I do not own Red vs Blue. RvB belongs to Rooster Teeth.
Looking back on it, they all could see it coming. Maybe not specifically what was coming, but they all knew it.
CT seemed to know almost psychically that something was going to happen to Agent Washington. It could be said that she was just trying to warn everyone in the Project, and that her foreboding message was meant for them all. However, there was something about the fire in her eyes and the condescending tone in her voice that made would make him think looking back on it that she truly was the prophetess of his doom. She left before she could actually witness the fall of those she at least suffered through trials with. She was never around to know how right she was. But her prophesies were spot on. Even before Wash had his AI.
Carolina knew something was up when he showed up late to an internals meeting. Actually, the fact that Wash showed up to any event less than five minutes early, not to mention late, was something unheard of. He rushed in, trying to get to the only vacant spot as fast as he could without drawing too much attention from the Director's lecture. Everyone stared regardless at him as he finally took a seat.
"Agent Washington, just because you have your new AI unit does not mean that you are allowed to show up late to any of these briefings. Is this your AI's influence?"
"No, Sir." Wash said quickly.
"So what?" His glowing artificial intelligence appeared near the grey Freelancer's shoulder. "We're only ten minutes late. Give us a tardy slip if it'll make you feel better!"
"Epsilon!" Wash cried, as if protesting could extract all the venom from Epsilon's harsh retort.
York stifled a laugh in disbelief of how different the new host and AI pair were.
Everyone in the room was glad they were not under fire of the Director's world-crushing frown as Wash was.
Carolina also threw in her own glare at the grey Freelancer. She felt responsible for him. He was a part of her squad. Any screw-up on their part reflected bad on her. What was wrong with him? Couldn't he control his AI? Sure North pretended the AI was like his child or something and York was a bad influence on his, but she never thought Wash would let an AI get the best of him. If only she knew the half of it.
North noticed about a week later. They were at the firing range. Sure they weren't fighting live targets like they did with the lockdown paint, but that didn't mean it wasn't a competition. Marksmanship was something Wash was extremely skilled at. That was pretty much the only reason he was as high up as he was on the board. The reason he was even accepted into Freelancer at all. If Wash was best, North considered himself second best. Although he favored the weapon with a sight on it, he would often no-scope things just to give himself a challenge. He dared Wash to a friendly game. See who could mow down the most practice dummies in the shortest amount of time using the least amount of bullets. They used battle rifles, and North knew well off that Wash had the advantage. The battle rifle was his bread and butter. But North could never refine his skills unless he challenged someone better than him. He knew he was going to lose, but, with the practice, he was still improving none the less. That was all the satisfaction that North needed.
Taking their positions, North went first. Within a moment, the dummies were all flat to the ground. Bullets ripping a straight line through the middle of their chests.
"Good shooting, North." Wash said, as he loaded his weapon.
Lining up his shot, Wash held down the trigger and bullets rang out.
North first noticed something was up when the sound of clanging metal didn't stop when he expected it. Wash was taking a much longer time than he did. Wash stopped firing for a second, and all the dummies were sitting up just as they had been placed. The line of bullets zigzagging and hitting them only in the shoulder or the thighs. North looked at his friend with a horribly confused expression under his purple helmet.
Wash was standing, unmoving. He must not have believed it himself. He moved a hand to his head and dropped the gun back in the gun locker.
"Wash, where're you going?"
"I have a headache is all." Was the only reply.
North never knew Wash to be the kind to beat himself up like that. The only person he knew who would walk away after missing so badly was CT or South. Although, South would be destroying things as she left. Wash wasn't leaving in anger. It must have been something else.
"What's wrong with Wash? Is he okay?" Theta said, sitting atop North's helmet.
Theta could sense the worry forming in North's conciousness.
"He probably has something on his mind."
If only he could fathom what was really going on inside his head.
Maine noticed when he never seemed to be able to find Wash anymore. Sigma had been keeping Maine's mind occupied with grandiose stories of the classroom lessons, and the other artificial intelligences seemed to really enjoy the inferno AI's company. Maine was never lonely. However, it was Sigma that was irked by the fact that he had not officially met Wash's new AI. Something about him being important to his little Metastability project.
Maine didn't have the heart to break it to the little guy he would never reach metastability. After all, Sigma was a gift. He couldn't go making it upset. He felt it would be like trying to break the present so generously bestowed upon him so he kept silent -like he seemed to everyone else- and just went along with Sigma's little plan.
When Sigma and Maine's minds became concerned over the same thing, there was no stopping them. Maine trudged through the halls with Sigma lighting the way. They walked to Wash's quarters. Knocking on the door revealed no answer. They guessed he must be out somewhere. They moved on to the mess hall. Maine spotted North and York eating at a table, but Wash was not among them. Maine urged Sigma on and he manifested as instructed.
"Have you seen Agent Washington recently?" Sigma asked, almost too polite.
"No. As a matter of fact, I haven't. He's usually here though. Maybe he got dinner early or something?" York said, before taking another bite of his sandwich.
"Yeah, but he's been staying in his room a lot." North added, concern leaking into his voice.
"I have also noticed a new pattern of what York has described as 'antisocial' tendencies in Agent Washington. It tends to reason that because this pattern began after his implantation with Epsilon, the AI might be the cause of this unusual behavior."
"Maybe Epsilon doesn't want to hang out with us." Theta interjected, sounding heartbroken.
"Don't be silly, Theta. Why would that be?" North said, comfortingly.
"I believe Theta's theory, in essence, is correct. Agent Washington had no reluctance with being in our presence before Epsilon was added to his psyche. It would stand to reason that Epsilon has aversion to being in company with other AI or that Agent Washington does not want him to."
The room became silent as Delta's analysis tried to settle with the group of agents.
Sigma's mind became all the more curious as possible reasons, more like conspiracy theories, rose to the top of his mind. Maine listened to them out of courtesy to his brain-partner but didn't believe many of them. Maine knew that they would see Wash eventually. They would be assigned to the same mission at some point. There was no need to invade his privacy if he wanted to be alone. Maine knew that of all people. Sigma reeled inside Maine's mind as they walked out of the mess hall. He attempted to send Sigma calming thoughts. Nothing was going to happen to Wash that would prevent Epsilon from meeting Sigma. The little AI would just have to be patient.
However, as Maine would soon learn, the Meta waited and cared for no one.
"Wash! Open up!" South called, as she kicked the door to Wash's room a few times.
North let him barrow a few books to read, books that were actually hers, and she fully intended on getting them back whether he was done with them or not. She just got her butt handed to her in a training match, and she really wanted to cool down by reading her books!
There was no answer.
"I know you're in there! Let me in or I'm breaking down the freaking door!" She threatened.
The took her stance and kicked at a panel in the wall. The control panel opened up and, after pulling a few wires, the door opened with a hiss.
South noticed when she smelled alcohol. The room reeked of it. The room was littered with bottles and cans and little pools of amber liquid.
She walked with caution half expecting Wash to be lying dead on the ground.
He was lying on the ground, but he wasn't dead. He was just passed out from the look of it.
He was half in, half out of armor. Still in the black under suit, but only random pieces of armor were still dawned. His eyes had huge bags under them, and his mouth was hanging open like some slobbery dog.
South was surprised that Mr. Protocol was hoarding booze, but, what she was most angry about was that he wasn't sharing any!
She picked him up and heaved him back onto his bed. He barely stirred. A flickering blue light of his stupid AI buzzed for a second. It seemed to be drunkenly looking at her for a second then shut back down.
"You are pathetic." She said, as she took a seat and looked over the unbelievably drunk soldier. She opened up a bottle of what looked like vodka, and chugged down a gulp or two.
Why was he like this though? He wasn't on the training schedule until Thursday. He didn't deserve to have all this. She walked around and picked up random, unopened cans of beer. Preparing to haul them back to her own room. Books weren't nothin' compare to these. When she heard a voice calling from the bed.
"Yur lucky, Souf."
"What?" She turned around to see he had closed his eyes again and faded back to sleep.
She shook her head. "No, you're lucky I don't tell anyone about this."
With that she marched out with her arms full of plunder. For a split second she listened to the good angel and shut the door behind her.
He'd get caught eventually. She didn't have to squeal on him if he was going to show up anywhere like that.
Whatever he was trying to escape from, she hoped it wasn't contagious.
York noticed when they were walking to a training session. York had to go get him because he didn't seem to want to show up on his own. Wash walked onto the training floor without having said a word to him. York tried to get him to talk, but Wash didn't seem to be all there today.
"Hey, man. What's up? You're acting a little-"
Then Wash stumbled over himself and dropped his battle rifle he was carrying. Wash caught himself, but his rifle clattered to the ground.
York stood there with his jaw dropped open.
Wash never dropped his battle rifle.
He'd seen Wash jump off of a crumbling building still carrying his battle rifle. When a nuke threatened to blow them all to smithereens, Wash still held on to his battle rifle. When they took 479er's express elevator of doom to the Innie Base, Wash gripped the guide bars underhanded like he would his battle rifle. On the same mission, they nearly got demolished by a rocket launcher at point-blank range, and Wash managed to shoot it out of the Innie's hands in mid-air. No, something was seriously wrong with him.
"Wash, you wanna tell me what's going on. Right. Now." He grabbed the grey and yellow Freelancer's arm to prevent him from walking away.
Instead, the blonde Freelancer fell to the ground and held his head.
"Graaa!" Wash cried out, as he swatted York's hand away and fell into the fetal position, spasming on the ground.
"Someone get help! NOW!"
They somehow managed to subdue the Freelancer and cart him off to the med bay.
York called to Delta, the only one he knew that would be able to make sense of that.
"Insufficient data. However, it would be a safe assumption to say that Agent Washington's mind and Epsilon are not coexisting at optimal capacity."
"More like not coexisting at all."
Everyone knew something was wrong with Agent Washington when he attacked the Director when he came to check on his recovery in the hospital. The med crew attempted miserably at restraining the maddened Lancer, and Wash smashed through them easily. He took the Director to the ground and started wailing on him fist after fist. The rest of the Freelancers rushed to protect their leader. Carolina was the one who managed to pry Wash away, taking several bone-cracking blows meant for the Director. York and North wrestled Wash to the ground while the med staff gathered what was left of them and tended to the Director of Project Freelancer. They all had the same question on their minds: we should have known something like this was going to happen!
Not so long later, Wash would be carted off to the loony bin. His AI was gone, but that also meant no more would ever come.
CT would disappear. Attempting to completely hide from all things that brought back memories of Project Freelancer, but with even more of a reason to hate it.
Carolina would be killed. Just like Wash's innocence, and AI.
North would be stay with Freelancer until he died. He had to protect Theta, and his sister. He had too much to risk to be risky.
Maine would change his name, and Sigma would become more powerful. The Project restrained him so they left it -in ruins.
South would never forgive Washington for what his AI did. She would always be inferior to her brother now. Unless...
York would defect from the Project and continue to pollute Delta's sense of right and wrong by retreating into a life of crime. Strangely enough, it didn't seem that different from life in the Project.
Everyone Wash knew would die when he left the mental hospital. Some not right away and some by his own hand, but they were all dead to him now. Just because one of them came back to jar loose many horrible memories didn't make her any less dead to him. He wasn't the same and neither was she.
Looking back on it, they all could see it coming. Maybe not specifically what was coming, but they all knew it.
This was just my contribution to the "Wash goes insane" sadist party that everyone's having. I figured I'd better get this up before we see how it actually happens, and it becomes irrelevant.
Maybe I should write something about Maine and Sigma because I like the idea that Maine doesn't go against Sigma initially because Sigma was Carolina's gift to him rather than Sigma was outsmarting him.
South is really fun to write for. She's so sassy and snarky. It's awesome. Especially the dynamic between her and Wash.
I didn't include Wyoming in this because I feel I understand his character the least. I didn't feel comfortable putting words in his mouth if I wasn't sure it would be something he would actually say.
Comment if you so desire.
Looking forward to it.