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[Prompt] Bird Runner.
[Prompt] Bird Runner.


She soared along the corridor, cool air supporting her wing-spread arms, carressing her naked body. She could feel the humm of the power hiding behind the walls, fizzing and buzzing through her body. Overhead lights buzzed at her as she banked herself around a junction, following the noise. People stared as she passed, alarmed at the sight of a naked child bird-running through the corridor. She didn't care.

She passed robots hanging in the air, each fizzing with energy. Sparks swirled around her, waves of energy radiating out from the blocky hover-bots. Patterns changed and warp and flowed as they took interest in her. Butterflies danced around her, the patterns on their wings warping and shifting as they fluttered. They rolled through the entire spectrum, tracing out symmetrical snowflake patterns. Part of her noticed each pattern came in powers of two.

Energy radiated from an antenna mounted to the wall, butterflies brushing against her skin and tickling her stomach. She felt them brush over her mind itself along with the idea that she needed to travel left along with them.


The butterflies drifted through her mind, guiding her down a new corridor. She banked left, dodging a speeding motorcycle. It crackled like lightning, sparks shooting through her veins as the engine thrummed past. The sensation tickled inside...


This was freedom. This was flight. Cold concrete chilled at bare feet. She felt herself grown warm inside in spite of it, her mind slowing even as her feet picked up pace. The chaotic noise behind the walls changed pitch to a high, warbling squeal; chirping, wheeting and whispering in her ears in voices that spoke in tones beyond her comprehension. She strained herself to hear them, her mind tuning in to the words.

"naked child running through the accommodation block...." The woman in her mind sounded almost amused

"Level D, section 31. Level D, section 31." She repeated the words to herself. "....Female. Blonde, blue eyes! That's her!" she announced to those watching, the sparks in her mind piping output to her mouth. "Eyes, ears, echo..."

That was her! The voices were speaking about her. They were chasing her.

"...after her..." hissed through her thoughts before fading away into the distance behind her.


She giggled with bubbling mischief, running harder. The excitement of being chased tingled through her bones. She thought she could hear music running in the back of her mind, a tune with a pulsing, driving beat that she couldn't hope to recognise. She was a barefoot Speed King

The tone of the noises behind the walls changed, getting sharper and more hurried. It got louder, faster - screaming and whistling rather than chattering and chirping. More of the fizzing, tingling hoverbots were following her - one hanging a few metres behind her.

An open door allowed her to duck into someone's apartment to hide. She found clothes inside, waiting in a laundery basket. Loose fitting frilled-shorts and a purple blouse were the only things that would even get close to fitting her small frame. She heard the door open

"Hey You!"

The owner was tall, apparently Japanese and dressed in a sailor suit. Sweat slicked her chestnut hair down to her brow, furrowed in anger.

"PuruPuruPuruPuruPuruPuruPuruPuru!" She giggled, running for the door. "I need these now!" And that made it A-ok. She felt grasping fingers brush against her body momentarily, but slipping from the grip of an adult was childs play. For a moment, she thought the woman would just run after her - but no - she ran free. She felt the attention of the hoverbots brush over her, colours washing over he vision. She caught drafts of sweet perfume drifting around her in time to the light flickering around the edges of her vision. It smelled like pink, then green, then the lights turned a funny shade of rose followed moments later by freshly cut grass, chased by the crackling pink ozone of a beam-saber. Hot metal glowed as more voices sparked in her ears.

"...Stole my nightshirt...!" she announced. "Same girl! Girl grabbing garments gayly going"

She was aware of something coming at her from a crossing passageway, sparks in her veins growing stronger as it approached. A green off-roader roared by, lightning firing in her body in time with the roar of its engine, waves of colour and sound and energy following behind it as it disappearred off into an unlit tunnel. Red lights receded into the distance. They blazed bright a moment as the beast-machine squealed to a halt.

Spotted me, she realised with a thrill.

She popped a ventilation grill and slipped inside, pulling it shut behind her. Cables fizzed above her head, the hum deepening as she got closer. A squal of noise rolled through her as she reached out for them, energy racing through her arms. Ideas and images flashed through her mind, a garble of information washing over her. She saw machinery roaring, turbines playing heavy metal as they spun in time with a woman yelling at someone named 'May' while a kaleidoscope danced in her eyes.

Stunned, she covered her hands with her mouth, aware of feet beyond the vent-grill running towards here. They marched in time to the beat of the music as she slipped back into. Sparks of light danced off the walls, the scent rasberries mingling with dry dust that parched her throat.

She screamed and kicked out out the fingers drawing across her back. Seized by panic, she scrambled forward, knocking a dusk-skinned woman out of her way as she burst out through the grill. She heard her swear behind her as she jumped up into the driver's seat of the still-running off-roader. She needed it - it was her escape. It thrummed with power. A makerplate on the dashboard identified it as a Ford Racing Warthog. She floored the accelerator.

The engine bellowed, out-matching the parking brake. A warning alarm wheeted at her, reminding her to take it off a moment later.

In the mirror, she could see the woman give weak chase before removing some sort of communicator from her pocket.

"PuruPuruPuruPuruPuruPuruPuruPuru!" she laughed as she roared off down the tunnel. A map on the centre console told her where she was. The base was named 77 Frigga. She was in the accommodation block. Level Seven.Sector G. A route had been plotted down to the landing bay already. The voices in her mind came through clear and crisp, pulsing in tune to something mounted to the roll-bar. She could feel it even above the haze of energy sparking off the engine.

"She just stole my damn Warthog. She's running to the mainshaft. That'll take her straight to the landing bay. Is she related to Minnie? Where did they come from? Where's she going? She wasn't on any fucking transport? Who is she? I'm Elpeo Ple. Is she the same one who stole those clothes? Matches the description. Subscription. Conscription" She spun at the wheel following the route on the map. Tyres squealed, leaving ffour black arcs on the concrete floor. "I've got the motorcon transponder - It just turned left onto 7-G." One of the crashbars skimmed the wall, dislodging slabs of concrete from the steel substructure.

Computers whistled somewhere beneath her, generating noise synchronised with the displays on the dashboard. She could feel its tune and tone change along with the information on the screens. It wasn't hard for her mind to work out that some of what she was experiencing might be the result of the technology around her... she could sense the machinery itself.

"I'll chase her but I'm coming from the dome. The Crown Vic shit itself, I'm out of this. She's doing over 160. Let everyone know we've got a thief on the run. Where the hell does she think she can get to - I've locked the main door."

They were different people. Men, women. She recognised one or two voices - the dark haired woman especially. The others were a mystery. One of them sounded like her. She felt herself giggle again, riding a joyous electric thrill as the engine brap-brap-brapped against its limiter. This was so much fun! She'd race to the landing bay and make her escape like they were saying she couldn't.

The Warthog skidded to a halt on a massive elevator carriage. A dark shaft stretched far above her into the distance, a cold breeze whistling through.

"I've locked the lift. She can't go down. We've got her trapped. No you don't!"

She giggled again, clambering over a railing grasping hold of a cold, rusting ladder. She felt herself grow extraordinarily light as she swung out over a bottomless pit lit by sharp flashed of multicoloured lights. Cold snowflakes and golden butterflies drifted past her, swirling on the breeze carrying whispered voices fading away into the distance as she got further and further from the still running.

As she descended into the darkness, there was only the ever-present humm of power and the stillness of her own thoughts.

The magnitude of the silence was amazing. Even the humm receded away until she was left with just the noise of her own body. She felt herself fizz and whirr as she moved, the same computer noise whistling in her ears she she climbed. So - she was a computer too then. The idea made her giggle to herself.

She moved by feel alone, passing by dim lights every few hundred metres. She yelped when her foot found the rung she'd expected to find missing, a momentary thrill of fear seizing old.

She felt herself hanging in mid air, aware off the feeling of zero gravity taking hold. She waited to fall, quietly amazed at gravity's refusal to grab at her. She glided on her outstretched arms, spiralling down through the darkness.

"PuruPuruPuruPuruPuruPuruPuruPuru!" she called out, hearing her voice ring back off rock walls. "PuruPuruPuruPuruPuruPuruPuruPuru!"

It was like the call of some golden eagle, circling high above her. She swooped through the air, gliding in a way she knew was impossible. She tumbled in the air, spiraling herself down. She tried to pull up and loop - but succeeded only in bouncing off a half-rusted metal rail thick enough for her to crawl inside if she felt she had to. It stank of old grease and ozone.

A column of fireflies rolled around it, a hard electric fizz rushing through her body as they pulsed past. She could feel the power crackle through her, lighting her veins, nerves and muscles, seizing hold of her mind. She felt herself paralysed, overcome by the momentary electric shock as the fireflies swarmed, pulsing in time with the ever-present humm. Waves of light washed over her, followed the the scent of strawberries, steel.

She was aware of something big moving down from above, a draft of air blowing her down the shaft. She flipped herself over in time to see the carriage above approaching, rumbling and roaring in the tunnel. Butterflies warred with fireflies as one of the bots fizzed past, speeding up the shaft.

Light was rising from below and she felt herself begin to panic. She knew she'd be crushed to nothing, the life.

She felt herself scream as the left carriage crashed into her, her whole body bracing for the final crush. She knew she'd feel herself burst in excruciating detail right before the end. She wondered if maybe, now that she was some sort of machine, she'd survive. She felt the world slow down around her as the light moved up to envelope, her mind going hot, her breath parching her throat. The whisper of her own electronics in her ear turned to a squeal of panic as the light. She opened her mouth to scream... Mercifully, she blacked out before the final crush.

She came to what felt like a heartbeat later, surrounded by darkness with footsteps above her head.

"Lost.Can't find her."

She giggled, led by a railway of crackling energy radiating from the walls. Another hatch. Another corridor. Another sprint. Another door she found would open if she pushed it 'Just So.'

Inside, She found what she found what looking for. Red painted. Cockpit open. Small. But still.

A mobile suit.


from: Ford.Sierra@friggarock.fen
to: [General Notices]
Subj: Lost Girl and Motoroid

Okay so it's been a bit hectic here over the last few weeks because of that stupid Venus thing and I suppose I just need to destress so I got into something left over from last christmas that I probably shouldn't have.

Long story short, Minnie May Hopkins and Elpeo Ple are our newest residents and one of them's gone missing. Elpeo broke out of her bedroom and borrowed some clothes and a motoroid and took off into open space.

Thing is, there's something wrong with her - she has some sort of synesthesia that makes her see the world in a really funny way. I don't know how exactly. Both of them were spare parts for someone else and I know Elpeo's body was never woken up for some reason - it was supposed to be Shinji but Jet fucked up on something, it failed some diagnostics and she put it in the parts bin, then built Shinji.

Anyway Elpeo probably gone to wherever the motoroid's nav had last been set for but nobody has any idea where that is.

I'm hoping to track her down because she's just - she's a bit naive and probably won't realise she's in trouble until something bad happens.

There's a reward for information.... the other result of Klatchian Coffee Liquer were four unique guns with some weird abilities. If anyone's information leads to us finding her, I'll trade one of these guns for it. Anyway, she's short, strawberry blonde-hair, blue eyes. Very lightly built. And she has a habit of running around with her arms outstretched repeating her name.



Now. What happens to Elpeo Next? Where does sthe nav on her motoroid take her? What happens to her there? What chaos does an android with a bastard of an EM-shielding problem cause?

And I just realised a good chunk of this was originally posted over a year ago... D'OH!. Anyway, since it stalled hard.... wherever she goes now is fair game.
--m(^0^)m-- Wot, no sig?
She's getting her ass to Stellvia. That's where I'd guess a fully enclosed motoroid would be heading. OK, I suppose Luna or Mars would also be on the list.
Cobalt Greywalker Wrote:She's getting her ass to Stellvia. That's where I'd guess a fully enclosed motoroid would be heading. OK, I suppose Luna or Mars would also be on the list.
Now why would she do that? 36 Atalante is practically next door to 77 Frigga in October 2024...
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
I was mainly thinking of Shinji, as he's the only one I could think of who'd use an enclosed motoroid from Frigga. The rest were options that I thought of.
I did try the whole 'get your ass to Mars' thing, but it didn't fit very well and I'm not a Gundamite.

I didn't know about the relative positions of the various asteroids.
The intent was that it could go anywhere, depending on whatever business it'd been used for - It's a McGuffin to take Elpeo away. With the story being taken over by whomever just had gonzo Elpeo Ple show up on their door (Or found her in open space) and had an idea what to do with her. Whether welcome or not.

A quick description of Ple's is that they're a series of 12 clones of Elpeo Ple, who'se sole reason for existance is to pilot Quebleys and live short, agonising lives before they die screaming and alone in the vastness of space. Par for the U.C. course so. They're cyber-newtypes, which means they've all been technologically modified to have psychic abilities. Having one appearr will result in either mass hugging from the warmer ends of the AEUG fandom, or potentially something much worse. Fenspace Ple is just that bit Peculiar, but it means she gains insight into technologies and other nearby AI's.

(At the very least, it's a way to have one of These do something uselful)
--m(^0^)m-- Wot, no sig?
However, with care and lots of therapy, your Puru can grow up to be a badass.
- Grumpy Uncle Gearhead
Dartz Wrote:The intent was that it could go anywhere, depending on whatever business it'd been used for - It's a McGuffin to take Elpeo away. With the story being taken over by whomever just had gonzo Elpeo Ple show up on their door (Or found her in open space) and had an idea what to do with her. Whether welcome or not.
Okay - if nobody decides something else in the next 24 hours, I'm going to have her be discovered by Agatha Clay.

The clock is now ticking for a better outcome for Elepo...
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
Well, that's one way to give us an incentive...

Hmmm. I may have something in mind; how does Elpie feel about J-Pop?
However you need her to feel about J-pop.
--m(^0^)m-- Wot, no sig?
Quote:robkelk wrote:
Quote:Dartz wrote:
The intent was that it could go anywhere, depending on whatever business it'd been used for - It's a McGuffin to take Elpeo away. With the story being taken over by whomever just had gonzo Elpeo Ple show up on their door (Or found her in open space) and had an idea what to do with her. Whether welcome or not.

Okay - if nobody decides something else in the next 24 hours, I'm going to have her be discovered by Agatha Clay.

The clock is now ticking for a better outcome for Elepo...
Hey, that's uncalled for! I was in the middle of writing another Fenspace scene!
When would this be happening, anyway?
October 2024. About 5 days before the Arcadia mission returns. Ford's winding down after the crisis from 'State of the Rats', indulges in beverage of the waved alcoholic nature and.... well....


There was nothing more tedious than a hundred identical AR-clones needing to be test fired and cleaned before packaging. Each one had to be tested for accuracy and safety, with performance results being logged back into the assembler so it could self-correct. It was a level of industrial process control that lived far beyond her own ability to understand, even with the manual in front of her.

For the first time in her life, Ford found herself quietly regretting the decision to drop out of high school a year early.

The Machine, as it was only ever known, was the size of a small garage with the majority of its working mechanisms hidden behind lockable white maintenance panels. It took in rolls carbotanium sheets, pre-built trigger assemblies and barrel-blanks through one end, chewed on it a bit, pushed it all through an electric curing over to set the carbon, assembled it using the most dextrous mechanical fingers Ford as ever seen in her life, then spat out a fully assembled and functional rifle into a waiting container.

It could make a hundred rifles in a day, and do that for as long as she needed to make them.

Each one, Ford calculated, cost her about a hundred and fifty credits in materials and equipment, ten credits in maintenance to the machine, eight credits in power and energy, thirty-nine on a case, forty-three on a cleaning kit, a straight hundred for the smartgun system and another thirty-two credits of her time testing it and certifying it as safe and accurate before shipping to the customer at their expense.

She charged nearly fifteen hundred credits for each rifle, in its case, with an additional cleaning kit, instruction manual and owners certificates. And that was cheap for an AR-clone, especially a carbon-based one with smartgun assistance.

And when it wasn't making AR-clones, it was making the basic Plasma pistol and Carbine frames, before hand finishing by herself to the customer's spec. She still had nearly a hundred Long-Lance rifle and Caster Gun pistol frames in storage, waiting for the final go-ahead. The phrase 'mining credits' came to mind. If only she ever received enough orders to actually run the machine for more than an day ever few months.

Finishing another weapon, number thirty-two in the run, she finally decided to start taking applications for an assistant. The interest when she'd first started had been… minimal.

More time to focus on fun projects, research, development and putting together a more standardised tender package. Less time spend doing the boring work.

Ford sighed, beginning the process of dismantling the rifle for a final cleaning before packaging. Even with the direct-impingement action of the prototype replaced by a modified gas-piston, it still needed care and attention. And customers expected a 'new' gun, without fouling or staining from powder.

With the rifle cleaned, it was packed away in foam along with its expected accessories, and a target sheet signed by her, testifying to its accuracy. The finished box was added to a growing stack in the opposite corner of her workshop.

Ford gave a tired sigh, taking a mouthful from a bottle of water while wishing she had something with a little more knives in it to relax with. There were another sixty-eight to go. And her workbench, in between a disorganised mass of tools and spare-parts, were the custom projects she'd been working on along with maintenance requirements for Survival Shot, a few old-model exocomps that'd got belly up and parts of a 1967 GT500 engine that belonged to a car she gave serious consideration to respraying from it's stock colour.

"Time for a damn break," she said to herself. Something strong was required.

Hidden in a tool cupboard, behind an unused and still-sealed rotary tool was a bottle of something special. Klaatchian coffee liqueur was just the thing. Energising, releasing, and one glass would dissipate inside an hour, leaving her mind refreshed and buzzed. It was only dangerous stuff if you weren't careful…

She mixed it down with water and a little sugar so the alcohol wouldn't scald her pallat, inhaling the warm scent of roast coffee mixed with toffee spices and herbs, before taking one warming sip. Ford allowed the flavour to warm her mouth, before swallowing, allowing the finish of the flavour to remain on her breath.

It satisfied her right to the core.

Another mouthful chased it, followed by a third, until the glass was empty.

The handgun on her workbench caught her eye, piquing her curiosity. It was nothing more than the standard plasma pistol, unfinished and missing the igniter. But she was compelled to stare at it, wondering just what looked so out of place.

It wasn't the beans, she told herself. It was almost too soon. Chances were, she forgot to refit a part when she last worked on it. But for the life of her she couldn't tell what it was. Taken a frustrated breath, she stared at it, willing the solution to jump out at her. It took an age, her mind racing through possibilities, accelerating until it gained unstoppable momentum.

"Yes!" she annouced, spotting what had been missing at last. It was something that had never been fitted to the pistol, and normally never would be fitted to the pistol, but now seemed just perfect. It was an absolute necessity, and it'd just take a few minutes…. plenty of time before the liqueur took a grip on her mind and pulled her into the madness place.

A part of her screamed, realising what was happening to her mind but it was already too late. It was swallowed by the rush.

The Machine continued to churn out rifles, as the beans began to take hold.



A shrill voice drilled deep into her skull, dragging her up out of the depths of sleep.

"Rally, wake up!"

Warm hands tugged at her shoulder, jostling her body. Ford tried to turn over, away from the voice and the jackhammer headache pouding between her ears. The smell of concrete, gunsmoke and lubricating oil mingled with her own sweat and a sweet lavender perfume that tingled the inside of her nostrils.

"Wake up Rally!"

They were getting annoyed. They were calling her that name she hated. Ford's eyes shot open.

Anika. In lingerie. Anika, in very racy lingerie. Inspite of the headache, Ford generally could've recall any time she'd seen Anika wear a black-lace teddy, or lacy, knee-high stockings, or anything that could remotely be described as sexy.

Her aching mind ground on the idea, noting first that while this girl was about the right size, her hair was fair too blonde. The girl's eyes were wider, and much too blue. Anika's, the last she'd seen, were more of a golden colour. All of this churned out and coalesced into one stunned exclamation

"Who the fuck are you?!"

Ford was upright, adrenaline clearing the fog in her mind fast.

The girl shrunk back from her, a hurt expression on her face as if she'd been betrayed by her closest friend.

"It's me Rally. Minnie May…." she said, her eyes starting to moisten.

Minnie gave her a sparkling grin. Ford felt sick, and wasn't sure if it was the echo of all the alcohol, or the realisation that she'd just done something incredibly dumb because of it. The explanation she was looking for was amongst the detritus on the floor. And empty bottle of RD-75 Rocket Fuel, resting beside an equally empty tin cup. She scanned the room, realising that she had been sleeping on the floor of her own workshop, in a centre of an explosion of gunparts and what looked like a half-dissasembled 424 engine. She was able to pick out at least five whole weapons in the mess - a FAL from Survival Shot's collection, a plasma pistol and carbine that looked the worse for decades of wear, a Long-Lance painted in a lurid electric blue, and a mysterious pink metal object that looked suspiciously like some form of sub-machine gun.

A chill crawled up her spine, and she began to become are of her bra pressing down on her chest harder than usual. Ford pondered a moment, watched by a concerned May. Gradually, she became more and more aware of her body, and the messages it was giving her. Cold sweat prickled across her skin.

"Did we?"

Ford didn't want to know.

An impish grin peeled across her May's lips. "Well, you needed a little help to cool down after the last prototype went a little funny…" A giddy shudder thrilled through her body as she drew her own legs close and hugged herself. "I normally prefer men, but I'm a professional. And you were so far gone that you would've had a heart attack if I didn't…"

Ford gaped, her bare toes curling up. Metal scratched on the concrete floor - at least her leg was still attached.. Her clothes were thrown across the workbench, trousers pooled in a heap by the open door of her Shelby. It'd been turned around, obvously after being driven somewhere - and hadn't been very carefully parked.

At least the shutter door had been closed, she could be thankful of that.

Using her natural arm, she pulled herself up onto shaking legs, still feeling nauseous, still with a pumping headache that threatened to burst her brains out of her ears. May shuffled to her feet, revealing herself to be exactly the same height as Anika - aside from the big mass of blonde hair on her head.

That explained where she'd come from. There was a stock of spare parts set aside for Anika and Shinj, including two whole bodies in case the worst happened.

Ford swallowed another deep breath of air, struggling to clear her head. She pressed her artifical hand against the side of her skull, and suddenly became aware that that something felt off with it. She held it in front of her face, not needing a degree in cybernetic mechatronics to see the problem.

Three of her fingers were hanging limp, refusing to respond. An access panel on her forearm had been removed, and the servos behind it taken out, leaving the tendon-ends dangling loose. She scanned the room once more, equal parts amazed and horrified at the chaos, then looked at May still standing there in her lingerie with an expectant look on her face.

"What happened?"

Ford wasn't sure she wanted to know, but knew she had to ask.

"You needed an assistant, to finish those AR's while you worked on the specials, so I was the result," she grinned cheerfully, nodding in the direction of a stack of rifle boxes sitting beside the Machine.

A hundred of them waited there, ready and labelled for shipping.

Her headache began to pound, deeper and deeper. She ground her knuckles against her temples, hoping to force the headache away, or force herself to wake up and discover it for the nightmare she thought it was.

"Damn you Sonoda," she snarled under her breath.


The GT's engine burbled along, effortlessly propelling them through darkened tunnels. Ford made a point to skirt around the inhabited parts of Frigga, avoiding the worst of the newcomers and their prying eyes. At least they were dressed, even if May had taken a miniskirt that was just that bit too short.

"I was born Misty Carlson. I call myself Ford Sierra because there was a time when my real name could've gotten my mom in trouble. You can call me either. Just don't call me that."

"What? Rally?" teased May.

Ford glared. If she could've ignited May on the seat right there with her gaze, she would've, to hell with the damage to the restored upholstery.

"You're a bounty-hunting half-Indian lesbian with a fetish for firearms and hot metal. Face it, you're Rally Vincent in all the ways that matter." Minnie explained herself calmly. "I mean, why else would you think of me, when you thought about hiring an assistant?"

Ford took another calming breath, allowing her anger to cool off. "Rally Vincent has been the bane of my existence. I nearly didn't buy this car because of her and what Sonoda did with that comic."


"It's got a strong lead. Good action. Great attention to detail. But it's also a total creep-fest… it's just one man's fetishes on paper." She couldn't help but shudder. It didn't help that the fictional Kerasin was insideously close to what Thionite was actually used for… Ford had helped bring in more than one Goldie.

"People in glass houses," mused May out loud.

"And what's that supposed to mean?"

May's eyes narrowed, her smile turning thin and cat-like. "I know someone who's so horny for cars they fell in love with a combat cyborg with a curvacious steel body because she was like a walking automobile."

"Shut up May," Ford growled, feeling her cheeks begin to warm and her stomach go tense.

"I know she gets off on the vibrations travelling through her partners body from the buffing wheel as she polishes her partners breasts, and can't even smell turtlewax anymore without getting a tingle in her pants." An alto giggle rose up the girl's throat, mocking her.

"Shut up May," Ford snarled, forcing herself to glare at the tunnel ahead.

"Oh, and how she sometimes gets hot when testing things on the range, and has to sleep with a loaded gun under he pillow."

"That's a handwavium quirk!" Ford snapped at her, red faced. The car jerked as she accidentally swerved at the wheel, pulling it across the tunnel before she corrected it with a curse. "And how'd you find all this out anyway?"

"You're a talkative drunk," May giggled, being entirely too pleased with herself. "Complaining about how you were stressed, and couldn't get off because your partner was on another planet and the puppet she left behind was just a lifeless doll…"

Ford slumped forwards over the steering wheel. "This is a nightmare. This is hell. I've died and fallen into a Sonoda comic…"

"Isn't it great!" May enthused.

"For freakos," Ford answered sourly.

"And you still didn't answer my real question,"

"Which was?"

"If you hate Rally, why do you live like her?"

And that was the sixty-four thousand dollar question. Ford settled herself back into the driver's seat, taking a moment to let her anger drift away.

"Because I wanted to live like this before I know what a Rally Vincent was…" she answered, forcing her voice to calm down. "This is who I want to be. And I don't want to let a fictional character prevent me from being who I want to be."

May went quiet, looking down at the floor of the car. She sighed heavily, throwing her head back over the seat-rest to look at the ceiling.

"But you're so like her…"

Ford focused on the road, mulling it over in her mind whether she should bother to tell the story or not. Ultimately, she concluded that it wouldn't do any harm.

"My aunt Irene owned a gun shop. She looked a lot like me. She owned a car just like this one. She taught me a lot about being my own person and doing the things I loved, rather than what people expected of me." She paused for a moment, collecting her thoughts. "And when the great city of Chicago and State of Illinois cut a large chunk of her business out with new gun-control regulations in the late eighties, she got clever and hooked up with a Japanese tour operator, selling the chance to shoot the real thing to Japanese tourists." A thin smile crept across her lips. "One of them, was a well known comic author."

"So…" began May, her eyes widening.

"I think, rather than being the same person, we might be inspired by the same person," Ford concluded.

May nodded, before fidgeting with her seatbelt. For the time being, that seemed to shut her up and that was all Ford wanted. For the rest of the journey, May said nothing, save for humming a breezy tune when they passed through a chamber that had once been the Motorcon car-park.

It took a half hour for the pair to reach their destination, Ford bringing the Mustang to a halt outside what was normally called Jet's Shed and what had once been the main power planet engineer's office.

"This is where I woke up," said May, recognising the numbers on the door.

"I just have to check something," Ford answered, quickly, shutting the car down.

She got out, leaving the door open as she hurried around the back of the car. Ford knew the combination to the outer door off by heart. It opened to a long, gloomy passage, lined with cable conduits and low-level lighting. The air inside was thick and humid from a forever-unfixed steam-leak into the ventilation.

It drew the sweat out of her body as she jogged along, May following behind her.

"What's the hurry?" the android wondered aloud. "You know what I am"

Ford didn't say anything. What she was afraid of, was that she'd broken something irreplaceable while fumbling drunkenly around with it all. It could be a death sentence for any one of the three if a critical piece of machinery was damaged.

Ford had to know. The inner door was key-locked. She had the spare. It opened with a squeak of protest, allowing her into a cool, darkened room that smelled vaguely of machine oil, cherries and ozone. One whole wall was given over to an old map of Frigga's power grid, lightbulbs that indicated switch status providing dim illumantion. Green backlights glowed behind power guages, while through the far windows, she could look down into the shadows of the turbine hall and the machinery that powered the astoroid.

The steel floor trembled with power.

Stray sparks of light glinted off a wall lined with spare parts, while machinery hung from the ceiling in the circle around a central workbay that might've come from God's know were. Jet's private desk was pressed against the far wall, illuminated by the blue glow of a 3D monitor standby light.

It all seemed well.

A single switch lit the room up, painfully bright to her eyes for a moment. She held her breath, scanning around. It was cleaner than she expected. It was much worse than she could possibly have imagined.

Two spaces had been set aside for two spare bodies. One a defective prototype that was used for parts testing. One an unwaved backup, in case Anika or Shinji were seriously injured.

"Wow," whistled May, beside her.

There was a good chance that she was the backup. That left one question on Ford's lips.

"Where's the other one?"

--m(^0^)m-- Wot, no sig?
By the way, I take it this is a Heavy Motoroid she's joyriding in, right?

Bike Mode
Robot Mode

Depending on the customer, pitched as either a different alternative to a Tachikoma, or something that goes really, really fucking fast in motorcycle mode, while still being a capable mech.
--m(^0^)m-- Wot, no sig?
I'm torn. I'd love to claim Elpeo as a playmate for Lime, but my writing is glacial for Fenspace at the moment.

(And would you guys believe it took me THIS long to realize that the reason Eljay/VF could make Lime an AI 'bot instead of just a telepresence is because she's from "Saber Marionette J?")
''We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat
them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.''

-- James Nicoll
Stop the clock, Bob!

"You know, if you girls keep slippin' Bubblegum Crisis songs into yer sets, people're gonna start askin' questions," Adam remarked, trying -not very successfully- to pay attention to his flight controls.
Miku snuggled deeper into his lap. "You worry too much," she said languidly. "If Jet can flat-out coslife as Sylia without getting caught, we can cover 'Konya Wa Hurricane' every once in a while. Besides, if people do catch on it wouldn't be the end of the world. If nothing else I'd probably attract a better class of creepers."
"We should be so lucky," Adam sighed.

The proximity-warning sensor started chiming urgently. "What the-?" Adam sat up abruptly. Miku bounced out of his lap and into the copilot's seat, warming up the radar display... and then, after a moment's hesitation, the main gun.

* * *

Elpeo had been following the strange ship for some time. It had briefly shown up on her mobile suit's radar, but no matter how much she strained her ears... no, not ears, something new and different and strange that was almost like hearing but not... she couldn't hear anything but the whisper of an engine. Quiet, in Elpeo's experience meant secrets. And secrets fascinated her.

When she got into visual range, the ship proved to be interesting to look at. It was painted all kinds of vivid colours, teal and pink and yellow with bright white letters saying things she couldn't read unless she got really close...

And then the ship spun abruptly to face her, and oh, she could hear it now and it was angry! Loud booming barks of radar lashed out at her, searching, hunting...

But it didn't go in for the kill. At least not yet...

"Unidentified motoroid, this is the Lady Godiva." The voice on the radio had an inexplicably yet reassuringly familiar accent. "You're flying awful close with no IFF or radio contact. Something the matter, over?"

"Uh... no, not really. Sorry!" Elpeo gave the motoroid's controls a twist. This was a good place not to be.

* * *

"Aw, hell. She's just a kid! Can't be more than twelve..."
"A runaway?" Miku wondered.
"Or a joyrider. Either way she ain't safe in that thing all the way out here- Shit! She's running!"
"Try and get ahead of her. I'll see if I can raise the cops." Miku fiddled with the radio settings for a moment. "Anyone on this channel, this is space vessel Lady Godiva. Pan pan pan! We have a probable unaccompanied fenkinder in a motoroid who ran like a scalded cat when we tried to contact her, suspect her vehicle may be stolen. Request assistance, over."
Walking into Holo Neon would be like a LSD trip for her, what with all the em fields active when all the holo systems are in display mode.
Sabre Fang
Dihydrogen monoxide
Containment Vessel

Good point. Might use that... Anyway, part two is going to have to wait 'til morning now.
Quote:Anyway, part two is going to have to wait 'til morning now.
That's okay...
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
"Lady Godiva, this is the FCS Werewolf" a female voice answered a few seconds later. "We have you on long range scanners, give me a bearing and speed on the motoroid from your location, we are launching search craft and recovery craft at this moment." the voice continued. "The subject recently scampered from her room on Frigga and snagged the roid suit as a way to continue the chase at a guess."

FCS Werewolf

Gods, Tara Wa Bostwick thought as she watched a pair of the EW variants of what her father called F-57B Strike Sabres launched for the search. Her parents were out with the Eagle 5 bounty hunting a Boskone for Great Justice, leaving her and her sister in charge of the ship and its company. The Electronic Warfare craft would search, on active, one passive along the bearing the Godiva had to give them, and then they could hopefully shepherd her somewhere like the Werewolf for recovery.
Okay, next short snippet:

    Motoroids aren't what you'd call fast spacecraft. If the Lady Godiva had been going more than a fraction of her top speed then Elpeo wouldn't have got close, but fortunately the heavily customised Cobra Mk1F[1] had been almost stationary in space, cruising slowly in the direction of nowhere in particular while Project Diva enjoyed some much-needed downtime between gigs. Adam overhauled the little ship with minimal difficulty, at which point it darted off in a random direction, forcing him to swerve violently to try and keep up. "Goddamn son of a sweet leapin' Jesus!" The motoroid doubled back, and if Adam hadn't been quick enough to dart "down" relative to their direction of travel it would've come right through the windscreen.
    There was a crash from the galley, and a moment later Mike stuck his head through the cockpit door. "The hell are you doing, bro?" he demanded irritably.
    "Chasing some dumb kid who stole a motoslave," Adam replied. "We need a goddamn lassoo fer this... Miku, please tell me the con bouncers or the Sammies called back."
    "Some bounty-hunter just radioed in, they're inbound but but they're a good way out."
    "Figures." Adam jinked hard, trying to keep the little craft in sight. "Maybe I can run you outta gas..."
    "Hey, I think that's that's Shinji's bike!"
    "The one he named after Misato and then got pissed 'cause everyone made the obvious joke?"
    "Yep. And last I heard he was on Frigga... Miku, do we have Interwave access right now?"
    She checked the comms panel. "Barely."
    "Alright. Lemme see if someone back at the dojo has some ideas."
    From: MikeyFox@intermail.fen
    To: Ford.Sierra@friggarock.fen
    Subj: RE: Lost Girl and Motoroid
    We found her. Catching her is still a work in progress. We're open to suggestions!
    [1] Officially they'd chosen this model was because John Henry Station Industries offered a huge discount in return for an endorsement deal, but having an identical spaceship to a Great Justice Troubleshooter and minor BNF who knows about your secret identities often comes in handy.
From: Ford.Sierra(a)friggarock.fen

To: MikeyFox(a)intermail.fen
Subj: RE: Lost Girl and Motoroid

That thing runs on batteries. Just follow her until she runs out. I'll bring something more maneuverable.
--m(^0^)m-- Wot, no sig?
I just realized. This is late 2024. Though I never told anybody, this where I have a story planned for an accidentally drugged-up (accident in the B-RAD labs) guy joyriding the belt with one of the limited production Tallgeese.

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