“We've recieved intelligence that Neo Arcadia are working on a new line of soldiers,” Elpizo began, “Once again based off of X and Zero.” Once again everyone had been called together on the telepad and was sitting at the long table for briefing.

“We haven't got much information,” Elpizo continued, “Only that its known as Project Ironclad and that the prototypes are nearing completion. And where they're being built. We've got an opportunity here to destroy a large threat to us before it even gets out of the workshop and we can't afford to let this opportunity by.”

Elpizo activated a hologram above the table which displayed a map of the factory. “Another factory,” Elpizo said, noticing some of the looks up and down the table, “This one we're going to infiltrate by train, which is en route right now. We estimate about 45 minutes before it arrives. We will transfer onto the supply train, raid the supplies which we need for an upcoming operation, and ride into the facility where we will blow up the prototypes and burn any blueprints of them. No stealth like last time, we're out to destroy everything we can. Now if there are any questions, I'd ask that you make them quick, we have a train to catch.”

Shirley raised a question about the likelihood of finding physical blueprints to burn.

“I'm sorry for the confusion,” Elpizo answered, “And I highly doubt they have actual blueprints left, any plans have most likely been added into the factory mainframe. At this point though, since the project is still in the testing stages the plans will not have been circulated around Neo Arcadia. Until they are sure that they want to mass produce Project Ironclad, the plans will reside only in the factory mainframe. As for them simply beginning the project again… there's really no way we can prevent that unless you're suggesting we slaughter any scientist we come across. The best we can do is destroy the plans, the prototypes and any equipment. Basically we can level the entire place, we're not going to try and take over this one.”

Elpizo looked down at his watch and up to the operators. “We're out of time for questions, transfer us.”

The group was transferred onto the back of the speeding supply train. As the light faded, Elpizo started to fall back, throwing his arms for balance. A second later the commander was pitched into open air, ready to crash into the tracks. At the last moment a green arm grabbed the front of Elpizo's outfit and placed him back on the train.

“Thank you..” Elpizo addressed Harpuia. “The train must be traveling faster then we thought. Another minute or so and we'd all have been transferred into open air. We were supposed to land on the middle of the train, up near the supplies.”

Leviathan peered up ahead. It was dark and hard to see more than a few cars in front of her, but the red eyes of a few patrolling pantheons could be made out. “We'd better get going then,” she said.

Rai magnetized his feet to the floor to steady himself and led the charge, electrifying scores of pantheons. Zanji and Raven were quick to join him in their advance. Stark tried to fly alongside the train but found the wind resistance too draining, he and the others were releaved when they were able to enter the first car.

Rai however, elected to remain on top of the cars, his magnetic grip allowing him relative security which the others did not have. Harpuia landed nearby and beckoned him forward.

“I don't take orders from you anymore,” Rai said spitefully. “I give you them now, understand?”

Harpiua looked at him, then back at the battlefield. “While in combat we're all equals, don't forget that.”

Rai ignored the former guardian and started for the next group of pantheons. There was no way that Harpiua was his equal. Below them, Elpizo's group cleared out the car's interior. Leviathan summoned an ice dragon which demolished the last few pantheons. From behind them, the group could see the next railcar was a flatbed loaded with the supplies they were after. They were tied down securely, but their weapons would be enough to release the bonds.

“We'll have to move fast though,” Elpizo said, “Look!” The commander's arm was raised, pointing to a group of Carry Arms which were approaching to take the supplies away. The first one dropped down and latched its arms around the sides of a box and began lifting away.

Harpuia and Zanji were quickest to act, cutting down the first of the Carry Arms, and those with ranged weaponry prevented others from coming in. Harpuia flew up behind a Carry Arm and slashed across its back, taking out its internal circuitry and causing it to drop the supplies. He didn't notice the dark shape balancing on the telephone pole, watching him with its small red eyes… At that moment another train pulled up alongside the first one and began matching its speed. The figure launched itself from its perch, delivering a kick to Harpuia's back and pulling him toward the second train. The impact was such that the two crashed through the top of the car and into the train.

“Finish securing the supplies!” Elpizo yelled, stabbing his rapier into a Carry Arm that was just beginning to decend on a box. Some of the resistance members turned, unsure of what to do but went back to their first task, confident that Harpuia would be alright. Stark complied, taking out several of the drones with a cluster of missiles.

The supplies were almost all gone by now, the Carry Arms had succeeded in making off with a couple but most had been transfered back to resistance base. Only a few remained.

“Go see what's taking Harpy so long,” Leviathan yelled to Elpizo. She stood utop two of the remaining boxes, staff at the ready. “I'll stay here until these last ones get transfered!”

Elpizo nodded and signaled his team to follow, “Lets go give the guardian a hand.”

Panter kicked Harpuia once more across the chest. “What's the matter traitor? Why won't you fight me?”

Harpuia took a step back and launched himself toward the hold in the top of the car, clearly trying to escape. Before he could get there, Panter delivered another kick, its momentum knocking Harpuia into the back wall where he slumped on the floor. “Fool, I told you you wouldn't be escaping… your only way out is to kill me. Kill me or be killed, I care not which. I came to you for answers, to know why my Commander has betrayed his master and my own. To know why he has forsaken his pupils…!”

Panter stomped on Harpuia's head and the guardian moved no more. “Very well. It looks like neither of our lives hold meaning anymore,” the panther said to himself. “I'll do you a favor then, my old master…”

With that, Panter took Harpuia by the neck and prepared to snap it, but as soon as he'd done this the Arcadian felt a sharp pain in his back. A small rapier emerged from his front. Growling in pain and anger he turned around and back handed Elpizo away, knocking him into the front wall of the cart. Snarling, the angry cat pulled out Elpizo's sword and hurled it into the wall next to him, stepping forward to end this new nuisance. But he was again interrupted, this time by resistance soldiers on the roof.

“So I'm to have one last battle am I?” he asked before leaping out of the car and baring his claws. “Then come at me!”

Shirley complied, and was almost able to match the Arcadian in a direct fight by staying low and using the train's momentum to her advantage. Stark flew up and lobbed off a few shots, and Zanji managed to impale the panther reploid from behind after fooling him with an illusion.

“Huh… No wonder I felt no impact… I thought you were just weak”, roared Panter, slowly turning around, he began sparking electricity throughout his claws. He slashed horizontally through the night air, but Zanji ducked under the blow and recognized the opening Panter had left and stabbed him in the gut. Raven took the opportunity to put a hole in Panter's backside, firing a lazer straight through him.

The Arcadian sank to the ground, causing some to think he'd been defeated. Instead, he lowered his tail to the roof of the train car and electrified everyone who had been standing on it. Rioku, who had been on the second train jumped over, spraying bursts of machine gun fire and interrupting the electrical discharge. Angry, Panter knocked Rioku's gun out of his hands and pinned him to the ground and continued the shock attack. Then two more rounds were fired, this time from Vector, who put them clean through the Arcadian's head. Thusly stunned, the panther did not see the oncoming tunnel in time to duck, and was knocked cleanly off the train. Panter was tenacious however, and had latched onto a car a few rows back. Rai returned the favor and shocked the panther until he released his hold. Panter fell from the train and disappeared under the wheels with a sickening crunch.

“I don't believe this,” Leviathan said, helping her brother up, “Both times I leave you alone thinking you can handle yourself in a fight you end up getting slaughtered. Why on Earth didn't you fight back?”

“Everything he said was true,” Harpuia mumbled. “I am a traitor. And Pantur was an old friend… I couldn't raise my saber against him…”

“You are so sentimental that sometimes I forget which of us is the female,” Leviathan muttered so Harpuia wouldn't hear. “Pull yourself together, we've almost reached the factory.”