The Chronometal Wars
The Black War
The Fallen Heroes
Part 1 of 2“Another.”
The bartender slides another shot down. She told herself that three would be fine. That was ten shots ago. The anxiety isn’t going away anymore. She picks it up with a shaky hand... it’s spilling everywhere. She sighs and puts it down and covers her face with her hand.
“Look... I know you don’t like me talkin’ about this kind of stuff, but how did you end up here, Buttercup?” The bartender asks, leisurely cleaning a glass. “Every day with this... can’t you just drop it...?” – “I would, and I have in the past... but it seems like yer’ poison isn’t working anymore. I’m worried about you.” She smiles wryly. “Thanks, but I don’t need anyone worrying about me.” She raises her head and takes a deep breath, briefly regaining composure.
“I appreciate the sentiment, but it’ll take a hell of a lot more than this to kill me. I may not be fine, but the shots aren’t hurting. But you are right; they aren’t working anymore... I don’t know what to do...” She shakes her head. “I haven’t seen my family for a long time, except for the professor, who’s off doing his own self destructive thing. I guess we all have our ways of coping...” The bartender stays quiet, intently listening to the pained Buttercup.
Her face shows hurt, fatigue, anxiety... she looks horrible. A lot of men and women here look exactly the same. This is where people come when they don’t know what to do, when the weight of the world comes crashing down at once. Here, no one will judge you. Here, everyone has the same problems.
She doesn’t know their names, but she feels a kind of kinship with them.
“Maybe you should visit yer’ sister. For old time’s sake.” – “... Yeah, maybe...” She says, taking the shot and quickly swallowing it, her grip finally stabilizing. “Thanks...” – “No problem, don’t come again any time soon.” She chuckles a bit, knowing he’s only trying to help. “Don’t count on it, this place is an oasis.” She turns off of the stool and begins to walk out, surprised to see a shade in the corner.
Her brow furrows as the silhouette forms into a familiar looking person. A person who is keeping his hands in his pocket, as to not show them. After all, giant pincers would probably stick out. She scoffs and ignores him, heading out of the bar door. The sun is about to come up. This bar leads straight into an inconspicuous alley. A disgusting one that no one would look into too deeply, but the bar itself is very clean. It was designed this way deliberately. A home away from home that those who have fallen can go to and not be found. Ever.
But Buttercup didn’t expect HIM to be looking for her. As she casually walks down the alley, the same shade shows up in a corner.
“What do you want?” She finally asks. “It’s time.” He says directly. She raises an eyebrow before shaking her head. “Piss off; I don’t want anything to do with you or your lies anymore.” – “Lies? What Blossom did was of her own accord, I had no way to help you and her at the same time.” – “Then why didn’t you just help her?!” – “Because then you wouldn’t be strong enough to hold Magnificence! We’ve been through this, girl! You need to stop living in the past!” – “I’m NOT living in the past! But I’m not living in the future either, at least no future involving you. I’m done, FOREVER, Him.” She walks away, putting her hands in her coat.
It’s been snowing a little bit, and it’s very nippy outside. She walks off, but Him once again intercepts her, this time taking one claw out of his red devilish jacket and blocking her path. She looks up with anger twisting her expression.
“This is bigger than just you, you know. I’ve been getting help from everywhere, not just you.” – “Then get more.” She says, forcing her way past his arm. “It could mean the difference between whether this world lives or dies, Buttercup!” – “Go back to Hell, Him. I don’t give a damn.” He shakes his head.
The sun disappears in the morning sky as clouds move in. Snow begins to slowly twinkle down. She walks down the road, among other people. She is living in an apartment now, along with the Professor. Ever since Heroesbane, they have both been hurting bad. The Professor hasn’t spoken in weeks. Several minutes go by and she finds herself at a turn. A left would take her to her apartment.
But she... sees someone to the right, on the other side of the road. “Is that... Dexter...? What’s he doing?” She wonders to herself. He seems dressed up and ready for something. Does he have a job? What’s he doing in Colorado? Wasn’t he still living in Megaville? Dexter looks in her general direction and she shoots her head away as to not make eye contact.
She begins to think to herself. Does she want to be found? Does she want to talk to Dexter...? Snow still falls, but she’s not cold. She’s well dressed for this weather. She sighs and looks back, noticing Dexter is gone. She looks around, noticing he is halfway down the street! If she is going to meet him, she has to go now.
She casually walks across the wet street, the snow refusing to stick to the road here. She speeds up her walk a little bit but then slows down once she reaches Dexter. It feels like there’s a frog in her throat, she can’t bring herself to say anything.
“Damn it, what am I thinking... I can’t do this...” She says to herself, turning around. She begins to walk away before someone locks eyes with her. It seems to be a woman with black hair. Buttercup doesn’t recognize her.
“Oh my god, Buttercup? Is that you?” – “Huh...? Who are you?” – “Oh, right... I should probably remember that I don’t look the same anymore. It’s me, Lynn.” – “Lynn...? Oh, it’s... good to see you...” She wonders to herself, what the heck is everyone doing here in Colorado all of a sudden? “Oh dang, I forgot! Dexter left his keycard at the house! I was showing up to give this to him! Sorry to bug you, it was really great to see you again, Buttercup!” – “Y-Yeah, good to see you too...” She mutters, Lynn running off behind her.
“House...?” She wonders to herself. “They’re living here...? Together?”
A man lets out. It’s Barrett. He’s in a house, rarely is he ever outside of his lab anymore. “Oh, what is it, Baron? I just got Izzy to sleep.” – “We have a new recruit. Have you gotten a chance to see him, yet?” – “You mean Noss? No, but Alex was telling me all about him. I can’t tell if she likes him or not.” – “Eh, they’ll work it out, hon’. Do you want to meet him? He will be family, after all.” – “Sure, let me just make sure Izzy has everything set.”
This house is surprisingly tame for such a high profile person as Barrett. It’s like he’s living two lives. One underground and one above. Rose walks through back into the main room and nods. “I’m ready. How were their wounds, by the way?” – “Alex and Noss? Nothing too severe. I didn’t expect them to use real weapons, but it all worked out in the end I guess.” – “Still, that Noss kid... playing with guns? Where did he even get them?” – “Why don’t we ask him ourselves? Today is the day I chose to have a meeting with all the members.” Rose smiles a small bit, but has a hint of sarcasm crossing her face.
“They’re just kids; you know... you calling them members and all... it’s still a little strange to me.” – “You’ve seen what kids can do, Rose.” She blinks once, remembering all that happened during the wars, remembering The Knights...
Remembering that OLGA girl in specific...
“Yes, you’re quite right...” She sighs. “I wonder how Ruby is doing...?” Baron puts his large hand on her shoulder. She is surprisingly comforted by this gesture; Baron is a man that exudes genuine kindness. “I’m sure she’s fine. We will find her one day. Or who knows? She might find us.” Rose happily nods. They head out of the house as someone enters it. A normal person, a babysitter.
Truly a normal family...
Later, they are within the underground base, the three children circled around a table along with Rose and Barrett.
“Welcome, Saints... to the first ever meeting of Crystallus.” Noss already raises a hand. “Yes?” – “Yeah, uh... What?” – “Our organization. We are called the Saints of Crystallus.” – “Oh. Why didn’t you tell me sooner that we had a name?” – “You didn’t ask.” – “...”
“Now, first order of business... the fight yesterday...” – “We’re sorry.” Both Alex and Noss say, rolling their eyes. “Not that.” He says, disarming them. “I was going to congratulate you both for exceeding my already lofty expectations, but I must insist that in the future, you use non-lethal weaponry when sparring.” They both nod.
“Now, for the second order of business, I think it’s about time everyone gets acquainted with one another... Let’s start with our most senior members. I am Barrett, though you may all call me Baron, or Father Baron if you wish. I was a scientist in head production of top secret weapons and machines within the military. Once one of our most trusted members went AWOL, I left the military and began work on this base. I wasn’t the only one either. One of my closest friends, Francis also did the same. Francis was, or is Kally’s father. Kally, it’s your turn.” She nods.
“Thank you. My name, if you didn’t already know, is Kally. I initially joined the Saints to find my dad with Father Baron’s help after he saved my life one day. Since then, we have both been working hard on Alphametals, a secret weapon developed by the military. A subset of Chronometals which, as I’m sure we all know... had gruesome consequences when in the wrong hands” Everyone nods, everyone sharing equal pain from the wars.
“I was in an orphanage for almost a year before I left it all behind to come with Barrett. Since then I’ve been like part of his family. I met Alex here, so I guess it’s your turn now. Alex?” She nods as well.
“My name is Alex. I see that we’re all using our first name, that’s fine. I don’t have a last name anyway. My old family died and nearly got me killed in the process right as the Chronometal Wars hit. I was drafted into the Orphanage around the same time Kally was. As a matter of fact...” She pauses and begins to think.
“Wait, hold on-“ Someone interrupts. Everyone turns to see it was Noss. “You two were also in an orphanage?” – “Also? You mean you were-” – “Yeah, the same one as you guys. The Megaville Orphanage on 51st street. I was only in it for about a day though. Sure, I lost my parents... but I didn’t care for the place. I left and took my dad’s stuff once the wars ended. That’s how I got these guns.” He says, putting a Glock on the table.
“My dad was in the marines, he was a real gun nut... and an asshole too. If it wasn’t for him, maybe mom would still be alive and we would have left Megaville before the shit really started hitting the fan.” – “I also took my father’s things after the Wars took my family...” Alex lets out, continuing her life story.
“My family katana, hailing from Japan. I am what people call Japanese American, but don’t care for titles. I’m just a stranger now, a girl with no last name. My father’s line ran long into the older days of Japan, all of the weapons I use, from the Katana to the throwing knives are all irreplaceable heirlooms. One day in the Orphanage, a kind man found me and took me into his home.” She says, looking over to Baron with an uncharacteristic smile across her face.
“The rest is history I guess. I’m glad to be of service, Father Baron.” He nods appreciatively. “Noss, you may continue.” He says.
“Well, picking up my story... my family was living in Megaville for a long time. Before the first war started, my mom and I wanted to move, the city was getting dangerous. My dad insisted we stay put, but just as a security measure... we had an arsenal built into our basement. Hundreds of thousands of bullets, several dozen different brands of guns, enough to fund a civil war, really. My dad would take me training every other day, he was really serious about staying, and we were really serious about leaving. I guess this was his way of compromising. If he wouldn’t let us leave, he would at least teach us how to defend ourselves. I hated the man, but I guess I have to thank him for teaching me all I know now.”
He stares off into space for a while before continuing. “I might as well skip to the good part. I had to shoot him in the face to break free of him.” Kally gasps. “Wh-What...?” – “Let me finish. The wars finally started, machines were invading the city. My dad was a crack shot, taking down several of them from half a kilometer away. In a way, I guess he was keeping us safe, but it was too much. The city issued a mandatory evacuation of every citizen living inside the city, but my father still insisted that we stay. One day, a robotic beetle looking thing broke into the house and nearly took my head off. If it wasn’t for all the training I had done, I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to finish it off.” He furrows his brow.
“That was the last straw. We had to leave right then and there, but he wasn’t having that. Even double teamed by me and my mom he still wouldn’t budge. He struck her and forced us to stay. I don’t regret the fact that I shot him right in the forehead.” Everyone goes silent. “But my story still doesn’t end there...”
(================================================)“Mom, get back!”
Several flying machines plague the sky! The Chronometal Wars are tearing the city to pieces! Noss takes out his shotgun and blows several of them away with one shot! His small frame is taking huge recoil and he nearly blows his arm out of its socket, but he has to keep going! His mom is hiding behind a wall, afraid for her own life, but also terrified for Noss’s!
Before long, he’s taken over twenty of these machines out! But they just won’t stop coming! At least now, they seem to be distracted by something! They seem to be flying over to a small group of civilians fleeing for their lives! He notices that they are being shot to pieces, but they are still buying him the little time he needs.
It’s not time to be a hero. It’s time to survive. He ignores the people in distress and turns to his mom now that the machines are occupied!
“Mom! Let’s go! We have a sure shot to the outskirts!” He takes her by the hand and runs through the ruined streets! Whenever machines show up, they duck behind cover to avoid their attention. Even only eight years old, Noss seems to be a master at combat tactics, so far it has been saving his life and the life of his mother.
They are about to reach the outskirts! There is a police blockade in sight! Noss can see them and they can see him! They wave and beckon him to come! “WE MADE IT, MOM!” He says excitedly, running home free! The police provide covering fire from flanking robots and finally it seems like it’s going to all be okay!
“WHAT THE...?! AN E-EARTHQUAKE?!” He yells out, the ground shaking violently! Neither he nor his mother can stand and they both fall down, massive tremors blowing them off their feet! Soon a horrendous noise is heard! Noss can see that the police line is sinking! They soon leave vision and he runs over as the tremors stabilize.
But... he realizes that they didn’t sink... Megaville is flying into the air?! He looks into the sky to see a giant swirl, what looks like a water torrent sucking them into the clouds!
“What the heck... is h-happening?!” He lets out! Before long, the blockade is completely out of sight and the city is completely in the air! Robots fly in from behind them! “DANG IT! LEAVE US ALONE!” He yells out, shooting most of them in a split second, but when they fire out, one bullet hits his mom in the leg and she screams out, barreling backwards!
“MOM!” He yells as she nears the edge! Another bullet hits her in the arm and she is blown off the edge! “NO!” He roars out in defiance, jumping after her! He jumps right off of the cliff and grabs her by the hand! His other hand grabs a random iron bar sticking out of the ruined edge of the now floating Megaville and holds on for dear life!
But it’s not enough... it’s REALLY not enough! His small eight year old body is not strong enough to support a grown woman and himself as they dangle off of this cliff! “M-Mom! Don’t... let... go!” She looks down, seeing nothing past the clouds, but then looks up once Noss grunts in pain! One of his fingers slipping its grip! They are both going to fall at this rate...!
“GAAAAHHHHH!!!” He cries out in pain! He’s going to slip! This is it...! It’s all over! That is until...
“L-Let go, Noss! Let me fall!” – “NO! DANG IT I’M NOT LOSING YOU!” – “Well I’m not going to lose you! Goodbye, Noss!” She rips herself free of his grip! “MOTHER!!! NOOOOOO!!!” She falls and passes the clouds. But he can still hear her say one thing.
“I love you...!” Tears grow in his eyes and he painfully climbs his way back up the edge of Megaville. It’s... all over...
Or is it...?!
As soon as he rises up, a giant machine is there to wait for him! Another giant Beetle! “YOU BASTARDS! YOU TOOK MY FAMILY FROM ME, BUT THAT WASN’T ENOUGH, WAS IT?!” He roars, taking his Uzi out! “NOW YOU WANT MY LIFE?!” The beetle hisses, going on the offensive! “WELL COME FUCKING GET IT!”