This is a fan-fiction based on characters created by Yoshiki Takaya and contains violent situations with adult language. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead is unintentional and purely coincidental.
|Title||Chapter 7: Union of the Guyvers – Part 1|
Japan, September 16, 1999
The forest was silent, save for the occasional breeze in the leaves. But that didn’t last long as a frightened shriek and a noisy explosion of wings carried a flock of quail away from their disturbed nesting.
Vamore hissed lightly to himself, shrinking back into the foliage a little. “I hate this.” The red skinned zoanoid fidgeted, then turned and dropped back down the low escarpment, back to the group, “Nothing there.”
The other zoanoids of his recon team relaxed a palpable relief of building tension. Here and there breathing commenced as they moved out again along the plain dirt path that ran along the west face of forward base 178B.
Another Vamore came up to plod alongside him as they moved. “You seem a little jitterier than the rest of us, what’s up?”
Vamore’s teeth clicked shut against each other as he let his breath hiss out between them. “I hate this Being expendable. There’s the zoalords, up in their base. While we run pretty little patterns in the dirt down here, working over the area where the Guyvers where last sighted. Why? Not to kill them No, just to get our heads handed to us so that they know where the Guyvers currently are.”
The other Vamore nodded and shrugged, “Such is life.”
Along they moved, being as silent as possible, without trying too hard since it hardly mattered against a Guyver’s hyper senses. As they paused, Vamore struck up the conversation with his compatriot again. “I’ll tell you though; I caught a glance at a briefing from the US branch. They’ve got their hands full with a Guyver there as well. Heh, they should try taking on two” He glanced quizzically at his friend’s sudden immobility.
“A-ah-another Guyver? How is that possible!? I thought there were the only two in existence after Guyver 2 got himself killed.”
Vamore’s mouth gaped in a grin at his double’s surprise, “I only got a glimpse… But it seemed like they found another, and let it get away too!”
The other Vamore stiffened and nodded silently. It seemed to have made a decision as he reached out and rested his hand between the first’s shoulder blades. “Guyvers!” He screamed!
The attack was swift, and utterly devastating. Guyver 3 exploded out of the bushes from the right, triple blades whining as his leap carried him horizontally through the formation. Gouts of blood and the screams of the dying told of his passage through their ranks, as the survivors turned to meet the threat a blue blur suddenly swept out of the bushes to the left.
Guyver 1 slashed his single arm blade through the back of the Gregole on his left, before swinging the axe edge of his other hand into the throat of the Broyze to his right. The zoanoid died with a gurgle, windpipe crushed, blood spouting from his slack mouth as he toppled.
Vamore turned towards the sounds of his men dying… or began to when suddenly his body went numb as if a switch had been flipped. He sagged against the other Vamore only to discover, it wasn’t a Vamore at all… but another zoanoid far, far more advanced.
“A-Aptom…” He managed to gasp, feeling the traitor’s hand finish severing his spine as it melted into his flesh. “Why?”
Aptom grinned, knowing he could have absorbed this creature instantly. But there was more to learn here. “Because you’ve just said a very interesting thing, and I want to know more.” As the battle raged around them, Aptom placed his other hand against Vamore’s skull. The zoanoid twitched… seemed about to struggle… But as Aptom’s hand melded into his skull, hair like filaments sliding into his brain, full paralysis set in on the hapless zoanoid.
The memory tap was improvised, as his abilities had never been designed to do this. But given his unrivaled knowledge of the anatomy of his victim, he knew how to get what he wanted. He felt the mind resist, he pressed harder, using his tendril filaments to excise parts of the brain he didn’t require, paring his prey down to just the essential. And as Vamore died, silently, though not painlessly, he surrendered the secrets Aptom sought.
Aptom stood before a view screen in Vamore’s shape. The wardroom buzzed with activity, the screen flickered, and Aptom halted the memory! There it was! In glowing green type and with a picture that almost looked like Sho’s unit, was the information he sought. He sharpened Vamore’s memory, and the whole of the text grudgingly came into focus.
And the story it told was quite amazing, and more than a little amusing. They had bungled a Guyver unit find again! Some no name punk had gotten the unit, and proceeded to by himself, destroy Chronos LA, killing the ancient zoalord that was in charge!
This unit then fell out of sight. Despite Chronos’ intense manhunt the Guyver had surfaced only once or twice during the year preceding X-day. Only right before that event, he had reappeared to thwart the acquisition of another Relic by Chronos, killing an entire zoanoid strike team in the process.
The text gave his probable location as unknown, but extrapolated his whereabouts somewhere in the United States.
He was considered extremely dangerous and was under kill-on-sight orders.
Aptom almost laughed at that, considering Sho and Agito, not to mention himself, must be under Somebody’s-Kill-Them-Please orders.
He did laugh as he drew his hand back from Vamore’s skull, letting the body fall to the ground as he shifted fully back into his usual humanoid form. Usually he’d absorb the zoanoid, but as it was, he’d already eaten his fill this morning. And besides, a corpse gave him something to show the others.
Guyver 1 stepped up to him, the Guyver’s blue armor stained with blood and gore, though he didn’t seem to notice. ‘The kid’s growing up.’ Aptom thought behind an amused smirk. “Was that really necessary?” Sho asked, the distortion of his unit not masking his annoyance very well. Sho always got so uptight about what he saw as torture, instead of a clean kill.
“Oh, just my usual, but this little snack had something interesting to share with me.” Aptom sniggered as he gave the dead zoanoid a nudge with his foot, the red skin already beginning to melt and bubble as it decomposed rapidly.
“And what might that be, Aptom?” Guyver 3 stepped from the shadows under a tree, his dark purple armor giving him a particularly evil look, which, Aptom mused, was very fitting for how ruthless he was. Still, he wasn’t above priming his surprise.
“Now now, where are your manners? I really can’t tell you if you won’t say please!”
Guyver 1 looked at Guyver 3, who looked back. A moment later Agito shrugged.
Sho turned back to the zoanoid. “Would you prefer our undivided attention, or having to regenerate a limb or two?”
Aptom laughed! “You’d try, oh I bet you would. But if you did that, how would I ever tell you about the fourth active Guyver unit!”
“What!?” the word exploded in unison from both Guyvers and Aptom grinned even wider.
“Indeed! There apparently is a unit that might just predate your two by a year or so.” Without further needling he related what he had learned, and both Guyvers listened in as rapt attention as he might wish.
Agito paced the floor like some sort of caged animal. “We can’t afford to delay, if there is a solitary Guyver in the United States, we have to get to him before Chronos does. The US offices for Chronos are newer facilities. However, they have only had dated Zoaform registries in service. As such, this unknown Guyver is in for a surprise when they start importing models from here, which, if I know Valcus, is exactly what he’ll begin doing.”
Sho leaned against the wall of the ramshackle little cottage they were currently using for a base. The light of the little oil lantern guttered uncertainly, casting unstable shadows about the room in the waning light. In its glow he studied the room’s other occupant.
Agito was at lest a few years older than him, but the differences between them both were much vaster then just a few years. Agito was a businessman, no matter what he wore or how long he’d been in the field. His hair was long and straight, hanging down to brush his shoulders. His bearing was crisp and slightly posturing even here with no one else to see it.
Sho knew between the two of them, Agito was always the one people would think the great warrior. Not that he minded. Let Agito take the credit, and the burdens. He was just here to fight, not to lead. Besides, with his rumpled clothing and perpetually mussed hair, he was more likely to be dismissed from notice then remembered. He had long ago decided he preferred it that way.
“Well,” He spoke. “There aren’t many options. You need to be here, to manage things with the resistance here. Aptom can’t be trusted completely enough to let go for that long. It’s got to be me that goes, you can manage without me for a while, and I can communicate my findings back as long as we can stay in contact.”
He watched as Agito paused in his pacing, his shrewd eyes turning to study Sho intently. “As you say, I can’t be gone for that long, and Aptom not only would be incommunicado, but I also don’t want him out of my sight. Are you certain you can handle this? If you got in trouble, there’d be no way I’d be able to help you.”
Sho nodded quietly, and Agito was struck, as Aptom before him, by how much Sho had matured lately. There was a certain degree of self-reliance in the younger man that Agito hadn’t noticed before.
“I would have the Gigantic armor if needed, and as long as we stay in contact, we won’t have to fight over who uses it when.” Sho smiled thinly as he spoke, remembering a situation before when the Gigantic had been forcibly removed from him in Agito’s time of need.
Agito frowned, and nodded. Turning to walk over to the table, he picked up a scrambled cell phone he had kept here for those times when he needed to contact his organization. “We’ve a cargo carrier making a run to Hawaii from Osaka. I’ll arrange a transport to drop you along the California coast, as close to a major city center as possible.” He spoke as he dialed in the long coded sequence that would put him in touch with his headquarters.
Sho nodded once more, still not changing position. As Agito held a low voiced conversation over the phone, he turned his awareness inward. Mitzuki and Tetsuro would not be pleased with this. But it made sense, and if he was honest with himself, he was looking forward to it. The constant repetition of combat had honed his skills. But he was beginning to feel stifled here, as if he was losing touch with who he himself was.
Some time away, working on a solitary goal with his own skills, and not depending on Agito for guidance might help him clear his head.
The call finished, Agito left the shack. Aptom was on watch, the zoanoid not needing sleep. Sho spread out his cot and dropped heavily onto it. His Guyver tired him, not so much in body; the exertions of today weren’t enough for that. It wearied his spirit, the killing, and the bloodshed. And the nagging feeling that he was getting all too used to it.
As often, he wondered if his father could see him, and if he’d be proud of what his son was trying to accomplish. And as always, he had to ask himself, just what that was and as always, before he could puzzle out the answer, sleep claimed him.
North of Los Angeles, September 27, 1999
Sho splashed through the surf, feeling the sand pull at his feet and legs as the water rushed back to the sea. By the time he had gotten clear of the water, he was panting for breath.
Silently he cursed. The plan had been for him to be dropped at port. But plans were made for changing, and he had to jump ship early. The flashes of full-scale battle had made that plain.
Los Angeles was a war zone.
Even without the presence of the Chronos facility there; the main base in Arizona had maintained a stranglehold on the western seaboard.
Except in L.A.!
Sho glanced back out to sea, the far distant lights of the cargo vessel that had brought him this far seemed to wink in farewell as the ship turned back towards home. It was with a pang that Sho turned away. Right now home never sounded so good. But he had work to do before he could return there.
He shouldered his pack, hefting the unaccustomed weight. A standard survival kit, Agito had called it, including local clothing, identification, and some cash money, if such was still in use. A few barterables if it wasn’t and of all things, a survival knife and he’d had his choice of handguns.
He remembered asking Agito why such things were there, and he winced at Agito’s reaction. ‘How are you planning to find this unknown Guyver, if you announce your presence as soon as you run into difficulty?’ He of course, had no answer. Agito’s rough but efficient training in the use of both knife and firearm made sure of Sho’s basic skills with them. And his injunction to use the Guyver only if all else failed left Sho feeling a little more naked then normal.
To make up for that, he’d had a rousing argument with Agito regarding his primary chosen weapon. Murikami’s Zoanoid Buster Special was not your normal handgun by any definition. And Agito had severe doubts of his ability to use it. Murikami had been a zoalord after all, with a zoalord’s enhanced strength, even in his human form.
Luckily for Sho, once Agito had been convinced that he couldn’t stop him, he did everything in his power to assist. A local contact with the remnants of Zeus’ Thunderbolt had taken the weapon for a day, and had returned it with a few modifications. New vertical venting along the top of the barrel, allowed the escaping gas, from a discharge, to stabilize the weapon and negate some of the kickback without affecting muzzle velocity.
Also a custom arm brace harness had been designed to allow him to fire the weapon without breaking his arm on the recoil. Though he had been abjured to always find something to rest the weapon on to stabilize his aim, the gun was still heavy!
He sighed quietly, shifting the pack against his shoulders to settle it before he set off up the beach towards what his hurried last minute briefing had termed ‘Malibu’, an upscale township outside of Los Angeles proper.
It may have been upscale at one time, but it had definitely seen better days, he mused as he skirted a tall hedge, keeping as low as possible. The large house he found there had been gutted by fire. The outer wall however, still stood, and it did provide a good hiding place as he caught his breath.
Agito and he had discussed at length the possible effects on their Guyver given telepathy over such a distance. And Sho had a secured cell phone in the thigh pouch of his jumpsuit. However he had been cautioned NOT to use it if possible. Chronos did control all communications systems out of the west coast, and the line would be traceable. The military grade scrambler might be unbreakable without some specialized equipment, but it would give his position away.
Having nothing to lose, he closed his eyes. <Agito> the silence was broken only by the soft, unfamiliar night sounds. He waited a moment. <Agito, can you hear me?>
<Sho, I take it all is well?>
Sho smiled. <There have been a few complications, but nothing I can’t handle.> He quickly detailed his current situation, where he was, and what his next move was. All in all Agito took the change in plans with the same reserve he had always shown.
< Very well, I included a list of contacts in your information; I’ve met the first two listed, and trust them. The others are friends of friends, and I’d trust them only as far as they can help you. None of them know more than that you were a member of Zeus’ Thunderbolt, Do not, I repeat, DO NOT; let them know what you really are.
If you are forced to use your unit, there can be no witnesses, understand that. It might mean the failure of your mission and cost you your life if you’re positively identified. Not to mention letting them know you aren’t here. Aptom has been twinning you while you’re gone, and we think we have Chronos fooled, but don’t give us away. That’s imperative! >
Sho grimaced at Agito’s tirade. < Don’t worry Agito. I’m not exactly the untrained student I used to be. I’ll be careful, and more than that, I’ll be smart. I need to get moving now. I’ll try to contact again inside of 36 hours. Give Tetsuro and Mitzuki my love and I’ll hope to be back soon. >
< I will, good hunting Guyver 1. > The sense of Agito in his head withdrew and Sho let out a slow breath. The distance may not have directly affected the telepathic link, but it was a little more wearying to hold a conversation at this range.
He opened the pack, withdrawing a long case of impact plastic. Clicking the tabs he opened it to reveal the polished chrome of the Z-buster nestled into the red velvet inset. He just gazed at it for a few moments, remembering the man who had used it once. Murikami had been his friend, a man fighting Chronos for what they had done to him. Until Chronos had finished what they had started, turning him into the monster he had once hated.
Blinking away the burning sensation in his eyes, he lifted the harness from its place in the case and strapped it on, the tabs clicking into place. The arm piece felt bulky and restrictive, but it would keep this from being folly the moment he pulled the trigger, and that’s why it was here.
He cracked the breach on the gun, sliding three of the large caliber shells into the chambers before snapping the weapon closed with practiced ease. The clack of the breach closing with well-oiled precision delighted him. And the gleaming weapon slid into a sheath against his spine, the handgrip positioned just behind his right shoulder.
The rest of the shells went into a bandolier on his belt. He was amused by what a dangerous individual he must look as he pulled the dark trench coat he had been given from the bag. Putting it on covered that appearance, letting him maintain some degree of anonymity. Grabbing his pack he stuffed the case back into it and left the minimal safety of the house. Not looking back as he began his journey to LA.
Washington D.C., September 26, 1999
Sean crushed the empty beer can, tossing it at the garbage can a short distance from where he sat. The hollow sound of it dropping into the bin went unnoticed as the crackle and hiss of another one being opened as he leaned back against the wall he sat against. The alley was dim, the sun nearly down now. Still he made no move to get up.
The scuff of booted footsteps echoed down the alley. He didn’t look up, or even open his eyes, not that he needed to, only one person here knew him well enough to know where to look for him when he didn’t want to be found.
“Hey Jason, pull up some pavement. Have a beer.”
The sound of footsteps stopped right in front of him. Silence persisted for a few more moments, long enough for him to grow restless in the face of it before his finder finally spoke.
“Are you really feeling that sorry for yourself?” The voice was strong, crisp. The nearest Sean could ever put it to be was ‘military’ and this time it grated on his nerves.
“Like I have to answer to you, or anyone!” he growled back, getting to his feet to glare back at the owner of that voice.
‘Jason’ was half a head taller then he was, and while he wasn’t the biggest soldier Sean had seen, he was certainly the most dangerous. The FBI operative that had been assigned to him as his official ‘handler’ was as far beyond a normal military grunt as they were beyond the average citizen. Just the little bit of his file that Sean had been cleared to see had been impressive.
Not that any of that mattered right now, as mad as he was.
“What’s going on with you, Sean? You’ve been irritable, unfocused and almost careless for the passed week.” Jason glared right back at him, “We’ve worked together long enough I thought you could trust me, so what’s wrong?”
Sean’s hand clenched, the chill can in his grasp crumpling, the liquid inside frothing out as he whipped his arm up and tossed the half-crushed container against the wall. Beer foamed against the brick as the can bounced off. He had the pleasure of seeing Jason take a step back in surprise as his next move lashed a foot out to kick the garbage can. The sound it made, as it crashed over on its side was much more satisfying.
“You don’t get it.” He snarled. “None of you do. It’s all about saving the country, destroying the enemy. Kill kill kill. That’s all you want. It’d be so much easier if there was a trained assassin with the powers I have. Instead you’re stuck with ME.” His voice rising to a shout that echoed off the wall.
“You get to ride it out in a armored suit, with guns blazing. I get to wade through the rivers of blood and guts. No one, NOT one of you has racked up even a FRACTION of the kills I have. And I’m ADMIRED for being a killer” His voice trailed off into a gasp for breath. When he did continue, an almost icy calm had settled over him.
“And the dreams don’t stop; I’m killing them even in my sleep now. It’s not like before the Relic. It’s not like a call. It’s… It’s just battle and blood, and. and fire,” his voice breaking as he slumped back against the wall, eyes unfocused seeing something else entirely.
Jason remained silent, letting Sean regain his composure. Inwardly he winced, seeing what the constant action of the passed month was doing to an untrained kid who never wanted to be the single most important factor in a war for his country.
But he couldn’t let the kid fall apart now. At least he only let himself out this way in private. He was responsible for the current good morale among the troops. To them, he was invincible, superhuman. And Jason couldn’t afford to let Sean be seen as just a scared kid right now.
“I do understand why you feel the way you do.” He chose his words carefully. “You didn’t sign up for a war. But the war is here.” He sighed softly, carefully measured. “None of us want to be here. But like the Marines say. ‘Someone has to man the wall’. And at this time, this is the wall, and we’re the ones who have to man it. We’re not fighting to kill; we’re fighting to defend, protecting the lives of our families and the future of our world.”
“What’s asked of us is never easy. And an unfair amount is being asked of you. And for that I’m sorry. But we don’t have a choice. Even with the new weapons, we’ve still got a half trained, incredibly green force with a handful of experienced soldiers holding it together. You give the enemy enough pause that we can hold the line.”
He watched Sean carefully, looking for any clue as to how the kid was taking this. “Look. I know you miss Cori… but you have to agree she’s a lot safer hidden up in the mountains then she would be here. If I can make it work, I’ll try and get you out of here in a week or so for a couple of days. Once we can get a breather from the offensive. Until then, I need to be able to count on you. Can you help me?”
He waited, almost holding his breath as he waited for another explosion. He began to relax, only when Sean did.
“You’re right Jason I know you’re right… it’s just”
Sean trailed off, looking for the words to describe his unrest. And finally gave up. “I’ll try to not let it get to me so much. I know none of us really have any choice about this.” He finally relented enough to say.
“That’s all I can ask of you Sean. Don’t give up on us yet… We’ll get things worked out.” Jason hid the relief he felt behind the assured façade that he had been trained to exude. A flashpoint had been avoided, for now. But he really had to get General Carter to lighten up on Sean a little. He’d handle that as soon as he got Sean settled tonight.
“Come on, you need rest, and I could use a few winks too. Let’s just get through the next week or so, and I’ll see about a little Leave time.” He reached out, gripping Sean’s shoulder in comradely fashion, and they both turned and headed inside.
The ACTF Compound in Washington was not the largest, but what it lacked in size, it made up for in its placement and defensibility.
It was only half an hour later that he stood in General Carter’s office at parade rest as the General eyed him speculatively. The dark wood paneling and deep somber coloring of this room was very fitting for the brooding atmosphere that seemed to surround its usual occupant.
“You don’t have to tell me about Sean’s problems, Commander. I know all about the stress he’s under, and I’m sorry, but it’s not possible to give him a break right now. The only reason we haven’t been wiped out is because he’s here. We have to maintain his visible presence for both our own troops and the enemy.”
Jason found he was grinding his teeth and forced himself to relax. “With all due respect General. I understand the concerns involved here, but it won’t serve anyone’s best interests if he snaps under the strain he’s being put under. He is a civilian, not a soldier. He’s already showing signs of post-traumatic stress syndrome, and his mood swings are growing increasingly erratic. If we push him too far, we have no capability to take him down should he develop a psychosis from the pressure.”
General Carter was not a small man, shorter then Jason though balding and leaning towards overweight in his middle age, he was still a commanding figure. And when he used the measuring look he now leveled at Jason he reminded his subordinates of his impressive record of combat and administrative tours.
“I understand your position, Commander. And I have nothing but sympathy for that young man.
With the CIA decimated, and the FBI and NSA mostly undercover, it was surprising that they could spare an agent of your caliber as a military liaison. I will take your recommendation under advisement, and I trust both your record, and what I know of you since you arrived here, that you both know what you’re asking, and understand the tightness of the situation we’re under right now.”
Jason saluted crisply, holding it until the General responded. “Thank you Sir, one last question. Has there been any decision made about our next move?”
General Carter nodded. “The Alphas are preparing for mass production. The Beta prototypes are nearly ready for testing. You and Sean will be working with the R&D groups to work the bugs out for a few days.” He allowed the ghost of a smile to cross his face before it returned to its stern normal state. “We may re-task you without prior notice if needed. But I can at least give you a few days light duty for the moment, that’s all the leeway my current orders allow.”
Jason nodded, allowing a small smile himself. “I understand, thank you for your time on such short notice, Sir.”
“I’ll keep you informed as soon as our next push is finalized.”
Jason saluted again, and doing an about-face, strode out of the General’s office. The door swung closed, clicking softly as it shut, once more sealing its lone occupant in his solitude. The sun had set, and with only the tiny desk lap on, the room was filled with deepening shadow.
General Carter sat back, his gaze holding on the closed door to his office, and was not surprised when a hushed voice spoke out of the darkness.
“I do not like having the Guyver here. “
“I know.” The general spoke, directing his affirmation to the darkness around him. “But it’s necessary for now. Or would you prefer he not be where we can keep tabs on him?”
The voice did not answer, the subtle presence fading as if a slight lessening of the darkness leaving the General to his thoughts.
Naval Surface Weapons Testing Facility, White Oak Maryland
September 27, 1999
Jason pulled the battered jeep into the parking lot; the engine groaning, tires squealing as he half drove half slid into a parking space. He glanced over at his white knuckled passenger and grinned. Sean looked like he was trying to merge with the seat, his hand clutching the door handle so hard Jason wondered amusedly if he’d leave finger grooves on the metal.
“Here we are, the Foundry. Home of lab techs, mechanics, and more powered armor then you can shake a stick at.” Jason infused his voice with more jocularity then he really felt, but he had to admit to looking forward to these next few days.
“Jeez, who taught you how to drive!?” was Sean’s oft-used complaint. Jason laughed as they struggled out of the jeep, doors creaking in protest; the twin slams lost in a sudden piercing metallic whine from one of the hangars inside the electrified fence.
Sean covered his ears, grimacing at the sonic discomfort. Jason merely winced as his ears rang from it. “Sounds like they’re still working out some of the kinks,” he mused as they approached the guarded gate.
Security was tight, it took multiple showings of their orders, ID, a call to the General’s office and then something the guards called a Bio Fast-scan. Supposedly it was something the tech boys had come up with to test for Zoanoid DNA. Jason wondered if it really worked. Eventually they were passed, and headed to their assigned hangar.
Dr. Drake was not there, but they were delightedly received by his aide, and immediately took them on a tour of the facility. It had changed a lot since they were last there. The Alpha Powered Combat Armor or ACPA, more commonly called ‘Red’ armor for its color, was in full production. Designed based on technology meant for the scrubbed mission to Mars, the suit increased the wearer’s strength, durability and firepower many times what an un-enhanced human could field. Its main problem was it was slow, clumsy and a sitting duck for ranged attacks.
This however, was going to be corrected in the Beta model. The ‘Blue’ armors were designed to be great improvements over the current models. Speed, agility and even firepower were increased greatly. The prototype units were just now preparing for their first combat trials. Looking more like a medieval suit of armor then the reds, it allowed greater range of motion and quicker response times.
Jason gazed on the new armor with uninhibited delight, his gaze straying towards the slot where his previous armor stood. The shell-like red armor was decaled with white lightning bolts, as a test pilot he had been given permission to customize his armor, now it looked like he’d have to think up a new design, one that would go well with the new blue armor.
He went to change as Sean went to see the new changes to the proving ground. It was something of a ritual between them. Sean as the prey would know the terrain beforehand. He as the hunter would not.
The new suit that was worn inside the armor was a definite improvement over the old. It merged the jumpsuit and gear of an F-14 pilot with the vital sign monitors that were usually built into a spacesuit for astronauts. The purpose of the hybrid system was to allow monitoring of soldiers in battle, to be able to tell when they were injured, and allow rapid response to save lives.
There was also an armored shell that covered the torso, designed more for impact protection then trauma, it harnessed into the armor to keep the operator from bouncing around if they took a hit.
All this was explained as he donned each piece of the gear. No helmet this time somewhat worried him, until he saw the amount of padding that was installed inside the ‘head’ of the armor.
The red armor had been entered via a hatch on the back of the suit. Jason knew there had been a lot of changes as soon as the front of the suit breached with a pneumatic hiss, the chest plate swinging slowly up. The lower plates cracked along an almost invisible seam down the center, swinging out to the sides along with the upper thigh plates.
Getting into this model was definite a lot easier, he decided, as he slid his feet into the specially designed Waldo plates that had been designed to give him terrain feedback from the armor shod feet of the armor. His arms slid deep into the shoulder ports of the armor, leads from the Waldo gloves he wore were clipped into input sockets and he felt an almost electric tingle as the gloves responded to the interface.
Working his head into the head of the unit took a little time. The red unit had a partial fishbowl type helmet and he was very used to the roominess of it. This helmet was extremely claustrophobic, with padding pressing against forehead and jaw, and the back of the head. The sides were relatively free save for padding near the crown. This was to make room for the environmental inputs, speakers attached to microphones mounted on the outside of the armor.
The view ports in the front where high-density ballistic plastic. Each had a set of H.U.D. overlays that currently were deactivated, and therefore invisible. He felt a tugging against his body as a technician checked his harness to make sure he was properly secured against the padded interior of the suit.
The suit closed with a hiss and a series of clicks as it sealed. The scents of new leather, fresh plastic and rubber assailed him as the tech flicked on the interior exhaust fans, the air soon cleared, to be replaced by the acrid scent of gasoline exhaust and ozone from the hangar around him.
A voice crackled nasally through the speakers at his ears. “Sir, if you feel the plate beneath your right wrist, you will find a 3×3 grid of toggles. The upper three control the interior systems of the cockpit. Flip them to bring up the internal systems.”
He did as he was ordered and the view ports brightened as the HUD’s began to come online with the first. The second brought the interior life support fully online, the exhaust fans whirring quietly to full speed, filters coming online to reduce the hangar stench to a minimum, though the telltale still confirmed external air was being pulled. The final switch activated a hooter siren and turned on the exterior lights of the suit.
“Excellent, now the next row will activate the main drive unit, bring the targeting sensors and radio online, and auto-configure the onboard weapons.” He was already halfway through the toggles when the tech finished speaking. He flicked the last one and red icons appeared on his right H.U.D. He blinked. “Paint!? As in paintball?” He spoke into the radio mike and then wondered why no one was responding.
“Ah. Sorry sir. They just let me know what you said. Feel with your right thumb along the side of your index finger. You’ll feel four small ridges. These are pressure sensors. Press and hold the third one up to activate the P.A.”
“THIS IS DEFINITELY STRANGE!”
The technician chuckled. “You’ll get used to it. And yes, paint. You’re test armament is basic paintball ammunition; we finally managed to get hold of some for this, thought you might like to go out the first time without live ammo.”
“SEAN WILL APPRECIATE IT, NOW WHAT?”
The last three controlled the lockouts on the movement. The first released the head motion lock. And the reason for the snug fit became clear. He whistled as he turned his head left, right, up and down he had full range of motion, and could finally look down to see the Tech pulling his mike contact from an external port. Now his voice came through the online external mikes.
“Okay sir. The next toggle releases the arms and hands, and the last the legs. If you don’t mind, I’m gonna back away for safeties sake. Control will take of the instructions now.”
“THANKS, THIS MAY GET INTERESTING.”
It only took a short time for him to go through the rest of the equipment. The controls where extremely intuitive, the pressure pads on the right glove controlled items that would be used on the fly, like P.A., External lights, jump pods, and a lockout on the right waldo glove to allow him to use the interior switches and toggles without moving the hand of the suit.
The left one controlled weapon systems, targeting and fire control, definitely faster then the buttons the red one had.
“These new hands are amazing Control. I’ve never had even close to this much dexterity with the old ones.”
Control’s voice crackled over his intercom. “Copy that, Beta 1. Since you don’t have to put your hand into this one, we could make it a lot more compactly, you’ve got about three times the grip strength in these then the red’s gauntlets allowed.”
“Okay, so what’s next?” Jason had a pretty good idea what would be, and was rearing to go.
“Well now, Beta 1, we see if you can keep yourself in one piece against a Guyver.”
Later that afternoon
Jason stared silently at the remains of the Beta 1 prototype, it’s shattered and burned armor mute testament to the raw power that Sean could bring to bear when he chose. And shocking as it was, Sean had been pulling his punches. THAT was the truly frightening part. The Guyver hadn’t even really been trying.
“Next time, we use real bullets.” He mused to himself, annoyed at spending the afternoon being out powered, outrun, and generally outclassed.
“Hey, don’t blame me. Wasn’t my fault they didn’t give you real weapons? Whose bright idea was it to send you out with spit wads anyway?”
Jason grimaced, turning to glare at Sean, now walking towards him, a gym towel draped over his shoulders. “Yeah, well. Some fool thought you’d appreciate not being shot up today.”
Sean’s jaunty walk faltered to a much slower pace. “Hey, sorry, didn’t mean to gloat. It was nice to not end up with holes to heal.” He admitted. “But I know it must’ve been very little fun for you, taking damage without being able to give it.”
Jason relaxed a little, and smiled. “It’s not always fun and games.” He agreed. “But the techs say we got them a lot of valuable data that they’ll use to improve the next one.”
Sean grinned, eyes glinting with laughter that was only slightly smug, “Just as long as it’s more of a workout.”
Jason laughed and punched the younger man on the shoulder. “We’ll make sure of that.” He chuckled as Sean rubbed the spot where he’d been hit, pretending to be annoyed by it before lashing out in retaliation. Jason sidestepped it and gave a playful shove in return, almost sending Sean sprawling.
“Just asking, but did you really HAVE to pull the arm off?”
Their laughter echoed through the chamber as they left the wreckage behind.
Chicago, IL. September 29, 1999
Sho stepped off the bus, shouldering his pack as he worked to lose himself in the crowd that clogged the bus depot. Rumor had it that the US Guyver was at the capitol, Washington DC. However that was currently a restricted travel destination for Chronos controlled America. The reason given was a dangerous biological accident that had contaminated the area.
But as always, rumors traveled faster then propaganda. Rumor had it that DC was free, supposedly this message was sent from the ‘free-zone’ by a group called the ‘Anti-Chronos Task Force’. Typically American, everything was a Task Force. Sho was both amused and heartened.
Sho rubbed at his eyes, he was tired, having not gotten much sleep the passed few nights. It was not easy, constantly being on the move. America was not like Japan. At least in Japan he knew where he was most likely to be safe.
It didn’t take him long to make contact with the local resistance. And it seemed his timing was fortuitous, there was a bus planning to try to sneak through to the ACTF as soon as the arrangements were complete. The group that was going was the sort that you didn’t ask too many questions, and they reciprocated as much as possible. As such, he wouldn’t have a problem getting passage with the references he could provide.
Meeting them had been strange. They were such a diverse group, seemingly from all over the country. And while they didn’t offer any details about themselves, they didn’t ask him any questions either, once it was known he was vouched for. They seemed individuals, yet Sho could detect a subtle sense of camaraderie about them that was incongruous with the appearance they were carefully cultivating.
All in all, Sho guessed he could do worse.
That night he got a call from Agito.
< Sho, how goes the search? >
Sho smiled a little at Agito’s business-like manner. He might be sitting in a corporate office, instead of the rundown warehouse he was probably sheltering in right now.
< It continues, I have a lead on a location. They say he’s holding up in Washington DC with a resistance cell there. I should be only a few days off. >
When Agito’s voice came back, the reply was nothing like Sho expected.
< You need to hurry now; we’ve hit a timeline that is rapidly running out. >
< What do you mean Agito? Is everything all right? > Sho wondered if he had imagined the brittleness in Agito’s voice in that last response.
< Everything is fine with us for the moment, but our timeframe has just gotten a lot shorter. My Intelligence system has uncovered Chronos communiqué detailing a Relic that they have recently found and are working to excavate. >
His next words chilled Sho’s blood, and explained the strained urgency in his compatriot’s voice. And convinced him he’d not be getting any sleep anytime soon.
< They think it might be a War relic. >
Washington, 2 Days Later
Sean was tired, but not tired enough.
He’d given up trying to get to sleep. His room was private at least, built into one of the squat barracks that had once housed test pilots.
He wished he hadn’t run out of beer. But alcohol wouldn’t solve this problem, or make it go away. He sighed and rolled over in bed, his gaze straying to the window of his room. He stared off into the blackness that matched his mood as he thought back to the afternoon before. His mood had turned black then as well, and Jason had gotten fed up with him.
“Look around you Sean. Take a good long look.”
He had done as Jason had asked. The mess hall had been packed as usual. Tables filled with soldiers, the atmosphere alive with jokes and friendly ribbing. He had focused in on one conversation at Jason’s indication.
“Alright, so what are you gonna do when we win?” One young soldier asked another. His friend began to describe his father’s farm in Pennsylvania, and his plans to take over management of it. His friend had teased him about it afterwards, but it was obvious he respected the desire.
The question had startled him. Not ‘if’ but ‘when’. It shocked him to an inner stillness as he finally began to recognize the feeling in the air. It was one of hope, a hope that he couldn’t feel; a hope that he couldn’t share.
He’d looked back to find Jason studying him. “Think we should explain things to them? Should we disillusion them as to our actual chances out there?” He spoke low, the conversation just for the two of them.
Sean hadn’t known what to say at first, as he broke eye contact and stared down into his coffee, the taste of it suddenly going stale in his mouth. “It’s the truth.” He commented. The statement sounded weak even to his own ear.
“Maybe you’re right. Maybe they should know all the details. So, why don’t we tell them?” Jason made a move as if to get up from the table. Until he felt Sean’s right hand latch onto his wrist. “What’s the matter Sean?”
“Why are you doing this?” Sean hissed out, glaring at the FBI agent.
Jason slowly sat back down. “To prove a point mostly, it’s important that soldiers have something to look forward to when they’re risking their lives every day.
It doesn’t have to be ‘true’. As subjective a label as that is. It’s a comfort. And comforts are few in this camp. Who are we to challenge them? And you need to find something to look forward to yourself.”
Sean shook his head. “Why lecture me on this?”
Jason’s eyes narrowed, and again he studied the younger man, “Because you are to thank for the current upturn in morale. The troops appreciate you, and respect you. And you need to appreciate that fact.”
“They are well aware that having you in the field with them is a lot of times the only thing keeping them in one piece. Small wonder they view you like a superhuman. To them you are the invincible Guyver who will carry the day for them.”
Sean had grown more and more agitated as Jason spoke. He didn’t WANT to be anyone’s savior. Most of the time, he was only trying to save himself!
“Sean, there’s a difference between how other people see you, and how you view yourself. Let others have their illusions if it provides a comfort, who are they hurting? Just don’t let those illusions change who and what you are.”
Sean buried his face in his pillow, eyes squeezed tightly shut. So who had bigger illusions the people he was trying to help, or himself?
He had yet to puzzle out the answer, when the first explosion shattered the window and filled the room with harsh red light. The impact of the blast knocked him off the bed and onto the floor. His head connected with the hard tile, and he knew no more.
Approx 80 Miles N-NW of ACTF Testing Facility
Sho was jolted awake as the bus intercom blared to life with an off-tone whine.
“Listen up guys and gals.” The driver said. “We’ve got a Chronos roadblock up ahead. I’m gonna try and bluff ’em, but everyone be ready if things don’t go as planned.”
The intercom clicked off. And the sound of bolts clicking and slides being drawn and set belied the look of the group.
Sho had never experienced anything more surreal than this, throughout the cabin, perfectly ordinary people were checking the safeties on automatic weapons; a middle aged woman set aside her crochet hooks for a moment to load a sawed off shotgun that lay in her lap, racking the slide before covering it with her half completed blanket again and continuing to crochet.
Two nuns began passing grenades to the priest sitting behind them. He was himself ramming the clip into a surplus M-14 assault rifle and then smiled beatifically at his subordinates as he tucked the offered items away in the pockets of his frock before wedging his rifle firmly against the seat in front of him. Out of sight, but not out of reach.
Two twenty-something guys sitting in the opposite seat, both wearing gang colors drew his attention. One sported an orange Mohawk, the other was decked out in piercing and tattoos, they both grinned at his unbelieving scrutiny. One was holding a Rocket propelled grenade launcher, the other a bulging sack from which the nose of a second rocket poked.
“You need a piece?” Mohawk asked his diction crisp and cultured, not at all that of a down city gangster. He held out something that to Sho’s untrained eye looked like an Uzi semi-automatic.
Sho smiled back tightly and shook his head. If you couldn’t beat them He reached up to grasp the handgrip of the Zoanoid Buster, drawing it in a smooth movement. He grinned at the appreciative whistle from Mohawk as he checked the chambered rounds.
“Thanks, but you’re probably better with that then I am.” He dipped his head respectfully to his erstwhile compatriots and turned to see the shining floodlights of the checkpoint approaching. This should prove interesting indeed.
The bluff, if bluff it was, lasted as long as the bus door didn’t open. As soon as the driver opened the door, it became clear that they weren’t going to get through easy. This fact was impressed on the passengers when a thing that looked a lot like a Gregole grabbed the driver by the throat and dragged him from the bus the argument that followed was short, and truncated by a cut off scream from the driver before his neck snapped.
The bus erupted, but not in panic, like the zoanoids might have thought.
It erupted into the biggest hail of gunfire Sho had ever seen. Blinded and deafened by it, Sho held his fire for now, his bullets weren’t unlimited, and he wouldn’t waste them on taking out Chronos troops before they could change. If you dropped them while they were still human, regular bullets would do fine.
They managed to put three down, he hoped for good. The Gregole look-alike was roaring, shrugging off the massed fire and closing with the bus. Sho didn’t know his strengths, but if he was anything like Gregole he could pick this thing up and launch it like a javelin. He had to stop it!
He used the butt of the gun to shatter the window, and was just lining up a shot when the emergency buzzer on the back door began to sound as his gangster friends piled out the back door. Using the bus for cover, they drew a bead on the Zoanoid. An RPG at near pointblank range did nearly rock the bus onto its side, and shatter all the windows, but it also blew the Zoanoid back through the side panel of one of the trucks the troops were using for transport.
The second rocket tore into the cab of the truck and exploded, raining shrapnel on the stunned Chronos operatives.
It wouldn’t last, Sho thought grimly. It couldn’t. He drew a bead on a trooper who was just finishing his transformation and pulled the trigger. As loud as the massed firepower was, it was nothing next to the voice of the Zoanoid Buster. Sho was knocked back, almost off his feet, but he had seen the head of the zoanoid split apart like a melon from the massive slug blowing through its skull.
The priest had dropped his rifle and was now winding up like a major league pitcher, slinging grenades at the other vehicles. The resulting explosions blew the vehicles into the air and onto their sides, setting off secondary explosions as fuel tanks ignited.
The woman with the shotgun was using the same tactic he was, pumping slugs into any zoanoid soldier out there, whatever ammunition she was using, it seemed to be at least partially effective against them.
But despite the ferocity of the resistance, Zoanoids were quickly joining the fray. Shrugging off gunfire, though they were taking wounds from what armor piercing rounds were being thrown. The passengers were holding them back, but not for long. Ammo was being used at an extreme rate to do that much.
He heard rapid fire from the back door of the bus, the high-pitched rattle of that Uzi and switched his fire to a furred Zoanoid who looked like a Ramotith, but much more comical. The Zoanoid went down, bleeding from multiple wounds, though it looked like it was his shot through the chest that had finally put it down.
And that’s when the gunfire started to sputter and die yells of ‘I’m out’ rang out up and down the bus. Sho ran for the back door. He dropped down and crouched near the two gangsters.
“Have you any shots left?” Sho asked in a harsh whisper as one of the Zoanoids began calling out for surrender.
“We’re all out here what’s it look like inside?”
Sho shook his head, “Out. Listen… I’m going out there when I distract them; you get everyone off the bus and into the woods, alright?” He hissed out as he reloaded the weapon, before releasing the catches to the harness, letting it slip from his body as he wound it around the holstered gun.
He pushed the bundle into Mohawk’s hands, “You put this on. I can see you know how to handle firearms but this one kicks like you wouldn’t believe. I’ll be back for it, so you better keep yourself alive to give it to me.”
“How the hell are ‘YOU’ going to distract ‘THEM’?” Mohawk asked in a hiss as his hands reflexively caught the mass of straps and buckles, but Sho wasn’t waiting for an answer as he stepped out from behind the bus. “Wait! Stop! I surrender!”
He stepped out into the flickering beam from the only remaining spotlight.
“Finally,” a guttural, distorted, but still human voice spoke back, “If all of you get off the bus now, we’ll see that they treat you real nice in Processing.” The original Zoanoid stepped into the light. He was badly burned and bleeding, but still whole, despite having taken a rocket point-blank.
“You picked the wrong night to try and run the blockade to the ACTF.” The Zoanoid growled out with an evil chuckle. “Last I heard, the base was already on fire. We’ll have burned out all the rats by morning.”
Sho took a step back in shock frozen for a moment at the import of what the Zoanoid has just let slip. “B.. but what about the Guyver!?” He heard himself asking before he could stop.
“Ha HA! The Guyver? Yeah, he’s a tough nut but luckily we got some reinforcements that will make short work of him!” The Zoanoid took a step forward. “Now, surrender!” He reached out as if to grab Sho’s shoulder. Behind him, Sho heard the soft scrape and patter of feet escaping into the woods behind the bus; the others were making good their escape.
Sho ducked the grasp eyes blazing with a sudden hot anger. “You bastards” All his effort for these last few weeks was NOT going to be for nothing. His sudden rage surprised even himself with its intensity. “I won’t let you get away with this.” His voice rising in a roar to match even the zoanoid’s as he threw Agito’s cautions to the wind.
Corporal Jeff Morgan, a Green Beret late of Fort Bragg, heard the shout. He turned in time to see what happened next. The brilliant flare of blue-white light that exploded into being, the zoanoid barely had time to scream before he was torn to shreds by the energy field. He heard a sound he’d never heard before. Zoanoids wailing in sheer terror as the killing started.
He turned and kept running, but his lips pulled back into a feral grin. To think, the Guyver had been sitting on that bus with them. He beat his retreat; clicking shut the last tab on the strange harness the Guyver had given him, not about to waste this unexpected gift. Funny though, he thought the Guyver was some American Joe, not Japanese. He shook his head, making the unfamiliar orange Mohawk wobble. God he’d be glad to get rid of this cursed thing! He pulled the weapon, marveling at the craftsmanship of it as he checked it over. Mohawk ran on, never looking back again.
ACTF Proving Ground
Sean came to, lying on the floor. The stench of burning rubber and searing metal filled the air. The wall of his room was in shambles, the window having been blown in by the force of the blast.
He didn’t know how long he’d been out. Slowly he struggled to get up, feeling glass shards cutting into palms and knees before he staggered to his feet. In the distance, shouts and the rapid stutter of automatic weapons were punctuated by screams both human and not so.
Sean heard a firefight start in the hallway, the light of the gunfire flashing under his door. Groggily he made his way to the door and struggled to pull it open against the rubble that littered the floor. He moved into the hallway, finding a quickly dissolving zoanoid across from the prone bodies of two soldiers, one struggling to breathe.
He rushed over, ripping a strip out of his t-shirt, wadding it to press against the chest wound that was visibly pulsing blood, “Oh Jeez! Hang onStay with me. Help is on the way.” He tried to hold the man down, but his convulsions were strong.
“S…sorry sir,” The man gasped, coughing harshly, blood trickling down his chin. “T tried to get to you had to warn… w…we need you.” The effort of speaking became too much, and the man sagged back to the ground.
It took Sean a few frantic moments to realize that the man was dead. It didn’t help that he suddenly recognized the soldier who now lay dead before him, whose blood stained his clothing. And who would now never see his dad’s farm in Pennsylvania again.
He glanced at the other soldier dead eyes gazing at the ceiling. His throat had been torn out. Sean gritted his teeth and heard again as if being haunted by the question. ‘Alright, so what are you gonna do when we win?’
Blinded by sudden burning tears he staggered to his feet. Two more dead Just two more dead soldiers. Two young men whose hopes had failed them.
Rage boiled up inside of him, and he knew only one way to let it out. His armor surrounded him The sharp crack of displaced air and the whoosh of it rushing back blew out most of the fires. And the Guyver launched himself out the door and into the fray.
He launched himself at the first group of Zoanoids he saw. He had the first dead in a matter of seconds. The Lisker was nearly beheaded by his elbow sword as he kicked the second in the head, knocking him backwards, out of the fight momentarily. The third came in, clawing at him. He blocked and backpedaled before launching a roundhouse kick that beat the monster to the ground. He began to get up groggily as Sean turned to take on the second one again.
This one was somewhat skilled as he landed a punishing punch to Sean’s jaw, snapping his head around. The Guyver whirled with the spin and leaping off the ground to avoid the sweep of the zoanoids muscled leg, he slammed his knee into the side of the creature’s head. He felt bone crunch under the impact and the zoanoid went down silently.
A burst of loud gunfire behind him made him whirl, and he watched the third monster go down, his chest a gory mess of ragged flesh. A battered red armor came into view. The left arm wasn’t working, hanging limply to the side. But the other clutched the grip of the arm-mounted mini-gun, “Sir! Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, what’s the situation?” Sean growled out, stepping over the bubbling bodies as he made his way to the soldier’s position.
“We have no idea how they got so close without being spotted! One minute, everything’s quiet, the next, uglies everywhere.”
“Where’s Jason?” Sean put himself in the lead, searching for a target as he led the way around the burning wreckage of a hummer.
“He’s organizing the counter assault. Man, that blue armor of his is something! SIR, Look out!”
Sean whirled as the soldier’s Mini-gun roared to life. Tracer rounds burned through the night air to bounce harmlessly off a red armored hulk that had just come around the side of the building. The zoanoid was huge! Sean added his own laser blasts to the barrage, blazing away nearly as fast as the mini-gun, but it did little good against that armor.
The massive zoanoid closed on the pair with an unstoppable pounding tread like a rhino. It roared, shrugging off the trooper’s firepower and punching his clawed fist through the armor’s faceplate. The soldier was dead before he hit the ground, the suit twitching as the damaged nervous system within continued trying to live.
Sean launched himself at the new threat, already cursing himself for another failure as he vowed to make this thing pay. But his punch to the chest didn’t even affect the massive creature, who laughed scornfully as his hand closed on Sean’s armored forearm and yanked.
Sean’s feet left the ground as he was swung through the air like a rag doll and quickly slammed through a nearby wall before his shoulder was smashed into the exposed edge of a steel reinforced support beam. The reinforced beam held and Sean screamed as he felt his shoulder pulled from its socket from the impact.
Fortunately the impact had also freed him from the zoanoid’s grasp as he fell to the ground. But despite the pain he quickly rolled to his feet, his arm hanging useless at his side as he staggered upright. “W… what the hell are you?” He growled in pain.
The zoanoid loomed over him, the flickering fires casting his spiny shadow over his prey. “I’m Zerebubuth.” He growled back, taking a ground-shaking step towards the injured Guyver. He raised his right arm, a massive crystal on the front beginning to glow scarlet and emit a strange hum as he pointed it at Sean. “And I’m here to kill you.”
The shadows fled as the weapon fired. Its crimson discharge illuminating the area, before it faded and darkness fell once more.
Abandoned Bus, 80 miles away
The last zoanoid tried to run. Sho was not amused, his anger consuming him as a pressure cannon blew the creature in two. All around him smoking puddles and running rivulets of varicolored fluids were all that remained of the rest of the zoanoids.
Sho strode over to where the bus driver lay, kneeling close by and searching for a pulse. The man was dead, his neck snapped like a twig. Guyver 1 allowed himself a moment of regret, though he hadn’t known the man well.
He stood again. Looking up at he tried to orient himself. He was out of time, the ACTF was under attack, and if he didn’t hurry, the US Guyver would probably be killed. The low hum of his gravity orb filled the air as he lifted lightly from the ground, ascending above the treetops as he looked around.
It was not hard to pinpoint where the ACTF must be. The distant flashes of explosions and columns of smoke were not difficult for a Guyver to see. He flew as fast as he could towards the battlefield. It took him nearly 15 minutes to get close. And as he approached the base he caught the flickering flash of red laser blasts streaking from a hilltop into the base’s perimeter. Explosions rocked the base as the lasers set off munitions dumps and fuel caches.
Guyver 1 quickly determined the source a Zek-tole was on that hill.
Without further pause he launched himself at the zoanoid. The kick he delivered, slamming down on the monster from the air, knocked the zoanoid to the ground. Having been caught flatfooted, with his telescopic sight set on the base, it took the zoanoid a few moments to recover and refocus.
A few moments that he didn’t have as Guyver 1’s vibration blade slashed into his chest, and up out through the side of his head. Blood gushing, the creature fell back and died with an inhuman cicada-esc scream.
The encounter increased Sho’s sense of dread, if a hyper zoanoid was here, what had they sent into the base after the US Guyver?
Hearing shouts and sensing zoanoids approaching through the ground cover, Sho quickly took off; he had no time for a prolonged fight here. He had to find the Guyver!
Storage Facility 2, ACTF Testing facility
Zerebubuth growled in frustration. After the Guyver had almost dodged his first blast, he had been forced to play cat and mouse. His beam had creased the Guyver’s leg, slowing him down, but even so he was faster than the hyper zoanoid. A fact that angered the creature even more, “You can’t hide forever.” He roared, punching his fist through the cinderblock wall of the warehouse into which he had run the Guyver to ground.
“Sometime you’ll have to show yourself. Surrender, and I’ll take you back alive… make me hunt you down and I’ll kill you slow. Hah Ha HA! Or fight me and I’ll kill you quick!” The Zoanoid crowed as he stumped around a stack of crates and deeper into the warehouse.
Atop the stack of crates Sean stayed where he was. His breathing was harsh as he waited for his unit to heal him. Since when did zoanoids come equipped with blasters! That laser had cooked his armor, when his own had bounced harmlessly off this monster. He felt a chilled shiver of fear down his spine. He was outclassed.
Then he gritted his teeth, NO! He would not be beaten people were counting on him. Fighting and dying to stay free, regardless of the fact that zoanoids were as far above them as he was.
His left hand reached for his chest plate as he waited for the zoanoid to show himself. He caught a glimpse of the creature at the other end of the warehouse and pulled his chest plate open. The cell inside hummed as it expanded, the brilliant white light quickening as the weapon prepared to fire.
But before it could, a crimson beam lanced out of the darkness and blew him back off the crates. He screamed as the laser slammed into his open chest plate, destroying the inner cell, leaving a smoking ruin as he fell to the concrete floor. The pain was like nothing he had ever felt! His unit normally blocked the pain from most wounds. But this one was apparently too bad.
“Hah Haaaaa! Thought you’d use the mega smasher on me? Not a chance, boy! I know exactly how long it takes for a Guyver to fire that thing. And I’m not about to let you get a shot off with it!” The growling voice echoed through the warehouse, and the pounding tread was getting closer.
Sean dragged himself to his feet. The chest plate was fused, not closing properly. And his left arm was tingling; numb and useless probably nerve damage. He gritted his teeth, this time against the pain as he staggered upright and stumbled away from his last known position.
Zerebubuth stomped around the crates and growled as he discovered no critically wounded Guyver there. But the blood trail was definitely helpful. He chuckled, following the large streaks and spatters. So he had managed to seriously wound his prey. “Come out, come out wherever you arrrrre.” He rumbled following the blood around the corner.
Sean lashed out with his vibration blade from where he lay in wait. Zerebubuth tried to stagger back away from the attack, but was only successful in avoiding a lethal hit. The blade scored across his chest, the chitinous armor parting before an edge that could slice through almost any material.
Zerebubuth roared in shock and pain as blood gushed from the wound. But it wasn’t fatal, or even too serious. The zoanoid growled as he raised both arms, six crystals glowing crimson.
The Guyver leaped out of the way of the first blast, dodged the second as he backpedaled. The third slammed into his right shoulder and he yelped as he reflexively spun around to shield the injured shoulder. He lost his footing and dove behind a stack of construction material. The steel beams shagged under the rest of the barrage, but no more of the blasts got through to him.
“You’ll pay for that Guyver!” The roar echoed through the building as Sean dragged himself up to crouch out of sight. It was no good he couldn’t handle this thing by himself!
He glanced around there had to be a way out of here. The monster was too close to the doors so he couldn’t go that way. Those lasers would fry him before he made it out. Zerebubuth seemed to be waiting for him to leave his cover, deciding range was preferable against facing the Guyver’s blades.
The Guyver’s gaze was drawn to the wall of the warehouse, cinderblock construction. A strong enough building material under normal circumstances. But not solid, each block encompassed a lot of empty space inside.
His mind made up, he turned his attention back to his opponent. “You must be really new; all the others have just tried to beat the shit out of me.” He began creeping as silently as possible, using the echoes of his voice to hide his movement. “Since when did you guys start getting firepower?”
The zoanoid let out a growling chuckle. “You’ve only fought older, obsolete models so far.” The zoanoid took a pounding step towards the lump of smoking debris that hid his target. “And you’ve done well enough, but now it’s time for you to die!”
Sean bolted. His armored feet pounding the concrete floor just as a massed laser volley vaporized the place where he had lain. The Guyver sprinted for the near wall, laser blasts tracking him as he curled his arms in against his body, presenting his uninjured left shoulder, as he slammed hard into the wall.
The prefab stone crumbled under the impact, as he broke through and out of the building. He heard Zerebubuth roar in frustration before the much larger zoanoid busted through the wall as well, leaving a much bigger hole.
Crimson laser bolts streaked past Sean as he made tracks, trying to get enough distance to lose his pursuer. His chest plate had finally managed to seal again, but every breath was an agony on that side, his seared lung burning with each inhale. He had to make it to Jason’s position; they’d have weapons that could take this thing down!
Then a laser bolt slammed into his back, pitching him forward onto the tarmac. He rolled, struggling to hands and knees, a curl of smoke rising from behind his shoulders as he tried to get his bearings.
Zerebubuth loomed over him, but no attacks came, “Now, Guyver. Are you ready to face me like a man? Or shall I fry you were you lay, like a coward.”
Sean launched himself at the zoanoid, blades whining as he snarled in anger. “I’ll give you a coward!”
Zerebubuth laughed scornfully, and the three protuberances on his face, things Sean had taken for horns suddenly writhed to life, bulging before discharging three streams of green fluid directly into his face!
He screamed as the acid ate into him, his face smoking as he staggered back from his opponent, hands clutching at his head, oblivious to the fluid that bit into his palms and fingers as he tried to wipe the burning stuff away. Blinded, unable to react through the burning pain, like nothing he had ever felt. He could only hear the zoanoid’s continued laughter as he slumped to the ground.
Then rising over the laughter, Sean could hear the strange sound that the monster’s lasers made as they powered up. He could dimly see the red glow of them through his blurred, ruined eyes. He tried to force himself to get up to dodge Anything! He managed to struggle up onto one knee, but couldn’t drag himself any further. And he knew, without a doubt. That he was going to die.
Sho saw the light of the lasers and flew towards them. He caught a glimpse of a Guyver sprinting away from the Zerebubuth, before being felled by a shot to the back. He increased his speed as the wounded Guyver turned and attacked his pursuer, before staggering back from a face full of the zoanoid’s acidic discharge.
Guyver 1 increased his speed to the maximum, the wind of his passage dispersing the smoke columns he flew by as he saw Zerebubuth preparing to kill the Guyver. Then just before impact Guyver 1 quickly flipped around and slammed feet first into the zoanoid from the side, focusing the full kinetic magnified power of his unit upon the hyper zoanoid, feeling hard exoskeleton crack under the force of his impact, and knocking the zoanoid away from the US Guyver just as his blasters fired, blowing holes in the concrete.
Zerebubuth staggered back to his feet, just as Guyver 1’s pressure cannon finished charging. “G Guyver 1!” His next words were drowned out in his scream as the powerful weapon blew a gaping hole right through most of his torso. The resulting corpse pitched back to lie still on the tarmac, beginning to bubble and froth as it disintegrated.
Sho approached the other Guyver, reaching out to take his shoulder, then leaping back as the wounded Guyver lashed out with his vibration blade. “Hey! Wait! I’m here to help!”
“W who are you?” The Guyver gasped in a very American voice.
“I’m a friend please; let me get you behind cover before we draw any more attention.” He reached out tentatively, wary of another attack. The American Guyver took the offered hand and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. The acid had finally spent itself, his face looking melted, the lines distorted and burned.
“Don’t worry, you’ll heal.” Sho assured him as he let the other Guyver lean on his shoulder as they moved. He felt a hand brush the front of his face.
“Y… you’re like me!” The American gasped.
“Yes, I’m a Guyver too.” Sho said shortly, still trying to make up his mind about how much to tell. Agito would of course want him to say as little as possible. He grimaced. Well Agito would just have to accept his decision.
“My name is Sho Fukamachi. I’ve been looking for you, for quite a while.” He began to tell his story as he helped the wounded Guyver towards a small, sunken, bunker-like building near the edge of the paved area.
“Sean Barker.” Was the response as Guyver 1 kicked in the door to the little building revealing a small command room? A few chairs and a complicated looking control board. He helped Sean into a chair and then moved to the door to keep watch.
“A pleasure to meet you Sean, I wish it was under better circumstances.”
The American Guyver chuckled a little. “Man, I prefer having you here to the other alternative. I’ve never faced anything as tough as that Zerebubuth guy. He must be really new.”
Sho grinned wryly under his armor, leaning back against the doorjamb once he had verified there was nobody near enough to pose a threat. “Sean you are not going to like what I’ve got to tell you.”
Jason worriedly dialed the comm. unit to the next command group.
“Alpha team, any sign of Sean?”
“No sign of the Guyver sir, we’ve got wounded and are in serious need of reinforcement.”
“Alpha team, move to assist Bravo Delta and Charlie teams converge on Bravo’s position Flank them.”
“Yes Sir!” His teams responded in unison, Jason gritted his teeth. If they’d lost Sean, they would probably never recover from this attack.
He turned, the blue’s armored feet pounding the concrete as he pulled himself free of the rearming station.
“Control, I’m going to search for Sean. Keep me apprised of the situation.”
Control responded with an affirmative and Jason stomped out of the hangar, his battered and bloodied armor now back to full charge and rearmed.
If he’d lost Sean, he would personally kill every last zoanoid Chronos could throw at him.
The Command Bunker
Considering the situation, Sean took the news very well. With a certain calm that Sho was beginning to equate with Americans in general, he simply nodded when hearing about the various types of zoanoids, and even worse, the zoalords.
“We’d better get in touch with Jason. I think there’s a radio in here, I still can’t see, can you find it?”
It took Sho a minute of searching to locate the radio, and only a few moments to adjust it to what Sean told him was this Jason’s personal frequency. Sean then took over, his fingers finding the transmit switch on the mike.
Just then Sho’s hyper sensors twitched. “We’ve got company.” He was out the door before Sean could respond.
“Jason, Jason do you copy?!”
“Sean! Sean where are you?” The relief in Jason’s voice was touching. It made Sean smile.
“I’m at the old test bunker I think. I’m pretty messed up right now, so I’m putting the locator on.” He flipped a switch, causing a quiet repetitive chirp to issue from the radio.
The sounds of combat outside truncated all the things he wanted to say.
“Get here quick Jason, we’re under attack!”
“Roger, yeah, that’s the bunker alright. I’ll be there in two minutes. Hang on!”
Sho meanwhile was having little difficulty with what he could now see were precursors to the Gregole model. What Sean had dubbed a Lisker. They were nearly as strong, a bit smaller than, and not quite as tough as Gregole, who was Chronos’ mainstay in Japan.
There were a few other types in the gang that attacked, a weird assortment of furred, scaled, and grey skinned monstrosities. Each he could relate to a zoanoid he was familiar with, a Ramotith’ish type and even one that looked like a primitive Darzerb. But none of them had the power of their descendants. And not a bio-blaster type anywhere. In fact, despite the single Zek-tole and the one Zerebubuth, Sho had not encountered even one advanced zoanoid design here in the US. Something about the lack of advanced zoaforms creeped him out even more than if he HAD fought something tougher.
He mopped the group up just as a bright spotlight played over him and he turned to see an ungainly metallic figure skid to a stop a few feet away from him.
“HEY SEAN, LOOKS LIKE YOU GOT THIS HANDLED. YOU DON’T LOOK WOUNDED TO ME.”
Sho turned towards the armored form, realizing he was being mistaken for Sean. “Ah, you must be Jason. Sorry, I understand the confusion but Sean’s over in…”
Later Sho looked back and could be impressed by how quickly Jason had gone from relaxed to battle-ready.
At the time however, with adrenaline still pumping like mad through his system, having targeting lasers lock onto him and a very large, very mean looking electric mini-gun pointed directly at him did not make his day at all. In fact, it was the first step to making him get very hostile.
“WHO THE HELL ARE YOU!?” The outside speakers of the armor blasted at him. The barrel on the mini-gun began to rotate, spinning up to a blur though as of yet it hadn’t fired.
Oh he had had enough of this. “Look, calm down. I’m not an enemy, or why else would I be here slicing up zoanoids?”
“ANSWER THE QUESTION! WHO THE HELL ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH SEAN?”
Sho sighed in exasperation. “If you must know, he’s in that building, healing up from the hyper zoanoid YOU guys let wipe the floor with him.”
“STAY WHERE YOU ARE.” He was ordered. And seeing as how he didn’t really want to hurt the soldier, he stayed put.
“I’d really like you to point that thing somewhere else before one of us get hurt.”
Sean staggered out of the bunker, clutching at the doorframe, his face still showing the ravages of the acid. “Jason! I’m all right! Don’t hurt him! He saved my life.” The metallic distortion to his voice didn’t hide his consternation at the scene before him. “Put the gun away Jason we’re all friends here.”
“I CAN’T DO THAT SEAN. HE HASN’T BEEN CLEARED. FOR ALL WE KNOW HE’S A CHRONOS SPY.”
Sho’s eyes narrowed. “Me? A Chronos Spy? I would find that funny if it wasn’t so insulting.” He extended his blades and stood at the ready. “I’ll give you to the count of three to point that gun somewhere else before I take a can-opener to that monstrosity.”
“Jason, for Christ’s sake!” Sean started forward to intervene.
“STAY BACK, SEAN!” The targeting lasers grew brighter as they achieved a positive fire-lock on Guyver 1.
“Yes Sean, your friend is about to make a very big, very bad mistake if he doesn’t put that gun away!” Sho growled, taking a combat stance. “It’s your move Jason. I didn’t come here to fight you. I’ll answer your questions. IF you calm down and put that thing away. Otherwise I will be forced to defend myself…One!”
“Jason! This is not how we want this to be!” Sean yelled at the suited figure.
The tableau remained frozen for a long breath, before the targeting lasers flickered off and the gun’s barrels slowly whirred to a halt. The arm of the armor slowly lowered.
“ALRIGHT.” The suits volume had been reduced, from deafening to merely loud.
“NOW, WILL YOU TELL ME WHY YOU’RE HERE?”
Sho slowly relaxed. “We heard rumors that there was a Guyver in the US.” He began.
“WHO’S WE?” Jason asked. Not entirely ready to let go of his suspicions.
“Zeus’ Thunderbolt. Hope you’ve heard of them. A resistance group that I’ve been working with for nearly a year now.” Sho began growing impatient with Jason’s attitude; he was also starting to get tired and didn’t want to prolong this.
“Look, I understand and appreciate your position. Can we get somewhere safe where I can answer your questions and Sean and I can deactivate our units? I’m sure this has been a draining night for all of us.”
Jason seemed to consider this, and then finally began to relax. Slowly the suit moved into a simple standing position, as it gestured towards the base. “I’VE ARRANGED A TRANSPORT FOR US FROM HERE TO THE MAIN ACTF BASE. WE’LL HAVE TO TAKE THIS UP WITH GENERAL CARTER.”
Sho nodded and moved to Sean. “You okay? Can you walk that far?”
Sean nodded. “I can walk, I’m just still not seeing too well.”
Sho took his arm. “Then we’ll go slowly, but its best we get out of here.”
“I know Sho. And thanks, for saving my life,” The quiet gratitude in the voice made Sho smile.
“My pleasure, Sean. If we can keep big blue robots from shooting us up on the way, I’ll tell you both about why I’m here.”
Sean chuckled as they began to walk. While the massive armor stomped along beside them, the soft whines and hisses of its hydraulics masking the gradually lessening sounds of combat. The zoanoids were being routed.
And as the sky began to lighten with the dawn, Jason and Sean listened as Sho explained the reason for his coming, and the threat that now loomed over them.