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I don't know what I'm doing — Eridanus

I don't know what I'm doing

Started by Aren Lin at Dec 03, 2019 7:03 pm
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22 Posts

Aren Lin

22Years Young
11 Posts
We are buried in broken dreams. We are knee deep without a plea. I don't want to know what it's like to live without you. Don't want to know the other side of a world without you.

Horror crossed his face unbidden the more Jadyka spoke. He couldn't help it; he wore his expressions directly on his face, no matter how hard he tried to school his features into something less shocked. Some part of him almost hoped that Axel and Ian weren't the same person because he couldn't bear the thought of his Ian--the one that he knew--being subjected to such an awful life. Not even a life, actually. Just a death sentence and for what...? Something beyond his control? Aren didn't know what happened to turn him into this thing that Jadyka spoke of, an alpha-rated losrian? But it seemed an awful lot like Ian--Axel--whomever--was being punished for it. 

So... he was leaking fire. Starving. Just waiting to die? His mouth turned downward and there was a brief, ugly sting behind his eyes. All he could imagine was horror. No escape. Breathing in hard through his nose, he forced himself not to fall apart. Now wasn't the time for that; he had to prove he was up to this task because everybody seemed to find only endless amusement and doubt in his stubborn will to be a handler for him. His fingers curled into fists at his sides, angry and helpless to express it. 

He watched as Jadyka ripped straight into the storage locker for the euphoria and he stared at the bottle. That was all that came between leaking fire and not leaking fire? Hard to believe how far such things had come. Aren remained silent until they arrived and he was told to stay back. As much as he wanted to argue, he couldn't argue with such sound advice. Aren wasn't in the least fireproof. Jadyka... well. He obviously was. So Aren remained outside, his insides trembling with anger and helplessness. He felt... useless. And he hated it. Quickly, he turned his head away, staring down the hall and wondering, perhaps for the first time, what he really, really got himself into.


Axel

beautiful disaster
23Years Young
3 Posts

I came into this world screaming and covered in someone else's blood. I'm not afraid to go out that way, too.


And a breath in... and out... with the exhale, of course, came a stream of flame from his throat, but it was better that he was breathing fire than he was leaking it everywhere. Sooner or later, someone was going to want to come in here, if the rumours from the ole boys up there were true and he had a new handler. Axel was quite sure that was the end of him and he was going to die now, but apparently someone took offence to that idea, and now he had yet another jerk child with a shock bracelet.

Hey, he was getting used to the jerk children with the shock bracelets, at least.

His muscles had gone weak earlier and mostly he couldn't stand right now. He'd buried his hands under his arms, to try and prevent them from throwing flames in random directions, but that was kind of random. Most of the time it worked, but he had a few new burns snaked across his upper arms. Not like he didn't already have a lot of those anyway, so it was no real loss. He focused on keeping his breathing steady; if he panicked, the fire would go everywhere. People said he was from Gibraltar, that was why he could see... most of the unseen inmates down here the Republic had killed a long time ago, but he didn't leak death magic like they were expecting, it was fire.

Why fire? Not to say leaking death magic would've been better, but listen, maybe it'd be less terrible to deal with all the same. Fire burned. Everything. It was fitting, wasn't it? Axel was pretty all consuming himself, so maybe that was why. Fire was more like him.

The door clanked and then opened, and Axel looked up as a dog-headed machine ducked under the door frame.
"Good thing it's you," Axel said, flames escaping with his breath. "You're pretty good at dealing with the fire."
"You're breathing it," Jadyka said.
Axel just imagined the surprise in his tone, likely. "Yeah, breathing it is a little safer and easier to control."
"No walls of fire," Jadyka added, turning back toward Aren. "You can follow if you want."

"Hi Axel," Panikos greeted quietly, peeking around the bit of metal the spider had hidden behind.
"Nice to see you Sparks," Axel greeted back.
"You know the drill, this'll hurt," Jadyka said, filling a syringe.
"It's you, I'll live," Axel said. No, he was not in the mood for a euphoria shot, but he had a feeling if he didn't get it, he was toast. ... figuratively or literally? Maybe both, really. "Who's that?" he asked, nodding in Aren's direction.
"Your new handler, Mr. Aren Lin," Jadyka said, and then shoved the syringe in the collar around Axel's neck. Axel yelped and squeezed his eyes closed, but he didn't move.
"Joy," he said, through gritted teeth. "Younger than usual." This guy was his age, looked like. That was a first.


Aren Lin

22Years Young
11 Posts
We are buried in broken dreams. We are knee deep without a plea. I don't want to know what it's like to live without you. Don't want to know the other side of a world without you.

No walls of fire. Aren blinked. That was a good thing, right? Or was it a bad thing? No, no, he heard the voice within the cell. Nobody was dead. Everybody was fine... relatively speaking, anyway. His nerves were still way beyond jangled but he followed Jadyka into the cell, probably with trepidation lining every part of his expression and body. He didn't mean to be so tense. It was just... He didn't know quite what to expect. 

Whatever his imagination supplied him with, it still couldn't connect the laughing, smiling Ian he knew to this man that looked like he was maybe a day away from death. But the problem was, he could see the resemblance. He could see why Jesse would say, hey isn't that your friend? Because he was kinda unmistakable, appearance-wise, even with years crossed between them. 

Even Panikos, who had been so chatty a moment ago, seemed to understand the gravity of the situation. He was so quiet and such a pale imitation of the enthusiastic creature he'd been introduced to. 

Mr. Aren Lin, he said. It sounded strange. Being as young as he was, Aren didn't feel like a Mr. Worse still, his name and his appearance didn't seem to change anything in Axel. He asked who he was, as if he didn't recognize him. Aren's chest seized briefly and he quickly dropped his gaze, not liking the obvious pain in Ian--Axel's--face. And partly because he felt like his own pain would be readable. It didn't seem justified, to feel pain of any kind when he had lived his life in safety and happiness, really. Meanwhile... all this was happening to Ian. Er, Axel. 

After a few pained heartbeats, Aren looked up. He felt like the whole world was starting to spin when he took a step forward.

"...Ian?" 

He didn't know why he searched his gaze so intensely, as if he could recover Ian from Axel. Was he stripped of his memories, too? Everything... was gone?


Axel

beautiful disaster
23Years Young
3 Posts

I came into this world screaming and covered in someone else's blood. I'm not afraid to go out that way, too.


This was the worst part.

See, even if the initial shot burned like acid fire, that wasn't the worst of it. It'd pass eventually, and when Jadyka had emptied the syringe's contents, and pulled the needle back out of the collar, it didn't hurt so bad anymore. Axel focused on breathing, still, one breath, two, a puff of fire on the exhale, but the flame was steadily dwindling. And then the nerve shut-down and muscle spasms would start, and if everyone was lucky, he wouldn't drop into convulsions. But he'd fought through it before. He fought through it every shot, and he'd keep doing it, because god or whatever decided he wasn't done yet.

It was worth it. Why didn't anyone understand that. If he had to die to get rid of those handlers, it was worth it to him. No one asked why. No one cared why.

He took a breath in, aiming the exhale to the side. The puff of flame went over there. "Ian?" Axel repeated. There was the same fire there always was in his blue eyes, but they didn't alight with recognition at seeing Aren. "I can probably learn to answer to that," he said. "Nice enough name. Been called worse." A lot worse. Something in him was annoyed at this. At him, whoever he even was. Why was he here? He shouldn't be here, he was too good for a place like this. Seeing some of the shit that happened in this tower would ruin him, and Axel felt like he knew that, in the way he didn't have to reach for the words. Axel frowned, but he didn't say anything about that. He had no idea why he felt like that.

"Are you sure you're old enough to even be an alpha clearance?" Axel asked.
"He isn't," Jadyka supplied. "Epsilon."
"Then how'd he end up my handler?" Axel was confused.
"He demanded it."
"... are you nuts? What'd you go and do that for? You know I break dudes twice your size for funsies, right?" Had he any idea what he demanded to get into? How did he even get what he demanded?

Well, someone said Suyis was involved. That was probably exactly how, then.


Aren Lin

22Years Young
11 Posts
We are buried in broken dreams. We are knee deep without a plea. I don't want to know what it's like to live without you. Don't want to know the other side of a world without you.

No, no recognition whatsoever. Not even the slightest hint, not at the name, not at Aren's face. He wondered if things changed so much. Or rather, his mind devolved into wondering other things, like what could make somebody so strong-willed and so carefree forget all the things that once made him happy. Was he happy now? Of course he wasn't. How could he be? How could anyone? 

What happened to you?

Would the files even say? Could they even say? The files would probably be full of dry, distant observations from people who knew nothing. He wanted to ask, but he knew there were no answers. And what answers there might be were clouded, shrouded in something so terrible that it ripped away his childhood, his past, his identity. Didn't that bother him? It had to bother him. Something inside of him had to say this was all wrong. Why was he even here? He didn't belong here. He should be... not here. Anywhere but here. 

There were many things that Aren wanted to say but didn't. Like, that's your name. That's why you like it. I like it, too. Things like do you remember me following you like a dumb little duck everywhere? Things like I used to smile just because you smiled, isn't that the dumbest thing? And then you'd ask why I had that secret smile on my face and it was like I knew something you didn't. Things like I looked for you. I waited for you. I loved you.

But now you're here. 

And Aren had no idea what to do about it now that he was here, too. He did demand to be here. He made such a ruckus that they let him do this, even though it was highly inadvisable. Maybe they were all waiting for him to die, maybe it didn't matter, maybe it was because he volunteered and everybody else was sick of doing this.

Aren didn't even flinch; he had heard comments like this before. It hurt a little, hearing it from Ian. Axel. But yes. Maybe he was nuts. He lifted his chin slightly, standing tall, not to be cowed. 

"I've heard it all by now but I'm not afraid of you." It wasn't meant to be bluster or even confidence, just... facts. Although he should have been afraid when he saw Axel breathing fire, he wasn't scared, he wasn't worried those flames would be turned on him. He just ached for him. It took everything in his will not to go up and cup Axel's face in his hands. No, he wasn't afraid of Axel. But he was afraid for him. For all the things they said could happen, that already happened. 

"You won't break me." Even if inside, he felt as if the cracks were already forming, he refused to acknowledge that. "Because I'm not like those dudes twice my size. And I'm not here for... funsies." 


Axel

beautiful disaster
23Years Young
3 Posts

I came into this world screaming and covered in someone else's blood. I'm not afraid to go out that way, too.


If he said so. Axel wouldn't say it, but he looked like he'd been hit with a Mack truck, even as he straightened out and tried not to look so small. Axel recognised that, because that was him half the time, trying not to fall the fuck apart, scrambling to catch the threads as they broke out of the seams, and for what? To take down one more handler that had their assignment in the HoloArena. To take out one more useless bastard that decided to abuse part-bloods and losrians because nobody would stop them. And to rip down every fuckin' Gamma and Prime that thought they were gonna keep assigning people just like him to sadistic bastards and then gloat about how they were so great at doing their jobs.

"Of course," Axel said. This Aren kid reeked of privilege, bluntly put, but he didn't point that out. Instead, he shrugged one shoulder. "For your sake then, I hope you're not here to make a difference like every other doe-eyed idiot to walk through the door. They die pretty fast, and you're at least not annoying. And stubborn, too. I like stubborn. Means you're probably not as likely to die on me as you look like. Might actually survive shit like the Char." Sometimes, mind you, he didn't kill his handlers on purpose. Sometimes.

"That should go on your record," Jadyka said. "But I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that. How do you feel?"
Axel snorted, glancing Jadyka's way without turning his head. "Like I drank a pop can full of flaming acid."
"... that's creative a wording."
"I'm in a good mood today," Axel said, smirking his usual boyish smirk, and then hissed fire to the side. As soon as it was out, Axel twitched. "Yikessss, and the easy part is over," he said, moving his arms to wrap his hands around either wrist and force them back down, but it was obvious his muscles were still trying to spasm, and hard. Nostrils flared, jaw clenched, breathing hard, it was almost like he was fighting a barely visible battle, and he was; with himself.

"Euphoria does this already?" Jadyka asked.
"Yep," Axel answered. "Nerve shut-downs. Muscle spasms. They tell me I forget things, but hell if I know for sure. Hard to remember forgetting something you forgot."
Jadyka nodded once, tapping his InVisor on. "How long does this last?" he asked.
"Don't remember," Axel said, one of the spasms violently jerking him to one side. He shoved himself further that way against the wall for bracing. "I guess you can count and find out."
Jadyka nodded. "I am," he said, one hand gesturing at his InVisor screen. "It'd almost be a mercy just to let you die," Jadyka murmured.
"I been 'ayi'at fer yearth," Axel said. "Ryan'on' like'at i'ea... I 'an'eel my'ongue. Where'iddit go..."
"It's still in your mouth," Jadyka answered, oddly calmly. "Does it do this every shot?"
"I'ink zo," Axel replied. "I'unno."

Jadyka sighed, and then knelt down a little so he was more closely even in height with Aren. "You understand what the Republic is doing, don't you?" he asked, so quiet even Axel didn't hear it. Jadyka needed to know which side Aren was on, the right side, or the Republic's.


Aren Lin

22Years Young
11 Posts
We are buried in broken dreams. We are knee deep without a plea. I don't want to know what it's like to live without you. Don't want to know the other side of a world without you.

...Ouch. Aren visibly flinched at Axel's words. Not here to make a difference? That wasn't quite what he wanted to do but he thought it must be something along those lines, since he had zero intentions of actually zapping Axel and didn't think he could actually press Axel to fight. He knew that was what he was supposed to be here for and all but... Really, he was here out of concern and to keep Axel from even more harm. If only he knew sooner how severe this damned program was. If only he understood more about what really happened with losrians and the arena and... and... and... all of it. 

Without realizing it, he had begun to wring his hands together like a nervous child, twisting his fingers about one another. It wasn't the maybe-threat that got to him. It was whatever the euphoria was doing to Axel. It looked like it was killing him, if Aren was honest. Whatever was happening looked sickening. Did people watch this with a sense of satisfaction? Who approved of this? It disgusted Aren that anybody had come up with this form of "control." Surely there had to be better ways to help somebody with powers beyond their bodies' abilities to contain them. Something much less... daunting on the body.

At first, Aren's mind breezed right past the comment about forgetting things. He was so focused on making himself watch Axel's torment without turning away and doing his best to blink back the deep-seated sense of sorrow he felt in seeing it. But then it connected to the questions that burned inside earlier. So this was it. The torture forced his memories away and who could blame his mind from doing that? It had to be a defense mechanism to make it more bearable to live, to continue surviving. Axel still seemed to have that strong will Aren remembered. But to what end? his mind whispered to him. To continue living in perpetual torment? 

As Jadyka knelt closer, Aren turned his gaze upon him, swallowing hard. Then blinking. "You mean torturing people for their own amusement?" he said, voice trembling with barely suppressed anger and disgust. His fingers curled into fists so tight that he could feel his nails biting into his palms. 


Jadyka Maitra

78Years Young
8 Posts

It is not the honour you take with you, but the legacy you leave behind.


Jadyka snorted softly, if one could call the noise that his machinery made a proper snort. It wasn't quite for amusement, but close enough that Jadyka didn't see a reason to correct that ideology. Mostly, the Republic didn't care after a point. They took the concept of the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one a little too seriously, and in dogged determination to see to it that the Republic and the Dome were always at the top of the proverbial chain, they'd destroyed and plundered and enslaved, anything and everything that was a threat or might become one some day. And unfortunately, they were raising their own enemies, and sooner or later, something would destroy them.

It wasn't like Jadyka didn't know what it was that'd end up being. He'd just sooner end up in the same boat as Axel as admit it to anyone.

"Good," Jadyka answered. "You're on the right side then. Be careful what you say in this tower," he warned. "The walls have ears. They don't have ears down here because... well. Lots of screaming down here and the boys upstairs don't like listening to it, so they don't." He paused for a moment, and shifted in a way that seemed uncomfortable; Axel'd just squealed in pain again.

"I want to get him off euphoria. Losrians don't need it, they're born with their magic, they can control it just fine. Part-bloods can learn to, but usually have trouble with it at first. This is why it does so much damage to them, losrians much quicker, because it eventually starts attacking their magic and driving it to destroy them. But to be honest with you, euphoria isn't about controlling their powers for them. It's about making sure they can't rebel without killing themselves to do it and are always too weak to try. To do this, we'll have to slowly wean him off, because if we try and lower his dosage too quickly, it'll kill him. I want to take us to Suyis' tower in Pyxis. His medibots will handle the shots and the dosage drop, ease him back off, and with any luck, it won't cause any permanent damage, and he may get his memories back over time." One could hope, but the memory damage suggested either a trauma response, or damage to the memory centre.

Jadyka sighed. "But if we go, we'll inevitably get dragged into a civil war. So I want you to think about this carefully. How far are you willing to go for him and people like him? Cause there aren't any nice stories in war." Just death. But if Aren wanted to stay here and keep living his life the way he always had, then Jadyka would go along with it, for the most part. He may never be around, but he wouldn't make Aren follow him.


Art by El-Grimlock. He actually looks like that instead, at the moment.


Aren Lin

22Years Young
11 Posts
We are buried in broken dreams. We are knee deep without a plea. I don't want to know what it's like to live without you. Don't want to know the other side of a world without you.

Ah. The right side. Not the wrong side. Right and wrong, he wasn't sure where he was until Jadyka said that because... Well, he had kept his nose out of all things political where he could. He tried to live his own best life but it was hard when things around them seemed to turn to chaos--especially after he got himself mixed into this... Quite prominently, at that. He already opened his big mouth and made a stink about doing this. There was no way he could back out even if he wanted to. 

And he didn't want to.

Hard work didn't scare him, per se. What he was worried about in that regard was his woeful inabilities and his lack of understanding. But... that was why they assigned him to somebody that did know what he was doing. That part filled him with more relief than he could possibly share. 

Should he still do this, with Axel having lost every memory he had of him? That wasn't even a real question. Even if there were no memories of the past between them left in Axel, Aren had to try. He had to try and save him. He had to try and do something. If he knew what was happening, if he went this far and backed out, it would haunt him for the rest of his life and he would forever worry about Axel. And if something happened to Axel because Aren was too scared to do something? He might as well stop breathing. The thought alone of being responsible for Axel's misery hurt his heart too much. 

"Oh," he said, his tone a small gasp when Jadyka said the word wean. They were going to get Axel off this awful shit? Aren glanced in Axel's direction. More relief. They were going to do something! Something big. Something important. And Aren... Aren... er well. He was helping, wasn't he? Jadyka did say "we" as if he were including him. 

He knew Jadyka said to think about it carefully but Aren immediately shook his head. There was nothing to think about. Or rather, he'd been doing his thinking this whole time. His heart beat faster, knowing that he was throwing himself headfirst into danger and knowing, too, that he was a naive young person without a real grasp of the horrors of war. None of that mattered; he made a promise to Axel and now to himself. 

"I'm going," he said stubbornly. "When do we leave?"

He was ready to do it right then and there if they had to. No time to pack and leave or kiss his mother goodbye; just leave. He was sure his family would come to understand, though. Surely they would... if they were decent people. 


Jadyka Maitra

78Years Young
8 Posts

It is not the honour you take with you, but the legacy you leave behind.


That was notably easier than Jadyka had been expecting. He decided not to question it, lest his luck run out, instead turning toward Axel again. At some point, Axel had curled up in a ball on the floor. "Whenever this one stops dying," Jadyka said.

"I am no'ying," Axel argued. "I'm... I'mmmm..."
"Dying," Jadyka said flatly.
"Okay maybe everyone i'ying all th'time because that's jus'part of livin'," Axel said. "But that'th very semant -" A loud squeal interrupted him.
"What was that?" Jadyka said. "Your not dying sounds a lot like dying, my friend."
"Yeah yeah..."

He knew this whole idea was dangerous, but Axel wasn't the first one. They'd tried weaning part-bloods and losrians both off Euphoria and it wasn't perfect, but it worked. And from what Jadyka remembered, Suyis now had the only person that could disable the shock chips in his tower. That was either a very good thing, or a very bad thing. But maybe that wasn't for Aren to worry about. Aren's job was easy; he was just there to ease Axel back into acting like a person and not being afraid of acting independently anymore. Jadyka was around to shield them for as long as he could.

It wasn't the first time. Asuras willing, it wouldn't be the last, either. But if it was, Jadyka wouldn't say a lot hadn't been done. They'd made some progress, and if Jadyka was right about what Suyis was up to, this was it. This was the last bunch they were releasing from Republic control. Sometimes, you raised your own enemies, and the Republic had raised quite a few. All someone had to do was arm them.

"Hopefully, that'll be maybe tomorrow," Jadyka said. "He could probably use the downtime first. I'll have to arrange to get us a tram out there anyway, it's much faster, and I don't imagine you want to walk all that way." It was much farther a hike than it looked. "I have my own assignments, a pair of twin part-bloods named Andrei and Dmitri, so I'll have to get them ready to leave too."
"Wai', where are we'oin'?" Axel asked.
"Pyxis."
"Oh... hey, goo'newth, I'ink ith done." Maybe. Hopefully. He was so over this pain crap. The not being able to feel his varying limbs was one thing, the pain thing was a whole other ordeal.

"Can you walk?" Jadyka asked.
"Yeth," Axel answered, and then stood up... and fell right back down.
Jadyka sighed. "Idiot."
"I'ough'I 'ad it..."
"Thinking you have it, and having it, are sometimes not mutually inclusive," Jadyka said, getting him up off the floor and onto his back. "Aren get the door, would you?" Sometimes it was nice there were two of them.


Art by El-Grimlock. He actually looks like that instead, at the moment.