Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? by The Arctic Monkeys // This is layered so that the right ear plays before the left to make a round.
Please don't mind the individual sitting here. She's a mad woman with a particular liking for all sorts of questionable pleasantries. Feel free to voice an inquiry.
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Challenge on Infinite Earths Day 14/30 - Allegiance Swap
(Note: Bariton => ‘evil’ Bar)
The collar’s edges chafed Shifters neck as he tore down the corridor. He shut his teeth together as his leg gave away and something tore in his thigh. He took another step, pain lancing through the hurt leg as he moved his weight onto it, and another lance as he dragged it forward. He lost where up was, where down was. Even worse, he lost where his escape was as his vision melted into blurs. He couldn’t stop or they would capture him again.
Hot fluid sprung from his eyes from the pain. He gasped, wiping over his eyes. When he drew in the breath, he tasted matter.
No. No no nononono no-
His palm came away sticky from his stomach. Burnt matter wafted up and the sizzle of dissolving skin pierced through the haze in his mind. Shifter wiped his hand on the wall to smear away as much nanotech as possible. An insignificant clue to the drones with the hole in his stomach. His own body was leading them to him.
Growling quietly, he picked up his speed. Orvus, please, let Superior hear him…
“Where do you think you’re going?”
A grey blur materialized in his path. He reflexively leapt over the obstacle, at which agony seared his leg.
“You can’t run forever. You have nowhere to hide. Come back before I lose my patience.”
He would rather die.
Balls of light flared in front of Shifter, bathing everything in blue.
Just the flare without contact burnt away his matter.
He landed, rolled and ducked under the baton swung at him. His wrist blades fanned out with his claws, followed by a squeal as he stretched his arms. The energy flowed into his hands as he tore the drones’ knees, oil splattered onto his arms and was absorbed. This was not enough. He needed more, but there was no time.
He cut another pair of legs in half before he dashed into a sprint again. Better get away before the drones could overwhelm him.
“You’re only making this harder for you.”
A bullet grazed his arm. The wound instantly widened and leaked, as nanotech feasted on his body. More projectiles howled behind him and he sidestepped one aiming for his spine.
“And harder for your sister, when I finally get her. You pair will be a beautiful set.”
The purr, metallic and with the odd echo, oozed out of the speakers. Bile rose up in Shifter’s throat, but it stopped, caught when something other than the collar squeezed around his neck. He growled, shaking it away.
“Burn in hell, Bariton.”
“Burn in hell.”
The drones shook with a pitiful, collective groan of plating as gravity bore on them. She carried Shifter in her arms, who was half conscious and still bleeding, as she walked towards the robots. The robot closest to them lifted an arm, before its torso imploded with an explosive pop. Upper and lower bodies squeezed then together like in an invisible compacter. She wasted not a glance on either them or Bariton, walking calmly towards the exit to the facility’s abandoned area.
Even after she had vanished, the feverish glow in his optics remained. He had seen what they were able to do before, but not in this scope. They always restrained themselves, caught up in the foolish notion to hold up the doctor’s memory. They started so promising, before he curbed their potential. Bariton should have never given them into his care.
But now Bariton saw that nothing had been lost. Beneath their sophisticated exterior, they were still the same creatures as the ones they had begun their lives as. The memory of when the Superior’s face twisted into that jagged, teethed maw still sent exited shivers down his spine.
What grace. What fury. What power.
They needed to be his, now more than ever.
Against the pressure, ignoring his whining neck, he threw his head back with a hungry grin. They were his; they just didn’t know it yet.
The Superior gently laid her brother onto the slab. His wounds had mostly closed now, only the gush on his stomach remaining. It would heal on its own, but Shifter’s body had to break down the remaining nanotech that had seeped too deep into his matter as that she could remove it without extra energy. Energy they didn’t have.
Hey. Hey, it’s okay. Just gimme a bit of time.
That echo was too slow, too weak, too tired. All that what Shifter wasn’t.
She kept standing, watching his face, her own an empty mask as her fingers quivered while stroking his cheeks. She shifted her touch down, trailing along his jaw, when her little finger caught the cold edge of the collar. The Superior’s eyes widened, and her hand flew to her mouth. She swallowed, hard, although she had no physical need to do so, but it wouldn’t do. She sank to her knees as the shivers overtook her and clutched at his hand, praying that he would wake up.
"Alfons Maria Mucha (Ivančice, 24 July 1860 – Prague, 14 July 1939), often known in English and French as Alphonse Mucha, was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist, known best for his distinct style. He produced many paintings, illustrations, advertisements, postcards, and designs."