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Fan Fiction by LBD "Nytetrayn"

Legends of the Halcyon Era

Episode 50 - Revelations: The Legacy of Avion



Previously, in Legends of the Halcyon Era...

After arriving in the nick of time to stop the Air Pirate, Trevor Creed, from killing Nytetrayn, the near-death Digger was taken by his friends to the local medical facility on Monroe Island, only for them to find out there was nothing they could do.

Then, in the middle of the night, two strangers arrived, intent on taking Nytetrayn with them. Before things got out of hand, however, the pair convinced the group that they were only there to help, and so they went with them to take Nytetrayn to their base. There, he was eventually revived – and revealed to be more than meets the eye. Much like the "Reploid" strangers who'd given their aid, who were also something called "Mechadrakes"!

Now, the group has been gathered to meet with the base's Commander, who seems to have a particular interest in Nytetrayn.

"Please, have a seat," Edge said. Nyte and Celeste took a pair around the middle, while Janine sat next to Steel. Adam took another chair, balancing his sword between his knees, and the Mechadrakes, save for the female and Edge, were seated alongside the desk. Magnus decided to remain standing in the back.

"Now," said Edge, "if you'll all rise..."

Nytetrayn and Celeste looked at each other for a moment, shrugged at the slightly-odd request, and stood in front of their seats. The others did likewise, with the Mechadrakes muttering something as they stood. Among them, one could pick out SunFlame apparently cursing Edge's genitals under his breath.

"I give you..."

The door next to the female Mechadrake opened, and out stepped a large black Mechadrake with a gold underside. He had golden blonde hair, his eyes were an almost startling shade of green, and he was wearing armor with a style somewhat befitting of a military commander. His armor was mostly black, with bits of gold, red, green, and white spread throughout. And right in the center of his belt, there sat an insignia: a black dragon head surrounded by a black ring on a gold background – identical to the symbol Nytetrayn wore on his armor.

"Commander Black Draco."

Black Draco looked at the gathering standing before him, then turned to look at Edge. "You did it again, didn't you?"

"Heh, yep," the red Mechadrake said in an amused tone.

Janine raised an eyebrow at this, while Steel seemed to be studying the figure of the Commander. He appeared to have a strong presence, and yet, there was something else about him.

Black Draco returned his attention to those gathered there, and said, "Please, have a seat... for real, this time."

Nytetrayn and Celeste did so, unsure of what to expect. Steel hesitated before sitting again, and Janine opted to settle herself into his lap. He blushed at first, before putting his arms around her and holding her close. The rest returned to their seats, and MegaMan Magnus decided to take one as well, slowly, though he remained in the back. He twitched a bit as he noted Jan and Steel, but otherwise managed to remain stoic.

Black Draco took a deep breath, and said, "I'm not sure where the best place is to start here, but I believe introductions are in order." His tone seemed authoritative, yet gentle as he spoke. "I believe you've met most of my crew who are present here: MoonRazor, SunFlame, Crossfire..." Each made a gesture of acknowledgement as their name was spoken.

He continued, "Edge, my second-in-command, and Shuri, my... bodyguard, and sister. And I am known as Commander Black Draco." Steel acknowledged them all in order, though he felt ill at ease, as they all appeared quite threatening to him.

Adam nodded in turn, and Magnus muttered, "...sister?"

"More of an adopted sister, admittedly, but yes."

Meanwhile, Nytetrayn's memory flashed back to some time ago, back when he first awoke. "The computer on that ship I woke up in," he said to the Commander, as the others turned to look at him, now hearing about this "ship" for the first time. "It said... something... about you. But it was too damaged for me to understand what."

"Hmm, I see," Black Draco said. "I believe we have much to discuss. But first, if you'd like to introduce yourselves..." As he spoke, his eyes kept going back to Celeste, and he seemed a bit... uneasy? Steel noted this, and wondered what it was about that girl, anyway.

"I'm Janine," she said with a wave.

"I'm Steel."

"MegaMan Unit Magnus, Annihilator Class."

"I'm Adam Powers, and this," he said as he gestured with his sword, "contains the soul and mind of MegaMan Unit Blade, Techno-Organic Purifier, First Class. He and I sort of... um... share... the same body."

"'MegaMan', you say?" said Black Draco. "Interesting..."

"I'm Nytetrayn," said the younger Digger of the lot. "...but I get the feeling you already knew that. And this is Celeste," he said, as he gestured to her with one hand while she nodded. Magnus tensed.

Black Draco simply closed his eyes for a moment, and continued. "Thank you. I imagine you have many questions," he said, seemingly a little distracted. "Perhaps it would be best if we addressed those now."

"Quite a few, actually," said Janine, to which Black Draco nodded. "How have you survived this long? Even in my time, Reploids were a thing of the past."

"Hmm. Then I suppose the best place to start for that would be from the beginning..."

"Makes sense," she said.

"Thousands of years ago," Black Draco began, "Reploids populated the world alongside humans. Unfortunately, there were many conflicts: Reploid versus human, Reploid versus Reploid... sometimes even humans versus humans, all as a result of one thing."

"Reploids were often prone to a virus which had existed back in those days. Not all of them turned against humanity because of it, but as time went on, it became a leading factor."

"I've heard legends," said Magnus. "What was it called...? Something Greek..."

"There was one Reploid who took it upon himself to lead them all against what he felt were their oppressors, the ones stifling their evolution: Sigma."

Adam and Magnus each nodded. "An odious individual," the latter said.

"Sigma's goals went beyond liberating Reploids from humans. Instead, he had much more fanatical objectives, the extinction of the human race being the chief one. However, he was thwarted time and again. Eventually, he seemed to lose sight of his goals, seeming to only want the destruction of those who stood in his way."

"Perhaps his most fanatical plan involved the space colony Eurasia, which he took over and sent crashing into the Earth."

Black Steel tried to imagine a world in such circumstances, while MegaMan Magnus shuddered, having seen what surviving recordings had been made of Earth after that hellish episode. From behind his shades, Adam's eyes glowed red for a brief second at the same time the runes on his sword gave off a slight glow.

"While the group dedicated to fighting Sigma and his Mavericks, the Maverick Hunters, were able to prevent full impact from the colony, the damage was still done. The Earth lay in ruin, and humans had to move underground for some time as Reploids sought to repair the damage done."

"And for the most part, they were successful. At least, as successful as they could be."

"Humanity, long before the dawn of Reploids, had been slowly but surely causing damage to the planet's ecosystem. Having the largest space colony of the day come crashing down did little to help matters."

"As best as I could tell, the Earth's days were possibly numbered. Yes, repairs and fixes could be initiated, but what if something else on that scale were to come along?"

"So I took a gambit, albeit a carefully planned one. I set to work to create a new space colony: the Ark."

"Once completed, myself, and many others – those who wished to explore, to leave the fighting behind, to simply have a new beginning... We gathered, and made our way, searching for a new world for humanity and Reploids to inhabit."

"Ultimately, we did find a new world. One where Reploids and humans could coexist peacefully at long last, and use the advances in technology to make sure that the mistakes of the past were not repeated."

"We left a system of satellites behind us to keep contact with the Earth, but at some point along the way, contact was lost. The satellites remain functional, so I suspect it may have been Sigma, or some others who may have broken our contact."

"That is where we have been for all this time."

With that, Black Draco awaited their next question. It was Steel who would speak up next. "What is Nyte's connection to you?"

Nyte himself was a little surprised by this, as he'd expected to get to ask the question himself, and followed it with a simple, "Yeah..."

Black Draco cleared his throat, still pondering how to address the matter despite knowing it would come to this eventually.

"Well," he began, "I suppose the most basic answer is... I... created him."

Nytetrayn and Celeste were stunned. Steel kept a blank expression, his suspicions confirmed, though he had hoped it was not so.

"I..." Nyte started. "You... created me?"

"Makes some sense, I guess," said Adam. Magnus nodded slowly, while Janine raised an eyebrow in surprise.

Black Draco nodded. "You are a Reploid... and more. I put all my effort into creating you, to carry on after I had gone. Like other Reploids, you have the ability to think, feel, and make your own decisions. Going beyond that, I added some modified Mechadrake technology to make you as humanlike as possible. A cybernetic organism; living tissue over a metal endoskeleton."

"Like a schlong, I assume," said Janine. After a pause, Magnus let his head droop forward into his hands, while Adam grinned slightly.

Whispering into her ear, Steel said, "Not the best time, dear." She smiled sweetly.

Black Draco coughed, and added a slight nod. "For all intents and purposes, there is very, very little to distinguish Nytetrayn from a human. I felt it best, since I wasn't sure what sort of challenges he might encounter. However, I anticipated there would be certain advancements in Reploid technology to make them more human like, and had enough faith that humanity would continue to be around in some form that I felt such a cover would be of use. This way, he could make his own way and survive covertly, should something happen to Reploidkind."

"So if you left him here to carry on, why did you come back?" Adam asked.

"His original purpose was to assist Mega Man X and the Maverick Hunters in keeping the peace, and help pursue the dream of creating a place where Reploids and humans could coexist together peacefully."

"Unfortunately, I was unable to activate Nytetrayn prior to our departure. He was to have been moved to a special facility where his systems would have been tested for a period of time... unfortunately, I never got to finalize the procedure."

"The day of the launch of the Ark..."

*****

Several thousand years ago.

21XX.

The LaLinde Memorial Spaceport.

A huge festival was taking place out on the airfield. It would potentially be the last chance for many friends and family members to see each other, as no one knew how long the Ark's voyage would take. For many of those who were going to embark on the journey, it was a major event which held great importance.

Among the throngs of people saying their good-byes, three figures stood in conversation.

"It looks like the day has finally arrived, Commander," said Signas, as he offered a salute. "Congratulations."

"Thank you," said Black Draco, whose armor had been refashioned into something a little more similar to the Maverick Hunter leader's. After returning the gesture, he looked to the nearby shuttles, waiting to carry the remaining passengers and crew members to their new home aboard the colony. "I just hope I'm up to the task. I know I spearheaded the whole 'New World' initiative, but..."

"You'll do fine," said X, who stood there in his normal blue armor, dwarfed by the two larger Reploids. "I just wish I could be there to see it. But... there's too much going on here..."

"Maybe someday," Draco said, regarding the smaller Reploid whose dream he shared. "With any luck, it won't take us too long to find a suitable planet that can support human and Reploid life. Once that happens, we can establish a system for communication and transport between the two worlds."

"I think I'd like that," X said, spirited by the thought of a world untouched by the seemingly endless wars against the Mavericks.

Just then, someone shouted as they pointed off into the distance, "Look!"

Before anyone had time to react, a hail of gunfire began to rain down on the airfield from the Mechaniloids and Reploids who were approaching from the sky. Leading the charge atop a flying mechanical steed was Sigma, naturally outfitted in a new body. "Horsemen!" he called out to the four similarly-steeded Mavericks riding alongside him. "No one is to leave this little party – alive, or otherwise!"

"Not now..." Black Draco grimaced, followed by his communicator going off. He put his hand to his "ear" and responded, "Wavelength, report!"

From up on the Ark, Wavelength responded. "We're under attack up here. Mavericks just suddenly appeared and opened fire." Shuri joined in the transmission from the colony. "We're keeping them at bay, but I don't know how long we can hold out."

As Edge, Crossfire, MoonRazor, SunFlame, and some combatant Ark crew members formed up on him, Black Draco took an assessment of the situation. Out on the airfield, all the people there were sitting ducks, and there was only one option available to them. "Dammit!" he cursed to himself. "Wavelength, Shuri, hang on; help is on the way. In the meantime, prepare the Ark for blastoff. We'll only have one shot at this, so you'll need to be ready."

"Roger that. Ark, out."

Black Draco turned to the other Dragon Knights and Ark troopers gathered. "Initiate emergency procedures! Edge, MoonRazor, get everyone on board the shuttles, humans and non-combatants first, and get to the Ark! The rest of you: we're holding the line and providing cover for them. Once they're clear, we'll join the last shuttle and get the remaining people to safety!"

"Maverick Hunters! Back them up!" shouted Signas, as the available units moved into action to keep the non-combatants and shuttles safe while they made their escape.

A pair of insect-like Spycopters managed to slip through the defensive line, but as they moved in for two of the shuttles, Edge let loose a streaming jet of flame at one of the Mechaniloids, sending it off-course to explode across the airfield. MoonRazor similarly let forth a burst of freezing ice at the other, freezing up its propellers and sending it crashing down the way.

The battle raged on, as X, Black Draco, and everyone else worked to keep Sigma's forces busy, whittling down the weaker elements of their forces. SunFlame stunned Mavericks with sonic attacks before using his axe to cleave them with gusto, while Crossfire used soldier-like precision to pick off smaller enemies with electrically-charged machine gun fire from his cross punisher, and launched electrified missiles at the larger foes. Black Draco made do with his large beam saber, acid bursts, and occasional blasts from his Gatling-Buster arm cannon. And X kept at it with a variety of regular and charged shots from his X-Buster.

Soon, there was only one craft left that had yet to take off.

X tackled Black Draco out of the way of an attack from one of Sigma's Horsemen. "It's time," he said. "Go! We'll cover you!"

Black Draco didn't want to leave the fight, but knew there wasn't a choice. Not if they wanted the mission to be a success. He offered a quick salute, and said, "It's been an honor, and a privilege." With that, he and the remaining crew members made a break for the final shuttle, which quickly took off once everyone was on board.

"RAAAUGH!!!" Sigma bellowed in rage. "Don't let them escape!" he shouted at his forces, sending them after the final shuttle.

As they began to give chase, Sigma turned to regard X. "X! Such a pity your refusal to evolve has left you grounded. But don't worry, I'll be back soon enough to settle things with you here!" With a villainous laugh, Sigma took off to join his forces in pursuit of the shuttles.

X grimaced and sent a few shots from his X-Buster after Sigma, but it was no use. The Maverick leader had already put too much distance between them.

As Signas rejoined X on the field, the blue Hunter said, "We've got to stop them!"

Signas shook his head. "I called in for air support, but their ETA is still ten minutes out. They won't make it in time." X lowered his head. "I'm afraid they're on their own," Signas continued. "There's nothing we can do from here. We've done everything we can for them."

"No," X said, looking up. "Not everything."

X stepped away from his commander, and put his hand to his earpiece. "Alia, can you read me?"

"Loud and clear, X."

"Sigma's going after the shuttles, and there's no way to catch up with them now. We've got only one other option: We'll have to cut them off."

After a brief pause, Alia replied. "X, you can't do that! Without proper coordinates to lock on to, you could wind up adrift -- or worse! It's too risky!"

"It's our only shot -- and theirs. They need us to come through. Alia, if anyone can pull this off, it's you." After another brief pause, he added, "I believe in you."

X waited for a response that felt like it might never come, but after only a moment or two, Alia responded. "...stand by to teleport. In three... two..."

";Thank you, Alia."

"...one..."

*****

Silence.

As the light surrounding him seemed to fade, X opened his eyes, only to find himself weightless, floating adrift in space. He gazed out among the stars, and once he found his bearings, managed to reorient himself. He could now see the Earth below him, in all its big, blue, and round glory.

X felt like he could stare at it for hours, but quickly disabused himself of that notion. Alia had come through, now he had to make sure that this opportunity wouldn't go to waste. A spacewalk would have to wait for another day.

Throwing his arms, legs, and head back, X began to glow. He hoped it wouldn't come to this, but just in case, he'd prepared a trump card in case anything went awry at the festival.

His armor changed and shifted, now taking on a translucent blue appearance, as the soles of his boots were surrounded by an extra layer and gold wings sprang forth from the sides of his legs. His shoulder pauldrons grew larger as gold protrusions reached out to either side from atop the armored plating. A black piece tipped by a green jewel appeared on his chest, with gold wings of its own on each side, and a three-pronged gold and black crest formed atop a reshaped crystal on the front of his helmet. Most significant of all was the new black pack that appeared on his back, with a large gold fin reaching out.

In the corner of the HUD in X's vision, three words finally appeared: "Ultimate Armor online."

As X looked down at the planet below, he could see the shuttle coming into view, with Sigma and his Horsemen hot on its heels, with it taking fire. Its shields were holding, but it didn't seem likely they'd last much longer. As it stood, they would pass below him.

He reached up to his earpiece once again, and relayed a message to Hunter Base: "I'm beginning the mission."

X then activated the Nova Strike, which rocketed him down towards the chase.

*****

Another blast hit the shields, rocking the ship. "Commander!" shouted one of the pilots. "Our shields are nearly depleted! One more hit like that, and we're done for!"

Sigma raised his weapon as he readied his attack, preparing to deliver the coup de grace to the shuttle. "Prepare to become space dust!"

Before he could open fire, X dropped down between the shuttle and its pursuers. "Evolve this!" X shouted, before letting loose a Plasma Charge Shot at the Maverick leader, literally knocking him off his high horse.

"It's X!" shouted one of the passengers aboard the shuttle, as those aboard gathered to watch what was going on.

"X..." said Black Draco, as he watched what they could see of the battle outside. "Thank you." He saluted their savior, a gesture repeated by the rest of those aboard. "We'll always remember this."

*****

"And we did," Black Draco said, as he removed his hand from the blue and red star insignia on his chest, the same as the one sported by the others and seen around the base.

"X held off the attack long enough for us to reach the Ark," he continued. "Sigma's forces weren't expecting a rear assault, which gave us the element of surprise, allowing us to dock and launch before the second wave attacked. After that, I don't know what happened. At least, not firsthand."

"Firsthand?" asked MegaMan Magnus.

"Well, we still had contact with Earth at the time, via our satellite linkup. What we do know is that apparently, X and the Maverick Hunters were once again successful in stopping Sigma from carrying out his plans."

Black Draco let out a deep breath. "Unfortunately, due to the attack, I wasn't able to return and finish readying Nytetrayn..."

"...and it's been bugging him ever since," said Edge. Black Draco nodded.

Nytetrayn looked on, almost overwhelmed by all of this, as he tried to think of what he should ask next.

"I am glad to know that somewhere along the way, you managed to activate on your own, somehow..." Black Draco said.

"...about a year ago," Nytetrayn added.

Celeste looked at her boyfriend in surprise. "Only a year..." Steel muttered to himself.

"I awoke from a shattered capsule... something must have happened, maybe an earthquake or something, I dunno. But I found out what I could on board that underground ship I was on, which wasn't much. Afterwards, I just decided to get by however I could until I found some answers."

"I see," said Black Draco.

"Does Fenix know?" Janine asked.

Nytetrayn shook his head. "No one has... until now."

Nytetrayn was then faced with a double-barreled blast of questions, as Steel asked "This whole time you've kept it inside... why?" while Celeste wanted to know, "Why? Why keep it a secret?"

After a stunned pause, Nyte replied. "I... I don't know. What was I supposed to say? I didn't even know what was going on myself..." Steel nodded.

Magnus chuckled. "Hey, Jan, remember Dwayne?"

Janine's eyes widened, and wincing, she said, "Nevermind. I understand now, Nyte."

Nyte gave an inquisitive look to the Reaverbot pair, as Magnus explained, "Dwayne was a guy she dated a few times, only she never told him she was a techno organic model. When he found out, he dumped her like a hot brick." Janine glared at Magnus. "It isn't easy, being made of metal," he added.

"Blade remembers that, as well," Adam said, while Steel pulled Janine closer to him protectively.

"It seems that being in stasis all that time helped to preserve your systems, somewhat... but they still deteriorated, only far slower than normal," Black Draco noted.

"That reminds me," Nytetrayn said. "The doc said my systems were being fixed, that I'd be back at 100%... but I don't feel much different. Why is that?"

"Fortunately, I stopped the doctor from making a terrible mistake," Black Draco said. "If you were returned to full capacity now, the results could be catastrophic. As long as you've been functional, you've been used to your current level, and if you were suddenly forced into full power, you might not be able to control it. A simple handshake could be crippling. Or if you... hugged someone, for example," he said, briefly glancing at Celeste, "you could kill them."

Nytetrayn's eyes widened a bit, as he seemed to almost slightly withdraw from Celeste, but she grabbed his hand in hers reassuringly.

"You'll grow into your full potential over time," Black Draco said. "But for now, it's best you remain as you are, and learn to use it as you grow."

Between Celeste's gesture and Black Draco's words, Nyte's tension eased a little bit.

"So what exactly do you do in this place?" Adam asked, as he looked around the room a bit.

"Well, we returned to Earth... er, Terra... mostly to investigate what's happened since we left. Far more than we'd imagined seems to have transpired. We were hoping perhaps you all could help fill in the blanks."

Magnus chuckled, and let out a "Hoo-boy." Adam said, "Perhaps I'd better let the Reaver take over at this point, since he can speak better than I can for him."

"Wait," said Nyte. "Before you get into all of that, why did it take so long for you all to come back here? Why not sooner?"

Black Draco rubbed his forehead. "Several unfortunate twists of fate, sadly."

"Finding a new world suitable for our purposes took many years. Along the way, we'd found several worlds already inhabited by other races... you may have seen some Reploid-versions of some of them after arriving here."

"After much searching, we finally found our new home: a world we call 'Avion'."

"Exploration and settling took us some time, and after that had gotten underway, we'd sent out some groups to look into other possible worlds around. However, we never expected what we would find."

Black Draco took a breath before continuing. "We found ourselves at war, war with a force we'd never expected. Our exploration groups found some worlds... dead worlds. Taken over, conquered, used, and abandoned. But they all shared one other common trait: A uniquely-styled and unmistakable 'R' insignia."

"R?" Steel asked.

"Repliforce. The most powerful Reploid army the Earth had ever known."

"Many years before the launch of the Ark, Sigma had turned the Repliforce and Maverick Hunters against one another in an effort to destroy both factions. Repliforce wanted to go into space, to find a new world for themselves, but the battle escalated on board the Final Weapon, an orbiting satellite of mass destruction that itself was ultimately destroyed. X and Zero fought and destroyed Repliforce's Colonel and General."

"What we... What many of us did not know was that Repliforce had sent out its own exploration groups to find a new place for them to live. With the destruction of the General and Colonel, the next in line assumed the mantle of General, and declared the Repliforce superior to all others."

"They took this philosophy with them, finding new worlds, conquering them, and increasing their numbers throughout space. Eventually, once we'd discovered what was going on, we knew we had to step in."

"The war... wars, really... waged on many battlegrounds, over many years. And whenever one General was destroyed, another was ready to assume the mantle."

"Cripes," said Magnus.

"After many battles using newer and more advanced technology, we managed to turn the tide. The Repliforce had additional numbers on their side, and even managed to paint us as the threats to the citizens on some worlds. But once we were able to show them who the true enemy was, things began to turn."

"I still remember the last battle... or at least, what I hope to be the last battle."

"Repliforce had discovered and cracked into our secret satellite relay system, and they wanted to use it to return and conquer Earth. United, Avions and other races fought the Repliforce aboard their fleet as they used our own satellites to return, but it was ultimately Wavelength and a team of others who were able to end their ambition by overriding the satellites' warp path, and redirecting it, sending the Repliforce fleet into a nearby sun."

"That was the last we've seen of Repliforce."

"After that came rebuilding. Many worlds were left in a bad way by Repliforce, and those took a long time to rebuild. That's why we are only able to return now." Black Draco let out a deep breath as he finished.

Magnus raised an eyebrow, as Janine's mind boggled. Celeste clung to Nytetrayn throughout, and both were speechless.

"Goodness," said Magnus.

"Sounds like you've had a rough time of it," Adam added.

"We lost many good people in those wars," Black Draco said.

"That's a bit hard to swallow, Commander."

Everyone looked at Steel once the words left his mouth. "...the hell?!" SunFlame shouted angrily, as he immediately stood up. MoonRazor and Edge were quick to get him seated again before he could get much further than that. Nyte looked back to Black Draco, while Janine raised an eyebrow at Steel.

"Whereas I find the tale fascinating," Steel continued, "and can see the potential for truth, you must concede that it is difficult to believe that your people have accomplished so many things, none of which seem to be self-serving." He noted the others' discomfort at his remarks, but only felt regret that they were all so trusting.

"If it makes you feel any better," Black Draco said, "it was as much a matter of self-preservation as it was a concern for others. If Repliforce were allowed to continue, we would have been next. So many of us left on the Ark, not just to find a new world, but to escape the wars on Earth and start anew. So we do have a sort of ingrained mentality that leads us in such a way, even though not all of us have followed it."

"I accept what you say," Steel said, "simply because I am still alive when I realize the situation is not in my favor. However, it will take some time to digest all of this."

Black Draco nodded. Nytetrayn wasn't sure what to believe, but he could see a sincerity in Black Draco's eyes – a troubled, pained sincerity, which led him to believe him.

"Well," Adam said, hoping to ease tensions a little, "perhaps now you'd like to hear what we know of what happened here while you were gone. Janine, MegaMan Magnus, and MegaMan Blade know more of that than any of us do. Plus, Blade has some questions he'd like to ask directly, so if you'll just hang on for a moment..."

Black Draco nodded, while Adam's eyes began to glow a bright red as he runes on his sword also began to glow. After a moment, the runes faded, though his eyes continued to glow brightly behind his shades.

Steel found himself ill at ease, more so as he came to realize that among all these super beings, he is perhaps the only common man present. The sense of overwhelming power closed in on him, but his mind remained clear. He needed to understand everything at this point. But he also took a moment to regard Celeste. Was this how she always felt, surrounded by all of them?

"Welcome back," said Magnus.

"Thank you," Blade replied, before turning his attention to another. "Commander Draco."

"Greetings," Black Draco replied.

"I am MegaMan Blade. My soul and mind inhabit the sword that belongs to Adam Powers. He and I seem to share his body now." Black Draco nodded, and Blade said, "Anyways, I suppose we should try to start at the beginning, should we not?"

"Perhaps that would be best."

Blade looked to Janine and Magnus, then continued. "When we were created, Reploids were ancient." SunFlame coughed at this, and MoonRazor elbowed him.

"They still are," Magnus said, which caused SunFlame to wince a little, much to Janine's amusement.

"Please, continue," Black Draco said.

"The System's history files from that era are scarce," Blade said. "What has survived doesn't tend to make much sense."

Magnus then stepped up to add, "After you left, there came several other advances in robotics. Reploids became obsolete. Units such as Janine and myself were the eventual product. Not entirely mechanical, but not entirely organic, either."

Celeste just held Nytetrayn's arm. Nytetrayn, remembering he's still at his old power level, returned the affection.

Black Draco nodded. "We've actually evolved in some similar ways, too."

"I was once one of those units as well," Blade said, "but I'll cover that later. The system itself was created by humans to protect them from incidents like those of the wars you spoke of from happening."

"It was a golden age of unparallelled prosperity and peace," said Magnus. "Aside from the occasional maniac, that is..."

"East..." Janine said.

Blade shot Magnus a look. "We'll talk about him later."

"Anyhow," Blade continued, "Humans built a space colony which ruled over the systems they built on Terra. The systems consist of many facilities administered by different classes of robots, designated units. They are commonly referred to as Reaverbots as a whole. 'Elysium', as it's known, was meant to be a human habitat, and many people moved there."

"I was one of the Bureaucratic Units in charge of Elysium's earthbound systems," said Janine.

"But the System was more than a safeguard," Blade said. "It was also supposed to gradually heal the damage done to Terra over the years by wars and pollution. Thus, there were (and still are, in one form or another) many facilities in the System that were built on Terra."

"Unfortunately, by its very nature, the System was somewhat... oppressive," added Magnus.

Blade went on. "To oversee this, the humans constructed not just workers, but Bureaucratic Units, like Janine, to oversee the workers and facilities; Purifiers, like me, who terminated units whose programming corrupted or threatened the system; and Annihilators, such as Magnus, who purified the Purifiers, and kept watch over the most crucial sites."

Black Draco and the others took this info in. To Steel, who was irregular in his visits, this was all news, and incredible news at that. After all, it's not every day that one man faces the reality of the world about him so clearly. Nytetrayn and Celeste were similarly surprised at how deep this whole thing goes.

Blade wasn't finished yet, however. "There were two units that were constructed to oversee all of the System: The Mother Units. One was to oversee Terra, the other to oversee Elysium's systems. However, Elysium's mother unit seems to have been missing for quite some time."

"Such shrews, the world has never seen before or since," said Magnus.

"Oh, come on, they weren't that bad!" Janine retorted.

"Sera made me sweep the floor," Magnus said, almost in a pout. "Do you have any idea how much floor Elysium has?!" Magnus shuddered, just thinking about it.

"Elysium's the size of a small moon," Blade said, matter-of-factly.

"That would explain that," Black Draco said, nodding.

"Yuna was always nice, though. But I digress," Blade said, getting back on track. "Anyways. Elysium actually houses the DNA data of several million humans. It was designed to be able to reconstruct them after all the damage to Terra was healed."

"Its ultimate purpose is to be a gigantic restart button," Janine said.

"I see," the commander replied.

"However," said Blade, "there are other units in the system that are not robotic in nature. The Mother Units had someone to report to: The Master. Supposedly, he was the last true remaining human. He died a long time ago, after he left Elysium."

"And as Janine pointed out, the entire system is basically one giant reset button for this planet. But, what about the people who still live here?"

"They're boned," said Magnus.

"Muchly," said Blade. "Because the System considers them to be expendable."

Celeste gripped Nytetrayn more tightly, a bit scared by the idea. Neither Nytetrayn nor Black Draco looked pleased by that thought, while the other Mechadrakes whispered among themselves. Steel suddenly felt very distant from everyone non-organic, as his blood ran cold.

"They are most often referred to as 'Betas' or 'Carbons'," Blade explained. "Some Bureaucratic models view them as pests or as resources to be managed like anything else. There's something in the files from Elysium about the people here not actually being human, but as far as I can tell, they're just as human as the Master was... Hell, they're probably more human. I don't know all the details, but basically: there's a huge program that conglomerates between Eden, Elysium, and the rest of the System that was designed to kill every carbon on the planet when run, and replace them with the clones created from Elysium's DNA data."

"I see," said Black Draco, who looked to his comrades, none of whom seemed too thrilled about humans – or carbons, or just sentient beings in general – being slaughtered like so much cattle.

Meanwhile, Steel considered what Blade said, that Bureaucratic Units view them as pests or resources to be managed. Janine hugged him tighter, and he hugged back, despite his reeling mind.

"However," Blade said, almost as if he was trying to diffuse the tension he sensed around him, "the System has broken down. Something happened. There's a huge break in the records after the Master reportedly left Elysium. Even now, from what I could tell in MegaMan Rom's records, the system as a whole is in disarray. With the Mother Units missing, and many of the facilities in disrepair, disarray, or being corrupted, I seriously doubt the System could ever be in a state to run the program. Not to mention 'him'."

"'Him'?" asked Black Draco.

"East," Blade said. "Sherman East."

"A psychotic not unlike your Sigma, wholly consumed with power," said Magnus.

Blade continued, "See, long before the System fell into disarray, robotics technology advanced far enough to create robots like Janine: organic, but with technology embedded into their bodies. I myself was a Purifier Model constructed that way."

"We were different from the usual robots," added Janine, "because we could pass for humans. We were human, for all intents and purposes... just with a few extras."

"My brother was also 'techno-organic'," Blade noted.

"Hmm, some of us 'ancients', as you refer to us, were similar to that," said Black Draco. "And then, of course, Nytetrayn."

"Yes, very similar," said Magnus. "East was a bio-organic model, but an advanced breed more powerful than the others. He became convinced that he was superior to humans, and deserved to rule them and the System. This started a huge war. Blade, Bullet, and I were the ones that faced him. Blade and I are lucky that even our minds survived that hellish battle."

"I was killed in combat when I fought East directly," said Blade. "Somehow my mind and soul were transferred to this sword. The sword was transported to a facility and locked away, until Adam Powers broke into the facility and took it. My brother, MegaMan Bullet, managed to seal him away at the cost of his life."

Black Draco nodded. "I'm sorry to hear that."

"Thank you, but the story doesn't end there."

"Tell him what happened to the other bio-organics," Magnus said, his eyes blazing with a sudden rage. Janine gulped.

"Techno-organics were then deemed too unstable to be allowed to continue to be in the System, and were locked away. But East has broken free of his bonds, and somehow become even more powerful."

"I'm sorry to interrupt," Steel spoke up, "but something has been bothering me since we arrived, particularly since the bit about the Repliforce." Black Draco gave Steel an inquisitive look, and the Digger continued. "What is your purpose here now, Commander? It seems you've set up quite a compound here, but for what purpose?"

"This is an exploration and research mission. Basically, we're here to explore; to see what changes had come to our original homeworld, and perhaps even reestablish contact. But as it is currently, we want to keep our mission discreet, as we aren't sure your society would be ready for us. As you've noted, Reploids aren't commonplace anymore, especially with how we've evolved."

"I see," Steel said as he considered it, but wasn't ready to accept it entirely.

"Speaking of organics," Magnus said, "something has been bugging me, too: Why do you and your men seem to know Celeste? Even her name? I was under the impression that Nyte gave it to her after she woke up from her coma."

"Yeah," said Nytetrayn. "I thought I named her myself, too. I first came across her in a coma at the hospital, and she doesn't remember anything before that. Do you know something?"

Black Draco took a deep breath and closed his eyes before beginning to speak. "She... just... she reminds me of someone I once knew," he said, though he seemed to have difficulty speaking of it.

"If I may, Commander?" said Edge. Black Draco nodded.

"Several thousand years ago, back before the Ark left, there was a human: Celeste McTreggor. The Commander shared a gift, a mental bond with her, called Mindspeak. She came with us on the Ark."

"When we finally found our destination..." Black Draco said, as he worked to keep a solid composure here. It seemed like an old wound had been ripped open inside of him as he continued to speak. "It was only a short, short time after that... she died."

"It was a bit of a shock to all of us to see... er, your Celeste here," said MoonRazor. "She looks just like her." Black Draco nodded.

"Maybe that's where I got the name?" Nytetrayn suggested. "Like, subconsciously, or something?"

"It... is possible," said Black Draco. "You were to have data on us, but apparently that was lost over time. I can only assume that some part of Celeste's data remained with you somehow."

"An interesting... coincidence?" said Magnus.

Janine shook her head. "I doubt it's possible, after all this time... that maybe she's a descendant?"

"It would explain a lot," said Blade.

"Maybe," Black Draco said, "though with your 'System,' I'm not sure of the likelihood."

Steel frowned deeply, then stood suddenly. "I'm sorry... I think the air in here is getting to me... if someone could please just show me outside..."

"Sure," said MoonRazor. "I'll help you."

As MoonRazor got up to help Steel, Shuri, who hadn't left her post by the door, put one hand to her "ear." After a moment, she said, "Send her in," and opened the door.

A small girl of about five years of age stepped through. She had long brown hair down to her waist, a red dress, and blue eyes. "Unca' Draco, how much longer?" Steel halted on his way out to regard the young girl.

"Not much longer," Black Draco assured her, his mood seeming to lighten a bit by her presence. "But I guess I should introduce you to our guests. Everyone, this is Serenity... descendent of the McTreggor bloodline." Janine looked on in surprise, as MegaMan Blade smiled warmly at the little girl, and Magnus just sort of waved.

"Serenity," said Black Draco, as he gestured to each of their guests in turn, "this is Nytetrayn, Celeste, Janine, Steel, Magnus, and Blade."

The girl bowed with her hands in front of her, and asked, "How are you?"

"Pleased to meet you, little one," said Steel.

Serenity smiled back, and said, "Pleased to meet you" in return.

"Hello," said Janine, to which Serenity said "hi" with a smile.

Steel, finding the young one's bright innocence refreshing, moved back over to the chairs, and leaned over the back of his previous seat.

"Howya doin', kiddo?" asked MoonRazor.

"I still wanna go 'splorin'..." she said.

"Don't worry, it won't be much longer," the silver Mechadrake said with a smile. "Then me and 'unkie' SunFlame will take you out." SunFlame winced at the term, causing Magnus to burst into a fit of what he hoped the gold Mechadrake would think was coughing. SunFlame raised an eyebrow at Magnus, not terribly amused. Blade and Steel both smiled at her again.

With another deep breath, Black Draco said, "I appreciate you all coming here and meeting with us. However... I would like to extend an invitation to you all."

Steel regarded the black Mechadrake inquisitively.

"If you are able to spare the time, I would like you all to be able to visit Avion with us."

The Terrans looked on in surprise, many eyes wide and speechless.

"We still have a few days before departure," Black Draco said.

"How long would the journey take?" asked Blade.

"The journey itself, about a week, your time."

"So that's what this is all about," Steel said abruptly. "Some kinda damn trap. Well I've fallen for this sort of thing in the past, ain't gonna happen again. Damn cultists."

"Cultists?" said Magnus.

"What are you talking about?" Nytetrayn asked, as he looked at Celeste, and back to Steel. Janine smacked her forehead.

"I've wandered into a bloody cult! Pack of lunatics, bent on converting others to some oddball religion. There ain't no Avion or whatever. Another delusionary tactic by... argh."

"I think it'd be cool," Nytetrayn said. "'Sides, maybe I should spend some more time with my 'dad' here."

"I'll go, if you're going," Celeste told him.

"I wouldn't mind seeing it," said Blade, "and Adam agrees."

Steel looked at his companions. "Are you all mad?"

"A little irritated, maybe," Nyte said.

"Steel... they're not going to make you commit suicide," said Magnus.

"I wouldn't exactly consider us a 'cult'," Black Draco said, as he looked at his comrades.

"What's a 'colt'?" asked Serenity.

"Steel, let me put it this way," said Magnus. "Between Janine and myself, these guys are pretty much screwed if they pull a fast one."

After a pause of realization, Steel looked to Janine. "You aren't going... are you?"

"I... I don't know," she said. "I don't understand why you're so angry."

"Everyone here is so ready to trust these strangers with everything. It's just so reckless..."

"It's not so much 'trust' as it is 'twin high-yield nuclear fusion cannons'," said Magnus. Some of the Dragon Knights looked ready to make a move at that, but Black Draco signaled them to just let that one go.

"C'mon," Nytetrayn said to Steel. "We can see what happened to the ancients! How many people get that chance?"

"What would it take to earn your trust?" Black Draco asked.

"More time than you probably have," Steel replied.

"I see," Black Draco said.

"They did heal Nytetrayn, though," Celeste said.

After a pause, Steel said, "Yeah... and I'm thankful for that." He sighed, and added, "And I can't have one of my rivals running off without another chance for a rematch. But I still gotta state my concern here again."

Janine stood up, and took his hand. "If you feel that strongly about it, then we don't have to go. But... if they were just going to kill us or something, wouldn't they have done it before?"

"Not like we haven't had chances," SunFlame muttered not-too quietly, earning himself elbows from MoonRazor and Edge.

"Possibly... but..." Steel said, as he shook his head. "I've heard so much today. You can't possibly imagine how hard it is to hear the history of the world from everyone you thought you knew."

"I figured it would be inevitable that you asked me questions after I was freed from the ruins," Magnus said. "I mean, why wouldn't you want to know?"

"Hey, a lot of this is new to me, too," said Nytetrayn. "I want to know where I came from. What I really am." Celeste latched herself onto Nyte's arm again.

Steel realized that Nyte has all the justification in the world to want to go through with this, and said, "But in situations like this, I never know what to do. And I know how irrational I am. So Jan, I'll do whatever you tell me to do right now."

"Company would be good," Nyte said. "The more, the merrier!"

Janine shook her head, and looked at the floor. "I can't make this decision for you, Steel. But... I don't know why, but I trust these people. It may be foolish, but I think they're friends."

"Eh," Steel said, "Well... if you trust 'em... I guess I'll go along, too. Vacation could do me good I guess."

"Cool, space road trip!" Nyte said.

Janine hugged Steel tightly, pressing his face into her chest, and he didn't even bother to pull away this time. "I feel ill," Magnus said, as he witnessed the display.

Blade's eyes quit glowing behind his sunglasses, and the runes on the sword flashed briefly. Adam looked a bit weird all of a sudden, stood up, and went to Black Draco to whisper, "Where's your bathroom? I must've eaten something last night that disagreed with me..."

"Er, outside the door, first door on your right," the Mechadrake replied.

"Thanks!" Adam said, before hurriedly heading for the door.

"Alright," said Black Draco. We should be here for a few more days. Perhaps you should all pack. I'll let MoonRazor and SunFlame –"

"And me!" exclaimed the little girl.

"...and Serenity escort you back."

"Cool, let's get to it!" said Nytetrayn. Celeste nodded.

"Hey, Crossfire! What's that?" MoonRazor asked the blue Mechadrake as he pointed.

"Huh? Wha?"

"Yoink!" MoonRazor said, as he snatched the keys to the cruiser, then bolted out the door.

"Hey! Give those back!" Crossfire shouted, as he gave chase. "Hands off the Falcon Arrow, MoonRazor! Get your own ship!!!"

Steel looked on in bewilderment, unable to believe he's trusting these people with his life in the coming days.

"...I take it back," Magnus said. "We're all doomed."

"Only if Crossfire doesn't get the keys back," said SunFlame. "C'mon, kiddo. Let's see if we can't catch them before they tear the joint down..." SunFlame told Serenity as he put the girl up on his shoulders, and headed out the door.

Black Draco nodded to his guests. "For now, I have a few other things to attend to. Until then, I look forward to your return."

Magnus stood up. "Thank you, Commander. It has been a most enlightening experience."

"Anytime," Black Draco told Magnus with a nod. He headed out the way he came, as Shuri opened the door for him.

As Nytetrayn stood up and stretched, the black Mechadrake turned back to him. "Oh, and Nytetrayn, there are a few things I'd like to talk with you about when you return."

"Uh, sure," the Digger said, wondering what that's about.

"Well, this'll be fun," said Steel.

"Yeah," Janine replied. "I hope they have private bedrooms on this ship of theirs," she added, before taking a quick lick at Steel's earlobe, turning him the color of ketchup.

Nytetrayn and Celeste headed out after SunFlame, to follow him to the ship bay, and Magnus quickly turned to do the same. Janine giggled and tugged on Steel's hand as she followed the others.

"Maybe this won't be so bad..." Steel said to himself, as he followed along happily.

Next time: As the Terrans prepare for their journey Beyond the world they know, a familiar face resurfaces... and it's not the happiest of occasions. Be here for "Legends of the Halcyon Era - Revelations: Reunion," early next year!



Author Notes: Whew! What a ride, huh? And what a year, at that!

Once I realized that the end of this year would mark the 30th anniversary of the release of the original
Mega Man X – or, more technically, Rockman X – I knew I had to reach this point in the story to celebrate it.

Things started off rocky with us getting COVID at the beginning of the year, which threw things off a bit, but I managed to rebound eventually. I know a new episode every week might be kind of a lot – trust me, it was a lot from this end, too, even if I enjoyed every moment of it – but I had a goal to reach, and we made it. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of one of my favorite games and series
and the 50th episode of "Legends of the Halcyon Era" than to debut the world of Beyond 21XX.

But, "What is Beyond 21XX?", you may be asking? Well, if you've read this far, then you've already gotten a light gist of it. Suffice to say, more information is coming soon – including how
you can be a part of it! The other players in the RPG really loved it, which is what spurred me on to finally fulfill its intended purpose and share it with everyone, so I hope you will, too!

As for me? Well, as I write this, I don't
think there are any major milestones to worry about this year – none significant to "Legends of the Halcyon Era," at least (but feel free to reach out somewhere and tell me if I'm wrong!). So I plan to relax the pace a little bit – PoisonMushroom.Org could use a little more love, and I've got other projects in the works for The Mega Man Network, too. Plus, I want to give more people some time to catch up, if they need it.

This may mark the end of the year, but it's by no means the end for the "Legends" crew. In some ways, it feels like we're only just getting started!

Big changes are afoot, and I hope you'll keep reading into next year and beyond. And hey, if you like what you're reading, feel free to share the love around. If you want to throw a few bucks my way on Ko-fi or Patreon, too, that helps me commission more of the art you've seen on TMMN and Twitter!

Finally, I just want to give a big thanks to my wife, Nadia, who has been proofreading this from the beginning, helping me improve as a writer and making sure I don't go "too far" for my vision of what this story can be. I want to thank Jewel Maiden for the awesome "Beyond 21XX (Galactic Voyage)" theme, Tabby and EFEXTEX for the wonderful logos, and Victor for his support and all the wonderful art that's helped bring this world and these characters I love to life.

Thanks to the gang of friends who've chosen to remain anonymous for taking part in the RPG this whole thing is based on back in the day. I doubt any of this would exist otherwise, and frankly, I cherish it and the memories too much to imagine a world without them.

Thanks to Capcom, for creating the worlds of
Mega Man X and Mega Man Legends in particular, and Mega Man in general. Without them, even the RPG wouldn't exist, to say nothing of the friendships and relationships mentioned here. I believe you'll get to Mega Man Legends 3 someday, and I intend to wait as long as it takes. I'm just trying to do my part to help keep hope and love for it alive in the meantime.

Also, a special thanks to the fine folks at Mega Man Knowledge Base and Mega Man Legends Station, for providing invaluable screens for covers and information, so that I can make things feel a bit more genuine than when we ran things in the RPG days. No more vague descriptions of Reaverbots for us! Well, except for the ones that we made-up, anyway.

Thanks to all of you, in a world covered by endless water, the fight for everlasting peace continues!


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