Let's discuss Avengers: Infinity War -- a movie BOUND to make you feel so good!

November 7, 2012

Spirit Showdown #4: The Hoodlum

And here we are at the fourth installment.

I find it kind of funny that this next guy would pop up in an instance like this.  I’ve mentioned before that four is my “lucky” number (though “coincidental” would probably be the better description).  It’s certainly my favorite number, in spite of -- or maybe because of -- the death-infused connotations that come alongside it.  Whatever the case, it’s a cool number, and certainly meets my qualifications of being able to tell odd numbers to piss off.

What I find interesting is that on this, the fourth post, there’s going to be a marked change in a number of ways.  The last three heroes focused on the “Power Trio” -- characters that belong to (theoretically) simple stories, and make their way through them with strong offenses.  The next three belong to the “Speed Trio” -- their abilities are centered on skill and maneuverability.  More importantly, their stories aren’t quite as squeaky-clean as the last three; we’re starting to slide into some “shades of gray” territory here.  And who better to kick off the transition than this guy -- someone who’s done such a massive flip-flop in character that he might as well be a different character?  With character?

You might want to have your inhaler ready, people.  It’s about to get friggin’ weird.

So I guess I should start by saying…

…Wait a second.  It’s feeling kind of lonely in here all of a sudden.  Empty, too.  And less full of scathing sarcasm than I remember.  What’s going on here?


…What the hell do you want?
Oh good, you made it.  I was starting to worry you’d abandoned me.

I had, honestly.  I really don’t feel like putting myself through this again -- especially with so little payoff.
You’re not having fun?

Is it that obvious?
Look, you got your week off, so you should be all refreshed and ready to go.  So no need for this negativity, all right?  This is a happy place.  Not necessarily powered by smiles, but I’m looking into ways to use them as a backup energy source.

You’d be better off investing in a window.  But enough of the pleasantries -- and I use that term lightly.  Sell this guy in ten words.
Scumbag on the outside, milquetoast on the inside.  With guns.

Is it too late to leave?  Because I really wouldn’t mind leaving and not asking any more questions.
Hey, come on now.  This is the story for you.  This guy here is actually part of a gritty story. 

Wait, what?  Now hold on a minute -- haven’t you said, repeatedly, how you don’t like gritty stories?  Haven’t you found ways to bring them up in conversations where they have no place, if only to poke fun at them and point out how wrong they are?
So to speak. I make more jokes about Final Fantasy 13 -- MOSTLY CAUSE IT’S A TERRIBLE GAME, AMIRITE GUYS? -- but I’ve taken the piss out of gritty stories in the past.

And yet you think that, in your infinite wisdom, you have what it takes to write one?
More or less.  Which is exactly why my plan is to make an “anti-gritty gritty story.”

I long for the days when you made sense…whenever those were.
Then let me start from the beginning, and see if I can clear things up for you.

First of all, Cobalt’s original design took heavy inspiration from Devil May Cry’s Dante.  But the differences were more than just aesthetic.  They were both cocky troublemakers.  They were cool dudes with lots of fancy moves.  They engaged, and delighted in, stylish crazy action.  They had moments revealing more beyond their joking, adrenaline junkie facades.  I think at one point Cobalt had his own version of a Devil Trigger (one with a wolf motif).  The only discernible differences were that Cobalt had a dark blue outfit and pale blue hair -- get it?  Because his name’s Cobalt? -- and that Cobalt relied solely on guns, while Dante used melee weapons and guns.

The idea was based on a simple rule: Cobalt cannot be a nice guy.  He could do nice things, but in general he was to be -- as Shakespeare would put it -- a total asshole.  He’d be a far cry from the straight-up heroics of Deias, the love-filled misadventures of Ursa (or Mel, at the time), the hot-blooded antics of Ocelot V, and the…well, I’ll get to those other two later.  But the point was that Cobalt was going to be THE anti-hero of my roster.  If all the others got together at a party, he’d be the one in a corner by himself, texting to all his friends how many losers had shown up and how much of a drag the party was -- but that wouldn’t stop him from eating the snacks, trying to steal a kiss, and then leaping out the window and dive-bombing the street below to the sound of some butt-rock.

It didn’t pan out.  And the impetus was his hair.

It was smooth and droopy at first (like Dante’s), but constant doodles led to constant revisions.  Eventually I decided that the droopy hair was boring, and unbefitting a cool guy like him.  So I gave him spiky hair -- perfect for a punk with a bad attitude -- and for years and years it stuck.  But there was a problem.  Drawing Cobalt’s hair was consistently a pain in the ass, to the point that whenever I had a chance to do so, I thought “Naaaaaaaaaaah.”  And as such, I ended up putting him and his story on the shelf a lot more than I care to admit; since I’m thinking about the characters as I draw them, there’s a level of intimacy that’s lost.  And with that lost, I’m more likely to make big changes.

And change him I did.  Years later I said to myself, “You know what?  That hair’s not only a pain in the ass to draw, but it’s a pain in the ass to describe.  ‘Hair like a sawblade’?  What kind of shit is that?  Is it like a Mohawk or something?  No way!  So screw this, I’m changing his hair!”  So I simplified his hair into something easier to manage -- and with that simplified hair, a simplified wardrobe followed soon after.  Once content with giving him an outfit that would make belt aficionado Tetsuya Nomura stiffen in the trousers, I put him in something easier to draw, easier to describe, and easier to remember for future endeavors, be it writing or drawing.  This led to a bit of a problem: the simplified design, in my eyes, seemed like a misfit for the cocksure personality that I’d given him.  Combined with the increasingly-complex world I dreamed up for him, the shift of other characters, and my own changing experiences and appreciation with media, the Dante-clone had to die.  And quickly.

Not like that!  Oh, GOD not like that!

So your design philosophy did a one-eighty. 
Pretty much.  I think the biggest problem with proto-Cobalt was that Dante already existed; there was no need for a clone.  Now, the OPPOSITE of a clone…there’s potential in that.  So I pretty much started from step one, and turned him from an anti-hero to an anti-zero.

S-see that?  See what I did there?  Because he was a cool guy hero, and now he’s a…he’s a nobody.  It’s wordplay!   It’s fantastic, it’s a lot of fun.

I’ve been watching some JonTron videos while you were away.  Anyway, Cobalt’s spirit is…


Can you feel the emotion?  A wish that transcends time and space, embedded deep within the soul of a man!  It’s the force that creates a cascade, a tsunami that can transform oneself and the entire world!

Dreams, huh?  That’s a pretty innocent spirit, considering your talk of a gritty story.
I’m well aware.  The plan is to juxtapose this story -- to have a mix of unlike elements to create a memorable concept.  If all else fails, I imagine the world itself has as much potential, if not more so, than the hero himself.

Here we go…
The story takes place on “Planet 187” -- a planet whose name has long since been forgotten.  Its most notable characteristic?  Ninety-four percent covered by oceans.  Continents are not only foreign concept, but an impossibility -- what few bits of land exist are islands dotting the surface.  As you can imagine, there’s not much room for the average country’s population, much less an entire planet’s worth.

Luckily, that’s hardly worth conflict.  Outside of a certain few, 187’s population lives almost exclusively underwater.  At a base level, it’s accomplished by sprawling underwater cities -- not unlike Rapture from the original BioShock, but with a few…well, let’s call them “differences” for now.

But for now, there’s an important detail that needs to be known: none of the characters in this story are human.  At all. 

Cobalt looks human enough.
He looks human, but he isn’t.  He’s actually part-shark.

Why do I even talk…?
You saw those chompers of his, didn’t you?  That’s not just a stylistic choice -- those are his real teeth.  Plus his hair is supposed to be reminiscent of a great white; ideally, it should look a bit like a shark’s fin, and bits of the color are at least vaguely represented.  And of course, he’s a pretty good swimmer.

But it looks like he’s got some flourishes on him.  Care to explain why he’s got sutures and screws all over him?
I’ll get to that.  But what’s important to note is that Cobalt’s beastly attributes aren’t the norm; in a sense, they’re the exception.  There are other semi-humanoids like him, of course, but you’re more likely to find people that are less human and more…marine.

Do a Google Search for “sea creatures.”  Scroll down for a while.  What did you see?  A squid?  A sea anemone?  Some whales?  Crabs?  Eels, seahorses?  Jellyfish, starfish, angler fish, clown fish, puffer fish -- imagine seeing any of those creatures with varying levels of humanoid elements, scaled up to human size (sometimes smaller, sometimes larger).  Now imagine them being able to walk, talk, swim, and do pretty much everything humans can do, while regularly combined with some of the unique abilities of underwater creatures.

It’s a dangerous world.  Very dangerous.  There are noted divisions according to how human each creature is.  The most human live on the islands, excised from society and doing who-knows-what without interruption.  Everyone else lives underwater.  The human-ish live out their daily lives in the cities, however they can.  The less-human are treated like the foul beasts that they are, and get shafted from all but the most meager essentials.  The beastly own the waters surrounding the cities, regularly breaking in to pillage and plunder.  And below that?  Who knows?  No one tries to think about what sort of horrific creatures lurk within the shadowy depths…though there are many that know the truth, by virtue of supposedly living alongside them.  There are underwater cities, but just because they’re there doesn’t mean that every caste enjoys the same standards of living.  Remember, this is the ocean they live in; classes are defined just as much by how deep your home is underwater as it is by wealth.  The rules aren’t universal; whoever holds the most sway makes the rules.

And that, essentially, is the only rule 187 has.  There is no law.  No order.  No government.  Not since the days of hold have there been a federal, state, or even local center of power; it all comes down to the clashes between groups vying for control -- for money, for territory, for comforts, for vices, for victory.  You’re as likely to find a family gathered under the orders of a mob boss as you are a family bound by blood.  Crime runs rampant, from the efforts of organized groups (barely a step above thugs and hitmen) to the wild assaults of hotheaded gangbangers.  You never know who’s carrying a gun -- or who might steal your next meal, or con you out of your house, or just do the polite thing and run you through with a knife.

On 187, there are three helpful hints to live by.  1) Get tough fast.  2) Make some powerful allies.  3) Try not to die.

Sounds like a great place to live.
It would be if it wasn’t for the whole “under the sea” thing.  You know how I feel about the ocean -- it’s scary and I hate it.

Now where exactly does your “hero” fit into the story?
He starts off as a simple gardener, making a (very) modest living selling coral in his district.  Well, as modest a living one can make when you’re surrounded on all sides by roving gang members who’ll tug you into an alley and roughhouse you if you so much as blink at them.  Still, his district could be much, much worse off, and as long as you keep your head down you’ll be fine.

Except one day, Cobalt oversteps his bounds.  All he does is step on some random goon’s foot, and even then it’s by accident.  That’s all it takes for the goon to call in his pals and try to trash the shop.  Cobalt tries to get them to stop as carefully and peacefully as he can, but every effort he makes ends up causing more damage and chaos…so much so that the goons end up killing each other in the mayhem.  That’s all it takes for the rest of the gang to get riled up, and start wreaking havoc throughout the district -- extortion and assaults by the dozen to compensate for the “attack” against them.  Cobalt tries to fix things, of course, especially because they (probably) wouldn’t have gone on the attack if he’d confessed to the accident.  Unfortunately, things only get worse -- not only does he make the gang lash out even harder, but he gets roped into a conflict between that gang and another gang…and suddenly, he’s roped into being a bodyguard for the second gang’s boss.  And then, he’s not only involved in an all-out war in the streets, but ends up creating a ripple effect that starts to shake the foundation of the criminal underworld.  And because of it, a fearsome crime syndicate starts mobilizing to get everything -- the district, the cities, and perhaps even the world -- under its control.

Another failure of a hero.  Cute.
Well, there is a silver lining to all of this.  The gearing-up of the crime syndicate -- the Tetrads -- alerts Cobalt to a very important detail: the girl he had a crush on back in the day is not only still alive, but a member of its forces.  His chief instinct?  To reunite with her by any means necessary…and as it stands, the best way to do that is to get in reeeeeeeeeal tight with the Tetrads.  And so begins his exploration -- and descent -- into the depths of a life of crime.

The problem is that he’s not exactly suited for the job.  Am I right?
Who gave you that idea?

You’ve telegraphed it since the start.
Oh.  Right.  Probably should have reconsidered my arrangements.

Well, yeah.  Cobalt is not a tough guy.  Like, at all.  It’s easy to assume that he’s a tough guy thanks to his punk-tastic look, nasty posture, and a grimace being his (accidental) default expression.  In reality, Cobalt is nice and polite to an absurd degree; he’s an awkward, stuttering mess who’s frightened easily, has little experience in social situations, and can make the average wallflower look like a social butterfly.  In a world of vice and crime and adult situations, he has trouble drumming up a conversation with anything even vaguely resembling a female.  The reason why things escalate so quickly with that gang is mostly because he was busy hiding under his bed once things got hot and heavy.  He’s a mess…and yet he’s willing to go forward with his plan of joining the Tetrads so he can be with a certain someone.

He’s a wimp, but that doesn’t mean he’s without scruples.  He’s got a surprisingly strong sense of honor and justice; even if people around him aren’t doing the right thing, he’ll be sure to do it on his own.  Even if people tend to mistake him for some kind of no-good tough guy based on looks alone, he’ll still (awkwardly) help out anyone who needs it, even if they don’t want or need his help.  And even if he’s worming his way into the criminal underworld, he’ll be sure to use his increasingly-worrisome reputation to do good…if that’s even possible.

It certainly helps that, pansy or not, Cobalt is one of the most dangerous people on the planet.

So, he’s one of the “speedsters”.
That’s right.  But that’ just a taste of what he has to offer. 

For starters, Cobalt is an ace at kung-fu…or some facsimile of it, what with the whole “different planet” thing.  As the story itself is rife with nods to Chinese culture and cinema (wuxia and John Woo films well among them?), it’s only natural that its denizens, Cobalt included, knows some wicked martial arts.  And the hoodlum is quick to provide -- his art relies heavily on the use of his legs, delivering kicks at such a rapid pace that he might as well be a machine.  Of course, he has no problems mixing it up with some body blows; if he hits you with his back or shoulder, your own may very well end up broken.

Just like Virtua Fighter's Akira -- whom I drew inspiration from.  

Of course, Cobalt has more than martial arts skills to his name -- and by extension, so does everyone else on 187.  There’s a nifty little quirk to its denizens: each one has a weapon that’s essentially an external part of their bodies.  They’re born with it in their hands -- tiny masses of scales and cells that don’t seem like much at first, but as the person gets older, those cells end up evolving and manifesting in different ways, and can even be retracted into one’s body at will.  Generally speaking, everyone on 187 is packing heat; the problem is that you never know what form their heat will take.  One character -- part-clown fish -- gets folding paper fans that double as SMGS.  Another one -- part-squid -- gets brass knuckles that fire off bullets with each punch.  A whale of a man lugs around a tank cannon. 

Cobalt’s gun?  A pair of water guns.  No, not guns made of water -- we’re talking real water pistols.  They may look like real guns, but unlike other 187 arms (which typically shoot spontaneously-generated clumps of hardened scales), Cobalt’s guns shoot water.  It may sound like a weakness, but it isn’t always; he can control the stopping power of each shot with his willpower, and by extension the ferocity -- and velocity -- of each attack.  (He still has to reload, though; after twenty-one shots with either gun, he has to spin them to refill the magazines.)  In other words, he’s kind of like Blastoise. 

But what makes him really dangerous -- as if the quick kicks and rapid-fire gunplay weren’t enough -- is his speed.  If Ursa’s stats dump everything into raw power, Cobalt dumps everything into pure speed.  He doesn’t have much in the way of durability, and even his strongest attacks are a bit lacking, but that doesn’t matter if you can’t hit him.  He can do more than run circles around his opponents; he can run up and down walls.  He can outrun most vehicles.  He can rush down an enemy and get in a few kicks before they’ve even drawn their weapons.  And that’s what he can do while he’s holding back.   He can “kickstart” to take his speed up a step higher -- to Step One, Step Two, and finally Step Three.  While the tradeoff is that the increased speed leads to him exhausting and even hurting himself, the benefit is that each Step makes him significantly more dangerous.  If he ever goes to Step Three (something he’s afraid to use, given that it could kill him), there are three things you need to know.

1) You can’t run away.

2) You’re already dead.

3) You had it coming.

So he’s a tough guy, but not a “tough guy”.  I’m assuming that he’s the type to go into action after the bad guys have made a mess of things.
More or less, yes -- but since things tend to get a bit wild, it’s not uncommon for him to try and keep the peace however he can.

I have to say, I’m not quite seeing the connection here.  Is a daffodil like him really supposed to be the deciding factor in stopping the crime that plagues the planet?  Is he really doing all of this for a girl?  And what does all of this have to do with dreams?
You’re a bit impatient today.  Has that vacation of yours left you a little antsy?

Well, whatever.  I should start by saying that, yes, Cobalt IS doing all of this for a girl -- well, a woman now.  He knew her well in the past, and fell for her way back then.  See, Cobalt is special; he’s got loads of natural talent that make him a fearsome fighting machine by default.  It’s a trait that was quickly noted by his master and adoptive father, Bismuth; the reclusive master immediately took Cobalt on as his student and trained him (and raised him) over the course of many years, along with a handful of similarly-but-not-quite-as-talented fighters.  Everything went well until that certain girl showed up on Bismuth’s doorstep, beaten-up and ragged, but with a real fire in her eyes.

But that fire wasn’t enough.  Bismuth knew immediately that the girl had zero potential, and knew immediately that she had to go.  But Cobalt had already started forming a bond with her, and that bond led to (one-sided) love.  He admired her spirit, her passion, and most of all her dream: to create a world with peace and order, up to and including the construction of a new government.  Inspirational stuff, to be sure…but in the end, the words of a child.  Bismuth gave her the boot -- an action that began driving a wedge between Cobalt and the master.  It reaches a point where Cobalt not only un-learns their shared fighting style (and refuses to fight with his fists ever again), but he can’t stand the sight of the master, and strikes out on his own…a fourteen-year-old boy, eager to take on that dream and make it a reality.  In a world riddled with crime.

It goes about as well as you expect.

A lot of years have passed since then, but it’s an event that’s fresh in Cobalt’s memory -- not just the fact that he failed to do anything worthwhile (and still is, prior to the story’s start), but that he didn’t have the courage to reach out to that girl when it mattered most.  And now he lives in a world where the status quo is a gangster paradise. 

Trying to make up for past mistakes…
In a sense, yes.  But in spite of that, it’s not his dream.  His dream isn’t just to reunite with her; it’s to have her accept him as his husband (and become a splendid one at that, becoming a world-renowned coral breeder while she saves the world).  He let her go once, and he’s not about to do it again; he’ll find her, support her, and be a man worthy of her noble dream and indomitable spirit.  Of course, he’ll have to figure out just why she’s working for a crime syndicate, and even then earn the Tetrads’ trust, and even then survive after making a cavalcade of new enemies.

He has his aspirations, but he knows he’s not the kind of man worthy for her -- not yet, at least.  His adventure is as much a story of “clean-up duty” as it is in becoming a man, or at least someone brave enough to stand up for himself and take risks when there’s not a life on the line.  Likewise, he has to figure out what it means to be “a cool guy”; thanks to his looks he can put up a façade of looking tough and brutal, but as his adventure continues he’ll have to come to terms with the fact that being cool isn’t as simple as pretending to be like every other scumbag out there.  It helps, but that’s not the only way.

Keep that in mind for later, because I’m going to come back to it.

Which part?
The last line -- but if you could remember everything else up to this point…yeah, that’d be great.

It should be noted that 187, generally speaking, is a terrible place to live.  Countless buildings have fallen into disrepair, and those that aren’t are seedy bad guy hangouts -- casinos, bars, blubs, all the “good” stuff.  You’re more likely to find a handful of criminals patrolling the streets than anyone even thinking about being a cop.  Sanitation varies from district to district; there’s no poop smeared anywhere, but some districts are so full of garbage that the town square looks worse than a hoarder’s closet.  Owning a car is a surefire way to get robbed, killed, or otherwise be in the epicenter of an explosion.  The default ambience is full of gunshots and yells, no matter the time of day.  And remember, this is all taking place underwater -- and because maintenance is something only a few can give a crap about, it’s not uncommon for entire districts to get flooded and turned into deep-sea ruins. 

Cobalt doesn’t live in a nice place.  Nor does he explore one over the course of his journey.  This is a world where crime is the status quo, and everyone has a gun by default -- if not the one they were born with, then guns that are just as lethal, maybe more, by virtue of black markets and arms deals.   He’s surrounded by vice, and is expected to -- and frequently has to -- do the same unless he wants to stall his progress or end up dead.  He has to work as a debt collector, and gets roped into harassing those that haven’t paid.  He has to hunt down fat-cat crime lords, and give them “a stern talking-to.”  He has to fight goon after goon after goon, unable to stop until he leaves them as bloody, crying sacks of seafood.  He regularly has to skip town to avoid retaliation, with the price on his head climbing steadily higher each time.  He’ll get betrayed over and over and over again by bosses, friends, the elderly, children, and even the girl he’s been pining for all this time. 

He's a good guy at heart, but remember, Cobalt sometimes (or rather, often) has to put on a facade to look tougher than he is.  The consequence of this is that he's constantly worried that he'll stop being a nice guy and turn into just another hoodlum strutting through the streets.  It certainly doesn't help that on the surface, the Tetrads are doing their best to clean up 187, making Cobalt look like even more of a bad guy.  Granted the syndicate is doing anything BUT spreading peace and love, but when you constantly have to do nasty things, it weighs down on you.

With that in mind, even nice guys have their limits.  And you can bet that Cobalt reaches his…meaning that he ends up making one critical mistake.  Something that’d make even a goon take pause.  One moment of hesitation -- of inaction -- leads to something that can’t be fixed with good intentions and apologies.  I won’t spoil what happens, but let’s just say “the boom is thusly lowered.”

Sounds grisly.
I think the word you’re looking for is “gritty.”

Or not.

I think the word I’m looking for -- once again -- is “failure.”
Now hold on there, buckaroo.  Remember that line I wanted you to remember roughly four hundred words ago?  Well, it’s back with a vengeance!

“That’s not the only way” is a big part of Cobalt’s story -- and by extension, the lynchpin of establishing dreams as the story’s spirit.  That girl from the past based her dream of law and order around it, believing that crime isn’t the only way for an entire planet to continue its day-to-day misadventures.  Cobalt, nice guy that he is, opts to use his skills and less-than-pleasant prestige to make whatever place he visits a better place however he can, and believes that violence isn’t the only way (even though he’s so very, very good at it).  As he travels, he meets lots of people with their own thoughts, beliefs and motivations -- and with them, dreams that lay dormant within them, buried under 187’s grime.  Hell, even martial arts master Bismuth has a dream, and he’s the story’s big bad.

That’s the clincher for the story, in a way.  Everyone has a dream that’s been buried, and it’s by the efforts of Cobalt and the people around him that they begin rising to the surface.  In the same sense that the ripple effect of his first action (i.e his skittish cowardice and awkwardness in a shootout) created waves that started a globe-spanning battle for criminal supremacy, so too does his journey create waves that uncover the desires buried underneath layers of lawless oppression and hopelessness.  Is it enough to change the entire planet for the better, and bring an end to the constant struggles?  That much I’m not going to say anytime soon.  But there are effects that can be seen and felt.  Almost by accident, Cobalt’s interactions with a bouncer, a con artist, and an assassin remind them of the things that they wanted to be at one point -- and suddenly, little by little, they start moving toward aspirations of becoming an archaeologist, a dancer, and an astronaut.  And then those people start to affect other people, while Cobalt continues affecting others with his good-natured-albeit-utterly-discomfited-presence.  Bit by bit, 187’s denizens -- regardless of where they are on the boss’ list -- start to realize that there are other ways to live, and other ways to interact with one another.  You can think of it as the start of a revolution…betwixt another hail of bullets and gang signs.

So this “anti-gritty gritty story” is so-called because in spite of the aesthetics, it’s still an idealistic tale.
Yeah…and the fact that it’s silly as hell.

What are you --?
There’s a teenage gangbanger squid-boy who speaks almost exclusively in rap lyrics and break-dances while shooting four guns at once, a clown fish-finned showgirl that loves to troll and saving up to build her own submarine to search the depths of the planet for buried treasure, and a cult of bald-headed goons in skin-tight suits that wants nothing more than to turn Cobalt into their servant (which Cobalt interprets as them wanting to make him their sex slave).  Also, that girl that Cobalt’s pining for?  Part puffer fish -- and every time she gets riled up, her already-prodigious bust balloons in size.  And there’s a scene where Cobalt has to fight in a bath house, but he doesn’t want to see anyone -- male or female -- nude, so he ends up getting into some hilarious mishaps.  And there’s another scene where he discovers beer for the first time, and taps into his latent skills in drunken kung-fu.  Oh, and he wins the lottery.

And he’s being stalked by a drag queen.

…Is that everything?
Yes.  Wait, no.  The story’s all told from Cobalt’s perspective, so you’ll get to see his reactions and thoughts completely undiluted.

And I think that’s -- oh, wait, no.  One more thing.  The reason why he’s got all that metal on his body?  When he was fifteen, he got thrown into the depths and torn apart by undersea creatures.  But the verifiable deity of 187 found him and sewed him back together.  Somehow.  Cobalt’s kind of unclear on the details…but then again, I don’t blame him.  The sea’s a terrible place.

Screw the ocean!

Please tell me we’re done.
Yeah, I think that’s everything -- barring Cobalt’s theme song.

Good.  So I’m free to go at last.
Hey, hey!  Don’t you want to stick around for a bit?  It’s been a while since we last saw each other, so I figured we could pal around.  You know Halo 4 just came out, and --

Not interested.
Oh, right -- you don’t like Master Chief, do you?  Well, I know someone you would like -- a young lady very near and dear to your heart!

Yep, it’s true.  And here she is!  Well, sort of.

You moron.  Don’t screw with me like that.
You are seriously uptight.  Want to talk about it?

Not with you.  I’m out of here.

…I’m starting to think he doesn't like me.

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