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Intro to Legends
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5 Island Adventure
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GetMeOffTheMoonRockman PMTRRL
Fan Fiction by aarond
A Different Place: Chapter 12 - Dantz, Interrupted

"Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's my hair I'm going to wash...," Dantz sang as he shampooed his hair, heedless of the fact that his words simply didn't rhyme. "I'm going to be so squeaky clean, heigh-ho, heigh-ho, heigh-ho, heigh---OOHHH!" Dantz shrieked as the hot water showering down on him from the nozzle instantly turned dreadfully, intolerably cold.

Suddenly the lights winked out. Dantz, stumbling in the darkness of the Flutter's bathroom, tripped over the edge of the shower basin while trying to escape the freezing water. "Ah!" he cried, grabbing onto the towel rack before he slipped completely and injured himself irreparably. "Dude, what's going on in here?" Confused, he smoothed his hair out of his eyes, realizing as he did so that there was still shampoo all over his head. Toweling it out wouldn't really work, so, wincing, he stuck his head under the icy water stream and scrubbed until his hair was squeaky clean. There wasn't really any need to use conditioner, was there? Well, it was dark, but it never hurt to----

"Hey, Dantz," Roll said, bursting into the bathroom, "are you all right? I heard you scream, so I picked up my night vision goggles and---"

Dantz let out a sharp, high cry that Roll might have mistaken for one of her own if she hadn't known better. The Digger continued, jumping and yelping, over to where he thought the towel rack was. Unfortunately, he was incorrect and slammed into the wall, a goofy look on his face as his unclothed body slapped down on the tiled floor. "Roll, get out of here!" he shouted, trying to cover himself with his hands.

"Don't worry, Dantz," she said, "I can't actually see anything...incriminating...with these goggles. They just show me blank outlines."

"Really?"

If Dantz had been able to see, he would never have trusted Roll's next words, as the pure deception in her sardonic smirk would have alerted him otherwise. Still, the lights were out, and he could not see said grin. All Dantz could see was the glowing green eyepieces of Roll's goggles. "Really," she repeated. "Now stop wasting time. We need to go downstairs and reset the power generator."

"All right," Dantz said cautiously, "but I think I'd rather go to my room first and put on some shorts..."

"No time," said Roll quickly. "Just wrap a towel around yourself or something, and let's go."

Dantz shrugged, hanging the bath towel around his neck. It was dark, and Roll couldn't actually see him anyway. The two exited the bathroom and climbed down the ladder to the lowest level of the Flutter, with Dantz's wet feet nearly slipping on the third rung. Roll held Dantz's hand, leading him to the Engine Room, where she ordered him to wait by the master switch. Dantz shrugged and began toweling off his hair while he waited. This was going to take awhile.

"The refractor's okay," Roll told him as she clanked around in the spinning chamber. "Looks like I'll just need to start it up again." Unless something jarred it, a spinning refractor could provide constant electrical energy up to a certain limit for practically unlimited periods of time.

"That's good news," Dantz said. "How long will it take?"

"Just about five minutes," Roll replied, climbing in deeper into the generator. "I'm going to reset the breakers and then crank the refractor back up."

"All right," Dantz said, finished drying his hair. He placed the towel around his neck again and leaned against the generator, which vibrated gently each time Roll moved something around. That mechanical stuff wasn't really Dantz's forte, anyway. Roll sure was good with it, though. Dantz chuckled softly as he thought of the first time he'd met the girl.

Dantz had always been a Digger; at least for the parts of his life that he cared to remember. Dantz had never known his father, and his mother had been a marginal presence in his Gold City childhood, a presence which was removed when she ran off just two days before his tenth birthday. There wasn't much work a ten-year-old boy could do in Gold City, and he was no way he would let himself go to an orphange, so Dantz started spending his days, and sometimes nights, up at the Shala-Kun Ruins. These were not ruins in the traditional sense, of course, but what experienced Diggers called "Refractor Mines." A Refractor Mine was slightly different from a Ruin in that it was much safer, with fewer Reaverbots and man-made hazards, although one still stumbled upon the occasional active trap within it.

At first, Dantz merely stumbled around the dark cave, following other Diggers and learning from them. Sometimes he'd sift through some of the dirt and rock piles, pocketing the small refractors the miners had missed or left behind. This kept Dantz fed, although he was soon evicted from his mother's small basement apartment. This presented no problem to the boy, who merely began staying around the family camps just inside the mouth of the mine. Most families staying at the mine were transients, but a few stayed for extended periods of time. These families let Dantz occasionally sleep or eat in their camps, although he'd usually have to kick in a few dozen zenny. It was from one of these families Dantz had acquired his trademark miner's cap, complete with functioning light.

Dantz smiled as he thought of his first meeting with young Roll. Dantz was young at that point too, only twelve, although he'd grown up and filled out some due to his hard work at Digging. Dantz had been hard at working, chopping away at the rock wall face with his trusty pickax, purchased from his hard-won sifting money when he first met her. After a few hard hours whittling away at the wall, he'd only found a few refractors. He'd taken a break when he noticed a small, blond-haired girl next to him. She looked up with her big, blue eyes, maybe a little embarrassed because she was searching through his leftovers.

"Hi, there," Dantz had said. "I'm not sure that'll do you much good. I always check my Diggings pretty thoroughly. A Digger's gotta do that, you know."

"Mmm-hmm," she nodded. "My name's Roll Casket. My Grandpa's a Digger, too! He's checking out the basement." Dantz guessed the girl was around six or seven years old. "You're really handsome."

Dantz laughed indulgently as he tossed his pickax aside, wiping some sweat off his brow. "I'm Dantz. Dantz the Digger. I usually don't go downstairs too much. There's more treasure, but there are sometimes Reaverbots down there, too." A few months later, after discovering Dantz considered "the Digger" to be his true cognomen, she run around calling him "The" for several days until he'd finally told her to stop it. "But I was only calling you by your middle name," she'd protested.

Anyway, Dantz had accompanied Roll back to her camp for the night and met Barrel, an old Digger of whom Dantz had actually heard, mostly from stories the other Diggers would tell. Barrel asked Dantz the next morning if he'd keep an eye on Roll during the day, and he agreed. By the time the Caskets were ready to leave Ryship Island, Barrel said he woudn't leave Dantz behind. Barrel and Roll fixed Dantz up a cabin on their skyship, the Flutter, and he'd been there ever since.

Oh, there had been some hard times, like when Barrel had finally convinced Dantz to go Digging in some real ruins, and his first clash with the Reaverbots. He really, really, really hated those Reaverbots. Overall, Dantz would have to say that he'd been extremely happy with his new home.

"All right, Dantz, we're almost ready," Roll said, emerging from the reactor. Dantz could only tell by the two green glowing dots which were floating in mid-air. He remembered Roll saying something about how those eyepieces had been based upon her grandfather's mechanical eye. At least he thought so.

The green lenses tilted a little as Roll came to stand in front of Dantz. She giggled. "Okay, Dantz---heh---I'm going to start the crank now. Get ready to flip the switch."

"You got it," Dantz said, placing his right hand firmly on the handle.

The engine room door opened as Roll began turning the refractor by hand. "Are you guys almost finished in here?..." Barrel's voice trailed off. "Dantz, are you naked?"

Dantz looked at Barrel's single glowing eye quizzically. "Um, yeah, Barrel, but it's okay. It's pitch black in here."

"Roll and I can see you, you idiot! What do you think night vision is for? So you can see perfectly in the dark, that's what!"

It was at exactly this point that Roll shouted, "Now, Dantz! Do it now!" Dantz threw the master switch reflexively, and the lights in the engine room immediately brightened up. Whether or not Barrel and Roll had been able to see him before, they definitely could now. Dantz hastily wrapped his towel around his waist and fled the room, running desparately back to his quarters for a decent pair of pants.

"Roll," Barrel scolded as Dantz sped by him, "you should know better. Taking advantage of Dantz like that."

"It was too good an opportunity to resist," Roll said, unable to stop smiling.

By the time Dantz had gotten dressed, Roll and Barrel were back in the lab, once again trying to reactivate the toy Dantz had discovered in the underwater ruins. "Um, hey, guys," he said hesistantly, nervously scratching his head. "How's it coming?"

"Those clothes look good on you," Roll said slyly while she tinkered with the artifact. "It obviously isn't out of power. I think something may be wrong with the servo slave circuit. It looks like it had been flooded. We dried it out, and I think we're ready to try starting this boy up again." Roll nodded to her grandfather, who closed the toy's panel. Then, Roll tried pushing what she thought was the startup switch.

The toy twitched, jerked, and then let out a loud, shrill scream for a period of no less than thirty seconds. Then, it shut down completely once again.

"I guess we'll have to try again," Roll said quietly, raising her eyebrows at Dantz.

***

Meanwhile, in another corner of the world, MegaMan awoke screaming.




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