By Dr. Xadium
PART 6: "I LOVE YOU, HOTARU! ROMANCE DAWNS IN THE LIGHT OF THE ELECTRIC WARP!"
DECEMBER 5TH, 2011
It had been just about a week since Hotaru had trapped herself in the Electric Warp 2.0 in order to defeat her "mother", Tomoe Keiko, a.k.a Kaolinite VII.
Mimete had explained that unlike the original Electric Warp, which converted the user's body into television signals and amplified its power, the revised
version instead converted the user into a series of digital bits-- computer data-- which could be manipulated at will.
Professor Tomoe had spent the last week painstakingly combing through that data, separating the bits of "Hotaru" from "Keiko", and had managed to achieve
99.99998% separation. As good as this was, he was acutely aware that even a .00002% difference in the data could spell disaster, so he kept trying to get a
perfect separation. He had forsaken sleep, food and drink, and powered through, out of love for his daughter.
But even the superhuman attributes of his physical form had their limits, and after seven solid days, he was reluctantly forced to take a break and sleep. Paranoid about accidents, he set about finding a volunteer to watch the Electric Warp and the computer attached to it, someone who would monitor it and make sure there were no "accidents" with Hotaru's data.
Mimete, being the inventor of the updated Warp, naturally was the logical choice for this task. But in love as she was with the Professor, she insisted on tending to his needs first. Thus, the task of watcher was left to the first volunteer-- Artemis.
Ever since the end of his divorce trial
, Artemis had felt close to Hotaru, and spent as much time around her as he could, appreciating her quiet, sensitive nature more than Minako's hyperactive, party-girl lifestyle. So when he had heard about what happened to her, he had rushed over to Tomoe's lab, and planted himself near the warp.
Now it was late at night, and everyone was asleep upstairs. Artemis was alone with the electric warp, his feline form bathed in the eerie light of the LCD monitor
that was displaying a constantly scrolling stream of matrix-like data, representing the digital bits of Hotaru and Kaolinite.
He sighed for a bit, pawing the screen lightly. It was hard to believe that Hotaru was locked in there, somewhere, floating in a sea of information.
"Yo, don't break it, yo!"
Artemis leapt two feet in the air straight up, startled by the voice. It was tough, street, and totally annoying.
"What're you doing here, Elios?" Artemis asked annoyedly as the white-haired boy glared at him from behind, blood-red eyes glowing eerily in the reflected light.
"Lookin' after my girl, yo," Elios snapped, shoving Artemis off the desk in front of the Warp.
girl?" Artemis asked incredulously, hopping back onto the desk.
Elios puffed himself up and jabbed a thumb into his chest. "She be mine one day, yo."
Artemis looked at him as if he were insane. "What about Chibiusa?"
"Yo, she be a boring nun now, yo," Elios pouted. "I figure I need some hot Guardian of Silence action, yo."
Artemis shook his head. "You know Hotaru's an introverted bookworm, right?"
"It's always the quiet ones, yo." Elios made a "rrrwor" noise.
Artemis was scandalized. "Don't say that about Hotaru!" he snapped.
"Yo, what's your problem, yo!" Elios shot back, shoving Artemis a bit with his hand, causing the cat to pull back defensively.
"Do you realize how serious this is!?" Artemis snapped. "Hotaru's stuck in there, and one little error developing in her code could kill her! This isn't some chance for you to ogle, the way you did at the last wedding when you stood up at the top of the stairs and stared down every girl's shirt!"
"Do you think that's the booty?" Elios asked, tentatively pointing at the screen.
"Dammit--" Artemis began, but checked himself. Elios' expression did not match his actions.
"What're you really doing here," Artemis asked slowly, as Elios turned to look at him more fully.
After a moment, Elios replied. "This s[BLEEP]t aint' funny, yo."
Artemis waited, expecting more.
Elios pulled up a chair and sat down, staring into the monitor. "After all the s[BLEEP]t we fought, man, all them battles we done been through, s[BLEEP]t gonna end like this, yo!?" He pointed at the screen. "We gonna get pwned by some b[BLEEP]chass machine, or Space Rock, yo?" He flexed an arm, showing a bulging muscle. "She didn't even get to fight, yo. She jus' got sucked into that damn thing, yo."
"That was how she fought," Artemis replied after thinking for a moment. "She choose to sacrifice--"
"BULLS[BLEEP]T!" Elios spat, angrily. "BULLS[BLEEP]T, YO!" He got up and paced rapidly. "Tell me what the f[BLEEP]k point us trainin' or makin' allies, or friends, tell me what the f[BLEEP]k point any of it has if s[BLEEP] just can get shut down by somethin' this GODDAMN STUPID, YO!" He looked at Artemis like a wild man. "Sacrifice, yo?! SACRIFICE!? SHE WAS SMARTER THAN THAT, YO!"
Artemis blinked and looked at Elios like he was seeing the man for the first time.
Elios shook his head. "You know why I was always chasing that gothic tail, yo?"
"You're the enemy of women?" Artemis asked weakly, half-laughing. "A 'Playa'?"
Elios smirked, but it was an empty gesture. "That's all y'all think of me, ain't it, yo."
Artemis tried to back off from his statement, waving a paw. "I'm sorry, I--"
Elios shook his head. "No, yo. It be true, yo." He sighed. "Ever since I came to tha big city from Elysion, yo, and roomed with da Trio, yo... I wanted to tap all tha fine female asses, yo." He sighed again. "But 'Taru was different, yo."
Artemis went quiet, not quite sure he felt about what Elios just said.
"She was mature, yo... maybe not in da bust, but in her brain, yo." Elios reflected. "She was always sa one who thought s[BLEEP]t through and s[BLEEP]t, the one who kept a level head when the test of us was freakin' out, or tryin' to power through s[BLEEP]t. She always had a plan, or advice, or some kinda wisdom, yo. Even though she was so young, yo."
Elios looked at his hand. "An' I wanted that... yo. That smartness. That... wisdom. I wanted her to like, settle me down, yo. In a way Chibiusa-chan can't, yo."
Artemis just stayed really quiet, biting back his own feelings for Hotaru. Hearing Elios saying what he was saying just cut into him like a knife. And it made him realize just what his feelings for Hotaru truly were.
Elios looked at Artemis for a second, and read the cat's expression instantly. "LOL" he laughed "give up, yo, you're a cat, yo!"
Artemis hissed. "And you're a HORSE, 'yo'!"
"We just a pair of filthy animals, ain't we, yo?" Elios laughed.
Artemis blinked and laughed. "Hey, I'm actually a guy, you know." With a flash of light, Artemis transformed into his human form.
Elios looked up. Artemis was a bit taller than he was, and handsomer too, if he allowed himself to admit it. Which he didn't.
"Big deal," Elios said dismissively, sitting down and looking into the warp's light, pondering something.
"So what happens now?" Artemis asked, feeling the silence in the air.
"We guard the s[BLEEP]t out of this thing, yo," Elios said flatly. "We get her sexy ass outta there, yo. Then we see what happens, yo." He offered Artemis a hand. "Deal?"
"Deal." Artemis agreed, shaking Elios' hand and turning back to look into the light of the warp as well. With this, and the Usagi situation, he didn't know what
the future would bring, but he wasn't going to give up. He wasn't going to back down. Because... he loved Tomoe Hotaru, and on the day she got out of that
warp, he vowed... he would tell her.
TO BE CONTINUED
Next time on Suburban Senshi: Endgame! Episode 7- I've got to stop mom! But who can help me?
"Chibiusa's old flame is... the BATMAN?!"