Chrono Continuum Chapter 71
"Ayla," Robo reprimanded his primitive companion, now wearing a rubber body suit from head to toe, "Please keep still. Cease your squirming."
"But hornet hurt," Ayla complained.
Robo beeped. "Not 'hornet', Ayla, 'harness'. And even if the harness is uncomfortable, you would probably be more uncomfortable without it."
Ayla nodded, seeing his point. Bored, she decided to look down, as they flew over the rocky terrain. When she'd first found out that Robo could fly, she'd been surprised, and happy for him. He didn't need Epoch to go places. And he could carry her.
But Ayla hadn't realized that she wouldn't be able to ride on his back, because of the "rockit". Instead, Robo would have to hold her against his body with his arms. And they were using a hornet, or a harness, or whatever to keep her legs from dangling as Robo held her by the shoulders. And on top of that, she had to wear this wierd clothing made out of "rubber". Now she wasn't so happy that he could fly.
She cried out in surprise and covered her ears at a surprisingly loud sound. "What that," she yelled up at Robo over the echoes of the sound.
Robo yelled back, "That was thunder, Ayla. We're approaching the giant storm cloud now."
Ayla looked up, seeing that he was right. A giant black cloud loomed before them. Bolts of lightning periodically struck the ground far below, or lit up sections of the cloud itself.
Ayla looked down, and could see that a huge chunk of land was missing from the earth below. Had the lightning done that?
Forgetting about the ground, she paid attention as they continued towards the storm cloud. Ayla soon saw, however, that the cloud was much bigger than she had previously realized. In fact, they hadn't even reached it, and it looked bigger than the Black Omen had up close. Ayla's eyes widened as she came to a realization.
"We go inside," she asked Robo worriedly.
"Yes," was Robo's only reply. "Don't worry about us getting struck by lightning, though. I've electricity-guarded my circuitry. I should be alright."
"What about Ayla," Ayla cried.
"Don't worry, Ayla. That rubber suit will protect you from the lightning."
Ayla nodded, having faith in Robo. There were many things in this world she didn't understand, but when asked, Robo had often provided answers. (Some of which Ayla didn't understand anyway, but she didn't complain.) She trusted the rawboot, as much as she would trust any of Ioka's elders.
Still, she gritted her teeth and closed her eyes as they came ever closer to the storm cloud. Even the chief of Ioka needed to be afraid of some things, and flying into an angry thunder storm was one of them. The sound of thunder was a constant now, beating on Ayla's ears with an almost solid force.
Eventually, Ayla opened her eyes, just in time for Robo to fly into the dark mists of the cloud. Ayla glanced around worriedly, upset at her inability to see very far into the darkness.
She cried out in surprise a lightning bolt suddenly appeared in their path, connecting two swirling sections of the cloud. Ayla cringed in anticipation, and almost cried out again as Robo jetted full-force through the bolt. Robo didn't make a sound as the bands of electricity latched onto him, connecting him to the cloud itself.
Ayla gasped as several bolts tried to strike Robo from underneath, but shattered as they hit her. She smiled. He'd been right about the rubber suit.
As they flew on through the cloud, closer to the center, Ayla could see that more and more lightning bolts were striking Robo, almost as if they were trying to keep him from getting there. Ayla also noticed something else. Robo's arms around her were beginning to get warmer for some reason.
At first, she just ignored it, but the heat soon became uncomfortable. "Robo," she called, "You warm."
Robo didn't respond, possibly because of all the thunder. But soon, Ayla called out again, "Robo, you hot!"
Robo looked down this time. "What?"
Ayla began to squirm. "You arms burn," she cried out.
Robo beeped in alarm as he saw smoke rising from the rubber of the suit where it came in contact with him. Robo's inner systems were alright, but he hadn't considered the fact that the constant electrical contact would heat his metal frame. And it would only get hotter from here. If his arms burnt through the suit, Ayla would be electrocuted!
Ayla cried out as Robo's arms abruptly released her, and she slipped out from the harness. Desperately, she somersaulted in midair, and grabbed onto the harness with her hand. She sighed with relief as the harness held firmly. But her eyes opened wide as she saw smoke begin to rise from the harness itself. Robo was burning through the harness, too!
Before Ayla could do anything to stop it, the harness snapped, dropping her. Robo, realizing what had happened, tried to grab her, but she was too low. So, he dove down, past her, and underneath her.
Ayla let out a painful grunt as she landed, chest first, on Robo's rocket pack. Quickly, Robo turned it off, and kicked in his leg boosters, using them to rocket upwards. Ayla held onto the rocket as best she could, but she could feel the metal burning through the hands of her suit.
Robo beeped in determination as he spotted something above him. It looked almost like an inverted mountain, an island floating in midair amidst the clouds. They were so close.
Ayla involuntarily let out a short, clipped scream as the hot metal burned through her gloves. Electricity raced through her body, frying her internal organs. Robo was absorbing most of the electricity, but what was left was more than enough to kill Ayla, very quick, and Robo knew it.
Robo rose up above the edge of the island, and blasted forward. There was a rocky ledge surrounding the Generator itself, and Robo aimed for that.
As he came closer, a blue shield suddenly came into view, but Robo was going too fast to avoid it. But as he flew into it, the only change he noticed was that he was no longer being struck by lightning. The shield must block all lightning bolts from reaching the island, Robo thought to himself.
Quickly, he dropped to the ledge, almost throwing Ayla off of his super-heated body. She landed on her back, hard, but didn't let out any noise. Robo rushed over and knelt beside her, ripping the rubber body suit off, in an attempt to get a good look at her. He examined her, but didn't like what he found.
Her hands were so burnt that they were black, and smoke was rising from her entire body. Even her original clothes she had been wearing under the suit were burnt, almost to a crisp.
Robo could see that she was still breathing, barely, but his sensitive hearing couldn't pick up any pulse. Her heart had stopped. For the first time in his life, Robo panicked.
He placed his hands on her chest to try to pump her heart into beating again, but immediately withdrew them as the skin below began to smoke. Robo hurriedly jumped up, and began to look around, searching. He soon spotted a rock, and quickly grabbed it.
Once again kneeling beside Ayla, Robo placed the rock on her chest, and began to pump with it. After a few moments of this, he checked to see if he could hear a pulse. He couldn't. He beeped in frustration. Heart massage wasn't working. Perhaps the least likely solution would be the best...
Throwing the rock aside, Robo opened up his chest, revealing his complex internal systems. Pulling one wire out of a mass, he ripped it in half. His left eye immediately ceased to function, but he'd fix it later.
Touching the wires together a few times, to see if they still kept their spark, he placed them both in the center of Ayla's chest, giving her a slight electric shock. Her body jumped slightly, but he still found no pulse.
Still, he didn't give up. He gave her another jolt. And another. Finally, he heard a slight thumping of her heart.
Sighing with relief, Robo leaned back, away from Ayla's unconscious form. He placed the wires back in his chest, allowing the self-repair systems to fix him up again. Had Robo a mouth, he would have smiled. Ayla was going to live.
He looked around. There was no food here. And when Ayla woke up in a few hours, she'd be hungry. And her clothes were badly burnt, not to mention the suit being ripped apart.
Robo sighed. She was alive, but his work still wasn't done.
Ayla's eyes fluttered open, and she looked around. The storm was still all around, but she was no longer being held by Robo. She was on solid ground. Storm... Robo...
She sat up abruptly, and looked at her hands. Her palms looked a little pink, but they weren't burnt. "What... happen?"
Slightly confused, she placed a hand on her head. When she pulled it back out, she gasped in surprise. A lot of hair had come out with her hand.
"Oh, you're up," a voice called. Ayla turned to see Robo rise up from below the edge of the ground. He continued, "I thought I'd be back by the time you woke up." He landed a few feet away, and set down a few objects on the ground before her. "How long have you been awake," he asked.
Ayla shrugged, her eyes wide. "Just now. Robo, hair come out! What happen?"
Robo walked up, placing a hand on her shoulder. She flinched, but was surprised to find that he wasn't hot. "I'll explain. But first, are you feeling okay," he asked.
She nodded. "Feel okay. Why you not hot?"
"I had myself coated in rubber back down on the surface, so the lightning wouldn't heat me up. Also, while I was there, I got you some food, and some clothes to replace yours."
Ayla looked down, and saw that her clothes were now little more that burnt rags. She looked back to Robo. "Robo, please tell what happen?"
"I'll tell you while you dress," Robo responded. Ayla shrugged, and walked over to the pile of clothing. As she dressed, Robo told her what had happened, occasionally stopping to instruct her on how to put on a certain item.
Once finished, Ayla asked Robo how she looked. "Well," Robo responded, "I had to guess at the sizes, but I'd say it turned out well. You look very nice, Ayla."
She smiled, and looked down at herself. All of these clothes looked strange to her, probably because they were from this time. Instead of her boots, she now had on something Robo called "tennis shoes". And around her waist was something called "bicycle shorts". And her body now sported a "cut-off tee shirt" with some words on it. Robo told her that the words were "Mean People Suck", although he hadn't told her what they suck. All in all, it wasn't quite as nice as her normal outfit, but it was alright.
Her smile disappeared as she realized she was hungry. Seeing this, Robo gave her something called a "hamburger." She immediately bit into it, tearing it to pieces in a matter of seconds.
"Robo," she asked, between bites,"Why hair fall out? Why hands not burnt? You not explain."
"Well, I used my Heal Beam (I think that's the name of his tech.) to fix your hands and other burns, but I couldn't help your hair. The heavy dose of electricity has killed your hair. It'll all fall out, but it'll grow back eventually."
Ayla nodded, pretty much understanding all he had said. She only had one last question. "Where Generator?"
Robo raised his arm, and pointed to the large structure beside them. "Are you ready to go in now," he asked.
Ayla nodded, licking the last crumbs of bread from her hands. "Ayla not let friends down. Ayla and Robo win," she announced excitedly, and began to jump up and down.
Robo shook his head. "You're not even well for a few hours, and you want to run into more danger."
Ayla stopped jumping, and looked at him. "Where fun if no danger?"
"Ayla fight. Ayla no run. Running worse than losing."
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