I can feel him staring with shock as I snap my arm back into its socket, the feeling returning as the wires reconnect.
“You’re… like me. A nindroid!” He breathes out. I stifle a humorless laugh. More than you will ever know. He regains his composure quickly, though, and takes a defensive stance. “Are you the Quiet One?”
I offer no reply, simply cracking my neck. Not quiet, Zane, though you have never listened for my voice.
“Are you the Quiet One?!” he shouts, forcefully this time.
I rush at him, even as he shoots his bow, parrying the bolts with my hands. He knows what I am, so there is no point in not taking advantage of it. He does not have enough time to recover as I land a harsh blow square on his chest. As he falls, I grab his legs and swing him around, launching him to the edge of the canyon.
Noticing he has lost his bow, I approach slower, cracking my knuckles, making sure he is aware that the sounds produced by them is not one that comes from a human.
“Who are you?” he gasps again. Something snaps inside of me at the question, and I rush at him once more.
He dodges the first few punches, but he is not accustomed to close-quarter combat. With my enhanced sensors, and his addled mind, I land blow after blow on him, and dodge his feeble attempts to retaliate.
He’s attempting to compose himself. I let him. I long for his demise, but I am not impatient. I want him to think he has a chance, for his defeat to bring him as much pain and humility as possible. I have waited long enough and continue my assault once more.
Kicking him backwards, he almost falls off the edge of the canyon wall, and I’m glad when he stops himself. The long this goes on, the more amusing it is.
I land a barrage of blows on him before he has fully recovered. Time’s up and I’m impatient once more. I put all of my force behind one of my punches and send him flying.
Though he gets up quicker than I expected, I see I am leaving my mark. He is falling apart; literally, a piece of his chest plate is swinging on hinges. I advance on him again, not noticing the swirling white in his hands until it is too late. Though I try to dodge, he lands a small blow on my chest, and that is all it takes. My entire chest is covered in ice, and, with my movements severely slowed, he quickly encases the rest of me. “Who is in charge?!” he shouts again.
Encased in ice, I could not answer him anyway, but again, the rage seethes up inside of me. Ice… in addition to everything he had before me, he had this, too. This power which made him special; which made people care about him.
What do I have? A biker gang who fears me, a leader who threatens me, and a few teammates who see me as equals, nothing more. I break my arm free of the ice, then my other, and then my whole body.
He seems annoyed it doesn’t work well on me. Relying on those powers is what makes him weak. I will not be like him. He demands who is in charge again, which only furthers my rage. I lunge at him, and this time, I will not let him stand back up.
I put all the force I have behind my blows knocking him backwards several feet. His arm is coming lose in an array of blue sparks. He’s panting, tired, and losing energy, his icy eyes flickering.
He looks up at me with fear. A pity for him that it’s the only time he’s truly acknowledged me for myself, but I enjoy it nonetheless.
“You don’t- have to do this,” he gasps. Another wave of rage overcomes me, and I kick him over the side of the canyon, watching his body tumble down, hitting rocks on the way. I slide down after him and land nimbly on my feet.
Somehow, he is still conscious after all of that. “Who...” he manages to get out before the light fades from his eyes.
I find myself curious if he wanted to know my identity or simply my leader’s. Then I am angry I am curious. I walk over to his lifeless form, resisting the urge to bash his head in. Instead, I do the job that I am meant to do, implanting the bug into his chest. I send a message to my leader, confirming I have carried out the plan.
It’s almost mildly amusing that I was built out of spare parts and have no powers of my own, and yet, bringing about his defeat was mere child’s play. I spare one last backwards glance over my shoulder at his broken body.
“I am Zane, built to protect those who cannot protect themselves.”
What a joke. If he believes that, so be it, but I will not be like him. I will not forget the elation and pride in my father’s eyes when he looked at him, while he held only disappointment and apathy for me. How he abandoned me without a backwards glance once he found him. I will not be mere copy of my older brother.
I will not be just an Echo.
I walk into the desert, determined that I will see his end, even if it is not today. I will continue my work for the Quiet One, because I know that it will bring about horror he could not imagine. I hope he survives to see it. I hope he survives to see the world that loves him fall into despair. Because then I will rise behind him, and I will show him that the love of the world, the love of his friends, even Father’s love, means nothing to me.