"You're a dick."
"I've decided I don't want to take orders from the likes of you!" I declare, grinning.
Armsmaster sighs, "That doesn't change what needs to happen to your robot. Now, disassemble it, or I'll destroy it myself. Afterwards, I'll take you back to the police station and explain to your father how you turned down our aid."
"I'd rather not, thank you! Moto Bug!" I shout, before flourishing a hand towards Armsmaster, "I want that Halberd!"
"You just made a big mistake." he says, but there's a grin behind it. Handling what he thought an arrogant child was something he couldn't do in the slightest, but an enemy? My own eyes sparkle as he gets into a position to fight. He's already underestimating me, of course. After all, he himself had seen me build the Moto Bug. He knew there were no hidden guns, no bombs, no energy beams or plasma blades. The material of the Moto Bug, while tough, wasn't anything he couldn't shear through with his halberd's plasma blade. Of course Armsmaster would underestimate my creation, knowing all of these things!
But what he didn't know, couldn't know, was why I needed the rat. It's the core factor of all of my inventions that are worth anything. The natural chaotic energies of the universe, untapped and unknown by man, yet utilized in trace amounts in every living thing! I didn't know what it was, but I knew how to use it.
The Chaos energy is nearly infinite! By using a complex living organism as a focal point, I have created a robot that has access to unlimited power!
Sure, it might not be the flashiest thing on Earth.
But what was important was that it could do more than Armsmaster thought it could. I grin savagely, and my robot had already begun the attack. Armsmaster's halberd is already shifting, the plasma-blade emerging and igniting even as he swings it toward my robot.
My robot, which has just accelerated faster than Armsmaster expected.
Moto Bug slams into Armsmaster's chest at about 90 mph, the steel surface of the lab table dented by the enormous force the wheel put on it in the few seconds they were in contact while it was accelerating. When I build something for high-speed pursuit, I blasted build something for HIGH SPEED PURSUIT! He was designed to be able to be able to catch up to something moving at the speed of sound! Armsmaster is sent flying, and his halberd falls from his hand and lands in mine- ooh! That would have been nasty if I still wasn't wearing insulated gloves.
Moto Bug lands with a clunk, the outside chassis dented from the impact. A pained groan from the hero informs me he's still alive, so I don't have to worry about murder charges on top of everything else quite yet.
I turn, shove as many things from the desk into a tool box, close it, and climb on top of Moto Bug. I laugh triumphantly as we take off down the halls. My good mood is dampered a bit when my new halberd simply vanishes from my hands, but, hey, I got a robot and a whole case of new tools out of my visit! Not too shabby!
Of course, Armsmaster isn't the only hero in the building. As I rumbled down the maze of hallways, alarms began going off. Over the intercom a warning of "Rogue Tinker-Master-Mover" began repeating itself, as well as the occasional update on my position.
The Rig was a mess of towers and smaller facilities, all tightly-packed and interconnected. I didn't know the lay of the land, but the Protectorate ostensibly did. More than that, the other members of the PRT did as well.
Moto Bug was fast enough that we were more-or-less a blur. We simply blasted around and between the regular PRT, but soon we found ourselves in trouble.
At the end of a longer hallway, waiting for us, was Triumph. Big gold lion head and skin-tight suit and everything. He didn't give much warning before the solid wall of sound knocked me from my saddle. The Moto Bug wasn't as effected, but my loyal robot puttered back to my side rather than push onwards.
In front of me, a currently-unbreakable obstacle. Behind me, PRT troopers who had seen me buzz past and were coming running. To my side, according to a very helpful sign, is break-room 112. Hm.
"Moto Bug! To me!" I push myself back up and quickly open the door. Triumph yells something on the other side, but it isn't one of his super-yells, so I just ignore it.
"YES! Moto Bug, the windows!" The break room has a view of Brockton Bay through the window, although the Rig's force-field makes the colors all feel far too bright. But what it does mean is that on the other side of those windows is open ground, rather than more hallways!
The robot sputters in affirmation, before charging for the window and- smashing through the wall under it. And... dropping.
"Moto Bug?" I rush to the window looking down. Whew! Not... too much of a drop. Moto Bug is looking up at me, waiting for his next order, and appears to be functioning. But then again, I'm not made of titanium. I'm still debating whether or not to try and just let myself drop, or try to hastily make a pully and rope out of something in the room, when Triumph smashes through the door I entered from and lets loose a blast of solid sound.
Which sends me flying through the hole.
"CATCH ME!" I command as I go sailing, and my robot follows me below. I nearly lose my lunch as I go cartwheeling, and nearly black out when my back meets rounded titanium. "Agh!!" It's... oh god that hurts... better than landing on the concrete. Moto Bug has a bit of bounce, due to his tires and shock system, so it cushioned me but dear god that hurt.
"Ugh. I want off this island. Head for the side closest to the city. I flipped myself over, and managed to straddle my robot once more, but I was going to be lying down for a long time when this was over. Moto Bug begins to accelerate, when I realize something and shout "WAIT!"
We turn around, I grab my toolbox, and then we renew our efforts to get out of this place.
"Colin, you alright?" Miss Militia asked, "Do we need to call in Panacea?"
"I'll... I'll be fine. Just got caught off guard." he muttered darkly, looking down at the dent in his power armor. He was slightly embedded in a wall,
"What the hell happened?"
"Recently-triggered tinker. A master-mover combo. She specializes in building high-power drones with specialized uses. The one she built for me was apparently a high-speed pursuit drone."
"Then how did it do that to you?"
"According to the recording, it went from zero to 90 and crashed into me." he muttered, "High-speed pursuit."
"He would be able to best handle it. But he and Dauntless are on patrol right now."
"Should we call him back?"
"...She's just one girl." Armsmaster muttered, pushing himself back to his full height. Miss Militia moved to support him, but he waved her off, "With one tool. We'll take her down soon enough. Hopefully then she can be made to see reason- or it'll be juvenile detention."
I'm speeding around the edges of the Rig, and I just know that I'm running out of time. Even if no one here can keep up with the Moto Bug even at speeds where I won't go flying off, soon they'll decide to just begin spraying the perimeter with quick-hardening foam and things will get very inconvenient.
Blasted idiots! All of them! But as it is, I can't exactly escape. The force field surrounds the whole area in a bubble. The only way in or out is if the people manning the force field want to let you.
"Grrrr! Come on, I need to get to a computer!"
We head for a close-by facility, and charge our way in. The PRT troopers already inside are sent sprawling, and I hop off my robot and close myself in a room. "Moto Bug! Don't let anyone in!" my loyal mechanical marvel dutifully stands by the door, holding it shut against the pushing of the quicker-thinking PRT agents outside.
I turn on a computer and begin going to work. Now... for the hard part.
My fingers are a blur as I begin attempting to do something many have likely tried and failed before- hacking the Protectorate.
I don't have to do much hacking, not really! I don't give a damn about their secret identities, or plans, or satellites or records or whatever! I'm just looking for schematics! Maps! Layouts of the Rig.
Come on! It shouldn't be this hard to find, every PRT trooper in the building needs to know how to get from place to place don't they?
AH! "Bingo." I say evilly, running my eyes over the displays. I then knock the computer over, and begin tearing it apart.
I don't have a rat on hand, so batteries will have to do.
Ahhh- even though I'm being hunted by superheroes and have men with guns banging down on the door, it just feels so damn good to actually be making something! It's not the same thrill as Moto Bug- that lab, I'll miss it- but it's good all the same.
Caterkiller. This one isn't exactly the same as what I sketched down in my notebook. It's barely much bigger than a rat itself, but even though it only serves one purpose, there is a beautiful elegance to it if I say so myself!
Really, I do prefer working with bigger machines, but it'll have its use. As soon as I put the finishing touches on it, I drop the little robot in front of an air vent. Without waiting for any orders- it's not smart enough to process any, anyway, -my newest creation flies in.
Now, it was just a game of keep-away.
There's four other computers in the room, and I disassemble them in much the same way as the first. I create three things: A radio with three buttons on it, and two bombs. The first bomb goes on the outside-facing wall. The second goes in the toolbox, and the radio remains in my hand. Grinning, I back behind the desk, and hit the first button on the radio. The wall goes down, and I start running back to the relative saftety of open air. "Moto Bug!"
"She's been circling the place." Triumph reported as he jogged over to Miss Militia and Armsmaster. "I think she knows she's trapped."
"Good." Armsmaster said, "Are Assault and Battery in place?"
"They will be." Miss Militia said.
Armsmaster smiled grimly. He'd like to see what happened when the girl's machine tried what it did to him on Assault. And hopefully afterwards she'd acknowledge her own limitations and get with the program. Although... no matter how useful an additional Tinker is, she had a troublesome personality.
Looking at her school records she was a bad egg. Repeated reports of clumsiness, bordering on self-injury, property damage, being a loner, being aggressive towards other students and repeatedly accusing and framing other children of actions the school proved to their own satisfaction were committed by her. Shadow Stalker's own analysis of her character didn't earn her any points either. The Protectorate already had one loner with a bad attitude and control issues in the Wards trying to avoid juvie. Adding another one might be more problematic than it was worth. Especially a girl so... megalomaniacal.
The girl needed therapy, he thought, more than anything else. But as long as she was running around attacking members of the PRT and the Protectorate, she needed to be stopped. And stopped hard.
"Hey!" I recognized the all-red bodysuit of one-half of the Battery and Assault team. I actually liked the two of them quite a bit, as far as heroes go. Considered Battery to be an inspiration, once upon a time. "Kid, you've had your fun, but it's time to give it up. Step away from the lady bug, put down the box, and we'll see if we can put this all behind us, huh?"
"Ohohohoho! No, I don't think so. I propose an alternate deal, you make an opening in the force field, me and Moto Bug leave without any further damage."
"I'm afraid we can't do that." Assault said, his tone was casual and friendly, even as he slowly advanced, his arms held slightly raised in front of him.
"Then we're at an impasse." I say, "Very well. How about this- give me my opening in the field, my force field-road back to the city, or I take down the field entirely." I threaten, still grinning, "You leave me a proper opening, and it's just business as usual. The entire field goes down entirely, for the first time since it went up? People will need explanations!" I laugh once more, throwing my arms wide, "I've broken a few rules, knocked Armsmaster around a little bit, and destroyed what- two walls? Five computers? All in all, I haven't done anything especially bad, no?"
"First I heard about the computers."
"Drat. But still! Isn't it better that we just go our separate ways, and I promise I won't come back? Scouts honor." I say, placing one hand over my heart.
"Nuh-uh." Assault sighed, "Well, we warned you. Battery!"
"As did I." I just know that she's charging towards me from behind, she had been hidden around the corner of one of the buildings, increasing her charge. But I hit the third button on my remote, and somewhere deep within the Rig my Caterkiller carries out its simple programming.
Battery is nearly upon us, so Moto Bug has started taking evasive actions, heading towards Assault, before swerving around him. The gray and blue heroine has caught up, however, and she delivers a super-powered punch to her partner that leaves him, of course, unharmed, but has given him his own supply of kinetic force to launch himself after me. Really, three pseudo-speedsters, making laps around the edges of the Rig. I'm barely in the lead, but Battery is doing something that's occasionally tugging and messing with Moto Bug. Magnetic secondary effect, or something similar.
I don't have to stay ahead of them forever, though.
The Caterkiller does its job. I sent it deep into the bowels of the Rig, and it has since located the force field generator. It begins to eat as a caterpillar does; finding wires and biting them, finding buttons and pressing against them. Finding circuit boards and disks and scratching them. Absolute chaos. Bit by bit it will render the generator in its entirety destroyed.
Soon the shimmering orb around the Rig begins to shudder, flicker, and warp. New bubbles form on its surface, where in other areas it spikes up in cones. Long shimmering force field-roads spike in and out of existence in various directions along its side.
"What the hell?"
"Ohohoho! I told you! Never doubt my genius! Now! Moto Bug, into the deep blue sea!"
We keep going along our previous path. I'm not sure if I caught that in the wind, and the odd noise of a kinetic field warping, and the shouts of the superheroes behind me, but... was that a reluctant refusal? "Moto Bug! The ocean!"
Another electric whine. Defiance!? "Now!" I growl, "Or so help me- are you worried you'll sink?! You're like, forty percent rubber tire! We'll float! Don't be such a baby!" properly reassured, ugh, Moto Bug finally does the logical thing and turns towards the edge of the Rig. "Full speed ahead! And I mean full speed!"
"Puppy!" Assault shouts, but he's too late! The two of us are already racing for the edge, the field is flickering, bending, if we keep going, we'll breach the field and we'll be clear!
But then Battery gives him a flying leap that almost flashed. The energy crackled through her, and the glowing blue has vanished, instead, Assault is moving like a red blur, a living dynamo that is- also heading for the edge of the Rig?! Nononono! "No! Moto Bug! Halt, turn, swerve-!"
He manages to tackle us, and it's like all the forward momentum we had going is just sapped away. Assault himself goes flying, but he lands and manages to make several fast, long, lopes back towards us. Damn it! I need to build up more speed!
"Loop back! Loop back! Build up speed- Go go go!" I order, and the Moto Bug does as I tell it, its engines rumbling with worry. Luckily, if anything, the longer we take, the more the force field dissipates. Soon, there'll be openings all over it, I'll have my pick of escape points! Yes! Just, just keep looking at the good points Taylor!
Assault is gaining on me again.
But I'm already moving quite fast again, the Moto Bug accelerates like no-one's business.
There! A hole! We turn, and not giving myself any time to think about it, we're sailing out over open air.
Now, if Moto Bug keeps his tire spinning, I should be fine when we hit the water, right? The forward acceleration will cancel out the downward momentum, or, pull it along with and who am I kidding. I wrap my arms and legs around the metal bug and wrench my eyes shut and hope we don't splatter.
"Oh my god." Assault mutters, watching as the metal bug and its rider skip against the sea's surface, splashing horribly each time, until it managed to stabilize itself. The rider was somehow not dislodged, and Assault just, frankly, couldn't believe it.
"That's- that has got to be some kind of shaker ability, it has to be. She should be a pancake."
"Oh my god." the metal bug swerved like a speedboat, turning towards shore.
"That's not normal, right? I mean, she's a tinker- is it an ability of the machine? Some kind of super-shock absorption? How is she even holding on after all that?!"
"...You think we should call the hospital and see if she shows up?" he asked, seeming to shake himself out of it. The robot managed to get to shore, climb up the rocks, and make its way to the boardwalk. At that point, he just couldn't make out much else.
The other members of the Protectorate on the Rig quickly joined the two at the edge, Armsmaster staring upwards in horror, practically shaking with rage.
"The Rig's shields have never been breached." he growled, "We were famous for it." The Rig was his. He was the leader of ENE, it was his responsibility, and that girl- she just walked all over it, "I'm heading down to the boats." he muttered, "Miss Militia, can you get a shot on the robot?"
In a green-and-black flash of energy, she was looking down the barrel of a sniper rifle. "No." she said, frowning, "It's already way out of any range I'd be comfortable with, and either way, its already among the buildings. I think we may have lost this one."
Being a living skipping stone wasn't an experience I ever want to relive, but it was definitely a unique one. Oh well, all's well that ends well? Right now, my greatest priority is finding somewhere to sleep off my multitude of bruises. But first, status check:
I'm alive but in quite a bit of pain, but, hey, learning experience! Moto Bug is functioning and isn't too worse for wear, and, hey, also alive! I've got some professional tools, which I suppose I should check over to make sure they haven't been bugged, and I've also given the Protectorate ample reason to fear my genius- which may not be a good thing, in the long run, but Damn it felt good! Er, not good, but exhilarating! Satisfying!
Now, however, lies a conundrum. The Protectorate will probably have someone sent over to my house, so that's not really an option as a resting spot. I'll have to put together some kind of messenger robot to tell Dad I'm fine and will continue to be so. It's so nice, really.
I mean, I took apart the smoke detector at the school, sure, but I felt so justified in fighting the Trio that it didn't really matter to me at the time, I just saw an opportunity and took it. But now that I'm very much on the wrong side of the law... options have opened up to me. The world is full of so many more opportunities I'm curious I didn't see it before. I mean, sure, the Protectorate and the police will be after me, but I can handle that if I've proved anything today. But now I don't have to worry about silly things like needing money, or asking permission, or holding myself back!
Moto Bug has been taking me along the sidewalk, to avoid the cars, and I'm not even worried! After all, the people are easy enough to swerve around.
It's okay, of course. In the long-run, these freedoms will allow me to create such wonders that any debt I may owe morally or legally to society will get paid back in full. Heck, when I run the world, I can just pardon myself of all my previous crimes!
We pass by a costume shop, and pat my robot twice to make him stop, "Go back to that store, there." I mumble. He returns to it, and pushes his way in using his claws, I'm still too dead tired and sore all over to really get up and walk around on my own here. Maybe some kind of wire frame under my clothes... hmmm.
The clerk stares at me and my bruises and my Moto Bug, and seems trapped by his own hesitation. Moto wanders the halls at a brisk pace. A bright red pirate jacket with big gold buttons catches my eye, and I snag it from the shelf, open the packaging right then and there, and shrug it over my shoulders. The hat is tacky- made of cheap plastic on the underside, so I throw it away. Likewise I have no need for an eye-patch, and while a metal hook would have had some use, it's more cheap plastic.
Moto Bug sputters back towards the entrance, and I level a glare at the clerk, "I need a disguise." I order, "Something to hide my face. Chop chop!"
"Um." but he seems to blink, and reaches behind him- almost blindly, and produces a pair of Groucho Glasses.
I almost throw it back at him, but I'm exhausted, and honestly? This would better hide my identity than some domino mask would anyway. I think I read somewhere that the Protectorate doesn't give out the real names of Capes, even villains, but I still would rather the average person on the street doesn't immediately connect my father to some supervillain. I accept the glasses, fake nose, and bushy mustache combo, and put it on my face, before we push back out of the store and sputter along the road.
I'll make something better when I have the time.
Now... I need a blasted bed! And maybe some kinda pain killer.