by Dr. Susan Calvin (StrangeRelations at aol.com)
Inside his dimly lit cabin on the S.S. Dark Horse, Dwayne
silently wormed his way out of his flightsuit. If it had been one of his
other uniforms, it might have been a relief to get out of a sweat-stained,
bulky outfit, but it just wasn't the same with this suit. Probably
because he didn't ever sweat in the suit anymore. His body never had a
chance -- before it could react, he was either pumped full of chemicals
or exposed to temperature controls. It all helped him fight the good
fight, but lately Dwayne had started to feel irritable when he was
without his second skin, and he knew that meant dependence. Dependence
is a weakness, he thought to himself, frowning at the crumpled mass
on the floor. In the cold light of a solitary Mackhine-age lamp,the folds
of insulated Teflon-toughness lost their organic qualities and revealed
a glinting foundation of integrated circuitry. Plastic tubes coiled
amid the network, their titanium jaws still dripping fluid. He looked
down at the miniature ports screwed into his flesh and shivered.
"I may as well be arobot."
The statement seemed to echo off the steel walls of his cabin, and
turned into a hollow monotone. Mechanical, and insulting. Dwayne abruptly
busied himself with getting ready for bed, not wanting to continue the
train of thought. Gotta get some shut-eye. Had a rough couple of days,
what with fighting Pierre's mutant clones. I really wish I could've
strangled that kid. Why can't he learn to leave Uncle's experiments
alone?!? Not that they're even really Donovan's. He just steals from
people like the Doc....
At the thought of her, he absentmindedly
smirked. She had been so upset after the fight, when she saw him limp
out of the BGY-11. Not just upset, maybe even horrified. She kept asking
him over and over if he was all right, pleading with him to just let
her take a quick look. He had laughed it off, quipping some hurried line
about playing doctor, which he regretted now. It probably made him look all
the more like an insensitive jock. Yes... For a split second, her features
had crumpled into what appeared to be utter misery, but then they smoothed
themselves out as she adopted her "professional" mode. He hated that
mode, where she referred to him as "Lieutenant Hunter" instead of
Dwayne. In fact, for the last couple of weeks, she had been reverting
this way every time he tried to give her a compliment. It was a stark
contrast to before, when she would blush, or give coy smiles at his witty
little comments, sometimes even returning his winks. Dwayne sighed,
crawling into bed. Just when he thought he was getting somewhere with
Slate, she always threw him a curveball. Didn't she get it? Wasn't it
obvious how he doted on her every whim, hung on every word, how he stayed
in her laboratory long after it was necessary?
His side ached where it had been crushed against Big Guy's
assemblage of levers during a particularly bad blow to the 'bot. A
quick peek under his army issue tank top showed no bruising, as of yet.
It probably wasn't very serious. Maybe he shouldn't have tried to hide it,
but what would she have been able to do for him anyhow? She had a Ph.D
in robotics, not medicine. However, didn't her concern prove that she
cared, at least a little bit? Maybe, just maybe, she was hiding her
true feelings so that they wouldn't get hurt. After all, his line of
work was so unpredictable that it seemed pointless to involve himself
with anybody. Tomorrow, he could be dead. Dwayne fumbled underneath the
sleek chromecasing of his bedside lamp and switched it off.
An hour later, heturned it back on and surrendered himself to yet
another night of insomnia.
"Morning, Dwayne. What are you doing down here so early?"
Jo's sleepy voice emanated from another part ofthe mess hall that
wasn't in Dwayne's immediate field of vision. He turned around.
"I should be asking you the same question," he dryly
remarked at her slumped figure. She was nursing a steaming cup of
coffee and attempting, in vain, to control the mess of blond frizz
atop her head with a flopping hand. Bleary-eyed, she gave him a
once-over and started to say something else, but bit off her words
at the last moment. An uncomfortable silence ensued. At length, he
took a seat across from her and rested his chin on his hands. "Don't
get the impression that I'm all gung-ho about the job. I've just...
been up for a while, and...well, I had nothing better to do
than get dressed."
Jo looked away, and then met his gaze again with a lopsided grin.
With her bed head and her girlish freckles, she almost resembled a
bleached Clara Bow. Dwayne was reminded that Jo could be very feminine,
though she usually didn't come across that way. From the start she had
proved that she could be one of the guys, handling her responsibilities
just as well as, or even better than, the male crewmember she had
replaced. It never bothered her when they all sat around and drank beers,
talked about sports, and told obscene jokes. On the contrary, she joined
in, and was quite adept at hurling insults when the need arose. Jo could
also throw a mean punch, as was evident when she and Mack gotinto a nasty
spat over the fact that he dared imply that fixing Big Guy wasn't "woman's
work". And yet, she never let her tomboy traits get in the way of being
female. Jo seemed just as natural wearing her grimy mechanic's uniform
as when she was wearing what she had on now: flannel PJ's covered with
adorable Japanese lucky cats. "You got that when you were stationed in
Okinawa?" asked Dwayne, trying to cajole her into a conversation.
"Yeah. I don't wear the Neko ears it came with, though," she
admitted. Another silence ensued. Dwayne racked his brains for anything,
anything at all that could explain her behavior. For a while now, Jo had
been acting withdrawn, almost unwilling to be in his presence. She used
to play pranks on him almost every morning, playfully taunting him until
he was forced to devise a way to get back at her. It acted as something
of a catharsis for both of them, and helped ease the pressures they knew
they'd eventually have to face later in the day. It also used to help
wake me up, back when I actually slept, Dwayne reflected grimly. He
looked down at his crisp olive flight suit, with all its shiny buckles
and buttons and piping, and suddenly felt foolish to be in full uniform.
It wasn't necessary at this hour, but he had put it on anyhow. Not to
relieve any kind of boredom, as he had implied, but because...
Dwayne looked up sharply. Jo averted her eyes, then got up from the
table. "I'm...gonna get a muffin," she mumbled, navigating over to
the massive aluminum kitchen that dominated the other side of the mess
hall. Her steps faltered and she looked back, visibly forcing out the
words: "Do you...want...anything....?"
He gritted his teeth. She obviously knew what he was going to say.
"Not right now. I don't have much of an appetite," he stated
dully. It was what he'd been repeating for weeks now, wasn't it? She
wasn't stupid. She could see his addiction. He didn't need to eat when
he was wearing the damn suit. The suit, the suit, the suit. He could
feel her watching him when he wasn't looking. She knew. That's why she
had been acting so strangely. She knew.
His metal chair made a ringing scrape as he pushed it backwards. Jo
jumped, startled by the sound. Dwayne pretended not to notice. "I'm going
for a jog," he declared. She shrugged an acknowledgement and busied
herself with picking at her muffin. Nothing would have felt worse than
having to deal with her pitiful way of ignoring him. It simply proved
that everything he suspected was true.
The riveted deck clanged underneath his feet as Dwayne
circumnavigated the ship's exterior.There were some mechanics getting
an early start and various low-ranking members of the crew on cleanup
duty, but other than that he was solitary. The dawn sky was overcast,
but not terribly dark or foreboding. The glassy ocean reflected it, and
both elements merged together at the horizon to form a sort of
He felt his pulse quicken at the mere thought of her, but then the
suit compensated for it. In a moment, icy chemical compounds diffused in his
system, evening out his blood pressure and regulating his breathing. He had
been jogging now for almost fifteen minutes, but he didn't even feel tired.
Does she know?
Perhaps Jo had told her. Could that be why the Doc was giving him the
cold shoulder? Who would want a relationship with a drug-addled man who had
access to the world's most complex weapons arsenal, right? Dwayne tried to
remember if Jo and Slate had spoken with each other within the past month.
The Doc never really had time to make idle chat with anybody, and they were
all usually far too busy with the catastrophes at hand. The last time she
had come on board was when she was there to study pieces of Bad Guy, the
alternate Big Guy that the Legion Ex Mackhina had created in order to
infiltrate the BGY-11 project. That day remained muddled in his memory,
thanks to the Legion's Duplicate Dwayne zapping him unconscious so that it
could assume his identity. At least Rusty had destroyed the impostor before
it could harm the Doc. He was sorry he hadn't been there himself to dish
out the candy, but he had fallen prey to his own human weaknesses.
Afterwards,they had revamped his suit with the express purpose of
Something twinged inside of him and he stumbled. For a brief instant,
he was paralyzed by an intense, shooting pain, and could do nothing but
sprawl in frozen agony against the hard steel deckplates. The suit whirred
and chirped in confusion as tried to keep up with this new predicament.
Finally, it chugged to life and injected him with a new batch of solutions.
As the pain slowly ebbed away, Dwayne wondered if maybe the suit had a
chemical answer for all of life's little problems. He stayed motionless
for a while, unsure of what might occur if he tried to move. Should've
taken up the Doc's offer, he reprimanded himself. Could be anything -- torn
ligament, broken ribs, internal injuries... With a deep breath, Dwayne
carefully rolled over and attempted to rise, expecting the sore spot from
the previous night to flare up. It did, although strangely enough, his
right leg felt partially numb and refused to function properly. He
experimented with putting weight on it.
Every vague ache brought a new surge from the suit. Mildly
intoxicated, he limped towards the nearest hatch, which appeared miles
away. "Why's Big Guy never around when I need'im?!?" he complained aloud,
guffawing at his own senseless joke. After staggering halfway across the
deck, he managed to garner the attention of some nearby sailors, who
clustered around him.
"Are you all right, Lieutenant, sir? We can help you to the
infirmary," a shippy-shape shipmate in crackerjack blues offered. Dwayne
smiled wanly and leaned on the youth's outstretched arm. The shill peered at
him anxiously. "What happened?"
"I must've pulled something," Dwayne answered. "But
don't worry about it.I can barely feel it."
If anything, he felt energized, like he could continue running
around and around the ship for days without stopping. Now he understood
what Rusty had meant every time he hyperactively shrieked that he was
"Ready and rarin' ta go!!!" Each sound was amplified with perfect clarity,
everything he saw was in brilliant intensity, he could distinguish a
thousand different scents and sensations, and yet...there was an acrid
taste in his mouth. Everything tasted like...chemicals. Dwayne coughed and
felt his head buzz pleasantly.
"Dwayne? What's going on?!?"
Garth. Dwayne registered his baritone even before he had finished
forming the first word.
"I'm broke," Dwayne told him nonchalantly, then giggled.
Garth's eyebrows shot up in surprise, then furrowed together as he
uneasily inquired,"...What exactly do you mean by 'broke'?" There
was something funny about the way the black officer was scrutinizing him
which made Dwayne feel slightly perturbed, but before he could say anything
else Garth took off in the other direction. He could plainly hear his
second-in-command calling for Mackk and Jo, and then a few moments later
they all grabbed hold of him, thanked the sailors for their assistance,
and hurriedly dragged him off towards the Big Guy bay.
"Um,isn't the infirmary that way?" The trio disregarded Dwayne's
query and emphatic pointing. He cleared his throat and repeated himself,
violently wrenching himself away from their grip. "I believe the infirmary
is that way, officers." Wincing, he waited for drugs to subdue the dull
pain in his ribs, limped a few steps away, and looked back.
Jo's gaze nervously flitted between Garth and Mack. Mack took off
his hat, ran a gnarled hand through his thinning gray hair and shifted
from side to side. Garth stood tall and silent. After contemplating
Dwayne for a time, he nodded his strong jaw almost imperceptibly in Jo's
direction. She walked up to Dwayne and gently put her arms around him.
"You are very, very sick, Dwayne." Her voice was trembling.
He felt her fingers probing his back as she reassured him, "Everything's
gonna be fine, don'tyou worry."
"But I already feel better than fine," he began, and then
everything abruptly faded to black.
The first thing he recognized as his vision focused were the Doc's
gold-rimmed specs.They framed her beautiful hazel eyes, which gazed down at
him with mixedrelief. Her head blocked out a glaring light, causing her
dark, curly hair to glow in an angelic halo around her face.
"I must've died n' gone to heaven" Dwayne murmured. Dr. Slate lifted
a hand to her lips and turned away. The light source shone in its full
intensity, piercing through his squinting eyelids. Shielding his orbs, he
sat up and attempted to get his bearings. It looks like the inside of the
Doc's laboratory at Quark, but just to make sure.... He scanned the
room, glimpsed Rusty's collection of patriotic Big Guy propaganda posters
through a doorway, and nodded. Definitely Slate's lab. He noticed that his
flightsuit had been removed, leaving only his black, circuited undersuit.
One of his hands instinctively reached up to his coif in order to pat any
stray hairs in place, but his hair hadn't budged since the last time he
checked. The hand strayed over to Dr. Slate's shoulder, which jerked at
his touch. Her mouth was in that hard line he associated with her
"Lieutenant Hunter" mode. The prospects already didn't look good, but he
decided that a little flirting wouldn't hurt.
"Please say that you kidnapped me and I'm your slave," he
implored, with the most debonair look he could muster. Her crimson lips
attempted to tug upwards into a smile, the evidence of which evaporated
entirely when she spoke.
He mouthed the name along with her,rolling his eyes.
"The only reason, and I repeat, ONLY reason you are here, is
because you sustained massive internal injuries during your last Big Guy
brawl, and were too proud to inform me." She strode over to the far
wall, flicked a switch extinguishing the brightness overhead, and
paced back towards him. "I don't care if it's a paper cut; if you get
hurt I need to know about it. Is that clear?" The severity of her
assertion was intimidating. Dwayne found himself nodding in agreement
before he realized what he was doing.
"Okay...okay, Doc, I'm sorry." He solemnly held up his palms. "I
promise I'll tell ya next time. I just truthfully thought that it was
nothing. I didn't even get swelling, honest -- heyyy, wait a minute." The
realization that she wasn't a physician struck him anew."You're not a
doctor -- at least, not a person-doctor. Why should I come whining to
you about my aches and pains?"
She hesitated,than took his hand awkwardly in hers. "...I- I
don't want anything to happen to you, because I... care... about you,
and I personally know a- a good doctor..." she stammered flatly. Her
eyelids lowered and she stared at the ground, clearly discomfited by
what she was saying. Scarcely breathing, he could only gawk at her in
amazement. Was she finally telling him the words he had long only
fantasized about? Dwayne pulled her towards him, and for once she didn't
fight the action. His fingers gingerly brushed past her shoulders and
wound their way into her hair. The thick brown curls were velvety soft.
For once he was happy to be without his flightsuit's meddlesome
intervention, as every thrilling sensation rushed through his body
"I'll do anything you say," he breathed. His heart pounded
wildly, and he drew her into an embrace. She smelled of some darkly
alluring aroma that he found absolutely irresistible. Was it just his
imagination, or did he actually see the same desire, the same pent-up
hunger reflected in her steely gaze? In a momentary fit of passion, he
leaned over and kissed her deeply. Dr. Slate stiffened and roughly
pushed him away.
"I can't keep fooling myself-- You're not the same!!!" She
sobbed. Confused and hurt, he tried to comfort her, but she strained
against him. "You'll never even come close to what you were before!"
Tears streamed down her face.
"Wait-- I know I've been under the influence of the suit, but I
swear to you, I'll give it up for us---"
"The suit?!? Keep your suit, you need it to survive!!!" Her voice
was bordering on hysteria. With one final shove, Dr. Slate ran from his
arms deep into the confines of the Quark building. Dwayne was in shock.
What had just happened?!?
It all wentback to the suit.
Dejected, he stared blankly into space, replaying the scene over and
over again in his mind. Preoccupied as he was, he didn't notice that Rusty
was in the room until the boy robot physically tapped him on the leg,
scaring the hell out of him.
"Are you feeling better now, Lt. Dwayne?" he asked in his
precocious, raspy little boy voice. Dwayne tried to hide his utter
despair from the kid by putting on a falsely cheerful demeanor. It was
parallel to adopting the Big Guy persona.
"Sure I am, son!" He beamed at Rusty, who grinned back at him.
"That's sure as shootin' good! I was worried that no one would
never be able to put you back together again. You were all broken inside."
Rusty chewed on a gloved finger as Dwayne shook his head in bewilderment.
"I can't believe that much trauma wouldn't show up for a whole 24
hours. It just doesn't make any sense."
Rusty's eyes glowed for emphasis. "Ohhhh, it happens a lot,
especially to more complicated hardware. One component breaks down, and
then the ones around it can't work anymore, and pretty soon?" The robot
cringed and bowed his melonic head. "Oops. That's right...." He trailed off.
"....I'm not a robot like you, Rusty," Dwayne completed. He
laughed, in spite of himself. Somehow, Rusty always had a way of lifting
his spirits whenever he was heartbroken and suicidal. "Say, Rusty,"
Dwayne proposed, "How would you like to play with Big Guy later today?"
The energetic little machine screamed and bounced off the walls in
anticipation. As Dwayne watched in amusement, he tried to convince
himself that he wanted to give Rusty some company, but the suit remained
a sliver in the back of his mind.
"THANKS, CITIZEN!" Big Guy's booming voice shook colorful autumn
leaves off ofthe maples in New Tronic's Central Park. The flinching
businessman who had just handed Rusty his basketball back tipped his hat
and went on his way. "SO, RUSTY, HOW 'BOUT ANOTHER ROUND?" Dwayne
skillfully piloted Big Guy's levers into an inviting configuration. To
his surprise, Rusty declined.
"I wanna go swing," he bubbled enthusiastically, appled cheeks
shining. The robot blasted over to an empty swing set and plopped down
on a rubber seat. "Puuuushmeeeee!!!" He pleaded up at his idol. Dwayne
"3....2....1....BLAST OFF!!!" With a mere flick of Big Guy's
massive fingers, Rusty was propelled vertically, then backwards over the
bar. He enjoyed every minute of it. After a few experimentations with his
rocket thrusters and acrobatics that would have made any parent pale, Rusty
finally settled down and swung in a steady rhythm. His perpetual smile
faded as a more worried expression took its place.
"Can I talk to you about something, Big Guy? You won't tell, will
Inside the cockpit, Dwayne smirked. "It depends," he commented to
himself, imagining all sorts of situations that Rusty might have
accidentally instigated. Turning on the microphone that deepened his voice
into Big Guy'sresonant tone, he answered, "FIRE AWAY, SON! YOU KNOW
YOU CAN TALK TO ME ABOUT ANYTHING."
"Mommy's very sad today," Rusty said quietly. "It's because of
Big Guy froze. His diminutive sidekick continued, oblivious.
"She's been sad for a while, but now it's even worser."
"...RUSTY..." Dwayne paused for a moment, trying to word his
explanation in a way that Rusty could understand. "...LT. HUNTER ISN'T
WELL. HE'S GOT A TYPE OF SICKNESS,CALLED AN ADDICTION, WHERE HE FEELS THAT
HE NEEDS ADDITIVES IN ORDER TO FEEL NORMAL...." Big Guy cut off as he
noticed Rusty vigorously shaking his head in the negative. The boy robot
stopped swinging entirely.
"Mommy told me not to tell you, but I'm gonna tell you anyways. I
just don't got anyone else to talk to, Big Guy." Rusty's sculpted red
hair vanished from view as he craned a desperate face upwards. "It won't
matter anyhow," he mused, voice almost losing its childish overtones. "You
probably won't understand, because you don't have feelings." At that,
Dwayne closed his eyes and exhaled slowly.
"GO ON, SON."
"You probably think mommy's sad because of Lt. Dwayne's special
suit. That's what Lt. Dwayne is supposed to think, too. But it's just a
trick." Rusty began twisting the swing absentmindedly from side to side.
The metal links jangled. "He's dis-trac-ted by it. So that he doesn't
notice that he's not real anymore." There was a moment of heavy silence
where Rusty pondered what he was going to say next, and Dwayne's mind
reeled in utter incomprehension.
"N-NOT---REAL? WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?!?" Big Guy sputtered.
Rusty tilted forward in the swing and whispered, "Lt.Dwayne is --
a -- robot."
Incapable of speech, Dwayne could only sit in a kind of fascinated
immobility. Did Rusty know the truth about Big Guy? Of course not. The
kid asks Slate what's wrong, and she tells him that I'm married to my
duties; that I've become an automaton. A robotic slave to the suit. It's
just a misinterpretation of what she said, that's all. He let out a
nervous laugh and toggled his mikeswitch. "LT. DWAYNE ISN'T A ROBOT, AT
LEAST NOT LIKE YOU AND I. DR.SLATE WAS JUST USING THAT AS A METAPHOR."
Visibly irritated, Rusty raised his voice. "No she wasn't. You don't
know what you're talking about, because you weren't there. You were all
wrecked after the fight with Bad Guy.
"There was an evil Legion Dwayne that got on the Dark Horse. It
was sent to take Lt. Dwayne's place, just like how Bad Guy took your place.
But Lt.Dwayne fought back. He couldn't get any help, so he fought it all by
himself, with his bare hands. The Robot Dwayne had a weird raygun that it
was gonna fry the real Dwayne with, but Lt. Dwayne must have knocked it
away. We found them both on the floor of his cabin... The Dwaynebot was
all overloaded because Lt.Dwayne shot it with the raygun..." Grimacing,
Rusty wavered as he dredged up the memory. "...Lt. Dwayne was bloody.
General Thorton said he had bad breathing, and that he was...he was gonna
die. Dr. Slate wanted to take him to the hospital, but everyone said that
it was too late. Lt. Dwayne tried to tell her some things, but I didn't
hear what he said. It made her cry a lot.
"....Then, General Thorton got an idea that we should take both
Dwaynes to Quark, where the Noigog Machine was. He made Dr. Slate download
Dwayne's brain into Quark's compooter. She didn't want to,but the general
said she had to. It worked, but the real Lt. Dwayne died." He stared off
into space. "I had never seen a real dead person before."
The world drained of all color and sound, save for the droning of
Dwayne's suit. He was dimly aware of its circuits prickling against his
skin in an effort to rouse him from his stupor. What Rusty had just
articulated should have been irrational, absurd, completely insane -- but
with a sinking feeling, Dwayne realized that his mind was already
subliminally making connections, because on a certain level, it made sense.
"....They stored his memories in the computer system...." Big Guy's
voice was now a faint ghost of its former self.
"Yuh," Rusty nodded. "At first I didn't understand why General
Thorton wanted to do that, but he explained that Lt. Dwayne was special,
and we needed him alive again. And then, he told Dr. Slate to fix the
Dwaynebot so that it could be rebooted with Lt. Dwayne's brain. Dr. Slate
took my backup emotion chip and changed it a little, so that the new Dwayne
could have emotions. He got pain receptors and pressure receptors too. She
deleted all the memories he had about the evil Dwayne an' dying an' all
that, 'cuz he wasn't supposed to know that he was a robot now. If he knew
it, it might crash his emotion grid," he stated matter-of-factly.
Crashed. That was how he felt. As if he had been hurtled against a
brick wall at 300 mph.
"The suit..." Dwayne managed in a hoarse voice that translated
badly over the pickups. The kid squinted up at him.
"Are you O.K, Big Guy? I think your speakers are shorting out.
Anyways, the Dwaynebot picked up where the real Dwayne left off. Dr.
Slate made him a special suit that he thinks is controlling his organs,
but he really doesn't have any! I think he has a thing inside of him
that's attached to his emotion grid and programmed to make heartbeat
sounds, and breathing sounds too, but that's all. The suit really gives
him chemical fuel that he turns into energy, so he doesn't ever have to
power down. Everyone is worried that someday, Lt. Dwayne will find out
he's a robot, and he almost found out today because he broke an' Doctor
Slate had to fix him." A hand clamped over Rusty's eyes in shame. "I
forgot, for a minute, and I talked to him about his robot parts, but he
Big Guy was mute.
"Mommy misses the old Dwayne. She tries to pertend that the robot
Dwayne is real,but she can't. It hurts her feelings, because the Dwaynebot
likes her. I saw him bring her flowers once!" Rusty stopped his babbling
when he noticed Big Guy walking away. "Hey!!!" He called out, hanging
upside-down in the swing. "Where are you going, Big Guy?"
"Duty calls, kid..." Dwayne mumbled, then fired the thrusters
under the BGY-11's feet, propelling him towards the Dark Horse.
He saw it in their eyes. They way they pierced through him like an
X-ray as he disengaged himself from the cockpit. How had he overlooked
this for the past few weeks?!? But he hadn't. It had registered, and he
had written it off as various other things, like the suit. Dwayne passed
Mack, Jo, and Garth without greeting them and went straight to his quarters.
It was dark, but actually, he could still see rather well, couldn't
he? He just never noticed, because he always kept a light on --
--Because he never slept. He had thought he was an insomniac. That
the drugs had something to do with it.
Just like how he never ate, never peed, never had to shave anymore...
Or did he? Dwayne contemplated and stroked his wrists. He swore he
could see veins underneath. Delicate blue lines that branched out below his
His skin.....It felt cold and rubbery to the touch.
Collapsing, he heaved a sob, but couldn't continue crying. For some
reason, his tears were trapped inside of him, or dried up....
......or they hadn't built him with tearducts.
"I'll prove I'm not a robot," Dwayne feverishly blurted out loud,
reaching into one of his flightsuit's bottomless pockets. He pulled out
his issued Army knife. Yes, he would do this little experiment, and either
way it didn't matter, because nothing mattered anymore. Not saving America's
ass, not his distant Pit Crew, not the kid, or even the Doc. They were
forgotten. The blade flashed silver in the darkness, and settled on his
He dug it in deeply, separating himself from the pain. A glimmer of
hope, the hope that thick burgundy would ooze out of the gash, proving him
warm and alive and vulnerable, was quickly extinguished as his wound
remained immaculately clean. Barely able to bring himself to do so, Dwayne
clumsily groped at the incision with deadened fingers. They pushed back the
simulated flesh to reveal bundles of blue circuitry, a skillfully crafted
network that ran over the intricate mechanisms underneath.
One by one, all the components in his processing unit slowed, than
ceased to function.
Just so you know, "Matrioshka" is Russian for "Nesting Doll".
They're those wooden dolls that open up and have a smaller doll inside,
which opens up to reveal an even smaller doll, which opens up...etc....
Back to the fanfic index