2020-07-08: My Body Lies Over The Sea


TheoF_icon.jpg MikeF_icon.jpg

Summary: Theo finds the wreckage of the sub-carrier containing Mike.

Date: July 8, 2020.

Log Title: My Body Lies Over The Sea

Rating: PG

Manhattan Island - The Beach

Like the rest of New York, Manhattan is in shambles. There isn't as much action out here as in the lived in sections of the city, and it has been left mostly to rot. The bridge is hardly travel-worthy, making the path difficult for normal transportation. The beach has scars of oil, and pieces of debris line the shore, unkempt for these last several years.

Manhattan Island is next to Long Island. The way between them may still exist, a bridge or two, a tunnel. The water lies between them, and it's no cleaner, no safer, than it was when people were all over here. Too many battles have been fought here, and it's no longer clear whether people lived on these shores, or long-abandoned shipping concerns operated here.
On the shoreline, Manhattan Island side, a hunk of seaweed-covered something washed ashore in a heavy wind last night. A rounded shape, glint of metal and possibly glass showing in the morning light.

Theo zips along the broken roads to Manhattan Island. Proto makes a great ATV, and leaps gaps in the bridges, his wheels bouncing as he lands on the other side. Hardline has too move fast if he wants to get in and out before the Sentinels catch him.
He's outside of his stealth bots' zone patrol, so their sniper cover won't do him much good out here. But the small scouts that scanned the area earlier came back with coordinates of an old machine of some sort. Buying on the black market has been more difficult since he moved underground, and so this provides him with an excellent opportunity. Soon he has arrived on the beach, and the transformed bodyguard barrels across the sand at unsafe speeds, heading straight for the wreckage. "There it is, Proto," Hardline says. "Let's hope we didn't come out here for nothing."

The thing under the muck is in fact about the size of a volkswagen van. To those with the power to feel it, the thing REEKS with technology, parts of it amazingly intact, but much of it worthless. It's a big chunk of aluminum though. There's also something odd about it. A sense of presence.

"Slow down," Hardline tells Proto. "This isn't an ordinary find." His face becomes quite serious, and he dismounts as Proto grows near. The robot's legs unfold, and he begins to walk on all four main feet. "I do not detect any anomalies," Proto tells Theo. "Oh," Theo says, "There's anomalies, all right. And there's something very familiar." He tries not to get his hopes up, so he doesn't say aloud what his thinking is as he pulls the seaweed from the wreckage, trying to get a better look at the machine.

The seaweed falls off, and the letters SHIELD and SCAR0201a are strangely still visible painted under the frame that held a window. There's no glass in that frame, a partial console is still there though. The presence seems to move, though, when Proto moves closer. Nothing happens, though, at least, nothing out of the ordinary for Proto doing his usual job. The circuit boards that are intact are respectively part of a stealth system and part of a sensor package but the rest of the parts that would provide those functions are missing at the moment. Nothing else there is of much interest except as metal.

Hardline doesn't pull and prod yet. Instead, he just stares at the wreckage, studying the parts both with his mind and with his eyes. One arm comes up to rest on the frame, and he leans against it. He says nothing, rather his brown eyes seem to be lost in thought. After a long moment, he bends down by the sensor package and places a hand on one of the circuitboards, activating it with power from his own body as he tests its functions. The board comes to life under his touch, bringing fresh energy to the board.

Without something to connect to, the board (which seems to have been waterproofed, perhaps part of an intentional design) simply sits in an active state, but it doesn't actually process a signal or control a machine, as it could. And as it comes alive, something speaks. Specifically, the mobile robot Proto makes an odd noise, and then the voice coming from Proto is not the usual one it uses. "What are you doing?"

"What does it look like I'm doing?" Hardline answers, "I'm testing the boards to see if they— What happened to your voice?" It causes the technopath to temporarily abandon his activity, and give a hard look back at Proto's slotted eye. He reaches out with his powers to sense what is happening with his ally. Something's different…

"Oh. Please continue. My voice is within normal operating parameters."
There is something interfacing to Proto's voice circuit, and to the eye circuit, and possibly (hard to tell for sure) to the motor units. It's apparently a very faint magnetic field, almost too faint to sense except that somehow it manages to move electrons around in defiance of logic circuits.

Theo continues to study Proto for a moment, not believing that everything is normal, but having only his instinct to prove anything otherwise. He then turns, and pulls the circuitboard loose, and then the next. "Here, put these away, I might be able to build the S series another brother or sister with this. They'll probably be the most important series when we get attacked later." He holds them out for Proto, waiting to hear what the response is. He doesn't recognize the voice, but then, it's been a long time since he talked to Mike.

Proto takes the boards in the usual way that the robot would do so, and puts them in whatever transport or storage it would normally use, as if there wasn't anything unusual riding, but the next question is rather noticeably NOT what Proto would say. "Why will we be attacked? Who would attack us?"

Theo quickly bounds back to his feet. "Mike Drakos!" He says, almost accusingly toward Proto, his finger pointing. Mike is the only person he knows that would have an ability enabling this. "You bastard, do you have any idea how long I've been looking for you? And now I just happen to find you on a routine scavenging run." Of course, he didn't answer the questions posed to him. It does appear that he's rather excited to see his old schoolmate.

"You know me? Who are you?"
The voice is calm, but interested. "Yes, I'm Michael Drakos. But I only remembered that before the storm. I've been in the ocean for a long time. I lost my chrono, so I cannot estimate how long you would be looking for me."
Proto's original voice comes, "Sensor anomaly. Multiple energy sources detected, ground, closing on this position, distance eight miles and closing."

"Sentinels," Theo growls. "You don't remember me? Theo? Hardline? We used to go to school together. Man, what happened to you? Nevermind that. We need to get out of here fast. Proto can handle an Omega sentinel, but I don't know enough about the new Patriots yet, and I'd rather not have to find out like this." He turns back to the wreckage, and takes a brief moment to grab a few more salvagable parts from the wreck, and stuffs them in the saddlebags attached to Proto's hips. "Okay, We'll head back to the tunnels, we can talk more there. He jumps up onto Proto's back. "And boy do I have a vehicle for you to merge with."

"Tunnels? All right."
Mike's voice is still calm but interested. Then, as he climbs onto the robot Theo will feel something that he may never have felt: something mechanical but very distant suddenly comes very close, and the area around the technokinetic is present in an intimate and personal way, almost as though he were touching/smelling/seeing it from a million points.
"Why are we looking for tunnels, Theo?"

The sensation washes over Theo, and it causes him to cringe reflexively. It's invasive to him. "Because the tunnels will keep us safe," Theo says. "And proto has picked up incoming sentinels. We have to go. It's several miles to the closest tunnel entrance, and if we don't go fast, they'll contact others and they will cut us off from the bridge on the other side. If that happens, we both die." He doesn't bother waiting for Mike to become accustomed to the new body. Instead, he activates the transformation himself, and Proto tucks his legs underneath him, and returns to the transport mode. "Proto, get us out of here," he says, speaking to the robot, rather than Mike.

"Sentinels. Right."
The sensation of intrusive awareness of things fades at the flinch, as Mike realizes they're disturbing and pulls back the sensory probes. There's a second awareness that Theo would have but many others are not so likely to notice, one of matter changing around ever so slightly, and then the transport mode is 50% more efficient, as if something else were turning the wheels than the usual motors. Somehow there is a lot less bumping and jostling.
"I will assist," says Mike's voice. "Hold on tightly. Proto and I are coming to an agreement."

"Proto, what'd I tell you about talking to strangerrrs?" Theo says as the ride takes off. "We're gonna have a talk when this is over. You can't just make friends with Mike like that. I know," he says. Yes, I think he's a nice guy too— look out for that rock!" The tires move to avoid a large obstacle. Proto is not like other vehicles on four wheels, the wheels are attached to limbs, enabling a greater degree of versatility as they make their way back across the bridge. It's hard to tell if Theo was actually conversing with his robot, or if he was really talking to him as an imaginary friend, but there doesn't appear to be any communication being made by the robot.

Mike doesn't speak during the crossing, but it's clear that he's still there: subtle changes to adjust for upcoming road conditions and obstacles, all happen just as they're needed. He records the sensor information on the sentinels and on their route, stowing it away in layers of fresh crystal grown in a fourth-dimensional lattice.

Theo points to a drain near the other end of the tunnel. "See where that rainwater runoff comes out?" he points, "That's where we have to go back in. Proto doesn't fit into the tunnels from very many points." He continues to keep a solid grip. "So how long were you stuck on that beach?" he asks. "Why didn't you just do your thing and go back into robo-boy form?"
There is a momentary wash of "sync" as Mike interfaces again with Theo's senses and with the sensors, amplifying their sensitivity. According to the combined sensorium, there are no sentinels within what seems to be ten miles, though there are some blind spots perhaps six to eight miles away, of course.
"I washed ashore when the moon was setting, and you came and got me sometime after the sun had risen," Mike answers. "And I have insufficient matter and energy stored to reconstitute a body. My body was the Sub Carrier and it was destroyed. I was in something like a coma for two years after that. When I finally woke, I was wreckage on the bottom of the bay. I cannot say whether my passengers died. I found little trace."

The former villain shakes his head, and though he doesn't care much for the syncing, the high speed at which they are moving seems to leave him less interested in the experience. "Right. Well, You can join Rashmi's Rebels if you want, they're down here. I've been helping them out a little," he says, but seems to be identifying himself separately. "You got a lot of catching up to do."

"Rashmi's … Rebels? I don't know if that's where I am supposed to be. I'd like to talk with Rasmi again. It's been too long a wait."
Mike's voice remains calm and vaguely interested. "Do you have anything I can use to move around? Small toy car perhaps? I don't wish to haunt your Proto."

"How about a sentinel?" Theo answers with a rather mischevious smile. He knew that thing would come in handy sooner or later. "But we'll get that later. It doesn't fit in the tunnels very well." He signals to one of his scouts to intercept, and as they speed down the tunnel, a small light can suddenly be seen. Theo catches it out of the air, "Hey there thirteen," he says. "Here Mike, you'll like this one," he says. "Thirteen is one of the least glitchy scouts I have. They have a hologram projector too, should suit you perfectly." The small robot is about six inches in diameter, and has little spider legs which are folded inside. It also can hover, making it a rather useful little scouting device, complete with the means for Mike to express his image.

"Thank you. It's about the right size, as well."
The sense of presence moves around a bit, but Mike doesn't abandon the connection to Proto until they get to their destination. Whatever that is.
"Wait, you have a Sentinel? That could prove very useful."

"I like to have the best toys," Theo answers as they grow close to the gathering area. Proto slows down to a casual pace, and then stops before long. The technopath slides off of his pet, and places the scouting probe on the ground. The legs instinctively come out. There is an AI to this robot as well, though it's only a basic one to enable its scouting functions. "We'll talk about that later. For now, I think you could probably use some rest. Find Rashmi later, she'll help get you better to speed on the political things going on."

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