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Terminal Completion

Chapter 2

Roger stands on the balcony, staring at the scrap of paper he had retrieved from Wächterin's disc. After the disturbing encounter with the being known only as Wächterin, Roger has woken up R. Dorothy with the information on the disc he left, whilst still contemplating what the message attached meant: "You must keep it after giving it?"

"Is that a riddle, Roger?" inquires the mechanical girl he had only just recently revived from a slumber.

"Probably, any idea what is means Dorothy?"

"Promise."

"Huh? How'd you figure that out so fast?"

"It was the same riddle that father used in an attempt to stimulate curiosity in my programming."

"Wayneright again, he seems to be a big part in this 'Shield Project' thing." Roger looks down at the piece of paper again, and stares out to the Domes of Paradigm City. "Big?" Roger's face turns to a look of absolute horror, as he remembers the body form of Touyou, Wächterin's Megadeus, and how it resembled that of a Big almost identically. "What if, what if Big Venus wasn't the most powerful Big?" Roger remembers when he used Big O's Final Stage for the first time, and leveled an entire Dome, and then of what Wächterin had told him,


"Was it really worth Rosewater fearing it, if you KILLED thousands of people in the Dome you leveled?"


It was due to this chilling reminder of his history, or more accurately, what he thinks his history is, that he has been so quiet lately, probably contemplating whether it really was worth it. Regardless, he was now wondering how powerful Touyou is, since both he and his master managed to survive attacks that would normally destroy most Megadei. Contemplating what either of them actually where, Roger's thoughts wander to various areas of his history. Big Fau, Alex Rosewater, Alan Gabriel, Dorothy 1, Dorothy. "Dorothy." His thoughts have now wandered into a small room, hidden away in the recesses of his mind, where all he knows about R. Dorothy is kept. Wandering through these seemingly ancient halls, Roger tries to organise his thoughts, and snaps out of his daydream, still standing on the balcony. But all is not as it was before. A small envelope is fluttering underneath Roger's shoe, an envelope bearing the symbol of a coiled, Chinese dragon, the same dragon that was featured on Touyou's chest. This letter is from Wächterin.


"Forty years ago, when the entire world lost its memories, something was made that surpassed anything of its kind before. These were the Megadei. As the foot-soldiers of the Paradigm Military, it was only natural that they required generals. This gave rise to the Big series, Big O, Big Duo, Big Fau and the most terrifying, Big Venus. Then they required specialised pilots, but instead of simply training new pilots to perfection to pilot the Bigs, they decided instead to 'create' the pilots, this was the Dominus Project. Going through 9 stages of complexity, the Ninth Dominus Project, codenamed 'Escalager', produced the best results. Escalager consisted of taking the memories and abilities of the best pilots already serving, combining them in numerous ways, and implanting them into growing children."


"The Ninth Dominus Project?" Roger thinks to himself, remembering that memories implanted into children by Gordon Rosewater was little different from what Wächterin is describing.


"Do you truly think that I am an Android? Or do you believe I'm Human? I can tell you now that the answer is neither, as you may have already concluded. Perhaps you believe that I was a part of the Schild Projekt, or another creation of Escalager. Alas, I am none of these. I am merely the scribe, who has been charged in describing this twisted play. Neigh, the fate dealt unto me was much worse than this."


'How could his life be any worse?' thinks Roger to himself. He has now moved into his bedroom, still reading the letter with great interest.


"I am what I am, Negotiator. I am a being with a purpose. I am a man with no history, a man with no future. I have been sent to this forsaken stage to act out my parts and understudy those who cannot play theirs. In this decrepid and forlorn city, we are pawns for the amusement of others, actors upon a screen. You have been charged with the role of Negotiator. Your maid, the Android. Myself, I have no role. I have no lines to sing, or acts to fill."


Feeling more than a little frightened, Roger contemplates putting the letter down for the night. He flips the switch to his bedside lamp, and for just a moment, peers out of his window. His face now turning to a look of pure terror, Roger sees someone standing on the balcony wall. For a few seconds, he continues watching Roger staring back at him, then back-flips to the terrible plummet. With no further doubt that the stranger on the balcony was Wächterin, Roger only just manages to get to sleep this night.


* * * * *


Dorothy visits the church the next morning, the same where R. Instro has been playing recently. Wandering outward from the glistening hallways, one of Schwarzwald's posters flutters from the sky. As Dorothy unconciously stops and stares at the poster, she is caught slightly off guard by a sound from above, a battle-cry almost.


Leaping from the air, as if from thousands of feet above, a young blonde haired man lands almost effortlessly on the ground, spearing the poster with a thin sword of some unknown design. "Are you Wächterin?" she asks the strange figure. Almost startled by her prescence, the man turns around with the poster a few inches nearer to the hilt of his sword. His attire is most uncommon; baggy camouflage trousers; blue trainers; and a short blue coat with sleeves missing, and a strange badge on either shoulder, neither identical.

"You're R. Dorothy Wayneright, correct?" he asks her, seemingly unknowing of her question.

"Correct," she replies, almost smug in her preceding reputation, which was previously thought to be non-existent.

"Then you may wish to tell Roger Smith, 'Fatherless and Motherless, born without sin. Roared when it came into the world, and never spoke again.'" With no more effort than his arrival, the man leaps into the air and vanishes without trace. 'Could he have been an optical illusion, or a ghost?' considers Dorothy silently, continuing on her way home.


Upon arriving at the mansion once more, Dorothy is greeted by Norman standing at the door, as if he had been waiting for her to arrive home. "Dorothy, where have you been?"

"I was listening to Instro play at the church. I'm sorry I'm late", she replies with her same emotionless face, but Norman suspects otherwise.

"Dorothy, are you feeling all right?" Dorothy stares at the ground between them for a moment, then looks up to reply with:

"Yes, Norman, I'm fine. I have a question for you though."

"Oh, really? Should I be worried or relieved?" Norman inquires sarcastically, the android still poker-faced.

"What creature is both Fatherless and Motherless?"

"I'm not sure Miss Dorothy, but perhaps you fall into that category as well?" Dorothy remains silent. Afterward, the two complete cleaning the mansion. For an odd reason, Roger has been allowed his rest in bed this morning, namely because Dorothy did not 'feel' like waking him up...


Roger awakes from his deep slumber, to the sound of Dorothy's piano playing. Feeling half-way between enfuriated and unconcious, Roger makes his way to the main room, albeit rather shakily. Reaching the door, Roger hears the piano's music switch to a version he has never heard before. The sound floats heavenly toward his ears, but to his amazement, upon reaching them it becomes a rapid screeching. Throwing open the door, Roger starts his textbook yell of 'R. DOROTHY!', only to find that R. Dorothy is not at the piano. In fact, contrary to his original belief, there is no-one at the piano. Regardless of who was playing, Dorothy enters a few minutes later to announce that she has another message for him.

"A message, Dorothy? Who from?"

"Wächterin." With this simple name, Roger's blood begins to run cold.

"Wächterin? Where did you see him? Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, Roger, though I appreciate your concern. He gave me a message to give to you." Roger begins to re-heat, a look of relief appearing on his face.

"I already gathered he gave you a message, Dorothy, but what did he tell you?"

"He told me to tell you 'Fatherless and Motherless, born without sin. Roared when it came into the world, and never spoke again,' Roger"

"'Fatherless and Motherless, born without sin. Roared when it came into the world, and never spoke again?' What could that mean Dorothy?"

"Perhaps it is a clue to Wächterin's location or past, a long forgotten memory perhaps?"

"Roared when it came into the world, and never spoke again...Maybe it's some sort of machine that broke down?"

"Norman suggested that as well, though he used myself as a reference." As the two simply stare off into their own areas of empty space, dark clouds begin to gather outside the balcony. A distant rumble resounds in the distance. A storm is brewing in Paradigm City.


That night, Roger is woken prematurely by R. Dorothy knocking at his door. Feeling drowsy and grumpy at the same time, he answers her call and leads her in, still oblivious to what she wants.

"What is it Dorothy? You may have noticed that there's still another 8 hours till the afternoon starts today," he says sarcastically to the nighty-clad mechanical girl.

"Do you remember the riddle that Wächterin gave me to tell you, Roger?"

"Sure, it was something about a broken machine?"

"Wrong Roger, the riddle's answer was not about a machine."

"Oh? Then what was the answer?" The android stares into Roger's eyes for a few moments, the suspense building to her answer.

"Thunder." As she speaks, a loud roar echoes from outside as the lights of the mansion flicker on and off several times.

"Thunder, Dorothy?" Dorothy remains silent. "Dorothy?" Roger waves his hand in front of her face a few times, trying to provoke a reaction from the Wayneright doll. As he begins his 3rd time passing her face, the lights above her burst into a brilliant light all their own, and bolts of electricity stream down from the shattered bulbs and into R. Dorothy. Realizing that attempting to help her would only result in his own death, Roger is unable to help her in the slightest. She drops to the floor as the miniature-lightning continues to run its path through the floor and ceiling, creating a ball of white light at its center. Roger manages to drag Dorothy out of the immediate vicinity of the anomoly, and as the ball explodes all falls dark, save for two smaller glowing balls, electricity arcing away from the left and right of them. The balls hover in mid air, about 5 feet from the floor, as Roger composes himself as to what has just happened.

"She's all right, Negotiator. Ever heard that song? 'Thunder and Lightning'?" A horribly familiar voice resounds from just below the balls: Wächterin's.

"Okay, I've had just about enough of your theatrics, Wächterin! What and who are you!" Roger yells at the revealed form of the blonde-haired man, now standing over Dorothy's lifeless form.

"I believe you read my letter?"

"Of course, you saw me reading it!" Roger's voice edges on complete anger and total fear as he stares at the man with a mixture of horror and awe.

"What are you talking about, Roger? I've been trudging my way through the desert until yesterday." Unusually, Wächterin responds with a tone of surprise in his voice, worrying Roger to a great degree.

"You weren't standing on my balcony watching me last night?"

"Hello, have you been listening? I just told you I was in the desert until yesterday, at precisely 11:38 PM, and then I spent the rest of the day in a hotel room collapsed on the bed drinking approximately 4 gallons of water! Anyway, we've gone off topic here. My letter told you precisely all that I know, that I am what I am. Other than that, I've got as much a clue as to what I am as you do, so we're both in the dark here." Roger stares blankly at him, still wondering who was staring at him on the balcony. "Sorry, no pun intended there. Speaking of which, let's turn on a few lights. I know you don't like the dark all that much, Roger." Wächterin snaps his fingers and the lights of the room switch on immediately, a wonder of technology to say the least, if it was technology that caused it.

"Thanks, so you really don't know what you are?"

"Just that I'm definetly not human, kiddo. By the way, you should move back a few steps if you don't want Dorothy staring up your robe in a minute" Roger gasps with a mixture of surprise and embarrassment as he stares down toward Dorothy, who indeed has her head positioned directly below his robe, he hastily moves back as suggested.

"Thanks for the warning. Wait a minute, why did you just do that?"

"Do what?"

"Help me keep Dorothy from seeing all manner of my secrets, like a friend would?"

"Oh that. Well, 1) I'd like to be your friend eventually and 2) Unlike two other people I know, I'm not a perverted freak with a fetish for the exotic embarrassment of others."

"Right, well thanks anyway. But why do you want to be my friend now, when last we met you were bent on killing me?"

"That? I'm not entirely sure myself, just part of a crazy message rattling around in those old memories of mine. Figures really, my memory never was that good. So, since that message is out of my head at last, I've decided to give you a hand at your Negotiations and all manner of other tasks at hand, particularly the matter of the Element Megadeuses."

"Element Megadeuses?"

"Yeah, y'know how each Megadeus seems to correspond to a single idea? The Element Megadeuses are the Megadeuses that correspond to a particular Element, like Big O and Earth."

"Okay, I understand that much. One last thing before I collapse from exhaustion. Wächterin, does this mean you want to stay here like R. Dorothy?" The room falls silent as the sun rises on the scene, and R. Dorothy stares at the two men from the floor...


NO SIDE

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