Flying to put it simply is awesome.
I had trailed 101 from the apartment to halfway across the city... the sun had just started it's decline in the sky. There was something about flying that was strangely calming and yet thrilling... so much that I didn't notice where we were headed until it was just barely in sight.
“The apartments? That isn't the place I was thinking you'd head for one-oh-one.”
He air brakes and ends up grazing up beside me “Not just any apartments, yours... or rather that of the one you were cloned from.” He says nonchalantly.
“I know, but still, why here? The gov obviously knows where this place is and are watching it.”
He smirks, showing some of those large steak-knife teeth “That's the beauty of it, that's if they didn't think you were stupid enough to come back here, they guessed if you were compromised you would run, try to get out of moderate territory or something similar.”
“Okay, but still, we're two very large dragons flying through a city, dodging air-buses and buildings, we're flying targets.” This get's him, because his eye swivels and looks directly at me in that ultimate look of surprise.
“Crap... then we need to stop being airborne and giant, land over there.” It felt good shaking his composure, the building he picked out was low to the ground, probably three stories and... actually pretty nice, painted a deep blue with a white stripe running around the edge. 101 lands without a single problem, I however, was a different story. The approach was good, but when I land I didn't realize that you have to make a hop to rid yourself of momentum... in other words I face planted.
“Hahahaha! That's a lovely trench you made there.”
I mutter a stream of painful curses and tell him to shut up, but he keeps laughing. I look up after rubbing my snout, and see he was already back in his anthro form, arms crossed and a smile on his face.
“Keep laughing and I’ll kick you off the roof.” I say as I switch up into my anthro form, the clothes and aurora luckily were undamaged. I slap aurora back and and get shocked as it connected with my nervous system again. Then I put on the clothes and switch all the way human, might still be barefoot but it's still quite a bit less noticeable than a black dragon.
“So, you're going with the human look then?” He asks in a rhetorical question-like tone.
“You should be too, but sadly someone didn't think to bring any clothes for themselves.”
He snorts “You trying to get on my nerves aren't you? Well forget it, this place has a store inside, I can get something there.”
I was wondering how he knew that, but as we take the elevator down I notice that he's right, down on the first floor was a small store called EVOlved designs. He stops me before getting anywhere near it with an arm across my chest “Okay, they've got your card tagged, so the moment you pay they'll send some soldiers here, so don't let the cashier delay you.”
I nod my head and he goes in, before I follow, the cashier was a gecko EVO, his beady black eyes keeping track of 101 as he quickly grabs a full set of clothes, a red shirt with skulls on it, and a pair of knee-length black shorts along with a pair of converses. I follow him up to the register after quickly grabbing a pair of shoes for my feet, the gecko's eyes switched over to me, though he dismisses me quickly.
“Forty credsss.” I Swipe the card and seemingly nothing goes wrong, no alarms or red flags. The Gecko looks at the facial picture, he takes his time, but if I said anything it might make him more suspicious... He okays the purchase and thanks us, the moment we're out of the store he puts on the clothes before shifting back human then adding the shoes to that, they clothes were definitely bigger on him but they didn't look any more out of place than mine.
“Let's go, we have maybe only two minutes to get out before T-SAF get's here.”
I finish tying my shoes on and ask“T-SAF?” as we head out onto the street, then run across the busy roads to the next street.
“Texas Special Armed Forces, they make the Marine Corps soldiers you trained with look like wannabe boy scouts lost in the woods.” No further explanation was needed, even though I believe he was exaggerating it was still a scary enough description to keep me moving... we had three blocks until we reached my apartment... sucks that we only got a third of the way there.
“Stop!” 101 grabs my by the collar of my shirt and hauls me backwards into a sidestreet, and shoves me to make me go into a run, I look back and see him following close behind... then I see something rumble past the street in a blur. I could only make out that it was twelve meters tall and had some kind of engine on it's back because it blew past. I stop when we reach the other street, backed up against the wall to see what was on this street, the moment 101 pulls up beside me I ask “What was that?”
“Sapient Mech.” He laughs then, A short and almost insane sounding one at that. “This means they're actually going to kill us rather than capture.” And he was excited about this? I'm starting to wonder how messed up in the head he really is. I look a5round the corner and see a blockade being set up... and I think I just caught my first sight of T-SAF. I saw black Sovereign tanks parked in a V scanning the road, they had two high-velocity round gatling cannons on the front of the turret and two missile pods mounted on-top... they could cause massive destruction if they opened fire here... the soldiers did indeed make even the toughies in my program look weak, their armor almost seemed to absorb the light, but that's the thing, it was head to toe and bulky, but they moved around like they were a gymnasts, I see one push a concrete barrier in front of the tanks without any help.
'Yep, that's T-SAF.” 101 says after sneaking a glance.” I continue my observation after ignoring captain obvious. They had much more intimidating helmets, every time they breathed steam came out of two ports on each side of where the mouth would be, the lenses in their visors a deep red, and the lights which I was surprised to see were also red, they had a few on the chest and some on the arm... I get a look of the back of one giving orders and see that he had a mobius generator on his back, which also glowed that deep red... they looked pretty freaking evil to me, but those were just the regular soldiers, others that were EVOs had fully formed armor, the helmets segmented to make up for their different shape, I note at least five, all of them wolf EVOs.... then I see the others.
“Holy mother of-” I start, but 101 finishes with “Hell, that's not good.” I see two giant full-fledged red dragon EVOs, their armor matching the soldiers down to almost every detail, they had stepped up from behind the tanks and were scanning the street, I pull back when they get around to where we are.
“Since when did they start using those EVOs?” It was meant as rhetorical, but 101 didn't take it that way. “Maybe half a year ago, they're about as rare as us, only they can't shift, it'll be another year or so before those pop up.”
“Thank you for that disturbing thought, well we can't go that way, what about the one that mech went down?”
He glances back in that direction “I'll check and make sure it's actually moved on, if it is we keep heading up that street, but if anything decides to come down this street run like hell to me.” He jogs over to the other street, while I check back down to the extremely overpowered blockade. Then I notice their guns aren't your standard run-of-the-mill military hardware, these looked like they had a lot more firepower in them, along with grenade launchers and chinsaw bayonets.
I hear a muffled yell and a crack. I look back and see one of the T-SAF troopers on the ground with his head twisted a sickening 180 degrees, 101 was standing over him, motioning me to come over there. I head over as he crouches over the fallen soldier.
“Roads clear, but it's not going to be that way for long, and the mech's on it's way back for certain, we'll have to sprint it.” I spare a glance at the soldier “Could you not have killed him?”
He stands up “Nope.” He heads right out on the street “We need to go now if we want to make it.” I stand up, feeling slightly sad for the guy, but he chose his line of work. I run up to him “Ready?”
“Set go!” He says and starts a surprisingly fast sprint up the street. I follow him, quickly gaining ground, fresh shoes pounding on the concrete, 101 makes a random turn, then another, then we find ourselves moving between tiers like a weaving snake, but nobody had shot at us yet so I figure he knows what he's doing. More than once we ducked out of sight as those sapient mechs made an appearance, I still haven't gotten a good look at them yet.
He stops short, maybe half a block from the apartments “Here we are, the best place for us to hide.” I turn and look at the glass window...
“DHS? Why are we at the department of human services?”
He chuckles “Think on it, the last place any sane EVO would go is here.” I think of it... besides the name I had no id-
“And since you aren't getting it, hardcore purists usually work here, since they don't have to deal with our kind.” That's when I remember the bombing on the news... if purists were willing to do that...
Noting the look on my face he grins “See? Now your getting it.”
“Yeah... but what I am wondering is why here? Aren't we headed to my apartment?”
“It's not your apartment, it's your original's. And we're not going there until the heat settles down, T-SAF will hunt any possible place, and look how close we started to the apartment, if that didn't tip them off nothing will.” He had a point.
He looks at the street “Let's see what purists are up to.” Then goes inside without a second glance, I almost decide to stay outside, but a APC starts rolling down the street, and that made up my mind.
The lobby itself was well decorated, carpet and expansive lounge chairs, the walls were painted a light gray, and there was only one person... what the hell is he doing here? I get a flashback, him crouching by a small girl, the wreckage of the warbird...
I catch 101 by the shoulder before he could take a step farther “Don't.” I hiss to him... maybe it was the gravity behind my words, but he stopped mid-step and looked at me with questioning eyes, wondering what I had on my mind, he no doubt would have walked right up on there and put on an act for the guy before doing something he'd later come to regret. The kid noticed us then, him just looking up from a display, showing a very long list detailing something.
I give 101 the best “don't say a word.” glare and head up to the kid... never got his name. He was maybe six-four and moderate in build, and had dusty brown hair, cold gray eyes that almost reflected the room. He was decked out in a set of blue jeans and a plain gray t-shirt with a tattoo on his arm that I didn't notice before.
“You've shown up earlier than expected.” His cold voice was still the same, monotone and almost dead somehow.
“And you have actually shown up, I thought you would disappear and me never see you again.” He gets a quick thoughtful look on his face then the display... and whatever was on it shuts down. He gets out of that look and says “The odds of that are astronomically high, and yet here we are, you running from the military with, if my memory banks are right, is the same EVO that killed Locke.” Memory banks? He sounded like a cyborg just then... not good if my paranoid mind was right.
101 decides to step up beside me but I wasn't going to let him say anything until I say “Circumstances change... and you still need to owe up for that one-oh-one.”
101 gives me this annoyed look “And you think i'm not doing that? Who do you think let you live? The board's orders were to kill, not capture you.” With that lovely revelation he turns to the kid “And you never mentioned that you knew an automaton.
“What?” I guess my mind was right.
They both look at me “You have never heard of automatons?” 101 asks, surprised. I shake my head in response and he scoffs “Can't believe they kept you that ignorant.” I felt like smacking him upside the head and telling him the truth, but then he gave the explanation “Automatons are mechanized men, while they are mostly seen in their primitive form in advantist society as soldiers and “terminators” this one however... is probably the best the Americans can churn out... and he might just be on their side.”Okay, just like my mind guessed, though if he's... this isn't good.
“Get those paranoid thoughts out of both your heads.” He says, like he's scolding us. “I'm not a government controlled bot, i am a free-agent.” He actually showed something close to emotion when he said bot... and it was one of distaste.
101, always being the undiplomatic aggressor of the conversation says “And how can we be sure of that? I don't even know where Shane met you at.” So he didn't see him on the ship before we took off? Odd...
“Even if you hacked me with that little device on his wrist you still would not hold any trust towards me, and your time is quickly running short, as the soldiers will be clearing this section in just over 1.4 minutes.” 101 lets out a vehement curse and turns to the front of the building, the APC from earlier making a squeal as it's tires skidded on the concrete, it stopping maybe ten meters past this place.
“So that leaves just two choices to you.” The automaton states “One, follow me and hide, or you can kill me and try and fight your way out, which is the worst of the two.” I was ready to take option one, but 101 apparently was on the verge of deciding differently, so I act first “Option one apparently, but if you're controlled by the gov, we're going to use option two without regrets.” He nods and knocks on door behind him twice “Ella, Cover for me.” He leads us around the desk partition as a woman in her mid-twenties with a tattoo on her arm comes in, she nods to me as our eyes make contact. The tattoo was a circular tribal swirls with a yellow glowing sunbeam coming out from behind the swirls... with a start I realize it is the same as the one on the automaton's arm. I nod back out of courtesy as the automaton led us down a different doorway into an office area, nobody in sight, and then through another door into a...
“Well i'm impressed.” was 101's comment. The room was like a cargo bay, but instead of a truck or anything, a large humanoid mech sat crouched in the bay with a good hundred of piled boxes scattered here and there, it was solid black, with red lights on it's body... just like the T-SAF troopers, there was an insignia on the shoulder, a circle with shadowy claw crushing a human skull in it, the circle was bright red, and the claw was outlined in red also. The mech could have stood a good seven meters tall if standing, it looked like a normal armored person except for the head, which consisted of four red visors, two on each side and made more like a diagonal slash... as for the other inhuman part was the right arm, at least below the elbow it was, there sat a massive minigun that could probably take out a tank in only a few seconds. The rest of the details were hard to make out, rocket pods behind the shoulders and something further down on the back.
“Like him?” the automaton asks, and I speak first with “Only if he isn't shooting at us... where did this scary guy come from?”
“T-SAF made a generous donation recently.” On that he wouldn't elaborate, probably not trusting 101 any more than 101 trusts him. He moves us to a small office where he closes the door behind us the moment we enter. “Now, we can talk seriously, there are many details I want to know, and i'm sure you want to know about me.” So now he want's to know about what happened, good thing I already had a question for this ready.
“So what happened to that girl, and the boy that I left you with, and do you have anything you call yourself by? Because automaton isn't really a good description.” I sit on the comfy office chair, 101 taking a staring view out into the bay.
“You can call me Torrent, and before you ask, no, not because of it's meaning. I found the girls family and sent her home, the boy is an clone and still at the hospital.”
“Clone?” I ask, 101 giving me an odd look. Torrent nods his head “The original is believe it or not an EVO sitting at home with his family in Connecticut.” I'd ask how he knew, but an android is probably a better hacker than Aurora. We start talking more, We find out Torrent is actually had quite a time, back during the time in the facility he was a prototype for bio-organic androids... we both stared at him when he said that but he said that he was mostly organic, with a actual beating heart (And a machine one), but his brain was computerized and bones are made of black steel... anything else he didn't describe in detail, though they were trying to create an obedient android as well, but his intelligence was apparently too great for any program, “I couldn't be controlled” were his exact words. But I guess that's what you get when you put AI and self-reasoning together. The only reason he didn't become scrap was because they were looking into better human interaction abilities, normally you might just take him as a boring person, unless he went through a metal detector.
“So we've got an organic droid running around... but why here?”
He actually makes a smirk “Because I haven't released the bombshell yet, I used to be human.” And he went on, he was basically reconstructed, but still machine built from the inside out... the thought made me shudder, human parts ripped out and replaced with steel... it's almost like a Frankenstein story, but apparently there was some residual memory somewhere in that crazy body of his and it lead him to self realization and memories of a past life, he said his “host body” used to work here... kind of an odd thought, but does that mean he was a purist? I have no idea how that worked out or even happened, but that's science and technology sometimes. I ask how he felt on the purists and he just says they have their own ideals, but he just uses them as a cover.
“I think you could make a book of that.” I say and he shook his head “Not really. But now for my questions, so let's get to know how two obvious enemies come to be allies?” And so it had to end up at this, I tell my story starting at the city limits, and pretty much go through everything that needed to be gone over.
“So you two are brothers... that's an unseen development.”
“You're telling me, and we're just half brothers, and only because of the dragon DNA.” I say before heading onto the rest of it. We get into a small argument on the motives of Alpha, but somehow Torrent is a good at argumentation, because he just easily makes us feel horrible with his words, also that calm, c0old tone can really agitate.
“So you get it? Some people believe what they are doing is right, even though others might not. It's all a matter of perception on something.” 101 holds up his hand “Enough with the lecture, we get it.”
Torrent unfolds his arms “There was a good chance you wouldn't. But now most of the T-SAF is expanding their search perimeters and should give you enough room so that you do not have to hide, but first we have travel arrangements to talk about.” Travel arrangements? The questioning look on my face said everything, because 101 laughs “Even Torrent get's it, you didn't think we would be staying in America did you?”
Torrent nods his head “He's right, spending time in another country or side will triple your survival odds... I just need to-” His head jerks up as his eyes widen “How did they-”
There was an explosion outside the office, the wide steel door used to move things in and out disappears in a cloud of smoke and shrapnel.
“So much for option one.” I say as we hear shouting and pounding footsteps...