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GetMeOffTheMoonRockman PMTRRL
Fan Fiction by aarond
A Different Place: Chapter 28 - The Forgotten Ruins

The crew of the I.A.S. Glyde went disgruntledly about their daily business as the large, sleek skyship closed in on the Forgotten Ruins. Birdbots upon Birdbots, each practically indistinguishable from the last did their tasks perfunctorily, if unhappily. On the bridge itself, most of the Birdbots were stationary, punching buttons and switching levers as the environment demanded.

Except for the captain, of course. He merely relaxed in his comfortable chair and shouted orders to whomever he felt like ordering around at any given moment. "Helmsman!" Glyde shouted pompously. "What is our status?"

"Same as five minutes ago, sir! Errrrerrrhhh!"

"Excellent," said Glyde, draping his left leg over an armrest. "The Garoona Klang is almost finished. We've already got the Refractor of Iscreme, and now we only need three more large refractors, of Class B or higher, to finish the weapon." Glyde and the others had located the conical-shaped Refractor of Iscreme, also called the Iscreme Cone, back in the Garrdan Island Ruins.

After waiting three days for the Bonnes to emerge from the ruins, Glyde finally figured they had clearly been slaughtered by the Reaverbots within. The prissy pirate had concocted a fantasy for himself where Teisel and that nasty boy who had hit him in the face with an explosive got sliced into little pieces by a large, pink, fictional Reaverbot he'd nicknamed "Mr. Choppy." Mr. Choppy, in addition to being large, pink, and fictional, also carried a rather large sword around. Glyde had even written him his own theme song:

You've gotta go, Mr. Choppy!
Go and chop all those Bonnes
Chop them up into tiny, bite-sized pieces
Then chop them up some more!

Glyde had already written thirty-six verses. He tore his attention away from his favorite reverie and tried to focus on what his crewbots were saying.

"...that's gonna generate a whole lotta power," said the navigator. "Keh keh."

"Yes, it is," Glyde agreed. "A whole lot of destructive power!" He thought about cackling, but didn't.

"You mean it won't work without five separate refractors?" asked a Birdbot from behind Glyde. He turned around and saw that this one was wearing a red captain's hat. That would make him the Prime Birdbot for this ship, second in command only to Glyde himself.

"Yes, Number One," Glyde answered. "It takes four large refractors, plus the larger Iscreme Cone, to power the weapon completely. Otherwise, it's completely useless."

"Errrrrk!" said the Prime Birdbot. "Getting this giant refractor out of these Forgotten Ruins is gonna be hard work! Do we hafta do it?"

"Of course," said Glyde. "What else are we going to do?"

"If you ask me," said the Prime Birdbot, "we oughta just go home, kick back, and find some other things to do. We're really cleaning up at the casino this month; we don't need to loot any more Ruins, or rob any more innocent people. Not for a couple of weeks, anyway. Errrrirrrhhh!"

"Sir!" said one of the Birdbots. "There's another skyship approaching!"

"Threat analysis?" Glyde commanded.

"Keh-keh-keh! None that I can note, sir. It's about a quarter the size of the I.A.S. Glyde, with no visible gun turrets or torpedo tubes!"

"They're probably here to Dig in the ruins," Glyde theorized, leaning forward in his captain's chair. "I think I'll take your advice, Number One. We'll slip off and let them do our work for us! Then, when they've cleaned out the place, we'll swoop in and take all their treasure by force! Helm!"

"Yes, captain?"

"Ahead full! Keep us within a twenty-mile radius of the Ruins until you see their ship veer off! Then we'll commence the attack."

"Keh-keh, sir!"

Glyde changed positions in his seat again, so that his shoulders leaned against one armrest while his legs were draped over the other. "It's just as well. I was getting sick of all that honest Digging, anyway. It'll feel good to actually steal something from somebody."

"Sir," said the Prime Birdbot, adjusting his red captain's cap, "I don't know if that's a good idea. Maybe we should just go in and find the refractor ourselves..."

"I'll make the decisions around here," Glyde chided the Birdbot. "Don't overestimate your own importance."

The Prime Birdbot squawked in irritation. "I'm not the one who named the ship after himself..."

The Flutter had docked at the Forgotten Ruins almost an hour ago, and Dantz was eager to get exploring. True, these ruins were, for the most part, untouched due to their inaccessibility, but Dantz still felt some form of apprehension as the Dig drew nearer. Almost as if something was waiting for him. Something bad... Nah, it must have been his imagination.

"I'm just about ready to go," Dantz announced as he closed the door to his quarters. The Digger was dressed in his usual mismatched grey armor, his pack full of useful supplies, only about half of which were named after him. Roll Caskett stood by the Flutter's main exit, a ritual for the two of them. "These Ruins are small, right? I should be back pretty quick."

"Yeah," Roll said quietly, looking at her feet.

"What's with the long face?" Dantz asked.

"It's just...sometimes I think about you, when you're on Digs. That's all." Roll looked incredibly nervous. What was with her today?

Dantz gave her a hearty laugh. "I don't think Cut Man's waiting for me in there! Even if he was, I'd give him a taste of the ol' Dantz Blaster."

"I just..." Roll began. "Sometimes I worry that you'll get hurt. When I think about what happened to you at the police station, it...I..."

Roll reached forward and clamped her arms around Dantz's waist. She squeezed so tightly that he was beginning to feel constricted by his armor. That was odd, Dantz thought. Usually she waited until he got back for this part. "Hey. What's the problem? I know, you're ready to go on a Dig again, aren't you? Look, maybe I can take you with me next time, if you promise to get some weapons practice in---"

Roll shut Dantz up by mashing her lips against his. The Digger stiffened as she slid her arms up his back and clung to his neck heavily. "Mmmph!" he said. Bug-eyed, Dantz realized that Roll wasn't kissing him playfully like she normally did---this was warm, it was intense, it was adult. In fact, Dantz had assumed Roll wasn't really old or experienced enough to be kissing him this way. Dantz's helmet clattered noisily to the floor, breaking his immobility.

Dantz shoved the girl back. "What are you doing?!" he literally screamed, staring at her for all the world like she'd just stabbed him in the gut.

Roll backed off shakily. "I thought I...I mean you...I..." Her eyes were wider than Dantz's now, and they were wet, flicking between the Digger and her quarters, only feet away. Finally, her quarters won out, and she dashed into the green door, slamming and locking it behind her.

Panting heavily, Dantz bent down on wobbling legs to retrieve his Digger's helmet and replaced it indecisively. "Roll," he called, knocking on her door. He may have overreacted a bit, but what business did she kissing him like that? It wasn't as if he hadn't enjoyed it. No, that wasn't what he meant, but something felt...wrong about it. Or maybe he'd just been taken by surprise?

Roll, I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings... No, that was too easy.

Roll, you're like my little sister, I couldn't... That would probably get him strangled.

Roll, maybe we should try again. I promise I'll do better this time. Maybe it was worth a shot?

He knocked on the door again. "Roll, I...I'm heading into the ruins now."

Dantz exited the Flutter, sealing the door after him. Off in the distance, Dantz thought he might have seen a sleek, black skyship veering off from his position, but what was wrong with Roll, anyway? What was that ship doing here, and why had he reacted like such an idiot? The Digger groaned as he jogged into the blackness of the Forgotten Ruins' entrance.

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