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GetMeOffTheMoonRockman PMTRRL
Fan Fiction by aarond
A Different Place: Chapter 10 - Dantz's Big Mistake

Dantz waited impatiently for the water to drain from the airlock. He began fidgeting as the fluid level lowered slowly, slowly, even slower---wouldn't it ever be DONE? Finally, the last of the water disappeared through the invisible vents, and Dantz was able to take off his diving helmet. He set the helmet and air tanks in the corner of the inner chamber as the transparent screen lowered, allowing access to the ruins within.

After peeling off his diving suit, he tossed it loosely in the corner of the airlock chamber. Dantz wasn't worried about anyone stealing his stuff---Reaverbots generally left any junk randomly lying around the ruins alone.

"Ow!" Case in point. Dantz tried not to swear as he tripped over another piece of random junk. He didn't want to offend the Spotter listening to him on the radio channel.

"Is everything all right down there, Dantz?" his Spotter asked.

"A-O-K," replied the Digger, rummaging around in his pack for his armaments. Dantz hated wearing armor, but had to admit his mismatched grey ceramic plate was more than necessary when dealing with the stronger Reaverbots that hung out in places like this one. Of course, Dantz's stylish orange mining helmet always looked good on him, and provided important head protection as well. "I've entered the main part of the ruins, and I'm proceeding inward."

The Digger fitted the Dantz Blaster on his arm and charged it up, hooking his other gun into the handy loop on his belt. The entryway split off into two corridors. Dantz chose the left one, following it to a dead end. Not much was there, not even any Reaverbots. Using his superior Digger's senses, Dantz reached into a small crevice in the metallic wall and pulled out a few small refractors, probably worth a few thousand zenny. He tucked it into the rucksack and returned from where he had come.

"Do you see much ahead?" he asked as he started down the second corridor.

"Not much, Dantz," his Spotter replied. "I think there are a couple small Reaverbots about thirty yards in front of you, but that's about it."

"All right," Dantz said cheerfully, striding up the hallway with confidence. Those kind of adversaries were ones he could handle easily. He absolutely hated it when there were too many Reaverbots around. It made his insides go all cold. Still, a Digger's job was never easy, and he wouldn't get any work done OR support his family by complaining! "I heard that no one's been down here for twenty years. Is that true?"

"Actually, it's been sixteen years, Dantz, but that one person is the only one, besides you, that is, that's explored these ruins for more than fifty years."

Dantz grunted. He hoped that last Digger that had been here had knocked out all the tough Reaverbots and left all the good treasure. He sighed. That basically never, ever happened. Those two Reaverbots he'd been warned about were in front of him now. No big deal for Dantz, though. The first one took three shots from the Dantz Blaster and collapsed. The second was a little tougher.

The one good thing about Reaverbots, Dantz thought as he somersaulted around the sentry, was that they always took a couple of extra seconds to aim. For instance, if Dantz had needed to track the Reaverbot, he could have just followed it with his eyes and fired as soon as it stopped moving. The sentry's swivel-head, however, took a much longer to move and re-adjust. This instant gave Dantz the chance to finish it off with a quick round from his weapon.

He searched through the broken Reaverbots and pocketed their refractors. Not for the first time, Dantz wondered if he should finish taking their bodies apart, but he realized that no matter how far he scattered their robotic remains, the small cleaning Reaverbots would collect the parts and re-assemble them easily. That was why anytime it seemed like a Digger had cleared all of the Reaverbots out of some ruins, if he came back to those same ruins later, more guardians would be present, in basically the same formation as they had been earlier.

"The next room is clear," his Spotter informed him.

"Great," Dantz said, punching the button that slid open the door. He was always amazed that mechanisms that were obviously centuries old still worked so well. The next room was an long, rectangular chamber seemingly empty. Dantz poked around the walls, but nothing seemed to be hidden within them. As he neared the next portal, a small notch in the wall paneling caught his eye. Unable to reach the small switch inside with his finger, Dantz began rifling through his pack----let's see, his canteen, some rations, his trusty pickax, buzzsaw cufflinks, a few zenny...aha! Here was something he could use: a long yellow pipe cleaner. Why was this in here, anyway?

Shrugging, Dantz stuck the pipe cleaner into the depression, and a hidden door slid open. No one had been in here for decades, even Reaverbots, Dantz could tell, because of the thick layer of dust and mold that covered every nook and cranny. At the end of the short hallway, Dantz found an unopened treasure box. He'd often wondered why the Ancients decided to leave certain items in latched boxes in the ruins, and why some were locked and others weren't. Still, he couldn't argue with the results---namely, money in his pockets.

Dantz grabbed the handful of zenny from the treasure box and continued forward in the ruins. He blasted a few Reaverbots along the way, pocketing the refractors that had powered them. That was another thing. "I was wondering," Dantz said aloud as he continued on, "where do the new refractors come from?"

"What do you mean? There aren't any 'new' refractors, are there?"

"I don't think so," said Dantz. "When Diggers put down Reaverbots, they usually take their refractors out, right?"

"Sure," his Spotter responded.

"Okay, then, when those Reaverbots are fixed by the repair-bots, where do they get those refractors from? They have to come from somewhere."

"I don't know. Maybe the repair-bots make them."

"Maybe," Dantz allowed. "Or maybe the Refractors are...I don't know, teleported in from somewhere else, like the Motherlode or somewhere. I don't know, just thinking out loud."

"That's an interesting idea, Dantz, but maybe we should talk about it later."

"Yeah, right now I have other things to worry about," said Dantz, entering a large, domed room. "All right, hold it, I know what's in here." Dantz placed his hands on his armored hips. "There's a huge, gigantic Reaverbot in here, right? And it's gonna pop down from the ceiling any minute and attack me."

"I'm not showing anything unusual down there, Dantz," said his Spotter, "but there's a huge refractor in the next room."

"You're kidding me," Dantz said warily as he crossed the wide, open floor. "There's no oh-my-God-it's-so-big, monster-ific guardian in here? That's good news, but I can't really believe it." Dantz raised his eyes upward, but just as he'd been told, no Reaverbot lay in wait to drop on him. Dantz didn't even give himself time to shrug, but zoomed across the domed room and into the power chamber.

Once he'd opened the door, Dantz checked out the control panel. This one wasn't as hard to understand as usual, although the language of the Ancients still made little sense to him. Grinning, he lowered the forcefield, ran up to the generator, and removed the huge purple refractor, which he secreted away in his rucksack. He bolted for the next room, but he heard the telltale rumbling even before his Spotter shouted out a warning.

"Dantz---"

"I know, I know," the Digger interrupted. "Your screen is showing an unbelivably huge, unbelievably nasty Reaverbot that just appeared out of nowhere, right?"

"Yes," his Spotter said meekly.

"I knew it," Dantz said with resignation as the center of the floor split open, allowing a singularly horrific robotic guardian to emerge. It had six separate arms, each with long, clawed fingers, and a plasma cannon was embedded in its chest. An unfriendly red eye stared down from its head, as if telling Dantz that he should have known stealing refractors from these ruins carried a death sentence. "Do me a favor, will ya? Before the next time I go on a Dig, let's upgrade the sensors, huh? A lot."

Dantz fired two shots from the Dantz Blaster, but could see that they impacted the monster's chest with no effect. He groaned. Okay, so he was going to have to work to find out the weakness, eh? He blasted the arms a few times, but while they were, in fact, knocked backwards, Dantz really didn't have the patience to try and destroy each one. The next logical step was the eye. Bingo. The robot staggered backwards as the plasma bullet collided with its ocular cavity.

"Heh." Dantz pulled out his second favorite weapon, the Self-Contained Repeating Dantz-o-Matic. He aimed calmly at the eye and squeezed the trigger. Hundreds of bullets poured out the tip of the Dantz-o-Matic, striking the red eye. Luckily for Dantz, the robot also could not move while it was damaged. This made the job of finishing it off all the easier.

Dantz sighed in relief as he collected the giant beast's refractors. While this hadn't been the easiest kill he'd ever had, it certainly hadn't been as bad as he'd expected. He ran out the door and back to the entry chamber as fast as he could.

Taking the Dantz Blaster off his arm, he tucked it and the Dantz-o-Matic into the rucksack, then began putting on the diving suit. As Dantz was reaching for the diving helmet, something lying on the floor in front of the airlock caught his attention. What he had thought mere junk before was something else, a doll, maybe. As he looked closer, it did look like some sort of toy, but did the Reaverbots need toys? This would be an interesting find. He bent down to pick up the toy.

A shot ricocheted off the wall just above his head. Dantz leapt back, reaching into his pack. He brought out the first weapon he could find, his pickax, and brought it crashing down on the small Reaverbot's head. It buzzed loudly, then crashed to the floor. After Dantz removed its refractors, he returned his attention to the toy. "How 'bout that, buddy? You saved the D-man's life! Must be good luck." He placed it into the sack, then zipped it up. After that, Dantz put the rucksack into the waterproof carrier and sealed it.

"All right, Roll," Dantz said to his Spotter as he stuck on his diving helmet, "get ready. I'm coming back up." Dantz grinned as he punched the button which would fill the airlock chamber with water.




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