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"Thank you for coming, everyone." The male scientist began, looking at his three offsprings all seated around him. "We are gathered today to discuss an important subject matter."

 

"Rock's crush for that reckless gunslinger." The blonde nodded, dusting her crimson dress which she only wears in the house.

"Truly significant." The youngest agreed, recently returning from work overseas. "But I doubt we'll dwell on Axl today, Roll."

"How can we not?" Roll huffed, eyebrows knitted. "Rock is stupidly in love with the guy! It's as adorable as a mettool! Reading the news is different from interviews X!"

"I know but I was notified by our oldest brother that we'll be focusing on Rock's performance." The brunet covered his mouth, contemplating. "You two are graduating this year correct? I'm pretty sure Blues is worried about Rock's career."

"Thank you, X. We are focused on a matter involving Rock's future." The father proceeded to brush his white beard. "Blues. If you may?"

 

"Hmph." The young adult wearing a golden scarf looked at the youngest. "Before I start, I would like to assure my safety after disclosing the gathered information."

"You have our word." The adolescent called X placed a hand on his chest, closing his eyes as if making an oath.

"Unless Axl has STV then maybe we should." Roll raised her arms, fixing the green ribbon tie on her hair.

"It's not bad." Blues grinned at the accusation. "But close enough."

"What would that be?!" The elderly widowed man exclaimed.

"Hold your horses, doctor." Blues chuckled, leaning back to drink some coffee. "I was browsing the universities he applied for..."

 

"Rock wants to be a Maverick Hunter."

 

"?!" The family members didn't speak.

"I see..." It was the father who placed his hand on his forehead. Dr. Light had never thought about this possibility, for his wonderful boy to take up arms and fight against the irregulars created from defected design, violent ideals and other elements.

"Which organization did he apply for?" X held the cup of chocolate in his hands, watching the wisp of steam escape his drink. "Maverick Hunters and Repliforce are the only thing that comes to mind?"

"Huh..?" Roll tapped her foot, recalling the time when she and her twin collected application forms from various universities. "I remember he took both, but Rock told me he'll apply as part of the medic team."

"Yes. Maybe you read it wrong, Blues." Light tried to persuade, unable to bear the thought of watching his child enter into the battlefield. "Maybe you presumed Rock applied as a hunter but he in fact took the medical team?"

"No. He applied as a researcher in Repliforce and as a Hunter in the Maverick Hunters. I surfed the net on his other applications and found nothing more than that." Blues shook his head, expression undecipherable due to the sunglasses covering his eyes. "I can't blame him. Rock has the grades to back it up."

"Don't you need exceptional grades to enter the Maverick Hunters?" Roll tapped her chin. "Rock isn't that good in fighting."

"Because he isn't meant to fight!" Light argued, but the trio ignored their protective dad.

 

"Why not ask the Wily children to teach him... like say Forte?" X suggested and Blues laughed.

"No. That would stress Wily. I never understood why he's so cautious around us?" Blues smiled as X blinked cluelessly. "Wily still thinks you're hiding something from him."

"What paranoia!" X didn't sound fazed. "I can't blame the old man. Father did say he'll stop manufacturing androids after I was finalized."

"Then you became a researcher, specializing in plants, and a diplomat, negotiating between state leaders." Roll sighed. "How could you leave us after half a year of activation? You ruined your childhood, X."

"I didn't want to burden Dr. Light." X held both his hands together as if praying. "Humans are strange creatures. They don't credit the scientists who've made their lives so much easier."

 


 

 

"I'm sorry for the silence. I needed some time to think." Dr. Light apologized, already hatching a plan to create upgrades to minimize damage. The Mega Buster also has to get updated with his special Variable Weapon System. "Now that we established that Rock aspires to be a Maverick Hunter, is there any other news regarding his relationship with Axl?"

"Axl is the one who persuaded Rock to apply." Blues watched Light make the Oh-no-he-didn't expression and continued. "And Axl is starting to like someone else."

"NO!" Roll stood up, slamming her hands onto the table. "Our ship!"

"We can't let this happen." X covered his face, despairing. "But if it does, we have to be there for our brother."

"No! We mustn't give up on them!" Dr. Light declared and Blue raised his scarf to stop his laughter. "How can one event destroy four-years of Rock's moment with Axl?! I shan't let this stand!"

 

"Battle plan?" Blues moved to the next step. "Aside from the fact we need to refreshen Rock's fighting prowess, we need someone to reconnect the lovebirds and remove the cockblocker."

"Cock...blocker?" X frowned. He hooks up to the net, proceeding to check the definition.

"Err..." Roll somewhat shrunk, pursing her lips. "I applied as a medic so I need to focus on my studies... I can still help though!"

"Roll should've been the one who applied as a hunter." Blues joked. "I can never forget the moment you punched Forte."

"He was acting like a brat! He deserved it!" Roll defended herself.

"Popular but single." Blues sighed, but he wasn't angry.

 

"Yes... Simulations and friendly sparring in his school wouldn't be enough." Dr. Light grabbed his phone, checking the power levels of each reploids within the battalions. 'An overhaul of his entire schematics wouldn't be enough against these combat-based reploids.'

"It would be enough if we want him to be a reserve hunter." X pointed and Blues rolled his eyes. "X. Let's be serious here. There's a reason why Light decided to retire early from the game. Rock will eventually be promoted due to the Council's expectations on the blue bomber."

"True... Bearing the name Rockman is stressful." X looked towards Roll. "Any suggestions?"

"Oh! How about you ask Rock to accompany you to your expedition outside society?" Roll decided. "And you can have Axl come along. Fighting against mechaniloids are a sure way of earning bond points. Running for your lives and getting trapped in the ruins all injured are good sexual tensions."

"What again?" Dr. Light didn't think Roll was the type to like that type of lovemaking. 'I just like how cute those two are together!'

 

"Yes! That is possible. I have yet to explore Sector E and G, after all." X cheered.

"Don't you ask for a permit from the Maverick Hunters?" Blues nudged the cheerful researcher. "Or are you actually collecting samples against the law?"

"I reviewed the rules and regulations of this place and I'm happy to say that most of the countries have conformed with each other." X fixed his lab coat. "I apply for a permit, wait for the interview, undergo a seminar, obtain the papers, keep the written permit somewhere safe and report my findings to the agency at the end of every month until three months has elapsed. Obtaining a security guard or an assistant is optional when you're part of an international organization."

"X..." Dr. Light realized what was implied. "Did you actually enter into war torn areas to collect samples?!"

 

"Give X a break. He would only act out of self-defense, nothing more!" Roll slightly covered X with her body since the android didn't know what to say. "It's decided then! I will determine and remove the third party while X helps train Rock and Axl!"

"You should also focus on your scores, Roll." Blues grimaced. "We wouldn't want you to be placed as a reserve hunter with your skills."

"H-hey!" Roll punched Blues' shoulders which caused the latter to wince. "I can multitask!"

"Indeed. How about Blues and X apply as students?" Dr. Light tries for the fifth time to have his oldest and youngest try schooling. Blues ran away and stopped school, only to return as a mechanic and musician. X found studying to be a bore and decided to begin work immediately. If X hadn't bore the name Light then maybe the organizations wouldn't have taken the blue-loving child in? However, after three months, X began liking his independence and stopped calling his father.

 

...

 

"Hassle." Blues shrugged, standing up and ready to bail. "I can collect data elsewhere."

"We're androids. We don't need to study in institutions if you have a proper teacher figure at home." X praised Dr. Light, also standing up. "Now if you excuse me, I have to go fill those application forms!"

"What about Rock, guys?" Roll pouted and both males stared at her. "What if I wasn't able to stop all advances and Rock loses Axl?!"

 

"That can't be right. Females rarely take the initiative." X explained. "Evolutionary or not, females have their pride on the line. They wouldn't toss it unless they're desperate."

"X." Blues corrected, eyes casted down to the carpet. "Axl likes a guy."

"..." X covered his mouth. Roll placed both hands on her hips. "I knew it!"

"If only we knew who created Axl..." Light stood up as well. 'Then maybe I would have obtained information helpful to Rock's cause!'

 

"This is bad." X glanced at Blues. "How did you stumble on this piece of evidence?"

"I hacked his phone." Blues replied and if Light wasn't so absorbed to pursue his child's happiness, he would have told Blues off. "Definitely a guy with how Axl used the pronoun HE towards the target to his fellow colleague named Wind Crowrang. Axl described the power grid rating to be off the charts and target is also applying as a Maverick Hunter."

"Byte me!" Roll didn't think the crush would sound that amazing. "The guy must be from the star section?!"

"Definitely." Blues sadly relayed. "I don't know who though. It could be anyone."

"This is why the two of you have to enroll." Dr. Light explained and X inched closer towards Blues, not liking the idea.

 

"How about this?" Blues looked towards X. "I act as X's guardian, enroll him to the university and he hangs out in my place."

"Don't you feel homesick?" Dr. Light hoped he didn't sound pitiful since X looked ready to cry just by looking at him.

"I'm sorry, but not yet. It's only been a year and three months." X admitted, looking away from the depressed human and at Blues. "Why me and not you?"

"I asked Cossack to upgrade my frame to that of a young adult." Blues shrugged. "Also, reputation. Singer remember?"

"As long as you update us on your relationship with Kalinka then I will do it." X compromised and Blues looked away.

"Honestly?" Blues covered his face with his scarf.

 

"Yes! Just say yes!" Roll clenched her hands, eyes sparkling at their other ship. "And send us pictures, videos, anything!"

"Please~?" X clasped his hands together, emerald eyes brimming with false tears.

"Tsk. Fine." Blues gave in and the duo jumped in joy. Blues walked out of the dining room, commenting. "But you better prepare for class tomorrow X."

"What?!" X gasped.

"Best meeting ever!" [Roll is still jumping in joy.]

 

"Why are they growing up so fast?" Dr. Light said to himself. 'More like, why are they deeming Blues as their role model?!'

 

...

 

[And so, the story begins with a family determined to keep a blue bomber's heart safe from harm.]

 

Chapter Text

"When do you wear your armor?" Blues inquired, driving his bike with X behind him.

"Every time I need to enter a contaminated area! It helps filter the toxins in the air and even keeps my hair from getting wet!" X tightened his embrace, closing his eyes as he buried his head between Blues' neck. "I knew we shouldn't have taken the shortcut!"

 

"Shortcuts are great!" Blues exited the highway and decreased his speed. "This is the fastest way without any of those traffic enforcers spotting us."

"But what about father's traffic speed governor?!" X was quivering, unused to the speed. Blues checked his customized instrument panel. "Don't worry! I activated the cloaking device beforehand."

"I don't remember a touring having that function!" X stated, checking the map again if they're near. "Nor do I remember this antique being this fast!"

"Customized it! Ride Chasers are easy to break, to be honest." Blues snickered and he remembered when X got smacked by his scarf a couple of times before the android found it wise to hold him tight. "First time?"

"First time riding with a speed devil!" X yelled and Blues pressed the brake and swerved to the nearest parking spot.

 

*Krrrttt!

 

"I... will walk next time..." X vowed, slowly getting off and resting his hand on the leather seat. "Maybe... get a dorm..."

"Pft! Anyone will regret having you as a roommate." Blues watched X fix his hair, commenting. "You're just as messy as me."

"Being messy is a sign of creativity!" X harrumphed, walking towards the entrance. The Android hesitated for a bit, wondering if this trait can apply to androids as well. "...Right?"

"Uh-huh..." Blues caught up to his brother, giving a light nudge. "Ready for class?"

"Yes." Green eyes turned to face shaded blue. "I can't believe you're friends with the principal."

"I have my ways." Blues answered, giving a smug smile.

 

"I promise to take pictures." X smiled, looking at the queer University.

"Send it to Roll. She is the admin." Blues placed his hands in his pocket. "Remember. you are a student. Not a lecturer."

"Understood..." X sighed, staring at the gate. "I better not regret this..."

 

"X..." Blues placed a hand on X's shoulder, looking at X with a serious vibe "Remember.. The ship is at stake."

"You're right." X regained his resolve, gripping onto his blue satchel bag. "For the ship!"

 


 

Roll: Are you at the premise, Bluebird?

X: I'm reaching the destination, Sunbird!

Blues: Okay. First off, when did you two agree on bird codenames? Second, what's my bird name and third, why did you add Dr. Light in chat?

Roll: I propose Blues be called Hawk.

Dr. Light: I can be hip!

X: No. It should be Thunderbird.

Blues: I choose Thunderbird so we all match.

Blues: And remove the Santa Claus wannabe. Now!

Dr. Light: Blues? Do you have me?

Blues: No. You just don't fit in here.

X: Dr. Light can be Owl.

Dr. Light: I can fit in!

Roll: Yeah Blues. Give him a chance!

Dr. Light: And X? Wouldn't I stick out?

Blues: You already stuck out to begin with!

Roll: As admin and president of this club, I declare Dr. Light as an official member of the Axl/Rock club!

Dr. Light: Hoozah!

Blues: You'll regret this, Sunbird.

X: What? Why is Rock the bottom?!

Roll: He's innocent.

X: Rock is not innocent! I've seen his browsing history.

Blues: Gonna side with Roll on this one but hey! Maybe Rock will turn into a dom uke?

Roll: * - * I like!

Dr. Light: How about I install the chivalry program?

X: What?

Roll: NO!

Blues: NO

Dr. Light: Okay. Fine. Let's just eliminate the third party.

Blues: Thank you.

 

"Hey! You lost?"

"Hm?" X looked towards the sound of the voice. An albino reploid with navy blue armor and green headlights. Under closer inspection, stranger's movement is wary. Right hand seemed ready to shift into a buster and blue eyes are scanning his model. X dug deeper, hacking into the school's database and searched for the exact production line and background of incoming stranger.

"I'm not lost." X laughed the silence off, downloading the entire record for later analysis. Dissecting data down to their bit is ideal if he wants to ensure success on surviving this environment. X's seen the movies. Universities, whether high school or college, are loitered with dangerous individuals. 'I will not get caught by any surprises.'

"Oh. But you're new here, right?" The reploid, X learns to be named Dynamo, laughed. "You want me to show you around? You look pretty interesting."

"No thank you. I already have siblings studying here." X turned away, unwilling to spend time with the mercenary. 'I didn't know the Maverick Hunters hire skilled mercenaries for recruiters?'

 

"Ah but I insist." Dynamo caught up to the hurried unimpressed android. "My name is Dynamo! What's your-"

"Ek-ku-su." X searched for potential reasons why Dynamo would be following him. 'None. No one should know I'm in this city. How suspicious... Do I give a certain vibe?'

"Hey! You're in the section below me."

"?!" X paused, almost entering his classroom, but turned towards the reploid.

"What do you mean?" X feigns ignorance, but he is fully aware that the section above his twin siblings would be the Star section. 'The cockblocker is somewhere there.'

 

A male student rumored to have high power levels, most likely a combat-based reploid for choosing a job underneath the government.

"You're Section A. I'm section S. My batch is the best of the best." Dynamo explained, looking smug for some reason. "We have some classes together, but most of the time, we have different teachers for each subject..."

 

Roll: What's taking you so long, Bluebird?

X: Talking to a mercenary with information.

Dr. Light: Name?

X: Dynamo.

Roll: Is the guy hot?

Blues: He's a Netorare, recently taking Alia from Gate.

Roll: Savage!

Dr. Light: NTR is not my cup of tea.

X: Whether you like it or not, he could be my ticket to checking the S-class. 

Blues: You have two minutes before class starts.

 

"If you have difficulty in some of your subjects, I can teach you-" Dynamo paused when X placed a finger towards his lips.

"What do you really want?" X can hear his internal clock ticking. He will not be late because of this reploid, even if Dynamo can help him in his search. "I doubt you're this talkative for no reason."

"You're right. I do have an agenda..." Dynamo said as he pulled back. Raising his hand, Dynamo negotiated. "I know you're a newbie with a mission so I'll help you as much as I can. However, I need you to act as my kouhai."

"Kouhai...?" X raised an eyebrow. "Why?"

 

"No one ever says senpai to me..." Dynamo scratched the back of his neck, looking away at the curious reploid. "They're always going for Zero..."

'Zero?' X pockets the information, feeling the information will be useful later. Shaking his hand, X complied. "Very well. I will call you Senpai and you will help me uncover each and every one of your classmate's true nature."

"Dunno what you'll want with that info but sure." Dynamo smiled back and the duo pulls away. "I sent you my number and sched."

"Hm..." X doesn't have the heart to tell this reploid his real age nor skill level but the world is queer this way. 'I would have liked Rock to be my senpai but nothing ever goes my way...'

 

Roll: Bluebird? What happened?

X: I have established a senpai-kouhai relationship.

Dr. Light: NNOOOOOOOoooooooo

Blues: You just swore your allegiance to a stranger?

X: Wait what? I thought senpai-kouhai is the give-and-take relationship.

Dr. Light: I was sure X would be a senpai to all reploids!

Blues: No. That culture forces you to conform to hierarchy! You're at the bottom!

Roll: It's like having a stranger as an older sibling!

Blues: You have no choice but to depend on your senpai.

Dr. Light: Both of you. Don't place those thoughts in your brother's IC!

 

".." X stood at the entrance, panicking. This is not what he anticipated. 'To rely on someone with utmost trust without defiance?'

 

X: What have I done?!

Dr. Light: X. Listen to me. Being a Kouhai is good since you'll experience a mutual symbiosis with Dynamo. 

X: Aahhhhh

Dr. Light: X! Don't make me come there!

Blues: Calm down. We all know Dynamo is a netorare so all you have to do is listen, praise and endure. Remember! The ship!

Roll: Oh! You can go find Axl's senpai there! The NTR probably knows a lot of info since he has Alia as a GF.

Dr. Light: How do you know this, Roll?

Roll: I'm Sunbird!

Blues: Sunbird has her ways.

X: I'm entering the scene.

 


 

 

"You're late..." The teacher checks her attendance sheet.

"X?" Rock looked up from his desk, seeing his youngest brother enter the room.

"Sorry for the delay. I got lost along the way." X apologized, bowing his head politely. X faced the audience, giving a warm smile. "Greetings everyone. I hope you treat me well."

 

"Everyone. Meet Raito Ekusu." The teacher introduced to the class.

 

"Eh?" Roll blinked, equally confused as her twin. 'Ekusu?'

 

Blues: Oh right.... Forgot to tell you guys I gave Bluebird a false name. We just realized yesterday that the government didn't want him here.

Dr. Light: And why not?

Blues: Maverick Outbreaks.

 

"♪~" X hummed, giving a closed smile.

Chapter Text

"..." Dr. Light pushed himself away from the screens, rubbing his eyes.

'I'll watch the videofeeds later.' The human yawned, swirling his chair and standing up to get a drink. 'I need to prepare for the future.'

 

*Ding! Ding! Ding!

 

'How active.' Dr. Light chuckled, silently wishing X decided to reside here instead. 'Who knows what X learned from the outside world? How long has it been since I did maintenance on him?'

 

Blues: I updated your surveillance system, Owl.

Roll: Upload the excess data in our forum, Thunderbird. There might be footage of Axl spying on our Target.

X: Yes! Do that so I have something to do.

Dr. Light: Sorry. I never thought we'll need the extra footage.

Roll: Don't be. You were being polite.

Blues: No one wants to learn an old man is recording their every movement.

X: They should be expecting that though, considering Owl is the creator of the universal traffic and medical database system.

 

 'Now then...' Dr. Light grabbed a drink from the fridge, closing the fridge door and heading to the drawing board.

'Time to get back to business.' Dr. Light sat down, placing his phone by the side and grabbing a pen. 'I just hope no one finds out about Rock's upgrades, especially Albert.'

 


 

"Blues? What are you doing?"

 

"Checking on Rock." Blues answered, allowing arms to wrap around his waist. "Shouldn't you be memorizing your lines, Kalinka?"

"Shouldn't you be composing songs for the movie?" The blonde whispered, kissing the robot master's cheek. "You smell nice..."

"I aim to please..." Blues turns away from the phone to face his female colleague, offering a chaste kiss on the forehead.

"You're always beyond my expectations." Kalinka murmured, lips curling up to a smile.

"I don't plan on failing any time soon." Blues smirked, freeing his arm to pull the Russian closer to his side. "What's the agenda?"

"I'd like to go shopping with you if you don't mind~" Kalinka giggled, snuggling close to her friend.

 

*Ding! Ding! Ding!

 

"Get a room!" A random coactor surprised the duo.

"Oh?" Blues looked at the enraged actor. "Sorry but she's taken."

"Blues!" Kalinka blushed, pushing the male's face. "You don't just say that!"

"What are you talking about?" Blues watched the celebrity walk away. "You told me you hated the guy."

"Y-yes but..." Kalinka is still blushing.

 

X: Okay. Enough spazzing on my ship. I have to prepare Rock for the incoming expedition.

Roll: Wait. Already?

Roll: Don't you want a tour first?

Blues: Ha! Why would Bluebird need a tour when he can download the blueprint?

 


 

*Ding! Ding!

 

"Come along~" X requested, walking towards the training room. He might as well use the facility, considering Blues negotiated with the Principal to give X the right to use it without any authority or achievement. Behind him is his ship, discussing something not worth noting.

 

"I can't believe your brother's going to let us in on Sector E." Axl confessed. "You think we can handle it?"

"As long as we don't get ganged up, we'll be fine." Rock stated, looking up at his youngest brother. "What I'm worried about is why X is here, not like I'm saying that I don't miss you X but... You're kind of a danger magnet?"

"It'll be fine! We faced worse, after all." Axl reassured when X looked behind his shoulder.

"Worse?" X inquired, even when he knows the account from Roll and Blues.

 

"Not really... Some random Maverick group infiltrated our camping trip and took some people hostage." Rock offered, unaware about the exchange between his siblings. All Rock knows is that X went off to work for four years and returned today for unknown reasons. "The incident cleared up quickly with the arrival of the Maverick Hunters."

"Dude! We kicked ass just so the Hunters can enter the area." Axl bumped Rock's shoulder. "Give us some credit."

"Whatever you say Axl." Rock rolled his eyes, but he's smiling.

"I'm glad you two are safe." X meant it, considering the group that attacked them aimed to kidnap his older brother.

'If they had kidnapped Axl, Rock would immediately do something reckless just to ensure his important person's safety.' X looked back and continued walking. 'Good thing they're gone now.'

    

Terminate. Red. Dismantle. Black.

Struggle. Repeat. Fight. Again.

Talk. Interrogate. Confess. Ascertain

 

 "H-hey Axl?" Rock started as X was deep in his thoughts. "You free this weekend? I was hoping we'd review for the test next month and..."

"Sorry man. My senpai asked us to come over to his house to train! He's awesome that way." Axl said eagerly, but immediately changed tone when he saw Rock drop his head. "How about next week's weekend? Surely, nothing would come up right?"

"Yeah.. " Rock smiled weakly.

"Wanna grab some snacks after this?" Axl offered. "If you want I mean."

"We just ate lunch five minutes ago!" Rock said, but he shrugged. "If you're treating me then why not?"

"I hope you like wasabi." Axl snickered and Rock heaved in mock disappointment.

'Wait. Did Axl just say senpai?' X wondered, facing a mechanical door. 'Is Axl's senpai a cockblocker? Is this senpai the same one who Axl crushes on?'

    

Is HE the target?

 

"X. Are you okay?"

"..." X blinked, looking down at the ground. "Was I spacing out again?"

"So you're the air-headed type?" Axl commented. "You should stop overthinking everything.."

"A hopeless cause, Axl. X likes thinking." Rock answered in his brother's stead. "That's the reason why he wanted to be a diplomat."

"Really? I swear overthinkers should be more in the detective side." Axl frowned.

"That would inevitably have the police at my doorsteps.." X chuckled, pulling out his ID and sliding it in the Card reader.

 


  

*BEEP

 

"After you?" X raised his hand and looked at the duo with a smile.

"We're both guys." Axl raised his eyebrow.

"Don't ask. Let's just get this over with." Rock started pushing him forward, moving passed X.

"..." X then sent his info.

 

X: Information note investigating - Axl's senpai.

X: He may be the cockblocker we're looking for or maybe he is cockblocker 2.

Blues: Axl has a senpai?

X: He does. It must be from the star section again... Or a graduate student or a worker? Not sure. Datum may or may not be worth our attention.

Blues: I'll research it. In case Axl's senpai might support or reject the ship.

X: Good thinking, Thunderbird.

 

"First step. Simulation." X explained, entering the room to see other reploids in the area. They're looking at his group oddly, almost judging but more on the curious side. "Second step. Spar. Third step. Battle. Axl will be excluded on the third step since he doesn't have any back-up technology."

"Majority of the reploids don't have back-up technology. No offense to both of you, but do you know how expensive we are?" Axl crossed his arms, a bit peeved at the exclusion. "The next best method would be to transfer the mind in a hollow shell, but that's creepy."

"It also depends if the mind is compatible with the body's system. Incompatibility would mean deletion if you're persona isn't strong enough." X gave more input, walking towards a spare control panel. Reserving Block 18, X sat down and fixed the difficulty setting. "Okay. Grab the practice blasters and enter the room. I chose a setting closest to our next destination."

 

Roll: Not enough data, Bluebird.

Blues: What took you so long?

Roll: Forte living up to his name.

Blues: That? I ship.

Roll: You have no taste.

X: I agree with Thunderbird. Your conversations with Forte is ship worthy.

Blues: I also like the history between them. Pretty hilarious and a lot of sexual tension.

Roll: I NEVER EXPECTED MUTINY?!

Blues: We would never!

 

"We're ready X!" Rock notified X and the brunet placed around fifty mechaniloids, forty defected/defecting reploids, thirty sparse contaminated healing material, twenty pseudo-bosses, ten randomized humans (civilized or not) and one copybot.

"The objective of the simulation is to locate the copybot with a huge blue X on its face." X wore the spare headphones with microphone, acting like the operator in those hunter missions. "I give you twenty minutes."

'Where was I?' X looked back at the chat, seeing Blues and Roll argue about the pairing between Roll herself with Forte.

 

Roll: Besides, I thought we agreed to ship Forte with Quint.

Blues: What?

Blues: No way!

Blues: That's technically shipping AU!Rock with Forte. It's not...

Blues: Huh. Not that bad to be honest.

Roll: See?!

Blues: But I still want to ship you two because I have more data of you and Forte.

Roll: Cursors!

X: Guys!

X: Let's get back to topic okay?

X: Axl's senpai is the reason why Axl and Rock won't meet up this weekend.

Roll: Oh really?

Roll: Eliminate the senpai! D:<

Blues: Why don't you show your three-sixty mood-swings outside the family?

Blues: Would make you more feminine.

Roll: Shut up Thunderbird. Owl will help you when he's done doing whatever.

Blues: I don't need his help! I can research this on my own!

 

'So much ships...' X leaned on the chair, contemplating at the possibilities. 'Will Life also pair me with another or will Life take the challenge and strike my sixty-four-year-old father with Cupid's arrow?'

'Only time will tell.' X closed his eyes, wishing for the latter. 'Let it be the latter.'

 

"I was looking all over for you!"

 

"?" X moved his head to see the mercenary with a female reploid.

'Here we go X. Do it for the ship!' X stood up to present himself as the polite transferee student.

Chapter Text

"Hello Dynamo-senpai." Mimicking a perfect image of a polite disciple, the brunet bowed his head and looked back up with a warm smile. "I didn't know you were here! If I had known then I would have greeted you immediately!"

 

"Don't be. I was getting pawned by Zero. (Dynamo laughed, thankful he did a tactical retreat or he'd be in the medbay.) Alia. This is Ekusu, my kouhai." Dynamo introduced the two of them to each other. "Kouhai. Meet Alia, my girlfriend."

"Pleasure to meet you, Ekusu." Alia smiled back. "Though, your name sounds awfully close to Rockman X."

"Yes. Truly a coincidence." The blue-donned reploid nodded, emerald eyes scanning the female. "You wish to be a researcher?"

"Indeed. I want to help cure the unknown virus reported by the UN. Rockman X did foreclose that the virus has mutated and created various strains." Alia prayed. "I hope nothing bad happened to him."

'Yes. Nothing truly bad ever happens to me, but the others...I'll be lucky to have at least one escort alive or untainted from corruption.' X thought. 'I can't bear risking more lives to solve the mystery around the Original Virus. However, it has to be done. The Virus is mutating every day, emerging from unexperienced or insanely brilliant programmers.'

 

"Didn't the news say Rockman X entered Area O of Europa last week?" Dynamo noticed X look away with a small frown. "Don't worry Al. I'm pretty sure the guy was escorted with some hunters."

"I hope so.." Alia sighed. "X is too important to get kidnapped or terminated by the enemy."

'Everyone is equally important. I am only an android who likes to think and untangle the issues.' X wanted to say, but that would leave a mark as someone who is humble.

 

[This isn't why I'm here.]

 

"So Ekusu?" Alia noticed X cover his mouth, expression undecipherable. "What occupation will you take when you graduate?"

"?" Jade turned back to vivid emerald. X lowered his hands, eyes moving up towards the inquirer. "I'm a working student, part-time researcher."

"Who are you assisting?" Alia looked surprised.

"..." X browsed his list of psychopathic and/or quirky friends. He takes the one at the top, preferably someone willing to pretend for entertainment's sake. "Dr. Cain."

"Hey! He's the creator of Sigma, the Commander of the Maverick Hunters." Dynamo butts in, feeling out of place as the two conversed. Alia looked at Dynamo, agreeing. "If it weren't for him, Dr. Light wouldn't have collaborated in the production of reploids."

'Unfortunate how no one can replicate father's designs.' X mused, examining the reploids at the distance. 'They are very curious-'

 

[THREAT DETECTED!]

 

'What?' X frowned, searching for the source.

  

X: Question. What is the last masterpiece Dr. Wily made?

Blues: Sentient or non-sentient?

X: Sentient.

Roll: Tell us the situation Bluebird.

 


 

X: Radar says maximum threat to a Wilybot, but its name is unknown.

Roll: Can't be Forte. He's still here blabbering about something in the classroom.

Blues: The only one that comes into mind would be...

Blues: Zero.

X: Zero.

X: Why would anyone name their masterpiece Zero?

 

"Anyways! I hear you're going to spar with Rock and Axl after twenty minutes." Dynamo spoke up, but X wasn't focused on him anymore. The mercenary knows his disciple caught Zero in his radar. Wily Omega Zero, crimson swordsman with absolutely zero interest on love. 'Rust him!'

"You want to train first with some other newbies?" Dynamo placed a hand on X's shoulder, grabbing his attention once more. "I can ask my Bros."

"I..." X seemed speechless, expected since the guy saw the blonde. Dynamo frowned. 'Bolts. I was even getting used to him.'

"I was hoping..." X looked back towards the albino with a smile beginning to form. "if senpai would teach me how to survive against a saber-user."

 

Blues: It's a long story... Just like the doctor's reason for using the letter X.

X: I really thought I was named X so I can be the letter in between the pairing names.

Blues: Or porn but that would make your name XXX.

X: What if I was named Y from the X and Y axis?

Blues: Y is closer to Waifu.

X: GASP

Roll: Guys! Focus!

 

"Come again?" Dynamo needs a physical confirmation. It's more believable than his recorded memories.

"I-I am very weak to anything saber-related..." X confessed, holding Dynamo's hand and smiling wider. "But no one wants to help me. That's why it would be very helpful to me if senpai trains me first."

"No prob!" Dynamo nearly stuttered. The way X addressed his issue sounded like a newbuilt. X even has those wide sparkling eyes. 'Cuteness overload.'

 

  

Roll: If it is Zero, ignore him. He's a workaholic that I ship with Vile. Just let Fate take its course.

Blues: What? I ship him with Iris. They're a step away to being lovers. Now, if only Colonel would stop getting in the way.

Roll: So you're shipping them because they're close friends? I might as well ship him with Storm Eagle then!

Blues: Ouch. Zero would get a lot of injuries around his mouth.

Roll: I was thinking more of the foreplay.

Blues: Oh. Cloaca

Roll: I doubt his creator is that accurate. Maybe Storm has a mod like Storm Owl.

Blues: Let me check his blueprint.

 

"Why would you be weak to beam sabers?" Alia pointed out, scanning X's body. "You look like any other standardized reploid. You need to train against all types of attacks."

"Saber-users are more durable compared to shooters. According to Doppler, the ratio of swordsfighters and gunners is 1:20 and that's excluding human forces." X lets go, already turning away and walking away. "Come with me senpai. I have Block 17 reserved. Rock and Axl will end after ten minutes. We don't have much time left."

'Why wasn't I notified of Zero?' X's frown deepened, searching his database and ignoring the odd discussion regarding romantic exchange and anatomy. 'No record of Zero. He must be insignificant. I'll just push him aside and ask father later-'

"You're X, aren't you?"The voice was clear and it demanded his attention, but X didn't want to.

 

Blues: Bolts. So are we confirming that Tango, if he wants to get it on with a female animaloid, will have to get the...

Roll: ...

Roll: We can always ask Dr. Light to make a non-lethal one?

Blues: Barfing noises.

Roll: Sad but true.

 

'Great. They've entered the topic of cat anatomy... I hope they didn't dwell into bestiality because humans are still blurry on that genre-?!' X was too busy in his thoughts, trying to get away, that he didn't notice a hand grabbing his wrist. Tugged and turned, the blue android faced the warbot.

"You're X." It was no longer a question. It was a confirmation.

"No I'm not!" X answered in haste, but the grip tightened. 'Zero has really sharp blue eyes and why is he taller than me? Dr. Wily must have googled online what the ideal ikemen would be. What a problem.'

"Oh?" Raising an eyebrow, the Wilybot doesn't look convinced.

"I'm E-ku-su." X answered, internally sweating bullets because if X received a notification that he'll be encountering a Wilybot... Who is he to say Dr. Wily not installing a similar program into Zero? 'Please believe my BS and move away. You are causing a scene and increasing my chances of being placed in an interrogation cell.'

"..." Zero glared at him.

'Shoot. He knows. He knows my BS!' X has blaring sounds inside his head, scrambling for an alternate solution. The funny part here is that Zero has yet to let go of his wrist and a ton of reploids are watching them. 'What do I do? Activate the fire alarm? Ahhhhh!'

 

X: What do I do when someone, who looks ready to tear me apart, is holding my wrist?

Roll: Aim for the eyes!

Blues: Cry.

 


 

"?" Zero was startled when he saw the android start tearing up.

"Hey Z! Do you mind not bullying my kouhai?" Dynamo rushed in, slapping Zero's hand and holding X close.

"♪!" X held onto the albino's chest, covering his face.

"You okay?" Dynamo pets X's head before looking back at Zero. "Zero! Shame on you!"

 

"I wasn't..." Zero looked confused in the mercenary's opinion.

"I get you." Dynamo waved his hand, getting a gist of the problem. Zero is built by Dr. Wily, the same nutjob who wants to outrank Dr. Light. "But he isn't what you're looking for."

"Do you even know what he is?" Zero inquired, annoyed at him for some reason.

"Do I?" Dynamo can feel X's hands firmly clawing the armor as if afraid of something.

 

"Sure I do." Dynamo shrugged, trying to reassure those watching that the situation won't escalate to another fight. "Ekusu is the blue cinnamon roll who likes to poke around."

"Cinnamon roll?" X blinked, looking towards Alia who covered her mouth.

 

X: Am I a cinnamon roll?

Blues: Oh Lord! Bluebird finally realized!

Roll: Let's change our names to food next month.

 

"If you excuse us, we'll be training now." Dynamo walked away with the clueless reploid still clinging onto him.

 

X: Crisis averted!

Roll: You followed Thunderbird again, didn't you?

Blues: Sorry sis.

Roll: Bias.

 

"Man!" Dynamo snickered, looking down at X as he walked. "You're so light."

"Removed a lot of parts just to run faster." X didn't think he'd need all the upgrades Dr. Light gave him before he left to travel around the world.

"Odd. I never saw a male reploid installing the crying function before." Alia confessed and X paused. 'What?'

"Well. X can cry and he's... not that manly to be honest." Dynamo laughed and X felt somewhat offended by all this.

 

X: Who made it a rule that only female reploids can cry?!

Blues: Uh Bluebird? What sort of self-respecting creator would create a male reploid, usually for combat and heavy-duty, to waste materials and chemicals for emotion's sake?

Roll: In a way, reploids are a better alternative to genetically-modified humans. The latter still having life-expectancy issues and vulnerability to environmental changes.

X: This is outrageous!

Blues: You'll be fine.

 

"You can let go now, Ekusu. The big meanie isn't here anymore." Dynamo coaxed X to let go.

"Y-yes. Thank you senpai." X was blushing, embarrassed. Looking down, X asked. "Where will we start?"

"Grab a training gun and sword." Dynamo watched Alia walk towards the panel as arbiter. "Self-study?"

"I have a lot of free time." X grabbed two swords with a gun holster for his gun.

"Tell me if I'm doing anything wrong." Activating both blades, X smiled at his mentor who wielded a blade on one hand and a gun on the other.

 

Blues: Why did you go silent?

X: Going to spar.

X: Honestly feeling rusty on frontal combat.

Roll: I can imagine that, stealthy bluebird~

 

"Five minutes, freestyle battle." Alia announced, ensuring both reploids hooked up to the system so she can check on their vitals. "All attacks and actions will be recorded for future reference. Refrain from damaging the IC and Core. Is there any other questions?"

 

Blues: I hear it's hard to get a blue feather falling from the air before marriage.

Roll: I can never understand why you played the entire series of HM.

Blues: I mostly appreciate hetero-relationships.

 

"How about elemental attacks?" X wondered, looking around Block 17. "And why is there observation windows at the side? What happened to privacy?"

"The training and simulation rooms have observation windows since this is the same place where we commence our Solo Combat and Teamwork Exam." Alia looked from the two walls. "Don't worry. I'm sure no one is watching us."

"..." X deactivated one blade, slowly placing it back to the table. Dynamo asked, placing one hand on his hip. "You paranoid?"

"Somewhat." X sighed. 'I can't have Dr. Wily analyzing Zero's memories to confirm my existence even further. Father will kill me if a UFO parks on our backyard like the other three times Rock told me about.'

 

Roll: Weird. I thought all guys like Yuri.

Blues: Haven't seen a decent one.

Chapter Text

Zero: Forte. Will you stop flirting with Roll and get your titanium arse in the training room? I finally found X.

Forte: STFU. Why the hell would I flirt with Roll of all people?!

Forte: And wdym by X? The last time you said that, you were staring at Iris and Colonel.

Zero: Is it my fault they're based on X? Now start dashing.

Forte: Demanding brat.

Zero: Cocky fin-head.

Forte: That's it! You sonnuva-

 

"..." Zero ignores the string of human slang from his older sibling unit, looking back at the battle.

"..." Zero frowned, watching the brunette get mauled by a level two training gear. Something was wrong here, particularly Ekusu's statement. 'Why would X be weak to sabers when he has this so-called Limitless Potential System? Shouldn't he overcome such obstacles with ease?'

"?" Zero hears a ruckus on the other side. The noise is entering Block 17.

 


 

'I feel like scrap.' X winced at the bruises around his body. Dynamo was no joke. 'I bet this mercenary experiments on bed!'

"You suck." Dynamo didn't mean to say it, but he did. He can't help himself. Staring at the injured newbie, Dynamo commented. "Maybe you should stick to the shoot-and-run tactic?"

"There are times when I'm cornered, senpai." X took deep breaths, holding the beam saber with one hand. However, his arm is shaking. The other hand is slightly clenched as if ready to pull the gun. X didn't. Why didn't he? X sighed. "I have no choice but to learn how..."

"At least that explains why you took up two-handed swordsmanship." Dynamo remarked, lowering his blade. 'To cover all his openings.'

"It's difficult to counter a beam saber when you're built with a buster." X huffed, taking deep breaths. "If my opponent is a skilled swordsman, whether they be human or reploid, I'll turn into scrap once they close in on me."

 

"Okay. We'll start training tomorrow." Dynamo walked towards X, patting his shoulder and kicking his boots. "Loosen your shoulders. You need to be responsive. Fix your posture or your enemies will knock you down."

"And stop hesitating. We aren't using level three training gear." Dynamo stood back, walking around the fatigue reploid. "You move too much... Very human-like that it's annoying."

"Not built for combat." X laughed shakily and Dynamo straighten X's back.

"Can't do anything about that. Now then, the only problem here would be maintaining the postures in battle..." Dynamo took a step back. "Since you aren't strong, we'll focus on your speed and train your endurance. Read up the files I sent you, preferably read the human version first before reploids. Reploid footwork has added technicality."

"Thank you senpai!" X meant it, obtaining a Maverick Hunter Manual created by the previous 8th Unit Captain. 'Maybe having a senpai isn't bad, after all?'

 

"We'll be following the stereotypical syllabus of this school's EA. Simple attacks, simple parries, complex attacks, complex parries, simple counterattack etc." Dynamo made sure it will take around two months worth of activities. "Then we begin sparring around March and kick ass in April.. There's a competition on April 1 or was it 2?"

"First week of April." Alia confirmed and Dynamo gave a thumbs up.

"Can we not?" X deactivated his sword, dropping his arms like a wet noodle. Dynamo ruffles X's hair. "No. You'll need it in your CV."

"That is if you two win." Alia warned. "I recall Colonel and Iris also planning to participate."

'I don't want to...' X puffed his cheeks, looking away. 'Maybe I can drop out before March once we remove the cockblocker?'

 

"Ekusu. Something is off. It's already been twenty minutes. Rock and Axl hasn't emerged out of Block 18." Alia signed out of Block 17, walking towards the duo. "What difficulty level did you place?"

"10. Why?" X likes numbers ending in zeroes. Dynamo tossed his training gear at the table, landing perfectly but with a loud thunk. "Only star section students can handle 10."

"Ops. Sorry." X lied. He's confident that the difficulty of the outside world is worse than a simulation. 'Rock and Axl has to survive or I'll have to gear up.'

"Let's check on them!" Alia rushed off and Dynamo followed behind her. X blinked, 'Is it me or is Alia like a mother?'

 


 

 

When Forte dashed off, Roll knew it had something to do with her baby brother. Therefore, she zipped passed the crowd, using a shortcut Rock taught her in the past.

 

Roll: Bluebird respond!

Blues: What happened?

Roll: I think his cover is blown.

Blues: Maybe I should have changed his name to XY?

Roll: That wouldn't have helped at all!

  

*Bang!

 

"Moving through!" Roll ordered, dashing passed the taller reploids and heading to the corners. For some reason, X prefers corners. When Block 1 and 2 held half-baked trainees, Roll dashed through the hallways towards Block 17 or 18.

"?!" Entering Block 18, Roll checked the player's conditions, opening windows to be notified of their progress and read the instructions to end the simulation.

 

[DIFFICULTY 10]

 

"X. You and your obsession to round off numbers..." Roll mumbled, wearing the fallen headphones and lowered the microphone down to her mouth. "Rock. Axl? How are you?"

"One of my pistols got hit by this muck and stopped working completely, Rock is craving for some sweet life energy, we're lost and holding a lot of unnecessary weapon energy." Axl explained, letting Rock wrap an ATM around his shoulder for support. "Oh and can you tell me why all these reploids prefer self-destruction when they're near death? Thanks!"

"The life energies are hoarded by the enemies, the Irregular Leaders are changing it's platforms in their respective Control Rooms and..." Roll feels like X made this without much thought. "The residents of the area suspect you two being S-Rank Maverick Hunters. They rather die than get captured."

 

"That's terrible!" Rock agonized, but Roll isn't sure which part is terrible. Roll added, "All you have to do is get X-Copybot. He's two floors below, close to one of the bosses at the botanical garden."

"This entire place is a garden." Axl shot some moving vines. "X must have a thing with tentacle porn."

"X never reads porn!" Rock defended and Roll wants to answer: 'That's because X likes telenovelas more than explicit sex material.'

"Rock. X is old enough." Axl berated, laughing. "He can't be that innocent. Come on!"

 

"Roll. What are you doing here?"

'Ah Terabyte. Of all the reploids available...' Roll looked up to see Zero. Roll gives an uneasy laugh, replying. "I sensed my twin was in danger, even if it's artificial, so I just had to come!"

"..." Zero accepted the excuse, much to Roll's relief.

 

Zero: I can't believe Roll outran you.

Forte: No way. She's still in the classroom

[Zero attached an image]

Forte:

Forte: Not a word

Zero: -_-

Forte: Why couldn't Wily make a less sarcastic android as his raison d'être?

 


  

Roll: Bluebird. Whatever you do, don't enter Block 17.

X: Why Sunbird?

Roll: Just don't.

Roll: Especially now.

Blues: How bad?

X: It can't be that bad. The danger should start dissipating with each minute, yes?

Roll: Forte and Zero just came in.

 

"?!" X stopped in his tracks.

 

Blues: Forte must be Zero's favorite sibling.

Roll: They're bickering right in front of me.

Blues: That's the same with you and Rock.

Roll: No. Our fights don't end in brawls!

Blues: They're warbots.

X: What do I do now?

Roll: I don't know because Forte can detect lies... For a foul-mouthed prideful nuisance.

Blues: I detect a budding tsundere.

Roll: Sorry but you're wrong on that, kuudere!

 

"What are you waiting for? Come on! We have five minutes left before class starts." Dynamo dragged the contemplating android.

 

X: Sorry but I'm entering the area, Sunbird.

 

"?" Upon entering the area where two androids are strapped on a chair with helmets covering their eyes, X took a step back and turned just in time to see Forte flying to the wall.

"Zero. What the hell?" Dynamo laughed instead of scold his classmate. "Is Forte the only one that can tick you off?"

"I have no business with you Dynamo. Get out." Zero glared at the happy-go-lucky albino. However, the blonde spotted X. "Forte. If you really encountered X, check the one closest to you."

'Forte...' X remembered that robot master. He was the same one that played Shadow puppets and  Which hand is the coin in? with him when he was 8 months old. 'I wonder how Forte will see me as?'

"Hm?" Forte stood up, dusting his armor and looking up at the rigid blue android. "..."

 

Blues: Sent something to Forte.

Roll: Blackmail or bribery?

Blues: Neither. I told him to trick Zero and we'll let him in.

Roll: OMG! Thunderbird!

 

"Really?" Forte scoffed, rolling his eyes. "Puh-lease! So what if he's named Ekusu? He's just another excess product of Santa Claus!"

"..." Zero doesn't look pleased, but X can see hint of trust somewhere in those amazing blue- X rubbed his eyes. 'I need my net coffee.'

"Come on. Do you honestly think X would come all the way from Europa and enter this school with a crappy name?" However, Forte's sneer sounded closer to amusement in X's auditory. 'He knows. Oh load. He knows.'

"Besides, X is a fan of anarchy last time I met him." Dynamo admitted and X tries to recall when that was- "He doesn't like following the norm. Isn't that why it's hard to catch him?"

'It's probably the time when Sigma insists on assisting me in the Bahrain. He brought at least ten A-Rank Hunters and a hidden assassin trailing behind us...' X frowned, not used to the fact the Commander of the Maverick Hunters decided that an escort mission with X is considered a vacation week. 'So Dynamo is the assassin and his boss is charismatic Cain junior?'

"Blame it all on Blues." Forte walked towards Zero. X pouted, 'I am not an anarchist! I just don't like following the rules that restrain development!'

 

Roll: I vote Forte be called Rainbird.

Blues: I thought he'd be named something more noisy... like Bellbird.

 

"But the media represented him to act like an angel." Alia wondered, looking at Dynamo. The assassin laughed, "Alia. The Light Family is overly glorified. Don't trust the media and meet the guy."

"Let's head back to class. Dr. Wily already sent you X's specs. You should rely on that instead of signature and external physique." Forte gave a subtle nod towards Roll as he pushed Zero out of the room.

 

X: I want Forte be called Blackbird.

Blues: Blackbird isn't a particular bird, Bluebird.

Forte: Just read everything so fuck all of you.

Roll: No thank you.

Forte: especially you, Sunbird.

Blues: I ship them.

Forte: Screw off Thunderbird

Forte: Though I'm fine being called Rainbird.

 

"I wonder what Dr. Wily wanted Zero to do with X?" Alia pondered but both Roll and X looked away.

"Defeat him? Kill him? Who knows? This is Wily we're talking about." Dynamo leaned on the control panel. "Ekusu. I doubt you'll have enough time to spar."

"Indeed." X agreed, checking the time. 'Too early for an expedition? I might as well buy books to read in Blues' apartment.'

"Maybe they'll be ready after two weeks." Roll supplied and X nodded, but half-heartedly.

"Hmm..." X wished the world acted more like a video game. 'Training takes forever even if you're a reploid. Obtaining permits and members requires so much paperwork~ Don't let me start on the resource gathering!'

 

[TRAINING SEQUENCE CONCLUDED]

 

'Life is cruel.' X exhaled, slumping his shoulders.