Anachronistic Piece Of Shit


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Scene Title Anachronistic Piece Of Shit
Synopsis A piece of what appears to be the future does more to traumatise the present.
Date January 12, 2011

Ruins of Midtown

It gets to a point that all the streets begin to resemble one another. At a certain hour and a certain time of evening, with the snow lying thick on the streets and sinking Toru's boots up to the ankles whenever he can't find higher purchase of pavement. Buildings that aren't entirely shattered by the impact of explosion that had occurred two and change years ago somewhere north of him loom up on either side, and abandoned concrete barricades bisect the road. Ice packs along the top, but their grey concrete can be seen if not their exact shape, with glints of faded spraypaint visible like texture. One is tumbled on its side by someone who is bored and no longer here.

There's the sound of traffic, in the air. The fringes of Midtown, still wastefully abandoned by not so thoroughly deep that one can feel radiation crawl and prickle over their skin, even if it'd just be their imaginations upon the sight of melted iron and blasted black concrete. Out here, things seem to be almost normal — a ghost city, however, with broken windows, wooden slats and sheets of plastic where windows used to be.

Beneath that distant hum of traffic, it's otherwise silent. Lonely.

It's late, it's winter, and Toru has little better to do than wander around the city. Given that his current home is a van, it isn't like being out and walking has him any colder than he would be if he were "indoors". At least this way he's keeping himself warm by moving.

He doesn't often find himself in Midtown, though there are occasions when he's drawn to exploring that particular shell of a former district. Seems appropriate lately, anyway, fitting in with his own feelings of solitude, hopelessness, angst… not that he actually thinks about it like that. In any case, the Midtown ruins are just as good a place as any to find himself on a cold and lonely night.

Getting snow in his boots isn't helping at all, though. On occasion, after plowing through a particularly deep patch of snow, he'll stop to lean against a wall and shake half-melted snow from the legs of his pants before continuing on.

Ice sloughs off denim and leather, leaving behind icy dampness, spattering on slick concrete. A gust of wind howls down the street, a bullying shove of chilly air at his back, carrying flecks of ice in the air to snag in hair and clothing. Still, this place is kind of pretty. There's a reason behind the fact that Midtown has no shaken all New Yorkers, whether it be looters, loiterers or people simply looking for a place to hide in the eternal alcoves of destroyed city.

Noise up ahead. Scrabbling, like a rat in a wall, only in bigger dimensions.

There's a clang of something heavy landing on something metallic, perhaps a jump from height to dumpster, and then— a tumbling figure of a man spilling out onto the street, beyond the concrete barricades. In stumbling, heaving motions, the stranger is back on his feet and running like the demons of hell are behind him, diagonaling off for the tumbled barricade to climb his way over it. White man, middle aged, with his hair gone damp from panic-inspired sweat and sticking to his brow, terrier scruffiness clinging to his jaw.

"Help," he wheezes, upon seeing Toru up ahead. He's dressed in layers, like the homeless tend to, insulating himself from the world as well as the temperature.

Ratty noises don't get much alarm from Toru, who figures that if nothing else it's probably just someone doing crime that he'll have to pretend not to notice, common enough in areas with lots of looters. So when an older sort of fellow is suddenly running towards him, he isn't too surprised, but there's enough shock at being acknowledged to make up for that.

It is funny, though, how seeing someone else panic is often enough to evoke the same response in onlookers. Conditioning is weird like that. But nonetheless, homeless guy's panic is picked up and run with for a moment while Toru stands there and stares, wide-eyed, and almost even goes to move toward the guy before he stops himself.

"Wait, what the hell is going on? Calm down, dude, you got away." He shrugs, gestures. "Not like it's my problem but nobody's coming." As a point of interest, he's dressed in a peacoat, scarf, gloves, and slouchy stocking cap. Not very Toru, but he's apparently eschewed 'thuggish' in favor of 'not hypothermia'.

"No," is wheezed out. "Nn-no. It's not— it don't stop— "

But whether or not he wants to, the man is forced to do so himself, breathing like a steam engine and clutching a hand to his chest, other hand grasping his knee. "D'you got a car? D'you— " Breathing. Even through raspy hyperventilating, a grimy kind of English accent is in there somewhere. He bundles his arms around himself, trying to regain enough composure to be able to explain, although by the look of him, coherency might still be a challenge even if he wasn't out of breath and panicked. "Need a car or ffffucking tank. Don't go in there. There's loads more. Loads."

Vague arm wave in the direction of a worsening city. "I kept 'em out but it kept hangin' around, you know, I was tttrapped for ages an' it— " Shaking, too. The cold. Fear. Withdrawal? There is something about him, like he might have been perfectly clean cut a week ago. Maybe a month ago. Everyone falls on hard times some days.

Toru just closes his eyes, lowering his head and pinching the bridge of his nose. He waves a hand dismissively, as if to stop the other man's talking, and shakes his head a moment. "Okay. Okay. God." Figures, this kind of thing would have to happen tonight. This whole 'trying to be a little less of a jerk' thing is starting to be a real drag.

"I don't got a car, I wouldn't be walking out in this shit if I did, would I? I got a few bucks, I can get you like.. a cab or something. There's shelters and shit, y'know? We can find you one and they'll help you out." He isn't entirely unsympathetic, having been in similar situations himself, but he'd still really rather not be the one caught up in babysitter duty.

Sliding hands into the pockets of his jacket, he cautiously strolls a little closer to the guy, bent at the waist a bit to look at him all inquisitively. "You want like a smoke or somethin'?"

This last offer seems to actually snag the man's attention, back straightening a fraction and eyes actually focusing on Toru's face as opposed to sort of seeing through him. "Oh. Yeah, alright." Cheers. The man, who may or may not eventually introduce himself as Malcolm Pitts, reaches out a hand to receive the promised smoke, as opposed to the petty change, although he probably might not say no to that either—

Something flies through the air. Silently.

And then it lands.

The bang of metal hitting concrete is near thunderous. The four points on which it lands are relatively slender things, almost laughably delicate hoof-like feet — at least in contrast to the rest of it. Legs of silver and black have the same shape and idea behind them as feline limbs, reverse knees and all, and scythe-like extensions hook upwards beneath elbows, glinting sharp. A tapered body, thick around what mimics a torso with a rib cage of metal, steam jetting out into the icy air in plumes between the gaps.

Then there's its head. Feline and skull-like, with teeth of silver metal that frame, what looks to be if anyone can take in that much detail, a long needle. Out its sockets glows a demonic green.

Its head twitches up, movements too heavy and insectile to be defined as feline, before it begins to surge towards where Malcolm and Toru stand, briefly obscured behind concrete barricades save for the lift of steam and that glowing green.

A softpack of cigarettes is withdrawn from Toru's pocket, fussed with a bit with gloved hands as he works one of the last few cancer sticks out of it, doesn't hear flight but most certainly does hear metal crashing to the ground. His hand freezes before he can offer his gift over to Malcolm, and head turns to stare at what's just shown up for dinner. Hopefully figuratively.

"What the fuck is that?" He asks it almost calmly, considering the circumstances, but he's also shaking like a leaf as he does. Trying very, very hard not to freak out. "That— this is 2010," well, who's counting, "that can't be there, that shit doesn— what the FUCK is THAT?"

As he barks out that last question, floodgates open to allow impulse control to escape; the cigarettes are dropped and both hands dart out to grab Malcolm by the front of his jacket, pulling him in close and looking him in the eye with crazy, hysterical eyes.

"Aahhh m'smokes— "

Boom would be the sound of a concrete blockade tumbling over onto its side as the thing places its front limbs upon the edge and effortlessly shoves it over as if it had been made of pine. It prowls over the thing with the thump clang of metal feet easing over concrete. Falling flakes of snow never even get as far as touching its metal flanks — within a few inches, they melt and fizzle into minor puffs of steam, spitting water off super hot metal in crackles.

Malcolm's response to Toru's aggressive are sudden, flapping slaps about the younger man's head and shoulders, before wrenching away with a stagger, wheeling around to face the creature. "'s alright, it's eyes aren't— " As if the rest of its horrifyingness wasn't enough, it's green eyes flick to red. "Right, well. This is a…" Pat pat pat. That would be the sound that Malcolm's feet make against the concrete as he resumes running away.

In the same motion that the cat-like robot leaps to begin chase, barreling straight to the closest warm body — Toru.

Toru shoves Malcolm away when he starts getting smacked at anyway, but it still takes a minute for him to realize that running would be a good idea. "Alright?! It's a frigging —" he really doesn't know what it is, save that it seems kind of anachronistic, but he isn't going to go into deep analyzing like that. He's really more concerned with trying to work out exactly why this is happening to him.

Though by the time the machine's eyes go red, he's worked out that that's probably a bad thing, even without Malcolm having to say so. Speaking of which, where is he— hey. "Hey!!"

Stumbling a bit, Toru turns to chase after the other man, awkwardly given the snow, but wisely enough not stopping long enough to look behind him and slow himself down. "You limey cunt, what the fuck is going on! Get back here!"

"No!!" is probably a valid enough response, considering the circumstance. Metal feet pounding the concrete in four legged lope as the metal creature gives its dogged (cattish?) chase, sinking straight through fast melting snow to slam against the road beneath it. Malcolm is less graceful, sliding on ice and snow alike, but making an impressive amount of ground for himself for all that an adrenalised burst of energy is probably going to wind down soon enough. Probably too soon.

But this whole running in a straight line thing is potentially for losers, and Toru can see that Malcolm is making frantic assessment of his surroundings, arms windmilling as, ahead of Toru, the Briton takes a sharp left turn towards a narrow street.

But something metal— guess!— slams hard into Toru's derriere, and with relentless momentum, the younger man is sent flying a good few foot to land on thick snow. A graze stings along the outer of his thigh, a slice taken out of pant leg. Probably from the glistening needle that now rises up a good five feet above him as the animalistic machine rises up, scythe limbs poised to frame around sharp needle that all threaten to come down on him in burning hot, cutting edges barring a few seconds worth of fast thinking.

"When I catch you I am beating the shit out of you!" is Toru's equally possibly valid response to Malcolm as he works to catch up with the man, in addition to the more pressing need to, oh right, get away from the monster behind him. Snowy streets and heavy boots make the going difficult and awkward, but if nothing else he does, at least, manage to stay on his own two feet.

For a while, at least. But if one thing is going to put a damper on his escape attempt, a huge robot slamming into his tail-end is pretty high on the list. He lets out a scream more of terror than anything else (though that is definitely going to hurt in the morning, provided he gets that far), twisting around to face the monster. Ultimately this doesn't prove to be the best idea given that seeing the thing this close is enough to almost make him need to change his trousers; for what feels like a long time, all he can really do is just stare.

The sight of the needle breaks him out of that reverie, though, since those things are rarely good and he doubts that this is a free sample from a drug dealer trying out aggressive marketing tactics. So, twisting around a bit, he shoves himself out from underneath the beast, groping around on the ground for something he can hit it with, all while trying his best to put some distance in between them.

The needle stops an inch from scraping the concrete uselessly, its front legs hitting the ground with enough impact that the ground almost shivers beneath Toru's twisting form. White snow comes off in rooster feather formation under Toru's sweeping hands, nails jarring against concrete and snow acting quick to numb fingers against nerve endings. The sound of clicking metal, scraping parts and whirring machinery — grace is not as emphasised as sheer strength and fucking terror, and out the corner of his eye, Toru can see the cat-like being turning its circle to square away its next attack.

Malcom: nowhere to be found.

Suddenly, the stink of negation gas threatens as yellow plumes of smoke defensively fill the air, flowing in wisps around Toru, the stealing away of his power almost unnoticable, seeing as he isn't using it. But fingertips do find something else beneath the soft ice: rebar.

That's one benefit to facing an inorganic enemy, at least; no depending on his ability. Of course, any other benefits are on the side of Toru's opponent, but. Well.

He's a bit too concerned with survival to care about chilly hands just yet, and when he hits upon rebar there's an almost audible sigh of relief. It's freezing cold, being metal in winter, but again— he can worry about that later. Without a moment's pause he pulls it up off the ground, with a bit of difficulty given the weight, and holds it with hands spread apart, more like holding a hockey stick than a baseball bat.

Armed, then, he stares at the robot for a minute before making any move to do anything. He certainly feels a bit safer, at least, he just isn't really sure how to proceed— at least until he figures that it might be a good idea to move in and take a swing for that syringe. Just to take that out of the equation, if he's lucky. His approach is made with little more than an irritated growl, the tip of the rebar scraping along the ground behind him before he swings it upward towards his target.


Encouraging in its own right, feline skull twitches back beneath the blow, red eyes glaring as its turned from its next move. No shatter of glass, however, no snap of steel, although at a squint, web-like lines appear over translucent material that contains some unknown fluid intended to be injected. Yellow smoke creates a haze in the immediate area that the robot skulks through in its robotic, jerking movements, tingling at the corners of Toru's eyes, the damper edges of his lips, bizarrely corrosive and oily feeling against his skin.

A silhouette, taking care to avoid the spread of negation gas, scuttles near Toru's periphery. Circling. But with the immediate concern being on the monster, Toru will probably notice more the way the robot rocks back on its mock hind legs in preparation to launch than what the other fleshy being in this equation is doing until—

It's soundless but sudden. The robot suddenly buckles before it can spring — or rather, its front end closest to Toru suddenly topples forward, back end folding up beneath its legs and sliding off leftwards, sparks and crackles of electricity sparking along a blue-ish glow at the point of bisection. Malcolm is in a crouch just nearby, wincing. Snow flakes continue to spiral from the sky, but now they seem to skid along a dome-like invisible surface than glimmers slight blue at each fleeting touch of ice, and an even stronger illumination drawing a perfect circle on the ground with Malcolm at its centre, and the robot in its path.

He scuttles back as excess yellow smoke drifts nearer, back hitting the wall of his forcefield.

Red eyes dim from their sightless stare at Toru, faulty wiring crackling, the smell of burning plastic and metal both as smoke and steam come up from the disabled piece of robotics at his feet, melting snow to water around itself.

Rebar poised for a second strike, Toru even almost goes in for it before the robot is suddenly doubling over in front of him. This gets a look of shock from the boy, who jumps backwards as if afraid it may spring back up regardless, and then looks around to figure out what the hell just happened.

Eyes lock on Malcolm for a moment and he grumbles, "English." And then turns his attention back to the robot; lifts the rebar up with both hands and proceeds to start beating the thing in the skull. "Stupid! Fucking! Anachronistic! Piece! Of! Shit!" Each exclamation punctuated by the sharp noise of metal on metal. Once he's satisfied, he throws his makeshift club on top of the thing and tucks his hands under his armpits whilst turning back towards Malcolm.

Now that the adrenaline rush is pretty much over, though, he suddenly really notices that yellow haze, grimacing a bit as he becomes cognizant of the oily feeling, and bends over to pick up a couple handfuls of snow, rubbing it on his face to clean off that gross. "Hey! What the fuck was that all about, huh? You fucking— drag me into this shit like— what the fuck was all that?"

Inevitably, the yellow smoke spreads within the sanctuary Malcolm has earned for himself, making an odd kind of effect — like a transculent dome of haze yellow capped against the road. Before it can fill out completely, the shape collapses, invisible, shifting and spreading away under the influence of minor wind and air fluctuation. Malcolm straightens up to stand, flapping his arms before his face to will the stuff away, before he blinks bleary eyes across at Toru.

"I sss-saved your life," is stammered out defensively. "That's an— an anachronistic robot cut in half that is. Cut in fffucking half." Hand choppy gesture to follow. "You was just there, and— "

Somewhere, in the distance, there's a wail of a klaxon, coming from closer to the ruined heart of the city. Malcolm drops the point he was making in favour to stare in dismay in that direction, arms slack at his sides. "Biggers. Bigger ones." Is meant to be a sort of explanation, but muffled at the nervous rub of his hand at his mouth, backing up some steps.

"No. Fucking no." Toru stares in the general direction of that klaxon, shaking his head slowly and looking to Malcolm. "You! You put my life in trouble, you — you git!" English fellows do bring out the best in him, don't they? "Fucking shitting Jesus— Christing— shit— fucking— what the hell are we supposed to do?"

He's already turned to start moving in the opposite direction, not running yet until he knows the other guy is with him. "Where do we go? What's going on and how the fuck are you going to get me out of this shit?! Why aren't there cops? Someone should have heard this!" Given how unfond Toru is of the police force, it may or may not say something for him that he actually wants them around now.

Picking nervously around the robot, Malcolm either ignores or fails to notice Toru's attempts to leave, gingerly picking up the piece of rebar that had been used to spare the boy's life for a few precious seconds. Lucid enough to be wary of such things like electrocution, Malcolm only hovers the metal instruments some few inches away from where a jagged piece of steel makes up the robot's rib-cage like torso, towards where a factory stamp marks it.

"There. See, there." Printed upon hot metal: DOEA HMK-002. "I'd like to see the coppers go arrest the fffucking— fucking Evo Affairs. They should, mind. They just don't." With a gesture of righteous indignation, Malcolm disgustedly flings the rebar down upon the robot, stalled temporarily when it bounces back at him.

Muttery cursing, before Malcolm is turning from Toru, taking off in a seemingly random but determined direction, both hands up to scrub through his hair.

It's tempting to ignore this guy and go on about his own business, but something tells Toru that Malcolm has at least some idea of what he's doing. With an irritated sigh, he turns back towards the man, ignoring the remains of the robot on the ground and indeed not having seen the serial number; Mal's explanation was enough to get the point across.

Hands shoved into jacket pockets and wiggled about for warmth, he jogs a bit to catch up before meeting the older man's pace. "So what, they're sending fucking robot tigers after Evos for no goddamn reason, or did you go and pull some fuckhead stunt and now they're chasing after you?" Not that he seems to mind the idea that he may be consorting with a criminal, of course.

"What the hell are you even doing out here, anyway? You're fuggin'— this place is kinda fucked up even for a homeless guy, y'know. Friggin' like— buildings fallin' over and you could get yourself killed or some shit, I don't even fucking know."

Malcolm, for all intents and purposes, doesn't seem to mind the company in that he lacks objections — no picking up his pace or even really acknowledging Toru beyond responding to him, hands tucking into the inner of his coat, shoulders curled inwards. "It was— was quiet out here. No one comes out here, y'not meant to come out here, but now they got these things. First time I put up m'shields and it cccircled 'til dawn trying t'get in. Then they go away, at dawn, or earlier. Whenever bleeding curfew's up, y'know."

He twists a look back in the direction of the klaxon, but it seems a long way. "Stay away from it far enough then it don't notice you. Get close and it— it sees you. You know. It saw you. I didn't do fffuck all. Neither did you, 'cept'— " He twitches a shrug. 'cept nothing. Be here.

"So fucking— it's what, curfew police? Anyway, it was chasing you when I showed up, right? Don't fuckin' pin this shit on me." Somewhere, Toru's convinced that it even existing in the first place can probably be blamed on Malcolm. Anger'll do that.

"And anyway, what the hell was in that needle? This whole thing just.. there is nothing right about any of this shit, y'know? I don't see how any of that can be legal or how they can get away with it or.. this is ridiculous." He sighs, tucking his arms in closer to himself for warmth, walking somewhat huddled over.

"So are we okay now, then? I mean, like, are those things gonna know where to find us or.. are we good?"

Shrug. Shrug at what was in the needle, shrug at what's legal. Tanks in the streets, men and women lined against a wall and shot, robots with needles in their mouths. Malcolm doesn't know what's legal, and maybe robots don't either.

"If it sees you, y'fucked. When its eyes go red. I dunno, I dunno more than that, don't ask me. You know now. You know as much as me. And next time I tell someone and they go 'oh don't be mad' I'll be like oh ho but this blighter knows, he saw it. He's gonna go tell the coppers about 'em and get 'em arrested." Malcolm veers off towards where the robot had knocked over barricade, stepping over it, headed for where the city slowly becomes whole again.

Where it's noisy and there are people and coppers but presumably, less robotics.

"Yeah, I'll get right on that." Toru shakes his head with an annoyed sigh, grumbling as he cautiously passes over that same barricade, stumbling a little bit at the end but easily keeping himself upright. "Sounds just as crazy comin' from me as from you, y'know." Removing a hand from his pocket, he runs it through his hair, brushing it around to get it in some semblance of proper order, rubs the back of his neck and looks up at the sky with another sigh.

"Well. Whatever. Go find a shelter or somethin', Oliver Twist, or like.. a church I guess. There's tons better places you can hang out than fucking Midtown, man, just fuggin' look a little harder."

That earns a harsh bark of laughter. "Yeah. There is now, isn't there." Malcolm glances to Toru, about the first time he's looked at him since the attack, as if vaguely alarmed by the boy's presence. Then, a long sniff rattling through nasal passages, before a head twitch sort of insinuates a nod of be well, then. Or, be unmauled by robots, then. And other such well wishings between two strangers thrown them into a violent evening.

Peels off from Toru's trajectory, dogged steps carrying him trudging away through the snow.

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