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GetMeOffTheMoonRockman PMTRRL
Fan Fiction by aarond
A Different Place: Chapter 46 - Second Place Is Still Okay, Isn't It?

Tron Bonne was not usually a girl who woke up feeling happy. It wasn't that she had nothing to feel happy about, it was just that the entire idea of getting out of bed always seemed so silly at the time. On most days, Tron would shut off her alarm, roll around in bed for a while, groan sleepily, and lie in bed staring blurrily at the wall until Servbot Number Eighteen came in, flipped on the lights, and chirped out, "Good morning, Miss Tron!" This would generally result in Eighteen ducking yet another alarm clock which had been hurled in his direction.

This morning, however, was different. Tron awoke slightly early, feeling well-rested and ready to face the day. As her alarm sounded, it seemed to her that this time it was more of a signal, a sign that it was time to get out of bed than some nagging, whiny noise that existed just to annoy her. Tron smiled and gently shut off the alarm. She hopped out of the large, canopied bed and stretched gloriously.

Tron's door opened. "Good morning, Miss Tron!" said Number Eighteen as he cheerily strode in, turning on the lights. "It's a beautiful day!" After saying this, Eighteen immediately hit the deck in expectation of an imminently tossed alarm clock. To the Servbot's amazement, no such object immediately flew over his head. In fact, his mistress was already up and greeting the morning with a delighted expression on her face.

"Good morning, Number Eighteen!" said Tron happily as she changed into her Digging attire. "This sure is a wonderful day, isn't it?"

Number Eighteen was confused. His mouth hung open a few seconds before he responded. "Ummm...why is that, Miss Tron?"

"Because today we're going to Dig out the largest haul anyone's even seen!" Tron said intensely, pulling on her boots. "The Main Gate probably has huge stores of refractors, and no Digger's even set foot inside it! That means were looking at some big, big money."

Tron stepped into her private bathroom and began sculpting her hair. Seventeen-and-a-half minutes later, she emerged, every single strand in perfect alignment. "Wow!" she said, looking at her reflection as she exited. "I remember when that used to take a whole hour!"

"Are you ready to go, Miss Tron?" asked Number Thirty-Six from his usual station at the piano.

"Almost," Tron said. She made sure her belt buckle was prominently displayed, tucked in her shirt, and led her Servbots on the short trip to the Gesellschaft's bridge. As the elevator's doors cleared, Tron could see MegaMan was on his way to the bridge as well.

"Mornin'," he said sleepily. On a normal day, this would have gotten him in deep trouble, but Tron was willing to let it slide this time. She simply felt too excited to let MegaMan's blatant disregard bother her this morning.

"I cant wait to start our Dig!" she said, rubbing her hands together greedily.

"Yeah," MegaMan said, nearly yawning. "I skipped breakfast. The Main Gate is all I can think about." He actually was looking a little cute with his bed hair pointing out in all directions. MegaMan's stomach let out an audible, gurgling growl. He looked sheepishly at Tron, then tried to laugh off the embarrassing occurrence.

Tron, who was more than a little hungry herself, reached into her pocket, fetching out a granola bar that Number Forty had procured for her in an unusually lucid moment. She opened the wrapper, then broke it in half, handing the larger half to MegaMan. "Thanks," he said earnestly, giving her one of his rare half-smiles.

"No problem," she replied informally, munching on her half. The two nibbled in silence for a moment.

Suddenly, Tron felt there was something she had to explain to MegaMan. "Look," she began, just as he had also found the need to express himself. "Listen, I---"

"You first," each told the other.

Neither one had begun by the time the lift reached the bridge. MegaMan awkwardly followed Tron into the Gesellschaft's control center. What was it she had wanted to tell him, anyway? It had seemed really important, but right now she couldn't quite remember what it was that had been so urgent only a few minutes ago. She just couldn't put her finger on it...

Tron came to the helm, the table next to which was supposed to hold the three keys which would grant them access to the Main Gate. The keys didn't seem to be visible, however. In fact, Tron couldn't see the keys anywhere on or around the table.

She placed her hands angrily on her hips, casting her paralyzing gaze across the entire bridge. "All right! Where did the Gate Keys go?!"

Dantz felt himself shivering as he entered the Main Gate. No one had been in this Ruin for generations, perhaps ever. Nothing seemed that special about the interior so far, though. Despite the tension that was running through him, he nevertheless looked forward to the mission ahead of him.

"You look clean so far, Dantz," Roll called to him through the voicelink. The two of them, after fleeing from the pirates' ship with the stolen keys, had taken an old Spotting car which had once belonged to the junk store owner. Roll had fixed up the old equipment, a chore which hadn't really taken that long, and taken Dantz via the car to the Main Gate, which just outside of the older, abandoned sectors of Kattleox City.

Dantz wasn't sure if stealing the Gate Keys and excavating the Main Gate before the Bonnes got a chance to do it was the best, or ever the smartest method of getting revenge. Sure, it hurt---it still hurt quite a bit---that Barrel and the others were...dead, but Dantz suspected that unless he could complete this Dig very quickly, he and Roll would end up with the Bonnes chasing them all over the local island chains. Actually, the Bonnes might just be chasing them around this island, since they no longer had a means of air transportation.

There was a lot to think about, even without his current Dig in the mix. Assuming that he found enough cash or valuables in this Ruin, he and Roll, the two of them, might be able to buy themselves a new skyship, but was that something they would even want to do? Maybe Roll, despite her decision to Spot for him now, was ready to move on. Dantz felt conflicted about that.

A duo of tall Reaverbots blocked his way down the winding corridor of the Main Gate. Dantz withdrew the Dantz Blaster and fired. The blasts ricocheted off of their massive shields. The Digger leapt over the Reaverbot on the right, planting his free hand on the wide, saucer-like "hat" on the Reaverbot's head. As he landed behind them, he blasted the Reaverbots' unprotected backs.

Roll and Dantz were both going to have to make some major adjustments now, the Digger realized as he collected the Reaverbots' refractors and kept on going. Their home had been destroyed and most of their earthly possessions lost, and though Dantz still intended to scout out the mountainous region around Clozer Woods for the wreckage, he didn't expect to able able to salvage much. He wouldn't let Roll, go with him, though. It might be too much for her if they found Barrel's body among the wreckage.

"Dantz, there should be a door coming up on your right," Roll advised him.

"Thanks, I see it," he said, running past the large portal. "I'll check it out on the way back up. I want to see how far down this tunnel goes."

"All right," Roll answered. "Just don't leave any loot behind. I don't want those murdering Bonnes to get a single refractor!"

"You got it," Dantz promised, destroying another shield-bearing Reaverbot before it could notice his presence.

After removing their refractors, Dantz rounded another corner. The voicelink was starting to crackle with interference. "Dantz," Roll said, her voice interrupted by bursts of static, "I'm losing....mise to be careful...kay?"

"I'll stay as safe as I can, Roll," Dantz said deliberately. Then, he switched off the transmission. The long, spiraling hallway finally terminated in another large door. Dantz entered, then found another, even larger door blocking his way.

"'Watcher,'" Dantz read haltingly. His familiarity with the Ancient language wasn't that great, but he recognized these symbols, which were the same as those on the first Gate Key. "Here we go," he said. Dantz took a deep breath and unlocked the giant portal in the heart of the Main Gate.

Teisel Bonne hit the ground running as he leapt out of the Drache. Of all places to keep the keys, he would have thought the Gesellschaft's bridge would have been a fairly safe one. Still, he realized he should have locked up the one-of-a-kind items instead of leaving them in the hands of the replacement bridge crew. Apparently all it took was some moron Digger dressed in a Servbot costume to fool them.

It had taken Teisel nearly an hour to get Tron calmed down to the point where she was no longer throwing Servbots across the bridge, and another twenty minutes after that to convince her that rather than take the offenders for an extended run in the Torture Room (which MegaMan was insisting they refer to by the more humane term "obstacle course"), the family should descend in full battle array on the Main Gate and painfully punish the culprits. And Teisel had a very good idea who those culprits were.

Yes, there was little doubt that it was that small, blond girl and her tall Digging partner who had orchestrated the theft. Teisel sighed as he, Tron, Bon, MegaMan, and thirty-three of the Servbots plunged into the now-open Main Gate. That girl still blamed him for her grandfather's death, even though Teisel hadn't even been around when their ship had been destroyed, and despite the fact that Tron had sworn up and down that the neon blast hadn't come from the Gesellschaft! Teisel would readily admit he didn't know the function of every single weapon on his skyship, but he thought he would have known if a beam cannon THAT powerful was on board.

"Charge!" Teisel cried, leading the others down the left fork as they entered the Main Gate. When they instantly ran into a dead end, Teisel was flattened against the wall. Bon slammed into him, then the two of them were both crushed even more as dozens of Servbots ran into them. "Other way," he gasped out, trying to peel himself off the Main Gate's wall.

After everyone had extricated him- or herself from the massive human traffic jam, Teisel began leading the way down the Main Gate's spiraling single hallway. Something valuable was at the bottom of this shaft, he just knew it!

The Bonnes climbed over the wrecked Reaverbot remains, a clear marking of the thief's trail. They kept looping around the spiral, going further and further down until they reached a door. "Oh, my," said Teisel. "We can keep going down, or use this door. What should we do?"

"I don't know," said MegaMan. "Are we trying to just find some refractors, or are we chasing that other Digger?"

"No way I'm letting that thieving...doofus get away!" Tron shouted. "I want some payback!"

"Okay, sounds good," said MegaMan, "but how do we know which way he went?"

"Babu!" Bon said.

Teisel scratched his chin thoughtfully. "Well, I suppose we could..." An idea sprouted in his mind. "Number Nine! Number Twenty-Five!"

"Yes, sir?" asked the two Servbots as they separated themselves from the group.

"Split up," he ordered, pointing in each of the two directions. "If one of you finds a downed Reaverbot, come back and report immediately!"

"Roger!" the Servbots replied, running off.

Teisel tapped his foot impatiently as he waited. He felt like he was wasting time, although he knew that the opposite was true. Finally, after several minutes, Number Nine returned from his trek, emerging from the double doors. "There's a Reaverbot in there!"

"Well, is it alive?" Tron demanded.

"Y-yes," stuttered the shivering Servbot. "It was scary!"

"I'm guessing it's probably the other direction, then," said MegaMan.

Teisel scratched his head, thinking it over for a moment. "That seems logical." He pointed theatrically down the spiraling tunnel. "All right, everyone let's MOVE OUT!!!"

As the valiant pirates descended further, the group caught up with Number Twenty-Five, who was checking a pair of downed Reaverbots for refractors. "Um, these Reaverbots have been beaten, but I can't find any refractors inside them," he said.

"Didn't you hear me?" Teisel said. "Let's MOVE OUT!!!"

Number Twenty-Five quickly followed suit with the rest of the Bonne Clan, jogging at a swift but steady pace down the remainder of the tunnel. After a few more rotations, the group found themselves at another set of double doors, which Teisel quickly opened. He motioned for silence, and the crew tiptoed slowly into the next chamber, which appeared far more modern and well-kept than the previous portions of the Main Gate had been.

Teisel could see that Digger's patchy grey armor outlined in the hallway ahead. What was his name again? Dance? Darts? Anyway, the tall Digger was facing away from Teisel's crowded party, so he was not yet aware of their presence. Teisel sidestepped a little closer, halting the others with his outstretched palm. That Digger seemed to be talking to another person.

"Was it you who awoke me?" asked an odd voice pleasantly. "It is somewhat earlier than I had planned..."

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