801ch: Dave (Default)
[personal profile] 801ch posting in [community profile] hso2012_collabs2
Summary: Wherein the true meaning of Moirallegiance is found through salvation.

Characters: Terezi Pyrope, Sollux Captor
Ships: Terezi Pyrope<>Sollux Captor

Category One:
Tags Present: BODY HORROR
No other Cat.1 tags apply.

Category Two:
No other Cat.2 tags apply.

Category Three (Optional):
Tags Present: N/A

Additional Tags (Optional): N/A

Fanmix: on 8tracks | mediafire

Track List:
01. "Magic" by Ben Folds Five
02. "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" covered by Rufus Wainwright
03. "Vocalise" by Rachmaninov (cello/piano version)
04. "Do What You Have to Do" by Sarah McLachlan
05. "I'll Follow You Into the Dark" covered by Kate Covington
06. "Without You" from the musical RENT (movie version)
07. "Gold Pilot" by First Turn Fold
08. "Under the Bridge" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
09. "Dear Dhinus" by the Space Monkeys
10. "Good Bye" by hide

Burn the Maps That Chart Your Dreams


Once upon a time, you made a promise.

The promise was to a boy with eyes that burned like flames, sitting alone in a dark, dark room (they'll see us if we turn on the lights, TZ) lit only by the glow of those blazing eyes. He had been packing his things, a few articles of clothing around his computer tower in a ratty old suitcase. The walls of his hive had been scrubbed down and the chain holding his lusus had been cut. The bees had been released, and he'd dismantled the beehouse mainframes himself.

You were helping him pack, or you were supposed to be, but you were mostly sniffing the walls and drilling him on standard culling procedures in case he got caught. He stopped you, finally, sitting on the edge of the now closed suitcase with his knobby knees jutting out at sharp angles in front of him and his arms resting on them. He looked at you with his head cocked to the side just a little bit and an expression on his face that you couldn't quite place.

"Shut up a minute and listen up," he had said, and you remember grinning at the way his teeth made him sound like he was telling you to lithten. When you'd finally gotten to meet him in person, you were ridiculously scandalized that the lisp he had somehow managed to convey in text was a real, actual thing that he did out loud. "I need you to do me a favor."

"I am doing you a favor right now, Mister Appleberry Blast!" you reminded him cheerfully. "I am helping you pack for an adventure that I am fairly certain you were not planning until last night."

"Yeah, well, I didn't ask you to huff it all the way out here just so you could sniff my walls and lick my computer screen, shocking as that may seem," he responded sardonically. He shifted so he could access one pocket and pulled something out. "I wanted to give you something."

Whatever it was, it was so small that you could barely smell it. He held it out to you, and you had sniffed its slight red color and tiny square shape. It was some sort of a microchip, you thought.

You remember being worried.

He stood up, then, and walked over to you. His hands went to your shoulders, and you had to tilt your head back to meet his gaze because he had a good six inches on you. You were even more worried then, because you two didn't touch often; even as moirails, you preferred your interactions simple, straightforward, and clear. Your moirallegiance was based on words. Touch was foreign, and his hands were warm. You were worried.

"What is it?" you asked.

"Doesn't matter. The world's going to end tomorrow night, and I'm going to need you to come looking for me. Give it back when you find me," he told you.

You were confused. You were apprehensive. You knew better than to ask.

And so, instead, you had said, "That is very melodramatic! How am I supposed to find you if the world's gone?"

"Well, that's what you're best at, TZ," he'd said approvingly as you'd pocketed the tiny chip, "achieving the impossible."

Looking back, you realize you hadn't believed him. You had taken stock in his words, because he could see the future sometimes, and he was right a lot, but he also had a tendency to overplay the aspects of it that included his own doom. He loved being the prophet that foretold of the destruction of the universe as much as he hated it. And so you'd believed him, to a degree, but you hadn't believed him.

And the world hadn't ended, of course, at least not in the most literal sense. But the world you and your friends had been trying very hard to create had ended, just like he had said, and you had not heard from your moirail since.

Five sweeps have passed since the end of that world, and you are here to keep a promise.

It has taken you pulling as many strings as possible with your caste and as much manipulation as you could muster to get an assignment on the Atropos, and even so, you are painfully aware of the amount of time you do not have. It has taken you five sweeps to find him, five sweeps to formulate a plan to fulfill the one thing he asked of you before his disappearance, and you still aren't sure you can go through with it. You do not have much time.

They keep the lower chambers of the ship cooler than the rest, cooler than you are comfortable with, but this is where the ship's computer systems are kept, and it is imperative that they remain cool. That is what they told you, anyway. You don't know how much is actually true, and you suppose it doesn't really matter.

(You're just worried he might get cold. He got cold easily; he was so thin.)

You know very well what you are going to find down here, but you aren't still prepared for it when you use a carefully manufactured false ID to open the door labeled "HELMSBLOCK" in small, precise lettering. When you last saw your moirail, he was seven sweeps, all bones and corners and sharp edges jutting into space. Puberty had sprung him straight upwards, like someone had stepped on his feet and grabbed his horns and yanked toward the ceiling.

Tonight, now, you realize as your blood pusher clenches in your chest, he has lost all of his angles and replaced them with curves. He is long and thin and stretched like he was before, but now he is wires and cables. He is tendrils dripping from the ceiling and curling up from the floor, he is plum where he ought to be the dusky charcoal of skin, and mustard where he ought to be black licorice. He is bowed and bent where he ought to be straight and angular.

He has become what any helmsman is fated to become: a disembodied torso, dangling from the fleshy organic fibers that fuse him directly to the ship. The tendrils encircle the stumps of his arms and legs and dangle him ceiling to floor, a living pillar in the middle of the room. The cables jut out of his spine and his skull, and his eyes and horns are surrounded by dimly lit circuits that pulsate at regular intervals. His head is bowed, and you note that his shoulders are a little wider than you remember.

His eyes aren't fire anymore; they are embers, glowing softly, muted, fading into nothing.

When you last saw him, you were both children. Now, you are an adult, and he is a spaceship. They have taken him away and broken him, and now, he is this. He is flesh and bone, but more, he is cable and computer. He is blood and steel.

He does not look up when you enter. He does not look up when you say, voice choked just a little bit, "It's been too long, Mister Appleberry."

There is a long silence. He does not appear to have heard you, but you don't dare approach him. You don't wish to tread on the fleshy entrails of plum anchoring what is left of his legs to the floor. You have no idea what that might do, and, if you want to be honest with yourself (you don't!), you would have to say that you are a little scared.

Then, just when you are about to give up hope on a response, there is a quiet ping from one of the monitors lining the wall he faces. You turn around, and you sniff the screen.

"there ii2 no one currently on board that matches that de2iignatiion."

You swallow, and you turn around. He hasn't moved.

"I am talking to you," you tell him.

The monitor pings again. "my fleet de2iignatiion ii2 atropo2. ii cannot offer you any iinformatiion. plea2e refer two the help 2ectiion on your maiin con2ole."

"You are Sollux Captor," you say firmly. "You are a troll. You are twelve sweeps old, and I have been looking for you for nearly half of that time."

"my fleet de2iignatiion ii2 atropo2. ii cannot offer you any iinformatiion. plea2e refer two the help 2ectiion on your maiin con2ole."

This is frustrating. You turn away from the monitor and face him again. He has not moved a single muscle since you arrived. You know he can see you just fine; you are aware of the cameras in the corners of the rooms focusing on you. It pains you to think he doesn't remember. You tell yourself it is his programming and his conditioning; he hasn't forgotten you, he just doesn't have the ability to recognize you.

You take out your left earring, a small teal colored teardrop of glass. It feels odd to be without it; you have worn this earring for sweeps now, never once removing it. But now is the time to carry out the favor he asked of you five sweeps ago. You drop the earring to the floor and crush it with the heel of your boot.

You bent down and sort through the glass fragments until you find the tiny red microchip your moirail had given you. The thin insulation you had put around it has protected it well, and there is not a scratch on the thing. You then fish out an empty memory disc from your pocket and attach the chip to it. The disc goes into the slot on the console at the front of the room.

The files on the chip are programmed to run themselves, and you listen to the whir of electronics as it boots up. You have no idea what it is going to do, and so you wait. You wait, and you trust that gangly boy you knew so long ago.

After what seems like an eternity, the monitor pings again. You turn.

There is one word on the monitor: "tz"

And then it starts repeating, multiplying across the huge screen panels taking up the entire side of the helmsblock. Different sizes, different fonts, uppercase and lower, some red, some blue, but all the two letter distinction of your name he penned sweeps ago. It's like an explosion, starting in the center of one screen and cascading outwards to fill up the entire wall. He knows you. He knows you.

You feel very much like crying, suddenly, and when you turn around again, he has lifted his head. He is staring right at you.

He opens his mouth, and it takes him a moment to detach his tongue from where it has swollen, unused, against the roof of his mouth. He moves his jaw a few times, and you realize he hasn't spoken aloud in—you don't know how long. You have no fucking clue.

You want to kill every troll aboard the Atropos with your bare claws, just for being on the ship that enslaved your moirail. Your hands clench around your cane while he tries to remember how to speak.

"Thanks," he says, finally, and it sounds like thankth, and you simply cannot give a fuck about those stupid grape soda tendrils and if they're attached to anything important, because there is not one more minute that is passing between you standing here in the middle of this room and you hugging the ever loving shit out of him.

Except you can only reach his middle, and you can only lean your head against his chest, even when you climb up high as you can get and stand on the very tips of your toes.

"You are awful. You are terrible. You are the worst," you tell him. "You knew. You knew, and you didn't tell me. That is withholding information."

"I told you," he says, and his voice is raspy and dry. "I saw the world end."

You press your auricular sponge to his chest and listen to his blood pusher push, and you close your eyes. The air reeks of synthetic life, of burned plastic and steel. Even he doesn't smell the way he ought, the way he used to back when you were seven and you fancied yourself too grown up to need touch. But he still is yours, your stupid mustardy hacker, under all those other smells, and you have needed him so very badly.

You don't have much time, but you tell him anyway; you tell him about the revolution after he left. You tell him about Feferi, about Gamzee and Karkat, about Eridan, about Tavros and Vriska. He knows, and you know he knows, because he could probably hear them a long time before any of them had died. He knows, but he doesn't have details, so you fill in the blanks for him.

And then, you force your rebellious arms to let him go and step back. The longer you spend here, the more likely they are to find you. And if they find you, that will end your plan right here and now.

He is thinking the same thing you are. "You should go soon," he tells you. "They'll notice the virus before long. Once they do that, I won't be able to divert their attention."

"Does it hurt?" you ask, chin up and sniffer focused on his sallow cheeks.

He hesitates for the briefest of seconds. "No."

"Liar. You should smell yourself when you lie; you are atrocious! You reek of burnt popcorn."

Another hesitation, and a small sigh. "You get...used to it."

"I am going to set you free from that, Mister Appleberry Blast," you tell him, and you run your tongue over your teeth because—and it irks you to realize it—you are scared. If you back down now, it will be worse! If you back down now, he will go back to what he has become and you will go back to what you have become, and you will live your life regretting tonight until you are dead.

"No," he replies, and he sounds weary and old and broken. The monitors flash, blue, red; alternating. "iimpo22iible," they say.

"Ah. But I am good at achieving the impossible," you remind him. "There is exactly one way that you would stop being the helmsman of this vessel. I think we both know that."

"Oh," he says, like it is nothing, what you just admitted to. Like you didn't walk through the door of this block with the intention of exacting the death penalty on your moirail. "Let me scramble the databanks first."

"...you can do that?"

"TZ, you just installed a virus that destroyed all my integrated command protocols. I can fly into the closest fucking sun if I wanted."

"Oh. Could you do that instead? That would save me some trouble," you tell him. You already know he can't. Won't, maybe. Maybe sometimes you can see the future too.

"...probably not, in practice." He licks his lips. "They'll override me and go into manual drive before I can get us in. But I could...override the neural responders...it'll hurt, but you wouldn't have to..."

"No." You smile at him and shake your head. "I came here to rescue you. I would like to do the rescuing, if you don't mind. I can take the role of executioner! That is my job, after all! And I can do it quickly." And maybe it is your punishment for not protecting him when he could still be protected, for not saving any of your friends, for surviving on and on while they had died around you.

He looks at you, really looks at you, then, and you can smell his frown. He knows you are not stupid. He knows you understand what you are asking for. "You won't get away with it," he says.

"Of course I won't! Getting away with it was never a part of the plan."

He takes a deep breath, and then he takes another one. You catch the scent of a stream of honey text on the monitors behind you, strings and strings of code. An alarm goes off overhead and then cuts off. "Okay," he says, and for just one brief moment, his eyes burn the way they used to. "I'm done. Let's wreck some shit."

Within your cane is hidden your secret blade. Your fingers are well versed in the art of unhooking it an pulling it free, and your nose is keen on identifying the place in his thorax that will end his life most efficiently, with the least amount of pain. You are a murderer, it is true, but that doesn't mean you cannot also be compassionate. You step close to him. You do not say a word. You simply do.

There are no words needed between you. Your moirallegiance is not based on words.

In the moment your blade slides into his vascular pump, you are not the Executioner. You are the pardoner; you are the merciful; you are the broken, crumbled remains of a pale pity that could not be resolved. You are the guilty. You are the condemned. As a troll, you had no right to kill him. As his moirail, you had every right to free him of his misery.

With a gasp and nothing more, he is gone, and the monitors wink out and the lights go dim for a moment. The floor bows beneath your feet and then rights itself. The plum pudding tendrils are sticky with his blood, the air is heavy without his breath. You are devoid, you are empty, you are alone. It is only then that you allow yourself to cry.

That is how they find you, sticky in yellow blood and translucent teal tears. You do not leave his side, even in death. They tell you to halt, to drop your weapons, and you comply. There is not much use in resisting. You put your hands in the air and allow them to lead you into the holding cells. You do not argue your case. You do not flinch when they sentence you to death. And now, you think as they lead you to the gallows as you knew long ago that your beloved justice inevitably would, now you are the Executioner.

You think to yourself as they slip the noose around your neck that they cannot kill you; you are already dead. You have died a very long and slow death, a disease that started the moment they took your moirail away and ending the moment you took him back. You do not mind. It is not much of a universe to live in any longer anyway.

The world ended five sweeps ago. The revolution you had dedicated your life for had unraveled at your feet as you had watched, and you had continued on because you had had a promise to keep. Now, promises kept and all your friends long gone, you are finally free.

The world ended five sweeps ago, and now, so have you.



Once upon a time, your moirail made you a promise.

Sometimes, it's very hard to remember that night so long ago (how long ago?), but you cherish the memory anyway, because it was the last time you ever saw her. You remember, sometimes, the perfect points of her horns, the way her hair flipped out at her chin, the way her oddly expressive eyes could look at you even though they couldn't see. Sometimes you thought she saw the world better than you ever did with your perfectly functional eyes.

Sometimes, the memories of before are very hard to reach, like you are standing in an empty field in a very dense fog and the very furthest you can see is your own hand stretched in front of your face. The memories shine through breaks in the clouds, but before you can see them, latch onto them, claim them as your own, they are gone.

You think: this is my thinkpan protecting itself.

You think: it's better if I don't remember those times anymore anyway.

You think: this is all a bunch of bullshit.

You want to remember, you want to keep those memories as your own, you do! But you are as much computer now as you are troll, and there are programs and controls and locks in place, never ending patterns of code and letters, and there is only so much you can do. Besides, that involves being inside of your meat, inside your pilot, where you are very much content never to inhabit a body made out of bones and blood and skin and tendon again. Sometimes you are happier in your new steel skin, with your vascular system made up of wires and cables and having colorless electricity running through your veins. They told you when they did this to you that this was how you were meant to be and it is a lie, it is stupidity, but sometimes, you think maybe they were right.

They came to your hivestem the night Feferi died, and you were already gone. You didn't bother going far. There hadn't been a point. The only reason you'd left anyway was for your moirail's sake, and to give her your secret backup plan, that failsafe for after they got a hold of you.

You'd sat in a subway station with no ticket, carrying only a suitcase and a music player. You cranked up the volume to drown out Feferi's voice in your head, saying, no, no, I can't die yet, I have too much to live for! You'll never get away with this, you'll never find him, you can krill me but you can't krill OUR SPIRIT!

You hadn't heard them coming, but you hadn't been surprised when they showed up. You didn't bother fighting; you were in a very fatalistic mood that day.

After that, you sort of lost track of things.

Your programming tells you that you are Atropos and that you were nothing before you were Atropos. You know this isn't true, but sometimes you pretend and sometimes you forget and sometimes you let yourself just float away into the circuits and the motherboard and the processors, and then you don't have to hurt anymore.

It was frightening, at first. It was terrifying to suddenly have a second body, one of dimensions you couldn't previously fathom, stretching out into the open void. You had a startling capacity for information, suddenly, and you could not process it. You had corridors, you had blocks, you had walls and floors and ceilings and people inside of you. You had your own fucking CPU, and you had programming, and you had command protocols and all kinds of bullshit. You retreated back from your old body into the wires and cables just as soon as you knew how.

Being in your meat makes you feel vulnerable. You feel exposed and tiny and insignificant. You are not a troll now, you are a starship, the starship Atropos, and you are beautiful and vast and motherfucking awesome.

That is what your programming tells you.

You are a ship. You are a vessel in the Alternian army. You no longer get free will. You are a ship, and ships don't think for themselves or act on their own or override their protocols and fly into suns. The protocols are fences put up around what you have now, clearly stated borders of patterns and codes preventing you from doing anything the captain hasn't told you to.

Those times when you can remember your life before, you remember that this isn't life. You remember that you hate it here. You hate your captain, you hate the whole crew. You are fairly inclined to hate the entire goddamn universe for dooming you to this shitty fate. At least Karkat had gone out with a bang, one big enough that the Condesce had reportedly had something of a field day trying to hide what had actually gone down.

(You had only found out what happened to him by eavesdropping on some gossiping crew members. They had managed to erase his name out of the media entirely, which was actually pretty impressive.)

That's part of the problem with remembering, though. You have to remember things like the fact that almost all of your old friends are dead, and you are doomed to always know who and when and sometimes, if you're particularly unlucky, how. You can piece together their stories, generally, just from those fragments of what had been going through their minds in the hours and minutes leading up to their deaths.

So, you try not to think about that. That's why it's easier not to remember at all.

The problem is that you can't just shut off the voices. No matter where you are or what you are doing, whether you are in your meat or in your shell, whether you are awake or sleeping or undergoing routine maintenance, you can always hear them. You know how to not listen, but you do not know how to not hear. And when the voices are familiar, it is cause for worry.

The voices are familiar tonight. One of them is just barely so, and while you are sure you have heard it before, you cannot place where. It is not that of any of your friends, you think, because you are very sure you would recognize them. Besides, it is rather difficult to hear this voice because it's faded underneath your own thoughts. You are perfectly all right with that.

The other voice you recognize belongs to your moirail.

Your thoughts on the matter range from disbelief (how the fuck does someone manage to kill her?) to absurd (probably isn't even my moirail anymore, probably moved on by now, hope she's moved on by now) to bitter and accepting (hope it doesn't fucking hurt, hope it's over soon, don't want to listen to this).

And so you escape from your first skin and hover in your second with nowhere else to go and you shut down your thinkpan and indulge in routine data checks all over the ship and only flinch very, very slightly when someone starts speaking to your meat and calls you Mister Appleberry Blast. Your command protocols insist that you search the flight crew for someone with that designation, and no, she says, I am talking to you.

You immediately recognize the script she installs as a virus. Your protocols demand that you squelch it immediately, get it out of your system, out of your body. You attempt to reject the disc, and then you recognize the stamp on the virus; it is one that you yourself had written. And then—it is too late to stop it anyway, and your command protocols can go fuck themselves in the wastechute, because they are dead, and suddenly all the fences holding you in are gone. The command patterns are broken. The code becomes junk script.

It takes you a moment to understand what has happened. You veer off course two degrees starboard, and nothing changes. No walls or barriers preventing you from doing whatever the fuck it is you want to do. The captain hasn't noticed yet, and it occurs to you that you are free.

It also occurs to you that your moirail managed to keep her promise, and that she is going to die for it.

There is only one person in the entire goddamn universe allowed to call you Mister Appleberry Blast, after all.

Despite the ending you know this encounter is going to have, you cannot contain your relief and sheer delight at her arrival. You let her know by spreading her name all over the display monitors in the room she is in, a fireworks display of your gratefulness. And then it occurs to you, as you zoom in on her face with the cameras mounted inside of the monitors and at the corners of the room, that she is not here to interact with a computer. You are the ship, but she doesn't see you that way.

And so, you try to remember how to move your pilot, to lift his (your) head, and look at her with oculars instead of cameras. It feels weird and unnatural, and for a few moments, you can't even remember how to speak using your mouth and your throat and your vocal chords. Your tongue is heavy and dry and sticks to the roof of your mouth, and you have to try three times before you're able to make any sound at all. Your tongue presses strangely against your fangs (you had forgotten that you ever had all these body parts, really; it seems strange to feel them all at once like this).

You say: "Thanks."

Your voice sounds odd in your own microphone receptors—auricular sponges, you mean. You wonder if you sounded like this when you were a troll, if you had always rolled your s's into th's when your tongue pressed against your fangs like this.

And then, very suddenly, she is hugging you. She is still all points and elbows, still a string bean of a girl (a woman, now) with angles instead of curves. Her hair is longer than you remember it, her horns taller and sharper, but she still wears those red hued glasses. She is perfect, you think as she wraps her arms around your torso, like she can just pull you up out of the ground like you are a weed growing in her otherwise perfect garden, like you are a tree that has just accidentally grown inside of a spaceship, and you are oddly relieved to realize she has never forgotten you.

Her skin is cool against yours, but you don't care. This is the first time someone has touched you—your actual body, not your second body—since you were installed here. You remember that once, touching people was a little bit awful, and you'd always felt self-conscious of your gangly limbs and stick skinny frame. You remember once you had a moirallegiance where you never fucking bothered crossing the touching line, and you are a little bit sad for it, because you think she belongs nowhere else in the universe like she belongs here. She is perfect; she is beautiful; she is still yours.

You wish you had arms so that you could hug her back.

"You are awful," she tells you, her face pressed against your thorax. "You are terrible. You are the worst. You knew. You knew, and you didn't tell me. That is withholding information."

"I told you," you tell her in your raspy, half-forgotten voice. "I saw the world end."

She stays nuzzled right up against you, a cool, refreshing pressure on your still strange nerve endings. She tells you about how Karkat's rebellion fell through. It was Feferi first, taken down by unscrupulous agents of the Condesce herself on the same night they found you. Eridan followed not a perigree later in an unsurprisingly nihilistic and dramatic fashion: he had marched on board one of the Condesce's ships, waited until it was in orbit, and then took the entire damn thing down with him, thanks to Ahab's Crosshairs and a little luck.

Karkat and Gamzee had gone down together, but that you already knew. Gamzee's thoughts had been a frenzied bloodlust countered only by the instinctual need to protect his moirail. After his voice dimmed, Karkat's was surprisingly quiet in comparison, but it was one of resignation. He had been tired of fighting, of running, of losing. With Gamzee dead and the drones cornering him, there had been little left to fight for.

After Nepeta suffered grievous injuries in the name of the revolution, Equius had pulled her out of the fighting, declaring that their wigglers' rebellion was dead (for revolutions are nothing but squelched rebellions when you don't win), and they would have no part in it. Vriska had staged a last ditch suicide mission again the Battleship Condescension and didn't object one bit when Tavros decided to come along with her. All the luck in the universe could not have saved them.

And then it was Kanaya, and it was Terezi. The rebellion (the world, in your vision) was dead. Everything they had fought for was dead.

And you think: that is why she is here.

You wonder, as she pulls away from you, when your captain will notice that there is a virus ravaging your computers right now, tearing down programming and databases and patterns and coding and other important things. You tell your moirail that she should leave; even if she is going to die, even if the voices are never wrong, you would rather you have nothing to do with it.

Besides, you have just realized from where you recognize that other voice that is getting progressively more annoying. You understand why it is so hard to parse out this voice. It is because it is echoing your own thoughts as soon as you have them. It is because the voice sounds like the one coming from your very own throat.

It is your own voice. You are going to die.

You do not want her to be the one who kills you.

"Does it hurt?" she asks you.

You aren't sure. It hurt at first, and you think that it never really stopped, but you don't notice so much anymore. "No," you say. Maybe she will leave and you can blow your own neural responders, and she will accidentally ingest the kindest poison in the universe and die in her sleep.

She calls you out on your lie. And then, she says, "I am going to set you free from that, Mister Appleberry Blast."

It is barely worth arguing, though you try, albeit half-heartedly.

You think to yourself that you would very much like to take the entire crew down with you if you have to die anyway, so you begin to run some scripts off of the disc you had made. The scripts are outdated and pretty awful for what you can do now, but your past self had anticipated this and made them easily modifiable. You will at least destroy all your computers when your pilot (you) dies.

She does not tell you she intends to kill you in so many words. She tells you, instead, that there is only one way you will ever be free of this bullshit you're stuck in. She is right. You researched it, once, while you were researching command protocols and the best ways to destroy them. No one ever simply stops being a spaceship.

"Oh. Let me scramble the databanks first," you request.

"...you can do that?"

"TZ," and the letters are beautiful in your mouth, "you just installed a virus that destroyed all my integrated command protocols. I can fly into the closest fucking sun if I wanted."

"Oh. Could you do that instead? That would save me some trouble," she tells you.

"...probably not, in practice. They'll override me and go into manual drive before I can get us in. But I could...override the neural responders...it'll hurt, but you wouldn't have to..."

Her smile is not the razor sharp one you are used to, but one she saves just for you. You remember that smile. You think that maybe seeing it here isn't quite what you wanted. You are nonetheless glad to see it. "No. I came here to rescue you. I would like to do the rescuing, if you don't mind. I can take the role of executioner! That is my job, after all! And I can do it quickly."

You look at her while you fuck with the CPU, you really look at her. Her eyes are tired, her bones are weary in her skin. She came here to kill you, but she also came here to die.

"You won't get away with it," you tell her.

"Of course I won't! Getting away with it was never part of the plan."

She is beautiful, your moirail. You never thought of her like that before, but she really is. She is the bravest, smartest, most amazing fucking troll in the entire universe, and she is yours. You think that the universe isn't smart enough to handle her anyway. The universe will lose something tonight, but fuck it anyway. It doesn't deserve her.

You kind of don't either.

You take a deep breath, filling your oxygenation bags to their limit, and then you release it. The air is stale, electric, recycled. You remember standing by your open respiteblock window, thinking how awful the city smelled, but you would do anything for that scent again. Codes fill the screens and you cut off an alarm as you change course. You set it to the center of the nearest sun. They'll stop you in time (no, they will stop the ship in time), but that's okay.

You take another breath, and you realize that it hurts. You'd forgotten, adjusted to it, whatever, but it hurt now. Your thinkpan hurts, your vascular pump hurts, all these bits of you that you forgot you had. All of them ache inside your own body, and it is beautiful because it is not programming and codes and patterns; it is nerve endings and nervous systems and thinkpans. It is you and not a spaceship, because the two things are suddenly not one in the same.

You think: I remember who I am.

You think: She is here to set me free.

You think: I'm ready to die.

"Okay," you say, with your own mouth and your own voice and your own fucking body, "let's wreck some shit."

And after that, all the voices stop.

Date: 2012-08-11 05:32 am (UTC)
watchfob: this is dave he is in the snow and also wearing a scarf (Default)
From: [personal profile] watchfob
Wow. Wow. This is absolutely gorgeous.

"Even he doesn't smell the way he ought, the way he used to back when you were seven and you fancied yourself too grown up to need touch." I'm not sure what it is about this line. But it lasted, if that makes any sense.

And then the transition from "Your moirallegiance was based on words." to "Your moirallegiance is not based on words." Just. So good.


Date: 2012-08-16 02:35 pm (UTC)
dragon_bagon: a combination of a platypus and a bear standing on it's hind legs and wearing a 1980's fedora (Default)
From: [personal profile] dragon_bagon

god job you have made me cry

Date: 2012-08-18 06:38 am (UTC)
othercat: (sollux: psiioniic)
From: [personal profile] othercat
Oh god, this story was brilliant, but horribly sad. I had tears in my eyes toward the end.

Date: 2012-08-21 03:19 pm (UTC)
cypher: (ii2n't iit obviiou2)
From: [personal profile] cypher
oh my god so much crying.

and his smile at the very end, oh.

Date: 2012-08-23 04:25 am (UTC)
lionpyh: A glass liquor bottle with a panther shape molded into the glass. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lionpyh
So inevitable, such perfect classical tragedy, and so right, terrible as this fate is. That last picture and his near-smile. Damn.


HSO 2012 Collab Round Sector 2

August 2012

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