AN: I currently don’t have access to the internet, so I’m unable to check various plot things, like when did Linkara first hear of Vyce conquering 16 worlds.
Every aspect of Mechakara is terrifying.
He is like the Shades, cold and uninterested unless it has to do with machines or the ‘mission’, but unlike them, he has what many would call a soul; a sense of existing, an ability to think for himself with no outside interference and act upon those thoughts.
Linksano knows these thoughts currently involve Vyce.
There is no question that something about Vyce has captured Mechakara’s interest despite that he is clearly human underneath the armor he wears.
Maybe he is afraid of Vyce, or at least of Vyce’s power. The stories about Vyce have spread far and wide through many dimensions. Linksano knew some of the stories have been spread by a handful of Shades Vyce sent out for scouting missions.
Mechakara’s world must have been one of those, as he quickly agreed to a deal with Vyce to leave his dimension alone and did not want to look Vyce in the face; though Vyce never took his helmet off for anyone but Linksano.
Perhaps he knows how lucky he is to be put back together and isn’t sure how to compute Vyce’s generosity with what he believes of humans. Vyce certainly didn’t bring him back for generosity’s sake. No, for some insane reason, Linkara had posted his near death battle with the being he called Mechakara to his website, where anyone could see it. He was proud of his hard earned victory for sure, but what if one of his enemies saw it? Did he even think about those like Vyce and how it could be used against him?
Mechakara’s interest could be some kind of reverence. Vyce took care of his ship and robotic Shades, or rather, Linksano did, but he didn’t know what Vyce did before he had Linksano. Regardless, it was clear that Vyce didn’t program the Shades to serve him. They served Vyce of their own limited free will. It was likely they came with the ship as crew and saw Vyce as the one in charge of the ship and answered to him with no resistance and no complaints.
Being around his own kind likely placated Mechakara as well. He couldn’t fault him for that.
Linksano has a very flexible personality. He is at home being alone in a lab somewhere for days, but he can only stand being without another person for so long. He always had Wayne to be with, especially during very long and tedious experiments and builds, but he knew even then that eventually he needed to drop everything that didn’t need his immediate attention and seek a night out with someone, anyone, as long as it was another person.
Being captured by Vyce made him realize just how desperate he is for human contact. How much he needs to engage in conversation, how much he needs to be touched. Linksano has tried so hard to ignore Vyce, he really has, but the coldness of the ship and the silence and the mundane routine of it all forces him to give into Vyce’s caresses and mockery of date night meals and chatter. He wants a friend again, a companion, someone to be close to.
When the only other human on board is his captor, his lonely mind starts swirling and confusing abuse for affection. It drives Linksano mad on a daily basis.
Vyce will leave him alone for days or weeks at a time. He will not show interest in him or acknowledge his existence. On more than one occasion Linksano fears that he has displeased Vyce, only to flip flop between being glad that Vyce wants nothing to do with him and realizing that he is going to go another day without something to break the monotony. Sometimes, he won’t come for Linksano until he is well past the breaking point and will comply with anything Vyce feels like doing.
There are occasions where Linksano’s desperate mind will try to resist Vyce when he finally wants him. It always ends with beatings and rape. Once every blue moon, Vyce will treat these refusals from a broken man with alcohol. Depending on where the liquor came from, it can be intoxicating enough to keep him sedated for days while Vyce does as he pleases with his body.
He hates to admit it, but Vyce can be romantic and sexy when he wants, and after a time Linksano helplessly falls for it. The love making—no, it’s rape, it was always rape despite how pleasing it was, he had to remind himself—is gentle and slow.
Vyce has learned what he likes, and takes his time, making sure Linksano is a warm, happy mess by the end of it.
He feels so guilty afterward, so ashamed. He still feels guilty. He is guilty.
He is guilty of giving into Vyce, guilty of being fooled by Vyce, guilty of loosing Vyce’s affection, guilty of being too weak to resist him, being too stubborn to completely give in. He is guilty of being afraid, afraid to live and afraid to die, but he is most guilty of betraying his brother. Wayne gave his life to defend him and he repaid his brother’s sacrifice by sleeping with his killer and barely fighting back each and every night.
Dying, he knows, is too good for him. Everything Vyce subjects him to, even now while working for Linkara, is his punishment.
Silent Hill Dead/Alive wasn’t on his schedule, but he felt compelled to review it. ‘Because it was October,’ he’d thought at the time, and he could finally get the crappy series over and done with.
Linkara honestly loved the horror genre, but he would have never guessed the Magic Gun contained such a terrible history. Her suffering made him angry at the cult, at the girl’s parents, and if he could, he’d do anything to restore the girl, to give her peace.
He’d even give up his own life if she required it. His willingness to do anything to end her suffering was what made it so easy for Mechakara to manipulate his mind.
Thankfully, she hadn’t wanted that. She liked him, saw goodness in him that had once been herself. He was her friend even though he hadn’t been aware that his gun was more than a magical object he’d found.
A partner, she had called him.
Well, called was a simple way to put it. He had felt her will and she had conveyed her feelings in a way that only emotion could travel: through the heart and to the soul.
Being a machine, that wasn’t something Mechakara could understand. He’d been exposed to a brief burst of memories and thought that that was all there was to it since humans were nothing but abusive sacks of meat and bone to him.
It was depressing to him, but Linkara supposed that was a saving grace. Had Mechakara been able to learn of the girl’s real feelings, he would have been sure to block them. If that had happened, then Linkara definitely would have…
'There are worse things than death, Linkara. I've experienced them.'
The lingering effects of the Order’s magic were still assaulting him, leading him to momentary bouts of spiraling thoughts.
When he’d start staring down into that mental black pit, what Linksano had said would reverberate around in his head and sober him.
It was strange. He could still feel the connection with the Magic Gun, which was pleasant and warm, but it was a memory of Linksano that woke him up from his lapses in sanity.
'There are worse things than death.'
What could be worse than death? Linkara couldn’t think of anything and most of what he did, it was superficial.
If he couldn’t read comic books anymore, not only would he not have a show, but he’d miss out on good comics. And, yeah, he’d miss the income his show brought him every month, but it wasn’t like he didn’t have other talents. He was very good at building robots thanks to what he learned when creating Pollo and he had his magic to help him out until he was settled into his life without comics.
Assuming he could keep his magic. It was more lucrative than robots in the right markets, but he really didn’t want to spend time enchanting toys to make them behave as if they were the real thing. After all, that took time and chance to work. It wasn’t always accurate when it took either. He’d thought it was a great idea to make his Bulbasaur plush into a real Bulbasaur until the damn thing refused to listen to him. Those vines were so annoying to deal with.
He could be friendless, he supposed. That was something that would hurt him worse than the comic books, for months if not years. Sure, he could always make new friends eventually, but he couldn’t bear to part with Pollo, Harvey, Liz, or anyone else. They not only were reliable and trusted fighters, but they had been his best friends for years. He’d never be able to fill that void.
He could be homeless. That would be just as bad as losing his friends. He had many enemies that would love to fight him when he didn’t have a safe haven to retreat back to and lock intruders out.
That was something worse than death, he realized; being tortured for no reason than someone’s sick pleasure. Insano would likely have a field day with him testing all kinds of things while Mechakara had just put him literally through hell.
What else though? Linkara couldn’t think of much else. He listed them again in his head: losing his comics, his job, his magic, his friends, his home…having and being nothing to no one.
That…would be an awful existence. Would it even be existing? Being nothing but existing?
'I've experienced it.'
Yes, that had to be true. By his own admission, Linksano was forced to abandon everything in order to get away from Vyce. It
was hard to imagine a crazy guy like him having friends, a job, and a home, but he must have had that originally before Vyce
took it away, right?
What about restarting? If he was reduced to starting from scratch, he’d definitely make a new life in a new world.
Yes, this is what he’d do.
But another haunting thought drifted in: What if Vyce appeared there too and took everything again? Would he flee and try
again? How many times would he try before he gave up?
Which one of those had been Linksano’s? Had he and Vyce been to sixteen worlds or had they been to more while Vyce had conquered sixteen thus far? How many times did he restart his life? Did Vyce really take everything from him?
"Uhg," Linkara pressed his palms to his forehead. He really needed to get up off the couch. He wasn’t going to get a nap any time soon and he might as well get back to work. "My head hurts."
"Hey, Kid. I was wondering if you were awake."
Linkara opened his eyes to see a dapper man who looked like he stepped right out of the 1920’s looking down at him. “Oh, hey
Harvey. When did you get here?”
"Just a bit ago. I thought I’d check up on ya after last week’s craziness."
He sat up with a groan. Yeah, he was going to need aspirin. “I’m fine, but still off balance from the experience.”
Harvey pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his jacket pocket and taped one out of its pack. “Doin’ anything important tonight?” He asked after placing it in his mouth, fishing in his poket for his lighter.
"No, figured I’d work on the next review."
"Wanna grab the ‘bot and head out for karaoke? Or pool if ya don’t feel up ta singing."
"Well, Liz and 90’s Kid went out to see a movie. She said that they’ll pick up burgers, so probably after dinner."
Harvey inhaled as he lit up and flicked both the pack and lighter back into his pocket. He pulled the cigarette from his lips
and puffed out a stream of smoke. “Ya didn’t go with ‘em?”
"I was tired and thought I’d get some rest," he said as he closed his eyes and rubbed his head.
"Look, Kid, I’m gonna be straight up with ya. Ya need ta get out some more. Stayin’ in here all the time isn’t good for ya."
Linkara shrugged, “I get out some. Hey, I’m going out with you tonight after dinner.”
"Only when we ask you or when you’re the only one who can do the grocery run."
"I am not ‘that’ bad." He said before he twised his lips slightly and added, "Am I?"
"Well, you’re nowhere close to bein’ a shut-in, but ya seem off lately."
Linkara opened his mouth to reply, but Harvey stopped him. “I know it’s none of my business what you do, but we’re concerned about you. All of us, Kid. Especially Iron.”
He bowed his head before slowly standing up, giving Harvey time to move out of the way. “Sorry, I’ve just had a lot on my mind with Vyce and Mechakara and wondering how Linksano’s doin—”
"The Kook? Why worry about him?" By now, Linkara had moved down the hall toward the bathroom to locate aspirin with Harvey behind him.
"Pollo informed you about the last message, right?"
"Yeah, Vyce gave ‘im a shiner," he replied as Linkara opened the mirror cabinet. "We’ve likely given him the same in fights."
"I know, but I don’t like knowing that Vyce is hurting him. It’s…different."
"I don’t really know how to explain it. Is there an extra cup on the linen rack?"
"I think there’s some in the vanity." Harvey flicked his ashes into the toilet. "Anyway, I don’t think it’s anything to concern yourself over. He’s the one who came up with the plan and if he felt he really was in danger, you and I both know he’d never volunteer for it himself."
Linkara filled his cup with water and popped two pills in his mouth. He drained the water from the cup before speaking again. “But that’s the thing. He only showed up to tell me that he was leaving this dimension because Vyce showed up. I tried to make fun of him for fleeing, since I thought it was due to the fight at the convention, but he just laughed at me like it was the funniest joke he’d ever heard.
"I mean, if he fled both his world and this one simply because Vyce showed up, he must be completely terrified of him. Why offer to go aboard his ship when he can keep running to different universes?"
He turned to exit the bathroom and Harvey did the same, leading Linkara back into the kitchen where they sat at the table.
"Didn’t he say that he was tired of running?"
"Again, Linksano’s terrified of Vyce. We’ve intimidated him before and I know Pollo’s caught him in the apartment once and threw him into the trash down stairs, but he’s never…"
"Fled and never came back?"
"Yeah, it’s more like he’s just having fun annoying us. I mean, a few months ago he snuck in here and switched the wax for
Pollo’s body with ‘carrot’ scented wax. He left the licorice flavored cigarettes knowing full well you hated them but needed
a pack and Liz still isn’t sure what to do about the electric nail polish he mailed her.”
"Electric nail polish?"
"Oh, it looks cool on her, but she can’t touch anyone with it on other wise she shocks them."
Harvey rolled his head as he tapped the ashes of his cigarette into the ashtray. “Goggles’ a bunch of trouble.”
Linkara laughs lightly and continues. “I know Linksano ‘can’ be dangerous, but all he wants is attention like a little kid. Vyce shows up and he drops all of that…” He gestures with his hand, rolling in quick circles a few times till he finds the word he’s looking for. “Fun, as it were. It’s got me wondering just what Vyce can really do if he wants. What he ‘has’ done if Linksano of all people is going to treat his arrival so seriously.”
"Kid, Vyce is bigger and badder than any of us and at the end of it all, Linksano’s just a scared, little mouse. He’s probably so scared now that it’s looped back on him."
"If someone’s afraid enough, they’ll fight tooth and nail to save themselves, even when they have nothin’ more to lose."
'There's nothing more to lose.'
That was a lie then. Linksano still had something to lose if he’d decided to fight back against Vyce, something that could cost him his life.
AN: I currently don’t have access to the internet, so I’m unable to check various plot things, like when did Linkara first hear of Vyce conquering 16 worlds.
AN: Sorry if this is a bit dry. It’s been awhile since I’ve written fanfiction and this is my first try at AT4W and its characters. If there are plot inconstancies, as well as weird typos, grammar errors, or if you have ideas for the story, please let me know.
There was no other way, no other answer, he was certain of it.
Linksano had rattled his brain for days and everything he had come up with was useless and would be impossible to put into effect as long as Vyce had his ship, shades, and the power of his armor.
He didn’t want to encounter Lord Vyce again. He didn’t want to be anywhere near that man, but every scenario he dreamed up ended with another world destroyed and another set of people he had… attached himself to would be dead.
Unless he interfered, there would not be a chance.
There was no one better than him for the task. He had been aboard the ship and knew it mostly inside out. Once Vyce’s anger had quelled, he had have a bit of freedom, though it’d be nothing like when he was first on the ship. No, he would have to slowly earn Vyce’s trust again before he could gain access to the parts that would be most beneficial to the plan.
Maybe he was mad. He knew people he had worked with back home had labeled him eccentric, but he had never cared what others thought of him. He had went to school for himself, for his love of robots and software, for his brother.
Everything was done for his brother.
With Wayne’s death, Vyce had proved that it was impossible to defeat him through pure offense, and the only thing they had never tried was an inside man.
Wayne would be against the idea, he knew. His brother would have never placed him in that kind of danger. While he had his quirks, he was always the valiant protector and would go above and beyond to keep his loved ones safe, especially his brother. He had known what Vyce wanted from his little brother and would have not created an opportunity for him to get it.
But now, Linksano would give it to him, this time willingly.
The thought of going back to Vyce and letting him touch him made his stomach churn and every muscle in his body tense and quiver from fear. Vyce would beat him for having left and evaded him thus far. He would then, while his anger still roared, strip him of his clothing and force him to his bed. It’d be a never ending hell for weeks.
As he brought up the video feed to call Linkara, he hoped it’d be worth it.
It had been a month since Linkara was taken aboard Lord Vyce’s ship, though to Linkara it was only three days.
It was three days too many, really.
While his time aboard hadn’t been terrible, it hadn’t been pleasant either. Vyce was neither a gracious host nor cruel to him. He only kept Linkara in a cell large enough to stand and pace a few meager steps to a toilet or bed and gave him small but acceptable meals of bread, water, and fruit.
It had been enough to exist on, which was better than what he could have expected from enemies like Mechakara. Aside from the scanning of his person and a general medical exam, it seemed that Vyce had no interest in him.
Vyce, however, was still very much an unknown threat if his reputation said anything about him and Linkara needed to prepare for the worst case scenario. He had begun with studying the Shades that had been teleported back with him, but that angle had become a dead end quickly.
Then Linksano had contacted him with a proposal.
Linkara couldn’t remember a time when the other had dropped all the mad clichés and spoke to him seriously. Gone was the goofiness that seemed to haunt all Insano’s. What looked back at Linkara was a sweating, fidgety man. If he removed his goggles, Linkara would guess that Linksano hadn’t been sleeping well.
"We have a similar interest, Linkara. Lord Vyce is very dangerous and will stop at nothing, absolutely nothing, to get what he wants. I’m tired of running from him, and if this continues, there will be nowhere to run. You need to know what his intentions are, am I correct?"
Linksano continued without waiting for an answer. “Then I will be ‘caught’ by Lord Vyce and offer him my…”
He didn’t expect the pause or the shiver Linksano tried to keep from his shoulders. “I will offer my services. I will work from behind the scenes to insure your victory as long as you agree to defeat him.”
"That was always my intention. How long do you expect it to take to get on board?"
Linksano’s shoulders dropped from their tense pose and sighed. “Not long, I’d imagine.”
"Why do you think that? Vyce doesn’t seem to be a trusting guy."
"No, he is not," Linksano agreed and turned his head away from the screen. "But he has need of a mechanical technician. It is…beneath him to service his own robots and ship. He would rather push that work onto someone else."
"You seem to know an awful lot about how Vyce—"
"Do you agree or not?"
He flinched at the sudden volume of Linksano’s words. He didn’t want him to know something, which was a clear connection between him and Vyce, but if he wasn’t willing to tell him, Linkara wasn’t going to ask about it anymore.
In reality, it could wait, as dealing with Vyce was more important than anything but what Linksano could offer him in information.
"Good. When I am aboard his ship, I will contact you. Insure your lines are secured."
And Linksano disconnected the call.
Well, that was abrupt. All he can do now is secure his defense until he knew what his offence was suppose to be.
Vyce’s rage was just as he had imagined.
The Shades on either side of him gripped his arms painfully, having discarded most of his clothing and small bits of gear. Even his goggles had been casted away in a heap, his bare face showing just how much alike he and Linkara were.
"Why did you teleport back into this dimension?"
He did well to hide it. Vyce was never one show out right anger. He would hold it back until it suddenly burst from his person, preferably in privet and with Linksano close by. Right now, there was only a trembling fist.
Linksano lifted his head to look right up into Vyce’s visor. “I’m tired of running.”
"Despite my kindness, you ran away from me. I fed and clothed you. Kept you safe from the Entity and death from alien worlds, yet you spat in my face by leaving."
Linksano scoffed. BAH! Kindness. Vyce was nothing but a delusional self important sack of shit that had kept him prisoner for years, torturing him daily with either rapes or beatings depending on how good he had been that day. If he was capable of it, he would love to crush Vyce himself.
Vyce pulled painfully at the hair on the back of his head. He needed to do his best to placate Vyce so he could minimize the damage. “I-I’m sorry!” he rushed out through clenched teeth.
"I have searched for you for months, wondering if you had suffocated or been killed! I have been worried and even lost sight of the Entity because of you! And all you would say to me is ‘sorry’?"
"Sorry is all I have, Blue."
For all that he was intelligent, he wasn’t smart. While he had meant it sincerely, if only to avoided making Vyce angrier, that wasn’t how Vyce clearly took it.
Only in Vyce’s most violent moments did he ever punch him. It was typically back hands or choking. The Shades never let him fall to his knees and Vyce alternated his attacks between his face, chest, and back. By the time Vyce raked the glove’s claws down his sides, Linksano knew that Vyce will now take out the rest of his frustration in the bedroom.
Vyce pulls him free of the Shades and carries Linksano to his thrown. He tenses, his breath panicked. Vyce wasn’t going to…not in front of the Shades!
He does. He forces Linksano to his knees and bends him over, smashing his face into the seat of the captain’s chair. He makes quick work of their pants and roughly shoves in.
Mindless robots or not, having witnesses is humiliating. He doesn’t want to see them watching, so he crushes his eyes closed and chants in his mind why he’s suffering through this again.
He’s doing this to stop Vyce so that he doesn’t have to run anymore. He’s doing this to give Linkara a fighting chance. He’s going to avenge Wayne. He’s going to avenge Spoonette. He’s going to give himself peace at last.
At long last.
He had thought enduring this again would be bearable as long as he could give Linkara the means to stop Vyce. Right now, he wished he’d just kept running and never had let guilt influence him.
It was painful and quick, Vyce’s strength making it impossible to move away. All he was able to do is scream in pain until Vyce came while saying his name, whispering promises of never letting him go again. It burns his insides and he knew it was imagined, but it felt like it was crawling up inside him, taking over him.
Vyce pulled out and moved away, leaving Linksano a cold, shivering mess of sweat and blood. “Clean up your mess and then go to our room. Shade, insure he does as he’s told.”
Linksano doesn’t need to see that Vyce has put himself away and is now focused on his computers. He also doesn’t believe for a second that Vyce is finished with him.
Vyce will insure that all his operations are running smoothly before he meets Linksano in the captain’s quarters, spending the rest of the day with him in a cycle of fucking and fists.
'God,' he thinks to himself, speaking only to the minuscule speck of hope that is quickly dying. 'Let this be worth it.'
It was several weeks before Linksano contacted him again. Linkara had managed to find some free time to write a draft for the next comic on his schedule. He was almost finished with the Goddeyssy draft when Pollo interrupted him.
"Lin-ka-ra, Link-sa-no is cal-ling and he looks aw-ful."
He saved his file and closed it before he brought up the program for video calls. “When doesn’t he look awful?”
"No, I’m not jo-king. It looks like some-one hit—"
The call connected and Linkara was face to face with what was indeed an awful looking Linksano. His goggles were on as usual, but nothing could mask the ugly bruise on his cheek or the puffy bottom lip.
"Good lord! What happened to you?"
Linksano used his left hand to gesture to his face. Wasn’t he right handed?
"Vyce has anger problems. He’s finally calmed down now, which is why I’m calling."
"No, forget the plan. We’re not putting your life in dange—"
"Mechakara is back. I know of him from the records Vyce has of your last battle. You might not want to post things like that online.
"Vyce has me installing upgrades and by the time I’m done, Mechakara will have an energy shield that will be very hard to break as well as increased strength. You will need a very large energy blast to disable it; however, I’ve had to close the background port, so it’ll be impossible for Pollo to take him down that way again."
Linksano was firing all of this information at them at lightning speed and it was clear that he wasn’t interested in Linkara’s order to step down.
Though, granted, he’d only agreed to be a part of Linksano’s plan. Never did either say who was in charge of what the other did or didn’t do.
In truth, if Linksano was caught, he was sure to get worse than a bruise and fat lip from Vyce. But, why would Vyce hurt him if Linksano was freely joining his side as far as he knew?
Damn, why hadn’t he thought about how dangerous this was for him before jumping in and agreeing? Surely Linksano knew though, right? He’d volunteered himself, knowing full well what could happen if Vyce so much as suspected a spy.
"Now, I’m not sure what they’re planning for the immediate future. Vyce wouldn’t let me in on that, but it seems Mechakara wants to do something covert. I’ve seen a group of weirdoes on the ship as of yesterday; but again, Vyce is keeping me from them so I’m unable to say more about them.’
Linksano moved forward, likely toward the button to end communication. He lifted his right hand, wincing as he switched hands and continued speaking. “My next report should come much sooner—”
He was shocked into silence for a moment, before stuttering out a reply. “Y-yes?”
"Thank you for this and please be safe. I mean it. I appreciate this and understand that there are major risks involved, but don’t put yourself in harm’s way. There’s no reason to—"
"There are worse things than death, Linkara. I’ve already encountered them and there’s nothing more to lose."
The image faded as the call was terminated.
Linksano had thrown away his concern on top of devaluing himself. Why? That was completely uncharacteristic of Linksano, who shouted as much as Insano about how much of a genius he was.
Did he…really think of himself like that or was it because he was with Vyce?
It left a heavy weight in Linkara’s chest, but he couldn’t dwell on that now. He was very fortunate to learn of Mechakara’s return as well as upgrades on top of whatever it was that he and Vyce were planning to do.
"Pollo, did you get all of that?"
"Good. Erase all records of the call and meet me in the arsenal room. We’ll need the most powerful weapons to take down
"90’s Kid will love it."
Assassin’s Kittens Unity
Yes, also look at who isn’t going to get these shirts out to those who ordered one.
(some guys tried it at my high school. The teachers didn’t find it funny.)