2013-06-06: Play Time


Cloud_icon.jpg Echo_icon.jpg

Summary: Sport does not automatically make for sportsmanship. Echo has time off for good behavior and annoys the hell out of Cloud, whether she meant to or not.

Date: June 6, 2013

Log Title: Play Time

Rating: PG-13

Barnes Academy - Gym

This module is also fairly large, containing an elevated track that spans the circumference of the room, giving it about an eighth of a mile for a single lap. Below the track and the large ports looking out into the water is a central area that can be configured for anything from basketball to street hockey. Around the central area are areas with hydraulic weight set ups, gymnastics equipment, fitness stations and mats for yoga, sparring or stretching.

Having been told during a training session that his metal skin can be a liability as well as a boon due to the obvious drop in speed, Cloud himself has never noticed a change himself but nowadays he needs to be faster than he used to so it may begin to be a real problem. As his body should be naturally adapted to the metal Cloud should be able to train it to keep full speed while using that aspect of his mutation, so dressed in sneakers and shorts he has been doing laps for a while now, his body, hair and clothing metalic.

A gently rolling basketball, fallen from the bins underneath the nets, is stopped by a foot planted gently on it. The doors to the gym are so quiet that the entry of three people was almost inaudible. One woman, dark haired and in Barnes Academy heather-grey sweatpants and shirt, and two men, SHIELD agents with chrome-polished specially loaded anti-LMD rifles. The guard seem a hair more casual than they were only a few days ago. Their rifles are slung in front of their bellies, but at least their fingers aren't resting near the triggers.

The dark haired woman rolls the ball back with her foot, scooping it up and into the air to catch it lightly with both hands. Her single grey eye fixes on and follows the metallic being doing laps around the gym, unmoving from near the entrance.

Cloud has been focused on his laps but finally gives into the feeling that someone is watching him, apparently that feeling still works with cold grey robotic eyes. Looking round at Echo and her guards he jogs over to see what's going on, "Aren't you on like house arrest?, why are you in the gym?"

Echo stares back at the metallic figure, tilting her head back and then to the side as if to examine him from slightly different angles. "You're Cloud," she says at last. "It was difficult to recognize you." His question goes ignored for several more seconds, the android rolling the basketball between her palms idly. "I asked if I could leave my cell for a short time. The answer, apparently, was yes. Despite what you might think, I don't like inactivity. And my muscles require occasional stressing or they lose elasticity." With a slow wind-up, she tosses the ball to Cloud in a gentle arc through the air instead of bouncing it across the ground like a normal person would with a basketball.

Cloud frowns then remembers what she's talking about, "Oh right" and lets the metal disappate, "Like if you leave something electrical off for long enough it takes longer to turn back on?", he catches the ball thrown to him, "Anti-personnel robots like to play basketball?"

Echo shakes her head. "No. The muscles I'm talking about are electro-chemical in nature. It is more like… priming them." She flexes her left arm visibly. The musculature is well-defined, even grouped into the same muscle groups as human biology. Or at least… close enough. "Though it is true, I'm usually a little sluggish after I've been asleep." She eyes the ball in Cloud's hand. "I know *of* it," she says, a little hesitantly. "It should be a simple matter of Newtonian physics to throw the ball through a hoop."

Cloud rolls his eyes, "And with just one sentance you've sucked all the fun out of basketball, it's about playing the game not just getting the ball though the hoop, yeah thats how you get points but the fun in the game is in playing it, feels good to win but knowing you and your team did all you could is awesome".

Echo frowns slightly and her eye narrows. "Believe it or not, I do understand the concept of teamwork, but that doesn't change the basic premise of the game." She holds out her hands for Cloud to return the ball. "The ball goes through the hoop, scoring points. One side scores more than the other and is the victor."

Cloud sighs and shugs tossing the ball back to Echo, teaching the whole feeling of playing the game to a robot is way beyond him, "Talking like that really marks you as a machine way more than that missing eye does".

The android ignores Cloud. She tilts her head back and forth, looking at the distant backboard and hoop, juding the distance. Using one hand, she leans into the motion of throwing the ball underhand, forcefully like a softball pitcher. The ball sails through the air in a gentle parabola, bouncing noisily off the backboard, striking the rim… and bouncing away. Miss. "Then tell me," she says, showing no disappointment at her failure. "What am I missing?"

Cloud runs over to collect the ball, "If you'd thrown it to me I could've made that shot, I was in a better position for it, also you relied on science, you put no heart into the game, no passion in it", he shrugs and tosses the ball back again, "Try thinking more human if you can, you've gotta WANT it".

"I've got to *want* it," Echo repeats, voice tinged with incredulity. She catches the ball easily and squints at the hoop again. "That makes no sense. Desire doesn't change reality." The shot is lined up again. Her form is terrible, pitching the ball underhanded. Having over-corrected her aim, the ball arcs up to rebound off the lip of the rim and bounces away, too short this time. Her lip curls upward unhappily, ever so slightly.

Cloud grins despite himself noting the slight change in Echo's facial expression, grabbing the ball again he walks back to Echo, "Ok, starting to want it then, now lets try some technique", he hands Echo the ball again and if she'll let him helps the position herself for the shot, "Ok, now try".

Echo scowls a little as Cloud starts to position her like an artist's mannikin. Move this arm here, knees bent, both hands on the ball. "This is.. very unusual," she observes, holding the pose disturbingly still. Her eye flicks back and forth between the ball and the hoop, figuring out how her teacher expects her to move. Carefully, she pushes the ball away from herself rather than throwing it, bracing her right hand against the side of the ball to aim it. It sails cleanly through the air and swishes softly into the basket without even touching the rim.

Cloud smiles at Echo before remembering a stepping back, "Er look, a little skill and passion for it and you did it, see?", he goes and gets the ball again, "Thinking like a human helped a little there right?, better than the basic logic you were using bafore".

The android levels her eye at Cloud, half-lidded and dead. "I don't believe you."

Cloud shrugs, "Fine, don't believe me but think about it, whose school of thought worked there? yours or mine?", he may have just outsmarted a robot, be nice to hear her say it.

"Positive thinking had nothing to do with it," Echo asserts, canting a hip and resting a hand on it. "Practice and refinement of theoretical models. It's difficult to calculate the ball's trajectory after one bounce, so the only option is to not let it bounce at all." She holds out her hands for the ball. "I will prove it."

"Just admit that I'm right will you?", still Cloud tosses the ball back to Echo, give her a chance to prove him wrong, wires can't make up for heart. "Oh dear god, I'm thinking like my grandmother, alread got enough people in my head, who said she could show up?"

Echo pauses for a long moment, then nods her head. "Very well. You're right," she admits without inflection, deadpan. She lines up again, using the pose Cloud had placed her in, tossing the ball. It bounces, rolls around the rim, and falls away. "Or at least, right half of the time." She makes no move to retrieve the ball since Cloud's been so helpful in that respect so far. "Why do you have multiple people in your head? Are you defective?" A serious question.

Cloud retrieves the ball like he's expected too, "You got the technique right but didn't want it enough sorry", he sighs as she asks the obvious question, "Maybe I'm not sure, power thing, when I use my powers on someone I think I keep something around in my head, it's probably nothing, just bugs me".

"You're right. I was deliberately not 'wanting it'." Echo inclines her head, hair falling away from the empty socket of her left eye. She's smirking, quite obviously. "You retain junk data every time you use your ability on someone? That seems like a very obvious, and exploitable, flaw."

Cloud frowns, "And how exactly would you go about exploiting this flaw then if it is so obvious", hey if robo-logic can help him out why not take advantage of the chance to ask?

"Wait until your concentration is wavering, when you are distracted by it. That's all." Echo presses the ball between her palms, distorting its shape a fraction. "For instance, don't think I've forgotten the two armed men keeping watch of me. *They* are distracted." She passes the ball to balance it in her left palm, testing its heft. "I would use this. Hit the first, the face would be good, or the hand to dislodge the weapon. Then rush the second before the initial shock has passed."

"Then I could use your lack of knowledge against you, my mutation allows me to do all kinds of fun things", Cloud's eyes glow white before fading leaving the usual blue/grey bright green, "Sure you could take out both your guards as quickly as you say but is that quicker than I can draw the energy to generate an EMP?"

"Probably not," Echo admits and lets the ball drop, pinning it against her hip. "Mutants are an unquantifiable variable. There doesn't seem to be any logic or basis in physics for what many of them demonstrate. I find that… unnerving."

"And people find you unnerving when you talk about how easily you can take us out and how many people you've killed like you don't care, which to be fair you don't, but amount human society, you gotta at least act like you care", Cloud shrugs, "Honestly I don't care but Rashmi believes theres good in everyone and it's very important that she keeps on believing in that".

"And you?" Echo gives her head a toss, whipping strands of dark hair out of her face. "What do you think?"

"I try not to think, I tend to do stupid things when I do, sit back and listen for orders is best as far as I'm conserned", Cloud runs a hand though his hair, "Rashmi however is a leader, she needs to keep the faith she has, I think thats what keeps her strong".

Echo presses a little more. "And if, as you say, you're most comfortable taking orders, what happens when there's no-one to give them? You do 'stupid things'?"

"Then I take my chance and do a stupid thing yes", Cloud smiles, "My entire life has been a series a stupid things which has eventually lead me to here, but that doesn't mean I should keep being stupid".

Echo rolls the ball off her hip and takes the preferred basketball shooting position. "Learn from your mistakes, adjust so that you don't repeat them." She isn't talking about basketball, either. The shot she lines up bounces squarely off the center of the backboard with a comfortable thump and into the hoop. "You're like me. You don't like me, and won't like being compared to me, but it's true."

Cloud watches an despite himself is impressed at Echo's learning curve but is quickly distracted by Echo's comparision, "How do you figure?, I can't imagine what similarites you see between the two of us, pretty much as different as day and night".

"'Sit back and listen for orders is best as far as I'm concerned,'" Echo repeats his own words, verbatim, turning to stare at him, unblinking. "'My entire life has been a series of stupid things which has eventually lead me to here.'"

"So we've made it to simular circunstances though simlar ways, doesn't make us alike ok?", yes Echo was right Cloud doesn't like being compaired to her, her REALLY doesn't.

"If you say so," the android relents in that particular way that isn't actually admitting she's changed her mind at all. Perhaps even more infurating, she doesn't even have the decency to look smug about it, just dispassionate and distant. "The similarities are not lost on me, however." This time, *she* goes to retrieve the ball.

"No, don't be so f***in' passive with me dammit!", Cloud clenches his fists, "You're a killer and I am not, dont compare us and be so f—-in' robot about it".

Echo straightens up slowly from picking up the ball, her back to Cloud. She doesn't turn as he yells and swears at her, seeming not to notice. The SHIELD guards by the gym's entrance notice, though. One taps into a shoulder mic as his lips move in a well-rehearsed military mumble, reporting to someone, somewhere. The other straightens the draw of his weapon on its shoulder strap, hand straying to the grip.

"Do you hate me that much?" the android asks after being silent for just a moment too long. She turns on her heels, head tilted to one side so that her hair falls and obscures her good eye and reveals the damaged one.

Cloud glares at Echo and mutters "No", he watches Echo's little spin, is she playing with him, "Now what are you some peppy cheerleader trying to look cute", he hasn't noticed the change in the guards yet.

"I'm no cheerleader," the android says, resting the basketball against one hip and looking at Cloud through the curtain of dark hair. "If you need moral support, you'll have to find it somewhere else." A pause. "Why? Do you find me cute?"

Kai says, "No, just commenting on your little spin there along with the hair flick, if you were human you'd understand why I'd think that's what you're trying to do", Cloud can't seem to figure out Echo's game, what exactly does she have to gain from f***ing with him?"

"I've heard the word attractive before, but not cute. Still, I don't understand how to use that attraction to my advantage." Nor does she seem intent on asking Cloud for clarification. Echo rolls the ball off her hip and tosses it to Cloud with a bounce. The guards by the door are not letting it go, so easily. One pushes the doors to the gym open and leans out, converses briefly, and returns. There are two more armed men in the hallway, apparently on ready call. "I don't expect you to explain it, either. Our time is limited."

Cloud catches the ball, "But you understand that attraction can be used as an advatage?, I don't buy you being as naive as you say you are", he frowns, "And if I can see that why the hell else can't everyone else? and I'm supposed to be the dumb one", "What do you mean our time is limited?"

"It's obvious that it can be used that way," Echo replies with a slight skyward tilt of her head. Like, duh. "But when, where, against whom, and to what end?" She shrugs dismissively. "On the whole, I find my body troublesome." She presses open palms against her breasts, squeezes, lets them drop. "Very inconvenient." She glances aside to the gym doors, eyes still hidden. "I mean, our time," she repeats with a nod at the armed men gathering there. "Is *very* limited."

Cloud almost jawdrops as Echo starts playing with herself, "You have got to be kidding me", she has gotta know what she's doing right?, he finally looks round at what the guards are doing, "Ok, whats got the G.I Joe's all rattled?", Echo only came down with two guards why should they need more now?

"My guess would be you," Echo says, spreading her hands and then slowly raising them up, palms out. She takes a half step back to put some distance between herself and Cloud. A thoughtful pause later, she adds, "Could be me, though. I did enjoy our play time."

"Step away," urges one of the armed men, though he does not go so far as to raise his gun at Echo and Cloud. "Time to go. Don't cause any trouble now." The words aren't so much pointed at Echo as the pair of them together. An order for one, advice for the other.

"Me? What did I do?", Cloud steps back as a gun is pointed at them but then something said by Echo irks him and a couple of the personalities still occupying his head, he grabs the lump of metal in his pocket and returns to his metalic state, "Back off a sec Action Man", he looks back at Echo, "Play time? am I some sort of toy to you?"

"Whoa, hold up," orders one of the armed SHIELD agents, raising a hand to keep everything nice and calm. That's right. Nice and calm. Rogue android and metal-skinned mutant. Nice and calm, right?

Echo makes no move. Her hands stay airborne and visible, where they ought to be. She replies calmly and politely to Cloud, though. "Play time," she repeats with a glance toward the discarded basketball. Then, after a nice long pause, she finishes, "And you are very amusing."

Cloud clenches his fist and shuts his eyes to block out the other voices in his head before stepping away, "You are not getting to me" is said in a tone that implies very obviously otherwise, he drops the metal, "Go find someone else to play with", he takes deep breaths to keep calm.

Echo stares at the boy, silently, for a long time. In a general response, she simply says "Fine." and steps away, hands still raised, into the generally less confusing custody of the armed SHIELD agents. There are no handcuffs, because what would be the point? But with gun barrels only a muscle's twitch away from pointing at her, it's close enough. A hand on her shoulder turns Echo around to face the gym's doors and to return her to her cell. "You're upset about something. I'll leave now," she adds as if she had a choice in the matter and is only doing it for Cloud's benefit.

Cloud watches as Echo is escorted out before turning and slamming his fist into the wall, which annoyingly leaves him with bloody knuckles and Echo going to the medbay so he's gonna have to bleed for a while as he's not standing her again, wrapping his towel around his knuckles he heads to the locker rooms muttering, "F—-ing robot" under his breath.

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