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Interlock: Vital Parts

by Mr.RMA

Mr.RMA The continuing adventures of Mr.RMA and Michael during Karu's Birth in Blood storyline. As the events surrounding the tournament become more sinister, the two find themselves facing the very internal conflicts they came to this tournament to forget, as two separate encounters with a devilish being with seemingly infinite power have left them both with more than a few questions they just can't answer...
(Separated into two parts. Part 1 takes place after Michael's encounter with the Fair Lady. Part 2 takes place after the RMA's encounter almost immediately succeeding Karu vs ARMA.)
(Part 1)

“The price is the girl…”

Nioyu’s words repeated themselves over and over in Michael’s head as he slept. Meical had made good on his promise to retain what had happened; every single word the Fair Lady spoke echoed cleanly, perfectly, in his subconscious. As if that weren’t unbearable enough, some particular bits rang out even louder than the rest:

“Would you not like your own form, free of emotions?”

“Change is such a great thing”

“Isn't freedom just so close?”

“You need only pay the correct price…”

The correct price wasn’t worth it, and he had refused to pay it, but…the offer of separation…it enticed him. Could she have done it? Could she have liberated him from this cursed double-life? It wasn’t possible, scientifically no one even knew for sure what the affliction was, but she seemed so confident that she could pull it off, and in this world of inexplicable magic, who was he to reprimand her? The possibility of leading a normal life, devoid of this eternal fear he carried, tormented him while he slumbered, the human tossing and turning relentlessly as he began to dream of it…a life where the other half never woke up, was never really there…

He stood in front of his old home, feeling the warm, comforting summer breeze blow by as the bright shining sun bathed him in a protective light. He smiled and took a deep breath of the fresh Earth air as he walked through the radiant green grass leading up to the pavement that led to his front door. He put his hand on the doorknob and turned it, pushing the door open and stepping inside, into his favorite place in the whole universe to be. He had not smiled as brightly as he did just then for a very long time as he briskly strolled through the foyer, into the kitchen, looking out the window to his backyard. Everything was just as beautiful as he remembered it. Michael spun around gleefully at the ecstasy of the moment, but this proved to be a short-lived celebration.

While he happily whirled about, he came to notice something spilled on the floor. A very familiar substance, the same one that had inadvertently brought his other half into light... Michael’s smile was gone in an instant. The disgusting, gooey, pinkish mass of rotten meats and juices started to ooze toward his feet. He stumbled backwards, tumbling onto the hardwood floor with a painful thud beside a door with light creeping beneath it. The distant sound of beeping, buzzing and other mechanical noises could be heard coming from the door, sounds that were far from inviting where Michael was concerned. His first inclination was to head back to the foyer, but as he got up and turned around, the only thing he saw was a black void where the room should’ve been. Turning back, he found the kitchen had suffered the same fate, but the pink goo remained, floating alone in the darkness, rising up and taking the form of three dripping, pink tendrils rearing back, ready to strike. Left with no other reasonable choice, Michael swung the basement door open as the first tendril lunged for him, rushing inside and slamming the door behind him, hearing the putrid mass ramming against the wooden structure blocking its way for a moment before abruptly going silent. Michael clutched his chest and leaned against the door as he struggled to regain his composure. The mechanical noises had grown louder, as if beckoning him on, and he eventually began the slow descent down the stairs into the room that had turned into his makeshift laboratory. He saw all the complex machinery lining the walls, wires running across the floor, papers littered all over the place...and at the far end, standing between two operating tables, he saw himself. He was facing away from him, wearing an immaculate white lab coat; he was looking down towards the concrete floor beneath them, his hands resting on the two tables beside him, as if in deep thought. Michael felt his entire body go cold, watching himself stand there so silently without a word. He took an uneasy step forward, his fear somehow fueling his curiosity.

“‘Separate us. Damn you. Separate us.’ I believe that’s how you put it.” His lab coat doppelganger spoke up as soon as Michael began his approach, turning around and facing him with a cold, stern glare. If he had any lingering doubt that this was his intellectual side speaking to him before, it was out the window now. “We’re gonna have to have a little chat, Michael. I think it’s about time I explain a few things to you.”

Michael’s initial anxiety began to shift into aggravation at the sight of Meical standing before him; confronting him; talking down to him. “Why the hell would I bother listening to what you have to say?” He responded sharply, returning his other half’s glare.

“Maybe because I have a far better idea over what’s going on here than you do, perhaps?” Meical retorted, crossing his arms. “Before you ask me to clarify, I am of course referring to that little deal you nearly struck up with that so-called Fair Lady a few moments ago.”

“I wasn’t going to do it. You know I wouldn’t let someone else get hurt for my own benefit like that, especially not a friend.”

“That doesn’t matter. Your very consideration over the whole thing is evident enough that you have no idea how little you understand our bond. That or you’re just denying the truth.”

Michael’s hands gripped tightly into fists. “What on Earth could I possibly not understand? We’re two parts of the same person. Pretty damn simple really.”

“Obviously not simple enough, Michael…” Meical responded with a sigh. “We are the same person, yes, which means we’re both a part of what makes you Michael Tourniquet. What you wish to do is tear us apart, put us in different bodies to call our own. What you fail to grasp, is that you’d only be destroying yourself by doing this. Our soul, your soul, requires us both. As soon as I’m removed, you will cease to exist. All that will remain is two human shells; fractions; mere reflections of what used to be you. Michael Tourniquet will die, replaced by two soulless puppets.”

“That’s not true! It can’t be! I functioned perfectly fine before I ever knew you were around!” Michael shouted, his voice rising as he desperately refused to believe what was being explained to him.

“Just because you didn’t know, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t there. Dormant or not, I’m a part of you. I have been, and I always will be.” Michael’s face began to grow red. He wasn’t going to be able to take much more of this before snapping. “Face it Michael. I’m the most important thing in your life.”

That was the breaking point. “You were NEVER important to me!” Michael screamed, throwing a punch at Meical’s nose. Meical’s head jerked back as he recoiled in pain…and Michael found himself reacting in the very same way. A slow stream of blood began to fall from both of their nostrils, red drops falling to the ground in perfect synchronization.

“What did I tell you?” Meical said, grasping his nose, his eyes watery. “We’re the same person; we feel the same pain…”

Michael’s eyes watered up as well, though perhaps for more than one reason. “No! You bastard! You’re nothing like me! You took everything I loved away from me! You have no right to say that!” He cried as he continued assaulting his duplicate in a rapid, hysteric frenzy. Every injury was felt by both of them: A blow to the chest, they both felt their ribs crack; a hook to the cheek, their jaws both swelled; a hard kick to the stomach; they both coughed up blood.

“Michael! Stop this!” Meical shouted, clumsily gripping Michael’s bloodstained shirt, his own smock spattered with the red blots. Michael stumbled back, but still managed to shove him away, falling backwards and cracking his skull on the concrete. Everything went black, with the last thing Michael hearing being the sound of a second body crumpling to the ground before he suddenly woke up with a jolt…back in the chambers.

Michael gripped the bed sheets tightly, staring into space for a moment before covering his face with his hands as a stream of tears flowed. Meical was right…why did he always have to be right…?

---

(Part 2)

Mr.RMA walked out of the chambers, still shaken, still anxious, but he couldn’t let that get to him. He needed to find his master. Nioyu had “invited” him and the others to that private audience at least an hour ago; Michael had been on his own that entire time, in quite a bit of stress if his running off was any indication. He had to find the human before he got himself hurt just running around this alien planet on his own with abandon. He ran through the dwindling population of people still strolling through the stadium grounds, his internal radar detector seeking out the signal that Michael’s markings on his right wrist emitted.

Eventually, the signal led him outside, towards a small mound that had a great view of the night sky, a different sky than the one he was used to, yet, it was no less beautiful and mysterious. There on the mound, he saw his master gazing at the sky, quiet and alone as he often was. Without a word, he calmly walked over and sat beside him, joining in on the stargazing. For a while, the silence continued, nothing said between the two near-identical figures, until Michael suddenly spoke up.

“Did I ever tell you I planned to be a biologist back when I was in high school?” He said, his focus still on the sky as he spoke.

“Surprisingly, no, I don’t believe you’ve ever told me that.” RMA responded.

“Well, there you go. Kind of ironic when all’s said and done…”

“How do you mean?” the robot asked as he turned his focus to Michael with a hint of confusion.

“Well, I’ve wanted a career in science for so long, like, since I was a little kid. I wanted to travel, see new, foreign things, learn new stuff, and encounter fantastic creatures…” Michael answered, finally turning his attention fully to RMA. “Sure as hell got my wish there, didn’t I?”

“Few humans can say they’ve seen what you have in their entire lifetime, yes.” RMA remarked confirmedly with a nod.

“Yeah, ain’t that the truth…” Michael turned back to observe the mysterious horizon once more. “Just wish my family could see all this with me, you know?”

RMA hesitated before answering this time, knowing this was a touchy subject for Michael. “You miss them a lot…It’s natural. You’ve known them all your life, you love them, and they certainly love you. That’s why they’re so far away.”

Michael didn’t answer at all this time, his facial expressions more than enough to reveal the homesickness overtaking him.

“It’s for their own good, Mike. We’ve discussed this before. So long as they don’t know where you are, they won’t be targeted…”

“I know, I know, you don’t have to remind me about what I said myself.” Michael replied rather quickly. Realizing he had raised his voice a little, he took a breath to calm himself before continuing. “Doesn’t make any of it easier…”

Another pause broke the conversation before RMA let out a quiet sigh. “…I’m sorry, Michael… For everything…”

“ARMA, don’t start with this again…” Michael murmured, knowing where this was going to lead.

“But it’s the truth! I’m the reason why this was all thrust upon you! My life ruined yours…”

“You’re no more responsible than anything else, man. I built you; you had no say in that. Even if I don’t remember it, I created you, which means I have to rightfully accept the consequences.”

“That’s the point though…You don’t even remember any of it.” RMA said with a grim shake of his head.

Michael simply gave a shrug at this. “It’s kinda like how people act after they drink a ton. Just ‘cause they don’t remember it, doesn’t mean they don’t have to face what they did eventually once they sober up.”

“An interesting comparison…I guess I see your point, but…I don’t know…”

“Yeah, I know the feeling…” Michael mumbled, looking down at the moist grass beneath them that suddenly reminded him quite a bit of the Earth’s. “You think we’re gonna be running like this forever, ARMA?” He found himself unexpectedly ask his metallic companion. This time, RMA had gone silent, seeming rather conflicted about what he had just been asked.

“ARMA?” Michael repeated, giving the robot a light shake in concern.

“…u-uh…yeah?” RMA said as he was snapped out of his thoughts.

“You alright?”

“I’m fine…that just reminded me of something someone told me a while ago. Nothing important, really.” He assured, though the words his “brother” had spoken to him several days earlier began to echo through his computerized consciousness.

“Hmm…Well, then are you gonna answer the question?”

RMA thought it over for a while longer, eventually just shrugging and leaning back. “…I don’t know what’s gonna happen, Michael. My programming doesn’t have that kind of foresight.”

“You wanna just make a guess then? ‘Cause, I really just wanna hear what the other chump stuck with me through all this has to say.”

“…Someday we won’t be running anymore. I know that’s true. Don’t need to be a psychic or anything to predict that. Guess the real question is just when…and why…”

Michael pondered over his creation’s words, reaching his hand out towards the night sky, as if he were a child trying to grab one of the stars. “Yeah…Why indeed…
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  1. Karu
    Karu
    Excellent piece of writing, look forward to see more. Always good to see emotional sides to characters, their internal conflicts and the processes of them dealing with them. I like the dream sequence, very interesting material. Keep up the good work, eh? :D See you in the channels.
    Oct 30, 2013
    Mr.RMA likes this.
  2. Shiny Lyni
    Shiny Lyni
    Michaelllll feels ugh ;;

    I pretty much told you in chat some stuff already, but it's so great to be able to read your one-shots~ Not only do I feel like I know your characters even a little better, it's just so well written and everything. I still feel the adrenaline when I read the fight between Mike and Meical, and the little bit with RMA is just so feelsy.

    Really hoping to see more from you eeee~ ♥
    Oct 29, 2013
    Mr.RMA likes this.