DJ Octavio is bored.
DJ Octavio Takowasa, The Octobot King, leader of the Octarians, scourge of the Squidbeaks, and various other titles he'd given himself, was bored.
This wasn't entirely unusual, considering just how long he'd been incarcerated.
For nearly eleven months, he'd been kept in this damned glass prison, locked away from his kingdom, from any sort of society. The only people he'd seen on a regular basis were those blasted New Squidbeak Splatoon agents. Even Craig Cuttlefish had visited every once in a while, trying to reminisce about the 'old days' before the war. The fool.
For months the Squidbeak agents One and Two - the Squid Sisters - would check in to make sure he hadn't escaped, wasn't planning something. He had tried, many times, to get them to open up about their feelings, about their day, as Callie had once - the one time that had allowed him to overpower her and free himself. But it seemed they had figured out his game, and refused to interact with him on those terms.
But even they, eventually, got bored with him as they realised he wasn't going anywhere, and stopped showing.
There was one of them, however, that continued to visit him, and made living in this prison more bearable.
Lily the ex-human had started visiting at least once a fortnight once that business about 'Commander Tartar' had faded away.
He had expected her to be odd. What he hadn't expected, and was surprised to discover, was that while the other inklings didn't dare to talk to him at length, she was okay with talking to him, answering his questions about her old life, and even more surprisingly, treating him as an equal.
Rather than talk down to him for his attacks on Inkopolis, she instead took interest in his 'DJ' title, talking to him about his musical career, and her own interest in performing. Rather than harass him for being the king of a people, she would ask him about Octarian society, educate herself about his subjects.
In return, she shared music from the human world for him, and together they talked about what that world was like. Lily would share food with him - more filling than the rations Callie, Marie or Craig would often leave him. And, incredibly, she seemed to consider him a friend, the more they talked.
It was odd - perhaps it was because she was not of their world, but she treated him as more of a person than the other Squidbeaks would.
DJ Octavio appreciated that.
Even if she was still an inkling, on the side of the inklings.
Occasionally he wondered to himself if there was a way to turn her to his side. Or if there was a way to change her form once more, make her an octoling under his command.
For the former, it wasn't for lack of trying.
Octavio would tempt Lily with offers of power, fame, fortune. Would try to talk her over to his side, convince her to help him to escape. And although he had sometimes succeeded in making Lily feel sympathetic for him, usually it only resulted in the same smirk and shake of the head from Lily. "Sorry Octavio. You know I can't do that," she would say, and she'd either change the subject or leave.
She knew where she stood. Even though he hated that she had to respect her orders, it impressed him all the same that she did. If he could just get a pair of shades on her...
He remembered one evening three months back, when Lily had come to visit with 'exciting news'. It had come after a month of silence from her, or anyone.
DJ Octavio remembered the narrowed eyes he had given the inkling girl who had come up to him. "Hmmph. I thought that you would perhaps visit more often, human."
"Well at least you recognise me." Sitting cross-legged on the ground before him, once again stunned by his bulging green-purple eyes, Lily watched him carefully. "I can't stay long this time, but I figured you might have some input on something."
Without missing a beat, Octavio quipped back at her, "You could get in here with me, and I'll give you plenty of 'input'." His face shifted into a huge smirk and he shifted one of his tentacles to press teasingly against the glass of his snowglobe.
"Oh! Oh jeez!" Lily flinched as she realised what Octavio was implying. "I've no real desire to know about or add to your escapades."
"Gyahahah! Why not?! You'd consider it though, right\~?"
Lily sighed, but her only response to the question was a moment of silence and awkward shifting about. That told him everything he wanted to know, and his eyes brightened in delight.
It was no secret among the educated inkling populace that Octarians reproduced asexually by cutting their tentacles. That didn't stop the more intelligent ones from mating for fun. Hell, the DJ himself had indulged on occasion.
And though he knew inklings took relationships of such a nature much more seriously, knowing that the ex-human seemingly wasn't opposed to fooling around gave him something to think about.
And it gave him leverage for a future attempt to get himself free.
"...Anyway," Lily finally said, changing the subject, clearing her throat. cheeks flushed. "I... jeez. I thought you'd want to know that the club I played last night got back to me, they want me to do do a biweekly set. I think your DJing tips did the trick, Octavio. Can I call you Tavi?"
"You may not," Octavio smirked. "I'm still royalty, you know." He prodded the glass between them. "And I'm not a pioneer in the DJ space for nothing. You get any of the gear I recommended?"
Lily shook her head, still a bit flustered. "I got a mixer, that's about it. I've been lookin', but my knowledge around a computer setup has been fairly sufficient so far."
"You'll regret that eventually," the Octobot King countered, eyebrow raised. "Regardless of anything, you'll want to learn that equipment. You still pre-making your shows?"
"Yeah... mostly. It's just the way that I figure out mashups, is all."
"Kiddo..." Octavio didn't look very impressed, but still seemed to be thinking on it. "Those mashups are kind of your thing, are they? I think that's all I ever heard from you."
Lily nodded. "I consider that the whole 'thing' about my sets, yeah."
"Okay, so... hm.. Interesting. Perhaps then, pre-make your mashups, then mix them live? Gives you something to do besides tweaking knobs and settings."
"And hey, here's something I want you to try - set yourself a goal to make them live. With enough practice your crowd won't notice the difference. Heck, *I'd* be interested in seeing that."
"Wow... Thank you, Octavio." She found herself smiling at him.
"No sweat." The DJ smirked back. "What else has been happening?"
"Really?" Lily seemed genuinely shocked. "You never care about my day-to-day life."
"I care!" He responded loudly. "Sometimes."
"Besides, you're more fun to hear about than the others." He cocked his head to one side. "It's interesting to hear your unique world view."
"Heh." Lily chuckled softly and smiled. "Alright, well... Oh, y'know what? I wanted to create a style for myself after I got the big news. So, this is what I ended up buying for myself for my --- er, 'DJ Neu Wave'!" She grinned, and slowly turned herself around.
Octavio examined her carefully, curious. She'd donned a black leather rider's jacket, with an image in reflective pins in the back. She'd also started wearing a different glove over her right hand to match. He still didn't know why she wore it...
She still seemed to be wearing striped spats, but it worked on her. Perhaps more than she wanted, he thought as he eyed the inkling's butt for just a moment longer, his gaze snapping back up to her face as she turned back to face him. "Not bad, kiddo. I think your long hair is working against you now, though."
"Is it...?" Lily bit her lip and cupped the ends of her tentacles in her hands. "I mean, they've been awkward to deal with at times... I just thought that was something I had to adjust to and live with."
"I don't know what your fellow inklings do with their tentacle care, Lily, but take a page from us. Why not just cut your hair?"
"Won't that hurt?" Lily's brow furrowed with worry and concern.
"Will it?" The octopus shrugged his tentacles. "Doesn't hurt that much for us Octarians."
"You're... basically cutting off your limbs though."
"And? They grow back."
"They do not." The inkling sighed in disbelief. "Stop bullshitting me, Octavio."
"You seriously telling me you've never cut your hair before?"
"This isn't hair, Tavi. They fill the same purpose, but it's not."
Octavio raised a few of his scarred tentacles, presenting them to her. "Look. Sure these are partly damaged due to the war, but I promise you I have severed my tentacles a few times in the name of continuing my species. And I bet you you've seen at least a few inklings with new hairdos."
Lily stared at the appendages in silence for a few moments. "...Okay, that seems a bit obvious now, I guess. Boy do I feel stupid."
DJ Octavio chuckled, raising an eyebrow. "Seriously. If you don't like your hair length, try trimming it down for a while and see how you feel."
"I might..." Lily spoke softly, nodding her head.
The two were silent for a moment, watching each other, relaxed. The cool night air blew through the Hideout.
"Man... I guess I should get back into town," Lily sighed, disappointed. "I promise I'll keep in touch more, Octavio. After all you kinda made this happen."
"You'd better, kiddo. And hey ---" DJ Octavio shouted as Lily started to turn away, toward the grate back home. "Think you'd ever play a show on our turf?"
Lily tilted her head and considered it. "I don't see why not," she answered after a few seconds. "If you behave, of course."
With a smirky grin and a wave, Lily turned, shifted form and dropped into the grate, swimming back to Inkopolis.
DJ Octavio eyed the grate for about a minute or so.
Waiting to make sure the human had gone.
His mind began to turn, plotting out scenarios involving Lily and him.
And a pair of shades.
Late one cold, dark evening, the King was awoken by a sound.
The sounds of multiple bottle rockets in the distance. No - of course not bottle rockets, the sound of someone, multiple someones, super-jumping.
Eyes popping open, Octavio listened quietly. Was someone out there? Foe or friend?
For a minute or so he heard nothing else over the gentle breeze.
Then he became aware of voices travelling from past the stone archway that led to the rest of the Hideout.
"...suggests their base might be up here. Stay sharp, team."
Hmm, the voice was familiar. One of his squad leaders...?
"A forward base in our territory?" Another voice in Octarian. "How fiendish!"
"What's the plan? Splat them all?"
"Heh, if anyone's around." The leader didn't seem to take the question seriously. Octavio noted their voices were getting closer. "Would be nice to get a leg up on those Squidbeaks, eh?"
"It would, if y'all didn't yak at each other on the way to your target!" DJ Octavio finally bellowed into the darkness. "I can hear you from a mile away! Get over here already!"
The voices went quiet. Then the sound of pounding footsteps as a squad of four Octolings in combat gear ran up through the archway and spotted him, hesitating for a moment in disbelief before rushing over to him.
"DJ!" The leader called out as she reached the snowglobe. "Thank goodness you're alright! Are you hurt?"
"...Yeah, pretty hurt," Octavio said softly at first. Then, shocking the soldiers, he angrily yelled, "Hurt that I've been waiting a year! Where in earth have you all been?!"
"P-please, my king, we apologise!" Again, the leader did the talking, but the other squad members looked distraught. "We've been scouring every inch of Inkopolis and beyond that we could! We didn't think---"
"And you didn't think to check your own backyard?!"
"Yes! No! We--- er..."
The Octoling holding a Blaster lowered her weapon. "Everyone knows the Tentakeel Hideout never reports in anyway. We had no idea it had been overtaken until recently, sir."
"...Right..." The DJ still seemed unimpressed, but he let it go for the time being.
These Octolings were his crack offensive team - Forward Squad Ceph. They had operated together for many years, and Octavio trusted only them to competently take on the New Squidbeak Splatoon's Agents as they fought to control territories in Inkopolis.
Lux, the team leader, and the team's Octo Shot main, was one of a few distinguished graduates of Cephalon HQ's Combat Training Academy.
Kae, a Blaster main, was also the team's inksplosives expert.
Mori was a Charger user and the team scout. She knew how to best scout the territory they wished to control, and use it to their advantage.
And Renki, while not as experienced, was their Roller main and a promising bright mind when she wanted to. She was recruited for the team after their previous fourth's desertion - following DJ Octavio's defeat at the hands of Agent 3, three years ago.
Since these guys were around, Octavio knew he would almost certainly be freed, but perhaps there was more in it for him that this squad could help him with... His mind began to formulate a scheme. "Lux, we need to talk."
"I'm here. Should I send the others away?"
"For now. Mori, Kae, Renki ('that is still Renki, right?' He muttered to Lux -'You didn't lose another one?'), scout the area, there's bound to be something of interest here. And OY---" he suddenly yelled as three of the girls started to turn away. "Don't ransack the place. I have a plan, and I don't want to tip their hand just yet." Octavio waved them off with a lazy, tired tentacle.
Lux, the leader, made sure the three had left their immediate vicinity, then turned back to the King. "Right. What's going on? Do you need freeing?" She examined the DJ's prison. "This... device... doesn't look too hard to crack."
"Of course I need freeing, you dummy," he sighed, quieting his voice, "But I can't leave yet."
"Sir...?" Lux raised an eyebrow at him.
"I'll explain. But look." He gestured with his appendages toward a particularly egregious gap that had been worn between the wooden base and the glass. He pulled away a small rock that he had placed to mask the size of the gap to emphasize. "This thing is damaged, but I've also noticed the seal is somewhat weak. There must be some way to loosen this enough that it'll just come free."
Lux knelt down to examine the opening, and the groove in which the glass seemed set into the platform base. There was a metal plate that looked like it was holding the dome in place, but the more she examined it, the more she realised it was simply ornamental. Stupid inklings...
She stood up. "Yes, I think we can do something with this. So what's going on then? Why aren't you coming with?"
DJ Octavio smirked at her. "Lux, I have an idea. I believe you remember the strange human creature I sent your team to collect some time ago, yes?"
"One of our more embarrassing defeats, yes..."
"Well, She's still here. What's more - heh, I still can't believe this
"Oh, don't get me wrong, that human's an interesting one. DJ too. From the bits I've heard, might fit in with me and the duo from Turquoise October. But, yes - she comes around every Friday and just sits and talks with me."
"She talks to you, sir?" Lux raised an eyebrow and brushed her wild tentacles away from her face. "What about?"
"Music things, mostly. Of course. Sometimes we talk about her world, sometimes ours. Certainly more interested in our society than the rest of those Squidbeak brats. She's been... quite nice, sorta."
"Ooooh." Lux smirked. "That's the nicest thing I've heard you say about anyone in a long time. Has the King got a crush\~?" She teasingly asked.
"Yes, sir?" Her smirk had broken out into a grin.
"Shut up before I put you out of commission. Absolutely not."
"Yessir." She continued to grin. "So the plan, then?"
"Yes." DJ Octavio focused on her. "I think with enough force the four of you can probably pop this glass cover out. So, here's what I think. We do that, and then set it up so it looks like it's still secure - they're inklings, they won't look too closely."
"Got it." Lux nodded. "What about the human, though?"
"I'm getting to that." Octavio rolled his eyes. "You guys come back on Friday night and hide. She'll come by to chat, and then sometime while she's here, I'll give a signal and we net her and I can finally return home."
"Are... you sure that will work?"
"Positive. She arrives at the same time every Friday night. Like clockwork, right after her set." Octavio chuckled with a smirk. "That clockwork nature is going to be her downfall. Now come on, get the others over. Let's get this thing loose."
Lux, Kae, Renki and Mori gathered in a circle around the DJ's snowglobe. The team's weapons lay neatly by Cuttlefish Cabin, something that Octavio shot the squad a strange look for.
"OK, team," Lux said, taking charge. "We're going to try to slide the glass out of its groove. On my mark we'll slide it clockwise and up, then counter-clockwise and up."
"Moving it back and forth like that should loosen it up enough to get it free," continued the DJ. "Once I am freed, we'll move onto the next phase. Everyone got it?"
Lux nodded silently.
"Got it," Mori nodded, getting her hands in position.
Kae also nodded, saying nothing.
Renki saluted. "Aye aye, Deej."
"Renki..." Octavio raised an eyebrow at her, pointing a tentacle at her. He seemed both confused and concerned by the nickname.
"Uh... yes, sir?"
Kae burst out laughing at his simple comment, and the DJ himself allowed himself a smirk. Renki quietly gave an embarrassed, "Sorry, sire..."
Lux moved along, ignoring the comment. She took hold of the glass now as well. "Everyone, in position."
Kae and Renki pressed their hands into the glass, ready to move it. Octavio, despite himself, held his breath.
Was this really going to work?
"Get ready!" Lux called.
The rest of her squad tensed, ready to move.
"Move!" Immediately Lux pushed hard to the right, attempting to push the glass upward at the same time. "One! Two! Three! Four!" With each call, she and the other swapped direction, pushing to the right, and to the left, to the right, to the left...
At first it didn't seem to be working, as the glass resisted them. But as they continued to move back and forth, eventually it seemed as if the groove into which the glass dome was set was starting to give.
"Yes! Keep going!" The DJ shouted, moving about excitedly inside the cage as it moved around him. It was only a matter of time! Fresh air and home seemed so close...!
With the sound of grinding glass, and a loud 'pop', the dome suddenly came free.
Octavio immediately halted the team. "OK," he said softly after a few moments of silence. "Step aside."
Ceph Squad immediately stepped away from the loose glass.
Slowly, Octavio rested two tentacles against the wall of the dome. Gripping the glass as best he could, he took a few moments to decide exactly what he wanted to do. "Lux, Kae, Mori," he called. "Get ready to catch this thing."
Obediently they got into position, on the other side of the glass, the DJ counted down and then both pushed forward while pulling downward on the glass.
Due to its shape, the dome tipped forward easily, and with the Octolings there to catch it without it shattering further, DJ Octavio was free to simply slide/float out the new opening.
He was free.
Setting the dome down, the girls rushed over to him. "DJ!" Lux called. "How ya feeling, boss?"
DJ Octavio breathed in the cool, fresh air, and looked upwards toward the sky. He let his tentacles fully stretch out -- his limbs both complaining, having been cramped in such a small space for such a long time, and welcoming it, the octopus feeling a pointed warmth and relief in them. "Aaaaahhh... Freedom never felt so good before."
He turned to the team with a genuine smile, and extended his tentacles toward them, pulling the girls toward him in a tight hug. "I very, very sincerely appreciate that you've done this, girls," he told them, quite a departure from the demeanor they knew from him.
To himself he thought, even if you found me quite by accident.
"Well, uh... thanks, boss." Renki smiled, and with the others, embraced the king. "It's good to have you with us again."
After Octavio had let go of them, he sent Kae to fetch Gomez, his royal messenger, from the HQ and took a couple minutes to just slither on his tentacles around the Hideout, looking around at the world around him while Ceph Squad hung back at the cabin to give him some space.
He was free.
What did that mean?
Well, he supposed, it meant he could finally return to his palace and go back to ruling and commanding his subjects, including the soldiers currently accompanying him.
It also meant that he could start planning his revenge against Inkopolis.
Against those blasted Squidbeak Splatoon agents.
And finally, finally, he'd be able to capture the human, research their technology, and their past civilization. After all the Octarians were surely more equipped to make use of those discoveries than the idiots up here.
Yes. Yeeees. Soon...
Satisfied, relaxed, his limbs given enough opportunity to stretch and relax, he made his way out to where the kettles to the various Octarian caves lay. He looked out toward the bright city of Inkopolis in the distance, and scowled.
Look at them. Flaunting all that energy. What an irresponsible waste.
"Y'alright, my king?" Lux said softly, approaching him from behind. She was alone. "Something on your mind?"
Octavio sighed, and glanced back toward the city. "Of course, Lux. I just... don't know how to phrase the anger I feel about being in captivity for so long. How have my citizens fared?"
"Ah... well." The octoling shuffled uncomfortably in place. "Well, as you can probably guess, most of our military have felt lost without you, sir. They - we - have done what we can to help our fellow Octarians, but, well, the command structure has fallen apart a bit. For the time being we've been doing what we can to help each other out in these tough times. That said..."
Lux bit her lip. She never liked having to deliver bad news to the boss. "There are... two issues that most need your attention. First off, some of your infantry and civilians have been deserting and going AWOL again. The biggest loss was just after your disappearance, sir, but over the course of the year there's been a drip-feed of escapee after escapee."
The DJ grumbled at this news, but he wasn't too surprised. "I'm vaguely aware of this. I was made aware that the damn Squidbeak Splatoon has an Octarian in their ranks some time ago..."
Lux turned and stared at him. "...What? Are you seriously telling me that an Octarian is willingly working with the enemy?"
"Yes, Lux, I am. It's as disgusting as it sounds. And before you ask, I am going to be the first one to rip him to pieces." Octavio seemed quite upset as he recalled the bits of information he had gleaned about the traitor. "Those blasted Squid Sisters and their music... Okay, what's the other problem?"
"...Well, sir..." Lux's voice became subdued. "There... have been several terrorism instances around Octopia by, well... other Octarians. Random incidents, but the same message from each perpetrator - they... wish to see you step down as king. Though we've not been able to prove it yet, we suspect there is an organised group behind the scenes of these attacks."
DJ Octavio was silent. He seemed to tremble, just slightly.
"They realise what a king is, right?" He said, turning to face her again. Lux could feel the heat of his anger bubbling up within him. "I was chosen, by royal blood, to lead our society to greater things! These treasonous dogs! How dare they!"
"I know, sir."
"It's not a damned democracy!" Octavio grumbled. "Ugh... they can wait just a little bit longer..."
The DJ started to head back the way they had come, and Lux followed him. "We'll deal with it, right?"
"We have a lot of work ahead of us, but yes, Lux, we'll squeeze it in somewhere." Octavio passed through the arches as he headed back toward the open snowglobe.
In the entry area where the rest of Ceph Squad was waiting, a Tentakook turned from chatting with them to see Lux and Octavio return to them. He rushed over. "Sire!" He called, his mailbag swinging by the side of his short body. "Miss Kae has briefed me on your situation. I'm so glad to see you are alright!"
Gomez, the Palais Takowasa royal messenger, was one of a large family of Tentakooks. While he looked fairly standard in appearance, his clothing was what set him apart as an important member of his society, specifically the blue cap atop his head and matching bag in which he carried many letters, but mostly those of the royal family and official communications.
"Greetings, Gomez." Octavio nodded to him amicably. "I have some orders for you to send back home. One second..."
He slithered over to the snowglobe platform. "Alright folks," he called to the others, gesturing toward the glass dome. "Help me get this thing back on."
"WHAT?!" Mori gasped at him. "Why are you getting back in there, boss?!"
"Huh?" Octavio frowned at her, and then shook his head. "Right, right. Lux, explain."
As the squad prepared to tip the dome back into place, making sure it didn't slip back into its groove, Lux filled them in. Octavio would wait there until Lily, the ex-human was due for her next visit.
He, and they, would be waiting.
The four octolings lifted and slowly tipped over the heavy dome glass, and DJ Octavio ducked as it rose over his head, aiding the descent by guiding it down with his tentacles so that the glass hung slightly over the edge of the platform, allowing him to grab the rim when the time came.
DJ Octavio took a few deep breaths, nodding. "Well there we go. Remember, Friday night. Before 9. Be there."
"Got it, boss." Mori nodded and saluted.
"Will that be all?" Renki asked, glancing about.
"Yeah, I think we're done for now. Dismissed." Octavio began to wave them away, and as they turned around, he shouted out, "Actually no, hang on! Gomez! Those orders for you to relay back to HQ."
"Yes boss, what shall I tell them?" Gomez swivelled back to him, holding his notepad at the ready.
"Relay this message." Octavio paused for a moment as he figured out what he wanted. "Okay. Inform the Elders that I will return this Friday. And inform my Octocommanders that they need to increase military presence in every cave accessible from Octo Canyon ASAP, and have every forward squad at the ready for Zapfish acquisition as soon as I return. Once the Squidbeaks find out what we're doing, they'll be back with a vengeance, for sure. Oh, and inform Arthra that I'll have a subject for him soon to calibrate the shades on. Got it?"
"Got it." The Tentakook finished quickly scribbling that information down. "Alright! I'll run those messages over now!" With a quick bow, Gomez took off at a sprint, rushing down past the archway, and shortly they heard him duck down into one of the kettles with a 'clank', making his way back to Cephalon HQ.
Octavio nodded and relaxed. "Well, I think that's it. We've got a lot of work ahead of us, folks. Dismissed. I'll see you Friday. Don't fail this time," he added to them with a glare.
"We won't, sir," Lux quickly replied.
"Nuh uh," added Renki.
"You can count on us," Kae smiled.
Mori simply nodded.
"Good. Now get." Octavio waved them off. "Before anyone comes and sees you all."
Lux nodded and the lot of them took off down past the archway.
The octopus settled down in the dome, resting his back against it.
I've waited a year to be free, he thought to himself.
I can wait a few days longer.