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GetMeOffTheMoonRockman PMTRRL
Fan Fiction by aarond
A Different Place: Chapter 35 - Je Suis un Espion

Tron darted swiftly from tree to tree, trying to stealthily keep watch on MegaMan and the little blond tart that was walking with him. They were just talking to one another, shooting the breeze as they took in the sights of the city. What was MegaMan thinking, hanging around a girl like that? Her hair was tangly and ill-cared for, and her blue eyes were bovine in their acceptance, just staring at Tron's boy. Her shoulders slumped a bit, like she was trying to puff out her chest, where she was a little...more developed than Tron's in certain places, even though she looked a little younger. She obviously came from peasant stock.

The floozy was stuffing some sort of messy snack into her mouth. Her poor breeding was reflected by the way her jaws moved sloppily up and down while chewing the disgusting concoction; even a Servbot had better table manners than that! Never mind that MegaMan was eating one of the things, too. At least he looked cute while he was doing it.

Now MegaMan was asking her some sort of question, but Tron was too far away to hear what it was. The girl answered him, pointing at the police station. Tron couldn't hear her, either. If MegaMan wanted to know about the police station, though, Tron was the one he should have been asking. She probably knew fifty times more about the police station than his cheaply-dressed companion.

That puffy red hat looked so gauche, Tron thought as she followed them closely, dodging behind a trash receptacle marked Keep Kattleox Clean. Now they were going back into the downtown area. She waited for the two to go through the gate, then padded her way there as well. Tron tapped her foot impatiently, waiting until she had judged enough time had passed, then she entered the gate herself.

Tron thought as she entered downtown Kattleox City that she might have let too much time pass before continuing on, but she found MegaMan and the slutty girl fairly quickly. Once she caught up to him (and had stopped spying on him, of course), he was going to be in big trouble. Oooh, she'd let him have it!

What were they doing now, going into the library? Tron found the city planning here to be quite predictable, and while she'd already checked the library and found it to be acceptably run, it hardly seemed to be an ideal place for a date. If MegaMan was even on a date, which for his sake he had better be hoping he wasn't!

MegaMan and the floozy were still talking about something as they strolled up the steps to the library. Tron really wished she had brought one of her listening devices on this reconaissance mission with her, but who would have known she would need them so badly?

Not only was MegaMan disobeying her orders, which as her servant he was technically obliged to follow, he was doing it all while keeping company with some street girl! Tron groaned loudly as the two disappeared into the library's entrance. She sneaked up to the library, and, realizing she couldn't possibly go in without being seen, she hopped onto one of the hedges outside the building, looking in through one of the windows.

Now they were talking to the girl at the front desk---no, they were moving off and looking through the bookshelves, talking about something which she still couldn't hear. That girl and MegaMan were totally absorbed in conversation now, and--oh, she turned away! Maybe she was leaving! No, MegaMan caught her by the shoulder and said something comforting---he was so good at doing that! Then she put both of her dirty little hands on his!

"What are you doing?" asked a man's voice from behind her. "The entrance is over to your left."

"Whoa!" Tron cried as she fell from the bush's fragile grasp. She brushed the leaves off herself and fixed a frosty glare on the stranger. "Mind your own business!" she snapped, climbing back up on the hedge.

If that tease touched MegaMan again, Tron would kill her!

Barrel Caskett, still clad in a mauve bathrobe, was looking in disbelief at the head-high stack of papers on the counter next to him. "I really have to fill all of these out to get ID cards for my family and me?"

"Yes," said the Kattleox City Administrative Assistant. "In triplicate."

Barrel looked longingly at the copy machine to the right of the City Hall counter. "I don't suppose..."

"No photocopies accepted," said the desk attendant firmly, shoving the forms towards Barrel in a not-too-subtle hint.

The old Digger sighed and brought the sheaf of paper over to the bench, where he sat and tried to fill out the forms as best he could. He could not maintain a high standard of neatness, as the city employees had neglected to provide a table at which to fill out said forms. He started grumbling out loud as he reached the third form. They seemed to all be asking the same questions over and over again.

"Why does your government need to know whether I prefer crunchy peanut butter, or smooth?" Barrel asked out loud.

"It doesn't," came a warm, familiar female voice from above him.

"Can that be Amelia?" said Barrel, rising to his feet as his pretty blond student descended the City Hall staircase. "You've changed quite a bit, my girl."

"Hardly a girl," said Amelia Davis, Mayor of Kattleox. She'd obviously aged a little bit---no one Barrel had known for twenty years or more had not---she'd cut her blond hair short, and started wearing skirts that were south of the knee, but her brown eyes still looked the same.

"Yes," Barrel agreed. "What were you saying about the peanut butter?"

Amelia laughed. "My government doesn't need to know what kind of peanut butter you like," she said. "It really doesn't need to know half of the things those questionnaires want to know."

"Just as I thought," said Barrel.

"I don't know if you've noticed, but basically all of the forms ask the exact same questions several times over. It's just that they are presented in a different order and with different wordings."

Barrel snapped his fingers. "I KNEW it!"

"Really, the only forms that matter are the first one and the last one," Amelia admitted. "The ones in between are there both to make sure the applicant is serious about wanting his ID card, and about keeping the island's populace employed."

"What do you mean?" Barrel asked.

"Our island is for all intents and purposes, a paradise," said Amelia, seating herself on the bench next to her old teacher. "The weather is calm, the food supply is plentiful, and basically, there's not a whole lot for the populace to do. That's why the city government has to be so large. Otherwise, there would be hardly any gainful sources of employment for Kattleox citizens. Seventy-five percent of our people either work at the police station, or in the Public Works Department. Of course, since we keep most of the Ruins closed..."

Barrel rolled his eyes. " don't have a lot of people employed as Diggers."

"Right, Professor Barrel. That's why I didn't come home until I was ready to retire from Digging. There's no money in it on this island."

"Why is that? Why are all the Ruins sealed?"

"There are a few that are open to the public, Barrel, but for the most part we keep them sealed." Amelia's eyes took on a new light as she began lecturing to her former professor on a subject with which she was well acquainted. "The larger Ruins on the island we call Sub-Gates, and the largest in the Main Gate. I don't know how much you've heard, but all of the ruins on Kattleox Island seem to be interconnected, including the above-ground ruins that we've used as our city walls. The Gates are the most dangerous Ruins of them all, so they have been locked securely, to be opened only on the authority of the mayor."

"Which happens to be you, at the moment," said Barrel speculatively. Maybe he'd be able to get a permit for Dantz to do some seriously high-profit Digging during their stopover here.

"Yes," Amelia said, "but don't get your hopes up. I'm not planning on releasing those locks unless I see that we've got a serious Digger on our hands, hopefully more than one, who will see the job through to the end. Also, there is the curse..." She let the phrase dangle tantalizingly.

Barrel looked at Amelia sharply before indulging her. "A curse?"

"Supposedly the Main Gate is cursed; if anyone should happen to open it and go to the bottom, the island will face its ultimate destruction."

"That sounds...reasonable," Barrel said with barely detectable sarcasm.

Amelia smiled at the old man. "Yes, well, I've found it's often easier to let people have their little superstitions rather than try to change old customs."

Barrel wasn't really listening to his former student. He was busy trying to cook up an excuse for Dantz to go Digging in the Sub-Gates.

MegaMan wasn't certain why Roll had wanted him to go to the library with her, but it wasn't as if he really knew where else to go within the unfamiliar city. His new friend had all but carried him up the library steps and into the large building. "Is there any information on the Curse of Kattleox Island?" Roll asked the clerk.

"That information is located to your right, in the Legends and Myths section," the woman told them.

"Curse?" MegaMan wanted to know as they scanned the bookshelf.

"I thought I heard someone outside mention it," Roll said, plucking a tome from the third row. "There's some sort of legend that...let's see..." Roll flipped through the book's pages. "It says here that every one hundred years, some sort of disaster is supposed to affect Kattleox Island. It doesn't say exactly what form the disaster takes, but in theory, it would kill every single person living here." Roll gasped and turned around. "That's horrible," she said, beginning to shiver.

"It's okay." MegaMan squeezed Roll's shoulder. "Look, that's not going to happen. Everything will be all right, I promise."

Roll put both her hands on his, and turned around, looking deeply into MegaMan's eyes. She leaned in, a little closer to him, and...

"Ooof!" Some muffled crashing sounds came from outside. The boy and the girl turned to the clear, tall window, but could see nothing directly outside.

"What was that?" asked MegaMan.

"I don't know," admitted Roll. She shook her head as she let go of MegaMan, picked up the book, and continued reading. "You know, I can actually see Dantz Digging in the Ruins and setting off some ancient destruction device, killing everyone on the island. All a well-meaning accident, of course. He's such a doofus."

"Who?" MegaMan heard some familiar-sounding yelling going on outside, but his attention was currently elsewhere.

"Oh, he's my Digger." Roll's eyes flashed with a certain meanness. "I can't wait for you to meet him," she said with enthusiasm. She dropped the book, and latching on to MegaMan's hand, she pulled him back to the door and out of the library.

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