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Prologue

Ha-ya-to slammed the joystick to the right, and the Areo Booster shot sideways madly, narrowly missing the three blasts from the Iron Condors. Without wasting a moment, the pilot slammed his fist on the fire button.


The left cannon vomited a volley of green beams, which shattered the black night and soared towards their targets.


“Gotcha!!” Ha-ya-to said, a grin appearing on his features. The breams slammed into the metal, causing huge explosions. “Well that takes care of that. Bow let’s-” His green eyes went wide. “No…no way…” The smoke cleared, and the black battle machine stood there, shielding the Iron Condors. Horror fell over his face. “No…how…why…”


The cannon pointed his way. The battle machine fired all its rockets. Ha-ya-to watched in horror as the weapons screamed towards him. There was a blinding flash, followed by a huge explosion. The engines erupted in flames, and the boy screamed, as he felt the heat and metal tear through his body.


The felt his battle machine tilt dangerous, before speeding uncontrollably towards the ground. The battle machine smashed against the bridge, before exploding like a supernova.



Chapter 1


Ha-ya-to sat up-straight on the bed, yawning loudly. “FINALLY!!!” he yelled. “We managed to get a good night’s sleep. I slept like a log.” The red-head turned to his fellow aerial pilot friend. “Whaddya say Hikaru?”




The boy in question smiled and waved at him with the back of his hand. “Yeah…I’m surprised to see the Golden City still standing. I was worried it’d be attacked when we’d be off to find Keiken.” The boy ran a hand through his hair. He groaned slightly. “I’m gonna take a shower and fix my hair.” He said.




Ha-ya-to noticed the blond streaks that had appeared in his dyed blue hair. He grinned while throwing a shirt on. “All right. I’ll go right away to see Sensei Keiken.”




“The old man must be resting. He’s been through so much torture, he should be left alone with Hitomi. Let them catch up a little.” Hikaru called from the bathroom. “Go see Ryo if you want company. He’ always up early. And check out his sister too. These two are inseparable since the battle with the Striking Venom.” There was the sound of rushing water coming from the shut door.




Ha-ya-to shrugged. “All right.” He strapped his golden armor over his uniform before leaving. “I’ll leave the door open so everyone can see you naked.” He shouted.




“Lame Ha-ya-to.” Hikaru called.




Ha-ya-to grinned. He was about to leave the door wide open, but thought twice when he noticed Takashi out, speaking to some pilots. No need to attract a commotion.



He closed the door, and raced across the Golden City, hoping to find his techie friend. “Ryo should be in the labs. And I’m willing to bet that he’s in the middle of a 3d hologram chess match with Hitomi.” He said.



When the red-head reached the labs, he was surprised to see the techie leaning forward against one of the Golden Guardian’s legs, his arms inside the open compartment. Hitomi was sitting by the toolbox, her features completely relaxed.




“Hey guys, what’s up? I was expecting you two to be locked in a chess game by now.” The pilot said




Hitomi looked his way, and smiled hugely at her friend. She got up and walked briskly towards Ha-ya-to. She gestured at him to lean over. When the boy was about at her height, she whispered in his ear. “Ryo’s in a really bad mood. Some guy came back from his mission, his battle machine completely busted. He’s been trying to fix the thing since last evening. He was supposed to have finished with about two or three hours ago, but he realized that some wires had melted together, and he’s got to do everything all over again.”




Ha-ya-to winced. Even for someone who loved building like Ryo, this was kinda sucked. He looked at the techie. “All night? That’s just wrong.” He looked at the tool box, then around the room. “Where’s Rika, you know, Ryo’s sister?”




Hitomi shrugged. “I dunno. I came here early too hoping to find her, but all I found was a grumpy techie-”




“The grumpy techie has ears you know!!” Ryo snapped at the pilot. “Now unless you have something interesting to say, GET OUT!!!”




Ha-ya-to winced. “Yup. Definitely in a bad mood. Well I’ll check the training center. If not, then I guess I just hop into my Aero Booster and go on patrol.”




Hitomi simply shrugged. “Whatever you say.” She walked back to her former place next to the tool box, and sat back down. “I’ll make sure that moody-man doesn’t lose himself-”




“GOD DAMMIT!!!! WHAT THE HELL ARE THE ZELYIUM METAL CHIPS DOING THERE!!!” Ryo howled in frustration, before sinking his arm in the hatch, and ripping out some pieces of metal attached to some wires.




Hitomi rolled her eyes. “As long as he doesn’t end up throwing his tools across the lab.” She quickly corrected. “Say hi to Rika for me.” She said.



Ha-ya-to nodded. He turned and sped out of the room.



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Hikaru entered the large Communication center. It was located in the middle of the second level of Golden City. Hidden safely under the thick pieces of rock and other rough materials, it incredibly quiet and dimly lit by the numerous computers and buttons that flashed everywhere. About a dozen people were seated in their respected areas, scanning some zones, giving orders on the comm. systems, or looking through the reports some scouts had handed over.




Hikaru looked around the room, hoping to find someone in particular. He was about to give up, when he found the boy sitting in a seat, surrounded by hundreds of similar people. The best aerial battle machine pilot headed his way. “Hey Swift. Got any news?”




The boy in question jumped in surprise, not having noticed his approach. “No nothing special.” He answered, sitting back normally on his chair. “Why?”




“We busted the Robot’s secret lab, got the code-brick back, and protected the Golden City. I dunno, I thought they might try to get some payback or something, what do you think?”




Swift grinned. “Good point.” He swiped the screen, running through a couple of coordinates, and checking a few bridges. “Down on the Bridge, the Surei Gate is under a minor attack. It should be easy to repel, but if you want to join, you can ask Sensei Keiken…”



Hikaru leaned over, and stared at the screen. “Yeah maybe…” his blue eyes flickered, and he found himself staring at the coordinates of the Taichi Bridge, a bridge that stood one level lower the Sentai Fortress. The pilot shook his head. “Yeah, I guess I’ll do that.” He stretched back to his full height. “Well I guess I’ll see ya later Swift.” He said, before turning and walking briskly away.


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Ryo closed the lid of the battle machine. “AT LAST!!!” he announced. “Twelve hours on working on this stupid thing, and I’m finally done.” He was busy collecting his tools when he noticed Hitomi staring at him rather intently. “Hitomi? When did you get here?”




The girl nearly face-palmed. “Since early this morning. You didn’t seem to be in the mood of cooperating, so I just stayed here while you finished your…tantrum?”




Ryo felt his inside heat rocket skyward. He should seriously work on trying to calm himself down when he was frustrated…maybe Kroujei was right about those yoga lessons…The techie slammed his head. What was he thinking? “Did I miss anything?” he asked, while gesturing to her to pass him the toolbox.




Hitomi picked up the red colored box and gave it to him. “Nothing really, no. Ha-ya-to is busy trying to find your sister, but otherwise…”




The boy nodded. “Good.” He said while taking off his oily gloves. “Well sorry for writing you all off the way I did.” He plopped the dirty leather equipment on a chair, and began to walk out of the lab, the raven-black haired girl behind him. “Have you been treating Uplink well while we were gone?”




“I think so…”




Ryo stopped so suddenly Hitomi crashed into him. “You…think…so?”




Crap, I forgot about his bond with Battle Machines…even for really old ones…better play it safe.’ Hitomi thought madly. “Well the robots attacked the city once when you four were gone out searching for the code brick. We repelled them, and some battle machines were slightly damaged…Uplink was still has a couple of dents in it…”




Ryo’s face turned abnormally pale. “You…left…dents…in…Uplink?” He turned to face her. “DENTS!!!! AND YOU DIDN’T FIX HIM?”




Hitomi was well aware of Ryo eccentricity when it came to battle machines. Whenever a battle machine-especially one of Ryo’s-would be left with just a scratch, the engineer would blow a gasket. But even if used to the outbursts, they always took her by surprise.




“YOU SHOULD KNOW BY NOW THAT THE METAL HAS TO AT ITS FINEST!!! IF NOT, THE RADIOACTIVE CORE CAN MALFUNCTION, AND DAMAGE THE POWER CONVERTER!! THE OVERHEATING CAN BREAK THE SPIRAL CORE AND THEN THE AUTOGUIDED MISSILES WILL BE DESTROYED DUE TO THE LACK OF FLEXIBILITY IN THE OPRIMIUN GEAR!!! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?”




Hitomi stood still for a moment, trying to comprehend half of the vocabulary the genius had used. Being an engineer as well, she knew what the pieces of the battle machines were, but Ryo-being the smarty-pants as he was-constantly used large words, making comprehension usually difficult. “I dunno…since you like the Cyclone Defender much more, I thought you had given up on Uplink…”




The mechanic dove back into the lab, yelling: “DON’T WORRY UPLINK!!! I’M COMING!!!”



Hitomi sweat-dropped at the techie’s manner to consider battle machines as live beings. “I


think he needs a day off and away from his labs…I’ll consider it with grandfather…” she turned and stretched her limbs, facing the sun that beat down on the city. “Thank god this city does exist. I don’t think I would be able to resist the cold shadows the Sentai Fortress lived in. I wonder how the boys survived in it.” She looked around the city, now rustling with pilots. “Speaking of boys, I wonder if Ha-ya-to found Rika and Takashi…better check on him before he does something stupid.”



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Okay, that was stupid thing to do.’ Ha-ya-to thought, as he pulled his Aero Booster sideways, avoiding one of Takashi’s beams of fire. The green bolt scratched the Blue Flacon, but otherwise, missed completely.




The red-headed pilot had found both Takashi and Rika training in the simulator room, and had decided to join them.




A three way battle had started, Ha-ya-to in his Aero Booster, Takashi in his Blade Titan, and Rika in her Golden Guardian. As the three of them fought, Takashi made some strange remark about Rika being ‘the physical representation of the inferior race’ and that ‘she ran away of fights because she was a female’. The taunt seemed to be quite effective, as Ryo’s twin dove madly on him, yelling “YOU’RE DEAD MEAT!!” And Ha-ya-to decided this was the opportunity to yell: “Takashi just became Steakashi!!!”




If Rika was mad at what Takashi said, then the green-haired pilot exploded at what the cheeky pilot had said. As a result the pilot went into his ‘Savage Takashi’ mode. It’s pretty much an angry person seeking revenge.




Except untamable.




So now, Rika, still in Golden Guardian, who had been blown to the other side of the simulator room and who was lying still, dazed and stunned, her battle machine nearly out of commission, and poor Ha-ya-to became Takashi’s punching-bag and source of amusement to which he could unleash his ‘primitive nature’ (aka, Gorilla Wrath-like Hikaru usually nicknamed it).




The red-head made a wild dive, and just when he was about to smash against the ground, he pulled up violently, and the Aero Booster began flying at very low altitude, nearly scraping the ground as it shot towards the Blade Titan. “Open Fire.” Ha-ya-to slammed his fist into the button in front of the yoke.




The canon just above the cockpit fired a thick green beam. Ha-ya-to instantly followed that attack with his two other canons on the side of the battle machine. The trio attacks headed straight for Takashi. “With this much fire-power, there’s no way his armor will resist. And there’s no time for him to dive to safety.”




Takashi grinned evilly. His eyes gleamed. There was a huge explosion where the Blade Titan stood.




“WOO HOO!!! SAVAGE TAKASHI JUST GOT TAMED!!!”  The aerial pilot cheered. Though his face fell when he saw the red battle machine hiding safely behind its shield. “Or not.” He added.




“You think the Aero Booster is the only battle machine that got up-grades. Ryo gave this shield stronger armor plating. And did I mention the guns? Do you want to see for yourself?” the Savage Takashi asked so gently Ha-ya-to was on the verge of freaking out.




“Um…no?” Ha-ya-to answered, well aware that if the green-haired pilot fired, he wouldn’t be able to dodge it.


“Too bad.” Takashi fired a huge stream of destruction just as the cheeky boy pulled upwards. The blast smashed against the Aero Boosters reactors, destroying one entirely.

Ha-ya-to screamed as he fought to control his battle machine. He succeeded, and wild eyed, he tried to fly to safety. Even with its thick armor, the reactor had been completely destroyed. Normally, the Aero Booster was built to take this kind of damage and continue the battle, but the reactor exploded, taking another one with it.

With only one engine left, the Aero-Booster plummeted, and crashed on the ground with a deafening roar. Ha-ya-to detached his Blue Falcon at the last second, and jumped to safety, though the shock-wave of the explosion sent him flying across the simulator room.

Seeing the small battle machine lying still and powerless, Takashi walked towards it, like a predator stalking a cornered prey. He flipped it over, and pointed his weapon at the powerless boy. “Any last words?” he asked evilly.

“Does mercy count?”

“No.” Takashi answered, as he pulled the trigger. The green beam pulverized the armor, sending chunks of blue pieces of metal across the room.

Ha-Ya-To was instantly zapped back to the training center. He scratched the back of his head embarrassed when he saw the remains of his Blue Falcon.

“You seriously gotta watch your mouth.”

The red head blushed. “I know. But I just can’t help it. There are just some opportunities which are too good to miss”

Hitomi scowled. “You’re really gonna get in trouble some day. And no one will be around to help you!!”

Ha-Ya-To shuffled and looked down at his feet. First he gets busted by the Savage Takashi, and then he gets lectured…by none other than the very grand-daughter of Sensei Keiken. Seriously, even though Hitomi was one of his best friends, being lectured by her was a blow to his pride. “Rika started it.” he complained like a child.

Ryo’s twin snapped her head in the aerial pilot’s direction. “Listen here hot-head, I am no where near responsible to what you said.” her intimidating glare sending shivers down the pilot’s spine.

Both female pilots glared and took a step closer to Ha-ya-to, whose mind was now racing furiously, desperately trying to find a way to protect his male’s pride, which he knew was going to get a big hit. “Listen ladies…can we settle this the old fashion way?” he asked. He knew that they were both taking advantage of their gender, since Ha-ya-to was unable to fight girls. He looked around fearfully for help. “TAKASHI!!! HELP ME PLEASE!!”

The winner of the training battle turned to the cornered boy. He pretended to think for a moment, before shaking his head. “Naw. You still owe me for calling me ‘Steakashi’…” He left, leaving his fellow comrade to face off two annoyed girls.

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Keiken was standing proudly in the Golden Tower. The strongest point of the Exo-Force gave a majestic view of the legendary city of the Golden City.

For the first time in months, he was able to feel the hot of the sun beat against his old and wrinkled skin. It filled him with confidence, warmth, pride and invincibility. Oh he was so happy to feel all those things again.

He took a deep breath. Meca One had been destroyed along with the Robot’s main Headquarters. He knew that the Robot’s weren’t done just yet, and they would do their best to avenge their fallen leader.

But with his proud and powerful army, now pumped by the huge victory of the four hero pilots, he knew that it was the beginning of the end: the Robots will slowly be pushed back to the southern part of the mountain, before vanishing forever.

The sound of a closing door made him turn around. “Sensei Keiken? Are you here?”

Keiken smiled. “On the balcony Hikaru. What do you want?”

The blue haired pilot stepped out of the enclosed place, and into sunlight. “When I was on patrol, I noticed a small legion of Thunder Furies led by a Shadow Crawler and Claw Crusher heading upwards the mountain towards the village of Hylory. It’ll take them a few hours to get there, but I wanted to ask if I could take them out with the help of a couple of pilots.”

Keiken nodded. “Take a squadron of Golden Guardians to deal with them. But send some Gate Guardians to evacuate the village just in case.”

“Yes Sensei.” He stood there for a moment, thinking for a moment. “And Sensei, I’m just curious, but I haven’t seen Ha-Ya-To for a while. To be honest, I’m getting a little worried. Can you try to contact him?”

The old man smiled. “Of course. Now go deal with the group of robots.”

Hikaru turned, and raced out of the room, yelling his thanks.

Keiken turned back to the sun. He closed his eyes, and relaxed himself, trying to make the most of the moment. Suddenly, the rays slowly dimmed, and the old man opened his eyes, tension beginning to grow at the idea of a robot attack.

It was just a cloud passing across the sun.

Slightly disappointed, he walked back into the Golden Tower, and headed towards the giant computer. He pressed a few buttons on it. Instantly, a small speaker popped out of next to the screen.
All the pilots were given a small headphone which gave the possibility to speak to one another freely. “Ha-ya-to? Where are you?”

Ha-ya-to’s response was almost instant. “In the sentinel room.”

Keiken was surprised. Ha-ya-to hated that area. Why in the world was here there? Better ask. “What are you doing there? Are you feeling all right?”

“Oh, just fine. My male’s pride has just been raped, and I’m running away from to wild female humans.”

Keiken heard someone else speak. It sounded like Rika “Wild Female humans?  What is wrong with you!! Here let me…”

Everything became a total mess. “Wha-Rika leggo I was joking-”

“WHERE THE HELL IS YOUR MATURITY?”

“Rika!! I-ACK!! OW THAT HURTS!! LEGGO!!”

There was the sound of shouting and panting, followed by a loud ‘thud’ and a crunching sound.

Keiken rolled his eyes. The pilot had dropped his earphone, and someone had stepped on it by accident.

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A blue and white battle machine screamed across the sky, followed by a whole squadron of golden, red and white colored battle machines.

The unofficial leader of the Exo-Force team looked around. “I can’t find them…did they hide under the trees?” Hikaru narrowed his eyes, as he recalled the moment when he, Takashi and Ryo were still searching for the Golden City. The Shadow Crawlers and Claw Crushers could hide within the dense vegetation easily. But what about the Thunder Furies? They were noisy, clumsy and they released some black murky smoke. They should reveal their position.

The eight Battle machines approached some giant rocky plains. “This is where some abandoned mines lay.” he said to himself. Something clicked in his head. “DISPATCH THE TEAM!!!” he yelled in his mike.

“Why blue leader? My scopes catch nothing.” Blue three asked.

“BREAK OFF NOW!!” Hikaru shouted. He pulled the yoke of the battle machine. The Sky Guardian made an almost uncontrollable barrel roll. All the Golden Guardians made sharp and rough turns.

Not a second later, there was a loud roar, and dozens of red beams shot out of the abandoned mines.

“This is why we couldn’t find them in the scopes!! They were hiding underground.” Blue five said, as he opened fire, a thick blast of green energy tearing through the armor of a Thunder Fury, which exploded, sending chunks of rocks and gravel in all directions, some of them hitting the human battle machines, denting their armor.

“Watch out!! These bots are better organized than we give them credit for.” Blue two warned.

Hikaru snarled. “All rockets fired.” he snapped, as he pressed the yellow button. The four rockets just above the cockpit screamed to life. The yellow weapons slammed into the rocks, causing huge explosions that tore the whole side of the mountain to shreds.

Blue three raised his giant canon, and the Golden Guardian vomited green rays of destruction at the hidden robots. The blasts crashed against the granite, before exploding.
“LOOK OUT!!”  Someone yelled.

Huge chunks of rocks shot in all directions once again. The blue three’s Golden Guardian took a whole volley of the sharp minerals. The armor survived the attack, but the glass of the cockpit cracked, barely surviving the recoil.

The robots wasted no time in countering. They fired at the human. The battle machine shook dangerously, but the pilot managed to fly to safety.

Hikaru panted, and bit his lower lip in concentration. How could they destroy the robots without risking their own lives like this? All their weapons were heavy-duty weapons. None of them were adapted to battle in these conditions. The boy gritted his teeth. They had laid a trap for them, but it seems that their plan had backfired.

He was about to order the other pilots to retreat, when he noticed blue five land on the ground. The pilot jumped out of the battle machine. He crouched at the foot of his battle machine, and began fiddling with something at the bas e of the foot. Suddenly, some transparent liquid poured out of the leg, followed by a stream of black ink.

Fuel and oil.

Hikaru’s blood turned cold. He knew exactly what the boy was planning to do. “Blue five stop this craziness NOW!!!”

Blue five answered with his earphone. “Listen Blue leader, but we can’t let the robots advance further. If we continue the battle, we’ll just get knocked out of the sky. We have no choice.”

“Kokujo-” Hikaru tried to reason.

“We haven’t got a choice!!!” Kokujo yelled. “I’ve left just enough power to the Golden Guardian to fire a shot. That should be enough to destroy the battlefield.” he clambered back in the battle machine. “Promise me you’ll defeat the robots!!!!”

“Kokujo-”

“PROMISE ME!!!”

Hikaru closed his eyes tightly. “I…I promise.” he couldn’t bear the thought of losing one of his friends. “Good-bye Kokujo.”

“See ya. Thanks for being my friend Hikaru.”

Hikaru felt tears running down his cheeks. “All battle machines retreat.” he ordered. All the battle machines veered away, back into the sky and to safety.

Hikaru looked behind him. He saw the boy making the victory sign, before the entire battlefield exploded like a supernova, swallowing everything. Trees, rivers, the rocky plain, the robots and the heroic boy.

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Keiken inserted a small disc in a computer. “Swift, activate the proton scanner. I want this thing examined to the smallest detail. Kevin, what did you find?”

“Uhhh…location of some human prisoners and the manufactories where the robots build their weapons. There’s also a list of which robots might take Meca One’s place.”

Keiken thought a little. “Send three squadrons of Golden Guardians to the location of the prisoners. Track down the robot that is the most likely to become the leader, and prepare a plan to destroy it. Finally, order three pilots to destroy the locations of the manufactories.”

“Yes sir.”

One of the speakers began talking. “Blue group to Golden City, we’re asking permission to land. Status: mission complete.” Keiken perked up at the announcements. “Give them the permission to land. I need to speak to Hikaru.”

He got up and walked briskly out of the communication system.

Keiken watched the pilots land and climb out of the battle machines. He felt his blood turn cold when he noticed that two pilots were missing: Hikaru’s Sky Guardian and Kokujo Golden Guardian.

He saw a boy with the number 4 on his shoulder walk towards him. The boy saluted. “Mission a success sir. The village has also been evacuated as you wished. However, Kokujo Heriata has been killed in effort to stop the robots. Hikaru left to find his family to give them the news.”

Keiken felt a wave of pain crash into him as he heard the death of the pilot. He realized how close he had become with all his pilots. He straightened. “Good job. Get some rest while you all can. I’ll wait for Hikaru.”

He turned and walked back outside towards the Golden Tower.

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Hitomi knocked on the doors of one of the labs. “Ryo, you in there?” she asked. Hearing no response, she allowed herself to open the door. “Ryo? Are you there? I wanted you to ask you if you could-whoa!!” The emerald-eyed girl gasped. The lab may have been a hopeless mess as usual, but what really caught her eyes was the beautiful golden white and orange battle machine. Though half-complete, Hitomi was awed by it.

There were huge reactors at the legs of the battle machine, and the golden wings shone majestically just above the cockpit and around the arms. On one arm a huge canon that could clearly give a definition of power.

There was one huge reactor on each leg, which still had to be connected to the power converters.

Someone muttering snapped Hitomi out of her trance. She looked around the left leg of the machine and saw Ryo the techie twirling a screwdriver in one hand, the other buried inside the metal compartment.

Hitomi also realized why he hadn’t answered her knocks: he was so busy listening to something on YouTube with his headphones, muttering the lyrics, a huge grin on his face. She leaned against the metal, and began to watch him work, a smirk on her face. This could serve as perfect blackmail material for later.

Ryo grabbed a screw and a wrench. He quickly typed something on the computer. Then he started inserting the screw in the armor, timing the spins with what appeared to be the rhythm of the music. “This is Exo-Force, I need to build some more, just one more machine and that’s it I’m off” he sang gently.

Hitomi fought hard not to laugh. It appeared that he was listening to a remix of ‘How to Save a Life’ of The Fray. So he did admit that Ha-ya-to had some skills when it came to singing and writing lyrics.

When the screw was tightly screwed, he put the wrench down, and peered inside the open latch. He turned around, as if looking for something. He found his finding lying on the other side of the lab: a hammer. He stared at it for a moment, before making a wild dive for it, singing all the way. “Keiken’s on vacation once again, teens are now your friends, you’ll have the pen full, this is Exo-Force, enjoy your cooked chicken.” He looked at the hammer as though he had just accomplished a huge feat.

Hitomi began laughing silently. This was really just too good.

The engineer turned, and finally noticed Hitomi. “Heya.” he said. He turned back to the battle machine, and continued working on it.

Suddenly, his eyes went wide. “WAIT WHAT!!!!” he yelled. He tore off his headphones, his face turning beet-red. He stared at Hitomi, his mouth opening and closing, like he was trying to say something, and failing miserably. How in the world did she get in here? Didn’t he lock the door?

Hitomi pressed her forehead against the battle machine, trying to control her laughter. “God Ryo, you should see yourself work. It’s hilarious”

“H-how d-did-” Ryo stuttered. “I locked the door.”

Hitomi sat down. She enjoyed seeing Ryo like this. These were those rare moments when

Ryo had no control over the situation, but she also found his reactions awfully cute. “I thought you didn’t like Ha-ya-to’s songs.” she said innocently.

Ryo felt like he was melting. “Some of his songs are good…” he muttered.

“I didn’t know you sung while working. I find it very…interesting.” Ah she just loved pressing buttons like this.

Ryo really wished the ground would swallow him up right now. He silently prayed to god that he’ll cut him some slack for once, and help him get out of the situation.

But as usual, for all the engineers, god is the most evil thing in existence: he’ll only make things worse for them. Hitomi pointed at a corner, and Ryo followed her finger, and saw in horror that there was a security camera.

“The dudes behind the camera must’ve had a good show.” she stated. She started laughing again when she saw the horrified look on the boy’s face. “Relax, the thing’s deactivated. Besides, no one would dare to look into the private moments of the legendary pilot Ryo now, would they?”

Ryo relaxed slightly. “What do you want Hitomi?” he asked, doing his best to change the subject.

The girl decided to cut the boy a bit of slack. “So metal-head, what are you building?”

Glad that he was out of the sticky situation, Ryo grinned hugely, and stretched his arms out at the half complete battle machine. “This is the sister of the Golden Guardian!! While its brother relies on heavy armor, this one relies on speed. It’s meant to go as fast as the Aero Booster.”

Hitomi stared at the battle machine in wonder. “Wow…that’s gonna be hard. When do you think you’ll be finished building it?”

“Her” Ryo corrected.

Hitomi rolled her eyes, a little annoyed. “Okay, ‘her’, when will you have finished building ‘her’?”

“I’m not too sure, but probably within a week or two. I haven’t found a name yet, but that’s the finishing, so I’ve still got some time for it. Then, I’ll give her a couple of documents hidden safely in the Golden Tower. But first, I promised her I’d finish the limbs by tonight.” He smiled at the battle machine lovingly, causing Hitomi to face-palm. “They’re just dumb machines Ryo. Stop acting like they’re your babies or something.”

Ryo looked at her, his eyebrow raised. “One day, you’ll regret having said that.”

Hitomi merely glared at the mechanic. “Anyway, Keiken wanted you search for an Exo-Code that was discovered not too far from here”

Ryo nodded. “I’ll use the Mini Rocket Speeder. I should be back soon with something this fast.”

Hitomi shrugged. “Be careful.” she said, concern present in her voice. “If you run into robots, you won’t be able to battle properly. The thing’s wasn’t made for fighting in the first place.”

Ryo retied his bandana, nodding. “I know. But since we usually find these code bricks before those tin cans, I shouldn’t I have a problem right?”

“Mm.” was the reply.  Hitomi got up. “Just be a good boy, and do as I say from now on ok?”

Ryo cocked an eyebrow. “Or else?”

“The whole city will have the pleasure of knowing that you sing and dance while working.”

Ryo flared. Muttering something inaudible about not dancing, he stomped towards to the Mini Rocket Speeder, so he could prepare for the quick journey.

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