Gods of Courage and Terror
Author’s Note: An alternate take on the events of episodes 11 and 12 of Shooting Star Rockman Tribe, where Luna is not the third main player present, but Tsukasa. A certain character who appears here doesn’t exist in the anime, so this is my way of working him into the narrative. Enjoy the story and R&R.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to or of the Shooting Star Rockman series.
Pairing: Established Subaru x Tsukasa.
Hoshikawa Subaru and Futaba Tsukasa mark their two-week anniversary with a visit to Nanska, South Amerope, the expedition doubling as an OOPart-finding mission. They participate in the local harvest festival, which comes under fire by the village’s self-styled god, Condor Geograph.
Akane’s reliable son peeled his attention away from their giant inlaid flat screen TV. Tragedy had forced him to grow up faster than those his age, but he was still a kid at heart, devoutly glued to his cartoons. Some rerun choreographing the rivalry between an antisocial cat and problem mouse.
“Care to go out for dinner today?”
“A new Namastian restaurant opened in front of the train station, correct? Why don’t we go tonight?”
Subaru’s episode of Tum and Gary moved to commercial while they talked. Pop singer Hibiki Misora pranced into view, peddling a diet drink, RYUSEI MAX, for her sponsors.
“Misora-chan sure is cute, isn’t she?” Akane pandered, slouching over the couch.
“She’s also eccentric, yeah?” Subaru stated truthfully.
“Eccentric? Sounds like you know everything about Misora-chan!”
Here we go again.
He blushed at his mother’s insinuation, stuttered his usual denials, and stomped off to do his homework, when the doorbell rang.
She answered before he even budged.
“Ah, Tsukasa-kun! Good afternoon!”
“Good afternoon!” the boy politely helloed. “Is Subaru-kun home? We have a date.”
That’s right! It was his and Tsukasa’s two-week anniversary since they kissed under the tree in the park! Not that his mom noticed. She’d been obsessed evaluating wifely qualities among the girls in his orbit, and did not realize he’d already chosen a less high-maintenance co-pilot on his pathfinding journey.
All in all, he thought he did an adequately decent job maintaining a low profile. At least, he had until this discussion, thanks to Tsukasa’s open personality.
“Oooh! Is that how it is? Subaru, the next time you land yourself the future father of my grandchild, don’t leave me in suspense!”
“G-grandchild! W-what are you saying, Kaasan?” He stumbled.
Tsukasa snickered, musing, “You won’t be disappointed, Obasan. With Subaru-kun as their dad, they’ll turn out great!”
They, plural. Multiples.
“I’ll take him off your hands now, if you don’t mind.”
“Just bring him back by supper! We’ll eat together! I have many, many questions!”
Respecting her wishes, Tsukasa seized charge of the babbling, discombobulated mess formerly known as Hoshikawa Subaru.
A block from his house, Subaru reobtained use of comprehensible speech. “Tsukasa-kun, what you mentioned earlier. About kids…”
“Don’t you want any?”
“It’s too soon!”
“I’m ready for a litter, if you are.”
“This isn’t a joke! Kaasan will totally hold us to it!”
“We were pretending! No need to panic!” Tsukasa laughed, seamlessly punting the matter aside. “Well? Where to? Aqua Hills? The planetarium?”
“I had someplace else planned.”
“Nanska village,” War-Rock blabbed.
“Gee, way to spoil it, War-Rock!” Subaru’s angry teeth eclipsed his Star Carrier’s screen.
“South Amerope, huh?”
“To be honest, Orihime-san phoned.”
“A possible lead on the location of an OOPart, then?”
“I get it. It’s an imposition. I can ask Hibiki Misora to fill in.”
“And give the enemy an advantage? Nuh-uh! Kill two birds with one stone!”
Parameters of their date-slash-mission agreed upon, Subaru and Tsukasa touched base with Misora at the Temple of the Sky City, weatherworn ruins abandoned by the Mu civilization high in the mountains overlooking Nanska village. Refreshingly cool mist partially and perpetually concealed the ancient stone superstructures. Trip and you’d fall to a certain, rocky end.
Misora favoured the lyric-inspiring peaks to her stuffy studio. She disregarded Subaru’s advice, and tired herself out ecstatically exercising in the thin air till she was short of breath.
Observing them interact, it was easy to see how the uninitiated might mischaracterize their working partnership. Their priorities, however, couldn’t be any more different.
The trio met Ogamu, a villager blessed with a pencil-thin mustache, and Agame, the high priest tending to the sacred site. These men educated them on local customs and history, including the townsfolk’s tradition of beseeching their guardian deity for a successful harvest during the festival that day. Offerings of food, music, and dance were submitted before the altar. An appointee of the god presented his or her most treasured possession.
While War-Rock confirmed the absence of an OOPart, as luck would have it, the appointee selected by God for this particular festival happened to be Tsukasa, and the three decided to stay and enjoy the occasion.
Disastrously, the stories the chieftain told were neither benign nor legend. Undistorted, they described the wrathful revival of a comatose EM organism named Condor, who fused with Agame-san, converting him into a shrieking aerial menace, Condor Geograph.
“God carves a line in the sand!” He shot a repulsor blast from the metal interior of his wooden beak, and searchlight lasers from the green crystals contained in his reverse gull wings. “Wing Raider!”
His assault sliced a pictogram across the settlement.
“Ha ha ha! Tremble! This is the power of God!”
Subaru and Misora returned fire as Rockman and Harp Note, but Condor Geograph’s altitudinal superiority made them plain sailing targets for his Missile Birds.
If only Tsukasa had befriended an FM-ian! He’d fight alongside Subaru and Misora, instead of seeking cover!
U-turning vertically, Condor Geograph dive-bombed, snatching Tsukasa off terra firma.
At the pyramid, the despot dumped his catch on the sundial and resumed his human appearance. “Come! You shall be the sacrifice of my closing ceremony!”
“Rockman will save me!”
“Rockman? That fool? His weak attacks cannot touch me! I am God!”
“You’re no god! God doesn’t hurt people!”
“That is where you’re mistaken! God is God because He hurts people! The ability to dominate simpletons via fear! That is the gauge of His godhood!” Agame raised his staff, thwapping it down.
Pathetic. I guess I’m up.
Agilely, Tsukasa caught the rod shy of his chest.
“You dare defy God?”
Tsukasa’s features contorted aggressively. “Here on out, I’ll show you a real god of terror!”
Something was wrong. Horribly wrong.
“EM Wave Change! Futaba Hikaru, On Air!”
Tined lighting punched through the temple wall, knocking the shaman into his wave form, and thrusting him outside in a violent backdraft that kicked up a typhoon of flowers.
“Subaru! That’s –!” War-Rock exclaimed on approach.
Elec Swords assailed the false idol.
“How can that be? Gemini should have been destroyed!” Harp gasped.
“Flying Impact!” Condor Geograph flew at them full speed, sticking Gemini Spark W and Gemini Spark B on the flat blades of his wings. “Harming God is an unforgivable act! The penalty is death!”
No otiose threat, except his opponents got the drop on him, each crumpling an airfoil in a golden Rocket Knuckle.
Throwing him, the twins joined hands, combining positive and negative charges. “Gemini Thunder!”
Stunned by the bolt, the pretender bobbed, dead in the air.
“This chicken is fried,” White quipped.
“He’s all yours, Rockman!” Black signalled.
Postponing his bewilderment, Subaru reoriented himself. “War-Rock! Transform!”
A column of electricity spouted, and Rockman gained his Thunder Berserk weaponry.
Condor Geograph roared, “I am…God!”
“Abusing your power to rule by terror! That’s not what a god does!” Rockman swung the Sword of Berserk, sending the punishment of Mu.
The stroke fragmentized its mark.
Harp Note adjusted the area around her, making herself dense enough to nab the unconscious Agame as he plummeted. Reposing him midst the flowers, she reunited with Rockman.
Waving Out, Subaru and Misora guardedly examined Tsukasa.
Gemini’s expressionless faces loomed.
“This guy is under my control.” The stranger in Tsukasa’s clothes aimed a thumb at the alien behind him. “You can call me Hikaru.”
“When the FM King purified him, dangerous cosmic rays bombarded that softy Tsukasa. To cope and survive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, I was born.”
War-Rock understood. “In other words, another conscience lives inside Tsukasa!”
“Cepheus-sama must’ve restored Gemini, too!” Harp surmised.
“So, he’s not Tsukasa-kun? Where is he? Where is the real Tsukasa-kun?” Subaru compassed the forgery’s shoulders.
“Oh, shuddap! I’ll split. For now. Wouldn’t want to keep your mother waiting, hehehe!” Hikaru levelled scary eyes. “I’ll be watching you, though, Hoshikawa Subaru.”
Take over, pansy.
“H-huh? Subaru-kun? What was I –?”
He and his alter had swapped.
“You don’t remember?” Misora checked his pupils.
Tsukasa shook his head no.
Subaru tensely rubbed his mouth. Tsukasa was Hikaru, Hikaru was Tsukasa, and they were both Gemini Spark!
God. Their relationship just became a whole lot more complicated. How was he going to explain this to his mom?