"But Tammy says you couldn't go out tonight."
"Pfft, you think Darryl can keep me here. The Rag Dogs are playing at Club Cadbury. I can't not go!"
"The Rag Dogs?! Hang on, I'll get my money."
Not very funny, X thought to himself as leaned on his elbow, staring at the video screen. His eyes were half-closed and sleepy. House arrest was definitely the pits. He couldn't possibly be more bored than he was right now. And he hated being idle, more than anything else in the world. It was ingrained in his personality to resist being idle. He'd done every report, answered every mail, organized his online directory, and even cleaned his room. He couldn't think of anything else to do unless he broke something and then tried to fix it. Humans always complained about their lack of free time, he'd be glad to give some to them. They probably wouldn't know what to do with so much of it. So now he resorted to watching 'Prime Time Madness – classic sitcoms on the Nostalgio Network'.
The room sounded a *beep*. "X, it's Dr. Cain. Can I enter?" his voice came through the intercom.
"I'm under arrest. Is there anything I can do about it?" X responded.
X sighed. "Come in."
The entrance door parted and Dr. Cain walked in, hobbling past the two posted guards. His cane made a soft tapping sound as it hit the carpet. X turned around in his chair as Cain approached him, the mild static of the TV filling the silence. "How've you been doing, X?"
"Well, I've got this big pain in my side, probably from a thorn."
"X, listen. I'm sure-"
"No, stop," X held up his palm, "Look, any consolation you want to give me can't possibly equal what I already feel. In other words, I don't think you can say anything to make me feel better."
"I nearly blasted my best friend to bits. I attacked a fellow Maverick Hunter, and I can't even tell you why." X suddenly stood up and threw his hands in the air, walking away from Cain. "It was just this... feeling I had. Something harsh. It erased my normal functions and replaced it with something bestial. I don't know how any of the other hunters can look up to me after what I did."
"X, I can assure you there are no Maverick Hunters who have suddenly turned on you after this. Your reputation is only as important as you make it. Leaders are dependent on their track record, that's true. But you can easily regain the little bit you lost. Most think it was some misunderstanding, just like me."
"Well, I can assure you, there was none." X looked back at Cain from the corners of his eyes. "I was just... transformed into this paranoid beast. You did the test on Duplex?"
"We did. He had no traces of the Maverick virus."
"Then what more do you need? I assaulted a reploid who had done no wrong and severely damaged the commander of these armies. What has this war done to me?" He shook his head sadly, turned away from Dr. Cain. "All this fighting, it doesn't seem like the Mavericks will ever be stopped. The anti-virus failed, the countless debugs failed, the quarantine failed. Mavericks are everywhere, they could pop out at anytime. There's got to be some in HQ even as we speak! But, no." He stopped himself and held his helmet. "It sounds like I'm trying to justify my actions, but I'm not. There's no excuse for what I did. Zero will never forgive me." X leaned over a chair. "Christ, doctor, I could even be a Maverick myself."
"X, we already know that you're invulnerable to the Maverick virus, you and Zero. We don't know why, but you are. You're speaking utter nonsense."
X kept silent and grimaced, keeping his head bowed low and staring blankly at the edge of the wall and the floor.
"Anyway," Cain continued. "I came here to tell you what's going to happen next. The command board will be having a meeting, going over the evidence and witness accounts and such. Depending on what we find, you'll either be absolved or some suitable punishment will be assigned to you. NOT retirement."
"Are you sure that wouldn't be best? For a dangerous Maverick like me?"
"Shut up, X!" Cain shouted. X spun around in surprise, his eyes widened at attention. "I can't stand to see you depreciating yourself like a little child. One little mistake does not overwrite years and years of loyal service and performance. You are Mega Man X, and you are the best for a reason. As long as you're honest with the board, your reputation will be clean, even if it takes some time. They're not robot haters or human purists. They're just like you and me. And if I believe in you, they will. You must have confidence that everything will be all right. I do. And so do all the other Maverick Hunters. And Zero."
X slowly looked up at Dr. Cain.
Cain said, "Zero will forgive you. You've been together too long to let an accident like this come between you. I don't care how hot-headed he gets."
X smirked with his small mouth. "All right."
"You know who the board consists of, our military and scientists, including myself. I don't see any difficulty clearing up this whole matter quickly and quietly. Until we have our meeting, you'll be confined to quarters. Unless you'd like to be moved to the cell?"
X smiled. "No, that'll be all right."
"Okay, then. If you need me, contact me. I know that's against regulations, but you know," he casually winked. "I got connections."
X nodded and smiled.
"See you later," Cain pointed his cane at X in a friendly manner, smiled, and left.