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GetMeOffTheMoonRockman PMTRRL
Fan Fiction by aarond
A Different Place: Chapter 41 - What, No Refractor?

Yuna watched with mild interest as Gatz finished off another Iscreme Sentinel. Her Servitor was unable to transform in the confined space of this Ancient structure, but his battle capacities seemed in no way diminished as he slew large numbers of the automatic guardians. Gatz, unarmed, launched a flying kick at the large Sentinel, then springboarded off the nearby wall, putting one of his fists through the Sentinel's head. The large mechanical guardian instantly shut down.

"Very nicely done," said Yuna. She would have lent Gatz a hand herself, except for the limitations of this frail body she inhabited.

"Thank you, Mistress Yuna." The Servitor held his fingers out, scanning the local area. "I am detecting no further activity in this quadrant. As I informed you before, there have been no other readings to match the ones we received earlier. My own internal scanners, though limited by range, have even greater sensitivity in comparison to the worldwide Mother System. I cannot detect a Purifier Unit within these chambers, nor anything similar that our base's sensors might have mistaken for one."

"A pity." She had done it again! Yuna felt herself falling into the depths of depression as another lead had slipped through her fingers. Why had she let herself believe Gatz's readings could have been true in the first place. "I suppose we can leave this structure now. I see no purpose in continuing our search here, and to tell you the truth, Gatz, these Ancient buildings always make my spine tingle." That was something they seemed to do even more, now that she was inhabiting one of the carbons.

"Yes, Mother." Gatz led her back through the warped, domed rooms, the ruined computer terminals, and wrecked Sentinels (he had slain four on their way down). Finally, they re-emerged on the surface level, camouflaged to appear as natural rock formations, which the local betas had named Garrdan Ruins. "Allow me, Mistress," Gatz said. The Servitor cradled her gently in his powerful arms, took a running start, and leapt over a large chasm which blocked their path. After a smooth landing, he let her down, and they walked side-by-side to the surface exit.

Gatz pressed a button on his wristband, and the Carrier's holographic cloak dissipated, leaving the atmospheric conveyance visible. The Mother Unit and her Servitor had parked the Carrier in a small valley so that none of the curious carbon units would be able to find it or detect its takeoff. Yuna had several Carriers, but all were only fitted out for air travel. If only there had been more than one functional spacecraft currently on the planet's surface! The pod was only big enough to carry two or three Anthro Units, not near enough for Yuna to stage a takeover of Eden, even without Sera's presence.

"Mistress Yuna," Gatz said after they had entered, "I am receiving a transmission from Terra's Mother System. It appears that those near-Purifier readings that I detected earlier were not isolated. The automatic system has also picked up similar emanations coming from an island approximately 1,305.29 miles southwest of here."

"Interesting," Yuna said noncomittally. She wasn't going to let herself get worked up over nothing again! "Are they identical to the earlier ones?"

"In essence," Gatz replied, studying the display on the Carrier's screen. "They seem to be more...muffled, somehow."

"I see." Yuna didn't particularly want to investigate this personally, but who else would be acceptable? "Do you think we could send Gretz to check those out?"

Gatz tended not to let expressions show on his tanned face. This time, the Servitor could not keep a look of disapproval from crossing his face. "I would advise against that, Mother. Gretz is currently inactive, as you know, and it would take some time for him to re-activate. Also, Gretz's previous service records seem to indicate that he may become somewhat...distracted by other matters and neglect his primary mission."

"Other matters?"

"Gretz tends to be fascinated with the comings and goings of the carbon units," Gatz said politely.

Yuna suspected it might go even further than that, but she let the subject drop. "Then it seems that we will have to investigate these readings personally. Set a course for the site of the most recent disturbance."

Gatz lifted the Carrier off the ground. "At our current cruising speed, we will reach our destination in 27.65 hours."

"Very well." Yuna stood up and made her way back to the regeneration chambers. "I think I will get some sleep in the meantime. This body has very strict limits."

"Yes, Mother."

Yuna opened the clear lid and roughly threw herself into the chamber. It would be another hour or so of tossing and turning before she actually got any rest. That had better be a Purifier Unit that they were following, and it had better get her back to her real body, and fast!

"Look out, Barrel!" Dantz shouted as the last panther-like Reaverbot set its sights on the old Digger. Barrel wasn't moving fast enough! Running with exhausting effort, Dantz pushed Barrel out of the way in time, feeling a burning sensation in his posterior as he just barely got himself past the Reaverbot's flame-thrower.

"Thanks, Dantz." Barrel's breath was coming very heavy, now. This Dig had taken almost all of the old man's stamina, and he was starting to wear out. Dantz really couldn't blame him; taking out two of those feral robotic beasts had been difficult. This was the last, though, and even Dantz had to admit he was starting to get tired.

The Digger fired a continuous stream of blasts at the Reaverbot, but it was hard to keep a steady aim on a foe that could move so quickly. The robot's programming seemed to be rather primitive: it would have to come to a complete stop before it was able to discharge its breath weapon. This gave Dantz an idea.

"Barrel," he called, dodging another one of the guardian's blasts. "Try to get behind that thing. When he fires at me again, let him have it!"

Barrel nodded silently and moved into position, taking small steps to avoid triggering the Reaverbot's motion sensors, which were able to detect movement from all sides. Dantz kept up a steady stream of Dantz Blaster fire at the machine, trying to focus its attention solely on him. When it stopped galloping around the chamber and aimed at Dantz, Barrel let fly with his Impact Pulser. The machine glowed with redirected energy and stood stock-still.

Dantz renewed his own attack on it, each blast knocking the sleek Reaverbot a bit further back as it connected. Finally, it had taken more than its body armor was made to withstand. The guardian began smoking and exploded violently, showering the two with refractors, and quite a few, as it took several to power such a massive Reaverbot.

"Excellent!" said Dantz as he gathered up the fallen refractors. "That thing saved us a little bit of work, blowing up like that. And, I might add, we can chalk up another big victory for the D-Man and the B-Meister!"

"The 'B-Meister?'" repeated Barrel.

"Sorry," said Dantz, "I got a little carried away."

"It's all right," Barrel said as the two Diggers entered a room which housed a large power generator.

Dantz surveyed the area. "What are we looking for in here?"

"Well, we've still got to get a third ID card if we want to operate that console on the top floor," Barrel reminded him.

"Right," said Dantz, eyeing the generator, "but if you ask me, I think we ought to check this big generator for a refractor before we look for anything else."

"Fine, fine," said Barrel, "but let's be quick about it."

The two Diggers began feeling around the power generator, trying to locate an access panel. When ten minutes had passed by, with no success, Dantz suggested they simply remove one of the large panels to look inside. Barrel took a large screwdriver from his tool belt and tried to remove one of the large, square, metallic panels. After a couple of long minutes, Barrel decided his strength was no match for the centuries of rust that must be plaguing the screws. Dantz added his own physical might to Barrel's, and with effort, the screw began to turn.

It took the better part of an hour for the two to finish the job. "That's it for me," Barrel said as the last screw popped out of place. "You can get this thing off yourself. I'm going to look for that ID card."

"Okay," Dantz said, inserting his gloved fingers between the loose panel and the ones surrounding it. He leaned backwards, using momentum to pry off the metallic plate rather than his own force. Dantz nearly lost his balance as the full weight of the panel came on him. He stumbled over to the far wall, slamming the panel against it almost intentionally. Intended or not, the result was the desired one: the generator had been opened.

"I found that ID card," Barrel called from the other side of the room.

"Great," said Dantz, peering into the generator's guts. There were a few assorted wires and pipes, a iron grid, and a small control panel. "What, no refractor?"

"You'd better be kidding," Barrel said as he returned. "We didn't just spend forty-five minutes tearing open that thing and there's not a single refractor inside? Is this Ruin run on coal power, or something?" Dantz started to respond, but was interrupted. "Never mind. Let's just go back upstairs and check out that control room."

The two retraced their steps to the top floor. As far as they knew, all of the Reaverbots had been put down, at least for the moment, until the small repair 'bots kicked in. This meant the Ruins were filled with an eerie silence. "It always kinda bugs me when it's this quiet," said Dantz.

Barrel nodded in agreement. "Yes. Despite the urgency of battle with the Reaverbots, I've always that I felt more like an intruder when the Ruins are completely still. It feels like I'm walking on someone's grave." He and Dantz stepped in front of the control room's doors, which opened automatically.

Dantz withdrew the three ID cards from his pack. "I don't feel qualified to actually try operating these ancient systems. Will you do it, Barrel?"

"On one condition," the old Digger replied.

"What's that?"

"Never call me 'the B-Meister' again."

Barrel took the cards from Dantz and inserted them into the ancient computer. A display came to life, and Barrel punched a button marked "Activate" in the Ancient text.

"What's this?" Dantz asked, holding up a large, key-shaped object covered in Ancient symbols. "It looks like a key."

"'Watcher,'" read Barrel. "We'd better hold on to this. We might need it later." He pressed another button. "That should do it," the old Digger said. "The Main Gate should be opening any minute now."

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