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GetMeOffTheMoonRockman PMTRRL
Fan Fiction by Dashe
Press Start to Continue - Chapter 16: The Refractor Rumble

Chapter 16: The Refractor Rumble. Chapter image depicts a hefty blue boss Reaverbot standing in front of some pipes spewing lava into the Auxiliary Tower.

"Hey Russell, what happened to the rest of the ruin?" Teisel asked as he took in the scenery. There were so many pipes snaking their way up and down the walls of the room that it almost looked like they were inside a colossal pipe organ. He couldn't see the ceiling at all. He was just looking upward into an abyss of darkness that loomed threateningly over the two of them.

"It seems like that room with the treasure chest must have been some kind of an elevator," Russell hypothesized. He started up the ramp in front of him, and his footsteps echoed as he walked. Teisel scrambled after him when he realized there really wasn't much else to see aside from that one massive, round structure jutting up from the middle of the room. Even though the two diggers couldn't tell what was at the top, they both had an unshakable feeling of foreboding as they pressed onward.

Their suspicions intensified when they spotted the giant refractor rotating on a pedestal in the center of the platform. "Okay, now THIS is a trap." Teisel assessed.

"No shield. That right there definitely looks suspicious. I'll grab the refractor," Russell instructed. "I'm in much better shape than you are, so if I end up setting something off, there's a better chance I'll be able to dodge it at point-blank range."

"We'll split the earnings 50-50, though, right?"

"Hey now, you got the swords," Russell reminded him as he yanked the refractor away and stuffed it into his satchel. Teisel flinched, ready to bolt at a moment's notice, but the room remained unsettlingly quiet.

The two of them exchanged a confused glance, shrugged, and walked toward the ramp. Just as they made it to the edge, however, the refractor pedestal and the ramp leading back down to the ground below both retracted into the platform, leaving them trapped. To complicate the matter, lava began to ooze out of the pipes surrounding the room. They couldn't even jump off and escape the way they'd come in.

"Max, can you pick up another exit on your monitor?" Russell shouted. "There's a trap in here that's cut off our escape route!"

There was a burst of static. "I'm just not getting very good readings on that room," Max admitted. "That elevator took you pretty far down the mountainside, but my map data looks incomplete, and I'm picking up a very large Reaverbot. It's practically right on top of you, watch out!"

"Oh come on!" Teisel shouted. "I don't see any kind of Reaverbot around here, and I certainly wouldn't miss a big..."

But before he could finish his sentence, a squat, bipedal Reaverbot that hadn't been in any of the library books he'd studied came crashing down straight into the middle of the platform. It sent a shockwave rippling out from under its feet. Russell instinctively jumped in time to dodge it, but Teisel found himself knocked to the ground by the tremors.

Their foe was round and turquoise, with gold trim and what appeared to be a belt around its midsection covered in spikes that threatened to impale anyone who tried to rush it. Like many other Reaverbots, it had a large spike protruding from the top of its head, but this particular Reaverbot's arms appeared to be nothing more than a pair of large-caliber projectile weapons that hovered next to its enormous body. It wasn't anywhere near the largest Reaverbot either of them had ever seen, but it was hardly something to scoff at, especially since it was heavy enough to emit a shockwave every time it jumped.

"Russell! What is this thing!?" Teisel shouted. He shielded himself with his blades as the behemoth charged straight for him. He hoped that the blades would be able to block spikes, but he hadn't had to use them defensively before, and it was hard to tell if it would work just by looking at them. Before the robot could make contact, however, Russell knocked their assailant out of the way with a slew of missiles. The Reaverbot pivoted on point and took aim with one of its arm cannons.

Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that those cannons weren't actually cannons. This Reaverbot was wielding a hovering pair of flamethrowers. Russell darted out of range and uttered, "I've never seen one like this before in my life!" before pummeling it with enough missiles to take out a small airship.

"Hey! Watch the hair!" Teisel snapped as he ducked under the blast of fire and lunged at the bot's legs. The Reaverbot leapt back and dropped a mine right in Teisel's path. Teisel almost tripped over his own feet trying not to step on it while Russell maintained a good distance and whittled down its defenses, circling around the target to stay out of its way. Teisel hopped over the next mine and charged straight for the robot, which had crouched down to take another shock-inducing leap across the arena.

Teisel picked up on the cue and jumped just as the Reaverbot came crashing back down. "Not this time," he quipped as he took the opportunity to charge at the rotund robot and slice one of its flamethrowers in half while the other floated in Russell's direction and wreaked fiery havoc unto the digging veteran.

Russell ducked into a rolling dodge maneuver in order to evade the oncoming flames and continued to snipe relentlessly at the bulky machine. The Reaverbot, in turn, littered the ground with mines, each of which detonated automatically after a short while. Russell's shots were hitting their mark and doing some damage, he knew well enough from experience, but that strange Reaverbot really knew how to take a lot of hits. "I'll set off the mines with my missiles from back here," he shouted to Teisel. "Get rid of that last flamethrower and we should be able to take this thing down for the count!"

Teisel prepared to rush the errant appendage with a snappy retort ready to fire off at a moment's notice, but before he had a chance to make his move, the Reaverbot hit him from behind and knocked him to the ground. "Okay, that's it!" He roared as he stumbled to his feet and scrambled back towards his adversary. "You've messed with us for FAR too long, you pathetic bucket of bolts! If I had even ONE of those flamethrowers you can bet your core refractor that I'd have you roasted over a spit and sold for chump change on a Teomo City street corner!"

Naturally, the Reaverbot didn't understand one word of Teisel's torrent of trash talk, and steadied its remaining flamethrower in Russell's direction.

"Any day now, Green Guy," Russell groaned as he took off in the opposite direction to avoid getting his face barbecued.

"Right, right." Teisel shook his head and scrambled up to the floating gun as Russell picked off every mine the Reaverbot tossed his way. He jumped up and bisected the second flamethrower before he came crashing back down with a thud. "Did I make any shockwaves?" He asked with a hopeful grin.

Russell didn't even acknowledge the question. He grabbed Teisel by the arm and yanked him away just as the Reaverbot landed right where the two of them had been standing. The resulting shockwave knocked both of them down, but that damage was negligible compared to what they'd have sustained if they hadn't bolted.

Predictably, Russell was the first to get back on his feet, and he took a moment to reload his rocket launcher before opening fire again. Teisel charged forward and swung straight for the Reaverbot's leg joints with both blades at once, and before the enemy could react, its torso toppled uselessly backward as its legs burst into refractor shards. "Now THAT'S how you use these swords!" Teisel smirked as he knelt down to pocket the loot.

"Teisel!" Russell suddenly exclaimed. "It's still moving!"

"What the...?"

Teisel whipped around to find that the bot had tucked its head into its body. There was now a new spike protruding out of the bottom of its torso, directly opposite its head spike. It had also begun to spin like a deadly, spike-covered top. Russell's missiles just bounced right off of it.

Russell glanced down at his gun. "This isn't good," he observed as he sprinted out of the Reaverbot's path. "Projectiles won't work on it while it's spinning like that! It's all you from here!"

Teisel's eyebrows shot up. "B-but these things even deflect giant spinning Reaverbots!?!?" He sputtered.

"There's only one way to find out!"

The Reaverbot, almost as if on cue, made a sharp turn and sent itself on a collision course straight for Teisel. It was moving way too fast for his liking, but he coiled back to take a swing and braced himself for the inevitable impact. He hoped all the while that he wouldn't get tossed into the rising lava that was still pouring into the room.

With an inexplicable yet satisfying clang that sounded and felt like metal on metal, the energy blades knocked the spinning foe back all the way across the battlefield. Teisel roared with laughter and exclaimed, "It actually worked! We're not doomed!"

"Never take your eyes off your enemy!" Russell shouted just in time for the younger man to get knocked to the ground from the side. Teisel skidded dangerously close to the edge, but maintained his grip and pulled himself back up to his feet.

He clashed with the bot at least a dozen times and tried his best to keep it away from Russell, whose missiles couldn't push it back quite as effectively as Teisel's weapons could. It skidded closer and closer to the edge and the sizzling pool of lava with every strike, until it finally toppled over and tumbled into the fiery abyss.

"Okay," Teisel shrugged. "Now that our new buddy's out of the picture, what are we supposed to do about getting out of here?"

"I'm not sure," Russell admitted. "We can't go back in through the elevator with the lava down there." He cleared his throat and shouted, "Max, can you hear us?"

There was quite a bit of static before Max's voice picked up. "Yeah, yeah," he grumbled. "Nothing's changed from before..."

"That's...not good." Teisel stated. Russell hoped beyond all hope that Teisel would be able to stay calm, but after a few months of digging with the guy, he didn't expect his student to keep his cool in the middle of a lava-filled deathtrap at all.

"I mean it," Max continued. His voice was tinged with panic of his own. "Nothing's changed on my monitor. Remember that Reaverbot you just said you destroyed? It's still sending out a signal."


"Relax!" Russell cut Teisel off before his emotions could get the better of him. "His maps aren't working right, so there's a good chance there's just a lot of lag, or a glitch or..."

But just then, all three of them heard the searing sound of a laser being fired, and Russell seized Teisel by the shoulder and yanked him down just as a purple beam singed off about an inch of his hair. "Never mind! It's back!" The older digger shouted as the two of them watched the Reaverbot, now reduced to just a floating head with a spike on the top, hover around the edges of the arena. Its mouth was jacked open, revealing a turret mounted on the inside. "Stay out of the way. It's my turn!" Russell ordered.

Teisel was about to protest, but he realized that the persistent Reaverbot was circling way too far out over the lava. If he tried to land a hit on it, he'd fall in for sure. "Right. Knock it out of the sky!" He exclaimed.

Russell wasted no time in pinpointing his target and bombarding the enemy with missiles, right in the laser turret. He didn't want to even give this thing a chance to fire on them again.

"Keep it up, Old Rusty!" The two of them heard Max exclaim from his post. "Make 'im pay!"

Russell almost dropped his gun at that. "Old Rusty?!" He balked as the Reaverbot floated higher into the air and zigzagged its laser across the platform.

"Yeah, he does that sometimes," Teisel brushed it off. He hopped over the laser and rushed forward to the edge of the arena to stay out of its line of fire. "It probably just means he likes you."

"Well that's reassuring to hear in the middle of a life-or-death showdown with a guardian Reaverbot inside a room that's gradually being filled with lava," Russell rolled his eyes and gave his gun time to recharge. He knocked the floating Reaverbot head off its bearings just as the laser was about to singe his boots. "Remind me when we get back to the surface to upgrade the rocket launcher's rate of fire," he added as an afterthought.

"Did T-Bonne tell you our mechanic's in on this now?" Max asked. "I'm sure if you ask nicely Grill'd give you a discount on that."

"Grill?" Russell blinked a few times, but managed to keep his aim steady. "Is that another nickname?"


"I hate to break up this charming conversation," Teisel interjected from across the platform, "but you're probably going to want to blow that thing up a little faster! The lava level's still rising! Just how much can those pipes pump in here, anyway!?"

Max stayed quiet after that, which allowed Russell to keep firing a steady stream of missiles at the floating menace while Teisel did his best to stay out of the way and keep his adrenaline in check. It was an uphill struggle, to say the least, but before too long the older digger landed a hit that blew what was left of their enemy into splinters.

Before Teisel could voice any of his overwhelming concern as to how the two of them were going to avoid getting scorched into oblivion if they stuck around for too long, a staircase appeared from somewhere in the darkness up above them and extended down toward the platform, bolting itself onto the edge of the structure automatically. "Huh," Russell commented as he grabbed the edge of the stairwell and shook it to test its construction. The pathway didn't budge. "I guess defeating the guardian triggers the escape route. I wonder what kind of Reaverbot that was..."

"Russell, the lava. We've gotta get moving!" Teisel insisted. He pushed his mentor onto the stairs and prodded him forward.

Russell peered over the edge as he began his ascent, with Teisel following closely behind. The staircase wound around the perimeter of the room and seemed to go on forever. "Don't worry about that," he assured Teisel. The two of them stuck close to the wall to keep their balance. "It looks like the lava stopped flowing when the Reaverbot went down. I've learned that in ruins like this, there's always some sort of way to turn off the traps. If there weren't, then the government would never allow the Digger's Guild to issue licenses to civilians so easily. Still, you have to wonder what use the civilization responsible for these ruins had for these refractors, considering how often they're used as bait for traps like this. Were they just a power source, or did they have some other significance to these people?"

"I never gave it much thought myself," Teisel admitted. "I just kind of took it for granted this whole time that all of these ruins were supposed to have giant refractors in them. Now you've got me wondering about it, too."

"It's something I've been wondering for a long time," Russell replied. "You've got to wonder about the treasure chests as well. Some of the contents definitely come from other diggers tossing items into empty chests to help out the new know, old buster parts, pieces of junk. Still, there's no telling where those chests originally came from or why they were put there."

They emerged on a ledge so far up above the battlefield that when the two of them glanced back down, it looked like a tiny circle floating in a long river of lava. They also spotted a door set into the wall right in front of them. "Hey, speaking of treasure..." Teisel grinned and pointed out a treasure chest situated on the far corner of the ledge, along the side of the enormous room.

Russell glanced in the other direction, and sure enough, there was a second chest on the other side. "Okay, now this we can split 50-50," he grinned. "I guess I'll take the one on the left, and you can take the one on the right."

The two men carefully hugged the wall as they approached the chests. "I really hope neither of these are Mimics," Teisel muttered as he opened the orange box in front of him.

"I am not picking up any Reaverbot signals in this room." Max pointedly stated as Teisel pulled out a strange purple crystal and mulled it over for a bit.

"I'd have commended you on your spotting skills if you'd mentioned that before I had my hand on the box, Max." Teisel sighed, turning back toward the door and trying not to look down again.

"Hey, at least I try," Max retorted. "Now if you kids'll hurry up with your goodies and get into the door, that would be fantastic. I'd rather not have to explain to the others that the two of you slaughtered a giant Reaverbot and then fell off a ledge into some lava and died because you were too busy checking out the swag."

By that time, Russell was already back at the door and holding it open for Teisel. "Come on, Green Guy. The spotter's got a point."

The next room housed the second-largest generator Teisel had seen in his entire life, next to the one that Tron had built in the abandoned sector of Kattelox to power that colossal robot after they lost the Gesellschaft. "What did we call that one again...?" Teisel furiously racked his mind for the name. It was short. "Bingo? Bertram?"

"Talking to yourself?" Russell asked with a chuckle. He stepped forward into the dark chamber and took in the scenery. Two of the walls were completely covered in electronic paneling, with a small dashboard in the center of the area. It looked like they were in some kind of control room. It also looked like a dead end. "I've seen control consoles like this on other islands before, but I could never figure out how any of that stuff worked." He explained. "All of the controls were always labeled in ancient writing...I could never find anyone interested in trying to decipher it."

Teisel strode ahead and examined the control panel up close. "Yeah, I've got nothing," he admitted. "I mean, in a situation like this, we can't even button-mash our way out. It doesn't look like there are even buttons here to mash...just three card slots."

Russell snapped to attention. "Card slots?" He asked, suddenly intrigued. "That treasure chest out on the ledge had a weird card in it."

"You found a card in that treasure chest?"

"Yeah," Russell replied as he reached into his satchel and walked up to the console. When he withdrew his hand, he was holding a small, black card with an intricate circuitry pattern on it.

"That looks just like the one I found on my first day in the ruins!" Teisel exclaimed. "I've been using it as a bookmark back at the base, but I have one just like it!"

"This is the first I've heard about you picking up some kind of weird card," Max scoffed.

Teisel felt his face involuntarily flush. "Oh, uh...I, er, meant to mention that earlier..." he stammered while Russell inserted his own card into one of the slots. "Why do I keep forgetting you can hear everything I say down here?"

The console immediately lit up. "Ignition drive card accepted. Two additional ignition drive cards are required for elevator activation," an automated voice echoed throughout the chamber. "Please install the remaining two components to restore power to the central elevator."

The two of them stared blankly at the control panel. "Pfft, some ancient language that turned out to be," Max snickered. "...You guys understood that, right?"

"We did indeed," Russell replied. "I suppose the only language barrier we have with the ancient civilization that created these ruins involves their writing system."

"Don't worry, Max," Teisel added. "You're not special." He stepped back and surveyed the room again. "Is your map readout back to normal up there? I don't see any way out of this room other than the door we used to get in, and I really have to get that card out of my book. I'd bet anything that this is the generator we need to get to the Klicke Lafonica!"

"Uh, about that..." Max started.

"Crap. Don't tell me our only exit's been sealed off and we're trapped in the ruins!" Teisel shouted.

"Okay then," Max replied, "I won't tell you."


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