New York Nuts And Bolts


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Scene Title New York Nuts and Bolts
Synopsis Luther comes across a very strange mechanic and his toys. The Vanagon gets an involuntary tune-up.
Date June 28, 2010

Ruins of Midtown

Standing in the ruins of Midtown, it's hard to believe New York is still a living city.

There's life enough around the fringes — the stubborn, who refused to rebuild somewhere else; the hopeful, who believe the radiation is gone, or that they somehow won't be affected. Businesses, apartment complexes, taxis and bicycles and subways going to and fro — life goes on. Perhaps more quietly than in other parts of the city, shadowed by the reminder that even a city can die, but it does go on.

Then there is the waste. The empty core for which the living city is only a distant memory. Though a few major thoroughfares wind through the ruins, arteries linking the surviving halves, and the forms of some truly desperate souls can occasionally be glimpsed skulking in the shadows, the loudest noise here is of the wind whistling through the mangled remnants of buildings. Twisted cords of rebar reach out from shattered concrete; piles of masonry and warped metal huddle on the ground, broken and forlorn. Short stretches of road peek out from under rubble and dust only to disappear again shortly afterwards, dotted with the mangled and contorted forms of rusting cars, their windows long since shattered into glittering dust.

There are no bodies — not even pieces, not anymore. Just the bits and pieces of destroyed lives: ragged streamers fluttering from the handlebar which juts out of a pile of debris; a flowerbox turned on its side, coated by brick dust, dry sticks still clinging to the packed dirt inside; a lawn chair, its aluminum frame twisted but still recognizable, leaning against a flight of stairs climbing to nowhere.

At the center of this broken wasteland lies nothing at all. A hollow scooped out of the earth, just over half a mile across, coated in a thick layer of dust and ash. Nothing lives here. Not a bird; not a plant. Nothing stands here. Not one concrete block atop another. There is only a scar in the earth, cauterized by atomic fire. This is Death's ground.

In one of the abandoned buildings in Midtown, wearing a black suit with an unbuttoned white shirt, a flowing black tie, and an unbuttoned suit jacket, Alex is hard at work. Truthfully, it's not exactly work for him, fiddling with five shining bronze spheres laying out on a wooden table. in an old antique shop. There's lots of gears from watches and other mechanical things, all going into his creations.

Outside the building, one would notice the red 1969 Cobra Jet Mach 1, suggesting someone's definitely behind the glassless metallic frame of what used to be a door, a man with silvery eyes and an intensely focused look on his face.

A distinct lack of stealth travels into the ruins of Midtown. Compared to the sleek power of the Cobra, its '67 peer is like a lumbering elephant. Here, though, beside the vehicle stops the periwinkle and white machine whereafter its driver steps out.

Caution colors Luther's look in toward the doorless threshold. A car like this, out here, has to be bad news. But… Thin-soled boots step closer towards the car. No harm in just looking.

When Luther gets too close to the car, little black insect-like machines, hardly even reaching an inch, start crawling around the windows. And he'll notice little clockwork mice and spiders crawling from under the car, some on the surrounding walls of the area. Alex, inside, reaches into his pocket for the lightly vibrating remote, vibrating in calculated sequences. "Someone's near the car." he notes, leaving the spheres where they are, two of them open to reveal a complex design inside, then he opens the door and stares at the man. "Hello there. Don't be alarmed, they'll only attack if you touch it."

"Holy sh—!" Mice and spiders, just one level above roaches on the initial pest factor. The more that appear, the more alarming the situation. And the more things become a little too weird to just up and leave, like any proper wreck.

Luther screws up his courage and eyeballs the master of the machines; the first to catch his eye being the armory. And then, the lack of arm. "Didn't mean to butt in on your business," he excuses, gaze caught between a variety of unfamiliar factors.

Alex raises his clockwork hand, opening and closing it a few times. He's definitely been working on it, no more rusty malfunctioning arm. "Don't worry, I'm not one to harm strangers without benefit, at least not anymore." He takes the remote from one hand into his mechanical hand, then presses a few buttons and the robots start returning to their hiding places. "You can come in if you like."

That actually gets a small laugh out of Luther. "Thanks but, unless you've got an all-you-can-eat buffet in there I can pinch off of, I think I'll pass." Wariness tinted polite declining over, it's on to the more important things.

"Did you make those… things?" He waves towards the small robots that have scuttled away.

"I did." he says as his completely silver eyes are more apparent when he steps out directly into the light, not releasing his grip on the amazingly complicated looking remote. "And I do have a bit of an all-you-can-eat buffet, but I don't typically share things if there's no benefit to myself. Tell me, Mister, how could you benefit an inventor such as myself?"

Luther holds up his hands, grasping nothing but air. "I was just out here minding my own business, man. You got a nice car, not something normally seen 'round here, you know?" The buffet topic drops; maybe he didn't actually expect that to be answered. "But, as long as you're in a giving mood - spare some change for gas?" The Vanagon behind him gets a thumb.

"I only have enough money to eat, unless I ask my men for more." Alex walks over to the car, placing a hand on top of the roof. "My car doesn't run on gas, it's… complicated. But I could probably take a look? I always like to see how something new works." Having no pupils or anything, just eyes that look as if they should be on some pearls around a girl's neck, it's probably apparent by now that he has an ability. "I don't have enough time to build you an engine like mine, especially not for free, but I could greatly enhance the gas efficiency, I'm sure."

Figures he wouldn't have gas. When the strange-eyed man offers extra services however, Luther makes an uncertain face. "Wait, wait a second, Robotnik. I just got this thing working, and it's mighty nice of you to offer. But, y'know what they say about giving men fish versus teaching them." He turns halfway, slowly, so as not to do anything particularly alarming movement wise lest he set off some robo-attack.

"Well, I don't think I can teach you exactly, I mean, unless you're good at genetic mimicry. I know how things work on instinct, and how to build or make them better." Alex points to his seemingly sparkly new looking car. "I found that in an abandoned garage a few days ago, and fixed it up."

A shake of his head doesn't point towards refusal, but something of disbelief. "How're you just… are you Registered?" asks Luther, squinting his eyes a little in the light. Immediately afterwards, though, he falters and remarks, "I mean, you don't have to answer that."

"That's a rather nosey question, but I'll forgive it and get this thing fixed up." Alex knocks on the hood a few times, then motions for Luther to come over. "Get this thing open and I'll take a look. Maybe we can even get it to go faster."

Luther holds up his hands. "I'm just a guy looking for some change for gas." The claim is quickly made, implying more than what is said. A few seconds pass, a concerned furrow of his brow remaining in place. Better do as the guy says. "I don't need it to go fast," mutters Luther as he pops the hood latch. "Before you do anything though - how much?"

"I just want to see how it works, the more I know about different machines, the more I can do with them." Alex opens the hood when it pops, then grabs a wrench in one hand, and uses his metallic hand itself as a tool instead of grabbing anything for that one. He's fiddling around, pulling, twisting, popping a few things. "I see… not sure what most of this stuff is even called, but it makes so much sense…" He has a wide smile, apparently enjoying himself. "I need to see under this thing, it'll all make even more sense if I see it all."

And now he's stranded, probably. "H-hold on, what're you doing!?" Luther reaches to stop the man from pulling possibly vital things, maybe too late to save his vehicle. "What do you mean you don't know what the things are called?" This was a bad idea.

"Names don't mean a thing if I know what they do. Have a little faith." Alex ducks down and takes a look under the van. And from the looks of the inside, it definitely seems like it won't run until he's finished. "Parts! We need parts." he suddenly decides, then heads over to his own trunk, popping it open and pulling out a crowbar and a tool box. The box is sat on the ground next to the van, then he walks to an abandoned truck across the street from them, jamming the crowbar into the hood to start yanking and tearing it open.

When he finally pries the hood open, he motions for Luther. "Come help me lift some of these things, I'll be replacing a few things. There's a few ways I can go with this…"

Wincing like his own body's being taken apart, Luther tries not to question. The man's mad. That's the only explanation. "Can you just—" Oh, there goes the crowbar. "Never mind." He sucks in a deep breath to calm himself, glancing down at his hands, and then steps over after to 'help'.

Alex just starts offering parts, part after part until he realizes the man probably can't carry anymore, then motions toward the van. It's apparent at this point that he never intended to carry any of the parts himself, since he just walks over to the van without grabbing any. "Now, since we're not working with a garage, I have to work within the limitations of this machine's overall design. I have to make this thing efficient, but not so efficient that it wears out the rest of this thing. So, as efficient as possible within safe levels. Give me that tube thing." He motions a hand quickly after pointing to something in the pile.

Nodding blindly, Luther reaches for the assigned part and passes it over. Worry etches into his brow as common as any other expression, including something of a perturbed look as he actually looks at the object in his hand before it's passed over. "Just don't break it," utters the homeless man. A look is shot towards the 1969 Cobra. Considering.

"Let's see, wiggle this thing, don't need that…" Alex throws a random tube away, grabbing things from Luther as he screws, wrenches, and hammers some things in. "Needs more gears…" He stays at it for a while, sometimes going to the back and doing something around the gas tank, though not to the tank itself, and contrary to what he said earlier, he removes his shirt and jacket and rolls under the van to do a bit of work there too.

After a good hour or two, he finally closes the drastically different looking interior of the hood, and heads back to his car so he can wipe himself off and put his shirt and jacket back on. "Try it out. Should purr like a kitten and use that tank of gas like a snail."

Luther makes a mental note to retrieve that tube, and at some point while the other guy's working on the car, there are some moments he takes to slip away and retrieve discarded parts. By the end of it, his pockets are filled and other random bits are fitted under and in his arms. At Alex's bidding, he goes to try out the engine. A silent prayer murmurs forth from his lips, and he turns the key… success! For now, anyway. Luther sighs like an exhausted, relieved father whose child has finally come through a difficult labor. The man pats a hand on the steering wheel. Turning to the mechanical man, though, he falls short on what more to say. "Um. Thanks. I guess I owe ya one."

"Thank you for the experience. But one thing before you go." Alex says as he closes the trunk of his car, and starts heading back to the antique shop door. "What exactly is your name? I'd like to know for future reference. You can call me Alex."

A name? Crap, a name. "Name? Oh, my name. It's Lu-…" He catches himself staring at the other. "Luke. Call me Luke." Uncharacteristically at first, yet with a gesture that seems like he at one point carried in it confidence, holds out a grimy hand for a shake.

"It appears to be raining Lukes lately. Alright, I'll see you again, Luke." Tracking devices? What tracking devices… Alex simply waves, then heads back in to continue the work on whatever those spheres were.

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