ACT IV, Scene 3


            "Reading: energy output nominal.  Power source stable."  Tyro said brightly as he read from the monitor, flipping switches.  He glanced up to X, who was waiting patiently by the vertical glass tube to enter in.  He had one hand propped up on the glass, as if he was tired or strung out from a long day. His back was turned to him so he couldn't see X's expression, but Tyro fearfully imagined there was no smile on his face.

            Tyro glanced back to the monitor and watched the status bar reach 100%.

            "The capsule's ready anytime, sir."

            X made no motion that he heard.  He simply kept staring down at the floors as if still waiting. Tyro knew X must've heard him so he did not repeat himself.

            X's hands went to the side of his head and he took off his helmet slowly, revealing messed up black hair.  Tyro had never seen X with his helmet off and looked at it wondrously.  He looked very human without it.

            "I can't remember the last time I took this off," X said, looking at it, turning it on his fingers.  "It's been a long time."  He ran his fingers over his head, feeling the sensation of his synthetic hair. Purposeless, but somehow necessary. He set the helmet on the status console attached to the capsule.

            "I was born in a capsule like this," X said, now responding to Tyro. "Well, perhaps not born, but this is where my first memories were."

            "Uh, yes, sir."  Tyro wasn't sure what to make of this, but he went with the flow.

            "Some thirty years ago.  The information was so badly eroded, no one knew how long I was in there.  Found in an archeological dig.  I and the holographic capsules are all that's left of him."

            "Sir?"  Tyro perked his head out.

            "Dr. Light, my father."  X looked the machine up and down.  "And the reploids and Mavericks will be all that's left of me. The Creator of the Chaos.  I wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn't been a Maverick Hunter."

            "We'd all be a lot worse off, sir," Tyro responded to X's out-loud thinking.

            X looked at his X-Buster arm, a rounded and bulging cannon, like a growth. "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

            X hit the latch on the capsule door and it sprung open a crack.  A hydraulic hiss emitted as he opened the chamber access all the way.  The two leg wires and arm wires dangled from their respective positions, while the CPU cord hung from the capsule's top.

            X stepped up and then stopped suddenly.  Behind him, Tyro, ready to assist, stopped also in surprise.

            "Tyro," X asked.  "If you had to, do you think you could kill a human?"

            "Uh, sir?" Tyro asked innocently.

            X turned to him seriously.  "If you had to.  If the fate of many others depended on it?"

            "I suppose I would have to be presented with that situation before I could make a decision."

            "Back in history, humans had to kill each other in order to survive. Then they killed each other for power and greed.  Now we're here, the reploids, and still bound by their government.  Because we are free from the bonds of the three robotic laws."

            "I believe that humans and reploids should have the same rights and laws. We can feel the same, so we are the same."

            "Hm," X smirked.  He stepped into the capsule and lay against the naugahyde cushion.  Tyro moved around X to attach his cords as he spoke. "I like your philosophy, but I can't agree with you.  We are different.  We are stronger.  We can change ourselves at will, without difficulty.  And we are ageless.  That is the problem.  Human lives are finite.  We can go as long as our parts hold out and when they fade we simply transfer over to a newer body.  It frees us and imprisons us.  The trade-off is we do not have offspring.  We're locked in our own cycle."         

            "But we can make more reploids.  That's sorta offspring."

            "Kind of.  Yes, but they're always their own reploid.  No influence of those who came before, only with A.I. programs.  So we are immortal and multiplying.  Two lives trying to coexist on one planet and that's where the conflict lies."

            Tyro sat up again, and inserted the CPU cord into the back of X's skull base. If this were disconnected without the proper shutdown procedure, X's memory would be permanently damaged, so he was careful with its placement.  He stood back, done with his connections.

            X continued, "I would rather die tomorrow than know I would have to live a thousand more years of war."

            Tyro, not familiar with X waxing poetically, had no response.  "Sir, if you no longer want to be a Maverick Hunter, there's nothing saying that you have to.  You can quit at anytime.  You should move on."

            "Move on?  I can't now. Not when I'm in so deep.  I'm the one responsible for all this.  Every reploid was based off my design.  So was the Maverick virus.  I'd be remiss in my duties if I didn't do something to fight it. To fight for peace."

            "Sir, I know you're a pacifist, and I admire that you still fight.  But perhaps you weren't meant for this line of work."

            "No, Tyro.  I was." X looked back to his arm cannon again. Tyro saw it and became forlorn. 

            "If it's any consolation, sir, I'm proud to have been based on a design such as yours.  Whether I go Maverick or not."

            X made no answer.  He just lay there, leaned against the back of the capsule, wires sticking out of his extremities.  He looked beyond the point of no return. 

            "Ready, sir," Tyro blandly said, leaving X's sorrows unanswered, for he knew no other recourse.

            X nodded in acknowledgment.  Tyro pulled over the glass case of the capsule, pressure hissing in as the thick plate closed and latched, lighting an LED green.  He walked around back to the console and started the diagnostic program. It would run its course through X's system and X would 'sleep' in the meantime, perchance to dream.