"You disgust me."

The voice was quiet, a curious constrast with the viciousness the words were spoken with, venom coursing in all of them.

The words echoed throughout the metal walls, rebounding briefly in the sealed and lock room. Perhaps the metal ought to have corroded under such implausible and open dislike. Certainly, there was a sense of unsettledness rising from the very walls and floor, as though the superstructure itself was upset by it.

The speaker was sitting in a chair, securely but comfortably locked into place; tall, paler than usual in the faint electric lights overhead (more bottled lightning than more conventional forms, dancing and flaring in controlled bursts), and dark hair rising over his head in a astonishingly poofy afro. He just seemed too small to fit; amazingly tall but equally slender, he looked like someone had taken a fairly normal human and stretched him out.

He took a long hissing breath through teeth that seemed universally pointed, unnaturally so. A faint light gleamed from within his throat. Absurdly, the lobe-less ears poking through the curls dropping away from his afro came to serrated points.

Sitting in a poofy chair opposite, the target of his obvious dislike didn't even notice; sitting at an odd angle that had his stout legs over the arms of his chair was a pudgy boy just a year or two shy of legal adulthood, so small that he was nearly half the size of an ordinary man but rather stocky, wearing slightly patchy clothes far too oversized for his small frame. His dark skin looked somewhat unhealthy in the bad lighting, as if he didn't get out into natural sunlight very often; at a glance, his skin color was almost the precise coloring of certain varieties of crude oil. Violently bright red hair stood it odd angles on his head, falling in tangles over a pair of thin spectacles, but the hands that held the small insect-like drone robot he was assembling with his bare hands weren't even remotely human.

The man sitting in a chair gave his captor's hands a distasteful look, as if there was something he found totally repugnant about them. They were totally artifical; mechanical, simple frames with musculature under slim articulated metal plates, and were evidentally replacements; scars ran on the ragged flesh where they joined a slim area just around the area where his sides met his ribs. Even his shoulders and much of his upper back were artificial, perhaps the victim of a grave injury... or intentionally excised and replaced with the purity of artificial improvement.

Judging by the gaps in his loose clothing and the faint mechanical clicks when he moved, a good portion of him was equally mechanical, and much of it internal.

"Hey, I said something!" The man in the chair whined. "You're being mean again."

"Huh?" The boy in the chair looked up, blinking innocently. "You sure about that? I think I'd realize if I was being mean to you on purpose."

"Hah! I knew it! Your twisted mechanical corruption is messing with your brain."

The boy snorted, a definite note of irritation there. "Oh, let's not start that again."

"...You cut off bits of yourself, shove machines in there instead, and you glorify it by going on about 'POWER OF SCIENCE' this and 'SELF-IMPROVEMENT' that! That's weird, man."

The boy raised an eyebrow, with a very faint whirring. "This coming from the guy who willingly subjects himself to sufficiently intense aetheric channeling to mutate himself? How is that different from what I do?"

"...There's no eeevil science involved?" The man in the chair suggested, shrugging as best he could.

The boy pinched his nose and sighed, putting the little insect robot down. It clicked to life, optical sensors spread over it's body and blinking a few times. It looked up at the boy imploringly, who made a small encouraging motion. It bucked up happily, it's wings blurring into motion; the little robot soon flew up overhead, zipping over the boy's hair by inches and flying through a small open hole in the wall behind him.

The man in the chair grunted. "I don't like robots," he said, edging away as best he could. "They're not even really alive. Stop making things that think they're alive! You just encourage them!"

The boy actually growled, vibrations of rumbling metal echoing in his voice, as furious as though the man in the chair had uttered the most unspeakable slur. "The electric life, flesh of metal and hearts of lightning, is the same as organic life," he said, for absolutely no apparent reason at all. "There is no fundamental difference between the organic and the technological life! And going on like there is just being a jerk."

"Nuh-uh," The man said.

The boy growled again.

"Okay, okay," the man relented. "I know the rules. 'No badmouthing Science or arcane lore outside of proper fights'."

"Since when is that a rule!?"

"...Since now?"

They stared at each other silently for a moment. There was a powerful suggestion that neither of them really knew what they were supposed to be doing now. Eventually the man blinked, and struggled at the cuffs. "Could you let me go, maybe? Do your arch nemesis a solid?"

"I don't even know what that means!"

"That's just because you need to go outside more!"

"Nuh-uh," the boy whined childishly, in precisely the same tone his 'arch nemesis' had used moments ago.

"Come on! This is unlawful persecution!"

"I don't know legal stuff to say if that's right or not, but technically, we did find you defiling a dead planet and turning the dust of it's inhabitants into...what, evil dust-zombies?"

"Evil dust-mummies!" The man said proudly. "Who regenerate when you blast 'em."

The boy absently touched a nasty looking scar on the side of his metal wrist. "Yes. I noticed."

"And I got through raiding three whole planets before you stopped me!" the man pouted. "That was a jerk move."

"Wait, wait wait! You made evil zombies-"


"Mummies, right, used them as an unstoppable army to raid people for... some reason, I'm not exactly clear on that, and capturing you is the jerk move?"

"At the risk of sounding like a tremendous hypocrite, yes!"

The boy facepalmed. "Okay, so the point remains... why. Why do all that?"

The man shrugged. "Why not?"

After a moment, the boy shrugged, with a louder clicking noise as internal joints folded against each other. "Same justification me and my buddies use for fighting jerks like you," He acknowledged. "Well, I'm done talking with you." He got up.

"Hey, where are you going?" the man whined as the boy left through the door. "You can't interrupt the dramatic sequence and leave me hanging! That's an even bigger jerk move!"

"Oh, I'm not leaving you alone," The boy said ominously, looking back at him. A huge metal shape passed by him, crouching to fit under the door and standing up, revealing itself as a powerfully built and rather large robt; broad-shoulders, a number of optical sensors scattered all over it's body, and composed of continually shifting liquid metal over a fairly serpentine frame currently impersonating a vaguely humanoid form.

The man blanched at it's face, not liking the faint way it seemed to be smirking, or the holographic projection of a mischief-filled grin it was creating to express itself. "...Uh, what's the robot for?"

"Oh, it's part of your... punishment for your villainy," the boy said ominously. The robot cracked it's knuckles and... reshaped the lower portion of it's face into what resembled an advanced speaker set.

"...Huh?" The man said.

"He's going to sing at you, in extremely horrible music, until you crack," The boy said cheerfully, and left.

The door closed. "...Oh, kareoke!" The man said, and giggled happily. "I love kareoke!" The robot stared at him, facepalmed, and proceded to start singing anyway.