Song: Adaigo for Tron
Album: Tron Legacy Soundtrack
Song: Watch the World Burn
Album: The Dark Knight OST
Song: Lux Aeterna
Artist: Clint Manswell
Spine tilted his head slowly, mouth still agape, and turned towards Michael. The only one not completely flabbergasted. “You knew...” Spine whispered under his breath. Michael only gave a quick and apologetic nod. “Thats what... you wanted to talk to me about.” He nodded again.
Spine turned back to the rest of the room, everyone still in shock. “Rabbit...” He whispered, wrapping an arm under the other automatons. “Maybe we should rest in the kitchen.”
“-at the young age of 28. The science community is still shaking their heads at such a tragic loss.” The News broadcast continued, flashing pictures of Holly as a young girl. Smiling and happy, emotions Spine didn’t think she had the ability to possess. “Graduating with the highest honors from her advanced High school, and placing in the extremely competitive physics and engineering program at Caltech. She was ahead of her class on every level. Her focus and determination never faltered until the death of her father in 2008. Determined to continue his work after the loss of his company, Dr. Cooper began work with the Steel Toys and Robotics Corporation.”
The newscast broke to an interview with Holly. Only from a few years earlier. She seemed completely different. She had color in her face. Her eyes bright and sparkling, she was enthusiastic, ecstatic about her work. Having nothing but optimism for her future.
“You see... I want to continue my father’s work.” She smiled, leaning forward towards the interviewer. Unable to sit still as she spoke of her dreams. “He knew that it would only be a matter of time until these robots replaced us humans. They are superior in everyway. Immune to disease, no need to keep a sustainable food supply, they are stronger, faster. If we could transfer a human consciousness into a programmable robotic body, think of the possibilities!” Her eyes grew wide and she stood from her seat in excitement. It took the interviewer a couple of tries to get her to calm down again. Her manic personality showing.
“But what if someone gets put into these, advanced superior bodies, and then decide to take control? Overthrow governments? Murder-”
“That won’t happen.” She growled angry. Clenching a fist as she slammed it into the arm of her chair.
“There’s always a chance.” The interviewer prodded.
“Not with my programming. I have failsafes. Safety nets. Back ups. The only problem is funding.” She sat on the edge of her seat and folded her hands into a tight pyramid.
The rest of the people in the living room seemed to relax, watching the rest of the program. Spine himself was sucked in, wanting to know more about this woman that nearly destroyed all of their lives. Then movement caught the corner of his eye. Holding his breath in his bellows he turned his neck slowly and watched as Rabbit took a step forward.
The light in his mismatched eyes seemed to dim as he walked towards the television set, as if in a trance. No attack, no fear at the mention of her. Seeing her face again. It didn’t bring up those memories. This was different, and Spine knew to be worried.
“Dr. Coopers funding was revoked after a bitter review from the National Science Foundation after it was revealed she was working illegally with red matter.”
“Miss Cooper did not take the news lightly.” A stern low voice chimed from the screen. A bald man with thick goggles smiled, crossing his fingers as he laid back in a chair. “She believed in her work, continuing tirelessly into the night. One of my finest scientists. Miss Cooper had a passion very few could match.”
“... Doctor Cooper you insensitive prick...” Rabbit cursed under his breath as he stood in the center of the room. His stance straighter, missing that casual lean of his. “... you always forget the doctor...”
Spine raised his eyebrow, not moving from his stance as he looked about the room. He caught the worried looks from Hatchworth and Jon, turning to Michael. They knew that intonation, that tone.
“Rabbit?” Spine tried to call his attention from the screen.
“Unfortunately her demands became too high... our labs couldn’t keep up. Her experiments were going nowhere and her research was unfounded in fact.” The scientist smiled curtly as he leaned back in his chair, crossing one leg over the other and running his index finger across his chin.
“Is that when you had to let her go, Dr. Steel?” The interviewer prodded.
“It was unfortunate. We lost a great mind with her departure from the company... but we felt it was best for her... mental stability.”
“MENTAL STABILITY!” Rabbit shrieked, incensed as he stormed in front of the set. He fell to a sitting position, grabbing the sides of the screen in his hands tightly as he yelled. “You just wanted to steal my research! You wanted an excuse to cut me out of it!”
“Spine?” Hatchworth’s voice shook as he stared at Rabbit’s back. “What’s happening?”
“Hatchworth I want you and Jon to get the humans out of here and in a safe place.” Spine instructed in a firm and stiff tone. Slowly walking behind Rabbit, who was too sucked into the program to realize.
“... Spine?” Hatchworth asked again as he stood. “... Spine-” He whispered now.
“Hatchworth do as I say. Get Peter. And get yourselves in a safe place.” He turned his eyes slowly, not turning his head away from Rabbit’s back. “Don’t worry. I’ve got this. Everything is fine.”
“She was a sweet girl.” Some woman blabbered on the screen. Neighbors being interviewed outside of Holly’s house.
“Kept to herself mostly. A shut in. That was her problem! She never went out.” Another woman chimed in. “That’s why they didn’t find her body for four months. And believe me, that house smelled like you wouldn’t believe.”
“.... four months?...” Rabbit whispered confused, running a hand over the screen.
“Nobody even knew she killed herself! Nobody bothered ta visit her. Except for that one boyfriend of hers. Boy he was handsome.”
“Pitty things didn’t work out. He was a musician I think.” The two ladies giggled to each other.
Spine stood a mere 4 feet behind his brother, trying to figure out how much force would be necessary. He kept his hands in tight fists at his sides, trying to shake the anger from his circuits. He didn’t want to do this again. He didn’t want to have to hurt Rabbit, who was already so broken, because of her. Again.
“Killed myself? I did no such thing!” Rabbit’s eyes grew wider. It flipped to images of her body, found decaying in her bed. Her funeral, interviews with cops. “... I’m.... dead?” He took a deep breath, fingers grazing over the people on the screen. “... no... I can’t be.”
“Rabbit. We need to get you to the lab.” Spine tried to call to any part of his brother. Not sure just how much control she had now. “Rabbit....” He tried again, his usually stern tone wavering. “Rabbit... please... please answer me.”
“I’m not dead.” Rabbit snarled, yelling over the news broadcasters. His hands grasped desperately at the sides of the set, his fingers now digging into the panelling. Cracking the screen, forcing the images to split, breaking up into colorful squares.
“Rabbit, please.” Spine took a step closer. He couldn’t believe this was happening. He wouldn’t. Rabbit was still there. He had to be. Slowly, carefully, he lifted a hand and placed it on his brother’s shoulder. Keeping his grip gentle. “Rabbit stop.”
Rabbit’s body froze, stiffened at the touch. A slight spark running through the circuits and panels in his neck. Silently, and without warning, he crunched the tv set in his hands. Squeezing the two sides together and crumpling the electronic into an accordion like shape. Paying no mind to the sparks and leaking fluids. He jumped to his feet, lifting the broken caved in set over his head and tossing it to the wall behind him.
“I’M! NOT! DEAD!” He screamed as it made impact. Huffing and puffing as smoke billowed from his vents. Something breaking inside of him. Now Spine could see, look him in the face. This wasn’t his brother, this was her. 100%. Rabbit was gone, and Holly was in charge.
There was a heavy moment of silence. Rabbit and Spine staring each other down. The tension was so thick it almost felt hard to breathe, impossible to function. Rabbit almost looked remorseful, returning his brothers despairing gaze. Spine would have believed it. If it wasn’t for that curt corner smile. “What fun... I’m stuck with you again.” He sneered, raising a clenched fist.
“I’m not liking it any more than you are.” Spine snapped back. “I don’t know how you’re doing this. I don’t care. I want you out of him. Out of our lives.” He pointed an accusing finger.
“I wish that was possible.... but apparently. I’M DEAD!” He growled, clenching his other fist. His photoreceptors darting behind Spine. That antagonizing smirk morphing into a rage fueled snarl. “YOU!” He shrieked, pointing past Spine. “THIS IS YOUR FAULT!”
Spine turned sharply, following his accusing finger and gasped. “MICHAEL! Get out of here!” He slid between his brother and the human. “You were supposed to leave with Hatchworth.”
Michael shook his head slowly, standing in front of the recliner he had been sitting in. One hand clenched tightly over his chest, breathing heavily. “I had to see it. I had to make sure...”
“Michael, get out of here.” Spine commanded, trying to keep an eye on Rabbit and another on him.
“I’m dead because of you.” Rabbit snarled, eyes flashing bright.
“I didn’t mean for-” Michael tried to sound sympathetic.
“You didn’t mean? DIDN’T MEAN? TO WHAT?” Rabbits voice cracking into her high pitched shrill.
“.... Holly...” He sighed, dropping his hands to his sides. “I’m... I’m sorry but... you did this to yourself.”
“Sorry! You’re... Sorry?” Rabbit straightened his back, eyes slightly dimming again as he seemed to be thinking it over. Another spark fizzling over his faceplate and that crazed snarl returned. “I’LL TEACH YOU THE MEANING OF SORRY!”
He spun, quick on his heels and launched for Michael. His arms outstretched, fingers spread and ready to wrap around his brittle human neck. Her hate and anger glistening in his robotic eyes. Her only focus, only desire, was to make Michael suffer as much as possible. “I’M GOING TO RIP YOUR FUCKING EYES OUT AND SHOVE THEM DOWN YOUR THROAT!”
It seemed in her manic attack she had forgotten that Spine was right there. As Rabbit dashed past, Spine managed to wrap an arm around his waist, pulling him back. The copper bot flailed, squirming in Spine’s grip. Kicking and screaming a long series of obscenities in Michael’s direction. In the back of his programing Spine was almost happy it was Holly in charge, and not a corrupted Rabbit. Rabbit was a much better fighter than her.
“Michael... get... out... of here!” Spine grunted, getting an elbow in the chin, another in his side. He squinted, opening one eye to make sure he got the message. “... Michael...” He cursed now, watching the human as he was sitting back on the carpeting. Hand clenched over his heart as he gasped for breath. He was suffering another arrhythmia. He needed help. He needed his medication, needed medical attention. But Spine could do nothing while he was still restraining Rabbit.
“YOU DYING THERE? HUH? LIKE I DID!?” Rabbit shrieked, finally getting one arm loose in the struggle. “I’M GOING TO FINISH YOU OFF AND PAINT THESE WALLS WITH YOUR BLOOD!”
Spine’s photoreceptors went wide. He had to make a split decision. In less that .687 seconds Rabbit, more like Holly, would be free. Michael was already struggling, she could really kill him. He had been holding back this whole time. Hoping he wouldn’t have to use the back up. Hoping he wouldn’t have to do that to his brother.
.342 seconds left. He stared at Rabbit’s back, watching his vest shift in that dash. Wishing it could have been for something less sinister. He knew this was only the beginning. He had to. He made a promise to Rabbit that he could handle this. He had to.
.298 seconds. He closed his eyes, tightening his grip on Rabbit’s wrist. Dashing forward and pulling him into his chest. A charged spark flashed between them. Rabbit’s eyes went wide, his hand outstretched for Michael. As the static built in the room every light bulb popped, spraying shattered glass to the floor. More and more flares began to engulf the two bots. Spine did his best not to cry out, holding on to his brother tightly. He wanted to whisper apologies, but he knew if he even tried to open his mouth he would be shrieking just as much as Rabbit was. One of them had to stay comforting, even if Rabbit couldn’t wholly appreciate it.
A final blast of electrifying blue light and there was a crashing of metal. The room smelled of smoke and burnt oil. Rabbit laid offline on the carpeting. His limbs bent at awkward angles like he had been thrown carelessly. His photoreceptors dark as tiny aftershocks fizzled over his frame. Forced into shut down from the shock.
Spine was perched on his knees, hands had fallen limply at his sides and head tilted back and to one side. His eyes dark, his circuits unresponsive. Slivers of electricity running down his arms, sparking before being diffused into the ground.
At the start of the electrical storm Michael crawled himself behind the recliner. Shielding himself from whatever blast. He didn’t want that again, he couldn’t be struck again. Then there was that final pop. The room went dark and quiet. No longer the sound of humming machines, only the soft static of the leftover surges.
“... Sp-... spine?” He managed to call out. Still struggling to catch his breath, he forced himself to look around the side of his impromptu barricade. He felt another twinge in his chest as he saw the two automatons frozen in place. “s... pine...” He huffed again, crawling out on his elbows. He felt dizzy, on the verge of collapse at any moment. But he had to check, had to make sure. That this, was not like the last time. That they hadn’t just lost both bots. “s-pine?... ra... rabbit?” He whimpered, struggling to take in another breath. Leaning against the side of the recliner.