Chapter One
What it's all about

Destroying the last droid in frustration, shrapnel soared in all directions before skipping tediously across the ground over scattered piles of scrap that had previously met the same fate. This was insane. Converting my right forearm back from a buster to my hand, I fingered the knick seared in the back of my helmet. Looking to the smoke cloud ceiling, I asked nonchalantly, "Zero, just what power setting did you program this training session at?"

"Forty." Zero deactivated his beam saber before flicking his long blond hair over his shoulder. The red reploid stood while brushing a patch of invisible dirt from his arm.

I just stood there, frozen. Forty? Forty was ten levels higher than anyone had ever set the Nightmare System during the two years of the training program's active installment. Zero himself was the only one psychotic enough to run the system at level thirty. I only dare twenty-five, on a good day.

Zero paced past me casually with a cocky smirk on his face, which he didn't usually betray. Zero was too serious most of the time. Just behind me he paused briefly. "Don't look so damn shocked, its not like a pair of Class 'A' Hunters couldn't handle it." He continued making his way steadily across the room.

I crossed my arms while shaking my head defensively. "I'm only Class 'B'."

"'Officially'" Zero shot just as he stepped out the automatic doors. They promptly sealed behind him with the soft sound of a bird flapping its wings.

Anyway, it took me a few more moments of silent gawking before I broke out into a laugh. I was the only one around, but all the same I muttered, "That jerk." I decided to just drop it; if Zero wanted to hold some awe inspired confidence in me, that was his decision. I plodded across the room, shut down the Nightmare System, then slipped out of the awkwardly quiet 'blast chamber' as some had dubbed it.

After being in a training session that intense for the past three hours and seventeen minutes, I just headed back to my room to recharge. As I entered, I haphazardly dropped my helmet on my desk. I'd need to replace that, the helmet. It had an astounding number of dents and dings in it from previous encounters, but that damage from the training could be a problem; a well-placed shot in the back could melt entirely through to my head. Even being a reploid, that would still suck. Especially in my case. I flopped down in my corner chair and got to thinking about my situation. I always got around to that, which really annoyed me. I'm seemingly the only one who cares to ever think about it, aside from those higher scientist circles who bore the crud out of me and I can't stand.

It's the year 2132. Twenty-three years previous, the Cataclysm had struck, ravaging the world as it had been known. Nearly two dozen years and still no one knows just what the Cataclysm was. No one knows just what I am either. Sure, I'm the original reploid, but what exactly does that even mean? My inner workings are basically a cryptic mystery even to the most renowned reploid experts. I've always wondered if that little fact was a reason for me being named X. A single initial. At least I don't have a long signature to write out. My mechanics being so obsessively complicated also means that if my internal systems are ever heavily damaged, I'm screwed. I bet you have no idea what I'm talking about though. I'll get to that.

I leaned back on my steel frame chair and gazed lethargically out the window. Billowing pitch-black clouds veiled the sky as they commonly did this season. It vaguely reminded me of the thirty odd years I had been buried underground in a diagnostics capsule. That's how I survived the Cataclysm, and why I have no clue as to what happened. Due to the Cataclysm, the current world population is just shy of five hundred million humans. That's down from about twenty billion.

That of course doesn't give any clue as to why I was bunkered for around thirty years though, now does it? I'm the original. The first free thinking robot. Ever. The wide spread fear was that I was going to freely decide to rampage and kill humans, which all previous robots couldn't do as dictated by their programming. So what happened was they sealed me in a diagnostics capsule to run tests on my systems and make sure I wouldn't do something horrendously tragic if they activated me. I got forgotten after the Cataclysm though, meaning I wasn't supposed to stay that way for thirty or so years, but that's how it turned out.

Dr. Cain reactivated me when he discovered me in an archeological excavation of Dr. Light's ruined lab. Dr. Light was my creator, infamous for being the most brilliant robotics (and technological in general) scientist in history. Dr. Cain's a pretty sharp genius too, as that he was able to produce the basic blue prints for present day reploids just by studying me; as I mentioned before, no one can figure me out. So because of that entire sequence of events, the world population of reploids is now about one hundred million. I think reploid stands for replicated human android, because we basically are to any aspect you could conceive of debating. I'm not positive though, and you should never take my word for anything I'm not positive about. That doesn't really matter. What does matter is that about forty-five percent of reploids are judged to be Mavericks.

Mavericks are renegade reploids. They carry out the actions that everyone was afraid I would, attacking humans and destroying anything they want to... At any rate, this is exactly why there are Hunters. Zero and I are Hunters. First class. I'm only Class 'B' because I can't over come my reluctance to scrap my Maverick opponents on sight. There's not really any sense in destroying an enemy if they'll change constructively� right?

I closed my eyes and felt desolately alone right then. This stinging chill that eats at your soul if you even believe I can experience something like that. I always feel this intensely sorrowful when I think about killing, because I always recall every life I've taken. Zero doesn't care anymore. Zero is Class 'A+' special elite. That just proves he'll plow down anything on the mission specs without a second thought. He could be incredibly intimidating when he wanted to be as well, so he could concievably have forced many of his opponents to stand down with out too much hassel instead of.... It's always best to just not mess with Zero. He's a good guy when you get to know him though.

How the hell did I ever even get into all this? I mean, God! For twenty or so years I've been running around fighting when I'd rather not be, and here I am still in the midst of it. Then again� would I ever be able to live with myself if I didn't try and stop the killing�? I was so morosely depressed at that point that I figured continued solitary thinking to myself could become dangerous. I can really mess myself up by attempting to analyze the world around me sometimes. I don't want anyone worrying over me though, so I just keep to myself the vast majority of the time. I can't stand it today.

Getting up fluidly from my stiff, faceless chair, I headed out the doorway. On passing, my hand clutched my helmet with the thought of possibly replacing it on my venture out. I was going to go see what Zero was up to anyway; I might even be able to prove a point to him using my helm as example 'A'. He could be so crazy� Level forty� I mean geez�

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