Nick had to hold the edges of the doors to keep him from being sucked out of the shuttle when the doors flew open. With a gentle push, Nick floated out of the airlock and drifted into space. The first thing that met his eyes was the approaching cluster of fighter crafts headed towards the shuttle. Nick thought of moving forward and the boots responded, thrusting him ahead with a thin stream of flames in his wake. Nick boldly shot through the front lines of the fighter crafts, shooting a storm of plasma blasts at the crafts in the back rows. Crafts burst into flames as Nick sped past the cluster, whirling around and launching more palm blasts at the space fighters. The bulky and much heavier fighter crafts could not hope to catch up to the smaller and faster Nick, much less even manage to shoot him down. Within minutes, the last craft was destroyed, and Nick was left with an uneasy feeling.

"Is that it?" came Nikki's voice in his ear. "No, it can't be."

"Maybe she doesn't have another Project ready yet," Nick thought, telepathically replying to Nikki through his new internal radio.

Suddenly, another radio transmission fizzled into Nick's ear. "Oh, I have another Project waiting for you, Zero."

Nick spun around to see the bay doors to A's battleship begin to open once more, but releasing a small human-sized pod instead of another wave of fighter crafts. "Is that your new Project?" Nick asked.

"Yes," replied A, "my very latest. In fact, I believe you've already met."

Nick was stunned. "Already met?"

"That's what I said," A chuckled, "And you know each other quite well, too."

"Who is she talking about?" Judy asked.

"Nick, maybe it's someone you knew before your system shorted out," Sarah suggested.

"No," said A, "You met not that long ago. Give up? Here's a hint."

The pod split apart, and out floated a short, green-skinned creature. Wearing matching bright red spandex shorts and a neck-hung sports tank top, the creature's plentiful long locks of fiery orange hair trailed behind her like a fireball. The female android flexed her lightly built arms, accentuating her extremely well toned physique. "Is that who I think it is?" Nick thought to himself.

"Surprise Zero," said the android through her own internal radio, "it's me."

"What happened to you?" Nick asked, hardly believing her.

"When you destroyed One, I sent Thirteen and Six-Three to Earth while I underwent some, shall we say, 'reconstructive surgery.' You know the old saying, Zero. If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself."

Nick kept staring blankly at A. "So you're a robot now?"

"Sort of," said A, grinning wide to bear her rows of serrated teeth. "You see, I had by body enhanced with mechanical parts, and instead of blood I now have nanomachines in a liquid battery solution. So yes, I am still an organic being, but I dare say that I've made myself my best Project yet. Call me Project Sixteen."

"I'll just call you A anyway," said Nick.

"Fine. Be that way."

"Hold on," said Judy, "Did you just come out to brag, A?"

"While I would like to flatter my new self," she said, "My ultimate weapon that will exterminate your planet isn't quite fully charged yet, so I figured that I'd lure you off that rock and take care of you personally."

"So you want to fight after all?" Nick asked, clenching his fists.

"You've cost me a lot of money, time, and effort, Zero," Said A, "Time to say thanks."

With that, A charged at Nick with blinding speed, too fast for even Nick to dodge out of her way. Instead of ramming herself full-force into Nick's chest, A instead drove her left shoulder into Nick's, spinning him around as she zoomed past. Gaining control of himself, Nick fired a flurry of plasma blasts at A, each shot failing miserably to hit her as A weaved in and out of Nick's shots with ease. A zoomed in on Nick again, this time planting her open palm on Nick's cheek with a stinging slap. Nick grunted and rubbed his tingling cheek, glaring at A as she laughed cruelly. "Don't be afraid to hit a lady, Zero," she jeered, "Or are you really that slow?"

"You're not much of a lady," Tei muttered over the radio.

"Don't think I didn't hear that," A sneered. "As soon as I get bored playing with Zero, I'll destroy him and have some fun with you."

"Playing?" Nick gasped. "You can't be serious!"

"Oh, I am," said A with a toothy grin. "All work and no play makes me a dull girl. Besides, I want you to suffer for all the trouble you've caused me."

Nick roared and fired a massive blast of energy from his palms at A. A simply strafed to her right, letting Nick's blast sail harmlessly past her. Again and again Nick launched his energy attacks missing wide every time as A's mocking laughter grew louder and louder with each missed blast. Before Nick knew it, A had weaved her way right into Nick's face, and she was squeezing Nick's cheeks together with one hand. "You're so cute when you start to panic," She said, looking him in the eyes before driving her elbow into Nick's chin.

"Nick! She's just teasing you!" Nikki barked, "Don't let her psyche you out! Just attack her!"

"So you want me to stop teasing?" A asked, "Fine. You weren't much fun anyway." A leaned forward and put her right hand on her hip, "Go on Zero," She taunted, tapping her finger to her chin, "Give mommy a kiss."

With an open invitation, Nick raced towards A and wound back his fist and wound back his fist, speeding past her as he planted his knuckles into her jaw. As A's head snapped back, Nick whirled around and thrashed his leg into the small of A's back, arching her over backwards as Nick swung around to her front and buried a vicious pinch into her gut. A folded over Nick's fist, and remained still. "How's that for a kiss?" Nick sneered.

A began to chuckle, as if completely unhurt by Nick's attack. "That was pathetic," She snickered, still doubled over Nick's arm.

Set into an immediate panic, Nick began to drive his elbow into the back of A's neck repeatedly, hammering away until he felt like his elbow would break. "Still think I'm pathetic?" Nick asked again.

A sprung off of Nick's fist, stretching her neck. "No," she said, "You'd make a great chiropractor."

Nick was thrown into a blank stare. "You-" he stammered, "You just can't be real!"

A patted her knuckled into her opposite palm. "Oh, you want to see something real? Let me show you what a real punch looks like!"

A sent her fist into Nick's nose before Nick even knew she had wound back her arm, sending him sailing backwards through space. "Nikki!" Nick yelped, "She's just too powerful!"

"Hang in there, Nick!" Nikki pleaded, "We'll help you think of something!"

A had caught up with Nick already, and she quickly grabbed Nick's right arm. "So if I'm not real," she smirked, "could I do this?"

With that, A twisted Nick's arm around full circle, clutching Nick by the wrist. And with a roar, A thrust her palm into Nick's jamming Nick's arm backwards against his shoulder. Nick felt something snap apart, letting out an agonized scream as his right arm froze in place and refused to move. A put her hands on her hips and laughed cruelly. "See? I know your body better than you know it yourself, Zero!"

As A moved to grab Nick's wrist, Nick flung his leg up to A's ribs, which she caught with ease. Before A could taunt Nick again, Nick spun around and used A's body as a pivoting block, thrashing his foot into the side of A's head. And without wasting a second, Nick pumped the sole of his boot into A's face over and over again. A tried to throw Nick off, but Nick held on tightly to A's wrist with his good arm, keeping up his stomping on A's face regardless. Suddenly, A roared with frustration and planted her other palm on Nick's stomach, unleashing a quick yet flashy blast of energy into him. Nick was catapulted backwards into space cradling his scorched gut as A rubbed her forehead. Oxygen-deprived blue blood trickled from a thin gash down between her eyes, infuriating A immediately. Before Nick could recover from the stinging burn on his stomach, A was charging in a rage at him, throwing a violent kick to Nick's nose. Nick's nose snapped and crushed, spraying blood from his nostrils. A throttled Nick by the throat and landed punch after punch to Nick's jaw, breaking just about all of Nick's teeth. Before A could throw a savage left to Nick's brow, Nick shot up his free hand, bared his plasma cannon, an let loose a desperate blast.

A screeched and covered her face, releasing Nick immediately. Nick quickly hid behind one of the many satellites in Earth's orbit and quickly whispered, "Judy, she's broken my arm! I can't even move it!"

"What did she do to it?" Judy asked, "Tell me exactly how she did it."

Nick winced and clutched his useless arm. "She twisted it around, and then she jammed it into me," said Nick. "I felt a snap, and-"

"She's ruptured your rotator cuff!" Judy gasped. "Nick, twist your arm back around if you can, and then pull it back out somehow-"

The satellite behind Nick suddenly exploded violently. "You're not hiding from me, Zero!" A hissed, charging Nick again. Gritting his teeth, Nick jerked to his left as A collided with him, smacking his broken arm back around to where it once was. As A turned around, Nick swung his torso around, lobbing his arm into her face. Purely on instinct, A caught Nick's hand with her own, letting Nick flip up and jam his feet into A's face. Nick's arm popped again, and he felt it come back to life with one exhilarating rush. As A spat out a broken tooth, Nick gasped when he finally focused on what A's partially incinerated hair revealed on the top of her head.

A thick clear dome had replaced the cap of A's skull, displaying her brain for all to see. A moaned and rubbed her eyes, recovering from Nick's blinding attack much too quickly for Nick to believe. "Like what you see?" A sneered, tapping on the dome. "This is what brought you into this world, and this is what's going to take you out!"

A had suddenly pounced on Nick clamping onto him tightly by wrapping her legs around Nick's waist. "What are you doing?" Nick gasped, startled by A's actions.

"You want to fight dirty?" A snarled, opening her hand to reveal a jagged spear-like instrument protruding from her wrist, "Let's see how you like to be blinded!"

With that, A plunged her appendage into Nick's left eye. Nick screamed and grabbed A's wrist, trying in vain to pull the spear out of his eye socket. A tightened her grip on Nick's face before tearing her arm away, ripping Nick's eye free from his skull in a shower of blood. Nick was still screeching even when A released him, floating backwards and covering his empty socket. With Nick covered up and defenseless, A rushed in on him again, winding back her fist and smirking sadistically. A's punch landed square on Nick's empty socket, cracking his metal skull and spraying more of his artificial blood everywhere. A unloaded a series of jabs and quick kicks into Nick's body, delighted that Nick no longer had the will to cover up and try to defend himself. "Come one, Nick!" Sarah pleaded, "Fight back!"

"Yeah, come on Zero," A jeered, "Fight back!"

"Shut up, you ugly bitch!" Sarah screamed.

A froze. "What did you just call me?"

Sarah was silent.

"You can wait, Zero," A snarled, setting her sights on the space shuttle.

"Sarah, you idiot!" Judy screamed. "She's going to kill us now!"

"Judy, calm down," said Nikki hastily with shaky nerves.

"Calm down?" Judy shrieked as her face turned red, "How can I possibly calm-"

A blast upon the hull rocked and pitched the shuttle, sending everyone on board shrieking for their lives. Almost as soon as it started, the shuttle came to a stop, leaving an eerie silence throughout the cabin. "What happened?" Asked Tei, completely confused.

"It's the airlock doors!" said the pilot, "That alien lady's just welded shut the outside doors!"

A snickered. "All the better to have some fun with you insolent pests later," she sneered, turning her attention back to Nick. "Now where were-"

A's face was suddenly met with Nick's fist, drenched in blue blood from his orbital socket. With everything he had to spare, Nick pummeled at the surprised A with a fast and violent flurry of fists and feet. His will to survive burned brighter than ever, and the numerous cuts and bruises that appeared on A's skin began to show Nick's resolve. All A could do was cover up and defend herself from Nick's fury. With an enraged scream, Nick thrashed his leg out at A's right arm, feeling bone and metal crack underneath. A shrieked as eh spun her back to Nick and cradled her broken arm. Nick launched another kick into A's back, enraging A enough for her to whip around and lash out her leg, smashing a vicious kick to Nick's temple.

Everything seemed to move in slow motion for Nick. His vision swam and scrambled, and he barely found the strength to move. A raised her fist to strike again, when she suddenly paused. "No," she said, lowering her fist. "You'll watch this planet die first. The beam is ready to fire!"

"Beam?" Nick murmured.

"Yes," A cackled, hissing under her breath as she looked at the large cannon that now protruded from the bay of her battleship. "That cannon is going to fire a beam that will pierce the Earth's core, flooding the entire planet with molten lava, also causing every volcano to erupt. So if Earth doesn't fry itself to death," A snickered, turning back to gaze at Earth, "it'll freeze to death."

The cannon twitched, and an intense bright light shone from within the barrel. But instead of cackling in anticipation, A was fuming. "What the hell are you idiots doing? You'll miss the core by miles!" A turned around to face her battleship just in time to see the cannon blast a gigantic beam of energy straight at her. A's hands flew up and she immediately generated a counter-blast, but it was much too late. "Why?" Was the only thing A could yelp in surprise as the beam began to eat away at her body.

"You were going to sell this planet and take half the profits for yourself? Now while we're here, you greedy bitch!" was the reply in her ear.

"You bastards…"

A was vaporized within seconds. The cannon turned to Nick and fired again. Nick managed to move his battered body quickly enough to launch his own counter-blast, successfully stalemating the battleship's beam. As Nick continued to block the intense beam, he felt his power draining rapidly as his left leg broke at the thigh, sucked down into Earth's atmosphere. Nick willed whatever power he had left in him inside his palm cannon, slowly but steadily managing to push the battleship's energy beam back. His right arm cracked and gave way, breaking out of its socket and falling back to Earth. The intense waves of heat melted the skin on his arm, and as the beam started to push its way back towards him, Nick willed every last ounce of his entire system's power into his last remaining cannon.

Nick's battery went flat. His body ached. His left shoulder bulged and split apart, and soon the rest of his arm burst open, spraying his fake flesh into the ozone as a gigantic blast of power blazed from Nick's cannon. The massive beam disintegrated his hand and fingers completely, melting away everything but his metal skeleton. Nick could hear the frantic screams of the aliens onboard the battleship, scrambling for their lives as Nick forced their own beam back into their cannon along with his own blast.

Everything was suddenly still. Nick's blast wavered and disappeared, and all he had the energy to do was just gaze at the shuttle approaching him. "Nick, the airlock's broken," came Nikki's voice, "so just hang onto the nose of the shuttle."


There was a stunned silence. "What?"

"My battery's gone critical," Nick moaned weakly. "There's not much left, but if I'm shaken too hard, I'll explode. I won't survive re-entry. And if I explode, you'll die too."

"Well, we'd better move fast," said the pilot, "That big ship there looks like it's about to blow real soon- and God knows how big a bang a ship that size is gonna' make!"

"Go," Nick murmured, "Leave me behind. I've served my purpose."

"Nick! No!" Sarah broke out in tears as the shuttle pulled up beside Nick, allowing both sides to look through a small window.

"I'm sorry, Sarah," said Nick weakly, "but there's nothing you can do for me now."

"He's right," Just sighed bitterly in defeat. "We'd better go while we can."

"It's been an honor to fight by your side," said Tei solemnly.

"And it's been a privilege just know you," said Nikki.

"Thank you, Nick," Judy added.

"I'll never forget," was all Sarah could murmur before breaking down on Judy's shoulder.

"Thank you, everyone," Nick wheezed as the shuttle moved on, re-entering Earth's ozone. "And goodbye…"

The battleship detonated in a dazzling, massive explosion, incinerating Nick and a few other satellites in under a minute.


The rain had finally stopped, and the sun broke free from the clouds before it would set in the horizon hours later. The sun still shone upon the life of Earth as it always had, and would continue to shine on the world for a few more millennia to come…