“Kinjo is back?!” Kammy is not happy.

    “Yes, but only for now.” Patrick says with a growl.  “We also had other machines to worry about in the forms of the duo Scorpion and Widow.  We vanquished them.  We’ll vanquish Kinjo.”

    Milleni resumes her part.  “Also, one of the two machines from Richie’s era that I just mentioned having been revived joined our side, so things are looking quite favorable for us.  We gained Ata, and we gained this machine ally.”

    Kammy feels better.  “So, what are your plans now?”

    Ata sighs.  “The plan is to take the fight right to the heart of it all.  We’re going to visit Pops, which means I’ve got to decide sooner than later what I’m going to do.  It’s uuber annoying, really.  I guess I could just grab some popcorn and wait to see who’s still alive, but I have a feeling Ron would get killed if I did that, so…I don’t know.  I like doing whatever, and think of how long I’ve known my dad.  Just up and turning on him and my family for some guy?  Seriously?  But if, after all this time, I’ve been horribly deceived and our methodology was the source of all pain and misery in the world from the very start…I’m not sure I can continue to subscribe to that.”

    “Don’t worry, Ata,” says Milleni, “I’ll have your back.  Me and my trusty handguns will show Kinjo he’s got a new rival in town.  I may wear this new armor that’s supposed to be like Never Miss’s from long ago, but you’ll soon see that a good laser blaster beats out some ol’ bow any day, mwahahaha!”

   Grace stares at her.  “You are a special child, Milleni.”

    “Why, thank you!”

    Elf folds his arms and goes deep into thought.  “So, this whole time…Max, Epoch Blaze, Kinjo and Boruno, FRANK and Maxwell Blaze, Max of Ruyngard U. and now this time…it’s all been because of the same evil machine, Epoch Blaze.  That’s a long legacy of destruction.  And yet, this is only a seed planted by the true villain, the Ultimate Maximum, Ultimax.  Even if Ron and the others defeat Blaze, that still doesn’t deal with the real problem, Mom.”

    She’s so proud of him.  Duplica blows her son a kiss and says, “That’s my super-smart son!  The time will come when we shall see how AB and his comrades deal with the one behind all of this.  However, we shouldn’t be running ahead of the story, should we?”

    Jo quickly diverts the topic back to the lesson at hand.  “So, at this juncture in your journey, it’s all come to meeting up with everybody at Ata’s place for a killer party, am I right?”

    Ron bumps his shoulder into the annoyed ninja girl.  “That pretty much sums it up.  I think that once she’s got this dark chapter behind her, as difficult a decision as it is, she will love what life has to offer her without the dread of being bossed around and mistreated.”

    Looking at him, she agrees.  “I know whatever decision I make, I’ll be happy.  It’s my conscience that is at stake.  I’ve never been told it’s wrong to do all of this, so it’s never bothered me.  Your simple words of instruction have brought me more pain than any blade or pistol.  Even so, I find them liberating, so I can’t help but want to know more.”

    Duplica adds to the conversation, “There’s a little more involved than just following the conscience, but I think Patrick, if you’ll endure him, ha ha, can help you along, Ata.  You are doing an awesome job.  Please know that we are all very proud of you and we support you in trying to do what’s right.”

    “Thank you.” Ata begins to laugh as she speaks.  “You know, I often think of the irony of how all of this started.  My father combined with his other half on the premise that humans are selfish and hopeless.  A-Tron was convinced that the friends he had were shallow and only using him to find the Sacred Blade.  He then spent the rest of his existence trying to undo his mistake, finally dying as he turned back to the very side he betrayed.  As I came to destroy our enemies, they’ve done nothing but welcome me with love and compassion.  I don’t understand this, but I suspect it’s this kind of thing that influenced A-Tron to go back on his original decision.  If it can be helped, I’d rather not spend centuries in regret.”

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