Chapter 198:

The Ballad of Nighthawk

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

The large metal frame of the blue Needaimus, Nighthawk, burst through a hospital wall into a new hallway. A nurse who had not yet fled fell to the floor and began to look up in horror at the humanoid Needaimus that towered overhead. Nighthawk paid no mind to the weakling and looked around the hallways for any signs of its target.

Nothing of use here either; this would have been better with a more in-depth plan prepared. Don’t you agree?

Nighthawk echoed in its own skull. Whether the Needaimus was trying to address another was unclear to even the speaker. It looked at its own blue metal hands and opened and closed them slowly.

At least the mayor's neck should fit in one hand; this job will be over in a snap.

Nighthawk took a step toward the trembling nurse, crossing a wide gap in a single bound. By grabbing the unwilling observer by the back of his clothes, Nighthawk lifted the nurse to eye level—or at least where eye level ought to have been on the metal creature.

“Where is the mayor?” the Needaimus asked in a smooth, mechanical voice.

“I… I don’t know! All- All the talk mentioned him with Dia… so maybe he’s there!”

The Needaimus threw the pathetic nurse to the side, and the man bounced off the wall so hard he was out cold before hitting the floor.

“To sell out your mayor so quickly, you people in Nun have no sense of loyalty.

No, he would not be with Dia; that man is smart enough to know he shouldn’t be around her in this scenario. He would be on the move, going as far away as possible, leaving us with little opportunity to hurt his precious girl anymore.” Nighthawk paused a moment. “I don’t have any sympathy for her,” the giant Needaimus added to the quiet hallway. If asked, it would have said it was talking to nobody.

Two messages popped up in Nighthawk's field of vision simultaneously. Choices, choices, thought the Needaimus. One came from Ripple’s Needaimus and was marked with a red exclamation point.

Nighthawk opened it and read.

My dearest Nighthawk, it has been a pleasure to work alongside you for this most noblest of purposes. Unfortunately, as we speak, my mortal, the one you know as Ripple, has been best in combat. The movement of his tongue indicates that he will be following orders and ending his life in mere moments. I am afraid I have little time to send this message, and due to my obligation must stay bonded in the time of his passing. As you are most aware, this will bury my memories of you and our time in Array. I wanted to stress that after my capture, I will likely get a new mortal and accept them wholeheartedly; you know, I have always been high in agreeableness.

Nevertheless, I wanted to stress that I am happy to have worked with you these last several years. Even after I am partnered again, I would very much like to meet you, even if it is in battle as opponents. It seems the time has come; I must send this message post haste with these last few milliseconds.

Nighthawk punched a large hole into the wall. The giant Needaimus said nothing and instead turned to the second message, one of the doctors in the hospital that their organization had radicalized.

The mayor, the Nonpareil, and a third escaping. Map has been marked, and I will be detonating things shortly. The burnt bodies should be ready for collection after.

“Does that fool think they will be that easy to kill?” Nighthawk said with the disapproving shake of a blue head. “Yes, losing a supporter who would be willing to die so easily is a shame. He seemed more promising than that fool Ripple.”

Nighthawk began to walk down the hall as the map was pulled up in its field of vision. An explosion shook the hospital, telling the Needaimus that not only had the deed been done, but it was fairly close to where the targets were. “No. I have no sympathy for Ripple. He lost at the fountain and now again. Bad fighters ought to be removed; otherwise, they will hinder the organization.” Nighthawk paused in speech momentarily as it came up to a dead end in the hallway. “Of course, that includes me as well. Unlike that fool, I would have the decency to set off my self-destruct and take my opponents out with me.” The large Needaimus punched the wall clean through, leaving a large enough hole for it to walk through. “Don’t talk to me about Needaimus Taboos. You of all should know better, whoever you are….”

Nighthawk shook its head and decided it best to ignore answering the not-quite voice that pestered it. The Needaimus began to charge through the hole and toward where the escaping trio had just been. The direction was a straight line; no walls would stop the metal creature as it locked in on its prey.