*The cafeteria, before the semifinals. Adam is sitting at a table eating by himself.*
Staaand up and maaan up! The one time it’s cool to fall! In looove…
Pharrell Goddamn Williams. What do you want?
Nothin’ much, I just wanted to chat with the face of one of the greatest bands in the world! You don’t mind, do you?
I do mind. Actually, I’m not hungry anymore. I’m gonna go.
… [You feel intimidated, but confident.]
Hey, it’s you. What are you doing here?
He’s gonna eat with us. You know him?
…yeah, I do. We meet regularly at-
Oh yeah, that “First Round Losers” group, right?
What, got something to say about it?
Oh no no no no no! Don’t get the wrong idea!
We think it’s amazing that you get to, uh, you know… get friendly with people here! That’s great of you, Adam!
Say, Adam, have you been following the tournament lately?
Not much. What’s there to follow at this point?
Well, guess what: I lost.
You heard me! We got eliminated.
Hey, you look surprised. What’s up about that?
Well, I was expecting you to win it all.
That’s nice of you! Thanks!
Don’t thank me, I’m actually jealous as all hell. This audience is fucking backwards. The cream of the crop, Will Smith, Pitbull, even me, all eliminated at Round 1. And for whatever fucking reason, you got a pass.
I thought you didn’t care about this tourney, Adam!
I, uh… I don’t care as much as you. Why should I care when I already sell millions of albums? I don’t need this fuckin’ crown.
Well, we don’t need it either. We’re mostly here for the fun of it, y’know?
Easy for you to say now that you’re out.
Exactly! We blasted off, we ain’t invincible! But I got this liiiiittle feeling that you care a tiny bit more than you assume, Adam.
(T’as remarqué ? Adam n’est pas parti ! Tu ne trouves pas ça étrange ?)
I heard that. Drop the damn facade, French bot. What’s up with me?
Oh, that’s nothing important! We’re just noticing you keep eating with us! That’s nice of you!
Yeah! Didn’t you say I was a dick back when we started this whole thing?
Don’t get on my nerves.
Sorry, sorry! We’re just finding it interesting you keep eating with us despite not having any reason to. Or… it might be because of that lil’ robot guy? What do you think, Quote?
Oh! Uhhh… yeah, that’s right. I may be a robot, but I can’t read through circuitry yet. Even if you just answered, I don’t think I’ll be able to understand…
Well, he communicates by other means…
Huh? How do you know that, Adam?
Weren’t you listening? I know this kid!
…! [You are surprised. You’ve never seen Adam getting interested at other contestants like this before.]
Oh yeah! You met Quote before! And it seems that you enjoy his company, given you didn’t leave the table yet!
Yeah! You may claim you don’t care about the tourney and the contestants… but you didn’t say anything when Quote sat next to you! It’s just like he’s your best friend or somethin’!
You shouldn’t get the kid doin’ dirt. I don’t want him to feel overexposed.
Wait, are you… sticking up for Quote there?
Shut your ass up, P!
What’s happening to you Adam? That’s not like you at all… Are you changin’ clothes?
I’m the same as I ever was, P. And just because I know the kid, that, uh… that doesn’t mean I’m his friend! How can I call someone my friend if I met him just a few days ago? I wonder how you ever managed to get picked in a jury with such poor judging skills, P. But hey, you’re Pharrell Williams, you just used clout to get there, so I’m not surprised.
… [This is starting to feel an awful lot like that one dinner…]
Guys, stop fighting for crying out loud! I sense Quote is heating up a bit… I know how that can damage circuits! Relax a little!
Maybe Adam’s having a bad bad day-
There’s your opportunity to get a funny line! I fuckin’ hate you, P.
Hey, I was just messing with you a bit! But if you take it personal, that’s okay!
Pharrell, you should maybe take it a bit slower… Adam didn’t warm up to you yet.
Why do you keep trying, bot. Pharrell is such an attention seeker, no wonder why he chases collaborations left and right. Twenty years of career, only a bunch of songs to call yours! Where does your fame even come fr-
What the FUCK, man?
Quote? What’s up?
… [You know Adam is better than this.]
I can’t do it, kid. There are things I appreciate in you and the others in your group but… I’m talking to Pharrell Williams right now. Tell you what, I must get out before I make anything worse here.
But why do you hate him so m-
Thomas. That doesn’t matter. Sorry about that, Quote.
… [At least you tried.]
Yeah, Guy-Man, you’re right. I’m gonna miss this place.
… [You’re gonna miss this place too.]
Can you believe we’re almost at the end of the tournament? It went by as quickly as a Tron light cycle.
It was fast, but I’m so glad I got to meet so many of my childhood idols there! Thomas, thank you so much for bringing me here!
No problem, P! What about you, Adam?
…Yeah. I didn’t give a shit about this whole gig at first but… I bet my heart there’s stuff in here that I’ll miss. I didn’t get along with everyone either, and this tournament won’t ever change my opinion of Pharrell here, but at least I found some other people I think I could get along with just fine.
I’m fine with that answer, Adam. I’m glad to hear that.
I still can’t digest the fact I got eliminated so quickly though…
Adam, I’mma tell you, that was a disgrace. How could you lose so quickly when you had fuckin’ Weezer in your source list?
You’re a judge too, don’t you know this? In any tournament, there’s always gotta be some people who will drop out without a win.
That was… surprisingly deep, especially coming from you.
I got some inspiration from a few, uh… pals.
… [You feel content.]
Well, see you around.
Hey Adam, I just wanna say…
Your collabs were great. You said it, I’m a collab specialist. And I judge that you’re great at them too!
I don’t care about what you think of me. My opinion of you three didn’t change anyways.
We weren’t expecting it to, we just wanted to thank you for sticking around.
…I missed the conversations since I left my band. That’s all there is to it.
Hey, Quote, mind if I ask you something before you leave?
So, here’s the thing. A few days ago, I ran into your girlfriend in the halls. Wait, uh, is she your girlfriend?
Yeah, you’re right, that doesn’t matter. But I noticed she was eavesdropping on a conversation I had with another contestant at the hotel bar.
…? [You wonder why Curly would spy on Thomas of all people.]
I don’t know if I should tell you who I was talking to. He’s someone who likes to stay discreet, and I’m sure he-
…! [You got all the information you need!]
Hey, wait! Where are you going?
Huh? Snake? Yeah, I remember you dunking him back at the restaurant. Sorry to bring that episode back up, but-
Oh! Wait… Your robot friend was-
…wow. You’re a quick thinker, Quote. That’s right, I was talking to Snake, and I indeed mentioned what happened in the cafeteria…
Oh, don’t be silly! What happened at the cafeteria doesn’t change my opinion of you whatsoever. I’m sure you had a good reason for that amazing dunk you did.
… [You feel reassured.]
Hey, Quote. I know something is up between you and Snake. But since we were talking about you, I can let you in on it a bit.
…! [You now feel much calmer about this. You’ll just have to wait and see what happens now.]
So yeah. I’ll let you decide if you want to tell that to your friend or not. But wait, you can’t talk… How will you do it exactly?
You probably already have that figured out. But I just wanted to say one last thing, Quote. I don’t know why you aren’t able to talk, but if I lost my voice, I’d rely on touch a lot more to communicate. Just like what you did with Adam at our table, or with Snake back then. Just like humans do. Even though we’re robots, there’s still a part of human in us after all…
… [Obtained the Reference. You’ll add it to your growing collection.]
See you, Quote. Take care!
A room within a room
A door behind a door
Touch, where do you lead?
I need something more
Tell me what you see!
I need something more…