TESTING SIMULATION COMPLETE
Ace turned off his mech's weapons, and powered down.
Several Repliforce workers came to assist him and examine his mech.
Ace checked his score 95%
"Well, someone's looking pretty good."
Alia was walking toward him.
"Yeah. Missed 5%, but I'll take it for now."
"You and the Acid mech are becoming a better pair everyday."
"Speaking of pairings," Ace looked around. "Where's Fabio?"
"Drew called in sick. I wanted for him to come in so i can examine him to see if it was a Genesis side-effect, but he didn't want to show up."
"Oh, wondering what he came down with."
"Okay, that takes care of you for a while..." Alia was looking at her stat sheet. "Wait, hold on, today's the tenth."
"Yeah, I know. Halloween's in 3 weeks. We have parties here?"
"Ace, come with me." Alia got out here phone. "Sigma?
Yeah, I'm leaving.
Oh you remembered? And didn't tell me?
Yeah, your right, I should have remembered. But I didn't, and now I look like a jackass for getting on Drew for not showing up today.
She hung up. "Ace, come with me."
"Why, what's going on? Where's Drew?"
"Were getting on a plane."
"A PLANE? To where?"
"To Drew, in California."
"Wait, why is he in California?"
"I'll... I'll explain everything later. Just let me run to my desk real quick..."
Alia sat down in her plane seat. "Okay, were here."
They were first class in a private jet to California.
Ace sat down, pissed. "Okay, out of nowhere, you bring me out of Repliforce Base for San Diego, all for Drew. Wow, for someone that doesn't like Drew, you sure think about him a lot."
"I brought you here as backup."
"Yeah, I'm not sure I can talk to Drew alone without something going wrong. Besides your his partner, you need to get to know him better."
"K, I'm hearing Drew, Drew, Drew. Since I'm backup, why don't you just call me a wing man and set up a date with him for you?"
"You don't want to talk about Drew, fine." Alia sat back. "Lets talk about something else."
"Anything else. We can even talk about politics, religion, sports..."
"How about you?"
"Yeah, you have a life too right? I looked through your bio, if you don't mind." Alia grinned. "Bartlesville, huh? Didn't expect for you to be a farmboy."
Ace relaxed, and chuckled. "Yeah. I spent my early days as a kid helping out on my farm by helping harvesting wheat. But with technology of farming evolving, and me being the youngest of 7, I ended up staying in school longer..."
"And got into basketball."
Ace raised an eyebrow. "You really did look at my bio, didn't you?"
"Yeah, apparently you were good, and full of energy. Enough to get you into college, despite being only being 6 feet." She leaned in. "Arthur."
Ace winced. "Yeah, never really liked that name after college. People started calling me Ace because well, it reflected my image. I became one of the most poplar people on campus."
"Yeah, apparently you were good in D2." She looked down. "I'm sorry about your injury."
Ace waved it off. "Oh, its fine." He said, rubbing his knee. "Its healed up nice. Besides, its not like i was going to get to the NBA. I'm only 6 foot, blowing my ACL was just the last nail in the coffin. It was nice while it lasted." Ace said, looking nostalgic."
He looked out the window. "We'll be in California soon enough. Just tell me what I'm in for."
Alia sat back for a minute, trying to collect her thoughts. Her face fell. "Ace, I don't know where to start."
"C-alm down. Take your time." Ace said. This aint gonna be a happy tale.
"Okay okay, every started in 1988, back in Russia, or was about to be Russia...
its when we first met the man name Zero...
It would never fail.
In an ever moving world, this was the one spot of constant for him.
For the past 10 years, he had flown across the country from Florida to this spot.
All for this one day.
West Memorials Cemetery. Oceanside California.
The final resting place of Iris Williams.
He looked at the headstone, reading is just once more after thousands of times before.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
AUGUST 21 1972 LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 10 2004, OCEANSIDE, CALIFORNIA
A PROUD AND HAPPY MOTHER, SISTER, AND FRIEND
SHE WILL FOREVER BE MISSED
MAY SHE REST IN PEACE
"I'm here Iris." He said.
"I'll be every year until I'm in the dirt with you."
He saw two people walking towards him form behind.
It was Alia, and Ace.
"There you are! Listen Drew, I'm so sorry."
"Oh, don't give me any of that crap!" Drew responded. "I come here every year, plant flowers on her grave, and not once, ONCE in the past 10 years have I seen any sings of you eve showing up here! You only show up when you need something!"
He turned to the grave. "Oh look Iris, Alia finally showed up! Only took her 10 damn years!"
Alia was stunned. She did NOT expect that. "Drew, I'm only trying to help... she was my best friend too..."
"AND YOU FORGOT THE DAY SHE DIED?" He yelled. "No, no, forget that." he shook his head. "What about everyone else? The hundreds of people that died just hours of people before?"
"I was busy Drew, it slipped my mind..."
"HOW IN THE WORLD, DOES SOMETHING AS BIG AS THE NIGHTMARE INCIDENT SLIP YOUR MIND ALIA? HUH, HOW?"
Alia stood there for a moment, silent.
Damn, both of these two can let loose. Ace thought. Maybe I should say something...
Alia pulled something out of her pocket, and threw it at Drew.
Catching it, Dew couldn't believe what he was holding. "Is-is this your..."
She tapped her head. "I keep it on my desk everyday to remind myself what happened, and how blessed I am I'm still alive."
He examined it. "Whoever did this was good, looks genuine."
"When your a military doctor, you get good at those kinds of things."
"Not as good as Project Genesis, I presume."
"Yeah. After I adopted Axl, I came down with an infection in my eye. I couldn't, I couldn't even play with him, drive out to places or talk while looking at him, or even cook him a meal! Never thought I'd see the day day a boy got sick of pizza delivered to the door. It got better but, I regained the consciousness I felt about it.
So I get a call from Sigma, offering me my eye, and several years back. I drop Axl off at a friends house to stay a few days in the summer, and well, here I am!"
She held up her shirt and her pants. "The scars are gone, and I can see out of both eyes now. But I still keep it at my desk, and its been there every day for the past six years. I don't need it to remember, but I still keep it, I still look at it, makes me feel strong, looking at it."
Tears stated to steak down her face. "That's more than what YOU can say huh?"
Alia turned to Ace, who was surprised and terrified at the same time. "Can you believe it Ace? I tried to be there for him, and he pushed me away! He couldn't stand the sight of me! He LITERALLY, COULD NOT, LOOK AT ME!
And yet, he whines and complains about being alone and abandoned!"
She turned back to Drew. "And yet, he wasn't even scratched! He got off scott-free while I was sitting in the emergency room screaming in pain and crying my, my one good eye out!"
She walked up to Drew. "You needed someone? I NEEDED SOMEONE! And when you couldn't look at me, when you couldn't love me, i found someone who DID! And yet, I'M THE BAD GUY!"
She slapped him, "IRIS DIDN'T DESERVE TO DIE, BUT I KNOW YOUR TRUE COLORS! YOU SHOULD BE IN A HOLE SIX FEET IN THE GROUND, NOT HER! AFTER THIS ROBOT MASTER SHIT IS OVER, YOU CAN CRAWL IN A HOLE AND FUCKING DIE DREW!"
She stormed away. Drew still had his head leaning to the side.
Ace and Drew just stood there, trying to process what just happened before them.
"Ace, don't worry about this." Drew said. "This is how is ended. So this is how our fates would be trialed I guess...
I guess it wasn't meant to be."
Ace gave Drew a look. A look of shock,
"Well, it seems you two have your issues. I'd like to only be here as support, friendship, witness-"
He turned around. "But it seems like I'm going to have to be more than that."
"Ace, what you going to do?"
I'm going to be backup."