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Kamen Rider: The Third

The first of my continuations

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#1 Offline Grey Snow

Grey Snow
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  • 01-March 07
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Posted Oct 17 2011 - 09:42 PM

First off, I'm using alumni as the major characters:Ken Sakuma (Zolda from Ryuki)Junko Tama (Kasumi from Hibiki)Joji Yuki (Garren from Blade)RidermanAnd you guys can find the old pictures of the Kaizo Ningen from the V3 series for reference, if you would want to see them. Note, this takes place after The Next's Director's Cut, so Ichimonji is dead. Also, there was originally swearing in this, so it's all censored for obvious reasons. Also, due to sheer length, I'm not double spacing this. It would take far too long. ______________________________ Kamen Rider The Third “What about you? What will you do next?” “I will live. …like you.” It has been two years since Takeshi Hongo, Hayato Ichimonji and the newest traitor, Shiro Kazami defeated Shocker and their plans to use nanobot technology to remodel the Japanese populace. Shocker has attempted to continue their plotting over this time, but thus far, they have been unsuccessful in their twisted and dark endeavors. With the death of Ichimonji, and the reluctance of Hongo to search out and fight the organization, that left the fight to one man; Shiro Kazami, V3. The man calling himself an avenging demon. “If only it were true, Hongo,” Shiro said softly to himself, reflecting back on the words that that man had said to him when they had parted ways two years ago. The last time he had seen the first Hopper, and also the last time he had seen the second, whom he didn’t believe could still be alive, knowing what he knew about the old processes of the Kaizo Ningen that Shocker created. He wanted to live an ordinary life. He wanted to be able to start life anew, as Hongo had done. But Hongo hadn’t had to do what he did. Hongo didn’t have to murder his own precious sister who had been tormented and twisted mostly because of Shocker. He was an avenging demon. He couldn’t have a normal life, not that he hadn’t tried. His mind flashed to Junko Tama, a woman whom had tried to pursue him. Under normal circumstances, he was sure he would have gone after her. If nothing had happened at ExaStream, he was sure of it. But something had happened; things had changed. Now, instead of possibly enjoying the company of a beautiful woman who adored him, he was crouched behind crates at the docks, watching as black suited Shocker Combatmen patrolled the area, waiting for a shipment to come in from a foreign branch of Shocker’s. He clenched his fists as he saw the boat coming in. It was time to act. He stood up; his full height still hidden by the crates, keeping him from view of the Shocker soldiers. They wouldn’t give him too hard a time, but if he wasn’t fast enough, the shipment could get away from him while he would distract himself fighting. He couldn’t let that happen. He wouldn’t let that happen. A familiar feeling, reaching down to his shirt and pulling it up to reveal his Double Typhoon belt. He had one chance at this, striding out from his hiding place as soon as a Combatman walked past. This was the gap he needed in their lines. One well placed punch to the back of the neck did it for him. Of course, he used his other hand to secure the head, listening to the snapping of bone. Others heard, some saw as he was doing it. Regardless, Combatmen were shouting out with their “Eey!” sounds as soon as he had committed to his act. As the body fell in front of him, in front of his belt, the two turbines began to spin. As Combatmen rushed for him, he started to run for them, and then leapt up, easily vaulting over them with his augmented body, adding a great deal of power to his legs. He was a Hopper, after all. As soon as he landed behind them, he was suited. His twin green scarves trailed down his back from his jump, dancing over the scratched out remains of the Shocker emblem that had once adorned his back. He rose, spinning around, the eyes of his helmet flashing emerald green in the darkness as he ran forward, giving a ferocious punch to one Combatman’s head, dropping him. He whipped around, throwing a roundhouse kick into another’s, flipping him to the ground. As soon as his foot touched down, his leg was coming back up to parry a punch. He drew his leg away from the blocked fist and lashed it out, catching the man in the side of his chest, right next to his heart, listening to the snapping of bone as he sent he man stumbling aside. As he whipped around to continue fighting, he could see the bodies of the killed Combatmen dissolving around him. The poor warriors; they had no chance. But they weren’t alive, so he had no reason to feel sorry for them. He punched one in the chest, sending it flying back. Without looking, he kicked back to take another down. He span around to give three swift punches to one more, and then mule kicked a fourth. He was a Rider of skill, keeping himself firmly routed to the ground, keeping himself always aware, always ready to counter or block an attack. He was also a Rider of strength; using ferocious, power packed strikes. He balanced them both out by using said powerful strikes with accuracy and planning, launching them at specific spots on the enemy for a quick win. A quick kill. After dropping the fourth from his mule kick, they stopped coming. He could see out of the corner of his eye that the Combatmen on the boat were waiting there, their shipment behind them, waiting to be picked up by a forklift. It was a large crate, contents unknown. Shiro had gotten lucky when he found out about this; he could be there to do something about it. “Is that all?” he questioned the twenty-odd Combatmen who remained, “Is that all the fight you can give me? You’re nothing compared to the Kaizo Ningen. You’re nothing compared to the Hoppers. “To me.” He didn’t know what to call himself; themselves. He collectively referred to Hongo, Ichimonji and himself as the Hoppers for obvious reasons. But that name was the name given to them by Shocker; it wasn’t a name to be proudly worn. It was no symbol or badge of honor to be a Hopper. Rather, it was a reminder of what they were. What they fought for, and why they fought. But a new name was needed; a proper name for what they were. Hopper and Kaizo Ningen weren’t it. He drew his arms up into his stance; bending his right elbow and keeping the elbow on down slightly bent forward. He ran his left hand – bent with the elbow on down to face that arm – down to the start of his gauntlet on his right arm, keeping his pointer and middle fingers spread up, while his other two were curled in. On his right arm, he had the same fingers up, the rest curled in. His helmet’s eyes flashed again as he did this pose. And then he was off. “Do you have any idea what that man is possibly trying to accomplish?” the young woman on the screen asked. The older man who watched these monitors, who appeared in turn on their monitors, shook his head, “I’m afraid I do know what he is after.” “You’re afraid?” the third, the young man, questioned with a hint of admiration, “Then Hopper Version 3 is as strong as we believe him to be if he can even frighten Doctor Shinigami!” “Silence!” Shinigami snapped, “He does not frighten me!” The woman adopted a soft, sly smile, “What is it he’s after?” “Business as always, eh?” the young man questioned her. “He’s after me,” Shinigami said confidently. “How do you know?” the young man turned his attention now to Shinigami, propping his feet up on something and leaning back in his chair. “I was responsible for the nanobot technology,” Shinigami answered, “I saw the damage that was done at Legend of Gathering. I saw everything on the security systems. I saw that…mutant thing that he faced. His sister. If I had to guess, he’s coming after me.” “Because he could possibly think you caused everything?” the young man questioned with a grin, “Naive!” The woman had a point to raise, “But it technically was all Doctor Shinigami’s fault. Even if it is naïve to blame it all on him, he is still the origin. I can see why Shiro would come after you like this.” “Taken to calling him by name?” the young man teased. She didn’t say anything back. Instead she continued to address Shinigami, “He’s getting close, wouldn’t you say?” “Unfortunately he is,” Shinigami admitted, “I don’t know how he’s managed to root out so many of our men who can talk, but he has. He’s closing in on this facility, based on the last few I’ve lost contact with.” “Move,” the man said. “I refuse to be intimidated by that man,” Shinigami hissed. “Don’t worry, then,” the woman stated, “Another Shocker commander is coming to your base from overseas. He’ll be there in a few days, and he’ll be able to assist you, should V3 arrive soon.” “Back to title,” the man said. “You mean he’s only going to be here for a short window of time?” questioned Shinigami. “No,” the woman said, “Indefinitely, until V3 is eliminated.” “And this man is named?” Shinigami questioned. “Colonel Zol,” she told him. Shiro walked down a street, hands in his pockets, ignoring people as he went. He was lost in his own thoughts at the moment. As usual, he wondered about Chiharu, and her murderous ways. Could she really help what she had done? He never wanted to think of his sister, his precious sister, as a monster. But what else had she been? Not physically, but what she was; a killer, inadvertent, he hoped. Once more Shiro could only think that the specters that had killed for her were buildups of electromagnetic energy subconsciously created by Chiharu through the nanobots, appearing where people played “Platinum Smile” because of her strong ties to her final song, and manifesting through the devices that the song was played off of; computer, CD player, whatever it was. And for any other cases, he figured something else was there to draw energy off of, and negative feelings caused the creation. After all, Shocker created Kaizo Ningen like Chainsaw Lizard, who regenerated her chainsaw limbs out of nothing, and Scissors Jaguar who, like Lizard, summoned his blades out of seemingly nothing and nowhere. But right now there was no point in thinking about it again. That’s all Shiro was doing recently; thinking about Chiharu. When he had tried to live his own life, he had done just that. He had started living again. But now that he had become an avenging demon out for Shocker, Chiharu was all that filled his mind, all that kept him going. Right now it was time to think about something else. He looked up and stopped outside of the former ExaStream building; his former company. He stared for a few moments, longing filling him, nostalgia flooding back. “This is where I saw you last, Chiharu. Before Shocker twisted you.” People continued to pass by as he stood and looked. He had no reason to enter, especially since the building was owned by another company now. But just standing there, looking at it. That was enough for him right now. “I thought I would find you here, Shiro-kun,” a woman behind him said, adding a little laugh, “You kind of stick out with that vest.” He turned around to see a woman standing there, around twenty six years old. She was beautiful to behold; he had always thought so. Her radiant face, her cascading brown hair, the sense of refinement she had in her clothing choices. She struck him as someone he could get close to, if he wasn’t after Shocker. He never cared to confirm or deny anything to Junko Tama. He never cared to tell her to leave him, stop annoying him, or to keep coming. He didn’t care enough to tell her anything. He cared enough, at least, to keep her out of the conflict. He cared enough to do that by being cold to her, indifferent. It would keep her away, but also keep her coming back. While that could be dangerous for her, it would keep her available for the day he could finally stop his revenge, for the day his thirst would be quenched by eliminating Shocker. Then, if he desired, he could be with her. “Junko,” he said, indifferent, not bothering to use an honorific. He put his hands into his pockets and started to walk down the street. He knew she was following him, even without looking back. He continued to speak, looking straight ahead, “How’s Takayuki-san?” She smiled with some forlorn. He was more interested in her brother than he was in her. Why did he always ask her about him? He could just as easily find Takayuki himself and talk. “My brother is fine,” she told him, “I keep telling him every time I see you. He doesn’t really ask much about you, though.” “Did he tell you to tell me that?” Shiro questioned, still not looking at her. She nodded, “Yes, he did. Why?” “I think he has some grand idea that when I find out he doesn’t care about me, I’ll stop asking about him.” “And what good would that do?” she questioned, drawing her eyebrows together in confusion. “Then I’ll start asking you about yourself,” Shiro commented offhandedly, “He’s trying to push me to you, or something.” Shiro looked up; keeping his head leaned back as he stared up at the sky between words, “But…” “But what?” she asked, rushing and getting in front of him so that he would look at her when he lowered his head. He didn’t give her that satisfaction. He lowered his head and turned around so as to not look at her, “I have business to attend to,” he told Junko, “Please, you should leave.” “Shiro-kun!” she grabbed his arm, “Why won’t you tell me anything?” He gently pulled his arm free of her grip, “Please, leave me.” As he started to walk away from her, he heard her calling after him, “Shiro-kun! Shiro-kun!” But he didn’t answer her. He had maters to attend to. Those matters involved Shocker. As he walked off, away from Junko, he made his way towards his bike. He swung his leg over, sat down, and pulled his helmet on, driving off as Junko decided to run after him, to the spot where he had parked. He felt a slight pang of guilt for having to just leave like that, for being colder than usual, but he would get over it, and so would she, as much in love with him as she was. As he continued to drive, he focused on his goal. He remembered it; stolen from one of the men accompanying the Combatmen and the shipment of…whatever it was Shocker had been transporting that night. There was going to be a meeting at a public location, so Shiro had to intervene; he had to go after the Shocker agent that was to be met. If he could get that man, he was sure he could find Doctor Shinigami; the man who caused Chiharu’s change, the man responsible for his own change. For so much death. But that’s not what Shiro was interested in. He was interested in stopping more, yes, but he was interested far more in avenging Chiharu. The noise of his motorcycle enveloped Shiro’s senses. Gunshots managed to overcome the sounds, forcing him to abruptly stop and listen. “Shocker,” he guessed, starting again and driving, taking the first right he could, heading for the source of the sound. As he drove towards it as fast as he could, he pulled his shirt away to reveal his Double Typhoon belt. He sped up, the twin turbines spinning as he went. As soon as he turned a corner, coming around from behind a building, going right for the source of the gunshots, he was suited, complete with helmet. He drove faster and then leapt off of his bike, letting it sail forward, crashing into a handful of Combatmen who were involved in a fight with a series of men in SWAT gear, armed with handguns and stronger caliber machineguns, assault rifles. Shiro took about three steps towards them before he stopped walking. He watched, his scarves blowing out behind him from the wind. The men were backing away, keeping up a good distance from the Combatmen, who continued to drop and evaporate upon being killed. Shiro ran forward, punching a Combatman twice rapidly in the head, taking him down. He span around, grabbing another and throwing him as far as he could, sure that his body would break on landing. He grabbed one man’s shoulder, “Who are you people?” Shiro demanded. The man – Japanese, like all of them – looked to him, “Who are you, then?” he demanded, “A Shocker?” “You...you know about Shocker?” Shiro questioned him. “We’re an Interpol team,” the man told him, “After the event two years ago, of course we know about Shocker! We’re here to stop them!” “Why? Did you hear something?” Shiro pressed, grabbing him again and making him incapable of firing. “Let go!” the man shouted, pushing him off, lifting his weapon at Shiro, “And who are you anyway?” “An escaped Kaizo Ningen of Shocker’s, fighting them for revenge,” Shiro told him, “V3.” “Right…we heard about you guys,” the man said, hesitantly lowering his rifle. He span around and lifted it again, firing on the assembled Combatmen, “If you’re fighting Shocker, then help us save our bullets!” “These are just small fry,” Shiro told him, crossing his arms over his chest, “I’m interested in the Shocker agent that was supposed to be here with them.” During a lull in the fire, the man pointed out, “That what you’re talking about?” Shiro looked at where he was directing. A man was approaching, wearing a suit and carrying a suitcase. He seemed unfazed by the destruction around him, by the fighting. He looked directly at Shiro, ignoring everyone else, and then let out what looked to be a sigh. It, of course, couldn’t be heard from this distance, over the gunfire. They were in the middle of a street. Traffic was nowhere around them. There were no doubt police blockades up to prevent civilians from getting to this area. “That has to be him!” Shiro muttered to himself, clenching his fists, listening to the leather squeak as he did so, “The man I seek.” The man continued to ignore the fighting. He crouched down and laid his briefcase on the ground, snapping it open. One Interpol agent got around and lifted his weapon to the back of the man’s head, “Freeze!” he shouted. “I wouldn’t do that, were I you,” the man, middle aged, told him. “Why not?” the Interpol agent demanded, “I have the weapon here!” “I am the weapon.” He span around, knocking the rifle aside. It went off, cutting up the ground in a spray of bullets. He gripped the man’s face in his powerful hand, plunging his fingers into the man’s face, feeling bone snap as he crushed the man to death with his overwhelming enhanced strength. As the man fell to the ground, another Interpol agent was rushing over. Their orders were apparently to capture and interrogate, not to kill, or he would have fired. Shiro ran for him as well, beating two Combatmen aside to keep moving. Two more got in his way, but they stood no chance. Not against his skill. Not against his strength. He skidded forward, smashing a fist into each one’s gut, throwing them back. He continued to run for the man; sure he would get there before the agent. The man lifted his head up from what he was doing on the ground, in his briefcase. His head was covered in a green, beaked and mottled mask. Two large eyes adorned either side of the beak, red rimmed with white screens for his actual eyes to see through. The beak had a line of a mouth beneath it, which could presumably open and close as he wished it to. There was nothing more to it; no chains to act as chainmail, nothing to protect his neck, which would be otherwise exposed due to the smaller size of the helmet. But as he rose to his full height, his entire suit was revealed. He was clad in a primarily green suit with some other colors, like red and yellow. He was completely mottled, with what looked to be large sized scales or imprints to represent such across his body. He wore green combat boots that looked rather enforced almost up to his knees, from which point the leather bodyarmor appeared more durable than any Shiro had previously seen any Kaizo Ningen use before. It still looked to be leather, or a similar material, with zippers and chains crisscrossing both legs, and even down to the boots sometimes. Starting below his waist were the scale-like features of a shell, rippled yet to show muscular definition along his chest and abs, but armored. It looked worn, as if he had been struck many times, but there was no other damage, no cuts or other marks. The shell-like torso armor went up to his neck, covering it in the front. Even at the neck he looked completely armored by the shell design of his suit. His arms looked like his legs; less armored, but still more armored than any other Shocker. Zippers and chains crisscrossed his arms for apparently nothing more than design and appearance. He wore gloves that went almost all the way up to his elbows; chains and zippers along those as well. Each finger was tipped with a slight claw. Along his back was a large shell. From the front, it was hard to tell much about it, but Shiro was sure that it would be an impossibly strong defense. It looked to cover the back of the man’s neck, keeping him safe on all sides, if the suit itself didn’t cover the back of his neck, for whatever reason. The one thing that really stuck out to Shiro that this guy would be dangerous was the large bazooka mounted on his back, protruding up over his head when he stood erect. The man was getting down onto hands and knees, looking ahead, the weapon going right over the back of his head. He was going to fire into the Interpol team. “Watch out!” Shiro screamed at them as he continued to race for this Kaizo Ningen. He had to stop him, to spare others, but mostly to get information from the man. If he had any weakness that this team could exploit, at this point, they were likely to kill him. He would be too dangerous for them to try anything else. As if to prove his point that they wanted him dead, everyone focused their attention on him, sure that their bullets could pierce him. They couldn’t. A round was expelled from the bazooka, flying towards the assembled Interpol agents. Shiro couldn’t do anything but get himself out of the blast radius so he would have a chance. He heard a motorcycle. He glanced to his side to see Hongo riding in, fully suited. He drove his bike up, off a jump, and into the air, in front of the round. It was a foolish move, but Hongo was like that; he would do what he could to save these people. Shiro wouldn’t. He managed to catch the round in one hand and throw it aside, to where nobody was. The resulting explosion still knocked agents down, but it didn’t do much else, other than leave a large hole in the ground. Hongo landed his bike and skidded it to a stop. He ran towards Shiro and the enemy, catching up to Shiro quickly. “Hongo; I’m surprised to see you,” Shiro commented. “You bailed us out last time,” Hongo replied, looking at him. Shiro could see that his helmet and suit were much more damaged than the last time. He must have been involved in some fights since then, or they had just naturally fallen into a state of disarray, “I had to return the favor, unless Ichimonji has, in which case I’ll go.” “You shouldn’t joke; it doesn’t suit you,” Shiro said, stopping suddenly, letting Hongo keep going. He span around, elbowing a Combatman in the head, dropping him suddenly. Hongo noticed, but kept going, stopping right when he reached the enemy and threw a kick. More Combatmen were flooding in from seemingly out of nowhere. Shiro drew his fists up into a fighting stance, “Come on; how many of you do we have to kill until Shocker realizes you’re a waste!” Shiro shouted, rushing into them, giving out quick punches, flipping them with the sheer force he delivered into their bodies, brutally taking them down. Shiro kept looking to Hongo. He would have fought the Kaizo Ningen himself, but if Hongo was offering, that was good enough for him. As much as he wanted his revenge, he may go overboard and kill the man, not getting any information that way. Hongo wouldn’t outright kill him, though. Shiro could intervene when he had to. Hongo’s kick missed as the man dodged to the side. He threw a punch with his right, but Hongo blocked by lifting his left arm, letting it graze off of his arm and deflecting it to the outside. He drove an uppercut into the man’s chest, but nothing happened. “I’m too strong for you!” the man shouted at Hongo, his mouth opening. He slammed his head down, biting Hongo’s right shoulder. Hongo shouted in pain, falling to a knee as his suit was torn. Blood ran down both the front and back of his shoulder as the wound was opened wider by the man’s attack. “You may be the perfect Kaizo Ningen, but you’re the lowest tier; did you know that?” he questioned Hongo, his mouth and his helmet’s beak obviously having no connection, “Anyone created with nanobots is your superior. I am your superior!” Hongo was gasping out his words between his similar gasps of pain, “You may be,” he gasped out in pain, “superior, but…,” another. “But what?” he hissed. “You lack my skill!” Hongo shouted, finding his strength. He rammed his left fist into the side of the other warrior’s helmet, rattling him, breaking the beak away, but opening the wound even wider in the process. Hongo shouted in pain, grabbing his wounded shoulder with his left hand, blood streaming out from under his gloved hand as he failed to apply enough pressure. The other cyborg got to the ground, aiming his weapon at Hongo. Hongo looked up, realizing it too late that he wasn’t the target. “No!” Hongo screamed, his voice and single word carrying on, elongating the word far past the simplicity of itself. Shiro smashed his way through two more Combatmen and broke into a run for the Kaizo Ningen, attempting to stop the attack. But he was too late; the shell ejected, flying past Hongo, who couldn’t stop it. Shiro was too far away to attempt to stop it. The shell struck the ground, exploding in the vicinity of the Interpol team, blowing them away as they focused their attention on the Combatmen, not the cyborgs locked in combat. Only one man had survived; being far enough away. It was the man Shiro had spoken to. He only survived because Shiro had pulled him away to talk. He was lying on the ground, covered in blood, blood seeping through is uniform. He was groaning in pain, on the fine line between consciousness and unconsciousness. Hongo managed to get to his feet. He moved his arm away from his wound and ran towards Turtle Bazooka as he rose. He swung his left fist forward, catching the Turtle in his chest, but only knocking him back a single step. Shiro tried to get to them, but the Combatmen were focusing solely on him at this point. “Move you worthless trash!” he shouted, lashing out everywhere, keeping his guard up, blocking everything, never letting himself be struck by an attack; always blocking, “I don’t have time to waste on you!” He would deliver single, powerful blows. Most of the time they probably wouldn’t kill, since he didn’t have the liberty of choosing his target location anymore, only that he would strike. He pushed through them, rushing towards Hongo and Turtle Bazooka. Hongo blocked a swipe of his claws and delivered a punch with his right, hiding the pain. But the blow barely had any strength. He threw a punch with his left, but even with strength, Turtle’s armor was too thick. He grabbed Hongo’s shoulders and rammed his head into Hongo’s, causing Hongo to shout in pain, “Tell me something, traitor!” “What?” Hongo hissed, trying to break free of his grip, but failing. “Are you ready to die?” He pushed Hongo away and crouched down, firing a shell. It only had to travel about three yards before it crashed into Hongo, causing him to give out an otherworldly scream of pain that managed to overshadow the sound of the explosion. Shiro stopped suddenly, his eyes widening under his helmet as he saw what happened to Hongo. “Hongo!” he screamed out, “Hongo!” He took off running towards Hongo, forgetting about Turtle Bazooka and his threat for a moment. He saw a pit where Hongo used to be, and slid down into it. It wasn’t very deep, but he slid down to get through the dust. There was nothing; no signs of the first Hopper, except for a shattered chunk of his helmet. “Hongo…,” Shiro muttered, lifting it reverently into his hands, looking at all that remained of an ally, of a man who had helped him to see what he had to do in this world. He could hear the other Kaizo Ningen laughing. He let the piece of helmet remain in the pit as he walked out, covered in dust. His head was partially dropped, his arms hanging down at his sides. His scarves were blowing behind him, pushed off towards his right from the wind. He lifted his head, the eyes flashing emerald. “I’m going to kill you!” Shiro screamed at him, racing forward. He slid and punched him once in the chest, but it didn’t do anything. The man in the other suit simply laughed hollowly, thanks to his helmet and the beak being closed. Shiro shouted, adding another punch, and then another, but to no avail. “You won’t get me that way,” he hissed to Shiro, backhanding him across the face. Shiro went down, rolling aside. He pushed himself up and swayed as he stood on his feet. “If that won’t work, then I’ll add more punches,” Shiro hissed to him, “I will break your shell and kill you!” He ran forward, shouting in a rage. The man who was a composite of skill and strength had just lost all thoughts of skill. He as focusing now only on strength, only on smashing through Turtle Bazooka. He shouted and threw a punch, but the other man caught it in his left hand. “Weak,” he hissed, ramming his knee into Shiro’s gut, knocking him back after doubling him over. He let go of the fist and rammed his own fist into Shiro’s head, taking Shiro to the ground, making him roll away. “I am not weak!” he screamed, pushing himself up. He looked up at Turtle Bazooka. His eyes flashed emerald again as he ran forward. He leapt up and came down with a knee aimed for his head. The Turtle stepped back and twisted to the side to avoid it. He rammed an uppercut into Shiro’s gut, doubling him over again. This time he put both of his hands together, interlaced the fingers, and smashed both fists into the back of Shiro’s head, putting him to the ground. He stepped on the back of Shiro’s neck, “It’ll be so simple to just kill you right now, just like this,” he hissed, “Do you want me to just break your neck? Or do you want to be blown up like that other fool?” Shiro could hear a heavy panting now coming from behind Turtle Bazooka, and a voice, “You had best move, or we’re all going to blow.” “What?” Turtle demanded. “I have a grenade. I drop it down your bazooka, we all go up, right?” It was the Interpol agent who survived. Shiro placed the voice. The man was a fool for trying this, but if it worked, he would have to thank him. But if it worked, what was he going to do? Was he going to try to fight again, or was he going to have to retreat for now and figure out how to defeat this man’s armor later? “You won’t kill us all,” Turtle hissed. “You wiped my entire team out; what good am I now?” the man questioned. “My armor will let me live,” Turtle told him. Blood was streaming down the man’s face. He closed that eye, “If you’re so sure, then let’s test it out, shall we?” Turtle lifted his foot away from Shiro’s neck. The man move with him, keeping his threat up. Shiro looked up, seeing that the man had a grenade in his right hand, right over the bazooka, while his left held a handgun, pointed up at the grenade. It might miss, but if it managed to hit, then the damage would be tremendous, if he didn’t get a chance to wait for the grenade to blow on its own, as he noticed the pin was missing. Turtle stepped away from them. The agent kept his weapons up, his left eye still closed due to the blood running down. Shiro wondered if his shot would be affected. “Go!” the man shouted at Turtle Bazooka. “Do you really think you can order a Shocker?” the Turtle screamed, going down to his knees, about to plant his hands on the ground to level his bazooka at them. The Interpol agent seemed to be faster. He threw the grenade towards the Kaizo Ningen and lifted his firearm, putting a single bullet into the grenade as it was right in front of Turtle. The explosion threw the agent to the ground, but Shiro only felt the shock of it. When the smoke cleared, the Turtle as getting away. There was a bloody trail following him. “You…you wounded him,” Shiro muttered, planting his fists in the ground as he pushed himself to his knees. How did an ordinary man do that? Why couldn’t I break through him? Why? The agent approached Shiro, holstering his gun, “I’m surprised it worked, to be honest,” he told Shiro, collapsing beside Shiro, “My team…,” he looked up at the sky, tilting his head back, looking with his single good eye at the moment. “You just lost, what, eleven men?” Shiro questioned him, sitting up and sitting back, leaving his helmet in place, “Yet you have no emotion over it? You just seem like…it’s a natural occurrence, like the rising of the sun.” “Well, they’re dead, what can I do about it?” he questioned Shiro. “You raise a good point, but it’s a flawed point.” “Flawed?” “You could go after that Kaizo Ningen for revenge.” “Are you going to go after him for revenge? For that other Hopper?” the man questioned Shiro. “Yes,” Shiro said, “But my revenge is against all of Shocker, not a single man like that. My revenge runs deeper, much deeper.” “How deep?” he questioned, but Shiro just kept silent, not answering, “Ok, fine.” Shiro continued to remain silent. The man sighed and tried to wipe the blood off of his face. Shiro stood up and walked towards his bike. The man pushed himself up and walked after him, “Wait! V3!” “What?” Shiro questioned him, not turning around. “I have no team.” “I know,” Shiro answered, “You don’t need to state the obvious.” “You’re going after that guy!” the man shouted, “Take me too! Let me help you!” “I don’t need your help,” Shiro told him, turning to look at him, “I don’t need it. More importantly, I don’t want it.” “I wounded him when you couldn’t!” he pressed. “I’ll break the *******’s armor,” Shiro said, clenching his right fist. “Sakuma, Ken,” the man said. “What?” “That’s my name,” Ken answered, “Look; I don’t need your name outside of ‘V3’. I just want to work with you! Together I’m sure we can bring this guy down, and get a shot in at Shocker! That’s what my team was here to do! Strike at Shocker. I’m sure I have information that you want, if you’re after them as well.” “Like what?” Shiro questioned him. “I don’t have anything big for you, like the location of a base or facility, but I do have chatter that we picked up between Japan and Germany.” “What would I care about such chatter?” Shiro questioned him, sitting on his bike, ready to leave at any moment. He ran a hand through his matted down, bloodied hair, “Look, I’ll hold off on telling you that. It might be my biggest piece of leverage.” “Leverage?” Shiro almost laughed at him, “If I don’t know the details of international communications, you think that’s leverage?” “It involves the Shocker elites,” Ken told him seriously, in a dark tone of voice, “I don’t know what you want to do. Maybe you want to just destroy Shocker, maybe you’re after someone at Shocker. I don’t know, but this could be of use. But you’ll only get the information if you let me go along with you.” Shiro didn’t say anything as he considered what Ken was saying. I’m after Doctor Shinigami, one of the elites. The man in charge of the operations, the technology, the nanobots. He’s the one I’m after. But…if he has information on elites, and from international communications, could that mean that Shinigami might be leaving for Germany? That someone is replacing him? And if nothing else, perhaps the data holds some relevant information. It doesn’t have whereabouts or anything for me, but it might allude to something. Maybe a location where the new guy is coming in at, or where Shinigami will be if he’s leaving, if he leaves by plane, or boat, or something. Shiro looked at Ken and considered for another few moments, then gave a slight nod, “Fine; come with me. Just don’t expect to tell everyone at Interpol who I am when I have to reveal my identity to you. I expect this to all be kept between us.” “Understood,” Ken said, walking towards him, “So; both of us on your bike?” Shiro shook his head, “I’d rather not, but you can’t exactly walk there, with the condition you’re in.” “Thanks for caring,” Ken said. “I meant that you’d attract attention, and people would wonder why a bloodied man was coming into my home.” Ken shrugged to him, “Fine; I don’t care if you care or not, a ride is nice, at least.” He got on behind Shiro and held on. Shiro grabbed his extra helmet and pushed it to Ken, “Better wear that.” Ken sighed and pulled the helmet on, “It takes away the cool look.” It was Shiro’s turn to sigh now. This was going to be an annoying partnership, wasn’t it? Shiro sat back in a chair, resting his right elbow on the arm, placing his cheek in his palm, crossing one leg over his other as he looked at the man sitting in the other chair not very far away from him. Ken Sakuma had cleaned himself of the blood and was now wearing black clothes that were under his bodyarmor, at least giving him something clean, allowing him to appear rather presentable, especially without the blood. He was older, possibly in his early to mid thirties. His face had youth to it, yet it had an edge of experience, an edge of age. Brown hair was swept out of his face and carried down to just above his shoulders, making him look fairly out of place as a government agent like he was. Shiro figured that one should probably look a bit…better, for lack of a better term that he could come up with at the moment. “Kazami Shiro,” Ken said, looking around the large room of Shiro’s mansion, “I can’t imagine someone like you is V3. It’s…surprising, to say the least.” “You know of me, then?” Shiro questioned. “ExaStream; the entire staff just vanished. Of course I know of you,” Ken told him, “As an Interpol agent, I take my job very seriously. I remember faces and names very well.” “You investigated that incident, then,” Shiro said, “Why?” “Why not? Does it sound like something for the police to investigate?” Ken questioned him. “Actually, yes, kind of,” Shiro answered. “Well, we would have let them. But we found out about Shocker at that same time, because of the nanobot incident. We started to connect things, and we found ExaStream.” “You thought they were connected because they happened so close together?” questioned Shiro. “We were right, as it turns out,” Ken told him, “You know that.” Shiro nodded, “You were right. Only myself and my secretary survived. I had to kill her myself when she fought for Shocker after I defected.” He sat straighter up, putting his arm down on the rest, “You’re not going to arrest me, are you?” “No, of course not,” Ken told him, “I don’t care if you worked for Shocker; you’re fighting them right now. To me, that’s what matters. Not who you were, not who made you what you are. Who you are now. “Besides, I hardly have the ability to take you in. You’d kill me long before I could place you under arrest.” “You have that right,” Shiro told him, not joking, being completely serious, “I can’t let anything happen until I crush Shocker and avenge my sister. Until that day, I cannot fail; I cannot allow myself to be stopped.” “You’re out for revenge, just like me,” Ken told him. “You?” “My team,” Ken explained. “You want revenge for your team?” questioned Shiro, “You were bonded that closely with them?” “Of course!” It was as if Shiro just didn’t understand, “Aren’t you close to the other traitors? The warriors you fought beside? You’re brothers in arms, just like my team and I were!” “Brothers…in arms…,” muttered Shiro, looking away. He and Hongo and Ichimonji weren’t close. He had saved them, they had taught him lessons, but that was about all there was to it. There was no closer bond; just that. He didn’t have the same bond that Ken did with his team. “No,” Shiro said simply. “Shiro-kun!” Her voice pierced his solitude. It wasn’t a bad piercing; it was rather nice to hear Junko Tama’s voice again. He may not want to get too attached to her, but he did enjoy her around, time to time. It was…nice, to have some sort of normalcy to life, to his life, after Shocker destroyed it. Even if he didn’t return her affection or attention, it was still nice. It meant that he had something to root himself down with; something to connect him to a normal life. It may not be the strongest lifeline, due to his feelings on his end, but it was a good lifeline to have, none the less. Junko came up behind Shiro, hooking an arm through one of his as she reached him, hanging off of it, “Shiro-kun, I’m so happy to see you! I didn’t think I would for a while after yesterday.” He decided to humor her and have a conversation, rather than toy with her, “So, you thought that I would decide to stay locked up at home, rather than come out and do errands, just due to the small chance I would run into you again? All because yesterday I had to run off instead of talk to you? Because I had important work to get done?” “Well, when you put it that way…,” she muttered. He smiled, “Junko,” he made sure to attach no honorific to her name, “why are you always looking for me like this? Some would call it an obsession.” She made a face when he said that, as if confused, “I don’t understand what you mean, Shiro-kun.” “You went out of your way to find me; it seems like,” he explained, “I doubt we were both out two days in a row in the same place. Maybe today, but I was at ExaStream yesterday…what reason would you have or being in that area? It seems very clear to me that you were looking for me.” She sighed, “Ok, maybe I was, but today I really wasn’t looking for you. Not after yesterday, since you seemed…mad, maybe.” “Hurried,” he said. “Right, you were in a hurry. I guess I just made a mistake.” “You did,” he said without a hint of emotion. “Right…,” that was awkward on his end, making it harder on her. He had said it like that intentionally to make her response harder. “Well, what are you doing today? You said you had errands. I find that a bit hard to believe.” And this was the Junko Tama that made him appreciate her more. The woman who wasn’t just fawning over him, but the one who would have conversations with him, who would move away from her affection and focus on something more practical, even if it wasn’t all that important this time. “What? You don’t think I run errands?” he questioned her. “You’re Kazami Shiro; I don’t think you do that yourself,” she told him. “I don’t have servants or anything of the sort; you do realize that, right?” he questioned her. “Well, I didn’t think you did,” she retorted, “It still doesn’t seem like you. But then again, you have to get food and stuff somehow, considering you’re living alone.” “I didn’t feel like making my guest run the errands,” Shiro said, seeing how she would react to those words. “G-guest?” she asked, showing some fluster, looking away a bit. He could see a bit of a blush coming to her face, likely out of annoyance and potential jealousy, “Who?” He smiled, deciding to push it a little farther, “Someone strong, of good moral standings and principles, someone not taken by who I am as a wealthy man.” There, that would be vague enough. Ken was strong, had strong moral standings, being Interpol, and wasn’t interested in Shiro’s wealth; rather, his identity as V3. But he decided to let Junko think it could be a woman. “So…what’s her name?” Junko asked. He smiled, actually enjoying himself. Sure, he was toying with her, but they had been having a rather decent conversation. He guessed this was why he let her stick around him, instead of just making her leave him alone. “Sakumo, Ken.” She had a confused look, and then one of relief complete with a sigh, “Shiro-kun, I thought you were speaking of a woman.” “I know,” he said simply, his smile fading, “I let you think that.” He realized his smile faded. Why? Did he subconsciously not like lying to her about something like that? Did admitting that he was making her think that on purpose make him take his own smile away? Take away the thing that showed that he was happy or pleased? Well, that was interesting. “Why?” Her voice was different that time. It was a bit pained, more than usual when he toyed with her. It was as if he had done something bad to her. He basically had. He lowered his voice, as if afraid to have someone hear him admit this, “I’m sorry, Junko.” He still refrained from using an honorific. He had wanted to use ‘san’, but decided against it at the last moment, right before he started speaking. It wasn’t a conscious reason he wanted to use that, it was subconscious once more. What was going on here? Did he like her company more than even he himself thought? Was the idea of hurting her so terrible, that even a lie would have to be covered by such respect? Not that she didn’t deserve respect, though. But that wasn’t the way he spoke to her. She knew that, she expected that. What if he had said her name with an honorific of any sort? What would she feel then? Hope. Hope that they could be together. He couldn’t give that sort of hope. Maybe someday, not today. “So…what errands do you have?” He hadn’t realized how much silence had filled the gap between them. He must have been thinking about her longer than expected. His smile slowly returned to his face. If he had known that he had been thinking about her for that time, she would certainly have gotten her hopes up so high. She would have been so happy, and would have only been crushed when he didn’t do anything about any sort of feelings he had for her. He couldn’t crush her like that. “I need to get food,” he told her, “As it turns out, I’m rather low. If it were just me, I’d manage, but Ken was injured, he needs to get his strength back.” “Injured?” her concern rose in her voice, “How?” “Accident on the job,” he left it at that. It wasn’t a lie, technically, “He’ll be fine in a day or two; nothing serious.” Well, it was kind of serious, but Ken was strong. Even though he was struck by the shockwave and the fringe of an explosive like that, he was healing up well. It was amazing. Ken attributed it to his strong will and constitution. Shiro figured as much. “Well, that’s good,” Junko said, “How do you know him? Is he a friend of yours?” “I only just met him yesterday,” Shiro answered honestly, “I decided to bring him back home to help him, since it was partially my fault he got hurt.” “Shiro-kun! A conscious!” she was elated by that. “What’s that supposed to mean?” he questioned, rather annoyed. Was she implying that he had no conscious? That he didn’t care about other people? “My brother told me that you only really care about friends and family as of late. Ever since Chiharu died…,” she trailed off, “I’m sorry.” “It happened,” he said, “I have to live with it. But…you could say that Takayuki-san is right. I only started to care or my friends, when I lost my only family.” He would have to admit that he didn’t care much for other people; only friends. Even strangers he wouldn’t bother to help, not with his overwhelming focus on Shocker. “Yet you find this stranger, help him and make him a friend?” Junko questioned him, “But then again, you did say he got hurt helping you. I imagine that was out of your control; him helping you, and getting hurt.” “You could say that,” he replied. “So, all it takes for someone to become your friend is for them to get hurt? Or rather, to help you in a big way?” she questioned him. “I guess,” he replied, “Right now, anyway. I don’t have time, otherwise. Why do you ask such a question?” She smiled at him, “I’m trying to figure out what I can do for you that’s big enough so that you acknowledge me as a friend. I figure that’s a good enough start, anyway.” He stopped walking. She kept going, but was stopped by his stop, as her arm was still linked through his; he had never bothered to remove it himself. “Is something wrong?” she asked him, “I was kind of joking,” she explained. He looked at her, his smile appearing a bit broader, “Junko, you shouldn’t say such a thing.” “What do you mean?” she questioned him, “What thing?” “We are friends.” Those simple words brought so much joy to her beautiful face. She looked to be almost in disbelief, in fact. But, even with that joy, there was silence between them. “Thank you, Shiro-kun!” she slipped her arm free of his and threw both around him in an embrace, “That means so much to me!” He smiled a little more, despite not really wanting to. He fought back the smile, awkwardly putting his arms slightly around her. Then he put them more firmly around, only to take a light grip of her and pull her back, away from him. “Junko,” he said, looking into her eyes, “I do mean that, just don’t get carried away trying to find something more than that in my words.” “I understand,” she said, still exuberantly happy, “But this is just the start! I’m sure of that!” He would have liked to have said “We’ll see,”, but that would have given her too much hope for the time being. Instead he just remained quiet and started to walk again, “Come on, if you still want to join me.” “Right,” she started after him again, slipping her arm once more through his. He didn’t mind, once more. He actually liked it, though he wouldn’t admit that to her. As they continued to walk, she turned to him to speak, “Shiro-kun,” she never finished her sentence as an explosion occurred in front of them, sending debris flying, sending smoke everywhere, sending a shockwave at the two of them from being so close. Shiro gripped her, trying to protect her from the debris and as much of the shockwave as he could, but they were both thrown aside, landing on the hard ground on the street, blown away from the sidewalk. A car was coming, unable to stop. Shiro pushed himself up with Junko in his arms. He leapt, using his augmented body to clear the car, landing on the opposite side of it as it slid to a stop, trying to avoid hitting them as well as avoid the debris that was covering the street from the explosion. It managed to slide and spin to the side, managing to remain on all four wheels. He set Junko down, her body shaky and unsteady after the explosion, after witnessing the jump that Shiro made. He turned around, facing away from her, walking towards the rubble and the explosion. “Shiro-kun!” she called. He looked back at her; “Go!” he shouted, running towards the site of the damage, lifting his shirt to reveal his belt as he ran. “Shiro-kun! It’s dangerous!” Junko shouted, running after him. However, Junko was stopped by the driver getting out of his car. He grabbed Junko, “That’s dangerous! We have to get away!” he was saying. “No! I can’t let Shiro-kun go over there alone!” she was shouting at the man, “Let me go!” “It’s dangerous!” “I don’t care!” she wasn’t having any success breaking away, however, and was pulled away. However, as the smoke began to be sucked away, as if by turbines, she saw Shiro standing in armor, affixing a helmet over the top of his head and snapping the mouthpiece on, twin scarves blowing in the slight wind. The smoke was converging on him, being sucked away into the belt on his waist. He never looked back; he only walked onward, away from her as she shouted his name vainly. Shiro as V3 walked around, his eyes scanning for the hidden enemy. He looked onward, straight ahead, “Turtle! I know you’re here! Come out!” “Turtle Bazooka,” the man growled as he emerged from behind a car, fully clad in his armor. He dropped down; aiming at Shiro, “Let me show you why my name doesn’t work like you said it!” As the shell was fired, Shiro ran forward. He leapt up, kicking off of it, driving it into the ground. The explosion carried him forward, having timed it perfectly. He lashed out with a series of bicycle kicks at the crouched Kaizo Ningen, throwing him back, unable to properly defend himself. He rolled, having trouble with the actual act of rolling due to his shell and mounted cannon. He managed to get up and throw a punch, but Shiro blocked it with his forearm, letting it slide to the side. ̶
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