Transmigration 9: Brave New Worlds

Pan-fandom, SciFi, and Screwed-Up

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oh god i will never live this down, insert linkin park lyrics here
riseupnchargem wrote in trans_9

Jamie was tired.

The exhaustion was, almost, a welcome respite from the mind-numbing fear of SHODAN's attack on the crew, the panic barely held at bay in the cockpit of the Geno Saurer, fighting off hordes of smaller robots and, eventually, mobs of Zoids whose command systems had been overtaken by the malevolent AI. The feeling of helpless terror, of facing his own impending death had become so commonplace since the Daligig had so generously chosen him to help fight their war for them that Jamie was, when he bothered to think about it, surprised - and frustrated, and annoyed with himself - that he hadn't gotten a better handle on it. But it was the same every time, in every single battle, and this instance, as ceaseless waves of metal bodies in every shape imaginable had rushed him and his Zoid, had been no exception.

And then everything had just...stopped. The swarms of mechanized enemies had ceased their onslaught, everything had gone eerily quiet, and there was finally time to regroup, tend to injuries, figure out what the hell had happened. Time to rest.

For most people, probably. Jamie hadn't. There was work to be done, repairs to be made, damages to patch up. None of it was going to fix itself and Jamie wouldn't have tolerated any opportunity to let himself think about the newest horror the ship, or the multiverse in general, had inflicted on them. He'd welcomed the overabundance of work.

He'd gone wherever he was sent initially, and once orders had stopped being handed down, as the preliminary rush of activity had faded and things slowly resumed some semblance of normalcy, he'd gone where he thought he could be of the most use. And as time wore on and his energy reserves became stretched thin, he more often than not found himself wandering to the hangar.

The Geno Saurer lurked in an isolated corner, miraculously still upright but slumping with palpable exhaustion. Surrounding the blue tyrannosaur were the battered carcasses of several Rev Raptors, scattered in ungainly sprawls of clawed limbs and serrated tails and serpentine necks. Jamie picked his way through them, paranoia pricking alarm at dulled senses - what if the things came back to life and attacked again? SHODAN had been defeated, the threat eliminated, or so everyone believed. Believing in things didn't make them true, though. Belief, Jamie was finding, didn't mean much around here.

He reached the Geno, pausing near one hind claw, wavering slightly as he craned his neck to gaze up at her. The Zoid's wedge-shaped head was angled toward the ground, optics dimly lit with the barest hint of cognizance. The brush of her awareness of him was reassuring, something he found himself clinging to for comfort. She was tired too, Jamie could tell. She'd fought hard and needed to be taken care of as much as anyone else.

"'m sorry," he murmured, resting a hand on the edge of one claw. "I should've been here sooner, huh. Everything's just been busy. You understand that, right?"

Of course she did. He could tell. Somehow.

"...yeah." He'd let himself slump forward, leaning heavily against her talon, head drooping and hand still pressed to metal. "'m here now. I promised I'd take care of you, back on the island. I didn't forget."

He wasn't entirely sure how long he'd remained like that when some noise nearby - faint or loud, it was all the same to his rattled senses - snapped him from inaction and he jerked to attention, twisting to face the source of the noise, looking more than a little wild-eyed.

[[This can be bendytimed to any point post-SHODAN, including before/during/after Shore Leave.]]

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One of the girls from the new group peers at him, holding a spanner and wiping grease off her face.

"She doesn't look like a standard gear but if the control circuit is anything like the ones from home maybe I could help replace damaged sensor units and swap out armor panels. Or something. Oh. I'm Maria."

Jamie's vaguely frantic expression faded somewhat, replaced by the briefest flicker of confusion. "...she's not a Gear," he managed, turning to face the girl more fully. "She's a Zoid. I dunno yet how badly damaged she is, I need to run a diagnostic on her.

"'s a Gear the kind of mech they have where you're from? D'you have one here?" She looked as though she'd been working on something, anyway, though maybe she'd just been pitching in to help out with the general mess in the hangar.

Maria points to the 100 meter tall blue mecha she's been working on.

"That's my Seibzehn, we've been a team since he broke me out of Solaris when I was four."

Jamie appraised the mech from his vantage point near the Geno Saurer. "'s a long time to have a machine," he noted. "You guys must be pretty close." He wasn't one to question the existence of sentient mecha; rare though they were in his universe, it was entirely possible they were commonplace in others.

"He's all I have left of father. I guess you could say he's in there somewhere."

Well, now she'd lost him. He looked from the robot back to the girl, bemusedly. "...which means what, exactly?"

Zouichi blinked. "...Sorry. I was just on my way to my VF, and I thought I heard someone talking."

He hadn't meant to walk in on the heart-to-heart! Honest!

sorry if this doubleposts, LJ's being odd again.

It's okay, Zouichi, it was probably inevitable that someone would interrupt a PDA between Jamie and his Zoid.

Looking a little flustered, he shrugged, running a hand through his hair. "'sokay, I was just...thinking out loud." Sort of. "Didn't mean to distract you or anything."

Zouichi nodded. "No, you didn't. I just wasn't expecting to find..."

Find a what? A robot animal? What was Jamie talking to, anyway?

"Anyone here, I guess. They're mostly down on the planet." And come to think of it, why wasn't Jamie down there, too?

"...oh, yeah. Shore leave." Jamie didn't sound remotely excited, or even interested. "Guess everyone needs something to blow off some steam after - " He paused, then made a fitful gesture at the rest of the hangar and the signs of destruction therein. "...after all that."

Oblivious to Zouichi's bewilderment regarding his Zoid, Jamie turned to face the other, leaning back slightly against the Geno's claw. "What about you? Didn't feel like going down, or are you taking a break from...whatever there is to do down there?"

Zouichi nodded. Actually, he'd been responsible for a portion of that damage. A small portion. Very small, really. Almost unnoticeable. "I have no doubt. And I've already been down there. There's a surprising array of supplies available, and no telling when the next planet is."

He motioned to the Zoid. "Is this machine from your world?"

At the mention of supplies Jamie looked contemplative, if only briefly. "Maybe I should get down there sometime, then," he conceded. "Guess I can see if there's time after I get caught up here." Business before - well, more business.

He glanced up and over his shoulder at the blue beast behind him. "Yeah. She's a Zoid - a living machine we use where I come from. She's a Geno Saurer." He hesitated again and nodded toward the smaller, maroon-and-black raptor Zoids scattered around her. "...those're called Rev Raptors."

Talking to mecha wasn't weird. Allenby had often caught herself talking to Nobel Gundam... sometimes she worried about the day where she would expect an answer back. But the murmuring she heard didn't quite sound like the normal routine of someone being chatty during maintenance.

She headed over to the source, hopping over the shattered remains of SHODAN's legions towards the big blue dinosaur, with a boy slumped against it. "Hey there," she said quietly, coming closer. "You all right, kid?"

Jamie slowly straightened, fingertips trailing down the contours of the Geno's claw before falling away, hand dropping to his side. His expression as he gaped at Allenby conveyed a sort of stunned disbelief that went beyond mere surprise at being caught off-guard having a heart-to-heart with his robot.

He pinched the bridge of his nose, reminded suddenly of the time not too long ago when he'd found his dad amidst the throng of people Stacy had awoken from the pods for a single day, and took a halting step toward her. His mind was swarming with thoughts and feelings and questions, none of which he was finding very easy to articulate right now.

"...when did you get here?" he managed finally, in a strange, hushed tone.

Allenby would have expected a moment of embarrassment when the kid realized he'd been caught talking to his mech, or maybe a startled jump if he'd been too zoned out to hear her footsteps approaching. But the look he was giving her now was more like he was seeing someone with five heads.

Well, maybe. Five heads actually wouldn't be too shocking here. But she was pretty sure there was nothing about her that warranted--wait, huh?

"Uh... a few minutes ago?" she said, uncertain. "What are you givin' me that look for?"

"No, I meant - " I meant here on the ship, when did you get on the ship when did Stacy grab you too how long have you been here and why didn't I know -

The astonishment was wearing off, a little, replaced by a sick feeling of dismay deep in the pit of his stomach. This was Allenby, yes, but clearly not the Allenby he'd known, not the one who knew him. This wasn't the kind of joke she'd play; nothing about her behavior matched up - for one thing, when had she ever, ever called him "kid"?

He'd known there were duplicates of people he'd known from before on board the ship, had noted the differences between them with a certain level of detachment; they'd been a curiosity before, something unexpected but manageable. Now, confronting this doppelganger of someone he'd been close to, somebody he'd seen and talked to every was a great deal more overwhelming.

He halted where he was, a step or two away from his Zoid, and averted his gaze, trying to find a way to explain himself. The whole situation was unexpectedly painful, though, and it took him a moment or two to find his voice.

"It's - I thought you were someone else for a sec. I think it's just the lighting in here, I got...confused. It's nothing. Sorry."

There was a lot this kid wasn't saying. Allenby could see that pretty easily, even though she had no idea what it was that had prompted this reaction. "Oh... well, don't worry about it," she said lamely. Did she look like someone who'd died, or something? Or just a friend who'd since been put into the pods? She didn't think she wanted to pry into that just now, considering that he'd already looked pretty down.

"I didn't mean to butt in or nothin', it's just you didn't seem okay over there," she went on, and then looked past him at the dinosaur. It looked like the one that other kid had piloted--Vega, she was pretty sure. "Is this yours?"

"Just a lot going on. Y'know, with that AI messing everything up." Jamie fidgeted, feeling apprehensive, moreso since he'd clearly weirded out Allenby - this Allenby - with his behavior. "I'm fine, though. Honest." He said this as convincingly as he could, which probably wasn't very.

But she was asking about his Zoid now, and that was a welcome enough diversion from all the awkward. "Yeah, she's mine. More or less. She's a Geno Saurer. The Geno Saurer, I guess, since she's the only one on the ship and I guess that means she's the only" He trailed off feebly, aware that he'd been rambling, and tucked his hands into his pockets in a self-conscious gesture. "...anyway. She's a Zoid, that's the kind of mech we use where I come from."

Yeah, not convincing at all. "No kiddin'," she said, dropping into a crouch. "It's gonna be a long time before I stop lookin' over my shoulder. And Stacy wonders why people don't trust her."

As far as Allenby was concerned, it'd only be a matter of time before she decided to save time and jack into their brains directly. But she wasn't going to say that to this guy right now. Talking shop was a better option. "Zoid..." She frowned at the familiar name. "Oh! Yeah, I knew I'd seen a guy--er--girl? like this before. A kid called Vega." She looked up at the big dinosaur, opting also not to add anything to his mentioning that it was the only one on the ship. "Looks pretty cool. What kind of stuff can she do?"

Punchy's no stranger to workaholism, but isn't this awful soon to get back to work after the robot attacks? He hasn't even managed four hours of sleep since, so god knows how much this kid has gotten.

Punchy's also still in his pajamas as he wanders over to where Jamie is. "You look like you oughta be nailing the sandman, dawg."

Jamie's expression flattened a little as he regarded the other teen, whom he recognized as another denizen of the Engineering department. "I'll go to sleep when I'm tired," he assured Punchy with as much tact as he could muster - which wasn't much at this point, but he did manage not to snap at the pajama-clad interloper.

Speaking of which... "You don't exactly look like you're in the right place yourself," he added, indicating Punchy's attire with a nod.

"You look tired." Being blunt is one of Punchy's many talents! Unfortunately, he has no idea how to turn it off (although since he rarely realizes it's a problem, he probably wouldn't anyway).

Punchy looks down at his outfit as if he's already forgotten what he's wearing, then shrugs. "My usual threads is in the wash. Figured since I got to use my brain anyway, no one cares what I be flossing."

Jamie could handle bluntness. Just not when it was so blatantly untrue. Which was totally the case now because Jamie did not look like he was about to keel over from sleep deprivation, no sir.

"Well, I've been busy. There's a ton of stuff to do and it's not going to get done unless someone does it." This statement absolutely made sense and was not in the least redundant.

"So if you're here to help out, wul. Pick something." He waved at the hangar in general. "'s a ton of damaged robots that need to be inspected for salvage. A lot of our craft sustained damage that needs repair. I was going to check over these Rev Raptors to see what needed to be fixed so we can put them back in storage. If you want to help with that, I can show you how." He was fixing Punchy with the closest thing to a challenging stare he possessed. Check out all that stoic reserve, Punchy. (It only looks like feverish desperation.)

"Shit's still gonna be here in the morning to do, homeboy." Punchy reaches over and pats Jamie on the shoulder in a way that manages to be overbearingly friendly.

"Sure, dawg! Show me what a spiffed-up boss Rev Raptor looks like and I'll pick out the gank ones." Punchy's honestly just here to help. And possibly get in Jamie's face completely unintentionally. And maybe to knock the kid out and lay him down in a cot somewhere so he can get some of the sleep he doesn't think he needs.

Hggghhh physical contact Punchy wryyyyy. Jamie stiffened at the gesture, but it was over before he could react further. "It's going to be here a lot longer than that if nobody gets working on it," he returned, but, mollified by Punchy's willingness to pitch in, his tone wasn't quite as biting as it might otherwise have been.

He led the way to one of the fallen Raptors, pulling his omnicomm out of a pocket on his cargo pants and tapping on it as he went. "Right now all of these are 'gank'," Jamie informed his companion, air quotes clearly audible. "I just sent you a diagnostic program on your omnicomm so you can hook up to the console and get a rundown of what needs fixed."

This particular Zoid had fallen with its head tilted limply to the side, making it fairly easy to get to the emergency release to open the cockpit canopy forming the upper half of the Raptor's cranium. The curved hatch swung up and out, exposing the pilot's chair and control consoles. Jamie waited, just a tetch impatiently, for Punchy to join him before demonstrating what needed to be done.

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