The Gundam Beauty Pageant|
by Charon the Sabercat
Let's delve a little further into the Dark Axis side, shall we, and see a world few have seen before…
Chapter 36 - Chapter 37 - Chapter 38
The Gundam Beauty Pageant|
37. Zapper's Sub Plot, and Melady's Got A LOT of Dialogue
Melady had to investigate the sounds coming from the Dark Axis room. They didn't sound like anything she'd expect to hear coming from there; it sounded too… organic.
The blonde human peeked around the doorway to spot-
Her stomach quivered at the sight of it. Grappler and Killer were acting positively loving towards each other. They sat on the sofa, gazing into each other's eyes and cooing softly. Grappler softly stroked Killer's face and would occasionally kiss the bridge of her mouthpiece. In response, Killer would usually swoon and dig herself deeper into Grappler's chest.
Understandably, the sight made Melady sick. “Eugh!” she whispered to herself, rubbing her eyes to get the image out of her head. “No, no, no, Grappler, you belong to Zapper! Eugh!” She looked up again to see Grappler fussing at Madnug and Sazabi for disturbing their session, but also…
She leaned out of the doorway farther and saw Zapper standing in a doorway, watching the mechas talk and looking angry. He fumed for a moment before tossing his head in disgust and left his roost-
CRAP! He was heading towards the door! Melady ducked as much as she could in the corner of the doorframe and the wall, but Zapper still rammed his shoulder into her when he shut the door behind him.
“Ow!” she winced and held her gut. Zapper braced himself defensively, but lowered his guard after he realized Melady was relatively weaponless.
“What are you doing here, organic?”
“I-“ but Melady stopped mid-senten- not even mid-sentence, mid-beginning-of-beginning-of-sentence. Zapper didn't sound mad. He didn't have that threatening growl in his voice like he usually did; even the familiar “organic” spout-off didn't sound near as spiteful as it should have been. It was like he was addressing her by a nickname or title, not as a demeaning insult.
“I… was looking for you!” Melady blurted out. It was a bold lie that slipped out unguarded, like she was being forced to say it (she deduced later that she probably was, considering Charon was at the computer at that point).
Zapper was silent, as if he was taking the comment in. He studied her face as she straightened her jacket.
“You, organic.” He commanded. “Follow me. I want to show you something.”
“Really?” The happiness warmed Melady's chest. “Cool!”
Zapper began to stomp down the hallway, and Melady followed after him. She had to take smaller steps than she usually would to keep from passing the tiny-legged Gundam up. He marched through the hallway and talked as the color scheme slowly changed from the Dark Axis reds to the neutral zone greens and browns.
“Tell me something, organic. Who would you rather be talking to right now?”
Grappler, her mind immediately thought. She wasn't that stupid, though, and said, “Um… Steve Irwin.”
Zapper let loose a strange mix of a rumble and a sigh. “You organics are bad liars.”
Melady's arms flew to her hips. “We are not!”
“I could see the change in your body temperature. You were lying.”
The human girl stopped in her tracks. “Damn it.”
“I do understand you wanting to talk to Steve Irwin, though.”
Melady's body quivered threateningly. “I was supposed to meet him, damn it, he wasn't supposed to die!” She shook herself back into stoicism. “But anyway… uh…” She looked up and smiled at the tiny mecha. “Hi, Zapper.”
The red one shook his head and kept walking. “You see, that's my point,” Zapper moaned. “No one ever pays attention to me.”
“What?” Melady stumbled forward to catch up with Zapper, then slowed down to a steady stride. “That's a bunch of bull!”
“Most Sexy Competition. Who got elected?”
“Most Detailed Competition. Who got elected?”
“Most Talented Competition. Who got elected?”
Melady was reluctant to answer. She could feel the animosity coming off of the tiny mecha. “… Madnug.”
She felt the need to point out, “You got elected for Most Eloquent.”
Zapper turned a bit and pointed to Melady's nose. “Who won?”
“Zero, but that shouldn't matter!” The human held her forehead.
“It does matter. Charon planned the contest to be between Zero and Talgeese. I was a false lead.”
It was quiet for a moment while Melady rubbed her neck. “Man… that sucks for you, Zapper.”
Something tumbled over them somewhere in the ceiling. Melady, as a reflex, pulled out a machine gun and pointed it overhead, but Zapper grabbed the barrel and pointed it down.
“Don't shoot, it's just Madnug. Sazabi probably sent him on an assassination.” Zapper shook his head. “He's heading for where we were going. Look, you go the long way around, I'll head through so he doesn't see us together.”
Melady crossed her arms indignantly. “And why don't you want Madnug to see me with you?”
Zapper gave her a stern look. “Because that's a Dark Axis signal. He'll try to shoot you.”
“Oh.” Shifting her weight to her hip, Melady pulled out an Oozie. “I can take care of myself.”
“For your sake…” Zapper groaned. “Go the long way.”
Once again, his voice sounded uncharacteristically nice (well, for him). Melady put the uzi away. “Are you sick or something, Zapper?”
“What do you think I'm trying to show you? Please go the long way.”
Please? Something had to be wrong with him. Now fearful for Zapper's mental health, Melady went around the corner to avoid the hot tubs. Her mind ran through the options of her circumstances. Zapper, a normally brooding, angry human-hating mecha was treating her with some degree of equality, talking about how lonely he was and offering to show her something-
She gasped in shock, and her stomach reeled. He was gonna off himself! She rushed to the other end of the hot tub room and met Zapper as fast as she could, grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him.
“Zapper! You're not gonna kill yourself, are you?!”
“Uh…” Zapper's eyebrow slipped up his forehead. “No…?”
“Okay!” Melady's head fell on his shoulder. “Whew!”
“Look, Melady, I-”
“OKAY, now I know you're lying!” Melady shook him again, staring him straight in the eye. “You're calling me by name!”
“WOULD YOU STOP WITH THE QUESTIONS AND JUST FAQIN' FOLLOW ME?!”
With a smile, Melady let go. “That's better.”
Zapper was almost ready to literally bite Melady's head off, but instead hissed and grabbed her wrist, pulling her after him. As he walked, he talked, not leaving any space in the conversation for Melady.
“Look, Melady, this is the basic idea. No one pays attention to me. I don't know why. I know when. It was when Grappler FAQin' Goof and Dom helped me try to take over Neotopia. Ever since then, those two are all the stupid little SDGundam girl fans ever talk about. Grappler Gouf. Destroyer Dom. Even Sazabi gets more attention than I do, and he was only in three episodes! And MADNUG! Don't get me started about FAQin' Madnug, he didn't even get released in the United States, and he's got more publicity than me!
“And that's the thing. I want the publicity. I want to be paid attention to. And does anybody? NO! Why? I don't FAQin' know!
“But… anyway… it's starting to bug me. More than usual, I mean, because I've been watching everybody around since the whole `pageant' started, and… everybody's got… somebody. Dom's been hanging out with the Daishogun since he won the detailed round, Madnug and Sazabi are always doin' something together, and now Grappler's got a girlfriend. And all the Gundams already have buddies and stuff.
“I mean, don't get me wrong, I just…”
“Aw, jeeze…” Melady jumped at the chance to talk. “Zapper, you're just lonely. Just… go jump in whenever Grappler and Killer are having a make-out se-”
“I can't.” Zapper paused a minute and let go of Melady's wrist; they were right in front of the back door outside. “I'm a member of the Dark Axis. I don't get lonely.”
“Oh, yeah.” The teenager nodded. “I can understand that.”
“I think you're the only one outside of the Dark Axis that could, Melady.” He stopped himself with a cough. “I mean, organic.”
“Don't worry about it.”
“Anyway…” Zapper opened the door to the torrential downpour outside. “You might need an umbrella.”
Melady pulled an umbrella out of the bottomless weapon sack. Zapper looked… stunned. “I thought that thing was only for weapons.”
“This thing's from Batman.” Melady pushed a button, and a small bayonet popped out of the point of the umbrella.
“Ah. Okay. Well, come on.”
He stepped outside, Melady shutting the door behind her. Zapper continued his monologue.
“I had to find a way to forget about… you know… so I started eating a lot. You know, I went through that whole `proud of being fat' phase.”
“Yeah, I remember.”
“Well, eventually, I got sick of your disgusting organic junk food-”
Melady couldn't help but laugh. If she hadn't been laughing, she would have seen it; Zapper smiled.
“Yeah, thanks. But anyway, eventually I got hungry enough to try…”
He stopped. Melady realized that they were actually in front of the fabled gazebo, and Zapper was pulling away the decorative trim to reveal a berry bush.
Melady noticed the green color of the berries and gagged slightly. “Blech. You can eat those?”
“Yeah.” He looked back at her, a gleam of hope coming from the back of his eye. “Can you?”
She stuck out her tongue. “I wouldn't even if I could. What are they, anyway?”
“Hemlock.” Zapper plucked a few berries from the bush.
“Nope. Poisonous to humans. They could kill me.”
“Spam. I was gonna invite you to come with me.”
Surprised, Melady took a few steps back. “Come with you?”
Zapper ignored the question and ate the berries.
He doubled over in pain almost immediately, but before Melady could rush over to help him up, he straightened himself up… and up… and up…
Until he was taller than Melady. Not to mention he now had ears, paws, a tail, and a wide, fanged mouth.
He looked at his hands, which were now more paw-like and larger than they used to be. “Hmph. Usually I'm not this mellow when I eat.”
He turned back to Melady, who was a few steps farther away and much paler. He waved absentmindedly. “I guess you can't come with me, then.”
She shook her head, too shocked to talk. Zapper was a were-mech!
“And…” He groaned a little and took a clumsy step forward; although he could stand on his back feet, he wasn't quite designed to walk like that. “Look, Melady… I really… didn't expect you to… well… survive this part…”
He looked ashamedly to the side, his ears flattening humbly on his now-canine head. Melady took another step back, a cold numbness taking over where fear had paralyzed her before.
“But… now that you have…” He stood up straight again, looking Melady in the eye. “I don't wanna kill you, either. Promise you won't tell anybody, will ya?”
“Uh…” She nodded, loosening her grip on the umbrella. “Sure.”
Zapper held out his hand- er, paw, in a fist, and Melady did the same. They shared a quick knuckle tap. “Thanks, Melady. When the Dark Axis takes over your dimension, I'll take you prisoner instead of killing you.”
“Only if I don't first.” She breathed through the surprise. She found herself finally unwinding as Zapper took to all four and trotted towards the forest. She watched him walk for a few seconds, admiring the little things like his gait and the rhythm of his tail.
Zapper stopped and turned his head.
Melady jumped around in a circle and stomped her feet while waving her arms. “THAT WAS THE FREAKIN' COOLEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE!”
Zapper laughed, showing off a huge array of dog-like teeth arranged in rows like a shark. With a new spring in his step and a loud holler, he sprang into the forest in a full gallop and disappeared in the underbrush.
Melady ran back through the door, chest aflame with a giddy high from her newest discovery. She laughed some more and jumped up and down, ignoring the weird look she was getting from Deathscythe. “Um… what's wrong with you?”
Once again, Melady felt the words flying from her mouth even when they wouldn't have (Charon was still at the computer). “Oh my god, Zapper like ate a berry and he turned into a werewolf! It's so freakin' cool-”
But, in that rant, she froze in fear. Zapper had turned into a large, metal dog. Gunpanzer and Britainmaru were out hunting large, metal dogs!
She immediately bolted to the Dark Axis room, slamming into Deathscythe, Cobramaru, and a door along the way before arriving in the Dark Axis break room and nearly plowing headfirst into Grappler and Killer.
Grappler climbed over the sofa backwards trying to get away from Melady. “What the FAQ?!”
“Get out of here, organic, you're not allowed back here!” screamed Killer.
Melady replied with, “ZapperZaku'sbeeneatinghemlockberriesfromunderthegazeboandtheyturnhim intoawere-mech-dogandnowBritainmaruandGunpanzeraregonnakillhim!”
Grappler and Killer, AMAZINGLY, understood every word. “A were-mech-dog?”
Melady waved them to the door. “Come on, we gotta warn them!”
They ran out the door and into the forest as fast as their legs would carry them.
WOO! That was exhausting! Melady, I was as careful with your character as I could. Please forgive me.|
Chapter 36 - Chapter 37 - Chapter 38