Michael insists, asking, “But didn’t you say there’s an entire family of you marionettes scattered across the old storyboards of the past?”
Adam adds to the inquiry. “I assume you all share the same power, so Arion Jekel is no stronger than any of you. What makes him so special?”
“NO! NO! NO!” He’s losing his marbles now. “There is NO one as powerful, as smart, as great as my father Arion Jekel!! NO ONE!!!”
“So, wouldn’t that make Arion Jekel the Ultimate Machine, the Ultimate Being, or was Jeko? I can’t remember.” Michael scratches his chin as he compares the two.
“I see what you are trying to do, Michael Baylor!” Grille barely gets himself out of this trap. “I have all the detective training you have. You’re not going to outsmart me like that.”
Michael’s not concerned with this game. “It doesn’t matter if I outsmart you or not. The fact remains that you claim Arion Jekel is the greatest being in the System, yet you launched a multiversal scheme to create a woman that you said even Arion would recognize as better than himself. So, I don’t see how you can still claim he’s the greatest. Sounds like you’ve lost confidence in your papa.”
Grille wants to rage out, but he sees Michael’s point. What to do now?
Taking a risk, Michael steps up to the being and offers to help him. “I tell you what. I love a good mad scientist story as much as the next guy, and I see you didn’t get a fair shake at the whole final villain thing, so here’s my deal. I will personally help you bring back whichever person you think is more useful to you in defeating AB. So, how about it? Who is more likely to defeat AB these days, Arion Jekel or Jekeline? OR how about we bring back Allure and have you wreck everyone’s life with her lies? Hmm? So, which do you choose?”
Grille grabs his head and shakes like he’s malfunctioning as he cannot mend loyalty and facts in a cohesive, comfortable package.
Risking the fourth wall (that we don’t have), Adam decides to point things at Grille directly. “And you know that the System presents our events in real-world stories. That means if your dad died in one of our previous adventures, it’s only good writing if you have a bigger, better fight scene and death, or even that rare villainous victory. SO, your very presence here and throughout the System speaks of your own superiority to your father. I mean, he had other versions of himself through the universes, and he had you kids, but you’ve actually managed to spread your own programming from storyboard to storyboard. That’s something Jekel never thought to do. Can’t you see how much better than your father you are? How can you be so loyal to a being that you insist would proudly push you to follow others that are, uh-oh, stronger and more successful than he?”
Grille ponders aloud, “He never gave such a command. It was my logical deduction based on my data.”
Duplica jumps in now. “Oh, so your daddy tells you kids to find a way to bring him back, but you just assume he’s too weak and that he’d want you to find someone stronger than him, so you build a weak little wannabe that couldn’t even beat anybody and send her after, not the clown’s enemy but after some people not even involved in your little drama, all in the name of you assuming you know better than your good ol’ dad. Well, aren’t you so smart?”
“HE IS NOT A CLOWN!!” Grille rages, but only so much as he realizes his gross betrayal of his master. “Forgive me, my master. I…I thought I was helping you.”
“Grille,” calls Duplica, “who’s the clown?”
He is silent at first, but his answer is finally given, for the sake of his fallen father. “I am the clown.”
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