“When Aiden told you you were coming back with a robot this is not what I had imagined…”
The robot does not tower over the Dragon Gate just outside Vesper but it does look the dragon eye to eye and that is a really impressive feat considering how large the guilded gate is. A crowd of residents have turned out to gawk and who can blame them? This is not the kind of thing one sees every day. The feline woman’s people are keeping them at a distance to afford privacy but that’s all they can do.
“So where exactly did you get this again?”
The trip back had been arduous and Slaine’s head sort of hurts. Having to control the big metal monster so that Kaji could had required a lot of concentration and it had left the redhead open to interference from the Crown. Not that she was wearing it, Aiden had that – but the thing seems to be able to ‘talk’ to her over a distance.
Not that it’s a problem, right at the moment.
The redhead is also grimy and feeling the effects of the journey. “Uh, in a bunker in that place ye sent us to. In D.C?” She’s still not sure of the geography.
Kaji sits at the robot’s foot, nodding as he grins. “Yeah, somewhere around there, more or less. It’s hard keeping track of where you’re going without real reference. …that and having part of the ground collapse under you. But considering the markings on the vault I’d say D.C.’s fairly accurate.”
He’s tired from just trying to make sure they didn’t accidentally trip over or hit anything else, but he’d been running on adrenaline for most of it and it had been a blast. Even now he can’t help but feel a bit giddy about actually having piloted a mech. Well, kind of, anyway.
For Zyx, the trip back was both fascinating and taxing. She spent the vast majority of the journey ‘nursing’ the power crystals along to keep them from failing, eating some of the shards she removed from the overgrown sections as sustenance.
Standing next to Kaji and Slaine, she is probably the least visibly affected, though she still has colored gems speckled across her torso and upper arms where she hastily adhered them. She’s also busy working on fusing together some tiny rubies, as she didn’t really get much chance to on the way back, and because of this she doesn’t offer anything to the conversation. Not yet, at least.
Slaine might be having a slight headache as well from having to interface with that monster of a computer that she spent the entire time hooked up to. Aiden had spent a lot of the trip back… not with them. He’d had to get his ship after all.
“Arlington, right where you said the sealed bunker would be. The Coalition is definitely patrolling the area though. They arrived before we’d finished extracting it.”
“Good thing it didn’t fall into their hands.” Sanka’a mutters.”
“The question is what to do with it. The smart thing would be to claim it as City Salvage, but that would require me to admit that I actually sent you there to interfere with CS operations. And of course I didn’t do that, heaven forefend. So… what to do…”
It’s not like they can put this in Kaji’s room. No matter how much he likes it.
“Kythzyx you said the power structure was crystalline? Any chance the technology they used is useful to us? And Slaine, what can you tell me about it’s… computer?”
That too. Slaine rubs her temples as Sanka’a looks on. “We buried the rest of the facility, can’ we say it jus’ followed us home?” She’s thinking though. If Vesper can’t keep it and they decide they need it … maybe one of the other cities could be convinced to ‘find’ it.
Really, it’s not like she cares about the upsetting the CS – later rather than sooner would be best though.
“Tell you of the computer? That thing has scrambled my brain…” she grumbles, glaring at the bot as they stand there. “It’s amazin’ though. Once the interface was made, I just had to ‘think’ what I wanted it to do and it would…” She pauses and adds “Well, sort of. I had think in a very specific way and pattern.”
Zyx looks up from the rubies in her hands when Sanka’a asks her about the power source of the giant robot. “I’m afraid I don’t now anything about the technology itself, but I’m now familiar enough with the crystals themselves that I should be able to tell you if they’ll cooperate well with the crystals you use to power the city. I can say they … have been altered structurally, and that’s what allows them to work with the technology, I think.
“I’ve never heard of anything crystal-powered even from my time,” Kaji admits. “I mean, we had some mech-suits but I’m not familiar with how they functioned.” Not to mention it was something that could operate in space.
“They weren’t big like this either. Actually I’m still confused why this thing takes a separate person plugged in apart from moving the thing. It seems counter-intuitive,” he admits, stroking his chin. “Could you have controlled the thing without me, Slaine?” He glances back at her.
“It’s an interesting sort of interface though. Nothing we’ve seen or ever heard of to be sure.” Sanka’a muses. “What do you think, Aiden?”
“Giving it to another city probably won’t work. If the CS learns that they have it, they’ll demand it and they might not be shy about taking it. Of course the outlier cities would cave to the CS. They don’t have the wherewithal to fight.”
“I agree.” The feline woman nods.
She’s still watching Slaine and Kthzyx for the analysis on the power system. But… what is she thinking about Kaji?”
“If we give it to another city they migh’ well use it agains’ us …” Slaine murmurs. It’s not just the CS that’s a risk here.
“I don’ know Kaji. I don’ think so. There was so much ‘noise’ to deal with. Keepin’ it movin’ an’ maintainin’ speed. I don’ think I could have turned it without running into somethin’ an’ that’s before we got into battle. In a battle, tryin’ to operate the weapons system and tha’. I just don’ think so.”
Slaine is aware though, she’s not a trained pilot so maybe the ancients could have.
“If ye hadn’ have been there … we wouldn’ got out.”
The necromancer nods thoughtfully in agreement. “Yeah, moving it to another city would just cause more problems for someone else. They’d just be targeted, or like Slaine said. I wonder if we can find a rift to somewhere that doesn’t have anyone and just…park it there. Or put it in space. I mean, if we really don’t want anyone using it and that’s too difficult, we can try dismantling the thing.”
He does look a little reluctant to even make that suggestion as he glances up at the bot. It’s too pretty to take apart…
“Hm..?” Kaji glances over at Sanka’a, head tilting as she trails off.
“Noise? Oh. That stuff sounds pretty…typical for piloting a mecha. I mean, it’s like if you flew a jet or a spaceship. You’d have to multitask- you’re basically operating a body after all. Maybe it’s easier thinking about it if you consider yourself the actual brain and the rest of the thing an extension of yourself.”
Zyx is just about to go back to working on the rubies when she realizes that Sanka’a is still expecting more from her. “Maybe this will help?” She pulls one of the larger shards she removed from an overgrown power crystal and offers it to the captain.
“I do have to say that even with as old and neglected as the crystals were, they were still able to transfer and control a very large amount of energy.”
“It’s also possible that the computer was experimental in some way.” Aiden offers. “Or that controlling a machine that large is somehow more taxing than controlling the smaller ones we commonly see these days.”
That seems possible. It was definitely designed to be multi-crew.
Sanka’a takes the crystal and examines it. “I’ll give this over to our magi and see what they say. Could you replicate these en masse though? If they decide it’s an upgrade to our present ley line system I’d like to present them with an option of how to get more.”
The cat woman things for a few more minutes and then looks at Slaine and Kaji and Zyx one by one. “If the city can’t keep it perhaps a set of brave adventurers should keep it. After all it’s not illegal by our law what you’ve done. And I’m sure you can all think of a way to secure it and profit by it. Kaji seemed quite keen on the bot. Perhaps he’d like to be the owner of it.”
Bot? More like mobile apartment building.
“I suppose Kaji, but it’s no’ somethin’ I’m used to …” Slaine sounds dubious. It’s an awfully big mechanized monster and it had taken a lot just to keep it moving.
Leaning against the leg of the machine, she lets the discussion wash around her. Right now no one is talking to her and it’s kind of nice just to … relax.
“Do what?” she looks at Sanka’a “I don’ wan’ it bu’ I’ll help Kaji and Zyx if wan’ to keep it. At the least, we can say it’s ours for the time bein’. Ye’ll have to explain to the CS why we were in … Arlin’town? But spelunkin’ ain’ illegal…”
“Hmm,” Kaji considers, nodding at Aiden’s suggestion. “That could be. I mean, even the Jaegers were dual-piloted but then those were ginormous and designed to punch Kaiju. -er, monsters, not the senator,” he quickly amends with a sheepish glance towards Sanka’a. “Of course that was entirely fictional. Actually a lot of my mecha knowledge is based on fiction.”
That might be weird to say, but it might also make more sense as to why he’s been so ecstatic about their find. Sure, he’s seen robots around here but this was the first time he’d gotten to actually help pilot the thing.
The very suggestion that he might be able to keep it has his eyes go wide. “Ohmigosh seriously??”
You mean best mobile home ever!!
Zyx considers Sanka’a’s question about the crystals. “Grow them to that size would take an extremely long time, they don’t want to do what I ask as readily as I remember my home’s crystals. But modifying their structures to match this … I can try. I can’t promise I’ll get it right on the first try, but I’ll work at it.” Maybe she can ask Mr. Leo to help. He seems to know a good bit about crystals.
When she’s mentioned in conjunction with keeping the building-sized robot, she spikes slightly in surprise. “I… would not know what to do with this construct. I’m happy to help maintain the crystals, but. No. Kaji, you seem to have more affinity for it.”
“I think that’s a yes.” Aiden says sotto vocce.
“Yes I think it IS a yes. Well… I think we’ll have to get you dispensation from the zoning commission. In the mean time, Kaji, I would appreciate you not walking your house through the gate. If you bring it around to the dock side though I’m sure we can get you into the city.
Finding a place to PUT it will be more challenging but surely there’s a way to handle that too.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Aiden half jokingly asks Slaine and Kaji. Zyx helping to keep the power running will be good.
“We don’t need to explain why you were in Arlington, Slaine. Or at least, I don’t. You’re private citizens and they don’t own the ruins. Or at least, we don’t recognize a claim to such. Now, there ARE a few other places that I’d like you to check out. We’ve been working pretty extensively with Lindsey Sawyer, you remember her yes, to identify prewar sites. She’s been updating our map considerably. There’s one that’s a bit out to sea that I’d like you to check out. It might not be there anymore but…”
You know. Good to check.
Slaine can’t help but laugh as Kaji gushes. It’s good to know that some things don’t change. “I’ll help ye bring her round to the docks, Kaji. An’ maybe we can do some ‘practice’ in her. Let ye get to know her better. Later.”
The redhead casts Aiden a look but snorts at Sanka’as statement “No ye don’, but they’ll ask an’ ye know it.” Kaji will have to be ready for the questions as well.
“Colonel Sawyer? It’s been a while since I’ve seen her. Good to know she’s still workin’ with ye. Out to sea? I’ll have to see if Nix will let me use the ship, but we should be able to do that … Where is it supposed to be, an’ will Lindsay be comin’ with us?”
If he were on his feet he’d be bouncing in place. Kaji grins at Kthzyx, and then glances between Aiden, Sanka’a and Slaine before he finally hops up to stand.
“Oh, yeah. Gotcha, Captain,” he says, saluting even as his eyes trail upwards towards the gate as he eyes just how tall this robot is in comparison. “Wouldn’t dream of trying to walk it through here. Around to the docks it is!”
He turns and nods at Slaine. Not like he can do this without her help, but at least after that there will be time to work out how the thing functions properly. He does blink at the name, looking curiously over at Sanka’a and then the red-haired mystic. “Colonel Sawyer? Who’s that?”
Zyx can tell Kaji’s quite happy about being granted full ownership of the robot, and it makes her glad for him. Though she does wish she could help with making the thing move lie Slaine’s been doing, to take some of the pressure off of the redhead. Her resonance is slightly off-key.
She resumes working on the rubies as Kaji asks about Colonel Sawyer, and she listens attentively. That’s not a name she’s heard before, but the sea never ceases to be utterly fascinating to her.
“General Sawyer.” Sanka’a corrects. “Not that it matters much now. Her nation fell three hundred years ago, there’s not much to be a general of anymore.”
“I have a boat Slaine.” Aiden gestures toward where the Gladius is tied up. It’s not visible from here but he gestures in that direction anyway. “It even flies. You know. So that you don’t get chomped by sea monsters.”
“Just air monsters.” Sanka’a says deadpan.
Aiden shoots her a look. “Yes. Those.”
“Allegedly…” Sanka’a continues. “There was a facility off shore at some distance in the old days. Off shore by their standards, so, out to sea by ours. It may or may not still be there. And it may or may not be submerged if it is. But yes. She’ll be going with you.”
“Lindsey.” Aiden says to Kaji. “Is someone we’ve found doing other things. She was in a… cryo tube. She’s not from this time period.”
Slaine rolls her eyes at Aiden. She’d … ahem … forgetton “Right, yeah. Guess I won’ be needin’ to borrow the ship.”
“Lindsey is a psychic, Kaji but she wasn’ one. She was alive when the Rifts came and it happened to her. She was havin’ trouble controlin’ it when we met her.”
Supposedly she’s been getting help in learning how to use it.
“When are we goin’, Aiden?” It’s his boat after all.
“There always seems to be -something- somewhere…” Kaji says, smiling crookedly. “Still, I think between sea and air you’d at least have more maneuverability in the latter.”
Brows lifting as Aiden and Slaine explain who this Lindsay person is, he nods slowly. “Oh wow. In cryo for that long? She must’ve been super-confused…” Especially after gaining powers. “Want me to come with, or do I have to babysit this while trying to work it out?” he asks, giving the robot a pat.
Zyx keeps working on the rubies as the others talk about the excursion sea-ward. “I think I’m going to stay here. I have these rubies to work on, and then I’ll want to keep working with this robot’s power crystals to make sure they stay happy. Otherwise, I’d gladly go along.”
“You can come along if you like Kaji. Just put a lock on that thing’s door.” Which Aiden assumes Kaji would do anyway. It seems prudent even if the bot does also seem a bit difficult to operate. No reason to take chances with this after all.
“No worries Zyx. We’ll manage I think.” Aiden knows of others he can call on, including people who are as psychic as he or Lindsey, if… somewhat smaller.
“We’ll go as soon as I’ve had some sleep and you and Kaji have moved his Bot somewhere it can stay a while, Slaine. So, not for several hours at least. Probably tomorrow. It may be dark by the time I’m properly rested.”
“Sounds like you have it well in hand. Try not to get killed, Aiden. I’d still like to use your expertise. You others… I’m less worried about.
Aiden snorts. “Thanks.”
The giant robot is brought home. Sanka'a has questions, and then there's the problem of what to do with the thing.
January 18, 2412
Dragon's Gate, Vesper