(Inside Wily fumed. All of his beautiful schemes, his genius inventions, destroyed and thwarted. Ballade is forced to endure his master’s constant whining)
Wily: Okay, I’m out of ideas.
Ballade: You? I find that hard to believe.
Wily: Ah, it’s just a mental block. All I need is a good night’s sleep.
Ballade: Good, You’ve been staying up all night, keeping me awake too!
Wily: Now who’s whining?
(The clock strikes 12:00, and footsteps can be made out above them)
Wily: What? Who’s there!?
??? : (chuckles sinisterly) Who? That’s a convoluted question.
Ballade: Okay, this guy creeps me out. Where are you?
??? : You know what, since you are so very curious I’ll tell you. In the darkness. In the gloom that engulfs your very existence.
Ballade: Come out into the light!
??? : Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
Wily: Well he’s a poet.
(Wily activates a lighting system, and they see a figure sitting on a rafter above them)
??? : No, I believe you are referring to Wraithman.
Wily: Wraithman? I don’t remember building a Wraithman!
Wraith: Unsurprising, seeing as how you did not construct me.
Ballade: Then who built you?
Wraith: Knowledge is the most dangerous weapon. If it were to fall into enemy hands, only God himself may foresee the destruction to be wrought.
Wily: Why are you here anyway?
Wraith: I too seek knowledge. You have the information I seek, but cannot use it. This is the bitterest pain among men, to have much knowledge but no power.
Wily: What information do you seek?
Wraith: Cossack’s Comrades. I wish to know more about them.
Wily: I see. We may both profit from an alliance. What do you think?
Wraith: Beware of alliances where the consciousness of supremacy is the only compensation for noble sacrifices.
Wily & Ballade: …
Wraith: Means no.
Wily: Fine, Ballade! Destroy him and tear him apart! I want to see what makes him tick. Hah ha ha!
Ballade: With pleasure!
(Ballade leaps at Wraith, and with a shout of “Ballade Cracker!” begins his assault. Wraith extends his palm, and a scythe materializes into his hand. He spins it once and blocks all of Ballade’s attacks. Wraith drops to the ground, and stands triumphantly.)
Wraith: Do not fear Darkness, for it is the cradle of eternity, and embraces all who seek it.
(With that, all of the light sources flicker off, leaving Ballade in the blackness. Wily then hears Ballade’s shriek of agony. The lights flicker on, and Wily sees Wraith suspending Ballade by the head with the butt of his scythe. Ballade twitches and screams as the sharpened pole sinks deeper into the delicate circuitry in his skull.)
Wily: You’ll regret that.
Wraith: I find that hard to believe. I have reduced one of your best warriors to a mound of agony using less than a tenth of my total power, and you have not yet witnessed my more potent abilities.
Wily: How dare you!? I am the most feared human on the face of the planet!
Wraith: He whom many are afraid ought to fear many.
Wily: What’s that supposed to mean, Shakespeare?
Wraith: The information, if you would be so kind. (His arm transforms into a buster cannon)
Wily: … Very well.
(Wily throws him a case with a CD in it, which he pockets immediately.)
Wraith: Hmm… Thank you. Now if you would give me the authentic data, I’ll be off.
(Wily sputters in disbelief)
Wraith: I am no fool, distrust all whom the impulse to rule is powerful.
(Punk, Quint, and Enker enter the room, hearing Ballade’s screams of torment. They all see him twitching on the ground, his face twisted into a silent scream.)
Wily: Kill him!
Punk: No prob!
(Wraith points his buster at Punk, firing a large, streaming ball of black and violet energy. It burns through Punk’s chest, leaving shadow rather than melted metal in it’s wake. Punk screams as he hits the ground)
Wraith: People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
(Enker seems ready to attack, but hesitates in front of this new force. When he gathers enough courage to attempt a charge, the lights flicker off again. In the dark, Wily sees sparks fly from Enker’s direction. When the lights return, he sees that Wraith had cut him in half from shoulder to waist. Wraith then shoots a glare of pure malice at the quivering Quint.)
Quint: D-don’t make me hit you! I-I-I’m not afraid!
Wraith: (Slowly walking towards Quint) The fear of death is more to be dreaded than death itself.
Wily: We’re eventually going to catch you without a quote and you’ll look undressed my friend!
(Wraith raises a hand, and the lights go off once again. The only sound for what seems to be an eternity is the sound of Quint whimpering. Then, Quint began to scream, but it was stifled, leaving Wiley alone in the darkness. The lights come back on, and Wily beholds Wraith strangling Quint with the pole of his scythe. With a slight jerk, Wraith snaps the circuitry that leads to Quint’s mind like he would a living creature’s neck. Quint then falls limp to the floor.)
Wraith: The data.
(Wily makes a dash towards the hanger, but the lights go off. He stumbles around in the darkness for a while, stopping and gasping at every noise.)
Wraith: To him who is in fear everything rustles.
(The lights come on, and Wily stares down the barrel of Wraith’s buster gun.)
Wraith: You know now that you must give me all the information you have on all of the Megaman teams. You have no way to protect yourself from me.
Wily: … Fine.
(Wily extracts the true data and hands the disk to Wraith.)
Wraith: If these turn to be false, then nothing may prevent my revenge. Not even God almighty may protect you as I cut your pitiful existence down, and I may watch as the gates of hell engulf your soul.
Wily: I suppose that depends on your view of hell.
Wraith: … Each of us carries his own hell…
(Wraith vanishes as he seems to meld with the shadow around him, and leaves Wiley alone with his disabled robots.)
Wily: He didn’t kill any of them. Just made them all suffer. I need to think this over, and find the consequences of the information I just gave him.
(So Wily gathers up all of his disabled minions, and sends them to his auto-repair room. But sleep did not come easy that night, as every shadow seemed full of danger.)
(Kryptoman is becoming impatient. He looks at the others with pure malice. They had all gotten messages telling them to meet here. Krypto examines the state of this crumbling building. It was a crumbling church, in the middle of an abandoned cemetery, no doubt much older than the city built a mile to the west of here. Punk merely sits in one of the numerous benches littering the area, and Enker sits up in the rafters.)
Krypto: What's taking him so long! (Chops one of the benches in half)
Punk: Cool it, man. He'll be here, I think. Anyone know who this guy is?
Enker: He is obviously powerful, due to the fact that he's paying us in police paychecks.
Krypto: I'm going to tear this place down if he doesn't show up soon!
Wraith: (Voice echoing) you would demolish this most holy of places?
(Wraith steps from the shadow of the building, and Punk and Enker leap to their feet.)
Punk: YOU!? You nearly killed me!
Wraith: In self defense.
Enker: He has a point.
Punk: ... Whatever. (Crosses arms and sits down.)
Krypto: Why did you summon us here!?
Wraith: If you allow me, I will tell you. I am in need of assistance infiltrating Dr. Cossack's headquarters.
Wraith: I am in on the search for knowledge. In the past, I have assimilated the knowledge and wisdom of countless individuals from their published works. Einstein, Hawking, Confucius, and many, many more, but I grow weary of antiquated information. I need the knowledge of today's leading scientists to further myself. I already have the entire databanks of both Dr. Light and Wily.
Krypto: Why did you bring these two if you robbed Wily?
Wraith: Their allegience is for personal gain first, Wily second. Speaking of which, you will get a quarter of your money now, and the rest when we return here. You all already know your wages.
Punk: Great then! Let's roll out of here! Enker old buddy, if we keep pulling jobs like this, we'll be rich men!
Wraith: It is ironic how those with a vast wealth are often more miserable than those with none.
Krypto: What if I refuse to work with these people?
Punk: Something wrong with us? You want to fight!?
Krypto: If you want to!
(Both of them assume battle poses.)
Wraith: I WILL NOT TOLORATE COMBAT IN THIS HOLY PLACE! Seat yourselves!
(The two are cowed by Wraith's rage and almost drop off of their feet.)
Enker: ...I assume you have a plan. Tell us
Wraith: Very well. Krypto will stage a diversion, leading the eight master robots away from the citadel, and hold them off until Punk and I escape. Enker will sit atop the spire, and help orchestrate the mission from there, or provide backup if the need arises. I will creep into the base via the only unguarded entry point, which is the window in one of the bedrooms which house two humans, currently. I will then allow Punk inside, via the main entryway. Punk will cover me whilst I download the information. Enker will hack into the main security computer. We will have to synchronize, and stay on task. Let us be off. (Disappears.)
Enker: Darn, I had a question.
(Their plan begins without flaw. Cossack's Comrades give chase to Kryptoman, and Enker hack's into the citadel's security system using a specialized laptop that Wraith created. Wraith sneaks into Drill's room undetected, and quickly incapacitates Jay and Silent Bob. He opens the main gate from the inside, and allows Punk to enter. With Enker guiding them, they quickly find Cossack's main computer.)
Punk: That it? Hurry up! We don't got time to stare.
Wraith: Wise words, if not slightly vulgar.
(Wraith lowers his hood, and his forehead opens, revealing a highly advanced electronic brain, glowing with lines of black and violet energy. He takes a cord and links his mind with the computer, and begins downloading the data. The sudden rush of information somewhat stuns his motor and speaking functions.)
Enker: (Over earpiece) Wraith! We have problems!
Wraith: (Woozily) W-What is it?
Enker: Krypto didn't hold up his end of the job! He's down, and CC is almost there!
Punk: Dammit! I'll go hold them off!
Wraith: V-Very w, well...
(About five minutes later, Punk's scream is heard, as he's blasted to bits. Wraith, still stunned, notices Cossack himself run by the hallway. Seizing this opportunity, he grabs Cossack, just as the team enters the hall. Wraith draws his scythe and holds the blade to Cossack's neck.)
Dive: He looks just like Skull!
Skull: He does!
Ring: I don't know, he's a lot more evil lookin'.
Bright: I LUV TACO!!!!
Wraith: Silence! You will wait, or the professor perishes.
Drill: ... Everyone, ready weapons.
Wraith: I have enough sins to atone for. Do not add this man's death to them.
(A small trickle of blood runs down Wraith's scythe. Hours seem to pass, until Wraith stand straight again. He removes the cord, and throws it to the ground. He then raises his hood, and all of the light sources in the room go out.)
Pharaoh: BB! Light!
(Bright turns on her bulb, and lights the room. Cossack is on the floor, rubbing his lightly wounded neck. Wraith is nowhere to be seen.)
Toad: Who was that? A friend of yours?
Dust: If only...
Dive: I have a feeling we'll get to know him a lot better.
Ring: What did he download?
Dust: The question is, what didn't he download?
(Back at Wraith's hideout, Enker awaits his payment.)
Wraith: (Tosses Enker an envelope.) I can't guarantee that will bring you happiness.
Enker: I don't know, but it'll put food in my belly. (Wraith begins lighting the candles in the church.) You seem pretty religious, doesn't all of this wear on your soul?
Wraith: If only I had a soul...
Enker: All things have souls!
Wraith: All living things. I am not, never was, and never will be a living thing. I remember at one point I had died, and there was nothing. When I was reactivated, I remembered that nothingness... Though, I could not realize there was nothing at the time, as my mind was shut off. It was blackness for exactly five years, forty-two days, seven hours, thirty-five minutes, and forty-five point eight seconds. Most robots aren't programmed with the ability to question their existence, but I am. A twisted joke on the part of my creators.
(Wraith finishes lighting the candles, and sits down on one of the benches.)
Wraith: It is odd that I pray. I pray to God, and attempt to keep myself from sin, yet I know nothing awaits me in the afterlife.
Enker: So, you need this knowledge to increase your power, so that you never will die...
Wraith: Have you ever wondered what awaits you in the afterlife? All robot masters seem to have developed traits of living things, and most of them were human at one point.
(Enker turns to leave, and walks toward the door.)
Wraith: ...Each of us carries his own hell...
(With that, Enker opens the door, and the ensuing gust blows out all of the candles that Wraith lit. Wraith then sat alone, in the dark, plotting his rise to power.)
TO BE CONTINUED!