2020-07-05: Motives


BruceF_icon.jpg TheoF_icon.jpg

Summary: Dingo discovers Theo in the open. They discuss the ramifications of Dingo’s actions in the tunnels.

Date: July 5, 2020

Log Title: Motives

Rating: R (L)

The Future - NYC - Chinatown

For the most part Chinatown seems like its untouched, except for one thing, the Manhattan Bridge spanning from Canal Street to Brooklyn is no longer safe as most of the bridge is in the river below and various cables hang from the towers that still stand. Other wise all the buildings and streets are intact. Those who haven’t fled New York or couldn’t flee Manhattan still live here and a few shops for food and other survival goods are still open confined in a two-block area, its nothing of the bustling community it used to be.


The mutants are dangerous. The mutants will hurt you. That's the propaganda. Thats why the mutants are being hunted and destroyed. It's not true for all of them, but Theo doesn't fight the stereotype. He has some work to do back at his base, but first, he's on a supply raid.
While the resistance prefers to do their scavenging from broken shops, Theo does his by raiding human supplies. He waited for the report to come back from his stealth bot that there were no sentinels in the area, and then he made his move. He is trying out a new toy tonight. An electronic harness of sorts is on his shoulders, and a skeletal metal arm wraps around each of his own. It isn't the shops, though, that he is after. It's the homes where the civilians live. A few blocks from the shops, he rolls up on Proto, and then dismounts from his pet's large frame. "Watch for trouble," he says. Proto remains in a mobile form in the alley. He looks much like a very large dune buggy, though a person familiar with the robot will recognize him to be more than meets the eye.
Theo looks up at the apartment building before him, and begins making his way to the side entrance.

This part of the city is free of Sentinels, it is true. This is lucky for Dingo since he still seems to have issues with some of the robots. A few of them still seem to have Dingo pinned as a mutant terrorist, even though he is currently working for the government. The man stands at the top of one of the ruined buildings, looking down at the street below with his arms crossed. It seems that one of his former allies is down below, but what is he up to? He'll go down and take a closer look.
It seems as though the wind picks up, but all that moves is the sand and dust in the area. Dingo dissipates and comes down to ground level as a loose dust storm, swirling around the street before blowing into an alley for him to reform. If Theo notices the sand, he will probably suspect that it is Dingo. The man used this technique many times when the two worked together.

Hardline indeed does notice the sand starting to arrive. He didn't survive this long because he was unobservant. "Dingo," he says, opening the door. It has an electronic lock, but of course it permits the technopath without an argument. He opens the door, but doesn't step inside. If he's going to have to fight, he'd rather be near Proto. These bionic arms still haven't been broken in. Surely Dingo has seen Hardline use contraptions more powerful than these in the past, but he's been investing his money elsewhere lately. He turns casually and watches the sand, trying to determine where it will gather.

The sands seem to split slightly, most of it piling up against the base of one of the buildings. The rest of it blows up toward the roof, where it reforms into Dingo. He hunches down and glances over the side. Theo. It seems he survived the tunnel collapse that the man caused the day he left. He surveys the situation. The man seems to have some new technology attached to himself, and that vehicle is surely one of his pets. But what is Theo doing here now? It is risky to be out in the open like this.

Hardline strolls forward slowly, and looks up at the roof. "So how's life as the humans' lapdog?" he asks, seemingly unintimidated by the matchup. They both know that under normal circumstances, Dingo would have the clear upper hand, still, Hardline doesn't seem concerned. He always had a great poker face. Then again, he also never played poker without a few cards up his sleeve.
He leans against Proto, and continues. "You know, I have to admit. You're making me rethink my ability to read people. Maybe I got rusty over these last five years. I never thought you'd be the sort to sell out."

Dingo quirks a brow at the man and jumps off the roof, turning into a pile of sand which slams down onto one of the fire escapes before reforming into the man. He's a little closer and able to converse easier, but he's still out of the other man's reach. He narrows his eye. "I am no one's lapdog. They have something that I need, so I'll work for them for a while. Once I get back what they took they will suffer as well." He shakes his head. "I held no loyalties to the X-Men, you knew that." The factions had broken long ago, becoming simply us and them. Dingo never seemed to let his hatered for the X-Men die. He had always held a grudge against them, seeming only to tollerate them when it benefited him.

"Oh?" Hardline responds, his brow arched. "Do tell." He's hardly one who should judge when it comes to loyalties. After all, he left the Brotherhood when it suited him, and struck out on his own. "This should be good. You're playing the entire U.S. Government by yourself, is that it?"

Dingo leans on the railing and looks down over the edge at Hardline. "You should know what it is that they would have against me. The only reason I would possibly work for those bastards." He pauses. "They have him. They have Jack. He's alive and they have him. And I told the X-Men about this, but they decided to go and rescue their own people instead." Dingo tightens his grip on the railing. "They let my sister die, Theo. I wasn't going to sit by and let them kill my husband too."

"Oh," Hardline says, "Well, I guess that makes everything right. You poor soul," he says with heavy sarcasm. "Because no one elses sister died in the camps, you know, and no one else has loved ones still captive." He leans his elbow on Proto's saddle, and places his head in his hand, the robotic skeletal hand covering it tapping his face. "You're talking to the wrong person for some emotional response," he finishes, dropping his sarcasm. He pushes off from the bodyguard and walks around to stand in front of him.
"I deal in facts, not emotions," he tells Bruce. "You know that's how I do things. And here's the facts. I'll give you them straight, and they suck. They got your husband so that they can get you. And congratulations to them, they pulled it off. They will use you until they don't need you, but they'll never let you near him. They know that you'd pay them back in spades given the chance. You won't save him like this, and they'll toss you out with the garbage when they are done with you. But you won't know until it's too late. Just like the rest of those stupid hunter fools. They will all die, the only question is whether the resistance kills them first, or the government does."

Dingo sneers down at his former teammate. "You think I care about other people's problems? No. You think I expect anyone else to care about mine? No. Those X-Men are out for themselves, and now I'm out for myself. They offered me nothing but a hole in the ground. At least working for the government I can walk out on the street." He spits toward the ground. "And you think I don't know they're only using me? Of course they're using me. But I have a better chance of getting to Jack if I work for the people that have him rather than hiding underground." He shrugs, "Killing the X-Men? Added bonus. You didn't see me killing any of us."

"Oh? So I was supposed to take that whole tunnel collapse as a love tap, is that it?" Hardline answers. "Well, my mistake, I guess I misread it, I thought you were trying to kill me. Wake up, Dingo. This isn't the world we used to live in. There are no X-men, there is no Brotherhood. There's no Avengers, there's no Acolytes, there's no anybody anymore. There's just mutants, and there's humans. Just like Magneto said it would be. He was right. But you're still busy holding onto old feuds that have outlived their usefulness."
The technopath hops backward and onto Proto. "Proto, you can be my calculator." The robot's head lights up blue. "Of course," he answers. "Proto, please calculate the chance of Dingo, with his powers, being able to rescue his husband from the humans on his own using known data. And don't forget to factor in the fact that the resistance now also wants to kill him." Proto is silent for a moment, and then answers. "The chance of success is 0.045%%."
"Thank you Proto, now tell me what the odds are that he could have succeeded with the help of the resistance," he continues. The robot once again is silent for a moment, and then answers, "The chances of success are 1.32%%." The technopath folds his arms across his chest. "Your chances suck no matter how you cut it. But now you only have the former to go with, because you aren't going to get the help of the resistance."

Dingo shakes his head. "The old alliances are dead, that's right. So what? I'm supposed to forgive them and give them hugs and candy for leaving Kimber to die? I'm supposed to ignore the fact that all of their rescue missions target camps where THEIR friends are being held, but the one where Jack is is 'too dangerous'?" He makes air quotes as he finishes that sentence. "Wake up. People don't change. Everyone looks out for themselves, I just decided not to help out those who were unwilling to help me."

He smirks, "You think the resistance could take me out? There are manybe three or four of them that could kill me easily. And I could get away from them easy enough if I needed to." He gestures to Theo's robots. "And I figured they'd protect you in the tunnels. If they didn't, well it seemed that you were ready to take me out. Survival of the fittest."

"That's right, survival of the fittest, which is why I'm around, and why soon you won't be." Theo answers. "I don't take sides. I'm not a part of the resistance, and I'm not part of the humans. I play for me, the same as you. And I always have. But maybe I was wrong. Maybe it's not about what I can get. Because I can tell you, I spent the last five years in safety, without anyone to bother me, and I could've spent another fifty years doing the same. But maybe it's better to live fifty days for something worthwhile than it is to live fifty years for nothing. You say you're doing this for your husband. Did you ever stop to think what he'd want from you? You think he'd want you to sell your soul so that he could be rescued? Or do you think he'd want you to make sure his sacrifice wasn't for nothing?"

Dingo punches the railing of the fire escape with his right arm, his artificial arm. "Shut your fuckin' mouth. You have no idea what it's like to have real attachments in your life." He motions to the robots, "Is that a friend? Can you love an artificial being? No. Or if you do it's only a farce. It can't love you back." He narrows his eye again, "I lost Jack once. I got him back. I lost him again and I'll get him back again. I don't care what it takes. I don't care if he hates me for it. I don't care if he would kill me for it. If he gains his freedom then that's all that matters. Because if I fight my entire life and he suffers for it, then my life is a waste. But if I fight for them, then even if he's still captive he is treated a little better. I can sell my soul for that. I can give up everything I hold dear so he can have a slightly less horrible life."

Dingo's words are like salt on a wound. "I would've given anything to save my father," Hardline says after a long pause. "But you know, I didn't even get to say good-bye. He was stolen from me just as Jack was stolen from you. Perhaps if I had the chance to go back and fix it now, I'd agree with you. But there's no happy ending where you're going. So do what you must, but from now on I'm going to try to honor my father's memory, rather than try to make something happen that can't." The words are a surprise even to Theo himself, given that he's been the embodiment of revenge for the last ten years, more than ready to watch others suffer to satisfy his rage.

Dingo softens his expression slightly. "Yes well, I have suffered the same as you, and I have a chance to prevent it from happening again. I'll do what I must and you can do what you must." He glances up at the sky, "I'll target the X-Men. The Brotherhood is safe from me as long as they don't seek me out. Tell the others if you see them." He glances back down at Theo, "I do not ask for a happy ending for myself. I cannot rewrite my own story, but I may still be able to rewrite his."

Hardline starts to walk back to the door he had unlocked. "Dingo, if you really want to save Jack, then give the humans bad information. Make it outdated, wrong, whatever it takes. When I act, the war will be over, and if Jack is alive, he'll be safe. But make no mistake, if you oppose me, you will not be." He offers no more explanation, but its unlikely that Dingo will learn more detail.

Dingo turns away from the other man. "I am selective in what I tell them, don't worry about that." He glances back, "Whatever you're doing here, try not to make a scene. They'd find it suspicious if I didn't notice. I'll not have that." He smirks, "And a threat as a goodbye Hardline? You know as well as I do that your machines don't function so well with sand in their gears." He offers a slight wave and dissipates into a cloud of sand, moving off with the wind toward the North.

~ Fin ~

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