For many in Dogwood, life revolves around the Tournament. Every year the king opens up the ranks of the Knights of Dogwood to those who can master its fearsome challenges and prove that they have what it takes to operate one of the Kingdom’s ancient bots or armors and hold back the horrors of Rifts Earth. For those in the lower classes, it’s an opportunity to raise up both themselves and their families into the ranks of the nobility, a chance to climb out of the hardscrabble life that the Yeomanry endure. For scions of the upper class, its a chance to fulfill their destinies and honor their family names. And to everyone not participating, it’s one of the most entertaining events of the year.
It’s quite a production, obviously. Food, parts, technical assistance and more has to be brought in from all corners, so the Transporter’s guild stays quite busy, as well as the rest of the guilds really.
Just outside of Richmond there’s a staging area for some of the supplies for the upcoming Tournament coming in from Vesper or from the western frontier. Factor – soon to be Baronet – Jericho Trent is there supervising the unloading of his guild’s part of those supplies. The place is like a huge container yard overseen by giant mecha… and incredibly heavily guarded. Richmond might be mostly empty, but the part that isn’t is quite dangerous and no one wants a bandit raid to spoil things.
Not too far from where the Factor is standing, his bot stands silent vigil. It says something about the importance of this contract that he personally guarded it on the way in. Not too far away a temporary ‘pavilion’ shelters places to eat, drink and relax for the Transporters and other supply runners coming in.
Jesana loves a good fight, whether she’s participating or merely watching and the trickster demigod had been sorely tempted to try entering and winning just to mess with these people and their tiny xenophobic minds. Shake up their little world and give the lower classed d-bees a bit of hope. It’s the thought that those people would probably end up suffering from her actions that kept the coyote woman on the sidelines though. Well, that and the fact that Jesana doesn’t have any machinery or bots or even armor. She’s settled on a blanket at the edge of the pavilion with an impressive array of snacks and drinks and while she’s in her human form it’s probably clear she is not a Dogwoodian from her white buckskin leather and native style bone and obsidian knives and daggers and turquoise jewelry.
Guard duty can be tedious, and when there are other exciting things happening and things a plenty to see, it tends to make the task all the more difficult.
Baldur’s hanging around the Trent affiliates, restlessly twirling one of his pistols as he crowd-watches. He’s pretty sure Jericho’s men have the place covered, but he’s here because he was asked to, so he can at least pretend to be useful until he might be tasked with something else.
If he’s ever been to one of these events, it’s one of many things that have slipped through the sieve of his spotty past memory.
The Tournament is one of the biggest delivery-times for Transporters, and everyone has been carting supplies and parts non-stop. Bridge is by no means an exception. With her truck being a bit too small for the truly massive cargo being brought in, she gets the more delicate jobs. She’s spent the past week solid ferrying small and easily breakable components to and fro. Breakables always demand a higher transport rate, but that’s fair compensation for the sheer amount of stress involved in moving items that will melt, or crush, or shatter with the slightest bump or knock.
A very recognizable black dually truck approaches the near-Richmond staging area, and the moment Bridge sees Trent’s mecha standing there she mentally curses, then immediately starts trying to ‘tell’ the obnoxious piece of sentient scrap to NOT try to connect to anything nearby. “Go to sleep. Go to sleep. Go to sleep,” she half-chants under her breath in the hopes that that’ll make the scrap actually do it and leave the mecha alone.
The Tournament is a big thing in the Dogwood Calendar, indeed and with Zelda still away, it’s fallen to Natsuki to represent House Taniguchi. However, today, she’s filling two roles – the second as the Factors Companion, a contract that has raised more than a few eyebrows in Dogwood when it became public.
Dressed in a short skirt, blouse and jacket, with boots that rise to her knees the part-elf Estate Manager approaches Jericho, those strange bracelets of hers catching the light as she brushes a strand of hair from her face “That young woman over there is asking for trouble…” she murmurs to the Factor and Baldur, inclining her head slightly in Jesana’s direction. “And here comes Miss Bridger …”
The tournament proper is still a couple of weeks away in Dogwood but the entire Kingdom is abuzz. Here in the container yard for the supplies of the Southern and Western Duchies, people are milling about, talking, drinking and of course working very very hard. Still, those on breaks between runs seem to be having a pretty decent break before they head back.
“Which one? The one in the blanket that’s just kind of looking at things? I figured she’d come with one of the transporters or truckers.” Jericho really hadn’t noticed her. He’d been busy supervising the unloading of several large flatbeds.
//Connection Found!// That is possibly NOT what Stella wanted to hear. From what she can tell it hasn’t connected to her or to any of the bots in the yard, including Jericho’s thankfully.
No, it’s connected to something else.
The sound that follows can only be described as a roar. It’s distant, but the sound was rather distinctly… mechanical.
“Did you hear that?” Jericho glances toward the front ‘gate area’ of the container yard. He starts to move that way when suddenly he winces as if in pain. His hand goes to his temple, near his ocular implant. “What the…”
There’s that roar again.
Watching everything with obvious curiosity, Jesana spots Baldur and grins. She remembers him. The strange bot with the human aura. The one that thought she was a dog, which the demigod found more funny than offensive. She cranes her head around when her delicate sense of hearing catches a soft muttering chant about sleep. Is it coming from that truck?? Then her eyes fall on the half elf and she whistles in appreciation. She chortles softly at Nat’s words. Trouble is one of her many times after all. Jesana settles with her legs in front of her and leans back on one hand, sipping from a wineskin with the other. “That’s a sight for sore eyes if I ever saw one.” Jes murmurs.
She drops the wineskin and is on her feet faster than should be possible the moment the roar starts. As it sounds a second time, Jesana springs across the space separating her from the others and takes a defensive stance in front of them. She notices that the noise seems to affecting a lot of the group but not her and she doesn’t see any expression of pain on the elven one’s face either. “What is it?”
“Trouble?” Baldur repeats, head tilting over in Natsuki’s direction before he starts to glance over towards Jesana. His optics lid as he squints a bit. “…she looks familiar…”
Hearing the familiar rumble of Stella’s truck, he turns to watch as the transporter pulls in closer, raising his free hand to wave- and he freezes about half-way through the motion. His pistol finishes its spin and goes falling as the cyborg’s fingers lock up and fail to catch it.
“Wh-whoa, what–” he stammers, his body tensing up, his movements twitchy. “N-N-N-Nats-tsuki, som– actin’ up–”
Stella stops her truck as quickly as is safe the moment she gets that ‘connection found’ message, already muttering curses. She steps out of the truck and looks around quickly, trying to figure out what the stupid thing’s linked to. None of the mecha are moving…
She’s just turning toward where she thought she saw Trent when Baldur freezes mid-wave. Oh, that’s SO not good. She hasn’t noticed yet that Jericho is also reacting to something, ans she scrambles to get said damned chunk of scrap out to try and get it to stop whatever it’s doing.
“I SO regret that job. Stop it. Stop it NOW.” She’s shaking the chunk of scrap as if that might help.
“Well, yes…” Natsuki glances back to Jesana and is about to say something else to Jericho when the roar sounds. “Jericho. What was tha– Jericho!! What’s wrong?” She’s beside him in a flash, hand on his arm ready to hold him should he fall.
Baldur’s call gets a concerned glance, but there are others around her all having similar difficulties.
The arm of the worker over there seems to be trying to ‘drag’ it’s owner off. That young woman, to Natsu’s left, is clutching her head and the poor gentleman there … well his leg seems to be playing up. It might be comical if it wasn’t so serious.
“Miss Bridger. Use a command like “Disconnect” I’m sure it doesn’t know what ‘stop it’ means.” If Natsu remembers correctly, that thing had linked to Stella somehow.
“Something’s in my implants.” Jericho grates to Natsuki. “That shouldn’t even be possible…” He tries to concentrate. He’s fortunate in that Jericho isn’t really all that augmented. Not like some of the others who have whole limbs or in Baldur’s case, whole bodies, that are mechanical. The guards who are augmented start reaching for weapons. And Baldur gets the very distinct impression that Stella has somewhere important to be. Or is that… Lieutenant Stella Bridger, of the United States Mechanized Action Division.
Whatever that is.
That is, perhaps predictably, when the Puma-bot appears. It stalks cat like over the hills headed right toward the container yard.
“Crap. Remote Protocol’s on!” Jericho says into his ear piece. His bot, at that point, activates on it’s own and walks out to meet the intruder.
Though there is still a problem. Several compromised guards are now pointing weapons every which way.
Jesana turns and raises a brow at Stella. Is that the thing causing the disturbance? Should she squash it or something? She might be kinda old but machines have never really been her thing and whatever she knew about the things originally was knowledge of another world and has long since been forgotten. “Disconnect?” Why does that word bring up a memory of frustration and the inability to see lots of lovely looking.. the demigod shakes her head. Not the time for those kinda thoughts! “Uhm.” She takes a few steps towards Stella but isn’t sure what to do without making things worse. Brown eyes widen and the demigod pauses next to Baldur.
Implants? Oh wow. If this doesn’t stop these people are screwed. Nothing in her arsenal can fix that and she is aware of the human’s of this particular area’s fondness for such things. How they can bear it Jesana has no idea. Even in her first life she would have never have considered such a thing. She can’t help but grin a little though. It’s.. kinda funny. To some one like her it is anyway. She is a living personification of chaos and this.. this definitely that. Or at least the start of it. However, she’s curious about this robot and doesn’t want anything bad to happen to him. “Okay I could normally take a large cat no problem but uh, that thing, not so much.” She eyes the bot. “Really, not so much.” Maybe she can climb it? Tear some bits out. Mostly likely just provide it with a bit of target practice.
His twitching ceases, body seeming to relax. The orange glow of his optics flickers however as Baldur moves his head, looking down at his accidentally discarded gun. He steps over wordlessly, grasping it firmly in hand, his other hand drawing out the other pistol from its holster. It seems like he doesn’t even register Jesana’s arrival, but then she hasn’t done anything to prove herself hostile, and her murmurings don’t make much sense to him at the moment.
“Lieutenant Bridger,” he addresses Stella as he turns his attention towards her, although the flickering of his optics stutters a moment, but there’s but a brief pause before he starts towards her, looking set on providing an escort. For whatever reason.
With a surprised blink at Natsuki, Stella tries just that. “Disconnect! Come on, disco…”
Then the Puma-bot comes into view. Likely the same one that tried to turn her truck into a chewtoy. And she says another choice cussword. Disconnecting from things hasn’t worked for her before. Maybe she should try the opposite.
She’s never tried to actively use her neural interface beyond gleaning information about her truck or to rely on targeting software for shooting at things. But now she thinks to the AI-scrap, //remote visual, now// to see what it’s connected to. Maybe once she’s in she can use whatever her connection has linked up to fight off that Puma-bot.
“You’re not the only one.” Natsu eyes the guards near them as the weapons come up, pointing at Stella and Jericho and herself. “Baldur. She’s not a Lieutenant….” the words might be lost in the pandemonium.
“Oh lord, Jericho….” it’s been a while since they’ve seen that thing and part of her had hoped that whatever was controlling had lost interest. Apparently not.
Stella’s vision goes blank and then she’s… fairly high up. Twenty feet or so off the ground. And then the first thing she sees, and possibly feels, is Jericho’s bot come toward her and slap her with a big electrified sword. Yes… she’s connected to the Puma bot. The Puma bot that Jericho’s remote controlled bot is trying to gut.
Which is not Stella’s only problem. The guards are moving in on her. Those that aren’t now struggling with their compatriots. “Lieutenant Bridger. You will report back to HQ immediately.” One of them says. “Take her into custody.”
That last part is to Baldur.
Jericho blanches as he shakes himself loose and sees the Puma Natsuki is pointing out… and then sees what’s going on around him. “Nat, we’ve got to try to disable that uplink. Or turn it off. And we definitely don’t want them to take Miss Bridger.”
Baldur might see Jericho draw a vibro-rapier out of the corner of his eye. “Baldur, stand down.”
What Jess thinks of this is anyone’s guess. Hopefully she helps. Jericho has quite forgotten about her.
Well. She’d wanted to see something interesting, hadn’t she? Few people know better than her that you should always be careful what ya wish for. Inwardly Jesana sighs at herself. At least none of this seems to be her fault. There have been occasions where her mere presence in an area caused havoc. “Don’t let who take who? Man, I wanna help here but I’m an Indian! This shit ain’t natural. Tell me who’s ass to kick or whose attention to draw to myself and I’ll give it a go but otherwise I’m just gonna stand here and watch. No offense but this is pretty damn funny.”
A considering pause and the white clad woman pats Baldur’s cheek. “Except for this. I don’t want anything unfortunate happening to Shiny here. He’s kinda growing on me.” Even if he is a living example of one of the worst kinds of hell she can imagine.
Stella leans against her truck as her vision blanks out and then resolves to show… oh crap. She flinches visibly in perfect synchronization with Jericho’s mecha hitting the rogue Puma-bot with its gigantic electrified sword of compensation +6.
//Disengage, now! Stand down, cat! Lie down!// “Tr– Trent. Back off, I think I have it.” Bridge isn’t at all sure Jericho heard her, and worse, she’s completely unaware of the guards converging on her and starting to try to boss Baldur around. Every last bit of her attention is focused on making the Puma-bot do what she wants and not provoke anyone any further.
Baldur moves, even if internally, he’s screaming at himself for doing everything exactly opposite of what he wants to do. Has Mars ever had problems like this in Shiny? he wonders. But Shiny’s a mech, and this is his body so why isn’t it friggin’ answering his brain?!?!
Whatever’s taken control ignores Jesana’s touch. Inwardly Baldur just hopes the dog-lady won’t get herself hurt. Not exactly the best place for someone like her to be, although he’d admit she’s got guts for being here.
At the order given, the cyborg finds himself moving to do so, sliding one of his pistols away so he’ll have a hand free to reach for Stella. “You heard them, Lieutenant,” he says. And then he registers the movement and his gun arm’s already moving, hammer cocked as he brings it up towards Jericho, his head turning. Only the flickering of his optics seems at odds with the deadly calm with which he positions himself.
Natsu watches as things go to hell in a handbasket and she remembers what she can of those damn Pumabots. All of them were different, that’s the first she knows but the pages of the manuals they’d recovered come easily to her mind. “The uplink units for the three Puma’s we know of are all in the same place…” she’s saying to Jericho as his vibro sword comes out.
“Baldur. This is a direct order. STAND DOWN.” She doesn’t think that will have any effect, but she can try.
Still, she’s moving. “Be careful.” she calls back over her shoulder as she makes her way to the Puma. Jericho may well chide her later for this. She needs to find a way into the Bot, she can remember the override sequence but it has to be entered from inside.
“Wait, Natsuki what are you-” Too late. She’s gone.
The cat takes a swipe at Jericho’s bot and crushes the chest. The more humanoid bot swipes back, the large blade coring the armor on the right front paw and then damaging electronics in the shoulder. The back and forth is brutal and Stella gets to experience it all. She might vaguely hear Jericho go ‘What?’ when she tells him to back off.
In a moment it becomes a moot point though as the Puma lunges to snap off the leg of Jericho’s bot and then pounces… and lies down like Stella told it to. On top of the fusion reactor. And the safeties therein. Which is overheating. Because cat.
But the cat did obey.
“Baldur, you need to- woah!” The blade lashes out but only to redirect that weapon on Baldur’s arm with the tip. One of the other guards makes a grab from behind him and gets elbowed in the face for her trouble. Jericho might well chide Natsuki but he’s a bit busy right now. Speaking of which…
“If you really want to help, don’t let Baldur shoot me!” He snaps over at Jesana as he turns to deal with another pair of lunging guards. He’d very much like to not get shot in the back.
“Bridger whatever you’re doing, do it fast.” There’s a pause and a wince at the damage to his mech. “And don’t let it detonate my reactor.”
Oh ho. What is the elf lady doing? Why is she going for the cat machine?! Jesana is torn between following Nat and standing in front of Baldur so he doesn’t accidentally shoot what might be a friend. Beauty or Brains? Or would Baldur be more Brawn? Hm. Well, hopefully Natsuki knows what she’s doing. Jes might be able to get up there but other than trying to rip the insides apart, there isn’t much she could do. What she can do, and does do, after hearing Jericho, is move to stand in front of Jericho, her chest pressed right against Baldur’s gun. “Don’t feel bad if ya shoot me, okay. It’ll hardly be my first time.” She grins and winks. It will mean her fun is over though, even if it isn’t a kill shot, the fact that it starts healing right away will give her up as something other. She isn’t sure how much of a show there will be after this hot mess however.
It … kind of did what Stella told it to. So she tries again. //Back away from your toy. LEAVE IT. And go to sleep.// She tries to put as commanding a tone in her thoughts as she can, trying to emulate the way she’s heard people command pets or livestock.
When the HELL did this become her life?
While Bridge is still leaning against her truck focused on getting the Puma-bot to respond to her commands, the truck itself responds to the approaching guards, the engine revving a warning. It’s a mostly passive system, though, so when the security isn’t fully activated all its very limited AI can do is the equivalent of posturing.
OH FOR THE LOVE OF– If you shoot Natsuki, Me, then I will punch you! -me. Crap this is confusing.
At least Natsuki’s moving out of the range of danger- well, from him, anyway. If Baldur were able to focus he’d probably panic at her going for the puma bot. As it stands, he’s got his hands full. Outwardly, while one pistol’s been deflected, it hasn’t stopped him from bringing out the other. He hasn’t fired off a shot yet, but he’s already ducking to the side to keep his target in clear sight. Although with Jericho no longer trying to actively get to Stella–
But then Jesana is there in front of him, the orange glow of his optics flaring slightly as though in surprise, as indeed it is. Whoa, whoa, whoa lady! Are you nuts?!
His fingers curl around the triggers, but then they loosen as he steps back from her, still wary, but shooting her isn’t his current objective. “Stay back,” he warns, and internally he’s offended at how…mechanical he sounds. But he’s turning around to get to Stella again. Revving engines aren’t about to put him off.
Do they still need to disable uplink now that Stella’s done this? Natsu isn’t sure and she pauses for the moment, locating the maintenance that will give her access to the behemoth. She’s snagged a tool kit along the way and approaches carefully.
It’s going to take her a few minutes to work out … which tools to use. And then a few more to get the access actually open. Maybe by then, this won’t be necessary. Or she won’t be squished. Either way.
The cat, now fully laying down on the chest of Jericho’s ruined bot, doesn’t move. Like a cat. Stella can feel the AI’s stubbornness. It DOES go to sleep like she told it to. Unfortunately it doesn’t want to move. She can try to force the issue, but it’s like the AI has claws and is digging them in.
//Warning. Fusion reactor detected in overheat process. Meltdown imminent.// That’s worrying.
//Intruder alert.// That’ll be Natsuki entering. Natsuki finds a rather roomy cockpit. There’s probably room for, oh, three or four people back here behind the control chair which is empty. The screes are all, weirdly, in English. Zelda’s Puma is all in something else. The layout is similar though so she should be able to get the code in. Unfortunately she too hears the warning of a fusion meltdown in progress. Can she get it in time?
“Not what I had in mind!” Jericho shouts out as Jes puts herself right in Baldur’s firing line. The engine rev from Stella’s truck causes one of the two compromised guards to back off for just a moment but the desynchronization of their attack lets him clock first one then the other. He’s quick.
Baldur’s body really, really wants to shoot Jericho. He’s aiding and abetting a deserter, after all. But Stella’s operations on the bot have distracted whatever is linking to him. So he might have just a little bit more control.
Though his arm still really wants to shoot. Through Jes. At Jericho.
Jesana rolls her eyes. No, she can’t read minds but she can read people, she’s been around a long time and she knows the usual reaction of others when she does something like this and Jericho’s shout is expected as well as Baldur’s wide eyes. “I’m not nuts. Just trust me, okay.” Better her than Jericho. She does the opposite of staying back and moves right up against the pistol again. Only now Baldur is turning the other way. The demigod sighs and considers. A shrug of her shoulders and darts to the side, turns around and leaps at the robotic man. She is far stronger and athletic than she appears and she looks pretty fit. Maybe she can knock him to the ground and keep him there for a minute or two. She doesn’t think it’ll damage him any. Despite whatever struggle is going, the demigod glances up. “Meltdown?? Should you all be maybe, running away now, a little bit?”
Oh thank the gods. Damned stubborn cat at least listened enough to go to sleep. Stella calls across, “It’s asleep, Trent. Can you shove it clear?” Hopefully Jericho’s mecha is strong enough to do that. And hopefully Natsuki will have enough time to brace if it rolls with her inside.
The truck’s revving drags enough of her attention back for her to rapidly blink her vision to her own optics and.. “Baldur! Don’t!” And her left hand reaches for the cyborg’s wrist that is aiming to shoot at Jericho. If nothing else, hopefully she can spoil his aim.
Even his own dumb body can’t make up it’s own mind- and that mind’s not even his! Baldur can feel it hitch, and while he’s relieved he can try pulling away from Stella, he’s still armed, and WHAT THE HELL IS DOG LADY DOING!? -oh, right. Not in control, silly him.
He twists around as Jesana’s movement draws his attention, and she’s on him just as suddenly Stella is. If he’s going down then he’s taking them both with him- and not entirely because he wants to!! That’s just what you get when you’re holding onto a cyborg whose balance is suddenly compromised.
Natsu somehow manages to look calm as she finally gets the access open. The layout inside is similar to Zelda’s Puma, but different enough. That the display is in English has her blinking though – Zelda’s is in French. She does wonder why now.
Did anyone actually see her enter? She doesn’t know and the warning has her swallowing her fear as she picks her way through the cockpit. Please don’t let there be any anti-intrusion measures.
Finding the console, the part-elf closes her eyes, bringing to mind the pages they recovered and the override code. Or more appropriately, what they think are the override codes.
It’s a good thing she’s quick on the keyboard though, the code is entered and she taps the ‘enter’ button smartly, even as those warning alarms sound even louder.
Please, oh please, let this work. And um. She still has to get out – that’s unlikely to stop the fusion overheat, is it?
The second the override code goes in the link to Baldur and all the other cyborgs shuts off and Stella’s last commands – the ones to move off the chest of the bot – take effect. Which is good because the next things out of Jericho’s mouth are: “No. Cat wrecked my bot. I don’t think it’ll move.”
Natsuki can feel the Puma moving though. It moves a short distance away from the hulk of Jericho’s bot and lays down again. The sensors display the fusion reactor in the wreck starting to cool down now that a eight ton cat is no longer blocking the ventilation system. She’s safe, or should be. And the Puma seems neutralized.
Meanwhile Baldur and very probably Stella and Jes will find themselves on the ground. With Baldur back in full control of his body just in time to be too late. Talk about awkward.
Most of the other cyborgs – the ones who haven’t been knocked out – stagger and shake themselves to clear their heads.
“Just what the hell was that?” Jericho asks to no one in particular on sort of everyone’s behalf.
Having no shame, Jesana looks around at the others and then at Baldur and grins. “So. Is that a pistol are you just really happy to see me?” The native woman drawls. Then she lays a smooch right on him and rolls over onto the ground and up onto her feet. “I have no idea but it was fun.” The demigod responds. And it doesn’t look like anyone got hurt really. Aside from their pride maybe and some general embarrassment. “Is it always this exciting during these things or am I just lucky today?” She asks with interest.
Not one of his better landings. Baldur’s optics shutter closed, and for a moment he lies there. Covered in females. He’d respond to Jesana, but he’s still getting a handle on his bearings. His fingers flex experimentally, eyes opening as he suddenly moves to sit up, with or without Jesana and Stella attached.
“What the hell happened?!!” he sputters, right on the heels of Jericho’s own question like a demented echo. “Agh, I can’t believe I nearly…” He shakes his head, then pauses. “-wait, where’s Miss Natsuki?”
Having not yet fully recovered herself from the link with the Puma-bot, Stella gets pulled over and off her feet by Baldur so easily it’s flat out embarrassing. And like Jesana she promptly moves to get back to her feet, though she winces and holds her arm close if she injured it somehow — coincidentally or not the arm the corresponds with the leg on the Puma that got damaged by the Trent mecha’s attacks.
“That does it. Factor, I hope you know someone who has a way to disconnect remote neural interfaces.” Because what just happened can NOT be allowed to happen again. It’s bringing her way too close to her reasons for having turned her back on Dogwood in the first place.
Where is Natsuki? That’s a a good question. Right now she’s very glad that no one saw what happened when the Puma started moving. She might have … panicked … just a little – afraid it would run off with her. And then she’d tumbled in a pile of legs and boots.
“I’m here …” comes her voice as she disembarks from the Puma, her hair that was artfully piled on her head is … rather tousled and her jacket askew. She straightened her skirt though, thankfully.
“Is … everyone alright?”
Jericho looks meaningfully at Natsuki. He’s glad she’s okay, but they may talk later. For now things seem to be… recovering.
“I have a couple of people who can if you need that, Miss Bridger. Feel free to stop by our offices in the City if you do.” He has. Because, you know, he deposed his father, recently.
Looking at the Puma, though, he makes a decision. “Jensen. Get that thing on your flatbed and take it to the Taniguchi manor. Since it seems to be sleeping right now I want to have a look over it.”
That can only go well, right?
“No, Miss, things aren’t usually this exciting at container yards. And we generally prefer that they not be.” Still… everything worked out without injury or property damage, aside from his wrecked mech which he’ll have to see to shortly.
“Suki, if you want to make sure Baldur and Miss Bridger are okay, I’ll get the cleanup started.” And with that… he’s off. There’s a lot of things to do before they can really discuss this.
“Heyla. Lemme see.” Jesana frowns as she realizes Stella is favoring her arm. Though.. there is nothing she can do at the moment aside from tell if it is broken or sprained. Her native magics are just that, magics and ritualistic, taking time and supplies she doesn’t have here and would not likely endear her to these folk besides. “I’m fantastic, Lady.” The demigod pauses her examination to smile over at the half elven woman. “How about you metalhead?” Maybe she doesn’t remember Baldur’s name. Or maybe it’s just her nature to poke at people. “Who was that guy?” Jesana asks as Jericho walks off. Actually.. “I’m Jesana. I met this one before.” She points at Baldur. “Don’t recall the rest of you though.”
“‘m sorry,” Baldur apologies quietly to Stella. He shoves his other pistol back into its dusty holster before dragging himself to his feet. For a moment he can feel the seventy-plus years he has on him in every movement as his body and mind once again get acclimated. It’s a strange sensation, none that he’d care to have a repeat of.
Shrugging half-heartedly at Jesana’s inquiry, he dusts off his shoulders, pulling his hat low over his metal forehead as though he could hide behind its broad brim.
“…better now, I guess,” he says as he brings up a hand, opening and closing fingers. He turns to look over at Natsuki, for once appearing weary despite his robotic form, but he looks relieved to see that the half-elf’s fine.
Natsuki flashes Jericho a bright smile, she can tell at least some of what he’s feeling through that link she has to him. “I’m alright, Jericho …” she says turning her attention to the puma and the others. “I’m sorry about George though…” She knows he built that thing himself, mostly.
She doesn’t argue about getting the Puma back to the manor, either. This is a chance they’ve been waiting for.
At the ‘Suki’, her smile brightens – there’s only two people that call her that. Zelda and now, Jericho.
“That was Factor Jericho Trent, soon to be Baronet and I’m Natsuki Taniguchi. Thank you for your assistance today, Miss Jesana.” Looking to Baldur and Stella, the part-elf gestures to the pavilion “If you three would like to join me, I’ll get people to take a look at you.” Because Natsu has that – people that do things.
With a final nod, she turns and walks away too, knowing they’ll join her when they’re ready – she has to find those people and there’s others she should check up on, because nearly everyone was affected by … whatever that was.
After a bit of hesitation, Stella lets Jesana look at the arm she’s favoring. And there’s not a mark on her. She’s starting to get that ‘scrap-annoyance’ headache though, and that’s never a good thing. So maybe she should follow Natsuki to the pavilion, though she’s almost positive that there’s nothing physically wrong with her to have checked.
Seeing a couple of other Transporters she knows and trusts, she asks them to start unloading the items she brought, pulling the invoices from a pocket to hand off to them. Then she uses her longer stride to try and catch up with Jericho despite still holding her arm close. “Trent. I want to help you get your mech repaired.” Because this really does feel like this whole mess is her fault.
“I’ll see what the damage is and let you know.” Jericho calls back as he disappears behind a container. For now life will go on. Soon as this mess is cleaned up.
Oooh fancy folk. Well shit. She’s glad that there is someone who can attend to Stella though since she can’t. “I don’t think it’s broken, at least.” She tells Stella. “Still maybe let them look.” Jesana eyes Baldur critically for a moment. She knows how to distract and comfort most humans and animals. He’s.. a little different though and she can tell he seems bothered but isn’t certain of the best way to handle it. It’s not a feeling the demigod is accustomed to these days. Wait..wait..Black eyes go to the robotic man’s pistols. “Hey, you any good with those guns? I betcha I can beat you in a contest. What do you say? Wanna try me?” That might work, she hopes. “C’mon!” She starts off for an out of the way place, leaving Baldur to follow or not.
For a moment Baldur looks a bit torn at Jesana’s offer. He lifts his head a bit, the orange glow of his optics no longer flickery and wild now that he’s in full control again.
“I kinda…” Duties. He’s got duties to fulfill, and he’s still perhaps understandably concerned that another surprise compromise like that will potentially get someone hurt. Or worse.
“Maybe later, yeah?” he tells Jesana, looking apologetic but slightly grateful for her attempt. “Needa make sure I’m all in here.” Tipping his hat, he then turns and trudges towards the pavilion.
Preparations for the annual Tournament in Dogwood are abruptly disrupted by Stella's unwanted scrap buddy, not only compromising the technically enhanced, but calling a certain Puma's attention...
May 01, 2411