Battle Over—Cease and Desist Liger Zero
"Yankee Doodle went to town,"
If he was going to leave, he couldn't just do it abruptly. Even if he didn't have a debt he still owed the Blitz Team.
Bit lay in front of the Liger, much as he had the first day he'd met him, arms locked behind his head and stargazing at the fascinating Hover Cargo ceiling.
"Buddy, we're at the beginning of another adventure."
The Liger growled a soft answer.
"Yeah, I can feel it too."
He breathed in the clear air that he could imagine in his mind as pictures of clouds floated through his vision. The grass was soft and the wind whistled through his Zoid's armor in the noisier moments.
He'd have to tell them to wait for him, and that he wouldn't be gone forever. He just had to get it out of his system, y'know?
Plus, if you really thought about it, how long could he really avoid an S Class battle? Not long, let me tell you.
"Leaving for six months shouldn't be that bad right?"
He heard a clatter and was brought abruptly from his thoughts.
"Six months?" The resident red-head exclaimed incredulously. "You can't seriously be thinking about vacationing for six months?"
"Spying on me?" Replied Bit, grinning cockily from his position on the ground.
"As if." She stormed up to him—green pajamas and all—and glowered over his mirth-filled eyes. "Like anyone could sleep with you talking it up in here, and at four in the morning no less!"
"So you're saying my voice went through the thick walls of the Hover Cargo, down a floor, and into your room while conveniently avoiding everyone else?"
"Not through the walls, lunk-head, through the vents."
"Hmph." She crossed her arms underneath her chest and studied him closely. If he was Brad he would have closed his eyes and ignored it, but since he just didn't have as much control as the Shadowfox pilot he could only stand it for a few moments before sticking his tongue out at her.
She slammed a fist inches from his face and he yelped and backed away. "I know what you're doing down here! Planning to escape with the Liger so you can try and fight battles on your own! Trying to get all the prize money for yourself!"
He held his hands up in surrender and grinned sheepishly. "No, I swear I—"
"Well I'm on to your plan Bit Cloud, and I'm not going to let you get away with it! If I'm going to have to watch you all night, I will!"
And with that she walked backwards to one of the armor crates across from the Liger Zero and sat down on it. "I should tie you up all over again."
"Heh." He started, sitting down quickly in his original spot while waving meekly at her crossed arms and steady scowl.
"We're in for a long night, Liger."
. . .
Dr. Toros hummed away in the kitchen which branched off from the meeting room. Brad was lounging on the curved blue seats while Jamie budgeted away all the money recently won into small neat amounts with his pencil and paper.
The Doc was very proud of his team and all they had accomplished. He was proud to see pride shining in their eyes over what they had done. After all the ups and downs they'd been through, all the times they'd lived on ramen noodles and tap water for months on end, they'd pulled through on not just hope and luck, but on an inner strength that they would never have admitted to before. He'd never seen his children more mature. The trials his own son had been through to gain the Red Liger still awed him. And Leena carried herself differently now. She won arguments differently now. And Jamie, the Wild Eagle. Yes, he was proud, very proud, of all of his children.
Bit walked in just then with dark bags under his eyes and an irate and equally dark bagged Leena trailing behind him and repeatedly poking her finger into his back. He immediately collapsed on the couch next to Jamie and fell fast asleep. Leena mumbled something akin to 'Watch him like an eagle Jamie' before stalking off to her room.
He brought over a new batch of coffee and a plate of toast. (Safe) "How's all the money looking, Jamie?"
"Well, if you don't spend thousands of bucks on a gift for yourself, this money could last us for the next couple of seasons easily. Assuming we don't lose it all in matches."
"We won't lose." Brad mumbled from his position.
"Hmmaphh." Bit sleep-agreed.
"Crackle crackle." The giant video conference screen also agreed, then sprung to life. The face of the chairmen of the Zoids Battle Commission formed out of the static and then cleared its throat.
Dr. Toros stood up with Brad and Jamie. "Yes, sir."
"We're sorry to bring this on you so soon into your vacation, but we seem to have an unfortunate favor to ask you."
Jamie looked suspicious and Dr. Toros propped his hands on his hips. "Yes, sir?"
The man adjusted his glasses. "A member of the Council of Seven is running in either a Zabat or a Stormsworder."
"Okay," Brad chipped in, "what's that got to do with us?"
"The Count seems to be heading in your direction."
"That explains it." He set his cup of coffee down and sighed. "I should've known this couldn't last forever."
"Where are your troops?" Jamie piped in.
"They're busy chasing other runaways. You all don't mind do you? You will be compensated of course."
"Now I don't mind." Brad drawled.
"When will he be here?" The owner replied hastily while turning to Jamie and telling him to draw up a battle plan.
"Less than thirty minutes."
"Why, thank you, for the heads up." Brad obviously wasn't a morning person.
"We'll contact you as soon as the battle's over." The old geezer nodded as Dr. Toros shut the phone off.
"I don't think it's possible for just anyone to contact the chairmen of the ZBC." Jamie said, tilting his head.
"We're the Blitz Team, not 'just anyone.' So Jamie, how's that battle strategy going?"
"Doc." Jamie rolled his eyes, thinking it was a joke. "I have absolutely no time. We'll just wing it like we always do; it's fine."
"I was thinking we send you out there."
"What!" Jamie freaked, backing away. "Against one of them? They're probably amazing fighters! I can't compare to that!"
The Doc smiled calmly while patting Jamie on the shoulder. "Don't worry about it! You're in the S Class aren't you? The Wild Eagle will be fine." Jamie seemed to droop nearer and nearer to the ground. "Besides you have the only flying zoid."
"I should have known your battle strategy was something as well thought out as that."
. . .
"Wild Eagle ready for mobilization. I said ready for mobilization, Doc. Are you listening? I have more important things to do than-thank you!" The green Raynos zoomed off into the sky in pursuit of a lone Zabat flying low… compared to the stratosphere.
"Hey, dad, what's going on?" Leena came in toweling her hair dry in her trademark un-matching outfit. The control center was located in the head of the snail shaped Hover Cargo and easily provided the best viewpoint for the escalating air battle.
"Jamie's taking down one of the Council of Seven."
"What's the Council of Seven?"
"The leaders of the Backdraft Group. The information that came out on the news was, if I remember correctly, 3 of the 7 have been caught but aren't talking, 2 have disappeared overseas, 1 never existed in the first place, and this is the last. They orchestrated the Ultimate X dig, as well as the ZBC takeover, the Dark Judge Satellite, and a lot of the undercover agents and weapons trafficking."
"Jamie's taking one down right now."
"There's a big bounty price on his head."
"Bounty-hunters! Now you're speaking my language! Get 'em Jamie! I want it on my record!"
The deep-throated laugh of Jamie blasted through the speakers as he barrel-rolled around the opposition while firing intermittent shots at the wings. He wanted to land the plane, but land it slow, and with no damage to the pilot. This Zabat, however, had an in-human reaction time and avoided nearly all his shots.
Very quickly the battle seemed to escalate past the sound barrier, and the smallest advantage in speed was essential.
"Let's see you avoid this!" He began 45 degree turns to slightly raise altitude that way he could lessen the distance between them easily. While in one of these 45 degree positions he decided a Cuban Eight was the way to go, halfway through the first roll, however, he was upside down, beneath the belly of the Zabat, and quickly losing speed. At the last second he fired his only heat tracking missile and hit one of the engines off of the left side.
"Nice one, Wild Eagle!"
"Hah! Lucky shot? Please! That right there is pure skill!"
Physics did the rest for him. He very quickly sped off as far from the dying zoid as he could while the sound barrier crashed into the abruptly slowed down Zabat and crumpled the already weakened wing. He began slowing down to follow the fall into one of the abundant desert clearings, but just as the Wild Eagle began testing out his new smirk, Leena's voice chimed in on his radio.
"Look at the radar! Three new blips have popped up, and they're coming in fast! They must be more Zabats!" It gave him just enough time to pull up to 90 degrees to avoid most of the shots, unfortunately, one seemed to find his tail so that he couldn't pull out. His proximity to the ground didn't even give him time to fire off a single shot, and he landed with half the Raynos he started with.
"What was that?" Leena spoke quietly while staring wide-eyed out of the window.
"I should have expected as much. He's got backups, or drones. Leena, get Brad and Bit and mobilize. Quickly now, before they get away!"
As Leena dashed from the room he was already getting the Liger Zero Jager armor into position.
. . .
"Bit!" Leena yelled, sliding into the level beneath the control room, where Bit was still crashed out on the couch with a very relaxed Brad nearby watching the news. "Jamie's been hit and there's three unidentified zoids still up in the air!" She grabbed Brad by the sleeve and Bit by the ear and dragged them to one of the doors that led to the hanger. She was mobilized and out of sight before Brad could set his cup down. And she supposedly had the slowest zoid on the team.
The eerie howl of the Shadowfox echoing through the hanger woke Bit from his very comfortable spot on the ground where he was just in time to see Brad and his zoid storm through the side doors.
"What's going on Liger?"
The white zoid was just as unable to answer as his pilot was, so while scratching his head Bit jumped into his seat and ambled onto the battlefield. He completely skipped over the mobilizing portion of the fight and was greeted with two of his team members shooting at clouds.
It all seemed a little silly and menacing considering his name, so he wrote it off as a feverish dream and fell straight back to sleep on his controls, seatbelt, raging battle, and all.
The Doc was very occupied at the time pushing buttons and wondering why the Liger's armor wasn't locking into place.
Leena and Brad, however, had just recently discovered the cloaking device the one Zabat and two Stormsworders were equipped with. Since Brad's zoid was a cloaking masterpiece, the one Zabat was quickly shot down with the Laser Vulcan and left a low flying Stormsworder and a very careful one high above them.
"I'll do the same thing I should have done with the Lightning Team, no skin off my bones." The red-head growled while jumping out of the way as the mini-jet passed, this failed utterly as she was blown to the side like a straw-house.
"Looks like you're doing fine without me, Leena. I'll just leave the last two to you?" Brad laughed from his position near the wreckage of Jamie's zoid.
"You're just fueling the fire, Brad." The next time the enemy zoid passed her she let out an entire clip on the passing zoid and crippled it enough for Brad to get it down with a few lucky shots. This left the last zoid that looked like it was about ready to call it quits and was definitely too far for even Naomi's long reaching bullets.
Leena thought this was an opportune moment to turn her back on the battle and lay into Bit for not doing his share.
"What are you doing over there? Taking a nap? Morphing into a butterfly? We're getting money y'know, so this would be a great time to cash in that great luck of yours, Bit Cloud!"
After waiting for more than her patience would allow, she giggled maliciously as she slowly (quickly) but surely threw all her targets on the Liger Zero and pressed the very entertaining green button. "This'll wake you up for sure, deserter. WILD WEASEL TOTAL ASSAULT UNIT!"
True to his luck, while turning his head in his sleep, he shut off the power to the Ultimate X and the whole greatest-machine-on-the-planet collapsed on the ground. Thus causing every single bullet to fly 'right over his head,' literally.
"My Hover Cargo!" Screamed Dr. Toros while throwing up the energy shield ASAP. This, out of some inexplicable, unplannable, and irreproducible happenstance caused some bullets to ricochet. And with the awesome energy produced by the shield, gave the bullets enough momentum to carry high enough to hit the retreating Stormsworder. The curved shield might have something to do with it, but Jamie still hasn't figured it out.
Everyone stood around as the jet dove toward the ground and the pilot ejected and slowly began to float down in a parachute.
"Uh, Leena, Brad. What are you two doing just standing around? Go get Jamie and the Count." Steve Toros's voice came through on the radio.
"I guess I was waiting for a battle judge to say 'battle over' and all that." Brad said confusedly while running after the floating Count.
"That's true, what happened to the judge? They always seem to know when a battle's about to begin." Leena said, rubbing her shoulder where the crash had caused the seatbelt to tear at her skin. This was why she was supposed to wear her battle suit in this thing.
. . .
Toros turned from the giant video screen after having talked to the chairmen again. After the battle they had showed up and collected the Count from the base and given them enough money to pay for the damages to the zoids. That was just the normal stuff though. The Count was carrying a list of every member and their position in the Backdraft Group. It completely nullified the need for the Council of Seven members, and so they were going to be sent straight to jail. The ZBC was going to use the list to track down those that weren't in jail yet like Polta, and Altail.
It explained why he had so many drones around him. And it didn't dull Leena's excitement in the least. That's why she made a copy of the list before she handed it over. Why did they get all the fun? She and her team were the one that found it. How could she resist revenge on the Backdraft? How could she resist bounty hunting? It was giving her giggling fits even now.
"So, dad, I was thinking…" Leena began pulling the list from behind her back. "Since we're going to run out of things to do during these six months, why not hone in our skills a little bit more?"
"Leenaaa." Jamie groaned while cradling his hand. "You're not seriously thinking about getting us into this."
"Trust me, two weeks into this and you're going to be really sick of sand."
"Hmm." Brad thought while drumming his fingers on the table. "I'm up for it. What do you think, Bit?"
"Well." Bit cleared his throat nervously. He very purposefully avoided Leena's eyes, because she seemed to already guess what he was going to say and had her scowl all set up. "…Y'know those times when people plan on going on a business trip, or, say, just a trip…with a Liger Zero, and they sometimes keep putting off telling the people they live with till the last minute?"
"Me and the Liger Zero were planning on going on a trip for a few months—"
"For six months." Interjected the very angry twenty-year-old.
"Yeah, that." Winced Bit. "It's just that… I never finished seeing the world. One day I was minding my own business, and Leon's zoid tripped over my truck. Then the Liger happened and everything just sort of blew up in my face."
The nervous pilot paused for just a second, and Leena threw down the list and stalked angrily out of the room.
"Leena!" The whole room was silent and everybody was highly aware of her loud footsteps echoing down the hall. "Damn it." Bit muttered and buried his face in his hands. After a few moments he continued. "It's not like I'm leaving. This is where I want to be. I just need to finish some things. Y'all—I mean—It's like I was telling Leon—"
"It's okay, kid. We get it." Doctor Toros leaned forward to rest his arms on his knees. "When were you thinking about leaving?"
Bit finally raised his head from his hands. "Er, like I was saying, I was putting it off," He grinned weakly, "and I succeeded." He paused and the three other guys stared back at him. He even thought he saw Brad raise an eyebrow. "Today."
"Why, thank you, for the heads up."
. . .
Late sun down now, just the perfect time to be heading out on a journey. He had absolutely no light to navigate his way to the nearest town. What if someone attacked him in the dark? He'd never fought a battle in the nighttime. He should not be excited about that. No doubt about it now, his name was Bit Cloud and he was addicted to battles.
Dr. Toros, Brad and Jamie stood by to wave him off.
"See ya, Bit! Don't come back with a ton of repairs for us, yeah?" The youngest member waved, his overly large t-shirt sleeve wagging back and forth. Brad gave him a two finger salute. He wore his vest that he thought made him look so put-together and cool, and long uncombed hair which Bit thought made him look like he had a squirrel on his head.
The good doc stepped forward and squeezed Bit's shoulder. "Be careful out there, kiddo."
"Yeah," he grinned. Lab coat and brown hair with the same weird bangs that was Leena's entire head.
He tried to remember them all in these last minutes as he jumped into the cockpit and the Liger Zero raised itself off the ground. When the zoid finally turned it's back he was sad to say he didn't see Leena once. He couldn't believe she was mad at him for this. How could one tiny body hold that much anger?
And she was going to get six months to simmer. It was giving him straight up heebie-jeebies.
. . .
Next time on Zoids:
"Jamie speaking. Man it's been a long day! Fixing the Raynos is taking up all my time and I'm far from being finished. And what time do I have anyway with this list of Leena's causing so much trouble? We're lucky Brad's up to his old tricks again, and for the Queen he's got up his sleeve. Next time on Zoids, new alliance—tag team with the Red Comets. We're the bounty-hunting Blitz Team! Ready! Fight!"