Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Ryder’s jaw tightened beneath his helmet. He was trying but with Chuck shooting wildly someone was going to end up with more than a few bumps and bruises if this didn’t end soon. ”Putting guns into the city just to get popular isn’t much of a dream,” he remarked, stepping out into view atop a crossbeam. Mike let loose with a precise burst of fire, sparks bursting like fireworks where the bullets hit metal supports or cyan armour. Chitin ignored the new warnings popping up all over his HUD. ”You need to wake up.”

 

He pressed each of the chambers on his belt in sequence once again, dropping into a crouch as power rerouted to the suit’s right leg, panels lighting up around the edges not unlike the beam weapons the gun runners were using. "CYMKick!” the tinny voice announced and Chitin launched himself forward and down, angling through the hail the lead until his boot collided squarely into Chuck’s chest.

 

The other man went flying backward, crashing into a crate hard enough to splinter wood and send the box balanced on top of it toppling over, while Chitin stood resolute at the point of echoing impact. He snapped off a quick jab in Mike’s direction just to keep the remaining gunman off balance, trying to control where the weapon could be pointed. “You can still stop this!”

Share this post


Link to post

GM

"I never cared about the fame! But the money was too good - you don't just pass that up. It beats a 9-to-5!" Mike was doing his level best to keep out of Chitin's reach, but his level best was clearly not good enough; the two men with crowbars had apparently been the melee combatants of this conflict. Mike couldn't quite get the distance to take another shot. "It was a risk, but we knew it. The money was my dream. You know what this could all buy? You...you might have gotten most of us," he added, uncertain, "but we still outnumber you! Guys, get him!"

 

The guys had pulled a pair of heavy pistols out of their crate, and were training them on Chitin, but one of them was looking straight up.

 

A dark grey drone the size of a football was looking down. Its eye refocused on the gun and went from neon blue to a warning red.

Share this post


Link to post

Dragonfly teleported through the ceiling like some kind of armored agent of vengeance, a half-dozen drones splayed around her like a halo.

 

The goons were a priority: drone 2 had spotted them first, and they disappeared in a rain of energy from her complement of helpers. They'd be fine, of course: it was more awe than shock, but it was just enough calculated shock to put them out of a fight and hopefully convince them to re-think their choices.

 

Which left...basically nothing? Open crates, an expertly-broken cannon, three KO'd criminals, and someone she didn't recognize in technology she did recognize. But not part of the gang? "....explain," she said, to either or both of the still-standing young men.

 

Mike looked back and forth between Chitin and Dragonfly, made a noise like a dying hope, and carefully - gently - put the SMG down. "Never," he said to Chuck's unconscious body, "never ever run guns in Greenbank."

Share this post


Link to post

“You definitely shouldn't run guns at all but okay," Chitin sighed, shaking his head at Mike. The armoured teen shifted awkwardly from foot to foot as he tried to come up with the best way to answer Dragonfly's terse demand, suddenly very aware of what he was or wasn't doing with his hands. “Hi! Hello. Um, this is maybe a weird time to mention it but I'm actually a really big fan?" He waved then thought better of it and placed his hand on his hip before rethinking again and putting both hands behind his back. “Oh, this is Mike. I don't think he really wanted to hurt anyone, he's just bad at... empathy? Or like personal responsibility? I'm glad you showed up when you did, I didn't really want to have to hit anybody else." He cocked his head quizzically, looking from the mangled beam cannon to the surrendered arms dealers. “Did you guys make those or...?"

Share this post


Link to post

"...bought them." Dragonfly hovered down to the ground, wings vanishing; she pulled a couple zip-ties out of thin air and tossed them to Mike, who received a hard stare until he quietly tied himself to the nearest conveyor. It was, apparently, not his first rodeo. "Criminal paradox: criminals want to buy powerful weapons, especially in Freedom City, even at high prices. Arms makers want to sell guns, especially at high prices. Arms makers don't always want to go near Freedom City, or don't want guns traced to them. So they get idiots," she pointed at Mike, as if the barb could be mistaken for anyone else, "to buy guns at good prices, and they resell in Freedom City. Plausible deniability for the makers. Weapons for the criminals. Profit for clever gun runners, if they're smart enough to not run guns through Greenbank."

 

She wasn't sure what to make of Chitin. His body language was young, his suit was advanced, and while she was glad the gang wasn't the one with her missing drone she hadn't been expecting....any of this. "....we should talk."

 

"Hey," said Mike, "if you can cut my friends and I a deal, or put in a good word or something, I'll talk to--"

 

"Not you."

Share this post


Link to post

Chitin actually clapped his hands, the metal caps on his fingertips clinking together. “That'd be great! I have a bunch of questions about how you get objects to revert to standard space without having to reorient along a reference axis as a separate step! Let me just get my guys." He whistled so though he were calling a trained pet, a strange sound through his helmet. In response the remaining three Robugs appeared. Magenta and Black scuttling over from the warehouse door, the former clacking its forelegs together at the defeated thugs and the latter dragging an empty backpack along behind it. Yellow buzzed in through an open window but gave Dragonfly's drone a wide berth like a cat eyeing up a much larger dog. “Sorry things didn't turn out so hot for you and your friends," he told Mike sincerely once the Robugs were back in their bag. “Make better choices, okay?"

Share this post


Link to post

"Yeah. I'm sorry too," agreed Mike, seemingly relieved things were over. "Could have been worse, though, huh Chuck?"

 

Chuck, being unconscious, didn't reply.

 

Dragonfly's drones had been peering around the warehouse, canvassing it for evidence or curiosity; when Chitin's bugs flew in they took notice, the closest one always following the bugs with its great single eye, but they otherwise seemed to be on a pretty tight leash. Dragonfly cocked her head for a moment, making a radio call Chitin could detect but not immediately decipher, and then gestured for Chitin to follow her north - they'd barely made it past the fence when sirens could be heard from the east.

 


 

They ended up on a warehouse roof, much like any other, but Dragonfly seemed satisfied enough with it; her little drone fleet had whittled itself down to two, which circled her like puppies that wanted to know if they'd done a good job. She caught one and turned it over, inspecting it for damage while it wiggled its plating. It gave her time to reflect on this young...person? Man/boy/child, probably, but in a full-body suit she was never going to place bets. It spoke well enough of him, at least, but she didn't like the parts that were too familiar for comfort. "What is your name, where is my drone?"

Share this post


Link to post

Having jumped up to the warehouse rooftop in one prodigious leap the youth had become distracted looking down over the edge until he was addressed directly. “Right! I'm Chitin! Y'know, because..." He rapped his knuckles against the side of his helmet. “And it's one of those fun words that I think most people read before they hear out loud so you mispronounce it, right, because it totally looks like it should be 'chit-in' and I think that's neat!" He seemed to catch himself rambling and overcorrected his posture, standing ramrod straight at attention and trying to look more serious. “I can go get the drone for you! Or you can come get him? I found him but I couldn't fix him enough to turn him back on so I tried to learn more about how the systems work and wow. Obviously I don't need to tell you but there is a lot going on there, oh man! I am super glad trying to use the suit didn't tear off any of my limbs." He stuck his arms straight outward as though taking stock, the backpack slung over one shoulder sliding down to hang from one elbow.

Share this post


Link to post

"Would like it back," confirmed Dragonfly, crossing her arms and tapping a finger as she tried to get a read on Chitin. Tap-tap-tap. "Bring it here, leave it on the rooftop. Will have a drone nearby to pick it up." Tap-tap-tap. "....also glad you didn't lose limbs."

 

She was impressed, too, though she wasn't sure she wanted to admit it. Mara was fairly certain that most people who tried to use her technology would turn themselves inside out, or get lost in a pocket dimension forever, or...well. Tear off limbs. This kid had made something new - something his - and she had a sense of displaced appreciation threatening to overtake her ire.

 

Eventually she had to break the silence. "Reorientation is only necessary if you think all dimensions share objective axes," she said, answering a question long-since asked. "Forced orientation is only useful for large-scale object translation - or travel to pre-existing alternate dimensions. Fixed-point teleporters, portals. Not for small mass retrieval. Usually just define 'up', 'down', 'left', 'right' relative to me and not my surroundings. Translations automatically orient to me because they were already, always, pointed in my direction - no matter what direction that was. Simplifies the math by baking it into the translation calculation itself."

Share this post


Link to post

"Instant zip-ties! That explains the different protocols for living matter, too. I tried storing some fruit to see if it would stay fresh and, uh, the good news is that I was going to make smoothies with it anyway. Splurtch!" He mimed a messy explosion with both hands while making the accompanying sound effect. Abruptly reminded of something he stuck himself in the forehead with the butt of his hand. Part of the helmet chirped in protest and as Dragonfly watched it detached from the armour, rearranging into a little robotic cricket while the cyan coloured pieces of armour on Chitin's suit returned to their subspace pocket with little flares of light.

 

"Smoothies! My sister is going to kick my butt if I don't get back to my shift." In his simplified white and black suit the young man turned back to Dragonfly. "Uh, do you like smoothies? Or ice cream or parfaits or-- actually we have a bunch of stuff but the things is your drone is in my workshop which is at my family's juice bar and we could go get it but I don't know if that's weird?" He wasn't worried about Dragonfly knowing who he was; everyone knew she was a real, big time hero even if she hadn't just stepped in to help. Plus it occurred to him that she'd probably been able to track his armour once he activated the system. "Maybe that's a personal boundary thing? Sorry. People say I try too hard sometimes which, like, why would you not try hard, right? But, yeah. I need to get back, is what I was saying."

Share this post


Link to post

"Drones didn't get good handling for living tissue, no." She was glad he'd tried it on fruit first; it would have been a very short and painful lesson otherwise. "Can store living things - or ex-living-things - safely, but takes more doing. Recommend getting paper working first; bad calculations or calibration leads to shear forces, and paper provides a clear record of what tore where. Make a paper box or lantern, complicated shapes to fit troubling vectors. Good debugging."

 

Tap-tap-tap went the finger as the endless gears in Mara's head turned over. It probably wasn't a trap. Probably. She wasn't sure he'd thought it all the way through, but she wasn't going to stop him from making her job easier. "....okay. May need to take order to go, though." She was already queuing up her suit comms, firing a couple quick text messages in case someone had a request. "Where to?"

Share this post


Link to post

"Paper! That's so smart, man! If you got the vertices just right you could put in a flat piece and have it come out folded into origami, I bet!" His head shot up, staring into space and his hands went wide as an idea struck him. "I could totally do something printer-themed. Need to think about this." Just as quickly his attention swung back around to the conversation at hand. "Right! Follow me!"

 


 

After what ended up being a short trip once the cricket Robug had accepted an apology Chitin led Dragonfly into Riverside. Ducking around a corner and out of immediate sight of any passersby the teenager toggled the chambers on his belt and returned his armour to its subspace pocket in a flash of light and colour. Ryder laced his fingers above his head and stretched mightily. "Talk about a successful test run, ha!" Hefting his backpack again he waved to the older heroine where she hovered nearby overhead and jogged over to a storefront with a sign, flanked in palm tree designs and adorned with tropical fruit imagery, that proclaimed it to be the Smoothie Shack. "I'm back! Sorry about-- yah!"

 

The apology was cut short as his sister caught one of Ryder's ears and gave it a forceful yank. "You're unbelievable, you know that?" Jenny huffed before letting him go and retuning to a textbook she had open on the counter. "You're just lucky it was a slow night. Did you finish whatever was so important?"

 

"Yes! All good. It was really important, you're the best!" Ryder gave a sunny smile that Jenny knew better than to bother trying to stay mad at, settling for rolling her eyes and trying to suppress a fond grin.

Share this post


Link to post

"Probably my fault," said Dragonfly, stepping into the shop. It was, to her, technically true - the best kind of true, and kept her from having to try to lie. She'd never really gotten the hang of lying.

 

It also kept her mind off of the eternal awkwardness of being in normal social spaces in full armor. "He found something of mine and needed to return it," technically correct, "but I'm not always easy to find." Also technically correct. This was going well. "Appreciate your help."

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...