Rex was kind of glad when Song found him. Her words made her want to grind the chitin of his beak, however. Are you in or out? That could come in handy? Could the chimera have been using any more suspicious vocabulary? This was just the reason Rex had thought about not using Song in his...well, he only have the skeleton of a plan right now. Was it really impossible for her to keep a secret? An unpredictable ally is worse than an enemy.
Rex clicked his beak, annoyed. Maybe he'd try talking to her, telling her about his plan, but not right now. Not with everything going on. For now, it was best to give her an answer that, to the outside world, didn't look suspicious. It took him a few minutes to think of one "Yeah. I guess it would come in handy. Not dying and stuff."
He moved to the buffet table. By now, most of the party goers had picked over the table, taking what they wanted. There were the cookies, baked ingeniusly to look like human body parts, a bowl of blood (for present vampires, Rex supposed), and a few cans of Kara's kran juice. Whatever that was. Rex found himself drawn to a bowl that was actually moving. It at first appeared to be filled with wiggling, pink egg rolls. On closer inspection, they were actually creatures, the each the size and shape of an egg roll. Rex pulled three out of the bowl and set them on his plate. The alien didn't care if humu were a human or a triek invention; they were still delicious.
Humu were actually mammalian- or a close thing to it. They were warm blooded, and all produced a kind of milk. They were like rodents. Think a naked mole rat, only bred and interbred and gene manipulated over hundreds of generations. Humu were born obese, hence their wormlike appearance. Their bones were also as brittle as almonds, and their blood absolutely sweet. In other words- these animals were bred to be as delicious as possible. They were eyeless, toothless, and their three boneless legs stuck out like whiskers. They died extremely easily, and the conditions they were raised in had to be exact, thus they were expensive. Like, only the Donald Trumps of the universe would think of eating these regularly- if Donald Trump liked eating hairless aliens alive.
Rex pondered over how Osmonds had Trump-like bank accounts when he bit the head off one of the humu. He savored the mixture of sweetness, saltiness and crunchiness. His own language didn't have a word for the other flavor, but the japanese did: Umami. It was like the most tender, most flavorful steak you have ever eaten, but ten times better.
He handed the tail to Song "Humu?" He offered.
"Yeah, he said. I guess not dying is kind of a gift for him." He nodded to Casey who had unexpectely picked himself up from the pile on the floor. Had he somehow skipped the process of regeneration and was now just rising from the dead? The engineer was across the room by now- over to Nurse White and was now trying his bonds. The alien gnasted around. Yes, just about everyone was aware that Keelan was there. No one cared. No one was lifting a finger. The unicorn nurse really was that hated.
Again, Rex felt bad, but chased that feeling away. That's the why the humans want me to feel. They want me to feel weak emotions, like Zacky Mack. But I have to be myself, now.
"But Song, Casey is nuts. Really nuts. Like, he'll jump off the San Francisco Bridge if you gave him a dollar. He'd jump off the San Francisco if you didn't give him a dollar. He can't go five steps without getting into trouble. He has no control. He probably always breaks promises, and he probably can't keep secrets." He gave Song and intense look with his green eye. Would she get it? Please get it.
All Hell started to break loose. Of course. You couldn't put this many of Osmond's patients in one room and expect for something not to happen. One of the new girls started yelling at another new girl. The latter of the two had been the one to fling Casey across the room in the first place. This one started to cry- or so it seemed to Rex's quills. So that was that. Another thing was that, Casey was now being man handled by a Buscemiclone.
Now, Casey was a barrel chested man and probably could have taken the clone-of-Steve-Buscemi in a fight had he known it was coming, but the clone had had the element of surprise on his side, and pushed the engineer into a table where three patients were playing cards. Cards and chips flew up into the air, and the game was clearly over. The biggest one must have been winning, because the bald patient angrily and headbutted the engineer in the chest, causing to almost topple into the confrontational woman in military garb. He would have, if Elsa hadn't been quick and jumped in between them first.
Rex sighed "I really have no desire to get in a fight." The alien still had the same body. Triek or no, he would still go berserk if he started to bleed. And the more time went on, the more heated the interactions of the patients became, and the more likely that something make him draw blood. Rex put a guiding hand on Song's shoulder and lead her to the other side of the room, where the door was.
"I wonder if anyone would notice if we snuck out..." he said quietly, but not whispering. Whispering was suspicious and, with all the screaming and breaking going around them, it really wasn't needed. He was still holding the plate of humu. One wormlike creature still wiggled around on the plate, but the other had mysteriously died in a few seconds.
Casey got up yet again. Jeez, he must have been made of rubber on this particular day. "Uuuh! Yuwa fay, kuh?" What the hell was he talking about? He tapped the large, angry bald man on the shoulder. Said man was on his knees, trying to pick up cards and chips and resume the game with his friends. When the bald giant turned around, Casey threw a punch right in his nose!
The bald man did not reel back or even flinch. He got an annoyed look on his face and shoved Casey back. The engineer stumbled back in Elsa's direction. This was why Casey pissed Rex off so much: he took no responsibility for his actions. He just did whatever the hell he wanted and expected everyone else to just sort of deal with him. Poor Elsa had already dealt with him twice, however. Would she be willing to do it again?
The answer was apparently no, because the cyborg went running at the stumbling man. She did something that looked very painful to his nose that killed him instantly. Rex could even hear the loud crack.
Rex exchanged glances with Song. That had been horrifying! He had never seen Elsa do something like that. But he had seen Elsa promise to do something like that- if the virus that "Zacky" once that he had effected his brain to the point where he was Zacky no longer in control. Had that been some kind of mercy kill, then? Of course, in the engineer's case, a mercy kill was just a "try again." He had hacked the game and gotten unlimited lives and now he was just fucking around with the controls seeing what would happen.
The analogy, though pulled from his ass, kind of made sense to Zacky. How many times had the human just f-ed in a boring game, trying to activate glitches? Maybe this was how Casey lived his life (lives?). He just screwed around as much as he could, trying to find the limits of the world he lived in.
Of course, Rex had never played games, so...
Two Buscemis solidified from the corners of the rooms, running at Elsa. "Damnit..." Rex muttered under his breath. Yes, of course. Casey had been killed by patients dozens of times, but apparently this time was different. This time, Elsa was going to get in trouble for it. Rex expected the cyborg to hang her head and take whatever punishment the clones had for her. And it wouldn't be a kind or fair. He could feel his muscles tense. He wanted to stop her from being punished!
His jaw fell off his hinge when he saw what happened next.
Elsa murdered the two clones coming at her. Then destroyed another pair of clones. Then one more received a vicious uppercut that was probably fatal. Elsa was just cutting through these guys like they were butter. Rex felt sick. Why is she doing this? She's going to get killed! Was this because of him? Elsa had always had a hard time. Could it be that Zacky's declaration that he could no longer be her fratello- had this simply pushed her over the edge?
He wanted to get closer to her. He wanted make her stop. Zacky would have. He would have charged in there- his four legs his own steed. He would have gotten between Elsa and the rest of the Buschemis. He would have tried to hold them off while pleading with Elsa to stop. Don't do this. Don't throw your life away. He might have died, right there, next to Elsa, protecting her.
The alien took a step. He took another. He faltered. He couldn't do it. He couldn't risk something as valuable as he life for one, insignificant human. Even if he did like Elsa- his love for her was forbidden. No. He was needed here. He needed to be alive. Because they were depending on him: the scratchlings. For their lives, their freedom. Some kind of sick bestial love could not threaten that.
Elsa left the room. Rex put his beak down, looked at his clawed feet, and let her go. Even though he could still sense her with his primary sense. Even though he could feel her tiny body, the strands of hair in the wind behind her, her heart beating like crazy. She ran out the door. It shut with a bang.
Rex tried to focus on the room. He had to focus- to avoid being cut or hurt in any way. Absently, he wondered if going berserk when bleeding was an Owiok trait or do to some human alteration. He couldn't remember doing that before the humans came to his home world. Then again, he couldn't remember bleeding at all before being in Osmonds. Another memory lost. It will come back. Like Elsa's memories had come back. Then he'd know.
A scream. A sickeningly familiar scream. Rex could stand it no longer. He rushed out the door on our fours. Acting on the love Zacky had had for his best friend. Still had. He didn't have to go far before he found the trail of blood. It was scarlet on the floor, and wide as his too hands together. Way too big. She was loosing too much blood. Something had clearly been dragged through it. Something is big as a small person.
He followed the blood trail. It lead all the way up the hall and around a corner. Though he could gnast all the way up the hall, he couldn't around corners. He sprinted.
By the time he got to Elsa, the buscemi clones were loading her onto a stretcher. Rex saw the way her right arm flopped. It was oddly shaped- too long and skinny, like it had been stretched by the tendons. The bed they were trying to put her on was already bloodstained from the great amounts of red stuff she was losing, and each clone had blood on his off-white colored clothes as well. But the most blood was on the jaws of the raptor who was standing head and shoulders over them, as if gloating. It must have dragged her all that why by her broken are. That FUCK!
The buscemis started walking down the hall at no rushed pace, the rolling bed pushed by all four of them. As the utah-raptor turned to follow, its eye briefly made contact with Rex's, and it halted. Alien and dinosaur stared each other down. Green met amber.
After less than a moment, the dinoclone cocked its head away, and followed the test tube rejects and the former Zacky's friend. Its tail bobbed as it walked down the hall. Rex got up, and considered following.
He stiffened; gnasted the space he was in. It was a voice he had been waiting to hear all day. But he could not gnast the scratchling's shape. The alien even resorted to looking around him with his solitary eye.
"I'm behind this grate."
Down by Rex's feet, there was an old, decorative metal grate. Part of some kind of old school air conditioning system, with ducts big enough for a man to crawl in. Idiot bait, as Casey Jones had found out a few times. The owiok knelt down.
"No. Not here." The voice whispered from behind the duct. "Meet me in the music room."
"But Elsa, she-"
"She'll be fine. Believe me." The voice on the other said it with so much conviction that the alien had to believe him. "Hurry," Swash hissed. Rex heard scraping of keratin on metal and knew that the scratchling was gone. So the owiok unfolded himself slowly and walked. Walked to a place that used to belong to him and the girl he had just seen loaded onto a stretcher.
Only, the music room didn't belong to him. Not really. It belonged to Elsa, but not Rex. It had been a hangout, and refuge, for Elsa and Zacky.
And yet...Rex had been there. Many of the memories associated with Zacky Mack the alien know new to be false. But the memories with Elsa hadn't been faked. Hadn't been created. Even if he hadn't know who had was at the time, he had still sat with Elsa, and tried to make her laugh, and held her while she was crying, and listened to her music. Cutting the cyborg out of his life wouldn't be a simple, surgical cut. It would leave a gaping wound in both of them.
He came to the space designated as the music room. He turned the door handle and walked inside. He gnasted the place. It still felt the same. The same hardwood floor, the same ceiling fan, the same piano and piano bench set aside on the an oval rug. There was one window- taller than it was wide, that looked out at an old, twisted elm in the courtyard. There even stands for sheet music, some stringed instruments like violins and guitars.
It felt the same, and there was even a sort of warmth from memories recalled. Memories listening to Elsa play. To sharing stories. Those had been real moments. Rex hadn't known he'd been lying at the time. He felt like he belonged here. He felt like he didn't. He didn't know how he felt.
The scratchling materialized from behind the piano bench. "Zacky." He stated "I'm sorry I didn't come to see you this morning. With the party in progress, I was not able to sneak away."
Rex waved his hand It does not matter "How do you know she will be okay?" He asked.
"I know," the scratchling started to answer immediately "Osmond wants her alive more than he wants her dead."
"Swash...do you have any idea what she did?"
"Yes. I saw the whole thing."
"She killed six men, Swash! Okay, five-and-a-half if you count Casey."
"And each of those men were half a man- if that. Don't forget- they were clones, Zacky. Osmond can just make more. Almost as easy as making more of us." The scratchling added with some bitterness.
Rex closed his eyes. Yes, of course. Wasn't that the crux of it? The clones, and the scratchlings like them, were disposable. That was their problem. They had no worth and thus, no power. It was the problem the alien needed to fix.
"I just don't know, Swash." He scooted over to the seat, but his bum on it and sat down. Hanging his head he said "What happened today; I think it was my fault."
"Your fault? How so?"
"Yesterday. When I met Elsa? I told her...I told her I couldn't be her fratello anymore." He shook his head "You don't know what that word means to her. Even I'm not sure. She used to have a fratello named Jose. He...well, they had a complicated relationship. But I guess, he was like family to her." He sighed "I told her I didn't want to be her family. That must have so hard to hear."
The scratchling opened his mouth, but Rex went on "No. It was worse than that. Swash! She told me she loved me. Loved me! Me! This!" He circled his palm vaguely around his oddly shaped chest, his beak and his head quills. "I'm the one person in the world she cares about the most, and I stabbed her in the heart!"
The scratchling put a gentle hand on his knee "You did the right thing." Rex did not reply, so the scratchling went on "A relationship with the girl is not healthy or plausible. She's a human girl, and you know what you are. On top of that, she's quite broken."
"And I think I broke her more. Swash...what do you think? Do you think that...turning her down..." Rex had done much worse than that "made her finally snap?"
The scratchling bowed his head for a quiet moment before answering, clearly choosing his answer carefully "If it did, then she was heading in that direction to begin with. Zacky, do you see now? What if you had pursued a relationship with her- some parody of real affair? You know can't touch her, Zacky. But she would have wanted it. Love cannot survive with only one willing participant. And as much as you care about her, remember: she's not all there. You would have hurt her, eventually. Probably, without even trying. And her emotional breakdown would have been worse than this. Frankly, I believe you've done the right thing. De Sica well be punished, but she will live- I promise. Just take a moment, Zacky, and-"
"Stop calling me Zacky!" Rex spat.