Tides of Darkness

Part three of Trilogy, part 1 = New Age, part 2 = Reign of Chaos

By Sh33p, CultofSh33p@aol.com

Chapter 7


The final of this great trilogy. Hope you got airbags, 'cause this is going to be a crashing end. Tim Seltzer, seltzer@seltzerbooks.com

Sh33p Disclaimer: Only crap I own are the original characters, and even then I don`t own five of them in full. Consider this disclaimer valid for the whole story.


Most of the Chapter: Stabbing Westward - Wasted
Ending: Zoids - Evolution

In the middle of a city that had once been the last hope for almost an eighth of what had remained of the Ancient Zoidian race, an emerald green bolt of energy touched down from the skies above. Within nanoseconds, the energy itself warped and faded to reveal a man in his early thirties, held aloft by a set of metallic cables, each one twice as strong as his entire body. With an ease that was almost disgusting, the cables swiftly retracted, each one slithering off of the man's body in perfect unison, leaving him to drop almost three feet down to the ground.

Were he in the same state he'd been in for the past decade or more, he probably would've landed with perfect balance, grace and agility. As it stood though, the man hit the sidewalk, screamed and doubled over almost instantly, clutching his right hand to his chest, though it had been wrapped in a once white towel that was now almost artistically drenched with his blood.

Stand up.

"It hurts!" He managed to tremble out, finally opening tear-ridden eyes to get a blurred view of the world around him.

In an instant, he wished that he hadn't.

Dead bodies lay everywhere, all of them perfectly preserved... Except for the fact that, judging by what lay broken beneath him, they were like hollow statues filled with some kind of pinkish powder now. The skin had turned hard, cold and lifeless to the touch, easily broken as a priceless vase of some kind. Ahead of him, to the right, stood a juggernaut beyond comprehension. He knew what it was almost the instant he saw it, and even through his haze of pain, he was able to identify it.

"A Death Saurer..."

Spoken with something that bordered on reverence. Purple eyes, so dark that they were almost black, gazed the monstrous beast over with a mixture of fear and respect alike. It was different from the ones he'd seen in the videos growing up though. Larger, slightly, and with what looked like a simple red paintjob across its entire body, not counting a few black panels here and there...

At least he had thought it to be paint. Depression and an already crumbling mind made for quick assumptions otherwise. Thankfully though, the bloody Death Saurer was sealed away. It had been for centuries, locked tightly within a mirror-surfaced tombstone the size of a small skyscraper, forever looking as if it had been all but thrown into place by some violently powerful surge of energy. In front of it sat something else though...

It looked to be some kind of massive temple, or perhaps even just a small mesa that the city had been built around. Unlike so much else in the city, it was covered with a hardened layer of stone, which in turn was covered with now-melting grime. The entire front of it consisted of one gigantic half-arch, curving sharply up from the ground and extending to only a few dozen yards short of the frozen Saurer.

And beyond that...

Beyond that, was something he had only expected to see on his dying day. In every way, it was the culmination of his every fear, and the very essence of the motivations held by Rommel. Like a justification of every devil, monster and dictator in history, it rose from the very center of the city, dwarfed by the skyscrapers that spiraled up on all sides at some point or other around it, even though it was almost as tall as the Death Saurer itself. It was the source of the red light that domed around the city, and unlike its only counterpart, this... Being was unimprisoned. Untouched by the countless cables that had connected its opposite number to a pair of giant death machines.

It was broadly built, and looked as though it wore a set of colossal robes that were built into its body, all made out of solid stone or metal. Its face was as human as it was godlike. In some ways, it borderlined on being genderless, but a squared jaw, a lack of anything resembling hair at all were enough to make it look more male than female. Its arms, exposed where the others weren't, were held down at its side, and where she held the appearance of a woman looking straight ahead, or even up to the stars, he held the appearance of a man glaring down at anything before him, passing judgement with nothing but a thought.

He knew this God's name from the instant he saw him. It was like watching one of the final pieces of a puzzle fall into place.

"Adam," he blurted out. The statuesque figure pulsed with red light, and Vilhelm Rommel doubled back over with a surge of mental pain, be it real or imagined.

Stand up, Vilhelm.

"Y-yes... Yes," he replied uneasily, knowing what it would mean if he did so.

You knew it would come to this the moment you agreed to be my Acolyte, Spectacle reminded him imposingly.

"... I did," he replied again, forcing himself up to his feet with legs that felt like jelly. "It'll all be over soon," he commented, if only to reassure himself.


With that, there was a crack of what sounded like thunder going off just a few feet behind him, preceeded by a flash of green light. He was alone from there, with only the voices of the fallen and the forgotten to stop him from going on.

It wasn't enough though.

They begged, pleaded, threatened, screamed and cried, and it still wasn't enough. If it weren't for the blood loss he'd suffered, he would've wondered if he was hallucinating when he saw them all standing before him. Hundreds of people, all of them with different faces and names... Some he recognized, most he didn't. An Asian man was at the forefront, and Vilhelm only passingly recognized him as the spy that had been shot down trying to warn the Republicans a few months earlier. Niles Kasagawa, was it?

"Stop it!" The man cried.

Vilhelm stepped right through him and kept going. More tried, and they failed too.

I've spent
My life

His grandfather, Manfred the Third, stepped up next. As fondly as Vilhelm remembered him, he felt so detached that he didn't even register the old man's enraged demands, nor did he bother noticing the hellish look in his eyes. As he'd done with Kasagawa, he walked through this one too. His parents tried - and failed - next, all but throwing themselves at his feet in tears. After that came Brogan, whose brain was willfully exposed, and who didn't even bother demanding anything. He screamed so loudly that Vilhelm wondered if he'd gone temporarily deaf after walking through him.

Running from the emptiness
That haunts me

Slowly, dizzily, he trekked onward, blissfully ignorant of the hundreds of memories swarming around him as he allowed himself to be lost in his own world. A world of duty, fealty to one's word and petty mistakes that lead to a lifetime of self-hating regret. A world where nothing could be undone, and a world where he wasn't being brought to a standstill in front of what looked like a roughly opened tunnel into the virtual mountain that curved up towards the Death Saurer.

This time, it was different. Slowly, his world collapsed to reveal a man just a few years older than himself. He stood before Vilhelm like a trainwreck that refused to be cleaned up, wearing what was once a long sleeved black button-up shirt and tan slacks, but now were little more than tattered rags in the right places to avoid being obscene. He looked as if he hadn't bathed in at least eight years, and his hair was black and ragged, all the way down to mid-back. His face though, wasn't all that different from Vilhelm's own, barring a broader, more masculine jaw and heavier brows.

"If you don't stop this, you'll go to Hell," Henry Rommel said with a blunt, enlightened kind of voice.

"I'm going to Hell anyway," Vilhelm finally replied with more clarity in those short seconds than he'd had in a year or more.

Without another word, he started walking again. Henry looked ready to punch him, but Vilhelm literally walked right through him without incident, unable to feel his heart skipping a beat at this point.

And I've felt
My whole life

Into darkness he went. Even so, he could see where and who they were. Like villagers trying to banish a paraiah who was too powerful to just kill, they flocked after him and in front of him. Some cried, others screamed and many were still begging, but all they did was light his way without even realizing it. Through them, he saw the walls he didn't need to run into, even though it was increasingly obvious to him that this passage was anything but pre-built. It was all smooth, but it was also warm, and the stench of what had been molten stone barely three minutes earlier was still blaringly obvious. The lack of steps was another clue.

Another person lunged out of the crowd at him.

Trying to fuck
The loneliness away

It was a woman this time. Screaming and sobbing, with long platinum blonde hair and a white wedding dress flaring around her. Her eyes were brown, her skin was so pale that one could almost see veins beneath it, and her face was screwed up with nothing but raw hatred in what looked to be its purest form. He knew her from the moment he'd first set eyes on her, the banshee that she'd become. Without even acknowledging her, he allowed the woman to crash through his chest and disappear, feeling some forgotten piece of his heart go right along with her.

And I die

Some part of his mind vacantly registered her as his would-be fiance from some point or other in his lifetime.

Was she the one who committed suicide?

When I think of all the people
I have damaged

Oh well. It didn't matter anymore.

Without even giving it another thought, he continued onward, feeling his hand go completely numb as he did. Perhaps it was some kind of reward? Either way, more of them came. They were without end, and more than a few of the ones trying now were only familiar as historical figures at best.

A man with blonde hair that was shocked upright. A woman with orange hair and a limp. Another man, this one in a classic-styled Republic uniform, his hair done up in some kind of horrid cross between a mullet, mohawk and rat tail all at once, older than the others and still equally as powerless. He came the closest though, ranting and raving something about how the sacrifices of so many people meant nothing if he didn't turn back now.

"Why don't you just quit?" He wondered aloud, stepping right through all three of them in one go, then those who were behind them, and a few more after that. This time, he was treated with a view of a man who stood around a head taller than himself. He had short green hair, almost golden eyes with only dark spots at their centers to serve as pupils, along with a slight, somewhat unnatural seeming tan. He wore a set of what looked almost like combat boots, along with dark green pants, a black shirt and a long green trench coat, splattered with blood. In addition to that, a number of perfectly kept human teeth dangled from around his neck, and a pair of skulls had been attached to either shoulder.

Where so many others were desperate to stop him though, this man did nothing but clap, grinning malevolently in his own way.

"Because, Vilhelm," he said, with a voice not entirely unlike Spectacle's own. "They fear the power you seek to unleash."

And I'm tired
I'm so tired

For a few long moments, Vilhelm stopped and regarded him. They were only a few feet away from one another, and for whatever reason, the people who had once been mere inches from Vilhelm had all backed away, clustered into a near circle around the pair.

"Power is strength. If you're strong you live, if you're weak... You die," the man explained. "Those who seek to stop you are all weak... And as you can see, most have already died."

"Who cares?" Vilhelm replied bluntly, watching the man's grin expand a bit as he did so. "We're all gonna die anyway..."

"That's the spirit, Acolyte. Have a bit of pride that you'll be the driving force behind wiping humanity's filth off of this world."

A few seconds longer, the two kept staring at one another. Finally, Vilhelm shook his head and dropped his arms limply to his sides.

"I don't care anymore," he said, and kept walking without giving the man another thought. Where so many others had tried to stop him in vain though, this one simply stepped aside with a polite, almost sickening bow, waving Vilhelm onward.

And there's no one else
Except myself to blame

"Nothing matters now," he said, continuing onward.

My life's been wasted
Everything is gone
My life's been wasted
And I am all alone

How long it took, and how far he went, he didn't know. Time meant nothing in the tunnel, and even though more people than he could count were throwing themselves at him in a bid to stop him or make him listen to what they thought was reason, he didn't care enough to even acknowledge them anymore.

At last though, the journey through darkness ended.

With feet that felt like lead weights, Vilhelm Rommel stepped out of the tunnel and slid down for what felt like eighty or more yards before skidding to a halt on his rear end. Without even giving a look back to the countless people now clustered at the tunnel's edge, he stood up and allowed the bloody towel to fall away, his stump fingers now fully exposed... And still bleeding badly.

Before him stood only one last obstacle. The final phantom player in a game so old that Vilhelm hadn't even been a twinkle in his father's eye when it started.

My life's been wasted
There is no one else
My life's been wasted
It's time I face myself

He wasn't quite so tall as the green haired man, but Vilhelm found him to be just as familiar nonetheless. Where the man with green hair had been like a demon, this one only reminded him of Brad Hunter. He was more muscular, and his sense of style differed drastically, but he looked like he carried himself in much the same way. He wore a set of odd looking trowsers and hide-leather straps around either bicep, along with an orange bandana and an eye patch. A real one.

"Turn back now. That thing is only using you," Irvine Rommel stated as bluntly as a sledge hammer. For the first time since Henry and the green-haired man, Vilhelm actually found himself acknowledging one of the memories who were trying so desperately to stop him.

"I know," he said, feeling a fresh gush of blood and a contemptuous burn in the back of his throat at the look he was given in reply.

"The lives of millions are gonna be on your head, pal. Do you really want that?" Irvine asked with a sneer. He looked as if he would've murdered Vilhelm right then and there, if he could.

"I. Don't. Care."

"You're full o' shit," came the retort.

"Everything is."

For a few seconds, the two stared at each other, and then...

"I'll see you in Hell then," Irvine said with the coldest voice that Vilhelm had ever heard in his life. A second later, the man turned away and when Rommel blinked, he was gone.

And I've spent
My life

He was alone...


Or not.

Trapped inside
A cycle of self destruction

He could hear them chattering back and forth over a comm of some kind. There was a crash, something crumpled almost like tin foil and broke apart. One of the nearby buildings collapsed a second later, and by the time that Vilhelm had stepped up to the very farthest ledge he could find, nothing was left of it but smoke and rubble.

All of which promptly blew apart to reveal the Liger Zero, tackling something vaguely akin to a miniature Death Saurer onto its back. The two landed hard enough to crush the street beneath them, along with the numerous bodies that had been spread out on it. Covered in a fine pinkish dust, both continued to claw at each other, buster blades little more than a neon blue wave of movement before the larger of the two kicked the Zero up and away.

Like an acrobat, the feline Zoid righted itself, firing both boosters and touching down on all fours with a skid. Backwards it kept going, until it hit a lightpost and knocked it over.

"What the hell are these things?!" He heard Bit saying, only to watch the demon roll back up to its feet with agility that defied its bulk.

Without missing a beat, the creature lunged at the Zero, and was met in kind with a Strike Laser Claw right into its head. Armor flew everywhere, previously damaged guns exploded as they tried to fire and the Kaiser went flipping through the air again, this time landing behind the other Zoid without even crumpling the pavement. Impact cannons fired and the Zoid stumbled forward, just before another of its kind went flying backwards through the smoke and the dust, a charged particle beam drilling into its chest as it went.

Demons, he heard again, although he instinctively knew that this wasn't Bit's voice.

Daemons, to be specific, another Voice added. Real Demons would eat these things.

The beam finally stopped assailing the Daemon in the air, and was followed by an uncomfortable grunt over the comm. The Berserk Fury staggered sideways out of the smoke, its armor stained all over and a sizable scratch mark visible across the side of its face. The aerial Daemon flipped itself upright and landed with enough force to leave a crater around its feet, while a third stampeded out of the smoke, vulcans ablaze with what looked like pulsed charge particle blasts.

Vega's only response was almost artistic in its simplicity. With a simple turn-step motion, the Fury was brought to face the third Daemon, its right buster arm swinging in wildly and splitting open to reveal a force shield. Before the shots could even hit the Zoid itself, the shield blocked them, and was promptly used like a sledge hammer to bash the Daemon away. The ancient Zoid stumbled, its world visibly rocked by the blow, and Vega gave it no chance to recover.

Both buster arms came to bear, and the Daemon shrieked as they bashed, grazed, stabbed and lashed across its back, ripping away formerly hidden boosters, along with vulcans and repeaters alike, though the Zoid's armor was just too thick to be completely destroyed.

The third Daemon swung its head up and knocked the Fury aside with a headbutt, only to find itself crushed back down into the ground by the Liger Zero Kaiser. The stocky beast roared and vanished into the street, then the sewer system beneath it, while the Zero straightened itself out and managed to barely avoid falling in after it.

Gold flickered out, the Liger turned back and both Bit and Vega shouted warnings to each other before jumping their Zoids out of the way. A thin charged particle beam, ripped between both of them, letting off a pressure wave that blew away the smoke and crushed debris and bodies into a fine powder in the air.

Both Zoids turned to glare at their would-be assassin, the second Daemon. It had recovered from what looked like a series of gashed in its legs, and at that, Cloud and Obscura went into a bit of a tangent...

"Thought you finished it off?!"

"Hell no! I was just making sure you didn't get creamed."

"I can handle myself, nimwit."

"Suit yourself."

And with that, the Liger Zero left the Fury on its own, just as the street several blocks down exploded open in plain sight to reveal the third Demon. Although covered in sewer water and still damaged from before, the only sign of harm from the shield ram was a fresh crater across its right shoulder.

And I've spent
My whole life
Trying to numb
The pain inside my soul

"Why do you two keep bothering?" Vilhelm found himself wondering aloud, staring down at them as if he were a god in his own right. "You know it's pointless... There's nothing you can do."

That's the problem with monkeys and half-cast bastards, Acolyte. They tend to be too stupid to see the truth standing in front of them, came an answer from a Voice that he was all too familiar with anymore. Once, it would've sent a shiver down his spine just to hear it. Now, it brought nothing but a blink of the eyes.

Spectacle materialized behind him, his long neck and head each towering over Rommel like some kind of demon. Clawed hands set themselves onto Vilhelm's shoulders and gave a light, eerily supportive squeeze. Even though they drew blood in the process, it brought a strange sense of comfort and warmth to Vilhelm's fractured psyche... What was left of it at this point, anyway.

Be proud that you aren't the same kind of monkey as they are, Spectacle ordered. All that needs to be handled is your Awakening. The substitution will be flawless from there...

The optics on the Death Saurer in front of them briefly pulsed with light, however hellish it was in its intensity.

Just watch...

Too late
I cried

"They're pathetic..."

The Kaiser went into a tailspin in mid-air, landing almost like an insect on a wall as it crashed into the side of a building. In a fraction of a second, before glassteel could even shatter, the golden Liger had jumped back off, sideswiping the third Daemon's left arm off with a buster blade held in the position of a Blade Liger's trademarked attack. Before the arm even hit hit the ground, the Daemon grabbed it by the stump and used it almost like a club. The Liger whipped back around and took it right across the lower jaw with enough force to corkscrew onto its back without even flying into the air.

"FUCK!" Vilhelm heard Bit scream.

The arm-turned-club swung back in and rebounded away as the Kaiser's shield lit up. Both buster blades retracted completely from there, and as a result, forced the Liger into a backflip. Boosters kicked in at midway, and the Zoid ended up going all the way over the Daemon's head before landing on its back. Golden glowing teeth sank feet deep into red armor a second later, and similarly glowing claws began to rip away as well. Gunfire followed, from vulcans and impact cannons alike, and by the time it was all over, the Daemon's head fell off of its mutilated neck and landed on the ground with a disgusting thump. It was crushed into the sewer by the falling body a second later.


"One down-andholyshitfuckingbajesusHOW THE HELL DID I MISS THAT?!" Bit screeched out, apparently having finally noticed the Zoids' Adam towering in the distance, along with the bloody Death Saurer entombed before it.

"You just noticed?" Vega asked, in the midst of trying to hold off one Daemon while assaulting the other.

"... Well... Yeah."

It's an easy thing to destroy.

When I realized
I fought this war with no one

INCOMING! Zeke shrieked out, just before the Liger jolted to the side. The street beneath it all but exploded to reveal what looked like some kind of four-legged two-horned dragon with armor that was sleek in some places, but harshly angled in others. It had wings as big as the Zero itself, and a powerfully built neck lined with guns. Buzzsaws on either wing, and on a backpack array as well, lit up with reddish energy, and a set of lethal silver claws touched down on the pavement nearby without the slightest care for the bodies destroyed in the process.

"What the fuck?" Vilhelm heard Bit shout, only to watch the Liger tear away from a sudden onslaught of gunfire, backlit to a roar so intense that his own ears threatened to start bleeding.

Gylvader, Specular calmly informed as the Fury ducked down under one Daemon and threw itself back up. The hefty Zoid went flying over it and landed with a crash on its back, where the Fury's tail promptly began clubbing it down as Vega occupied himself with the thing's partner. Almost as if in a swordfight, he guided the creature from his flank to where it stood directly in front of him, parrying every strike it could throw in the meantime.

The Liger Zero roared and lunged into battle again, jumping over the Vader's tail, landing and executing a series of pin-point slashes with its buster blades, causing sparks to fly from the larger Zoid's back left leg before the tail came back around for a second go at it. This time, it hit, and the Kaiser was lucky to avoid being gored on the spikes at its tip. Instead, it flew sideways for a bit, then skidded to a halt as the Vader turned around, only to get a face full of vulcan fire. It wasn't enough to stop the huge Zoid from unleashing another assault, but it at least left an opening in what seemed like otherwise impervious defenses...

I'm tired
I'm so fucking tired

"It doesn't make sense..."

Monkeys like them never do.

Up the Kaiser went, its claws coming down towards the open cockpit of the Vader, narrowly dodging a hail of laser and plasma beams as it did so. The Vader was a step ahead though, tilting its head up and snapping powerful jaws shut around the Liger's shoulder, then nonchalantly wringing it about like a rag doll before flinging it into the side of a building.

Vilhelm heard Bit screaming as it hit and kept going. Two city blocks later, the Liger Zero Kaiser landed with an awkward roll and bashed into another building on its side, finally stopping as the huge structure rumbled and churned from the impact. A Liger-sized hole remained in each building it had gone through, but these remained standing in spite of the damage as well.

"You okay?!" He heard Vega ask, just before the second Daemon shrieked and died, its core vaporizing between a combination of being stabbed with an egg beater thrust and shot with a charged particle beam. The Zoid toppled over sideways and the Fury let out a screech of its own as the remaining Daemon bashed it aside with a headbutt, then grabbed it with both hands and drove it into the concrete with enough force to punch both of them down into the sewers below.

"I wouldn't be worried about me," Bit mumbled out sardonically.

With that, the Liger heaved itself back up on unsteady legs, and Vilhelm, even through at least three different buildings, could see it shaking from side to side as if to steady itself. Without bothering to launch any attacks as the Gylvader began plowing towards it, the Liger brought both blades up onto its back, then activated its shield before charging forward.

Halfway, the Liger leapt and both Zoid's met. When the clash ended, the Vader's neck had snapped back so forcefully that there were sparks spewing out of it, and the Liger was hurtling through the air and into the side of one of the same buildings it had just gone through a few seconds earlier.

Gotta find a way
To keep myself alive

"One more time!" Bit declared with something that sounded like he was trying to be dramatic. A pointless, and in this case futile, attempt as far as Vilhelm was concerned. With that though, the Liger let out something akin to a war cry as the Zoid jerked itself up from the ground less than a second after impact.

The Gylvader came about at almost the same time, and a blistering hail of gunfire was the retort. The Liger was barely able to dodge, its shield absorbing even more abuse in the process as it dove away from the holes in the buildings between it and the Vader. As a result, the shots went screaming through the streets, hit and obliterated a set of lightposts, along with the entire first floor of a shorter structure that promptly collapsed as a result. Vilhelm was able to see with perfect clarity as the Vader turned to try and catch the Zero again, even though its target was obviously hidden from sight.

I can tell that you're wondering... Wondering why they don't just die? Spectacle asked, and Vilhelm gave a nod as the Liger's shield dropped and the Vader caught it in plain sight again. A pitched gunfight promptly erupted between the two.

"Yes," Vilhelm answered as the Kaiser blatantly charged head-on into the assault from the larger Zoid, armor cratering, shattering or slicing away in the process.

I've been wondering that same question for over two hundred years now, the Organoid replied curiously. Both were able to hear Bit's screaming as the Zero's cockpit glass started to crack, and Zeke's cry of pain as the Zoid's left elbow stabilizer took a hit. A second later, the Liger made it to point blank, its own shots having cleared the way by blowing a hole in the Vader's throat.

I'm still searching for an answer.

Buster blades snapped out at the last second, stabbing into the Vader's open throat and slithering into its chest from the entry wound. The huge Zoid bellowed and threw its head down, crashing like a hammer across the Zero's back and even causing its rear legs to shake from the impact. With that though, Bit let out another scream and the Liger echoed it with a roar...

Obviously, it can't be so noble as the quest for true power and immortality with it. It also can't be as noble as the desire to save their race at all costs... The two of them want to live, after all.

The blades hit something important. The Vader bellowed again and tried flapping its wings, but the Liger plunged its swords in even deeper, apparently rupturing the core as they did so. A second later, the Gylvader threw its head back and let out a death cry.

My life's been wasted
Everything is gone
My life's been wasted
And I am all alone

"The human condition," Vilhelm commented as the soul of the dead beast literally poured from its corpse, spilling out through every crack between armored plates, through the mouth and, especially, the hole in its throat. Each strand seemed to spiral independently into the air, fading into a rainbow of colors only to converge high above it all...

"They want their species to live, but they refuse to die for it."

The soul coalesced into a sphere, held for a few moments and was promptly sucked from its position as if by some unseen force. Like a bolting Organoid, it streaked through the air, formed into a sphere once again and was then plunged into the chest of the comatose Death Saurer, its eyes pulsing briefly in the process.

A condition that you, thankfully, lack.

The Liger struggled away from the stoning corpse that had been the Gylvader, drawing its buster blades out and onto the Zoid's back in the process. The statue held still for a few seconds longer, only to crumble under the stress of its own weight in the end. With that, the Zero turned slowly towards the main street and took off into a slow jog, its wounds gradually healing from Zeke's influence as it did so.

My life's been wasted
There is no one else

Uninterested, Vilhelm turned his attentions back to Vega, who was still battling back and forth with the third Daemon. Even without its fellows, the Zoid was proving to be the equal of the Berserk Fury, and its Organoid and young pilot as well. Like the beast it was named for, the Daemon snapped its jaws shut on the Fury's throat, heedless to the beating it recieved from both the other Zoid's small arms and buster claws alike, then went about wrestling it back and forth under the streets.

It was an uneven exchange at best, and one that Vega had little hope of really winning. The Fury was powerful, but even with Specular's help, it simply wasn't strong or heavy enough to fight back the weight of the Daemon. Within seconds, the Berserk Fury toppled over sideways and backwards, thrashing as it was half-submerged in centuries-old sewer water.

For a few seconds, the Fury was helplessly beaten down underwater, before Vega finally shouted something incoherent and snapped open both buster claws. The street above was promptly ripped apart, and debris left to rain down on both Zoids. A pair of reddish-pink flashes followed, and after those, only a whirlwind of light and a few loud crashes could be seen and heard from within...

Up there! Vilhelm heard, drawing his attentions back from Vega and over to the Liger Zero.

"I see 'em," Bit replied, and for a moment, Vilhelm was able to imagine him clenching his fists around the controls.

A stream of vulcan fire rained in, and yet... Every bullet deflected as he felt a burst of wind blow by, precursing an odd - and short lived - surge of red light.

"Son of a bitch," he heard, and smiled softly.

Adam's stepped in...

"Don't you idiots get it?" He asked, only to watch the Liger arrogantly roar and make a hard run for the Death Saurer across from him. The only unknowing response that Bit ever gave was an order for Zeke to pour every ounce of his power into the boosters, just before the Kaiser leapt up and began to literally scale the frozen Demon. "It's too late for everyone now. The dreams are all dead..."

My life's been wasted
It's time I face myself

Spectacle's morbidly comforting presence left with a sound like a beam cannon going off as Vilhelm turned away, looking down into his left hand and simply starting to chuckle.

When I reach the end

"All hope is lost..."

The Liger kept going, literally running straight up onto the top of the Death Saurer's tombstone.

Will anything I've done

"Everything is over..."

Bit let out something like a growl as the Zero swung about in two near-perfect right angle turns, coming to face the temple - and Vilhelm as well by default.

Mean anything?


The Liger charged towards the edge of the tombstone, leaping with every booster and both claws burning like small suns. Its optics glowed as it closed in, and Vilhelm looked up in what felt like slow motion with warped smile on his face, which was partially concealed by his left hand an instant later. Nails dug into flesh and slowly peeled away as he felt Spectacle's energy surge into his body, bloody spurting out of his stump fingers and the new cuts alike. The lightheadedness left instantly...


The Liger came ever closer, and as it got to the point that Vilhelm could make out the space between each of its toes, it happened...

Will anything I've done mean anything?

His eyes turned green.

Neon green.


He laughed, and over the course of the next tenth of a second, his laugh became a howling cackle. Arms flew out to the sides like some kind of unholy martyr, yet before the Liger's claw could ever hit, a bolt of green passed under it. Zeke screamed and bolted out of the Zero through its mouth, racing the green in with such desperation that he almost caught it...

My life's been wasted
Everything is gone

But it was too little, too late.

My life's been wasted
And I am all alone

The green lightning hit first, and before Vilhelm's shattered mind could even comprehend what was happening, Spectacle had ripped through him. His internal organs and bones liquified, spilling with blood all over the stone behind him with such speed that it splattered for at least thirty feet by the time that the green bolt had finished passing through.

My life's been wasted
There is simply no one else

Wheezing out a morbid laugh the entire way down, he was able to watch the golden lightning take a sharp turn and crash into the stone to his right, forming up to reveal an Organoid rolling with the crash.

Before he ever even hit the ground though, Vilhelm Rommel met the full force behind the Liger Zero's Strike Laser Claw, and as his body was consumed by it, something in the back of his fractured psyche told him that he could rest now...

My life's been wasted
It's time to face myself

Bit grunted as the Liger hit the ground running, its claw completely annihilating Rommel's body in the process. With a blank look on his face, he listened to the howling cackle echoing through both his mind and the minds of everybody else within the immediate vicinity. The green bolt spiraled away and plowed into the eons old stone a second later...

"He killed his own man?"

IT WAS A SACRIFICE, BIT! Zeke finally screamed out. HE FUCKING SUBSTITUTED ROMMEL! WE HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE NOW! The Organoid continued while scrambling up to its feet and bolting towards the Liger.

"What the hell're you babbling about?" He demanded, utterly lost in confusion.

And that was when the layer of stone in front of him blew apart into a million different pieces, revealing a pair of giant, nightmarishly red eyes...

Author's Note: Wait for it...

Wait for it...


Around two years of waiting, planning, cackling maniacally and mutilating my hapless brain with visuals have lead to this chapter and the one following it, people. This is where the shit hits the fan. May God have mercy on the souls of Zi's people, because I sure as hell won't.

And on a complete sidenote: This chapter finally explains what I've been leading you guys on about for a while now. Vilhelm and Henry are the direct descendents of Irvine and Moonbay. Since nobody was guessing it right, I decided to finally say to hell with it and let you all in on that little secret. But wait, doesn't this mean that they're Naomi's cousins?

DUH. Think, people. What does Naomi have about her appearance that stands out other than her hair? Pale skin and purple eyes >.> Van basically spelled it out for you, and if you didn't figure out the WW2 Connection: Irvine's name(and character in general) reminded me of an odd pun on the historical figure of Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox of Africa. When we first meet Irvine, he's a lone wolf in a desert who favors hit-and-fade tactics with the occasional total assault, just like the real life Rommel. His name, when spoken with an especially thick German accent also sounds like a variation of Erwin. In real life, Rommel also had a son named Manfred, or so I've been informed, so that's where that comes from.

Naomi's family happens to be an offshoot of the Rommels, branching off around her grandmother or great-grandmother. Her other surviving cousins are related in much the same way. And yes, for anyone keeping tabs on all the tangled shit in this web I've spun, Moonbay Cola is a sister-company to the Rommel Corporation, the latter of which was probably originally founded by one of Irvine and Moonbay's grandchildren.

As for how Irvine got the name Rommel, why Spectacle specifically chose his and Moonbay's descendents and what role that green-haired man had to play in it all, etc... Well, that'll hopefully be explained sooner or later, but I'm not gonna give it away just yet.

I'll be brutally honest when I say that the Rommel Connection didn't exactly occur to me until about midway through ROC, but damn does it ever fit >.>;

As for the neon green eyes thing: It should be easy to figure out. Henry was the same as Bill. Psuedo-Rommel basically said he went after Bill because they were 'the same kind,' and well... Evolution happens, kids. Think about that o.o

Also: If you didn't see Adam coming from a mile away, slap yourself o.o That one's been brewin' since New Age. And the Daemons and Gylvader are all representative of the Sleepers. The four of them slapped around two of the very best pilots, Zoids and Organoids on the face of the planet...

Now imagine what a whole army of Sleepers will do to dear ol' Champton >D

As with the chapter before, reviews are dealt with nowadays on a webpage you can find a link to in my profile.

That all said: Let the real fun begin...

Sh33p out.

Tides of Darkness by Sh33p

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