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Interlock: Offline (Birth in Blood One-shot)

by Mr.RMA

Mr.RMA A one-shot of my character in the Birth in Blood Chat RP. This takes place immediately after his win in round 2. I've been wanting to flesh out this character for a while, but I couldn't really do that so well in a chatroom based RP, so, I figured I'd just write a little something and post it. Hopefully you guys will find it somewhat enjoyable, and not horribly confusing.
Another victory; another close victory… Twice now, Michael Tourniquet’s greatest accidental achievement, his robotic duplicate, Mr.RMA, had managed to get the better of a brilliant, supernatural, otherworldly opponent…by the skin of his metallic teeth. His fellow contestants were undoubtedly proving their strength and resourcefulness, and he had to constantly keep his wits about him, just to keep pace, in mind-blowing, outlandish venues no less. These were no simple Earth scuffles, this was the big leagues.

“You’re really givin’ it to ‘em, ARMA! You’re unstoppable!” Michael said enthusiastically as the human and his automaton walked away from the main stadium where the action all took place, playfully jabbing at the robot’s arm, covered in its usual clean, black suit jacket. It was hard to believe that the same jacket had only minutes before been completely drenched in a myriad of coffee, but, somehow, this arena could just make all the filth, all the battle damage, go away, like some magical all-powerful drycleaner.

“Not exactly the kind of word I had in mind, Mike. Lucky seems like the more appropriate term.” RMA said in response, his hands in the front pockets of the jacket, still feeling a little worn out, even after having been revived upon the fight’s conclusion.

“You know, being modest is one thing, but would it kill you to just take a little goddamn credit this one time?” said Michael, his excitement now dulled considerably by his creation’s lack thereof. “There’s always a little luck involved, but luck alone didn’t get you past Dinova’s dragon powers and luck didn’t just automatically give you the strength to fend off Sol’s lightning and fire. It takes real skill to compete with those powerhouses, my friend. They know it, I know it, when the hell are you gonna admit you know it too?” RMA didn’t immediately answer back. He merely stood there, staring blankly at the crowd of people in front of them, scattered all around as they all scurried for their numerous destinations. He probably would’ve kept this trance-like gaze up for a while longer, had he not felt a light tap on his cranium, and a loud “Hello!?” ring through his artificial ear.

“Jeez, Michael, I heard you! You don’t have to get so damn loud…” RMA murmured as he shoved Michael away, massaging his ear in irritation. He had a number of human responses like this that probably didn’t really do him any good in retrospect, but they were all a mandatory part of the AI that made him so human in the first place. Pain response, pleasure response; negative emotions, positive emotions; take just one thing away, and the soul that had been constructed for him would fall apart, plainly and simply. Of course, much like any real human, these emotions and responses were almost never evenly distributed, and in RMA’s case, the negatives often outweighed the positives.

However, his performance in the tournament was hardly the reason for his grumpiness, just as Michael’s irritability wasn’t entirely directed towards the robot’s current behavior. They both had something else in the back of their minds, something that constantly irked them, and it was only bothering them more and more as time went on.

Michael took a deep breath before eventually breaking the silence that had formed between the two. “Look, ARMA, I’m sorry…this has been difficult for us both, but, we can’t let it get to us. We’re safe now; they won’t be able to find us all the way out here. It’s not our concern.” Once again, no response. This time, Michael didn’t shout for his attention. “Let’s just enjoy this little tourney, huh? We’re already making some new friends, you’re seeing a few old ones yourself, and people really love watching you fight. Did you see all those brushes and brooms the crowd was waving around when you won?” He said with a light chuckle, attempting to brighten the mood a little, though really, only doing so by the smallest margin. “Why don’t you go rest up? You’ve earned it. Just try to forget about all that shit we left behind. It’s not like it’s the first time we’ve had to run away from something.” He suggested in as gentle a tone as he could muster, patting the robot’s shoulder before walking off into the crowd, having his own thoughts to deal with. RMA watched him walk off, feeling rather sympathetic for his master. He was a plain, normal human in most ways, powerless, frail, weak in contrast to so many of these strange beings, yet he was the one who was trying so hard to keep both of their spirits up…just as he had attempted to do so back when he was forced to abandon everything he had ever known for his own safety, and for the safety of everyone he ever cared about. To top it all off, all of this happened because of an act he had no memory of committing. Michael should’ve still been living out his normal, suburban life with his family, but instead, he had to exist. RMA had always felt guilty for everything that had happened, and even if his creator could get on his nerves at times, he usually just let it go because of this guilt.

Now left to his own devices, the robot went back to watching the mass of passing people silently for a few minutes more, eventually deciding to follow Michael’s advice and go recharge when a loud buzzing sound emanated from his sunglasses, causing him to freeze in place. That signal…no…he couldn’t be here…They were light years away from the Earth. They weren’t even in the same universe! How could he have possibly followed them here? RMA felt an electric current flow down the spine of his chassis, the closest thing to goose bumps he could experience, as he attempted to ignore the signal, denying any possibility that it was anything beyond a simple glitch. Nothing he couldn’t fix with a little system reboot. The buzzing merely got louder however, to a point where he couldn’t neglect it any longer and, reluctantly, he decided he had no other choice but to track down the source of the signal. It led him towards the exit of the stadium, where gave an obligatory wave towards a few of the people who recognized him from the earlier match as he passed through the doors leading to the outside.

Sure enough, he was standing there, just waiting for RMA to show up, with his toothy grin as menacingly wide as ever. He was another robotic duplicate, an earlier model of the ARMA series, the first successful creation, but one that had such an unstable, chaotic AI, that he could hardly been seen as a true success. Like RMA, his chassis had the near-identical appearance of Michael, but his attire consisted of a dark brown, unbuttoned tweet jacket with a plain white undershirt, green cargo slacks, and brown hiking boots, all of which looked scruffy and littered with dirt. He wore the same sunglasses as his “brother”, but a blood-red glow could be faintly seen emanating through the black, shaded lenses. RMA’s hands curled into fists, tightly clenched in both fear and anger. His face showed signs of both as well, but also of confusion.

“Hello, RawrMA…” He growled, his brow furrowed.

“Hey, little bro. Miss me?” RawrMA said almost giddily, his damaged voice box spewing out white-noise to accompany his words, a noise loud enough to make his words sound muffled and nearly unintelligible.

“Hardly. How the hell did you even get here?”

RawrMA somehow managed to widen his grin even more at the question, slowly walking up to his counterpart in a casual stride. “Just so happens I managed to catch a ride. Same one you took actually. That cargo hold was surprisingly spacious.” He explained, now standing uncomfortably close to RMA, their identical sunglasses inches apart.

“How’s that even possible? I should’ve been able to sense your presence!” RMA responded, edging back to recover some much-needed distance between him and RawrMA.

“Funny thing about that, I finally managed to deactivate my tracking chip before I caught wind of what you guys were doin’. You only got that signal just now because I wanted you to know I was here. I’ve been watching your fights, bro; I even slipped my way into the crowd during that last one. I’ve been right under your nose this entire time, and neither you nor Mike had any idea. Ain’t that just the darndest thing?” RawrMA responded with a giggle, still quite proud of himself for managing to fool this so-called superior model so easily. RMA’s mouth was agape, shocked that this deranged lunatic could find his way around such a limitation. If he could manipulate his tracker, what else could he have messed with?

“Look, RawrMA, we don’t want any trouble here, but if you’re trying to get to Michael…”

“Oh, no, I’m not going after our beloved creator, big guy! You know I can’t even lay a finger on him even if I wanted to! That’s been wired into my hard drive, there’s no way I could mess with that. No, I’m here for another reason.”

RMA didn’t like the way RawrMA had said that last sentence, his words dripping with sinister intent. Even with the assurance that Michael had nothing to do with this, he didn’t have a good feeling about the real reason for his fellow ARMA’s presence. “Explain to me then, what that reason is.”

RawrMA didn’t respond immediately, circling around RMA quietly before speaking up. “You tell any of your little friends the reason why you’re here? Do any of ‘em know you didn’t sign up for this tournament to win? That you’re not here to make friends, or get your daily bloodlust? Do they know you’re hiding from someone? You get around to tellin’ ‘em any of that, RMA?” He said, stopping right in front of RMA and poking him in the chest as he brought up the last question.

“It doesn’t concern them. We’re not harming anyone here by participating; we’re just keeping ourselves safe.”

“You’re never safe, pally. I think it’s about time you realize that. It doesn’t matter where you go, what you do, who you align yourself with, there will always be someone after you for one reason or another, and that means they’re gonna be after your master too.”

RMA lifted a finger as if to refute this statement immediately, but, to his horror, he couldn’t. He recalled the comments that Sol had made earlier about him, obviously impressed by his appearance and abilities, which meant, even if robots were a more ordinary sort of thing around here, that didn’t mean they were passé. People probably would find use for him in some way if they got ahold of him, and, provided they didn’t just want to turn him into scrap metal, thanks to his programming, the only way they could make him work for them is if they got rid of Michael. He didn’t want to admit RawrMA was right though, and, in his best attempt at fake confidence, he simply said, “We can handle it…”

RawrMA’s grin suddenly turned into a sneer at the response. “You really think so? No, of course you don’t. You just can’t bring yourself to admit you agree with me!” He said teasingly, shoving RMA backwards.

Having had enough of this, RMA reached into the inside pocket of his jacket, but to his dismay, he felt nothing but the satin lining. His trademark weapon was gone!

“Heh…you really should pay more attention to your things, bro. You might lose ‘em otherwise!” RawrMA said as he waved around the cylindrical metallic object.

“Just give it back…”

“And what, have you beat the shit outta me? Oh, but wait! You can’t do that, can you? Because we’re out here in public! You cause a ruckus, and you’ll get yourself disqualified, and you’ll have to find somewhere else to run off to!”

“Maybe I wouldn’t mind taking that risk.”

RawrMA stifled a chuckle. “Oh, but you do. I know you, RMA. You wouldn’t gamble on something like that.”

“But you would…”

“Of course I would.” RawrMA tossed him his weapon back without any more delay. “Now go ahead, prove me wrong, do what I’d do.”

RMA glared at the object in his hands, his thumb temptingly hovering over the button to activate it. He wanted to believe he had a real choice in this matter, but, his decision was already made for him. RawrMA was right, he couldn’t do it. He put the weapon back in his pocket and looked away.

“Just get out of here, RawrMA…” He muttered. RawrMA gave a victorious smirk before turning and walking away. “That’s your biggest flaw, RMA. As human as you might act, you’re still as predictable as any other robot.” He said before disappearing from sight. RMA was left alone again, but now he was feeling even more troubled than before. Figuring it best if he cleared his head before deciding whether or not to do anything about this little encounter he had just had, he resorted to go back on his way to get some rest. He was going to need it now more than ever.
  1. Karu

    An excellent dip into the background of characters already interesting just from the way they battle and interact in the arena. As Shiny said, excellently defined tone and mood, even a nice balance on detail to give the reader an idea of things. I like how you identify that RMA is in fact an AI and the equation and human traits to robotic. It reminds me of a character I used to use in my last nomadic phase that Tailon faced off against, we should have them meet some time.

    I fully agree with my past self, this was well worth the eager anticipation! I look forward to future works and if in RP or as a reader, exploring the dynamics along with you of these relationships!
    Oct 9, 2013
    Mr.RMA likes this.
  2. Shiny Pyxis
    Shiny Pyxis
    oh... oh wow.

    That conflict is so real. I was smiling and stuff in the beginning when Michael and RMA were kind of joking with each other and having fun, like you would expect friends to, but then that tone shift when RawrMA appeared was.... ah, I can almost feel the tension as I was reading. My heart's still beating pretty quickly from it Dx

    This was so great, Arma~! I love it, and even if I might not completely understand your characters' situation, I'm glad I at least better know what kinds of people (or robots, but still people enough to call them people) they are. I really hope to read more from you~ ♥
    Oct 9, 2013
    Mr.RMA likes this.