OOC: It’s really coming down to the wire since finals are approaching and I seriously need to start writing my research essays. So starting today I’m having a hiatus until around December 14th when winter break starts. I’ll still be checking in every now and then and if you need to contact me, I’ll be on skype.
"Wait what, I just gave you one you hugslut." His words were simple teases, though, as he virtually tackled Wave up into the air and gave him another good crushing. "Uahhrhrhgh seriously I have to go I have some things to do hahahaha." Concrete put Wave down — again — and paused at the door — again. Mouthing the words, "See ya," he pulled his head out of view and he crept upwards toward the teleporter where he could already hear the scuffling and muted sounds of Wily’s numbers getting into their whole routine.
Leaning against the door frame, Wave nodded a goodbye, watching as Concrete’s hulking silhouette disappear from view. He then closed his door and sat back down on his bed, kicking off his boots as he leaned back against the wall, rubbing his still aching arms with a smile on his face. Wave couldn’t remember the last time he felt this good, his mind keeping the fresh memory of the hug on loop. How strong those arms felt around him. How comforting it was to embraced by them. And how much he wanted to hear that loud, boisterous laughter again. God, he’d do anything to….
Wait one fucking minute.
Horror crept it’s way into Wave’s mind as he rushed to rationalize things away. "We’re friends right? Yeah, I’d be happy to see my friends." But he knew that he hadn’t felt this sort of happy towards Pump or Percy, not even his own brothers. It felt different.
His mind raced back to the times he felt after all their past fights, how satisfied and eager he was to see him again and suddenly Wave could feel the burn in his cheeks as his face turned tomato red. “Fuck!” he spat out, his hands bunching up into fists. “Fucking dammit!” Not him. Why did it have to be him. Why did he have to crush on the only person who actually understood him, the guy who treated him exactly the way he wanted to be treated? And now he risked that friendship over his feelings. Gritting his teeth, Wave took a hold of his pillow and ripped it in half and then into little itty bitty pieces, sending feathers into the air as he continued to swear. When the pieces were too little to tear off anymore, Wave buried his head into the mess, his rage now morphing into an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. “I’m so fucking stupid. Stupidest piece of shit.” And right then and there, he vowed never to tell a word to anyone of how he felt about Concrete. Nothing was worth more than their friendship, even if that meant the price of an aching heart.
Concrete snorted at the mention of reputation. But he supposed it paid off to be perceived as an anti-social cutthroat in the castle.
He turned to suddenly crush Wave in one of his signature bodylock bear hugs. “URRREEEEEH OF COURSSSSSSEEE.” Maybe he was being a bit too familiar, who knew. But it was nice to be around someone that could handle his rough-house affection. After shaking the smaller android in the air Concrete put him back down on the ground. “BESIDES, who said it wasn’t already a regular thing, anyway?” He punctuated his comment with the briefest of winks before replacing it with a bright, beaming expression. Cause it kind of was.
He moved to begin walking out the door but staggered as he tried to halt himself. “I almost forgot. Listen, you can call me for whatever, yeah? If you think I can help you with anything give me a ping, ‘k?”
The crushing hug made Wave’s body ache a little, but he didn’t mind one bit, laughing good naturedly after he was set down. He was then caught off guard by the wink, not sure whether Concrete was joking around. He was thankful that the room was dark enough to hide the blush on his face. “Thanks. I know you got your brothers but if you ever need backup or something, you can always call on me. And uh…” he extended his arms wide, his tough veneer finally fading away. He looked away, too embarrassed to finish his sentence.
Oop, that kinda tickles. Looks like Wave was finally waking up. Did robots actually yawn? There was something he’d probably have to look into in the future because that is one hell of a performance that snugglebunny was putting on, otherwise. “Good morning to you too, ha. Yeah, I think you forgot to let go when you finally went powered down. ‘Sokay though, I got stuff done meanwhile.”
At Wave’s blatant butt-covering Concrete couldn’t help but laugh. He and Wave were both probably well-enough acquainted with alcohol to know the only thing it did was show off what was already there. “Whatever man, if that’s what you want me to believe.” He reached over, palmed the back of that ginger-hair covered skull and pulled him over face first into the sheets of the bed, giving Wave a good hair rustle before standing up.
"If you’re worried I’m gonna tell someone about Killer or something, relax. It’s all good." Concrete readjusted his hat and sweatshirt, to make himself a bit more presentable upon his departure. "And uhhh, if you could keep this li’l sleep over hush-hush that’d be pretty great too. I don’t need my sibs getting the wrong idea and freaking out any more than they already are."
Combing back his messy hair, Wave got up to lead Concrete to the door. “Yeah don’t worry. I don’t want the guys at the fortress to know about this either. I’ve got a reputation to protect.” After stepping over his bottles gingerly in the dark, Wave stopped at the door, turning around to face Concrete. There was a kind of sadness weighing him down at the thought of his friend leaving. Normally he’d be happy to take a break from his friends for some time to himself, but for some reason he actually felt a little anxious, as if this was going to be the last time he’d see Concrete again. Trying to brush off the emotions that were churning in his core, Wave gave Concrete a pat on the back. “It was good having you here,” he said in his usual gruff voice. But the next sentence was spoken a little more gently, the look in Wave’s eyes betraying a hint of hope. “Maybe we can do this again sometime?”
At the hand on his back, Wave stirred in his sleep, letting out a sigh as he snuggled his face closer to Concrete’s leg. His dreams were endless darkness, stretching endlessly as far as the eye could see. It was pierced by shimmers of light, like the sun’s reflection on the ocean. And in this dream, Wave was floating in the darkness, drifting aimlessly among the invisible current. He felt a sense of comfort in this place, so much like the ocean he had grown to love. Here he was the sole master of his domain, the navigator between the tendrils of light and blotches of void. But as he drifted, Wave noticed a light that glinted from above the surface. Curious, the sailor drifted up and up, meeting his reflection as he reached up to break the surface….
Suddenly Wave was aware of the soft covers underneath stomach, at the tug his boots that were still weighted on to his feet. His mind was being pulled away from his dream and into wakefulness as he tried to figure out why his head was sleeping on the opposite side of the bed and what his arms were doing, holding…something. Blindly, his fingers groped Concrete’s waist as Wave quickly realized that the something was actually a person and that person, as he ran his memory to what happened last night, was Concrete. He could feel his cheeks grow hot as he recalled his emotional outburst and singing from the night before. Now he was sure that Concrete was going to forever brand him as a pushover and pussy, for crying over a goddamn fish. However, Wave did everything in his power to calm down, telling himself not to make a big deal out of it so they could all forget about it later. Hopefully.
Slowly, Wave opened his eyes, his arms letting go of Concrete as if he had just woken up. Letting out a feigned yawn, Wave sat himself up, stretching as casually as possible, as he tried his best to keep the sheepishness from his face . “Oh hey. Concrete. You’re still here buddy?” He gave his friend a pat on the shoulder. “Sorry about the whole fish thing last night. You know,” he tipped his head back, miming drinking a bottle. “It tends to make me a little….upset over things. I really don’t care about that fish too much. Just was too lazy to clean up the bowl.”
"I uh… uhhh you uhh…" This was a fine kettle of fish. Wait what? Was that a fish pun? A familiar feeling of intense heat started to spread in his head and torso, that terrifying, uncertain feeling of “WHAT DO I DO OH NO” that he felt when Jewel, of his own volition, decided to hug him. Only this time there would definitely be consequences to whatever option he chose, and he wasn’t sure of what those were even going to be.
Concrete’s chest swelled with the pressure of overclocked-circuit-heated air, and he finally remembered to open his vents, releasing it all in a sharp cloth-rustling hiss. He twisted around to look at the face buried in his sweatshirt.
"Did… did have something you wanted me to do to help you sleep?"
Wave jumped at the sound of the hiss, but soon he rested his face back on Concrete. His thoughts drifted as he snuggled his face deeper into the wrinkles of Concrete’s sweatshirt. Being so close made him feel safe under the hulking figure of his friend. It was hard not to feel secure around a guy who you knew was fully capable of kicking ass. And Wave was sure that if Concrete could kick ass, he was more than enough to chase away any lingering guilt. Already the guilt and sadness was starting to ebb away, but Wave wanted it gone completely from his mind. But he needed some help before he could rest peacefully.
"Yeah. Can you stay here?" asked Wave, looking up at Concrete. "Just until I go to sleep. It’s good to have you here."
'Lost' didn't even begin to describe Concrete's current mental state. The alcohol really did a number on the sniffling mariner — repressed emotions were crawling out of the woodwork, good lord. Concrete smiled, quietly, smugly, as he incremented his victories counter. Hue hue hue. “It’s ok man. Yanno his legacy lives with you. Really, you should put that allegory in a novel or something.”
Con’s hug tightened, and he forcibly lifted and moved Wave over to his unkempt bed, setting the smaller robot down on the sheets with all the grace of an obese seal. “But I think now’s the time for some fuckin’ sleep.”
Feeling the sheets under him made Wave feel slightly better, silencing his sniffling. But he couldn’t stomach the idea of Concrete leaving him there, alone with the empty fish bowl that haunted his conscious. So he began to wrap his arms around Concrete again as he pressed his tear-stained cheek against the other’s side. “I can’t fucking sleep. I feel like shit. Good dreams don’t come out of guilt and shit.”
"Wah weh wait woah bud." Concrete hastily put down the glass tank and grasped his friend by the arms. "You gonna be alright there? I — Killer is — Killer. Heh. NO, I mean, aw shit ahhhhh—" Crying, oh mother of God he was so bad at dealing with crying. The residual alcohol didn’t help any as he bumbled and blubbered his way through words, trying to console Wave through the memory of his beloved Killer.
At a loss, he pulled Wave into a tight smothering hug, and firmly patted him on the back. “Hug it out bru, hug, yeah for Killer it was his time no tears only dreams now ahhhhhh—”
Without needing much encouragement from Concrete, Wave wrapped his arms around him and buried his face into his friend’s chest. The fabric underneath his eyes quickly became damp as Wave continued to cry. ”I should’ve set the poor bastard free,” he said, his voice muffled under Concrete’s shirt. “He died in a fucking prison. Who wants to live in a fucking bowl for the rest of their life, swimming in their own shit and eating that fish flake crap.” He tightened his grip as he let out a loud sniffle. “I’m the world’s biggest asshole.”
To say he was a little overwhelmed was an understatement. The entire time, Con slowly moved his feet forward, not really caring about the mess underfoot, and his hardware clicked and clacked, eyes constantly shifting and recording everything, personal responses lagging behind in the task queue. It was only with the sudden contact that jolted him out of his hardcore scanning habit.
"Oh my fucking bones did you really just—" Concrete guffawed. He could imagine what he used THAT song for besides introductions. It was a good one too; he made a note to remember it for future reference. "I’ll be straight with you here," he said, "beautiful weathered stones and beach objects I wasn’t expecting. Maybe the still-charged cores of your victims."
Tromping through the castle sobered him up enough for him to move through the chaotic disaster that was Wave’s floor without much struggle. Concrete was pretty glad to have caught that spark of decency after their first fight. He picked up the piece of driftwood and examined its encrusted surface. Wave had a bit more depth than Con had initially given him credit for.
Putting the wood down, he moved on to the fishbowl and sniffed its contents. Whoof. His face should have made an audible squishing noise for how quickly it attempted to collapse in on itself. ”Koohoo, DAMN. Don’t know what the hell I was expecting there. Wanna give it a go? I mean, if it isn’t the reason you have it already.” He held up the tank towards his host. After all, he couldn’t really name anyone else that he’d met so far, DLN, DWN, or otherwise, that would likely say yes just because Concrete posed the suggestion.
If he was a little more sober, Wave would have remembered how awful the bowl smelled, but he dipped his head in and took a whiff anyways. His nose wrinkled at the rotten, fishy smell and he fanned his face to get rid of the noxious fumes. “Yeah, it stinks. I had a fish in there once. Killer. Best fish in the world.” He stared at the tank, growing misty eyed as he imagined the ghostly image of his pet swimming among the scum. “I got two fish at first, but when I came back, the other fish was torn to bits. I didn’t know beta fish did that kind of shit. But Killer was alive. So that’s how he got his name. The bastard fish that kept on living.” Tears began to trail down Wave’s face and clumsily he wiped them off with the back of his arm. “I miss that bastard.”
Concrete was awake the entire time but he still decided to “EEEEEAAAAAAAHHHGHGHGH” loudly in response to Wave’s prodding and the sudden shift in surroundings. He had to move. So, rolling over, he literally began to climb up Wave’s body, fistfuls of fabric threatening to be torn off under the industrial bot’s weight until Concrete managed to right himself.
"Is… is that a new design feature? Defecating robots? I — wow. Wow. This is really the future." Concrete teetered and swayed dangerously as he loaded the new environmental data into memory, so he planted both hands on the other’s shoulders, pushing Wave down and forward. "THE FUTURE. Steer this Mayflower, Pilgrim. Bring us to port."
"Aye, aye captain," replied Wave with a mock salute. Stepping out of the teleporter, Wave weaved and bobbed his way down the basement ramps, all the while humming a loud and off-key "Drunken Sailor". Once they arrive at the basement pools, Wave took a sharp turn and ran into the door of his room. Stepping back, he raised his arms into the air and said, "Home sweet home. You’re one of the few, the privileged to see it." Without missing a beat, Wave jiggled the knob and opened the door, kicking a pathway for Con through the glass bottles that littered the floor.
Not an inch of wall space was left in his room; tropical postcards, nautical maps, and pinup girls, bikini-clad and ever smiling, covered the four walls. Clothes mingled with bottles on the floor and cot. On the dresser there was a large jar filled with bits of sea glass and pebbles, their edges long erased by the elements. Beside it were rusted bits of metal, barnacle encrusted wood, and an empty fish bowl, the bottom still covered in scum. Wrapping his arm around Concrete’s waist, Wave swept a hand to his treasures and began to sing in his gruff voice. “Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? Can’t you see my collection’s complete? Can’t you see I’m the girl who has everything? I got…shit I can’t remember the rest. But look at my fucking stuff.”
Reaching over to his dresser, Wave picked up the glass jar and shook it, the glass jingling together. “Beautiful isn’t it? I find this stuff on the beach sometimes. There are more rocks in there but they’re still fucking beautiful.”
A low and mildly pained “Nggrooooaooohhhhhhh,” rumbled out of Concrete’s throat as his head was pulled backwards. In a sloppy impression of Gene Kelly, he tapped and twirled his way down the pier, mouth hanging open, spinal construct twisting itself as he apparently tried to look at his own ass in the most ineffectual way. “Waaayyyffffffffghkhkjjklfldkf nnnnoohoohooohouuuhuuuhuuuHUUUUHHH—”
He saw it. It was right there. Right there! A heap of metal and shiny parts, moving in and out of his field of vision, that would take them to the fortress and then there would be no more futzing around outdoors in the dark. It didn’t matter if he had to pirouette his way over to the damn thing he was going to — ah, so tired — throw Wave’s excessively wriggly body on the input tablet and collapse on the ground in a heap of saturated, alcoholic robo bits.
Wave’s back hit the teleporter console with a dull metal clunk, the panel denting under his weight. Like a newborn foal, Wave slowly stood up on his wobbly legs, holding on to the stand like a lifeline. Once he was on solid ground, the sailor bot looked down at the number panel, his head swimming at the sight of all the symbols. Were there that many numbers before? His fingers sloppily punched in the coordinates, pausing at each number to double check and then triple check. By some miracle, Wave was able to type in the right coordinates to Skull Fortress, coming very close to almost sending the two of them to some forsaken wilderness in the arctic tundra.
Wave made his way into the teleporter, almost forgetting Concrete until he nearly tripped over him. He paused for a moment to see if Concrete would get back up and when it was obvious he wasn’t going anywhere, Wave reached over to grab his arms and drag him into the teleporter. The space inside was cramped, so Wave simply sat on on Concrete’s chest, leaning against the wall as the machine whirled and glowed. In a few seconds, they arrived at the fortress lobby, it’s halls silent and dark in the wee hours of the morning. Wave clumsily rolled off of Concrete’s chest and got up, nudging his friend’s back with a gruff laugh. “Con. Con. We’re here. Wakie, wakie. Come on, you gotta see the shit I got.”
"Ahhhhhwahhhhhh it’s closing time?? Clo…closing time yeah okay. Time to pu-puh-punch out of this poff-po-pop-… fuck it. Thanks Bar Man." Huh? Where’s Wave? What’s that pressure on my — oh. Idiotic smiles were the running theme for tonight, it seemed. “I’ve already been there dude but yer right it’s pretty faaaaaaaaaaaaantabulous. But how will we get thehhhh…” he said, conscious of their drunken inability to even stumble properly.
Concrete leaned back in his stool, eyebrows furrowed and lids shut tight, trying to gather up the veritable haze of thoughts that eluded his grasp. With great difficulty he finally managed to power up one of his more logical circuits and haphazardly threw together a plan.
"Aright boy-o, c’mere." With a noisy burst of heated air, the swarthy robot leaned down, picked up his lush companion and threw him over his shoulder. "Com-crede-ian will hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhelp the fish out of water." Hand on the small of Wave’s back for support, Concrete patted the smaller android’s rear as he stood up and focused all of his energy into walking out the door without doing something stupid, like turning and bumping Wave into the doorw- oops, doorw- ah, damn.
Wave barely registered the butt pat and pain from the bump on his head, choosing instead to wiggle on Concrete’s shoulder like a ginger caterpillar. “You’re a fuckin’ terrible captain. I’ve gotta…gotta steer this ship.” Wave tried in vain to set his hand on his friend’s head so he could steer him in the right direction but was only able to grab a few strands of hair on his forehead. Tugging the hairs like reins, Wave lifted his head, pointing the way forward behind Concrete. “Thatta way. To the thing. Onward motherfucker. Giddy up.”
"OOOOUUH! SO WE’RE FACEBOOK OFFICIAL NOW." Concrete hooked Wave’s head under his arm. "WE’RE IN NEED OF SOME MEAD!!! BARKEEP!”
Concrete stared down at Wave with all the ominous fury of a distant thunderstorm. He leaned down closer, sharp lines creased deeply into his forehead and along his mouth, perfectly silent as he closed the gap between them. With a deep inhale, he belched loudly in Wave’s face, visibly disturbing strands of his hair as the gases were released from his gullet, and Concrete fell forward in a fit of manly giggles, their foreheads clunking together painfully. The alcohol burned in his combustion chamber, supplying him with plenty of energy but the damned drunk app sapped him of all will to open his eyes.
"Ugh, Jesus Christmas what time is it? Hey. Hey Wave. Where’s the clock. Can… can you look at the clock please? Gotta… know the… what’s today even?" he said, completely obscuring the other’s vision in his stupor. Suddenly he blew up with laughter. "CLOCK HANDS. CLO-COCKHANDS. CLOCACANDS. HA. HAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAAHA—”
Wave squinted his eyes as if his vision could bore through the other side of Concrete’s head to the other side of the wall. “It’s…Friday?” he slurred, tilting his head to one side. “Friday time.” He paused, trying to understand the burst of laughter ringing into his ear caps. By now the cogs in his mind were being run purely by whiskey, and try as he might, he couldn’t figure out why Concrete was laughing so hard. But his friend’s mirth was infectious and soon Wave found himself laughing himself for reasons he couldn’t quite understand. Shifting in his seat, Wave began to lean to one side as he laughed and before he could stop himself, he found himself falling on his ass on the barroom floor, which only made him laugh even harder.
"You could be a fucking comedian Con," he managed to cough out as he slowly crawled back up Concrete’s pants leg. "A real fucking comedian."
Through all of this, the bartender kept his best pokerface, checking the time every so often and then at the door. “It’s about closing time fellas,” said the bartender. “I’m gonna have to ask you two to leave”.
Making his wobbling trek up, Wave flopped on to Concrete’s lap and looked up with a big stupid grin on his face. “You ready to go big guy? We gotta go. We gotta go to the fortress because it’s a fucking amazing place. Did I ever tell you that? It really is. Amazing.”
"Spring Man? He sounds like someone who’d get along with nature bots pretty well, and judging from their comm posts they don’t seem too…YEAH, ANYWAY, I guess it’s a good gig. Still, being saddled with a fighting spirit is better than hinging your entire life on the idea of working." The glass hits the counter with a firm ‘thock,’ and the barman returns to tending to their liquors. “‘Cause then you got something to fall back on, like your brothers and cousins know so well right now hahaha."
Concrete gave a lopsided grin as he was pushed to the side. “I mean, sure in the beginning that’s all it was. You were a fucking jackass and managed to piss off the entire family, including me. All I had to do was show up and go through with the punishment to prove we weren’t pussies, right?”
Resting his arms and upper body on the counter top, he pointed at Wave with the pinky of his drinking hand. “But after you were cool enough to help me out with moving around in the fortress the first time around, and considering what was going on around that time, I guess it was for a bunch of different reasons.” Concrete stopped for a moment, lost in thought again, before he blinked and irreverently downed the entire glass. “Huwahhhhhhh! But who cares! Moving around and thinking fast makes you feel alive! That’s all that really matters, right?”
Wave replied with a laugh and a nod of his head. “Damn straight! I wouldn’t have it any other way.” He palmed the refilled glass in his hands and shrugged. “Anyways, if I’m really itching for a fight, maybe I can call you up instead of looking for bar fights. But I promise I won’t use my harpoon anymore. I only use it when I really want to fuck someone up. And I don’t want to fuck up my buddies.”
"Maybe that’s what we should’ve gotten, shit. Oh well."
Wave’s question was met briefly with a quizzical look, but Concrete rebounded. “Oh! Yeah! Or, yeah I guess I used to. Or is fixing things and retrofitting buildings still construction…?” He hadn’t thought about what it was exactly that he did since he got back from the boonies. Sip sip. The longest train of thought he allowed himself to follow was ‘It’s good to be back home,’ and ‘Work is awesome let’s do it all the time!’ He shook his head. It wasn’t the time for navel-gazing right now — he was here to enjoy his time with a friend.
"Anyway, whatever you can think of doing with concrete and cement, that’s usually what you can find me doing on the job! And if ‘Wave’ is any indication…" Concrete gestured with his arms spread wide, as if the very bar unfolded from his chest, "…being able to come up with clever names isn’t a prerequisite for genius."
Wave snorted. “Yeah well at least I’m not Spring Man. Waves can be pretty damn destructive, so I think it’s a good fit for me.” He then takes another drink and swirls the whiskey in his glass, furrowing his eyebrows. “But I think you got lucky with the whole job setup. I can’t go around being a combat bot, so I’m stuck being the goddamn plumber for the entire fortress. I mean, it’s not a bad job and I’m pretty damn proud that I help keep the place afloat, but I get so fucking restless you know? I guess it’s the combat programming in me. It’s a stubborn bastard that refuses to die.”
He took a long swig of his glass, finishing the entire thing. After signaling for the bartender to give him another drink, Wave gave Concrete a little shove with his shoulder and chuckled. “Guess it explains why I like fighting you so much. But I still can’t figure out why you’re crazy enough to do it. It is really just family pride?”
Concrete sputter-chuckled. “Wow, do you still remember that stupid thing I said earlier? YEAH make it two!”
The glasses were set and the drinks were poured, and the bartender went off to tend to the other guests seated further down the counter. Concrete’s face suddenly fell a bit as a realization hit him: “Ah man, now I don’t know if I can do this, whiskey is too respectable and beautiful to just down…” Gingerly, he held up the bottom of the glass with his finger tips, turning it in his hand, level to his face. He sighed and sipped a bit.
"Don’t think you’ve convinced me out of anything, got it?" he laughed while pointing at his companion with his glass-bearing hand. "I still want to see you gasping on the floor for this stuff at some point."
"Yeah well, you do got a point," replied Wave as he raised the glass to his lips. He paused to take a drink and set down his glass. "Almost forgot how much I like whiskey. All I’ve been having lately is piss-poor beer. But it’s cheap and you can get a shitton of it."
He took another drink before he realized that for all the fighting they had done, he really had no clue what Concrete liked or even did for a living. In fact, Wave didn’t know a single thing about him. Wanting to correct that, he asked, “So Con, what exactly do you do? With a name like Concrete, I’m assuming you do construction right?”
"Ha! This place, I wouldn’t give it a once over but now that I’m in it, it’s like I’ve always drank here!" His large hand fell upon Wave’s unkempt hair and tousled it a little more in retaliation for the small thump. Yep, that’s better.
Concrete grabbed a seat of his own and fell on it with a heavy thump. “I’ve been doing pretty good, the guys in the back are a fun bunch heh.” He gestured toward the noisy gathering behind him. “Kept hassling me to take swigs of their liquor but had to turn them down every time. So I told em, ‘Nope, can’t start without him or else we wouldn’t have our mandatory competition every time we meet.’ Unsportsmanlike to shoot goals when there’s no team to block you.”
At the mention of “competition”, Wave shot Concrete a toothy grin. “So this means we’re going to have a drinking contest then? I don’t know, I think you might lose this one. Maybe you should back out of it while you still can. I can drink like a goddamn fish.”
The bartender, an older man in his fifties, turned to them from behind the counter. Ignoring the cables and earcaps of his robot customers, he asked them, “What would you fellas want to drink?” Wave looked to Concrete, giving him a cocky raised eyebrow. “I’ll have a whiskey. And what about you Con? You want one too?”
In the picture-laden walls of the wharf-side bar and the heavy din and raucous laughter of its sea-faring patrons, Concrete and a captain of docked crabbing rig animatedly discussed the finer details of naming ships. Owing to the fact that he didn’t have to desperately make himself presentable, Concrete arrived quite a bit earlier than the designated time he and Wave agreed upon out of sheer habit and was forced to occupy himself meanwhile.
Among the images of fish and water that practically composed the walls, netting suspended from the ceiling, and general smoky, narrow, and salty-crusty-crust feel of the place, he felt distinctly out of place. But the bar-goers were an enthusiastic and lively bunch that made a bigger deal about his size than anything else, and Concrete was sucked in to their boisterous merrymaking for a while before, as the clock marched closer to time, he decided to retire to the bar.
More wild cheering emanated from the back of the building and the captain hastily bid his farewell to join his men. Just on time, too, as he turned his eyes to the clock.
Never punctual, Wave arrived at the bar a few minutes late, his black work boots thumping on the wooden floor as he made his way inside. Even in the dim light, Wave could easily spot Concrete’s huge body from across the room, bringing a big grin to his face.
"Hey Concrete, how are you doing you big lug?" said Wave with a laugh as he gave the other bot a friendly thump on the back. Taking off his grey windbreaker, Wave took a seat at the bar and gestured for Concrete to sit down. "So do you like the place? Normally when I want to get a drink, I come down here. They don’t give a fuck on who you are as long as you pay your tab."
Well I guess my date would be someone who could hold their liqueur and wouldn’t mind my sailor mouth. I’m not really a romantic type, so we’d probably go out and get some drinks, maybe take a swim if they feel like it.
Well I don’t got anything against exploring but I do know a few good pubs and bars in downtown Monsteropolis.
I’m game! Oh, but hey I don’t know what your schedule is like, but I don’t think I can manage to squeeze in smash time for another week or so. Hope this wasn’t something you wanted to get into right away.
Nah, I can wait. I’ve got enough things to keep me busy. But send me a line whenever you’re free.
Concrete’s limbs shook violently as he attempted to move them one by one. He was pretty sure he was trying to move his fingers, but it was his leg that answered the call with a spasmodic contraction. “Would you? Could probably figure out how to work myself like a meta-puppeteer, but some help would be great.”
With a great effort, and no shortage of sickening metal-on-metal noises, Concrete managed to pull himself up into a sit, drawing up with him thick ropes of oil and bright green coolant that clung to his back and sides. There was sand everywhere on and possibly inside his form, and he pitied whoever had to clean up this pointless mess. “Speaking of crazy bastard… ahh… I’ll probably find out when I get back home. C’nni get a lift?”
"Yeah, no problem," replied Wave as he bent his knees, his legs buckling slightly under the weight as he pulled the Light bot up. He then pulled Concrete’s arm over his shoulder, keeping them steady as he began to trudge forward, one foot at a time. The fortress wasn’t too far off, but Concrete’s weight, along with coating of slick and slippery oil, made the simple walk into one mess of a trek. Every time Wave felt Concrete about to stumble, he dug his fingers in and held on tighter, his eyes focused on the approaching lights. "We’re almost there. Just hang on a little longer."
After what seemed like hours, the pair finally made their way inside the fortress and to the teleporter in the central lobby. The metal clunk of footsteps could be heard as Wave leaned Concrete up against the teleporter wall and stepped back outside. The panel had already had the return coordinates set up from when Concrete first arrived, so all Wave needed to do was push a button and Concrete would be on his way back home.
With a hand hovering over the control panel, Wave looked up, his expression a little softer than it was before. “I’m sorry if I fucked up your day. I know this sounds stupid, but I kind of regret calling you a smarmy fuck. And for causing all this.”
"Hahahaha, ahhhhhh definitely you but with a lot more emphasis on the bastard part, eh?" The fight proved to be very quick and messy, and his sole mode of protection was completely useless. In his interface, he could see portions of his body shut down completely from heat exhaustion and exposure to his internal fluids. Wave had graciously decided not to go for his head, leaving him in no danger of actually dying, but hell if the trek back to the labs was going to be easy or quiet. He grinned a stupid grinny grin and laughed regardless. "I mean seriously Wave, you couldn’t even be assed to say ‘Hi?’ Just gotta get right into jabbin’ me with that pointy stick of yours. No wonder Splash hates you. You got no sense of romance."
Concrete hmm’d quietly and decided to lay in the cold sand for a while; having no way of knowing if his body was still furiously overheating or not, even with the perforations ventilating his chest and abdomen, he hoped some rest would bring those dead parts of him back into operation. All the while, his face never showed a hint of dejection or bitterness over losing. “But you know what, that was a great fight. You really know how to live up to your function.”
Wave laughed at the compliment as he sat beside Concrete, wiping the oil from his face. “Yeah, well I’m always a bastard. Splash hates me no matter what I do and she’ll probably try to kill me once she sees what I’ve done to your sorry ass.” He then nodded. “But thanks. Not many fellas mess with me because of it.” He lifted his harpoon for emphasis. “Or this. You’re a pretty crazy bastard for not giving a damn. But you know, that’s why I like fighting you in the first place. Crazy, brave bastards are a dying breed. There needs to be more guys like you out there.”
He then took a look at Concrete’s damage body, a real hard look, and his smile fell as he felt a pang of remorse. “Hey you want me to help you get back?” he asked, leaning forward. “It’s the least I can do.”
He was right. He was too slow. Concrete could only sit like a pincushion and take Wave’s onslaught, every pierce showering his GUI with a cadre of new alerts: “Ventilation offline;” “Coolant leak;” “Wireless offline.” Soon, even his sense of pain was beginning to leave him, and all that was left was the untouched hardware between his earpieces and jumpy, jittery control over everything below the neck.
Jeez, son, look at you go. But I guess that’s what a weapon is supposed to be enthusiastic about, right? he thought to himself.
Suddenly the stabbing stopped, replaced by the strange sensation of being rearranged from the inside. “How does it feel like to lose? Come on, tell me you smarmy fuck.” And suddenly Concrete had an idea.
Concrete laughed a weak laugh in his opponent’s face. “You won’t get it probably, but even if I lose I already won.” With that he abruptly twisted his body, harpoon barbs catching his skeleton and locking it in place. Finally! A modicum of control. Concrete sloppily shoved Wave’s opposite shoulder, turning Wave around and locking his arm behind his back, and fell forward, pinning Wave face-down in a spray of grains and pebbles with a free hand pressed against his nape.
Caught by surprise, Wave tried in vain to stop himself from falling but was soon met with a face full of sand. The crush of Concrete’s body had made Wave sink even deeper into the beach as he struggled up against the weight. With his harpoon still deeply embedded, the sailor bot sent a signal down to his buster to wedge the weapon free of the muzzle that held it in place. Instead Wave was given the futile click of a jammed buster.
Gritting his teeth with a mouth filled with sand, Wave decided to forgo any thought out plan and continue to struggle up against the much stronger robot. His pinned arm wriggled from underneath him as he kicked out from under his feet, trying to get a sense of where Concrete’s grip was the weakest. As he thrashed around, pushing his weight up, Wave sensed a small tremor from Concrete’s arm that was pushing his head forward. That little give was enough for Wave to pull his head up and headbutt Concrete hard behind him. His grip loosened and Wave was able to pull his arm free and kick Concrete away from his body. Using his weight, Wave was finally able to pry his harpoon free, the momentum sending him rolling back. He then scrambled to his feet, brandishing his weapon again in case Concrete decided to lunge at him. But soon it was apparent that Concrete wasn’t going anywhere; the oil pooled around him and the exposed circuits made good sure of that.
Wave walked to his fallen opponent and kicked him in the side, exposing his face to the sky. He spat the sand out of his mouth as he looked into Concrete’s face, trying to catch any sign of defeat. “Can’t say you tried,” he said, with a worn smirk of pride. “But look who won this time. Guess who’s the stronger bastard now, huh?”
A sneak attack Concrete was definitely expecting out of Wave, especially after their last confrontation, but not in the form of something as underhanded as sand to the face. His eyes reflexively snapped shut and he stumbled backwards in the uneven footing of the sandy beach, perfectly exposing his torso to the incoming blade.
The sharpened metal slid through the resistance of his synthetic musculature clean and easy, and his face contorted itself into a voiceless, wide-eyed expression of shock. The unfamiliar pain of being punctured nearly decommissioned the entirety of Concrete’s higher thinking processes, but even with his circuits clogged with both searing pain and the incessant blares of warning, Concrete wouldn’t dare loose himself to the predictable nature of his desperation protocol. With hope in his core, Concrete threw his open, armored palm in a powerful thrust directly at Wave’s head, praying he would be quick enough to catch his nimble adversary in an iron grip.
As soon as he saw the glint of metal from Concrete’s glove, Wave quickly pulled his harpoon from out of the Light bot’s side and ducked out of the way. The dark stain of oil dripped down the harpoon’s point as Wave took aim at his target. Normally he’d take the time to barrage Concrete with even more salty insults, but he knew that every word uttered could give his enemy enough time to fight back. And this time, Wave was determined to win, once and for all.
Before Concrete could even lift a finger, Wave pulled his arm back and stabbed him again in the chest and then again, and again. The sharp sound of pierced metal could be heard with each blow, along with the smell of burnt wires as they sizzled and popped. Oil and motor fluid spurted out like blood from a severed artery, spilling into Wave’s shirt and face. Feeling confident, Wave pulled his face closer to Concrete’s, a stained smile on his lips as he twisted his harpoon from deep inside the Light bot’s gut. “How does it feel like to lose? Come on, tell me you smarmy fuck.”
After making TRIPLE sure he didn’t make a dunce out of himself this time around, Concrete quickly navigated his way to the fortress’s gates and made his way down the shore, making quick notes of his surroundings and assessing his chances of coming out of this fight without some majorly gnarly injuries. The odds were so laughably infinitesimal, he considered ripping off his left arm and leaving it in one of the bushes on the dunes, and laughed morbidly at the thought. It’ll be the only thing that’s left in once piece.
A form came into view, slowly emerging from the placid expanse of darkness as Concrete approached. “OY!” He called out, smiling and waving a gloved hand in greeting.
Wave turned around at the sound, smirking when he saw Concrete standing there. For a moment, Wave stood in the dark as his eyes took a moment to adjust to the lighting and find his target. He didn’t even bother with a greeting of his own; instead, without warning, he ran towards Concrete, kicking sand into his face once he was close enough. He then lunged at the bot’s side with his harpoon, swinging as hard as he could. Through clenched teeth and a feral smile, he snarled, “Take this you fucking bastard!”
It was around eleven o’clock when Wave made his way out to the fortress’s beach, kicking up shells and sand from underneath his bare feet. He stopped walking once he was far enough away from the metal citadel, it’s lights twinkling in the distance. Out here, only the sound of the surf and the gentle whirring of Wave’s machinery could be heard, clicking in anticipation.
Pausing for a moment to look out into the ocean, Wave pulled out a cigarette from his short’s pocket, dangling it in his mouth as he lit it with his free hand. The harpoon buster at his side glinted in the dim light as he smoked, watching as the puffs drifted off into the dark sky.
> I’m ready. Meet me at the west end of the beach.
Good question. You guys probably have a dedicated space for training, right? If you do we should take it there. Don’t mean to keep it always on your homefront but it doesn’t seem right to fight back at the labs. And ready whenever, I’ve got no assignments!
Yeah, we can take it there or on the beach. How about tonight?
Yo Wave, how are ya? Hope you repaired yourself nice 'n' quick and whatever I did didn't keep you from doing... what you do, you know? You still up for that rematch? Armored gloves, no con-shot and no body-slamming from me -- fair fight, how about it?
I’m doin’ good. Yeah, I’m still up for round two. So I’m guessing by fair fight you mean no harpooning from me?
If I may be honest, that seems rather counter-intuitive… I mean it doesn’t take a genius to realise that beating humans into submission is only going to create more problems than it’ll solve. True equality can only be reached when there’s a mutual respect - trying to get them to fear us will only make them feel resentful, and goodness knows what that could lead to…!
Think of it this way: would you be more inclined to do something for someone who asks in a nice, pleasant manner, or someone who shouts at you and practically forces you to do it?
I wouldn’t do anything for any human, no matter how they said it. They haven’t earned our respect, so they don’t deserve ours, pure and simple.
He’s trying, I assure you! It’s just, well… it’s just a little difficult when Dr. Wily is continuing to tarnish what little trust the humans have in us, you know? With you lot near constantly heading into the city and causing a ruckus, it’s no wonder the humans don’t tend to view us very favourably. We need to be giving them reasons to view us as equals, not as troublemakers…!
They’re never going to view us that way. Beating the shit out of them is the only way they’ll learn that we’re not going to take it anymore, that we’re not a bunch of pushovers.If you want to pussy out of the revolution, fine with me, but don’t get in our way.