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OOC: art!

From the lovely piyomon, posted originally here at aethra_folio:

Sleepy pink cat is sleepy. And lazy. ;3~

[OOC: how Nightmare works]

Now that I've tossed Nightmare into another comm, with new faces amongst players and characters both, it's occurred to me that a fresh explanation of the pink cat's quirks is probably in order. It's not like he explains himself all that well, after all ~

So I'll toss these up here, in case of medical scanning and other fun things. Hehe.

If any details prompt questions or just plain curiosity, feel free to ask X3

- Despite many misunderstandings from various sources in his life, Nightmare is not a virus; he's not the Nightmare Virus, or any other type of virus. Nightmare is a true reploid (no really!), created from a shard of Zero's dna core and incorporating a few other scraps in his frame. However, Nightmare-as-his-own-being didn't "awaken" until (as the Zero Nightmare) he stumbled across what was left of Zero's corpse.

- He is a carrier of the Nightmare Virus, predominantly in his "bloodstream". He uses the Virus to hunt and acquire Nightmare Souls but is not an active vector unless he's trying to spread it (which he's not inclined to do). This does give him a "venomous" bite -- he has a tendency to froth Virus when extremely angered or actively hunting, brought about by lacerating the inside of his mouth with his fangs.

- The fractured "persona" of the Zero Nightmare is a shattered echo of Zero himself, which can resurface at times of extreme stress or privation. This has not occurred in some time. This is only echo; there is no actual Zero personality or self. Nightmare is aware of this irregularity and dislikes it highly.

- Vampire pink cat! No, really -- through the wonders of Weird Reploid Metaphysics and his having been created from an inert dna core, as well as various unknown factors courtesy of a very fucked up Gate, Nightmare is a souleater and a repliphage. He uses the Virus to draw Nightmare Souls from his prey, which is consumed directly; he also feeds on fluids and other portions of reploid physiology. The former need is met, in his current "native" world, by highly advanced and living mettools; the latter, by a few volunteers. Nightmare requires a donor only every few weeks and has been known to string the time out longer. Between feedings he subsists on more normal sources of energy, etc.

- Buried in his systems is an unfinished "transform" similar to the Absolute Zero armour. He knows next to nothing about it.

OOC, music: Reach Down

I had a dream the other night
You were in a bar in the corner on a chair
Wearing a long white leather coat
Purple glasses and glitter in your hair
And you said hey this is where I'm gonna sit
And buy you a drink someday
You were going to the dog shows
But you kinda lost your way
You say now I got all this room
And no money to decorate it, so some
Local customer put me in touch with the man
Upstairs, he said little man you got no
Business gettin' frustrated, you gotta rest
You gotta rest you gotta reach down

And pick the crowd up
Carry back in your hands
To the promised land

Now I had some angel shine my wings, she said
Nothin' but the best for the golden boy
She made me promise not to tell I had her under
A spell singing golden words in a broken voice
And I caught some blessing on the wind I'm
Feeling lighter than a whisper from a dove
I've got no hands to tie behind my back
And I'm sparking like a heart attack, now I've got
Room to spread my wings and my messages of
Love, yes love was my drug, but that's not
What I died of, so don't think of me
Crying louder than some billion dollar baby
Cause I gotta rest I gotta rest I gotta

Reach down and pick the
Crowd up, carry back in my
Hand to the promised land
Things were getting lively around the Townhouse, what with Zero and X and Zero dealing with Mavericks and weird leech-crawlers. Now there were two leeches bottled up in the lab, and X was sort of mauled up a little.

Of course, X being mauled up a little meant Nightmare wasn't going to be 'mauling' him any time soon -- not if he had anything to say about it, anyway.

After watching the leech-things for a minute or two (he had an excuse, really; familiarizing himself with the lab layout again), Nightmare sighed and raked a hand through his hair. He could feel the other hunger already gnawing at him a little.

Stupid timing, I. Stupid, stupid; bad luck.

A second sigh, and he was padding out of the lab. He'd manage.
Why ...?

Home again, and methodically taking apart a motherboard to cannibalize for parts destined to be kitbashed into another project. It felt a little wrong, somehow, as if there should have been other and more dire consequences than an examination, then a reprimand and waiting on any charges being laid by bystanders.


Permitted, I, with Hunters still. Not taken, opened, changed; why, this?

Not that Nightmare was complaining by any means! The mere thought of what he'd expected made him bite his lip and tense instinctively; but the medics had been surprisingly lenient with him. And they hadn't hurt him, not even when his self-control, self-identity slipped again and the dead one started raving --

No more, that. No more.

He'd throttled down savagely on that dead echo, not wanting to give up on existing this time. Axl and Zero had said he was wanted; said it many times, with no prompting other than what they wanted and believed.

So -- he wanted to fight.

He didn't intend to let the echo win and he locked it down to viciously he'd nearly started frothing himself. And the medics hadn't liked that, oh no, until he'd shown them he was in full control of the Virus' manifestation -- he had no intention to infect anyone unless he had to ...

They didn't like the results of the physical scan either, with his viral core and his 'dietary requirements'; but the situation was already taken care of, and one of the Hunters was viral-cored also, so what could they say?

The DF officers couldn't fault him for the echo, or for the self-doubt that had let it slip. They could have words with the Hunters, since he was still considered a minor and under their legal guardianship, and likely did so already.

Child ... still, I? A month, only, for child-being now. But -- the same, still the same; still, a child? The difference is ...?

A month. After this, this one is ...?

No hiding the soft hiss of displeasure; he really did not want to think of 'after'. Not that he thought he'd be put out -- not now! -- but, still ...

The motherboard now stripped, Nightmare sorted out the bits and parts into the little bins he'd laid out on his desk, set the frame aside, and started on another. Nice, relaxing work.

Feel, feeling I ... safer, now; settled, self-quiet, mind-quiet. Better, this; so much. But, another worry?

Hrrrr -- why this; for this one, for Nightmare? Tired of worry!

... Should talk, I.

But for the moment, Nightmare was more engrossed in his work.

Hunters HQ, Training Simulation Room #01

Nightmare paced the floor like a driven thing; hands first reaching to his temples then tangling in his hair, he lurched sightlessly from one end of the room to the other and back, ignoring the drones that swerved and darted at him.

It was supposed to be a training exercise. To make him better.

But something echoed in his mind and shattered there, something about the way he was sniped at, herded -- and then the blue-and-grey drone lined him up in its sights --


No -- No --

Not --

Nightmare had been doubting himself for so long now.

He teleported out in a burst of sickly violet light; in the same moment, a roar echoed throughout the complex.

"X --!!"

Hunters Townhouse

The Christmas tree was up, the Navigators were being positively manic -- and taking over the kitchen wholesale -- and the townhouse was bright and sparkly and festive.

Unfortunately, a good deal of the effect was currently lost on Nightmare. It wasn't that he disliked it; all the activity was entertaining, and he thought the decorations were pretty enough. Maybe it was just the events of recent months catching up with him, he wasn't sure.

A bad thing, this; being this, now. Unpleasant ...

Sprawled across the floor and staring up at the glowing lights of the tree, he tried to work out where the problem was.

Hunters House, Nightmare's Quarters

The tortured howl -- broken by, at most, a few gasps for cooling breath -- finally ended only when a door was torn open. Then slammed closed.

Then the walls shook hard enough to rattle, as something massive rammed against said closed door.

Inside his quarters, Nightmare barely spared a glance for the desk he'd heaved before curling up. Wedged in a corner on his bed, huddled into the walls, he shook and keened -- and occasionally snapped at a forearm or wrist, tearing and drawing blood ...

Hunter Townhouse, in the basement

He'd started off prowling through the yard. Prowling, and striking out at a tree-trunk -- hands crooked like claws tearing furrows in the bark -- and wondering why, why this had to happen.

It didn't seem fair, didn't seem right. What had he done?

What would he do now?

Spotting something gleaming dully in the grass, a tiny bit of mettool's helmet, brought a strangled growl to his throat and the drive to get back indoors.

He headed straight for the lowest level of the townhouse, where Rock had worked and laired and kept himself and all his work tucked away --

Bare. Nothing but the medical equipment; there was not a trace of him to be found, barely a lingering scent remaining. He had gone, really gone, had meant it ...

Crouching on the tiled floor, Nightmare shook for a moment.

Then he howled, a near-animal scream of confusion and denial.

Hunter Townhouse, Nightmare's quarters

What had been an ordinary, if test-filled, day had gone south with dizzying speed -- all Nightmare had intended was to deal with his lessons and then work on the old terminal he'd commandeered.

Unfortunately, he hadn't been so lucky.

There had been no going back to his work, either; not with the crushed parts reminding him of what had just happened. Barely bothering to pick up everything he'd scattered across the floor, he stalked back to his own quarters and rammed the door closed with a well-placed kick.


Did nothing to that one!

No anger -- accident, was accident, know that --

'Creature' ...

Dumping terminal and components across the bed and ignoring the few that bounced away, Nightmare snarled in pained frustration and turned on his heel --

and saw the mirror.

In one fluid lunge he tore the frame of silvered glass from the bureau.

With a scream of hate-filled fury, the mirror was swung and smashed against the wall. And again.

And again.