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Chapter 4: The Third Match-Up: Beck vs. Gabriel!

Beck the Great waves his arms up an upward motion for the cheering fans, whilst Big Duo Inferno merely watches from the other side of the arena, his gleaming claws shining in the false sunlight.

"So, it looks like we have the pathetic but high-tech 'Beck the Great RX3' against the intense and powerful Big Duo Inferno, this should be a short match," comments Tim from the ever-lofty commentator's seats.

"Hey, wadda you mean by that!? This thing cost me a bunch of cash to build!" replies Beck from his cockpit; Gabriel mockingly smirks inside his.

"He is right though, this will be a short match." He wriggles under the wires covering his body once more, completely connected to Big Duo Inferno's systems like a malevolent virus. Beck growls back.

"Well, before RX3 tries to climb up here, " adds Tim, "In Three, Two, One!"

"Here we go!"


"Huh, I'll show him!" RX3 charges headfirst at Big Duo, who merely stands there waiting for the inevitable onslaught that its pilot may indeed attempt. RX3 reaches Duo in a matter of seconds, grasping his arms with the inferior hydraulics of his own, and is only just capable of lifting him into the air, whereupon he thrusts him into the wall behind. "Yu-see? Your not so tough when you can't fly away now are ya?"

"On the contrary, simpleton." Big Duo raises his arms skyward, an intense blast of fiery heat bursts forth from his elbows, ensnaring RX3 in their hellish grasp as he stumbles backward, his frontal armor melted almost entirely away, "You see it's futile for a moron like you to even attempt to combat me!" Big Duo flies straight up into the air, and then fires his single eye laser at his foe, searing the ground below when his blast misses. "Huh, where did he go?" gasps Alan Gabriel from the cockpit that might very well be his tomb were he not able to disconnect from it. Duo slowly descends upon the arena once more, constantly scanning it for any sign of movement. "Where is he?"

"Now who's the idiot, Gabriel?" Alan is startled when he hears the projected voice of Beck resound from directly above him, despite him being still several 'Deuses above the arena floor,

"Dammit, where are you Gold!" yells Gabriel.

"I always say when you build a 'Deus you gotta make it themed. And you my friend just met the first step into my Orient Mystery theme!" RX3 appears as if from no-where above Big Duo, standing with but a single foot upon his right shoulder, his arms mockingly folded and making the entire event seem childsplay to him.

"Why you!" Big Duo attempts to spin around to get a better shot at his foe, but RX3 fires his own eye laser straight at Duo's chest... Only for it to go straight through one of his holes as Duo slams into the floor by the newly found weight of RX3 upon him.

"Oops, guess I need some target practice." Tim merely gawks, wide-mouthed, at the spectacle from the commentator's box. "Oh well, at least I've got you prone now, so you won't be able to fly anymore." RX3 raises its left foot and stamps it repeatedly upon Inferno's head, it unable to rotate far enough to fire back.

"Well, it looks as though we have an upset folks!" notes Tim once again. Suddenly, Big Duo drags his hands to a triangular position under himself; Beck screams as the rockets fire once more, and Big Duo Inferno tears itself away from under RX3 as it tumbles to the ground in his place.

"It just goes to show what the announcers know about these machines."

"I'll say, I thought I had you beat there," groans Beck as RX3 clambers to his feet again, rubbing the back of his injured head unit.

"Uh, if you're done insulting my mechanical knowledge, you do still have a match to finish pilots!" reminds the ever-wary commentator. Suddenly re-energised, Big Duo propels itself directly forward, and directly at RX3, his metallic flying gear gleaming in the false sun.

"RX3! Orient Mystery 2!" RX3 enshrouds itself in a cyclone of giant autumnal leaves, just as Big Duo Inferno slices into him with his rotating claws, directly through the heart. Or so he would have it be, but just as the drills finish their work, the leaves vanish and reveal a giant solitary log of wood, plus a massive hole through its centre, which still contains the gleaming steel of Big Duo's hand. "Now what did I tell ya? Ya gotta have a theme!" RX3 re-appears once more behind Big Duo and grabs hold of his horned cranial centre, dragging it backward along with its attached log, causing it to dive into the earth of the arena floor. "This match is over, Gabriel!"

"Is it?" gleams the defeated Alan on the floor and under the steel heel of Beck the Great. He laughs a cold-hearted laugh, and with one final motion, he re-initialises his claws, and drives them straight through the melted frontal armor of the RX3, removing it from service indefinitely.

"There you have it folks! The victor in match three is the scary Alan Gabriel with the greatly damaged Big Duo Inferno!" The once more shattered husk of Beck the not-so-Great RX3 lies eerily silent on the harsh arena floor as Big Duo Inferno is returned to the black depths of the Megadeus bays underneath it. Beck does not heed any reply when the rescue crews arrive at the wreckage.

* * * * *

"Well, I never saw that coming," comments Tim sarcastically from the sidelines, his usual menagerie alongside him as Schwarzwald bites his tongue from insulting gravely the new victor, as they all await R. Dorothy's now-standard return to announce the next match. She arrives in once-more due time.

"The next match is Schwarzwald and Big Duo Alpha versus Myself and Dorothy One." A stark-faced group is her only reply, as Tim slinks off to the medical bay.

* * * * *

The swinging door opens to reveal his form as he enters the respite of the injured from the matches. Angel sits up in preparation for her supposed company, who arrives in due time to congratulate her on her thus far quick recovery. "It's nice of you to say so Tim, but it is your fault that I'm in here in the first place."

"I know, and I apologise, but I just got so infuriated that the pilot of the strongest Megadeus on record would be so unable to adapt to such a simple to grasp premise as a tournament."

"Well, you did just give me a few moments. Besides, nothing would ever terrify me more than to see the inside of that cockpit again and be forced to make the same horrible decision again"

"The decision as to whether or not to reset Paradigm City? Simple answer for me: No."

"Why not? Your brother certainly enjoys destroying things from what I heard."

"True, but he is the Overlord of War, it's kind of his job to destroy things. It's all I can do to try and stop him. But think about it, the entirety of mankind loses absolutely all memory, they've got highly advanced technology to help them but no idea how to use it or even as to how to read the instruction manual. So they build Paradigm City without a clue as to how they build it, they re-forge civilisation and society from nothing but ancient ruins to them. That's got to count for something." Angel nods compliantly as the door swings open again and an intensely bleeding Beck is rushed through for immediate medical aid. The two watch as the nurses try everything they know to bring him back, including CPR and the defibrillator, but all falls silent again as the heart monitor attached to him resounds a permanent, chilling tone throughout the ward. "Oh great, Schwarzwald is going to kill me."

"Is that all you can say! A man has just died because of what you started and that's all that you can say! You really are a mon-" Angel's riot is cut short as Tim interrupts her otherwise rational response to the sudden event.

"Don't worry, check this out." He walks over to the covered corpse, and pulls back the bloodstained sheet, revealing the foul sight of the destroyed and rapidly decaying Beck Gold. Angel gasps in horror and covers her mouth lest she vomit from the sight, Tim however simply places his hand on the chest and a warm white glow spreads, slowly at first, but increasingly faster, over it. The once mortal wounds of the body are repaired and the blood returns quickly to its home as Beck Gold's body is almost fully restored, bar the missing life. "Well, just one more piece." Tim places his hands in the air, and a semi-transparent blue keyboard appears just millimetres beneath them. He types away as a screen appears at an angle above it, displaying the names and pictures of all the people who have died this day. Tim flips through them constantly until he finally reaches the record of Beck Gold; he opens the file and finds the image of a blackened heart. He enters a short command, speaking it aloud as he types "UNIT89631//>RESSURECT" A sudden terrifying gasp of life bursts from Beck's mouth as he is amazingly brought back from the obvious dead, the stale air inside his lungs escaping quickly to the air around him.

"What happened?" he asks as he regains his mental state.

"You died," replies Angel simply, "But Tim managed to bring you back."

"Managed nothing, it was easy," snaps Tim at her comment.

"Really? No kidding?" comments Beck as well, he collapses back to the bed and falls asleep in seconds, exhausted from the battle and the trip back and forth from the land of, usually, no return.

"So, could you do that with anyone Tim?" asks Angel.

"I would have done it with you, had you not survived Angel." Tim exits the morbid medical ward. A few moments later, the door swings once more as Schwarzwald enters again to see his friend.

"How are you now Angel?"

"I'm doing fine Michael, did you hear what Tim just did?"

"What did he do now? Cremate Gold's corpse before he was given last rights?"

"Actually, quite the opposite, he brought him back from the dead."

"Impossible, he couldn't have done that."

"Look who's talking, remember I was the one who found your body first Michael."

"I remember, Angel, but I will still be doing my best to avenge your harm against him in the finals," he reaches out and clutches her hand, her flesh to his filth encrusted bandages.

"You don't have to do that for me, I thank you for what you've done for me already."

"But it's not enough, if I had had the courage to stop him before then you wouldn't be here in the first place Angel. I owe it to you as my, as my only love, to harm him as he has harmed others, especially you." Schwarzwald almost breaks into tears, what little evidence of them there would be upon his obscured visage.

"I know how you feel about me Michael, and I have to tell you I feel the same way, but that doesn't mean that you have to fight all of my battles. Tim has already apologised for hurting me like this, and he was right when he said that it was actually my fault for not being prepared as a Megadeus pilot."

"He's wrong, you're one of the best pilots I've ever seen."

"But he was telling the truth, I pilot the most powerful Megadeus ever seen, and I should have been more able to tackle such a simple task as a tournament. If I were good, I would be the one fighting Rosewater next, not Tim."

"Angel, I," he stops short as Angel presses her lips to his, the tender heat of her body passing between them, and bringing to bear their emotions for one another.

"I love you Michael, but you don't have to do anything for me, I just want you to come back safe and unharmed now. Regardless of what state I'm in then, I just want you safe."


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