“Miss Ciel!” It was one of the command room attendents, “We're recieving a transmission from captured resistance fighters, it seems that in the excitement of Neo Arcadia's attack they managed to escape their prison and board a small aircraft, they're on their way back.”

“Thats wonderful news,” said Ciel excitedly, “This day turned out fairly well.”

“Miss Ciel, I'm having some trouble, they're breaking off…!”

“Whats happened?” demanded Ciel.

“I'm not sure Miss, I just lost their signal.”

The minutes ticked by slowly, finally the attendent with the headset sat up. “Miss Ciel, I've got them again! It seems they'd lost control of their craft and have crash landed in the desert. They are requesting a rescue team be disbatched.”

Ciel turned to the resistance fighters behind her, “And that means you guys have another mission. Move out!”

Ciel bit her lip and peered out the window, worried. “Don't worry Miss,” one of the technicians reassured her, “The only things in that desert are snakes, and birds, and fire breathing camels, and sandstorms, and sandtraps, and…. oh dear…”

Despite this, Ciel knew that this mission would likely be easier than taking on the legions of Neo Arcadia, as they had previously done. There may still be a pantheon or two wandering around out there, that was left behind in the retreat, but the majority of the enemies this mission would come from the desert itself.

Meanwhile on the other side of the desert the damaged reploid continued to follow the line of broken pantheons, but he saw no sign of any survivors of the recent battle. But he did sense something. “Water,” he whispered, driving his buster arm into the sand. Suddenly a geiser of water errupted from the silent desert. In the midst of his paradise, the reploid failed to notice a coffin emerge from the sands and from it, the desert's guardian. Anubis eyed his visitor from afar for several minutes before activating his comm unit. “Anubis to secret base, you may have noticed that your water is seeping into my desert. Kindly inform your commander of the day of this nuisence.”

A short while later a Neo Arcadian dropship arrived carrying with it Generals Harpuia and Fefnir, guardians of Master X. The reploid, noticing the dropship stopped what he was doing and looked up. The two guardians stared down in shock.

“Can't be..” murmered Harpuia.

“I know that face..” Fefnir muttered at the same time. The two guardians turned to each other, disbelief in their eyes and startled that they'd reached the same conclusion. “IT'S HIM!”

“Wait, wait,” said Harpuia carefully, “Before we do anything we've got to test him.”

“I'll do it!” Fefnir jumped at the chance.

“No, I will do it,” Harpuia countered. “If this is the hunter who taught me how to fight, I want to see whats become of him.”

The reploid stood staring from the sands below, was he truly seeing a dropship or was this a marrage. Why hadn't they made a move? A second later his question was answered as a green blur dropped from the sky and landed a few yards away. The reploid started, was that really Harpu- he moved. The purple armored reploid drew his own sabers in defense, blue met red and the energy blades crackled in the dry desert air. Harpuia broke off, flipped backwards and fired a sword-beam at the bewildered reploid, who tried to move but he couldn't. His armor had reached its limit and just wouldn't allow it. The beam hit him dead in the chest and he fell over unconscious.

“No freaking way!” Fefnir bellowed, unable to restrain himself. “100 years ago he would've kicked your ass!”

“We will take him to Master X,” Harpuia decided. “Perhaps he will be of use to us once more.”

The day slowly wore on, and after fending off the desert's dangers the resistance members located the downed aircraft. It wasn't hard to find, the coordinates they'd been given had turned out to be accurate, and when they got closer the forces could see the metal glint of the aircraft in the desert sun, as well as a flock of buzzards circling overhead. With excited shouts, the company ran toward their objective, only to watch it sink beneath the sands as they closed in. The sandstorm ended as rapidly as it had begun, burying the craft and any reploids within. The group hurried over to the aircraft's last known location and began digging but their progress was slow. Not even the metool seemed to be getting much done, he was much more suited to digging through rock than sand. Rai let out another blast of electricity and once again felt the metal below. “Keep digging,” he commanded, “Its still pretty far down there.”

Suddenly a shrill screeching noise pierced the air, and the resistance fighters stopped their work. There was silence for a moment, which was broken by the scream of a resistance member as he was suddenly pulled under the sands. There wasn't a trace of him, save for the gun he dropped and the screams that continued on, even under the sands. They were cut off by a snapping noise. Then there was silence again. The resistance fighters looked at one another with unease. Suddenly dozens of gigantic mechanical scarabs burst from the sand pinchers snapping, ready for their next meal.

Raikari let loose an arc of electricity, lightly shocking a few scarabs which exploded after being struck with the force of a small bomb. They were like walking mines. The majority of them headed for Rai, it seemed like they were being attracted to the electrical charge. Seeing this, Rai turned to run and the rest of the group were able to focus down the remaining scarabs.

Slowly, as if in response, a coffin emerged from the dessert. The resistance fighters looked back and forth at one another as it opened and revealed a very old looking reploid, it had clearly seen many years of combat experience.

“I am Anubis Necromancer III,” He said. “King of the Dessert and pupil of Fefnir the Guardian. The reploids you are looking for now lie deep within the dessert, if you want them back you will have to best me. En garde!”

Taking him at his word, one bold Resistance member charged at Anubis but her blades met nothing but sand. Anubis had dissolved his body into sand and was now indistinguishable from the desert around them. The resistance fighters looked around confused, suddenly spotting the large columns of sand arising all around them. The sand columns rapidly hardened into stone, and begun crashing down on the resistance members.

With little warning Anubis reappeared in the air again, now hovering with his staff revolving around him. Anubis eyed his foes and recalled the staff to his hand, now pointing it at the ground.

“Desert relinquish my minions, Conquered souls of friend and foe alike. Rise now and obediantly serve your new master. I command you.”

The desert began to shift and belched forth with great reluctance a platoon of rusted and rotten reploids. Hollowed shells of their former selves living again but for the sole purpose of Anubis' command. Completely unafraid of death and dying as they'd already met demise once before. The monstrous deformities of reploid life walked upon the desert sand, once more to fight again… Anubis eyes the stunned resistance forces hungrily, he was eager to add their souls to his collection.

Most of his foes began slicing away at his undead forces, sending them back into their desert graves. Anubis chuckled to himself, if they only knew how many thousands of souls had entered his desert before now. They'd only seen a fraction of his undead army. And soon they would join him.

Anubis raised his hands and more zombies clawed their way up through the sands and to the surface. They were no longer all coming from one direction either, the resistance soldiers were separated from one another and couldn't even see each other through the wall of zombie reploids. Anubis chuckled to himself, he'd let the fools fight futily for their lives.

After a few minutes the resistance fighters were slowly overwhelmed by Anubis' zombies. Despite this, they fought on, they had… spirit. Anubis decided he wouldn't let his zombies have all the fun.

The resistance fighters couldn't believe their eyes as they watched the zombies sink back into the desert. As they lay counting their wounds, Anubis was busy. His staff circled his body and he began chanting a strange incantation. And just like that, the desert sank away. The resistance fighters landed in some kind of hole. And they were slowly sliding deeper and deeper into it. It was like a gigantic water slide, only it was the shifting sands which pushed them deeper and closer to the bottom. They quickly scrambled up but many fell back down just as quickly, it was difficult to regain their footing. And Anubis wasn't done.

A searing beam of light crashed down into the pit, striking a group of soldiers. Most were incinerated instantly, and those that remained were burnt beyond recognition. Anubis held the staff before him and fired out another blazing jet of light. It seemed as though there was no way out.

Raikari fired his chair rod, hooking onto Anubis' staff and pulling himself out of the sand pit. When he was close enough he struck Anubis in the face with a fistful of electricity, stunning the jackal briefly. As Rai fell back into the pit he noticed a red reploid hurtling over a sand dune in their direction. As Anubis hovered, still feeling the effects of Rai's electric attack, Zero flew over the pit and sliced the king of the desert on two, leaving no doubt as to whether or not he'd been a marrage.

“Sorry I was so late,” Zero apologized, helping the resistance members out of the pit. “I just got a spear and a shield from Cerveau and you know how he won't let you go without a ten minute explaination on how they work.”

The sand shifted again behind Zero, unveiling the downed craft. One reploid fell out, belching up sand.

“Theres still a survivor?” Ciel asked. “Thank goodness, you must escort him back to resistance base immediately!”

With Zero taking point the battle weary soldiers were able to return to base without further incident. Medics were standing by to take on the rescued escapee from Neo Arcadia, as well as the soldiers.

“Impressive,” X said as Harpuia told him of the reploid in the desert. “Take him to the med bay for now, he may be of use to us later.”