[Recommended Listening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeO34bmJdMA It’s like internal dialogue for both parties…]
*This is an INTERACTIVE post!*
Gamma’s systems were at their highest capacity, with the new mechanical body finally adjusting to its internals. There was no doubt, the frame was a weapon. A thinking, sea-monster-crushing weapon designed solely for the purpose of defending the village. However, the memories of the former Geat were proving too much for it. Those last moments aboard the Ark played back endlessly; How Gamma had slacked off its duties, how shirking responsibility led to the core overheating, how the fireball that resulted utterly devastated most of the ship and how he was unlucky enough to survive.
The fury that came with the new body wasn’t helping. What Chip had intended as a tool to make Gamma into an instinctive protector against Borland was being directed internally, since they were in a place where the sea was no concern. Finally, Gamma spoke.
“Gamma crush Borland… Gamma crush… lonely, Gamma lonely… Gamma extremely sad. Gamma kill Borland, then self. Gamma kill self. Gamma terminate.”
Before anyone could stop the machine, it blasted off like the mutant offspring of Mazinger and Road Runner, determined to perform a suicide charge on the very thing it was until recently unaware of.
Chip, immediately harking back to his past experiences with a creation of his dying, rushed after Gamma. The immense power generated by the Geat-thing’s rage was bound to pack a punch, and if it turned that energy inward, that’s two more deaths he’d be responsible for. He made it to the shoreline before he found something. A scale, from Borland. A close examination revealed that it wasn’t a scale, but rather, a flake of dry paint around a piece of alloy shaped like a guitar pick. Was Borland… A fake?
Chip’s attention turned to the battle further out at sea. Borland was taking a beating, all right, but something odd had happened to it.
The sea monster’s scales had drifted off into the ocean, revealing a metallic husk. Wrapped around its ribcage was a fleshy, parasitic creature. Its face was human, and the beast was surrounded by viscera, though it was protected by an iron sphere. This was the true Borland; a freakishly mutated lump of skin given life. As more and more of the outer monstrosity was blasted away, more and more of the frame was exposed, a mess of technology and wires. As Gamma initiated its final charge, the iron heart of the beast was sent flying ashore!
By now, a crowd had gathered, among them Hope, Modo and Chip. The three hurried to the metal sphere, opening it to find the hideous monster inside.
“What… What ARE you?!” was all an incredulous Chip could splutter, which made the parasite begin to laugh. A hollow, drawn-out wheezing cackle from a creature with no sanity at all punctuated by the rhythmic beeps and blips of a heart monitor and a computer.
“HAhahahahAAAHHHeeheehehehoohahahaaaa…” wheezed the broken, wretched creature. “I do NOT- not -NAAaAAaaawt! – need to explain A-ny-THING to YOU! I-am-we-are-you-shall-not. YOU. YOU. You-you-YOU. Will! Sub-MIT! We are The Fleshed – THE FLESHED!”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR OUR HEROES? DO THEY INTERROGATE THE CREATURE, FIND OUT MORE? OR SHOULD THEY GET RID OF IT?