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GetMeOffTheMoonRockman PMTRRL
Fan Fiction by aarond
A Different Place: Chapter 29 - A Clean, Painless Dig

Dantz's booted feet clipped and clopped in rhythm on the metallic floor of the Forgotten Ruins. Man, it was quiet in here. And dark. Very dark. About half of the time, the power systems in any given Ruin would be functioning. That meant that the other half, it was basically very dark inside. Luckily, Dantz had the situation covered. He clicked on the lamplight in his trusty Digger's helmet, which shined its beam brightly into the dank dungeon.

Man, what had Roll been thinking, kissing him like that? Dantz had long since passed the age where a young man started thinking about nothing but girls ninety percent of the time, but he had always tried to keep Roll as pure as possible in his private thoughts. The Digger blushed as he recalled the younger girl's hot lips pressed against his, the shocking realization that her tongue was, indeed, probing for his own---

"No!" Dantz yelled out loud. How could he stop thinking about it? Here he was, risking his very life in an extremely dark and dangerous Ruin, and Roll's fierce kiss was the only thing on his mind. He needed something to distract him.

Something like a Reaverbot nest. Eight short Reaverbots popped out of the two walls on both sides of Dantz. They looked angry, and they looked mean. The Digger charged up the Dantz Blaster. "This'll do."

Ten minutes later, Dantz flipped sidewise around the final Reaverbot's laser and held the Dantz Blaster up to its eye. "'Bye," he said succinctly and pulled the trigger. The Reaverbot emitted a mild explosion and fell backward. Now began the hard part. Dantz started taking the Reaverbot husks apart, removing the valuable refractors that were hidden inside. These ruins had a very straightforward layout, but Dantz wondered if there might be any traps ahead. He hesistated, then called back to the ship. "Roll, what's the corridor ahead look like? Roll?"

The radio crackled. "Um, looks like you're clear, as far as the next chamber goes, keh! But there's some bigger Reaverbots in the one after that---ererrrrrhhh!"

"Quackard?! Quit playing on the radio. Let me talk to Roll."

"Keh! Roll said she wasn't feeling good and asked me to Spot for you. Would you rather have the monkey do it?"

"What about Barrel?" asked Dantz, picking up the last of the refractors.

"Grampy's in the bathtub right now, and you know how long his 'Time for Barrel' always takes. I think he switched the jets on."

Dantz groaned in appreciation. He was actually very glad he wasn't on the Flutter right now. Of course, he sort of already had been. "I'll guess we'll have to make do. How did Roll seem to be doing?"

"Errrrlllleeeeuggh! Her eyes were really red, and she was sniffing a lot. I'll bet she's got a sinus infection, maybe the pinkeye."

"Yeah," Dantz agreed absently, speeding through the empty corridor, "I'll bet that's it." Maybe he could have found less violent way of rebuffing Roll's advances, but she had taken him completely by surprise. The only way he could have been more shocked was if Barrel himself had given Dantz a bearded kiss. It wasn't like he didn't care about her, for the Ancients' sake!

Dantz encountered another couple of Reaverbots to distract him as he entered the next room. He fired twice with the Dantz Blaster, then jumped up, pulling himself on top of a nearby raised platform. As he had known from various other Digs, this allowed Dantz to fire rapidly upon his robotic enemies with impunity. Mere seconds later, the two clawed Reaverbots were nothing more than useless piles of junk littering the floor of the Forgotten Ruins. Dantz collected their refractors and walked through the automatic door which led to the next area.

"There are two different directions to choose from," said Quackard, confirming what Dantz saw. "You can go left---that looks like it leads to the power core, keh! The right just stops at another small room."

"I'll go right first," said Dantz as he took off running. "That way I can get the generator's big refractor last and just zip right out." He jogged into the small room, keeping an eye out for any Reaverbot activity. Nothing seemed to notice his entry, so he hopped up onto a protruding ledge, discovering a hidden treasure.

"I wonder what this is?" Dantz asked out loud.

"Errrrrerrrrh! How should I know? You're the one that can see it."

"Sorry." Maybe Roll could figure out something to do with the small, complicated-looking chip he had found. "Doooh!" Dantz said, as he'd brought the girl into his foremost thoughts again. "Stop that!" he said to a mental vision of himself and Roll embracing passionately.

Dantz grunted as he hopped off the ledge and headed toward the power core. After a warning from Quackard, he shot at two Reaverbots before they could fully emerge from the charging chambers. Dantz once again removed their refractors and continued on.

The lights were on as Dantz entered the large core room. A large blue refractor spun gently in the power locus, refracting its energy throughout the Ruins. Or at least, that was what it should have been doing. Obviously, it was functioning properly. Dantz hoped it wasn't a problem with the refractor, and as he walked closer carefully, he saw that the blue gem seemed to be in pristine condition. No cracks or fissures adorned its azure surface, leading Dantz to the conclusion that it was, indeed, not the problem with the Forgotten Ruins power losses. Dantz lowered the protective screen with the control panel, then carefully closed his hands around the jewel.

"Hold on," he said as he caught himself. "Quackard, are there any traps or hidden Reaverbots here?"

"I don't see any---keh-keh!"

Dantz paused even further. "Better run that scan again. You remember what happened last time..."

"Yeah, yeah." Through the voicelink, Dantz could hear Quackard punching what he hoped were the proper buttons on the console. "Reading is confirmed, honk. There's nothing there except the refractor."

"I sure hope you're right..." Dantz gently caressed the refractor with his gloved fingers, then gingerly lifted it out of its cradle and tucked it into his pack. He peered around in every conceivable direction, but nothing appeared to have changed. Just to be safe, he ran out of the power core as speedily as he was able.

This was where the giant, ugly Reaverbot was going to be, Dantz realized as he stepped back into the area outside the power chamber. He flinched, stepping on his tiptoes into the wider area of the room. After a couple of minutes, Dantz opened his squinted eyes, noticed that there was no massive guardian about, and began happily making his way back through the ruins. "Well, Quackard," said Dantz, "I guess I've made it completely through the Ruins. It was short, just like I thought, and if you don't mind me saying so, I DOMINATED these Ruins so hard-core that it's simply amazing."

"Don't pat yourself on the back too much," Quackard said, his sarcasm circuits actually doing an appropriate rendition of his current emotion. "You might just wear a hole in your armor."

"Yeah," said Dantz as he entered a large, rectangular chamber with several square pillars in the center. He was almost to the exit now. "Who's your daddy?!" he asked the Ruins expectantly. "Who's your daddy?! I tell you what, Quackard, I don't think I could be happier with the way this Dig went---" Dantz's boasting stopped abruptly.

"What is it?" asked the Birdbot. "Uh-oh. Dantz, you're not gonna like this---keh---but I just picked up a---"

"Huge Reaverbot," Dantz said, looking at the monster in front of him, stunned. "You just caught it," he said with resignation, "it wasn't there before."

"Yeah," said Quackard apologetically.

"Quackard, I really, really mean it this time," Dantz said, pulling out his other weapon as the giant guardian activated, "those sensors have got to be upgraded. As soon as possible!"

"Waaaak!" the Birdbot quacked over the voicelink in affirmation.

Dantz hooked the Diggermissiles onto his left arm. As the Digger bounded off the wall of the chamber, he let fly with a cascade of the powerful projectiles. He had originally wanted to name the weapon the "Diggerlauncher," but Roll had convinced him that a weapon called the Diggerlauncher would be launching Dantz at the Reaverbots instead of missiles. So he had conceded.

The young Digger tried to force Roll out of his thoughts yet again as he dodged the giant Reaverbot's pointed weapon. The Diggermissiles, unfortunately, did not have an impressive rate of fire, despite their powerful explosive capability. Dantz clicked off his secondary weapon and began laying into the Reaverbot with his Dantz Blaster. Powerful green bolts arced through the air, impacting loudly with the guardian's armor.

The whole situation, thought Dantz as he dodged another attack, was entirely Roll's fault. If she hadn't tried to maul him on the Flutter, he wouldn't have gotten so wound up. He would have been able to keep his mind on his Digging, and probably have been done with this battle earlier. He wouldn't even be thinking about this all right now instead of concentrating on business.

Dantz backed up and let the guardian have another two blasts. It shuddered, then stopped moving. Dantz allowed himself to relax a little after a few more seconds of stillness. "Okay," he said acceptingly, unbuckling the Diggermissiles and slipping them back into the rucksack. The Reaverbot was still between him and the entrance, and Dantz wasn't quite willing to risk getting smashed just because the Reaverbot seemed to be inactive.

"Hey, Quackard," he called into the voicelink, "is that thing dead or not?"

"Nope, keh-keh-keh! It's still active, just playing possum."

"That's what I thought," Dantz said, raising the Dantz Blaster. "Nice try," he told the Reaverbot as he discharged one final round at it. The guardian tried to move as the blasts came forth, but had waited far too long. Its head flew off in an ear-splitting crash. Dantz had ducked around a pillar and managed to avoid most of the flying debris.

Dantz sneaked a peek at the carnage and saw that all was well. "Yeah!" he said as he performed a small victory dance. "Get ready, pal," he said to his Spotter. "I'm coming home!"




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