasting any more time. Neither of our rivals' OOParts reside here. We would seek them out, otherwise."
"Ah, thank you. Just one last thing, then…"
Rockman went around the pyramid, scanning its perimeter. Just as he had been ready to leave, however, he heard what he had been looking for.
"Just an exit…" A melodramatic sigh came from Phantom Black as he lay on the ground from the entrance he had fallen from. "The OOParts…they really are No-Parts!"
"I see!" Rockman quipped cheerfully. "Thanks for all your help!" He looked on with barely hidden amusement as Phantom Black stood up, looking down at Rockman in surprise.
"Thunder..Berserk…" Phantom Black murmured, before observing how easily the boy wielded it, how comfortably he stood. Had Rockman really…well, either way, it wasn't safe enough to stay and find out.
"Well then, ciao!"
Rockman giggled as the older man disappeared.
"I wanted to make sure that he wasn't going to cause any more trouble, but this works just as well, right, War-Rock?"
"Sure, sure. Let's just go home, okay? I'm tuckered out!"
"Of course you would be, War-Rock…"
0-0-Episode 008 END-0-0
Episode Preview: "We might have defeated Beserk and earned the right to use its power, but that doesn't mean they're leaving us alone! Not that it's a bad thing, I kind of feel bad for them…but we don't get to think about that long! There's rumors of a strange creature in Dombra Lake called Dossy…but does Dossy really exist? Next time, on Ryuusei no Rockman Tribe: The Mystery at Dombra Lake!"
[A/N]: review, comment, etc. etc. etc...