||The Creature of Eraimo Beach: Chapter 1 - On the Tail of High Adventure!
It had been three years since Mega Man had made his triumphant return from Elysium and successfully shut down the Elder System. Thanks to him, the world hadn’t seen any inkling of Reaverbots breaching the surface in ages. As the years went by, he and Roll had settled back into a more or less ordinary routine as Digger and Spotter, flying from island to island without any more mysterious figures from Mega Man’s past popping up to put a damper on their spirits.
As a matter of fact, after all these years of routine, the Caskett clan had started to get bored.
“How was the dig, Mega Man?” Roll asked, looking up from the TV as the blue-armored digger clomped into the Flutter’s living room, bringing a slight dusting of dirt along with him onto the carpet.
Mega Man dropped a dusty bag of refractor shards on the coffee table in front of her and plodded into the kitchen to fix himself some lunch. “It was uneventful. There weren’t even any big…hey, wait a minute!” He exclaimed. “You should know exactly how it went! You were manning the spotting controls, weren’t you?”
Roll gulped. “Um…well…” she stammered, “it’s not like you’ve been running into any real trouble lately anymore…and you know how much I love this new season of Dangerous Games, right?”
Mega Man dropped the bread on the table and stormed back into the living room. “You weren’t even at the controls?!” He shouted. “What if something happened down there?”
“Every time something dangerous happens underground my machines cut out anyway,” Roll insisted, barely looking up as, on television, a boy from Saul Kada hopped across a row of vending machines with a unicycle. “The last time I spotted for you, you wouldn’t stop complaining about how I keep pointing out the obvious. ‘Yes, Roll, for the love of holon machinery I see the door!’ ‘You mean the elevator that’s mere inches from where I’m standing?’” She mimicked. “Do you want a spotter or not?”
“It’s not…I mean…” Mega Man faltered. “Digging just isn’t as fun as it used to be. I think, after all that crazy nonsense with the system, the Bonnes, and your mom, I just got too good at it for my own good. Nothing interesting happens anymore.”
“Leave my mother out of this,” Roll muttered. The boy on the TV missed his last jump and the studio audience heaved a sigh. She changed the channel. “At least it pays the bills,” she pointed out, stopping at a news program.
“It was awful! I’d never seen anything like it before in my life!” A middle aged woman with frazzled red hair exclaimed to the anchor on the scene. “This thing just washed up on the coast one day from out of nowhere…it didn’t look like any kind of machine. It was more like something out of a nightmare!”
“There you have it, folks,” the anchor repeated as a blurry picture of a dark, malformed blob appeared in the top right corner of the screen. “So far the monster has severely injured a dozen Eraimo Beach tourists. One boy is in critical condition, and had to be air-lifted to the nearest hospital. If the local police can’t contain the beast, the civilians will have to be evacuated as soon as possible.”
“Roll, this is it!” Mega Man exclaimed over whatever the anchor said next. “This is the kind of adventure we’ve been missing! Where’s Eraimo Beach?”
Despite the risks involved, Roll was relieved Mega Man seemed to be more enthusiastic. “I’ll check the map!” She volunteered as she hopped up off of the couch and darted toward the bridge. “Could you make us some both some lunch, since you were going to make yourself something anyway?”
By the time Mega Man reached the bridge with an array of sandwich slices most catering companies would be jealous of, Roll had already begun to punch in the coordinates for southern Rikan Island. “Hold on!” she exclaimed as she took a turn so sharp it knocked the digger over, spilling all of the sandwiches onto the ground for Data to greedily gobble up.
“Roll, look what you made me do!” Mega Man groaned, desperately trying to salvage at least one of them from the mechanical monkey’s infernal grasp.
Roll glanced over her shoulder. “Oh, that’s okay...those look like tomato sandwiches. I thought you knew I didn’t like tomato. Anyway, if I fly quickly, we should be docked at Rikan in about an hour. You’ll be ready to go by then, won’t you?”
Mega Man frowned as Data ate the last of his sandwiches. His sandwiches. “Sure…” he mumbled under his breath. “Microwave pizza it is.”
Roll may have gotten on the Blue Bomber’s nerves every so often, but she was a woman of her word. They were docked relatively close to the Eraimo Beaches within the hour. “I’ll check around to see if there’s a good café in town,” she offered. “In the meantime, could you try and find out whatever you can about this monster?”
Before he could answer, she’d already run off. “Gee, Data, what’s a Digger to do…?” He said to the monkey, who was still dancing by the ladder leading into the airship. “Guess I haven’t got much of a choice. I’ll head to the beaches and see if I can find out anything interesting.”
“Eee-eee!” Data squeaked. “Take this with you! It may not be much, but you never know when Roll might sell your weapons behind your back!”
“A Power Raiser Omega,” Mega Man commented, examining the buster part. “Thanks, Data. I owe you one, little buddy.”
“Anytime, Mega Man!” Data cheerfully replied as Mega Man wandered down to the docks.
As crowded as the beach looked on the television earlier, it was nearly deserted by the time Mega Man made it to the docks. There was a lone police officer standing by the entrance. He could see a second officer camped out in his car nearby. “Excuse me, officer,” Mega Man stated as he dashed up to where the cop was standing, “I’m a digger who specializes in Reaverbot eradication. I was wondering if you’d be willing to tell me some more about this monster my spotter and I saw on the news earlier today.”
“Can I see your digger’s license?” The officer asked. Mega Man reached into his backpack and pulled out the slip of plastic. The officer looked it over thoroughly, making sure to check the hologram on the back for legitimacy. “Class S, huh? You don’t see too many of those around here…still, orders are orders. You’ll have to speak with Sheriff Randall up at the station. I’m not supposed to let anyone through until this monster decides to leave.”
“I don’t see it anywhere,” Mega Man strained to see as far down the shoreline as the boardwalk allowed. “Could you at least tell me what this thing looks like? The picture on TV was really blurry, and I’ll admit, it didn’t look like any Reaverbot I’ve seen in my life.”
“Who ever said it was a Reaverbot?” The police officer retorted. “That thing’s something else entirely. Completely out of this world. The closest thing I could liken it to is one of those zombies from Resident Evil 43, all deformed, kind of slow-moving, and vaguely humanoid.”
“A zombie?!” Mega Man almost shouted in the man’s ear.
“It’s presumed to be highly dangerous.” The officer elaborated. “It attacks anything that gets too close to it and seems incapable of human speech. I’d recommend leaving this one to the big boys, but it doesn’t get much bigger than a Class S digger’s license. Do check in with the sheriff…we could use all the help we can get with this one.”
“Thanks for the tip,” Mega Man replied, jogging back the way he came.
Eraimo Village was a quaint little seaside town, crammed to the brink with tacky tourist outlets and cute little restaurants, where the proprietors charged about twice what a more inland establishment of equal quality would’ve charged. Roll was gleefully munching on a Panini and sipping a cup of tea at one of these cafes as she leafed through a cheap romance novel she’d picked up at one of the shops nearby. She giggled as she leafed through the pages, lost in her own little was that Mega Man running down the road?
She glanced up. After living together all their lives, there was no mistaking Mega Man’s clunking, mechanical footsteps. The digger raced past her without a second glance, headed straight down the main road. Obviously he was in a hurry. She thought about following him, but shrugged and figured if he needed her, he’d go find her for himself. That’s usually how it went anyway.
Still, she did make a mental note to try and stay in that general area, just in case he needed something.