Title: But What Would You Need a Tenaspy FOR?
Premise, or Lack Thereof: Origin story for Tentaspy.
Reason for Banishment: Not enough detail, parts of the story come off as Deus Ex Machina, especially the ending.
When the Tentaspy been told it was an accident, he believed it. A thorough investigation would be made, the Medic said. And the Tentaspy had agreed that even if a cure might not ever be found, they had to insure that there would not be a repeat incident.
(Stupid, stupid, stupid! He knew their Medic was some sort of sociopath. He just never suspected how far the man’s sickness went.)
At first the change was tolerable, and even amusing to a degree. The Tentaspy took great delight in stalking the sewers, frightening the enemy and setting off rumors of a man with octopus feelers for legs. And as long as his disguises and sappers still worked, he didn’t see any reason to stop being a pest to enemy Engineers.
Then he grew an extra set of limbs. And another. And another. While he could pull himself out of the water were he so inclined, moving on land became too slow and energy-consuming to be practical. His entire body had also become slimy and porous like a frog’s–ah, Irony, Thy name is Bitch–and while he never developed gills he was now able to stay submerged longer than even the stoutest human being. Of course, wearing clothes became pointless, though with the new markings he developed he still looked like he had a suit and balaclava from a distance.
At first, the Medic kept up a facade of understanding and concern; it was his rival on the other team who played the cackling, vivisection-happy mad scientist. In truth, both men had been colluding for quite some time, and while they were not responsible for the events that turned the Tentaspy into a half-man, half-creature, they saw it as an opportunity to try some of their less ethical experiments. They considered the Tentaspy to be nothing more than a specimen to be examined in various painful ways. There seemed to be no limits to either Medics’ sadism. The Tentaspy would often spend days, even weeks, in captivity–his upper body bound with thick chains and his lower immobilized with drugs–and the Medics would brutalize him with tortures that the Tentaspy was certain wasn’t legal against either man or beast.
The Tentaspy never considered himself to be normal to begin with–after all, what sort of person enjoyed the incessant shell games that consisted of a Spy’s life?–but now he feared for what was left of his sanity. All the human contact he had now besides the Medics’ consisted of panic and death, either on his part or theirs. The Pyros in particular were relentless, giving pursuit even if he tried to flee. He couldn’t even end himself with dignity for long, because he would just respawn in one of the Medics’ laboratories and the nightmare would begin all over again.
When winter fell over the land, the Tentaspy faced the unappealing dilemma between either freezing to death while hidden unseen somewhere or risking the ire of his former teammates by huddling in the warmer waters near the base. By some miracle an enemy Spy took pity on him and pretended to misplace a Cloak and Dagger during one of the missions; every once in a while the Tentaspy would even find entire packs of cigarettes in places that only a Spy would think to look. By now the Tentaspy hadn’t smoked in ages, and he couldn’t do much more than light one up and let it hang from his lips, but the action of it was enough to remind him that some part of the man who was once the Spy still lay beneath the exterior. Otherwise the Tentaspy lay cloaked beneath the ice, the bits of flesh falling from above enough to sustain him, surfacing just far enough to breathe.
In the Spring, as he emerged from his “hibernation”, the Tentaspy was surprised and quite pleased to find that both Medics had written him off for dead and, having alienated everyone around them, requested transfers to better pastures. Thus he took to people watching more often–still invisible, of course–and, against his better judgement, started giving little hints to his existence by returning items fallen into the water or leaving conspicous slime trails, making sure to avoid any actual sightings or physical contact. They, in turn, steered clear of the water whenever possible and satisfied themselves with telling wild stories.
But then a Sniper who fancied himself some sort of big game hunter decided to settle once and for all whether or not the tales about this so-called “Tentaspy” were true and spent every waking moment outside of battle looking for the Tentaspy and leaving traps that ranged from being a minor annoyance to a serious danger to both the Spy and the others. Irritated, the Tentaspy made himself known to this Sniper, sneaking up behind him while the Sniper made yet another trip down to the sewers.
“You are most impolite,” the Tentaspy hissed into the Sniper’s ear, grabbing the Sniper’s wrist with an tentacle and rendering the kukri in the man’s grasp useless. “One would think that a Sniper, of all people, would value another man’s privacy.”
The Sniper’s eyes went as wide as saucers. “By God, you’re [i]real[/i],” he breathed.
“Indeed I am, and I don’t like being disturbed.” The Tentaspy allowed his other feelers undulate around the Sniper, hovering just over the Sniper’s clothes. “So if you don’t mind, please stop this nonsense already. I would hate to have to rip you from limb to limb just because you would rather play with me than kill each other like civilized human beings.”
The Tentaspy sent the Sniper running back to his base with a bruise on his wrist as a reminder of the encounter and nothing more, and he got his privacy back. That is, until the two Scouts decided to dare each other into sneaking into the pipe where he preferred to sleep and he heard just what sort of things the Sniper had said about him.
“Could you imagine all those tentacles going into you?” the blue-clad one shuddered. “You wouldn’t be able to fight back at all, and he wouldn’t even need his hands to hold you down!”
Red sneered. “Cockfag probably liked it, too.”
Cranky from having his precious nap disturbed, the Tentaspy uncloaked before he thought better of it and growled, “He liked what, now?”
“Oh god it’s you please don’t rape me I’m still a virgin!” Blue squealed, his voice rising at least an octave, abject terror freezing him in place.
Red was going to turn and bolt, but his counterpart’s words distracted him. “Seriously? You haven’t scored yet? Lame!”
Before an argument could break out, the Tentaspy slammed a tentacle against the pipe harder than he meant to. “If you two do not shut up and leave at once, I will make sure you never feel the pleasure of a woman again, do you understand!”
Both Scouts fled at this, and once again the Tentaspy was left to his own devices, but the days of peace didn’t last. His next unwanted visitor was a drunken Demoman who cornered him in a dead end and demanded that the Tentaspy put his feelers into him. The Tentaspy was quite aware of what his extra limbs could do, but his last “partners” had been the Medics, and they were always doing the penetrating. Presented with someone who was willing, nay, eager to test his control, he wasn’t sure how to react. He sniffed at the waves of alcohol rolling off the Demoman. “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather have the company of someone less monstrous?”
“He won’t even look at me!” the Demoman bawled. “It’s like I don’t even exist!”
The Tentaspy was starting to feel the advent of a headache. “Listen,” he began, putting a hand on the Demoman’s shoulder, “I don’t claim to be an expert on this kind of thing, but most men tend to be extraordinarily oblivious to emotions. Why don’t you go home, sober up, and ask whoever this ‘he’ is straight out what he thinks of you? If he still rejects you, then we have something to talk about.”
That particular Demoman never approached the Tentaspy again, so things must have worked out for him. The Tentaspy enjoyed about a month of precious (relative) silence when he heard one of the new Medics taking tentative steps down into the sewers. “What now?” he asked, not bothering to move.
The Medic stopped before he reached the water. “I–” he drew in a breath to settle his nerves and held out a bit of cloth. “I found this while cleaning out the labs. I think it might be yours.”
The Tentaspy approached the Medic with suspicion. His eyes widened as he recognized his balaclava–it had to be his, it had his scent on it. “I thank you,” he said at last, accepting the peace offering and clutching it close to him.
“I know it’s not my business to know what happened to you, but I wish I could help.” The Medic avoided the Tentaspy’s gaze. “He wrote to me about you once.”
The Tentaspy’s blood ran cold. It was clear from the Medic’s words who was being referred to. “Does he know that I’m not dead?”
Now the Medic looked up, eyes flashing. “No, and I swear on my parents’ graves that he never will. I’ve reported him to the company heads. They will deal with him.”
The Tentaspy was not so optimistic. “Hell would freeze over first. Think of it from their point of view. If they could reproduce whatever it was that happened to me, and have an army of loyal creatures at their beck and call–”
The Medic went pale with horror. “Oh, God! What have I done?”
The Tentaspy shook his head. “The cat would have come out of the bag sooner or later.” And it would be a matter of time before they knew of him as well, he realized, but this he kept to himself.
The Medic fretted for a moment, then set his jaw in determination. “If they ever come for you, I will not allow it. None of us will.”
The Tentaspy forced a smile, not wanting to destroy the Medic’s naivete. “How very noble of you.”
The Medic’s smile was genuine, as he did not pick up on the Spy’s sarcasm. “It’s the least I can do.”
Word came about a visit from the higher ups from the Spy who was leaving cigarettes. By now the Tentaspy had become quite adept at squeezing himself into openings anyone else would have dismissed as too small for someone of his size to fit. This, combined with his cloak–and plenty of interference from both red and blue teams–ensured that the men in white lab coats could find neither hide nor hair of him. In a subsequent meeting with both Spies, the Tentaspy agreed that he should remain well hidden from now on, and that no-one should attempt to find him. He became a well-guarded secret; not even new recruits learned of him, lest they be agents sent to probe whether or not he was more than just a rumor.
At about the same time that the cigarettes ran out, the Tentaspy discovered that he could force his way past the fence erected around the battlefield without leaving too much evidence that he had done so. He began exploring the territory beyond, seeing if he could discover better pastures. He also tested the range of the respawn, being careful to plan his deaths so that his eventual corpse would be well hidden. Determining that nothing of interest lay beyond the base for miles, and that he would trigger an automatic and instant kill command should he stray too far from the base, the Tentaspy returned to his normal habitat, though every once in a while he would still squeeze his way out into the open to feed on the local wildlife.
An abrupt change in the balance of power brought a complete upheval to both sides. For a whole month messages stopped coming from the powers that be, and though all of the automated systems continued to operate, the parts of the great war machine that required human labor to maintain ground to a complete halt. Just as both sides started running out of supplies and were contemplating whether or not to resort to cannibalism, two unlabelled trucks pulled into each side of the base. It was revealed that both RED and BLU had been bought out by a third company, one that no-one had ever heard of, and the new owners were still attempting to sort out all of the inner workings of the former competitors. All of the employees for both sides were free to do whatever they wished; those who arrived with the trucks assured that all encampments would continue to be well stocked should they decide to remain where they were.
A massive interteam meeting took place in neutral territory to discuss the news. At once several classes expressed a desire to visit their families or take a vacation in general, but the overall opinion was in favor of continuing the status quo.
“I mean, we’ve got a pretty sweet deal going here,” one of the Scouts pointed out. “We get to live like kings, kill each other for the hell of it, and then do it all again tomorrow! I mean, sure, it’d be nice to see my Ma every once in a while, sure, but if I had to quit and go home I wouldn’t know what to do with myself!”
“There’s also some of us who don’t have a home to go to,” a Medic reminded everyone, no doubt thinking about the Tentaspy who was eavesdropping on the proceedings from somewhere. “I, for one, will be staying here.”
Another month into the new arrangements–the hostilities had disappeared by now, replaced with a good-natured rivalry that still ended in death every once in a while, but no one held grudges about it any more–the Spies brought word that their new overseers were much more benevolent than either RED or BLU. Among other atrocities, the experiments into transhumanism were put to a complete halt, and those responsible–including the Medics who had tormented the Tentaspy all that time ago–brought to swift justice.
The Tentaspy was relieved to hear this, of course, but he was in no hurry to reveal himself to the public at large. “I don’t need that sort of attention. Under new management or not, I doubt anyone would be able to resist attempting to examine me, and I’ve had enough of that to last me several lifetimes.”
Despite his caution, by and by the Tentaspy felt more at ease about being seen. At least one Medic had taken to giving him regular checkups, and a glimpse of him uncloaked meant that he didn’t mind visitors. To no-one’s surprise, the Scouts were the first to begin taking trips to see him, helping him up out of the water for batting practice or changing into swimming trunks for games of tag. Then the Engineers began bringing rations in exchange for permission to set up buildings under water, sometimes staying to discuss the latest scientific theories. The Spies resumed sharing smoke breaks with him, using the time to update him on the news of the world. And on and on it went, some classes taking longer to warm up to him than others, but before long he became closer to all of them.
The inevitable question of physiology arose during one of the Medics’ visits. A very long time ago the Tentaspy had taken to amusing himself when he was bored, and in his explorations he discovered that he lacked the proper anatomy for sex with either man or beast. After some reflection, the Tentaspy decided that he never had much need for sex to begin with, considering it to be a tool at best and a distraction at worst. Plus, he slept a lot easier now that he knew for certain he was and would always be the sole member of his species.
“So you don’t–” the Medic flushed, unable to finish.
“Good heavens, no,” the Tentaspy replied, miffed that the Medic even asked the question. “And tell the others to stop proposition me already, they know who they are. It’s getting quite tiresome.”