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Another sci-fi classic I grew fond of was the anime, Cowboy Bebop. When I was 25, I've made this post-epilogue crossover with Pokémon and Mega Man X. It may not be Starfox-related, but it does have some properties from Nintendo later on, and it is a sci-fi work. So, hopefully, you guys will enjoy this. And also have a little Biker Mice as well.

A/N: Hello, fellow readers. I have finally written the long-awaited x-over for Cowboy Bebop. This takes place just after the final episode; and if you haven't seen the series finale, I suggest you either leave immediately or look it up. Because there are some slight spoilers here. For now, this is just the prologue, an intro of what's yet to come.

There will be more action and drama later on. But until then, witness this tragic event.

Prologue - The Death of Spike Spiegel


Those were the last words Spike said, as he pointed his thumb and finger like a gun toward the Syndicate. His battered body fell onto the main staircase which was covered in a blinding white light.

The black-suited gunmen were standing like a bunch of statues; they didn't even notice Trudy who hurriedly shoved them out of her way. She watched as he muttered his final word, during his final breath of life.

"Nooo!" Trudy ran to his side and sat with a hard thud next to him. She felt that her heart had rushed to her throat. Her face grew pale and clammy, and she felt like she was breathing in several ice shards.

But she didn't care. She still examined the body with complete panic. She thought that Spike, the one she looked up to as a brother, who taught her how to find the inner strength she thought she never had, would never be seen again. She truly idolized him aside from his laziness, cockiness, or his habitual drinking. That was then, this was now. Spike was gone, but she kept refusing to believe it.

Trudy kept calling his name as she shook his body awake. No response. There wasn't even a pulse, a heartbeat, or a single breath. His body was completely motionless, and she saw a small grin on his placid face.

That was when she finally realized that Spike had reunited with his lost love, Julia; his mentor, Mao Yenrai; and his friends Shin and Annie, in the afterlife. After those constant onslaughts by the Red Dragons, and the shootout in Tharsis, he at last defeated his nemesis, Vicious. Trudy knew that at that moment, Spike was resting in peace, and was never to return.

First the departures from Edward and Ein...and now this?! she thought.

There was nothing for her to do. Her face turned red as a ripe tomato as she gazed upon him. And rivers of tears flowed and stung her cheeks like hornet stings. She managed to lift his heavy head and rest it on her lap. She moved his oily strands of hair from his face.

She only had enough of her sanity to whimper, "S-s...Spike!"

Trudy collapsed and hugged Spike's face against her quaking body. Her world had stopped and began to grow dim as she mourned. She didn't even notice the snipers carry Spike's body away. Her grip was remarkably weak.

Her mind went blank, and all she kept thinking of was Spike's last moments. And wondered how would she explain this to the remaining, surviving members, Jet and Faye.

A/N: When I first saw Spike Spiegel pass away, I felt that my whole world screeched to a halt. I was in tears when I saw his death, along with the events foreshadowing it. Especially the sudden loss of Julia. My OC, Trudy, really idolized him in every way, ever since she first met him after she became a member of the Bebop crew. I haven't written a fic about her origins yet. Hopefully I'll have it ready while I keep working on this one.

A recessional, for the Red Dragons, does mean a hymn or piece of music at the conclusion of a program, like say a concert. And since several episode titles have a reference to music, I find this to be fitting.

So stay tuned for the next chapter, where the events take shape.



Disclaimer: Before I start, I do NOT own Bebop, nor the crossover that's coming up. Get ready for a wild ride in this chapter!

Chapter 1 - The Nightmare Begins

The Bebop was drifting slowly through deep space on auto-pilot, just a few light years from Mars. Much like the outside, the interior was all dark and quiet. It was now in hyper sleep. And ever since Trudy summoned enough courage to tell the two crewmembers of Spike's fate, they had quite a hard time trying to catch some z's. They were shocked and devastated after hearing the news, but Faye took it far harder than Jet.

Eventually the pressure lulled them to sleep, even Trudy who dosed at around 2:30 am. She was twisting and turning every which way, and her body felt bone-cold. Not even her thick, green comforter managed to keep her warm. This type of feeling reminded her of whenever she sensed Vicious around. She thought to herself if it was him again...or something more sinister is at foot.

She was actually having a night terror taking place in a secluded, dark chamber. In it, the same Red Dragons she saw at Tharsis were there. Up ahead at the center of a back wall was an enormous throne. A strong beam of light was shining on it. It was decorated with all sorts of exotic jewels, and in the middle was a crimson carpet with a menacing dragon etched on it.

Sitting on the elaborate chair was an elderly man with his eyes shut. He was wearing a long, thick robe with a lot of symbols Trudy couldn't describe. Apparently, this could be the Red Dragons' new leader?

Two elites carried the lifeless Spike on their shoulders and brought him in front of their master. Their opaque shoes sounded like bullets as they walked. "We have come, Master... We brought the rogue, Spike, to you, as you instructed." One of them said in a gruff tone.

The old man woke up, his eyes gleamed. "Excellent. Then let the ritual begin."

The two men nodded, and a cot was wheeled toward the center. They walked Spike forward and dropped him to it. His body hit it with a deafening bang, his arms drooped from each side. Then, there were some distant drums, beating softly and steadily. Some incantations were made; Trudy couldn't quite understand them.

A sniper took out a syringe and drew it into Vicious' corpse, resting on a platform. The blood filled it up rapidly, and by the time he sent it to Spike, the drums and the chants became faster and louder.

He struck the needle into Spike's upper side of his neck and inserted. When it emptied, the syringe was removed and everything became silent. Next, his body began to tremble, his eyes fluttered, and he started to breathe...but very heavy. After that he started to convulse, as if he was having a seizure. Then, after what seemed like forever, his body slumped against the cot and remained very still.

The elder rose from his perch and walked slowly toward him. He leaned in, laid a hand on the injection site, and whispered in his ear, "Spike Spiegel, your resurrection is complete. You've come back from the dead for one purpose, to serve the Red Dragons once more. Now, arise, great warrior! You shall be reunited with your brethren. Come out from the ashes. And to rise again! Join us."

He backed away and watched Spike stir. Then, with an aggressive look, his eyes shot open. Trudy shot up with a cold sweat. She took in deep, rushed breaths to calm herself. She couldn't believe what she saw.

Is Spike truly alive? Is he really working for the Red Dragons again?...What if he forgets us? Her anxieties were taking the best of her. She couldn't possibly answer these questions alone and so frantic.

She then thought about her good friend, Mary. She was a Pokémon Champion from the Kanto region on Earth, Trudy's home planet. In times of great sorrow and grief, she was the one to count on. Without a second thought, Trudy immediately grabbed her tablet. She turned it on and a map of the entire galaxy was displayed. When she touched Earth, the screen zoomed in and showed vital stats of the planet. Due to Mars having a great distance, the timeline was different; by approximately two days and an hour.

She zoomed in closer 'til she saw Kanto, which was a country fitting the northeastern quarter of the continent. She touched 'Pallet Town' on the screen and Mary's number showed up. Before she dialed it, the tablet gave off a ring and a buffering sign. Mary was calling instead.

She tapped the screen and hesitated. "...Hello?"

A female voice was heard. "Hello, Trudy. Do you know who this is?"

Trudy's eyes widened. "Mary!" she whispered with astonishment.


From the screen, a twenty-three year old with shoulder length dark brown hair, a grey cap with a red outline of a Poké Ball, and wearing a sky blue T was shown. Her face looked serious and she looked close to being Trudy's age. Her face grew somber when she spoke, "I'm very sorry for your loss. I sent you some PM's but you weren't available. Are you feeling alright?"

"Well...not really. Listen I had this dream, right?" Trudy described to her friend what was happening and her fears of Spike turning over to the Red Dragons. "I'm worried, Mary. I'm not sure what to say to Jet and Faye. She might believe me, but it's unlikely that Jet would, considering he was an ISSP officer. He wouldn't believe me. After all...dreams"

"Fantastical. Nothing more than random acts of the subconscious mind."


Without any kind of proof, it's almost impossible for Jet to be convinced. And because of the news of Spike's death, he decided to go to Earth and drop off Faye and Trudy there. In other words, where they belonged. Of course, Faye's home had been devastated by a sudden meteor, where the only thing left was a running fountain coming from an open lion's mouth, and Trudy never wanted to go back to the slums.

As if reading her mind, Mary said, "Look, I found out that you're heading back to Earth. If you need a place to stay I'll be-"

"N-no. It's fine. I just need to find someway to convince them that something's going on. But I need to find some clues."

"You said that this all happened at the Red Dragons' hideout, at Tharsis. You should start looking there. There may be some kind of connection to what you...saw."

Trudy was quite sure it was a vision of some kind; it was way too real to be labeled as a dream. "Alright, I'll tell them that."

"You gotta do it, Trudy. Otherwise, you'll never find the answers. We're all with you!" she exclaimed, and a chorus of cheers followed.

With a small smile, she rose her head and remarked. "Ok, I'll do it! Jet and Faye just has to believe me. I'm their only source of information here."

"Go then...until the hyper sleep wears off. Do not be afraid, and do not hesitate. You may rehearse your speech if you want to. Officers..." Mary shook her head and snapped her tongue against her teeth. "...they can be quite stubborn. Ball's in your court."

Trudy nodded. "Thanks for the encouragement, Mary. I appreciate it. I'll let you know how it turned out."

"Sure, I'll see you then." The screen switched back to the Kanto map as she ended the call.

Trudy took some deep breaths to clear her head, she was very nervous. Whatever happens, happens, Spike said in her mind.

The hyper sleep was still active, but she was much more awake and alert. She looked over and read her digital clock. It was 4:01.

She kept herself busy reciting her dialogue. Then again if she were to head to Earth, it wouldn't be too much of a problem if she were to bring Mary and her other cousins. She was the oldest and the most experienced out of all of them. Starting at the age of 13 and obtaining her Bulbasaur, Seedy, Mary began her journey. By the time she completed, she became the Kanto League Champion, and thwarted its crime squad, Team Rocket. Her other younger cousins wanted to follow suit. From various other regions, they also went on to become expert Trainers, as well as continue her budding legacy.

Trudy looked over each of her comrades. By the time she was done, it was a few minutes to eight. By then, the Bebop, even though there's not a lot of ruckus, would wake up. She'd gotten dressed, looked into the small, octagon mirror, and breathed in deep.

They'll have to believe me. If not, I can still convince them to come with me at Tharsis; there's bound to be some clues of that vision I had. Her face turned stern. We must stop the Red Dragon Syndicate at all costs...especially for Spike.

A/N: Hope you all liked it. Also, I'd love to give special thanks to my collaborators, pikaace & space cowboy-656. You two are awesome! :D Unfortunately, only pikaace has an account here.

Because of that, and with her permission, I decided to throw in a little bio from her first original character, Mary. As you would see, she did start her Pokémon journey when she was a teenager and became the Champion shortly afterwards. She has a great team, and as mentioned in the fic, she does have a diverse family who all want to carry out her legacy. However, that was only one of her allies I've mentioned Trudy will use, the rest will have to come later.

Also, the dream sequence was roughly based off of the concepts from Jurassic Park and the Temple of Doom. Talk about wild, eh!

But that's only the beginning. Be prepared for the next chapter when Trudy begs for Faye and especially, Jet, that Spike has been resurrected. See you then.

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Chapter 2 - Return to Tharsis

Trudy went to the cluttered dining area. Faye and Jet were just starting their breakfast, though she was a bit hesitant telling them her input. She muttered behind a wall, "What if they don't believe me? Who can I trust to take me to Tharsis, no to Mars, if I have to go on my own? Would my other friends do this?"

To her, Jet Black was a sort of father figure, giving her guidance and security despite the starship's dysfunctional atmosphere, as well as advice on defending herself and listening to each other's hardships. When she first met him and Spike as she witnessed the Bebop crash land on Earth, she was both curious and concerned about his amputated arm. They had grown to like one another rather quickly since then. She also considered Faye to be like a loner, but an older sister nonetheless. She wasn't into gambling nor sex appeal and she wasn't really fond of her like she was with the others, but overtime she was a positive example on showing what a woman is made of, rather than be just a damsel in distress aside from being capture prone or a mere sex symbol like she thought. Trudy regarded the Bebop crew as her own surrogate family; far better than her own back on Earth. She too wishes to see Edward and Ein again someday...

Just then, she heard Jet call for her and said it was time for breakfast; she could actually smell the fried eggs, which turned out to be fresh omelets complete with cheese, peppers, and onions. Her stomach rumbled, and her mind raced as to how and when she should tell the remaining bounty hunters, Jet Black and Faye Valentine, of the theory she got on Spike's fate. She wandered in slowly and then ate her omelet, knowing this may be her last meal within the Bebop ship.

By the time they were done, Jet gave each of them the lowdown; on where Faye and Trudy would be dropped off on Earth. Trudy never had a place to call home since she got estranged from her family. She instead wanted to go to where her friend Mary was, but Kanto was so distant, and she didn't know how to get there nor where it was. But Trudy couldn't resist any longer, and she blurted out the dream she had. Although Faye was returning to the city that was demolished by the meteors and ongoing debris, Trudy would be let off to her friend's location in Kanto; which was a slight relief since it beat being back in the slums.

"Jet, Faye, I need to tell you something." They looked at her in an attentive manner. "I appreciate you dropping me off in Kanto, Jet. But I found out something last night. It's about Spike, I know where he is!" Their expressions were a mix between shock and skepticism.

"We all know where he is, Trudy. He died at the Red Dragons' headquarters." Jet said in his usual gruffy tone. Faye saddened at the thought; she couldn't forget how upset she felt while absently shooting the roof in the hallway as she saw him walk away, never to return.

"No, he was taken away to another place! I saw him get resurrected in some dark chamber. The Red Dragons were there, and they inserted Vicious' blood in him. He's alive, but he may not be himself. And Mary said we should go to Tharsis to find some clues. What do you say?"

Faye's eyes widened, while Jet paused as he tried to process the information. He let out a small chuckle, then his demeanor became stone cold. "Well...that's ridiculous." That caught Trudy and Faye off guard. "This was all from a nightmare you had, and you expect me to believe that Spike is miraculously alive in some desolate place? I can't believe Mary told you into this." he scolded. As the papa wolf, Jet didn't believe the young cadet, and it seemed that her and the Trainer's predictions were true.

"I do." Faye interrupted the pregnant pause. Oddly enough, the unlucky gambler was actually convinced.

"But for crying out loud, Faye, it was only some random nightmare. And dreams are nothing but only random fragments of the mind!" the top dog said with a raised voice.

"I for once actually believe in her. If we could just find some traces of Spike, then he is alive somewhere. If he IS truly alive and well, Jet, we'll find him. And if not...then I guess we'd be wasting our time. But, we won't know until we even try." her voice was casual then booming with determination.

Jet hesitated, and Trudy thanked her for believing in her findings. He took a deep sigh, "Alright. But return home when you guys are done. I want to see Spike for myself if he is ever around. He deserves an ass-whooping for upsetting us."

Trudy couldn't be more ecstatic, and she and Faye headed out to the Bebop's loading dock.

It was very close on its approach to Earth's Hyperspace gate, so they needed to turn back to Mars once more. If Spike wouldn't be found, Jet was planning to scrap the wrecked ship away and may retire in his home planet, the seventh largest moon of Jupiter, Ganymede.

Faye has volunteered to go with her to Tharsis, the major city of Mars. Ever since life was sustained within the red planet during the breakthroughs of the late 21st century, the distant plateau was developed into a metropolis. It was also home to Martians Spike and Julia while also housing a tall stronghold, a skyscraper that housed the lethal Red Dragon Syndicate. As Faye and Trudy looked down, they saw it for themselves, poking through the rising mist like a sharp needle. That sinister 30-story watchtower was the same location where Spike assassinated Vicious. On Faye's starship, the Red Tail, they departed; Jet said he'll meet up with them if anything should go awry, even though he was still skeptical on whether or not Trudy was only leading them on a wild goose chase.

They showed up, and the hideout was demolished and abandoned from the onslaught not long ago. The rooves collapsed in one side, while a huge chunk of the walls were missing by an explosion. Blood stains were everywhere, but there were no corpses. Furniture were tossed asunder and broken, and so were the glass panels in the roof of the topmost floor; at least the elevator was still operational. Faye led Trudy upwards, and there was no sign of Spike, though the room itself was hard for them to see through the darkness.

They finally noticed him, scuffing his feet from behind a wall. The startled women eventually took a glance at his opaque face which was completely free from injury. Spike then smiled wryly at them as he pointed his fingers out like a gun.


"S-S-Spike!?" Trudy cried out. Faye couldn't believe he was here; she thought he could be like a Draugr of sorts.

He then strutted up to them, with his body as straight as a pencil. "It's been awhile. Faye and Trudy."

"Spike!" Faye ran in front of her partner. "You're alive!"

"I am." he responded in a coy expression.

Trudy could hardly stop her heart and mind from racing. "Spike, it-it's so good to see you! I guess my dream was true after all. Wait till Jet hears about this!" She grabbed and pulled him by the arm. "Come on. He's in the Bebop waiting for us! It should be here any second." She was quite relieved since she would be able to prove the Black Dog wrong for once.

Spike had a surprised expression as Trudy demanded. But his face shortly became stoic again, holding himself back as she was tugging him. "Certainly, I'd be glad to board it again and meet the old bag. But..." he paused and hung his head.

"What is it, Spike?" Faye queried with concern.

"You'll still be with us, right?" Trudy added, her heart still beating rampant, her throat tight.

"Absolutely. That's why I'm here. To meet your acquaintance first." He dug into his overcoat for something. "But the main reason why I came here--" He then drew his signature golden pistol, the Jericho 941, directly toward them! "Is to exterminate you!"

That put both Faye and Trudy on edge. "Ugh--Spike?!?" the young bounty hunter backed away.

"What're you doing!?" Faye screeched at the sight of him, wanting to blow their brains out!

"A duel, Faye." he responded in a menacing tone.

"You can't be serious!" Trudy refused to believe he was doing this. Still, Spike never backed down.

"Draw out your weapon." he commanded. But both of them were too stunned, like deer in headlights. Just then, Spike clicked the back of his Glock, aimed, and fired in between their foreheads! The shot caused the two women to scatter, Trudy dived to the right while Faye fell to the left covering herself beside some boxes. He shot wildly, letting out a few stray bullets with that one deadly objective in mind.

"You cannot hide forever." With a snarl, Spike fixed his eyes on his prey. He first spotted Faye who was about to make her move on him. He dove in and tackled her down. She struggled to get him off her, but his body was too heavy. She wanted to kick his crotch while he was beginning to crush her airwaves and gaze wildly into her dwindling eyes.

Trudy ambushed from behind, putting Spike in a stranglehold. When he noticed her, he stopped suffocating Faye and smacked Trudy off with a strong backhand. Her face began to swell as she fell, but she never gave up. She retaliated when he threw her backward as he was lunging toward her. They both stood up and he aimed for Trudy's stomach with a kick, but she managed to hold his leg, twist it, and tossed it  and his body. Spike wound up on his side. Trudy actually used this move before with several thugs, and Spike was impressed as he remembered that stunt. He gave her a proud look, "Not bad. Space cadet." This was a nickname he gave her days before since she was known to zone out a lot; while also referring to the fact she was only a low-class bounty hunter.

He then gave her a very strong punch to her right cheek soon after the compliment. Her vision was very faint upon impact, and she felt her body shutting down. She sunk onto her knees, and later collapsed to the cold, hard floor. Faye was startled by the sight of her fallen comrade. Spike just stood and admired the damage he'd done. He clearly had an appetite for killing and destruction, but he never made a move on the hapless diva.

Instead, he just gave out a warning. "I am sparing your life for the moment, Faye." He pointed out his Jericho again. "You'd better not notify Jet on my whereabouts. It's best you keep your slutty mouth shut." She was terrified to hear him say that. He continued, "The Red Dragons will soon rule the world over. There would be a war to determine our fate. It is something that Vicious wished he had done, and I am fulfilling his promise. We, too, have the same blood. We will reign supreme and triumph over the ISSP first. So if I were you, I'd run." His eyes gleamed at the thought. "If you dare tell Jet any of this, I will kill you personally. You have been warned."

He withdrew his weapon into his right pocket and walked off, leaving both a stupefied Faye and an unconscious Trudy behind.

Moments later, his Swordfish II landed near the summit of a very tall, steep mountain at a great distance. He returned to the same location where he was reawakened and bowed down to the mysterious leader of the syndicate. "Master, I have completed the mission. I have spread the word to my enemies of the oncoming war. Is it time?"

The great oriental stood from his elaborate throne, and his men were facing him. He replied, "Yes. We let these puny citizens wait enough." He faced toward his followers, "Within seventy-two hours we shall strike. Prepare for the battle of the new century."

"Yes sir!" They all chorused.

Spike let out a huge grin as he exclaimed, "At last!!"

A/N: Finally! After several months of planning, I finally brought the second chapter into fruition. I actually wrote this out in an old notebook once over five years ago, but unfortunately I lost all my work shortly after. Hopefully I'd make up for lost time.

So Spike has officially been brainwashed by the Red Dragons, and it almost made sense since Vicious said that he and Spike have the same blood in them. They, too, are the most volatile men and the highest ranks within the Syndicate, so it's no doubt he'd be a killing machine, much like his former enemy. So the galaxy's fate hangs in the balance of the impending war. Let's hope the surviving Bebop crew would do something about this.


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/N: Time to show my awesome ideas for the Bebop crossover. I hope it'll come to show that Earthlings aren't always primitive and weak as the series proclaims. I'm sure you all are going to be quite surprised on what I came up with.

Chapter 3 - Researching the Troops

Trudy had another dream, but it wasn't the same night terror she had before. She was in a dark chamber; however, she heard a soothing, musical noise. It was faint, but she eventually made it out as a jingle coming from a little music box. As she glanced harder, she saw it within a dim beam of light, its right handle rotating slowly. She then recognized this as a familiar tune, one that belonged to a special woman that was loved or deserved to be loved, Julia. By the time the song ended, the dream began to fade.

She then woke up and her body, including her face, was completely sore and also felt it was being crushed. There was a bright florescent lamp hanging over her, and some elderly man was also looming. He was known only by his name and occupation, Doc. He was a man in his late seventies and a personal acquaintance with Jet. He and Spike go to him regularly whenever they were injured during numerous bounty hunting missions, though treatment came at a price spending some of their earnings. His balding head, grey whiskers, old spectacles, and gentle demeanor were sort of welcoming to Trudy despite the excruciating pain.

He just inserted a needle to numb her suffering. "She really took quite a beating. It's unbelievable that Spike actually did this to her, and endangered Faye as well. But she will live."

"Thanks, Doc." Jet replied, looking over her in a hopeless manner. Even he was just as distraught once he found out from Faye as soon as he landed next to the dreaded skyscraper. She just called as soon as Swordfish II left, and the Bebop was on their case; she was lucky Jet wasn't spotted by the lethal spacecraft. She sat at the waiting room for results, and Jet had yet to tell her.

He heard Trudy mutter something, snapping him out of his reverie. "Unh, Jet... Will I...recover..?"

He laid a hand on her swollen cheek, "Yes, Trudy. You put up quite a fight, and lost. It's almost like you were hit by a lot of sledgehammers. But you'll live; the doc says you'll be fine within a few days of rest." Doc recommended for Trudy to stay here for the time being, and he at times kept reassuring her that she was safe whenever he came around to her bedside. He was a bit worried about the dire news he heard from Faye and Jet, of Spike stating the chances of an interstellar war with less than seventy-two hours. Out of earshot, he told Jet that if the time comes, they should evacuate Mars along the Bebop, and from the nightmare Tinsel had, he's afraid there may not be a reversal.

Back in the waiting room, Faye felt relieved on Trudy's condition but was also desperate to investigate Tharsis again and search for a solution to bring Spike back, but it would be suicide Jet said, far too risky. Besides, he theorized they could be elsewhere and won't be found very easily. She argued they can't just stay here and let the impending conflict happen, nor let Spike find out.

Minutes dragged onto hours, and then into a day, until dawn rose; only about forty-eight hours remained. Doc gave Jet and Faye permission to visit Trudy whenever they pleased. Everyone ate together during breakfast, and by the time it was over while Jet was the last to leave, Trudy in a whisper wanted to give Jet her tablet so he could research her friend, Mary, on Earth. She and her cousins could be some excellent use for the upcoming battle since they were known as Pokémon Champions from their corresponding home lands. She also recommended her Reploid friends, X and Zero, in a distant, mechanical hub somewhere in Tokyo, Japan.

"Alright, Tinsel. I'll take your word for it," he said with a grin. She was too weak to write down the passcode, so she only whispered in his ear instead; he was the only one she trusted with her own life.

From her room within the Bebop, Jet received the locked black tablet. He typed in the code Trudy gave him and he tapped on the planet Earth from the layout of the entire solar system. He then zoomed in at Japan's location and came across some data regarding the resident of Kanto as well as other neighboring regions. The first was, of course, Mary and her info was listed as follows:

Age: 23
Birthplace: Pallet Town, Kanto, Japan
Pokémon: Venusaur (Seedy), Pidgeot (Sunny), Butterfree (Moonlight), Pikachu (Daffodil), Dragonair (Diadem), Vulpix (Amber)
Family: April, Marina, Crystal, Lizzie, Beth, Jenny (cousins)

Mary is a young trainer from Pallet Town in the Kanto region with the dream of becoming the greatest Pokémon master in Kanto. She is the current champion of the Indigo League and even won herself the Orange League trophy from winning the championship against the Orange Crew. Unlike most Trainers, she has a habit of nicknaming her Pokémon based on their color, personality, and looks so they could feel more like they're her friends. One thing that keeps her going is keeping up with her childhood rival, Gary. Even though she sometimes wants to beat Gary more than other important things, she still cares for her Pokémon with all her heart and is seen as a role model for Trainers all throughout Kanto.


Seedy (Venusaur): Seedy was originally the Bulbasaur that Mary received from Professor Oak to begin her journey. The two share a very close bond since they have been together since Day 1 and it became the strongest of Mary's team after beating Gary's Charizard in the final round of the Indigo League.

Sunny (Pigeot): Sunny was the very first Pokémon Mary caught on her journey. She caught it when it was just a Pidgey and named after how it looked so graceful in the sunlight. As it grew, they became closer. Anyone who's seen them in battle could see that Sunny is very special to Mary.

Moonlight (Butterfree): Moonlight was the second Pokémon Mary caught. It evolved very quickly, but Mary was able to teach it powerful Psychic moves throughout her journey. Moonlight is known to never give up. It was that very same feeling that earned Mary her Soul Badge at the Fuchsia Gym.

Daffodil (Pikachu): Daffodil is one of the powerhouses of Mary's team. Even though its defense isn't very high, its moves are shocking, literally. Like many Pikachu, Daffodil prefers to stay out of its Poké Ball and ride on Mary's shoulder. Therefore, the two share a very special bond.

Diadem (Dragonair): Diadem is famous for its powerful moves, its beauty, and its transportation. Mary could get to any island easily riding on Diadem's head. It used to be a special Dratini that Mary fished out of the Safari Zone. Once it evolved into Dragonair after a short battle with Gary, it chose not to evolve into Dragonite later on.

Amber (Vulpix): Amber is the small but scorching Fire-Type of Mary's team. She caught it in the old abandoned mansion on Cinnabar Island. While battling it, she discovered that it could control its Flamethrower any way it wanted. After quickly bonding with her, it managed to earn Mary the Volcano Badge from the Cinnabar Gym. After losing to a Trainer's Ninetales, Mary received a Fire Stone, but Amber refused to use it. Mary has kept it with her ever since, but for now Amber will stay as a cute, little Vulpix.

Age: 22
Birthplace: New Bark Town, Johto, Japan
Pokémon: Cyndaquil, Noctowl, Ampharos, Politoed, Espeon, and Red Gyarados
Family: Mary, Marina, Crystal, Lizzie, Beth, Jenny (cousins)

April is a young Trainer from New Bark Town in the region of Johto. Two years before her tenth birthday, she heard all the great things her cousin Mary did in Kanto and dreamed that she would follow in her footsteps. April soon got her wish by becoming the champion of the Johto Silver Conference. On her journey, she managed to find an arrogant rival known as Silver, who doesn't seem to care about Pokémon or their feelings. But April can tell that every time they meet, her message of befriending Pokémon is getting through to Silver.


Cyndaquil: This little powerhouse was the very first Pokémon April received to go on her journey. The day they met was a day to remember. Since Cyndaquil cherishes the day they became friends, it chose to not evolve and stay the tough little Pokémon it is today. Its strength was proved by defeating Lance's Dragonite in the Silver Conference; there was a time when his own Flamethrower overridden Dragonite's Hyper Beam. It now spends a lot of time outside its Poké Ball and the two are now inseparable.

Noctowl: Noctowl used to be a small Hoothoot that was April's very first captured Pokémon. Before it evolved, it wasn't the best battler and wanted to be the strong Pokémon that April deserved. Once it evolved, its strength increased dramatically and got its wish when its new attack, Confusion, and special Ability, Insomnia, earned April her Fog Badge from Ecruteak City. Ever since then, Noctowl has shown large affection and loyalty to April.

Ampharos: Ampharos was once a small Mareep that April caught near Azalea Town. As the two trained, its Electric attacks proved to be very useful against her rival's Croconaw. As a Flaaffy, its strength earned April the Plain Badge from the Goldenrod Gym. When it finally evolved into Ampharos, it learned many powerful moves such as Thunder Punch, Signal Beam and Fire Punch, and has become one of her strongest and most dependable Pokémon.

Politoed: What used to be a small, shy Poliwag April fished out of a pond near Ecruteak City, soon became a playful but powerful Politoed. It stayed as a Poliwhirl for a while before evolving into Politoed during the Silver Conference. April always feels happy to be around her Politoed and it knows many moves like Focus Punch.

Espeon: April will never forget the determined little Eevee she received from the Pokémon Expert, Bill. After watching April battle, it became drawn to other battles. After learning the powerful moves of Dig, Shadow Ball and Iron Tail, it evolved into Espeon after the battle against Team Rocket's boss, Archer.

Gyarados (Red Gyarados): This special Pokémon April caught when it was rampaging at Lake Rage near Mahogany Town. At first, this Gyarados didn't trust humans at all. When April teamed up with Lance to stop it, April jumped onto its head. It was hit with a powerful attack and they both fell down a waterfall near the lake. On that day, April's feelings got through to Gyarados and it was caught. Their friendship was later tested at the Blackthorn Gym, and it earned them the Rising Badge.

Age: 21
Birthplace: Littleroot Town, Hoenn, Japan (just moved from Johto)
Pokémon: Blaziken, Beautifly, Azumarill, Altaria, Absol, Castform
Family: Mary, April, Crystal, Lizzie, Beth, Jenny (cousins)

Marina is the cousin of Mary and April from Littleroot Town. After an adventurous journey through the Hoenn region, she won the Hoenn League Championship and even cruised through the Kanto Battle Frontier and earned herself the honor of becoming a Frontier Brain. When she's not accepting challenges from those who want to battle her for a Battle Frontier symbol, she travels through Hoenn and other regions training her Pokémon. When she is gone from her hidden battle facility, she leaves it in the care of her equally strong rival and good friend, Brendan.


Blaziken: This tough Pokémon was originally the cute Torchic that Marina received for her Starter Pokémon and used to rescue Prof. Birch from a wild Poochyena. As it grew, it got Marina out of tough battle situations time and time again. Their friendship proved to be the strongest when Blaziken came through in the final battle against the Pyramid King Brandon's Regice.

Beautifly: This Pokémon used to be the first Pokémon Marina caught when it was just a Wurmple. When it quickly evolved into Silcoon, and then into Beautifly, it became a big help in battle. Through the time they spent together it was able to learn Solarbeam and even Aerial Ace. As a result, Marina could always depend on Beautifly to pull through in a tough battle.

Azumarill: You don't want to mess with this Pokémon. Its moves have proved to be super powerful. Marina caught it as a Marill near Rustboro City and it earned her the Stone Badge from the Gym. After it evolved into Azumarill, it was Marina's secret weapon to put Team Magma on the run time and time again showing that its one of her strongest Pokémon.

Altaria: Marina has never met a more determined Pokémon. It was caught as a Swablu near Fallabor Town and wasn't what you would call a great fighter. But it kept training super hard until it evolved just in time to save the Gym Leaders', Tate and Liza's, Pokémon from Team Aqua and earn her the Mind Badge. Ever since then, Altaria is more confident than ever while battling.

Absol: Marina caught Absol when it was roaming around the outskirts of Fortree City and fighting those who invaded its territory. After an intense battle, Marina finally managed to catch it, but they had some obedience problems for a while. Eventually, Marina gained its trust and it became one of the powerhouses of her team with moves like Razor Wind and Hyper Beam.

Castform: This cute Pokémon wasn't captured by Marina, it was given to her after she saved the Weather Institute from Team Aqua. She gained its trust quickly and soon it knew tons of powerful moves such as Thunderbolt, Ice Beam and Weather Ball. It proved to be a very dependable Pokémon after it earned Marina the Rain Badge from Sootopolis City and got her entry to the Hoenn League.

Age: 20
Birthplace: Twinleaf Town, Sinnoh, Japan
Pokémon: Empoleon, Staraptor, Rapidash, Pachirisu, Togekiss, Lucario
Family: Mary, April, Marina, Lizzie, Beth, Jenny (cousins)

Crystal is a kind-hearted Trainer from Twinleaf Town in the Sinnoh region. To think, her whole adventure opened before her because she accidently walked into tall grass at Lake Verity. She is just as great a Trainer as her three cousins. Throughout her journey, Crystal was able to catch and raise an incredible team of Pokémon which helped her defeat the evil Team Galactic and even win her the Sinnoh League. When she's not traveling, she's usually battling her childhood friend and rival, Damion. Even though she always beats him, he won't give up until he has beaten her.


Empoleon: Empoleon was Crystal's first Pokémon and is her most trusted partner. They met when she, Damion and Lucas disturbed some wild Starly. There were three Pokémon in Prof. Rowan's bag that he left behind, and she chose Piplup. After that day the two of them became practically inseparable. Now as an Empoleon, it is Crystal's strongest powerhouse and the Pokémon she saves for a last resort in battle.

Staraptor: This powerful Flying-Type used to be the same Starly Crystal battled at Lake Verity with Piplup. She got even with it by catching it and making it the very first Pokémon she ever caught. As they traveled together it got stronger and stronger until it became the second strongest Pokémon of Crystal's team.

Rapidash: This hot Pokémon has got to be the fastest one on Crystal's team. When she caught it as a Ponyta near Oreburg City it was very shy and wasn't very powerful. But after it earned Crystal the Forest Badge from the Eterna Gym, it began to fight a little harder. Eventually, it evolved into Rapidash and learned many scorching moves like Fire Blast and Flare Blitz.

Pachirisu: This little cutie was caught at the Valley Wind works near Floaroma Town. Its Electric moves and sharp teeth became very useful in battle. At first, it was pretty confident about battling Water-Types, but the real test came during the battle with Cynthia against her Milotic. During the battle things looked pretty bad, until it learned Thunder at the last minute to pull off a victory.

Togekiss: To think that this strong Pokémon used to be Crystal's baby Togepi that she received from Cynthia. As a Togepi and a Togetic it was a pretty decent battler. After Crystal won at the Sunyshore Gym and got ready to go to the Sinnoh League, Crystal took out a Shiny Stone and asked it to choose if it wanted to evolve. It said 'yes' and is now a super tough Togekiss.

Lucario: This Pokémon is really tough if you don't have the right Pokémon. It was originally a Riolu Crystal received from her friend Riley. Soon, it became very powerful and evolved into Lucario. Lucario was put to the test when it was up against Cynthia's Lucario. It was a tough match, but Crystal's Lucario proved to be the tougher of the two.

Age: 19
Birthplace: Nuvema Town, Northeast Unova, Japan
Pokémon: Samurott, Simisear, Unfezant, Sawsbuck, Minipede (Emolga), Volcarona
Family: Mary, April, Marina, Crystal, Jenny (cousins), Beth (half-sister)

Lizzie is a brave and loyal trainer living in the Unova region. She grew up in Nuvema Town alongside her two best friends, Cheren and Bianca. When all three of them received their first Pokémon to begin their journey on Lizzie's birthday, she found herself stepping into an adventure she wouldn't soon forget. Her bravery was the key to stopping the evil Team Plasma by teaming up with the Legendary Pokémon, Zekrom. Throughout her journey, she caught and raised a determined team of Pokémon that earned her eight Badges and made her the champion of the Unova League and she never goes anywhere without her Pokémon by her side.


Samurott: Samurott is the one and only Water powerhouse on Lizzie's team and her very first Pokémon. When Lizzie first met it as an Oshawott, the two could already tell they were a match made in heaven to be a team. Samurott is brave just like Lizzie and always keeps going, no matter how tough things get, and as a last resort, its Torrent Ability has saved them many times in battle.

Simisear: This burning Fire-Type shares a bond with Lizzie that's almost as strong as Samurott's. Lizzie found it as an abandoned Pansear and made it one of her own Pokémon. It showed how grateful it was to her by earning her the Trio Badge and winning many other tough battles. Almost anyone can see that nothing can tear them apart.

Unfezant: This high-flying battler used to be an innocent little Pidove Lizzie caught near Wellspring Cave. Its speed and Ability, Big Pecks, proved to be very useful and Lizzie could always count on its precise accuracy to land a finishing move like when it earned her the Insect Badge from Castelia City. It helped Lizzie win many important battles and still does today.

Sawsbuck: This Pokémon never failed to surprise Lizzie in tough battles. She caught it as a Deerling outside Driftveil City and they quickly became friends. With Samurott's help it earned Lizzie the Quake Badge. Lizzie will never forget the way it battled in the Icirrus City Gym. Its attack was raised due to the attack, Swagger, which boosted its Jump Kick attack, but it never hurt itself because of Lizzie's strong belief in it. After it successfully earned Lizzie the Icicle Badge on its own, it evolved into Sawsbuck and became one of Lizzie's most dependable Pokémon.

Minipete (Emolga): This little one is cute, but deadly fast and powerful. Lizzie got it through a trade by trading a Boldore she accidently caught in Chargestone Cave; therefore she had to stick with its nickname. It grew quickly and they soon became quite close. It easily earned Lizzie the Jet Badge in Mistralton City and Lizzie could always count on its speed and Electric attacks to pull through in battle.

Volcarona: It's hard to believe this giant, but the incredible Moth Pokémon used to be a baby Larvesta Lizzie received as an egg on Route 18. As a baby, it always looked up to Lizzie's other Pokémon and vowed to be just as powerful as them. It got its wish by evolving and becoming a big help during the Unova League with its scorching Fire moves and buzzing Bug moves.

Zekrom: Zekrom was Lizzie's own Legendary Dragon, but she had to use it only temporary during her fights against N and Ghetsis. She obtained the Dark Stone from the Dragonspiral Tower and awakened Zekrom while N received its lighter counterpart, and Lizzie along with Zekrom and her well-balanced team were able to overthrow Team Plasma easily. It then continued its long slumber just as soon as N's Reshiram finished its own prowess until she'd need it for another day.

Age: 19
Birthplace: Aspertia City, Southwest Unova, Japan
Pokémon: Samurott, Arcanine, Braviary, Zoroark (N's), Sawsbuck, Galvantula, and Reshiram
Family: Mary, April, Marina, Crystal, Jenny (cousins), Lizzie (half-sister)

Beth was actually the same age as her half-sister, Lizzie. Living in the southwestern portion of the expanded country of Unova, she also started out her journey just after Lizzie's own odyssey ended. She, too, received a Samurott as her Starter, and soon caught a Deerling which later evolved into a Sawsbuck, and then being rewarded as champion. Despite those similarities, she actually was raised by the same biological father as Lizzie, along with a different mom. It wasn't until she found someone with a striking resemblance to her; almost like a mirror image. Lizzie felt the same when she met Beth as she was training in the broader territories. Lizzie then asked if they had the same dad, and Beth then realized she had a long, lost sister since after she was born; it turned out their dad cheated on Lizzie's mother then moved on and gave birth to Beth's behind her back. They got into quite a dispute, and Beth was devastated, refusing to believe that Lizzie was closely related to her by blood and appearance.

Fortunately, after Beth received the title as Southwestern Unova champion, she declared her sis in a duel. However, as the carnage raged on, their hearts turned docile, as they noticed their battling style and destinies intertwined with one another. They stopped their family feud once and for all, and they both accepted they had so much in common that, despite the fact they were born from an unfaithful father, they can break new grounds and were inseparable ever since.


Samurott: Much like her distant half-sister, Lizzie, she obtained an Oshawott as her Water powerhouse; little did she know that it was a coincidence while her Samurott and Lizzie's were precisely the same, sharing in great strength, courage, devotion, and having their Torrent Abilities save them on more than one occasion.

Arcanine: It was first found as a sick, lost Growlithe puppy located in the Virbank Complex, a very polluted, gaseous place where it was a place for Trainers as well as a construction site. The Pokémon residents there were succumbing to the fumes, and seeing the unwell Growlithe, Beth decided to take it in and make it stronger. With the help of her Oshawott, she was able to rescue it from the careless Workers and defeat them. It soon evolved into a more vital Arcanine after she managed to find a rare Fire Stone.

Braviary: Like Lizzie's Unfezant, Braviary was Beth's fierce and prideful high-flyer. What started out as a little Rufflet in Route 23, he was aggressive and reckless while fighting. As a hatchling, it learned to be more fond with Beth and her close friends as she was a patient caretaker while it got injured in each battle it fought, and overtime it unlocked its potential little by little while still sometimes challenged opponents that were bigger and tougher than it. When it won Beth the Jet Badge in Mistralton City, and with a lot of rigorous, frustrating training later, it finally spread its wings and evolved into the strong, regal Braviary. Beth couldn't possibly win any other battle without it nor its hotheadedness, making Beth even more tougher herself.

Zoroark: Believe it or not, this didn't start as a Zorua, nor did Beth catch it as such, Instead, it was given to her by another known Trainer named N. When Beth met him in the middle of their journeys, and after helping him overthrow his treacherous father, Ghetsis, he knew in his heart he could trust her with all his heart just as he did with Lizzie. It was thanks to Beth's unfathomable dedication and striking appearance that he eventually decided to give his prized Zoroark to her. Because he remembered Beth as a kindhearted, devoted person, he tagged along with her, never wanting to leave her side.

Sawsbuck: Caught as a Deerling between Routes 6 and 7. Since that particular location was similar to both the southwestern and northeastern portions of Unova, this was the place where Beth met up with her half-sister, Lizzie. Before the quarrel, she caught a timid Deerling, but sharing its feelings helped it to get more assertive. It then evolved into an impressive Sawsbuck, similar to Lizzie's. It was able to wipe out the Gym Leaders Burgh, Elesa, and Clay with ease.

Galvantula: With the help of N's Zoroark, Beth was able to enter and safely investigate the Spooky Manor in the Dream World. From there, she met up with the Bug/Electric powerhouse. It was a group effort as she recruited it as one of her own. Both Skyla and Marlon were at their mercy when they stood up to it.

Reshiram: While a Trainer's supposed to carry only six Pokémon at a time, this Legendary Dragon was incredibly special. Thanks to N's guidance and trust in Beth, she obtained the Light Stone as she got to the Dragonspiral Tower. She was able to awaken and then catch Reshiram with it, though it was the only one of the two Dragons since Lizzie already recruited a Zekrom. It saved her tremendously as they literally melted Ghetsis' cold heart as well as the volatile Kyurem. It has been a loyal companion since then.

Age: 18
Birthplace: Vaniville Town, Kalos, Japan
Pokémon: Delphox, Talonflame, Florges, Dedenne, Aurorus, Meowstic, Blastoise (Mega- Evolution)
Family: Mary, April, Marina, Crystal, Lizzie, Beth (cousins)

Jenny was the youngest out of all the cousins who was born in the heart of Vaniville Town. As the littlest and the most inexperienced in the bunch, she was undoubtedly the most assertive of them all. Her extrovert nature was evident with her classification of teammates as well, and soon became the latest of all the Pokémon Champions when she finally won the Kalos League. At first she only relied on brute force, but her Kalos journey created a life-altering character development.


Delphox: Because Prof. Sycamore realized Jenny's hotheadedness, he figured that a Fennekin would be the most perfect fit. She started out with her since then and was able to topple every Pokémon and Trainer in sight. They shared a common ground with each other, and they remained very sentient to the point where it could read her mind once its Psychic abilities developed. Olympia was proven to be a novice compared to this power duo in terms of mindfulness and strength.

Talonflame: Shortly after Jenny started her journey, she came across a baby Fletchling; its gentle demeanor was able to sooth Jenny just a little, but it definitely became as a runt much like her; especially once it began to evolve. Talonflame was also suitable and a dear friend to Jenny as they shared similar traits in personality and skill, and it was essential with its specialty in sky battles.

Florges: At first the infant Fairy-Type, Flabebe, seemed to be too docile for Jenny's taste, but as she noticed the flowers could grow in different forms, she reluctantly decided an orange one as a symbol of her and her team's fiery nature. The Flabebe quickly grew accustomed to their personas, and by exposure to a Sun Sone, it shown that Fairy-Types can be underestimated, especially against Laverre City's Gym Leader, Valerie. Since that time, Jenny never doubted on Florges ever again.

Dedenne: With Jenny's new fondness with Fairy-Types, another asset to her team was Dedenne. It was fast, nimble, and quite a shocker after she recruited it back in the Friend Safari. It was the ideal location for the Electric Antenna Pokémon, and it proved to be a force to be reckoned with against numerous opponents. It also grew attached to other Electric rodents, including Jenny's cousins' mouse Pokémon.

Aurorus: It all started on Team Flare's crushing defeat in the Glittering Cave. Jenny had chosen the Sail Fossil and later brought it to the lab in Ambrette Town. Amaura was resurrected and grew a quick attachment to Jenny and her teammates. Her scales were mostly green and red, sharing Jenny's joyful and angry personalities. However, since it cannot live long in tepid climates, this forced Jenny to be more adaptable as she couldn't always rely on scorching environments. Her feisty behavior changed overtime with Amaura's gentleness along with her cheerful Fairy-Types. Aurorus became her best and most versatile powerhouse yet, trampling anyone/anything that got in her way, and using her as transport quite often.

Blastoise (Mega-Evolve): On the subject, Jenny received a Squirtle after she discovered about unlocking a Pokémon's potential through Mega-Evolution. By the time she defeated Prof. Sycamore in Lumiose City, that was when Jenny found out about the awesome, new concept and recruited a Squirtle; she turned down a Charmander since she realized that she'd stand a better chance if she was more flexible while protecting her own. So, Squirtle later evolved into Balstoise and then used the Blastoisenite given by Sycamore in his Lab. He was the most unstoppable force within Jenny's team, and it even was a great help against Cynthia, as well as other formidable opponents whenever they had their own Mega-Evolution.

Jet was quite impressed with the Trainers' skills, as well as their camaraderie and kindness toward others. It sure beats the hell out of dealing with drug dealers or corrupt cops in the ISSP. Perhaps they'll be new recruits when this is over. Though he grew worried they may not adapt to Mars' lighter, more toxic atmosphere.

He also recalled Trudy saying she had some Reploid friends, like the Pokémon Champions, that also happen to live in Japan. Or were rather created there. Their names were X and Zero; the former was a blue robot armed with a cannon in his right hand and had a red gem on his helmet, while the other had red, black, and white armor with a pointed helmet that had a blue crystal in the center, a long, yellow mane, some green, translucent portholes on his chest, and wields a power saber. The Black Dog read each of their profiles:

Recently, it was discovered that Mega Man X, or X for short, was the successor of the original Mega Man and Dr. Thomas Light's greatest creation. X was a Maverick Hunter who fought alongside his partner, the red robot, Zero, in order to maintain peace throughout the world and protect humans and Reploids alike from the warring Mavericks, though X wouldn't like anything better than the opportunity to stop fighting. Because of his resistance to fighting, X was ranked a B-Class Hunter, but was eventually promoted to the S-Class.

X was the first robot to possess sophisticated technology and behavioral adaptation, based on the last design of Dr. Light. Dr. Cain, the scientist who found him, was never able to fully analyze X's internal systems and code. Despite this, Cain was able to replicate the original's general architecture, making X the precursor to each and every Reploid brought into production. This made him the founding 'father' of the current Reploids, peace making robots on Earth.

X appears to be around 14-15 years of age. 100 years ago, the original prototype, Rockman aka Mega Man was designed and created by Dr. Light to be a robot who could think on his own and make decisions without programming limitations. Unique among all of Dr. Light's creations, X possessed incredible physical and reasoning capabilities. However, Light feared that, since X didn't have any moral programming to control his morality or actions, he could become a grave threat to the world. Therefore, he sealed X away into a special capsule that would test his systems in scenarios designed to ensure that X would be able to choose right from wrong and always be willing to do the right thing. Apparently, the process took more than 30 years; Light was very old and would not live to see X leave the capsule and enter the world. He left a warning on the computer in the lab he placed the capsule in and ordered anyone that may find the capsule to not release the robot within until his testing was complete.

X's creation by the hands of Thomas Light began at some point during the later days of the 1970s. Unlike most robots of his time, X was created with a unique system akin to that of a conscience, that allowed him to think, feel and act completely on his own, and highly advanced mechanics that far surpassed anything of the current day. The purpose of X's construction and birth was in the sake of Light's dream, of one day giving robots the ability and freedom to grow in the exact fashion of all living beings.

However, Light was not without foresight and fears for his ultimate project. Though X was now akin to that of a living, sentient being with their own free will, but with a physique that of a strong and powerful machine, Light feared he could grow instead to be a potential threat to the world. In addition to X's immaturity stemming from his inexperience that could lead to misunderstanding or even catastrophe amongst a world unknown and new to his existence, Light was nearing the end of his life with no successor to continue his work, concerned with how the people of the future would ever properly receive X, and that X faced an unknown future filled with such possible dangers and hardships that Light would not be able to console and guide him through.

To test the reliability of his learning and judgement, Light prepared a stasis capsule that would perform system tests on X's circuits and AI to prove his maturity, that would take approximately 30 years to complete. With nothing but his love and compassion long put into his work throughout his life, left to be carried on by future generations, Light addressed his final words, of his hopes, wishes, fears, and dreams, for X to bring peace and to fight for the people of the future. On September 18,  1971, readying all last preparations, Mega Man X was sealed away.

The sleeping robot eventually passed all tests the capsule had prepared for him and he was found in 2071, just after the moon was scarred by the failed gateway experiment by scientist Dr. Cain. Not being an expert in robotics, was baffled by the design Light had included on the computer as even a century later they were ahead of anything the world had ever seen. From these specifications and with the help of X, Cain began developing his own version of next-generation robots, which came to be known as Reploids. However, they didn't receive the same ethical testing as X did. Apparently because of this oversight, more and more Reploids began to act strange and, eventually, become violent against humans and other Reploids. These violent Reploids were deemed "Maverick" and, as more incidents of Reploids being perversed as Mavericks increased, the human government decided to found a department which was supposed to deal with them. Hence, there were the Maverick Hunters.

Feeling as a culprit for the rise of Mavericks, X joined the Maverick Hunters and became part of Sigma's 17th Elite Unit. While other operatives such as Sigma and Zero were elevated to the higher classes, X remained at B-class. This was most likely due to a tendency in X to hesitate in battle instead of fully committing. He was considered as weak by his peers beacause of that. It has been noted, however, that X has "limitless potential" should he choose to access it, as once said by Cyber Peacock, and that Sigma, Zero, and Dr. Cain have all seen his potential from the beginning.

Unfortunately, Zero sacrificed himself to save X, after realizing he's gone a long way from being a novice. He self-destructed one of Sigma's deadliest weapons. Since then, the Hunters have tracked down the remaining Mavericks. The X-Hunters, a group of remaining followers of Sigma who wish to defeat the Maverick Hunters by also rebuilding Zero as a Maverick, further using him as bait to lure X to his destruction. X destroyed the X-Hunters and gathered Zero's parts, eventually discovering that Sigma was reborn and behind the plot all along. Before assaulting Sigma's HQ at the North Pole, Dr. Cain said he still has Zero's microchip and can rebuild him, but it will take some time. Before reaching Sigma's lair, X was confronted by a Zero clone. The real Zero arrived in time and destroyed the fake with a powerful combination attack. X then defeated Sigma while Zero destroyed the Central Computer base.

There has been a period of peace after a Reploid scientist named Dr. Doppler created a cure for the Maverick Virus. This cure turns out to be an ineffectual placebo, however, and the Maverick Hunters find themselves overwhelmed with a massive Maverick uprising. X and Zero enter the fray and discover that the virus and Sigma were one and the same, explaining why Sigma kept coming back. X and Zero destroyed Sigma's new battle body built by Doppler, who had been infected with the virus. It is revealed to X that his ultimate fate to save the human race would be to destroy Zero.

The Repliforce, an organization that acted as an ally to the Maverick Hunters, were branded Mavericks after they were accused of the incident where the floating city, Sky Lagoon, was destroyed and fell to the ground, starting the Repliforce War. X, though, was led away from the real targets by a spy of Sigma named Double, and it was Zero this time who hunted down the Repliforce commanders, killing his good friends Colonel and Iris in the process. X, realizing that he was tricked and discovering that Sigma had set up the entire plan, became very frustrated and swiftly disposed of Double. After beating Sigma, however, he was beginning to doubt his ability to remain sane. He told Zero that if he ever were to go Maverick, that Zero would have to destroy him. Fortunately, he still had his duties as a defender of Earth from the endless debris and meteor showers. His close friend, Zero had the same obligation.

Zero was created by the late Dr. Albert Wily sometime in the late twentieth century. Learning from his past mistakes during the Wily Wars, the mad scientist constructed Zero as a far more advanced robot than anything he had ever built before, with a power level far superior. He also began to create the Maverick Virus around this time. Wily even dubbed Zero his "greatest masterpiece". The robot contained a flaw in his cognitive program that made him violent and unwilling to obey instructions. Because of this, Wily decided to seal him in a capsule, much like Light did with X. Decades later, in the early twenty-first century, his hiding place was found by a group of Reploids.

After Sigma's defeat, the Hunters tried to salvage whatever remained of Zero from the sunken fortress and found Zero's control chip, which served as Zero's "brain", which had miraculously survived the destruction of the body. However, the Hunters were incapable of creating a new body for Zero because they were unable to analyze his unique body structure.

Six months later, a group of three Mavericks, calling themselves the "X-Hunters," contacted the Maverick Hunters and claimed to be in possession of all of the rest of the parts that would be required to rebuild Zero. How the X-Hunters gained the parts was done by Serges who added these parts as they were planned additions made by Dr. Wily. The X-Hunters challenged X to a battle in order to win Zero's parts.

X, who didn't want his friend in the hands of Mavericks, accepted and eventually recovered Zero's head, body, and limbs. Eventually, Zero was reconstructed by Dr. Cain, including the upgrades that Serges had provided, and assisted X in destroying the base of the resurrected Sigma. Trying to fool X however, Sigma had constructed a doppelganger of Zero with Black Armor which he claimed to be Zero; however, this copy was quickly destroyed by the real Zero. This is the canon ending. In the Japanese version of the game, Sigma mentioned just before his death that Zero was the last of the "Wily numbers", or advanced robots built by Dr. Wily.

The beginning of the Doppler incident finds Zero and X back in their respective commands of the Maverick Hunter Forces. Dr. Doppler's Mavericks lead an attack on the Hunter Base, and X and Zero are forced to return to defend it. Zero joins the Hunters defending the base outside while X ventures into the base. However, when X is captured by the defector, Mac, Zero immediately leaps into the chaos inside the base to save his best friend from the traitor's clutches. Zero's default weapon was the Z-Buster, however, upon fully charging until he turns green, he can unleash two fully charged shots followed by a devastating blow with his other weapon, the Z-Saber.

Zero encountered his creator within his dreams, who ordered him to finally obey his orders and fulfill his destiny by destroying his nemesis. When he awakened from the nightmare, he was immediately dispatched to the Sky Lagoon colony which had been attacked by Mavericks. Repliforce was also confronted at the scene, claiming to assist the Hunters in evacuating the city; however, both factions didn't trust each other, and, as a request for interrogation was declined, the Great Repliforce War broke out.

When the Repliforce was labeled Maverick after the Sky Lagoon incident, both X and Zero were assigned different missions to gather information about Repliforce's coup and to cut off their support lines. Iris assisted Zero on his missions as his operator. However, Iris herself was part of Repliforce while her brother, Colonel, was Repliforce's second-in-command and therefore an imminent target for the Maverick Hunters. Iris didn't want the two of them to fight, torn between her care for Zero and her love for her own brother. When the two of them battled in the Ceremony Hall of Repliforce's command center, it was Iris who stopped the two Reploids from terminating each other by begging her own brother to stop since Zero had previously saved her life after the Sky Lagoon had crashed down. Colonel, who had always regarded Zero as a friendly rival, backed off. Zero, on the other hand, stated that someone had to stop Repliforce at all costs, much to Iris' grief.

When Repliforce's coup began, Zero rushed to the space port to stop the ascension of the military troops to the newly constructed space station of Repliforce, Final Weapon. There he battled Colonel, this time not holding anything back, just like his former friend, with Zero being the victor of the fight. After that, he traveled to the Final Weapon where he was, much to his surprise and horror, encountered by Iris, who was blinded by her grief of the loss of her brother and anger for Zero killing him. She had salvaged Colonel's Control Chip from his remains, fusing it with her own programming, thus resulting her body to transform into a massive Ride Armor-like combat form which Zero was forced to battle. Even though he didn't mean to, Zero damaged the exterior power core of the structure, resulting in the destruction of the armor. He hurried to Iris' body, however, it was too late to save her. Whispering to Zero that she did all this because she wanted to live in a world for Reploids only, and that he could live in that world too. She died in his arms and Zero, who was totally overthrown by the pain, began questioning his own reasons for fighting and the means of his own existence. Filled with anger, he confronted General, leader of Repliforce, defeating him in battle. Upon the end of the fight, General realized that someone had taken control of Final Weapon, aiming it at Earth. Zero rushed to the Final Weapon control center, only to find Sigma waiting for him. Sigma revealed part of Zero's past at a time when Sigma was still the leader of the Maverick Hunters.

Sigma and the Maverick Hunters were called to an abandoned laboratory to fight a Maverick of immense power. Sigma entered the building and the Maverick was revealed to be a maniacal Zero, with no power other than sheer brute strength and rage. Zero managed to overpower and gravely injure Sigma, but before he could deal a finishing blow, the light in the center of his forehead flashed on, revealing a "W" and caused Zero to collapse in pain. Sigma gathered his remaining strength and punched Zero, rendering him unconscious. Sigma left, asking the Reploids outside to have the Maverick delivered to Dr. Cain for analysis. It is believed that during this fight that both Zero and Sigma were infected with the Maverick Virus, which later caused Sigma to betray the Maverick Hunters, however it corrected the flaw in Zero's programming, allowing him to awaken and later join the Maverick Hunters.

After Zero had destroyed Sigma and the General had sacrificed his life to make the Final Weapon self-destruct, Zero escaped the destruction in a small spacecraft, thinking about what he had done. He hadn't been able to save anyone he cared about. He had killed his own friend Colonel, the General, and Repliforce with him, who in the end had only been manipulated by Sigma and the Mavericks. Most of all, he lost Iris, who he had cared about for so long. Questioning whether or not Reploids were destined to become Mavericks after all just the same as X did at that time, he returned to Earth.

He contacted X from Hunter Base upon his return to Earth by spacecraft. X, wondering what would happen if he turned Maverick, asked Zero to take care of him if that would ever happen. Confused, Zero didn't respond to X's request, although he seemingly realized X's seriousness about the topic and realized the only thing he DID save was best friend. Currently, he's been defending Earth from the debris ring with X.

Jet was undoubtedly impressed by both Reploids, but mostly in Zero's case since he and Spike can relate to his tragic tales of loss, pain and suffering, betrayal, and running amok by a misguided view or having a few screws loose. He wondered if Zero and Spike would share a strong bond if the impending war should be over.

His mental rambling was interrupted as he saw Faye carry in Trudy, still injured, on her shoulders. Her body was still very sore, and Doc suggested she should continue taking her pain medication every four hours until the swelling and sharp pangs have subsided. On account of the upcoming war within a couple days, Jet decided for them to board the Bebop and head to Earth; he told the two women of the findings he had on Trudy's own tablet.

"She gave you permission to use that thing?" she queried skeptically.

"Of course." he replied, despite Trudy barely giving off a nod.

He figured with some help from her good friend Mary, her cousins, and the two valiant Reploids, they might stand a chance against Spike and the uprising Red Dragons. Although he was unsure himself, as was Faye.

"Don't...worry." Trudy said, wincing as her poor muscles ached. "I'm sure they would be of use to us. I just hope Doc and Laughing Bull would be alright."

They couldn't have thought otherwise. So, the Bebop departed the Doc's private hospital as he waved them goodbye as it lifted off.

A/N: When I was watching Cowboy Bebop for the first time, I saw a review of the Mega Man X series by Itionoben. He highlighted the original to X4, and it sounded like an interesting series. I was then fascinated more once I was able to see those, plus LP's from the Great Clement; huge-ass Mega Man X fan! I was aware of the failures from X5 onward, so I'll only be using story material from the first four games. If it wasn't for the info I've found in the MMKB, I wouldn't have gotten this far.

As for the Pokémon Trainers, they were done by my old friend, pikaace. She used to have Beth and Jenny's profiles, but I'm not sure why she lost them; so I did the rest by memory and I hope I got the intel right.

So, another chapter down; sorry about the length and if all those bios were boring, but hey I gotta do something to introduce the characters and there was just so much to go over. Glad that's out of the way. See ya, space cowboys/cowgirls!


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Chapter 4 - The Good, the Bad, and the Mystical

About a day and a half had passed, Trudy was still in the middle of recovery. Jet went to the Bebop with her and Faye, and Doc promised to prepare for the evacuation to Earth which was regarded as more technologically challenged and primitive than Mars. Jet then chatted to an old friend who was once in the ISSP, until they both quit due to its corruption. There was an elderly Negro with thinning, white hair and a wrinkled face showing his age speaking to Jet via TeleVid. He was greatly alarmed of the news about the impending interstellar war.

"I can't believe Spike is involved in the rise of the Red Dragons; things seem to be getting worse." Donnelly said.

"What do you mean by that?" Jet queried.

"It seems that the Syndicate is gathering more assassin soldiers, drugs and supplies in preparation for it, and Mars, including Tharsis, would be their rallying ground. From here in Ganymede, to Venus, not just here. This is awful. I sure hope that these chosen Earthlings would prevent such a terrible travesty; the ISSP would really have their hands full." His face began to sweat as Donnelly folded his heads and dropped it. "Jet, please be very careful; I've never seen anything like it since the assault on Titan."

"I will, Donnelly. Stay safe." Jet said.

"You too." The screen became blank.

As the Bebop was about to leave the red planet, he wanted to give someone "a proper farewell." He looked over the windshield and saw a tiny bonfire within the desolate canyons. He landed there and sure enough, it was the Martian nomad, Laughing Bull. He ordered Faye to stay onboard as he and Trudy wanted to visit him one last time before the war; after she asked for assent, of course. They left the cockpit and heard a familiar, though ominous, hymn.

"Yaaaooo, yaaaaooo, yeeeiii. Yaaaooo, yaaaooo, yeeeii, yuuuu." The embers were licking the air and incents also risen. Whatever it was, this was truly a very serious message that either Laughing Bull was giving or receiving from the Great Spirit.

There was the usual stuff on the distant frontier, from the teepee with the obsolete PlayStation console on top and even his pet wolf; he seemed to be looking out at something, smelling the air and letting out a slight growl.

By the time Jet and Trudy approached the campsite, Laughing Bull stopped and noticed them without looking up. "Ah, the two weary travelers are finally here." His wolf just sat next to him idly. "How wonderful it is to see you again, Running Rock."

"You know I hate that name, right?" Jet scorned.

"Oh, and I see you brought over a newcomer." The Native Martian stood up, shook her hand, and welcomed Trudy. She was pretty shy by his greeting. He touched her chin gently, "Hello, young one. Do not fear me. I don't bite."

"Uh...hi." she stammered.

Jet still maintained his seriousness. "So what do you know about this war with the Red Dragon Syndicate?"

Laughing Bull went glum as he lowered his hand. "Ah yes, the poor, damned soul of Swimming Bird... Er, Spike. Come, I need to show you something." He led them toward the bonfire and invited them to sit beside him, though Jet preferred to stand while Trudy sat with her legs crossed.

"As I had said to Running Rock, Jet as you call him, I'd informed him that with every living, breathing creature there has a guardian star. Each one fades within the sky as one dies. And Swimming Bird lost his. I had seen the blue star fizzle myself; however, I found him to be alive...and evil. No longer like his true self."

"That's...what I saw in my nightmare." Trudy exclaimed. "I saw Spike being surrounded by the Red Dragons and then he was inserted blood from Vicious. Then he attacked both me and Faye in their hideout..!" she cringed at that last incident. Jet tried to reassure her.

"Indeed. Swimming Bird would never be the same as long as Striking Snake influences him." He went on to say the snake and bird are constantly in conflict with each other. It was also theorized that the Van predicted that "a fortuneteller warned them that on the night of the blood moon, the snake would slither and strike with its venomous fangs, to which he did." Hence the name for the new, short-lived master of the Syndicate.

He paused for a brief moment as he saw something display in the flames; a red star appeared and he stated this was where the same spot Spike's blue star was. Jet said this could be a red giant and are usually harmless.

"That depends on Swimming Bird's fate. This war could either be isolated or spread out across the great beyond. He'll either stay red or churn white and collapse, destroying everyone and everything in sight."

Jet knew what he meant, though in a scientific sense. He said that a red giant could lose its pressure and cannot fuse energy, so it burns more and leaves a white dwarf. Then after its core collapses and reignites, it'll soon evolve into a devastating supernova as it bursts. This often happens when one white dwarf fuses with another smaller one, triggering the explosion.

"But...what does that have to do with Spike?" Trudy asked, completely confused. She was never really good at science nor astronomy, so Jet's words were sort of like gibberish.

"It means...the red star was only the beginning. Swimming Bird's guardian star has transformed and he may never turn back. If it should churn white, then fuse with another, as was the case with Striking Snake's essence, then the result would be devastating."

"So...there's no way on returning Spike? He will stay this way forever..?" Trudy was growing very upset. This also caught Jet off guard.

"And the resulting explosion means that Spike would permanently lose his way? No chance for redemption?" he growled.

Laughing Bull said nothing. Trudy then burst into tears, and Jet held her close. "I can't believe this!!" The brawl she had before was only a small fragment of what was yet to come.

"Look, the stars are gathering." Sure enough they were. A cluster of white ones were coming together, forming a much larger, shinier celestial body. In addition, there was a silver one floating around the cluster, as if IT was gathering them. "There may be some hope, after all..."

That made Jet and Trudy look toward his vision, but they didn't observe it. "Laughing Bull, no tricks now." his voice was stern. He was frankly tired of Laughing Bull's negativity and riddles.

"The silver star is gathering the astral forces together." the chief said. He then faced toward the young space cadet. "You." She abruptly looked up. "You're the one." He stood up and motioned her to stay put. He went inside his tent and came out moments later holding a silvery necklace. He handed it to her. "Here, this is for you to wear."

There was a pendant shaped like a multi-pointed star in the center of a thin velvet ribbon. She reluctantly put it on. "What's this..?"

"You are the Wandering Star. This would make a great name for you." he said with a smile. "You're the one who will save this universe from irreversible destruction."

"Why her?" Jet scratched his brow. "What does she have to do with all this?"

"It is her destiny, Rolling Rock." Laughing Bull ignored his grimace as he put his thick, calloused hands on her shoulders. "That is why, it must be you. You have gathered all the astral forces together and will end this war. It may also save Swimming Bird if time permits itself."

"I'm the...Wandering Star?" Trudy was astonished. She looked down at the pendant then hesitated as she thought of her friends on Earth who could fight against the Red Dragons.

"This is the responsibility you must accept; if victorious, it'll restore balance to the great beyond in the way it once was."

"Trudy and I...We have described some of her allies. They must be the ones coming together."

"Keep this pendant close to your heart; it'll show protection against harm. This could also symbolize your own wandering mind." He let out a chuckle, but she didn't fall for it. He then walked off and grew somber again. "The dark matter grows, as does the criminal syndicate."

That reminded Jet of Donnelly's warning, and he felt something was amiss. "Is there something that you are not telling us?"

After a brief moment of hesitation, Trudy blurted out that Laughing Bull once belonged to the Syndicate. Jet retorted to never jump to conclusions. She had a bad tendency doing just that; however, to their surprise, she was correct.

Laughing Bull stated with a heavy heart that he was originally one of the Syndicate's advisors, as a shaman no less, but he decided to desert the Syndicate due to pressure and unease of their criminal activities. And why not! He had a similar sitting pose as the elderly members of the Van, he looks and speaks very similar to them, and they know how to use medicinal means, the black arts of sorcery and incantations; in this case resurrecting Swimming Bird by using Striking Snake's volatile blood awakeneing people's fighting instincts. He became a nomad to avoid execution due to his desertion, as it was a reason to get whacked aside from disobedience or sloth. Before Vicious climbed the ranks, there was a former member named Kim Yokushimo who wanted to rule the Syndicate for himself, much like him, and conquer all of Tharsis, then Mars portraying like a god. He was a well-dedicated con and martial artist that could even rival the righteous Mao Yenrai until he mysteriously went missing and left the Syndicate to rot under Striking Snake's evildoing. Kim only used him as a host for returning dead or wounded people to the battlefield and develop them into absolute tools of annihilation.

It was no wonder Laughing Bull was a former participant since Julia and Spike knew him all too well.

That entire speech put both Trudy and Jet in stunned silence. She stormed away, leaving the star pendant on. Jet wanted to go after her, though he hesitated.

"Rolling Rock... Go to her. The Wandering Star needs our assistance, and she has to have all the support she could possibly get. I know things are very grim with the war in less than two moons and having her best friend succumb to the master's evil persuasion. But she needs us, and her devoted allies on Earth."

"She does need all our help." the former ISSP officer said. "She can't turn her back on us now, and I know this is a lot to take in. Even I'm still nerve-wrecked over Spike and his fate. But...we can't give up." he smacked his hand into his other palm. He was just as determined as ever before.

"The fate of Spike, and the great beyond, is in our hands. Please, do not let it all be in vain. And may victory be on our side"

He sighed, "I could make no promise we would survive. But we'll do our best. I'll certainly be damned if we go down now." Jet thanked Laughing Bull and he advised for Trudy to never lose faith nor the star pendant no matter what should happen. Also, she should focus on her dreams, as they could mean something very vital to their success.

Jet headed off toward the Bebop, meeting up with a distraught Trudy inside who was being comforted by Faye and her friend, Mary, via tablet.

A/N: That cry that Laughing Bull let out was ripped off from a rap song I used to hear, unfortunately I don't know what the name of it is. I wish someone would help me identify it; it really did have some unusual, ominous music in the background when you disregard the derogatory lyrics.

The Wandering Star was something I made up for Trudy, aside from her name meaning spear of strength. She does have a wandering mind, and was thus nicknamed the space cadet.

Kim Yokushimo was a name I came up with. The surname was a random name, but Kim had more significance; it's a unisex name, and it was chosen on account of the nefarious North Korean animator, Kim J. OK. I kinda liked "Simba, the King Lion" series and "Winner and the Golden Child" (as bizarre as they were!), but it was a once watch-through for me. It's definitely a hell of a lot better than his other asinine work, and I have a lot of bigotry with SEK (Scientific Educational Korea), especially with their propaganda cartoon, "Squirrel and Hedgehog." You wouldn't BELIEVE the details behind this; they, and Kim, are just plain monsters! So, there was Kim Yokushimo in a similar disturbing fashion. It does mean ruler, after all. And I desperately wish that SEK along with North Korean's totalitarian government could just die off!!

*sigh* So another chapter done. The next one could be rather difficult so stay tuned for that.



A/N: This chapter was a very difficult one to make; I sometimes thought I would never get it done. But this is only one of the toughest chapters to write. I'm desperately hoping to get these out of the way, and never leave this fic up in the air again.

Chapter 5 - Exile on Earth

Trudy was still upset about Laughing Bull's revelations: on how and why he was a former member of the Syndicate, that the war would forever change Spike's persona, and the assurance of being the Wandering Star did little to cheer her up. Nevertheless, she kept looking down on her silvery pendant as it glowed within the light coming from her tablet within her dark bedroom.

The Bebop was finally exiting Mars' thin atmosphere and heading to Earth to recruit some allies for the upcoming war which was over 24 hours away. Faye at first thought about Radical Edward and Ein; she kind of missed them and hoped in a way, they'd be useful. She then headed inside Trudy's solitary room of shadows and flicked on the switch. She shielded her eyes, "Ergh, please Faye, I prefer it dark." She clearly didn't want to see her face distorted with tears along with blotchy eyes and cheeks.

Faye walked over to her as Trudy continued to look over her tablet, her fingers moving vigorously.

"I s'pose those are the allies Jet keeps talking about."

Trudy used an arm to rub her nose. "Yeah...they are. I've just contacted them and gave 'em the news of the war on Mars. They were stunned, mostly the Trainers, since they were never able to go into space; the closest they'd gotten was entering the Rainbow Cloud. There are actually some exotic creatures that can live in space, such as Mew, her clone, Mewtwo, Deoxys, the Pokémon from Mt. Moon, a monstrous dragon named Kyurem, and some others. However it shouldn't be too much of a problem for the Reploids, but unfortunately I can't reach 'em."

Faye grew a little fascinated of Trudy's friends, as Earthlings weren't always primitive as they were claimed to be, even though some aren't capable of intergalactic travel yet.

Their hopes abruptly screeched to a halt while the Bebop shook violently. An alarm inside the massive cockpit went off and the radar on the dashboard showed an enemy starship firing at them. The ship shook again and it was later revealed to be the Swordfish II.

"Spike!!" Everyone was shocked, especially Jet.

The bloodthirsty assassin spoke to the doomed crew; he was eager to blow them out of the stars. "I knew you guys were escaping from Mars. Ah, the Bebop. Too bad it needs to be destroyed. I bet it's no match for my own Swordfish, how about it, Jet!?" His eyes narrowed and his face wrinkled in a fetish for bloodshed.

"Spike! You can't be serious! Vicious' blood has truly changed you for the worst, Trudy was right all along!" He wanted to mention Laughing Bull, but he knew Spike wouldn't hesitate to murder him if he found out. To her surprise, Jet was actually supporting her dreams.

"I must blow you all into space dust!! I will NEVER let you survive and spread the word!" The Swordfish II kept on firing missiles and bullets may have bounced off the walls, but the windows began to shatter. Even a wing was severed from the ship. Spike was indeed desperate to shoot his former friends down.

Faye volunteered to fight back using her Red Tail while Trudy stayed with Jet in the Bebop. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough; the Swordfish was proven to be too agile since it was a modified MONO Racer, while also being really strong, and with each assault, the Bebop was falling apart! It couldn't sustain the abuse from its missiles and bullets since it was an old, worn-down spacecraft and couldn't move as fast as the zipcraft.

There were numerous punctures through the walls, gravity and air were failing, and as Jet was losing his breath, he immediately decided to evacuate the Bebop while he and Trudy would take the Hammerhead.

Spike's ship was building energy coming from its needle-like shooter from the underside. Then, he was attacked by a missile at its side and immediately suspected to be the meddling Red Tail. But right the hell out of nowhere, one other starship appeared, and it shot back the Swordfish again with flawless precision. There was a light-colored emerald Space Shuttle piloted by Zero with his partner, X, riding shotgun.

"Yahoo!" Zero cheered. "Bring it on!"

"Pick on somebody your own processing, you bastard!" X added.

They got involved in a fierce dogfight. Over the comm controls, Trudy begged them not to destroy Spike. X was beginning to agree that the deadly assailant was once her friend infected by his dead archrival's blood, and is being manipulated by the new leader of the Red Dragons. Coming from recent experience from the Repliforce Wars, and since he lost the General, the Colonel and Iris for that same reason, Zero reluctantly accepted.

"No, we cannot destroy him... But we can make him suffer! X!" He commanded him to help evacuate the Bebop. Just then, the Blue Bomber dropped down to the Bebop.

"Who are you!?" Faye let out a screech.

"Are you X?" Jet asked in astonishment.

"Yes, I am." he replied. "We gotta hurry before the Bebop blows. There's not much time!"

While the Maverick Hunter kept Spike busy, Jet, X, Faye, and Trudy gathered as many important supplies as they could while the Black Dog and the space cadet packed the Hammerhead and she did the same with the Red Tail as soon as it was docked; it was barely enough room and time before the damage was gaining on them.

But Spike wasn't quite done yet. He eyed the Bebop and unleashed his bottled-up fury. Zero watched in horror as a powerful, neon blue plasma beam was shot out! But the two zipcrafts exited the dying ship in the nick of time. They eventually saw it give in to the damage and explode into space! Their home was destroyed, and they looked very glum.

"The precious Bebop. The home I's gone." Jet lamented.

Seeing their despair and Zero's expression of deep hatred, Spike also noticed the Swordfish endured some critical damage to its outer hull. Zero was quite a formidable opponent in terms of dogfighting, and was surprised that an Earthling of all people would do it. "It would seem I would spare your lives, for now." he sneered. "Know this! I will not stop to kill all of you! The war shall begin in 24 hours. I will not be staunched until I can accomplish my Master's plan. If you dare to approach Mars' airspace, I will not hesitate! You've been warned about that." He let out his signature pose as he let out a bang holding up his fingers like a gun. He ignited the boosters and soared off.

Jet, Faye, and Trudy had no home. The cadet was able to obtain her tablet amongst other belongings, as did the femme fatale and their leader who still sulked over the Bebop's demise. X tried to assure him as much as possible as he shared the Hammerhead. So, with Zero's Shuttle leading the way, they had no choice but to head to Earth; it was just the renovated spacecraft formerly made by NASA, the Hammerhead, and the Red Tail beginning their exile on Earth.

During their voyage to the Hyperspace Gate, Zero and X were relating to the bounty hunters little by little. They explained about Trudy's nightmare, as a bad omen to what was coming, as well as the fact that Spike is no longer himself due to Vicious' blood inserted by the new leader of the Syndicate. The Reploids found it very similar since their friends were also being controlled then destroyed during an incident not too long ago called the Great Repliforce War. Both Zero and X blamed themselves for the tremendous tragedy, and their squadron, the Maverick Hunters, have had new management.

After the great losses of Double, the General, the Colonel, and Iris, who was the General's sister and the love of Zero's life, Jet and Faye opened up more. X and Zero knew that a similar war's about to take place in Mars, particularly its capital city, Tharsis. They also explained on how the Red Dragons worked, and Zero found himself to be very similar to Spike sharing his predicaments. From confronting the ghosts of his past, to fitting in at something bigger than himself in the Maverick Hunters and quickly soaring through the ranks, while also sharing his hotheadedness and desire to achieve, and losing his life before his eyes at the hands of a madman. Even he was reawakened after his own corruption from Dr. Wily, then being part of a world in which he thinks is all a never-ending nightmare. The Reploids were outraged that murder was the only way to keep everyone in line, even over Vicious.

"Unbelievable!" Zero said in disgust. "Vicious and Master Yokushimo are no different than that blasted Sigma. Damn them!" X couldn't agree more.

"It seems we have a lot in common." Jet said.

"You have no idea..."

Finally, the fivesome went through Earth's Hyperspace Gate as soon as Jet entered in the access codes. They soon immersed into the atmosphere and soared over the Eastern country, Japan. Trudy immediately contacted Mary who was generous of their approach. All three ships landed at Saffron City's runway. She was awaiting the five heroes and took them toward Pewter City via train. They soon walked through the Viridian Forest en route to her home in Pallet Town. She was greatly fascinated on how far Trudy and her friends have come.

A/N: I think this was the farthest I got from the rough drafts I made several years ago, when I lost that notebook with all my ideas. I remembered being at a standstill when I started this chapter, as well as the one following it. I was lucky that my collaborator, pikkace, have helped me however she could.  So we finally saw our fellow Maverick Hunters, X and Zero. But the Bebop was tragically destroyed, and the heroes had no choice but to head to Earth, the doomed, primitive planet that's still being bombarded by a space debris ring and constant meteor showers. So...luck be with you, bounty hunters.

I also believe that Zero's Theme from X2 would play as the reinforcements arrive to fight off the Swordfish.



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Chapter 6 - Rallying up the Allies

Mary invited the three bounty hunters and the two Maverick Hunters to her home in Pallet Town. They, excepting Trudy, were quite amazed of all the little and huge unique creatures scampering about in Prof. Oak's ranch; they certainly weren't like any other lifeform they've seen thus far.

Mary explained who Prof. Oak was, an elderly researcher that observes Pokémon of all things. He also has a young assistant named Tracey who is a Pokémon Watcher and sketches in his notepad of their various activities. Her house wasn't too far; it was just a two-story Colonial with a blanch-painted exterior, a massive, amber roof that seemed to be rectangular and drooping unlike the other traditional, triangular rooves. There were some windows overlooking the front, back, and sides of the house, and the yard was tidy. Inside, there was a small foyer, a living room/den to the left, and a kitchen to the right, plus a stairway leading to her own private quarters. The guys hung out for a while. It was a very peaceful settlement and Faye seemed to admire it; at least that hadn't been bombarded by meteors yet. Mary flicked on the TeleVid. What everyone saw wasn't so pleasant, as there was a newsbreak concerning an upcoming war.

The announcer stated the rumors, "As word comes around, the interplanetary residents aren't taking any chances. All citizens have been stocking up on food, supplies, and weapons for the worst outer dimensional conflict on record. The Red Dragons crime syndicate would stop at nothing to destroy all of Mars and eventually impact Earth, and the terrorists themselves would never take in any prisoners. Panic is everywhere as they have two options, kill or be killed." That seemed to put the gang in a state of great unease and anxiety. Jet and Trudy wondered if Spike would never return to his senses. What must they do?

Suddenly, a humongous eye with an indigo iris peeked in through a window and blinked. Faye immediately shut the curtains, annoyed at the curious creature. "Veeee…" it sighed.

Soon a large, passing silhouette of a bird of prey swooped over the house, then there were a few light taps on Mary's front door. She opened it and there were six Pokémon awaiting her. One was a humongous light-blue beast with a tropical tree growing on its back; another was that bird having tan feathers and a colorful crest; one was a huge butterfly possessing unusually large wings and feelers, there was a sleek, opal-colored serpent; a small yellow mouse with red cheeks, pointy ears with black tips, and a tail shaped like a lightning bolt; and finally a small fox with light-brown fur and a beautiful orange mane.

Mary replied cheerfully, "Guys, these are my best friends. My own Pokémon Team! This is my Venusaur, Seedy; my good ole Pidgeot named Sunny; my amazing Butterfree named Moonlight; the majestic Dragonair I call Diadem, and my Pikachu and Vulpix named Daffodil and Amber! Say hi, everyone."

With smiles, they all greeted the newcomers. Trudy, especially, was enthusiastic on their coming. While Jet and Faye waved to them in a coy manner. X just smiled back and Zero sat idly.

"Hi you guys!" the young cadet ran up to them. They were just as happy to see her. Their long-distance relationship finally came true after several years. "So where are your cousins, Mary? Shouldn't they be here by now?"

There were a few flaps of gigantic wings as two other large fowls landed behind the group. Both women soon met up with the Kanto champion's family: April who was riding on a menacing, crimson serpent, Marina which got off the broad shoulders of a muscular bipedal chicken, Crystal who departed from a gargantuan black and white falcon, Lizzie who got off the back of a massive buck, her half-sister Beth who dismounted from another deer, and Jenny via her partner's talons that looked close to a phoenix with its blood red and burnt black feathers.

The quintet were astonished by the sight of these women who owned those exotic creatures. This time, they didn't hesitate as Mary led them out. April had long, thin, dark blond hair, thick lips, and wore a heavy, goldenrod short-sleeve with a violet A stitched in the center, as well as a ridged collar, sleeves, and waist that matched it, along with black shoes and denim jeans. Marina  had short brown hair that shaped her face and donned on a turquoise T, a sky-blue jacket, and corduroys. Crystal had flowing brown hair, wore a jet-black T with a crystal-shaped hole in the collar, a glowing blue gem in the middle, black tights, and knee-high boots with numerous laces. Lizzie had pale skin with shoulder-length bleach blond hair that was wavy and curly, a sky-blue shirt with an elongated white shirt, and jeans. Her half-sister, Beth, had a similar fashion except she had hair pulled back into a thin strand, a shorter sky-blue shirt, and jeans matching her petite structure. Finally, there was Jenny who actually had tanner skin, long, shiny, black hair tied back into a flowing ponytail with multiple strands, and a tight outfit that matched her short fuse as well as her team.

They all introduced themselves as well as discussed the upcoming Red Dragons War, in which the hours were quickly dwindling. They were lucky that while Earth's schedule is behind Mars' by just a day and a few hours, the hunters were still growing anxious to put a stop to it there. Millions of lives were at stake, after all, and Mary and her relatives knew about this thanks to Trudy's desperate messages. Jet was impressed she was able to recruit such people with limitless potential; thinking they may stand a chance. One by one, April and the others introduced everyone to their comrades, and also taught them how to strategize using Type advantages, use them in combat wisely in terms of strength and speed, and how each Trainer must carry six Pokémon at one time. They also mentioned there was a war between Kanto and Johto around the time some of the elder cousins were born; so they weren't alone in that regard.

The bounty and Maverick Hunters grew more attached to each other, and it was so strange and shocking that everyone had gone through similar hardships, whether it'd be great foreign conflicts or civil ones. This had proven they are more than ready for the looming battle they'd be facing. Everyone volunteered to pitch in on their fight against the syndicate using their best teammates. Jet nearly felt sorry for those innocent creatures being used as weapons, but Mary said this was all a Trainer can do. Regardless, both he and Faye offered to give each Trainer some weapons and ammo as a means to defend themselves; however without the Bebop, he had no place nor material to make them.

That was when Zero offered, "I could take you to OUR home turf, the Maverick Hunter headquarters in Abel City. It's just several miles north of here."

"Yeah," X added. "It's a mechanical place that's perfect for customizing weapons and armor. I just hope it wouldn't be demolished by a revived Sigma again." With a snarl from Zero, they both remembered that fateful day, when they met their enemy, Sigma, for the first time. "We're also very promising mechanics. I hear you're one for the Bebop."

That made the Black Dog admire the Reploids even more, disregarding the fact they're only highly-advanced robots. As Mary and her cousins got their equipment prepared, they brought out their Flying-Types. There was Pidgeot, Staraptor, and Talonflame, but also a large owl named Noctowl, a fowl with dark grey feathers known as Unfezant, and another huge fowl that had decorative feathers known as Braviary. A few were able to carry some extra passengers and with minimal effort, they headed back to the Saffron City airport.

As they were heading to the Maverick Hunter base, X remembered the dreadful fight with him, Zero, Chill Penguin, and Sigma as well as several troops. Back then, Sigma was referred to as the Commander of the Reploid forces, before Zero took over his stead. While they went up against a berserk Mechaniloid that went haywire, he remembered what his former ally said; that there are moments when Maverick Hunters cannot afford to hesitate in dangerous situations and must "pull the trigger" in order to save the innocent while still endangering a few, and that the Hunters have sworn to be both sword and shield of those who aren't fully capable of defending themselves.

Together, the Flying-Types, the Hammerhead, Red Tail, and the Shuttle reached the outskirts of the Maverick Hunter Base. There were many towering structures that were nearly as high as the Red Dragons' skyscraper, if not higher. There were also some domed buildings and multiple, complex layers of rails and roads. This seemed to suit Jet quite nicely in this futuristic setting. The sky wasn't as polluted like the bounty hunters dreaded, and it twinkled with stars in an indigo twilight. Everyone landed on the pad that was big enough for all the crafts and Pokémon. And a Reploid greeted the group.

"Good evening, Hunters. I see you brought some friends along, and they look human. Oh! I see some Pokémon, too! What a treat! Come, I will show you around." It did just that as the heroes followed toward the massive lobby with the logo displayed on the reflective tile floor. Each Reploid admired the presence of the humans. They eventually arrived at a dark control room with a massive plasma screen smack dab in the center. The room spiraled around the central area and more Reploids greeted everyone while assembling some gadgets.

"This is where we receive our mission objectives. And it's the heart of the base, assembling weapons and equipment. Iris used to be here, as was X's former partner named Double." Zero said.

Jet asked the Reploids on how one of them could become a Maverick. They explained that it's barely any different than how a human would also turn corrupt, except there could be errors in coding, data, and manufacturing like any short circuits in the brain. Even Zero knew firsthand since he was labeled as a Maverick once, working for his original creator, Dr. Wily; as well as the numerous uprisings including Sigma. Much like Vicious was with Spike, he was a loyal friend to their cause and a skilled combatant. He, too, was an expert hacker corrupting Reploids' codes and turning them Maverick. Unfortunately, Dr. Cain, the creator of the Reploids, wanted to see what X was capable of as he was a specimen from his descendant, Dr. Light. During a discussion, Cain stated to Sigma that X was capable of displaying emotions, specifically worry and care for others. Sigma didn't have that kind of affection and instead was filled with avarice, anger, and violence corrupting his own judgement. While X was proving to be more efficient than a mere robot that was encased for a century, he became vengeful and developed a bad reputation as the enemy he's known to be.

After having some flashbacks of the Day of Sigma, as well as X's century-long concealment since Thomas Light wasn't able to see his potential through due to his advanced age, X and Zero remembered their enemy's words of resentment, saying that the fight will determine the future of Reploids and humans alike. And the battle may be over, but the war has begun. Then, they reminisced following the events of the Repliforce War, and they had sworn to never hesitate and fight with all their might to stand up against the Red Dragons to save the fate of the universe.

After a hearty meal, X and Zero have mentioned that since Sigma was no longer a threat, the Reploids have been defending Earth in different ways. One of them was to shield the planet from the endless devastating meteor showers and space debris from the ring. They knew about the incident of the failed Hyperspace Gate experiment several decades ago that exploded and scarred the moon, so X and Zero occasionally volunteered.

"We can't just waste our time rusting, can we?" Zero smirked. They all seemed to get the message.

"You've been defending Earth from those meteor showers?" Faye asked, amazed.

"Yeah. Soon after the new management of the Maverick Hunters, we heard about the Earth's destruction in a desolate location." X said, then his voice softened. "We realized it was once your home. And we are greatly sorry for your loss." Everyone wore a somber expression, but the important thing was that Faye finally got her memories back aside from the rare VHS tapes. This actually made Trudy have an epiphany, but before she said something, X spoke again.

"We've actually been contacted by many repairmen and cementers for our service. One of the damage-control crews had two men, a dog, and some hyper, redheaded girl who happened to be a very talented hacker."

"Edward!!" Faye chimed.

"Eddie!" Trudy followed.

"I can't believe it!" Jet exclaimed.

"Right, so if you guys want to see her and her family, I think they'll be coming here by tomorrow. But night's falling fast. I'm sure this must be jetlag for you bounty hunters." The trio nodded as acknowledgement. "I'm sure you guys really need a good night's sleep. Don't forget, we still have one more day if the war should start."

"Why don't you show them their quarters, X. We got a lot of work to do as far as armor and technology goes. We need some preparations." Zero suggested.

"What about you guys?" X motioned to Mary and the others.

"Ah, no big, X. We could simply find a place of our own. I think we should head back to our home lands and regroup later, just so we can say goodbye to our friends before the war..." she was suddenly hit with a sense of dread; even though they were highly skilled as Champions in their own region, this conflict would certainly be the biggest challenge they'd ever face and may never return. With their Flying-Types, they all headed back.

So X showed Jet, Faye, and Trudy where they would slumber for the night; Faye took Iris' colorful bedroom, Trudy took the Colonel's since it was an adjacent room as he was her brother, and Jet took the General's. After that, X met up with Zero as they made some modifications to their new allies' equipment and armor.

"It's nice to work with organic friends again." X commented. "Especially the Pokémon that are kind of similar to the anthropomorphic Reploids-turned-Mavericks we used to have."

"Yeah, especially since they'd be no way for them to possibly turn rogue." Zero replied.

They both felt more relaxed at the thought. And within several hours, the enhancements were complete before they got some shut-eye themselves.

A/N: I think Pallet Town from Pokémon Leaf Green/Fire Red would sound when the guys head to Mary's house, and the Stage Select theme from X4 would play as Zero and X introduce the Maverick Hunter Base. I found out that Doppler City was the location of Abel City during X3, but I decided to stick w/ the former due to reference and lulz. Also, Jenny's design was a bit of an inspiration from the character of the same name in the Sleepy Hollow series.

Also I have to ask...why do both Zero and Spike have so much in common?!? If I get done with the story, I might do another one highlighting their common traits.

From here, the story's still going to be tough to put together, so stand by, space cowboys/cowgirls.



Chapter 7 - Final Hours

Disclaimer: Before I forget, I don't own any of the material; I'm just a fan of each. Pokémon does go to Game Freak, Mega Man X belongs to Capcom, and Cowboy Bebop belongs to Sunrise, Bandai/Namco.

With less than 24 hours remaining, at least in Earth's Japanese standard time, the Red Dragon War was drawing nearer and nearer.

Trudy then had another dream involving the same opaque chamber where the music box stood, playing the same subtle melody. Only this time, there was a saxophone and a piano playing it instead. Then, as she was walking up to it, the song ended abruptly as a strong gust carried dust and blew the artifact away, shattering it in a nearby, unseen wall. There was some kind of a blizzard, and the temperature suddenly got very frigid; this almost reminded Trudy of her time in Callisto as she was chasing after Spike in his hopes to find Julia, though he was unsuccessful. Only this time she was on a summit of a very high mountain that had a gentle slope. The sky was like a burnt cinnabar and the storm only kept getting more violent.

"This is...all a dream." Amongst the wind, Trudy heard an alto female voice speak to her, as if she was talking telepathically, her deep words ringing in her ears.

Noticing Trudy was shivering and trembling and had pale skin and lips, Faye woke her up afterwards. By the time Trudy finally got herself together she described the dream and then requested Faye that when they get back to Mars, they need to make a quick pitstop somewhere in Tharsis. She remembered an old antiques store that was run by an eccentric elderly man that seem to collect many outdated goods from Earth, mostly audio and video cassettes. She wondered if there would be a music box there, the same one from her dreams, and wanted the melody on it to be exactly the same as that tune she kept hearing. Faye remembered it was the place where she received some tapes that highlighted her earlier years.

"Hunters." A Reploid marched up to them inside the central room. It didn't seem so thrilled. "Radical Edward and her family are here again..!"

Zero actually groaned at the message; X was a bit coy for their arrival as he sighed, "Here comes the world's youngest and best hacker on the planet." He looked back at his partner, "And annoying."

They reluctantly followed the Reploid to the main entrance where there were waiting outside. As expected, the skinny, tall kid grew more ecstatic.

"If she ever makes another attempt to hack into the city's systems or us, she's out of here!" Zero retorted.

"Don't worry, I'm sure she'll behave herself since she knows of the ban." X and Zero made it clear that the Maverick Hunters, as well as their comrades, weren't mere playthings to the hyper-active tech geek. At least her dad and his associate, Macintire, were better company.

Meanwhile, the same messenger gave the intel toward the bounty hunters of their friends' arrival. Trudy was the first to immediately rise up and head downstairs to the front exit.

"Eddie!" she was the first to get their attention.

"Hey!" Faye added.

With a humongous giddy smile, Edward ran to the quintet and knocked the cadet off her feet, literally. "Trudyyy!! Ed good to see you!"

"Hey." A gruff voice made her look up. Sure enough, it was her father, Mr. Appledelhi, lifting her up. "Let's try and hold ourselves together, huh. This isn't considered to be decent behavior." he scolded.

"Oh, uh, sorry." Edward rose up and met the others.

Trudy still got the wind knocked out of her when she heard a familiar bark. It belonged to the little Corgie, the puppy with the high IQ, who looked very glad to see her. His eyes were sparkling as he smiled and panted, then started licking her face. "It's eh, nice to see you too, Ein." her voice was raspy from Ed's sudden impact.

"Oooooh, Bebop-Bebop crew is here! Waaaooo!!" Edward kept spinning around like a propeller with her arms spread out widely. "Where's Spike-y, is he here?!"

Everyone hesitated, until Faye gathered the courage to speak. "He's...waiting for us, on Mars." she stammered. "But, he's working for the Red Dragon crime syndicate." That made Edward stop in her tracks, wearing a curious expression.

Jet clarified, "Those were the evil people, the men in black that wanted to kill Spike back in Callisto, and then in Tharsis? He's one of them now."

"Wha-whatta you mean..? He enemy? Spike-y's an enemy?" Ein seemed to share the shock as he whimpered; even he couldn't believe that was true.

"So that's what happened to him when my daughter, err son, left the Bebop and wanted to be with us." Mr. Appledelhi realized. Macintire was sort of indifferent since he hardly knew him, though Edward has been talking to her dad a lot.

"Yes. Unfortunately there's going to be a war in Mars, and the syndicate is leading it." Trudy said, her heart as heavy as lead.

"First the war on Titan and now this. And they're making their way here if they should destroy all of Mars."

"Trudy has some allies who'll arrive here soon. Some Pokémon Trainers, who're cousins, volunteered for the war effort; they're very skilled in combat, and they're hailed as champions from their home lands." Jet said with a boost of confidence.

She looked toward Edward, then her father and asked if they could use her talents as a hacker to get into the Red Dragons' database, if they have one.

"I guess you have my permission. But how do you know they have a computer system for her to hack into?"

"They are a crime syndicate." Zero reasoned. "I'm sure they have data concerning where they are and how they operate their objectives." He then realized that Mr. Appledelhi's name sounded very similar to "Afedersiniz hesap lütfen," which was a Turkish sentence meaning, "Excuse me, check please." To X, his name sounded like "Apple deli" instead, as it did to Trudy.

"Look, can you hack into the Red Dragons' database? I believe it's somewhere in Mars." she requested.

"Ed, try." At the central control room, she plopped her little, yellow gizmo down and went to work. She did her magic, and rows and columns of numbers scrolled erratically throughout the little computer monitor. Her sunglasses were lowered to shield her eyes from the glare. Soon enough, the codes were being detected from somewhere in Earth's neighboring planet. "Ooohh...goddy-goody-goody. Very-very high. Big, tall mountain."

The onlookers got a glimpse of a landmark on the red planet. It was located on the east side and it was protruding through it like a long, sharp knife. "That's Olympus Mons!" Jet exclaimed. "The signal seems to be coming from a few miles below the summit." He explained that Olympus Mons was the tallest mountain in the universe; it was rumored to be three times higher than Earth's Mount Everest in the Himalayas. Nothing managed to breach it's top, though it had a gentle slope.

" one was able to reach the highest point of the mountain." Faye said as she looked despondent. "If the Red Dragons' base is surely there, then we might not make it."

"We can." Everyone looked at Trudy, except Edward who was still playing around the keyboard. "I think." She mentioned that one of Marina's Hoenn Pokémon, Castform, is capable of changing weather patterns. Jet remembered one time when Mars' thin atmosphere was ideal for changing the weather as there was a control tower used to do just that; he recalled Spike telling him that Laughing Bull said the "highest point" could only shift Mars' weather and make it rain, which was put into good use as it expanded the antibodies reversing the lethal effects of a disease spread by Vincent's nanomachines.

"That could work." X said. "Castform could change the extremely freezing climate and let us slip through. If we could manipulate the weather, that could put us on a homefield advantage. We could also use it to cause devastating storms to cripple our enemies!"

"It's also rumored that Dragonair could do just that as well. We could surely win this." Trudy exclaimed. "If we can change the climate, then we can change anything!"

"I wouldn't be so brash." Zero added. "We must be careful. I've seen landslides happen from time to time when the heat gets too intense and melts the foundation. If Castform's abilities are too much, then this could cause some devastating results if not managed properly."

"Zero's right." stated the Black Dog. "Plus, the Trainers all have Fire-Types. Fire melts ice, and despite the tumultuous terrain, we should use them reasonably."

"I think we should infiltrate the mountain on foot; flying in a spacecraft could get us noticed and we could be shot down." Faye stated. "Ed, have you found any arrangements regarding the war?"

She looked up and seemed dazed and confused. "Giver a little time to process herself." Mr. Appledelhi said. "Edward." She eventually snapped out of her flunk. "Hack into the database some more, and see where they would be gathered. I believe it should be away from Tharsis, in the massive canyon system, Valles Marineris. But then again, those heartless bastards could harm anyone if they should get in their way. We must never let them cross the borderline and into the valley."

"I'm sure Olympus Mons would be heavily guarded, just like their headquarters..." Trudy's mind drifted to her final moments with Spike, following the path of destruction and winding up in the bright corridor as she witnessed him fall.

"Hey. We gotta stay sharp." Jet snapped her out of her reverie but even he was a little heartbroken by his demise and toxic revival. Even when one of his allies, Bob, screamed at him he should leave Mars immediately since the Red Dragons were far too much for the ISSP.

"Finite-o!" Edward cheered. She received all the intel needed. Then her dad helped her to break it down so it'd be simpler for everyone to understand.

"There's still one more problem." X said. "We won't have enough transport to take all of us to Mars. We brought only three spacecrafts: our Shuttle, the Red Tail, and the Hammerhead; when we bring in the Trainers, we won't have enough room to carry in more bodies. And we may be easy targets for the snipers; they're highly-trained assassins."

"Oh, allow me." They suddenly saw a woman that looked masculine with her navy-blue trucker uniform, her matching cap, and disheveled short, blond hair. A chubby black and white feline walked up to her side and let out a meow. Though his fur stood up and hissed as he noticed Ein. The Corgie simply growled. "Oh, great. Why the hell did you have to bring a dog here?"

"Vicky!" Trudy was the first to greet her in an enthusiastic manner; it was definitely a sight for sore eyes. She'll never forget the first and only time when she and Spike met her on a bounty hunting mission; it was when she warmed up to them, no longer thinking that all hunters were the scum from outer space. He was the first and only person that guessed her name correctly after they were separated, and gazed into her pendant while floating in zero gravity.

Victoria Terpsichore, also known as VT, along with her cat, Zeros, offered to use the Heavy Metal Queen. "I still loathe those bounty hunters. Except you guys, you're alright." she mentioned to the Bebop crew. "But after receiving some troubling news about the Red Dragons war, my trucking business seemed to get put on hold. Then, I began thinking my late husband, the famous bounty hunter, Ural Terpsichore, was assassinated during a mission by one of the radicals in the syndicate, probably the guy that looked similar to that overrated villain, Sephiroth."

"Vicious." Faye corrected.

"Well, we lost Spike after he was slewed by him and the syndicate." Jet explained.

"But then he was revived by Vicious' violent blood, which made him and the rest of the fallen bloodthirsty assassins. We believe they're stationed in Olympus Mons, thanks to Edward here." The hyper hacker beamed as X discussed the dire situation.

The trucker sighed as Zeros sulked. "I'm very sorry to hear. Spike was a good man. I wish I'd see him more. So, with this interstellar conflict coming around, I guess maybe I'll use my truck for logistics." She said she'd gladly provide her massive truck as transport for those who never had their own spacecraft, particularly the Pokémon Trainers and Eddie's family.

"Although I should warn you. Those devils in the Syndicate can be very sneaky and approach vulnerable planets. It's possible that they could use a Dark Gate since they're designed for secretive space travel for criminals as they remain undetected. It's most likely they'll impact Earth this way."

So Zero commanded the Maverick Hunters to remain at the base on high alert for any intruders, even though they're not primarily used to combatting humans. "Don't hesitate to fire. Believe me, you'll be doing us a favor." They all obliged.

The Reploids offered to load the Heavy Metal Queen with food, supplies, fuel, and ammunition. Vicky decided to use it for logistics, supplying the group with whatever they needed for victory; "An army can only run on their stomach, after all." Little did the gang knew that the Reploids offered for something even more.

Later on, the Trainers showed up, and X and Zero offered everyone the armor they made, even for their Pokémon. Their backpacks were filled to the brim with berries, Super Potions, remedies, and the like. And most of the combatants were given shoulder, knee, and chest plates, light and flexible mail, bullet-proof vests, and even helmets with small mouth pieces for some of the Pokémon to use.

While Vicky and the Reploids got busy, Ed and her family along with the Red Dragon Hunters decided to stretch out their legs, take in some fresh air, and enjoy the scenery at the tranquil Floccesy Ranch's countryside, requested by Lizzie and Beth; it was the perfect place since Edward, Faye, Jet, and Trudy were known to be interplanetary cowboys and cowgirls. Ein and Edward adored the cute Pokémon as they and Zeros played around with Pikachu, Vulpix, Azumarill, Pachirisu, Arcanine, Rapidash, Emolga, Dedenne, as well as the other little critters. Faye also admired the attention, including discussing tactics with all the other females on the team. Edward and the pets even slid down Aurorus' neck several times, though the Tundra Pokémon had to stay in her Poké Ball to remain cold for awhile.

Everyone had some fun on the ranch, even when they stopped to have a late-afternoon lunch and dinner. Both Mr. Appledelhi and Macintire, to which he kept forgetting his name, offered to repair any collateral damage made by the Red Dragon War, whether it'd be on Earth, Mars, or elsewhere. They also pitched in on any more intel regarding the enemy organization, and Mary and Zero decided to use the lighter Pokémon as infantry once they march onto the battlefield. Jenny decided to use the massive Pokémon from the rear as tanks and brutes. While X decided to let the more balanced fighters stay within the center as they breach enemy lines so they could cover the other squads better. Although everyone pitched in for the march to Mars' perilous mountain, Jet, Macintire, and Mr. Appledelhi were chatting of something of their own, hesitating on being active soldiers.

When night fell, Zero and X advised the small army forces to get some decent shuteye, which was mostly difficult as they all had so much on their minds. Would they ever return alive and reunite with their loved ones? Would they fail getting Spike restored? Or would they meet their untimely deaths and wind up as undead assassins like so many others in the Syndicate?

Trudy clutched the Wandering Star pendant, praying for their success and looking up at the stars wondering if Laughing Bull's good fortune would come into fruition.

As champions turned enlisted women, Maverick Hunters turned men-at-arms, and bounty hunters turned braves, the worst was surely yet to come for the Red Dragon Hunters.

A/N: I wish that Itionoben, one of my favorite YouTubers to follow, would actually pay attention to this story. This highlights a lot of his favorite stuff, mostly Pokémon and the Mega Man series. I'm not sure if whether or not he's a fan of the Bebop series, but I REALLY wish he would continue to review the Mega Man X series from X5 and so forth.

It should be noted that these Red Dragon wars in Mars are quite appropriate; the upcoming conflict and the one against the White Tigers take part in a planet that was named after the Greek god of war. Also, during the last scene, I think "To Zanarkand" from FFX may be the most fitting while the guys dread and/or try to relax before the war begins.

I know this session was a bit too brief, but I never thought of a lot of details here. Hopefully I'll have another wind next time around.



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Chapter 8 - The Eve of Destruction

By the crack of dawn, both X and Zero awakened within their capsules at the heart of the Maverick Hunter Base. They walked out amongst the steam emitting from them and processed the big day. An alarm and some distant red lights were going off as the Blue Bomber declared, "This is it, Zero. Prepare. For war."

Back at the Floccesy Ranch, the Pokémon, the Trainers, and the bounty hunters were assembling their new suits of armor, all except Jet, Edward, Ein, Macintire, and Mr. Appledelhi; apparently, they had actually decided on a place to stay during the expedition to Olympus Mons and trek through enemy lines at Valles Marineris.

Because the Heavy Metal Queen was a long spacecraft that could house several people, the Trainers decided unanimously they should use it as they approach Mars, although they were kind of nervous since they never entered outer space before. They drew out their Flying-Types once more, and they hoped that Zeros and Ein would never share a ship with one another...

Because the process was experimental and risky if they should enter the atmosphere and expose to no gravity nor oxygen, they might not be able to use reinforcements; they've wanted to use other Pokémon as well as other allies from Earth if they could, but it can only be a one-way voyage. With some heartfelt farewells, they flew back to Abel City.

The zipcrafts and the Shuttle followed them and Trudy, due to her restlessness, slept in the cockpit of the old Hammerhead during the flight. She then abruptly woke up and heaved a little. "What's wrong, Trudy?" her mentor, Jet, asked with concern.

"I...I just had another nightmare; it's Spike, and he was holding his Jericho, wearing that evil sneer. He fired...the nozzle was smoking. I think it took place in a dark graveyard since I saw some big tombstones. He shot me, Jet." her heart raced as she was perspiring with terror sweat.

"Trudy..." His tongue was completely tied.

She wiped some of the sweat away, as well as wiped her baggy eyes. "I have to get that music box. I dreamt about this before. It was playing a soothing melody, and..." An epiphany hit her. "...I think it has to do with Julia."

"What're you saying?" his voice rose a little due to impatience and confusion.

"I think I know a way to bring Spike back."

"Jet, are you there?" Someone spoke over the comm.

"Yes, Zero. What is it?"

"We're prepared to approach Mars and Valles Marineris. We're just awaiting for your arrival. Also, I need to reveal something that might shock all of you."

"Go ahead. As if we haven't heard enough blasphemy already." Trudy scorned a little at his stern words of doubt and denial.

The red robot stated that he, too, had a nightmare; the same one that Trudy had since day one. He did see Master Yokushimo insert blood into Spike after drawing it from Vicious. He then theorized that what he said was true, that when Spike awakened, Yokushimo mentioned they shared the same blood. He believed that to be vital since humans go through blood transfusions sharing the same type, excepting Type-O since it was considered to be universal. Zero thought that how Yokushimo returns his fallen to the battlefield all share Spike's and Vicious' blood; the common link was there, just enhanced with drugs and sorcery. Those that didn't share the link probably had their vessels obliterated completely, like a cremation. He concluded as long as they share the same blood type as Spike and Vicious does, and because they're the most valuable members of the syndicate, they could be reanimated numerous times and remain as bloodthirsty tools permanently.

This was definitely a striking theory Zero had made, though it wasn't too surprising. There was a stunned silence that seemed to stretch on until the ships landed at their final destination on Earth. Time was definitely of the essence, and Laughing Bull's prophecy involving the super red giant and the supernova were ringing in the troubled hunters' minds.

"I hope we're not too late..." Trudy murmured.

"Weeeooooww! We go to Mars!" Edward could barely contain her excitement after she was strapped into a seat within the Shuttle's cockpit. Ein was also secure along with Macintire and Mr. Appledelhi within separate chairs. The only one that was empty was the captain's seat which was available to Zero. X remained with Jet in the Hammerhead, Trudy was inside the Red Tail with Faye, while the Trainers and Pokémon were comfortable within the Heavy Metal Queen; there was plenty of wiggle room for them to roam, even for the larger creatures.

It was T-minus three minutes as the Reploids made close observations from inside the base and out. The partly cloudy skies were ideal for the launch. One of them announced the countdown over the loudspeaker, "T-Minus 10 seconds. 10...9...8...7..."

The landing pad opened, allowing the spacecraft as long as three football fields emerge, while the other transports stood by on the separating sections of pavement. The long truck/train was lifted by a platform from about thirty feet below. The three other ships were being tilted back, each facing the cerulean sky as the sun shined down on them from an adjacent angle.

"Here we go," Jet spoke with a small grin.

The first to blast off was the Hammerhead as it ignited its thrusters and opened its wings. The Reploids remained a sharp eye on it to make sure it wouldn't be shot down by any radicals if they dare to intrude here, or if any incoming meteor shower should cause any damage.

"We have a go for the Hammerhead." a Reploid said in the control room.

"It's go time." Faye said. About a minute later, the Red Tail was next repeating the process.

"Hold onto your asses." Victoria said. Zeros let out an exhilarated meow.

Lastly was the elongated Heavy Metal Queen. However, the engine roared like a normal truck would and then started to ascend and cruise away much like a tank engine.

With just several miles apart, they each made it toward the Earth's Hyperspace Gate. To the Trainers and Pokémon, they grew both fascinated and scared at the sight on leaving the planet. Edward seemed to grow more ecstatic, while the rest just sat idly guiding their own vessels. Then, everyone observed a flash of white light, there was a trippy, golden and black scenery as the crafts gained speed. Until, they reached the end of the warp tunnel while they approached the light. The gravity remained intense until the ships immersed into the weightless, bleak, and starry frontier. Each one of the passengers calmed themselves, including the startled Pokémon.

The star cruisers looked as if they were a group of comets drifting aimlessly toward a certain destination. They traveled through massive metal rings before they entered into the endless void. The Red Dragon Hunters were on their way to the warring red planet only several lightyears ahead!

Breaking the awed silence, Jet suggested on all open channels, "Alright, space cowboys, cowgirls. We must stay sharp at all times for any radicals. I know it seems unorthodox, but we should use the dark warp gate in order to avoid detection. I feel it's far too risky to use a normal warp gate, or enter Mars' atmosphere manually. Remember, the syndicate is ax-crazy, not stupid." Everyone obliged his advice.

"I...think I should go in later than you guys." Vicky said. "I should provide logistics and meet up with the other truckers. Just for safety reasons and let 'em know I'm here."

"Good. Just don't forget about us when we head toward Olympus Mons, you hear?"

"Loud and clear, Black Dog."

"We should keep an eye out for the Swordfish, too." X chimed in. "Spike did force you guys into exile and threatened to shoot you down if he saw us." That made everyone shiver, even Trudy. It was indeed the same one that she kept feeling whenever she sensed Vicious was near, or the erratic Spike.

"We can't worry about that, X. Let's prepare ourselves and get moving."

Suddenly, there was a jingle coming from the Hammerhead's dashboard. Jet, while still open to all channels, picked up the signal and put it on speaker. Donnelly sounded out of breath, "Jet...what took you so long? I couldn't contact you on the Bebop...Please tell me what happened..!"

He gave a somber expression. "The Bebop was destroyed by Spike's Swordfish during a dogfight. But luckily, we were saved by two fellow Maverick Hunters named X and Zero."

His close comrade cried out to Jet that Zero's theory has been justified. He said that if anyone falls during the fight, the Red Dragons are willing to drag away anyone against their will and turn them into deadly alliances. Anyone from the Syndicate or the opposing forces would be taken not as prisoners, but have their minds warped into bloodborne killers. If Yokushimo and his men aren't put away early enough, they could rule all of Mars and soon the entire galaxy; with this method of victory, they'll be unstoppable.

"We're screwed!" Trudy exasperated.

"Heh, and I thought there was only an uprising when it comes to Mavericks. It looks as though it is the same to humans." Zero said.

Soon enough, the red planet was standing out like a blood ruby in space.

"Mons. We go to mountain! Kill the Dragons!" Edward said in a nervous manner. "Spike-y down there!" She pointed yonder and Ein's ears perked up at the sight of the planet and Eddie's words.

"Yes," her father added. "And we should find a secure place here. I know there is no safe haven with the war going on, but we should find somewhere to set up shop."

"Hmm, may I suggest Annie's store?" Macintire recommended.

"I reckon that's not a bad idea." Jet said. "Let's go. You'll meet us at Valles Marineris, I trust?"

"Of course. I'll be there asap. I just need to drop off some first-aid, food, artillery and the like to my fellow truckers." Vicky said. "I'll meet you all there."

"Be very careful." Faye added. They didn't see, but the leading trucker gave a thumbs-up before soaring off.

Meanwhile, a nearby zipcraft was watching over them enter Mars' dark warp gate. It was supposed to be a discreet entrance, but a certain someone saw them approach into enemy territory. Spike gave the signal to Master Yokushimo and briefed him. "They have returned. And this time, they are not alone. A trucker is with them." he said.

Hs associates wore some surprised, though ravenous, looks. Yokushimo declared, "The war has begun with the ISSP, and they're provided with support. Still, these fleas must be eliminated." He contacted via headpiece. "Spike, find them and destroy 'em!"

"Is it time?!"

He gleamed, "Yes. We let these Earthlings and old dogs wait enough."

"...At last!!" He steered his Swordfish toward the normal warp gate as he entered Mars.

"Prepare for battle." Yokushimo riled up his troops who're as eager as they were to strike their opponents down.

By the time they entered Tharsis, the sky was already a mixture of dark grey and cinnabar. Faye looked down from her Red Tail and recognized a familiar Ferrari parked in the lot of a convenient store of sorts. "Julia..!" she gasped. She temporarily had a flashback on how she saved her from the pursuing Dragons, then lost her forever. That certainly got Trudy's attention.

"What is it, Faye?" Jet queried.

"That car was Julia's. I think she was unable to retrieve it after she died. I saw it once when I saved her as she was being chased by the Red Dragons."

"Hmm, I'm surprised it hasn't been impounded, or destroyed." he said. "I believe we should stop here. The Red Dragons would never suspect us here since this place has seen better days."

"Or perhaps Spike..." Trudy muttered within the cockpit of the Shuttle; Zero looked at her with worry.

The ships landed and as they all marched in, with Eddie being as silent as she could, Jet was right since the entire place looked abandoned; bullet holes were abundant, broken furniture were tossed asunder, and there were a few shattered windows. And lucky for the hunters, there were various goods, but their main assets were the scarce assortments of weaponry, ammo, and some food located throughout. He was also astonished the large fridge was still operating despite all the damage. But, supplies were limited since some of the assassins made it there first and took most of them away.

"Here it is. This place looks like it hadn't been used in years." Jet said.

To Trudy, this reminded her of an abandoned strip mall that used to have a massive, vacant lot with a bowling alley and a bar next door, along with a karate dojo and also a Chinese restaurant; unfortunately the childhood memories were destroyed due to its condition, the fact that each place went out of business, and later was bulldozed.

Edward wasted no time setting up her gizmos, and the rest of the group gathered their refreshments and repertoire of ammunition and firearms. The lights never worked, but it was advantageous since they needed to remain discreet.

"I need to go to that antiques store so I could get that music box." Trudy said. "I hope he has it."

"I'll take you there." Faye volunteered.

"Be careful, you two." Jet warned.

They headed out to the Red Tail and lifted off to the "pitstop" she mentioned. It was a short flight within the city and recognizing the settlement, the antiques store had also been demolished, much like Annie's place.

"What the hell..?" Trudy leaped out before Faye did.

According to the distraught owner it turned out the Red Dragons have bombed the place. Trudy asked if he had an old music box, and there was one on a shelf he was saving for a customer named Julia. Their eyes opened wide at the aforementioned name. She was one of the regulars, but she stopped here rarely since she was always on the run. It was the only surviving product he had, and he offered it to Trudy with no charge. He'd never forget how sweet she was when they first met as Trudy, as an Earthling, still appreciated obsolete technology that included the VHS, or rather, Beta tapes, while Spike and Jet were messing around. It was thanks to her and the clerk alone that restored Faye's hidden memories.

After the two promised to restore his business after the war, they left. They tried to persuade him to evacuate to Earth, but he only acted on the offer. Instead he grabbed a nearby shotgun and committed suicide; he had nowhere else to go, and he couldn't leave Mars under the scrutiny since he'd be shot dead.

As they continued assembling, Ein eventually leapt beside Edward on an old sofa they were occupying. The little dog then sniffed the air, and slightly growled. He let out some sharp, short barks breaking the silence.

Someone in a silhouette noticed and recognized the loud barking. "Ein..." He stayed beside a side wall and loaded his Glock. He was about to point it through a window, but he hesitated as he heard foot landings scuffling inside. From his peripheral vision, he spotted someone in a red, metallic mask. Noticed he was spotted, the figure hid away and ran.

"Ein, EIN!" Edward tried to calm the pooch, but to no avail. She even tried to hold up his snout and close his mouth, but the alarmed Corgi kept at it. "Ein, what is it, boy?!" He started to fix on something and began to lunge as he let out a more menacing yelp. Edward held him back in her long, strong arms. "Ein, what's with you?! Cut it out, boy!"

"He's blowing our cover!" Mr. Appledelhi said. "I think someone's out there! An intruder!"

"X, Zero!" Jet commanded. The Maverick Hunters ran to opposing corners of the store.

Zero looked out the adjacent window. "We got movement!" he declared. "3:00! He's on the rooftops!"

Jet drew out his Walther P99 and was on the prowl, following the shadowed man who was leaping from rooftop to rooftop. He also kept rolling on them after he landed. On foot, Jet still kept at it, and he was surprised he could keep up with only a few miles away from the suspect. He didn't even notice a chirpy voice calling him from some alleys away.

Back at the store, the room fell deathly silent again, despite Ein's whimpering and Edward reassuring the troubled mutt. Zero and X regrouped, and they were so desperate to help Jet chase down the intruder. The former thought it was who he thought it was.

Mr. Appledelhi muttered, "If Spike ever finds us here, I would be more than happy to kick his ass." It was such a huge relief that the ole cementer could hold his own in a fight, and he exclaimed that he stood up against Spike with minimal effort and bested him, which was no exaggeration.

Eventually, Jet got the wind knocked out of him for running too long. He lost the mysterious figure, but he wasn't about to give up on searching for the perp; one thing that was well-known about him was he'd never give up once he had a criminal in his sights, hence the attained nicknames Black Dog and Hammerhead. His first guess was the graveyard he wound up. There was a puddle that seemed to never evaporate as a wilted, dark rose settled in its eternal resting place. Despite the drizzle, he went into the deep field, his senses getting sharper since he figured it'd be a good place for a radical to hide, kill, and bury his victims. He was immediately caught off guard when he heard a click cornering him by a signature golden pistol drawn. So much for those preemptive strikes...

"You! What the hell are you doing in a place like this!?"

"Making your own grave, Jet. What else would I be doing here."

He figured that Spike of all people would be here. He once heard him mentioning Julia in a place like this, as a hiding spot. Despite his immense fear, he just let out a chuckle when he challenged, "Heh, is that it? Thinking the Syndicate would cause a setup and beat me, did they? You just couldn't get enough of their fetish for violence, can you Spike?"

"Can the bullshit, Jet! I am here to make you have a taste with God!" Spike retorted. Then his voice lowered as he sneered straight at him, pointing out the Jericho. "Master Yokushimo would be pleased. Now kiss the earth!"

Jet could've sworn Spike really looked like a dog with rabies, with his bloodshot, narrow eyes, his mouth nearly drooling with foam as he grinded his fangs just embracing his kill. "Stupid fuck. Gone and gotten yourself brainwashed. Well you asked for it, you good-for-nothing punk--!"

"Ugh, Jet!" Someone immediately got in the center of the brawl. Her arms were spread out and she was nearly out of breath, feeling as though her hard-beating heart leapt to her throat.


"Wait. Please. Just wait."

"Don't worry. I know what I'm doing. I've known Spike's cheap tricks of the trade. I can handle him effortlessly on my own. You hang back and keep safe, and win this war."

"No. I can't. There's something I must do here. He can remember, I know he will. Please, just give me a little time."

"You sure..?"

They heard Spike's Glock click again as a sign of impatience. "Then I will kill you both!"

"Spike! Listen to this!" Trudy immediately took out a tiny music box from her striped pants pocket. "You have to remember this!" It played the same jingle as it did in her previous dreams, the handle winding around and around.

Spike had the urge to mangle them and leave them for dead, but that song was slowly holding him back. He was gradually losing his fighting instinct as some memories began to resurface, mostly those of Julia and hearing that song from a jazz group of sorts. Trudy eventually set it down on the dry turf in between Spike and Jet, and they continued to listen. Spike's face became more vacant, and sweat was pouring out. His rampant breathing began to seize little by little as the melody kept on playing. Then, he started to lower his arm very slowly and actually walk toward the box. With weak, flimsy fingers, he then picked it up and held it in his palm, like a child that was reunited with a lost, cherished toy.



A gunshot rang out and hit Trudy dead center!

"NO!" Jet scrambled toward her as she fell back. The box nearly stopped and Spike looked up in stunned silence.

Jet kept begging her as he shook her body. "Hey! Hey, stay with us!" He observed her for a shot wound, but surprisingly, there was none! Not even a scratch! The only sign of damage he saw was a bullet hole through Trudy's black Saturn T-shirt. Yet, there was no bleeding on her upper chest. Then it dawned on him; the bullet must've ricocheted from her star pendant Laughing Bull gave her earlier. Which he actually saw the glimmer! "Trudy...You're not dead!" But there was no response from her still form. He later realized she had just fainted on impact.

"Spike!" A male shouted out to him from behind. He emerged from hiding behind a nearby tombstone. "You got to finish them! Come on, what're you waiting for!? Get them!"

Jet was still too stunned to confront the sniper, and Spike hesitated. He momentarily drew out his Jericho once more and with some shaky hands, aimed the trigger toward the distraught duo. The hatred in him boiled like Vicious' blood coursing through his veins, making his heart gallop. He then pressed the trigger...

Yet, there was no fire. It was just a tick, as if the cartridge was empty, or maybe the safety was on and he didn't know it. He tried a few more times but with the same result.

"Ergh! Then I'll have to do it myself!" the sniper quickly aimed his own rifle. But Spike retaliated with a shot of his own! However, not without a recoil. He was struck in the leg, causing him to falter as his enemy fell and remained lifeless. Spi*ke attempted to keep himself up with a quivering hand, but his grip and weight proved to be too much.

Jet finally rushed over to him, though Spike was already lying there heaving. "Spike!!" He immediately turned him over. The only mark on his leg was a tiny hole, from a black dart no less. It was actually from a different rifle the sniper possessed. Quickly, he looked over him, and held his cheek. "Spike...what's happened?"

"Jet..." His eyes became clearer, his memory was coming back to him, extinguishing more of his hostility, and his vitals. He grew more pale, and his body was tremoring, especially his hands. "Look...after Trudy, and Faye. The fate of Mars and the universe depends on you... The Red Dragons have declared war..! It's...only a dart that inflicts a fate like death..." He grabbed his collar. "You must fight them now..!" His body became limp as he sputtered and his eyes lowered, "Ergh, good luck, old timer. Ergh, I'm sorry I...c-can't...ergh..!" His eyes finally closed completely and his body shut down.

"Don't worry, Spike. When you wake up, all of this will be over. You won't have to live through this nightmare any longer. I promise you that."

Hearing Trudy let out a moan Jet was there beside her. He waked her up again, then she saw him through her blurry vision and grogginess.

"Are we dead..?"

"No. We are alive." he whispered in response to hers. They hugged each other tightly, grateful they're still kicking.

"But I was shot. It wasn't Spike."

"No, it wasn't. It was just another sniper from the syndicate; you weren't killed since the bullet ricocheted from your pendant."

She looked down and noticed the tiny hole. When she looked up she saw a lifeless Spike lying there.

"Spike..!" She immediately crawled to him, Jet followed. Then she tried awakening him. "Spike. Spike! Spike." He was still unconscious, the father figure explained, and he was struck by a dart specially made by the Syndicate. He assured he won't be a threat as long as he's knocked out.

Back at the abandoned store, Faye returned safely with her Red Tail and wouldn't stop wondering what happened to Jet or Trudy. Just then the front door was kicked open, and they both carried Spike's limp body in over their shoulders. The elders helped lay him down on the couch.

X and Zero went by his side and used their visors for diagnostic scanning. According to the input, they described that his vitals are slow and faint, his skin is pale and clammy like someone who'd been sleeping for days or weeks. They couldn't see his brown irises, though they were surprised that one was organic while the other was mechanical. Jet said it was due to an accident while serving the syndicate before he decided on bounty hunting, and Faye added in that one sees the past while the other sees the present. Still, the Maverick Hunters never saw any compound like this in Spike's molecular makeup.

Trudy, X, Zero, and Faye became anxious on fighting off the Red Dragons, though Jet thought it'd be wise to wait for Vicky arriving with the Trainers. They saw the door open suddenly, they drew out their weapons thinking it'd be a radical. It was such a relief they saw Mary and her cousins march in.

"Are you alright?" Jet asked.

"Yes," Mary replied. "but Vicky would be providing logistics on the battlefield along with the other truckers. We had decided to approach the situation on foot so we'd stay discreet."

"Or rather, fly there." April clarified. "We'll use our Pokémon to give us some leeway. Y'know, deceiving the enemy so we could sneak through."

"It's hard to explain." Marina spoke, "but we could use them to alter the weather, and create allusions so the enemy won't sneak up on us."

"All we gotta do is fly over the canyon, land near Olympus Mons, and infiltrate the base." Crystal continued.

"Sounds like you gals got it all figured out." Faye complimented.

But Jet didn't share their feedback; instead he gave another despondent look. "Everyone. I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I'm going to stay behind."

"What, why?" Trudy shared everyone's shocked demeanors.

Due to liability reasons, Jet decided to stay at the store for cover along with Edward, Ein, Macintire, and Mr. Appledelhi. Though he volunteered to stay as backup during the conflict, and contact them whenever they needed for strategy or support.  The elders and the hacker agreed unanimously without a single trace of objection.

"That means you too, Ein." The Corgi let out a bark as he wagged his tail. "We'll each keep an eye on Spike and watch out for any radicals. I'm not cut out for this."

"I understand." Zero said. "I believe it's from your advanced age."

"Besides, in your condition, I doubted you'd be willing to immerse yourself in a warzone." X reasoned. "Don't worry, we'll look out for our comrades for you. That's what us Maverick Hunters do, after all." He would never forget the time Zero gave him a lecture on what their function was, to serve and protect humans and defend those that're incapable of doing so.

"Now go kick some Red Dragon tail!" Mr. Appledelhi exclaimed. "We got your back."

"Thanks, you sure you don't want to go with us?" Trudy asked Jet one more time.

"I hope if you guys look hard enough, Vicky would have your back."

They all marched out one by one, then Faye looked back at Spike. "Jet, please take care of him."

"We will, Faye. Hurry back. Good luck!" The allies gave him a salute before they emerged into the bleak daylight. Then, the front door shut. Jet prayed out loud, "They'll need it. God speed to all of you."

"But they so young; they kids like me." Edward said.

"They were kids, Edward." Jet clarified her choppy words. "Not anymore. They may look young, but they have great potential. Besides, I trust X and Zero to look after them. It's up to them now."

"But why can't we fight?"

"I don't think you are capable of combat, Eddie." Mr. Appledelhi sat her down after she sat up abruptly. "And neither are we. Age can change us all. It's youth, unity, and strength that can get them through."

"Indeed it does." Jet looked out the window watching the birds soar away. "May the stars guide them." He then looked at the unconscious Spike, hoping things wouldn't take a turn for the worst.

A/N: Yeah I know, the title is a ripoff from the song of the same name by Barry McGuire. I've been waiting for several years to write this chapter. Especially about what happens to Spike. As well as the space launch, which by the way would include the awesome David Bowie classic, Space Oddity.

Oh, about the strip mall Trudy related to, I can as well. The Thunderbowl bowling alley was the cream of the crop for my childhood, nowadays it's all gone.

So, the war's beginning and there were several references I used: one scenario was from Dissidia Duodecim and maybe a little of Avatar, Good Morning Vietnam, Bardock: The Father of Goku, ReBoot, Romeo and Juliet, and Armageddon.

And I almost forgot, is it just me or does Vicious remind you of Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII? He also reminds me of Dauragon from the Bouncer as well. Heck, the similarities are striking: they have similar hair, similar voices, they rebel against their organizations, they're evil and tend to send shivers down my spine, they're very intimidating and want nothing more than destruction, revenge, and dominance, and they wield a Masamune. In addition, the raven reminds me of Sephiroth's look as the One-Winged Angel; and they both connect as a fallen angel in a way as well. AND the protagonist has an intense rivalry with each other, excepting the love triangle. I always here One-Winged Angel play in my ears whenever he makes an appearance. Perhaps they're an inspiration..? Yeesh!

Being this is a war fic, it's gonna take quite awhile to put all the scenes and details together. So, sit tight for the battle.



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Chapter 9 - The War Has Begun!

On the day of the Red Dragons War, Mary and her cousins' Pokémon approached over the outskirts of Tharsus and Valles Marineris. Mary was riding on her Pidgeot, Sunny. Her Butterfree, Moonlight, flew next to her along with her Dragonair, Diadem. April was riding on her Noctowl, Marina had her Castform, Beautifly, and Altaria soar within the special forces as she was riding on her cousin's Rapidash. Crystal rode on her Staraptor, Lizzie rode on her Unfezant as her Volcarona soared beside them. Her half-sister, Beth, rode on her Braviary and Emolga flew next to them. Jenny rode on her Talonflame. Boarding the Red Tail were Faye and Trudy, while X and Zero rode on the shoulders of a Golurk that was actually a transformation by N's Illusion Pokémon, Zoroark.

The two sacred orbs the Unova dwellers were holding started to illuminate on each of their laps; it was a summon for their two Legendary Dragons, the Deep Black Pokémon, Zekrom and the Vast White Pokémon, Reshiram. They explained they obtained them from N at the Dragonspiral Tower; Lizzie got the Light Stone and was able to use Reshiram, while N was using the opposing Zekrom. Then a few years later, Beth came around and took the Dark Stone and was able to train her Deep Black Pokémon, until N was willing to give the Vast White Pokémon back to Lizzie as their bitter sibling rivalry was resolved.

They flew northwest from the Tharsis bulge and over Valles Marineris. Castform, Altaria, Dragonair, and Zoroark worked together to create an illusion as just a massive dust cloud drifting in the air, while all the ground forces saw, thanks to Rapidash's phenomenal speed, was nothing but a strong breeze blowing through them. They looked over the ISSP, truckers, as well as other troops from the infantry unit, then the air force eventually landed near the side of Olympus Mons. According to the schematics, aside from the gentle slope, the tremendous mountain trail reached to 72,000 feet tall! The shield volcano's summit was completely covered by the thick dust clouds above. It also had two craters; the Karzok crater and the Pangboche crater.

As they trekked behind enemy lines, with the clashing Red Dragon army and the infantry behind them, Zero and X climbed off Golurk and scanned the barren, open landscape. In their digitalized vision, they saw some tiny, neon mounds along the surface.

X figured, "Uh oh, these could be explosives and crossing them could result in instant death." To test them, Daffodil leapt off of Mary's shoulders and let out a tiny volley of electricity from her red cheeks. When the bolts licked over the affected areas, some detonators were triggered almost as instant, but more deadlier, than regular firecrackers.

They wondered how they should clear the way. Mary decided, "Hmm. I got it! Girls, bring out your Electric rodents. If we make our own current, it could detonate more of those landmines. I'm sure the Red Dragon agents would notice, but it's the only way." Dedenne, Pachirisu, and Emolga popped out of their Poké Balls, while Zoroark changed into a Minun. Everybody gathered in front of them. "Alright, mice! Let your lightning rip!"

They each repeated the process while also dodging the explosives with amazing agility. Ampharos and Galvantula could've been used as well, but both April and Beth never wanted to take that risk since they weren't as nimble nor light as the others.

"We should help, too." X said enthusiastically. He activated his Soul Body and disabled more mines while the neon hologram moved ahead of him. Zero continued to scan for more minefields, until they were clear for treading.

They cheered for their success, but their outcries were short-lived. As they moved on for several miles, though, they had noticed some of the ISSP members have fallen and were being dragged away by syndicate members. They could tell who the opposing sides were because Faye and Trudy described them to be wearing thick shades, suede, shiny boots, and deep, dark tuxedoes. Being good Samaritans, they decided to help out and they noticed the opposing forces were falling since the syndicate members involved seemed to move quicker and outmaneuver their enemy attacks.

Marina sent out Blaziken to hold them off, as did Zero with his Z-Saber and Z-Buster. Zoroark transformed into a Machamp to assist, even Lucario participated. They dealt with them in close-range combat, and X, through a scan, noticed something unusual in their neurological systems. Their nerves were being enhanced by a product that was sprayed into their eyes. He described it as Red Eye, or Bloody Eye, which was designed as a narcotic, enhancing the user's mobility and senses to make them better combatants. Although the effects wear off after a brief period.

While Blaziken was swift and strong, the agents still kept gaining on him. Same thing with Zero and his other comrades; it was quite unfortunate since Zero didn't have a lot of endurance, as Dr. Wily designed him to take on enemies offensively than defensively. The Trainers wanted to use ailing abilities like Stun Spore or Poisonpowder, but the cluster was proven to be lethal as it'll affect all soldiers within the area.

Jenny ordered the Trainers to use their teammates that could Mega Evolve, making it a more leveled battlefield in terms of speed, stamina, and power. Since she was a native of Kalos which first discovered this technique, they obliged and commanded Lucario and Blaziken to do so. They also brought out Blastoise, Seedy, Sunny, Altaria, Absol, Ampharos and the Red Gyarados.

They all chorused, "Mega...Evolve!"

With the combined activation of the Pokémon's Mega Stones and the Trainers' Key Stones, they immersed from blinding lights, revealing their altered appearances. Faye, Trudy, X, and Zero were astonished on how it was done. Then, they unleashed their fury!

Jenny summarized that Mega Evolution is powerful, but could also be very risky to both the Pokémon and people or creatures around them; sometimes they would actually lose their sanity if the power is too much to handle, and it'd be incredibly difficult to control. There weren't any reported casualties, but a lot of users as well as those affected were taken into intense care numerous times.

One by one, the Red Dragons have fallen when the Mega-Evolved Pokémon took the forefront.

"If the Red Dragons could use their own tactics to enhance their prowess, so can we!" Trudy exclaimed.

The unsurmountable odds were proven to be even. Each Pokémon maintained their Mega-Evolved forms while their Trainers returned them. Jenny mentioned that a Pokémon could use it once per battle, and can switch back to normal either when it faints or the battle ends. "Since the war is still going, they'll remain in this state until their enemies are defeated."

Trudy wanted every member destroyed so none would pass on and use the sinister resurrection ritual like they did with Spike. They continued on with the free and functioning troops, though some were either injured or dead.

Faye contacted Vicky on her communicator, "Victoria, we need you to provide some logistics here. We've got wounded soldiers while we cleared away some Red Dragons, but there are some who're hurt or dead."

"Roger that, Faye. I'm on my way."

"Hurry, Vicky."

She gathered around the hump with the others and they each provided some support as best they could.

"We need to go forth to the fort in Olympus Mons." Beth said anxiously.

"We all do. But a good soldier never leaves a man behind." Zero said. "Besides, this could be a good spot to rest for a while."

They did just that, and minutes and hours felt like they dragged on for an eternity. From some dunes, assault rifles rang out. X, Zero, Trudy (as a poor shot), Faye, and a few available Pokémon used their long-range weapons and moves. Zero and X shot their Busters, and the former Maverick also used his Thunder Saber to stun and kill enemies while he dove in for the slaughter with his Saber. When the wave was disabled, they noticed the Dragons shot down their militants. Their cover was blown and they became vulnerable to enemy fire. The sophisticated armor did some good, but it never prevented any injury.

While another wave emerged from the nearby craters, they were outnumbered and outgunned at the moment. The Maverick Hunters relied on defensive mechanisms as Zero activated and charged the Shield Boomerang to defend himself and his allies. While X simultaneously activated the Charged Rolling Shield. While some of the Pokémon copied their methods with their Light Screens, Barriers, and Reflects, the Flying-Types took the offense as they rapidly flapped their wings; Gusts, Whirlwinds, and Tornadoes appeared. X and Zero got the same idea; while one remained constant with its defense, X used the Storm Tornado blowing the armed snipers away. Zero, however, could only use the Hurricane Fang while X switched out from offense to defense. It was as if the onslaught developed into a single massive dust devil, which was surprisingly common on Mars' open fields.

Unfortunately, some more Dragons emerged, and managed to wound more of the opposing armies from the ISSP.

Just then, they heard some screeching and loud bass coming from above. Victoria's truck has finally arrived as it deployed some reinforcements, the Reploids. They opened fire while "Magic Carpet Ride" was blasting from its speakers. Every creature that knew any ailment ability moved out, that included Seedy, Moonlight, Beautifly, Volcarona (including its Flamethrower), Galvantula, Florges, and the Electric-Types with their Thunder Waves. As well as X's Lightning Web and Triad Thunder. While the enemies were stunned Zero switched again and used the Homing Torpedo.

Eventually, the warzone was cleared out of Red Dragon assassins. Unfortunately, there were more fallen soldiers during the assault. The Reploids arrived a little too late as more army men have fallen, and more of the special forces were wounded, mainly the Pokémon. Victoria gave a grim expression and stated she couldn't stay for very long; only the Reploids could help them from here on out, her job was only to provide reinforcements, supplies, and the like. At least the Maverick Hunters could rest assured that their troops wouldn't let them down on the cause, especially since they're proficient with medical care, as well as fending off any incoming Dragons from the distant horizon with their durable bodies that could possibly deflect bullets and endure some explosives here and there.

"Keep a sharp eye out for any oncoming Red Dragons. We should chance some rest."

"Yes, Commander." one of them saluted Zero.

"Commander..?" Faye had a loss for words.

He pointed to himself proudly saying, "I'm the commander of the Maverick Hunters, Faye. My partner, X, here is also a commander as well as a B-Hunter, but to a smaller group known as the 17th Unit. We switch leadership from time to time."

Hearing that the Reploids and Maverick Hunters had some military experience, it was like a weight off of their shoulders; it was no wonder Jet relied on them to look out for their fellow soldiers.

Sure enough, night fell, and the sky turned from cinnabar to shades of crimson while the sun set. The special forces began their recovery and eventually drifted off to sleep. Trudy, on the other hand, was abruptly awakened by a tenor voice calling her twice.

She looked up and saw a vision of a male that looked to be in his twenties, had short, black hair, emerald eyes, thick, pointed eyebrows, and wearing a brown coat while in the air. Or was she having double vision?

"Who are you..?"

One of them replied, "We are the twins, Lin and Shin. We used to serve under the Red Dragon Syndicate."

"Don't worry, we're not here to harm you." the other said. "We're here to guide you. And as far as we could tell, you're doing a wonderful job fending them off."

"Do not fret. For you see, we share our disinterest for pointless violence since my brother, Shin, worked with Vicious. I, on the other hand, discreetly deserted from them."

"Wait a minute." Trudy said in an irritated manner. "You two said you work for our enemies, and for Vicious. I heard you guys pledge your undying loyalty and respect, just as Spike did to Yokushimo. Why should I trust any of you?"

"Because I also worked for Spike." Shin reasoned. That got Trudy's attention. "For the record, my brother, Lin, was in Callisto protecting Vicious in a deal involving some Red Eye, codename Julia."

"I've...heard that name before. I was there following him, trying to look for Faye."

"I never killed him, I shot him with a tranquilizer;" Lin mentioned. "I never wanted to harm him since he followed our rightful Master Yenrai's footsteps. He never became corrupt like Vicious did. But...I perished there, as did Gren. Vicious escaped until Spike got to him."

"I was his guide, Trudy." Shin added. "But I died trying while he pursued Vicious in our headquarters. The Van were assassinated, and my dying wish was for Spike to rule over the syndicate. So, you may not trust us, but we did have connections with your mentor. And we want you to win this fight. Only you could help us restore our lost spirits."

It was pretty difficult for Trudy to process.

"Anyway, we hear you're on your way to Olympus Mons," Lin said. "We'll help you along the way as you ascend and fight off any more Dragons. Laughing Bull was right about me, and Spike's fate."

Shin added, "The galaxy depends on you, and the special forces. Our lives, as well as Spike's, is in you and your friends' hands."

With those encouraging words, both twins' spirits faded.

"Lin, Shin. I...I will try." Trudy said up toward the sky. "But, what would you have us do?"

Then, she reminisced on the alias Laughing Bull gave to her as she gazed upon an unusual constellation. There was a silvery star that brightened more than several others within it, and it gradually moved, never staying in one spot for too long. The other stars were close together, as if they were gathering just like her allies were. She picked up her pendant, then her heart warmed in conjunction with the chilly air.

A/N: The scenes seem to remind me a lot of the movie, Avatar; whether it'd be the preemptive strike or the actual final battle itself. Mostly the air battles involving the Ikrans and Turok against the military. It's almost the same concept as the heroes prevent the Red Dragons advance toward Tharsis, like the movement toward the Tree of Souls.

As for the idea with the encouraging visions from Shin and Lin, I had this concept from several years ago. It actually came back to me while I started working on the chapter. I have some other people in mind, as well as a certain ambush, but they're gonna have to wait. I was also very confused on their motives, as well as trying to tell the difference between them. Ergh, it's still frustrating as all hell!

I'm not too good with fighting/war scenes, so I hope this would be simple enough. But it's not over yet, the space cowboys/cowgirls still have some fighting left to do. See you then.



Chapter 10 - The Infiltration of the Imperial Base

At long last, after a couple days of strenuous travel and fighting off more assassins from the Red Dragon Syndicate, the special forces have finally made it to the extremely wide foundation of the tallest peak in the galaxy, Olympus Mons. It was so damn high, that people and Pokémon got vertigo as they strained their necks up; some even had a sickening, nervous feeling to their stomachs, especially Trudy.

Recently, the Dragons were becoming slightly tougher while they fought off some machine guns, automatic rifles, and even several all-terrain trucks. But thanks with the help from the Reploids, as well as the Pokémon's and Trainers' quick thinking and nimbleness, and even when Zoroark changed into some indestructible ones like Golurk or Metagross, they were successful.

When they reached the next foot of their journey, they strategized amongst each other. They decided in order to make the climb and the offensive easier, the Trainers resorted to Fire and Ice-Types, as well as those that're resistant and accustomed to the frigid climate and thin air. Jenny decided that Aurorus was indeed one of them, as were the two Sawsbucks, each with their bare, glistening antlers that looked like wintery branches of trees. Both Lizzie and Beth would use them for transport and combat much like the ancient Tundra Pokémon. Blaziken took the front, as did Mary's Vulpix named Amber, Cyndaquil, Arcanine, Volcarona, Talonflame, Ampharos using its Fire Punch, Espeon who was generating power from the sun through her red gem on her forehead, Zoroark, Lucario, and Castform as it used its abilities to change the climate into a more tolerant one. Everyone agreed the troops that can't take the cold would be left to stand guard. X also volunteered with his Fire Wave function, while Zero kept a sharp lookout.

Still, the breeze at times created a sudden shiver through the organic veterans' bodies.

"It got a little chilly today. It's those cold winds..."

A deep, raspy alto voice echoed within the frosty air. Trudy looked up and it was yet another person she hadn't met before, another one of those former associates to the Red Dragons. She appeared to be an elderly woman with a wrinkled pale face; squinty eyes; long, flowing brown hair; and wearing an amethyst shirt.

"Who are you..?" the cadet's voice gave out steam while she exhaled; it was definitely getting more colder by the minute, and this was only the start of the trail. Her mind was too occupied with the stranger instead of noticing the pyromancers melting the enormous barrier of ice.

She spoke again, her voice being a bit more subtle from smoking too many cigarettes. She cleared her throat. "My name is Annie. I see you have been occupying my shop for shelter. I wish it and I hadn't been destroyed by those accursed Red Dragons."

"I've heard you helped Spike on some occasions, but did you work for the syndicate?"

"Hmph, do I really look like a murderer to you, sweet pea? I'm an old bag, so I only sold some ammunition and arms for those asinine agents. My late husband was associated with them. I guess it was just a way to boost my business. Since then, my crib got some notoriety and became part of the black market. It was through my troubled spouse on how I made connections. Until I was slaughtered after the fact that young'un finally found Julia."

Trudy's eyes brightened at her name. "Julia..?"

"She's a lost soul, young lady. And I believe you've already found your answer. There may be hope for her and for Spike after all." Annie smiled down at her.

She was about to guess her full name, until--

"By the way, you're beginning to get a chill yourself."

Someone shook her from behind. "Trudy! Hey!" It was Faye, trying to keep the blood flowing through her capillaries.

"Wha--! Ah, Faye!"

Zero was right beside her. "Hey, we're clear." The large chunk was reduced to a puddle that was nearly two feet deep and running like a fresh, sparkling stream. "We gotta keep ourselves moving during the ascent if we're to keep ourselves warm. And it's best if we infiltrate before dark. It's a good thing my Reploid soldiers were prepared. Now let's scale this peak and take down that base!"

She couldn't help but grin as she nodded, "Right."

Meanwhile Jet, Ed, Ein, Mr. Appledelhi, and Macintire continued to wait at the devastated convenient shop. It was the same overcast sky as before, but the clouds themselves were a dull grey instead of cinnabar. Through the child prodigy's handy gizmo, they noticed the war was still raging outside, but they also noticed the Red Dragon Hunters were advancing toward the enemy stronghold, with several casualties of course.

Eddie clapped her hands with delirious joy, "Whoo-hoo-hoo!! We made it! We made it! We climbing the mountain!" She began to show off, especially when she did her signature walking handstands.

Jet was actually thrilled by the news, "Heh heh, that's our children out there. 'Atta girls, Trudy and Faye!"

"I knew X and Zero could advance through enemy lines." Macintire shared his enthusiasm.

"They'd best be careful; there could be more waves of those Red Dragons." Mr. Appledelhi wasn't as optimistic.

Ein awakened from the chatter then suddenly picked up a scent. He jumped down from the raggedy couch and walked toward the broken window. The air was crisp, and it carried some rancid scent that only the dog could pick up, making his fangs grind. He growled under his breath.

"Oh, you're sharing the same feelings as I do? That's a first." Edward's father said.

Then, Ein looked behind him and was about to charge.

Someone broke into the locked front door, shattering the hinges. They noticed the shadow as the elderly oriental, Kim Yokushimo! Everyone grew frantic at the ferocity of his intrusion. Jet immediately stood up with his fists so tight, he could almost see bones protruding from his fingers. "You!!" he barked.

Yokushimo simply let out an evil sneer, "Yes... It is I. I followed your outbursts of sudden ecstasy and heard of your trek toward my summit fort. My colleagues had been informed, and they would in time swiftly exterminate your puny, small army." His eyes narrowed, "And there is my loyal pet, Spike. I highly advise you to bring him to me, no promises of sparing your lives, of course." he hissed. Ein growled more at his words.

And Edward grew a bit terrified as she hid behind her parental guardians. "S-s-s-s-Spike..!"

"You don't scare me that easily, Yokushimo! I've worked with the ISSP for several years and dealt with many heartless criminals. I will not be intimidated by the likes of you!" Jet countered.

"The Inter-Solar-System-Police is falling as we speak. And they might as well since many of your kind are corrupt and have allegiances with the syndicate."

But the stubborn retired officer was never backing down, "You're going to have to go through me in order to get to him!" Despite all the lashing out, Spike was still unconscious, wrapped in a thick wool blanket at another sofa.

"If this is the only way to retrieve my sworn subject and conquer all of Mars, so BE it!" Kim tossed off his massive overcoat aside which was as opaque as his diabolical soul. He appeared to be so much leaner with the elaborate uniform of a maniacal colorful dragon breathing menacing flames. He wasted not a single second when he charged toward his roadblock to worldly fulfillment.

"RUN! Take Edward!" Jet shouted as Kim lunged at him in full force with an incoming armed fist.

Both Mr. Appledelhi and Macintire scrambled as they took Edward and Ein respectively away. She and the dog let out a yelp at the sudden hard grips as the two men ran upstairs then barred the supply room door.

All Kim wanted was Spike's unconscious vessel and take it back to his stronghold near the Olympus Mons summit, then resurrect him again, and this time kill off the special forces. He knew his men were failing on account of them, and according to Spike, Trudy and Faye were people he knew. So, he decided to take advantage of it, though he had to get through Jet and the others first. He thought that the Black Dog wouldn't be a match on account of his condition, counting his amputated left arm. But the unfazed officer went all out toward him, never wanting to miss a blow.

The clash was pretty much hand to hand, and each side exchanged some painful hits, mostly to Jet since Kim may be older, but more skilled in physical combat, countering and dodging all the while. There were punches, kicks, lunges, and tackles galore as they both wanted to rip each other's throats. What Kim didn't know was Jet's synthetic arm that didn't seem to hurt him as he used it for making or taking a brutal beating.

Mr. Appledelhi and Macintire stormed out of a nearby back door, leapt over the balcony, and climbed onto the roof.

Exasperated, the dad panted, "We should be safe here, for now. But not Spike nor Jet. I usually don't give a rat's ass for the traitor, but I now know how much he means to that son of a bitch."

"Kim's gonna use him to turn the tides of the war." Macintire said.

"Exactly. I don't think Jet would hold him off on his own for long."

As they crashed through a wooden table, Jet felt the impact and his back ached. Still, Kim kept on pummeling him with everything he had. Just as he was about to have the upper hand, Eddie was getting more scared. "J-Jet!! I gotta help him! Ein!!" she cried while calling her startled dog.

"No, Edward! It's too dangerous!" Macintire yelled, holding her quaking body and outstretched arms back.

Mr. Appledelhi grabbed and loaded a pistol, Jet's Walther P99.

"Where'd you get that?!" his associate shrieked.

"Jet dropped this, and the escalated fight provided me the opportunity to pick it up."

"But, you're not a clear shot." his voice shook as it became smaller.

Appledelhi paused for a bit, "Maybe not. But it's the only way to assist Jet and Spike. Kim has to be stopped no matter what! Macintire, keep Edward and Ein at bay!"

"A-alright, I'll... Hey, did you just remember my name?" He was completely taken aback by his partner's recollection.

"Just stay out!"

He raced back inside and removed the furniture blocking the door. Slowly, he snuck down the small staircases, suspecting Kim would apply a dosage of the lethal Red Eye, sensing his moves. Still, he proceeded, knowing the odds would be truly stacked against him and Jet. Sure enough, he wasn't a clear shot, much like Trudy. His hand was quivering while he held the pistol. Then, the quarreling men stayed still, while Kim was strangling Jet. His weak hands were futile to keep Kim back while his strength and consciousness were waning as Yokushimo crushed his trachea as hard as a vise. Out of nowhere, unsuspected by the madman, Mr. Appledelhi shot out and hit Kim directly in the forehead! He went down like a ton of crumbling bricks and landed with a thud, with his forehead still trickling  blood.

Appledelhi ran to Jet and flicked on the safety. His head was swimming, and he struggled to take in sharp breaths, his tight windpipe was barely allowing oxygen inside. The cementer grabbed a nearby cushion and slipped it beneath Jet's heavy head and lifted up his chin opening his windpipe.

"Jet, you're safe I shot Kim." he stammered. He laid his pistol beside him, then he gave the signal outdoors. "Guys, it's safe! I shot Kim in the head!"

Macintire ran quickly toward his wingman while Ed was clutching Ein against her skinny, nearly petrified body. She definitely needed something for comfort after what she just witnessed.

Everyone was shaken up at the sight of the bleeding, dead body as well as Jet, especially the kid and the Corgi. Then they received a message from X indicating the special forces were finally approaching the enemy base, but then went under attack by more Dragons. That was to be expected. However, they stated they'd be out of range once they climb up further and reach the syndicate's stronghold.

Meanwhile, the small army endured more enemy fire. Only this time instead of bullets, there were also some thrown grenades and miniature missiles that packed quite a punch to the surrounding landscape. Unlike the barren canyon, there was way less room to roam and less cover. It was either descend or fall, or just ascend to the next patch of steeper earth. Castform did its best to change the environment, but even still, the battle wasn't turning in their favor.

"This is like being at Hamburger Hill or something!" Faye exclaimed while hiding behind one, reloading her Glock.

The Mega Evolutions were putting up a fight, as were the Reploids, but the others weren't so lucky. The firearms proved to be too much heat for the less fortunate infantry. They were kept being blown asunder, some even got wounded during one assault after another. The Red Dragons were advancing further down with their heavy artillery.

"This is Trudy. Do you read me?! We're falling back, we're getting hammered!" she spoke into a communicator.

"Copy! Get out of there!" X responded while the first line of defense fled. He focused on his partner, "Most of the infantry are falling; we can't hold off the Dragons for long. This is surly their turf."

"Zoroark!" The Illusion Fox perked up at Zero's command, while the heavier teammates rushed up the mountainside. "I could see the imperial base just a couple miles up. Can you make it while disguising yourself as an agent?"

"We need to find a way to slip through. Our lines of defense are dwindling." the Blue Bomber added.

With a growl, Zoroark quickly combed the battlefield, then he saw a fallen Dragon. Memorizing his attire, he shifted into one. Everywhere but his eyes were well hidden; his pointed eyes with the sneering emerald irises were shown. Luckily he found a pair of dark shades and immediately put them on. He also strapped on an automatic rifle for safety purposes.

"Good. Hurry up there. Whatever we need to get, make it fast! Hurry now!"

He slipped amongst the crowd and raced up the fortress, which was a bit more primitive than the skyscraper in Tharsis, but just as tall; in fact it looked quite similar to the Yellow Crane Towers located in central China on Earth.

The floors, balconies, and elevators were made of bamboo and exotic wood. The lifts were operated by old-fashioned turbines and each door slided up upon entrance, while the buttons inside had Asian symbols. Zoroark assumed the topmost button and pressed it. He went as high as the car could possibly go.

Passing more enemies who barely noticed the illusion, he eventually ran up the stairways, winding up at the same dark corridor where Trudy saw in her nightmare. The chamber was immersed in very dim, red lighting, there was the elaborate throne covered with gold as well as numerous jewels, two cots were laid down at the center and Vicious was on top of one of them! The sight of the deceased assassin even brought chills down the Pokémon's spine.


Zero immersed from behind, relieved that the disguise worked exceptionally well. But even he couldn't believe how disturbing the chamber was. He could've compared this to any of Sigma's sinister lairs, even the Final Weapon he dealt with recently.

Since Dr. Wily never equipped Zero with any enhancing-performance armor, he eventually followed Zoroark in, destroying any Red Dragon in his path; it was clear that X had the upper hand since Dr. Light developed some adaptable equipment before he was passed onto Dr. Cain. He was aware he had weak defense but good offense as well as speed.

While at Olympus Mons, Zero observed X using the Frost Shield, for defense, the Fire Wave for long-range, and the scorching uppercut, the Rising Fire, for close combat. Zero usec the Ice and Fire Sabers in conjunction with the Dragon Flame Blade and the Ice Fury Slash to fight through.

"Ah..!" the Illusion Pokémon was startled. "It's Vicious."

"Oh, I see; it's just a corpse of him."

But what really made them cringe was when they saw the numerous tubes attached to him, and recycling his blood. Zoroark the agent covered his mouth with both hands and managed a gulp swallowing his vile.

Zero, however, wasted no time as he drew out his Z-Saber, then sliced off the narrow tubes, spewing his blood everywhere like erratic sprinklers. His partner just turned away before he vomited on the floor.

The robot just sighed, "Well...that certainly took care of that accursed epidemic."

Further into the shadows, there was another body strapped down in a distant corner. Suddenly, the platform jerked and shifted forward. The slab was attached to a conveyor belt as the woman with long, blond locks crept forward. At the other end, there was a furnace which seemed to be actively burning. Zoroark's nostrils twitched as he couldn't bear the intense odor of what he thought he smelt bodies being churned to ash!

"Is that...Julia?" Zero queried while he looked toward the lifeless woman. Quickly, he scanned her as she continued to steadily shift forward. Statistics popped up, displaying the hapless female's name, age, birthplace, and a brief bio that indicated she was part of the syndicate. "She was one of our enemies."


He was interrupted by Zoroark's plea.

Then, all of a sudden, he had some flashbacks; from the time he met Iris at the Maverick Hunter Base, to meeting up with her brother, the Colonel, to the rivalry at the Ceremony Hall of Repliforce's command center. She broke up the two quarreling Reploids, begging her twin brother to spare Zero since she saved her after the Sky Lagoon crashed. Colonel backed off since he knew Zero to be a friendly rival, but he couldn't prevent him from is duties.

"Someone...must stop Repliforce!"

"Zero!" Iris was left in grief as he stormed away.

Then, his mind shifted to the moment he fought the Colonel again at the Final Weapon's space port and killing him in the process. He then caught up to Iris who was so devastated from his loss that she betrayed him. She salvaged the control chip from his remains and fusing it with her own programming, causing her to change into a massive-winged Ride Armor.

Zero had no choice but to fight her off, and he demolished the large precious crystal which was her weak point. It was the exterior core of the power structure, but before he could pull her out of the devastating cockpit, the mechanical monster destructed on itself, rendering her trapped and eventually died.

Recovering from the devastation, Zero rushed to her side. Then in her last breath, she whimpered, "We should together...where only Reploids exist."

The Maverick Hunter screamed in peril as he watched the love of her life perish before him. Then, he shouted at the top of his lungs, "WHAT AM I FIGHTING FOR...?!?"

"Zero! Should we save her?!?" Zoroark snarled.

At the last moment, Julia's feet nearly touched the flames licking her still form! Zero hurriedly tackled Julia's limp body to the ground detaching the thick strands. He then scrambled to his feet and deactivated the burning ledge as he pounded and destroyed the adjacent control panel. The fire was extinguished and the cement slab was still burnt to a cinder.

For some reason, the red bot wouldn't stop looking at Julia's dead vessel; to him, it reminded him of Iris' beauty. From her long locks, even though they weren't brown, to her thick, ruby lips and fair skin.

Zoroark rushed over to them. "Zero, we need to get her out of here. She's the only one who could make Spike whole again and stop his madness."

"Yes, but there was something the Red Dragons and Yokushimo used to revive their victims, including Spike. Other than blood, they used some kind of an awakening sequence, a spell of sorts. All we gotta do is find it."

They both scavenged all over the chamber, and so far, they only found drums of all shapes and sizes. Zero recalled that Trudy told him of Laughing Bull stating that the new Dragons and Yokushimo used his sacred techniques for various dark purposes, including resurrecting the dead. Finally, Zero came across some sheets of paper with a bunch of gibberish and more bizarre writings. He was lucky he and X had a built-in translator developed by Light and Wily respectively; he wondered if Wily was also mimicking Light's greatest creation so he'd be able to best him if they were to clash with one another.

Zero understood exactly what its purpose was. The message was so cryptic that he was surprised Yokushimo, a mere human, made this, and how his subordinates understood this as well. It was almost as if it was a hacker's scheme to crack open a person's mind, rather than a computer's hard drive. Utilizing the data, he uploaded it all at once into his own internal memory.

"What if..? I could use this to revive Julia with this incantation and procedure. But we need a blood source, one that could be the perfect match and donor for her." Feeling very sorry for her, Zero carried her across his shoulders. "Zororark, I'm not sure how we could leave here safely, but Julia may be our only hope--"

Just then, his sensors picked up a swarm of Red Dragons heading right for them! The ravaging footsteps loomed rapidly close, and both Zoroark and Zero clamored toward the door, disabling access. With all their body strength, they barred the door as much as possible. The Maverick Hunter couldn't possibly let Julia's vessel get shot and/or incinerated, nor themselves. They were indeed trapped like rats with no hopes of escaping nor fighting back. They prayed for any reinforcements to come.

A/N: The climb up Olympus Mons was a scenario I had tucked away for the past several years, as was the fight with Kim and Jet. I truly do apologize for overestimating his age; I didn't know until recently he's in his late thirties, I always thought he was older than this, like in his early fifties or sixties. He did look a bit older than everyone else, and when he retired from the ISSP, I anticipated he was older than that. So, yeah, I don't mean to be offensive; it was just a misunderstanding, I still like Jet.

I realized the chapter was getting too long, so that's why I left a cliffhanger here. Wait till you space cowboys/girls see what I have in store for the next session.



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Chapter 11 - Peace's Price

The Red Dragons war wasn't turning in the special forces' favor, despite the death of the crime syndicate's fallen leader and the infiltration. Both Zero and Zoroark were barring the exit as a new wave of agents were attempting to break through; while the infantry outside were retreating from the heavy onslaughts.

Little did the small army knew was that the Dark and the Light Stones were illuminating as brightly as Sirius within Lizzie and Beth's pockets. The lines of defense were failing from the Dragons' destructive artillery and the landscape wasn't helping them in terms of cover nor room for advancement.

Several Dragons were aiming their machine guns at the helpless fleet...

"Hold position! We got movement, coming fast!" one of the agents shouted. "Closing in by about three hundred feet!" He looked down at his indicator and saw two massive beasts rapidly descending.

Out from the clouds, Zekrom and Reshiram finally made it from Earth at the Dragonspiral Tower. The reinforcements arrived unleashing their wild fury at the Red Dragons, mostly their lethal Yakuza. Using their fangs tossing them off the ridged cliffs, or their own weight to crush them, they weren't a force to be reckoned with! Neither when they were utilizing their intense flames or lethal electricity. Their rough exteriors were proven to be futile against their fatal bullets and grenades. They, the Hunters, and the Reploids fought with whatever they could. The strenuous atmosphere and the constant, chilling winds kept holding them back, though.

Other assassins managed to reach the base and started to break into the Tower. Zero and Zoroark were helplessly trapped, trying their best to defend the incapacitated Julia with their lives. Their strength was dwindling, and they braced for the worst. The agent broke his disguise and discarded the reflective shades, and Zero drew out his Z-Saber while loading his Z-Buster.

"Brace yourself, Zoroark! We must save Julia!"

The assailants temporarily stopped when they noticed the roof began to collapse. A chunk fell at a distant corridor and some leftover dust rained onto their precious spiffy tuxes. All of a sudden, they were flattened in an avalanche made out of very large pieces of ice. The Tower was unprotected despite being underneath a small alcove.

Zero and Zoroark noticed the silence and the Maverick Hunter struggled to open the door against the enormous, crystal-like shard. "Zoroark, hold open the door. I'll try and carve our way out of this." Using his Z-Saber, he downloaded the neon orange Fire Saber again which worked wonders on the damage left by the enormous ice. It melted like magic, revealing the bone-crushed members beneath.

They couldn't stand the demolition, though they rightfully deserved it!

Zero told Zoroark to carry Julia's still body out, though they were greatly worried if they should be immersed into the battlefield once more. Their special forces were depleting on all supplies and ammo due to the advancing syndicate with the arrival of Reshiram and Zekrom; even still, victory looked very bleak from here.

Suddenly, the Tower briefly shook, as if an earthquake hit it. Zero suspected it was due to the Pokémon using the move like Aurorus or the two Swasbucks. But it wasn't what he thought when even more chunks of the so-called indestructible mountain collapsed onto the Tower itself. It was even enough to break through the entire roof and dim the lights, making the room's barely seeable.

"We're gonna get buried up here!" Zero screamed. He grabbed Zoroark and pulled him and Julia as they ran for their hides. "Move, Zoroark! Hurry!"

The two Legendary Dragons knew at this rate their Trainers, nor their allies, would survive another large attack. Their only chance was to wipe out every last surviving member of the syndicate, both from above and below the fleet. Zekrom took the bulk, while Reshiram alternated from aiding its partner, as well as melting the shielded ice making the summit of Olympus Mons collapse onto their enemies. It was also more deadly as the Fire-Types who're still able to fight added onto the heat left by the Vast White Dragon. Both Reshiram and Zekrom had the method to utilize the treacherous environment to their advantage.

Reshiram used its most potent flaming abilities yet to mop the floor with its enemies, while also causing the once unconquerable mountain to collapse. It, along with the constant onslaughts from both sides, wasn't enough for the highest peak in the universe to handle. Briefly, the battle screeched to a halt as everyone saw debris and particles of dust and ice rain down onto them.

"Oh no..!" Trudy muttered. "Run!!"

"Emergency maneuvers! Get the hell down!" X cried out.

The Trainers immediately withdrew each of their active Pokémon, but they didn't have the time nor patience to call back their mighty Dragons. Zero dashed away as fast as possible, and Zoroark created the illusion of another Rapidash to increase its speed while still carrying Julia's limp body. In the nick of time, they made it out, though they still had a ways to go as they quickly descended the uneven, disturbed trail. The remaining fully-functional Reploids carried the humans away and made the escape faster, although they needed to keep their footing from the slippery terrain.

Victoria soared over the demise as she saw the massive clouds of melted ice and thick dust blanketing the slope. She lowered the carrier, with Zeros cowering in fear, and managed to punch a button that opened a hatch from the side. She spoke from a loudspeaker over the ruckus of the falling debris, "Guys! Enter the open hatch of my truck! Get inside now! Run for cover, you can't stay here! Get outta there!"

Everyone obliged as they barely heard Victoria's pleas over the roars of the mountain's demise. They ran and leapt as far as they could, with the Reploids coming in first. The deck shook as each of them landed harshly on the ramp. Then there was X who loaded the dock. But just as he was about to seal the opened latch, he heard cries realizing it was his partner, Zero. He looked back and saw a fiery figure rapidly descend the peak as fast as the eye could see. The steed wearing the sneering eyes and green irises leapt with Julia slipping from its back. Zero lurched as he caught her in his arms while he made a humongous jump! For a few moments, Zero glanced at her grace which caused his mind to shift back to Iris again. Then, he noticed he was just a few feet short. He outstretched an arm, though X using his quick reflexes caught him!

The landing caused the truck to tilt over as the Maverick Hunters held on for dear life. They were eventually able to pull each other up thanks to some helping hands from Reploids and humans, though there was still something that was amiss. Everyone was accounted for, excepting the two Legendary Dragons!

Reshiram stopped its rage, realizing its Trainer wasn't going to make it out alive. The truck was moving at a snail's pace from all the weight of what was left of the special forces, including the masses of the Reploids, X, and Zero. The added weight caused the truck to become vulnerable to oncoming heavy debris, which hit it on contact driving it down from just a few miles up! The wide shield volcano was too much for the liftoff!

"Everybody hang on! All hands brace for impact!" The driver yelled.

The sudden demise had damaged Victoria's truck, forcing it to shut down and nearly kill her in the process. The Reploids covered the unfortunate humans and Pokémon who were exposed. While Reshiram was holding back the avalanche as much as it could, its mistress, Lizzie, begged it to escape with them. Same thing with Beth and her Zekrom.

As if speaking telepathically, they said they must go without them. That this...was the only way. Despite their promises for victory and survival, Beth and Lizzie kept imploring them to leave.

X recovered and kept starting Vicky's truck. Unfortunately, the vehicle left by the impact was nonfunctional, so Zekrom leapt down the trail and charged the engines using its awesome turbines from its tail, giving it a power boost. The astronomical weight was too strong for Reshiram alone. Zekrom, too, was caught in the crossfire, while letting Beth as well as her compatriots escape with their lives. The ferocity was more than they could handle, and with a few stowaways left by the lucky few Reploids and a lifeless Julia, they were able to survive and leave the devastating peak, with the two Legendary Dragons sacrificing themselves as they stayed behind, near the summit. The helm went active again and X ascended the truck while the Dragons kept holding the crumbling ice and dust, smiling at the warriors they proudly served.

While the two perished, the Stones lost their luster. Both Lizzie and Beth began to sob for the sacrifices they made, as well as angrily accepting their refusal to be called back to them.

X cried out as he looked over and saw Victoria impaled by a fallen metal spike coming out from the middle of her chest. With an enormous, open gash left by the crash landing, X, Zero, the Reploids, Trudy, and Faye witnessed Victoria dying afterward, while the Trainers comforted the distraught cousins.

"Ergh... Zero, everyone..."

"You shouldn't talk." Faye said, laying a comforting hand on her cheek. She as well as others had to constantly look away from that gruesome open wound. They were even thankful that her cat wasn't here to see it.

"Zero, X..." she coughed up some blood. "You this. Give her my blood. For Spike and for Julia..."

Her voice was nearly audible when she explained that she was a Type-O, much like Spike and Vicious. "Hurry. He needs this. To be happy, reunited with his beloved..! I would wish for the same thing with Ural..." she sighed.

Still not quite unnerved by Vicky's condition, Zero applied the last, intact syringe he managed to find before he and Zororark got trapped during the ambush. Like a dedicated surgeon, he drew in some of her blood flowing from the gash.

"Faye, please look after my only companion, Zeros. He truly needs a friend... And, please...let Spike and Julia be able to lead a happy, peaceful life, together... The war should be won now. May my spirit fly among the stars, with Ural..." She was able to make a smile, thanking her newfound friends, before she gave her last breath and closed her eyes.

Everyone, including the Reploids, were in mourning for all the sacrifices they had endured over these past several hellish days. As far back as when the dreadful nightmare first began... Was this truly the end?

Spike's eyes went into rapid-eye movement, his lids looked as if they were fluttering around 100 miles a second. Mr. Appledelhi, Macintire, and Edward gave Jet whatever medical supplies they can get their hands on whether it'd be some ice packs or a couple of extra-strength pain relievers, though the retired officer exerted himself trying to awaken him, but he wouldn't even budge; it was as if he was having a very horrifying nightmare just waiting to consume him. Ein at times licked their faces as a constant reassurance for their pain and suffering, never leaving their side.

The gang hardly noticed the landing of the Red Tail, Space Shuttle, nor Vicky's truck. They all abruptly looked up as they heard the handle jiggle and in popped Trudy, Faye, X, Zero, and Mary all wearing grim expressions on their faces.

"Agh, guys... You're back." Jet was very astonished upon their return, as well as their condition seeing the filth, cuts, and bruises all over.

"Oh. Did you guys win? Was it the Red Dragons?" Macintire queried, wearing the same shock as Jet.

As did Mr. Appledelhi, "I actually killed their leader, Kim Yokushimo; Jet told me all about him, and they had a struggle. I was lucky I was able to use his gun and make a clear shot."

Edward and Ein stormed to them. "Did ya win?! Are the baddies gone?!"

"Whoa, Edward!" Faye tried to keep the hyper-active kid back. "I-I think we should turn on the Televid to find out."

Everyone did just that. Sure enough, there was a newsbreak; a male announcer was briefing over the destruction of Olympus Mons. Jet and the others were stunned at the sight of it. Mary explained it was actually the Trainers' Fire-Types, the Reploids scorching skills, as well as Reshiram who showed up as a reinforcement. She went on that it, Zekrom, and Victoria died for the cause, along several casualties from the ISSP and Reploids.

As soon as the young host mentioned the Red Dragons have surrendered, everyone cheered! The surviving officers, with the assistance done by the Reploids, had caused them to falter. He mentioned that with every agent captured, all veterans that participated should receive a hefty bounty. But, unfortunately, the joy was only short-lived, as they discussed about those they had lost, even the Bebop.

Despite the hurrah from the outside, Spike was still in a comatose state, or rather a dream state, in between life and death, or order and chaos. While in limbo, he actually wound up in a desolate, dark area.

"Spike." someone whispered to him, causing him to stir, barely opening his eyes as he saw a bright light linger over him. Through the glare and his blurry vision, he thought he saw double, though he later recognized it was only Shin and Lin.

"Spike, it's us, Shin and Lin." Lin said with a slight grin.

"You need to rise up, Spike." Shin said in a more serious manner. "The war has been won. You're a free man now."

Spike barely moved a muscle; he felt his body was being weighed down by an anvil. Or he was just paralyzed by all the physical torment he took. "Ergh, Lin, Shin... I can't move. Ergh, I don't have the strength."

He heard and saw other spirits encouraging him to come to: Annie, the twins Shin and Lin, Rocco, even his late mentor Mao Yenrai.

"Spike, my boy." Annie spoke. "You've gone a long way since you became a member of the syndicate. You becoming a bounty hunter and a renowned anti-hero, trying to reunite and live peacefully with Julia. You found her, and your friends are reviving her as we speak. You'll be together yet. And your blood ties with Vicious has been permanently cut."

"She is right, Spike, my son." His face shot up when he heard Mao in the heavens. Still, he didn't have the vigor to get up. "You must get up. Julia awaits you. The Red Dragons have been captured and slewed; I can finally rest now since Vicious nor Yokushimo could no longer influence the syndicate. The Van may have been murdered as well, I saw them die by the corruption Vicious laid."

"But I knew since then that you will lead them. This is even better since they are gone, and only you and Julia could be our budding legacy." Shin added.

"Is that...Julia?" Jet asked curiously.

"Yeah, Jet; I met her once when I saved her that one time. And she knew Spike." Faye answered.

"Oh, I hope we're not too late." Trudy said as pessimistic as ever. Edward got her fingers crossed as tightly as possible.

Zero and X laid her down on an unfolded green cot beside Spike. The red bot inserted the syringe into the back of Julia's neck. He then leaned over and whispered in her ;eft ear the same incantation as Kim and his foot soldiers used. Gradually, life started to return to her. Her cheeks were growing red, her skin was returning to its light peach-pinkish hue, her heart began to pump blood, and her breathing started shallowly.

"Julia..? Julia." Zero kept saying her name, attempting to awaken her. "Spike needs you, wake up."

Eventually, she did just that. Her eyes opened very slowly as she moaned, while her head constantly moved. Her mind barely registered that she was even alive. Her vision cleared and she saw Zero and the others smile over her.

"Who...who are you?"

Faye stepped forward. "Don't you remember me, Julia? I saved your life while the Red Dragons were chasing you. You seem to know Spike, and you wanted some bounty hunters to look after you." She then smiled, "Well, so are we." She showed and introduced her to the group. Though, Edward had to be sent away for awhile by Macintire to keep the silence.

Zero stated of Victoria's fate, and that she was willing to donate her blood to Julia, reviving her and reuniting with Spike instead of turning into a puppet hellbent on war and chaos. "Though, I used the black magic incantation, I actually deleted it from my internal memory banks."

"Why? Why did you do that?" X asked.

"I was awakened by Dr. Wily and infected with the Maverick Virus, so I barely know a thing or two about using a very sinister spell to resurrect someone. Besides, it's the only way to end this nightmare..." he looked down at Spike. "And maybe...his." He had some insecurities about the madman who destroyed the Bebop and nearly slewed his former friends. He also recently discovered that he, too, used to be one of the top assassins of the syndicate, no different than himself. He was truly on the fence as to whether or not he should spare him.

Julia glanced over and saw him. She gasped, "Spike!" She immediately went over to him, startling the onlookers.

She whispered to him as he still slumbered, "Spike..? Spike. If you could hear me, come back. To me, to us. I...I love you, Spike, and that's all that matters. It's all a bad dream, Spike. Come out of it, and end it now." Her last sentence caused her voice to crack under the desperation.

"Julia is right." Everyone looked over and saw Zero step up. He stated earnestly, "Spike's soul would never find any rest nor peace. He'll only know the influence of Vicious' blood within him then the nightmare will begin again!" His voice calmed some. "Julia, only you can do this. Let it end, tonight."

Julia nodded then looked toward her loved one again. "It's all...still a dream, Spike. Just a dream." She leaned in, then kissed him passionately on the lips, then on his forehead. Soon enough, Spike began to take in deep breaths. She watched him very closely as she readjusted his hands attempting to rest them on his rising and falling chest. She laid a hand on top of them and caressed them gently, even his left cheek.

"Guys." Trudy ran toward the group. "We need to hurry. The Reploids are leaving. Oh, hi, Julia."

She only gave her a small smile.

"On my way." Zero said. He followed X and they all followed them out, but Faye hesitated. Ein gave them one last lick as a final goodbye to both lovebirds.

"Julia. Are you coming with us?"

She slowly shook her head. "I'd prefer to stay with Spike if you all don't mind."

She nodded and headed out with the others.

The sky was a very dark red fading into black. And X was bidding Zero farewell.

"So where are you girls heading?" Trudy asked Mary. Her cousins were too busy loading up Victoria's truck.

"Home. The war is finally over. Our friends and families must be very worried about us, especially since none of us expected to land on Mars and fight an intergalactic conflict."

"Yeah I guess. We'll miss all of you. You guys did wonderful back there; we never would've won this fight without you."

"Nor would we without Reshiram, Zekrom, and Victoria. We should also pay our respects. And honor them."

Edward gave Trudy a giant, affectionate bearhug, repeating on how much she'd miss her. Trudy later gave Ein a joyful belly rub. She would definitely miss them dearly, and she hoped Edward and her parental guardians would call her and Jet anytime they wish.

The rest of the crew wished them a safe journey back, and Jet advised them to use the Hyperspace Gates like the last time they entered here. He couldn't have been anymore prouder. However, someone decided to stay. As the truck started its ignition and eventually lifted off through the thin atmosphere, Trudy noticed Zero looking up, watching X wave goodbye through the driver's side window to his new friends below. He saluted him and waved back.

"Zero," Trudy called to him, and he faced her wearing the same confident expression. "You've chosen to stay on Mars? Why?"

"Well, you know, I've decided to take a break from living on Earth for awhile. Sigma's gone, the Red Dragon syndicate has been thwarted, and Kim is no more. Besides, becoming a bounty hunter than a Maverick Hunter's not a bad idea. This could be a great opportunity for me, meeting other lifeforms, exploring other worlds. And X and I are finding peace at last. Let's hope Spike would do the same."

"We hope so, too, Zero. Glad you decided to stay with us and hang out." She smiled back at him.

Meanwhile, Julia watched the long truck ascend and soar away from Tharsis. She will never forget the time when she was able to receive another bill of life. Then, she heard a groan coming from Spike's gullet. She gasped while she looked down, watching her beloved finally and slowly open his eyes.

When his vision readjusted, he only let out a little whisper, "J...Julia..?"

Her smile grew wide. She lifted his head with her hand going behind his neck, lifting him to kiss her. She knew he wanted this for a long time. From that moment of bliss, he knew this was all too real to be considered another dream. And they couldn't be any happier; both he and Julia grinned as they looked deeply into their eyes, despite Spike having an artificial one.

It was as if time stood still when they warmed up toward each other. They kissed deeply, like there was no tomorrow. Thank goodness no one else witnessed their soulful reunion, pun intended.

A/N: Zekrom's, Reshiram's, as well as Victoria's sacrifices was another scenario I came up with five years back. They utilized the mountain's destruction as a way to kill off the remaining Red Dragons in order to help their comrades seize victory. I'm sure that Kyurem, their icy counterpart, would find another incarnate of the two Dragons somewhere and be reborn; they're three parts of one whole no doubt. After all, it's a war fic, so there has to be some casualties.

As for Vicky, I never wanted her to go, but I did want her to provide Julia another chance to live without the fears of being hunted down and then assassinated by Vicious and his thugs. I was so disheartened when Spike lost her before his own demise. So, let's hope Zero's method could work properly on her, and not let her turn into a violent rage-a-holic who's only a tool for killing and destruction.

I strongly recommend the "Destruction of Home Tree" from the legendary Avatar soundtrack during the collapse of Olympus Mons, along with "Grace's Laboratory" to set the mood; rest in peace, James Horner. The leave of the Earthlings would play the Credits theme from Mega Man X4.

Please keep in mind that as for an anime couple, I'd much rather prefer Spike x Julia than Spike x Faye; sure they have some things in common, are skilled bounty hunters, and have a dark past. But I'd much rather prefer Spike x Julia to have a better life they had before. Besides, Spike hated her since he labeled her as a "woman with an attitude." It's not that I hate Faye, it's only because she was my least favorite. Still, losing both Julia and Spike was heart-wrenching, especially since it's all during the finale. This weight is still heavy to carry to this day, and they were not kidding. So why not take advantage of the dark arts that were used from the very start. I could never be sure about Faye and Jet, though.

Chapter Management

  • Epilogue - Blue Suede Skies

Six Weeks Later...

Tharsis had finally healed its numerous, deep and tragic scars from the Red Dragon War. Everyone honored those that had sacrificed their lives for intergalactic freedom, especially those that paid tribute to Victoria Terpsichore, Reshiram and Zekrom, most of the Reploids that had fallen during combat as well as the members of the ISSP.

Thanks to the astronomical payout for the surviving veterans, Annie's black market had transformed into an outlet selling more various goods while still serving some ammunition and weaponry for those who're willing to keep the peace in Tharsis and other planets. Not only that, but a small apartment was built at the top floor housing Spike, Julia, and even Trudy. She had her own space, while Spike and Julia shared theirs, just like the old days when he was taken in after he was wounded during the fatal war against the White Tigers. The would-they-won't-they couple gave Trudy the honors for reviving and reuniting them in exchange for no longer living in the slums on Earth, nor inside a worn-down spaceship. The young space cowgirl was so thrilled by their offer.

Faye also had some new private quarters of her own, as one of the ISSP officers had perished. She gladly took over residence in one of the apartments in uptown Tharsis. She also decided to care for Victoria's feline companion, Zeros. After awhile, he grew accustomed to his new owner and lived a healthier life than when he was devastated over his previous owner's loss and refused to eat or move. They now had a comfortable new place to call home, instead of just dreading it being destroyed by oncoming meteors.

After several weeks of renovation, the former Red Dragons hideout had been bulldozed, then rebuilt to half its size. Both Jet and Zero wanted to live together at the revamped skyscraper, which would actually function as a sort of home base for their spanking new bounty hunting team! Although Zero still wasn't used to fighting humans, he has been an extraordinary assistant to the Black Dog in terms of engineering and technology.

For Mary and her cousins, they resumed their normal lives, as if little to nothing has happened. That is except when they mourned for their fallen titans, Reshiram and Zekrom. The Dark and Light Stones were still opaque and dormant and the texture even had some weak particles here and there, like loose dirt. Both Lizzie and Beth put away these Stones and actually prayed for the Pokémon to return and get resurrected since their Ice counterpart, Kyurem, is still around.

As for X, he had the opportunity to achieve his wish on witnessing peace and tranquility for the first time in his life. Sigma and the Red Dragons have been vanquished at last, yet he still performs his duties both as a Reploid and a savior for humankind on Earth, especially when he and his men keep a lookout for any oncoming devastating meteor storms. He also wishes Zero well in his outpost on Mars, and he wishes to visit him and his new friends again one day. Oh, and he has been promoted as the Head of the Maverick Hunters during Zero's absence.

It turned out that it was Vicious', or rather Striking Snake's, guardian star that fizzled within the night sky instead of Spike's, or Swimming Bird's, as originally predicted. Which was a very good sign since their guardian stars never got a chance to fuse into one, thus his red one and Spike's blue one were averted creating a supernova and hence Spike was never forever being linked with the volatile blood made by Kim Yokushimo. Like a blown out candle, Vicious' red star was no more, and it prevented Spike's inevitable fate; instead, his own star was restored to its natural hue, though it darkened, symbolizing its next phase as well as his advent life hurtles.

For Spike and Julia, they couldn't be anymore at ease; in fact it changed him in a way they never thought possible. Spike was actually cutting back on smoking, as he took some gum that helped his nicotine cravings. He also reduced his drinking habits, while only consuming alcohol on social occasions. And at times he does train Julia and Trudy the same vigorous ways his late master, Mao Yenrai, did way back. However, things were also looking grim for him; he hadn't been like himself since before his so-called demise. He seemed to have been sleeping for many hours a day, even goes into unconsciousness constantly, and seemed to no longer be his flamboyant self. He later got his groove back, but Zero made a diagnostic scan, revealing he suffered from a concussion. Doc was safe and his private hospital was unscathed, though he made the prognosis that Spike developed amnesia, as he couldn't remember the incidents nor the war after he fell in the devastated Dragons' headquarters; he also theorized he may be prone to PTSD and even epilepsy. having episodes of brief unconsciousness. He gave him a cocktail in which he reluctantly took with Julia and Trudy's ongoing support.

Thanks to the victorious war effort, everyone pitched in to raise money and fund the long-abandoned program, Big Shot. Inside the new store, the small, archaic TV set churned on with the familiar jingle of a banjo playing American Money. Sure enough, it was indeed Big Shot in all its fabulous, advanced glory. The usual pair greeted the audience with their same old routine.

"Howdy amigos!" cried the black cowboy. "We are back on the air!"

"That's right, Punch!" his partner, Judy, exclaimed. "Thanks to a very generous donation from the courageous and valiant Bebop bounty hunters, we're back and better than before, broadcasting brand new bounties from across the galaxy!"

"You're about to take your first lesson on fetching a bounty head, Julia." Spike commented.

Trudy silenced the couple, and they listened attentively to the briefing.

"Before we announce our first catch of the day from the last couple months," Punch, aka Alfredo, said, "I'd like to introduce a new space cowgirl and cowboy to our growing family of over 300,000 hunters. Victoria, and Zero."

In front of the announcers, both Julia and Zero proudly folded their arms and faced the screen. The red robot at the right, with their backs against each other, winked as his green eyes fizzled with blue sparks.

Just then, the segment ended as the logo of the Bebop flashed on a black screen. A signal went off and Jet appeared. From his control room at the reduced skyscraper, he found a brand new bounty head that's worth a few thousand woolongs. "So, whaddaya say, guys? You up for it?"

Trudy spoke up at the center of the Televid. "Jet, if you want us bounty hunters, you take ALL of us bounty hunters; even the new candidates, Julia and Zero." Spike and Julia gathered around her.

"From now on, every mission we do, we do together." she clarified. "Searching a bounty? That's easy. Keeping a team, or a family, together... That's difficult. And that is truly our mission that is worth fighting for." she said proudly before shutting off the receiver.

A short time later, the sun was shining down on the peaceful, bustling streets of Tharsis. Trudy was seen walking toward her comrades. She met up with Zero and they watched both Julia and Spike looking through the windows after an embrace, before he jokingly closed the blinds on the meddling observers.

"Aghh!!" They both let out their discontent.

Trudy smiled as she looked up, her eyes becoming vacant, her face blank.

"Trudy? Trudy? Mars to Trudy?" She looked back at him. "What're you looking at? Watching for meteors? Or anymore Red Dragons?" he mocked.

"No, Zero. I was just thinking what the future may hold. I'm very concerned about Spike; it's gonna take awhile before my fears'll vanish, instead of worrying about his condition, or that he may have another violent tendency again. Also...I've never seen a blue sky so clear and beautiful on Mars before. It's always red because of all the carbon in the air."

He seemed unfazed. "So... Now that the Red Dragons are gone, and Spike and Julia are one again, I guess the future looks quite bright for all of us." Trudy couldn't possibly agree more. "So what now, space cowgirl?"

She couldn't be anymore prouder at her new title as an official cowgirl, rather than a space cadet with a wandering mind amongst the heavens. She looked at him in a determined manner, and declared, "Well, Zero? The sky's the limit!!"

A/N: Of course, the story will end like the series did, featuring the song, Blue, just when Zero asked what the future would lie for them. Only, while the usual credits roll, scenes from the war should play out, like a sort of recap found in the finale of games. Besides, Spike, Julia, Trudy, all of Mars, and the entire universe are free from the Red Dragons' dominion.

I have already carried all that weight, which was what motivated me to write this fic in the first place. And now, I can finally rest easy now that it's done after five years in hiatus. Fans don't have to guess about Spike's fate, nor worry for Jet and Faye; it's all over now. I've always wanted to have Big Shot back on the air, let Jet have a new base, and also recruit Julia and Zero as new bounty hunters.

I want to give some quick shout-outs to those who have driven me to write and finish this story that's been hidden away for five years: First is pikaace, I couldn't have done any of this without you, especially when it centers on your Pokémon Trainer OCs. To space-cowboy 656, whom you won't see here, sadly; though he's a fanatic and knows anything and everything about the Bebop series and I could NEVER have ended up here if it wasn't for his extensive knowledge. I also want to appreciate those that reviewed it and gave it high praise such as Bionic Slime and Chris Stuckmann; especially the latter since it's considered to be his all-time favorite anime ever! You rock, and I wish you could see this epic, and tell me what you thought of this as a whole. I'd wish there'd be a way to discuss this in great detail, though. And also a quick notice to Itionoben for getting me into the Mega Man X series, particularly X and X4, as well as the Great Clement who regards them as his favorites, myself included.

I might develop another story highlighting one of their brand new missions, but I'm not sure how to put it together yet. I really wanted to end the doom and gloom on a very positive note addressing to the viewers, 'cause after all, like Trudy said...




The new Bebop bounty hunter team!

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A Trip in Paradise

The Bebop team come across a zealous group called the Drifters, whose purpose is to convert all interplanetary dwellers, including bounty hunters, and bring them to a mystical world called Emperyea. Will Spike and his comrades prevent universal crisis?

Work Text:

A/N: After five years in hiatus, much like the epic Recessional of the Red Dragons, it has come into fruition. For some odd reason, this crazy story actually came to me when I saw the Simpsons episode, The Joy of the Sect; I guess the Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle count as well, even though that was pretty lame. So, I decided to make this as one of the new bounty hunting misadventures for the new Bebop crew. Enjoy.

It all started inside the renovated convenient store of what used to be Annie's devastated outlet. It's been nearly six weeks since the Red Dragons War ended in Mars, and Spike and Trudy have never been as content, or rather bored out of their minds.

Spike was just lazing around and snoring loudly upon the couch, while Trudy peeked out of the closed blinds from a nearby window using a pair of binoculars. The streets were vacant with only a small handful of patrons walking around, and the weather was overcast with a promise of light rain. Or rather dust; rumor has it there'd be an oncoming dust storm in the next few days, probably one of the most tumultuous yet.

As a Martian, Spike knew firsthand on preparing for a huge dust storm, and preparations, indeed, must be made. Julia was currently shopping for food and supplies, and ammo, for the rough weather ahead.

Still, the entire week lacked plenty of action, and there hadn't been a new bounty mission since. Needless to say, Trudy was growing more restless and anxious as she missed being aboard the Bebop tracking down any leads and enduring some unfortunate, and sometimes wild, events.

Just then, the Televid switched onto a familiar program accompanied by a rapid-playing banjo.

"Howdy amigos! And welcome to another new and prune segment of Big Shot!" Punch announced.

That brought out Trudy from her slump and she rushed over to Spike. She tugged at his arm, trying to wake him. "Hey, Spike. Spike, wake up! It's Big Shot! We have another bounty head!" she spoke enthusiastically.

It was thanks to a generous donation provided by the Bebop team from the hefty amounts of cash they received from the war effort, about  ₩200,000 (200,000 woolongs) got both Punch and Judy back on the air. It was greatly needed since they used the program as a source for searching for a huge profit.

"Wha--uh?" Spike awakened. His eyes were still crossed as he wiped the sand out of them.

"It's Big Shot. We gotta see what our new bounty is." Trudy surly didn't want her mentor to miss this, though it was hard on writing down the intel since the program was fast-paced. Good thing Zero never missed a thing.

"Today, we had just found two abnormal people located somewhere outside of Tharsis."

"That's right, Judy." Two portraits appeared on the screen, one male and one female. Each of their names and personal info were listed below them, unfortunately Trudy was unable to keep up. "They belong to some underground occult known as the Drifters. And their mission is to send us to a distant, fake planet called Emperyea. And with this coming dust storm, it couldn't possibly come at a better time. For just  ₩15,000 each, catch these criminals and rally 'em to justice."

"₩30,000? Who couldn't resist." Spike said while the cowboys kept rambling. Then suddenly, their demeanors have changed somewhat; it was though they seemed to be dazed but deliriously happy.

"Ah, yes. The Master should take care of us. Wouldn't he, Judy?"

"He would, indeed, Punch. With the Master's support," she smacked her hands together and looked as if she was praying. "we won't have to stress over our job and scrounge for bounties anymore, and we can live in harmony together."

"Huh? That's weird." Spike was very clueless by their sudden awkward reaction. "I've never seen them act like this."

"Neither have I." Trudy added, sharing Spike's unease.

As the two wranglers went on and on about gathering all the inhabitants of Tharsis and convincing them to join the Drifters, Spike switched of the TV and remained unaffected. "Well I am going to receive the  ₩30,000, I don't care of some fantastical occult. We're bounty hunters and that's what we do, goddammit."

Spike's determination always seems to rub off on her. She stood up and spoke proudly, "I'm with you, Spike!  ₩30,000 should handle us for a while. How bad can it be to earn some more dough? Besides we need it to prepare ourselves for that dust stor--"

Jingles from overhead bells were heard as Julia stepped in. She was holding an enormous bag of goods.

"Ah, Julia, good news!" Trudy exclaimed. "We just received another opportunity for an incredible bounty hunt,  ₩30,000."

"That's ₩15,000 each for the two bounty heads," Spike corrected. "But something seemed rather odd with those delirious cowboys."

"You noticed?" Julia mentioned before she gave Spike a peck on the cheek. She put down the large bag on the counter. "I noticed that the shops located around Tharsis were vacant, both the lots and the interiors. Very few people remained, heh, I was lucky I still had some service when I got to the checkout; it's almost as though they're not taking the storm very seriously."

"It must have something to do with that strange case involving the planet called Empyrea, and The Master bringing them there."

"That reminds me," Julia said, "I saw two people while I was heading out. They were handing out brochures like this one." She pulled it out of her pocket. On the pamphlet was a man that had his arms spread out wearing a long, white robe. The sunlight behind him was making the figure obscure in the sky blue background. The header was in bold print as was the footer, The Drifters, and enlightenment await you!

"It's very strange; I've seen some religious groups before, but nothing as so unusual as this. And I'm not a religious follower, either."

Trudy faced Spike, "Have we ever dealt with any cults like this?"

He hesitated for a bit, trying to recollect his thoughts, "Hmm, well I guess I do recall the time we dealt with this one occult; the one that had this virtual game and Faye was Dr. Londes' number one target. I would also count those ax-crazy environmentalists." He then smiled, "Remember Vincent?"

She nodded her head really fast; it was too bad that Julia never met up with Spike at that time. Though he did generalize her to Lieutenant Elektra briefly.

"I...think we should look at that supermarket again. They may still be here." Julia suggested.

They decided unanimously to arrive at the designated location together, and to try not to let the occult dissuade and distract them on their duties. They were aware of Trudy's short attention span, so they needed to keep a keen eye on her in case she'd slip away, like two anchors securing a buoy prone to going astray.

A few weeks back, Spike's friend, Doohan, had modified Julia's destroyed Ferrari and converted the remaining parts into her own zipcraft, the Hearthstone. It's built much like the Swordfish II but since it wasn't made from a MONO racer. It lacked speed, though it was built with lasers and bullets, possesses a mobile cockpit, and performs with excellent agility. And it looked similar too with its sleek model and folding wingspan. They were both stationed on top of their apartment.

Each of the wings opened, with Spike's being the first. He recommended Trudy to ride shotgun with Julia, and she followed the Swordfish II closely.

At the vacant, massive parking lot, the pilots docked their ships and hooked them up to a pair of fuselage tanks. They soon came across some occult members at the rear of the supermarket. A gang met up with the trio, wearing the same white robes that Julia saw on the brochure.

"Looks like they're hunting for some weak cattle." Spike said. "Stay alert."

"Spike, Julia, and Trudy I presume." A Drifter walked up to them, wearing a cheerful expression. "Looks like you bounty hunters could use a vacation, getting all so weary from your long travels and strenuous work." He eyed Julia and Trudy as well as the others. "How about it, ladies? Imagine, a lifetime of peace and serenity, never worrying about money nor violence. I am certain that is what you both want, for people as frail as you." He cupped Julia's chin and lifted it toward his glazy eyes.

"Get your hands off her!" Spike countered. "Julia, don't listen to him!"

He quickly eyed her partner and gazed deeply back. "Ah, you two will be together forever, not worrying about being the hunted by crime organizations nor scoundrels. You will have no need to be scared anymore, living in peaceful bliss and freedom as one."

"I-I..." Julia seemed to be swept by his words, while Trudy remained silent. They never thought on how the cult knew so much about them. But with Spike on the other hand...

"Eragh!" He charged toward him with a punch. Then the rest of the group gained on him. It was little to no problem for the hothead as he bashed each hypnotist to the ground. Seeing his amazing fighting skills, a couple tried to scammer away, but someone else had them cornered. A red robot ambushed them as he leapt down at the other side of the brawl, but only Spike noticed.

"Oh, great..." he mumbled. Though the Maverick Hunter wasted no time to finish them off, rendering them half to death like all the others.

By the time the coast was clear, Spike went to Julia, desperate to snap her out of that enticing funk. He laid his hands on her shoulders, looking at her squarely in the face. "Julia, Julia!"

"Unh, Spike." Her features returned to normal.

"Thought I'd lost you there for a minute." his voice reduced to a low pitch as he pasted a smile.

She embraced him, "Oh, Spike. I never want to leave you, never again. We can go wherever you want to go."

"Sounds right to me." They were looming closer for a kiss.

"Zero!" Trudy became excited, disturbing the romance.

"Hey, look what the cat dragged in." He walked toward the group.

"Zero. Never thought I'd see you here." Julia said. "I thought you'd be with Jet at headquarters."

"I would. But there was an unexpected turn of events." Everyone listened as he explained that earlier today Jet went missing. He walked out without a trace while he was still in slumber, inside his own capsule that was transported from his former base in Abel City. He tried calling him, but the transmission was always lost. Even Jet's Hammerhead was gone, and he never even posted a note nor used any form of contact.

Zero also tried to message Faye, but even she was unavailable. He was going to call Spike, Julia, and/or Trudy until he heard the Big Shot bulletin. He downloaded the intel from it, and upon Julia's request, he pressed on his nose and a small sheet along with mugshots from his helmet provided everything they needed. The data read as follows on each of the black criminal boards:

Takeshi Lucero Crowley
Age: 37
Bounty:  ₩15,000
Planet: Venus

He appeared to be nearly six feet tall, had a bald, elliptical head, very heavy eyebrows, and a beard and mustache that were almost paper thin and had sharp edges. He also donned on a shiny, opaque uniform with red linings that Spike thought he could belong to the Yakuza. There was also a petite female to his right:

Lyn Targoons Dogma
Age: 37
Bounty:  ₩15,000
Planet: Venus

She had long, wild, blond hair that had portions covered by rose petals, a pale red ribbon was on top, she had long, ruby-painted fingernails that were about six inches; and glossy lips that matched the same shade as her sultry nails. She also smiled widely as her deep eyes sparkled with some sort of evil sneer. To Trudy, she didn't think she looked like her age; almost as if she was just Takeshi's...playgirl.

"Hmm, so these are our bait." Trudy wondered.

"Yes. I'm surprised they're even the zealous types." Julia said.

"Looks can always be deceiving." Spike commented.

"Julia said she found some fanatics here." Trudy mentioned. "I think we should keep looking."

"Good thing I saw your zipcrafts here while I was flying overhead. Let's kick it." Zero muttered.

They decided to search the place; Zero and Spike investigated the interior, while Julia and Trudy searched the exterior.

The guys trekked through every aisle, looking for some kind of subliminal message for the unsuspecting public. In his peripheral vision, Spike saw a glimmering white light through two massive doors leading to a backroom for shop employees. He looked through the small windows and noticed the spacious room was crowded with rows of folding chairs. He signaled Zero to come over, and the men found an overhead presenting Planet Emperyea, with the bot analyzing the footage.

"An overhead.. That's just so archaic." Spike murmured in discontent.

Some people tried to leave from their seats, thinking the spectators were irritated by the nonsensical rubbish being fed to their heads, though the presentation kept stopping abruptly as a beam of light from the ceiling shined on whomever was uncomfortable. A male voice always convinced them to remain in their seats till the overhead ended.

Several minutes have passed. Spike then rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Screw this. You got the info, Zero?"

"Right here, Spike." he stated as he tapped his noodle, being his helmet. "C'mon, we should get to the others before WE lose our minds. Heh, I can sometimes understand why people say that TV can rot your brain."

Julia and Trudy wound up near a food stand of sorts. It was serving some bowls of brown gruel to patrons who were willing to buy those suspicious free samples. Before they knew it, their stomachs began to rumble. Then the women saw the customers sit at wooden benches, and they realized the two bounty heads standing behind them!

Trudy gasped and tapped her partner on the shoulder, "Julia, the zealots are here." She pointed toward the location, then the lot had different sections. One was structured in a circle, and they made it out as the ring of judgement, designed to destroy any self-esteem from their empty minds, and stomachs. Another portion was led by a chant supporting the Master and encouraging people to lose their wills. They noticed it was led by Lyn herself, while Takeshi was just roaming for some "weak cattle."

Spike's warning rang in Julia's ears. "Trudy." She snapped her out of her reverie. "Why don't you get one of those bowls so Zero could analyze it." She obliged, but Julia made a tight grip on her shoulder, "Whatever you do, don't eat it, as this would make you one of those brainless followers. Never let your guard down."

Trudy nodded and did just that following the queue. A eerily happy-go-lucky man greeted her. She paused, then accepted the Master's offering. She brought it with her as she walked back to Julia, but she was halted by Takeshi.

"Hold it right there. You're not leaving without the Master's supplement." He led her to one of the rear wooden tables, while Julia stood and gave her a serious glance.

The first location was indeed the rows of tables where the rest of the followers ate like pigs, literally. This actually made her feel grossed out, almost as if she was seeing the Brother's Grunt surround her. Luckily the disgusting displays were cut short as Takeshi and Lyn announced from their podium.

"Attention, everyone. Let us rejoice this glorious day the Master has provided before us." Lyn led the crowd. Then she and her associate led a repetitive chant to which Trudy became more annoyed.

"Ergh, why am I doing this?" she talked under her breath.

"The one woman here isn't budging." Lyn noticed.

Takeshi pointed her out. "You, Trudy." She looked up. "I'm certain your friends are waiting for you in Planet Emperyea. They are with the Master as we speak."

Lyn added, "In fact, we already have two of them here now."

From behind a distant, tall settlement, Julia gasped and theorized they were--

Trudy was a bit intimidated by the thought. How could Spike and Zero fall for them so easily? Then she heard Lyn and Takeshi encouraging the brainwashed followers. They tried to demoralize her as they chanted about the Bebop, and Trudy became outraged. She dropped her hands after covering her irritating ears.

"Ergh, ergh! No!! How do you know about the Bebop?! It was destroyed in the war and---" She completely lost her train of thought as she saw two other bounty hunters walk up to them. "J-Jet..? Faye? They can't be!"

"It is us, Trudy." she spoke.

"Yes. We have been waiting for you to come with us." Jet added in a more unusually happy fashion. She never saw him so easygoing and carefree like this. He was always the uptight type; this was incredibly unusual to her. "What's the matter? Aren't you bringing Spike, Julia, and Zero with us? We would love their company."

"The Master would be pleased once he unites all us bounty hunters in his bosom." Faye said.

"Faye..? J--Jet..!" She saw them walk up to her closer and closer. She was terrified, even petrified since she couldn't remove from her seat.

"Let's go." Trudy felt a strong grip on her shoulder. Julia went to her side. The cowgirl immediately gather the gruel as she followed her out. Sure enough, the whole unit of fanatics were on their tail!

Spike and Zero walked out onto the pavement. They became a bit anxious as they saw the surveillance peeking over them, wondering if those Drifters could spot 'em on a moment's notice. Spike, on the other hand, couldn't wait to rip the bounty heads a brand new one; this worried Zero a little as he hasn't really lost his desire to fight, perhaps a spark from Vicious' blood.

"Spike!! Zero!"

"Uh--Julia, Trudy!" The afro hunter was completely startled.

Panting, they warned the duo the Drifters were after them, and they brainwashed Jet and Faye.

"We got trouble BIG trouble! Jet and Faye got caught! It was a trap!" Trudy raved.

Spike grew more angsty, "What did you say?!?"

The mob was gaining on them, leaving them no time for an explanation. They then retreated with zealots chasing them. Spike momentarily stopped and faced the humongous mob, making a fighting stance. "Come at me, you bastards! Wha--hey!"

Zero was tugging him at the back of his overcoat. "This isn't a fight we can win here! We must go!" Spike followed and punched the controls on the Swordfish, lifting it off the ground after yanking off the fuel pump! He tried to catch his breath as the other crafts followed with no particular destination.

The bot eventually scanned the product, and he spoke over the comm that inside were chemicals killing brain cells more rapidly than alcohol. Julia and Trudy told the boys they noticed a food stand located a foot away from the lot. Spike and Zero found a presentation about the mystical settlement.

Still, Trudy's mind was so fixed on one glaring issue. "Jet and Faye got caught. We gotta retrieve them! Now!"

The Swordfish led the way as it circled over the barren Martian deserts. "If we return to Tharsis, we're sitting ducks." Spike said. He slammed a fist on the motherboard, "Dammit!"

Julia was just as shocked, "Spike..." Trudy wasn't feeling any better as she was starting to lose hope. The Drifters already manipulated all of Mars, and Jet and Faye were in the middle of it.

"Spike. We need you for this." Zero said, as the only one not being discouraged. He even heard him voice his defeat, that they would be next. "Oh no we're not. The Drifters didn't get us yet."

"It seems they're using our weaknesses and exploiting them to take advantage of us." Julia reasoned. "We must get Jet and Faye back."

The Swordfish II soon came across an old barn of sorts and then left the formation.

"Spike! Where are you going?" Zero queried.

"I believe I found something, Zero. I need to take a look. You guys cover for me."

Without any care to see if there were any pursuing zealots, Spike investigated the dead fields. After a few moments of searching, he went inside the rusty door. He looked up and noticed the large, broken gap through the roof, almost as if fire or rather exhaust has escaped from it. He knelt down and touched a finger toward the enormous scar some humongous, circular vessel left.

"This must've cost it a hell of a fistful of woolongs." he spoke to himself.

Through the dim lighting from the roof, despite some falling debris, he found a poster of sorts displaying the bliss on staying within the resort of Emperyea. Then, something struck his interest. In his anger, he ripped the thing to shreds. With a shaking fist, Spike spoke through his clenched teeth, "I will never... NEVER let them get away with this!!" He hurried out and fired up the zipcraft.

By the time he met up with the Shuttle and Hearthstone, he concluded that the Drifters, the two bounty heads, and Jet and Faye would be taken to somewhere at the edge of the universe, then he recognized a blurry, distorted image of Pluto and it's neighboring moon, Charon as he looked at the poster for Emperyea.

"To Pluto." Julia repeated.

"Good eye, Spike." Zero complimented with glee.

"There was no Master, only just Takeshi and Lyn planning this. And they're manipulating our money and property to make this bullshit journey. Don't you see, they're running the planet and soon the whole galaxy dry! Just before the dust storm, the time when us Martians would be the most vulnerable." Spike found out; he was so revved up he could barely think straight.

"And they already took over Venus. We have to take them by force. Even though it's stealing; they were willing to surrender their wills anyway." Zero mentioned.

"But first we need to go through the asteroid belt. Julia, you stay behind me with Zero."

"No way. I'm coming with you, Spike." the Maverick Hunter volunteered. "And for actually developed a plan." Everyone was a bit flabbergasted.

Spike briefly paused on the comment, "Yeah. That, does sound like a plan. Let's do it." He held onto the helm so tightly that his knuckles turned white.

They shot several of them apart, including using the fatal plasma beam cannon from the Swordfish. They later took a Hyperspace Gate at Jupiter to Pluto, knowing the Hammerhead and Red Tail could be on their sixes.

They soon arrived at the dwarf planet, Pluto, just about to enter the Kuiper Belt. It was said that it housed numerous icy bodies, as this region was still being formulated by the start of the Big Bang. Spike, Trudy, and Julia got there first. They landed their vehicles just a few yards away and saw all the captors working tirelessly at the surface which seemed to be encased in oxygen somehow. They came across Takeshi, then Lyn meeting up with him outside a large complex. Lines of people from Venus and Mars were just slaving away collecting rock and ice particles without even straining or caring for their own welfare, literally hyper focused on the so-called Master, and at times worshipping him.

"Hey, where's Zero?" Trudy asked looking behind her station.

"His spacecraft must've been slower than the other zipcrafts; his Shuttle is more primitive, after all, since it was made from Earth. I'm sure he'll catch up to us eventually." Julia said.

"I think it's about time we blow this damn joint, get everyone and their stuff together." Spike said. "Ok. 3, 2, 1. Let's jam." he loaded his Jericho and headed toward the base with the women by his suit ties.

Meanwhile, the quartet saw the group head into their stronghold. "They have come." Takeshi said to his subjects. "Only there are three; Spike, Julia, and Trudy."

"We know how to deal with them." Faye answered.

"Yes." Jet added. "The first thing we must do to convert them is clip Spike's wings before he soars too high; they depend on him."

"When one domino falls, so do the others. He has to be demoralized."

Upon their entrance, with guns drawn, they saw Lyn naked to the third base, showing off her irresistible body against the fluorescent lights shining against her. Julia and Trudy grew worried of Spike's changing demeanor, even though the young cowgirl kept looking away.

He raised a hand to keep them back, then he slowly went closer to her. She began to ogle him as he looked her over, from the front, sides, and back, top and bottom.

"It seems you are being aroused by me. Glad you would be able to join us...Spike." Lyn whispered.

"I guess The Master is considered to be both you and Takeshi; but I would be a part of the Drifters, as long as I am by your side."

She cupped his chin, "I wouldn't want anything more. Even if we were to go even well beyond this universe...."

He nodded slowly, "I would be more than happy to..." He stopped in midsentence as Julia shut down the power grid. "Not!" Trudy immediately did a roundhouse kick toward Lyn's shin, forcing her off the ledge.

The trio was ambushed by zealots and they fought them off. That was until a shot rang out from behind. Faye made her entry, holding her Glock 30 toward the resisters.

"Faye! What're you doing?" Julia cried.

"Drop your weapons!" A gruff voice forced the team to look toward Jet and Takeshi, with the former aiming his Walthier P99. They all submitted as they were surrounded by the two bounty heads, Faye and Jet, and more followers. They couldn't believe what was happening to them!

"Jet! You can't be serious!" Trudy angrily stated.

"You won't convert us all!" Spike added, just as pissed.

"Faye, what is happening to you?!" Julia spoke up. "Come on, Zero, hurry." she whispered.

She twirled her Glock around her fingers. "Don't you know? We have become their special bodyguards."

Lyn stood up and she sneered as she stood next to her lover. "Indeed we are." Jet said. "We have heard about Emperyea personally, and instead of spending an eternity laboring on Pluto and sacrificing our life savings, they had offered us an extraordinary opportunity. We WERE looking forward to seeing their savior."

"This is ridiculous!" Spike retorted. "You guys know there's no savior here! You two were being set up; knowing damn well we were the galaxy's best bounty hunters."

"Takeshi and Lyn knew about the Bebop and the Red Dragons because you told them!" Trudy shouted. "It was just a way to force us into submission!"

"Oh, we're just getting started." Lyn hissed. "Since my charm wasn't enough for you, Spike, I'd rather have HER out of the equation."

Julia was taken hostage and thrown toward a stasis tube, where the air was being sucked out of the vacuum while it was reaching temperatures as frigid as the vast reaches of space.


He looked up and saw her helpless state. "Julia!!" He countered the men, but Jet was even quicker, immobilizing his heroic, foolhardy plan.

"Don't worry about me, Spike! You have to save the galaxy--!" she was beginning to suffocate, and Spike and Trudy could only watch in horror.

A plasma shot exploded inside and through the smoke, it turned out to be Zero with his Z-Buster. He soon reached her, punched and shattered the glass, took her out, and laid her down. Spike recklessly knocked the bounty heads and some of the zealots out with raw anger and desperation, hoping to get to Julia. While Trudy did the same.

He soon did and seeing her pale face performed mouth-to-mouth while encouraging her to breathe. She let out some coughs after a few intense moments, then the facility was about to explode from the Maverick's impact.

Spike and Zero dragged out the unconscious terrorists thanks to some backup from extraterrestrials that returned to their senses. Some even held Jet and Faye at gunpoint. But there was a blinding light from above in contrast with the opaque sky around them. At first glance, the group thought it belonged to the so-called holy Master of theirs, but it turned out to be coming from a familiar large mothership. Inside was a pilot clad in black leather, complete with a mask and a flowing headband. It turned out to be the space samurai/former cowboy, Andy Von De Oniyate, taking away their bounty via tractor beam.

"Looks like I got your loot for once! Thanks for clearing the way for me!" he cackled as he lifted off, with his steed riding shotgun.

"Man, you dirty dog." Spike murmured.

"Son of a both stole our bounty!" Trudy cried as she stomped hard.

"Typical cowboy." Zero growled.

The facility continued to demolish itself, and the damage was spreading rapidly. "Everyone, evacuate. Go back to your home planets!" Spike declared. Everyone scurried to their own corresponding space craft, yet the stubborn cowboy actually went back while the crew was also running.

Noticing someone was missing, Julia gasped as she looked yonder. "Spike!"

"Oh no!" Trudy yelped.

"What're you doing? Spike!" Zero called.

Inside, the smoke was getting thicker, cutting off his breathing and vision. The heat was rising, and the building collapsed more. Despite the crumbling drug lords' base, he managed to punch around the computer and anxiously waited for all the billions of woolongs be downloaded onto the flash drive he saw earlier sticking out like a sore thumb. By the time it reached 100% completion, the facility was trapping him in! 

The onlookers were in utter shock as Spike never exited to safety while the entire hideout was blowing into space dust. Including the gigantic vessel itself.

"Spike!!" Trudy, Julia, and the others screamed for his demise. Within a shockwave, the entire place was completely destroyed with absolutely no chance of any survivors. His beloved then sank to her knees and cried while Zero did his best to comfort her and Trudy. The rest of them just stood in still silence. What was that thing Spike went back for?

Just then, the bot detected movement and he ran toward the edge. Just beneath him by a few miles down...

The cocky bounty hunter narrowly escaped with his life in his spacesuit holding onto the side of a nearby precipice. "Ergh, Zero! I could really use a lift right about now!"

"I see him!!" Zero cried out back toward the team. "It's Spike! He's alive!"

He almost instantly obliged, and everyone was so relieved he survived the unsurmountable! With his jetpacks beneath his feet, Zero brought Spike up and was instantly caught in Julia's loving embrace. Despite the tight bearhug, he drew out the flash drive from a pocket. It was tempting, but the team unanimously decided to donate all the money and the owner's equity back as Anonymous.

They headed back to Mars in silence, well, mostly Jet and Faye. While "Born to be Alive" was blasting within the Swordfish II, Trudy commented he should be a baritone since the chorus reminded her of him singing that. He did try, and both she and Julia giggled at his silly attempt.

Somewhere within the expanding Martian desert, Jet and Faye were talking amongst themselves. He activated his comm via Hammerhead to all channels.

"Hold up, everyone."

"What's up, Jet?" Julia queried.

After a brief pause, and Spike urging him to speak, he said there was a confession to make. The zipcrafts and the Shuttle landed upon his orders, and the team met him and Faye outside.

"Alright spill the beans, old timer." Spike said with a slight trace of irritation. "You said so yourself you two volunteered as bodyguards for those bastards. What's going on?"

They looked toward each other before they explained that they were actually "acting" instead of really being influenced by the Drifters' ways. Zero wasn't since he's a robot.

"We were only pretending; in fear of losing everything." Faye mentioned. "...We're so sorry, you guys."

Looking at their somber expressions made Trudy lose it. She even punched Faye to the ground and glared at Jet, ready to destroy him! Julia and Spike held her back during her rage, telling her it was enough. From the sudden impact, Faye just got the wind knocked out her, even some internal bleeding. Jet just stood there, even when she continued to rave with all her angsts.

"You've done this on purpose! You had this coming! I'm sick of all those betrayals!!" She referred to the time when she had to confront Spike infected by Vicious' blood. "I looked up to you guys and I was just opening up to you!" she ranted toward Jet and Faye respectively. "We did all this to save your pathetic asses! If you hadn't betrayed us, WE WOULD'VE STOOD A CHANCE! I'm no longer supporting you guys AGAIN!" She stormed away, leaving her remaining friends so hapless and hurt.

"Trudy..!" Julia had a loss for words, feeling her pain and agony. She wanted to go after her, but Spike held her back, thinking she should calm herself first.

"It's how do you say, her faith is shaking?"

Julia sighed, "Very good, that's exactly how she feels, Zero."

A couple days have passed, and Julia would never stop worrying of Trudy's whereabouts. Nor her dwindling hopes on finding her before the dust storm should hit. Spike and Zero volunteered to use their crafts to look for her, while they reluctantly accepted Jet's and Faye's offer as well. He said it won't be an easy feat since he knows of the canyon's expanding and empty environment, not to mention the infinite number of craters located throughout. Spike, Julia, and Zero were the most persistent, searching for any signs all day and night, while occasionally stopping for refuel.

One day, during the early morning, despite Mars having shorter days than on Earth, Spike found a little campsite complete with a bonfire and tent; he certainly was the most confident since he recalled Trudy as a survivor living in the slums. Thinking he'd find some intel, he landed his Swordfish a few feet away. He began to investigate the campground and noticed a figure emerging from a large, steep crater. She was actually readjusting her pants as she got to the top.


"Ah--Spike?" She ran toward him, and sure enough there he was.

"Where have you been?! We were all worried sick about you, especially Julia!" he said.

"I'm sorry, Spike. But I never wanted to go back after Jet's and Faye's betrayals. I can't trust them again. Why did you come here..?"

He hesitated, then smiled, "Do I really need a reason to help someone?"

That warmed her heart as he recalled the same phrase she uses whenever HE was in a bind, including those times with Vicious.

"Swimming Bird."

It turned out she came across Laughing Bull's camp. He took her in at her most vulnerable state, and during the last two days, tried to convince her to return to Tharsis to Swimming Bird and Hearthstone before the dust storm. And also try to reconcile with Rolling Rock and Red Tail. His son and his wolf were also nice company. He knew that deep down, the Wandering Star would look into her heart, reminisce on all the things they've done for her, and forgive them while rekindling her trust and friendship for them respectively, while also enduring the pangs from her deep hatred and betrayal like any adult would. In the Swordfish, she never wanted Spike and Julia to worry, and she promises to try again when the storm passes over.

But until Trudy is willing to talk to them, only time would tell.

A/N: Some of the names for the new bounty heads were made up. But others such as Lyn and Lucero, not to mention their age, were references to that rotten succubus, maryjoyg38; it was meant to be a sort of cyber insult to her and her pathetic mockery of all the F-Zero characters she created! I, for once, am being really dark, as I feel I should actually...plagiarize a plagiarist! Ha ha ha! >:) I definitely want the worst to happen to that monkey!

That song by Patrick Hernandez really does get me going; especially after hearing it from Vegas Vacation. I always fantasized that Spike would sing those lines during the chorus. Too bad we never heard him sing at all, despite those other times when he was actually jamming. He should also actually start feeling as if he IS alive. rather than just living in a dream.

Also, Andy, as we know, has debuted in Cowboy Funk, as a sort of eccentric rival to Spike in terms of combat and bounty hunting. So, I decided to throw him in for lulz.

And Takeshi's image was an inspiration from one of the members of the Wing Kong in Big Trouble in Little China.

I'm not sure if you'd noticed, but some of the betrayal was based off of the Garlic Jr. saga in DBZ; specifically, Krillin's and Piccolo's betrayals. I'm surprised Gohan still trusts them after all the beatings and misery he had to go through since they were "pretending" to be influenced by an outside force. Seriously, wouldn't anyone be pissed if their friend/mentor happens to betray those they look up to?! I hated it!!

Another story done; maybe the next one would involve Spike and Zero having a confrontation with one another, as a sort of love triangle over Julia. But, we'll see. So, until then...




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The Myth of Mars

Ever wondered what Mars would be like? Well, this planet was once inhabited by anthropomorphic mice before it was dominated by the human race. In time, people have forgotten about the existence of the once heroic rodents, now their existence remains to be a popular myth across the universe.

Work Text:

Disclaimer: I don't own Biker Mice nor Cowboy Bebop; the former belongs to various companies while Bebop belongs to Sunrise.

A/N: This idea I came up with on a whim.

Aside from the Martian malarkey, Mars is the home planet to two of my favorite series, Biker Mice from Mars and Cowboy Bebop. However, this crossover's concept will be somewhat unexpected. So, here goes.

A long time ago, back on Earth in 1993, there once was an incident in the windy city of Chicago. On one fateful night, there was a mechanic named Charlene "Charley" Davidson who observed a crash landing by a mysterious vessel. The descendant of Harley Davidson overlooked three bipedal mice that were about seven feet tall, and can talk! Together, they were known as the valiant Biker Mice from Mars, a subgroup of Freedom Fighters from their doomed red planet. The leader of the bunch, Throttle, stated there was a war against another extraterrestrial race known as the Plutarkians. These fish-like creatures belonged to Lawrence Limburger, aka "The Big Cheese," and they depleted their own planet's natural resources. They'd decided to loot and plunder Mars, and a war broke out.

With his close friends, Modo and Vinnie, they narrowly escaped with their lives. The results were deadly, too: He was blinded by an attack launched by the Plutarkian's disgusting associate, Greasepit, resulting him to wear a special pair of shades to help his impaired sight. This method also made Modo lose his arms, and had them replaced by mechanical parts, plus Vinnie lost the left side of his face which was covered by a grey mask. In addition, the resistance lost their fellow comrades such as Vinnie's girlfriend, Harley; Modo's nephew, Rimfire; and their mentor, Stoker. The Mice and their master were abducted by the mad scientist, Dr. Karbuncle, hoping to brainwash them. The plan worked, only for Stoker, while the rest broke free.

Since then, they were on the run, leaving Mars in ruins. It took them about a decade for them to recuperate and eventually right all the wrongs they'd done. Although, the Plutarkians weren't the Mice's only enemy. After the overthrow of Limburger and his cohorts, and the Detroit's gang run by Napoleon Brie, they also had to deal with other foes like the leader of a hostile gang named Pit Boss, and their terrestrial races. One in particular consisted of a lethal group of rats, and another was called the Catatonian Army which were run by felines hell-bent on taking control over Mars' prized possession, the Regenerator.

Knowing it was the only way to repair all the damage done to Mars, and to restore its water supply, the trio recruited their long lost family to win against its threats. Although, there was a price to be paid, a heart-wrenching one. Vinnie's main love interest, Harley, once believed that he abandoned her during their escape, making her a rebel to their cause. By the time he talked some sense into her, convincing her she was wrong all this time, she sacrificed herself during some life-threatening explosions from the defective Regenerator the Catatonians made, allowing the Mice to escape unscathed.

Generations have passed. And overtime, people began to forget about the Biker Mice and their kind. It was now 2071 and humanity had found a way to personally enter Mars without consequence. About fifty years ago, there was a major accident on Earth. Scientists designed a gateway that would let people visit other planets in a more comfortable, quick fashion. Earth was a shooting gallery from all the debris left by the hyperspace invention, and countless meteors made it very dangerous to live in. Fortunately, people were able to colonize various moons and planets, and the first was Mars. This was the home that belonged to a few notable humans such as an elderly nomad, Laughing Bull; the bad-ass bounty hunter, Spike Spiegel; his love interest, Julia; his bitter rival named Vicious; and also a crime organization they belonged to called the Red Dragon Syndicate.

Since then, as man celebrated over their endeavors on hospitalizing Mars, the Mice, Rats, and Catatonians' existence were wiped out gradually. Much like the dinosaurs that roamed Earth millions of years ago, they, too, became extinct. There was little evidence on both planets and people began to make myths and legends about them. There were very few specimens still alive, and there were little to no efforts to repopulate their species. And so, Throttle, Modo, Vinnie, Stoker, and even their close Earthling friend, Charley, made a pact to stabilize their pasts. Abandoned motorcycles, some audio and video footage, and certain ruins were the only proof left, and that's when humans realized there were once living beings on Mars, rather than just deformed, funky-looking Martians as they suspected. The rumors were uncanny, but clear since then, and the Mice and Charlie's legacy lived on. It was thanks to them, and the innocent people of Chicago, that interplanetary life existed and was able to withstand the tests of time.

A/N: I certainly wish there would be life on Mars for real. I hope we'd be able to live there someday, and not be so foolish like the Plutarkians did. So I couldn't resist working on this legend of Mars. It was unlikely, and I wasn't sure how to blend in both series; so last night I had this bizarre idea on doing it, hence the myth. I hope y'all liked this little tale, and here's to hoping that Mars would become inhabitable sometime in the distant future.


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And now here's intel centering on my OC of the Cowboy Bebop series, Trudy.


Alias: Wandering Star (Laughing Bull)

Age: 25

Appearance(s): Recessional of the Red Dragons, A Trip in Paradise

Occupation(s): Bounty Hunter, member of the Red Dragon Hunters

Birthplace: Earth

Best Friends: Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Radical Edward, Ein (Cowboy Bebop), Victoria Terpsichore (deceased), Laughing Bull, Lt. Elektra, Rocco (deceased), Julia (Cowboy Bebop), Anastasia (Cowboy Bebop) (visions), Shin and Lin (visions)

Other: X (Mega Man X), Zero, Mary

Theme Song: Space Oddity (David Bowie)

The iron maiden started out living in the unforgiving slums on Earth. She was homeless and down on her luck until she saw a spaceship crash-land in the far off distance. She came across the Bebop and met the two bounty hunters, Jet and Spike. At first she was turned away, but thanks to her fast thinking and bravery, she became an honorary member of the crew. The Bebop turned to be her new home as she travels planet to planet with her surrogate family: Jet being a father figure, and Spike being the cocky, skillful brother. She always looks up to him the most.

Trudy always has an unwavering interest of what lies beyond and she constantly hopes to see her favorite planet, Saturn. She also has a heart of gold, and sharp wits and great courage due to Spike's vigorous training. She tends to get enthralled in solving other people's problems, like solving a puzzle, from Spike's dark past, to Jet's deadly enemy. But she has a "sixth sense" as she feels a sharp chill course through her body; which is usually a biological alarm of grave danger.

She has plenty of allies across the universe who'll later be essential as she would one day come to terms with her worst fears... Thankfully, the nightmare ended after Zekrom, Reshiram, and Victoria sacrificed themselves in order to save her and her comrades from Olympus Mons' destruction. The Red Dragons later surrendered, Julia and Spike finally reunited in a life with no fear nor ridicule, and Zero decided to stay on Mars to become a bounty hunter along with Spike's beloved.

Recently, she came across two new bounty heads named Takeshi and Lyn, on their mission to manipulate all the interplanetary residents to convert to a zealous group known only as the Drifters. Jet and Faye were amongst them, and despite the Bebop crew's successful retrieval, outside of losing their bounties to Andy, she had a heart-wrenching fallout. She wound up at Laughing Bull's camp, and he and Spike wanted to convince her to return to Tharsis and reconcile with them. Despite the oncoming dust storm, only time would tell whether or not she's ready to trust them again.

Whether she's named the Wandering Star or space cadet, and later an official space cowgirl, Trudy is certainly a bona fide bounty hunter.


  • Trudy was a name Ikran found meaning spear strength, or spear maiden.
  • Much like Ikran, her favorite planet is Saturn.
  • Also like Ikran, she has the nickname space cadet and/or Wandering Star, based on Ikran's own wandering mind.
  • She's also based on Ikran's sensitive side, such as feeling chills whenever a great enemy's around or her sensitive mind, sense of touch, sound, light, her shyness, the fact she doesn't want to kill but rather make her enemies suffer.
  • The idea of her living/leaving the slums on Earth was just a depressing idea she conjured back then.
  • Her friends as Pokémon Trainers, X, and Zero were based on Ikran's liking for pikaace, Itionoben, and for the Pokémon and Mega Man X series.
  • Her age is the same as Ikran's when she first got into Cowboy Bebop.
  • Space Oddity is her all-time favorite song from David Bowie, as is her dad's; also appropriate for the liftoff to Mars before the war in Recessional of the Red Dragons.

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Here's one of the most darkest characters I created, especially for Bebop.

Master Kim Yokushimo

Thumbnail for version as of 10:05, August 15, 2020

Status: (deceased)

Age: Late 70s

Occupation: New head of the Red Dragons Syndicate

Appearance: Recessional of the Red Dragons

Subjects: Syndicate agents, interplanetary criminals, ISSP, Spike (temporarily)

Voice Actor: James Hong

Kim was one of the Van's earliest members of the crime syndicate. He then went mysteriously, believing that the few members of the Van as well as Mao Yenrai had him killed. He never returned until some time later, just after the desired effect of the Syndicate was made into fruition. Vicious, Mao, and the Van were exterminated, leaving only several survivors and his new subject, Spike Spiegel. Kim remained in the shadows for years when he moved away from Tharsis and their hideout, and only Laughing Bull was the informant to the Bebop bounty hunters. Aside from a resurrected Spike warning Faye of Kim's impending war within three days, the nomad also shed some intel to Jet and Trudy of the totalitarian's motivations, to rule all of Tharsis, Mars, and soon the universe while making crimes and chaos dominant with Spike at the helm. He was proven to be quite the intergalactic terrorist that not even the ISSP could overcome...

Until he was shot by Mr. Appledelhi while Kim broke into the devastated store occupied by the special forces' superiors. Zero discovered how he resurrects his fallen soldiers and infiltrated the base with Zoroark; the Maverick Hunter literally cut off Vicious' ties and saved Julia's lifeless vessel from cremation, to those who don't share the same blood type as Spike nor Vicious does. Kim was desperate to retrieve Spike as a way to conquer the universe, but the war itself was still turning in his favor despite his death.

Upon the destruction of Olympus Mons made by Reshiram and Zekrom, the conflict shifted as they sacrificed themselves utilizing the environment to destroy the rest of the syndicate. Since their numbers decreased drastically, they later surrendered and were captured with large bounties on their heads. Kim and his men lost, and Spike would forever have a more productive life ahead of him!


  • At first, Ikran wasn't sure what he should look like. Eventually, she decided, and he's roughly based on David Lo-Pan, the dark sorcerer from Big Trouble in Little China; unlike him, though, he's only a martial artist and doesn't have an altered form as a 1000-year old paraplegic. He also has a little taste of Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat, who was also inspired by David Lo-Pan.
  • Kim means leader as a unisex name, while Yokushimo was entirely made up. Though it should be similar to the North Korean director, Kim J. OK/Kim Jon Un, the notorious head of SEK (Science Educational Korea). 
  • It's also just a reminder how much monsters in a totalitarian country could be! He's just as evil, mainpulative, and frightening as he and his country is!

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Two new bounty heads for the price of one; here they are!


Takeshi Lucero Crowley

Age: 37

Bounty: 15,000 Woolongs

Occupation: Head of the Drifters

Planet: Venus

Appearance: A Trip in Paradise

Subjects: Jet, Faye, other extraterrestrials

Voice Actor: James Hong

Lyn Targoons Dogma

Age: 37

Bounty: 15,000 Woolongs

Occupation: Head of the Drifters

Planet: Venus

Appearance: A Trip in Paradise

Subjects: Jet, Faye, Punch and Judy, other extraterrestrials

Voice Actor: Kotono Mitsuishi

The two manipulators belonging to a fake deity called the Master. They are the new bounty heads that Spike and company managed to pursue, though they were captured by Andy, the space samurai, instead. The two zealots were able to influence their home world Venus and move onto Tharsis, brainwashing the hosts of Big Shots as well as Jet and Faye in the process. The hunters were hired as bodyguards instead of willingly surrendering their property and money to the likes of their false voyage to a planet called Emperyea, while instead forcing extraterrestrials into hard labor on Pluto throughout their lives, providing them incentives on meeting their religious leader. When Zero invaded the facility, Spike, Julia, and Trudy were freed from under hostile, forceful means, and Spike's impressive detective skills, the plans of those unfortunate enlighteners were thwarted, and Spike narrowly escaped with the stolen woolongs on their flash drive. This also resulted in a fallout between Trudy against Jet and Faye, and only time would tell to heal her wounds.


  • Both people were NOT inspired! Instead, they were made as characters Ikran hates, as punishment/revenge for maryjoyg38's plaigerism. In fact, the names Lucero, Lyn, and the term Targoons, were made by her!

  • Lyn had the similar sensual vibes as Lyn Hawkeye did, only as a bounty head than a F-Zero OC; again, she was made out of spite from mary's wickedness and disturbing content.\

  • Takeshi was created based on one of the members of the Wing Kong, a gang in Big Trouble in Little China albeit animated.

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