Zenyatta had assumed that the rumors of super heroes were nothing more than just that, rumors.
As his taxi sat in an intersection, which had been blocked by a car that was thrown in front of them, Zenyatta reorganized his internal files on what he knew of the city.
“Hey, don’t stick your head out--!!” the driver called as Zenyatta rolled down his window and leaned out of it. Perhaps his self preservation subroutines had been rerouted in order to prioritize his curiosity, but he could not help but think it would be worth it.
Storming and stomping down the street was a man that must have been over 10 feet tall-- if it could be called a man at all. Though it stood on two legs its head was that of a rhino and its torso was thicker than a car. Deep red metal armor covered every part of the monster other than its joints, elbows and knees visible as it bent down and picked up another car. The family inside of it screamed.
As the rhino was about to throw its improvised weapon there was a shout and flying out of nowhere came a flash of green. It collided with the monster’s face and it roared in pain, dropping the van back onto solid ground. The green blur landed perfectly on its feet and, for the second that it was still, Zenyatta was able to record an image of what it looked like exactly.
It had been a man, more of a man than the monster as it was average human height, but calling it just a man would be underselling it. He had been garbed in green armor, polished to a shine until the sun made it sparkle. The design was one of a kind-- through all of Zenyatta’s travels he had never seen anything like it. Even the helmet was eye-catching with a large V pointing towards the middle of his face.
And then the man had jumped away again, crying out as he unsheathed a sword from his back and brandished it confidently. Zenyatta was barely able to catch a white scarf streaking behind him before the car started moving again. The momentum made him sway and hold onto the taxi as he quickly slipped back inside.
“Traffic is gonna be hell tonight,” the driver muttered, face a perfect painting of mild annoyance as she swerved around debris.
“What-- what was that?” Zenyatta asked and leaned between the two front seats in excitement.
“Oh yeah, you’re not from around here are you?” the driver said. “Happens all the time. At least it looks like they got there early enough to cut back on the damage.”
“‘All the time’…? I had heard-- but it sounded so impossible… I did not believe it.”
“Believe it, buddy, cause it’s real. Our city here has the longest shopping district, is third in seafood export, and first in monster attacks and superheroes.”
Zenyatta scanned the driver’s face for any kind of tic, a hint that she was trying to pull his leg, but the only thing she betrayed was her annoyance. He sat back in his seat, back softly thumping against it, and he let himself sort through the new flood of information that he had received. His core common sense flashed red and tried to deny it, which normally Zenyatta would let it do, but he was forced to go around it.
One last time Zenyatta turned around and looked back. Through the small, dirty back window he could barely pick out the monster. As the taxi turned a corner he was just able to register several other colourful blurs fighting.
“Superheroes…” he murmured.
Perhaps his stay here would not be as monotonous as he had thought.
= = = = =
It was a beautiful piece of architecture that had survived the centuries. Just a year before, the descendants of the original Shimada Clan had funded and finished renovations on the grounds. Since it still belonged to them it also served as their place of residence.
According to the brochure, there were tours of the palace every Saturday.
As soon as Zenyatta stepped out of his taxi in front of the large gates he was swarmed by guards. Within the amount of time it took to open his mouth and ask what was going on: a guard had popped open the trunk and taken out his luggage, another guard leaned over the driver’s side window and slipped in a few bills, and the last one flipped open his phone and began speaking (Zenyatta didn’t even see him dial a number). The luggage carrier tried to take Zenyatta’s carry on but he held tight and insisted that he could take it.
Then the car was gone and the gates were opening. Behind it were more guards all wearing the same impeccable black suits, the only ones not wearing sunglasses were the omnic guards, who instead wore faceplates that were oni-like and intimidating.
From behind the entourage walked out the man who was obviously in charge. Standing just as tall as Zenyatta, the man wore a navy suit with the jacket open and top button undone, while his hair was a fashionable undercut samurai bun accented by stylist facial hair.
“Welcome to my estate, and more importantly our city, Tekhartha Zenyatta,” the man bowed.
“It is an honour to be here and represent my brothers and sisters,” Zenyatta bowed in turn. “Though I must admit, I did not expect the roof over my head to be so extravagant.”
A twitch of his lips, the hint of a smirk. “Months ago it would not have been. You have arrived just in time. My name is Shimada Hanzo, and I am one of your hosts for the duration of your stay.”
“Ah, Shimada, I’ve heard that before,” Zenyatta hummed. “I was told that there was a Shimada on the city council.”
“That is correct. We’ll be working together frequently, it seems.”
“Hopefully not right away. I would rather enjoy the small calm before the storm of business. I’ve only just landed.”
A real chuckle came from Hanzo that time, “Understandable. One must take advantage of life’s few pauses.”
“I couldn’t agree more.”
Hanzo nodded and then turned to one of his staff members. Without a word the man with Zenyatta’s bags walked past and held out his hand. “I will have your things brought to your room.”
Zenyatta wanted to protest, there was no need for someone to be burdened by his luggage, but he held back. Hanzo seemed intent on being the perfect and most formal host there was.
Behind the gates was more beautiful, if it was possible. A large rock garden sat in the centre of the entrance area and just past it was a large and ornate bell. Raised wooden pathways circled the garden so that it would not be disturbed, one big rock sitting in the middle by itself. Zenyatta followed Hanzo towards a second gate that opened into another garden, this one covered in greens. Large sakura towered over the courtyard and covered almost every inch of ground except for the cement sheltered by the single gazebo.
“Have you seen much of the city yet?” Hanzo asked politely as they entered the main palace.
“Not yet. I came here directly from the airport-- although,” Zenyatta admitted. “I did end up taking a detour when a large man that looked like a rhinoceros appeared.”
Hanzo snapped his gaze behind him to look… strangely, at Zenyatta. Did he sound silly saying such a thing? Zenyatta had assumed that it was commonplace from what his taxi driver said, but if that was not so…
“Ah,” Hanzo said with an air of fatigue. “Then I suppose you saw those heroes, too.”
“And what colour was it?”
Another look flashed across Hanzo’s face, too fast for Zenyatta’s processors to catch. “Green Sentai… he does seem to show up most of the time.”
“Is that what he is called? ‘Green Sentai’?” Zenyatta asked. “And you say there are others?”
“I believe that there are five of them, in total. Various colours.”
“I'm amazed at how… casual you sound about it. I assume this is all normal for you then?”
“Very normal,” Hanzo said. “But we've gotten off track. I'm supposed to show you around before I leave for my meeting.”
“If you are truly short on time, I am perfectly able to wait. I would not want to make you late.”
“Nonsense, what kind of host would I be if--” Hanzo was interrupted by an abrupt bang as one of the doors swung open. There was a stranger standing in the doorway, frozen in an almost comical tableau as they realized how loud of a sound they had made in front of people. However, the very first thing Zenyatta noticed about the stranger was their wonderful looking hair.
“There you are,” Hanzo said to them. “What took you so long?”
The stranger grimaced, their face and clothes drenched in sweat and their posture slumped with exhaustion. “Do you really wanna do this right now, aniki? Right here?”
“I don't know, Genji. Should I?”
“Stop answering questions with questions!” Genji whined. “I managed to get the day off, all I wanna do now is take a nap.”
Hanzo raised an eyebrow. “If you have that much free time, then perhaps you can show our new guest around while I actually go to work.”
“What?! You can't just dump this on me after--” Genji choked on his own words when he finally looked behind his brother and saw the guest in question. His eyes glued to Zenyatta’s face plate, flicked down his body, and then returned back to the top. His eye twinkle.
“Hm, yeah. I can take this, aniki. Don't worry,” Genji said, although he was not looking at Hanzo at all.
A chill travelled up Hanzo’s spine as his ‘little brother getting into trouble’ senses went off. He studied the new expression Genji wore for a second before he made a disgusted noise.
“Nevermind. Go sleep, I will show him around.”
“No, no, no… You said that I should do it because I am free, which I am; and implied that you're in a rush, which you are. I'll take care of this.”
“Whaaat? I'm just showing him around. Why did you change your mind so suddenly?”
Hanzo glared at Genji hard enough to bore holes into him. “You better not be thinking of what I think you are.”
“I don't know what you're talking about,” Genji purred and, to Zenyatta’s surprise, slipped his arm around his shoulders. Zenyatta could feel the shape of Genji’s arms through his sleeves, especially when he slightly squeezed Zenyatta closer to his side. “Go on, go to the meeting! I'll show him around, I'll even be the best most gracious host there has ever been!”
Hanzo gave his brother one last scathing look (most likely using the infamous ‘telepathic sibling bond’ to warn Genji with his mind that he better not mess this up by sexually harassing the Shambali Emissary), quietly hissing something to him before he left the room. Even after he was gone Genji kept his arm draped over Zenyatta’s shoulders for just a moment before releasing him.
“So you’re our guest, huh? The Shambali representative? I’m Shimada Genji,” he bowed politely.
“A pleasure, Mr. Shimada. I am Tekhartha Zenyatta.”
Genji grimaced. “Eugh-- Please, don’t call me ‘Mr. Shimada’, that’s my brother. Just call me Genji.”
“Genji it is,” Zenyatta said. “And you may call me Zenyatta.”
“Zenyatta,” Genji rolled it off of his tongue, the smallest smile tugging at his mouth. “Let’s start the tour now, before the mosquitoes come out. It might not be too much of a problem for you, but I always get eaten alive.”
“I wouldn’t want that,” Zenyatta hummed.
If Zenyatta had thought that the parts of the estate he had seen before were beautiful, then the interior was indescribable. Truly it had earned its title as a ‘palace’ with all of the well restored art pieces and maintained structure. Even the areas with less traffic were still better than most of the rooms at the temple.
“Do people often tell you that your home is beautiful?” Zenyatta asked along the tour.
“Yeah, usually groups of tourists when we let them in for the day.”
“You invite tourists into your home?”
“Technically, it’s also heritage property. We just keep our rooms off-limits. Hanzo and I live here, but it was passed onto us just a decade ago. It’d be shitty if we closed it off to the people. Besides, we don’t need an entire palace to ourselves; this place is huge.”
“Mm, that is similar to my home. The temple is open to the public; tourists and spiritual-seekers alike, but we still live there.”
“Hey, it means that you’ll feel right at home here!” Genji grinned.
“Perhaps I will,” Zenyatta replied in a warm tone.
“At least you won’t make the same mistakes I did. In the beginning I kept forgetting that people would be walking around, and I got caught wearing only boxers.”
Zenyatta chuckled, “I hope that you did not get in trouble.”
“Aniki pulled my ear a bunch, so now I remember to wear pants around the house.”
“How did the… ‘witness’ react?”
“She was an obaasan,” Genji turned a bit pinker. “I felt really bad. It it was anyone else I could own it and be smooth, but with her…”
“I’m sure that you would have been able to ‘smooth’ talk out of it either way.”
Genji glanced at Zenyatta, something gleaming in his eyes too quickly to catch. “Oh? How would you have reacted if you ran into a naked man during a tour?”
“You have already said you were not naked,” Zenyatta hummed. “And if it was you that I ran into, I do not think I would mind very much.”
“Is that so? I’ll keep that in mind,” a cat-like grin creeped over Genji’s face. “Maybe it’s a bad thing that you’re used to this environment… Now everyone will be deprived of the chance to see you dressed down.”
“Maybe not every one, just one in particular.”
“Hm… I wonder who you are referring to.”
“Who knows?” Genji’s smile grew impossibly wider and he winked.
Zenyatta diverted some of his CPU to his cooling systems so that Genji would not have to hear his fans turn on.
The rest of the tour went similarly and passed in a flash. He had known that time was an illusion, but truly that afternoon must have been a prime example. It was only thanks to his passive recording abilities that Zenyatta had absorbed any of the tour at all; much less the important parts like where his room was.
The walk of the grounds came to a halt in front of the large front gates where Zenyatta had entered. Now he had the chance to see the beautiful rock gardens in the orange hue of twilight. He knew his home to be beautiful, but perhaps there may be some competition in that regard.
“Thank you for showing me around, Genji.”
“No problem,” Genji said. “And thank you for coming to stay here. Living in a giant empty palace gets boring sometimes.”
“You could always walk around in boxers and scare a few visitors, I doubt life would be boring after that.”
Genji reeled back and laughed, his head tilted to the sky as he crossed his arms over his chest. Zenyatta wondered if music could be made with only one person, if a song could be sung by a single person with just their laughter. Zenyatta and every other omnic’s vocal processors were made to mimic those of a human… but it was always something else hearing the real thing.
Wiping a tear from his eye, Genji managed to calm down long enough to talk. “You’re not what I thought you would be.”
“And what did you think I would be?”
“I dunno… uptight? Boring? Hanzo is one of the city council members and I’ve met all of his work friends. It’s like trying to make conversation with stale bread. But you… you’re funny, clever, and friendly. You’re different.”
“That’s quite a compliment, and I’m happy to exceed your expectations,” Zenyatta said. “I’m happy to know that one of my hosts is so charming.”
There was something that crossed Genji’s eyes. “Hey… If you’re not busy tonight, do you wanna grab some d--”
Suddenly music blared from Genji’s back pocket and made both him and Zenyatta jump slightly. Immediately red burst over Genji’s cheeks and he began to fumble with his pants until he managed to pull out his cell phone. ‘Zenryoku BATANKYUU’ obnoxiously played until Genji swiped the screen and answered, his brows furrowed with frustration and embarrassment.
“What?! I’m trying to enjoy my day off!” he said. “You don’t get to pull me back after you promised I could--” Genji was cut off by the voice on the other line. It was loud enough to hear but not quite enough to understand. Slowly Genji’s shoulders slumped and he sighed.
“Fine, fine, I’ll be there.”
Zenyatta tilted his head curiously. “Is everything okay?”
“Huh? Oh, kind of. They want me to come in right now. So annoying,” Genji groaned. “And just when I was about to… nevermind. Hey, are you gonna be awake later? When do you usually start your charge cycle?”
“I will be awake for most of the night. Did you want something of me?”
“In a way,” Genji said. “I gotta go now, but there’s this really cool-looking restaurant for omnics a few blocks away, straight down the road. You should try it, I’ve heard good things.”
“Oh? And you were thinking of going with me?” Zenyatta asked smugly.
“Haha, maybe,” Genji laughed and turned a shade darker. “Doesn’t matter now though.”
Zenyatta couldn’t help but feel his chassis tighten at the sight of Genji pink and flustered. He could not have his ‘gracious host’ looking so down in the dumps, now could he? “What if I go ahead on my own, and when you get back tonight I can tell you how it was?”
There was half a second when Genji opened and closed his mouth like a surprised fish-- and then that sparkle returned back to his eye with a vengeance.
“Yeah! Yeah, that’d be great,” he said, almost dreamy. “I can’t wait.”
Goodbyes and well wishes were exchanged. Then Genji ran off back into the palace and Zenyatta watched him disappear.
There was the phantom feeling over the back of Zenyatta’s shoulders, it felt like an arm.
= = = = = || = = = = =
If Zenyatta could blink in surprise, surely he would at that moment. “I wasn’t aware one needed a reservation in order to eat here.”
The hostess, a matte gold omnic with long legs and a feminine voice, sighed and leaned on her podium. To her credit she actually looked sorry about it. “Normally we don’t, but today we’re absolutely packed. I can write down your name and number if you want and we’ll call you when a table is ready.”
“How long will the wait be?”
“The longest it’s taken is an hour, but the dinner rush is starting to slow down so it’ll probably be faster than that.”
“I don’t think that will be a problem. It will give me lots of time to explore the shops around here.”
The hostess perked up and pulled out a pen. “So what name will you be using?”
“Zenyatta. Tekhartha Zenyatta.”
Before her pen touched the paper there came a voice from within the restaurant, “Zenyatta? Did you say Zenyatta?”
An omnic stood up from their table and power walked to the front of the house. Their LED face flashed through a few expressions until it settled on a surprised ‘:0’. They hopped little hops in excitement. “I know you! You’re one of the Shambali!”
“That I am,” Zenyatta nodded.
The hostess was horrified. “Th-The Shambali!? Oh, I am so so sorry, I’ll find you a table right away--”
“Please, there is no need,” Zenyatta put up a hand and shook his head. “I am no more special than anyone else waiting tonight.”
Then the other omnic spoke up again. “Come sit with us, we still have an empty seat at our table.”
“I would not want to impose.”
“I’m offering! Come on, I gotta introduce you to my friends.”
Zenyatta hesitantly followed the stranger, somewhat relaxing as he saw the hostess’ relieved posture. It was a large reason why he travelled without his robes. He did not want to give his brothers and sisters the idea that he was any better than them.
He was taken to a table by the window where three other omnics sat. They looked up as their friend approached and glanced in confusion between him and Zenyatta.
“Poe, who is this?” asked one, their voice extremely low. Almost too low to understand with the human ear.
‘Poe’ turned to Zenyatta and said “I’ll introduce you,” and then turned once more to the table. “Guys, this is Zenyatta. He’s a part of the Shambali.”
“Wait-- the Shambali?!”
“Yup!” Poe popped the ‘p’. “Zenyatta, these are my friends…”
Once by one Poe named the omnics off to him. The omnic with the low voice was named Sunny and unlike most modern omnics he did not have many LED’s on his face, just one large light in the center that was the size of a fist. The next was Lizzy, a large construction worker model that looked to be fairly new; Zenyatta knew that only the most recent construction omnics had more than two arms. Lizzy had four. The last was a very, very small omnic around the size of a human child with polished white coating and large blue LED eyes that blinked with artificial eyelids. Her name was ‘Truck’.
“It’s a pleasure to meet all of you,” Zenyatta bowed. The three others looked at each other and then awkwardly bowed their heads in return.
“How did you find him?” Lizzy asked.
“He was waiting for a table at the front, so I said he could sit with us.”
“Of course he can!” Truck clapped happily in a child-like voice. “I’m such a big fan of the Shambali. What brings you all the way here? Aren’t you located in Nepal?”
“He’s probably here on vacation,” Sunny said.
“Who would want to vacation here?” Truck grimaced. “With all the… y’know.”
“I dunno, the humans think all this monster stuff is cool.”
“Actually,” Zenyatta said. “I’m here on business.”
“What kind of business?”
“We have been speaking with representatives in different cities with the idea of encouraging the construction for places of meditation for omnics and humans alike.”
“That would be awesome,” Lizzy said in awe. “I would kill to be on that job.”
“So you’re here to ask for a deal?” Poe asked.
“No. A majority of the city council members have already agreed to building a temple here, I am here to help advise on where to place it and to promote it.”
“I don’t think you need to promote it to any of us,” Poe said. “I’m pretty sure that all of the omnics here would love a Shambali temple.”
“It’s more to promote it to the remaining city councillors.”
“Figures,” Truck grumbled.
“You guys take an oath against violence, right?” Lizzy asked. “If you ever need help or get into a tough spot, just us. Here-- lemme give you my number.”
“Ah,” Zenyatta hesitated. “We do not take such an oath…”
“Yeah, but it never hurts to have friends. Gimme your phone!”
He knew that there was no point in denying them what they wanted. Once he handed his phone to Lizzy the others crowded around as close as possible in a competition to get it next. The sight made him smile; just a few years ago these omnics would most likely have been too scared to voice their support so loudly and enthusiastically. Watching potential friends bicker over his phone was not too bad.
“Okay! All done!” Poe chirped and happily handed the phone back.
(Later Zenyatta would check his cell for the new contact numbers and find them easily. Each had added two or more emojis next to their name and stood out among the other names.)
“Quit stalling, Poe!” Truck demanded. “You’ve already made him wait long enough by taking a hundred years to introduce us.”
“Hey! Shut up!” Poe shot back playfully. Then he turned to Zenyatta and pulled out the open chair for him. “Do you know what you want? Have you ever been here before?”
Zenyatta took the seat offered to him next to the window. “This is my first time coming here, actually.”
“No way!” Truck said.
“You’ll like the dark chocolate oil,” said Sunny. “It’s my favourite.”
“If we’re going to show him our faves, then he needs to try coconut cream first!” argued Lizzy.
“Yeah right! Black licorice first!” Truck butted in.
“Well he can’t have any yet because we haven’t ordered!” Poe pointed out. “All we have is the free lemonade flavoured oil right now. The waitress should be over soon to take our orders, so try to go through the menu fast.”
“Don’t rush him!” Lizzy said. “We can wait a little longer.”
“Yeah but the longer we stall, the worse I feel about the other people waiting for a table.”
“We just got here, there’s nothing to feel bad about.”
As Poe and Lizzy bickered, Truck leaned to her side to whisper to Zenyatta and point at the menu. “This part is super expensive and not worth it, honestly. Sucks cause I know that the owners can’t really control what they buy it for from the manufacturers. The stuff down here is more local and better prices, but not as strong as the more expensive…”
Truck’s voice faded into the background. Something was pressing on Zenyatta, laying on his back like a mattress full of weights. The sounds melted away as he withdrew in on himself and tried to feel around for what was wrong. Something felt wrong, unnatural.
Something was coming.
A blast of discord punched Zenyatta directly in the chest and ripped him from his thoughts. On instinct he grabbed for the smaller omnic beside him and covered her with his body.
Just in time for all of the windows to explode.
There was screaming, high pitched static and panicked feedback, enough sound to threaten Zenyatta’s audio processors. His systems warned him that some of the glass had lodged itself in his parts but thankfully none of them were too threatening to his hardware. Once the ceiling had stopped shaking and the glass had finished falling like snowflakes from its frame, Zenyatta pulled back. Truck was staring up at him, her large blue eyes narrowed to dots with her artificial eyelids. Her small delicate hands had a death grip on his pristine white robes.
“Are you--?” Zenyatta’s concern was cut off by another loud sound, this time of a gun being fired. There were more screams, the sound of people trying to stand up and get away, chairs and tables being pushed out of the way.
“STOP WHERE YOU ARE!” came a booming voice.
Right on cue, a flood of armed men stormed in from the front door and walked through what was left of the floor to ceiling windows. All of them wore various black masks and unmarked clothing, even their eyes were covered by tinted goggles. All of them immediately pointed their guns at the nearest omnic and there were more screams and wails for help.
“None of you move,” the source of the voice came in through the front door. It was a man-- if a man could grow to be so tall. He stood more than a head over the tallest gunman in the room and at least twice as wide. Covering his face was an opaque riot helmet that covered every inch of skin and matched the heavy armour he had on his body. Yet the most frightening thing was the gun he held. It was not as basic as the ones his henchmen owned, instead this one glowed with raw electricity. Zenyatta could taste it in the air from where he crouched.
The man clicked his tongue behind the helmet. “That’s it? None of you are gonna try to fight back? Come on, try it. I dare you.”
The large man stomped towards the nearest omnic and gripped its arm, ripping a scream from its throat as he dangled it in the air. “I’ll even give you a free shot. You’re not scared, are you?
But the omnic in his grip only shook in terror, their lights blinking on and off in morse code for ‘SOS’. Apparently even a moment of hesitation was too long for the assailant, as he frowned and threw the omnic to the ground.
“Fine, be that way,” he growled. “These jobs are never fun anymore. It was better when you tin cans had guns and we were allowed to do whatever we wanted to you.”
The giant slung his enormous gun over his shoulder like it was nothing more than a toy. “Now you’re all going to politely follow my men and file one by one into our trucks, no fussing and no yelling. Anyone makes a sound and you get a body full of taser. Any questions?”
Zenyatta’s hands flexed. Truck, who was watching him, whimpered and tugged at him in an attempt to keep Zenyatta from standing up. Quietly, gently, he pet her bright white head and then pried her from his robes.
All eyes turned to Zenyatta as he stood in the middle of the crowd. It must have been a sight, a single robotic monk standing among over an entire restaurant of cowering omnics as more than a dozen gunmen changed their target to him. Politely, he raised his hand.
“I do, though it is less of a question and more of an offer.”
The giant looked Zenyatta up and down, his body staying lax and lazy with the assumption that he was a simple monk. “Oh? This will be precious. Go ahead.”
“My name is Tekhartha Zenyatta, and I am an emissary of the Shambali.” Zenyatta bowed as was customary when introducing himself. “Please consider taking me instead. Many of these people are harmless, but I am considered very important. I would gladly come willingly if you leave them alone.”
“A Shambali, huh?” the giant grunted. “Yeah, you’re right. You are worth a lot.”
“So will you accept my offer?”
“Nah,” he laughed. “I can just take you and all the others. Men, start herding them out.”
Zenyatta shook his head. “I was afraid you would say that.”
Before anyone could pull the trigger, Zenyatta flicked his wrist and one of the orbs around his neck flew off and hit a gunman directly in the face with a loud DING! All at once chaos erupted as the other omnics took their opportunity and made a break for it. The bigger ones followed Zenyatta’s lead and started taking down henchmen so that the smaller ones could escape. Lizzy clothes lined two of the taller gunmen and then, using her multiple arms, elbow dropped both of them.
Most of the attention was on Zenyatta. His hands moved fast enough to give the illusion that he had multiple arms as he threw orb after orb at his attackers. Each landed hit made a pleasant chime despite what is was being used for. Bullets were easily deflected by rapidly orbiting balls or absorbed by the energy shield they made.
“Call the Ryujin Sentai Gorangers!!” someone cried, though their location was lost within the chaos.
Everything was looking up and for a moment there was the tiny spark of hope that the henchmen could be defeated by the omnics.
There was the quietest crackle, a pop in the air, and then suddenly lightning exploded inside the room. Both omnics and grunts were hit and there were more screams.
Then it stopped.
“You're a troublemaker, aren't ya?” the giant whistled. Their large gun was smoking and sizzling. “I'd love to beat you to scrap, but that's gonna have to be another time. The boss wants you tincans alive, and I'm pretty sure you're worth even more.”
He hauled up a body from the floor and Zenyatta clenched his fists. Like a toy ragdoll, Poe dangled from the giant's hand. His face screen was full of fuzzy static and their neck was sparking at a frightening rate. Zenyatta could hear Lizzy yell from the other side of the room, could hear Sunny hold her back and try to reason with her.
“Now you’re gonna quit it with the games and come with me nice and quiet,” the giant grinned under his mask. “You’ve already lost me enough product with your little stunt. Hopefully you’re worth as much as you say, or else…”
Suddenly a battle cry filled the room, “DRAGON KIIIIIIICK!”
There was a bright green blur and a loud crunching sound as it collided with the giant’s head. Poe was dropped on the ground with a sickening thud and immediately his friends sprinted to him. Zenyatta looked to the fight.
He knew that man, he knew that armour and that helmet. He had recorded it and filed it away in his memories this morning. Just like that the scene in the middle of the street with the rhino monster and the same exact man flashed through his mind.
The giant man roared and Zenyatta could see parts of his face and a glimpse of long teeth where the riot gear helmet had been shattered. “You!I’ll destroy you!”
But when the giant swung out, the green hero was already gone. He growled as something hit him in the back and exploded, barely affecting him at all. With a grunt he lifted his large gun and aimed it at the person in the corner of the room who had fired at him. They wore armour just like the green hero, but instead it was red and had a more practical chestplate with a headset on the side of their helmet.
“Don’t get distracted now,” came a voice and immediately after there was a bright flash and a bang. The giant hissed and covered his eyes just long enough for a yellow hero to roll out of the shadows and rapid fire their gun six times in less than the blink of an eye. Their bright yellow colour and popped collar paired with a white scarf made them pop out from the background like a beacon.
In a blind rage, the monster tried to take out at least one of them before he went down. He lunged at a speed that seemed impossible for something so big and caught the yellow hero in the middle of escaping. Just as it raised his gun to smash it against its prey, there was the quietest sound, like a whip in the air. The giant froze where it stood, swayed once, and then fell face first to the ground. A blue arrow stuck out of its back.
“That’s some timing,” the yellow hero whistled and stood up, brushing the dust from his pants. “Could’a used you a few second earlier, though.”
A blue hero fell from the rafter and landed without a sound. He scoffed and shouldered the beautiful bow he held. “You are fine, don’t complain.”
The green one-- the one Zenyatta knew-- finished up with punching out the last grunt before skipping towards the others. “I dunno, kinda seems like you were waiting for the perfect moment to ‘heroically’ rescue him.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said the blue hero.
The red one stepped off of her perch and scanned the room. “All clear here. You’re good to go, White Sentai.”
“Thank you, Red Sentai,” came a significantly higher female voice. There was the creaking of the wooden rafters above and then a white hero hopped off, slowly descending as if they had wings. In their hands was a long white stave. “The police should be on their way soon.”
“Perfect! Good job, team,” ‘Red Sentai’ announced and clapped Yellow Sentai on the back hard enough to make him cough.
“This hardly needed all of us,” said Blue Sentai. “One or two would have sufficed.”
“Perhaps, but that is only because we didn’t expect half of the bad guys to be taken out by the time we got here.”
“Yeah, what happened?”
Zenyatta made an artificial cough to attract their attention. “That is mostly my doing.”
All five of the heroes stared at him in disbelief. “A… A monk?”
“Hey!” Truck stomped over and pointed an aggressive finger at the heroes. “Don’t judge him based on his looks! Zenyatta saved my life!”
“And fought off most of the gunmen,” said Sunny.
Red Sentai looked at her teammates, around the room, and then back at Zenyatta. “Is this true?”
“Ah, they may be exaggerating a tad. I only scuffled with a few of them.”
“It looks like more than a few to me,” said the Green Sentai. Zenyatta’s gaze immediately locked on him and his visual processors compared the hero in the flesh to the snapshot in his memory banks. Definitely the same man. “What kind of guns are you packing under those robes of yours?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Red Sentai cut in. “Your name is Zenyatta, yes?”
“I have not seen you here before. Am I correct to presume that you are the same ‘Zenyatta’ that was supposed to arrive from Nepal today?”
“You would be, though I may wonder how you knew such a thing.”
“It is our job to know everything that goes on in our city. You are the Shambali Emissary.”
“It was irresponsible of you to start a fight,” Red Sentai said bluntly. “You may know how to defend yourself, but starting a brawl could have involved those who cannot. Someone weaker than you could have been hurt. Not to mention your important position. What would happen if you were to be hurt on your first day here?”
Zenyatta tilted his head. “I must apologize, but I am unfamiliar with both who you are and why you think you are in a position to judge my actions.”
The red hero straightened in surprise (while green and yellow elbowed each other and snickered). “That’s right, you’re not from around here. It is my fault for not introducing ourselves. We are the Ryūjin Sentai Gorangers, and we protect this city. I am Red Sentai.”
“I’m Yellow Sentai,” he said.
“Blue Sentai,” he bowed slightly.
“I am White Sentai,” she waved.
The last one did not speak right away. Instead, he seemed to be studying Zenyatta and taking in the entire picture. At last he cocked his head and saluted playfully with two fingers. “Green Sentai, at your service.”
Red Sentai nodded once they were all done. “I acknowledge and thank you for standing up and fighting for the people here, but I cannot take back what I said about it being irresponsible. Someone could have gotten hurt.”
“Someone would have gotten hurt whether or not I fought back,” Zenyatta said. “Is it not better to stand up and try to protect others when things seem bleak, than sitting quietly and letting people be taken?”
Red Sentai said nothing. Zenyatta could feel her stare from behind the helmet, the emotions rolling off of her in waves.
“But I understand. I agree that someone could have gotten hurt; however, when calculating the risk versus the inevitable, I chose to fight.”
There came a sigh from within the helmet. “It was noble of you, but please do try to be more careful.”
“I will take that into consideration the next time that a nine foot man with a large gun comes into the place I am eating.”
Red Sentai laughed quietly. “It happens more than you think.”
And on that note the conversation was over. White Sentai crouched down next to those who were involved with the fight and, with a tap of her staff, healed them. One of the first that she went to was Poe. With almost zero effort his systems came back online and his screen flickered on. Zenyatta watched his friends pile on him in a huge hug, and knew he had made the right choice.
“Hey,” someone said to Zenyatta’s left. When he turned he could see that it was Green Sentai, and he was much closer than he had been before. “Don’t worry about her. Red Sentai is mean because she cares.”
“I can tell,” Zenyatta said.
“So… all of this was really you?”
“Some of it.”
“Most of it.”
Green Sentai whistled and put his hands on his hips. “That’s amazing. You might give us a run for our money if you keep playing hero.”
Zenyatta chuckled. “I have no plan to purposefully seek out trouble.”
“Good. Were you hurt? White Sentai can…”
“I am perfectly fine. Nothing that needs immediate attention.”
“‘Immediate’? So you are hurt?”
“Some of the glass from the windows got lodged in my circuits, but it is nothing that I cannot fix myself.”
Green Sentai huffed, though Zenyatta could hear the smile in his voice through the helmet. “You really are something else, you know that?”
“So I’ve been told.”
“It might have been kind of foolish taking on a room full of arms baddies, but it was also very brave of you.”
Zenyatta pressed his fingers together and absolutely beamed with pride. “Thank you. I agree.”
“Next time try to stay safe maybe. We wouldn’t want that pretty faceplate of your to get scuffed up, now would we?”
“I’ll think about it,” Zenyatta chuckled.
Red and blue lights could be seen reflecting on the broken glass from a distance away, sirens getting more clear with each passing second. Yet neither Green Sentai nor Zenyatta took their eyes off of each other. Zenyatta felt as if he was caught in a spider’s web.
Perhaps such a thing was not so bad.
“I gotta go,” Green Sentai said.
“Stay safe,” Zenyatta responded.
He watched from the ground as all of the sentai jumped off with seemingly superhuman strength and speed, disappearing into the dimming evening sky. Just outside came the sound of cars hitting the brakes and doors opening and closing. There was a background static of police and omnics talking, asking what happened.
Zenyatta files his new information into one of the forefront folders of his memory. There was quite a lot to go through after just one day.
He had a feeling that his stay here would be more exciting than he anticipated.