Guyver Fan Fiction ❯ Liberi Fatali ❯ North Wall Down ( Chapter 5 )
Author's Note: Yes, yes, I know I told some people that I would have this chapter up by Christmas, but this wasn't my fault! Honestly! Something happened to the family computer (the only one hooked up to the Internet) that erased Microsoft Word from the system, so I had no way to transfer the file to the Internet! Gomen! Blah… But, here it is regardless of what happened. You've been introduced to the four main characters of the story, so now, to much of your anticipation, the real story is about to begin! I have also been getting some reviews and e-mails asking rather interesting questions about how Vincent ties into the story, as he seems to be the odd man out and doesn't quite fit the same pattern as Fumio, Sarah (there is a reason why she has an American name, as well), and David (I'm aware that the movies weren't that good, but I hope David redeems them). I can say this much; this epic probably isn't anything what you guys have been expecting as far as a Guyver fanfiction goes!
Chapter 5: North Wall Down
By the time Saturday came around, Fumio had forgotten all about in incident with Eijirou in the alleyway.
Well, almost forgot all about it.
Fortunately, Eijirou or his posse apparently had not breathed so much as a word to anyone about the incident, which was one less worry off of Fumio's mind. If the wrong people got wind of the son of Sho Fukamachi had attacked four boys from his own school and nearly took their heads off with some strange power, the wrath would not fall on him, but rather on his parents, and he knew how ruthless the media could be.
No wonder why they call them "vultures"; they love to pick at you until only your bones remained.
All he had to do was make sure that nothing like that happened again, or else he had a suspicion that Eijirou would not remain quiet about it. Luckily for him, all four of them seemed to be extra careful in avoiding him, going to as much trouble as sidestepping out of the way whenever they passed in the hall. At first Fumio thought that maybe they were merely not smart enough to tell anyone, but he had to give them some credit. Or maybe they knew that if they told anyone they would end up getting into more trouble than Fumio; the vast majority, if not all, of the school board was well aware of Eijirou's infamous bullying records.
Or maybe it was because they were afraid of what Fumio could do to them if they let anyone know about what happened.
Of course, Fumio would never intentionally hunt them down if word of the incident got out - he just was not that type of person - but he certainly would not have been happy about it. And, unfortunately, when he got upset, which didn't happen very often (Thank God, his mind added), accidents happened, whether he wanted them to or not…
"Hey, Fumio! Are you almost ready?"
Hearing his father's voice even from over his headphones, Fumio removed them mentally, replacing them on his desk as his stereo turned off on its own. Although he would have been reluctant to admit it, he was looking forward to his cousin's birthday, although through past experiences, he already knew what most of it meant. For some reason, the fact that Naru had an older male cousin delighted all of her friends to no end, and, especially when they were younger, he had spent a good amount of time trying to peel himself out of the mass of girls that insisted on clinging on them. Not that he really minded, it was all in good fun, but he wondered that if even he had the energy and stamina to keep a pack of fourteen year old girls at bay for the next several hours.
Still, the thought amused him to no end, bringing a smile to his face as he set down the novel he was reading down on his desk next to his stereo and rolled himself into a sitting position. He was as ready as he would ever be; even on the weekends, most people would still consider Fumio's style of dress incredibly boring his age. When he was not wearing his school uniform, the extent of his dress involved a pair of jeans and usually a black shirt; fancy clothing never really interested him. He looked himself in the mirror once, and ran a hand through his thick black hair - it was useless to try to do anything with it. That trait came from his father.
Because he was in such a good mood, Fumio made a face into the mirror, a sort of silly grin that showed more teeth than a smile. Although it was a look that would have made most children take a few steps back in fright, for some reason it had always set Naru into a fit of giggles. The goofy smile transformed quickly into a real one at the thought. Fumio did not know what it was about his smile that made the girls blush the way they did, but he had always thought that girls were strange creatures.
"You get that from your father." Mizuki had once told him when they were at dinner at a restaurant not too long ago, when the waitress serving them went beet-red in the face when Fumio thanked her for their drinks. "The face of an angel, a smile that can melt a hundred hearts a minutes, but you're too darn shy to do anything but look away." This was something that Fumio had heard before; for some reason, his mother could not have been more pleased when Fumio inherited his father's so called "puppy-dog-soul", as she called it. And even though it was kind of embarrassing, Fumio never complained against it.
"Honey, I was never that bad." Sho pouted, stirring his straw around in his drink.
Mizuki smiled coyly at him. "Oh, and so that wasn't a wall you ran into back when we were freshmen? You remember, right Sho? I asked if I could come over to your house for a study session, and when you turned around you walked straight into the doorframe of the F-1 classroom." Her giggled turned into a sudden yelp as Sho made an attempt to shove an ice cube down the back of his wife's shirt.
The memory of that night still made Fumio laugh. It had been one of the few recent times that they had done anything as a family together and got the chance to feel like a normal family on a normal, Chronos-free outing. Usually, his parents were so busy with UFF issues that they did not have too many opportunities for these so-called "family times".
"I could get a girlfriend if I wanted." Fumio said to his own reflection. "The only problem is finding a girl willing to get close to me and not get scared off in the process."
"Fumio! You didn't fall in, did you? Come on, we're going to be late!" Once again, Fumio laughed, turning away from the mirror and grabbing up a small package that was sitting on his dresser, a tiny parcel wrapped in dark blue wrapping paper with a golden bow; Naru's birthday gift. It was a fine golden bracelet with tiny charms attached, a delicate piece of jewelry that she had pointed out to him one time. One thing that Fumio did pride himself in was that no matter what, he always seemed to have a knack at picking out the best gifts for her.
"Yeah, sorry about that." Fumio called down the stairs as he emerged from his room, seeing his mother and father waiting patiently by the front door. He slid gracefully and easily down the stair banister, landing lightly on his feet, looking very much like a feline as he did so.
"Show off." Fumio grinned. "So, do you want to drive over there tonight?" Sho asked as they left the house, and hardly expected an answer as the keys were suddenly yanked from his hand by and invisible string and flew straight into Fumio's open palm. Fumio had just turned sixteen a few months back, and therefore had not been of legal age to get his license, so he got in the practice whenever the opportunity presented itself. Of course, because he was a minor with a permit, he could only drive when in the car with an adult over twenty-five… and considering the fact that his parents usually did not have the time to take him out, every little bit counted.
Fumio's good mood was making him feel rather hyper and playful, a couple of emotions that he did not usually get to feel, much less exercise that often. Once he was inside the driver's seat, he played a quick game of "who-can-open-the-door-before-I-lock-it-again" with his parents before he finally let them get into the car and they were off, driving to the other end of the city where his uncle, aunt, and two younger cousins lived.
At least Fumio knew that the one real comfort they had whenever they went out as a family was that no one within the confines of the walls made an incredibly big deal about seeing them out on the streets, even through all the media and propaganda, nor did the UFF press on them to need of precautious protection. Well, I certainly hope not. Fumio thought as he slowed to a stop at the intersection, waiting for his light to turn green. That is, after all, the reason why the Walls of Tokyo were built in the first place.
It was hard to imagine the city before the massive, hundred-and-fifty-foot-high concrete and steel walls were erected, complete with their looming watchtowers and tall, wiry radar towers. Even from the ground Fumio could see the long, inch-thick spikes on the coils of the barbed wire on top of those walls, and could remember how the intricate and delicate DNA scanners at the Front Gate used to fascinate him when he was younger. Overall, the entire composure reminded him of some sort of strange, hybrid offspring of a medieval city and the foreboding walls of a World War II internment camp. Maybe it was the fact that Fumio was too young to remember much of the world before the Battle for Tokyo was the reason why he never really gave it a second thought. But the way the adults looked upon the walls and the six-inch-thick steel Gate doors was a mix on contempt and gratefulness, an expression that made Fumio curious and fascinated at the same time…
"Earth to Fumio!" His father's sudden voice broke through his clouded thoughts, jarring him back to the driver's seat. "It's your green light, bud."
"Oh, sorry." Fumio apologized, putting the car into gear and making his way carefully through the intersection. Overall, Fumio was a pretty good driver (he did not, as his friends predicted, drive like an old woman), but he had to work on those brief moments at a stoplight when his mind began to wander away from the road.
The front of his aunt and uncle's house was lined with cars of every type, and the porch was decorated with pastel-colored crepe paper and fat, colorful balloons, and the sound of heavy bass of blaring music reverberated off the neighboring houses. From the inside of the home, the sounds of kids laughing and joking and generally having a good time reached Fumio's ears, making him feel good all the way through. Then there was a happy squeal, drowning out all other sounds as a rambunctious, energetic girl of fourteen came bounding out from the crowd of kids and launching herself at Fumio, latching onto him tightly.
"Ugh!" Fumio grunted as his younger cousin did quite a job at knocking the wind out of him. "Hey, Naru! Happy birthday!"
"Yeay! You came, you came!" Naru exclaimed happily, bouncing up and down with so much energy that she was knocking her glasses askew. "I'm so happy! Come on, everyone's outside! Are you thirsty? Want me to get you something to drink? Ah! Aunt Mizuki, Uncle Sho! I'm so happy you could make it!" Naru detached herself from her Fumio's waist so she could turn her vice-like grip on his parents, giving him a chance to place her gift along with the others and giving him a chance to say hi to his aunt and uncle before he was swept away again. He did not get very far before he heard another happy cry and a second later he was again tackled by a second whirlwind if hyperactive energy that, once it stopped moving, Fumio recognized as Naru's six-year-old little sister, Sachi. Sachi, her fine black hair done up in pigtails, hugged him tightly about his legs before proudly showing him the teeth that she lost since the last time that they had seen each other last, a gaping black hole where her front teeth once were. Fumio humored her by acting surprised, and was able to talk her into a piggyback ride to give him a chance to converse with the adults before he was tackled by Naru again.
Tetsuro, his mother's brother, and his wife Natsuki were in the kitchen, conversing with a handful of other adults that Fumio briefly recognized as some of his parent's co-workers from the UFF, all here with their children who were Naru's friends. It was not uncommon that the majority of her friend's parents worked in the UFF; it had been a very promising career opportunity for almost non-processed citizens when it was established, which was around the time that Fumio was born. A lot of them knew Fumio as well, as his parents were kind of important figures to the anti-Chronos force, and so after saying "Hello" to his aunt and uncle, he was hit with a barrage of standard questions whose answers had long ago become automatic. How's school going? How are your parents doing (on a more personal level rather than how they were at work, which was usually being stressed)? How are you doing on your driving? Any thoughts to what school you want to go to after graduation? All of these questions had answers that did not require a second thought, and they were also questions that he was getting tired at answering at every single gathering that he was at. They made him uneasy, for some reason, as if they were really masks to hide the real feeling and questions that were going through the adult's minds. He never thought he would have been grateful when Naru found him again and dragged him to the backyard, where the real party was taking place.
"Have you ever imagined it would turn out like this?" Mizuki asked solemnly, watching the kids laughing and dancing from where she stood in the kitchen. She could not help but to laugh at the sight that her son was making among the younger guests. Fumio had been heavily involved with his martial arts group since he was six years old, and at age sixteen, was already at his third-level black belt. She had seen him take on five fully-grown men at a time and take them all out in the space of mere seconds, break stone bricks up to six inches thick with his bare hand and outrun what were considered to be the best athletes of his school. He was the top fighter of his kendo club and could move as fluidly as water, defeating his opponents before they even saw him coming. And yet, he never seemed to get the hang of the concept of dancing. His attempt to keep in time with a beat could flatter a headless chicken.
"Turned out like what?" Tetsuro asked absently, counting out fourteen candles onto Naru's pastel-colored birthday cake.
"Have you ever thought that we would be raising our children in a world like this? Inside the steel walls of an oversized military base, just one out of the many settled in the remains of a broken world?" Although no one responded verbally, Mizuki could see the agreement in their eyes. All of the adults in the room remembered the years "before" Chronos, back when they were ignorant of the mega cooperation that was taking over the world bit by bit under their noses, back when their lives seemed normal and innocent.
"Well…" Natsuki began slowly, casting a careful glance to the backyard. "They don't seem to be minding it too much. I mean, ignorance is bliss, right?"
"It's because they don't know any better." One of the Fukamachi's co-workers said almost sourly. "Most of the kids out there were too young to even remember the Battle for Tokyo, which practically happened in their front lawns. Even your boy wasn't any more than a toddler when it took place."
"It could have been a lot worse." Sho said in his normal, optimistic tone of voice. "At least our kids aren't growing up in a world completely dominated by Chronos. The UFF, as troublesome as they are sometimes, has done its share in keeping them at bay."
"Here, here!" Some of the other adults cheered, who were clearly not in the mood for darker thoughts, and the conversation ended right there. This was supposed to be a happy time right now, one of the few that they were granted. They could worry about affairs with Chronos when they got back to the office on Monday morning.
Still, Mizuki wore an uneasy frown, and sensing his wife's discomfort, Sho slipped an arm around her shoulders and gave her a reassuring hug. Only he, and maybe his brother and sister in-law could understand how she really felt. They all felt the same way she did, actually, deep down inside. No one in this room had been there, quite literally, from the very beginning. They were not present when they were almost pummeled by a falling Guyver unit from the sky, to watch it consume your best friend like some sort of monstrous alien parasite, only to be attacked by even stranger and more deadly monsters a few moments later. For the last twenty years they had been in the very front lines of the battles, seeing the killing, the flowing blood and the glistening entrails, friends and family being wounded, even killed, during those long, hard battles right before your eyes, and although it felt like you had all the power in the world, you were still unable to stop it…
Sho shuddered, pushing those thoughts from his mind. They would never be images he could get used to, nor were they images or memories he should get used to. If anything else, he was grateful that they had all kept their lives and their sanity as long as they had. They were just lucky that, for the time being, all their kids had to worry about was passing their latest math exam.
"Ye of little faith, Mom. Cheer up." Mizuki nearly gave a start as she turned to see her son leaning over the counter, grinning at her. No one had seen him approach. "I may not have much of an opinion, seeing I'm just a kid and all, but if you ask me, I think we have a real advantage over them. We've been watching the old news broadcasts at school, and you can really see the difference in their style of fighting, even after the Time of Silence. Chronos is beginning to loose it; they're becoming really sloppy."
"He has a point." Tetsuro said, wiping his hands on his pants. "They're being a lot more careful than they used to be after the Time of Silence, but it looks like it's more out of fear than just caution. I guess that they figured that two Guyvers was bad enough, but then you throw in that guy from America and it makes the situation more difficult for them. And have any of you heard the story about what happened to the Chronos Air Transport team about a year back?" Apparently not, since everyone gave him blank looks. Blank, but still extremely interested. "I was just given access to this information a few weeks back, but it happened somewhere just south of Central America; Chronos was trying to get something to a research facility there. The UFF hired Zeus' Thunderbolts to take out the fleet, but when Chronos found out about that, they set up a ground retaliation to stop them." It was no shock that the two "cracked codes" were found out by each other. Somehow, it was becoming more and more difficult for Chronos and the UFF to sneak up on each other anymore. "Since there was the battle on the ground, the Thunderbolts were having a difficult time trying to stop the fleet, when something unseen took out the entire cargo fleet out from mid-air. Something fast, powerful, and very large; all the planes were down in less than a minute."
"Really…" Another one of the UFF employees said in near amazement. "Was it a random act? I mean, did it appear to be with us, or independent?"
"No one knows." Tetsuro said, his voice lowering instinctively lower. It was a tale-tell sign that they were speaking of rather confidential material, and it was probably better for Fumio to take his leave, but the news of an unseen force taking down quite a few planes the size of B-52s had certainly caught his attention. "It was too fast to get a visual pictures, and thermal scanners were unable to pick up a biological signal. What was interesting, however, was that they did pick up a signal on the psychic scanners."
There was a small chorus of gasps amongst those listening in, and it perked Fumio's curiosity to a new level. That also was something to marvel. Hey did not know too much about the instruments used during battle (actually, he probably knew more than what was safe for a normal citizen), but he knew that the so-called "psychic scanners" were used to pick up high-frequency brain waves that might have been emitted over the battle field. They did not do much other than alert the UFF that a Zoalord was present and to take extra precautions, but this thing, whatever it was, had cast a physical image back to their radars, and he came to the hasty conclusion that this thing was a physical body of pure psychic energy. Of course, that was physically impossible. Even if brainwaves that strong could create some sort of image, it would only be a holograph, and they signal thrown at it would pass through it, as it would have nothing to bounce back on.
"Has it come back since that day?"
"Not that I heard of. Whatever it was, that was the most damage it did, but even if there were other incidents, it probably won't get back to use for a while. But there are reports of other strange events happening during the battles that the Thunderbolts might be involved in. Fire and ice erupted on the field, in the middle of Chronos bases for no apparent reason, or the Zoanoids collapsing from what appears to be temporary insanity, but we so far have received no idea in where their sources lie."
"The important thing is to know where they come from, and what side they're on." A woman spoke, a hint of terror in her already quaking voice.
"It appears that these things, whatever's causing them, are with us, as there have only been Chronos casualties. But if they're all connected to Zeus' Thunderbolt…" Tetsuro shook his head, his face reflecting the look that Fumio had often seen when he spoke of the rebellion force. "Then there's really no telling until we get more information."
There was several questions that Fumio wanted to ask at this point, but before he had the chance to get even one out, he caught his father's eyes as Sho cast a glance back at him, then gave a small, quick jerk with his head towards the back door. Fumio read the message loud and clear; for his own sake, it was probably a good idea to take his leave before anyone noticed that he had been listening in. He might have been the son of one of the three Guyvers, but that did not give him special privileges to be listening into seemingly secret business of the UFF. Nodding in return, Fumio slipped out of the kitchen as silently as he had entered and made his way back to the backyard to rejoin the party.
The rest of the party was continuing as planned - kids dancing, laughing, having a good time - but Fumio was suddenly feeling detached from the light attitude as he made his way around the throng of junior high students and went to sit on a garden bench near the back wall of the yard. Whenever he was tipped off with an intriguing bit of news, this mind got into this annoying habit of thinking too much on the subject, and he always seemed incapable of doing anything but sitting down to ponder the situation.
Sometimes he wished that he could be of more help to his dad whenever he was called into battle for any reason. The worse part about it was that Fumio knew that he could help, and a lot at that. Picking up a speeding car had been child's play for him, and that had been three years ago, and taking the fact that he knew his powers had been growing since then into consideration, he knew he could do a lot more damage than just chucking some cars around. Speaking of growing powers…
His mind unwittingly strayed back to the day that those strange lasers of light he had shot from his fingers. If they were strong enough to cut through glass, steel and stone without so much of a flaw, then what could it do to biological flesh? He was more than sure that even the most heavily armored Zoanoid could not stand up to those things; they had seemed pretty powerful. And if his telekinesis abilities were still growing, who knew how powerful they would be in a month's time? A year's time? This lead him thinking to a topic that he tried to avoid most of the time, but it somehow slipped in anyway. It was not a new concept to him, but every time he thought of it, it sent an unwanted and very much uncomfortable shiver down his spine.
He had often heard the theory that when a human was given a certain power through the processing procedure, that he could only hold so much power as his energy would allow (this was, however, excluding the effects of a G-unit on the human body). Zoanoids may be fearsome monsters with the capabilities of doing incredible and terrible things, but they were still running on a human core. Even those whose powers grew beyond what was expected - the so-called "Lost Numbers" - or those that were granted with strength far superior to the standard Zoanoid, such as the Zoalords, were still operating on that human energy, which was as static as any law of physics. Still, there were the acceptations, as few and far between as they were. This was something that Fumio could only speak to a very unique friend about, as they both shared a common similarity with strange and growing powers, as it made his parents and uncle nervous whenever he tried to bring it up; what happened to those who exceeded or exhausted that human energy? He had asked his friend this question, and even he looked pale and reluctant to give Fumio a straightforward answer. The only real answer he got was an analogy to stars.
The event was explained in relevance to the end of a star's life (Fumio noted almost right away how carefully the word "death" was avoided), and that there were two different ways a star could end its life, depending on the type of star. One of those ends was that the star would simply exhaust its life energy and fizzle out to nothing more than a White Dwarf, a body so small compared to the vastness of the universe that it was virtually undetectable. The second way was much more violent and huge, in which the star simply refused to go out quietly, and the energy would build up upon itself until the dying star went supernovae.
So if my power keeps growing unchecked… Fumio thought bleakly. Then that means I'm either going to fizzle into nothingness, or…
The shudder came on right then, ending all further thoughts that might have continued at that point. I'm not a star. He thought fiercely to himself, as if denying his own destiny that was not even certain to happen. I'm not going to disappear or explode. Still… He looked down at his hand, studying the creases of his palm and the intricate swirls of his fingertips. This shouldn't be something that should be taken lightly. I have to tell somebody. Tomorrow. And besides, I got nothing to be afraid of. Mom and Dad shouldn't freak out too badly. Well, I might not be too sure about Mom, but it's not like Dad didn't have to keep any secrets at one time of his life or another.
"Wow, you must be seeing something I can't, because I've never seen anybody be so interested in their hand." The bright voice above him jarred him almost violently out of his own thoughts as Fumio looked up and saw Naru beaming down at him. She grabbed his hand and began to tug at it persistently. "C'mon, you didn't come here to sit in the corner and think all night. Apparently you get plenty of time to do that at home. Aunt Mizuki says that you don't get out nearly as much as you should, so carpe diem and let's party!"
Fumio smiled and nodded. She was right. This was no time for such dark thoughts. Besides, he had to enjoy this for her; it meant so much to his cousin that he made it to her party, so he might as well should try to enjoy it while he was here. It wasn't like he was invited to a whole lot of parties, either. "You're right, Naru-chan." He said, rising from the bench. "I guess I'm just boring by nature, but maybe you can help me get out of…"
He was unable to finish his sentence as the deafening roar of an explosion erupted into the night air.
Fumio instinctively shielded Naru's body with his own as they, as well as every other kid in the backyard, threw themselves to the ground, covering their heads and the backs of their necks with their hands like a second nature. Once he realized that he was not being pummeled by falling debris, Fumio looked up and saw black smoke immediately curling into the dusky sky. Adults began to stream out of the house as the party guests, most of which looking thoroughly terrified, tried to get back in, and the shouts and screams of the frightened neighbors were suddenly everywhere. "Naru, get to your parents, and stay indoors." Fumio told her without taking his eyes off the sky. Naru nodded and ran with the others, but instead of going to join her, Fumio made a fast break for the gnarly oak tree that was growing near the back of his uncle's house. With one clean jump he had grabbed a hold of the lower branches and continued to scale it like a cat, finally getting up high enough so he was on the roof of the two-storied structure to get a better view of the city.
The damage had actually happened closer than he had expected. From the top of the roof he could see the perimeter of the north wall, but it was what had happened to it that made Fumio's blood run cold. Where the wall had once been very solid and secure there was now a massive gaping hole bordered by fire and belching oily black smoke into the air, and even though it was still far away, Fumio's sharp eyes could see Zoanoids streaming through the hole.
Holy good God… I never thought that they would have the balls to attack the city directly! And with a surprise attack like this… FUCK! They can overrun the city in an hour!
"Dad!" he shouted down from the roof when his father emerged. "It's Chronos, and they've taken down the north wall! How long until the UFF gets a retaliation formed?"
"Not soon enough. Fumio, stay here and help your mother keep the guests calm! Be ready to help with a neighborhood evacuation, if it comes down to it!"
No… He's nuts! There has to be a thousand Zoanoids coming in, and God knows how many others are waiting! And since he's in the city limits, he can't use any of the heavy-duty weapons… "Dad, don't, you won't last…!" But Fumio was unable to finish as Sho ran back through the house, out the front door and down the deserted street. There was a blinding flash of light that was the telltale sign of his transformation, and then he was gone.
Never before had Fumio felt so helpless. There had been mini-battles around the city walls since the War for Tokyo that he had witnessed on occasion, but this one was the first one since then that was practically at their front doors, and as of the moment it was one against several thousand, and it was going to take the registered UFF soldiers within the city at least ten minutes to gather together for a counterattack. Chances were that there were some pretty strong Zoanoids in the crowd, and probably quite a few Hyper-Zoanoids and, even worse, a good collection of Enzymes that he knew could tear apart any biological armor in seconds when they attacked in numbers. The UFF might have been prepared for this sort of attack on the long run, but they had been completely taken floored and unprepared for the element of surprise…
This was not good. And the worse thing was that he could help, but he was just sitting here…
"Fumio! Get off the roof, we need to get the others to safety!" Mizuki called from the ground, gesturing frantically to him to come down, but Fumio's mind was spinning. This is it, Fukamachi. Do you run… or do you do something about it, and you damn well know that you can!
Fumio met his mother's gaze for a split second, then bit his lip and looked away. "…sorry, Mom, but Dad will get clobbered before anyone backup arrives… I'm sorry…" Blocking Mizuki's frantic cries behind him, Fumio took off at a sprint across the roof of the house, leaping agilely from rooftop to rooftop as he made his way to the scene of the battle.
All around the city, the Evacuation Sirens began to wail.
The closeness of the houses gave Fumio enough traction under her feet to make his way to the North Wall quickly, and the resident homes (which had been quickly evacuated as soon as the wall fell, no doubt), gave way to low-rising business buildings, then to much larger residential structures that marked the edge of the city. He was not even breathing hard when his feet touched down lightly on the graveled roof of a building that housed a phone company, and he barely paused for an instant before seizing a ladder and hauling himself up the side of a taller building quickly so he could get a better look at what was going on around him. He just hoped that they didn't have any Flyers with them. From this height, the ground troops would be unable to see his from this height, but Flyers could give away his who plan… whatever that happened to be, that was.
Zoanoids were flowing down the streets, smashing every object in their path, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Luckily the citizens of Gated Tokyo had cleared out to the shelters before they had entered too far into the city, so he hoped that there would be few civilian casualties before this whole thing was over. Fumio also hoped that Chronos was unaware of those underground shelters that lay almost five hundred feet below the streets. If they did, then all those defenseless people would be sitting ducks with no other means of escape.
There did not appear to be any Flyers as of that moment, but Fumio still dropped to his hands and knees to slink to the edge of the building to look over more carefully. From what he could see from this height, they all looked to be standard models… So what was Chronos up to? Still, there were more enough to outnumber even the fabled Gigantic Guyver Unit could stand up too for very long. They would swarm over him like ants; the big Amazon type, that was.
A bright bar of light flashed before Fumio's eyes and he was just able to throw his hands up in front of his face to block the harsh glare as a building a few blocks away from him exploded. Valmores. He thought bitterly, knowing what they were even before he turned around. Sure enough, a good three or four dozen of them were lining the sections of the wall that were still standing, their biolazers open and powering up for an attack that could easily level the north sector of the city. Well, we can't have that now, can we?
Fumio focused his attention to the wall while at the same time building up an impressive amount of telekine energy within his very being before releasing it onto its target. The entire city seemed to shudder once as a single body, and a ripple moved through the buildings, speeding towards the North Wall with such force that the buildings actually moved with the earth as it heaved, and the parts of the wall that remained intact cracked like a whip, sending all the Zoanoids perched on top it flying. Despite his earlier concern with his growing powers, Fumio could not help but to smile; that was pretty cool. It had also done a job in knocking most of the ground troops on their feet as well. Now, to take advantage of the situation…
To his great fortune, the Zoanoids were only streaming down the streets of a few blocks, which meant it was easier to contain them for the time being. If they got any much further than where Fumio was standing, than they would spread out and would much harder to keep under control. But now was the perfect opportunity to take out a good-sized fraction of the invading army, if he could just figure out how to do it…
There. Just what he was looking for; fate certainly seemed to be on his side tonight. Across the street and a ways down from him from where he stood, looming over the downed masses of monsters, was an older building built out of thick bricks and mortar, the windows bordered up and heavy graffiti sprawled across its first story walls. On the front door hung a very promising sign: "Danger: Do not Enter. Building Evicted due to structure collapse", and under it a date scheduling it for demolition. The debris from something that big would cover the streets at least two blocks either way… This was more than perfect.
Focusing his powers again, Fumio made a mental picture of the foundation and most primary supports of the building, all wore down and decaying from age and the elements, creaking and rotting under its own weight. Then he imagined what it would look like if those structures started to break; the wood would bend slightly before splintering into a million fragments, the mortar would crumble to dust and the bricks fall out of line like a dropped stack of playing cards before the whole edifice collapsed in a spectacular storm of dust and debris. But that image was suddenly more than a picture that the boy held in his mind; there was a groan that quickly swelled into a thunderous crashing as it appeared the building had been seized by its very foundation and tipped upwards to fall onto the street on its side. Terrified shouts of the Zoanoids could be briefly heard before with an earth-shaking crash, the building collapsed fully onto the street, taking out everything that lay in its shadow with enough debris left over to hinder the path of anything still trying to come down that street.
Well, that takes care of this side of the town. Better see how Dad's doing, although the UFF should be on their way by now…
Scrambling down the side of the building via a fire escape, Fumio made his way carefully down to the street, keeping a sharp lookout for any stragglers who might have avoided the falling building and disappeared into an alleyway, making his way stealthily to the opposite side of town. It was important that he kept a low profile, and that any UFF soldiers in the area did not see him slinking around in the middle of a battle zone; if he was caught, he would be set up into a confinement area until his parents were informed, but that was not the part he had to be worried about. What he had to be concerned about was that, if he was caught, he had to explain to them exactly what he was doing in the middle of the battle, and that could possibly lead to questioning about the strange events that rocked the very foundations of the city…
Fumio ran down another bleak ally, growing darker from the coming dusk, and it was for that cover that he had to be grateful for since he almost ran into a squad of Zoanoids that were running down the adjacent street at that instant. He pressed back into the shadows, making himself seem virtually invisible to the keen senses of the troops as they ran by (a helpful little trick he learned when he used to avoid Eijirou on the days he just did not feel like fighting). Too dangerous on the ground… I better get higher up again. His sharp eyes flashed across the darkened ally when they came to rest on the sight of another fire escape, which was quickly scaled until he was once again high above the scene of the fight. Not more than a few streets away he could see flashes of light and the screams of the dying monsters, and the scent of burnt flesh and the metallic bite of blood reached his nostrils. No doubt that would be where he would find his dad fighting the masses, and Fumio could help him win all the faster. This was a piece of cake. Maybe they could be back in time to enjoy some of Naru's birthday cake by the time this was over.
But it's too risky to go back on the ground. Fumio decided as he noticed another wave of Chronos troops coming down the road. It looked as if he would not have much of a choice, until he caught sight of an abandoned cherry-picker truck on the side of the road, the long crane and bucket extended half-way over the street and within jumping distance of a balcony of an apartment building. And only Fumio was crazy enough to actually try to make that. It's now or never… He thought as he used another fire escape to get himself closer to the extended neck of the crane. It's not like I got a lot to loose… Well, considering the fact that I got a small army of Zoanoids below me and the likely chance of missing entirely, I guess I do. But what other choice am I left with?
Taking a deep breath, Fumio gave his fate to faith and jumped. It was not a long jump, but it was the concept that he was aiming for something a lot less stable than a rooftop to land on that made his leap shaky. His heart leapt into his throat, but he was greeted with a rush of relief as he landed on the smooth orange medal, flailing his arms once to catch his balance. That was part one of two completed; now came the hard part. The leap from the bucket of the cherry picker to the wrought iron balcony was much longer with even less landing space. In fact, there was no landing space; he would have to grab onto the banister and haul himself up from there. He made his way carefully to the end of the crane and jumped into the bucket, one foot raised and placed on the rim, ready to push him off in this one extremely risky jump.
You're putting quite a large bet on this one, Fukamachi, and you're running out of time, on top of that. I doubt that the Zoanoids will let this truck stand when they came by… Just take a deep breath, and… go!
The jump itself went relatively well. The landing, however, was another story.
Fumio had not expected to be the building to be as old and rotting as the one he had brought down only moments before. And the sudden jolting weight of a sixteen-year-old boy suddenly baring down on the old balcony was simply too much for the rusted supports to take, and with a groan and a snap, the entire balcony broke away from the brick walls and down he fell, landing with a hard thud on the street and rolling out of the way a heartbeat before the twisted iron crashed down right where he had been. A dull ache pulsed through Fumio's side but he made himself stand on shaky feet, relieved to at least know that nothing was broken. That would have been the worse of his injuries, had there been any, in fear that the bone would set wrong; anything else would heal itself within moments.
Well, that certainly sounded better than it actually was; I should make a note to myself to never try something like that again. Now the only matter at hand is…
In his moment of wonder at his own temporary stupidity, Fumio had forgotten about the squadron of Zoanoids that had been making their way down the street when he jumped, and know he was looking straight into the faces of a hundred pairs of monstrous, animal-like eyes, and each one held a look that chillingly resembled a cat that had spotted a blinded and defenseless mouse.
Well, crap. This certainly isn't going as planned. Now what, Fukamachi?
"Hey, kid." A Gregole-type Zoanoid sneered at him. "Where the fuck did you come from?"
Fumio, undaunted by the threat that was facing him, brushed the dust off his jeans in a way to collect his composure that he was sure that he had lost in his fall. If the guys from school ever found out about that, then I'll never hear the end of it. "Just out for a stroll at sundown." He said coolly, narrowing his violet eyes at the enemy soldiers as he dropped the light attitude. "But I suppose that the same can't be applied to you. What the hell are you doing inside the Gates?"
"That's none of your fucking business." A Ramothes snarled. "Now get out of our way before…"
"Hold it." Another Zoanoid said curtly, extending a heavily muscled arm to stop the advance of his comrades. "I know him. That's Guyver I's bastard kid." Fumio drew himself up indignantly. "Makes me almost glad that we ran into him, now. Fukamachi wouldn't dare hurt us if we had his kid with us. Come on, let's grab him!"
His best interests told him to turn and flee, but Fumio stood his ground as the Chronos troops began to advance upon him, intending no doubt on using him for a human shield. Fumio did not run, however; he did not join this fight to run away, but right now he was running out of ideas. It was perhaps a little unnerving to the Zoanoids that this seemingly normal kid, vastly outnumbered, was standing unblinking at his would-be captors, because they hesitated their advance, buying him some time.
"Hey kid, what the hell's wrong with you? Are you stupid or something? Why aren't you trying to get away? Calling dear old daddy to help you?"
I really wish they would stop calling me "kid". There is something I can do, though… But can I risk it? And will it be strong enough to take them all down? Well, its better than nothing, and I am sort of at the end of my rope here…
Fumio raised one hand so it was level with his chest, palm and fingers straight and flat as he summoned up the one feeling that he knew for certain would conjure up enough energy to make this work. He thought of all the mild agitation that he usually felt towards Chronos and fed his current frustrations and anger into it, like adding fuel to a growing flame. He thought of everything about the cooperation that made him angry. All the death and destruction and ruined lives, the broken families, the fact that it was because of them that was usually keeping him separated from his own parents. Hardly anything good came out of Chronos, and it was a well-confirmed fact that they destroyed for the sake of destroying, killed for the pleasure of killing.
And the worse part of the whole thing was that they had ruined Naru's birthday party. This time, they had gone too far.
Violet eyes flashing, Fumio swept his arm our at the Zoanoids in a wide, graceful arch, bringing his other arm around in the same manner, hoping to double his firepower. What he got out of it was much, much more than what he expected. Instead of the razors appearing from just the ends of his fingers, his whole hand was illuminated in bright blue light before he unleashed his attack upon the Zoanoids. The twin lasers that had sprung forth dwarfed anything that he had created before and they moved so quickly that they practically screamed through the air. The Zoanoids never stood a chance as they lasers tore through them as if they were no more solid than mist.
And eerie calm filled the street and all was completely silent save for the crackling fire and the fading sirens in the distance. For one long moment, nothing moved, until the Zoanoids began to slide apart in neat, clean sections from where Fumio's attack had passed through them. Fumio flinched at the stomach-turning sound of wet thuds of dismembered sections of bodies hitting the pavement, and he had to fight back a wave of nausea before his mind cleared again.
I… I did it! And it was just as I thought; we definitely have the upper hand in this battle! Hang on, Dad, I'm on my…
Fumio was unable to get very far when he turned around and ran almost full-force into two men that had come up from behind him. Not Zoanoids; the situation that he suddenly found himself in was much, much worse. These were officers from the UFF, and they had probably been standing there long enough to have seen everything.
"And exactly are you doing out here, son?" The tone in which the first man asked was far from being either friendly or comforting. Then again, it was to be expected. For some reason, the more common officers of the UFF, which did not function any different from any other police force, had a bad habit of turning into a royal dick whenever they put the uniform on, and they enjoyed pushing others around. 'To serve and protect' my ass. Fumio tried to speak, only to find that his throat had gone completely dry, and so he only swallowed instead. He could not even try to back out of this one; he had been caught red-handed. "And, more importantly, maybe you can start by explaining to us what it was that you just did."
Damn. Fumio felt as if he had been double-trapped, if there were such a thing, and the pit of his stomach felt like it fell to his shoes. "I, uh… well, that is…"
"I thought I recognized you." The second man spoke up. "You're Fukamachi's boy. Now, isn't this ironic. The son of the man who dedicates his whole life to defending the lives of the people, and he's running around with an unregistered power."
The last two words slammed into Fumio like a ton of bricks, driving whatever hope he had of making an escape, no matter how thin of a shred that hope was, into the ground with him. Unregistered powers. One of the deals that went up with the Walls of Tokyo that any processed human, whether it be a soldier of the UFF, or a rouge set loose by Chronos for later use, was allowed to live inside the walls under one condition; they had to be registered. Zoanoid type as well as all powers and any physical abilities had to be recorded, and then the registered Zoanoid was tattooed with an ID number on his arm. The UFF said it was for insurance policy, so the families of the Zoanoid could be paid a royalty if he was killed during battle, but Fumio knew that that excuse was a load of bull-shit. He, as well as many of the other employees who held higher positions in the UFF knew it was a ploy of oppression. True, it had its positive side; they could not exactly having unchecked Zoanoids running around within a confinement that was established for the sole purpose of protecting people from Chronos attacks. Fumio had heard too many stories of times when his father and the few who had fought Chronos, long ago, would wander into a "sleeping nest", as it was called; a small populated area in which all the unaware and ignorant inhabitants were processed, ready to dive into battle at a Zoalord's command. But still, no matter what its good side was, registering Zoanoids made the system no better than a World War II internment camp by treating all those innocent people like they were less than human.
But the thought of being put on trial before the UFF, to be poked and prodded by lab technicians and machines until they found out every possible secret he might hold… and then to be marked for life like some condemned criminal…
"Wait!" Fumio said and tried to back away from the officers, only to find that the first one had restrained his arm in a surprisingly strong grip. "You got it all wrong! I'm not a Zoanoid, how can I be? Just let me go, its business between me and my parents…"
"I'm afraid that we can't do that." The second officer sneered down at him. Apparently there was something about talking down to the kid of one of the strongest men in the world that made him feel very powerful. "I'm sure you're a bright kid, and therefore you know the rules, no exceptions. All those in possession of an unnatural ability must be registered, or therefore faces expulsion from the city of Gated Tokyo."
"Ex…expulsion? You got to be kidding me! Let go, aren't you even going to read me my rights? Do I get a phone call, even?" But fighting was useless, as the two officers already began to lead him down the street, no doubt towards the UFF Tokyo Branch Headquarters that had been built about the same time the walls had been. This was all wrong, so horribly wrong. Within the next hour his parents, who were no doubt already frantic enough as it was from his sudden disappearance towards the scene of the battle, would receive a call that their son was in the custody of the UFF, under arrest for violation of Law umpteenth, Sector something-or-other, about using an unregistered power that was strong enough to take out half of the invading force. What would his parents have to say to that? His blood ran cold with the dreaded thought.
Fumio knew that he could escape - a well landed blow to the solar plexus would take out these two weenies with no effort - but it would do nothing to his current situation than make it worse, and he knew what the "worse" was. Wanting to keep the trouble down to an absolute minimum, he obeyed and followed, his mind in a churning turmoil, making him unable to think or feel clearly. All that he could really concentrate on was his own doomed fate, at the young age of sixteen.
Man, Eijirou will probably die laughing when he reads about this tomorrow.
A heavy hand suddenly clamped down on his shoulder, jarring Fumio out of his near-trance and making him cry out in alarm.
"I can take it from here, gentlemen."
The two officers whirled around, looking ready to dish out a whole world of hurt to the person who was messing with their prisoner, but they simultaneously paled when they saw just exactly who it was that had caught their attention. Fumio made an effort to twist around to see who it was too - the task was more difficult than he thought, as the man who had his hand on his shoulder was surprisingly strong - and relief washed through him like a cool wave, extinguishing his anxiety.
From even behind his dark sunglasses, Fumio could see the big man's eyes flash down at him, and Fumio's exuberance was put out as quickly as it had been ignited. Aptom may have come to help him out of the UFF's clutches, but that did not mean that he was any less caught than he had been a moment before.
"Y-yes, sir, but you know the law. All…"
"I know the laws." Aptom shot back dangerously, and the two officers cowered back as if they had been physically struck. "But this is a different case than dealing with a common Zoanoid, and one that the boy and his parents must deal with on a personal level before the law comes into effect. Now, if you'll excuse us, I must escort young mister Fukamachi back to his parents. You are dismissed." The officers, who were now visibly shaking, made hasty, sloppy bows and retreated, all but running down the street. Once they were out of sight, Fumio couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief once more.
"Thanks, Aptom, I really…" He was cut short with a choke when Aptom seized a handful of the back of Fumio's shirt and began to steer him down the road, back in the direction towards his aunt and uncle's house.
"What the hell were you doing all the way out here, Fumio?" Aptom demanded, not loosening his vice-like grip. "Your parents are in an absolute uproar, and your mother was about ready to skin me herself had I not found you right away. Are you crazy, going out into the middle of a battle like that? Have you not heard about the stories that Sho used to tell you about the battles?"
"Dad was going against all those Zoanoids alone, and the UFF was dragging its ass! What could I do, just sit back and watch the crap get kicked out of him?" It was relatively hard to talk; the collar of his shirt was doing a good job at cutting off his air supply. "Will you let me go, I can walk by myself! It's not like I can't take care of myself, either. You know more about my 'secret'," He made quotation marks with his fingers, figuring that it wasn't much of a secret anymore. "than almost anyone else! They were pushovers, Aptom, and I was able to take them!"
"I don't call that being able to take care of yourself. I call it sheer dumb fucking luck." Aptom released his grip on Fumio's shirt, but not any more gently than he had been holding it, and Fumio was thrown off balance for a few steps before he regained his footing, rubbing the back of his neck. "Besides, don't you worry about your dad. There hasn't been anything up to date that he's faced that he hasn't been able to stand up to. Believe me, this is coming out of personal experience." Fumio only snorted, thrusting his hands into his pockets as he sulked behind Aptom, neither one of them speaking on the long walk home. There were times when Fumio hated the man as much as he respected him.
"So what about this new power?"
"What are you talking about?"
"I've known you your whole life, Fumio, and there hasn't been an incident at one time or another where you haven't come to me about something new going on with that power of yours. When did that one appear?"
"…about a week ago."
"Has it ever been that strong?"
"No, that was the first time that it cut down so much. But the first time it happened, it was cutting steel pipes in half."
"Were you planning on telling your parents, any time soon?"
Fumio shrugged. "I dunno. You know how they get. Mom has enough worries enough as it is, and Dad… well, he worries too, maybe even more so than Mom does. I can see it in his eyes, even if he doesn't say it right out, like Mom does. They got enough going on without having to deal with me and my personal problems. One more thing to stress about is the last thing that they need."
Aptom nodded, the hostile attitude that they held against each other finally fading. "That might be true, but you have to remember, you're their only son, first and foremost before anything else. They might be defending the world against Chronos, but you're still their top priority. They've been through a lot, Fumio, and lucky enough to have had you in the midst of all the shit they had to put up with. I don't think that they want to see their only kid get torn to shreds by the very thing they had been fighting against all these years, do you?"
Fumio bowed his head, his bangs hiding his eyes. "…no."
Aptom paused for a moment, hanging back until Fumio caught up with him. "Listen, I know you want to help, but believe me kid, it's not worth it, in the long run." He said in the most comforting way possible, putting his hand again on Fumio's shoulder as they walked. "All the killing and fighting… it gets old after a while. There are times when I wish I could turn away from it, but I know I can't, no matter what. Chronos took the ability to have a normal life away from me forever, kid, but they haven't done it to you. You have more choices right now than most people in this entire city involving your level of involvement in this war, and so take my advice and stay as far away from it as possible. You don't want to lead a life like that, you got way too much potential. So take one worry off your parent's mind, and stay out of the battles. If you want to take stress off of them, that's the best way to go."
This time, Fumio said nothing, and the conversation ended right there. They were silent until they reached his uncle's house.
"Fumio!" His mother's voice was the first thing to reach his ears when he stepped through the front door. Despite the threat of impending destruction that lay just blocks away from them, the rest of the city was intact and untouched from the invasion. All the guests had left the home; Tetsuro was talking to Sho, who was thankfully in one piece and uninjured, and Natsuki sat on the couch, comforting her two frightened daughters. Fumio only barely looked up and smiled faintly as Mizuki all but threw herself at him and embraced him in a crushing hug. "My God, we were so worried about you! Are you hurt? Are you okay, sweetie?"
"Mom, I'm fine. Really."
Relief replaced fear in Mizuki's face, but it quickly clouded over into that of terrified anger. "In that case, you are so grounded, young man!"
"Fumio, what were you thinking, running off into the battle like that?" The tone in Sho's voice was stern as he approached his son as well, but was still heavily infused with worry and fear. "You could have been killed out there!"
Fumio did not respond, but only cast his eyes downward, hiding his eyes from his parents. Normally, he would have a string of reasons of why he did what he did, but his silence was a serious sign, and both Mizuki and Sho lost their steam as quickly as it had come on. "Fumio? What's wrong?"
There was a long, drawn out pause as Fumio thought of the right words to say.
"…Mom…Dad…I got something I need to tell you."
To be Continued….
Author's Note ^2: Woot! Aptom's back! You didn't think that I forgot about one of the key characters of the original story now, did you? As always, please leave me a little review; like any author, feedback is appreciated. Does this story seem yeay or nay? Also, if you haven't read the revision of Chapter 2, READ IT NOW, or at least before chapter six is posted. Granted, have you not read chapter 2, you will have NO idea of what's going on, so don't come complaining to me if you didn't understand it.