Natsuki’s days are rarely quiet, Baldur’s coming to discover this. Even the ones that she’s in her office, she’s busy. Working through numbers and reports. With planting season upon them though, she’s been spending more time away from the manor. Out visiting holdings and checking on things.
Today, it’s a visit to Holder Winters, right on the borders of their lands. The Holder had been hit hard with the demon attacks and needed new equipment. Word had been passed to the part-elf that the truck delivering it was on its way and she wants to be there.
She arrived not along ago and is speaking with Michael Winters, a tall blonde headed man with a cybernetic leg, just out of the front of the sheds. Tall, just not quite as tall as the Asiatic woman with slightly pointed ears.
For someone that’s had days filled with quiet, or nothing specific to do, Baldur hasn’t much questioned whether Natsuki enjoyed being busy or not. It certainly gave him something to do at least, even if it was some simple task aside from keeping an eye on her. And oh, he’s come to enjoy the car rides. Going out to visit other holdings and such have quickly become one of the things he looks forward to, if only for the rides out and back. If he didn’t think he might break something, he’d be tempted to ask Natsuki to teach him to drive.
The fun part’s been long over as Natsuki’s handling business, speaking with the man who had come out to meet with her upon their arrival. Not wanting to be too far off from her, but neither too near to be creepy, Baldur stands off a few feet to the side, politely listening, his orange optics tracking this way and that just to keep an eye on the surroundings. He’s slipped out one of his pistols from their holsters, idly flipping it back and forth over a finger, spinning it about without the consideration that anyone might be a bit nervous for it.
And, right on time, a black beast of a pickup truck with a camper protecting the bed from the elements pulls onto the Winters Holding lands and drives cautiously closer, pulling a trailer presumably with the requested equipment. Sure, bigger transport trucks could have made the run just as well, but this appears to be the conveyance of choice today.
The truck slows to a stop near where the equipment will be needed, and the driver, a lanky and tall-ish woman with her hair shorn close enough to her head to make its actual color difficult to determine, steps out of the truck’s cab and looks over toward Natsuki. She seems both unsurprised and displeased.
At least there’s not some giant robot thing here for that stupid lump of scrap to try to latch onto.
“…. a rough year, Miss Taniguchi.” Michael shifts a little on that leg. Baldur might recognise it, someone getting used to the changes in their body. The Cyborg might guess the changes have been relatively recent. “Yield was down about ten percent and I reckon we were just lucky.” He looks at the Cyborg flipping the pistols “Do you have to do that around here?”
“I know Mister Winters.” Natsu glances at Baldur and gestures the man to draw closer. She knows he’s watching for trouble and previously, she’d ask what could problems here but really, she’s had enough surprises to know better. “Replacing the hoe will help get things in the ground quicker. I just hope we ca— Ah, here we are.”
As the truck pulls and the driver gets out Natsuki raises a hand in greeting. “Transporter Bridger. Thank you for agreeing to the job, I know this is a long way to come.” She’s not sure what the woman is displeased about – seeing her, or the drive out here.
“Mister Winters, Baldur, if you’ll help the Transporter…”
“Just this way, Transporter.” Winters calls out, opening the shed up wide. They’ll have to remove the sower and move into the building, there’s a space there already.
It’s a vague sort of memory, but even if Baldur can’t recall when or where he’d learned as much, he knows the signs. He’d actually been more concerned that he might make Winters more anxious being in the presence of a full-bodied cyborg than for the fact that he’s mindlessly playing around with the pistol. That is, until Winters brings it to attention.
“What? Oh. Um. Sorry,” the cyborg mutters, catching the grip soundly before he replaces his weapon. “Habit. I get kinda antsy just standing around.” Obligingly he steps closer to Natsuki, but his attention’s already drifted away from the conversation as he catches sight of the approaching vehicle.
“Ah, sure thing,” he says as he’s directed to help out, and he makes his way towards the truck’s driver, raising a hand in greeting. “Hey there. Bridger, right? Didn’t quite get introduced that time we almost ran into each other at the bar.” By the bar. Well, either way. “Name’s Baldur. I’m guessin’ I’m supposed to help out here.”
Bridge looks at Natsuki, then nods to Winters and regards Baldur for a moment. “Hey. I think I remember that. Let me get this taken care of.” She gets back into the truck and it’s the matter of just a few moments along with some honestly skillful trailer-steering before the truck has the trailer right at the entrance to the shed, making the unloading as effortless as possible.
Climbing out of the truck again, Stella seems a little bit more at ease. Maybe it’s because there’s not a stupid computer trying to drill into her brain again at Natsuki’s presence. She keys the biometric lock on the trailer doors with her right hand and reveals the shiny new farming equipment. “Hey, Baldur, you got strength enhancements along with all that?”
Winters watches the truck backing into his shed, hovering a bit like a mother hen. “Just the leg.” he mutters to Stella as he moves to assist with the unloading. Giving the payload a visual inspection. “Been looking forward to getting this one.”
The equipment needs to be lifted out and then placed on the runners that Michael sets out. From there, the three of them can guide it into the shed, ready to be hooked up to the engine that will take it out.
“Uuuuuh…..” Yeah, that response isn’t really promising. Baldur scratches the back of his head, shrugging as he steps back to let things be prepped before he’ll move in to help. “I think it’s just standard strength. More focus on movement…sorta thing,” he provides, as though trying to redeem himself for his earlier answer. He hadn’t special-ordered this body, after all, he was pretty much just slapped into it.
“So um, what all’s this for again?” he asks as they start guiding the load along.
Stella helps make sure the equipment is conveyed along the runners smoothly to the shed where Michael has everything else prepped. She’s putting most of her concentration on making sure the thing doesn’t slide the wrong way off of the runners or similar, and lets Winters answer the question about the purpose of the equipment. She just transported it after all, she didn’t design or build it.
“It’s a sower.” Winters grunts as the three of them lift and guide the equipment. “You know, used for sowing seeds out in the field. Attach it to a tractor and tow it along.”
“On three now… One, two….” there’s another grunt, the equipment’s not light “… three” it starts to move slowly from the truck towards the ground.
Stella and Baldur feel it, the moment it happens. Winters stumbles a little and the sower skews, gaining momentum and starting to move quickly. This wouldn’t be a problem, except it’s turned in Natsu’s direction and the part-elf is caught as it barrels towards her.
“Right, right, gotcha,” the full-cyborg nods as they go along. It’s slow-going, but it’s not like that can be helped for how heavy it appears to be.
His fingers and arms tense as the load suddenly shifts, but gravity or however things work have already started to work against them. “Miss Taniguchi..!” Baldur shouts in warning. There’s no way he’s going to be able to slow that thing, not if it had taken several of them to move it in the first place, and even then it wasn’t without machine aid. With that already in mind, the action he needs to take seems quite clear.
Hanging onto the moving sower, Baldur vaults onto it and off again, trying to get just ahead of it so he can make a grab for the half-elf. Hope she doesn’t mind getting princess-carried.
“SHIT.” Stella has no hope of stopping the thing from sliding, but maybe… “Get clear!” she barks at the others while she tries to pull the equipment to slide sideways off of the runners and hopefully stop before it can squish anyone. Her arm was NOT designed for this, and she can feel the connections and anchorings starting to rip loose from the strain.
“What?” Natsu had been looking around the shed, taking in the inventory as the others work. She turns just in time to see Baldur’s feat of athletics and to be collected by the Cyborg as he tries to do whatever he’s doing.
Winters grunts again, regaining his balance and putting his shoulder behind Stella’s efforts. He’s worked out what she’s trying to do. It takes a lot of effort but the pair manage it, the sower grinding against the floor with a screech.
“Eh. Sorry about that…” Winters mutters as the sower finally comes to rest. There’s little else near it, the equipment all being deployed at the moment, seems they got lucky. “Still not used to my leg. Are you all alright? That was impressive from both of you…”
He’d been saddled with the task of keeping an eye on Natsuki to keep her out of trouble. Watching her potentially get crushed definitely isn’t something the cyborg wanted to do. Once the woman had been gathered, Baldur had wasted no time in moving out of the direct path of the sower. Despite the lack of lungs, he still emits a sigh of relief as he glances back towards the other two, glad to see that the two had gotten the load back under control.
“Yeesh, let’s not do that again,” he says, forcing a laugh. He might still be carrying Natsuki, having been too focused on the threat. “Good work there, Mister Winters. Bridger.” He’s not entirely sorry that he’d abandoned the task to them, but his priorities were clear.
Bridge is also glad that that worked, and the sower is at least firmly on the ground now. There was a price, though. “Damnit,” she hisses, hunched over her left arm a little as the prosthetic causes the equivalent of extreme pain with the massive amounts of errors and warnings and critical alerts it’s throwing at her nervous system.
This really sucks. She’s not even sure if the doc that built this cybernetic arm is still in business or not.
“Let’s not…” Natsu says dryly, bending a look on Baldur “I think, Mister Baldur, you can put me down now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful but …” She doesn’t wriggle, just expects he will do so now that things are settling down.
“Was there any damage to the equipment, Mister Winters?” It’s Stella’s hiss that gets a sharp look. “Miss Bridger. Are you injured?” As her feet touch the ground, she’s moving quickly, trying to get a look at Stella’s arm. “There’s no Doctor here. But we’ve one at the Manor….”
Winters starts to check the sower over, tsking and tutting as he does. “Just checking, Miss Taniguchi. Looks ok, so far. Maybe our lucks holding.”
“….” Baldur looks at Natsuki, almost startling himself by how close-by she is (but that’s because you’re holding her, idiot.) His optics ‘blink,’ and then all at once he sets her down, quick but careful. “Aw sh- Sorry! Sorry, ma’am. I kinda… I was just caught up in the…. Yeah. Ahem.”
Once she’s on her feet, he steps away from her to give her space, arms folded behind him as he shuffles his feet. Aaaawkward.
Stella’s curse gets him to glance over, and he starts along after Natsuki. “Strained it? Thing’s pretty heavy, maybe a dislocation…” he suggests, but hopes it isn’t the case. A nod is given at Winters- at least something’s all right, yet.
“It was heavy.” Natsu says critically, eyeing Stella as the woman remains silent. She can’t get a look at that arm. “She might have strained it. We’ll have to leave soon, get her back to the Manor and let our Doctor look at it.” She suspects, given how Stella did that, what the problem is. “But we might need to get in specialist care.”
Winters grunts again “It looks fine, Miss Taniguchi. If you’re nice, shiny, bodyguard can lend a hand, we’ll get it in position.”
“Of course, Mister Winters.” Natsu looks at Baldur. “And we’ll organise you a check up at Queen Estelle’s as well.”
Maybe … Baldur might be able to spend some time out here. Conversion from organic to cybernetic isn’t easy.
Baldur nods. He’s no expert when it comes to medical things. He’s not even really well-versed in his own parts, save that he’d know if something wasn’t working right.
“Shiny’s Kai’s bot,” he replies, his jaw opened in that sort of suggestion of a grin to a joke or reference that no one will get. Eh well, he tried. “But yeah, sure. Guess I can hang around and help.” He’s about to say that he’s pretty sure he doesn’t need a check-up, but then he realizes Natsuki’s probably referring to Michael Winters. The man doesn’t look to be having the greatest time with his metal appendage, and while Baldur can’t say that he envies the guy, he really can’t remember much of how it worked with him. No, scratch that. He’d been terrified. That, he could recall. But there’s a chunk missing in there, somewhere, interspersed with the sights and sounds of battle. Every time he tries to reach for it, it just seems a little bit farther, and he finds himself pulling back without making the effort to try a little more.
Shaking his head, the cyborg steps closer to the sower, thumping the top of it lightly with a hand as he gives Natsuki a nod. Then he looks to Winters. “C’mon Mister Winters. Let’s get this stuff set up, eh?”
“Thank you. Let’s get moving.” Winters grunts again, all but ignoring the suggestion about the hospital.
“Very good. I’ll help Miss Bridger to her truck and I’ll wait.” Natsu’s not going anywhere without her bodyguard. It’s not worth the lecture she’ll get.
It’s going to be a long ride back.
There's a bit of a close call during another visitation Natsuki makes. Thankfully there's plenty of able bodies to prevent any worse.
May 26, 2410