Post by Kalaboo on Jun 14, 2020 8:33:47 GMT -6
The scrape of steps echoed through Frappe's scorched galleries, from time to time broken up by the crunching of snow or the shattering of ice. These never trod paths - snaking, merging only to then split at random - were a maze of delights and whimsy for Kalabas. Having come so close to destroying a planet, and with it billions of lives, the ghost's most burning regret was not having been neither conscious or in control in his final moments. Truly, his form must have been a sight to see, and well beyond powerful for its essence to continue permeating from the dark and cold. A little on the nose, but how many living or dead could boast having such a nuanced and clear ki signature? The Duke was great, or rather, the greatest.
And yet as he delved deeper into the recesses of his second place of eternal rest, in his thoughts following the flow of the battle while in his heart reciting funerary litanies - the sort broken-hearted woebegoners would shout at the skies to a claimed soul jigging merrily in Hell - he chanced upon a capsule hanging from the ceiling, half-embedded in an icicle. Even through the turvy ice he could see the familiar silhouette of green strip crowned by a ravishing mane of hair... Well, then! Could there be more scattered around? The ghost swiped up the long lost capsule, opening it to reveal-His old comms device!
Kalabas gave his old friend a good rattle, checking for ice, dents. The device was exactly as it was when he last saw it, although he could not rightly recall just when that was. Was it before he lost his arm? Or his life? Still wondering, he switched on the device, passing through the many layers of encryption ranging from 'What line opens your favorite chapter of your least favorite book?' to purposefully obtuse riddles with nonsense answers. It took some time, entire minutes, but soon the 'machine genie' was convinced. Kalabas was presented with a screen-wide notification bar.
09/04/3019 11:14, Attempted Call from Dullahan
09/04/3019 13:05, Attempted Call from Dullahan
09/04/3019 16:07, Attempted Call from Dullahan
It went on. With one, eight, twenty or more calls for each and every of the four hundred and thirty-three days that had passed since his first death. The shame he felt was beyond words.
13/07/3019 06:41, Attempted Call from Dullahan
13/07/3019 06:43, Attempted Call from Dullahan
13/07/3019 06:43, Attempted Call from Dullahan
Although he had no heart the beating in his chest felt very real, and in no way was the tremble in his fingers purposeful. Had he ever spared a thought to her after he came back? Set out on a journey to find her?
18/12/3019 23:54, Attempted Call from Dullahan
18/12/3019 23:55, Attempted Call from Dullahan
19/12/3019 00:01, Attempted Call from Dullahan
Of course he did think about her, plenty of times. He wondered whether she was safe, if she remembered him, if she was swept up in the arms of another. But these were made distractions to be pushed aside. What good were they for the Kingdom, for himself
? Kalabas was dead, yet his ambition flared like never before.
09/02/3019 05:14, Attempted Call from Dullahan
09/02/3019 05:20, Attempted Call from Dullahan
10/02/3019 15:07, Attempted Call from Dullahan
And now he had no one. No friends, no allies, no Belle, - and most damning of all - no Kingdom. His efforts amounted to little more than the half-ruins of a mountain and a decaying body and mind. He didn't die for this
. He wanted more, from himself and the world.
10/06/3019 12:14, Attempted Call from Dullahan
10/06/3019 13:05, Attempted Call from Dullahan
10/06/3019 13:05, Attempted Call from Dullahan
Yet for every step he took to better himself, the deeper his ills rooted in his soul. It wasn't his cursed spectral form that had him doing so, it was simply how he was as a person. No amount of oaths and scribbled diary notes would see him turn... less like he was. If anything they only heightened this sense that he was a liar, a traitor, better left alone than accompanying anyone. Especially Dullahan... Roma... whoever she was or would become, his schemes would only bring her harm and hurt.
But he couldn't contain himself. Selfish, afraid, longing, in an impulse that costed him even more of his self-respect Kalabas pressed the screen, opened windows and tabs, mustered just enough power to send out one powerful distress beacon. Only too late did his ki surge and explode the device, the signal was sent. She could be on Earth itself or several light-years away, she would come. And Kalabas was too much of a coward to run.
Post by Roma on Jun 22, 2020 15:14:57 GMT -6
|Headless, Mindless, Heartless|
- Roma's PL: 15,000
Roma wondered why she responded to the signal.
Yeah, she should've just ignored it. She was going to ignore it. Of course, that's what she told herself. She even told herself that as she booted up her ship, the roar of the metallic monolith a ballad dedicated to her lack of willpower. She came here to run, but it turned out the only direction she was capable of running was backwards.
She remembered everything, now. She remembered her brief time as an undead apparition, the moments she shared with the duke that had evaded her. Still, she wondered why she responded to the signal.
It was precisely because she remembered everything that she wanted to flee. Start a new life somewhere else. Find something to live and work for. Nobody would miss her, not really. Everyone she cared about was dead; along with them, her ambitions. She was no queen or emperor. She was no conqueror or fighter. She was just... her, a small speck on a small speck.
But for a while, she wasn't. Maybe that was why their grand promises swayed her. But she was different, now. She didn't have the same desire to be more then what she was. They had nothing binding her now.
She wasn't the same girl she'd been. Frankly, she didn't know what kind of girl she had been, or even the kind of girl she was now. Still, she responded to the signal.
She didn't even know what it was about him. He was a monument to the worst of them. Quick to rage, ruthless, patriotic, a condensed capsule of the Saiyan condition. A warrior. A noble. He was the antithesis of who she wanted to be.
But, damn it all, he was redeemable. That was a bit comforting, she thought.
Having reached the mountains shortly after the signal was sent, the ship lay idle. The inert ship remained that way for a while, casting it's shadow down upon the mountains. The gentle hum of the boosters kept the ship airborne, hovering.
But the door opened, eventually. Out came a ramp, descending from the monolith and impaling itself into the base of the mountain. Upon the bridge was the woman in question.
She looked different, certainly. Gone was her Saiyan attire, replaced with more traditional Earth clothing. A lab coat rested on her shoulders, a broad 'Crop Co' logo adorning the breast pocket. Most striking of all, though, was the mechanical apparatus hooked to her right side- metal bracers, I.V hooks, it was a complex mess. If it weren't for the fact that she was a naturally strong Saiyan warrior, it was unlikely she'd be able to walk.
But the right side of her face was of particular note. For those in tune with history, they'd note the telltale signs of Tuffleization- red lines through her eyes, grey hair.
Still, she descended towards the duke- or rather, the apparition of the duke. She'd escaped from the afterlife as a ghost- she'd figured he could do the same. He was crafty.
She continued her walk. Step by step until her feet touched the cold snow below. She stared at the familiar figure, ghostly yet familiar.
"A ghost, hm?" Yet, all she could do was laugh. "Need any pointers? Seems like we've switched around a bit, haven't we?"
Post by Kalaboo on Jun 22, 2020 17:45:24 GMT -6
A silence had settled after the explosion, allowing for the Duke to further tumble down his own ego. A memory kept resurfacing, bittersweet and made all the more pervasive because of it... When Roma, drunk as a lord, sat on the saiyan throne. Kalabas tried to talk some sense into her at first to get out of that chair, but especially in regards to her accusation that something was happening between the Duke and the Queen, but through some clever trick or other she managed to get him to sit on it too. And then they talked until the sun rose. It was a nice story. He was glad to have lived it.
Before long a ship loomed over the mountains. Hovering still, a ramp slid from it. Like in those old holoflicks a mysterious but powerful figure stood right there on the bridge, apparently indifferent to Frappe's chill winds, before walking down to set foot on the mountain proper. Kalabas slid down the snow scarp to meet her, although almost absent-mindedly. There was excitement, curiosity, but above all else anxiety in his head. He could have gone on a spiel, diffuse this trance-like rise, but with what mouth?
She had changed a lot, was his first thought as they sized up one another. She had traded away the army fatigues for a Crop Corp lab coat, and in that Kalabas found a degree of comfort. She never did have much of a love for war. Or conquest, tradition, things that the Duke obsessed over even now. It was a good thing that she did not suffer his particular brand of insanity, and instead indulged on weird hairdos and makeup. Earthling high fashion, he presumed. Less soothing was the sight of this... he could only describe it as a scaffolding of metal and tubes, digging into flesh about as much as they kept it in place. That was as wild a guess as the Duke could make, technology was Roma's forte, and of medicine he only knew how to break the system, not heal it. She could still walk with that trap-wire web, and that impressed him only mindly. For all her... values that would supposedly run counter to her saiyan nature, she was still very much one. It worried him to see her in this state regardless.
It was then he realized he could not think of a thing to do or even say. Should he admit that he had publicly vouched for the culling of the arcosian people, that he was complicit in the destruction of Namek, that he made an attempt to destroy Earth... and Belle? Or, perhaps, would it be wiser to continue with his story? He should tell her that attempts were made to become less monstrous, but that these only gave rise to more violent outbursts. He could admit that only when he relished these moments, more than any saiyan should, was he able to feel like he had any degree of control. Or of life.
How, then, was he going to tactfully approach this matter without shattering the very faintly possible goodwill Roma still had? He had disappointed people before, failed them horribly, but this was different... this was Roma, and he loved her. But didn't he loved Belle too?
Out of the blue she asked if he needed any pointers and started laughing. Not a single aspect of this should be funny, but Kalabas couldn't help himself. His ethereal form doubled on itself, chest racking violently, arms hugging his belly, wheezing in silent laughter and then sobbing. He should have made a plan before trying something so stupid. Tears were wiped and his back straightened, as he took a deep breath he didn't necessarily need.
He pointed at his obvious lack of mouth. What would she make of this?
Post by Roma on Jul 28, 2020 15:36:11 GMT -6
|Headless, Mindless, Heartless|
- Roma's PL: 15,000
What was there to say, hm? Roma didn't really know.
Nay; Roma knew what she needed to say, but she wasn't suite sure if he'd accept it. In fact, Roma wasn't really sure that she'd accepted it herself. She stared around at the snowy peaks, unfettered by the cold. She wasn't really bothered, considering the kind of being she was now. An amalgamation.
"I see you've lost your mouth. That's gotta be pretty tough on you, hm? You were always one for big speeches. I think you were better with your words then your fists, honestly, but you liked to use both of 'em together." She reflected on the memory of the still-living Duke. He was a shell of what he was before, really. In far more ways then one. "But I think this is good for you. Instead of talking, maybe you can listen to me."
"I'd have said something like, 'you sure missed a lot,' but the truth is that you didn't." She averted her eyes from the duke, gazing off at the distant snowy peaks. "I'm sure you'll say I'm a lunatic for saying it, but Tuffles aren't extinct. They're really not a bad sort, I don't think. That being said, one of them planted a parasite in me. I've managed to contain it with the help of Crop Co-" She motioned to her coat, "-but it's in there. The parasite was supposed to warp your perception of Saiyans. Make you burn with hatred for them."
She continued. "What surprised me the most is how little changed when she put that parasite in me. Do you think it's heretical to hate where you came from? Always felt like it to me. Truth me told, I don't really think I deserve to hate the Saiyans. I think it's up to everyone to make it in their own way, wherever they find themselves. You gotta adapt- I couldn't. I just wanted to be someone that couldn't exist on Vegeta." She shook her head. "Never really knew who I could admit it to, either. Always felt like I'd be mocked or get some vague, unsatisfactory answer."
She shook her head. "I remember dying now. I remember the time I spent as that ghost you knew, now. I don't think I'm Dullahan anymore, though. I think she was just someone I wanted to be. Someone who I pretended to be." She laughed, a wistful thing, it was. "But I think I learned a lot. I remember what you did for me. I remember your kindness."
She looked at the Duke, a deep sense of sorrow and pity in her eyes. "Death can really change you, I think. Even if you can come back, it's never really the same. I'm sure you realize it, too. Do you feel a bit remorseful for the things you've done? Do you have any regrets?" She shrugged. "You probably do, don't you? Belle told me what happened."
She let the comment sit in the air for a bit. The frigid winds blew, shaking her lab coat in the wind.
"I don't know what drove you to do that, Kalabas." It's the first time she ever used his first name- she'd always abbreviated it or called him by titles. But not this time. "I don't know what drives you to do anything. You and I, we live in different worlds. You've got ideas and ambitions I wouldn't even dream about."
"But I have my own dreams, too. Ones you could probably never dream about. Like... getting on a ship, and flying far, far away from here. This pocket of the galaxy... it's so small, once you think about it. There's so much more space out there. How small do you think the Saiyan Kingdom is, in the grand scheme of the Universe? Do you think, in the history of everything, we'd be more then a footnote? Who knows, really? It seems so serious and big to us... but that's only because we're small. And I don't think you want to be small."
She shook her head, raising her hand to the sky. "No, you don't want to be small. And you aren't small. You're larger then life, Kalabas. I really mean that. You're probably the most interesting person I've ever met, even if I haven't met many of them." She finally turned her gaze back to the duke, peering into him with her discolored eyes. "But being large doesn't mean much when everything is so big. I can't ever understand your pride. I can't ever understand the stock you put into our species. I can never understand why you lust for conquest and war and battle. I really can't."
"Because there's always so much more on your mind, isn't there? You want to be a good uncle, a good friend, a good lover. Sometimes, you can't always have both of those things. I'm sure you know that already, but I don't think it's really sunk in for you." She looked down, kicking a clump of snow that'd accumulated on her ramp to the ground.
"Do you think that your momentary satisfaction of letting your instincts loose will outshine the guilt you feel afterwards? I don't think it ever has, for you. You're sentimental. You wouldn't have taken care of me in the state I was in if you weren't. That's admirable. That's... it's something special you got there."
"This's all to say... well, if you came here to apologize about not contacting me for so long, I forgive you. Maybe you came here for another reason, but... I've never felt like you've wronged me."
"No, you haven't wronged me. You deserve to be forgiven."
She sighed, turning back towards her ship. "Listen, Kalabas. Soon, I'll be taking off from here. Where am I gonna go? Who knows- I got my ship and my wits, and I'll figure it out from there." She let out a genuine laugh, both fists on her hips. It was triumphant, reminiscent of the one she espoused in her days of ghost-hood. "I'll be out there."
She extended a hand towards the duke as she walked backwards- a mock gesture, given how quickly the distance between them was growing. "I'll be out there, and I want you to come and find me. Ghost or not, in possession of a mouth or not... perhaps taking in the universe in silence is what you need. Maybe this is your punishment." The engines on her ship revved up.
"You and I, we're both people that made too many mistakes to count. I think... I think, someday, we can return here, to this little corner of the galaxy. We'll be smarter then, wiser then- maybe we'll be admirable people, even. Maybe there's something waiting for us out there. For you."
She laughed as she stood in the doorway of her ship, the engines whipping the wind into a frenzy. Her lab coat flicked every which-way, a torrent of breeze.
"Make things right, Kalabas. Do what you need to do." She shook her head. "Someday, meet me in Intergalactic Dock 13!" She shouted, the ramp closing on the cold, winter air. "I'll wait for you! Weeks, days, months, years! I know you'll come!"
You're a ghost, but your life isn't over yet! It's just getting started!"
Who knew who it was that was waving at the Duke? It wasn't the boisterous ghost girl Dullahan, nor the maligned drunkard Roma. She was just a girl.
A girl who had finally, finally, managed to find some peace.
Post by Kalaboo on Aug 1, 2020 11:05:47 GMT -6
Speeches. He missed them, yes. The world had a tendency to make sense when you screamed at it. The mind too. Now he was forced to listen, and stew on all of these thoughts and feelings, weaknesses, impulses. That the tuffles were back... only fascinated him. As diseases were known to return, why not entire races? The saiyans themselves had teetered on extinction before, it made sense that their more erudite brethren had outright beaten death. Perhaps they could help uncovered marvels lost, or give insight into the far past... should they ever get over their systematic culling, of course. This was unlikely, as already they were infecting saiyans with parasites that could shape thought. Certainly an interesting design for a biological weapon, but not terribly effective if a robotics company managed to keep it contained. As Roma was not so keen on warfare, Kalabas could only guess where this was leading.
It was a talk on life, of course. And death, now made a tiresome topic. Roma ought to know, as a former deceased, that the bringing of the matter by a living was a quite terrible faux pas. Kalabas decided to keep decorum and hear her wisdom, beguiled by a sweet voice that made him wish for one of his own. A real voice, with a real mouth, not that ethereal simulacrum that had at last waned. Then he would have stopped her, hold her hand, rest his forehead against hers, take in the warmth and smell and joy of life. But that was a useless thought. He could only dream. And he could only hear.
Dullahan was... an ideal, is how Kalabas would have put it. He was always fond of those, it made sense that he had fallen for her. But he had also fallen for the Saiyan Kingdom, abstractions like honour and pride and tradition. While those had turn vague, mere excuses for unabashed cruelty, Dullahan always felt... real, in a sense, but also good, in an incorruptible way. Too good for either this world or Kalabas or anyone. But he still saw her in those weary eyes, piercing with a fullness he didn't deserve. Death... or life hadn't taken that kindness from Roma.
And yet she knew about Belle. The Duke clenched his fists, too weak to keep up the facade his gaze lowered to his feet. Ideas and ambitions, was why he had done it. Seemed foolish, small, even when put against Roma's dream. The universe was so infinite, time so vast. Kalabas didn't want to be small. He wanted parades and busts and the glory, shell a city and take the planet! But planets were small and meagre things, dust and sand on a molten core.
Then there was Kalabas the good uncle that had tried to kill his niece, Kalabas the good friend that had betrayed those few he hadn't failed, and Kalabas the lover that couldn't as much as be bothered to look after her. Roma seemed to think the Duke couldn't be both a man of war and a man of hearts. He had come to that conclusion even in life, hence his present situation as an abject flash, rather than a griever slathered on the blood of a niece. It hadn't sunk yet, no. Perhaps it would never. But Roma knew the guilt he felt over it, and over everything, she even thought he was in some way admirable for the kindness he showed, rather than weak or, more fittingly, capricious. Fickle. Unsure.
But she forgave him, thought he deserved to be forgiven, in spite of it all. That stirred something in him. Felt like a shiver, genuinely warm, made him feel not weak but left bare, and relief at her words, her laugh. Then she issued a challenge, to make things right, to do what he needed to do. To go and meet her then, at Intergalactic Dock 13, because his life wasn't over. He needn't spend afterlife as a self-martyr, or bleeding and fighting for causes and people he didn't believe in...
He realized, then, that things were as right as they would be, that there was nothing that could have been done that he hadn't thrice done already. Manic, despairing, his efforts had time and time again undone good. Sometimes the best was simply to let go. To overthink would lead him nowhere.
Immaterial, radiescent, Kalabas leapt into Roma's ship.
I found you.
He scribbled on the wall, in thick black marker.
I love you.