Jak's mood hadn't gotten any better during the time spent waiting. He wasn't going to sit around and wait for Torn to start yelling this time. He had his own agenda.
"How did the Baron know we were so close to making a move for the stone?" he asked, barging into the hideout like he owned the joint. Or like he didn't care who owned it. Same diff.
"It's my fault."
For once, Torn wasn't barking orders. He was sitting hunched over near the back wall, staring at the floor. He sounded beat-up, nearly defeated. He looked like the life had been drained straight out of him. Like he'd been smacking himself around for days, not sleeping too much.
Three years ago, Jak might have had it in him to care.
"The Baron threatened to kill Ashelin for spying," Torn whispered, ragged. "His own daughter. I couldn't risk that. Not even for the Underground."
Cry Jak a river.
"Right," Daxter snorted. Jak didn't have to guess why Dax was in a mood - reports had come in yesterday that they'd taken Tess, too. "Very good thinking. Except Praxis has the Precursor Stone now, so he can do whatever he wants!"
Jak's arms crossed. Yeah, Torn. Real smart thinking.
"There's... still a chance to get our friends back," Torn muttered. He seemed to find some strength left in his limbs, pushing himself upright. "...and maybe the Precursor Stone as well. I'll find Vin." Some of his regular harshness was back, too. "Go to the Fortress and we'll call you."
And Jak would be cheering for the change, really, if it wasn't for the fact that Torn had sold them out and that wasn't something he was about to just gloss over. "And why should we trust you?" he sneered, crowding Torn's space.
"Because you and I both know the Baron really would've killed Ashelin."
Torn's answer was swift. To the point. True.
She made things complicated.
Fine. Torn won this round.
"It'll be a tough fight through the Fortress," Torn offered. There was something like sympathy, or worry, or something in his voice.
Still didn't make up for it.
"...probably suicide," Torn muttered.
Sure. Try to play the sympathy card. "You just get the fortress door open," Jak snapped, losing his temper again. "I'll be there."
Without another word, he stormed out of the hideout, snarling. For once, Dax was right there with him.
The doors were open when Jak got there. At least Torn had managed to get that part right. Big win; it'd still be Jak getting the ugly shit done, but that was just how the world worked.
The storage room just past the door was clear of enemies, but he could hear the guards talking further down the hall. Stuff about the Underground picking up, and - to his grim satisfaction - a few rumors about a white-skinned devil tearing up the place.
But idle chatter coming from a whole room full of 'bots and guards, firing at him like he was part of a turkey shoot. He was moving before he as much as remembered about his feet: emptying his Vulcan barrel of all two hundred blue eco bullets within a minute's time, switching to red when the flow of Krimzon Guard became too much for the blaster.
He made a run for it. Abused his JET-board well. Everywhere, there seemed to be gunfire. Turrets, bots, people. He slid along a railing near the center of the next room to avoid detection and dispatched two more bots with well-aimed yellow fire.
And yet more explosive bots, five, six, seven, a whole fucking swarm: taken care of. Nothing now between him and his objective beyond a set of doors, and...
... the chair, sitting in the middle of the room. Serene like hell now. If it wasn't for the enormous amount of wiring and sharp angles and technology above it, you almost couldn't tell that it had been used to pump sheer hell into Jak's brain for over two years.
The dark eco in him sang a jagged tune. His lips curled up into a snarl.
"Jak," Daxter said, pointing at the heavy doors up ahead, four or five. The cells. Right.
No time to waste on memories.
He gave the chair another quick, dark look. One day. (One day you are going to pay -- dark eco cycle engaged our dark warrior program finish this thing tonight--)
"...Hey there, sweetheart! The Metal Head Masher has saved the day!"
The sound of Daxter's voice snapped him out of his thoughts for real this time, and he swung his head over to catch the sight of Tess's blonde locks and cocked hips. "My hero!" she cooed.
... he had to avert his eyes, because, really.
In the process, he caught sight of the next opened cell. "Samos?" he inquired, stepping closer. "...are you all right?"
"What took you so long? I added nine rings to my trunk just waiting for you to get me out of there!"
... that wasn't younger Samos. Only one person complained about that-- and he was stomping into the room with his usual lack of how do you do, leaving Younger Samos behind him in the cell. Younger. Older. Younger. Older.
Jak foresaw a headache coming up here.
"... GREAT YAKKOW HORNS!" And suddenly Older Samos was right there up in front of them. "Jak! What happened to you?!"
Oh. Yeah. He was never getting tired of that one. Really.
"WAIT A MINUTE!" Daxter hopped onto the floor. "You're you! I mean, the other you! I mean... you know what I mean."
Headaches. All around. Headaches.
"Yes," said Younger Samos, by far more serene. "It would appear I have an older Time-Twin. By the great grubs! I am so... cranky!"
... actually, Jak decided, as the two of them set off into a massive argument about whether or not they needed to go find the still-missing kid, he had vastly underestimated just how big a headache this was going to be.
Dax, for his part, hid behind Jak's ankles.
Precursors. This was the last thing he needed. What he needed was to get the hell out of this room.
"Vin's activated the warp gate. We gotta go."
And he was going to get the hell back to Fandom while the Sages battled it out about the best course of action. He was so not getting involved in that shit.
He gave the chair one more look before he made a run for it.
[[ very very mild mentions of trauma, nfb, nfi, and ooc-okay! ]]