||The Creature of Eraimo Beach: Chapter 2 - Putting the Pieces Together
Mega Man found the police station at the end of the road, hidden away in a cul-de-sac to keep as many tourists as possible from hovering around outside. Or worse, inside. He strode in through the front door to the lobby, where an oddly-familiar looking woman in a purple dress was pleading with the burly-looking officer at the desk. “My daughter’s out on that beach! You have to let me through or I’ll...”
“Lady, we’ve evacuated the entire shoreline. Your kid’s probably in town somewhere,” the officer curtly replied.
“You’ve got to let me on that beach!” The plump woman insisted. “Trust me, you’ve made a mistake...”
“No civilians are allowed on the shoreline.”
Mega Man decided to cut in. The argument wasn’t going anywhere and he needed to speak with the sheriff immediately. “Erm...speaking of civilians...I’m a Class S Digger. The officer guarding the beach told me to speak with the sheriff and ask about helping you guys out.”
The receptionist stood up to a full height of nearly 6’6. “That’d be me. Sheriff Melinda Randall.”
The smaller woman and Mega Man quickly exchanged glances. The only thing feminine about the town sheriff was her first name.
Sheriff Randall caught on quickly. “What? What were you expecting, huh?”
“N-nothing! I’m sorry si—I mean…er…” Mega Man stumbled through his words, not wanting to offend the sheriff any further. “I just didn’t expect you to be so...uh...attractive...”
Sheriff Randall was not amused. “Let me see that Class S license of yours before we chat, alright?” She requested with a glare that would have given Gramps a heart attack. Heck, it almost even gave Mega Man a heart attack. Mega Man handed the license over. The way she studied the thing, he could tell she was hoping to find something faulty with it. It took so long that the woman who’d been in the lobby before Mega Man arrived got bored and left. Finally, after what seemed like ages, she sighed and handed it back. “Congratulations on getting one of these at all,” she unenthusiastically stated. “I suppose we could use a guy like you on the defense force for the time being. If you can get rid of this monster, I’ll make sure that the southern Rikan police force rewards you handsomely. Best of luck to you.” And with that, she returned to her paperwork.
Mega Man stood there in silence before asking, “Wait, I think I’m supposed to have some kind of written permission to get on the...”
The sheriff just waved him away without a word. He suppressed a sigh and left the building, to nearly walk straight into the woman who’d been there earlier. “Oh, I didn’t...I mean...” She stammered.
“Hey, don’t worry. I’ve been given permission to go out on the beach myself. I’ll make sure your daughter gets back to safety in one piece, promise.” Mega Man said, flashing a confident grin.
“Thank you,” the woman began, “but I’m afraid you haven’t got all of the facts yet.”
“Sure I have,” Mega Man shrugged. “There’s a monster on the beach that’s endangering the people on the island. One of them happens to be your daughter. I go in, defeat the monster, and save the island. It’s pretty straightforward.”
“Not exactly,” the woman corrected. “That monster out there is my daughter.”
When Mega Man didn’t reply, she continued, “About five years ago, she contracted a horrible disease. At first it just affected her mobility, and the doctors all said that her condition was curable. Unfortunately, though, our island’s economy’s been in a recession for a while, and the hospital’s equipment wasn’t at its best. They should’ve just transferred her to another island, but we’d been recovering from a pirate attack, so most of the town’s budget was allocated towards rebuilding our bank and police station. There just wasn’t anything left in the end to help upgrade the hospital’s equipment, so her condition only got worse. Her body started to break down about two years ago...she hardly even looks human anymore, and her mind’s begun to deteriorate. She attacks anyone who gets close. If only the government hadn’t been so stingy with their budget...”
“That’s horrible! Is there anything I could do to help?” Mega Man offered.
“Just get her off of this island,” the woman pleaded. “It’s the only way. We might find a doctor who can help her somewhere in a more economically-stable environment. Someplace with access to top-of-the-line equipment.”
“Gotcha.” Mega Man replied with a nod. “Have you got an airship?”
“We had a small one,” the woman admitted, “but it crash-landed on the cliffs. That’s how Ira wound up on the beach. I feel awful for all those people she mauled, and if someone doesn’t do something about the police, we’ll both be in an even bigger pickle than we are now.”
“My spotter’s a really good mechanic. She might be able to fix your airship.” Mega Man offered. “While she takes a look at that, I’ll try to get your kid past the guards.”
“Thank you,” the woman gave the digger a grateful smile.
Roll was about halfway through her book when she heard Mega Man approaching again. “Hey Roll,” he said. She looked up to find that he had a middle aged woman with him. “This lady’s airship crashed somewhere in the cliffs. We were wondering if you’d be able to fix it up.”
“Of course,” Roll sweetly smiled, marking her place with a napkin and closing the book. “I was just about done with my lunch. I’d be happy to fix your ship for you!”
“Wonderful!” The woman replied ecstatically. “We’ll be out of here in no time! How could I ever repay you for your kindness?”
“Don’t let Roll answer that.” Mega Man said, cringing as he realized he’d said it out loud. He wasn’t fast enough to duck as Roll swiftly smacked him in the noggin.
The ship was in worse condition than Roll and Mega Man had anticipated. The vehicle was wedged between two rocks and would need some serious work if it was ever going to fly again.
“This isn’t going to be cheap,” Roll said as she gave the machine a hefty kick, hoping it would dislodge itself from the rocks. No dice. “If you can’t front the money for the repairs, Mega Man and I will be in the red for quite a while.”
“Mega Man?” The woman blinked. “That’s a name I haven’t heard in a while.”
“You know another Mega Man?” Roll asked.
“Several years ago a digger named Mega Man saved our island from total annihilation.” The woman elaborated. “He was our hero. My daughter used to watch him on the TV in the hospital day after day. Ira had always admired the nice things he would do for all of the townspeople, too, and how he would always go out of his way to get to know the people he met. Apparently he donated a lot of artifacts to the museum and helped the police out on several occasions. It’s too bad he never dropped in to the hospital. I wonder if he had any idea they were low on funding.”
“Where did you say you were from again?” Mega Man asked, a sinking feeling growing in the pit of his stomach with the woman’s every word.
“Oh, I’m sorry! I don’t think I mentioned it. We’re from Kattelox Island.” The woman replied.
“That’s nice,” Mega Man forced a smile.
The truth was that he had actually been in the Kattelox hospital before. He even vaguely remembered meeting Ira in the lobby, having every intention to help fix her leg, and then balking at the 10,000 zenny price tag. He had a shining laser to upgrade, and those upgrades didn’t come cheap! Wasn’t the safety of the entire population more important than just curing one little girl’s illness? Sure, Roll wound up selling everything in the end, but he’d saved everyone on that island from Mega Man Juno’s reinitialization! That was worth the sacrifice, right?
“We’ve been there before, haven’t we?” Roll tried to recall. “Remember, when the Flutter crashed that one time?”
“So you have fixed airships like this one before!” The woman exclaimed excitedly. “We’ll be out of here in no time at all!”
“I’ll go get Ira.” Mega Man added, faking a cheerful grin and pretending that the girl’s current state of health wasn’t his fault in any way, shape or form. He dashed back off towards the beach, hoping Roll had become faster at her repairs and wasn’t feeling particularly greedy that day.