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"Ahhhhhhhhh! Jak! Heeeelllp!"
Jak merely rolled his eyes at Daxter's screams. The metalheads that
enclosed him from his friend neared, snarling and snapping at his
heels and knees, forcing him to spin in circles. He heard a growl from
behind and ducked just for a smaller one to fly over his head and into
a wall. It hit the ground with a thud, scrambling back to it's feet to
rejoin the attack.
It's attack, although a fail, led the others. At once the throng of
metalhead's threw themselves at him, biting and clawing for his chest
and neck. Jak used his empty gun like a bat to defend himself. He
cracked it against ones scull, it's deep coloured blood splattering
across his shirt. It fell limp at his feet.
Jak spun around as one dug it's teeth and claws into side. A growl
escaped him. He could feel a pulsating sensation under his skin,
fighting it's way out. The darkness started to take over. His vision
redened, becoming sharper and more vivid. His mind cleared,
understanding the animals moves before they made them, becoming an
Black claws slashed at the metalheads with enough power to kill. They
drew back, but Jak kept attacking. Blood filthied the walls and floors
of the caves. Bodies were spew on the ground until only Jak stood.
Slowly he felt himself come back. The monster retracted itself,
leaving him weak and out of breath. His head pounded as he looked at
the carnage. He winced away, turning his head from the lifeless eyes
that seemed to stare at him.
"I'm sorry..." he whispered, so quiet even Daxter couldn't hear from
where he hung overhead.
Jak jerked upright at Daxter's voice. "Almost forget about me buddy?"
he joked. "Well I'll just be hanging here, until you decide to help me
Jak rolled his eyes, turnng his head up. His nose nearly met Daxter's.
Daxter gave him a lopsided grin, his bright eyes beaming down at Jak.
"You have beautiful eyes."
Jak chortled, slapping Daxter so he swung around by the rope his foot
had caught on. Daxter groaned. "I'm gonna hurl all over you if you
don't get me down! Ja-ak!"
Jak stood off to the side, crossing his arms together for good
measure. After a second he gave in though.
Using one hand he grabbed Daxter's waist, snapping the rope with one
quick jerk. Daxter crawled up his arm to his shoulder, taking his
usual perch. "Did you see that one guy I took on Jak?" he asked,
untangling his small orange foot from the ropes.
The edges of Jak's mouth pulled up. "The one you managed to hang
yourself by your foot running from?"
Daxter sniffed indignantly, tossing the strings aside. "It was an
obvious booty trap set for a rodent sized hero as myself. It could've
happened to anyone, really,"
Jak couldn't even bring himself to roll his eyes at the ridiculous
statement. "Really," he just agreed, barely covering a laugh. Even in
the gore he created and hated himself for, Daxter could bring him up.
"Well, while you were busy over in the corner making small talk with
them suckers, I was over here-Sig!"
"Daxter!" Sig greeted, his large form coming out from around the
corner just a few seconds after Daxter had yelled his name. Behind him
appeared Damas. Jak stopped, crossing his arms across his chest and
waited for them to join him.
"Looks like you had all the fun yourself." Sig whistled low, peeking
above Jak's blonde hair to the metalheads.
"Yeah, fun," Jak growled, not noticably pained to anyone but Daxter,
who remained unmoved.
"You should've there! It was crazy, so I was running on this beam-"
Jak zoned out, turning his attention to the larger men. Sig was
listened amused to Daxter's story, adding to it with new terms that
would no doubt appear in the newer version. Damas, King of Sparta,
listened instensly. He stood like a statue, tall and strong and proud.
His face barely showed any emotion, yet it was easily said he heard
every word being uttered and even beyond the word itself. Damas hadn't
even spoken yet, but the utmost respect still infaltrated everyone
Jak looked down bashedly as the king's blue eyes flicked to him.
Absent mindedly Jak scratched at his ribs that itched. His hand came
back red. He looked down at his ripped shirt, bloodied. It could had
easily been the metalhead's fluids, but the sharp pang he felt with
every breath assured him otherwise. He could feel a pulsating under
his skin, driving him further into the cavern.
It was a different feeling than that of 'Dark'. When Dark Eco was
present and wanted to be used, it throbbed against his skin like
little needles, wild and promising perfect anarchy. Red Eco tingled
with energy from his chest outwards; while Yellow felt like a layer of
heat just below his skin, turning and stirring just waiting to be
released. Blue Eco made him feel as high as a kite and full of
euphoria, like he was untouchable. Light Eco was like nothing else; it
was powerful, full of control. It was like swimming in the ocean or
flying high in the sky or anything equalvilant in beauty and peace and
power. Green Eco though- Green beated like a heart, calming him and
kissing the hurt away like a mother.
Maybe it was because it was the first Eco he ever channeled knowingly,
and the one he grew up with, learning every bit of its powers from
Samos, but it always made him feel like he was at home. Maybe everyone
felt it; maybe it was in the healing properties themselves. Whatever
it was, that was what he was feeling now, a little heart beat under
his skin pulling him back towards the carnage, where beyond it lay
He felt the stinging on his side, but couldn't bare to go back and
look at the reminder of what he became. He thought back to the black
eyes, staring at him. Glazed over...scared...
Vile started to rise in his throat. He bit it back, wincing as the
acidic vomit burned his throat. He raised his eyes from the ground,
the feeling of nausea passing. "Uh- you alright there Jak?" Daxter's
voice came from his shoulder.
Jak's glazed eyes flicked from face to face alarmed. He swallowed
hard. "Uh- yeah fine. Just a little hot...um I'll be- I gotta go."
Daxter leapt from his perch as Jak lurched forewards, scratching at
his side. Sig frowned and went to follow, but Damas held up his hand.
"Clear the area Sig, I don't want any metalheads, eggs or not, to
"What about the kid?"
"I'll check on Jak. You just complete the mission."
Sig looked unsure for a second, but followed his orders none-the-less.
"Common cherry, take a ride." He knelt to the ground so Daxter could
reach his shoulder.
"Woo-wee! I can see for miles from up here! Giddy yup!"
Sig laughed good naturely. "Calm down there Chili Pepper, hate for you
to have an accident up there."
Damas smiled at their antics as he walked away. As he stepped out of
the entrance, the bright sun of the desert shone upon his face. He
shut his eyes and allowed it to soak in. Fresh air filled his lungs,
the wet musty scent of the cave slowly disapating.
He saw Jak's figure not to far off by the vehicles. He was slumped on
a dune of sand, his hair appearing nearly transparent in the sun. The
king made his way to the teen, his feet making the smallest of sounds
on the sand.
Damas sat quietly, stretching his legs out infront of him staring at
the desert that seemed to go on forever. He didn't speak, he just
waited. And waited. And waited. As the minutes flew by Damas warily
flicked his eyes over to Jak who remained unmoved aside from the odd
scratch or twitch. His knees were drawn to his chest, his arms wrapped
around them. His blue eyes stared out to the distance as if a storm
was brewing instead of the nearly perfect day it was. Outside of the
heart of battle he appeared less malicous, and more lost and vengeful
and like the confused kid he was. Damas nearly regretted speaking, but
he knew he didn't have forever.
Jak jerked suddenly, throwing his body back desending into a defensive
stance. He glared at Damas with glazed eyes, his mouth just opened
enough to let a steady stream of breath in and out. In many ways he
reminded Damas as a stray dog he once encountered on a road.
Damas slowly moved his hand into Jak's vision. "Jak," he said slowly,
cooning him back. "Jak, I'm not going to hurt you."
Slowly Jak's eyes cleared, the silver melting out of them. As
realisation settled in Jak slumped in the sand. "Sorry," he muttered,
wrapping his arm around his chest.
Damas frowned. "When was the last time you slept?"
"When was the last time you slept?" Damas repeated, slightly more
Jak shrugged. "I sleep when I can."
He shivered slightly, just for a moment before he took control over
his body again but it didn't escape Damas. It was boiling hot out, no
one in good health would be shivering.
"What are your symptoms?"
Jak looked up aggravated. "What symptoms? I don't need your concerns,
I take care of myself."
"You're my soldier, my citizen, and thus my concern. Now tell me your
symptoms, unless you wish to disobey the Monarch of the Wastelands."
Damas shot back.
Jak scowled. "The only reason I follow you is because I'm going to
kill the Baron, and your my best in. Anything beyond missions and
leads I don't care about. Anything besides my success doesn't matter
to you. That's how it works."
Damas snorted. "I'm not asking. I say how things work, and this is how
it's working. Now tell me how you feel dammit before you make this any
Jak scowled. "I'm fine, 'sir'."
Damas sighed. "You're as stubborn headed as a pig."
"At least I got better survival rate than them."
Damas growled. "You're really not going to make this easier?"
Jak reamined silent. An easy task for a mute of fifteen years.
Damas growled. He had patience. A great amount of patience. But this
kid was running him dry.
"I just want to make sure you're not going to drop dead in ten
minutes. Anything bite you in there? Infect you maybe?"
Jak gritted his teeth for a moment, holding back so the king knew that
his next words weren't of defeat, but of his choice. "Dark Eco doesn't
hurt me. Or did you already forget that your 'soldier' is a Dark Eco
Damas frowned. Of course he remembered. Had it been any other citizen
and he would've banned them to the Maraunders out of disrespect, but
Jak was his secret weapon. And although it would never be worded, the
kid had grown on him through the short time period since they had met.
Damas studied Jak again. He looked a little green in the face, and
like he was in freezing temperatures instead of a desert. Something
inside him told him it was a little more than the common flu. After
all Jak's been through, it would take a lot for him go show discomfort
like this. Damas slowly formed a plan in his mind.
"Let me take a look on the bites on you side. Dark Eco or not you
still can die from blood lost."
Jak looked up surprised of Damas' knowledge of his injury. At first he
looked as if prepared to refuse, but something crossed his face and he
started pulling his armour over his head.
Damas hid it, but he was surprised at how easily Jak gave in. Maybe he
figured it'd stop the king from pressing for anything else. Whatever
it was, Damas wasn't complaining.
He gently led Jak to lie on the ground so he could get a clear view of
the torn flesh. There were four clear holes were the metalheads canine
bit into the skin, two on his stomach and the remainders on his back.
There were torn, jagged cuts leading from them to meet in the middle
creating two parallel lines. Damas had seen worse, but he couldn't
look away out of some sort of twisted fascination. It was like
something he'd never seen.
The Dark Eco was visible in it, giving the cuts a shiny black look.
However, as Damas studied it further, he saw that the Eco wasn't
infecting the blood or even cut as it had always, but it seemed almost
to be mending the cut. Strands of Eco appeared from sides of the cut,
intertwining with each other weaving over the gap between skin. Layer
by layer the Eco got closer to the surface, not pulling the skin
together like Green Eco, but creating new skin. It was almost beautiful.
Jak's harsh laugh brought Damas back. "First time watched it I started
freaking out. Thought it was going to like completely engulf me or
something once it passed the surface,"
Damas shook his head, refusing to look back at the cut. "When was the
Jak peered around as if looking for something. "A couple years back,"
Damas didn't press. Sig had filled him in on what he knew, which was
limited. Jak was one of the Baron's experiments, and the only one that
lived. Daxter rescued him after a two years of being held captive
there, but in those two years the Baron somehow turned Jak into a
weapon of Dark Eco. Damas was curious as to what excactly happened,
but knew that that wound was still too fresh.
Instead he brought his attention back to the cut, forcing himself not
to be drawn in. "Will it heal itself?"
Jak picked up a handful of sand letting, it run through his fingers
into a pile on the ground. He itched at his neck absent mindedly. "In
a way. It covers it up, kinda like patching up a hole, so it won't get
worse. I can channel Green Eco into it which pretty well makes it as
good as new, no scar or anything, but if I don't do it soon enough the
Dark Eco does the job. Burns like a bitch whenever I get close enough
to more Dark Eco, and leaves a wicked scar."
Damas could see that. All along Jak's forearms were nearly flurescent
scars, seeming almost see through, but yet if he tilted his head jut a
bit they changed and turned metalic. At the edge of Jak's shirt on his
chest, just below where it was pulled up to to reveal his injury was a
large scar same as the ones on his arms, except for in size. It
travelled upwards before disappearing, and was about and inch thick.
And just beside it was a small pink dot. Damas peered at it curiously,
noticing others along Jak's stomach and side same as the first. He ran
his fingers over them gently, feeling as they slightly rose over the
bumps, his skin hot. Scratch marks, a light pink, stood out
prominently now, the original shock of the cut gone. Not metalhead
scratches, human fingernail scratches.
Damas almost started laughing. "Jak, have you ever had Flutpox?"
Jak's blue eyes flicked over warily. "What?"
Crunching sand from behind grabbed both of their attention for a
moment as they watched Sig's hulking figure approach with Daxter on
his shoulder. Jak yanked his shirt down protectively and sat up,
crossing his legs. Daxter jumped from Sig's shoulder, his paws leaving
barely a dent in the sand behind him as he ran to Jak on all four.
"So what's the verdict doc? He gonna make it?" Jak gave Daxter a look
in which Daxted smiled cheekily too. "I knew you'd say that. You need
to calm down my friend. Sit back, put your feet up, sip on a cold one.
You do know how to relax, right?"
Completely lost in Daxter's rambling Damas looked to Sig. Something in
his friend's eyes made Sig wonder. "What are you thinking..?" Sig
murmered under his breath to the king.
Damas smiled as if it was an inside joke. "Guess which one of our most
powerful warriors seemed to have fallen victim to the Flutpox?"
Sig's mouth twisted into a smile, then opened to a laugh. "That's not
something you hear everyday."
Off to the side Daxter was still rambling on, incoherentable to anyone
but Jak. "But that was one time! If it was-"
"Hey, chili peppers, quiet down. We gotta get back to the city.
Kleiver said he felt a storm this morning. We're moving out. Oh and
Jak, you might want to take it easy until itch goes away. Hate for you
to pass it on to anyone else. Then again, most the town's already got
it when they were kids."
Jak stalked of to his vehicle in annoyance. Daxter already questioning
him on his shoulder. Damas yelled out from behind. "If it gets worse I
have some creams! Stop by if you want, it'll-"
Jak revved the engine on to the $&&$. He floored it, disappearing
between large dunes of sands.
Sig and Damas stood where Jak had left them, watching the buggy as it
rode over dunes. Sig chuckled silently, gaining a grin from Damas. "I
barely remember getting the Flutpox, I was just little toddler,"
"As was everyone else. It's a child's sickness. Most get it before
they turn four, in Haven or way out here. How he managed to dodge it
until now I don't understand."
Sig laughed cruely. "Well they say it only gets worse the older you
are. I think we'll be seeing Jak again sooner than later."
Damas joined the laughter, pulling the keys to his vehicle from his
pouch. "Right you are Sig, right you are."