Logfile: The Dance
"I told you not to come here..."
"But you didn't listen..."
"Bad girl. No treat for you..."
"In the world I see..."
"I see a destroyed pit where cities used to be."
"I see the volcanic ash of unnatural volcanic explosions throwing rock and metal high into the sky."
"I see the sun blotted out by a one mile thick layer of soot and ash made up of burning human flesh."
"I see a mountain of reploid carcases, jittering and spasming, their stripped eyes gleaming red in the Ever-Night, repeating in a sea of chaotic voices their purpose..."
"I see a road paved with good intentions..."
"Standing above it all, two figures, worn from battle. Blue armor black with scorch marks. Gold fins dulled by weathering winds blowing nuclear salt peter and cordite through the air."
"300 mile an hour winds tearing apart super highways and buckling the foundations of buildings..."
"I see a world with nothing in it. The polar opposite of what he wanted. My savior. My devil. Rockman."
The construction site was a silent beacon of hope. Of a world rebuilding itself, getting better, growing, progressing. All of its workers have gone home, its gigantic iron and steel structures standing like stoic guardians in the night, promising a better future.
And he was here. Somewhere.
She walks in through the dust of the hard packed dirt pathway, one foot in front of the other, staring ahead, moving with calm, poise and purpose. She strikes the image of the wandering desert soldier, the sirocco in red and gold boots. Her eyes are alive, bright crimson, matching the last rays of the sunset.
She walks, and she listens.
In the middle of the construction yard, plainly visible, openly attackable from multiple angles, she stops, and she waits, arms at her sides. She shows no fear, no eagerness, no anything - her posture is loose and relaxed. She closes her eyes.
"You fight for everlasting /peace/," she responds.
"Stupid woman." "I fight because I can." A loud crackling rumbles in the sky as if thunder was rolling in the air. The smell of carbon burning sizzles just miliseconds before the explosion sounds. Its small, contained, without purpose. A senseless act against nothing but earth and stone. More dust rises into the air, a micro-illustration of his words that had floated in the air. A desperate monologue to a future he called perfect. As pieces of brick and mortar rain down around her, filling the air with the smell of burnt out fuses, a silhouette slowly appears from within it, several yards from her. It marched almost with the slowness of time, first his arm becoming visible, then a shoulderpad and fin. The gold edging the pauldron glimmering from a lightsource that was wholly unnatural.
The boiling red of those eyes pierces the darkness, lighting up the night around his face, outlining the cruel grin spread across it like a sycophantic painting for the damned. Earth crunches beneath his boots, dust rings floating up around his feet with every step. His hand slowly lifts long before he's even come near her, but he keeps coming, like something out of a zombie epic. Uspeaking, unfeeling, he moves on, inexorably lead to her- a magnet to metal. The slow yet sharp inhale of his breath is heard, then a hissed exhale. A billow of smoke bubbling away from his mouth- not dust, actual steam. "I told you not to come here. What did you think was going to happen, Woman?" The jewel on his chest glimmers with a sinister paulding light as the distances closes. His fingers were clawed, reaching for her.
It stops mere inches from her, as does Bass. Arm dropping back to his side, he tilts his finned head, the grin on his mouth fading slowly, hiding those animalistic canine teeth, so very sharp and threatening in his mouth. Everything about him was imposing, was dangerous. His very demeanor brought with it the promise of swift and untimely death. Yet he held that promise like feathers on the wind. A gentle conclusion to a harsh sentence.
"What did you hope to accomplish?"
iZero's eyes are closed the whole time. Its as if she's intentionally making herself easy prey, or perhaps, she's attempting, like the plover, to drag her 'broken' wing along the ground and lead the predator away from his intended target. The explosion causes her long, thin, platinum blonde hair to sway in the concussive wind. The dust and debris rains down, and she remains where she is, unshaken, unmoved. A gimmer of circuit pathways beneath the sea-green gem in her helmet light up, reflecting the brilliant gold and red of the bomb's glare for a half second.
She opens her eyes at Bass stops in front of her. The edges of her camera-lense irises shine, a flash of backlit vermillion, as they spiral in and out, focusing on the black and gold Super Wily Number. Her poker face is maintained. No emotion. No expression.
"What did I think was going to happen?" She responds evenly -- no smack talk now. No insults. No goading. No airs. "Quite possibly a lot of pain, shouting, plasma and damage. What did I hope to accomplish?"
The barest edge of a smirk tugs at the right corner of her mouth.
"Maybe a chance to see the world through your eyes."
He watches her with the barest sense of... regret? ... Anger? It was unknowable. He had no poker face. Bass' emotions were displayed as if he had a heart. And if he did, it was always on his sleeve... And pissed. His eyebrows reign high on his forehead as he tilts his chin up, head still tilted to one side, looking down his nose like a hunting bird in the sky at food. His mouth opens again as he sees her focus on him, recognizing the glimmer in her eyes perhaps. His tongue slides over his bottom lip before rising to preen one of those elongated eye teeth, licking right down to the sharp tip like a lion that had just sunk its maw into a succulent, bloody mess he'd just rendered incapable of further running away. He felt it kindle in him, the urge to destroy her, to consume her.
It was a rush at first, his temperature rising, obviously growing hotter to any scanner the female machine might have. Were one to look at him through a thermographic lens, he would appear as a brilliant, orange-white silhouette. The quiet whine of his buster crescendoing into the darkness. Energy roils up from his boots, circling up his legs, crackling with an ominous lavender-white hue. It whirled up his midsection, down his arms as his hands lifted, fingers clawing out towards one another as his palms faced inward, arms spread out. That energy began to fire back and forth between his palms as he stared the woman in the face. His mouth slowly closed, hands slamming into fists so very tightly that those skin tight white gloves of his creaked with an audible complaint... But then she opened her mouth.
Disappointment visibly fell over his face, his arms dropping to his sides, what little charge his buster may have had absolutely dissolving with the expulsion of that tainted energy, whirling out away from him and disappearing into nothing like ripples dithering away on the surface of a wide pond.
"You don't get to see the world through my eyes..."
His eyes slowly drift closed and he turns around, showing his back to the woman, beginning to march away. "You haven't suffered and survived enough for me to acknowledge your presence..." Spitting upon the ground, he adds one last, scathing remark.
"You're not enough for me."
The calm is maintained, at least, as much as iZero can.
The rising tension, the energy levels, the threat of danger, it was calling to something inside of her, like calling to like; if she had adrenaline it would be spiking. If she had a heart it would be racing. There is an invisible yet palpable crackling of intensity between the two--
At least until Bass turns away.
What a cocktease.
"Gotta start somewhere," iZero replies, grinning widely, showing teeth. "Besides, I can't let you have what you want, Bass. I can let you have a little taste now and again to keep you hungry but ultimately... I will block your every opportunity to get what you want. Since Rock's not around... someone has to make sure this place doesn't blow up."
One more step advances forward and Bass stops. His hands open, one of them lifting waist high, turning over. His head turns down, looking into his palm, staring at it as if he expected the very hands of time to begin dumping sand into it. A long and pregnant pause bathes the moment in a trapping silence after her words. Bass allows the left corner of his mouth to slowly lift, a smirk threatening to develope. But it stops. Looking back over his shoulder at iZero, the disappointment still obvious on his face, his eyes squint dangerously at her. "You don't have the right to speak his name." His tone was so very tame... so quiet. That smirk finally fully develops, the smooth texture of his lips pulling the facial expression with ease, his hand, still upturned, clenches into a tight fist.
"You're forgiven. Once. Women are stupid creatures and often make mistakes. Speaking out of turn and out of their station." God, he was such a pig. Then again, chauvinist fit right into his modus operandi. "And even if you had the power to do so, you couldn't stop me from bringing an end to this world." His eyes tighten even moreso, turning around. Earth crunches beneath him as he steps back to the woman, closing the distance between he and her with a confident stride, shoulders leading his every step, commanding her attention with the sheer force of will. "Your boyfriend made a crucial mistake."
"He showed me everything I need to make the world I envision possible."
What did that mean? Bass was clearly not in a giving mood. He wasn't divulging a thing. Some might say he was crazy, possessed with the demon of his purpose. But the only thing they'd ever have would be speculation. Maybes, ifs... never a definite answer. Not until the picture was fully painted and the mystery revealed. Moving closer still, he was practically nose to nose with the woman, leaning in all the closer, glaring her in the eyes. "Have you ever screamed, woman?" Breathing a chuckle, he stands back upright. "I mean really screamed. Not a battle cry... not some weak attempt at swallowing pain. I mean a real... genuine... back-breaking scream from the bottom of your helpless heart?"
"Don't lie, either..."
iZero glares back. Her pupils screw down to mere pinpoints.
There it is again, the electricity in the air, the dull, throbbing ache of impending violence making the air around them, through them, pulse with anticipation. It's not quite the same with anyone else - the battles are too easy, over too quick. The weight of the power Bass brings to bear and the aura it projects around him is something iZero could get addicted to, quickly.
Her fingers tense slightly, hands opening and closing. In the palm of her right hand a palid white-blow glow is slowly tracing out a stylized Z, a technological stigmata oozing plasma from self-opening digital wounds.
Her red and black lips part over milk-white dagger canines as she answers.
Her eyes flash and the grin gets a little wider. "You see, I'd have to fear for my life for one of those kinds of screams."
A dark power starts to well up within her, raising the temperature of the air around her... two degrees. Five. Ten. "It's a scream I'll never scream, you see, because I cannot die."
Those almost prismatic red eyes squint again, this time not with disdain or anger, but with doubt. The look on his face concerning her words was highly dubious. One of those eyebrows goes high once again as she spoke, he considered it with an amused kind of interest. Taking in his bottom lip, he moistens it, letting it slip from the grip of his teeth. His mouth opens to say something but he stops, eyes playfully going up and to the right, as if in thought. He opens his mouth again, but no words come out. Instead he snaps his jaw shut, grinning, those vicious teeth showing themselves to her again. Always eager to show his teeth like a threatening dog. His eyes move down, a simple flicker, a little movement, watching her mouth.
He openly leered at the woman when his eyes drank their way back up to her eyes, melting into her with those red irises. Leaning in again, this time he didn't say a word, his head tilting... he sniffs the woman. A deep, heady inhale, his cheek nearly touching hers. His shoulders rise and fall with the intake and exhalation of breath, and as he leans back, he pauses long enough to push his tongue out of his mouth, running every inch of the wet appendage up her cheek, it extending just beyond his own chin as he tasted her synthetic flesh. Standing upright once again, he rolls his tongue around his mouth, sampling the flavor stolen from her. Smacking his lips once with a lascivious chuckle, his chin dipping down thoughtfully, he says, "Can't die..." His eyes again, ever reading into the things that he lays that glare upon, they drip up her face once more.
"You'd be surprised what you can live through..."
Again Bass turns, his back to the woman, starting slowly away, shoulders leading his stride again as he marches with purposes away from the woman.
"Before this is over..."
"I'm gonna torture you until you break."
Among her chosen, iZero is the Alpha female of her pack; her dominance always seems to come to bear - one way or another she gets what she wants, takes what she wants, eats what she wants, kills what she wants. Captured only by willing surrender to free one of her pups - those she has come to see or mark as her own personal property in her own mind - she allowed herself to be the subject of scientific research, both ethical and unethical. Whether or not she has the power to match Bass is yet to be seen - but she certainly has no fear in trying. Her own presence crashes against his, teeth bared, one dog circling another, eyes locked.
He leans in, her eyes narrow; he inhales, her palm crackles with blue-white plasma; he grazes her cheek with his tongue, and she sucks in a sharp hiss of air between those fanged teeth.
Things change. You'd be surprised what you can live through. I'm gonna torture you until you break.
"Try hard," she says, her voice clear as a bell, firm as granite. "I've been vivisected three times, bolted open to a table and left there for days. I've torn out my own core. I've cut off my own head. I've thrown myself off a skyscraper twice, into a blast furnace once and been electrocuted three times.... and that doesn't even touch the durability tests in Lagrano."
"... If you're going to break me, you'd better put some effort into it."
The words she leaves him with give him pause. He stops only for a second, scoffing a laugh back at her. Its a quiet thing, a chanced moment of levity in the expanding space between them. He considers his words carefully as his mind rolls over her statements. The fact of the matter was that she'd been through both hell and high water. Had endured some of the most unspeakable acts ever performed upon a single machine, let alone something that considered itself a person, with real feelings... in some respect. The unending conclusion as the nature of what she'd been through. Could he really top that? Could he really make that seem like child's play? As he considers this notion, it becomes apparent to him: He didn't have to.
Again he begins to stride away, circular dust clouds rising up beneath his feet as before, his form becoming darker as the night swallows him, still no response was forthcoming. The last thing she could see was those fins, the moonlight gleaming off of their shined back ends, black reflecting the white mirror of the moon hanging crooked in the sky as if they were saying goodnight to her. The last thing seen waving behind him in a batlike gesture, one might say. Her last words... he'd better put some effort into it. He sums up her words, all of them with a pointed line as sharp as a knife.
"They didn't do it right."
And with that, like a promise from the devil to the ears of faust.
He was gone.