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Big black block letters flash in front of Regent’s face.

ELIMINATE EVERYONE TO WIN

Before he has a chance to parse what the fuck that means, Coil’s base begins to flicker in time with the letters. The room fills with almost transparent dirt. If he squints really hard he can see through it.

Something beeps. One. Two. Three times.

Then the 8-bit music starts.

He can’t say he’s surprised when plastic chair whizzes past him at bullet speeds. It slams into the wall behind him and he realizes it’s carved a tunnel through the dirt. He reaches his own hand out and the in front of him falls away in a block.

Okay then.

A look into the chair’s path and he sees Ballistic on the other side. The guy’s dressed head to toe in blue, more like a blue filter was put over him than like he changed his clothes. Next to him was a green ball, probably Genesis.

Ballistic reaches for a metal toolbox and Regent shoves his nerves. The toolbox goes sailing far away from him.

Regent takes a step forward and reaches a little more purposefully for Ballistic’s nervous system. It’s familiar, he makes it a habit to test his control on capes he’s around for long enough. It makes moments like this much easier.

This time Ballistic doesn’t even touch the object he’s going for before Regent jerks his hand away. He squints and notices something behind his opponent.

A squat little dragon waddles behind Ballistic and Genesis’ kernel, which is rapidly growing.

Regent bounces on the balls of his feet, in time to the music.

“Why don’t you just punch me?” he calls to Ballistic. “You’d probably knock me over in one hit.”

“That’s literally the oldest trick in the book.”

“You sure that’s the trick I’m playing?”

Regent watches Ballistic open his mouth, probably to say ‘what the fuck are you talking about’ or something equally predictable. He doesn’t get the chance because at that moment the dragon opens its own mouth and spews fire all over Ballistic.

He disappears. No screaming, he’s just gone.

Done with Ballistic, the dragon advances on Regent with little waddly steps. He checks to see if it has a nervous system and isn’t surprised to find that it doesn’t.

Fucking projections.

He’s about to turn to run - if there’s a blue and a yellow and a green then there’s gotta be a red around here somewhere and if he’s lucky they’re better at dealing with cape generated dragon monsters than he is - when Genesis, apparently fully formed now, begins moving _up_.

The top of her form is like a bunch of snails stacked on top of each other, a forest of eyestalks that turn and look in every direction. They’re sitting on a moving cloud of hands, with long spindly fingers that seem to grow and shrink at random. Regent doesn’t see any obvious weapons, but he decides to stay far away from those fingers.

The dirt falls away as Genesis ascends into the air. As the dirt disappears, Regent notices a large rock sitting right above the dragon’s head. One brush of Genesis’ fingers and it falls on the dragon’s head and squishes it. The dragon flickers, then winks away.

A few of Genesis’ eyestalks turn to look at him. It’s the fingers that are really moving though, flying over a keyboard that looks like its part of the arm part of one of the hands.

u took out ballistic

Regent frowned at the words, trying to put some meaning into them. Were they angry? Impressed?

He couldn’t take on one of Genesis’ forms alone - they tended not to have nervous systems - but it would be a piece of cake to go to the controller’s room and hijack her.

Not that he wanted to. The Travelers were boring. They were so focused on whatever their goal was that there basically wasn’t room for anything else, fear or excitement or drugs or whatever. He didn’t need his sister’s powers to know that they were like him, they didn’t feel the full range of emotion. Being in any one of their bodies would be worse than being in his own.

“He took himself out.”

Genesis responds immediately.

exactly! u used the environment 2 ur adv
its a game
we need 2 work 2gether 2 win

“Actually, I’m pretty sure the point is to eliminate your opponents.”

and let the nerd cape win?
no
ur helping
u couldnt beat me if u tried

“Right. So why didn’t you help Ballistic?”

2 singleminded
ur clever and u no what ur doing

“You’ve literally never talked to me before.”

Genesis hesitates.

i think ur a monster
but all of us kind of are

“I didn’t sign up for philosophy class.”

just take the compliment and behind u!

Regent turns and in the most fluid motion this body is capable of, jams his scepter into the space behind him. He’s already backing up when an orange ball wearing goggles rapidly begins to inflate and then explodes.

Regent laughs. Über and Leet could have been so cool if they weren’t so lame.

“Okay, taking the compliment. What now?”

go left
were luring a ghost

“That’s one of the orange fuckers, right?”

y

Regent allows Genesis to direct him, watching out for rocks and dragons on the way. It turns out he should have been looking out for something else because, standing pretty much in front of him, are Bitch and Bastard.

He immediately begins backing up.

“Oh fuck no. I don’t mess with Bitch.”

He and Bitch had a system. He leaves her alone and she doesn’t tear his face off. It’s worked pretty well so far and he sees no reason to fuck with it now.

Also he’s not sure his taser would bring her down.

Genesis doesn’t get the complexities of the relationship.

get close

“Fuck,” he mutters. Then he steps forward. “Hey Bitch, don’t attack me.”

Bitch looks like she wants to tear him limb from limb, but to be fair she always looks like that.

Regent puts his hands up to show he’s no threat.

Her wolf growls.

move forward

“Are you kidding?”

Bitch tenses. “What?”

forward

“You’re the boss,” Regent mutters, taking a small step forward.

“Is this some fucking mind control shit?” Bitch demands. “Stop walking!”

Regent keeps walking. This is the stupidest fucking move. Bitch is going to tear him to pieces and then what? It’s way harder to control people when he has a broken arm. Or neck.

“G?”

stop

A ghost floats between him and Bitch and Bastard.

He jumps out of the way as it explodes. Bitch and Bastard don’t. They both blink away.

its fun ordering ppl around

i miss being listened 2

“I kinda thought being a supervillain would mean less taking orders. Guess everyone controls someone.”

now whos being philosophical?

“Aww, no cute abbreviations?”

“philosophical” doesnt come up a lot during raids believe it or not
anyway
u have a dragon 2 kill

“If i had a sword I’d raise it nobly”

u dont have a noble bone in ur body

“That’s easy to fix.”

eww
i dont even know how but eww
go get eaten by a dragon

“Harsh”

XP

Regent chuckles to himself and looks around. There’s a rock in the corner. He points it out.

i see it
dragon to ur right
move toward the rock
when i say go
move forward 1 block then run left

After getting this far he’s not gonna stop listening to her now. Regent begins walking forward.

stop

He stands right in front of the huge rock. If he walked one step forward, it would crush him like a bug.

“If this is your way of taking me out of the competition, kudos, but also that’s pretty fucked up.”

Instead of typing anything, one of Genesis’ fingers reaches down to collapse the barrier between the dragon and his tunnel. It starts waddling forward. Regent clutches his scepter a little tighter.

But he waits.

The dragon’s about six feet away when text finally scrolls across his vision.

now!

Regent steps forward one block and turns and starts heading to his left.

The dragon follows hot on his heels. But where he turned, it pauses, inflating a little as it gathers its firey breath. It’s enough of a pause that the rock balanced over its head drops through the thin layer of dirt.

The dragon dies with a tiny puff of hot air.

And nothing else happens. After a few minutes, big black letters flash across Regent’s vision.

ELIMINATE EVERYONE TO WIN

Genesis floats over, the hundreds of fingers not occupied with her keyboard stretching and running over the walls, floor, anything they can reach.

The last of the dirt walls fall apart at her touch. Regent idly wonders if there’s any poison on those fingers. Probably not, it would stain the keyboard.

Genesis “lands” her fingers stretching to meet the floor, right in front of him. A good sixty percent of her eyes turn toward him.

“Guess we are enemies.”

Every eye blinks at the same time.

Alright then.

Regent raises his scepter and shoves it into what he thinks is Genesis’ head. Her form spasms as the electricity arcs through it. A string of random letters scrolls across his vision as her fingers convulse. Then she begins to dissolve.

As soon as she’s completely gone, not even a pile of sludge on the floor, the music changes.

The remaining walls begin to flash different colors as huge text fills his vision.

YOU WIN!

When the words disappear, the last bit of dirt is gone. Now there’s a rectangle of white walls in the middle of the room. The door is just a missing section of wall. It reminds him of the starting area in a pacman game. He watches to see if a maze is going to suddenly pop into existence.

The music doesn‘t change and as far as he can tell there are no lines of glowing dots forming. It looks like the game really is over.

Regent walks forward to go deal with the asshole behind the curtain.