|Neue Quality Bonding Moment|
|Summary: Yazan spends some quality time with W16 in order to offer her a very humble suggestion.|
Echidna Iisaki does not require physical training. Her body is in perfect shape and remains so as long as it recieves proper maintenance. As a result she is relatively rarely in that part of the training center. What will weight-lifting do for her?
On the other hand, the section near the command center is a much more common place to see her. She does practice her piloting, as she has been ordered to learn every mech the Divine Crusaders can field. Echidna has just gotten done with practice in the Dreissen, and has brought her machine back over to the side to jump down from.
"Gosh, looks like /someone's/ keepin' super busy today."
As always, the voice of Yazan Gable cuts in as sharp and pointedly as a knife, his tone as abrasive and sardonic as possible - which seems to come only naturally to the man as he sits easily at the top of a nearby simulator. He doesn't seem to have been bothering to train, if the pork leg being torn at between his teeth is any indication.
"A puppet's work is never done, I guess." Grinning, Yazan tears at a piece of his food, the meat's juices dribbling down the corner of his mouth as he chews away languidly. "Then again..." he wonders aloud.
"... I guess some of you get t'be more priviliged than others, eh?
"Damn shame about that Loveless, innit?"
That man, Echidna thinks to herself, is in violation of several codes by bringing food in here. Why is he eating all the time?
She walks several yards, her heels tapping against the floor loudly, before she finally looks up at Yazan Gable. There isn't very much about him that she needs to see, but you look at people who are talking to you.
Echidna says absolutely nothing for about five seconds while she stares up, her green eyes unblinking. She considers a whole range of responses and settles on one of the safest. "We all have work to do. As do you."
Though she does not deign to respond verbally to the last words, they hit her. Her face shifts slightly, her expression changing almost infinitesimally more irritated.
Yazan Gable, very pointedly, deigns not to look at Echidna. Apparently, even artificial human beings are better mannered than he is.
Instead, he simply rips out another chunk of meat, grinding away at it between his teeth in loud smacks as he waits -- with seemingly infinite patience -- for Echidna to respond. His lips tug into a smirk.
"That so? Pretty sure I'm doin' my job just fine and dandy -- but I couldn't help but come by to check up on you." That smirk splits into a wider, more savage grin.
"I'm all /sortsa/ worried about ya."
A second later, Gable pushes off the simulator. He lands easily enough, keeping a respectful distance from Echidna -- he's more than aware of what these kinds of machine-people are capable of when they're upset.
And that's exactly what he's aiming for.
"After all," he continues conversationally, considering the mauled up piece of pork leg in his right hand with an inquisitive eye, "it ain't ever easy when mommy's got a favorite, huh?" He pauses here, letting the words sink in, before those dark eyes slowly rise up to focus on Echidna.
"All this talkin' about that little robot bitch being 'defective' an' shit," he drawls out easily, lips curling upward, "but you an' me know the truth, don't we?
"So why do you think she gets to be oh so special to mommy dearest, an' you -- you're just another number to be spit out?"
Echidna Iisaki is notoriously hard to rattle. Anyone who's been around the Shadow Mirrors knows it; she has a reputation for being impassive, for being unshaken by any event. It's hard to make her angry, too. The number of people who have seen her upset can be counted on the fingers of one hand... and some of those were faked.
Her lips purse. Echidna's reactions are very slight. If Yazan was not watching and intentionally trying to draw them out, he might not ever notice the slight crinkling near her eyes, the minor shift in the set of her jaw.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Echidna says, in that voice of hers - not a monotone, but dispassionate. "Also, I do not have a mother. If you are referring to Mistress Lemon, say so."
"You don't, huh?"
Yazan is nothing if not a predator by nature. Under that intent eye of his, even that slight crinkle, that smallest of shifts, is like the barest droplets of blood in the water to a shark. It's barely anything--
--but he's nothing if not persistent.
Scratching his blonde head of hair, the scarred man bunches up his brows almost sympathetically, eyelids closing to squint pointedly at Echidna. "Well, I guess I'll just hafta spell it out for you, 'cause I'm so concerned," he begins, easily, his words drawling out at an infuriatingly languid pace as he shoves his left hand into his pants pocket and takes a step forward.
"I wonder why 'Mistress' Lemon is oh so happy with the traitor an' not you. I bet you've worked your little robot heart off to accomplish all their missions for 'em, yeah? But the one who runs away -- the one who's probably blabbin' about all your little secrets to the enemy, the one they /brought back to life/ after she /turned/ on 'em -- she's the perfect one, eh? She's the complete one?"
Leaning to the side, Yazan rests on a simple weight machine, biting into his pork leg again. His expression is the pinnacle of contemplative concern as he turns his gaze back towards Echidna.
"I mean, compared to the way li'l Ms. Lemon was looking at Loveless, you might as well've been a pile of trash. Now... what's your esteemed opinion on why that is, eh?"
The standard human reaction is - and should be - to back up from an advancing Yazan. Move away from the predators. Don't allow them to hunt you down.
Echidna holds her ground. She does not need to look down at Yazan, unlike many people who she talks to; she just looks straight across at him while he speaks. What he's saying isn't anything she hasn't thought about.
It could be, she told herself, just another method of Shadow Mirror competition. If that was true, Echidna lost, and there's nothing she can do about it. Or it could have been /Lemon/ making an error, in which case Lamia was still broken, probably worse than before. Or something she is in no position to comprehend, to understand.
The tiny expression grows. Echidna's eyes, always narrow because of the set of her face, narrow even further. "I do not have an opinion," Echidna says. "But you are attempting to make a point." She is not entirely sure where he's going, but she is sure he's going somewhere.
She isn't sure what she feels about all of this. Him asking her these questions, somehow, makes them real. If /Echidna/ is the only one who comes up with them, they aren't important. But if someone else does...
The response grows, and so too does Yazan's smile. It's not a particularly pleasant thing, but that's one of his charms. He is wholly disgusting in everything he does.
Which is exactly why the man noisily slurps up another strip of meet when Echidna denounces his question. His brows lift as pork snaps up into his mouth, beady eyes squaring solely on Echidna now.
"I think we both know that's a buncha bullshit," he snorts out derisively, waving what remains of his pork leg through the air like a condemnation. "Don't try an' lie to me, girlie. I was there when you suddenly had t'leave in such a damn hurry. Even a lifeless, disposable weapon hasta feels a little bit angry when their precious master decides they're trash compared to the newer, shinier model. Am I wrong?"
He doesn't wait for an answer. Instead, he leans forward, making sure to get uncomfortably close. His head cants to the side, his right brow lifts.
"That little strumpet is better an' more important to you in every way according to the great an' powerful Mistress Lemon." His eyes narrow; his grin is feral. His breath, very pointedly, reaks.
"But if a useless little doll like you were to go an' kill that super duper superior doll all on your lonesome -- I wonder who'd the special one be then, eh?"
This time, Echidna does slide back, perhaps half a step. It isn't that the closeness really disturbs her; she doesn't notice things like personal space, and generally fails to respond much even if actually manhandled.
It's that she does not want to be touched by greasy pork, because then she will have to unstain her dress.
"I had completed my task." Echidna's voice is still the same - calm, collected, not angry. So why is she tensing, even just a little? "You know very little about Mistress Lemon. Do not put words in her mouth. She is quite capable of giving me orders on her own if she chooses to."
It's not a bad idea, though. Still, it involves a degree of autonomy that makes Echidna's skin crawl. It isn't her job to make decisions like that. It's Lemon's, or Vindel's, or Axel's. Who is she to second-guess them?
Except Vindel and Lemon don't agree on this, either, do they? Vindel is still calling for Lamia's death. Lemon isn't. There's a conflict. Echidna hasn't decided where she stands; she's never had to make that decision before.
"Oh, c'mon," Yazan drawls out in a chastizing tone; he shakes his head, solemnly. "I bet she put enough gears an' motors in your lifeless head to be more observant than that. Just the way she /looked/ at her. Like she was everything she could've ever wanted in her freaky doll collection. It was a look of /pride./ Y'know, the type of feelings real people get at things that aren't failures." His brows lift.
"She ever look at you like that, sweet cheeks?"
Slowly, Gable backs away. Teeth clench and rip into one of the final scraps of meat on that thick bone as he lets Echidna digest the words. Ultimately, Yazan closes his eyes and lifts his shoulders in a noncommittal shrug.
"Lemon doesn't want her precious little toy to die. But if ya killed her, wouldn't that just prove she was the defective, inferior one all along?" Yazan stares at his scrap-ridden pork leg for a long silent moment before simply tossing it to the side, letting the bone clatter against the hard floor. He squints, then shrugs again. Close enough.
"See, I'm a /real/ person, I don't hafta worry about this sorta shit like you do. But me, I'm thinkin' if ya wanna prove Loveless is the one that's broke..." His index finger presses against his throat, and he drags across it, making a short 'ssccchhhhluucckkk' noise as he does.
"... you gotta take care of the loose ends yourself."
Echidna Iisaki looks at Yazan for several long seconds, almost unmoving. She does not even blink when he discards the bone.
Kill Lamia. Kill W17. Echidna did think about it. She wanted to, for some time; the illogical desire she had for Lamia to be brought back, followed by the truth of what happened when she was, made her equally illogically want to correct that mistake.
But that wouldn't be right. She can't go against Mistress Lemon. Even now, it's hard to even think about that. Yazan knows all the right buttons to push - but Echidna can't follow up on them, even as she's torn between trying to 'correct' the failure of Lamia - W17 - and knowledge that if Lemon was right and W17 is a success, /she/ is the failure.
That's thinking like Echidna again. Not like W16. She has to be W16, because what else does she have in her life? Echidna is a lie. She was given the name before they admitted what the W-Series was. Now, she doesn't even need it.
Echidna walks past Yazan, close enough that she nearly brushes him, to pick up the bone. She does so between two nails, almost delicately. It hangs, loosely, for about two seconds. "You dropped your own loose end," she says, offering it back to him.
Her expression, even for someone like him, is stormy and otherwise unreadable.
Yazan's expression changes from amusment to a bland look of boredom as that bone is dangled out in front of him. He squints, lips pulling into a tight line. And then--
Rather than take the offered bone, Yazan moves easily past, lifting his hands into the air as if in an exasperated gesture. "Fine, fine. I can see you're in /real/ good hands. An' when Lamia Loveless goes an' gets all your masters an' your creator killed because 'Mistress' Lemon decided it'd make her super swell if she could do whatever the hell she wanted, well--
"--at least you can tell yourself /she's/ the perfect, superior one, right?"
The tone of his voice practically drips of the laughter he's obviously far too polite to vocalize as he walks away. His left hand shoving into his pocket, the right one lifts into the air and waves almost dismissively. "You keep that," he speaks of the bone in her grasp.
"I'm sure a doll like you is better at cleanin' up other people's loose ends than /I/ am."
Echidna isn't sure why she started to speak. It is inadvisable. She should have kept her mouth shut. She doesn't even have anything to say. She turns and walks in a different direction from Yazan.
About five seconds later, there is a muffled series of pops, as she squeezes the bone in the hand so hard her knuckles whiten and a significant length of the bone is turned into shards. Echidna does not even seem to realize that she's done it.