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First Contact-Part One-Chapter11

First Contact-Part One-Chapter11

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Published by The Dr.

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Published by: The Dr. on Sep 10, 2008
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05/09/2014

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CHAPTER ELEVENFLOODGATES
‘ 
I NOW DECLARE ALLUC AND THE MERCURY ROOMS … OPEN! 
’ Fink’s voice boomedfrom everywhere and nowhere as was its custom. The large crowd that had gathered gavea cheer and applauded as the giant Mercury Door slid apart to permit entry.It was quite a turn out. Word had spread fast across the internet of the advancedopening and Jazz Valentine had brought countless people from his show’s audience.Vash had tried to get him to give a speech, but after hearing that he’d want paying vastsums of money for doing so, the Administrators decided against it.A teenager in marigold gloves called Pun had offered to take Valentine’s place, but when he proposed that he was just going to say “
Cats 
” into the microphone for half anhour, once again, the Administrators chose to decline.A large number of people had also been signing up to become Link Hunters. Itseemed it was quite an exciting task to undertake and Vash was all too happy to beginthe training process where it was needed. Some of them were already well versed inhunting down Videos and so much the better. However, the Administrators insisted thateverybody be shown the ropes by a Moderator before beginning, just to make sure thatall of the procedures involved were understood.Now that the Black Hole was inoperative, the Link Hunters would have to createRooms for their Links manually. A tedious process admittedly, but unfortunatelynecessary. However, the small matter of the Universe’s imminent demise had not yetbeen brought up and both Administrators and Moderators alike thought it best to keep itthat way for as long as possible.Vash made a note of reminding Beakedbard, Mooney and Danny the importance of this point from a PR perspective before each of them exited the Black Hole Room into theIndex and led the newer Link Hunters off into the wide Internet on their first Official LinkHunts. Jason, obviously, chose to stay behind to tend to the Black Hole as best he could.But indeed, the Mercury Rooms were filling up quite quickly and already VideoRequests were pouring in from every direction.‘ 
LOOKS LIKE WE’RE GOING TO BE BUSY FROM NOW ON,
’ Mooney remarked as he ledhis two Trainees Seano and Edith through an Exit Portal.‘Meh,’ Beakedbard shrugged, puffing out a plume of weed smoke and beckoning to hischarges KMT and Baron Munchausen to follow him through another portal. ‘It’ll ease off soon.’ ‘You mean you’ll start slacking off as soon as the opportunity presents itself?’ Fred said with a wry smile as he followed with Gmac and Leara.‘Don’t give him ideas,’ Vash said, laughing as he, Mr. Burns and Jimzac ventured fourthin search of Links.***‘I am as the wind …’ Ash said to himself quietly from deep within his meditative trance.‘… I am as the shadow …’  The hot afternoon sun was finally setting behind the misty mountains of the east.Ash was thankful for the final abating of the sweltering heat. He might actually be able toconcentrate now.‘ … I am as the breeze … I am as the flowing river …’ ‘You are as annoying as a legion of crickets!’ Master Yoh declared furiously from theother side of the table. ‘Make a move for pity sake!’ Ash half-opened an eye and stared at the chess board in front of him. ‘I ammeditating upon the best strategy,’ he replied.‘You have been meditating for almost an hour,’ Master Yoh clucked.
 
‘As you say, Master,’ Ash smiled wryly. ‘He who acts with haste, has already lost thefight.’ ‘Yes,’ Master Yoh nodded, scratching his beard. ‘Though, have I not also told you, that he who makes his Sensei wait for almost an hour for a simple chess move is the one who will be mucking out the stables for a month?’ ‘Point taken,’ Ash puffed and quickly manoeuvred his Knight to take Master Yoh’s Rook.‘Check.’ ‘Ah!’ Master Yoh said, furrowing his brow. ‘Have you decided upon a course of action yetmy pupil?’ ‘I believe it is your move, Master,’ Ash replied.‘Ai-yah!’ Master Yoh exclaimed. ‘I meant in regards to your path in life young one. I amthe seventh Master under which you have trained and as of yet, you seem to haveconcocted no final aim.’ ‘I forget who said it …’ Ash retorted. ‘But it is the journey that matters, not thedestination.’ ‘If we can end the one-upmanship by way of proverbs for a moment,’ Master Yoh sighed.‘You cannot spend your entire life in this way. Even I, at one point, had a goal, and Istuck to it. I would not be here otherwise to tell you that … Check Mate by the way,’ Master Yoh nodded with satisfaction and sat back from the table. ‘Again?’ he asked witha chuckle.‘I think not,’ Ash said with a shake of his head. ‘Though your point is not lost on me,Master. Do not think I am wasting your time.’ ‘How could you waste my time?’ Master Yoh asked, appalled. ‘It is rare to see such talent.Admittedly I would appreciate it if you would not make me wait as long between movesupon the chess board … but you could never waste my time. I have a duty to pass on what I have learned to those who come seeking it, while I still have time left to teachthem.’ ‘It’s just as well that you say that,’ Ash said, scratching his chin. ‘Because if you permitit, I think that you have passed on your knowledge to me, and I hope to use it wisely inthe future, wherever I may end up.’ ‘You refer to the Mediation position you discovered?’ Master Yoh said, taking a long drinkof his tea.‘I do,’ Ash said affirmingly.‘Well,’ Master Yoh coughed. ‘I am sure, that whatever you finally decide. You will be wellequipped to handle any situation.’ ***‘RUN!’ Vash shouted, firing his Zap Gun into the darkened recesses from which they were retreating.
ZAP-P 
!
ZAP-P 
!
ZAP-P 
!Mr. Burns, the Welsh Wizard glowered into the gloom, casting a light from his staff into the pitch blackness of their surroundings to reveal the slightest outline of a tallmetal figure. ‘Go back to the darkness from whence you came!’ He commanded, banginghis staff on the ground.’ ‘What the hell is that thing?’ Jimzac spluttered.‘ 
As if 
I know,’ Vash replied testily.‘ 
This 
,’ Jimzac hissed. ‘Was
not 
in the Link Hunter job description.’ ‘I’m aware of that,’ Vash replied, accessing the Portal Terminal next to him. ‘This is newto me too.’ Indeed, when Vash had commissioned the new Link Hunters for The MercuryRooms, one of the last things on his mind had been that they would possibly beattacked; apparently, it had been one of the last things on their minds too. The new LinkHunters had been doing better than Vash could have expected. There were few who coulddelve so far and retrieve so many Links in one outing, and apparently, Jimzac and Mr.Burns were just such of people. However, while investigating a newer Video site named
Stage 
, Jimzac had managed to find something other than Links.
 
 Two glowing red eyes leered through the shadows, floating steadily towards them. The low hum of a motorized drive resonated within its metal body as the menace hoveredthrough the black corridor of Stage towards the ALLUC members.‘It’s getting closer,’ Jimzac sang anxiously, pulling a Magnum from inside his leather jacket and firing at the mechanoid that drifted silently onwards.‘ 
GOT IT! 
’ Vash said, opening an exit portal and pulling the Link Hunters backwardsthrough into the Index Section of The Mercury Rooms, leaving the iris to close quickly onthe metal monster that halted its advance and sleeked back into the darkness. ‘Well,’ Vash said, straightening up and brushing down his robes. ‘That was interesting now wasn’t it?’ ‘Interesting?’ Jimzac shouted. ‘That thing tried to slice me in half!’ ‘You said nothing of this kind of danger, Moderator,’ Mr. Burns frowned.‘Yes, well, I can only apologize gentlemen. Clearly this isn’t something we expect in ourday-to-day activities. Go and have yourselves checked out in the Infirmary … there’s anurse there now … Aries … ask for Aries, lovely girl, raised by Kangaroos so I hear, she’smarvellous … she’ll see that you’re okay,’ Vash said, ushering them away before theycould protest.He marched up the Index Section, taking the large bag of Links with him andhanded it to another Link Hunter named Dazzler as they passed eachother.‘Cheers,’ Dazzler remarked, peering into the bag.‘They belong to Jimzac and Mr. Burns, keep them safe,’ Vash said hurriedly.‘Awe,’ Dazzler said disappointedly as he disappeared into the crowd.Vash continued onwards, making his way over to L96A1 when he spotted himlurking by The Black Hole Room to make sure nobody went snooping around in there.‘We’ve got a problem, Neil,’ Vash said quietly.‘ 
Only one 
?’ L96A1 laughed uneasily.‘Well, we have a pressing one at least,’ Vash continued.‘You mean
other 
than the Second-coming of the Big Bang?’ ‘Stop it,’ Vash snapped. ‘I was just at Stage with some new Hunters and we wereattacked.’ ‘Attacked?’ L96A1 unfolded his arms and frowned. ‘By what?’ ‘I’ve no idea what it was,’ Vash shook his head. ‘But it wanted blood. It would have killedus if we hadn’t escaped.’ ‘What could it have been?’ L96A1 asked, chewing on the inside of his lip.‘I really don’t know,’ Vash replied. ‘But I’ll report this to Fink and the others. I don’t know what it was, but I know what it was doing.’ ‘Oh?’ ‘Yeah,’ Vash said sharply. ‘It seems we’ve found the thing that’s been deleting Videos.’ *** The morning air was fresh and pleasant for once. The dew was just beginning todry on the grass as Ash strode across the garden to meet with Master Yoh who had been waiting patiently by the gates since the first rays of light had appeared over the horizon.‘I always thought you secretly disapproved of me taking this position,’ Ash smiled.‘On the contrary,’ Master Yoh said. ‘I believe it is merely a waypoint that you must rest atbefore your journey continues. But, before I allow you leave my student. You have onelast test to pass. A challenge, to measure the skill you have found under my tutelage,and the teaching of the other Grand Masters.’ ‘Couldn’t just let me leave peacefully egh?’ Ash laughed.‘Not a chance,’ Master Yoh grinned, producing an orange from within his robes. ‘Mychallenge, my student is this … you have five minutes to take this orange from my handby any means you can think of.’ ‘Without killing you, you mean?’ Ash quipped.‘You could try,’ Master Yoh shrugged. ‘Though you realize it would not end well for you.’ ‘I do.’ 

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