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Greatest Grabs

Wading Way, Freedom City, New Jersey

Tuesday, November  28th, 2017

10:30 AM

 

It had been a day since Alexa and Zhu had moved in together.  And already the pair were making a run to Greatest Grabs to replace broken machinery from a night of enthusiastic experimenting.  Greatest Grabs a high-end electronic store on the Wading Way with the appearance of a commercial establishment to draw in more patrons.  Whether those patrons could actually afford their wares was another matter entirely.  

 

But, it was the time of the year for sales.  At such affordable prices, even two high school students would have no trouble in making a purchase or two.  Not alone to this line of thought the pair found themselves having to wade through a crowded store.  Ending up in the stereo section purely by a matter of pedestrian congestion.  A shove here, a push there, and their aisle was chosen for them.

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Rev

 

For her part, Rev was dressed in a t shirt, sneakers, and baggy jeans, her arms covered in synthetic skin-gel, and her brain stewing in a really good feeling. Shopping without getting stared at. 

 

Being jostled around in sales was, however, not a good side to that new feeling. She found her self jostling back, and when somebody who could lift trucks jostled back, it was pretty heavy jostling. 

 

"Oh yeah, this is fun..." she grinned at Zhu. "Nothing a few tear has grenades wouldn't solve, huh?" she joked. Or half-joked. 

 

"I could do with some music back on Campus. Nothing too big. But loud" she added, studying the speakers and stereos. "What music do you like? I'm into dance stuff, myself. Clubbing, you know? Fast heavy beats..." she explained. 

 

"Although when I was stripping down cars, I liked some slow trance..."

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Zhu's brain had to catch up for a moment, which was something not entirely normal for her.  It was just there was so much that was assailing her senses.  Machines, glorious machines, were splayed out for sale their siren song beckoning her to communicate and learn their secrets.  So it took more than a second for her to realize that in the span of an aisle Lexa had suggested explosives as a crowd deterrent and a casual selection of music to steal cars too.

 

Blinking she actually stopped in the aisle, looking at Rev with alarm.   Then noticing that she was still moving along, checking out stereo's while occasionally moving a patron who got a little too close she realized that she had missed the sarcasm and dark humor in her suggestions.  She liked Lexa, who was all the kinds of cool that she was not, so she did her best to try and fit in, "well... a thermite charge would likely be more effective.  The flash would clear the immediate aisle and the sprinklers would clear the rest."  She wanted it to sound witty and cool and instead, to her she sounded more like a deranged munchkin terrorist.  Well... practice and all, besides Lexa seemed to make allowances for her kind of geek, which was good.

 

"I had to listen to Classical every day at home.  My parents thought it would make me smarter... maybe it did?  I don't know.  But I love dance!"

 

On cue, without her touching anything, she paired all of the nearby Bluetooth capable amps and wrote a quick music sync program before releasing it to stream Exilium's Heart of Glass track.  Giving Lexa a grin, she pointed at the now synchronous music playing from more than two dozen amps, "something like this?"

Edited by BlazingCoconut

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Rev

 

"Just like that!" replied Lexa, giving the thumbs up. 

 

Whenever Lexa gave a thumbs up, she had to fight the urge to light a little blue thumb from her thumb to add to the effect. However, now that thumb was coated with gel-skin, which would peel off and burn, she had to crush said instinct. 

 

"I like the hacking! Naughty!" she added. Rev couldn't really dance, but she bopped her head pretty well. The music was to blare out of an open top car driving too fast under a starry night, in her opinion. 

 

"You are plenty smart, you know. Maybe your parents did something right! I'll make sure I listen to that when studying!"

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Zhu giggled, "I can recommend some things, there's some pretty good classical stuff.  Maybe tonight I can put some of it on.  Although I do love dance, techno, EDM... all that."

 

She did a little dance step that wouldn't be out of place on any DDR set.  It flared the black puffy skirt she was wearing nicely.  While the weather was a little cool for skirts, the sensible leggings did a decent job of keeping the cold at bay.  Besides, she was still on limited clothes until she could get more of them, or at least wash the grit out of her current batch.  Pairing with her skirt she had on a casual white long sleeve shirt and puffy black winter coat.

 

"Well... it's not completely hacking, but I totally could do some damage here if I wasn't restrained.  Still we really could use some decent speakers for the room, right?  I think I have a little money to make that happen."

 

She pulled her wallet out of her purse and frowned at the contents.  With the sales, they might be able to pull something, but it wouldn't be top of the line or anything.

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GM

 

From Zhu's perspective, the sound booming from the various speakers around them begin to fade.  "Help."  Everyone radio at an arm's length repeated the phrase.  Subconsciously she would reach out to attempting to turn off a  nearby radio to no avail as the transmission continued.  The phrase was simple and alarming repeated in five-second intervals.  Soft electronic whines and discordant buzzes pop from the speakers, interrupting the voice during these intervals.   Eventually, the radio stopped its plea and
begins whispering a different message. “When the Railroad crosses Wading and 34th” said the voice. “In 20 minutes, an armored Sedan will approach those tracks from the north. It must be stopped it from crossing the tracks until after the train passes. Do not fail.”

 

And then just like that, the transmission stopped and the radios went back to playing their normal transmission.  From Lexa's perspective, there was no ominous message.  The street racing cyborg and really everyone within that arm's length would hear random bits of static.  Every nearby radio appearing to cut off with nothing being said/heard.  Until finally the stereos returned to their normal unincumbered broadcast.

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Zhu had a perplexed look on her face, looking around even though she suspected that no one was around to convey the message.  No, what was worrying was that someone had appeared to target her for this message.  That had a lot of connotations that she were just settling into her brain.  Swallowing, and likely looking like she had seen a ghost, she scanned the people nearby and as she suspected few of them even bothered to register that the music had anything more than a small glitch in its transmission.

 

She turned to Lexa, "you didn't hear that did you?"  Then realizing that she was likely being very unclear, "the voice on the stereos.  Asking for help?"

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Rev

 

"What?" asked Rev, quite surprised. "I just...heard static?" she explained. "I thought you had fizzed the electricals, or something"

 

"I didn't hear any voice. What was it?" she asked, looking around to see if anybody else had done so. The shop looked pretty mundane. No exploding penguins or electric robo-clowns. 

 

"Someone trying to tell you something? Sounds all a bit spooky. Enough to get you paranoid!" she shuddered, taking a look around the shop again to double check for clowns or penguins. Or possibly penguin clowns. 

 

"What did they say? Nothing's going to explode, is it?"

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"Maybe?" Zhu said, looking around, although not quite as much for either penguins or clowns.  With a sigh she leaned close to Rev and brushed her hair away from her ear and whispered to her.  "There was a voice that played through all of the stereos.  Every one of them.  It kept asking for help and then said that an armored car was going to try and cross Wading and 34th from the north in 20 minutes and that we couldn't let it get through the intersection before the train."

 

She had already pulled up the intersection and was querying google for the walking time to get there, although she didn't have to pull the phone out of her pocket to do so.  If it was going to take more time, then she wasn't sure what they were going to do.  For that matter, she wasn't certain that they should even do what the odd message suggested.

 

"Google is saying it's a 15 minute walk from here... should we..." she left the question dangle out there.

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Rev

 

Rev kicked off her sneakers and stuffed them in her bag. Her bare feet were covered in SFX's gel-skin, but that wasn't going to last very long. 

 

"Yes, we should" she answered, cracking her knuckles. They gave a little ting! when cracked. It was a habit she had got into before racing. She kind of liked the metallic clink when she did it now. 

 

"But if someone need's rescuing, we should get there as soon as possible. And we ain't going to walk!" she said, a big grin on her face. 

 

"We are going to fly!"

 

She stepped out of the shop with SFX, looked to the sky. "You don't mind a lift, do you? I can carry you easily. I'll go easy on the G's, its a bit shocking the first time. I can get us there in under a minute, give us time to play. Just...don't look down!"

 

"Are you ready?" she asked. 

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Fly?  The prospect of flying was both thrilling and terrifying all at the same time.  She trusted Rev, probably more than she should considering they had known each other for only a day, but there was a sinking feeling in her stomach that the sky was not the domain of people.  Still, someone had gone to a lot of trouble to ask her for help.  Wasn't that what heroes did, help when needed, regardless of the cost.  Or in this case, regardless of how terrifying the prospect was.  

 

A point was crossed, a decision made as she nodded agreement to Rev, "yes, let's go!"

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Rev

 

"Hold on to yer hat, Dorothy, cos' Kansas is going bye bye!"

 

Rev took a good grip on SFX with one arm. Dropping her would not be a good idea, but her grip was as firm as steel. Without the Gelskin, it would have been pretty uncomortable, but now there was at least a veneer of squish. 

 

Rev theatrically stuck one arm out in the air. 

 

"JET! SET! GOOOOO!"

 

Her bare feet exploded with furious jet, instantly burning off the gel skin. Rev pulled some serious G as the pair rocketed off the floor and into the sky. Even taking a slow parabola into the air, navigation, and landing...

 

Under ten seconds later...

 

Rev landed carefully, jets dying down when they hit the ground. 

 

"Awesome!" she concluded. 

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Zhu had just started to object as she was blasted off into the air in a sharp parabola, winding them around the Freedom City skyline, "Lexa I'm weari...." 

 

The words died on her lips as they jetted their way to the rail crossing.  Unknown to them, several residents along the path called into the Emergency Hotline reporting a new city wide alarm they had never heard before and at least one call was logged to the Air Forces UFO hotline.  Of course, Rev, who after a second, didn't have to hold Zhu as she clung to the other girl like a baby Koala bear, heard the real source the alarm as Zhu screamed in an amazing display of decibel crunching power for the entire trip.  When she recounted the flight later to friends, it was described as a harrowing experience which lasted for several minutes, complete with stomach dropping free fall and face pushing acceleration.

 

As Rev let her go she took more than a few seconds to release her death grip of her roommate and slide down her to stand swaying on the blessedly solid ground.  When her slightly shaking legs stopped wanting to buckle, she finally finished her sentence, "...wearing a skirt... it's not really flying material."

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GM

 

Even considering how long it took to exit the store through the crowd, SFX and Rev's aerial antics cut the time to arrive tremendously.  With ample time the pair were able to take in their surroundings.  The railroad crossing is located in one of Wading Way's less luxurious blocks in its well-known business district.  Populated by laundromats, dry cleaners, appliance repair shops, pawnshops, thrift stores, and corner markets it would've been right at home in the Southside if not for the fact that the Pyramid Plaza and the monorail access were both easily within view.

 

There are 8-foot fences acting as a barrier to stop unfortunate pedestrian accidents.  Beside the fences are poles with all the warning lights, bells, and accouterments that warn oncoming vehicles not to attempt a pass when a train arrives.  All in all, it was a typical train station without an ounce of alarm with regular stop and go traffic.

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Rev

 

"Why do you think I don't wear skirts?" chuckled Rev putting SFX down carefully. All in all, Zhu had managed the flight pretty well, by her estimation. 

 

As for her, her pants were intact. The gel had burned off her feet, leaving them metal and shiny. "And why do you think I put my sneakers in my backpack?" she asked with a smile. 

 

"So what are we meant to do? Stop the train?" she asked. Might be easier said than done...Rev could bench press a car. Stopping a moving train was another matter. "That would block off the armoured truck, I guess. But sounds a bit risky to me" she said. "I guess we have to try something else"

 

She tapped her metal toes. 

 

"Do we have any idea what this truck is? We aren't robbing the bank or anything, are we?

 

 

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"Well... it said that an armored car would be arriving in 20 minutes... that would be..." she said pulling up the mental vision of her phone, "about 15 minutes ago.  It also said that we had to make sure that it didn't cross the line before the train arrived.  I've checked there's a freight train that's coming through about then... but there really wasn't too much more information given.  Don't let it cross before the train goes through.  I've never tried to stop an armored car.  Have you?"

 

She straightened out her Skirt and looked around to make sure that they were not being stared at.  Thankfully there was a spot she could step behind and shift into her costume before walking back out.  "I hope there's not pictures of me screaming through the sky flashing the whole city..."

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Rev

 

"I doubt it, not at the speed we were going!" said Rev. "Although If I find any, Ill make sure to post it on facebook" she added with a wink. She hoped Zhu got that was a joke. 

 

"As for stopping that armoured truck, we could dismantle it pretty easy, I guess! Take off the tires, break the engine" she speculated. "I could pick it up whilst you do something clever!" she finished. 

 

She activated a hand jet, and a blue plasma flame about a foot, maybe a foot and a half, burst out, thin and hot. "Or I could cut it open for you?" she offered. 

 

"Honestly, I'm fairly smart. But compared to you, I'm a dunce. So when it comes to master plans..." she shrugged, looking at SFX hopefully. 

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Zhu smiled, "you're smarter than you let on!  Besides that, I think you have more common sense than I do."  However, she did seriously consider the situation.  "So.  I'm a little worried about stopping an armored car.  Someone might be using us to rob the car.  Maybe they're on the train... or have some way to get it on the train."

 

She looked over the intersection.  "I think if we can delay it without damaging it, that would be good.  The message didn't say anything about harming the car, just that we have to prevent it from crossing before the train.  What if we set up a roadblock up the way a bit?  Think you can impersonate a construction worker?  I'm not sure I'd do a very good job of it."

Edited by BlazingCoconut

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Rev

 

Rev looked down at her metal feet. "Sure, I just gotta put my sneakers back on. And hope I don't need to burn through them..." she sighed. 

 

There was a reason she always bought the cheapest sneakers she could. 

 

"I cant afford to burn through too many...Ain't got a dime to my name!" she chuckled. A slight hint of nerves. Rev was brave and bold. And broke. One of the few things she stressed about was money. 

 

But that wasn't going to stop her. 

 

"Got the T-shirt and the jeans. Just need a yellow hard hat and a jack hammer, or something. Can you rustle those up with your gadgets?"

Edited by Supercape

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Zhu nodded and looked around her, the lamppost would have to suffice as well as some of a bench from across the way.  getting some schematics from the web, she quickly put her bots in motion as first the very standard yellow helmet appeared with another right on it's heels, followed by a pair of portable stop signs a few moments later.  Satisfied with the items which had just slowly appeared, growing organically from seeming thin air, she considered, "I think I can do a little with my looks so people might believe that I actually worked for the city.  Then all we should have to do is stop traffic for a little while and let the train pass.  It's pretty simple, but I think it has the least amount of risk.  What do you think and which side of the tracks do you want?"

 

As she waited, she seemed to grow a few inches and gain about 50 pounds with far rougher clothes than the cute skirt she had been wearing.  The illusion did it's job very well, although the clipping around the skirt was an issue which was soon remedied as it fell to the ground, leaving only the image of jeans and a flannel shirt behind.

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Rev

 

"I like it!" replied Rev, snapping her fingers into a thumbs up, and giving a little pop of a blue flame from the thumb tip, as was her signature sign. She slipped her sneakers on with the other hand. 

 

"That's a pretty neat trick" she acknowledged. "Would fool anyone! I mean, you look totally different!"

 

"So, you just got to act like a construction worker now. You know, lazy and slow but a bit of a swagger, you know?" she said, wondering if the shy teenager could pull it off. Nothing like experience as a teacher, of course!

 

"I am in your hands. As for which side? I don't know. What does google maps say?" she asked. Already she was trying to look and act more like a construction worker. She leaked a little oil, and smeared it on her cheap t-shirt and a few blobs on her face and arms, just to give her a greasy look. 

 

"How's that? I hope you can whip out some strong detergent when we get back!"

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"I'd whistle at you!" Zhu giggled back at Rev before taking a more serious demeanor, "lazy and slow.  I don't think I've ever done lazy and slow.  But I've seen enough movies with construction workers in it."

 

She tried to walk around, even as she picked up her skirt and set it on the bench next to the road.  No sense in having to do laundry already!  "Well the car is coming from the north, so maybe you should take that side?  I'll keep the cars from crossing over here."

 

Rev's phone started to ring as Zhu continued to talk, "I'm calling you, just leave the line open and on Speaker.  If something happens, shout and I'll hear you.  Same goes for me.  But let's hope we can just stop them until the train passes and then not have to deal with anything else."  With a nervous sigh, she started to walk across the tracks, looking back to Rev on more than one occasion.

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Rev

 

"North, got it!" said Rev. She was actually pretty good with directions. Went with racing. 

 

She went to the north side, wondering if she was actually the right choice. Zhu's disguise was much better than her half - baked mess, but on the other hand, when it came to bluff and bravado, she figured she had the edge. 

 

She stuffed her phone, connected to Zhu, into her pants, and tried to look busy, waving the odd car this way or that in an official capacity. That wouldn't cause much suspicion, as long as she didn't screw anyones day up. Stopping a van, now, they were sure to ask questions...

 

Well, if they did, she would try to bluff her way through them. And Zhu was there as back up. And if not, well, she would just have to use force!

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Zhu quickly realized that open communication was needed.  If they were going to play at closing a road down, then they had to work together for twenty to thirty seconds at a time.  It helped if they said which car was the last through and if she didn't speak, then her basic waves were more than sufficient for the typical city traffic.

 

"Yep, last car through was a White Van.  I've got the rest stopped now.  Let me know when you let the last one through coming back my way."

 

All the while she was trying to keep an eye out for anything suspicious or our of the ordinary.

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GM

 

A few minutes of stop and go traffic came and went.  Eventually, traffic slowed to a crawl and the only vehicle on its way to the railroad crossing was a black sedan with tinted windows.  Any competitive driver worth her salt would know that tinted windows were illegal in New Jersey.  Aside from in the rear.  Which made the sedan especially suspicious as it came to a stop in front of the would-be crossing guard.

 

From SFX's perspective, she could see signs of the train some distance away.  But, what she couldn't see were the warning posts from the crossing lighting up.  In fact, there was no whistling of warning from the train at all.  It was on course to speed through the crossing with no indication to traffic.    Unless it was coming to a stop before the crossing.  With the conductor playing fast and loose on exactly when they were blowing the whistle as a warning for such a stop.

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