Author Topic: The More Things Change...  (Read 1148 times)

Mach

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The More Things Change...
« on: December 14, 2016, 11:24:31 AM »
November 24, 2016

Another holiday ??Rhy?Din?seemed to be rich with any and all opportunity for celebration it seemed. It was an interesting thought though rather depressing as he was sure he had been thinking the very same thing a year ago the last time he celebrated this particular holiday. At very least this time he wasn?t still fresh from a breakup and rather dour of temperament but that didn?t mean he was in any better situation now. He was still alone, still had no family to celebrate with, and was of a peculiar mood given his cripple status that he wished to avoid what few friends he?d made anew or been able to reconnect with since his return. However, rather than shutting himself in as he did last time he instead opted to participate in one (or several) of the many buffets and meal deals going on around the city.
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And this was how he found himself at Ran Chan Lee?s Oriental Bar and Grill this Thanksgiving morning. Hey, the proprietor assured him the dumplings and Chow Mein had turkey in them! Working through his Moo Goo?Gai?Pan stuffing, Mongolian Beef, Garlic Pork, Crab?Rangoons?with Cranberry sauce, and his second breakfast lager (to even the manly scales on his orange breakfast mimosas from earlier) Mach lazily scrolled through the latest news stories that circulated the talk circles on his phone. One of particular concern to him was the continued rumormongering over the motorcycle accident involving the tycoon and entrepreneur Claire?Farron. He?d had a gift basket of flowers (typical mundane fair), a couple packs of quality markers (for the twins so they could graffiti her casts when she got out), and a bowl of fruit (of a variety of phallic shaped fruit since, you know, jokes) sent to her along with a little get well card. He?d considered visiting in person but then again he had sort of cold clocked one of her private physicians once so there may have been some bad blood there on top of the fact that he was the ex of the sister and an asshole to boot. On top of this he was also fair sure he was done with hospitals for the foreseeable future given personal experiences so yeah, he decided to stay well away.
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The other bit of news that caught his concern for an entirely different reason; however, was the fact that some ass hats were organizing a ?peaceful protest? to End Human Oppression which struck uncomfortably close to him. The propaganda that he?d read about echoed far too closely to some of the patriotic rhetoric that cropped up during the?Permiatic?War or the bilge that rose in response to the Mage Riots back home in Tang. A lot of intolerance bordering on or blatantly crossing over the lines of bigoted hatred stemming from and propagated by fear ? a fear that was the very foundation and founding reason for the hunters? corps which he so belonged. This did not sit well with him at all as a major reason why?Rhy?Din?so appealed to him was its lack of social stratification and casting based off of species or empowerment. Oh sure, it also meant?Rhy?Din was, like, three shakes away from being a social Darwinian anarchy but you can?t have it all! And that was the problem with radicalism ? there were always a few nuggets of truth to its views no matter how extreme they were twisted. So as depressing a thought as it was he could actually see some of the reason behind this movement, understood it and to a much more moderate stance of things support some of its ideals. There were more than a few reasons why he was still a hunter after all despite how unfitting the role of civil servant seemed to be for him. And some of those reasons were, to a point, that he agreed with some of the more sensible parts of the Hunters mission.
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Grumbling bitterly through his Hunan Beef with Coconut Noodles and Green Bean Casserole he continued pursuing the news even as he noted the low rumbling of a herd marching zealously down the cobbled street out front. Rousingly ardent chants rose from the crowd of ?End Oppression? and ?Stand Together? punctuated by the occasional divisive off calls like ?Iron Out the?Fae? or ?Full Blood or Spill Blood? echoing along the sleepy corridors of brick and stone buildings. He tried his level best to ignore the rabble, let them pass peaceably by even though they were willfully marching through one of the more species diverse neighborhoods in the docks district. A quaint place with that steeped cultured vibe you usually got from poorer or more yuppie sides of town though it was far too rough and tumble to be so urban yet too nice to be a slum. Maybe they just wanted to spread their message among the humans that lived here 'oppressed' by, he didn't know, seagulls? Less than ideal economic growth? An abundance of lazy people who still had the occasional Halloween decoration up? Or maybe they were here to do exactly what he was hoping against, a pipe dream of hope as shattered as the glass to the hole-in-the-wall eatery he now sat.

Blue eye blue turned to the irregularly shaped piece of stone that tumbled forcefully across the cheap faux wood vinyl flooring, chased after by glistening shards of glass. He watched as the chunk of cobble tumbled inelegantly along, pinballing off a few chair legs followed by those dazzling prisms until finally it skittered to a stop against his boot. His jaw grew taut as he resisted the urge to pick up the stone and throw it right back at the crowd that milled past the front of restaurant. No, instead he picked up the rock and moved to do what was likely the less tactful thing ? confront the mob of the offense.
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?OI! What ****?nyuking?idiot chucked this rock!?? Mach wasn?t really prone to using his commanding voice all that often but that didn?t mean he couldn?t when he wanted to. Barking out those words crisply with an authority one learned from drill sergeants or out yelling panicking crowds he turned more than a few heads. The majority of the marches gave him a leery glance as though he was the trouble causer and someone to be cautious of though the rest gave him a sharply critical stare that was observant and judgmental in equal measures. For the most part the parade continued on, most of the crowd growing dismissive of the lone madman yelling at a mob though likely the guilty party and a few of their mates stepped up from the crowd to face him.
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?Aye that was me,?ya?got a problem?wit? that?? The fellow looked like some greasy punk with slicked back oil black hair, worn canvas?camo?fatigues, and enough mismatched ink motifs to surpass tasteful to gaudy. They looked the spitting image of the urbanite armchair paramilitary revolution nut; the sort of folks that wanted to look like washed up veterans without any of the post-traumatic stress or debilitating injuries. Flanking this tool were a gaggle of similarly dressed stooges, the group of ?yes? men and women looking as though they were going out for a roving game of fake war with pellet guns than some anti-hominin?rally.?
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It was a look that had the hunter?s expression waning, a frown forming as he looked over the lot. ?Yeah, dips***, you hit me with your rock.? A little exaggeration as the rock just sort of moseyed on up to him as some adoring pet rather than actually careening headlong into his foot but then the way the young man?s expression tilted uncaring, lip hooked in a sneer along with the challenge of their posture set off his own punk tendencies.
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?Yeah, well maybe you shouldn?t be empowering one of these oppressive things.? The contempt all but rolled off the rainbow haired girls tongue as she spat those words laced with vitriol, a few jeers rising up to give vindication to her bigotry.
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?Uplift people, not knife ears!? Another jeer worthy sound bite delivered by a fellow who looked far too old to be caught up in such a hullaballoo as they punctuated their words with a threatening brandish of their cane.
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The punk grinned lopsidedly, head tilting back cockily as their entourage heckled him. ?Think?ya?got?yar?answer to that little complaint there boy-o. Wrong place, wrong time.?
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Mach felt his jaw clench as he tried to throttle back his temper, prosthetic hand quivering unconsciously in response to a bevy of conflicting muscle commands. From his periphery he saw the eponymous Ran Chan Lee creep out of the kitchen obviously to check on the trouble brewing in the front of their store. Of course that wasn?t their real name; that rather being?Ranwynn?Olchana?k? Lee. Ok, he suspected that last bit was just added flavor to try and give the Chinese restaurant owned and ran by some form of gold skinned elf some credibility. It didn?t, mind you, but rather just made the gangly fellow seem all the more foppish rather than authentic even if they wore a?gi?and kept their silvery hair up in some semblance a queue. ?What, a guy can?t enjoy them some thanksgiving breakfast??
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?Ain?t?a thing wrong?wit? that less?yar?supportin? some oppressive creatures business, then?? The hooligan shrugged nonchalant as they hooked their thumbs along their belt.
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?And how in the hell is this place oppressive to anything? except maybe the local cat population?? Ran shot him a rather foul glare for that crack but hey, humor was always a good thing in tense situations, right? Then again no one typically seemed to laugh at his poor attempts of humor.
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?This place is stealing opportunity away from honest people, robbing humans of the chance to thrive!?
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Mach rolled his eye, a rather exaggerated motion when you only had one. ?He?s running a business, you know, like anyone can.?Wanna?see him shut down? Then open your own cheap Chinese place and out compete him!?
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?That?s not the point! It?s that one?s type that?s the problem with our great city! Just look at the? creature? that?s been elected governor! There?s no way that woman?s a human just like the freak before it!
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Generalized stupidity tended to just ruffle his feathers, agitate him but left him at least passably cordial. Nasty notions directed at his friends; however, made his blood boil even if the relation was tenuous at best (Katt?hadn?t tried to kill him so obviously there was something there? well, not tried to kill him yet anyway? no discounting the future.) The cobble in hand creaked and groaned under the crushing grip of his superhuman prosthetic, the poor, innocent stone taking one for the old ones face. ?Careful there friend, some of us voted for that ?creature??? Another little lie since his broke ass was still in rehab back in Tang when the election was taking place but then no small part of him was just spoiling for an excuse to jump through that window and set upon the bigoted bastards.
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?Wha?, like you?? The ringleader spat derisively on the curb, their sneer only growing uglier. ?Why in the hells would a red blooded human do that? less?ya?ain?t?a human, or are?ya?inta?some real?beastiality?s***.?
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He felt his smile grow razor thin with teeth and threat as he lifted that right hand pulling the sleeve down some to reveal the gunmetal black carbon fiber and titanium alloy limb. ?Mostly human. And don?t knock it till you try it, boy-o, they don?t call it ?chasing tail? for no reason.?
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The revolt was almost palatable in the face of his darkly salacious grin with more than a few muttered words of derision spreading amongst the growing crowd. It wasn?t like this would be the first time he?d ever tangled with an angry mob. On the contrary, he probably had much more experience with such than any sensible person should, including riot police. Of course it was still a pretty stupid idea to be picking a fight so soon after he?d just gotten out of prison for sowing societal discord with a few explosions and kicking a hornet?s nest of cultist but then this lot and what they represented really did just tick him off.
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?Disgusting trash lover!?
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?You?re just as guilty as these creatures for the oppression of humans! Traitor! TRAITOR!?
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That word caught like embers in a straw pile; angry yells and vitriolic chanting rising as the air nearly crackled with that threat of violence. It was a touch unnerving how quickly the angry horde unified, the speed telling of how spoiling for a fight most of them were in turn. The only thing keeping the tide of unmitigated savagery at bay seemed to be the punk leader who looked like they were flying high on the tumultuous energy, their grin almost Cheshire in quality as they gazed challenging at him. ?Careful, friend, ya walkin? a pretty thin line bein? a traitor to yar kind.?

Mach?s rage boiled at those words. It was bad enough he wasn?t really considered human back home but to hear it here? it didn?t leave him crestfallen so much as furious. ?To my own kind? Listen here you stupid f-!? His words felt like lava on his tongue and were ready to pour out in all their hatred when he felt a sharp tug upon his sleeve, the murderous glare cast on the punk swinging to the slender, golden hand which had a hold of him. The look Ran gave him could only be summarized as downright pleading in nature, their verdant green eyes as expressive as a forehead to floor kowtow for the hunter to stop. It was something his punk side didn?t want to hear, the part of him spoiling for a fight sneering against such a complacent attitude ? where was their pride? Where was their backbone!?

Then again the elven man was just that ? a man. Sure they were an elf and probably had some sort of natural pre-inclination to magics that could crush these stooges? or at very least make their food taste magically delicious; but that didn?t change the fact that they were still just a simple business owner. They weren?t an adventurer, they weren?t a practicing mage, and they certainly weren?t some amalgamate monster built for war with a punky attitude to boot! And while the worst he could suffer was perhaps a few scrapes, bruises, and broken bones from this lot; Ran had a lot more on the line as his little angry streak could see the fellows livelihood burnt to the ground.

Taking a deep breath he held it for a few moments, worked it in his lungs to try and put out that fire that burned within his chest. Releasing that hot breath in a sigh he finally released the cobble in his hand, the bitter taste still lingering upon his pallet though at very least he could feel that immediate rage ebbing back as he finally shook his head. ??You know what? **** it, this ain?t worth it. Sorry, my bad.?

His words seemed to take some of the wind out of rabble of trouble rousers that had started to gather at the point of interest while seeming to disgust others. The punk leader seemed to be of the latter camp as his face twisted in disdain. ?What, bowin? down ta this creatures will!? Ya ain?t human, yar nothin? more than trash like the rest of these things.?

Something like that should have set him over the edge, most likely should have seen his fist moving on its own volition to wipe that dirty look of this bastards face. Instead it seemed to strike a darkly humorous chord in the hunter as a he just s******ed at that. ?Well s***, if that makes me trash I guess you can call me a jizzed on Kleenex then.? He nearly chortled at that self-depreciating thought if only for how accurate it seemed to capture the persona of Mach.

Of course his humor didn?t seem to resonate with the ringleader as a flush of stewing blood rushed their features, their lip lifting in a snarl. ?Yar ****ing disgusting, man. Where?s yar pride? Where?s ya sense a dignity as a human??

This warranted a simple shrug from him. ?Sorry pal, I don?t find much use for pride or dignity.?

?See! He?s a traitor! A traitor to his kind!?

?****ing traitor! Worthless trash!?

This wasn?t looking very promising as those diehard haters seemed intent to keep whipping themselves to a fury so as to ?punish the traitor.? Unfortunately he was sure if there was any sort of violence to be had then those who had lost interest would be back in a heartbeat and then things would really swirl down the drain. Another instance where his ?act don?t think? policy seemed to be coming around to bite him in the ass it seemed. Chewing through his options quickly he cast a sidelong glance Ran's way, giving the elf an apologetic half smile before he looked back to dissidents before him. ?Look, how 'bout we let bygones be bygones, yeah? I ain't looking to start no more trouble here.? Gloved hand moved in a subtle motion, catching the hem of his coat so as to draw it back revealing the shoulder holster with the hand cannon of a castor held snugly within.

It was a gamble to suddenly show a gun to a mob, the great equalizer that meant that somebodies day was going to be ruined.... that somebodies life may very well end in this bit of rabble rousing. Hopefully no one else would have started today looking for this much trouble and he'd gain an invaluable bargaining chip in these proceedings. Otherwise this move was just giving somebody a green flag to set this powder keg of a situation off by bringing out their own gun to start dispensing 'justice.' That lone cobalt eye gazed out over those few goons that stood with the punk, watching for any itchy hands or sudden movements. The tension was almost choking as that moment dragged on, stretching out as more eyes found his 'call' and decided what hand they had to play at this sudden death game. There were a few looks of shock, a few folks who turned tail and set off to follow quickly after the rest of the parading mob, and a few looks of deeply ingrained hate that went beyond all sense or reason.

One such look of hatred held on the punk's features as they glared from the gun to him, their jaw growing taught as fingers flexed bitterly. He could almost hear the pleading 'don't do it' behind the cold set of rugged features, his head slowly moving side to side as some sort of subliminal signaling for the punk to fold them, to end this situation before someone went home in a body bag. Another second or two would slide glacially by before the younger man sneered at him. ?Ya'll get yars trash, just ya wait.?

Malicious threat clung to their words that all but dribbled from their sneer, the anger in their gaze as obvious as the reluctance to go headlong into his better hand. He held back his sigh of relief though couldn't help that thin, lopsided smile that curled on his lips. ?Oh I'm sure, don't worry.? A rather drab observation but then again his eye patch and prosthesis spoke volumes to the truth of that though he was sure the timescale which he would invariably get his was a little overlong for the punks taste.

Staring him down a moment longer the young punk finally let out a snort as he hocked another loogie on the store front before tearing away to catch up with the last stragglers of that mob which had come and gone during that brief but tense interaction. The girl and the older fellow gave him a stink eye too but without the shield of their ringleader were quick to make tracks in pursuit of the thug. Watching as the protesting band headed off he remained on vigil at that broken window enjoying the cool nip of the morning air. He waited until he saw the tail end finally curl off and down the road out of sight before letting out a ragged sigh matched in turn by the elf that stood next to him.

Shifting a look back to Ran he offered the man a mild smile though they didn't look nearly as pleased as he at the disappearance of the mob. It didn't take much imagination to figure why the man may have been pissed. ?Look Ran I-?

?No. No you don't.? Their words were tired as he drew in and released another heavy breath. ?Not as a human, not as... whatever it is you do that obviously isn't set in a community.?

The words stung far worse than anything the bigots said and had him reeling back on his defense. ?Hey man, I was just standing up for you and your shop!?

The gold skinned fellow just shook their head sadly. ?No you weren't. Whatever it was you were standing up for, it wasn't me, it wasn't here. Now? Now this place is going to be targeted by those goons!?

?But... you can't just let them walk over you Ran! If you do then...? Then you end up with a place like where he came from, with monsters like him corralling folks like Ran and dictating to them how to live their lives. They were absolutely right, he hadn't done this for them... at least not fully. ?...it doesn't end well.?

?This won't end well Mach!? A lean, golden finger was shoved out after the mob and back to the shop, anger rising upon those shallowly angled features. There looked to be more words the man wanted to say to him but he bit them back, swallowing them down bitterly with another tired shake of his head. ?Just... just finish your breakfast and go... please.? Turning, they headed off once more for the kitchen leaving the hunter with a hard pill to swallow which seemed to kill his appetite.

?I ****ing hate holidays...? A tired curse of his own as he moved back to the counter to settle up before he sullenly set off on the rest of his day with more than a few heavy thoughts weighing upon him.

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Mach

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Re: The More Things Change...
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2017, 06:46:54 PM »
December 14, 2016

This time of year was supposed to be festive! Merry making, gift picking, tree decorating, relation building, family gathering, yuletide singing... all things the schmooze had participated in happily before getting himself snatched on Christmas eve the year before. This year? This year he just couldn't really focus on any of that with the changes he'd been making in his life, the bridges he'd been burning, and the thick, almost claustrophobic atmosphere that hung over the city. Hell, it even made the generally forgettable and crappy experience of his birthday earlier this month seem downright warm and kindly by comparison!

Of course the primary culprit behind all this tension in the air was the uptick of protests cropping up in recent days by that Human Right's initiative which put a rather dour cloud over the whole 'world peace and brotherly love' notion of this time of year. Not that it helped any that, predictably, the protests were growing boulder with open 'sit ins' which flagrantly threw disrespect into the faces of those places they decided to protest. It was a 'legal' attack on their livelihood, working to disrupt these places and frankly just smacked of more people spoiling for a confrontation. And while the reactions were perhaps a little middling at the moment he could still see the brewing tension in the air, hear the murmurings of growing dissidence and divide which sounded an awful lot like a fuse burning to him.

It was such thoughts that cranked away in his mind as he wandered down the street from the surreal little meeting he'd just had which had granted him an early 'Yuletide gift'. Rifling through the pockets of his recovered ?pants of winter spirit? or whatever the hell they?d been oddly termed by those who found them (strange people all around being far too interested in another person?s britches for folks not trying to get someone out of them? but then Saila was involved so?) he retrieved his partially gnawed on wallet and what few cantrips looked undamaged from the pockets before dumping the rest into a trash bin along the way to the satellite office. He didn?t have any particular connection to the chewed on and ripped up pants that would now do a pretty poor job of covering his junk. Part of being a hunter he figured, a lack of interest in your wardrobe given at any given moment it may become ripped, burned, or possessed (not a fun experience that.) Of course he had pretty much wrote off these pants and their contents a week ago which was why he now had two drivers licenses having spent the better part of a day at the DMV just getting a replacement. He really would have no luck if he didn?t already have bad luck!

Stuffing the driver?s license with frost damage and fang marks into his current wallet (because that just seemed fitting to present to folks upon request) he made his way back to the administrative area of the miniature military compound. If it wasn?t by being shake and baked from some nasty it would surely be the mountain of paperwork he had to do for just about everything which would be his end. Another badged security door and he finally pushed into the compact office cluttered with desks, terminals, scanners, printers, and bookshelves brimming with binders and folders all circling the meager perimeter. It gave the room a rather stale and claustrophobic feel, particularly when there was more than one person as was unfortunately the case right now. Damn.

The woman, physically young but with a matronly face only made more austere by the khaki utility uniform they wore, looked up from the spread of forms before them offering a friendly enough smile. ?Didn?t think you even knew this time of morning existed, sir.? It took some effort to repress his autonomous frown reaction to the salute they snapped off as a safe measure since nothing about his flannel, denim, or suspenders said anything about his rank. Then again he was the only official offensive hunter at this outpost and as such had to hold a commissioned rank so just because he had crap memory and didn?t recall them didn?t mean they wouldn?t know who he was.

Returning a rather sloppy salute in kind he offered a winning smile while trying to nonchalantly look at the nametag pinned above their right breast pocket. ?Oh you know me Corporal? Simone... party night works into party day.?

?Simons,sir. They misprinted my nametag on assignment and I?ve been waiting for a replacement since.?

?Ah?? His smile waned some as he got called out. ?So? just assigned??

?Four months ago, sir.?

?Right?? It was probably about time he threw down the shovel on this topic before he hit oil and so in a desperate bid for another topic he looked over the headers of the forms fanned out before Cpl. T. Simons ?been here longer than he?. ?? so? wow, that?s a lot of MARs!?

The woman?s smile held that same friendly but not so quality even as they let out a tired sigh. ?Yes there are. Been a surge of requests for hunter action by private enterprises lately. I?ve been tasked with handling today's.?

That dim smile shifted sympathetically, a glint of humor sparking in his lone blue eye blue. ?So, putting together a Christmas wish list for me, eh??

This had the woman chuckling. ?If only, sir. Unfortunately there isn?t any legal precedent for a hunter to pursue most these targets so it?s just sort of been a slog.?

Something about the way they said that gave him a sick feeling in his stomach given the recent turn of events which in turn had cobalt gaze shifting dimly to the woman. ?What do you mean ?no legal precedent?, what?s being requested??

?Oh, there?s been a lot of requests for hunts of sub-humanoids by a number of locals and local groups. Taking out the trash as it were but-?

?You mean demihumans.?

The woman paused, considering the term before simply shrugging it off. ?Same difference.?

Except it wasn?t, not by a long shot. Demihuman was the human-centric but still acknowledging of general rights term political types liked to call ?correct? whereas sub-humanoid was the bigoted, racist?s term that saw bipedal non-humans as little more entitled to empathy than chickens or wild dogs. His expression lost its sympathetic humor as he moved along to a terminal across the way. ?Yeah? no. There?s nothing wrong with not being human and it?s certainly not something anyone should be hassled about or have government stooges sicked on them for.?

Pulling out the rolling chair he noted the subtle shift in atmosphere, the silence taking on a thick and heavy feeling as the woman processed his words. He?d just flop down in the chair, spinning it wearily towards the terminal before him when the woman spoke up once more. ?Respectfully sir, I think that?s a little myopic.?

This had his expression dropping to a full on frown as he glanced at the woman from the glowing screen. ?What, really? And what?s wrong with not being human, eh? Everything else that isn?t a human seems to bang on just fine and are none the worse for being such.?

?From the sounds of that you?re equating elves to ottomans.?

?I?m not.? Those words came out with a bit more snap than he?d been aiming for, the woman's attempt at glibly painting over his disdain sickeningly familiar to what he'd experienced years ago by folks trying to downplay the powder keg situation which grew in his own homeland. Apologist BS that tried to ignore a problem in hopes for a witch hunt to be called. ?I'm saying live and let live, yeah??

The woman chewed on her lip mildly, tall brow knitting as they were obviously putting a lot of thought into what they wanted to say and how to say it without pissing off the superior officer. ?What's wrong is what they represent, sir. A threat: to peace, to social order, to prosperity-?

?Seriously!? What whack ass cool aid you been drinking to believe any of this bull??

?-it's not bull, sir! Most these races place exceeding dependence on magical forces, forces that are proven to be corrupting. This feeds into the views many hold of superiority to human's due to their stronger connection to the ether and help fuel bitterness against human's for flourishing while their civilizations flounder and loose relevance or prominence due to a lack of agility and flexibility. It's a common story, even for those sub-humanoids here from many different historic backgrounds yet still always familiar.?

The woman's words were sour and full of self-satisfied righteousness. Unfortunately it wasn't just the 'herpy durp dey not hooman, dey bad!' garbage he'd heard many times from those on the street but actual arguments grounded in fact. Joy. Fanaticism and bigotry were bad enough without actually having some truth to vindicate the hateful bilge side of things. ?So there's bad blood, that doesn't mean they're trying to bring down humanity.?

?Doesn't it?? They shot him a rather sharp look with hazelnut eyes. ?Animosity and contempt of course breed hostility and when a populace is in the minority their only avenues of rebellion lie in sedition and sabotage. What's worse is that most of these individuals are empowered which is a very powerful tool to do such with as you should well know, sir.?

Another good point, and one he did know and understand all too well given his position. Still, the argument strayed towards the overarching brushstrokes favored by bigots trying to paint an entire people in but a few broad themes. ?Also true but that only applies to radical elements, not entire species. Because if we're judging species based off the actions of their radicals, well, we humans are pretty s*** too.? The woman looked like she was about to snap back at that until he lifted that artificial arm of his to tap at his eye patch driving home his point and effectively cutting her off.

Growing sullen the woman glared at him for a long moment while taking a few measured breathes, releasing each with a lethargic sigh. ?Yes, well, those were the actions of a subculture sympathetic to the plight of non-humans. It still falls under the action of non-humans, sub-humanoids, and their sympathizers which are deteriorating the fabric of society and working to abolish the rights and way of life for humans.?

And now her arguments just went off the paranoid deep end leaving him unsure what he should have been more pissed at: that they believed such drivel or that they classed anything not fully human as a sympathizing sub-culture. Sort of like hunters; at least what was the 'not fully human' example that jumped to his mind. ?Where the hell did you pick up such rot.?

?History, sir.? The response came off blunt in a challenging manner. ?The Mage Rebellions, the Permiatic War, the Roshlan Revolts, the Tajran Incident, the Molek g'var Uprising, the Conflict of the Golden Black... and that's just the last eighty years or so. It's a repeating pattern, not only for us in Tang but everywhere. I've read many such accounts from the documentation provide by the Temple of the Divine Mother-?

?Really? You're taking your gospel from a bunch of bigoted cultists??  

Simons positively simmered at the insinuation which left Mach just sort of yawning. Oh darn, a fellow soldier didn't like his views, whatever shall he do... ?They're not cultist, sir. And they have legitimate concerns which they are voicing peacefully-?

?Peacefully?? This warranted a hard glare from the hunter. ?What part of violent rallies and conflict inducing sit-ins says 'peaceful' to you? This is the same sort of underhanded tactics that incited the Mage Rebellions back home and you'd claim they're a good thing here??

?Social progress is a messy business and so is protecting public order and peace.?

?Peace? Peace is getting along with everyone, not throwing fuel into the fire of animosity and hoping it goes out!?

?Sir, I should hope that you're not that na?ve to really think that 'peace' is so simple. You're a hunter after all! Surely you understand how murky reality is and that sometimes a chaos needs to happen in order to restore order.?

That final bit warranted a snort, his lone cobalt gaze shifting away from the woman and to the terminal before him. ?It could be.? The words left him tiredly. ?But yeah, I'm a hunter to keep the peace... for everyone, demihumans included. Because bad apples aren't representative of the lot... but can cause the barrel to spoil if left unchecked. That's what unchecked chaos does... it just breeds more chaos. Order only ever comes from it after everyone's sick and tired of washing blood out.?

It was a rather odd thing for a schmoozy putz like him to say; almost made one believe he actually had an altruistic, duty driven side to him... almost. Of course he may well have been speaking in trumpet squawks for all the woman was concerned as they continued to give him a rather disgusted look, as though he was the misguided one. Of course he could understand such a thought, perhaps even properly sympathize with it were he still called Blackjack. As Mach; however, it could only ever sound as little more than drivel... not with the experiences he had which gave rise to who he was now.

Rather than engaging the woman in further bickering which would get neither of them anywhere he instead turned back to the terminal before him, setting back to the original task which found him here to begin with. You could lead a horse to water but unless you were willing to commit murder you couldn't very well force it to drink. Much the same could be said of bigots though he much rather thought of them as cousins to burros than proper horses. Taping in his login info he watched as the military logo spun lazily in the middle of the boot screen, the uncomfortable silence broken finally by an angry huff from the woman.

?Respectfully, sir, I don't agree with your assessment. I just hope that such... opinions... don't affect your ability to do the job of a hunter.?

This warranted a mild smirk, his features finally pulling into a maudlin grin. ?No, I'm fairly certain they only just assist me in being a keeper of the peace. And for the record, adding 'respectfully' doesn't give you blank slate to simply disrespect a superior officer, Corporal.?

Matronly features paled a little, diminishing that smug self-righteousness as it dawned on them that they may have pushed their opinions a little too far in a situation where being right wasn't as important as acting right. ?I... sir, I didn't mean any disrespect in-?

?Save it Simons... live and let live, yeah?? That dim grin of his grew just a hair as he made that last jab before turning his attention back to the terminal that sat stolidly awaiting his input. The woman watched him for a long moment, considering everything before they finally turned their attention back to their own paperwork with a barely there ?yes, sir.? thrown in sullenly. It wasn't a comfortable mood to be in but Mach just made the best of it as did the woman who seemed rather keen to finish their work quickly before vacating the small office leaving the schmooze to his thoughts. Thoughts on the state of affairs in Rhy'Din, on how things were playing out so similarly here as they did in Tang, and how, unpleasant is it was, the corporal was very right about the lessons of history repeating themselves in the absence of control.

[size=9](Linked to this most swanky SL)[/size]

Mach

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Re: The More Things Change...
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2017, 10:00:41 AM »
January 15, 2017

Air escaped in a whiffle as he felt the others palm bite into his ribs, triggering his natural reaction to role away from the pain. It was a split second decision that was a made a split second to soon and all this was realized a split second too late as he felt that palm traveling up into his triceps. With control over his wrist the other fellow pushed up against the strain of his elbow, forcing his arm to up and over. This was bad and his shoulder told him as such, his attempt to pull or feed into that lock effectively nullified as the other came around wrenching his arm out of own control. Mach tried to step forward, get some balance so he could at least try a leg sweep or foot stomp with his other but he found his movement corralled by a boot, the other anticipating his action and moving to counter.

And just like that it was all over as he felt a hip check into him, the world whipping past   in a myriad blur of colors before the ground took him into it's solid embrace. He'd have gasped out if his jaw wasn't being driven into his head by the floor but then the force of the knee into his back kind of helped that to happen anyway. He was totally boned and at the mercy of his attacker with his arm curled about and up to almost touching the nape of  his own neck. Feeling the shift in weight via that knee digging into his back he grimaced as the attacker obviously wound up to finish him off with a blow to base of his head... delivered in the form of a smack.

?And that makes three. Looks like I win Turner.?

He could almost hear the smugness dripping from those words as the pressure on his arm was suddenly released along with the knee in his back. Rolling over on the cushioned mat he gulped down a few breaths while glaring up at the towering form that loomed over him, a dark hand held out in a peace offering. It was one the hunter took begrudgingly, pulling himself up with a weary groan. ?Yeah, yeah, Jacobson, think you can tone down the smug a little...??

The man tapped his chin in mock contemplation. ?Hmm, nope!? A cheeky grin crossed their features as they released his prosthetic hand, moving off now towards the bench located in that small, drab gym space. Grabbing a couple of bottles of water from the cooler there they tossed one and a hand towel his direction. ?Gotta take the glory when I get some Turner, usually you peacekeeper types rock a pretty solid hand to hand game.?

Catching the water in hand he let the towel flare out against him, grabbing it before it dropped so as to towel off the sweet that clung to him. ?Yeah, well, I'm older so obviously I've learned my lesson that the best distance to engage a mage is preferably from a block away.? Tapping the water bottle a few times he finally emphasized his point with the old finger gun technique though the drop of his thumb hammer sent the cap of the water bottle whirling off.

It was a trick that had the other man just shaking their head. ?I still can't believe out of the myriad of natural cantrips you could learn from dealing with mages you learn that little parlor trick!? Shaking off into a chuckle the well built man went about opening their bottle of water in the much more conventional way. ?But still, you do seem to pack one helluva mean punch! I swear your style is this weird mix of hands off mage hand to hand and straight out trying to knock someones block clean off their neck...?

This had him chuckling as the draped the sodden towel around his neck, a few gulps of bracingly cold water taken from his bottle. ?Hey, I've never been fried by anyone unconscious...? There was a pause as a niggling remembrance chimed up. ?...shocked maybe, but that wasn't too bad...?

?Man, you've lived through some ****ed up s***...? Jacobson laughed at their rather frank assessment of his rather sordid life as they headed for one of a set of doors in the back of the small gym. He followed suit, another few gulps taken of the biting water before he stripped off the U.T.R.A. branded t-shirt. ?... I mean, I get we're hunters but damn, there ain't no comparison for a supporter versus an offense grade. Still man, you could probably use to improve your defense man. Taking down a brick wall with your head, while doable, doesn?t make a whole lotta sense and will leave you without a whole lotta sense by the end.?

Pausing a moment the younger fellow reached into the gym duffel they stopped before, a little rooting around before a small business card was produced and set spinning his direction. Hand up and he clipped the flying card between his fingers? or perhaps would have if he had a little better depth perception from, say, two eyes. As is the card gave him a rather sharp poke as it deflected off his chest, a little fumble finally seeing it in hand. ?They?re having a few grand opening promotions that you might be able to take advantage of. Could be something to look into.?

The look he cast at the card was dubious at best, his expression drab as he read over the details. ?Active Guard Gym huh?? Looks toity.?

This had the other smirking as they closed up their duffel. ?Why? Not enough back alley grungy feel to it? Could the card use a little more dirt and blood??

?Har, har.? He shot the man a sly grin as that card was stowed away in his pocket. ?I dunno, just places like these usually bang on about belts and honor and ?the way of the fist? and stuff. You know, window dressing bulls*** trying too hard to make the age old pastime of beating your fellow man?s face in seem somehow respectable. It?s not, of course, and ain?t no amount of pajamas or rainbowy belts is going to convince me otherwise.?

To this the sergeant major simply shrugged. ?Window dressing doesn?t change the fact that there?s still a building there with a window built in. Just saying, couldn't hurt to give it a try... well, unless you get another beating like you took from me.?

?Huh? What's that? Hard to hear you over the amount of beating off you're doing of your own ego man! Guess I know the secret to you're strength, eh?? A sly little grin was shot to the man as tjey moved towards one of the privacy stalls while Mach, well, he just sort of dropped clothing as he went ? pants, socks, glove, and at long last his boxers leaving him bare as a babe save for the eyepatch which remained affixed over his right eye. Shame was probably another big difference between support and offense hunters given how often he'd had his clothing blown clean off but he opted to keep such a thought to himself as he padded his way to one of the shower heads.

?Pft, yeah right. I may not be such a deviant as you but I can certainly play the field. Keep these fists pristine for knocking folks like you down a few pegs.?

?Pristine, huh? Sure that's not just from all the lotion you use for-? He couldn't help but cackle at the fresh bath towel lobbed at him, the fluffy cloth caught in hand as he offered up a salute to back to the changing room where it had flown from.

Hanging this up for later he stepped into the 'stall' framed on either side by metal separators that screened from shin to shoulder, a cheap plastic curtain for the front which he just left open more concerned with washing up than any strange sense of modesty. With a twist of the metallic handle set in the old looking tiled wall the shower would whine to life, the schmooze not even flinching as cold water gurgled up and out of the showerhead to rain upon him. Quite on the contrary the chill felt pretty good after that sparring session, but then if he left the temperature as such he?d invariably suffer the effects of the dreaded ?shrinkage?, even for a fellow as blessed in such a department as he. And so caving to what little pride he actually possessed he gave the handle a few more turns, the frigid water evening out to a modest lukewarm which he just let pour over him.

?Jeez, does everything you do have to be so maniacal?? That lone cobalt eye opened lazily to glance over at the modest man, wrapped about the waist with a towel, as they moved into the shower room now. Picking the furthest stall out of four present they stood outside patiently awaiting the shower to come up to temperature

?Muwa.Ha.Ha.? A sly grin curled on his features as he turned to soak down his back half now giving the other a full frontal of schmooze. ?Not my fault you?re such a pansy man.?

?Pft, yeah right!? Their protest was smarmy even as they averted their gaze away from his rather proud display, the cheap curtain drawn finally isolating them in their stall. The man was pretty prudish for a hunter, or perhaps he was just too brazen having quite a few years? worth of markedly terrible experience on the other. ?Just not crazy like you.?

?Yet.? A frank correction that had both men chuckling even as he pumped out some shampoo to work into his hair.

?Yeah, yeah, so you lot keep saying. Maybe it?s just an offensive hunter thing?? There was a contemplative pause as the mood seemed to shift gears. ?So hey, talking about crazy have you seen the latest hullabaloo around the humanity first protest??

Mach felt his expression visibly dim at mention of that group and it?s antics though he ventured it was only a matter of time before this one brought such up given their shared experience. ?You mean the reactionary cropping up of ?safe havens? and ?no drama zones?? Or the boycott response??

?Does it really matter?? This response warranted a tired sigh from the elder hunter. ?Yeah? kinda what I thought. I mean, doesn?t it all just seem kinda familiar??

He knew what Jacobson was getting. At first the rhetoric and protests were just annoyances as they attacked his personal beliefs and some of his friends. But as the months kept passing with the Humanity First movement only seeming to gain momentum, the back and forth responses from both sides of the issue were starting to show more and more uncomfortable similarities to the events that led up to the explosive Mage Rebellion which both of them had served through. ?Yeah... just a little...? His response a hallow sigh as he pumped out a little communal soap to start rubbing over his flesh, working to avoid getting too much into the nooks and crannies of that gunmetal black prosthetic. ?It really is kind of swirling the chaos drain.?

He heard the other shift a little between the slick sounds of showering. ?'Chaos Drain'... well, didn't expect you to be so well read on social theory. Mach is a nerd, who knew.? They tried to speak in a glib tone but there really was so little one could do to try and improve the mood such shop talk between soldiers tended to set. ?But yeah. I mean, it's almost classic. You have 'The Temple of the Divine Mother? as your initiator, the melting pot of race that is Rhy'Din, and now both sides are playing table tennis with an obfuscated issue each one trying to one up each other with each serve...?

?-adding to the momentum of the drain train that's just sucking everything and everyone ever closer to going down the pipes, yeah.? He dourly finished the others analogy as he turned now to rinse off his front and soap up the back.

?Yeah...? Their tone took on an uncertainty as somberly agreed with that situational assessment. ?Reminds me a lot of how things felt back home out on the streets in the months and weeks leading up to the actual rebellions. The undercurrent of tension just building with everyone egging on the problem without any kind of solution, just throwing fuel on the fire until...?

?Yeah.? Neither of them needed to say what happened next, to recount how civil strife broke out across the land as angry protests turned to magic fueled mobs working to do everything from buck the system for change to full on terrorism in blatant sedition of the state. It was an event that proved how vastly different it was to be a hunter so as to defend the borders against the enemies of ones home than it was to have to turn ones fangs on the very people one swore to protect. And while they weren't the best lot for such a job they were the only lot capable of combating such powers as the protesting mages and demihumans brought to bare. Sadly there was a lot of nationalism and antiarcanism among the ranks which lead to many acts that cemented the view of hunters as monsters in the public eye. ?All in all a pretty crappy time.?

Jacobson just smirked at that. ?That's an understatement if ever there's been one.? Letting the chuckle that rolled from them rinse down the drain the man's tone took an apprehensive turn once more. ?So... what do you think??

?What do I think??

?Of the situation here? Of where it's going? Of what you think our role will be in it all??

Mach frowned as he let the sounds of running water just fill the void of silence that followed, the patter of rain on his skull helping to drown things out as he just processed that question. It was something that had been weighing heavily on him as of late given all the recent events. Turning once more so the water slip n' slid down his back and backside he finally let out a weary sigh. ?It's a s*** situation is what it is. Kind of like all of them for us... but certainly plenty of room glory hunting.?

Those last words held a bit more bite than he was perhaps aiming for as he caught the angry face that burst out from the catercorner stall. ?Glory... what, no! I'm not!?

?Just saying, it's a good opportunity if that's your thing.? Hands rose up in placation to the others hurtful glare. It really was kind of unfair of him to make such a claim, especially knowing how much Jacobson wanted to be a 'true' hunter, to move up from the role of supporter to offense. An uphill struggle for sure given what a crap posting this was which made looking for that response all the more important. If there was something Mach had learned in life was that being a good and decent person didn't preclude someone from holding some truly terrible views.

It was a little heartening, frankly, to see just how much his dick words seemed to piss off the younger man. ?You think I'm asking about this for advancement? Don't be an asshole Truner... ****. I fought in the Mage Rebellions too you know, that's... that's not a s***show I want to see happening here.?

Disappearing into their stall the silence of rain fell between them, hanging heavy as steamy fog in the air. Rather than try to force the issue Mach just turned one last time to finish up, his eyepatch removed and washed along with what lay beneath before finally he shut off the shower. Reaching out he snagged the towel that had been thrown to him, the weight of guilt and that silence really beginning to sink in as he began to towel down. ?Look man, sorry. Just... lot of stupid in this place as of late, yeah??

The sound of running water seemed to be the only answer he was going to get until suddenly it would stop with a squeak and an exasperated sigh. ?I know, I know... I've... seen it too, with a lot of the other military types here. Reminds me a lot of the bad old days during the rebellions... was kinda why I broached the subject, feeling you out. But you know, not like a dick though.?

That last part warranted a smirk from the schmooze. ?Sorry man but you gotta know being a dick is sort of a requirement for being an offensive hunter, yeah??

?Maybe for you old hats.? A dry snort followed those words as the man reached out to grab their own towel. ?But I don't plan to be like that. Not going to be all fatalistic and dark and crap. But at the same time I want to be... well, kinda like you are.?

The man's myopicism was almost laughable if it wasn't so naive. Rather than calling them out on such (feeling he'd certainly met his jerk quota for the moment) he instead let a dirty grin pull on rugged features. ?Like me? Sorry son, but this is 100% all natural grade A beef.? The schmooze gave his hips a roll to helicopter what he was talking about. Not that the other could see, mind, but the annoyed groan did say they were able to imagine what he was doing at least.

?You're sick man. ****ing mental.? They chuckled mildly between the rustle of that towel buffing themselves dry. ?What I meant was... well, your sympathy. How you hold relations with those that we usually hunt, against the grain of things. It's no secret you're pretty popular among the locals.?

Okay, that he couldn't help smirking at. ?'Popular with the locals'... what a funny way to say 'trying to stick the D to anything with a P!'? He let out a dirty smirk, hand waving off the angry defense he was sure the man was going to try and make for his 'honor.' ?You know, it's that very attitude that makes me mental, right? Colluding and fraternizing with the enemy and all, ****ing with my purity as it were.?

?They're not the enemy.? Those words were spoken bluntly with the weight of experience behind them. ?You know that as well as I do... but...? Their words puttered out as they seemed to become mired down by their own thoughts. It wasn't like Mach couldn't guess what they were thinking about as they were all but called him out for being a bleeding heart. Then again it wasn't like the military was full of nothing but bigots and he was some sort of exception to the rule... though it was no stretch to say he was certainly a minority.

Rather than making the other admit that perhaps they were a little bleeding heart themselves he instead just wound the towel up as he draped it along his shoulders. ?Well then, we keep the peace as is our job. In whatever limited capacity that we can.?

?But... what really can we do? Back in Tang we were part of something, an organization with resources and backing. It was a bad situation but we were still legion. Out here... I don't know... most everyone else in the complex would rather just the people here tear each other apart and even then there's only thirty or so of us out here with a tenuous at best relationship with the local authority which isn't equipped to deal with this sort of FUBAR situation.

He heard the tension in the younger man's voice, the situation obviously weighing heavily down upon them as it did him. What really did he expect to do against such an insurmountable opposition, something so big and ambiguous without any sort of real backup? How did you do the right thing when your corner was empty and the people who should have been supporting you didn't, saw your actions as nothing but daft? He'd been struggling for answers to these questions himself even though he already knew the answer. Perhaps one of the few real differences in thought processes between support and offense hunters. ?You do your best is what you do. Fight and be cunning. Do what you can and hope others can and will take up the rest, that good won't just sit on it's laurels and watch you take it up the ass.?

There was silence for a long moment as they considered his words. ?And what if that's not enough? What if things really hit the fan or-?

?You Do. Your. Best.? His tone was rather serious as he stepped out of the shower stall now, moving over to stand outside the others. ?Look, all we can do is either keep the peace or abandon our duty. It really all just comes down to that. If the OPFOR is too great or ambiguous then you tackle what little you can, chip away at it, hit and run, that sort of thing so long as you keep your head and don't wind up dead. If those you're protecting aren't who you're 'suppose' to protect then you think long and hard and decide what's right and you do it regardless what others say. Only you can draw your line to defend behind. But you're a peacekeeper Jacobson, you keep the peace.?

The man listened to those words, the buffing paused a moment to soak in what the elder hunter had to say. It didn't take them long to chuckle at Mach's own version of myopicism. ?It's just that easy, huh??

?If you're doing the right thing, yeah, it is.? That caught the other off guard, the glib turn in their tone dropping. ?And you keep doing it. That's what it is to be a hunter. Why even s***ty hunters like me can be a force of good in the world.?

?Huh... I... guess that's one way to think on it. Just... keep on keeping on, do what's right for right's sake even when everything's going to pot.?

?Especially when everything is going to pot. That's when folks like us are most important. Be a catalyst for good and as for the rest, well, you just gotta believe that there's more good out there willing to stand at your back when they see you kicking the pricks for the good fight.?

There was a moments pause as the younger man chewed on his rather blunt words, the words that pushed him forward through hell and back. ?You think that'll work??

This warranted a dry smirk from the schmooze as he grabbed the towel off of his shoulders. ?Yeah, I do. And when it doesn't? Well... then you just get clever until good figures it's s*** out.? A quick twirl and he snapped the towel at the shade of dark closest to the other side of that curtain, a sharp crack resounding out, almost echoing in that small room. The other soldier yelped out in kind to the assault, a flurry of curses escaping even as Mach sprang away, a wicked grin curling upon him.

?See, distance and treachery wins out over honorable hand to hand any day!? Perhaps this was a little childish of him, especially given the gravity of the conversation. But then again they could keep going circles and circles about this topic without ever really coming to a resolution and the one thing Mach knew for sure was that action spoke far louder than words. So he acted, much to the chagrin of the other hunter; and once he made his mistake he decided it was high time he started following his own words rather than continuing to feel terrible about a terrible situation.

Mach

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Re: The More Things Change...
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2017, 02:02:46 PM »
January 27, 2017

Shuffling stiffly through the curtain of alternating transparent orange and lacquered wood beads the schmooze paused momentarily, hands lifted up in supplication to the two hodgepodge trashbots that greeted him with very sharp looking pincers. Soulless lenses whirred and clicked softly as the sentries gave him the once over before backing away quietly, a lone low pitched note the only indication that he was cleared to pass. Stepping further into the sanctum of disarray he could feel dozens of sensors turn his way, bombarding him and sucking up information in every wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum. It was a small wonder he hadn?t gotten cancer from this place yet! Yet while it didn?t seem to have too adverse an effect on his health he could say with certainty that such attention really gave him the heebie-jeebies; like walking through a gallery of dolls and wax figures kind of creepy.

Further in the discord he finally caught sight of what was probably the only bit of true life amidst the piles of electronics, circuits, commercial and industrial scrap of all sizes, and a multitude of robots that milled about seemingly at home among the chaos. He offered a friendly smile to the madsci as they looked up from their soldering (well, he imagined they looked up, it was kind of hard to tell with the multi-lensed magnifying glasses they wore.) ?Moe, how did you get back here??

?Uh, walking, last I checked.?

Okay, they were most certainly looking at him now as their head lifted away from the work before them. He liked to think the look they were giving him was incredulous but then? madsci - not exactly a very emotive lot. ?Obviously. Let me rephrase - why was your legged locomotion not impeded by the sentries at the front of the shop??

To this he offered an uncertain shrug. ?Maybe they know I?m a friend, yeah?? No, no, now they were giving him an incredulous look. ?Err, well, maybe they figure I?m one of them now that I got the swank hardware?? He lifted up his prosthetic hand, or did after smacking away the little metallic tendril that had snuck up to investigate the piece of tech. As most of what Regi built was semi-autonomous trashbots they did have a natural proclivity to technology, usually so as to break it down and incorporate it into themselves. In general this made them mostly harmless though he did have to save his phone from being ?digested? on more than a few occasions.?

?Doubtful?? They spoke in a frank manner though their jaw did flex a little as they seemed to give the idea a little more thought. ?? probably. I?ll have to run some diagnostics on the net mind, make sure they?re not plotting.?

A shiver ran up his spine at the horrible implications those words spoke of, visions of robotic apocalypses dancing momentarily through his mind. ?Uh, yeah, please do. Like, please.? While Regi was a mostly harmless madsci there was still a lot of potential for their creations to become truly horrific threats to society. If anything it could even be argued that the man?s ?harmlessness? made them all the more dangerous as they were only considered such because they, oddly for a madsci, lacked focus. So while Regi did have some truly horrifying ideas occasionally dance through their head they tended to just halfass or lose interest in making such a reality. Not that the idea that there were half finished death rays floating around the workshop was overly comforting, particularly as their robots had a tendency for self-assembly and scavenging as an almost right of birth and survival.

?Yes, yes, though I?m sure it?s nothing.? That answer smacked of this task being placed in the man?s procrastination pile of things to do which, in turn, put it into his pile of things he was going to have to visit and remind the madsci to do? daily? perhaps even multiple times. ?So why are you here Manny? As I understand I am still under protection by your promise not to take me out on any more social outings.?

?Hey now, don?t be that way! You know you had fun!? Oh damn, they were actually quirking a brow at him, that probably wasn?t good. ?A-Anyway, I?ve brought you gifts, yeah?? Reaching into his leather bomber jacket he worked to hold back a wince as he dug out a tie dye shirt and button which he dropped upon the man?s workbench. ?See, I bring you cures for nudity.?

The man leveled a mild look at him for a long moment before turning their attention to the shirt, the lenses creepily flexing back by their own accord stripping his glasses back to the base prescription so as to view the article of clothing, lips moving along as they read the message on the front. ?Where did you get a ?humility first? shirt?? Mach couldn?t help but be a little surprised that the man so out of tune with the world around them even knew about that movement. Apparently this surprise showed on his features as the madsci turned their attention back to him. ?I?ve seen the video online of the aesthetically and sexually appealing woman who I?ve read is leading a social counter-protest to the humanity first movement that has itself been trending.?

He wasn?t sure if he should shudder at the thought that Regi found someone ?sexually appealing? or intrigued that the man devoid of emotions actually had a ?type? that stirred such a reaction. ?Uhh...? Okay, yeah, that line of thought hurt his brain, best to gloss over for that for the moment. ?N-No, no? I mean, I got it because, er, ?the appealing one? gave it to me. I?ve sorta been playing drunken crowd control for their little protest.?

?Drunken crowd control?? This warranted a curious cant of the others head and more than a little frown from him as he did not have the interest in trying to get across the nuances of controlling masses by social engineering to someone who had all the social suavity of a brick.

?Yeah, drunken crowd control. Apparently they caught me sulking around the periphery and decided I needed a shirt.??

He could see the other wanted to inquire about that term again but they seemed to be having a moment of lucidity and were actually reconsidering the urge to keep repeating their question. Apparently sense seemed to have won, for once, as the man simply bobbed their head in acceptance. ?So is that how you got injured??

The hunter grimaced as that spot of lucidity apparently extended to their powers of observance. ?Huh, oh no, no. I actually stopped doing the whole crowd control thing after the second day since the Watch and a small PMC of Lupinossai and some nut in full tact gear started wandering about the proceedings. Sort of redundant having me fooling about. So I moved to helping out with some of the social works side of things; fixing property damage and the likes while avoiding the groups photo monkey.

?You can fix things??

?Yes!? He glared at the other defensively though they seemed unfazed or more than likely clueless about the backhanded insult they cast at him. ?I?ve worked construction gigs before, man! Did all kinds of work on? on those beach houses a year back?? Insult tuckered to a mutter as his words dredged up less than pleasant memories. Issuing an indignant snort to end that tirade he shuffled uncomfortably, cobalt gaze shifting away to look at a few small robots working together to repair the leg of another. ?But yeah, decided to use my powers for good.?

?And you got hurt doing repairs then??

This had the schmoozes expression waning a little. ?Well? no good deed goes unpunished.? He shrugged casually and instantly regretted that action, both because it aggravated something that hurt and because he knew the other wasn?t good with idioms. ?Uh, that is I got myself sort of? attacked. Actually, maybe it?s more accurate to say I got into a brawl against armed people? with knives.?

Regi gave him a decidedly dim look over the rim of their glasses. ?Please don?t bleed on the floor, it gives the cleaning bots a taste for blood.?

?I?m not!? Stated as he felt to make sure nothing had started to ooze since, yeah, that was not a pleasant thought! ?But I do need somewhere to rest for a bit with some monitoring and figured I could gift you and impose on you all at the same time.?

?You know hospitals serve that role in society Maraca.?

That word, ?hospital?, made the man flinch a little, his expression souring as though a cat being threatened with a water bottle. ?Yeah, well, I?m still all filled up with hospitals here after my last stay at one, thank you very much.?

Regi?s expression took on a particularly dim hue as they finally took off the mutli-lensed multiplier glasses. ?As I understand level of care should be based off of severity of injury, not personal preference.?

He waved off the others argument of sound logic (and concurrently the metallic spider legs that started to feel at his prosthetic) with a sneer. ?Oh come on, I patched myself up and walked here! They?re obviously not that serious.??

Mach could almost feel the hardness of that stare they gave him. ?I-It?s just some bruising, a broken rib, and a stab! I can get all that during a particularly spirited hookup!?

Another look cast to the madsci and he literally squirmed a little as that dead stare bore into him. ?Alright! Alright! You can dissect me if I kick it here! But you gotta at least make a decent effort to save me you jerk!?

It was these words that seemed to finally reach the man, dulling the sharpness of that needling gaze and bringing an almost chipper upturn of lips to the fellow. ?I?m amicable to those terms.?

?You do have to try, and I mean really try to save me you know!?

?It will be an excellent test of my Mr. Surgeonbot. A very clever design if I say so, state of the art and using nothing but recycled kitchen appliances!?

How bad could the hospital really be? Giving the man a leery look the schmooze chewed on that thought a while longer before letting out a tired sigh. ?Sure, sure, whatever. Guess being fried has always been on the table for ways I could die.? Shuffling along he moved over to a well-worn sofa off to the side, a weary gaze cast to the robots that sat atop the faded cloth surface like a herd of petulant cats. Shooing at them seemed to do little more than stir a few of their attentions to his prosthetic.

?I've worked out that bug.? There was a pause at those words, lips opening but then sense got the better of him and he kept the obvious question to himself because, yeah, he really didn't want to know the answer. ?But anyway, why here? Don't you have anyone else that could watch you??

Lowering his hand to feeler range of a few of those bots he began leading some of them off of the couch, others following suit once disturbed. ?Maybe? But the ones that come most to mind don't really handle me bleeding so well.? Which was to say that he'd sent at least one of them into a fit of panic by having a nosebleed in recent memory much less having been stabbed. ?And others would probably want to take revenge or something. No, no, I just need someone to keep an eye on me as I get some shuteye, let the regen do it's job before I headout.?

?And so you decided to bribe me to do this task for you with... a shirt??

The schmooze simply shrugged at this, another little wince but he soldiered through it. ?Nah, I think the shirts garish myself and a little preachy for my tastes. I just figured you don't really care what's on a shirt so long as it covers you up. That and you probably need more clothes as I'm sure I've seen you wearing the same shirt every time I've visited. Please tell me you've at least been washing it in the interim.?

Waiting a long moment Mach felt himself frowning as that lack of a response told him more than he really wanted to know. ?N-Nevermind, just, yeah. There you go, and it's from someone you find appealing so good for you yeah??

The man looked back to the shirt, a thin hand moving to pick it up so as to give it a more thorough investigation. ?I see. I suppose I can use this, though it is a little large.? A frank observation as unlike him Regi was not a physically daunting individual. Even their hair was curly, blonde, and kind looking! ?I am still curious why you are helping out this movement and letting yourself get stabbed for it.?

?Regi, I didn't let someone stab me...? Well, okay, he kind of did... but again, something he didn't want to try explaining to the madsci. ?...it just sort of happened because I was being ganged up on by, like, six pricks in an alley is all.? Having finally cleared a space on the couch he turned and settled down slowly, easing back so as to give those last few holdouts an opportunity to escape before being laid on. ?As for why, well... why not? It's a good cause, is it not??

The madsci seemed to consider that for a long moment as they set the shirt aside, a look for the button but that had already been snatched by some robot which was already integrating it into it's head. ?Is it? It seems more divisive than anything.? Mach opened his mouth to argue against that but he couldn't exactly find any words against such a solid observation. While the madsci didn't care one iota about social norms this, oddly, seemed to make it almost easier for them to cut straight to the heart of most matters which was both good and really bad. ?But I suppose it has been eliciting camaraderie, fellowship, and social awareness and work projects which is important for an aggregate of individuals to coexist as a community so it is not without it's merits. Will you be helping out again tomorrow??

Trying to get comfy on that couch he couldn't help but let out a mild smirk. ?Nah, I'm sorta 'persona non grata' with the repair folks now. Apparently hitting a jackass that purposefully knocks over your box of nails in the face with a hammer during a peaceful rally is really frowned upon. Besides, tomorrow I'm going out ? there is boozing to be done!?

Regi looked as though they had something to say about his tactful ways... or lack thereof at any rate but the mention of 'boozing' seemed to have them strongly reconsidering this. Jeez, he knew he'd been a bit of a jerk the last time he'd dragged them out drinking but he didn't think he'd left that much of a negative impression as to give a mad scientist pause! Seeming to think over things a bit more the man apparently came to a different train of thought as they tilted their head at him. ?Do you suppose the woman from the video would be appreciative if I sent some robots in your steed??

This... this warranted a dumbfounded blink, his brain going 'whaaaaa' at that idea that spilled from the madsci's mouth. They weren't really considering trying to impress the yuppie hippie with a show of mini mechanical terrors that were as like to eat the construction supplies as they were to use them to do construction... were they!? Blinking a few more times he finally came to the conclusion that this was something best handled in the way Regi dealt with him at times. And so he just kind of turned, putting himself atop his prosthetic and phone so hopefully they'd still be there when he awoke. ?I.. you... theeey.... uhg. No... no, I'm not, no. J-Just wake me if I start gurgling up blood or something.?

The man didn't move for a long moment before he finally heard some shuffling, the smell of ozone once more filling the air as Regi had apparently turned back on their soldering iron. The silence from the madsci was, frankly, much more disturbing than any sort of response the fellow could have said as it meant they were coming to decisions on their own based off their rather frank and often twisted views of the world. This was, understandably, never a good thing but again this one was at least a lazy madman. Okay, none of those were very comforting thoughts but at this point Mach had expended his caring as the sweet siren of slumber called to him, the regeneration suite he'd gulped down just before coming lulling him asleep so it could work it's miraculous magic. And so he did just that, his mind submerging into the tranquil sea of unconsciousness dragging with it those last worries that he and some D might well be the spark for a robotic apocalypse befalling Rhy'Din.

Mach

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Re: The More Things Change...
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2017, 12:13:11 PM »
January 27, 2017

The schmooze woke with a start, his entire body jerking against the sudden and confused feeling which ripped him back to the conscious world. It was the sort of feeling usually associated with those dreams where you just fell and hoped that you awoke before you landed; not exactly a bad analogy as the smell of mechanical workings, ozone, and burning metal just kicked him right in the trauma eliciting the worst nightmares for the man. Reminded him too much of the hunt, of the battlefields he?d walked among and all the insane crap he?d somehow lived through. Why he was generally leery about sleeping at the madsci?s place but then they were the least likely to fuss over him, to chide him or try to force him to be good or healthy.

Groaning softly he tried to lift his prosthetic arm to drape over his features and block out some of the intrusive thoughts though he found the task impeded by something heavy and kind of uncomfortably cornered. That lone cobalt eye grudgingly opened to peer down at the object that perched atop of him, a particularly lumpy looking robot the size of a rather rotund cat and about twice as heavy with a bevy of arms and a crown of lenses circling its top most protrusion which he figured was it's head. Shooing the menace a few times to no avail he finally shifted, sitting up some so he could pick the thing up and set it down on the ground (he was even kind enough to wait for it to get its legs out and under it.) He could swear the mechanical creature huffed at him as it tick tocked away which drew a thin frown out of him at the fact that he was being sassed by something made out of recycled trash.

Settling back again with a grumble he paused as he noticed something amiss with his arm that rose to finally drape over his face, the gunmetal black metal and composites readily visible even in the dim lighting of the room. That wasn?t right, he typically kept the prosthetic covered with his long sleeve? which itself was missing. ?Really??? A tired mutter as he gave a cursory look about though it wasn?t like it have done him any good to find the robot that had cut off his sleeve. Rather than hunt down the culprit he instead focused his attentions on his arm, a little dread sinking in his stomach that perhaps the bastards had absconded with something much more important than just the cloth covering of clothing over his arm.

Turning the metallic device this way and that he actuated his wrist and fingers looking for any missing panels or lack of movement though what he found was actually pretty surprising. Not only was his arm fully intact, but the limb looked better than it had! At very least he noted a lack of scrapes and dents he was sure were in the exoskeletal plating or the few torn strands of flex cabling which were present when he?d fallen asleep earlier. Presents from that mob that had it out for him gifted via metal pipes and bats which they tried to cave his skull in with. One of those few silver linings to having lost his arm, the replacement was much sturdier as he was sure half the stuff he blocked with his prosthetic would have torn flesh and broken bone.

Admiring the handiwork for a long moment he hazarded a look towards the madsci seated across the way with their back to him. Yeah? no. Regi wasn?t the considerate type to do a repair that wasn?t explicitly asked for nor were they charitable enough to do such without negotiating compensation. Unfortunately if they hadn't done the work then that just left him with the option that perhaps a few of the robots had done this for him on their own accord. Maybe he wasn?t so far off mark with his glib statement earlier about being considered ?one of them? though that wasn?t exactly a very comforting thought for any number of reasons.

Looking back to Regi he found his focus shifting to what apparently held theirs, the holographic display flashing before them with a myriad of information floating lazily in 3D space with a focus on the video playing in the middle. From the looks of things it was a screen capture of some daytime television (some form of mounted fairy race using corgi?s as steeds) which looked to be getting to a good point when things suddenly cut to something completely different ? a broadcast of some woman that he thought looked mildly familiar. Apparently confirming something with the offscreen cameraman they began to speak.

Quote
?It?s been some time since I last had an opportunity to address the people in this way. You?ll have to forgive me if my thoughts are a little scattered. I?ve only just received reports of what is happening in the city and I? I?m beyond words??


Mach listened to the speech from the ?leader? of the Humanity First movement as they apparently admonished the actions of the rioters and spoke of the ?true? vision of the movement. By the time that the woman had finished (indicated by the broadcast cutting back to images of the victory corgi being paraded about the track) he found himself sitting upright with a mild expression tugging across rugged features. Something about what they had to say didn?t sit right with him, the words of inclusion and being high while not imperious feeling more than just a little na?ve and idealistic, particularly with the conviction and passion which they spoke. Then again Mach never did really trust ?true believers? of anything, found their modes of thought stifling and generally on the verge of nuts and arrogant.

?What a crock of s***.? Those words left him drably alerting the madsci?s to his awake status.

?That is not the sound of you gurgling blood.? A mild and disturbingly sad sounding observation from the madsci who titled their head so as to hear him a little better (though certainly not enough to actually engage him properly.) ?You do not believe in the message of Dianna Faulkner??

He found himself offering a shrug in response before it dawned on him that the madsci wasn?t actually looking at him so such a motion was going to go unnoticed. ?I?m sure they believe what rhetoric they?re espousing but it?s all a little? innocent? for me to buy.? Shifting some he rolled his arm experimentally before moving this way and that testing his injuries. ?Faulkner? weren?t they the zealot that?s like second duck to the political arm of their movement? a Follins or something like that??

?Francis Collins.? The correction muted in tone as the madsci was apparently sucking in information from more than a few feeds at once. ?Candidate in the last gubernatorial race for Rhy?Din. And yes, I believe the woman was Collins? second in command before they went underground after the bombing of the movement?s headquarters in the Docks just prior to your return.?

Pausing mid-stretch he thought back on that, a tingle of recognition for that particular news bite? playing in the back of his mind but then he had much more pressing things to think about back then like where?the hell his poker table was and what places he liked to eat at had closed. Yeah, he wasn?t exactly the most deep or in tuned sort of person himself. ?Huh? well, looks like they?ve had enough of self-claimed exile.?

?Except that was a hijack pirate broadcast cut off before any sort of tracer could locate them.? Mach noted a hint of annoyance to those words. An odd reaction if one didn?t understand that tracking such things was often a sort of sport among madsci. Something akin to fox hunting but with data and it seemed this fox was a little too clever for Regi?s Ais much to their chagrin.

?Well, sounds like not everyone with that woman is drinking the same idealist cool aid as they are at least. Or perhaps they?re not quite as idealistic as they preach to be.? Satisfied with the level of pain he was feeling the schmooze now set to patting himself down, checking to make sure nothing else had been ganked by the marauding robots. Then again he?d felt his phone digging into his leg when he?d first woke up hence why he?d been a little lackadaisical getting to this search ? what else were the robots going get from him, a smoking habit??

?Those in power are often targeted by those not regardless of position, allegiance, or stand. It does not seem like it would be a lack of conviction which spurs caution but simply a failure on societies part.?

The schmooze considered this mildly though his attention hiccupped as he felt the lack of a presence in one of his pockets which brought about a panicked recheck as his gaze snapped about. Feeling that absence a second time he scanned the menagerie of robots that surrounded him, his gaze piercing as he looked from one to another. After a few moments of searching he finally spotted one of them acting suspicious as it looked to be ?gnawing? on a small metallic object. Scooting on over to the dim looking ovoid with feet he felt his expression sour even as he smacked the thing with his metallic hand. ?OI! Spit it out!?

The mechanical creature whirred and whizzed at him, a rather complaintive sound though this didn?t stop him from smacking it again and once more until it finally dropped the object in its ?mouth.? Watching the beat up piece of junk zippo wannabe skitter out onto the floor he was quick to snatch it up, a glare given to the offending bot. ?No! No! You don?t eat peoples things!?

Mach felt a little stupid scolding what looked like two glued together ashtrays with marbles for eyes as though it were some sort of puppy but dangit that was his! Checking the scratched up lighter he breathed a soft sigh of relief as he the found the worn and faded inscription still intact, perhaps a small ?thank you? spoken to up high that the mechanical menace hadn?t integrated some sort of solvent into its scavenging behaviors. Threatening the grumbly robot one more time with his prosthetic hand he finally shoved the lighter back away for safe keeping before looking back to Regi who had at some point turned fully so as to watch the almost comedic exchange. ?What?? Glaring at the other man he quickly shook his head to try and head them off before they went on some tangent of robot rights. ?Er, no, I mean? it?s hard to escape the truth of what you?re movement does and who it appeals to is all. You can spout all the high ideals you want but, deep down, unless you?re a sociopath you know you?re still going to be appealing to the lowest common denominator. And that makes all her admonishments of violence just plain hypocritical and ingenuous.?

Regi considered him for a long moment, their lips moving discordantly as they were apparently processing a few vastly different lines of thought. ?But does that really take away from the message they are attempting to convey? Unlike the suspect ethos of an individual or organization upheaval is an unavoidable and independent part of social restructuring and reorganization.?

A frown worked upon his face as Regi was quickly starting to sound far too smart for him to keep up with. ?Well sure but?? His jaw clenched some as he felt annoyance building. Why the hell was he having to take apart a group of bigots for the madsci who was in exile from their homeland due in no small part to bigotry against them!? With a soft sigh he slowly rose from the sofa, his expression shifting as he nearly tripped on a sad excuses of a blanket that had been spread along his legs. Eyeing the gathering of robots in his immediate vicinity he found... the task was rather pointless as they were junkbots - they didn't have freaking emotional cues to determine guilt. Hell, half of them didn't even stir on his rising apparently zoned out on the subconscious web they all shared in. ?Look, come on, you can't hold one above the other without assuming that the other is going to try and drag you down. And when that happens, then they become the enemy; and folks are very inventive on how they deal with their perceived enemies.?

?Are they??

?Look at me.? The madsci's head canted questioningly at that statement, apparently resisting the urge to go with the easily superficial. He could almost see the other digging down into that statement, into what he was: a human, a male, a jerk, a schmooze, a particularly dull individual, a... ah! Blue eye blue caught that serendipitous moment that happened a little too slow for someone who was his natural prey. ?Yeah. So that Faulkner can preach the peace all they want but their underlying message is always going to bring about this sort of division, this sort of conflict. Their own diehards naturally buy into the view of supremacy and will react accordingly to bend reality to their skewed views. And on the other side, well, while some individuals may take things lying down entire cultures, species... they'll fight back which only makes them more of a threat to the supremacist idea, means they gotta be put down harder and harder till they 'know their place'. A vicious cycle that's only going to get worse...?

Regi seemed to ponder on these words, their lips ceasing that sub-vocalizing movement so as to settle into a frown. ?So why are they making such false claims that only stir trouble? Why step out now during the protest of the appealing one to 'chastise' their followers??

?Because lies are cheap.? A world weary grin pulled along rugged features as those words left him, his hands ideally folding over the blanket across his lap so as to deposit it along the back of the sofa once more. ?But you're right, it does kinda make me wonder what their angle is for this. Either they're trying to game the system, play the sympathizer part while whipping the masses to a fervor especially in the face of such support to try to stomp out their movement or... maybe they actually somehow really believe the crap their selling which then makes me wonder what B.S. they had to go through to come to such a way of thought. My guess would be some sort of trauma, probably linked to subjugation or genocide by some non-human race. Certainly not a new story to be heard across the multiverse: the one that human's weren't always on top. Heck, just look at the fluster cuck of our history that's shaped the little society we've come from.?

This seemed to warrant an ever so slight uptick of the others brow. ?I'm surprised Macy, I didn't think you of the hunters I've known would be one for history.?

To this he simply shrugged, trying to keep his annoyance in check against the probably unintentional backhanded insult laced in those words. ?Yeah, well, understand the s*** situation you've come from or be doomed to make the same s*** mistakes as has happened before... or something like that. Hunter academy is big on that point since hunters should be big on that too... not that we usually survive big mistakes well enough to repeat them.? A weary groan saw him lurching to his feet, cobalt gaze ticking about for some sort of jacket or another to cover his prosthetic arm with. While he was the one that had insisted on such a contrast of color to his original skin tone he was still not very keen on showing off his prosthesis when he could. Sadly though he was getting the sinking feeling that the sequin black blazer from Halloween siting in the corner would be the only thing here that would serve that purpose and actually fit without making him feel like too much meat in too small a sausage case.

?Heading out? Your injuries haven't fully healed.? Mach shot a quizzical look to the madsci even as he picked up the shiny outer garment. ?Mr. Surgeonbot ran a scan on you. According to you thermals you've still got a few hotspot.?

Watching the fellow tap their temple probably indicating the livefeed of information they got from being wirelessly jacked into the same network as their robots simply warranted a chuckle as he shrugged into the snazzy jacket. ?I'm out of any sort of danger zone. Besides, freakish healing needs eggs and not only do I doubt that you have any I'm fairly sure you've scavenged any kind of means of cooking such for a robot or another.?

The madsci considered this a moment before lighting up. ?Well we could always use Mr. Cookbot, it can cook an object via fourteen different programmed methods! I've only tested it for tea at the moment but how hard could eggs be??

He was grimacing wasn't he? The way Regi looked at him kind of told him that he was most certainly grimacing at that idea! ?Uuhh, no. How about we don't see how hard eggs could be, I've already had one hole put in me, don't need another.? Shifting his focus he started for the curtain of beads, hand lifting to offer a wave back though he paused halfway through the motion. ?Hey, you wanna come with? We could call it a 'thanks for making sure your robot horde didn't eat me while I slept.'?

Looking back he caught the madsci giving him a rather peculiar look, obvious not entirely convinced of his reasons for inviting them along. Then again he didn't exactly buy the excuse he made either but then he wasn't really keen on telling them the truth - that with how everything was going down he was actually a little worried for the madman to be going out on their own as often they did whenever hunger demanded they feed their fleshy body. He was sure Regi wouldn't understand the reasons, implications, or subtext of any of that which would only make his embarrassment that much worse. And even if they did have a moment of lucidity, well, that just wouldn't do as at the end of the day no matter how chummy they were they still stood solidly on different sides of their own social revolution.

They seemed to consider this a long moment, their lips twitching lightly before they stood unceremoniously from the nest of wires and electrical components which they had stooped within. ?They wouldn't eat you, trying to incorporate you into their forms would take too much effort.? That... was not the kind of response he was expecting. ?Now if I had my Mk 3's present, well, that would be another story. Sadly while the neighbors were okay that they helped cull the rat and stray cat population I'm sure they'd have taken a turn of heart if they made the next logical leap...? He felt his frown growing as the madsci began speaking more rapidly, an air of excited urgency finding their voice. ?...but maybe if I made sure they only targeted the homeless or-?

?Regi! Food! Yes or No?? Mach felt himself almost tripping over those words, throwing them out fast and hard in an attempt to derail that very, very bad line of thought!

Pausing a moment the man blinked, their expression fading away from that excited glee back to their much more somber expression. ?Hmm? Oh yes, food. I don't buy your reason but so long as you are buying I am amicable with going with you. Will we be going to the grocery too??

He just sort of stared at the man as they flip flopped through several thoughts before finally ending on what was likely a very unsubtle query about him buying them groceries too. The move was almost too sly for a full on madsci, something Regi was good at from time to time though they most certainly made up for such with gleeful talks about murder death bots too. Thinking on things a moment as he had been buying a fair number of groceries at the moment for other reasons he finally let out an assenting sigh. ?Fine, fine, whatever. You're at least cheap.?

Moving to grab some ratty sweater or another and a pair of glasses the other paused momentarily. ?I'm at least cheap??

An obvious 'd'oh' passed through his mind which he simply laughed off uneasily. ?Y-Yup! You and cup ramen! So! Sexy protest hippie! What about them catches your fancy, eh?? Was he totally throwing the protest leader under the proverbial bus so as to distract the madsci from prying into his personal affairs? Totally! But then they weren't here (as much of a jerk ideology that was) and he wasn't over keen into digging into his personal affairs with the madsci and so sacrifices must be made.

The man seemed to consider this a long moment before the ever loose gears in their head seemed to shift off their previous thought and unto that topic. ?Oh yes, Ms. Winters. Have you seen that hair? It reminds me of insulated wires and a multilayer physical neural jack system that-? Yes, sacrifices had to be made though he had to wonder just how much of it was going to be his sanity as he pushed through the bead curtain once more with the excitedly chattering madsci following suit behind.

Mach

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Re: The More Things Change...
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2017, 12:43:51 PM »
February 14, 2017

The cleanse. Mach wouldn't really hear about the nuts and bolts of this until sometime the next morning when he awoke feeling exhausted from the night before. What, it was Valentines day after all; man had priorities yo! Deciding to take an actual holiday he'd set his phone to silent and enjoyed the day of love having fun and being schmoozey to his hearts content. And why shouldn't he? Military made monster as he was Mach was still owed some R n' R from time to time and what trouble could happen on such a holiday as this other than maybe a flood of lube from an overworked Helston factory?

Obviously the hunter could have used to bone up on some of the history of saints and other related events to Valentine's Day. And so it was that the man found himself with a date at the fountain in Marketplace (before some vigilante defense effort was even a thought in anybodies mind) for a romantic wish before absconding to more private settings to enjoy the Valentine night. At eight sharp the mass spell went up and the schmooze, well, the schmooze went down. Not only was he caught in a whirlpool of powerful magical energies that made his only similar experience feel like a spring sprinkle compared to a hurricane of hammers but the spell effect, sapping magical energies form others and trying to shove it into average humans, was pretty much like an electric chair treatment for the man.

And so the bleeding heart schmooze who usually would have been going about in such a dire situation making a muck of things as he did was instead reduced to a gibbering lump of bleeding hunk. It was a fate he could have avoided had he been paying attention to news coming from his headquarters, had he been following the advisory to be careful of potential spell events due to some word of mouth intel that was picked up by scouts but, alas, he had done none of those.

No, instead the man, as he did, got on by sheer luck as he was whisked away from the fountain before any of the fighting really started. Carried off by something reportedly large and most assuredly not human the hunter, much to his chagrin, had to seek refuge in one of his safe houses embedded with runes and glyphs that protected against the effects of the ether. It wasn't an ideal solution and it certainly wasn't what the man wanted to do with such a travesty happening but going out with the spell still in effect was essentially suicide for any hunter from Tang. And afterward? Well, while the safe house granted some protection the man was still pretty much roasted and in no shape to fight. Another failure he'd have to live with, another guilt he'd have to carry. It was such thoughts that tormented him in what restless sleep he got through the night and would have him avoiding the headlines today, at least for a little while, until finally he could stomach no more self pity and had to go out to help in the effort to apprehend what roving bands of rabble-rousers continued into today.