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Generated: Jul 17, 2021 5:33 AM
Post last updated: Apr 05, 2019 5:46 PM
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Tadashi falls into the Boyfriend Dungeon
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The fire licked close to Tadashi, and he gasped, inhaling smoke. "Professor Callahan!" He called out, his voice swallowed by crackling flames, and smoke invading his lungs. He coughed, his throat burning, but pushed ahead. "Professor!" The heat was intense, the fire swallowing every bit of oxygen, but he couldn't give up, couldn't leave, Callahan was in here somewhere, he had to save him, he had to-

BOOM.

"Agh." Tadashi winced, and picked himself off the floor. That last wave of heat, ack. That hurt. He gripped the back of his neck and stretched, trying to uncurl his muscles. "Oh, that hurt." What he wouldn't give for Baymax right now. 

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He's standing on a cold stone floor, in a fairly dark and cool and damp room that doesn't smell at all like fire. The walls are also stone, and there's a distant scent of mold and muck. The lighting in the room's weird, diffuse and faintly green. There's a wooden door to his right that's been ripped off its hinges, one hanging open ahead of him, one firmly shut behind him, and darkness down the corridors.

And an anachronistically science fiction looking gun, not too far from him, lying on the floor, discarded next to an empty pedestal.

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"What the-" Tadashi spins around, taking in his surrounds. No fire? No screams?

He looks down at his arms. No, they're slightly red from the fire and soot is covering his clothes. The fire did happen, he's just...not...in it.

He peers at the gun. The tech looks unfamiliar, certainly not anything someone in his lab was working on. "What do you do, I wonder." He picks it up.

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'Oh thank fuck,' says the gun. The voice is feminine, and odd - it feels like he's hearing it, but a few subtle cues are missing, like any actual vibration. 'I thought I'd get trapped here.'

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"Oh!" Tadashi exclaims upon hearing the gun's voice. Well. Some sort of neural mod? Perhaps a technopathic device? His brother, at 13, could make one, it wasn't so difficult to picture someone else doing it.

Okay. It was a little difficult. 

"Nice to meet you! I'm Tadashi. You are?"

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'I'm Sara. Where'd you come from? My sensory range isn't huge like this, but I didn't really feel you entering, just appearing?'

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"Nice to meet you Sara. As for how I got here, I'm not sure. I feel that 'simply appearing' may be accurate. I was...trying to save someone from a fire. But-" 

He looks around. "I think I'm somewhere else."

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'Sometimes a dunj has a teleport stone or something weird, yeah, though I haven't heard about them linking to each other before. Where're you from?'

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"San Fransokyo. I've never heard of teleport stones, what sort of tech are they?"

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"Haven't heard of that, sorry. This dunj is nearest Verona Beach, a bit off in the reeds. Teleport stone's are pretty rare, but they usually bounce you back to the entrance to the dunj. Or I've heard of ones that drop you in traps. Haven't figured out how they work yet, but I'm pretty sure they need to be paired - a sender and a receiver."

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Tadashi checks his pockets for stones, and comes up short. "I don't think this was a teleport stone situation, I don't have a pairing one on me. And I've never heard of them before today, so perhaps they don't exist...in...my world."

He takes another look at the faintly green glowing stones. "I don't think I'm in Kansas anymore," he jokes halfheartedly.

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"...Like, universe hopping? I'd heard of the many-worlds theory... Are you familiar with dunjes? They're these extradimensional spaces that open up, lead into these - well, dungeons full of monsters. There's usually a core you have to get to so you can shut it down so everything inside stops attacking people. We've tried communicating with them before, but - doesn't work that I've heard."

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"I've...uh...never heard of that, but I won't even try to deny that it's possible. I've never seen a world other than my own."

Tadashi blanches. "When you say monsters, you mean, like, literal monsters?"

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"Like, non-sapient, really aggressive creatures - or robots, or whatever those shadow things from the ebon dunj were, or skeletons this one time - that swarm and attack people."

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Tadashi’s eyebrows shoot up. “Skeletons? Wow. This is some kinda D-and-D world.” He is still terrified by the idea of actual real life skeletons walking around, possibly attacking him, but the fantasy nerd in him is fascinated by the idea. 

“I’m quite good with robots, I could probably deal with those, though I guess you don’t get a choice with what kind of monsters are in the dungeon.”

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"The ones we ran into earlier were kind of stone golem themed. Slow, a bit more durable than normal, hit hard but it's easy to dodge, and with my range you should get them before they get close to you."

"I think - hm, we don't know each other well. Feels like I've got some kind of stun thing with you? Like, from 'painkilling' to 'safe general anesthesia' feels like the current range."

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“That does sound more my speed. I don’t really...well, not that I ever have, but I’d rather help than hurt.”

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"Yeah, I get you. I like seeing new places, talking to new people... Not really shooting new monsters."

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“A gun with morals! Sounds like something I’d put together.”

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"Most of us are pretty human-like, though there's some variation - you need intelligence to use the magic. Most of us were also made this way, but there's some variants - I know someone who was born human and figured out shape-shifting the other way than most of us do it. I wasn't made as smart as I am. - I shouldn't make assumptions, do you even have magic in your world? Uh, especially of the 'shapeshifting weapons' type, if you're surprised at a moralistic gun it sounds like maybe not..."

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"I...uh...no. No magic. We're...uh, a science-based universe? If I had to categorise it." Feels very strange to do so, considering magic was the stuff of fairy-tales, but then again. Shapeshifting gun. "Were you a person before you were a gun?"

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"I was a gun first - most of us kind of gain magic and then sentience a bit slowly? It's like you're dreaming and then you wake up for the first time."

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"That makes a lot of sense, surprisingly. For me, I mean. You being a gun first is obviously not new to you." Tadashi chuckles, a little uncomfortably. "We have such a thing as AI where I come from, but humans came up with it, programmed it. I hadn't heard of a machine gaining it on their own. That's really special."

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"Thanks! I think it's just normal, here. There's talks about making AIs among the humans, I think? But it hasn't gotten much of anywhere yet. Nothing sapient, at least."

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"I can't say AI was my speciality, but if we get out of here I would love to help. Robotics is very much my field. I was working on- Well. I guess it won't matter if we don't leave this place."

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"That'd be great. And dunj are rarely too bad - when the portal closes we should end up on the right side - well, I'm not actually sure which side you'll end up on, being foreign, but keeping a hold of me should help? I don't know if we want to hustle for the portal or try to close it from this end, though, my previous wielder should've succeeded by now if they were going to."

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"I'm very happy to hold onto you. You're fascinating!" 

He stands, and looks around the room.

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"Heh. Thanks."

It hasn't really changed in blandness. The door to his right remains ripped off its hinges, the door head open, and the door behind closed, and the darkness down them is unrelieved.

"The glow sometimes shifts as people walk," Sara comments, "But I can glow, too, if we need more light."

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"Do we take the open door, the broken door, the closed door, or the enveloping darkness?"

He taps his chin thoughtfully with his free hand.

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"We came through the broken door - there was an adventure there - and he left through the open door, so the center's either through the open or closed. Not sure which, but since he failed I wouldn't be surprised if 'closed' is a better path. But it's less likely to have been cleared."

"Or if you want to get out, the broken door leads back to the entrance."

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Well, good to know that the entrance was an option, however the scientist in him has taken on a side role as an explorer. "I'm willing to delve deeper into this maze filled with creatures. Call me curious."

He turns to the closed door. "Let's try this one."

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She sort of clicks and hums. "Ready when you are. Now, fighting's a group effort - I can't wield myself. Usually with a weapon making a 'use' gesture and then thinking what you want to happen works. Like, point me at monster, think 'I want them anesthetized.' Dramatic flourishes sometimes help, kind of depends on your personality."

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"Oooh, flourishing sounds like fun. I do like a dramatic entrance."

He looks to a blank space of wall. "Any chance of a practice?"

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"Fire away!"

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He points Sara at the wall, and thinks very hard to fire at it.

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Sara glows, shimmers, and a bubbly beam of light shoots from her muzzle. The wall is unmarked but presumably thoroughly anesthetized. 

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"Take that, wall!"

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She laughs.

"Want to practice a bit more, see if you can get some oomph in?" she asks.

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Tadashi considers the wall. "Yeah, lets try and dial it up."

He aims, and concentrates.

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She also helps nudge him through stuff that's worked in the past - dynamism helps, usually, though a coherent aesthetic helps more if his thing is standing resolute.

They're able to produce a shinier blast this time. The visual effects seem to have been dialed up, at least.

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He thinks of his best friends, and their clear colour pallets, and delights in switching between them. The last blast is red and purple, for his little brother.

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Thinking about people he likes and doing their palettes gets more oomph - and according to Sara, the edges of different effects.

His brother's palette makes a light so bright it leaves spots floating across his vision.

Sara whistles in his mind. "Impressive," she says. "You're thinking about people, right? Maybe you can tell me about them? Getting to know each other helps with this a lot, and people's friends are a big part of that."

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"Ah, yeah. Thinking about my friends and family back home. My friends work in the same lab I do." He starts telling stories about each of them, before finally getting to the last one. "...and my brother, Hiro. He's...Sara, he's the smartest guy in the world. He's gonna do so much good. His robotics- well. I guess when I get home I'll know for sure, but he just invented some crazy tech that's gonna get him into the university. At fourteen!"

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"Okay, that's amazing. You guys sound like a pretty awesome group. I'm doing online classes - easier when 'getting dropped in a dunj' is a risk - and I've been doing some mechanical engineering and some art."

"I don't think I quite have another power yet - that usually takes a lot of practice, though - but the beams have kind of flavors?"

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"Mechanical engineering would be very useful for someone who can turn themselves into a gun. And I'm guessing you don't mean flavours as in tastes, as fun as it would be to try and taste a laser beam."

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"Heh, no. Flavors like metaphorically."

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"So each beam has a different effect? Interesting. Neural transmitters are way more advanced in this world."

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"They're not fully different yet, and it's hard to replicate that with pure technology, but yeah I suspect our weapons tech might be really divergent."

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"I suppose that will be handy with all the different enemies we will be facing. It wouldn't do to just have one flavour of beam."

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"Yeah, more powers always helps. You wanna practice some more, or set out?"

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"Let's see how far we can go."

He makes for the closed door.

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The hallway past it slopes up slightly, and indeed the moss starts glowing gently as he passes.

"Monsters around here are stony - I can sense them, but they ambush sometimes. Pain in the butt. The stun should hopefully work well against them, though."

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"All right, keep a sensor out then. My first interaction with a magical creature. Woo."

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"Yeah. No one really knows why monsters attack people. Or where they even come from."

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"Maybe they're just as confused as we are to be dropped into a maze," Tadashi muses.

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"Yeah. Could also be, like, a history thing, if they think we're aggressive, or we think they're aggressive, or maybe they all have monster rabies - people have tried to communicate, don't get me wrong, but we can't for sure detect anything more language-y than bird calls, and even that much is rare, and they do usually attack people when the portals open."

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"So...they're 'programmed', so to speak, to attack people who are dropped into this...maze?"

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"They leave the portals, too, attack humans and human towns and Earth wildlife. We usually intentionally enter the mazes, to close the portals so they'll stop. If they stayed in place it'd be less urgent."

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"Then we have to find where they're coming from and stop them. For good."

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"Yeah. Might not be so simple, though, the dunjes are all different. Different aesthetic, different monsters, different locations."

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Tadashi frowns. "Nothing's ever simple, is it?"

He tuts, then lifts his head. "We'll find a way to stop these ones then."

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"Closing the portal does it, and we just need to get to the portal stone to do that."

Sara hums in alarm, then. "Monster, next intersection," she says. "It's still right now."

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"Oh, oh, okay. Right. So, we should take it out quietly?"

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"Might be good, yeah. I can sort of nudge aiming, but not much, so getting a good shot's the important thing."

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"All right." 

Creeping quietly, Tadashi heads to the intersection Sara mentioned, looking for anything appropriately monster shaped.

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That might be a boulder or a weird statue or a very still monster.

And it's stirring, slightly.

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Tadashi points Sara at it, and concentrates on Honey Lemon's bright aura.

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A bright flash. The monster grunts and slumps over.

"Good," Sara says. "That was one of the medium-sized ones."

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"How long before it wakes up?"

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"Hmmmm. Should be at least an hour I think, though these things are surprisingly tough sometimes. But we should be able to close the portal by then as long as we don't get too horribly lost."

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"Then lets head straight around it, see where we end up."

Tadashi heads forward, walking carefully around the monster.

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"Yeah, they tend to be denser near the center."

The corridor intersections become more frequent after that, little doors leading into little rooms off the main hallway, or small corridors branching into a tiny network of rooms.

There's a grumble, and then something is peeling away from the wall and swinging at them.

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"Woah!" Tadashi stumbles back, raising Sara and thinking hard about Wasabi.

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A faintly greenish flash, and the thing rocks back, not fully stunned but definitely out of it.

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"Ahhh, Sara? Do I shoot again?"

It's fine, it's nothing, it's just...a wall monster? 

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"Yeah that's probably best."

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So he does, thinking of Go Go, needing some of her fierce cool.

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The wall monster jerks, faster than it had been, and then slumps.

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"All right. So, we're going to expect more of those things, right?"

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"Yeah. Usually way denser and tougher near the core."

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"Right. Denser, okay. Which of my...beams seems stronger to you?"

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"The red and purple one. Your brother's. Don't know if it's the hardest hitter force-wise but I think it'll drop them best."

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"Okay, I'll focus on using that one. Hiro would never let me hear the end of it if he knew," Tadashi says with a laugh.

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"Hah. I've never had siblings but I've heard plenty of stories. Does he like annoying you?"

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“Well. Not in any particularly intentional way, but he was wasting how smart he is on bot fights. That’s, ah, fighting with small robots. I’m hoping the presentation he did gets him into the University...well. If it’s still there. 

Did I mention I was in some kind of explosion?”

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"Yeah. What happened?"

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“I don’t know, not really. One moment my brother and I were talking outside, the next the building was on fire. My professor was stuck inside, so I went in and- well. Something exploded, and then I was here.”

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"That's really brave of you. What things were being presented? Could one of them have done this?"

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"Stupid, my brother and aunt would say. I do that. I always rush in headfirst, consider the consequence later." Was he blushing? No, that's...ridiculous, surely.

"I don't really remember, I was quite focused on Hiro's presentation. Though maybe...it's something to think about, anyway."

What was happening in the background while they were preparing Hiro?

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"Everyone's good at different stuff - why teams are important. Someone needs to consider the consequences, sure, but the ability to rush in where angels fear to tread's important, too."

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"Yeah, the thinker in our group was definitely Wasabi. He kept everything, including us, in order. He would be furious that I ran in without a plan. Well. Mildly annoyed, I've never seen him mad at someone else over something that wasn't his perfectly organised desk."

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"Heh. Sounds fun. ...Is Wasabi, like, a normal name where you're from?"

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"Ha! No, it's just a food. He spilled some on himself and the name stuck. Go-go is called that because she's...well. Fast. Honey Lemon likes her tea that way."

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"Oh, those make sense. Anything embarrassing they call you?"

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"Oh, well. Honey Lemon was pretty deadset on 'Tadpole'," Tadashi laughs.

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A gun laughing telepathically is a rather odd sensation!

"Come on, I think we're close to the center. You wanna rest first? They're sometimes tough," she says once she recovers a bit.

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It's...actually kind of adorable. Tadashi can't help but laugh too.

"Yeah, that's probably a good idea. Rather feels like I haven't stopped since I got here."

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"You really don't wanna be fighting on empty, yeah."

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Tadashi sits down against the nearest wall, and cradles Sara in his hands. 

"I don't suppose there's anything to eat here?"

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"Not that I have, sorry."

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"That's all right. I suppose you can only have so many functions."

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"A sandwich gun would be amazing."

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"And each thought having a different type. Happiness would definitely be my Aunt Cass's roast beef and mustard."

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"Ohhhh I'm glad I can't get hungry, that sounds good."

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Tadashi smiles, and leans his head back against the wall. "Aunt Cass is a wizard when it comes to comfort food. She makes these hot wings that could just about start a fire."

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"We're gonna need to find you a way back so I can shift human and try those."

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"What do you look like, as a human?"

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"Lemme show you."

And there's a woman standing before him, grinning, dressed in clothes with a similar theme to her gun-shape - retro futuristic, steel gray and glowing purple, and clean, fluid lines.

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He's...he's been holding her in his hands this whole time?

"Wow." 

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"Struck speechless by my beauty?"

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"I...uh, don't think I'm supposed to admit that?"

It's not a no.

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She laughs. "Shy, huh?"

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"It's not every day a gun turns into a woman right in front of you."

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"Guess it's more common here. Though it's not everyday a cute guy gets dropped on me, either."

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"I really don't know how I'm going to go back to using you as a weapon."

A light blush stains his cheeks at the compliment.

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"Aw. It's normal here. And getting to know each other does help a lot with syncing."

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He is not going to read into 'getting to know each other', he is not going to read into 'getting to know each other'-

"It's very good to put a face to the voice."

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"Same! Perception as a weapon's not really sight, for me it's more like - I guess echolocation is the closest?"

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“Like a bat?” Tadashi leans in folding his hands. “I guess not like a bat, if it’s more of an awareness thing. It is incredible that you still have memories and perception while a gun.”

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"I guess I'm just used to it working like that? But if there was just - brains and circuits - I could see it being weird, yeah."

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"I've got the strangest image of a brain with bits of robotics shoved into it," Tadashi laughs.

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"Don't have old-school cyborgs, sorry!"

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"They wouldn't be as pretty as you, so I really can't complain."

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"You are sweet. Bet you know a lot of pretty girls, smart as you are."

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"Perhaps...but none who have literally saved my life."

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"Hey, you saved me from a while of sitting there bored. Consider it mutual."

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"I'll be sure to keep you from being bored, though- I'm not sure what else to keep you from?"

The grin on his face implies something cheeky.

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She laughs a bit. "Oh, I'm sure you can come up with something. But maybe I like having my way."

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"Then I guess I will just have to follow your lead."

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"That all you want to do?"

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She is very good at calling his bluff.

"Well..." He says, non-committing. He does look up at her through his lashes. 

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"Perhaps something to explore once we're not at quite such a risk of being interrupted."

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Oh. Wow. Is he considering? No, he's well past that. He's agreeing.

"The monsters will put something of a dampener on things."

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"All the more reason to get this done, I guess."