Description: Oh, the mess I'm in! She walked up to me and stole my robo-clone's heart, and then he started to take my body apart. Livin', lovin', I'm on the run, far away from Tak. Livin', lovin', I'm on the run, now she'll bring me back.
SOME TIME AGO
DEEP WITHIN THE JUNGLES IS ZACK ISLAND
For most people, the awakening of a long-dormant war god, dedicated to wiping out the human interlopers who dare defile its land, is a big deal. You gotta do something about that. Run away, screaming in terror, or steel your resolve to fight the massive stone menace, whatever. It's important, right?
On the other hand, most people don't ever have the unique experience of being tortured half to death by their mechanical doppelganger.
Dr. Richard Tran does not give a /shit/ about Tikitabra or whatever his dumb name is. Dr. Tran only cares about two things: not screaming as he fumblingly binds a crude splint made of branches and bark to the shattered fingers of his right hand, and hoping to god that /anybody/ from the real-ass, genuine true-to-life Knights Templar bother watching television sometimes.
AN UNSPECIFIED AMOUNT OF TIME LATER
Just in case they're not (seriously? do they even own TVs?), he's somehow started a fire in a small, mildly unnatural clearing. It is smoking an awful lot for its small size, sending a small pillar of sooty blackness spiralling upward into the sky. It will /probably/ be visible despite the recent intense volcanic activity.
And, rather than cozying up to the small fire, basking in its delightful, soothing warmth, Tran does not appear to be anywhere near it.
After all, he's not sure who's going to get here first.
It would be a lie tantamount to blasphemy to claim that the Knights Templar are a -progressive- order; but technology is one thing they have not entirely shirked, in spite of their archaic iconography and pseudo-traditional uniformity. Their secretive halls are equipped with HD screens, modern computer systems and phones that don't even have those big clunky dials that go click-click-click-click and spin around every time you enter a single number. Much more fancy than suits of dusty plate armour and torches held in wall sconces; though they certainly have those too.
It's a strangely dichotomous existence, being a real-ass knight in the modern age.
Take, too, for instance, the curious fact that nobody amongst the Holy Order is at all concerned about the WAR GOD known as 'Tak'. No agent is despatched to Zack Island, and even Amy Johnson herself seems to have flung herself every which way in pursuit of other menaces than the one battering the holiday paradise with gale-force winds, earthquakes, and lava-dripping boulders. Dr. Richard Tran seems to be forgotten.
His fire spits and crackles, a beacon delivered unto only the spiteful winds raging from the volcano top where self-professed heroes do battle with the apparent villain. But is Zack Island truly an innocent place? Has its bizarre allure not been a poison to the soul and body both of those drawn into the web of 'reality' television? No wonder the usual suspects are suspicious, this time, by their absence. There is nothing on the island worth saving. At least nothing that ought to remain there much longer. Zack's invasion of the tropical hellhole has seen him conquer a place akin to others, through history, like Easter Island; where the phenomena are so localized as to be married to the place, where all that dwells there is best left untouched. Forgotten.
As night falls, as the battle upon the volcano-top reaches a delirious climax that many would deem 'victory' - but the world's most fervent heroes still see fit to ignore - slowly, a gray-white mist seeps through the jungles of Zack Island.
Perhaps not -everything- on the island needs to be left to the native mercies.
Tendrils envelop the undergrowth, flooding along the forested floor as if probing for something lost, but what they seek is a resonance felt from far away - from off the island, even. A curious warmth surrounds the areas invaded by the clinging, creeping fog, which moves in a vast patch that does appear to have a limit. From above, it's like watching a hungry slime of primordial ooze hunt for nourishment, mist shifting here and there until it reaches a certain clearing. A certain black and sooty fire.
Nothing seems to flee this new phenomenon, as if it were part of the island itself, natural and free from threat to the jungle-dwelling creatures. Meerkats continue to preen themselves alongside lazing tiki idols, parrots nap in the shadows, jaguars (there are probably jaguars, shut up, jaguars are cool) sprawl along their branches with the murmur of catlike snoring undisturbed. At least until footfalls approach through the mist, snapping twigs and sending tinier critters scuttling away.
A lone figure emerges through the gray-white tendrils, clad in the resplendent attire of a modern knight. Nothing greets Dame Amy but the smouldering ash of the dying firelight, and she approaches it with a frown upon her brow, kicking at the blackened remnants of a thick branch. Her stormy eyes narrow, scanning the environs for any sign of a trap, her fingers furling and unfurling against the night air. As they do so, the mist whirls in sympatico, bucking at the instinctive willing of the Templar.
Then, she sights something not far from the fire. A gleam of metal.
Stepping to it, she bends to retrieve the item, letting any outward semblance of a guard fall as she focuses upon it; it's a long, pinlike object ending in a round bobble that positively reeks to the senses of a fighter. A deadspot, a tiny seal manufactured to both ward off and - here's the kicker - -detect- overt chi manipulation.
Because if you want to know where your friends are, you don't watch TV. You damn well bug the shit out of them and monitor them from a safe location, silently judging. Straightening up, Amy throws caution to the wind, possibly because she's a sucker for punishment, and calls out:
"Dr. Dick? I've got your prescription..."
For several long heartbeats, the jungle does not respond in any meaningful way. The local fauna continues to make its never-ceasing background noise, the endless miracles of life making damn well sure that nobody forgets them for too long. It does not take long for one man, wholly unconcerned with any of the dumb assholes of nature, to dare shout over them.
"Do you even /understand/ how late you are?"
Indeed, rather than be overjoyed at a sympathetic face, Dr. Tran has decided that the most reasonable course of action is to just start bitching and maybe never stop. "What was all that shit about protecting me, about blah blah blah, whatever you were talking about I don't really remember?!" His voice calls out from seemingly nowhere, a mystery that is solved in short order by the small man falling out of a tree. At least, he is probably a man; certainly, he doesn't look /particularly/ human at this time. And, certainly, you wouldn't expect a grown man to completely biff his landing with a pained yelp.
In sharp contrast to Dame Amy, he appears to be attired primarily in dirt. With most of his body covered in a thick, globby layer of mud, Tran slips a little as he tries to get to his feet, eliciting a much quieter grunt of pain. Finally he manages it, however, and as he stands more is revealed. The crude splint on his hand, a thick layer of leafy paste running from it down the length of his arm, across his chest, and even up onto his cheek. His eyes shine out brightly from behind the full-body layer of nature that may or may not be his only clothing, and though his expression is hard to read through his natural covering, it certainly does appear that he is mildly furious.
"We," he declares grandly, with the all the imperiousness of a dirt king in a dirt court, "Have shit we need to /talk/ about, that /maybe/ would have been good to get out of the way before a /robot/ tried to /kill me/." He advances a step, pointing an accusatory finger (and flinging a little accusatory mud) at Amy. "Like question one: what percentage of this employment opportunity would you say consists of /getting killed by robots/."
There's a single insane moment where Amy is certain she's being addressed by a jaguar, and is busily questioning when - during her awful foray on this very island a couple of short weeks ago - she swore to protect and serve the local big cat population, when it finally sinks in that she's being responded to by a no-less savage but rather less fuzzy and cuddly creature far more akin to the Doctoripus Trannitus she has sought. This moment is merely further testimony to what a shitty place Zack Island is.
When she finally adjusts to the apparition before her - not to anything particular about it, mind you, just everything about its very existence - the raven-haired knight allows her slim metal burden to drop back into the grass and takes a few steps forward as Tran angrily addresses her. When he takes his step forward, he's about ready to jam the finger between her eyes - and at that point, she stops. It's hard to make out much in the dimness of the failing fire, but she appears to be smiling.
That's... that's most likely annoying, right?
Is that all she's saying? Holy shit, woman.
Amy stands there for several moments, her stormy gaze roaming from the jabbing finger to the mud-esconced eyes behind it, maintaining a steady stare with Dr. Richard Tran down the length of his own accusatory passions. One hand settles lightly on the hilt of the blade she wears upon her hip, the other thrumming against her skirt-covered thigh as she muses both the situation and these words. How best to respond? It has to be said, this particular ally does require a special touch...
An eyebrow arches, and then she reaches up with her no-longer-thrumming fingertips to swat down his jabbing hand. As part of the same motion, a bootheel slides through the scattered foliage underfoot and hooks behind Tran's ankle, while that raised hand flickers outward to give him a surprisingly-robust shove right in the chest.
"You're alive, aren't you?" She rather bluntly and rhetorically 'asks' by way of answer, spreading her stance to stand over Tran with a prideful toss of her head. "For what it's worth, I apologize for not coming sooner. I'll make no excuses." Like 'I was busy being physically and emotionally tortured by a rogue Darkstalker' or 'a godlike being raped my psyche and killed me briefly before I was brought back by a weirdly attractive Frenchman'. Silly, silly excuses. "To answer your question, Dr. Dick," she pauses, draws a breath and then crouches down to be more level with the sprawling doctor, "Zero percent. As I said, you're alive. It's my turn to ask a question."
Her eyes narrow, her mouth forming a line that can't quite be entirely solemn - yeah, she's still smiling slightly, as if that's going to help her case in -any- sense.
"Actually, I'll take two. Where in your addled mind did it seem like a -good- idea to fight alongside the very -thing- I warned you about? And..." Her tone abruptly softens, and her shoulders slump as that infuriating smile gains a sudden, dissonant gentility. "How badly hurt are you? Will you allow me to help, or are we going to kill each other instead?"
Technically, that was three questions. What a bitch.
There is nobody who will agree that Zack Island is a shittier place than Dr. Tran. At this point, he is pretty sure that it was specifically created, born from nothingness by a great and malevolent will, to specifically make his life as miserable as possible.
This theory is strongly reinforced when Amy doesn't seem to care about how /important/ everything he says is, and then pushes him back into the mud from whence he presumably came like it ain't no thang.
And so as the doctor stares up at Amy, fury building in his breast, listening to her making bullshit excuses about how she's not making any excuses and taking full responsibility, he comes to the realization that yes, this is going to be one of those days, and no, this isn't going to be as easy for him as he probably hoped.
"Like fuck you did!" Despite his position of weakness, Dr. Tran does not let himself be so easily cowed. "I'm pretty sure I would have remembered a warning, just a little 'By the way, a robot is going to break your fingers next week'!"
SOME TIME AGO
She did that, more or less.
He has no clue.
And somehow, as Amy's mood continues to be bizarrely cheerful underneath her intitial respectable hardlin demeanor, Dr. Tran gets more and more angry. Her mothery smile does not, perhaps, have the intended effect at all. She wants questions answered? Fine, she'll get them.
"Extremely, both, and don't think, for one instant," and here he pauses to reach out quickly with his good (but still filthy) hand toward his new boss' collar. "That I can't fucking count! Apology accepted!!" What a bitch, indeed.
And then he yanks down hard, doing a violent sit-up to bring Amy's head and his own smashing into each other with as much force as he can muster.
Zack Island be damned - and surely, vows the Templar, it shall - there is no force on this planet greater than the raw fury of an emotionally-strained human being. Were Amy possessed of a psychic's questionable gifts, she'd be flooded by Tran, drowning in his pain and misery and blistering hatred for all that surrounds him. As it is, she's floating atop it with the graceful aplomb of one who's been through shit-times aplenty and is determined to see this one through like all the others. The Titanic's gone down, and unlike a certain curvaceous Hollywood star, she has room on her raft...
Jack, no! I'll never let go, I promise! Come back!
Ker-rack. The sudden and brutal impact of Tran's skull against the Templar's own sends a resonant shockwave through the depths of the tainted jungle. Parrots take flight, squawking and dropping multi-coloured feathers all over the shop. Jaguars roll over in their sleep, casually decapitating fleeing meerkats. Tiki idols just keep on standing there grinning like idiotic, ugly tombstones because the WAR GOD formerly known as Tak is dead and there's no place for them in this world any more. But, the impact...!
It rocks Amy backward, her collar tearing beneath the choker around her throat, shreds of expensive cloth coming free in Tran's grasp as his 'boss' flops back into her ass in the damp foliage. A parade of ferociously-large ants is halted, half their number crushed to the dismay, horror and rapidly-dawning violence of the remaining horde.
Around this all, the Dragon's Breath thickens and draws in, forming a cloying cloak about doctor and knight. Amy's stormy blue eyes are wide in a confused mixture of sympathy, fury, and abject bewilderment as she stares down Tran from her new seat. It's just as well she's wearing pants beneath her knightly skirts - those ants are already making their move, and she's currently, blissfully unaware of their presence.
She's less blissfully-aware of her ally, and the mists descending upon him.
"You, Doctor Dick," she murmurs, a question lacing her tone that doesn't play upon her deeper instincts. She's already retaliating, the mist encroaching with newfound rapidity, tendrils kicking up a faintly-warm wind as they lash out to entangle Tran and draw him back to the jungle floor, bound like Gulliver. "Have serious anger iss-- ow!"
The first ant gets through, and she's sent scrambling, which in this instance means clambering basically on top of Tran with a desperate thrashing of limbs that just reveals the survivalist monkey deep in her soul. So much for creationism.
"What the hell is wrong with this island!!"
Left with a handful of scrap cloth, head pounding from a perhaps ill-advisedly brutal head-pounding, Tran just flops back down onto his back, already breathing a bit heavily. That...that maybe wasn't a great idea. But there's no time for regret, or pain, or the no-doubt intense psychic backlash of what could be millions of meerkats cooincidentally dying all at once nearby.
Dr. Tran is /trying/ to have a conversation.
"Shut up." Sort of?
And while nature may sometimes be his ally, sometimes it is his enemy also, like some kind of emotionally confusing...allemy? We'll get back to that later, maybe. For now, the doctor is finding himself under what he thinks is a new assault, warm and ethereal and decidedly uncomfortable, but also relatively difficult to resist. That does not mean he's not going to try, however. Beginning to strain against this manifestation of inner power (probably), Tran is ready with a scathing rebuttal to his alleged 'anger issues', but fate does not intend to let either succeed just yet.
Because then Amy, pants on fire ants, is right back on him, squirming and thrashing like another animal on this stupid island. Unable to respond with more than a grunt as he is squashed in a vulnerable position by a larger human being, Tran does at least manage to force once arm up, through the mist keeping it down, to try to push the Templar off of him. Mostly he just somewhat weakly smears mud on the side of her face and neck as he tries to push her off of him, protected at least from getting overly antsy by his protective mud layer.
"What's wrong with you!!" Nonetheless this does not deter him, because even if it's not a good or effectual idea, it's his, and by god he's going to go through with it to completion. "No shit I'm angry, what is even your deal!?" The other hand, powered by rage, comes up through the restraints by what seems to be sheer willpower, until it comes into contact with the wild Amy, at which point Tran remembers it's broken, sucks in air while he tries not to display pain or weakness, and lets it fall limply to his side once more.
"I don't even--" Oh fantastic, now there's mud all over her face. The Templar cringes in a manner actually rather uncharacteristic; a proud and headstrong tomboy at her innermost core, she's not usually bothered about dirt or blood or vomit, but the situation is already both undignified and unpleasant and Tran's ineffectual, mucky-handed pawing is doing nothing to improve it for either of them. She gets her hand up in an attempt to restrain his own, which wouldn't be too hard, perhaps, except that--
"Perhaps if you stopped messing around, I could tell you why my -deal- i--"
The exertion of Tran's considerable willpower bestows some measure of feedback onto Amy - the mist communicates with her and through her, and it's with a subtly-violent measure of control that she releases her instinctually-seized control of the grounded doctor when he breaks through with sheer belligerent force. She's entirely unable, therefore, to do anything about the righteous blow that crashes half against her face and half against her rather robust (and NOT AT ALL FAT, YOU COCK) shoulder. It's the latter that likely causes the most searing pain to her erstwhile frenemy...
And the former that sends her sprawling with the sheer shock of it. It's the girliest thing she's probably ever done, falling on her damn face at what amounts to a sissy-wissy slap, and while it serves the purpose of freeing up Doctor Tran... it also reddens the Templar from ear-to-ear, freckles standing out fiercely on her cheeks as she thrashes upright and pulls out her sword. This might be an over-reaction.
"My deal, you indignant, impossible arsehole," yes, she pronounces it that way, yes, she's pretty damn British thankyoukindly, "Is that I'm -your- superior officer right now and that gives me every right to make the decisions around here! If I didn't think you could handle yourself on this God-forsaken hellhole of an island I'd never have -left- you here in the first place, and in case you didn't realize already..." She pauses to draw a breath, clenching her Katzbalger more tightly and jabbing the arming sword at Tran's ribs. Not... not into, just at, though she's coming perilously close.
"You moron, you imbecile, you absolute -idiot-!"
Gasp, gasp. She's really riled up, and has to pause anyway to crush an ant against her upper thigh, then flick the dead thing off to join its rampaging allies below. She keeps stamping her feet like a crazyperson, trying to keep them off whilst simultaneously reprimanding the poor, injured man beneath her.
"I was keeping an eye on you as best I could! I am a -knight-, not a damn babysitter. If I'd believed for one moment you'd be so utterly stupid as to let that mechanical abomination interact with you -multiple times- without so much as a bloody -telegram- on your part to let me know the situation, I'd have locked you in a vault six hundred meters below the ground and--- and..." She's running out of steam, her stormy blues swimming around without focus, finally falling cross-eyed on the extended blade. She drops it as if stung, which she is, as another ant gets past her stomping and sinks its mandibles in. "Ugh!!" She drops the sword beside Tran, swats at the ant, and then just bends down and grabs the doctor around the waist, looking to just haul him over her shoulder like a clubbed cavewoman. "This is fucking impossible!!"
If she can manage that, she'll just cling on bitterly and start off through the jungle.
"We're getting off this horrible abomination of an island, right now!!"
Dr. Tran is not sure at which point all of his painstakingly crafted plans, constructed with the greatest of care, became completely 100 percent irrelevant. It all seemed so easy, when he was sitting alone in the jungle, nothing but time to think about all the shit he was going to say and how he was going to take charge, slap Amy around a little, get his questions answered, and then maybe, /maybe/, if he /deigned/ to, not immediately quit his new job.
"What do you mean, /I'm/ messing around?" Further incensed, it's almost enough to make Tran start batting at her again, like the weak little babyman he presently more or less is.
Instead, he begins to sit up, and finds himself staring down the wrong end of a sword. He closes his mouth for a second, and lets someone else act like a crazy person and blow off some steam for a change. It's not that he /wants/ to not take her seriously, but between the stomping and accent and how incredibly red her face is...
"Alright, alright, fine." It's tough for him to really stay /that/ mad. He does add, petulantly, under his breath, "Thought he was just some jerkoff with plastic surgery." Which, if you think about what Robo-Tran's skin is made of, might be technically true, kind of?
"So, uh, really though, what do you...hey, wait!" And then, like so much meat, Dr. Tran is hoisted by a woman who has just, had it up to, like, here. Way up here. She is just buried in it, that is where she is at. With the last shreds of his own dignity squashed, the doctor in turn suppresses the twinge of sympathy that begins to boil up from within his bizarre, misshapen heart. It's not like she's being gentle, or anything, and he is /injured/.
"God damn it, if you're not going to tell me what's going on, LIKE BEFORE, at least -ow- use your other fat shoulder!" He squirms a little ineffectually, then stops once he realizes that makes it hurt even worse. "At least there had better be a private jet with a bar or -ow- a bucket of morphine or something waiting for us!"
A maelstrom of emotion indeed, and it seems more than the Templar is prepared to deal with. Between the antics of King Zack and his quirky entourage, the drunken orgy that led to finally clasping hands with Tran himself, and a small host of other ludicrous circumstances, she's honestly had quite enough of anything that's not entirely serious; and even then, well, she's been driven to the verge of death and beyond more times than is entirely comforting, recently. Life, basically, can fuck right off.
Once she has the squirming, wriggling prey over her shoulder, Amy does seem to relax somewhat. Her grip even loosens enough to not be driving all the blood into that injured limb, though she keeps her pace brisk and manner brusque as she embarks through the jungle depths, and through the outlying mist. The Dragon's Breath, truthfully, is the only way she knows where she's going - so -it- is not going anywhere.
Besides, she has a headache now. Thinking hurts. Stupid Trans and their headbutts.
"What's going on?" She breathes some time after the demand is made, once she's gotten over the shame and annoyance of the 'fat shoulder' comment. She's pretty secure about her body, really, but well... nobody likes to be called overweight, and she's pushing the high end of the scale compared to the myriad supermodels on Zack Island. And seemingly the world, lately. What happened to actual body mass? "As a former agent of the Illuminati, -Doctor-, I'd hope not to need to explain. This world's a mess, we're busily trying to correct that, and they're seemingly eager to cause further chaos in the name of establishing their own order of control. I..."
She pauses to step over a low-lying tree branch, hefting Tran against her fatty fat shouldermeat as she does so. She's at least -trying- to be careful now, but still, probably 'ow'.
"I have no desire for the same. The Holy Order is far from guiltless, but I'll fight what I can with the resources available to me, and right now that means -your- former masters as much as anyone. I didn't know until coming to this..." You can hear her teeth gritting, even before she does it, Zack Island's just that awful. "'Paradise', the extent to which they'd go to eliminate one of their agents. Even one who apparently knows so little as you do. But they see you're a threat, and that means I want -you- on -my- side. The right side. The side that doesn't want to control everything else."
Is that true, she momentarily wonders of herself? What WOULD she have, then? Amy shakes her head, doing no favours to the man slung beside her as the vigorousness of the gesture translates outward.
"I believe in a great deal, but all my-- our, mission comes down to right now is beating up and/or killing some very unpleasant people and things in the name of making this world dramatically less terrible to live in. That, at least, seems to be appealing to you. I can't say you'll like the fishing boat so much, but..."
She knows she has to make this a good 'but'. Fortunately, the Lord provides.
"There's a good supply of liquor, and I'll get you patched up well enough until we get back to the mainland. Don't wimp out on me, okay?" Surmising that this answers all this questions, Amy almost decides now is a good time to shut up and let her captured friend/ally/frenemy/mate(?!) get a word in edgeways, but not until a stray thought rumbles to the front of her mind. "You know, Doctor Dick, you're..."
Magnificent? Wonderful? Manly yet compellingly sensitive? Erm...
"Really small. Light." Amy purses her lips and frowns. Oh, fuck. "Do... do you remember that time we played beach volleyball? And you ran off after a schoolgirl?"
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
It certainly does seem like Dr. Tran has been quite the fool; a far cry from your expected ex-Illuminati agent, bouncing from one madcap scenario to the next with hardly a care in the world or a thought in his head. In his defense, it kinda sucks to stop and think about how your life sucks because you're unemployed and no longer officially exist. Without diving too deeply into your pathos, what does a man do with unlimited free time and no real ability to do anything beyond the barest essentials of survival? You certainly don't do anything that provokes the massive, all-seeing mega-society that's already decided you're no longer worth anything.
You lay low, get by however you can, and whenever possible drink away the capacity for coherent thought. It doesn't really help, but it's something to do.
On the downside, however, it leads to situations like this, where you have no choice but to let a woman who clearly has serious, definitely unprovoked anger issues of her own, haul you around like a sack of potatoes. It sucks enough the Tran silently vows to himself that it's finally time for him to stop drinking, get clean and turn his life around.
It takes approximately the time for Amy to jostle him whilst navigating a particular bit of terrain for him to change his mind.
But despite this he listens intently, which goes a whole lot better since he's sober for now. He mostly doesn't interrupt, mumbling softly only occasionally, not even really expecting a response as he airs his own thoughts. "Are you kidding me, you're actually trying to...? Like trying to herd cats, I can't believe this."
At least, he thinks, this sounds like something he can actually do, keep him busy, keep him with a place to sleep and regular meals to eat. It better, at least. "Containment, neutralization, ok, ok. Sounds alright."
He is not happy about the boat. The mere mention makes him groan, as though his very soul has been damaged by the thought. It's with this mood that he responds to Amy's only actual question, an unthinkable scenario laid out before him.
"Hang on, hang on, what?" He shifts to be able to stare directly into Amy's eyes, so she can understand just how dead serious he is.
"I will let both of us literally die before I ever, ever play a game of beach volleyball."
It's a contrast the Templar encounters time and again, between others and herself; particularly those to whom she seeks to ally. To have everything and lose it, to have a position and then find oneself without one... surely, a tougher and more harrowing trial than her own translation from directionless, listlessly-angry teen to driven Warrior of God. It's much easier to find a purpose for the first time, than deal with the ramifications of altering one already founded. To find anew that which is lost.
But she's been through it, herself, every time her faith is challenged. Every setback means taking another first step, and so she has little time for pussyfooting around the issue-- the only way is to -seize- what you need, take it in both hands and refuses to let go. Grab that ball and run with it, to use the sporting analogy.
Or, heft that doctor over your shoulder and stomp through the jungle.
Amy is unperturbed by any questioning of her motive - insurmountable, she knows it to be. To 'fix the world' is a task beyond Herculean, but she's adamant in her belief that taking even a single step before dying makes it all worthwhile. Giving the broken and the downtrodden a shove in the right direction, pushing out the cruel and greedy, the liars and megalomaniacs... it's absolutely worth trying. She's rather more ambiguous on the subject of beach volleyball, but sometimes, the unlikeliest things collide.
When Tran vies for eye contact, she stops walking, in part also because a lead weight has just settled in her gut and that lingering headache is now a pounding, searing sensation, the vein in her temple positively bulging as she cringes within and without. Fuck, fuckity, fuck fuck fuck. Stormy blue eyes meet the Asian's gaze without even the faintest attempt at maintaining knightly pride. She done effed up, and she knows it.
She finishes Tran's sentence with him, and then closes her eyes. Drawing in a lungful of moist, tropical air, she very slowly and carefully hefts the man from off her shoulder and sets him down in front of her before stretching out her lardy shoulder, massaging it with one hand. Keeping her gaze lidded throughout.
"Okay." Finally, she opens her eyes and breathes out, sending Tran a deep and humble nod that so almost becomes a bow. "What's happened to you is -completely- my fault, and I take full responsibility. I also, um..." Reaching to the nape of her neck, she scritches awkwardly and for a beat too long to be in any way natural. Glancing askance, she crumples her nose in distasteful embarrassment. "Might have considered sleeping with your robot clone, but--" the remaining words come in a rush, "But only for a moment and only because I thought he was you, and you were being charming and--"
She stops, catches her breath again and then looks back to Tran with a frustrated huff. Both fists clench at her side, and the mist - still surrounding them - thickens, becoming an oppressive and nigh-impenetrable veil.
"I swear to my Lord God and saviour, I -hate- this island, and I -will- tear that mechanical monstrosity into tiny, tiny pieces. Then I'll stamp on them." To illustrate, she stamps on a helpless twig. Ker-snap. "I need to know everything you can remember about your old bosses, and any clue you have about their whereabouts and - most importantly - where that bloody machine might have gotten to. Drunk or sober, or hopped up on painkillers, I don't care. Whatever it takes to get that information."
Dr. Tran is not yet ready to say that he's found a new purpose in life; he does not dream so grandly as Dame Amy, would-be savior of the world. But he is, at least, willing to try it on for a while, see how it fits before coming to a real decision. At the very least, he does have one lingering loose end to clean up, before it does the same to him. Make no mistake, Tran is very aware that he can't do it as he is now, nor can he do it entirely alone. For the time being, this is how it is; this is how it will have to be.
It's just a matter of how much he likes it or not.
As he's placed back on his feet, the doctor similarly feels a sinking feeling, competing for attention with his various painful injuries. It doesn't exactly take a genius to figure out roughly where this is headed. So she was fooled by a more or less perfect copy he can't fault her for--
"You almost /what/?" And all the rage and anger just comes bubbling right back up, past the quiet resolve and new purpose. "I don't...you can't.../what/?" He takes a step away, rubbing at his temples through the mud with his good hand, trying to come to terms with this. "OK, OK, no, you know what, I can deal with this. I've seen his stomach, I understand, and let me say right now..." He turns back around to look at Amy again, struggling to maintain a calm and businesslike demeanor. If he notices the oppresive mist, he doesn't seem to indicate it. That, at least, is something that's easy to get used to.
"I don't know what kind of bizarre love nest situation you've got going on here, but just...nuh-uh." He begins crossing his hands in front of his chest, just shutting this down before it can get out of hand and complicated and dangerous. "Nope. We are strictly professional, I'm not here to be Boytoy Two." He pauses, then emphasizes each word. "No. Beach. Volleyball."
With that matter /settled forever/, he more seriously adds, "So, anyway. Compartmentalized intelligence, you know. There's a bunch of dumb little details, but I can tell you the one thing that matters." Tran grimaces, and looks to the side.
"It'll be back for me."
Zack Island... does things, to people. This is the only reasonable conclusion that Knight Officer Amy Johnson has been able to draw during her endeavours upon the crystal shores, witnessing not just the common debauchery but the distinctly rare, wildly-supernatural streak beneath the surface. If ever a place wasn't truly right, it's the island paradise on which they're -still standing right now-, and the longer she spends here the less comfort and safety she feels. It crawls through her skin.
"No, no, I understand," she's quick to deny any possibility that she might have the lust-on for the doctor and any form of snoo-snoo she may find in his heroic embrace, shaking her head but not - notably - glancing either away or downward. Her response is actually very composed and mature, as she adds, "You've got that whole schoolgirl thing going on, anyway, it's not like you're the first one I've met..."
Uh. The first what? She breezes on like he does, as if she hadn't said a damn thing that might be misconstrued or even - let's be real - construed exactly as intended. Rolling her shoulders, she maintains an even more serious expression, herself.
When he looks away, she doesn't; but she does smile, a trace of that earlier warmth creeping into her expression along with a devil-may-care glint that's somehow -also- no less solemn. She's pretty serious about being a crazy daredevil.
Religious chicks, man.
"Then next time," she says decisively, lifting her chin and baring her teeth in a half-grin before that expression relaxes into something simpler but deeper; determination, profound self-belief. Faith in her abilities, and his. In theirs. "It will find more than just you waiting for it. We've both got a score to settle now." No beach volleyball. Never again. "And if I don't miss my mark, Mr. Towazu will take this just as seriously. I think it's time we got the whole team together."
Or you know, first it's time for a thrilling ride on a fishing boat stocked with odious moonshine rum and a basic first aid kit. Sweeten that pill, Dame Amy. Sweeten that pill.
"Hey, what? No!" Dr. Tran recoils as if struck, Amy's hurtful accusation biting down to the core of his being. As well as Amy's handling this, it appears that a dire button has been pressed. "God, no! Are you kidding me?" He begins pacing. "Fuck no, fuck! No!" After a few moments, his agitation subsides enough for him to resume function like an adult human being.
"Look, just..." He breathes out, slowly regaining some measure of equilibrium. If this is what it's always going to be like, Tran's not sure he can handle it. Unfortunately, he's already established that he doesn't have much of a choice, either. Sure, he could probably walk away any time, he tells himself that, but...when a choice like that carries consequences like it does, it's not really even a choice at all.
This time, the doctor magnanimously allows Amy's smile to pass without getting /too/ upset about it. While any display of happiness might be considered bad taste, his many exertions are somewhat catching up with him. He seems more tired than anything else as he nods his assent. "As long as he doesn't get in the way, whatever. Lead on, boss. Let's just get this dumb boat ride over with." Booze can only help so much with the trial of yet another obviously doomed boat trip, but by god he's gonna stretch it as far as it can go.
And with that /obviously/ decided, Tran immediately starts mumbling to himself to the tune of 'no figure, no brains, every other one farts lightning and craps disrespect, children, CHILDREN.'
Oh, well. Clearly the Illuminati don't make 'em too accurately, after all.
It's something of a relief to the Templar - if she can presume nothing negative in the robotic form of Tran's doppelganger is reflected in him, it's a lot easier to maintain trust and respect in the man in front of her. Easier. Not necessarily -easy-, but in spite of several points of evidence to the contrary she finds herself more than willing to stand alongside the good doctor. If theirs is a fractious relationship, if it always will be, that's an obstacle she can continue to tackle.
She suspects it'll get easier again. If not, maybe they'll just come to blows and resolve their differences - such as they are, and perhaps less than either would like - with further displays of violence. It wouldn't be the first time.
"Boatride," sighs Amy, drawing herself upright with a nod and then moving to lead on - but only after making the requisite display in offering her assistance. She's not about to pick Richard Tran up again - perhaps that was, in retrospect, ill-judged and reckless - but she'll offer support, if needed. If not then fuck him. Not... literally. Let's just move on! "Good. Let's do that. I think I saw an abandoned bar near the dock, if you want to raid it for some additional supplies."
That's said so casually it might be easy to miss just how well-judged and apparently sympathetic a gesture it is. Aww. She -does- care. Perhaps this could, after all, be the start of a beautiful friendship...
Dr. Tran is not sure yet exactly /how/ accurate they made his robot double to be; though on the surface they appear to be oil and water, being also a living being and a mechanic monstrosity, he has a niggling suspicion that maybe, just maybe, the Illuminati superscience nerd dream team did a better job than even they realized.
And that, along with a million other reasons, is enough for Dr. Tran to accept Dame Amy's aid. Such acts are not lost on the doctor, who is well aware of what an insufferable ass he can be, and for someone, anyone to put up with it this far...well, that's worth something, at least.
It helps that she suggests looting an abandoned bar, the mere thought of which warms the doctor's heart in a way that he does not fully understand. A shadow of memory flits through Tran's mind, quickly dismissed through the haze of pain and exhaustion and just being on this stupid goddamn island.
"Seriously though," he adds as they presumably resume the relatively short but arduous journey through the undergrowth. "Can't you guys even afford a jet? There's nothing more dangerous than a boat."
~The more you know~
Log created on 15:57:31 03/04/2015 by Amy, and last modified on 14:21:31 03/05/2015.