Respawn, Pt. 5

Anausa liked to think of himself as being completely in control of his emotions. The things he had seen and done in his life had affected him, of course. He was not so arrogant as to think himself immune to all outside influences. But he could control how he reacted to external forces, and he prided himself in his cool, clinical detachment. He never felt anything he didn’t want to. Now he felt rage bubbling up within him, threatening to consume him, to spill out of him uncontrollably.

He didn’t want to feel these things. He couldn’t stop himself from feeling them. He grew angrier still. Brick’s ugly grinning face filled his vision, even from across the arena.

“Stop it,” he thought to himself. “Anger’s not useful now. Anger makes you stupid. He wants you to lower your head and charge like a bull, so don’t. Think. What’s the last thing he would expect now?

“That I would play to the crowd. That I would match his act with one of my own.”

Anausa looked to the sky and gave a wave of his hand and a snap of his fingers. A drone flitted down and trained its camera on him, broadcast his face for the entire arena to see. The crowd didn’t know how to react, half of them roaring their approval, half of them whispering to each other in confusion, in surprise, in excitement. This was something new. Anausa the Immortal never played to the cameras in his matches.

“Closer,” he said, his voice a bark. He cast a single glance towards Brick and saw a look of animal confusion and stupidity on the other man’s face. Good. It was working. “Closer, damn you!” Anausa snapped a the drone, and the little machine darted within arm’s reach. Like a striking snake his had snapped out and grabbed the thing by its rotors, held tight as it struggled to get away from him.

He ignored the shocks the machine gave him as it attempted to free itself. He ignored the cuts its rotors put on his hands, his arms. He snapped it in half and rooted around in its inner workings to pull out its battery. Perhaps Brick was telling the truth. Maybe he knew the reality of Anausa’s past. But Anausa was still smarter. He recognized the drone as repurposed military hardware, powered by a core that would output enough energy to last for years.

It would make a fine bomb.


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