Cossack's Comrades

Alpha Season 4: Epilogue 7

Farewell Zapper

Regulus's Writings

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The CC was standing around the kitchen table. It had been a few weeks after Zapper’s death, and their new Toad Man, Regulus, hadn’t come out of his room yet. They convinced him to bury her after the first few days, but he hadn’t stirred since then. They simply heard soft sobbing from behind the door from time to time.

“Jade, you think you could go and check up on him? I’m worried about him.” Drill asked.

“Sure thing, Drill.” Jade got up and began walking to Toad’s room.

“Poor Reg…” Bright began to sniff a little. She missed Zapper a lot. If anyone had cried as much as Reg had, it was Jet. Now it looked like she was going to start up again. Diveman slammed his fist on the table and groaned.

“How much longer are we gonna be all meepy-eyed about Little Kermit?” He barked. “Sure, she was a nice girl. She had it pretty rough and no one deserved what came to her except the guys who did it to her, but she’s gone now. Waterworks ain’t gonna change that.”

“Crying’s a natural part of loss, Dive. Let them grieve; we’ve been hit pretty hard lately. First, the war, then Skull. Now Zapper…” Drill said.

Everyone looked down at the table. The Scissor Army rebellion had not been kind to the Comrades and their friends. Mesmerman’s stunt had given Regulus chronic nightmares, and when Zapper actually died, it took them a whole day to convince Regulus that she was really dead, and that it wasn’t a prank by Mesmerman. That’s when he really lost it. At first he had been hysterical, wondering where Mesmer had taken her, but now that he knew she was gone, he suddenly became deadly silent. It was like he was in a trance. He simply walked up to Zapper’s room, then shut the door, locking it behind him.

“You know,” Sean spoke up. “For someone who seems so heartless, he really had a soft-spot for her…”

“Regulus loved Zapper very dearly, that much is true.” Drill nodded.

“I’m just glad he isn’t trying to kill us this time around.” Diveman chipped in.

***

Jade slowly cracked the door open. “Reg?” He asked.

No answer.

“Reg? We’re worried about you…” Jade asked.

Regulus had been staring up at the ceiling. It seemed like he perked up the minute he heard “worried,” and stood up, looking right at Jade. His expression seemed so… blank.

“Worried?” He asked, slightly confused. He looked down at the floor. “I should have worried more…” He said as though Jade weren’t even there.

“Look, Reg, you shouldn’t blame yourself for-“ Jade was cut short by a short giggle.

“Reg?” Jade asked, growing concerned. Regulus only began chuckling.

“Is something funny, Reg?” Jade asked, starting to sense something was wrong.

The chuckling turned into laughter as Regulus began to roll around on the bed. Except this laugher was unnatural. It was crazed, and Regulus didn’t seem to be smiling at all. Jade slowly stepped out of the room as Regulus continued his hysterics on the bed.

“So now we’ve got the Joker?” Diveman asked after Jade came back downstairs.

“What’d you say?” Drill asked Jade.

“I only asked him if he was ok and told him that we were worried about him.” Jade explained.

“Is Reg gonna be alright?” Jet asked, tears starting to form.

“Aw, Christ, you gonna start with that again?” Dive snapped. “Isn’t it enough Frogger’s losing it?”

Jet simply ran upstairs to her room, shutting the door behind her.

“Hey, lay off, won’t ya?” Rebel said.

Dustman and Pharaohman simply dropped their heads in their hands.

***

Drillman woke up with a start. Ever since the Black Lotus catastrophe, he hadn’t been sleeping well, and he figured he’d get up and roam around some, to take his mind off things. He began roaming the Citadel, checking on his teammates in the process. He got to Zapper’s old room. It was Regulus’s now. To his surprise, the bed was empty. He felt a sudden panic rising in his chest. After all of… that, he didn’t like the idea of finding someone missing from their room, especially with what happened the last time that bed was found empty.

“Now just wait a minute, Drill.” The CC leader said to himself. “You’re overreacting. Reg can very well take care of himself. He’s not one to just get kidnapped.”

Just then, Drill heard a distant thud from inside the Citadel. Then another. And another. They seemed to be coming from the training room.

“What now?” Drill thought to himself.

Drill began to walk to the training room. It was brand new thanks to Regulus, but Regulus had taken to shutting himself up in there for extended periods of time, so it was more than likely invested self-interest that scored the Comrades the new room.

“He’s probably in there.” Drill sighed. “That guy’s gonna run himself ragged if he keeps training so hard.”

Drill opened the door and looked in. From the sizeable hole in the wall, Drill assumed that Regulus had been punching it for a while now. Upon his entering the room, Regulus jumped and withdrew his fist, clutching it in his other hand.

“I’m sorry, did I startle you?” Drill asked.

“No, I’m just… I didn’t expect you is all.” Regulus’s eyes darted back and forth like he was looking for the nearest exit.

“Is something the matter?” Drill continued. Then he noticed that Regulus seemed to be hiding his hand. “What’s with your hand?”

“Nothing… nothing’s wrong…” Regulus said, taking a step back into the shadows of the training room.

“Are you sure?” Drill pushed the question.

“Yes… I’m just… I just need some time alone.” Regulus turned around and sat down, still clutching his hand.

“Alright, you know you can talk to me if you need someone.” Drill said and pretended to leave, closing the door after him.

About half a minute later, Regulus turned around.

“Drill must be on his way to bed by now.” He whispered to himself.

Regulus turned back to the wall, only to find Drill staring him in the face. Before he could react, Drill grabbed his right wrist, the one he had been hiding.

“You’re not the only sneaky one around here.” Drill said. Then he noticed the crumpled metal and the oil seeping from the ruptured knuckles. “Regulus, what have you been doing down here?”

Regulus snatched his wrist away and started caressing the broken hand. He couldn’t look directly at Drill, choosing instead to aim his gaze at the floor.

“Regulus., no one blames you for what happened to Zapper… why must you do so?” Drill felt terrible seeing his friend mutilate himself like this.

“I… I…” Regulus began, but his knees slowly gave out as he sunk to the floor. “I’m the one who wasn’t there for her… I wasn’t there and that’s why she’s dead.”

Drill knelt beside Regulus. “That’s not true and you know it. If anyone’s at fault, it’s Black Lotus. They’re the evil ones. Don’t take the blame away from them.”

Regulus just sat down and hugged his knees to his chest. “It’s their fault, too.” He whispered.

“Please, Reg, this isn’t healthy. Zapper wouldn’t want you going on like this.” Drill pleaded. “We’re all worried sick about you, Reg.”

“I can’t get her out of my head…” Regulus whimpered.

“We’ll always remember those we love, Reg. I don’t think I’ll ever forget Zapper, either.”

“No, you don’t understand, Drill… Zapper… she’s literally in my head…” Regulus moaned. “I can hear her in the back of my skull.”

“Oh my…” Drill gasped. “How… it’s that bad?”

“I… I think part of her downloaded into me when I absorbed her armor… She… she keeps talking to me…” Regulus curled into an even tighter ball as though it would help block out her voice. Drill put his hand on his back.

“I’m so sorry, Reg… all of this is just horrible.” He said slowly.

The two Robot Masters simply sat together for a while, not talking. Drill watched as Regulus simply stared intently on a small section of the floor, as though he expected something to happen in that particular segment of flooring. After a long silence, Drill cleared his throat.

“Um… what’s she saying, Reg?” Drill asked awkwardly.

Regulus kept staring at the single section of the floor. “She tells me that she loves me…” He sighed. “And she’s begging me not to…”

“Not to what?” Drill was confused. Then he saw Regulus pull a syringe from his belt.

Regulus was about to insert the needle into his lightly armored neck when Drill slapped it out of his hands, sending it skidding across the floor. Regulus tried to leap to the syringe, but Drill grabbed him and wrestled him to the ground. It was so hard to keep a hold of him because of the slime coat on his body, and he kept thrashing. Eventually Reg slipped out of his hands and scrambled to the syringe, but Drill hurled himself at Regulus, knocking him down again. This time he drove his drills into Regulus’s shoulders, drilling right through his armor and lodging them into the floor below him. Drill cringed as he listened to his comrade screaming in pain, but he knew it was the only way to keep him down. Drill disconnected the drill bits from his hands and stumbled back off of the pinned Regulus. He crawled to the syringe and looked at the contents.

“Nanomachines…” Drill sighed. The injection would have traveled to Regulus’s stasis tank where the genetically engineered proteins would have eaten Regulus’s brain away.

At first Regulus started thrashing violently trying to dislodge the drills, but they held firm, leaving him with no other choice than to accept defeat.

“Why didn’t you let me die?” Regulus sobbed.

Drill could only sit and watch as Regulus squirmed under the pain of the being pinned by the Drill Bombs. He was his friend, and he had to attack him just to keep him from killing himself. He dragged a random piece of machinery to the spot where his friend was held and sat on it. He knew better than to leave someone as resourceful as Regulus alone to get help. For a long time, the only noise in the room was Regulus sobbing, but that eventually died out as well. After a few minutes of dead silence, Regulus spoke up.

“I’m sorry I scared you…”

“Oh, don’t worry about it. “Drill said. “I’m just glad you’re-“

“I love you too…” Reg said, much to the surprise of Drill.

“Uh, thanks, Reg, I guess…” Drill scratched the back of his head, put in an awkward position by the statement. “I’m not sure how to respo-“

“Please don’t cry…” Regulus’s voice started breaking up. “You know it breaks my heart to see you cry…”

“I’m not crying, Reg-“

“I… I promise I’ll never do it again, Zap…” It was then that Drill realized that Regulus hadn’t even tried to look at him during the whole conversation, because he wasn’t part of the conversation. Drill sighed, deciding to let Reg talk himself to sleep. At least he was calm.

---

Regulus transformed into his alternate form and ran over to Zapper. She was covered in her own dark violet blood.

“Zapper!” Regulus supported her body with his hand. “Zapper, hold on, please!”

“You… you came for me, Reg…” Zapper whispered. “I… I knew you would…”

“That’s right, Zapper, and you’re going to make it. Just hang on. I’ll get you out of here.” Regulus was becoming frantic.

Zapper looked into her lover’s eyes. He was frightened. He must have known what was going to happen…

“Don’t be scared, Reg…” Zapper placed a hand on her love’s face.

“Just hang on Zapper, you’re going to make it. Just hang on. I know you can do it!” Regulus clasped his hand around hers.

Zapper shook her head. “No, Reg. I know what’s happening. I’m just glad you’re here, Reg. I wanted to see you one last time…”

“No Zapper, don’t say that…” Regulus pleaded.

Zapper smiled up at Regulus. “I love you, Reg.” She said.

“I love you, too, Zapper…” Regulus hugged Zapper closer to him.

“I’ll always remember you…”

Regulus suddenly felt Zapper’s hand go limp. “Zapper?” Regulus whispered. “Zapper?”

Tears mixed with the blood on Zapper’s face as Regulus hugged her face to his. “Zapper…”

The sound of drills echoed behind him, but he didn’t stir. Diveman yanked open the sliding doors and peered in side.

“Aww, shit…” He sighed, his cigarette falling out of his mouth.

“What?” Drill pushed his way past Diveman to get a better look. “Oh no…”

The rest of the Comrades filed in, taking in the sight.

“Oh my God, Zapper…” BB said as she covered her mouth. She looked at Pharaoh. He was clenching his fist and shaking.

Drill walked slowly over to Regulus. Before he could speak, Regulus started talking.

“Drill, is this another one of Mesmerman’s sick jokes?” He choked. He got up and turned around, still holding Zapper in his arms. “Is he taking her away from me again so he can feed off my sorrow?! Where’s he keeping her?”

Drill looked down. “No, Regulus… she’s really gone this time…”

Drill watched Regulus’s knees give out, dropping him to the floor. He was shaking all over tears dotted Zapper’s armor. Drillman put a hand on his shoulder.

“We should get her home. She doesn’t belong here…” Drill said quietly. “If it’s too much for you, I can carry her for you…”

“No…” Regulus struggled to his feet. “I… I wanna do it…”

“Drill, I downloaded the map for this building. The hangar’s really close.” Sean whispered.

Drill turned to Regulus. “Come on, let’s get her home.”

Regulus nodded and the Comrades made their way to the hangar. They met a few guards along the way, but they ran away knowing that they stood no chance against the team of Robot Masters. When they got to the hangar, they spied a large aircraft with the main door open. Everyone piled in and Sean tampered with the controls. Soon they were out of the hangar, flying towards home. It was quite possibly the longest flight any of them had ever been on. No one spoke a word. The only sound that could be made out above the soft hum of the engine was the soft sobs of its passengers. Regulus just held Zapper in his arms, gently rocking her.

---

“Oh my God, Reg!” Drill was jolted awake by Jet fussing over Regulus, who was still pinned to the floor with Drill Bombs. “What did you do to him?” Jet looked at Drill, panicked.

At that moment, Dive walked in half-asleep, curious about what was going on.

“Holy shit, Boss! What’d ya do t’ Kermit?”

“Hey, you try and keep a suicidal ninja from killing himself.” Drill snapped.

“Reg… tried to kill himself?” Jet asked.

“Yes… he tried to inject this…” He handed Jet the syringe. “Nanomachines…”

“Oh no…” Jet gasped.

“We can’t leave him alone anymore. Someone’s going to have to watch him every night…” Drill sighed.

“Man, this guy’s more of a hassle than the last frog…” Dive muttered.

“He’s not taking this well at all, Dive. We need to be here for him until he pulls himself together.” Drill said. “If you’ll excuse me, I need some sleep. Watching a ninja pretty much guarantees you never blink, much less catch a few Z’s… Dive, it’s Sunday, why don’t you watch him today then take the rest of the week off?”

“Sigh… fine, fine, I’ll watch ‘im.” Dive muttered. “And t’ think I was expectin’ a long break after that damn war.”

***

“Dive?”

“Waddya want, Kermit?”

“Do I really need to point out the logical fallacy in using a sawed-off shotgun to watch a potentially suicidal person?”

“I don’t think ya’d like ta go after I blow yer kneecaps off with this.” Dive patted the barrel.

“Fair enough.” Toad replied.

“And don’t think I’m feelin’ all mushy and sentimental over this, not after I have to stay up late watching yer sorry ass.” Dive muttered. “Friggin’ Slippy.”

“I’m sorry, Dive…” Regulus sighed.

“Not yet ya ain’t.”

“I just miss her so much…”

“We all miss her, Reg. Yer not the only one.” Dive replied.

“She was just so innocent, and yet she’s suffered more than anyone I know, many of which I know deserve much more than what they’ve gotten.”

“Nobody said life was fair.” Dive said.

“This was beyond a matter of fair and unfair, Dive… She was basically killed in a firefight between a group of those Black Lotus bastards and the police, then, as if that wasn’t enough, they brought her back to life with their twisted technology and tried to make her into a horrific killing machine. They tried to take away her free will and when that didn’t work, they covered their tracks by taking her life. The world would never give a damn about her because they wouldn’t even attempt to look past the monster they turned her into. If they just looked hard enough… they’d see it…”

“See what?” Dive asked.

“How beautiful she really was…”

Dive looked up thoughtfully for a moment. “I guess she was pretty easy on the eyes once ya got past the claws ‘n gray skin.” He grinned.

Regulus looked up to the ceiling; thoughts of Zapper flooded his mind.

***

“No, get away!” Zapper screamed, clawing at a Blue Fox sentry droid. The droid tried to defend itself, but was eventually torn to shreds by her claws.

Regulus was soon there, as the alarm had been set off by the sentry’s demise. “Zapper! What’s wrong?”

“No! Don’t take me back! Please!” Zapper cried, dropping down and covering her head.

“Zapper, you’re safe, please calm down…” Regulus took a step towards her, but when she looked up to him, she looked… different.

“I said go away!” She growled, grabbing Regulus by the back of his head while he was still surprised and slamming his head into the wall.

“Zapper! Get a hold of yourself!” Regulus groaned, dizzy from the concussive force. Zapper only responded by scraping his head against the wall as she slammed his face to the floor.

Regulus tumbled out of the way just in time to avoid another attack. He feinted as if to attack, but instead jumped to the wall, kicking off it and landing behind Zapper. He grabbed her around the waist pinning her right arm to her side and grabbed her free arm.

“Please, Zapper… it’s me, Reg… I know you remember me, you always do…” He whispered.

“You’re gonna take me back! I wanna go home! Why won’t you leave me alone?” Zapper continued to struggle against Regulus.

“This is your home, Zapper… you’re safe. No one’s going to hurt you…”

“But-“

“Shh…” Regulus said softly. “I promise everything is going to be ok.”

Eventually Zapper began to calm down. She was shaking all over and could barely stand. Regulus walked her over to a corner and sat her down. She clung to him as he tried to stand.

“Please don’t leave me…” She said, still terrified.

Regulus looked into her eyes then sat down next to her. “I won’t, Zap…” He said.

Regulus put an arm around Zapper as she clutched him as tightly as she could. It was a bit painful, but the assassin didn’t mind. After a while, Zapper drifted off to sleep, still holding onto Regulus. Usually he would have put her to bed, but this time he felt compelled to stay there and make sure she was going to be ok. Zapper suddenly cringed. Probably a nightmare. He gently squeezed her hand and pulled her closer to his side. Almost immediately she stopped shaking and even smiled a bit, snuggling closer to her comforter. Regulus began to rock her slowly. He had never been so gentle with anyone in his life, but now it felt so natural…

“What could I have possibly done to deserve someone so precious..?” He asked himself.

***

Regulus looked up at Dive. He had nodded off during Regulus’s story and was now sound asleep.

“Perfect.” Regulus whispered to himself.

Regulus grabbed hold of his pinky finger on his right hand. He gritted his teeth and yanked hard, completely tearing the digit from the hand. Reg shook off the pain and started picking apart the finger. Drill knew that Regulus was far too clever a hacker to be confined to an electronically managed cell, so he had used an old lock-and-key cell that Sean had to build into one of the extra rooms. Reg set to work, sliding a length of wiring into the keyhole, fidgeting with the locking mechanism. After about an hour, Regulus finally heard a satisfying click, and he pushed the door open slightly. Regulus crept out of the cell, slipping past the snoring Diveman who still had a death-grip on his shotgun.

***

“Oh my God, DIVE!”

“Eh, what?! Where’s the fire?!” Dive snapped awake and started waving his shotgun around. Drill was tapping his foot impatiently with his arms crossed standing next to a wipe-open cell door.

“”Ey, who let Kermit out?” Dive rubbed his eyes.

“You did! You fell asleep while watching him!” Drill snapped. “He’s the team ninja! You can’t DO that around him!”

“I’m used to him bein’ taller than me and nearly twice as wide. Kinda hard to miss the sno-cone.”

“I’ll find him…” Drill jumped, he had just now noticed that Hunter was behind him.

“Right, you’re the most qualified. And if he’s trying to… well, you know… he wouldn’t respond if we called him.” Drill sighed. “I hope we can find him before he…”

“Yes?” Hunter’s tone hardly changed at the inquiry.

“Just make sure you find him…” Drill finished.

***

Regulus sat in his room. Zapper’s room. He finally opened up the suitcase that carried his belongings, something he had not done since he arrived at the Citadel. He looked through the various things he had packed. He didn’t need much. In fact, all of the things in the case were mainly of sentimental value, especially…

“Zaku…” Regulus reached in and took out the teddy bear. It had seen better days, but lots of love as well. That simple bear meant so much to Zapper.

Suddenly, he gently laid the teddy bear on his bed and walked to the window. It was set deep into the stone and had cushions, so the window acted as a second bed of sorts.

“I know they mean a lot to you…” He said. “They’re good friends…”

After a brief pause, Regulus spoke up again. “I promise to watch over them. I won’t let anything happen to them.” Regulus continued to stare out the window. “How long have you been there, Hunter? I count five minutes.”

“…approximately six…” The skeletal recon unit confessed, stepping out from behind a bookcase. “Your increased emotional stress has heightened your predictability; I estimated a 38% chance that you would return here provided you escaped your prison.”

“Am I that predictable?” Regulus sighed as he turned and walked back to his luggage.

“Regulus, normally I would not hurt you, but given the nature of the three laws, I could and would most likely be obligated to injure you in order to prevent your suicide should the occasion arise.”

“I’m not going to kill myself, Hunter. I promised her…” Regulus said, tapping his forehead.

“I do not comprehend.” Hunter stated.

“When I absorbed Zapper’s Toad armor, part of her psyche downloaded itself into my mind. You could say she effectively lives inside me now. If I were to kill myself… I’d be killing her, too…”

“The situation is odd to me, but I assume that is because I lack empathy.” Hunter replied.

“Lacking isn’t the word I would use…” Regulus said.

“And what word would you use, Regulus?”

“Spared.”

“What do you mean by that?” Hunter inquired.

“Emotions are a wonderful thing to have if your life is going just great. You simply get to enjoy life all the more; however, emotion is a double-edged sword. If you are able to experience great joy, you can also experience great sorrow.” Regulus rummaged through his belongings and pulled out a long, beautiful light-blue scarf. He tied it around his neck, letting the scarf hang past his waist. “Don’t ever let someone call you inferior for lacking emotions.” He said. “If anything it puts you above us all.”

“Understood. What is the scarf for?”

“It’s another one of these emotional human things.” Regulus replied. He picked up Zaku and placed him on his dresser, next to a picture of him and Zapper together. “She made it for me…”

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Jades's Writings

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Pharaohman ran down the dark hall in a full sprint. Total blackness swirled all about him, but somehow he knew exactly where he was going. Seeing the door at the end of the hall, he gathered a Pharaoh Shot and blasted the door away. Racing into the room, Jade went numb when he saw... HIM.

That all-too-familiar grin sat wide on Mesmerman's face as he stood triumphantly before Jade. In his hand he held out his Messus scythe, Zapper's limp body impaled on the end of it.

The Terror of Perception cackled with a greater-than-usual ecstasy. "Can I call it, or can I call it?!" His laughter escalated even further as he plopped her body at Jade's feet. "Here, pick up your trash! KYAHAhahahahahaha!!!"

The Egyptian knight could only tremble in despair and rage. Mesmerman laughed again. "What's wrong? No comebacks? No threats? Heh, it's just as well. Surely you realize that I was right, and you were wrong. This is just TOO good! HAHAHAHAHA!"

"GO TO HELL!!!" Jade raised his buster and fired a barrage of Pharaoh Beams, one after another. Mesmer continued to laugh as the white-hot bolts simply phased through him as he flew away. Jade continued to fire blindly into the air over and over again for a few moments before finally giving out, kneeling next to his fallen friend.

“I’m sorry, Zap… I failed you.” Pharaoh choked. As he did so, the previously motionless body started to shudder as it shifted dramatically. In one swift motion, her fist flew up and bashed Jade in the face, sending him to the stone floor. Looking up, stunned, he saw, not Zapper in the Toad armor, but Regulus.

“You’re damn right you did!” Regulus spewed, looking down on him in disgust. “I was a fool to think you all were strong enough to protect her when she needed you.”

Jade tried to avert his eyes away from his icy stare. “You’re right, Reg. I have no excuse…”

“Feh… pathetic. You’re not even worth it.” the Blue Fox spit, “You should’ve died instead of her.”

With that, the image faded, leaving Jade alone in the inky darkness.

***

Jade came to as he found himself in his bed. He had that horrible dream again; for the third night in a row now. He sat up on the edge of the bed in quiet contemplation. Since Zapper’s death, he’d been eerily quiet. He never was a big talker anyway, but now he rarely comes out of his room except to go the holodeck.

And that’s precisely where he’s found himself wandering to now. Walking over to the keypad, be punched in a few commands. At the stroke of a button, the room darkened as the terrifying beast called Zapper Beta seemed to smash through the wall. Scratch that - it’s just “Beta” - Jade refused to call it by the same name as his departed Comrade.

Though the monster is much larger than he, Jade just glared at it, fires of contempt burning in his eyes. The creature raised its fist and Pharaoh dashed to the side to avoid the punch. Going for his Sword of Anubis, he charged it and in one fluid cut, sliced Beta’s arm clean off. Jade smiled as the beast howls in pain, as his Curse of the King fired from his headdress, its green laser beam piercing the monster ‘s head. It fell over, motionless.

Several doors appeared around Jade as three more Betas emerged from them. Pharaoh leapt over the charging trio. Infusing a Blizzaga spell with his Pharaoh Shot, he fired it at one of them, freezing it to the floor. Following up with another Curse of the King, the beam shattered the beast’s legs, leaving it writhing helplessly on the floor, and the other two to continue their attack. Running behind one of the gargantuans, he flung his sword at its back, but not before charging it with a Thundaga spell, striking its blindside with a spire of electrical agony. It went down, a mass of smoldering flesh. Finally, the third Beta turned to him. Pharaoh put his hands out as he charged another spell, surrounding the monster with Gravija’s intense energy. You don’t walk away from battling Gravityman of the Scissor Army without picking up a couple of tricks. Jade just walked calmly to the beast, who’s screaming in the most horrible pain as the gravity well snapped bones, tore skin, and ripped it’s body inside out.

“It hurts, doesn’t it?” He asked, in mock pity. His eyes narrowed into slits as a Pharaoh Shot appears in his hands. “I assure you… What you feel is heavenly bliss compared to what you inflicted upon us…” The Pharaoh Shot grew larger, and larger; Jade held it over his head until it becomes the size of a small house. “See you in hell.” He threw the massive fireball, and after one final shriek, the creature was nothing but a pile of melted metal and ash.

“Jade…?” A voice spoke behind him. Startled, Pharaoh whirled around, buster ready. Brightbabe let out a cry as she put up her hands.

“Oh, it’s just you. What’s up, Jet?”

“I heard you were here. I just wanted to see if you were okay. Silent Bob’s been more chatty than you lately.” She looked at the mutilated Beta bodies as Jade went to turn off the holographic simulator. “You want to talk?”

Pharaoh just glanced away. “I don’t know what there is for me to talk about… I let her down. Mesmerman said this would happen, and sure enough, it did.”

“Mesmerman…?” A look of terror crossed Jet’s face. She still wasn’t ready for him to be brought up again.

“Yeah… in Rothenburg.” Jade walked over to a nearby wall and sat down against it. “I’d rather not talk about it.”

“It’s alright.” BB shook her head. “Please don’t talk about Mesmerman. You know that you can’t trust a word he says. Listen, you can’t blame yourself for this; it’s no one’s fault, really. You can’t expect to carry the weight of the entire team on your shoulders.” She laughed slightly “We wouldn’t be much of a ‘team’ if that were the case.”

Jade stood up again. “I know you’re right. I just hate feeling so helpless. Not just that, but…” Pharaoh sighed “I let Zapper down, I don’t want to do the same to you.”

BB was taken aback for a second, then just smiled and gave him a hug, “You won’t. You haven’t yet.”

“Icgh… You two wanna get a room?” A voice interrupted Brightbabe as she jumped back, turning around to see Dive leaning against the door, bottle of vodka in hand.

“It wasn’t anything like that, Dive.” Jade explained.

“Sure it wasn’t…” Geoff laughed. “Feh, an’ here I thought I’d seen the last o’ that mushy BS now that the little frog went an’ croaked. Heh,” He sauntered off as he chugged away at the bottle.

“How can you say that, you son of a…!” Pharaoh started to follow after him when Jet grabbed his arm.

“Don’t. You know how Dive is. I’m sure he’s just as broken up as any of us over this. He’s just trying his best to hide it.”

“Yeah. Anyway, thanks for coming to talk to me. I feel a bit better.”

Brightbabe smiled again. “Sure. I know Zap wouldn’t blame you for what happened either. If she were here, she’d be happy to have us as her friends. That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway. Trust me, I feel the same way you do.”

Jade nodded. “I’m sure you’re right.”

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