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Saturday, January 29, 1994, 12:07 PM
"Hey, Doc." Kevin lead the team into the lab of Doctor Thomas Xavier Right. Kevin had no doubt in his mind as to what the 'special presentation' was about. "We're here." The team stepped through double doors. Surprisingly, the large workshop was almost completely enveloped in darkness. A spotlight fell upon the team as they passed through the entrance, but the rest of the lab was well hidden. "Doctor Right?" Lana called. The short bearded scientist waddled into the light, hands folded behind his back. "Princess, Captain N, glad you could make it on such short notice." "Are they ready?" Lana asked eagerly. "Please say they're ready!" Mike begged. Right smiled. "Of course they're ready. I'm sorry for the wait, but it was difficult to get the project completed in only seven days." Right withdrew a remote control. "May I present..." He flipped a switch, and light filled the room, displaying magnificent vehicles. "Game Squadron!" "Game Squadron?" Mega Man asked. "What's that?" "Well, technically, you're only half of a squadron. But each set of vehicles usually takes on a collective name. You've already been introduced to Rogue Squadron. The names help to identify the ships with ease, and I figured Game Squadron would not have been chosen by the New Republic. It seems right to name the fleet remotely after Videoland." "You said we're only half a squadron." Rick commented. "What about the other half? The other members of the N Team?" "I have already spoken to each remaining member. The five of you would have no problem piloting these ships. Mega Man must control his craft through an I/O jack as he cannot actually reach the controls. The others? Well, I received very mixed results. Stacey can't figure out the controls. Romeo did not pass my self-issued flight exam. Julius can't fit in the cockpit. Kid Icarus can't reach the controls, but doesn't have the solution of an input device. And Riff refuses to fly on anything other than Chord. So, you'll have to operate at six pilots instead of twelve, which is a shame, because I worked so hard to complete the entire dozen ships." "Bummer." Rick scratched his head. "Didn't we also need an Arby's or something?" "R2's." Right corrected. "And yes, four of the ships do require R2 units." Right whistled, and four low-riding drones snuck out from behind the ships. "These are your R2 units. I hope you don't mind, but certain - distinctions caused me to name them. Kevin, the red and white unit is yours. Since it has most decidely chosen a female persona, I've dubbed it Dutchess." "Duke and Dutchess?" Kevin asked, chuckling as he did so. "Princess, the pink and blue 'droid has a tendency to not stay put, and has been identified as Roam Dome." "Roam Dome?" Lana shuddered. "You sure I can't have Dutchess?" she asked as the robot began circling around her. "Mike, the red and black unit is Nut Case." "Why'd you name him that?" Mike asked. He saw the 'droid slam itself into a wall. "And I have to rely on this thing?" "It is quite capable of functioning in battle. There's no need to fear." "Okay, what about me?" Rick asked. "What defect does mine have?" "Rick, your 'droid, the black and gold unit, laughs." "Laughs?" Rick asked. "It laughs? That's it?" Right nodded. "Mmhmm. I call him Funny Bone." "How appropriate." Right cleared his throat. "Now, about your ships." He gestured to the pure white crafts. A large three-level shelving system held the ships. Three X-Wings sat on the highest level. A Y-Wing took the middle, with two A-Wings below it. "I assume you'd all like paint jobs?"
"They look good!" Mike emphasized. He glanced to Kevin at his right, both with their arms folded. "Wadaya think, Keene?" Kevin nodded. With the two being such close friends, it was only sensible to paint their two X-Wings to almost match. The entire fuselage on each ship was a bold red. The wings on Kevin's craft were still a pure white, while Mike had his repainted to a flat black. "They do look good." "Shall we point and laugh at the other excuses of paint designs our friends have elected for." Mike asked evilly. Kevin smiled. "I don't think so." "Laugh and point then?" Kevin thought about the suggestion. "That works." The next ship to be painted was Lana's. Most of the top half of her X-Wing's fuselage had been decored in a pastel pink. A thin blue line separated it from the pure white bottom half. The laser cannons on each wing were pink with blue trim, as were the four engine mounts. Rick didn't have much of a choice with his Y-Wing. Due to its design, he had little option but to leave it black with a thick golden trim. The final two ships, Simon and Mega Man's A-Wings, looked almost as identical as Kevin and Mike's. Both were a bold blue, but the wide stripe down the center was the only way to tell them apart: Simon with a dark brown, Mega Man with a deep blue. Mike sighed. "Geez, they suck." "They're not that bad." Kevin said. "No, I mean ours! Our designs suck!" "Simon?" Kevin asked as the vampire hunter put the finishing touch on his A-Wing. "Is that a mirror?" Simon smiled as he attached the mirror just above the steering column. "Even in battle, you can't help but look at someone as handsome as me." Mike shook his head, trying to empty it of Simon's words. "Yeah." "Well," Kevin changed the subject, "let's get these babies on the road."
The ships were lined on a flat track of desert land. Each pilot did their final equipment checks. Mega Man made sure his I/O link with his ship's control was fully functional. "I'm set to go." Rock announced. "I just wish this body wasn't so mega heavy!" "It's not forever." Lana replied through the communication system. "You can go back to your old body right after this test run." "I hope so. I look horrible in red." He watched the cockpit close, and began to bring his engines online. Simon hopped into his A-Wing, and, like a kid at a computer for the first time, immediately began punching buttons. The engines revved, and then... "What the - " Rick and the others were knocked to the ground as Simon's ship left their sight in under a second. The surface was charred from where the engines had lit, and a huge cloud of smoke existed for several minutes. The faint sound of Simon yelling could be heard in the distance. Then he pulled up from behind the other ships at a ludicrous speed, and finally, painfully, stopped right where he had started. The cockpit opened. Simon was pale, with his hair pulled straight back and his mouth agape. "Simon?" Lana asked. "Are you okay?" The vampire hunter put his head between his knees and made a grotesque motion that drove Lana away. "Well, I ain't cleanin' it up." Mike said. Kevin leaned against the cockpit, along with Rick. "Maybe you should keep it in first." Kevin suggested. "You know what I could go for right now?" Rick smiled. "A nice plate of fried eggs,..." Simon's nausea returned. "some greasy sausage,..." And returned. "and maybe a nice can of tuna." At this point, Kevin could hear Simon's feet sloshing around in the cockpit. "Cut it out, Rick. We don't want this thing to short circuit." "Sorry, Kev." Kevin examined the surroundings. "Hey, Lana? What game world is this anyway?" The Princess shrugged. "I have no idea. It looks deserted. I assume nothing's been established here yet." "And the fact that we're live-action?" Kevin asked. Rick looked at his hands and jumped. "Well, I'll be damned! We are!" Lana shook her head. "All I know is the map lists this place as the Badlands. I think it's impossible for any game world to exist here." "Y'think Wily did some testing here that caused it? Like a bomb or something he wanted to try out?" Mike asked. "Anything's possible." Lana commented. "Like enemy aircraft about to attack us?" Rick questioned. "Yeah - huh?!" Lana looked over her shoulder to find six TIE fighters quickly approaching. "Into the ships!" she ordered. "Now!" Her demand hadn't even been finished when the team boarded their respective craft. Kevin slipped on his communication headset. "Okay, guys, looks like our test run just got a lot more serious." His ship shook as laser blasts struck down on either side. "Scratch that. It just got a lot more dangerous! Everyone target a fighter and try to stay behind them." The newly-formed squadron initiated their take-off, and each pilot had quickly targeted one of the enemy. "Stay behind them?" Lana spat as a TIE quickly fired upon her. "Easier said than done." She took a second to glance over to her viewscreen, her only coherent form of communication with Roam Dome. "He'll expect me to loop around. Ohhhh, I get it." Lana pulled back on her control stick, looping her X-Wing halfway around. She hoped the TIE pilot was doing as expected, following her path so he would still come out behind her. She leaned forward on the control as she went full-circle, and, with some quick adjustments to her horizontal alignment, found herself close behind the enemy. "Buh-bye!" she graciously waved, blasting her four wing-mounted lasers into the TIE fighter. The TIE fighter spiraled towards the ground. Lana saw the pilot jump out and parachute to the ground. She breathed a sigh of relief. "Slow and steady." Simon told himself, nervously shaking in his cockpit. "No need to rush. Everything's fine." His ship shook as three green laser blasts rushed by him. "It's okay. Let him pass if he wants to." he said, cruising his A-Wing through the sky at a brisk eight miles-per-hour. Six more lasers rocked his craft. His face hardened. "Oh, now that was just plain rude." Still at his slow pace, Simon turned his ship so he would face the oncoming vehicle. "I've met vampires with better manners than you. At least they wait to be invited before they walk into your home and kill you!" Simon flipped a few switches on his controls. "Simon!" Kevin cried through the comm-system. "Just shoot him!" "Oh, right." The vampire hunter pulled the trigger on his control stick. A blast from his ion cannon took off the right wing of the TIE, sending it spiraling towards the ground below. The pilot was able to eject before the ship crashed, and he parachuted safely to the ground. Mike felt a light bulb go on within his head. He had heard Lana through the comm-system regarding her battle tactics, as well as Simon's somewhat-useful comments, and had quickly developed his own plan. "If they ride your bumper, let 'em pass." Mike tilted his stick heavy to one side, barrelling his X-Wing several meters to the right. He came out of the roll, and had readjusted his aim just in time for the TIE to speed past him. "You're dead, cowboy!" Mike laughed, pulling the trigger. It was an unusual sight. Mike was the only pilot who did not set all four lasers to fire at once, rather one at a time to save energy. The single beam that fired from his X-Wing raced up the engine mount of the TIE and caused an explosion from the inside out. The pilot was thrust out of the wreckage. He quickly activated his parachute. Mike grinned. "Scared ya, didn't I?" Kevin had the easiest time with his opponent. He remembered those days in the arcade, spending his hard-earned allowance on various video games. One in particular caught his interest on several visits. He remembered how he would sit in the cheap plastic seat that was the cockpit and watch the wire frame models zoom past him left and right as he attempted the ever-infamous Death Star Run. It was a game in which he held the high-score for fifteen consecutive weeks, before a freak storm caused power to fail and the record to be erased. But it left its mark on Kevin, turning the boy into a phenominal X-Wing pilot at a relatively-young age. His TIE already extinguished, he slowed to a cruise to watch his friends should they need assistance. Rock, using a superior math processor even more advanced than that of the R2s, had easily earned his share of the victory. And it wasn't long before Rick unloaded a proton torpedo onto the remaining fleeing ship. The final TIE hit the ground, and Game Squadron rejoiced in their first victory as a newly-formed assault team.
The six ships landed quite a distance from their original position, but did not care. They would easily find their way home, and felt like having an impromptu celebration. "Really?" Mike asked Lana. "It did?" Lana nodded. "I was a little sceptical at first, but Roam Dome gave me such a good idea that I had to try it out." She glanced up to the 'droid still fitted into her ship. "Huh." Mike scratched the back of his neck. "Mine just asked that I don't squeeze the Charmin." "Uhh..." Lana examined Mike's extremely fidgety 'droid. "Maybe you should ask Doctor Right to reprogram that one." "Good idea." Mike agreed. "Well, everyone, I'm glad we all survived and that there were no casualties." Lana congratulated everyone. Rick sat on the front of his Y-Wing, watching his friend and leader stare off into the horizon. "Yo, Kev!" he called, not gaining the young man's attention. "Kev!!!" Frustrated, Rick cupped his hands around his mouth in an attempt to amplify his voice. "Keene!!! Earth to Kevin Keene!" No reaction. "That's it." Rick pulled his Super Scope off of his side. He positioned it on his shoulder and fired a large burst of energy into the air. He smiled as Kevin, along with the rest of the N Team, looked at him in surprise. "Where are you, man?" he asked. Kevin turned back again, pointing to the sunset. "Look." he said. "It's right there." Curious, Rick put his eye to the magnifying targeting lense of his weapon. Kevin was right; there was something there - a large dome, with two or three TIES circling it. Smoke was emitting from several exhaust ports, and it appeared as if some cargo vessels were being unloaded. Rick relayed his findings to the others. He jumped down onto the ground, slipping his Super Scope into a harness on his back. "The neighbors are moving in." he said grimly. "From what I saw, they're unloading a lot of raw materials. And you don't get smoke like that from baking cookies." "What are they doing?" Mike asked. "Building more ships?" Rick nodded. "That's what it looks like." Rock shook his head. "This is mega bad. How many?" "Doctor Right built six ships in ten days." Kevin reminded, returning to the group. "They've probably got a hundred people working on them. Let's just hope it's not a Star Destroyer." "What's that?" Simon asked, not sure if he wanted to know. "Something very difficult to beat." Mike answered, recalling what he could from the movies on his home world. "They can probably do what their name implies." "We're gonna need some help on this." Kevin realized. "Let's head back home. We'll talk to the others and see what Doctor Right can do for some added firepower - " "Kevin," Lana interupted, "Doctor Right said the others aren't fit to fly for one reason or another. Now I know we need help, but who are we going to get?" She watched as Kevin sank into a contemplative mode. "Kevin?"
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