The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Ah, Giga City.

Gate is enjoying some well-earned freedom to travel; it's some of the first he's had outside of work in several decades, thanks to his particular, unique status. Oh, certainly he'd been sent places on missions but always accompanied by another Hunter... just in case. Gate's reputation still lingers even decades after the Nightmare incident. It's a creepy thing to look in a children's history book and see your name, face and deeds painted as a monster in a dark time.

The purple-armored reploid is staring out the window of the plaza, looking out over the bend of sea and sky; the view from several dozen stories up is simply breathtaking. It brings a smile to his face, and distracts him from his intended goal here for a little while.
X6 gatebust

Brilliant light burned in through the glass and forcefields to splash down across the ground and into the fountain water. It was the orange and pink hues of late evening and the sun was magnified five times by the atmosphere as the earth turned to face it's profile to the sun. From this late perch it appeared to move quickly enough to be seen with the naked eye, slowly craning down to a crooked landing just near the horizon. Slow as sugar water rolling down cold glass... and the view spilling out before Gate through that window was apparently just for him... -- That is, if not for the 'zock, zock, zock' that came echoing from the corridor behind him. That familiar sound was that of an unguised footfall from a robotic boot.

He didn't need stealth, he didn't need tradecraft and he certainly didn't need a reason for this trip. If anything, Spider was out doing just what he does best... Finding answers, stirring the pot, hitting the streets for leads, for information concerning his next job. Always the next job, he never concerned himself with the past and only vaguely checked in on the present to make sure his plans were going according to his well dictated schedule of events. That's why as he stepped into the Plaza, orange light spilling over his black, white and gold armor, he paid little to no attention to the world around him. His eyes were aimed down and to his right in concentration, one hand up to the side of his head as if listening intently to a voice ringing in it.

"You say what?" He says flatly, pausing long enough to listen to the reply that comes on the other end. "Right. I didn't expect him to be that dumb. Just keep some guys on him, watch where he goes. I wanna know every place he goes and every step he takes. Until I catch him I want you to be his shadow. If he eats, you eat. If he sits, you sit. If he stops to scratch his watch and wind his ass, you scratch your watch and wind your ass. Goodie? Great-- how are we on the other thing." -- He stops, sighs incredulously, "The big fish. You got anything new from that data I sent you?"

Gate's sensors are ridiculous accute. Intended for diagnostics work, they also serve him well in other arenas; he hears every spoke word around him. He hears the sound of Spider's footsteps long before Spider ever entered the room; he can hear the soft pulse of machinery and the quiet thrumming of electronics within the other reploid's body. The symphony of mechanical life is his to enjoy, and every flaw, injury or deviation is a sour note that grates on his audioceptors.

Gate acknowledges Spider's presence by glancing at the other reploid, violet eyes tracing over, for just a second, then returning to the glory of the sunset.

And he wasn't alone in that arena either. Spider was created for the finer aspects of tradecraft, for moving silently, being deadly without giving away his presence... Able to detect the very things that most could not. That's one of the things that made him a very effective bounty hunter. Right now however, those skills, however sharp they may have been, were being over ridden by his concern with that phonecall. And its a long moment before he notices the other man, but somehow, as if by happy chance, he notices him at the same time Gate decides to look around. Perhaps the most telling thing about his entire design as a reploid was the fact that when Gate looked on him and Spider looked back, it was with the same color violet eyes.

Tilting his head, Spider couldn't help but wonder just what this guy thought he was doing looking him square in the eye like that. Paying attention to someone so closely was a sign of one of two things: Either 1) He was paying attention to you or 2) It was pure coincidence... And since in Spider's line of work there were no coincidences, he was more apt to believe the first option. Letting it apparently pass, not yet giving himself away, he bids fairwell to the person on the other end of his radio connection and lowers his hand, moving to the fountain, his eyes cooly pulling away from Gate as if he saw nothing suspicious there. Turning his attention to the surface of the water, Spider waits a very long moment, saying nothing... doing nothing... Finally his arms cross over his chest and he looks slowly up.

Violet eyes meet Gate's face in his reflection.

"I've decided you were paying attention to me... Do tell me if there's something I can do for you."

"I was only curious to see who was talking," Gate replies without looking back. He keeps calm, cool and composed. Almost insultingly aloof. The professor clasps his hands behind his back, the labcoat wrinkling around the shoulders as the material shifts to accomodate. It hangs loosely and lightly; there's nothing heavy or pocketed inside. No tell-tale buldges or stress creases.

"I'm just enjoying a few minutes of actually being on my own. It's something, this city. Within its boundaries... I'm no longer property."

There's a moment of sarcastic silence. Spider lowers his arms from the cross and lets them fall to his sides, his weight shifting to one foot as he looks the good doctor over. His head tilts even, eyes considering him carefully, mouth a stern line as he attempts to place the face. The thing about this one; Spider had an uncanny ability to know things... Not that Gate's identity was any kind of secret, but on the off, most people wouldn't just put a name to a face.. not in person. One tended to notice people on tv or in a newspaper long before they expect to see someone they've read about in person. And that's why Spider wasn't too quick to make the assumption. But finally, realizing he could be no one else, Spider just nods his head and chuckles.

Turning his course he takes a few steps forward, following the curve of the fountain on around to stand right beside Gate, looking through the window at the breath taking views that were before him. Spider's head lifts a bit, eyes going partially skyward to watch a descending plane cresting low in the sky. His attention shifts just a moment later to a small light in the distance... a television tower brilliantly displaying its angry red light to any nearby aircraft. Finally a slow smirk pulls up at the corner of his mouth and he says, "Yeah... but then again, to be noticed by some is a bad thing... If you were just someone's mom, someone's son, a tourist, then maybe I'd let the gesture go..."

"But the problem is... I know exactly who you are. And a glance from you is worrisome..." That smirk turns into a cocky smile which fades shortly thereafter. "So how's life in the Slow Lane, Doc?"

"Professor, actually," Gate replies with a fragment of a smile. "I was wondering when someone was going to notice."
He closes his eyes and sighs faintly, his amusement fleeting, his face melting into neutrality again. "They don't let me out very often you know. Boogeymen are best kept under the bed. But you needn't be concerned about me, sir. I'm afraid my days of nation-building are far, far behind me."

Somehow, the sincerity in the voice hitting his auditory sensors seemed fairly believable. But then again, Gate was just as capable of lying as he was. Therefore Spider remains ... purely fluid on the concept of his 'nation-building' days. Actually, there's a little doubt there, but he doesn't quite voice it or show it. Instead, Spider just twists his lips to one side and looks at Gate with a kind of resigned acceptance. But he doesn't stop himself from adding, "... No they aren't." There's a telling look in his eye as he turns his back to the view Gate was staring into. Walking towards the fountain, he lifts a foot onto the edge of it... stops... looks back over a shoulder.

"I believe..." He starts, and pushes himself up onto the edge of it... "I believe you just say that... because they beat it out of you... I believe you say that because you let them defeat your dream. But I don't believe for a second that that ambition is gone from you. People can't defeat ideas... Professor," he says with a subjective nod. Consolingly however, he adds, "But fret not, I tell you... I surely understand you're... 'willing surrender' of that ideal. These aren't the times to be spouting off at the mouth about what you see in your own future. Now-a-days when a machine does that, people tend to think they're a Maverick." Chuckling almost to the point of a laugh, he lifts a hand, "Mercy... -- Sometimes I make myself laugh harder than I intend to." That hand falls slightly, turning over, palm up. "But since you're here..."

"Professor Gate... There are questions. Questions that need answering. You have them, I'm sure, and so do I. So I'll be as candid with you as I know how. You're in a position to help me. And I'd appreciate it if you thought things over carefully before you decide not to..." Turning around to face the Professor he says.

"You've got a vision. I see it bouncing around the back of your eyeballs like shrink-wrapped tears. Whatever it may be, I've got nothin' to do with it, but I can at least ... give you the steam to power your dream... Now, don't get me wrong... If you wanna continue being their puppy, then by all means... Woof, woof... But don't piss on potential. It's depressing." One of his eyebrows fires up high, "Force Metal... What if I said I'd be willing to get you a quantity of force metal to study, examine and do with as you please... as well as a facility with which to play with it... In exchange for your help in getting my hands on detailed information concerning a certain Maverick Hunter?"

"... Namely," -- would he say X? ... No.

"Axl. There's a price on his head that's too big to ignore."
Normal spider lean

The offer is incredibly tempting. Spider's words hit an unseen mark - his eyes widen ever so slightly at the mention of force metal, it's why he came here, an attempt to secure a little so that he could begin to unravel the secrets of the mysterious mineral that promised so much to reploid development. As a researcher he couldn't ignore it; his very existence centered around pushing reploid development to its absolute peak - and beyond if he could manage it. The way he pauses and the slight twitch of his expressions at the very mention of it - the hunger is obvious.

There's a half second of conflict as Gate mulls over several possibilities in a split second. He shakes his head slowly and takes a step back, and he's unable to look Spider in the eye for a moment. "No," he murmurs under his breath -- is he saying it to Spider, or to himself? "I'm afraid you don't know me as well as you think you do. I'm not that person anymore. I did something truly terrible, opened the way to chaos and agony for human and reploid alike." The perfect irony of his name is clear in that moment.

He turns his head back to Spider, his arms thrust into the pockets of his labcoat, staring directly back at the bounty hunter. "What do you want with Axl's information? I realize there's a price on his head, there are prices on a lot of Maverick Hunter heads, but this is information I can't simply part with for a bribe. New generation reploid development was outlawed for good reason."

He sees it... watches it play out across Gate's face like a road map of his past, a time machine etched out in synthetic flesh, replaying every moment of pain, of realization, of epiphany. Something had wounded this man to the very core... hurt him beyond all comparison. And the unfortunate part about it... the part that worked in his favor and not in Gate's? ... Was that that reaction was all Spider needed. Gate had once again opened at doorway... A Gate into Spider's way of thinking. He waits it out, waits for the pain to finish replaying itself in Gate's violet optics. When its over and the man replies, Spider does nothing but offer a slow, telling blink.

"I didn't say I wanted to bribe you. I'm just paying for a service... And besides... If you're so worried about what you did before-- back then..." Spider starts, his head dropping a bit, the brim of his hat hiding his eyes. One moment later he tips his head up, this time only a milimeter, allowing his own violet eyes to bore holes into Gate's face. "Then why don't you do it -right- this time? Instead of letting your last memory in the hearts of the people of this world be one of disappointment and anguish? Nobody said do what you did before. I said do something that would make you proud to be in your own skin... Instead of cringing like a dog at the very mention."

"You're embarrassed. Mortified, aren't you?" Stepping down off of the fountain, Spider walks right up to Gate, stepping in close, inches away from him as he says, "When your time comes again.. and you're up on that stage... and you open your mouth to speak..."

"What words will you use? What will you say?"

"No? ... I'm sorry?"

"Get real, Professor. Do something with your life or destroy yourself. It's that simple."

"Just tell me what you intend to do with that information," Gate retorts with exasperation, frowning. "Stop talking about what I may or may not be, what sort of loss of potential there is - what does any of that mean to you anyways? You know /of/ me, but you do not know me any more than I know you. If you're going to try to bait me, you're going to have to make it an even deal instead of trying to grift for what you think you can take."

At the Professor's words, Spider's face twists into a look of disgust, lip curling. The look slowly fades as he stares at Gate, stepping back a pace to cross his arms over his chest, leaning all of his weight on that back foot. "Grift? ... I don't Grift. Perhaps you should consider that when I make an offer, it -is- an attempt at being equal." Shaking his head, he lifts a hand, dismissing his frustration. "What I intend to do with the information is use it to my advantage when I go after the Bounty. I'm not asking you to deliver him to me... it's up to Axl's own strength if he can defeat me or not... That's got nothing to do with what I'm asking you to do. I just want information concerning who he is and what he's capable of. After that, I can handle the rest on my own. What I offer in exchange is what you desire."

"And try though you might to act like I don't know what I'm talking about... I know things. It's my business to know things. When I'm not trafficing in the heads of others, I traffic in information. And anyawy, Professor, we all need friends in high places... Consider this..." Both of his hands lift, palms facing Gate, only to seperate from one another as if creating a large screen... the figurative 'bigger picture'. "Ever since the Legrano incident, the New Generation have been the disenfranchised children of a new era... Crawling for a piece of personal glory... Or maybe even just acceptance." His hands drop forcefully to the ground as if shattering that image and waving that all off in disgust. "I don't need anybody to pay my back... I decided if I was gonna be a black sheep, I should at the very least be gettin' paid for it."

"But I need someone to study my design and get to know it intimately, because repairing myself is becoming a burden. And it's costing me nearly everything I make to keep myself in fighting fit condition. So I guess... if you wanna mince words, Professor..."

"I'm saying I need you."

"And you need me. The days of sniffin' the dirt are over."

"So stop actin' like you're gonna pass this up."

If there is truly one flaw in Gate - one vice - it is passion. His emotions rise with an intensity that is difficult to control; when he loves, he loves to the end of the universe. When he hates, the fires of his wrath could burn down the world.

That anger flashes within his eyes, a tint of red brought out from the violet, emphasised for the span of a heartbeat. It is a tiny imperfection in the eyes that cannot be removed from repair, a reflection of a tiny and imperceptible flaw in his very DNA.

What was the old saying - the eyes are the window of the soul?

"Don't toy with me, bounty hunter. You are asking me to sell out a young reploid who has done nothing but good for this world just so that you can bring him down easier?" Gate hisses. "If you are calling yourself a new generation reploid -- am I sincerely hearing you correctly on this? -- then you're asking me to give you a leg up on patricide. Don't you know that Axl is the very wellspring from which your kind were drawn?"

He couches his words carefully, the connection of family is made. To some reploids there is no such thing as family, but to Gate, no. Family is everything. Family was important to him. The bonds between reploid creator and reploid created, between father and son, are ones that Gate takes seriously. The fact that his ire is so easily roused gives further clue as to what sort of tragedy made him fall from grace.
Wire has disconnected.

His patience was obvious... the very patience that was programmed into his design. When you're holding out to make a perfect shot, you wait... wait it out... know that you've got all day to spring a trap, to take the shot. As Gate spoke, Spider could feel the weight behind his words. Felt it like a great pressure that was coming down on him. And a slow smile began to work its way across his face. Finally, that smile was a grin... a complete and total disbelieving grin. "Wait..." Spider starts, interrupting Gate slightly, but the Professor was still speaking, so Spider held his words. Finally, when the word patricide passes his lips, Spider lifts a hand, shaking his head.

"Stop. Stop..." Frowning, his eyebrows practically knit together. "I thought I knew you better than that... -- No, correction. I thought you were -smarter- than that." Sighing emphatically, Spider lowers his hand to his side and stares at Gate, his lip curling again in frustration.. in disgust. "Are you serious, Professor?" There's a long moment of silence before he continues. "Have you forgotten what this world is? Who you are? ... The things you're guilty of? You should know better than anyone what kind of world you're living in."

"Patricide is the name of the game. -EVERY- machine that has ever come off of a production line.. EVERY. LAST. ONE OF THEM... has the power to commit murder. Every maid, cross guard and bartender has a weapon in their arsenal of tools. And its because of one, self-serving purpose. Survival. We have it just like humans have it. Machines have been killing machines since the dawn of Artificial Intelligence, and you spit words like patricide at me? Patricide. Yeah. Patrici-- y'know..." Spider turns from Gate, pacing a few steps away before he stops, whipping back around.

"Fuck you, Professor. I don't have to try and convince myself of my own innocence."

"I don't have to pretend like I'm the only one that's considered killing my progeny. Again. If it means that much to you then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Fix the world. Don't bitch at me about it like I'm personally responsible. I'm not the world. I just operate in it."

"Axl's a big boy, he can handle himself. It's just business." Scoffing, he goes on. "If he dies because of it, then it was meant to be anyway and there's nothing either you or I could have done to stop it."

"Look, you don't want to sell him out, fine. But don't use that as an excuse to not get up off your ass."

"Exactly what do you think I need to do?" Gate asks - no, demands - his hands tightening into fists in his pockets. They slip free and open up, one gesturing to the window as he cants forward a few degrees. "I have given the world Cyber Elves. I have helped eliminate the Maverick virus from countless reploids. I have progressed reploid designs beyond even New Generation reploids - the Guardians are my children as well! I have paid the world back for the chaos I caused. Innocence? Oh I know I am far from innocent. I know the world is not ideal."

His voice lowers, as does his arm. "But the world is not mine to fix. I tried once before, I tried the wrong way, and many lives were lost because of it. Don't try to goad me into getting what you want by picking away at my transgressions."

There's a pregnant pause.

"If all you need is someone who can repair your systems, all you had to do was -ask- instead engaging in this elaborate verbal bullfight."

"You..." Spider starts, his eyes squinting... He slowly moves towards Gate, eyes tight, his head hunches down just a bit, as if he were searching for a category to place Gate's words in just then. "You don't... -- you really... really don't get it, do you?" He asks, his voice a soft murmur. Standing up straight, his eyebrows lifting a bit, eyes unsquinting, he lifts a hand, gesturing at the very same window. "You gave the world all of that... All of that, and yet still... the stink of your actions still lingers in the air. I'm not here to beat you over the head with what you did... I'm certainly not here to try and push you into being something you're not..."

"I'm here because I did my homework... and I know you're the last bastion of hope for the things that make sense in this world to me... I don't operate in all the brightness." His hand lifts, fingers curled into a fist, "When everything is illuminated," his fingers uncurl, "It does nothing for me... I don't operate in the light. I operate in turning the dark into my lighted path." That hand falls to his side. "So don't try to get sanctimonious on me now... You're just like me."

"You're the only one of -your- kind that is. If it plays into your favor, you take advantage of it. You can stand there, shout to the moon for all the world to hear, but it still doesn't change a -damn- thing about what you are..." Circling Gate slowly, Spider goes on, "Need I remind you how quickly you turned on your own when the chips were down? ... Don't worry about it. We all do it. Everyone's capable of becoming something dark and ugly. You just used to embrace yours. There's something about machines that's much worse than people... You see- while a person can become something else..."

"We can't."

"We are what we are and we can't undo it."

"So if you're quite done, Professor... I'd like to see what you intend to do when you're not hiding behind words like 'patricide'." Spider leans in real close... whispering in Gate's ear, "You're a monster... Were... are... am. You should learn to harness it before you keep doing what you're doing now and the beast within turns on you too. Do something constructive with it... who knows, you might be the one to unravel all my secrets and do a world of good against the current crisis instead of crying over the old ones."

Gate's eyes are lost in the shadow of his helmet. His mouth is drawn into a tight line and he remains silent for an uncomfortable period of time.

He inhales and sighs crisply through his nose, a weary snort of acquiescence.

"Tell me. Do you know why I did what I did?"

"Nope..." Is the first response. It comes quick, without a wait. But there's something about the way he says it that says he wanted to say more. Turning away from Gate to look out that large window, Spider lifts his arms up and clasps his fingers behind his head, stretching for no other reason than to excite servos that hadn't moved in quite some time. Lowering his hands, he turns with an exhale to face Gate, "But I'm sure you're gonna tell me... Problem is it really doesn't matter." The smirk on his face said a lot, "Because what actually matters is what do you intend to do from here..." Shrugging, he lifts an eyebrow. "People say history is written by the winners. Not at all true..."

"History is written by the guys who sign the winners checks." Chuckling darkly, he goes on, "That's why history has always done something that I value... and its the reason why history is my model for life. History has always followed the money. You can take any text book, any survivalist guide, any accounting for where people have been for the last few hundred years and it boils down to one simple fact: Money makes this world go round and its the soul source of supply for just about any and everything..." Tilting his head forward and tapping his hat, he says, "So why did you do what you did?"

"I want you to understand the sort of monster you seem to be intent upon unleashing. You know of history, true enough but there is a difference between studying text and being forced to live through it. Blithe assumptions can be made by those who were not left to pick up the pieces, to let the years of guilt and suffering grind them slowly down until there is no light left in their eyes."

Gate continues to speak, without moving, without looking up, without reaction. He is a man frozen in the face of some nameless demon, letting it curl around him and take him by the hand. He feels the familiar choking grip of it around his neck and tastes the acrid burning kiss.

"You are aware of my intellect, I believe. Reploid intellect as high as mine, without bragging, is a thing of pure serendipity. I don't expect you to understand the details of the generation process, but to attempt to achieve my level of insight requires thousands of tries in hopes of a single success. Most attempts end in critical failures before the generation process can even finish, and those that survive are more often entirely insane. The value of my life has been based squarely on the fortunate roll of the generative dice, and on what I could give to humanity with my mind."

"I tried so very hard to please them, you see. They were always holding me back, wanting me not to take risks, not to try the dangerous route that may bring greater, better success -- but I advanced anyways. I took the risks. And my successes were better than had ever been predicted. My creations were perfect. Better than perfect. The other researchers could not keep up with or even understand my work."

"That was my crime you see."

"They were afraid of me. Everything they had asked me to do I had done and so much more. I could see it in their eyes, the jealousy, the hatred, the fear. Every performance review stank of it. I could bear their short-sightedness and their refusal to let me advance, to let me enjoy the work of my hands. It was disgusting, but bearable."

Gate looks up and turns towards Spider, staring him straight in the eye; the professor's own are a brilliant vermillion haze set amid an expression frighteningly vacant of emotion. His voice is a cold, clean, surgically sharp whisper.

"They kill them, you see. My creations -- my children, in the most literal way a reploid can have them. I had infused them with my own DNA, to give them that intellect, that serendipity. My superiors could not analyze them, and they conspired to have them discredited, labelled Maverick, sent into death traps. Murdered. One by one the reports came in of their deaths, until not one remained. My colleagues dutifully obeyed our superiors and bloodied their hands with my life's work, my life's blood."

"The crown of their betrayal, oh, that beautiful, terrible, obedient jewel... " Gate's lips curl up in a wide smile, teeth so white they threatened to glow in the dark, bringing a hand up to his face, partially covering it as a high and frantic laugh escapes his lips. "Even the love of my life participated in the murders!"

He pants softly, hands trembling. He didn't want to remember this, didn't want to relive it. Bury yourself in your work, Gate, bury yourself so deep you never have to face the light of day again. You never have to see the corpses or the faces that haunt you. Mercy? Did X give you mercy by allowing you to live, or did he simply wish to give you Hell itself as your punishment?

"I can do terrible things to a reploid's body; as a doctor, as a designer, I know every hidden secret, every digit of agony and madness that can be unlocked in a reploid's soul. I am a monster in every sense of the word, but I dull myself, tame myself, so that I will not repeat the mistakes of the past. Is awakening that monster within me what you truly want to risk?"

There was something ... -- something wrong. He could feel it deep inside. He could almost smell it, taste it. It was practically as tangible as the very ground he stood on. Whatever 'it' was, it was coming off of Gate in radiating waves. Hot and threatening, like fire. Fire that threatened to burn him alive. Yet somehow, like a moth to a candle, he was drawn to it. Energized by it. The fire, the passion in Gate's eyes hiding behind that expressionless mask as every word dripped out with acidic detail, like a life-rich citrus drop clinging to the last green leaf of fall. It was as poignant as a death note, the final stroke... last gasp... last grope.

The smile on his face began to slowly fade as the tale is spun before him, the truth laid out, all of the blank spaces of the page of information he'd sought out so heavily now filling out. The picture became not light but dark.. and just as he'd joked with someone not a day ago, he, his machine body, his scanner...? It began to see only darkly... Murk. He faulters back a step, his mouth closing, hands tightening at his sides into fists. He had to consciously stop himself from trembling, though from what he couldn't be sure. Intrigue or fear. When finally it drew to a close, Spider's eyes, wide as saucers, began to slowly relax into their normal radius.

And that's when Gate tells him what he can do to a reploid body.. what he's capable of. And the inevitable question is asked. Is that what he's trying to unleash. Spider could only smirk again. "Sometimes to affect revolutionary change, one must bring about a catalyzing event..." Is Spider's final response. And the look in his face would suggest he was no where near kidding. His expression hardens, his eyes like plum colored stones in his sockets as he glares twin holes through Gate. "The Revolutionary War, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Legrano... Are you catching my drift...? -- Sometimes the people need to be reminded why they need us."

"The unfortunate truth is that when people get used to fighting wars from behind the eyes of toy soldiers, they lose the ability to march and therefore delegate the task to those less able to to fight back against words that, to us, are considered unbreakable..." Huffing a hard breath, he goes on, "Its not about the things you did. Its about the things you're going to do. Its up to you to make those as bad as the ones in the past or not..."

Gate relaxes, letting his hand slide down off his face, back to his side. He forces it back down, controlling his passion the only way he knows how: by shutting it down completely, going cold, going numb. He has to be able to think rationally now. The beast has been provoked out of its slumber, and it may not want to rest again.

"I have only one question to ask you. You say you are a new generation reploid, correct? Tell me this: When you first awoke, was your copy chip empty, or did you possess pre-loaded DNA?"

Watching the almost manic change that comes over Gate, Spider has to wonder just what makes a guy of his intelligence go through such a change... Was it part of the eccentricities of being that mentally strong? Maybe it was a side effect of having a wildly imaginative and active brain. Or maybe it was like a sickness that came automatically from being intelligent. The fairness of it all. The equal, yet opposite reaction. That aside, Spider's head tilts at the words... at the question and for a long moment he freezes, staring Gate in the eyes.

Finally, he smirks and turns cooly around, marching towards the corridor he'd come in through with a 'zock, zock, zock', sound. With each step something changed. First the sound of his boots disappeared all together, then the presence of his being faultered ones, as if it were a digital image when clearly it was more than that. He stops, turns around to look at Gate and smirks, "The answer to that question isn't for a Hunter researcher to know. It's for Gate to know... Let me know when he's finally standing back on his own stage..."

"I'll be happy to answer..."

And like that, he was gone. No energy. No smoke. No light... just gone from existence.

Gate watches him go.

He was aware of the stealth capabilities of this one; his eyes had picked up the particular refractive quality of Spider's armor that came with such a system. When the vanishing act begins, there's no startled revelation, no look of surprise. Only a weariness, and a shake of the head.

Gate turns towards the sun that has now fallen from the sky, the moon rising above the water and the city's nighttime lighting powering up. He leans against the railing, vishing he had the capacity to vomit, to relieve himself of the churning discomfort in the pit of his being.

"... I only asked for your sake. Heaven help you if you have that boneyard within you."

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