(1): I like the name "Gospel" better than "Treble." Still do. Of course, the joke between "Treble" and "Bass" is lost, but I don't hear any children crying.
(2): "Flagg" is the name of a recurring Stephen King character ... a demon, to be precise. In The Stand he has alternate forms, one of which is a raven. If I ever get a nice budgie, I'm naming it Flagg. :D
(3): I put the dragons there because Dracula's family served the Order of the Dragon and I figured it was good for Shademan's gloomy decor. I also just wanted an excuse to throw dragons in. At this point in the story, I hadn't even thought up the mechadrakes.
(4): You know, those little robots in Shademan's stage that turn into the werewolves. They're so cute!
(5): Treble always seemed like a little puppy to me. Then again, my grandmother's vicious German shepherd adored me as a kid and I could never believe the stories about him being mean-tempered. I guess that's what I based Treble on.
The wind wailed as it wove eerily between the black
the skeletal trees. Joining in on the terrible sound, a family of wolves,
silhouetted against the
huge platinum disc of the moon, raised their noses and howled. Not too far
off was the far
deeper, more awful howl of a werewolf. Bats twittered and flitted about on
the cool night air.
"What a nice day," Bass thought to himself as he took all this in. "It's
the kind of day that
makes life worth living."
Bass heard heavy, bestial breathing not too far behind him. He was being
Bass, however, did not turn around to challenge his new shadow. He didn't
have the time to stop
if he was to meet Shade Man that night. It was Gospel's fault; the dratted
dog had insisted on
bounding from dead tree to tree to smell all the new scents. (1)
The wind wailed as it wove eerily between the black branches of the skeletal trees. Joining in on the terrible sound, a family of wolves, silhouetted against the huge platinum disc of the moon, raised their noses and howled. Not too far off was the far deeper, more awful howl of a werewolf. Bats twittered and flitted about on the cool night air.
"What a nice day," Bass thought to himself as he took all this in. "It's the kind of day that makes life worth living."
Bass heard heavy, bestial breathing not too far behind him. He was being pursued. Bass, however, did not turn around to challenge his new shadow. He didn't have the time to stop if he was to meet Shade Man that night. It was Gospel's fault; the dratted dog had insisted on bounding from dead tree to tree to smell all the new scents. (1)
Now the metallic canine loped obediently beside his master. When he became aware of the fact that they were being followed, he whined and growled fiercely; however, he still kept up the brisk pace that Bass was setting.
Suddenly, a huge human/lupine form leapt at Bass from behind. Its eyes were lit like green lamps, and its maw of razor edged teeth was aimed right for the back of the black robot's neck.
Not even bothering to turn around, Bass simply pointed his charged cannon behind him and fired the blast. The lycanthrope yelped like a puppy, and collapsed to the ground in a heap of smoking brown fur.
"Now where was I...? Oh yeah. What a nice day..."
Bass noted with satisfaction that he was very close to his destination...Shade Man's cathedral. Bass passed through the crumbling stone arch that marked the final stretch to the robotic vampire's hideout. Here, several ravens perched like black spirits. Seeing movement below him, the lead raven unfolded his wings and screeched at Bass. Bass merely turned around and waved at the huge bird.
"Hey Flagg! (2) Kick-butt weather we're having, eh? Do me a favour and don't try to peck my eyes out today, 'kay? I haven't the time." Bass resumed his trot towards the cathedral.
At the entrance to the old church, Bass stopped to admire the two stone dragons that 'guarded' the place. (3) They were forever perched, one on each side of the giant wooden double doors, on huge blocks of stone. Their petrified heads were craned back towards the sky. Their mouths were wide open, screaming a silent warning to anyone who dared to pass them. Their stiff batlike wings were furled, as if they were testing the wind. Bass gave one of the dragon statues a little pat on the neck as he brought his fist down on the cathedral's door. His summons were answered quickly by a small green and grey robot knight that moved about on one wheel. (4)
"Welcome to the abode of the Damned." The knight rasped. "Do you have an appointment?"
"To hell with the appointments! I'm Bass!" The sleek robot snarled.
The knight threw open the door all the way, and bowed his head. "Lord Bass! I'm sorry..the light was bad, and I didn't recognize you. It's truly a pleasure to have you with us...I am honoured to..."
"That's nice, but I really don't care. I just want to see Shade."
The robot knight bowed over and over again. "I shall summon master Shade. Please, come in and make yourself at home."
Bass allowed himself to be lead into a shabby foyer. There was nothing much to look at. Just the same old decaying stone that the rest of Shade's murky territory seemed to be made of. The knight wheeled over to the door that lead to the rest of the cathedral and Shade Man's chamber. Here the knight was presented with a small problem; he had to open the door using a doorknob, but he didn't have any hands. Just two lances at the end of his arms. The knight frowned as he fumbled with the doorknob over and over again.
Bass smirked. "Here, let me help ya." Bass opened the door quite easily. The knight gave his superior a look of gratitude as he wheeled off to search for Shade Man.
Bass leaned against one of the walls and drummed out a little beat on it with his fingers while he went over his plans for the twentieth time. He was feeling very happy with himself; surely his plot would work. Bass seated himself on the dirty stone floor. Gospel came up to him and wordlessly nudged his head between Bass' body and arm, asking for his ears to be rubbed. (5)
Bass looked at the canine sternly. "Stop that. You're supposed to be a fierce attack dog! Sit down."
Gospel cocked his head at Bass and panted.
Gospel wagged his tail.
"C'mon...sit! Pretty please?"
Gospel rolled over to have his tummy scratched.
Bass sighed and slumped against the wall again. While Gospel could probably rip out the throat of an elephant, there were also times when he could act like an idiotic puppy. That always drove Bass nuts.
Bass' mental griping was interrupted by the sound of leathery wings creaking above him. Bass glanced up in alarm, and sure enough, there was Shade Man wheeling above him and coming in for a landing. Bass quickly scrambled to his feet to properly meet the vampire. Shade and Bass were very good friends.
Shade Man grinned. His fangs gleamed horribly in the moonlight that filtered through the small windows in the foyer. "Good evening Bass," Shade said as he performed his custom little bow. "nice to have you with us today. Did Flagg give you any troubles on your way to see me?"
"Nah, Flagg's a good bird. Usually. So what's new?"
"Oh, nothing's new." Shade said with a shrug of leathery wings. He absently pet Gospel who had come up to greet the vampire. "Seducing women, biting necks, midnight snacks...the usual schlepps that come with commanding an Unholy Army of the Night. Never mind me, how have you been? How's Doc Wily?"
Bass' face fell. " The Doc's not that good, I'm afraid."
"Yeah. This seventh Robot Rebellion is going pretty well for him...the robots he had put into hibernation in case of his capture had activated and broken him out of jail, just like he had planned. Now he has you, Slash Man, Spring Man and Turbo Man working in addition to those four. Yet, he just doesn't seem to...well, care! He had always been so eager during a robot rebellion. But it looks like he's lost his passion for the game. His attempts at attacking Mega Man seem pretty feeble."
Shade Man frowned. "Ah. That's too bad. Perhaps it is his age?"
Bass shrugged. "I'm sure I don't know. You know how humans are always going through mood swings. But I have a plan that might cheer him up. I'll need a bit of your help, though."
Shade Man considered this. "Tell me your plan first."
Bass nodded. Fair enough. "As it stands, Mega Man doesn't know I'm a bad boy. He thinks I'm fighting Wily, like him. I'm sure he suspects deep down that I'm not a good fellow, but he's not doing anything about it. Sooo....I'm gonna pretend I'm hurt. Mega Man will spot me, and, being the compassionate idiot that he is, offer to teleport me to Light's stinking lab for repairs. I'll accept, and when I'm there, I'll find something of value to steal. Maybe some plans for an upgrade, or something. I don't know. Just a little nick-knack that might make the Doc more cheerful. What do you think?"
Shade grinned again. "I like, I like. What do you want me to do?"
"Oh, that's easy. Shoot me."
Shade raised a questioning eyebrow. "Shoot you?"
"Yeah. Just give me a small shot on my shoulder."
"All right. You're da boss." Shade agreed reluctantly. He raised his arm cannon and released a small plasma charge at Bass' shoulder blade. The shot couldn't have made a kindergarten student stagger. But Bass reeled dramatically, holding his shoulder which was bleeding very slightly.
"Oh! You nasty old robot! How dare you? Mega Man's gonna get you for that one!"
Both the evil bots shared a laugh.
"Well, I'm off to meet Mega Man!" Bass said, once he had calmed down. "Thanks, Shade."
"Not a problem. By the way...."
"How do you know where to meet Mega Man?"
"Oh. I know for a fact that he's on his way to meet you." Bass said airily. "I had a bit of a rough time trying to keep ahead of him."
Shade's normally bleached face went paler still. "What?"
"Thanks a million Shade! Byes!" Bass said briskly, as he teleported out of Shade's foyer in a shiny black beam.
A few minutes later, Bass kneeled by the dark steps of Shade Man's cathedral, trying his level best to look like he was mortally wounded. Gospel ran in circles around his master, worried that the sleek robot might really be hurt. Gospel was fierce and loyal, but his IQ was that of stale bread.
"Beat it, Gospel." Bass hissed at his companion through clenched teeth. Gospel paid no heed as he lay by Bass and whined. Suddenly the purple and silver robodog leapt to his paws and growled at something in the darkness. Bass grinned; he was almost certain that he knew what Gospel was upset at. Sure enough, as he strained to see further in the darkness, he could see a small blue form making its way towards the two.
"Lights, camera, action!" Bass thought to himself.
As soon as he was in striking distance, Gospel launched himself at Mega Man with a tremendous howl.
"Yikes! Down, Lassie!" Bass heard the blue bomber yelp.
"Gospel! Come here!" Bass commanded. The dog reluctantly bounded back to his master's side. Once Gospel was out of the way, Bass could see Mega Man looking down at him with a questioning expression. Bass recited his lines.
"Damn. I got careless." Bass muttered, clutching his shoulder. "Maybe I should give up and leave Wily to you."
Bass' heart gave a wild leap of excitement when Mega answered him.
"No. We're a team. Dr. Light would be glad to fix you up."
Bass bowed his head so that Mega wouldn't be able to see his wry smile.
"Thanks. I'm glad I have a friend like you...."
Chapter Notes: Here we go, the start of The Amazing Journey. The writing's pretty primitive (I was really into adjectives~!), but the interaction between Bass and Shademan isn't too bad. I also like it when giant story plots snowball from one tiny flake ... Bass just intended to cheer Wily up, and look what comes of it. It's probably obvious, but Megaman 8 didn't exist when I wrote this chapter: I had the intention of Wily burning out after Megaman 7. And knowing more about Bass' character today, it's unlikely that he'd care much about cheering Wily up if the doctor were depressed. In short, to enjoy this story, try to forget Megaman 8 exists. Same goes for Megaman X4, X5, X6, X7 ...