|May 27, 1998|
|April 14, 2003|
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And Between the Wasteland and Sky...
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Vash, Meryl, and Milly are traveling together on a bus when Vash spots a man lying unconscious in the middle of the desert. He’s wearing a suit and leaning beside a large cross covered in cloth and buckles. They wake the man and offer him water while on the bus. He reveals his bike had broken down and he was forced to walk through the desert. The man is a priest and he thanks Milly and Meryl for spotting him and saving his life. They correct the priest that Vash is the one who spotted him in the distant. Vash introduces himself as «Valentinez Alkalinella Zeehoc Shushiharaboharetz Gombigobella Blu Stradivari Talentrent Pierre Andre Charton-Haymos Ivanovinci Baldos George Doitzel Kaiser III» before Milly reveals that he’s actually Vash the Stampede. The priest is surprised and dubious, but quickly accepts his savior and responds that his name is Wolfwood. He’s not intimidated by Vash’s reputation and they get along well. A machine antenna rises from the ground and appears to be watching the bus.
During a break in the busride, the bus driver has Wolfwood pay the fare, but lowers it to 80 double dollars since Wolfwood’s low on cash. In exchange, Wolfwood offers the man a free confession in his portable confessional, which is rejected. Wolfwood talks to Vash and reveals that his church doubles as an orphanage which takes in kids and does what they can to raise money. Wolfwood left the church to try and make money while traveling. Wolfwood’s interrupted when he hears some children complaining about being hungry so he offers them some «Meal Block» bars which brings a genuine smile out of Vash.
A passenger is found wounded, but there are only other passengers around so the identity of the culprit is unclear. Milly initially assumes Vash is the culprit, but he reveals that «It was no mortal that did this.» Suddenly, a robot rises from the sand and attacks the gathered passengers. Vash and Milly rout it, but dozens more appear. Everyone flees on the bus and Vash wonders how the robots can still be operational when their expiration date was «a long time ago.» A mother reveals one of her children is missing so Vash and Wolfwood jump off the bus to find her.
They retrace the bus’s path and find the robots. Wolfwood attacks a robot with a knife, but it breaks on contact. The robot informs him that his «ID has not been registered» so he cannot enter the area and will be removed by force. As he’s fleeing from the robot’s laser blasts, he’s rescued by Vash and recognizes from Vash’s marksmanship that he’s truly the Humanoid Typhoon. As they’re pursuing the final robot, which holds the child, they fall into quicksand and sink into an underground laboratory which Vash reveals is a space ship and the base of the robots. They run through the ship killing more robots and compare the situation to placing bets at a casino. In the center of the robot creation depot, Vash offers Wolfwood his gun to provide covering fire while Vash serves as a distraction. Wolfwood claims he’s never fired a gun, but proves to be an excellent marksman. This was part of Vash’s plan to confirm that Wolfwood is «no ordinary priest.» Wolfwood runs out of bullets and Vash destroys the final two robots with his integrated machine-gun arm. Vash enters the control room and shuts down the entire ship, claiming the robots have no one left to protect. Wolfwood questions Vash on «what happened back there?» but Vash replies that «It must have been God. It’s the only explanation.» Milly and Meryl then blast through the ceiling to rescue the pair.
Back on the bus, Meryl is forced to sit next to Vash as Wolfwood has taken her spot next to Milly. Meryl complains that he’s like someone else they know, likely referring to Vash. The bus arrives safely in May City and, after some kind words, Wolfwood departs. The group decides to get food once the girls pay Vash back for lending them bus fare.
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