Ultraman Daxium

Discussion in 'Justice Fiction' started by scikaiju, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

    A/N - Again some potentially heavy subject mattter, just to let you know. Didn't plan to have two of these back to back, it just how it worked out.
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    Episode-23
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    OP – Mercy Drive – Burn In My Light


    Somebody had to be attacking him with a boulder, a tree or something equally heavy. That was the only reason he could currently think of that explained why his head was killing him as much as it did. So much so that he couldn't even feel Daxium telling him where or who it was. Then he tried opening his eyes to see where the attack was coming from. Huge ass mistake as he quickly closed them again when the pain seemed to increase. Holding his head it took Ken another couple of seconds to realize he was in a bed. What the hell?

    Then it slowly started to come back to him. There was a party last night. Some sort of anniversary, or special event. Something that required the massive celebration. Probably something on a bureaucratic level that he didn't care about one way or another. Everybody just went, or had to go... that part was still a little fuzzy. He was leaning more toward the had to go as he seemed to recall Hawk insisting that he show up. And he didn't have to dress it up, he just had to come in in his uniform jacket since Hawk and the rest had to show up in uniform. Vaguely remembering that he tried to avoid Richardson and Williams for most of the night Ken suddenly remembered one of the lab boys handing him something in a glass. Rising slowly to minimize the agony he was still feeling Ken clutch at his head mumbling, well more like grunting, “Ugh. New rule, never trust a guy in a lab coat holding a beaker at a party.” Carefully opening his eyes again he tried to force them to focus.

    That's when he noticed the door was on the wrong side of the room.

    Ken just stared at it for a few moments trying to process what the hell he was seeing. He had these quarters for over a year now and the door was never on that particular wall. And the bed was practically bolted to the wall so nobody could have moved it with him in it while he was out. So again, what the hell? Turning his head, slowly enough that a new wave of pain didn't hit him like a Mack truck, he tried to figure out what was going on. That's when he noticed a couple of items in the room that wasn't his, like that hair dryer on the dresser. And he was pretty sure that was a dress that he was seeing in the open closest. Oh shit these weren't his quarters. And he was suddenly very aware of the person sleeping next to him under the sheets. Looking at the mound next to him Ken did nothing at first. Then poking at what he hoped was a shoulder Ken went, “Please tell me I know you.”

    After a moment a familiar sounding voice answered back, “Please tell me you're not who I think you are,” right before a even more familiar head of red hair appeared from underneath the sheets. Ken and Jess just looked at each in total confusion before she asked, “Did we....?”

    Ken picked up the sheet, just enough to look at himself. And outside of the sock on his right foot that was dangling off the bed he wasn't wearing much. “I think we did.”

    “Oh God,” Jess groaned as Ken quickly located his pants and put them on even faster. Standing up that fast was a mistake but he had to get out of that bed. She sat up and hid her face in her hand for a bit, “How the fuck did this happen?”

    “Don't look my way for answers”, Ken told her as he looked for the rest of his clothes, both of their jackets was by the door for some reason, the apparent starting point for a loose trail of clothes he was now seeing, “most of last night is a blur. I don't remember even coming in here.”

    She looked at him with an almost accusing glare, “You planned this didn't you?”

    He looked back, “Excuse me?”

    “You planned this,” she repeated. “You had this planned out all along.”

    Any other day he would realize, eventually, that accusation came from the fact she was freaking out about this as much as he was. And at least thought he'd be a tad more understanding. But right now he was too hungover to give a crap. “Okay you got me. This was my plan all along. I talked Richardson into putting me on this team. Waited until the moment I could drag you away to have my way with you. Congratu-fucking-lations you figured me fuck out!”

    “Do not yell at me!”, she shot back.

    “I'm not...!” He winced and held his head, and a little more softly, “I'm not yelling my head hurts too damn much.”

    “Alright, alright,” Jess said as she covered her face again, “you didn't plan this.” Ken found a shirt, quickly realized it wasn't his and handed it back to her. She grabbed it and quickly put it on, “Okay, obviously we drank way too much last night. Lost some inhibitions.”

    “Of course,” Ken quickly agreed as he found a shoe, “happens all the time.”

    “Right,” she said as he tossed her uniform pants to her. “We obviously acted on an impulse we wouldn't act on in normal circumstances.”

    “Probably some old feelings that were buried over the years,” he said as he located the shirt he was wearing the night before.

    “Exactly,” Jess said. “Being too drunk causes that. So we... hold it.” Ken looked back at her, she was still in the bed and looked around, almost as confused as he was earlier. “This isn't my room.”

    ***
    After both of them successfully snuck out of whomever room that was, meaning nobody was in the hallway to see them stumble out over themselves trying to be sneaky, they split up and headed to their respective quarters. Ken quickly showered and put on a new set of clothes. One of the drawbacks of not having a regular uniform like everybody else is people tended to notice if you wore the same thing two days in a row. And that hangover was still there, and passing by the medical wing there was a pretty big line, apparently somebody in there had a halfway decent hangover cure according to a couple of people he talked to. Based on that line it must have been some party, too bad whatever was in that glass the lab coat gave him blacked out most of it.

    As it was he was sitting in the main cafeteria holding a cup of coffee in one hand while clinging to his head with the other, waiting for the aspirin to kick in. He should have waited in line. Wincing as somebody loudly scraped on the chairs against the floor, he risked opening an eye to see the offender, of course it was Bill, and Ryo, who was a little more considerate as he picked up a chair and pulled it out. Ignoring the other in the room nursing a hangover giving him a dirty look Bill just looked at him. “Dude Civilian you look like hell.”

    Ignoring him Ken just pointed at the kitchen. “Coffee pot. Here please. Ryo you got pull. Make them put it here.”

    At least he looked apologetic when he said, “Sorry man, I don't have that much pull.” Ken just groaned in disappointment. “Besides I don't want to piss off the other guys looking for relief in the coffee.”

    “Screw them my head's about to split open,” Ken said.

    “Well you're speaking in more complete sentences now,” Ryo joked. Ken responded with a particular finger. “Now that's just rude.”

    Snorting Bill told Ryo, “Told ya he got beakered.”

    Opening a eye to look at him Ken went, “I got what now?”

    “The unofficial term generally used is 'beakered',” Ryo began. “Some of the scientist around here have a, shall we say, not so legal apparatus that makes some pretty potent alcohol. They always bring it to the type of parties like we had last night. And they always wait for the chance to give it to one of the new guys.”

    “They have a still?”, Ken asked. Ryo nodded in response. “And how can I be one of the new guys? I've been here over a year.”

    “First time we had that large a party since you've been here,” was his only explanation. “They only break it out during those larger parties. Less chance of security catching them or something. Still drive the security guys nuts that they can't find it anywhere.”

    “And you know those lab boys aren't going to give it up or rat out their own,” Bill added.

    “Why didn't you warn me?”, Ken demanded.

    “Because it's funnier this way,” Bill told him.

    “I hate you so much.”

    “Oh you love me,” Bill told him.

    “A good chunk of us have gotten beakered man,” Ryo told him. “Some of us,” he shot a look toward Bill, “remember going through this and are willing to help a teammate out.” He put a small vile on the table. “I was able to get a dose before the line formed, and Bill did figure they might get you.”

    “They didn't have a “hangover be gone' formula when it happened to you,” Bill said to defend himself. Turning toward Ken he said with a smirk, “You should have seen it Civilian, Ryo was the head of the party leading the charge to the lab boys. They stumbled around so much you would have thought it was the zombie apocalypse.”

    With a look shutting Bill up Ryo turned back toward Ken, “Despite what Bill called it it won't get rid of the hangover right away. It'll just make it go away a little faster. And make it a little more bearable when it kicks in.”

    Taking it Ken just looked at it for a moment. “It's not more of what they gave me last night is it?”

    “They say it's not,” Ryo told him. “They're as secretive about that as they are as to the location of the their still. Besides what do you got to lose, the worst thing that happened to you this morning was waking up with the worst hangover you ever had, right?”

    “Right,” Ken mumbled. That and finding out he slept with his ex in his drunken stupor when he woke up. What the hell, what did he have to lose at the moment? Unscrewing the top he quickly downed the content. Then he quickly wished he hadn't. “God that tastes like shit.”

    “That's how you know it's good for you,” Bill quipped.

    “Let me get you out of here before he kills you,” Ryo told bill as he got up. Bill did the same, again loudly scrapping the chair against the floor. Again drawing some dirty looks from Ken and the others. “You are lucky I don't want to do the paperwork Hawk would make me do for letting the have you,” he said as he pushed Bill out of there.'

    “Come on man I thought you liked me,” Bill said as they left.

    “I hate doing paperwork more,” was the last Ken heard of them. Then he realized his coffee was cold. Slowly getting up he grabbed his cup and headed back for the coffee machine. He panic a bit when he realized there was no line. Please tell him they didn't run out. He nearly ran into Jess on the way to find out.

    And it was as super awkward as both of them thought it was going to be. “Jessica,” he said after a bit.

    “Ken,” she said in return. Then nothing for what seemed like the longest time. She broke the silence, “We keep acting like this people are going to start guessing we did something.”

    “Right,” he said. “We don't need to give the rumor mill any ammunition.”

    “And the mill around here is brutal,” she added. “I mean we just made a simple mistake.”

    “We drank a little too much,” he quickly agreed. “Well I got beakered apparently.”

    She winced a bit in understanding, but if he got beakered how much did she drink? “Either way we both lost control.”

    “Happens all the time.”

    About then a couple of female team members walked past behind them. “I swear if I ever find out who had sex in my room last...”

    “Relax Jennifer,” her companion told her. “It was nothing. In fact a couple of people on base found out their quarters were turned into party rooms during the night. Beside you just wish you were in on it.”

    “It's an invasion of privacy Beth.”

    “Then learn to lock your door.” By the time they past Ken and Jess were both gone, again headed in opposite directions.

    ***
    Brooks stood just outside one of the many caverns he used. Despite the manhunt that was still on his trail it would have been more dangerous for him to stay in one location. And with the general size of the “packages” his masters delivered it would have been noticed eventually. Besides staying cooped up in one location for too long would have drove him insane. Not that most people wouldn't have questioned his sanity if they ever discovered his little deal. He was sure there was more than a few discussions on the subject back at Castle once he “resigned “his position.

    Enough of the fresh air and the wonder. Ducking his head as he reentered the cavern he turned into the shadow and onto a path that was practically invisible if you weren't looking for it. That lead him to a larger cavern with a deep pit. A monstrous shape paced inside it. From the edge he watched it for a bit. “Not quite ready yet,” he said to no one in particular. Turning away he walked toward a small makeshift camp he had set up, it was the best he could do considering how hastily he had to get things ready. Picking up a small mirror he examined his feature, still debating on if he should let the beard grow out. A small bit of vanity made him keep his clean shaven appearance. However a beard would give him a couple of extra moments of anonymity if he ever had to refresh his supplies. Well, in a slightly more legal way then he had been. But given how fast the experts back at Castle were able to identify Jamira in his disheveled state the risk wouldn't have been diminished by much. Perhaps he grew the beard out then walked into the closest town as Charles Brooks... No chances were they were looking for him as well.

    A slight sensation in his mind caused him to look at the vortex as it was starting to form. Before long the shape of one of his Zetton masters was in the center of. “I'm afraid Pandon is taking longer to mature than anticipated.”

    Usually with news like that his master would lash out. The vortex didn't look any angrier than usual which piqued his curiosity just a bit. “It was something we were aware might happen Avatar,” the voice said. “The the duel nature of it's make up is making it hard to adjust for reasons we can not currently explain.” Well that would have been nice to know from the start.

    “Should I give it another treatment?', he offered. “Give it more of a kick to adjust quicker?”

    “No,” came the reply. “We choose this particular location because it is close to what you call a volcanic vein.” He looked at the rocky wall, funny it didn't seem any warmer in here than in any of the other locations. “Pandon is feeding off of that energy to adjust and mature at a proper rate. But it should be soon.”

    “Of course,” he said with a slight bow. The vortex disappeared as quickly as it acme. Brooks sneered, and turned away from the spot. Right fist crackling with the dark energy he was gifyed with as he tried to kept his temper in check this time around. If they bothered to look around him eventually they would start to notice the slight redecorating he had done in those instances. If they cared at all that is, which he highly doubted at this particular point. This is what he gets for “selling his soul” as it were, just to make sure he was on the winning side of this conflict. His parents didn't raise a fool after all.

    Going back to the edge of the pit he looked down at Pandon, if he couldn't zap it to give it a boost what else could he do to hasten the process. He had been here far too long as it was to be comfortable with Scott, the giant and the UNDF looking for him. And when this creature was ready it was going to bust out of here in what he assume would be a rather spectacular fashion and only a fool with a death wish would want to be this close when that happened. And he wasn't raised to have that sort of wish either.

    “Feeding off the energy of the magma hidden inside huh,” he muttered to himself as he went of the brief conversation he just had. “Maybe I can do something to hasten this after all.” He closed his eyes and reached out with the energy given to him to the monster's mind. But not like before with a couple of the others where he gave it a simple command. Here he was trying something different, trying to see if Pandon was attracted to any particular section down there at all. Because if he was right about this.... there. “Back”, was all he said as he was still connected to it's mind. It did so and he formed a field around himself and walked off the edge, slowly floating to where that attraction seemed the strongest as Pandon slowly backed up. Holding out a hand he fired a beam of dark energy at the wall, drilling into it.

    After several moments magma started pouring in the pit and he stopped. It fell just enough to cool off before it hit the ground. Behind him Pandon practically jumped up and down in excitement. “Enjoy,” he told the creature as he flew back to the edge . Once back on solid ground he walked to his camp and started to pack everything up. His master may not be happy with this turn of events but somebody had to look out for his hide in all of this.

    ***
    “Bridge said he was getting a weird sensor reading,” Ryo said as Ken walked beside him down the hall. After becoming more or less official Ken tried to take the job a little more seriously. Not that he was half assing it before, but a lot of people didn't seem t expect much out of the civilian operative. Now, well, some of those same people seemed to expect a little more out of him now. Not guys like Ryo and the rest of their team of course, he gained their respect a long time ago, even if they did keep suggesting that he zip up his jacket to look slightly more professional. But talks like these did seem to happen more frequently now too. “Hawk wants us on stand by in the mean time, just in case.”

    “In case this is Brooks doing whatever it is he's doing again,” Ken said. Not that it's never not Brooks. And he still had to hide that he knew what was going on and how Brooks was doing this. To reinforce that particular point Richardson's assistant walked passed them. One of three people on this base that knew about him and Daxium. She didn't acknowledge them as he passed. Although considering he was pretty much blackmailed to join he was paranoid enough to think she glanced at him with a warning look for a brief second.

    Oblivious to that probably imaginary exchange Ryo kept talking,”Brooks is pretty much the first thought that pops up whenever they get a strange reading, no matter how small. Not that you can blame them. The man can summon monsters from where ever they're coming from. Not to mention those strange powers that he has. How come nobody noticed before now?” he asked. “Exactly how blind where we to what was right in front of us?”

    Personally wondering how he did it so successfully for as long as he did Ken said, “Don't know man. Guess we never thought to look in our own direction.”

    “You'd still think we'd notice before,” they passed a obviously new section of wall compared to the rest of the hallway, part of the section damaged when Brooks fought his way out of here, “well before that happened. How did he fool us so easily?” Ken didn't really have an answer, not that Ryo was looking for one. Still he rubbed the back of his neck and tried not to look he was wincing since he was basically doing the same thing.

    Blanking on anything that would get them off this particular subject a group of people going in the opposite direction caught his eye. Ryo kept on going before he realized that he had stopped and stared at them. “Um... Ken.”

    “Just a second,” he said. Somebody in that group look familiar for some reason, and it wasn't just because they were all wearing lab coats. “Hey,' he called out to them. They stopped and turned around. One's eyes seemed to get a little bigger, almost if he recognized him. But Ken suddenly remembered him as clear as day, particularly from that party the other night. “You were the one who gave me the beaker.”

    “Oh shit,” he muttered as he bolted.

    “Get back here!”, Ken ordered as he gave chase.

    “Ken wait,” Ryo called out before he could stop him. A couple of the lab coat's comrades tried to get in his way. Surprisingly a couple of troopers who were in the area blocked them off and made an opening for him..

    “He beakered me too man!”, one of them called out. “Get 'em!”

    “If they just find that still before things like this happen,” Ryo muttered. Being the good soldier he started to tap his communicator to alert security and Captain Hawk. The part of him that remembered getting hit with it himself, well maybe after a moment or so.

    The lab guy ran past several groups of people in the hallway with Ken right on his heels. At least he was until somebody grabbed him and dragged him down an adjoining hall. Nearly falling from the sudden change of direction he tried to get his footing, which wasn't easy since he was still being dragged down the hall. To his surprise it wasn't the big, burly security guy he was expecting. No it was Jessica and she did not look happy about something. Freeing himself from her grip he said, “I don't know what's going on but I got an ass kicking to....”

    “Shut up,” she snapped. Being more than familiar with that look on her face he did just that. Then felt like an idiot because they weren't seeing each other any more. Jess looked around to see if anybody else was around before hissing at him, “I'm late.”

    What the hell was this about? “Then maybe you should get to where you're supposed to be going instead of dragging me down here.”

    She grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him closer. “No you moron. I. Am. Late!” He still didn't know what she was talking about. “By about a week.”

    Confusion gave away as it dawned on him exactly what she meant. “Oh shit. How'd this happen?”

    “How the fuck you'd think this happened?”, she snapped again. “That damn party.”

    “I mean are you sure?”, Ken asked. Right now in his panicked state he was creating a growing list of people who just might kill him over this. Jess, Hawk, Jess' father, Jess. Most of it was Jessica at this particular moment, just because she was the closest in proximity.

    “Like I said it's been a week.” she looked like she was trying to calm herself down, which was good for his survival. Mostly, he hoped. “I've already talked to one of the nurses about doing a pregnancy test. They're pretty discreet about it, unless it comes back positive. Then they have to inform Hawk and then my career is over.”

    “It doesn't mean it's over,” Ken started to say. Not that he knew what he was talking about but he felt like he should say something.

    “You don't get it,” she told him. “because of some stupid regulations if it was just me, I'd be taken out of the field and stuck behind a desk somewhere. But because we're both part of the UNDF I'm going to get discharged just so they don't have to risk the child losing both parents. And the fact this base has been attacked twice is going to be enough for them to justify it.”

    “I... I'm sorry,” was all Ken could say.

    “Don't,” she told him. “I know you didn't plan this but don't, okay.” She walked away rubbing her forehead a bit. “I got that degree my dad convinced me to get before I joined up so I should be able to land some sort of job. But I wasn't ready to give this up yet.”

    “We'll get through this, okay.,” he assured her. “I... I'll do right by this, don't worry.”

    She didn't look reassured. Jess actually looked annoyed and a little angry. She told him, “No.”

    He was taken a bit off guard by that statement, “What do you mean no?”

    “We are not doing that.” She walked off leaving him there. “That's not going to happen!”

    “What do you mean we're not doing...? That's my kid too!” She kept walking leaving him dumb founded at this turn of events.

    ***
    In the field two UNDF members were searching the area that Castle was getting that strange reading from. As part of a larger group it was decided that they could cover more ground if they split up in teams of two. One held a larger scanner array while the other kept an eye on his wrist scanner. Both of them were more heavily armed then they were currently used to. The one looking at his wrist scanner readjusted the rifle on his shoulder. “If Brooks is out here what good are these things going to do?”

    “We're not supposed to engage remember,” his compatriot told him. “We spot him, we call for back up and wait.”

    “That's if he doesn't spot us first.”

    “You can't be thinking like that. Look we're all still a little jumpy after what Brooks did.”

    “He ripped through Castle!” he snapped at his current partner. “He killed our team mates, our friends, like they were nothing. We are nothing compared to him. The bastard called a fucking monster!”

    “It takes one to call one,” the other man said. “Look Bart, you think this doesn't freak me out too? I lost friends too. I saw what he did to them. I know these peashooters aren't going to do shit to him. But we still have a job. And part of that job is to find him and try to make sure he can't do it to somebody else. And we can't rely on that giant freak to do it for us.”

    “Ultraman is the best weapon we have against him,” Bart shot back.

    “Then why isn't he a UNDF member?”, came the comeback. Bart didn't bother to respond, not with anything that hadn't been said before. This had been just a small part of the argument ever since Ultraman had shown up. Neither side had a good explanation. For every “But how do you contact him”, there was something like “he's not even human why would he care about us” Both sides kept circling each other. As it was the argument was usually pushed aside when the monster alert came but it started right backup after the giant disappeared. It had been going on for over a year and didn't look like it was going to end any time soon.

    Bart walked away, mainly to get some space between them for the moment. He looked down and saw something out of place among the rocks. He picked an used canteen, it looked relatively new. “Jordan,” he called out as he held it up. “You think somebody had been here recently?”

    “Probably,” he said as he took a closer look at it. “Looks bone dry from what I can tell. Maybe a couple of days tops. Chances are some kids were camping and left it behind.” He looked at it a little closer, “This is a pretty expensive name brand if my cousin's right about these things.”

    “Are canteens really that expensive now?”, Bart asked more than a little dubious about that particular idea.

    “You'd be surprised,” came the reply. “This one basically a tiny little refrigerator so the contents always stay cold.”

    “Geez what they won't make these days.”

    “Tell me about it,” Jordan said. “Probably belonged to some kid with too much money to know what to do with and can just get a new one. Still we better call it in just in case. Because that description fits Brooks too.”

    “If only he was just that,” Bart muttered as he walked away to see if he could locate anything else while Jordan contacted their superior. He didn't get far, just to the top of a ridge right above them, before he stopped. “Jordan!” He raced over and stopped as well as he saw it too. A massive hole in the ground that wasn't on any survey they were given. The edges were still loose and crumbling as Bart got his voice back as he looked around, the weapon on his back suddenly feeling more like a toy gun than before. “Oh God I hope we just missed it.”

    ***
    Hawk walked into the control room and immediately went to Bridge. He hated moments like this just for the uncertainty of the situation. A good chunk of the men were out there at this location while the rest of them were on stand by. God he wished somebody around here could figure out how these building sized creature could just walk around unnoticed most of the time. Bridge looked away from his screens just long enough to acknowledge him before going back to what he was doing. In turn Hawk gave the briefest of nods acknowledging Richardson right before he left the room. Ever since Brooks turned out to be who he was he spent less and less time in here during situations like this one or during any actual conflict. As it was Hawk was glad he wasn't breathing down his neck anymore when he gave orders to the troops from here..

    Without any prompting from him Bridge started talking, “Latest surveys on record doesn't mention that hole at all. I've already accessed various satellites pass over scans over the last few months to confirm the surveys. That wasn't there about a day ago.”

    “You starting to think faster than me Bridge,” Hawk told him. Actually going to any aerial pictures of the area never even occurred to him. And that was slightly embarrassing considering he was in command of the primary aerial squadron.

    “Like you said Captain Brooks had a bit of an advantage while he was here. I'm just trying to close the gaps where I can. I've also been using this in conjunction with the few location we've know a monster has emerged from to try and get an idea of where he might have gone or might be headed.”

    “Is it too much for me to ask if you located a pattern yet?”

    “At this point I'm afraid not sir. We had a couple for them that could burrow into and travel under the ground, at least one giant version of the smaller creatures we used to engage on a regular basis. Not to mention the one that could turn invisible.” He sighed heavily as he leaned back in his chair. “I'm going to need more data to even begin narrowing down the search parameters.”

    “No offense Bridge but I hope we get him before you get that data.” Because more data meant more monster sightings. And that meant more destruction, especially if one appeared in the city. As sad as it sounded Hawk was starting to miss those smaller creature. Bridge nodded in understanding. “Have we gotten a report from Reid yet?”

    “Should be coming in pretty soon.” Almost on cue the console in front of him beeped as Reid called in. “Castle here Commander.”

    “Is the Captain there Bridge?”, Reid asked over the line. His voice sounded muffled a bit, a little more than he expected over the comm line.

    Bridge replied with, “He's right here Commander.” Then he moved aside a bit so Hawk could lean in a little. Not that it was really necessary given the modern communication equipment at their disposal . But he was older than the rest of the people under him and set in his way.

    “What's going on Commander?”

    “We were getting some sort of gas reading once we entered the gave,” he answered. “It was well within non toxic levels but I had us go back for the proper breathing equipment first just in case.”

    “Good call,” Hawk told him, “I would have done the same.” And he would have, facing as many giant creatures abilities that they had gave them all, what he considered at least, a healthy case of paranoia in these situations. “Where are you now?”

    “On a hunch I ordered a scan to see if the gases was coming form any where in particular. We found a pretty well hidden trail that leads deeper into the mountain.”

    “Does it look man made?”

    Reid was quiet for a bit before answering, “By my admittedly untrained eye I would have to say no. This seems like a pretty natural formation. And I know Brooks can do a lot of things I'm hoping altering solid rock isn't one of them.”

    “That makes two of us.” Hawks muttered.

    “Okay,”Reid spoke up, “we found a larger cavern.” Hawk was silent as he heard Reid issue commands to the men with him. All he could do at the moment was sit tight as Reid and his men softly spoke to each other. Outside of an audible “clear” from a couple of them it was nerve wrackenly silent. Reid started talking again. “So far it looks like a large cave to us. Simmons spotted a pit not far from the entrance. I know you don't like guesstimates Captain but it looks large enough to hold a giant creature, that opening spotted above ground seems to be further back from where we're standing.”

    “I'll live with it this time,” Hawk replied. “Do you see anything else?”

    “Nothing that seems out of the ordinary so far Captain.”

    “Commander Reid,” somebody called out.

    “What is it Jones.”

    “I think I located some foot prints in the dirt over here.”

    “Commander can I get a visual of that.”

    “Jones,” he called out. “Take a scan and send it to Castle.” There was a confirmation from Jones right after.

    A few seconds later bridge said, “We're receiving the scan now Captain. Putting it on this screen.' he pointed to one in front of Hawk. The image popped up and yes those did look like foot prints.”

    “If it was Brooks,” Hawk said after a bit, “I guess we know where he's been hiding out. Commander do you see any other signs of life down there?”

    “Outside of that canteen that was found, not at the moment,” came the reply. “That pit takes up most of this cave that I can tell, and not a whole lot of place to hide away that I can see. And honestly if he was here, knowing whatever was in here was going to burst out, I wouldn't have stayed either. He could have at least a couple of days head start on us.”

    “And I don't think that lead has gotten any smaller since he left,” Hawk said, mainly to himself, “Anything on the search top side?”

    “The last report I received indicated that nothing was spotted on the ground or in the air. Not even a monster size foot print this time around.”

    Hawk glanced at Bridge, hoping for a different answer. He was equally disappointed, “I have nothing so far either. No report from local authorities and no UFO sightings in the area. I've alerted near by seismic research institutes to keep an eye out for any anomalous reading and to let us know as soon as possible.”

    “If I didn't know any better Bridge I'd start thinking you're after my position,” Hawk said with a bit of a grin.

    “I'm better at handling computers than I am people Captain,” Bridge said with a grin of his own. “I'll leave the inmates to you sir.”

    “Just keep me up to date on where they are,” Hawk said. Then he went back to business, “Reid, leave a couple of men to explore that cavern fully. Have them log anything that look out of place. I don't think he getting sloppy but I can hope. Take the rest and join the search up top and try to find that creature. I've haven't seen one that can vanish into thin air yet. Turn invisible yes but not vanish completely.” And God help them if whomever Brooks was getting these monsters from, he refused to believed that one man was behind all of this, never figured out how to do that.

    “We'll get on it Captain,” Reid said, “Reid out.”

    “Bridge,” he said turning to him, “tell the troop to get off stand by and on half alert. I'm calling a meeting in a half hour. If whatever this creature is doesn't decide to show itself before hand.”

    “Yes sir,” Bridge said while he turned back to his console. Hawk left him to do his job. And he really wished he had that half hour to get things ready. But as he learned time was one of the few luxuries they had.

    ***
    In his quarters Ken sat on the bed stewing, going over his conversation with Jess over and over again. Why would she say no? If she was pregnant didn't she want him in the kid's life? Maybe he wasn't the greatest example of a potential father but that didn't mean he couldn't be one. And damn straight he wanted a chance to get to know his child.

    Thoughts about this potential child took his mind some where else. To a place he was almost afraid to think about. But he had to know if the kid's future was going to be affected or not. Taking a couple of deep breaths to calm himself down a bit more than anything Ken closed his eyes and looked inward as he said, “Dax I got a question.” Slowing opening his eyes he was in the safe space Daxium created when they first bonded. His usually giant friend was a more normal height here as always.

    “What do you wish to know?”, he asked.

    Oh where the hell to begin? “Dax I... uh... I know you pretty good about respecting my privacy when you're in here and I'm,” he made a half hearted gesture to the barrier surrounding them, “out there. But you kinda know what's going on right?”

    “I am aware of an issue between you and Jessica,” he replied. “I felt your turmoil over it in here. I apologize for looking to see what was the cause.'

    “I'm not worried about that right now Dax.”

    He nodded, “While I am not fully aware of all the details I did gather it involved a potential offspring between the two of you.” Ken just nodded, hearing somebody else say it out loud just made all the more real to him. “But I am confused about why this is causing trouble between the two of you. Even in my universe a new offspring is a cause of celebration.”

    “The situation is way more complicated then that,” Ken told. “But that's not why I'm here either.” Ken looked at Daxium in silence, trying to figure out the best way to ask this. “Dax, with what we got going. Is this going to affect anything? I mean is it going to affect the baby?”

    Daxium lowered his head as he thought his answer over. “I do not know.” Ken said a silent cure as he turned away from him. That was no where close to the answer he wanted to hear. “As I told you before when we realized my injuries would transfer to you, I was unfamiliar with human biology to make us completely separate when we first bonded.” Seeing the apparent pain his answer was causing Ken he stepped forward, “I wish I had a better response for you. If you're afraid Jessica would reject the child...”

    Ken faced him, “That is quite literally the last of my worries Dax. My main concern right now is that if Jess is pregnant what is Richardson going to do once he finds out I'm the father. And trust me he is going to find out.”

    While his facial expression was usually at the bare minimum Ken knew him well enough by now to see that he was taken aback by his body language. “You don't really think Richardson would do something to the child?”

    “The bastard blackmailed me to get you here,” Ken told him, not even hiding the anger he was feeling the more he thought about it., “because that is all he cared about. You're damn straight I'd think he'd do something. I don't know what. I don't even want to think about what that 'what' could be. But he'd do something. And I don't know who would be on our side if we tried to stop him.”

    “Ken,” Daxium said in a calm voice, trying to get through the panic settling into his friend's mind, “you would have allies in this fight. I have fought along side them myself. And in the brief glimpses I've allowed myself to take I know your team would aid you and Jessica any way they possibly can.”

    “If she even wants my help,” Ken told him, a bitterness edging his voice as he remembered his talk with Jess earlier.

    Putting a hand on his shoulder Daxium told him, “A warrior, no matter how skilled, can not fight multiple battles at once. And it is even more foolish to prepare for one fight while in the middle of another. Especially if you're not sure the second battle is even going to happen. Settle things between you and Jessica first. Then you can concentrate on the second together if it happens. Because in that battle a united front is better than a divided one.”

    “Guess that makes sense,” Ken admitted after a bit. “Sorry Dax. I'm just.... It's bad enough I may have put Jess in a situation where she might lose what she loves doing because we got too drunk. Now I might have put her in the middle of a shit storm that she doesn't know is coming.”

    “One battle at a time my friend,” Daxium repeated. In almost an instant Ken was back in his quarters, mentally physically he never left. Still without the answers he was looking for. One battle at a time he reminded himself.

    His comm went off and Bridge spoke through the link, “All teams, yellow alert. Prepare to move out in a moments notice. Alpha team, meeting in a half hour.”

    Ken replied with, “I'll be there Bridge.” Not the most professional response given his new status. But his mind was in a million different place right now. Opening his door he saw Jess on the other side. She didn't look angry, which was hopefully a good thing, but things still felt pretty chilly between them. An old defense mechanism made him try to lighten the mood a bit, “I'd offer to let you come inside, but considering the last time we were in bedroom...” And this was definitely one of those time when that sounded way better in his head than said out loud.

    Fortunately she smiled a little, just enough to be noticed. And he was also grateful she hadn't stopped by the armory for her own weapon. That was a plus in his book. She looked around to make sure they were still alone in the hallway. “I took the test.”

    Ken prepared himself for the news, “Okay.”

    “I haven't gotten the results yet,” she said. And that was way more frustrating an answer than he was expecting “Apparently discreet pregnancy tests are low on the importance meter. Especially since we're on alert now.”

    “You'd think they realize that we would want to know sooner rather than later.”

    “I don't know why I'm glad you said 'we' there.” Before he could say anything she went on, “But Ken, if it does come back positive, we're going to have to talk. About things that might affect the baby.”

    “Talk,” he repeated with a slow nod, “talking is good. We're definitely going to have to talk about... stuff.” And boy did he have the mother load of stuff to bring to that conversation. But despite his best efforts that part of him that was still bitter as hell got him to say, “And while we're at it maybe you can tell me why you told me no.”

    And tension between them rose right back up as soon as he said that. “You know exactly why I told you no.”

    “No I don't,' he shot. “I deserve an answer.”

    Jess opened her mouth to say something. But closed and looked frustrated as she said, “I leaving before I say something I'd regret.”

    “You sure as hell don't regret saying no.” She looked like she wanted to hit him. Instead she stormed down the hall and away from him. God he was getting flash backs to their break up on top of the headache this was giving him.

    “Dude.” Ken looked to his left and saw Bill standing there. Great, this was the last thing he needed. “What the hell did you say to her?”

    “It's a personal matter,” was all he told him as he walked past him.

    Bill followed him, “I have never seen her that angry so you had to have said or did something.”

    Ken stopped and snapped at him, “Why is it automatically my fault? Do I look in all of that good of mood to you? How do you know she didn't say something to piss me off?”

    “Okay man chill,” Bill said with his hand held up and backing away a bit. “Personal matter I got it. I'll be here if you want any help when you're done PMSing.”

    Alone in the hall way Ken just stood pinching the bridge of his nose, “Damn it.”

    ***
    In the city close to Castle most people went on with there day. Thanks to the newest mobile alert they were aware of a potential creature attack. Some were already taking action to get out. Some argued it was pointless as the alert stated they were unsure exactly when or where the suspected creature was going to show up as it concerned several near by cities and towns as well. Then there was those who didn't really care and went about things as if it was business as usual. Two in particular just looked on as they watched a couple of Razor Wings fly over head. “Guess it might be serious after all,” one of them said as she took a drink of her iced coffee.”

    “They're always over reacting if you ask me,” her friend said. “You think they would take care and not waste our tax dollars like that.”

    “My dad say it's so they can get in a quick attack run until the other troops show up.”

    “The guys at the dorm say the same thing. But it's like the weather they can't even get that right. I mean look over there.” He pointed to a what looked like a tornado in the background. “Did any weather person predict that for today?”

    Despite other around them noticing and starting to panic a bit she was still as nonplussed as her friend. “Shouldn't we, like, start running now or something?”

    “Eh,” came the reply. “We're here and it's all the way over there.” He took out a phone and tried to line up a shot to post online as some of the rest around them started to run away. “We got time.” He took the picture and doubled checked to make sure if it was a good one before posting it. He missed the tornado suddenly stopping revealing a red two headed creature that started to shoot fireballs out of both it's mouths. Looking up to see the commotion he saw the creature, in fact on of the heads looked like it was staring right at him. “Okay maybe now we should run.” But she was already long gone.

    At roughly that same instant back at Castle Hawk was going over what they knew with the others in the war room, while at the same time trying to figure out why Jessica and Ken were shooting each other some rather nasty looks. Something Ryo and Bill were noticing as well. Before he could say something about it Bridge called out. “We have a monster alert in the city. Reports said it came out of a tornado.” Apparently they had to remember to add any meteorology networks in the area to their look out positions in the future.

    But that was for then, as for right now, “Give me a visual Bridge.”

    “We've dealt with a tornado based one before,” Bill said as they waited. “Hairy, shot laser lightning out of it's fingers. Uglier than hell.” Then Bridge piped in the image as it hung over the table. “Is it too much to ask for a little consistency?”

    “The monster appeared at the edge of the city and is making it's way inside,” Bridge told them. “Initial scout teams are engaging but their going to need more help.”

    “You heard the man,” Hawk told the rest of them. “I want Razor Wings in the air ASAP. I don't think we're going to be able to prep the Alpha One in time. Ken help with the evacuation as soon as we get there.”

    “Yes sir,” he replied. He shot a glance toward Jessica who gave him a warning look in return. To Hawk it looked like he wanted to say something but held his tongue, and he did not look happy about it.

    Something to worry about for later time. Right now they had a job to do. “All of you move out now.”

    ***
    Within the half hour, given the proximity of the city being attacked to Castle, the full force of the UNDF was attacking the creature from the sky and on the ground. So far they were able to contain the monster to a generalized area to try and minimize the damage, But those fire balls quickly reminded them that it could go outside their combat zone fairly easily. On the ground Ken and a few other were trying to direct the panicked crowd as best as they could. “Come on!”, Ken shouted as he waved people on. “Move it! Past the safety barriers and into the trucks!”

    “Help me!”, he and a couple of others heard some one call out. One of the UNDF personnel spotted were it was coming from and pointed the source out. Somebody tripped and was currently covering up as best as he could as the crowd ran over him. Ken and a few others went against the tide to get to him eventually making a human barrier to give the guy a little breathing room as Ken and another UNDF member sat him up. “Bad enough you got to worry about a monster stepping on ya.,” Ken grunted as they helped the poor bastard to his feet.

    “I got him,” his teammate said as he got under the guy's arm and took his weight as he helped him to the truck. Ken and the rest tried to get out of the way as best as they cold so the didn't get trampled on themselves. Making his way to the front of a building he and a couple of others pressed themselves up against it to get a breather. “God this day sucks more and more as it goes on.”

    “Only going to get better until that thing goes away,” his partner said gesturing at the creature. “Come, I think the crowd has thinned out enough that we can make our way inward and start looking for people staying behind.” While he communicated that idea to the woman in charge of this part of the operation Ken just looked up at the Razor Wings attacking the creature, wondering which one Jess was in. And hoping Ryo wasn't off his game for this one. His partner got his attention and indicated that they got the go ahead and ran deeper into the city, taking separate routes to cover more ground.

    “Going in,” Bill called in the middle of the battle.

    “Right behind you,” Ryo replied as the two Razor Wings turned and took up parallel paths toward the creature, trying to take it by surprise from the rear. So far neither head noticed their approach.

    “I got a lock,” Jess announced. Hawk made the same call from behind Bill in Razor Wing One. Both of them called out, “Firing missiles.” Four round flew out from underneath the wings of the jets. Two aimed at each head. All four sets made contact as the creature cried out and tried to get at whatever it was attacking iy with his arms. It saw the Razor Wings fly past and opened it's mouths again. But instead of the fire ball two streams of fire, one red and the other a blueish purple came out.

    “Shit,” Bill said under his breath as both pilots did whatever they could to avoid the deadly stream. trying to get them. “I hate it when they bust out a surprise like that.”

    “Less bitching and more maneuvering,” Hawk told him.

    Once clear Ryo took a chance to look back at the creature as the beams stopped. “That was a little too close.”

    “Yeah,” Jess muttered behind him as a hand went to her stomach. Partly because that scared her as well it was so unexpected. Anther reason was, well she had another potential reason that she wasn't sure was a thing yet. Still just the idea...

    “Hey Jess,” Ryo called out. “You still with me back there? You went quiet on me.”

    “I'm still here,” she said as she shook herself out of it. She went with an easy half lie, “Think I just saw my life pass in front of my eye.”

    “Same here partner,” Ryo told her. “But we're not done yet.”

    “Not by a long shot,” she agreed. But she looked out the canopy for the briefest of moments, at the streets below.

    Haven't found any one still dumb enough to stick around Ken looked up to see the new attack the creature just deployed. As more jets tried to avoid it at least a couple of weren't so lucky as the blew up on contact. The shouts over his communicator were saying that Jess wasn't in any of the jets they just lost. But just the idea made up his mind for him. Taking one last look around to make sure Ken went for the Spark Magnifier in his jacket, “Ok Dax we're up,” and held it over his head.

    ***
    Pandon duel heads roared a challenge as the column of light faded revealing Daxium who quickly took his fighting stance, “Shiah!” Knowing what the creature could do he tried to keep an eye on both heads as the monster came at him. Following suit Daxium charged him as well getting under those heads and tried to attack the body with kicks and punches. Pandon was failing it's arms as well trying to give as good as it got s it pounded on his back. It kicked as well attacking his legs. Backing up a bit he saw the creature swing a arm down at him and back flipped several times to avoid the attack and get some space between them.

    It's head reared back a bit and shot a series of fireballs at the giant. Daxium bashed the fireball away with his fists waiting for an opening. Once the barrage stopped he quickly put both hands to the side and fired off a Flash Bolt that struck Pandon is it's chest. Crying out in pain and grabbing at it's chest the creature opened its mouth again and fired the duel streams one more. Daxium tried to roll and dodge those beams as best as he could. But he wasn't fast enough as the blueish one clipped him in the side. Grunting in pain as he grabbed his side he realized too late as Pandon came at him. Before Daxium could stop him he was grabbed and thrown into a building as it caved in a bit under his weight.

    Pandon, sensing an opening started pounding on the giant as the building gave away even more under the struggle before giving away completely. On the ground he tried to protect himself as best as he could as the creature started to stomp on him. Grunting with each stomp Daxium tried to get into a position to get himself up. On Hawk's order several Razor Wings and Scan Tracks attacked in unison to distract the monster long enough for Daxium to get up and push Pandon away. Thinking he had an opening to finish this quick he started to set up for the Dimensional Storm Ray. Pandon was quicker as it fired the fireballs at him again. The speed of the attack caught him off guard as he was struck over and over. Then the monster switched over to the duel streams again. Daxium put up the barrier to block it. Sparks flew as the beams hit the barrier but neither side would let up. Then some how the beams started to twist and spiral together into a single beam. Feeling the increased strength of the attack drilled into it Daxium tried to pour more energy into the barrier, even as he felt himself being pushed back from the force. But the beams won out shattering the barrier as it slammed into Daxium's chest, hurling him back from the impact.

    “All units open fire!”, Hawk called out. “Get Ultraman some time to recover!”

    As Pandon return it's attention to it's new attackers Daxium was slowly getting to a knee as the crystal on his chest blinked. The creature was strong and he briefly considered switching over to his Power Mode. But it was fast with it's attacks as well so maybe he would have to sacrifice some power to increase his speed and hope it was right call at the moment. Staggering to his feet Daxium held up his arms to his chest and threw them down as he shifted into Hyper Mode. Running in he quickly jumped up, flipping forward in the air as Pandon turned toward him as his heel came crashing down onto one of it's head. Quickly back flipping out of the way he ran in again with a jumping kick that landed on it's chest. Once again using his superior speed he got out of the way, formed the Hyper Saw and spun out of the way of another fireball barrage as he hurled it. The jagged circle of energy crashed into the monster ceasing the barrage. Holding out his right hand he extended the Light Flash whip from his fingers. With the extra reach he struck the creature more or less at will as sparks flew off of it. Backing up a bit he started to draw in energy as he set up for a run. Pandon fired off the duel beams again at the same time he made the barest of flinches. In less than an instant he was on the other side of the monster as Pandon stood there with a glowing like going across it's body. Light Flash retracting back into his hand the monster exploded.

    Clutching at his chest as he feel to a knee Daxium looked around at the UNDF forces before standing up and flying off into the sky, “Shiah!”

    Back on the ground Ken returned from the glowing ball as a hand immediately clutched at his chest. As best as he could he looked down his shirt and saw the red marking were Daxium got hit on his body. Trying to rub the pain away he walked off saying, “God I hope nobody decides to slap me in the chest anytime soon.”

    Back up in the air, in Razor Wing Two Ryo let out a long breath. Turning his head a bit he said, “Looks like we got some time as we head back to Castle. Do you want to tell me what's going on between you and Ken while we fly back?”

    She thought about denying it, but her wing man knew the both of them pretty well. “Private matter Ryo,” she told him. “Let me try to work on it first.”

    “Your call,' he said. “Let me know if you want me to kick his ass for you though.”

    “Tempting,” she said. “But honestly it's not entirely his fault either.” If she had to be honest that is.

    ***
    “Hey Janet,” Ken greeted his as of right now sister-in-law as he entered Hawks outer office. He was trying not to be nervous because he couldn't think of anything he done to be called to Hawk's office. But then again being called to any higher up's office was rarely a good thing.

    “Hi Ken,” she greeted him warmly. “They're waiting for you inside.”

    “They're?”, he asked as he headed for the door. No answer was forth coming as he hit the call button on the door and was soon given permission by Hawk to come inside. Who the other person was became apparent as Jess was already sitting in one of the chair. More or less ignoring him as he took the other chair.

    “I'm glad both of you came,” Hawk began. He looked at both of them before continuing, “Now normally I try not to get involved in any private matter between my men. I'm not a nosy person after all. Unless I start believing that private matter is starting to affect my team's dynamic.” Both of them started to speak up but Hawk held up a hand to keep them silent. “Based on what I've personally seen and heard from others, I think this matter between the two of you is getting close to that point. But I'm not getting involved just yet. No, you see I'm going to step out of this office for roughly forty to forty-five minutes, just to give the two of you some time to and try to work it in some relative privacy.”

    “Captain that really isn't,' Jess started to say. Again he held up a hand.

    “I sincerely suggest you take this offer. Because when I come back and if it isn't settled between the two of you, or at least gotten to good enough start of settling it, I will get involved. And I will get to the bottom of it PDQ.” Feeling satisfied that his point had gotten adequately across he pressed the intercom button on his desk. “Janet since my scheduled is cleared up why don't you take your hour lunch.”

    “Yes sir,” she replied, “thank you.” Giving a friendly nod to both of them he rose from his desk and left the two alone in the office.

    Both of them sat there in silence for several moments not looking at each other. Before long Jess spoke up, “I got the test results back.” One more time he braced himself for the news. “They came back negative, I'm not pregnant.”

    Feeling a bit of a load come off his shoulders, only able to say, “Okay.”

    Then she dropped another bombshell that he wasn't expecting, “So you can stop worrying about trying to get me to marry you.”

    His head snapped toward her, “Whoa! Wait... what? Where in the hell did that come from? Who was talking about marriage?”

    She gave him the strangest look, “You said you'd 'do right' by this when I told you I might be pregnant. What else could you have meant?”

    Now it was Ken turn to give her a strange look. “Why would you think...? Right, I forgot your mom's a traditionalist. I was trying to tell you that I'd help you with the kid any way I could. That I wasn't going to deny it was mine. At no point did marriage cross my mind.”

    “Then why didn't you just say that to begin with?”, she demanded. “Instead of letting me think you were trying to marry because I was pregnant?”

    “Because who does that any more?”, he asked. Looking around the room in disbelief he leaned back in his chair, “I was thinking you didn't wanted me in the kids life?”

    She was going to ask him why he thought that but considering what he meant she could sort of see where he would think that. “No, if we were having a baby I'd want you involved.” She looked over at him, “I've seen you with your niece. I know you'd be a great father.” She studied him for a bit trying to figure out that downtrodden look on his face, “You weren't looking forward to being a father were you?”

    “I got used to the idea,” he said., a little too defensively. After a couple of more moments of silence he started chuckling a bit.

    “What?”, Jess asked him.

    “It just hit me, if we were having a kid I mean. I know engines you know guns. Can you imagine our kid?””

    Thinking about it Jess snorted a bit as well, “Probably find a way to put the guns in the engine.”

    “Most dangerous mechanic ever.” They shared a small laugh. Okay thing were a little better between them now, hopefully they could get past this particular bump in the road and get back to where they were with the friendship. Still Ken looked back at the door before saying to Jess, “I know he said he wouldn't pry if we got this fixed, but he's going to pry isn't he?”

    “It might be better to tell him any way,” Jess offered. “Just so he knows there isn't going to be a repeat performance of this particular issue.”

    “I was afraid you were going to say that,” Ken said. “And to think my biggest concern before all of this was Jennifer demanding a DNA test on those sheets. God I hope Hawk doesn't give us the talk. That was awkward enough when Mom tried to explain it.”

    “I don't think it'll go that far,” she assured him. “At least I hope not. Besides we'll be honest that it happened at that party.”

    “We got a little too drunk,” Ken said in agreement.

    “Lost control of our inhibitions.”

    “Acted on some long buried feeling that were still there.” It was a familiar statement that they said repeatedly since it happened that night. Generally neither of them saw it as more than an unfortunate event that happened and said anything more about it.

    But what Ken just said, although both of them had said it before on a couple of occasion, struck an uncomfortable nerve in Jess just then as she twitched a bit in her seat. Finally she just said it, “Ken maybe it's time we talked about our break up since those old feelings are still there.”

    He started to look really uncomfortable real quick, “We've talked about it.”

    “No,” she said, “we haven't. We talked about things leading up to it. Barely said anything about what happened after it happened. But we have never talked about it, at all. Ken I'm glad I got you back as a friend but we got this huge thing weighing us down a bit. I think it's time we cleared the air so we can move on.”

    “There's nothing to talk about,” he insisted. “I kept letting Jeff manipulate me to break dates with you to get what he wanted and you got tired of it. Simple as that. There's no big misunderstanding.”

    Getting a bit uncomfortable and shifting in her seat Jess told him, “That wasn't the only reason why I broke up with you.”

    Ken just stared at her, making Jess a little more uncomfortable than what she was. “What other reason?”, he finally asked. When an answer wasn't forthcoming he reached out and tried to pull her chair so she faced him catching her off guard. “What other reason? Because I'm wracking my brain right now trying to think how else I screwed up. And the only thing that makes any sort of sense is somebody told you I was cheating on you. Okay, it's over a decade too late but they're a Goddamned liar.”

    “No, nobody was telling me that you were cheating on me,” she said. “Not that I would've believed them to begin with if they did.”

    “Then what was it?”

    She looked in the other direction as she told him, “I didn't think you really wanted to be with me.”

    “Okay now I'm fucking lost,” he mumbled as he covered his face with his hands.

    She tried to explain herself, “Back then I believed that if you truly loved some one you would fight to be with them no matter what. And you weren't really fighting. It's teenage girl logic, don't try and understand it.” When Ken didn't respond she kept on talking. “As I got older I started to realize how immature that was, especially when I realized I wasn't exactly fighting to try and keep you either.” Still Ken didn't say anything right away. “I'm sorry.”

    Finally he said, “What do you have to be sorry for?”

    “For letting you think it was you this whole time when I was just as much to blame for our break up.”

    “It was mostly my fault,” he said.

    “My God,” she snapped, “Why can't you let me own up to my part in all of it?

    “Because it's true,” he shot back. “If I just stood up to Jeff maybe we'd still be....” Realizing what he was about to say he stopped himself. Slumping down in the chair a bit he said, “Well maybe we would have been together for longer than what we were.”

    “The break up was hard on me too,” she assured him. “Your phone calls begging me to take you back didn't help either.” After a bit she did admit to him, “And I've wondered if we would still be together now too. From time to time.”

    “So where do we go from here then?”, Ken asked. “Because people are going to ask and I want to keep our stories straight.”

    “We'll take like we have been,” she told him. “One day at a time. And we don't let one drunken night ruin what we've been able to rebuild.”

    “I am totally down with that,” Ken said. “I just wish I could remember that night at all.” He flinched, realizing he said that out loud and how it probably sounded, expecting her to start yelling at him all over again.

    Instead she had this wistful look on her face that caught him off guard. “So do I. ” Then she looked at him. “We do not tell the Captain that part.” He didn't disagree.


    -----
    ED – Shinedown – Fly From the Inside
    -----
     
  2. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

    Episode 24

    -----
    OP – Mercy Drive – Burn in my Light
    -----


    Things had finally gotten, more or less, back to normal around Castle ever since Brooks true colors were revealed. Well maybe a new normal as some around base had taken to calling it. Especially since one the people who is on the most wanted list knew how they worked. Which meant something had to change, hence the new normal tag. Of course as with most things change wasn't easy, nor did it happen over night. There were hiccups, people having a hard time adapting to some new rules and regulations, but eventually things started to to settle down. Much tot he relief to the higher ups in the UNDF, which went without saying.

    But one thing didn't change, the need to bond with one team mates. In one of the cafeteria's Jess, Ken Ryo and Bill sat around one of the tables. Considering the red tint to Ryo's cheeks and the round of laughter from the other three one could correctly assume he was the butt of a joke, or in this case a particular story. “Did you have to say that one,' he shot at Ken.

    “As many stories you told on me about my academy days?”, Ken shot back. “Did you really think I wouldn't fight back eventually. And that wasn't even the worst one that came to mind.”

    Looking suddenly panicked Ryo shot a finger toward his former academy mate, “Do not tell that one.”

    “You don't even know which story I had in mind,” Ken shot back. “It could be anything.”

    “Maybe you should tell it anyway,” Jess said as she took a drink of her coffee, “just to see if the two of you are thinking of the same incident.”

    Ryo looked betrayed, “You're my wing man, who's side are you on?”

    She didn't miss a beat, “The side that gets me an entertaining story, it doesn't matter if involves my partner or not.”

    “I'm sure Ken knows a few embarrassing ones about Jess,” Bill popped in. “And vice a versa.”

    “Yeah that ain't happening,” Ken told him.

    Ryo and Bill both gave each other a look of confusion before Bill spoke back up, “And why not? If we're getting razed by some old stories she needs to get razzed too. It's only fair.”

    “For one simple reason,” Ken explained. “I'm more afraid of her than I am the two of you.”

    “Smart man,” Jess said, looking a bit smug.

    “You know,” Bill kept at it, “I'm sure she'd be more than willing to tell a few things she knew about you back in the day.” Ken just shrugged. Still determined he leaned a bit and muttered, “You can always tell me something when she's not around.”

    “We can still hear you,” Ryo informed him. Jess just wagged a finger at him.

    In response Ken replied, “Even if I was dumb enough to do that she would find out what I told you. Because you would tell her.”

    “Because I would make you tell me,” Jess said before Bill could protest. Ken just gave Bill a look that basically said “see” while he pointed toward her.

    “And you would crack pretty fast,” Ryo chimed in.

    “Wait we were laughing at Ryo,” Bill complained. “Why are you ganging up on me now?”

    “Because it's your turn,” Jess told him.

    “I hate to break up the ganging up on,” they all turned to see Hawk come toward them. He motioned for them to stay seated when it looked like they started to rise. “This is nothing official, sort of. I just came down here to inform Ken he had a guest.”

    The three of them looked at each other before focusing in Ken. He looked at Hawk more confused than any of them. “I have a guest? I don't know of anybody who'd want to see me.” Maybe his mother or his niece, maybe a couple of people from the garage wanting to say hi. But none of them would have caused Hawk to see him personally, or not tell him in advance one of them was coming. Because the paperwork for that alone was the size of a small hill.

    “My boy I hoped I was a little more memorable than that,” someone said. Hawk moved aside so they could get a look at the speaker as he came forward. It was an older gentleman, grey hair and all, that rolled forward a bit in a motorized wheelchair. He looked at Ken with a patient look.

    Ken immediately broke out in a huge grin, “Professor Kyrie. I don't believe it... I mean I'm happy to see you.”

    “As am I my boy, as am I,” Ken took the offered hand. Doing so the older man looked him over, “So you finally got in I see, even after that idiotic rule that let them remove you from the academy. That was a damn shame, you didn't need to be in the field with that brain of yours. But could those warmongering blowhards see that?”

    “So you're the one who identified Ken's particular gift,” Hawk spoke up, trying to ignore the last thing he said as that could technically apply to him. “When Ken was put on the team it didn't say who discovered that.”

    “Well not to brag,” Kyrie said, “but as they used to say, it takes one to know one. And I realized where Ken here should have belonged when I realized that we see blueprints in the same way?”

    Confused by this bit of news, especially since she known him longer than any of them, Jess looked at Ken, “What does he mean? How do you see a blueprint?”

    Looking really uncomfortable all of the sudden Ken rubbed the back of his neck and tried to blow it off, “It's nothing.”

    “Nothing he says”, Kyrie snorted.

    Seeing his mans discomfort Haw quickly stepped in, “Ken why don't you and Professor Kyrie pick a direction to go in and catch up. And maybe later, Professor, we can have a little chat ourselves. Help me find ways to help Ken to cultivate his gift better than we have been.”

    At that the Professor seemed genuinely surprised, “You are actually trying to help him along? Sir, I find that hard to believe”

    “I fully believe that a person should live up to his potential,” Hawk explained. “Like I told Ken on his first day, if he wasn't medically disqualified back then more than likely he'd be running a department by now.” The others started to look at Ken again as that bit of news never made the rounds, which caused Ken to squirm a bit more. So Hawk decided to add, “Or at least help me convince him that engineering test program can't be beat.”

    “Oh my God, you're still at that?”, Kyrie said with a smirk as he started to roll toward one of the doors.

    Ken followed saying, “I almost have it.”

    ***
    Walking down the hallway they talked and caught up. Manly the modifications Kyrie made to the motor on his wheelchair. An interest in engines is what gotten them to bond early on in Ken's academy days, before the Professor started to show him the more interesting ones he generally worked on. Seeing how fast Ken had caught on to how they worked, some times with him just blurting out what it did before Kyrie could tell him. After a bit Kyrie would just let him suss it out by himself, only giving the cadet a nod if he was on the right track.. It wasn't long after that Kyrie basically took Ken under his wing, then the letter came that seemingly ended the younger man's career in the UNDF.

    “I'm a good mechanic,” Ken protested when the Professor asked what he was doing before getting in on the 'Civilian Operative” deal he was under. Granted he might have taken Kyrie's apparent dismissal of the profession, which he basically scoffed as he said the word, more than a little personal.

    “And I'm sure you are,” Kyrie told him s they continued on, “I'm sure you were the best in your little garage as well.” Ken didn't mention that his former boss basically told everyone he was the reason the place was still open. Granted he was sure it was more to shut his brother up at the time, especially since he kept pushing Ken to try and get back into the UNDF again, he still remembered some of the looks a couple of the other gave him when he told them he was leaving. “But it's like having the skill of a race car driver and settling to drive a cab fore the rest of your life.”

    “I didn't settle,” Ken mumbled.

    “I'm sorry my boy,” Kyrie said after a bit. “It still annoys me to think of all that potential that was wasted when the told you to leave the academy. They wouldn't even let me have you contact information so we could keep in touch. I know of several institutions I could have directed you toward. Places that would have helped you fully understand and realize exactly what you are capable of. But they said there was too great of risk of a confidentiality breach or some such nonsense. Personally I think they didn't want two of me running around,” he added with a smirk.

    Ken smiled as well, “I'm sure I would have been my own personal flavor of annoyance.” The smirk grew bigger on Kyrie as he nodded in agreement.

    Going down the halls Kyrie seemed to try and get a measure of the area they were currently in. “But all things considered you did end up here after all. And I may have to reconsider my opinion of your Captain if it's true what he said about helping you.”

    “He's trying,” Ken said. “He's been patient as hell too, considering I'm not exactly regulations as far as personal is concerned. But I still think he's barking up the wrong tree.”

    “And there is your brother speaking again,” Kyrie stopped him, looking a bit exasperated. At this point Ken knew it as well, but even with everything he'd done over the past year he still thought that genius label was a mistake. Kyrie stopped and turned the chair so he could face him, “Ken, you're special...”

    “Which several people have told me for as long as I can remember,” Ken cut in.

    Kyrie looked at him, like he did back at the academy, waiting for him to come to the correct conclusion of the situation placed before him. And he wasn't going to let him off the hook until he did. “Then what is it going to take for you to finally believe what everybody else knows is true?”
     
  3. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

    “You mean outside of finally beating that fuc...”, he quickly corrected himself , mostly because of who was with him, mainly because Hawk strongly suggested he clean it up a bit because of his current , semi official status, “that freakin' simulator?” He meant it as a joke, partially. If he was supposed to be this genius he should have seen a solution long before now. But Kyrie kept on giving him that look. Unlike the academy he got a reprieve when his communicator went off. “Sorry Professor,” Ken said before he tapped it, “Scott here.”

    “Apologies in advanced but we're going to have to cut the visit short son,” Hawk told him. “Bridge and Doctor Williams just relayed some information that going to require our immediate attention.”

    “Understood sir,” Ken replied. “I'll be there as soon as I escort Professor Kyrie back toward the visitor center.”

    “There's no need for that my boy,” Kyrie spoke up. “I still part of the UNDF myself, I just made a call and asked if it would be alright to stop by. I'll be perfectly fine to escort myself back to my driver in your garage down below. Now go on, that sounds important.”

    “He;s right about the visitor part Ken. Professor Kyrie has enough pull to travel the whole base unescorted if he wanted to. But I'd still would like to have that conversation later, about helping Ken Professor.”

    “And I would be more than happy to have that conversation as well,” Kyrie said, probably a little louder than was necessary. When Ken still looked unsure about just leaving the man Kyrie made a shooing motion, “Go. I'll be fine.”

    Still unsure about it Ken went, “Alright I'll be there soon. Scott out.” The call ended as he told the Professor, “I'll guess I'll see you sooner or later. I better go.”

    “I'm sure we will my boy,” Kyrie called out as Ken went down the hall. Making sure nobody was watching him Kyrie pulled out some sort of device from his pocket. The reading he recorded made him smile a bit, “I'm sure we will.”

    ***
    Entering the war room Hawk gave him a small nod as he took his spot at the holotable. Making sure he had all of their attention he started, “I'll tell all of you upfront, what the Bridge and the good Doctor found was something Brooks decided to help fund and I don't know how this went unnoticed for as long as it did.” Pressing a few keys on the controls in front of him a simple title came up.

    Ryo did the speaking for the other three, “King Joe? Does that stand for something?”

    “Not that Bridge could figure out or discover,” Hawk answered. “The only information he could discover was that he helped get this particular project going around the time Jamira disappeared.”

    “I don't get it,” Jess spoke up. “We went over everything with Brooks' name on it in the system with a fine tooth comb. Anything with Brooks' name period. Why did it take this long to find this project.”

    “As I said,'”Hawk replied, “I'm not sure. My best guess, because it's not one of ours. Well it is and it isn't.”

    “And I'm confused now,” Bill put in.

    “To clarify things a little better,” Hawk said, “it's an official UNDF project, fully backed and funded by the organization. But it's not one of ours, as in here.”

    Jess seemed to get it, “Another UNDF base.”

    “Or an outside organization we have ties with,” Ryo added.

    “No offense buddy,” Ken decided to join in, “I may be newish but even I know that would leave a ton of red tape to follow.” Then he smirked, “I shot down somebody idea for a change.” That look quickly withered under the stares from the others. “Sorry.”

    Hawk reminded himself that there would be the occasional backslide with him given his new status. Still a quick word to make sure those moments were kept to a minimum in the future might be in order. “Ken is right about the red tape though,” he said after a bit. “This would too but he could, and did ,cover it up a little better. I'm sure it goes without saying that we've been ordered to check it out.” A few more button presses and a image of the globe appeared above the table, a country in particular being highlighted. “The base in question is located in Tokyo, Japan.” Three sets of eyes shot at Ken at that bit of news. Hawk kept going, “They know we are coming and why, so no toes will be stepped on. Bridge and Dr. Williams will be joining us to help figure out what, if anything, Brooks did after he green lighted this particular project. Any questions?

    “No,” Ken said, surprising them a bit. Then he kept on talking, “But have fun in Japan. Don't worry I'll hold down the fort while you're gone. Send me a post card when you get there.”

    Lowering his head and sighing Hawk went, “Ken...”

    “You're going to bring me something nice?”, the younger man quickly said. “Please say you're going to bring me something nice. I would really love it if those words came out of your mouth.”

    “Ken,” Hawk, said sternly. Just enough to get him to be quiet for a moment. “Dr. Williams has personally requested your presence for this. He feels with the potential mechanical nature of this King Joe project you particular gift may come in handy. And I agree with him.”

    Still Ken was determined, “My passport is not up to date. I don't even have a passport.”

    Of course Bill had to say something, “Your UNDF ID covers as a passport in these situations.”

    “You're not helping,” Ken hissed at him. Looking back at Haw he said, “Is there anything I can say that will keep me off that plane?”

    “No there is not,” he told him plainly. The younger man dropped his head as Jess reached over and rubbed his shoulder a bit. Hawk gave her a quizzical look and she quickly stopped. After what they told him what happened after that party he wondered if he should speak to them again about things. Then he decided against it just as quickly. Like he told them he'd only get involved if it became a problem, and that didn't look like a problem to him. “I want everybody to pack their duffle bag for a couple of days. We don't know how long this is going to take so prepare to get comfy.” Ken looked up, like he just saw an potential out, as weak as it was. Hawk quickly shot that hope down, “You will have a duffle bag in about five minutes after you hit up supplies.”

    Looking defeated as he dropped his head again Ken asked, “Can I at least request two crates of barf bags for the trip?”

    “Why do you need two?”, Bill asked.

    “One there one back,” he answered without raising his head.

    And there was a cheery thought to end the briefing with. “Dismissed, we leave in two hours. And we will wait for any stragglers.”

    ***
    Standing at the doorway Ken wasn't exactly sure if he wanted his feet to keep moving or not. And knowing Hawk he would probably stay true to his word about waiting for anybody. Letting out a little whimper he walked toward the super jet. And fighting to make sure his stomach didn't go rogue on him before they even took off. He tried to find anything that would take his mind off of being on the Alpha One, for hours. Okay ,hat thought didn't help at all. “Why do we have so many people with bags in the hanger?”, he ended up asking, because there where at least twice as many duffle bags then his team needed.

    Jess answered him, “We're bringing an extra crew along. Given the length of the flight we're going to be taking shifts.” Yeah that didn't help either. “Captain Hawk wanted me to tell you that's not an excuse for not going either. Just try not to think about it too much.”

    Something in his stomach felt like it was trying to get that revolt started, “Too late for that.”

    “I am really sorry about this son,” Hawk told him as he, Bill and Ryo walked over to them. “If we had another way of getting there I'd jump on it for you in a heart beat. But the Alpha One is the only way we have unfortunately. At least for this short of notice”

    Ken just sighed, “In the future can somebody please remind the Doc, again, that I'm ground and pound and not zoom and boom when stuff like this comes up.”

    “Zoom and boom?”, Ryo asked, totally confused.

    “You try coming up with a catchy, rhyming phrase for you fly guys,” Ken shot back. Then he felt something pressed against his neck. He registered the rest of them looking surprised and a small hissing sound before he could react, right before he felt a massive shot of pain in that very spot. Ken jerked away and grabbed at his neck, “Fuck! Ow!” He caught a glimpse of Dr. Williams before Hawk came into his line of sight again. “I know language, sorry. But fuck...!”

    “I'll let this one slide,” he said as he kept his eyes on Dr. Williams, who was holding some sort of hypodermic gun looking thing. Something he seen only medical professionals use. Who also seemed confused at the reaction from Ken. “Doctor?”

    “The latest medicine for Ken's condition,” he said. “He should have no ill effects during the trip. You're welcome by the way.” He seemed equally confused by the angry look Ken was currently giving him.

    Hawk leaned in and quietly told Jessica, “Get him on the Alpha One while he's not thinking about it.” She nodded and dragged Ken toward the ramp. “Doctor,” Hawk addressed him, “perhaps you should have told Ken you were going to inject him with something before you did it.”

    “I didn't think I needed to remind him he had a problem,” was the reply. Williams headed for the Alpha One leaving Hawk a little dumbstruck that went over his head.

    Bill crossed his arms as he watched the doctor, “Did you ever want to spend, like, five minutes in his head? Just to see how he see things.”

    “We'll try and make sure Dr. Williams stays away from Ken until he cools down,” Ryo told him.

    “And how long do you think that's going to take?”, Bill asked as they grabbed their bags to board themselves.

    By himself for the moment Hawk muttered, “That ship is not big enough for this,” before grabbing his bag and headed for the Alpha One.
     
  4. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

    ***
    A few hours into the flight Hawk called for a partial shift change, meaning Jess, Ken and Ryo got a small break while some of the others that came along took their position for the time being. Unfortunately for Bill he got roped into “Williame detail”, as it was quickly came to be called behind his back, for the moment. She was just glad for the opportunity to stand and walk for a bit. Everyone had sort of picked out a section of the Alpha One to temporarily call their own on the assignment, seeing how the ship wasn't exactly built with long distances in mind, therefore nothing that even resembled crew quarters were put into the design. Although both Dr. William and Ken both said the trip shouldn't be an issue. Jess had thought about hitting up her spot for a quick nap, instead she walked over to the supplies in the lower hanger and grabbed two ration bars and bottles of water.

    Substance in hand she crossed over to the small bay that housed the Alpha Three motorcycle, and the spot Ken decided to hang proverbial hat. More than likely because Williams decided to take up residence in the engine room. She looked down at him, waiting for him to look up from the pad in his hand. “Want some company?”, she asked when he finally did. He smiled a bit and patted the section of floor grating next to him. She did so and gave him a good look over, like she had been doing since the trip started. Whatever was in the shot Williams gave him seemed to be working, he wasn't as green as he usually gets or throwing up at the slightest jolt. But Ken wasn't his usual color either. She wouldn't describe him as pale, actually she wasn't sure how to described how he currently looked since the trip started. “How are you holding up?”

    “Have you ever wanted to throw up and not throw up at the same time?”, he asked.

    “Can't say that I have,” Jess answered. “How is that working out for you?”

    “All things considered I'd rather be puking my guts out,” he told her. “At least then I'd know it be over sooner or later.”

    “Then I guess you don't want to try your luck with this then,” she said holding up one of the ration bars. Ken made a face, but took it and a water.

    “I'm going to have to try my luck sooner or later,” he said with a grimace. While he opened the wrapper and took a small experimental bit she took a look at the pad he was studying. “Ugh,” he grunted, “I'm not sure if it's the medicine or that's the actual taste of this thing.”

    “These weren't made with taste in mind,” she reminded him as she took the pad and studied the plans that were on them. “Is this what we were assigned to check out?”

    He nodded, “Part of it. According to what Bridge was able to pull up it's actually for different machines and they combine into a larger one.”

    “Can it really do that?”, she asked as she handed the pad back. It was a small miracle, according to Ken and a couple of others, that the Alpha Twos could launch and rejoin the Alpha One without a hitch.

    “I was able to figure out where the connector points are on at least two of them so far,” he said as he took a swig of water. “Based on what I'm seeing it might be able to.” Jess smiled as she took a drink from her bottle. This was Ken in his element, that brain of his was figuring things out as fast as he could see it. So why couldn't the lunkhead see he was doing it without realizing it?

    Which brought her back to his resent visitor and something he said at the time. “So are you seeing those plans like you usually see them?” Like she was afraid of he turned a bit red, ironically making look more like his normal self, and looked uncomfortable. “I'm sure it's nothing to be embarrassed over. Ken I've seen you figure out how a machine worked just by looking at it. The more complex the faster you got. And that was back when we were dating in high school .Whatever it is you're seeing it's a part of who you are. You don't have to keep it a secret, especially not from me. You can tell me anything, anything, and it'll just be between us.”

    He looked unsure if he should or not. Jess sat there and let him decide on his own. Seeing how back in high school trying to make him talk just made him dig deeper into that hole he created for himself. Personal experience from when she started to crack through that shell of his. “It goes 3D on me,” he finally admitted. She didn't ask any questions, just waited for him to continue. “Everybody else looks at these plans or another set of blueprints and they just see them as a flat 2D picture full of lines. I look at them and I get an exact three dimensional image of it in my head. Every wire, every bolt, everything.” Quiet for a bit he admitted something else, “I was ten when I realized nobody else saw it the same way I did. I figured there was something wrong with me and kept quiet about it.”

    “Until Professor Kyrie figured it,” she added. He nodded in response. “I think that's pretty cool actually. Why did you think something was wrong with you though?”

    “Most people in school already thought I was a freak as it was,” he told her. “This just confirmed it to me.”

    “Nobody thought,” then she caught herself, “okay that would have been a lie. But that because they didn't try to get to know the real you.” She gave his hand a quick reassuring squeeze. “I'll keep my promise and not tell the others what you told me. But I'll bet you anything their not going to think it makes you a freak either.” He gave her a look. “All right Bill,” she conceded. “But he'll stop with the jokes as soon as the rest of us talk to him. And that offer to listen to anything you may want to tell me is still on the table, just so you know.”

    Before the conversation could go on Ryo poked his head through the opening and spotted the, “Ken,” he said, “Captain Hawk wanted me to give you a heads up. He's going to take control of the Alpha One for a bit since we still have some clear skies. And that he still hasn't gotten a feel for her yet so things may get a bit bumpy.”

    Ken made another grimace and held his stomach. “Guess that's one way to see if that shot will actually work,” Jess said, mainly as a joke. Ken did not look amused.

    ***
    “Oh thank you God, solid ground”, Ken said as he stepped off the ramp as the team exited the Alpha One. Just standing there on the pavement he just enjoyed the feeling of nothing moving for the moment, or for as long as the rest would let him. He didn't care who thought what about him doing it either.

    “You're not going to drop to your knees?”, Bill asked all of the sudden. “Maybe kiss the ground? No?” Ken, not to mention a few others just gave him the strangest looks. Grunting he moved on mumbling, “I just lost twenty bucks.”

    Ryo walked by, just stopping long enough to softly say, “I'll split it with you,” and held out a fist that Ken gave a quick bump to before he kept going.

    Hawk walked forward a bit as a man in a similar uniform to theirs, except the red was blue over here, came toward them. A very blond hair, blue eye man if anybody had seen one, with a Japanese woman right beside him holding a data pad in her arm. “Welcome,” the man said and offered Hawk a salute before offering a hand. As Hawk took it he continued, “I'm Doctor Franklin Greenberg, the head of the labs here at Tower.” I assume you lot would be the members of Alpha Team that we were told to expect.”

    “Thank you Doctor,” Hawk said and made some quick introductions. Although Ken gave him a bit of the side eye when he was introduced as the “junior member” of the unit.”

    Greenberg on the other hand, “Ah the civilian operative we heard about. He doesn't look quite as disappointing as we were told.” Both Jess and Ryo put a hand on Ken's shoulder to keep him from saying anything. “Rumors as it were. Oh, this is Emiko Sakurai, our main computer expert. She'll be assisting you man going over the records and programs for King Joe.”

    Hawk gave a quick in nod in greeting and turned to call back, “Bridge.” As usual when outside of Castle he meekly walked forward and turned in a bit, until he got sight of the person he would be working with. Then he just sort of stared. Which cause Emiko to blush a bit. “Miss. Sakurai this is...” then he got look at Bridge's current state, “Nathan Bridge? Bridge,” he quickly barked to snap the other man out of it. “Nathan Bridge our computer expert.”

    “It is a pleasure to meet you Mr. Bridge,” she said offering hand.

    Bridge took it, surprising all of them who knew him, “Likewise. And call me Nathan.” Ken and Bill looked at each other, both of them mouthing his first name. This cause a couple of immediate elbows from Ryo and Jess, but they were a bit taken aback as well.

    Oblivious to all of that Emiko gestured to what had to be the main building, “We do have a lot to look over, perhaps we should get started right away.”

    “Of course,” Bridge quickly agreed. They went off, with a new skip in Bridge's step.

    “Come on love connection,” Ken muttered after a bit. This time Hawk looked back at him. “I want that to work out so bad for him,” was his only explanation for the lack of decorum.

    “I would be surprised,” Greenberg spoke up. “She is a rather solitary woman. If you will follow me I'll take you to the main lab where we're housing King Joe and a couple of other experiments then my office. Then I'll have someone show you to the quarters you'll be using during you're hopefully short stay. No disrespect of course.”

    “None taken,” Hawk answered for the group as they followed his lead. “I'm fully aware our visit is disrupting you're usual routine. We want our stay to be as short as possible as well.”
     
  5. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

    “Pardon me,” Dr. Williams spoke up, “but just out of curiosity why did you settle on the name King Joe for this particular project? Is it some sort of acronym?”

    “It wasn't meant to be a permanent name,” Greenberg answered freely. “It was a pet code name for the project that just sort of stuck.”

    “Well that's disappointing,” Williams muttered. Hawk shot him a look trying to get across that might not have been an appropriate response. Oblivious as ever Williams asked, “Is something wrong Captain.”

    After a bit Bill started tapping Ken on the arm, “Hey Civilian, I think I know how they know about you now.” He pointed to a group of guards. One of them looked very familiar. “Isn't that one of the guys Reid told to shape up or ship out?”

    “It can't be,” Ryo, who overheard the conversation, said. Then the man in question got a look at them. And then an all too familiar scowl crossed his face as he stormed away from the others he was with. “Holy...”, Ryo muttered.

    “How far did Reid send those guys?” Ken asked as they kept moving.

    “Not far enough,” Jess mumbled.

    ***
    “As you may know,” Greenberg said as he lead them into one of the larger buildings, “Tower is the UNDF largest laboratory facility, hosting some of the best and brightest from across the globe. While we do have a small defense presence here we are mainly the research wing. Studying everything from improving the weapons and vehicles as well as studying the monsters you've been facing over in the states and that giant fellow of yours. I believe you call him Ultraman.” Raising an eyebrow Ken held his tongue. “We also work on good things as well,” he continued, “new ways to bring cheep and efficient power to the places that need it. Things like that.”

    “Maybe you would have been station here Civilian,” Bill said, low enough for only Ken and a couple of others could hear. “Being a mechanical genius and all.”

    Apparently Greenberg did over hear it as he stopped. Before Hawk could apologize he walked past him and up to Ken. Studying him a bit he went, “By any chance were you a student of Professor Kyrie?”

    Looking at the others first he answered, “Back when I was at the academy, yeah. For the brief time I was there.”

    Greenberg seemed to light up a bit, “You're the Ken Scott he was talking about. Who am I kidding, he still talks about. He hated the fact he lost you back then. Called me demanding if I had any pull in getting you a transfer over here despite the fact they disqualified you.”

    “So we noticed, “Hawk spoke up. “The professor visited Ken recently.”

    “Then it's a good place that I picked this particular building to start with,” Greenberg told them. “Ken you may personally enjoy the tour given to what I understand are you particular talents. Come, come.” He change the direction the group was going in and lead to to a set of double doors. “This is our experimental robotic display room.” He opened the doors and let the rest of them through, Hawk making sure Ken went in first.

    While, to his credit, he didn't say the “Holy shit” that sprung to mind as soon as he got a good look at the room, you could read his lips. He just started wandering around on his own as the Doctor let him. Soon a couple of the others started to do the same. They were all in awe of the various robots on display, which varied in looks from modern to retro.

    “They're all working models,” Greenberg said from his place next to Hawk.“Deactivated of course and power source disconnected. Not all of these models were actually meant for field use, that's the term you military types us right?” Hawk nodded that it was. “No, a lot of these were created in a spot of creativity.” Turning to Hawk he added, “It may not be the best use of money and resources, but I found that it helps boost moral and work rate if I allow for the occasional burst, to let the creative juices flow. Sometime we get a idea for to expand upon. The generator for your Alpha One for example came about when we were figured out how to power these things right here internally without any sort of external port. And wasn't nuclear in origin.”

    “So nobody starts glowing in the dark when there's a breach?”, Bill asked.

    “Bill,” Jess snapped at him.

    “My good man,” Greenberg said, “I believe that joke is older than my grandfather.” He looked for Ken, who had stopped in front of one display in particular. “Ah Imperalizer, that one is one of my personal favorites. As I'm the one that came up with him.” Walking over to join him while Ken studied it intently. “My first inspiration was the three lenses on what you would call it's face. The idea was...”

    “To give it a greater field of depth perception,” Ken said suddenly. “So instead of a single camera with a two dimensional view the three different angles of a single...” He trailed off suddenly as he looked over to the Doctor. “Sorry,” he went backing up a bit, “I'm probably totally wrong there any way.”

    “Do not be sorry,” Greenberg told him, “especially when you're right. That was the idea behind the three cameras in his head. Not a lot of people think of the depth perception part when they talk about the set up. You would have fit right in here, thinking of ideas like that.”

    “No no,” Ken quickly said, “I don't really do 'thinking of ideas'. I'm more of a building it when I see the plans type of guy.” He looked back at Imperializer. Softly he added, “And I would have loved helping to build this one.”

    “Our loss,” he said giving him a friendly smile before waling back to where Hawk was. “Seriously Captain, that is our loss. I don't suppose a talent trade would be possible.”

    “Sorry Doctor,” Hawk told him, “even if I was agreeable to the idea his situation would make it a bit difficult.”

    “Grand King,” Jess muttered as she read the name plate on the display as she and the others continued to walk around. “Galacitron, Jean-Bot. Jean-Nine. Deathfacer?”

    “That's a dinosaur on a tank,” Bill suddenly spoke up, pointing at one of the bigger cases. Said case contained what looked like the top part of a T-Rex and the bottom part of a tank.

    “As I said,” Greenberg told him, “Not all of them were meant to actually work in the field. Actually I'm still not sure why we created that one. But there it is. I do realize you would want to get on with why you're here but it is rather late in the day. I'm also sure you and your men would like the opportunity to rest and adjust a bit to the time difference.”

    “Actually Captain,” Ryo said, “I wouldn't mind resting up a bit. Especially since I'm pretty sure this is going to be Ken and Dr. Williams show from now on.”

    “And if I'm to be honest,” Dr. Williams said as he put a hand on one of the cases to lean against it. It seemed to move slight, causing Kem. Ryo and a couple of others to get ready to catch it if it fell. Oblivious to that he went on, “I'm feeling a bit pooped myself from the trip.”

    “Yes,” Greenberg went, eyeing the case, and more than a little relieved when Hawk gently pulled him away from the case. His attention turned to a set of opening doors as a big, stocky looking man came through. “Ah, perfect timing. Boris would you mind showing our guest where they'll be staying. Captain Hawk there are a few details I'd like to iron out first if that's alright with you.”

    “Not a problem at all Doctor. Ryo,” he said turning to him, “Take the men and follow Boris here. Jessica stay with me until the meetings done. The Doctor has some weapon upgrades he'd like us to go over. I'd like your opinion of them.”

    “Yes sir,” she answered, although she was looking forward to a little, not so cramped down time herself.

    “Come my new friends,” Boris said as he gestured toward the other door, “follow me. After you rest we drink, da? But I must warn you, we have stronger drinks than what you must be used too.”

    “Somebody who's obviously never been beakered,” Bill said to one of the others.

    “Ken, you coming?”, Ryo asked when he noticed he was still looking over the displays.

    “Yeah,” he said while holding up a finger, “in a minute. Or twelve. Or twenty.” Sad part was everybody in Alpha Team was sure he was telling the truth with that last statement.”

    Hawk looked over at Jessica who nodded. Going over to him she pulled, more like dragged, him away from something that looked like a mechanical dragon. “Come on Ken, toy store's closing.”

    “But...”, he started to protest.

    “It'll be here tomorrow,” she told him. Figuring it would be for the best she made sure Ken was in their group, just so she could keep an eye on him. “If your good I'll bring you back down here myself to wonder around drool.”

    ***
    Any complaint he might have had quickly disappeared when he realized the walk to Greenberg's office went through the hanger they were keeping the components for this King Joe. As it was he looked at something that might have registered as a giant, robotic looking head. Then he looked around at the other, even bigger golden coloered components in the hanger. He looked over at Jessica who stayed with him. “A bit bigger than I thought it was going to be.” Then they hurried up to catch up with Hawk and Greenberg.

    Exiting the giant hanger Greenberg started saying, “This is were most of the real work is done. We have wings for design and construction in this building. Generally on a small scale, but as you just saw we are capable of creating something much larger. In fact if Joe works out like expected we have plans on enlarging some of the display models to fight the creatures you're been up against.” He looked back at the group, “Some of my people are even fiddling around with the idea of making a robotic version of your Ultraman.”
     
  6. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

    Again Ken cocked an eyebrow, that Jess tried to act like she didn't notice. “You might get the size,” he said, “but some of the abilities might be impossible to pull off.”

    “I'm sure we can come up with some equivalents,” Greenberg replied. “It's one of the weapon upgrades your Captain mention,” he said to Jessica. “We were thinking about using them to upgrade the big cannon in your Alpha One.”

    “Doc gonna put up a fight,” Ken mumbled. This time Jess did look at him, just to give a warning glare. As they continued talking Ken looked up to see that they were entering the lab construction areas. Apparently several based on the number of doors he was seeing. Glancing though the windows by the door nothing seemed all that interesting. Until they past one and his head tried to stay in place while his body kept moving.

    “I see something had piqued your interest,” he heard Greenberg say. Before Ken could apologize he smiled and came closer tot he door. “I must be honest and I hoped that something would, it's why I went the long way to my office. My apologies Captain, I just wanted to see his reaction.” Hitting a button by the door he said, “Dr. O'Hara a moment if you'd please.”

    After a few moments a woman came out, and spoke with the accent her name would imply,” And what can I do for you today Dr. Greenberg?”

    “I wanted you to meet Ken Scott here,” Greenberg told her. “He's a disciple of Professor Kyrie as it were.”

    “I wouldn't go that far,” Ken said a little defensively. “I was barely with him.”

    “Were you now?”, she said looking him over, not really looking all that off put on his apperance. “We're working on a project right now nobody can seem to get to work. You wanna come in and take a look?”

    “Yes,” he quickly answered. “Yes I would like that very much.” Then he looked over at Hawk for the okay. Hawk stood there a bit, wondering just how long it would take for him to start bouncing up and down and going “Please, please, please.”

    Enough time had based that he decided to end the younger man's torment. “Behave yourself.”

    “Yes sir,” he quickly said. “After you,” he said to the Doctor and they went into the lab. The first thing that struck Ken was based on how some of the “experts” looked he would have fit right in if this was were he was supposed to call home. One of them had multicolored streaks in her hair while another had various piercings on his face. Then he turned his attention to the project they were working on, a humaniod robot of some sort. Except the face looked a bit bird like and there was a fin on top of it's head.

    “Say hello to the THX-U7,” she said. “One of our latest goes at a battle bot as we're calling them.” Leading him closer to it one of her people started opening a back panel giving Ken a good look at the inside, at least from this angle. “Unfortunately this one refuses to budge when we tell him to.”

    “He can hear you?”, Ken asked. Then started thinking that he over thought what she said.

    Then O'Hara went, “The audible commands are working just fine. None of us can figure out where the message is getting lost in the rest of him. Maybe you can help there. I will never turn down the offer of a fresh set of eyes if asked.” Ken eye's wandered from the robot to a wall full of technical blueprints, he assumed for the thing in the room. He walked closer to the wall as O'Hara asked, “So do you want to give it a go?”

    Ken looked at the wall. As Kyrie suspected so long ago, like he told Jess on the trip here, the plans went 3D in his head, everything becoming more and more clear the longer he studied them. Maybe, after hearing it for years, just maybe they were all... Turning toward the THX-U7, a small smile started to form, “If you don't care.”

    ***
    “As you can see,” Greenbergs was saying while the three of them sat in his office, “we feel this upgrade will greatly improve the efficiency of damage of the Alpha One's main cannon. Actually I sent this report over e-mail several times. It keeps getting reject with a note that nothing's wrong with it to begin with.” Jess, who was going over the specs on a datapad, stopped just long enough to trade looks with Hawk. Dr. Williams had already started that fight Ken mentioned from the look of things.

    “I'm sure it's a misunderstanding,” Hawk said.

    “And partially territorial as well,” Greenberg said with a slight smirk. “I am a scientist myself after all. I felt the occasional heckle rise when thought somebody was trying to tamper with a project of mine.” A light on his desk lit up. Before pressing it it, he turned toward the two of them and said, “Excuse me please. “Yes Dr. O'Hara?”, Again Hawk and Jess exchanged looks, this time slightly worried ones. And for two completely different reasons, Hawk because he was worried he'd get hurt. Jess because she knew how he could get around a new bit of machinery at times.

    “Can you do something about this America you left with us?” came the reply. Jess pinched the bridge of her nose. She unfortunately won. “He's taking over things down here.”

    “Damn it Ken,” Hawk muttered. “I'm sorry Dr. Greenberg,” he said as the two of them started to rise, “I'll handle the situation.” Both of them left the office and hurried back to the lab they left him at. Once they got there. It wasn't as big a commotion as they feared, but still seemed a bit heated from the look of things.

    “The 3D model,” one of them started to say as Ken worked on the robot in the middle of the room.

    He stopped just long enough to look at him and say, “The model is wrong.” Then Ken went back to whatever he was doing that angered a few of them to begin with. “All these brains in the room and nobody thought to check if all the connections were in the right spots.”

    “You looked at those plans for a couple of minutes at most,” he tried to argue. “Completely ignoring the computer model we had set up. And you're claiming you saw something we all missed? In minutes?”

    “I'm a quick study,” came Ken's reply as he continued working. “The more advanced the machine the better I get it. That was a direct quote by the way. More or less.”

    This was not going to end well for somebody, more than likely him, so Hawk stepped forward, “Ken...” As commander of the troops back at Castle he wasn't used to being stopped for any reason. Which was why he was confused as he looked down at the arm suddenly blocking his path. Even more so when he realized who that arm belonged to. “Wade?”

    She didn't look at him right away, but staring intently at Ken. “He hasn't had that look since...” Finally turning toward. Him she said, “Captain, I highly suggest you let him finish what he's trying to do. I will take full responsibility if this goes wrong, but let him finish. Please.” Hawk wasn't sure what to make of that, looking back at the commotion in the middle of the room, trying to see what Jess was obviously seeing, he looked back at her.”

    “I will hold you to that full responsibility part,” he finally told her. Then stepped back and watched Ken do whatever he was doing. Before long he was putting panels back in place, apparently finished.

    “Okay let's see if this works,” Ken said. After a bit he looked over to O'Hara, “How do we find out if it works again?”

    The one he was arguing with previously answered for her. “It's a verbal command. Just say THX-U7 and what ever you want him to do...”

    “No,” Ken said said suddenly, “we're not calling him that. He needs a name. Something with less syllables than THX-U7. This things supposed to be battle field ready, you know how long that's going to take to say? Seconds count, a quote from him by the way,” he added pointing at Hawk.

    O'Hara seemed to take a bit of offense with that part, “The machine doesn't need a name, it's a machine.”

    Ken wasn't deterred, “You have for things that combine into a bigger thing you guys are calling King Joe. He can get a name.” Looking around at everybody else in the room he went, “Come on people let's brainstorm here. Who does he look like?'

    There was silence in the room until Jess called out, “How about Windam?”

    Looking over at her Hawk, and anyone who could see his face, seemed a bit surprised at his blank expression, especially compared to all the enthusiasm he was expressing just a second earlier. Then a sort of sad smile crossed his lips as he lowered his head a bit. Then that previous enthusiasm was back in full force, “Windam it is.” Going over to a person behind a lap top he said, “If you'd change that THX-U7 to Windam that be great. W-I-N-D-A-M.”

    This person looked over to O'Hara. She pretty much gave up at controlling things from the look of it, “Just do it.” He shook his head but apparently complied.

    “Awesome,” Ken said with a clap as he walked away. Taking up position in front of the newly christened Windam he waited. Putting his hands together and putting them to his mouth he studied the machine intently, almost like he was praying this would work. Finally, “Windam... come forward.” Nothing happened at first, causing the one he was arguing with at first to look a bit smug. Then there was a whirring sound as the machine started to walk toward him. The stunned disbelief of the scientists in the room was only matched by the sheer joy on Ken's face. “Windam stop,” and the robot did so immediately. “Windam forward,” and it did so again. “Turn left,” Windam went to the right. Ken was not going to let that miscue dampen his mood, “You know what? I'll take it.”

    Still trying to figure out what the hell was going on he pulled Jessica closer to the door. “Wade, I want to know what's happening. Right now.”

    Her answer, “He's finally believing that he the genius we been saying he was. I mean really believing it. It just took getting a robot to move to do it.” Hawk studied Ken for a few more moments, he would still talk to him later about hijacking another station's project. But maybe not as harshly as he originally had in mind.
     
  7. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

    ***
    After all of the commotions Hawk was back in Greenberg's office. It occurred to him after awhile that his counterpart over here at Tower didn't seem as upset as Dr, O'Hara and her staff at his man over reach over the THX-U7 project. In fact he almost seemed giddy about it. Still his man did cross a line. “I must apologize again for Ken actions in the lab.”

    “Do not say anything to that young man,” Greenberg told him flatly. “Again this was me manipulating things a bit to get that kind of result. Just to see if he was up to all the praise I'd been hearing from Kyrie for the past few years, and he did not disappoint. Besides Dr. O'Hara did admit she invited him to take a go at it. I'm sure she got a bit too territorial when it looked like he caught something they didn't, in record time from my understanding.”

    “Still the naming thing was a bit much,” Hawk went on.. “I'm actually a little more disappointed that another one of mine went along with it.”

    “Even if he's right and we have pet names for all our little projects,” he said with a smirk.”Ah well do what you think you must, they are your men after all. Although I do think your other person, Wade was her name? Well I think she just got caught up in Ken's excitement. I was watching a video replay,” he held up a tablet to show him,” while you were on the back here, I was getting excited for him and I knew what was coming. His enthusiasm was rather catching. Are you sure you don't want to transfer him over here?”

    “No,” Hawk said with a bit if a grin, “I think I'll be stuck with him for awhile.”

    “Pity,” Greenberg uttered while leaning back into his chair. “We could always use new blood who don't like to be in the box. As I'm sure you noticed by some of the scientist that were in this particular lab. I have never cared about how they looked, just what inside their head.” Touching the tablet screen with a finger he added, “At least Ken apologized to Dr. O'Hara and her crew without any prompting, so you have to give him that at least. Now back to the boring stuff before the excitement happened. I believe we were talking about some weapon upgrade that keep getting reject from you end.”

    And Hawk wondered if he could force the potential headache that was going to be Dr. Williams over to Richardson to handle.

    Elsewhere in the complex O'Hara was in her office going over the feed from when Ken got the THX-U7, she refused to call it Windam, to move. “A bunch of blasted misplaced connections? How in the hell did that bastard catch that so fast and we didn't?” She started chuckling to herself, “He is on of Kyrie's all right if Greenberg telling the truth about both of them.”

    Here phone went off signaling she received a text message. It wasn't a number she knew. Frowning he looked at it any way. It was one line of text. “Call now.” Knowing she shouldn't call it, that she should just confess to Greenberg that she sold some data and equipment through some unsavory channels to get extra funding for here battle bot project and get it over with. She dialed the number any way. Damn this man for finding out what she did. “Hello Doctor,” came the voice of Peter Brooks, “just thought I'd check in and see how things are progressing.”

    ***
    “Don't lock him up,” Ken pleaded as a couple of Tower's personal began to add Windam to the display he toured earlier. “I just got him to work. Let him move around a little first.” Which Ken knew was impossible at moment as his power supply was already unhooked from the major systems inside. “Can you at least change the name to Windam?”, he said gesturing to the plate that said THX-U7. Being completely ignored he could do nothing but watch the two men completed their task and walked away. “Well this fucking sucks,” he said as he looked at Windam behind the case. Sighing in defeat he said, “Who am I kidding. I wasn't a genius for doing this. It was just a couple of stupid connectors.” Then he was hit in the back of the head. He stood there in shock for a moment before going, “Ow,” and seeing who did that.

    That person ended up being Jess who was looking as stern as he'd ever seen. “You finally started to believe it and I am not going to let you backslide now. You are a genius. I know it, the Captain knows it and you know it. So you better get that through your head right now.” But her expression did soften a bit as she looked past his shoulder, “But it does suck they put him in there.” Then she handed him one of the bottles of the local beer she was holding.

    He took it but looked at it with dubious expression, “After the last time booze was involved?”

    “I'm sure it's not that potent and one won't hurt,” she told him. “Come on I want to show you something.” She lead him through the complex until they were on an upper level. Then she walked through a door in particular to a balcony looking over the ocean.

    Walking forward Ken leaned on the railing and opened the bottle in his hand. “The view definitely better than the big pile of dust we got at Castle.” Especially with Sun almost gone from the horizon.

    Opening her bottle Jess joined him at the railing, “Yes it is. And I figured you could use some cheering up after I heard what they were doing with Windam.”

    “You do know me,” he said before taking swig. They stood there in comfortable silence for a few moments just drinking their beer. Without looking at her Ken started to smile a bit, “So, you went with Windam.”

    She started to smile too, “It just seemed right. It was what you called that beat up and rusty as hell motorcycle you got from that junkyard. Your first impossible project.”

    Ken snorted, “Everybody said I could never get it to work again and I wasted my money.”

    “That didn't stop you from trying,” she shot back. “You know, I used to love to see how happy working on that made you. It's why I never complained about it when you were working on her.”

    Taking another drink he said, “God I haven't thought about that bike in years. Do you remember how I kept saying how I was going to take you all across the country on it?”

    “I remember,” Jess told him. “I never really thought about how we were going to pay for food or where we were going to sleep. But I didn't care at the time, I was just looking forward to you, me and the road.. Whatever happened to that motorcycle any way? Even after our break up I kept expecting to see you go down the street on it.”

    Suddenly he lost the smile. Staring out at sea he told her, “I sold it for scrape a couple of months afterwards.”

    “What?”, she looked at him. “Why? You put a ton of work on it even before then.”

    “Honestly,” he eventually answered, “my heart wasn't in it any more.” Well that brought down the mood a bit. Which was not her intention. While still a comfortable one, they just stood in silence for a bit.

    “Ken,” Jess went after a few moments, “if I ask you a question, will you be honest with me?”

    “Sure,” he answered.

    Here she hesitated. After they finally talked about their break up things seemed much better between them. That weight she said that was between them being lifted. So she didn't want to put another one there if she could help it. Still she had to know, “When you first joined up, did you think we'd get back together?”

    He looked a little bewildered, not that she could blame him, “Okay what brought that on?”

    “Something that sort of stuck with me,” she told him, “after that mess with the happy flower as you called it.” He tensed up a bit having a good idea he knew where she was going. “After you finally admitted to what you saw the first thing you said was you got me back. Did you just think we pick up right were we left off?”

    “If we picked up where we left off you'd be pissed at me on a weekly basis after Jeff kept talking me into breaking dates with you,” he shot back at her. Not in a mean way based on the smile.

    Laughing a bit Jess conceded his point, “All right you got me there. But Ken, seriously, did you think we get back together?”

    He didn't answer right away, just looked out at sea. “Honestly?”, he eventually said. “Honestly back then, it crossed my mind a couple of times. Especially after I saw you for the first time in years. But I realized that ship sailed a long time ago. I'm just happy I got back what we got now.”

    “I'll drink to that,” Jess told him. Clinking bottles together they finished off what was left of their beer.

    “I better call it a night,” Ken told her. “If I know Williams he going to want to start cracking Joe open as soon as the sun starts to rise.”

    “Good luck getting some sleep,” Jess told him. She was going to need it herself with the time differences. Ken walked away from the railing, dropping his bottle in a nearby trash chute. Then he stopped and headed back, leaned on the railing and stared at her. “What?”

    “How about you?”, he asked. “Did you think we get back together?”

    “Honestly,” Jess replied while looking at the ocean, “back then the thought never crossed my mind.” Looking at him she added, “I'm glad we got back to where we are now too.”

    “Then we're on the same page then,” he said with a smile. “Night Jess.”

    “Night Ken.” She stayed on the balcony for a while longer, just taking in the scenery. Then, too herself, she said, “I wonder what's going to happen first. That he's going to noticed how I phrased that. Or if he's finally going to tell me.”
     
  8. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

    ***
    Ryo comments from the day before turned out to be true for the most part. After breakfast Ken and Dr. Williams headed straight for the hanger the King Joe components were being housed. And Bridge was still going over computer records with Tower's Emiko. And while Ryo didn't say anything out loud like Ken did, he was hoping something would spark between the two of them well. And he and the rest that came from Castle pretty much had nothing to do. Captain Hawk and Dr. Greenberg agreed to let those who wanted it have a free pass into the city. And a few of them took him up on it. Those who declined for the moment, Greenberg had said they would be available for as long as they were here, had to find other way to entertain themselves.

    In some cases that was easier than others. Such as when Ryo and Bill discovered that Boris, their guide from the night before, also happened to be on the pilots on bases. It goes without saying that the three of them felt a connection real quick. Which was why Boris was showcasing one of their Razor Wings to the two of them. These were black like theirs but had the blue highlights of Tower's staff uniform. And the wings were sloped forward. Still didn't stop Bill from drooling a bit as he leaned over the cockpit staring at the controls. “I think I'm in love,” Bill said as he wiped his mouth a bit.

    “How does she handle?” Ryo asked their guide.

    “Like dream,” he replied with a big ol' grin. “You feel safer than in your mothers arms. And much faster.” He move so Ryo could get closer to the controls. “Unlike your Razor Wings pilot can both fly and shoot. No problem at all.”

    “Good thing Jess isn't here to hear that,” Bill commented. He looked down at the helmet as something caught his eye. Picking it up he noticed a secondary visor that could be pulled down. The fact you couldn't see through this one made the two of them confused as he showed it two Ryo. “Um, be kinda hard doing either with this in place wouldn't it?”, he asked Boris.

    “Da, it would,” he readily agreed. “That is a prototype for a VR display. Big thinkers around here want to do away with control panel all together. Make it harder to steal they say.”

    “Flying a jet without a physical control?”, Ryo said in disbelief. “”How is that even supposed to work? I mean just starting the engine alone you'd need something to press.”

    Boris just shrugged his shoulders, “I don't understand either. But I'm not a big thinker. I do my thing, they do theirs and somewhere in the middle we meet.”

    Bill on the other hand, “You think Civilian can build us one of these?” Word of Ken's feat the night before spread pretty fast. Ryo didn't answer him as he lowered himself down the ladder. “Come on it be cool.”

    “Well my friends since I showed you our toys,” Boris said. “maybe you can show me yours?” He looked over to the Alpha One with a bit of anticipation. They were on the same side after all and Tower personal were helping maintain the Alpha One while they were here. And they already had the plans for the ship so there was no secret to be worried about.

    “Come on,” Ryo told him as they headed over, we'll give you the grand tour.”

    They didn't get far as a motorized cart got away from one of the ground crew. Boris saw it and grabbed them by the collar to pull them out of the way as it sped past. It crashed into a wall with a ear ringing metal thud. Boris started yelling at the man in Russian as Bill stared at the impact zone. “That was a little too close.” Then that section of wall fell with another ear ringing clang. “That shouldn't have happened right?”

    “No it should not,” Ryo answered him as he, Bill and a few of the ground crew rushed over to inspect the damage. They all stopped at the sight of a couple of black and silver humaniod robots standing against an inner wall. “What the hell are these things?”

    “Another project of Dr. O'Hara,” Boris told him as he came closer. “More of her battleroids. She call these Chiburoids, mass produced metal soldiers. Very cheep, very fast to make. But strange though, very strange,” he muttered to himself as he started to stroke his chin.

    “You didn't know these were here?”, Ryo asked him.

    “Nyet,” was the answered, “I am as surprised as you.” Bill and Ryo looked at each other. Both nodded in silent agreement as Boris ordered the ground crew to check the other walls.

    ***
    “Alright,” Ken said as he stood inside one of the longer pieces of King Joe, “next section.” Datapad in hand he called up the schematics of the area he was in. Finding them he looked them over for a minute or so then looked at the part in real life. Since he finally decided to embrace the whole genius thing fully, Jess' words, he didn't feel the need to hide what he could do any more and was going through the process faster then Dr. Williams thought was necessary. And yet surprisingly accurate to everybody else looking at his results. Getting tired at staring what he would swear looked like a giant knee oint, he lowered the pad blew out a breath. “This is fucking ridiculous,” he muttered to himself. Then he turned and made his way back toward the port he originally came in at.

    Heading toward what the plans said was one of the middle sections he banged on the opening, “Yo Doc!” he waited a few moments. Only hearing him curse something about a bunch of wires once. Ken thought that was a record given his usual standard.

    Coming into view he gave out an exasperated, “Yes,” while still fighting with a wire that was looped around his wrist. It took Ken and one of the tower people working with them a second to free him. Then only got a mumbled, “Thank you,” in return. Ken figured he was still a bit sore at the fact Hawk seemed to like the weapon upgrades Greenberg was suggesting for the Alpha One.

    “Doc, I hate to add to your troubles but I'm still saying we're barking up the wrong tree here,” Ken told him. He grunted and stated his way back inside the machine. He stopped him, “Everything is coming out clean so far.”

    “Brooks could have done something,” Dr. Williams insited.

    “We checked all the major things first,” Ken argued. “Stating with the connectors that supposed to hold this stupid thing together once they joined up. They're clean. Electrical pathways, coolant system, all good. We are about five steps away from checking every nut, bolt and rivet in these things.”

    “Do I have to remind you what Brooks did to the Alpha One,” he shot back.

    Ken snapped back at him, “He also had physical access to the Alpha One. And nobody had seen Brooks here since this project was green lighted. Hell he's never even set foot on this base. And Bridge has determined that the security feeds around here haven't been tampered with once. He was never here.”

    “He could have showed up where the parts were manufactured,” Williams told him, not wanting to let this go.

    “Everything was manufactured here” ,Ken reminded him. “And since he flew away from Castle I'm pretty sure he can't teleport.”

    The good Doctor suddenly looked very smug, which was not a good look for him, like he had the winning point for the argument. “Then how do you explain those giant creatures, hmm?”

    “Doc,” Ken uttered while pinching the bridge of his nose, “you know why there are giant creatures and who's sending them.” Williams sputtered for a moment as Ken looked over at one of the people helping them. Did he say that loud enough for him to over here because that was not a conversation he wanted to have with Captain Hawk at this particular moment. Or any time soon. Or ever for that matter. Seeing how he didn't seem to react Ken turned his focus back to Williams, “We'll keep looking, but so far mechanically, these birds are coming out green. If anything he hired somebody to do something to the computer system which means it's in the hands of Bridge and Emiko.”

    “Humph,” he grunted, “you probably think those weapon upgrades will work as well.” Ken hesitated in answering, especially since Hawk let him have a look over those plans before Williams joined them for breakfast. He had to admit they looked good. Which Dr. Williams apparently saw on his face. “Dod gamn it,” he mumbled as he went back into the machine.

    “Doc,” Ken called after him. Shaking his head he noticed their assistant look at the Doctor's retreating form, then at him with the strangest look on his face. “Yeah he does that sometimes.” Walking back to the machine he was checking out his communicator went off, “Scott here.”

    “Ken,” came Hawk reply, “I need you to check out something for me.”

    ***
    “I don't understand how this was possible,” Emiko said as she sat behind her computer. Beside her Bridge had set up shop with his own rig, both going over anything to figure out how these Chiburoids got where they were. “I am seeing nothing suggesting security was messed with anywhere in the hanger.”

    “I know how frustrating that can be,” Bridge said not taking hs eyes off the screen in front of him. They had a similar situation back at Castle not that long ago and he only found it then by sheer luck. “We have no idea how long those robots have been in place so who knows when it happened.”
     
  9. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

    “But I am finding no records of those machines being built either,” she said “There is a record of of what it takes to build everything here and I am not seeing any sort of requisition request for those material use in the Chiburoid construction.” Stopping what she was doing she held her head down a bit and slowed her breathing, “Think. If there are no records then we weren't supposed to know about them until... whatever the plan was. But she still needed the materials and revenue to get said materials.” She opened her eyes as she snapped her head back up, “There was an outside source.”

    “On it,” Bridge told her as he changed his search parameters.

    A few seconds later Hawk and Greenberg came into the computer room. “Please tell me you two found something,” Hawk said as he took a familiar spot behind Bridge.

    “We're still looking Captain,” Bridge answered. “Emiko figures Dr. O'Hara had an outside source to build the Chiburoids that were discovered. I'm checking various situations know.”

    “Even if she had outside resources,” Greenberg spoke up, “she would still need help in building them on that scale. Which would mean people directly under her are involved in this... whatever this is... as well.”

    “A bit of advice Doctor,” Hawk told him, “don;t make any accusations yet until you have absolute proof. I did that recently and it almost cost me one of my best people. Let's concentrate on O'Hara first then branch out from there.”

    The rig Bridge was sitting in front of started to beep, “Looks like I found something,” he said. “Looks like Dr. O'Hara received some large packages from a weapons manufacture.” He tilted his head a bit as he kept reading, “Said company is owned by Charles Brooks.”

    “Damn it,” Hawk said under his breath. “An nobody seen him since Peter Brooks went rogue,” he mainly said to Greenberg. “I think it's time we talked to the good Doctor about this.” Before the other man could respond his communicator beeped, “Hawk here.”

    It was one he had been eagerly awaiting as Ken responded, “Captain we have successfully hardwired a data transmitter into the head of one of these thing. You should be getting it now.”

    “Reviving transmission,” Emiko said. “The data is heavily encrypted. Nathan do you have that can speed this up cracking this code?”

    “Just a moment,” he said as he reached for a separate lap top and turned it on. Staring to connect it with her help he said, “Got a couple of home brew code breakers I've been keeping on the back burner.”

    “I would love to see the programming,” she said with a slight smile.

    Bridge smiled right back, “I would love to show you it.” Hawk coughed behind him causing Bridge to flinch a bit. The message was clear, work now show off programming later. After a few key strokes, “Program is activated. It still going to take a couple of minutes to break it though. Wait, the first layer of the encryption is already broken.”

    “I think I already have something,” Emiko announced. “It's a map of Tower, the entire complex.” She pulled up what she was seeing on a larger screen. “From what everyone was looking at most of the building had a series of dots going around the perimeter, even in the wall surrounding the complex. Highlighting an area on one of the building she announced, “This is the hanger and were they discovered the Chiburoids.” If those dots corresponded to just the ones they found.” All of them tried to count how many dots there were on screen.

    “We need to talk to O'Hara now,” Hawk said.

    “I completely agree,” Greenberg said.

    “That won't be necessary,” O'Hara said from the doorway. “Don't worry I fully intend to cooperate in this situation so there no need for any violence.”

    “Just what is going on Dr. O'Hara,” Greenberg demanded., “Julie. What are you trying to do?'

    “I just made some wrong choices Franklin,” she said. “Contacted the wrong people when things got too slow around here. I never was a patient woman you know. Then a worse person found out about it.”

    “Peter Brooks,” Hawk said figuring that's where she was going. She nodded.

    “He was nice at first,” she explained. “He saw great potential in my battle bots. Even after he helped get King Joe started he would send various emails about my design, completely amazed at how quickly we could build some of them. Then he showed his true colors.” She began circling the room, “All of our correspondence were turned over when he showed his true colors. I had no problem in doing so as I didn't tell him anything that wasn't public knowledge, or available to the Board. But Brooks was a better snooper than I thought as I started getting emails form a private source after the fact, detailing every black market connection me and some members of my staff have made to get projects going faster. He threatened to expose it all and end my and their careers. I don't give a wit about about what happens to me, but I wasn't going put a premature end to my staff because of my folly.”

    “I'm getting an activation signal,” Emiko announced getting it from the connection she had through the transmitter. Around the hanger and all over Tower hidden Chiburoids started to stir and break out of hiding.

    “Some of my staff on the other hand,” O'Hara went as they looked at her, “don't have that problem.”

    “Hawk to all units,” he barked into his communicator, “prepare for an internal assault.”

    “Aware of that Captain,” Ken had said as shots could be heard, over the line and through the building.

    “We broke another layer of the encryption,” Emiko announced. “We have a primary objective. They're after the robots in the display room.” Again they looked at O'Hara who just shrugged a little bit. None of them was actually sure if she was sorry or not at this point. Right now Hawk didn't give a damn.

    “Hawk to Scott,” he started to say.

    “We heard over the open line Captain,” he said. “Ryo and Boris have the hanger covered. Me and Bill and a few others are heading for the display room now.” Despite all of this Hawk celebrated, just a bit, internally. Not only was he finally believing the genius label he finally started to think like a UNDF member at the same time. It could have been under better circumstances but like the young man said the the night before, he'll take it.

    “Understood, Hawk to Wade. Meet up with Ken's group in the display room and try to fortify a defense.” He glanced back at the display Emiko had put up earlier trying to figure out where the display room was. The he glanced over at Greenberg, having forgotten he was there until just now. “My apologizes for taking over sir.”

    “I am fully aware this is your area of expertise Captain,” was his response “I'm just trying to stay out of your way. And the display is right here,” he said highlighting it on the screen for him. Emiko I know your busy but I need you to go over who on Dr.. O'Hara staff is capable of helping her pull something like this off.. And I highly doubt she'll be forth coming on who those people will be despite her claims.”

    “Yes Doctor,” she said as she immediately pulled up the staff records and started cross referencing.

    “Bridge, do what you can to lock down the King Joe hanger,” Hawk said to his man. “I'm not seeing any Chiburoids stationed there, but if Brooks is involved I positive it's still a main objective.”

    “Hanger is already locked down,” Bridge told him. He looked back at O'Hara who simply took a seat in an empty chair in the room. Greenberg motioned for one of the security to guard her. But something about this still bothered Hawk on a certain level. Why would a bunch of display robots be a primary objective when there were other, more easily activated things they could grab. Like weapons and data plans.

    ***
    The two groups of UNDF officers hit the display room, so far not an active bot in sight. While Bill and Jess started accessing how defensible the area was, and out side a few of the larger floor displays there wasn't a whole lot, Tower personal started to set up something the size of small folding table in various parts of the room. With a press of a button they expanded to three times there length. Getting a closer look at the new barrier Bill let out a low whistle, “We need to get some of these.”

    “Wish list later,” Jess told him. Emiko and Bridge had sent the Chiburoids location to all the troops and she pulled up the information. “Looks like the main force is coming from that door.” Tower personal repositioned the barriers to face the door she pointed out. There was a small hiss as somebody one of them announced they were locked in place.

    “Seriously,” Bill started again, “can we get Civilian the plans for these?”

    “Lock down all the doors,”one of the tower guard ordered. Men were already on the move as each was set with something that looked like two black disk attached to a metal bar. Then those disk expanded to cover more of the door securing it further.

    “Those be nice too,” a more than a few told Bill to shut up at that point as they took position behind the barriers. Bill spoke up again, “Okay serious question here are we going to have to worry about the displays in here? Because shooting up this room looks like it'll get expensive.”

    “It'll give the scientist something to do by fixing them,” somebody barked.

    “Just asking,” Bill said as the first pound came from the door. He like the rest of them aimed his gun at the door. That pounding went on for several minutes before the door started to crack.

    “Here they come,” Jess said from her position. Still they all waited until the door broke away completely, “Fire!” The first few Chiburoids took the initial hit and went down fast. But more walked in over their fallen comrades and moved forward. Trying to look over those coming into the room Jess tried to gage how bad this particular wave was. “I'm not seeing an end of this particular line!”
     
  10. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

    “Worry about running out of ammo first,” Bill told her.

    “Don't wait and start picking your shots now!” Jess ordered. The door opening was pretty much a choke point, if they shot down enough Chiburoids then they would become a makeshift barrier in their own right for a few moments. Jess and a few others were able to get some clean head shots. Ken was not one of those people even with the targeting assist, and his helmet was currently on the Alpha One with the rest of theirs at that particular moment. Still he did the best he could, until some of the Chiburoids started to fire back.

    “Fuck they got into the armory!”, one of Tower personal said. Ken ducked as a few more shots flew over his head. This just went from bad to hell way too fast. And he was a mechanic with a gun. No he was also a UNDF officer, maybe not a full one, but one just the same. So he had to think like one. Then, as another volley went over their heads, he looked over at the display. The one containing Windam to be precise. Thinking as fast as he ever thought he raised his gun at the case and fired. Jess saw him, and figuring he had a plan altered her aim and shot at the case too until the glass shattered.

    Ken started for the now open case as Jess got Bill's attention. “Cover him!”

    “On it!” he called back as he and a few others made sure none of the Chiburoids couldn't get a clear shot at him. Once Ken made the case Bill hurried over and got behind the case to give him a little extra coverage. “What's the plan Civilian?”, he asked as Ken already had a panel removed.

    Already working on untangling some of the wires the scientist tied up when they deactivated Windam he replied, “I'm going to hook up the power source and reactivate the battle computer from memory.”

    Bill took his eyes off the Chiburoids just long enough to ask, “You can do that?”

    Ken stopped just long enough to answer, “I'm about to find out.”

    The fire fight kept going as more Chiburoids kept pouring through the door. A Tower personal got hit and went down. Another went down permanently as he took his eyes off the battle to check on his friend. Jess took out the the robot responsible but didn't get a reprieve as she had to duck a series shot that came in their direction. This was not going to end well at this rate. “Any help would be appreciated,” she said to nobody in particular.

    Then she saw movement out of the corner of her eye and took a chance in case they started to flank them. But it was Ken. He positioned himself just by the front of the case and pointed at the Chiburoids, “Windam go!” The robot eye lit up and looked at the Chiburoids. Stepping out of the case it hurried toward the barrier and leapt over it onto a group. “Come on!” Ken shouted as Windam started battling the others.

    “Don't shoot the silver one!”, Jess ordered. The tactic seemed to be working as the Chiburoids seemed to be unsure of what was going one and they were able to whittle down the numbers a bit more in that moment. But that moment didn't last long enough as the Chiburoid readjusted they formation a bit and started to swarm Windam, dragging him the the ground. “Damn it,” she went under her breath as she shoot a couple of them off of him.

    Then the Chiburoids in the back started to go down as Ryo, Boris and more Tower personal made their way to the display room. Caught in a cross fire the Chiburoids went down in a hurry. Bill stepped out from behind Windam's display case as Ken ran for the pile, “I've have never been so glad to see anybody.”

    “Sorry to make you wait,” Ryo told Bill giving Ken a confused look as he started going through the pile of robots. Looking over at Jess she pretty much told him to let it go for the moment. “We would have been here sooner but there were a ton of these things.”

    Boris added,” Literally coming out of the wood works.”

    “Oh no,” Ken suddenly said. He had found what he was looking for. “Windam, buddy, what did they do to you?” The silver robot had various holes ripped into it, and an arm completely torn loose. Jess came over and put a comforting arm around his shoulders. Then the room started to shake.

    “Now what?”, Ryo asked out loud.

    “We have activity in the King Joe hanger,” Bridge announced. “But I'm not getting any signal that the Chiburoids made their way inside.”

    “Captain Hawk!”, a panicked Dr. Williams shouted over the comm line. “The machines are trying to crash through the ceiling!” Hawk stole a glance at O'Hara, she didn't seem shocked at this bit of news. Then things seemed to click into place.

    “Dr. Greenberg,” he said to his counterpart, “did any of her staff work on King Joe?”

    “Everybody worked on King Joe because of the sheer size.” Then it dawned on him about where Hawk was going. “It wasn't about the display.”

    “The Chiburoids were a distraction,” he said. “They needed time to get Joe up and running.” There was a louder crash and they turned to the two monitoring the situation.

    Emiko spoke for both of them, “Hanger breach. One of the components broke through the ceiling.”She switch the image on the main screen to an outside shot. All the King Joe components started to slowly fly out of the hanger. “They are headed for the city.”

    “Those things have any weapons?”, Hawk said to Greenberg.

    “Not originally planned but,” he turned to look at O'Hara who still said nothing.

    “Get an evacuation order going,” Hawk told the two computer experts. Hitting his comm he ordered, “All Alpha Team members get ready to scramble. We're going to shoot that thing out of the sky.”

    “Greenberg to defensive units,” he said into his communicator, “Prepare to launch and aid Alpha Team.”

    Boris looked at his men, “You heard order, go.” He then patted Ryo and Bill hard on the back, “Come my new friends. It's time to show our skill.”

    “Ken come on,” Ryo said as they started to run out of the room.

    “I'll be back to fix you,' he said to the robot lying on the floor, “I promise,” as he made his way out of the room.

    ***
    The pieces didn't do much, even as the combined assault forces of Alpha Team and Tower bombarded it with everything that had. Ryo and Bill separated the Alpha Twos and quickly formed up with several other of the Tower Wings in a loose formation. On Hawk's command each group picked a section to attack. Hopefully one of them would go down first before. According to what Ken and Williams were able to tell him during the flight, these thing didn't need a pilot as they were completely controlled by an AI system. Hopefully taking out one would mess whatever programming they had up enough to let them win this day.

    On the ground Ken had joined with the evacuation forces to help with that effort. He pretty much let the Tower personal do the instruction part as he waved people through. “Come on!”, he said after a bit, “What he said! This way!.” Ken tried to see if there was an end to this particular crowd and he didn't see one from his spot. In all honestly this was a scale he wasn't used to. Still he hadn't been trampled yet, generally that was a plus. But better not press his luck, especially with a crowd this size. “What Japanese for 'move your butts faster'?”

    “I've been saying it!”, the guy with went as they kept waving people through.

    “Alrighty then,” Ken mumbled. He tried to keep an eye on the flying machines at the same time. More people did so as they started coming together and the \defensive teams increased their attack. They took a formation as the larger section split apart to form legs, a smaller section landed on top of that, a bigger section on top of that. As a pair of arm extended out as the thing that looked like a head earlier connected at the top taking a very rough humaniod shape. “Holy fuck,” Ken said standing there a long with the rest of them on the ground. “It did turn into giant robot.”

    “Son of a bitch,” Hawk muttered. This is what he wanted to avoid. “All units concentrate fire on King Joe. Greenberg now that 's combined is there a weak point?”

    “We've already pulled up the plans,” Greenberg said. “Emiko, Bridge and Williams are going over it now. Also anybody who doesn't have a close connection to O'Hara and her group. It's a risk I know, but considering the situation I thought it was worth it.'

    “I'll leave you to it then,” Hawk said. “Hawk to all units keep on the attack.”

    “All right guys,” Ryo said from one of the Alpha Twos, “Get in formation. Keep the attack constant, once one wave attacka the next group in line set of a run.”

    “You got it,” Bill replied.

    “We will follow your lead,” Boris replied as other chimed in as well. They followed up on the plan as King Joe started to attack the building around, smashing the buildings with the fist, or what was supposed to be fist. Their attack seemed to go unnoticed as the damage from King Joe increased. So far it didn't seem to have any long range weapons. Which was a small blessing so far. On the ground the crowd seemed to get running again with a new furor as the giant robot rampaged.

    “Where's the American?”, one of the Tower people asked as they barely got out of the way of the stampeding crowd.

    “Avoiding this mess if he was smart,” came the reply. “Damn it check the ground to make sure they're not stepping on him.”

    On the other side of the street Ken started moving before the robot or the crowd did. Going down an alley nobody else was in he hugged a wall and pulled out the Spark Magnifier. It was Dax's size after all, as per their reworked arrangement from a while ago. Still he hesitated as bit. “Well, this is going to cause a lot of questions.” Then he held it over his head and activated it.”
     
  11. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

    ***
    “I'm surprised and not surprised Ultraman showed up,” Bill commented as the column of light faded away revealing the being inside.

    Boris snorted a bit from his Wing, “He's smaller than I expected. Tales made him sound much bigger.”

    “Truth is better than fiction,” Ryo told him. “All units take up a holding pattern around the area. Do not engage unless ordered to.”

    Already uttering his standard battle cry Daxium charged toward King Joe. The robot did nothing as he unleashed a series of punches and kicks. Then when he stopped a vicious backhand from the robot sent him flying into a nearby building, causing it to cave a bit. King Joe came at him and Daxium rolled out of the way as it tried to grab him. A flash bolt made the machine stop momentarily. Daxium ran in with a flying kick that barely made it budge. He had to back flip out of the way as the golden machine tried to grab him again. Realizing what he had to do the giant banged his forearms together and held them out in a strong pose as he shifted into his power mode. Going in again Daxium started striking the robot. Joe was recoiling now but it was standing.

    Then it moved faster than he was expecting as it broke through his attacks and grabbed him around the neck. The giant pounded on it's arms as he was slowly being pressed down to his knees. Grabbing it's wrist and grunting he forced himself back up with all he had and started to remove those hands from his neck. Then the robot kicked him I the stomach bending him over from the blow. Grabbing him around the head and neck King Joe lifted him up and slammed him against another building. As it crumbled from the impact Bridge and Emiko had made a discover on their own. “King Joe is accessing the UNDF database,” Emiko told them. “With a priority on everything we have on Ultraman.”

    “The AI,” Greenberg said in understanding, “it trying to learn how Ultraman fights.”

    “I've already blocked it access,” Bridge announced. “It's trying a different attack route. Emiko I'm going to need your help in stopping it.” She nodded and they both started hitting the keys in front of them as fast as humanly possible.

    While that was going on King Joe picked up and threw Daxium into another set of building. Several rounds of rockets exploded off it's metallic hide it reached up and ripped a radio tower off a near by building. As Daxium struggled to get off the ground King Joe started swing the tower down against his back over and over. The Alpha One aimed it's missiles at the tower in it's hand before Daxium was hit again. With it's weapon gone King Joe then reached down and grabbed the giant around the neck and hauled him up, using him as a shield. Daxium cried out in pain as a series of missiles struck him before the Wings knew what was happening. “Shit,” Jess from her station. Letting go of his neck King Joe spun him around and punched him down again. On his back Daxium cried out again as a foot came stomping down his chest over and over. Then the robot held it there and leaned forward bit so a good chunk of it's weight was in one spot as it started grinding it's foot into his chest. Before long the jewel started to blink red on Daxium's chest.

    “Main laser fire!” Jess called out. A massive beam hit King Joe causing it to stop. It was enough of a reprieve that Daxium grabbed the foot keeping him down and pushed the robot off of him. Scrambling to his feet as the robot quickly regained it's balance he took up a fighting position again and tried to figure a new angle of attack in the time he had left.

    “We have something!” Williams cried out. “There's a less armored area right under King Joe's chest. “It's going to be a million and one shot though but the Alpha One's main laser should pierce it.”

    “Wade?”, Hawk called vack to her from his chair.

    “Just get me in position,” she said as the information came up on one of her screens. The Alpha One tried to giver her a shot but King Joe kept moving. “Come on,” she muttered as she waited for the shot, “figure out what we're doing.”

    Daxium saw the human's jet not sure what they were trying to hit. But Ken was watching at that moment to at the giant's request. Ken lowered his head and closed his eyes as he tried to recall what he could remember of the King Joe plans. They had to have found something but what? Not what, he realized, but where. They were trying to get in front of it. “Grab it from behind and hold 'im!” Daxium rushed toward King Joe and was able to get behind it. Grabbing both it's arms he struggled to turn the massive machine toward the Alpha One.

    On board Jess quickly locked down her target, “Main laser fire!” The beam hit the designated spot. An small explosion seemed to happen inside King Joe as it's movements started to get more jerky. Daxium let go and held his fist to the flashing jewel on his chest and drew in energy. Rearing back with that fist he launched it forward as King Joe turned around and faced, unleashing the full force of Giga Wave on it's chest. The energy from the wave obliterated most of the machine and the rest exploded as it fell. Breathing heavily for a moment as he held his own chest he looked up at the sky.

    With a “Shiah!” he flew off into the heavens.

    From his wing Boris asked, “Where does he go?”

    Ryo smiled to himself, “We stop asking that a long time ago.”

    On the ground Ken reappeared from a ball of light. Immediate;y his free hand went to his chest, as he was now feeling any damage Daxium took during the fight. Then, without warning, “Ulturaman!” Looking around in a panic he found the source. It was a group of kids, and all of them seemed really excited. Ken put a finger to his lips and hoped they got the message. They apparently did as the put their hands to their mouths and nodded their heads. Then the ran off giggling and Ken just smiled to himself.

    ***
    “Da, it's a beauty of a ship,” Boris had commented as he Ryo and Bill walked around the Alpha One the next day. “Pity I never had a chance to pilot her myself. But city needed help first.” For most of the Tower personal and the Castle crew that volunteered to do what the could with the clean up. And that stay of an extra day was at Greenberg's insistence, as a bit if a thank you for helping with the King Joe situation. To relax a bit before the trip and make sure the Alpha One was well supplied.

    “Maybe if we stayed an extra day,” Ryo told him. “But Captain Hawk, and the rest of us too, are anxious to get back home. We don't know when Brooks is going to send out his next creature.”

    “Maybe next time I visit Castle,” Boris said. “But hopefully that time will not be as entertaining.”

    “We can't make any promises there.”

    Bill started tapping Ryo on the arm, “I don't think all of us are in that much of a hurry to get back buddy.” They looked over to see Bridge talking to Emiko.

    “Lucky man,” Boris told them. “She is very much in her shell when not behind computer. It's good to see her interested in somebody.” Bill and Ryo just exchanged knowing looks.
     
  12. scikaiju

    scikaiju science experiment gone wrong

    “I think I have everything,” Bridge said as he just sort of glimpsed at the cases by him. “I can't really think of anything I've forgotten.” He wanted to ask for something but wasn't sure how to.

    “Perhaps,” Emiko held a piece of paper, looking almost as unsure as he was, “Nathan, you were forgetting this?” Bridge took it and looked it over as he started smiling. It was her personal contact information.

    “Yes I definitely almost forgot that. And this too.” He found a piece of paper and quickly wrote down his contact information and handed it to her. “”We'll work out the time difference as we go.” Figuring out what was going on Ryo and Bill slapped hand in celebration for him. There was a slightly awkward moment where they couldn't decided what to do next so they settled on a quick hand shake and went their separate ways.

    Once he was close enough Bill wrapped a arm around him, “Bridge you sly dog.”

    “Cut it out will you,” he said looking super embarrassed as they entered the Alpha One.

    “Are I sure I can't get you and your crew to stay an extra day Captain?”, Greenberg asked as the two of them approached the super jet. “It's very relaxing here. Most days that is.”

    “We're needed back at Castle,” Hawk told him. “Commander Reid says the coast is clear for the moment, but that can change anytime. Besides, you probably have to start replacing O'Hara and the members of her staff that was in with her for this mess.”

    “Yes and the mess in general,” Greenberg agreed. “”It's going to take months to rebuild things here and in the city. Just based on the estimates on the work being done in the states after such an attack. Honestly I'm not sure how you deal with it on a regular basis.”

    “You be surprised what you can get used to,' Hawk told him.

    “As for replacing O'Hara's department.” he sighed, “I already have applications to look at. After we question her entire staff that is. I hope it's not the case but I may have to replace every single one of them depending on what they knew. However,” a smile returned to his face, “are you sure I can't borrow Ken for a bit? Say a year or five?”

    Hawk chuckled, “That's still a no Doctor.”

    “I was afraid you were going to say that,” he looked a bit chagrined. “Ah well have a good trip home Captain, it might be a slightly interesting one.

    As he walked off leaving Hawk to ponder what that meant he suddenly heard something new. Something like metal feet touching the ground. The he heard Ken voice coming from one of the hanger. “That's good. Right step,' he walked out backwards leading the robot O'Hara and her crew were working on when they arrived. It was still missing an arm but it was staggering after Ken. “Good, good. Left step, Right. Left,” the robot started to lift up it's right foot again. “Left. No left. I said left. Your other left.” Then the robot complied with what it was being told. “Good, now right.”

    “Scott!”, Hawk barked.

    He jumped and quickly stood at attention. But the robot kept going forward and ran into him. “Whoa, Windam stop.” When the robot complied he went back at attention, but with a nervous smile on his face.

    Walking toward him Hawk just stared him down. “Scott,” he said evenly, “what exactly do you think you're doing?”

    “Well.. they.. uh...,” he began, “Dr. Greenberg said if I could fix him I could keep him. I technically already fixed him...” and he was quickly losing any confidence in his reasoning the more Hawk stared at him.

    Jess spoke up in Ken's defense, “Dr. Greenberg did say that sir. Even sighed off on it.”

    “Even if that was true,' Hawk said as he took a datapad off of one of the supply crates being loaded onto the Alpha One. “I am not seeing a listing for THX-U7 on the supply manifest.”

    “Um Captain,” Jess went as she scrolled the inventory list up and highlighted one item under W. Windam. He shot her a cool glance. She tried to give him her most innocent looking smile. It wasn't working.

    Giving a once over to the beaten up robot he looked back at her. “If that thing blows up and takes out half of Castle it's on you.” Then he left to supervise the supply loading for the Alpha One. He looked back at Ken and the robot. “Whatever it takes I suppose. I just hate being left out of the loop in my own command.”

    In the mean time Jess was giving a worried look at Windam. “He's not going to explode and take out the base, is he?”

    Ken gave her a long drawn out, “Noooo,” before stopping and giving the robot a more critical eye. “I don't think.” Jess hand reached out toward him suddenly. He flinched a bit thinking she was going to hit him. Then he realized her hand went past his head. Then he saw it clinching Dr,William's wrist. More importantly the hypo gun in his hand.

    She took it from him saying, “Doctor, what did we say about injecting people without their knowledge?” He mumbled something and quickly walked away. She handed it to Ken, “Here.”

    He took it with a bit of apprehension remembering what it felt like last time. “Better get this over with. Maybe it won't hurt as bad since I know it's coming.” Holding against his neck Ken took a couple of breaths before pulling the trigger. “Mother...!” he pulled it away and grabbed his neck with his free hand. “No still hurts as bad.” Looking at the gun for a bit he handed it back to her, “Just for the record that's not going to get me in the air on a regular basis.”

    “Didn't think it was,” she said. “Come on let's find a place to secure Windam.”

    “Already got a couple spot in mind if they haven't already been taken,” Ken told her. “Windam, follow us.” After a bit of a staggering start the three headed for the Alpha One. Ken sort of glanced over at Jessica out of the corner of his eye, thinking about that offer to listen to anything he had to say. He briefly wondered if maybe it was time to tell somebody his secret. But then again he wondered what would Richardson do if he ever found out somebody else knew. And he didn't want to ruin her career because he got tired about lying to all of them.

    Something in this situation was going to break sooner or latter. It was just going to be a question on how bad the fall out was going to be when it did.


    -----
    ED – Shinedown – Fly From the Inside
     

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