Underground bases were not an all too uncommon thing, Cyrus had learned. Many bases in the deserts were underground. A few bunkers to house troops, and a repairs garage for Zoids. Though nothing was ever officially larger than perhaps a listening outpost for a maximum of seven or so Zoids depending on models. They also, as he had noted when checking many abandoned bunkers, never once had automated defenses. And while Cadmus had no clue what those bullets were that ate into Rigon’s side, the mercenary had an intuitive feel.
EMP, Cyrus thought grimly. [I]Heated rounds to burn into the Zoid, and disperse miniature shockwaves disrupting and draining as much power within a Zoid as possible. God forbid if a shell hit a core, for it would be akin to setting the metallic beast into a coma. Three bullets, just three, and the Liger was in just as poor condition internally as the Saix was externally. If it wasn’t EMP shells, then Cyrus shuddered to think what could do massive damage to a Liger series chassis.
“The facility is huge,” Cadmus voxed to him. Cyrus lifted up the radio handset, long ago turning off speaker to save precious power.
“The largest I’ve ever seen. Usually these places house a patrol of Zoids, but this place looks like it could house,”
“An army,” Cadmus interrupted in awe. Cyrus nodded his head as the two Zoids stood shoulder to shoulder within the confines of the entry to the base. A spotlight shined over a metal gate, a dusty metal sign hanging on by one rusted screw. “Devil’s Canyon Research and Development Facility. What do you think they researched here?”
“Something important enough to put automated defenses that would down an Iron Kong in a few shells. Not to sound cliché here, but keep your eyes peeled.” The Liger stepped forwards as the Saix hobbled after it, their lights being shut off as the inner base lights were still in working condition. The boy was right, Cadmus thought as his radar was indicating the cavern was humongous, and clearly shelled out and burrowed before being reinforced to house such a facility.
It was an unusual layout, Cyrus noted. There were over fifteen garages to the east, seven to the west, and fourteen more far north in just the preliminary scan. There were armories and several houses of barracks for what could only be assumed to be hundreds of men per wing. There was a few command facilities, mess halls, but what Cyrus noted was that everything was broken down into communities, as if each facet of the base was ran by a particular sect of Military and left to deal with its own area of lodging and business. Several scientific laboratories were attached to inner tunnel shuttles that would move from one end of the base to the other, and the roadways were large enough for three Zoids per lane. It was curious to note that several of the facilities vehicles and hover carts were left, as if stranded and abandoned.
“It doesn’t look like people just up and left,” Cadmus mused loudly. “Everything is neatly put away, nothing left outside. I’m getting readings of artificial grass in the field areas.”
“Several luxuries of home, for a detailed base, but Devil’s Canyon was never marched upon by the enemy of the Empire. At least not that I’m aware of, and it seriously looks like nobody invaded if the auto-turrets were still firing on us. But we would have been detected by now, so this place is definitely abandoned.”
“I’m getting curious too, Cy, but we should focus on getting out of here.” Cyrus looked to the radar and located a nearby repair garage. The scanners indicated the heavy tools quickly and the Saix let out a wet growl of insistence. The Liger turned to face the Saix, before Rigon let out a growl of his own.
“Rigon thinks it would be wise to see if they got power left. If the generators are still panning out light for an abandoned base, maybe we can use some of it to jolt our Zoids.”
“I found an armory with just the thing,” Cyrus replied. “Maybe they left some Zoid parts I can use to repair my Saix.”
The pair made their way towards the facility, wary of anything that may impede their progress, but to their luck they had found no such obstacles. The garage door was shut, and locked, but the strength of the Liger was more than enough to rip the door down with a solid swipe of its claws. They waited for alarms to go off, but nothing blared. No claxons, no horns, no alarms.
“Odd…” Cadmus mumbled as the Zoid shuffled in. Cyrus hobbled forwards, and the cockpit opened. He rolled out of the Zoid, letting it stand awkwardly in place as Rigon’s sword maneuvered to create an anchor for the Saix to rest upon like a shoulder. Cadmus stepped out of Rigon and landed next to Cyrus as the two pulled their flashlights out and proceeded a little further into the repairs garage.
Cadmus held Cyrus’ flashlight while the mercenary stepped towards a lift operator, and with a few touches to the keys he was pleased to see three little dots on the screen, followed by a military access panel. His joy was short lived when he noted the system was in lockdown. Cyrus and Cadmus looked to one another before the boy got an idea.
“I know this will sound silly, but sometimes, and I doubt this, but sometimes…people leave passwords close on hand in case they forget. Try looking under the desk.” Cyrus shrugged, and with a quick glance he was about to abort when he found something flash in the light. He called for Cadmus to return the light, and yanked hard to find a flash drive rolled inside a piece of tape. He freed it and looked at the terminal, finding a hook up port and placed the drive inside, and twisted to lock it in place. With a rumble, the sound of an old power generator began to whine, followed by the sound of a fan slowly building up steam. The garage flashed with light nearly blinding the two as Cadmus laughed with Cyrus.
“Awesome!” Cyrus shouted like a small child. “Okay, computer is still in lockdown though, so we need to find a way to bypass it.” With a few tabs of a key Cyrus nodded to himself in triumph. “Sweet, this is just like most standard military facilities. There’s always a way to run basic protocols without accessing the mainframe. We’ll not be searching archives or upgrading anything, but we can set it up for refuel, recharge, and repair. Have Rigon move to the pad on the right, it’s designed for larger models. I’ll go move the Saix to the left, that’s for smaller Zoids.”
It took a complicated twenty minutes for both Zoids to get into position, but as soon as they locked in, Cyrus was back at the terminal, watching as cables zipped along the steel labyrinth on the ceiling of the building. They roped down and were locked into control panels, small robotic arms lowering from cranes to screw off, or in Cyrus’ case, pry off, the access panels. The power to the Zoids was lobbed in with four cables, ensuring rapid recharging.
“Can you tell me what’s wrong with Rigon, he’s been in pretty bad shape since the shots hit him.” Cyrus nodded, clicking on a few keys before a tablet popped out of the terminal. The mercenary handed the Paladin to the boy and began the same process to the Saix. “It says that it would take, with a full recharge and minor repairs, a total of forty minutes to repair. That’s too long to wait. Maybe we should just recharge and ship off.”
“I’d agree in any other circumstance, but I’m missing a leg, and recharging is useless for me if we don’t get that repaired. It’s estimated to take only an hour, so that gives Rigon twenty more minutes of spa time to recoup. That’s also an hour you can rest, Cadmus.”
“No way, you need it way more than me, Cyrus,” the boy interjected. Cyrus tapped on the keyboard and began to work furiously.
“I have to custom design the leg, due to the unique nature of my Zoid, I’d be up anyway. You’re a genezoid, Cad, you’re energy level is needed to make Rigon work at peak efficiency. Logic wins this debate. You’re napping.” Cadmus looked back to Cyrus before nodding with a yawn, heading over to Rigon.
Cyrus let the boy travel as he recreated a working limb for his Zoid, debating if Cadmus was tired enough to sleep for a few hours. He lied about the timing, but didn’t want him to fuss about the delays. Rigon however seemed to look right at his Saix, as if he knew something. Cyrus did not doubt that Zoids had personalities of their own. He had witnessed many bonds between genezoids and their Zoids, and even a few between humans and Zoids. Yet he didn’t understand nor ever heard about anything between Zoids. Did they have emotions, just as Cyrus and Steena once had? Could they love? He laughed to himself.
“Maybe a nap might not be a bad idea if these are my thoughts. But first…a little work to be done.”