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no compromises

Chapter Text

 The metro is dark and silent, the only sound coming from one of the leaky pipes in the ceiling, water trickling in from the sewers. The rickety lighting system and the faint turquoise glow deep within the lone telephone's casing barely light up the surroundings.

The stillness is broken by a loud crash as a figure falls in through the ceiling, the fifth to come down, and the telephone regards it in distaste. With a groan, the figure rights itself and stands, fabric shuffling slightly as a scrap of it is thrown over one shoulder, fluttering to hang down to about ankle height. The headset around their neck glints brightly, adding another source of light to the metro. The telephone watches them silently.

The figure strides back and forth in front of the telephone, muttering to itself, something about finding a skull or Hawaii? The telephone doesn’t know what came over this newcomer, though it doesn’t care once it sees the pointed ears and the ink tank.

An Inkling.

As if overcome by an impulse, the telephone wobbles on its stand, making a whirring sound. The Inkling spins around, raising that oversized paint roller that they called a weapon, but seemingly finding no one, lowers it.

Some species are just so dumb.

The telephone gargles, something that might sounds like laughter if one would listen closely. The turquoise glow in the back of it intensifies and starts to spill through the cracks, the Inkling stepping back in horror.

“What the--”

Perfect. The telephone would smile to itself if it had an internal visual process, but it doesn’t, so it can’t. It doesn’t need to go through testing this time. The subject is right where it wants, like those other four who came down earlier, similar to this one.

The telephone raises its speaker, the one that qualified as its mouth, and the turquoise builds up inside, ejecting itself right as the Inkling looks directly at the telephone.

It catches the Inkling in the head, somehow missing their entire face and instead latching onto the side of it, solidifying into a swirl of turquoise ink. The Inkling screams in pain and falls to their knees, thrashing, while the telephone watches silently.

The noises subside after a while, replaced by heavy breathing. The telephone feels like smiling now, but its speaker isn’t meant to stretch that way. Another pawn. Another subject.

A device falls from the Inkling’s pocket as they stand, but the telephone makes no notice of it.

Maybe that was its mistake in the end.  

It blinks, flashing green, the text scrolling on the small screen with three letters repeated over and over: S.O.S. The Inkling’s foot quickly comes down over the device, crushing it in a splinter of plastic and metal, but the damage is done.

Far above ground, an Inkling named Stealth is awakened by an incessant beeping coming from his team leader’s room.