Tuesday 17 December, 2019
Part of the Future Past TP.
For a wartime refuge it isn't half bad, really. Comfortable, when you get down to it. There's power and there's /heat/ and in these two things B is probably doing that much better than the majority of her counterparts.
It's an island all to itself, not /in/ the city proper, and past the hum of machinery the crashing of waves against rock can be heard in ceaseless background noise. Right now, though, there's mainly a clanging, scraping, thud, metal arms pulling apart metal bodies; disassembling two scorched and broken Sentinels for scrap. Nearby, a long row of the humanoid bots stand still and silent, in various stages of repair. The room is chaos but an organized one, bits of metal and parts scattered all around in what looks like a haphazard mess; tiny whirring bug-bots flit and fly and crawl throughout, though. Picking up a piece here, moving it there; /they/ seem to know what they're doing, at the least.
One of the windows -- there's not many, most shuttered up, boarded up -- slides open, closed again. Hummmmmmmmmmm-thud. The glowing lights in B's boots and gauntlets shut off as ze thumps down onto the floor. A little more scuffed up than when ze left, a little more bloodied. A still-wriggling fish held in hir teeth. Mmm. Ze tears a bite from this as ze moves through the room, integrating into the chaos as seamlessly as the rest of the bots.
One of those humanoid bots has been observing the others undergoing their repairs with an oddly interested expression for a robot, like a human watching a surgery or an autopsy. A little scientific, a little curious, a little macabre. This particular robot has somehow gotten itself into a purple dress with a flowy skirt that looks like it was made for movement. It lifts upright away from its observations, spinning on one pointed toe to turn toward B as ze enters. There is a tiny wave of one hand. “Fish,” it greets in a young woman's voice. Whether it is talking about B or the fish in hir mouth is open to debate.
There was a time when Peter's coming would be heralded by the sound of a *thwp*, followed by scuffling feet -- that time, however, has passed. Now, his arrival is painstakingly slow -- he's learned the inherent danger of theatrics.
He is clad in a rag-tag assortment of his old armor, awkwardly modified to fit his significantly larger frame -- dark, chitinous black, it resembles SWAT body-armor, except without the flashy placards or signs. At the moment, it's producing a soft, steady hum -- the sound coming from two small vents at his shoulders. He's got a small, black backpack on, and he's coming up from the distance, away from the sound of crashing rocks. He's partly wet -- the moisture leaves what dark chitin he has exposed shining, rolling off of him in long patterns and droplets.
He hesitates, as he approaches the building -- but only for a moment. Not long after the shark has come in with a fish, there's a gentle rapping at the window -- followed by a sloooooow, /cautious/ attempt to open it. Eyeing the things within suspiciously -- as if to make sure one of those machines isn't going to leap up and start trying to drag him away.
B's teeth rip another mouthful of flesh off the fish. Hir mouth hooks slightly upwards at this greeting from the oddly-dressed Sentinel. "Got hungry. Wasn't any trouble here, was there?" A gesture in the air summons up a holographic diagram of one of the Sentinels. Ze reaches into it, removing something from one of its arms and replacing it with a new part instead. At the back of the room, a team of bots scurry over to make the change on the /real/ robot.
The sound at the window has hir -- and a trio of bots -- turning sharply. A growl rumbles up in B's throat, but subsides a moment later. The bots stand down at a gesture from the shark. "Fish?" ze offers Peter. Holding it up. Raw and dripping.
"Hungry." The robot smiles. "We do not eat." This also prompts a girlish giggle. "No trouble, no trouble. Take us apart, put us back together." A bot that scurries near it receives a pat on the head. The sound at the window /does/ have one of those machines leaping up with a surprising speed and dexterity, the dress-clad robot at the intruder's side in a breath's span. There is no dragging...or at least any dragging is interrupted. The robot-girl's hand was reaching for Peter until... "Peter. Fly on the wall. Buzz at the windowpane." It settles back away from him, gesturing over at B. "Fish."
"Ngh--" Peter briefly snaps back from the window -- both at the sight of the scurrying bots, and then, at the dress-clad Sentinel that leaps up toward him. His hand instinctively drops to a small device at his hip -- a curious-looking metal 'capsule', about the size of a fist -- before slowly retracting as he notices the dress, along with the robot's words. He releases a slow, hard breath: "--okay, look, the doll thing is pretty freaky /already/, so can you -- at least /try/ not to freak me out?" He sounds a little pleading.
"...m'good. Thank you, though," Peter replies to B, eyeing the fish... well, actually, at /this/ point, it doesn't look that bad. The young man's frame is lean and compact -- dense, hard muscle on a narrow body. He's grown a little taller, and he's shaved his dark brown hair -- leaving nothing but smooth, black chitin gleaming across his skull, interrupted only by scar tissue that splatters across the left side, from a burn he received a year ago. Since he's cut it, his hair hasn't grown back. "I got you, uh... stuff. Scavenged." He's stepping back, /away/ from the dancing Sentinel, unslinging his bag and dropping it to the floor.
"Oh, sure you eat. You eat up so much delicious juicy power. I feed you plenty. Tasty-tasty energy. I'll be glad when I learn to run on it." B hops up onto a table, one hand gripping the fish to continue tearing into it, the other dancing rapid-quick through the hologram to continue tweaking at the under-construction Sentinel, sending the helper-bots into a flurry of activity. "All the freaky things in the world, I don't think dancing robots top the list. You need to recalibrate. -- Careful, though. I told her to squish anything not-me that comes in." Ze looks up from hir fiddling, brows hiking upward. "Brought me something good?" It sounds almost like a challenge. One palm turns up and out towards Peter, beckoning -- just, uh, ignore the fact that the pulse-blaster in the middle of the gauntlet is aimed straight towards the other man.
"Freak," the robot-girl repeats with a sardonic tone and a little shoulder shrug. "Intruder. Might have needed to break you. Cannot wait. Breaking is better fast." It smiles and returns to B's side to watch the hologram develop. "No flavour, no sugar. Just feels...good," the robot opines of the energy-food. "Bright. Strong." The offer of goods turns its gaze back on Peter. "Did you bring new parts?"
"--yeah, but I don't think... most intruders would come rapping at the window, y'know? I mean--" Peter seems insistent on having this argument, but B's open palm -- and notably pointed blaster -- gives the man pause. He frowns, a little, before slinging the bag up and carrying it toward B... very slowly.
"Yeah. Parts. Sentinel parts, from a few that got fried -- from when Magneto hit them. He took out like, a /dozen/," Peter says, mumbling a little. The parts he's handing to B are what few complete electronic components he could find that were not completely wrecked. A mostly-complete hand; what appears to be a chunk of a Sentinel's CPU, largely intact. An eyeball. A few other electronic components, too; scavenged from a store that got busted wide open during the fight.
"...then he got hit with the new one, and... uh, B," Peter asks, eyes slinging toward the robot-girl as he speaks -- as if debating whether or not B will request that she proceed to /clobber/ him for even asking this. "Could I -- Micah's legs -- he needs... I thought, maybe, I could swap some of this for – parts?"
"The faster the better," B agrees with the robo-puppet. "And I'm gonna give you an upgrade that'll make you /so/ fast. This one --" The gauntleted fingers trace over the hologram in almost a caress. "In this one you can dance like the freaking wind." Ze takes the parts from Peter, examining them -- leaning forward to give them a small /sniff/ before setting them down.
Hir other hand crunches into a fist at the request, though. Fish-guts splatter down onto the floor beside hir. A low growl rumbles deep in hir chest, gills fluttering alongside hir neck. "I /don't/ have any to spare," is hir first answer, sharp and snarling. Hir glasses fix on the hologram after this. The growl doesn't fade, though hir next question is quieter: "... you know where he is?"
"Mmn, parts. I /love/ upgrades." The robot girl watches the parts being handed over with a hungry sort of fascination. B's promises only pique this further, the robot's hand tracing the young-shark's back in a near echo of the fingers caressing the hologram. "I do like to dance." Amusement twitches the robot's mouth into a very un-robotlike smirk. "Freak." That word does keep coming up. "We will be better than all the bad robots. We can take them for more parts," she nearly coos to B, a best attempt to soothe, perhaps. A mechanised foot prods at the fishguts on the floor. "Squish. Fish-intruder. Even stupid intruders need squishing." This last is likely related to Peter's comment about rapping on windows.
"He's okay," Peter tells B, his words sudden and swift -- as if eager to assure B of this. "In the city, underground, with the resistance. Last I saw him, sewers. He's been traveling with Jim, and Melinda, and Ion. His legs are /working/, but some of the parts are worn, and I can't... I mean, I've scavenged what I can from Sentinels, but I don't have..." Peter's tone dwindles; he steps back from B -- back from robot-lady -- and slumps against the wall behind him. The backpack, now empty, remains on the floor.
"...we need supplies," Peter tells hir, his voice softer, tired, staring at the floor. "Technology, especially. I've tried doing what I can but, you're building /robots/. The stuff you have here..." His eyes drift back up to B; his expression is pained, but accepting. "...I can help you. In exchange for parts, for things you don't need. I'm still strong; the serum didn't take /that/ away from me. I can help you build things -- or do missions. Blow things up. Anything." His fingers drift down to the metal capsule at his hip. "...I can be useful."
B's back arches up against robot fingers, the flutter of hir gills calming slower. "We can take them," ze agrees, growl thrumming lower into almost a purr. Hir head turns, watching hir industrious army of bots at their tasks. "We can take them. -- There's a whole fucking lot that needs squishing."
Hir brows pull together, growls starting to deepen once more. "/He's/ okay." Gruff. "Out of all of them --" Hir head shakes, quick. "What I'm doing," ze says, sharper again, "is important. What's /he/ doing? What /was/ he doing?" Hir chin lifts, teeth faintly bared. Brows raising again. "Anything?" A challenge, once more. Hir lips pull to the side, and a wave of a hand summons over a dragonfly-bot to start flitting and humming around Peter. Measuring. Scanning. "Rrr. You'll be useful."
"We break all the bad robots. Or take them, make them ours. Make us stronger. Can you do that?" The robot-girl tilts its head back toward Peter, its gaze perhaps more disconcerting for the lack of robotic coldness that would typically reside there. Mechanised fingers find the gills fluttering harder again at B's sides, petting them down slowly, far more delicately than the machine had been designed to accomplish. "You are very important," the entirely non-robotic voice lowers to assure B. "Most important. You make us stronger and we fight harder and faster and better, always."
"...keeping people alive," Peter responds to B's question, though his voice is small, tiny; almost meek. As the dragonfly bot sweeps toward him, he turns away, grimacing -- but makes no move to stop it as it scans him. "...yes. I can build robots," Peter responds to the robot-girl, not facing either of them. At B's last words, he flinches, as if hit -- but then, slowly, forcibly untenses, his shoulders slumping as he lets out a sigh of air, staring at the wall. "Yes. Whatever you want. I'm yours, if you'll help."
There's another slow tic of relaxation, here, B's head gradually nodding along with the robotic voice. "Harder-better-faster-stronger." Quietly sung, a faint upward curl to hir lips. "It's important. I'm important." Almost like reassuring hirself. Ze reaches down to scoop squished-fishguts off the floor, tucking them into hir mouth. Mmm. Though not delicious /enough/ to prevent another small rumble of growl. "It's too late for /that/," ze answers Peter. "We've got more important work to do." Hir teeth bare, tongue swiping over them to clean fishguts off of their sharp edges. There's another small-purring growl as ze presses up against the robot hand, gills flattening and nuzzling against mechanical fingers. "/You'll/ help. And I'll help. And," hir fingers bat at the hologram of the Sentinel in front of them, making the image twirl in place. "We'll dance."
"Build...B builds. Need to break. Need to steal. Need to fight," the robot-girl opines on how best Peter might be useful. There might be no approaching B in building and upgrading in its mind, and no use trying. At B's humming, it looks at a deactivated Sentinel, head cocking to the side as it summons it slowly, over to its side, retrieving a magenta scarf that is merrily unraveling and delivering it. It lets the other robot sit back lifelessly once its item has been brought. The robot-girl wraps it around itself, twirling closer to B along with the holographic image. "We will dance."