Find Us Peace: Counterboost
Chapter 18: How to Feel
There were flowers in Mary Godwin's room when she returned home to the Durandal. She was still wearing white medical attire, and felt like a hospital patient returning home. "There's nothin' wrong with me," she said, clarifying that to Shelley, who entered the room after her.
"No physical damage," Shelley replied sternly, "But the Federation doctor said that your stress and anxiety may have negative effects on you physically if you continue refusing to take it easy."
Mary plopped down on her bed, her lips pushed up into a furious pout. "It's not like we can do anything anyway, I guess," she said. "You said the Durandal won't be able to even leave port for three whole days more?" The word days was drawn out horrible by her accent.
"That's right," Shelley said, slowly turning to Mary's closet. She took out a set of soft pajamas and then walked back to the bed. "I want you to get into these, and then relax for at least one day. We have enough workers about, and they don't need yet another person telling them what their job is."
Mary crossed her arms stubbornly. Sometimes she hated how cool her sister was able to get in a bad situation. The fact was, Shelley seemed at her calmest when something was wrong. It was certainly helpful at times, but annoying. "Jr. and Gaignun are in horrible danger right now, don't you understand?"
"I do," Shelley answered. "That's why... I want you tell me everything that happened from the moment you knew something was wrong here on the Durandal."
Closing her eyes, Mary took a deep breath and released it as she let the tension out of her muscles. She felt the weight of her sister sitting down on the bed as she did so. "It was early that morning, Little Master hadn't come in yet." That's right. Because Jr. had been avoiding MOMO. "I was going to send her after him, but then--we got an intruder alert signal. I could hardly believe it. That kind of thing doesn't happen anymore." It was vivid in her memory, but it felt like it had happened long ago. "The intruder was an android who looked exactly like MOMO, I tell ya... it's uncanny. If it wasn't for that weird lackluster stare in her eyes, I would have said it was MOMO, too."
"You went to fight her," Shelley continued for her.
"Yup," Mary agreed. She wasn't sure whether she should be proud or humiliated by the fight that she put up. "I nearly blew off her arm. But then, she did something to my AGWS and the whole thing shut down. She climbed up and--" She stopped there, and her voice grew angrier. "She had Little Master in her clutches like nothin' but a lil a rag doll!" then she inhaled and calmed down. "At the same time, it seemed like she was being so gentle with him..."
Shelley's eyes widended. "Gentle?"
"Yeah," Mary muttered. "And he was smilin' and sleepin' like a baby." She stretched her ams over her head as she tried to remember what happened next. "When I woke up again, I was in a dark little compartment with Master Gaignun and Little Master. And... the android was there with us. Gaignun told us that it was KOS-MOS. Jr. was pretty quick to defend his friend--the real one, that is--but this one insisted that she was KOS-MOS. There was so much weird about her."
"What else was strange?" Shelley encouraged her gently.
"She was really obsessed with taking care of us, even though she had gone and kidnapped us. Especially Little Master. It was almost as if that crazy android had a thing for the little dope."
"The android cared particularly about Little Master?" Shelley asked, and then thought. "They did design it to emulate MOMO, I suppose..."
"It was like the damn thing thought that it was MOMO, and KOS-MOS at the same time. Serious personality issues!"
Shelley smiled, amused by her sister's analysis. "I can imagine."
"We were carried off to some old-looking place. I didn't get to see the outside, but the inside was really archaic. It was cleaned perfectly of course, but it looked like something out of Lost Jerusalem."
"That's all you know about the place?"
"Unfortunately, yeah," Mary sighed. "She shoved me back inside, saying that they didn't need me to be in danger anymore. She took the boys, though... took them away. I don't care who she is, whether she spared me or not. For doing that, she's gonna die. I'll kill that skitzo robotic bitch."
"What happened after she pushed you back into the pod?"
"I fell unconscious again," Mary huffed. "The shuttle kept flying on auto-pilot into a gate I suppose, until I was picked up by the Feds. They had me in the sick bay until I came back here, end of the story."
"Well... that isn't very useful," Shelley said.
"Hey, don't act like it's my fault!"
"I'm not," she sighed, but with a smile. "It doesn't help us find them any faster, but it does reassure me a little. Perhaps that android is not like the others. She may have been programmed to help Little Master. If that is the case, then I am sure that neither he or Gaignun is dead."
"No, not dead..." Mary grumbled under her breath. "I bet they're in one of those dreams. When she knocks you out, the dream you have... its like being in another place. A place where everything you can imagine is just peachy keen."
That afternoon, Shion was on the bridge of the Durandal. The wall had been patched, and the view screen was functional again. The 100-series Realians were busy as ever coordinating the repairs, but they had everything under control. Still, Shion was happy for the opportunity to work beside them and learn more about them. Since KOS-MOS was resting and Allen was going over her data already, she decided to stay here.
The girls were amazing and never out of surprises. They chattered while they worked without ever once looking up or slowing down. They were all on a network and Shion bean to realize that this network was extremely strong between these six in particular. Another Realian introduced might break the rhythm these "sisters" had.
Without even being a Realian to begin with, Shion felt like she was weighing down operations. She quickly stepped out of the way and simply observed. She wondered how Mary and Shelley were able to work themselves in, and wondered if the two of them with their designer children enhancements had somehow managed to join the collective. A network composed of Realians and humans was so fascinating to Shion that she wished Shelley would arrive to ask her. The elder of the Godwin sisters was busy caring to the younger currently, however.
Half the girls took a break for some dinner, while the other half continued working, taking their dinner break a bit later on so that there were always plenty of people on hand. They were conserving as much manpower and time as possible, so this consisted of a sandwich picnic on the bridge. During this first meal, Ziggy came up from the Foundation and arrived on the bridge. The girls not currently working rose their heads and smiled, some with crumbs of bread in between their teeth. Ziggy gave them all a pleasant wave, and they went back to eating.
Shion went to him and found that he seemed on edge. "What's up?" she asked. He was so hard to read, but you could tell when something was different, just not what it was, exactly.
"I'm unable to find MOMO," he said. He didn't sound too alarmed about it, so Shion figured that it wasn't an urgent matter. He must just want to talk to her, she thought.
"Oh?" Shion answered. "Did you ask a 100-series realian? I'm sure they can find her in no time."
"Good idea," Ziggy replied. Shion turned promptly to speak to Kaede who was licking some ketchup off her left thumb. Ziggy put his hand on her shoulder to stop her and she halted, looking up at him with wide and confused eyes. "... Let's ask Ume," he explained in a hushed tone. "I'm afraid this matter may be sensitive, and that one... she talks quite loudly."
"Oh!" Shion whispered. "Sensitive?" But Ziggy did not respond and remained quiet until they passed through the bridge to Ume, who was sitting at the rearmost terminal.
"Ume, could you detect MOMO for us?" he asked her.
"MOMO?" the 100-series realian replied, as she thought over it. "Sure, what for?" she asked, but began the search even as she asked the question.
"I'm not sure where she is and I think she may want to be alone," Ziggy explained. Shion's face lit with comprehension as he continued on, "but I'm obligated to watch over her, if you could please tell me her location."
Ume frowned, then forced a smile. "Okay, Uncle Ziggy," she said teasingly. "It appears that MOMO in in the Iron Man Bar and Grill."
"Thanks, I appreciate it," Ziggy said, and gave the girl a pat on the shoulder. Ume went back to her work with no further questions. Ziggy promptly turned for the bridge's exit, but stopped and looked over his shoulder as he detected Shion following him.
"Hey," she said, leading into a though, "Why don't you let me talk to MOMO? Maybe she could use a woman's company right now, you think? One that's not her mom."
Ziggy thought about that for a moment. "That would be better. Sometimes when I try to help MOMO... the words don't come out as I'd like them to. You're much more skilled in that respect."
"No problem," Shion answered cheerfully. "I was going to go and find Allen pretty soon, anyway!"
"Thanks," Ziggy replied.
Shion stepped into the Iron Man about fifteen minutes later, after a short ride to the Foundation. The artificial sunlight would keep the space colony blue for another hour or two, but many people were already looking for something to eat for dinner. The Iron Man itself was pretty full, but not unpleasant. The cacophony of dozens of conversations created a comforting lull.
Shion found MOMO sitting at the bar itself in front of a plate of finger sandwiches that had hardly been nibbled on. She walked over to her realian friend and sat down on the next stool.
MOMO looked up lazily. There was a glass in her hand. "You want some, Shion?" she asked. "My eyes were hungrier than my stomach, maybe... when I had the menu I was really famished and ordered a sampler, but now..."
Shion smiled, took one of the sandwiches, popped it into her mouth, and took careful care to get a sniff of what was in the glass MOMO was fondling. It had a sweet and fruity aroma over the familiar bitterness of alcohol. "Is that... peach schnapps?" she asked in surprise.
"It tastes pretty bitter, but its kind of... warm?" MOMO answered.
"You've never had a drink before have you?" Shion laughed. "MOMO, what gave you the idea?"
"I just saw it on the menu and thought it was appropriate," MOMO explained, innocently. "My internal repair functions break down the alcohol anyway. So there's not a point to it really, I just thought it felt kind of nice going down."
Shion sighed deeply. "Okay," she said in a bluff-calling tone. "What's up? Let it all out, come on."
MOMO smiled, determined to look completely normal. "Nothing is wrong, I'm just taking a little break."
Shion pressed her lips together firmly and exhaled through her nose in frustration. "You are not getting out of this one, MOMO, so just tell me what the problem is!"
Now it was MOMO's turn to sigh. "Shion, I would, but... you're just not the right person to tell it to."
Shion was taken aback. "What do you mean?"
"I'm sorry, Shion," MOMO said apologetically, in a weak little voice. She sounded not angry, but perhaps slightly annoyed, and Shion hadn't the foggiest idea as to why. It was very unlike MOMO, who then smiled and tried to cover it up. "I just don't think you would understand what I have been going through."
Shion stared back at her mouth wide in surprise at this negative attitude, and felt offended. It stung even worse that it came from MOMO, who she would have never expected to hear such a thing from. Yes, something was definitely wrong. "Why wouldn't I?" she asked.
MOMO smiled a weak but honest smile. "Because you and Jr. are exactly alike," she said, finding some humor in it. It wasn't like her to instigate an argument, but that seemed to be the only way of distracting Shion from what she did not want to discuss.
Once again, Shion was lightly offended. "Hey, I'm not as bad as Jr." she defended herself. "Jr. is hard-headed, oblivious, and doesn't understand at all how much you care about him."
MOMO giggled and nodded her head in a my-point-exactly kind of way. "Do you know where Allen is?" she asked. "You're right that I should talk this out, but I think I'd rather speak to him."
Now Shion was honestly hurt. She may have been slow to picking up signals, but that one cut close to home. She looked away from MOMO and over the counter at the many glasses and bottles. "That hurts. I like Allen, I really do..."
"I know you do care very strongly about him," MOMO answered for her without any hesitation, "but you can't get yourself to love him because of all these reasons you made up, right?" Shion opened her mouth to protest against that, but MOMO went on in an almost mimicking tone. "Everyone I love ends up being hurt, I always end up alone, it's better if I don't even try," then she looked up at Shion earnestly. "Am I right?"
Shion's mouth stretched across her face in a straight horizontal line as if she wasn't sure whether to smile or grimace. Her eyes opened wide, hopefully her mind did as well. "It's true," she said finally. "But what am I to do about it? All of those reasons and many more are perfectly valid!"
MOMO smiled warmly and took Shion's hands. Shion was surprised to find that the tables had turned on her so suddenly. Not long ago, MOMO had been completely under Shion's wing, looking up and taking her advice with an innocent child's eagerness to learn. Now she grasped Shion's fingers, a wise young woman about to impart some knowledge onto her friend and sister.
"I will say to you what I would like to say to Jr.," she said, "if I could only have him back, and if I could just find the strength to say it."
Shion watched, entranced, as MOMO pulled their hands up between them and looked directly into her. "O... okay..."
MOMO gathered her wits and tried her hardest to keep her voice smooth and level. "Tell me if you love me or if you don't, I will understand either way," she said. "But, if you really love someone, then you can't allow fear and doubt to overrule that. It's no way to live, I hate seeing you so lonely and unsure of yourself. I just want you to be happy again! So please... make a decision, and if your decision is no, then let it be because you don't love me at all--not because you're afraid to let yourself."
Shion's expression softened. MOMO gaped for a moment and stared back at Shion nervously as she let it sink in. Finally, Shion smiled calmly. "You make a good argument," she said, and gently wrapped her hands around MOMO's, reclaiming her position as the older sister of the two friends. "But you see," she explained sagely, "the thing about love is that it's not black and white. It grows over time, it starts out with the smallest of things... it can also fade as much as it grows." She smiled broader and her chin lifted up proudly. "Sure, people can have flings based on sudden attraction and enjoy them very much--but after the sex gets old and the fights start breaking, there's nothing--" she paused realizing she was going off on a tangent, yet MOMO was listening to her intently (perhaps even taking notes). "What I mean to say is that you can't really suddenly decide that you love someone forever and ever, that's kiddie love. It's not about getting a little too close to your best friend, either. Honest love is more about the person who you can be happy with for years to come more than it is about who's the most compatible, or who puts you in the throws of passion, if you ask me."
MOMO broke in here. "But Shion, I believe that I will always love Jr., no matter what! I'll always stand by him, always--always, you understand? Even if he had another woman, I'll always be his friend at the least and I--"
Shion raised her hand and placed her index finger on the tip of MOMO's nose. MOMO stopped her emotional outburst abruptly, almost with a squeak. "Don't get me wrong," she said, and then laughed. "You really have gotten me to realize something."
"Really?" MOMO asked, surprised.
Shion nodded, and rest her hands against her knees. "I have been really shielding my eyes against everyone who means a lot to me, not even looking for the place to start, because I am afraid. I'm afraid of losing someone who means a lot to me. But most of all, I'm afraid of change."
MOMO's eyes followed closely as Shion laid her hand against the pendant that hung around her neck at all times. "Why am I wearing this?" she asked herself. "I have already let go of Kevin... I have laid that part of my life to rest. I've had plenty of time to recuperate from the hurt of it, but I still wear this because... I didn't want anything to change ever again. I don't even change my clothes or my hair very often, I don't make new friends, I've just been--"
"You can't be afraid to try new things once in a while," MOMO said, echoing Shion's words from weeks earlier with a giggle.
"I know," Shion smiled. Then her hands reached behind her neck and when they came forward again, they held two sides of the chain on which her necklace hung. MOMO's eyes widened and she gasped as Shion then reached over her friend's shoulders through her pink hair and hinged the shining crystal's chain around her neck. She leaned back to survey her work. "I think it looks nice on you," she said. "You keep it."
"Is it really okay for me to have something like this?" MOMO said, looking up doubtfully. "It's still important to you, isn't it? You could just put it in a box... keep it somewhere."
"I'd rather somebody wear it, if not me," Shion laughed. "It did belong to his mother. You will be a mother someday too, I certainly hope that you will, anyway. So... you keep it. I'm sure it has meant different things to different people over many centuries."
MOMO nodded enthusiastically. "I will!" she said. "I'll take good care of it!"
"Good!" Shion approved, and then hopped up from her stool. "Now, excuse me, but I have to go see to something."
MOMO giggled and turned back to her drink as Shion gave her a last pat on the back and then headed for the exit. She left the Iron Man in high spirits and MOMO saw her turn in the direction of the Treasure Inn.
The room that Allen shared with Jin in the Treasure in was almost empty except for the two men that were currently occupying it. The two beds were both in sloppy disarray as Jin shared part of his sister's unkempt fashion, and Allen simply didn't care enough to make his properly with everything that was going on. Allen sat at a desk reviewing some data regarding KOS-MOS, while Jin sat near the window doing the same, only his data regarded the Kukai Foundation's official investigation into the recent skirmish.
It was silent all but for the occasional blips of their connection gear. Jin ceased working after a while, but Allen was so consumed in his efforts to repair and improve KOS-MOS above and beyond the current standard that he failed to notice as the dark-haired man leaned back in the frame of the window and watched him curiously. Jin was not surprised that Allen was unable to sense a thing like this, though he wished someone so interested in his sister would be quicker on the ball.
"So," he said sharply, and Allen nearly fell out of his chair from freight. There was no animosity or contempt in Jin's voice, in fact it was rather jovial and good-natured, but the suddenness made Allen jump.
"So?" Allen answered. He turned to find Jin wearing a grin.
"Have you been seeing anyone lately?" Jin asked, grinning.
Allen shuffled in his seat uncomfortably. "Um... you sound like you're about to proposition me," he said.
Jin let out a hearty laugh to that. "Not a chance," he said.
"Well geez, you don't have to reject me that harshly even in a joke," Allen groaned, giving Jin another chuckle.
"I'm just interested in your current romantic status for Shion's sake, that's all."
"Romantic status: Failed," Allen reported with a sigh. "Well, I guess there's some girls around the office who have coffee with me now and then, but they don't seem to care about what I'm saying very much."
"And I bet they don't treat KOS-MOS like the princess of the universe either," Jin mused. "Ah, that's where I think the two of you really... how would the youth say it? 'Click.'"
"I suppose I'll always be close to Shion as long as I'm able to work on KOS-MOS," he said with a dreamy sigh. "To tell you the truth, when Shion left First Division, I was devastated. Not just because I... well, I'm sure its no secret--I loved her, yeah."
"What was the other reason?" Jin asked.
"Well," Allen swirled around to face Jin completely in his chair. Jin had finally pulled him into the man-to-man talk, so might as well get everything off his chest, he thought. "She left KOS-MOS with me. I know that she loves realians just as much, but KOS-MOS is really where her heart is. I kept KOS-MOS as well as I could, but I still feel like Shion isn't really happy unless she is with KOS-MOS."
Jin smiled knowingly. "Ah... and don't you see? She left KOS-MOS in your care. Doesn't this speak of how much she confides in you? How much she really cares about you?"
Allen stared back speechlessly. He had expected this to be more of a Don't-Touch-My-Sister talk, but Jin was actually encouraging this pursuit. He tried to relax and forced himself to smile a little, but this turn of events was really more unnerving in the long run than if he would have played the protective brother. "Maybe," he replied cautiously.
"I understand all about paths diverging, being forced to walk different roads despite a strong love binding two people together. Sometimes two people just don't work. But that isn't what this is, my friend." He gave a wise nod. "You've been given a second chance, and not everyone is given such a gift. My sister is a dense woman, make no mistake. But I think that there is potential for you. In fact, I'm almost convinced that this is the only way that she can be truly happy-- to have KOS-MOS and you together with her."
Allen's jaw dropped half-way through Jin's speech and snapped shut again when it was over. "W-what should I do?" he stammered, like a pupil asking a master for life's greatest secret.
Jin stood up and walked over to Allen. Allen then stood just before receiving a clap on the shoulder and a smile that seemed to say, Do this right or die. Allen found this strangely relieving. Mr. Nice Jin was getting a little creepy. "You simply can't be afraid to start," Jin instructed. "Of course, be slow so as not to startle her, but... 'go for it' as they say."
"All right!" Allen agreed, determined. "I'll go find her right now and ask if she wants to help me run these new specs by KOS-MOS."
"Good man," Jin said. "Go on then."
Allen turned with his connection gear in hand to leave the room. Before he was able to escape completely, however, Jin's hand came clapping down on his shoulder, a bit too close to his neck for comfort, like a guillotine. "...and don't call her chief," he said in a pleasant but all the more threatening voice.
"Yes sir!" Allen whimpered, and dashed out of Jin's sight as quickly as possible.
Jin watched the door slam shut after he left, and let out a heavy sigh. "Seems that everyone's in love except for me," he laughed to himself.
The hallways of the Treasure Inn were for the most part unoccupied, as tourists had stopped pouring into the foundation. In his excitement, Allen clumsily clipped his hip on one of the old antique doors, but lurched onwards regardless of the throbbing pain where a dark bruise would surely show up soon. He clopped down the wooden staircase in agony hoping that it would wear off by the time he reached the Durandal, where he assumed Shion was currently. However, as he reached the bottom, he saw Shion's radiant figure prance through the front doors and grace the lobby with her presence. He met her with a mixture of joy and disappointment. He was still limping like an old man.
"Hey Allen," Shion greeted him with an exceptionally sweet smile. Then she looked at him sympathetically. "Did you hurt yourself?
"Chi--err Shion!" Allen stammered, nearly forgetting the death glare he might receive from Jin if he uttered the wrong words. "No, I'm fine," he answered, and forced himself to straighten up. Shion let it drop, thankfully. "I took the enhancements we were working on a little further. I was wondering if you'd like to go down to KOS-MOS's lab and apply some of them. With Vector in such disarray I don't think we need to worry about protocol, and KOS-MOS is going to need every bit of power we can give her, right?"
"Of course," Shion nodded. "But, Allen?"
Allen returned her quizzical glance with a nervous one. "Hmm?"
Shion smiled again. This time it was a timid expression, almost coy. "Would you like to pick up some coffee on the way?"
With those words, it was as if a choir of angels began singing Ode to Joy just above Allen's head. He paused and nearly slapped himself in the face to make certain he wasn't dreaming. "Yes!" he said, then caught himself being too enthusiastic. "I mean, if that's what you want to do."
Shion laughed. "Let's go, then."
Since the Elsa's renovation, chaos had felt strange walking through its hallways. Dinah, the vessel of anima, was sleeping, but its slumber was like a light nap. He could feel its presence in the hum under the floorboards, in the light that poured through the hallways. It wasn't an unpleasant feeling for him, having one of his pieces so close by. He had to wonder how the others must feel about it, though.
It's good that you are here, he thought. The vessel itself could probably hear him. You chose KOS-MOS as your master though she is what she is. You recognized her consciousness for what it is. And Zebulun had chosen MOMO, a realian. Asher had chosen a URTV. She will need your strength, Dinah. The strength that I no longer have, because it rests in you twelve.
Where were the others, anyway? It seemed unimportant until recently. They were free of Wilhelm's control, so chaos would let them go where fate would take them. But maybe... it felt like everything wasn't just right.
chaos pondered this absently as he took inventory in the Elsa's hangar. It wasn't the kind of thing that he tried to think about often, but recent events led him to wonder if they had really been set free. Or was this all an elaborate ruse? Or maybe there were other kinks in the grand mechanism of existence that chaos hadn't foreseen.
He banished those ideas and decided to take a stroll past KOS-MOS's quarters. They were close by, and even when sleeping, the sight of her always made him feel calm. It was getting late. He hadn't expected anyone to be there. When he approached, however, he found that the light was on in the room.
He walked inside quietly and smiled at the sight that he saw as the doors closed behind him. Allen sat with his head leaned over the back of a seat against the wall, snoring. Beside him, Shion had her legs curled up in her chair and her head was balanced comfortably on his shoulder. There were empty coffee cups all around, but the caffeine hadn't helped, apparently.
KOS-MOS was still awake, though. She stood idle in the middle of the room where she had been undergoing some sort of scan when Allen and Shion nodded off. chaos wondered which one had gone first.
KOS-MOS looked up at chaos and then removed the plug of the scanner from her wrist. She turned out of the room. Though she did not wave or call, he got the feeling that she meant for him to follow her, and hit the lights before leaving after her.
Once they were back in the hangar, chaos chuckled softly. "How long were you standing there? You could have left on your own, you know."
"I was observing their behavior," KOS-MOS replied. "Shion seemed more relaxed tonight. I also noticed that she was not wearing the same necklace that she usually does."
"Really?" chaos asked, stunned. He only knew a little about Shion's past relationships, but he knew that it was important to Shion because of one in particular. After letting that sink in, he smiled again. "Sometimes unfortunate events can make us realize what we have and what we could lose if we don't reach out to grasp it."
"I am uncertain as to the meaning of that, but I believe that Allen may have a neck pain by tomorrow morning."
"I'm sure he won't mind," chaos said happily. "But you don't want to wake them?"
"No, I do not. My energy reserves are full. I can easily survive non-combat situations for a few days without charging again."
"So as long as there's no sudden Gnosis attack, you're fine."
"Yes. I will simply relocate myself to an empty area and wait until I am needed."
She turned to do just that, and chaos jumped. "Wait, KOS-MOS," he said. She halted and looked at him. "Wouldn't you like to do something... I dunno... fun?" He listened to himself and found that he sounded like Jr. That might be a good thing, for now.
KOS-MOS returned his hopeful expression with one of dry confusion. "What do you mean?"
"We could..." chaos began, and then slowed down. He didn't really know what they could do. "Hey, I think there's a board game or two down in the bar."
"Very well. If this will entertain you."
Captain Matthews woke the next morning (almost noon, actually) and went to the Elsa Bar to get something to eat. The doors opened to reveal chaos, who hung over the table as if someone had popped and deflated him, and KOS-MOS, who was sitting of rigid and attentive as ever. Between them was a chess board. chaos reached out with a hand as weak as an elderly man's and moved one piece. KOS-MOS then made her selection with complete ease. "Checkmate," she said. chaos collapsed in defeat, then tried to sit up straight again.
"What the hell?" Matthews asked, and gave chaos a firm slap on the back. "What is the matter with you? You look like you've been up all night!"
"I have," chaos replied with a quiet smile. "I've just lost 200 out of 200 matches to KOS-MOS."
"Only 197 out of 197," KOS-MOS replied, as if to cheer him up.