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    One's Disappearance [CHAPTER 1 - COMPLETE]

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    sLy
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    Character sheet
    Character Name: Sly
    Species: Human
    Alignment : True Neutral

    One's Disappearance [CHAPTER 1 - COMPLETE]

    Post by sLy on Thu Nov 26, 2015 8:25 pm

    Chapter 1 - Prologue

    --

    Same old building. Same old people. Same old drinks. Nothing here changed a bit, and he doubt it would ever will.

    The bar which he settled into was booming with cheers and chatter, as music and dances were brought in to enlighten the atmosphere. It was a little unsettling, this sort of change, but it was still the same bar he went to almost everyday, after every mission. There he sat, in one of the many stools, with that beer in front of him. The bubbles had sunk back into the golden brew and, if noticed by any children, it would look like a pint of apple juice.

    Perhaps it was time to do something different. Maybe opening up to the muscular man next to him, or asking one of the women for a dance. He just tapped his fingers against the bench. It didn’t make the same sound as nails pattering gently on the wood, but the sound of many razors stabbing into the wood. A rather thick robe covered what he was—a robot. It wouldn’t take much more than a careful squint to his head that anyone would realise the helmet he was wearing. For now, he was the ‘freak’ in the suit. Better than the ‘freak’ he would always be.

    Oh well. It would be worth a shot. One turned and leaned towards one of the girls, leaning against the supporting beam with her dress stained and lazily done as if it was the last thing in the world she would care about. She had finished laughing off with whatever the bearded man said to her and took a breath of relief. Hey lady. Would you care to dance?

    She stopped and looked at him with those weary eyes, drowned in make-up. Her brunette hair curled down to her hair but was in a mess after how many men she had passed through. She looked up and down at One, her smile slowly turning into a grimace. “Who are you?”

    You…may call me One, he said as he held tightly on his robe and stood up. But let’s skip the formalities, and let the dance tell you everything about me. One offered his metallic hand to her. Surely no one in their right mind would want to dance with a shady person under a robe, or even hiding under what seemed to be a suit. His hand already looked dangerous in itself, clawed and with pinching points everywhere.

    The woman’s eyes widened a bit as she stared at the hand. Slowly, as if guided by the drunken devil, she raised her hand to him. Her delicate fingers brushed across the ends of his fingers, but One could feel none of it. A shame really, that he wanted to experience such senses that he could only envy of. She jerked her hand back suddenly, when another hand snatched her arm away.

    A rather large man in a leather jacket stepped between them, his eyes wide and piercing to One’s visor. “Hey! What do you think you’re doing freak?” He shoved One’s arm away and stepped closer, him and two of his friends.

    What does it look like I’m doing? I’m simply asking if the lady wants to dance.

    “Are you serious?” The man cracked with his friends. “What? Did they kick you out of the club of nerds or something? Why don’t you take off that suit of yours?”

    One snorted, his circuits clicking in amusement. He placed an arm on the bench. Come here and try, scumbag.

    He dropped his smile. The bar was silent, as if it knew his feelings. The three marched up to One, their heads low and eyes unblinking as they fixated on him. “What did you say to me?” The man leaned his head over, close enough that his breath faintly condensed on One’s visor. If he were facing a human, One could understand how this man would tower above him. “So you think you’re so tough now do you? What? Are you going to shoot rockets out of chest or something? Or hit me with your laser beam?” His friends laughed.

    Worse, One said when they calmed.

    “Really?” The man shoved him with both hands.

    One stumbled and almost fell over a stool, but an arm over the bench saved him.

    “Come on. Show m—” His chin flew up in the air as One’s fist rammed him from underneath. There was a cringing clink of his teeth hitting together and the man staggered back, bumped a table and fell onto the ground with it. His friends whipped back to One, eyes wide and mouths gaped.

    Something about this wasn’t right. He wanted to do this. His circuits were itching to kill, to rip them to pieces. Such bloodlust was never this strong before. One wanted to do it again. To see him bleed. But the other side of him would always triumph, to tell him to stay put. That light was very faint this time, like a candle in its last breath. Then it disappeared, drowned in darkness. That one punch. It felt good.

    One cocked his head to the side and beckoned them forward with both hands.

    “Son of a…” the second stepped forward and threw a fist to One’s left. One was quick to intercept with his own arm and shoved his fist into the second’s stomach before he could retaliate. One kneed his head to silence his groans and kick him away.

    The third screamed and rushed One, grabbing his waist and shoving his back onto the wooden edge of the bench.

    One’s circuits flared as he wrestled him off. He saw the beer he left flat nearby, grabbed it and glassed the third. Immediately his grip slackened and One pushed the beer-soaked unconscious body aside.

    The bar tilted at an angle, and bars of static clouded One’s vision. Wood snapped on his left and, looking up, saw the first holding a broken chair. One spun his head around, like how those would do to stretch their neck. You have just signed yourself to a world of pain.

    The first dropped the chair and fumbled for his pockets, pulled out something small and, with a click, spun out a small blade.

    One snorted. With swift reflexes, his hand drew his dagger, twirling and spinning it on his fingers. He flicked it in the air and grasped the hilt, pointing the blade to the first. You sure you want to do that? Casually he walked up to the first, who quickly took up a defensive pose, not taking his wide eyes off from One. One just stood up straight, his shadow engulfing all of the first’s figure.

    His foe kept his distance, his blade in between him and One as he faked a few thrusts to no avail. One won’t be fooled easily by this. Until his eyes flared, One sidestepped from a slash and ducked another one going for his head. One continued to toy with him until he delivered a boot into his stomach, sending him into a supporting beam and onto the ground. He stepped onto the delicate legs and absorbed the shrieking this human rung out into the bar.

    Kill him… A voice echoed repeatedly in One’s mind. Yes. He wanted this. One seized him by the neck to silence him, and raspy gasps and huffs came out of him as he pulled him back up, and well above ground. His face swelled a little and turned red, as he punched One’s arms and flailed his legs.

    Kill… kill…

    Something shone into One’s visor, and he released the human, grunting as his arm stung with pain. One turned to see two new faces into bar, yet familiar to him. Both were young men, one a blonde butler in his usual formal clothing, and the other wearing a hood, wearing a smug smile on his face. Sly and Arik.

    Sly hurried past a few people in his way, his boots crunching broken glass as he forcefully picked up the three men by their clothes and pushed them towards the door. Go! He shouted, as if disciplining children. The three covered their bloodied wounds before limping away and into the light that was outside.

    One being himself as always, Arik said, shaking his head.

    One shook his head, clearing his circuits from all that rage. All that desire. He had gotten used to this. Amidst his bloodlust, a member of his team would show up and snap him back to his senses. It was becoming so frequent that it worried him. They…started it. It was a weak excuse. Actually he didn’t know why he would come up with this excuse. All this time, having to be watched over by his own team. It was getting to him.

    It doesn’t matter who started it, Sly said. A fight broke out in a bar that involved you.

    Arik snorted. A fight involving a killer robot who couldn’t kill. He raised an eyebrow. What are we going to do with you?

    Arik! Sly snapped. He looked around to the remaining spectators in the bar, still quiet after all that happened. Some of them had fled during the fight. Sly demanded the rest to get out, and didn’t walk up to Arik until they all had. Sly stepped in between him and One with his back turned.

    One looked down. He knew what they were going to talk about. It was him. It was always about him. Every time he went outside of HQ, every time we wanted to just be away from them, he would end up getting into a fight, only to be leashed by one of them, like some feral pet without a purpose beyond being tamed.

    Hey robot? Arik snapped, frowning and cocking his head to the side. Ever thought about hearing aids?

    One’s circuits clicked and hissed. That little rat. His inability to express any emotion, painful as it ever was, meant no one could ever see him hurt, or even smile. Surely if One was human right now, Arik would know better to wipe that smirk off him than a blade to his chest.

    What, can you not hear me?

    That’s enough, Sly put a firm grip on Arik’s shoulder. One may be a robot but he can feel…and express emotions in some way. There was only silence between them afterwards, but Arik eventually gave in. He dropped to a neutral expression and turned his head away, growling. Before One could look down and consult with himself, Sly had turned a silver eye to him. Calm as he always was. How sickening. One, have you ever felt exhausted from all the bloodlust?

    A strange question. It was probably routine that One would be yelled at after his uncontrolled assaults on others. But with Sly, he realised it was different. He hardly showed anger, even when he was first to witness the bloodshed. And now he asked this, as if One had gone too far and Sly intended to stop him here and now. One looked to the splintered wood. Part of me wants to believe it’s not just me. But I can’t help but wonder if it is… he trailed off.

    If it is?

    One sighed. His circuits did nothing to express that. Not even condensation on his visor. He was unsure of a lot about himself, especially about what he was about to say. It was the first time he had to express this much to anyone. My personality. Well, it isn’t all code like you think. It’s a copy…of some human’s consciousness…embedded in my core. I have their memories, their experiences and their knowledge.

    Sly just smiled. Something that would have been reassuring if One weren’t this…confused. But little did he know that there was oil in his bucket. The world works in mysterious ways that even we humans can only hope to comprehend.

    I’m not them, One’s circuits started to flare. I’m just some stupid copy.

    Finally. Sly marched over to him, his smile disappeared and that rare serious look emerged. It was reassuring to One that he was not just rainbows and sunshine. You are not a copy. He added emphasis on ‘copy’ before stopping within arm’s length to him.

    It surprised One. But…I am. You can’t deny it.

    We all have secrets, Arik said under his breath but One could very well hear him. He was downcast as well.

    The truth is you are a stealth drone, a member of Team DS, Sly continued. You are One, and no matter how hard any scientist works, there is never going to be someone who can stand in your shoes and do everything the same as you. Sly opened his palm and held it in between him and One. Put it in another perspective. If you look beyond materialistic possession, we all have our own unique set of codes which make us different. What we are born with, and how the world influences us.

    Pity. He was just saying it out of pity. Out of denial. But One decided to play along for a while. Sure. Thanks for the concern, but I don’t take pity from anyone.

    If I were pitying you, I would say ‘everything is going to be okay’ and will push the problem right back at you. Didn’t you say we are all family?

    Family? It was too much. One shot his hand to his cloak and brandished his dagger, twirling it in his fingers before clasping the handle, the blade dangerous close to Sly’s chest. He had done this as quick as a snake striking its prey. Family? Don’t mention family before me. I’ve learned to never warm up to others. They will just stab you in the back and take everything you got, when you least expect it!

    Sly just froze like a statue, even after having a dagger to him, as if he couldn’t see what One was doing.

    It’s just the way it works around here, he continued, his voice becoming calm. It’s life. And life is cruel. Some claim to be innocent, void of any si—

    I’ve learned that life can be cruel, Sly interrupted, leaning closer to the blade. But at least I’ve also learned that we must cherish what we have and exploit it to our advantage. When you said we are family, I believe you. Does that mean you are going back from your own words? He extended his open hands out, his palms bare before One. There isn’t anything I want from you that’s worth betraying for.

    Lie. How could he trust him? How could he even know Sly wouldn’t back from his own words?

    So what now? Are you going to kill me? Is this what families do?

    Are you deaf? I said never to speak of family before me! I will kill anyone who gets in my way, even if they are from this joke of a guild! One held his tongue too late. It was all out of the bag. His uncertainties. And again, it did little to faze Sly. Either he was just as emotionally deprived, or he was as stoic as ever since he came upon this team. But One felt nothing after letting it all out. No guilt, no regret. Not even relief. He may as well said nothing at all. Face it. We are lost. We all are. That’s why we joined this…guild. To find a purpose.

    Sly sighed through his nose, ignoring the dagger that pricked into his shirt, a bud of red blooming and spreading like a plague across. I can’t force you to trust us. Maybe you’re right. We are lost. Searching. For a purpose. And that purpose may be the death of us. But unlike you, his breath was getting hoarse, restraining some anger within, I will not lose grip of what was my family before I found my purpose.

    One almost cracked, but he held his tongue…or circuits…before they could express his laughter. No, don’t you see? I…found my purpose! My purpose has always been to kill. I’m a god damn murder bot! And that’s what it will always be.

    And I know mine. Sly’s comment made One realised something about him. He was persistent. Even if One’s words were to cut him like the dagger, he would still fight back. Probably because he didn’t want to lose to mere words. But what was the point of all this arguing if he weren’t to understand anything at all? But I won’t let it drown my memories of DS and how we came together.

    It was too much, and One let out a chuckle. You haven’t been with them as long as I have. One day you’ll see.

    Sly backed away from the blade. Huffing another sigh, as if to ease the tension, he looked around the deserted bar. So now that you know your purpose, what are you going to do now?

    One hadn’t thought that far. In fact, he thought there would be more fight left in Sly. At least he was smart enough to back down than never. Become a mercenary, join the army, die…bounty hunter maybe… none of them were sound to himself. Look, nothing good lasts forever. I’m just playing it smart and leave before I lose it all.

    Then do something about it! Sly snapped.

    One stiffened. Now this was new. He was the first to make Sly snap, of all people. One then remembered Arik, the man seemed to be on the verge to double over. Arik had made some passive and short agreements with both sides, but they were lost in this argument. One turned back to Sly, who had quickly calmed down. I don’t want to see you die. I don’t want to see you die and me not be able to do anything about it.

    I may not be with them as long as you are, but at least we make each other feel they belong. We find problems within each other, and find ways to fix—

    You can’t fix me! One yelled, his circuits steaming and clicking furiously, that he thought something was leaking from his helmet. Sure, I’m mechanical. You can replace a few limbs, rewire me, clean my code, but there are things you… and just like that, his anger seemed to vanish, …you just can’t change. No matter how hard you try. Or pray. Some people are born angels. Others, devils. You can’t teach them what’s right and wrong.

    Sly gritted his teeth, shaking his head. One, listen to yourself. All I’m hearing is a child whining about the harshness of life. I admit, there are things we can’t change. But it doesn’t mean we have to banish ourselves to misery. I cannot create a world where dragons roam free. I can’t create the perfect world. But I won’t stick a knife in myself and hope for a new world and a new life!

    One just looked away. Perhaps he was right. Or he could be wrong. But either way, Sly made the big mistake to compare One to a human being. What about One made him human? Sly acted as if he knew, patronising him throughout this argument. How did any of this help? Why couldn’t Sly accept that One was nothing more than a murderous robot, and is presence was a danger to his own…family? One held his tongue. There was absolutely no point continuing this. Either Sly understood or he didn’t. I’m sorry. I’m…so sorry. I never wanted it to come to this. I thought DS was my home. I really did. But I don’t want to stick around and wait for you to die. I’m not ready for that kind of grief. One flipped the dagger in his fingers and slid it back in his cloak, all within a second. I’ve chosen my path. Now it’s time for you to choose yours.

    Arik choked, his head to the side and hidden behind his hood. One could hear him trying to contain his sobs. It seemed the words crushed him. Whether he accepted One’s words as truth or not, it mattered little to him at this stage.

    DS will always be your home, no matter the circumstances.

    One turned to Sly and gave him a single nod. Home…no matter what.

    That means more than you think.

    And with that, the three picked up the pieces and left the bar. One was the furthest behind as they returned to their HQ, the sun disappearing behind the skyscrapers in the distance. Something was wrong. The words Sly said, the words One said in the end. They all meant nothing to him. There was no emotion, no pain, no relief. It just enforced his point that he was nothing more than a robot. The same darkness wrapped over his core again, and Sly’s words were sooner forgotten. He was just a murder bot. His purpose was to kill. He would endanger his own guild…and watch them all die…one by one.

    Come to me…


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