Seventeen days he'd stared at it. Not a single soul in the entirety of the Maverick Hunter collective had noticed him. It was like a quiet penance... a punishment he inflicted upon himself. The digital version of Self-Mortification. He seethed with it, every day, the sentiment boiling behind his eyes without ceasing. It brought back old ends... small signatures to the bottom of the paragraph that marked the life and times of Bass Wily. Wily's own 001. Or was he? It was a calculated mistake, right? Self-conditioning... a way to forget. During the remodel of his psyche, had something been intentionally omitted?
It wasn't there anymore.
Four words that had the weight of a continent. He did what he was supposed to do here, in this place... with these people. He fought the good fight- or at the very least, his version of it. And yet there was never any satisfaction, never any chalice of mead that would quench the thirst that still lingered in him. The thirst that drove him... taught him how to continue to fight. It was as if he was trapped in a tunnel with a light at the end... and the light never got any closer. No matter how many steps he took, how far into the muck and dirt he allowed his boots to trudge. Something was there.
And he found out what it was.
The computer screen in front of him burned with the brilliant blue opulence of data streaming away at a pace that would sicken and blind a normal human being. Accented only by the red, flickering word at the top right hand corner of the screen that read 'Classified'. He was looking at himself. And every moment... every second sitting there at that console in the medical bay seemed to draw a disgusted glare ... a deepening foreshadowing of his eyebrows. It was him. Every bit of him. The pieces that he knew, the pieces that he didn't know...
He had been sitting in that chair long enough for his watch to show a layering of dust. And he finally moved... lifting the data cube beside him and pushing it into the console.
"Download algorithm... Forte. Zero. Zero. One. Alpha... Prime..."
The door to the medical facility opens, and there is a quiet murmur of conversation in the distant background - female voices, the nurses, talking to someone else, male, tenor. The tone of their voices says more than their distance-muddled words do:
The noises of the rest of the facility are largely filtered out by the distance between the entryway and the record room where Bass is sitting; he has been thusfar undisturbed. He is trusted here. Cossack insisted that everyone give him a measure of trust, to let time begin to heal his mental wounds, to let him try to find his own way apart from the machinations of his creator. Time, the great equalizer. Time, the great healer.
But is it?
Footsteps are echoing down the hallway, getting closer to the record room, bouncing off the walls, through the doorway, against Bass' audioceptors. A measured pace, casual and unhurried, getting closer. Rubber soles on the bottom of shoes covering someone who treads with the care of a predator, barely detectable save to that of the "ears" of a machine.
A lot can happen when one gives the devil enough time. Afterall in life, people say shit happens. That's not at all accurate. Musing on this thought, Bass picks up the data cube, rolling it about in his fingers, looking at the thumbnail images on each side of the data stream whipping about inside of it. So much to consume... so much to know, to feel. And most of all, an answer to his emptiness. To what Cossack had been hiding from him. Why he felt like he was purposeless in a place that offered so much potential and purpose. He felt like he was a machine without a designation. A sewing machine without cloth.
And yet every time he looked at him... at Rock...
Soemthing inside didn't feel right. He didn't feel the same adoration, the same hope everyone else described when they saw him. All he had was half remembered ghosts in his head. Remembering torment in those big, innocent eyes. Remembering suffering in his voice. Every now and then he felt it in his synethetic muscle memory. Fingers wrapped around that little throat. Shaking his head, he pulls himself out of the dark again. "... What'd you hide from me, Daddy...?" -- And then he hears the footsteps.
Black hair, cropped short, layered, and neat shifts with the mvoement of his head whipping to the door. ".. Shit!" Hish ands breeze over the console, closing window after window, files disappearing, "Clear history. Thirty days..." -- But there was one thing left unhidden.
Standing up, Bass yanks his shirt up, slamming his fist into his chest. His skin seems to part, drawing out the outline of his front flesh panel. Yanking it open, he shoves the cube directly into his core drive, glaring at the door as he buttons himself back up and tugs his shirt down, swiftly moving towards the doorway.
Bass is met by a surprised looking young man only slightly taller than he.
Crimson eyes fix to Bass' echoing some hidden, unspoken similarity, some resemblance despite their clear, wet, flesh and blood corneas over irises that glitter with microcircuitry. A surprised grimace draws over the young man's lips, his spiked silver-blue bangs jostled and his zero-length locks behind swishing as he leans backwards quickly to avoid running into Bass, his whole body tensing up. For a second the hair seems to recoil and curl upwards of its own volition -- a trick of the light?
He takes a step back and adjusts the brilliant, wet-looking red jacket over black, silver-edged tunic shirt and flowing black hakama pants. Out of place red converse high-tops resume their partial stealth beneath.
"Oh. It's /you/." Disappointment and disdain stain his speech. After a moment of thought he seems to relent and grant his approval, a smirk tugging at the right corner of his mouth. "Never thought I'd meet one of the old men here."
You are not carrying anything.
You have 1299 zennies.
He felt a flash of anger wash over him at the thought of being interrupted. People were in and out of the Medical Wing day in and day out before the Great Peace. Now, with things so very settled in the world. With the time and energy expended on war long over... this place only saw the occasional accident and mostly checkups. The rest was fallout, the remaining sum that had still yet to finish their medical treatments. With that, he was left with an over abundance of time spent by hismelf. Able to look into anything that was on his sinister mind.
In fact, most everything had been closed down on the screen save for a still frame of Prometheus himself. Whom he was battling as uncertain, but it was obvious that he was being studied. Nearly bumping into the very creation he was studying, Bass halts himself, mere inches from his face, their noses nearly touching before the both of them take a pace back. Equal looks of dislike are exchanged, though for Bass' part, it wasn't dislike for the boy, it was overall dislike for him being in his presence. "Yeah." He starts, "Its me." His tone was sarcastic at best, though confirming the the fire wielder's words.
Bass himself stood easy in black jeans, a chain running from his back pocket to his front right side pant loop. Black and white high tops on his feet with a circular red dot to either side of them. His upper body was clothed in a T-shirt. One of Rock's own, no less. It was white with a red baseball collar, and across the front of it read the word, 'Milquetoast'. Ironic that.
"Never thought I'd run into so much wasted new blood."
Prometheus' eyes widen a quarter of an inch, pupils irising down before they relax, followed by a greasy, taunting smile and a flash of teeth. He almost managed to catch it - almost managed to hide that sudden flash of rage at being insulted. There was pride there, even if he had no real reason to be proud anymore.
"You can blame our daddy," Prometheus melifluously hisses between those milk white teeth, never losing that sociopathic smile. "He likes making spent shells like me. Like you."
Looking at this young man. This present fixation on his previous vexation, so to speak... he couldn't help but consider... to linger on the possibility that this was his time now. And in his right mind, that seemed the right conclusion to draw. That seemed the way his mind should have worked save for one thing. A single, nagging sensation. Something in him refused to let it pass like that, to let it go. Then something reared its head. Something that Prometheus wouldn't recognize, but anyone from the golden day... from the bad old days when the world was in HIS palm would know...
Bass' left eye twitched.
Perhaps the only machine in the world, in creation to have a tick. It was his. It was his most prevailant marker. His tell. He could bluff a thousand things but never that. Problem was, no one ever seemed to get it right. Most thought it was anger... rage... no. rage was the simple answer. Nothing was ever that simple. Especially with this one. However, staring at Prometheus, looking him in the eyes, in Bass' own red optics, blue scrolls through them. Words like microfish scrolled across his eyes until all too suddenly it stopped. His irises flashed brilliant red and died out.
Were Prometheus a machine from the old design he'd recognize it.
Program parameters successfully loaded...
"Hey... Pretty Boy..." His head turned, tilting like a hawk glaring at prey, "You ever been punched in the mouth for talkin' too much?"
It might have been a mistake to give Prometheus his weapons systems back, to give him that hopefully neutered biometal system that pulsed and beat with rhythm of Albert's own unforgiveably black heart. Aeolus argued it, and some of the other older hunters questioned it. It was like handing a butcher knife and skillet into the hands of Hannibal Lector.
"No," Cossack stated calmly. "He's goink to need it. Brothers will fight."
Prometheus had been in a funk, to say the least. He had never wanted to be saved - never asked them to drag his unconscious body from the collapsing rubble of Ouroboros. Never asked them to spend long hours trying to free him from the lock that forced his body into constant megamerge - a heightened state of combat. Never asked them to remove the purposely faulty battery that kept him chained to the very production pod of his birth, forced to crawl back into the robotic womb every three days just to stay alive. Never asked them to restore his broken and eaten soul. Never asked them to transform him into a body half human, half machine.
And they expected him to be grateful. After he had struggled for one hundred and fifteen years to personally lay his hands on and tear to shreds everything Albert had stood for, after he had finally drawn his scythe through that soft, weak wet flesh, carved his creator from neck to groin, seen him fall and choke on his own blood in a shocked and horrified haze of pain - after he had tasted that ultimate forbidden fruit of slaying the god that made him - after he had sought to be the match to light the funeral pyre of the world and scream his joyous death in its ashes --
They had DARED to force him to live.
Meeting Bass was perhaps preordained, an unhappy twist of fate (at least for everyone else); as Prometheus looked down at his older, smaller brother, he could feel the oozing red glazing down over his mind, the soothing balm of purpose sucked into every pore of his being.
Here... here was Albert's handiwork.
He still had work to do.
The smile spread wider on his face. His answer to Bass' question?
A sudden sharp right hook aimed at the left side of Bass' jaw.
There are certain things in life that were meant to unsettle, to unhinge. Even the craziest of minds, the most tormented of souls... the most shredded of psyches have reached that point in which reason failed to make reason. In which something happened that should have given them pause, whether it did or did not. Today was Prometheus' day to either stop and stare in wonder, or gawk in ignorance afterwards. Because as they stood and stared at once another, as tension built like a thick haze, exchanging all reason for silent, unmoving motive... Bass was equally unmoved.
Staring Prometheus down like a dog in a street shot with broken stones, unable to walk for fear of stumbling... Bass ... nay... Forte returned Prometheus' stare. Forte watched him lift his arm, the movement caught by his battle senses, viewing it all in clips... small phrases of movement, the key pieces that put together a battle catalogue of his balance, weight, movement, alacrity and speed. The very systems that made him such a dominant force, an animal in battle. All of the warning signs, the suggested outcomes, the precognitive engine that fueled his evasive maneuvers-- ignored. The fist came in on him, his eyes looking beyond it, looking the boy in the eyes.
His knuckles smashed into Forte's jaw, his eyes on Prometheus' still before the momentum and force of impact wrench his head to one side. His smaller body is cast back, reeling, feet leaving the ground as he turns in the air, crashing down. Slowly standing back up to his full height, he rolls his head on his neck, adjusting sore synth flesh and muscle. Over-stressed servos in his neck recalibrating as he turns to face Prometheus...
"Tch..." he spits black mechfluid upon the ground. "You hit like a pretty boy too. You'd have been better off kissing me." His tongue rolls under his buttom lip and upward to is jaw, clearing the fluid that had built there, he spitting again before he finally says.
"You... fuckin'..." Shaking his head, he lifts his chin, "You've been planning to hit me for the last twenty seconds. I've been planning to hit you for the last twenty days, son. You should know who you're fuckin' with before you get your pants down."
"Did you actually peek in on her... or did you just take the Nurse's word for it. Hm?" He asks, stepping closer to the boy, nearly nose to nose with him again.
"Pandora's not here. And don't bother asking where she is..." he chortles darkly, "You don't have the power to negotiate. You're the terrorist... the criminal. Remember?"
Bass' resistance - that wretched resistance - shows through even as the fist connects. Frustration only screams in his head even louder - they took away his reploid body, his perfect reploid body, saddling him with meat that would only weak age and die. This was mercy?!
This is HELL!!
He sneers, the impotent rage boiling inside of him. He doesn't bother to hide it now, he lets it spew all over him, melt down every inch of him. The anger, the hate, the bitterness, the insanity - all of it only barely cooled by the attempts of those around him to make him into a good and productive member of society, their attempts to use therapy on a demon to reconcile him to angels - bursts like magma out of the thin, brittle shell of his mental 'healing'.
"Do you think I care about negotiations?" he grins, eyes widening again. "Do you think I care what they brand me?" He giggles faintly.
"I AM A CRIMINAL! I AM A TERRORIST! I AM ALBERT NUMBER ZERO ZERO ONE, THE FIRST MEGA MAN! I WAS CREATED TO DO NOTHING BUT RAVAGE MY OWN KIND!" he suddenly screams, crouching down and extending his arms out.
From the center of his chest a violet-black energy flares, sweeping out over him like a cocoon, fading from the center of his chest just as quickly. The change is immediate as he megamerges, his clothing gone, replaced by gray, violet and crimson armor. The skull-and-fin helmet is framed by ribbons of metallic hair that flare out like the wings of a phoenix. A staff forms in Prometheus' hand.
"You.... YOU are what's left of Albert's legacy. You and I and Pandora... you read about me for twenty days - yet WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT EITHER PANDORA OR I?!" he snarls loudly. "DON'T THREATEN ME WITH HER ABSENCE. WE'RE AS LINKED AS ROCK AND ROLL!"
Chapters turned in the lives of everyone. Be it machines, humans or crosses in between. Sooner or later the old would come to replace the new, that which was before would soon fall into the past. The problem with that equation is the fact that never had there been a machine so prolifically built. Bass, the most frightening power to ever come out of Wily. The only thing capable of defeating the limitless power within that fortenium core was Hope. The kind of hope that someone like Rock had oozing out of him. And not because of its might, its raw ability to decimate obstacles... but because it was something that went beyond power. It was believed that Rock was the stronger of the two. Lies. Falsehoods based upon Rock's continued victory. No. What made them differ was the fact that Rock would take the kind of beating that no one else could in pursuit of protecting this world.
Unfortunately for this new blood... he didn't have hope on his side. He had a whole lot of anger and rage. Insanity would only get him so far. This was the machine that served as the template for everything that came after him, and somehow was never duplicated, never remade. Wily's biggest triumph and greatest mistake. The machine that seemed to have the ability to transform himself... to constantly eat... consume... asssimilate new power. As the times around him grew, so too did his strength. Even the Net couldn't contain his power in the form of Forte.exe. A creation that could not be consumed by anything but the machine standing before Prometheus now. And what made him the most dangerous... was the fact that he always thought twenty-two moves ahead. he was a brawler by nature, but outside of battle, he was the kind of mind that made nations crumble. Not to intelligence, but to sheer strength of will.
Prometheus made one mistake with Bass, and that was the mistake of tipping his cards early. Of showing his rage, his will to destroy all that Albert had created. The look on Bass' face was as serene as the day he was born. The kind of disarming serenity that held back floodgates one should leave untampered. The boy took the time to transform... to yell his barbaric dichotomies to the world....
Bass didn't waste that kind of time.
That disgusting, ever so wrong energy... that dark power that hid within him bubbles to the surface from the first step forward he took. Purple and lavender coalesced together, spewing forth the silvery white center of that concentrated energy that wrapped about his body, his next step rendering him taller as his booster jets fired beneath those black and white armored boots. All of his weight leaned fully forward, an impossible angle, one knee bent, the other leg straight behind, piercing the air with a deafening hiss, scortching the air, leaving a vapor trail behind that whirled with that purple essence. The word 'Legacy' hadn't quite gotten out of his mouth before Bass' snarling face was up close and personal, purple gashes... scars on his face contorted as his mouth flew wide, roaring, sharp canine teeth visible... mouth open like a beast seeking to consume flesh.
"BRING THE NOISE!" Clawed fingers snatch into a fist that literally bursts through the air, a sonic boom tearing apart the silent ozone between he and Prometheus that quickly closed, it snapping out to claim his face with a sickening, crushing force.
Prometheus doesn't even try to dodge. He doesn't try to block. There is a good chance that he could, that he could have moved out of the way, shielded himself from the blow, but as Bass fist shreds through the air with its own whistling roar --
He turns into it.
Prometheus closes his eyes and savors the pain that courses through him. He gains a cut and deep unnatural syrupy burgundy fluid flecks out. His head snaps to the side and his upper body follows, crashing to the floor. He lets the staff in his hand slide down the polished tile of the hallway noisily.
"... hahahaha," he laughs at the edge of his breath, running out of air, strangling the sound into silence. He turns to look at Bass out of the corner of his eye, still grinning like a man possessed.
"No. No, YOU bring it. You want to be Albert's favorite son?" He sits up and spreads his hands. "Be my guest. BEAT IT OUT OF ME!"
The blow strikes true and Bass' eyes weren't at all locked on Prometheus, but rather his fist... eyes glaring wide, his forward momentum suddenly haulted as his boots hit the ground, sliding to a stop. A couple of things bother him... first, the material of his gloves. So unlike himself. it seems this person he's been parading around as didn't quite savor the ability to feel. To absolutely enjoy the feeling of a throat buckling under the pressure of his long, dextrous fingers. Crushing a trachea until-- well... Suffice, these thick, cloth gloves, while white, didn't seem to appeal anymore. He took his time, marching towards the downed Promethus. Only then aware of the second thing that was wrong with this picture. There was blood on his knuckles. and not the mechanical kind.
Gripping his gloves with his teeth as he lifted his hand to his mouth, he tugged first the left, then the right free. "Be ... your guest." Bass says, chuckling almost warmly, a disarming smile on his face as he moved closer. Lifting his other hand to his mouth, he pulls free that glove, spitting it to the ground as he squats beside Prometheus... reaching out for him, attempting to grab his shoulder and turn him over. "You..." That smile slowly becomes only a smirk. "You think you know what living with it is, hm? The shroud of Wily. The shadow of dear ol' dad." Shaking his head slowly, he reaches out, hands bare now, synthetic flesh all to eager to receive the gift of Prometheus' throat. His hand was moving towards it, slowly seeking it. The look in his eyes... so very dangerous, so very gone. He had the worst kind of insanity one could have.
It was silent, and calm and complete. "Give me your throat." His head tilted down slightly, chin angling downward, setting thoes dangerous eyes on Prometheus, his fins silhouetted by the dim window light in the dark room he'd been studying in for so long. His armor smelled of wax, fresh machine oil and the ever present, tinny metal rustic taint of blood. His skin smelled of sweat. His free hand reaches up, pulling his helmet from his head, the great, finned helm bursting into lavender light and flames, dithering away, leaving his black hair, cropped in layers down to his chin almost, to frame his face. He pushes his fingers through it, frowning... before that hand too moves down to seek out the boy's throat.
"You think you know what that darkness behind your eyes is... hm...? How long you've lived with it. You were trained to be what you are. I was BUILT to be it. You destroy... everything... anything. I was built to destroy one thing. And it's that... that will always make me stronger than you."
Prometheus leans forward, leaning to press his forehead to Bass' and his throat into the Wilybot's hands. His eyes narrow. He still smiles. That smile never seems to leave him, that insane, miserable, empty, feral smile.
He whispers softly to Bass. Three little words.
Those willful, red eyes slowly close, his forehead pressing against Prometheus' own, his fingers clutching his throat. As the last word leaves his mouth, Bass' mind wanders, wanders away from this place, harkening back to another time, another fight. As his bare fingers seal around that narrow throat, clutching with an ever depressing squeeze, one that grows harder and more dangerous with each passing second, he lets out a subtle groan. A deeply triumphant sound, remembering the desperate eyes of the blue bomber, held in this very same, darkly perverse hold. Possession. When he returns to the hear and now, his head leans back, fingers gripping the boy's throat as he looks him in the eyes. Bass rolls his head on his neck, chin lifting high, his eyes never leaving Prometheus, as if stretching out soreness before lowering his chin again, barring down on the boy.
Those vicious eye teeth come into view, sharp canines visible as he smiles, opening his mouth wide. His tongue licks over a tooth as one hand snakes its way up to grip his helmet, the other moving down, firmly finding a hold on his shoulders before Bass' face rushes in to the bared throat. Those vicious teeth sink in, hard, boring through material, seeking the wet wear beneath, "GGRRHK..." its a sudden surge of violence from that ever so calm demeanor. This wasn't just a machine. This was a beast. An animal. Tearing his teeth free, his hand shoves the boy's shoulder down, pinning him to the ground as the hand on his helmet lifts...
Long fingers clench into a fist.
"Oh, believe me... You'll care."
That fist rushes downward, whipping through the air like a thrown stone, rushing towards his exposed face, Bass not satisfied, never quenching his thirst on no other flesh but Rock's own. His fist came up again, brutally bashing downward a second, a third and a fourth time before he seeths, snarling, gnashing his teeth as he roars down at Prometheus, "YOU DON'T HAVE THE STRENGTH TO CONQUER ME!"
That roar sets the nurses finally on edge, they already listening, horrified at the sounds coming from the research wing. A low level alarm trips, alerting only the automatic guard. Bass, panting for air, slowly pushes himself up to his full height, his eyes turning to the storage cabinet... the sink in the far corner of the room.
"Cossack... how dare you try to take this from me..."
"... How dare you try to rob me OF MY HATE!!!"
Bass has partially disconnected.
Prometheus expected this; he expected the damage, he expected the rage, the violence -- he wanted it. He was doing his damnedest to bait Bass into it, and as Bass bites into his neck and hits wires, metal, muscle and veins all at once, he just smiles even wider, going so far as to lean his head back and let the beast do as it wills.
In his mind he's already won; he made Bass do what he wanted, left his blood and his injury painted across Bass in a wide, guilty swath for the world to see. He can die, satisfied; suicide by Bass is an appealing option for him.
The blows hurt, tearing flesh off of metal skull, denting it but not quite breaking it; it exposes machine and the smell of fresh gore as the softer tissues simply splatter across Bass' arm, squishing into the crevices of his fingers, dripping onto his chest and upper body, misting onto his face. They hurt, they abominably hurt, but Prometheus wills himself not to react - to let it come. He wants death out of spite, death to end the indignity of being even partially human.
Lying on the ground on his back, Prometheus' hair curls and writes like snakes, expressing their pain in a way his unrecognizable face no longer can. His voice is a whispered gurgle.
"... don' need t' conquer you.... you did... what... I wanted you to." He wheezes pained giggles. "... they... made me into this... t'k away... my dignity... made me human... I was like you... machine... killing machine.... born... t'kill... Mega Men."
"I'm.... Albert's .... Mega Man. So.... /kill me already/."
Looking down at his bloody hands... his eyes squinting tightly, blinking, the whites of those red eyes now just as red as the irises themselves from the blood spatter, he chuckles. Fingers clawing towards the sky, his head flies back and he laughs. And all too suddenly the laughter snaps off, his head firing towards Prometheus, glaring at him with baleful eyes, they seething with that dark, purple energy. "Don't you ever be so bold as to assume I did YOUR will... Your entire LIFE is a fool's errand boy. Y'better put your Try-Hard panties on next time," he snorts, marching towards the sink. Turning on the faucet, bloodied fingerprints all over the porcelain counter top, he rips open the cabinets. "Fucking... -- bullshit," he bitches, and clearly those two words had nothing to do with Prometheus.
Glaring at himself in the mirror, at what he'd become... he grabs a handful of that chin length black hair. "How dare you, Daddy. How dare you..." Which daddy was he talking about? Wily? Cossack? With Bass one could never be sure. His right hand moves out, opening the mirror, only to rummage inside, leaving bloody handprints all about as he grabs the medical scissors. Closing the mirror, he goes at that hair, butchering the finely cut layers of lockes. "I never was this person..." The scissors snare through his hair, cutting off a large chunk of it. Combing his fingers through it, he lops off more, and more... and more. Hair falls down into the sink, all about the floor, leaving on his head the short cropped black hair he had before... when he was a killer.
It suited him, as if he'd spent five hours at a salon planning it. That wreckless, carefree, spoiled brat cut, short, messy, long bangs that went where they wanted to. Dropping the scissors to the ground, he pushes his hand into the cabinet, knocking over bottles and containers, packaged medication. He pulls from it the bottle of peroxide, snapping the cap off. Pouring a smattering of it into a cupped hand, blood diffusing down his armored wrist, he pushes his fingers through his hair, splashing them in the chemical. Again and again he pushes his wet fingers through his bangs, filling his palm over and over again.
Finally he leans forward, directing his forehead under the flow of water... letting the black leak out of his bangs, slowly lightening, layer by layer of pigment coming out of it until finally only that familiar white swath remained, stained in Prometheus' blood. Standing slowly up, water running down his armored back and blood smeared face and chest, he turns his head to look at Prometheus... Marching towards him, he looks down, squatting once more. "... Your fire. It consumes everything. I watched you fight... It has the power to burn even X." Lifting his right hand over Prometheus, he slams his palm against his forehead.
"Give me your fire..."
That buster of his whines to life, slowly charging as his eyes dithered blue across his red irises, reading into Prometheus' flesh, bone and machine body, tapping right into his core, reading its true nature, searching... searching... searching for the power of his all consuming fire.
Unfortunately for Bass, Prometheus' core is wrapped tightly around a piece of Bio Metal - a living, thinking, intelligent ball of reploid DNA contained in molecular computer shaped like a fragment of metal. A living soul inside a technoorganic phylactory. As the scanners go on and forcibly try to take the weapon data from Prometheus, the Bio Metal - Model W - reacts immediately. It draws the weapon copy command's information channel towards itself.
The Model W begins backhacking Bass.
Openning a channel between the cores, a catastrophic flood of data and energy rush from Prometheus' core; from the outside as the Nurse Preons clomp into the end of the hallway, it appears that Prometheus is glowing with a hellish violet-red aura of licking flames. It is a force - a self-aware force, a cagey and all-too intelligent mind lashing back out at the Super Wily Number. It bears a familiar stink that can come from only one man, and no other.
Hate spills over into him.
Desperation. Frustration. Depression. Agony. Futility. Emptiness. Sorrow. Hollow. Eternal Misery and the soul-crushing awareness of being denied an escape from it.
A second soul is apparent in all this, then a third, then fourth - more - dozens. Hundreds. Thousands. Humans and reploids and robot masters and humanoids and the sharp, overpowering reek of terror as they are dying, constantly dying, dying by the hands of others. They try to escape but they never can. They are always dying.
The Model W is reaching out to Bass, and attempting to pull him into its well of souls. His anger and violent desire make the vortex inward stronger, sucking at his consciousness with the force of a black hole, straight into the yawning mouth of death opening up inside the Model W.
And then, a stronger second presence interrupts the pull.
<< Biometal developed from weapon copy technology. It knows how to use that to suck your soul in it. That wasn't really bright. >>
He appears visible only to Bass' visual display, a ghost standing over his own body - he's fully robot, with a spikey Rock-like bangs, but longer hair in the back, garbed in a purple and red vest, red gloves, red boots, black armor. There's something about him, like this -- something all too familiar in that face, a face with so much innocence, so much hope, so much spirit.
<< He's been waiting for you to do this, Forte. In Innerpeace, you were outside his reach. So he created me - a Mega Man. He created a world were Mega Men destroyed each other constantly for his satisfaction. If he can draw you into the mix, the Game of Destiny will finally be complete. >>
And the flip side of the coin... while the war waged between the two technologies, one old, one new. The profoundest question remained... is it possible to pull the soul from something that technically had none? Was it possible then for technology designed to steal the very heart of a machine, a reploid, a cyborg... anything it could swallow. Was it possible to take the soul from a ... creature like Bass? Because thats most assuredly what he is. A creature. His core was data, his personality a programed algorithm that had many holes in it... his reactions built from experiences saved inside of his core. Perhaps thats what made hand Rock so very different. Rock had a soul. Forte did not. Perhaps its why Forte did, has and forever will always lack... Hope.
If hope is man's strongest weapon... and Rock has attained it. What amid the hopeless? Those that lack the ability to divine it's power?
For Bass, this experience was far different. Prometheus was alive with hate, burning with the fire of passion that came from all of those souls crying out at once. From all of the emotions raging inside of him, a sea of angry, angry entities, vying for supremacy. For Bass, it was more like standing at the peaceful edge of the river Styx. One one shore, the black blades of grass and gothic horror of his own psyche, or what reacted like a psyche. On the other side of the dank, lightless waters was the broken, corrupted, rage filled land of pestilencial negative energy. The closest thing a machine could ever come to staring into the mouth of hell. And it called to him... Called to him not like a desperate soul, but like a kingless land, calling out to it's Crowned once and future King.
It wanted him. Like the center piece to a collection, the top to a bottle of aged merlot.
Outwardly, Bass was still. Unmoving. His eyes dead. As if he'd simply been switched off. In his mind he stood at those shores...
Step into the waters...?
But he couldn't go back. The only way out was through.
No. -- Everything ends. It all stops. Blackness. Gone. Bass was nowhere in those lands, he had simply disappeared. His buster powered down, his entire BODY powered down. What came shining out of the mire of darkness- came screaming through the sea of souls was the roaring voice of Bass. Connection severed.
Snapping back to himself, he stands up, glaring down at Prometheus... the disgusting perversion before him... "Damned and damned again..." he hisses down at him, just as the automated guards round the corner. -- What they're met with is dash jets bursting. Bass ripping through the air over Prometheus' downed yet still alive body, ripping into them with a hail of buster fire, that rapid fire arm shredding parts as he tears across the hall leading to the open sky window. Through it he lept, bursting through glass, roaring into the night...
".... I'm so tired," murmurs Prometheus to himself as the alarms blare around him.
"... why can't I just...."